It’s the early nineteen-nineties, and Jerry, a successful advertising executive, is having a breakdown. He’s done too much shading of the truth, and he’s watched too much Headline News, and he can no longer make sense of the world. Now, sitting at the breakfast table, he contemplates the possible future for himself and his family while dealing out a hand of solitaire…
Hello and welcome!
For those of you in the United States, I hope you had an excellent Independence Day yesterday. Earlier in the week, I wrote a blog post on Iterations of Zero encouraging Americans to remember the meaning behind the holiday; you can read it here if you so desire.
My fiction writing (and my reading/promoting of already existing fiction) goes well. I’m almost done recording chapter 5 of The Chasm and the Collision. It’s slightly longer than the previous chapters, so editing it may take more time, but I still expect it to be available for your listening pleasure* by the end of next week, or perhaps by the middle of the following week. Reading for audio seems to take much less time than editing; this is in contrast to the process of writing a story, where the composition takes far longer than the editing process, even when that editing is thoroughly draconian. Continue reading
Okay, once again I’m taking a week-long break between author’s notes, just to give those who are interested a brief update on my doings. Next week, I will post the author’s note for The Death Sentence, the first story in my collection Welcome to Paradox City, (unless, for some unforeseen reason, I decide to write it about something else).
As you know, if you follow this blog, I’ve taken a short break from working on Unanimity, my upcoming horror novel, to complete the editing and rewriting of Hole for a Heart, an earlier version of which appeared here. Like its predecessors, I for one welcome our new computer overlords, and Prometheus and Chiron, the story is benefiting greatly from the process, at least in my eyes. Hopefully, anyone who ends up having read both versions will agree with me.*
It’s always nice when, upon rereading his or her own story, an author finds himself or herself excited and moved by that work, and this has been true in spades on Hole for a Heart. I’ve experienced brilliant moments when, going through the rewrite/edits, I found myself getting mildly creeped out. This is a good thing; it is a horror story, after all. Of course, it helped that I was doing the work in the early morning, while it was still dark outside, and I was alone. But still…obviously, I knew what was going to happen in the story, but still found myself at least mildly chilled. It’s nice that the atmosphere I’d tried to create worked, at least on me. Whether it will work similarly on other readers remains to be seen, but I have high hopes.
On another subject: I’ve struggled to find the time to work on my non-fiction-related blog, “Iterations of Zero.” I did write a brief post there earlier this week, detailing some puzzlement I have about the nature of gravitons, and how they might interact with an event horizon, because I felt compelled to get those thoughts out into the meme-pool, but it’s difficult for me to get all that I want to get done there. I have three partially written articles languishing in my computer, as well as two full files in the memo app of my smart-phone, stuffed with ideas about which I want to write, issues I want to address, questions I want to raise. When I say full, I mean it. The files are as large as is allowed by the memo app…or at least the first one is, and the second is within a hair’s breadth of fullness.
By comparison, the file containing my story ideas (admittedly it’s not the only location for such recorded inspiration) is only one, nearly-full, memo file.**
The main reason that I have trouble getting IoZ as productive as I want it to be is time, that limiting factor on all things, so beautifully lamented by Andrew Marvell in To His Coy Mistress. I work eleven out of every fourteen days, full time, and my commute is an hour to two hours in each direction. This transit provides a wonderful opportunity to listen to podcasts and audio-books, but otherwise, those are unproductive hours.
Obviously, I can’t just write while I’m at work. My boss is about as pleasant and understanding as it’s possible to be while owning and running a business, but his patience would be strained if I were to spend a significant amount of my work time doing things that had no relation to my job. More pointedly, long before I would reach the threshold of annoying my boss, I would be curtailed by own conscience. It’s simply not in my nature to be able to freeload while earning a paycheck, and I’m glad that it’s not.
So, my time is limited, and if sacrifices have to be made in my writing, I must regretfully choose to sacrifice the non-fiction, since fiction is my primary calling. Of course, if enough people buy my books, I may make enough money to write full time, which would not break my heart. If you’d like to see that happen, please feel free to buy them, and encourage others to do so as well! ^_^
On yet another note, rewriting my short stories, and listening to audio books has re-ignited my desire to post my own audio recordings of the three short stories I’ve been working on recently. There’s something special about a book being read by its author; at least there is for me. I know it isn’t always workable for everyone, but I have a pretty decent reading voice, and I’m frequently told that I sound pleasant on the phone, so I’m not worried about my words grating on the listener’s ears. Also, it’s just wonderful fun – for me – to read things out loud. It always has been. I’ll read books out loud to myself, if I’m enjoying them enough, especially when the dialogue is good, and it’s nice to think of sharing that enjoyment. I don’t really foresee recording any of my novels, at least not in the immediate future, and definitely not just for posting on the blog. That kind of work would require remuneration.
On yet another other note: I don’t recall whether I’ve mentioned this here before, but in recent times I’ve had a real block on reading fiction, which is quite new for me. Forget finding new stories to read; even stories that I love deeply have been unable to grip my attention, and I am one who reads and rereads his favorite books repeatedly, in true geek fashion. I read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince seven times between the midnight when I bought it and the time Deathly Hallows was released…and it was by no means the only book I read in that time. But lately, no fiction, either familiar or new, has been able to hold my attention for long. My sister, however, recommended the Rick Riordan novels as uniformly enjoyable, and I know that my son loved the ones he read, so I purchased the Kindle version of The Lightning Thief, and so far – admittedly less than a tenth of the way into the book – I’m enjoying it. I’ve been seriously worried, because I even had to force my brutal way through rereading the first four books of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Frankly, I skipped a lot of book four, and then I just hung up on book five. If Stephen King’s magnum opus can’t keep my attention, I’m in trouble.
