Writing Prompts

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Create a world from a picture.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Or so I have heard. Occasionally I find myself at a loss for how to proceed in a given story, and I have found that sometimes a little writing prompt can help to get the creativity flowing again. Sometimes it involves looking at websites that offer writing prompts for those truly in need of inspiration (this includes me far more often than I’d like); sometimes I set up “what if?” scenarios in my head, and try to write my way into or out of the situation I create (Once I successfully got myself off of an imaginary deserted island); But the type of writing prompt I enjoy the most is the simplest: find a picture and write about it.

I find a picture to be the easiest way to get into the heads of my characters. I can more easily develop them if I can relate to them. I am more easily able to relate to them if I can visualize them. Or, at the very least, their world. This photo gave me a bit of inspiration earlier today, because it shows a world that is easy to create, to imagine; a world of two levels.

The first level is the easiest to see. It is a world of rooftops. Bridges and walkways connect the tops of the buildings, allowing a society to exist that may never need to visit the world below. Airships fly so close above the people, that they can almost reach out and touch the hulls of the ships as they pass overhead. It is not such a stretch of the imagination to envision lush rooftop gardens, forming lovely parks for those that live up above to spend their days, enjoying the fresh air. It is an existence available to those that can afford it. Tycoons and politicians overlooking the city, quite literally. It is an enviable life. However, this type of lifestyle belongs only to a privileged few. For the rest of the city, a darker existence awaits.

On the ground is the undercity. The laborers, the impoverished – they live here. It is a perpetual dusk, due in part to the shadows of the buildings that tower above them. Thick black smoke from factories contribute to the darkness of the world below. Men go from home, to work, to the local pub, and finally back home each day, their only respite from their bleak existence in the bottom of a mug. Women that can afford to, stay home, venturing out into the noxious dark to purchase the goods needed on a daily basis. Those that cannot afford to stay home go to the work houses each day, toiling away at machines from dawn to dusk.

The sooty fog that persists in the undercity obscures the poorly maintained buildings, the illicit activities of those not fortunate enough to find a legitimate means of earning a living. Law abiding citizens keep their heads down, try not to draw attention to themselves. What law enforcement there is spends most of their time following the more suspicious characters that stick to the alleys and quiet streets.

Those that live above are blissfully unaware of the suffering of those that live below. They don’t see the thick smog that flows through the streets below, nearly a liquid, it is so thick. No, the people above see themselves as living so high in the sky that they are looking down at the clouds below them. It is an existence that is to be envied, and they cannot imagine any other type of life.

The visual of the picture gave me some great ideas for stories, I may actually use a couple of them as I continue writing. Does anyone have any other writing prompt ideas they use when they need to help get the creative juices flowing?  I’d love to hear them.

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Autumn and Catching Up

I left the apartment this morning, and the chill in the air told me that without a doubt, fall has finally arrived. After a sweltering summer, it is nice to finally have that crisp fall air hit me as I go out each morning. Between work and apartment hunting, my late summer and early fall look to be keeping me on my toes. As I put my laptop in the back and hustled into the front seat, I sat back and planned my day. I knew that more than anything today, I wanted to get in some solid writing time. First on my agenda is a blog post; then I will get back to Victorian times and deal with a certain captain and her loyal, if not completely law-abiding crew.

I intended to get some blogging done last week, as I spent three days in Rochester and Buffalo New York for the yearly manager’s meeting that my manager sets up. Although we were in meetings all day, my evenings were free, without my other job. My original goal was to post a bit each evening after the day’s work was done. Well, that did not pan out. I was so exhausted when I got back to my hotel room that I promptly passed out. So three days, and no new blog posts.

That said, I was able to sit down and do a little work on my various projects when there was some downtime. I didn’t make a ton of progress during that time, but I had a few ideas, and was able to get them down on paper, and into my computer before they flew completely out of my head. Thankfully.

The ongoing theme in my life is trying to complete that which I have started. To that end, I have branched out a little bit. I gave myself a little birthday present in the form of the iOS version of Scrivener, which is now downloaded onto my iPad. Between that and my sorely underused Dropbox account, I am now completely mobile with my writing!  I played around with it a little bit over the course of those three days, and after a little bit of a learning curve, I think I have the syncing down pat.

