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In the spirit of the thing…

I had one of those nights where I slept like the proverbial rock. Trouble is, I’m still scrambling to get a couple of brain cells to rub together. I’ll be back later with actual thoughts. In the meantime, what’s everybody working on? How’s that going?


UPDATE: The littles conspired to prevent writing time, tag-teaming naptime and requiring ALL of Daddy’s attention. So, no post, but I’m pleased everyone is doing well.

  1. Let’s see – working on the next novel in the Underhill universe. That’s stalled – I wrote a chunk longhand and can’t find the blithering thing, and my brain is insisting it has to be what I wrote out and can’t remember well enough to just re-write. So I also started a short that will be set in the same world as a novella I’ve set to publish next month, and I went back to work on a cozy mystery novel I started years ago. Those are both going fine, but I also have two other projects tugging at me and I keep telling myself I am in danger of getting scattered. Also, I’ve been blogging big, serious, weighty blogs. Which feels good, since overall I’m writing better than I have since a year ago at least.

    July 28, 2017
  2. What am I working on?

    – Trying to finish my first fantasy novel, scheduled for publication next month. Cedar’s just delivered an excellent cover for it.
    – Plotting the sixth volume of the mil-sci-fi Maxwell Saga, which is my next project, and writing a couple of key scenes to ‘set the tone’ in my mind. I hope to publish it by October.
    – Plotting the third and final volume of the Laredo War trilogy, which I hope to deliver to my publisher by the end of the year, the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.
    – Plotting the third Western in the Ames series, which I’ll begin writing early next year.
    – Working on a short story for a Tom Kratman anthology, the first draft of which needs to reach him before too much longer.
    – Discussing a co-operative novel project with a name-brand author, kicking ideas around to see where things might go from here.
    – Noodling over a space detective series and a fantasy trilogy, which are projects I might begin next year, or put on the back burner for a while, depending on how many other things I have on the go.
    – Working on new covers for my published books, to accompany Castalia House’s taking over the print and audiobook editions for all of them (I’ll keep the e-book rights for most of them).
    – Tackling my daily chores and household tasks, which are ever-present and never finished.

    Busy? Me? What makes you say that?


    July 28, 2017
  3. – Patting myself on the back for finishing a fantasy novel.
    – Writing two more urban fantasy short stories for a story-set.
    – Reviewing the second WWI alt-history book to send to the editor for a Nov 11 release
    – waiting on edits for the first Shikhari novel (series of four) for a September release
    – mulling a sequel to the fantasy novel
    – accelerating research for a fantasy novel set in a world based on Song (or Suung) Dynasty China
    – mulling over a sequel to the steampunk novel (research, must do research)
    – revising lesson plans and material based on what I’ve learned while researching the just-finished fantasy novel
    – chores imported and domestic, because day-job and Chorus both start in two weeks (aiiieeeeeee!!!! Where did summer go????)

    July 28, 2017
    • November 11 release of a WWI book – it can’t be coincidence, can it?

      July 28, 2017
  4. Bob #

    RL needs a PAUSE button.

    July 28, 2017
  5. I’ve started editing my third novel, Ghost Dog, which requires ten (give or take) new scenes to be added to it, and therefore also requires me to restructure the story: as in re-order the chapters. The joy, the bliss is never ending.

    July 28, 2017
  6. thephantom182 #

    I’m still working on ripping out a bathroom. Its a fricking nightmare. On the bright side, the ripping-out part is almost finished. Next nightmare, drywall.

    After The Bathroom, there will be cover art for Unfair Advantage.

    Anybody want to guess at the sub-genre for accidental hero, robot girlfriends, alien bad guy and plasma guns with calibers measured in feet?

    July 28, 2017
    • Space Opera. Even if it takes place on Earth, and there are no spaceships.

      July 28, 2017
      • Or Planetary Romance.

        July 28, 2017
        • thephantom182 #

          What is a Planetary Romance? (I’m imagining the gears in a transmission right now, probably not what you meant…)

          July 28, 2017
          • Think Leigh Brackett and Edgar Rice Burroughs – adventures on alien worlds.

