It's been a long time since you guys have heard from me (a little over two months to be precise) and Halloween makes a perfect time to renew acquaintances, especially if it involves free stuff for you all.
Yes, free stuff. As a Halloween gift for all my fans out there, I am setting TWO of my Kindle stories FREE on Amazon.com for that day only.
The first one is "I am the Wendigo," my first professionally-published story. I sold it in 2006 to a webzine called Chimaera Serials that no longer exists. Like many authors whose work has gone out of print, I found it quite nice to have an easy republishing route and I've made about as much if not more as an indie that I was paid for the first rights.
The second one is "Melon Heads." I wrote that one when I was in college after reading about the Melon Heads, an urban legend centered in rural Ohio, on the Internet. I tinkered with it over the years and ultimately revised the story to be a dark comedy based on suggestions from Katherine Mankiller.
I've been really busy these last couple of months, which is one reason why you haven't seen anything from me. Well, here's what I've been up to and what the plan for the remainder of the year is...
1. Slowly but surely, I've been advancing through LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG GUNS. I think I've got three chapters and the epilogue left to go, so I can probably finish this before the end of the year, especially if I use Thanksgiving Break (and Winter/Christmas Break if necessary) wisely. I've committed to bringing something before the writing group two weeks from now, so I really need to buckle down and hit it.
2. I recently dug up my short story "Man of Iron, Rising Sun," which is set in a dieselpunk version of the Second Sino-Japanese War in which the Japanese have got powered armor. I brought it before one writing-group meeting awhile ago and I kind of sat on it for over a year. Then I brought it to another writing-group meeting and found that although they liked having dueling Chinese and Japanese points-of view, they didn't think it really ended.
So what I'm going to do is add a second Chinese point-of-view character (this was James R. Tuck's idea), making it the last POV in the entire story to improve the ending, AND keep the Japanese POV. This will lengthen the story a good bit, but the story is already pretty short, so it's doable. Plus getting James' suggestion across will only need three new scenes, so it won't even take that long.
3. When I sent BATTLE FOR THE WASTELANDS to Jason Sizemore for editing, he suggested either adding more material to the scenes from Catalina Merrill's point of view or cutting her POVs completely. I didn't want to cut her completely because that meant no female POVs at all (and these days that's an obvious target for criticism), but her situation didn't allow her to DO a whole lot.
However, I had an idea for a single new scene that would answer Mr. Sizemore's concerns by giving Catalina, who has been a prisoner and concubine of the Norse warlord Grendel for three-odd years before the story begins, a bit of an arc. The new scene takes place early on in the story and depicts her being antisocial and disdained by some of Grendel's senior concubines, with her only solace being her toddler son. In the middle scene, which has been part of the manuscript from the beginning, she contemplates shoving Grendel out the window when his back is turned, but is deterred by the possible retribution toward her (or, should she actually kill Grendel, her son at the hands of a half-brother who wants no rival for the succession). And in the final scene, she begins plotting to form an alliance with another member of Grendel's harem for the intrigues that will break out when Grendel leaves the capital for war.
Fellow writer Alex Hughes said that BATTLE FOR THE WASTELANDS is a "boy book" and recommended I send to to Baen. Once this new scene is written and plugged in, it'll be ready to send to them when they're done with THE THING IN THE WOODS, which I sent them after DragonCon in September. Baen's response time is six months, so I think I've got plenty of time. :)