mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
I haven't blog in quite some time, it seems. I've developed a love/hate relationship with social media, and I seem to be in a hate phase right now. I should probably take one of those social media sabbaticals I sometimes go on. I think I need to get away from Facebook, G+, and Twitter. Not so much my blog and Live Journal (though Live Journal doesn't seem very alive anymore). The problem is all my friends and family are on social media and it's just easier to keep up with them that way. And now there is this Ello thing I should sign up for, never mind the fact that I've avoided Tumblr since it's inception.

The novel is still moving along. I have the third section outlined, so all I need to do is find some time to settle in and write the rest of the first draft. Once that's done, I'll need to connect the three sections together, which I suspect will take some serious time and work. I am also editing a third anthology for the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, which should be out in early 2015, probably in time for Minicon's 50 anniversary convention. I have all the stories picked out and am waiting for the last of the contracts to arrive before writing my editorial and front-of-book matter and sending everything off to the copy editor.

For those of you playing the home game, Minnesota Fringe Festival went well. I thought the show was well received and though we were better some nights than others, we never had a bad performance. I was reasonably pleased with my own performances over the festival. I also have at least one and possibly two more storytelling gigs lined up before the end of the year. I will post more information here once things are official. I am also working on the script for a play I plan to submit on spec to a science fiction theatre festival in Los Angeles. We will see if anything comes of it.

I've been doing some thinking about where I am as an artist. I pulled out a story I've been working on off and on for the last 2 years, and I found I liked the style and voice I was exploring in that story more than the style I am using in my current novel. I'm not sure the style in the short story (very baroque and ornamental) would work for this novel, which seems to need plain, straightforward, almost invisible language, but I do miss playing with tone and style and voice in ways I normally do not.

I have also been thinking about how despite the fact that I strongly identify as a prose writer first, as a spoken-word performer second, and all other arts I pursue a veryvery distant third, I will make more money as a spoken-word performer again this year. It has me thinking about career path. My last two royalty statements from Harlequin haven't included a check because my sales have slumped. I suspect those two books are quite reasonably played out after 3 and 4 years on the market and none of my newer stuff has moved well, though I can lay a lot of the blame for that at my own feet. I just haven't had the energy lately to get out and market and pitch and shill and flog and hand sell like I have with other books.

I've been reading Jeff Vandemeer's BookLife and it has me thinking serious thinky thoughts about my identity as an artist, and artist's statements, and planning how to reach my goals. I don't need to make a ton of money to be able to stop working part-time. I fully acknowledge that I have an advantage with drawing SSDI and being on Medicare, but it is an advantage I pay for by being blind, so I don't feel all that bad about it. The thing is, I've hit a point a decade into my writing career (how the hell did a decade pass?) where I find myself hard up against the question of pursuing my passion versus dealing with my personal finances.

If I want to keep doing this being a writer and performer, I need to change my approach.

That was gloomier than I meant for it to be. Here, have a word meter to show I'm still passionate about my current project.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ghosts Of the Places We Live

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Oney)
Another not very good week for working on the novel. I need to figure out some kind of writing schedule, but my personal life seems to be in such a constant state of changing gears that I can't find stability in the chaos to work. I'm too tired after work. Weekends are always packed. My two days off seem to evaporate in housework and daily minutia.

It's starting to drive me a little nuts. I get a little nuts when I'm not writing. Maybe more than a little nuts.

Went to the Pratt Community Ice Cream Social last Friday. I did not climb the Witch's Tower water tower, instead hanging out in the park while the rest of my crew climbed up to the observation deck. I found myself having interesting conversation with charming strangers who would come and share the picnic table I was at. Saturday we the first production meeting for the Minnesota Fringe Festival show I'm going to be in this year. We are rolling along, and I expect we shall have a read-through of our stories pretty soon.

1. 1700 words written.
2. Went back and added to a couple of scenes in the 1979 section.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ghosts Of the Places We Live

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Streetcar)
Sometimes life and fiction are a little odd. In my novel Last Car to Annwn Station there is a scene where Mae is in Uptown and runs into Jill. Mae wants to walk over to Dunn Brothers Coffee, but Jill convinces her to go to Muddy Paws instead for both coffee and cheesecake. This scene, which includes them being chased by the Cwn Annwn, is the one I read to audiences.

