I already have these books listed on My Book Shelf page, but most of you folks don’t visit that (the numbers don’t lie), so I figured I’d do something I rarely do these days, and actually post a link farm. I apologize for those hoping for a new, proper post from me, but I’m a little out of sorts and not feeling too chatty. Included with these links are the brief summaries I wrote for these books a week or two ago:
THE BACK ROADS OF LIMBO
A series of short stories and novellas about spies, sultans, genies, detectives, bad angels, a man’s best friend, the God of Squirrels, Christmas dinner for two, thieves, sorceresses, lost children, working while you sleep, writer’s block, soul-eating vampires, and a giant squid.
PRINT | KINDLE
TERMINAL MONDAY: a Dream of New York City
A man meets an old girlfriend who convinces him to return to novel writing, but not before his wife leaves him, he gets his old band back together, and suffers a nervous breakdown.
PRINT | KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS
ASHES: Infinite Redress
A scientist becomes infected by a space-borne virus that contains the soul of an alien missionary who bonds with her and draws her into solving the mystery of how the aliens all died.
KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS
The BRIDE of WAR
A knight falls in love with a young woman designated to be sacrificed to a mystical dragon, and undertakes a quest to learn how to defeat the dragon and break the centuries-old pact.
PRINT | KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS
LINKTALES volume one
(excerpts from The Dark Guild) A series of mysterious events lead to the old city of Londonis being invaded by soul-eating vampires.
KINDLE | KOBO | NOOK | SONY | APPLE | SMASHWORDS
You know what I’m asking you to do. Please. Thank you.
So I’ve been thinking a little about a concept I’ve had in my head for a few years now. I’ve had this strange fixation on wanting to write a piece of fiction of indeterminate length, basically drawing together the narrative elements of the Police album, Synchronicity. It’s not a concept album in and of itself, and the stories told on that album, though very evocative and strong, story-wise, aren’t really related, so the challenge of essentially novelizing this album has been a considerable challenge to wrap my brain around.
For most of that time, I had been thinking it would be a strange bit of fanfic, which I would include in the eventual freebie collection I’m planning, featuring other fics, including The Marx Brothers and The Prisoner, amongst many others.
The thing is, I haven’t proceeded with that plan, at least as far as the Police album is concerned, because my gut kept telling me the idea was bigger and stronger than that.
Then the other day, it hit me: I’m planning to write a sequel to Terminal Monday, and yet I have almost no real concept or plan for it, save that it would be a sort of Scheherazade tale. So, what if I put the two notions together? Borrow concepts (not actual plots; I have no need to steal other writers’ plots) from Synchronicity and use them to structure the chapters.
This created the problem that, as PERPETUAL TUESDAY is intended as a sequel to TERMINAL MONDAY, it sort of needs to be a long piece. TM was 260,000 words, roughly. I couldn’t very well see PT coming in at anything less than 150,000-200,000 words, if I wanted to feel good about it.
So I decided I needed a bigger concept than even Synchronicity could afford me. Which lead me to my next leap of logic: Ghost In The Machine is also a very good album with lots of interesting stories, and it precedes Synchronicity. What if I made it the first act of a two act sequence?
I played with that idea for a day or two, and then this morning, decided I needed a three act tale to get the scope that TM had. And fortunately, The Police recorded five official albums, the third of which is also a pretty evocative piece of work, if not as story-centric as the latter two. And by some interesting piece of luck, the three albums each have eleven tracks (if you count the bonus track, Murder By Numbers, which was added to Synchronicity on cassette and CD). So, three acts (like Terminal Monday, only more formally so), eleven chapters per act, coming out to thirty-three chapters, which is almost as many as Terminal Monday had, so I’d say I’ve got the rough shape of a proper sequel. And because I’ve done it with a different format from TM, I don’t feel like I’m repeating the formula.
I’ve already prepared the Scrivener file, and started very roughly planning what each chapter will be about, without doing any actual plotting. I’m planning on letting the idea stew for a bit so I can wrap my brain around the size and shape of the plot and let the ideas come together without trying to nail everything down. That’s essentially how I worked with TM, but that novel had less structure when I started. This one will be just a shade more deliberate.
