Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
My first chapter of A Contract in Azure and Indigo went live on Aethereal Engines Saturday and was well received! I’m looking forward to seeing how people enjoy it going forward, as each of the remaining three chapters has big twists, surprises and a couple of cliffhanger endings. A friend compared the flavor of the story to Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant, and that was humbling because his work is very acclaimed and respected.
I received feedback on The Old Man of the Elder Trees from its second alpha-read yesterday, and it’s looking good. Hopefully, I’ll have its new edits and revisions done so that I may send it off to its first beta-reader by tonight. People have really, really liked it so far! My second alpha-reader writes her feedback “live” as she reads it, so in her red pen notes I will find things like “this is all good, but I need some action now”. This story was no different, but I can tell that I’m hitting my marks better because no sooner does she say, “I need some action now” than a few paragraphs later: ACTION. “Okay, what happened to so-and-so?” Next paragraph: SO-AND-SO RETURNS.
It’s a good feeling because it makes me feel like I’m learning the proper rhythms and compositional choices in my writing. :-)
I spent the weekend budgeting schedules and making plans. You see, I’ve made a rather big decision to use the opportunity my change in employment offers me. Balancing expenses will be a challenge and much economizing will need to be done to start, but at my wife’s urging and with her tremendous faith and support, I’ve decided to make a go at writing full-time.
This changes and refocuses everything. I now have the opportunity to buckle-down and finish a number of big projects and get them out there. I’ve decided to put getting my first book out on the top of that list. Following through with that, the majority of my writing efforts for the next few months will be centered on finishing my short story collection… A project I’ve mentioned on my Wednesday check-ins many time before.
I’m calling it Libram Aetherea: Seven Stories of Burus.
Most of my other projects will be put on the back burner until after that is completed, but never fear… I’m not abandoning anything! I’m just refocusing and changing strategy to capitalize on the new situation and its advantages. If I can hold to the schedule I’ve calculated, I could have the book completed by August 1st or sooner! With that goal reached, I’ll be finishing other long-standing, incomplete projects like Allied Section Alpha, PRINCE OF STARS and Oo-de-lally.
AND new fiction will definitely be flowing weekly or almost weekly onto Aethereal Engines just as it is now! Some are things that will be in the book, and others are stories that won’t.
Next week, I’ll give a rundown of the seven stories I plan to have in the collection. You’ll recognize a few, and others are simply notes and outlines at this point… but not for long! I’ve already started work on a new story that will be going into the collection called “The Unicorn Hunters” and it’s beginning to come together after some frustrating stumbles.
As I said at the top of the post, A Contract in Azure and Indigo went live on Aethereal Engines Saturday. Its second chapter (of four) will post this upcoming weekend, and as usual I’ll offer you a preview of the first page. :-)
Ama looked at the shifting bands of light and dark within the decanter. “Jodus was kind and wise, and more adept than you give him credit for, Macule. With whispered arcana he set my broken arm as a child, and the bone never pained me after.”
Bean nodded and looked away from the bottle’s eerie glow, casting a stern look at the unperturbed face of the exciseman. “Jodus may not have been the king’s magician, but you’re no wizard at all!”
Leaning forward, Ama peered at the luminescent blue fluid that wavered with a living quality. “Do you even understand this magic?”
Macule opened the bundle in his hands, revealing a fist-sized bowl of aged ceramic and flecked enamel. “I’ll admit to lacking an arcane talent. The magic lies in this bowl, however. Within its oil catalyst, and in the contract itself.”
In the shadowed room, Macule’s black clothing made him appear like a disembodied face while his floating hands gently placed the bowl by the decanter. He then took ahold of the King’s Ledger, sliding it back inside the brandy colored satchel before withdrawing a thin, ragged folio from the bag.
“The old wizard’s notes were written in plain scrawl unequal to your elegant quill-strokes, Mame Ama. But it’s no alchemist’s hen-scratch… I’m confident in my understanding and ability to execute the ritual.”
Ama slowly shook her head at Macule’s smirk while Bean crossed stout arms. “Bean has his pardon… That’s what I wanted, and what he needed. Beyond that I’ve given my word to participate in this pact even if it kills me, Macule. So it really doesn’t matter if I think you’re a sage or a fool, does it?”
“No, it does not.” Macule said placing the thin book on the table. He then began to collect the loose papers that remained, sliding them neatly into the satchel.
As he busied himself with the bag, Ama looked at the bowl sitting humbly next to the glowing crystal decanter. It was a modest half-sphere with several chips on the indigo glaze with white flecks that colored the pottery. Her eye became drawn to a silver band encircling the bowl, and tracing its path around the vessel she discovered it was actually a serpent in relief devouring its own tail.
Is Macule playing with fire? Find out Saturday! :-)
Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!