Today’s blog post

Well, for those of you who follow my Facebook timeline, you already know that my mother died last Saturday, August 12, 2017, at 5:42 pm eastern time, in Marietta, Ohio.  My sister and I were with her at the time, though she had been unconscious for the previous day or two.  My brother was at Mom’s house; he had visited her, but simply doesn’t handle hospitals and related things very well.  Being a physician myself (no longer in practice), obviously I am more accustomed, but it’s still different when it’s one’s mother.

It was sad, to me at least, that she was unable to read any of “The Chasm and the Collision.”  That’s not just narcissistic author-talk; she really had been looking forward to reading it.  My sister and I both tried to read some of it to her in the hospital, but she was basically unable to pay attention.  Looking back, I regret every evitable delay in the editing and production process, but that’s probably not very useful.  She did know that it had come out, at least, and was as excited as she was able to be about it.

It is out, of course, and I’ll post another link to it below, before the end of this entry.  If you like a fun fantasy/adventure story that’s good for “all ages,” then consider reading it, please.  Although I’ll give a caveat that I’ve probably given before:  technically there is no “magic” in the story.  All the extraordinary happenings are parts of natural processes taking place within the universes of the novel; it’s just that those natural forces are (slightly) different than some with which we are familiar.  Or, perhaps, they’re simply forces and phenomena we have yet to discover.

Now that CatC is out, I have resumed work on “Unanimity.”  Since last Friday, I have written every day, even on the bus, no less than 1600 words a day (and as many as 2100).  Today is an exception in the sense that I am using my writing time to write this blog entry, which is not as interesting as “Unanimity” (most likely), but it’s hard to be too entertaining given the circumstances.  As I’ve stated before, I am extremely lucky in being able to type/write very quickly.  My grandmother gave me my first typewriter when I was eleven (her arthritis had made it difficult for her to use), and I began hunting and pecking away on creative writing almost immediately.  I was much slower then, and I certainly never learned any formal typing system, but my process works well for me.  It was, in a way, good that the aforementioned typewriter had no self-correct key, so when I made the mistake, I had to back up, insert a white-out tab, and retype the mistaken letter.  This irritating process will quickly school you in being careful.

My mother set me up at a little table in the breakfast nook in the house where I grew up.  There I wrote a good portion of a fantasy novel involving (what a coincidence) three middle-school students—we called it Junior High, then—who were transported to another world.  Other than that, though, it had almost nothing else in common with CatC, but I still have the whole origin story/mythology of that world in my head.  Maybe someday I’ll try to recreate that story.  Probably not.

“Unanimity,” the story I’m working on now, is NOT a family-friendly story, and is NOT good for all ages.  It’s also one I never would have wanted to read aloud to my mother.  It’s very dark, and has sex, and violence, and whatnot, at least some of which is awkward to read to one’s parent.  Especially the whatnot.  I like it, though—so far, at least—and the writing has been proceeding swimmingly.

Speaking of writing—writing of it, really—I’ve been, in recent weeks, studiously avoiding writing my political and philosophical musings.  I think people who read this blog seem more interested in the subject of creative writing.  Certainly, I get many more “likes” from these articles than I do from my other types of articles.  Nevertheless, I do have a great many things to say, about subjects that I think are important.  They are important to me, at least.  With that in mind, I’m thinking of starting another blog, as I had done once in the past.  This time, I think I’ll do another WordPress blog, since part of the issue I had before was that the blog system through Google was a bit clunky.  I’ll let you know once I start it, assuming that I do, and I’ll probably transfer all pertinent blog entries from this blog to that new one, if I do so.  I’ll let you know.  In the meantime, if you have any feedback on the idea, please feel free to leave a comment below.

There’s not much more to say at this point.  I’m still a bit emotionally fatigued, and I imagine that I will be for a while.  I’m also in the midst of a fairly uncomfortable middle ear infection in my right ear.  It started Monday, as I was getting ready for the bus ride back home from Ohio, and the eardrum apparently perforated just before I got on the bus.  Great timing, ne?  I was oozing from my ear all the way back from Ohio, and through the day since.  But now I am on antibiotics at last, and my tinnitus is returning to its previous, possible-to-ignore levels.  Still oozing a bit, unfortunately, and still rather sore, but life’s like that, isn’t it?  Oozy and sore.  (Don’t try to find any meaning in that; I’m just being silly).