            Wiki says that “Planetary romance is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy in which the bulk of the action consists of adventures on one or more exotic alien planets, characterized by distinctive physical and cultural backgrounds.”

            July 29, 2017
            • Mary #

              The “romance” part of the term comes from “chivalric romance” so a love interest, while very popular, is in fact optional.

              July 29, 2017
  7. Co writing a novel with Chris Nuttall. He is, fortunately, tolerant of my lackadaisical writing speed. I can generally get up to 3000 words, but I have other commitments, so I am closer to a microscopic 1500 words per day average.

    July 28, 2017
    • Christopher M. Chupik #

      Wish I could be that lackadaisical.

      July 28, 2017
  8. Let’s see, had a mild fire take a portion of my deck and siding last week so its mostly been all about wrangling insurance and contractors. Fortunately everyone’s been reasonable and helpful so far.

    I’m also nearly finished my outline for my first ever novel. It’s about a Hungarian guy who’s in a race against time to stop a New Age cult and its deadly lizard people allies from unlocking an ancient evil. The stakes have never been higher. Find me a time when they have been higher! I dare you!

    July 28, 2017
    • thephantom182 #

      So, a documentary about the Hillary campaign then? ~:D

      July 28, 2017
  9. BobtheRegisterredFool #

    Health, trying to get my head out of my rear where RL business is concerned, and my thinking has cleared up enough that I’ve noticed major flaws in previous efforts to plot my most interesting WIP.

    July 28, 2017
  10. 1)Just finished the third and last novel in the Harmony series. Letting that sit for a week before editing/proofreading.
    2)Working on the plot for a nice, lightweight, fluffy fantasy novel. Need to bridge the gap between a fully developed first half and the ending. Suspect that “More Stuff Happens,” is not good enough.
    3) Reading topology for that fantasy, reading Regency and Orkney material for another fantasy novel, reading the ebook files for the first two Harmony books just to make sure there are no hidden disasters.
    4) Buying eye drops.

    July 28, 2017
  11. I’m the “Camp Certified Adult” for my daughter’s Girl Scout troop and we’re taking a bunch of Brownies camping this weekend. Whee. (I like camping, hence getting certified, but this is the pilot trip and it should be interesting…)

    July 28, 2017
    • Oh, that does sound *interesting.* May the experience not be the start of a story!

      July 28, 2017
      • thephantom182 #

        Indeed. My the boredom be broken by periods of blissful sleep.

        July 28, 2017
        • I remembered to pack the nice mattress for me. My daughter, who is much lighter, can do with the inflatable.

          July 28, 2017
      • Thankfully, the leader is “risk management” certified, so I don’t have to do the paperwork end. And honestly, it’s not the hardest thing in the world, it’s just that packing is a bear since this is the first time I’m making sure that the troop has everything. (And family camping was mostly in my parents’ day, so I don’t have the experience of making sure *I* have everything.)

        As for story time, I was a summer camp counselor for four years. I have stories.

        July 28, 2017
  12. paladin3001 #

    Currently have two “short” stories steeping before I go edit them. One a low fantasy (needs a lot of work I think), the other is a kind of humor science fiction. WIP’s? Well, there’s the steampunk/alt his story that’s currently being rewritten. Bogged down in some research currently which will hopefully be kick started by a trip to a steam festival next week. Then there’s the second short story I started with the same characters I used for the humor story. Then there’s the futuristic (trying hard not to make it grey goo) collapsing earth civilization novel that I am trying to work on as well. Then there’s an urban fantasy story that nudged me that’s going to require a fair bit of research into Christian mythology (demons, angels, war etc.)
    Oh, and there’s another short story that needs a touch rewriting/fleshing out and a previous work that appears to be dead in the water. Needs a lot more rewriting in order for it to be considered workable.

    July 28, 2017
  13. Putting the finishing touches on the first cover in a series. The artwork turned out really well, but I want to try some subtle tweaks. The bigger issue is font licensing. I ended up buying fonts that come with a commercial license, but so far haven’t found a close match.

