The power of voting. No, this has nothing to do with the U.S. Government or Trump vs Clinton. This is about one person putting for the effort to voice their opinion. One person that cared enough to say what mattered and what they wanted. The reward for that one person is shift in direction. A change in effort and motivation. The creation of new systems, new lives, new technologies, and new ideas. In short, a new book.
Still waiting for a name to come to me, but until then let it be known that I am writing the next Vitalis book. Thank you, Kelly Davis Screen, for taking the time to respond when I put out the open question. It’s great to know there’s one person out there still reading.
So what’s the story and where does it fit in? Well, it falls in shortly after the end of Valkyries. I won’t share any spoilers, but I’m a solid three chapters in and loving the new characters and story line. The goal of this book is to help humanity unite itself against the approaching armada that is twenty years away. Humans have a history of banding together when tough times arise, and the approach of the Ultriarch is humanity’s greatest opportunity to put aside their differences and work together. The question they’re suffering isn’t a matter of culture, race, or gender, it’s whether they draw the line against those that have become affected and enhanced by the alien biology from Vitalis.
Will there be old characters? Sure, a few, but mostly this is about new characters and their stories. So far I’ve got Zack and Tessa, unlikely partners and criminals with their own needs and wants in life. Definitely not the sort of people anyone would expect to be asked to help a greater cause. Desperate times make strange bedfellows indeed.
I finished the rough draft of Medic – it took way too long to write, but I had a ridiculous end of the year. Over two weeks off but every single “vacation” day I took I spent working several hours for the day job. On top of that, I had a ton of basement work planned to finish off my basement. Most of that happened, except early on I ended up with a vicious infection in my chest from inhaling too much drywall dust. I’m still not sure what happened for several days while I worked through some epic amounts of hacking and wheezing. But, the end result is a semi-finished basement (waiting on having carpet installed a few weeks out and then I’ve got to find some bargain basement furniture). Oh, and like I said, I wrote the last word on Medic’s rough draft today.
So now I need some help! What do I write next? I’ve got an awesome fantasy character idea that I could turn into a Voidhawk book that also helps finish up my Serptent’s War trilogy, or I could write something in my Dark Universe or Vitalis series. I’m torn, to be honest. I could do any of them – but times are lean so I’d love to hear what my readers are most interested in.
So let me know what piques your interest! More tales of the Uma and her new captain and crew (Dark Universe), the Voidhawk trying to return a natural order to the void, or humanity struggling to adapt, survive, and prepare for the invasion coming from the Ultriarch flying through space to consume them?
I was studying my sales over the past year this weekend and trying to do it as analytically as possible (to fight off depression). That coincided with some formerly very successful writers that have experienced similar spirals. In fact, the more authors I speak with, the more it seems this is happening to everyone. Of course that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable or a good thing.
Anyhow, I also happened to notice my whiteboard with my 2016 goals on it. I’m on par for nearly everything I wrote down except for 4 Terminus books. I wrote 2 when I launched with John, but then the apathetic reaction the marketplace gave us told us both it was time to move on. Damn shame too, I absolutely loved the setting and wanted to do so much with it.
Kind of like my next ideas after I finish Medic. I have an awesome character concept and some story ideas that fit so perfectly into a fantasy book – but nobody who’s reading my books seems interested in another book set in Alto’s world. That ties me into my sales trends I’ve studied. People want to read science fiction, not fantasy – with the notable pseudo-exception of Voidhawk. Voidhawk is space fantasy, so it’s got the appeal of science fiction even though there’s not much in the way of science behind the magic that allows renaissance era vessels to sale between worlds.
Fortunately for me, my next Voidhawk book will return to the world of Kroth. My new character idea might very well have it’s time in the sun after all. I’ve got to narrow it done some more first, but I’m pleased with what I’ve come up with so far. That’s going to have to slip into the back of my mind for now though, I have to finish off Medic first, and I’m getting pretty close to doing that.
How close? Well, a few more chapters and I’ll be done. And as of Thursday of this week I’m on vacation until January 3rd. Plenty of time to write! When I’m not working on remodeling my basement, that is. Or doing Christmasy things.
The real question is, will Voidhawk be my next project, or will I return to Dark Universe or Vitalis instead? In case I haven’t made it obvious, Dark Universe, Vitalis, and Voidhawk have been my bestselling series this year, and in order to keep the cash flowing I have to write what people want to read. Since feedback and reviews are rare, I have to rely on how readers vote with their dollars, and that’s what the votes are telling me.
