Monthly Archives: July 2015

Book at editor, and I’m feelin’ blue

I sit here, hanging fire (old phrase, look it up),waiting on the good/bad news from the editor and feeling my stomach complaining about it all. Writing is difficult; I have now five WIPs all in disarray (except maybe one, I’ll know tomorrow). It is not yet post-partum depression, but maybe a dress run for that, if and when I publish. I have a formatter/designer llined up for when I rework after the editor returns, and the publication date is still September 18, but, hoo-boy, does it all look dicey. My cover artist is waiting for me to tell her the final page count so she can do the spine and all, and I don’t even have a blurb written yet.

So what do I do to cheer me up? I watch the Red Sox which is passing strange since the are trying hard to imitate a cellar dwelling club. An occasional bright moment, like last night when they beat Chris Sale amidst the gloom. They have two more innings after this one to lose this game, and I will watch to the bitter end.

Three of the WIPs take place in Peary’s world. One is an actual sequel, and it’s the one that seems to be moving. Two are the same story with different protagonists. I have discovered this world has griffins. I refuse to call them gryphons. My college mascot is the griffin The funny thing is that the two books take place about twenty-five or thirty years before Ascension of Peary, and the characters from the two are about to show up in the sequel. So I guess the two (and I’m pretty sure which one I’m going to keep) are the origin story for the griffins. It’s too complicated but I guess I’ll start getting it straightened out on September 19.

A Wild Year

It has been one year since I started this blog, and what a year it’s been! I started marketing one book, that I have since put on a shelf, and am moving ahead with a different book to be published in September. I’ve made friends all over the country and the world, and have occasional visitors from Russia, Singapore and a few places I had to look up on a map.

It’s been a year of good and bad news, the worst of which is the callous way that people of color have been killed by police and other racists. The Black Lives Matter movement is a great response but much more is needed. I’m proud of my senator, Bernie Sanders, who is fighting for the 99%, people of color, the middle class, the elderly, the LGBT community and every other group injured by the oligarchy our country has become.

I’m sorry so many people feel free to show their intolerance of blacks, Muslims, LGBT and recipients of food stamps and welfare. It hurts that some states have not expanded Medicaid to help their most vulnerable. I am constantly amazed that people who claim to love Jesus can ignore the most basic rule of his teachings, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and blatantly castigate those who disagree with them. Worse, they then cry foul when they get the same in return.

The arc of the universe bends toward justice. A great man said those words. Would that we were closer to seeing it.

Quinne Darkover’s Steampunk


I discovered a little over a year ago a wonderful Steampunk novel, The Captain and the Lady Fair:Changing Times by an author with the improbable name Quinne Darkover. I loved the book and reviewed it on Amazon, saying among other things that this was great steampunk with terrifically cool women.

11171882_584867218321124_1430919621_oYou can imagine my delight when I heard the second book was in progress, and now I can say it has been published! The new book, The Captain and the Lady Fair: Pathfinder is even better than the first. The addition of new characters and a wonderful rescue mission give this book more substance building on the relationships established in the first book. The writing is smooth and humorous, the characters well-developed and engaging, the plot daring. I’m not going to talk about specifics, because it is a sequel, and you really ought to read the first one first. No spoilers here.

I’ve interviewed Quinne about his writing and I hope you enjoy it. In his answers he gives inks to his books. I recommend reading the first book first (duh!) because of the necessary groundwork it provides, as well as the fact that it’s where the story starts. You won’t regret it.

Here is the interview:

Q:  Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
A:  Just an ordinary guy. Joined the military and spent the first 10 years doing repair on aircraft communication and satellite systems. Medical issues while in Africa forced me to change careers so managed AF clubs, both enlisted and officer.

Q:  What are your ambitions for your writing career?
A:  That my books become popular and enjoyed. No dreams of major dollars, just readers that like the works.

Q:  Which writers inspire you?
A:  Sorry to say, the names are long gone from my memory. I read everything I could get my hands on when I was a youngster. My main addiction became sci-fi. The pulp mags and Daw double sided books. I loved the stories, of course back then, stories where mostly about how something worked then moving to story. These days a writer says, “We activated the warp drive.” That tends to cover it.

Q:  So, what have you written?
A:  My first book was a cookbook, simple foods and mostly foods bad for you. Second was a steampunk novel, and third was the sequel. All of them are on Amazon. I have a blog I post to, as the mood moves me covering what I am working on as well as my take on writing, and I guess things that could be called writing tips.

Q:  Where can we buy or see them?
A:  My author page on Amazon is . I am working with Amazon to get my sequel that was released mid July linked to my author page. A direct link to the sequel is .

Q:  Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
A:  The central character is a Captain/owner of an airship. He is always trying to do the right thing and stand up for others but he is a rotten fighter.

Q:  What genre are your books?
A:  Steampunk. Generally steampunk takes place in the Victorian era with the dress and attitudes of the time. Steampunk can have anything that can be imagined as long as it is mechanical or steam powered. Basic electricity is available as well. It is a sub genre of sci-fi.

Q:  What draws you to this genre?
A:  I have no idea. Perhaps because the freedom of sci-fi letting the imagination roam, combined with the hope and optimism for the future.

Q:  Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
A:  I am an odd ball on that. I only see it with unknowns. Type cast stars would deflect from the characters and story.

Q:  When did you decide to become a writer?
A:  I wrote short stories in high school, and wrote a novel in the mid 70’s ( which got lost ).

Q:  Do you write full-time or part-time?
A:  If I am working on a book, it is full time, either at the keys or thinking about it.

