Still working on VPS invoices—Vernon says he’s trying to give me a break from it for the holidays. Trouble is, he has to fit working on the invoices in between cleaning the pools, and he was feeling rotten this week (another kidney stone reared its ugly head—thank God it passed this morning!).
It also meant he used the desktop all day, so I couldn’t use it to work on Paladin. Yes, I know I just got a new iPad, but the word processing programs (both Word and Pages) just don’t have the same bells and whistles I have available on the desktop versions. And don’t get me started on Pages so-called spell check tool! One of the main reasons I downloaded Office365 for Mac. Unfortunately, I can’t use that App on the iPad because my sign on email to it is NOT my Apple password.
I’m going to try to sign into it using the safari App. Wish me luck.2021/12/11
I was going to post my November work blog to my website and realized there was only one entry! Ouch! That means I didn’t do much writing last month. Not making a great start this month either! I just sent out the local events art calendar yesterday. It was supposed to go out on the first! I postponed the release of Paladin until Jan 31st, to give myself more editing time—after I finish the last three chapters.
I don’t know why I struggle so much with the fantasy genre. I love the genre—but I sure have trouble writing it.
I see I haven't written much on this journal in November. It's a busy month and I haven't had the time to really concentrate on my writing. This is the time of year when I start doing a push on sales. I also did some work on developing hardbacks for the first books in each of my series.
Got a little more done on paladin this month. I’m getting a handle on the final fight scene. Sachi (bad guy Talkuri) is going to create a magi construct of a giant leopard and Owen will counter with a thunderbird. This is one I have to do as a storyboard before I can write the actual scenes.
Well, I got that chapter with the knife duel written in Avalon. I hope it will be okay. It’s funny, I also have a portion of the lead in chapter written. It isn’t complete because I still need to write about Tash & Devon’s arrival on Barsoom, which involves a planetary description, a description of the city, and stuff.
I also have the chapter where the murder takes place outlined. The next chapter I will introduce the conspiracy and most of the bad guys. But this is book 2.
I really need to work on Paladin and get the chapter about the A.I. trial finished, the battle for the shire and a couple of magical fights too. After that I need to go back in and develop the romances between Owen and Cadence and Nori and Yukio a little more. Then it will be editing time…
Been doing some research for the 2nd Outlaw book. As a pivotal emotional point in the book, I have Devon fighting a knife duel. As I know relatively little about knife fighting, I just spent a couple of hours watching Israeli commando training vids on YouTube. Not that makes me an expert by any means, but hopefully it will help me write the scene without any glaring errors, or at least try to. My son, who usually vets my fight scenes has never tried knife fighting, so I’m on my own with this one.
2021 10 28
I’ve got an interview spot with Carole Love on Authors and Artists today at 11 AM. It will be live, so tune into Central Valley Talk on YouTube if you want to see it. I’ll be talking about my holiday Specials, my new series the Outlaw Colonies, and the latest Magi book coming out in January.
The interview was a lot of fun, but I confess, I didn’t let Carole talk much!
2021 10 25
Ever have a story that nags at you until you sit down and write it? That happened to me today. So instead of working on stuff I should have been working on, I wrote part of a chapter in The 2nd book in the outlaw colony series. Heirs of Avalon involves Tash and Devon from the Clone Initiative. The storyline from that book began with him in love with her but she thinks of him only as a friend. How to get them together has apparently been percolating in the back of my mind for some time, and today it came together. I didn’t finish it, but I made a good start.
Wow! Finished reading Ammie Come Home this morning. It’s one heck of a scary ghost story—it’s morning, the sun is out so I should have been mostly immune. I still got that itchy feeling on the back of my neck. Barbara Michaels was one heck of a writer. Her power of description could turn a mundane scene eerie. I wish I was that good a writer!
Wow. I just created my first Hardback book on Amazon. (Warriors of St. Antoni) it should be available in about a week. It was surprisingly easy to create it; of course, I did the hard part (cover creation) on Bookbrush.com. I had to resize a wee bit for Amazon (but I just popped the cover into photoshop and resized it).
If you are thinking this is a different cover--you're right! I was browsing through Book Brush's sci-fi backgrounds and I found this. It was EXACTLY what I'd been looking for, so I grabbed it. Since I was re-doing the e-book cover, I also re-did the paperback and then went on to create the Hardback. For the Hardback, I splurged and bought my own ISBN $18.00 at ISBN Services, because I have decided that Amazon’s free ISBNs are too much trouble! I still plan to use those provided by D2D for my e-books and paperbacks though.
This weekend I reread both previous Magi of Rulari books and decided I need to do more work at the beginning of Paladin to get the readers more invested in the three girls and Nori as all four of them read flat to me… The broad points of the action are down but right now it reads like a script for a play, not a novel, so it’s back to the salt mines.
Ever have that happen? As a writer I sometimes get so involved in creating the main action scenes I sometimes forget to fully develop the characters. One of my weak points as an author.
I did some more work expanding the characterization of Cadence, the two girls and Nori this afternoon. I decided I was committing the cardinal writing sin of telling instead of doing, so I wrote a couple of pages about their days on the run before they joined Owen’s bird circus.
With Nori, I did write a scene before she left her village against her aunts wishes, but I decided I wasn’t up for writing the gang rape scene in all its gory details, so I ended her intro with her being cornered by the troop. I’ll take it up later with where I originally introduced her with Owen, Yukio and Cadence rescuing her.
I also did a little research on a few prehistoric predators (no, not the dinosaurs—they’ve been way overdone), but some of the lesser-known great mammals with the idea of using them as a basis for some of Lemuria’s (book 3 of the Outlaw Colonies–Apex Predator) animals. I’ve made a big deal in the other books about them being huge and dangerous, so I need some bad ass predators.
I need a few nasty plants too. I already have a huge Venus flytrap type with long (about 10 feet) tentacles. At least I don’t think they are called tentacles when they’re on a plant—I need to look that up.
Accomplished absolutely nothing today writing wise. I’ve decided it’s time to throw Cadence into the deep end of the swimming pool to battle Faye. Last time I wrote something like this was in my Space Colony Journals series; I did a type of virtual reality scene. Lucas and Drusilla fought Colton who was able to use the visual imagery in the Link to morph into a dragon. Since I intend for Cadence to get her butt kicked but not fatally, I’m still trying to work out the story boards in my head. This is also the pivotal moment when Gerica (who is spending her time spying on the Leys) decides Faye is a menace and starts trying to figure out how to kill her.
I’m stuck here in the kitchen waiting for Vernon to let me have the desktop so I can make my phone calls and other stuff.
We heard about a really good software routing program for the pool routes (Skimmer.com) so we downloaded it. He’s thrilled with the routing part of it. It’s also supposed to sync with QuickBooks online to make invoices and stuff. That part isn’t so great; anyone who has ever worked with QuickBooks will tell you it’s famous (or infamous) for not playing well with others—especially if your desktop is a Mac. This is because QuickBooks designers are mortally afraid someone might steal a part of the program. Otherwise, why did they ruin a darn good accounting program?
Oh, well. As soon as I finish my bottle of water, I plan on doing dishes…
Worked on some reader magnets today. Reader magnets are usually excerpts from existing books or short stories connected to the books given away free to promote a writer’s books. For St Antoni, I’ve put together a short story with my notes about the series. I’ll be posting about that during the holidays. I plan to do the same for the Magi and Space Colony Journals series.
