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.”

One More Step Forward

Day +6 after The Election and I am happy that I can put all that behind me and get back to focusing on my writing. I’ve never been a big fan of Politics because I’ve often found that it tends to bring out the worst in most people and I prefer not in engage in such activities. Give me 400 pages and a decent idea and I’ll spin you a yarn that will keep you busy for hours. It’s what I do.

Of course, it’s way too easy to blame civic responsibilities or whatever on not writing. The truth is that for a while I have been plagued by a lack of inspiration with regards to my stories and that bothers me because Writing is one of those things that has always filled me with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. No, I’m not thinking of quitting and though I’ve considered pulling the plug on Lights and Shadows in favor of more focus on Parallax: Genesis, I hate to leave projects unfinished so that’s not much of an option either.

Yes, I know that this reads like any number of “frustrated writer rants” that pop up out there and though I consider myself the King of Frustration, I keep soldiering on with the knowledge that I’m not alone here and one day I’ll look back and remember this process as an amusing anecdote to share with others.

Words form sentences.
Sentences form paragraphs.
Paragraphs form stories.
Stories form bodies of work.

I’ll pop the champagne cork soon enough. 😉

Sword of Ages, Part I

In all my years serving in the Legion, I rarely had to raise my sword in anger. But when I did, the Heavens trembled at the prospect – Immunes Longinus Cratos

The furs that covered his leather armor gave off a musty odor as he walked through the forest at dusk. From a distance, he appeared as any other barbarian that the land would offer up with the exception of his measured stride. The smoke from the chieftain’s cooking fires carried the aroma of freshly killed deer venison and his stomach threatened to betray him as he found a hiding spot near the camp. His brown eyes studied the camp’s design. No guards other than those at the leader’s tent. He shook his head as he sat down in the shadow of a fallen log and checked his dagger and short sword. Once the sun had completely set, he would creep into the camp and complete his task. Tied to his belt was a small leather pouch containing a collection of herbs he had collected along the way and his trusty wine pouch. After praying silently to Mars and Fortuna, he leaned back against the log and waited for the light to dim.

Perceptions of Recent Events

I’ve been under the weather of late so I’ve not been very active in either writing or being online. It’s nothing personal, people catch bugs and need time to regain their strength and enthusiasm and no one (I believe) is more lethargic than me when I’m not feeling well. Anyway, enough excuses for my diminished productivity. I’ll clap erasers after School, Teach.

Lights and Shadows is moving forward at a pace that makes glaciers appear speedy by comparison but progress is being made. I won’t get into specific word counts because I don’t feel that they are that important. I’m planning on publishing it sometime in December.

Parallax: Genesis’s development is still ongoing but realistically speaking, I probably won’t get started with the actual writing portion until at least the First Quarter 2017. Multiple projects, go figure…

Anyway, this is me peeking out of my cave. Have a good one. 🙂

Stop and Go: That Marketing Thing

Yep, it’s going to be one of THOSE conversations…

As many of you know, I have been experimenting with Amazon Marketing Services to get some sort of marketing thing going with my books. Unfortunately, I tend to have a leap before I look approach at times which while making for great anecdotes, leads to me slamming on the brakes when Reality sets in.

Me: Hot Damn, I want to do this.

Reality: You need to save up the funds to do this and develop a better plan of attack. You’re not quite the bestselling author yet, you know.

Me: But…but…

Reality: Patience, Wallace. You can only do so much. You’re a writer, not a salesman.

Me: But…but…

Okay, that’s generally what goes on in my head and while my head and my gut don’t often work in tandem (except for that one party a number of years ago that involved copious amounts of alcohol but that’s a story for another day) but when they do, it’s a rather jarring experience that leaves me at a brief standstill while I figure out what the heck happened.

I suppose the message here is to fight those impulses and move slowly unless you are fully confident that you are moving in the appropriate direction. Trust your first instincts.

Adding Backstory to Your Backstory

One of the things that I enjoy the most about writing fiction is the world building aspect. Every story should have some history behind it no matter how much time passes within it.

So, I’m planning out the plot for Parallax: Genesis and considering the first scene where my intrepid heroes are stuck in Hyperspace and trying desperately to escape before their life support systems fail (Time works a little different in Hyperspace) and I wanted to share a story that the main character tells about a ship lost during the early days of Interstellar Travel. I’ve gone through several iterations of how that would play out when it occurred to me to have my people actually find the lost ship and cannibalize some of its parts to get them home and in the process solve the original mystery (Pratt has a knack for doing heroic things and ultimately bring unwanted attention upon himself…hehe).

My point here is that when you add historical elements that are particular to your story universe, you add depth and flavor that can potentially spur the reader forward. After all, when you are painting on a canvass that is as expansive as the Universe, you have plenty of room to fill in the corners.