Irons in the Writing Fire

I’m not sure how many other writers do this, but I typically work on more than one project at a time. I tend to pound out a lot of words then pause to consider it. See, I don’t plan or do an outline. I start a project because I have an idea, a “what if…”, or just a title. Usually I know the ending, sometimes I don’t. Other than that, the plot for the book just flows. And sometimes that flow takes my characters to places or situations I didn’t expect. And I need to back up and think about it. The more I write, the less I discover it was the WRONG direction. Either I’m becoming a better writer (and trust me, some of my early stuff truly stinks) or I’m getting better at figuring out how to get out of the corner I painted my novel into.

What I do while I think is either play games on my PC (my current obsession is Homeworld Remastered) or I go to another project. Sometimes that thinking takes a while and even if I come up with a solution, the path to getting there is not clear so I gotta think some more. And as some friends will agree so quickly they spit, I tend to think too much and not just freakin’ do.

So what irons are in my writing fire? Glad you asked.

Perchance – Book Three of The Soliloquy series. I’m well over half done (64,048 words) with this but the corner I just painted poor Karen into is itty bitty small. I’m not sure if I will keep what happened or delete and try again. I’m leaning toward the latter.

The time it took from when first multi-cell organism was formed from the ooze until man killed another man was but a blink in the eye of the cosmic consciousness. That moment of same species violence revealed the truth of what was to come. The magnificent art on the caves and the formation of spoken words and music: all of them so emotional. They could not compete to the violence man was capable of. The violence man carried out over the ages. The violence man carried out now.

The weapons sweep had brought about the fall of…something. I’m no philosopher. I just know Humans will never be the same again. They’d held this thought, brought on by generations of movies showing how easily humanity could bring down alien space ships, that they could do the same thing in real life. Not so. (snipped)

But now the only weapons left were those being handed out to police and select military groups. Keyed to the user’s DNA, the weapon could not be used by anyone else. Oh, sure, there were some bows and arrows somewhere. Molotov cocktails were all the rage with the rioters but skill to make one, fuel to fill it, and aim to make it go where one wanted were three things seemingly in short supply in the same location at the same time.

Elements – (working title) My foray into magic. It started as a “What if…” and went from there. I once said I would never write magic books but this one demands to be set free. Will it ever get finished? Let’s just say it needs some serious editing and rewriting and filling in spaces (it gets from A to W in, like, three pages).

Alicia stood in the {Something} Archives, with a book open before her. She questioned not just her occupation, but everything about it and her life and her world. She bent her neck again, slowly, to gaze down at the page. To see if maybe she had read the words wrong. She’d already read them three times but maybe…

“The four primary elements are strong, mighty guardians of the world. The two intrinsic elements are stronger and mightier and do not interfere with the primary elements’ duties. The six are combined into two when the Mother starts to awaken. The result will either full awaken or assist the Mother in returning to sleep. It will depend upon the two who hold the six.”

Simple Sarah – Book One of the Something Series – Poor, poor Sarah. I started writing this book in 2004. Finished it in just a few months. And then it has been cat licked to death ever since. I swear upon my mother’s newly dug grave that I will finish that damn thing this year or archive it. Okay, by the end of 2019 because I really need to get Perchance out this year or my publisher may give up on me. Sorry Mom.

The storm had started just before dusk and had increased in intensity as night deepened. Between the thunder and the pounding rain, Sarah Durnhold did not get much sleep in her attic bedroom. She finally gave up and went downstairs to the kitchen. Restarting the stove was easy enough as her father always banked it to perfection. A few little bits of old cloth, some kindling, and soon she was able to add several quartered pieces of wood. She was filling the kettle when she heard movement upstairs.

“Might as well fill it enough for three,” came her mother’s voice.

Sarah got down two more mugs from their hooks and the basket of teas from the shelf. Her father was not much of a tea drinker but Sarah found the packet of “untainted” tea that he preferred. He did not understand the need to take perfectly good tea leaves and ruin them by adding fruit or the like, just to add flavor, when the flavor was just fine left alone, thank you very much.

The Relic – working title. (24,354) Ah, I’m loving this book. It’s been a slow, delicious burn in my mind and releasing it is fun. It has a lot of layers though, but I’m working hard to keep it a single novel and not another damn series.

Many times the relic, and those just like it, had been moved across the world. From the sharp peaks of the Himalayas, to the hot sands of Africa, to the moors of Scotland, to the mountains of what would eventually be known as North Carolina. The stewards had been charged with keeping the relic safe. At all costs. Many called it a burden but a necessary one. Few called it what it was: a privilege.

The Norse had been far to the north. Spaniards had not yet arrived to the New World. The caretakers of the relic were of mixed ethnicity, gathered from the places the relic had rested, and intrigued the Cherokee, Catawba, and other native tribes in the area. Years later when the Cherokee were forced to leave, the stewards used some of the gifts granted to them and helped hide not only themselves and the relic, but also to hide many of their Cherokee friends. They did it again during the Civil War. By then the world had grown and it would be difficult to hide and explain the relic if it were to be moved. Instead, it was relocated just to the north. The sarcophagus was placed in a natural cave that had been expanded. Wards were set. And the stewards settled down.

