Spotlight: The World of Corona

Every story has a beginning, middle and an end. This series will feature articles that discuss various aspects of a given story without putting out spoilers. In this article, I will discuss the story world that encompasses Corona, now on sale at Amazon.com.

Corona’s story world is a possible future to our own, but with a few twists. Most of the technology, mannerisms, and styles are similar to our own, but there are a few exceptions that exist firmly within the realm of fiction. It’s Speculative Fiction, go figure. 😉

The main story location is the Hotel Maldonado, a historic landmark hotel with something of a ghostly past. Normally, a haunted hotel would put the story right into the Horror or Supernatural Camp, but I like to put my own spin on things so there are wrinkles on the theme that I’m pretty fond of.

The most important aspect of Corona’s story world are the characters. They are complex, relatable, and I like to think, truly unique unto themselves. I could go into more detail about them, but they are best when read without prompting.

Happy Reading. 🙂

Opinion: Well Intentioned (yet unsolicited) Advice

Have you ever had that one, or dozen, of friends who insist on serving up heaping portions of advice that you didn’t ask for?

Friends are important and I would never diminish the effects of having such people in our lives. They are sounding boards for ideas, helper in decision making, and just an all-around hoot for those times when you want to joke around and have a good time.

However, as friendships mature, the boundaries can become blurry to the point where it appears that no subject is off limits and that when the unsolicited advice creeps in.

Unsolicited advice is that which is offered, but not asked for, and is usually extended in the spirit of “it’s in your own best interest” or “I’m going to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear”. Advice, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. However, there are (at least) two circumstances where advice can work against us:

1) The Advice being offered doesn’t take into account individual circumstances.

2) The Advice goes beyond personal boundaries and interferes with an individual’s personal goals, preferences, and intentions.

Here are a few examples that will make #1 and #2 more clearly understood:

Example 1: I have a number of friends who are in relationships and for some reason, cannot fathom why I choose to live single and unattached. I work a day job, pursue a writing career, and basically have no time for the trials and tribulations of dating in the Modern Age. I feel no sense of loss over it, yet in every conversation it is impressed upon me that I MUST be lonely because I don’t have a girlfriend or wife to share my time with or I am somehow incomplete because I am alone. How can you be lonely if you are comfortable with yourself AND can make friends simply by going outside and being incomplete without having another person is simply ridiculous because there is a whole world out there for things to fill up your time. You don’t need another person to do that for you. Of course, the logistics of this are never covered, just the perceived appeal to emotion.

Example 2: I am pursuing a writing career. This involves a lot of time being alone, working some less than optimally paying jobs, and sacrificing sleep and something of a social life from time to time, in order to write my stories. Those are some of the circumstances that we as creative professionals deal with on a daily basis, but it’s a calling more than a career, so we learn to deal with the ins and outs of it. Granted, the natural inclination for those who care about us is to suggest things that may improve us materially, but do more to pull us off our chosen path and keep us from moving forward. I won’t call these people Dream Killers, by any means, but they don’t realize with comments like “What will you do for money?” and “You’ll be so busy writing that you won’t have time for us” that they are applying undue pressure to something that we already know is going on.

Don’t think that I’m against advice. I’m just not a fan of advice that I didn’t ask for.

Once Upon A Time: Parallax, Part 1

Once upon a time, about 1990 or so, I had a story idea set in Deep Space. The story had spaceships, aliens, and a whole lot of action and suspense. So, I wrote it and it was good. However, my ambitious storytelling wasn’t shared by traditional publishers and the original drafts of Parallax met with lukewarm responses, but ultimately not accepted.

Did I give up? Not hardly, and I tried several more times to find it a home before shelving it for a while to work on other projects. Parallax refused to disappear into my Pending Projects File and so I edited, rewrote, and resubmitted queries several times until it dawned on me that the problem wasn’t the story itself….

It was me. I wasn’t accepted because the traditional publishers didn’t know who I was and like most businesses in general, weren’t willing to take a chance on an unknown quantity. Many new writers/authors don’t realize that when they are rejected, it’s only because they are but a face in a sea of faces. They may be exceptional, but they don’t stand out.

What did I do about it? I could have moped, given up, moved on to other occupations, but I LOVE TO WRITE, and so I decided to hunker down and continue working to improve my craft and build up a name for myself. To that end (and some pushing by dedicated friends), I decided to go into self-publishing via Amazon.com.

