Everytime I think I’m out, they keep pulling me in . . .

Still stuck in production hell. This is why I got out of publishing years ago, but it’s still fun in its own way. Been working with a rather patient graphic designer and I think we’re getting *holds up finger and thumb near each other* this close to going final on some things.

Then, I received an email from my artist, Shane Braithwaite, who gave me the last piece of art I had coming before we get ready to go with the Kickstarter.

Wow.

*Yes, I know that’s my default response to his art. I can’t help it. I’m always amazed at seeing my words come to life.*

So, here’s a sneak preview of the interior art for “The Demon’s Head.”

Maybe this publishing thing isn’t so bad after all.

Interior Art for "The Demon's Head"

Interior Art for “The Demon’s Head”

Sunday writer walk-about was successful . . .

Had a very productive writer’s walk-about today. Stopped at a used CD store and picked up some new music for my gig as an on-line DJ for gw-en.com. Then I stopped at Bean Hollow in Ellicott City with the iPad and the keyboard, ordered myself a big mocha, and sat down to work.

In an hour and a half, I finished the first draft of “Operation Komodo” (and the choir sang “Hallelujah!), as well as the opening chapter for the fourth Theron Chase story (which looks like it might be the 2nd full novel for the series), and wrote down the outline for yet another story I want to work on down the road.

Honestly, I don’t know what has been my hang-up about “Operation Komodo”. It should have been a rather straightforward story, but I fought and refought this battle with myself forever. But, the first draft is done. It’s just a matter of taking the red pen to it, cleaning up the grammar and tightening it up and then it’ll be off to the publisher.

I had some serious mojo going today and I might still be at Bean Hollow, but family duties come first, so I packed it up and came home at the appointed time.

So, now, I’m settling in to watch the Royals game and will finish the edits to the secret project this evening.

Been a good writing day so far.

(Amended: secret project revised and shipped off to the editor. All good thoughts gratefully accepted.)

###

After dealing with both my graphic designer and my cover artist, I’m noting something. I’m really trying to avoid becoming that problem writer as far as my artists go. Unfortunately, I have Zero, zip, nada skill when it comes to drawing. Hell, I’m not even sure of my stick figures from time to time.

So, I’m reduced to trying to explain concepts and ideas as best I can, but sometimes it comes down to me seeing the concept art and then going, “OK, that works, but that doesn’t, could we maybe try this . . .”. I really don’t mean to be the “I’ll know it when I see it” customer, but it happens. What I see so clearly in my head is not always the easiest thing to describe in a manner that it can be reproduced by another person.

*sigh*

Movement on the writing front

Two bits of good news tonight:

1) Heard back from the editor for the secret project. He needs me to make some changes to the story so that it fits their style guide, but if I can clean up a couple of things, looks like he might pick it up.

Like I said, this is a property I’ve been enjoying since 1986, so I’m really, REALLY hoping I can pull this off.

2) Heard from Shane Braithwaite. We’re reviewing the first interior art piece for For a Few Gold Pieces More and it’s looking good. We’re discussing a few points, but I think the artist and the writer can come to a happy medium and we’ll both get what we want out of the artwork.

Once I have this, it’s time to start driving toward the Kickstarter launch this fall. Next up – video.

*yikes*

Time to see if there really are dragons

Starting to get a bit nervous.

Finished the final edits to Terra Incognito and now I need to coordinate with my designer to get the book, the art, and all the other information to him.

It’s hard to believe we’ve finally gotten to this point, but it’s time to move beyond an idea to a finished product. I was discussing with Steve Roman of StarWarp Concepts, how we’re going to promote this book – looking at coordinating with gaming distributors, game stores, and gaming magazines as well as regular SF/F outlets. Given that Terra Incognito is a non-fiction book on world building, there’s a natural link to gaming, since many gamers create their own worlds as well as using the pre-generated gaming worlds.

Also, looking into how I could get this out to writing resource groups. Again, I’ve never done non-fiction outside of an academic settings, so I’m trying to determine how to get my work into settings I’m less familiar. Heck, I might even have to see if there’s any academic interest . . .

I never thought I’d get back into publishing after my earlier attempts to do comics back in the 1990s, but sometimes, the path once traveled needs to be traveled again.

And we inch ever closer to this project

OK, didn’t get as much writing done this evening as I had hoped, but that was because I was doing other writerly things – like talking to editors, talking to publishers, talking to artists, talking to convention organizers . . .

Sometimes the electrononic age is a great thing, but sometimes I can also be a time suck. Still, progress was made on multiple fronts and I did get some work done onĀ  The Dark Leopard – Freeze Frame

earlier in the day so it’s not a complete wash on the writing front.

However, what stirred all this conversation?

Getting the art for my Kickstarter project – the cover of For a Few Gold Pieces More from Shane Braithwaite.

OK, see, I’m a writer because I can’t draw. So, I tend to gush when I work with a fantastic, (and highly reliable) artist.

So, without further ado, a snippet of the cover. The entire cover will be revealed with the start of the Kickstarter, but the few people I’ve shared this with agree with me that Shane’s art ought to move some books.