As Advertised – one of the Butch Girl books. Yeah, I know. Lesbian readers love love love their romance books. But I dislike writing them. Well, dislike isn’t the right word. Remember above when I told you that I often had to step back from a book to digest or think something through? Well imagine writing about magic or feathered aliens or whatever and then trying to slip into the relative simple angst, conflict, and lives of normal humans. It doesn’t work for me. However, I keep trying and As Advertised is indeed progressing. It started back in 2004 as well and was actually the first BG book I started. But BGCFA was finished first and the rest is herstory. I have several other Butch Girl books in progress, too.

Nikki Rogers pushed off with her foot so the stars above her swayed and blurred. The beers from the gathering and the tequila shared with Harri later, had her head buzzing. She closed her eyes against the moving universe above her to wait out the swing’s momentum. But that just turned her thoughts inward and reminded her of Kelly and Grace’s gathering. Nikki was over the moon thrilled for her friends. But it also made her realize how empty her life had become. She had become financially comfortable, had a wonderful, renovated home, and plenty of land to maintain privacy. Yet, there was no special someone to share it all with. Except Spam, of course, but in matters such as these, he didn’t count as special.

She heard muffled breathing and felt the elephant land on her chest. She scrunched up her face for what she knew was coming next.

Precognition or Just Bad Luck?

To Sleep was a hard book to write. It started out in one direction then the logistics of it (a reader can only suspend so much belief before the book becomes airborne) got too tangled. I set it aside for a year or more then tried again, this time going in a different direction. But some tangles lived on.

When I first wrote the draft for To Sleep in ’09 (it was called The Awakening back then), the MCs were given these touchscreen devices to interface with the System. They were called the Individual System Access Device. They played with what to name them ISAD was, well, sad so they decided to call them their PADs. In 2010 Apple came out with the iPAD.

Another part of To Sleep that was dropped was the initial scout ship was kinda shaped like an egg, smooth with no visible markings whatsoever, and had been in orbit around Saturn, hidden as one of that planet’s many moons. I dropped that part for various reasons but kept the description for one of the main ships that first arrive. In 2012, prior to To Sleep being released, Saturn’s moon Methone was finally imaged up close. It is perfectly smooth with very little visible markings.

In the Earth I created for the Soliloquy series (To Sleep, To Dream, Perchance, To Die), the Religious Right had gotten a firm hold in the US gov’t to the point they are a political party on their own. If you have read the first book, you know what the Religious Right attempt to do.

Tonight, as we wait for the numbers to start getting counted, I hope and pray that yet another bit from that damn book does not come true. Let us come back together as a species and heal the mental wounds we have inflicted on each other. Followers on both sides have gotten nasty. We all need to move on, one way or another.

Announcement

To Dream, Book Two of the Soliloquy, will not be released until October 2015. Yes, this is nearly a year after its original release date, but it is for a good reason.

Regal Crest and I want to put out the best book we can. And while To Dream is a damn good book as it is, there’s a few things in it that need some more rewriting and editing. No, I am not cat licking the novel and not letting go of it, honest. To Dream is like The Two Towers, an in-between book with lots of growth, lots of directions, but not much actually happening except growing tension. It sets up the next two books, mostly. And that is hard to do and make it worth the reader’s time. It is VERY character driven, one character with the others in very strong, supportive roles.

For me, it was a hard decision to make. But then we missed an important deadline (you would not believe the angst Real Life has thrown Heather and me!). The decision had to be made and we made it and it is done.

To Dream Teaser

To Dream is almost ready to go to the editor. Again. The damn thing just kept growing, as it always has, and it was decreed to large (at 163K+). So I had to cut it down (to 110K). Now I am going through it to make sure there are no dangling plot threads.

But this is one of my favorite scenes. Call me a tease. I’m fine with that.

“Did you break it?”

I looked up at the sound of HER voice. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t do anything.

“She did not. She has this need to take something apart in order to understand how it functions. Fortunately, she has not felt the need to do the same to me as of yet.” Mona came into the room while Cass leaned against the door frame.

“What is it? Or was it?”

She had this southern accent, soft, not overly twangy. Her words rolled off her tongue, across the room, and into my ears where my brain savored them like a well-aged liquor.

“It is a bio-bed. Karen, are you feeling ill again?” Mona got the scanner and it was its beep that pulled me out of my cask of Cass bourbon.

“No, I’m fine. I see you finally made it.”

She laughed. If her accent were expensive bourbon, her laughter was a rich dessert, chocolate something served with coffee the color of her skin. “I swear, that’s what everyone says to me. Not ‘hello’ or ‘hey how are you’ but ‘I see you finally made it’. I ought to leave and come back just to get a proper greeting!”

I put the two bio-bed gut pieces down and jumped to my feet. I carefully stepped over the parts I had strewn over the floor and made my way to her. Taking her hand, I raised it to my lips and kissed the back of it. “Cassandra, it is good to see you again. How was your overly long journey?”