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Archive for April, 2018

So, I have a new deadline. When I raised my head out of first draft mode and started working on revisions to BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING,

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I realized something. I have five of my books–including the prequel novella to the BECOME series–scheduled for a group promotion over the first weekend in May–a May the Fourth promotion, as in “May the Fourth be with you.”

And that is a perfect time to start getting a little promotion for this next book, specifically by getting buy links for it into my other books–especially the ones in the promotion. Now, fortunately, that doesn’t mean that I have to have all the revisions done. I can get a buy link by putting it up for pre-order. And I always planned to have this book out around May or early June at the latest, anyway. That’s way sooner than the 90 days Amazon permits for a per-order.

What I do need to do is get a really good feel for how long I think these revisions will take and add a bit of cushion, plus the ten days Amazon insists the final version be uploaded before publication. The best way to do that is to get as far as I can in the next week or so. Because I will need a little time to revise my other books to include the new buy link. And I will have to set the release date when I set up the pre-order.

Just in case you’re interested, these are the books that will be free from May 4th thru May 6th:

Because of the complexities of making a book that’s published wide (rather than exclusive to Amazon) free, THE SHAMAN’S CURSE is already free.

So, back into the revisions trenches for me.

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It’s time. I will now be pausing work on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM

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in order to start the revisions on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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There’s still one critique outstanding, but I’m going to go ahead and start anyway.

I got BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM to the midpoint and it’s almost certainly a good idea to pause while I’ve got a good idea (and notes) on what’s going to happen in the next couple of chapters. That way, hopefully, I won’t lose very much momentum when I switch back again in a month or so.

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This is another on of those discovery writer issues–but a good one. I’m still writing out some of the consequences of that escape in my last post. For Kaleran. But also, as I consider it, this little contretemps is likely to set the antagonist off balance. Maybe make him do something . . . ill-considered, hasty. Which, actually, is just about what should happen at about the midpoint of the story, in this case BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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The trick will be to keep it from precipitating things too fast, because this is still only the midpoint. But, I think I’ve got that covered by what a couple of other characters are about to do next.

This is why I’m still a (mostly) discovery writer. I love discovering the story while I’m writing it. This is what keeps it fun for me.

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Kaleran is still surprising me. Turns out he’s sneaky, too. Well, with his past, he almost had to be, but I hadn’t planned on that. Well, no doubt it will prove useful elsewhere in the plot, too.

Here’s a snippet I just wrote from BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Someone thought they could lock him in the same cellar they used to lock him in when he was a lot younger. Someone also forgot that he’d escaped from that cellar before, because they think the door wasn’t really locked that time.

“What are you doing?” Alander—Uncle Alander—asked.

“Getting us out of here.”

“I tried the door already. It’s too strong.” He stopped and eyed Kaleran for a moment, then shook his head. “There’s no way to get a good grip on it, so probably too strong for you, too.”

Kaleran smiled grimly. “I’ve been in this Tower for thirteen years. I spent a good deal of that time figuring out how to evade or escape from Uncle Cordan.” He grimaced. “Until he started sending troops of Tower guards after me, anyway.”

He reached up to shoulder height with only a slight wince and counted three bricks over from the door frame. He grasped the brick and tried to pull it out. Hmm. Maybe Uncle Cordan had discovered his secret after all. He ran a finger around the top of the brick. Nothing. Around the bottom. Oh, right. He hadn’t been quite as tall back then. He dropped his hand to the brick immediately below and tugged. It pulled out easily, revealing a shallow space just large enough for the small hammer hidden there. It was a little rusty, after all this time, but that wouldn’t matter.

“What’s that for?” Uncle Alander asked.

“Rel—” Kaleran cut himself off. He wasn’t ready to reveal Reldan’s existence just yet. “A friend once told me that it’s always wisest to attack at the weakest point. The weakest point of a door is the hinges. And this door has hinges on the inside.” Something Uncle Cordan never had realized, apparently.

The other man smiled. “Ah.”

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I introduced Kaleran in this post. He’s not behaving according to plan. And it started right there.

His character arc in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM was supposed to be a redemption arc. The character who was deceived into the wrong path but changed sides in time.

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He’s not playing along with that plan at all. And I’m not really surprised after that start. This is what sometimes happens to a discovery writer. Characters go off script and, since the script itself–A.K.A. the outline–is very vague anyway, there’s less chance of reining them back around.

Very often, though, I find I prefer what flows over what I had planned, anyway. More often than not, it feels more authentic for the character. And this is still only a first draft. Anything can be changed in the revisions. (Some changes just involve more pain.) So, I’m going to see where this leads. Who knows, events may still lead him back to where I planned for him to go. Or to someplace better.

Fortunately, the other characters are so far sticking to the script.

