Just a quick update and some details about my most recent venture into the National Novel Writers Month Competition. I did it yet again, completing my 8th binge written novel. I was able to finish the novel a day early, it’s 83,000 words or 152 pages long in its rough form. A semi-finalized “Readable” version will likely be considerably shorter, I would guess around 70k, and I hope to have it available to beta readers by the start of next year’s NaNoWriMo contest.

The novel is called “Trail of Blood” and will likely be the title it stays with, the only other possible title might be “Knights in Shining RV’s”. The story was heavily inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West” the video game “Oregon Trail 2” and this summer’s passing interest in Motorhomes. The novel is my most violent yet, and also the most Christian positive.

Now, I am and remain a devout and proud atheist, and the first two novels I wrote for this contest had heavily anti-christian undertones, this one however gives them a little more credit. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to have a greater respect for Christians who devote their lives to the non-judgemental help of those less fortunate, even though I do not agree with their belief in a higher power or an afterlife. This is all thanks in large part to a good friend of mine that I have recently reconnected with who is now a pasture, “Pasture Max” a character based on him appears in the book in a number of places.

On a completely different note, this novel also features my first two transgender characters, named Foxy Cocktale and Happy Starlight (the best character names I’ve ever come up with, I don’t care who you are).

“Trail of Blood” is my first foray into the Sci-Fi subgenre of Dieselpunk. This is not exactly a well-known subgenre, and would take a very long time to explain so for comparison you can think of the Mad Max franchise or (if you’re lucky enough to remember it) the TaleSpine TV show, and if that doesn’t explain it well enough, then Google Dieselpunk and do an image search and you’ll get a rough idea.

It’s not just Dieselpunk, there are elements of Steampunk, Solarpunk, and Stonepunk all thrown into the mix. Again these are too complex to explain so I would also recommend googleing them as well. Even though these elements are in the novel, it is most heavily Dieselpunk.

I would explain the premiss of the novel in greater detail, but I think the short first chapter does that quite well, and you can read it for yourself:

America in the Mid 2000’s. Ours is a divided nation, a broken nation, full of scarred idiots looking for a witch. As the population grows our resources become scares. Thousands look west where the promise of a better life shines in the sun. From all over the east coast, people are selling nearly everything they have, loading their remaining possessions into armored motorhomes. They’re heading across the wilderness to the solar cities in California, Oregon, and on the banks of the Great Salt Lake, following trails blazed nearly two centuries earlier. Along the way they experience the reclaimed wilderness of the Midwest. They see sites they can’t unsee, and encounter both heroes and monsters. It’s not an easy journey. It’s hard and long, filled with danger, deserts, war, mountains, cannibals, untamed rivers. Many will fall, but the risk is worth it for those who survive. A trail paved in blood with life and opportunity at its end. Will you take the chance? Come on let’s go.