New release: WHERE ANGELS DIE, Episode 1

Now live on Amazon in a country near you:

ANGEL KEEP
Episode 1 of Where Angels Die

Buy your copy for the trivial price of 99 cents (U.S., Canada), 99p (U.K.), or €0.99 (Eurozone), or the equivalent in your local dosh.


‘A demon is the spirit of a bad idea. The Taken are just its victims. If they kill you, you lose. If you kill them – you lose. The only way to win is to kill the idea itself. That’s where we come in.’

Enter Revel Enfield: paladin, exorcist, Knight of the Covenant of Justice.

Every enemy is hidden.

Every friend can be turned.

Even the Angels of Life can be killed.

This is his war.

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Snippets

From episode 1 of Where Angels Die:

‘Forgive my friend,’ said the Badger smoothly. ‘He was raised by screech monkeys, and thinks tact is how carpets are secured to the floor.’

Draft sighting

As of 6 p.m. today, Mountain Daylight Time, we have (at long last) a finished draft of the first episode of Where Angels Die. It weighs in just under 30,000 words, a little longer than I wanted it to be. (Subsequent episodes are to be 12,000 to 15,000 words each. Think of this one as the two-hour series premiere.)

Current plan is to release it as soon as I have the second episode (‘The Little Charter’) drafted and the third one (‘The Bad Enough Brigade’) fairly started; unless someone has a Clever Idea to the contrary.

Edit: To refresh the memories of the 3.6 Loyal Readers, early drafts of the opening chapters have previously appeared in these pages:

The Summons
The Taken
A Battle of Souls
The Food of Demons

It’s been a long journey to this point, frequently interrupted; but I think I may be in a position to make some rapid progress now – health permitting.

Work has resumed!

I recovered from most of the concussion symptoms a few days ago, but all the bed rest required aggravated my spinal injury and gave me neck spasms. Now I am on a witch’s brew of Robaxacet and assorted pain medications, which are allowing me to function well enough to write a little, but not well enough to sleep all the way through the night. Last night I got up about midnight and wrote a chapter for the second episode of Where Angels Die. I post it here, as it might amuse some of my 3.6 Loyal Readers.

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An experiment in speed writing

Came back Friday night from a short holiday in British Columbia, where lakes were swum in, and hot springs soaked in, and beaches lain upon, and peaches picked and gourmandized. The Beloved Other and I were both much refreshed upon our return.

Today, I began a brief experiment in writing at top speed, to see if I can break myself of some of the perfectionist habits that have so impeded my productivity. I am reminding myself (truthfully, I hope) that there are those who enjoy my writing just as it is; I do not have to make it utterly bulletproof so that a Traditional Publisher will find no excuse to reject it, as I was once warned that I had to do. (Traditional Publishers were quite willing to reject my work without an excuse, because they saw no benefit in admitting me to the Cool Kids’ Club; but that is a rant for another time.)

So, having all but finished the opening episode of Where Angels Die, I am trying to write a rough draft of the second episode in three days. This episode is called ‘The Little Charter’, and it is designed to stand somewhat independently as a story, whilst fitting into the overall arc of the serial: the technique of episodic television. I expect it to weigh in at about 12,000 words when finished.

Four thousand words a day is a biggish output for me, but I often write essais of that length or more in a single sitting. The idea here is to keep myself from niggling unnecessarily, and teach myself to write fiction with roughly the same facility. If I can do that, I may yet manage to pay my bills at this dodge. Fiction is where the money is, but hitherto I have been too slow and sporadic to build an audience with it.

Today I did a chapter-level outline, and wrote about 2,600 words of draft copy. I will have to improve on that pace to meet my goal, but it should be feasible now that the prior planning is quite finished.

Time is not on my side in this venture. Wish me luck!

Progress report

Since inquiries have come from several of the 3.6 Loyal Readers, I answer at large:—

Tonight I finished compiling and formatting the essais that will go into the Superversive collection, and to my surprise, they seem to hang together pretty well, and add up to a sustained and forcible polemic. I still need to go through the drudgery of compiling the bibliography and endnotes (always the worst part of the job), and to write a valedictory piece, ‘Recovering the Tao of Story’. Then I have got to talk Sarah Dimento into doing a cover. I expect to have the new book out in July.

I have also, at long last, come within a few chapters of completing the first episode of Where Angels Die. I am reasonably pleased with the work so far. My original plan was to make the episodes about 60 manuscript pages apiece; that is, roughly as long as the screenplay for a one-hour television drama. But the first episode has a lot more work to do, introducing the main characters and setting up the central conflict; so it will be double that length. This is not without precedent; quite a lot of TV series have premiered as made-for-TV feature films, which were then cut up into two episodes for syndication.

I have sketched out the next three episodes, tentatively entitled ‘The Little Charter’, ‘The Bad Enough Brigade’, and ‘Luck’s Travelling Temple’. I should like to release all of them at once, and get some of the ‘Liliana Nirvana’ effect I referred to earlier. We shall see if this has a salutary effect on sales.