This last weekend I was able to close out three chapters that have been bugging me on a couple of my projects. I am now just past the half-way point in Mademoiselle Durand and the Dead Man’s Map. While I enjoy the project, it has been causing me grief since I first typed the sentence “The falcon circled the mast of the Morning Star, keeping a watchful eye on the deck below.” I also spent some time working on my untitled science fiction project. That one is fun to write, but I am having a few issues getting my characters to where they need to be for the climax of the story.

So now I leave you, readers, so that I may continue with my creative writing pursuits. Until next time!

 

Dog Days of Summer

This was a busy week. My writer’s existence was quite at odds with my day job existence. For one of my jobs, we had a major update that was going to go through on our system At noon today. So I had to get about six days worth of work done in about four and a half days. I managed to finish up with about an hour to spare, so I had a free afternoon. I thought I might find a nice shady spot and spend some time writing on my laptop. I went outside, and immediately said to myself, “No, not happening.” We were well into 90+ degree weather today, and my muse was apparently burned to a crisp on the pavement.

Instead, I opted to find a quiet, air-conditioned environment to spend some quality writing time. Writing time, quality or not, has lately been scarce in my life. Summer always seems to throw a bunch at me at once. But I won’t complain. I know that I am lucky to have steady work. It’s work that I enjoy, to boot. And if there are a couple of weeks here and there where writing time is scarce, then I will make do with what time I do have. and today I was able to get in about an hour and a half before I had to punch in for job number two.

Although I haven’t had much time to write, I am still trying to maintain some level of creativity and entertainment in my life. I spent the majority of the last rainy weekend reading, writing, and binge-watching Stranger Things on Netflix. I think I may have a new favorite show. I may even do a review in a couple of weeks. I definitely need to sit down and watch it again before I attempt that, though.

My reading list has been woefully neglected since my vacation. I finished reading A Game of Thrones, which I enjoyed quite a bit.I then learned, while looking at my recommendations, that Cherie Priest’s Chapelwood the sequel to Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatches  has come out. I loved that story, so I will be purchasing and reading the new book as soon as I can. But I think I may need to reread the first book, just so that I can be fully prepared.

And, of course, I’m back into my writing. After hitting a few walls, realizing that a few of my plotlines just do not work, I am finally in a place where things are back on track. Dette and the crew of the Morning Star are back on their adventurous, peril-filled track, A long-dead Sci-Fi story is back, reshaped, and less exposition-angsty, and I’m working on an outline for another story. I must be inspired, because I abhor outlines. I generally find it too difficult to stick to the outline once I begin writing. My characters do not like to listen once I’ve begun the writing process. It is a battle to not let them completely take over the story.  Of course, there is always the chance that the exact same thing will happen with this story. I am the worst at reining my characters in. But that is ok. they usually do a better job at advancing the plot than I do, anyway.

 

 

So Many Books, So Little Time

I just returned from a week-long trip to Maine on Sunday. After weeks of 80+ degrees, it was nice to pass the time in the woods by a lake where, at best, the temperature barely broke 65 degrees. It was heaven!  I was even able to get a little writing done. I would have gotten more done, but I made the massive mistake of bringing my Kindle.

I feel bad for her. I’ve downloaded who knows how many hundreds of books and short stories, yet I rarely have time to sit down and do any significant amount of reading. But I decided I would make my way through my “novels I’ve been dying to read, but due to my short attention span, will probably never get to” list.

The first order of business was finishing The Scarlet Letter. It was a bet I made with myself over a year ago. The book, to me at least, is tedious. But I finally made it through. After that, I decided to treat myself with something I’ve wanted to read. After years of waiting, and watching some of the T.V. series, I cracked open (figuratively) the Song of Ice and Fire series. As of This afternoon during my lunch break I am a two-thirds of the way through A Game of Thrones. I was worried, because my last attempt to read epic fantasy was The Wheel of Time novels. That did not go so well. I am pleased to report that I am eagerly anticipating finishing the first book by next week, and shortly thereafter beginning book 2. Alright, GRRM, bring it on, I can take it.  By the way, for the fantasy fans, have you read these books? If so, what are your thoughts?

On the writing front, both of my major projects are humming along…slowly (I know, huge shock, right?). I’ve also been working on couple of short story ideas when I am having trouble, creatively. They are two Sci-Fi shorts, and are wonderful for getting the creative juices flowing. Whether they will ever see the light of day, or be expanded upon, I cannot say, but they let me put some of my crazier ideas down, get them out of my system, so my projects don’t get too silly.

