#AMWRITING – The skinny on some projects

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I promise to do a blog post with pictures about my trip to England! I just have to figure out how to get them off my smart phone!

Jeebus! Have I been back for more than a week already? Time flies like crazy and soon the tiny metropolis of Saskatoon where I live will be grinding its way through another bone-chillingly flipping cold winter. I do more writing in the winter time – this generally has to do with the fact that Saskatoon isn’t like a lot of other places come winter.  Temperatures well below -20 Celsius are pretty much the norm in these parts and that damned, constant prairie wind will still the breath right out of your lungs when it’s that cold.

So I stay indoors and write.

And what am I writing these days? Well, my editor at Strange Chemistry Books is the fabulous Amanda Rutter. She’s got the sequel to POLTERGEEKS entitled STUDENT BODIES.  I expect to be hitting the revisions on that in the coming weeks. As for new stuff? Well, I’m doing revisions for a project entitled THE NORTH. (I will probably change the title.) All you need to know is this:

1) Young Adult militia

2) Six months after the zombie apocalypse

3) Breaking out of the city in two armored personnel carriers

4) Fight

5) Survive

6) Save your eight-year-old sister’s life and perhaps your own while you’re at it.

7) Rebuild the world once you survive all the dangers a zombie-infested planet possesses

8) SUNRAY (I am so NOT going to divulge what this means)

I’m also completing a middle grade novel entitled TANK. Simple premise, really. A kid who is picked on at school buys a zombie bodyguard off the Internet. Hi jinks ensue – also, lock up your cats.

My agent is currently shopping an adult urban fantasy entitled TIM REAPER. I do hope it finds a home soon – I could write about a dozen or more books with TIM REAPER as the star because he’s a blast to write about. Fingers are crossed on that one.

And finally, I’m collecting research for a YA project that is very near and dear to my heart. It’s NOT going to be fantasy or zombies or anything like that. It has a tentative title right now and it’s based on a simple premise that has been sitting in the back of my head for a couple of years after I had a talk with my then 18 year-old son Shane. I tried to convey a fact that I think a lot of young people might not truly understand what with reality TV, text messaging, Facebook and the pressures of growing up in 2012: once upon a time about seventy years ago, young people their own age saved the world.

Well, there you have it. An ambitious agenda. I want to thank everyone who follows me on Twitter and Facebook for all the support. Thanks to all the bloggers out there who are in love with POLTERGEEKS – the second book will be in your hot little hands sooner than you think!

Have a good one!

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A project reaches completion

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This Friday (are you reading this, Ella and Jenny?) I’m going to fire off the completed manuscript for TIM REAPER to my literary agent and her assistant in London. I’m really proud of this project because I’ve had a crazy busy year with selling a house, looking at more than thirty houses, moving, stress, more stress, busy as heck at my day job and still more stress. I’ve had a ton of distractions, but it’s done  … I’m just waiting to hear back from my beta readers for any nits in the manuscript, then a quick fix and then I’ll happily email the story and get started on the next one.

TIM REAPER is a spin-off from my novel FUNERAL PALLOR. He’s a Mike Hammer-like character who is suddenly thrown into an end-of-the-world conspiracy with heavenly ramifications. There’s a hooker with a heart of gold, a hard-nosed homicide detective who has been thrown outside of her investigative comfort zone thanks to the nature of a series of murders. There’s the Vatican, having hired Reaper to stop something with apocalyptic connotations, there’s angels, demons, a hit man who may or may not be a living shadow and who has been trying to kill Tim Reaper, but Reaper is a hard guy to kill given that he isn’t exactly human. It’s a fun little romp through the streets of Halifax and the back country of rural Nova Scotia, again, I’m using a locale I’m familiar with as I lived there for a decade.

And who is TIM REAPER? Just a death spirit in human form who got kicked out of his order for starting the Spanish Flu pandemic and killing five percent of humanity back in 1918. He’s a massive, massive prick because he’s fairly amoral. He has a thing for kittens (though they have a unique reaction whenever he comes near) he likes prostitutes because women (read relationships) piss him off, freak him out or both. He smokes like a chimney, drives a Ford F-150 and he’s armed to the teeth. In short, he’s probably the most fun I’ve had with a character and I attribute this in large part to his severe lack of scruples not to mention his humanity deficit. (Both are often at odds with a built-in sense of right and wrong.) He does try to do the right thing, though often his efforts blow up in his face. He’s part mercenary, part gumshoe and one hundred percent alpha-male. He’ll work for pretty much anyone as long as they pay him and as the story evolves, he begins to discover his humanity. (There’s even some romance thrown in there!)

Will it sell? Beats me. My agent and her team will once again put me through a detailed revision process before they try to get publishers interested, but I’m pleased to say that I think it’s the best thing I’ve written so far. (I will probably say that with every completed work – writing is, after all, a craft.) My birthday is this Friday, so I am going to give myself a nice little bday present by firing the story off to my agent and then digging into my next project, THE NORTH. (I’ve got about 40K words done already, but I haven’t put any serious thought into it for more than a year. I’m going to look at my outline and see what’s feasible and what isn’t. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to doing revisions with my agent and her team and keep my fingers crossed that we can produce something a publisher will love.

It’s a windy morning. I’m off on Thursday and Friday, and this weekend is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. I get a bday, a wee holiday and turkey and mashed potatoes to crown everything off! Not a bad end for a project I’ve spent more than a year working on. I hope TIM REAPER finds its way to readers very soon.

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