Skip to content

Seasons Greetings, To All.

It’s Christmas time again. And right now I am sitting in the kitchen, which is lit by dozens of little twinkle lights on a copper strand. I have to say of all the decorations lights remain one of my favorites. The lights shine out against the dark. They glow with many colors and cause smiles to break out.

I was contemplating some deeper message, you know about the ongoing battle between the light and the dark. Yet that message is constantly being fed to us 24/7, without end, in bit-sized pieces and across every conceivable media.

This evening, surrounded by the tiny lights, dwarfed by the enormity of the blackness of the night sky, I sit and write. I urge you to take this message forward with you…

May your days be filled with the happiness of home and family, new experiences and fond reminiscences of old. I hope for everyone glad tidings and joy, peace and goodwill.

To you, dear reader the best and blessed of the whole season.


Chasing Rabbits into a Hutch.

Let’s be honest, it has been a while. Suffice to say that things are busy as things tend to be when life is being lived. Hopefully, lived well. Anyway, several other bloggers have both overtly and unconsciously prompted me to put keyboard to Text Editor, and well, here we are.

First the state of my writing. Egads! I am still thrashing my way through the sixth story in “The Curriculum Vitae of Ignatius St. Eligius” series. I do not know why, but I am stalled a little more than halfway through. Part of the problem is other writing projects. Chris Stocking’s post on Snapshot Fiction outlines ‘chasing rabbits’ and the benefits of flash fiction.

I enjoy flash, it is concise and evocative and truly tricky. My problem is that I have a number of side ‘rabbits’ that are not flash length. Shall we do a summary, yes I think we shall.

Current Projects:

Episode 6 in the Curriculum Vitae of Ignatius St. Eligius. As mentioned, I am more than halfway through. Though halted at the moment. My episodic steampunk tale is nearly at an end, but I just cannot seem to bring it ’round to a close.

Mark 4.0. This is a successor to the Curriculum Vitae in that it takes place a number of years after (about 25-30). It is a three part novel centering on one of the Automata that found their beginnings with Ignatius’s fellow inventor Johnathan Fawkes. I am about four or five chapters into the first part. There are fragments of parts 2 and 3 floating around.

I wrote and completed a short story associated with Mark 4.0.

Ronin 3 My anthropomorphic fantasy of feudal Japan with Cats as the main characters. This reached chapter 3, and upon reflection may get a total rewrite. I finished two stories as background pieces and started a third. The third short story is about half finished. Ronin 3 takes place a number of years after ‘The Fall of Akui.

The Missionary Man. A steampunk/weird west tale. I have been thinking about him and another blogger said that she’d read an entire novel about him. Well, that got me thinking and starting to outline said novel.

And then there is a Young Adult project I want to write, but haven’t started quite yet.  Oh, I mean other than the first few pages. And actually, truth be told there is at least two other YA projects.

I need to prioritize and organize and complete one thing at a time. I think that several well known authors have offered the advice of “Start one thing, finish it. Then start the next.” My trouble is too many ideas flood into me and I get distracted from my current work to the next thing. Stay tuned for resolutions and thoughts on that. I will put something into

So yeah, whole lotta rabbits in the hutch. (Wow, topical and yet dipping the toe in the countryfied vernacular.)

The second BIG THING, my e-book ‘Of Man, Myth and Automata’ received a very glowing review from fellow blogger: Anneque Malchien. You can read the full review Over Here. I was surprised and thrilled at the review, so a huge Thank You to Anneque for both reading and writing.

I have submitted the novella, ‘A Chemical Confusion’ (the first in the Ignatius St. Eligius series) for publication consideration over at Brigantine Press. Fingers crossed and all that!

Coming soon, a full review of the latest version of Draft. I have used it for a while now, and I have to say it’s pretty nice for writing. A lot of features and since  it is browser based, runs just about anywhere.

It feels good to post again, I will make an effort to not let as much time lapse again.

Thanks for reading!


Of Man, Myth and Automata – Live!

I am thrilled to announce that my collection of short stories went live on Amazon today! I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilled I am to see it there in the search results.

The collection spans steampunk, satirical fantasy, Manga influence fantasy and weird west/steampunk. There are tales of revenge, of new beginnings, of Holidays and revenge in the compilation. Here’s the direct link to “Of Man, Myth and Automata.”

