Inside Old Bones: Creature Comforts

Just before we dive into today’s post I want to take a second to plug Crafting the Short Story, which kicks off this Thursday. There are still spots left if you or someone you know is interested in this fun and informative writing course.

As we continue to wend our way through the table of contents of my forthcoming short story collection, Old Bones, we come to a fun little tale called Creature Comforts. Nine-year-old Paulina is having trouble with bullies at her school. Her grandfather gets wind of this and gives her his old teddy bear for protection. But this toy brings more to the table than just moral support, to Paulina’s great delight.

I wrote this story, or most of the bones of it at least, in my little studio space. Years ago I shared a studio with several other artists on the top floor of an old building in the downtown core. It ultimately wasn’t the most productive creative space during the year-plus I spent there, although a few ideas did come from my time there. One, which I’ll talk about at length in a future post, was the earliest stages of what would become my second novel, Seventeen Skulls. Another was Creature Comforts.

There are monsters everywhere, if you look hard enough. Sometimes you don’t have to look all that hard. This is a story about monsters, but more than that it’s about family. How far would you go in order to protect the ones you love? What sort of evil would you be willing to unleash, knowing the potential consequences? These are some of the themes I wanted to explore, knowing as I do the answers will vary from person to person. Paulina isn’t based on a real person exactly, nor is her grandfather, but I tried to get into the heads of both characters to determine how each would react to the situation I put them in. I wasn’t exactly sure how things would turn out, and I was pleasantly surprised.

As I mentioned in the last post, I wanted to experiment with writing from different points of view that aren’t exactly like mine. While I’m not, nor have I ever been, a nine-year-old girl, I did have access to one for a while a number of years ago. I drew on my observations and experiences to try and add realism to my character. Hopefully I came close. As for the grandfather, I can identify with him a little more closely. I know the lengths I would go to but also my limitations in such a scenario. I wanted to give him an interesting way to protect his granddaughter, and I think I did that.

The title has a double meaning, as my titles so often do: everyone knows what creature comforts are, but in Paulina’s case she takes comfort in the presence of an actual “creature” – grandpa’s stuffed bear. As always it’s tricky to go into detail without giving too much away. Hopefully when the book comes out you’ll read these stories and realize why these posts have intentionally been a little vague.

Thanks as always for reading along and continuing to come back to this space. Feel free to subscribe for updates directly to your inbox.

Stay safe, talk soon!

-JP

Inside Old Bones: Through the Eyes of a Child

Today’s edition of my behind-the-scenes look at my upcoming short story collection, Old Bones, takes us into a story that goes back several years. I will often attempt to give my story titles a double meaning, and Through the Eyes of a Child is one that does exactly that. It’s also one of a number of stories I’ve written with a child as the main character; maybe my first to do so, now that I think about it.

(I just now took a peek at the table of contents for Old Bones, and noticed this is one of three – arguably four, depending on how you look at it – stories which feature children as the main character. Over the years I’ve made an attempt to write not just from my own perspective, or that of others just like me. Writers, particularly beginning ones, will often inadvertently write every character as though they’re speaking through the character directly. Man, woman, child, modern, past, future: all written as if the character is a role being played by the author. I have attempted to avoid doing this, thus the inclusion of main characters that aren’t anything like me. The trick is to make the character relatable – if it’s a small child, make the reader believe these are the words and actions of a small child. I don’t always manage to pull it off, but it’s something I continue to work at.)

Several years ago my old friend J. Richard Jacobs – who I eulogized in this post – was looking for some stories for a themed anthology he called ‘Wunderkind’. He wanted stories about exceptional children, with special powers or traits. I thought about it for a little while, kicked around a few ideas, until I settled on what would ultimately become Eyes of a Child. The character, Tony, is a four-year-old boy with an IQ that’s off the charts. He also has a special secret ability that he doesn’t show or tell anyone about.

This is the part where I usually tell you about the incident or circumstances that inspired the story in question. I can’t do that today, because most of the plot behind this one stemmed from the game I play which I like to call “what if?” I almost never write to a prompt, but in this case I wanted to be included in this anthology, so I started kicking around ideas. Some of them were pretty far out, others simply lacked the impact I was looking for. I don’t know that it’s an entirely original idea – is anything, any more? – but I can’t recall ever seeing a similar story in my travels.

