Happy Holidays!

Lots of wonderful BELL WEATHER fun coming in the new year, including more advance-copy giveaways, a full support site with an interactive map, character introductions, and sundry other treats. Thanks to everyone who’s followed along this year.

Happy Holidays, and see you in 2015!


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What *Am* I Currently Working On?

Goodreads said I should activate “ASK THE AUTHOR” on my author page, so now people can ask me questions. I have one week to answer any posted question before the Goodreads Incentive Drone attacks my home.

Sign up at Goodreads and ask me anything.

The first question was: What are you currently working on?

ANSWERI’m working on a sequel to BELL WEATHER. I used to be more freewheeling when I wrote, but with BW I became a full-fledged plotter. Plotting lets my stories grow *more* organically, because I’m willing to risk more and try out crazier ideas. My final plot will end up being 30-40K words of carefully organized chapter summaries, so it’s virtually a crude first draft. Once I have that, I can work on each chapter with a clear game plan, paying more attention to the language and details, and letting the story flesh itself out. I reserve the right the break and rebuild the plot as needed along the way.

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Advance reader copies of BELL WEATHER, now with the true cover design, have arrived at Henry Holt & Co. I’ll be getting my batch later this week. (That’s my editor’s thumb in the picture.)

Follow this blog; I’ll be doing some giveaways in the coming weeks.

Bell Weather ARC

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Here’s a Deer Frolicking in Water with a Dog

The accompanying music isn’t the best, so maybe try muting it and playing something better. I went with “California Uber Alles”, which is conveniently included below in its own Youtube video.

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Hand-to-Fang Combat

Writing: There’s a chapter-sized hole in the plot of Book 2, and I can almost see what belongs there, but yeah no I still can’t see what belongs there.

Weather: Sleet like falling glass, as if the angels broke a cup and said, “Just sweep it off the edge and let them deal with it,” and then proceeded to do so, angelically cackling from on high.

Personal: Each morning I drop my son at school and return home to write. Our dog Bones doesn’t greet me at the door, because he’s already run to the back door, expecting me to join him on a yard adventure, which often means charging together at the tree in case of squirrels or witches. (One day in October, he looked disappointed that there weren’t any squirrels, so I pepped him up by saying, “Ssssh, listen… there are witches in the tree.” Ever since, the word “witches” means we must charge the tree immediately.)

After the squirrel/witch hunt, he trots inside and gets a treat. Then I sit to begin writing. Shortly after I sit, Bones appears at my side, chewing on his Nylabone and playfully growling. This will continue until he gets depressed that I’m not playing, which is too sad to witness, so play I must. Playing means attacking Dad’s hand. He never bites hard. It’s essentially hand wrestling, except Bones uses his jaws. But it hurts me a little, and yet I can’t not do it, because it’s a bonding thing and it makes us both happy.


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Back to Plotting

Writing: Scraping rust after a week away from the BELL WEATHER sequel. I’ve got the first third of the next novel’s plot nailed down, and would love to finish the second third by Christmas. The last third ought to been easier, since I know most of the major beats and a degree of inevitability sets into the closing crises and climaxes.

Weather: Warm gray

Personal: I stabilized an old piano stool and fixed some Christmas tree lights this afternoon. Reading Dune Messiah now.


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dune sandwormI’ve been meaning to read Frank Herbert’s DUNE almost my entire life; I used to be fascinated by the pulp paperback covers in our library when I was a kid. For some reason the time never seemed right — I’m weird about books that way — and then two weeks ago I pounced on it. I’ve had people tell me it’s a dense read, and this is somewhat true. There’s total world invention, many characters, a massive plot, a new vocabulary, and plenty of scientific-political-mystical complexity. And yet it’s extremely easy to read, and captivating start to finish. Halfway through, I knew I was hooked on the whole series, and I went out and bought Herbert’s five sequels. Onto #2.

Fun fact: DUNE was originally rejected by twenty publishers, and was finally released by Chilton Books, which was known for publishing auto repair manuals.

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