I’m happy to announce that I’ve started drafting the third book in the Civil Dusk series already! In this story, tentatively called “By Appointment Only,” Hugh meets with the spirits of Skara Brae to get his dian-stane fixed. They tell him to journey to New Hampshire in the USA, where descendants of theirs journeyed and built a settlement 4000 years ago. But how will he find it in a country to which he’s never been? Perhaps a local guide can assist!
Stay tuned for a completely unique story that’s already a page-turner! And in the meantime, get your copies of Civil Dusk and First Watch; links in the Buy My Books link above!
Honestly, I know you’re more excited about the second one. 😛
First Watch is in the hands of my beta reader and my fact-checker! Editing is DONE. Cover art is DONE. Back blurb is DONE. ISBN purchase is DONE. Here’s a teaser from Chapter 1 along with the Rottie that inspired those descriptions. Stay tuned for release info!!! Can you tell I’m excited? I’M EXCITED! Every time I read back through this document it’s so DAMN GOOD.
When I’m writing, I commonly leave myself brackets around words that I either need to go back in the typed document to fact check, or that I need to find a synonym for. In the pictured case below, it’s a fact check. I hand write my drafts and my first line of editing is when I type my written sections up, usually a chapter at a time. Do you do this? If not, it might help! For me, it gives me permission to keep writing and not stall my progress with a word check.
Okay, dear readers, guess what! Yes, that’s right, the draft for First Watch is officially in my editor’s hands/mailbox/email inbox/shared Google file/it’s getting looked at. I’ve asked for her help with identifying spots that need answers or embellishing, which for those that don’t know is called “editing for content.” Basically I’m 10k words short of my goal, which averages to about 40 pages. While I still have a chapter or two to write to wrap up this story and lead into the next, I don’t think that will take 40 pages. So I’ve enlisted my editor’s help (hopefully) with expanding the current stuff a bit.
I’m an independent or self-published author, so you may be asking: why is word count important? I saw an e-book the other day with 9 pages in it! 9!!!! Well, it’s because I still have goals or expectations for myself, and ideally I’d like First Watch to be as long as its predecessor, Civil Dusk, which was about 40k words. Right now with the indexes for First Watch I’m at about 30k words (a smidge over, but whatever, we’re estimating.) This is technically FINE for a novella….my OCD just wants the book to be about as thick as the other book. That’s all. I blame the OCD.
So, at this point that duty is in my editor’s and beta reader’s hands. I just need to draft up the last chapter (or two), craft a blurb for the back, convince my cover designer to add “Book 2 of Civil Dusk” to the design (sorry Dave!) and….that’s it? Order the test copy and then some stock and hopefully (IDEALLY) have everything done and in my hands by May 8.
Why May 8? Because (as of RIGHT NOW) that’s the date of the Manassas Viking Festival in Manassas, VA. And, as of RIGHT NOW, that festival will be happening this year. Hopefully. Knock on all the wood. First Watch features Viking history and Nordic gods pretty heavily, and I intend for it to be done in time for release at this festival.
SO! Put it on your calendar. May 8, 2021. Manassas, VA. I’ll see you there with fresh copies of First Watch and Civil Dusk, ready to be signed!
Civil Dusk is set MOSTLY on the island of Rousay in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. It goes other places too, like the underwater palace of Finfolkaheem and the vanished island of Hether Blether. This novella utilizes many of the stories which are a uniquely Orcadian blend of Norse and Celtic/Pictish folklore in a wondrous romp of magic and finding one’s self and waterhorses and selkies and witches and trows and you probably have NO CLUE what I’m talking about anymore so let me let the professionals ramp it up for you.
YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT, I HAVE A PROFESSIONAL KIRKUS REVIEW ON THIS ONE.
To quote that review directly, AHEM:
“An Orkney Islands fisherman with a hidden past encounters magic in Ordway’s fantasy novel.
This fast-moving work, shaped by Norse and Celtic mythology, opens by defining the term that gives the book its name: “The time of evening when the sun is six degrees below the horizon, when the light is still enough for you to see things…and for things to see you.” What protagonist Hugh Reid sees upends his life forever. After struggling to control his fishing boat during a storm at sea in 2018, he returns to his home on Scotland’s Orkney Islands, wondering at the unusual violence of the waves and the haunting song that he heard in the sound of the rain. But although the islands are steeped in tales of the supernatural, Hugh is impatient with people who believe in them—until he’s visited by a trow, “an ugly, stunted thing with pale, wrinkled flesh and gleaming, yellow eyes,” who guides him to a buried object of power, which the trow says he will need in a world-threatening conflict to come. Ordway cleverly draws on Orkney’s many traditional legends as she catapults Hugh into an epic adventure. The story involves a titanic struggle for dominance between the summer goddess, known as the Mither o’ the Sea, and the demonic winter spirit, Teran. A seaweed-maned water horse called a Nuggle, a goddess-channeling witch, selkies, and sorcerous Finmen make appearances, as do hidden places reached via a mysterious fog, an undersea kingdom, and a magical stone; the story also reveals the secrets of Hugh’s origins. The interplay between the various characters doesn’t always match the quality of the story; for example, the number of times that characters “smirk” becomes distracting. However, the author’s vivid depiction of otherworldly elements, the sea itself, and Hugh’s gradual acceptance of his true identity make for a rollicking read. At the conclusion, Hugh has an encounter with one-eyed Norse god Odin that teases a potential sequel.
