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What Ifs, Overcoming, and Writing

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Writers deal with what ifs. The source of the inspiration to write a certain thing may come from memories or observation, but generally something grounded in real life affects us differently than it might someone who is not inclined to write. Maybe the same is true of all artists, drawing inspiration from those things in life that others overlook or pass by, but in the peculiar case of someone who will write, there is desire or even desperate need to explore possibilities. What if I hadn’t been so uncoordinated when it came to playing sports? What if I had the nerve to ask the prettiest girl in high school for a date? What if I’d been born in a different time? What if I really was an alien infant left on my parent’s doorstep?

Anything’s possible – especially for a fantasy writer.

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I’m no different in finding inspiration in strange places. A lot of the things I have written borrow moments from direct experiences. In many ways Brent Woods, the main character in Fried Windows and several of my other books, is an alter ego. He is braver, more outspoken and a good bit more athletic and coordinated than I ever was but he and I think alike. You see, its safer as a writer to stick close to things you know. And who do you know better than yourself and your family. So I contrived a family for Brent that is somewhat like my own, and had him grow up in my hometown. Of course we share a several interests such as music and favorite books. We are intentionally similar, after all. And, Brent eventually becomes a writer. I mean – what else could he do?

Where Brent and I differ is that he is by far more of a doer than an observer. Some writers are like that. Many are not. However, when you read about his past and especially his first person accounts of certain things, as a reader you aren’t all that certain that Brent really ever did any of the things he writes about. After all, he enters fantasy worlds pretty much at will. But then, don’t all writers have that ability?

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Early on in life I was sheltered. My mother wanted to protect me from everything dangerous in the world. It was perhaps natural since she had lost her first son. I was the replacement more so than my two older sisters. I had to carry on the family name. My father wanted me to follow in his footsteps, taking over the farm he bought when I was eight years old. Mom would barely consent to allowing me to participate in any sports at school because of the risk of injury. However on the farm I was into a lot of things that were at least as dangerous.

In school overcame the label slow reader. My dyslexia made learning to read a challenge and, as it went undiagnosed, I was passed along in school because I made good grades in every other subject. You see, I remember almost everything I hear. So if a teacher told me what was in a book I didn’t have to read it to know the material for a test. Eventually, on my own and through determination, I devised a way of learning how to read. By the fourth or fifth grade I had pretty-much caught up with everyone else. Still, I was branded a slow reader, because I struggled to read aloud in class even though I could read several hundred words per minute silently.

Me in early 1980's before job interview

After I learned to read I developed a voracious appetite for books. In college I averaged more than a book a day. I don’t have the time to do that anymore – not with working a job, writing, editing and revising. However, I still read a lot and for most of the novels I read I write reviews and post them either in a blog or as comments on a site like Goodreads or on the author’s Amazon link.

My dad always told me to never quit and always believe that I could be anything I really wanted to be. The key word in that advice is “really”. As opposed to wishing for something to happen, imagining a what if into being, being determined to do everything necessary to achieve a goal is what’s required to succeed – even overcoming disabilities and the setbacks that others will label as failures along the way.

#writing #FriedWindows #BrentWoods #AlterEgo #overcoming

 

 

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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

 

 

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The Wolfcat Chronicles Complete

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Friday morning I completed revisions for Book 10 of The Wolfcat Chronicles, which included a major rewrite of the final three chapters. I submitted the manuscript to my publisher. So the series that I have spend over a decade writing and most of my life preparing is one step closer to reality.

Before I move on to other projects, I’d like to reassure all those who have read early versions of the books that the essential story has not been altered. Some of the details have changed here and there in the process of revisions. One chapter was added and, in several other places the dialogue was modified a bit, to make the series connect with Fried Windows in a much more substantive way. Otherwise, it’s the same. I’m sure that as the editing process progresses there will be some other changes, though I expect them to be minor and more along the lines of ensuring consistency between the beginning and the end of the story and giving it a good hair cut here and there. The objective of editing is to trim away those things that do not directly contribute to the story, developing the characters, and advancing the plot,

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What’s next? Well, yesterday morning I did something I haven’t done for a while. In fact I’ve not done it since composing what has since become Fried Windows. I wrote a short story. I’m not sure I’ll do anything more with it. I could, though. There is an opening to expand the tale and I may pursue that – kind of like I did with Fried Windows – and we see where that ended up. But for now it’s a back burner sort of things.

