Archive for April, 2012

The thirteenth is up. This chapter starts the second part of the book. The first is called “Turning and Turning,” and the second is “The Falcon.” I won’t tell you yet what the third is called, but if you’re familiar with the poem, you can probably figure it out.

Right now I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Bushnell’s Basin, waiting for my eldest daughter to wrap up her co-op program before I truck the three of them over to an art class across town. My youngest is reading chapter 12 on my son’s laptop, and she thinks the hand is too over the top.

She  thinks an eyeball would be better.

Go figure.

At any rate, I’ll think about it (no, not about putting the eyeball in there). I don’t want this to be too heavy for the readers, and I’m more than capable of getting graphic (anyone out there read The Coppersmith yet?), so maybe that’s too much.

Gotta go right now. Here’s the link to the next chapter.

Chapter 13

Chapter 12 of In the Widening Gyre is up. This took a while to write. Partly because life intervened with other challenges and priorities too numerous or trivial to mention. But partly because this chapter represents a major turning point in the book.

I’ve divided the book into three parts. Part One – Turning and Turning – is now complete. In the next chapter, we start Part Two – The Falcon. The book will conclude in Part Three – The Falconer.

The images are lifted straight from Yeats’ poem, but given an entirely different application than the poet intended, of course. I suspect you’ll be pleased with the final result.

Posted: April 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

This is utterly unrelated to writing, but it’s not the kind of thing that should be left unsaid.

God is an Amazing, mind-blowingly generous God.

Like many people, we’ve had our share of financial struggles these past few years (and while I’m hopeful that my writing might be our ticket to better things, it ain’t happened yet!), not to mention the various health scares since Wendy’s brush with cancer, but today we got blessed.

Mind you, I consider even the trials we face to be a blessing. I know God means them for our good, and that He is producing a weight of glory in us that far exceeds anything we might face on this earth–but the simple fact is, trials suck. They need a defense. It takes effort to see them as blessings, to find the good in them.

Today we got blessed in a way that needs no defense. It was just out and out good things.

Our neighbor is moving.

No, no. You read that wrong. We’re not blessed because our neighbor is moving. We like our neighbor. Really we do. Our neighbor moving has had the unexpected consequence of blessing us.

Wow. This really isn’t coming out right.

Here’s the thing: our neighbor has a large freezer full of really nice meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, and prepared foods and such that they purchased from Swann a while back… and they can’t take it with them when they move, ’cause they’ll just be on the road too long.

So they gave it all to us. We’re talking upwards of a month’s worth of groceries.

Our freezer was full before. Except that it was mostly jugs of ice we use to make the machine run more efficiently. We’ve been using it to store the bread God blesses us with thanks to the ministry partnership a co-op friend has with our local Panera Bread Company. We use the bagels in our church service and give away loaves to those church members who are in need–ourselves included.

But now both of our freezers are full (the one above the fridge and the big one on the back porch that held nothing but ice and bread till this afternoon).

I’m literally blown away by this generosity. I know it’s God’s favor toward us. Let’s face it. Sometimes, you have to take God’s favor toward you on faith, ’cause it just doesn’t seem like it. It’s not that you’re ungrateful, necessarily, it’s just that a lot feels like it’s going wrong.

Like Cancer. Or unemployment. Or ministering for seven years, and only having a handful of people in your church. Or writing seven novels and only selling a couple hundred copies. These aren’t complaints of mine. These are just the simple facts of life as we’ve known it since moving to Rochester.

We’ve been blessed, too. I have a wonderful job now with a great company that gives me the time to write and blog in the evenings (after the work is done and the guys I care for are asleep, of course!). We have a house by the lake with a library room like I’ve always dreamed of having. We even got to go to Disney! Cars that work and warm cats for cold nights. All manner of good things.

Those things kinda balance out the bad.

But tonight I felt the scales tip toward the good, and I’m reminded again that God really does like us (“You like me! You really like me!” – S. Field). Sometimes it’s good not to have to take God’s goodness on faith, because you can see it with your own eyes.

That’s where we’re at tonight. And I’m reasonably confident we’ll need this blessing to hold on to when Wendy faces yet another surgery for the benign tumor on her arm next week.

God is good. No matter what.

Here’s the next installment of In The Widening Gyre.

Chapter Ten

My goal was to have chapter ten done as of yesterday, and be finishing chapter eleven today. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Part of it was the family’s insistence on watching a double feature last night, but the biggest reason was, I think, just being tired. The double shift I worked on Tuesday didn’t help matters. The overtime will help, of course, but not as far as the story is concerned.

Some days I just can’t wait till I’m earning QYJM from all this. I don’t really want or need to be rich. I just want to earn enough to do this full-time.

I suppose, in a way, this is a discipline. Paying my dues, that sort of thing. If I can learn to crank out the volume needed to make it as a writer, then I’ll have acquired the discipline needed to make doing it full time a worthwhile investment. It’s not like I’ll ever take a full year to write a novel again. My goal now is one every two months (assuming I can even pull that off!). This way, I’ll be able to progress on all six series I’m currently writing.

My wife pointed out to me the other day that I’ve already released three books this year. True, the sequel to The Lost Scrolls had to be submitted to my editor at Ellechor, but I did finish the edits and release it to her. And, of course, I finished both Spilled Milk and Eye of Darkness this year as well. This means that I only have to complete three more and I’m on target.

If I can wrap up In the Widening Gyre by May (and I hope sooner than that!), then I can take two months to finish Topheth (July), and two more to finish The Tree of Liberty (September), which will give me the last part of the year to start work on the next installments of the Spilled Milk series, The Dragon’s Eye Cycle, and the third Jonathan Munro Adventure. None of them will be due until 2013, either.

I think, once I get the Spilled Milk series done (and I expect only three titles in that set, at most), I’m still gonna resist doing any more series until I wrap up at least two more. I really want to finish off Jefferson’s Road and The Dragon’s Eye Cycle, since both of these series have a clearly defined end point. New World Order (of which In the Widening Gyre is just the first installment) does as well, but the anticipated series is nine books long. That’s a major investment of time, so I can’t really focus all my energies on finishing the series just now. By contrast, both Jonathan Munro Adventures and Janelle Becker Books are somewhat open-ended. I can write as many books in those series as I can think up. And since each novel stands alone, it’s not like I’m gonna have people breathing down my neck like I do for the others.

I think, in the future, I’m might steer away from sequential series. At least, I’ll stay away from this many! Maybe one or two at the most, with some stand alone novels and series thrown in the mix. Still, by the time I’m done with what’s currently on my plate, I’ll have written 33 books.

Don’t think I can complain about that at all, actually.

I finally got around to reexamining the prices for my printed books via Createspace, and the good news is that I’ve been able to lower the prices on just about all of them.

Any lower on these prices and every sale would cost me money. Almost all of this price is printing costs. I make pennies for each one. But, every penny counts!