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Novel Number Two: Trivia!

Last night I finished my second novel, currently titled Battleborn. So I thought I would share some trivia about it:

I started it May 8th, and finished August 8th, which equates to 3 months/93 days. My previous novel took just over 2 months.

It is (in draft one) 77,627 words. That’s an average of about 834 words a day. I didn’t write everyday of course. I would say I probably averaged roughly 1500 words a day on the days I actually wrote.

50,000 words of it were written during Camp NaNoWriMo over the course of July.

The most I wrote in a single day was 5,001 words, which is also the most I have ever written in a day.

It is 233 pages long in my word document.

This took roughly 1 month longer, and is about 30k words shorter than my first novel. My honest opinion, this is better written, but my first novel has perhaps a cooler idea behind it.

I hope you found this all interesting!

New Direction?

A year ago today I talked about how I was going to change things going forward. I laid out a few goals:

First was to phase out writing short stories, except to finish up the projects I had on hand. Which I did! I wrapped up a couple of short story collections, and even self published a book of them.

Second was to finish my first novel, Capitol of Nightmares, and to focus more on novel writing. Which I also did! Its been finished since November, I just need to edit it up. I am also only about a week away from being done with my second novel, Battleborn!

In between I started one abortive novel, and wrote up a couple of novellas.

So here we are one year on. And I think like all journey’s its time to adjust my course just a little. So here is what will be happening going forward, and my goals for the next year:

1. I want to write a full length Howard Marsh novel. That may be my project for Nanowrimo this year, but I haven’t fully decided.

2. I would like to have started at least the sequel(ish) to Battleborn, Blightborn.

3. By December 31st, I want to have Capitol of Nightmares and Battleborn fully revised and edited so that Jan 1st I can start the submission process.

To this end, as I have grown in my craft, I am somewhat sad to announce that I will be taking down all of my self-published works over the course of August. I am no longer as happy with them as I once was, and maybe as time goes by I will be able to rework them to a suitable standard. Before I do though, I will have a few days where folks can get them for free however.

So there we are! New goals await!

 

 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Winner!

The headline sums it pretty well up I suppose, I completed my goal for Camp NaNoWriMo. I set my personal goal to be 50k words over the month, and I did it with about five days to spare. My peak was a day in which I pecked out 5001 words, which is my personal one day record.

Battleborn has 4 chapters or so left to be finished, so I am hoping that by next Monday or Tuesday to be finished with the whole thing. It’ll come in at roughly 80k words I reckon, if things go as planned. Then I will be looking for some beta readers!

The Day of Writing

I’m enjoying my week of vacation, and have decided, that even though I am getting somewhat of a late start, I am going to attempt to set a new personal record for words written in a day.

Each year during NaNoWriMo it is fairly common for me to write 3k words in a day. And though I don’t have an exact word count record, I would say 3.5k is the most I have every managed to wring out of me in one day.

Today, I want to hit 5k.

I also challenge you to pick a day coming up, and see what you can do. Flex that writing muscle, challenge yourself, and be ready to be impressed with your ability.

What’s New

Sorry that I haven’t been keep up with this as much as I would like. It’s been for a good reason though:

I am working on my second full length novel!

Battleborn is a somewhat grimdark fantasy novel set in a world of my creating. I have jumped on board the Camp NaNoWriMo train to try and finish it up, and am happy to report that as of the end of this morning’s writing session I am just over 60,000 words into it. Camp NaNo will get me at least to the 70k mark, and I suspect when finished it will be around 80.

But yeah, in two weeks or so I will be finished with my first draft! Soon as it’s done, I have a number of things to reveal, announce, so stay tuned!

Dark Echoes Session One, Part Two.

David shrugged, and opened the door. Runda opened her mouth to stop him, but it was too late. As David made his way inside, Jane smiled apologetically at the old woman and followed him in.

Runda huffed, then looked over to her son. “Well, go on then. May as well see what we can find.”

