Category Archives: Works in Progress

Getting Back on Track

So I recently finished a short story about a young man who buys a haunted Camaro—and inadvertently destroys the life of a paroled car thief. The story is now in the hands of critique partners and happens to be the only writing project that I actually finished this year. If you followed any of my previous updates, you’ll know that 2017 has kicked the shit out of me and in doing so, caused my writing output to plummet. 
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Going into 2017, I promised myself not to write any more short stories this year so I could focus on the first draft of the SF novel I started writing last year. Four chapters into the first draft by April 2016 and the novel ended up on the back burner for a home renovation, a Kickstarter to fund a new anthology, the release of said anthology, and writing six new short stories for contests and anthologies.
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As productive as that was and as proud as I am of those stories, the SF novel languished. Then came 2017 and I set my sights on finishing the first draft by December. Four more chapters were written between January and May… and the novel was again sidelined while I edited submissions to a new anthology, finished a month-long home renovation, then watched my summer collapse along with the roof at my workplace as a result of a severe storm. I want my summer back, damn it!
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So, to get my writing chops back in shape, I cranked out the aforementioned short story about the haunted car—just so I could feel good about finishing something this year.  I thought I would then return to the SF novel…
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Instead, I’ve spent the past week crafting the plot synopsis for my next full-length Miranda Lorensen novel. Almost there. I spent more time working on it in my sunroom this evening—and peeking up every so often to watch a tiny bunny roam around my neighbor’s shed. Who can resist bunnies?
If all goes as planned, this novel will tie directly to the novella that my publisher accepted back in June. The novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters, addresses some aspects of Miranda’s life mentioned in my novels Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side
 
I jotted down a quick jacket blurb for the novella recently. It needs work, but…
 
Psychic-medium Miranda Lorensen and her daughter Andrea set out for a “girls night of ghost hunting” at the home of Andrea’s closest friend, Wendy. When Andrea Lorensen stumbles over Wendy’s dead body in the woods, the shock triggers Andrea’s own latent abilities as a medium. Against her mother’s wishes, Andrea decides to ensnare Wendy’s killer with help from the other side.
Meanwhile, Miranda travels to Salem, Massachusetts to speak at a paranormal investigators conference. When she is invited to participate in a local ghost hunt, Miranda encounters a spirit that leads her to the truth about her past life.
Like Mother Like Daughters title
Now, hopefully, the novella will be released next year with the novel to follow a year or so later. My concern is that as of 2018, it will have been FIVE years since my last novel. Yikes!  
 
During that time, I’ve been focused on short stories and editing anthologies, which has proved fruitful. My publisher and I have released two volumes of the Middle of Eternity speculative fiction series, my work has placed high in a few local contests, and I’ve been published in a handful of other wonderful collections such as the ReDeus mythology series and Beach Nights. I firmly believe that short stories and novellas are nutritious parts of a well-balanced writing career. 
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As much fun as those projects have been, a few solo publications are definitely needed within the next year. While Miranda has earned a modest fan following–and several readers have contacted me to ask when to expect her next adventure–people have short memories these days so I hope all of this works out as planned! 

Too Many Damn “-uptions”!

With the constant disruptions, eruptions, interruptions, and other “uptions” in my writing schedule over the past seven months (honestly, over the past 19 months, but we won’t go there)—and with the piecemeal progress on my SF novel—I decided that the most effective way to regain traction and reignite my enthusiasm would be to review what I’ve written thus far from the beginning.

To that end, I finally sat down and edited the first four chapters late last night, which effectively rekindled my energy for these characters and the story! I hope to read the next three chapters later today, take a deep breath, and press onward with an eye toward completing the first draft by the end of the year.

Time or Distance

I’ve never taken this much time to finish a draft of anything so this has been frustrating to say the least. Once I start a project, I normally write every day or at least every other day.  Time away from a project can provide fresh perspective—and it has in this case—but an extended absence can also cause loss of interest and momentum. So time to get back on it!

With the home renovation finished and the situation at my job hopefully stabilizing soon (more details here), I hope to resume a normal routine in the coming weeks… or at least until the next “uption”!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced extended delays in their writing schedule. Feel free to vent and share your pain in the comments. I could use some schadenfreude!

When Life Gets In the Way…

Finished editing another anthology submission this evening and sent it back to the writer. I am now caught up on all current submissions for Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity. Waiting for three other writers to send their stories in and three more to turn around their revisions.
 
While I enjoy working on the Middle of Eternity anthology series, the editing has consumed my writing time. Alas, my SF novel-in-progress has been shelved yet again, as it was this time last year. I only hope that it doesn’t remain there collecting virtual dust until December… again.  This is precisely the reason I’m stepping down as editor of the anthology series after this third volume is released. 
 
At least in 2016, I managed to write four chapters in the first draft of the novel before putting it aside. This year so far, only two. I know better than to force myself to scratch out pockets of time to work on it. I cannot write quality prose stealing 30 minutes here or an hour there while I’m distracted and overwhelmed by projects at home and at work.
 
Starting tomorrow—and for the next week and a half—I must set aside both the writing and editing to begin pre-class studies for an intensive five-day CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) course starting on 24 April. The class will run 8 hours per day, with evening review and practice for the first exam on Wednesday and the second on Friday. Passing both exams will earn me the CCNA.
 
Fortunately, I took this class, and passed the exams, nine years ago with the same training company in the same location. I only hope history repeats itself next week because I’ll need to apply my refreshed knowledge to two or three major projects at work in the coming months—which will mean more writing time lost.
 
Did I mention the two-week home renovation planned for June? Ain’t no writing going to happen during that time either. 
I find all of this sadly ironic, considering that I’ve given presentations and panel discussions on “Time Management for Writers.”  In fact, I’ve been asked to present this very topic again at a writers conference in 2018. Hopefully, by then, my writing schedule will be back on track.
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There was once a time, in my previous position, when I wrote during my lunch hours. In fact, that’s how I made the most progress on my first two novels and many a short story.  However, as of the past four months, most of my lunch hours have been dedicated to a self-paced course on Powershell (a command line and scripting language packaged with Windows 7 and above). When I’m not doing that, I’m working through lunch or running the occasional errand like everyone else.
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Pesky full time job! If only I didn’t need it to pay my mortgage, bills, and support my writing habit. Also, as a 25-year veteran of the IT world, it goes without saying that I need to keep my skills current in the ever-changing world of technology.
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Thankfully, I had the foresight to finish four short stories near the end of 2016 for anthologies and contests happening in 2017. That put me ahead of the game as there’s no way in hell I would have had time over the past four months. 
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I have not lost an ounce of enthusiasm for the SF novel. The moment I finalize the last anthology story and submit the manuscript to the publisher (hopefully by end of July), I’m blowing the virtual dust off of the first draft and plowing forward.
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Onward!

Hello SF Novel, My Old Friend…

Hello, SF novel, my old friend. It’s great to work with you again. I put you aside in April after writing the first four chapters so I could release a new speculative fiction anthology and write new six short stories, one of which took second place in a writing contest and was published in November. The rest will hopefully see print next year and in 2018.
With fresh eyes today, I reviewed those four chapters and remain as thrilled with them now as I was eight months ago. After some trimming and fine tuning, I’m even happier. Next step is to review the outline to refresh my memory on the story’s plot and direction. I have five days remaining in my holiday vacation, with at least two of those days carved out for writing.
I hope to finish the first draft of this novel in 2017. It’s one of my many personal goals for the year, even though I’ll be editing and project managing the third anthology in the Middle of Eternity series beginning in Q1. Oy!
 
For now, here’s an inspirational image that relates to the story. More news to come!