An often clever mix of myth and legend in a contemporary setting, featuring a relatable protagonist.”
So, Civil Dusk is the story that I WANTED to write. Hollow Thunder was my proving ground to see whether I could write, get edited, and publish a novel. Box checked. The Loyalty of Dew threw a few more ideas on the tail of that and wrapped up some questions left hanging in HT. It’s the story I was obliged to write. But Civil Dusk is the one I’ve wanted to write for soooo loooong and I’m so very pleased with it. It’s about 187 pages, which means it’s about half the length of HT, which means I told the story that wanted to be told – and I told it WELL, thank you, just look at that Kirkus Review – and nothing more. No fluff in Civil Dusk. It’s Insulation Free.
I’m presently in the final stages of working on its sequel, which will be called First Watch and which should be released in Spring 2021 if everything continues going to plan. And we’re not gonna stop there. I already have ideas brewing for a third book in this series, with all the potential for more.
I’m gonna shut up now and leave you with the purchase link again, because you have reading to do!
I am officially past the halfway marker in writing First Watch… I’ve got 21k words typed! My goal is around 40k like the first book in its series, Civil Dusk. Appropriately, the plot is coming to the big climax and I just drafted the big reveal. I’m so excited! Publishing goal for First Watch is Spring 2021.
In a previous post I’d wondered whether WordPress had an app for post creation. I didn’t look into that until about 15 minutes ago…. And guess what! They do!!
I hope this will mean that I’ll update this blog more often. No guarantee, of course. Accessibility is only one part of the cure to procrastination. 😉 Dog pic for the boost! Haha! Really, though, Aggie and Riley are just tucked in waiting for 2021.
I fully intended to start drafting Civil Dusk 2 (name TBD) during NaNoWriMo.
And then today I realized it’s already November 16, and I’m still just in the plotting and planning stage where I brainstorm scenes onto paper that will (probably) end up being part of the book.
I still don’t have a title decided. “Nahtwaren” was a potential but it’s a real mouthful. Plus I want to somehow indicate that this is part of a continuing series.
Is it too late to designate Civil Dusk as Book 1 of “Series Name Here”? Should I name the series? Or should I be like Sir Terry Pratchett and just make you figure out what frickin order to read things in? I ended that sentence with a preposition intentionally.
So, dear readers: do you start a project with a title in mind, or do you add it somewhere in between?
Do you like book series that clearly label the order of the books, or do you prefer books that are stand-alone stories while also can be read in a series because of related content or continuing characters?
Ahoy, dear readers! I thought today I’d share with you a short story of mine which is featured in the HCS Publishing anthology Steam and Steel: Thirteen Riveting Tales. It’s an anthology of purely Steampunk goodness, and I am honored to admit that it contains my only (AND THUS BEST!) bit of official “Steampunk” writing. (True as of April 25, 2019, time of this posting, etc….just in case I ever write more Steampunkiness.) The story itself, “Sentinel 982”, is really a romance. It’s my first published bit of romantic writing.
WAIT WAIT COME BACK!!
I call it a romance because it focuses on the interpersonal development between the two main characters. It focuses on the relationship between a derelict old Sentinel and a young orphaned girl. And it shows how her love saves him from becoming a ghost, a relic of times past. It is the story of how a girl saves an automaton. It ain’t no Victorian-era bodice-ripper, y’all. THERE’S A STRONG FEMALE LEAD.
Anyway. Judge for yourselves. I re-read it last week and I still get thrills. I’d love to know what you think in the comments – or in the reviews of the anthology on AMAZON, because YOU SHOULD BUY IT, because there are MORE AMAZING STORIES within its pages! And tell me if you buy it, because I’ll send you my address, and we’ll ship it around a bit, and I’ll sign it somewhere along the way! Pinkie promise!
Or rather, “regarding the things which inspire me to write, or stimulate the flow of ideas.”
What gets your ideas flowing? Is it music, television, rain, an abundance of sunshine, a particular book, a comic strip, or what? Tell me in the comments! Links are the best if you’ve got ’em.
For me, usually it’s my “Ethereal” Pandora station, which is loading with floaty, epic stuff ranging from Within Temptation to Enya. But TODAY – today my dear readers, it’s a blog.
I don’t usually read other blogs. I’m sorry for that, and I know it probably detracts from my own blog’s blogginess, but it’s a choice. Really, it’s a laziness. So it was a surprise to myself first of all that I found a blog today and read through every single post in its archives. I found it because I was searching for what the fuck to do with this sweet potato I’ve got that’s started sprouting slips on my counter.
Apparently, either toss it tits-up in a jar of water suspended with picks through its abdomen; or half-plant it in a tin. Better results on the latter. I’m gonna have to get a tin after work.
Anyway, the blog is The Art of Doing Stuff. You should ABSOLUTELY go check it out and read every single word on her multitudinous pages. I highly recommend it. Actually, if you want an idea of the VOICE in my upcoming Gardening Adventures book, you should DEFINITELY check out this blog; because, spoilers, she has a very similar VOICE.