Rain and Shadow

So, on track to have Rainmaker ready for no-cost download by Sunday at the latest.

It’s in post-production.  Hopefully it will be ready by Friday evening.

I’m currently working to finish Shadow of the Gods, second in the Dragon Core Series.

On target for a late spring 2020 release.

Each book in the Dragon Core Series approaches the series storyline from a different character perspective.  As I mention on the Dragon Core page, the members of Dragon Core have watched for centuries as information shared in good faith was reinterpreted, their deeds misconstrued, their people painted as monsters.

Though all members agree with these statements, how each was affected and what they decided as a result is unique.

Each character is driven by a specific motivation that is beneath the overall umbrella of those truths.

While each story revolves around the role the characters play as members of Dragon Core, I also delve into where they fit in the greater shape shifter universe.

In Cauldron of the Gods I provide a historical perspective that lays the foundation for the series.  In Shadow, I introduce a new character whose perspective provides insight into what it means to be a shape shifter.

I add depth to this perspective by providing insight through other shifters and the humans they live with and among.

I’m excited about Shadow of the Gods and look forward to sharing it with readers in the near future.

Stay tuned.

Sharpening Focus

The journey of a writer is just that – a journey.

As part of mine I continue to make changes to my web presence that reflect where I am along the path.

Readers will notice the changes which illustrate a sharpened focus.

  • Paranormal Fiction is no longer referenced on elizabethmaxim.com

All works in this genre will continue to be available for purchase online. 

  • A focus on science fiction 

Where sci-fi meets passion.

  • Cauldron of the Gods is now available for pre-order.

I am hard at work on Shadow of the Gods, 2nd in the Dragon Core Series.

I will continue to post videos in which I share information and insight on the various works of fiction.

Stay tuned!

Interspecies Relationships

Relationships in paranormal fiction take on a whole new meaning when you step away from a world where interpersonal and romantic relationships within your sphere of awareness are single species.

In Metatron’s Army and now in the Dragon Core series I’ve had the opportunity to explore just what that means.

It’s really a lot of fun.  It isn’t just the interspecies interactions it’s the almost endless viewpoints from which to explore them.

It’s more than just sex.  Not all interspecies relationships are intimate.  Friendships between species play an integral role in my fiction, perhaps more so because it’s character driven more often than not.

I do have plenty of action driving the stories.  I just think it’s important to show how characters change and grow through experience.  It goes to my desire to write characters readers can relate to, even if and when they are of a different walk of life (i.e. different species).

In Metatron’s Army, non-intimate relationships include friendships and alliances.

Because Christine was raised on Earth her responses to and interactions with other species are different than the other characters’ most of whom were born and raised on a variety of planets in another star system altogether (Vetria).  Her role demands that she embrace the challenges – not of accepting these differences herself – but getting other species to accept each other, something that evolves as the series progresses.  To that end I spent a lot of effort considering where she – as well as those of the different species – were coming from at any point throughout the series.  

Relatability is big for me.

In Metatron’s Legacy, we have the friendships and alliances that are important to the story along with the addition of chance interactions with other species.

In one scene, Corinna’s experience with a local from a planet she is visiting becomes confrontational in a manner that underscores she is not just another species but one that is not understood by the locals.

Stranger in a strange land.

In Dragon Core, each story deals with interspecies relationships from a different vantage point. 

I take the time to really consider what it would be like to learn someone you knew was a shape shifter, how that would affect your life.

Each book in the series takes into account the shifter species, the age of the characters (which can be centuries), their occupations, cultural background and upbringing, and of course, whether they are male or female.

Though I wrote Cauldron of the Gods with this in mind, with Shadow of the Gods, I took it a step further and explored what it was like to be a shifter not from an objective point of view (what they are trying to accomplish) but what it’s like to be them, what they go through because they are living among a different species.

Sometimes it IS sex.  In both the Metatron’s Army and Dragon Core series I needed to consider the social norms of an alien species when it came to sex and intimacy.  Just as with different cultures on Earth, not every species will view intimate relationships the same way.

What is taboo to one culture or species will not be in another.

This was occasionally tricky since I wanted to be considerate of readers and – to a degree – where they fall on that spectrum.  Since I cannot account for everyone’s cultural backgrounds and any social influences, I fell back on my belief that writing characters readers can relate to is key.

In other words, I felt if I provided enough detail to explain/illustrate where they are coming from, how they feel, etc a reader could say, “I can imagine…”

In the Metatron’s Army series I explored sexual intimacy between differing species in pretty explicit detail.

I wrote from multiple species’ point of view and was pretty detailed in that I considered what each character might be concerned about (or not).

In the Dragon Core series I step back and examine the same concepts from multiple points of view.

Some from shapeshifters, some from humans.  I focused more on age and gender and what human sexuality is typically like through those filters and relative to what it is I’m trying to accomplish.

No Really, It’s About Sex.  At the end of the day it’s about equalizing.  Sex and reproduction through sex is more or less a universal concept.

Even if science and technology have had an impact.

Depending on where you are in your life, whether you are male or female, your occupation, your goals, any number of factors will dictate how you view and experience sexual intimacy.  I wove all of this into the stories and used these nuances to enhance character development as well as use it as an opportunity for a character to tell part of the story.

