Saturday, November 18, 2023

A Writer's Week #126: Nearing the Finish

 It's been a while since I gave an update on my WIP, The Deliverers 4: Sparkling Mist of Time. That's because a lot of great things have been happening--lots of shows to be specific. I have not been idle on the writing front, however. Book 4 is moving right along, and I am happy to report that the first draft is almost complete. 

Right now, I've written over 43,000 words, and am on track to hit 50,000. This book will definitely complete the Deliverers Series. My concern with writing the ending to the series has always been doing the series justice. I put pressure on myself to make sure that the end of a book works and is a fitting ending to the story. This time around, I'm really feeling it as I'm wrapping up the entire series.

As the book was initially coming to a close, I think I was trying a little to hard to figure out the ending. I was trying to force things, so all my ideas were a little bit contrived. Finally, I just kind of let it all go and stopped thinking so hard. Once I was able to do that, it started coming in bits and pieces. Finally, all the pieces came together. I think the ending as I picture it now is a natural and proper path to complete the story.

Book 4 is really starting to come together, I should have the first draft completed shortly. Emily Hurst Pritchett has started sketching out cover ideas. I'm also experimenting with the book layout. This will be the first time I'm doing it on my own, so there's a little more pressure than usual.

Anyhow, I hope to have the book out by either February or March. Stay tuned, I'll be sure to keep you updated. In the meantime, I hope you and yours have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

IWSA Wednesday First Post

Hello! Happy November, and welcome to my first Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday post!

The awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Jean Davis, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diedre Knight!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!

November 1 question: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

Well, the short answer is no.  I just have trouble writing like that. My writing pace tends to be slow and slower.  After all, it's taken me nine years to write book 4 of the Deliverers Series.  After about 7 years off to pay more attention to my family as they grew up, it is almost complete.

Once I've finished writing, it's been edited, and artist Emily Hurst Pritchett has completed the artwork, it will be launch time. Hopefully that will be sometime in March. 

I've never really been very good at book launches, or marketing in general for that matter. Anyhow, I could really use all the suggestions you could give when the time comes.

I guess that's all I've got this time around. Thank you for allowing me to become part of the group and I look forward to traveling around and meeting you all. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Cal Endria's Journal--Entry #1: Sowing Seeds

 Note: Today is the beginning of a new topic. When Cal Endria left on his final journey into the Iron Mountains, he brought his journal with him. When he was lost, his eyewitness account of the founding of Calendria was lost with him. With the unexpected recovery of the journal, Calendrian historians have gained a new insight into the origins of the village.

Here is the first entry in the journal. Let's travel back to the beginning.

26 October, 4169

Sketch of Cal Endria's Journal by Emily Hurst Pritchett

Another day at sea, and I am restless. I have started this journal to chronicle what I hope to be a new phase of my life, and hopefully that of my descendants.

Of late, I have grown tired of life at sea, and especially of life under Captain Burt Sharky. As first mate, I must ensure his orders are carried out. Perhaps I am becoming too soft hearted, but these days it seems that he has become exceedingly cruel and vicious.

Only yesterday, we sighted a merchant ship on the horizon. The two masted vessel was under full sail, running ahead of us at a quick pace, The lookout on Deathwind soon sighted her and the pursuit was on. The captain of our prey was a skilled sailor, if his maneuvers were any indication. However, in spite of the merchant's skill, the fleet steadily gained.

It was not long before they were within range of our cannon. I gave the order to fire. Our lads are chillingly good in a fight, and this one was no contest. our first volley raked their deck, and cut through both masts. Once they came crashing down the ship was virtually immobile.

Deathwind and Carrion came up on either side of the disabled ship. the merchant crew tried to put up a fight, but we are battle hardened and merciless. It was not long before what was left of the crew capitulated.

Usually, we would plunder and scuttle the captured ship, and maroon the crew on a small sandbar or island. This tactic did not offer much hope of survival, but it gave some. However this time Sharky had something different in mind.

"Kill them," he hissed. "Kill them all."

