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    Melody of the Fates

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Hymn of Home
Writing first draft...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Status Update

It's been a while since I posted an update, so I thought I would drop back in. Unfortunately, I haven't kept up the pace from earlier in the year, and am sitting at 56k words in HoH. The good news is that is still further along. The bad news is that I likely won't finish the draft this year unless something significantly changes about my situation. I love writing and really want to put out some more books, but it is very difficult, especially when it is not your primary occupation. I have a lot of respect for the people who are able to make/find time to bring their stories to life. For me, writing has always been more "hobby" than "job," as I have a solid day job that provides for myself and my family. That has to come first. The good thing about writing is that, long after I've retired from my day job, I should still be able to write. I have no intention of giving it up, and will finish these stories, even if I have to have a George RR Martin-esque amount of time between each one.

Anyway, thanks to anyone still lurking around here. It means a lot. And there are a lot of you who have encouraged me either in person or online and I appreciate it. As I said, not stopping. Just moving more slowly than I'd like.
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Monday, April 11, 2016

HoH Update

So, wanted to drop a quick update. I've been dutifully writing whenever I get the chance, and am right around 30k words written for the first draft of Hymn of Home. I'm shooting to have things wrapped up somewhere around 100k words, so I'm on pace to have the draft written this year. I'd like to improve my pace so I can get it actually released, but we shall see. Time is always at a premium. At least I'm chipping away at it, right?
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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Back on the Job

So it took me almost a year, but I finally got around to updating the print cover for Melody of the Fates. It is now live via Createspace. I had a lot going on last year, so not a lot got done writing-wise, but my goal this year is to get another book out! I'm hard at work writing the next installment of the Symphony of Two Keys. It will be called Hymn of Home. Here's a look at the new MotF print cover as well as a sneak peek at the HoH cover. You can see how I've come up with a theme to continue with this series. Anyway, if you're still hanging around, thanks and hope you enjoy!

New Print Version
Hymn of Home Preview

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Electronic Version Update

Just a quick announcement: I updated my electronic versions... so on Amazon you will now find Melody of the Fates with the new cover. Also, everywhere Smashwords distributes.

I only made a few slight edits to the manuscript. Fixed a couple typos. The only major change is that I removed the italicized flashback in Chapter 1. I felt it was really unnecessary and clunky. Plus, it doesn't really alter the narrative in anyway, as it was just back story.

If you already bought the ebook and want an updated copy for free, shoot me an email. I can get you a Smashwords code. I eventually want to update the print version, but that is a lot more tricky and will take me some time.

Thanks for reading!
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cover Update

I've been re-reading Fates' Motif, which I'm re-titling as Melody of the Fates, and have actually started writing Hymn of Home, the second book in the series. It's been a long vacation, and I feel like some updating is in order.

One of the things I wanted to do was rework the cover design for Melody. I wanted to go with something that I could thematically use across the series to keep things simple and give the books all a similar look. I'm excited about what I came up with.

On Wattpad and WriteOn (the two places I'm "live writing"), I've already updated the cover. I'm going to eventually change all my "for sale" place, but am not in a hurry. If you have one of the previous covers, you can consider it a "limited edition." The story will be the same, I'm just improving the cover (I think).

Anyway, here's what I'm going with for Melody:
The shards are central to the major plotline, so I wanted to feature them prominently. I thought they were a good non-human focus. (I don't like to have humans on the cover, because I want readers to be able to picture characters how they want. Plus it's really hard to find stock photos to match what is in your hear. If I had a really good custom artist, maybe I'd feel differently.)

To give you an idea how this will work for the series, here's what I mocked up for Hymn of Home:
I have a total of five possible images that are all variations on the same shape but different colors, so I could do five covers with this basic design (I'm planning to only need four).  I thought they were cool, simple, and will make consistent covers across the series.

Writing will probably go a lot slower for me than the covers did, but here's hoping I'm back on the horse.
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Working Update

It has been a while since I've written here. A lot of personal stuff happened and it's been challenging to balance. I wanted to note that I've been doing some background work that is probably not so evident here. I wanted to change some things up.

Fates' Motif is going to be re-titled Melody of Fates. I didn't like the plural apostrophe. It may sound silly, but it's too complicated for a title that doesn't roll of the tongue. Whereas MoF fits better with what I'm wanting to do for the other books in the series (I've been doing some serious background plotting).

Other than that, I want to change the cover look as well. I've working with some graphic designers to get something I really like. We'll see how it goes.

