Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
Things have been getting into gear this week as I make more adjustments to writing full-time. There has been a lot of planning and retooling going on. Concurrent with this big change in my life, my wife also started a new job on second shift, leaving early afternoon and getting home close to midnight.
Balancing her needs with my own has been hard. I’ve been getting up early to write before she’s up, then staying up late to be there when she gets home. That… just didn’t work out. I got exhausted on top of everything else. She finally convinced me that it was OK to go to bed when I needed to and that I don’t have to become an exhausted zombie to show how much I love her.
Exhausted zombies have a hard time writing, by the way. ;-)
So the last few days have been better. I got some sleep and made some progress on The Unicorn Hunters. I’ve also been working closely with the artist I am contracting to do the artwork for my book of collected short stories and novelettes, Libram Aetherea: Seven Stories of Burus. Kate Whitmore is great, and we’ve become email-pals over the past year as we bounce messages back and forth.
Now that I’ve made the decision to focus on getting my first book finished and self-published by September, things are picking-up speed. I was overjoyed in seeing Kate’s artistic take on my pirate story, The Brynesmark, which will be one member of the Libram Aetherea collection. It’s only a sketch slowly coming to life at the moment, but she gets my work and her style of art is well matched to it. I’m so excited to see this come together!
Kate will be providing full-color art for each of the seven stories in Libram Aetherea, one of which might also serve as the book’s cover. I want this collection to have polish and class, and Kate’s talent is a powerful ally as I work towards that goal. :-) I’ll also be working in some artwork of my own: A map of Burus, the continent upon which all the stories are set.
To be truthful, I’ve been reluctant to include a map. Namely because fantasy worlds and maps are so overdone that it’s almost cliché… particularly for a first book. However, my wife pointed out to me that all of the book’s stories are set in the same world and continent. They reference shared geography even while being set all over the place and not firmly interconnected (the stories could be read in any order). She advocated strongly that it would be an aid, and treat, for the reader to have a simple map so they can see how things relate.
In the end, I had to acknowledge that she had a point and it would add to the production value of the book. It’s also a classic thing to do for fantasy tales, and Burus is styled as a “classic-style fantasy world” after all. So I’m going to do it, and to keep it even more “classic” I’ll be lifting a page from J.R.R. Tolkien’s playbook and try drawing the map myself! I’ve been making maps for stories and D&D since I was a kid, so I think I can pull this one off!
I won’t be drawing it until I’m done with all the written content, however. You know, in case I create more stuff as I write… which I will. ;-)
A few Wednesdays ago I said that I would give a rundown of the seven stories I plan to have in the Libram Aetherea collection. Here is that list as it stands today…
First up, three stories that have already been written: The Brynesmark, A Contract in Azure and Indigo, and The Old Man of the Elder Trees. All of these have been or will be released on Aethereal Engines in serialized format.
I am currently working on a forth story, The Unicorn Hunters which I hope to have done in draft format in a week or two. Eventually it will feature on Aethereal Engines as well.
Two more are novelette length stories that I’ve been thinking off-and-on and planning for about a year, but currently they exist only as outlines. These are The Orgcrist and Zimeena’s Broom. This pair of stories will be exclusive to the book, available nowhere else.
I plan to write an additional novelette to round out the seven stories. At this point in time, I’ve got several competing ideas for the slot and none are fully formed. But as I’ve got plenty more to focus on, I’m content to let my imagination simmer on it for awhile. ;-) Whatever form that story takes, it may or may not be exclusive to the book as well.
As I said earlier, A Contract in Azure and Indigo is one of the stories that will be found in Libram Aetherea when it is completed. The last chapter of its serial run on Aethereal Engines completes this Saturday, with its finale for those that have been following it…
Wizened and ancient, the old man stared at Ama and Bean. With one knobby, wrinkled hand trembling as it clutched the railing above the steps, his other held an old linen blanket draped over his shoulders. Like a poor imitation of a regent’s cape, it drooped onto the floor and down the wooden planks of the staircase before him.
“Macule!” Ama shouted next to Bean.
His eyes squinted under a bald and furrowed brow, twitching looks at the young pair frozen below him. Macule started a slow and wobbling decent down the staircase clad in the shift Ama had dressed him in. The shirt hung on his bony frame like a limp sack, falling well past his knees while his hands barely emerged from voluminous sleeves.
Ama and Bean exchanged worried glances before she gulped and spoke again. “Mistakes were made, Macule. You’re lucky to even be alive!”
Hobbling down the steps bow-legged, Macule’s calves and bare feet were laced with varicose veins. They jutted like gnarled sticks from the bottom of his flapping shift, and the old man’s hard squint and droop-faced glower remained unchanged at Ama’s words.
The bent old man reached the earthen floor dragging his blanket behind him as Ama tugged Bean’s wrist and pulled him along with her. Macule’s bald, liver-spotted head looked up at her with a face of deeply folded wrinkles.
“Macule, let us help you. Are you well?”
The ancient figure cocked his head and hard squinting stare to the side.
Oh Macule. Mistakes have been made, indeed. ;-)
Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!