A Midsummer Night’s Hunt (Seasons #2) is published

A little while ago I pushed the button on the second Seasons story.  If it’s not up already (the KDP page currently says “LIVE“), it should show up “soon” for Amazon Kindle for purchase (99 cents) and Kindle Unlimited.

At the same time, I re-uploaded Saving the Spring again with a couple of typo corrections KDP brought to my attention.  (It didn’t used to do that; must be a new feature.)

A Midsummer Night’s Hunt is a longer story (my Kindle says it clocks at about an hour and a half to read) and is really more of a novelette than a short story.  Indeed, it runs right up to the ceiling of novelette length and bangs on the pipes of being a novel.  But it’s not a novel.

It’s also written in third person rather than being Jack’s first-person recounting of the tale.  That worked for the first story, I don’t think it would work for this story.

And there are illustrations!  Yes, I went apeshit with DAZ3D Studio and there are seven (7) full-color images in addition to the cover.

And it’s still only 99 cents (or, of course, free to read on KU)!  Such a deal.

Direct link

Saving the Spring update

If you notice in your Kindle content management page that there is an update to Saving the Spring, it’s only an update to place the story into the Seasons series as #1.  I had no plans to make a series out of my fantasy short story, so it wasn’t originally published that way.  It hasn’t yet updated as of 9PM tonight, so it will probably be a day or two before that happens.  Literally the only changes made were to add “Seasons #1” to the cover and the title page, and add a couple of notes to the copyright page.  No change was made to the text of the story.  [Update, next day:  Apparently I did not make enough changes to warrant Amazon putting up an “Update Available” link in the content manager, so there you have it.]

This is, of course, preparatory to the release of the second story, A Midsummer Night’s Hunt, “soon”.  I’m aiming for the end of September.  If I can just get the last scene written, that will happen.  It’s that close.  The last time I wrote about it, the story was 8,475 words long.  It’s now nearly twice that, 16,273 words and probably about a thousand words to go.  There are also several color illustrations (!) which even look good on a greyscale 10th gen. Kindle Oasis.  In fact, if I can get Joelle’s dForce-enabled dress to stop exploding when I simulate it in DAZ3D, I might have another one done here shortly.

If you liked Saving the Spring, you will find A Midsummer Night’s Hunt a little different; third person rather than Jack doing the narrative, all four of the Asgardians more involved in the story, a couple more fight scenes, and chupacabra.  So far Odin hasn’t made an appearance, but Hugin and Munin have, and Geri and Freki may make a cameo near the end since Sarah likes them so much.  (For her, they’re like the pet dogs she never had.)  Oh…do I have a picture of that?  Sure I do.

Woof!

(Where’s the scythe?  That gets discussed.)

Anyway, I hope you like the story when it’s done.  It’ll still be 99 cents to buy or free to read on Kindle Unlimited.

Words keep piling up

I’m 8500 words into the second “Seasons” short story I talked about down below.  It’s kind of slow going because it didn’t all pop into my head in a single shot like the first one did.

When it comes to writing, I’m a horrific pantser.  Which, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, means “seat of the pants writer”.  I don’t plot; I write stuff that comes into my head and then I link it together.  If something I wrote doesn’t work, it gets tossed.  Stuff gets changed on the fly.  There’s no crying in pantser writing.

Now, this isn’t really a problem if you’re writing a short story, or maybe even a novella, but without a plot outline, writing a novel with a complicated plot and multiple characters can become a real pain.  I found that out when I wrote The Lion of God…or more to the point, when I was editing The Lion of God.  The initial draft had plot holes you could drive a truck through.  The draft I actually published may still have plot holes; I know it has mistakes that I’ve documented in another post.  I’m being more careful with the sequel but I still don’t have a formal plot outline for it.  It’s just all in my head and it’s still jelling.  And there are a few snippets of later parts of the story that have outpaced the first three chapters that are materially finished.  Actually….I’ve already written the ending.  Pants.  Definitely pants.

For what it’s worth, I do have a timeline for The Lion of God.  Because even I can’t keep track of what happened when, across two timelines and sixty years of linear time in both of them.

Saving the Spring, on the other hand, was pretty much a “sit down and write it out in order” proposition.  There was one section I didn’t write in sequence (the fight between Jack, Rufus, and Joelle, and Loki’s constructs).  I wasn’t sure how to write it when I got to it, but the muse was pushing me to keep going.  Since I knew what happened after the fight, I just jumped over it and came back later.

When I wrote The Reason, I knew where I was going from the start, because I’d already thought it out as backstory for The Lion of God.  So that got finished pretty quickly; I spent more time polishing it (and researching after the fact — and let me warn you, unless you have a strong stomach, do not go researching fractures of the femur) than I did writing it.

Now we come to A Midsummer Night’s Hunt.

