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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7 Things About My Writing You Might Not Know

My friend, author Kate Southwood (FALLING TO EARTH), tagged me in a Facebook list:

7 Things About My Writing You Might Not Know

I’ll answer below and tag three others: Eric Devine, Nathan Kotecki, and Kathryn Kopach Biel. You can check their Facebook author pages in the coming days for their answers, unless they blow me off.

isolator1. Lately I’m writing 1,000 words a day and riding off the equivalent number of calories on an exercise bike. The first draft will burn around 130K calories.

2. I defeated fear of the blank page at the age of 30, when I forced myself to visit a library after work and stay until I’d written 1,000 words. Unlike my current healthy bike parallel, I tempted myself into the library with their cafe’s superb coffee cake.

3. That fall in the Westport, CT library, I wrote a 70,000-word horror novel, which was so bad I never even tried revising it. I have since deleted all copies (I hope).

4. I don’t remember loving books until halfway through high school.

5. I write on a laptop, until I have such an unaccountably hard week that I switch to pen and paper, in order to change things up. When pen and paper grow stale, I return to the laptop. Whatever works.

6. Now that I’ve invented a fictional 18th-century world with BELL WEATHER, I can use that book, and its maps, as primary research texts. If the information isn’t there, I get to make it up.

7. It would be triumphant to say I built my writing career alone, with nothing but grit and genius, but it would also be a lie. I had a good childhood with wonderful parents, a solid education in upper-middle-class America, a string of easy day jobs, a supportive wife and son, two world-class pets, no major illnesses or derangements, and buckets of luck.

I will claim a measure of grit, but I had an incredible amount of help. Instead of feeling guilty about my unearned advantages, I view it all as a big royalty advance: I try to write good books and pay it back however I can. (My wife refers to this as her Return on Investment. She’s going to make me travel overseas at some point.)

Johney, Cock Thy Beaver!

I played a lot of 18th-century music throughout the writing of BELL WEATHER. Today’s selection is the traditional song, “Johney, Cock Thy Beaver!”

LISTEN HERE

english country dances

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

BELL WEATHER Interactive Map & Contest

The official BELL WEATHER site is live, complete with a stylish interactive map.

Henry Holt & Company is giving away 30 advance copies of the novel: scroll down on the new page to enter the contest, and please spread the word!

VISIT THE SITE

newsite

Winterbears

Bellweather REDO author sendWINTERBEARS

Lean, gray, wolfish bears that sleep all summer and prowl the winter woods of the Antler River Valley.

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

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

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

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