Straightening out what used to be my artwork area today—I say used to be because everyone in the house (including me unfortunately) has converted the area into a catch all for all of the stuff we don’t want to deal with right now. Since this week was the first time I’ve painted anything in nearly two years, I can’t say I’m surprised as Old Ma Nature abhors a vacuum…
When I’m done here, I plan to get to work in the office which is in nearly as bad a shape with stuff piled higgledy-piggledy so there is a narrow (very narrow) path from the door to the computer. I may not get it all done today, but at least it’s a start!
Today I worked on Paladin; Gerica (Faye Dupree's assistant agent) received permission to 'permanently' remove her if she decides Faye is about to either switch sides or take over on her own. I also covered the AI fight between Nicos and Gesok on one side and Agricole (the rogue A.I.) on the other. It's been established that Nicos is level 13 and Gesok level 11, so Agricole (level 8) was in way over his artificial head. Giving the AI's a culture of their own has been interesting. All their face to face (so to speak) interactions have to take place in a virtual reality plane, and they have obvious limitations interacting with the physical world. It's been fun but also a real challenge. I'm considering a chapter touching on the way the AI counsel reacts when one AI (Agricole) attacks and helps block another AI (Harmony) out of the Leys. It will mean introducing some other AI's. I've already established that the Sekhmet tribes also have AI's although they are governed by different laws, so now I need to know what laws (internal) an independent group of Artificial Intelligences would operate under. Asimov's laws of robotics have been overused although they do make sense, so I might utilize a version of the 3 laws in my Artificial Intelligence society....
Working on Paladin again. Time to up the ante: a rogue AI attacks Cadence with magic. I’m debating what kind of Magical attack I want to use. In Storm I had a bad guy use sympathetic magic (used a live snake to create a magic one 4 times its size), so I can’t do that again. In Spell Andre and Rebecca shaped the wards into an enormous sword as a defense so that’s out too…
I also reworked the plot for Heirs of Avalon (book 2 of the outlaw colonies). When Randal delivers the data cube with the portal technology, it gets stolen, a lab tech is murdered during the robbery and his fiancées father are accused of the crime…
Worked a little on Paladin yesterday. For some reason I’m struggling with the focus on it. The story seems to want to use Fenella instead of Cadence and Nori. I think I need to reset the plot line a little…
I just published the last book in my St. Antoni Series. When I checked it out on Amazon, I discovered they had apparently 'sold' a print on demand site my book and it was being listed at $24.00 instead of the $14.99 I intended! When I asked my Wide distributor about this, I was told Amazon is allowed to do that and there is nothing they can do about it. If a buyer clicks on the very small type below the inflated price, they can still buy the book for the price I set. Am I the only one who has issues with this? No wonder Amazon makes money hand-over-fist!
Wow. Hot, muggy and the air quality has dropped into the “unsafe” category. Disgusting. I went out twice today and came back wilted.
I intended to work on Game Theory (book 1 of the Outlawed Colonies), and I did get a lot of editing done and some research on military weddings and award ceremonies (for Ivette and Mathias’s Investure ceremony—they announce the marriage and introduce the seven kids.
I also decided that since Barsoom is going to have a tropical climate, that the buildings should all be on stilts to minimize flood damage. To make the planet different from the others, the colony is getting octagonal architecture. So, I did a lot of research on that. Lots of fun.
Pool service invoices due out tomorrow. I spent most of yesterday preparing excel worksheets for some of the customers since that lovely on-line version of QuickBooks doesn’t make statements. Well, that’s not exactly true—it will make them SOME of the time for SOME of the customers (don’t ask me what criteria the programmers used to decide which customers are eligible because I haven’t figured it out). The statements don’t show customer payments either—just invoices so they aren’t really accurate or acceptable to our customers.
It’s also time to set up the fall promotions for my books so I haven’t had much time to actually write, but I did get a few notes done on a chapter in Game Theory, and I wrote several pages on Paladin. Getting set up there for the final series of battles. I need to introduce some new characters and bring back to mind my 4 baddies: Faye aka Jaden, Ignatius, Sachi, and I’m going to be introducing an AI as a villain too. Not sure yet if I’m going to do a story about the AIs adaptation to magic yet—maybe just a short story or novella.
Smoke is making the air quality outside terrible. I’ve been hiding in the house binge watching Nero Wolfe. I expect I’ll end up taking a breathing treatment anyway. Yesterday I needed two.
I’ve been attempting to organize my notes on Rulari, and on the Outlaw Colonies. I’m trying to not make the colonies carbon copies of each other. I’ve got a good excel world building template I use, but I do need to keep each world within a semi-earth-normal parameter otherwise the story becomes about the planet instead of the people on it.
I put St. Antoni into a geological era about where earth would have been before sentient life developed. St. Antoni has 3 small moons about the same mass as our own and is very earth-like otherwise.
Lemuria is also earth-like as far as temperature goes, but the animals and plants are bigger, more aggressive, and it has residue from either an older civilization or an XT attempt at colonization.
Barsoom (I received authorization to use the name from ERB, Inc. providing I give credit for the trademark to them in each novel) has the requisite two moons, but I’m giving it a tropical climate. Since their main industry is the manufacture of micro robots, stringent steps have to be taken to prevent the deterioration of the robots.
Arcadia falls within the same climate range as Lemuria and St. Antoni and has a cluster of five small moons. I later changed this to one large moon.
Shangri-La is a mostly water world in that water and land masses are roughly equal. About half of the water is salt water.
Halcyon, the Clone colony, is still under construction.
FYI: (I decided it would be simpler to not have any of the planets have a sentient life form already in place when humans arrive as I don’t want to deal with something similar to the European vs Native Americans controversy).
Took today off and worked on the intro to Babylon Shattered, book 4 in the Outlaw Colonies series. There is an immense amount of prep work that goes into each new book, especially if the book is set on a different planet. I don’t want the planets set on carbon copies of earth—that would be boring. I have an excel worksheet for world building. You can find it on https://www.thepracticalartist.com/forms-and-booklets.php, along with a couple of other excel worksheets I find useful in my writing.
I started reading How the West Was Won this week to put me into the mood to work a little on Apex Predator, book 3 of the Outlawed Colonies. I visualize that colony and St. Antoni as closest to the Wild West in how the colonists developed; Learning to depend upon their own strengths and abilities to survive, stubborn, and tough, accompanied by a need to explore.
To put myself into the mood to write certain scenes, I read certain types of books: for a lot of scenes set on St. Antoni, I read a combination of Louis L’Amour and Jules Verne’ books. For Arcadia I’ve been reading a variety of sci-fi authors: the Childe Cornicles, a little Robert Heinlein... For Barsoom, I anticipate using some of Edgar Rice Burroughs Martian novels, some Roberta Gellis historical novels, and probably a few selected books by Louis L’Amour—not the westerns but books like The Walking Drum.
For Paladin I think I need a combination of Andre Norton and maybe some others…
I think I found my cover for Paladin. I had to do a little work in photoshop to recolor Cadence’s hair, but I think it’s going to work. To make it fit with the other books I’ll have to take out that abstract background on them and re do the lettering with the font I used on the 3rd book.