I’ve been playing around a bit with some of the settings in Scrivener, which is my writing platform of choice, and I think I may have it customized nearly to where I like it. While I love a lot of its features, I miss some of the other features I had with my previous writing software, WriteitNow. I have the newest version of WriteitNow (WriteitNow5) in the shopping cart, and have been contemplating making the purchase, just to see what the new version offers, and if it is worth the switch back. I may do a compare/contrast post in the future, should I decide to make the purchase. For those of you that use either/both pieces of software, what are your thoughts?

It has been a long first day back to work, but I figured that while I still had a little energy, I’d put a post up. It has been a little while, and I miss updating the blog. I have another update planned in the next couple of days, so check back soon.

A Quick Break from Steampunk.

I’ve devoted a lot of time on this blog to my interest in alternate histories and steampunk. But I have other genres that interest me.  I even have pieces of written in those other genres. They are terrible,  and will likely never see the light of day,  but I have written them.

My major interests trend toward science fiction and fantasy,  which is a reason why steampunk appealed to me in the first place. Melding historical and fantastical, and a dash of science… Yes, please. My true magnum opus (if I can ever get the courage to do something more ambitious) is a space opera style story. I’ve got the characters,  the basic storyline,  and a few fun ideas. 

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Science fiction grants a writer the opportunity to literally create new world’s on the page for their readers –  alien world’s filled with creatures and dangers beyond our wildest imaginations. Then, flip the story,  make it personal,  relatable, allowing the reader to see that it doesn’t matter how my heads you have,  whether you are solid or vapor,  or what color your skin is, we all have hopes,  dreams,  fears,  and a will to survive. Plus,  I really love writing and reading about epic space battles.  I can’t help it,  I am basically a 12 year old in a 35 year old body.

In the interest of giving equal time to science fiction,  I thought about some of the things that I have done in my science fiction projects, and the rules I set for myself as a writer.

I try to make any technology in the story relatable to the reader. It’s purpose and use should be plausible,  given the level of technology in the story.  You shouldn’t have a race of primitive cave dwellers that have the ability to travel through space –  or perhaps you can –  as long as you can justify it within the confines of the story in a plausible way. Although, I don’t feel that it is always necessary to go into extreme levels of detail in the story as to the inner workings of a transmat device,  for example.  As in the real world, I imagine the majority of people would use such devices without knowing a great deal about the technology –  just a basic knowledge of how to operate it,  and what the desired outcome of using the device should be. Too much technical detail can bore the reader.

I try to stay consistent with the physics in your story. Is FTL travel a possibility?  Have other means of interstellar travel been invented?  Perhaps travelling through wormholes,  or the implementation of warp drives in your characters’ ships allows the travel between two distant stars. I have opted for the latter technologies in my project,  as I find travelling faster than the speed of light to be too much of a stretch of the imagination.

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With alien species,  I try to keep it diverse.  Sure,  there are lizard-like species in my story, grays, and even a small squirrel-like species,  adept at crawling through ductwork and repairing ships.  But all of those species are fairly humanoid; two arms,  two legs,  a head,  eyes, nose,  and mouth.  I have tried to add some newer elements.  I have a race of living electrical current., which has no physical form,  but can interact with the rest of the universe. I also have several silicon-based life forms I’m toying with. Since these are written works,  I don’t have to worry about special effects.  So the more out there,  the better.

In all seriousness,  I try to make them relatable. Fear of death unites us all. Working against a common enemy is another great uniter. However,  at the end of the day I try to do what all authors do: show the readers that despite our differences,  we have much in common.

Revisiting My Alternate Histories

Apologies must be made. It has been far too long since my last post. But as with this time of year, too much was happening all at once. Life and work got in the way, and my writing took a back seat, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you ask).

But now it appears that work has calmed down, we are fully staffed for now, and I received a little promotion for the effort. Now that the holliday season is behind us, i can get back to doing what I love – writing.

I have taken the last couple of days to go through my myriad of works in progress to look at them with a fresh eye. It feels like I’m reading another person’s work. From a distance of a month’s time, I can safely say, past me is a hack.

