Friday, July 29, 2016

First draft is done!

The first draft of Hostile Planet is finished.  It clocked in at just under 88,000 words.

I'm feeling a little wrung out right now.  I think I wrote at least 5,000 words today.  If so, that's a new personal best.

My next task is to go back to the Free Space trilogy and work on revising those books.  I won't do that tonight, and maybe not until Monday.  I've earned a break.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I've got over 75,000 words written for Hostile Planet.  I'm nearly done.  I expected to finish this draft by August, and I can still do that.

This one's a little more bloody than stuff I've written in the past.  I suppose that's what happens when you give your main character a sword.  :o

Hopefully, by the time I'm done, my brain will be refreshed enough to tackle the Free Space books with renewed vigor.

Friday, July 22, 2016

99-Cent Novellas

On July 22nd and 23rd, Lazy Saturday Reads is promoting shorter works designed for quick summer reading.  All works are priced at 99 cents.

One of those works will look familiar to readers of this blog.  ;)

So, if you're in the mood for an inexpensive story that doesn't take too much time away from fun in the sun, then check out the promotion.

 Who knows?  You might discover your new favorite author.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sorry, Bram. I tried.

I've abandoned The Mystery of the Sea by Bram Stoker.  I made it almost halfway through, but I just couldn't take any more. 

I wanted to like this book.  I liked Dracula, after all.  I think no other book does such a wonderful job of building mood and suspense as Dracula.  I thought the ending was weak, but my overall impression of it was positive.

But The Mystery of the Sea was a different matter.  It has a couple of fatal flaws, and I couldn't overcome them.  The biggest flaw was the character of Gormala MacNeil.  She's an old Scottish woman who possesses a psychic gift.  None of that is the problem.  No, the problem is that she speaks in a thick Scottish dialect, complete with vernacular, and Bram Stoker writes it all out.  Here's an example of her dialog:

“Ah! to them that have seen the Doom there needs but sma’ guidance to their thochts. Too lang, an’ too often hae I mysen seen the death-sark an’ the watch-candle an’ the dead-hole, not to know when they are seen tae ither een. Na, na! laddie, what I kent o’ yer seein’ was no by the Gift but only by the use o’ my proper een. I kent not the muckle o’ what ye saw. Not whether it was ane or ither o’ the garnishins o’ the dead; but weel I kent that it was o’ death.”

None of that is a typo.  It's copy-and-pasted from the Gutenberg site.  The whole first ten percent of the book is filled with that sort of gibberish.  :|

At about the ten percent mark, though, Gormala exits stage left, and the text reverts back to readable English.  At that point, I began to think I might finally get into the story.  But then the second flaw reared its head.  The narrator meets a girl and spends page after page gushing about her.  This "mystery" story by the author of freakin' Dracula turns into a "young adult" romance!

Nevertheless, I admonished myself to push on.  Surely the narrator can't act like a lovestruck schoolboy forever, right?  Well, wrong.  The romance never really made it to the background.  It remained too close to the foreground, wallowing in its own endorphins and staring at its navel and making me want to claw my eyes out.  But the other subplot--the thing about the Spanish Armada and possible hidden treasure--started to crank up just a little.  I soldiered on, hoping to get some gunfire or some swordplay or something to hook my attention and reel me back into the story.

And then, as if to dash my final hopes, Gormala reappeared on the scene.

That was it.  Last straw.  Book abandoned.  :(

Bram's got a few other books on Gutenberg, so I'll give some of those a try at some point.  But I'm terribly disappointed in The Mystery of the Sea.  I really wanted to like it as much as I liked Dracula.  Instead, I feel like a good friend's dog died.

I suppose the moral of the experience is that any author, no matter how famous, is capable of writing a stinker.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Plasma is good

Back in the day, I loved the plasma rifle in Doom.  It wasn't my favorite weapon--I actually preferred the chaingun due to its greater precision--but the plasma rifle had a space-age quality to it that the chaingun lacked.

I had always wanted to write a story with plasma weapons, but it never seemed the right time.  You can't really do it for hard science fiction due to the physics involved.  Plasma doesn't work in real life like it does in Doom.

But I've finally gotten around to it.  The Wheel of Fire series is science fiction bordering on science fantasy.  The setting is finally right.

Oh, yes... There will be plasma.  Plasma is good.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


I'm about 57,000 words into Hostile Planet.  The going has been slow this week due to my insect sting.  I ended up having to ice my hand a few times after all.  The swelling's all but disappeared now, though, and other than the scab itself, I think the hand and forearm are finally back to normal.

I'm on page 6 of my 11-page outline.  So a little more than halfway.  I doubt I'll end up with over 100,000 words, though.  I think the second part of the outline is more detailed than the first, and it's basically using more words to describe less.  But we'll see.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


I got stung on my hand by a yellow jacket.  It's red and swollen.

The good news is that it doesn't itch incessantly, so I can actually type.  The bad news is I've been on some Diphenhydramine, so my head's a little too foggy to write.

I still hope to finish this draft by August.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Broke through 40,000 words on Hostile Planet.  It's officially novel-length now, according to some standards.

Still a long way to go, though.  I'm only on page four of an eleven-page outline.  :o  Makes me wonder how long this thing's going to end up.