I'm a goal-setter. Big goals, little goals, I like having a finish line in sight, something I can strive toward and better myself along the way.
One of my goals this summer has been to lose a little weight and get in better shape. I'm happy to say I've made progress, shedding most of the flub around my middle through diet (cutting down on calories and eliminating cookies and ice cream for the time being) and exercise (free weights at home in addition to the regularly scheduled gym visits). I haven't stepped on a scale since Christmas at my in-laws, when I was shocked to see ONE PERSON AT A TIME flash on the screen. But I plan to weigh in at the nurse's office when I go back to work next month. Fingers crossed that I'll be 15 pounds lighter.
Work. That. As a teacher, I thoroughly enjoy my summer vacations. 10 weeks with no lesson plans, discipline issues, piles of grading, staff meetings, or parent conferences. 10 weeks to pretend I'm a full-time writer. This summer, I've focused on two manuscripts that have been languishing, untended and neglected, on my hard drive for the past 6 or 7 years.
After the Sky (125,000 words; post-apocalyptic fantasy) consumed the first half of my vacation as I revised, edited, and proofread the manuscript from start to finish, cutting 20,000 words as I tightened things up. It's now out on the query circuit, visiting as many agents' inboxes as it can possibly find. Here's the pitch and blurb-in-progress:
Post-apocalyptic survivors gifted with superhuman abilities struggle to avoid extinction at the hands of grotesque mutants, subterranean zealots, and capricious spirits of the earth.
After the Sky is the story of four survivors among hundreds: Milton – haunted by a past he's unable to escape, despite the superhuman speed he possesses; Daiyna – expected to be a fertile womb of the future but determined to destroy the flesh-eating mutants she sees in the darkness; Luther – man of conviction who believes the Creator has given humankind a second chance, yet he's uncertain they deserve it; and Willard – brilliant engineer determined to remain underground to avoid becoming infected and who's willing to kill to have his way. Together, their stories merge as their lives collide and the bizarre mysteries of a strange new world unravel one by one, culminating in the ultimate life-or-death choice one survivor will make for them all.
Next week, I'll share a little about manuscript #2: BackTracker (145,000 words; future noir).