As with a lot of the things I wrote (and still write, if I’m being honest), I approached it with a sort of Twilight Zone mentality. I love the twist ending, and I like to think the reader doesn’t see it coming in this tale. The characters, Tony and his mother, Wendy, were named after real people. This, by the way, is something I frequently do, sort of an homage or tip of the hat to a friend or acquaintance. Most of the time I don’t tell anyone about this, not even the person in question. Rather, I prefer to let them stumble upon “themselves” when they’re reading and, hopefully, get a kick out of their inclusion (and if they don’t, well, then the story in question is purely a work of fiction and all resemblances to real people, living or deceased, is purely coincidental). I don’t want to spoil the story before you’ve had a chance to read it, but I will say that Tony was a real little boy I knew who passed away when he was about the same age as the boy in this story. Wendy is a friend of mine who has children of her own, though none (I don’t think, anyway) who can do the things Tony can.

The story satisfied my curmudgeonly editor, and he included it in his anthology. I was happy to share pages with many talented wordsmiths, all hand-picked by J. himself, and I was equally happy to have met with his approval. Wunderkind marked the third and final time my work appeared in the excellent Twisted Tails series, a fact I’m pleased and proud of. Now, I’ve chosen Eyes of a Child for inclusion in Old Bones, which I hope will bring pleasure and enjoyment to those who read it.

So that’s the story behind Through the Eyes of a Child. I hope you’re enjoying reading about the stories behind the stories, and will pick up a copy of Old Bones when it’s released. As always, thanks for reading. Be sure to pop over to my contact page and sign up to receive updates directly to your inbox.

Be safe, talk soon!

-JP

Online Summer Writing Classes

Summer is rapidly approaching, which means it’s time for the next round of summer classes! Crafting the Short Story and Writing Horror: The Dark Side are both offered as online courses via Zoom.

Crafting the Short Story:

Short story creation is an art form that is often neglected and overlooked. Related to – but entirely separate from – novel writing, short story creation can be a tricky art to master but also fun and rewarding. It has been suggested that writing short stories can even be more difficult than novels. Impossible? Take this course and judge for yourself!

Here’s an opportunity to focus on writing effective short stories, covering many of the basics of short story writing. You’ll learn how to set the scene, create and develop believable characters, avoid common pitfalls, and much more.

With an emphasis on developing the craft through good writing practices and habits, the course offers tips and advice on discovering the joys of short speculative fiction.

The summer session of Crafting the Short Story begins Thursday, June 17th.

Writing Horror: The Dark Side:

Horror is hack and slash, blood and guts. It’s creepy ghosts and haunted houses. It’s psychological thrillers, gothic tales, atmospheric tension, human drama, and of course, monsters. It spans generations and appeals to a wide audience – from Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe to Neil Gaiman and R.L. Stine, horror brings joy (and scares) to kids and adults alike.

In this course, we’ll dispel some of the myths surrounding horror, and explore the key elements including, what turns an ordinary story into a spooky tale, how to build and maintain suspense, developing strong characters (human and otherwise), how to write an ending with maximum impact, and more.

This course shares some basic elements with Crafting the Short Story, and emphasizes developing the craft through good writing practices and habits.

The summer session of Writing Horror: The Dark Side begins Monday, June 14th.

Get in touch with me or contact the CEL office directly with any questions or for more information. Hope to see you there!

-JP

Inside Old Bones – The Dungarvon Whooper

“The Miramichi region is comprised of a series of small communities that line the river of the same name. The area, one of the earliest settled in New Brunswick, has long been steeped in legend and mystery. In the darkest part of the vast forest that surrounds the mighty Miramichi lurks a creature from days long past: a wailing banshee known as the Whooper that has terrorized the locals for over a century.”

Excerpt from “The Dungarvon Whooper”

Nestled deep within the forests of central New Brunswick can be found a series of small communities, strung along the banks of the mighty Miramichi River. Collectively known as ‘the Miramichi’, from Boiestown at one extreme, through Doaktown, Blissfield, Blackville, Renous, Dungarvon, Chatham Head, Loggieville, to the jewel in the crown, Miramichi City (or the amalgamated Chatham and Newcastle, if you’re of a certain vintage) at the other. Each its own unique and separate entity, yet simultaneously a piece of the bigger picture.

