Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Update on Cat O' Nine 3

As you might have read from my co-author's blog, Renee is attending college for her engineering degree. (I understand it's part of her grand scheme for world domination.) This had made her quite busy. I would know as I was a pre-Engineering student in my wild and misspent college days. I eventually decided it was more math than I could stomach and switch majors but she's sticking with it. Every other week, she has some kind of exam or is studying for one  - and doing quite well! I couldn't be more proud of my "internet sis", but as you might imagine, editing and proofreading the first draft has been and will continue to be slow-going. Rest assured it IS being worked on and we're hoping for some progress during upcoming holiday breaks.

So in the meantime, a new story is brewing in my big iron cauldron downstairs in the mad comp sci labora... er... home office! Looking over the plot outline, I'm still deciding whether to make this a serious dark fantasy with risque tendencies, or a more light-hearted, tongue in cheek deal.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

When do you use the pen to wield the sword?

One thing that's hit me is that in the first draft of Cat O' Nine 3 is that the villains are, well.... not all that bad. Renee commented that they were "pretty wussy" compared to some paranormal fiction she was reading. After doing same comparison the same myself, I'm forced to agree. But at the same time, I'm leery about going overboard with their cruelty just to make them "bad ass." In other words, its easy to write in violent scenes, but it gets a little harder when one tries to make sure the scenes do something aside from to show the reader how mean the character is. Character or plot development are the primary justifications, but even with this goal in mind, the line for "senseless violence" isn't a definite one. I still don't have the answer here. Perhaps it's different for each writer. But it's something worth giving a lot of thought to.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Dr. Livingston I presume?"

The days of having never met my co-author are over. After six (at least, I lost count) years now, Renee and I finally met in person at Otakon 2011 in Baltimore last weekend.

In a day and age where people commonly misrepresent themselves on the Internet, it's refreshing to report that the real life Renee is much like that on-line one. I had only seen a couple pictures of her over the past, but looks exactly like she described herself. We "recognized" each other from opposite sides of them room without having to say a word. Personality-wise, she still hates my puns. Still threatens to write me into one of her short stories "wearing a tutu!". But we had a fun time wandering the art and dealer's room debating whether "cyberlox" dreads we saw would fit a race on a new series we've started.

At the end of the weekend, I shared the same opinion as my wife, who also met Renee. "She's one of those people who says 'This is who I am. Take it or leave it.' She's really nice. I like her."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cat o' Nine: Courtship of Knives

The second book of Cat o' Nine is out! My co-author, and our new editor, Barbara, meant through it with a fine tooth comb and kept me from getting too carried away with the typos and "blaster ballerina" moments. Book 2 is MUCH better on the typos and grammar thanks to them.

We will also be revising book 1. Renee and I were carried off in the first book excitement, and now we want to clean that one up a bit.

You can get Courtship of Knives for Kindle on Amazon, or find it in other formats, such as .epub, .pdf, .rtf, and more at Smashwords.

In addition, the price of the first book of the Cat o' Nine series has been lowered to $0.99, so if you haven't read it, now's a good time!

Happy reading!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"It's just a flesh wound!"

As Renee has mentioned in her own blog, Quirky Dreams, we've never met.  Our entire collaboration is done online. And while we generally are copacetic in our efforts to write Cat o' Nine, there are moments were it's anything but. Take the following IM conversation, where we were discussing what fighting a Ghoulsword (basically an undead knight) would be like.

Me: I'm having a mark land moment
Renee: uh oh
Renee: ?
Mark: Remember the black knight in monty python
Renee: no.
Renee: Absolutely not
Renee: I forbid it.
Me: hahahahaha
Renee: No, no, no, no, no
Me: "It's just a flesh wound!"
Me: "Whatdya gonna do bleed on me?"
Me: "I don't bleed anymore!"
Me: *snicker*
Renee: I'm going to pretend I didn't read that
Me: *laughs with tears his eyes*
Renee: shakes head at you

It's times like these I have to thank Renee for putting up with more than my typos.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Oh C'mon! They can't do that!!"

Suspension of belief is a tricky thing.

I don't know how it is for other writers, but in order for me to write a particular scene, I visualize it happening in my head like a movie. Often while listening to dramatic soundtrack or movie trailer music. (Believe it or not, there are music producers who do nothing but trailer music. Look up "Two Steps from Hell" on YouTube and see what I mean.) Anyway, while this may put me in a mindspace for fantasy/sci-fi writing, it does have a drawback in that I tend to visualize characters doing what I often see in the movies, TV, comics, video games, etc.

So when I want a character to leap into the air, spin on a circle and blast away with twin rapid fire blasters amid enemy cyborgs, it makes for a great storyboard for a movie, but maybe not so much for a great story. My poor co-author for Cat o' Nine, skilled in martial arts as she is, not only has to fix all my typos, but has the job of keeping me ... well... grounded. We had a long argument about the "blaster ballerina" example above during a project we were doing before Cat o' Nine. In her (qualified) opinion, once you leave the ground in a fight, you lose control and nobody who knew what they were doing would be dumb enough to attempt such a stunt. My side of the debate was pretty much limited to "Yeah, but it would be so cool!"

But in the end, she won out because in truth, I've had the same "oh c'mon, no way" moments. My personal gripe is about Legolas' "quickdraw" archery skills in LOTR.

In medieval history a trained archer with a longbow could fire around 8-12 arrows per minute. Keep in mind, we're taking about guys who practiced all the time. I have my own longbow and I've tried it. The only way I manage 12 arrows in a minute with reasonable accuracy is if the arrows are in a quiver I made for myself that's strapped to my calf, giving me a couple millisecond advantage in a pull and nock maneuver. That still leaves almost no time for aim. I have to loose my shot the moment I bring the bowstring back to the side of my cheek, sighting down the arrow as I draw. And it's exhausting. I could only keep up that rate for three minutes. I don't think I'd make the cut for archery corps back then.

Legolas' "eyeblink" draw and fire would be a rate of 1, maybe even 2 arrows per second. Do the math and he would get off 60-120 arrows a minute. With the quiver he had, he's out of ammunition in half a minute tops. I can't watch those scenes without rolling my eyes.

I guess this is why the really good authors end up doing a ton of research before they write. In Hollywood, one bullet can kill ten Indians, but this here ain't Hollywood pilgrim.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cat O' Nine is on Smashwords!

Cat O' Nine is on Smashwords!

If you don't have a Kindle, check out my book from this site. Compatible with several readers.