The four walked into what had once been a grand foyer. A set of stairs, covered with decaying carpet, spiraled up to the next floor. Dust was everywhere, and what little light there was came through grimy, smeared windows. What little furniture was little more than splinters now, someone having gone to some effort to destroy the place.

“Charming,” muttered David. Walking over to the stairs, he waved to Jane, who had just lit a torch she had found in a sconce. “We’ll look around upstairs, why don’t you two see what you can find down here?”

Orson, mimicking Jane, was attempting to light another of the torches. With a grunt, Runda slapped his hand away. “I’ll handle it,” she said. A few archaic words dribbled from her mouth luridly, and the head of her staff came alight with a baleful green glow. “This way,” she ordered, moving towards a nearby hallway.

***

Upstairs, David and Jane found it as dusty and dreary as the downstairs. A few doors lined the hall they were in, so with a shrug, David went to one at random and opened it.

The room had clearly once been a chapel. Four rows of pews were so much firewood on the stone floor, and strings of cobwebs hung from the corners of the room. Most ominously however was the shattered statue that dominated the room.

“What the hell?” David said, slowly approaching the statue.

It was stone, and had once been easily the size of a large man. Now though it was broken into four or five large chunks, left in a rough pile. It was caked in a flaky, dark substance in spots, which was also spattered against the wall.

“That’s blood.” Jane’s voice was flat, her lips tight. “Statues don’t bleed.”

David looked closer, then recoiled slowly, carefully. “This one did from the looks of it.”

Faint whispers began filling their ears, seeming to come from all directions. Indistinct, or spoken in a langue they didn’t know, neither could make out the words. The tone though was menacing.

“Let’s go back down,” said David, his voice a little shaken.

***

“Hallways have to go somewhere. Start tapping these walls,” Runda snapped at Orson. The hallway they had entered had no doors or windows, and seemed to go nowhere at all. To taking his maul in hand, he began tapping on the walls every couple of feet.

He was almost at the end when the tone changed. “Mom,” he called.

Runda trundled over and began looking the spot over. “It’s a false wall, but damned if I can see any release. My eyes aren’t what they once were. How about you give it a knock.”

Orson took a step back, then slammed into the wall shoulder first. He loosed a groan, but the wall slid inwards a few inches.

Cackling, Runda slid her staff into the gap and began prying the hidden doorway open. A minute later they were standing in what appeared to have once been a vault. It had been hurridly cleaned out, but a pair of gems glinted green in the light of her staff. A heartbeat later they were in her pouch, quickly followed by a handful of scattered gold that had also been left behind.

Orson put his boot against a rolled up rug in the corner. “Think this rug…”

Without warning the rug flew into the air and tried to wrap itself around Orson. He dodged out of the way just in time, and it flew past him, striking the wall behind him. Without a word, the strongman slammed his maul into the thing, pinning it to the wall. It crumpled, and a faint spark of light whiffed out of it.

Eyes wide, he looked back to his mother. “Maybe we should get the rest of the gang.”

***

They met back up in the foyer, each group more skittish than they had been before. “We’ll stick together from here on,” said Runda, and no one argued. “I want to see this statue of yours,” she added to David, and set off up the stairs. David looked around for support, his dislike of the idea plain on his face, but the other two were already following.

“It’s an Elder God,” Runda pronounced, after a few moments of inspection. “Like what the Elves worshipped.”

The Elven Wars had only ended twenty or so years ago, and the atrocities that race had committed in the name of their fell deities were still fresh on the collective memory.

David shuddered. “I’d thought that, but hoped it wasn’t the case. If that’s a statue to one of them…”

Runda nodded. “Then yes, our patron’s great grandfather was likely a worshipper.”

Jane squeaked. “Oh.”

Everyone turned, looking at her expectantly.

