California Lions Student Speakers

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Yesterday, I had the distinct honor of serving as a judge for the California Lions Student Speakers Program, District 4-L2, Foothill Region.

The speakers were very talented high school students, one freshman and two juniors.

I cannot express how proud I am to participate in such a fantastic program that offers a great opportunity for students. If you have students entering high school any time soon, I recommend you encourage them to participate. The journey itself will be well worth their while.

Assassin’s Escape – Update

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The Assassin’s Escape is nearing publication. I have submitted the files for review and will soon be ordering the proof to do the final check before publication.

I am incredibly excited about getting my second novel out to readers.

Assassin’s Escape – The Cover

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Many thanks to Christian Hecker of Tigaer-Design.com for spectacular cover art!

The Assassin's Escape Cover
The Assassin’s Escape Cover

April Yields in May

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April 2015 was an emotional month, filled with upheaval and changes in my life.

May 2015 has given me time to assess those changes, adapt and integrate them, and plan for who I will be going forward. This time of turbulence has stirred the waters and dredged projects and ideas from the recesses of my mind and between the beats of my heart.

Not a prolific outpouring, but honest, heartfelt sentiment contained in three poems. The first is a birthday greeting from my tradition of poetic or lyrical wishes. The next two are self-(un?)explanatory but revelatory nonetheless. Enjoy and be well.

A Birthday Wish – May 2015
Years ago a bud formed,
The leaves peeled back and a flower blossomed,
Each day it grew more lovely,
Birds sung and bees danced,
We celebrate the day your bud formed,
Singing and dancing.

A Pebble in My Love
Throw a pebble in my love,
Trace the ripples to the shore,
Spin a rock across the surface,
Skipping to be swallowed whole,
Plunge a boulder to the depths,
Mountain peak and valley furrow,
Falls to sea from refreshing streams,
My love is eternal.

Kiss the Dawn
Swaddled in the quiet cool,
Before the first drawn breath,
I hear the purple silence rose-en,
And turn on the pillow toward you,

Your eyelids crack,
Spreading the morning dust,
Across your rosy cheeks,
Turning golden with the light,

No blanket of clouds,
Feather thin or gathered gloom,
Mountain shower or cavern keep,
Can obscure your love,

I toast your golden setting,
Swell in the crisp of your heat,
Breathe in the moist dew,
Lean over and kiss the dawn.

Assassin Updates

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The Assassin’s Escape is currently being proofread. I’m looking forward to the feedback from the proofreaders.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on The Assassin III. I’m withholding the actual title because it would be a bit of a spoiler for the ending of Escape. The planning is completed as are eight chapters of the first draft.

I can’t give you too many details because III kicks off shortly after Escape ends, but it’s already been fun getting things started. A combination of new and old characters makes for interesting interactions and new agendas. The foundation has been established and it’s time to stir up the still waters.

News – February 2015

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The Assassin’s Escape temporary cover and blurb:

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It’s been three years since events on Ganoten sent Darla to the remote planet Kierason. Devastated by her lover’s disappearance and his implication in her father’s assassination, she buried herself in government duties. August General Holliwell orders Darla to actively pursue social relationships, especially the romantic kind, and Darla reluctantly complies. Before she can get back on her feet, a mysterious figure from the past turns her world upside down, sending her on a perilous journey that could be the end of life as she knows it.

The sequel to the action-packed Assassin’s Cradle, The Assassin’s Escape explores the personal and political consequences of Konoliner’s fall from Ganoten and introduces the sinister mystery that will change the lives of everyone in the Tonatium Region. Don’t miss the thrills and chills of the Assassin’s Escape.

The Assassin’s Book III planning progressing to the next level of detail.

Escape Draft Complete !!!

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I am excited to announce that I’ve finished The Assassin’s Escape draft.

I’ll create a temporary cover and blurb and send it out to my proffreaders.

I’m really excited about how it has evolved through the draft process. At about half the length of Cradle, there were about half as many surprises, and I think the readers will enjoy them as much as I did.

