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NaNoWriMo 2016 and Visitors

Holy Crap! Here be children!!

Word Count: 54,014

Haven’t updated you all in a couple of days so I thought I’d post a quick few words. So the #NaNoWriMo goal I set for myself has been achieved. Over 50k words before the American Thanksgiving holiday. Interestingly enough, I’m only about 3/4 of the way through Act 2.  The key will be making the habit of NaNo stick through to the end of Empress.

A few other things going on…Emmett and I are still going back and forth on Scoundrels and it’s an awesome thing. We are tossing ideas at each other and the story is nearly there. We expect to have it ready for an editor in December (It’ll be a 40k Steampunk/heist story Novella) so I’ll need to hit up the network to see if anyone has a bit of editing time near the Christmas holiday. After a week of self-doubt, I sent Ink Washed Cat (originally published this year in Once Upon a Cursed Time) in for jury consideration by the Horror Writer’s Association. Just taking the step to submit the story was huge; whether or not it goes beyond the consideration stage is another story entirely.

The as-of-yet-untitled ghost story hums along.  It’ll be a short one–2,000 words or so.  I’d like to have it ready for submission to Gamut when their window opens again December 1st, but we’ll see. I’ll get Richard to take on one of my stories yet!

A few months ago, I mentioned that Thanksgiving in the Park was accepted into an anthology coming out in early 2017 with Wicked Ink Books.  I’ve just put the final edits in place for the publisher and at long last that story is locked.

What a nice sequel into Thanksgiving–my children arrived last night for the holiday. It’s the first time I’ve seen them both together since last years hospital stay…so I admit I became rather emotional when I saw them at Logan airport last night. We are all heading out to see Doctor Strange shortly so more in tomorrow’s holiday post.


PS  Oh yeah. At 50k, I “won” Nano:


NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 14


Ending Word Count: 30,118

Mondays are hard. Three hours of cognitive rehab sessions leave me drained…and there is always a mad scramble to get all my preform organized and ready for the sessions.

Working toward the end of the first act and the excitement at what’s planned kept me going today. It will have to care me through tomorrow as well.

Couldn’t we have a little peril?

See, tomorrow is the first anniversary of my death. But to paraphrase Monty Python *SPOLER ALERT* I got better. The rest of tonight and tomorrow is for reflection. For counting my blessings.

For using this gift of additional time to write stories.

Tomorrow is a big day. Glad I’m still here to share it with you.

Once I finish Act One tomorrow, I’ll post a much longer blurb. But for now, be at peace.

NaNoWriMo 2016 – Day 13


Ending Word Count: 27, 667

In fairness, it was 27, 666. But I just added an adverb (with apologies to Stephen King) to the last sentence. Superstition and all that.

I’m getting through the final couple chapters of act one. Exciting stuff is happening and I find myself typing so fast I’m forgetting things like conjunctions, spaces and punctuation.

I really should have paid more attention in that typing class in high school.

Oh God...I'm SO old...
Oh God…I’m SO old…

Last night had a Skype call with a good man. Emmett Spain (a fellow writer and comic book fan) and I are working on an interesting piece. It’s a steampunk/heist novella with the working title: Scoundrels of Paradise. I have to be honest–he and I laugh so much during these collaboration sessions that less gets done then we plan.

Spending the rest of the day/evening outlining, plotting, and generally making characters of mine spanning multiple genres rather miserable. Ah well, such is the life of a writer. Blame it on the strokes.

Here is a snippet of today’s #NaNoWriMo work. Enjoy and be at peace.

            “Symon!” shouted an angry voice with a familiar Irish lilt. “Wake up ye gob!”

            My eyes flew open. The ring on my finger instantly transformed into the black staff, Celtic runes came to life with a pop and a hiss, burning an angry red.

I’d just started to get out of my seat when the world turned on its side. There was a horrendous metallic screech and a gut-wrenching lurch. My brian barely had time to register sheer terror as the Green line train jumped the track and plowed into the heavy Boston holiday traffic.

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!