And a merry Yule to all!

So, this is way overdue, and my editor will probably kill me for putting up a (not entirely) arbitrarily chosen section that hasn’t been edited, copy- or otherwise, at all. And still I’m glad to do it.

Things are starting to pick up again after a lull following an amazing start to the final draft. Moving to a new country will do that, I suppose, though it’s still frustrating to have lost roughly a month in here somewhere due to packing, moving, figuring out the whole immigration thing, and the general anxiety surrounding it all. But we’re here in the Republic of Canadia settling in nicely, and the cats love their new home.

It may be a while before my next update, but hopefully that update will be, “Done! Final edits, then off to agents!” Until then, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

Without further ado: Teaser the second.

(Insert generic copywrite/usage disclaimer here.)

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*Ahem*

Yeah, so, I’m way late with that new teaser, huh? Seeing as it’s technically a GW2 blog (for now), you should be used to seeing something When It’s Ready!

(Sorry–too Soon?)

In all seriousness, apologies to everyone out there–my editor was crazy busy for a while, and I’ve been writing like mad to the exclusion of a number of other things.

Hopefully I’ll have a finished first draft of this manuscript by early-to-mid September at this point, then it’s on to rewrites and editing…then I start sending this out to literary agents. I’m certainly at the final batch of 3-4 chapters now, anyway, so at least there’s an end of sorts in sight.

To give you an idea of what’s been going on, Thorn (GW2 ver.) was 158,000+ words and took roughly ten or so months to complete. Thorn Book I: Wanderer and Misericorde is pretty close to that length right now, has taken just over four months to get there, and encompasses only about half the story of the GW2 version (although it differs quite considerably from that original storyline, so let’s say half of this particular story instead).

As you might guess, after 300,000+ words in a year and a couple of months, I’m fucking TIRED–even approaching burnout, you might say. When I go back and flip through what’s been written so far, however, seeing these characters really come to life on the page along with the new world continually fleshed out around them makes every long day of work and every frustrating bout of writer’s block and every moment of self-doubt so worth it to slog through, and keeps me moving ever forward with this project.

I wish I could approach these posts with even a fraction of the eloquence I go for in prose, but…meh. The tl;dr is, “Yes, I will still get another teaser up. I’ll send the section out to my editor this week. When you see the final product on a bookshelf in the future, I think you’ll love it.”

In other (sports) news, if you had told me before and/or during Spring Training that the Sox would have the best record in the AL and 2nd overall in the majors I would’ve asked you when you’d last been kicked in the head by a barnyard animal. I was ready to settle for a crap year, but no Bobby Valentine.

And here’s to hoping A-Fraud fucks right off sooner rather than later.

See you guys again shortly.

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BLACKHAAAAWKS! *shakes fist*

I ain’t even mad, to be honest.

Great series from two tired-as-fuck-looking teams. Enjoy the summer, Hawks fans. Bask in it.

Uh, yeah, in other news, I’m barely playing GW2, and while hammer-warrior is sorta fun, I will probably never touch my ranger again. Almost year ago I said, “I’ll give the game six months, and I’m sure most of my gripes will be long gone.”

Nope. Same shit is still giving me fits, and with needing to . . . whaddayacall . . . write a novel, I’d rather spend my time doing productive things instead. Or at least things I don’t find inordinately frustrating.

And throw all the stones you like, but the FF XIV ARR Beta was actually pretty damned fun. LNC, hoooooo!

Book! Still writing like mad, and getting into the real meat of the plot now (…like 100,000 words in). I’ll probably post another teaser around the first of the month, so check back in, and I’ll post a notice on the various forums in their Thorn threads.

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OH LAWD

Lord Stanley, that is. Bring on the ‘Hawks!

tlumacki_bruinsvspenguins_sports514

Also, I’m pretty sure this actually did happen:

1370660120968

What a fucking series. I’ll be honest here–the way the Bruins were playing down the stretch at the end of the season, I didn’t think they were getting past the first round. I sure as hell didn’t expect them to take on the #1 seed and keep a team with a 4 GPG average to THREE GOALS for the entire series. Or sweep. Or win, for that matter.

What a ride so far.

 

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Last day

Last day to grab Thorn before it’s gone for good! Git grabbin’!

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Teaser the first.

Prologue and seven chapters down at this point, with the eighth about half finished and probably done within the next day or so. Things are certainly moving along, and considerably faster than I’d originally anticipated, especially with all of the lore and world-building that needs to get tucked away in brief descriptions or conversations.

Besides being a great beta reader, my brother in law is a GIS mapper by trade, and a fine game master and world builder in his own right, and is busily producing a book-ready map (even the first draft was jaw-dropping), along with helping me figure out population densities for the various cities and areas, and even scale and travel times based on foot, horse, carriage, or…train. Some seriously amazing stuff he’s doing.

