And that’s what I’ve been doing

So, it’s been a while.  Yep.  Sorry.  Entirely my fault.  Life is just hectic so keeping up a blog becomes the first thing to fall off the radar.  So, what have I been doing the entire time?  Well, I have been writing my filthy black heart out.

Current Stuff:

The Broken Pack (The War-Weary Saga Book 2) – I am currently working on round two of revisions and edits –  35%.

This is getting 95% of my writing time these days.  I would (ideally) like to get this out by this summer.  The excellent news about this is: I’m very excited for it.  The writing is significantly improved, and I love what’s going on with the story.

New Speculative-Fiction/Cyberpunk Story (Working Title: The Soloist) – 50% finished with the first draft.

I’m super excited about this story.  Since I am working on three series in a row, this is my “palate-cleanser” story.  I write on this when I am shifting gears between other projects.  Expected release date? Fall?  End of this year? It all depends on what’s going on in my family.

Dark Fantasy Story (Working Title: The Cleric Gambit) – 25% done with outlining and character bios.

This is my next big project.  Highly episodic, with 10-15 “episodes” per “season.”  Each episode should (ideally) be around 25K words.  The plan is to release on a monthly schedule and at the end of the year do a wrap up of the entire season’s story with some extras to make it worth people’s while.  Currently, my outline for this project has five “seasons,” so this is a big story.  This is something I haven’t shown to anyone yet, so keep it under your hat.

Short-Story / Graphic Novel (current title: Twenty Steps) – this is basically done.

It’s short, but it’s intensely personal.  I’ve allowed a handful of very close, trusted friends read it, and that response has been overwhelmingly positive.  Still working on my vision for the art and layout, but it’s definitely coming along.



Well, Spudford is doing great.  He’s just awesome.  Walking and all that.  Really trying to talk.  Every vehicle he sees is a “Cah!”.  You’re right buddy, that’s a car.

My wife (Julie) and I are expecting our second child in a few months – our first daughter – codename: Stormageddon.  Whey yes, we are fans of Doctor Who, why do you ask?


Well besides the work as mentioned above, I’m reading some stuff for other author friends of mine, and just keeping my head above water.  But, I’m making time for writing through all the chaos.   I will endeavor to publish updates for my projects in a more timely fashion in the future.  I’m shooting for no less than two blog posts a month for this year.



About my story: The Toothfairy

So….aparently there are a few people who have expressed interest in my story: The Toothfairy.  It was just me playing around.  I like storytelling.  Storytelling, to me, is just so cathartic.  So The Toothfairy…. It’s not my usual story.  Hell, it’s not my usual genre.

Several months ago (August?) I was informed of an open call for short stories of the “Creepy, weird or skin-crawly” variety.  I don’t really enjoy the horror/suspense genre, I get bad dreams from such things.  I still shiver when I think of The Dollhouse in the Attic.  Even though I read it cover-to-cover, at least, fifteen times.  But, for some reason, I felt compelled.  I like a challenge.  So what would I write?

I wanted to write a story that didn’t go the way you’d expect.  And then I wanted to tell a story about something that never made sense to me as a kid.  And I remembered how the whole concept of the Toothfairy never made any sense.  Even as a kid, I had questions.  But, hey, a quarter is a quarter (this was many, many moons ago).

My questions came from the fact that my dad is not exactly the type of person who’d tolerate someone creeping into our house and doing anything that might mess with or scare his children.  My mom is not the kind of person who’d tolerate it either.  I just think that in the grand scheme of things, mom would shield my brothers and I and dad would’ve charged in like a knight errant bent on a singular task: removing the perceived threat to his family.  Trust me, growing up, dad was a flipping superhero.  But don’t make any mistake, it’s not like mom wasn’t capable of defending us.  She just would’ve been more than happy to let dad do his thing.  Turns out, when it comes to my dad on this matter the sayings are true: Once a Marine, always a Marine.