As a side note, Arrested in Peace, my recent release in the shared sci-fi universe of The Complex, has been doing fairly well also though. I highly encourage you to check it out and the other works in the same setting.
The only other thing I want to mention is that I’ve finally gotten around to converting Victim of Fate and Silver Dragon (books 2 and 3 in the Child of Fate series) to print books available on Amazon. Those are ready to go, although I am in the middle of updating Victim of Fate to deal with a formatting issue – that should be done in a matter of hours. Just in case you’re in the mood for a good old fashioned paperback.
We all have our private guilty pleasures. I’m no different in that regard, except mine might not be what you expect – at least not the ones I’m willing to admit to. For example, I’m an avid fan of a couple of television shows (that I watch in the early hours thanks to streaming services). Chief among them is Marvel’s Agents of Shield (and the mid-winter break Agent Carter). Followed almost as closely by Supergirl, which moved to the CW.
Now, between you and me, I never had any interest in the CW as a network. I’m definitely not in their target market and I saw little value in the fluff I thought they produced. Yet when Supergirl went there, I had no choice. But still, Supergirl was it, the hell with those other shows.
Then they did something dastardly. Earlier this year they did a crossover with Barry Allen, aka The Flash. From the show, The Flash (convenient, eh?). Now he showed back up and requested Supergirl’s help…. But her help was to be continued on his show. Damn it! I had to watch The Flash now. Grr… and that meant getting caught up. Double grr.
So I did it. I watched it. All of season 2, in fact. And once I got past the cheesiness so inherent in the DC universe, I found myself enjoying it. Not quite as hooked as Supergirl, but it’s made my mornings more difficult because once a week I have to squeeze in time to catch up on that show too. Unfortunately for me, the CW went another deeper level into hell and at the end of the combined show with Flash and Supergirl, they continued it on next night’s Arrow show. WTF?!
This time I drew the line. No way, no how, was I going to catch up on Arrow. There’s nothing about Arrow that interests me. I’m a bow hunter and I love shooting bows and arrows (and guns), so I can only suspend my disbelief so far. That and the characters don’t really interest me very much. Nonetheless, I had to continue the combined storyline, so I did by watching the single show that has multiple characters mingled together – and discovered that the story arc would continue into DC’s Legends of Tomorrow the following night. #$%$%^@!!
Legends of Tomorrow, I quickly discovered, is very addicting. The eclectic cast is superb. Sure, there’s cheesiness in the extreme – they travel through time to stop aberrations that would screw up the timeline, after all – but the cast of characters is so well rounded and each character so full, it’s impossible not to get sucked in. Characters I thought deserved a red shirt exposed vulnerabilities and interesting traits that changed my mind completely. And, most interesting of all, is Mick. He’s the jerk / muscle of the group. A former criminal with questionable moral character. And I love him! He is the Jayne Cobb of the show. And if you don’t know Jayne Cobb is, go watch Firefly right now. That’s an order.
Legends of Tomorrow has some of that same Firefly flavor to it, which is maybe why I’m so drawn to it. Not as good, but nothing else on television ever has been. But the point here isn’t to wax on the injustice of Fox cancelling Firefly, but to talk about the CW story arc among superhero shoes. And to that end, Legends of Tomorrow ended the story arc and everybody went back to their own shows – except now I have four shows to watch each week instead of only two (Agents of Shield, Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow).
I ask myself what makes these shows so interesting? Complex characters with a lot of quirks has a lot to do with it. Cool concepts and premises as well, as far as the show is concerned. Admittedly, The Flash is the weakest on these things, but it makes up for it by exploring a lot more what-if type scenarios.
Speaking of characters, I’m a sucker for a strong female character. They do such a better job of showing how well balanced they are between strength and weakness than male characters do. I’m exposing a double standard there, I admit, because when I see a male lead get soft and emotional I scowl and mutter bad things about them. I’m certain I’m not alone in that, but it doesn’t make it right.
Well, I can work on sensitivity training for myself, but those who know my best don’t hold out much hope there. On the flip side, I can continue to enjoy kick-ass female leads without reservation. And I can promote a few and share their stories as they appear to me. For example, in a couple of days I have a new book coming out that’s part of a shared universe (not unlike what the CW did with their DC superhero shows). Character’s interact between books written by myself and multiple other authors – and they are all being released on December 10th, this Saturday.