"But there are women and children aboard," I said. "Surely they can be spared."

"Do as I tell ye or I'll disembowel all ye lubbers!" Sharky barked. "From this day forth, we shall leave no one alive!"

And so, there was no choice but to carry out the Captain's orders.

If I could pinpoint one moment in time when I noticed a change in the Captain's mood, it seemed to be when he "acquired" a ring with a blood red stone. The ring is not natural. I do not know how to explain it, but it feels evil.

I have spoken to some other members of the Pirate Nation who I believe to be of a similar mind. One of these, Barko Weatherbee, has taken it upon himself to search out a habitable area for settlement.
Our plan is to find a suitable bit of land, take our families, and leave the Nation to form our own farming and fishing community. There are some among us who are optimistically looking forward to our new life. I, on the other hand, am concerned about Sharky. He will never let us go off on our own, at least not without a price in return.

That is my burden. I must develop a plan, engineer some sort of deal, that will entice Sharky. It must appeal enough to his black and greedy heart to convince him to let us go, rather than kill us all. 
If I can accomplish that, and if Weatherbee can find a suitable patch of ground, then we may well and truly have a chance to live out our lives as free and honest men, although I fear we shall never fully escape Sharky's evil shadow.

My watch is ending, so I shall end here. Perhaps in the morning, after a few hours' rest, a solution to our dilemma will come to me. I pray that it does.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

A Writer's Week #125: Meeting Friends Old & New

 This week, I attended my first two shows in many years. Last Sunday, I was at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire and yesterday I took part in the Connecticut Book Festival 2023 held by the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association

I was a little nervous as I arrived at the CT Renaissance Faire on Sunday, as I'd never been to this venue. I was in Lebanon, CT (mid-eastern part of the state). In the past I've always stuck to the western part--Fairfield and Litchfield Counties for the most part.

Happily, it exceeded my expectations! Everyone was really nice. I had a lot of questions about myself and my books, and there was a lot of interest. I had a great time meeting people and talking about my books, books in general, and the love of reading.

Oh yes, I was also able to sell quite a few books. I hope everyone enjoys them.

I also had a great time hearing the shouted orders and huzzahs emanating from the stall next to mine. It was the home of the Get Baked Potato Company. As the day went on, the line to purchase their wares stretched in front of my stand and down the main thoroughfare. At first, I was worried that the line would block my customers. It turned out, though, that it was great for business. People waiting in line got to come over and take a look at my table. Some bought on the spot, while a couple others returned later in the day.

Yesterday, I attended the Connecticut Book Festival 2023. Once again, I had a wonderful time talking with festival attendees and getting to know some of my fellow Connecticut-based authors. I was able to reconnect with old friends Stephanie Robinson and Jessica Haight who have been generous champions of the Deliverers over the years. I was also able to meet Christopher S. Carlone and his helper, Michelle Baird. Michelle is a teacher and editor. I had visited her class way back when my first book was released. It was great catching up with her.

Stephanie Robinson & Jessica Haight

Christopher S. Carlone & Michelle Baird

I also met Christian author Melvin Douglas Wilson, two time liver transplant survivor and new author John Hoffman, and YA writer Billie Kowalewski.

Melvin Douglas Wilson


All in all, it was a great first week back on the road. I am grateful for all the people I've met and the friends I've connected with, old and new.

In between shows, I've managed to write about 3,000 words of Book 4: Sparkling Mist of Time. I am hoping to release it in February or March next year. I'll keep you in the loop in my next Writer's Week post. Peace.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Deliverers 4: Chapter 6--Tavern Talk

On the night before my first show in forever (CT Renaissance Faire), here's the 6th chapter of my current work in progress, The Deliverers 4: Sparkling Mist of Time.

Matty’s mother got them what she called “some appropriate attire,” (which meant a linen shirt, cloth vest, and brown breeches for Eric and a homespun dress and bonnet for Kate.) and put them right to work. Eric was sent to chop wood to feed the fires in the kitchen and the taproom while Kate served drinks and meals to guests. After he was through chopping, Eric was sent to help Matty pour drinks. The taproom had filled up as the afternoon went on and soon it was filled with the buzz of conversation.

