Tag Archives: After Here

Bringing a Story to Life: Inspired By

images.jpegI’m preparing Bind: Book Nine in the Metatron’s Army Series to pass along to the beta reader.

Not sure exactly what it is about this one in particular but it’s been such a joy to read 

The scene I’m working through brought to mind the unique process by which this entire series has come to life

Inspired.  This story has always been unique.

Inspired by the NDE 

Inspired by does not mean everything in the book was witnessed or experienced.  It does mean a tremendous amount of thought and planning went into the development of the plot.

The story is a unique amalgam of pieces envisioned and thought up over a period of thirty-five plus years, including two of deep professional grade strategy.

Built.  The story itself is unique in that it was wrapped around a set of existing “facts.”

There were certain characters and locations that made up the original.  Everything else – fleshing it all out – was designed.

The hardest part was the Opening Game.

The chess theme just fell into place but it works.

This was a major decision because I either had to create a backstory that was elaborate or I had to skip it because in-between would never work.

Would never ever do justice to the characters.

I basically started with the Middle/End Game section and though I knew how it ended, I had to work backward.

No small feat.

It may be why I’ve enjoyed the Middle Game so much – it’s familiar.

Considered.  As to the scene I’m working on currently.  That was never part of the original story, nor the one I built to bring Metatron’s Army to life.

The beta reader asked a question and though I never answered it, I thought, “Hmmm…”

Based on consideration of the question, I decided to modify the story appropriately.

I then had to wait several months to implement the change.

It is one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Inspired by a question.

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Spooky Fun In Action

halloween-clip-art-ghost-pumpkinsI’m wrapping up the Spooky Fun series with a video about how a real-life paranormal event inspired a major plot device in the Metatron’s Army Series.

This series, more than any other writing project, has been a crossroads of fact and fiction.

Not only is there a paranormal element to the decision to publish the saga, the original material came about as a way to help me understand my Near Death Experience.

Write What You Know?  MaybeNot all paranormal elements, nor themes nor plots in my material evolved from real-life events.

My nonfiction work is another story.

Write What You Know.  It’s Real.  My understanding of the paranormal played a significant role in figuring out what was wrong with me after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000.

It only took 9 years to figure out!

In 2003, the absence of my paranormal abilities led me to a visit to the San Francisco Borders Bookstore where I found the work of Russel Targ and Joe McMoneagle.

In my opinion, the loss of Borders Bookstore was one of the worst blows to the literary industry in modern history.  They were one-of-a-kind.

The tireless decades long research of those associated with IRVA and the Stargate Project enabled me to understand the physics behind the paranormal, which led to the first and perhaps most impacting EMF remedy.

The copper, zinc, and silver bracelet.

Which, as I write in Riding the Waves: Diagnosing, Treating, and Living with EMF Sensitivity, led to my discovery of the specific geological differences in areas where I felt better or worse.  The rest stemmed from that original trip to Borders to try to figure out why suddenly, after decades, my paranormal abilities had vanished.

On the flip side of this, as I’ve recently observed, the healthier I get – the more I continue to recover from the heavy metal poisoning that was responsible for the EMF Sensitivity, the stronger my paranormal abilities become.

And the more ideas I get for my writing.

I look forward to showing readers a world they never knew existed.

Happy Halloween Season! 

Today’s video will be available after 2:30pm PST.

Bringing a Story to Life – Location

orig_2bae763a-758e-48c4-8bcb-9215cc36b007Something like 80 percent of business decisions have a location element.  In fact, it’s probably higher than that.  – Jack Dangermond

 

The Setting.  When a movie studio decides to film a movie, one of the very first actions is to send out a team or expert to scout out a location to shoot the movie.  A variety of factors play into the choices but basically, you want the setting to reflect the story in order to bring it to life.

Make it real for the audience.

It isn’t all that different with novels.

Metatron’s Army is classified as a sci-fi.  All this means is the story takes place in a setting readers associate with science fiction (i.e. planet(s) other than earth, parallel universes, advanced knowledge, technology and weaponry).

The Scene.  Setting (Sci-Fi versus Medieval Europe versus Roman Empire, etc) is only one aspect of the location considerations that go into bringing a story to life.

  • Where does the story take place?

 City?  Country? A school?  If so – high school?  University? Special academy?

  • What locations within the story play a significant role?

The character’s home?  Their place of employment?  Their neighborhood?  The neighborhood they dream of?