Those of you who are familiar with me, know about the three novelettes that are currently on sale at Amazon.com: Corona, The Three Safeties, and Vessel. They were the first of my works to be put out there and they seem to be liked very much.

Now we get to Parallax.

I dusted off Parallax a few years ago and began to do a major rewrite. I had learned a LOT between the last time I worked on it and it needed some love. As I went through the usual stuff (spelling, punctuation, grammar, plot content, etc), a new story began to emerge. I could have released the old draft at anytime, but this new story grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. So, I decided to run with it and it pulled me in a new direction.

This series of articles is the story behind the story. The story of the daily trials and tribulations of me getting a full-length novel ready to go out to the World. It’s one part promotion, one part confessional, at a last part that I hope is inspiring to those who are facing similar circumstances and need some moral support.

See you next Thursday….

Opinion: Turn Signals and Chicken Littles

There is a wealth of diversity in the world, which covers the spectrum from Annoyance (Not Good), to Bacon (YUM!), and on and on….

Today’s Opinion article (Article #1, crack that champagne!) will deal with two items that fit into that wealth of global diversity: Turn Signals, as in the kind you use in a vehicle, and Chicken Littles, my pet name for those who go around perpetually prophesying doom and gloom. This series is all in good fun, so if you are one of those people with insecurity-based “trigger” tendencies, unfollow me immediately and go seek professional help.

Topic #1: Turn Signals:
Pretty straightforward devices, actually. Usually found mounted on vehicles and are used to indicate a turn, usually right or left, or an emergency via four way flashers. As safety equipment goes, they serve an extremely valuable function because they allow a form of nonverbal communication and prevent death or injury by allowing us to indicate our directional intentions.

So why are there so many people out there who don’t use them?
Honestly, this one tends to boggle my mind because one would think it common sense to do a thing that keeps us safe and sound. But it happens way more than you may think and a good portion of the time, an accident occurs. Are these people crazy? Maybe. Mental cases? Perhaps. Negligent? Absolutely.

Fortunately, people like these are grist for my mill and give me material to ping on. Thanks, Guys. 🙂

Topic #2: The Chicken Littles:

These people are near and dear to my heart. Once upon a time, you used to see them standing on street corners, wearing sandwich signs, and shouting from the top of their lungs that “The End of The World is Nigh”. They were mostly harmless in the Pre-Internet Age, but since cyberspace became popular, these individuals, unbalanced and otherwise, have spread like a case of the clap across the digital landscape, promoting paranoia, hate, discontent, and fear to anyone who will give them the time of day. The Chicken Littles tend to manifest themselves in a number of ways:

1. Conspiracy Theories:  Shadowy deception (Government, Secret Societies, etc) are out to bring an end to Civilization as we know it. My Illuminati buddies hate these.

2. The Jews: Honestly, this crap has been floating around since Christ was nailed to a piece of cedar. Leave the Jews alone. Just. Stop.

3. Etc: This is a catchall category because it doesn’t take much to be a Chicken Little. All you need is a catchy hook, some gullible followers, and a lot of time to work on your message.

Okay, not the most auspicious beginning, but I have a ton of time to make improvements. Until next Thursday, be well and be skeptical.

It’s That Time Again (Almost)

Yep, we’re coming up on that annual tradition of mine, where I unplug from social media to spend more time getting ready for the Christmas and New Year holidays. This year, I’ve decided to continue work on the weekly blog articles and of course, writing, so those posts will still pop up on Thursdays and as needed to cover book-related events. The big sabbatical will start on December 15th and last until at least January 5th.

Much love and affection to all of you. 🙂

Insight: Vessel

Vessel was supposed to be my last hurrah with space-based science fiction. At the time it was written, I had created so many spaceships and aliens stories that I was getting tired of the whole thing. Then a funny thing happened.

I decided to take all the disparate elements of a basic spaceship and aliens story and add a crime drama twist to them. Suddenly, I had a whole different story idea and Vessel was born.

I also learned that studying human behavior was a very important thing to do when writing because our motivations tend to steer our course through life. Plus, the idea of something we take for granted might be considered invaluable to an alien.

In essence, Vessel was the last story of its kind that I’ve written to date. These days, I write more character-driven pieces and I’ve not looked back since.