Dead is such a strong word . . .
Lucy Day, 15 years old, is murdered on her very first date. Not one to take that kind of thing lying down, she awakens a day later with a seemingly human body and more than a little confusion. Lucy tries to return to her normal life, but the afterlife keeps getting in the way.
Zack, her crush-maybe-boyfriend, isn’t exactly excited that she ditched him on their first date. Oh, and Abraham, Lucy’s personal Grim Reaper, begins hunting her, dead-set on righting the error that dropped her back into the spongy flesh of a living girl. Lucy must put her mangled life back together, escape re-death, and learn to control her burgeoning powers while staying one step ahead of Abraham.
But when she learns the devastating price of coming back from the dead, Lucy is forced to make the hardest decision of her re-life — can she really sacrifice her loved ones to stay out of the grave?
When you read about a writer, your first question might be “what have you written?” This is a good question, and it deserves a good answer. However, as my manuscripts are a little bit behind the scenes at the moment (titles change, there are rights concerns, etc), I’m going to give vague descriptions here with working titles that I can refer to.
Forgive me, I have no desire to be cryptic – there is nothing a writer likes talking about more than his work, and himself. We are incurable narcissists who are also hypersensitive – that particular brand of crazy we hold the patent on.
But here’s what I’m up to, and their current statuses.
1st Manuscript – Working Title: “Fools”
“Fools” is the first novel-length anything I ever finished, and it shows. I love it, it’s my first child, but it just happens to be a really ugly baby. It holds a special place in my heart, but I try not to subject others to it. I learned more about writing during the year I wrote it than during the previous nineteen years leading up to it. I consider it my love letter to traditional fantasy adventures, and there is passion evident within, if not true skill.
It’s a long novel, intended to be part of a series, and when I first finished it I went through at least five drafts. Not vanity drafts, either – necessary, open-heart surgery drafts. Part of me never wants to read it or look at it again – another part has a twisted, sentimental urge to do one more draft on it, wherein I edit about half of it out.
I’m talking real butchery, merciless, awful, necessary butchery.
Status: Finished (?), Rejected (Multiple times)
2nd Manuscript – “Deadgirl”
Genre: YA Supernatural/Adventure
“Deadgirl,” is my second favorite thing I’ve ever written. It reads fast, it’s exciting, and the first draft, while requiring a lot of work, never made me feel like I was trying to squeeze blood from a stone. I never, ever, felt like I was bashing my head against the keyboard in hopes that the words would come out.
If the drafts of “Fools” could be called open-heart surgery, than the drafts of “Deadgirl” just needed a butterfly bandage and some ibuprofen. All of the mental eggs that the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” laid in my head hatched, and there was “Deadgirl.” Self-deprecation, the hell of high school, strong female protagonist, tendency to add the letter “y” to perfectly good nouns. If you dig things of the sort, you’d like it.
It’s the manuscript that landed me my first agent, and my first publishing contract, and I am ever thankful for it.
3rd Manuscript – Working Title: “Merge”
Genre: YA Apocalypse/Fantasy
“Merge” represents the mishmash of a lot of genres I love, and a lot of ideas that always turn my gears. It has a bit of post-apocalypse, inspired by my love of zombie movies, Mad Max, and the Dark Tower. It’s got a bit of fantasy, inspired by nearly every book I read as a kid. Toss it in a blender, because, hell why not?
There isn’t much more to say. Though, sadly, it’s been a ton of work and more than a little of the head-mashing-into-keyboard I mentioned earlier up top. Still, persistence, and all that.
Publishers have been a little weirded out by the genre-mashup, so I’m thinking I might try the self-publishing game for this one.
4th Manuscript – Working Title: “Deadgirl Sequel”
Genre: YA Supernatural/Adventure
This one details the further adventures/horrifying experience of Lucy Day, the star of “Deadgirl.”
I can’t say much about it, but here are some hints: Daphne. Unfinished business. A new guy in town . . .
Status: Finished, awaiting publication
Non-Finished (Abandoned?) Manuscripts
With writing, I find that it takes more than a good idea and some interesting characters to make a story. Sometimes, things just don’t work out. To continue the baby analogy, some of these have just shown up stillborn. I got 25,000 words into them, or in same cases even 50,000 words in, and realize that things just aren’t happening.
Some of them have to do with flaws in the idea, some of them have to do with just not being a good enough writer (yet), and I don’t doubt that I might one day go back and give a few of them another run.
Remember when I said up there that “Deadgirl” is the second favorite thing I’ve ever written? This one is the first. While the phrase “Handyman Idea” sounds about as exciting as toast, the story and particularly the characters had a real kick to them.
It’s a fantasy/drama about a small town, brothers, family, potential (both wasted and otherwise), and the power of both shame and faith. I pulled about 25k of it before I essentially became intimidated by my own work. I hit a snag in the story, and wasn’t sure where to go next.
I kept re-reading what I’d written, hoping it would push me onward, but I essentially freaked out and quit. I regret the decision.
Chance of Second Shot: Inevitable
Tribal Hunter Idea
An interesting concept, revolving around primitive tribes, the succession of Kings, and a grand hunt. Good idea, but I tried to do too many viewpoints and the whole thing grew obese and stagnant. Got around 30k into that one.
Chance of Second Shot: Medium.
A fun one, involving my love of werewolves and modern urban fantasy. Starred a pair of characters that have been floating around in my head for over ten years. The story was cruising along fine, then took a nose dive and never recovered. I had a first act written, a third act planned, but I could never figure out what to do in the middle. Put in over 50k on that one.
Chance of Second Shot: Low.
Chance of using those characters for a different story: High to Inevitable.
One of my NaNoWriMos, a story that jumped between a sort of non-detective in a cyberpunk city and a young girl in a Fascist/Communist state, and how they meet. The perspectives turned out to be tricky (notice a pattern?) – I ended up loving the chapters with the girl, and being bored by the guy’s story.
However, the story relied on dramatic irony, knowing what the detective does and applying that knowledge to the girl’s scenes where she has no clue what’s going on, etc. I couldn’t just drop the detective’s story without the whole idea basically dissolving, but I honestly couldn’t continue writing his mind-numbingly slow story anymore. Wrote 50k of that.
Chance of Second Shot: Null
Working Title: “A Hard Rain”
Part epic fantasy, part revenge western, this one follows the story of “Rickard Rane,” a retired swordsman who has to head out one last time to solve a problem he’s been putting off – that of his maniac son.
Status: 80% through first draft. Which is where it will stay, for now.