Novel update

Okay, I have got Guardian of the Sky Realms out of the way, and am very happy indeed.

(Not novels, but what the heck:) My short story anthology set in my world of Evyntyde is coming along nicely. Of my target 19 stories, I have written 16 – so it is a matter of getting inspired and writing them, refining them, and submitting them for publication. I believe that I can get this pretty much finalized by about March next year.

My first novel, the mammoth 220k The Scepter and the Orb, needs to be revised  – not madly, but the simple fact is that I am a much better writer now than when I wrote it. It is a huge investment, of time and spirit, and also represents the core of my Evyntyde mythos – it just has to be published. So… I will be working hard over the next 6 months to revise it. Target: June 2011.

My second novel, also set in Evyntyde, called Crystal Peak, is about two thirds finished. As much as I want to hit it hard I need to finish The Scepter and the Orb first. Patience grasshopper. So I suspect my target for that novel is December 2011.

Then there is this scifi/adventure/set now novel (Crichton style). It has been bubbling in my head for years. I would be happy to writer a good outline by June 2011. Project code name: Bitter Creek.

I am just sure that a sequel to Guardian fo the Sky Realms will pop out some time soon 🙂

That’s the roundup for now. Will regularly report on how it goes, and possibly throw in teasers, maps etc.

Turning Points

This title isn’t meant to be an oblique and very ‘in’ joke referring to my friend Jack Eason’s novel in progress. Rather it refers to something real happening to me and my co-owned company, IFWG Publishing. It amazes me how often when something important happens, or not happens, it seems to clump together with other things following the same pattern. I suppose one could call these punctuated moments on someone’s time line, as being a turning point.

Over the last week some ugly things happened in my day job (‘day jobbe" as Jay Lake would call it), but not in terms of job security, more in terms of forces majeur affecting professional outcomes. I was assigned a six month job with an engineering firm to put their house in order, but unfortunately internal politics will probably unravel all of my work. We will see ( 🙂 )

I didn’t get short listed in the Text YA Writing Contest. This was disappointing, but hey, am used to it. It is a long journey to get regular acceptances – have to deal with it. I will, of course, now actively try to get Guardian of the Sky Realms published, or actively represented.

In terms of my company (my night jobbe), had a big breakthrough yesterday – Paul Goat Allen, an excellent and respected spec fic blogger-reviewer, actually reviewed Jack Eason’s Onet’s Tale, and provided good words, a mix of positive and constructive statements. This also reflects on the company, and this is all very good for all of us. I am hoping we have an ongoing relationship with Paul.

Finally, the company has matured sufficiently where we had to make decisions about the scope of our work. We chose to narrow our genre focus to non-fiction, children/YA stories, and spec fic – with some narrowing in that field as well. Of course, we are, and will continue to, support those authors we have committed to who are outside of this new scope.

So…a lot happened and I guess I could last week a turning point.


Finally completed polish of Guardian of the Sky Realms. Jenny will post to Text Publishing for their YA Contest tomorrow. Friday is the deadline.

Took longer to write due to distractions, hence the small margin for error… but very satisfied with the results. 60k of what I think is original, exciting adventure – now to convince others!

Will do a little editing this month and then… wow, back to my Evyntyde novels!

Major Milestone Achieved

This is worth a blog post. Just a few minutes ago I finished my YA Novel – finished the first draft (although a lot of it has had a lot of iterative editing treatment). This is critical for me as it allows me to submit it to the Text YA competition – I am giving it a big go.

Now I have about two weeks to give it the editing treatment it deserves.

Wish me luck friends!

Guardians of the Sky Realms

Wow, am I excited and motivated!

Over the last few days (sick in bed, mind you), I have written over 7k words toward my small YA novel. I am guessing it will get to around 60k when finished – which is odd for me (as I tend to write them a lot longer). 11k in all has now been written. I am on a roll big time, and I don’t suspect it will sustain at this rate all the way to the end (yes, work is calling), but it will make a sizeable dent to the novel and, more importantly, I am in the groove – there will be no stumbling blocks now.

This is new for me, but it feels right. I call it a YA novel, but I am guessing the core readers will be girls aged from about 13 to 17 – I am guessing, as I am 48 and a male. That’s radically different! Does this constitute a YA novel? It wont be long before I start to find some of my nieces and get them to sanity check what I have written.

I have a short story posted on the Internet that is pretty close to what the prologue of my novel will be. Here it is to give you a bit of a taste what the story is about (but only a taste – there is a lot more to it!).

I call the short The Painting.

It was a balmy night but Maree shivered, buttoning up her coat. It was fear. Not for something specific, but the unknown – the back lanes of The Rocks were dark and menacing at midnight.