Muddy Paws closed before the novel came out, and I wrestled with maybe moving the location, but after some discussion with first readers and other writers, left it in as a sort of "Ah!" thing for locals who remember Muddy Paws with fondness. The shop has been sat empty for years.

Well, things come full circle. Last Saturday while riding the bus to the first production meeting for the Minnesota Fringe Festival show I'm going to be in, I saw that Dunn Brothers is moving into the space Muddy Paws vacated. In honor of the new location and with a nod to the ways fiction and life intersect, I thought I'd post that except here. If you are interested, you can pick up Last Car in ebook format at Carina Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and in audio format at Audible.

Last Car to Annwn Except Behind This Cut )
mmerriam: (Oney)
Another week of poor writing metrics. I am hopeful things are turning around now that I've figured out why I had stalled. I didn't get as much writing done as I would have liked over the holiday weekend, but sometimes that's just the way life goes.

1. Wrote about 1700 words.
2. Untangled a plot knot.
3. Made a realization about one of my characters.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ghosts Of the Places We Live

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Oney)
So. Minnesota Fringe Festival. That's a thing I'm going to be in again this year. The "Invisible People" show I'm part of came in off the waitlist. "Invisible People" as in people other people like to pretend don't exist. Like, you know, gimps like me. I am thrilled and a little scared.

My acoustic bass has picked up a nasty buzzing noise. I'm going to have to get it looked at by a real luthier, when I have some spare cash. In the meantime, I'll get the electric bass back out of the closet.

Finished reading the entire Randell Garrett "Lord Darcy" set of stories and novel. Enjoyed it a lot. Also went to see Walking Shadow Theatre Company's adaptation of The Three Muskateers. It was great rollicking fun and still has a week left in the run. Go see it!

Not much writing this week. A little over 1000 words. I can remember a time when I wrote that many words in a day. Still, forward movement is forward movement.

1. Wrote 1100 words
2. Made a 1920s music playlist
3. Worked on the notes I collected from the Oney Facebook Community.
4. Outlined most of the rest of the 1929 section.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ghosts Of the Places We Live

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.

Dark Waters

Apr. 4th, 2014 05:49 pm
mmerriam: (Dark Water)
11 Dark Waters

Richard Martz is a bitter ex-mage cursed as punishment for the destruction of his previous magical coven. Richard is reluctantly drawn back into the word of magic and intrigue when he is approached by Holly Ellefson, daughter of a human mage. Holly is also part-fey, a bloodline taboo by both custom and treaty.

Agreeing to protect Holly, Richard pits his erratic, broken magic against the Twin Cities Magical Council. As Holly gains control over her fey abilities and the magical powers inherited from her mother, she discovers her family's deep secrets: secrets the Magical Council would rather stay buried.

Caught between multiple enemies, Richard and Holly race to unravel the mystery of Holly's heritage while healing the wounds of Richard's tragic past, even as the forces arrayed against them tighten their grip, threatening death—or worse—should Richard or Holly fall into their hands.

Dark Waters is available at
Alban Lake Publishing.
mmerriam: (Type)
I'm lining up my next project. It's been awhile since I've written a novel (I've been focused on novellas, plays, and spoken-word pieces) and I'm looking for a project that has the potential to get me back into a major publisher. I haven't written a novel since the late-lamented monster-hunting barista project (which never seemed to jell) and I think I've been a little reticent to tackle a novel again. I also had the problem of not having a novel project that really thrilled me. I kept poking at the Spear of Destiny novel, but I can't work up the level of enthusiasm for it I need for a longer project.

What I really wanted to work on was the rural fantasy novella. You know, the one about a haunted abandoned school, small town secrets going back two or three generations, a class reunion, interfering ghosts, and lost loves. That one.

But I really felt I needed to get back to writing novels and this was shaping up to be a longish novella. I put it aside and started poking at my ideas folder and at completed but unpolished drafts of other pieces. A couple of the ideas and bits of free writing revealed themselves to be part of the rural fantasy story. I added them to the folder and closed it again.

So you guys remember that contemporary non-HEA romance coming-of-age novella I wrote a little while back? The one I had no idea what to do with and what the hell am I doing writing a mainstream novella anyway project? I finished it and had a couple of different endings, but was never satisfied with any of the endings I'd written. There was a lot of good stuff in the pieces, but not much of a payoff.

