Forgotten Memories – Anthology Cover Released

The cover to “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation” in which my story Forgotten Memories appears has been posted.  Ok – now I am getting excited.

Forgotten Memories is one of several stories I wrote as world building for “The West Wind.”  It is Weird West tale set in Johnson City, one of the main locations featured in the book, with Rachel and Clarence West playing walk-on parts.  Unlike the book, however, I get to have some fun with the paranormal – ghost hunting obviously.  The story centers around “Joe” who wakes up in the Marbury Sanitarium with no recollection of his past or how he arrived there.  As the story unfolds, he begins to suspect that his circumstance is somehow related to a recent horrific riverboat accident.  His journey of self (re)discovery nearly becomes a descent into madness as he struggles to uncover the truth about his past.

Here is the cover!  More info over at the Facebook page of “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation.”

 

Hunting Ghosts cover

Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation

I am excited to announce that my short story: Forgotten Memories will be included in “Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of Paranormal Investigation!”

As the title of the anthology would imply, it is a ghost hunting story and it is set in the Steampunk Western world introduced in “The West Wind” and its sequel-in-progress “Due West.”

For all my Friends on Facebook – head over to Hunting Ghosts Facebook page and give it a “Like.”  You will also find the full table of contents and excerpts from the stories being posted.  More to come!

Moving Westward

Hello lonely blog follower, Facebook friends, and even Twitter account holders who made the ill advised action of following my never so frequent updates.  You can be thankful at least that I am not filling your mailboxes and feeds with endless posts.  Focused posting.  That’s good enough for me… when I get around to it that is.

Despite numerous heartfelt attempts, I have decided that I am completely incapable of generating any enthusiasm for rewriting “The West Wind ” (at least presently)  I am therefore pursuing what I believe to be the only sensible course of action… Start writing a new book!  If there is a rule that I need to finish rewriting the previous before starting anew, like some sort of literary lima beans before desert, I am afraid I am guilty of its violation.

“Due West” picks up roughly a year following the conclusion of “The West Wind.”  Rachel West returns as a principle POV character, as does my favorite troubled and unstable heir Eli Hardy.  For my third POV I am introducing a new character, the inimitable inspector Edward Percival Alford sent by the American Colonial government to investigate the extraordinary events of the previous story.  The setting remains the same – the Steampunk Western alternate world of the early 1900s.

Scrivener files created, timeline drawing template opened, let the plotting begin!

I am Officially a Writer

Even if only in a small way.  I am excited to announce that one of my short stories has been selected to be included in a forthcoming horror short story anthology.  My first of, hopefully, many more.

I have written and submitted several short stories recently, each taking place in and around the events of The West Wind.  Yes, I know, I should be working on the book but I can rationalize these side efforts in a couple of ways:

  • Short stories have word counts.  Writing with a word count forces me to write as tightly as I can.  A good discipline and habit that will benefit a longer work where there is no word count.
  • World building with a purpose.  I have heard of writers spending years on world building without eventually even writing the novel.   I am doing it the other way around.  I wrote my first draft and now I am world building through the short stories.  My rewrite will benefit.  I also can’t help but thinking that the short stories benefit by being set in a world where it is clear that there are other things going on outside of the perspective.
  • Editing.  I hate it but learning how to do it takes the edge off a bit.
At the very least, I must admit that a little short term gratification on the longer road of writing a full length work ain’t bad either!

Let the Re-Write Begin!

I am re-writing.  Finally.

No more excuses.  No more indulgent distractions.  Time to buckle down and get going on the re-write.

Rachel’s backstory, though not actually in the novel, was my first task.  Something I had wanted to do following reading Jeter’s “Infernal Devices.”  The whole “inherit a clockshop” thing seemed a little too trite, too cliche.  So Rachel now has a new and better backstory.  Much darker and dangerous than previously.  Even better motivation than finding your fortune in the American Colonies… fleeing a dangerous conspiracy in England.  Unfortunately, Rachel and Clarence are only going to find themselves embroiled in even deeper intrigues.  Sort of “out of the frying pan an into the fire” type of thing.  Can’t let the two of them off that easy now can I?

“The Buntline Special” wounds, but fails to kill.

Just finished reading Mike Resnick’s “The Buntline Special.”  I had first come across Mike Resnick a couple of years ago by way of the Escape Pod podcast of short fiction stories.  Mike’s “Robots Don’t Cry” was so good I had to play it a second time for my family on a trip up north.  Resnick is one of the most prolific and decorated SciFi writers.

So… I came into The Buntline Special with high expectations which, unfortunately, for me went unmet.  At its core, The Buntline Special is an alternate history retelling of the Gunfight at O.K. Corral with steampunk and weird west, please pardon the expression, “chrome” liberally applied.  The basic thread of the story is enhanced with supporting cast members Tom Edison and Ned Buntline – the inventor and implementor of the steampunk goodies.  Geronimo and indian braves provided the Weird in Weird West.

The biggest problem I had was that both the steampunk and weird west elements were really not that intrinsic to the story.  I am not trying to be a purist here, but if you are going to have steampunk elements in the story, make them part of the plot and not just window dressing.  The weird west parts provided some interesting opportunities that mostly went unexplored.  I think the problem here is the constraints placed by historical accounts or the author’s desire to try his hand at explaining what may have actually happened with a steampunk weird west spin to make it more interesting.  One thing he did accomplish was to increase my interest in the event and its participants as much as Band of Brothers raised my interest and appreciation of WWII.

What I really did like about the book was Resnick’s use of dialog.  On the scale of narrative to dialog driven, this one is hard over on dialog.  I have a lot of respect for what he was able to accomplish with only a couple sentences of scene setting followed by extensive dialog.  I know how hard dialog is for me so I have a lot of respect for what he was able to accomplish between the quote marks.  I also think he struck a good balance with the western elements, enough to create the atmosphere but not too overdone that it was difficult to read.

Bottom line for me… It was a well researched, well implemented re-telling of the gunfight at O.K. Corral that suffered from sticking too close to the historical accounts.  I enjoyed it, but wished it was better.  Looking forward to his next book “The Doctor and the Kid.”

Steampunk Library page has been updated.