Tag Archives: Novel

A Winner is Me

Almost a month ago, I began the epic journey of National Novel Writing Month, where I tracked my progress on nanowrimo.org. Today, I surpassed the 50,000 word mark. So, I win! Yay, go me!

Here is my award:

Of course, this only represents me reaching the 50,000 word mark. In reality, the novel is only about 1/3 of the way finished. I still have a LOT more work to do on it. On the plus side, I have proven to myself that I -can- write novel-length works (my first attempt was a full story… and was 26,000 words. Barely a kid’s book in length and not even remotely safe for kids to read).

My impressions of the nano experience:

People start off enthusiastic. We go to meetings called write-ins with other authors (I hosted one every Tuesday in November myself), but as the month goes on, interest flags.

And no wonder. It is November. In the US (where I live), we have Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas Shopping, guests coming over for dinner, cooking, cleaning, and a thousand other things to do. Somehow, showing up and writing in a cafe somewhere with a bunch of strangers seems to find it’s way to the back of the to-do list every time.

With the holiday season beginning in earnest, and Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Whatever just around the corner, November strikes me a really bad choice for the month to do this. Hey Congress, if you’re reading this, consider switching National Novel Writing Month to a month with no holidays, like August. Sure, you lose the alliteration, but that’s not generally considered good writing anyways.

To all my other fellow NaNo writers, I hope you made your word counts and even more than that, I hope this inspired in you a sense of accomplishment and a sense that you CAN do it.  Best of luck, and good writing.

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Red Crescent

Moved into the Unseen

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Blood Fury First Draft finished

So, yesterday I finished the first draft of Blood Fury, my first novel in the maran world.

Now, I need people to read it and give me critical feedback. If you think you are up to the task, please let me know and I will get you a copy.

Currently, it is on the short side at just over 25,000 words (the ‘average’ sci-fi/fantasy novel is around 60-80,000 words). One of the things I am looking for is areas where the reader thinks the book could use some more depth.

Reply via comment here with your email address, to my email, or on my twitter or facebook pages if you are interested.

 

Thanks!

-Mike

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Silent War: Dawning

This is Chapter 1 of a work-in-progress novel. Future updates, if I post them, will be on the DWE pages.

Fire Control Technician Second Class Reiley Stewart sat on his bunk, staring at the letter in his hand. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say he was staring through the letter in his hand, since his eyes had long since ceased to focus on the plastic flimsy of the letter itself. The more he sat and stared, the more of a crease developed between his brows.

“Stewart,” a voice like a grizzly bear gargling concrete rubble intruded into Reiley’s private thoughts. Gunner’s Mate First Class Wolfram “Wolfie” Steig stared down at Reiley in concern. “You ok there, buddy? It’s not The Letter, is it?” The Letter was a tradition of Navy life: months, sometimes years spent drifting between the stars often proved too much for girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, and wives.

“What?” Reiley blinked his way back to the present, looking up at the short, stocky, bald Gunner’s Mate above him. “Oh, uh, no. I don’t have a girl. I got The Letter a year ago, and haven’t bothered to do more than hook up for a one-night during R&R since.” He waved the flimsy so the harsh actinic overhead lights glistened off the shiny plastic and cast ephemeral rainbows on the gunmetal bulkheads of the bunkroom. “This is from Peterson. You remember him? That Marine we used to go shore with?”

“Peterson, yeah,” Steig nodded thoughtfully. “He mustered out what, a year ago? Good man. Kept his wits about him even after a hard night of drinking.” Steig began to chuckle softly, a noise not unlike putting a handful of gravel in the tumble dryer with your laundry. “Remember that time on Beta Kentarus Five-A when those miners tried to pick a brawl with us?” The compact little man sighed happily, “Good times. Good times.”

Reiley’s lips twitched momentarily at the memory of that fight also. The four of them, Peterson, Steig, a junior rating they were drinking with, and himself had all barely made it out before the station’s Master-at-Arms and his crew showed up. Then they had to lay low for a few days until the more obvious cuts and bruises healed enough it wasn’t too obvious what had happened to them. He shook his head then, clearing it. “Yeah, that was fun. And yeah, that’s the guy. I’ve written him a few times since he got out. Just keeping in touch, you know? But, his letters back are odd.”

“Odd how?”

“Well, like this one,” Reiley again waved the flimsy and again rainbows existed for the briefest of moments in a place where no rainbows had any right to be. “In my letter, I was talking about that time we flew ’round the bulk of that gas giant in Contested Twelve. Remember, the one with the giant double rings? There were pics of it on the ship’s sphere for weeks. The thing is, Peterson and me, we were in Forward Missile Bay 7 doing some routine checks on the equipment. Well, I was, he was just keeping me company. And we saw it out the observation blister when we rounded the planet and came into sunlight. The pictures didn’t do it justice, seeing it like that. The light sparkled on the ring ice like a billion billion diamonds. It was incredible. The sort of thing you never forget, like c-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate.”

