Tag Archives: writing fiction

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…

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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.

 

 

Bringing a Story to Life: When Life Meets You Halfway

knight-horse-jousting-vector-cartoon-clip-art-illustration-armored-scary-black-red-eyes-charging-lance-111436248“It is seeking me as I am seeking it

                  – Thomas Pauley

 

This morning as I was pulling the car in near the coffee shop where I get my double shot a song came on the radio.  Initially, I rolled my eyes as it was a cheesy 80s love ballad.

I prefer heavy metal – big time.

I was about to turn it – and the car – off – when the lyrics caught my attention.  A smile spread across my face and I decided the doppio could wait a little longer.  You see, the song solved a writing problem.

This isn’t the first time.

The Problem.  Last night I began working out a scene in Cauldron of the Gods.

An urban fantasy I’m working on.   

I’m 43000 plus words into the story and this scene takes place much later in the novel.

The scene is a bit of a challenge as there are elements that are in conflict with earlier ones.  I tried resolving the conflict off and on before bed to no avail.

For once it didn’t keep me awake.

To my surprise and delight – yes, author word – the lyrics of the song provided the answer I needed.

I rarely IF EVER (can’t think of one instance) say I’m delighted – too dated a term.

Not a One Off.  This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this phenomenonBeginning some eight months ago, while driving, I would notice a song on the radio that solved a writing issue.

I say notice because most of the time songs are just background music. 

Time is Immaterial. The song doesn’t have to be a current release.

 The keyword is notice.

At times, it’s a song I’ve never heard before.  Other times it’s an older song I’m hearing in a new way.

Lyrics.

Words V Tunes.  It’s typically lyrics that resolve a problem.

Not necessarily the whole song, either; sometimes just a stanza. 

Rarely is it the rhythm.

Though it can be. Especially in the case of percussion led songs.

Let Me Count the Ways.  It’s not always the same issue that’s resolved.

Character.  The following are some of the songs that have helped with character related issues  

  • ET – Katy Perry
  • I Am Machine – Three Days Grace
  • Wicked Game – Ursine Vulpine Remake
  • Ever It Hurts – Sam Tinnesz

Setting.  The following songs have helped with setting related issues

  • Circadian Rhythm – Silversun Pickups
  • Love Walks In – Van Hagar
  • Sunrise – Blackwater Holylight
  • Windswept – Bryan Ferry

Scene.  The following songs have helped with scene related issues

  •  Story of Love – Peter Cetera
  • When Legends Rise – Godsmack
  • Angels Fall – Breaking Benjamin
  • Prologue/Twilight – Electric Light Orchestra

Ask and Ye Shall Receive.  What stands out the most is how the problem is being solved.

  • I mentally consider that I’m feeling frustrated.

But other than considering the various ways I can approach the issue I don’t spend time on it.

  • I analyze whatever part of the writing process is the challenge 

Character, scene, plot, other.

  • I go about my life

Though the issue rattles around in the background

The point is I don’t pray/meditate for resolution or otherwise actively try to solve the issue

It honestly doesn’t occur to me to do more than say to myself, “Yeah, I am frustrated.”

Kismet.  In spite of the lack of effort toward resolution, an answer presents itself – in the form of a song – within a very short time of acknowledging the problem.

As Pauley said…it (the answer) is seeking me as I am seeking it.

As I approach my dreams, Life is meeting me halfway.

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.

When Art Mimics Life Mimics Art

500_F_203412141_0ZifkTsqTVfi0LzLTiYELkwhzWtrB0r2Done – Or Not?  So, the “first draft” of the Metatron’s Army series is finished but…

There’s a lot more work to be done.

  • Promotion: Book 11 is with the beta reader.
  • Promotion  Cover artwork is more or less finished
  • Promotion: Back of Book  in progress
  • Promotion: Book  Trailer in progress
  • Analysis: Book 12 is in review/re-edit.

To that end:

Something about Book 12 has been bugging me though I hadn’t been able to put my finger on it.

Until today…

Ghost in the Machine?  Normally, once I reopen a Word document I’ve been working on, I get a prompt to the right.  If I click on it, I’m taken to the location I was working on the last time I was in the document.

For Book 12 this was last night.

For whatever reason, the prompt didn’t show up.

I checked to make sure I’d clicked on the correct document. 

I’ve had kind of a – mentally draining past few weeks – with the accompanying lack of sleep – so I was in no mood to play games with the gremlin messin with my novel.

In point of fact, I was – well – upset.

For whatever reason – probably because it’s “my life” I’m dealing with – I was inspired to focus on the exact location the document did open up to.

The opening, where I define Analysis which is the title for Book 12.

As I read through the definition, I couldn’t help but smirk.

Like I said, this is my life we’re talking about.  Paranormal might as well be my middle name.

Analysis:  The study of a game or a position in order to evaluate the quality of the moves and various other aspects of the game or position.

In other words, taking stock, which is exactly where I am in this series and in my career.

You could almost liken it to New Year’s when people evaluate and decide on resolutions.

Though I have no need for resolutions I do need to evaluate in order to see if I’m on track, which means…

Am I on the path?  There is a blessing from hell in wrapping up a series that has been in the making for 35 plus years and in the works for 3.  Once it’s over…where do I go?

I have an idea but before I can move along – I need to finish what’s in front of me.

The finish is close yet there is much work to be done.

I have to make sure I don’t get so distracted laying the foundation for upcoming projects I get off track finishing what is before me.

The list or the heart?  Knowing this milestone was imminent and thinking I was clever, I came up with a list of to-do’s several days ago.

Over a week.

I was enthusiastic and excited and felt so accomplished as I went over the list with various team members.

Well, the joke was on me…

My mind may have been on track but my heart was conflicted.

Just as Shane reflects at the end of Book 10, it was as if someone had thrown a metal implement into the gears and everything came to a grinding halt.

Along with productivity.

I took as much time as I could mentally stand to work on the situation and realized that productivity can be a double-edged sword.  It can mask unresolved problems.

Like driving on a tire that has a nail in it.  You may not realize you’re losing air.

If it wasn’t for a gremlin putting a kink in my software, I might still be driving on that tire, but like a good Samaritan gesturing frantically that I needed to roll down my window so he can tell me I have a low tire, the fact the software refused to perform alerted me to a problem.  I needed to evaluate.

No.  I needed to stop.

This is more than just Am I on track? for the series.  Am I on track for my career?  Am I on track for my goals?

And who or what remaining nails might be impediments?

Let’s just say a few individuals had thrown tacks on the path in front of me; tacks I may not have seen had MS Word not taken me to an alternate location.

After some serious work I concluded that not only am I clearer on things, I now see that I have a couple of new and unexpected … helpers along the path.

People who make my day better.

It isn’t simply acknowledging how the people who do the little things – that are in no way little – help me – it’s realizing what an integral part of the process they have become.

And that’s life – and art – at its finest…