Perhaps the sentiment is a bit strong. I am my own harshest critic (as far as I know. no one has personally informed me that my writing sucks, so I have that going for me). But one thing I did notice, was that despite my first draft mistakes – telling rather than showing, a little too much purple prose – there are elements in each of my WIPs that I do enjoy.

I have been trying to create a world that feels real in each of my stories. I suppose that is one of the reasons that I have only one finished project out there for people to read. It was a short story, and a challenge to myself to finish something. The result is okay, but I know that I can do better. So, for each of my projects, I am trying to improve upon the mistakes I made with my first project to make it onto Amazon.

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I’m starting, once again with the worlds in each story. Revisiting the worlds in each of my projects was eye opening. I was able to see things a little differently now, than when I was first putting the words to the page. For example, in my sequel to Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates, I have begun to ask myself how the history I created for my world resulted in the settings for my stories. Did the Industrial Revolution lead in a different direction because the United States did not have a civil war, never becoming a major world power; Europe and the United States embrace steam power, while the Confederacy tries finding its way with the power of oil (yet cannot seem to harness the power in a meaningful way).

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In my sci-fi story, years in the making, the galaxy that serves as the setting is in a state of turmoil. An aging, failing hegemony slowly collapses in on itself as its sheer size makes it impossible to sustain, economically. Several smaller powers see it as an opportunity to overthrow the outmoded government. But is it even possible to overthrow a regime that massive, regardless of bloat, if they have soldiers everywhere? And what about the little people? Wage earners, day laborers; the average citizen with no real money or power to speak of. Can a nobody (or nobodies) living like that rise to become a hero in a space opera? Well, yes, I suppose they could. It is a space opera, so there are certain expectations to be met.

In each situation, the world building has begun weighing on my mind. I started each of these stories as a novice, never really believing that I would ever let anyone read my work. So, now, I am going back and trying to fill in the blanks a little  bit, in the hopes that I can make the realities I’m creating make sense to those reading.

As far as my newest project, I have covered that before I ever even put word to paper…or, fingers to keyboard. This was my NaNoWriMo project for my first participation. A nice little dieselpunk world where the American Revolution resulted in a U.S. monarchy. King George I, leading through to the setting of my first story, which takes place in the mid 1920s. I spent some time on the history and back story for this project, and I feel a lot more at ease with this one, than with my other projects.

I am moving closer to a place of peace with each of my WIPs.  By early 2016, I think most of my worries will be addressed. Then of course, will come the editing. And the rewrites. And the obsessive rereads of those rewrites. And then some day, before I die, I will publish another story. I hope.

World Building: A Steampunk Experience

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The best world building happens so far in the background, you don't even realize it.

The town was not a town, so much as a waypoint. People travelled through Upper Toppingsley to go somewhere more interesting.

I passed through the main thoroughfare – little more than a dirt path that ran between two neat rows of buildings. On one side a series of shops stood in a row. The local boutique with its wide windows displayed the fashions  that appealed to the ladies of the village. Large bustles were au courant, tightly laced corsets the ideal.

Between the boutique and the small bookseller next door I heard a steady hum. Tucked neatly in the narrow alley between was a small steam engine. The steady thrumming sound emanating from the device reminded me of the vibrations at the airfield. Despite my best efforts to put the thought of Constable Higglesby and the severed head from my mind, I wondered if there wasn’t some bit of information I had missed in the examination. Perhaps the second  murder could have been avoided if I had found some evidence on the head.

