Amazon, Books, Fantasy, New Releases, novel, Publishing, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy

Two Weeks from Today

The launch of Homer Underby, Book 2 of The Thuperman Trilogy, is set for August 14. It continues the story of Will and Sandra, two precocious 8-year-old kids with active imaginations and budding superpowers. The story picks up where Becoming Thuperman, Book 1 of the series, left off. Sandra is grounded. Although Will is not, having his best friend unavailable is like being grounded. All they can do is wait until Saturday. If they win the first Little League game of the season Sandra’s grounding is over. But a new adventure is just beginning as the kids learn about a 20-year-old unsolved mystery involving the deserted old house down the street from where they live.

Homer Underby is a Pandamoon Publishing release available for pre-order at Amazon.

Authors Life, Books, Fantasy, Future, New Releases, novel, Publishing, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Writing

What’s this…Another Update?

Cover for HOMER UNDERBY

This past weekend marked another milestone. HOMER UNDERBY is now on pre-sale for Kindle with a launch date of August 14th. That also means the ARCs are available and being distributed for pre-launch reviews. I’m proud of this book, not that I haven’t been proud of my others. But this one is a little different because of the collaborative effort that went into its conceptualization.

If you’ve been following my blogs, I mentioned that the first draft of BECOMING THUPERMAN was written in the summer of 2013, while FRIED WINDOWS was in editing. I polished up the draft a bit and submitted it to my publisher who eventually put the book under contract a few months later. From the outset I intended the book to be a one of kind thing as an author. It is a story about kids, after all, and although my books have been kid-friendly for the most part, they have been intended to be YA or older. Despite the ages of the two main characters, BECOMING THUPERMAN is not a children’s book, per se.

During the editing process for BT, about a month before it was released, Jessica Reino, the substantive editor, suggested that a couple of story lines might be easily extended if I feathered in some foreshadowing earlier on in the story. And after an hour or so discussing the possibilities, I had two more books plotted out in a rough outline. I know that’s the way some writers work, but it was unusual for me. My first drafts tend to be free form. I create an outline after the fact to organize the resulting chaos. So, you see, HOMER UNDERBY is the first book I have ever composed according to an outline. The third book in the series, titled THUPERMAN AND CASSANDRA, will be the second book produced that way.

What about all my other manuscripts? They were created the old way. However, I am revising all my Wolfcat books and have begun imposing an outline structure for the sections that require some rewriting. And for those who are interested in following their favorite characters in other series, Brent from Fried Windows is in HOMER UNDERBY and THUPERMAN AND CASSANDRA as well as THE WOLFCAT CHRONICLES. Will and Sandra from the Thuperman Series are also in the sequel to FRIED WINDOWS, titled CASTLES OF NINJA BREAD. Ela’na from THE WOLFCAT CHRONICLES appears in other manuscripts the titles for which have not been determined. In some of those stories Brent, Will and Sandra are also included.              

Books, Editing, Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing

Ironing Out the Wrinkles in a Plot

In some ways publishing Fried Windows in May of last year created a few paradoxes for the main character Brent. WARNING: If you haven’t read the book, you might want to before continuing on. I’m about to reveal some things about the plot.

There are some relationships Brent and characters in my other novels, particularly Andy Hunter, Terry Harper, Lee Anders Johnston and Caroline Henderson from One Over X (two of six books published) and The Power of X (as yet unpublished). There is also a loose connection between the mother  in Becoming Thuperman and Terry Harper – as they attended high school together. Brent meets Terry Harper while he attends Purdue University where the latter is pursuing aa doctorate in applied physics and eventually becomes a professor before taking a tenured position at the University of Texas.

Brent and Lee Anders Johnston hale from neighboring towns in rural Ohio. Both were musicians in their teen years. Brent actually played bass for a brief while in a band that Lee led. Lee was best friends with the lead guitar from Brent’s garage band – which is how they met. Ironically, as they were both the sons of farmers, their fathers knew one another, though not very well.

After the disintegration of Brent’s garage band over an issue about performing a Rock Opera Brent wrote for his senior English project – a piece on Beowulf – Brent and Lee perform an acoustic set at the Christmas party of a friend of Brent. It is the last time Brent and Lee perform together for nearly twenty years, though the two of them conspired during their connection to compose a few songs that will end up reuniting them in later years – and reinvigorating Lee’s career as a professional musician.

