Makes ya wanna think.



I am proud of finishing the third draft of Hel’s Bet. It took me 15 long and often painful months but I kept on writing.

I am confident that this draft will sell.

It’s appropriate that I limp across the finish line burnt out and aching. My late summer spurt of writing was crucial to getting HB done but it broiled my writing lobe. I’ve been absent from this blog because I put every word on the page.

During the last week of rewriting I vowed to jump into Martel Lake at dawn if I didn’t get the book rewritten by 11/9. That was great motivation and I wound up writing all night to escape a cold morning dive. I took a break and did a final readthrough before I started circulating the manuscript.

After I finished the rewrite I took the dogs camping in the woods:

We were planning to camp for 2 nights but Travis had other ideas. I slept 12 hours the first night and was raring to go the next day. We did an epic circumnavigation of Lake Almira through bogs and thickets and open forest and when we were 3 miles into the 4 mile hike Travis flushed a pair of deer and was off to the races.

We were hiking in an unfamiliar area so I was a tad concerned but Travis was chasing the deer back toward Martel Lake. We followed him calling “TRAVIIIIS!” When we got to Martel I was surprised to see a couple guys by the Haunted Trailer wearing green shiny vests. I asked them if they owned the trailer (never met the owners) and they told me they were clearing branches from the powerline but was I missing a dog because one just ran by chasing a deer into the lake.

I ran to the shore and sure enough there was Travis halfway across Martel swimming slower and slower. The deer was long gone. Martel is cold:

I yelled at Travis to swim to Ogre Island and he turned around and paddled to it while Mika and I ran to get the canoe. The lake was iced over between the dock and the island. We broke ice out to Ogre and rescued shivering but happy Travis. I took him to the cabin to try to dry him out and warm him up but it was obvious he was in no shape for another night in a tent. And I didn’t particularly want to snuggle with an icy dog. Travis slept like a rock.

I am taking a week off from HB work. I need to recuperate, straighten up the cabin, work on some of my lost skills, and plot strategy for getting the best agent I can.

I am circulating the manuscript (just during December 2009) so if you want to read a little story about kickstarting the Singularity by stealing a space shuttle give me a shoutout.

We’ve got the first longterm snow of the season and are expecting more. The lake froze over but it will be a month before the ice is safe for hiking.

Every month I send my patrons and friends an update letter. This month’s letter:


I finally finished the damn thing! I beat my deadline and avoided having to jump into the lake. I celebrated by taking the dogs camping.

Hel’s Bet is a 190k monster of a book that I am rather proud of. Finishing this draft is by far the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. It took 15 months from the time I got my critique of draft 2 until I finished this draft. I started incredibly slowly – last March I had only finished 50 of the 880 pages. My late summer writing spurt was wonderful but ground down my writing neurons to a nub.

I’m only glad that a novel can’t crash. The last month of bug hunting before putting any game out the door always soured me on the game – I couldn’t believe anyone would play it without a gun to their head. Hel’s Bet still amuses me.

Now I get to find an agent and a publisher. This month I’ll work with Brook to write the query letter and 1 page synopsis. We’ve already made a target list of the 10 agents who did the biggest deals in speculative fiction recently as our first prospects. 

I’d love to hear what you think of Hel’s Bet. I couldn’t have finished it without your help.

I finished stacking my firewood today and am ready for the big snow. It’s great to have a new roof on the cabin.

Thank you,


As I search for an agent I will post regularly here.

Here’s a thumbnail review of Fall at The Pad.

4 responses

  1. Ken

    Congrats on getting to stage 3. I wonder how many there are?

    December 7, 2009 at 2:20 pm

  2. I’d bet up to $3.25 that I’ll sell this draft.

    December 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

  3. myrna

    Fun to see you up on your blog. Nice to review the adventure withTravis.

    Good luck with query letter, and synopsis. Hel here I come!!

    December 8, 2009 at 3:13 pm

  4. I would like to read… I can’t promise a fast response because I’m still going through a YA manuscript of my mother’s, but I’ve been curious ever since 47 first started talking about it.

    December 11, 2009 at 6:25 pm

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