“Kill Shot” is in my hands!

Officially, Kill Shot comes out in May. Yet, I have a pre-press version of Kill Shot in my hands. I was helping promote the book and Bitingduck Press at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, held this past weekend (April 18 & 19, 2015). Bitingduck editor Jay Nadeau had some pre-press copies made and brought them to the event! What a lovely surprise!


Pretty sweet, eh?

Kill Shot was inspired by the 2012 sonar discovery of a vessel with the dimensions of a WWII-era German U-boat–the submarine was detected a hundred kilometers from the ocean, in the Canadian province of Labrador. More than a dozen U-boats remain unaccounted for, the fate of their crews unknown. Fully fictional, the story switches between the events of the war that led the German crew to submerge and eventually die in the river, and the adventures of a young man finding the boat over seventy years later.

Wednesday Smythe is a pimply 14-year-old high school freshman whose parents died when he was too young to remember them. Shuttling between foster care and a group home, he finds himself in a rural trailer with a hair-cutting entrepreneur for a mother and an unemployed father who pawns the foster kids’ goods to pay for fancy shampoos. Without phone, Gameboy, or iPad, Wednesday is forced by boredom into long walks along the river, where the discovery occurs that will change his life.

Wednesday’s first friend at his new home, a girl called “Stump,” has been raised by her reclusive homeschooling father with almost no social contact. She can’t use a phone, but she can wield a chainsaw. Wednesday’s other friend, Wally, is embittered and angry in foster care, lashing out in ways that threaten Wednesday’s growing rapport with his new family. All three are drawn together in a fast-paced adventure pitting their wits against the bad guys who want the boat to stay hidden, and the cops who want to bust them for any number of nefarious deeds.

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U-boat Food

Food Supplies and Planning

Food for the u-boat crew was a bit of a trick. There wasn’t much room for storage and there was no refrigeration.

Check out an excellent article on food supplies and planning: http://www.uboat.net/men/foodstuffs.htm

Sample Weekly Menu Plan

I was able to locate a menu plan for a German U-boat U-510. This material was posted to Uboat.net. U-boat missions were often 12 weeks long. This menu plan is for the second to last week at sea.

Menu for the week from 15-21.8.1943 (eleventh week in sea)


morning: chocolate, honey, biscuits, butter
noon: tomatoe-soup, yellow boletus, potatoes, roast veal, fruits
evening: sausage, camenbert, bread,butter, tea


morning: bred, butter, jam, milk-soup
noon: read cabbage, roast-porc, potatoes, soup
evening:liver-sausage, pork, bread, lard, tea, sour-krout


morning: bread, butter jam, coffee
noon: rice, chicken, pudding
evening: maccaroni, goulasch, tee


morning: bread, butter, jam, coffee
noon: cauliflower, veal, potatoes
evening: tunny, sausage, bread, butter, tea,


morning: bread, butter, jam, milk-soup
noon: sour-krout, hip-bone, potatoes, soup, cranberries
evening: green cabbage, fried-potatoes, beef, tea


morning: bred, butter, jam, milk-soup, coffee
noon: brussels cabbage, tongue, potatoes, soup, pumpkin
evening:herring, scrambled eggs, lard, bread, butter, tea


morning: bred, butter, jam, tea
noon: bean-soup, pudding
evening: tube-cheese, black-pudding, tea, bred, butter


German u-boat recipes are hard to find.

However, The Cook Book of the United States Navy is available on line. This cookbook was revised in 1945, but contains many of the recipes that were used during World War II.  http://www.hnsa.org/resources/manuals-documents/single-topic/the-cookbook-of-the-united-states-navy/

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The goal of two pages a day.

The goal of two pages a day (or 500 words) is to crank out a draft of a novel in 6 months or so. My aim: a crappy first draft. A crappy first draft means the two pages do not have to be pretty. They don’t have to fit perfectly. They don’t need to be well worded. The dialogue can be awkward. The punctuation and spelling can be off. The order of events can be wrong. You get the idea: it doesn’t have to be good … yet. Why? Revision is nine-tenths of good writing. So, one really needs to begin with something that requires revision. That’s why I write two pages a day. I’m creating a draft that can be revised later. Just so you know.


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“Two pages a day” starts again!

Yesterday (January 2, 2015) was my first day of my two-pages-a-day regime. The goal is to write two pages (500 words) a day, six days a week, from January to June-ish. The last two years I’ve used this approach, I get most of a first draft done on a new story in six months. Thus, I’ll be tweeting “two pages” six days a week. You’re welcome to join me, if you like.

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“Kill Shot” is up on Netgalley!

Kill Shot‘s season for advance reviews is here. The story is mounted on Netgalley and open for comment. Bitingduck Press included this story to go with the release. I’m looking forward to the suggestions on how to improve the story! Go, reviewers, go!Google+

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“Kill Shot” is typeset!

We’re getting closer. The publisher sent along a typeset version of Kill Shot over the weekend. It’s lovely to see the finished look of the page, the dingbats and font, that sort of thing. Bitingduck Press did a lovely job. Now the text goes up for a preview on Netgalley!

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Bookies unite (for an evening in Edmonton)

Here’s the group that turned out for the Smorgasbook event hosted by the Young Alberta Book Society (YABS).

‘Twas an excellent night talking with librarians, teachers, and civilians! Than you, YABS! Thank you to author Natasha Deen for the photo!


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Smorgasbook! A Buffet of Youth Literature

I’m excited to attend this event along with the great Albertan YA writers!

Join the young Alberta Book Society for a showcase of ten new children’s and YA books by Albertan authors.

November 12, 2014

Book sales start at 6:30, the showcase presentation starts at 7pm.

Whitemud Crossing Library Theatre, 4211-106 St. NW Edmonton

Attendance is free. Donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Marty Chan, Natasha Deen, Carolyn Fisher, Joan Galat, Georgia Graham, Larry Loyie, Lorna Schultz Nicholson, Diane Mae Robinson, Jim Sellers, and Karen Spafford-Fitz will be presenting their new works. Copies will be available for sale.

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New Duck Boy cover!

Sadly, I’ve been so busy this last while that I haven’t had the chance to announce another project underway: a new Duck Boy cover! The publisher engaged Jeff Delierre again. He was the artist who created the “Kill Shot” cover. With a little bit of back and forth, he came up with this:


Pretty hot, eh! I love it. Thank you, Jeff.

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Duck Boy’s on sale!

Yes, the e-version of the story is on sale for 99 cents from August 4 to 14! (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08/prweb12067863.htm). The Kindle edition has a special bonus, too. For those who buy the Kindle edition, you also get the chance to vote on the new cover art for the story.

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