BUSY LEE IS BUSILY

Okay, let’s catch up:

It’s been a mad period for both appearances and writing recently. Having parted company with my previous agent over concerns regards a lack of communication, I’ve spent the last couple of week editing Father Muerte & the Divine in order to send it to an agent who caught me on the hop by requesting to see the full manuscript earlier than expected: a good sign, I hope, but let’s never line-edit and input 200+ pages of a manuscript in such short order again….

Working so hard on that project threw my timing out for September, which meant that I’ve spent this weekend blasting my way through The Daughters of John Anglicus, a 5000 word short story I need to deliver by the end of the month. I’ve always enjoyed writing short stories in compressed time frame: there’s something about an impending deadline that’s good for stoking the crucible of creation, but it’s no damn good for family time: I own Luscious and the kids some serious attention over the coming weekends to repay their indulgence. This week will be taken up with editing and getting it to the market, and then I’ll finally have a chance to draw breath and look at what to do next: with Nanowrimo looming in November I may consider revisiting the 15 000 words I’ve completed on Cirque and pushing that towards the 50K I think it’ll take to visit that YA project.

I’ve also been oot and aboot doing the talking-head-type thing: in August I revisited my old stomping grounds at Curtin University to deliver my annual guest lecture, and Book Week saw me taking to the stage at Churchlands Senior High School to talk about my work, idea generation and the art of entering short story competitions. And when I say ‘take to the stage’ I wasn’t kidding: have a gander at the theatre the school boasts.

No pressure, right? It was a great day, to be honest: I spoke to three groups of incredibly engaged, fun kids, and discovered that one group had been using Luscious’ story The Hanging Tree as part of their studies, so I was able to tickle her sense of history when I got home. 
And I’ve not been the only one: Master 9 has been King of the Kids in the last fortnight, hanging out with famous author types and generally being windswept and interesting. Back on the 9th he was an invited guest at a public talk by his literary hero, Andy Griffiths, after cool frood and AHWA buddy Mark Smith-Briggs organised a personal invitation in the wake of a bad bout of Rumination Syndrome. Master 9 had been one place in line from hearing Griffiths speak at last year’s Perth Writers Festival, only for a couple of kids to cut in and leave him at the head of the queue when the door closed. To make it up to him we bought a copy of Griffiths’ The 39 Story Treehouse, which he devoured in double quick time, then went out and bought for himself The 13 Story Treehouse and The 26 Story Treehouse, reading all three to the point of destruction. Until that point, he’d enjoyed reading (more on this in a moment) but hadn’t been a reader. Those novels changed him. A five minute meeting alone with Griffiths, as well as a signed gift of the new The 52 Story Treehouse just about counts as the gift of the century: it hasn’t left his bedside since, and has been read, as of today, no less than 5 times.
How is that grin?

A signed copy. Boy Geek Heaven!

A boy and his hero. A wonderful moment to witness.
Now, Griffiths’ ever expanding Treehouse may be the series that gave Master 9 his obsessive love of reading, but the book that taught him how to read was Norman Jorgensen and James Foley’s The Last Viking. Indeed, the reason he was at last year’s Writers Festival at all was to meet James as he launched his book In the Lion. So imagine his insane delight when the day after meeting Griffiths, we took him to the State Library for the launch of Jorgensen and Foley’s newest, The Last Viking Returns, and he got to meet Norman in person for the first time, as well as catch up with James again, both of whom treated him like an old friend. Norman and James are just about the nicest guys in the West, and the way they both took time out of their being-famous duties to catch up with him was absolutely heart-warming to see. And was my boy bouncing like a crazy thing? What do you reckon? The paper Viking helmet he coloured and cut out on the night is up on his wall, and the book itself hasn’t left his bedside table since he got home: he averages one session every two days of lying back on his bed, thumbing through it at his leisure. 
Viking Boyz!

