Category Archives: Author updates

NaNoWriMo 2017; or, I’m writing about werewolves now

A sharp chill is in the air. Writing season is officially upon me.

My friends and family know that November is NaNoWriMo month. According to my stats, I’ve participated 12 years now — TWELVE! — including a 10-year participation streak; and I’ve “won,” or written 50k words in November, three times. (I seem to recall four, but I might have stopped tracking on the website after a while when I was writing Daugment in 2014.)

So, yeah. It’s a tradition.

In 2014, I was working hard to establish myself in my then-new corporate job, so I told myself that if I was going to participate in NaNo, it had to be fun. It had to be all sorts of goofy and careless and unfettered, and only what I actually felt like writing.

The first draft of Daugment was an utter mess. But I loved it, because I could see the story it eventually came to be… and because it was really fun to write.

This year, I’m leaning into the success I had writing that book — with a wee bit more structure. I’ve taken some time the last month to get to know the story world and my characters Charra, Belario, and Minnor. I’ve let myself explore all sorts of random ideas, from scenes to plot points to recurring imagery, some of which I’ll keep and some of which will never make it in, thank goodness.

During the next two weeks, I’ll paw at my notes for this book (tentatively titled “Portent”) until it becomes something resembling a very rough outline. Then, as I do, I’ll go into a state of pseudo-hibernation for all but five or six days in November, and crank out 50,000 words of turd to polish. Or I won’t. I’m gonna try.

Oh, right. The werewolves.

Here’s my synopsis from the NaNo site:

Where did werewolves come from? Or, more simply: Wherewolves? Outer space, of course.

She’s the eldest child, a free-spirited dreamer. He’s the handsome son of a politician, the heir to a tiny far-flung empire-in-hiding. And he’s a wall guard — actually, he’s a member of a secret warrior society.

Maybe between the three of them, they can save Atlantis.

Yup. Alien-werewolves. You knew it wasn’t going to be that simple with me, didn’t you?

Camp NaNoWriMo: Camp so far

Whoops, it’s the 19th, and I haven’t updated for Camp NaNo at all. I posted on Facebook a bit, but…I’ve put more of my attention on other projects this month and didn’t get as far as I’d hoped.

But, so far this has been a really fun project! The book is turning out how I want it to, at least so far – which is about 13k words. It should be pretty short and sweet, and probably won’t fall far outside NaNo’s typical 50k-word threshold (she said, and it was famous last words as usual).

Funny, for how big the story itself is, I don’t think I’ll need a ton of words to tell it. Which is good, since I’m aiming to do this, uh, eight more times? Just in this series?

Ah, ambition. It keeps me going. Parallel projects, I tell ya, keeps my pesky mental cobwebs away.

Things I’ve learned at Camp:

  • I rely heavily on random generators for throwaway projects.
  • I’m not fond of my main character. Is this bad? Still investigating. She’ll be alright, I think.
  • I adore the boys.
  • I write the same five people into every story. I tell myself I have diverse characters but no. It’s the same five people.
  • Without writing sprints, I am nothing against a large word count.

If I don’t return to this blog with updates before the end of the month, I’ll let you know how far I get.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017

I’m going to camp! Camp NaNoWriMo, anyway. (NaNoWriMo, for those who aren’t in on the joke, is a friendly global contest to get writers over their inability to cruise through a first draft and on their way to a finished manuscript, in 30 days.)

I’m taking on the standard 50,000-word goal; I’m feeling boring, and plus, I just want enough motivation to get past that inevitable 30k-word hump. Not sure yet if I’ll finish the story but it’s worth a shot – this ought to be a fast-paced novel anyway.

I’m going to be using techniques I gleaned from several books, because they were successful for me in structuring and finishing Daugment, and because I’m trying to break into a very specific type of writing (production rather than art). I’m combining tricks and checklists from:

I highly recommend all three books, though Fox’s “Write to Market” is definitely not for people who write books for artistic reasons. (It’s about finding a niche you’ll enjoy churning out slightly cliché books for, not channeling your innermost beliefs to realize your magnum opus.)

If you’d like to follow my progress closely, you can watch me on the Camp NaNoWriMo site. I intend to post semi-regular updates on how it’s going, especially since I plan to use word sprints the entire time, something I’ve never done for a novel before!

View from the office

Moving sucks. Especially when you get caught in an inch of snow for three hours, five minutes away from each of your two homes (former apartment, future home).

But, this place was totally worth it.

This is the view from my desk, or something like it, when we eventually get the combination library-office set up. (!!!!!)

No complaints here.

The whole studio team is here, too, all under one roof. The Shames have, as they say, arrived. Now to get the whiteboards up…

My debut novel: Daugment

Daugment cover

Did you obsess over Brian Jacques’ Redwall series and Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars tie-in novels? Do the names Clare Bell, Deborah Chester, and James Gurney ring a bell? Are there tattered Ray Bradbury and C.S. Lewis books on your shelves? Then I proudly present…your next read.

Daugment is the (I’m so sorry) tail of Pitney Scolan, Pit for short, a brilliant military mind on the brink of retirement to his own private planet, where no one will bother his intensely introverted self. Unfortunately for Pit, his arch-nemesis General Tristan has assassinations on the brain – and Pit is forced to become a dog, party up with some well-meaning scoundrels, and face a galactic conspiracy to force him to make friends.

Yes, my debut novel is as ridiculous as it sounds.

It took 22 years of perseverance, but I’ve done it. I decided at five years old that I would become a novelist, and since then I’ve gone through six or seven unpublished manuscripts and at least 100 short stories. Now I’ve published this delightfully ridiculous soup of talking dogs, sci-fi tropes, and friendship themes that I accidentally pun-titled Daugment. (Accidentally because it was meant to just be a code name. Let this be a lesson to myself.)

If you love animal stories, soft science fiction, and adventure stories without a strong romance subplot, Daugment is tailor-made for you. You can buy it on Smashwords for all e-readers, and it’s also available from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, iBooks, Inktera, as well as other distributors, and — if you ask, because it’s free for librarians to order! — your local library.

(Always) under construction.

You’ve come looking for August! You’ve come to the right place.

One minute I was just some punk kid running a writing-themed e-zine in 2002, and suddenly I’m in need of a “personal website” because people want to, like, “link” to me. What is this, 2003?!

Anyway. You’re probably here because you know me, in which case you might want to check out my projects. If you came here trying to figure out who I am, I’ve conveniently provided you a bio. (Complete truth not guaranteed.) There are some vaguely organized thoughts on my blog, and I’ve written a bit about working with me, in case that’s what you’re looking for.

Talk soon, I hope.