Day 7&8 of 10: Summer Writing Afternoons

1,200 yesterday and 1,300 today – and today was cut off by 1.5 hours. It does take a while to get going, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, if you only have the cracks of the day to write in, you never really get going. I’m excited to see what is produced over the final two days next week, although one of those I have to prep my classroom instead of just using it as a writing hidey-hole.

These sessions have really fattened an area otherwise non-consequential, but I am hoping it keeps as it helps the city of Csarvent feel alive. It also prepares the reader well for a character who is notable in the third book.

On that note, though, as usual, I am again beset by worries over whether I need to split this book in half. I am halfway through Chapter 16 (I skip all over the place, nowhere near that far actually) and it is 29.5 pages. I am yet to get to the second half of the chapter. If I split the book into two, this could easily be its own chapter – even ends on a DUN DUN DUN. That creates its own problems, though. Keeping it, however, the book and these chapters are getting kind of nuts. I want to maintain the same depth of scope and character as I had in Purge of Ashes, but with so many more story lines it is fast becoming insane. Insanely great? Maybe just insane.

Either way, there it is. Also cool to note, today I finally got to write about a character who I created entirely because the name I made up for my almanac of characters so long ago was so cool. Now she’s an important part of the story, having once just been a nifty combination of letters. “Kryloak.”

My favourite pull away today:

“The black ink of the round was half faded into her very skin, a mess of a pattern across her clavicle and breasts. Bruises ran the length of her right side, dark, blotchy and uniform. Kryloak’s eyes widened and stared at her slim finger as it ran a line along one of Daia’s ribs. Leaning forward a little revealed a purple welt twisted up like a whirlpool that covered near half of her skin-pressed rib cage. Its unhealthy hues rolled in and out of the depressions between bones, obscuring the smear of burst blood vessels and making a mess of a mess. The heiress’s gentle touch did not make her jump, but still sent a squeal of tenderness up her nerves. By Kryloak’s stares and Saishan’s idle hands, Daia judged that the Codine Aggregate was far more familiar with disease and malnourishment than the battle scars of fools prone to risk.”

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Day 6/10: Summer Writing Afternoons

Six already? But all I’ve done is… blarg!

I actually feel like I have done quite a lot, considering, but nothing’s ever really enough. Today I finished off the two scenes from Monday and had to read (read: edit) my way through a few Daia parts to get me up to speed on her story line as it now meshes with the others. How many times have I had to do that. I like reading the older parts, though. I write so slowly and carefully, constantly editing as I go, that it feels good to read over the product I came away with and find that it mostly correlates, sounds well enough. I am hoping that by the end of these sessions I am near to completing Chapter 16. I have done about 16 pages so far in 4 points of view.

Also noticed that half my quotes were Smart and half Straight? What the dilly? A F/R figured that one out pretty quick. Leftover translation issue from OpenOffice to Word, I imagine.

Favourite lines of the day: “For the weight of a conscience rests on its fear of guilt, and once irredeemable, a penitent’s only absolution lies in damning themselves regardless.”

Day 4 & 5/10: Summer Writing Afternoons

Four and five today because Day 4 turned into a day trip to the Zoo with my family. It was lovely, if less productive and secretly shackling.

Today was great as I got 1,000 words out in my afternoon session. Unlike other times, I got right to where I left off this time and only cleaned previous parts when needing to backtrack anyway. Had a fine flow going until I got a phone call, but it all worked out well enough regardless. Having spent so much time on my Gilche/Daegolor story lines compared to anything else in the past year, I will have to reread everything I have on any other story line to continue. This chapter asks me to merge with Daia’s, so… lots of backreading coming up. Oh, to write daily and keep it all in my nebula.

My favourite extract today details a warrior: “He wore his skin like a carapace, as if it toughened to stone just by constraining his immense proportions.”

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.”

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

Holiday Book Haul

book-haul

Closing out 2016, I put together a pretty impressive book haul. Then I displayed it with beauty! If only my time was as free as my staircase to imagination.

It is my goal to read most of these in 2017… but the problem is I will likely get hooked on most if not all and then try to push ahead in those before reading others. Not to mention re-figuring Forge of Darkness before tackling Fall of Light. My pace on my current read has not exactly been impressive. What I want and how the cards fall never seems to align. What happened to all those summers I had as a kid where I had all day to do whatever I wanted day-in, day-out? Sacrilege, as they are lost.

I enjoyed Forge of Darkness, so I should be more excited for Fall of Light than I am. I think my hesitancy stems from the fact that for years – years – I read a diet almost exclusively Erikson/Esslemont, with a dash of Abercrombie. Now, after the initiation of Purge of Ashes, my horizons have broadened considerably and I relish new books, new authors, new opportunities. Plus the aforementioned recollection required.

Lawrence I’m keen to start in on his second trilogy, if just to see how I take it not being a Jorg fan from the start. I’m keen to read some of his clever wordplay for myself and not just hear it out of context from his Facebook account. Sounds like Osheim is amazing, too, so it’s easy to get going on.

Gwynne, meanwhile, I’ve never heard a bad word about and his books are big and beautiful. I am more confident I will enjoy his series than anything previously unread. But it’s a lot of reading if I get hooked into that one, as I’m certain I will. I still have a baby and threenager at home, if no longer a newborn and toddler.

Then GGK. Some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read is in his previous books. I missed an opportunity to meet him at a book store earlier this year, and I want to get myself back into his vein. Tigana is often considered his best, and as such I am certain it will delight with a majesty even superior to The Lions of Al-Rassan (which my dad pitched to me, oddly enough).

Django Wexler’s Book 1 I picked up on a whim, and the fact it was recommended by an Indigo staff member. It was just sitting there alone on a little pedestal and I recognized his name from Reddit and the like. I read the back and the final few lines sold me to it. I look forward to trying something unprecedented. Last time I did so I read Sean Rodden’s Whispers of War and look at me now: eagerly awaiting his sequel Roars of War and the rerelease come April. Oh, gods! More to read! Eek!

Finally, Neil Gaiman. Just heard too much to not pick it up.

Wishing everyone a lovely end to 2016 and dawn of 2017. May books come swiftly to your enemies!

(So they can learn something and smarten up!)

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