One Novel Ends, Another Begins

Toos of the Trade
Tools of the Trade

It’s been a while since I’ve done an update. November can get like that around these parts. So let’s take stock of creative projects and give y’all a glimpse behind the curtain.

My November novel (i.e. NaNoWriMo novel), The Lictonwood, was finished on schedule, much to everyone’s surprise–especially my own. And by finished, I mean I hit my word count goal. I still have a short final chapter to write, but I’m glad I didn’t rush to write that section immediately following the preceding chapters. If I had, the shape of it would have been very different from what I now know it needs to be. I’m going to let it sit for a while and then write the final chapter after I’ve re-read the whole thing sometime in February.

At that point, I’m going to give it a solid second draft rewrite, then a hard third draft polish, and at that point get it out to a few beta readers. Since it’s a horror novel set in Detroit that involves home reconstruction, ideally I’ll find a few betas who: 1) love horror, 2) know a bit about construction, and/or 3) know a bit about Detroit. Interested parties should contact me. They will be rewarded with a mention in the book and a bag of candy.

Once I’ve done a post-beta rewrite, I’m going to get The Lictonwood submitted out. The market is ripe for horror novels right now, and at this stage at least I’m really pretty happy with how this one turned out. It has a great heroic lead in Navajo construction worker Daryl Chee, and I’ve had the titular building spinning around in my brain for almost a decade now. The timing for setting this in Detroit, with the city rebuilding and reinventing itself, made it kind of perfect.

Now that I’ve set that aside to pickle for a month or two, I’ve moved on to the next book. Just in time for winter.

Entitled A Winter Lullaby, it features a faded black punk rocker at the tail end of an in-glamorous career as the New England leg of his tour falls apart. Forced by circumstance to stay with his estranged sister in the mysterious town of Devil’s Gap, Connecticut, he has to wrestle with past mistakes and a lifetime of hard choices. But things are not as they seem in this sleepy town. And as the first snow approaches, something powerful and ancient is returning to Devil’s Gap.

Pitched as a rock ‘n roll fable, A Winter Lullaby will examine how growing old is not the same as growing up, the fine line between leaving a toxic situation and running away from your problems, and what price we’re willing to pay for our security.

I love this cast of characters, from musician Calvin James Lincoln who feels forgotten for being both black and gay in a genre that tends to overlook both, to Nathan Pembroke, the 92yr old painter who lost his hearing during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but knows more about the town’s secrets than he can ever express.

I’m currently two chapters in and aim to have it finished by the end of February. At approximately the same length of The Lictonwood, two and a half months should be ample time to knock out a draft. Maybe I’m a bit crazy, but due to the subject matter and setting, I’d really love to get the draft finished during the winter.

In the meantime, I should get back to writing.

If you don’t hear from me again in the next two weeks, have a wonderful holidays!

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