Just a little longer…

It’s been a while–FAR too long, actually–since I worked on the book. Good news, though, I’m back at it for what I hope will be the last push to finish my book (again). I have “finished” it twice, only to go through edits resulting in chopping down the manuscript by as much as half. Creative destruction. Schumpeter would be proud. The book is better for the edits, but I feel like I’ve been taking two steps forward and one step back in this project for as long as I can remember. I’m ready to have a novel I can proudly present to the public. Just a little longer.

Author Journal #026

It’s Time


“Time is the fire in which we burn.”

–Delmore Schwartz

It’s time to talk of . . . well, I’m failing to resist the urge to say “many things: Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax– Of cabbages–and kings– And why the sea is boiling hot–” …

I have never been great at resisting the urge to say things. What I really want to talk of, though, is how the book is coming along. It’s marvelous, actually. I hired an editor, as followers of the Ætherworks Facebook Page already know.

My brilliant editor helped me, well, edit my book quite a lot. Now, the manuscript has been greatly reduced in quantity but greatly improved in quality. So, I’m going through, now, and adding scenes, making additions, fleshing out characters, and generally getting on with the business of re-writing huge chunks of my book.

Writing this novel continues to be a labor of love and a challenging learning experience. I don’t blog about the book nearly as much as I work on it, which I think is probably a good thing, but I did want to update the blog to let everyone know that work continues.

One of the things I’ve been working on, tonight, is a scene in which one of the characters is dreaming and encounters another character–a shaman who can manipulate time as well as his and others’ perceptions of time. Below is a snippet of very raw work-in-progress, which may or may not ever actually make it into the book:

“’Refugee.’ The man repeated her characterization of him, chuckling to himself.

‘Have I said something amusing, Jomon-miko? Was that not how you described yourself to me only one year ago, when first we met?’

‘Yes,’ the man admitted. ‘I was hoping that by now, however, you would have come to realize the irony of such a label as applied to me. The world of time and space could be said to consist of locked rooms, and, in such a world, the man with the key is lord of all. If I am a refugee, I am so in this place, this time where you have found me. It is not always so.’

Eva listened to the man’s voice—the voice of an elder, of a child, of a hunter, a king, a rogue, a multitude. His words seemed to flow through him from infinite points of light spread throughout the universe and from before the beginning of time and from after its end. To her, it seemed strange that this man who called himself Jomon could be all that he was. Yet, she could feel in him no deception; his mind was inscrutable. Usually, the thoughts of others appeared to her as plainly as words on a page. When she focused on Jomon’s thoughts, flickering tongues of light and a cacophonous noise swirled around inside her mind’s eye in a turbulent dervish. He looked ordinary enough. His face was weatherworn and creased by time, though his eyes were as bright as moonlight pouring through blue tourmaline gems. He wore the skins of strange beasts Eva could not recognize, and his smile reminded her of every hopeful beggar she had ever seen in the minds of those who walked the Parindon streets. Millennia floated by as Eva studied Jomon’s face. The old shaman poured a river of tea into her cup, and the thrashing of the ocean’s waves crashed around inside the humble vessel, looking for escape and finding none. Eva blinked.

‘It is not always so,’ Jomon was saying. ‘And tonight, least of all…'”

I hope that sparks in you at least some tiny curiosity about what’s going on in the scene. You’ll have to read the book to make heads or tails of the puzzle, but suffice to say–this chapter packs a huge punch. Thanks for checking in on the blog. Keep your eyes on this space for more updates as they are available.

The Return of the King

I’m back!

kingMy return was ever imminent, but it feels good to be back. It has been so long since I updated. Too long, too long! Anyway, NaNoWriMo is mere weeks away, but this year I am not writing a new book. I am editing the manuscript I finished at the beginning of this year. I have taken a hiatus from working on the novel. I guess that break was somewhat unintentional, but I think it was mostly just months of procrastination about editing the book.

I read a good chunk of and I am still reading The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Great book, but damn… it scared me. Seriously. Terrified. I blame my procrastination on that. I’m (mostly) over it, now. I just need to start eating this mountain one bite at a time.

It’s good to be back in my fictional world. It feels like home. I don’t know why I got scared away from it. Well, yes I do. It’s a mountain of work, and I was already feeling overwhelmed by all my other work–you know, the lawyering and whatnot that actually pays my bills. I’m hoping, now, that I’ll figure out some kind of balance and avoid future months-long breaks from novel-writing.

