Friday, December 31, 2010


I've been looking back and thinking what a really big year this was. It was certainly the most productive year I've ever had with two full length novels, 25 short stories and all the the pre-history and character work I've done for Welcome to Nowhere. I estimate somewhere over 400,000 words. Despite the fact that I had written four novels and a dozen or so short stories before I never really considered myself an author. I really can't explain why but it just didn't feel comfortable saying it like I didn't really deserved it until the Starpoint Mountain series was finished. It wasn't until then that I felt like I'd earned it and can introduce myself that way.
I'm gearing up for the next level in 2011. I went to Keokuk today and my friend Per nideo taped me reading excerpts from the books. He's going to edit them and add music, sounds, and visual effects and put them up on youtube. I'm also meeting with Susanna next Saturday about doing video trailers in character. She's excited about it and has the talent to make it work. I've got most of the costume already made but still need to get a leather vest or jacket that can double as armor. In addition I've had Fredd Gorham, a professional artist, doing sketches to bring some of the characters to life other than Gallif. So far he's done Lincilara and Luvin and I'm planning on doing Blinks and Jakobus next and then some of the villains.
On top of all this I'm still hoping to hear from Jupiter Gardens Publishing in January that they want to buy the series. I'll wait another week and then send them a reminder to see how they are doing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


I've been working a lot on the science of the story this week. There really isn't much to go on as far as where in orbit around the sun these stations would go so I've had to make a few educated guesses. Also did a schematic of the station in Printshop.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Spent most of this week putting the characters together. When I originally designed the space station and crew I had 32 characters, but after a while I thought that was just to many for the size of the station and the time frame, 2050-2075, so I cut 9 of them and was down to 23.
This week I did character backgrounds for all 23 giving them all a birth date, family, where they grew up, went to college and why they joined the space service. Also gave most of them some dark secret that they don't want anyone to know.
After that I started to detail their responsibilities on the station but found out the some of the originals posts either over lapped or were unnecessary. If I only had 23 crew members did I need to have two people in charge of planning their meals and exercise programs? No. So I ended up getting rid of 4 of the positions. I didn't immediately cut those characters designated to those positions. There were some of them that I particularly liked the way they turned out so I gave them other jobs. One I ended up switching from a male to a female character. I feel pretty sure that these 19 will stay.
At one point I started to think that nobody in their right mind would ever put these people together on a space station. One of them has been addicted to just about everything, another believes they are having conversations with god and a third has no plans to ever set foot on earth again. It'd be nuts to confine them together on their own. Then it occurred to me that, one, it is a government operation and, two, that is where the drama comes from.

CAPTAIN: John Farbrother

EXEC OFFICER: Brenda Olivo

TECH LEAD: Marilyn Kent



SCHEDULER: Maria Gonsalves



MECHANIC: Natoya Bengala


MECHANIC: James Benjamin

ELECTRICIAN: Nicholas Picker



DOCTOR: Michael Dietrich

NURSE: Kelly Spaulding

AGRICULTURE: Clarence Nicklebody



NUTRITION: Michael Thorpe

ENVIRONMENT: Jennifer Kaplan

ENVIRONMENT: Rachel Tanner

Saturday, December 11, 2010


It's interesting how the different books take shape. I started Secrets of Starpoint Mountain by just sitting down and writing. I had a few basic ideas about the characters and the history of the land but that was it, just winged it from that point on.
This one is starting completely different. It takes place on a space station and I started by deciding what kind of crew this station would have. I figured out the organizational structure of the station from the captain and his command crew down to the individual science groups. It came out to 32 different stations but I felt that was to much so I streamlined and reorganized the staff down to 23.
Deciding to stick with that I worked on the characters. I gave each of them a name, age, ethnicity and a brief paragraph description of their character, history and relationships with other crew members. It turned out to be quite a diverse group and I made sure some of them do not get along very well, actually, they hate each other. Some of them have very nasty secrets as well.
Then I went back and wrote a history of the space program from 2030 to 2075 when the story takes place. Then went and rewrote it with more details including a technological war with China and failed mission launches. Also worked out some of the station lingo.
Next week I'm planning on doing more character details.
It's funny how the creative brain develops this. I don't really think about it or plan it it just plans itself. I suspect it's because canvas for this book is so different from Starpoint Mountain. In the books I had a whole world to travel through with lots of opportunities to introduce new characters. This one is a closed space with limited characters so I think I have to know them from the start. I'm also going in to this as a one book project. The first book I wrote, Timelash, I looked at as a trilogy, so was the Dr. Who book, and Starpoint came out at four books and twenty-two short stories with opportunities for more. I really don't see this going for more than one book.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


What an odd time it's been. I finished the fourth book ten days ago and I realized this week that I was actually missing it. I missed the characters and the world and it felt so odd not to be thinking and creating events there. I still have all the rewrites to do but, as satisfying and as proud as I am, it's just not the same.
I went back and realized that from the start of the first draft of the first book to the first draft of the fifth book was 258 weeks. Holy Cow! I lived in that word with those characters for almost five years. No wonder it felt depressing not to be there anymore. Don't get me wrong! It's not like I am giving them up forever and will never go back, the seeds are there, but I was so engrossed in that world it feels like post partum depression not to be going there.
I figured there are two things I need to do to get out of the slump. The first is to dive in to the rewrites and really work hard on them. I've slacked on the rewrites while doing the original work and the book I originally said was going to be ready this year is far from it. Time to get to work.
The second things is to get writing new stuff again and I've done three short stories this week. The first one, Death Plus 25, has been an idea I've been thinking about for a long time. It's a very dark and serious story. After that I wrote Final Thoughts of a Dying Astronaut. I've been thinking of that for a long time as well and it is, no surprise, also a dark and serious story. After that I wrote a completely new story that just came out of the sky this week. It's called The Cedar Rapids Doll Collectors Club which is a bit creepy but was great fun to write. It was the first time since finishing Starpoint that I had the excitement of doing new work.
It's also an ego thing but, until I finished the fourth book and the story was done, I never really thought of myself as an author. I finally feel comfortable referring to myself that way.