Yep. Lots of changes. First and foremost, I’ve gained a new daughter. Last month, my son got married to a wonderful young woman, whose only fault seems to be that she was insane enough to tie herself into this family. So here’s to insanity and happiness. May it last them for the rest of their lives.
And there are other changes in the Brackett household. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest upcoming changes IS the Brackett household. See, we’re in the process of getting ready to move. When we first moved into our current home, our family unit was considerably larger. There was me, my wife, my mother-in-law (whose back surgeries were beginning to get the better of her), a son, daughter, a dog, and a cat. We also have other family that we wanted to be able to accommodate if they wanted to visit and needed a place to stay, so we found a nice house, big enough for our needs–six bedrooms, game room, lots of entertainment space–it’s been a great house.
Fast forward thirteen years… my mother-in-law has passed on, the kids have grown and moved out, and it’s just me, my better half, and two dogs in that big ole’ house, and we decided it’s time to downsize. So we put the house on the market, and it sat for several weeks with a showing here and there, but no hard nibbles until a few weeks ago. Then, suddenly, it went from “Hey, there’s someone who might be interested…” to “Hey, is April 17th a good day for closing?”
That was just over a week ago, and needless to say, we’ve been scrambling ever since. But here’s the real kicker… we don’t have a house to move into yet. We’re in one of those domino situations where we have to sell our existing house before we can afford to get another house. Luckily, my sister and brother-in-law are in a similar living situation, their two sons having moved out a few years back, and they’ve offered to let us stay with them while we look for a new home. In the meantime, there are all sorts of arrangements to be made on utilities, packing, storage, etc. It’s going to be a frantic few weeks.
On the writing front, there are things a-brewin’.
HPM and R2R (audio books) – I’ve taken the plunge, and have contracted with the talented Corey Snow to do audio versions of Half Past Midnight, and The Road to Rejas. This is something I actually started on almost two months ago, and the work on HPM is at this time just a few weeks away from completion. Corey has an amazing voice (one of the female betas I sent a sample to, mentioned something about dampened undergarments) and he’s doing a great job with it. I’ve been listening to the uploads on my commute to and from work, and I’ve noticed a few things. One is how much work Corey puts in to his performances. The guy is an amazing professional.
The other thing I noticed is of a more introspective nature. I’m listening to my debut novel. (My debut novel… it sounds like such a strange thing to say.) It was something that began as a private exercise back in the 90’s – something that I never expected to actually publish. Writing was just something that I liked to do. It wasn’t like anyone was ever going to want to read it. And that manuscript was picked up and put down so many times over the next several years that it’s amazing that it was ever completed. Career changes… kids… just life changes in general, continually kept me from even considering doing anything more than writing as a hobby.
And now, I’m listening to someone putting voice to my first novel. It’s surreal in some ways. It’s humbling in others. Even as I listen to what Corey has sent me, I can recognize a younger me in the words–a less experience me. I listen and think, “I could have done that so much better.”
I think that’s a good thing. Now that I’m taking my writing seriously, I can see the growth in my work. Like I said… a good thing. And while HPM will always hold a very special place in my heart, I can’t help but wish I had done a better job with it.
Don’t get me wrong. I know better than to spend time worrying about what I might have done. And I’m sure not going to go back and rewrite it. HPM is the past. But Y12? I’m confident that Y12 is going to be much better. I’ve learned so much from so many talented people, that I can’t help but think that with each piece of writing I produce, I will grow in this craft that I’ve come to love. And someday, I’ll be able to point to a body of work with real pride. Maybe I’ll feel more worthy when someone contacts me and tells me that they like my writing. Because to be perfectly honest, I’m not there yet. I’m thankful, yes. But I still feel like Wayne and Garth, bowing and scraping before Alice Cooper. I feel I’m “not worthy!”
Ghost Story – I’ve already mentioned in previous posts that Ghost Story is completed. You’ll note that the progress meter on that title (right hand widget bar) is now green and has been moved to the bottom of the list for now, pending input from the editor. You’ll also note that there are a few more projects listed.
Chucklers – The apocalyptic horror collaboration with Edward Lorn has been moving pretty well… sort of. Unfortunately, Ed has gotten very busy with other projects, and says it looks like he’s going to be tied up for quite some time. Luckily, we decided to write the novel from the point of view of several dispersed characters and groups. That means I can continue to move forward with my characters for a while, without much input from him. And he’s such a freaking fast writer, that he should be able to catch up to me with very little effort once he gets a chance to jump back in. So I’ll continue moving ahead with it for a while, as long as the story keeps my attention.
The only bad thing about this is that Ed and I found that working with one another seemed to speed up our output. There was something about being able to bounce ideas and chapters off one another that kept the story hopping for us. It became almost a game, each of us laughing as we came up with ways to help one another in the scenes we were working on, interacting in a way that somehow made the work better than just the sum of its parts. I’ll miss that.
But the story is a good one, and I do want to see it through. I’m having fun, finding new characters along the way, and new ways to torment them. Yep, that’s me, the kid with the magnifying glass on the ant hill. Chucklers is still my highest priority project at the moment, but with Ed dropping out for a while, the urgency is considerably lessened. So I’ve opened up a few other projects that I’ve been keeping on the back burner…
Year 12 – Yes, the long promised sequel to Half Past Midnight is finally going to become a reality. The story has been banging around in my head long enough, and it’s gotten pretty insistent on being released. So I’ve finally opened a new folder on the computer, and am beginning the process of bringing Zach’s story to life. I have a cast of characters, an overall story arc, some interesting side plotlines, and most of the story itself ready and waiting to be told. This is going to be a new way of writing for me, since I have traditionally been a “pantser” in my writing. This will be the first time that I’ll be working on a story that is already mostly formed in my head.
I suppose that’s to be expected, since I’ve continuously been kicking it to the back burner for about two years now. Every time I started to work on it, something else came up and took priority. But in each instance, I spent more time thinking about what was going to happen, until finally last summer I pretty much knew the whole story line. Just a few weeks ago, I was discussing it with my wife. There was a final plot element that I couldn’t figure out… an underlying motivation for a major plot sequence. And in her typical fashion, my wife was able to break it down into a more basic question for me, pointing out that I had been unnecessarily complicating things. Once I viewed it from her suggested POV, everything fell into place.
WC1 – This one is a new project. It’s a more traditional science fiction tale that I had the idea for back in 2011. I took a bunch of notes, and wrote a first chapter… and then promptly lost it. Recently, I found those notes, and part of that first chapter again. There was still quite a bit of it missing, but the parts that I recovered really excited me. When I read through the notes, the idea for the whole story really grabbed my attention. Wow! It was actually a good idea! Who knew I could come up with something that could catch my attention not only as a writer, but as a reader? It was good enough that after I re-read the chapter fragment, I was pissed that there wasn’t more to read. And that tells me that I need to get it written. So the code name for this new title is WC1, and it promises to be quite a ride.
All right. That’s enough for now. It’s time to get back to work. So as always, stay safe people.
PS – It was brought to my attention a few weeks ago, that the comment option on my blog wasn’t working, and that no one was able to leave comments. I believe that has finally (hopefully) been fixed. I would appreciate it if some of you would leave a short comment here to confirm. Especially someone who has never commented on the blog before. There are some settings that seem to affect people who have never posted more stringently than those who have. And if you find that you CAN’T leave a post, please drop me an email at “jlbDOTauthorATgmailDOTcom”.