AROW80 Update for 6/27/18

Editing to add: consider this my last post for AROW80 Round 2 of 2018. I’ll be posting my Round 3 goals post soon.

Hi! It’s been a while since I updated, mainly due to circumstances that are almost entirely under my control and which amount to “I wanted to do something else” instead of posting an update. So, here we are.

First things first: Omegas: Cake Walk proceeds slowly. I’m working on Chapter Twenty-One and I’ve hit a wall.  The reason for the wall is that I’m about to unveil some information that is going to be crucial to figuring out What’s Really Going On — so, the information has to make sense and be consistent with what I’ve previously written. Or at least not so wildly divergent from what I’ve already done that editing will be even tougher than it’s going to be.

On the plus side, I’ve got an idea of what the Crucial Information is going to be and how to go about explaining it, so it’s just a question of getting the words to cooperate and get out of my head and onto the page.  The easy part, right?

*laughs hysterically, weeps a bit, laughs a bit more* Yeahhh, so, on to other things..

The month of June is proceeding apace. There’s not a whole lot to report. Work is work. Amazon Prime has season 20 of Midsomer Murders, which is happy-making.

On the Netflix side of things, I started watching Colony and really enjoyed the first season. Very nicely done story about alien invasion that reminds me of a more grown-up version of the miniseries “V” from back in the 1980s.

Also watched some of the later seasons of Death in Paradise which is a fun little British mystery series set in the Caribbean and features Danny John-Jules as one of the local constabulary (he played Cat in Red Dwarf). They did something really interesting when the show switched detectives in the third season that I won’t discuss as it’s a massive spoiler. There’s a cute lizard in the show too.

Reading-wise, I read a really, really great book recently: Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (link goes to the author’s page and her summary of the book).  It’s a book that I bought after reading the first couple pages of the sample I got from Amazon and I read it in about two days during downtimes at work. It’s one of those books that I kept switching out of because I didn’t want to finish it too soon.

The premise behind the book is this: the dead began to rise during the Civil War, leading to the Blue and the Grey ganging up against the Green, so to speak. As part of the effort to prevent the zombie apocalypse, African American and Native American children were placed in combat schools and taught to fight the dead.

The main character, Jane McKeene, was born two days before the dead began to walk and, when we meet her, she’s in her senior year at a prestigious academy that trains African-American girls to be “Attendants” to wealthy white families — think of them as a combination ladies’ maid and anti-zombie bodyguard. What Jane really wants is to go home to the Kentucky plantation where she was born and help protect her mother and the people she grew up with from the threat of “shamblers.”  (Yeah, it’s another case of a zombie story avoiding the Z-word but considering the time period, it works better than ‘zombie’.)

Quick backtrack: the opening line of the book is what sold me on this story. Because Jane talks about how she *almost* didn’t live long enough to see the dead walk because when she was born, the midwife nearly killed her because a dark brown baby wasn’t supposed to come out of the plantation owner’s wife.  With an opening like that, you have to read on to find out more.  And you do and it is worth it.

Dread Nation was right up my street for a few reasons: first, I’m a sucker for well-done historical stories (Lindsey Davis’s Marcus Didius Falco mysteries and the follow-up series featuring his adopted daughter Flavia Albia come to mind as first among equals.). And, from there it’s a hop, skip and a jump to enjoying a good alternate history story (In the Presence of Mine Enemies is a nice example of Harry Turtledove’s alternate history stories and is a standalone).

Dread Nation is also a good example of a post-apocalyptic society, in the literal sense that the apocalypse is over (more or less) by the time the story starts. Society has moved on and adjusted to the new status quo: namely that the dead will rise and someone must put them down when they do. The zombies of Dread Nation are the usual sort: people turn when they are bitten, the ‘fresher’ the corpse, the faster and more agile they are, but by and large the shamblers are rightly named, and the only way to be sure is to decapitate the zombie.  The likely cause of the apocalypse is a virus of some sort — though nobody in the book calls it that, since we’re still pre-germ theory of medicine. Mentions are made of Lister and Pasteur, which made my nerdy self go squee!

There’s even mention of the fact that society is changing even from the events of the apocalypse: Jane and her classmates are concerned about the fact that since the worst of the zombie problem appears to be over, there’s less of a demand for Attendants, except as status objects for wealthy white families. So, if they can’t get hired as Attendants, chances are they’ll end up on an ordinary zombie killing work gang.

As someone who has read a lot of apocalyptic fiction — zombies, nuclear holocaust, etc. — seeing a writer take into account the fact that societies don’t remain static is a huge plus. Especially when I’ve read other post-apocalyptic books where society doesn’t change over a period of several hundred years.  To the point that people six hundred plus years in the future continue to reference 20th century films as if there’s been no other culture in between. But that’s a rant for another day.

As a writer, there was one aspect of Dread Nation that made me sit back and go “Wow!” — namely the way Justina Ireland adapted real history to create her fictional world and also incorporated the real history in as well.

In the afterword, Ireland talks about how she learned about the U.S. government forcibly removed Native American children from their families/tribal groups and sent them to boarding schools (also called industrial schools) to educate them.  If you’ve been reading the news/following current events on social media, you might have heard something about this since it’s being compared to the forced removal of migrant children from their families.  To make a long, disgraceful story of American history short, Native American kids were taken from their families in an effort to forcibly assimilate them into Euro-American culture. This was done by refusing to allow the children to be “Indian” in any way — their clothes were taken from them, their hair cut, they were forced to speak English in an effort to make them forget their native languages, etc.  In addition, all the other sorts of abuses you can expect in a situation where minor children are at the mercy of adults who see them as something less than human happened too.  There’s more information available in the above link or  you can hit up Wikipedia’s article on Indian Boarding Schools.

Ireland isn’t, far as I can tell, Native American herself. Instead of trying to tell her story from a Native American perspective, she adapted the history in order to create a plausible world for Jane to live in. Her reasoning was pretty simple too: if Americans would attempt to “kill the Indian to save the man” (paraphrasing a real quote) during a time of relative peace and prosperity, what lengths would they go to during a disaster of apocalyptic proportions? Particularly to people they already didn’t think of as really people anyway?

Ireland spins out from the idea of boarding schools and uses this to tell a story that layers in questions of race and class as well as who matters in a society. And she does this while also balancing the spinning plates of “crafting a plausible alternate history,” “doing something fresh with the idea of zombies” and “giving you characters you care about.”  She succeeds on all counts and on a few more I didn’t mention.

