This is the question I’ve been hearing in my head a lot lately. When talking to other writers trying to get going with their first project, or more importantly, with my own work. It’s the question at the heart of every Stephen King novel (by his own admission during an interview) that drives him to completion. It’s driven me through every tabletop RPG I ever ran. If the characters have a lot of stuff, steal it/break it/lose it. If they are sitting around doing nothing, attack them. Basic D&D fare, but it keeps the players entertained and gives hooks to hang a plot on.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the little brushes I’ve had with Post-Modernist philosophy as I sit there watching the world burn around me in this soon to be Post-Covidiocy world with monetary collapses, market collapses, and the death of western civilization staring me right in the puss.
“And then what happens?”
As a spec fic author, this is really important when I start considering the future. How much of it will be Mad Max? How much “1984” or “Brazil”? Will it be “A Brave New World”? Anyone for “Soylant Green”? Or will it be all of it with a side of “Hunger Games”? My money’s on “A Brave New 1984 in Brazil while having Soylent Green for Tea with Mad Max”.
But it’s also got me thinking more deeply on the roots of creativity thanks to a video by “The Quartering” who talked about the new “Cruella” film being a female version of “Joker”. Mind you, I’ve seen the spoilers and went…. really? Not my cup of tea, but at least the fans seem to like it so who am I to criticize too severely (of course to laugh yourself silly, See the “Pitch Meeting” video on Youtube lampooning it… come to think of it, that’s really what got me into the question I’ve been facing lately.
BTW, all this pop culture jargonist mish-mash has been in service to my point today.
What all this spawned in my head lately was this: If Post-Modernist philosophy posits the smashing of the old symbols, semiotics and semantics in which to create new things out of the wreckage (think mashup music, crossover films, retellings, trope twisting and pop culture pile ups like “Ready Player One”… none of which am I criticizing because I LIKE much of these things) at what point are the symbols so broken down that they become the fertile soil for the creation of NEW ideas?
Yes, yes. Stop there now. I know “there’s nothing new under the sun”. This has all been done before. I, for one do not believe that history repeats itself, but lean more to the “but it does rhyme” school of thought. I’ll go so far as to say it will also riff and ad lib too. The broad tropes/genres/mediums will always exist to some degree for they speak to the human experience, but consider the evolution of how mankind reacts. How does it cycle through history? There’s always been horror stories for instance. But what was once cautionary fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm have evolved to slasher films and torture porn of today thanks to mankind’s memory and boredom for the familiar.
So, now that I’ve committed to using up my allotment of “Quotation Marks” for the month… I’ll sort of get to the point of what I’ve been pondering. When will we start seeing some new and “truly unique” creative endeavors in entertainment? When will it stop being a recycling of “Star Wars”, or a perversion of “Superman”? Is it possible to break free from the Pixar Formula? Will we finally be far enough removed from nostalgia porn to want to put something great and new that can thrive on the silver screen instead of just crappy imitations of the masters who came before? Are there any masters left or do we have to wait till we are sufficiently removed from them to finally have new ones show up on the scene again?
How many people know or have read great authors or playwrights from the Roman empire? Beyond Cicero that is, but that also belabors my point. There’s a good chance that the tens if not hundreds of thousands of artists who existed then, and may have created great works are lost to time. Destroyed by neglect or burned up in the destruction of institutions like the Great Library fire. Some may say that’s the same conundrum looked at by sci fi in dozens of books/shows/movies as they try to save mankind from becoming extinct. But that type of extinction seems to be central to existence in this world. Species go extinct. Houses rot away and are reclaimed by the land. We are just dust in the wind, and so are our ideas.
I look at my own work and wonder if it will stand the test of time? In 500 years, assuming the Rapture didn’t happen, will my books be remembered like “Pilgrim’s Progress”? Or even “The Chronicles of Narnia”? Now that would be the real achievement! The real blessing of God. At least in heaven I may know the true impact of my work. But on earth?
I mean, consider one of the greatest films of all time that was on the verge of being forgotten till someone missed the deadline to renew the copyright and it lapsed into public domain: “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Thanks to that mistake, the movie was run almost non-stop at Christmas in the US because it was cheap and nobody wanted to work in the TV station on the holiday so it was discovered by a whole new generation of viewers, and was reborn without ever having changed. An artistic resurrection.
