Unseen draft complete. Excerpt

I finished the Unseen first draft tonight. This is the third book draft I’ve finished off under the wordsurge I largely attribute to NaNoWriMo.

I celebrate with a scene I like that was written for a character I didn’t expect to become a principle, but did anyway. Likely just to spite me. She has issues with authority.

 Unseen is steampunk / post-apocalypse. This scene is where we learn about my unexpected protagonist’s character when it’s nobody but her there to see.

Critical Personnel

The alarm woke her. There was no way it could be morning yet. She felt like she had only just laid down. What time had she gotten to bed, anyway?

It must have been pretty late. She couldn’t even remember getting relieved from her watch station.

The alarm. The watch station.

Verias became alert in a shocking instant. She was on perimeter watch. An alarm. There was a perimeter door open. What was she supposed to do? She was supposed to never have to figure that out! That’s why first years were put on this duty! Because nothing ever happened!
Snap out of it, Verias!

She gave herself a quick physical slap to go with the verbal one.

Thinking back on the brief training, she remember the senior student saying the only reason these alarms ever went off was a dog sensor being off. Just go to the port and re-clamp the dogs to reset it.



Go to the port and re-clamp the dogs.

She noted the port location that was alerting, grabbed a light stick, and ran off to make her check.

As she made her way through tubes that were lighted, unlighted and every variation of semi-lighted, she made a mental note to request the service ways be excluded from mandatory night variations.

She arrived to her target but it was not the port with a loose dog as she expected. This was an open porthole, exposing the Burrow to whatever might wander in from outside. She couldn’t believe it. Who would do such a thing?

It was at that point that she noticed the lights dimming again, and realized it was a general alarm.

A general alarm and somebody sneaking out of a port she was monitoring!

She realized her first duty was to the Burrow’s safety and that meant dogging this port and waiting for reinforcements. But whoever was escaping might be just meters ahead of her! She had to at least see if she could identify them!

Volume three approaching doneness

I caught up on NaNoWriMo goals last night and also realized I’ll be finished with the Unseen draft today. (Clemson won, happiness won, writing may continue.)

I’ll then return to Makers and I will finish that draft this month too.

November has been (/will be. it’s weird retrospecting on something that isn’t done yet) a hell of a month. It began with two books in process and will finish with four drafted and one illustrated. The first two manuscripts are out for early reader feedback and both are getting excellent marks for story and characters.

I’m actually looking at a series of books that are staging for sequential publication. It’s a very heady feeling.

Here’s where I should be at the end of the month, and it appears I need to get serious on researching editing/editors:

Where's there's a plan, there's a graphic.
I’m a project manager. Of course there’s a plan.


I’ve crossed 40,000

I did it today instead of yesterday as I’d expected, but I crossed 40,000 words for #NaNoWriMo. That feels pretty cool. I was writing before NaNo and I’ll be continuing after it, but having that constant goal for new words has shown me I can continue writing new things.

The story for Ages of the Seed is continuing to develop. When I hit a recent bit I kept at it and resolved it. For the story I was supposed to be writing instead of editing a different story like I really wanted to.

I see encouragement all over the place for NaNo and it really is a big help. If nothing else it’s a constant reminder that you could be writing.

So thanks to all of the people who are continuing to cheer on the WriMos. You rock!

And to all of us who are still working at it, what the hell are you doing reading blogs? Get back to writing! ;-P

The Legend of the Flatts

Fiction is life #1

Prompt: Centenarian veteran of a famous battle dies.

“What was it like that day, Geepaw Davit? Really, what happened? We hear about it in school but it’s just a paragraph in a book. Mumma said you were there. Were you really there? Really? Were you at the Flatts?”

My teachers called me precocious, but I think that was just teacher code for “uncontrollable”. But great grandpa Davit always had a soft spot for me and indulged my every childish whim. When I heard that he had been at The Flatts I just had to hear it from the source. I mean, seriously! That was the battle that sparked the Five Powers War. How could our books tell us so little about it? As if the deaths of those first men and women could be reduced to five sentences? I had to know more!

But in this one thing Grampa refused me. He told me he would never speak of that battle again until the day he breathed his last.