I may not write regularly on here, but wanted to leave this note. My journal is still going monthly, and I've been re-reading MoF to help me start writing the second book in the series. I'm posting chapters for free as I go through them at Wattpad here, so feel free to read along and comment. Otherwise, I'll answer through here but I may not post as much until I have some real news.

As always, thanks for reading and hopefully I'll get my writing output back up to where I wanted to be in the not-so-distant future.
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Friday, July 12, 2013

Hope You Had A Nice Holiday

I know I did. Lots of lake and sun. Minimal work. Who doesn't like holidays?

I did get back to the routine this week, though work has been super busy. I don't have a whole lot to say about the latest piece. It actually was pretty rough and I spent a good amount of time editing it and adding a bit to it. It's a bit longer than my last few excerpts, too.

Did I make Damian awkward enough? Generally dialog is supposed to be a fictional representation of "real speak." That is, when writing dialog, I try to avoid a lot of the verbal foibles we're all prone to. The um's, the ah's, the awkward pauses.

There are a lot of those here. I'm hoping it's not too annoying. I was shooting for awkwardly cute.

I also break up the dialog with a lot of tags, again playing up the awkward. Except for the rambling part. That's all mashed together. Does it stick out?

That's all for this week. Hope you have a great weekend!
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A Healthy Glow

The glow around Genny seemed to diminish when her dark eyes lit upon Damian.

Glow? his mind questioned, but Damian shrugged it off. He was still jittery from his recent encounter, and needed to calm the hell down. The transition from dark hotel room to bright hallway was causing him to squint. He rubbed at his eyes, begging them to adjust, and considered what else to say.

Don't let her in, Inigo reminded.

Duh, Damian answered. But why is she here?

As if in compensation for the fading brilliance, Genny’s smile put in an appearance.  “Am I interrupting?” she asked.

“Ah...” Damian fumbled. “I was just…” –he pulled his head back in and looked at the bloody mess– “… working.”

Genny raised an eyebrow. Then, she glanced to the side.

Do not let her leave, Inigo pounced. She must have come to see you! “But I could use a break,” Damian added. Then, he slithered out of the room and held the door cracked behind his back.

Genny backed up to allow him space in the narrow hallway. “You sure?” She seemed uncertain and uncomfortable.

Damian nodded. “Yeah, I was thinking about, um, getting some dinner.” As soon as it was out, he remembered the cancelled date. It was supposed to be this evening. Dinner.

He had cancelled, hadn’t he? Hopefully she wasn’t upset. It’s not like he had much of a choice.

Perhaps she thinks you are a popular man and have chosen another, Inigo said. Do not underestimate the wrath of a spurned woman!

You’re not helping, Inigo.

“Alone,” Damian said. “By myself.” –Duh– “I mean… they sent me to this work thing.  Last second notice. You know how it is. Or do you? I don't know. Probably wouldn't happen where you work. I mean the bar is a nice place and all, I like it, but I doubt they send you out to customers. Mostly they'd come in, I think. It’s probably illegal the other way. Did you get my message?”

Damian came up short of breath, and paused. In the silence, he realized he was dressed poorly. He had on the same T-shirt from the drive in. The shirt had a picture of the Kool-Aid man on it and read: Oh Yeah! He hadn’t been thinking. He’d grabbed the first thing he could find. Please God let there be no blood on this, too.

Damian looked down and found only Kool-Aid. He returned a thanks for that. And for pants. His jeans were still clean, and –more importantly– on.

Genny giggled. “You look fine.” She took a step forward and laid warm hand on Damian’s shoulder. A jolt of paralyzing electricity skittered through him. “And, yes, I got your message,” she added.

He let his tingling brain process that. “Then, why are you here?” he blurted. He slapped a hand to his mouth.

She giggled again, bless her!

Looks like she is as crazy as you are, Inigo chimed in. If she had any sense, she would be running. Not laughing.

Shut up, Inigo.

Genny shifted her feet and Damian’s heart fell with her eyes. “I'm sorry, Damian,” she said. “I just thought… maybe we could still have dinner? If not, I completely understand. It was sort of a crazy impulse, you know? And I wouldn't normally do something like this, but just thought that, well, it'd be nice.”

Damian stared. She was the one rambling now. To him. Could he be making her feel uncomfortable?

Big, brown eyes rose to meet Damian’s. In them, he saw what his mind refused to process. Vulnerability.

How could I say no?

He forced himself to start breathing again. Normally. In and out.

“Dinner. Sure. Of course. I didn't even think– I certainly didn't mean to– I mean…”

You’d love to, Inigo helped.

“I'd love to.”

