Tag Archives: novel

Thankful for small progress

Tonight my wife had to go to our grandaughter's Christmas program. I would have gone too, but it started while I was at work. Then there is that whole commute thing I have to do twice per day.

When I got home the new Christmas tree was still standing. I don't know what the other one's problem was, maybe it needed Viagra. Anyway, I wound up alone for about two hours.

I tore into my new novel. I really ought to be working on editing the other one, and finding a cover artist. I'm just into this project right now.

It isn't even a chapter yet, but I like the way it's shaping up. There is a decent amount of stress and tension, and readers won't know if it's insanity or something else… Yet.

Right now I'm just calling it the yak guy project. The title will come to me later. It's about a guy and a yak, at least in the early chapters. You heard me, one of these:

I don't even know what genre it's going to find its way into, but it's speculative like everything else I write.

For tonight, happy Christmas tree = happy wife. Happy yak = happy Craig. Wish me luck.

Does anyone know a good photo manipulation artist who might like to make the cover for The Playground? I know how to give direction then get out of the way.


Filed under Writing

The Work in Progress Blog Hop

I made this blog an award free zone a long time ago. I find it takes a lot of time to research other bloggers, and my time is kind of precious. Having said that, I love participating in blog hops. My friend Sue Nichols invited me to participate in this one. It involves talking about my work in progress, adding a few snippets, and ratting out some more of my friends. Fun fun!

Sue’s post was about a follow up to her hit, Red Clay & Roses. You can read it here. She’s got a pretty fun blog too, and I encourage you guys to follow her.

My current project is called The Playground. It involves a new social network aimed at children. The gadgetry is inside a variety of dolls that include fashion dolls, soldiers, plush toys etc. The kids can make friends all over the world, and even do homework together from different continents. Sounds lovely, right.

The creator of the network is corrupted by his own greed and lust for power. He decides he can turn the children into his own personal army, no invasion necessary – they’re already in our homes. His foibles attract a supernatural influence and it gets even worse.

Regular readers know I try to include a personal challenge in each story. This one involves what I call a Pulp Fiction method of telling the story. There are three seperate stories used to tell the overarching tale. The players are one victim, one anti-hero, and a heroine.

The playbook said to discuss my first three chapters and then include a snippet. I’m going to break the rules, and go with the first chunk of each character. (Do I ever completely follow the rules?”)

 The first section is all about the villain. We meet Tommy, but he won’t show up again until the end. This gives readers a foot into what’s happening:

Tommy Fazio lit the black candles in his seventeenth floor office and pulled on some surgical gloves. The faint light revealed a bank of computer systems with cables leading to an autopsy table. The smell of burning tallow mingled with that of bleach.

He pulled on a white lab coat and walked up to the girl on the table. She was six or seven years old, it didn’t matter. Cables ran into every opening in her body, with a large one stitched inside her abdomen. Bloody slobber hung out her mouth and dripped into a plastic bucket. He wiggled the cable between her legs and she coughed.

“This one’s about finished,” Tommy said.

