Rewriting my Fifth Novel, Waltzing Matilda Pt. 3

Deadlines!  More like guidelines….

Here we are in October… (looks at the calendar and shrugs) or will be in a day and I can confidently say that the final novel in the Matilda Series is in the hands of my editor!  Later than I wanted but thems the breaks.  I hate to say it, but it won’t be ready for Mile Hi Con this year.  It is still set to be out by the end of 2022 and I’m all engines forward to making that happen.

After what feels like a million-word correction and heavy rewrites of the end, I can say without a doubt, this completes the journey of the crew of the Matilda. 

It has been one hell of a journey for me, and it feels weird to be at the end.  The kernel of the story came to me back in 2005, the first words in the series were written in 2014 and the last ones will be put down in 2022. 

I really can’t describe how it feels as I’m still processing it.  And I probably will be for a while.  I am sad to say goodbye to these characters that have been hounding me for longer than I care to think about.  I’ll miss their weird instructions at all hours of the day and night, their plans and dreams, recipes, and research.  It’s going to be quiet for a while.

On the plus side, now I can prep for new stories with different characters, different worlds even different genres!  I can already hear them clamoring for brain time!

… Oh wait.  My alpha reader is telling me I need to rework the rewrite of the end.  Back to the grindstone!  So… close…

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I continue to toil

So that no enemy of mine

Lays before me

With a swing of my soul

I have removed

Almost all from my path

But there is one

Who I cannot defeat

No matter how hard I try

He laughs at my accomplishments

At my failures

For they are all dust in his eyes

And he knows all my secrets

All my fears and hopes

For he is me

So I swing, and I plead

But he remains

My enemy.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

PAIN

In the morning I wake
and the pain is there to remind me
that I am broken
with no hope of escape

Simple things like picking up a glass
or cooking a meal
or even typing a passage
burn to the core

Nothing I can do to calm it
No painkiller removes it
nothing deadens its voice
as it screams its rage

Others have it worse
and I remind myself
but knowing that my walking days are numbered
chews away at the center of me

Ha, ha, ha, I laugh.
Nothing to see here
But the useless remnants
that continue to exist

Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

Hope, Love, Belief

Though I have experienced love
it is hard for me to believe in.
The horrors one commits to another
in the name of love
only reminds me of the hate I’ve known.

Is it that love, like faith,
requires hope?
And hope needs belief to thrive?
How do we deny the truth
that there is no hope?

Is belief the key?
Can hope grow within the belief
that it exists?
And within that faith?
And love?

Is it will that is needed?
To reshape your future
to be loved, to be needed
only requires focusing on hope?
Is it all a trick of the mind?

Can it be as simple as that?
Invest the will
to create the hope
and that will build the foundations of belief in love.
Is that all it is?

Image by ธนาชัย ปานกลาง from Pixabay

Editing and Life

Funny how one thing interrupts another, eh?

Things are moving… slowly on the editing front.  There has been some progress but nowhere near enough to what I would like.  Some of this is down to other projects taking root and needing forward momentum to just being brain fried after a long work shift (or many).

Even writing this update is a bit of a struggle right now, but them’s the breaks.

Sometimes, I must remind myself that I can’t keep running at 110% without everything catching up and knocking me over.  Getting back up again is always the next move, but I need to suck in a few breaths before I get back to my feet. The book will be completed this year, no worries on that. That will be happening even if I have to resort to 24-hour days.

But on to other things!  I am working on a secret project that I should be able to talk about a bit more freely in the very near future!  I am still weighing options on the Audible track for The Matilda Series. That will also be happening but not until 2023.  The outline on the next Nun With a Gun is nearing completion and a completely different novel idea is in the works as well!

Of course, none of these are set to happen until after Waltzing Matilda is done. Now for a nap.

Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay

Rewriting my Fifth Novel, Waltzing Matilda Pt.2

I can hardly believe it, but I assure you it’s the truth!  The first draft of the Waltzing Matilda is now completed!  I’d run laps right now, but it has been a very long night, err day.  One of those things… or maybe both.  Is the sun out?

