Terra Incognito and World Building 101

Wow!Terra Incognito

Terra Incognito is like the gift that keeps on giving. Because I wrote the book, Black Gate gave me the opportunity to keep doing world-building articles for them.

I guess I did OK with my first one.

Apparently I had the #1 viewed blog post at Black Gate for the month of October. Thank you everyone who stopped by to check it out.

And now, time to buckle down on the next two posts I’m planning on doing there.


My publisher just sent me the link showing Terra Incognito on the Waterstone’s web site. Kind of cool seeing the book available for my horde of British fans (all two of you).

Still, this begs the question – does this mean I’m now an internationally published author? *silly grin*


February Recap

It was a pretty productive February, even if it did pale somewhat by the mad dash in January.

Reviewing my earlier blogs, I hit about 28,000 words written during February, which works out to be a healthy average. That’s not counting the five or six thousand words I wrote for school either, so I’m still being productive—at this point, grade point average is equal to royalties. Once I finish the thesis, then I can concentrate full time on writing just for me.  Also, there was a lot of writing that didn’t get counted above because I was doing a lot of editing and revising based on editorial feedback on projects I’d either submitted or feedback from beta readers who try to save me from myself before I submit to the editors. *grin*

February saw me finish my novel On Wings of Steel and submit it to my editor at Musa Publishing. I also finished Wings of Fire for my collection editor for Musa as well as submitting The Daimyo’s Sake for possible publication in a middle-grade magazine.

I also made progress on two novellas I’m working on—The Pearls of Darkness Affair and Murder in Monaco, both of them for Pro Se Productions.

Had a good deal of fun going to both Farpoint and MystiCon. While they did chew into some of my writing time, it was good to get a chance to hang around with Science Fiction and Fantasy fans and other professionals to swap ideas and anecdotes about this wild ride we call a writing career.

And now, will March end like a roaring lion as I push on through or will it end as a meek lamb with me slacking off and enjoying life? Is there a middle road? Would I take it if I could?

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (and a Few that Aren’t)

Well, outside of the stupidity I’m going to have to deal with at the college tomorrow*, (rassenfrassen financial office can’t talk to the registration office apparently), it’s been a pretty good day.

The huge snowstorm everyone was predicting for this area seems like it missed us by about twenty miles, so I only have a few hours to make up due to a delayed opening. Considering all the hours I had to make up in January, this is “a good thing.”

First thing I did this evening was open up the editorial comments on Wings of Fire and address them. I made the required revisions and then worked on a section I wasn’t happy with. I’m hoping the editor will agree with these small changes. They don’t change the facts, but they do change the pacing.

Then I received an e-mail from the editor responsible for the “Monsters” anthology at Origins Game Fair. She enjoyed The Gryphon’s Tale and only had a few revisions she’d like to see. I looked them over and agree with her that they do tighten up a few things. A couple of them I probably should have caught before I submitted them, but given the short suspense, there really wasn’t a cooling off period on this one.

Then, tonight, I set up e.ggtimer. com for 30 minute pulls and worked on two stories. The first one I worked on was On Wings of Fire and between rewriting and additions, I revised 1,733 words. I’m leaving my Angels in the middle of a firefight with pirates, but there’s always tomorrow night. (And considering I have to deal with the college tomorrow, I may be more in the mood for laying waste and pillaging then.)

The other thirty minute periods were set aside for a new short story I want to submit to a magazine. The first draft of The Daiymo’s Sake is done at 2,892 words. That’s a bit over the 2,500 word limit, (What? Me write long? Go figure.), but I”m certain I can edit it down to size by the 31 Mar deadline.

I’ve never written an entire short story in one day before. This is an odd thing, especially considering the time spent looking up 1600 A.D. Japanese provinces, names, rulers, etc.. I can’t help it though – it’s the medieval historian in me.

So, the score for the day is 4,625 new words, one story sent to the editor, one to get ready for an editor, and one ready to begin first revisions.

<insert Snoopy dance here>


(* – an earlier post from my Facebook page to explain the first paragraph of this post)

I love bureaucracies . . .

Oh wait, no I don’t.

I just got an email stating I’d been dropped from my college classes for non-payment.

(Stares at the receipt for this semester from the college financial office.)

So, now, I get to go to the college to argue how they could possibly have cashed the cashier’s check I gave them back in mid-January and then turn around and tell me I didn’t pay for this semester and then get re-enrolled (AT THE COLLEGE’S EXPENSE – I’m not paying $50 because they can’t do basic bookkeeping).

Oh, and I’m going to have to miss about half a day’s work to do this.

And they wonder why more people don’t go postal . . . *rassenfrassen sassenfrassen rassenfratz*


A Cup of Tea, a Keyboard, and an Idea . . .

Short night this evening since I have to get up two hours earlier than usual to get to work tomorrow morning.

Still it was a very useful day. The Gryphon’s Tale has been edited, re-edited and is now en route to the editor of the Origins Library Anthology. So scratch one more project off of my list to do.

I added another 1500+ words to On Wings of Steel this evening also. I’m not real comfortable with the next scene in this chapter. It’s either going to simply have to come out of the story because it feels a bit flat or else I’m going to have to figure out how to punch this thing up. Remember when I said I as leaving some leeway with this story because I might run into issues. This can be considered an issue.

But I’ll give it some thought tomorrow when I have a clear head.