I reread it this week and realized it was part of that rural fantasy. The damned thing is two or three interwoven novellas of various lengths that make a novel length narrative. I've already written about 30K of the novel.

I'm outlining and brainstorming and thinking hard about what I want for this story. Once I've got some good stuff, I plan go back and rework the weird west novella so I can get it to market and then jump on this rural fantasy story.

Sadly, I've already had one set back in that a fairly rare and low-print run reference/history book about the Oney, Oklahoma community from 1901 to 1980 that I wanted to buy was already sold by the dealer who had listed a copy. I've found other copies, but for about twice as much (or more) as I am willing and able to pay. I could try to borrow the book through inter-library loan (it would have to come from either the Southwestern Oklahoma State Library or the Great Plains system in western Oklahoma), but I really wanted the book at my side during the whole process.

Alas, we all know what the Rolling Stones said.

Still, I shall carry on. Because this is a project I'm excited about.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
It is Caturday, and Mr. Belyn would like to know if you have read his human's books? Every time you buy one of his human's books, Mr. Belyn gets a treat, and he thinks that is the Greatest Thing Ever!

IMAG0097
mmerriam: (Hide)
Jack filled out a series of forms, and an orderly wheeled him into one of the many identical rooms upstairs. He was settled on the bed, poked with an IV, and left alone. He had the room to himself and was considering turning on the television hanging from the wall when William Saskey appeared, sitting in the lone chair in the corner of the room.

"Estonko," Will said in his native Creek, asking Jack how he was doing.

"The hell!" Jack sat up.

"Jack, you know that's not what you're supposed to say." Will Saskey laughed; a deep, full laugh that Jack was comfortably familiar with. Will would laugh at any situation, no matter how serious. "You know the ritual greeting. I say Estonko and you say—"

"You're dead," Jack interrupted.

Will's brow furled in mock concentration. "Did the ritual change while I was gone?"

"I'm talking to a dead man," Jack muttered.

"Yeah, so?" Will replied, his brown eyes dancing with unconcealed mirth.

"This isn't right." Jack reached for the call button to the nurse's desk.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Will said, suddenly serious. "What do you plan to tell the nurse when she shows up? Sorry to bother you, but I'm being annoyed by my dead friend, and I wondered if you could ask him to leave?" Will snorted. "You could kiss going home in the morning good-bye. I doubt you really want to stay here any longer than you have to, and I'm sure you don't want to get locked up in the nut ward."

Jack withdrew his hand from the button. He looked at Will, who seemed content to wait for Jack to come to some kind of decision.

"So am I dead?" Jack asked, really wanting to know.

Will's smile returned. "Why would you think you're dead? I mean besides the fact that you're in a hospital after an accident, talking to your friend who died thirteen years ago?" Will paused for effect before continuing the conversation. "You're not dead, Jack. And before you ask, you're not hallucinating either."

"Then what am I?"

"A little lost."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Old Blood's Fate Old Blood's Fate is available inHardcover, Softcover, and, ebook

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
Just what the title says. Artema Press. is running a Goodreads Giveaway for three copies of Old Blood's Fate.

More information and how to enter at this Link Link.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
I am pleased to announce that I have signed the contract, and my novel Old Blood's Fate will be published by Artema Press. We have a very aggressive timeline, planning to have the book ready for sale by the end of March. The editor plans to have my edits to me by this weekend. I plan to complete them as quickly as humanly possible.

Here is the cover art!09 Old Blood's Fate

For those of you playing our home game, you might remember Old Blood's Fate as the first novel I wrote, finishing the first draft in 2005. It was big and bloated and broken, and I didn't have the skills and tools to make it right. I've spent the last 8 or so years tinkering with it, rewriting it again and again as I hone my craft and develop my abilities as a writer, cutting it down from a monstrous 160,000 words to 85, 000. I ripped out entire plot lines, killed a variety of subplots, and took out a whole slew of characters until I finally had something I could be pleased to put in front of readers.

From the Publisher:
As a story that entwines Native American folklore with the lives of two extraordinary mortals, the plot leaves nothing less at stake than the fate of human reality--not to mention human existence.

Look for Old Bloods Fate in hardcover, softcover, and ebook, forthcoming in March, 2013.


If I said I was pleased, it would be an understatement.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.

