Words keep piling up

I’m 8500 words into the second “Seasons” short story I talked about down below.  It’s kind of slow going because it didn’t all pop into my head in a single shot like the first one did.

When it comes to writing, I’m a horrific pantser.  Which, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, means “seat of the pants writer”.  I don’t plot; I write stuff that comes into my head and then I link it together.  If something I wrote doesn’t work, it gets tossed.  Stuff gets changed on the fly.  There’s no crying in pantser writing.

Now, this isn’t really a problem if you’re writing a short story, or maybe even a novella, but without a plot outline, writing a novel with a complicated plot and multiple characters can become a real pain.  I found that out when I wrote The Lion of God…or more to the point, when I was editing The Lion of God.  The initial draft had plot holes you could drive a truck through.  The draft I actually published may still have plot holes; I know it has mistakes that I’ve documented in another post.  I’m being more careful with the sequel but I still don’t have a formal plot outline for it.  It’s just all in my head and it’s still jelling.  And there are a few snippets of later parts of the story that have outpaced the first three chapters that are materially finished.  Actually….I’ve already written the ending.  Pants.  Definitely pants.

For what it’s worth, I do have a timeline for The Lion of God.  Because even I can’t keep track of what happened when, across two timelines and sixty years of linear time in both of them.

Saving the Spring, on the other hand, was pretty much a “sit down and write it out in order” proposition.  There was one section I didn’t write in sequence (the fight between Jack, Rufus, and Joelle, and Loki’s constructs).  I wasn’t sure how to write it when I got to it, but the muse was pushing me to keep going.  Since I knew what happened after the fight, I just jumped over it and came back later.

When I wrote The Reason, I knew where I was going from the start, because I’d already thought it out as backstory for The Lion of God.  So that got finished pretty quickly; I spent more time polishing it (and researching after the fact — and let me warn you, unless you have a strong stomach, do not go researching fractures of the femur) than I did writing it.

Now we come to A Midsummer Night’s Hunt.

It’s being written in order, mostly.  The story from start to 8,475 words is all one piece, without any sections marked “fill in later”.  There’s a lot more Sarah in this one than in the other one, and that’s good; I like writing her.  Valkyries turn out to be fun to write.  Joelle, as I tried to suggest in the first story, still needs a little “seasoning” before she’ll be a good warrior; well, go look up the Norse goddess Nanna, and other than jumping on her husband’s funeral fire boat with him, tell me what she actually did in Asgard.  Rufus is still a big, bluff, red-headed Nordic man-at-arms who happens to be the god Baldur (the aforementioned husband of Nanna, who bought it when Loki managed to sneak a dart made from mistletoe into the hands of Baldur’s blind brother Hodr, at a time when folks were shooting and tossing all kinds of stuff at Baldur, who was immune to anything except…well, you get it).  Jack, now that he’s got his memories back, is the oldest of the bunch, and the natural leader of the group.

It’s no secret, really, that they’re hunting chupacabra in New Mexico.  And I know why, and how that’s going to turn out, and (vaguely) how I’m going to get from where I am to there in another, hmm, 4,000 words or so.

Or maybe 5,000.  Or 6,000.  Whatever.  Sooner or later (hopefully sooner, so I can get back to The Lion and The Lizard), it will be finished.

And then you’ll find out why Joelle’s Queen of Spring outfit is always perfectly clean, and why she never gets wounded in battle.  It frankly puzzled me, till just the other night when I figured it out.

Þǫkk fyrir lesturinn!

Sarah/Sigrdrifa, character studies

Done in DAZ, of course.  In the new story, she has, so far, worn the two outfits on the right.  In fairness, of course, they interchange when she shifts forms.

The left outfit, well, we’ll see if it has a place in this story.  (The truth is, I’ve had that dress in the inventory for a while because it was on sale, and hadn’t used it so far.)  But our Valkyrja cleans up nice, doesn’t she?

I should probably stop screwing around with DAZ and write…

The Reason (Timelines short story) is published

I said August and I meant August…even if August is tomorrow 🙂 (And strangely enough, Amazon seems to backdate the publication date by one day, so it will say it was published on July 30.)

Oh, and for my one three-star reviewer of The Lion of God who said “too much political proselytizing” — this hasn’t got much politics at all.  So maybe you’ll be safe to read it.*

Anyway:

Kindle-only, available either to buy for 99 cents, or to read for free via Kindle Unlimited. It is being published without DRM.

Direct link

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* But seriously, that sort of review just makes me think I was right on target.  I figured I’d get complaints about how I (a civilian) handled military subjects.  Or about how there wasn’t enough action.  Or how I was full of shit about how timelines work.  If the complaining is going to be about the pushing of right-wing politics, yeah, I’m good with that.  And if you think that was bad, man, you should have seen the stuff I left out.

Remember how I said…

…that I’d probably not be writing any more fantasy after Saving The Spring, unless something moved me to do so?

Damn it.

It’s not done, not by a long shot.  But it’s coming at some point, maybe in the fall.  And that’s just the working cover, so don’t get too excited.

The Lion of God: Errata

Of course I am re-reading the book, now it’s been published, and of course I have found a couple of bone-headed errors.

