Tuesday, June 18, 2013

9000 (+3245)

I reach the goal and surpassed it.  It was a fun challenge and a relief to finally have it all done in less than a month.  "Field of Ores" (still looking for a better title) is 60,754 word and it may be crap but its my crap...  is that what I really want to say?  I've used up my words for today, so I'll stop before I get father behind.  My wonderful first through readers should be getting their copies in their email boxes now, so I hope to hear back from them soon and then the real work of proofreading and correction can begin.

Now to print it all out for the wife to read.  Put your hands to it people!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

9000 Words

Now that school is done and my evenings are free (at least until the girls) I've challenged myself to write at least 500 words every day until I reach 9000 words.  9000 seems a random digit, but there is a method to the madness.  For my long story (which still needs a better title) there are three "books" with ten chapters each, so a total of thirty chapters.  Each chapter somewhat unintentionally averages around 1500 words; some are longer and one or two are shorter but not by much.  9000 words then should finish out the seven remaining chapters of Book 3 and finish Volume One.  As of today I am sitting at 7103 words remaining.  Here's a sample of what I wrote today:

“Major Dair has your assignments.  We attack at first light and the night’s almost gone, so get some rest.”  Dair and the others wandered off to discuss the battle plan, Line waited for them go out of sight before slumping to the ground.  “Mined Veir and his mined Junger,” he muttered to himself, the pain obvious on his face.
“Liam, would you and Jove make sure the men are settled?”  Both men nodded and went away.  “Colonel…”
“My mind is made up Captain, I shouldn’t have to defend that decision to you or Major Dair.  The command is mine and I will lead it as I’ve always led it… from the front.”
“Do you need to be quite so forward?”
Line laughed a little at that.  “Can’t lead from behind and besides, how can I expect them to do it.  I have two hundred exhausted, hungry, and broken men to do the impossible Mr. Ores.  If their exhausted, hungry, and broken old commander won’t fright, why should they?  I don’t have a death wish if that’s what you and Truvant are worried about.
“I just don’t see any other way.  They told me it was much the same for my daddy.  He was a miner and there was a cave in.  My uncle said he could have gotten out, but he went back to save some others.”  Line stopped to take a deep breath before he added, “Stupid must run in my blood.”
Avin laughed at this.  “What do you want me and my men to do sir?”
“Captain Ores, this is going to sound duplicitous after what I just shared, but you and your men will remain here and guard the wounded.”
Avin took a moment for the news to sink in.  “What?!”
“When’s the last time you slept Ores?  You’ve been on your feet for days, fighting and marching your way from Lyden, and then dragging your sorry butt back here.  You may not feel it, but I can see it, you’ve got nothing left.  You boys will be useless to me in a fight, even more so than I.  If something, Mother and Daughter forbid, happens to us I want you to get the wounded to safety.  Can I count on you Mr. Ores?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Good, now leave me alone so I can get some rest.”

Its been helpful to just write to get through a few writing blocks by focusing on the word count and to be more lenient on my self-correction.  I've always self-corrected as I write and I've had pretty good results, so multiple drafts is a pretty foreign concept to me.  What I've read and noticed in my own writing though is that I write in fits and starts instead of the words and thoughts just flowing.  As I said to my wife once when she was especially hard on herself, "Have some fricken grace."  (This comment received the death glare of course.)  My intention is to finish the first draft very soon and hopefully have it proofread and work started on it before the fall.  Then I'll take a cue from my good friend Ryan Partlow and submit it to a publisher - just to receive a rejection letter, cry a little bit, and then sell it as an eBook.  Who knows, maybe it'll pay for college? 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bellingham SciFi

If there is one reason to by the Bellingham Herald this summer, let it be to get the Science Fiction Serial written by local authors including myself.  I am writing part #3, which should be in print early August.  My turn to write just came up and I'm excited/overwhelmed with the possibilities.  Its a six part series, so part #3 holds a sort of anchor position.  From here the story should have it's focus and direction so it can come to a successful conclusion in part #6.  Eight Hundred words seems far to sparse for what I'd like to do or what I could do.  I think what I will do is write two versions and see which makes me happier.