Continuity

Aug. 22nd, 2012 09:36 pm
mmerriam: (Coffee)
It is a bear sometimes.

My "Mage Duel on a Bus" novella has ground to halt. Not only am I unsure of the ending, but I need to work out the continuity of not only the novella, but where it fits and how it affects and is affected by all the other pieces in this setting.

oof dah...

I suppose this is the danger of writing stories using the same setting. You build a mythology and continuity and you have to live with it once you've published a piece. Or several pieces that are part of a larger whole. I've been writing and selling stories in my Magical Twin Cities setting since 2005. I've sold 13 short stories and one novel using this setting. I've written three yet-to-be-sold novels, outlined three more novels, and now have this novella as part of the setting. I have a lot invested in this Magical Twin Cities setting (Beloved Spouse says I need to come up with an actual name for this setting, something unique, descriptive, and recognizable).

There is a lot of continuity to deal with.

What's worse, if the Oklahoma rural fantasies I'm writing are part of this setting (right now they don't have any published characters in common, but do share a magical system), then it adds another seven short stories and one novella to the whole mess.

Not that I'm complaining. This is a great problem to have. But it is a problem, because I have to keep everything consistent with everything else and there are stories all up and down the setting's timeline. I suppose I need to create some kind of spreadsheet or wiki or something to help me keep track of everything (characters, timeline of events, changes to the setting, rules for magic, rules for monsters, etc) going on in this setting.

And all the other settings I've been writing stories for. Besides the Magical Twin Cities setting, there is the Oklahoma Rural Fantasy setting (seven short stories, one novella, and touched on lightly in two of the MTC unsold novels), the Space Opera setting (12 short stories), the Sword and Sorcery world (The Dolenbyd Cycle, with five short stories and a yet-to-be-sold novel), the Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction / Urban Fantasy setting (two novellas and three short stories) and the Gaslights and Grimoires Steampunk setting (two novellas).

As an aside: Yes, I count yet-to-be-sold novels, novellas, and other works as being part of the continuity. I am a firm believer that I will sell everything I write. Seriously. Yes, once I sell them they will come in for some serious rewrites which may change how they affect the overall continuity of the series, but rewrites after you've sold the novel are just part of the editorial process.

So, my fellow writers, readers, tech-geeks, and friends, how would you suggest I handle keeping track of…well…everything?

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.

Continuity

Aug. 22nd, 2012 09:36 pm
mmerriam: (Coffee)
It is a bear sometimes.

My "Mage Duel on a Bus" novella has ground to halt. Not only am I unsure of the ending, but I need to work out the continuity of not only the novella, but where it fits and how it affects and is affected by all the other pieces in this setting.

oof dah...

I suppose this is the danger of writing stories using the same setting. You build a mythology and continuity and you have to live with it once you've published a piece. Or several pieces that are part of a larger whole. I've been writing and selling stories in my Magical Twin Cities setting since 2005. I've sold 13 short stories and one novel using this setting. I've written three yet-to-be-sold novels, outlined three more novels, and now have this novella as part of the setting. I have a lot invested in this Magical Twin Cities setting (Beloved Spouse says I need to come up with an actual name for this setting, something unique, descriptive, and recognizable).

There is a lot of continuity to deal with.

What's worse, if the Oklahoma rural fantasies I'm writing are part of this setting (right now they don't have any published characters in common, but do share a magical system), then it adds another seven short stories and one novella to the whole mess.

Not that I'm complaining. This is a great problem to have. But it is a problem, because I have to keep everything consistent with everything else and there are stories all up and down the setting's timeline. I suppose I need to create some kind of spreadsheet or wiki or something to help me keep track of everything (characters, timeline of events, changes to the setting, rules for magic, rules for monsters, etc) going on in this setting.

And all the other settings I've been writing stories for. Besides the Magical Twin Cities setting, there is the Oklahoma Rural Fantasy setting (seven short stories, one novella, and touched on lightly in two of the MTC unsold novels), the Space Opera setting (12 short stories), the Sword and Sorcery world (The Dolenbyd Cycle, with five short stories and a yet-to-be-sold novel), the Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction / Urban Fantasy setting (two novellas and three short stories) and the Gaslights and Grimoires Steampunk setting (two novellas).