Spent some time this morning working on the continuity of the chapters I wrote on Game theory. I should have worked on Paladin, but sometimes a section of a book just overrides everything.
I confess I’m struggling with Paladin. I don’t have a cover I like yet, and the plot is sort of wandering on me, and I having trouble locking it down.
Spent time working on book 1 (Game Theory) of the new Outlawed Colonies series. I plan for them to be stand-alone books with an interconnected theme.
I am going to have to get a scrub job done on the MAC. The tech from Apple recommended a place as he said the Apple store was likely to be backed up and they might take 6 weeks to a month to get it done. He said the system wasn’t acting right. I guess that hacker did some damage. Scrubbing the entire system and reloading the programs is the best solution, but it’s going to be a pain.
Working on the 2nd edit of Clone now. I found it’s easier to catch typos and places that need more explanation or expanding if I use Convertio (it’s a program to convert documents into different formats—it’s not free but it isn’t prohibitively costly either) to convert the rough into mobi format. I can download it into my kindle app, read it and mark the areas that need more work. If I copy a few words from the area needing corrections into notes, I can do a search for the highlighted words in the rough draft and make my corrections.
For some reason I find it easier to catch errors when reading in the kindle app than a paper manuscript. Who knew?
Wow! It’s still hot out there. I went out to make the deposit and came back wilted.
I hope the great hack debacle is about over. This morning I learned my substitute email had been blocked from sending emails (stuff still came in) because of ‘suspicious’ activity. Yola unblocked it after I reported the hack, but I had to do stuff like clear browser history (again), reset the password, etc., etc.
2021 06 19
I THINK I might have gotten the e-mail issue resolved, although I had to call Xfinity and fight my way through the automated system to reach the right person. (I only got hung up on twice this time). The little sucker had put a filter on the e-mail and had it forwarded to an account he made up on Outlook. The tech disabled the filter and showed me where to look in the e-mail settings so I could disable the automatic forwarding. This was just SO much fun!
2021 06 12
Not a lot going on. I’ve got to spend Monday on the phone making unpleasant phone calls to put out fires, so I’m sort of taking the weekend off.
The president of the pool association (IPPSA) Vernon belongs to walked out at the last meeting so now he’s president again.
Hopefully Clovis Art Guild will be able to resume our meetings in July so that’s something to look forward to.
I’m currently working on about 4 books simultaneously: Clone is in first draft stage, and Apex Predator and Game Theory are on chapter 1. I need to work on creating a badass villain on both of those. Paladin is about halfway done with the rough draft, and I really need to work up a cover for that one…
Well, I finished the rough draft of The Clone Initiative last night. Going through the first computer rewrite now. Then I let it cook for a couple of weeks while I go back to working on Paladin and the books in the new series. I’ll probably be working on 3 of the books in Outlaw Colonies simultaneously: Apex Predator, Game Theory, and either Heirs of Avalon or Cloned Ambition.
Discovered a way to embed a pop-up ad on my website using mailerlite. We’ll see if it works. The first one should pop up on June 1.
I just discovered Facebook won’t let me set up a promotional ad unless I opt into that two-device authentication. FYI a little rant here: why should You need to own two expensive devices to be able to post something? Just another way to gouge the consumer...??
2021 05 24
I did more on Clone Initiative yesterday. I got the chapter outline for Tally and Liam's wedding. It's disrupted by Hatcher and Crew who seize the opportunity to try and grab the children while everyone is preoccupied by the ceremony.
They are blocked by Scarlet and Dagmar who have come to Laughing Mountain to try and make a connection with the Portal Committee. Some things Scarlet overheard after she was rescued led her to believe her rescuers know about some illegal colonies. She convinced Napoleon to let her try to contact them about finding a planet the freed clones can escape to. She and Dagmar capture Hatcher and drag her back to Napoleon who offers her a deal: he will stop attacking and destroying the clone farms if the PGA funds materials and supplies for the Clone's new planet.
Today I added another chapter to Clone and spent some time creating a newsletter to send out for a promotion.
I also discovered something really annoying about mailerlite—it limits the number of emails I can send each month. Although I signed up to be able to send out up to 2500 emails, it’s cumulative. That means if two of my lists have 1600 emails and I use one I can’t use the other one that month.
I do have another option, but mailjet isn’t integrated with book funnel where most of my promotions generate.
Worked a little on one of the Outlawed Colony books this morning. It’s set on a colony called Lemuria. Still looking at titles. Tentative title is Apex Predator. I tried out Lemurian Chronicle but didn’t care for it.
Still working out the last 4 chapters in Clone, but I keep getting distracted by the colony books. They’re noisy and demanding. I’ve got the covers mostly ironed out.
Worked on setting up my mail list on mailerlite.com today. It was a pain in the BH but I will say this—they were right in there helping. Now I just have to figure out how to use the site before May 10 when I have a promo due to go out.
I also got book 3 in my new series The Outlaw Colonies started. I wrote it in longhand while we were gone, and I want to get it down before I forget it. Yesterday I got 3 of the covers made and I have some samples on the other two.
Spent the morning filling in plot-holes on Clone. Still missing a couple of chapters in the beginning, but I went back over the outline and highlighted the spots that needed filled. This involves shifting some scenes to different parts of the books. Since I write scenes according to how noisily they demand to be written, it means some get written out of order. Lots of fun.
Wow! It’s Friday again already. Worked a little on Clone yesterday, adding to the home invasion chapter. After Liam, Tally and the others rescued the toddlers and infants from the clone farm, they couldn’t return to Laughing Mountain until the tracking implants in the toddlers had been removed, so they took refuge at the house Liam inherited from his uncle. While they are waiting for Dr. Smithers to arrive to remove the implants, the wild clone group led by Scarlet and Dagmar, who have been tailing them, crash the party. It seems Dagmar and the others don’t want ‘humans’ raising the kids. (They don’t trust them not to abuse them—and Tally doesn’t think they know how to take care of infants, so she refuses to let them take the children). There is a fight, and the clones lose.
I also got some ads made for Mother’s Day.
Working on my day job today. I’m printing invoices for the pool service. I have to say the online version of QuickBooks is much less flexible than the desktop. Of course, it hasn’t yet had a fit and eaten 3 months’ worth of data either!
I’m still working on Mailjet trying to get a newsletter made. I’m working on the same thing In Mailchimp. The biggest difficulty on both sites is just navigating the site. Part of this is because neither site has a working dashboard that is always up no matter what type of email you’re working with (ads newsletter promotions etc.).
A third issue is even if I figure out how to make the newsletter, I might not be able to use the service because one of them (Mailjet) won’t all you to attach a file (usually this would be a pdf copy of a lengthy newsletter). The one I distribute for Art-Tique, the Local Arts Events is about 32 pages...
Right now, I’m being naughty and sitting here fooling around with this and scarfing down a bowl of homemade chips and a big glass of milk ?
Started on a couple of the subplots in Clone last night. I had originally intended for Red Planet Knight (Heirs of Avalon) to be book 7 in the St. Antoni series, but I’m thinking now that it will work better if I use the Arcadia colony next. Mostly because I do have a ready-made plot for it, and I still don’t have a clue what I’m going to be doing with the red planet story...
