This Mini-Post Brought to You by MY 2-YEAR-OLD’S BEEN UP SINCE 2 A.M.

So we’re on the plane, flying back to Germany, and I need to use the facilities. We’ve been starting to potty train our 2-year-old, so I took her with me, airplane bathrooms being spacious enough for a 6’5″ dad and his toddler. She does her thing, I get the diaper back on her, then tell her to stand behind me while I go. Next thing I know, there’s this curly little head shoving its way between my knees and a high-pitched voice says, “Wow!”

What I’m trying to say is, forget the NSA: Kids are the real threat to privacy.


What It’s Like Inside My Head, or #MyWritingProcess

I was tagged in the #MyWritingProcess meme by Eva Gibson, a writer friend who’s currently shopping her YA coming-of-age novel THE NATURE OF ECHOES. I’ve read it, and let me tell you, it’s one giant sucker punch to the tear ducts. Check out her blog, Mama Muzzle, if you’re so inclined.

But back to me. So basically, this is pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about my writing process. If you want even more (and let’s be honest *runs hands up and down torso* who wouldn’t want more of this?), there’s also the interview I did a while back for my buddy Grandpa Hank. So without further adieu:

1. What I’m working on

At the moment, I’m shopping my YA novel, a contemporary fantasy set in Prague called The Watchmaker. It’s got spies, mercenaries, a bit of romance, and a watch that, among other even crazier things, dumps someone else’s memories of World War II into my main character Aaron’s head.

*pauses for you to soak in all the awesomeness*

I know, right?

It made the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award quarterfinals this year, which was great, but has since amassed agent rejections into the double digits. I’ve had two nibbles of interest, though, so fingers crossed. Other than that, I’m trying to get a handle on an as yet untitled YA fantasy thriller something or other. I mostly have a first chapter, but I have no idea where it’s going. I also plan on writing a follow-up to The Watchmaker at some point. And I’ve apparently started another short story, because I had a freaky dream the other night and thought, Hey, short story! Only instead of helicopters crashing, let’s channel China Miéville and go with something super weird. Oh, and there’s also my contribution to Return to Elgin, the collaborative urban fantasy I’m writing with Jill Corddry and August Niehaus. I should have a new chapter up by week’s end.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?

To be honest, I’m not sure how to answer this question. If you go in for stereotypes, I’m not a fan of the YA love triangle, or the oh my god let’s get all hotpants for the bad boy because he’s so dreamy and he’s super mean and douchy because he’s complicated and I can save him. I’m more a beta male character kind of guy, which I’m sure is a complete surprise to everyone who just read this sentence.

As you can see by the answer to this question, I’m terrible at marketing myself.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always been drawn to fantasy. I spent some time in college–let’s call them my Douchy Book years–thinking only literary novels were worth reading. This translated into thinking the only writing worth writing was literary, by which I mean plotless character studies. Not that all literary novels qualify as such, that’s just how I saw my writing at the time. Thankfully, I quickly rediscovered my love of fantasy, because let me tell you, my writing SUCKED back then. The fantasy I like now isn’t so much your standard sword and sorcery and dragons, but runs the gamut of, hell, I don’t know, anything “off the wall,” as my father-in-law would describe it. Basically, I write fantasy because it’s what I love to read, and because every idea I have comes laden with some amount of it.

4. How does my writing process work?

Imagine my 2-year-old’s diaper after a big steamy one. Now imagine the first draft of a book I just finished writing.

They look the same, don’t they?

My first drafts are really convoluted, and the writing is beyond bloated. I’m not a planner or outliner; I’m most successful when I stop trying to think about what I’m writing and simply let the words flow. As such, I’m never entirely sure where a story’s headed. But I know I won’t know unless I write it. Which also means I write chronologically, so there’s no, Oh, let’s write this scene for part 3 even though part 1 isn’t done. For me, writing the way I do lets my characters and the plot grow organically, which provides me with plenty of surprising twists and turns. The real, readable story gets carved out in subsequent edits. Once I’m happy with a draft, I get my beta buddies Eva and Jill to read it. My books and stories would not be what they are without them. Then I edit, and have a couple other people read them. Then I edit again, and again, and *counts to infinity edits*

5. Speaking of my awesome writer friends …

Since Eva tagged me, I won’t re-tag her. But there’s Jill, who writes urban fantasy. Since I’m new to blogging, I won’t pester other writers I know who have blogs, because I’m sure they’ve been tagged a quadrillion times.

Anyway. There you have it. My life as a writer. Or, as I like to call it, next summer’s record-breaking Hollywood blockbuster.