Tag Archives: Metatron’s Army

Bringing a Story to Life: Go With the Flow

D246_52_548_1200Well into Shadow of the Gods: Second in the Dragon Core series.

I’m proud to say Metatron’s Legacy is on track for December 15 release.

I wrote previously about choosing a location that was inspiration for a primary setting in Cauldron of the Gods.  Interestingly, my first choice had to be bleep canned because – like in the story – it was undergoing what some people refer to as gentrification.

Only in my story, the owner retains as much of the bones as possible.  In the location that I had to abandon?  The new look and feel is horrendously ugly.  I can’t believe they didn’t retain any of the historical value.

I spent months searching for an alternate turning down a number of places because the vibe just wasn’t right.

They fell into two categories: Gritty to the point of disgustingly dirty or a location that screamed yuppy bar. 

I decided to go with a location I was pretty happy with.

The one referenced in the article on scouting.

It didn’t fit exactly because it was a place that featured live music and the bar in my story doesn’t, but the vibe was good.  So was the neighborhood.

As I write in Cauldron, gritty sophistication

Life Imitates Art Part 1.  Well, lo and behold, my ideal location has succumbed to the fickle finger of Fate.

It’s being repurposed as part of an overall “upgrade” from the gritty sophistication of the industrial area it hugs.

It’s truly ironic because this theme plays a fairly major role in the book as well as the series.

Rejuvenation, repurpose, re -.

Life Imitates Art Part 2.  Another irony is that one of the locations I turned down because the vibe wasn’t right has become ideal.

It isn’t that it went from yuppy to gritty so much as a variety of energetic shifts.

So a place that didn’t work, works.

Because the flow of energy changed.

Change Inside Outside Part 1.  I took time to analyze the change.

I like to learn from stuff like this.

I realized that I’d never spent time in a certain part of the establishment.  The more I visited and spent time in that other area, the more I realized that it actually was just about perfect.

Change Inside Outside Part 2.  I took into account that in addition to this location going through changes – including changes in staff and clientele – I had changed.

I’ve been refining my career to reflect my growth as a writer.

Cleaning House Part 1.  My writing career has been evolving for years.

So have I.  

To refelct this I’ve made a number of changes.

 I spent months working on my website, filming, and implementing other changes to reflect this shift.

Always honor internal growth in some meaningful external way.

Cleaning House Part 2.  I appear to be getting assistance.  The gremlin managing my music has been busy sending messages.

Primarily removing songs  tied to an old me; a me that no longer exists as I’ve grown.

The most recent bit of chaos occurred the other day.  I went to listen to a playlist created when I first got iTunes.

It is literally the first playlist I created.

I launched it and as I watched – never even got  to play one song – it was “written over” by some invisible force – aka gremlin – and replaced with a different playlist.

The second playlist I ever created., immediately after the first  I split the genre by years.

While I could easily recreate the playlist – or maybe not given that I’ve literally been prevented from adding certain songs into playlists or otherwise changing them – I won’t because upon further consideration I realized the songs in that playlist represent the me that no longer exists.

To retain the playlist – those songs – would hold me back.

The Higher View Part 1.  That I needed to change the location that was inspiration – because the location itself changed – is part of the overall transformation of life.

The Higher View Part 2.  I was born during a generational transformation and I’ve come to see that those of us born within this time (give or take a few years before/after) are the leading edge of it.

This has mixed results.

I accept the change in location as I accept the loss of the music.  It’s time to change.

Inside and Outside.

 

The Paranormal in Action: Building a Soundtrack

 

unnamed.jpgHappy Halloween Everyone!  Thought I’d share a true spirit story to help kick this holiday off right.

Note:  Article is long.

The Back Story.  Several years ago – spring 2011 to be exact – while staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, I ran into a feisty ghost.  He was in our room which is interesting since we’d had to switch rooms in the middle of the night thanks to a raucous party going on next to the original one.

For the next two evenings he and I “chatted.”

He apparently wasn’t interested in my getting sleep.

