“Paradox City” is the next story I wrote—or completed, anyway—after I finished the first draft of “Mark Red.” I say “completed,” because I actually began writing “The Chasm and the Collision” months before I started “Mark Red,” in apparent contradiction to what I wrote in my previous author’s note. But I had only written what were then the first and second chapters of “CatC,” which were eventually consolidated into one chapter, and had then put them aside. I also didn’t have them with me while I was a guest of the Florida State Department of Corrections. My mother, thankfully, had a printout of the chapters, and my intention was to complete that book once I had finished “Mark Red,” when I had worked enough of the rust from my writing gears. However, the chapters hadn’t arrived yet by the time I finished “Mark Red.” While I waited, I wanted to be productive and to maintain my daily early-morning writing habits, so I decided to write a short story. Continue reading
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:
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.
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.
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.
Okay, as I promised a while back, here is a preview of the cover design for Paradox City, my story that is a little too long to be a “short” story but just below the traditional borderline of “novella” (it’s about 29,000 words long). It has been completely rewritten, and is now in the editing process, so it will soon be available for purchase. As always, when it is up for sale, half the royalties will go to literacy charities.
I actually plan to give you all a little teaser from the story, either right before it comes out, or when it comes out. Oh, and just so we’re clear: While Mark Red is oriented toward the young adult market, and The Chasm and the Collision is appropriate for anyone from pre-teens to the elderly, Paradox City is definitely not for very young readers. Bad things do happen in this story…you know, profanity, adult situations, violence, nudity, references to Elvis singing Guns ‘n’ Roses songs…things not for the faint of heart. One of the joys (for me) of the short story is that situations don’t always have to turn out for the best, or even for the better. Bad things can happen to good (or at least benign) people without anyone receiving his or her comeuppance, or any deep philosophical treatment or explanation of what’s been happening. While novels, by and large, have more good endings than your average strip-mall massage parlor, it’s perfectly okay for a short story to end in an ambiguous fashion. Actually, that’s one of the most satisfying aspects to short stories: They can leave you guessing, which leaves you thinking and imagining.
I love ’em.
Just in case anyone wants any recommendations on the matter, my personal favorite short story authors include Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Edgar Allen Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Robert E. Howard…just to name a few. It’s fair to say that I’m much more excited when Stephen King is coming out with a new collection of short stories (as he is now) than I am about his novels*.
I suppose you can guess what my genre tendency of preference is in the short story world, based on that list of authors.
On a different subject, here’s advance warning: Mark Red: Chapter 13 is going to be out just in time for Halloween–partly by coincidence, and partly by design, like so much of the world. In it, Mark’s nature as a newly-made demi-vampire is going to collide with some aspects of adolescence that would have made him very happy, if only…well, you’ll have to read it to see.
And on a different different subject, I am still taking feedback on the issue of “Son of Man: Serial or novel?” The final decision has not yet been made, and the rewrite is still very much in progress, so there’s plenty of time to put in your two cents.
Finally, I’m soon going to be posting another entry on the criminal justice system, informed by my own unpleasant and too-prolonged experience with it. These articles take a little longer than regular blog posts, because I want to make sure they are products of serious thought as well as real research, when appropriate, not just my own personal experiences. This is not a simple subject, and it deserves great care.
Thank you all for reading. If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to “Like”, to “Comment”, and to “Share”, as well as to repost. (If you make any money from doing so, just throw me a cut, okay?) Oh, and by all means, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and so on.
*Which is not to disparage his novels. While I don’t love them universally, many are among my favorite modern works of fiction.