2021 04 10
I got one of those 3 chapters of Clone I was working on done and added into the book today. Still writing the book from the middle instead of the beginning though. Writing this way can be a pain because it means I must coordinate all these disconnected chapters into a coherent whole at some point. But I’m fairly satisfied with that last chapter. It’s a little slow because this is where I explain a little about the clone culture. I’m still debating how heavy I want to go into the unique mix of anger and resentment caused by how the law is treating the clones...
I got a little more done on Clone today. I was writing one of those Me! Me!Chapters (one where Liam, Tally and the others happen to be in the right spot to aid in an escape from a nearby clone farm, when I realized the clones would undoubtably have a sub-culture under the managements noses, so I had to stop and think what that would entail.
This time I’m also including several characters from two other Forbidden colonies who snuck back to earth to study some things their colonies don’t offer, so I need to be sure their reactions to earths clone policies agree with what I have in mind for the society on those planets.
Worked a little bit on Clone today. I decided I’d better get working on it since I set it a September 1st deadline for release. A week ago, I wrote a part of a chapter where a bounty hunter tries to grab Tally off a college campus and Liam stops him. I thought it was a good way to show how differently a man raised a the frontier would react to a threat vs someone raised in a less wild environment.
Part of the scene was missing, and I had to rewrite it.
I also did a bit of work on book 7. Tentative title Red Planet Knight (actual title when released: The Heirs of Avalon). In that one I’m switching to a different Forbidden Colony. It’s been settled by a group who wants a Renaissance lifestyle but want to keep their fancy tech gadgets. Going to be fun creating the society...
Worked on creating a map of Brackamore Shire, today. It looks better Than the one I made of St. Antoni, so I’m getting better at it. I’m using a combination of free clip art and Words graphic tools to make the maps. Making a map of an alien world you’ve created has a dual purpose. They’re kind of fun to hand out as freebies to readers. They also help keep the placement of your characters straight, especially if said characters are moving around a lot in the book. In this case, I’m planning to have one of Cadence’s teenage sisters take off on her own across country to find the missing teens. Cadence, Owen, Yukio follow her. In turn they are followed by Nori the Yowari woman Cadence rescued who is chasing after Sybelle, Cadence’s other sister, so you can see how confusing it could become if I don’t get a handle on where everything is located.
Thursday already. I haven’t accomplished much this week. I decided I’ve been neglecting the romance part of Paladin, so to get myself into the mood, I’ve been re-reading Nora Roberts Mackade series. It’s one of my favorites of hers, the other one being the Calhoun series.
I wonder if I am the only writer who preps for writing a certain type of scene by reading certain types of books or watching certain kinds of movies? When I need to write an action scene, I read some Louis L’Amour or Luke Short, and when I wrote about the first time Jade saw St. Antoni in Cradle, I rewatched the early episodes of Centennial and How the West Was Won...
I started the publicity for The Portal Lawman this week, as it will be released on April 1st. I know—April Fool’s Day—what was I thinking?
Had to leave the 3rd pool truck at the shop. They said it was ready, but when I started it up the brake light was still on and it didn’t go off. The shop couldn’t tell me why, so I left it there.
I did get a few more pages done on Paladin, and a promo featuring women Warriors (in honor of Women’s history month) sent out. I also found a great website about the subject showing the 15 greatest women Warriors in history. Ancient history—none of them was after Queen Elizabeth’s time (1600s), but it was fun to read.
I need to do some editing on Cradle of Fire (book 5 in the Forbidden Colony series)
Didn’t get a lot accomplished on Paladin, but I got the local art events newsletter done. Still waiting to send it out. Probably after my hard-working hero’s crash for the night. Right now, we’re watching Sean Connery in several James Bond movies. (Goldfinger just got sucked out through the cockpit window) ?
I must confess I didn’t get a lot accomplished today. Mostly I messed around in my email lists. It’s amazing how much time it takes. A couple of fellow writers suggested I sign up with MailChimp or one of the other mailing list managers. I did attempt it, but I found the learning curve pretty steep compared to managing my lists in an excel spread sheet. Time consuming but easy enough to learn.
I did get Portal locked and loaded on D2D. Now I need to wait 7 days to order author copies, and another 3 weeks to get my copies. Since distribution starts April 1st, that’s cutting it pretty fine. ?
2021 02 21
Spent sometime today updating my Modern Artist pamphlets, some of which badly needed it, especially in lieu of our current crisis. I have to include information about on-line art shows, more about e-books, some stuff art data bases etc... as long as I was doing that, I updated the covers as well.
I did get some additional material done on Cradle of Fire; a scene I had intended to include but somehow left out. It builds a up a little more of Levi’s character and how he is regarded by others.
Spent most of today updating the covers for the Modern Artist’s Handbook. I need to update the material in book 3 (Art Show Basics) to cover how to do an on-line art show. That’s going to require some pretty heavy research into how a show like this works; interviews with some folks who’ve actually done one.
If any of you has any experience along those lines, I’d love to hear from you. Only NOT through Facebook messages. I don’t use it. You can reach me through my Artist web site: www.gaildaleysfineart.com
Waiting on the desktop to copy my working files to the auxiliary backup disc. Next step is to copy the photo files. Then I’ll disconnect the disc. I’ve ordered two more Ram drives. Once they are installed it should give us 16 more GB of memory. It looks fairly simple to install, but I want my files protected in case it has another fit and starts eating stuff.
I really wanted to work on Paladin today instead of doing this. I also need to send a workman’s Comp cert to netvendor, but I can’t do that until I make sure the files are safe.
Today was VPS invoice day. The first time I’ve printed invoices using the Online QuickBooks. Invoices didn’t look too bad, but the addressee is in a bad place for mailing. I also discovered the online statements are useless—they don’t show the customer their payments, so it ends up looking like the customer owes more than they do. Also, it took a lot of conniving to get them to a place where they could be printed. That was the first time I got to actually see what they look like and realized they didn’t show payments. Unfortunately, I had already sent out a few of them with emails.
On a better note, I uploaded The Portal Lawman to Draft2Digital and sent a copy of Cradle of Fire to the printer (rough draft for editing and rewrites). I even added a couple of paragraphs to Paladin before I shut down the desktop for the night. (Saving power since Texas and the other Midwest states are pulling from our power grid because theirs are down.)
So, we are sitting here watching our Nero Wolfe discs, eating shelled pistachios with a glass of wine.
2021 02 14
Spent most of today futilely looking for my files with 2020 paintings I had done?. When my computer had its little tantrum last month it ate some files. I had thought they would be safe because I had backups in my auxiliary discs and on iCloud, but it seems to have burrowed into both of them. So now I have to dig through storage and retake photos of the paintings and then re inter them into the logs. After which paper is king! Fortunately, I think I’m only missing about 6 or 7 and they were small (8 x 10) and one 5 x 7.
2021 02 13
Looking for a little feedback on choosing a cover for an upcoming book. The font was used on the other 5 books in the series. The setting is an "after the apocalypse" and concerns cloning. The book is still in the early planning stages. I downloaded the backgrounds from where I usually make my covers. (Waiting for an answer from Bookbrush about the licensing status for these three, but that's another matter.)
