Shadow Captain Free for Five Days

Two pieces of news related to Shadow Captain:

-It will be free for five days, starting today, so if you don’t have a Kindle Unlimited account, this is a great time to check it out!

-Like a lot of authors, I have a love-hate relationship with Amazon and its dominant place in the ebook marketplace at the best of times, and certain developments at Amazon have led to me deciding┬ánot to renew Shadow Captain’s participation in the Kindle Unlimited program. If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you will have until June 18, 2022, to download the book for free. After that, Kindle Unlimited subscribers will not be able to download the book for free, but if you have already downloaded it by June 18, 2022, you should be able to read it at your convenience.

Where Did THAT Come From: The Star Master Setting

Star Wars. The Star Master setting comes from Star Wars. Maybe a little from Battlestar Galactica, because I’m pretty sure I saw the original Galactica on tv at around aged 3 or 4, based on where I was living at the time, and might have first seen Star Wars: A New Hope on tv as late as age 5. But I would go on to see A New Hope many, many times, because my family owned a limited number of child-friendly movies on videotape* and A New Hope was one that my siblings and I could all agree on. A lot of what I know about plotting, I first learned from A New Hope.

Continue reading “Where Did THAT Come From: The Star Master Setting”

Where did THAT Come From: Various Tidbits About the Jaiya Metaseries

-One key plot point for Slaying a Tyrant – the villain’s magical enslavement of the mercenaries who work for him – didn’t occur to me until 2016, several months after finishing the rough draft. It came to me during a trip to Disney World with family members. Make of that what you will.

-“Rijal” is a man’s name, and the Jaiyan name for the Pole Star, but it was loosely based on my name for my childhood parakeet.

-Four to six characters in Loving a Deathseer are loosely based on characters from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. One of them is gender-flipped: Sir Thomas Bertram is the inspiration for the female politician whom the bad guys are targeting. Two more are composite characters: the politician’s husband is a composite of Lady Bertram and Mr. Bennet (from Pride & Prejudice), and their spoiler daughter is a composite of Maria Bertram and Julia Bertram. The others are pretty obvious if you’ve read both books.

Scapegoating a Hero is very vaguely inspired by the Nanavati murder case, but has dramatic differences from the real life story and the various films based on it. For one thing, the heroine does not commit adultery in Hero, and for another, the fallout from the case within the judicial system is less drastic in Hero. The public figure known as the “Father of Jaiya” in this book is not intended to resemble any real world figure.

Hero is probably my own favorite of the Jaiya Metaseries, just because I was trying something very different from anything I’d done before. It was an interesting challenge, and since it involves a murder trial and some legal maneuvering, I was very pleased when the lawyer in my family liked it.

-During NaNoWriMo2017, I tried to write what would become Saving a Queen. At that time, the story was loosely inspired (with different geography and the usual fantasy elements) by the British siege of Jhansi in 1858, but I quickly realized that this was a story too grim for me to tell. Over the course of 2018, I came up with a different story, about a young queen escaping after her city fell to siege, and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.

-Airships had been a minor element in the NaNoWriMo version of Queen, but the hero’s personal lighter-than-air craft became a major player in the final version of Saving a Queen, practically a co-star. (“I liked the one with the balloon,” a family member told me, once I’d published all of the Jaiya Metaseries.)

-Chronological order for the Jaiya Metaseries: Slaying a Tyrant, Saving a Queen, Scapegoating a Hero, Seeking the Quantum Tree, Marrying a Monster, Waking the Dreamlost, Loving a Deathseer.

-Publication order for the Jaiya Metaseries: Marrying a Monster, Waking the Dreamlost, Loving a Deathseer, Slaying a Tyrant, Saving a Queen, Scapegoating a Hero, Seeking the Quantum Tree.

-The order in which the Jaiya Metaseries was written: Loving a Deathseer (November 2010), Marrying a Monster (November 2013), Slaying a Tyrant (November 2015), Waking the Dreamlost (Summer 2016), Seeking the Quantum Tree (November 2016), Scapegoating a Hero (February 2017 to mid-2018), and Saving a Queen (November 2017 to October 2018).