The cover for 'Of Man, Myth and Automata'

The cover for ‘Of Man, Myth and Automata’

I Love the Word: Precipice

I love the word because of its sound and meaning. I mean the syllables are very distinct and sharp, kind of like the drop from a cliff. It is quick, too. I bring this up because Monday is the release of my new collection in Kindle format: “Of Man, Myth and Automata.”

I am very excited to have this collection made available to you, the reading public. I could go on and on about how this is a dream come true and that it is an achievement that has lingered with me since early high school (more than twenty years now…)

But, what I would rather say is how it has been a remarkable journey of discovery. I would explain how much I have evolved as a writer, how much I appreciate the support of my Wife and the writing community. I have met many, many talented and gifted writers online through this blog, through sites like Quantum Muse and the Wana Tribe for Steampunk/SciFi/Fantasy. There are the WordPress bloggers as well. You can check out their links on the right hand side of this page.

Be sure to come back Monday for the release! I can’t wait for it.

For giggles, here is the original photo that makes up the cover image.

Haystack Rock and the Needles.

Haystack Rock and the Needles.


Thanks for reading everyone, see you Monday!


The Not So Subtle Agenda

Here we are, rapidly approaching the release of “Of Man, Myth and Automata,” and I’m as nervous as a room full of long-tailed cats surrounded by rocking chairs, closing doors and toddlers with a penchant for grabbing things. Ok, perhaps not THAT nervous. Still what lies ahead on Monday, I cannot take lightly. I am going to publish a book.

I would like to be super casual about it, but like many things in life the exhilaration of the newness is arriving. That pang of fear and doubt, the prickling hairs on the nape of the neck, those signs that you are alive and experiencing something new and wonderful…Like kissing that special someone for the first time. Your lips tingled, your heart fluttered, your bodies melted together and you did not want to stop..Ever.

Well, I promised a cover, and here it is. I admit, it is fairly straightforward. I used a stock template from Amazon’s KDP site. The photograph is mine though. I washed it through a filter in the GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation) to give it a weathered ‘old timey’ look.

The cover for 'Of Man, Myth and Automata'

The cover for ‘Of Man, Myth and Automata’

What’s inside? A fair question. The book is a collection of some steampunk, some fantasy, a not so epic poem, a Holiday story or two. Oh yes, a pair of bonus prologues from a story I am working on. It is a bit strange really to have two prologues for one story, but that’s ok. One will be the overall start and the other will be the beginning of a section of the book. The lead story in the collection is one that I am particularly pleased with. And if I am honest, a bit confused about. The main character did not turn out at all like I expected him to.

Well, in 5 days you will be able to see for yourself! Please mark your calendars and if you would maybe mention it to a couple of people. I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks everyone, and please…Keep Reading!


Black Powder Brigade Released

I wanted to drop a quick post to let you all know that Chris Stocking released his novel: “The Black Powder Brigade” today on Amazon.

I reviewed it and here is the link to both the kindle version and review.

Please take a minute and check it out.

Thanks, Steve

This Can’t be Right, can it?

I just saw a notice from WordPress that I have been blogging here for two years! Zoinks (to quote Shaggy). I enjoy this site and posting the serial novellas, mostly though I have enjoyed the interaction with other writers.

To the people following this blog or those who just drop in from time to time, thank you for reading!


Writing and the Amorphous Process

My selection for title was going to be ‘Here Comes the Thunder’, but it seemed wildly disjointed from anything I really wanted to discuss. Maybe another time.

I have talked a number of times about a writer’s process. How it is a personal a choice. Like the clothes you wear, the kind of person you are or the things you believe in. What I have come to find these past few months is that for me the process of writing shifts. A year ago, I had a pattern nailed down. I’d come up with an idea and write it down in a physical notebook. I would dream up characters and their attributes and add them in. After getting something down in the Moleskine I turn to the computer and start hammering out the story. After finishing one or more chapters (or the entire short story), print a hard copy, get the red pen and edit. Then make changes in the electronic copy. There was a rhythm to it, and it worked. I had a schedule and things were clicking right along.