“I…you saying that, it reminded me. When I was younger, my mother, she told a story of a man, a doctor. They called him Black Revis. He was killed for his crimes, but she never said what his crimes were. Just that if I didn’t behave that Black Revis would come for me.” She frowned. “Funny how I never made that connection before tonight. That Jaccob never mentioned his ancestor.”

“Like as not it’s a point of shame for him,” Runda said. “Nobles only care about their reputations.”

“Well, regardless, a broken statue doesn’t do us any good. Let’s get back to looking,” added Orson.

They wandered through the upstairs, going from room to room. In one, what had once been a nursery, they found strange art, clearly made by children on the walls. But as they stared at it, the subtle wrongness of them became clear, turning their stomachs.

In another room they found the burned ruins of a library. Rummaging through the charred remains of the fired books they discovered a medical guidebook. Upon closer inspection though, they began to suspect it was more a guide to torture than healing, but no one could read the words.

In one bedroom they found blood splatters. In a storage room, a bizarre girls doll, that had been made skeletally thin, with too large eyes. In the servants quarters, they found far, far too many beds, leaving them to wonder why a modest manor like this had required so many workers.

Then, from the windows they saw how the riots had sparked a blaze nearby that was rapidly spreading in their direction. Waiting as long as they could for any more of their friends to show up, they at last reluctantly entered the basement.

“I don’t like this. We should risk the streets,” David said as they descended.

“And get scooped up by Royals?” Runda spat. “We’ll get to the sewers, then down to the docks. Let those of us best equipped to handle the thinking, do so.”

David rolled his eyes, then started lighting himself a torch.

 

Dark Echoes, Session 1, Part 1

I will be writing up the sessions of my new horror DnD campaign, in story form. Session One will take three parts, here is the first:

The screams of the the dying rent the air as the royal guard cut their way through the stands. The four men on the stage heard nothing though, blood spilling from their lifeless corpses to mix with the falling rain.

 

—-

 

The old woman, Runda, sat hunched over a small fire beneath the awning of her wagon. She swore as the first fat drops of rain began to pelt the tightly stretched cloth and pulled her cloak tighter around her. “Orson,” she called out to the giant of a man across the camp, “get over here out of the rain boy!”

 

Her son, the circus strongman, came trotting over with the lutist David in his wake. They squeezed under the awning alongside her, Orson’s large hand reaching towards the cook pot that was even then steaming away with a good smelling stew.

 

Slapping her son’s hand away, Runda waved over Jane. The little knife thrower was sure to be hungry, and had few enough friends within Tarver’s Circus. The young woman smiled gratefully, squeezing in beside Orson. The old woman smiled inwardly as her son began to blush.

 

“I hope the play is going alright. Maybe they got done before the rain, you think?” asked David, who was carefully wrapping his lute against the weather. In the fire light it was a little easier to see the age lines starting to creep onto his face. He wasn’t nearly as old as Runda, but it was clear he wouldn’t see forty again.

 

Runda shrugged. “The way Tarver likes to draw things out, probably not. Serve him right to get a little wet.”

 

A peel of thunder rolled through the rapidly darkening sky. “I’m just glad we didn’t have to help,” Jane muttered. “Much rather be here in camp.”

 

Their camp was a loose circle of a half dozen gaily painted wagons, set up in the middle of a rundown park. The area of Ravensbluff that they were in was called the Thick, and was poor enough that most folks were too busy trying to find something to eat to waste time in a park. Which meant that for the circus folk there had been little money to be made. Even Runda’s fortune telling had barely made anything, which in most towns was a sure money maker.

 

It was fine though, because Tarver and his thespians had been hired to put on a play by a rich noble. The money he had put forth was enough to keep the entire circus fed and happy for at least a month or two, as well as some much needed repairs to the wagons. It had been some time since Tarver’s Circus had had a patron, but Jaccob vor Revis had proven to be free enough with his money.

 

Orson cocked his head. “Do you guys hear that?”

The rest of the small group cocked their heads. The sound of rain splattering against the taut awning, and the crackle of the small fire filled their ears. But as they listened closer the sounds of screams began to be heard.