Car__Ghost_Cartoon.jpgAt the end of the trip he asked if he could accompany us back home.  After discussing it with Aaron and setting a few ground rules, I agreed.

Honestly, could I really have stopped him?

In the ensuing years he and I have become good friends.  He’s been incredibly helpful in so many ways:  My writing, nutrition, helping me research EMF Sensitivity.

As a ghost and a musician, he has a good handle on the subject. 

He helped me figure out it’s the Stratocaster that is instrumental in songs that alleviate EMF Sensitivity symptoms.

On That Note.  He’s very opinionated when it comes to musical tastes.

So am I.

Over the years we’ve had more than a few disagreements on what constitutes good music.

Rude Awakening.  Wanting to see Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument, we drove from Colorado to South Dakota.

This was shortly after meeting the helpful spirit.

We’d gotten in late but talked about getting up early to get a head start on the trip.  We were in a dead sleep when there was a loud crash then the blare of music.  I sat straight up in bed while Aaron jumped out and was standing next to it staring down at the clock radio which had been thrown to the floor.  He started to laugh.  When I looked at him as if he’d lost his mind he pointed to the floor.  “Listen,” he said.

I rolled my eyes as I heard what was playing.

It’s a song my ghost loves – but I don’t, a rare cut of a Neil Young song not often played on the radio – a song he did with his Crazy Horse band.

Both kids started to laugh and crowed, “ET!”

This has been my nickname for him since the beginning.

I just groaned and pulled the pillow over my head.

ET laughed and said, “You did say you wanted to get an early start to the day!”

The Tug of Music War.  Over time the disagreement over music escalated.

I don’t really care for his stuff though there are a couple of his songs I like.

At one point, totally exasperated with my refusal to listen to his music, he took action.

This was in 2012 and we were living in Arizona. 

He proceeded to load several songs from various albums onto my ipod.

He literally created a playlist of his music.

I was not amused.  I had Aaron take a look, see if he could figure out how the songs had gotten into my iTunes library.

I certainly hadn’t put them there.

I will never forget the moment when Aaron – after poking around on the system – jerked back and said, “Whoa!”  He then proceeded to tell me, “There is no way you could have done this.”

I replied, “I told  you, I didn’t put them there.  But why -?”

He pointed to the links and said, “You don’t know how to do this.”

Though the songs were from albums Aaron owned, I had no access to them.  I didn’t even own a Mac at the time and there was no shared network.  I literally would have had to plug in a disk drive upon which Aaron had ripped his music and load the handful of songs myself.

He continued to frown at the screen, shook his head.  “I don’t know how that happened but it’s there.”

It was the artist himself, ET.  

Music Hijinks Continue.  One evening about a year and a half later, while living in San Diego, I was listening to music through my laptop and typing an email to a friend.  The subject of the email was ET.  I was relating a story he’d told me when the song I was listening to changed – to one of his.

One I really really do not like.

I wrote, “Holy sh*t! he just switched to a song he wrote about the story he told me!”

And Now?  Though in recent years we’ve come to more or less a truce about what music I listen to, he continues to exert his influence.  Luckily for me, it isn’t always obnoxious.  In fact, this past week it was downright helpful!

Creating Soundtracks.  Starting with Metatron’s Army I decided to create soundtracks for my stories.

I did this after realizing that Nigel Stanford’s Solar Echoes more or less fit the entire series perfectly.

I decided doing the same for Dragon Core would be helpful.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find music that fit.

I had a few random songs but nothing cohesive.

About a week ago, I plugged in headphones and launched the Music app.  I was surprised and a bit irritated to find that once again, someone had appropriated my music library.

This time,  instead of creating a playlist, the mischievous spirit refused to sync one I’d created to my phone.

I tried troubleshooting for awhile, gave up and asked Aaron to take a look – see if he could figure out what was going on.  Though he wasn’t able to figure it out he did witness a song get loaded onto the list – by someone other than me; someone neither one of us could see.

He literally watched a song pop up that I did not put into the list! 

Knowing I wasn’t going to win the battle I gave up trying to create the playlist.

