08 June 2014

Got a Dry Patch of Skin?

I finished my novel yesterday afternoon. 

You know...my so-called work-in-progress? 

Well, it still is a work in progress as long as revision is on-going. But I can proudly say I have tied the beginning and middle to the end. That is to say, I worked through to the final chapter, in some fashion or other, and arrived there yesterday. It was really a kind of miracle. My goal for yesterday was only to finish the scene I had started and perhaps go on into the next scene, as well as return to an earlier chapter to add a small chunk of dialog. Instead, I ended up finishing the darn thing. Could not stop. So it's done. Pop that champagne!

A DRY PATCH OF SKIN is my vampire tale, my first, in fact. But it's more than a Twilight-esque fan fiction rip-off. It's also a medical thriller. And, where possible, I poke fun at Twilight as well as some other popular vampire novels. And wherever possible, I've dealt with the common tropes of the vampire mythos in either a medical way or an ironic way--or sometimes both, thanks to my sardonic hero, Stefan Szekely.

You see, in my book, the protagonist faces the daunting realization that all is not well. In fact, he seems to be turning into the kind of hideous personage (no sparkly vamps here!) which resembles a vampire --that is, a true, ugly-as-death member of the undead. Unfortunately, he just met his "Beloved"; naturally, it's not a good time to start becoming dead, at least in appearance if not in actuality. Thus begins a desperate search for treatment of his skin condition, which leads him to various locations. He also learns what really happened to his parents. As he seeks to reverse his condition, he comes to realize it's not going to be possible. Will his Beloved accept him in that condition? Will Love conquer all? Is there a work-around to being an Undead?

Simple enough. It's a love story, a medical mystery, a travelogue, a comedic-tragedy, and last but not least, a vampire tale. This is the first novel I've written set entirely in the here-and-now of my actual life: Oklahoma City, 2014. In his travels, however, our hero visits upstate New York (Utica and Rochester), New Orleans, Germany, Hungary, and Croatia. He travels by car, ship, train, taxi, bus, streetcar, airplane, and by foot. He endures several medical procedures all in the hope that he can remain a normal human being with a steady job as a phlebotomist at a medical laboratory and keep dating his fiancee, TV reporter Penny Park, who is hard enough to woo being consumed as she is with her career. Having a dry patch of skin appear on his face one morning is not a good sign of a pleasant tomorrow.

Let me pat myself on the back and get in some afterglow celebration time! Now the real work begins! Revision. This should take a couple years....

Seriously, I hope to have it ready for the end-of-year holiday book buying frenzy. Look for it!

[Meanwhile, try one of my other novels: literary adventure or sci-fi epic!]

It may be interesting to note that in writing A DRY PATCH OF SKIN, I have achieved my quickest 100,000-word+ manuscript. Indeed, from the day I created the computer file and started typing the first chapter all the way up to yesterday, it was only 106 days. And I did not write every single day. In fact, there were a couple times I went for two weeks without writing a word. Once was to do research, the other because I was too busy with my day job to focus on my "night job." That's worth a stiff drink, isn't it?

I also need to get a book cover that effectively shocks potential readers into giving it a try.

(C) Copyright 2010-2014 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.


  1. Well--this sounds intriguing.

    Hmm...I suppose I should just have this eczema looked at...

    1. Yes, I'd have it looked at. Just in case. But I think you're probably out of the woods by now.