Master 9 meets the lovely Norman Jorgensen. 
That is the smile of a very content and happy young man.
His three literary heroes, in 24 hours. Not a bad two days’ work 🙂
And then there’s Crimescene WA, the crime writing convention Luscious and I will be attending in three weeks’ time. I’ll be presenting a workshop on writing settings, and assisting Lyn deliver a presentation on strong women in crime fiction, which has required watching a metric fuckload of Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Girl With Dragon Tattoos in Fiery Ants Nest, and, in the coming weeks, Number One Ladies Detective Agency episodes, as well as trying to plough through the accompanying novels as best we can. Enjoyable, time-consuming, work, but frankly, it beats what I do during the working week. 
So that’s where I’ve been: racing around, desperately trying to keep myself immersed in the writing world that means an increasing amount to me as my work life becomes less and less satisfying, and Real Life ™ presents an unending series of complications. There’s been a family funeral in there, and money worries, and yet more issue with maintaining my crumbling house, but the truth is, it’s the writing life that keeps my psyche above water these days (apart from my relationship with Luscious, who is the only person I can turn to at any moment, sure in the knowledge of pure and instant understanding). Keeping in touch with the writing world is a constant struggle, but it’s the one I want to make.
Who’d have a peaceful life?

WRITING, SPELLED WITH A SILENT ‘RE’

Sorry about the lack of action round here, folks. I’m bang up against an editorial deadline for Magit and BugratMagwitch and Bugrat with editorial feedback regards naming conventions applied– and haven’t much time in my off hours for anything else. After an edit-heavy weekend, in which the entire structure of the novel was revamped, and chapter one was disassembled, scattered throughout the rest of the novel and reassembled, I’ve completed the first round of edits and inputs and am now just smoothing out the seams and bumps that such a major edit usually leaves. It’ll be back in the hands of the editors by the end of the week and then you and I can sit and chat.

Except that I’ve got to get Father Muerte & the Divine to Agent Rich. But I’m just about done with those edits and I reckon I’ll have them to him by, what, mid next-week. Then we can sit and chat.

Except I have to rewrite Cirque and add the 35 000 words it needs to get it finished and sent to Agent Rich because it’s on my goals list for this year and I don;t want to spend the entire goddamn year just editing: I actually want to write some new words if it’s all right with everyone. But after that….

After that, we can chat.

Unless I start work on something else.

THE NEXT BIG NEXT BIG THING COMING UP NEXT. AND IT’S BIG. AND NEXT. AND A THING…

So, having been tagged for the last Next Big Thing and duly completing ten questions about Marching Dead, I was tagged by the deeply sexy Jason Nahrung, and declined him, because I had nothing else to talk about. Then I finished Father Muerte & The Divine, just before I was tagged by the equally sexy Rowena Cory Daniells.

So here I am, talking about that book, too:

What is the working title of your next book?

Father Muerte and the Divine.

Where did the idea of your book come from?

I’ve explored the character of Father Muerte in four previous short stories: Father Muerte & The Theft (Aurealis 29); Father Muerte & The Rain (Aurealis 33/34/35 triple issue); Father Muerte & the Flesh (Aurealis 36) and Father Muerte & The Joy of Warfare (Aurealis 37). I’ve received a lot of feedback from readers wanting to know more about the character’s background, and wanting to see him interact with a larger story, so it was a good chance to go back into his past and expand upon the scope of his mystery, especially as I had a couple of breaks in my writing calendar where I could spend a goodly amount of time working on the story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely fantasy, but more towards the Urban end of the spectrum rather than the epic. Except it takes place in a seaside town that may or may not exist. Is there such a thing as Holiday Village Fantasy?

If you found yourself in a lift with a movie director you admire and you had the chance to pitch your book to them, what would you say?

Now you’ve finished the Corpse-Rat King movie, Mister Gilliam, do you fancy a read of this one?

Every writer dreams of their book being turned into a movie or TV series like Game of Thrones: if this happened to your work, which actors would you choose to play your characters?