Until they weren’t. Life is much like nature in that it will assert itself whenever it feels like it. Being able to adapt to the change is crucial. Prioritizing what is important in life is part of that. And I have changed as a result. I have done away with the notion of a deadline, honestly what do I need one for? I’m not a full time writer, so there isn’t an editor or publisher hovering nearby expecting a finished piece of work at a certain date and time. I understand that putting a date out there, as a personal deadline, does help drive you to finish the piece you are working on. I also get that the world is not going to collapse around me if I miss it.

My process is evolving. I have moved a little further away from the physical notebook toward Evernote. I take the lessons of feedback and apply them more rigorously. I plan a little more and try to fully develop an idea into beginning/middle/end. I try to be more focused when working on a story. I am trying to be more efficient, to make the best use of the time I have for writing while maintaining time for what is truly important, Family, Life, living for experiences.

I accept that change is inevitable. It is part of growth as a person. Change is also what drives a protagonist forward in the plot. So even as I participate in life, I am learning and improving.


In case you missed my re-blog, Chris Stocking is launching his latest book. Check out his blog for the details, including a Rafflecopter drawing. Regular followers of this blog are probably familiar with Chris’s name. I have interviewed him, talked about his work. It should be obvious that I am a fan. Well, I mention the Rafflecopter drawing because one of the prizes is my newest collection of Short Stories.


Yes, that is correct. I managed to put together another collection of stories, my favorites from and this blog, plus several never seen before! I encourage you to hop over to Chris’s site and check out his writing, the drawing and The Black Powder Brigade. Who knows, you could be the lucky winner :)

But wait, there’s more!

‘Of Man, Myth and Automata’ will be released in Kindle format on October 7th! That’s right, you’ll be able to purchase and read the collection, on any device capable of running the Kindle software. Next week there will be more information, a cover reveal and expect a synopsis. I confess, I’m pretty darn excited about the collection.

So for now, be kind, keep reading and I’ll see you in a little while.


Black Powder Brigade Release Week Giveaway!

Christopher Stocking

It’s time for the Black Powder Brigade Release Week Giveaway! Enter at the link below to win either a free 25 page edit from my good friend (who is an amazing editor!) Karen Rought, or 14 free Kindle ebooks, including Black Powder Brigade! Don’t miss out!

(Note: This is my first time using Rafflecopter, so stick with me should there be any hangups)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

View original post

On a Tool Quest, I came upon Mt. Evernote

Let’s talk tools. Writers need certain things in order to write. The obvious ones are well, obvious. Pen/Paper, Paper/Typewriter, Computer. They take care of the serious work, The Writing. For me, I like a trusty notebook or journal. I’ve talked about Moleskine products in the past. They are, in my opinion, simply the best things ever. Every part of my writer-self is satisfied with a Moleskine. The touch, smell, heft, appearance and utility of a Moleskine is unsurpassed.

The notebook is indispensable for a number of reasons. First, it’s always ready. No batteries, no Wi-Fi or cellular signal needed. Pen, paper, ideas, Done! You can place it anywhere, table, nightstand, bathroom sink or desk. Anything can go into it. Written ideas, excerpts, thoughts, character traits etc. You can draw in it, make notes, put clippings in it. The Moleskine even has a pocket in most models and an elastic band to hold the book shut. As long as you have a writing implement it is ready to go.

It would appear then that the notebook/journal is just about the perfect tool. Some would argue that it is perfect. I will not argue against that. However, I believe that a writer’s tools are as personal as a person’s preferred means of learning. Some people are audio learners, others are visual, still others are a combination. You see the point? While idealistically I think the notebook is grand, for me it is flawed.

Yikes. What’s a person to do?

Well, for starters you have to be willing to try out different things. I am talking about basic organization. Maybe like me you have a dozen different notions going in completely different directions. I have found that unless I keep separate notebooks I start getting one story or plot mixed with others. Then it becomes more difficult to go back into the book to find what idea or notion I was after. Updating is difficult because pen and paper tend to be permanent.

What’s a disorganized, scatter brain like myself to do?

Evernote. Evernote is simply stated a notebook application. Of course, it is more than that. There are features on top of features. And I like it!

At its core, Evernote is an electronic notebook. But you can create multiple notebooks in the app. So instead of laying out cash for each Moleskine (or whatever notebook brand you prefer) you click a button and instantly have a new notebook. Personally, I have one for each major writing project.