Once world famous for its unparalleled salmon fishing, the Miramichi is also well known for its abundance of ghosts, haunts, and spooky locales. Each stop along the way boasts its own entry in the grand tale. Of all, perhaps the most commonly known and oft-repeated tale is that of the Dungarvon Whooper. I won’t tell the story here; numerous versions are readily available online and in many books. I first learned of the story in an excellent book by Carole Spray called Will O’ the Wisp: Folk Tales and Legends of New Brunswick. From my earliest years I loved both the book and the legends themselves, which I endeavored to learn more of.

This is all just background to familiarize you with the area in which my story takes place. My version is inspired by the legend, but goes in an entirely new direction and takes on a life of its own. Based in modern times, it features a trio of young film makers just familiar enough with the Whooper tale to want a closer look. They find their way to the site (which, it may interest you to know, is commemorated with a plaque), and… well, I won’t spoil the surprise for you. Let’s just say they find more than they bargained for.

The story of the Whooper is one of a number I’ve written based on experiences – mine and those of others – from the Miramichi region. Some have been published here and there, others haven’t seen the light of day just yet. As with this one, I like to modify them a little, make them my own, take them in new directions. If you haven’t heard the original tale I encourage you to look into it. Of course, I encourage you to check mine out when Old Bones is released too! But beyond the Whooper, wherever you happen to wander in your travels, keep your ear to the ground for local legends and dark tales. They’re all around, if you listen closely.

Until next time, be safe, talk soon!

-JP

Inside Old Bones: It Slipped My Mind

After the unpleasant task of my most recent post, in which I bade farewell to an old friend and colleague, we’re moving forward in a more positive direction. It’s time for another look behind the scenes of Old Bones. In today’s entry we focus on a darkly humorous piece called It Slipped My Mind.

It’s the narrative of a man who has just killed his wife and is on his way home from disposing of the body, and explains to the reader his motives behind such a heinous act. He’s convinced it wasn’t his wife at all, but rather an intricately detailed duplicate, possibly planted by the government or aliens or some such. The imposter was able to fool him for a while but ultimately made a fatal mistake: she asked him if he’d ever eaten jambalaya before. His real wife would have known instantly that he had, because of the back story involved with that particular dish. He knew for sure then, and took it upon himself to take her out before she could do whatever dastardly thing to him she’d been sent to do.

This story was inspired, as so many of the good ones are, by real life events. In this case, it was based on a conversation between my wife and I – about jambalaya. Now, my repertoire in the kitchen is a bit on the limited side, but one thing I do make very well is jambalaya. In our early days together I figured whipping up a batch would be a good way to impress her, and asked if she’d ever had it before. What I didn’t remember is that not only had I asked her that no fewer than four times already… I had already actually made it for her. Her incredulous look, and the fact that she razzed me about it (and still does to this day) made me wonder if maybe I was getting a bit forgetful. I tried to cover for my oversight by pretending I was just teasing her, but she saw right through me and wasn’t having any of it.

It’s become a running joke between us now. If one of us forgets something, the other will counter with “but have you ever had jambalaya before?” Aside from the fun we have with it, the incident sparked my creative “what if…?” mind. I thought about what might happen if the circumstances were a bit different and things got out of hand, and as it played out in my mind this story began to take shape. I won’t spoil the ending here, I’ll just say it’s pretty clever, if I do say so myself.

So even though nobody actually died over this tasty dish, the story is deeply rooted in real events – based on a true story, as they say. My wife, who is still very much alive, got a kick out of the fact I was able to turn this ridiculous sequence of events into a horror story. The lesson here, of course, is this: writers will always find a way to mine a story from what may seem to be nothing of substance. Just something to bear in mind whenever I’m around.

Until next time, be safe, talk soon!

-JP

Remembering J.

Today’s post takes us briefly away from Old Bones back stories. I’ll return to those presently, but something has come up to nudge them aside for the moment.


I’m a little late to the party on this; I blame my sporadic social media presence. Nonetheless, late or not, I heard the news today that my old friend, editor and mentor, J. Richard Jacobs, has passed on, and I felt it warranted an interruption of the regularly scheduled programming.


I chuckled to myself as I wrote that, knowing it would rub J the wrong way. As a staunch and vocal atheist, terms like ” passed on” held little meaning for him. “I haven’t passed on,” I imagine him correcting me, “I’ve died. Kicked the bucket, if you prefer.”


An author, an editor, a creative mind in the same stratosphere as the Asimovs, Heinleins and Bradburys; a small and unassuming man who stood tall among the literary giants. 