As they worked, both Kate and Eric kept their ears open for any information regarding the movements of the British but heard none. Most of the talk was about the harvest and the weather. Prospects for the upcoming winter appeared bleak.

“Aye, geese have headed south early this year,” one farmer muttered into his beer. “They don’t hang about when cold weather’s nigh. We’ll be gettin’ frost soon enough, I shouldn’t wonder.”

“You’re right enough about that, I’ll warrant Sam,” another said. “But I’ll take the cold over what I heard’s on its way.”

“What’s that, Nathaniel?” Sam asked.

“Now don’t tell me you haven’t heard the rumors from down Norfield Parish way,” Nathaniel replied.

“Well, I heard some talk about King George’s regulars makin’ raids and such down county, but I didn’t put much stock in it—especially after I heard some other rot.”

Here Eric, who had been sweeping nearby, pricked up his ears.

“And what rot would that be Sam?” Nathaniel asked.

“Well that good King George has enlisted spirits to fight for him or some such,” Sam scoffed. “Talk is they come screechin’ outta Devil’s Den. That can’t be right. The only spirits I’ve ever heard tell of were behind the church on Cemetary Hill, but I ain’t ever seen ‘em. It’s just stuff our mams used to frighten us when we were lads.”

“Aye, that may be true enough Sam, but the other day I had a visit from my brother who lives down on the coast in Norwalk. He said that the British had attacked Fairfield and burned the town, or part of it anyway.”

“They never,” Sam said. “Why would the King’s troops attack Connecticut? We haven’t made any trouble, not like those rabble rousers in Massachusetts or Pennsylvania. Why would King George want to bother with us?”

“There’s some that would not take kindly to that sort of talk,” Nathaniel growled. “We can’t let ol’ George and his lobsterbacks keep pushing us around, I say.”

“And there’s some that would call that kind of talk treason, Nathaniel Goodbody,” Sam snarled back.

“All right, all right, calm yourself,” Nathaniel replied. “I’m not tryin’ to pick a quarrel with you Sam Wainwright. I’m only tellin’ you what my brother told me, but you haven’t let me tell you the strangest part.”

“And what might that be, pray?”

“These lobsterbacks, oh all right have it your way,” he spluttered, catching Sam’s look. “These British regulars are being led by a blue man.”

“Blue man? What kind of rubbish is that?” Sam cried, smacking his pewter mug down on the table.

“My brother says it ain’t rubbish,” Nathaniel countered. “They’ve hit a good many towns. The blue man is all sparkly and leads a troop of spirit soldiers—the Ghost Brigade folk’re callin’ them.”

At the mention of the sparkling blue man, Eric’s stomach churned, and his knees shook. This was definitely not normal. He kept sweeping, fighting the urge to run and tell Kate.

“The ghost what?” Sam asked incredulously.

“The Ghost Brigade,” Nathaniel repeated. “The spirits are all sparkly, too—walk around in a mist that glimmers like fireflies. Folk say they’re the spirits of the dead what deserted from the French an’ Indian wars an’ were hung for it. They pop up in the night or the early morning, scare the dickens out of everyone an’ then the regular troops rush in, secure the town, burn part of it if there’s any resistance, an’ then pop up in another town a few days later and do the same thing all over again. Word is they’re headed this way fast.”

Sam stared at him as if he had sprouted wings. “Nat Goodbody, have you taken leave of your senses? You’d best get back to mending the roof of your house. You’ve had a drop too much to drink, I’m thinking. We’d both best be getting on home, any road. Hey lad, what do we owe you?”

“Uh, one and six,” Eric stammered.

“Here y’are,” Sam said handing him some coins as he and Nathaniel rose unsteadily from their chairs. “Keep the change, but you’d best hide it under your mattress. Don’t want any Ghost Brigade to get their hands on it, haw, haw!”

The two men lurched out the front door as Eric rushed to find Kate.