The short story I wrote was my attempt to fulfill a prior commitment to write a piece for a collection with a theme “the seven deadly sins”. My challenge was to write something about greed. I’m not sure if I actually accomplished that with the story. What I wrote was more about wealth, money and large corporations mistreating the little guy. To me that’s practical reality of the sin or greed. However, I also believe that all the seven deadly sins are interconnected in many ways. If you ponder the subject for a while you will eventually get to a place that I am, where you understand how one thing leads to another and so on. Greed, envy, avarice… it’s all connected.

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The next two things I plan to work on are the sequels for Fried Windows and Becoming Thuperman. That leaves the stand alone story of Bongwater Moses still lingering in the background, but I need to finish that one too. Somewhere along the way I also want to revise a couple of other stories about the Brent character from Fried Windows.

Having the major weight of ten books off my shoulders – at least until substantive editing begins – I can work on a number of other projects. At some point I’ll be going through something of a relaunching of Fried Windows as it comes up on its first anniversary and is released in the formats and through other distributors. I’m not sure when that will come about. It’s popularity has been increasing through the free promotions, but it has been a slow process. It’s a bit like acquiring friends for me, growing readers. It takes a while to get to know me but after someone has gotten to know me they tend to be friends for life.

 

Lately I’ve been scheduled to work more hours at my day job. That is largely a result of picking up shifts that other people cannot work and having been cross trained to serve other roles. Hey, I can use the money for buying books to sell at book signings, right? Also I’ve saving up to buy a better bike. One with gears that change and working brakes both front and rear would be a vast improvement over what I have been using. However, it’s hard to justify the expense at this point, as I am getting by with what I have. The tried were placed last summer and have a lot of wear left on them.

My idea is to keep the present bike as a backup in case I wake up one day and my tires are flat on the newer bike I’d be using. You know, kind of like having a second car. As my son leave early for work each day and I tend to work in the mostly in evenings I don’t have the option of asking him to drive me. My options would be to call a cab – which I can’t afford – or hoof it for the 4.5 miles. I’d probably opt for the latter though I’m not exactly sure how long i would take me to get there.

At some point I need a new laptop to replace the one I have that doesn’t serve as a laptop anymore – battery dead, screen doesn’t work. I know I’m going to need portability eventually, especially when I start moving around and traveling again, but at the moment it isn’t a huge priority. I’m using a jury-rigged configuration that serves my purposes well enough. Also, as I refuse to go back to a Windows platform for my working computer, I’m kind of at the mercy for how inflated the prices for Apple computers are. They tend to be very proud of their products, as my dad always said of something expensive for no apparent reason. Yes, I get that Apple computers tend to last longer and are supposed to be built better, etc. I’m not convinced any of that is particularly true anymore, if it ever was. Remember, I repaired computers for a while. I’ve been inside everything imaginable. And since Apple switched to using Intel processors their systems have become more and more like everything else out there in the PC world. Much of the difference is cosmetic except that I prefer the operating system to windows and find it to be generally more stable, with he exception of the Safari browser which has been crashing lately for whatever reason.

Coming up there are some promotions for Fried Windows. As soon as I have resupplied my local stash of books, meaning ordering some directly from the publisher, I’ll be working on some local book signings. So, for anyone in Central Florida, be on the look out for announcements. I plan to tie-in the appearances with pre-release activities for The Wolfcat Chronicles and Becoming Thuperman. I’ll also be participating in some promotional stuff for other authors whether as a publicist or a friend.

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Rose Montague has two books coming out next month, for example one at the beginning of the month titled Jane, the sequel to Jade. There is another coming out later next months as well. More about that in upcoming blogs. I also plan to interview her again. She is an interesting person and an excellent storyteller. Her first book, Jade, was released a little over a year ago. I read and reviewed it somewhere around that time. Her writing is as unique as her subject matter. I highly recommend her books to anyone who enjoys novels that bend reality a bit – stories about shape shifters, witches etc.

#TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #Becoming Thuperman #NewProjects #Rose Montague #Jade #Jane #Revisions #Writing #Publishing

 

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How It Begins, Continues and Ends

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The beginning of a book has the illusion of being easy but next to the ending it can be the most difficult part to write. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always found the middle of a book the quickest write. You see – you know the characters fairly well by then and the plot is already well underway. So development is pretty much over and its time to let the action evolve. You know where things are heading and may even have an idea for an ending, though usually endings change because, by the time you get there, whatever you had in mind from the outset has altered from experiencing the book’s progress through the eyes of the characters. You have have planned an untimely demise for a character who has become your favorite or your main character may actually be less interesting than you originally imagined.

I’ve often told people that I suck at writing endings. Ive time I’ve gotten better at it, especially after writing the interim endings for each of the books in The Wolfcat Chronicles series. But serial ending are different. They always lead into something else. As far as my writing goes, almost every book I’ve written connects to something else, though. If it doesn’t seem to, wait for it. Another book is probably on  the way and somehow it will connect. Even Becoming Thuperman, which I purposely wrote as a stand alone, connects into the weird world of Brent Woods. Its connection is the most tangential of all the manuscripts I’ve composed. Hint, Will’s mother went to high school with Terry Harper. Yeah, it’s in there.

A number of my friends are writers. Some tell me coming up with a title is difficult. For whatever reason that’s the easiest part of the process for me. Many, like me, write a good bit of the novel by the seat of their pants. We call it being a Pantser. The experience of creation is a wild, spontaneous ride. I think some of that comes through in the book and the readers can share a bit of the creative experience. However it is a bit like taking a 1000 piece crossword pule and throwing it on the floor and hoping some of the pieces just accidentally come together. Since I don’t believe in accidents…well, every writer must organize things at some point, right?

Other writers detail out a plot from beginning to end. They’re called Plotters. I think there is a downside to this style as well. The book can become too stylized and predictable as it methodically progresses. It’s kind of like looking as a sine wave on an oscilloscope – you know there is a peak ahead and valley after and then another peak. There is a steady rhythm and flow, which is nice for some readers but it will put others to sleep. Mixing it up a bit, throwing in a random, unexpected event  or two helps break the monotony. That may not come until the draft is finished and, as a writer, you just feel the book is missing something. That’s one reason revisions tend to add pages to a manuscript as the author tweaks this and that or suddenly realizes there is a subplot that can be used to create some mystery or tension. Perhaps there is an alternate love connection that wasn’t clear from the start.

If an author wants to excite the reader and, for whatever time it takes to read a book, engage the imagination and suspend disbelief, he or she should make the book as realistic as possible. As much as we plot and plan our lives, things do not always work out the way we want. So why expect a book to be any different? As you can probably tell, my writing style is a little of both Pantser and Plotter. I usually begin the process with a few character profiles and then have the key players interact in conversations. Often enough the characters tell me where the conflicts are and that almost always hints at where the plot is headed. Building the story around the dialogue, as it is inherently more interesting to the reader than long narratives, is also better for showing and not telling the story. If you focus on dialogue and use action tags to highlight what the characters are doing, their nervous ticks, their habit of playing with a pencil or a pen while sitting at a desk, lighting a second cigarette before snuffing out the first, you immediately allow the reader to visualize a scene as if he or she is there. observing.

I don’t think one author should guide another in the creative aspect but sharing some notes and giving a little advice helps. Every writer’s situation is different. Of necessity some cannot devote the kind of time they might like to the task because of other obligations whether its family, work or something else. Often writers claim to have writer’s block and sometimes it is tied to beginning the writing process. It’s hard to start something and easy to be distracted with life or anything else that is less painful than coming to terms with the crazy ideas you have kicking around in your noggin. So, if you suffer when coming up with a way to begin a book, why not start in the middle instead?  Give it a try. Work your way in both directions from the middle and eventually you’ll have a beginning and and ending. Does it work every time? No, of course not. But it’s different and changing things up a bit helps break writer’s block. A lot of times that’s all you need is a nudge.

The other way I’ve found to overcome writer’s block is have a pretty much set schedule for your writing. Whenever that is, wherever you are you write. It doesn’t matter what you write, just write something. It could be a shopping list, an email, a note – whatever, just connect mind to hand and let the process and the flow of ideas take over. Writer’s block, to me, seems to be a temporary halt in the flow. Force the effort to write but never force the writing.What I mean is this, keep the avenue of your ideas open. Dredge the channel to prevent anything from damming things up. Having said that, don’t make writing a drudgery.