The other book I read recently (ok, listened to) that touched on current issues was Stephen King’s Firestarter.  Since the library’s going to close in about 15 minutes, I’m not going to get to ramble about this one as much as I’d like so here’s the high points:

  • For an adult man, Stephen King does a halfway decent job of crafting a little girl (ok, it helped he had a daughter who was about Charlie’s age at the time but even still).
  • If you want an example of the use of psychic powers in a prose book, pick up Firestarter. You’ll also want to grab Carrie and Dead Zone, also by King.
  • Dead Zone also does a pretty decent job of portraying someone in a coma and the effects it has on the people around them.
  • If you want an example of the banality of Evil, read Firestarter. The government agents after the McGees are, almost to a one, punch-clock villains who don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.
  • This is a book that couldn’t be written today. Well, it could, but certain plot aspects would have to change. Charlie scavenging change from pay phones for one, and the fact that the government couldn’t issue an Amber Alert for Charlie, among others.
  • King’s older stuff is among his best stuff.

Ok, on that note, I have to pee and I want to go home and eat so I’m out for now. Hopefully you all are having a great week and will continue to do so.

Boilerplate Links:

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

 

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AROW80 Update for June 3 & 6, 2018

Last update, I posted that I’d managed to write a few pages of Omegas: Cake Walk. This update, I am reporting that a goodly chunk of those pages are in the process of being rewritten because what I’d written Just Didn’t Work.  While this is disappointing, it’s not exactly the end of the world, since what I’m writing now works better and I think will give a better flow to the story.  And it gets me closer to the end of the story — which is still the ultimate goal.

Because then I can start editing this sucker!

Right now, I’m at just a bit over 130,000 words and I’m guessing the final draft will be closer to 150,000.  From what I’ve read about the typical word lengths of novels in various genres, science fiction novels usually clock in at anywhere between 90,000-120,00 words since descriptions and/or world-building tend to add to the word count. So, eventually, I’m going to need to start pruning words back but of course, before I can do that, I need to layer on a bunch more words.

It’s kind of like making a big pile of sand before you go about making a sandcastle. You need a big wonking amount of sand all in one spot before you can start removing sand to get to the castle or the mermaid or the life-size Chewbacca that’s your ultimate goal.

And with that clumsy segue, I saw Soio: A Star Wars Story on Monday! And I liked it bunches! No spoiler review is as follows: it was good, it told an origin story without getting too bogged down in layering on bits of lore and gave us a believable version of a young Han Solo that enhances the earlier movies which are set later in his personal timeline. It’s the kind of thing that the Prequel trilogy was going for with Darth Vader but didn’t quite reach.

Also, I loved L3. She speaks to the big, bold, brassy lady robot SJW in my soul.

Boilerplate Links:

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts. You can also request to join The WIPpeteers on Facebook.

 

AROW80 Check-In for 5/13 and 5/16/2018, plus WIPpet Snippet

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, whoever and however they came to be moms. It’s not a road I chose to go down (maternally speaking, I’m a great crazy uncle), but I admire those who have taken on the task. You are seriously awesome.

I know there are writers who refer to their books/stories/etc as their babies but to me, that analogy doesn’t quite hold up. To me, writing is more like owning a cat — it can be trained, but you need to work at it, it’ll do what it wants, when it wants (including waking you up at 4 am because “ooh! Shiny!”) and if you leave it alone with food, water and a litter box for three days, you won’t get arrested.

This is pretty much what I’ve been doing with Chapter Nineteen until today — partly because non-writing life (i.e. the Day Job — which is technically the Night Job but you get the idea) has taken precedence and partly because I’m trying to work out what comes next. I think I have a line on that so, *happy dance*.

One thing I did manage to accomplish was creating a spreadsheet-based timeline for Omegas: Cake Walk — not so much about the events in the story (though that’s next) but about the lives of the characters/historical events that have impacted them. Now, I can sort by character or by year.

I  also set up a spreadsheet for the next Omegas book — tentatively titled Omegas: Long Shot, which is going to involve time travel to North America in the Pleistocene. The sheet tells me what the year would be by the BC/BCE calendar  and in terms of Years Ago.  It’s also allowed me to get a handle on when certain chronologically-indigenous people were born. This pleases me no end.

Spreadsheets are seriously super-helpful. And fun to play with.

# # # # #

WIPpet Math: Going with a stupid-easy choice today: It’s May 16, plus Sunday was a holiday so 16 +1 = 17 and therefore here are seventeen paragraphs from Chapter Five of Omegas: Cake Walk.

What You Need to Know: The Omegas have met with Dr. Lawrence and agreed to take on the task of helping her daughter Mackenzie escape from the cult she’s been a part of for the last few years. They’ve made arrangements to meet Mackenzie the next day at a park where she and some other cult members are going to be doing some recruiting/evangelizing.  For today, Winslow (leader of the Omegas) along with Laney and Torque are scoping out the park. And Laney is trying to teach Torque how to look inconspicuous.

Since Omegas: Cake Walk takes place in an alternate-universe Chicago, I figured it’d be nice to have them visit a local landmark.  Jubilee Park is Millennium Park with a name change. The Kapoor Sculpture is Sir Anish Kapoor’s sculpture, Cloud Gate — aka the infamous silver bean.

Note: Like all other snippets, this is from a rough draft and therefore will contain spelling errors and other mistakes. I will be correcting these during the next edit.  Though, Lake Michi-gami isn’t a typo. I’ve changed names around for a lot of places in O:CW, usually defaulting toward indigenous names

“Will you relax?” Laney hissed at Toque as she paused to snap pictures, ostensibly of the view of Lake Michi-gami from the northeastern most corner of the park. “We’re not on a forced march; we’re not under fire. We’re supposed to be just a couple of tourists. Yank the stick out of your ass, already and act like a tourist.”

“I’d be happy to,” Torque said, speaking through a clenched jaw. “But first I’ll need to know how do tourists act?”

“Oh for the love of—” Laney sighed, long-sufferingly. “Here’s a hint: not like you’re marking in review across a parade ground. Just walk like you don’t have any place that you have to be or any time you have to be there. Try looking at the sights. This is one of the prettiest places in the city, after all. Breathe it in.”

Despite his irritation, Torque tried to take Laney’s advice. He forced himself to slow his pace and looked around, taking in his surroundings as something other than territory to scout. The park was pretty, he had to admit. They were strolling past a stage, framed by curved metal plates that shone in the sun. In front of the stage, stretched a wide oval of green lawn that, Torque estimated, stretched for at least half the length of the park. Above the lawn, a web of pipes stretched over the field, supporting a network of lights. Here and there, people walked or ran or simply sat on the lawn. Torque saw two adults playing some kind of a chasing game with a trio of young children, all of them laughing and shrieking. It reminded him of his playschool days, giving him a sudden pang of nostalgia.

“Hold up,” Laney said, stopping roughly halfway along the length of the enormous lawn. “That’s the Big Bean down there, I want to get a shot from this vantage point.”

“All right.” Torque stopped and stood, falling easily and by long habit into parade rest.

Laney glanced at him and rolled her eyes. “Can you be any more conspicuous? Slouch or something; keep standing like that and pigeons are going to roost on you. Or worse.”

