The Writer’s Blog Hop!!!!

I have been asked by author Antha Adkins to participate in a blog hop. Writers answer four questions then pass the baton onto two other writers. This is a fun exercise and gives insight into the work and process of the writers of today. Antha’s response to these questions can be found at

Antha Adkins

Here are my answers to the questions:

What am I working on?

I don’t think I’ve ever had just one project going by itself, actually. I always have a number of works in various stages of completion. But, I’ve found from experience, that one needs to be cautious. Every time there is a new idea (and there’s a constant barrage of them). The temptation to drop everything and start on that new idea right away is intoxicating.

Don’t ignore you’re existing work or works. Discipline is key.  If you don’t move forward and finish a project, then you will eventually end up with a box full of half-done manuscripts.

To quell the desire to jump on the next best idea, I write a short description and file it away. I go back to that file routinely and if the idea stills gets me fired up, I’ll work on it. A number of times, however, what I considered the most exciting and amazing idea ever… just wasn’t.

So to answer the first question, I would have to say I’m working on two projects heavily and two projects in different stages of preparation.

The project that is closest to completion is the first book in a fantasy trilogy called Enclave. This is an ensemble cast of characters and I’ve enjoyed getting to know each of them.

Enclave is a “quest” story, in the broadest sense. There are Young Adult themes and New Adult themes present in the work, with a nice adventure and discovery element that moves the plot forward. There is magic, of course, but in Enclave, two vastly different magical systems are in place. One is based on logic and the other has more of a quantum mechanics feel to it.

I started out this project trying an experiment. I wanted to experience being a “pantser.” This is a writer that just starts writing and sees where the story goes. It’s fun and exciting. You really become immersed in your world.

I had an idea, two characters and an opening line. Then I just started typing. Some call it discovery writing. This works well for many authors while others find it too nebulous and disorganized.

On the other spectrum are the “Plotters.” Plotters spend a great deal of time fine-tuning a plot. Then they begin writing their story.

I’m not sure, but I feel that a combination of the two extremes works best for me.


How does my work differ from others in the Genre?

Enclave might be considered Young Adult by some and New Adult by others, because there are young characters dealing with loss and growth and change, but I have an ensemble cast of characters, all working together that include characters on the verge of stepping out into the world as an adult. This, I feel is very different. The adults/mentors/protectors in Enclave are not background. They have growth, choices and consequences.

My work also tends to be very character driven and dialogue heavy. It feels very natural for me to write this way.

I also like to include some scientific structure to the magical systems. As a scientist, this is important to me. The concepts of dimensionality and String Theory/M Theory can also be seen in this trilogy, if one is open to them.

Why do I write what I do?

As with most writers, I write what I do because the story needs to come out. I’ve come into the writing world rather late in my career. But now that can engineer more consistent time to write, the stories won’t stop coming. An anxiety begins to set in as the stories pile up and intrude on your daily life. They must come out. I must write them. I hope people will enjoy reading them.

The stories I write now are science fiction and fantasy. I am most comfortable in these genres. As a physician-scientist in the Space Medicine and Physiology arena and doing Internal Medicine as a hospitalist, I strive to introduce medical concepts in all of my stories. I do not write medical thrillers. I believe that health and wellness and illness are all aspects of a normal existence. These concepts should be introduced to enhance the world we are creating.

How does my writing process work?

I set aside time everyday to write. Even after working an 18-hour day at the hospital. I must set aside time to write. Usually this is before bed. I don’t have a word limit, per say, or a time limit. In general I can get 1000-2000 words down in each session, if I don’t fall asleep.

I start off by reading the previous day’s writing and I make some edits to it. This helps me get into the flow of my work. Then I create another 1000 – 2000 words. I do this everyday.

I might not work on the same project from day to day, but I do work on something. I’m lucky enough to belong to two critique groups. Each group has a different focus and experience base. We have a strict submission policy for each group, so having that incentive does help me.

The next author on this blog hop, Tim Susman, is a friend of mine that I met during a novel writing workshop. He writes some amazing and creative novels. Tim will answer the same questions, on his blog, next Monday August 4th. Please take the time to check out his answers and also his work.

