Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Writer's Week #116: Charting a Course

This week was a busy one at work, so I did not accomplish as much as I'd hoped. Still, I managed to get a fair amount done in spite of it all. When I stopped work on The Deliverers 4 in mid-2014, I did so because I was feeling burned out writing-wise and stressed about life in general. As I look back on that time, I think one of the underlying reasons I decided to stop was that I just wasn't satisfied with where the fourth book was heading. The plot was a little one-dimensional and I just didn't have the energy to at the time to figure out exactly what was wrong, tear it down and rebuild it.

I never really totally let the book go, however. From time to time I'd pull out a printed copy of what I'd written and make a few changes here and there. I'd also catch myself turning over different ideas and alternatives in my head. Sometimes, a completely different idea for a book would pop into my head, but each time I'd discard it as either too much effort, or not good enough. All the time, Eric and his friends were in the back of my mind patiently waiting for me.

So here we are in Fall, 2016 and Eric and Stig have started nudging me (I guess they were getting impatient). So last weekend I fired up my laptop and discovered it needed 58 updates! As I said earlier, this week at work was really busy. I'm working on a big project with a high learning curve.

All the same, I managed to tackle some of my plot issues and work out an updated and improved story line. I still haven't figured out the ending, but I did plot out the majority of the book. I was also able to begin rewriting. While I haven't progressed very far in that regard, I've started and that's what counts.

My goal for the coming week is to continue to work on rewrites and to begin writing writing the rest of the book the following week. Once I get to that point, I'll start posting parts of the book here. Please feel free to provide feedback. As I said last week, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this book. I may go the full release route as I've done with the previous three, or I might just release it on Kindle, or maybe I'll just serialize it here. We'll see where this journey takes me. I hope you'll come along for the ride.

I'll see you next week. Peace.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Writer's Week #115: Shaking Off the Dust

Happy weekend everyone! Wow, I can't believe it's been over two years since my last blog post. Time sure does have a way of rushing by. It's been a good, if busy, two years, but all in all things have been good here. I hope you had a good couple of years as well.

When last I posted, I was working on book four in the Deliverers Series. Since then I've been busy working (new job with the same company), and watching the family grow. Christian is now a freshman in high school and Abby is in 7th grade and they're doing all sorts of thing from marching band to bowling leagues to Girl Scouts. Stephanie has been running races and is trying to run a race in all 169 towns in Connecticut (she's at 41 right now). Needless to say, things have been quite busy.

Periodically, I've entertained thoughts of getting back to my writing. I've struggled with the question of whether to finish Eric's story, or to venture out on a new path. After much internal debate, I've decided to continue Eric's journey through to the end. I'm not sure where that will lead, but right now completing his story is the goal.

I am currently in the process of reevaluating what I've written on book 4 so far. Once I've done that, I'll rewrite the parts that need to be and carry on. I don't know if I'll publish the remaining books in the series or not. I will definitely serialize them here and I may wind up publishing a Kindle version. We'll see how things go. I would dearly love and appreciate any feedback you could give as I post pieces of the story here. That would be a great help!

To kick off this next phase of my writing life, I'm making the kindle versions of books 2 & 3 available free on Amazon for the next few days. It's the first time I've made them available for free. Please download, read and write a review. Here is the link to my Amazon writer's page:

That's it for now. I'll be back with another update soon.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Writer's Week #114: Summer Perspective

Hi again everyone. I hope you've all be having a great summer--I know I have. In June, I decided to take a break from blogging and writing. I'd been going at it nonstop for almost three years and I needed to stop and take stock. Now that summer's coming to a close and my kids are getting ready to go back to school (did I just hear a loud groan form the living room?), I think it's time to get back on the horse and continue my writer's journey.

Before my little vacation, I'd been about 56 pages and 13,000 words into book four in the Deliverers Series, Sparkling Mist of Time. At the time I had some questions about the direction of the book, how short I was worried it was going to be, and whether or not I was going to have to combine my vision for books four and five into one larger series-ending book. Frankly, I was too wrapped up in things to look at those issues objectively, hence my main reason to step back and get a little perspective.

Last week, after not thinking much about writing at all for a couple of months, I printed out the 56 pages of book four and sat down to read it. I have to admit I did so with more than a little trepidation. I thought for sure I'd find the thing was full of holes. Turns out, it held up pretty well. Some of the issues I was worried about didn't seem to be issues at all with the distance of a couple of months.

I edited it pretty heavily, but the overall plot structure this far is sound. In fact, I came up with  a solution to a
situation that had been bugging the heck out of me without having to really think much about it. It resolved itself as I read. I've figured out who's behind all the sparkling mist that's been seeping into troubled worlds. The upshot is that I think I have a firm direction and I'm reenergized to bring the rest of the book to life.