Like Game of Thrones? Do I have to? Sorry fans, but I couldn’t get past episode three. I don’t care how much you gussy it up, I can spot a soap opera when I see one.

However, when it comes to characters, I rarely picture a known face upon them. Occasionally, if I want a characters to continue to act in a certain way I’ll try it out– Captain Bomthe from the Corpse-Rat King was lightly modelled on Bill Nighy’s ‘uptight’ character. But not with these charatcers: I’ve been working with them, on and off, for a decade now. They have their own faces.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Love. I love Muerte, Henri and Benito. There’s a small core of readers who love the stories and keep nagging me for another one. And I loved the idea of doing something really spectacular with what had come before: this is the fifth instalment of the narrative, so I had some history to play with.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It was written in two bursts of about a month each, a year apart. the first half was written whilst I was waiting for the Angry Robot Open Submission period was grinding its way to a conclusion, and then I had to drop it when they picked up CRK. Once I’d delivered Marching Dead it was just about time to start this year’s nanowrimo, and there I was with a novel needing roughly 50 000 words to finish it…

What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

I’m not sure. If anything, it probably sits– in my mental image of it, at least– closest to those convoluted Grant Morrison ‘everything’s an illusion and a conspiracy and all your paranoias are just silly. And correct.’ comic book series, with a faint hint of Gaiman’s ‘Seasons of Mist’. But that’s not really it, either.

It’s just, I dunno, weird. And cool. And there’s sort of a Keith Laumer oddness to it, and a China Meiville Gothic urban-ness, and a rollicking Bester tongue-in-cheekness, and half the documentaries I’ve watched in the last six years contributed, and then there’s some stuff that’s probably just me having a mental seizure…. maybe I’m not the best person to answer this question.

When will your book be available?

I expect to deliver the synopses and 5 chapter package to SuperAgent Rich in the next couple of weeks, and then the rest is up to him.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Time-travelling Benito Mussolinis, a colony of hyper-intelligent dinosaur ghosts, live human skinning, the fall of Satan, Maxwell’s Demon, the Red Baron’s fetish for post-World War I biplanes, coelacanths, pareidolia, bit-culling souls, molybdomancy… what’s not to love?

Keen-eyed readers will note that I haven’t tagged five authors to continue the meme onwards. That’s because every author I know has done the damn thing and it’s all getting rather circular and incestuous. Consider me your cul-de-sac for the day.

OH, YEAH.

And I should probably gloat slightly:

95 676 words later, Father Muerte & The Divine is finished.

December will be spent editing, polishing, writing the synopsis and sending the sales package to SuperAgent Rich. But it is, in all intents and purposes, finished.

Two novels written this year. That’s what I’d call a decent start.

N-OVER-EMBER

Agh, finally.

Yes, today is officially the second day of the following month, but for us, with the last of Erin’s friends having just left from her birthday sleepover, November is finally, finally over.

November means:

Nanowrimo. I acted as ML for my region for the third year, as well as working on Father Muerte & the Divine, for which I wrote a shade over 43 000 words, and completed. I topped up the other 6 000 and a bit words by beginning The Sin-Eater’s Lonely Children, working on the Muerte synopses, and various associated fiction tasks.

The Day Job’s Literary Month, involving organising and running a five hour writing marathon on a Saturday night complete with guest speakers and a metric fuckload of giveways; the awards presentation for the City’s short story competition on a Tuesday night; and a two hour seminar by Dr Helen Merrick on the following evening. All within a week of each other.

Three birthdays: mine, Connor’s, and Erin’s. Connor and Erin had a birthday party each. On the same day. At two different locations. Never. Bloody. Again.

Nnovvember. My first attempt at contributing to this mass Lego community initiative, to build a Vic Viper model to help commemorate the passing of popular builder and AFOL Nate ‘nnenn’ Neilson.