Nice guy, right… The next section is about Chloe. She represents the victims here:
Chloe twirled in front of the mirrored closet door and watched her dress spin. When she stopped, her hair spun over her shoulder and she smiled. She pulled on her jacket and stepped inside her yellow galoshes. Her mother adjusted the coat on her shoulders and opened the front door.
“We need to hurry, the mall’s crazy this time of year,” Mother said.
Looks like Chole and her mother are going shopping. I wonder what they’ll bring home.
Clovis is the anti-hero here. He’s fast approaching the end of a long and brutal career. In this intro he’s doing a little work for a loan shark:
The tweaker rushed around the corner behind the bushes, tried to slam the gate shut, and yelled “Get him. Get him!”
Clovis rounded the same corner into the front yard, dropped his small duffel bag in the snow, and crouched for battle. A gangly mixture of bullmastiff and pit bull barked and wagged his tail. Druggie dog, but you’re no threat today. Maybe next year.
The front door slammed and the bolt clicked. Clovis kicked the door open and followed the tweaker inside. He grabbed the man by his collar, just as the tweaker picked up a kitchen knife. The tweaker spun and thrust the knife at Clovis’ face.
Clovis twisted and let the knife go past, grabbed the man’s upper arm and slammed the back of his head into the kitchen counter. The tweaker fell in an unconscious lump.
Gina is the heroine here. The section with Clovis got pretty exciting, so I took my time with her. She’s an oncologist who survived her own battle with cancer. She’s having a crisis of faith, and working in end of life care at this time:
Gina Greybill lifted the stethoscope from the old woman’s chest and pulled out her earpieces. She pulled down the poor old thing’s eyelids and covered her face with the sheet.
“Oh, Miriam, rest in peace. We don’t all get to go in our sleep. Shame your family never came by this week.” The old woman’s room held furnishings from a bygone era, filled with her personal history. A wooden vanity with a tri-level stone top and a large oval mirror stood against the back wall. Hand laced doilies covered the upper wings and Miriam’s favorite cup sat upside down on its saucer waiting for morning tea.
Will Tommy succeed in his nefarious plan? Will Chloe get the Christmas present of her dreams? Will Clovis find a retirement plan that works for his active lifestyle? Can Gina get out of her funk long enough to actually make a difference? Can Craig pull these loose story threads together and make a coherent novel? Tune in about six months from now and we’ll all find out together.
This is all draft material, and is subject to change. My critique group hasn’t even seen it yet. Now is the part where I get to rat out my friends. I always seem to pick on the same ones, so I’m changing it up.
Sue Coletta writes crime fiction, and has one of the most interesting blogs going. She also keeps a resource page that is a wealth of information. Come for the resources, stay because she’s awesome. Her blog is called, Inside the Mind of a Crime Writer. Please visit her, because I skipped out on a blog award recently, and this blog tour is my way of directing her some well deserved traffic.
My other victim friend is Mae Clair. She calls her blog, From the Pen of Mae Clair. She’s into cryptids and paranormal stuff with the occasional romantic bent. She volunteered to be on my street team for the release of Will O’ the Wisp, and I’d love to direct some traffic her way. I really want to see a snippet of her Mothman project.
The rules are to tell us what what you’re working on, show us a few paragraphs, and tell us where it’s headed. Pick a couple of friends, ping backwards and forwards; you’re golden.


Filed under Writing

Character Development by C.S. Boyack

Charles Yallowitz and I are doing a blog exchange today. His post was about character development as a way to keep a lengthy series interesting. My post is how to display the character growth over a stand alone book.

Please visit Charles’ blog and consider following him.

Legends of Windemere

The Cock of the South By C.S. Boyack The Cock of the South By C.S. Boyack

Today I have a guest post from C.S. Boyack.  Enjoy!

Character growth is something all authors struggle with. I’m not an expert, but I have some seasoning. There are many ways to weave character growth into a story, but I’m going to limit this to what I know. Maybe we can have some good discussions in the comments.

All of my novels are stand alone stories. I don’t have the length of a series to get to the point. The goal is to give the reader a powerful emotional experience through the character’s growth. In a stand alone story this could be an emotional roller coaster.

Keep in mind that emotions aren’t limited to tears and heartbreak. If that’s your thing, go for it. You could be writing about humor, fear, patience, or other emotions.

I’m a believer in showing the…

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Filed under Writing

Wednesday Blogging

I decided to post twice per day over the weekend. I did this because I uploaded Wild Concept to Amazon and wanted a few more blog views.

I didn’t set the world on fire as far as sales are concerned. On the other hand, I learned something about blogging. I had more views over the weekend than I was getting in some full weeks. I also gained about twenty new followers by Monday night. Therefore; frequent posts are likely to increase readership. I assume there still has to be something of substance in the post, but – cool. I promise not to be intrusive if I don’t have something to say.

One of my posts, What a Wild Concept, became one of the top posts under my “Top Posts and Pages” widget. (Thanks to you guys) I assume this means WordPress will try directing other bloggers to read that post when they notify bloggers that I followed them or liked one of their posts. Since this is the one where I explain my novel, that has to be a good thing. That’s one I’d like others to read.

To make all this work, I had to learn how to put links on my images. It really wasn’t too hard, but it was cool to do something new. Maybe I’m easily entertained.

I learned something about book reviewers and blog tours in the helpful comments I got. I need to research these topics and take that plunge soon. All tips are welcome.

Finally, I became disillusioned with the Apple WordPress app. I decided to try BlogPad Pro. It’s more complicated, but it does so much more. I haven’t decided whether I’m sticking with BPP, but I like it so far.

