You know that light at the end of the tunnel?

I’m totally seeing it in all its multicolored glory. It’s there, with sunlight and chirping birds, but it’s still a few days hike. Or rather a few weeks in the case of this story. All my little parts and pieces are coming together, and it’s interesting to see this wide cast of characters have to work together. Terry is turning out to be far more distrustful than I expected, which you kind of have to expect from a dude who got betrayed and had his memories stolen from him.

I wanted to talk a little bit today about the confrontation I had with two major leaders in my werewolf pack. It was a while back, but some of the behavior now has rippled down from the event earlier in the book and I wanted to address it. At one point the pack leadership gets questioned and two of my major dudes, Rolph and Brakkis, confront each other on who should lead the pack. Have you ever watched a nature documentary about wolves? I mean a real one where they show their hunting patterns, how they have to trail after a prey for days until it gets exhausted, and how different members of the pack get different roles depending on their strengths, not those that talk about the mystery of wolves and how majestic their howls sound. This is more how my werewolf pack is behaving, much like how I imagine a real wolf pack would in the wild. I think many people see werewolves as always vying for power against each other, fighting over territory, and getting into scuffles over the simplest of problems. However, when I look into documentaries on wolves, I see a whole different story.

A lone wolf has become a popular metaphor for a reason, because it doesn’t happen often. Wolves need a pack to survive, and it’s not solely for company either. Some of the best pack hunters in the world are wild dogs in Africa because each member has broken down for them their role and their path. During a hunt they can signal to each other without a sound what the next move will be. Take a look at this video that gives an example.

Pole-to-Pole: Hunting Dogs

That takes more than luck, that takes coordination, trust, and a clear definition of who’s in charge and who’s following. I think that’s why I have issues with many of the werewolves we see on film. I could bring Wolf Man up again, but you see it everywhere. Werewolves constantly competing over some object, either territory or women or prey or whatever. I just don’t understand how that would equal long-term survival from a scientific perspective if that’s how they lived day in, day out.

So I’ve gone against that in my story. Sure, you see the major confrontation between Rolph and Brakkis for leadership, but once a clear decision is made, the two respect it. So does the rest of the pack. I think this makes much more sense for the survival of individual members as well as the pack as a whole.

Anyway, enough of my sleepy ramblings for right now. On to my latest word count!

Project: Secrets of Leekston

Summary: Leekston is an unassumingly quiet southern town, but it hides many secrets. An unusual government entity studies the supernatural activity in the area, but for what purpose? A crazy scientist runs a research lab of particular patients, and his daughter may pay the price for the people he’s maimed. Six years after the incident at the Kayak Hills subdivision, sixteen year-old Suzie Daper once again must protect her family, this time from a bloodthirsty werewolf pack bent on destroying anyone standing in the way of their vengeance.

Current total words: 82,211
New words written: 2,211

Total Words for 2012: 95,212

Car Chases and Unexpected Romances

That pretty much sums up the progress in the book so far, both of which were completely unexpected. I have to admit though that the car chase was a heck of a lot of fun to write, and although I haven’t been in any in real life, I can attest to driving quite a bit on the interstate. I’ve decided to retcon Ben’s background and turn him into a truck driver because that totally fits better with his personality and his attitude. He’s kind of grown on me over the book even though at the beginning he was just a side character. It’s funny how frequently that happens when you write from the seat of your pants.

As for the romance, that was also unexpected. I was trying to push it onto another pair of characters, but it totally didn’t fit. They didn’t like it and they certainly weren’t going to keep it up. This one kind of slipped past me and suddenly there it was, glaringly obvious and staring me right in the face. It is a bit odd considering who the two characters are, but somehow it works perfectly for them and explains quite a bit of off the wall behavior. I’m amused by how these romances find their way into my stories, I’d say they were the equivalent of gremlins but that wouldn’t be quite fair, would it? Ghosts of Pikes Peak also had a similar unexpected romance, and going with it led to some much more dynamic and interesting characters. I’m hoping that happens here as well. Anyway, sometimes it’s best to let the characters decide, right? (Crossing my fingers!)