Q:  Where do your ideas come from?
A:  Like most writers a thought or image comes to mind and it just keep expanding. On my first steampunk novel, I had a clear vision of the opening and the end, but nothing in between. I had to write it to find out how it got from A to B. The second, I had a vision of the start, I had to write it to see how it ended.

Q:  How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
A:  My mind has always been able to visualize, but I think in the process of writing over time, I have learned to listen to the voices in my head and close my eyes and see scenes.

Q:  What is the hardest thing about writing?
A:  Editing. ‘Nuff said.

Q:  What is the easiest thing about writing?
A:  I don’t think there is an easy but the easiest and best is when I see a scene playing like a movie in my head and my fingers try to keep up

Q:  What are your thoughts on writing a book series”
A:  I am doing that now. I don’t know how many total it will be as when I did the first one, I thought that would be it, but just the finish, thoughts of the second crept in. I thought I would take a nice break before doing a third but nooooo … the voices and visions have started already for a book 3.

Q:  Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
A:  First book, I hired an editor. XXX second I relied on writing groups, beta readers and lots of odd editing techniques.

Q:  What advice would you give to your younger self?
A:  Start writing now. Don’t wait.

Q:  Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A:  I have seen this question before and have thought what would be my answer. No one came to mind. If I had to pick, either Jules Verne or H G Wells. They are the ones that broke the molds on story writing.

Spread the word. This is good stuff!

Final Read Through

Today I am doing the final read through of Ascension of Peary before sending it to the editor. I’ve been through all my beta’s comments, accepted most but not all, and now I’m reading for missing words, homophones, dialog tags, etc. All the annoying things my editor should catch, but shouldn’t have to.

I really want to get this sent off because I’ve started two other stories. One is a steampunk mystery, but I haven’t figured out a few steps yet, and it’s harder to do mystery by the seat of one’s pants. The other started as a short story on the same world as Ascension of Peary. It is, after all, an empire with 100 duchies, principalities and states in it. I figured I could write a short story and give it away free to whet people’s appetite for Peary. I’m not sure I’m constitutionally able to write a short story. I start with a suitably tiny idea and it grows like a weed as I sleep. I’m now thinking that short story I started is at least a novella.

I suspect it takes more self-control to write a short story than I have currently available to me. Maybe come winter, but now it’s summer, and ice cream season, and that is fatal to my sense of self-control.

Ascension of Peary is available for pre-order on Kindle, with a publication date of September 18. In case you’re interested. No picture is available there, but you can see the cover (minus the blurb) on my home page.

The Book is at the Beta-Reader

The book is done, first edited, off to the beta-reader, and ready to go the real editor in a week to 10 days. I’m giving her a month but the target date of September 18 is looking more and more plausible. I haven’t heard if my young fan is still enthralled, but I do have a confession to make. As I was writing the last twenty pages or so, I had to resolve an issue. I did so in the only way that made sense to me. And I cried. Editing it, I cried again. Maybe I’m just a wuss, but I look forward to my beta-reader’s take on the scene. If it passes that test, then it stays and I’ll get to find out out if others feel the way I do.

There’s part of me that wonders if this happens to other writers, that you write a scene with characters you have some feeling for, and find it is difficult to take. I am a pantser, as I have said numerous times on this blog. I write the story the characters tell me. It is, to my way of thinking, their truth, not mine. One of my pantser friends says, “Surprise the writer, surprise the reader.” If this is true, then I won’t worry about it.

The book will in all likelihood be available on Kindle and Amazon on September 18. it is called Ascension of Peary, and it is aimed at young to mid teens. I’m still trying to figure out what that group is called. YA?

My book is nearly finished!

I have written 4,000 of the projected 8,000 words to bring my book, Ascension of Peary, to an end. It will rest for two days and then I will edit this last part. It then goes to my beta reader, and my editor when I get it back from the beta reader. My projected publish date is September 18 on Amazon both for kindle and for trade paperback.

I workshopped with my buddies at the Burlington Writers Workshop last Wednesday. and they liked it but wanted it more literary. Then I told them that I was projecting it for ages 12 to 18. That changed the whole atmosphere, and we discussed the possibility of workshopping it with kids. We did not think that would work, so I went home in a bit of a funk.

I got an email about an hour later, with the subject “Your first Young Adult fan.” It turns out one of the participants got home and found her 9 year old was still awake. She decided to read him the first five or six pages of the 34 I had produced. He made her read it all, and then asked her to go download more. When she said there was no more to download, she quotes him as saying “That was amazing! I need to hear more. It’s so awesome. I can’t wait to hear what happens when she turns 18!” My first review! Admittedly for only a tiny piece, but it was good for my ego. I’ve sent her another 4000 words to share with him on the drive to his grandmother’s house, and we’ll see if he’s still enthralled.

Even better, another member of the group has two granddaughters at the lower end of my age spectrum. She will be sharing with them, and I will wait with bated breath to hear their response.

I’m so excited!

It’s Official: Trolls are Sociopaths

Nicholas wrote this last fall, but it’s still good science! And it explains so much.

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksHave you been on the receiving end of a troll attack or a flame war? You can take comfort in the thought that you’re not alone – and that trolls are, officially, sadists.

My friend Jack Eason alerted me to a link between trolls and sadism, discovered by Personality and Individual Differences. The journal published a study that confirms what we all suspected: internet trolls are really messed up.

Specifically, Canadian researchers conducted two internet studies with over 1,200 people. They gave personality tests to each subject, along with a survey about their internet commenting behavior. They were looking for evidence that linked trolling with the Dark Tetrad of personality: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadistic personality.

These are technical terms; google them for the formal definitions: it’s worth your time, for the aha! Moment of recognizing an ex-boss, boyfriend or girlfriend.

Anyway, the researchers found that Dark…

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