Compound Twelve was situated fifteen miles from the center of Cenoth, out where a forest of ancient trees gave cover and isolation. It contained two domes in an area that was considered very pretty by local standards and breathtakingly beautiful by someone who had really only known the barren splendor of Mars. While Earth had vast spectacular forests, Aleisha had joined SEAS for the promise of alien wilderness.
Coming up soon, a competition!!! I have four signed paperbacks to give away to four lucky winners.
You’ll hear details in the coming week, so stay close and you’re in with a chance to win!
The Khekarian Threat – Have it on YOUR bookshelf.
Quite simply, I wanted to tie these two main characters together in a realistic way that advanced the story and complicated (in a good way) the plot – Sturn is royalty, and by that, I mean high up royalty – He can choose pretty well any woman in the Khekarian half of the galaxy as his mate, and his marriage will most certainly be to a Khekarian of royal blood with high connections.
Love was never going to work. Aleisha is from the opposite end of society and Terran, and Sturn doesn’t care about emotion or the mentality of young women. What he cares about is power.
Would lust do it? No. My lead villain would just take her and dump her afterwards. Sturn certainly wouldn’t marry her, and he would have no reason to bring her home with him.
So why else, outside of sex, would an exiled prince be interested in a seventeen year-old wanna-be pioneer? She’s totally beneath him. She has nothing to offer. There is nothing that could be deemed of value to him.
This story evolved over many years. Once Sturn gained high connections, I realized that if I wanted to keep that aspect open, I would need to ditch my main character and make the story about Sturn, or find a reason to keep Aleisha.
It took me a year to find this solution, so – please – enjoy it! :D
The non-writers around you do not understand the process – to them a writer is someone who sits at a desk every day, producing reams of wonderful prose that turn into a book within weeks or months, to then be quickly embraced by a publisher.
What they don’t understand is the creative process, the time and effort and dedication needed to grow your skillsets – there’s more to being a writer than writing.
Not only do you have to know how to put words together, you have to know how to put ideas together, as well. You have to have solutions, connections, the Why, the How, the What. You have to get character development, plots and backdrops all worked out. You have to have done your research on a multitude of thing, events, professions, and gain some understanding of the psychology and drives of the individuals you are writing about.
So years go by. Your friends and family show support to varying degrees, but they’re not seeing what you are seeing, and they’re not seeing what’s going on beneath the surface. They understand that you have a passion to write, they even see you occasionally scribbling away, but they also see not much actually accumulating.
Instead, they see you staring the skyline, seemingly distracted or noncommittal, which doesn’t look much like dedication. Dedication, of course, is exactly what they are seeing, they just don’t recognize it.
So words sneak into the conversation about how perhaps you should turn your attention to a ‘proper’ career or maybe give up this foolishness. Most writers have jobs, they have ‘proper’ careers, it’s just not where their heart is – and foolishness? These people read books, right? They watch movies, yeah? Why is it ‘foolish’ to think you can produce in this line? It isn’t foolish, and while it might not sound like it, most of your friends and family actually would like you to succeed.
Know your stuff! There are hidden gems inside knowing what you are writing about, snippets of information that bring the whole thing to life. As boring at it might sound, research will lift your work to new heights for professionalism alone.
When I started writing, the very thought of research was depressing. It seemed tedious and boring and a lot of effort, and I just wanted to write exciting bits and adventure.
Then I discovered that reading a soldier’s biography was exciting. Learning the modern process of fixing a broken jaw was deeply interesting. Finding out about police procedures or how an autopsy is done is riveting.
But it is the personal things that brings a story to life.
A policewoman friend told me of her experience while attending an autopsy. As the body had not been recovered until some days had gone by, she soaked a hanky in her favorite perfume and held that over her mouth and nose throughout the procedure. It didn’t help. In fact, it backfired. She was never able to wear that perfume again.
That’s the sort of snippet that puts the reader there. The unexpected consequences bring it to life. But you can’t write it if you don’t know it!
