Parallax vs Lights and Shadows

This is the first time that I’ve written an article like this so if I stumble, try to be kind in the comments…hehe.

Parallax and Lights and Shadows have a unique relationship because one essentially spawned the other although they are two separate and distinct entities. Today, I’m going to compare and contrast the two stories without giving away Spoilers (If that’s at all possible).

Parallax:

1. Released on Createspace and Amazon on 9/18/15.

2. Set in the Year 2223, it involves space fighter pilot, John Pratt at the end of a war with the reptilian Locknar Hegemony. By this time in History, Mankind has moved out into the Milky Way and established colonies. Along they way, they’ve met two alien races, an octopoid race known as the Parans, who they became allies with, and The Locknar, who they pissed off to the point where the lizards decided to throw down. Things like this happen when you set up a colony on someone else’s world without asking.

3. Parallax establishes the Trilogy’s Universe, which was a task in itself and why it went from a standalone book to Book 1 of 3. More on that later…

4. Parallax deals more with shadowy themes that the normal citizen wouldn’t experience overtly, which of course, makes our intrepid main characters’ lives more interesting.

Lights and Shadows:

1. Currently a work in progress, but I expect to have it done and released by 12/8/15.

2. Also set in the Year 2223, but just after the events described in Parallax. Here we meet Zack Moreau, unconventional investigator (Interstellar Cop), who finds himself “rewarded” for outstanding service in bringing in dangerous criminals with a transfer to Special Investigations because although Crime took a break during the Locknar War, as soon as the Treaty’s ink dried, they were back in business. Unfortunately for Moreau, his old-fashioned approach to Law Enforcement has made him a tad radioactive.

3. Lights and Shadows expand the Parallax Universe by showing different characters doing things in another place. It’s also definitely a standalone book unless there is a demand for a sequel. Only Time will tell on that one.

4. Lights and Shadows is a fairly straightforward Good Guys vs Bad Guys Theme, which gives it more of an In-Your-Face Quality. I wanted this story to be both high-tech and gritty at the same time. Plus a little bit of Scary. We can all use a little bit of Scary from time to time. 😉

In conclusion, I would say that if these two books were musical themes that Parallax would be like Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries while Lights and Shadows would be like Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

Cheerful thought, eh? 🙂

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The Story Idea, Part 2: Putting Flesh on The Bones

The first Story Idea article had a nice response so here we go with the next step in the process. This is how I do it so you’re under no obligation to follow it. It’s simply what works for me.

You have your original amazing, super-fantastic, going to blow the doors off the Industry, Idea, but it’s not a story yet. Fair enough, all stories start out as ideas.

So, what now?

We’re discussing World-Building now. After all, you have to build the house before you can live in it and it is no different with stories. I’ll incorporate Characters into this equation later so for now, let’s focus on the Story World. How do we begin?

Here are a few helpful suggestions to get you started. These can be used in no particular order so go nuts:

1. Ask yourself what kind of world is the Story set in. Earth, Venus, The Milky Way, Somewhere over the Rainbow? (hey, it can happen…hehe) The point is that you have to start developing a framework in which to populate your characters. A good way to do this is to ask yourself some basic questions: Where do the characters live? Where do they work? Where do they play? As you can see, there are a LOT of potential questions that you can ask yourself and they are ALL valid. It may not seem so at first but for every question you answer, you reduce or eliminate future problems that can lead to Writer’s Block.

2. Write down descriptions of the distinctive sights, sounds, smells, whatever, of the world you are building. They are important because they act as guideposts for the reader to navigate by.

3. Time. The time period that the story is set in has a huge influence on the Story’s Plot. A Story set at the Dawn of the Industrial Revolution will use different elements than one set in the distant future unless of course you do one of those Apocalyptic type of stories where everything gone to Hades and is broken, mangled, burnt and getting ready to take that final plunge down the proverbial tubes. Note: If you do spring an Apocalypse, consider putting it at the end of the Story. Blow up the World, not much after that unless you have a couple of astronaut apes using time travel…hehe.

