Day 3/10: Summer Writing Afternoons

Today I battled with concerns oft battled – those of if I am throwing too many story lines together into this one, and if it would be better if I could split the book cleanly into two. There are certainly enough separate parts, but also many times they entwine. I didn’t get to writing until about 2:30 due to organizing, so 600 words is fine for two hours. I need to have it outlined before continuing too far, and hopefully I see to that in the next few nights. Must know the section goals!

My fav extract today is from a Sveldtlander ceremony:

 
“Dorgoga’s thirsty morning was far from quenched, yet the Joss Face Eaters stood with heads downturned, still and solemn, as Dancetrap performed the Meditation of Death.
 
More a dirge than a dance, the aged spiritflinger’s arms spread wide, satha fanned out behind him, tips brushing the meager grasses to resemble the outstretched wings of a crow. He ululated the collective mourning of the clan in a low groan akin to rolling thunder, skeletal fingers trembling mid-air and releasing minor spirits in offering for Hugulk, the endae’s chosen spiritcatcher. Dancetrap shook and occasionally flicked his wrists, releasing what was otherwise held within the confines of his reverent chain. Broad-faced Hugulk leapt about the incantation circle, snatching said spirits from the air before they could be lost to the sky. His expression a mix of indignation and unflinching resolve, the glistening veteran showed his thirst, for the minor spirits were as numerous as __________’s spirit was strong, and the sweat rolled freely.
 
A murmur ran through the mourners, whose eyes always secretly followed the spiritcatcher’s dance, as Hugulk missed three of a possible four flings in a row. A small thing, but the spirits would now nourish the yellow life-giver instead of remaining at the behest of the clan during the bloodshed that now seemed inevitable. Impatient, he waited for the impending rise in Dancetrap’s pitch that would begin the heraldry of the life-giver and mark the end of the ceremony.”
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Day 2/10: Summer Writing Afternoons

Okay, so I spent most of today editing and improving what I wrote yesterday while finishing the section. It’s not my fault! I stumbled upon a beautiful parallel and had to do some surgery to include it. Now it ends with such a thump, to me, that I swapped where it was in the chapter so it can end it instead. Always good to end on a high note. Now onwards! Sidenote: has any fantasy book you know included a bestiary at the end?
 
Fav extract for today: “Turning away from the woeful celebration, a cool plains wind swirled up and tussled his hair. He found himself gazing out at the distant Lake of Songs. In the descendant darkness the water was speckled with a thousand lights, an insult of boat-faring outliers sitting back with loved ones and letting the gentle breeze skim them along. A night remarkable only in its gaiety. Nearby, the wall loomed black, its peaks illuminated by the tracing glow of more than a thousand lights within. The contrast pained his breast a second time.”

Day 1/10: Summer Writing Afternoons

Though I was woefully tired for the first few hours, it was so nice to actually write new content again after 1.5 years of tending to Purge of Ashes. I wrote 600 words, but reread/cleaned 16 pages to get there while remembering everything, so I should be ready to go Wednesday. Of course, the scene only has about a page left before I have to hop somewhere else, so… we’ll see. But overall: a great start! Hooray!

Fav extract, at duel’s end: “There was no taste of victory. Only heart-pounding fear and the certainty of death. A part of him still shrieked awareness, unable to shake that certainty. It was so recent. So fully true in his mind, he could not shed its veracity. Trembling hands dropped his weapon and seemed to turn to face him, asking the price of what they wrought. The necessity of his actions did not accustom him to their execution, and as ________ hefted him into the blazing night, amid swarms of brethren crying his name in triumph, _______ floundered in his fortune while his other self thrust both knuckles together, howling delight to the white smudge of the moon.”

The Down-lo

Greetings friends.

Just a quick drop by note for anyone who brushes off the cobwebs to pop over to my e-home, this is all still on and a go.

The short is that the entirety of my free time at nights goes into work on revitalizing Purge of Ashes itself, leaving no time for longer, thoughtful, tour-de-force posting the blog demands. Better silent than… crummy. Once Purge of Ashes is re-ready, maybe such time will exist again, but not now. The toddler/baby combo also does a damn number on me. I keep up with fantasy groups on Facebook and Twitter sometimes, but otherwise am leaving off on the blogging side until I have my affairs in order.

Once things start to happen, I’ll get back on the horse.

JM

Queries

So back in 2013-2014 I sent out a bunch of queries to about 20 different agents, then got started writing Grip of Dust. So much has happened since then, and yet here I am two years later back at the drawing board doing the same: querying for agents! What a time to be alive.

Nowadays, agents can quickly access prospective clients’ social media platforms to get a quick gist as to who we are, what we do, and how impressive our friends lists are. Having this website in tip top shape should – nae must – be my top priority outside of production. So I thought to myself, “What would I want to present for an agent coming to scope me out?” Having less handsomeness than approximately 5 years ago, the answer did not come immediately.

Perhaps a simple WELCOME is in order. I don’t quit on things and I’m working on Book Two. I hope my query has piqued your interest. I love epic fantasy, role-playing video games, character design, cartography, rock music, hockey, armadillos, and TV shows that end in AME OF THRONES.