As an aside: Yes, I count yet-to-be-sold novels, novellas, and other works as being part of the continuity. I am a firm believer that I will sell everything I write. Seriously. Yes, once I sell them they will come in for some serious rewrites which may change how they affect the overall continuity of the series, but rewrites after you've sold the novel are just part of the editorial process.

So, my fellow writers, readers, tech-geeks, and friends, how would you suggest I handle keeping track of…well…everything?

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.

Oklahoma!

Jan. 11th, 2012 04:28 pm
mmerriam: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] careswen and I traveled back to Oklahoma over the Christmas holidays to visit with family and friends. This was the first time we had been back since 2009, and [livejournal.com profile] careswen had the lovely idea that I should do some public readings and storytelling events in our old home state. It was a great idea. None of our family or friends in Oklahoma had been to one of my readings, and I was incorporating my storytelling-as-performance into what I was doing.

Long Entry With Pictures )

Oklahoma!

Jan. 11th, 2012 04:28 pm
mmerriam: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] careswen and I traveled back to Oklahoma over the Christmas holidays to visit with family and friends. This was the first time we had been back since 2009, and [livejournal.com profile] careswen had the lovely idea that I should do some public readings and storytelling events in our old home state. It was a great idea. None of our family or friends in Oklahoma had been to one of my readings, and I was incorporating my storytelling-as-performance into what I was doing.

Long Entry With Pictures )
mmerriam: (Default)
I’ve been in a bunch of different kinds of critique groups over the last 10 years (10 years!) of working as a writer. I spent several years on The Online Writers Workshop, until I started to feel like I’d gone about as far as I could with OWW and was worried about creeping group-think concerning what a story should and shouldn’t be (fyi, I still highly recommend OWW to pretty much every new writer I meet. OWW made me a competent semi-pro writer very quickly).

Then I was in a couple of different groups that exchanged informal email (international) critiques. I did this for a number of years, until they finally fell apart, like groups sometimes do. I was considering casting about for two or three people I thought I could trust to be first and beta readers, with the agreement that I would offer the same, when I was made an offer by an established local novelist group.

The novelist critique group I joined does “crits-as-they-go.” I admit to being very dubious about this. In the past my groups finished complete first and second drafts and submitted them around to members, and I am having trouble seeing how to give a deep and constructive crit when I can't see the entire form of the novel. I have trouble making deep comments when I don't know the arch of each character, how the plot unwinds, what themes reoccur, and the general tone of the piece.

If the group met to exchange pages weekly, I might feel better, since I could see the shape of the novel as it develops, but instead we have these big quarterly get-togethers, with people submitting no more than 10,000 words. Some members of the group get together once a month (or two) at a library to exchange smaller, less formal crits, usually 5K. The pace seems very slow, especially if -- like me -- your intent is to write at a clip that allows you to finish the first draft of at least two novels a year (I don’t much care for NaNoWriMo, but I do believe in the “Novel in 90” concept).

When I told them at the beginning of my membership that I was use to writing the first two complete drafts of a novel and then submitting it around to the other group members, they were stunned. One member made the comment, “You must be really sure of your novel and confidant in your skills in order to write a whole draft without any input.”

Well, yeah.

My fellow group members say this “crit-as-you-go” style helps them get insights, new ideas, and interesting points of view from a critique. That it enriches their WiP as it progresses, adds extra layers of ideas and complexity, helps them correct mistakes sooner rather than later, and allows them make a novel fuller by improving the plot and story with input from the other members.

It seems to me that all this writing really slowly with constant input is a recipe to become trapped in a cycle of rewriting, editing, rewriting, polishing, changing, rewriting, editing, rewriting and on and on. I also worry that “crit-as-you-go” might have a tendency to kill the author's unique voice -- that bit of the author that tends to come out in the early drafts when the writer is less fettered by worries like editing -- and that the writer will tend toward writing the novel the group thinks he/she is or should be writing, as opposed to the novel they would have written in early draft without constant input. This is one of the reasons I finally left The Online Writers Workshop.

On the flipside, I can see how this process would catch glaring plot holes and continuity problems early, saving the author lots of headache latter, so YMMV.

What are your thoughts on how best to get critiques for the early draft of a novel or novel-in-progress?
mmerriam: (Default)
I’ve been in a bunch of different kinds of critique groups over the last 10 years (10 years!) of working as a writer. I spent several years on The Online Writers Workshop, until I started to feel like I’d gone about as far as I could with OWW and was worried about creeping group-think concerning what a story should and shouldn’t be (fyi, I still highly recommend OWW to pretty much every new writer I meet. OWW made me a competent semi-pro writer very quickly).

