Excepts Now Available!

I’m happy to say that I have three stories now up in the Novel Excerpts section of Storming Dawn. I’ve posted the first chapters of Soul of the Scribe, The Orion Project: Descent and Chick. For those interested, here’s a brief synopsis for each title…

Soul of the Scribe (Novella, 38K)

Within Rosan City, life and imagination are intertwined. Reality itself can change through the power of a well-told story, a heartfelt song or a magnificent painting.

When Master Scribe Ak receives an intriguing offer from the enigmatic tycoon known as The Reader, it seems too good to be true. But this commission may force Ak to revisit the darkest moment of his life and come to grips with a secret hidden for fifteen years.

The Orion Project: Descent (Novel 90K – Series in Progress)

Ten years after the Sinerian War, humanity steps into a golden age. And with the advent of time travel, Earth has the chance to study its history to better understand its future. But safeguards must be put into place to protect the timeline.

With government senators clamoring to close down the project for cost overruns, a series of bombings tear across the globe, killing two members of Delta Protectorate. Within minutes, the warning goes out…someone has changed history.

Jumping back into the past with an untested team, Delta discovers their reality has been erased. Alien artifacts appear in their most top-secret bases. And all the signs point to a traitor in their own ranks…

Chick (Novel/Novella In Progress)

“Chick’s Technical Support: Your One-Stop Shop for Nanite Technology Assistance.”

Julianne is almost ready to quit. Since that job a few weeks ago, Angie’s been more grumpy than normal. A simple timing malfunction stuck the former Marine engineer into the body of a petite Chinese teenage girl. Not like that’s anything out of the ordinary. Then there’s Gordon, who’s an eager little puppy who seems to get turned into something every job they get. And let’s not forget Paul, the handsome spoiled brat who simply loves to bully his way into laziness.

if it’s not darting cocooning hummingbirds, it’s rampaging centaurs or weird little blue furballs. She knew working for Chick wouldn’t be boring, but this is simply getting ridiculous…

Enjoy! Now it’s back to work for me!

-rks

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OCCWF Conference 2012

I’ve been pushing myself really hard the last couple weeks and have found myself with no time for much of anything. Yesterday was more about venting and trying to process the issues I have at work, but today I want to focus on a few other things.

The Orange County Christian Writer’s Fellowship Conference went great. Really great.

Bill Myers

Bill Myers was our keynote speaker this year. At first, I didn’t know who he was, until I read his credits. And then I realized I did know who he was! He created “McGee and Me,” a Christian TV show that I used to watch as a child (http://www.mcgeeandme.com/). I was utterly thrilled to have him there. I have fond memories of the show.

But beyond that, he was utterly hysterical. His first address made it very plain he considered himself to be “a coward, a crybaby and a moron.” But he always said yes to God. So he had some amazing things happen in his life. Some amazing chances of success. The man went from wanting to be a dentist to being led into a career in film and writing. It’s an amazing story.

He challenged me quite a bit and everything he said hit me on a personal level. In his second keynote, he talked about the process of dreams God often puts us through. A great example of this is Joseph, who shot off it mouth about a dream where his entire family would bow to him, and got thrown in a well, sold into slavery then put in prison. He was given the chance for a shortcut (sleep with Pharaoh’s wife) and when he didn’t take it…he went right back into prison. Finally, at the end of it all, he was given something greater than his dreams could ever encompass: he became the savior of his people.

Dreams aren’t realized the next day, or the next month, or even the next year. Sometimes it takes a very long time of sitting in the dark, wondering if you’ll ever see the light again. But when that light comes, it will be far greater and far brighter than you ever imagined.

He also told a story about an author friend he knew who did a single page a day, 5 days a week for 5 years. He did it after coming home from a ski factory. And when he started trying to publish it, he got 13 rejection letters until some nut finally accepted his work. His name was Frank Perretti. 🙂

Consults:

I got to have consults (meetings) with Julie Brickman, a professor with Spalding University, Merrie Destefano, a science fiction/fantasy author, and Mike Duran, another science fiction and fantasy author. I got to spend lunch on the second day with Pamela Jaye Smith, a mythologist, writer and consultant.

