Writing

What I’m Writing These Days

Having released Lúnasa Days, a few people have asked me what I’m working on next. The answer is “several things,” but until recently I wasn’t sure which ones were priorities. A big part of my sabbatical in Mexico is focusing on my writing, and over the last few weeks I’ve not only written but assembled a clearer plan. So, while definitely still subject to change, here’s a rough idea of what you can expect next.

Fiction

While I have both fiction and nonfiction projects in the works, fiction is my first priority. I have many ideas I’d love to develop, but I had to choose one to painstakingly outline, storyboard, write and publish.

So I chose the one I’m most excited about.

The book starts with one simple question: How bad would things have to get in Medieval Europe before the Pope authorized demonic magic?

The answer delves into the lives of knights who have lost their faith, friars who renounce their vows, virgin warriors of the Church, damned tomes of ancient spells, and a supernatural enemy devouring whole kingdoms.

The first chapter wipes Portugal completely off the map. Things get worse from there.

This story will be told as a series, with each episode following the arc of one character or group of characters as world-changing events unfold. The first tale follows an underpaid soldier as he’s dropped, by the dark arts, far behind enemy lines—knowing that he’ll go straight to Hell if he’s killed before he can find a priest to confess his sins.

I don’t have a title for this series yet, but I’m wide open to suggestions. I want to finish three whole episodes before I send any to press, which I hope will happen by mid-2014.

Nonfiction

Increasingly I want to take my work in the direction of serious philosophy and the effects of real life adventure. At present that involves two projects.

1. Philosophy of Adventure

Last fall, I released a preview of my long-requested book about adventure. I received extensive reader feedback on that preview version, including dozens of responses to an online survey that closed December 31. Thanks to that robust feedback, I’m reworking and expanding the book.

Originally, the book was titled Heart of Adventure. I was never totally in love with that title. It seemed better than a troped Art of Adventure, but somehow not quite right. Now I’m leaning more toward a plain, simple The Philosophy of Adventure.

Again, I’m open to title suggestions or your votes between those options.

2. My Own Story

The other nonfiction project is autobiographical. It was pointed out to me that just the first leg of my Journey–bicycling the Mississippi River–is a huge adventure by most people’s standards, and that I have dozens of stories from those hazy months. It got me really excited about writing the story of that first leg as a standalone tale, leaving it open to sequels as I reach new milestones. I can’t wait to start outlining.

But I plan to try something new with this one. Instead of indie publishing it, for the first time I’m going to pitch a book proposal to the big names. I’m interested in getting a literary agent—nothing drains me more than handling the business end of writing myself—and I think this would be the ideal project to shop to agents. An agent would then, in turn, pitch it to big publishing houses.

The time frame for the nonfiction projects is less certain than the fiction series. I would expect the tale of my bike ride to come out if and only if someone has interest in publishing it; and the Philosophy of Adventure book to come out around the end of 2014. Both are much lower priorities than the fiction work right now.

Becoming a Professional Writer

I’ve wanted to be a professional writer since I was a kid. Slowly, that dream has been becoming real. But it’s not something I’ve accomplished on my own.

After the initial success of Lúnasa Days I wrote that much of my success was because of my readers. Early on, readers encouraged me that the idea behind Lúnasa Days was a good one. A number of readers stepped up as patrons and helped finance the creation of the book, and stood by me patiently as I dealt with numerous roadblocks. I don’t think the book would have succeeded without all of the reader support.

So, to all of you reading this: thank you.

And if you don’t have it already, feel free to snag Lúnasa Days yourself:

L Days cover_front only_half size

Available on Kindle and in paperback. Get your copy here.

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5 thoughts on “What I’m Writing These Days

  1. ==========
    I wrote about a great piece about adventure and I found it! (Perhaps you can move it over to the proper conversation?) Enjoy!
    ==========
    BUSH LIVING by Sharron Chatterton
    ==========
    [Intro by Cliff Jacobson -- included in his book "Camping's Top Secrets -- a lexicon of camping tips only the experts know"] “Sharron Chatterton is a retired wilderness canoe guide, college instructor, and writer who lives a contemplative life in a lakeside cabin near Teslin, Yukon, Canada. Here she explains how the solitude and demands of bush living shape the personality of those who live and work in wild places.”
    ==========
    “The wilderness promotes traits that encourage survival. Surrounded by the unpredictable and beyond rescue, wilderness travelers safeguard unknown outcomes against disaster. Their goal is safe arrival to their destination, not arrival by some time or date. Some “great feats” are simply their cautious journeys.”
    ==========
    “Wilderness makes an individual self-reliant — able to function alone, to perform all tasks independently, and to know the adaptive capability of every tool. To the bush traveler, rescue is an urban myth — there are no buffers against irresponsibility! Wilderness dwellers accept what is, not what was or ought to be. They plan carefully and they don’t take chances. Actions are purposeful; tasks are always completed. To use energy on valueless projects or to leave important work undone is unthinkable. There is too much to do to get bored.”
    ==========
    “Long periods spent in silence creates an ease without talk, value for the understandings that flow without language, and a need for silence. Silence conserves energy, frees ones attention for more important work and, lacking confrontation, creates gentleness. Simple wisdom breeds in silence.”
    ==========
    “Wilderness travelers become hyperalert and observant. The land exhibits what happened, is happening, and might happen next to the ears, eyes, nose, and skin. These sensors function in overdrive, constantly receiving information.”
    ==========
    “Some believe that wilderness living breeds antisocial behavior. In truth, the wilderness man or woman becomes asocial — he or she has a lingering love of society but little need for it. The wilderness, not the nation that manages it, evokes their allegiance. This alienation from political boundaries and reassociation with the natural world defines the “wilderness heart.”
    ==========
    “Survival is the hidden foundation of bush morality. It is what allows one to kill animals to eat, blaze trees to mark a return trail, or sidestep a slipper orchid. An experienced bush dweller learns never to interfere with another. To pass without offering help is a cardinal sin. To solicit help unnecessarily is another. Survival encourages cordiality among neighbors — you might have to depend upon one for help.”
    ==========
    “There are deeper effects of wilderness than those on human personality: There is a growing need to reduce belongings, to hunt and gather, and to be nomadic. Nature — not other humans — controls the routine. There is a growing intimacy with animals and with death. Consciousness passes old barriers and metaphysical experiences occur. Wilderness rearranges behavior, reconfigures mental constructs, and transforms the inner self forever.”
    ==========
    “Yet personality change is what we first perceive in committed wilderness travelers. We see it in epic soloists, long-distance trekkers, and in those who work in wild places — guides, researchers, and itinerant wanderers. In fact, all of us, even we who paddle a simple slough alone or walk a dog along the bluffs — even farmers, loggers, and deep sea fishermen whose wilderness experiences we consistently deny — have personalities deeply marked by wilderness.”

    http://jaysmotorcycle.blogspot.com/2007/02/mental-fitness.html

    ===========

  2. Pingback: What Has Life in Mexico Been Like? |   Rogue Priest

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