All this on top of the usual writing work, day job work, family commitments, swimming lessons, preparing the house for sale, blah blah etcetera and so forth.

I’m buggered.

BUT: I have a completed novel, two happy kids, new Lego for myself, no more work events for the rest of the year, and the first Lego MOC I’ve built that I think matches up to the rest of the Flickr stream, so we’ll call it a draw and now I’m going back to bed.

And because I promised, here are the pictures of the finished Viper.

From the top

Facing

From the rear, showing greebles and biplane wings

Side view, showing twin forward pods, and the connection between hull and engine, which…

…rotates.

And the underside, with all the transparent goodness and weapony-looking bits.

Comin’ atcha!

HAVE A BIG SLICE OF DIVINE

I’m feeling generous. Have a little taste of Father Muerte & the Divine first-drafty goodness:

It is easy to disarm a philosopher’s stone. The stone transmutes elements. Lead can become gold, wood can become steam, bread and wine can become flesh and blood. All it takes is for the stone’s wielder to focus his will upon the subject long enough for the chemical reaction to occur. The stone itself is merely a catalyst: the trigger that initiates chemical change without engaging in, or being changed by, the reaction. It is Maxwell’s Demon, bringing the wielder and the will ever closer whilst remaining aloof, unchanged; providing balance as both sides of the equation continue to eat themselves like chemical ouroboros. To destroy one, it is only necessary to turn its power back upon itself. Complete the loop of chemical change so that it is the stone, not the wielder, that becomes both agent and the reagent. Command the stone to turn itself to shale, to soap, to water, and the monster was destroyed. 
The difficulty is never in the act, it is in persuading the stone’s owner that it must be done.


NANO NANO NANO NANO BATMAAAAN!!!!!

It’s November, that time of the year which should be all about my birthday but is instead all about everybody else’s birthday, Americans playing spin-the-bottle-win-a-fuckwit, my day job providing umpty millions of opportunities for all the other writers in the region to get their wordfreak on, and me running around trying to please everybody and getting fuck all done on the personal front.

Except, of course, that I got me two weeks holidays, so suck on that, hidden Overlords of the Universe. Coz I get to stay home all day and do Nanowrimo, at least until next Wednesday.

Angry Robot duties are in abeyance for the moment– Marching Dead has been delivered and I’m quietly waiting for the edits to come back and ruin my Christmas– so I’ve turned my attention back to Father Muerte & The Divine, with a self-imposed brief to have the bastard finished by the end of the month and a synopsis package in the hands of my agent in time to ruin his Christmas by making him sell the damned thing for me.

6 days in, I’ve managed 15 000 words. Helps to have time off and a project you’re already 50 000 words into, no?

Right now it’s my usual melange of weird, unrelated shit, pummelled together without rhyme nor reason in the hope that not too many bits fall off once the editing starts: time travelling Benito Mussolinis; intelligent dinosaur ghosts; the Fall of Lucifer; the Red Baron’s previously unknown fetish for post World War I biplanes; rain cycles; pareidolia; the stone of Scone; the hive mind of children; philosopher’s stones; live human skinning; and 4 dimensional Maxwell’s Demons abound, there’s still another 30 or 40 000 word to go.

As Cupid Stunt would say, it’s all done in the best POSSible taste!

Anyway, for those who’d like to play word count progress bingo, some cute little widgets, courtesy of nano:



MELD LIKE TEAM SPINACH

My appearances on this blog have been brief and irregular lately: my day job eats my life, and leaves me little time to do more than throw the occasional shout out at my Facebook page at the moment. It’ll be a bit like this for a couple of months yet: bear with me. My day job/ home life balance should sort itself out soon, and I might find some more time to come here and post long, interesting, witty lines of banter to fulfil my dancing monkey obligations.