The Real.  I’ve been fortunate to have lived and worked around the US and traveled to other countries.  This enables me to add locations to stories that I’ve not only visited, but have an understanding of.

Sometimes this understanding comes as an observer, sometimes as a local whose interacted with the places and the people in them.

I’m able to add real cultural quirks or unique characters, and/or buildings, and/or businesses into a fictional story.

Making it more realistic than it would otherwise be.

The Story.  Metatron’s Army truly began to take shape my sophomore year in high school, after a life-changing moment in my geometry class,**

This is where the plot – multiple universes and how they are constructed – was born.

For weeks after the event I researched*** theoretical physics, and the role of geometry and math in the construct of our universe.

What we thought we knew of it at any rate.

As the plot for Metatron’s Army unfolded, I was faced with location choices.  I needed to know where my characters would live and spend their time.

The Purpose.  One of the earliest location decisions was for a warehouse bar that would serve a dual purpose.

  • Relaxation
  • Information gathering

Once I had the location, I was able to visualize the type of people – and creatures – who would frequent the place.

Mercenaries and spies!

I also needed to understand just what went on in the bar.

Dancing?  Eating AND drinking?  Gambling? Fighting?

Then I needed to fill in the details.

  • Where was the bar?
  • What did the bar look like?

The answers to those questions involve amusing anecdotes.

Where was the bar?  I decided the bar would be located in the warehouse district of a major city on an as yet unnamed planet.  But, what city?  In a daydream state, I picked up a cast metal pencil sharpener globe from my dresser and began spinning it.  My eye fell on a name, Perm.  I frowned because I knew that there was no such place on the continent where it appeared.  Rolling my eyes, I realized the manufacturer had misprinted Perth.

The warehouse bar is in the warehouse district in Perm, located on the planet Catana.

What did the bar look like? When I was in my mid-20s, I went on a corporate junket to Toronto.  A small group of us wanted to go dancing, so we asked a local for a recommendation.  At first, she eyed us with amusement, and told us about a touristy bar at the hotel.  Fortunately, one of the guys at the table reset her stereotyped expectations, and she gave us directions to an after-hours bar in their warehouse district.

After taking the subway, which was eerily empty since it was well past rush hour, we walked to a nondescript building with a neon sign and enough human traffic to let us know we’d found the place.

I wish I could go back and find that waitress to thank her for the suggestion.  This fascinating place, which was unlike anything I’d ever seen, is the inspiration for the warehouse bar in my series.

It was a perfectly benign establishment, a multi-story warehouse with multiple bars serving drinks, a large area for dancing, music that pulsed through your blood and vibrated your bones, and lots of people enjoying themselves dancing and talking.

The Details.  While my colleagues talked about a variety of topics, I scoped the place out, taking in every detail.  I watched in curiosity as people danced in what appeared to be cages on an upper level.

I remember wondering how they got up there since it wasn’t too obvious.  The place was dark and I didn’t see any doors or stairwells.

I caught glimpses of side rooms with smaller parties.

These became the inspiration for the gaming rooms in my story.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at this unique dance bar.  The best part was knowing – even as I stood there barely able to hear my colleagues over the music – that I was going to be able to use the location in the story that had been evolving for over a decade.

What Goes on Here?  I’d long ago decided that gambling was going to be a major activity in the bar, with information the currency.  However, this vision lived in my imagination until I actually visited a casino in my late twenties.

Watching people sitting at bars playing game after game of digital poker while being served free booze fascinated me and inspired a scene between Christine and Jaliss.

Keeping It Alive.  I continue to integrate real locations into my stories, as I feel it enhances the realism, bringing them to life.

**  I write about this event in After Here: The Celestial Plane and What Happens When We Die.

Though I do not mention Metatron’s Army because it hadn’t yet become.  That took another 23 years and a boatload of living and learning.

 *** A number of open-minded individuals helped with that research, including my physics and pre-calc teachers, and a high school buddy who is now an astrophysicist at NASA.

Bringing a Story to Life – Perspiration for Inspiration

depositphotos_67013105-stock-photo-people-running-on-treadmills

So, my beta reader is working through Pawn Storm, Book 6 in the Metatron’s Army Series.  The central theme for this book was created in the winter of 1998, in Michigan, while I was running on a treadmill.

Though I loved to hike at Kensington in the winter – trudging around a sub in the ice and snow isn’t the same, nor as efficient during a Michigan winter as running on a treadmill.

