Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book 2: Part 2

I have started on Book 2, I'm about 6,000 words in.  I've written four chapters, any of which could probably be the first chapter, but I have one in particular of which I am fond.  The character I've created to oppose Sarah Dayson in book 2 will be vile, a user, and a sociopath.

I submitted the chapter with the antagonist as my second submission to the Zebulon writing contest. It's probably not nearly as well edited as the first entry, but hey, I'm running out of time.

The bad man's name is Garrette Orson. I can't tell you much more about him, because I don't want to give too much away as spoilers.  But he is a vile person. Writing him is both completely creepy and a bit invigorating as a test of what nastiness I'm capable of thinking up.  Orson is going to be much more horrible as a human being than Merik (from book 1) ever was.

Orson is completely disrespectful of women, something rare in his society. Since his fleet is no longer in Alliance space, however, he sees an opportunity to change the rules to what he likes them to be.

Here is an excerpt:


“Those look like toys,” Commander Heinrich, the Schein’s XO said, laughing. “What are you going to do, play us to death?” She started unstrapping her acceleration webbing, a step Captain Lorre followed.
Orson pointed his weapon at Heinrich’s leg and pulled the trigger. A loud popping sound slammed into Orson’s ears, momentarily stunning him.

Blood flowed from the Commander’s leg, coagulating in deep red spheres which floated on the air currents. She slumped in her webbing as she screamed, “You son of a bitch!”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book 2: Legacy

I've decided to set Book 1 aside for a few week to a month.  When I come back to it, I won't have the close attachment to it I do now and will better catch any remaining errors.

So what to do?  Start book 2, of course.  Working title is "Legacy".

I'm three chapters in, and have written my first chapter to include the POV of a Hive "character".  I have that in quotes because the Hive are not individuals as you and I are. The Hive are much more fluid, exchanging bits and pieces with each other in order to maximize computational strength.

Anyway, here is a taste of the Hive.

        Bn76249x00 orbited over ZD2383. The humans called it Hamor. The small scout moved into a slightly higher orbit with each revolution around the planet. It had sensors extended, a woven web of nanites a dozen kilometers in diameter. Within the woven chain individual nanites had configured themselves to detect individual elements or compounds. Alliance ships were each different, each left its own distinct trail of chemical detritus for Bn76249x00 to catalog and, if need be, follow.

Bn76249x00 replayed the open signal it had captured during the battle over this particular world.

“Mr. Gilbert, notify all surviving fleets that Seventh Fleet is retreating to rendezvous position gamma.” 

Bn76249x00 cross indexed the voice print with the chemical signature it was currently detecting. The voice print and chemical signature matched a human battlecruiser designated Michael Stennis and the captain of the vessel, Captain Sarah Dayson. Captain Dayson was designated a top priority for colonization or elimination. Bn76249x00 assigned the location of the chemical traces top priority in its search. It used subsequent orbital passes to detect a projected path for the Michael Stennis based upon density and composition of the chemical signature of the trail.

Several dozen orbits later, Bn76249x00 determined the projected path of the Michael Stennis, but it made no rational sense. The path was clear, but in a direction unexpected by Bn76249x00. That was not the only problem. The dispersal pattern for the trail was different than usual, and the density of the chemical trail indicated an unexpected rate of speed faster than light. It paused for several billion calculation cycles while it considered the possibilities, and decided that the calculation limits of Bn76249x00 required a larger network. Bn76249x00 changed course and approached a mobile base for docking and network integration. Bn76249x00’s computational ability would increase orders of magnitude once docked. 

After docking with mobile base FWt78Ydn857, Bn76249x00 integrated itself into the larger neural net of the base. Moments later Bn76249x00 jettisoned its propulsion unit, a decision having been made. Captain Sarah Dayson and her fleet must have a new drive system, and an unknown base existed upon her departure vector. Calculations indicated a high probability the base lay withing the Abzurrin Abyss, a bubble of deep space with few stars near the top of the Sagittarius arm. 

Bn76249x00 was outfitted with an FTL capable drive core and departed to pursue the Stennis into the Abzurrin Abyss with the intention of locating the base and directing node fleets to destroy it.

Bn76249x00 followed the chemical trail away from ZD2383 to ensure it was on the proper vector, then withdrew its nanite lattice into the body of the spacecraft. Once secured within, Bn76249x00 spun up his singularity and entered FTL. It jumped a short distance, found the highest density of molecules indicating the proper vector for jumping after the Stennis, then jumped again. Bn76249x00 jumped about one light year at a time, reverifying the scent and vector, then jumping again. The scent was very diffused, much more than the trail left by a ship moving at regular FTL speeds. Bn76249x00, however, was an experienced scout. Its subroutines had been optimized for difficult hunts, and expanded to consider the irrational responses possible by a human prey.

Months later Bn76249x00 stopped at the edge of the Abyss, and scanned. It detected nothing, but there was a lot of space to search. Bn76249x00 set to the task with machine efficiency.

Friday, October 18, 2013


I finished the second rewrite of my book, and that's exciting right?  I should want to get right into editing on the third pass, right?


