Monthly Archives: June 2016

Marching On

dark summitThe days have marched on at their steady pace. I’m still struggling with insomnia of a different sort than I usually have. This is the more traditional kind, meaning that no matter how tired I am, my mind races for hours, and if I should jolt awake at night I can’t get back to sleep. I’m still trying to find the best solutions to the problem. I’ve had some better writing days, but no truly good ones, and today I’m going to hunker down and get some work done around the house. Maybe some honest-to-God manual labor will help wear me out even more so I can feel more sleepy.

Still, I got some changes made to the first novel and turned back over to my editor. There are more changes I want to make, many of which were suggested by Ian Tregillis, John O’Neill, or my wife, and I also need to get to starting the next draft of the second book.

Spurred by renewed talk about the historical swashbuckler Captain Alatriste I’ve been working my way through it, although I got sidelined when my daughter started reading the Everest expedition/disaster memoir Into Thin Air. I started reading it myself and got hooked, then read another similar volume about more recent climbing season, Dark Summit. I’m not sure why, but I’m occasionally interested in reading about mountain climbing, probably in part because I can’t imagine ever doing it myself.

I have an interesting looking e-book by an up-and-coming sword-and-sorcery writer I’ve been meaning to start, and I’ll probably tackle that next.



insomniaI’ve been wrestling with terrible insomnia for the last couple of weeks. I can get to sleep just fine, but I keep waking up.

Apart from the month following my mom’s heart attack this has been the worst impediment to my writing since I became a professional. Progress in the last ten days has slowed nearly to a crawl. I can exist, but putting words down in any kind of clever way has felt more and more like a vertical climb.

I’m taking some medical action now under physician advice and hope soon that I can return to my usual work pace.


BridgeAtRemagenI think my absence last week was the longest I’ve had from the blog. I mean, even when I went to Europe with the family last year I had posts programmed to go up. Admittedly they were pretty dull and dealt mostly with choosing the perfect writing notebook, but at least something was happening here.

I didn’t post because I didn’t want to discuss the terrible events in Orlando. It was enough to read about the attack and talk about it with my family. I didn’t want to do that here. Yet talking about anything else at the time just seemed frivolous. So I simply walked away from the blog for a while.

Devil May Care

devil may care 1The old saying goes that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, which is a nice sentiment and all, but doesn’t usually hold water as far as actual books. Yes, occasionally a great book is hiding behind a terrible illustration, but more often, as my first born Darian says, “it turns out that no.” A bad cover might mean the publisher either didn’t have their act together or didn’t believe enough in the product to bother hiring a good artist.

Or it might mean that the novel isn’t marketed for you… or that it was marketed in another time.

A case in point is this great adventure novel from the 1950s by the writing team of Wade & Miller. They’re one of my favorites from Chris Hocking’s pulp list, and I hope to go into detail about them later this year. But judging from that cover, which suggests some kind of romance with a hot dame and a brooding lunk, I’d never have picked it up.

Dabir and Asim Return

skelosFor the first time this year I’ve sold a short story. I’m delighted to relay that the upcoming Skelos magazine will be carrying a never-before-published Dabir and Asim story in its second issue! You can see magazine details here and there is, briefly, still time to get in on its kickstarter.

I still fully plan to finish writing at least one more Dabir and Asim novel. If I can actually maintain the pace with this current set of drafts, I hope to find time to create a new Dabir and Asim every other year or so and market it as an e-book. That’s assuming that the next one sells, and that ANY of my next books sell, of course. I think they will, I plan for them to sell, but one does have to be realistic about these things.

Chandlering Around

ladyinlakeBetween a whole lot of revising, thinking about revising, and a mess of home repairs and organizational stuff, spending much time updating the site has felt like a luxury. I hope to be a little more active here in the coming weeks, but I can’t guarantee it.

To wind down in the evenings I’ve continued dipping into various books and short story collections. Typically, while I’m revising, I re-read favorite authors to remind myself of great techniques, and so I’ve been reading some Raymond Chandler short stories. It’s not quite re-reading in some of the cases, because many of them are new to me. And I’ve discovered that the lyricism present in the novels and later stories isn’t as prevalent in his early work, as you’d probably figure. To really soak up the best of his style I’ll probably start re-reading Farewell, My Lovely over the weekend.

In the meantime, though, here’s a link to an interesting essay about Chandler’s revision process. If you haven’t read The Long Goodbye (or even if, like me, you haven’t read it recently) some of it might be too particular to be of use — but there are other details that should be of interest to any writer.

I find that I’m also curious about the work of writer Mike Coggins, who wrote the rather fascinating essay. My to-be-read pile is tottering already, but I like the essay well enough I’ll probably look into his books.