Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The End In Sight

I got the early train into London this morning for an early-morning Starbucks writing session - something I have not done in a while, it must be said.  In fact looking at my writing log made me realise the last writing session was dated 16 April - over a month ago.  I will say at this point I am rather anal about logging my writing sessions, noting word count and date of every one.  It helps me keep track of my monthly word count, and also how long it takes me to finish each draft.  But it also makes me aware of how long it's been since the last session.

Why the gap?  The end of April and beginning of May was manically busy in the day job, and I was also working on edits for both DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL, which made it hard for me to get my head around working on the WIP as well.  And then I was away for two weeks.  I did actually take the Netbook away with me, with the idea that if it was raining I might get some time to sit in the hotel room and write, but well...the weather was glorious and the writing didn't happen.

Anyway.  Now I am back home again and trying to get back into my usual routine, including the early-morning writing sessions.  The current work in progress is the 1960s crime thriller, and this morning was a good session.  I've been wrestling with the climax of this one, but now I feel that the end is in sight.  The novel still needs a great deal of work - I am not deluding myself about that.  But I am nearing the end of the first draft.  And I've always seen the first draft as putting the scaffolding in place.  Once you've got that, you can start the real building work.

The main issue with this novel will be research.  It's set in 1967, and spans San Francisco, London and Vietnam.  This is not an era I was alive to witness, but there are plenty of people around who were, and they'll notice if I get it wrong.  The parts of the novel set in Vietnam - which is effectively the final section of the story - is proving particularly tricky.  This was a very emotive point in history.  In particular I want to know what Long Binh looked like in 1967.

Research has never been my strong point, and I've never let a mere thing like getting the facts right stop me from getting stuck into the first draft.  Of course, this generally means a great deal of changes between the first draft and future drafts.  Fortunately, the Internet has made doing research a great deal easier than it used to be.  A quick search has revealed that there are a lot of personal accounts and photos from soldiers who lived through the Vietnam war out there in the public domain, and careful research will help me ensure I get it right.

For me, the most important thing is to get to the end of draft 1.  I'm not there yet with this WIP.  But I can just glimpse the light at the end of the long tunnel.

After that, the real work starts.  Doing the research, getting the facts right, sorting out the plot holes, working out what's not working and what's not in the novel that should be.  But all that will come later.  For now, I'm focusing on getting to the end.  And I feel like I'm almost there.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Double Duty

I set myself a pretty challenging goal yesterday. Enter Exterminating Angel in a screenplay contest. Deadline? May 31.

Yeah, pretty audacious. If nothing else, it forces me to work on a self-imposed deadline. That's the problem when you don't have any books under contract. It's easy to put revising or writing off, thinking, well, I don't have to worry about a deadline. And those days can pass into weeks, months, etc. You get the idea.

Do I expect to win this contest? No. Although the last screenplay contest I entered, I made it to the second round, but no farther. Must be doing something right.

My interest in screenplay writing started in college, when I met a fellow screenplay writer, who has gone on to option and sell several screenplays. But I didn't start writing one until a few years after graduating with a BA degree in English. Poetry and short stories dominated my writing, and while I still write short stories, I rarely write poems.

Granted, my early screenwriting endeavors suck. I have to admit I think the screenplay adaptations of Death Sword and Exterminating Angel are better than my first three efforts. Of course, I had the material available so I didn't have to come up with settings or dialogue. But one of the things about adapting a screenplay lies in understanding what should and should not be included. For example, no interior thoughts. Sure, one could use voice overs, but a general rule is if you can't see or hear it, it doesn't belong on the screen.

Meantime, I should hear about another screenplay contest I entered, although I doubt I'll move on to the next level in that one.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Exterminating Angel is Live

It's been over a year, but Exterminating Angel is now available. I'm a little nervous in that I have a Stoker-winning author reading it, but he was also a major inspiration, and I felt it only right to offer him a copy.

What are my plans for EA? Adapting it into a screenplay, and perhaps having a Facebook launch party, although I'm still debating that. I've written a spin off, although I sometimes think I'm really just procrastinating on another angel PNR. :-)

So, time to break out the virtual champagne and toss the virtual confetti. Say hi to Zaphkiel and company. Yes, some of them are archangels, but their behavior is anything but.


Making a deal with the Devil is the least of his problems.

Zaphkiel, a chain-smoking, hard-drinking archangel, never intended to unleash the sun demon upon the city. Bad enough his boss wants him dead, and this recent crime is the perfect excuse. The timing couldn't be worse. Somehow, Zaphkiel's executed lover, Caliel, is alive and reincarnated as Sean. Zaphkiel is thrilled to be reunited with Caliel again, but will his lover feel the same when he learns Zaphkiel's darkest secret?

Hired by Lucifer, Sean wants nothing more than to fit in. But how can he compete when the Devil's friends include archangels and a Tarot reader, and he was born without special abilities? Or so he believes. The Tarot hints there may be more to him than he realizes.

Recruited by the Devil to find the two pentacles sun demon Sorath plans to use to destroy the universe, Zaphkiel and Sean find themselves pawns in a game of power and control. If the archangel gives his boss the pentacles, Ophaniel will overlook his crime. But Zaphkiel knows he can't trust either Ophaniel or Sorath, and the deal he's made with the Devil could cost him not only his life, but also the lover he believed gone forever.

M/M sexual practices, occult themes, some violence, graphic descriptions

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