Monday, November 26, 2007

Back at it...

Well, it's been two months since the last update. Spent the first month with writer's block and fumbling around, trying to get through a section of the outline that didn't appear to be terribly exciting.

Spent the second month cranking out the Avenger story (currently awaiting the third round of comments/edits from the publisher).

Got back to Pemberley House and wrote almost 3,000 words yesterday. Hoping for another 1,000 tonight, but I'm not going to kill myself doing it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I heard from the Powers That Be today regarding the manuscript, and they are Pleased.

For my part, I am Relieved and Thrilled. Mostly Relieved.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Farmer Immersion: A PEMBERLEY HOUSE reading list

These are the books I've read in preparation for writing The Evil in Pemberley House--or in many cases, reread. Some of them I am reading simultaneously in order to help maintain the mood.

By Philip José Farmer
  • Tarzan Alive (of course)--I've lost track of how many times I've read this. 5 or 6?
  • Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life--ditto.
  • A Barnstormer in Oz (2)
  • The Dark Heart of Time: A Tarzan Novel (2)
  • Escape from Loki: Doc Savage's First Adventure (3)
  • Love Song (1)--highly recommended if you've never read it.
  • The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (4)
  • Time's Last Gift (4)
  • Image of the Beast (2)
  • Blown (2)
  • Traitor to the Living (1)
  • The Adventure of the Peerless Peer (4 or 5?)
And the others....
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1)
  • The Man of Bronze by Lester Dent (3 or 4?)
  • The Golden Peril by Harold Davis & Lester Dent (1)
  • The Golden Man by Lester Dent (1)
  • They Died Twice by Lester Dent (1)
  • "The Adventure of the Priory School" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (3 or 4)
  • "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (2)
  • Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (2)
  • The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs (2)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Pemberley feedback

I had an interesting exchange with one of the folks here, which I'll reproduce in part:

Blog member:
"All I can tell you about is whether I can follow the story and if it makes sense. Or if I hit a sentence that I have to read two or three times before I understand it.

Anyway, if you don't think having all this input will just drive you to distraction, then I'd be happy to read the chapters as you go along. I will be reading it on a different level than most of the others. While they will get most of the WN references, and enjoy the book because of them, I will not get most of them and therefore will almost be reading it like someone not familiar with the WNU. It will be interesting to see how the book is when you don't know all the really cool background information.

Does that make any sense? So does Pemberley work if someone only recognizes a few of the WN references and therefore doesn't know all the background of the story."

And my response:
"I think it would be great if you read it from the perspective of, does it tell a good story and does it work if someone is not immediately familiar with all the WN references? Also, I am trying not to overwhelm the reader with too many references, and am trying to slip the background mythology in as part of the natural storytelling.

I think you could also tell me if you think I deviate from Phil's style too much anywhere. It would be interesting to see if you can discern where I start writing. I am not actively and consciously trying to emulate Phil's style, but am hoping to capture or get close to it via osmosis.

I am comfortable enough with the state of the latest chapters to send them Phil and Bette; if I get input from you that calls for changes, I can still make them down the road."

So there you have it. I have two takers for chapters 1-9, so I will send them out today.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pemberley House Chapters 1-9

Chapters 1-9 are now in good, 2nd draft shape. I find it easier to write a several chapter chunk, then set it aside for a few days, come back to it and proof/edit, and then move on to the next chunk.

Or perhaps that's just an artifact of needing to send sets of chapters to certain reviewers in Peoria in digestible amounts.

Either way, it works.

I haven't heard from anyone regarding whether they are interested in previews as the novel is written, or whether folks prefer to wait for the final.

As I said in a previous post, my feelings won't be hurt if no one wants to see in-progress previews. But I would like to know one way or another, so that I can either continue to offer the previews or dispense with them.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pemberley House Status Report

After a series of fits and starts over the two years since Mike and I discovered the partial manuscript, mostly complete outline, and associated notes in PJF's basement, I am finally writing in earnest.