Meanwhile, I am formatting several paperback books for Wendy S. Delmater, and editing a translation of a stage play by Bruno Moreno Ramos. I am open for more commissions of both these kinds, at the right price.

Once all these things are taken care of, I intend to get back to work on the Magnificent Octopus. It is still my firm intention to get The Grey Death out for an autumn release; though at present it looks as if it may be later rather than earlier in that season.

Cover design: Your feedback, please?

Good news, everybody!

The formidable and talented Sarah Dimento has delivered the all-but-final cover design for Where Angels Die, based on my rough concept and rubbishy layout.

I always feel embarrassed when taking cover ideas to Sarah, because something about her puts me in mind of Edna Mode from The Incredibles: ‘This is a hobo suit, dahling, you can’t be seen in this, I won’t allow it!’ But she has a rather nifty way of turning those hobo suits into eye-catching book covers.

The current idea is to release each episode of Angels under separate cover, and then bundle them as a fix-up novel later. To minimize the amount of design work required, we have it in mind to reuse the same design with different background colours (and, of course, episode titles). The design follows the jump below.

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Challenge to self

Some of the 3.6 Loyal Readers may recall the opening chapters of Where Angels Die, which I posted on these pages almost a year ago:

The Summons
The Taken
A Battle of Souls
The Food of Demons

After the deaths of my parents, I was so stricken with depression and illness (and practical troubles concerned with the estate) that I found myself entirely unable to write any fiction, except for the odd squib like ‘Kundenschmerz’ and ‘Magic’s Pawnshop’. That deep fog seems to be lifting; I have been able to write fairly regularly this month, and now I should like to try getting back to work on something more ambitious (and perhaps profitable).

So I have decided to spend this coming week in a sort of marathon, seeing how far I can get with the draft of ‘the Orchard of Dis-Pear’, which, you may recall, is my private working name for Where Angels Die. This is, in a way, a forgiving project with a flexible terminus. I mean that with eight projected episodes, each of about 15,000 words, there are plenty of points at which I can stop, if need be, and say that I have definitely Accomplished Something. If I only get the first episode drafted, that will be a significant improvement on what I have done so far this year. If I go further, so much the better.

I shall not be putting up the first draft on the blog, so posting will likely be sparse and spotty for a time. However, I hope to put up short notices about any progress I happen to make.

Your patience, encouragement, and well-wishing is much appreciated. Pray ’em if you got ’em. Thank you, and I hope to see you all soon at Angel Keep.

‘Par is a live patient’: a P.S.

My own serial in (occasional) progress, which I depreciatingly call ‘the Orchard of Dis-Pear’ and hope to resume work on some time soon, was actually inspired partly by my revisiting of M*A*S*H. It was the idea of the three double acts that sired Where Angels Die upon my imagination; though my serial will have, I imagine, nothing like the felicity and depth of humour that M*A*S*H had. We cannot all be Larry Gelbart, but we can at least be ourselves.

In Where Angels Die, the three double acts are (1) the two paladin/exorcists, Revel and the Badger; (2) Baron Vail and his steward Greyhand; (3) the chief Paladin and Angel at Angel Keep, Master Herison and Lady Swan, whom you have not yet met. They bear some resemblance to the duos of Hawkeye–Trapper, Col. Blake–Radar, and Frank–Hot Lips, but of course their stories, and the kind of stories to be written about them, are quite different.

In other news, when I simply cannot brain at all, I have occasionally been reduced to watching an episode of Gilligan’s Island: after which the grey matter rebels, and insists upon either functioning or going to sleep – either of which is an improvement. Gilligan is every bit as stupid as I recall from my childhood; it is deliberately stupid, but endearingly stupid, an art form that has since been lost and may well remain so. I could say that Gilligan’s Island is the dumb blonde of American sitcoms. However, it has redeeming points – chiefly in the fine comic performances of the actors, above all Bob Denver and Jim Backus – and two areas of genuine excellence. For one, it was a fertile vehicle for parody; in its three-year run, the show did sendups of every genre of film and popular fiction under the sun, from Westerns and monster movies to Hamlet and The Count of Monte Cristo. For another, the incidental music was far superior to the show itself; it was only on this latest revisit that I fully appreciated just how good the score was (excluding the idiotic theme song, which was composed by another hand). From the credits, I discovered that the score was written by an up-and-coming young composer named Johnny Williams.

Yes, that John Williams. This may be old news to everybody else, but my mind was sufficiently boggled; and somehow I find myself fonder of Williams than I was before.

Fox and Lory

Some of my ‘auditions’ are not full stories or even full scenes, but tableaux, flashes of action, bits of dialogue. Sometimes they run together until they actually make up a scene. This bit, if it fits after editing, is for the ‘Orchard’, otherwise known as Where Angels Die.


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