mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
I had hoped that I would finish the first draft of Ghosts of the Places We Live before the end of the year and I managed to hit the end on Christmas day. I think that’s a nice Christmas present to myself. Now I shall let it sit for a month or so while I work on other projects.

Speaking of other projects: the next MinnSpec anthology By Polaris Bright is still on track for publication by Minicon 50 in 2015. I am pretty damned thrilled by this.

I have pulled out my weird west novella There Are Not Enough Midnights and given it a read. There are some structural problems and a couple of plot problems, but nothing large or insurmountable.

So, what does 2015 hold for me? I have no idea. We’ll just have to see what happens together.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ghosts of the Places We Live

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

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Cold Springs)
It was the smell that stopped me cold: raw, bloody, the stench of spilled guts and stale piss. I took a few more steps inside before Hanson's light told me the worst.

They had all died in their stalls, from the looks of it. Blood, dark and covered by the feasting flies, was splattered across the pale broken wood walls and straw-covered floor. I found the tell-tale marks where something dragged several heavy objects out of the stable, the occasional bits of bone or guts left behind. Behind me Hanson gagged and started to vomit, and it was all I could do not to join him. A single boot, its thick leather ripped and bloody, lay in the dirt. Next to it was a pitchfork, its handle broken and tines bent. It was the only sign of the stableman.

"Back to the train," I said, turning and giving the stunned conductor a push. I didn't know what the hell had happened here, but I wasn't inclined to be a target for whatever must have done this. I had civilians to protect. We were leaving Cold Springs, and I hoped to God others had managed to get away as well. I would send a telegraph in the next town asking for help from the nearest fort.

Hanson didn't need any more urging. Holding his pistol in one hand and lantern in the other, he jogged toward the train. I trotted behind, trying to keep him and the lantern in sight while watching the shadows around us for trouble. Once or twice I thought I saw something move in the darkness, soundless, nearly formless, but nothing I could identify, and I was not going to take a shot at something when I didn't know what it was. We reached the Flyer, sitting on the tracks blowing occasional clouds of steam.

"Go!" I yelled up the engineer and fireman. "Get this train moving!"

The engineer looked to the conductor, and Hanson nodded his head. I saw the man reach for the Johnson bar as the fireman tossed his smoke aside and grabbed his shovel. That was good enough for me. I led Hanson back to the smoking car, where Talbot's man would likely still be playing cards with Blenchy, Smith, and Professor Adams. I'd let the Englishman tell his boss what was happening. We climbed aboard, Hanson in front, still holding his light. The men looked up from their cards and whiskey. Bloom stood, his face set hard as he glanced at my Colt.

The train-whistle screamed, loud and long, and I waited for the jerk forward that never came. Hanson turned toward the door, heading back to talk with the engineer, but something inside my gut made me grab the older man by the arm, stopping him. The whistle cut off as sudden as it sounded, but the train was still.

You never really noticed the porters, not after the first day. The two men had simply gone quietly about their business of keeping everyone comfortable, pouring drinks, setting the table in the dining car, and serving food. I knew they handled all the cleanup, and slept in the kitchen part of the dining car. Hell, I hadn't even given the one in the corner the barest glance.

The smash of shattered glass and broken wood made everyone flinch. I turned toward it, just in time to see the claws burst from the porter's chest. There was a split second of calm before he screamed, blood bursting from his mouth to run down his white uniform, and then he was just gone, pulled into the darkness beyond the car.

I glanced at Blenchy and Smith, both of whom held their pistols ready, Smith licking his lips nervously and shifting his weight from foot to foot. I saw the Englishman draw a thin sword from his walking stick and small pistol from his jacket. I caught Blenchy's eyes. He cocked an eyebrow at me.

It crashed through the other side of the car an instant later, shattering wood an inch thick. We all wheeled and fired at it, the roar of five pistols loud in the enclosed space as the thing climbed into the car with us.