Slaying a TyrantMarrying a MonsterLoving a Deathseer (November 2010)
Saving a QueenWaking the DreamlostMarrying a Monster (November 2013)
Scapegoating a HeroLoving a DeathseerSlaying a Tyrant (November 2015)
Seeking the Quantum TreeSlaying a TyrantWaking the Dreamlost (Summer 2016)
Marrying a MonsterSaving a QueenSeeking the Quantum Tree (November 2016)
Waking the Dreamlost,Scapegoating a HeroScapegoating a Hero (February 2017 to mid-2018)
Loving a DeathseerSeeking the Quantum TreeSaving a Queen (November 2017 to October 2018)
Left to right: Chronological, Publication, and Writing Order for the Jaiya Metaseries

Where Did THAT Come From: The Jaiya Metaseries

I spent part of my childhood “abroad,” where I discovered anime (dubbed into various European languages) and foreign cinema, due to my family’s fondness for French and Italian comedians like Jacques Tati and Terence Hill. This led, in my thirties and early forties, to an interest in films made in India: mostly in the Hindi language, but also some in the South Indian languages. There was a big learning curve, in terms of sourcing the more obscure movies, getting a feel for the cultures involved, and figuring out what appealed to me beyond the famous song and dance numbers.

Continue reading “Where Did THAT Come From: The Jaiya Metaseries”

Happy New Year!

I hope it goes well for all of us. Right now, I just feel kind of mentally tapped out, but here are my writing/publishing plans for 2022:

-Star Master Book 2: The sequel to Shadow Captain. Originally supposed to be the middle book in a trilogy, but is now going to be the second half of a duology. I have a new ending to write, and some character scenes and loose ends to take care of as well before I start polishing. The Gantt chart I made for myself in Excel gives me the first week in January to work on cover art and such things, before I have to buckle down and start writing. Optimistic release date: sometime between late May and early July 2022. Pessimistic release date: Christmas 2022.

ThornMaster: A prequel storyline about the parents of a character in the Star Master books, the three initial episodes haven’t picked up any interest on Vella. May work on it some more once I get Star Master Book 2 to the polishing stage; alternating between drafting a low-intensity work of fiction and polishing/editing a related work of fiction has worked for me in the past. I hope to keep putting up chapters on Vella as time and energy permit; I will need to do some more digging into Amazon’s policies before deciding how to handle the part where I compile it into an ebook.

Ancestors of Jaiya: still need reediting and new covers. New covers might happen in one of the periods where I’m trying to respark my creativity, but reediting will most likely happen after Star Master Book 2 is done, because I’m pretty sure I won’t have the mental energy for it before then.

-Epic Fantasy: Very early stages of planning, so early that one key plot element is just called “Maguffin Artifact” in my notes and the main characters are being referred to by their dayjobs (wizard, princess, knight… etc) because they don’t have names yet. I’m torn on whether to go forward with this; on the one hand, I’m having a lot of fun with the early world-building stages and feel more invested in it right now than the alternative (see below). On the other hand, my level of interest could change very quickly, and this series would be in an extremely competitive genre.

-Gaslamp Fantasy: The advantage to this one is that I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of Regency/Victorian/Edwardian fiction. The disadvantage is at this point that I have characters and a rough idea of a setting but no plot, and not much interest in developing it further at this moment. The other thing is that it’s a much less competitive genre than epic fantasy, to the point of maybe being a niche with not enough readers. All of that could change very quickly though.

Dorothy Sayers, Quotes from “Creed or Chaos?”

Due disclaimer about not agreeing with Sayers about absolutely everything (she was Anglican and a British subject; I am Catholic and a citizen of the United States of America). But I think she is correct in these quotes, explaining the importance of theology, in the sense of clearly articulating one’s religious beliefs.

“If Christ was only man, then He is entirely irrelevant to any thought about God; and if He is only God, then He is entirely irrelevant to any experience of human life. It is necessary, in the strict sense […] that a man believe rightly the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Unless he believes rightly, there is not the faintest reason why he should believe at all.”

“It is the dogma that is the drama — not beautiful phrases, nor comforting sentiments, nor vague aspirations to loving-kindness and uplift, nor the promise of something nice after death — but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world lived in the world and passed through the grave and gate of death.”

Halfway Through NaNoWriMo, Not Halfway Done

I should be at 25000 words by now, but am a bit more than 10000 words behind. I think I’ve been this far behind before and managed to make it up in the second half, so we’ll see how it goes. General thoughts:

-Dictation continues to be a not-so-good choice for me for NaNoWriMo. The rest of the year, I use it mostly when I am burned out and fed up with what I’m working on. It’s more mental work for me to get my thoughts in order before I speak them than to type quickly and backspace through anything I change my mind about, and the amount of tweaking needed to turn the dictation results into some kind of sense largely erases the speed advantage.

-Working on multiple projects in NaNoWriMo, also not a great choice for me. I’ve gotten maybe 499 words on Thorn Master, and 1000ish on Star Master Book 2, only just started on Star Master Book 3 in the past couple of days. I tend to write my way slowly and meditatively through the second half (and missing scenes) of a long, complicated first draft. So, although mentally I probably needed to get the Book 2 stuff out of the way, doing that first definitely slowed me down.

-Anyway, feel free to learn from my mistakes here.