4. Consider carefully the Genre you will be writing in. I know I’ve said in the Past that Genre is most important when marketing your Story/Book, but in the initial stages, it’s important because it helps when selecting the construction materials your world is built with. Science Fiction would use things like plastic, sheet metal, rivets or welding, while Fantasy would be more like thatched huts, wood screws and lots of rope.

5. Develop a feel for how the Society operates in this world. Is it a dictatorship? Communist Fantasy? Democracy? Don’t obsess about Politics, just get an idea for yourself how things are run. Even an Anarchy or Feudal System can work. Remember, it’s YOUR story.

These are merely suggestions based on opinion and we all know that wonderful saying about opinions…hehe. The only rule that I want to stress here is HAVE FUN WITH IT. When we enjoy something, we tend to put our best effort into it. Writing is no different.

Now get Writing. 😉

Why You Should Be Careful About Who You Label a ‘Friend’

This resonates with me on a number of levels due to some unpleasant past experiences. Well-worth reading.

Dream Big, Dream Often

Several months ago I wrote about being careful with the people with which you surround yourself; control your friend group. Do you know who your true friends are?  Not acquaintances, but true-blue friends.  “Go to bat for you no matter what” friends. “Tell you the truth no matter what” friends.  Not social buddies, but true friends.

photo 3Life has a way of weeding people out and revealing those that have our best interest in mind.  Time eventually shows the truth in individuals.  I came across an article by Kelly O’Brien a couple of days ago titled “Want to Know Who Your True Friends Are?”  In that article a couple paragraphs struck me dead solid:

You may never know who your true friends are until life throws you an unwelcome curveball. When this happens and the friends or family you thought would help carry you through don’t, you go through stages…

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Humbled by Awards

I keep my expectations low.

I putter around with my little blog, writing whatever and get the most enjoyment from those who leave comments and likes. That’s it, end of story. I didn’t come up with Blogs so they don’t generally have the same uniqueness as those of a much younger generation.

That being said, when I am nominated for an award, I find myself humbled by the act. It’s not low self-esteem or a lack of valuing what I write. It’s just one of those things that catch me off-guard because I don’t look for them.

I am very appreciative of the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with all of you. YOU make this worthwhile for me and the time we share together is worth more to me than all the book sales in the Universe.

Someone once said that the “End justifies The Means” and I find that very true where Writing is concerned. I couldn’t quit doing it if I wanted and believe me, there have been times…hehe.

Doing what we love is a great gift. It may not seem like it sometimes, but I have experienced those who have denied their natural gifts and become bitter and miserable individuals. While that may be a fact of Life, it is NOT a fact of mine.

Man, I need longer topics…hehe. 🙂

Inspirational Quotes to Brighten Your Day

Well, they might inspire but at least they may make you laugh:

1. Vomiting is your stomach’s way of saying that the meal isn’t right and it’s going back to the Kitchen.

2. Three turns is a Life Decision. Four is just a circle.

3. Egg on plate is good; Egg on Face not so much.

4. If everything good was Right, there would be no need for a Left.

5. A good Conspiracy Theory requires at least two people. One person just means a lot of muttering.

6. Science Fiction becomes Science Fact when one person says they can build it and another person says that they will pay for it.

7. Shouldn’t a Microwave Oven be smaller?

8. Putting Pen to Paper shouldn’t involve thumbs.

9. How come an actual F-Bomb doesn’t exist? After all, we have A and H-Bombs out the Yin-Yang…

10. Being “Nice” is not synonymous to being a doormat. Home Depot, get on this…

11. Idle hands are the Devil’s Work. So are idle minds…

12. Chicken tastes like everything else.

13. By and Large, Humor is subjective. Bad Jokes are subjected upon…

14. Ellipses are your friend…

15. Procrastination is the difference between Now and Never.

16. You will never see a Submarine Sandwich underwater.

17. Sequels are afterthoughts.

18. Plots are like cake batter. They have to thicken before they are any good.

19. Tattoos are for colorful people. Maybe…

20. The Last of anything is usually the First of something.

I never said I was great at inspiring people. In the End, there is just do or do not, with apologies to Yoda. 😉