HEY THERE! One more shameless plug here at Welcome to Bridgetown to let you know that my new book is still on sale for ONLY A BUCK FIFTY at Smashwords! It’s available in all formats including Nook and Kindle. Today’s the last day of the sale, though, then it’s going back up to the insane price of $2.99. Go get it before it’s too late!
Yes! I know some of you readers out there are also bloggers (and some of you are even GoodReads members), so I’ll lay it out: interested in a fun, quick read about the shenanigans of a bunch of teenage rockers in the 90s? Love reading music bios that reveal all the sordid secrets behind the fame? Interested in doing a review either on your site or at GoodReads?
Let me know by commenting here or emailing me directly at joncwriter (at) yahoo dot com (with the subject line ‘Andersonville’) and I can hook you up with A FREE COPY OF THE E-BOOK, whichever format you need! All I ask in return is that you provide a review, either at GoodReads or on your blog. Doesn’t need to be anything long-winded — even just a starred rating will do!
For your enjoyment…something I wrote Thursday afternoon for my daily 750 Words. It’s a rough draft of an idea I’ve had for the past month or so. The setting is an apartment complex in a suburb of a sprawling mega-city, where its tenants are of all kinds: humans, aliens, monsters, mythical beasts. It’s a Studio Ghibli-inspired story about a young kid living at this complex (whose family owns and runs it) and his adventures meeting all kinds of beings, getting to know their lives, eccentricities, and maybe even starting a few friendships in the process.
This is most likely going to be my next project after Meet the Lidwells, and I’m looking forward to writing and self-pubbing it.
I’ve put the passage under this here cut. Hope you enjoy it.
Hi there and thank you to those who stopped by for my reading earlier today, or will stop by on my panel tonight! Or even if you saw the url for this blog from my flyer on the freebie table. Glad you stopped by! As a n00b self-pubbed author, it really means a lot to me. 😀
…that I sat down in the food court at Solomon Pond Mall and wrote the first pages of The Phoenix Effect. The timestamp (something I do when writing longhand) shows 10:30, which I recall was later that evening — the original first pages were full of scratch-outs and mistakes, but the prose is the same. This was the start of a new project that would take me through multiple Day Jobs, multiple years, and multiple apartments.
You might notice a few things here:
–Nehalé Usarai was named Halley Brown here, a holdover from True Faith. [The name itself was inspired by the play between rocker Bill Haley and Halley’s Comet. I morphed the name to its present form when I started on the revision that became A Division of Souls.]
–This version starts just like ADoS does, with Nehalé/Halley on the side of the Mirades Tower. The Tower hadn’t been given a name yet…it was just known as ‘The Tower’ for now. The original version also had him at the 92nd floor, which was kept almost up until the last minute, when I felt he needed to be even higher up and changed it sometime in 2015 to the 142nd floor. There are a few failed attempts that were written not that long before this, but they never got past a few pages as I was unhappy with them. One failed version opens not with Nehalé but two alien characters (who would morph into Ashyntoya and Akaina Shalei a short time later) witnessing explosions at a nullport terminal.
–“High up.” That was the opening sentence for years until I chose to cut it sometime in 2012 or so, replacing it instead with Nehalé using innerspeak to say ‘dehndarra Né hra nyhndah.’
–I originally had Nehalé armed, but I decided soon after that I didn’t want guns to be a part of this story…not when they had psionic powers they could use instead. (I also have very limited knowledge of automatic weapons, something I never had an interest in.) The name of his pistol (Shrieve) was named after Michael Shrieve, a drummer that was briefly in a group with Sammy Hagar called HSAS. That gun name originally popped up in True Faith.
–The geography of the Bridgetown Sprawl in The Phoenix Effect is exactly the same as what we see in the three finished books, complete with the names. [Although I changed ‘The Docks’ to ‘the Waterfront Sector’ soon after.] Pullock Street Heights was inspired by Sandra Bullock, with the name slightly changed. I-90 was named after I-90 in Massachusetts, aka The Mass Pike, which was just down the road from the mall.
–It’s not on this page, but Halley will mention the name ‘Mihari’ a page or so later. This was the original name for the Mendaihu, and taken from the Japanese word for ‘guard’. The Shenaihu’s original name was ‘Misuteru’, which is Japanese for ‘abandon’. These were in use for years until I chose to use names of my own making instead, maybe around 2013 or so. ‘Mihari’ was the original name in this universe back in the winter 1993 attempts, and was of course inspired by all the anime I’d started watching about that time.
–A much darker, more cynical approach to the prose. I’ll admit, I was going for the William Gibson cyberpunk feel. I phased that out early on, realizing that mimicking someone else’s style rarely ever works out well for me. And instead of Nehalé’s intense Awakening Ritual, he’d started a chain reaction of explosions around the city (climactic scene of V for Vendetta, anyone?), which basically did the same thing as the present version only with a hell of a lot more violence and destruction.