“You told me to wait,” Torque said. “I’m waiting.”

“Just – come here, walk out on to the lawn about four steps, turn and face me,” Laney said. “If you’re going to stand out, you can at least be useful while you’re doing it.”

Torque did as he was told, mostly from habit but also to simply have something to do. Laney watched him through the camera’s viewfinder. “Ok, hold it!” she called. “Stop right there and smile. Say ‘Tourist!’”

Torque smiled and waited as Laney took several pictures. She called for him to change position several times, then told him to stand still while she moved further up and down the path, taking pictures of him from several angles.

“Ok, take one step to your right, hold up your right hand like this.” Laney mimed holding her hand in a claw shape. Puzzled, Torque did as she asked. After several more yelled instructions, mostly involving him raising or lowering his hand, Laney finally snapped her picture.

“Got it!” she crowed, happily. “C’mon, let’s go!”

Torque jogged over to her, his long legs eating the distance between them in a few quick bites. As he drew closer, he could see the grin on Laney’s face; it was a mix of happiness and pride. “Here,” she said, handing the camera to Torque so he could see the image on the camera’s screen. The image made it seem like Torque was in the process of plucking the bean-shaped statue in the distance from where it sat.

“I don’t understand?” Torque said, though Laney’s grin was contagious enough that he found himself starting to grin as well. “Why’d you take this picture? It’s not useful for planning our mission, is it?”

Laney shrugged, her grin fading a little. “Well, no,” she said, taking the camera back. “It’s just for fun. You said you wanted to know how tourists act, well, they take cheesy pictures like this. C’mon, we’ve got more park to cover.”

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts. You can also request to join The WIPpeteers on Facebook.

AROW80 Check-In for 5/9/2018 and WIPpet Snippet

Due to circumstances that were entirely within my control (i.e. I done did this to myself), I didn’t get up as early today as I usually do on Wednesdays so I’m getting in a shorter period of writing. Still working on Chapter Nineteen and fighting to get upstream on this story.  I can do this, I know I can do this, it’s just a question of doing it.

So, I am. Doing it, that is. *insert immature snickering here*.

# # # # #

WIPpet Math: 5 + 9 = 14, so here’s fourteen paragraphs from Chapter Four of Omegas: Cake Walk, wherein the Omegas sit down with Dr. Lawrence and discuss her estrangement from her daughter:

“For starters, how did your daughter come to join up with the Church of the Sacred Foundation?” Winslow asked. “She’s fairly young, or so I was told, but it sounds like she’s in pretty deep. I’m curious as to how that happened.”

Dr. Lawrence took a deep breath and held it for several seconds before letting it out in a long, shuddering gust. “Mackenzie was about nine when her father and I divorced. Mackenzie decided she wanted to live with her father and I didn’t contest it because, well, to be honest? Because of where I was in my career, I didn’t contest the issue. Creighton was in a better position to give Mackenzie the kind of care she needed.”

“That’s around the time you began working for Dr. Zilsch’s division at Pulsar Labs, right?” Winslow asked.

“Yes, it was. It was a very important time for me and I wouldn’t have been able to give either Mackenzie or my duties the time they deserved. Mackenzie wanted to stay with her father, so I agreed.” Dr. Lawrence’s face became pinched and wary. She paused, looking carefully from face to face. “I know that probably sounds terrible.”

“It sounds perfectly reasonable to me,” Tara said. “If the situation was reversed, nobody would have thought twice about your ex choosing his career over parenthood.”

“You certainly don’t need to justify yourself to us, Dr. Lawrence,” Winslow said. “We’re just after the facts.”

Some of the tension went out of Dr. Lawrence’s shoulders as she smiled, a small, grateful smile. “Thank you,” she said. “After the divorce, I kept in contact with Mackenzie as best I could because of my work schedule. We were prepping for the Deep Mu Expedition at that time so things were hectic but I did my best.  Of course, once we left for the expedition back in 1999, I didn’t see her for almost two and a half years.”

“That expedition was supposed to last, what? A year, right?” Winslow asked. “There were some kind of political shenanigans that delayed your return, unless I misremember?”

“There were,” Dr. Lawrence said. “It was complicated, but suffice to say that Lucrezia Borgia had nothing on the Grand Princess of the South Pacific Gyre. The resulting chaos from her machinations delayed our return to the surface until late in 2001, then recovering from having spent that much time at depth kept us all out of commission until almost hallway through 2002. Which, among other things, put a severe strain on my relationship with Mackenzie.”

There was a chorus of sympathetic noises from Tara, Winslow and Marco. Laney and Frankie were remaining quiet, though Torque noticed that Laney had scooted forward so that she was perched at the edge of the couch, sitting with her hands on her knees as she watched Dr. Lawrence closely. Frankie, on the other hand, sat leaning back and staring blankly toward the ceiling. Torque wished he could follow the shorter man’s example but he’d been tasked with listening for details and he wasn’t about to disappoint.

For his own part, Torque knew the conversation was important though not exactly why. There were layers of significance in Dr. Lawrence’s words that he couldn’t quite grasp.  Clearly, her daughter had been important to her – but then, most baseline humans felt a deep bond with their offspring. He could hear guilt in Dr. Lawrence’s voice but why she should feel bad for doing her job was beyond Torque. Furrowing his brows, he leaned forward, mimicking Laney’s position as Dr. Lawrence continued speaking:

“By the time we returned to Shikagou, Creighton had gotten a new job teaching at a private school in Tippecanoe; the An Solas Preparatory Academy.  It’s not far from here, only about an hour and a half, but once I was back on my feet, I was buried with work from the expedition. There was just so much information to process and artifacts to catalog. Maybe if I’d made more time then, maybe I would have noticed something was off but both of them seemed happy enough and, well, it was easier to just believe that there’d be time enough later on to reconnect.”

“We always do,” Winslow said, softly. “It was during this time she got involved with the Womackians?”

“Yes,” Dr. Lawrence said. “Not on her own, but…oh, God, this is going to sound like I’m blaming my ex but it was all because of Creighton. He started attending a singles mixer in Marquette – it’s the nearest city to An Solas – and while he was there, he met this woman. Marcie something or other. She’s the one who brought him into the cult and he brought Mackenzie with him.”

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts. You can also request to join The WIPpeteers on Facebook.

Because today’s Election Day here in the U.S., have a snippet!

When I first started plotting Omegas: Cake Walk, I settled on April 2007 for reasons that escape me now (honestly, while there is a specific reason for 2007, the reason for April is more “Ehh, this’ll do” than anything else). Specifically, I set the story during the week of April 23-30, 2007 (again, for no better reason than “The events in the story take place over a week, this is a week that’s as good as any other week in which to set my tale”).