So what’s likely to get on my weekend task list? Research into blog tours and book reviewers, with the end goal of approaching some about my novel. Start a final pass on Panama, which will be my next release. It’s only been saved for three years. Write some new words on Will ‘O the Wisp.

I had another visit from Lorelei* on the way home tonight. All these mini scenes have been floating around in my head, and they’re starting to feel like my next project. I left my cool fountain pen at the office, and my cool notebook is at home. I need to add some notes about characters and possible scenes. I can post about that later.

*Lorelei is my Muse.


Filed under Blogging, Uncategorized

Back to the checklist

I didn’t get everything finished, but I did some things that weren’t on the list. It’s a win from where I’m standing.

I made my Amazon Author page. It’s not real fancy, but it’s there.

I finished all my critique work.

I took Old What’s Her Face* to Old Chicago for pizza. I finished the first half of my mini tour. I’ll get my shamrock tee shirt next visit. Bonus, the beers they picked for this one are all really good. I even managed the Sam Adams IPA, and I usually don’t like those.

The fruit trees are all pruned, but I didn’t get the mountain of branches ground up.

I played with my new fountain pen and watched the Canadians invent upside down bobsledding. It looks like the Russians will field a team too.

My goal was to make most of my writing in the form of blog posts. I set a goal of twice per day. So far I’m right on the mark. There is an important lesson in this. I gained a dozen new followers, and my views are through the roof. Thank you to all the new readers.

I know frequent blogging is the best way to build up a blog. I’m just nervous about being in your face about it. I’ll tone it down next weekend. With Wild Concept being so new, I wanted to hit it hard.

I benefitted from some truly generous people. This was unexpected and I thanked them in my last post. Please check out their sites.

I call my parents every Sunday, and wasn’t going to miss that. We all look forward to it.

On the down side, I didn’t get to some things. Last weekend I finished reading the haunted house story that wasn’t everything I wanted. I started on the next one, and it has my attention. It’s about two thugs who were hired to transport a werewolf to some underworld person. I didn’t read at all this weekend, and I wanted to see how it plays out.

We also didn’t make it to the movies. The times just didn’t work for us. Old What’s Her Face had to work part of Saturday. Maybe next week.

Old What’s Her Face bought me a whole chicken. I started phase one of my caveman style mojo chicken. I’ll cook it tomorrow and blog about it with pictures. I’ll bet there aren’t many of you who’ve cooked this way.

I’m tired, but I’m off tomorrow. I will probably spend some time writing more of Will ‘O the Wisp. I left poor Patty in a pretty nasty spot last week, and she probably wants a bath and a hot meal.

* Not my wife’s actual name.

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Filed under Blogging, Writing

What a Wild Concept

Now that I’ve released Wild Concept into the world, I probably ought to tell everyone what it’s about. I’ll do this in a blog friendly way, and not try to come up with some kind of blurb. I’m talking to friends here, right?

I always liked science fiction that I called “five minutes into the future”. (I may have stolen that from the old Max Headroom TV show. Yeah, I’m old.) This is the approach I took with this story.

I wrote this story about four or five years ago. With the appearance of Almost Human on TV, and a reboot of the Robocop franchise it feels like the right time to set it free.

Atlantic Robotics stole a page from Detroit. They decided to make their own concept model. Rather than show it off at the Detroit Auto Show, they chose the Consumer Electronics Show. The concept was designed to be as human as possible.

The concept project was set up like an experiment. There’s one control robot who stays at the lab, and one that gets released into society to test its ability to function. They always intended to tear them down at the end, check the wear and tear, and monitor how the hardware stood up.

Through a twist of fate, Lisa moves from the control experiment to the society experiment. She is upgraded for police work and assigned to a homicide department.

Lisa has some struggles with emotions and needs a few adjustments along the way. There are other software conflicts she has to overcome.

While working a case called the Escort Executioner, they find one of the escorts dismembered in the woods. Lisa decides she doesn’t want to be disassembled at the end of her experiment.

Running away isn’t her style, and she has to find another way to deal with her problem.

My goal has always been Entertaining Stories, it’s the name of the blog. I hope some of you will give Wild Concept a chance, and I hope you find a couple hours of escape.


Filed under Writing