Get The Temporal Lisle Before the Price Goes Up

My newsletter people got the news a couple weeks ago, so Rafe Keyn and the Temporal Lisle already has a couple 5-star reviews; I love this one:

I’ve been reading science fiction for close to 50 years. This book has a new twist—and an ending that surprised me.

I stayed up to finish reading it in one sitting.

What more could one ask of a book?

On July 1st we’re going wide and wild with the news, at which time the price goes up from 99¢ to $2.99 so if you’re thinking about a fun time-travel fantasy, now’s the, erm, time.

The Best Beloved Seal of Approval

When Sue read the near-final draft of Rafe Keyn and the Temporal Lisle I only wanted one piece of feedback: does it work?

No writerly feedback. No plot ideas. No character suggestions. None of the stuff people always want to say to writers.

Did it suck you in and keep you in?

This late in the game, that’s all I need to know.

And her answer was “Yes.”

It’s being proofread right now, and I have one or two sentences that need polishing after my current read-through. The cover is done. (See? Right there above.)

I can see the checkered flag. I’ll keep you posted.

Time for My Time Travel Fantasy

Knowing how closely our emotional and physical health are tied it is no surprise to me that I came down with a vicious cold the week I pushed to finish Rafe Keyn, nor that it continues as I keep working.

A half-mile south of the official end of the Wild Rivers Trail in northern Wisconsin there is a railroad bridge. The tracks end 100 feet north of the bridge.
My diminished mental capacity makes creativity difficult, but I can still read the printed manuscript and find obvious typos and make other notes as they occur to me.

Eating well, getting my rest and plenty of fluids. I wish those fluids included rye whiskey and a local craft brew, but our water is good and still my favorite drink.

I’m on track to release it early summer.

Across the Finish Line: Rafe Keyn and the Temporal Lisle

After 912 days, most of it spent wallowing rather than writing, I just typed the final scenes for Rafe Keyn and the Temporal Lisle.

A bit over 60,000 words, making it my longest novel yet. Verbose as I am, you’d think my books would be longer.

There’s still edits and rewrites, but I’m not going to prolong this. Planning on releasing it early summer.

It feels pretty magnificent.

900 Days

Tomorrow it will be 900 days since The Temporal Lisle came to me in a flash.

I suspect I’ve spent 800 of those days doing nothing but suffering over the struggle.

Though the battle with Resistance is never won, I have been writing steadily for weeks. There are 16 chapters left to write. That’s not much. Yesterday I realized I’d left a major character hanging in limbo; they walk offstage and simply disappear. It took four short chapters to resolve their story in a way that organically served the larger story, and I wrote it all in a single sitting.

Come November 3, 2018, the 3rd anniversary of the burst of creativity, this book will already be published and selling well.

And the next one ain’t gonna take three years.

Introducing Rafe Keyn and the Real Jake Calcutta

So, there’s this time-travel fantasy I’ve been working on . . .

Round 1: Too Conservative

Years ago I wrote a book titled (at that point) Anodyne. It was going to be the first in a series of connected stories each with a different protagonist, each telling their story under the pseudonym Jake Calcutta.

Long before the book was finished an author friend pointed out that the artsy intellectual guy in the book was nothing like the name would suggest. Jake Calcutta, he said, is a modern day Indiana Jones.

He was right.

I changed the protagonist’s name to Jesse Donovan and the book’s title to That She Is Made of Truth. It may become a series, but not in the way originally intended.

Round 2: Too Cerebral

Continue reading “Introducing Rafe Keyn and the Real Jake Calcutta”

Stephen King’s Yellow Card Man 11.22.63

I’ve stayed up past midnight 3 nights in a row to finish Stephen King’s 11.22.63. Yes, it’s that good (and that long; nearly 900 pages.)

Not a fan of horror, but this one is fantasy/scifi rather than his usual genre. It has time travel. It’s a historical novel. It has romance. In the end notes it has a nod to Time and Again which I agree with King is the best time travel book written.

One small but vital character interested me because of a parallel to Rafe Keyn and the Temporal Lisle. It seems guardians of time travel are a common idea. I’m giving a little away here, but you can’t read the first few chapters of King’s book and not realize that the yellow card man is going to be more than a bit player, no matter how few lines he speaks.

So there you have it: Stephen King is starting to write like me because we like the same time travel book.

(Speaking of fantasy . . . )

Jake’s Next Step

I printed out James’ notes on Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle.

Three pages of small font.

Much of it is rumination in the moment, notes taken as he read it. He had some concerns about this, that, and the other thing, and our usual difference of taste in certain areas.