But anyhow, I know why you’re here, so lets get at it. From somewhere around the middle of chapter 7:

Something woke her as it scurried across her feet and when she opened her eyes as it was as if blindness had taken her. A chittering like mocking laughter sounded in the impenetrable blackness of what had become her world with the ashen sky overhead no true sky but simply a deep and lightless hole in the earth and she banished to one dug even deeper than that and the bars overhead a latticework of iron far out of reach and barely discernible from that stygian backdrop.
     How many hours, how many days had she lay unmoving, straining her eyes, counting them. Counting the spaces between. Counting as high as she could go until she forgot what she’d been doing and her thoughts dissolved once more into disjointed musings, repeating a single word over and over for no reason other than simply hearing her own voice in her head. Sometimes she counted out loud, or whispered to herself, whispered secrets that she told to the darkness and the rats.
     Water dripped down from somewhere in a slow, steady, maddening, never ending patter and the patter of those tiny feet with their damnable claws and teeth like pincers and the snap of a neck and the working of her own jaws gnawing through the fur and the skin of that diminutive carcass to get to the flesh beneath—
     Mozu awoke in a panic, gasping and sweating, disoriented by the unfamiliar surroundings. It took her a few moments to recall where she was—safely in bed in the study of Cordelia Weatherby’s townhouse, a study which was to be her domain for the next half year.
     She fell back against her pillows and pawed the heavy curtains aside. The sky above Kingshaven was still dark, the cul-de-sac below lit only by the few lamps along the walk. The details of whatever awful dream she’d been having quickly faded, although a sense of being lost and alone in endless twilight and cold, damp stone remained and she pulled the covers up beneath her chin.

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Finally, an update.

If you haven’t read Thorn yet and plan to, I’d suggest doing it soon–it’s going away for good at the end of May.

So here we are, about five weeks removed from the release of the final chapter of the GW2 version of Thorn, and I know quite a few of you are wondering what’s going on. Sadly, don’t expect anything earth-shattering with this post, but it’s been a whirlwind of activity the past five weeks with a prologue and six chapters to show for it, but I’m rambling away already so:

Well, following the advice of just about everyone I know, I took a break from writing after last minute touch-ups and posting of that final chapter–a break that lasted all of a day before throwing myself into the original work version of Thorn.

How’s it coming along? I’m hesitant to say anything beyond “good” (but I will) mainly because I feel like it’s taking away from what was a great experience, and a great read for a lot of you. That said, it’s on a totally different level. The writing–the world building, the characterization, the dialogue, the flow and description and plot–everything about it makes the original feel like a first draft for this version. More developed, more thoughtful, more mature, more directed, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it’s shaping up to this point. (And, I hate to say it, going back to the original to flip through it is occasionally frequently embarrassing.)

I have a smallish team of beta-readers who have been greatly encouraging and occasionally very critical, and both sides of the coin have been great to hear, as that criticism reflects things I already knew or suspected and was glad to be called out on (or simply suggested to) and the overall sentiment seems to be that–and I’ve heard this in the same exact words from almost all of them–what I’ve put together to this point is compelling.

I’m not going into too many details, but basically the setting has taken something of step back into a vaguely Tolkien-esque setting, but in a (very) low-magic world on the brink of industrialization. Some might call it (ugh) steampunk, and if it’s picked up for publication will undoubtedly be marketed that way, but steampunk in its most basic incarnation–no mad scientists with Phlogiston-powered Doomsday Machines, no giant steam-powered spiders, no fucking gears and brass and copper pipes all over everything for no damned good reason, etc., etc.

Let’s just call it ‘Victorian-era Fantasy’ and leave it at that.

To be personal for a moment, this entire process beginning with the first time I publicly posted the prologue and first chapter (seems like ages ago…) has been a weird, difficult, sometimes painful, and incredibly liberating breakthrough from years and years of depression and anxiety–both very bad at times, and they continue to rear their ugly heads. The outpouring of support from complete strangers has left me bewildered, and the praise and criticism from some of the people I know who are just about the least likely people in the world to ever blow smoke up my ass has caused just as much consternation, but the whole thing has given me–after thirty*mumblemumble* years–an actual life goal after decades of aimless drifting.

I’ve found something I’m good at and that I love doing, and I’m busting my ass harder than it’s ever been busted before to make this pipe dream into a reality, and the support of my wife through it all has been incredible. And so for her, for you guys out there who have been so great, for everyone else who’s believed I’d finally figure out what the fuck I was supposed to be doing with my time on this planet, and most of all for me–well, I suppose something grandiose is supposed to go here, but instead I’ll just say that I’m going to keep pushing forward with Thorn, with the seeds of future sequels I’ve already planted in these earliest chapters, and write the absolute best atypical fantasy novel, or novels, that I can.

I’ve watched friends and acquaintances become game-company moguls, psychology professors with shit-tons of publications to their names and a book or two, lawyers, pharmaceutical researchers, chemists, musicians getting name-dropped in gothic/darkwave magazines from the US to Russia, or simply home-makers and great parents, all chipping out their place in the world through perseverance and hard work, and suddenly I can look at my labor of love and think, “Hey! Me too!”

It’s an odd place to be. Much like Linebaugh, I haven’t been sure of a lot of the more important things in my life, and confident about even fewer of them, but one thing I can safely say is that the rewrite, so far, is really, really damned good.

The goal right now is to have Thorn, Book I: Wanderer and Misericorde in manuscript form by August (roughly chapters 1 through 14 in the GW2 version) and off to literary agents. After that, I suppose it’s out of my hands. If all else fails, I have a good friend who’s a fucking whiz with startup-type businesses, and I’ll offer him the 15% that a literary agent would take and self-publish the damned thing and let him market it.

I’ll post some basic updates more often, and I may post some teasers once they get polished up a bit more–right now I’m just writing and moving on rather than fiddling over every last word. Otherwise, stay tuned for more GW2 rants with occasional, scattered praise, and talk of booze and sports and metal and general life goings-on.

Thanks again, all.

-Steve

P.S. – GO BRUINS!

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