My spirit friend was obviously expressing his opinion of the music I was “trying” to select.

For the next few days the somewhat helpful and very opinionated spirit maintained control of my iTunes library.  He literally chose songs for me to listen to – at random.

Some of the songs I literally do not own.  I have no idea where he was pulling them from.

Though I eventually identified something of a pattern to the music played, I was baffled by the choices as they crossed genres and styles.

And some of them came from nowhere!  I do not have the albums!

The Truce.   I guess the spirit appreciated that I was allowing him to choose for me because he rewarded me for my concession – by creating a Soundtrack for Shadow of the Gods, second in the Dragon Core Series.

I finished the first draft of Cauldron of the Gods – beta reader is done with it so its a go for an early 2020 release.

34425475.jpgThe story of the Shadow Soundtrack is worth relating on this day…

Knock Knock.  I wasn’t planning to listen to music that day.

I was sitting at my desk, the headphones not plugged in. 

As I was working on the end of Cauldron of the Gods the headphone jack knocked against the desk.  Smiling, I said, “You want to talk to me, huh?”

I knew who was behind the knocking.

I plugged in the headphones, fired up the Music app and proceeded to see what he had in mind for me to listen to.  I quickly realized the music he was choosing was perfect for Shadow of the Gods.  Excited, I wrote the songs down so I could create the playlist.  Not surprisingly, this one sync’d to my phone.

None of the other ones I’d been trying to create for the past week have.

It’s been an adventure, to say the least, but it’s also been pretty cool having such a friendly spirit around.

Even one as musically opinionated as ET.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this strange but true tale of musical madness!

Happy Halloween!

Post Note:  I just tried to add a song to the playlist he created – it won’t work.  I tried twice.  He refuses to accept a song he didn’t select.

Either that or he hates the song.

Post Post Note:  So, I just checked with the web to see if I could fix this sync’ing issue. Followed all the steps here and it fixed one playlist issue but not all.

And not the one created by my feisty spirited friend.

The songs and playlists affected are very specific.

word-of-the-day-01.jpg

 

Someone is definitely having fun with me.

Science Fiction or Fantasy? Depends on Where You’re Looking

PA_SEO_095_Are_Fairies_Mythical-624x245I never used to understand why bookstores had a section called Sci-Fi/Fantasy.  They seemed so completely different.  Then again, I read neither.

I read spy novels (Jean le Carre, Nelson DeMille), straight fiction (Sydney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer), and later, action/adventure (Stuart Woods, Clive Cussler).

As I write Dragon Core, I can’t help but notice elements that could find a home in either genre.

Multiple dimensions, time travel, parallel universes, mystical/fantastical creatures, unexplainable phenomenon.

And now I know why.  It depends on whether you are looking forward or backward.

Forward:  If you took a cell phone and traveled back in time, depending on how far back you went you would…

  • Be ignored
  • Be attacked
  • Be mobbed
  • Be embraced

I left off burned at the stake but that is definitely on the roulette wheel.

This suggests that technological advancement would be considered science fiction as opposed to fantasy if you were backward in time.

I’m simplifying in order to make a point.

Backward: If you were backward in time and saw the use of pyrotechnics (gun powder – a technological advancement) as brought from Asia to Europe, you would likely consider it “magick” and therefore in the realm of fantasy.

Cauldron of the Gods.  I was using a spell as a plot device earlier today and recalled a similar use in a science fiction series I’d seen years earlier – though it wasn’t accomplished by way of a spell.  It made me see how a person’s view – sci-fi or fantasy – would change depending whether they were looking forward or backward.

As I wrote this, I recalled a confrontation in Star Wars IV: A New Hope between Darth Vader and Motti.

“Don’t try to frighten us with your sorceror’s ways, Lord Vader.  Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebels’ hidden fort…”

Another example of the two genres coexisting within one framework.

Much as Lucas’ unseen until then special effects technology brought an uneducated audience into the future of cinema.

I’ve always found it ironic that I have never been a big fantasy or science fiction reader, though I have read a variety of books classified under those genres throughout my life.

