Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Emperor of North America

This is my cover painting for John McNichol's The Emperor of North America, book two of the Young Chesterton Chronicles.  It'll be hitting the shelves this fall, published by Bezalel Books.  For those of you not familiar with the series, it's steampunk alternate-history with authors G.K. Chesterton and H.G. Wells as the main characters.  In book one, The Tripods Attack! (published by Sophia Institute Press), Gil and Herb fought off a Martian invasion, assisted by Father Brown (from Chesterton's mystery stories); the second book has got flying assassins, steam-powered cyborg cowboys, zeppelins, and a flying city (home of Emperor Norton I).

The painting is acrylic on mat board, 13 1/4" x 17 3/8".

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The chapter it took twelve years to write

Way back in January  I said I probably wouldn't post about my novel till I'd finished the first draft.  In a way, it was finished a couple of months ago--at least, in the sense that I won't be working on it anymore.  Though it had its moments, overall the story wasn't working, and rather than soldier on and finish a completely unusable draft, I decided to shelve the story and come back to it someday.

So, after taking some time away from writing to do other stuff (web design, a couple of paintings, that sort of thing), I dragged out my old notes on a story idea that I first started working on at least twelve years ago.  It's always been my favorite among my various plot ideas, but I've been putting it off in the hope that I'd do a better job on it if I waited till I was a better writer.  I've decided, though, that I had this backwards, and that the best way to improve your writing ability is to work on the story you care about the most, and do the best you can.

So I hammered out some problems with the plot, such as what's going on at the very beginning of the story (a point that had always eluded me before), and finished a short, rough first chapter.  There's plenty of stuff to be fixed, but at least it seems to work, and it feels like the right story to be writing.

I just hope the next chapter doesn't take another twelve years....