Climbing Out of the Cave

Two days ago I finished the first draft of my NaNo novel, which will be the third book in the Stasis trilogy. My word count is rougly 70,000. Not bad for three weeks. I read it over yesterday and didn’t hate it, which is good; now it’s in my wonderful editor’s hands and we’ll see what she thinks of it.

Last weekend my family paid a visit to Moaning Cavern, an enormous cave in the Sierra Nevada foothills. To explore the cave you walk down 234 steps. The topmost part of the stairway was blasted into the rock by miners who decided they could make more money off tourists than gold. But most of the steps are part of a narrow spiral stairway that was built in 1922 from the wreck of a WWI battleship. They don’t tell you that bit until you’re at the bottom, however; the only way out then is to climb back up those 234 steps.

It occurs to me that writing a novel is a lot like ascending that stairway. You begin energetically enough, but somewhere near the middle you’re getting more and more exhausted and it’s beginning to seem like you’ll never reach the top. To make things worse, people are already bounding ahead of you (in this case, those people were my daughters, who have lots more energy than I do). But you just continue to rise, step after step after step, because that’s the only way. And suddenly you realize that you’re almost there, and you haul yourself up those last bunch of feet. And then you’re at the top. Worn out, needing a break maybe, but you made it. And that’s a really exhilarating feeling.

I am pleased to be out in the sunlight once again. Now I can work on the edits for my m/m romance novel. I haven’t thought yet of a good metaphor for the revision process.


I am the author of the novel Stasis and the sequel, Flux. I am currently working on the third novel in this trilogy. These books are dark fantasy, set in an alternate universe not so very different from our own. Here’s the summary of the first novel:

Praesidium is the most prosperous city-state in the world, due not only to its location at the mouth of a great bay, but also to its strict laws, stringently enforced. Ordinary criminals become bond-slaves, but the Wizard places traitors in Stasis, a dreamless frozen state. Ennek is the Chief’s younger son. He has grown up without much of a purpose, a man who cannot fulfill his true desires and who skates on the edge of the law. But he is also haunted by the plight of one man, a prisoner for whom Stasis appears to be a truly horrible fate. If Ennek is to save that prisoner, he must explore Praesidium’s deepest secrets as well as his own.

These novels were written during consecutive NaNoWriMo years, so I plan on completing the first draft of the third novel by the end of November 2011. I donate 100% of my royalties from these books to Doctors Without Borders.

I am also working on an unrelated novel, a gay romance involving a supernatural element. The first draft is complete. More news on that project as it develops.