The Horror at Cold Springs is available in print from The Sam's Dot Publishing Bookstore and in ebook format from Smashwords.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Cold Springs)
It got quiet around here on the old blog again. I've been trying to make sure I blog on a more regular basis, but as you can tell by comparing the date of this post to the previous, I haven't exactly been meeting that goal.

I've been settling into my new part-time real world job, which takes some time. When not at work or trying to squeeze all the training into my brain, I've been working on a variety of writing projects, so I hope you'll forgive the lack of blog communication.

I'm actually writing again, which feel pretty good.

I've managed to get about 4000 words on There Are Not Enough Midnights, the third installment to my Gaslights and Grimoires steampunk world. Like The Horror at Cold Springs, this one is a Weird Western tale. I feel like it's working well, if a bit rough while I get the first draft. I've also been working on the next MNSpec anthology project, as well as a couple of theatre and storytelling projects that are still in infancy, so I can't talk too much about them yet.

Another distraction from the blog is that one of my publishers closed. While I am sad for the demise of Artema Press, they very kindly turned over the production files and all the marketing material for Old Blood's Fate, which I am now producing through my own Drey Books imprint.

That's all the news that is news for the time being, though I am creating a list of future blog posts in the hopes of keeping you all entertained.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.

6000 Words

Oct. 24th, 2012 08:56 pm
mmerriam: (Finished)
That's the number of words hammered out over a weekend in Hershey, PA, holed up in a hotel room while Beloved Spouse was at a professional conference.

That's the number of words needed to finish the first draft of my new Arkady Bloom novella, A Study in Violet.

That's the number of words I wrote in three days. I hadn't written that many words in the month previous. The last time I wrote anywhere near that pace was when I was hiding in a hotel room in Atlanta while Beloved Spouse was at another professional conference.

I remember when I used to write at that pace without needing to hide away from the world in hotel rooms in strange cities. Granted, I was at the end of the story and the horse was pointed at the barn. I always write faster at the end of the piece, but still…

I need to remember how to do this on a regular basis. I need to figure out why my writing production has slowed so dramatically this year and correct that. I need to find a place or space where I can work for at least three or four hours a day with little or no distraction. I need to find a space (both physical and mental) where I'm comfortable as writer.

That said, A Study in Violet is complete in the first draft. I am intensely pleased by this. Where Horror at Cold Springs was Lovecraftian horror and The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn was a Bondian spy-thriller, this one is (as you might guess from the title) a Holmesian murder-mystery.

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

6000 Words

Oct. 24th, 2012 08:56 pm
mmerriam: (Finished)
That's the number of words hammered out over a weekend in Hershey, PA, holed up in a hotel room while Beloved Spouse was at a professional conference.

That's the number of words needed to finish the first draft of my new Arkady Bloom novella, A Study in Violet.

That's the number of words I wrote in three days. I hadn't written that many words in the month previous. The last time I wrote anywhere near that pace was when I was hiding in a hotel room in Atlanta while Beloved Spouse was at another professional conference.

I remember when I used to write at that pace without needing to hide away from the world in hotel rooms in strange cities. Granted, I was at the end of the story and the horse was pointed at the barn. I always write faster at the end of the piece, but still…

I need to remember how to do this on a regular basis. I need to figure out why my writing production has slowed so dramatically this year and correct that. I need to find a place or space where I can work for at least three or four hours a day with little or no distraction. I need to find a space (both physical and mental) where I'm comfortable as writer.

That said, A Study in Violet is complete in the first draft. I am intensely pleased by this. Where Horror at Cold Springs was Lovecraftian horror and The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn was a Bondian spy-thriller, this one is (as you might guess from the title) a Holmesian murder-mystery.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Default)
Thursday:
The move in was stupid hot, as the whole day was stupid hot. Luckily we were able to score a bellman’s cart to help with the move in, so it only took two trips instead three. The bad news was, the room (the brand-new just remolded room) had a broken shower, which forced us to clean up in the sink until maintenance was able to come and repaired the damage.