Okay, well, that’s pretty much it for today…except, of course, the aforementioned link to “The Chasm and the Collision,” just below.  Please note, though the link goes directly to the paperback version of the novel, it’s also available for Kindle, and that form gets delivered more quickly.  I think I may also get a slightly greater royalty on the E-book version, given the much lower production costs, but I could be mistaken about that.  Of course, there will always be charm and beauty to a physical book.  I like them both.

Please stay well.  If your mother is still around, do give her a call—and a hug if you can.

TTFN

CatC cover paperback

Link to Amazon

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Some great news, and some not as great news.

Okay, well, I’m not going to be writing all that much today, but I do want to make an important announcement, one to which I’ve been building up for some time:  “The Chasm and the Collision” is out!  Here are the two versions, paperback and Kindle, from which you can choose (or if you can’t decide, you can feel free to buy one of each.  Or more than one of each.  Why not?  ^_^  ).  Just click on the image and you’ll be brought to the Amazon page where the book is listed:

CatC cover paperback

Paperback

 

CatC cover kindle

Kindle

Unfortunately, on the very day it was released (two days ago, now), my mother’s health took a downward turn.  She was already in the hospital after having felt a bit weak and having some other, more specific troubles, and her situation had become more complicated than it was expected to become.  Certainly, it was more complicated than I had expected it to become.  Anyway, now I’m writing this while sitting in the Greyhound station in Knoxville while they clean the bus, having left from Fort Lauderdale (on a different bus) yesterday morning.  I have not spoken with my mother’s doctors directly, but my sister has, and my mother is apparently not expected to recover.  She is certainly very weak.

This makes the whole situation quite bittersweet.  My mother was very much looking forward to this book—at least she said so, and I believe her—so it’s unpleasantly ironic for it to have come out the very day her health took a downturn that may prevent her from reading it.

Incidentally, I apologize that the cover differs somewhat from paperback to Kindle.  For some reason, I was unable to reproduce the paperback’s cover for the Kindle version, so I had to do something else.  (Something Other, you might say.)  Looking back, I actually kind of like the forced, ad-hoc Kindle cover.  Maybe I’ll release a second edition of the paperback that has the same cover as the Kindle one.

Ugh, I feel like my writing is terrible right now.  Of course, that doesn’t stop it from coming out.  One thing I can say for me, I don’t have trouble just getting some words out onto paper (or computer, as the case may be).  But my brain is quite foggy.  Even though I’ve spent most of my time sleeping since leaving the south Florida area, no one could ever claim that sleeping on a bus is actually restful.  Well…I guess they could claim it, but they would be lying, and what on Earth could lead them to such a deception?

Perhaps they are on the payroll of the Greyhound company…

Okay, well, that’s really all I have to say, more or less.  I was hoping to be as excited as Hell (and those who know Hell know just how excitable it is) when I announced the release of CatC.  And I am excited, of course.  But it’s an excitement tempered by grim anticipation and worry.  Hopefully you readers can be excited on my behalf.  I would be deeply grateful.

Also, please call your mothers, if you still have that option.

TTFN

The Chasm approaches – watch your step!

CatC promo

Okay, well, another week has passed, and we are a week closer to the release of “The Chasm and the Collision” in both paperback and E-book formats.  In fact, as the above Facebook ad shows, it will be released this month (which comes as no surprise to those of you who read last week’s posting).  Even more excitingly—to me, certainly—is that it will be released within the next two weeks, and possibly within the next week.  There are still a few variables at play, so I don’t want to be too specific. Continue reading

The Chasm and the Collision is coming soon – or is that ARE coming soon? No, it IS coming soon.