When revising Cradle, I made the biggest changes between the 1st and 2nd drafts. After that, changes were incremental. When revising Escape, I was making substantive changes with each pass, and each one improved the story significantly.

Why Science Fiction?

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When I tell people that The Assassin’s Cradle is science fiction, one of the most common reactions is, “Oh, I don’t like science fiction.”

My response is typically, “Well, it’s mostly the setting. The story is more of an adventure with elements of action, spy thriller, a touch of a love story, maybe even a little bit of mystery.”

So why do I persist with science fiction?

To me, science fiction is optimistic. Sure dystopian and flawed utopian science fiction stories are quite common, but all science fiction has one thing in common, the author created a story of how time has passed from the present to when their story takes place. For me, it was a great deal of fun creating the mythical foundation for the story. I can summarize The Assassin’s Cradle backstory like this: even though a universe controlled by galaxy-spanning conglomerates isn’t flawless, it is a mostly positive place to live.

Other than being able to create the future, why choose science fiction? Growing up, I was always a bit of a technology geek. I have always been interested in architecture and construction, and when I went to work for city government, I became interested in city planning as well. Space is the final frontier, and even though very little of The Assassin’s Cradle takes place in space, it creates a vast backdrop that expands everything’s scale.

What about technology excites me? Possibilities. One of the early fears of technological proliferation was the loss of privacy, and that is a real concern. Most cell phones have GPS locators, so your photos, videos, and posts can all contain your location when they’re made. Lost your kid? If their cell phone is turned on, you can find them. Sent a picture of your naughty bits to your ex’s new significant other? Police can track who sent it and from where. And don’t send your boss a sick email from the big game if you’re going to post a picture while reclining at the pool-side bar. Technology can be benefit or bane, and exploring those possibilities can be a lot of fun.

Architecture? Construction? City planning? Throw in geography and social engineering while we’re at it. The opportunity to create a whole new planet with continents and cities was so exciting I could hardly contain myself. I took time creating imaginary tectonic plates, continental drift, mountain ranges from volcanic and plate tectonic activity, valleys, plains, oceans, rivers, lakes. Incredible fun. Then I got to put cities onto this incredible planet, and grow them over time. Better still, I was able to put the places I created firmly into the story, creating mood and affecting the action, giving life to my static creations.

Living exclusively on Earth, the vastness of space is not much more than a concept to us. We can create mathematical representations and theorize that it is still expanding, but nothing can change how small and insignificant we are as individuals when placed in our proper context. How many people’s lives can you hope to influence in your lifetime? No matter how many it is, it is currently confined to this one planet (and its satellite to be precise). You could suggest that our influence extends throughout the solar system, but other than scattering a series of devices around, we’ve had no real impact off of our home. Science fiction gives my characters and you a first-hand (though fictional) understanding and ability to affect something much more expansive than we can currently. I find the idea a bit awe-inspiring and definitely compelling.

Ultimately, science fiction offers incredible story-telling possibilities. I don’t think it permits you to tell better stories. Compelling stories can exist in almost any genre, but science fiction gives me the ability to tap into areas of the imagination (both mine and yours) other genres do not.

Escape Second Draft Complete!

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I am extremely excited to announce that I’ve finished the second draft of the Assassin’s Escape.

I cleaned up some clunky passages, added a couple chapters, bolstered one of the ongoing conspiracies, and beefed up the drama and tension of the ending.

I’m not certain yet whether I’ll take a step back before breaking out the wax and polishing up the prose. But at the finish, I was (and currently am) deeply immersed in the action that had just concluded, and I’m really excited about getting the rest of the story as polished as the new and re-written chapters are.

It was definitely more fun the second time around.

Be well.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving!

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Just created an outline for chapters 1 and 2 for The Assassin III (III stays until Escape has been published – the current title would constitute a bit of a spoiler).

I’d like to say, “Enough! Get back to work on The Assassin’s Escape’s 2nd draft!” but I’ve got to strike while the iron’s hot.