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When Nuking the Draft of Your Novel is the Only Rational Choice

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Author Makes Humbling Confession
Well, I've done it again.

I have written a draft of a good novel on a terrible foundation. It is almost like I must get the "well written bad novel" out of my system before I can sit down and do serious work on a good sequel to JUDGING ANGELS.

So, now I'm poking through a 93,000-word pile of rubble, salvaging what isn't bent beyond hope, and holding to the vision of a chronologically straightforward, snappy novel like JUDGING ANGELS is. It will be a much better version than the 1.0 of the sequel.

I think it will also be better than JUDGING ANGELS. I hope I learned something at my first rodeo.

It will also be the stand-aloneish novel the original version of the sequel was never going to be. It is a sequel, but I want it to be enjoyable for people who haven't read the first one. (They are meant to be read in order, though, and JUDGING ANGELS clearly begs for a sequel. JUDGING ANGELS can also be read on its own, in the sense that…

When a Review is As Entertaining As a Book

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This is a hilarious review by someone who obviously got a kick out of the read. Writers live for this connection - of playing on a reader's emotions like an out-of-tune fiddle. And yes, if it gets made into a movie, "It's a Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns would be a perfect, thematic, song. Indeed, our hero has been on a slow fade. Our story joins him, however, in four weeks during which the slow fade - or slow burn - lights up the night in the fireworks of his exploding universe. Now, here's the review for you to enjoy.

"If "It's a Wonderful Life", "The Screwtape Letters", and "MacGyver" had a love child, this would be it. Mr. Toad's wild ride on steroids, with Aquinas, Sue Grafton, Tom Clancy, and Barbara Cartland in the front seat; strapped in, hands up, screaming for nearly 500 pages. It grabs you by the throat (in that good way), shakes you 6-ways-to-Sunday (in that fun way), and spits you out, sweating and dazed (in th…

One Angry Red

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You don't make a Red this angry without expecting her to walk away only after taking a piece of you with her.

NOTE: I tend to post the more light-hearted parts of the sequel for some reason. I guess because they're pithier than something out of a horror or psychological thriller scene. For the most part, it is of a piece with the first novel (or that's my goal, anyway). A serious novel with meaty themes, with lots of twists but never far from some mordant humor.

Pecksley, Sucklow & Miss Dank: CIA

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The CIA could not function without those underappreciated veterans who know their way around all the forms. It is also helpful to have someone who remembers where all the bodies are buried. The CIA generates quite a few each month.

I am speaking of the secretaries.

Mission Controller Pecksley bears responsibility for each of Red's 28-day crow-borne missions. He must rely on his assistant, Tech-23 (later "Sucklow") to interpret a few hundred biological markers that comprise his field agent's telemetry feed.
(This is not hard science fiction, so just roll with it. I'm a lawyer. I don't know much science, and still less about the CIA, but no one knows more about American Hell.)
Pecksley cannot, however, do anything with Sucklow's information. There is no way of communicating with his agent in the field. He is a helpless bystander trying to divine his own fate from the Delphic mutterings of his teletech. The best he can do is remember to hold onto his tail s…

Major Author Update on Judging Angels Sequel

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Milestone: 83,000 Words

UPDATE: 4000 words written today, or one entire chapter. I call it, "RISK."

I am pleased to join Red in announcing a milestone in writing the second book in the Rubricatae Chronicles, which began with the award-winning Catholic-ish urban fantasy novel Judging Angels.

The sequel now has 83,000 words, or about the typical length of a novel. Judging Angels had twice that. In other words, if the sequel were to be the same length as Judging Angels, it would be halfway done.

The deadline for Christmas release is October 1st. I'm doing my best. Oddly enough, that's 666 words per day if I'm going to meet my deadline.

I am projecting a book about two-thirds the length of Judging Angels.

How will it be different from Judging Angels?

Less of a Stand Alone Novel
It is unlikely to be as much of a stand alone book as Judging Angels is.

While the possibility for a sequel was obviously left open, the story was properly ended and the characters had arrived …

Word Cloud from Reviews

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All the words reviewers have used to describe Judging Angels in a word cloud. (All reviews have been 5-star.) Keep in mind some particulars can be misleading, such as "heavy-handed" without the "not." Still, it's a fun way of seeing at a glance what readers have found to say. "Ginger Rogers?" Fair enough.

Thank You (Ported From the Bear)

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Since the Bear's appeal for reviews of Judging Angels, there have been four five brand new five-star reviews, with promises of more. Reviews are, as the Bear has said, ridiculously important because they are like "leveling up" in a video game. New powers like "recommendations" are unlocked, all based on the number of reviews. Twenty-five is the Bear's target. Not so many, really, from 13, if you decide to do it today, before you forget about it.

It's easy. Pick a number of stars and write a sentence or two (or more, of course, if you're into that sort of thing).


Poor Bear Briefly Snivels
In other words, a book goes nowhere without reviews and Judging Angels is poison to mainstream Catholic media. You would think they would welcome a serious, well-written defense of holy matrimony that avoided moralizing and wrapped it in an entertaining yarn with real-life lessons. Sure, it's from "the other side" of the issue, showing people who aren&…