How Long is a Book?

measuringI write this because I’m trying to talk myself into doing something I’m terrified of.

My so-called “next” book was sent to beta readers in December.

Of 2012.

I wanted to up my game, refine my craft, make it better.

Also, and here’s where the nerves start, to make it longer, because I am (or was) convinced it’s just not long enough. … more … “How Long is a Book?”

The Music – Excerpt from an Unpublished Coming of Age Novel

The Music

When he first realized that no one else heard the music, he went to his room, sat on the bed, and stared at the closet door. It had never occurred to him that he was a freak, walking around with this noise in his head all the time.

the music

When his father used to tell him to turn off the record player and enjoy the peace and quiet, he’d been too baffled to respond. … more … “The Music – Excerpt from an Unpublished Coming of Age Novel”

Anacrusis – Excerpt from an Unpublished Work

This is an excerpt from an unpublished novel.

anacrusisYou have to wake up early to beat the summer sun around here. I must have fallen asleep before 9 last night. Dark meant it wasn’t even 6 yet. By 6:00 the far side of the lake would already have a glow behind it as the sun rose.

Yup; clock on my phone said 5:50. I felt restless, anxious. I wandered from room to room as I drank a mug of coffee. Felt like I was looking for something that I knew wasn’t there.

The neat columns of boxes here and there, the big empty spaces where I had nothing, the quiet and dark drove me out.

A run was still the best way to clear my head, morning or evening. I paced myself to let the thoughts percolate and dissipate. I know you can’t go around the grieving process, you have to go through it. Doesn’t make it any less painful. At least I could be doing something I loved as it happened to me.

The slower pace took me farther than my sprint had yesterday. I realized I was running around the south end of the lake, running toward the sunrise. The trees thinned, and I could see more of the pink behind. It was as if the sun were making a sound, a rushing sound like water. I knew I’d drifted away from the lake by now, farther south. I couldn’t see water to the left at all, just the gentle slope down from the little ridge I ran along.

The sparse grass and dirt gave way to flat rock, shale, maybe, like the places I ran in Ireland. Hard on the legs, but here I expected it to turn back to springy soft forest floor again.

Instead, it turned into nothing at all.

If I’d been running any faster I’d have gone right over the edge. The rushing sound I’d been hearing was the lake pouring out through the narrow outlet Mrs. Wright had mentioned. I slid to a stop at the sharp edge of the rock. The water scrambled through an eight-foot-wide channel, pressed by the rock walls.

It was probably deep enough that if I’d fallen, I wouldn’t have been injured by hitting bottom, but water is powerful. When you’ve been slammed by ocean waves in California you develop a healthy respect for it. The best case scenario would involve being dragged downstream far longer than I wanted to walk back wet.

The other side of the chasm looked different. Sycamore or elm or something like that instead of pines. Approaching from the other side wouldn’t have been as frightening. The shale had broken off and was a foot lower than this side. You’d probably notice the gap.

It would also help that it was clear, not covered with pine needles like this side. Pine needles on smooth rock are slippery as ice.

It didn’t look too wide to jump, but the slippery edge made me too nervous to try it.

I wasn’t going any farther around the lake this morning, so I turned around and headed home.

A Long Hard Look: Writing a Light Mystery in Public

A Long Hard LookI’m working on a light mystery novella. (It’s either a big novella or a short novel. Seems I keep hitting the word count just between established norms. Surprise.)

Been posting a 1,000-word chapter every weekday at my personal blog; 17 so far. Start reading Chapter 1 now. Unless you have an important appointment in the next hour. Think potato chips.

What Readers Say:
I love it so far!! – Rebeccah

I love the way you continue raising questions to be answered throughout the chapters instead of just having the murder itself as the puzzle. That made for a great hook. – Elizabeth

Into the Fog – Book Excerpt

Through The FogThe following is an excerpt from my Irish mystery novel, Into the Fog, a sequel to Through the Fog.

“Niall; Fearghal. Step in side and have a whiskey.” The look on their faces was almost worth the days that came after.

“Told you he was here.”

“You also said he wasn’t a fool. You’re one for two, Niall.”

Niall glared at his older, larger (but, shall we say, less intellectual?) brother and moved toward the front step. “I’ve given up whiskey entirely, Martin, but a cup of something hot wouldn’t go amiss.” I had to step back inside to make room in the doorway for them to come in.

Fearghal O’ Quinn wasn’t quite tall enough to duck as he came through, but he filled a normal sized room well enough. Niall, not as tall and not as broad, always seemed restless, as if he were anticipating a surprise he wasn’t going to like.

Niall jostled Fearghal. “Get in, get in; my backside’s hanging out the door.” Stepping around his brother, he stopped cold.

… more … “Into the Fog – Book Excerpt”

Are You Going to Get Your Novel Out of the Someday Box in 2014?

end of the rainbowYou’ve always dreamed of writing a novel and you still haven’t done it. It’s time.

I know the 2 things that are stopping you — this class sweeps them away.

Your novel will be finished by the end of 2014. No gimmicks, no shortcuts, no nonsense.

Just a reminder about the class Get Your Novel Out of the Someday Box in 2014.

… more … “Are You Going to Get Your Novel Out of the Someday Box in 2014?”

Get Your Book Out of the Someday Box in 2014 By Taking This Class

Get Your Book Out of the Someday Box in 2014You’ve always dreamed of writing a novel and you still haven’t done it.

It’s time.

I know the 2 things that are stopping you. My new class, Get Your Book Out of the Someday Box in 2014, sweeps them away.

Your novel will be finished by the end of 2014. No gimmicks, no shortcuts, no nonsense.

Go read the details.

Please note that the class is limited to 12 and that sign ups absolutely, positively close midnight, December 15, 2013.