Archive for October, 2013


Usually, I try to just keep calm and carry on. It doesn’t always work. Yesterday, real life hit me between the eyes. Just one more thing, but at some point it’s the one straw that broke the camel’s back. Not broken, yet, but definitely strained.

I haven’t gotten back into a frame of mind conducive to working again, yet. This comes at a very bad time creatively because I am more or less between projects.

This, too, shall pass–one way or another, but not today.


The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back

The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back (Photo credit: mikecogh)

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Time to confront the truth. I’m stuck on my Weird Oz Story. I can–and probably will–finish Chapter 10. After that, I just can’t see my way ahead. I know where the story needs to end, but I don’t see how I get there.

I’ve only been in this place with a story once before. That was SEVEN STARS, the original version of FIRE AND EARTH. The reason then was that I had just gotten the story wrong. (In retrospect, it was a real stinker, too.) I wasn’t able to move ahead and produce a story I liked until I took a step back and reimagined it. A lot of things about that story changed when I did that, but it ended up so much better. That, after all, is the goal–a great story, well-told.

Fire And Earth Cover (Provisional)

So, I’m going to have to take a step back and try to reimagine my Weird Oz Story. Let my subconscious play with it and see what ideas float up out of the depths. I suspect part of the problem was with the initial idea–throwing my Dorothy into Oz alone.  One character by herself can only stay interesting for so long. Chapters 9 and 10 were about getting her some company, but I think it’s just too late. The point was to force her to take charge, but I just don’t thnk it’s working.

Meanwhile, for now, I’ll be doing some revisions to DESERT ROSE (formerly MAGIC AND POWER) and probably working on revisions to the rewrite of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE. That’s the great thing about multiple projects: you never have to be idle.

In other news, I’m getting antsy, so I’ll likely move the publication of the combined edition of BLOOD WILL TELL and BLOOD IS THICKER up to next weekend (about ten days earlier than planned.)


Meanwhile, another chapter of BLOOD IS THICKER is available free on wattpad. Or, you could just buy it and get the whole story all at once.

Blood Is Thicker Cover

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I’m taking a brief break from my Weird Oz Story to work through some of the critiques I’ve received on DESERT ROSE (formerly known as MAGIC AND POWER).

I’ve said before, but it bears repeating, that nothing will improve writing faster than giving and receiving critiques. Getting feedback on what works and what doesn’t, what’s missing or too thin (like description) or where you’ve taken something maybe a touch too far is invaluable. Doing critiques is at least as valuable. Sometimes, it’s just easier to see issues in someone else’s writing than in your own.

Now, I have a usual group of critique partners–the Pied Pipers (see sidebar)–but recently quite a few of our members have had to take time away because of real life. Others have drifted away for other reasons. (By the way, if you write young adult fantasy or science fiction, do check out the Pied Pipers on David Farland’s Writers’ Groups. We’re open to new members.) So, for DESERT ROSE I branched out and looked for a couple of new critique partners.

That’s made me realize something. See, the Pied Pipers have been exchanging critiques for a couple of years now. We know each others’ writing styles and the kinds of stories we tend to tell. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, in some ways it’s an advantage. But there’s something else to be learned from people who are reading one of my stories for the first time. My new critique partners are looking at and seeing different things.

It’s exciting and I think it’s already made my writing better on DESERT ROSE (and I’m only on Chapter 3 of the critiques.) So, if you’re reading this (and you know who you are), thank you.

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