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”

Parking Lot

I’m not in the ballpark when it comes to wrapping up CH, but I’m circling, looking for a parking spot.  The three pages of handwritten notes I jotted down whilst drunk Sunday night guide me.  The first half of part I is below the fold; the second half just now finished.  Part II (as my wife gives me the ‘all-clear’ for tomorrow night when it comes to shuttling our daughters about) will see the death of a main character (finally!) and part III is a tiny, funny, romantic interlude before I try to swing the wreaking ball.  We shall see.

I’m going to need a backhoe and a jackhammer to edit this thing.

Continue reading “Parking Lot”

Writer’s Fear

I’ve never had writer’s block.  Nope, not even once.  I sit down, usually at a computer, but still, occasionally with pen and paper, and write.

What I do have, is Writer’s Fear.  If several days go by without said ‘sitting down,’ I am afraid that once I do, nothing will happen, that I’ll just sit there.  So what do I do?  Everything else:  clean house, walk the dogs, run for food and booze, get drunk early and watch anime… anything to keep me from facing my fear.

I’d put off writing for five days this week.  I’d a great weekend of several thousand words, even into Monday and Tuesday, I’d figured out Maya’s time-lapse, inadvertently introduced Emma Miller… and did everything I could to not touch Nichole (the laptop I do 99% of my writing on) until this (Saturday) afternoon.  Finally, fearfully, with only one partial scene in mind, I began.  That was four and a half hours ago; 3k works ago.  Chris, Cat, and Anton are in a small armored column on their way to Miramar Air Station, and Maya finally killed someone in San Diego.  It was so easy!  I’m over 60k words, and not even to the Big End… which just makes the Fear worse.

Will I be able to do this tomorrow?  My family’s coming back from vacation, so I should wash our bedding.  The weather’s getting better, and I need to paint the trim of the entire front of the house.  After Mass tomorrow morning, I should stay for Adoration for at least an hour….  I should… I should…

Fear.  It’s a horrible, corrosive disease.

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”

Continue reading “Writer’s Fear”

“Stupid humans.”

I’d just now put those words onto Maya’s lips.  And that’s how I feel:  at 57k words… why not introduce a new character!  Eff me, why not?!  What I needed was a victim to satisfy Maya’s cravings after being held captive by [person] in the machine’s home for one of our weeks, so, thinking about the sacrificial secretary at the start of Elfin Lied (06:41-07:24; subs don’t matter, this is just what I had in mind at the time), I came up with Emma Miller.

“Look at you.” The scowl was there, but Emma hoped it was a spark of mirth she saw in those odd eyes.  “You’re a walking cliché:  blue jeans and blue eyes; blonde hair and an unnecessarily large chest!  All the while knowing nothing about how this world really works!  Bismarck was right!”

All Maya has to do after running into her is grab her and steal her life… but, there’s a CCTV camera; if Gordon’s watching, he’ll know that what she told him about just wanting to meet her brother is a lie, and will alert Chris… so Maya hesitates.  In that moment, Emma starts talking.  I learn she’s a Masters in Computer Engineering, working on her PhD and is a better programmer than anyone at UCSD-SCS.  But, since she’s low-man on the totem pole, she’s the one to bring coffee and donuts.

Until Maya literally runs into her.

And when Maya lets slip that Gordon is self-aware – an impossibility to Emma – the dialog started.  Last I saw, they were on a bench on the north side of Giesel Library eating brats for breakfast.  I couldn’t take it, so I vacuumed two floors of my house and did two loads of laundry.  I’d the hook by the time I got back:  Emma is a friend of Cat’s and has heard the name ‘Chris’ already.  Maya’s already mentioned that, so Emma is running confused. She gets a text from Cat about lunch, and excuses herself from Maya… who can read a lying human like a book.  She follows.

When Can I Kill These People?!?!?  It’s as if I’m fond of them and –

Oh.

Krep.

Sidelined

At long, long last, I’ve my three main characters (Chris, Cat, Maya) in proximity, at UC San Diego.  I also came face-to-face with a problem I’d known, but chose to ignore:  they are almost exactly one week out of synch.

For Chris & Cat, just two weeks have passed; an eventful two weeks!  However, for Maya, it’s closer to three – if not a day or two more.  Once I start editing, I’ll have all my notes and glosses to tally everything up.  But:  a week apart.

Last night, came home from day-job, made coffee (1/2 and 1/2 reg and decaf so I don’t kill myself), added some brandy, and was able to finish C&C’s trip home from the Newman Center and their dinner (just what was Cat alluding to when she whispered her embarrassing desire to Chris?).  After that, I got Maya from the SD airport to the NE side of campus, where the Supercomputing Center (and thus, Gordon) is; what an UGLY building!  Maya uses a bit of future-tech to talk to Gordon – with a cameo by Dorina – and she leaves, hunting for her brother and his intended.

A week out of synch.

I stared and the screen all the way through the second coffee/brandy.  Nothing.  Metaphorically tossed everything into my unconscious mind and descended to the basement to watch some animes with my wife.

Woke up.  Nothing.

Just before lunch, I saw something:  while Maya was in the machine’s home – ‘cyberspace’ if you will – who’s so say the passage of time was 1:1 with ours… especially with that very odd incident with the male figure, whom she couldn’t see, at the end, who called her ‘my daughter’?  What if Gordon had kept the room with the sensorium locked for – oh, I don’t know, let’s say, a week?  That gives me two things:

A solution to my temporal decoherence and a very, very hungry Maya.

Back in the game!

Baton

Over 50k words, he said!  Just another 8-10k to finish the book, he said!

Annnnd then, Dorina showed up.  To quote from Band of Brothers:  “…well, hello 2nd Armored!”

Look, it’s NOT exposition and I AM NOT LECTURING!  I can prove it, below the fold!  These people just keep showing up… this just keeps happening…!

Seriously:  I need to start killing everyone.  No!  I mean it!  Don’t you dare click on Continue reading “Baton”