First came the OCR conversion of the chapters that PJF wrote, and cleanup of the text. Them came a comparison of the information in the chapters, the outline, and the notes. All of this was also compared to the WNF as PJF finally had it in TA and DS:HAL. I made decisions in order to ensure that continuity and the WNF genealogies were not violated. I also had to clarify how the Curse worked, how it was passed from family member to family member, and quadruple check the genealogy to make sure our heroine was actually subject to the Curse! (Believe me, the background work on all this was a lot more complex than this short paragraph makes it sound.)

Then there was the question of the eroticism in the novel. I prefer not to change any of PJF's original words in the ms., wherever I can avoid it. So that's how I'm writing it, at least for now. I may get different direction later and then I'll have to go back and revise the ms. from R-rated to PG-13. We'll see, but for now, this is the course I've decided upon.

After being sidetracked for almost a year to do the Crossovers book, I returned to PH in late summer this year and finished the outline at the beginning of August, the night before leaving for Archon 31/FarmerCon II, in fact. The outline was about 3/4 complete. The last 1/4 was more notes and ideas than a true outline, but there was certainly enough there that I can confidently say that I did not make up any of the major plot directions or resolutions.

Next, I finished the first incomplete chapter . It was quite difficult getting started on this, since the ms. ends mid-chapter, mid-sentence. I wonder how PJF would have finished that sentence?

I've now added 5 additional chapters, and last night passed a mental hurdle. The word count has now more than doubled from Phil's original ms.

Okay, with all the posts tonight, my intent was to cover the state of the project past-to-present. Going forward, I will post occasional progress updates and samples, if anyone wants them, but there will not be a flood of posts as there was tonight.

Thanks for being here.

Pemberley House Family Tree

Lest everyone think that my interest in The Evil in Pemberley House (PH) is centered solely on hot women (although it does come from PJF's erotic novel era, after all), let me reassure you that I have done real research and scholarship in preparation. Here is a family tree graphic (click on it for a larger, readable version) which reconciles the information in PH with the family trees in Tarzan Alive (TA) and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. Yes, there were a few contradictions, which required some decisions to make everything synch up. The chapters and outline appear to have been written before PJF solidified his final WNF genealogy in TA. Also, this chart helps me keep track of the descent of the Pemberley House estate, as well as the descent of the "Pemberley Curse," both of which are central plot points in the novel.

* Rick, I am aware that this chart does not reflect your theory from "The Secret History of Captain Nemo" which has Prof. Moriarty father as Dr. James Noel rather than Sir. William Clayton. I accept your revision of the family tree, but for purposes of this chart, some version of which I intend to be in the PH book, I have left the tree as PJF originally had it. The purpose of this is to not confuse readers who may have only DS:HAL and have not read your essay online or in MYTHS.

Doc Wildman's Fabulous Family

By our very own Chuck Loridans, from "Doc Wildman: Out of Time" in Farmerphile no. 6.
Doc's aides on the left, 1930s. His wife Adélaïde on the right in the trenchcoat, and their daughter Patricia in the lower right, 1970s.
I will soon be proudly hanging the original artwork in my basement. Thanks Chuck!

Adélaïde Lupin Wildman (Patricia's mother)

Yes, I am aware that this is really a picture of Angelina Jolie. This is how I picture Adélaïde.
Sue me.

Doctor James Clarke Wildman, Jr. (Patricia's father)


Welcome, everyone, to a blog for providing updates on the progress on The Evil in Pemberley House. This is an easy way for me to communicate with all of you, post excerpts, solicit feedback, and so on.

Of course, no one is under any obligation to read excerpts, and some of you may prefer to wait for the finished product, as it were. That's fine and my feeling won't be hurt (although I may occasionally be in real need of input and feedback, in which case I'll be sure to make that known, with the understanding that time constraints and real life still may interfere with responses -- fair enough?).

So, that's why we're here, I'm glad you've joined, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Patricia Wildman, c. Spring 1973

Patricia Wildman, with Pemberley House in the background. The amazing Keith Howell whipped this up for me, based on my verbal descriptions. Now I've written a scene in the book which mirrors this pretty closely.

Click on the picture to open a larger version in a new window, for full effect. ;-)