In "Fields of Ores" news (which still needs a better title, readers) I got a spark and finished Book Three, Chapter 3.  I also came up with the naming convention for this book's chapters.  Each book has its own style for chapters names; like Book Two uses "The [appropriate noun for the chapter]" convention.  Book Three steals from Robert Kirkman and his convention for the Invincible TPB.  Adding nerdy little things like this is fun to work in to the works, but it has to meet my rule of not being shoehorned in.  If the nod or wink is to overt and just doesn't seem natural then it doesn't fit.  At one point I had Avin and Liam meet an old hermit named Old Obi; looking back even I roll my eyes.  I plan to still use Old Obi as a name check sometime in the future, but not as a throwaway character with an overly nerdy name.  Such things should be more subtle or at least intertwined into the world (such as your character isn't the only one who wears a Fedora in the whole universe, Mr. Weber).

If you've read, reading, or want to read what I have so far let me know if you pick up on any of these nerdy references and whether they are to overt and distracting.

Saturday, February 02, 2013


I would like to say that I've been busy writing, but that's only partly, mostly, kinda true.  However what I have been writing is I think turning out pretty well, with my focus on completing the first three "Books" of my Avin Ores' series.  Books One and Two are done, but they need some TLC, so I've asked friends and family to read them over and give some feedback.  Thus far, from those that have read it the response has been very favorable, even my wife who doesn't read fantasy or adventure novels enjoyed it (she might be biased though).  Still, I could always use more feedback, so if you (random stranger that you are) are interested in reading Books One and Two of the soon to be retitled "Fields of Ores" then please leave me a comment, message, or email.

The goal is to eventually self publish the work, make millions of dollars, and retire young (or feed my family for a few months), so any help reaching this goal would be fantastic.  In addition to the Avin Ores' story there are hundreds of other stories waiting to be written/finished, so I plan to continue to work on those here and there throughout the rest of the year as well.  I'm especially excited for the Starflight Mystery and Babbage to get started.

In the grand tradition of Ex Nihilo I leave you with a snippet from a story I've begun working on temporarily entitled "Wall of Sound".

