February already?

I never plan these posts out because I like to blog when the feeling hits me. Of course, being preoccupied with Parallax: Genesis tends to keep me away from here and although I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, here we are.

Yes, P: G is moving forward even though I’m not trumpeting it from the rooftops. Let’s face it, tooting my own horn isn’t really my thing and I’d rather announce a finished work than prattle on and on over something that is a work in progress even though poking my head up from the rabbit hole isn’t a bad thing.

I’ve been a little distracted of late due to my day job but that’s no excuse to make progress and in general, all of the world building and other behind the scenes stuff is finished so all I need to do is roll up my sleeves and get to writing. I’ve put all my other projects on hold to make P: G my priority for 2017 and I plan to get it out by September at the latest which, incidentally, was when I released Parallax back in 2015. Lights and Shadows took up the majority of 2016, which I think cost me some time but in the grand scheme of things, it was my time to consume.

Hopefully, I won’t take another two months or so to bring you all up to date.

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Parallax: Genesis, Lighting the Fires

I’m settling in today to work on Parallax: Genesis and I’m finding it easier than expected to walk (metaphorically) the decks of John Pratt’s ship, Artemis, as I kick off this latest installment of Pratt’s odyssey through Space. I’ve decided to approach this particular story a little different than I did with Parallax.

(Side Voice): You mean you got more organized this time?
(Me): Quiet!

Anyway, this time around I’m preparing both ebook and paperback manuscripts simultaneously which is proving interesting since both use different formats to accomplish the publishing process. Still the same story, obviously.

Sequel stories, at least to me, are unique in that they have to achieve not only a continuation of the current storyline but must also be able to stand on their own. After all, not every reader approaches a series from the same starting point so grabbing and holding their interest becomes very important from the getgo as well as getting them caught up with what’s already happened without overly explaining what happened in the previous story. That would be redundant in my opinion and defeat the purpose of writing the first book.

I finished a rough outline of the book recently and since I use outlines mainly as guides to help me tell the story, they are subject to change as the plot dictates. Suffice it to say that Pratt is on a quest for answers with the bad guys in hot pursuit and the rest of the Galaxy dealing with their own problems in the meantime. The plot’s focus will shift this time around from the borders of known space to taking place mostly on Earth, which should be interesting because up to this point I had only made vague references to it in snatches of dialog between characters.

It is already a fun ride. 🙂

Good Tuesday To You

After a few abortive attempts, I’m once again running a month-long pair of advertising campaigns through Amazon Marketing Services for Parallax while I write Parallax: Genesis. I say abortive because setting up a stable writing budget to fund this endeavor proved to be something of a challenge and I prefer to err on the side of caution with respect to these things.

But I did it and I’m glad I did because despite all the romantic notions I’ve ever held as a writer, making a living at it requires some sacrificing and hard work. After all, you can’t eat fun though you can eat FOR fun. Of course, it costs me very little on average to put out a book even though I would prefer to have some kind of return on my investment and have my books pay for themselves (and me) over time. Balancing a Day Job and a Writing Career isn’t as fun as you would imagine.

I’m still coping with the effects of putting Lights and Shadows on hold but anything is possible with it including revising it later as a future episode of a new series I’ve thought about doing after The Parallax Trilogy is complete involving John Pratt and his merry band of wandering do-gooders.

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to at the moment. Back to outlining Parallax: Genesis so have a great day. 🙂

Pulling The Plug on Lights and Shadows (For now)

It’s never an easy decision to pull the plug on a long-term project, even if it’s only for a brief time.

Lights and Shadows started off as a filler project to kill some time while I was winding down from getting Parallax off the ground. Unfortunately, now it’s a year later and it seems that both my interest in it and my progress has slowed to a crawl. That tells me that I need to evaluate how much of an investment I should continue to contribute to it. No, I’m not abandoning it altogether, merely putting it on hold in favor of Parallax: Genesis.