I met J many years ago, back when he was merely ancient. He came with a reputation for being a no-nonsense, curmudgeonly type, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. To my delight, J turned out to be a very pleasant, no-nonsense curmudgeon, and we bonded instantly. 


My first correspondence with J was in regards to a story I’d submitted for one of his Twisted Tails anthologies. As busy a man as he always was, he replied to me almost immediately (a trait he maintained the entire time I knew him) and was very kind in his assessment of my fledgling work. He accepted that piece and numerous others over the years. I was always more than happy to supply him with stories whenever he needed “a few more to round out the book” as he put it.


As busy as he always kept himself, there were always so many projects just beyond his fingertips that he wanted to pay attention to. His drive to produce more work, in a number of platforms, always gave me a kick in the pants whenever I felt lazy or uninspired. I’m sorry he won’t get to see Heaven Help Us All, a round-robin collaborative novel he orchestrated, brought to life. But I understand it will see the light of day, and those of us who participated in its creation will have one final attachment to our old friend.


I regret not having the chance to work with him more than I did, but I’m grateful for the stuff that’s out there with both our names on it.


Beyond our collaborations, J was always there to lend advice or suggestions along my path. He’d already accomplished more than I ever will years before I even knew who he was, but to me and the countless others who had the privilege of knowing him he was always just J, never too old or accomplished to learn something new. He had a sharp eye for detail and was always quick to point out flaws in an illogical viewpoint. 


He gave freely whatever he had to give, and I frequently sat under the learning tree and took all of it in that I could. I don’t know that he had too many enemies out there – rare for a man of his age and conviction not to, but there you have it – largely because he had a non-confrontational way despite his closely-held beliefs. He wasn’t unwavering, but you sure had to come with a convincing argument. 


All of this to say, J was a good friend and a good man who will be missed by all whose lives he touched, however briefly. It was my pleasure to call him my friend, and the science fiction world – not exclusively, but especially – will mourn his loss.


Farewell, old friend. I’d say ‘until we meet again’, but I know you’d scoff at that, even if you smirked as you did. I hope the joke’s on you and there really is something else out there beyond this mortal coil. Think of the stories you could tell…

Speaking of stories, here’s one last one. On Friday, I was standing in a parking lot with my wife, Sheryl, when a car passed us. When the passenger turned his head to look at me as they passed, I noticed he bore a remarkable resemblance to J, and I said as much to her. Just now I reminded her of the incident and the coincidence of having to write this today, to which she replied “Maybe it was him.” After threatening for years to find a way to come to Canada for a visit, maybe he finally found a way.


-JP

Inside Old Bones: The Crossroads

For this next installment in my Old Bones back stories, in which I discuss the origins behind the stories contained in my upcoming collection and delve into the creative process, we’re looking at a ghostly tale called The Crossroads. This one was written fairly recently, but it sprang from a decades-old incident.

For anyone familiar with the Miramichi area, you know ghost stories abound there. Every little hamlet and village, every town, and every inch of the vast, unbroken wilderness in between holds a spooky tale or two. You don’t have to look very far to find someone who either experienced something they couldn’t explain, or knows someone who has. Now me, I’ve spent more than my share of time rooting around the area over the years – long enough to have picked up more than a few of these stories. Some, like the Dungarvon Whooper (which we’ll get to in a future post), are well-known and oft-told. Others aren’t nearly as famous outside of where they took place. And then there are those, like this one, which virtually nobody knows about. How do I know about it, then? Because I was there.

The Crossroads starts off with the main character, Fred, telling his awestruck neighbor a ghost story from his past. He and his buddy were just youngsters when they witnessed an ethereal stagecoach-like carriage drawn by a team of horses with eyes that glowed red in the pitch blackness. It approached at a fast clip from behind the car the boys were in, charging down the old dirt road before vanishing into the dense forest without a trace. Terrified and fascinated, they investigate further and get a closer look at “the other side” than they ever imagined.

I was about the same age as the characters in the story when I was present for something very much like this happened. Similar setting, similar circumstances, and that same ghostly carriage complete with the team of horses. I didn’t personally see any of this take place, but I was at the wheel when one of my passengers did. He perched on his knees on the back seat and stared into the murky darkness behind us in silence, and when he turned around in his seat the look on his face left no doubt he’d seen something that spooked him.