In the meantime, I’ve popped up and made an appearance as part of an SF Signal Mind Meld on the subject of heroes v protagonists, alongside a raft of other authors including Angry Robot stablemates Jo Anderton, Maurice Broaddus and Chris Holm. Which was nice.
And with nanowrimo rapidly approaching, I’ve signed on again to act as ML for my third consecutive year, and will be devoting my time to completing the back half of Father Muerte & the Divine now that I’ve delivered Marching Dead to the Robot Overlords. I’ll try and post some word count updates along the way, as well as a snippet or two to pique your interest. As a sop to blatant currying of public opinion, here’s a first draft extract to get you started:
Understand that, just as there are men who stand apart from the general populace, whose greatness of deed and nobility of stature ensure their names echo throughout history, so there is Benito’s special cafe bombon. It is the Odysseus of coffees, the Muhammad Ali, the Kal-el of Krypton. Coffee black as tar, as thick as a demon’s blood, crouched upon a base of condensed milk sweet enough to cause diabetes amongst innocent bystanders. Drinking it is like hosting a championship wrestling bout in your mouth. Bitterness and sweetness pummel each other for the singular honour of being the one to give you a heart attack.

Most mornings I have three.
I have little time or inclination for luxuries. Hard, bitter, highly caffeinated coffee, milk supersaturated in glucose, both contain high levels of energy. And what I do requires superb amounts of energy. I live in Costa Satanas, a village on a coast you can only visit when the need arises, at the edge of a sea that has changed names so many times over the century that you can only see us if you use the right map to travel, and even then, only if the sky matches the day on which it was drawn. The village exists because I do. Were I to lose my concentration, even for a moment, it would go back to its natural state, and be lost. I would survive, but I would be alone.

There, now. Wasn’t that worth hanging around for?

AND AT HALF TIME, THE SCORE IS: LIFE 3, BATTERSBY NIL

So this is what 40 feels like, is it?

If you’d asked me a year ago, I’m not sure what I’d have told you about how I felt at the thought of turning the halfway marker and heading for home. (I’m working on an average lifespan of 8o here. Anybody who knows better about the avergae lifespan being shorter can keep it to themselves. I bet you never get invited to parties….).

I was trapped in a job that did nothing for my soul except eat it, with little to no hope of escape. I was unhappy about the flow of my writing career– I had become becalmed, and felt only isolation from my peers. My family life was happy, at least: I have a truly beautiful and wonderful wife, who is the central happiness around whom the family revolves, and my kids are the perfect combination of delightful and insane. But as good as it was was as good as it was going to get, and once I left the house it really wasn’t that good at all. Truth be told, I was spending more and more time not leaving the house: my sick days were piling up, my lunches were long and my leaving times earlier and earlier, and once the front door shut behind me, the last thing I wanted to do was drag myself out to spend time with people I knew weren’t that happy to see me and weren’t heading in directions I wanted to go.

39 wasn’t a particularly good place to be. The prospect of spending most of the last half of my life in the same situation wasn’t even depressing. It was just… numbing.

Then it got weird.

For the first thing, I escaped my job. Out of the blue, a position in arts administration became available, and bugger me, I got it. By the skin of my teeth– my gaffer will cheerfully admit they took a chance on me, and thankfully, cheerfully admit it’s worked out– but I was able to walk (Walk? Fucking RUN!) away from my soul-destroying job (the one I ate to find comfort from, the one that had helped me gain 20 kilograms, the one that had my wife begging me to stay home most Mondays so I wouldn’t come home so miserable and depressed) and start again.

Six weeks after I started I was on a beach, helping to install a sculpture exhibition. I spent the week of my 40th birthday administering the first art exhibition I’d ever curated. I’ve spent the last month organising 2 art exhibitions; 3 writing talks; an online writing group; liaising with the Navy, local yacht club and three bands regarding our Australia Day celebrations; and running a Nanowrimo region. I travel a third of the time that I used to, actually speak to my colleagues, oh, and enjoy going to work. It’s not too mad a claim to say that I saved my life by finding this job. Not too mad at all.