So now the plan is settled. In the meantime, I’m treating the three albums as a kind of soundtrack, though I’ll have to expand it significantly to keep from borrowing things I don’t need. I want it do be obvious enough what I did that no one will think I’m being coy about it, but to be inventive enough that, if anyone who cares about these things (like the members of The Police, say) reads the thing, they’ll see what I did but appreciate the work enough to approve it.
Which isn’t to say I’m seeking approval or validation. I’m pretty happy with the concept now. It’s personal enough that I don’t feel I’ve lost the point of what made TM special (I used numerous song references in TM as well), and yet impersonal enough that I can probably safely write it without fear of hurting people, the way TM worried me. I’m hoping that, just as TM was a fair representation of the state of my mind in 2007-2009, PT will be a fair summation of where I am here in 2013. I’m in a better place now, and I’m hoping to make PT do things that will affect my life in more positive ways.
There’s a well-worn idea in writing that, as you write books, they sort of write you as well; basically, if you write a story with bad things happening to your protagonists, bad things tend to happen to you, mirroring your fiction in some aspects. It’s probably just superstition, and I’m not sure that most professional authors by into it completely (not quite sure what I believe there; psychology is interesting stuff), but I know I didn’t make it up myself. So where TM was a dark novel with a lot of bad things happening to Richard, PT will strive to be a little less brutal to the poor guy, in the hope that the act of writing it will leave me in a better place than TM did. Who knows? Maybe people will even read it this time.
So that’s my bit. I have to finalize the cover, which has been mostly designed for months (I tend to do these things when the mood strikes), so I can include it in the eBook file and the Scrivener file. For those who have forgotten, it looks like this (so far):
And that’s it for show and tell today. Thank you for reading.
Okay, so it’s been a year and a half since I wrote THIS; Sadly, the debate rages on, with turgid little sites like STFU Moffat (on Tumblr) and the occasional high profile mainstream journo piece on the subject. The conclusion always seems to be that Moffat is overrated, and his attitude toward women deplorable because they all seem to be subservient to either their hormones or their male lead or both.
Of course, there had to be someone with something intelligent to say on the subject, and today I stumbled across an article I wish I were smart enough to have written myself. So meet my new favourite person: Rebecca Kulik, and read her brilliant article.
See? I’m not the only one who thinks there is a lot of fuss and bother about nothing (or very little, at any rate). I don’t presume to speak with authority on feminist issues, but I do know a strong, passionate, independent woman when I see one. I just don’t hold with the argument that every true feminist would basically tell the Doctor to leave and let her ride off with his TARDIS. That’s the catch, folks. The show is called Doctor Who, and it’s about this alien who is almost invariably a male, and a sexually stunted, romantically bewildered one at that, and he has a lot of friends, male and female, and the females have a history of being relatively attractive and occasionally very afraid. While the women of the TARDIS have not always been portrayed as feminist paragons, they have all been adventurous and brave and occasionally overwhelmed, much like the Doctor himself.
As Rebecca points out, the Doctor’s female companions pass the Bechdel Test (Google it) a great deal of the time, especially in the revamped series, and though it’s splitting hairs, I argue that most if not all of them have been models of feminist thinking in their time, even if they were clumsily written by a largely male writing staff in the pre-PC/Feminist Studies days, and even if a number of them did appear in clothing designed to titillate the male viewers (i.e. ‘Something For The Dads’). Television viewing audiences have come a long way since the days of Susan and Barbara screaming as the Daleks turn their cannons and various plunging devised on them.
I can’t write credibly from the Feminist point of view, as I am poorly educated in that field, and I am, after all, a (predominately) white North American male. But I am fairly sensitive to these issues, and find a lot of television misses the mark on this subject.
However, I AM a fiction writer, and though not an established one, I know a few things about what makes fiction work, and one of them is, the writer can’t be out of step with the times, or the story fails in its most important mission: to reach an audience. I could write nothing but gay panther anthropomorphic suspense/romance (well, no, not really), and it would be a hit with the Furry crowd, but the wider world would ignore it, or worse, would vilify it for its sexual content or its over/misrepresentation of gay felines. These are strange times, but there is still a lot of ground to cover before audiences will be fully integrated into the mindset that Feminist scholars would have them be.