At this point, the story goes in a completely different direction from the original encounter. In reality there was no further encounter with the horses, the carriage, or it’s otherworldly driver. We drove off into the night without further incident, though we debated the freaky encounter well into the night. Though I didn’t realize it yet, the seeds had been planted for The Crossroads. More than two decades would pass before I finally put pen to paper (literally – that’s how I write most of my stories, the old-fashioned way) and brought this old tale back to life. I like the direction this version went in, even if most of it isn’t strictly true to the original. The other principle player, the one who witnessed the carriage all those years ago, liked it too, even if he didn’t care for how it turned out for his character. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t tell you any more than that other than to say it ends in a way I could have seen playing out, had it come to that.

So, that’s the story of where The Crossroads came from. I realize there’s a fine line between sharing the behind-the-scenes stuff and spoiling the reader’s experience. Hopefully I’ve managed to straddle that line, and when the book is released hopefully you’ll read the stories and enjoy these “liner notes”, if you will, after the fact. More of these to come. In the meantime, thanks as always for reading!

Be safe, talk soon,

-JP

Dissecting Old Bones

Where do story ideas come from? It’s one of the most common questions I, and presumably most genre fiction writers, hear. It’s a legitimate question. I can only speak for myself, but in my case the answer usually comes down to one of two things.

The first is two simple words that form the basis for most speculative fiction: what if? Take any everyday situation or scenario, and ask yourself what if things aren’t quite what they seem, or what you might expect. A young couple sitting on a park bench having a conversation? What if they’re plotting a robbery, or a killing spree? A fisherman sitting on the bank of a peaceful stream? What if an unspeakable monster lurks just below the surface? The possibilities are endless; the trick is to figure out which ones will capture the imagination effectively and become intriguing stories.

The second type of story creation draws inspiration from real events and/or past experiences. In my travels I’ve seen and experienced all sorts of interesting and, in some cases, unexplained things. Some of these turned out to be perfectly mundane and explainable things, but that doesn’t necessarily take them off the table as good story ideas. As for the rest, the ones that defy reason or logic, well… those are even better story fodder.

This is all well and good, but broad-stroke generalities aren’t nearly as interesting as specific examples, right? So, since my first collection of horror stories, Old Bones, comes out later this year, I thought I would do a short series of entries here that takes a look at some of the stories contained therein and where they came from.

Today we’ll look at a tale called Fashionably Late. It’s the story of a young married couple attending a corporate Halloween costume party. This was one of those “what if” scenarios where I found myself thinking about how things might play out if the costumes the people at the party wore weren’t actually costumes at all. What would you do if you walked into a room filled with vampires and werewolves and such, only to discover these were real monsters around you? How long before they discovered you weren’t actually one of them? How would they react? The characters were loosely based on a real couple I know (who were pleased to learn they’d inspired this piece), which added an element of realism and believability. To the best of my knowledge nothing like this ever actually happened to the real couple, but I thought about how they might handle it if it had. Here’s a short excerpt:

Attention to detail was one thing, but the closer he examined some of the costumes the more he was convinced there was more to them than just extreme dedication to detail. The wiggling ears on the werewolf, the twitching antennae on the alien mutant, even the pulsing gills on the swamp creature. Somewhere in the back of his mind he questioned how a creature with gills could breathe out of the water, which made him aware that he hadn’t been thinking of the people in the room as his co-workers in costumes. Subtly, he crept closer to take a better look at the beast he’d seen eating the arm earlier, and it was only when he saw a small cluster of fleas leaping around near the neck and back that he came to the sudden, jarring conclusion that it was no costume. Realization dawned on him, creeping up from his subconscious with increasingly chilling clarity: these weren’t intricately detailed costumes. At least some of these people weren’t people at all. This was real, and he was in serious trouble.

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for the creative process I’ll continue to feature the back stories from Old Bones here as we wend our way toward its release. To receive these posts directly to your inbox, sign up at my contact page and you’ll be the first to know whenever I add new content.

Thanks for reading and following along with me. Until next time!

-JP

Back to Class

Just a quick update today to remind you that spring is here, which means it’s time for the next round of online writing classes. Time is ticking, but there’s still time to register for Writing Horror: The Dark Side and Crafting the Short Story. Dark Side kicks off this Monday, April 12th, with Short Story a few days later, starting Thursday, April 15th.