Okay, well, it’s another Thursday morning, and time for me to write my weekly blog post.  I’m abstaining from writing philosophical and/or political things, today.  Those essays don’t seem to get as much response as my more lighthearted posts, and I never do seem to get good discussions going about them, which is a severe disappointment.  I suppose in the era of Facebook, and especially Twitter, expecting people to read anything longer than 140 characters (or that is not in the form of even fewer characters, written on an amusing or startling or eye-catching picture) is a bit delusional, let alone expecting people to write anything of substance in response.

Sigh.  Sometimes I despair.

Anyway.

On to much more positive matters:  The Chasm and the Collision is going to be out sometime within the next month, and I want to start generating a bit of hype for it.  Having to edit and edit and edit and edit and to do layout and to prepare things for publication are all relatively mind-numbing tasks, especially with a fairly long book, but they are essential.  And they bear delicious fruit in the long run, so they’re well worth the effort.

Anyway, I want to give you all a little preview, or introduction, or whatever the term might be, of The Chasm and the Collision, beyond some of what I’ve written here previously.

The story would be categorized as a fantasy/adventure novel, but in some ways it’s almost science fiction, because even the fantastic elements of the story have their basis in what are, in the novel, natural phenomena.  There are no spells or demons or witches, etc., in other words.

The story centers around 3 pre-teen middle school students, Alex, Meghan, and Simon.  One day, they eat a bunch of particularly delicious berries they find in the fruit bowl in Alex’s house, assuming them to be a healthy snack that Alex’s mother has left for him.  Starting that night, they begin to have strange dreams of a world with a changeless red sky, and a vast, mountainous city seemingly hanging in space off the edge of a cliff that seems to stretch on forever, with no far side.  Dreams, though, are not the only disturbing occurrences.  Meghan, Simon, and Alex begin to hear, and even see, bizarre and sometimes terrifying creatures that no one else can perceive.  Gradually, they learn about an approaching catastrophe of staggering proportions:  the impending collision of two universes, which would destroy everything that currently exists in both.  And one of those universes is our own.

The prevention of this cosmic catastrophe centers around a single, small tree in the middle of a garden at the top of the gigantic tower crowning the city that floats on the edge of the Chasm.  Alex, Simon, and Meghan find themselves in the seemingly impossible position of needing to help that tree carry out its preventive task.

However, this is not as simple as it might seem (har).  For there is an Other, an indescribable entity, out there in between the universes.  It, and its pawns, want very much for the collision to happen.  Our heroes must try to avoid discovery by this thing of anti-sanity, to do whatever small part they can to counter its wishes, and then—hopefully—to return to their normal lives as before.  They know they will probably not succeed completely at all three goals.

Well, there it is, a quick synopsis/teaser/summary/trailer for The Chasm and the Collision.  I’m planning on creating a few meme-style promotional images to put out into the cyberverse, to garner a bit of excitement.  If the story I described above sounds to you like it might be a good one, then please keep your ears pricked and your eyes peeled.  I’ll let you know when it’s available.

If you want to find out whether you like my fiction writing style, there are two free samples here on the blog:  “I For One Welcome Our New Computer Overlords,” and Prometheus and Chiron.  Give them a read—they’re relatively short, the latter more than the former—and give me feedback, if you like.  Do remember that, unlike the two above stories, The Chasm and the Collision (CatC), is a family-friendly novel.  Though it can be scary at times, and certainly there is some violence in it, as in essentially all fantasy adventures, it isn’t gory violence.  There’s no sex, no drugs, and very little rock ‘n’ roll.  There aren’t even any effing swear words.  What the frak is that all about?

Okay, I’ll stop now before I bore you too much.  Soon I’ll begin my rundown and discussion of my favorite villains, and I think I’m going to begin with one of my personal favorites:  The psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter.  In the meantime, you fly back to school now, little starlings.

TTFN

The Chasm and the Collision is now underway!