    I thought font sources and licensing had come up either here or at According to Hoyt, but I haven’t been able to find it. If someone happens to have a link to a previous post, it would certainly be appreciated.

    I’m also working on the map that goes with the book. Here I’m about ready to reach for my square nib calligraphy pen and do the lettering. Can – or could – do a “hand” that matches the period. The map could be a time sink, even though I’m restricting it to the area where the novel takes place. Seriously thinking of looking for tracing paper, draw part of it by hand, scan it, and overlay it on the other artwork.

    Speaking of time sinks, had the idea of placing simple line art beneath the title of each chapter. This novel is in the juvenile to early YA range, so maybe some simple graphics would be a plus. This came out of a final reading where one of the kids finally realized what a gemshorn is, and I though about doing a simple illustration at the start of the chapter to give readers an idea. All that ends up making an e-book bigger.

    The kids had a talk with me last night about how each novel becomes progressively darker. I was actually making it progressively more realistic as they grew older, but they may have a point. They think it would be better for that age range. Thought of a new ending for the last novel that gives it a brighter tone, and will jot that down, which will give it a brighter tone.

    That’s further down the line. The goal now is to prepare the first two, release the first maybe in January, but I want to have the actual e-book done way earlier. Toying with completing a stand-alone story that’s basically a Christmas advertisement, but that may be wasted effort as short stories don’t sell well.

    July 28, 2017
    • Josh Griffing #

      If you want a handwritten font that LOOKS like one and has no licensure restrictions, go to and download “Fountain Pen Frenzy.” There are plenty of other good free fonts there with commercial licenses (you can even filter for commercial use), but I know about that one because I made it myself in college with an actual fountain pen and a flatbed scanner (and stuff). You don’t even have to give me credit: the folks who put it on T-shirts for Wally-World never do.

      July 29, 2017
      • Actually, I’m just from the days when that was the only available way to letter projects. On the drafting level were templates and a pantograph device known as a Leroy ™, and for photo ready work something called a Kroy ™ that was like a modern flat tape label maker but much larger. For posters it was pencil guides, sketch letters, and ink. In high school I would do a black letter and something that looked like a cross between humanist and unicial on my notebook covers using a fountain pen, and later moved to a cartridge calligraphy pen, then to Speedball ™ but never mastered the latter. I was just intending to fall back on tried and true, scan it, and convert to bezier curves if necessary. A pain, but better than nothing.

        Fortunately I found a font on Font Squirrel, double checked the downloaded license, and used that for the cover. For clarity reasons, I also used it for the map, though it’s not period.

        BTW, Even though Font Squirrel says its fonts are free for commercial use, always check the license in the downloaded file. There was one font that I liked, but the license basically said “We can’t find the owner of this one.” Yikes. I chose one that the license explicitly said was free for commercial use.

        July 30, 2017
  14. Christopher M. Chupik #

    Two short stories on the go, one SF, the other Fantasy.

    July 28, 2017
  15. Dan Z #

    1.) Working on an alt-history series that is part of a larger story universe. I’m not the fastest writer, so I figure having a bit of a backlog is a good thing.
    2.) Tinkering with a basic publishing schedule in Excel to get a feel for what a good backlog might be.
    3.) Wondering if I am going about this all wrong…
    4.) Taking a break to read the Mad Genius Club blog for a bit of inspiration.
    5.) Going back to #1 because the next scene just snapped into focus and I want to write it down before I forget.

    July 28, 2017
  16. Mike Houst #

    Writing a sonnet for my wife.

    It puts food on the table, just not the way people normally think of it.

    July 28, 2017
    • Only if she likes the sonnet.


      July 28, 2017
  17. Hmm, if I put down here that means that I’m ready to talk about right?

    The second story in the UF my sister and I are working on has stalled, it is a bit more complicated than we are ready for at this time. In the mean time I’ve been working on and off on a different project. Space Opera is the closest I can determine. Set sometime in the distant future or maybe the past, using a race that I created over 20 years ago – A genetically engineered race that is used as warriors/soldiers, athletes or servants. Legally they are Indentured servants, but in truth paying back the debt is all but impossible. I’m following the life of one of these people from her youth to the point where she helps start a type of underground railroad.