What are these classes all about, you ask? From UNB’s registration site:

“Short story creation is an art form that is often neglected and overlooked. Related to – but entirely separate from – novel writing, short story creation can be a tricky art to master but also fun and rewarding. It has been suggested that writing short stories can even be more difficult than novels. Impossible? Take this course and judge for yourself!

Here’s an opportunity to focus on writing effective short stories, covering many of the basics of short story writing. You’ll learn how to set the scene, create and develop believable characters, avoid common pitfalls, and much more.

With an emphasis on developing the craft through good writing practices and habits, the course offers tips and advice on discovering the joys of short speculative fiction.

The course also covers important topics such as editing and preparing your work for publication. There is a segment that focuses on submitting for publication, publishing contracts, identifying and avoiding scams, and more, to help avoid the worst of the potential pitfalls in the publishing world.”

As for Horror: the Dark Side:

“The word “horror” often conjures images of masked, machete-wielding monsters doing unspeakable things to innocent teenagers. That’s definitely part of it, but there’s a lot more to the story.

Horror is a genre unlike no other. Its purpose is to unsettle, to elicit a strong emotional response from the reader through “safe scares”. It’s also perhaps the most misunderstood genre of all.

Horror is hack and slash, blood and guts. It’s creepy ghosts and haunted houses. It’s psychological thrillers, gothic tales, atmospheric tension, human drama, and of course, monsters. It spans generations and appeals to a wide audience – from Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe to Neil Gaiman and R.L. Stine, horror brings joy (and scares) to kids and adults alike.

In this course, we’ll dispel some of the myths surrounding horror, and explore the key elements including, what turns an ordinary story into a spooky tale, how to build and maintain suspense, developing strong characters (human and otherwise), how to write an ending with maximum impact, and more.

This course shares some basic elements with Crafting the Short Story, and emphasizes developing the craft through good writing practices and habits.”

Just a few days left to register, but there are still spots in both classes. Just follow the links above. If you or someone you know has an interest in learning the basics of creative fiction writing, or a specific peek into the world of creating scary stories, I’d love to have you come along with me this spring.

-JP

Tying Up Loose Ends

March is slogging its way to a close, and has apparently decided to end on a snowy note this year. After several days of weather in the high teens this weekend has dipped back below the freezing point and today is the third in a row it’s either rained or snowed, or both. Our newest grandchild is just a little over a week old now, and hopefully the warmer weather isn’t far behind her arrival.

It’s a rare down time for me in terms of writing. The forthcoming Seventeen Skulls and Old Bones are still in the pipeline, and the winter sessions of my classes have all concluded. With the spring classes still a couple of weeks away from kicking off, I’m cleaning up a couple of projects that have taken a back seat lately.

First on the docket: edits on my next novel, Putting Down Roots. This is one of those projects that feels like it’s been on my to-do list forever. In a way, it has been kicking around for a long time. I came up with the original idea for this about five or six years ago and wrote the bones of the first draft, then put it aside for a while to let it marinade. Time went by and other projects pushed it down the list of priorities, but it’s always been a good enough story that it was never entirely forgotten. So the skeleton became a more complete body as I put meat on the bones and fleshed out the story. Now it’s more or less finished, albeit very rough and in need of a lot of polish.

About a year ago I started work on another novel idea I had. I started the fleshing out process, worked on developing some of the characters and researching the settings and such. To date it isn’t finished, but it will be. I’m usually loathe to work on too many projects at once – I prefer to finish one before diving into another for fear I’ll abandon the first one unfinished. But what this means is that I have two novels in various stages of completion, and it’s time to close one of them out.

The editing process is a lot less fun than writing, no question. It’s probably why I procrastinate and put it off as much as I do. But the fact of the matter is, whenever there’s an incomplete project waiting for me, I think about it pretty constantly until it’s off my plate. So the process now involves setting aside a block of time with as few distractions as possible and just push through a chunk of what needs to be done. Each time I do that, the sense of accomplishment pushes me to press on and get through to the end.

Of course, getting to the end isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning of the next round of edits. But that’s another story…

Anyway, that’s what’s new here. As much as I enjoy this novel, it’s time to lay this old friend to rest. The sooner it’s done, the sooner I can share it with the world and give the next big project the attention it deserves. Thanks as always for reading and following along with me. Until next time,

Be safe, talk soon!

-JP