I was listening to the Soundtrack from Riverdance.  I LOVE Reel Around the Sun.

I also played Vangelis’ Themes and  bit of Robert Miles. 

This was back in the day when portable music was either a Walkman or the portable CD players that had to be flat and skipped repeatedly when jarred.

I had the CD player which was just so fun on a treadmill.

We had a ½ bath in the basement where I was running.  Though I’d done my best to decorate the small space, it was still a basement and therefore, cold.

This is Michigan, we’re talking about.

As I let the music carry me to Ceative-Land, I slipped into my favorite past-time, weaving the story that would become Metatron’s Army.

Beat the hell out of thinking about an irritating senior manager who was – to the good fortune of all – let go not long after.

In particular, I imagined a heroine – a student in the military academy – alone in a tiny space in the bowels of a ship, studying.

Think governess in a Jane Austen novel.

I further imagined her surrounded by soldiers either on short term transport, who had no need of luxurious state rooms, or those who needed to have distractions removed because they needed to bring up their grades.

Of course, she was there because some jerkweed commander had it out for her.

The book evolves far beyond that as only the skeleton plot events were in place before I put fingers to keyboard in summer, 2016.

Action scene to action scene to action scene, necessitating I develop characters and subplots, and add descriptors – what does the stateroom look like/contain, what is the deal with the jerkweed and why does he have it out for her, etc.

Titles Too.  I was on the treadmill in my basement in Fort Collins in the winter of 2011 when I again received inspiration, though not for Metatron’s Army.

Talk about cold!  It was minus 18 actual the day we moved into our house.  Yeah, sure Michigan – with its “wet winters”- is colder.  Um –no.  

I needed a title for a nonfiction book I was writing.  As I ran, listening to Good Lovin by the Rascals, it came to me.

This is an AWESOME SONG to run to!

 After Here: The Celestial Plane and What Happens When We Die was published that year.

Ironically, not long after that, the movie Hereafter – which I’d never heard of before – came out,  Interestingly, I identify far more with the psychic played by Matt Damon than the woman who had the NDE.  Either they cut corners or her experience was a blip compared to what I lived through.

Get Moving!  Walking, running, and hiking, are all therapeutic, and can really stir the creative juices.

Pawn Storm will be available June 2018.

Bringing a Story to Life – Lead Me On

dark-music-wallpaper

If music be the food of love, play on. -Shakespeare.

Eight Days a Week.  I am finishing what has been a marathon writing session.  Producing over ten thousand words a day during a Sunday to Sunday week, I am about to finish the first draft of Metatron’s Legacy.

Though I have periodically gone through spurts of producing 5 – 15K words/day, this is a first; completing a first draft in such a short time.  A marathon.

A single title, Metatron’s Legacy takes place nineteen years after the final book in the Metatron’s Army series.  It was a much-needed break.

I was working on the first draft of Pin, Book Eight in the seriesIt’s the climax of the series, the start of the End Game.  It’s also incredibly intense.

At least, for me.

This book in particular took me back to the original concepts that inspired the series.

The Near Death Experience I had at age 10.

 In the Beginning.  I was in tenth grade when the story really started coming together.

Though I started conceptualizing it a year earlier.

I was in my room, staring at a wall calendar.  The male model was the inspiration for Verix, the Energy Shifter/Protector/Protagonist.

It wasn’t always that way.

 His character was originally a bad guy.  However, while staring at the image the idea came to me that he wasn’t bad, just misunderstood.

Grin.

As I continued to gaze into dark brown eyes, I allowed my mind to wander.  Over the course of the next few hours, if not days, plot twists and the climax – the dark moment if you will – took shape.

Send Me An Angel.  I’d like to say I came up with the idea on my own, but I feel as if it was given to me by – something.

The muse, I suppose.

Though the actual ending and numerous subplots didn’t crystalize at that point, the story was more or less completed that week, after a geometry theorem set off a series of events related to the NDE and what I’d seen during it. **

The ending and subplots evolved over the next thirty-three years.

Don’t Cry.  As I got to the climax – the dark moment – I found myself taken back to those high school days – and before.

To the NDE, the images and sensations..

It wasn’t necessarily a bad experience.

Outside what got me there – brain surgery, blind, paralyzed, coma, death.