Lee departs Rock as his vehicle of musical  expression and begins playing Blues with a couple of musicians while he attends Purdue University – where he studies Engineering and meets Terry Harper, his professor of physics. In Lee’s Junior year at Purdue his folks sell their farm in Ohio and retire to Texas. Lee transfers to the University of Texas. The following year, Terry Harper is offered a tenured position at UT, based on his recently published best seller on astral physics the university. And, so Lee and Terry reconnect at UT and the Lee changes his major to physics.

While in Austin and immersed in the vibrant artistic community, Lee joins a country band called Faction. At a bar in Austin he meets Caroline Henderson, the daughter of Joseph Henderson, CEO of HENCO. They share a few dates before establishing a relationship.

When Lee is offered a research job in Colorado, three of the original members of the band follow him there. They form the nucleus of a new Faction that lands a recording contract. Lee and Caroline have a long distance relationship until she completes college.

To pursue his musical career,  Lee quits his job and accompanies the band to Memphis where they record their first album.  Then, against her father’s protests, Caroline joins Lee and goes on tour with Faction, actually performing with the band as a background singer.

So, where is Andy Hunter is all this? Anyone who has read One Over X, knows that both Andy and Lee have a relationship in another version of reality, where both work for Henco. Lee works at a product assembly facility while Andy is a coder for the instructions loaded into the devices the company makes. The company’s CEO is Caroline Henderson who took up the reins when her father, Joseph Henderson passed away – never knowing she is to the Andy who was born of an unwed mother who used to work for the Hendersons.

In the other world, the one where Caroline and Andy grew up as siblings, Andy studies applied physics at UT Austin and becomes enamored with Dr. Harper to the point that he begins writing a boot about him. In the process he attempts to create a device based on Harper’s hypotheses that can cancel out the effects of the electromagnetic fields of the Earth – theoretically opening portals to every other dimension.

The powers that be – as in the Universal Powers That Be – are not amused with Andy’s devise of how it throws a significant distortion into the over all matrix of fabricated reality – the shell they created as the distracting illusion of life. With it Andy can, pretty much, go wherever he wants – as long at he knows his destination. Therein lies the rub.  Andy knows that the device can do but doesn’t understand it’s potential. And in the process of exploring it he becomes genetically altered to be more like an extraterrestrial ancestor of humanity than a man.

Brent is a transplanted straddler, born into the world to correct the problems Andy will eventually cause. He gets sidetracked with his own issues and adventures but, moreover, he is intended to defeat Andy’s modification to the design. Brent is naturally drawn toward the people he needs to connect with in order to fix things. Yet he is uncooperative in dealing directly with any of his new found friends.  As a result, Andy changes many things both for Earth and Anter’x, a directly connect world – via wormholes – on the other side of the galaxy. There the wolfcats thrive – for a while anyway, along with a primordial ancestor of humanity called the Hovdin and a race called Sabatin that enslaved the Hovdin for a time.

In The Attributes, a two book set that I wrote a while back, all the timelines and plot lines are resolved. Imagine that! Me crop 2

 

Uncategorized

Update: What A Month – Or Two

Here I go again, apologizing for the absence of posts lately. I’ll use the tried and true excuse – I was busy – because that is true. But a number of things converged to contribute. For one thing, I am posting to a group blog with other Pandamoon Publishing authors. The link is accessible from the website at http://www.pandamoonpublishing.com . Most of what I will post there is concerning the publishing and editing process. Here I plan to continue discussing other things, mostly the progress on writing books and such, but other things of interest.

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As you may recall, back in April I purchased a new computer, a Surface Pro 3. Although I love the computer I had some issues with it after installing a preview version of Windows 10. And a wrestling match with Microsoft began. The end result of that was a replacement of the tablet.

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Once more I am playing with Windows 10, albeit a more refined version. The actual release is scheduled for July 29, so the builds are pretty close to finished product. I can tell you that the build I am currently using, (10130) is almost ready for prime time. There are a couple of annoying things about it, an error I receive at shutdown for one) but, otherwise, it is remarkably stable.

