Urban Mermaid

It has finally started to sink in; this idea that I’ve actually written a novel and it’s actually going to be published in less than five months’ time and I’m going to have a launch party and will probably have to sign four or five copies. The final blow on my noggin’ came Sunday evening when my brother congratulated me and told me how proud he was that I had done this.

My (kid) brother; the one who has made his living as a writer for the past twenty years and has earned more professional awards than one can shake the proverbial stick at. I know that my mother was proud of his accomplishments – Mom always liked him best, anyway – while she was, more often than not, a bit befuddled about what I did for a living.

Mom, see? This is the programming language I invented and it lets us publish law books from a database!

Do what? A data . . . what? Have mercy!

My only regret is that I didn’t do this six years ago when she would have been able to hold a printed copy of Urban Mermaid in her hands. I doubt that she would have ever made it past the prologue – much less understood what an “urban fantasy” was – Anne of Green Gables was more her speed.

“People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?” ― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

The biggest thing that I’m just starting to realise is the fact that I have to all of this all over again – five or six more times – before the story of Colony Island and its inhabitants is finally told. While I really don’t have to do anything after this, I’ve seen too many authors complete their first book with promises of more to come and then you never hear from them again except for having babies and getting tattoos – I mean tattoos on the author, not on the baby.

All that being said, it’s time to stop writing about ‘me’ and get back to writing Sirena, the second book in the Colony Island series.

Exciting, to say the least!

Exciting, to say the least!

Urban Mermaid will be published under GGP’s Moonlight Gardens imprint.

Work on the sequel to Urban Mermaid is once again underway. The working title is Sirena and is a nod to the character played by Astrid Bergès-Frisbey in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Astrid turned in such a memorable performance in that film that I felt that her character should be remembered somewhere. Chapter 1 is complete – though it will need some tweaking just like everything else. I am presently beavering away on Chapter 2 – or will be once I finish this blog post. Late last year, I sent a rough outline of the story to one of my author friends and she was very encouraging so I think that I’m on the right track.

Sirena was originally supposed to be about Penelope’s VBFF, Amy, and it still is pretty much so but Peter and Penn’s story doesn’t end with Urban Mermaid. The characters have made it clear in no uncertain terms that they’ve got a lot to say and are not going to sit idly by during Amy’s turn in the spotlight – even if she’s Penn’s VBFF. Therefore, book # 2 is going to be about P&P as well as Amy.

The sequel’s delay has been a direct casualty of having my life turned upside down by a new job in Richmond, VA and reoccupying my late mother’s house down in Hopewell. I knew that there was going to be a bit of turmoil but I didn’t expect it to become a marathon. I’ve finally seen things settle down enough so I can get back to writing and blogging.

All this leads to the final question: When is Urban Mermaid going to be published? Well the very same upheaval mentioned above also delayed my reviewing some sample edits from the publisher – like for two whole months. I finally got the ball rolling again and the publisher was going to start crunching some numbers for me. The holidaze intervened and now that 2015 is here, I hope that things will start moving again. The delay has been the “fault” of both sides so I’m pointing no fingers. However, if it continues very much longer, I’m going to say “Damn the torpedoes” and self-publish.

Meanwhile, I dug out my tweedy sports coat with the elbow patches and have lined up a number of pipes that just scream “AUTHOR”. I’m ready to move on, now.

Real authors probably encounter this situation on a regular basis so a rank amateur like myself should not be surprised to face one as well. I had a (very) small scene in mind which was not critical or even the slightest bit necessary, but I wanted to use it as a bit of character development for Penelope. My question was: “How do I insert it into the plot?” It comes after the out-of-sequence Chapter (yes, another one!) I finished last week and as it stood, had no place in the following chapter.

To get around that problem, I wrote a sort of framework host the scene and had it lead off the following chapter. (At least it looks like it belongs there, now.) Just one wittle problem – I’m quite chuffed with the framework but don’t like the scene at the centre of it all.

Do I dump the scene but keep the framework? (If so, what do I replace it with?)

Do I dump the whole thing and forget about it?

Decisions, decisions.

I returned from the rarefied reaches of Hopewell, VA with almost none of the items on my list accomplished. My less than triumphant return to C’ville was aboard a tow truck as the faithful Camry suffered a possibly fatal breakdown en route to pick up some pipe tobacco before hitting the Interstate for home. While the jury is still out vis a vis’ its fate, things do not look good and the garage will, no doubt, require more than one pound of flesh to fix the transmission.