The door clicked behind him as he closed it the rest of the way.
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Friday, June 28, 2013

A Light In The Attic

Damian glanced down. His clothing looked like a bad piece of modern art. He didn’t recall getting spattered with blood, but there it was.

It would not do to receive a lady so attired, Inigo chimed in.

Damian sent the voice a metaphysical eye-roll and began scrambling around the room. Dancing around the bodies and blood, he stripped off his speckled clothing and tossed it in the vague direction of the trash can. He’d take care of it later. A quick glance in the mirror confirmed that his face had escaped the art show, miraculously. There was only a small crimson line on his neck from the knife.

Damian scrubbed anyway. He felt dirty. Really, really dirty. Like he’d run a marathon on a sweltering day. Through mud. While wearing a sweater and chewing gum retrieved from the bottom of a park bench.

I’ll brush my teeth while I’m at it, he reasoned.

Hoping for a kiss? Inigo asked.

The surprising thought drove Damian’s knee into the bathroom counter. He cursed. Then, he threw a hand over his mouth and stared at his own reflection, wide-eyed. What must this all sound like outside in the hallway?

He leaned warily out of the bathroom and eyed door. A ray of light filtered through the peep-hole. Damian followed it to where it terminated on the back of a dead henchman’s skull. Like a sniper’s dot. Or the Staff of Ra showing Indy where the Ark is hidden.

“Damian?” Genny’s voice called.

Damian flinched. After a brief paused for a deep breath, he stepped up to the door. Turning the knob slowly, he cracked it and poked his head out.

Radiant and resplendent, Genny hovered just beyond the door, a concerned look furrowing her dark eyebrows. Damian wanted to reach out and smooth them. She shouldn’t worry about him. He was Master of Lamps!

Oh, ho! Perhaps you’d like to use some of your newfound confidence to speak to the lady? Inigo prompted

“Uh, hi?” Damian tried.
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The Dog Was Supposed To Be Named Indiana

This section is mostly new. I needed a bridge between the original two scenes so it was a bit more fluid when put together in book format. So I whipped this up yesterday. Had a little fun with it. It's not every day you get to allude to the Staff of Ra. (Yes. I love Indiana Jones. Perhaps too much.)

I had a little fun with the dirty part too. Park bench gum is totally gross. And I imagine that fighting two henchmen with burning eyes in your room would make you a little sweaty. Plus it's Damian's first time killing anyone. I doubt he looks as dirty as he feels, but you'll have that.

(Side note: I was proud of myself. I scheduled this ahead of time since I anticipated being busy Friday. Go me.)
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Friday, June 21, 2013

I'm Back

Missed a couple Fridays, I know. I went to Disney World with my family. It was pretty fun. But I'm back now, so I need to keep this up.

We left Damian for dead last time... but wait a minute! He's not. Duh. Wouldn't be much of a story if I killed off the protagonist so early. Unless I'm channeling George RR Martin, I guess.

Note the completely different outcome from a thrown knife this time. It is actually pretty difficult to throw a knife and kill someone, despite what the movies say. Not that I've tried a whole lot on real (possibly inhuman) targets. I imagine Damian hasn't, either.

Nothing quite so indecent as two dead bodies on the floor, eh? Genny has impeccable timing.
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Knock, Knock.

Damian burst out of his body and hovered above it. Well, not quite. His eyes were still closed. He could still feel the big man on top of him. He just… wasn't himself. He felt detached. Like when the doctors had instructed him to take “happy pills” as a child.

I'm dead, he reasoned. His voice seemed to echo as if from a distance. Where's the light? I know there’s supposed to be a light. I want to go toward it!

Except Damian wasn't dead. His body was still resisting. The knife had stopped alongside his throat, pressing hard but drawing no blood. He could still feel it. It was just... blurry. Could a feeling be blurry?

“Help me,” his mouth growled. It was Inigo's voice that came out, not Damian’s.

What? How? Damian asked, but the response he got was incongruous to the question asked.


Tossing aside his metaphysical concerns for a moment, Damian zeroed in on the command. He couldn't feel any arms and legs. How could he push? Dutifully, he focused on the concept of pushing. Muscle against muscle. Mind over matter.

Righty's knife slipped back an inch, as if the henchman’s strength was suddenly lessened.

Or if my strength has increased? Damian's eyes opened. The rage on Righty’s face had been replaced by something else. Fear?

“Push,” Inigo reminded him.

He renewed his focus. The knife retreated another small bit. Righty ground his teeth. The bigger man was losing. Suddenly, he rolled off of Damian. That quickly, the threat of death was gone. Righty thumped onto the floor. He scrambled to his feet, and made for the door.

