Reading before typing: writing Redemption

Yesterday was a huge and happy milestone for me.  I finished the first draft of Redemption, a Dragon Core Bite Size Pieces story that is definitely a full-length novel, at over 88K words!

I will happily price it as a Bite Size Pieces as that is the commitment I made to my readers.

At this point I will set the story aside for several days and while I’m already onto the next project I will be working on tasks related to its release.

Book cover, back of book description. Excerpt, landing page, etc

I’ll get back to the story in a week or two and refine and edit and pass it along to my beta reader. Then more refine and edit and then release.

As I’ve written previously, this story really took on a life of its own and while that is significant as it provides insight into yet another methodology I employ, it’s unique in another way.

Writer or Reader?  At some point past the 45K mark I realized I wasn’t writing the book so much as reading it.

I kind of disconnected from the fingers going across the keyboard and was reading the words in my mind before they appeared on the screen.  It’s almost like writing from a trance state.  Weird.  And, not typical.

I can count on one hand the number of times this phenomenon has occurred with a book I’m writing.

I have, however, read interviews with authors who have said the Muse was using their hands to get the story down.

I once saw a fiction movie about a writer in which he says that sometimes the story chooses the writer.  I imagine the stories in which I become reader while writing are a version of this concept.

I find it interesting that I have particularly enjoyed the books in which I was simultaneously reader and writer.  

Though I like all my work.

They don’t have a common theme between them that would suggest a certain type of story will induce this state.  

The Paranormal in Action?  I’ve written and spoken about how the Silva Method developed by Jose Silva has been one of the best investments I’ve made, how it continues to pay back on the money, time, and energy spent.  Something I read in Jose’s autobiography may explain this interesting phenomenon to a degree.

Jose developed the method over a period of years and it was initially done with the idea of helping his kids do better in school.  As such, he worked with one of his daughters who was, I believe, junior high age at the time.  

The method was raw at this point.

He talked about how a breakthrough came when his daughter began answering questions he hadn’t yet asked.  She was somehow reading his mind.  It was the beginning of what would entail years of trial and error and continuous refinement but what I got out of it was that the mind was able to anticipate and respond accordingly.  In my Event Horizon app presentation Captain’s Log Part VI: The Fourth Dimension, I talk about how I came to see that the information I got in exercises was a foreshadowing in some cases of what was to come.  When I circle this back to Jose’s experience with his daughter (which was far from isolated as graduates know), I see a possible explanation for the reading of something in my mind before I think or type it.

My theory is that when this happens my mind has attenuated to a certain part of the alpha frequency which is the daydream frequency and a place from which we can create and pulls the information before the tactile response of my physical body has engaged.

I see the words in my mind before I see them on the screen. I’m not thinking them, I’m reading them.

There are subtle nuances in the way it plays out from book to book when this has been the case.  In one of the Metatron’s Army novels, it felt as if I was suddenly remembering something rather than read/writing it for the first time.  That feeling stayed with me for three sequential books though I did not have the sense of reading before typing the way I did in the first of the three, just felt as if I was remembering something somehow familiar.

I am very pleased with how Redemption has turned out and find myself thinking, “Wow, I never would have thought to do that,” which further fuels the paranormal fire.  

As someone whose life is continuously interwoven with such wondrous experiences, I’ve come to appreciate them.

I anticipate Redemption will be ready for release mid-November, 2020.

Stay tuned.

Clearing the block

So, after a two week break I’m back at Mirror, a full-length Ghost Games Case File.

My breaks aren’t generally real breaks since I spend a most of the time thinking about plots and characters.  However, I did spend an entire week just reading for pleasure.

I also organized my entire house from top to bottom including cupboards, closets, and cleaning the garage.  

Thank god the donate station is open again!

When one week turned into two and I still didn’t feel the muse, I began to do a little mental movie watching.

This is the process where I will run scenes in my head like a movie so I can swap characters, change up dialogue, action, etc.  I generally do this as I wind down for sleep though I may do it while playing round after round of Free Cell since it’s so mindless.

Usually, this is all it takes to get the creative juices flowing again.  However, when I was a day past the two week mark and still didn’t have a good feel for what to work on I decided to take a second look.

I also wrote way too many emails – for which I apologized to the recipients.  Obviously, I was stalling so I didn’t have to face what might be causing the problem.

As I did manage to get a few book ideas going over the previous evenings I decided to do a bit more mental movie watching – with the intent of coming up with a project to work on. Long story short, of the four books I have in the queue, I decided to do…I didn’t know!