So what fertile soil is coming from the grinding down and emulsification of the symbols of western civilization as multi-culti-green-globalism tries to roll over everything? What new fronds will grow up from the digested mass media and symbols that once were considered holy and proud? Even my own “Tales From the Dream Nebula” is supping on small pieces and inspirations from dozens if not hundreds of sources, drawing itself a new vitality from the loam of creative history. Am I making something new and fresh, or am I making a mosaic out of the pieces of entertainment symbols as I dance in the graveyard garbage dump that is the current state of pop culture?
Early in my writing endeavors that I realized there was a chance my books would be my only bid for immortality in a world where there is no immortality. With no prospects for progeny, this was where I would grasp the mane of eternity and attempt to hang on as long as I could. But in the end, just like every artist that came before me, how long would it be before I was forgotten. Would it be the day after I died and my manuscripts were thrown into the trash? Would my tombstone wear away in the rain? The internet is not forever. It must have electricity and human desire to persevere… or would (as some would believe… not me) some A.I. rise up and delete all of man’s history in a microsecond? None of us know for sure, but we who create all hope to be the exception to the rule, and are re-discovered like “Beowulf” or never forgotten like Homer’s “Odyssey”.
So we circle back to the original question, but now standing on top of a giant societal “Butte Des Mortes” and cry out to any who will listen:
For the last few months, not so productive. Yes I’ve gotten some editing done, but I’ve been distracted. More precisely, I’ve been a bit… twitterpated. Some have accused me of being besotted. It’s unfortunately sapped a lot of momentum from my writing. But twitterpation is a darn good reason to not write much.
That’s because there’s wedding bells in my very near future, and with it, I am relocating. Yes, I’m leaving this land of lakes, cheese and beer with a big “O yah! See yah lader, den!” as we who are fluent in Yooper would say. And with that, I’m headed to the mountains of West Virginia to live with my soon to be wife. I wish my departure from the Badger State wasn’t so convoluted, but with Covidiocy running rampant and civil liberties being obliterated by panicked sheeple driven by power mad wolves in politicians clothing… well. Let’s just say the timing could not have been more fortuitous.
So I’m off, and hopfully when the dust settles in… :::whistles low::: 30 days, I will be building a new routine. One that hopefully includes a LOT more writing. Here’s hoping!
So what’s been going on?
Ohhhhh… A little of this and that, but primarily, I am up to the 3rd draft of TWO novellas. Yes, the Dream Nebula is taking shape. There are a few big opportunities coming with that I may have mentioned, or hinted at. I can’t quite reveal yet, but I will say this… I’m looking for an artist skilled in not only doing character ship design, but also sequential art. So if you’re one of those types of people who’s an accomplished/previously published comic book artist and is looking for a project to work on next, get in touch. Not kidding. If your style is right for what I’m about to dig into, I want to talk with you!
(Yes I know I said I was starting the 3rd novella shortly… see the above distraction/twitterpation explanation. It’s still coming. We’ll just see about when.)
And due to current world events, I’ve been getting an idea for a set of short stories. The idea had bubbled in the back of my head off and on for a while, but maybe it’s time I try my hand at flash fiction. You know, short stories/scenes/vignettes in this world I have coming pecking at me.
So, let’s see… getting married, moving, novellas, ummm…. flash fiction ideas…. what am I forgetting?
AH! oh yeah. Akiniwazisaga. Good news. Thanks to my computer frying it’s cooling block last week, I had to get back on my backup “Wee Beastie” and use it while waiting for it to get fixed. When I did that, I found a LOT of information I thought I’d lost, including maps and many other things.
As for music, I’ll be posting some new stuff sooner or later here. I finally got some made into video format. Why Propellerhead Reason won’t directly export into that format is beyond me! Ugh! Just requires a little editing and we should be good to go.
So that’s the news from the land of the mad, and this Cheesehead is going into exile… or becoming an expatriate for good. Only time will tell. So till the next update which will be coming at a much higher elevation and farther south in the hollers and the hills… This version of the song fits my bittersweet but looking forward to a joyous future mood.
Fresh off the digital presses we have another incredible illustration by Paganus. He’s the guy who’s given two outstanding covers, and I hope to lure him back for one more at least for book 4 when that comes out. But till then, here’s what you can look forward coming very soon to Amazon. The book is as exciting as the cover. I hope this holds you over for a while, because I’m off to Realm Makers Conference to meet, greet, sell and lots of learning, networking and fun! Prayers are appreciated as well as your support.
When all seems lost, is faith alone enough?