One of my very favorites is a short story I read in 8th grade.  Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed by Ray Bradbury.

In the end I just accepted that what I am is a storyteller and though my settings may vary, my art does not.

The art of telling a good story.

Looking Forward.  If all goes as scheduled I should have the first draft of  Cauldron of the Gods, – first in the Dragon Core series – finished within the next week.  In the meantime, Metatron’s Legacy, a science fiction story, is set for release in late 2019.

Stay tuned…

New Series Details

housekeeping-cleaning-bathroomI’m in the process of revamping  my online presence.

Simplifying to better serve readers.

I just finished adding pages that provide details on my new series and invite readers to check them out!

A Universal Change.  Though all my work will be organized through elizabethmaxim.com, I did choose to maintain metatronsarmy.com as a separate site that can be reached with a click.

I have decided to put the single title novels related to the original series on this site.

I also provide information on my style and my take on the paranormal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Work in Progress

24E8972600000578-2920453-image-a-28_1421869300828.jpgThe October 1 release of Adjudication: Book 13 in the Metatron’s Army Series signifies the end of a chapter in my writing career.

 

Though I have multiple books [read projects] open.

I came to really love the sci-fi project that was 35 + years in the making.  I learned so much about myself as a writer including what it is I really love about being a writer.

Hint:  Fiction!

Progress:  As one chapter ends, another begins.

I have several fiction projects in various stages of completion

  • Metatron’s Legacy

Science Fiction.  Single title that takes place 20 years after Metatron’s Army ends.  Will be available late autumn/ early winter 2019.

  • Dragon Core

Urban Fantasy.  The first installment, Cauldron of the Gods, is in progress.  Estimated release winter 2020.

  • Ghost Games

Action/Adventure.  Work in progress.  No estimate for initial release at this time.  Stay tuned.

  • Paranormal Journeys/Port Gallatan

Paranormal Romance.  A number of books in various stages of completion will fall under this banner.  Blue Skye, the next in the series, is in progress.  No estimate for release at this time.  Stay tuned.

More Progress.  My writing career continues to evolve.

I will be focusing on fiction full-time.

In the coming days and weeks readers will see changes to my online presence that reflect this.

Stay tuned!

 

 

Bringing a Story to Life: Those Pesky Details

lot-of-11-medieval-south-german-ButtonsI was working on a scene of passion in Cauldron of the Gods, the first of the Dragon Core series when I found myself having to stop to verify what I was writing was possible.

As happens sometimes, I was both writer and reader and it was the reader side that caught the potential mistake.

The male character is undressing a female, undoing buttons on the back of her gown.  The problem?  Had buttons been invented yet?

This scene takes place in the fourteenth century.

Fortunately, I was able to verify that yes, buttons had been invited by this point in time.  However, I realized that I wasn’t done with the research.  The other potential problem?  The male character’s clothing.

I had to move beyond the time period and zero in on a specific part of Europe during that time period.

In this case I only needed to make a couple of minor adjustments though the entire exercise took a few hours of back and forth between writing and researching.

I’m pleased with how the scene turned out.

The scene itself took me four days to finish.

On another note.  Adjudication: Book 13 of the Metatron’s Army Series is available for pre-release.

This is the final installment of the Metatron’s Army Series.  The book will be released on October 1, 2019.

 

 

Up and Running

finish.jpgWell, that was a short trip into Writer’s Limbo.

I don’t think creators ever really take breaks.

As usual , lots going on.

This is the final installment in the Metatron’s Army saga.**

The trailer is on this page.

  • Work on Dragon Core is going well. I actually have the entire plot for the second book completed even though Cauldron of the Gods is still under construction.

At this rate, book 2 will be written before book 1 which is about 1/3 completed for first draft.

  • Enjoying music from the Dragon Core playlist.

Includes music from Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Muse, and one of my all-time favorites, Silversun Pickups.

The best part of breaks is how productive they are!

Adjudication will be available for pre-order.

Release date October 1, 2019.

**Metatron’s Legacy, which will be under the Metatron’s Universe family, is a single title albeit related novel.

Release date December 1, 2019.

