I printed out James’ notes on Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle.
Three pages of small font.
Much of it is rumination in the moment, notes taken as he read it. He had some concerns about this, that, and the other thing, and our usual difference of taste in certain areas.
Today’s task is to go through those notes and determine what needs attention, what could use a little nudge, and what I can leave as it is.
Assuming, after a quick scan, there are no gaping plot holes, the next step will be to write out the story I’ve already summarized for his review. I know, that sounds like oversimplification, but at this point, putting the words down is easy part. If I can maintain my old pace of 3,000 words a day I’ll have Jake’s story wrapped up in a month.
Let’s call it “by end of summer” just to be safe. And sane.
While Jake Calcutta is off getting a sanity check, my oldest work in progress is coming out of hiding.
I’ve written over 30,000 words of Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle, including a 1,000-word summary of the latter 2/3 of the story. It’s all in the hands of my fact-and-sanity checker to confirm that the story makes sense as I’ve planned it. Once James has confirmed there are no plot holes big enough to chuck a cat through, I will finish it up and send it out upon the waters.
While I’m hands off that story, I did an experiment to see which of my possible ideas I should start work on. Led by emotional events of the past six months I chose the coming-of-age story I started January 1st, 2010 (for the mathematically challenged, that’s 7 years, 4 months, 1 week, and 2 days ago.)
The blurb, for now:
… more … “Reluctantly Crouched at the Starting Line”
Join friends and I this week on a tour round the web with Phil Brennan’s second story, A Still, Small Voice.
Today, Lia London uses the phrase “flamboyantly unassuming” which I find buoyantly amusing. Give her interview with me a read, and chat in the comments, eh?
The next Phil Brennan book, A Still, Small Voice, will be published digitally by year end. (The print version won’t be ready until January.)
Here’s a few ways you can be involved, and get cool stuff:
- Sign up for the newsletter before the next edition (it goes out Thursday, December 15th) and you can request a free advance review digital copy when it’s ready. This free offer is only for folks already on the newsletter list before it goes out.
- Preorder the print version, and get the digital version free.
- Share my newsletter link with anyone you know who likes my kind of writing. Copy this link, and paste it in an email, on Facebook, Twitter, wherever:
The preorder page will be ready before the newsletter goes out, but you can preorder any time at all by simply sending $12 to PayPal@Spinhead.com (or for international orders, $25) and tell me it’s for the new Phil Brennan book, A Still, Small Voice.
Phil Brennan mystery #2, A Still, Small Voice, will be published before year end. After the 1st of the year I’m going to go on a blog tour, writing short custom pieces for a handful of bloggers who’d be a good fit for my style of writing. There will be lots of free copies of the digital version and as many other surprises as I can muster.
If you are, or know of, a blog that would be a good fit, please let me know either in the comments or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d be so kind.
More to Come
Insiders get all the news first. They also get all the best free stuff. Be an insider. Sign up for the newsletter.
Yesterday the final manuscript of the second Phil Brennan mystery, A Still, Small Voice, was trundled off to my marvelous editor Tom Bentley to face the Pain of the Red Pen.
My goal is to have it in your hot little hands by December 1st.
Not long after finishing my first mystery (about 8 seconds, I think) I realized I could do better.
Not long after finishing my second mystery, I knew it. Not just that I could do better than my first, but that I could do better than the one I’d just finished.
You may already see the pattern.
I have strong perfectionist tendencies I’ve spent half my life working to control. The pursuit of perfection is pointless, a burning of energy without value.
The pursuit of excellence is a different matter.
… more … “Giving You the Best Books Possible”
An excerpt from the first Jesse Donovan mystery That She Is Made of Truth which you really should read.
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies
— William Shakespeare
I should have listened to the bard.
— Jesse Donovan
After their 5th anniversary, he smiled less and stopped laughing.
After their 6th anniversary, he started talking less.
After their 7th anniversary, he started drinking.
After their 8th anniversary, he started coming home with lipstick on his collar and perfume that wasn’t hers lingering as he stomped through the living room and up to bed.
On their 9th anniversary, at what had become an annual torture session, he swore at their server and stormed from the restaurant.
She threw a handful of $20 bills on the table and ran after him.
… more … “Barry, You’re Hurting Me”
An excerpt from A Long, Hard Look. Watch for the second Phil Brennan mystery, A Still, Small Voice, this summer.
My front door does not have an annoying habit of failing to stay latched.
It latches just fine. I make sure of it.
So it concerned me not a little that it was ajar when I rounded the top of the stairs.
I froze, then stepped back a bit. I stopped on the top stair and leaned my forehead against the wall, which put my good ear almost in the hallway where it could listen better.
These old wooden floors creak if you look at them. Nobody was moving in my place.
Which meant one of two things: nobody was in my place, or they just weren’t moving.
