The Problem…

…with the dictum of “write drunk, edit sober” is finding the time.  To be sober.  Still, I’ve made the time and had three editing passes at CH.  The third and last – of mine – was tonight.  Just after, I sent it off to a copyeditor I hired from Upwork.com, recommended to me by someone I trust.  I wrote up a story summary, what I wanted, and what I was willing to pay.

A week later (sober!), I reviewed the list of about thirty applicants for my job.  Most of the replies were reasonable.  A few were laughable:  “While no editing experience, I’ve a Masters in English from [insert liberal arts college here] and plenty of time to work on your manuscript while working as a barrista!”  I’ve never grasped why we import Central Americans to mow our lawns when someone from Kenyon can do it; and they’re just up the road.

What’s one of my sig lines, kids?  That’s right:  there are no such things as coincidences.  One of the applicants – with lots of experience – also went to UC San Diego.  I didn’t ask if she was Catholic, but with a surname of San Nicolas, I bet she knows where the Neuman Center is, which looms so large in the lives of Cat and Chris.  After a brief exchange to make sure she was okay with sex and violence, I clicked “Hire.”

I look forward to her telling me how awful CH is.  And, how to fix it.

Now:  where to find designers for the cover…

Fate/Cursed Hearts

Self-publishing is a fantastic byproduct of our modern age.  But, when someone approaches you and says, “hey, your stuff’s pretty good; can we publish it?” that’s wonderfully gratifying to a writer’s ego.

A year ago I came up with a short story called “It’s Just Business.”  Today, it was published by Uprising Review.

That short was the genesis of the idea behind “Cursed Hearts.”  Is it a coincidence that a week to the day when I finished writing CH, someone wants to publish the source material?  Of course not:

There are no such things as coincidences!

“Two trains leave the station…”

We all hated word problems in math.  To commemorate this, forty years on, I created a word problem for myself in English:  Chris leaves home on day -1, arriving in San Diego on day 0; the story between Chris and Cat unfolds, coming to a head when little sister drops into their love nest on day 12.

From the other side, Maya leaves home on day 1, spends some time in a hospital, travels by freighter then airplane, arriving in San Diego on day 16.

16 – 12 = 4.

Well, crap.  I knew there was going to be a discrepancy, but four days?!  So, putting down the coffee and picking up the wine, I did this to the Chris/Cat side:

 A week had passed since their dinner and the odd ceremony Cat and Anton had performed on him. Although he did not understand, it had been efficacious in at least one way: his need to feed on the life force of animals was significantly lessened. Beyond that, home life with Cat had settled into a simple routine where they helped one another as much as they could. Chris still occasionally wondered whether he was imposing, but never detected that feeling from his cousin. If anything, she grew closer to him, both emotionally and physically, although it seemed something held her back from taking the next step, even after her ‘incident’ in the shower. Ah, well, he thought.

That gives me CC at +3 over M.  Sooo…

“She’s made remarkable progress in her recovery over the past three days, barring her memory, of course.” He took a drink of his coffee.

See what I did there?  Now the stories synch, with all my main character getting together for the bloodletting on day 19.  Back to coffee.

Church mice

Coming to around 1000 at my day-job, I had a moment of clarity:  for the last seven months, all my waking moments had been filled with Chris, Cat, and Maya somewhere in my mind.

For the past 36 hours:  all quiet.

The mental moment was this:  I was in a darkened – but not dark – older church, alone. A place that was just recently host to a hundred, and soon will be again, but now preternatuary still.

At the end of T4L, I’d already seen the sequel.  The close of EFL was a ‘LOL’ moment, as kids would type.

Alone, looking at three graves of those that have been, not a part of me, but me… well… it’s very quiet, now.

Don’t like it.

Memorial

74,124 words.  Finished.  I’ve been living with these people in my head since November.  Now… well they’re still there, but not really ‘alive;’ their story is over, so now they’re just pieces on a chessboard that I move while editing Cursed Hearts for a commercial release.

I’ve done this twice before, so it keeps getting easier:  fix the story, format pages and chapters, convert to PDF.  I’m going to need cover art, so besides getting a quote from Createspace, I want to reach out to what little connexions I have in the ‘artist community.’  Friend Tracy made a sketch some months back; as I concept, I like it, but for marketing reasons I want photo-images rather than drawn-images, if that makes sense.

I’m sorry that there’s nothing under the fold, this time.  Giving away the ending is, well, giving away the ending.  I also tie up several plot threads I knew that I’d had dangling for the last few months.

I know I’ve yeoman’s work ahead of me, editing this, but… I’m really glad I got to know everyone:  Chris, Cat, Maya, Anton.  Seven months ago, we were all total strangers.  What a story they let me see!  Thank y’all so much!

Tertium

It’s my fault, really:  I cut my teeth on writing visual novels, so I expect multiple endings.  Of course, that’s a luxury that trad novels don’t have.  I am now embarking on the third attempt to kill everyone* in Cursed Hearts.  Given my track record, it will take at least two more attempts.  Look:  here’s “Bad End #1:”

He ran at her. Her horrid grin returned at she ran at him, her arms stupidly held out behind her. I cannot let her touch me! Must render her unconscious…! In less than two seconds they closed –

Maya jumped; he’d seen her flex just a moment too late: his right hand over his head closed on air just an inch below her foot. He skidded to a halt, knowing before turning about he’d lost: there was no way to get to Cat in time. He turned about.

Maya was holding the hands of a shaking and crying Cat, speaking to her softly. But not so soft that Chris could not pick out the word “…death!” Reacting at last, Corporal Cortez directed the team of men towards the wrecked car. The fire was spreading.

Chris began a steady walk towards the only two things that mattered to him. At three meters, Maya spoke up, without turning.

“No closer, brother! Or I eat her!”

“Let her go, sister. Take me in her place.”

Now her head moved just a little left; her eyes sliding to the corners. Red, but lessened, he thought.

“Why not the both of you? Two meals plus a dessert!”

Chris did not understand, but drew some comfort from the sound of another dozen soldiers coming out of the hangar. This group headed towards them.

Fade to black.  WTF!  Seriously, wtf!  That didn’t explain anything!  In a VN, I’d give you that for making poor choices throughout!  Well, I’d have killed you earlier if you’d tried to get an ending like that.

So, it’s 4k words later.  No parking garage, only Anton’s driver dead.  Tomorrow; I swear I’m ending this tomorrow.  Excerpt below.  And, the check’s in the mail, I love you, I  won’t come in your…

*Anton lives**.  There’s an Epilogue.

**I think.  Not finished. Continue reading “Tertium”