Breaking the Author – Week Eight

It’s February 28th, 2016, and that means I have an update thing for you. You know, that thing I do. On a weekly basis. It’s cool. Trust me.

So it’s well known that I’ve been having a rough time of it for pretty much all of this month, but I managed to complete all my goals for the week this week, so that’s a step in the right direction!

  • Write Shapes 2 Part 4 for next week’s post.
  • Write the opening part to a collaborative story game beginning in March.
  • Continue plugging away at Shapes 1 line edits.
  • Maintain the blog.

Continue reading

Media Medley – February 2016

It’s the last Thursday of the month, which means it’s time to yammer on about all the movies, TV shows, books, comics, games, and whatever else I consumed during the previous month, talking about each one briefly and what I liked or disliked about it, with a single recommendation at the end.

Away we go for February!


Deadpool –  The Fox vehicle that surprised pretty much everyone, starring Ryan Reynolds as a psychotic, fourth-wall breaking maniac in a red suit. It was everything I hoped it would be and more: smart, violent, raunchy, insane, and more meta than most can handle. I’m so glad it took the world by storm and that it was the X-Men movie franchise’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” moment. That is to say, a risky movie about niche characters the mainstream public knew almost nothing about that turned into a frickin’ sensation overnight. Continue reading

The Wings Take Shape – Part Three

Ah, can you smell it? The oaky scent of a fresh installment in The Wings Take Shape.

If you’re new to the story, head to Part One and start from the beginning!

Last week, Sergeant Marie Mollen helped keep order in the Red Forest while her twin sister, Captain Renee Mollen, decided what they should do. Their home had just come under attack from a foreign enemy, and they were barely outside the city when it started.

Private Jonathan Sawyer, a secret Skinchanger, took flight as a hawk to gather intel for Captain Mollen, and they rushed to the gates of the city based on what he had to say. Marie and Renee’s old Sergeant, Regina Hughes, came bursting out of the exploded gate, fleeing the capital, and Renee helped escort her to safety.

They flee to relative safety in the bloody wood while Sergeant Marie Mollen leads the chasing soldiers away with three of her Winged Riders to fight them off.


The Wings Take Shape

Part Three – Reunion
by Rick Cook Jr.

Renee urged silence as they worked. The foreign soldiers had scarcely passed them by, Marie’s presence flitting away on a high of anger and excitement. Regina Hughes was not just injured, she was pinned to her horse, biting on the leather reins as Tanner and Jon removed the crossbow bolt from the thrashing horseflesh and finally through Regina’s backside.

Regina fell from the saddle only to be caught by Tanner, and he set her down against the red bark of the tree, preparing bandages. She sucked in breaths, seething through teeth clenched tight.

“The rutting bastards,” she hissed. “Can’t believe I let them get a shot at me.” Continue reading

Breaking the Author – Week Seven

It’s Sunday, February 21st, 2016, and it’s time for another update!

The past week of my writerly productivity has been mildly depressing. I had a list of things to achieve, as per usual, and I did almost none of them.

  • Maintain the blog with a weekly update, an editorial, and a story post.
  • Complete Shapes 1 Line Edits
  • Write Shapes 2 Part 3
  • Write the opening part to a collaborative story game that begins in March.
  • Find cover art for Shapes 1
  • Begin Gridfall read and broad fixes before deep editing phases.
  • Get my writer resumé in a little bit more order and submit applications to a couple of places that I know are looking for writers.

So I managed to do the resumé bit, the blog, and writing Shapes 2 Part 3 for this coming Tuesday’s story post. The rest I have let languish and I’m trying not to take it too hard because I need the break.

Part of my writer life suffering is because I was recently rededicated to my management position at work, that I have been trying to get out of for the past seven months. I made the decision to step down from management, we were taking steps toward it at work, and then everything changed and now they need me to stay on as a project manager for the foreseeable future.

I’m disappointed that I have to continue doing it, but I’m also going to, in the short to mid term, do it to the best of my ability. And part of that is dedicating all my mental energy to that first, and writing gets whatever’s left. So I come home from work and I’m mentally exhausted and I just can’t make myself do the writer work to any significant degree.

I will get back to it, but in the meantime my writerly goals are going to be smaller.

For the coming week I will be attempting to do the following:

  • Write Shapes 2 Part 4 for next week’s post.
  • Write the opening part to a collaborative story game beginning in March.
  • Continue plugging away at Shapes 1 line edits.
  • Maintain the blog.


As always, follow me on Facebook and Twitter with #breakingauthor. Keep on striving for those goals.

And always remember to write the hell on!

The Moment

We’re turning things around here on Panning for Clouds this Thursday with a little walk down memory lane.

The Moment. It’s different for everyone. That second when you realize that thing you enjoy doing in your spare time is a thing you maybe could see yourself doing professionally.

I’m a writer. To be clear, that is not my professional title, but it is the title that sparks my imagination, gets me up in the morning, pushes me ever onward and upward. It is the framework through which I view the world. Some people are tactical, some are logical or a hundred other things, and some are a little bit of everything. I’m a writer and that means I write. Fiction, specifically, is my passion, but I’m always searching for a clever phrase, a funny bit of dialogue, a way to say something in a way no one has ever said it before. I’m looking to put thoughts, emotions, and ideas together in ways that touch people’s hearts and minds.  Continue reading

The Wings Take Shape – Part Two

Tuesday has come once again and it is now time to delve back into the world of shapeshifters, twinners, and more with Part Two of “The Wings Take Shape”!

If you’re new to the story, head to Part One and start from the beginning!

Last week, Jonathan Sawyer, hiding his Skinchanger abilities from the empire, found himself a recruit of the elite military Winged Riders under his twin friends Renee and Marie. They have set out upon their first mission together when the capital comes under attack from a foreign hostile takeover. They barely escape into the Red Forest with their lives and must decide what to do next.


The Wings Take Shape

Part Two – Fight or Flight

by Rick Cook Jr.

“This is insane!” Marie shouted, holding the reins of her horse as it tried to bolt once again. They had no horse-whisperer and she felt the lack keenly. The others all struggled with their horses, too. They weren’t far from the edge of the woods, maybe a quarter mile, but it was dread dark here, the light strangled under too many branches overhead.

Only then did it occur to Marie: “We’re in the bloody wood.”

“Sergeant!” Renee shouted from atop her horse. Not Acacia. She’d had to give up that scout’s horse for something hardy, and in every way she had emulated Captain Claymonte with a stout white mare.

Marie pulled her horse forward to Renee. “Renee?”

“Take Scout Irons and find us a clearing. Send for me when you have it.” Continue reading

Breaking the Author – Week Six

It’s Sunday, February 14th, 2016, Valentine’s Day though that doesn’t really matter. It’s time to update you on my pretty horrendous week!

If you saw my Thursday post about the slump I’m in, I haven’t gotten much writing or editing work done this week.

  • I managed to keep the blog updated.
  • I started posting the serial novella The Wings Take Shape
  • I wrote the next part of The Wings Take Shape for next Tuesday
  • I submitted Damp Summer Nights

I didn’t finish line edits on Shapes 1, find cover art for Shapes 1, or even look at Gridfall. Continue reading