Girding My Loins for NaNoWriMo

YoucandothisSo, for the first time in about 5 years, I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve been neglecting my writing for too long and I’m hoping this will get me back on that horse.

I’ve selected a genre and a title: I’ll be

Crimson Duchess Cover

working on a steampunk novel currently titled “The Last Voyage of the Crimson Duchess.” Now I just have to figure out what that means…

So, if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year, look me up. I’m “pencilneckgeek.” I’m always happy to be a writing buddy.

Wish me luck!

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The Weirdest Writer in the West

34621320Last week I took an online writing class hosted by incomparable Cat Rambo on writing steampunk and weird western fiction. The class was a 2-hour Google hangout where the participants not only got a great brief history of the genres, but an interesting discussion of the tropes/traditions/trappings of the genres and great ways to use them and yet ensure that you are doing something fresh, new, and (most importantly) page-turningly exciting with them.

It was a great experience and I fully intend to take advantage of some of the other online courses that Cat offers.

For more info on the classes Cat is offering, go to http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog/upcoming-online-classes/.

 

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Review: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry

GhostwalkersGhostwalkers (Deadlands #1) by Jonathan Maberry (2015) : Tor Books (9780765375261)

Full-disclosure: My wife and I are currently playing a Deadlands campaign together. It’s great game with an interesting poker card-based mechanic and a setting bubbling over with the possibility of great stories. So when I saw that Jonathan Maberry (Dead of Night, Rot & Ruin, King of Plagues) had written a novel based in that world, I was there faster than a silver bullet.

Grey Torrance is a gunman who is constantly running from the literal ghosts of his past. Putting his nose where it doesn’t belong embroils him in the machinations of a robber baron with dreams of conquest who is sucking the town of Paradise Falls dry of resources and people. With the guidance of Thomas Looks Away, a Sioux scientist, and the drive of the beautiful and fiery rancher Jenny Pearl, Grey seeks redemption in the impossible defense of the town.

Ghostwalkers is the first in a trio of tie-in novels set in the Deadlands universe. And it is a great opener. Maberry does an excellent job of painting the setting and creates a whiz-bang plot for the characters to play in. There are strange ghost-rock powered gizmos, plenty of zombies, Harrowed gunslingers, mad scientists, fell creatures from deep beneath the earth, and even undead dinosaurs thrown into the mix. This is a tale of high adventure and Maberry delivers.

The writing is punchy and the dialog is fun. Each chapter ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, throwing you into the next step along the way. It’s just good, pulpy writing and keeps you interested, even during the expository bits. The characters are a bit one-dimensional, but still engaging. There is just so much going on that there isn’t much time for deep character development–and, really, this plot-driven pulp. Deep character study isn’t really necessary. The Sioux character of Looks Away is slightly problematic. While Maberry doesn’t dip into Native American cliche’s with the character, the scientist’s British mannerisms are a bit forced–especially as it is established that he didn’t go to England until he was 20 years old.

Ghostwalkers is a ripping yarn, a wild roller-coaster ride of a novel, and a great introduction to the weird western world of Deadlands.

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Fueling the Fire: FenCon XIV

I attended the Writer’s Workshop at FenCon XIV in Dallas this year. The facilitator was the ever-insightful Cat Rambo. I was in with 14 other writers, critiquing and soaking up insights from Cat for 4 days.

It was WONDERFUL.

Not only did I learn a ton about writing and about how others approach the craft, but the workshop refueled the tiny writer’s flame in my heart–which had been sputtering of late.

I immediately took home the various suggestions made about the story I had submitted for critique and really worked at tightening it up and making it better. I’ve re-titled it and have sent it out to a market for possible publication.

I can’t emphasize enough how great this workshop was. It was a great bunch of folks with a great teacher. It can’t get any better than that.

FenCon 2017

I’m the one with the subtle beard in the front…

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FenCon Writing Workshop

I will be attending the FenCon writing workshop this weekend with the brilliant Cat Rambo.

I’m hoping to revitalize my writing bug and get back on the horse. I’ve taken a hiatus from writing to focus on my RPG passion. I want to get back into it again.

So far, it has been excellent. Inspiring folks with illuminating critiques.

I’ll keep you posted.

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