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If whatever project you’re working on isn’t inspiring you to get out and bed and work on it, it’s probably going to have the same effect on someone reading it. Don’t scrap it just yet, but set it aside and come back to it later. Some books need to be fleshed out in a search process. Fried Windows flowed as sixteen sort of related short stories before I ever started to think of them as a novel. One Over X came to me as vignettes focused on individual characters. Stories that refuse to flow from start to end can be more challenging but that doesn’t mean the idea isn’t good or that the book won’t work well. Sometimes a story has to come out in pieces. It can be frustrating, but when everything comes together it will be worth the wait.

Not every idea you have will make a good book or even a good short story. Sometimes the silliest things make the best stories, though. So never give up on an idea too soon. Just be aware that your scrap pile will grow exponentially while your actual projects progress in a more linear fashion.

#WritingTips #WritersBlock #Beginnings #Endings #Plotters #Pantsers #CreativeFlow #BecomingThuperman #TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows

 

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Promotional Stuff, Pets and A Birthday

 

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Today and yesterday were kind of dedicated promotional days. That’s why I didn’t post anything. Sort of busy answering questions and making pitches for Fried Windows, Becoming Thuperman and The Wolfcat Chronicles.

Speaking of the wolfcats, I’m working on Chapter 9, but I’m about 3/4 of the way through a new chapter that I’m writing. It helps tie into the rewrite and also connect the series into Fried Windows a little better than the original version.  Otherwise I’m hanging out with my son’s dog, my grand-dog, as it were. His name is Rocco. I’ve mentioned him before. He’s 105 lbs of American Bulldog and a big baby. He’s sitting beside me as I write this, wondering why I haven’t petted him in the past ten seconds and hoping I’ll take him on a walk so because usually he gets a treat afterwards.

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I read somewhere that most days read the mental maturity of a two or three year old. Rocco is definitely in his terrible twos. He demands attention almost constantly but he does understand a few simple words and phrases. However, he doesn’t like deviating from routine. Like going for a walk. The county has decided to tear up some of the sidewalks,It seems related to whether there is a pin oak tree near to the section. This has interrupted Rocco’s usual path for walking so it confuses and frustrate him when I make him detour around the missing sections or the freshly poured concrete. The county frowns upon dog prints in the fresh new slabs. Apparently they consider that graffiti for which there is some sort of fine if they catch you. Is anyone else getting a mental picture of the local sheriff running through  set of paw prints belonging to known offenders?

Anyway, the promotional stuff went well. I don’t know if I sold any books but I made some friends. Friend may last longer than book promotions, anyway.

I believe I’m still on target to complete Book 10 of The Wolfcat Chronicles before the end of the month. I don’t force any problems yet. The new stuff I’m adding in gives the series a twist or two, and lends a touch of mystery to the last book the series. It’s all good.

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In other news, today is my big sister Joyce’s birthday. In the pictures above she is dressed for Halloween. So, no she doesn’t always dress funny. Anyway, Joyce is nine years my senior and was known to babysit for me when I was like Rocco is now – no, not a dog but a whining pup of sorts and totally dependent. She’s one of those special people you enjoy being around because she savors friendships and loves life. When I’m around her I have to step up my game a bit to say something funny or unusual. She has that effect on me. I try to make her laugh. I always have. And if she doesn’t laugh with me, I’ll accept her laughing at me.

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So, Happy Birthday, big sis.

#birthday #Rocco #FriedWindows #Revisions #TheWolfcatChronicles, #BecomingThuperman #Promotions

 

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The Wolfcat Chronicles – The Inspiration

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There’s not a single moment that stands out to cite as the inspiration to write The Wolfcat Chronicles. More accurately it was a series of incidents and a process in the evolution of an idea. Since the series is related in many ways to other writing, I could say it began with the first piece of fiction I wrote as a kid. But the idea to write a novel came about when I was riding my my dad’s pickup truck returning from the Trade Day Flea Market in Washington Court House, Ohio in late 1969. He asked what I wanted to be when I grew up if, as i had just told him, I didn’t feel cut out to be a farmer.

My mother told me she’d always heard that the first thing a baby grasps hold of is related in some way to what he or she will do in life. I grabbed a pencil. Years later when I was in college my mother reminded me of that, to which I replied, “The pencil also had an eraser. So maybe it was telling me I’d make a lot of mistakes.”