Hopefully my writing is up to snuff to match this gorgeous art. *grin*

Preview to the cover of "For A Few Gold Pieces More"

Preview to the cover of “For A Few Gold Pieces More”

And the week’s off to a good start

Spent some time working on my new Dark Leopard story today. Calling this one Freeze Frame and it’s set a few months from the end of Mouse Trap. Really enjoy developing this character and her supporting cast. While it did start out as an homage to another character, it’s definitely taking on a life of its own. Can’t wait to see the revamped costume for her by Rock Baker either.

Also, spent some time today working on refining the outline for the next Theron Chase story. Yes, I know Pearls of Darkness hasn’t been released yet, but that doesn’t mean I should just sit around and wait for it before starting the next one. I’ve gotten some really good feedback, both from readers and authors I look up to, on this one and I can’t wait to open up the shades and see what the streets of Calisia have in store for my intrepid private investigator.

Finally, I worked on “Operation Komodo” this evening. Finally got the final scene ready to write – had to go back and do some work to get the beats right to get all the players where I needed them to be for Strikeforce Falcon’s latest mission. Now, hopefully, I can finish this over the next few days and get it en route to the editor.

Plus, over the weekend, I was talking with April MacDee. We’ve been working on a YA Urban Fantasy for some time, but grad school got in the way (first for her, than me). Now, it’s time we dusted it off, updated a few things and got this darn thing written.

And I’m sure there’s more lurking in the shadows. There always is . . .

Weekend? That’s just another day for writing.

Been an interesting Saturday.

Had a nice lunch with friends today, spent a lot of time catching up and just having a great time hanging out.

Then went over to the local B&N and picked up a few books for the family. I know many people buy their books on-line these days, but I still like holding them and flipping through some pages before I make a decision.

The big news was getting the edits back from Joni on the secret project. She caught a few areas I thought were a bit rough, and after I polished them up, I dropped it into an email and zapped it off to the editor. Keep your fingers crossed for No Rest for the Wicked.

Then I spend a big chunk of this evening downloading cd’s into the proper format and building a brand new playlist for gw-en.com. Looks like I’ll be broadcasting this Tuesday from 7-10, EST. Each time I’ve been on-air, it feels like it’s getting easier, but then again, I always seem to find something new to mess up on. But, maybe in ten or so years, I’ll get this thing down.

And tomorrow, time to start a new story. (It’s always time to start a new story . . . )

Second draft complete. Now for the red pen of doom.

The second draft of the secret project is completed. Trimmed up several sections and expanded one, so the total so far is 6927 words. While a difference of forty words probably doesn’t seem like that much, remember, that’s the aggregate number at the end. To be honest, we probably swapped out at least 1000 words by the time it was all over.

While I was pretty proud about the first draft, the second one is much tighter and I think I caught a few plot holes I hadn’t addressed the first time (or didn’t have room to do so in the first pass). And even though there’s only forty words of difference, the second draft is two pages shorter when printed out.

Now, it’s time to pass this to Joni and let her take her hack at it. Once I get her edits back, I’ll make the corrections and get this en route as quickly as possible.

Keep your fingers crossed. This is a property I’ve dreamed about writing for for nearly 30 years. I’m hoping this may lead to more (and longer) projects down the road for them, maybe even focusing on this character again.

Hubris

See, I KNEW I was tempting the gods Friday. Although I did get in another 1000+ words on the story, I did not finish it by COB Saturday. But, I did finish it today!

The secret project, now known as No Rest for the Wicked, clocks in at 6,967 words (with a maximum of 7,000 allowed). I’m anticipating as I go back through this and then Joni goes over it, words will be trimmed away, verbs tightened, scenes sharpened, and characters brought to life. Still, I’m pretty proud of this first draft, and I hope by the time I finish polishing it, the editor will like it too.

(And if he does, I’ll let you know who No Rest for the Wicked is for. *grin*)

Also spent some time today conversing with a publisher and my artist, finalizing what we want to do with the cover for For a Few Gold Pieces More and ensuring it’s going to really work for this book. I’ve seen the preliminary sketches and cannot wait to see what this is going to look like as a digital painting.

Now to print off a copy of No Rest so I can start editing. Yes, I still edit by hand with a red pen. It’s who I am. *sigh*

Hope everyone had a safe Fourth of July weekend and here’s to more stories down the road.

Tempting the gods

Now, this was a good day. The wife and I went out for lunch with a friend, then caught Inside Out at the theater, (I’d seen it with my daughter, but Joni was in San Angelo, TX that weekend, so this was a make-up date), and then we drove down to Ellicott City and walked around visiting the various antique shops and such. A very relaxing day off from work and a well-needed break.

After dropping my daughter off at work, I decided to see how much I could get written before I had to go get her. Knocked out 1766 words in an hour and a quarter on the secret project, which considering I type about fifty words a minute, isn’t too shabby.

Took me a bit longer to get going after I came back (wound up watching the last three innings of the Royals/Twins ball game), but wound up finishing tonight at 2,449 total for today. That brings the project up to 4,480. With a little bit of luck, I should finish this by EOB tomorrow (I see three more scenes to go). Then, the fun starts (editing/rewriting). Still, I don’t see any issues getting this to the editor by the deadline of 17 July.

Famous last words, right?