 

“Is that…is that a battle?” asked Jane.

 

David shook his head. “Sounds more like a massacre.”

 

Runda got to her feet, and scooped up her staff. “Orson, get your things.”

 

David tried to put a hand on Runda’s arm, but she was moving way towards the front of her wagon. “Runda, what the hell?”

 

She whipped around, eyes blazing. The hunch was gone from her back, and she seemed filled with a never before seen vitality. “That’s coming from the Theatre. I’m not going to wait around for them to come here and mop up.”

 

David got to his feet. “Lords Runda, for all we know…”

 

Jane cut him off, pointing. “Where’s he going?”

 

Darting past their camp, clearly trying to stay in the shadows as much as possible was their patron, Lord Revis. He was moving quickly though, darting away from the direction of the sounds of the conflict. Had it not been for the knife thrower’s sharp eyes, there was little chance they would have noticed him.

 

“Hey!” shouted David, who took off at a run for the man. “Hold up!”

 

Jaccob paused at the mouth of an alley, swearing. David reached him, with Jane on his heels. There was a splatter of blood on the man’s cloak, the red dripping pinkly onto his boots.

 

“What’s going on?” demanded David as Runda and Orson came running up behind them. Orson had scooped up the large maul he used in his act, while his mother was carrying a large bag slung over one shoulder.

 

Jaccob looked back towards the theatre “I’ll explain on the way. But we need to get away, now.” He turned and began walking quickly off into the rapidly falling night. The little group followed after, with Runda making her way to the front.

 

“Its about that play, isn’t it?” she snapped at the noble.

 

The man nodded his head after a moment’s pause. “I meant to make a statement about the kings heavy hand, but had no idea that this is how he’s react. To kill everyone…just for being there…”

 

“Our people?” Jane asked.

 

Jaccob just shook his head. “I only made it out by pretending to be dead, and even then it was a near thing. I was lucky.”

 

“Then maybe our folks got lucky too,” said Orson, though his voice made it clear he didn’t believe his own words.

 

“Look, I will get you to safety, and then see about the rest. It’s the least, the very least I can do.” He stopped, looking around a corner, peering down into the next street. “I will take you to my family’s old manor. Its abandoned now, but it will be safe enough.”

 

The five raced through the storm as quickly as they could. The sounds of combat had turned into sounds of rioting. The Thick was known for its bloody outbreaks of violence, and the attack at the theatre had clearly sparked one of epic proportions. So it was with a sigh of relief that the group reached the gate to the manor.

 

This area of the Thick had clearly been nice, long before the nobles had all moved their homes up onto the hillsides surrounding Ravensburg. A stone wall, ten feet high, partially obscured the view of a grey, two story manor home which was their objective.

 

Back bent against the rain, Jaccob pulled an amulet from his cloak and pressed it against the gate. It pulsed with a faint blue light, and the metal creaked open with a groan. He quickly waved them inside.

 

They found themselves in a courtyard. What few shrubs still lived were overgrown, though most were dead and skeletal. Its twin fountains were empty and covered with black streaks of dying moss.

 

“Wait here, at least a couple of hours. I will send all of your people that I can find here. But if in two hours, I am not back you need to flee. My family has a crypt below the manor, you can reach it through the basement. There is a secret passage that will take you into the catacombs beneath the city, and from there you can reach the sewers, which will take you beyond the city walls. Do you understand?”

 

Runda gave a curt nod and began herding the group towards the covered porch area, and out of the rain.

 

“You can search the house for anything that might can help, but there isn’t likely to be much,” he added, looking unsure of himself. “Just keep an eye out for the others.”

 

“Run on now,” barked Runda, and the noble pushed the gate shut before running off into the night.

 

“Damn,” said Orson, trying to shake the water off. The dark grey of the manor loomed behind them. “I’ve half a mind to just go on inside.”