I had a blast with this during a wedding event in Shadow of the Gods as one “new” adult talks to an adolescent.  It was really fun.

Not all my stories allow the freedom to explore from this unique vantage point but the challenges of intimacy in a paranormal world are always addressed.

This really comes up with Clint in Soothsayer when he has to “fish or cut bait” when it comes to accepting what it means to be in an intimate relationship touched by the paranormal.

I look forward to more adventures with inter-species relationships as I continue to branch out in paranormal fiction.

Stay tuned.

Cauldron of the Gods is due for an end of February 2020 release.

New Year New Perspective

Overhauling elizabethmaxim.com and doing groundwork for various upcoming projects these past weeks has given me a unique perspective of how enslaved we’ve become to the socio-cultural dictates of how we spend time and energy during the holidays.

There’s a thought-provoking lecture on time and its influence on man in Bishop Pair, 2nd in the Metatron’s Army series.

Knowing this was how I was going to spend a portion of my holiday break, I scheduled time with the team that supports me months ago.

My job was to provide them with a concise vision from which to work.  This meant we were able to maximize time spent.

I’m very proud of what we accomplished as a team and individuals and I am excited about upcoming projects.

And I’m a lot less stressed since all the legwork has been completed.

The experience – scheduling various team members’ time – brought to light just how integrated socially driven behavior has become in people’s lives.

Cultural norms and expectations drive behavior.

It was interesting to note just how dramatically Western holiday behavior (at least in the US) has changed over the past several decades.

When I was growing up nothing was open on Sundays or holidays.  That was family time.  You had to make sure you had gas in your car and food in your house before Saturday evening/Sunday morning.

Though holiday activities have been dictated by cultural norms for years, the timing of those activities has and continues to change.

I did a Black Friday thing once to get a deal on a 5-disc CD changer.  Never again.

The interesting part is that while the changes have drawn criticism, nowhere have I seen it pointed out that people are choosing to be herded in these directions.

They choose to leave a family event to go shopping.  They choose to stand in ridiculously long lines starting before dawn.  They choose to start Christmas shopping before Halloween.

It’s easy to see how we got to this point because as a society we are used to having our holiday time planned out for us.

  • When we’re kids our schedules are dictated by our culture.

Ho ho ho

  • When we’re in high school (in the US) our holiday schedules (students’ and teachers’) are dictated by the state governments

Everyone has the same time off which impacts businesses as parents and kids seek to manage time and activities, including babysitting/daycare.

  • When we’re in college it’s about getting ready for finals and graduations

Sorry mom, I can’t make it for Thanksgiving.  I’ve got finals to study for.

  • When we’re working it depends on the industry and any localized norms associated with the industry.

Medical personnel as well as police, firefighters, and others need to schedule coverage, potentially putting their holiday schedules out of sync with their communities.

  • When we live in communities where an industry is king, our holiday time is definitely impacted.

GM shuts down twice a year – in summer and winter.  While it’s logical GM employees and their families have to follow this schedule, the communities and businesses around the plants are likewise impacted.  

I was scheduled to do a software upgrade at the Flint GM plant during such a holiday break as majority of the production systems were going to be offline.

It’s typical for those working in IT to be at their busiest when the auto companies are on holiday because of the opportunity to do infrastructure upgrades and maintenance.

This holiday influenced scheduling resulted in one of the more memorable experiences of my early IT career I was about fifteen minutes into the software upgrade when the entire plant went suddenly completely dark.

Within a short time the emergency lights came on bathing the almost deserted plant in an eerie red glow that had us feeling as if we were in an apocalyptic horror movie.

When the power didn’t come back on one of the GM IT folks went to find out what was going on.

Brave soul wandered deeper into an almost pitch-black plant.

Turns out that the Flint power company had the same bright idea – take advantage of GM downtime to upgrade their infrastructure which necessitated shutting off the grid that the plant was on.

They didn’t inform GM or their vendors so we were all caught off guard.

The software upgrade was a bust and we ended up having to test the backup strategy as we restored the system to its pre-install chaos state.

It was successful.

They eventually got their upgrade but long after the break was over.

Hard to work when there is no power and difficult to schedule production server downtime.

In running my own business I appreciate the value of other people’s time and am very careful when asking others to work over holiday break – even as I know from experience sometimes that is the best time to get things done.

It’s interesting to see that some people really enjoy spending this time working as it gets them out of other obligations they weren’t too thrilled about.

As I enter the new year I can say I’m thrilled with how things turned out.

It takes a lot of work but even more planning to accomplish what my team and I did and I’m very proud of the work and their contributions.

It is not easy working around the socio-cultural dictated norms of holidays.

Being out of sync with local activities takes a lot of energy and no small amount of planning – like ensuring you have enough gas in the car and food in the house.

The Go Forward. I invite readers to see what’s new.

Pretty much everything in terms of look and feel.

I’ve added a couple of paranormal goodies at the bottom of The Psi Side and The Surreal pages.

I’ve provided information on upcoming projects and organized older projects alongside more current works.

All projects are tied to the theme Paranormal Journeys.

Cauldron of the Gods, first in the Dragon Core series is set for release at the end of February, 2020.

Stay tuned.

And last but not least – Happy New Year!

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!