I learned an enormous amount from these individuals. Julie Brickman looked at the manuscript for Soul of the Scribe and was impressed with a lot of the imagery, but a bit bored with the reflections and the wanderings. This is perfect, because I’ve tightened up the story quite a bit. In fact, I’m in the middle of my “slaughter edit” where I just tear apart the story and turn it into what it should be.

Merrie Destefano gave me some great references. Suggested Tor and SF&F Magazine for places to try and shop Scribe when it’s done. I also want to look into a SciFi/Fantasy story called Wool, which launched a man’s career through ebooks.Other suggestions include looking at “Publisher’s Marketplace.” And finally, as someone who loves to break gender boundaries and stereotypes, she commented there may be more stories like that out there than I know.

Mike Duran gave me some good suggestions as to Christian publishing opportunities, like WhereTheMapEnds.com and Marcher Lord Press.

Finally, Pamela Jaye Smith was wonderful to speak to at lunch. We talked about the plot idea for Scribe. I loved the look on her face when I threw out the tag line. Her eyes went big and she nodded, saying she’s interested. I pitched the idea to several people today and all of them were very interested. I’ve had comments that people have never quite heard a story like this before.

Other Parts

I became the official photographer for the event, since I was a volunteer and happened to bring my camera along with me. I had to do a lot of editing to get the pictures to come out. The Radisson Hotel had really bad lighting, at least for camera shots.

I also made a ton of great new contacts. I’m happy to have met these wonderful people, especially since I had the wonderful opportunity to run a critique group at the very end of the night. Some fantastic stories that utterly had me swept away.

And that was a good summary of the two days. I was a zombie by the end, my brain fried into nothingness. But it was a great time.

The best part is, I think it’s moving me in the right direction. It’s time to get stuff moving.

Because I intend to be shopping stories by autumn. 🙂

Have fun!

-rks

The Meeting

Dramatic title, eh? I always liked the simply titles. I felt it made things more dramatic.

The last couple weeks were filled with highs and lows. I will begin with the lows.

I’ve been fighting a constant battle at my workplace for a promotion into a computer technician. It’s been a 3 and a half year fight. I’ve trained people who have been promoted over me. I’ve been turned down almost 10 times for this position. At this point, I want the job just to say I got the job after such a long battle. Many of my coworkers can’t understand why I haven’t been promoted and openly gape at the people who are promoted over me.

There is now a position open at my location and another in a location not too far away.

I had a meeting last Thursday with my manager regarding that position. And I was essentially told six primary things I need to change before I could get this position. At least I need proof of progress on these positions. The worst of it is, none of them are technical or knowledge based. I’ve been told for years that I have that nailed.

No, they’re all behavior or people based. And they are personality things. They are things that require working nonstop every minute of every hour of every day while I’m there. Things like reining back my very dry sense of humor. Or motivating others. Or developing better composure when dealing with an angry customer.

Things that are frankly, so overwhelming, so daunting, that I’m terrified of trying to conquer them.

The problem is, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and unknowingly tread on a lot of toes here. Not out of malice, but due to misunderstanding or foolish comments of the moment. I believe I’ve reached the point where I’m ready, but I need to make up for all the mistakes of my past before I’m given a shot.

It really sucks. It’s really hard. But I think God wants me to do it, because I had not one but two messages about very similar subjects this weekend. And that’s what’s the most annoying…

I’m going to have to at least try.

I’m going to post about the OCCWF Conference in my next post either today or tomorrow. I have some interesting news. Like a call from a publisher. And delivered transcripts to a brand new college I’m seriously considering attending.

Stay tuned, because I have much more positive things in store.