    I keep getting side tacked with research. Every time I think I am ready to ready to do “serious” writing, I find something else to look up. Who knew the history of the Geisha was so interesting? Or how casually the Romans were about slaves? Oh, I still need to find a way to blunt 1.5 inch fangs with removing the teeth and where the heck am I going to put that mark so that it is visible and can’t be removed, but does not mar the appearance, I need to find those ship designs, and how in heck am I going to keep this from being talking heads all the time …

    What were we talking about again?

    July 28, 2017
  18. Dorothy Grant #

    I did squats, overhead press, and deadlifts this morning. I am now at Day Job. In the few hours between, I got in a shower, a load of laundry washed and stuffed in the dryer, dinner started in the crockpot (barbacoa beef), the garden watered and the tomato cage propped up yet again where the wind blew it over.

    I should be trying to write another 150 words, to get something down on paper. It’s a fairly non-emergency day at day job. But mostly I’m just sitting here trying to memorize some changes soon to be implemented, and feeling exhausted.

    July 28, 2017
  19. Let’s see, got back from vacation about two weeks ago. Trying to get back into writing. Working on writing one story, rewriting another, with a third on backburner, because my editor friend thinks it belongs after the other two.

    Managed to get my work to start giving me three days a week off. Which is good, because being at work 5 days a week at 4 a.m. was taking a toll on my thinking ability.

    July 28, 2017
  20. Finally kicked the Time Travel story out the door last week. Initial flight was not bad, Now we’ll see if it has legs.

    I’m trying to break the habit I got into while rushing off frequently to care for my parents, of writing shorter work. The habit is . . . proving tough to budge. But I have five shorts in my main series, four of which are thematically similar enough to shuffle them all into something a bit larger and hopefully more satisfying.

    The next big book that I ought to be writing is not speaking to me at present.

    So I’m updating covers. Keeps me out of trouble.

    July 28, 2017
    • Mary #

      There’s always collections.

      July 28, 2017
    • mrsizer #

      Great book – if a bit brain twisting. I didn’t mention it in my review, but nice ending. I can’t tell if there will be a sequel or not; it could go either way.

      July 31, 2017
  21. Mostly adding snippets to modern world history.

    July 28, 2017
  22. On hold with everything while I get adjusted to new day job. If I can get through the ramp-up, I’ll be perfect, but… oh, jeez, these first few weeks are going to be rough. (Picking up the endlessly-changeable, endlessly-changing arcana when no one’s written almost any of it down…)

    But my short with the medium and the murder victim who isn’t talking (but isn’t going away) started budging. And I think part of the reason my ending on the novel is weak might be that I’m trying to squeeze in too much resolution; I’d always pictured it as a standalone, but I’m wondering if it’s actually got a sequel in it.
    But I’m also frustrated that I keep thinking about it, since I think I’m supposed to have it out-of-mind to be fresh when I edit. Agh.

    I hope I’m up to this job. I feel completely inadequate so far. (But hopefully once I get my permissions it’ll improve.)

    July 28, 2017
  23. Mary #

    Too many projects.

    1. Revising a story to put up for the writers’ group, in hopes of getting the collection out this year. (The other two stories are through the writers’ group and ready to go as soon as I have another to plump up the volume.)
    2. Typing up a draft of a massive-cross-over fairy tale retelling with the rule that NONE of the Pop Top 20 tales appear in it. (No, the three balls are NOT Cinderella. I stole them from Little Catskin and Kate Crackernuts.) Hope to get out this year.
    3. Outlining a superhero story
    4. Writing the first draft of a high fantasy where some wizard pupils fall afoul of evil wizards and have to survive.
    5. some little things I am working on with vignettes.
    6. Finishing the fifth draft of a novel for the writers’ group. Also hope to get out this year.

    Maybe saying it in public will encourage me to get myself in gear.

    July 28, 2017
  24. I managed to not die today, which at one point seemed like a major accomplishment.

    July 29, 2017
    • Christopher M. Chupik #


      July 29, 2017

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