I went to the “Who Mourns the Villains?” panels, which had some pretty good discussion about creating believable and sympathetic villains.

I had dinner in the hotel room, visited the registration desk for attending professionals and picked up my card showing what programming I was scheduled for, and then wandered around the convention until I was on “Escaping the Slush Pile.” This panel had four editors and slush-readers actually read aloud the first few pages of audience member submitted manuscripts, then discuss them. It went really well, actually, and the courageous submitters seemed to appreciate the advice from the panelists.

Cut Because The Report Is Long And I Am Merciful )
mmerriam: (Default)
This is my tentative schedule for Convergence. This is, off course, subject to change.

Thursday, July 5

11:30pm - Escaping the Slush Pile - Bloomington Room - A panel of experienced slush readers will take the first five pages of manuscripts submitted by audience members, and identify the point at which they would stop reading, if any, and why. Panelists: Adam Whitlatch, Michael Merriam, Scott Lynch, Jennie Goloboy, Patrick Tomlinson

Friday, July 6

11:00am - Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Michael Merriam and Dana Baird Signing - Autograph Table - Bryan Thomas Schmidt, author of "The Worker Prince," will be available to sign his work. Dana has just released "Broken Legacy." Michael's newest release is "Sky Tinted Waters." Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Dana Baird, Michael Merriam

3:30pm - Geek Partnership Society Writing Contest Ceremony - Vista Suite - Past winners of the annual GPS Writing Contests read from their winning work. This year’s winners are announced. Panelists: George Richard, Hilary Moon Murphy (I’m not officially on the panel, but I am judging this contest, so I will be there)

5:00pm - Minn-Spec Meeting - Cabana 201 - Come and learn about the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, a 280+ member-strong organization. Panelists: Michael Merriam (mod), Hilary Moon Murphy, Tyler Tork

8:30pm - Diversity in Steampunk - Atrium 4 - Does all steampunk have to be Victorian England? Certainly not! And it isn’t. Join a discussion of race, gender, class, and religion in this diverse genre. Hosted by the Red Ribbon Society (a.k.a Steam Century). Panelists: Alexandra Howes, Sarah McDole, Michael Merriam, Amy Williams-Scott, Kevin Borchers

10:00pm - So You've Sold a Novel: Now What Happens? - Atrium 7 - Congratulations --you sold your novel. Now comes the hard part: rewrites, editorial comments, cover art, marketing, promotions, and making sense of the royalty statement. Come ask established novelists questions about what happens after the sale. Panelists: Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Michael Merriam, Doug Hulick, Kelly McCullough, Dana Baird

Saturday, July 7

12:30pm - Is Urban Fantasy just Romance for Geeks? - Atrium 7 - Of course it isn't. Discuss the breadth of work that fits into this popular sub-genre. Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, James Turnbull, Michael Merriam, Paul Cornell, Brandy Snyder

Sunday, July 8
11:00am - Michael Merriam Reading - Cabana 201 - The author of "Last Car to Annwn Station" reads from his newest release, "The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn." Panelists: Michael Merriam

Projects

Jan. 29th, 2012 12:09 pm
mmerriam: (Coffee)
I have finished outlining the contemporary non-HEA romance coming-of-age novella. Now I just need to finish writing it. And then turn it into a screenplay.

I also plan to write a story featuring the angry spirit of a derelict building, and then a couple of Arkady Bloom steampunk stories (one a riff on both Arthur Conan Doyal's "A Study in Scarlet" and Neil Gaimen's "A Study in Emerald" and the other a caper/robbery/mystery piece on a train). There is a planned story featuring U.S. Marshal William Blenchy and Lady Priscilla Talbot, characters who appeared in (and survived) The Horror at Cold Springs. (The Sam's Dot Publishing Bookstore Smashwords.)

I'm also thinking about working on the Spear of Destiny novel again. I think I might have grown enough as a writer to tackle that novel now. And I'd write the next Sharisha Zajicova (aka the Monster-Hunting Barista) novel if someone would buy the first one.

