Tag Archives: Current Project

Free preview: Second Chances, a short story for Halloween

Every Wednesday, I offer a free preview of a current project. The excerpt below is taken from Second Chances, a short story I am writing for Halloween. I am pleased with this project and I believe it represents a leap forward in the quality of my writing.

When the peddler jostled Brian, inflaming his broken arm, Brian wanted to hit him so hard that his rotting teeth skittered across the pavement. It was the man’s face which stopped him. Bloodshot eyes bulged beneath droopy lids, scant strands of colorless hair clung to his scalp. His thin smile was predatory. Brian would probably go to jail for decking this geezer. He stepped away, wincing.

The man snagged Brian’s good arm with a withered claw.

“Wanna buy some souls?” His breath misted in the cold.

“Let me go,” Brian growled, trying to escape the codger and rejoin the throng of downtown Chicago’s pedestrian traffic. The peddler clung fast, his eyes hungry. Read More →

Preview: Balance’s commander tries to learn the Sergeant’s fate.

Every Wednesday, I offer a free preview of a current project. The excerpt below is taken from Music of the Spheres.

“Sergeant, are you en route to ship?” The question was routine, but as the seconds crawled and no answer came, Captain Eckard began to worry. “Sergeant, please respond.” Silence.

It had been fifteen minutes since Balance’s report that the target had been destroyed. Maybe his communications signal was jammed. Maybe an explosion had damaged his equipment. Maybe, maybe, maybe. It was too coincidental for a technical malfunction to happen this very moment. Too convenient for the enemy. Too dangerous for Eckard’s men, and for the Dominion. Read More →

Scene preview: Would you have kept the baby?

Every Wednesday, I offer a free preview of a current project. The excerpt below is taken from Music of the Spheres.

Joan had never been troubled on her country strolls before today. She preferred walking to class because the time alone allowed her to think, though her friends thought it was dangerous. Though the trip would have taken five minutes by car, it was the solitude she liked, getting lost in her thoughts. Wind flowed over the grass like invisible surf, ghostly hands caressing the land, tugging gently at her hair. A humble road cut through the plains, lightly graveled. Joan liked the way the pebbles crunched beneath her feet, keeping rhythm as she trudged along.

She was both startled and disturbed to see a vagrant loitering ahead. He was a large man, unshaven, in what appeared to be the tattered remnants of some uniform. It was so dirty and faded that she couldn’t make out any patches or insignia. Against the pristine landscape, he was as out of place as a weapons rack in a library. And this was her special place. Seeing another person here almost felt like an invasion of privacy. Read More →

Busted!

So Megan called me out for not updating the site more often, and Stephen commented no food til I finish another story.

Although I regret not having written more this weekend, I think fasting until I complete another project is a little on the extreme end.

Some points to ponder as I start the next week:

  • What makes a good fantasy? My father-in-law just finished Well of Ascension (Brandon Sanderson) and enjoyed it but for a few criticisms. Likewise I just finished Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings and pretty much hated it. I can’t even put my finger on why. But until I discovered Sanderson, I was fed up with all fantasy. It seems that feeling remains except for Sanderson. But Bruce assures me there’s nothing very different about Sanderson as an author.
  • Pondering the above point makes me wonder what the heck I’ll do with Echoes of Prophecy.
  • For my current project, I’m debating a title change. Second Chances captures a central idea as well as Instant Replay, and has a more mystical ‘feel’ to it, as opposed to the latter title, which has a more gritty sci-fi sound to it.
  • Got some emailed feedback on Perfect Justice from a buddy in training before he deploys to Iraq. Like all who read it before him, he pointed out the repeated scenes are … well … too repetitive. That’s why when a writer argues with his/her feedback, it rarely helps — the next reader (or the next 50) may have the same reaction. Duh.
    • On the other hand, you can’t always please everyone. That’s why feedback from multiple sources is so valuable. It allows you to sift through comments which are a matter of personal taste, and which comments EVERYONE made because they refer to deeper problems with the story.
  • A co-worker also looked at Perfect Justice — surprisingly. He was thrilled by the title, but complained about the flow.
  • This kinda motivates me to go back and rework it.
  • Now I feel like I have too many balls in the air, but it’s a good problem to have. I’d much rather juggle too many projects than too few.
  • I should set a deadline for Instant Replay Second Chances. But what? I have an insanely busy week at work, so this weekend is unrealistic, but the following weekend feels way too far away.