Got an idea for book 6 in the Forbidden Colony series. Liam is all grown up and he returns to earth to take some college classes and settle their uncle’s estate. I’m going to use one of the triplets as a love interest. I left some ends dangling in both Cradle and Portal, and I hope to tie them off. For this book I’m planning to use a formula made popular in ERBs Tarzan books and later in the Crocodile Dundee movies: man raised in less civilized surroundings encounters modern society.
But first I need to finish up the Magi Paladin...
2021 02 06
My favorite beta reader finished The Portal Lawman today. I’ve already begun the editing and rewrites on it.
Still trying to figure out if I want to redo the Magi covers. I did a little research on Amazon, and most of those listed as fantasy best sellers had 3 things in common: a castle or some type of bright light in the background. A sword wielding man or a woman dressed in clothes nobody but a fool would wear to fight in. I mean come on—you are fighting someone using a sword and you leave your Chest, legs and arms bare so your opponent can stab or slash you? And the books also used very ornate fonts in the titles.
Since a lot of fantasy readers are young men with libido issues (hence the half-naked women) I suppose I need to revise them. Current ones are below.
2021 02 04
I think I’ve found my title for the 3rd Magi of Rulari book: The Magi Paladin. Paladin is derived from any of the twelve peers of Charlemagne's court, of whom the Count Palatine was the chief. The paladins (or Twelve Peers) are twelve fictional knights of legend, the foremost members of Charlemagne's court in the 8th century. They first appear in the mediaeval (12th century) chanson de geste cycle of the Matter of France, where they play a similar role to the Knights of the Round Table in Arthurian romance.
Paladin has had many meanings over the years, but the most common one was a type of free-lance white knight who championed the cause of those who had no other advocate.
2021 02 03
I'm considering re-doing the covers for the Magi of Rulari Fantasy series, and I'm still not in love with the title on the 3rd book (in progress).
Worked a little more on Magi Warrior this morning. I did expand chapter 1 some more, but I realized that since each book in the Magi series is supposed to be able to be read as a stand-alone novel as well as a part of the series, I needed to spend more time developing the story setting. This isn’t as simple as it sounds. I went back through both Spell and Storm to see if I had created any new plants and discovered I had only mentioned kaleidoscope trees (I used an oak tree as a base and gave it semitransparent leaves). I took a few liberties with the color of chlorophyll, allowing it to nave more colors than just green for the leaves.
You wouldn’t think a fantasy would require a lot of setting descriptions, (I know a lot of sword and sorcery writers don’t bother) but I am also an artist and I pride myself on doing a good job world building. I think it’s important for readers to be able to immerse themselves into the story, and for that you need a good setting.
So today I spent a lot of time on plant databases figuring out how to tweak them to appear alien.
Working up to writing a really harrowing scene. My heroes come on a group of renegades who have captured a lone Sekhmet woman and decide to have a little fun with a gang rape. They rescue her of course and the two male MCs, Owen and a Yoweri Warrior Sargent Yukio (pronounced OOO-Ko; you think that’s bad try growling it!). Since this is a serious subject that might trigger some issues for readers, I do have to put a warning about the scene on the book, even though the scene won’t be graphic. And I have to have Nari (the 2nd female MC) deal with PTSD from it throughout the book. It’s an alien culture too so that is another facet of how it’s treated...
Country codes for emails: I recently sent out a promotional email and I just learned from the promoter that out of over 900 emails, only about 17 went through. Since this resulted in me being booted off the promotion, I’m a little frustrated. I had just redone the list to include some older lists I hadn’t used very much. When I checked the addresses, I realized that a lot of them which had country codes locating them in central Africa had been returned with the notion they had been blacklisted by email servers.
I’m going to need to sign up with one of those email list verification programs (it’s not expensive—$10 for each 500 emails run through their system).
SOOO much fun!
I spent most of today working on individual ads for each of my books. I’m trying something a little different this time. I noticed that a lot of the ads I’m seeing on Facebook don’t actually show the book cover, so I made at least 3 for each fiction book. Book Brush is a great venue for do-it-yourselfers like me. But I couldn’t believe how time consuming it was; the site has literally thousands of royalty photos—and I’m not finished!
I got as far as attaching the individual D2D book link to the Bookbrush ad, but I still have to copy the graphics into photoshop and then save it as a photo, so when the add is clicked, it goes to the D2D link so they can choose a store. The final step will be to tag the add with the appropriate key words so it will show up on a search.
Sounds like fun doesn’t it?
I got most of the 2nd chapter of Magi Warrior done today. Now I need to work up a spell for Faye’s dream walking sequence. She’s going to be planting a specific type of dream aimed at a certain age group on a mass scale. Should be fun.
Still waiting on my author copies of Gaslight, and I’m waiting for Andrew S. Daley to finish beta reading Portal. I’m letting Cradle percolate on a back burner before I try to edit the rough draft.
2021 01 07
I got a couple of pages done in Magi Warrior this afternoon. I managed to introduce Owen (MC), Yukio a Sekhmet Merc (in command of the Merc troop accompanying them), and Owens’s grandfather Lewys, without (I hope) too much of an info dump. Although this one uses some characters from Spell of the Magi and Magi Storm, it’s meant to be a stand-alone, so I will need to do a lot of re describing of Rulari...
2021 01 06
Accomplished virtually nothing on the book front today as I was stuck working (or should I say Re-working?) Medicare stuff and I fully expect to be doing that tomorrow too. I did manage to get the phone number of the State medical advocate out of Aetna so at least I have a new place to sit on hold with...
I really wanted to do a little more work on Cradle and on the plot for Magi Warrior but that didn’t happen. Still waiting for Andrew to finish decimating Portal (that’s what a good beta reader does, isn’t it?)
2021 01 05
Started the Outline on the 3 rd Magi book. I’m using Magi Warrior as a working title.
Synopsis isn’t finished, but here is what I have so far: This is a stand-alone Fantasy, although it takes place in the Rulari universe, and uses characters from Both Spell of the Magi, and Magi Storm. Drake Ignatus Stormssmith is a raider who dreams of controlling a Magi Army and becoming the ruler of Askela. The bastard son of John Lemange's father, he has always felt himself undervalued. He is a prime target for Faye Dupree who convinces him he can achieve his dreams by creating a Magi Army powerful enough to defeat the Shan's Proctors and the other Magi of Rulari. She suggests that he target younger Magi as they will be more easily swayed by her spells, although they also make attempts to recruit older Magi. He comes into direct conflict with Owen who is attempting to recruit unaffiliated Magi to sign on with the Magi Accords. One of His first targets was the shire of Lemange, where he killed the Drake and Dray in an attempt to take their children. The three girls escape and go on the run from him. She suggests that he target younger Magi as they will be more easily swayed by her spells, although they also make attempts to recruit older Magi. He comes into direct conflict with Owen who is attempting to recruit unaffiliated Magi to sign on with the Magi Accords,
I think I’ll also use the photo of the redheaded woman warrior on the cover. I just need to figure out what else I want to add to it.
2021 01 03
I finished my editing on the rough draft of Portal today. Next, I turn it over to my favorite beta reader, my son Andrew to poke holes in.
The trouble with editing is it has to be done in spurts, otherwise my brain starts filling in stuff that should be there but really isn’t. Spell check doesn’t catch that stuff; it doesn’t seem to recognize if a word is actually missing...
