Tag Archives: one ahead

One Ahead Mystery #2 ~ Now Available!

One Ahead: The Case of the Real Estate Revenant

The second story in my One Ahead mystery series is now available on Amazon for Kindle.

One Ahead Mysteries feature David P. Abbott. Aside from being an accomplished magician in early 20th century Omaha, NE, David Abbott was a skeptic and debunker of fraudulent mediums. In “The Case of the Real Estate Revenant,” Abbott helps his brother Julian get to the bottom of ghostly rumors plaguing a business venture.

The first story, The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress, is also available for free this weekend (11/2–11/3). If you like historical mysteries and want to try some with a magic flair, please  give them a look! All the details of this series, including excerpts, are available Entangled Continua Publishing.

Writing Update, 1/16/19

2018 ~ What Happened?

2018 was an interesting year.

In 2017, I came away from WesterCon with a bunch of creative energy. Unfortunately, by the end of the year, I had ground out on the novel I was working on* and was feeling pretty dismal again. Eventually, I switched gears to work on a project conceived, in fact, at WesterCon: an anthology of classic/public domain stories that featured automata.

I read a lot, I thought a lot about it (to the point of actually writing some introductory material for each section), and then I hit a slight snag with how I wanted to publish it. In the end, I decided to just put it up for free. If you’re interested in classic works of science fiction, Our Past in the Uncanny Valley is available for free at my webpage.

Uncanny Valley immediately led to two other things.

First, I learned to format Kindle ebooks using HTML. It makes for a much cleaner, nicer looking ebook. I did it for Uncanny Valley and then I converted most of Eric’s and my other ebooks. (Only PHYSIC and the Weordan books haven’t been switched over.)

Second, I decided I wanted to “clear my plate.” I’d had the first in a series of novellas about 95% done for quite awhile. For marketing-type purposes, I had been sitting on it until I finished a couple other stories in the series. The thought was either to release them separately in quick succession or group them together as a larger book. But neither of those things had happened in the previous year, nor did they look likely to happen in the near future. So I decided, “What the heck!” and put One Ahead: The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress up on Amazon. Good call? I don’t know. Mentally, I felt lighter.

Then I had a new idea and, like a person who doesn’t already have three-ish other unfinished series and another half-finished book*, I started a new mystery novel in November for NaNoWriMo.

*That would be Wicked Witch Retired. I’ll get back to it.

2019 ~ What’s Going to Happen?

Well, currently, I’m working on the novel I started at the end of last year. I don’t have a title yet. I’m referring to it as Jane Anderson Mystery #1, so apparently I have high hopes for my magician’s assistant sleuth. Second draft has been going a little slow. Reading my journal from last year, it seems a January slump isn’t unknown to me. But this week is looking pretty good.

A goal I’d like to have this year is to quickly switch to working on other projects if I get too bogged down in a particular one. (And hopefully not spawn other projects.) I have the tendency to “work” on something by doing nothing. Shockingly, this leads to not much getting done. I have formatting left to do on existing books. I have two other Uncanny Valley-style public domain things that pretty much just need covers. I have other One Ahead stories. I have Wicked Witch Retired to finish. (My mother would also like to see the second Aleister Luck book…)

I should consider myself lucky: I have lots to read and lots to write.

Happy NaNoWriMo! Have a Free Book! 📚

Today is the first day of November. If you’re a writer, or you hang around writers, you also know that today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). World-wide (not just “nationally”), writers of every ilk will endeavor to write 50,000 words on a new novel by the end of the month.

But, does anything ever become of what’s written in November? The answer is: yes!

In fact, I just released The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress which has partial origins in NaNoWriMos of the past. I made a first stab at fiction featuring David P. Abbott back in 2012. It’s been a long road between that incarnation and the mystery novellas I’ve ultimately decided to write. As a celebration of NaNoWriMo, The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress is available for free from Amazon between now (Nov. 1st) and Monday, Nov. 5th! Just head over and download it to your Kindle or Kindle app.

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year with a whole new project, though there will still be a magician, a mystery, and probably several murders. No title yet. As of 11/1/18 2pm, I’m 2000 words in, only 48,000 more to go!

Writing Update, 9/26

Writing Update pic
How’s It Going?
I’m 95% satisfied with the cover I’ve come up with for The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress. That percentage might go down after I post this and see it in a new context.

Next up: Another editing pass (I’ll probably put the manuscript through a text to speech program) and writing the dreaded “back of the book” blurb.

About This WIP
One Ahead is a series of mystery novellas focusing on David P. Abbott, a magician who lived in Omaha, NE at the beginning of the 20th century. Aside from being an accomplished magician, David Abbott was a debunker of fraudulent mediumistic practices. I’ll be delving into the history of Omaha in 1915 as well as visiting some of the magicians, mediums, and skeptics that lived in that era.