Come to find out, once I committed to the time frame, the Democratic Presidential debates occurred during this time frame. While Omegas: Cake Walk doesn’t take place in our reality, it takes place in one that’s similar so I decided to run with the idea. Which led to this exchange about voting and how living in a comic book universe could screw things up:

“I’m just saying: voting’s a waste of time,” Frankie said as he plucked half a dozen oversized strawberries from the tray and stacked them onto a paper plate. “Whoever wins, somebody’s just gonna go back in time and step on the wrong bug and screw everything up. It’s inevitable.”

“That only happened once, back in ’52,” Laney said, smacking the table and causing a small avalanche of plump, green grapes to cascade down from the tray. Frankie scooped them up as well, as she continued. “And once the Sequential Safeguards were able to straighten things out and push through the Eckels-Simpson Act to outlaw political tampering with the time stream.”

Note: Yeah, this a multiple-part reference to “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, in which a character, essentially, steps on the wrong bug and screws everything up. The story was published in 1952 and the character who screws things up is named Eckles.

The law also references the Simpsons episode “Treehouse of Horror V” — specifically the short “Time and Punishment” in which Homer tries to fix his toaster and ends up destroying multiple timelines.  “Stupid bug, you go squish now!”

Note the second: I agree with Laney, voting isn’t a waste of time. In fact, voting today took a lot less time than I was afraid it would and I was able to get in and out of my polling place in less than fifteen minutes (wasting time between 5 am and 6:30 am on the other hand….that took some doing).

Note the third:  Currently, the plan is for the next Omegas story, Omegas: Long Shot, to involve time travel, Pleistocene Era America, and cheesy syndicated TV shows.

 

 

AROW80 Check-In for 5/6/2018

A question from this session’s update reminder post which was talking about various ways of reaching your audience:

Do you find your audience through blogging or other social media? What works best in your experience?

Right now? I don’t know as I have an audience in the broader sense of the word.  I’m still limping my way back into blogging with any kind of regularity and I don’t have any of my non-fanfiction writing posted anywhere that people can see it. This will eventually change, but for the time being, let’s chalk that lack up to a combination of “I’m shy!” and “I don’t really have much of anything worth posting beyond random character sketches and unfinished snippets.”

With Omegas: Cake Walk my audience is primarily off-line: a couple trusted beta readers and my girlfriend (who is also a trusted beta reader) have read some or all of my progress.  Since I’m wanting to go the traditional publishing route, I’m reluctant to post large sections of the work online since I don’t want to risk my work being considered to have been previously published — that and what I’m working on right now is really more of a first draft and therefore still rough around the edges.

I do want to start blogging more because I think that’s a way toward building an audience and it’s something that allows me to ramble on longer than, say, Twitter does. Though, I do have my updates go out to Twitter, Tumblr and now Facebook, in hopes of spreading my net wide and maybe snaring more fish readers (though, honestly, if any fish are reading this, you’re welcome here).

In other news, I went to the endocrinologist today (I’m a Type II diabetic) and got some disappointing news followed by some truly heartening news: my weight is up to 254 pounds from 231, though it looks like that’s due to water weight gain caused by a side effect of a medication I was on (Actos). The doctor took me off of that and increased my dose of a second medication (Trulicity) to compensate and a third medication (Farxiga) has a diuretic effect so that should help with losing the water weight.   My blood pressure was high (146 over…something) but when I went to Urgent Care about stiffness in my shoulders, it was 116 over…something and due to other lower readings, the doctor wasn’t overly concerned. I’m supposed to start checking my blood pressure at home (which I can do, I just need to take the meter I got for myself *mumblemonthsagomumble* out of the box and start using it)

The heartening news is that my A1C, which for those not in the know, is a measure of what your average blood sugar has been at for the previous three months, is at 7.7 — which is very close to the target of 7.0 or under.  Diabetes is a lot like golf, you want those numbers low.  The closer the number is to 7.0, the better control you have over your blood sugars and the less likely you are to end up with complications from diabetes.  And since the complications from diabetes can hit just about every system of the body with disastrous effects, good control is seriously important.

So, that’s a non-writing based goal for this quarter and beyond: keep my sugars down low and get some exercise to help get the weight down.

Beyond that, I came home from the doctor’s appointment, took a nap and had weird Cthulu-adjacent dreams. For which, I blame Ruthanna Emrys’s Winter Tide (link goes to an excerpt from the first chapter over at Tor.com), which is a historical dark fantasy set shortly after the end of World War Two and, well, here’s the summary:

After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.

The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.

Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.

The book is a wonderful story, very richly told and full of good period detail. Lovecraft is an author, like Jane Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who I’ve never really read directly but whose works I am exceedingly familiar with due to my enjoyment of works based upon their creations.  I highly recommend Winter’s Tide to anyone who enjoys Charles Stross’s Laundry books or Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country.

Circling back around to writing based goals: Chapter Nineteen of Omegas: Cake Walk continues apace. I’m past the scene that was giving me trouble and am now on to a completely new scene that needs to be coaxed into cooperating. Since I’m going to be staying up late tomorrow morning to go vote when the polls open, I’m planning on maybe doing some noodling over breakfast in the hopes that being sleepy will make my brain more apt to fire in interesting ways.

Beyond that, all is doing well and I hope you are having a good week. Please feel free to comment below and let me know how things are going.

Later, Gators.

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A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

Omegas: Cake Walk in one sentence

My attempt at a one sentence description of Omegas: Cake Walk —

When a desperate phone call from a top scientist’s estranged daughter threatens to derail the highest-level superscience conference, the call goes out to the one team that can rescue the girl and keep her safe from the clutches of the cult she’s trying to flee — after all, when the job’s a cake walk, who can handle it better than the Omegas?

 

AROW80 Check-In for 5/2/2018 and WIPpet Wednesday

I’m writing at another library today, this time I’m using my own laptop instead of a library computer and I’m tucked back into a corner with a window to my left and bookshelves to my right. It’s a nice, cozy setup that I’ve used before and I’m enjoying the solitude.

I’m also watching more Agents of SHIELD; I’m about done with the first season and I’m liking it so far. Not sure why I never got into watching it when it was originally airing because it’s a good show.  Definitely a nice alternative to the CW’s Arrowverse shows (which I’ve run out of on Netflix).

Work continues on Chapter Nineteen of Omegas: Cake Walk. Slowly, slowly, slowly we progress, a sentence, a word, a letter at a time.

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WIPpet Math for May 2nd, 2018:  5 x 2 = 10 (going for the easy route today):

What’s going on:  Torque and the Omegas have gotten settled in their hotel room and had a feast of Shikagou-style deep dish pizza and now, they’re having a little chat:

Winslow looked Torque over carefully. “Well, for now? Get some rest and be ready for tomorrow. Still not quite sure how to fit you into our merry band of maniacs, but I’ll have a better idea as to how to do that once we meet with Dr. Lawrence tomorrow.”

“Yessir,” Torque said. “I’ll be happy to help however you need me to. I’m here to offer whatever assistance you need.”