2020 12 18
Started work on the last half of Cradle today. I knew as soon as l started, the plot line would even out. Going to have a bank robbery as a diversion. Lorenzo, my BG wants the Jones men away from the house so he can break in (read: home invasion) and force the elderly matriarch to open her safe. He plans for only the women to be there (Chloe the retired assassin is 6 months pregnant) and Francis the other woman Enforcer has a 3-month-old baby. None of the others has any fighting experience so he expects it to be easy.
It won’t be, but that would be too much of a spoiler.
I want there to be a final confrontation between Levi and Lorenzo though, so I need to figure out a way to do that...
2020 12 11
Got a few more pages done on Cradle today. This a transition chapter (changing locations from Gateway City to Junction City) so I have to be careful not to let the pacing sag; you know those middle of the book doldrums?? But I think it’s working. I still need to decide if I want to switch POVs, so I can put more emphasis on Hetty and Tom’s romance. I’m leaning toward not to switch, because I want to explore the cultural shock from earth to St. Antoni Jade experiences a little more...
Well, I got the kidnapping done, the little girl escaped on her own from a very inept kidnapper. Of course, I had to let him escape. He’s now headed for Junction City, so I can continue the story. Junction City was the scene of Book 2 - The Enforcers (it came out in November) and The Gaslight Bandits (out January 1, 2021–ARC copies are available, if anyone wants to volunteer contact me on my web site www.GailDaley.com)
Just got back from grocery shopping. Last time Vons had lots of empty shelves. This time they had boxes stacked in the aisles as high as the tops of the shelves. I’m guessing the trucks finally got there.
Picked up the rough draft of Portal from office max yesterday. I’m still working out the kidnapping details on my next chapter of Cradle so it’s a good time for me to reread Portal...
Ace of Spades Claim in Ridgecrest with the new RV. They sure don’t make ink pens like they used to—I’ve run 3 of the little stinkers dry this week! I’ve been writing by hand because a) the word app on my iPad is awful and 2) my battery on it keeps running down!
However, I did get the last chapter of Portal done (it still needs editing), most of the 3rd chapter of Cradle and about half of chapter 1 done.
I know, why am I writing ahead of the story? It’s just the way I write. That’s why I have a chapter timetable handy; that way I won’t put in stuff that hasn’t happened yet!
BTY Warriors of St. Antoni and the Enforcers are on sale for the rest of the month $.99
Everything is beautiful today. No wind to speak of and the camp is quiet. Everyone but Angie and I has left to play in the dirt. I think she is cleaning up her trailer from breakfast. I’m just sitting here enjoying the last of my coffee. Little bit of a scare this morning; Vernon fixed breakfast and he left the dirty pots he filled with water on the stove heating up while went to start the generator. He got distracted and started visiting. I was taking a breathing treatment when I smelled the smoke. The pan we were using to heat milk to make coffee is toast. All the water boiled away and the milk residue in the pan turned into charcoal. He says the pan will be good for dipping water when he runs his gold equipment.
I got the last chapter of Portal finished. I still need to type it into the actual book on the desktop. All I have with me is my mini-iPad and the word processor for it is terrible, so I’m using the old-fashioned method: paper and pen. My paper rough drafts are filled with scratch outs and lines where I decided to move sentences (sometimes whole paragraphs!) around.
I started some work on Cradle, that I’m probably going to insert into the second or third chapter. I still need to write the first chapter of Cradle (the one with the murder Jade and her siblings witness).
Slowly getting the RV packed. It’s like moving—by the time you get it all packed you are wiped. I did have a semi productive day—I got Vern and I signed up with Medicare and a supplemental through AEtna. Now all I have left to do is get Andrew signed up through Covered CA. Lots of fun.
Going to try and get the last chapter of Portal done (then the rewrites start). If I’m lucky, I can get the 5th book Cradle of Fire off to a good start.
Here are the blurbs for them.
The Portal Lawman
Book 4 – St. Antoni the Forbidden Colony
A fast-paced Sci-Fi novel of adventure, mystery and romance in a dystopian society. Trapped in a web of deceit and danger, Lacey makes a dangerous alliance with the local Militia to keep her family safe in the police state that rules Earth.
The end of the world had come and gone. Those who remained after the apocalypse did whatever it took to keep themselves alive and preserve what civilization survived. They broke laws and flouted the will of draconian government agencies who were supposed to keep anarchy at bay and instead established a police state.
Lacey Delaney, head of Laughing Mountain's Portal committee, defied the government by helping Portal Runners smuggle desperately needed goods, service and people to the Forbidden Colonies.
Malachi Sullivan, sub-commander of the free militia, was one of those who held the line against the tyranny of an overbearing government desperately trying to regain control against spreading anarchy.
Lacey and Malachi had been in love once, but a treacherous woman broke them apart. Now they must put the past behind them and learn to work together to save their town and preserve the secret of the Portal to the Forbidden Colonies.
Cradle of Fire
Book 5 – St. Antoni the Forbidden Colony
"A must read, fast-paced Sci-Fi novel of adventure, suspense and romance."
A desperate woman takes a perilous gamble to save her family from a brutal murderer.
They weren't supposed to see the murders or discover their 'kindly' new guardian had slaughtered three people. But they did see it. Jade knows they can't go to the police—he owns them. The only choice is to run and hide; but where can a woman, a teenage girl and a young boy go to be safe from a crime lord?
Desperate, she takes the risk of bringing her family through an illegal Portal to St. Antoni. They are safe from their former guardian here. But she may have jumped from the frying pan into the fire; the forbidden colony is a dangerous place. It's a planet whose citizens have created a society poles apart from the dystopian earth they fled. With almost no resources, she needs a way to support herself and her siblings in this strange world.
When she is offered a job as an illustrator for a book company owned by the elderly Hortense Jones, Jade jumps at it. Then she meets Hortense's nephew, the fascinating Levi Jones. He is a former Enforcer with a dangerous reputation as a gunman. Loyalty to the kindhearted Hortense causes Jade to be drawn into the deadly feud between the Jones and the Smith families. Can she find happiness on St. Antoni and keep her family safe?
10 27 2020
Awhile back I made an omnibus using volume 1 of each of my series: Options of Survival, Spell of the Magi and Warriors of St. Antoni as a kind of starter set to encourage readers to try each series. Amazon immediately started screaming about the ISBNs not matching, and I ended up removing the original ISBNs as well as the copyright infringement information warning assigned to the books when I first published them. I really don’t understand that because the other combined books I have read included that information, so what makes mine different? Sometimes Amazon sucks.
Now the e-book looks fine, but I Immediately ran into print issues. D2D said the combined books were too long for the 6 x 9 format, so ended up enlarging the format all the way to 8.5 x 11 (the size of a coffee table book) and the print inside turned out very tiny. In short, the inside of the printed book looks hideous; the cover doesn’t look good at that size either. I’m seriously considering not publishing a printed volume at all and just distributing the e-book.