I toyed around with some stories during high school, even published some in the school newspaper and monthly literary magazine. But it wasn’t until college that I set out to compose a novel. I knew nothing about how to accomplish that, but that did not deter me.

After enrolling in a creative writing course I wrote the first bonafide piece of The Wolfcat Chronicles, a character profile for a wolfcat, though at the time I didn’t call the hybrid creature anything in particular. It was an assignment for which I received a grade of C-. My obstructor didn’t like sci-fi and fantasy, which was fine because I didn’t like him much either. He picked it apart, saying it was absurd and impossible to have a creature that was a their human, a third wolf and a third cat. He’d never heard of the theory of gene splicing. Not many people had back in the late 70’s.

Later that year I wrote a draft novel titled Tarot. Some portions that story survive within chapters of One Over X and The Wolfcat Chronicles. Tarot allowed me the experience of writing a long story spanning several chapters. I let a couple of friends read it and received feedback, some positive. I thought of editing it, revising it and sending it off to a publisher but a few months after writing it I actually read the draft. The story was thin, banal, not well-thought-out or developed and probably not worth the effort to fix.

My first actual publication was the Unit History of the 6903rd Electronic Security Group at Osan AB, Republic of Korea. It wasn’t destined for any bestseller list. It contained highly classified information and therefore had a very small distribution list. It was over 400 pages and received several awards.

Also while in the military I wrote a draft regulation for cataloguing, storing and disposing of classified information. The regulation was adopted within the intelligence community. Also, while I was in training I wrote a training manual that was implemented at my training base. I received commendation for both achievements.

I mention all that because prior to my experience as a unit historian I lacked confidence in my ability to write. It also allowed me to work with a computer word processor, albeit it a primitive one. Receiving accolades bolstered my ego – something vital int he development of an author, even if those who were the most impressed were not especially talented at writing.

Upon returning to the States I began writing From The Inside, the first book of the One Over X series. I would spend the next eight years laboring over that while working in retail management, being a father of three small children and all the other necessary chores and duties. Writing was a hobby. I’m amazed how much progress was actually made, all things considered.

In 1993 I bought the my computer, ostensibly for the family. The kids played some DOS children’s games on it but I wound up using it most of the time. Other than playing solitaire for the first few months of owning it and figuring out how to get online and use email, I began the meticulous process of recreating my novel in progress in a digital format using the MS Works word processor that came with my computer.

In April 1995 I came down with a bacterial infection in my bloodstream which all but destroyed my aortic valve. I was admitted to the hospital with a fever of 104 degrees F and put on IV’s with antibiotics. During the period of high fever which lasted an entire weekend I had vivid dreams about battles between demonic creatures, humans and animals. I recalled them well enough to write about them in my journal. That material made it into The Wolfcat Chronicles Book 7.

After a summer of recuperating from having my valve replaced, I upgraded to a faster computer and bought a copy of MS Word. I converted the Works documents into MS Word format and then began the painstaking process of correcting all the issues that conversion created. That was also the first time I edited and revised any of One Over X.

Along with my adventure in writing I was becoming a computer technician on the side, just from figuring out how to repair my computer and troubleshoot the software. I read computer magazines, books on writing programs and computer repair. I continued writing and eventually produced a rough draft for From The Inside. I met a small publisher join Connecticut and began a two year ordeal of editing the book. A lot of that knowledge influenced my characters and their roles. It also served as an inspiration for the EthosSphere program in One Over X, which in 2015 terminology would be called The Internet of Things.

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In the late Spring of 2000, shortly after my father passed away and while corresponding with my publisher and sending edits and revisions back and forth, I began writing The Wolfcat Chronicles in earnest. Starting with what is now Chapter 2 of Book 3, it was intended to be a wolf story that I shared with friends I’d made in an IRC chatroom. We pretended to be a Wolf Pack and created a roll playing game. Many of the character names in the series came from the screen names of those people or variations upon them. One of those people called herself Ela’na the Wolfcat. She became my personal muse during the compilation of the ten books in draft. We became friends over the years, though we have never met in person and live on opposite sides of the country. And yes, the similarity of the character she was playing int he RPG online and the character profile I’d written in 1977 was not lost on me – especially when years later i discovered she was born on the same day I wrote the character profile for my creative writing class. (Cue Twilight Zone Music)