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I replaced a MacBook Pro as mu primary computer. I had intended to continue using the MBP for writing but it has an issue with its battery swelling up so I have not used it much over the past two months. I had occasion to boot it up the other day to look for a file and I have to tell you that my Surface Pro 3 is so much faster. I know a lot of that has to do with the access times for the Hard Drive. The Surface has flash memory as a hard drive. The MBP has a 5400 RPM disc drive. You’re talking about factors of 100 to 1000 times in speed for pulling stuff from the drive. Boot up on the Surface Pro 3 is less than ten seconds. The MBP takes over a minute. Also, there is so many background operations running on the MBP that it takes forever – it seems – for it to be ready to use once it has booted up. I could disable everything and it would run faster, I suppose. But what’s the point now that I don’t use it. I’m considering removing the battery and using it again, though. I just haven’t gotten around to that. It is a future project. But, for now, the Surface Pro 3 is my primary computer.

I’ve been working more hours for the past several months, so I don’t have as much free time. I have been reading, catching up on some of the manuscripts I have promised to read and comment on for other authors. I have a new favorite author, by the way. Laura Ellen Scott has a book coming out later this year titled The Juliet. You will be reading that one, I promise.  Later this month Jeff Messick’s long-awaited Knights Of The Shield is being released. That’s a supernatural cop thriller. It ranks high on my recommended reads list. Rose Montague has a new book coming out as well. I still have to read that one, but I will because there is a namesake character in it – all part of the global scheme of making Elgon a common name. Yeah, it will take a while before it appears on the label of a Coke bottle.

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I have been rediscovering music from the 70’s. So expect a couple of upcoming blogs posts about that. Otherwise, over the next several months while I am working on edits for BT and the first book of The Wolfcat Chronicles, I will be writing a sequel for Becoming Thuperman and one for Fried Windows as well. So expect progress reports on those.

#BecomingThuperman, #TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #MacBookPro #SurfacePro3, #Update

Uncategorized

My Crazy, Busy Life – Lately

FINAL Final Fried Windows Front Cover Only

The sequel for Fried Windows is progressing slowly between my increased hours at my day job and doing some promotional things for others. I’m beginning the new story in the middle and working my way out to the beginning and the conclusion. That’s how I write sometimes, starting in the middle, usually with a conversation. In this one, Brent is talking to Strawb who is chiding him for having done something incredibly stupid – in her estimation, of course.

There are actually multiple beginnings for the story just because of the nature of the tale and what happened to Brent Woods at the conclusion of Fried Windows. That’s the hard part, connecting the stories together. I’ve done the easy part, writing the rest of the story – pretty much.

Yesterday my youngest daughter asked me about Becoming Thuperman’s release date. I told her it had been pushed back a bit in the queue to allow for the first two installments of The Wolfcat Chronicles. Throwing a Fried Windows sequel into that mix right now would only further confuse things and create a bigger bottleneck in my publisher’s editing and production bandwidth. There are other projects from other authors, after all. As publicist, I’m reading those books now so I know what we will be promoting. There are some very good books coming from Pandamoon, folks.

Anyway, my daughter has a draft of the the BT manuscript now and hopefully she’ll give me some feedback on it after she reads it. I know it needs a haircut in editing. So, in an effort to fix some things I’ve started a new revision and will be working on that in the background as I’m doing the FW sequel…and everything else. I need to do a revision anyway before BT goes into substantive editing, which is the first stage of the process of transforming a raw manuscript into a novel.

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I’ve been thinking about drafting the sequel to Becoming Thuperman, titled Being Thuperman. I figure I’ll be in the mood and fully up to date with the plot issues and such at the conclusion of a new revision session. I haven’t worked on the manuscript since submitting it back in October 2014. The contract for it was signed in December. And I have revised all ten books of The Wolfcat Chronicles since the last time I worked on Becoming Thuperman.

In other news about my crazy life, it’s been raining a good bit lately. I’ve been fortunate not needing to navigate the 4.5 miles to and from work on my bike in a downpour. I have a 20 to 25 minute window of riding time (including wait times at traffic lights). So far I’ve been very lucky. Sooner or later I will be soaked though. Getting drenched on my way home isn’t as bad as having it happen not he way to work, though. Walking around for a whole shift in wet underwear is a drag.