Writing Update, 9/12

Writing Update pic
What’s Going on Work-wise?
I spent time last week and the week before formatting Eric’s Martian Engineer’s Notebook series. It took a little longer than I expected. The books are a deep dive into the science behind Andy Wier’s The Martian and have a lot of mathematical and chemical equations. The biggest hurdle, though, was wading through the Kindle previewer/exporter’s error messages. I’ve been formatting in HTML/CSS and creating my own .opf and .ncx files which are what Amazon uses to build the book’s .mobi file. I understand what I’m doing with each file, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally typo a link, save a file to the wrong folder, or designate something as a “class” instead of an “id.” Figuring out what I’ve done wrong from the error log is amusing/frustrating, but ultimately satisfying as are most debugging endeavors.

I’ve also finished the formatting for One Ahead: The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress and this week I’m working on an editing pass. I’m 2/3rds through. And then I’ll start working on the cover. …I have very little idea what I want to do for a cover…

Since the beginning of September, I’ve also been reading up on the structure of mysteries. I’m not super great with plot, so I think I might want to try my hand at a more formulaic genre. While not exactly a “how-to” article, one of the more interesting essays on the subject that I’ve found is W. H. Auden’s “The Guilty Vicarage.” I’m toying with the idea of really planning a book leading up to NaNoWriMo. I do already have a character and setting in mind.

Recent Research Topic:
Related to that possible NaNo project, I’ve done a little research on how far into the 20th century the chautauqua edu-tainment movement lasted. Turns out, into the 20s, which is perfect for my purposes. As a shock to none, I’ve also been reading issues of The Sphinx to get a feel for what opportunities there were for working magicians post-WWI.

Writing Update, 8/22 ~ Return of the Uncanny Valley

Writing Update pic
How’s It Going?

First of all, I’ve put Our Past in the Uncanny Valley up for download for free at Entangled Continua Publishing. No strings attached. It’s available in .mobi, .azk, .epub, and .pdf formats. (Am I missing a format? Let me know, I’ll see what I can do.) If you’re interested in some classic short stories about automata, check it out!

The next thing I’m working on is publishing One Ahead: The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress. I’m currently giving it an editing pass, next I’ll format it, then give it another edit pass, then make a cover for it, then give it another edit pass. I think I’ll be able to get it up on Amazon by early October.

About This WIP
One Ahead is a series of mystery novellas focusing on David P. Abbott, a magician who lived in Omaha, NE at the beginning of the 20th century. Aside from being an accomplished magician, David Abbott was a debunker of fraudulent mediumistic practices. I’ll be delving into the history of Omaha in 1915 as well as visiting some of the magicians, mediums, and skeptics that lived in that era.

Writing Update, 1/10


How’s It Going?
I’ve been thinking about the thing that people do as an alternative to new year resolutions: picking a word or phrase to be a mantra for the year.

Other than setting ridiculous reading goals, I haven’t really done resolutions per se in a while. If I contemplate changes for the new year, I usually start around my birthday (mid-December) and try things out before we hit January. This December, I started doing three pages of journaling every morning followed by an hour of work—all before I fire up the internet. I’ve kept this up for the most part. So, my early favorite for 2018’s mantra has been “Steady.” I want to work steadily.

But this morning I was thinking about my relationship with Eric. When I graduated from college, I asked Eric to keep me honest with me writing efforts. We decided that I’d “turn in” pages every week. Those first pages became my first novel. While it’s never been easy to have someone read my pages, it feels like it used to be a lot more simple. I would just have him read; not a lot of choice in the matter. One of the things I learned in 2017 is that I had let my relationship with writing get unnecessarily complicated. (Complicated is different from complex. Complexity is fine. Complicated implies…complications.) I’m still letting it be that way, but it doesn’t need to be that way. So, I think my mantra for the year (if I should so desire to have one) will be “Steady & Simple.”

Excerpt

“And you, miss?” He pointed at Charlotte.

Her face flushed, to Billy’s surprise. He had been fairly certain that there was nothing that could embarrass Charlotte.

“Seven of diamonds,” she said loud enough to be heard on stage.

Joseffy raised his eyebrows. “A very rich card. Beware, sir,” he said to Billy, “your lady might know some magic as well, namely how to make wallets disappear.”

The audience laughed.

“You don’t know the half of it,” Billy said, and even the magician chuckled.

“The lady chose the seven of diamonds,” Joseffy reiterated.

He pulled the silk handkerchief off the card holder. It had disappeared and in its stead was a small vase with a brilliant red rose in it. The magician frowned. A fake frown, he had known absolutely that the rose would be there, but the audience hadn’t known. They were dutifully amazed and tittered at the conjurer’s discomfort. Making the best of it, Joseffy plucked the rose from the vase. He walked up the aisle and presented it to Charlotte.

“My apologies, miss, your card seemed to have gone astray.”

The rose appeared real, fresh, and only recently cut. Charlotte practically buried her nose in it.

“Ah, there it is.” Joseffy reached toward Charlotte’s hair and seemed to pluck the card from behind the pins that supported her curls.

About This WIP
One Ahead is a series of mystery novellas focusing on David P. Abbott, a magician who lived in Omaha, NE at the beginning of the 20th century. Aside from being an accomplished magician, David Abbott was a debunker of fraudulent mediumistic practices. I’ll be delving into the history of Omaha in 1915 as well as visiting some of the magicians, mediums, and skeptics that lived in that era.