Stay tuned…

Bringing a Story to Life: Writer’s Limbo [is NOT] Writer’s Block

8103856-wooden-foot-bridge-across-the-stream-in-mountain-forest-croatiaThis afternoon I finished slides for the book trailer for Adjudication, the FINAL installment of the Metatron’s Army Series.

 

This book will be released October 1, 2019

The Process.  The trailer is more or less the final stage in a Metatron’s Army installment.

Each installment of this saga is a chapter in the life of the main character(s).

The book cover and back of book description were done weeks ago.

The beta reader has the final draft.

Edit to the End.  I’m probably going to make a change to the final paragraph in the back of book description, which is why the landing page has not been put up.

Now What?  This is an interesting time for me because it’s not just the completion of a book, it’s the completion of a series that was over thirty years in the making. 

A story I honestly never intended to publish.  Best laid plans and all that…

I’ve more or less enjoyed the process.

There’s no doubt I’ve grown as a person, a business owner, and a writer.

I had to become someone I never thought I could be.

Next Up.  I’m always creating so I have a number of projects in the queue

  • Paranormal Journeys
  • Ghost Games
  • Dragon Core
  • Metatron’s Universe

Having a map doesn’t mean putting a foot to the path.

I need a breather between projects.

Rinse. Repeat.  I have to give myself permission to take breaks between projects.

Projects = individual books.

I don’t feel guilty about not putting fingers to keyboard, I feel compelled to get it down because I can.

But as a friend of mine once said, “Just because someone can, doesn’t mean they should.”

I am in a sort of writer’s limbo, which is not at all the same as writer’s block.  

The stories are ready to take their place in the ether.

I spent the past few days writing the rest of the first and the entire second installment of the Dragon Core series.

For this particular project that simply meant listening to music and playing Free Cell while watching the mental movie of the entire story play out on the screen of my mind’s eye.

Balancing Act.  The difficult part now is determining the point at which rest is morphing into something else.

In other words, when limbo turns into a block, an oxymoron given I know what it is I plan to do with the characters and the story they live in.

Really, Now What? 

  • I could spend the break catching up on housework that doesn’t need catching up on.

No, I don’t need to help others take care of theirs.

  • I could start a new hobby.

That I will soon have no time for.

  • I could spend more time listening to music and playing Free Cell.

That wouldn’t be a break. I’d end up writing more novels on my mental screen.

  • I could learn to embrace limbo.

Hmmm.

Stay tuned…

Bringing a Story to Life: The Rhythm of Writing

frtwice

This morning called for a second double shot espresso.

I’m ripping apart a paragraph in Cauldron of the Gods, first in the Dragon Core adventure for the fourth time.

Dragon Core is part of the Metatron’s Universe project.

It’s amazing how many different ways you can arrange a sentence and get the same meaning even as some just sound better than others.

And how many times you can change your mind about what sounds better.

It was while working on this novel that I came to see there is a rhythm to my writing.

It’s been some time since I’ve worked on something totally new.  The Metatron’s Army installments follow one to the next so in many respects it’s like one long novel.

Which is why it’s an Epic.

Soothsayer is connected to Port in a Storm and even though Blue Skye, the next Paranormal Journeys story is separate with new characters, all these novels and others in the queue fall under the P J umbrella.  Cauldron of the Gods– Dragon Core – I’m starting from scratch for the first time in years.

The Ingredients. The concept for Dragon Core, an urban fantasy, took root last fall as I was in the midst of the Metatron’s Army series and pondering what to do with Soothsayer. 

Actually, I was pondering what to do with my writing career.

Intrigued by the concept for this new series I set up a folder and began taking notes and doing research.

As the story has roots in real incidents that took place centuries ago, I quickly saw that research would not only be a big part of the up-front work, it would be a time-consuming part. I needed to factor that in when working out release dates for various projects in the queue.