     This was an early victim of the slash and burn job I performed on my work in progress. Due to several changes I made to characters, as well as simply not being pleased with the passage, it was excised. The reason was simple. I attempted some world building while simultaneously trying to Advance a plot.
     I am not good at world building. There, I said it. It isn’t difficult, but I find it is often awkward to cram world building elements into a story. Besides just the physical world, I feel awkward when putting historical elements (real or fictional) into my projects. I find I am too often including too much information, bogging the story down.
     One of the central elements of my project is the development and use of the difference engine. Businesses within my story have begun to use these devices to run day to day operations, much like computers in the real world.
     With all of the world building details I am using, it often feels like I’m doing more telling than showing. Since I am only on the first draft, I won’t dwell too much, but it makes the editing process take much longer if I turn a blind eye to all of the rules I break while writing.
     I have been trying to learn from the authors I read. How do they create their worlds? How much information is shared with the reader? Are they using info dumps to share their world? Or do they spread the information throughout the story?
     As a reader, I don’t like info dumps. I forget information as soon as it is shared. I prefer to learn about the author’s world as I read. It helps the information to stick. If there is too much detail, I lose track. Sadly, it turns out I am a writer who info dumps.
     The solution: I act like the history is common knowledge. Anything too obscure gets an explanation; everything else is only explained when necessary.
     I do enjoy creating a history and civilization. When I work on a Science Fiction story, especially one that involves other planets and alien beings, I spend days creating their society. History, heroes and villains, and customs all help me to make a character feel more real. I know, realistically, that very little of that information will ever see the light of day, but it aids me in the writing process.
     My other area for improvement is consistency and accuracy. While my story is set in a Steampunk themed alternate history, certain elements must remain historically accurate. For example, a character in the story uses a form of wireless communication between his difference engine and his automatons.  Using radio waves to do this helps his automatons perform more actions without requiring larger processing capacity within each unit. The downside is that Guglielmo Marconi had not yet invented the radio, and radio waves were still considered theoretical at that point in history. What resulted was a long research session, extrapolations of possible what if scenarios to devise a possible alternate father of the radio.

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Why couldn't you have invented the radio 30 years earlier?

     Ultimately I decided a solution that works within the reality of the story. However, in doing so, I had to use an alternate naming scheme for radio waves. The result is the same, even if the characters’ understanding of the technology is incomplete. I just have to remember that I cannot use the word radio.  That is a difficult task.  So, my suggestion to other ambitious writers is, if at any point you are considering renaming technology or natural phenomena, consider the fact you may need to use that term frequently. Will you be able to remember to use it?
     For writers and readers, what are some world building elements that are difficult for you, whether you are writing or reading?
   

Organizing my Cluttered Mind Part 2: Keeping My Stories Straight

      Continuing on from my last post, I have been trying to maintain some semblance of organization while writing. I am a note taker, sometimes to the point of obsession. However, when it comes to keeping those notes organized, I am guilty of complete and utter failure. In the past I’d have three or four different notebooks on my desk, loose sheets of paper I stashed in my pockets, and my research folder on my laptop.

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Not my desk, but a close approximation.

     In my last post I mentioned that I have been using Scrivener in an attempt to become more organized. I have been using each project I’ve created in this software to house all of the research, links and photos I’ve gathered for each project.

     For the most part, I have only written one-off stories up until last year. Recently I’ve been in sequel/shared Universe mode. Two of my projects are closely related, so I decided to try and create a single file to keep track of what is going on in my stories. After doing some research on Scrivener templates, I downloaded a story bible template from here.

     I went through the template to see if it would fit my needs. It fit when I was looking for more or less; so I started using it, adding or subtracting elements as needed.

     The first thing that I did copy over my reference information that crossed over between the different stories. For example, I made a master timeline of all of the events that have occurred in each story, as well as events in the past that help to establish well known facts when in the universe created. I also created folders for the two different series sharing this reality. In those folders I put all of the character profiles, location profiles, and the synopsis for each of the stories in those series.

     I like the fact that now as I progress through each subsequent entry into either series, I will be able to reference any necessary information by simply referring to my story Bible, rather than trying to figure out which story I need to reference in order to get the information I need. I must admit that in the beginning I was afraid but I was going to be spending more time keeping track of my story Bible than I would be writing. But I’ve been spending no more than five or ten minutes at the end of each session updating any new information if needed.

     I’m also a writer that seems to receive inspiration for my stories at the least convenient times. In the past I would attempt to carry my notebook around with me and jot down any notes that I felt I needed in order to remember what came to me so suddenly. Using Evernote, and sometimes even my phone’s note taking app, I don’t have to worry about looking for my notebook to jot down my ideas. Most of the time I only use these apps to jot down notes: possible locations for a story, ideas for characters or backstory, and especially names for characters. I am horrible with names. So in the event that I think of a name I really like, I jot it down – or more accurately, type it into my smartphone. then when I get home, all I need to do is elaborate on those ideas within my story file.

     A couple of times, inspiration has led me two ideas that needed to be written down and greater links. Sometimes these passages how complete enough to go into my draft. When that does happen, transferring that information over isn’t all that difficult.

     As always, I’d love to hear from you:  how do those writers working on one or more series keep your storylines and characters organized for continuity purposes?