So here I am, age six, I’ve lost my first tooth.  I vividly remember it.  I had just gotten to school when I stopped to get a drink from the fountain when I saw some blood.  I pulled the tooth and kind of froze.  Once I accepted that it was perfectly normal, and it wasn’t because I was a poor flosser (which I was), I took the now detached part of my face to my first-grade teacher.  She – having seen this type of scene a million times, grabbed a few tissues, balled them up and pressed them into service to staunch the flow from my jaw.  She then dutifully packaged up my tooth and told me she’d hand it over when the day was over.  She was worried, as was I that I’d spend the day looking at it and eventually would lose it.  She was most assuredly correct.

The next morning, there was incontrovertible proof of the existence of the Toothfairy.  Where’d he (I always pictured this particular Fey creature as male) get the quarter?  What did he do with the teeth?  Was this the same Toothfairy as the rest of my classmates?

So I wrote the story and tried to answer those critical questions.  Apparently a few people like it.  I’m very glad for that.  As far as the journal which put out the open call, they politely rejected it.

On my Short Stories

I’m a big fan of a well-told short story.  I think that it’s the limited word count that impresses me the most.  When you can tell a good story in under 2-10,000 words, that’s just magic.  It’s even more impressive when you see someone write a story in even less.  I still get chills from the six-word stories: “For sale, baby shoes.  Never worn”  from Ernest Hemingway is just amazing.  My stories tend toward much longer word counts by comparison.  The Toothfairy clocks in at about 2800-ish words.  Art and Artisans (the whole thing) clocks in at nearly 6000.

This is where the blog becomes challenging.  I would love to put the entirety of Art and Artisans on, in one shot.  But the issue is: it’s a wall of text.  Most blog readers would rather not see a wall of text.  This – to answer the question I received on the matter – is why I’ve broken the story into three parts.

Is there a magic upper/lower limit for a word count on a blog post or page?  A point where the reader is just overwhelmed?  Perhaps.  Well until I hear differently I’ll try to keep my posts to sub-2000 words.


On Short-form writing

I love short-form writing.  I like reading short stories and such. Writing in the short-form (short stories, novellas, and novelettes) is challenging and very fun.  I typically write a short story when I have writer’s block.  Instead of beating my head on the desk wondering how to make my imaginary friends play with me, I just create a new idea and write that instead.  Some of these short stories are terrible.  I mean awful, unfit for human consumption.  Vogon poetry bad (+10 points for those of you who get this joke). Others are rambling, stream-of-consciousness nonsense (which can be fun to write).  A few of them have been decent.  For the decent (or better) ones, I then get to try to find the best venue in which to ply my wares.  I could whine and bemoan how literary journals are no longer interested in speculative fiction short stories by unknown authors, but I wont.  But while I love to write short stories, I find that when it comes to short novels I’m a bit of a snob.

Many modern fantasy authors seem to have a preference for writing extreme long-form works.  And don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with writing 350,000 or more words in a single tome.  I frankly think that Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss are two of the finest authors alive, but man do they love to write wordy books.

So why is it when I see the word count on my novels that I feel so disappointed?  Nearly 60,000 words is nothing at which to sneeze.  Somewhere along the way I think that I got my brain into the idea that Fantasy and Science Fiction books are supposed to be epic both story-wise as well as word count-wise.  Now neither of these are true.  Plenty of great stories have been shorter than 60,000 words and many have been longer. But, then I’m not trying to do what other authors are.  Well, at the bedrock I am attempting to do the same thing they are: convince readers that my stories are worth their time. I’m just trying to do it in a different manner.

I wonder what the world’s view regarding such things.  Is there a “minimum” at which a story is not long enough to publish outside of a blog?  I certainly don’t think so, but yet my prejudice for these word counts persists.  Very odd.

So now I have to come to terms with a) the fact that I love reading a truly epic book (such as Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings). And b) how to reconcile the publication of my significantly shorter works.  Perhaps I will begin posting some of my short stories on my blog.

Sigh.  Back to trying to convince my imaginary friends to play with me.