He was true to his word.

He told me the story yesterday, and now he’s gone.

Continue reading “The Legend of the Flatts”

Pomes are hard

I have an incredibly difficult time with poetry. Writing it, I mean. I’m fairly good at enjoying a well written poem. Getting something of my own down in satisfyingly melodic fashion is really hard though.

There is a carrying religious theme through the Ages of the Seed and I’m finding that it requires some poetry. Religious verse isn’t prose, generally. It is parable, instruction, message and verse all in one. It’s a poem.

Generally when I have to write something poetic it is… Well to be honest it’s generally what I’d consider to be total suck. But then there are these brief flashfire moments when a poem writes itself and all I have to do is write it down. I really love those moments. I had one tonight.

The Verse of the Seeker Ardent

In the dark I wandered aimlessly, lost in body and soon in mind. My hands, my sight in these burrows, bloody and raw from the granite incisors I ran them upon. Forsaken, lost, bereft. What would I give to see again the light, to feel the sun upon my face? Nothing, for nothing was everything I had.

Found him

I just figured out Daeven, my protagonist for Unseen. It took a long time for me to understand him, much longer than any of my other leads.

It was worth the wait. Unseen is flowing now. I’ll be caught up and past the WriMo goals tonight. I might be now, actually. Scrivener is telling me Daeven just wrote 2000 words.

This may be the most complicated character I’ve ever helped to find a page and I am very excited to find the story that he wants to tell me.



Early reader feedback for Weavers and Ninja at Law have started trickling in and it’s both extremely promising as well as mega frustrating. The promising part is because both books are getting high marks for readability and the storylines themselves. The frustrating bit is because the feedback is excellent and I want SO BADLY to go start fixing the things that are being pointed out.

But I must stay strong! I must resist this fell compulsion! I must NaNoWriMo!

I must also admit that part of the urge to go edit is because Unseen is coming along so much more slowly than those other two. I haven’t been able to fall in love with the protagonist yet and I’m worried that means others won’t either. The genre is also one that’s new for me to write in, for multiple aspects. It’s post-apocalypse and I’ve never done a story for that. It’s also a buddy adventure and I’ve never done one of those. Lastly, the world isn’t fully developed in my head the way the other two were.

But I shall prevail!

Okay, Jim. Get off the damned blogs and go write.


Review: Creeping Shadow

Creeping Shadow (The Rise of Isaac, #1)

by Caroline Peckham

This review is based on an early reader copy provided by the author. The book will be published to Amazon in early December.

The Blurb

A man waits in Vale, a world void of humanity.

A mother vanishes, her disappearance concealed by the police.

A girl collapses, black magic invading her blood.

And a boy linked to them all must fight to save his family.

Earth is just one of seven worlds. Gateways divide the realms and those who pass through must earn keys, participating in challenges that will separate the fearful from the brave, the weak from the strong, and the witless from the cunning.

Sixteen year old Oliver Knight knows nothing of the other worlds or his family’s dark past. But when his adopted sister succumbs to a deadly curse the truth is revealed and he is plunged into an unknown land in a desperate bid to save her. However, a sinister enemy is on the rise and the danger they face at every turn throws those around them under suspicion. In order to survive, Oliver must figure out who to trust, who to believe and, ultimately, who to fear…

The Review

How refreshing to read a story with siblings who act like siblings! Oliver and May, our protagonists, are written in eminently believable fashion. They are not plagued by the common sense errors and foolish decisions that seem to affect teen characters in most young adult fiction. As a result Peckham doesn’t resort to MacGuffins to advance her story and you never want to thump the characters to wake them up.

Peckham blends magic and sci-fi to create a rich fantasy world. She quickly establishes an otherworldly feel just a bit different from Earth and carries that tone throughout the story. The pacing is nigh on perfect and a healthy portion of the chapters end on a note that makes you want to dive right into the next chapter. The epilogue is the best of the bunch and has me in a frump because the next book isn’t available yet.

Although Creeping Shadows is marketed as a young adult novel it feels more like a classic adventure tale along the lines of a C.S. Lewis or Madeleine L’Engle book. I recommend it to readers of any age.