I know this is a commercial and I’m sure some of you have already seen it, but it just struck me as being some of the more uplifting stuff I’ve seen on the internet lately. With all the thousands of youtube videos of folks getting injured or hurt or robbed, this was a nice dissenter.

Here’s the progress:

Project: Secrets of Leekston

Summary: Leekston is an unassumingly quiet southern town, but it hides many secrets. An unusual government entity studies the supernatural activity in the area, but for what purpose? A crazy scientist runs a research lab of particular patients, and his daughter may pay the price for the people he’s maimed. Six years after the incident at the Kayak Hills subdivision, sixteen year-old Suzie Daper once again must protect her family, this time from a bloodthirsty werewolf pack bent on destroying anyone standing in the way of their vengeance.

Current total words: 80,000 (Uhh, seriously? *checks again* Yep, that’s right. Mind is blown.)
New words written: 3,395

Total Words for 2012: 93,001

Favorite Quote: They’re talking about a car in case you hadn’t guessed. 😉

“How much would you say your father paid for this, Kate?” Ben asked.

She blinked, “What?”

“This baby must be worth a small fortune the way she moved. Mm! If cars were women, eh Rolph?” he laughed.

Rolph shook his head and sighed, “If cars were women, I don’t think you’d be nearly as interested in her.”

In real life: Looking forward to celebrating father’s day with my Dad tonight! Not sure where we’re going or what we plan on doing, but I’m looking forward to it! Also I started season 2 of Game of Thrones recently. It’s so darn addictive!

Playing catch up

Watched Alien again last night, which was really fun. It’s so much more tense than Prometheus was for me, and even with the opening credits you get tense from the music and visuals alone. We watched Insidious after that (I know, impromptu horror movie night!) which was as amusing as it was scary, which actually was pretty fun. I’m not used to switching from laughing to terrified in less than a minute, but the movie pulled it off pretty well. You were never sure if it was taking itself seriously or not, which somehow worked just fine. It’s up for streaming on Netflix so if you haven’t seen it, you probably want to check it out.

Wow I somehow got two days behind with my Camp NaNo word count, oops! So my writing goal today was 3,000 words, which I ended getting way over, which makes me pleased. Lots of great plot points happened here, with Terry realizing what kind of person he was (a real shocker for him) and the introduction of a mysterious man in armor. He knows more than the regular folks do, so there is going to be a lot of explanation going on in the next few chapters. I’m excited and nervous about that at the same time. I get to pull back the curtain and show the audience the workings of this madness, which I hope is going to have all the gears turning properly with all the parts well oiled.

On to word metrics!

Project: Secrets of Leekston

Summary: Leekston is an unassumingly quiet southern town, but it hides many secrets. An unusual government entity studies the supernatural activity in the area, but for what purpose? A crazy scientist runs a research lab of particular patients, and his daughter may pay the price for the people he’s maimed. Six years after the incident at the Kayak Hills subdivision, sixteen year-old Suzie Daper once again must protect her family, this time from a bloodthirsty werewolf pack bent on destroying anyone standing in the way of their vengeance.

Current total words: 76,605
New words written:4,010

Total Words for 2012: 89,606

Progress in Novel: The trio finds out some background information on some prominent members of the pack. Terry gets a real wake-up call and then there’s a total shift of priorities. Nothing like having your life in danger to make you sit up and work through your self-loathing, right?

The Importance of Debate and Title Trouble

Had a serious chat about past events in the town as Kate learns more about her father. She grows a spine and ends up having to do some interesting political jumps as well. This poor girl is having to grow up fast from the selfish, whining child she was before. I’m glad that I ended up writing from her perspective because I feel like I’m able to really dig deep into what makes her character tick and show how this is changing who she is. Ended up having to make up for missing half of my NaNo writing yesterday because we went to go see Prometheus.

Just a moment while I do a nerd headdesk. Alright, now that that’s out of my system…

I’ve been watching TED talks on Netflix lately, and came across this one earlier today. I had listened to it previously in podcast form, so watching it was really a treat.