We were the last to arrive, our gentle hum drowned out by the great cacophony of sounds rising and falling from the individual fires of the camp.  Drums from all over the countryside, never having played together before, kept the same riotous beat; bagpipes, the pride of tiny hamlets, and the threadbare strings of violinist matched melodies to create a single organic sound that ebbed and flowed as one player stopped to rest and another went to take their place.  As we wound our way deeper into the camp the tune was at first mirthful, then ecstatic, and now turning mournful.
Most had arrived days before from the villages and cities close-by, while we of the Spring-Song Abbott were the notes-come-lately owing to the fact that we had traveled the farthest.  The early revelry was fading away as those soulful notes sung or played by more mature soldiers began to dominate as the eve of battle loomed and the soul turned to introspection.
We found our place near the center of the camp; close to the Regent Lord as befit the honor given to our trade.  The lowest of us took to the care of unloading our packs and setting our tents in the flickering firelight of the camps around us, we would again be eating cold rations as we had been all these days marching southward.
 Maestro motioned for me to follow him to the great pavilion arrayed in the dead center of the camp, each panel a brilliant color that flowed easily into the next like a seamless composition.  The inside was as bright as day, the light a soft white beaming from a great ball at the height of the pavilion.  The vivid colors outside paled in comparison to the colors the eye surveyed inside.  Right lords, high elders, and powerful maestros were gilded in reds as dark as clay, blues the hue of the sky, yellows like melted buttercups, browns the color of tree bark, and whites as pure as snow.
Most wore their instruments, finely crafted lyres intricately carved, drums sturdy and stout, goat horns spiraling in impossible ways, and of course the Lord Conductor and his peerless cavalier made of the darkest cherry wood, to look into its grain was to look into the abyss.  The Maestro and I carried no instruments, save for the small flute I’d carried since childhood; our voices were our contribution to this great host.  We stopped to listen to the decadent play of the herald’s songs, each one delicately weaving the virtue of their lord or master into the greater song that was the Regent Lord’s.
Bullwark Bullworthy saw us out of the corner of his eye, which was more than we wanted him to see of us.
“The healers from Spring-Song!”  His voice a boom that overpowered all others and a bass that shook the very earth they stood upon.  Bullworthy pulled Maestro into a great hug, which I was fortunate to avoid, thanks to my lowly status.
“How many,” Bullworthy asked.  He held Maestro to his sizable chest with round muscular arms that seemed for too long for such a wide chested and short man.  He peered at Maestro with blue eyes over rosy cheeks and a course black beard.
“Aye!  Thirty!  We’ll have no need of them of course! Let me show you.”  Without waiting for leave to do so, Bullworthy held Maestro tight and walked him to the north end of the pavilion.  There a model of the surrounding land had been formed down to the last detail and upon a great rise was placed the flag of the Regent Lord.
“We’ll take the heights here, the Regent Lord in the center, while myself will lead a portion of the left… percussion of course.”
“Of course.”  Maestro looked the terrain over; taking in far more than a man like Bullyworthy would give him credit for.  I too surveyed the coming battlefield, noting the roll and baffles that were unique to that piece of land.
“Do you suspect they will use the Orff Gambit,” Maestro asked.
The Bull’s response was predictable.  “They haven’t the ensemble, let alone the voices to even attempt the Orff.  No they’ll use the Schubert for certain.”
“The opinion of a percussionist is as insightful as the ….” Interjected a lithe young woman standing across from them with cascading golden curls, pale white but smooth porcelain-like skin, and dark green eyes like two emeralds embedded in coal.
“Minerva Volfsoong,” Bullworthy managed to say through gnashed teeth.
“I’m surprised my name even lodged itself inside that mind of yours and that you’ve resisted the urge to droll in my presence.”
“I’d sooner cut out my tongue than salivate at the presence of a harpy such as yourself.”  With that he released Maestro, who had remained in Bullworthy’s tight grip the whole altercation, and went in the opposite direction of Minerva Volfsoong.
For her part, the woman gave Bullworthy’s passage only the slightest sign of interest, but her eyes watched playfully as he stormed away.  “Delicious,” she said lowly, perhaps hoping none heard her, but more than likely not caring if they did.
“You worry about the Orff’s Gambit Maestro Nutone?  In this case the brute was correct; they haven’t the resources pull off such an audacious move.  But I sense you already know that and see the same that I see.”  Her translucent white hand pointed towards a small ravine that ran along the right side of the hill the Lord Conductor intended to make his stand upon.  “The ravine here is protected from the acoustics, the perfect avenue of attack.”
“Indeed it is.”  The Lord Conductor, dressed in ivory white shirt, vest, pants, and even ascot, was a vision of refinement.  Not a hair was out of place either upon his slicked-back jet black hair or upon his immaculate mustache.  Behind him stood his equally famous bodyman, the Cymbalist of Venna, (translate into Spanish Music is movement or some such); a large man, devoid of all hair, and as stern as a Choir Mother.
“The field is the parchment upon which we write the battle’s song, the battlefield is never perfect but we make the best use of it that we can.  The King commissioned this composition and we will play our roles… …despite the flaws.”  The Lord Conductor turned his dark brown eyes on me, a smile touching them.  “Isn’t that right brother?”
“Of course, my lord.”
Before I realized, my brother had closed the gap between us and swept me up into a powerful hug.  “Blood first, brother.  Blood always first.”
“Of course, brother.”  This elicited a hearty laugh from my brother, six years my elder.  Releasing me from his embrace, he kept his arm around me and led me away from the others.
“How is your time at the Abby?”
“And your flute?  Do you still have it?”
“I do.”
“I see.  And did they clip your tongue besides the top of your head,”  My brother ruffled the hair around my tonsure.  “So that I can expect only simple answers from my younger brother?”
“No. I…”
“Think your brother your better and seek to stay in your lowly place before his radiance… yes, I get that a lot.”  My brother looked down at his feet, an old habit that came out whenever he was troubled or uncomfortable – which was rare.
“Well, my lord, you are the Lord Conductor, most high soloist and defender of the realm, master of the cavalier and other titles, ad nausium.  Few know that you’re afraid of heights, ate worms on more than one occasion, and generally were a troublemaker of, what did Fenley call it?”
“A trouble maker of the highest order.”
“Another title to add to your impressive array.”  We both stopped to remember our father’s batman and our teacher, gone now ten years.