2020 10 17
I got my author copies of The Enforcers today. It's a really special feeling when you look at an actual printed book and realize—hey I did that. It's unfortunate that I don't have any place to sell physical copies right now. Of course, they can be found on my website. I do have them at the Water Tower Gallery downtown, but due to Covid they are closing their doors permanently. I hear the Book Barn is open again, but I've yet to be able to convince the owner to stock my books. Oh well. If you're interested, you can buy signed copies at https://gaildaley.com/CATALOG.php
2020 10 16
Plotting my next move in Portal. I need a final resolution that won’t leave a lot of lines dangling. My murderer isn’t a terrible guy; just a person who didn’t want to own up to the situation he found himself in; admitting what happened would be embarrassing, plus it might have endangered his family and the community, so he convinced himself the only way to get rid of the blackmailer was to kill him. Unfortunately, he was seen by an even more ruthless person who also tries to blackmail him. This time the threat wouldn’t just be embarrassing, it would mean his arrest for murder, so he kills him too.
The questions I need answers to are:
1. Who figures it out and what do they do about it? Keep in mind that the answer might be more than one person...
b. Tell the cops?
2. What does the murderer do about it?
a. Try to kill him? Them?
c. Get caught?
2020 10 13
Am I the only one who writes in my sleep? It happens to me all the time, and then I find myself wide awake in the middle of the night. I have to either get up and write it down or hope I’ll remember it in the morning. Last night I Found myself writing a scene for Cradle of Fire (book 5 in the Forbidden Colony series). So, I got up this morning to write it down. I still have at least 3 chapters left in Portal to write so stopping to work on Cradle was a little inconvenient.
It probably happened because I’m stumped for an ending to Portal that won’t leave a lot of dangling plot lines.
I can’t decide if I want to kill off my murderer or let him escape off planet. I’m tempted to let him escape, but he killed two people; granted neither of the men he killed was a nice person: one of them was a blackmailer and the other was a stalker with nefarious plans for one of my heroines, but still...
Maybe I’ll take a break and work on the cover for Cradle...
2020 10 12
Wishing all of you a blessed Sunday.
I don’t have regular ’writers block’, at least the way I’ve heard that infernal malady described by other writers, but every so often I do find myself struggling with putting words into the computer. I’ve been struggling with the next chapter of Portal. Today I finally realized what the problem is; a different piece of the novel was begging to be written. I do try to write my chapters in timeline order, but sometimes scenes just demand to be written out of order. So, I skipped ahead a chapter to one I’ve titled “Next of Kin”.
This one is about Joyce (the secondary female MC). She and her sisters are accused of being clones. (In this world clones aren’t considered people. They are the property of the company who created them; somewhat the way women up until the 1920s, and slaves, were treated in colonial days). The scene wouldn’t let me alone until I wrote it. Maybe now I can back to writing the chapter that leads into this one.
2020 10 10
Happy birthday Gail. I'm 66 today. Time sure flies by. As I get older, I find myself getting impatient with all of life's timewasters; things like opening all the mail we get. Half of them are advertisement, and the other half is demanding we take some action immediately.
Struggling a little with the current chapter of Portal. I need to set up for the second murder, but to do that I have to spend time in the murderer and murderee's heads. At the same time, I don't want to give away the solution too early. I've also got to fit in moving the love interests forward, and the Clone people's motives as well as the PAA agents' movements.
Lots of fun.
2020 10 03
Did a little more work on Portal today; mostly revisions after my favorite Beta reader pointed out some holes I needed to plug. A little difference in world views: he sees a situation where the state and federal governments are all powerful, easily able to take out the militias. I, on the other hand see the situation as akin to what Chicago and other big cities were like during prohibition.
I did agree that I needed to make my vision of my apocalyptic earth a little clearer. In a lot of the post-apocalyptic books I've read, the future is so dark, Rulers are 'all powerful', vicious, and willing to commit mass murder to stay in power. The people inhabiting these universes seem to live in a constant state of desperation. I don't believe that. I believe in hope. I believe that people who are fundamentally good people, will continue to be true to who they are even if circumstances force them to behave differently. In this case, I'm referring to the people of the community in Laughing Mountain, the earth setting where much of "the Portal Lawman" takes place.
So, in my version of an apocalyptic earth, everyone has tried to retain some version of their ordinary lifestyle. and continue to live their lives in as close an approximation of what those lives used to be as they can. Secondly, while all Governments wants to stay in power; no government can rule without the consent of the people who live under its rule. If government doesn't want a full-scale revolution on its hands, it will compromise with powerful groups like industrial giants and with the home-grown militia, straddling an uneasy fence between these two opposing forces. To stay in power, it has to give lip service to the 'rights' that the industry giants would prefer to ignore, and the Militia defends so fiercely.
We’ll see if I succeed...
2020 09 20
Vernon went up to Columbia today to check up on Rob and Cheryl (friends of ours who run the Columbia Inn). He came home with 4 jars of homemade tomato sauce and some fresh tomatoes. I’m going to have to look up how to make Italian red sauce from scratch. Spaghetti is a great fall food.
I also posted some book promotions I joined. Still getting back from 5-10 unsubscribes each time I use the latest list I got from AuthorXPromotions. I need to figure out a way to weed these guys out before I send them anything. (Sad but true that Some folks only sign up for the mailing list promotions for the free books) oh well.
I didn’t do much on either Cradle or Portal today—I discovered the sub plot I had in mind for one of them will work much better with Portal, so I’m going to need to do some revisions. It's a pain writing two books at the same time, especially if they take place in the same universe, which these do (they are both a part of the St. Antoni series). Fortunately, I’m only up to chapters 3 and 4 on either of them...
2020 09 14
Wow! Just finished the cover for Portal (St. Antoni--Book 4). I haven’t had a cover come together so fast in a long time. It was like magic. Usually, I struggle with finding just bits and pieces of each cover and then I spend two or three days melding those bits and pieces, so they look as if they belong together. Sometimes I have to throw the entire thing in the trash and start over! But this time when I went poking around on Shutterstock.com, I found just the right background and pose for the MC’s almost immediately. I know it's hard to judge a cover without context, so I've included the blurb that goes with it as well:
A young shop owner makes a dangerous alliance with the local Militia to preserve her family's secrets.
The end of the world had come and gone. Those who remained after the apocalypse did whatever it took to keep themselves alive and preserve what civilization survived. They broke laws and defied the will of the draconian government agencies who were supposed to keep anarchy at bay and instead established a police state.
Lacey Delaney, head of Laughing Mountain's Portal committee, defied the government by helping Portal Runners smuggle desperately needed goods, service and people to the Forbidden Colonies.
Malachi Sullivan, sub-commander of the free militia, was one of those who held the line against the tyranny of an overbearing government desperately trying to regain control against spreading anarchy.
Lacey and Malachi had been in love once, but a treacherous woman broke them apart. Now they must put the past behind them and learn to work together to save their town and preserve the secret of the Portal to the Forbidden Colonies.
2020 09 13
On a positive note, my household hero fixed the leak under my kitchen sink today.Waiting for Andrew to finish beta reading Gaslight so I can complete editing it for the second draft. I did get two more chapters of Portal done today. Villain is going to be two women this time out (motivation “hell hath no fury” and target fixation). This novel is a radical departure for me, as up to now all my heroes and heroines have been very law abiding. This time I need to reverse the image. The heroine is a shop owner who aids and abets portal runners against the ruling government...
2020 08 22
Wow, has it been that long since I posted anything here? I have been working just haven't updated this blog in a while. I'll try to do better.
2020 08 20
Life sure gets in the way of writing; I got a little more done on Gaslight today after I spent nearly 3 hours on the phone with my doctor referral service trying to get my nebulizer replaced. (The tube attachment on the old one broke off so it won’t blow air anymore.)