Added to which, somewhere in amongst all that, I turned a corner in my writing career. Perhaps it was the change of heart that came with the change of job, but suddenly, I forgot to give a damn what people thought of me. I forgot to get caught up in the politics of the scene. I forgot to keep in touch with people, and in doing so, went a long way towards learning who the people were that wanted to keep in touch with me. The only thing I remembered to do was take joy in the writing act itself. I wrote a novel this year, and a bunch of poems, and drew some cartoons, and none of them will see the light for a while, if ever, but the novel’s good, and the cartoons were fun, and I like poetry.

And I have no idea what the rest of the world is doing. I haven’t read a blog for nearly a year– sorry to those of you who have blogs and are taking the time out of your lives to read this. I apprecaite your interest. But when it comes to reciprocating, for the first time in a long time, I’m too damn busy, and it’s good. I used to read blogs to keep away from writing, and now I’d rather write. My peers interact with me when they want to, if they want to: the lovely people at the Australian Writer’s Marketplace commissioned me to write an online SF course during the year, and I’ve had a constant trickle of communication from friends and colleagues that I’ve accepted on its own merits rather than going out searching for it. I’m more balanced, obviously, and happier. But I’ve also shucked away a lot of dead wood, a lot of former friendships that I had to realise were dead before I could comfortably offload them. Life is lighter now.

And now I’m halfway through another novel– the Father Muerte one I mentioned at the start of November. 51 000 words, to be reasonably precise. I’ll be finished it by the end of January, by which time it’ll be something like 2 years since I’ve seen a short story in print. But I’m even writing them again: I’ve got some markets I want to try, and a rewrite that an editor is asking for, and strangely, the writing life is enjoyable again.

So, cliches about life starting and blah blah blah aside, being 40 looks pretty good so far. My happiness isn’t perfect– I’ve got an awful lot of excess weight I have to lose; I’m in pain a fair bit of the time, although I’ve come to live with that; and seven of us in a house on a single wage means we won’t be seeing Rome any time soon.

But I am happy, and that alone is a massive change of outlook from a year ago.

There’s a lot gonna happen kid. Don’t forget to duck.

SEVEN DAYS IN

So, Nanowrimo is seven days old, and amidst my Municipal Liaison duties, administering the Rod Garlett exhibition Sands of Gulgulga (and here) at the Kent Street Gallery, and organising the City of Rockingham’s own Nanowrimo events (3 rather cool writing/speaking events entitled “Nano Cafe”, with speakers Simon Haynes, Tehani Wessely and Dave Luckett), I’ve managed to get me just over 12 000 words down.

12 114 to be exact, on the long-talked about but never-anything-actually-anything-done-about Father Muerte novel, Father Muerte & The Divine.

In good old fashioned Nano tradition, word count is nothing without a widget, so here be my first Nano widgety o’meter-ness:

12114 / 50000 (24.23%)

Plenty left to go, but a start is a start.

And tomorrow, they step through a rift in space and visit a civilisation of highly intelligent parallel-evolution dinosaur ghosts.

In all honesty.

ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, NANO!

National Novel Writing Month kicks off in a few days, and I will be bellying up to the nanobar again and trying to get some words down amidst the madness of a work-heavy month. If you’re also attempting to climb the word mountain, you can find me under the username leebattersby.

For my sins, I’ve persuaded the Nanos-that-be to create a new region—Rockingham/Mandurah—and if you’re local to that region then sign on up: a certain little black duck has been named Municipal Liaison, and I’ll be organising a bunch of stuff across the month to keep us all amused.

I’ll also be working on something I’ve threatened for a while: Father Muerte And The Divine, the long-avoided-being-thunked-about Father Muerte novel. Fans of the series have permission to send kind thoughts in the direction of my computer….

GOD, DO I REALLY SOUND LIKE THAT?

