Rather than take more and more of this site’s space up with material that is solely my own, I am setting up a new website, machciv.com, via WordPress, for my own efforts. Will has his own great things at his website, and I hope that he and I can get back to some of our ideas – “Steampunk Reilly,” “Hot Rod,” the OTChi Kocchi sequels – sooner rather than later. Nonetheless, it’s high time I make my own nest for my own projects.
I made a gift of a hardcopy of The Fourth Law to my girls’ primary school library. After reading it, the Librarian asked me to come in and give a short (~20 minute) talk to the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders about creative writing and self-publishing. Why not?
Attached is a pdf of the PowerPoint I was using. It’s fairly sparse, but I use the slides more as a mnemonic device to keep me on track while talking.
The 6th Graders were fun: not only did they ask many questions, there was the “that’s cool!” moment when they realized that Daughter #2, their classmate, is the T4L’s protagonist. As I told them: write what you know.
SFdSS Writing PP 2015
As I and my esteemed colleague, Will, have said over and over: if you want to actually complete a project, set a deadline; preferably an irrational one.
Yesterday afternoon I uploaded the pdf of my second novel to CreateSpace. I had set Easter as my goal. Just like NaNoWriMo, I beat the clock by three days. At a 6″x9″ paperback format, it’s about 214 pages. Longer than “The Fourth Law,” but then I’ve got two plot lines to manage, rather than just one. I know I could have written more (the Pine Bluff, AR scene! dammit!) but Will has always warned me about my tendency to lecture.
This blog post title is ‘a partial victory.’ That’s because my intent was to actually publish by Easter. That was my fault: I wanted Will to do the front/back covers again, but he’s busy with other projects and I did spring all this on him rather suddenly. I’m hoping to have the artwork in 1-2 weeks.
Aside: two nights ago, in the basement with my wife, watching anime, I mentioned that I’d finished and didn’t know what to do next. After a few minutes, out of the blue, she said, “Your next book should be about Henge.” Henge (pronounced “hen-geh”) is the youngest of Machine Civilization; a quiet, reserved little girl AI (yes: they hate that term). I chewed on that idea – and drank more wine – and had the wild idea of making a 20-page illustrated children’s book, with Henge as the narrator. Interesting.
Below the fold is another excerpt from “Echoes of Family Lost.” I’ll let you know when I actually publish it. Thanks for y’all’s support! Oh: spoiler warning, and all that.
Two months without an update? We suck; sorry.
There is some good news: I’ve completed the sequel to “The Fourth Law.” I’m in the midst of editing and such right now. A bit longer than the first book; understandable as the focus has gone from two main characters to…well… several more.
Besides putting in chapter breaks and other coding matters, I’ve the little issue of thinking up a name for the thing. “The Fourther Law” sounds stupid, and I didn’t come up with a Fifth Law (although ‘remember to tip your bartenders and waitresses’ is a sensible one). Maybe a free copy for whomever comes up with a good title?
My objective was to have at least a Kindle version released by Easter, two weeks from today. I’m much older at formatting that I was back in December, so I just might make that.
I’ve put an excerpt below the fold. No spoiler warnings, per se, but if you’ve not read my first book, there are a few things revealed. Cheerio!
Someone asked, so below the fold are the front and back covers of “The Fourth Law.” They are a commission from my colleague, Will Deonne.
Being a bourbon drinker (in the cooler months), a writer, and Catholic, I found this engaging….
Don’t forget to take a look at my new book! The sequel is already underway!
The nine bourbons every professor should have, and where to hide them.
9) Early Times. Because, as Walker Percy once wrote, “the noxious particles and the sadness of the old dying Western world and him thinking: ‘Jesus, is this it? Listening to Cronkite and the grass growing?’” Stash behind Love in the Ruins.
8) Evan Williams. Because it’ll do. Payday isn’t until Friday. Stash behind Lost Weekend.
7) Wild Turkey (101, not 81). Because essential reading requires essential drinking. Stash behind Elmore Leonard’s Three Ten to Yuma and Other Stories.
6) Maker’s Mark. Because sometimes it seems the world isn’t quite as awful as it appears to be. Stash behind Augustine’s Confessions.
5) John B. Stetson. Because sometimes the world is as awful as it seems to be. John B. will help you make it through the night. Stash behind Paradise Lost.
4) Woodford Reserve. Because sometimes class went well. Stash behind Deus Caritas Est.
3) Bulleit. Because if you’re good, it may give up the ghost for you. It did for me. Stash behind Hamlet.
2) Basil Hayden. Because it’s the Catholic Bourbon. Stash behind Wise Blood.
1) Blanton’s. Because Pappy Van Winkle is for rich people and other criminals. Blanton’s is 1/4 the price and is what Christ serves to the saints while they smoke their cigars on the veranda of His Father’s mansion. Stash behind Summa Theologiae.
My most esteemed colleague has completed the final cover art for my novel. Good enough for the critical eye of my wife, good enough for me!
There may be one last minor textual revision… the Gods of Copybook Headings tend to hide where you least expect them. However, I’m pleased enough with this version. Has anyone every really read the first Harry Potter book? Will I be called a racist if I pointed out that it was awful? Grand ideas, but awful writing. I feel that about my own work; it reads like the Gospel of Mark: bare bones, no description, aching for more. That’s what happens when you’re weaned on Visual Novels with a great artist to show your images. I shall try to older next time.
Next time? Of course I’m writing another! What’s the point of a cliff-hanger if you don’t jump off of it! Callie and her little son, Gary, with his most peculiar friend. Lily, android Fausta, and Orloff setting out across country (yes; the horse’s name is Clyde) to find her. The secret society of lightning; the open society of machine civilization… where’s the world going? won’t somebody tell me? are we all one?
Somewhere, back on Lily’s Path, in her tee shirt covered by blue jean overalls, Henge thinks… “I’ll help them…big sisters; big brother!” Who will play this wild card? Missiles fall in Memphis; a reactor fail?
I’ve no idea.
A new book!
Thanks for everyone’s help and support. What an amazing two months!
50,122 words. Validated.
The Fourth Law; also known as ‘Reynold’s Law;’ “A robot must do its best to learn to love human beings.”
Did I ever even post a link to this? This world is now so tenuous to me, I don’t recall much, anymore. Oh, here.
I’m not finished, actually. Ai is back from being feted in Austin; we’d the Big Reveal about her family, but Lily was just happy to get a physical form of her friend back, even if it’s only for seven more days.
Then, of course, is the cliff-hanger ending that will force me to write the sequel. Even my wife – who’s been reading as I write – knew that was coming.
As is, it’s a steaming pile of poo: it needs massive editing. I’d three editors for the story in our flagship visual novel, and two years later I’m still finding obscure errors. Anyone wanna edit a currently 99 but soon to be 105 page story?
This also serves as validation for what I’ve told writers who’ve attended our “How to Make a Visual Novel” panels at Ohio animecons: set irrational deadlines! If you don’t, you will get nothing done! Nothing!
Tired now; wife and kids at in-laws. Gonna grab some cold turkey leftovers and watch anime in the basement. Oh, that reminds me: my novel’s ‘cover’ is a screengrab (at 2:35) from this video. This was one of my triggers for this story. Not the only one, certainly, but music tickles my soul to write.
47.5k words…one and a half days to go. Trying to get it done today. Will need a week of editing, but done story is almost done.