Then I was in a couple of different groups that exchanged informal email (international) critiques. I did this for a number of years, until they finally fell apart, like groups sometimes do. I was considering casting about for two or three people I thought I could trust to be first and beta readers, with the agreement that I would offer the same, when I was made an offer by an established local novelist group.

The novelist critique group I joined does “crits-as-they-go.” I admit to being very dubious about this. In the past my groups finished complete first and second drafts and submitted them around to members, and I am having trouble seeing how to give a deep and constructive crit when I can't see the entire form of the novel. I have trouble making deep comments when I don't know the arch of each character, how the plot unwinds, what themes reoccur, and the general tone of the piece.

If the group met to exchange pages weekly, I might feel better, since I could see the shape of the novel as it develops, but instead we have these big quarterly get-togethers, with people submitting no more than 10,000 words. Some members of the group get together once a month (or two) at a library to exchange smaller, less formal crits, usually 5K. The pace seems very slow, especially if -- like me -- your intent is to write at a clip that allows you to finish the first draft of at least two novels a year (I don’t much care for NaNoWriMo, but I do believe in the “Novel in 90” concept).

When I told them at the beginning of my membership that I was use to writing the first two complete drafts of a novel and then submitting it around to the other group members, they were stunned. One member made the comment, “You must be really sure of your novel and confidant in your skills in order to write a whole draft without any input.”

Well, yeah.

My fellow group members say this “crit-as-you-go” style helps them get insights, new ideas, and interesting points of view from a critique. That it enriches their WiP as it progresses, adds extra layers of ideas and complexity, helps them correct mistakes sooner rather than later, and allows them make a novel fuller by improving the plot and story with input from the other members.

It seems to me that all this writing really slowly with constant input is a recipe to become trapped in a cycle of rewriting, editing, rewriting, polishing, changing, rewriting, editing, rewriting and on and on. I also worry that “crit-as-you-go” might have a tendency to kill the author's unique voice -- that bit of the author that tends to come out in the early drafts when the writer is less fettered by worries like editing -- and that the writer will tend toward writing the novel the group thinks he/she is or should be writing, as opposed to the novel they would have written in early draft without constant input. This is one of the reasons I finally left The Online Writers Workshop.

On the flipside, I can see how this process would catch glaring plot holes and continuity problems early, saving the author lots of headache latter, so YMMV.

What are your thoughts on how best to get critiques for the early draft of a novel or novel-in-progress?
mmerriam: (Default)
Because I know some of you got eReaders of one type or another for the holidays. And because as much I love writing, I also have to eat and pay bills. So here is my post-holidays marketing sales pitch for all my available books, both print and electronic.

Coffee For Your Body, Flames For Your Soul: Urban Fantasy Short Story

It came to the diner looking for a soul to devour.

At a late-night diner, the manager finds himself faced with a nightmare from his past: The Nalusachita, a mythical-creature of his Choctaw ancestors.

Determined to protect his customers from the shape-changing soul-stealer but unsure how, the manager sets out to clear the restaurant at closing time.

What neither manager or monster counted on was the eccentric patrons of the diner, and how they would react to the mythical creature…

Coffee For Your Body, Flames For Your Soul is available in ebook at Musa Publishing, Amazon, and Smashwords.

#

The Horror at Cold Springs: Steampunk / Supernatural Western Novella

When a disparate group of travelers find themselves stranded in a ghost town on the western Nebraska frontier, will they unravel the mystery of the missing townsfolk and survive to tell the tale?

The Horror at Cold Springs is available in print from The Sam's Dot Publishing Bookstore and in all ebook formats from Smashwords.

#

Last Car to Annwn Station: Urban Fantasy Novel / Paranormal Romance - Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women's Fiction Blog pick for Top Ten Books, 2011.

“The fare is ten cents, miss.”

Mae Malveaux, an attorney with Minneapolis Child Protective Services, is burnt-out, tired and frustrated. Passing on an invite from Jill, her flirtatious coworker, Mae just wants a quiet night in. Leaving the office late, she’s surprised to find the Heritage Line streetcars up and running and hops aboard, eager for a quick trip home.
But this is no ordinary streetcar. Death is one of its riders, and Mae is thrust into Annwn, a realm of magic and danger.