I have a rain poncho but it is mainly a thin excuse for a garbage bag. I’ll have to get something better, I guess. When the wind catches the plastic of what I have it flaps in the breeze and exposes my backside, It was sprinkling a good bit on my ride home last night. The only thing good about it was that it wasn’t raining harder.

In Florida we have periods of rain when it is coming down so hard that people can’t see to drive – regardless how fast their windshield wipers are running. Imagine that on a bike at 20 miles per hour – which means at least 20 miles per hour wind in the face constantly.

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Tomorrow morning (4/18/15) I’ll be heading up to the University of Central Florida Book Festival on campus (about 5 miles north of where I live). Hopefully it won’t be raining as I’ll be riding my bike there My friend and fellow Pandamoon Publishing author, Steph Post, will be appearing there as a panelist. She needs to autograph my copy of her book. After all, I am one of her publicists. I think I should have a signed copy, right?

In the wacky world of Internet based operations, I have never personally met Steph. I have conversed with her a few times over the Internet both in text and via a program that allows sharing audio. We have spoken over the phone a time or two as well. She is an interesting young lady with a remarkable writing talent. Her debut novel, A Tree Born Crooked is one of the best novels I’ve read in the past year.

The Book Festival is from 10 AM to 3:30AM and it is being held in the School of Education portion of the UCF campus that is just so North Alafaya Trail in eastern Orlando.

#StephPost #ATreeBornCrooked #FriedWindows #UCFBookFestival #BecomingThuperman #Writing #Sequels #PandamoonPublishing

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Fried Windows Anniversaries

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There are a lot of three year anniversaries going on for me. One that recently past was February 22, the day I left retail management. The next is the day I quit drinking alcohol, which is March 13, next Friday. The following day was when I wrote a poem about being a kid and going to a carnival. I posted that to FanStory on the same day. The following day I began writing the first draft of a short story that would evolve into the first two chapters of Fried Windows.

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Three years ago was a period of transition and adjustment in many ways. It was a necessary break with my past and my previous career. One can play at writing and pretend to be an author but there is always a point of no return, isn’t there? There is the defining moment when the hobby that becomes an habit transcends everything else you do. Then it is your profession and all else takes a back seat to it. At least that is how it happened for me.

Certainly an writer can write without becoming an author. It was a formative stage that I went through. I suppose it could have been much shorter had I ever admitted to myself that writing was pretty much the only thing I have ever wanted to do with my life. Everything else I did was an interruption or a means of self denial. It is far easier to be something else than to admit to being a writer. Still writers will always write, finding some way to exorcise the demons.

When I don’t write it is a refusal to submit to the urge. I tend to have bizarre dreams. Some might call them nightmares, but, believe me, when I used to have nightmares they were much worse. I have not had a true nightmare – one of those wake up with terror in cold sweat experiences – in over thirty-three years. The last was in the afternoon of the twenty-fifth birthday.

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I’m not sure why I haven’t had nightmares since, except that I know how to wake up within a dream. It was something that, like Brent Woods in Fried Windows, I learned from my inner self. I wake up within a nightmare before it gets too bad, I guess. The foolishness ends, at any rate, and I move on to discovering other sleep-induced delusions. What I have learned, though, is that if I write a lot or at least regularly the strangeness of my dreams emerges into the stories and I do not suffer the experiences in my sleep. There’s a balance to be struck, of course.

Lately I’ve been working so much and writing so little that I have returned to having strange and vivid dreams. I’m sure some of those will find their ways into my writing. You see, I have recurring dreams. Some of related to other dreams and over time they connect into one another. It’s almost like my sleeping mind is piecing together a story and telling it to me before i actually sit down and write it. Granted, some of the stories are silly and after considering them I don’t bother with writing them, but certain elements of the dreams may wind up woven into this or that story. Other times the dreams are informative or illustrative of the complexities of what I perceive around me in my waking times. The other night I had one about the current corruption in national politics and how major corporations control our elected officials. No news there, really, just an understanding of how it works in a way I’d never considered quick so clearly as in my dream.

In dreams each of us is the star performer. I think that is why in some ways writing in first person is more cathartic for me. However, I used to write in third person omniscient all the time and that still tends to me my comfort style. In fact Fried Windows was an experiment for me, writing a series of first person short stories. The novel emerged from that process. Later on I wrote Becoming Thuperman, which is also told in first person. I have several other projects with he same style and authors voice, though none of them are finished at this time.

