New Short Story and an Update

The September issue of Eclectic Flash magazine is out now, and since it arrived pretty much in October, I’m happy to have a horror story in there.  Check out my piece, A Way With Dogs to get yourself into the Halloween spirit.  There’s a print version for under five bucks, a free e-book version that you can easily read on your mobile device, and even an audio version spoken by yours truly, coming soon on their Voices page.

When you write fiction, it seems like every experience and interest in your life finds a way onto the page sooner or later.  This is a story that plays around with my day job and throws it into the blender of dread just to see what bloody beverage comes out the other side.  At less than 1000 words, I was aiming for something super tight, but there’s a ton of good stuff  in there by other authors to make it worth your while.

At  the other end of the yard stick, I just passed the 70,000 word mark this morning on the first draft of my second novel, which means I have about 20k to go by my reckoning. I know the 1st draft will be a little long, then I’ll cut the fat, add muscle and cut some more, ending up a little shorter than where I started, after six or seven drafts.

For me, this has been a quick one. I started at the end of May, wrote until the first week of July when a request for revisions on the other book sidetracked me for over a month, then got back into it at the end of September.  My deadline is now October 31st, and the book is at that crazy, fun and stressful stage where I have to commit to all kinds of choices, resolve a bunch of mysteries that I was able to blissfully sustain until now,  and decide who lives, and who dies.

It’s also no longer at that delicate stage where I worry the whole thing will collapse if I let a little air out of the valve by blogging about it.

All told, I will have spent a total of three months on this first draft, which is a LOT faster than the years I spent on Echo Lake.  Part of the speed comes from putting down the pen and writing the whole thing on the Alphasmart Dana with daily transfers into Scrivener on the Mac.  But mostly, it’s the pressure I’m putting on myself with daily quotas and deadlines so that the associative engine in my brain is forced to run hot.

The working title is Steel Breeze, and I gotta say, this book is tweaking my head on a daily basis, because when I’m not pressuring myself to produce like a fiend, I’m frontloading with research on lighthearted topics like the details of the Hiroshima bomb, the Japanese American internment camps, and acts of cannibalism committed by the Spirit Warriors in the Pacific Islands during WWII.  That’s what I get for telling my history buff friend that I wanted to write a book about a Samurai serial killer.

In other news, another good friend has been working out a logo I can use as a letterhead and avatar for all of my writing endeavors on the web. Jeff Miller–artist, musician, writer… creative polymath–whipped this up for me.  Check it out.

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