Of course, putting Lights and Shadows on the back burner means that my goal of getting a new book out this year will go unfulfilled. Goals are funny things because they don’t always get accomplished when you intend them. I still believe that Lights and Shadows is a good story that deserves to be put out there, just not at this point in time.

That being said, it’s time to devote my energies and resources to revisiting John Pratt and The Parallax Universe.

Happy Thanksgiving and First Draft Follies

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who is celebrating today and I hope your turkey isn’t too dry. 😉

Now that I’ve done my bit for the holiday, let’s move on to the main event: a discussion about working on that wonderful beast known as The First Draft.

The First Draft of any story is literally the first iteration of your creation. It’s the baby that forms with all the flaws, defects, flecks of beauty, and missteps that come with getting it down on paper. It’s born of passion and feeling and with time and effort can develop into a polished end result that anyone would be proud to share with the world at large.

While it would be great to skip the trials and tribulations of The First Draft, I wouldn’t advise just dashing it off and putting it out there. You only get one chance to make a good first impression and every additional minute of development time will pay off immensely in the long run. Let’s face it, very few individuals get it perfect right out of the gate and while every writer wants to believe that they will make Shakespeare’s Ghost jealous and publishers roll truckloads of cash up to their door, the reality is that every final draft of a story or novel has a trail of redrafts behind them.

Refill your coffee cup, smoke if you got em, and get that First Draft down on paper. The first stage is all about getting it finished; you can make it perfect later.

Lights and Shadows Update #14

Note: This is a continuation of Update #13. This particular section has been giving me trouble but I’m soldiering on. Enjoy. 🙂

She gave him a little grunt as she fine-tuned the image by turning a pair of twin knobs on the twin eyepieces. After several back and forth movements, she was rewarded by a sharp focus. “When you are finished criticizing my ergonomic choices, I would appreciate some of your out of the box thinking.”

Matson shrugged and studied the scanner’s attached monitor. “All right, I’ll bite. What do the computer records say?” he caught her look. “Be honest, we can’t be the first to run an analysis on this stuff.”

“Most of the files have been password protected. I can decode them but it will take some time.”

“Time is something we appear to have a lot of at the moment,” he turned his attention to the control console, “Now why would someone encrypt something that just about everyone on the exploration team would need access?”

Finch looked up. “If the recorders found something that someone decided shouldn’t be common knowledge. Something that would either be a huge gain or an enormous loss,” she stole a look outside. “I hope we can get out of here soon,” she went back to her work without another word.

“It’s times like these that I wish I were closer to my family,” he absently mused as he looked outside, “I have a brother in the Marines that I haven’t spoken to since he was assigned carrier duty on the Southern Front. Now that the Locknar War is over, maybe I’ll get the chance to catch up with him.”

“Anything’s possible,” she replied, “I read a while back that Earth was planning on relaxing the media controls soon.”

He nodded, “That would go a long way toward getting things back to normal. If you can call this normal.”

“Reality is subjective,” she slapped the scanner as the scanning beam flickered in and out, “Something about these crystals is definitely disrupting the scanner and I’m at a loss to figuring out why.”

“We have two people with us that may shed some light on the situation,” Matson pressed an intercom button, “Dr. Burke, Lieutenant Monroe, would you come to the Control Room, please?”

Seconds passed with no answer. Matson tried the intercom again. “They’re less than fifty feet away so why don’t they answer?” He cupped his hands like a megaphone and shouted across the room, startling Finch in the process. “Okay, enough is enough. Wakey wakey, you two.”

“If they were heavy sleepers, they aren’t anymore.”

“If they were ever sleeping,” he leaned over the console and flipped a series of switches, clearing the opaque cubicle walls and revealing empty spaces. He pulled out his pistol and checked the supply in the cylinder. He closed the cylinder and held the weapon at his side. “As much as I would love to accept the idea that they vanished into thin air, the skeptic in me thinks they are trying to escape.”

“Where are they going to go? The path back to the outpost is blocked and we don’t know with certainty what is up ahead.”