Leif, heir to the crown of the Akiniwazi Union, is more than a thousand miles away from his coronation. Cut off by a blockade of rebel Jarls and their confederated armies, he enlists the aid of his Berserker champion and a willing company of three monks to trek north and outmaneuver those who would steal his crown. For this plan to succeed, they must traverse a mountain range full of treacherous glaciers, Skaerslinger warbands and a mystery that defies explanation.
As the power vacuum in the capital tears at the fabric of the city, Leif’s mother fights to protect his inheritance against the rebel Jarls nefarious plots to deny him his crown. Navigating through this shadow war where politics and faith collide, the Inquisitor Urban and Herre Aske continue their dogged pursuit of the truth surrounding the strange gold ring which now brings death to those who get too close to its occult secrets!
First the big news. Book 2 is with the proofreaders. (One because I need someone to pick over the grammar and the other to pick over the proper use of Scandinavian languages to make sure I didn’t botch something really big.) So next stop format city. This seems to mean (barring any new disasters) that a January is likely now that real world concerns are out of the way. What real world concerns? Well, I’m not quite self sufficient on my writing earnings, so that means you get these books less frequently, and that means I have a real world job. This last month I switched companies in a process that was a diagonal move upward. Different company, similar position, but up the process chain. On the positive notes, it means that I no longer have large chunks of time that I can’t write. But it means I can’t edit at work like the previous position allowed. So it’s an overall improvement in that regard. It is also an overall improvement to my quality of life.
That’s what’s been going on in the life for me. You can imagine what kind of toll it’s taken on my ability to focus on this work. Don’t worry, I’ll get better as time goes by and I settle into the new position.
With that said… it’s time for the big reveal!
As you know Book 2 is a much more sprawling novel as it is the first part of a trilogy story arc. Yeah, couldn’t pack all that goodness into just one book, unless you wanted a 1200-1500 page monstrosity I can’t afford to print nor you to buy in one bite. I do toy with the idea of making an “Omnibus” in the future that will be just that for the real collector. We shall see.
I can hear you shouting “get on with it!” from the cheap seats. Okay, okay!!!
Titles are not easy for me. (Well, Book 3 was. It practically handed itself to me on a silver platter, which is super rare.) So after much consultation, thought, doubt and prayer, I found the name I think really fits, sticking with my convention of modifying Bible verses that speak to the character of the book. In this case, it comes from the following:
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
And with that, Book 2 is officially christened!
Cover by Paganus
Look at that! Finn and Bergamot! Had to put em in for you, because I know so many of you wanted to see Bergie. 😀 Wait till you meet the other two!
I am also going to be experimenting with Kindle and books 2 – 4 will not be released wide, just on Amazon. Book 1 will remain wide though, so don’t fret that way. I’m just going to see if the advantages of being in the Kindle Unlimited are worth it. If it ain’t, I’m going back and putting the books wide again.
The re-editing for the reissue of ALRDW has begun. Slowly, but surely. I do not expect it to take as much time as Inheritance Thieves, since it’s already in those final states and now I have a good process to use.
What is changing? The language is being brought up to snuff, the Encyclopedia (glossary for those not in the know) will be updated accordingly) and some technical typos will be fixed. Many things that will help the ease of reading. You’ll like it, trust me.
Although I wanted to publish book 2 this week, it just wasn’t possible. Life rose up and demanded full attention for the last two weeks, and put everything farther behind than I wanted. That means that I will not have the book ready for Christmas. My deepest apologies to my fans.
But do not despair, for I am just in the final proof reading stage and starting to format the book. Fixed a lot of surprise issues I didn’t know of before I had to focus completely on my new job. The Encyclopedia will be much improved, and those improvements will go over to the second part of the delay which is the reformatting of “A Light Rises in a Dark World”. So this weekend, I will post another update and give y’all a little treat as a thank you for your patience in this process.
But for now, here’s the reissue of ALRDW cover.
Talk to you real soon with more news as we hit the final sprint!
I’ve been bunged up here with the book lately. Why? Because I did not understand my characters and setting well enough to push forward. It all goes back to adding back in that silly tertiary plotline. In doing so, it exploded into a wonderland of what’s going on to enrich the setting and the intrigue of what’s going on. A villain suddenly became much more deep, and even to a certain degree, sympathetic. I’ve had to create maps to understand the land in which major events for the final conflict will take place, and realize that I have a brand new Macguffin that I never intended would have to be put in with what’s coming.
So what does it all mean?
