Monday, February 28, 2011

Excerpt from Sexton Sand (Sexton Chronicles IV)

Andy is getting his first lesson in magic from Sarah:

  Sarah sat on one of the benches and crossed her legs. His eyes automatically went to her knees before he remembered she was dressed more like a nun than the erotic dancer she usually dressed like, or even the plain Jane she tried to dress like in Sexton. The thought made him miss both Sexton, and her legs. “Please sit,” she said.
   He took a seat on the bench across the room from her. She looked like she was waiting for him to say or do something. It seemed to him that it should be the other way around—she was the teacher—so he said nothing.        He looked at her and waited.
   No sound came through the only window in the room. No sound came from her. They looked at each other for what seemed like a long time. He looked away to glance at the stuff on the table, but none of it seemed to make sense. There were balls, and blocks, and a candle or two. Just stuff. He looked at her again and smiled the smile of a man waiting for a bus or a doctor’s appointment in a room with only one other person.
   At least five minutes went by. He couldn’t take it anymore. With the grace of a Neanderthal he said, “What?”
   “Interesting.” She smiled.
   More time went by. He wanted to laugh, but the image of her eating his face came back and the urge to laugh faded. Maybe she was waiting for him to get up and play with the stuff on the table. That made sense. There wasn’t anything else in the room, and she obviously didn’t feel like talking. He hoped this wasn’t going to be a repeat of the however long he spent with Raj under the library. “Are we just going to sit here and stare at each other for a while? Because if we are, I think I’d be more comfortable if you wore regular clothes.”
   Her eyes carried amusement her mouth didn’t show. “You have failed the first test.”

   “God, I hate it when that happens!” He grinned. “What test?”

   “You did not read my thoughts. It is nothing. Don’t concern yourself with it.”

   That settles it, he thought. He was thinking about the chic thing: the one where there’s something obviously on their mind, but that six wild horses, three mules, and Uncle Sam in a hoop skirt couldn’t drag from their lips...and when asked, they said nothing. “What’s the deal with the stuff on the table?”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Take it from the top! (A writing exercise)

I've mentioned before that I don't outline my books. I write without a net, enjoying the process for the process and the journey for the journey.

Sometimes that's not the best way. Don't get me wrong--I'm going to keep working that way because it works for me.

There's one downfall. If I stop writing for any length of time, there's a chance I'll forget where I was going. I did that with Sexton Sand.

Fortunately, I'm a fast typist. I can bang out 120 words per minute or more. Usually more. So...when I found myself wondering what happens in Chapter Sixty-seven and coming up with no answer, I started by printing the manuscript. 96,000 words.

Started typing. I can't just read the thing to get caught up with it again. If I start reading a pen appears in my hand as if by magic and I'm editing. For now the goal is to get back into the flow, the feel, the touch of the manuscript. Forward progress will resume in about a week.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Writing and remembering, "Everything is Tomorrow?"

I've been working on my new book, Everything is Tomorrow? about the nine weeks I spent in Peru in 1987. Peru wasn't very stable then. (Now it has a budding tourist industry and is a lot of fun) There were Maoist guerrilas (today, I suppose, some would call them terrorists) operating in most parts of the country. There were a couple present at our archeology camp--under the theory that we wouldn't be attacked if some of them were with us.
I remember most of it vividly. I'm using the journal I kept at the time as the "skeleton" of the work, and fleshing the rest of it out as I go. Interesting times. Dangerous times, too. It was a lot of fun. I plan to publish it at the end of February--or middle of March.
Remembering is not without it's costs, however small. I have pretty vivid dreams, and pulling a guy out of raging white water left a mark on me I can't deny. Still toss and turn a bit when that one comes up. It was successful, that rescue.
I hope you'll read the book when it comes out. It's an adventure I'd like to show you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sexton--excerpt from book 1

Three American teens lost in a world of swords and sorcery. Join the story as Tom Benton--first to go through the hole in the universe--lands in Sexton...

Tom closed his eyes when he dove through the hole. Nausea and black vertigo drove through his gut like a spike. He landed hard, skidded over wet pavement, and crashed into the branch that preceded his dive. He and the branch slid over a rough, wet surface and crashed into a wall. He thrashed against smaller branches and grappling twigs, and choked back a shout as he struggled to get up or at least free of the damn thing. Warm wet hunks of canned stew hit the pavement when he opened his eyes on his hands and knees. His back spasmed with uncontrolled vomiting and long seconds passed as drool fell from his lips and he fought to control his gut, his pulse, and his fear. He shoved the limb out of the way, pushed one leg up and stood.

Where's the hole? He was shaking. Wet, cold, scared, and shaking. The hole. It had to be here somewhere. Somewhere close. John and Andy would be in the rain on the other side, looking through at him. He turned in a circle and looked every direction. There was no hole--no John and Andy standing in the rain. No rain either for that matter. He was alone on a cobblestone street, just him and the branch he and Andy threw into the hole a minute ago. Think, Benton. Stop and think. He didn't know he was whispering, and wouldn't have cared if he did.

The branch was lying against a dark brick wall on a building of rough-cut stones with a tile roof. There were a few square windows cut in the walls, but none were lit. The street was narrow, not built for cars, and paved in every direction with stones. He looked at his watch. It was four-thirty, forty-five minutes after he woke to the lights in the sky and throbbing ground. He listened but heard nothing--no wildlife, no cars or trucks, no TVs in the background. Nothing but his heart thudding in his chest and his ragged breath...