Tim Susman has published over a dozen novels and numerous short stories under various names, writing about fantastical creatures with human problems, most often anthropomorphic animal characters (think Disney’s Robin Hood in real life). He has researched both animal and human behavior (M.S. in Zoology and five years of experience in market research firms) and has worked as a database analyst, a project manager, and a product manager in the high tech world of Silicon Valley. Currently he lives with his husband in California and blogs at

The next author to share her insights is the very talented Elizabeth Bourne.

Elizabeth Bourne has published short fiction in several Fantasy & Science Fiction venues

Fantasy and Science Fiction  Magazine (A History of Cadmium, What the Red Oaks Knew) 

Interzone (Beasts),

Clarkesworld (One Flesh)

(Evening, Echeconnee Creek) Black Lantern

Currently, Elizabeth is working on a trilogy of novels set in ancient Alexandria, a mystery set in 1920s San Francisco, and a second-world fantasy that wonders what it would be like if you could change your luck. Bourne grew up in Lovecraft country and assures you that his work wasn’t fiction. Elizabeth currently lives in Seattle where trolls do, in fact, live under bridges, and is advised on her writing by her dog, Kai, who eats the bad pages.

I will be hosting her responses to the four questions above, next week on my blog. She will be the first ever Guest Author on my site. I’m a lucky fella!

That nagging sensation….

The rough draft of Enclave is done. That was a wonderful milestone. But I had little time to enjoy it. I’ve set a serious deadline for myself. I want to get a polished manuscript to my Editor by the end of July. It’s a shame I have to work…

It’s been frustrating, liberating, enjoyable and painful. Why do writers do this??? I’ve come to the conclusion, as so many other writers have, that we suffer from a disease. Some unheard of psychological aliment not listed in the DSMV. Someday, I’ll collaborate with one of my colleges and find a cure. But for now, the only cure is to write, then write some more, then keep writing.

I took a small break to make a cup of coffee. My brain hurt. I had to recharge. I wondered why I had this nagging feeling of claustrophobia. It’s not where I’m writing. I enjoy my little writing nook. No, the feeling crept up on me like a silent killer, a colorless gas with no smell filling up the room…

I finally put it into words as I twirled my spoon, clinking it inside my mug.

When you start out writing something, there are so many many possibilities. It’s the endless universe. As you continue putting words on the page, those possibilities are reduced. The more you write, the less the possibility. You’re honing in on a singularity. Eventually you have no more “wiggle room” you feel closed in. Your story has one and only one conclusion.

That was the feeling of claustrophobia I was experiencing as I worked through my rough draft. Recognizing it has made me feel better.

I’m actually excited. My story has a clear goal, a focus. It has a “singularity.”

I had to delete whole swashes of the rough draft. It didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. It felt good, actually. That stuff was fun to write and it was totally necessary for me to write it, but it really wasn’t important to the story.

I did have to rewrite the entire first section of Enclave. I wanted to roam a little in the story, take little detours, but I restrained myself. My only fear now is that I’ve taken some of the “life” out of it. Maybe that’s just a reaction to all of the deleting I’ve been doing.

My editor emailed to see how it was going. I expressed my concern to her and she emailed back. “Don’t worry. We can always add stuff if it is needed. Just get it done.”

That made me feel good. There will be time to “add stuff” if it’s needed.

Hopefully my beta readers will give me direction on that.

Well, I’m off to continue editing. Wish me luck.

Enclave…. The rough draft is done!

Hello All,

I’m excited to say that after 15 hours of writing, I have finally been able to type the greatest 2 words ever… The End!

I’ve completed the rough draft of my fantasy adventure, Enclave. It’s far from ready for general consumption, though. I have a whole lot of editing and rewrites a head of me. But I thought I needed help along the way. Trying to fit in writing and work, well, it’s tough.

Especially since I work with hospital patients and I get called all night long….

So I hired an editor and task master… I mean coach, to help me achieve my goals. Comfort Services, owned by Hilary Ritz, will be editing my work and making sure I’m on track.

You see, I have this crazy notion of finishing this book up and getting another one done by November 2014…. Crazy, right?

So I have to rewrite a bunch of the first half of Enclave. Then I need to polish the whole thing and get it ready for my editor, Hilary and get it ready to send off to a few beta readers. That’s not much time!!!!

Today, after work, I outlined the changes I want to make to the first half of the book. Now, I’ve told myself that I would write the first chapter. TONIGHT! I’ve gotten 514 words done so far, but I wanted to update you all on my progress.

Enclave is the working title of a new fantasy trilogy. I hope you enjoy it.

Wish me luck!