Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where do we go from here...

Planting my feet back on the ground, it's time to think long-term about what lies ahead.

I need to work on the book A LOT. My draft is not a winner yet. It was firmly suggested I find an editor-for-hire who has also been a writer who can pick apart the story from top to bottom. Then I will reach out to agents with the preface that my work has been requested by specific editors from specific publishing houses.

After all that, I will submit my novel. It's not a race per se. The conference was a big step in validating my effort but it does not mean I get a contract, at least not immediately.

So I must get back to the primary work at hand, catch up on a lot stuff I let slip.

This does mean though, if I dig in, keep cool and continue making smart moves... this book will get published with more to follow.

So this is how I pitched my book at the conference with the changes and additions in parentheses:

Black Saturday (was Heritage Fields but no one liked that title) is an urban fantasy (originally I said a mix of Dennis Lehane's Mystic River but I was told to go with Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series instead) with Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I envision this as a continuing series. (editors want to know you have more than one book in you.)

Randall Toussaint left his hometown, Hapsburg, Pennsylvania, before the lure of magic landed him in jail or worse. Mages in the slums use their skills to pull small cons. The wealthy warlocks in town crave arcane power, use it to pawn off emotional guilt but someone always ends up taking the fall. Randall went “legit” as a corporate spin doctor, what seemed the perfect fit for someone who grew up brewing hoodoo and moonshine in his basement and ran confidence games on street corners.

Hapsburg is a town with three faces: The warlocks rule the evergreen estates, tourists enjoy ghost tours in Middle Village and the back alley mages sell talismans in the slums called Silt Town. (I left out this background originally)

When Randall’s cousin, Chaka, disappears in those slums, the d├ętente among rival mages begins to unravel. Chaka is a prodigy who pulled off the greatest trick of all: He raised the dead in the flesh without facing divine wrath.

Myla, head of the Toussaint family and Chaka's sister, demands Randall take up the search regardless of who gets in the way. (You must show there is a strong female element in the book if the protagonist is not a woman)

Chaka’s secret could erode the borders of magic and death, but not even the man who put a bullet in his head knows where he is. Now Randall must scour the town for the enemy threatening to destroy his family.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away