In which Shawn tries to justify his blog’s silence

Let’s go back to where we left off: October 8, 2013.

(Holy crap has it really been that long?)

October 8 – To Kill the Goddess was with my editor and I was trying to get started on Moon Sister (book two). This is roughly the same time that my work life turned to complete shit. I won’t go into details, as companies don’t look kindly on employees spilling dirt on the Internet, but let’s just say that it was all I could do to not have a complete mental breakdown. Did I write? Yes, but like a drowning man clinging to a life preserver. There was no time for frilly stuff like blogging. Somehow in there, I managed to bang out a first draft for roughly the first third of Moon Sister.

Christmas came along, then January, and the Antarctica-like deep-freeze that drove its claws into Minnesota. We resumed our search for a downtown condo and – surprise! – we found one. It’s awesome, and we are moved and living in it (Woot!) but yowza was that a lot of work. Six weeks of no writing are now in my rearview mirror.

So now here we are: April. I haven’t touched that first draft in a couple of months. Instead, I’ve been focusing on (what I hope are) final edits for To Kill the Goddess. My editor had far more complements then she did criticisms and I’m deep into the final stages of polishing those off. The book is in great shape, but now that I’m going through it again after so many months away I’m finding all kinds of niggly things that need to be fixed. I think I am going to make one more pass through the entire book before sending it off to a few new readers. After that? Line edits, finding someone to do a cover, e-book formatting, and finally: Amazon!

Transition

Today, a reblog from my post over at The Scribblerati.

Coming soon – a status update and other tasty bits. You know you want it.

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icicles-ice_w725_h544It’s – not quite spring.

You can tell it wants to be. I saw my first robin three weeks ago. The sun is strong and melty. The porters and stouts are slowly disappearing from the taps.

It won’t be long before buds will start to pop, coats will get stowed away, and our pale Minnesota skin will get its first splash of color.

Transition.

I wish I could say it was just the weather.

I’m very much a creature of habit – a fussy Virgo. I like my things just so. I like to know what I’m going to do each day. I want to know where I’m going to get my coffee. I don’t want the day to suddenly get one hour longer.

So why am I an IT consultant? Why do I have a job that can change on a dime, and take me to God only knows where?

Why am I choosing to move? Why am I cleaning out, digging through old memories, sorting away those I want to keep and wincing as I throw away those that no longer hold the meeting they once did?

And what am I doing with my writing? I’m so close to done – months away from being a bona fide published author – and yet my day job and the move pull me away and into chaos.

Transition.

And yet I’m thankful for all of it.

I’m blessed to work with good people, to have the means to move, and to have the time – however little it seems some days – to write.

Here’s to transition – and may it settle the fuck down.

Present is Past

There are few things more influential on our lives than those early years between childhood and adulthood, those years when we become aware of the larger world even as we discover the things that thrill us and struggle with those that cause us pain.

When I look back there are a lot of things that stand out. Good things and bad. Excitement and dread. Venturing out and withdrawing.

Through it all, there was one thing rarely sullied by the drama that so often made a mess of everything else: Iowa Hawkeye football.

Maybe it’s just the forgiving lens of memory, but something about game day was sacred. We forgot about jobs, homework, and struggling marriages and we focused on football.

There was lots of yelling, but always at the TV. Especially at Michigan! There were smiles all around, cursing at bad plays, and food. The food! Mom made a potato salad as mean as any linebacker and dad could make that Weber grill serve up a T-Bone that sizzled like a ball thrown on a quick slant.

Now I’m [REDACTED] years older and things have changed. College, marriage, writing a novel, and becoming a Minnesota Gopher fan just scratches the surface. One of the constants through it all has been that fall Saturdays still hold a glimpse of that same naive wonder I used to feel as a child. Now, football season is the one time of year when I set my coveted writing Saturdays aside and make my way to campus, or sit down in front of the TV.

Especially this week. It’s Minnesota vs Iowa, with Floyd of Rosedale (#ProtectThePig!) and another year of bragging rights at stake.

This year my (not so) little brother and his wife are coming over. The poor kid is still an Iowa fan and while we may not agree on who should win, there will be smiles, curses, beer, food, and fun. And who knows, maybe there will even be some potato salad.

I’ll write on Sunday, when the Gophers are 5-0.

Shawn Vs Chaos

My writing life is in chaos.

With To Kill the Goddess done (for now) my daily routine of picking up where I left off is a thing of the past. It was grueling, but at least I always knew what needed to be done next. Now it’s time to move on to new projects, some of which are in better shape than others.

Project #1 is, of course, TKTG, which is currently taking a well deserved nap while waiting for a couple readers to give me the thumbs up/down. After that I’ll tackle the daunting “find the perfect freelance editor task.” Gulp.

Project #2 is Witness It, my TKTG companion novella. I wrote two drafts of WI late last fall and when I picked it up to read it last week I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is. It needs some TLC, but another editing pass should get it ready to share with the Scribblerati.

Project #3 is Moon Sister, the sequel to TKTG. You would think that writing the second book would be easier than the first, which I’m sure it will be, but planning & plotting is another thing altogether. TKTG grew organically, in fits and starts over the course of several years and multiple drafts. I want to be done with Moon Sister inside of two years. That means I’ll need to do a lot of up front planning before putting words to page and I’m learning that process as I go.

So far I’ve bought a bazillion multicolored Post-Its, rearranged my room to free up a wall, and started slapping them up. This is either my best idea ever or a complete waste of time. Time will tell!

In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done – chip away one day at a time. And one Post-It.

Trolls!

How long has it been since my last update? A week? I need to do something about that. Soon – I promise!

Remember those two new chapters I said I had to write? I finished first drafts for both of them and a second draft on the first half of the first. But that’s not why I’m writing this. I’m writing because –

Trolls!

You see, I was working on the first draft of those two chapters, and a nagging notion kept hammering at the back of my thoughts. It’s one I’ve been having for a while because every time I read a reference to lava tubes (which play a critical role in my story) I think, you really need to work them into the early parts of the story more. Which I do. And so –

Trolls!

Chapter 8 used to start with a fine yet somewhat droll account of setting and lead-in to an awesome fight. Now it starts with a troll. A naked, roaring, tree swinging troll with balls the size of boulders. It lives in a lava tube and attacks when Coltrane and his troops ride by. It’s pure awesome.

Credit where credit is due

I believe it was Jon who gave me the nugget of an idea for the troll scene.

And speaking of Jon, his short story Harris is getting published in Cifiscape Vol II. Check out his blog about it here on the Scribblerati website.

December 23, 2011

Did a little brainstorming and whatnot regarding chapter 1. Biggest accomplishment: I wrote the first sentence!

Want a preview? Spoiler alert!

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Roma Taft stood between the battlements, looked down over the sprawling, mountainside city of Ederea, and watched its far edge burn.

Yes, big changes are on tap for Book 2.

Fussy writer comment: I’m not too happy with “watched its far edge burn” but there will be wordsmithing, my friends, oh yes.