Jump Starting Creativity

Last night I sat in front of my laptop preparing to pick up from where I left off the last time I wrote. At first, I reread the last paragraph. For some reason I could not think of where to go from the last sentence. Then, reading turn to rereading, then to staring blankly at the page, as if trying to will the plot to unfold for me. Now I know that I’m not suffering from writer’s block, because I have plenty of ideas for stories. But from where I left off in this particular story I was having some difficulty finding the best way to proceed.

In an effort to try and jump start some creativity on this story, I thought about different methods of exercises to boost creative thinking that I’d read about in the past. I tried a couple to see if I could get those creative juices flowing.

At first I tried simply to write about something from my past as a means of just getting something down on paper, so to speak. I dug deep in the road about 500 words about a birthday party that I had when I was 5 years old. I tried to remember as many details as I could- from the weather, which was cool and a bit drizzly, to the location, my grandparents house that they had recently purchased and we’re in the process of renovating.

This exercise helped me to think any more visual way. But when the exercise was done and I was back in my project, I still wasn’t feeling creative. I decided to set this project aside and see if maybe trying to write on one of my other projects would help. So I opened up my work in progress folder and searched through the files to see if I could find one that appealed to me.

I skimmed through, thinking how ridiculous it was to try and write for a different story when I was having trouble with the one that I was currently working on. But as I scrolled down, I happen to see one of my projects that I started years ago. It was a scifi story that I began with a lot of passion. But I lost confidence in it somewhere along the way. I don’t think it was because it was a bad story; in fact, I remember thinking that the basic plot was actually pretty good, and I really enjoyed some of the characters I created.

I open up the file and scrolled through the story. It was a little over 40 pages long. And although I saw a few things that I definitely would like to change, I started to see something close to what I saw when I first started putting the words down. So I went from skimming the manuscript to actively reading it. Reacquainting myself with the plot as I had written it back in about 2010, I started to get some ideas on how to improve the current content, as well as how to continue the story to its conclusion. Once I reach the last paragraph of what had been written I immediately begin typing. In the end I worked on this project for about 3 hours, and somehow 1000 words more. And during this time somewhere in my subconscious, my brain was working away at how to continue with the project I had issues with earlier.

Once I reached a natural stopping point for my scifi story, I decided to put some words down for my current work in progress. I  must have ended up in the zone or something, because I ended up writing another 500 words. And now it looks like I have three works in progress now: my sequel to Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates, my as yet unnamed companion story to the Mademoiselle Durand series, and now my long abandoned science fiction story tentatively titled Cruising the Universe with Buddy (this will likely change).

Has anyone else rediscovered a story that they had abandoned while trying to jumpstart their creativity? Did it lead anyone to new ideas for both stories? I love to hear about other writers’ experiences.

Welcome!

So, I guess I should start with a confession: I have tried to blog before. Twice. Neither time went very well. To be fair, it seems that both times I attempted to keep a blog during tumultuous times. Once while attempting to finish school, and once during a big move and ensuing job search. Those times are behind me, thankfully. Now I can focus on things that I find most enjoyable in life.

The most enjoyable thing in my life is my writing. As long as I have been able to speak, I have been telling stories. As long as I have been able to write, I’ve been writing those stories down. I have notebooks full of stories that I’ve written over the years. Some of them decent enough, but most of them the roughest of rough drafts.

In 2013 I decided to do something about my desire to be a writer, and self-published on Amazon.  My first attempt was a short story called Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates. For a first effort, I was pleased that it received a few downloads. I was even more pleased when it received a couple of favorable reviews.

Currently my focus is on completing two projects that have been in process for some time now.  The first project is a direct sequel to Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates, which is as yet untitled. The other project is a kind of companion piece. It takes place in the same “universe” as Mademoiselle Durand’s adventures, but features a different cast of characters. Although the writing process has been slow going, I am pleased with the direction and progress each story has made.

It is still early days for this blog. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll proceed. I would like to do some reviews, share the progress I make with my writing, and just generally put my ideas down so I don’t lose them.  To all those that have stumbled upon this site, I wish to say thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say, and I hope you will visit again.  To those of you that have read my work, thank you. If you enjoyed it and are looking for more, I will have a couple of announcements in the near future. If you didn’t enjoy it – unfortunately, there will be more. I’m on a roll, and am addicted to writing. I cannot wait to see how it all turns out!