By the New Year I had all the pieces in place

  • iTunes playlist for the project
  • Photographic images that represent the hero of the story
  • Files containing links to relevant historical data
  • Sample of academic work on relevant subject
  • Solid feel for the story arc that would carry not only Cauldron of the Gods but the follow-on stories in the Dragon Core series

Content I’d done everything I could given I had other priorities – aka other novels to finish and release – I set Cauldron aside and returned to finishing MA and Soothsayer

I trusted that in the ensuing months, as is typical, I would give time to the story while sitting outside observing nature, playing Free Cell and listening to music, or lying awake in the middle of the night.

The Sauce.  I’ve come to see that every book I write has its own pace and style of development.

It had been awhile since I’d worked on something completely new.

Cauldron is spaghetti sauce style.

This means I start at page one and write straight through, getting the main story arc in place, before going back and adding spice – intrigues and subplots – as appropriate.

I coined the spaghetti sauce descriptor  to describe this style of writing early in my career though not every story follows this pattern.

Only the first in the MA series – Advantage– fit that writing style profile.

This style of writing is the most energy intensive because it’s a slower paced style and requires intense focus that can be and often is cyclical.

I alternate rapid free-flowing sessions wherein I’ll get 3 – 6K words in one sitting with methodical and more time-consuming sessions which may yield 2K if I’m lucky.

Another characteristic of this style is the need to go back and reread what I’ve written in the previous session to regain momentum before continuing on.

This style is also cognitively draining relative to the rapid free-flow style that carried most of the Metatron’s Army works.

Free flow is a style where I’m simply the physical go-between for the muse, my fingers typing before I even think what it is I want/need to write.  It’s like being in a trance state, what some refer to as being “in the Zone.”

Understanding the rhythm (or not) has big time repercussions because the variability of the pacing can result in frustration.

It’s been years since I’ve dealt with a spaghetti sauce novel.  I’ve had to repeatedly remind my runaway train of a writing brain to slow down and relax – that it will all come out [right] in the end.

I have no idea at this point when Cauldron of the Gods will be ready for release but I’m enjoying the interesting path it’s taking to get there.

 

Bringing a Story to Life: The Circle of Creation

df34550d4b98c906ab78970fee0a7818.jpgAnalysis:  Book 12 in the Metatron’s Army series is available for pre-order.

While I’m excited that Adjudication, the final installment of the series has been turned over to the beta reader, I’m also bittersweet and a bit anxious as the series ends.

I have new material in the works but my mindset has been so focused on this project that was 35 plus years in the development that I’m having to gauge the best way to move on to the next projects.

Ghost Games, Metatron’s Universe, and Dragon Core works.

It’s been a bit like going up and down a variety of staircases, often simultaneously.

Like in an Escher Work.

In spite of the apt visual metaphor, I decided it’s really more like a circle; a circle of creation.

Because the circle is  creation and creation doesn’t end. 

One project winds down while the next spins up.  Thus, the circle remains complete.

And unbroken.

Creation as industry is Unique.   I once belonged to an organization of executives and former executives who’d come from a variety of industries.  During one of our meetings, we went through an exercise in which we were to envision where we saw ourselves in  five, ten, twenty-five years, and beyond.

It was a goal oriented exercise.

To my amusement and surprise, I was the only one who could go out beyond ten years.

I explained I planned to continue writing and – creating.

Soon after, I was contacted privately by the facilitator who explained he’d never heard anyone talk about contributing and “working” into their twilight years the way I did.

He was used to people talking about where they would spend their retirement years and what they would be doing. 

It wasn’t work and it wasn’t creating.

I’ve heard that if you love what you do, it isn’t work.  I think that is a misnomer because every artist I know, though they love what they do, works incredibly hard.

What’s unique about creation is the nature of it.  You create. If you have a drive to create, that drive is not dependent on earning a living though you sure as hell try to marry one to the other.  Still, if you have a need to create, money – or lack of – won’t stop it.

Creation is a circle that never ends.  There’s only a segue of continuity, the constant expression of life in one form or another.

images.jpegNote:  I’ve known many a scientist and researcher who has worked up until the end.  That, too, is creation.

 

Analysis will be available August 1, 2019.

Adjudication will be available October 1, 2019.