“Sounds impressive,” Steig nodded thoughtfully, trying to picture it in his head. “So, what’s the problem?”

“He claims we were never in Contested Twelve. He claims that was Saturn, in Home 1, near Earth.”

Steig frowned at this, shaking his head. “No, it was Contested 12. I remember clearly. The pictures everywhere on the sphere… yeah. Huh.” He shrugged helplessly. “Maybe Peterson forgot? Or…” he trailed off uncomfortably.

“Or what?” Reiley demanded.

“Well, it’s been said that sometimes, Navy men like us, when we finally muster out and ship home… we can’t deal with it. The banality of living in the Homeworlds, all nice and safe. They don’t understand what’s really going on out there, you know. They don’t realize the importance. To them the most important thing in the world is who is going to win the Cup this year, and whether or not the neighbor’s lemon tree is overhanging your fence by a few inches or not. Maybe he… maybe he cracked, just a little?”

“Bullshit,” Reiley dismissed the idea with a snarl and a wave of his hand. “Peterson wouldn’t crack over something that minor. Or if he did, he’d smash that neighbor’s head into the fence. You remember him, he never did anything small. Screwing up details of a mission like this, that’s just not his thing. If he was going to blow, there’d be bodies.”

Steig chewed on his lower lip for a moment as he pondered. With another powerful shrug, he said, “Well, you’re mustering out yourself when we get back to Ares, right? You could always look him up and ask him yourself what’s going on.”

“Yeah,” Reiley nodded, still not happy about the situation. “I guess that’s just what I’ll have to do.” He glanced up at the big digital clock on the ceiling of the bunkroom. “Two weeks, one day, five hours and some,” he grinned suddenly. “I tell you what I’m not going to miss: sleeping four to a room with you guys. Don’t know if I ever told you this, Gunny, but you snore.”

“Do not.”

“Like a drunken water buffalo.”

———- Continue reading

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Preivew: Blood Chimera, Prologue – Part I

So I have to say that I often write prologues but they are usually the first things cut when editing time comes. More often than not, I’m telling a setting or background I should be showing instead. I agonized over whether or not to cut the prologue from my SF novel, Marduk’s Rebellion before deciding it was much stronger without it. I’m faced with a similar choice with Blood Chimera, but I think ultimately it does enough to advance the story that it’s likely to stay.

Story found after the cut…

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Preivew: Blood Chimera, Prologue – Part I

So I have to say that I often write prologues but they are usually the first things cut when editing time comes. More often than not, I’m telling a setting or background I should be showing instead. I agonized over whether or not to cut the prologue from my SF novel, Marduk’s Rebellion before deciding it was much stronger without it. I’m faced with a similar choice with Blood Chimera, but I think ultimately it does enough to advance the story that it’s likely to stay.

Story found after the cut…

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Blood Fury – Preview Part 1

Here is a brief preview of an older draft of part of a chapter of one of the books I am working on. Let me know what you think, although be warned it’s already slightly different. But even so, feedback is great!

—-

It was the smell of blood that told me there was a problem. Horay for hackneyed and cliché opening lines, right? But if I’m going to put this down in writing, I’m going to do it in my own damned way, and sometimes clichés are clichés for a reason. This was one of those times.

The smell was noticeable to me from halfway to the elevator, and it only got stronger the closer I drew to Clarine’s apartment. Thus, it was not a surprise when I nudged open the broken-latched door and saw her body in a large pool of her own blood. My eyes closed for the briefest of moments, and then I stepped inside.

As I gazed down at her mangled body, a rage began to build in me the likes of which I had not experienced in such a long time I had forgotten what that kind of anger felt like. The signs were unmistakable: claws had disemboweled her, and she had nearly bled to death before a muzzle with sharp canines had torn out her throat. Either Cujo was loose downtown, or . . .

“Unnecessary,” I am uncertain if I said the word aloud, but the sentiment was the same either way: this was a waste. Even the very hungriest, near-death maran didn’t need all of the blood of a full-sized adult human, and the disemboweling thing . . . It was either a message or torture for fun.

The thought that it might actually be a message gave me pause, and I kept my position by the door as I racked my mind for who might hate me enough to do this. The idea that this abomination was directed at Clarine never even occurred to me. She was far too young to have generated this kind of enemy.

From my position by the door, I looked around carefully. Nothing was written on the walls or floor in her blood. There was nothing out of the ordinary visible other than her corpse: no items that did not belong to Clarine, no dire prophesies of doom or ‘I’m coming for you’s. And the smell that wasn’t hers was vaguely familiar, in that way that you can visually recognize a human as such without thinking about it. I crouched by down beside her, and looked at her hands. She had little bits of flesh and blood under her nails.

“Good girl,” I muttered softly to myself, and then I expressed a little bloodhound. The smell of her became four times as sharp, and I almost cried from the future knowledge of a loss that wasn’t yet ‘real’ to me. I was in shock still.

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