Oh, and regarding that story I wanted to submit for Spellbound magazine—I finally figured out the story I want to do. I’m going to outline it tomorrow and get ready to run on it as soon as I get some spare time.

*hah, spare time. I crack myself up.*

So, count for today, one short story submitted, one short story plotted, and one novel worked on. All things considered that equals a pretty good day.

Writing My Life Away

Completed the first set of edits on  Wings of Fire this afternoon and got them sent off to my editor. All things considered, they weren’t as bad as I had anticipated, considering how quickly I wrote that story in my post-semester frenzy of writing. We lost some words, added some more, shifted a few things around, but I think this is going to be a fun story.

Spent some of this afternoon working with Mysticon about my panels, getting my badge ordered, and coordinating with someone about doing a workshop on World Building at the con. Against my better judgement, I signed up for a reading/signing at the show. I enjoy doing them, but compared to some of the bigger authors (or the authors who’ve done several Mysticons and have a fan base there), I’m not expecting huge crowds. But, if you don’t ask, the answer is already no, so I might as well give it a shot.

This evening, after a very nice meal out with my family, I jumped back on to On Wings of Steel. I added a new Chapter Nine this evening, which had me raising the word count by 4,389. I think this new chapter will not only make some of the later chapters make more sense, but it definitely gives some foreshadowing for the final couple of chapters.

Tomorrow, I start the edits on The Gryphon’s Tale and then get back to work on On Wings of Steel.

Of course, I also discovered a magazine I want to submit to has a deadline of 31 Mar 2014. So, I need to knock out a 2500 word story between now and then too. *sigh*

I seem to remember thinking I wasn’t going to have many writing projects in 2014. I think I was engaging in pleasant dreams then . . . or perhaps just hallucinating. *sigh*



Spellbound_fall13And “The Wisp Hunter” has been released today in the Fall 2013 issue of Spellbound by Eggplant Literary Productions.

I’m pretty excited about this release and look forward to seeing some feedback. It’s my first attempt at writing for middle-grade readers. Somehow that almost carries a heavier weight than writing for adults. Mainly because I wanted to be sure to write in a kid-friendly (and a kid-strong) manner and not to write down to my audience.



Also, just got the note that Ripples in the Pool is ready to be galley reviewed. So, no resting on my laurels tonight.


Editing and Editors

“The Wisp Hunter” has been edited and is winging its way back to Eggplant Literary. I love working with editors who make the story better.

I feel pretty lucky when it comes to edits. Most of the editors I’ve worked with have been pretty good at tightening my work up and making sure it’s as clean as possible before it goes out the door. I’ve only worked with a couple of editors who gave me the feeling they just rushed through it and pushed it out the door too early.

A couple of the editors I’ve worked with also seem to enjoy working with me, which is an added benefit. I blame my early days in journalism for my ability to take editing without getting spun up about it.

In journalism, sometimes you just HAVE to cut that story down because something hot came in, pushing your story deeper into the section or the ad department just sold a series of ads and they need you to trim that story down to fit in the two columns they have left on the page. And trust me, writers who can make a story fit sell more free-lance stuff than writers who get “golden word syndrome”.

So, if you’re a writer and you’ve got an editor you enjoy working with, lift a glass in their honor. They’re the people who help save you from yourself.

* * * * * * *

Oh, and a couple of checks came in today too. So, score AND score. Now to get back to writing.

Just because it’s quiet doesn’t mean there’s no work going on . . .

Been a busy last couple of days.

Added another thousand words to On Wings of Steel, my steampunk novel for Musa Publishing. Unless my muse leads me astray again, I think I’ve introduced all the plot threads and now it’s a matter of picking up all of them and twisting them into an ending.

Also, I added another six hundred words to Pearls of Darkness, my fantasy noir novella for Pro Se Press. I need to get this one done and think of a good suggestion for the collection.  This story and The Full Moon Affair are also scheduled for later this year, which means the quicker I get this to my editor, the happier everyone’s going to be.

I also just received my edits for “The Wisp Hunter”, for the fall issue of Spellbound, from Eggplant Literary Productions. Luckily, only a few minor changes which I hope to knock out over the weekend and get this puppy put to bed.

Oh, and I refined the outline for Wings of Fire, my next short story for the For a Few Gold Pieces More collection. Need to start that pretty soon too.

While I was working on Pearls of Darkness, I got buzzed on line about a possible new writing assignment from another publisher. It sounded like a very cool story, but as a sign I may have too many irons in the fire right now, I just couldn’t come up with a story pitch I liked enough to even submit.

Even though, I love to think of myself as being very adaptable, sometimes, I’m just not the right guy for a particular story or the story concept is just not right for me.

Then again, maybe no being able to think of a story line was a good thing.   Even though grad school at Bowie State University doesn’t start until after Labor Day, my British Literature professor sent me three articles to read and I need to have and defend a position paper for the first night of class.

Between writing and school, I have a feeling it’s going to be an interesting sprint toward the new year.

The Wisp Hunter

On the good news front – just got a confirmation that my short story, “The Wisp Hunter” was accepted for the Fall 2013 edition of Spellbound from Eggplant Literary Productions. The official announcement will come out after Readercon, but I got permission to “jump the gun” so to speak.

It was my first time submitting a middle-grade story and I fully admit, I was nervous as all get out. Luckily, my daughter helped me with the concept, so I owe her big time.

This is a neat little magazine and I highly recommend people checking it out.