“Your transfer, miss. You’ll need that.”

Mae’s life is turned upside down as human and fae worlds collide. Her budding relationship with Jill takes a perilous turn when they are hunted by mythical beasts, and Mae is drawn into a deadly power struggle. With Jill at her side, Mae must straddle both worlds and fight a war she barely comprehends, for not only does the fate of Annwn rest in her hands, but the lives of both a human and fae child…

Last Car to Annwn Station is available in ebook format at Carina Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and in audio format at Audible.

#

Shimmers & Shadows: Short Story Collection

These diverse short stories unfold where the faery realm intersects with the mundane world of the Twin Cities, in the spacefaring future of exploration and adventure, and in a mythical land of sorcery and danger. Here you will find tales of adventure, horror, enchantment, humor, tragedy, and romance where:
…a young outcast strikes a hard bargain with the Muddy River
…two very different spirits find sanctuary in a historic shopping mall
…a space transport captain makes a difficult choice and falls headlong into the middle of a conspiracy
…a fallen Seelie champion is caught between his dark past and unusual mortal friends
…estranged lovers discover whether science or magic will save their dying Earth
…death is not the end, time does not always run in a straight line, and the rain blesses both mortals and fae.

Shimmers & Shadows is available at Lulu and in ebook for Kindle from Amazon.

#

Should We Drown In Feathered Sleep: Near-Future Post-Apocalypse Fantasy Novella -- Long Listed for the 2010 Nebula Award.

A New Order

A new world is emerging years after war destroyed society. In a Minnesota lake, the last surviving loons, direct descendants of the legendary First Pair, await the one who can help heal the earth. Each year a human sacrifice is brought to them to be endowed with special gifts, but they come at a terrible price.

A Free Spirit

Even as the rest of the world rebuilds, Grace Kriske’s life is shattered. Unable to walk, she feels utterly dependent on her family and trapped in a community that disapproves of her rebellious ways. Grace’s only solace is her lover, David Tvedt, a trader who wants to take her away with him—if she’d let him.

An Impossible Choice

Yet something else calls to Grace—the loons. They haunt her dreams, lurking in her mind as if part of her deepest primal self. But when Grace is chosen as the new sacrifice, she’s afraid. Will she risk everything to help the community that shuns her, or will she choose her own path?

Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep is available in ebook at Carina Press, Amazon, and B&N. and in audio format at Audible.
mmerriam: (Default)
Because I know some of you got eReaders of one type or another for the holidays. And because as much I love writing, I also have to eat and pay bills. So here is my post-holidays marketing sales pitch for all my available books, both print and electronic.

Coffee For Your Body, Flames For Your Soul: Urban Fantasy Short Story

It came to the diner looking for a soul to devour.

At a late-night diner, the manager finds himself faced with a nightmare from his past: The Nalusachita, a mythical-creature of his Choctaw ancestors.

Determined to protect his customers from the shape-changing soul-stealer but unsure how, the manager sets out to clear the restaurant at closing time.

What neither manager or monster counted on was the eccentric patrons of the diner, and how they would react to the mythical creature…

Coffee For Your Body, Flames For Your Soul is available in ebook Musa Publishing, Amazon, and Smashwords.

#

The Horror at Cold Springs: Steampunk / Supernatural Western Novella

When a disparate group of travelers find themselves stranded in a ghost town on the western Nebraska frontier, will they unravel the mystery of the missing townsfolk and survive to tell the tale?

The Horror at Cold Springs is available in print from The Sam's Dot Publishing Bookstore and in all ebook formats from Smashwords.

#

Last Car to Annwn Station: Urban Fantasy Novel

“The fare is ten cents, miss.”

Mae Malveaux, an attorney with Minneapolis Child Protective Services, is burnt-out, tired and frustrated. Passing on an invite from Jill, her flirtatious coworker, Mae just wants a quiet night in. Leaving the office late, she’s surprised to find the Heritage Line streetcars up and running and hops aboard, eager for a quick trip home.
But this is no ordinary streetcar. Death is one of its riders, and Mae is thrust into Annwn, a realm of magic and danger.

“Your transfer, miss. You’ll need that.”