Colonel Winslow nodded, head tilting as he looked at Torque. “I’ll keep that in mind, son,” he said. “And we appreciate it. But for right now, you’re a bit surplus to our requirements. Go, relax, get a shower. Read a book, even.  You read much, Torque?”

“I can,  yes,” Torque said, frowning.  “Is there something you need me to read before tomorrow sir?”

Winslow’s smile was amused, but not mocking. “No, son, no, just wondering if you like to read. Me, I love it. Been reading since I was, oh, four? I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t know how to read, to be honest. Bit of a prodigy in that regard, at least that’s what my mother used to say, but you know how mothers are.”

Torque didn’t, but that was yet another thing that baselines enjoyed nattering on about and he’d learned long before to fake an interest in other peoples’ progenitors.  “Yes sir,” he said, offering what he hoped was a knowing and sympathetic smile.

“You have a favorite book, Torque?” Winslow asked. “Me, I’m partial to Edgar Rice Burroughs – I read Princess of Mars when I was about twelve and oh, I used to stare at Mars and try and wish myself there. Didn’t matter that we knew by then that it was nothing like Burroughs’ Barsoom, but that didn’t stop me wanting to fight my way across the Red Planet, win the hand of a Martian Princess and save the world.”

Laney snorted. “Dreamer,” she said, rolling her eyes as she reached for another slice of pizza.

Winslow’s grin got even wider. “’You can say that I’m a dreamer, Laney-girl, but I’m not the only one.’”

“Sorry, correction, old dreamer,” Laney said, dropping back into her seat.

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A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts. You can also request to join The WIPpeteers on Facebook.

AROW80 Check-In for 4/29/2018

From this week’s AROW80 Check-In Reminder by Shan Jeniah Burton:

How much does where you are affect your writing where you get down to practicing your craft?  Are you able to channel your characters in any setting or are you like Alice Walker who once was quoted to attributing her move from New York City to California as necessary because Celie, Shug and other characters in The Color Purple didn’t feel comfortable enough to settle down and talk to her?

I’m pretty lucky in that I can write just about anywhere. Currently, I’m working at the computers in the children’s section of one of my local libraries. Sometimes the area can be a bit noisy (because, duh, kids) but the space feels more open than the computers in the adult section. Also, sometimes I get to see/overhear cute things. Like, right now a mom is reading to her kid (what caught my attention was the fact the book is apparently about the Transformers. I heard “Autobots” and my fan-ears perked up). It’s very sweet.

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In other news, my shoulder is better. Oddly enough, sleeping on a different pillow — the Amy and I found a memory foam pillow at Bed, Bath and Beyond on deep discount — made the pain go away almost entirely. I’m still a little bit stiff and sore, but it’s not the constant ache that it was so, color me happy!

Been watching Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD on Netflix (because I have completely caught up on the CW DC shows on Netflix) and I’m liking it. Though, it is a very Joss Whedon show (Skye = Buffy + River; Fitz-Simmons = Willow minus magic).  I have a soft spot for Phil Coulson. I like the fact that he’s a dorky guy who can kick ass. Agent May is also a favorite. I like how they blend in bits of the MCU to the series.

Work on Chapter Nineteen continues apace. Not a fast pace, but it’s continuing so that’s being counted as a win.  Still trying to work on fitting writing into my new daily routine. I’m considering doing a bit of writing after I get off work in the mornings — though I’m not sure if I want to stay up later or not. (I work overnights, so I’m usually off about 5 am local time; a half hour or hour of writing would be something I could probably manage without seriously screwing up my sleep schedule any more than I have by staying up playing Best Fiends Forever).  I just need to find a place that’s comfortable enough for me to want to write there but not too comfortable so that I stay up later than I should because Sleep is a Thing I Need.

Ok, so, that’s it for today. See you tomorrow with the WIPpet Snippet! I leave you with some fascinating True Facts about the Frog Fish (and floaty-floaty seaweed!) Language is slightly NSFW/NC-17:

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Powered by Linky Tools: A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts. You can also request to join The WIPpeteers on Facebook.

AROW80 Check-ins for 4/22 and 4/25/2018 plus WIPpet Wednesday

A double duty posting since I missed Sunday. Thus far this week, I haven’t done much of anything in terms of writing. I got a teeny bit done that I’m hoping to turn into something larger today so fingers are crossed. Having a bit of trouble moving at speed today since I managed to sleep wrong and have a stiff neck. I went to Urgent Care and got some pain killers and muscle relaxants so I’ll be taking those later tonight since I don’t want to nod off at the library.

Though, I don’t know how long I’ll be at the library since right now, between the Motrin and the pain in my shoulders, the pain is winning. *grumble*

Ooh…wait…I think the Motrin is rallying! Yay!

I’m feeling a bit disappointed since by this point in the month I was hoping to be closer to done with this draft than I am, but I’m trying to take comfort in the fact that I’m still working on the book and that the only timeline I’m on is one of my own invention and I can alter the timeline as needed.  The important thing is not giving up.

So, toward that end? I’m going to get back to work! After the WIPpet Snippet:

WIPpet Math: April 25, 2018. Today is the 114th day since 01/01/2018.  Ok, so 4+2+5+2+0+1+8 = 22.  2+2 = 4.  1+1+4 = 6. 4×6=24. Divide by 2 (since I’m doing two updates today) and that gives us 12.  So, here’s the first 12 paragraphs of Chapter Three of Omegas: Cake Walk:

By 2245 hours, Torque had been waiting for the Omegas arrival for over an hour He’d positioned himself in a puffy, overstuffed chair that sat perpendicular to the door of the suite that had been booked for the Omegas. Technically, since he had the room key, he supposed he could have waited inside the suite but he was erring on the side of caution and waiting in the hall, the better to know when the Omegas finally arrived.

Torque sat with his hands cupping his knees, staring down the hallway toward the elevators and trying his hardest not to fidget. A lifetime of being raised in a quasi-military surrounding had left Torque with a high tolerance for boredom, but there were limits even to his well-practiced patience.

He glanced down at his watch and sighed. According to the timeline he’d been given by Director Kent, the Omegas’ flight was due in at 2100 hours; the airport they were flying into was half an hour from the hotel, so they should have arrived well before now, even with traffic. Instead, they were running late.

The seemingly casual disregard for punctuality and protocol made the middle of Torque’s shoulders itch. If you were supposed to arrive at a set time, you were required to make the effort to be there at that time. That had been lesson number two back at Starsplinter Labs; there was no excuse for tardiness.

Apparently, the rules were different for the Omegas. Or they simply ignored the rules, which would fit with everything he’d been told about their insubordinate ways. He wondered if it was too late for him to have Valentine try to get him out of this mess. Surely the fact he’d been willing to make the effort would still count for something.