If the car had to give up the ghost, it couldn’t have chosen a better time and place than the Cary Street exit ramp in Richmond at around 2:20 on a sunny afternoon. There was enough momentum to carry the car up the ramp and nearly on to the streets of Richmond, VA. If I had gone home the night before, the car would have most likely died in the wilds of Goochland or Louisa counties, well after most civilized people would have retired for the night.

Since I’m supposed to be blogging about the Parsons’ Progress in crafting a mermaid novel via the ancient keyboard practice better known as ‘hunt and peck’, I’d better get to it. My goal had been to finish chapters 18 & 19 and maybe start on 20 but yours truly has a capricious muse to deal with and said lady convinced me to write down some key bits of a scene before I forgot them. The aforementioned muse knew full well that I would not stop until I had written an entire, out-of-sequence, chapter. For the record, I managed to save face somewhat by getting a few paragraphs closer to the end of chapter 18. Although I have vowed to wrap both chapters by the end of the week, I half expect my wayward muse to go to Disneyland or someplace like that and not leave a forwarding address.

The past 5 days have been something of a saga. If you read my Stumbling Blox post on Goodreads.com, you might remember that this past weekend  was going to mark my migration from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1. I had everything mapped out, everything planned and absolutely nothing went as expected. It all began when I ran a system-wide backup late Fri. afternoon. It went as expected and I was off to a good start – or so I thought.

That evening, I made a few minor changes to my files & on Saturday morning, I decided to do another system-wide backup in order for my back-up to reflect the current state of things. I started the back-up process & went to run a couple of errands. I was back home in less than an hour and the backup was done. Not a good sign since the thing usually takes 3 hours +/-. I restarted the application and this time around it took longer – like all afternoon and into the evening. Since this was well over twice the amount of time that a full back-up takes, I decided to investigate and discovered that absolutely nothing had been backed up.  Rather than waste any more time, I decided to manually make copies of the important stuff. I finally went to bed around 1:00 AM.

The following morning, everything was ready to go and I began the migration by inserting the upgrade DVD and powering up. The installation reached the point where it asked for my product key but none of my keys worked. I decided to quit the upgrade, reboot and look in a few other places for the right key. That was the intention, anyway. I quickly discovered that the installation had changed things on my hard drive and now, I couldn’t log in. My Windows 7 installation DVD was MIA so there was nothing for it but to go to Staples & buy a fresh copy of Win 8.

Staples was out of stock so I had to go to BestBuy where I stood in a queue to check out and had the anti-theft alarm go off when I tried to leave the building. On my way home, I stopped at Jimmy John’s and ordered a ham sandwich to go. When I got home, I discovered that I’d been given the wrong order.

After lunch, things got slightly better and I was finally able to install the new operating system and began re-installing the world. 48 hours later, I had things the way I wanted them and set about getting my notes in order so I could resume writing. I’ve been assisting a small business upgrade from Win XP to new laptops, go wireless & move to a new location for the past month so Urban Mermaid has been on hiatus.

Well folks, part of my notes for the novel have vanished completely – not all of them, mind you – just some of the more recent stuff. How much is missing is unknown and I can probably reconstruct a lot of things from other sources. It’s what I don’t know is missing that worries me.

I’ve been getting a number of inquiries concerning my progress with Urban Mermaid so I thought I would bring one and all up to speed.

  1. I’ve finished my first complete chapter which includes one of the pivotal moments in the story. By the term “Finished” I mean that it’s out of my head and on to paper, so to speak. I’ve still got plenty of tweaking, massaging, Rolfing, etc. before I’m ready to show it to my publisher.
  2. Today, I will continue on the “warm-up” chapter that was set aside when everyone started asking to see samples of the story. The warm-up chapter was intended to be one of those that connects point A with point B and still is to some degree. Mostly minor things involved here. I may have this finished on Friday.
  3. After that, I want to go back and expand the fragment entitled “The Art of Choosing A Mate” into a full-blown chapter with scenes before and after the fragment.
  4. Once that’s done, I’m going to start on the two-part Prologue consisting of “In the Beginning . . .” and “A Brief and True History of Colony Island”. Parts of both already appear in the “bible” for the series so it’s not  a total “from scratch” effort.
  5. Once that’s done, the saga begins with chapter one.

There’s also an administrative task in the offing and that’s moving the “bible” into Microsoft OneNote for better organisation and indexing.

All the while, I’m going to be reading and reviewing books. Wish I got paid for all this!

For more day-to-day details, follow my writing blog on Goodreads.com.

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