Works in Progress

I love short stories. I mean *really* love them. I think it stems from our propensity as humans to instantly digest new situations. We pass a person on the street and are able to draw all sorts of conclusions about that person from just a moment’s glance. For me, short stories are those momentary glances with the addition of a look over our shoulders after we have passed the person by to see something new that maybe the person never intended for us to see. So I am always tinkering on short stories, often several at a time.

But in 2013, I stumbled across a–quite frankly–delicious idea for a novel. I had never even entertained the idea of a novel before (hello, commitment phobia anyone?), but I just couldn’t shake this story idea. And the more I thought about it and talked about it to anyone who would listen, the more I realized that this was a novel that I really wanted to write. So during Write Across Nebraska, a weekend writing event sponsored by the Nebraska Writers Guild, I sat down and wrote. And wrote and wrote and wrote. At the end of the 72-hour marathon, I had churned out 20,000+ words and realized that I didn’t want to write a novel but an actual trilogy.

Truth be told, that realization scared the bejesus out of me. My longest short story to date was about 25 pages and here I was saying that I needed to write about 900 pages to really tell this story that I just couldn’t shake. Even more terrifying was that, as I was working on this story line, another (unrelated) one was burrowing into my brain and making itself all cozy. While I was jotting down notes for the second novel (and realizing that it was not a single novel but an entire series), a character for a third story idea pushed her way to the front of the line and demanded attention.

Ah the life of a writer: totally unable to control the party in your head (and a little nervous about what all these new guests are doing up there when you’re not looking).

So if you’ve enjoyed my short stories and might be inclined to read longer works, here is my progress to date.

[progpress title=”Trilogy: Book 1″ goal=”90000″ current=”67049″ label=”words”]

In the very near future, a flu-like virus strikes with unprecedented virulence. After several waves, the world’s population has been decimated. Women and children have been particularly hard hit. Of the survivors, only 20% are women, and only half of them can reproduce. Women now fall into one of two categories: those to be protected at all costs and those to be used however men see fit. The story focuses on Takina and her younger sister Kira, who are forced to deal with the realities of this world after their parents are killed. When a well-meaning individual intervenes to save Takina from the slave auction, he inadvertently causes Kira and Takina to be separated. Book 1 follows Takina’s efforts to find her sister and save her from the Immortals, the closed community of people immune to the virus. But will Kira want to be saved?

Estimated publication date: Late 2014
[progpress title=”Adventures with Corrin and Grace” goal=”50000″ current=”41634″ label=”words”]

Young adult fantasy. Sisters Corrin and Grace are pulled into an alternate world where they are expected to battle mind-controlled dragons to save the tree that gives the world its power so they can return to their own world. Each sister has a secret that she believes gives her the power to save the tree, but they must work together to make sure they both survive.

Estimated publication date: Christmas 2014
[progpress title=”1940s Nebraska” goal=”50000″ current=”4500″ label=”words”]

Marguerite is helping her immigrant parents build a horse ranch in rural Nebraska while waiting for her fiance Walter to return from World War II. But Walter dies of pneumonia before leaving for Europe, and her parents die in a barn fire that kills all their horses as well. Left completely alone, Marguerite makes unconventional choices to ensure her survival while saving what she can of her family’s homestead.

Estimated publication date: 2015