What does 2012 have in store?

Posted on January 1, 2012 (Subscribe to Blog)

If I were to make a few New Year's resolutions, they would include writing more, promoting more, and submitting more. As much as I like writing, I look back on the latter half of 2011 and can't help being annoyed at how little writing I've got done. Apart from a couple of interviews/featured spots, I've hardly promoted my Island of Fog books at all. And as for submitting to publishers... well, I think I've submitted to a grand total of two.

Well, something got me focused the other day. It was an email from Amazon about ABNA, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. I entered Island of Fog into this competition in January 2010 and made it through to the quarterfinals (read about it here), and now I'm wondering if I might have any luck with Caleb's World (formerly The Impossible World). I guess it can't hurt to try.

With that in mind, I aim to finish its last chapter shortly and give it another read-through. The rest is fairly well polished, having been read and edited numerous times.

Meanwhile, I dusted off an older piece that I've been wanting to finish for a long time. Quincy's Curse is half-complete at nearly 36,000 words (target is 65,000) and I really, really like this one. It's a traditional fantasy setting with knights and dragons and all manner of other creatures, and is intended as a lighter read than the Fog series. Having said that, it gets darker as it goes on, and one of the characters is a nasty brute known as the Red-Legged Scissor-Man.

This fiend is largely unknown but could be compared with some of the darker nursery tales like Hansel and Gretel (which, let's face it, is about cannibalism!). If you have a young child who sucks his thumb, warn him that the Red-Legged Scissor-Man will come along one night and snip his thumbs off with his scissors! Or rather, don't warn him, as you're liable to scare him half to death. Check out this excellent short animation (but don't let your kids watch!)...

Like the popularized tales of the Brothers Grimm, this freaky Scissor-Man goes back to nineteenth century Germany, published as one of a collection of scary stories for children. The full book is printed online if you want to see it, and of course includes The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb. I'm not entirely certain about copyright laws here, but I think the pages of the book are in the public domain in this country. But in any case, the character of the Red-Legged Scissor-Man himself is certainly public domain, the same way that Humpty Dumpty and Cinderella are.

In Quincy's Curse, the Red-Legged Scissor-Man doesn't show up and snip off the thumbs of small children, but he is a fearsome man with a tendency to slash and snip with his razor-sharp blades. Still, the story is about Quincy himself, and the predicament he is in. I don't want to say too much more because, frankly, I like the idea of it too much to give away here! This novel is one I intend submitting to publishers, so I'll be keeping it close to my chest for the foreseeable future.

After I've polished Caleb's World and finished at least the first draft of Quincy's Curse, I'll be starting on Book 5 of the Island of Fog series – which, by the way, STILL doesn't have a title.

Happy New Year!

Comment by BRIAN CLOPPER on Friday, January 13, 2012...

Love the name Quincy! I'm excited to see this new book. I love ISLAND OF FOG and my class is eagerly awaiting the fifth book, but I understand the need to diversify your workload. Here's hoping this is the year where all your hard work finds the larger audience it so richly deserves.

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