This was one of the oldest parts of Sydney and many of the narrow buildings she silently passed were nearly two hundred years old. In the old days the narrow byways were frequented by footpads and other villains. They killed for a few shillings. The history of the area was tangible: you could smell and taste it, and every shadow seemed to form into a knife-wielding psychopath.

She kept reminding herself that it was just her imagination as she continued down Kendell Lane, looking for No. 42. She still glanced over her shoulder every few seconds.

"There," she whispered, when she spotted the rusty number in the dim light. She read the signage underneath it: ‘Azimuth Galleries – viewings by appointment only’. Not this night, she thought.

Maree looked around her, making sure that no one was in sight. When she was sure it was clear she pulled out a pair of wires and expertly picked the old lock.

She quickly entered the old building and shut the door. She then pulled out a pocket torch and switched it on, immediately flashing it around to get her bearings. It was, in some ways, scarier in the gallery, as the paintings in the shadows seemed to come to life, shifting as the torch flickered by, the eyes of abstract figures seemingly following her. She shivered again. She wandered into the next room, picking her pace up as if to avoid the gaze of the phantoms behind her.

Her torch light almost immediately found the painting she was after. Wings. The work she saw in the magazine, the magnificent work of art she had to have. This was not going to be theft for profit; this was for her.

She had been dreaming about the painting for weeks, the swirling reds, greys and oranges of barely discernible winged figures; angels perhaps, but the subject matter wasn’t angelic. There was grief and death in it. She needed to study it alone, to absorb the artist’s impression, to feel the paint under her fingertips, to grasp the complete meaning of the work.

Maree held her breath and approached the painting. It was larger than she thought, perhaps four feet square. The colours were richer, more penetrating, and the winged man and… yes, woman! were more easily discernible. She was in awe, frozen in wonder before it.

"A beautiful work, no?" a deep, masculine voice came from behind her.

She started in surprise, but she didn’t move an inch. She was now frozen in fear.

The voice came again, this time a little closer. "Do not worry. I am a stranger in this gallery as well. I too have an… affinity with the painting."

A sweat bead ran down Maree’s neck. She found the courage to turn around. A tall man stood before her, no more than five feet away. He had short cropped hair, dark but the exact colour was unclear in the shadows. His eyes seemed light, perhaps grey; his face was thin but his body seemed full and fit. "I suppose you are wondering why I am here?"

Maree’s voice was weak, still with fear. "I… I suppose so…"

"I too wanted to view the painting. I have seen it before but I never tire of viewing the captured emotions on the canvas." He slipped past Maree and came within a few feet of Wings. "Do you mind?" he asked, pointing to her torch.

She complied, standing next to the stranger, and illuminated the painting.

The mysterious visitor’s voice seemed to mellow, almost break with emotion. "This is the story of Alanar, the Guardian of the Northern Sky Realm, and his consort Mirriam. They were Protectors and fought the daemons of the Fire Lands valiantly, never allowing the enemy to taint the Homelands. Protectors always worked as pairs, as a team." The stranger started to cry, not vocally, but allowing the tears to cascade down his cheeks. "Then one day a stray arrow dug deep into Mirriam’s breast, cleaving her heart. Alanar was devastated, and he caught her as she fell and carried her in his flight to the Homelands.

"This painting captures the moment when Mirriam’s body was caught. It faithfully portrays the agony of Alanar, his yellow-tipped wings rippling in the wind as he concludes his terrible descent. The swirling colours reflect the awful light of the Fire Lands but they also depict Alanar’s darkened heart. I look upon this work and I cannot but weep."

Maree heard his words and they all rang true to her. How could this be? she asked herself, for this was but an artist’s fantasy; and yet she now realised why she was drawn to the painting. There was some inherent truth in the canvas. Something that needed to say something to her. She also began to weep.

His hand gently clasped her shoulder. "You feel this too?"

She could only nod. Words were too difficult to say.

"And why?"

She shrugged her shoulders. She still couldn’t speak.

"Come with me."

Maree turned to the stranger, looking up at his face. She saw compassion in him, and yet she only met him a few minutes ago. She wanted to instantly reply ‘yes’, but all she could do was look at him quizzically.

He laughed while he cried. "Look at the painting again."

She did. The swirling colours suddenly seemed to have a life of their own; they actually were swirling. The tall man’s hand was still on her shoulder, and it ever so gently urged her to move toward the canvas, but not forcibly.

She didn’t know why but she allowed herself to fall into the painting, and then, without warning, she unfurled her expansive, blue-tipped wings, and flew into the maelstrom of colours.

He never let her go.

"It has been a long time, Mirriam."