Believe it or not, I was a shy kid, I found it easier to express my emotions through my writing and my fiction became my strongest venting place.
If I was angry, I’d write angry scenes. If I was upset, I’d weep through the eyes of my characters. I explored emotions and reactions, searched for solutions, and distracted myself from my life, all through the written word.
I pretty well moved into my early stories and stayed there as long and as often as I could. I fell asleep each night, there in my fictional worlds. I woke and slipped within my story again before even getting out of bed. Then I wondered why I missed so much in school, why I didn’t hear instruction and why my report card always said, “Must try harder.”
Over the years I found my own strengths, founded in solid experience (much of it taken aboard for the sake of my writing), but still the habit remains – I automatically step inside my current story as easily as breathing, frequently throughout the day. It’s such a part of me now, I’d be lost if it ever went away.
Characters have history, but I don’t always tell it – Some histories are hinted at, some are referred to, some never get a mention even though, when they develop in my mind, I intend there to be a place for them in the story.
Then the story expands and goes its own way and there just isn’t room anymore for that tale to be told. So, it’s discarded from the pages, but not from my mind. Was it wasted? No. That history still guides that character, it still makes that character who he or she is.
Some of those histories will find their way into these postings. I can show you then why some characters are as they are. You can see how I came to choose such a character and how each grew from their untold experiences.
While those histories might indeed be there in my books, although not plainly and not told in words but in deeds and feelings, outside my stories, I can give you a glimpse behind the scenes or, at least, into my mind. I can share some of these character secrets.
Ruthless looked as tired and worn as Tanya. This morning her hair had been a checkerboard of black and white squares, tufts twisted into messy spikes. Now the white squares were ochre with road dust. Knowing it, she ran her hand briskly through her tufts and let the cloud of dust fall away from her. “Christ, this stuff gets everywhere.”
“Down my throat for starters,” Tanya said. “C’mon, let’s get out of here. I want a long hot shower and a long cold beer.”
They headed to the next rig. On the way, Ruthless glanced with interest towards Charlie’s office. “Do you think she’s in there?”
“The newbie, the seer.”
Tanya snorted. “Don’t think about her. She won’t last.”
“Who’s collecting her, then?”
Tanya looked grim. “Who do you fucking think?”
You’re a writer, you know what it’s like, you put so much time and effort into your manuscript that sometimes you just don’t want to go in there – You crave a break, you don’t want to find any more problems, any more issues, so you delay, you drag your feet, you throw just about every obstacle in your path to put off the inevitable moment that you have to go in. Soon you haven’t been in for days or even weeks and now it’s almost impossible.
Ever left looking at your work until the last moment of your free time, only to wish you had started earlier because you’re actually enjoying yourself once in there? Ever been frustrated by the time wasted not getting in there because in fact turned out to be fun?
Procrastination is bad at the best of times, but when things end up going beautifully and you might have missed out entirely, you feel like you’ve been cheated as well!
The trick is easy. Decide on some simple task within the manuscript. Even just checking what color eyes you gave a character. Yes, that simple. It’s got to be something really minor that won’t take too long because that’s the trick.
Then you know that it’s a two minute job, tops, and you’ll just go in there and do that. You’re not demanding anything of yourself, so those walls don’t go up. Better still, do it early to get it out of the way. You know also you’ll feel good for having just done this minor thing. What writer doesn’t want to end the day feeling as though they’d done something, especially when things are going slowly.
I’m searching for exciting new pics to use – Yes, I know, I love what I had, too, but maybe it’s time to find something that tells more of a tale and connects more with characters and action and locations.
There’ll be scenery. And skies. And adventure, if I can find any. Gosh, that means people. I do intend to get something beautiful and keep to colorful, and I’ll try not to get lost in the crowd.
I will keep my planets and stars because I love them too much and they say “sci-fi”, but I’ll lose the abstracts (mostly).
You’ll have to let me know what you think about the new lot when I start using them. :D