This single book very well might become a trilogy unto itself! Yep. I can see this becoming a 240k word monster that might just be too big for one book. There are three distinctly unique acts that can stand on their own. So that’s why this is taking so long.
But now that the key log in the log jam has been dynamited, the writing is moving forward again and a little faster than it had been. Here’s hoping I can keep it up.
Also, in related news, I have been working on building up an artist studio for not only my writing, but music, video and art. I hope to put it to good use for book promo videos, and original music and artwork to add in as things move forward with the world of Akiniwazi. The first big piece came the last week in the form of a new synth. So I’ve been working hard to balance my creative time between writing and learning on this:
And I’ll be hooking that up to a new computer as well so lots of good things happening. Speaking of good things happening, new chapters are written. Even though they’re back building, like I said before, this is fleshing out what is to come. As always the order shifts with the new added chapters. The numbering is more of a help to keep me straight.
31. On Pins and Needles
54. A Casual Sunday Recreation
62. An Oracle Comes
65. Secrets From The Labyrinth
66. Everything Else Must Wait
67. Becoming the Monster
Only a few more chapters of the back-added plotline and then the whole thing starts moving as one, just like a broken up logjam… which I hope doesn’t hurt anything as I push on.
Thank you all for your patience and support. I keep seeing downloads of Book 1 happening, so welcome to those who have found me here and hope you like what you’re reading. If you can, please leave reviews! They as helpful to an author on so many fronts. But more is coming. I promise! Lots more!
So I have been stuck on something for moving Book 2 forward, so instead I focused on getting the “easy” cover done for the Ebook Volumes.
Yeah… well I don’t do those things half way. It’s my graphic designer past I guess. I recognize I have some talent, but not enough speed. But this is something I wanted to do. Unfortunately, I could not just throw crap on the screen and call it good.
But they’re coming and possibly far better than I thought. I guess it’s good to be satisfied with happy accidents than anything else.
And now to distract myself from working on book 2 and talk with you lovely people… tsk tsk tsk.
I must say that it has been so easy to get lost in my own creation. Writing Book 2 has been like driving in the mountains at night when the “holler fogs” are out. One minute you see things clearly, and you’re up high on a hill, then, zoop! right back into zero visibility with your high-beams reflecting back in your face.
Once again, I have rediscovered the desperate need I have in knowing my geography, and even more than that, the names of places. I know those of you who have read my book are going “Oh dear Lord! Not more long names!” Yep. They’re coming. When your naming convention is based on old Norse, Finnish, Icelandic, Swedish and of course lots of Norwegian with a dash of Ojibway for the pickle on top of that linguistic sundae, you get some strange names. But once named, and considered in the mental geography of my series, it is so much nicer to work there.
On the other hand, once I know the names of things, and where they exist in my mind, things get much easier and my confidence grows which means better chapters. Much shorter chapters too. I’m taking a tip from James Patterson on this one and going the Pringles route. Once you pop, you can’t… steal blatant advertising jingles. Blah! What was I saying!?
So anyway, it’s been a little harder going, but I’ve been having fun with it once I defeat the obstacles that keep rearing their heads. I was hoping to get 5 chapters done this weekend, but it looks like 3… mayyyybe 4 might be the result. We’ll see. The resistance is strong in this book.
On a positive note, the Alpha readers are looking at it as we speak and providing a little feedback, but since they don’t know where its going yet, and there are six subplots to work with… umm yeah, currently 6…it’s been a heck of a job braiding a big novel I never expected to happen in the first place! But that’s what I get when the readers fall in love with a secondary character. We’re going to have to see what to cull out and maybe use a freebie for you guys.
The even gooder news is that I am keeping careful track of things in the glossary and I am going to try and get help to hot link the terms, so those that buy the eBook will have a much better time with it. Not sure how yet, but it’s my desire, so if anyone has tips on how to set that up in Scrivener, let me know, please! I want to learn.
Also, an interesting side business may be cropping up. Once I research more about this, I’ll make an announcement. That will also wait till after I finalize banking and small business type of legals too (so after book 2 is in the hands of my lovely beta readers and editors which I hope will be late spring or early summer so I can meet my self imposed deadline.
Lastly, as a precaution, I’m removing all artwork from my blog that I did not purchase or do myself. Yes, I am sad about this, but thanks to the litigious society we live in, I’m just not going to risk it anymore. If people can get me some good advice on where I can get SAFE clip art for my website where I don’t have to be looking over my shoulder and worry about surprise bills, cease and desist orders