This is a work in progress, so there may be changes as I continue to play with WordPress design, but the content will always be the same: information about my writing projects.
NaNoWriMo is over for 2018 and like the last four times I’d attempted it, I was up to the challenge! Here’s the graph of my progress:
I found this year much tougher going than in previous attempts, and I think it had to do with the story. I thought that I would coast through, because I already had established characters, I had picked out familiar surroundings for the action to occur (although I’d need to adjust for the time period), and I was excited because I hadn’t attempted the challenge in three years. I even scheduled some vacation time during the month to give me a buffer of time to write.
What I hadn’t counted on was that I would feel the need to do more research on location, because my initial readers would have the same familiarity and I didn’t want to have any obvious gaffes. I also found it much harder to focus on writing in the evenings, my current commute being more arduous than during previous attempts.
But I think the biggest problem I had was the story. By nature, I’m not a plotter but a pantser. I typically don’t plan very much ahead, if anything only one or two scenes. In past years, I’ve described my writing process as watching a movie in my head and typing it out as it unspooled. The Barnstormers story is an homage to the Saturday-afternoon serials of the ’30s and ’40s, in which each weekly chapter ended with a cliffhanger, and theatergoers would return the next week to see the resolution of the cliffhanger. That framework meant that I was constantly watching my chapter word count, and forcing myself to come up with some danger that one or both of my protagonists would find themselves in. I found that very easy when I was working on the earlier chapters of the story, before NaNoWriMo, but back then I was writing roughly a chapter every three weeks or so. The constant watching for the upcoming end of the chapter placed added stress on my writing process that I really didn’t need.
In the end, I completed the challenge, but I don’t have a sense of closure because the story is far from finished. I had hoped to chronicle my characters’ adventures in the Chicago area, then move to St. Louis, to have them wind up in Texas (I hadn’t decided on what city yet) but at just over 50K words, I’ve only got as far as establishing them in St. Louis. It’s a sense of accomplishment to have written so much in one month, but I have so much more to go, I just feel burned out. I think I just need to take a few days to recover, then continue on.
There is no THC Reading Series night in December, and I don’t have a January date yet. Whenever it will be, I will probably reading chapter 11 of Barnstormers, which is currently posted on my Barnstormers page. If you’re interested in the story (and how can you not be interested in a cliffhanger serial set in the early days of aviation?) the best way to follow the story of Kiki and Bridget is to join my mailing list. I typically send out an e-mail once a month with information about my writing and any literary events I might be involved in, and I include the next chapter of the Barnstormers story with each one. I then post each chapter here after I read it, but subscribers to my e-mail list are months ahead of the THC attendees. And did I mention it’s free? Join today!
My Novels and Novelettes:
It’s been said that everyone in the world has a double somewhere. Many cultures have ancient legends of doppelgangers, or look-alikes, and the “evil twin” is a popular concept in modern fiction. With almost 7 billion people on the planet, the possibility exists that there is someone else out there who looks just like you and sounds just like you. Identical in every way. What would you do if you met that person face-to-face? Dave and Catherine Wojtowicz are on vacation in the sleepy little town of Casco Cove, an area known for its artist community, fish boils and cherry orchards. They have never been there before, so why does everyone they meet seem to recognize Catherine? And who is the woman who runs the antique store?
Casco Cove is available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.
The Hidden Message is available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.
But not everyone is happy that Odagamig now has the premiere movie palace in northeastern Wisconsin. Theater owners in Green Bay and Oshkosh are upset that a rival chain from Chicago is moving into their area and overshadowing their own modest facilities. And the workers who are putting the finishing touches on the new facility have reported strange goings-on in the cavernous auditorium. Some even think the building is haunted.
The Opening of the Elysium is available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.
What would you do if you could control your dreams, and you could use them to travel back in time and space to watch real events as they happened? Would you go back to watch history unfold? Relive experiences from your past? Try to solve some of the great mysteries of our time?Set in 1983, The Sleep Detectives is the story of Tony, a grocery store produce clerk who has this uncanny ability. He’s been using it just for fun — to see his favorite bands play, to find items he lost — but now he and his friends are figuring out how to use his gift to help people, and maybe solve a crime or two along the way.
The Sleep Detectives is available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.
Tony Michalik has been helping the Acme Detective Agency solve the coldest of cold cases with his uncanny ability to see real events in his dreams. Now the CIA is asking him to come to the nation’s capital for evaluation. How much does the government know about his talents? And who are the shadowy figures following him all the way to Washington? Meanwhile, a mysterious company is taking extraordinary measures to attract Tony’s attention, and others are seeking his services. Are Tony and his friends in danger?
The Sleep Detectives Go To Washington is available at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.
A Sleep Detectives novelette! When Danny accepted a new assignment at another grocery store, located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, he never expected to have to deal with an uninhibited co-worker, a belligerent trainee, and an evening of celebration that he has no recollection of. With the help of his friend Tony, Danny must piece together the events of his lost night, and in the process, determine if one of his crew is a killer.
The Lost Night is available at Amazon.com for your Kindle.
Another Sleep Detectives novelette! Danny is settling in at his new store when a co-worker asks him to find her missing sister. He enlists the help of his friend Dom from the Acme Detective Agency to track down the lost girl, then must deal with neighborhood gang members who don’t like him digging into their affairs.
The Lost Girl is available at Amazon.com for your Kindle.
Yet another Sleep Detectives novelette! Danny and Izzy are on the trail of a winning lottery ticket that was stolen from an elderly couple in the neighborhood, a quest that takes them from the seedy side of Riverdale to the heart of Chicago’s Division Street.
The Lost Ticket is available at Amazon.com for your Kindle.