BELL WEATHER: A Novel

bwsticky“The time is far off, the place is charming strange, and this is rollicking, jaw-clenching adventure.” – Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love

A captivating adventure set in a fantastical world where a young woman must uncover the secrets of her past while confronting the present dangers of a magical wilderness

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The 130,000-Calorie Novel

I write and exercise best in intervals. Several consecutive hours of writing would exhaust me, and whenever I’m on an exercise machine, I’m painfully aware of the remaining minutes. This makes it tough to write books and stay fit.

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The writing chair. It’s real nice.

Now that I’m writing the BELL WEATHER sequel, my workday goal is 1,000 written words and 1,000 burned calories. We’ve had this cheap but durable (and dead silent) exercise bike for more than a year. I keep it near my writing chair during the day. The new routine is to write a few hundred words in one go, and then ride off the equivalent number of calories on the bike.

So if I write 333 words and need to clear my head, I ride until I’ve burned 333 calories. Then I drink some water and coffee and write more words. I listen to WCDB or KEXP, and sometimes Beats. Our dog Bones sleeps beside me when he isn’t guarding the front window.

A thousand is a good number for me. Simple and round, it’s easy to compute when measuring progress. I can ballpark how long my draft is going to be, so I can ballpark how long it’ll take me to finish. And a thousand daily words is a solid pace, a respectable challenge (especially because I write slowly, even during first drafts) that isn’t overwhelming. If I write fewer than a thousand words a day, I feel lazy. When I’ve tried committing to more than a thousand, I’ve burned out or felt rushed.

The bike. It is cheap but durable.

The bike. It is cheap but durable.

Plus a thousand calories on the bike gets my Fitbit step count up to 10,000 — that gold standard of minimum daily steps, as established by some apocryphal study of Japanese health. Ten-thousand steps isn’t a magic number, but it’s about 7,000 steps more than I would usually take, bumming around the house between the library and the kitchen.

I estimate this draft will run approximately 130K words. By the time I’m done, I’ll have burned 130K calories on the bike, which is the equivalent of:

  • 394 peanut butter sandwiches, or…
  • 962 extra-large bananas, or…
  • 1,857 Oreo cookies

Book gets fatter, Dennis gets leaner, and my workdays are much more productive and enjoyable.

Umber

Bellweather REDO author sendUMBER

The capital city of Bruntland, situated near the coast of the Eccentric Ocean. Most of its grand, central buildings are constructed of a ghostly pale mineral called lunarite.

Read more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015).

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 6

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is from Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 6.

LISTEN HERE

corelli grossi

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

DR. BENJAMIN KNOX

Bellweather REDO author sendDR. BENJAMIN KNOX

A progressive 18th-century doctor of great skill and eccentric interests. He is Tom Orange’s best friend. Benjamin is both boyish and mature, as liable to marvel at the weather as he is to risk his own life for a patient. Married to Abigail Knox.

Read more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015).

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

Temper Trees

Bellweather REDO author sendTEMPER TREES

Native Florian trees that shed all of their red leaves, at summer’s end, in sudden rushes.

 
 

Read more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015).

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

Cravens

Bellweather REDO author sendCRAVENS

Tiny black birds that travel by the hundred, terrified of everything and huddled into swarms.

 
 

Read more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015).

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

The Family Stinkbug

This is the family stinkbug, Bob. “How large is this magnificent arctic stinkbug crawling toward the backyard hammock?” you ask. Oh ho, quite small, of course, and photographed here on the kitchen window.

Bob has been wintering with us all season. He was commonly seen in the upstairs bathroom but has, of late, been venturing downstairs. We cannot let him out because of the cold, and because we would miss him, and he us.



Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 9

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is from Corelli’s Concerto Op. 6, No. 9.

LISTEN HERE

corelli grossi

Note: Beats Music membership required; they offer a free two-week trial.

Learn more about BELL WEATHER: A Novel (Henry Holt & Co., 2015)

Order now: INDIEBOUND | B&N | AMAZON | iBOOKS

Things I Can Say About MFA Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One

After eight years of teaching at the graduate level, I grew increasingly intolerant of writing designed to make the writer look smart, clever, or edgy….I told a few students over the years that their only job was to keep me entertained, and the ones who got it started to enjoy themselves, and the work got better. Those who didn’t get it were stuck on the notion that their writing was a tool designed to procure my validation. The funny thing is, if you can put your ego on the back burner and focus on giving someone a wonderful reading experience, that’s the cleverest writing.

from Ryan Boudinot’s essay, “Things I Can Say About MFA Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One“.

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