Torque shifted in his seat, drumming his fingers on his knee and knowing that he wasn’t going to make that call. He’d volunteered for this and he was going to see it through. Even if he died of boredom in the process.

Torque leaned back and dug into his pocket, pulling out a few coins. He juggled them in his hand, letting them bounce up and down as he got a feel for their various weights.

Once he was sure he’d gotten a good feel for how much each coin massed, he selected a half-dollar piece and flipped it into the air with his thumb. He watched it sail into the air, waiting until it reached its apex and began falling back to earth. Then, he reached out with his mind and took hold of the coin, keeping it suspended in mid-air.

He rotated the coin, spinning it on its horizontal axis – slowly at first, but gradually speeding it up until it began to blur. There was a faint whirring sound as it spun.

While the coin spun, Torque flipped a dime into the air and sent it into orbit around the spinning half-dollar. He followed the first dime with a second one, then a third, sending them into orbit with the first to create a Saturn-like ring around the half-dollar.

Once he was certain the pseudo-Saturn was stable, Torque set the entire construction moving in a slow, lazy, vertical figure-eight. The coin-Saturn dropped toward the ground, barely brushing against the carpet, then drifted toward the ceiling. There was a tick as one of the dimes struck the plaster and began to wobble. Torque fought to maintain his control, but the wobble quickly spread throughout the entire coin-planet and it broke apart. With a frustrated sigh, Torque reached out to catch the coins as they showered down.

H caught the dimes easily enough but the half-dollar hit the ground and rolled away, coming to rest against the baseboard on the far side of the hallway.
With a sigh, Torque reached out with his mind and lifted the half-dollar, drawing it back toward him. As he did so, the elevator doors opened. Torque yanked the coin back toward him, snatching it out of the air as he stood up to greet the arrivals.

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Powered by Linky Tools: A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers. Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts. You can also request to join The WIPpeteers on Facebook.

AROW80 Check-In for April 18, 2018 and WIPpet Wednesday

Working on Chapter Nineteen of Omegas: Cake Walk and so far, it’s a slog. I’m having to create something out of whole cloth and it’s tough going thus far.

Ok, so ‘thus far’ is roughly 40 minutes at this point but still! Words are Hard! Especially when I’m not sure what would be the best way to go forward with this. I’m at a scene where the main action is happening off-screen so figuring out what should be going on on-screen is tricky.

But, the library is nicely quiet. I’ve got time to kill and Supergirl on Netflix so, here goes nothing!

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WIPpet Math:  April 18, 2018 = 4 + 1 + 8 + 2 + 0 + 1 + 8 = 24.  2 + 4 = 6. Here’s the first six paragraphs of Chapter Two:

“Next time you feel the impulse to make a grand pronouncement, Felix, would you do me a favor and punch yourself in your pretty face until it goes away?” Than Nguyen, aka Marigold said.  Her Southeastern Tejas drawl dripping with venomous honey. “Or, better yet, have Torque do it.”

Torque cringed inwardly, not so much from the snark in Marigold’s voice but from the flash of annoyance that had passed, lightning-quick, across Valentine’s face. The three of them were seated in Valentine’s suite at the Isthmus hotel, gathered around the room’s dining table which had been repurposed for the evening’s teleconference with BCK’s headquarters.

“I made an executive decision to help calm the situation down and to ensure that the conference wouldn’t go completely off the rails two days before it’s supposed to kick off.” Valentine’s tone was level but Torque could hear the iciness that always developed when Valentine was feeling put upon.

“After the way your last ‘executive decision’ played out, I woulda thought you mighta learned your lesson about acting first and thinking never,” Marigold said. “Or did it just not occur to you while your mouth was writing checks our asses would have to cash that adding to our workload isn’t exactly wise at this juncture?”

“There simply wasn’t time for me to consult with anyone else. I had to act, so I acted.” Valentine’s tone was as cold and cutting as an arctic wind.

“There’d have been plenty of time for you to consult with me, if you’d bothered taking me along with you.” Marigold glanced pointedly at Torque, who forced himself to keep his eyes facing forward and his expression blank. “But no, instead you decided to take Torque because apparently you thought you might need a couch moved.”

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Powered by Linky Tools:  A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers.  Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts. You can also request to join The WIPpeteers on Facebook.

AROW80 Round 2 Check-In for 4/11/18 plus WIPpet Wednesday

I’m working on typing up Chapter Eighteen of Omegas: Cake Walk! In fact, I’ve managed to type up what I’d written and now I’m trying to work on bridging the gap between the end of that and being able to pick up from some earlier stuff that I want to fold into this chapter.

*backing up a moment*

I write mostly by hand, since that’s easiest for me to do at work. Omegas: Cake Walk does already exist as a finished handwritten draft (encompassing three full 3-subject notebooks plus some other smaller note books). The draft I’m working on now is a typed-up version of the handwritten one — and as is the nature of drafts, there have been changes made. So, as I’m going along, I’m having to write new bits to bridge gaps, fix plot holes and generally just be better than what was originally written. That’s where I find myself now.

In a word? Blorp.

The good news is, today I have a lot of time to spend writing since it’s my day off. I’m currently sitting in the children’s section of my favorite branch of one of my local libraries using their computers. Surprisingly enough, the kids’ section can be a lot quieter than the adult section. It also feels more open and inviting. Plus, sometimes you get to hear/see little kids doing cute/adorable things, so that’s a plus.

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WIPpet Wednesday Snippet Math: April 11, 2018. I’m going the easy-peasy route and giving you page 11 of Omegas: Cake Walk, which is the last page of Chapter One.

What You Need to Know: Dr. Sarah Lawrence has gotten Dr. Josephus Zilsch out of the press conference before he behaved *too* badly (though he still managed to say something outrageous to a member of the press) and to a meeting about the upcoming conference. At the meeting, she’s introduced to Felix Valentine, leader of Magnum Team and his teammate, Torque, a genetically engineered enhanced human (known as an ECHO).  Sarah’s been receiving phone calls from an unknown number throughout the chapter and has been ignoring them up until now, when she finally answers with the hopes of telling the person off. Instead, she gets a message she wasn’t expecting which leads to….Page 11:

Sarah stared down at her phone’s screen for a moment, letting out a long, shuddering breath. “That was my daughter,” she said. “She needs my help.”

“That’s going to have to wait, then,” said Dr. Zilsch. “You’ve got more important things to be worrying about this week. Than dancing attendance on that ungrateful brat.”

“Yeah, she’s got an entirely different ungrateful brat to worry about,” Emma said. “What’s happening, Sarah?”

“My daughter is in trouble and she needs my help in getting away from the cult she’s been living in,” Sarah said. “Her father dragged her along with him when he remarried; I didn’t fight him as much as I could have – or even should have because Mackenzie seemed happy with him and – and I was busy with the expedition to Deep Mu, but now? She needs me to help her get away and I’m going to be helping her.”