Reading nonfiction, though, has not been as problematic; I love science books of many kinds, and have recently become enamored with more philosophical, political, and historical works as well. Interestingly enough, some of my best story inspirations come to me from reading science books rather than as part of reading fiction. Many of the ideas that appear in The Chasm and the Collision were triggered by my reading of The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Brian Greene.
Well, this post has gone all over the place, and has by no means remained as brief as I expected it to be when I began. That’s okay, though. Technically, this is a blog, and as such can function almost as a public diary. In closing, I repeat that the work on Hole for a Heart is proceeding well, and the story should be available for sale in e-book format within a month, probably sooner. It’s longish for a short-story, but that seems to be just how I roll. (At least you’ll know you’re going to be getting your ninety-nine cents worth.)
Then, once that’s out, I shall return in full force to Unanimity, which is getting close to the end. This is reassuring, since it’s already much longer than I had expected it to be. These things do happen, I suppose. Again, it just seems to be how I roll.
I welcome your feedback on this posting, on any others I have written, and even on anything else that might be on your mind. The comment section below is open, and my Facebook and Twitter accounts are public. I am a bit socially awkward, but nevertheless, I welcome you to contact me, at least regarding matters that I’ve discussed publicly. And I also both encourage – and even beg – those of you who have read my work to give reviews, or at least ratings, on Amazon. It really makes a difference.
Be well, all of you. That’s an order.
*As part of this editing process, I’ve noticed, or discovered, a fascinating fact and trick: Changing the font of your writing between edits can help you notice things that need fixing, and which you hadn’t noticed before, in the original font. This is a fascinating psychological fact, at least about me, and now that I’ve discovered it, I mean to put it to full use from this moment on.
** I actually posted one of those entries on my Facebook page recently. It’s the opening paragraph for an eventual story, the trigger for which I can’t currently recall, and for which I have no idea what the story will be. I like that paragraph a lot, though I can see a few edits that I’d make in structure and wording if I ever do write the story, but first that story has to reveal itself to me.
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
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.
I thought I’d give you all a brief update on my latest story. Then I chose to act on that thought, and so here it is: I am almost through with the editing of my new short story, “I For One Welcome Our New Computer Overlords.” I call it a short story only because it’s really too short to be a novella, but it isn’t very short, just so you know. I expect to publish it here early next week, so for those of you who are interested in reading it, keep your eyes open for the announcement. I’ll be posting about it on Facebook and Twitter, so those of you who follow me on those social media outlets should know shortly after it’s released.
On an utterly unrelated note: Yesterday I was at the park behind my office during lunch (I don’t eat lunch there…I don’t usually eat lunch at all, come to think of it), and I saw a shape break the surface of the water. It was too big to be a fish, and I thought perhaps it was an errant sea turtle that had found its way into the intercoastal waterway. I watched for it to appear again, and soon it did. I saw a snout and a pair of big, round eyes pop up briefly, and I recognized what I had seen; it was a young manatee, roaming about in water that would have been too shallow for one of its fully-grown co-speciesists ( that’s a neologism I just invented). I don’t know why it was there alone, but it seemed to be in good health, and was wandering though the sort of lagoon by the docks, presumably eating at the plants that grow near and into the water. The park is almost a mangrove swamp in that area.
There was no sign of the manatee today, more’s the pity, but I did feed a few puffer fish, which is always kind of fun. They’re surprisingly aggressive. The young barracuda that I see never give the puffers any cheek.
Well, that’s about all for now. I’m waiting for the train to carry me homeward for the evening, and won’t be doing very much exciting other than some further editing on my story. I wish you all the best!
Hello all! I’m sorry there’s been such a delay since my last posting. In addition to working on writing my new novel, preparing the editing for Son of Man, and working six days a week on my “day job,” I’ve been preparing for that which I am now announcing: Welcome to Paradox City is now available on Amazon Kindle! This is a brief collection of three dark tales, at least one of which is verging on being a novella, while the other two are just rather long short stories. Though they are all “dark tales,” dealing with subject matter a bit too grim for daytime TV, one is a actually somewhat lighthearted, while the other two are…fully dark.
So, preparing that publication has been one of the things that’s slowed down the posting of the monthly chapters of Mark Red and The Chasm and the Collision. I’m also continuing to work on new material, and getting the editing of Son of Man done, and looking for a good cover design. It’s very busy, and I’m probably going to have to scale back to releasing only alternating chapters of Mark Red and CatC per month, instead of one each.
Welcome to Paradox City is available for only $2.99 on Kindle, and of course, 50% of the royalties will go to literacy charities such as RIF, as is always the case with works by Chronic Publications. The more readers there are in the world—and the more reading those readers do—the better off we all are. I’m convinced that this is an absolutely true correlation.
Hopefully Son of Man will be ready for publication within the next few months. Certainly it won’t be very long before the last chapter of Mark Red is published, though The Chasm and the Collision has quite a bit more to go. Give me your feedback, positive and negative. I can take it!
Above all, thank you all for reading and following my blog, be well, and keep reading.