Good morning all. This being Thursday, I figured I’d write another of my weekly blog posts. What a shock, right?
As I stated last blog post, I’ve started back on my latest work, a novella/short novel* with the working title Safety Valve. I’ve come up with a better final title for it, which is Outlaw’s Mind. The main character is named Timothy Outlaw, and it really is about things that go on in his mind, and the troubles he has in dealing with a rather unusual emotional issue…one that may not be exactly what it seems.
I think I’ve built up a lot of writing pressure during the time in which I’ve been editing Unanimity, because once I got going, for the first two days I wrote over three thousand words a day on the new story, and since then I’ve been steady at about two thousand. Not bad for me age. One thing I’ll give myself, I do write quickly. That’s partly why works intended as novellas become short novels, and novels become half a million words long. At least there’s a lot of meat in my stories, and hopefully not too much gristle.
Speaking of such things, just to let you know, Unanimity Book 2 is already available for pre-order in Kindle form, if you’re interested (though thanks to the way my publishing works, it doesn’t seem that pre-ordering can be arranged for the paperback version). I’ll include a link and a picture of the cover below.
And, of course, Unanimity Book 1 is readily available for purchase in both paperback and e-book editions, so please look into it. As I think I’ve said before, it’s a supernatural thriller/horror novel in the form of a pseudo-science-fiction story set in 2018. It’s sort of along the lines of Carrie or The Firestarter in the sense that the things that happen in the book are arguably based in a scientific process or explanation, but what happens really is something inexplicable and mysterious. But there are no monsters under the beds…the monster is in people’s heads. Which is, let’s face it, where most real monsters dwell.
I’ve begun putting together the order for my eventual collection Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities, and though I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to fit all the stories as well as Outlaw’s Mind into one volume, it looks like it’s going to be fine. There’s also the barest possibility that I’ll be able to include a surprise addition that I had despaired over ever being able to share with the world.
You see, my ex-wife contacted me this weekend and told me that, in cleaning out some old things, she’d found one of our old Macs, and on it, she had found several of my stories, including the short story House Guest, which I wrote in high school, and which helped me win a National Council of Teachers of English Award**. She’s already sent the disc with the files to a service that translates such things into newer formats and gave them my email address to contact me when it’s ready. It was an awfully nice thing for her to do, but that doesn’t surprise me. I did marry her, after all, and I’ve never regretted that.
An even greater source of joyous surprise was that, among the material she found was my horror novel Vagabond, which I wrote over the course of college and medical school***. I currently have only fragments of that novel in my possession; I had occasionally thought of reconstructing the missing parts, but it’s just too daunting, and I have new things on which to work. But once I get the original, I can go through it, edit it, fix it up, and finally publish it! It’s set in the late eighties, since that’s when I started college, and it takes place at a university—which would mean that I’d have two horror novels set in universities coming out in quick succession. There are worse things, though, and the stories are of quite different character. Vagabond is clearly and definitely a supernatural horror story, and its villain is one of my favorite creations.
Speaking of favorite creations and villains, this revelation and gift from my ex-wife does lead me to feel a bit wistful about an earlier “completed” work, a novel I wrote in high school called Ends of the Maelstrom. This was a literal sci-fi fantasy combo, with magic and high tech, parallel universes, cosmic level dangers and a battle to the finish between two men of complex character who had previously been the best of friends. It has impact on the metaverse of all my subsequent works, at least in my head, though that’s unlikely ever to be obvious.
It’s also unlikely that that novel will ever be rescued, since it was hand-written, single-spaced, both sides, on thin-ruled notebook paper, overflowing almost always into the margins as I thought of things to add. It was in a green, battered old school-type folder, and it was lost along with essentially all my earthly belongings in 2011. Odds are it’s rotting in a landfill somewhere, but on the bare chance that someone got it as part of an auction of my old belongings, you’ll recognize it from the description above. Look for the “hero”, Naldor, along with a gaggle of Earth teens…whose names I’m unsure of, ironically, because they were based on people I knew, and I mix up the real people with the characters. And look for the villain (no scare quotes needed here), Qaltich Talberod, called The Talberod by those who serve him, which is everyone with any sense of self preservation. If anyone out there recognizes it, please get in contact with me. I’ll know it when I see it, obviously. It might even be worth something some year. I’d vouch for its authenticity and give it back to you once I’d finished rewriting it.
This, however, is a fantasy, less likely to happen than the events of the story itself. If I ever want anyone else to read Ends of the Maelstrom, I’m just going to have to rewrite it. Please don’t hold your breath for that, though. Had we but world enough, and time, of course I would eventually reconstruct it. But as Andrew Marvell knew only too well, the phase space of our personal possibilities is finite and bounded.
On that happy note, I’ll finish up for this week. I do invite you to check out Unanimity Book 1, I think it’s good. I am biased of course. Also, if you were to get a copy of the paperback and want to have it signed, I’m sure we could arrange for you to ship it to me and for me to ship it back. I’ll personalize it if you like; I love sharing my stories with people in a personal way.
*Short for me, anyway.
**There was an essay portion as well, but as this was handwritten, it’s hard to imagine the judges even being able to read it, let alone think it was any good. My handwriting is deplorable.
***Back then I bought into the foolish behavior of only writing when inspired to do so—and there was always so much else to do. This led to things taking a terribly long time, and it also led to me constantly getting sidetracked by new ideas, so I rarely completed works, or did so slowly. Don’t fall into that trap! Just set a schedule, like a job, and write whether you feel like it or not, on that schedule…and finish what you started—at least most of the time—before going on to something new. Here endeth the lesson.
And just as a little added note: WordPress’s new “block editor” sucks. It was fine the way it was. I’m tempted to find another place to host my blog, honestly, this is crap. As Marullus said, “You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!”