Sarah looked up, taking in everyone at the table with her eyes blazing before focusing her rage on Zilsch. “I am getting my daughter away from those people or else.”

“Or – Or else what?” sputtered Zilsch.

“Or else you can find someone else to take your abuse,” Sarah said. “Good luck with that. You’re going to need it.”

“You can’t do that!” Zilsch yelped, slamming his fists down on the table. “I won’t let you! Damnit, Richards! Talk sense into this woman! I can’t be without an assistant! Especially not this week of all weeks!”

Dean Richards looked at Sarah with concern. He seemed more genuinely worried – or at least less self-involved than Zilsch. “Dr. Lawrence, I think perhaps we can handle this situation without resorting to such drastic measures, don’t you?”

“You damn well will handle this!” Zilsch said, his eyes rolling wildly. “I will not face this conference without Lawrence! I need her!”

“If I may?” Valentine’s voice was as calm as the surface of a still pond. “I believe my people can handle this. But, could I ask for a bit more information? What, exactly, is the issue at hand with Dr. Lawrence’s daughter?”

“She’s a damned Womackian cultist!” Zilsch said. “You heard the woman! That bratling is a dyed in the wool follower of that wannabe space princess!”

Valentine looked to Sarah, one eyebrow cocked up at a curious angle. “Ma’am?”

Sarah let out a long, shuddering sigh. “He’s right,” she said. “Mackenzie’s father joined the cult shortly after we divorced. She’s been part of it for the last four or five years now.”

“I see,” Valentine said. ‘And she wants out now, I take it?”

“Yes. I don’t know why and I honestly don’t care about why she wants out. I only care about the fact that she’s asking for my help,” Sarah said, clutching her hands into fists. “She’s – we’ve been estranged for a while now. This is the first time she’s called me in months. She just sounded so scared, so small. Mr. Valentine, I don’t know if you have children but well, I haven’t always been the best mother to Mackenzie but I can’t let her suffer like this. Can you help?”

“Ma’am, if it will help keep the conference running smoothly, I’ll be happy to put some of our people on it.” Valentine’s smile was straight out of a toothpaste commercial, all shiny, confident white teeth. “You have my word on it; they’ll get your little girl back. No worries.”

Sarah nodded, swallowing a lump in her throat. “Thank you,” she said. ‘Thank you so much. But I want her back before the opening ceremonies on Thursday. Otherwise, I will handle this myself and you can find another babysitter for Zilsch.”

“Dr. Lawrence,” Valentine said. ‘You have my word on it; she’ll be back safe and sound before you know it.”

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Powered by Linky Tools:  A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers.  Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, join us on Facebook at ROW80

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts. You can also request to join The WIPpeteers on Facebook.

AROW80 Round 2 Check-In for 4/8/18 (posted 4/10/18)

Ok, so this update is coming in a couple days late but it’s still coming in so that’s going to be counted as a win by me. Especially since I’m still getting back into the swing of things here.

Goals for the Week:

  • Work on Omegas: Cake Walk (O:CW) Chapter 18 — mainly typing up what I have managed to write this week and hopefully finishing the chapter so I can move on to Chapter 19 and beyond.
  • Work on strategies for getting the most I can out of shorter timeframes within which to write — I used to be able to write during downtime at my job which occasionally meant nice, long stretches of being able to write in a more meandering fashion. Due to my accepting a promotion, my duties have changed at work and, hence, I’ll be having less downtime. So, I’m going to be working on using what time I do have to write effectively. One idea is that instead of writing an entire scene, just writing out a kind of rough outline/bullet point-style list of “What Should Happen” and then using that as a reference from which to type up the next bit on my days off.

Between work and other non-writing aspects of life, I haven’t had the chance to sit down and dedicate a lot of time to Omegas: Cake Walk, but I did have the chance to figure out what I wanted to happen in Chapter 18 and how best to use that to drive the story forward. Since I don’t want to go into a summary of what’s going on quite yet, suffice it to say that I am very happy that I hit upon a way to use a scene that is low on physical action to still convey important plot points and showcase some of the world-building for Omegas: Cake Walk.

Since O:CW and other Gem City stories take place in a world that is based around superhero comics, all kinds of weirdness can occur. There are characters who are genetically engineered super-soldiers, faeries, alchemists, super-scientists, deep-sea dwelling non-humanoid lifeforms that look like a cross between a seal and an octopus (and which are only one of several different underwater dwelling species), human-alien hybrids, and modern-day Neanderthals who are also the first women to play in Major League Baseball, plus all the other accouterments of the diversity that is humanity as we know it.  Needless to say, creating this world has been at one and the same time tremendously fun and tremendously frustrating in terms of “…wait, how would this work? This needs to make sense! Auugh, why don’t we have inter-dimensional Google capabilities?!”

Otherwise, things are going well. Looking forward to spending the day tomorrow typing things up and hopefully getting a goodly chunk of Chapter 18 finished. Will be back tomorrow to share how things go!

To everyone participating in this Round of AROW80, good luck and keep on trucking!

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Powered by Linky Tools:  A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers.  Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… Or, visit (and join) us on Facebook

AROW80 Round 2 Check In for 4/4/2018 & WIPpet Wednesday

First check of the round! Currently, I’m at my local library, typing up my WIP (Omegas: Cake Walk) and trying to make some headway on the chapter I’m working on (which is Chapter 18).  The major difficulty at the moment is that I’m writing technobabble and trying to make it seem plausible. Also doesn’t help that this is the chapter where Things Get Real and lead to the protagonists Learning The Truth about who the antagonist is, so if things here don’t make sense, what comes next won’t make sense and my ending will be nonsensical in a bad way.

Omegas: Cake Walk is set in a universe where superhero tropes are real. The action is set during a super-scientist convention and involves a group of private security contractors being tasked with rescuing and protecting a super-scientist’s daughter from a group of cultists.  The rescue goes off without a hitch, but keeping the girl safe is much more involved as shenanigans are afoot!

Omegas: Cake Walk is set in the same universe as my Gem City snippets that are available here.  It’s currently the longest and closest to complete work set in this universe (I’m still trying to finish the story that led to the creation of the Gem City universe…) and I’m having a lot of fun with it so far.

Note: if you read the older Gem City stuff that’s posted here, be aware that some of it may be retconned/altered by me in the near future.

Goals: So far, so good! Hoping to get out of the current spot I’m stuck in by the end of today so *fingers crossed* here goes nothing!

Ok, getting back to the writing! See you next update!

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WIPpet Wednesday Math: Today’s the 4th day of the 4th month, and 4 x 4 = 16. And this is the first WIPpet of the year (for me at least), so here are the first 16 paragraphs of Omegas: Cake Walk. I hope it gives a good flavor of the kind of universe we’re dealing with.