I seem friendly enough on social media. All the best in your search for the proper gem.

JM

First Fan Art

A while ago, Malazan Empire members Itwaes Nom sent me this sketch of Avery Shim ta Salm and Aronan Kloss from Purge of Ashes – my first fan art! Exactly the sort of enthusiasm Imbalance is all about. And those javelin looks sick. Super flattered. The picture must be after Aronan loses his cape 😛

itwas-nom-avery-aronan-sketch

It’s a cool feeling. I recommend everyone write a book. My readership is thin now, but respect like this (plus his review) make it all worth it. Rock on, Itwaes!

JM

Edits

My edits are done! Tim Marquitz over at Ragnarok and ‘writer of lots of books’ (if that were a place) has put the finishing touches on editing for Purge of Ashes and sent it over, and what’s more – after a week of exhaustion defeating curiosity in a grand duel overseen by the twin tyrants Job and Children – I am finally ready to take a look.

I cannot believe it has taken me so long, but as the frequency of my updates indicates I am in somewhat of a holding pattern with regards to Imbalance. First, I was waiting to afford these edits and then waiting for the edits, but second I now have some big choices with regards to publishing going forward. Tim suggests I went smallpress, and then self, far too early and without testing enough waters. He thinks the series is demographically on point enough to raise a few eyebrows in the pitching process with bigger companies. The lazy me feels as though after this final bout of editing, I’d be happy to release and bathe in the due praise. I have time for neither with a 3-month-old and a new teaching job. Life is a roller coaster of monotony – a state that makes perfect sense to the addled mind of a sleep-deprived father.

Either way, you’ll know where it goes.

In the mean time, I am going to say ‘adios’ and go check out my prologue to see if the edits include jots such as, “Jet packs for all!” or “Not enough Gorilla Tape!”

JM

Updates + Review

I start a new job tomorrow. As well, as per a post a while ago, I now have a newborn in the house. Such conditions are not prime for writing. I am doing a writer’s disappearing act for the next few months while I ensure my teaching skills are back up to snuff, and my newborn gets closer to sleeping through the night. Do not fear! I’m so far away from done.

While I am gone, the following will occur:

  1. I will continue reading sweet self-published fantasy novels from community peers.
  2. Tim Marquitz will finish editing Purge of Ashes to perfection.
  3. I will be posting about an upcoming essay I am writing for TOR.com

It would be IDEAL if I had a BOOK out around the time my article for TOR goes live, but alas it was not to be. Persistence is always key. It is known. Stay tuned and to the faithful go the spoils.

The good news is I got this solid review as a kiss to send me off. It pretty much sums up much of what I set out to do.

Be seeing you in mid-fall (besides a booster for the TOR piece, natch)

JM

Coup de Grace

So I have had some pretty bad news lately, as documented and documented, but ‘everything comes in threes’ as people like to say. Fortunately, as far as news goes, I was saving the best for last.

I am glad to announce I have been offered a guest opportunity to write about fantasy for TOR.com regarding the magnificent opus The Malazan Book of the Fallen. I am really looking forward to praising the virtues of what I believe is the greatest fantasy books of all time, and determined to convince those on the fence of why they need to tackle the monster series. At least one other friend is also gearing up, so it is going to be great fun. Even more importantly to me personally, this chance has come right when my prospective publishing future seemed most daunting (hehe, naw, Imbalance will be one way or another, no worries) and I see it as surefire proof my prose is not so deplorable.

More on the matter to come, and I’ll be sure to direct you to the essay when it is published in September!

JM

The Sixth Reason: SPFBO 2016

I mentioned a sixth reason for taking Purge of Ashes off the market yesterday, and that would be its elimination from Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off competition for 2016.

It is not official yet, as The Qwillery is yet to post their results, but it’s true. Unfortunately, I found out in a rather nasty way: by Goodreads rating. Surprised at a low score, I looked up the reviewer only to find her profile mentioned she blogged for the Qwillery. It was not hard to make the leap in logic. Later, I found entries on the site which gave me further insight into her reasoning. The good news is that she only read 20 pages and therefore has virtually no impression of what the series is all about.

Ironically, back in May all I hoped from SPFBO 2016 over on Twitter was my allotted blog read Purge of Ashes all the way through to attain a fair review.

The bad news is that it only took 20 pages to turn off a reader, and not just any reader, but an enthusiastic one who reads multiple books a week. That won’t do, but that’s why I hired Tim Marquitz (see ‘Downtime’) – to smooth out the ruffles in the opening and generally ensure my structure alienates as few people as possible. I had been waiting in vain curiosity to gauge Purge of Ashes‘s potential before closing a potential inroad for new readers, but freed of this deadline I can get on with refurbishing my debut.

Like the debut itself, it appears the book was not fighting fit for competition yet. What say you, Mark, can a newly-edited version enter the competition next year? Only 3% read…

Best of luck to everyone still in the contest. I’m currently really enjoying What Remains of Heroes by last year’s runner up David Benem and it’s a blast.

JM