He's fleeing? Damian leaped off the bed and retrieved his knife. He casually flipped it around so that his fingers rested gingerly along the blade. Without hesitation, he flung it. It found the space between Righty's shoulder blades a scant two steps before the big man reached the door. Righty toppled forward with a thump.

Silence crashed in. Damian stood, dumbfounded, and settled back into his own body. His limbs tingled as if blood was resuming its circulation. He shook out the pins and needles.

There were two dead bodies on the floor.

Knock, knock.

It took Damian a moment to realize that the knocks weren't in his head. By that time, they'd sounded again. He crept toward the door. A strong voice called from the other side.


Damian froze. It was a female voice.

“Genny?” he called out.

A quick glance through the peephole confirmed his guess. He jumped back. How did she find me?

“Are you all right in there?” came the concerned voice from the hallway. “I heard a thump.”

“Yeah... uh... just a moment. Let me get... ah... decent,” he answered.

He turned around.

There were two dead bodies on the floor.
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Friday, May 31, 2013

Laughing in the Face of Death

One of the things I've tried to do with Damian as a POV character is to let loose his oddities on our narration. The way his brain works isn't too far from my own (what with the voices and all), and I enjoy word-nerdy things like alliteration, puns, and pithy sarcasm. Generally speaking, if you have a straight-laced POV character and then throw in the crap that I'm throwing in, it would stick out and be thematically incorrect. I'm hoping that by letting Damian be Damian, I'm also allowing myself to have a little fun with the prose without jarring the reader out of the story.

This scene is a perfect example of that. Fights are serious business. Right? And yet, I have some random metaphors and groan-worthy alliteration thrown in. I think it's fun. A literary stickler would probably lambaste me. I subscribe to the "write what you would want to read" theory, and these are tiny little jokes that make me cackle. Even in the middle of a serious fight.

Jim Butcher is, in my opinion, a master of this. I love his Harry Dresden novels, wherein the main POV character's peculiarities are completely embraced and provide for some hilarious jokes within jokes. Emulation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I'm definitely trying to channel my inner Butcher here. (And it has nothing to do with fine meats.)

Damian is no Dresden, but I like to think they'd get along if they ever met in person. Harry would be dry. Damian shy. But how often do you get to meet a wizard?!
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What Death Sounds Like

Righty stepped back and coiled his arm to strike again. Damian's feet danced away. Damian leveled out his weapon and balanced on the balls of his feet, ready for any dish to be served in this deadly feast. Righty delivered a ripe, overhand thrust, aiming the blade down at Damian's face. The oaf had apparently eaten his fill of finesse and was hungry for a main laden with brute strength.

Panic took control. Damian saw the knife in his hand and pictured dozens of movies he'd seen. As Righty came charging, he emulated them and threw the knife, end over end. It spun through the air, time slowing and light glinting off the sharp blade. The camera pivoted one-eighty on the blade as it hit the big man in the chest.

With the hilt. Which, of course, did not stick in like an assassin’s airborne offering, but instead bounced off harmlessly and clanged to the floor. Righty kept right on coming.

Damian caught a meaty wrist with both hands and they toppled onto the bed. The big man was on top, leveraging his weapon down. It would be over soon. This was not the movies. That knife swung down far faster than it should.

Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, Damian prayed.

Do I have to do everything? Inigo whined. Clear your mind!


Just do it.

Damian closed his eyes and tried not to focus on the blade bearing down on him. Mere seconds and it would be over. Over! He would be murdered in a hotel room. He could feel the cold steel on his chin, the blade sliding along as it went after the soft flesh of his throat. What's the use? Damian gave up.

He heard a pop.

So that's what death sounds like...
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Focus

As the day winds down, I struggled to get this part out. I actually wrote some new stuff this week, but wanted to stick to this scene. Originally, there was a bit more which I'll post next week. Just didn't get to it today.

Fight scenes generally fly out of my fingers and then need a good deal of editing. There tends to be a lot of little, stylistic annoyances. Like redundant words. I also tried to tighten things up a bit. One of the tricks to good fight scene tension (any tension really) is to keep your sentences short and almost choppy. Not so much that it's annoy, just enough that the reader is pushed from one idea to the next. It can add a "frantic" feel when done right, which is entirely appropriate for a fight.

I remember when this scene first came to mind, I had reached a point in the story where I was like "now what?" When in doubt... fight scene! It's not totally gratuitous. There is a reason these baddies are tracking Damian. And there's always reason to kill when you're an evil henchman, am I right?

More next week! I'm trying to get back into things!
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