Today’s task is to go through those notes and determine what needs attention, what could use a little nudge, and what I can leave as it is.

Assuming, after a quick scan, there are no gaping plot holes, the next step will be to write out the story I’ve already summarized for his review. I know, that sounds like oversimplification, but at this point, putting the words down is easy part. If I can maintain my old pace of 3,000 words a day I’ll have Jake’s story wrapped up in a month.

Let’s call it “by end of summer” just to be safe. And sane.

Cutting the Chase

I know, the phrase is cutting to the chase. But that’s not what’s happening.

Poor Jake Calcutta has been in and out of my top drawer a hundred times the past 6 months. I’ve printed bits and read them, highlighting and underlining. I’ve binder-clipped and folded and organized and shuffled. I’ve enlisted pre-alpha readers.

I’ve ignored it mercilessly for weeks at a time.

A third of the way through, Jake left me. Hid out somewhere in the wilderness of Whatcomesnext and no matter how I coaxed, he wouldn’t talk to me.

Continue reading “Cutting the Chase”

Scene List for Rafe Keyn Finished

JakeCalcutta-scene-cardsI have my list of scenes for the first Jake Calcutta scifi action/adventure mystery.

I had a list of scenes I knew I needed, but on the computer, I couldn’t get my head around the process to put them in order. Sure, some scenes are obviously early in the story, others later; some are clearly before this one and after that one.

I finally printed out the list, cut it into 3/4″ X 3″ strips color-coded for beginning, middle, and end, and it all fell into place. That’s them in front of my closet door. Almost as tall as my daughter.

How Do I Know Which Scenes I Need?

Good question. Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid provides one answer.

Continue reading “Scene List for Rafe Keyn Finished”

Q’noge Woman Escapes from Her Captor Scene Experiment

Q'noge womanAfter three variations I found myself stumped. The third feels right, but is it?

It’s easy to fly through storytelling, getting my readers to The End with the least fuss.

It’s better to make the critical scenes more than simply the conveyance of information. The deeper I dig into the core scenes, those that turn the story’s direction, the more memorable and emotionally fulfilling they are.

I’ve never done that, pushing myself to rewrite a scene multiple ways, looking for the best version. In the past, I’ve been satisfied to note the scene’s purpose, write a direct sequence of actions fulfilling that purpose, and let my editor tidy it up.

If he tidies brass, you get highly polished brass.

I want my books to be solid gold.

Q’noge Woman Escapes from Her Captor v03

Q'noge woman“I have money.”

He didn’t reply. She tried again.

“My owner will pay whatever ransom you want.”

Still nothing.

“How much am I worth to you?”

“Stop talking. If you were only a possession to barter with you would already have been sold.”

“Then what am I? Why are you taking me?” She suspected an answer but wondered if he would respond.

“Stop talking.”

“Don’t I have a right to —”

He slapped the back of her head. “Stop talking. I won’t say it again.”

She turned. “I will not. If you intend to drag me through the forest you will hear me every step of the way.”

He had stopped a moment after her, one step too close. As he slid his machete from his belt she kicked him, hard, below that belt.

Before the machete dropped from his hands she was holding it.

“Do not follow me.”

He backed away. She stepped closer and flicked the machete in her two hands. The middle of his tunic split; just a small split, but the tip had touched him.

“Do not.”

He continued backing away.

She turned and ran without a backward glance.

Q’noge Woman Escapes from Her Captor v02

Q'noge womanShe slowed.

“Keep moving.” He shoved her.

Stifling rage, she smiled coyly. “I thought this might be a good place.”

As she stepped closer he raised his arms to either attack or defend depending on what she did next. “A good place for what?”

She softened the smile and tilted her head slightly. “Unless you don’t want to . . .”

That was the look she was expecting. All men everywhere were the same.

He lowered his arms.

She stepped closer and raised her bound hands. “Aren’t you going to untie me first?”

His face reddened and he put one hand on his machete. He leaned and stepped at the same time, his nose nearly touching hers.

As he opened his mouth to shout at her no sound came. Her hands were locked behind his neck, the thick rope pressing against the front and sides.

When he was unconscious she let him fall, took the machete, and fled back down the path. Time enough to free her hands when she was out of his earshot.

Q’noge Woman Escapes from Her Captor v01

HQ'noge womaner captor was no match for her in the forest. Any opening was enough for her to slip away.

Every few minutes his pace changed; he slowed, to check behind or to rest or simply because it was how he marched.

She started counting.

The third time, it was almost exactly the same count.

The fourth time, she anticipated, quickened her pace, and was hidden among the trees before he could touch her.