Using Kindle page numbers (which are not the same as the page numbers in the manuscript:

Location
As published
Correction
Time Will Tell, Page 22 “… I didn’t go back to school until … hmm … until, well, 1986.” 1996.  His Timeline 1 counterpart went in 1986, when he left the service.  In 1986, Timeline 0 Wolff was still in the Marines.

I think this was a late change when I was trying to reconcile timeline events, and the change to the timeline document just didn’t make it into the book.

Chapter 5, Page 115 Wolff was a little taken aback.  “Reserve commission or not, I’m smart enough to know I got out as a shot-up E-7 who’d been bucking for First Sergeant, and that was forty years ago.” It was fifty years (fifty-one, to be precise).
Chapter 8, Page 167 He shook his head, clearing it of the forty-year old memories he didn’t need to deal with, right now. Same as above.  Fifty, not forty.
Chapter 13, Page 235 “Look, Commodore, I haven’t been an officer very long, but forty years of civilian life…” Same as above.  Fifty, not forty.

Apparently I can’t subtract 1993 from 2044 very well.

These fixes will be in an update at some point.  Table will be added to as I find more things to fix.

There are those who say the cover is everything.

At long last it looks like I have a cover…thanks to my DAZ3D mentor and friend from ancient times*, Geoff Edwards, who worked out how the words needed to go on the art he’d advised me on.

There are a couple of things left to do in the text, but I’m hopeful of a release by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the short story mentioned in the previous post has been honed and the cover is being worked on…and the second novel has been started.

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* Freshman year in high school.  We had the same drafting class.  You know, mechanical drawing, with T-squares and triangles and cool mechanical pencils, back before AutoCad.  Damnit, Jim, I’m an engineer, not a graphic artist.

Another short in draft

I have another short story in draft, started it last Thursday, finished the first draft just a few minutes ago after work.  It’s a Timelines story, really a prequel, intended to provide backstory for The Lion of God, and it’s called “The Reason”.  It will follow the release of The Lion of God, which will happen either later this month or some time in July, depending on whether I decide to wait for the new graphics computer to be delivered, or not.

Anyway, “The Reason” is another 11,790 word long short story like “Saving The Spring” (which was over 10,000 words).  Apparently I don’t know how to write a standard short story.  On the other hand, it isn’t edited yet.

The likelihood is that I will put it on Amazon for 99 cents, or read for free on KU.  But again, it will go up after The Lion of God.

Cover deSigh

Yes, the title is not a misprint.  SIGH.  I have a mentor who keeps kicking my butt about design.  The cover art I’ve been doing for The Lion of God is in DAZ 3D Studio, and our discussions have been … complicated 🙂  Worse, the more involved the cover vignette has been getting, the more it’s become clear that I need to drop $BIGCOIN on a machine that will actually do the render (and take less than 8 hours to get only part-way through before DAZ stops rendering…yeah, I know, I can set that higher, but I have to use this computer to make real money at my day job).

So anyway, this is where we are with the cover.  Ariela’s face has changed a little, as I stopped fighting with Genesis 8 female characters* and redesigned her as a Genesis 3 female.  This necessitated a change of hair, but I’m happy with it.

The cover…maybe?

The lighting has improved, the three US Space Force Marines who are actually on this recon mission with her are all in the frame now, and she has that fetching maroon beret which still needs to be properly adjusted for size.  Everybody’s feet are at floor level.  I’m playing with adding unit insignia to the Marines’ shoulders in place of that stylized “7” with crossed daggers.  Ari’s jacket may get a caduceus on the left breast (she’s an MD/PHD).

I told my mentor that Ari now looks like a Queen Bitch with her Wolves checking and protecting her perimeter.  Or a Queen Lioness with her Lions ditto.  Depends on how you want to look at it.

The title font is acceptable to me (whether or not it’s acceptable to my mentor is still in the air, but I’m just playing with the design at this point).

The book itself is done, though I probably need to have someone else look at it, and my wife is definitely not interested this time 🙂  Well, I have some other folks I can line up for that.  If I were to hazard a guess, the book will be out around the end of June if I don’t wait for the new computer to generate the cover, or sometime in late July if I do.

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* Which purely suck after you work with them for a while.  Any changes you try to make end up taking a minute or two to register, and don’t even try to move her unless you know EXACTLY where she’s going.  My mentor says the same and says he’s sticking with G3 until they get G8 right.

Saving the Spring, a short fantasy

I’ve just set up the RSS feed from my author blog to my Amazon author page, so this post is to “activate” it, as it were.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised (and somewhat dumbstruck, to be honest) at the reviews and comments received about this little story. It was literally a dream, subsequently written down on paper (or the electronic equivalent thereof). It gave me a break from the novel I’m finishing up, which has absolutely nothing to do with Saving the Spring, and got me re-focused on getting that done.

I’m not sure I have more fantasy like this in me, but if I have another dream like that, it’ll certainly be written down.

Thanks to all who greeted my publishing debut with such lovely sentiments.  They were and are greatly appreciated.

I’ll try to keep up the good work and get you a science fiction novel in June.  It will be titled The Lion of God and it’s…hard to characterize.  Time travel, both linear and sideways, Alcubierre warp drives with singularity generators based on a broken 6-meter ham radio amplifier, six frigates (those with a good knowledge of American naval history will appreciate this), a man with two wives (not really) and a daughter who isn’t technically his (really).  Surprises all along the way.  Even for me — and I wrote it.