I confess I’m not just blogging, here, to say, “I’m back.” I chose to return, now, because need something. No! No. No, don’t navigate away from the page, just yet. I don’t need money or anything (though, feel free to send me some if you find you have too much). I just need your oh-so-valuable opinion! There is a one-question survey, below. Could you be a lamb and click the response that most appeals to you? I would greatly appreciate it.

Share Your Opinion

A brief explanation of the poll options follows. I’m considering releasing my book a chapter at a time, as I finish editing each chapter. If I do this, each chapter will be considered “in beta testing” pending the final editing of the book as a whole. So, there is a good chance the final book would be different from the book as assembled from any chapters released one-at-a-time. The alternative, of course, is to just do all the editing, and release the eBook in its entirety. Nothing would prevent a fan from purchasing all the chapters as they are released, one-at-a-time, and purchasing the final book, too. But that also might be misconstrued as a marketing gimmick to sell the same book twice. What do you think? How should I release my eBook?

The Same Pernicious Stuff

I found this image in a recent Penny-Arcade! blog post. The article, A Boy’s Appetite for Fiction was published in a book describing, as Jerry “Tycho” Holkins put it, “a moral panic related to the reading of ‘dime novels.'” Such panic would be laughable today, when parents are generally just happy their children are reading something, anything. Today, the moral panic is over video games and television or movies–or all of the above. I suppose some things never change, even when they do.


Untitled Prose 20131008

I gathered my anger into a focused sphere of energy, and ever so gently placed it inside the engine of my soul. There, my fury burns with the heat of a thousand suns, driving me forward with mechanical determination. The molten glare from that white-hot furnace sporadically obscures my vision, but when my perception recalibrates, I can see a hidden path through the dark. Burning with brilliant zeal in my eyes, I push ever onward into the night. The sound of my own gears turning, grinding, my pistons churning, my boiler crackling, my blood hissing through my veins in rivulets of steam are a cacophonous symphony, the music of chaos and dreams. To that surreal composition, I march with unflinching dedication in the direction of my ambitions. With thunder and the rolling tide, driving wind, and shaking earth I charge forward, sweeping all beneath my onslaught, and leaving shattered barriers in my wake.

© 2013 Noel R. Bagwell, III. All Rights Reserved.

Author Journal #025

The Gauntlet


Steampunk Gauntlet For Daniel Proulx
by ~Skinz-N-Hydez

I like Pinterest. I’ve heard folks say it’s a “girly” social media site or whatever, but hey, there’s man stuff there, too. I even have a Save the Males pinboard, for guys like me on Pinterest; and, of course, I have a Steampunk & Ætherpunk pinboard. That’s a no-brainer. One of the coolest things I’ve pinned lately looked like it was a prop made for my book.

The item was a steampunk gauntlet made by Ian Finch-Field, who goes by “~Skinz-N-Hydez” on deviantArt, an artist who also has an etsy store.  Mr. Finch-Field’s creations are amazing (and are priced accordingly). This fetching Custom-made Steampunk Robot Arm Gauntlet is priced at a lofty $1,694.75. I have to imagine it would be worth every penny!

In Ætherworks, the protagonist invents a gauntlet that I imagine would look very much like the one Mr. Finch-Field has designed and built. This invention is a key plot device, and it’s a pretty nifty bit of steampunk / ætherpunk technology. I love seeing creations like those Mr. Finch-Field makes, because they inspire me to keep writing about fantastic inventions.

Who knows, maybe someday, Mr. Finch-Field or someone else who makes elegant steampunk props like this will be creating an item based on an invention in one of my stories? That would be amazing. Until then, I think I’m going to tentatively “adopt” this one, and use it as a visual reference for the gauntlet my protagonist has invented. I hope Mr. Finch-Field won’t mind.

Deadeye Winstead iBook Give-Away

Deadeye Winstead CoverEveryone likes free stuff, right? Well, to celebrate the recent release of Deadeye Winstead on the iTunes bookstore, I’m going to give away a few free copies between now and the end of September, and you don’t have to buy anything to win one!

If you want a free copy of Deadeye Winstead, here’s all you have to do:

1. Go to the Ætherworks Facebook Page, and give the page a “Like;”

2. Follow @AetherworksBook on Twitter, and re-tweet this post.

That’s it! If you “Like” the Facebook Page and follow @AetherworksBook on Twitter, and you retweet the post linked above, you will be automatically entered into the drawing to win one of several iTunes Promo Codes you can use (or give to a friend) to get Deadeye Winstead absolutely free!

This contest ends at midnight, Central Standard Time (-6 GMT, Chicago), 30 September, 2013. Winners will be announced here. See below for “Official Rules.”