This one has taken longer to write than anything else I have ever worked on.  The first words I put down for this story were back in 2017, long before I knew this would be a five-book series.  Looking back, it’s been nuts.  There were days of clarity, weeks of cloudy days, what felt like unending brain drains, and hourly sparks of creativity. It has not been the easiest road to cross.

I do have to say that given everything I’ve learned in this whole process, I was able to utilize just about every lesson I learned on this one.  From starting with an outline, pantsing it every now and again, letting the characters take me along for the ride, to brutally writing every word down in the most structured and controlled manner.

And I picked up a few new tricks, too!  Also, some pointers for the next big excursion (having a character sheet with people’s full names, places names, actually anything to do with names for one).  And it all worked. I’m serious about running some victory laps, but (oy) these legs are dead.

Now comes the fun part!  Editing this story I told myself into something worthy of reading.  I like editing, I really do!

I am so excited!

Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

The Crew of the Matilda!

A big project I have been working on and waiting on has finally reached completion!  What is it you ask?  Have you ever wondered what the crew of the Matilda looks like?  Is it just me?  No?  Whew, I‘m glad to hear that!

I’ve been working with this artist named Preston Stone on getting portraits done of the crew.  (You should check out his work, it’s stellar!) I think they’ve turned out great!

What was the big impetus for this?  Amazon has added this new segment on the book’s page called “From the Publisher”.  It’s a place where other aspects of the books can be put in so that the casual viewer will have a bit more to entice them than the standard book blurb and reviews.  I think it’s pretty neat!  I’ve already built them into the Matilda’s pages like this example.

I am so excited to share them as I see them and as art!  Without further ado, here they are! 

Captain Jacquotte Delahaye
Barnabus de Lagnel
Luli Qing
Derain Tiwi
Lieutenant Galena Chadov
Anton Roane

Look how cool they look! What a bunch of badasses! It took a long time, but it has been entirely worth it!

Dots-n-Dashes

I recently learned an interesting bit of writing habit that I was unaware of!  It made me wonder and after having sat down with other writers it definitely seems to be true, to an extent.

Now, I’ll warn you that this is a really minor writing affectation, but it’s going to date me, so whatev’s!

It appears that Gen-Xers prefer to use the “…” when writing while Millennials prefer to use the “-“.  If you’ve read any of my stuff, well, you know I am a huge lover and user of the “…”.  Not surprisingly, I fall directly into the Gen-X box.  And to back it all up, many of my Millennial writer friends love the “-“.

I don’t know if other Gen-X writers use the three dots for the same reason as I do, but it’s an odd little question to ask. For me, the three dots feel like seconds ticking down or time passing in recognizable blips.  While the dash feels more like a skip or a jump to something else, sort of like the superheroes “Meanwhile”.

I couldn’t find any similar writing markers for boomers or the greatest generation, but I bet they’re out there.  On top of that, I don’t know if Gen-Zers are homogeneously choosing one right now, but maybe?

Does this little writing habit hold true for you?  Do you use something else?  Let me know!

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Hello, Starfest 2022!  With a heavy heart, I bid you a farewell.

This was the first convention I attended as a participant after I moved out to Colorado.  It was also the first one I decided to attend as an author (though Covid hit and kind of kiboshed that whole thing).  But it finally happened, and sadly this was the last Starfest to be.

I have many fond memories of being at the con dressed as one character or another from a TV show and movies, checking out the panels, and listening to the special guests tell anecdotes from their various projects.  It was always fun to wander the Dealer’s room, the Art Show, and good ole Author’s Alley.

And I got to be a part of that Author’s Alley this year!  And it was packed!  There was some great cosplay, R2-D2’s, and amazing horror and comic art.  It was a blast talking to different people about books, art, new movies, and old TV shows.

On top of all that, I met a bunch of great authors like Chris Mandeville, John Wilker, Robert G. Williscroft, Allyn Riggs, Todd Fahnestock, and Kendra Merritt!  It was fun talking shop, trading stories, and ideas.  I feel revitalized!

So, was it worth it?

Why yes, it was!  I had a great time and ran into some friends I hadn’t seen since, um… pre-Covid, and I almost sold out of every copy of The Matilda I brought with me!

Aah, Starfest, I am sad to see you go, but I’m glad I was able to be a part of the last one.