 

Book 3 through 7 were written first, originally a 413 page single volume titled One Pack, that grew in revisions and through the addition of other backstories and characters. Book 8 and half of Book 9 were written next and was originally titled The Last Wolfcat. While writing that story in 2005, my published asked me to edit a children’s story and upon my recommendation a couple of other scenes were added to the book. I helped write those. Based on that experience, my published suggested I write a children’s story about the wolfcats, sort of like The Hobbit serves as an introduction to Lord of the Rings. One chapter into writing the prequel to One Pack, which was titled The Spectre of Dammerwald, it was clearly not going to be a children’s story. That eventually became Books 1 and 2.

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Upon completing the prequel, I now had sufficient backstory to flesh out the remainder of Book 9 and write Book 10. However, a lot of the material in Spectre required making many changes, both minor and major, to Books 3 through 8. Upon completing that long task (during the Spring of 2007), I began writing The Attributes, which concludes many of the threads created in One Over X and The Wolfcat Chronicles, thought it is a stand-alone, two-book series.

In 2011, I posted each chapter of the draft for The Wolfcat Chronicles to a writer’s website and received feedback which I am presently incorporating into the current set of revisions. By then I had written several other manuscripts and stories that are as yet unpublished. I also wrote much of the Earth-side backstory for Ela’na the Wolfcat, which involved Brent Woods, the main character in Fried Windows. In 2012, I wrote Fried Windows, which technically takes place both before and after The Wolfcat Chronicles. I promise, that will make sense once you have read the books.

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#TheWolfcatChronicles #FriedWindows #Inspiration #Writing #Publishing

 

 

 

 

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The Wolfcat Chronicles Book Nine Submitted

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Yesterday evening I completed the revision of The Woflcat Chronicles Book 9 and submitted it to my publisher.  For those of you who were beta readers for the draft of the manuscript, I changed a few things – most of them in keeping with the new ending I envision for Book 10.

I am taking a bit of a break now. I promised to read a friend’s book and review it, so for the next few days, aside from working, I’ll be plowing through a spy thriller. It’s not a genre I follow all that often but I have read a few of Tom Clancy’s books. I started reading it last night and, so far, the book is intriguing – always a good start.

For Book Ten, I expect the first half to three quarters of the story to remain pretty much to same. There are places to be and battles to fight that are necessary to the overall story arc of the series and resolution of the tenth book’s plot. The last few chapters will be extensively rewritten, though, and one of them scrapped, for the most part. This will allow the story to better align with other related stories contained in other books, publishing and unpublished, including Fried Windows. I’m excited to get started on reworking Book Ten  but I’m a little apprehensive as well. Beta readers were about 50/50 on whether they liked the original ending. Personally, I wasn’t happy with it. It accomplished some things I wanted but not all. My hope is that I will make it an ending worth reading ten books in order to reach.

One of the difficulties of writing a book with feedback from readers is that everyone finds a favorite character – even relatively minor ones – and wants something different to happen with them. Sometimes that is just not possible within the constraints of a story. Yeah, I know I’m writing a fantasy where everything is possible, at least from a  creator’s perspective, but it isn’t quite a wide open to the imagination as one might think. When a fantasy world is created, if it is to be believed on any level, there must be rules established, laws of nature, as it were, and those become restrictions. I believe I’ve been pretty agile and adept at circumventing expectations and conventions as I write The Wolfcat Chronicles. Expect the unexpected has been my motto. But, still, there are some things that must happen in order to conclude the series properly.

Someone once asked me which of the many characters introduced throughout the series is my favorite. That’s tough to answer. As I write a scene there is a star and, for the duration, he or she must be my favorite to whom I pay the most attention. Overall, of course Ela’na and Rotor are favorites. Of the supporting characters, though, I really enjoyed writing the scenes with Swip’ter and Shealu in the One Pack section of the series, especially when they first meet. In the first two books, which comprise the Spectre of Dammerwald section, I enjoyed Grem and to a lesser extent Slammer. In the concluding section, The Last Wolfcat, I enjoyed writing about Mang.

I expect to be back to working on The Wolfcat Chronicles sometime next week, probably by Wednesday. It should take most of February and perhaps longer to finish. I’m not sure at this point. It’s been a long time since I was last here in the story.

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