Status Report – and Snippet

Current work in progress is going especially well lately.  Averaging over 1000 words per session.  Currently sitting at somewhere over 138,000 words.  So that's good news.

Tonight's session ended with this:


            "I gave you nothing you did not already have.  Your father knows, I think, else he would not have called for it."

            "Ilmar's fires," Duncan whispered.  "Da . . . did you really think this would come?  Why?"

            Duncan's eyes burned against the mail sleeve that lay across them.

            "Why me?"  A long moment.  "Why now?"

            He surged to his feet and stalked back across the loft to the outside wall, where he slammed his fist against the vertical beam, and again, and again, welcoming the pain that shot through his mind like lightning.  When he lifted his hand, the blood oozing from skin split over the knuckles seemed only fitting.

            Duncan curled his fingers into a fist again, tight and hard, knuckles almost singing from the tension.  It shook before him.  Heat flared through his body, followed by chilling cold, and his viewpoint exploded from him and flew high enough that it seemed he could see the entire city.

            The words that finally came out had to struggle to thread their way through a throat that was so tight that even breath could barely get through; force their way past and through clenched teeth; wend their way through lips drawn so tightly that even an edge of a leaf would have caught.  And although the hissing voice wasn't loud, the intensity in it should have shattered the sky above him.

            "Why didn't you tell me?"


It needs polish, of course, but for raw first draft, it's not too shabby.


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Reminder is giving away books all month, and this week, one of them is a paperback copy of 1636: The Devil's Opera, written by me and Eric Flint, and signed by me.

Here's your opportunity to get one for free!

Sign up today.


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A Snippet

From the current work in progress - 


            The brigand looked back over his shoulder.  Duncan saw the same sight—most of the brigands had been taken down by the caravan guards, several of whom were moving toward the confrontation at the crest of the road.  The brigand turned to face Duncan with a look of pure desperation on his face.  He picked up a short broad-bladed sword from where he had dropped it and ran toward Duncan with a wordless shout of rage.

            By now Duncan had his own blades in hand.  The brigand's charge was brought to a quick stop when he found his sword bound by Duncan's sword and Duncan's big fighting knife aimed for his gut.

            Unlike his horsemanship, the brigand's blade work was competent; with his desperation and rage fueling it, it may even have been better than that.  Certainly he was able to press Duncan for the first several clashes.  The thought crossed Duncan's mind during the fight that if the man had had a longer blade, prospects concerning their fight might have been a bit more uncertain.

            Several of the caravan guards had approached and were drawn up behind the brigand, watching.  "Quit playing with him," Thimoi called out.

            "Take . . . you . . . with me!" the brigand snarled in between gasps for air.

            "No," Duncan said, "no, you won't."  With that, he unleased four swift moves that ended with his fighting knife buried to the hilt in the man's chest.




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Want a free book?

Allow me to introduce you to the Fictorians, who blog as a group at  We're a group of (mostly) young and up and coming writers who write about all aspects of the writing life.

Our 1000th blog will occur in this month, August, and to celebrate, we will be giving away free books every week!

We will have guest bloggers this month, as well.

So, if you already follow the site, great, here's a chance at a reward!

If you're a new writer wondering what being a writer is all about, come read our blogs and take a chance at a free book!

And if you like free books, come read our stuff and take a chance at a free book!

New raffles every week.  Instructions in Monday's blog.

Free books!  


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I'm very dilatory in mentioning that I had a post go up on on June 26.  I was on the road at the time, and didn't have reliable internet access.  I'll try to plan better in the future.

Anyway, it deals mainly with aspects of connecting and professionalism, and you can read it here.


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Forthcoming schedule news!

Well, some good news tonight.  Word when Baen will issue a couple of my new works. 

May 2016 – hardback anthology Ring of Fire IV will  have my 33K + word novella "Hide Trouble From Mine Eyes".  (My third ROF anthology appearance). 

September 2016 – hardback novel The Span of Empire, collaboration with Eric Flint.


The countdown clocks have started.  smiley


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Grantville Gazette News

My story "The Hair of the Dog" will be coming out as part of Grantville Gazette VII next month from Baen Books.  There will be a number of other very good stories in that anthology as well.  Get thee hence and purchase it.  :-)


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Good news tonight!

Just got a royalty statement from Baen. 1635: Music and Murder sold 1156 copies between 1/1/2014 and 6/30/2014. That makes over 3600 copies of the ebook sold in the first nine months of publication.

Respectable, I believe. :-)


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Dealing with the muse….

I don't often suffer writer's block.  It does happen to me occasionally.  Most of the time I don't consider it to be a real block, though.  Rather, what's usually happened is I've written myself to a place where I can't make the story move any further.  This usually happens because I didn't write something correctly some time before that, and my muse, or my subconscious, or my intuition, or something, just won't let me go any farther until I fix it.  The problem is that I never get any hint as to what the problem is.  I have to keep going back over what I've written until finally something breaks loose and I see it.

Case in point:  currently working on Fire, Salt, and Blood, making revisions to earlier draft material (four years old) to make it cohesive and bring it in line with what the current concept of the story is.  I've been hung for about two weeks.  I had written to a place, and the next night when I came in, I couldn't pick it up and go.  Ditto for each successive night, until tonight.  I finally figured out what was keeping the story from moving forward. I moved back up the line about three pages, carved four words out of an existing sentence to start a new sentence, and added twenty-three new words to them to make a new sentence.  Then I moved back down to the stuck place, and things started flowing.  Five hundred and eighty-seven words later, I called it a night, having completed the revision of a section that I started eighteen days ago.  

I don't mind these things happening….I just wish the muse (or my subconscious, or whatever), would be a little more helpful about pointing out what the problem is.  :-)

Rolling total = 81,847.


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As the year draws to a close…

Well, I look back and see that I haven't been a diligent about posting here as I should have.  Sorry.  I'll try to do better in 2015.

It's been a good year, writing-wise.  Sales of 1635: Music and Murder and 1636: The Devil's Opera, which were both published around October 1, 2013, continued strong into 2014, according to the royalty statements from Baen.  The mass market paperback edition of 1636: The Devil's Opera was released in October 2014.

Also in 2014,  Eric  Flint and I completed The Span of Empire, the third book in Eric's Jao series, and submitted it to Baen in September.  I was asked to step in and help complete the book after Eric's original collaborator, K. D. (Kathy) Wentworth passed away in April 2012 due to complications from cancer and surgery.  I only met Kathy a couple of times, but she was a good writer, a good friend to almost everyone who met her, and through her work in the Writer's of the Future annual contest she touched and influenced the lives and careers of a lot of new writers.  She also had a major place in science fiction fandom, particularly in the Tulsa SF community.  Her death left a big hole in the lives of a lot of people, and she was, is, and will continue to be missed.  She also left some big shoes to fill in writing the first draft of The Span of Empire, and I was very aware of that when I accepted the invitation from Eric to come on board the project to help finish the first draft.  It was an interesting project in a lot of ways, but I'll leave that for another post.  I am very thankful to Eric Flint for offering me the opportunity and to Toni Weisskopf, publisher at Baen, for supporting that decision.  The result is a story that I think fans of the series will enjoy.  I haven't heard yet if it has been slotted into Baen's publishing schedule.

I posted a few articles at during the year, the latest of which went up three days ago and can be found at

And I'm not sitting on my mostly-non-existent-laurels.  I have two different fantasy novels under way, at the moment.  I hope to have the first one completed within the next six months.  And I'm also exploring some opportunities for publishing some short fiction.

So 2014 was a good year, and I'm looking forward to 2015.


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