I'm spending my weekend doing anything BUT writing.  I'm thinking about driving to Denver to go to the computer store there.  I'm thinking about going to Camping World and looking at fifth wheel campers.  I'm definitely going to play some computer games.  I'm an avid computer gamer, I love them. Right now a game called Distant Worlds by Matrix Games has my attention. You run a galactic empire. No Hive, but there are pirates.  Arrrghh.

So Monday (probably) I'll get back to it.  Until then, it's time to goof off.

My 8 and 9 year old kids kicked me in the pants at Wii Bowling today.  They're bowling in the 180s, I'm bowling in the 130s.  Sad really.  But, you know, kids these days. Or whatever it is that middle aged men are supposed to blame it on when their kids kick their butts at console games.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

6 days?

Has it really been six days since my last entry?

That's because I have been BUSY!

I took my daughter to a drama lab last night, it was awesome.  I was really impressed with her participation in a group that was older than her. She jumped right in and read her parts in the plays the group wanted to share without hesitation. I'm a proud Dad.

I also have been writing quite a bit.  I wrote my romance chapter, of course, took it to critique group where they kicked my butt and gave me some suggestions for rewriting.  So I rewrote the entire chapter except for some good lines I wanted to keep.

I also did second revision on Chapters 37-40. 

I have 11 more chapters to revise, and probably 4 or maybe 5 Captain's Log chapters to write. 

After that I print the entire book, chapter by chapter and do my own hardcopy edit. Once that's done, all 55 chapters, I will enter my edits into the computer and call it a finished product.

Then I'll need two or three beta readers to read the book for me, checking for any errors I might have missed, on my science and math, and looking for any plot holes. 

Once I get the reports back from the beta readers, I make any changes I like from their suggestions/fixes, then it is REALLY in final copy.

After that I ship the first 50 pages off to Jabberwocky and wait to see if I pick up an agent.

It's all seeming a lot closer when I type it out like this.  Hopefully "soon" it will be done.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Writing romance

Writing anything mushy, romantic, lovey-dovey, erotic... I've never done it before.

Tonight I rewrote my Chapter 36, totally changing it from a meeting of two officers who discuss recent events to a meeting of two officers who get down and get busy.

I have no idea if it's good or not, I don't even READ romance novels. But these two characters had to get busy, the story demanded it. So busy they got, and I'm going to tap into my resource of friends, fellow writers, and the FBI crime lab computers to determine if this is acceptable romance or not.

I just wish it wasn't 1:15am so I could ask someone now.  I'm sort of in a hurry to either move on to Ch. 37 or to fix this chapter if I screwed it up too bad.

Patience is not my greatest virtue.

EDIT:  on a side note, I entered this novel in the Zebulon Writer's Contest last night.  That felt good.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Getting older...

I'm having heart tests done.  My cholesterol is, according to the doctors office I just talked too, "troublesome". 

I'm not sure what that means, but hey, I've spent a lifetime being trouble. Not least of all for myself.

But I find the indignity of growing older to be the most troublesome of all things.  Your body starts to fail you in ways that rob you of your dignity, and eventually your mind does the same.  Unless providence removes you early, you finish life the same way you start it, in diapers and drooling on yourself.  Probably just as stinky too.

I'm only 47 (to which my daughter would say, "only?") but I can see it coming down the tracks. I keep my mind healthy, but I haven't really done the same for the rest of me. So I'm converting my desk into a standing/sitting desk, so that I might try to stand more.  My wife and I are talking about buying a Total Gym and changing our basement into a place to get into shape.  I'll believe it when I see it, but I respond well to the reward/task instructional method so I'll probably be fit as Hell if I'm rewarded with sex, delicious food, or a 1963 Corvette.  Any or all in a combination will do.  An old Apache pickup truck would do as well.  Or a Model A Cabriolet.

But even if the hook sinks in and I go for that bait, it's just a matter of time.

Where the hell is the cyborg future I was promised as a kid?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Some science in the science fiction

I will, of course, try to explain more as time passes of the science that I'm putting in my books.  There are some liberties, but I do try to stick to the science as much as possible.

Here are a couple of examples. 

This is a link to a paper that discusses gravity, specifically gravity waves (which carry my fifth force in the novel) and gravitons (which are used in the FTL drive system of the Michael Stennis).

If it is found that gravity exists in waves, or in gravitons, it will potentially be possible to alter them in some fashion, just as it was recently discovered that photons could be altered to create a new state of pseudo-matter.

In the backstory of my book, Schwarzchild-Kerr lenses manipulate gravity like a glass lens manipulates light to some degree, although not to the point that it allows artificial gravity on ships.  The SK lens allows the FTL drive to warp space before and behind the fleet of ships that move FTL.

Another thing, and I found this after I wrote the description of black holes as writhing demons into my story, is this:

This is interesting, because I have the adepts in my book refer to black holes as "tentacled demons" because of the unevenness of gravity around them. 

I love when science catches up to my fiction before I'm even able to get it published. ;)