So, I am setting myself a goal of 2,000 words a week. This is the same modest goal that I've had in the past and one that works well for me. Hopefully, I'll be able to write much more each week, but if time becomes an issue, no worries. As usual, I'll keep you up to date on my progress. Have a great week!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Between the Lines: Lorna Doone

On this raw and rainy June Monday, I woke up wondering who would be a good interview subject this week. As I gazed out my window at the rain coming down, I was reminded of England. That's when inspiration struck and, as Phineas so aptly put it, "Ferb, I know what we're going to do today."

Here then without any further delay is an interview--all the way from 17th century England--with Lorna Doone.

Greg:  Hello Ms. Doone. Thanks for having us here to meet you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're from?

Lorna:  Oh aye. M' name's Lorna Doone and I'm from Exmoor in Devon and Somerset. 'Tis a beautiful bit of God's own country is Exmoor, but it can be hard and cruel. The folk that live there are the same way.

Greg:  So I've been led to understand. From what I've heard, you've had quite a time lately. Please tell us a little bit about it if you can. 

Lorna:  Oh it's been the devil's own time, i can tell ye. I hardly know where t' begin. I grew up as part of the Doone clan. M' folk've run up on some hard times of late, but once we were quite well respected. My part in the Doone tale begins with the murder of a farmer by the name of Ridd. He were killed by members of m' clan. Now his son, John, vowed revenge upon all the Doones.

Now, I knew nothing of this. The good Lord saw fit that I should meet and fall in love with John Ridd and he with me, each knowing nothing of the other's past nor lineage. 

Greg:  Wow. I expect John would be mighty surprised when he found out who you were.

Lorna:  No doubt he would, but there was more. You see, not only was I a Doone, but I was the granddaughter of the lord of the Doone clan, Sir Ensor Doone.

Greg:  Oh boy. That definitely would not sit well with John.

Lorna:  Aye. And that's not all. I was pledged to wed his successor, Carver Doone. Of course this was against my will as I did not love the swine, but what choice does a girl in 17th century England have? None of course.

Greg:  So what happened?

Lorna:  Well sir, when Sir Ensor died, John helped me escape to his farm, which upset Carver no end. He attacked the farm. I cursed the fates that they had caused me to be born a Doone in the first place.

It was during my time in the Ridd household that someone noticed my necklace, which had been given to me by my mother, God rest her. That is very important as it comes into the story later. Anyhow, it turns out that the necklace belonged to Lady Dugal, owner of one of the biggest fortunes in England. She had been attacked and murdered by outlaws. Only her daughter escaped, but she was never found.

Greg:  Let me guess. You were the daughter, right?

Lorna:  My you are quick. Yes, i was the daughter. I was the heiress to a great fortune, but the law dictated that I must go to London as a ward off the King. John and I can never be married as he is just a lowly farmer. Then there was this revolution and everything was turned topsy-turvy. 

John has been taken prisoner, accused of a crime he did not commit. He is taken to London where we are reunited. He saves the life of the patriarch of the Dugals, Earl Brandir, and is pardoned. The King gives us his permission to marry.

Greg:  Well, there you are. What a happy ending.

Lorna:  Oh, but I'm not finished.

Greg:  Oh, aren't you?

Lorna:  No. John leads an attack on the Doones and almost all their men are killed. Carver escapes, vowing revenge. John and I wed, but during the ceremony Carver turns up and shoots me. John runs after him and they fight. Carver winds up at the bottom of a bog. Luckily, I survive, although it is rather dodgy for a time.

Greg:  Well I must say that is a heck of a story, thats for sharing it with us. It would make a smashing book. You might want to write it all down.

Lorna:  Do you really think so? John's mother has a ripping biscuit recipe, I thought maybe we could open a bakery and market them. He has such a sweet tooth, my John.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Did You Know...Robert Louis Stevenson

Today's Did You Know features some fun facts about Treasure Island and its author, Robert Louis Stevenson.

Did You Know...
  • There have been a total of 25 Treasure Island movies released since 1912 in a wide range of languages?
  • Stevenson's stepson, writer Samuel Lloyd Osbourne (1868–1947), painted a map of an imaginary island which inspired Treasure Island?
  • The book originally was attributed to Captain George North? It wasn't until five years later, when The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published that he began usinng his real name.
  • There is a real Treasure Island? It's in San Francisco Bay – not far from Alcatraz – and used to be a military base.
  • It was serialized in Young Folks magazine from 1881-1882, before being released as a book in 1883?
  • Captain Flint's ship was called the Walrus?
  • Treasure Island was the starting point for many of our notions of pirating? For instance, pirates using treasure maps--with X marking the spot, seamen with parrots on their shoulders, the idea of the black spot, pirates and tropical islands, etc.
  • Stevenson fell in love with a married American from San Francisco called Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, when they met in France in 1876? They were married in 1880 after she divorced.
  • At birth, he was registered as Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson, but he never used the name Balfour? He also changed Lewis to Louis.
  • His father and grandfather, Thomas and Robert Stevenson, were both engineers and were called the Lighthouse Stevensons? Between them they built most of the lighthouses in Scotland.
  • The Samoans of Upolu called Stevenson Tusitala, which in the local language means Storyteller?
What little known facts do you know about Robert Louis Stevenson or Treasure Island?