It’s being written in order, mostly.  The story from start to 8,475 words is all one piece, without any sections marked “fill in later”.  There’s a lot more Sarah in this one than in the other one, and that’s good; I like writing her.  Valkyries turn out to be fun to write.  Joelle, as I tried to suggest in the first story, still needs a little “seasoning” before she’ll be a good warrior; well, go look up the Norse goddess Nanna, and other than jumping on her husband’s funeral fire boat with him, tell me what she actually did in Asgard.  Rufus is still a big, bluff, red-headed Nordic man-at-arms who happens to be the god Baldur (the aforementioned husband of Nanna, who bought it when Loki managed to sneak a dart made from mistletoe into the hands of Baldur’s blind brother Hodr, at a time when folks were shooting and tossing all kinds of stuff at Baldur, who was immune to anything except…well, you get it).  Jack, now that he’s got his memories back, is the oldest of the bunch, and the natural leader of the group.

It’s no secret, really, that they’re hunting chupacabra in New Mexico.  And I know why, and how that’s going to turn out, and (vaguely) how I’m going to get from where I am to there in another, hmm, 4,000 words or so.

Or maybe 5,000.  Or 6,000.  Whatever.  Sooner or later (hopefully sooner, so I can get back to The Lion and The Lizard), it will be finished.

And then you’ll find out why Joelle’s Queen of Spring outfit is always perfectly clean, and why she never gets wounded in battle.  It frankly puzzled me, till just the other night when I figured it out.

Þǫkk fyrir lesturinn!

Sarah/Sigrdrifa, character studies

Done in DAZ, of course.  In the new story, she has, so far, worn the two outfits on the right.  In fairness, of course, they interchange when she shifts forms.

The left outfit, well, we’ll see if it has a place in this story.  (The truth is, I’ve had that dress in the inventory for a while because it was on sale, and hadn’t used it so far.)  But our Valkyrja cleans up nice, doesn’t she?

I should probably stop screwing around with DAZ and write…

The Reason (Timelines short story) is published

I said August and I meant August…even if August is tomorrow 🙂 (And strangely enough, Amazon seems to backdate the publication date by one day, so it will say it was published on July 30.)

Oh, and for my one three-star reviewer of The Lion of God who said “too much political proselytizing” — this hasn’t got much politics at all.  So maybe you’ll be safe to read it.*

Anyway:

Kindle-only, available either to buy for 99 cents, or to read for free via Kindle Unlimited. It is being published without DRM.

Direct link

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* But seriously, that sort of review just makes me think I was right on target.  I figured I’d get complaints about how I (a civilian) handled military subjects.  Or about how there wasn’t enough action.  Or how I was full of shit about how timelines work.  If the complaining is going to be about the pushing of right-wing politics, yeah, I’m good with that.  And if you think that was bad, man, you should have seen the stuff I left out.

Remember how I said…

…that I’d probably not be writing any more fantasy after Saving The Spring, unless something moved me to do so?

Damn it.

It’s not done, not by a long shot.  But it’s coming at some point, maybe in the fall.  And that’s just the working cover, so don’t get too excited.

The Lion of God: Errata

Of course I am re-reading the book, now it’s been published, and of course I have found a couple of bone-headed errors.

Using Kindle page numbers (which are not the same as the page numbers in the manuscript:

Location
As published
Correction
Time Will Tell, Page 22 “… I didn’t go back to school until … hmm … until, well, 1986.” 1996.  His Timeline 1 counterpart went in 1986, when he left the service.  In 1986, Timeline 0 Wolff was still in the Marines.

I think this was a late change when I was trying to reconcile timeline events, and the change to the timeline document just didn’t make it into the book.

Chapter 5, Page 115 Wolff was a little taken aback.  “Reserve commission or not, I’m smart enough to know I got out as a shot-up E-7 who’d been bucking for First Sergeant, and that was forty years ago.” It was fifty years (fifty-one, to be precise).
Chapter 8, Page 167 He shook his head, clearing it of the forty-year old memories he didn’t need to deal with, right now. Same as above.  Fifty, not forty.
Chapter 13, Page 235 “Look, Commodore, I haven’t been an officer very long, but forty years of civilian life…” Same as above.  Fifty, not forty.

Apparently I can’t subtract 1993 from 2044 very well.

These fixes will be in an update at some point.  Table will be added to as I find more things to fix.

There are those who say the cover is everything.

At long last it looks like I have a cover…thanks to my DAZ3D mentor and friend from ancient times*, Geoff Edwards, who worked out how the words needed to go on the art he’d advised me on.

There are a couple of things left to do in the text, but I’m hopeful of a release by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the short story mentioned in the previous post has been honed and the cover is being worked on…and the second novel has been started.

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* Freshman year in high school.  We had the same drafting class.  You know, mechanical drawing, with T-squares and triangles and cool mechanical pencils, back before AutoCad.  Damnit, Jim, I’m an engineer, not a graphic artist.

Another short in draft

I have another short story in draft, started it last Thursday, finished the first draft just a few minutes ago after work.  It’s a Timelines story, really a prequel, intended to provide backstory for The Lion of God, and it’s called “The Reason”.  It will follow the release of The Lion of God, which will happen either later this month or some time in July, depending on whether I decide to wait for the new graphics computer to be delivered, or not.

Anyway, “The Reason” is another 11,790 word long short story like “Saving The Spring” (which was over 10,000 words).  Apparently I don’t know how to write a standard short story.  On the other hand, it isn’t edited yet.

The likelihood is that I will put it on Amazon for 99 cents, or read for free on KU.  But again, it will go up after The Lion of God.