Category Archives: Blog Entry

{jcomments on}

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 12


Ending Day Word Count Total: 25,017

Well, not the end of the writing day, but I’m at a good stopping point on The Empress’ Curse. About to start chapter 11 and that will be a wild ride to finish out Act One. See, I’m about to wreck a train.

The connotation and denotation of that sentence is deliciously apparent to me.


This evening, I have some work to do on my as of yet untitled Humans Wanted anthology submission–its nice to be putting together a SciFi short story for a change.  Whether it’s accepted or not–well, I need to get it in before 31 December before I can think about that. I also have a Skype session about my co-authored Steampunk heist story with the most talented Emmett Spain.  And we have a working title already that we’ll release when we are a bit further along.  That has a deadline of 31 December as well.

Busy-busy.  But here is a bit from today’s work  Enjoy and be at peace…

Again, I saw the seven towers.  I entered the middle one, but at a run this time. I took the stairs two at a time, reaching the ornate brass entryway. I grabbed at the massive, dragon-shapped handles and threw the doors open. They swung silently, effortlessly. The first thing I saw was a fireplace, in it a log–it was nearly three feet around and eight feet long, is it still called a log at that point–crackled and hissed, bathing the room in light and warmth. A black stone floor (polished to the point that it resembled the still surface of a lake) reflected the flames.

            By the giant hearth stood a man in simple, grey linen robes, his back to me.

            “It’s been a while Symon. I’ve missed you. Shall we continue your lessons?”

            The man turned around and I recognized, for the first time, that it was a young Eugene McGuire; former Cardinal and late head of the Pontifical order of the Magi.

            “You’re dead.”

            “How very observant of you,” the young man smiled. “Being dead doesn’t necessary mean I can’t teach you anything, though. Come. Join my other pupil,” he said.

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 11


ENDING Word count today: 22,415

Been a while since my last update. We had some interesting things happen in America over the last few days. Been writing off and on, but to be honest, I’ve been really distracted.

Got in about 2500 words per day anyway. Stephen King once said

“Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

This week was a test. For many reasons. But I’m determined to get this done, so onward to today’s snippet:

“What happened to my sister? “ Eden asked quietly. “What really happened to Eve?”

“Tell my sister I love her and forgive her, okay?” Eve had said.

“I will.” I’d replied.

A knife. The sound of impact. Hot blood on my hands.

I looked away. “I told you already.”




Not sure where this is from, but grabbed it from author Shira Lipkin’s FB wall because I loved it so…


Perhaps you heard. We, in America, had a bit of an election on Tuesday. The results were…infuriating to me. Depressing.


I’ve been near catatonic since early Wednesday morning.

I have LGBTQ+ friends who have removed themselves from social media out of fear. I have another friend who’s daughter was heckled and referred to with a racist slur just because she is black. The kid is eight.

There are other stories. But let me share one about my 16-year-old daughter.

She FaceTimed me last night in tears, terrified–like many of us–at an uncertain future.

“But what can *I* do?” She lamented.

“A lot,” I told her. Get involved, learn about what it means to be a citizen of this country. Work hard to fight for what you believe in. Do good.

I blinked after I said that. Why aren’t I already doing that myself? I thought.

I told her I loved her and that she is a powerful force, an intelligent, vibrant individual with so much to give. After we disconnected FaceTime, I started my research. I *could* do something. But what?

In Boston, there was an organization called “Crittenton Woman’s Union” which is now “Economic Mobility Pathways” or EMPath for short. They work to help people through the fundamental values of inclusiveness, diversity, mutual respect, support, and learning.

I’m calling them in the morning to volunteer my services in any capacity in which they can use me.

Being an American is advanced citizenry. It requires hard work. Sometimes, there are tears involved.

But this is not a time to throw up your hands. This is not the time to “move to Canada.” This is a time to roll up your sleeves. It’s time to say no to hatred and make sure the worst of us do not get to the best of us. This election was a wake up call for action.

It will be hard, maybe even impossible to fight the threatening darkness.

But goddamn it I’m gonna try.

I’m getting involved. How about you?

‘But in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass.’

– Samwise Gamgee


NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 8


Starting Word Count: 13791

It’s 5 in the morning in Boston on Election Day. Been trying to get an early start to my writing by reading what’s come before. But more doctors today–and one that I’m very nervous about. That, on top of the “election fatigue” I’ve been feeling lately has me wiped out.

While I sort my head out and wait for doctor’s comments and voter returns, I’ll give you a small snippet from yesterday’s work. Hope you enjoy it.


I did some work for the mob, back in Ireland. Circumstances necessitated my involvement with them–the soul of a friend was on the line. It’s a long story.

The relationship had been–I guess “profitable” is the best word–between The Monk and I. He made the money, I kept my pub and no one I knew got hurt.