Head on over to the fabulous Mister Keith Stevenson’s podcast website Terra Incognita, and not only can you enjoy listening to the likes of Jason Fischer and Margo Lanagan reading their own fine work, but you can download the latest podcast—issue 24 features me, reading Father Muerte & The Flesh, the story that won the inaugural Australian Shadows award back in the day, and the third of the four Father Muerte stories to have seen print. Given what I’m working on during Nanowrimo next month (about which, more in a minute), it’ll serve as a bit of a taster.

Go. Listen. Wonder how Luscious puts up listening to that voice day after day after day…..

ROUNDING UP

MIDNIGHT ECHO

Well, (claps hands) that’s that.

All the submissions have been read, all the rejections have been sent, and now that the dust has cleared, I’m left with the 12 stories and 3 poems that make up the contents of Midnight Echo #4. Assuming nothing falls over between now and April, it’ll be my delight to present you with stories from the likes of Aurealis Award winners Chris Green and Geoffrey Maloney and international man about town Dan Braum, as well as the first poem penned by the lovely Jenny Blackford in many a long year.

I’ve received well over 200 submissions from all corners of the globe (quite literally!), and it’s a good feeling to be able to look at the final list and be satisfied that the works I’ve chosen are an accurate reflection of my views towards the art of horror writing, as well as damn good pieces in their own right. Will you enjoy them? It is to be hoped. But for now, I can move on to the second-stage editorial work— writing the editorial, shaping and editing submissions, discussing art and contracts with the appropriate AHWA Kahunas— and start to mold the final shape of the issue.

Stay tuned, and as soon as I get the all-clear from Midnight Echo Big Banana Marty Young I’ll give you the final Table of Contents.

A QUICK GLANCE INTO A NEARBY BUCKET

With the time-intensive scutwork of submissions editing out of the way, I can finally indulge myself once more with thoughts of my own work. The Battersby Art machine has been quiet of late, and there’s a lot of product to be fed into the business end. To whit:

  • 2 novels need editing: Napoleone’s Land and Corpse-Rat King
  • 3 stories are currently away in the world, and I have 2 more, The Possession of Mister Snopes and C to finish and send. The goal is to have completed and sent 15 by the end of the year, 12 from the partially completed work I have on hand, and 3 completely new pieces.
  • 3 poems: Hart Crane, Treading Water; Wish Fulfillment; and Like A Leaf Falling need final polishes and sending out
  • 3 cartoons are finished, I’ve 2 more that have been inked but not shaded, and I need at least 1 more completed after that to constitute a complete batch. The goal is to have 24 (or at least 4 batches) in circulation by the end of the year.
  • And I promised myself that I’d complete a new novel by the end of the year, so I really need to get started on that as well. Still, on this score at least, you may be pleased by the following…..

SO IT BEGINS….

It began in a dream.

It has taken me a million years to leave my father’s embrace, and now I am falling. I am supposed to fall forever. I am never to touch the ground again.

Eight minutes after my fall commences, I start to burn.

Those are the opening words of the Father Muerte novel.

A QUICK WORD ABOUT PEOPLE TALLER THAN ME

He likes his privacy, so at his request I don’t make mention of him too much on this blog, but I’m breaking that rule because Aiden turned 17 a couple of days ago, and you need to know just how proud I am of the young man he’s become.

I simply couldn’t wish for a more intelligent, funnier, more capable, caring (as anyone who’s seen him with Connor can testify) and just generally excellent Bonus Son, and I’m excited by the thought of what’s coming to him in the years ahead as he navigates his final year of high school and heads on to University and the world beyond.

As soon as he acknowledges that System of a Down suck the devil’s dangly bits he’ll be perfect…..

FINISHED!

Sat down this afternoon, motivated by the Luscious One writing an entire story since last night, and put pen to paper on the long-cat-vaccuumed Father Muerte & The Flesh. Just finished the bloody thing not 5 minutes ago, at a grand total first-draft length of 5029 words, 2979 of which I’ve ploughed through today.

Damn, I feel like I might be an actual writer again.