This is a bit unusual for me, folks, but Michelle Hauck is hosting a critique blog hop at her site. It’s a neat idea (thanks, Michelle!) and I’ve decided to participate–so here’s the first page of the book I’m pitching, Tsar Bomb, an adult paranormal thriller.
If you’ve happened here from somewhere other than the blog hop, please feel free to post your review in the comments!
Preston reached for his toes and tried to ignore the pain in his back. He stood and pulled his right foot up toward his bottom, squeezing his white running shoe in one hand. The bulge of his belly peeked out beneath his tee-shirt, and Preston looked to make sure he was alone. He stretched the other leg, shook them both, and then bounced on his feet.
The day was going to be a scorcher, just like yesterday and the day before. The morning air still smelled like rain, though the sun had burned away the clouds and now pressed his skin like a hot iron. The street was a fresh asphalt ribbon. Preston lurched forward into a run.
His back flared immediately. Ignore it, he thought. The doctors said you can do this. His stomach was next to complain, and it was more persuasive, sending up a warning shot of morning coffee and stale beer. He’d run through hangovers. Once upon a time, he’d run through anything. But that was before.
He told himself to stop thinking, that it hadn’t been that long ago. A stitch settled in his left side like a dagger. His calves were tight as fists. He hadn’t made it three blocks yet.
Then again, how could anyone tell? There weren’t actual blocks in Florida, just street and trees and grass—and the canal, of course. Preston wondered if there were alligators that morning, and whether an alligator would eat a jogger.
Sorry to be an absentee around here the last week or two. I’ve gone back into the writing process, this time revising the novel I finished drafting in March, Tsar Bomb. The good news is I’m almost halfway through my first read-through, and it’s the cleanest first draft I think I’ve ever written.
It still needs major work, of course, but I might be sold on the particular writing process I used on this one. Maybe I’ll share that process here at some point.
In the meantime, the video above contains a couple of announcements, about the Jersey Devil Press Sampler that went out at the Asbury Park Comicon a few weeks ago, and about the Black Chaos zombie anthology from Big Pulp that drops next month. You know, the one I’m in, that you can pre-order until June 1? That one?
Being buried in revisions, I may be posting less frequently for a while, but I’ll try to keep up. The videos and cartoons take a lot of time to create, so those particularly may be less frequent. Fiction is my first priority.
That right there is a finished first draft. I hit my five-month target, starting in November and wrapping up on the last day of March.
If you’re wondering what the process is now, the next step is six weeks in a drawer. That gives the manuscript time to season, and me enough distance so when I next pick it up I’ll have [somewhat] objective eyes.
This version is nowhere near ready for beta-readers. It’s the cleanest first draft I’ve ever written, but there are still some very rough sections I know have to be completely rewritten, and I’m not sure the plot or story make sense in this version. Hopefully the second or third draft might be ready for some reader feedback. I’m aiming for June or July for that.
So the question of the moment is: What to do for the next six weeks?
I mean, besides drinking.
At this point I’m aiming for more like 85,000, but it looks like I’ll hit my goal of finishing this first draft before the end of the month. Then a quick polish, six weeks in a drawer, and I begin the second draft. My aim is to have a polished final ready to start querying around September, which would mean turning around a novel in less than one year for the first time. My first one took about seven years, and the second took nearly three.
Oh, and I know it says “Working Title” up there, but I’m increasingly thinking that title may stick around. At least until someone tells me to change it.