Lest I be forgotten, I'm just sending out this broadcast to let everyone know I'm still here. Rumors of Challenger Storm's demise are greatly exaggerated: book #2 ("The Curse of Poseidon") is still in the works and will be well worth the wait. The Storm serial ("The Valley of Fear") is stalled temporarily but will also return. I'm hoping that somebody is reading it and enjoying it: it's an experiment that is, so far, without results. Nobody has told me they hate it yet, but nobody has said they like it either. There's some likes on Facebook when a new episode is posted, but that's about it. Not to beat an aviation metaphor into the ground but not only am I flying by the seat of my pants with the serial, I'm also without instruments and my visibility is zero.
I feel guilty about not being able to write much, largely because I spend all day in front of my computer while working. See, I work at home, in front of my home computer, with all my half-developed writings staring at me and I can't work on them. My job keeps me way too busy to develop the focus and concentration needed to write coherently, and if I do get a spare minute to myself, it's so short that it's usually just a comment on Facebook or a quick tweet on Twitter, whatever. Even this posting here is on borrowed time: system issues are keeping me down temporarily, and since I know it won't be for long, here I am with my hat in my hand to beg forgiveness for Don the Slowpoke.
I haven't been completely inactive during my silence however: since my last post a huge chunk of writer's block on a different project has fallen away, and since the project has been gestating so long I've felt it necessary to spend every spare minute I get to write toward completing it. Nothing official to announce yet, but it's a short story (which is a monumental task to a glacially-paced writer such as myself) that hopefully will be appearing in an anthology next year. The main characters are not mine, nor is the setting, and at first I found that to be terrifying. For a long time (too long to contemplate without embarrassment) I found myself struggling with story ideas, plot seeds, and the general task of taking on someone else's baby. I'd think about it, make some notes, then say a curse word or two and lock it away for a while because it was going nowhere. Then recently, out of nowhere, I opened a notepad file on my laptop and pounded the keys furiously. At the end of that session was a full outline of something that I didn't completely hate and that I thought could be workable. You know what? I've been having a blast on this thing. I've been working on it for a few hours every week since then and I guess I'm nearly finished: target word-count is 15,000, and currently I'm at 12,340. If anything, it may go over the targeted number of words. That would be a first for me: usually I come out under the word-count I'm shooting for. How short? The first draft of "The Isle of Blood" was short by three chapters. The parts I added (the shootout chapters at the hotel and the framing device with the government agent) are actually among my favorite parts now. There's serendipity for you (and I'm feeling good now because I got to type "serendipity"... it's one of my favorite words).
So as I wrap up this post and prepare to... er, post it, I want to thank anyone who's stuck by me and has maintained interest in what I'm doing. It means more to me than you'll ever know, and I'm looking forward to getting back in the game. I've got a good feeling that if I can pull off the next Storm novel effectively, it'll be the best one yet.
Thanks again, and watch the skies.