“And, based on my findings, it is blatantly obvious to anyone with sense that our universe was created at some point between late fall 1932 and June 1938,” Dr. Josephus Zilsch sounded perfectly sober, except for a slight slurring in ‘sense,’ ‘universe’ and ‘some.’ The sound echoed faintly in the rotunda of Grant Library and was almost lost in the startled murmur from the assembled crowd of reporters here for the opening press conference of the 2007 Centillion Society’s Polymathetics Association Meeting. Zilsch continued speaking as if there had been no reaction.

“The exact date is, of course, hard to pin down. Particularly since ‘beginnings’ in the cosmic scale owe more similarity to making the decision to leave a room rather than actually walking through a door. But, beyond a few fiddling details like that, my calculations are correct and they show without a shadow of a doubt and with a margin of error of only a few weeks’ time here or there that the creation of our universe lies somewhere within that period of time.”

Zilsch stopped speaking and peered at the audience with an owlish confidence. Ordinary speakers would have asked for questions, but Zilsch didn’t. He never did. Either his audience followed his reasoning – and therefore didn’t need to ask questions – or they hadn’t, in which case they wouldn’t know the right questions to ask. Or understand the answers. Better that they simply take Zilsch’s word for whatever he’d said being right since it was, as always, a foregone conclusion.

Dr. Sarah Lawrence stood off to one side of the speaker’s podium that Dr. Zilsch was currently leaning on as if it were his only friend in the universe. Her vantage point allowed her to keep a weather eye on him and on the collected reporters and be close enough to intervene when Zilsch said something truly outrageous, incendiary, or insulting.

Fortunately, for the moment, both sides seemed content to wait for the other side make the first move.

“He’s kidding, right?” Beside her, Katheryn Cleland, one of the university’s security people, nudged Sarah gently as she asked the question. “That’s…that’s not possible….”

“No, he’s not.” Sarah scanned the reporters, trying to judge which one would be the first to break the stalemate and ask a question. Based on her personal experience, she was betting it would be one of the video journalists – those who worked in print could afford to be patient, they could always paint a word-picture that played up the silence for dramatic effect. The video guys on the other hand, couldn’t do much with Zilsch just standing there, staring back at them like a mildly annoyed statue. “He’s as serious as a heart attack.”

“But…that’s impossible!” Katheryn made a distressed noise, as if the illogic of Zilsch’s theory were causing her actual physical pain – which, Sarah realized, it might be.  Zilsch had that kind of an effect on people.  “Isn’t it?”

“Yes, but so are a lot of things in this world, Katheryn.” Sarah turned back as a flurry of hand-waving set off the entire group of reporters. “Didn’t you tell me you’re going to Mars for New Year’s Eve? By any logical assessment, the FTL drive we use to go between planets doesn’t make sense either, but it still works.”

“Yeah, but – well, the FTL drive makes a hell of a lot more sense than what he just said!” Katheryn said.

Sarah was about to answer when Zilsch stabbed a finger at the mob of reporters. “You!” he said with the long-suffering tone of a parent who knows they’re going to be asked, yet again, to explain why the sky is blue.  

A reporter, who may or may not have been the ‘you’ indicated, stood up. He was a lanky man, with the faintly pinkish cast to his skin that indicated possible extraterrestrial ancestry – Sarah guessed from one of the Centauries, probably Proxima. “Garb Boffman, ZBC News,” he said and while Sarah couldn’t see his face, she could sense the plastic artificiality of his smile in the tone of his voice. “Dr. Zilsch, how exactly do you reconcile the creation of the universe in the 1930s with the fact that – well, with the fact that we have recorded history dating back thousands of years. Not to mention geological evidence dating back millions of years before that? The memories and personal experiences of several people in this room alone would seem to refute your theory. Can you explain the discrepancy?”

Dr. Zilsch frowned at the reporter, his lips puffing up into a pout and Sarah could see his irritation building like the pressure in the caldera under Yellowstone. “Time,” Zilsch said, his voice sharp and all trace of his earlier slurring gone for the moment. “Time is an illusion and not a good one either! It’s the sort of performance you have to suffer through when your girlfriend’s kid wants to show off the dime store trick he just learned and you have to make nice if you want a chance in hell of getting into her pants. Like it’s your fault her idiot ex forgot whose weekend it was supposed to be.” His scowl deepened. “Again. Next question! No, not you, idiot! Her! Mona Marks! She’s the only one of you worth my time anyway.”

Mona Marks, the Grand Dame of the Super-Science Adventurer beat and rumored to be about ninety percent of the reason why the Weekly Sun was still a going concern when so many other print newspapers were going under, stood up.  She was dressed in her trademark 1980s-style purple power-suit, complete with shoulder pads broad enough for her to play quarterback with the Shikagou Bruins, and her ruby-red sneakers. She faced Zilsch with the cool calm of a woman who’d faced more dangerous adversaries and still met her deadlines. She didn’t even so much as glance down at her notes as she considered her question.

“All right, I’ll bite,” she said. “How did you arrive at this conclusion, Josephus? And how does it relate to the Crazy Quilt Universe Theory that was announced back in February at the University of Lakota in Porcupine?”

Zilsch sighed at Mona, puffing out his cheeks, all pretenses of paternalism briefly gone. For a moment, he looked like a moody teenager – albeit one who was trapped in the body of a greying, sagging, pudgy-bellied adult. “You’re referring to the “Mosaic Multiverse Theory” not “Crazy Quilt,” he said. “I realize you can’t possibly hope to understand the science behind what I’m talking about, Marks, but is it so much to ask that you at least get the names right while you’re being wrong? The Mosaic Multiverse Theory isn’t even my work; it’s my assistant’s hobbyhorse.”

# # # # #

Powered by Linky Tools:  A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers.  Click Here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

WIPpet Wednesday was begun by  K. L. Schwengel.  and is currently hosted by Emily Wrayburn of Letting the Voices Out and A Keyboard and an Open Mind.  If you want to participate, post a snippet from your WIP, related in some way to the date and link back to here — where you can also read and comment on others’ excerpts.

AROW80-2018 ROUND 2 Goals Post

It’s been a few years, but I’m ready to give this another go-round!  I’m going to keep my goal short and sweet: finish my current WIP’ s second draft, which is almost done!

One challenge, other than that I’m hitting the “Endings Are Hard!” Wall of Doom, is that I’ve started a new job (internal promotion at my current job), so there’s going to be some adjustments since I’m adapting to changes there. But, I’m confident I can succeed.

Looking forward to a productive round with everybody!

Happy Easter and Happy Passover

Edit to Add:  The project I’m currently working on is called Omegas: Cake Walk. It’s set in the Gem City universe I created a few years ago.  If you click on the Gem City tag, you can see some of my earlier musings on the universe in question — though some of that has/will fall to the forces of Retcon eventually.

Powered by Linky Tools:  A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. If you want to join, you can at any time. Set the goals you want to accomplish and get and give encouragement to fellow ROWers.  Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…