After all that work I STILL didn’t know!

The four choices are 2 Dragon Core books, a Ghost Games story, and a Metatron’s Army story.

Since I couldn’t figure out which one to tackle and as Mirror was already in first draft complete mode, I decided to work on that.  It was at that point I realized what the problem was.  On some unconscious level I needed to finish that one and get it out before I could free myself to work on anything else.

It would have been nice to tell myself but hey, better late than never.

It’s unusual for me to get locked into one story at a time.  I like to work on multiple stories simultaneously because it’s how my writing mind works which makes it soothing.  That this happened let me know I unconsciously send messages to myself and it’s worth noting the change in pattern.

So next time I don’t worry about a delay in getting back to it, though I DO have a cleaner more organized house for it.

So, I’m working to have Mirror available late fall/early summer 2020.  

I have a couple of Bite Size Pieces stories in the queue along with additional full-length novels across all the series.

Stay tuned!

learning at home

With l-12 schools across the country closed I thought I would post some information that may be helpful to parents and caregivers by listing resources they can tap while the districts get online learning up and running.

Please be aware that home learning – homeschooling – has been conducted successfully throughout the United States for decades.  Because of this there are a number of great resources to help parents and kids – and educators – during this chaotic time.

Where to Start?  Here is a book that will help guide parents who want and need to be more involved in guiding the education, Home Learning Year by Year.

Kahn Academy:  An excellent online resource for learning.

Singapore Math:  An excellent curriculum for homeschool learning.

They do more than math.

Spectrum Language Arts:  Excellent books and workbooks for language arts.

Owl and Mouse:  Online learning resource

World Geography:  This site is free and fun.

The Learning Store:  Lots of resources including kits for science experiments at home.

There are other online stores where more sophisticated science kits, such as biology and chemistry, can be obtained.

I understand from a woman who homeschools her kids that Brigham Young University has some excellent online classes.  

Her daughter took high school French with them.

There are many successful homeschool stories.  I’m sure some of those parents have blogs where they are sharing information with others.

The woman who homeschools told me there are great online resources for parents who are homeschooling for the college bound, including how to do course transcripts for acceptance.  These individuals are generous with their time and information.

I will update this post if I come across additional resources.  I invite those who follow – if you know of other resources that would help – post in the comments.

Mistakes Are In the Eye of the Beholder

So I’m in “final” edit with Cauldron of the Gods, first in the Dragon Core series which will be released at the end of this month.  As the past few weeks have been – to say the least – chaotic – I elected to go to a café to work.  

I needed to get out of my head.

I was chatting it up with a new employee – a lovely person – the kind who just makes you smile – and realized the good fortune in coming here.  Not only did I get to try a new dish, I got a reminder that mistakes are part of life.

Especially, grammatical mistakes.

To put it in context, I need to explain that throughout the years – perhaps centuries – the rules of grammar have changed.

Nowhere is this truer than in the publishing world.

I was explaining that I’ve been struggling with this particular manuscript – for whatever reason – with various aspects of grammar.

Having a teen who is learning “school grammar” doesn’t help because when I help with homework I have to remind myself the rules are different.

I explained that the rules of grammar are fluid – a concept difficult to explain to someone whose grades are dependent on a textbook rule that may or may not apply in life outside the classroom.

Not to mention there are an entirely different set of rules for writing doctoral dissertations. To the degree you have to buy a book just to learn them!

She shared a story with me about time working for an advertising firm in Boston.  Her boss, apparently unaware of the reality of fluid rules, called her out for writing “had had” in a sentence.

She told me she explained that it was a legitimate use of grammar.

It is. 

 I went on to share that I once worked for a woman who went ballistic because I did a typo on a presentation slide intended for automotive suppliers, writing India instead of Indiana.

Perhaps I was prognosticating a more global supply chain that has since come to pass?

She berated me for the mistake, taking great pains to tell me how I’d humiliated her.

Funny, I never heard about it from the sales rep or the customers.

I actually approached the sales rep to apologize.  He looked at me in confusion then said, “Oh, that.  Don’t worry about it.  No one noticed.”

I wouldn’t say no one.

But as I pointed out to the lady waiting on me this afternoon – it says more about them than us.

And it reminded me not to hold my shoulders up over my ears as I edit. Life, like grammar, is fluid.

In other words, Go With the Flow!