Showing posts from 2017

When Nuking the Draft of Your Novel is the Only Rational Choice

Author Makes Humbling Confession
Well, I've done it again.

I have written a draft of a good novel on a terrible foundation. It is almost like I must get the "well written bad novel" out of my system before I can sit down and do serious work on a good sequel to JUDGING ANGELS.

So, now I'm poking through a 93,000-word pile of rubble, salvaging what isn't bent beyond hope, and holding to the vision of a chronologically straightforward, snappy novel like JUDGING ANGELS is. It will be a much better version than the 1.0 of the sequel.

I think it will also be better than JUDGING ANGELS. I hope I learned something at my first rodeo.

It will also be the stand-aloneish novel the original version of the sequel was never going to be. It is a sequel, but I want it to be enjoyable for people who haven't read the first one. (They are meant to be read in order, though, and JUDGING ANGELS clearly begs for a sequel. JUDGING ANGELS can also be read on its own, in the sense that…

When a Review is As Entertaining As a Book

This is a hilarious review by someone who obviously got a kick out of the read. Writers live for this connection - of playing on a reader's emotions like an out-of-tune fiddle. And yes, if it gets made into a movie, "It's a Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns would be a perfect, thematic, song. Indeed, our hero has been on a slow fade. Our story joins him, however, in four weeks during which the slow fade - or slow burn - lights up the night in the fireworks of his exploding universe. Now, here's the review for you to enjoy.

"If "It's a Wonderful Life", "The Screwtape Letters", and "MacGyver" had a love child, this would be it. Mr. Toad's wild ride on steroids, with Aquinas, Sue Grafton, Tom Clancy, and Barbara Cartland in the front seat; strapped in, hands up, screaming for nearly 500 pages. It grabs you by the throat (in that good way), shakes you 6-ways-to-Sunday (in that fun way), and spits you out, sweating and dazed (in th…

One Angry Red

You don't make a Red this angry without expecting her to walk away only after taking a piece of you with her.

NOTE: I tend to post the more light-hearted parts of the sequel for some reason. I guess because they're pithier than something out of a horror or psychological thriller scene. For the most part, it is of a piece with the first novel (or that's my goal, anyway). A serious novel with meaty themes, with lots of twists but never far from some mordant humor.

Pecksley, Sucklow & Miss Dank: CIA

The CIA could not function without those underappreciated veterans who know their way around all the forms. It is also helpful to have someone who remembers where all the bodies are buried. The CIA generates quite a few each month.

I am speaking of the secretaries.

Mission Controller Pecksley bears responsibility for each of Red's 28-day crow-borne missions. He must rely on his assistant, Tech-23 (later "Sucklow") to interpret a few hundred biological markers that comprise his field agent's telemetry feed.
(This is not hard science fiction, so just roll with it. I'm a lawyer. I don't know much science, and still less about the CIA, but no one knows more about American Hell.)
Pecksley cannot, however, do anything with Sucklow's information. There is no way of communicating with his agent in the field. He is a helpless bystander trying to divine his own fate from the Delphic mutterings of his teletech. The best he can do is remember to hold onto his tail s…

Major Author Update on Judging Angels Sequel

Milestone: 83,000 Words

UPDATE: 4000 words written today, or one entire chapter. I call it, "RISK."

I am pleased to join Red in announcing a milestone in writing the second book in the Rubricatae Chronicles, which began with the award-winning Catholic-ish urban fantasy novel Judging Angels.

The sequel now has 83,000 words, or about the typical length of a novel. Judging Angels had twice that. In other words, if the sequel were to be the same length as Judging Angels, it would be halfway done.

The deadline for Christmas release is October 1st. I'm doing my best. Oddly enough, that's 666 words per day if I'm going to meet my deadline.

I am projecting a book about two-thirds the length of Judging Angels.

How will it be different from Judging Angels?

Less of a Stand Alone Novel
It is unlikely to be as much of a stand alone book as Judging Angels is.

While the possibility for a sequel was obviously left open, the story was properly ended and the characters had arrived …

Word Cloud from Reviews

All the words reviewers have used to describe Judging Angels in a word cloud. (All reviews have been 5-star.) Keep in mind some particulars can be misleading, such as "heavy-handed" without the "not." Still, it's a fun way of seeing at a glance what readers have found to say. "Ginger Rogers?" Fair enough.