Watching this makes me glad that I turned my werewolf bid for power away from a typical attack and slash battle into a political match. It made that scene much juicier and really adds a bit of flavor to my version of werewolves in this story. I admit that I rolled my eyes in Wolf Man when the climax of the movie was reduced to two werewolves duking it out. I like awesome fight scenes as much as the next action aficionado, but that was just a silly way to end it. It’s a fun film to be sure, and I own the blu-ray copy here at the house to prove it, but it had some major issues for me. I like to skip to the good parts and rarely watch it from beginning to end.

On to word metrics!

Project: Secrets of Leekston

Summary: Leekston is an unassumingly quiet southern town, but it hides many secrets. An unusual government entity studies the supernatural activity in the area, but for what purpose? A crazy scientist runs a research lab of particular patients, and his daughter may pay the price for the people he’s maimed. Six years after the incident at the Kayak Hills subdivision, sixteen year-old Suzie Daper once again must protect her family, this time from a bloodthirsty werewolf pack bent on destroying anyone standing in the way of their vengeance.

Current total words: 72,595
New words written: 6/12 and 6/13 – 4,142

Total Words for 2012: 85,596

Favorite Line: This just made me laugh, so I thought I’d share. Can you imagine this guy as your High School principal? 🙂

Janos nodded, his brow glistening with sweat. The man had a formidable build, but he always dressed as though he’d never left the 70s. His Beatles-esque haircut only made his flowery psychedelic tie more prominent.

PS. I’m still not happy with this title. I have so many twists and turns with the plot of this book that it’s hard to figure out what to call it. More than likely the title won’t be finalized until the book’s nearly done. Hopefully I figure it out *before* this draft is done. Why can’t I come up with awesome names like Cherie Priest’s upcoming book, Fiddlehead? Somehow she’s able to come up with book titles before writing, which tells me she must plan quite a bit ahead of time. So jealous!

Belated writing updates

At the unanimous agreement of the rest of my Camp Cabin members, I started a new perspective today. I thought it would be a good idea to see what was going on inside the camp while the main trio goes off to find out what they can at the research facility. A bunch of things have changed in the pack, but our main characters don’t know about them yet. It’ll definitely be a surprise. I’m actually liking Kate’s perspective more than I realized I would. She’s kind of the bully ringleader in the books, and she gets brought down a few pegs this time around.

Had a great time with the Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend! I took a lot of video and several screenshots as well. Once I figure out how to splice them properly I may be posting a few of the videos to Youtube.

In other news, I dropped by on Amazon earlier this weekend just to check on any reviews I had gotten on my ebooks that were published out there. I found out that Clawbinder had gotten a couple of sour (2-star) reviews, though they were honest in their reasons why. Apparently the dialect of the giant Roc, Rajani, rubbed them the wrong way, which I can certainly understand. That kind of thing is rather subjective, but these reviews were in complete contrast to some of the others I’ve seen on the piece. I’ve gotten a positive review for it on iTunes and it helped me get a writing contract late last year as well from someone who really liked the piece. I was sad to see that folks had similar distaste with the story, but I suppose fantasy in general is rather subjective.

Finding those reviews got me kind of down on Saturday so my sister looked up one-star reviews of The Hobbit on Goodreads, one of my favorite novels. If people can hate The Hobbit, I guess I can take a few bad reviews as well, right? I’m just sorry that there aren’t many reviews at all for the piece, so the overall star rating has gone down for it.

Anyway I’ve been rolling on forward with Secrets of Leekston, and I’m realizing that it may turn out to be quite long. I’m hoping it won’t be longer than 100k, otherwise it’ll be tougher to sell, but we’ll see how it goes.

Project: Secrets of Leekston

Summary: Leekston is an unassumingly quiet southern town, but it hides many secrets. An unusual government entity studies the supernatural activity in the area, but for what purpose? A crazy scientist runs a research lab of particular patients, and his daughter may pay the price for the people he’s maimed. Six years after the incident at the Kayak Hills subdivision, sixteen year-old Suzie Daper once again must protect her family, this time from a bloodthirsty werewolf pack bent on destroying anyone standing in the way of their vengeance.

Current total words: 68,453
New words written: 6/9 – 2,497, 6/11 – 2,482

Total Words for 2012: 81,454