Once you have a notebook in place the next thing to do is add Notes to it. A note represent what we are familiar with, a single page in a notebook. However, these notes are quite a bit more robust. You can add plain text, URLs, Images, whole webpages (using a browser tool called web clip), you can create lists and checkbox tasks.

Take a basic research trip to the internet with me. Say I want to know about the Chupacabra. Google Search brings back all kinds of results. I snag a few URLs and throw them in a note title: Chupacabra Links. That note is stored under an imaginary notebook: Tales of the Chupacabra. The note also has a Tags field. This concept of tags is pretty familiar to most people who use WordPress or other blogging software. A tag is a filter. So, I might tag the note with: ‘Research’ and ‘URLS’. Then if I want to find it later I can search by tag, or text. If I have the notebook selected, then a search is limited to that notebook, otherwise all notebooks are searched.

I mentioned web clip browser extension. I have it installed in Google Chrome. It is rather like Pintrest. You can clip part or all of a webpage and send it into your Evernote account. For me it makes research that much easier. Now I don’t have to fire up a browser, I can view a large selection of research material right in the application.

Evernote has gone far to make sure that they are easily available. I have the client software on a Windows 8 laptop, iPhone, Android table (which dual boots WebOS, and yes I have a version of Evernote on that too.) Not to mention their incredible web application. No matter where you are, as long as you have a computing device and a connection you can access your account and add/sync data. If you do not have a connection, but you do have a client application installed, you can work offline. Great if you need to jot down an idea at 30,000 feet for example.

I think one of my favorite features about Evernote is Email. When you create your account you receive an email address specific to your account. You can then email notes to this address and Evernote will add them to your account. Using the subject line you can specify the note’s title, the notebook it needs to be stored in, tags, reminder and if it is an update to an existing note. Some examples:

Basic Adding a new Note: Chupacabra Eating Habits @Tales of the Chupacabra #research #gross !tomorrow 

What that all means: The first part “Chupacabra Eating Habits” is the title. “@Tales of the Chupacabra” is the notebook, “#research” and “#gross” are tags that will be applied (if they exist…) “!tomorrow” is a reminder, Evernote will remind you about this note on the next day.

Updating a Note: Chupacabra Eating Habits @Tales of the Chupacabra +

See the new bit? Yes, the “+” sign tells Evernote to update our note on eating habits.

Reminders are a recently added function. They can be added in the web app, as well as the iOS and Android apps. Strangely, not in the desktop clients. Perhaps later. Reminders in conjunction with Evernote’s ability to turn a note into a to-do list, make for an excellent tool. An email will be sent the day the note is due if configured in the preferences. A popup on your client application will also announce the arrival of the due date/time.

A useful reminder might be a note telling you the who, what, when, where of a submission deadline or that your favorite TV show is about to start or that it’s time to feed the cats.

I have to admit, I am a pretty big fan of Evernote. It hasn’t replaced my Moleskine in my heart, but I am finding that I use it more and more as time goes by. Oops, I almost failed to say, Evernote is a pretty huge fan of Moleskine too. In fact, so much so that Evernote teamed up with Moleskine and released a pair of Evernote Moleskine notebooks. One with lines and one without (more for the sketching artist type.) What they do have is teeny-tiny little dots making up a grid. If you take your smart phone, open the Evernote app, you’ll find on the create a note page a camera button. Click that little sucker and take a picture of the notebook page. The image file will be uploaded into your Evernote account. And thanks to the magic of those little dots, your handwriting will be parsed and indexed. Meaning your can search through the handwritten text! The whole process is pretty fast and really amazing. The Evernote Moleskine also comes with a sticker sheet. The stickers are predefined tags (things like: home, work etc..) Which you can configure in your apps settings, so you do not have to stay with the factory defaults.

There are two types of accounts, free and premium. Free allows for 60 megs or so of storage space on their server and there is an allowance of data sync, per month. With the premium account you get access to notes offline on all your devices w/o network connection, additional mobile security, upload 1 gigabyte a month, search with PDFs, Note history, share notebooks. 5 bucks a month, or 45 for a year. I haven’t taken the plunge just yet. You can check out the differences here.

There are a whole host of Evernote products, all of which are pretty interesting in their own right. You may want to check them out at Evernote’s Site.

In closing, writing tools are a personal choice. Everyone has their own prefered method. Because a basic account is free, I would encourage you to investigate Evernote and see if it can be of use to you.

Thanks for reading!