 

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And, finally, the (probably) last POV character, Cordan. The antagonist. He was more of an obstacle in BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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But he’s had time to consolidate some power of his own–that he doesn’t want to lose–and become a true antagonist in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Cordan is unlike most of his many half-brothers. They’re all big, strong warriors. A childhood injury kept him from that path. He didn’t have the right temperament for diplomacy. But he was quick to recognize an opportunity in the vacuum during Gaian’s long process of Becoming a god.

Even though he and Gaian never liked each other, he’s started a temple to the Sky God–who doesn’t, yet, exist. And, as long as there is no Sky God, Cordan can pretty much do what he wants. He’s got a vested interest in seeing that Gaian does not succeed.

Here’s his introduction in the second book:

Sitting in his office on the top floor of the Temple Tower—one floor higher than his brother’s neighboring Palace—Cordan unclenched his fist and smoothed out the page his clerk had just brought to him. It wouldn’t do for the man—for anyone—to realize the importance of this particular prophecy. At his request, the Goddess’s Temple sent over copies of all new prophecies so that the New Temple could maintain their own Book of Prophecies. Not that there were that many—maybe two or three in a year. Still, Cordan read each one before it was bound into his copy of the Book. This was the one he had been dreading all these years.

Fatherless, Weather has grown strong and true,

Taught and guided by blood, protected by blood and Temple.

Now the time arrives to seek his lost father and complete the prophecy.

For nearly twenty years, he’d had completely free rein to make the New Temple whatever he wanted. To rule it as if it were his own small but growing kingdom. After this long Cordan had nearly convinced himself that Gaian had failed at something after all and there was no danger of a Sky God arising to interfere with him. He’d even begun to loosen his hold—just slightly—on Kaleran if only because a very frustrated young man with nearly Gaian’s strength was almost as much a danger as Gaian’s success would be. Seemed he’d been a bit premature on both counts.

So, he needed a new plan—and fast. Well, Kaleran was still mostly under his control. Enough, certainly to keep him tight around this tower—and away from wherever “Weather” was supposed to go to find his “lost father.” But Cordan hadn’t really believed Kaleran was the one of Gaian’s sons he needed to concern himself with for years now. It was the other one he needed to worry about. The one whose location he’d only been able to guess at since the princess and her whelp had disappeared seventeen years ago.

He stood up and walked over to the big table, spreading out the map and weighting its corners to keep it flat. Not in Juturna, he was certain of that, at least. “Protected by blood and Temple.” Eh, well not his Temple, that much was certain. And if the Goddess’s Temple knew where the boy was, they obviously weren’t going to tell him.

This could mean trouble for Margan. And Gaian. And Rose. And Kaleran. Well, trouble is what an antagonist does best.

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Today it’s Merlanan’s turn to be introduced. Well, reintroduced. He first appears, briefly, at the end of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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But, of course he was much younger, then.

Here’s his first scene in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM:

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Margan patted Sunbeam’s shoulder as he finished up brushing the palomino warhorse down. The palomino had been a birthday gift, three years ago, brought all the way over the mountains from Versenna by Uncle Alander on one of his regular trips as private courier for secure messages between Mother and her family. The gift had only made Margan more restless.

As long as he could remember, Margan had known that he didn’t belong in Khatar. There was something he was meant to be doing and it wasn’t on this side of the mountains. That feeling had been growing stronger the last couple of years. Well, probably it would have grown stronger anyway, but having his own horse to make the journey with hadn’t done anything to lessen it, certainly. Probably neither Mother, Uncle Alander, nor Grandfather had really expected it to.

He desperately wanted to go visit the place where his father had died, too. Just to feel some connection with the man he’d never had a chance to meet. Not that he was expecting to find anything but the cairn, but . . . .

The spring equinox—and his birthday—was in three days. He’d be eighteen. Margan meant to leave soon after, but he still needed to persuade Mother and the others that he was old enough to undertake this journey. Finally. With the king on their side, they had the power—if not the right—to stop him.

He lifted his face briefly to the sky, feeling for the currents of weather, and smiled. Yes, he was certain the weather would remain good for at least that long.

He gave Sunbeam another pat. “Wish me luck, boy.” Margan’s cat, Mrow, followed, tail high.

As is hinted at the end, there, he does have an ability to sense changes in the weather that will play an important part later on.

In other news, the first of the critiques of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING has come back. I plan to get the next two chapters of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM done before going back to revisions. I can see those chapters in my head, so now’s the time to get them out.

Based on that critique, though, I’m also going to have some thinking to do about how to publish these two stories. They’re very closely tied together. And I hate cliff hangers. But it was unavoidable in this case. So, I need to figure out how I’m going to handle that.

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