It looked like he had a similar arrangement with this “Empress.” Gangsters and their bloody nicknames…


NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 6


Starting Word Count: 9602

Back on track to start the day. This post is a little later than expected as Sundays are volunteer day and I treated myself to a four mile walk/hobble whilst re-listening to Turn Coat by Jim Butcher read by James Marsters. The temperature is projected to drop like a stone by the end of the week here in Boston (mid 30’s F for a high–that’s about 2ish for you Centigrade heathens), so I thought I’d get some exercise in while I still can.

Wrote the intro to one of three characters I’m introducing in this book. The Empress, of course, is the first. The entertaining vagrant “Mal,” and a third character I will leave to your imagination:

“Mr. Bryson, Monsignor Moore has determined that the children you rescued earlier this year have been touched by the Devil himself, and that influence must be purged. That is why I am here.”

Still attempting to be at 14 k by this evening–with a late start and a lot of physical activity this morning, I have no idea how long my still-recovering brain will last.

To the keyboard, then. “Maximum Effort” and all that.



NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 5


Starting Word Count: 7177

Yep. That number is still the same from yesterday. You can’t see it, but I’m smiling about that.

Allow me to explain.

Along with the often stalled, often reworked Book 2 of the Arcana Chronicles, I’ve been doing a lot of other writing work.  I have published a couple short stories recently (in R. l. Weeks’ Once Upon a Cursed Time and J. L. Clayton’s The Unforgiven). I have two more that are set to be published–Christmas Nightmares and the Wicked Ink Books follow-up to Tick TockThis last anthology will come out in 2017 and my story for that one was reviewed by a few professional editors. It was both shocking and wonderful to receive such excellent feedback.  I wanted to get those edits done by the weekend and worked until last night to get them out.

The story is much tighter. I can’t thank Kristi, Rebecca and Corinne enough for their commentary! More on this when the PR folks at WIB allow.


I also spent time working through author Emmett Spain’s comments on our steampunk/fantasy project.  We had a Skype chat last night that was just amazing for it’s creativity–the call left us both scrambling for our respective whiteboards/chalkboards. The bottom line is that we have a good structure now, a killer direction and the most amazing first scene.

So, all right.  No words were put to the novel yesterday. But it was an amazing writer day none-the-less.

To atone for my lack of #NaNoWriMo progress, I will be attempting to double-down this weekend and clear Sunday with 14k words toward the novel. Wish me luck!



NaNoWriMo 2016 -Day 4


Starting Word Count: 7177

Only four days in and I’m feeling the cognitive “burn.” Slept 10 hours last night…woke up exhausted. Coffee is on and I’m ready to tackle chapter four. Notes are solid and I’m targeting 10k by the end of the day.

A  sample of yesterday’s work:

   “Remember that Vatican assigned attorney you had a few months ago when the FBI was sniffing around the whole Plum Island thing?”

            I nodded, running my hand over two days of beard growth. “Yeah. Father Moore. What a wanker.”

            “It’s Monsignor Wanker now,” said [sic] sotto voce. Found this all out last night when he showed up with a exorcist.”

Still need to work on edits for the short story project and notes on the novella. Busy day. Gonna shut off the WiFi in the Lair to minimize distractions–that means I’m listening to CDs instead of Spotify. How retro.

Ah…legwarmers, big hair, and the Golden Age of Spielberg films…


To all who are doing #nanowrimo this year–rock on!



NaNoWriMo 2016 -Day 3


Starting Word Count: 4731

The energy of the first week is so amazing. The support, the excitement, the fresh story ideas…it’s electric.

Like this, but without the fully armed and operational battle station...
Like this, but without the fully armed and operational battle station…

Need to keep that energy through to the end. Today is chapter three and I’m ready. Notes and ideas litter the Literary Lair…coffee is on, the Cubs won the World Series and I voted yesterday.

Time to focus on words.


NaNoWriMo 2016 -Day 2


Starting word count: 2284

In fairness, my book this year is based on a heavily modified, heavily revised outline for book two of the Arcana Chronicles. The book is called The Empress’ Curse and takes place three months after the end of The Prodigal’s Foole. Those of you who have been following me know this wasn’t the original book 2 of the series. The original book two had a large and important scene that had taken place during the Boston Marathon. I’d just finished that scene when the actual bombings at the marathon had taken place.

It took the wind from my sails for a long time. I tried to rework the novel numerous time after that, but my heart hadn’t been into it.

So this past summer, I outlined a completely different book 2. I have a mess of scenes already sketched out, but the narrative is disjointed.

Nano this year is dedicated to getting a cogent first drive under my belt. Symon Bryson’s return is way overdue.




NaNoWriMo 2016 -Day 1


Starting Word Count: 0

So last year, I started to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) only to be cut off at the half way point by…well, you can read about it here  if you want.

I’ve signed up again in 2016 because–by the power of Greystoke–I will finish.

It’s a bit of insanity I need right now…and I need to finally put the last year behind me. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the plans for the month. Too excited this morning to get started.