… more … “That Buxom Blonde Phil Was Looking For”
I have my list of scenes for the first Jake Calcutta scifi action/adventure mystery.
I had a list of scenes I knew I needed, but on the computer, I couldn’t get my head around the process to put them in order. Sure, some scenes are obviously early in the story, others later; some are clearly before this one and after that one.
I finally printed out the list, cut it into 3/4″ X 3″ strips color-coded for beginning, middle, and end, and it all fell into place. That’s them in front of my closet door. Almost as tall as my daughter.
How Do I Know Which Scenes I Need?
Good question. Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid provides one answer.
… more … “Scene List for Jake Calcutta Finished”
In my latest newsletter I asked for input about which of these works in progress should get my attention after I finish A Still, Small Voice and Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle. (If you want in on stuff like this, sign up for my newsletter.)
- The 3rd Irish adventure — From the Fog (follows Through the Fog and Into the Fog)
- A 3rd Phil Brennan mystery — A Short, Sharp Shock (follows A Long, Hard Look and A Still, Small Voice [not yet published])
- More scifi/adventure — another Jake Calcutta (follows Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle [not yet published])
- More Jesse Donovan (follows That She Is Made of Truth)
- The Village Id — a witty cozy mystery set in a small English village filled with quirky characters; very P. G. Wodehouse. Check out the 1st chapter.
- Coming of age story — a young teen’s life is disrupted when his family has to move in with relatives; he turns to music for comfort
- Anacrusis (a mystery with a female lead) — A woman dumps her unfaithful fiancee and moves to a small town where two men amorously pursue her, while one of them awaits the life insurance payoff from the first wife he murdered.
… more … “And the Winner Is . . . (What I’m Writing Next)”
I’m changing the reward for signing up for my newsletter. Right now, sign up and you’ll get my very first mystery, Through the Fog.
After the 15th, the free book changes to A Long, Hard Look.
To make it more interesting, sign up now to get one, and in the newsletter of the 15th, get the other. Free. Both of ’em. Because everyone on the newsletter on the 15th will get a free book.
At least one free book . . .
Thursday morning I wrote the final chapter of A Still, Small Voice, the second Phil Brennan novel.
In one way, it didn’t end as I expected. The people in the room surprised me.
What Phil does, though: I’d seen that coming for a while.
In a few weeks, you’ll see it, too.
In multiple ways, the next Phil Brennan mystery A Still, Small Voice passed the midpoint this week.
I’ve written 35 of 64 scenes.
Over 42,000 of a projected 75,000 words, my longest book by far.
And sentence #6 of 12, the Midpoint, where Phil changes from Wanderer to Warrior, from flailing and failing to winning.
It will be written before we go away for our year-end sabbatical, during which my beta reader will review it for sanity (where appropriate.)
The underlying theme has made writing some scenes emotionally challenging, in ways beyond the usual Resistance.
Author Lia London writes a Top 10 list every year of her favorite indie books.
This year, I made two slots.
#1 and #2.
Do you have any idea how many indie books are out there?
… more … “A Win and a Place: #1 AND #2 on This List”
All that free space in my brain erupted today.
After spending the morning list all 64 scenes for A Still, Small Voice (14% written!) I sat down this afternoon and slashed the fat grease pencils all over 8 or 9 pages of legal paper and outlined (fanfare!)
I can barely contain myself.
Idea — blend action/adventure with scifi
Concept — a genetic mutation allows a man to travel through time without the equipment other time-travelers need
Premise — what if a group of researchers discovered that the universal timeline had been corrupted and the only way to restore it was to send a mercenary back to pivotal points of ancient history to fix them — if he wasn’t killed first?
… more … “The Rise of Jake Calcutta”
You’ll want to sing that title to the tune of, um, something that fits. I don’t know what. I just know it’s better if you sing it.
My editor, Tom Bentley, doesn’t just nudge my words into place. Line editing is important. His polishes my words from workmanlike to well done.
He also asks me hard questions.
… more … “My Editor Makin’ My Book Better”
Minor excitement on Sunday: Isaac Ransom called. Isaac hired me when I finished school, taught me how to make a living as an accountant. Not just how to get paid, how to put something in the bank so later when you turned your whole life upside down you could still afford a classy loft in a ritzy neighborhood.
“Heard you were back on the market, Jess.”
“Heard where?” I knew better than to ask, but maybe he’d softened in his old age.
“Around. Sure. Anyway, not sure what market I’m back on, Izzy.”
… more … “Anodyne, Featuring Jesse Donovan: An Excerpt”
The first Jesse Donovan novel, anodyne, is currently 45,000 words.
Even after I tuck in the remaining elements of the B story I’m having fun with, it won’t be much more than that.
Editing usually reduces word count. I’m verbose by nature. Tom calls me on it every time.
… more … “Length Angst”