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When I posted to FanStory the drafts of the individual chapters of Fried Windows they were presented as installments over a thirty day period. As I have said before I fleshed out the nucleus of the story idea in a month. It was another year, in April 2013, before I compiled all the pieces into a novel format and another month, toward the end of May 2013, before I submitted it to my publisher as a manuscript. In June 2013 I signed a contract for publishing the book. And in May 2014 Fried Windows was released.

So, you see there are many anniversaries coming up for Fried Windows. Sometime later this year, the book will complete its exclusive period and be offered on multiple platforms. I’ll also be doing some signings and personal appearances in Orlando and central Florida to promote both Fried Windows and the other books I have coming out this year and next.

#Writing #Publishing #Dreams #FriedWindows #BecomingThuperman

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What A Difference Three Years Makes

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Hopeless, pretty-much – that was where I was three years and two days ago. I needed to change a lot of things about me and how I was living my life – or rather existing without actually living. You know how people say – usually jokingly – that they have no life? Three years ago I truly had none.

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The way I ended things with my previous employer I was probably destined to be homeless. Over the past three years I have been that, basically homeless. I’ve couch surfed a bit and stayed with relatives long past my welcome, I think, but I haven’t starved to death. I’ve stayed focused on completing writing projects. I have twelve books under contract, now. Imagine that!

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Three years ago this was where I was: I lived in a two bedroom apartment in a part of town that wasn’t exactly the best or safest. I walked to work, though, because the place I worked was that close. My kids were grown-up and moved out. My son still lived close enough that every once in a while we’d meet up for a day’s outing. My marriage was over long before the formalities of the divorce. I really didn’t have any savings but had managed not to fall any deeper into debt.

 

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I’d been working in retail for so long that I believed there was nothing else I could do and, furthermore, submitted to the will of the corporation that abused me on a daily basis. When I was away from work I drank a lot and I wrote a lot, though nothing much that was worth the effort to revise, I’m afraid. Had I continued living that way I’m pretty sure I’d be dead by now, probably from the stress of the work combined with the alcohol abuse.

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Today I don’t drink anything alcoholic. I ride my bike everywhere I go and do that on a regular basis. I work at several jobs for the money but mainly I write full time, which is what I have been meaning to do for all my life – just I let everything else get in the way.

I could go back into management, I suppose. One of my side jobs would provide a track for that, but I’m not interested. I’ve done management. I’m over it. I like talking to customers, the nice ones who don’t have the problems. You see, when you’re in management for too long you begin to think that every customer is a problem because the only customers you ever see are the ones who have the problems requiring management attention. I’m better off with a job that basically requires minimal managerial skills.

The other things I do are related to my writing so that is comfortable enough. I’m working with and assisting other authors. That’s cool. And I write for several hours a day on average. Even if most of what I am writing will not make it onto a printed page, I’m still working at my chosen craft. And a lot of what I have been writing has potential – or at least I think it does.

I wrote a short story the other day, which was remarkable on several levels. First I don’t usually write short stories. Second, I haven’t written anything short since the experiment that produced Fried Windows. Third, the way I write doesn’t lend itself to writing anything short. Despite all that, I knocked out 2,646 words over the course of an hour and a half. I wish I could write that fast everyday. That would be amazing, right? It wasn’t half bad, either.

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Thursday is my next full day off. I have plans, though nothing special or outrageous. I’m going to begin working again on the sequel to Fried Windows which is already about half finished. Alternately I may work on the sequel to Becoming Thuperman. We’ll see. I have to go grocery shopping first thing in the morning. My supply of everything has been depleted. I guess I should knock out the Fried Windows thing first since there are several readers who are waiting for it. A couple of people have asked me what happens to Brent. You know, that would be telling, except, obviously, he is in other books since I’ve mentioned that he is in The Wolfcat Chronicles, right? But technically, those works are set either before or after Fried Windows, depending on your perspective in the cosmos.

Anyway, I’m better off where I am right now than where I was three years ago. I’m not satisfied with everything about my life. I need to complete a lot of things to really get back to where I think I belong, but I’m not hungry and I have a place to sleep and a roof over my head which is much better than it might have been.

#writing #TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #BecomingThuperman #StarvingArtist