It took me 3 phone calls and I still have to check back tomorrow to make sure Ray Fisher pharmacy got the fax.
Then I had to spend another hour on the phone trying to find out what happened to the checks one of our commercial accounts says was processed back on Aug 7th. I won’t know about that until tomorrow either.
It was a relief to actually escape into writing on my books!
2020 08 17
Doing a lot of editing on The Enforcers (book 2—St. Antoni, The Forbidden Colony) to get it up to speed for release in November.
At the same time, I’m trying to finish the first draft of Gaslight (book 3—St. Antoni, The Forbidden Colony). I have about 2 chapters left on that one.
Book number 4, Portal Lawman, is still in the St Antoni universe, but it takes place mostly on earth. I had intended to write an entirely different kind of story, but when I sat down to write, the story seemed to take off in a totally different direction. Inspired by what is currently going on in our culture today, I also added in some other disaster sequences (who knew those doom, despair and agony on me documentaries my husband watches on the Discovery channel would come in so handy?) The story takes place on a post-apocalyptic earth that is radically different because its social and political structures have been partly destroyed. In the last two hundred years, the earths plates suddenly shifted causing massive earthquakes along the three major fault lines in north and South America, causing most of the west coast to fall into the sea. Rioters have destroyed most of the cities, but armed citizens militia keeps the rural areas safe from insurgents. Illegal portals to other worlds abound. Europe, Asia and Africa have been hit with a new pandemic every two years...
2020 08 06
While in the shower, I got a great idea for book #4 in the St. Antoni series (working title The Portal Lawman), so I took a break from Gaslight to get the idea down on the computer. I recently started using Excel to outline and plot my books. It’s working great; Now I don’t have to waste time paging through a manuscript to find out where I wrote about subjects or if I’m writing about something that has already happened or hasn’t happened yet. Those pesky little details can completely ruin a story if you get them wrong!
I’ve posted a template on the PracticalArtist.com if you are interested in using it or something similar. Right now, I’m not charging anything for it so it’s free if you want to grab it. I’ve got a subscription to Novel Factory which I tried to use, but I found it too rigid for my purposes. I did use several of the ideas for characterization and site descriptions in the excel program though.
2020 08 04
Worked on two chapters of Gaslight today but didn’t finish either one! One chapter is about Francis and Hercule arriving at the hotel for their wedding night looking like something the cat dragged in. The other is the Solstice celebration where they find Blackman’s body.
020 08 03
Took our big blankets to the laundromat today. (They are too big and heavy to go in a top loading washer—they weigh about 10# each). It took about 2 hours. Vernon will need to help me make up the bed in the RV later.
Yesterday I wrote the chapters where Francis and Hercule get married to prevent the Smith lawyer from taking Hetty and Sydney away from her. It includes the attempt to kidnap the girls. The train sequence was fun.
020 07 26
Got two more chapters done on Gaslight today. I had other chores which I neglected because things suddenly started clicking. I’m rethinking the idea of killing off Blackman (he’s the undercover agent I had decided to have killed when he illegally searched a suspect's house). Mostly because I couldn’t work it into the story.
The new plot line worked beautifully so I’m a happy camper today.
2020 07 25
Getting ready to kill off one of my characters in Gaslight Bandits. He’s one of the good guys (minor character). He gets caught breaking into a suspect’s house. Still deciding how to do it, and who the killer will be...
2020 07 02
What do you do to get yourself in the mood to write a certain type of scene? For instance, my WIP takes place on a low-tech frontier planet. My heroes are traveling through unexplored territory and being tracked by their enemies. (All the characters are human) It’s an outdoor chase scene in the wild, so it’s got a western flavor, so to get myself in a mood to write it, I immerse myself in reading authors like Louis L’Amour, Luke Short, and a little Edgar Rice Burroughs.
2020 06 28
Finished another chapter of The Gaslight Bandits today. This one involves Hercule and Caleb sneaking back into the Smith territory around Copper City to help their Uncle move the family Hoard. I used the territory around the Grand Canyon as a basis for describing the area between the two City States. It takes a little bit of imagination to propel my imagination back in time so I can visualize what it would have been like riding through an area when there were no paved roads, fences or power poles. I hope I made it believable.
Next chapter involves them leading a tricorn pack train loaded with treasure through the unmapped territory between Azure and Copper City.
2020 06 21
I finished chapter 4 of the Gaslight Bandits (chapter title is the Indigo Moor). I called it that because Francis and Chloe are riding the train from Junction City to Azure hoping to catch the train robber gang that’s been terrorizing passengers in all the city states. Azure took its name from the blue bushes that abound in the territory.
I also finished the synopsis and blurb for Gaslight as well as the cover.
The Enforcers is being beta read by my favorite beta reader (my son Andrew). So, I had a good day. I hope you did as well.
2020 05 25
Rereading book 1 of Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality. The entire series has to be read in order or it’s confusing. Only one and two are in e-books yet, though so if I want to read the others, I will have to wade through piles of books to find them.
I also discovered that Bookfunnel.com (it’s a group promotions site) seems to have really whacked up a sales promotion where I had placed The Designer People. The promotion seemed made to order for that particular book (crime, clones and the future). Supposedly they are fixing the issues. If you are interested here is a link (a good one) https://books2read.com/u/mBOJRk
2020 05 20
I spent some of last night and this morning putting together a timeline of events for the enforcers chapter by chapter. A timeline is sort of like an outline except it’s written after the story instead of using it to replan the novel. Because of the erratic way I write, (I tend to jump around in the books) I need to be careful not to let the story become incoherent. Stuff like not including information in one chapter that the characters won’t find out until later. The timeline helps with this. Any other writers have this problem?
2020 05 13
Worked on some transitional chapters and paragraphs on The Enforcers this week. The introduction of more secondary characters has added a lot of depth to the plot, so I'm happy with that, but it does mean that I have to go back in and include the lead ins to them. I'm confident I'll meet my deadline of November 1 for it to be published.
2020 04 17
Here it is Saturday. Spent the morning unloading the dishwasher and watching The Lightening Thief. It’s not a bad movie to while away the time with. I also went back and added some scenes to The Enforcers. I’m still introducing suspects for the murder. Once I get them set up, I’ll need to decide which of them I should make the real killers. The relationship between my two MCs is going well, but I think I’ll need to work more on the one between my older couple, Giselle and Henry.
2020 03 31
I didn't feel up to working on the next chapter of The Enforcers, so I went through my notes for other books. I ended up working on a new book. This one will take place on St. Antoni as well, but it's going to be stand-alone. I don't even have a working title for it yet. Basically, the heroine flees earth with her younger sister and brother because their cousin (the went to live with him after their parents were killed) turns out to be a bad guy.
020 02 07
I finished the rough draft of book no 7 (Quantum Light) in the Space Colony Journals. It's now going through the first editing.
· It looks as if cover no 2 is winning the contest.
· Book 2 in the St. Antoni series (the enforcers) is in the planning stage
Worked a little more on The Enforcers outline today. Got about 6 chapters outlined. Andrew finished Quantum Light, so I need to set The Enforcers aside and go back to Quantum. At least I have enough of Enforcers started that I’ll be able to continue where I left off. I need to reread Warriors again anyway to get back into that world.