Mae’s life is turned upside down as human and fae worlds collide. Her budding relationship with Jill takes a perilous turn when they are hunted by mythical beasts, and Mae is drawn into a deadly power struggle. With Jill at her side, Mae must straddle both worlds and fight a war she barely comprehends, for not only does the fate of Annwn rest in her hands, but the lives of both a human and fae child…

Last Car to Annwn Station is available in ebook format at Carina Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and in audio format at Audible.

#

Shimmers & Shadows: Short Story Collection

These diverse short stories unfold where the faery realm intersects with the mundane world of the Twin Cities, in the spacefaring future of exploration and adventure, and in a mythical land of sorcery and danger. Here you will find tales of adventure, horror, enchantment, humor, tragedy, and romance where:
…a young outcast strikes a hard bargain with the Muddy River
…two very different spirits find sanctuary in a historic shopping mall
…a space transport captain makes a difficult choice and falls headlong into the middle of a conspiracy
…a fallen Seelie champion is caught between his dark past and unusual mortal friends
…estranged lovers discover whether science or magic will save their dying Earth
…death is not the end, time does not always run in a straight line, and the rain blesses both mortals and fae.

Shimmers & Shadows is available at Lulu and in ebook for Kindle from Amazon.

#

Should We Drown In Feathered Sleep: Near-Future Post-Apocalypse Fantasy

A New Order

A new world is emerging years after war destroyed society. In a Minnesota lake, the last surviving loons, direct descendants of the legendary First Pair, await the one who can help heal the earth. Each year a human sacrifice is brought to them to be endowed with special gifts, but they come at a terrible price.

A Free Spirit

Even as the rest of the world rebuilds, Grace Kriske’s life is shattered. Unable to walk, she feels utterly dependent on her family and trapped in a community that disapproves of her rebellious ways. Grace’s only solace is her lover, David Tvedt, a trader who wants to take her away with him—if she’d let him.

An Impossible Choice

Yet something else calls to Grace—the loons. They haunt her dreams, lurking in her mind as if part of her deepest primal self. But when Grace is chosen as the new sacrifice, she’s afraid. Will she risk everything to help the community that shuns her, or will she choose her own path?

Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep is available in ebook at Carina Press, Amazon, and B&N. and in audio format at Audible.
mmerriam: (Default)
In between preparing for this weeks reading at True Colors Bookstore and trying to memorize my script for Tellabration! on the 26th, I’ve also been working on developmental edits for Dark Water Blues.

This has been a low priority, since I’m not contracted for it, but my editor at Carina Press came back with a page full of suggestions for me to mull over and possibly make before we go to Acquisitions with this novel. She said she loved the primary characters and thought the secondary characters interesting. She thought the social groups in the world were intriguing and fleshed out, and loved the humorous aspects of the story. I grinned when she noted that I wrote awesome sex scenes. The meat of the revisions asked for deal with pacing, and to a lesser extent, worldbuilding and characterization.

For those of you playing our home game, I’ve blog before that I think Dark Water Blues is both the best and worst thing I’ve ever written. Editor M is helping me repair and cut the parts that need work, and I am hopeful this will turn into one of the best things I’ve ever written, period.

But man, is it a hard slog. I’ve gone through the manuscript twice now with her revision letter in hand, being brutal and cutting things away. The novel has shrunk from 86K to 80K, but I will be adding things to shore up the worldbuilding, to deepen one of my protagonists, and to make life miserable for the other one. I also plan to bring the antagonists more to the fore; a part of my craft that I need to work on. I really don’t enjoy writing the bad guys, which I think make me an anomaly among writers.

While there are lots of crunchy worldbuilding bits in the manuscript, it turns out I’ve put them in the wrong places (which is a danger when you write by the seat of your pants, and this was defiantly a “pantser” novel). To help me with this major restructuring, I’ve broken the novel down into its component parts and written an outline. 14 chapters. 25 large scenes within those chapters. 52 small scenes / sections total. It’s like having 52 unruly kittens pouncing across the floor of your prose, knocking over your plot, shredding your tone, leaping on and off of your themes. I despair of wrangling them back into a coherent whole, but I know it must be done.

And when it is done, I am hopeful that Dark Water Blues will be sleek and beautiful and that it will be something Editor M and I can go to Acquisitions with and then sell to my publisher.

April 2017

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