Cover picture2

It is with great personal pride – and some degree of amazement – that I hereby announce that I have finally finished (minus a few tidbits here and there) the rewriting of the 676 handwritten pages of “The Chasm and the Collision.”  It turns out to be about 240,000 words long.  That’s a lot of chicken scratching!  It’s the second of the novels I wrote while in Florida State Prison (West Unit), and is certainly my longest novel so far.  Itt still will be, even after I trim it down during the upcoming editing (which is going to be no mean task).  So look forward to a story with some meat on its bones.

I’m thoroughly excited about this.  Even more than all the other books I’ve written, this was a labor of love, dedicated to and inspired by my kids.  They were in middle school, or near middle school, when I started writing it, and the main characters of the story are middle school students.  Of course, now my kids are both in high school, but hopefully they’ll still appreciate the story.  Actually, it’s probably a book that’s better for young adults and adults, anyway.  It’s long, obviously, but that’s a well-precedented fact for fantasy adventures.  It is also, at times, somewhat dark (as are all my stories, though by no means is it too dark for the average reader…anyone who can tolerate Harry Potter will certainly not be put off).  It does, however, have not one single instance of profanity, despite several occasions in which it would certainly be called for and excusable for the characters.  Now that took restraint on my part, as anyone who’s read my other works would know.  It was, however, the recommendation of my late father, and it was a good one.

Of course, I will be delivering further bulletins as events warrant (though why bulletins need their livers removed I don’t know), and I will take the time to post some of my musings and meanderings on unrelated subjects when I need a break.

TTFN!

Some (Minor) Publication Updates

Hello all!

This is just a little FYI posting.  First of all, the formatting of “Mark Red” continues, and once that’s done, it will be available in paperback.  After that will follow “Son of Man” and “Welcome to Paradox City.”

In the meantime, the rewrite of “The Chasm and the Collision” can now continue…and so it will.  With that in mind, I will shortly un-publish the serialized early chapters of that book, so if you want to get those, now is the time.  If you want to wait for the full novel, though, I don’t blame you, and I give you my personal promise that you won’t be disappointed.  Seriously.  I’m very excited, it’s one of my favorite stories ever (and there’s not a single instance of profanity in the whole thing, so it’s safe for the whole family).

I’ll let you all know as everything becomes available.

TTFN!

Mark Red Chapters Are Now Unpublished

9734_1044064641361_1817998561_91048_2300407_n

Okay, after many a threat to do so, I have now officially unpublished the serialized chapters of Mark Red.  I’ve been planning to do so for some time now, of course, in preparation for my eventual release of Mark Red as a full novel, but the editing of that novel has pushed me to stop procrastinating.  I realized, soon after beginning the editing, just how raw and rough the book was, and I thus felt the urgent need to pull it, lest any reader get a poorer-than-necessary impression of my writing skills.

I shouldn’t be too hard on myself about this, of course.  After all, this was the first real writing I had done since Med School, I think, so I was pretty rusty.  Add to that the fact that it was handwritten (initially on scrap paper, then notebook paper) while in prison, and then mailed to my sister, who gamely tried to decipher my handwriting in order to type it in and publish it.  You won’t know how heroic a task that was until you realize that, only after I begin writing long-hand did script begin to be called curse-ive—this because of the endless stream of profanity coming from anyone who tried to read what I had written.

Now, however, I am well along in the editing process, turning the very rough draft into a smoothly flowing bit of prose (I hope).  I still like the story, thankfully, so I’m not deeply disappointed.  But, man, were there some terrible stylistic gaffes and goofs…embarrassing.  I am editing a lot every day on the way to work and in between other things (mostly non-existent, since I have no life), and it shouldn’t take too long for the final novel to come out.  But I am going to have to go over it numerous times to make certain it’s smooth.  It’s a bit like drawing a picture, I suppose.  Your first line on the paper can really suck, but with repeating strokes you refine it into a graceful curve, and then finally you ink and color it, and if you’re lucky and persistent, it comes out pleasing to the eye.

In any case, I’ll let you all know when it’s coming out.  In the meantime, please do check out Son of Man and Welcome to Paradox City, both available on Amazon Kindle.  Read and rate, and if you feel up to it, review.  It’s okay, be honest.  I can take it.

TTFN.