The Next Big Thing – My Current Work in Progress (Pigeonfall)

BooksBlackandWhiteNow before you think me vain or a little soft in the head, let me explain that this is the title of a blog hop/chain/meme/I-don’t-know-what-it’s-called. A member from the Words Are In Order (WAIOs) writing group, Ivan Ewert tagged me for it.  At the same time I think he got Anthony Cardno.  We can blame Ivan’s conversaion from Shay Derrach who also got Kay Holt and Sabrina Vourvoulias.

This blog hop/chain/meme/I-don’t-know-what-it’s-called looked like a great little Q & A about my current Work In Progress so how could I resist? Of course, this was supposed to go up on May 30th and as usual, I’m late – June 1st. 🙂  But it was still fun to do.  It holds me accountable for my own project and of course gives you a bit of an idea of where the story came from. I hope you’ll be as entertained reading it as I was writing it.

1.  What is the working title of your next book?


2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Originally, this started as a joke. A good friend and amazing writer had just started as a slush reader for Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I threatened to send her an AWFUL submission with a ridiculous storyline and to do it under the questionable moniker of Brownlee Mummerschmidt.  It would be steampunk/alternate history set in the Old West.

It was to be a trail drive story, only with passenger pigeons instead of cattle and airships instead of horses.  🙂 The closest way to describe it is a steampunk version of Lonesome Dove (and for those of you who haven’t read this, it is AMAZING). So I began writing, and then the most wonderful thing happened.  About fifty thousand words later, that idea didn’t sound quite so stupid; and a couple of spin-off short stories with the same characters later, suddenly people are asking when the novel will be out.  Yikes! This was supposed to have been a joke!

3. What genre does your book fall under?

This WIP clearly falls into the Steampunk/Weird West subgenre (is that a subgenre?). It reads like a western, but with fun technology.

4. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm, I need to watch more television.  I’ll have to come back to this question later. (Can I do that?)

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? (Okay, I cheated.  I used 2 sentences)

Pigeonfall – After the Civil War, two veterans are trying to herd a flock of a billion pigeons across the Great Sioux Confederacy to California Territory.  Aloft in giant airships and Iron Flyers, one is a battered and broken knight seeking redemption for the many deaths caused by his hand; the other is a young knight-errant, seeking his destiny.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I would like to query agents and publishers first, most likely traditional, and then independent and small publishers.  If it never sells, I shall be very sad (and then may self-publish). 

7. How long did/will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m still working on it.  As mentioned earlier, I’m about fifty thousand words in and have ground to a screeching halt.  My not-so-secret goal is to complete a “zero draft” all the way to the final “The End” by December 31, 2013.  It is possible.  Not likely, but possible.  I keep reminding myself that I made a commitment.  The N-word (no, not THAT one, I mean “novel”) is a little intimidating. 

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Within genre, I can’t say I’ve seen a strong comparison.  Outside genre, I’d have to once again reference Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove and possibly Cullen Bunn’s The Sixth Gun.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I have to admit my inspirations tend to come from reading history.  This book, as mentioned earlier, began as a joke. Then I’d discover I needed to learn more about airships, and then about passenger pigeons, and then the layout of Fort Laramie in the 1800s, and the “ands” just kept on coming. I found more fascinating tidbits to include in the story, in the character’s backgrounds, and in the world. 

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are some great female characters who are strong women without seeming out of place for the time period.  I also love putting in professional or historic phrasing and terminology here and there, or a location or person that if you know your history, it’ll be a bit of extra fun.

Now for the last part of this blog hop/chain/meme/I-don’t-know-what-it’s-called, tagging other writers. For the Next Big Thing, I choose:


Linda Adams

Posted on June 8 –

Wayland Smith

Nothing yet.  🙂

DL Thurston

Posted on June 6 –

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