Thank You (Ported From the Bear)

Since the Bear's appeal for reviews of Judging Angels, there have been four five brand new five-star reviews, with promises of more. Reviews are, as the Bear has said, ridiculously important because they are like "leveling up" in a video game. New powers like "recommendations" are unlocked, all based on the number of reviews. Twenty-five is the Bear's target. Not so many, really, from 13, if you decide to do it today, before you forget about it.

It's easy. Pick a number of stars and write a sentence or two (or more, of course, if you're into that sort of thing).

Poor Bear Briefly Snivels
In other words, a book goes nowhere without reviews and Judging Angels is poison to mainstream Catholic media. You would think they would welcome a serious, well-written defense of holy matrimony that avoided moralizing and wrapped it in an entertaining yarn with real-life lessons. Sure, it's from "the other side" of the issue, showing people who aren&…

Thanks! Unbroken 5* Reviews Continue

Please remember to take a moment and review Judging Angels after you've recovered. Thanks!

Exposition - The Thing Everyone Who Writes About Writing Loves to Hate

I share my drafts with my driver, bodyguard, and factotum, Red Death, who is also my lawfully wedded wife. Sometimes it is frustrating. She puts up with it, though, as she does with all of my idiosyncrasies, and is a good sport about cleaning up my crime scenes.



The clatter of the typewriter stopped. Home was uncovered by the silence.

There was a pot of soup on the stove. The dog warned of someone walking past the house, putting all six pounds of terrier into it. He could hear his wife singing a tune he did not recognize; she sang only to herself.

He rubbed his eyes. Loss of signal. He remembered the tension when, as a child watching the end of a space mission on television, mission control would announce 'loss of signal' during reentry. Minutes passed, then at last the voice would come from the Gemini capsule, or the Apollo.

They were back. They went places in those days, before it was routine, before it was forgotten until everyone learned what o-rings we…

Rubricatae Chronicles Word of the Day

The vast universe of the Rubricatae Chronicles (sorry, GoT, the Judging Angels series is too big for just one world) has its own rich vocabulary. To assist readers, Hermes Pharmaceuticals, maker of the drug Adapt, bring you The Word of the Day. Ask your doctor if Adapt is right for you. "For when there's nothing wrong - with you."

FIXED: Truth About 1952 UFOs Over D.C.

Chapter 0: The Night Before the Day the Earth Stood Still

“War in Korea and here we are chasing little green men.”

That was the last thing Caveman heard from his wingman, Trigger, before they each jogged to the hanger for his own fighter jet. He had said something expected and serious to set the right tone but felt the same.

“You got her ready for the dance, Airman Wells?”

Wells was colored but took good care of his airplane. Caveman had come back from the war with no patience for anyone who judged the worth of a person by his race. A bunch of mutts had conquered the Aryan supermen of Hitler.

“Yes sir. She’s ready for anything.”

Caveman chuckled under his breath. “Guess we’ll find out.”

He had already begun a quick walk-around inspection. He trusted Airman Wells and did not expect to find any problems. It was a ritual exchange of responsibility.

He always used this time to remind himself that his new baby was thirsty. She ran through fuel and ammo faster than his last wife ran through…

Thanks for Another ***** Review & Progress

The string of five star reviews at Amazon continues unbroken. If you've enjoyed NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL AWARD-WINNING Judging Angels (heh, that never gets old) please consider spending a couple of minutes leaving a review at Amazon. (Do it right now, before you forget!) Amazon's voodoo book promotion system requires a certain number of reviews to kick in and Judging Angels is well shy of the mark.

On the other hand, seeing nothing but five-star reviews and kind words does make an author feel warm.


So how is the sequel coming along you ask? (You did. I heard you. You've just forgotten.)

I have felt more like sleeping than writing lately but when I do write I more than make up for my laziness.

I can tell you this much.

First of all, God willing, book two will not be the last. It is not being written as the last, anyway.

It is not going to mix up genres like Judging Angels did. While it will be another thoughtful book for grownups, and will continue the story begun in…