Including possibly the first chapter of Draft 5 for Soul of the Scribe 😉

-rks

OCCWF Conference and Soul of the Scribe

Cool news! I’ll be attending the Orange County Christian Writer’s Fellowship Conference tonight and tomorrow! (http://www.occwf.org/home.html)  I managed to get a full scholarship through the Director, who I’ve worked with at Saddleback Church’s Talk it Over Ministry. It’s a great opportunity. First, to learn a lot more about the process of writing and publishing from people who have done it plenty of times. Second, to get some feedback on “Scribe.” Third, networking!

I’m seriously considering doing a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Group in the near future, though I think I would prefer people local to the Orange County area so we can occasionally meet in person. The main focus would be online though. I’m pondering.

In other news, Scribe has gone through yet another name change and I think this one is going to stick: “Soul of the Scribe.”

My second draft is complete, adding a good 7,000 words to the story. I wanted to expand a lot of the promises I made and systems I developed. I think it’s far closer to what it should be. However, I’m starting to realize that I may never get this to become a full novel. I’ll likely be stuck around the 40K word mark. I’m a bit disappointed, so I’m considering alternatives. A few short stories or a couple more novellas in this universe.

Today my focus is to revise a bit more of Scribe, get some materials together for tonight and tomorrow, and maybe revise a couple more stories to show for the conference.

I’m also considering posting the first part here so you folks might get a sneak peek at the work I’ve been doing.

Now it’s time to stop screwing around with my blog and get to work.

Have fun!

-rks

Adventures in Story Building

I’m half asleep as I write this. You see, I’m on this medication that’s supposed to help me focus better with the whole ADHD thing, but one of it’s side effects is drowsiness. And it’s pretty hard to do. I’m considering adjusting some of my medication amounts to help me with this, but we’ll see on that.

I’m almost done with the Story Bible for Scribe. In fact, I found myself just marking time with researching various things that actually don’t have anything to do with the primary story in this universe. And that’s just keeping me busy, not keeping me writing. That’s the problem. World-building is awesome, but no matter what, it’s not writing. So it’s time to get a bit more serious about it.

The Story Bible stands at 30 pages and around 7500 words, covering religion, magic rules, bestiary, notable locations, timelines and technology. The big thing is I want to make sure the right rules are in place. This is both easy and hard. I tend to discovery write my stories and often come up with a great new idea that requires a change in the way the universe works, be it a magic system, an important date or a location. And that might require changes back at the beginning. So I can’t do that if I get published. So if I nail down all the major rules first, I can work within those guidelines. In the end though, I can change them down the line, especially for magic.

Enough with the nattering about this…here’s a first draft of the synopsis for “Ballad of the Scribe:”

Within the walls of Rosan City, existence imitates imagination. And there are few others who can manipulate the pure power of imagination than the Scribes, a sect of authors whose works can shift the nature of reality itself.

Frustrated at his lack of progress with his current work, Master Scribe Ak is approached with an intriguing offer. The enigmatic tycoon known only as The Reader, the man who brought the industrial revolution to Rosan City, is seeking a special commission.

But this commission for The Reader will force Ak to confront a past deeply hidden, a past that weaves its way from a rebel attack fifteen years ago to the halls of power within the Grand Palace.

And for one fateful moment, Ak will have to decide who—and what—he truly is.

—–

I’m not thrilled with it, as it doesn’t quite capture the full emotion of what’s going on, but it’s a start.

In other news, I’m still fighting with myself regarding college. I want to get a Creative Writing degree. Not to instantly get a job somewhere or teach, but for myself. Like I said, I’ve always regretted not getting a BA. And since a Creative Writing degree would come naturally to me, it should be somewhat simpler than a Computer Science degree which likely wouldn’t help that much in the directions I want to go anyway. I’m seriously considering National University, which seems a bit less…meh than groups like Full Sail or the University of Phoenix. In truth, I want to go to a real physical college, but I simply don’t have the means for that. Not being the main breadwinner in the house and having a 17-month old. I can’t take off the time to pull that off and care for Caitlyn. And childcare costs would be absurd and I don’t want strangers raising my child.

In the end, it’s going to take a lot of prayer and a lot of hard decisions.

But until then, I need to get back to writing. Or sleep. One or the other 🙂