Projects

Jan. 29th, 2012 12:09 pm
mmerriam: (Coffee)
I have finished outlining the contemporary non-HEA romance coming-of-age novella. Now I just need to finish writing it. And then turn it into a screenplay.

I also plan to write a story featuring the angry spirit of a derelict building, and then a couple of Arkady Bloom steampunk stories (one a riff on both Arthur Conan Doyal's "A Study in Scarlet" and Neil Gaimen's "A Study in Emerald" and the other a caper/robbery/mystery piece on a train). There is a planned story featuring U.S. Marshal William Blenchy and Lady Priscilla Talbot, characters who appeared in (and survived) The Horror at Cold Springs. (The Sam's Dot Publishing Bookstore Smashwords.)

I'm also thinking about working on the Spear of Destiny novel again. I think I might have grown enough as a writer to tackle that novel now. And I'd write the next Sharisha Zajicova (aka the Monster-Hunting Barista) novel if someone would buy the first one.
mmerriam: (Charge)
The CEM for my steampunk spy-thriller novella with Holmesian overtones, "The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn," has arrived. You all know what that means; crying and wailing as I make corrections, followed by the bliss of finishing the project and handing it to the publisher.
mmerriam: (Charge)
The CEM for my steampunk spy-thriller novella with Holmesian overtones, "The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn," has arrived. You all know what that means; crying and wailing as I make corrections, followed by the bliss of finishing the project and handing it to the publisher.

Finished

Jan. 13th, 2012 04:35 pm
mmerriam: (Finished)
I have finished rewrites on both my novel Dark Water Blues and my novella The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn.

*falls over dead*

Finished

Jan. 13th, 2012 04:35 pm
mmerriam: (Finished)
I have finished rewrites on both my novel Dark Water Blues and my novella The Curious Case of the Jeweled Alicorn.

*falls over dead*
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: (Cold Springs)
My plan is to turn my novella "The Horror at Cold Springs" into a screenplay, just as soon as I teach myself how to properly format a script.
mmerriam: (Cold Springs)
My plan is to turn my novella "The Horror at Cold Springs" into a screenplay, just as soon as I teach myself how to properly format a script.
mmerriam: (Coffee)
After not working on anything for the last two weeks because of the conventions and other things, I’m back on track.

Dead Brew II: Vampires and Werewolves


I need to get the first Dead Brew novel out on submission. Not only an I a third of the way through its sequel, but I have the third book partly outlined and a rough concept for the fourth.

Also, finished working on my steampunk/spy thriller novella from reader’s notes and will be sending it out tomorrow.
mmerriam: (Coffee)
After not working on anything for the last two weeks because of the conventions and other things, I’m back on track.

Dead Brew II: Vampires and Werewolves


I need to get the first Dead Brew novel out on submission. Not only an I a third of the way through its sequel, but I have the third book partly outlined and a rough concept for the fourth.

Also, finished working on my steampunk/spy thriller novella from reader’s notes and will be sending it out tomorrow.

A Reminder

Feb. 4th, 2011 08:21 am
mmerriam: (Michael - Reading)
Speculations Reading with Michael Merriam
Friday, February 4, 2011 6:30 PM
DreamHaven Books
2301 E 38th St
Minneapolis MN 55406

The reading will be at DreamHaven Books, 2301 E 38th St, Minneapolis, MN. Speculations Reading is accompanied by a reception with free soda pop and cookies. We will also bring baked goods and there will be prizes! Michael plans to read from his novellas, The Horror at cold Springs and Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep, and from his forthcoming novel, Last Car to Annwn Station.

Copies of The Horror at Cold Springs, Northern Lights: 20 MinnSpec Tales and Shimmers and Shadows will be for sale and available for signing.

After the reading, we will probably adjourn to Parkway Pizza (4457 42nd Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55406) for pizza, drinks, and conversation.

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