 It’s just that once the door to that world opened, it stayed open

Not just memories, connections

Street of Dreams.  Throughout the years, I’ve integrated those connections into my life, learned to live with the open door.  In reviewing if not reliving certain aspects, however, I found myself feeling an emotional weight that choked me up a bit.

Not at all my nature.

 One evening, an idea for a new book came to mind.

To put it in perspective, I should have been sleeping.

 At first, I groaned. I’m not a big fan of creating branch stories for every secondary or tertiary character in an original series. However, the plot that popped into my consciousness was not only intriguing, it was complete as a single title! It was also, in my opinion, a perfect follow-on to the last book in the series. Related, yet separate, it would be a good story on its own merit.  That was a week ago.

Rock Me Amadeus.  There were times I felt like Mozart at the end of the movie, with some invisible task master driving relentlessly.  It was as if the book was writing itself.

The muse?

It’s hard to imagine writing a book in one week as a break from months of work on a series but it has been.

An emotional break. 

I’m Alright.  It was a pressure release valve, a reminder that everything works out in the end.

Wash.  Rinse. Repeat.  This article has been a break from Metatron’s Legacy.  Now, it’s time to get back to it.

I have a first draft to finish.

Simultaneous Display:  Book 5 in Metatron’s Army is now available.

 **  For more on this, along with other details regarding the NDE, read After Here: The Celestial Plane and What Happens When We Die.

 kurt-cobain-hagstrom-9-630x420

Musical references were deliberate.

Bringing a Story to Life – Dream Works

eyesA dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.

  • Colin Powell

 

What’s in a Dream?  Dreams are so much more than stories we tell ourselves in our sleep.  The information and imagery in dreams can help us solve problems and achieve goals.  They can also help in our careers.

In 1993, I had a dream in which I was standing on a planet with a hot wind blowing on me.  As I stood there, other planets, disproportionately large came close then moved away again.  Repeatedly.

In 2016, I read an article about a NASA discovery.  The image in the article was a match for the one in my dream.

I framed the image and display it where I can see it while working on Metatron’s Army.

This morning, I was sent a link to an article about another NASA discovery.  Imagine my surprise and delight to read the following:

“Standing on the surface of one of the planets, you would receive 200 times less light than you get from the sun, but you would still receive just as much energy to keep you warm since the star is so close. It would also afford some picturesque views, as the other planets would appear in the sky as big as the moon (or even twice as big).”

 Exactly as in my dream.

When I scrolled through the images accompanying the article, I saw that the same one from the 2016 article had been included.

 Some might call this a coincidence.  Others will see it as I do, the magic that is and has been a part of life.

I look for it.  I choose to see the magic in my life, in my dreams.

 Dream Works.  This isn’t the only time a dream has had a positive influence on my writing.

Spirit School.  In After Here, The Celestial Plane and What Happens When We Die, I describe a dream state I call Spirit School.  Located on the dream plane, it is a type of celestial classroom where the attendees listen to lectures.

Fiction – Or Not.  In writing fiction, I draw from experience, education, and imagination.  I have inserted dream sequences into novels when appropriate.

Ghost in the Mirror.  In the fourth book in my Psi-Adventure series there is a lecture on the nature of time given by one of the characters.

Time is a Lens That is Curved.

 This lecture was inspired by a very vivid dream I had about time.

As I often do with such dreams, I’d written it down so I was able to pull from it when writing the scene.

 Metatron’s Army.  Just after I began working on the Metatron’s Army project, I had a lengthy dream about time.

It was in the form of a lecture. 

This dream was interactive.

The lecturer was adamant I prove I was listening.

I was asked to recite the entire lecture back, twice.

Upon waking, I wrote it down, knowing I would use it somewhere in the series.

The sequence appears, unedited, in Metatron’s Army, Bishop Pair.

 I’m not the only professional who has benefitted from dreams.

Dmitri Mendeleev.  The Russian chemist and inventor had a dream in which all the elements were arranged in a particular fashion.  He utilized this information to create the periodic table.

Elias Howe.  The inventor of the sewing machine was having difficulty getting the needle to work properly when he had a dream that provided him with the answer he needed.

It was actually a nightmare in which he was being repeatedly stabbed by cannibals.  The spears they used had holes in the top.  The up and down stabbing motion, along with the holes in the spears, provided him with his answer.

 For more stories of dreams that turned into great things, see this article.

Metatron’s Army Bishop Pair will be available in 2017.