Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February Update

Dear Reader,

Months have passed since we last spoke and I hope they've all went well for you. Here's hoping January brought a happy New Year and Valentines a love to see you through the dreary cold of March and into springtime's bliss. Looking back at the blog I see that I posted a December update but nothing since - my apologies for being so incommunicative! I will strive to correct the situation immediately.

Steady progress is being made on the latest novel, though I have to admit the thing is stubborn. At ninety thousand words the harsh realization that a good amount of pruning will be required has settled in. Added to that, the work itself has become thicker - first edits are always that way for me, a critical eye sieving through the initial creative tailings to find the worthy material and discard the waste. In the case of the current novel there have been some fairly hefty plot changes which have required a lot of in-depth editing just to get out of the first draft stage. Next comes what I like to call "the bloodying up" of the document - a read-aloud with a red pen in hand. Usually a pen sacrifices itself on the altar of editing during this stage. It's sad and slow but a necessary process.

Time of Death is slated for release this September. Currently it's working through the shadowy halls of the publisher, going through whatever dark rituals are required to make it a book. Sometimes I think of Kevin Bacon pledging Omega Theta Pi in Animal House when I imagine what a book goes through to be released. I imagine hooded figures in candlelit rooms flogging the manuscript…thank you sir, may I have another. Regardless, somewhere out there the first installment of Mel Rush's adventures waits to be sprung on the public. Hopefully it will be to at least moderate acclaim!

Indiana in February is a gray and gloomy place. Even someone like me, who loves the whole winter scene, gets a little burned out on slate-gray skies and bare trees by this time of year. I find myself checking the bed where we planted lilies last fall, looking for the first signs of life pushing through the soil. It's an over-eager impulse since the last frost date for Indiana isn't until early May. Still, there's a fluttering in my heart each time I look out the window at the swath of soil we worked last year. I hope the squirrels haven't undone most of our work!

Long before the lilies come up, though, will be the 'official first rite of spring' - morel mushroom season. In Indiana the season kicks off right around my brother's birthday, a handy reminder for me to get my hiking boots and best stick ready to prowl the ravines and woodlands. I am absolutely no good at this outdoor activity, not that I'm any sort of woodsman per se. My father has returned from his mushrooming haunts with garbage bags full when the fates align and there's a good season. Myself, I'm lucky to see a single mushroom (in fact I think that's my record in recent years). Still, there's been a lot of snow this year; if the weather doesn't turn dry we might be in luck.

That's the way things are going at the moment. I will provide you further updates on the book's progress as September draws nearer and I hope to have my second manuscript ready for hard editing within the next month. Wish me luck!

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