Mine is called Arrested in Peace and you can pre-order it now. It follows the main character, Valerie (Val) Washburn) as she attempts to put the horrors of her past behind her on an alien planet while trying to decide which of the metahumans she’s dealing with are friends, and which are foes. For now that’s all I’ll share – look for more in a couple of days!
I’m done. At least for a while. I’ve been avoiding Facebook for weeks, if not months, due to all the crap I’ve been seeing. Fear, hate, and outright bullying in the form of political bullshit. Sadly, it was mirrored on the television. Fortunately for me, I don’t watch much television and what I do watch is either a hockey game or something I can block the commercials out with.
And now it’s over. Sweet, blessed relief. Normalcy can return. Except it hasn’t. If anything, the fear and hate mongering on Facebook has escalated. Most Trump supporters are getting sick and tired of it, even though the vast majority seem to have stayed quiet about it up until now. Hillary supporters are angry and bitter because she gave them a holy crusade to believe in and convinced them to take up the pitchfork and torch for her cause – only to find out her plan didn’t work out the way they thought it would.
Personally, I’m glad. I hate to admit it, but I’m glad on as spiritual a level as I’ll ever get that the American people did not condone her past and present actions by electing her into office. The evidence is irrefutable and, had it been anyone else who would have broken the agreements and laws that she did, a harsh sentence would be quick in coming. For her it did not, much as her husband was acquitted during his tenure as president when he was investigated. This, if nothing else, has served as an example of how corrupted and broken our system has become. To perpetuate that would be a crime. The government has too much influence and power.
Look at almost every science fiction story or movie out there. Utopian societies exist because of some hidden evil beneath. Some great corruption that allows the socialist regime to flourish and remain in power. Civilizations are disarmed and kept powerless. They are subjugated, perhaps even drugged, to perpetuate the illusion of a perfect world. Until some rebel with a bow and arrow or a bizarre way of thinking rises up and makes people realize that roses aren’t supposed to stink like decay.
More government is not the answer. More government means more rules and more restriction. Less freedom. Less ability to choose. Less human rights. In my stories I strive to keep government at reasonable levels and let the characters flourish and achieve what they are meant to achieve. Out here in the real world I struggle to do the same thing, because I believe it’s people that can, and do, make a difference. Not institutions or organizations. People.
America made me proud on November 8th when they said we want a real change. We don’t like what’s happening to us – what we’ve allowed to happen to us. We want something different. Is President Trump going to bring it? I’ll be damned if I know. I am convinced that he is extremely intelligent and very persuasive. His skills at business are exceptional. He’s not going to be the despot so many people believe in, but only time will tell that. Whether he can chart a new, and better, course for America will be a subject for historians. All we can do is work together and try to help each other through the bumps along the way.
Will there one day be a woman president? Absolutely. Will she be as enslaved by her ambitions and willing to broker any deal or tell any lie necessary to achieve that title? I sure as hell hope not. In my mind I argue that electing Hillary wouldn’t have been a proper way to shatter the glass ceiling – it would have been a lesson to our youth that it’s okay to do whatever is necessary to win, regardless of the consequences. That, to me, is just bad parenting on a national scale.
And I’ve gone on far longer than I intended to. My intent was just to say that I can’t stomach Facebook right now, so I’m taking a break from. Any abusive or defamatory comments on this will be removed. I’m not inciting a discussion, I’m stating my mind and moving on after months of doing my best to remain neutral only become involved when something amused me.
I’m not taking a break from writing though. Medic has broken the 20k word barrier and is coming fast and furious. Not as fast as I’d like, but I’m still slapping the keys as much as I can. It will definitely be done this year, and as long as editing and cover art are available in time, it will be published this year as well.
After that? Maybe a political thriller? That’s a joke. I hate politics and what they do to people. Next up could be a lot of things, but to be honest I have no idea which one it will be. I’ve had character ideas and story ideas – we’ll just have to wait and see which one makes the most sense.
Oh! There will be a release in early December. It’s called Arrested in Peace, and it’s my secret project I’ve been working on all year. This book is part of a multi-book project releasing at the same time. It’s science fiction and fantasy mixed in a cool new concept. I can’t say much more about it yet, but I do plan on getting up for pre-order soon so it can launch the same time the others do. Stay tuned for more info on that.