But I will maintain to my grave that this either/or argument (either Feminist or Sexist) is a stalking horse debate. I was raised up to believe in a concept that doesn’t get much mention these days, in large part because it still hasn’t been implemented fairly across the board: Equality. The Sexist argument is that it doesn’t work because men and women aren’t built to do the same work, and on the Feminist argument is that Equality has never been implemented properly, because men still control the pay rates and promotional prospects of most companies, favouring men over women, regardless of qualifications and proven track record. Both are valid seen from a certain position, but can easily be disproved with exceptions.
And I don’t want to hear about ‘the exception that proves the rule’; that’s such a bullshit argument. An exception is an exception–no more, no less–which means things are improving, or at very least, that they aren’t immutable. Stop discounting progress. Not every exception is merely an outlier, and outliers are usually only noticed because the concept was interesting but still too unproven to gain traction; thirty to fifty years later, things have changed significantly for most of the recognized minorities of the 50s-to-80s, even if the ideal has not been reached yet. Much to the chagrin of marriage purists, Gays and lesbians are marrying and receiving full benefit for their partners. That such a reality has to be legislated into place is a sadness, and the fact that it’s being resisted in several places is not really surprising. What world did you wake up in, anyway?
But back to the original topic: Does Moffat deserve to be vilified for his unbalanced portrayal (some would say betrayal) of his female characters? Obviously I don’t think so, but I think the really important question is, why do you insist on discrediting all of the fine work and some of the strongest, smartest, sassiest females in modern television? About the only other show on television that portrays women with as much agency within the framework of the series is Criminal Minds, and I’ve been having trouble enjoying that series of late (but I think Elizabeth Bear has that subject covered better than I can).
I figure the subject won’t die until Moffat casts a female Doctor, and of course, there will be a geeksplosion when it happens, as ardent fanboys who have been dreaming of being the Doctor themselves have a complete meltdown when the Doctor shows up with boobs, thus denying them even that last bastion of Geektopian Masculinity (and yes, I’m resorting to making up words here, because I don’t think the argument against a female Doctor has a leg to stand on, so why dignify it with precise terminology when a made up word says it more succinctly?).
And this, I hope, will be the last time I write on this subject, because I’m sincerely hoping that Rebecca’s arguments will somehow put an end tot he misguided rancour. It’s too much to hope for, I know, but still, a boy has to dream.
Thanks for reading.
I have to go mail a book and CD to a friend around the world.
I have a lot of poster boards to design, including illos, but I have no data to work from.
I have paintings that need to be mounted and/or painted before next Saturday. This also requires a trip to curry’s for mounting boards.
I have to pay my internet and my rent.
I have to buy groceries before we starve, or worse, dine out.
I have to do some laundry, which requires change I can’t get unless I cross town to a CIBC chain that’s open today.
I have to go find a clean shirt and go start running errands. Maybe visit my friends in South Sherman for their neighbourhood yard sale.
I have a set list of songs to continue rehearsing, on the off chance that I score a gig to play this summer.
I want to go see Terra Lightfoot in Westdale today, but it might not happen.
I should go now.
Thanks for reading.
(resposted from blog.clearvisionstudios.net)
I’ve been told never to apologize for not posting, and it sounds like good advice on the face of it, but I like to think I’m building a rapport as well as a repository for my insane ramblings here, and I feel somewhat responsible to you fine people. So for the record, I apologize for the service disruption of the past week. I DID maintain a series of blog posts over at my old WordPress site, and going forward, I’m going to be cross-posting my articles adn such there as well as here, to maintain some kind of mirror in case this happens again.
This was dreamed up as an idea based on people sacrificing their front yard lawns to create vegetable gardens. This was also the more PC version, as my wife saw the original version and advised me to do a more positive, uplifting one. You can thank her for that.
I was feeling a teensy bit militant about the subject on the day, which is odd for me, as my wife is the gardener in this family, not me.
Still… if anyone would like a tee shirt of either of these designs, please notify me and I’ll post them on RedBubble for you.
And that’s it for show and tell today. Welcome back, and thanks for your patronage, so to speak.