–Ah yes…the chapter titles. I’d given each chapter the title of a song (oh so creative and typical of me…eesh) that tied in with the plot of the chapter. ‘Ring of Fire’ refers to the Johnny Cash song as well as the ring of explosions that causes the mass Awakening. I dropped those when I was working on ADoS in 2000. The NEW chapter names are a relatively recent addition, added when I was finalizing the initial post-production for the e-book.
It’s kind of fun looking at this early version, which is still in its original spiral bound notebook. After a year or so of not really getting anywhere with True Faith or any of my other writing, it felt absolutely great to dive into something that I felt strongly about, something that I knew I could expand into something big. It was when I got serious with my writing habits. When I’d decided that my Day Jobs would be my paychecks, but my writing would be my lifelong career. When I knew I was going to be in it for the long haul.
And in a superb bit of serendipity, I’ll be reading the first chapter of A Division of Souls tomorrow at FOGCon. Exactly twenty years and one day after I’d written the above first page.
Suffice it to say, it’s been a hell of an interesting ride from then to now, but it was worth it every step of the way.
See, this is my problem sometimes. Maybe it’s an empathy gene that I’m unable to turn off. Maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing where I automatically feel guilty for whatever is going on in the world, even if I had nothing to do with it. Maybe it’s that I haven’t done enough to train myself to be proactive instead of reactive. Empathy’s good, sure. I’m glad I have the ability to utilize it. But I’m really sick of getting caught in that Everything Is Horrible Nothing Is Fine reaction. It’s not debilitating to me as I can manage how much media I take in, but it is distracting.
I say this here at WtBt, because this reactive part of me is not conducive to my creativity. On the contrary, it usually stops it cold. And I fucking hate that. This is why this post is so late today. I just could not find anything worth writing about last night, and I had to beg off so I could get my editing done.
So. What to do about that.
I’m not going to be a blissed-out hippie or an e-head raver and avoid the world. It’s kind of too late and I’m too old for that. But what I can do is be healthier on the emotional/spiritual end of things. [By now, you know by ‘spiritual’ I mean mind-and-body stuff and not religion. Not dissing it, just that I’m not looking for that right now.] Give myself a more positive outlook on life. Be more proactive on how I process things in the Big Bad World rather than just being reactive about it.
And in the process, that just might open up more creative avenues for me.
Okay, so I’ve done my End of Year reviews, my Coming Year Expectations, and my mixtape listing. I think I’ve covered all the typical year end benchmark posts. Now what?
It’s been quite the busy year for me. Most of my writing time was spent carving up The Balance of Light for publication. And right now, I still don’t think it’s fully hit me that, once that book has been released, that this long project of the trilogy will finally be DONE, and that for the first time in ages, I will have absolutely nothing on my project list.
I mean, yeah, I’m looking forward to not having the trilogy hanging over my head. But it’s been far too long since I’ve been able to start a new project without thinking, how can I juggle this with the trilogy? Not just that, I’m also really looking forward to writing NEW stories in that universe that are not directly related to it.
Other than the two or three possible projects (and the possible Secret Long Term Project) I have to think of, what else can I add here?
Well, for starters I’d like to shake things up a little bit. Perhaps try a new genre. Write shorter fiction. Hone my nonfic writing skills. Expand my reading habits. Focus a little less on social media (heh, yeah right) and more on self-promotion in multiple avenues. Believe my gut instincts more instead of flailing in Reactive Mode. Follow up on bursts of inspiration as soon as possible. Staying positive despite the odds. Get creative not just on the writing end of things, but artistically as well as commercially.
And most importantly, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE.
I’m a hell of a better guitarist than I was a few years ago, and that’s mainly because I’ve made it a point to practice more often, even if it’s just to pick up one of my axes and noodle around on it for ten minutes when I really should be focusing on my Day Job. [Well, that, and making a concerted effort to expand my knowledge of chords past the plain major-minor ones. Playing along with the Beatles has helped that considerably.] If I make it a point to exercise my creative muscles every day and expand my knowledge at the same time, I can only get better at them.
That’s my plan, anyway.
See you in 2017, kids. Stay safe, stay strong.
“Talk hard…I like that. It’s like a dirty thought in a nice clean mind.”
— Mark Hunter, Pump Up the Volume
Due to complete and utter incompetence of AT&T in failing to upgrade our internet to Uverse and then failing to reverse the request correctly, and THEN turning off our DSL connection TWICE in one week (because this is what happens when you go purely by work tickets and little to no contact between departments), there will be no post today.
At present I am hoping they get their shit together and make the needed fixes, at least until our new service with a different carrier kicks in later this month.