Awesome Alignments…

I’ve been busy working away on Synergy, and needed to verify some of my timelines for the tale, which relates to the Mayan Long Count Calendar.

I made a cool discovery.

When investigating the long count dates, I found some correlations which are eerie…and I’m all about eerie coincidences! This information is taken from Wikipedia’s segment on the Mayan Long Count.

Table of Long Count units

Days Long Count period Long Count unit Approximate solar years
1   1 Kin  
20 20 Kin 1 Uinal  
360 18 Uinal 1 Tun ~ 1
7,200 20 Tun 1 Ka’tun 19.7
144,000 20 Ka’tun 1 Bak’tun 394.3
2,880,000 20 Bak’tun 1 Pictun 7,885
57,600,000 20 Pictun 1 Kalabtun 157,808
1,152,000,000 20 Kalabtun 1 K’inchiltun 3,156,164
23,040,000,000 20 K’inchiltun 1 Alautun 63,123,288


Now, it is the last three entries I noticed the importance of…with a little bit of flexibility for the actual timing of events, but still within margins of error. And, working backward from this year as the end of all of the cycles together-which would happen at some point, since they are multiples of each other in the same way that in the year 2000 we reached the end of a decade, century, and millenium together. So imagine that 2012 heralds the end of not only a Bak’tun, but also a Pictun, Kalabtun, K’inchiltun, and Alautun. Counting back from 2012, we find:

Approximately 150,000 years ago – one Kalabtun –  Mitochondrial Eve was theorized to walk the Earth and had a significant influence on what Humanity is today. This is the theory which led me to develop Regression, and is exactly why I started looking into the other dates on the Mayan Long Count, when I noticed the time frame!

3.1 million years ago – one K’inchiltun – Australopithecus africanus developed the major hallmarks of humanity…larger brain casing, a more rounded skull with softer facial features, and female morphological changes to accomodate bipedal pregnancy, so predominantly upright carriage.

Then, we go back even further into human history, as around 63 million years ago – one Alautun-  the first primates evolved.

So, if we take 2012 as the end of the complete and extended long count Mayan Calendar and count backwards, the calendar starts with the first truly bipedal humanoid (although perhaps even some homo species were around at that time but have yet to be discovered, as current theory states homo evolved closer to 2.5 MYA), and each major period coincides with a major development in the evolution of the modern human.

I think that’s really cool. I just might have to fit that into Synergy, although I was not planning on taking the long count back quite that far and the story was fantasy, not science fiction! Just have to see where it heads.

I’m Back…I think…

Well, here’s hoping that I will be able to be in front of the keyboard enough to write some blog entries, make some tweets, do some face time on Facebook, and all that jazz! I’ve been AFK for the past two months for various reasons, the most exciting of which was a trip to Belize!!! For research, of course! I’m overflowing now with incredible ideas for Synergy 2012:Return to Magic, my next project. This urban fantasy is going to draw  upon the 2012 Mayan Calendar renewal, and I literally climbed a mountain inside and out to feed this story!

Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased Regression, Evolussion, and Revolussion. It’s incredible to think that tens of thousands of people have read my words, and many have enjoyed them enough to reach out to me through emails. I so appreciate that support, especially with the challenges we’ve been facing both personally and professionally in our family. The print copy of Revolussion will be coming, as well as an omnibus version, but they will simmer on the back burner for at least a few more weeks.  

I have an exciting new semester at school, teaching senior chemistry as well as an online course, and I hope the energy of the changing session will ride me through composition of Synergy…I’d like to have it ready for spring Equinox. We’ll see if life cooperates…

When is a book finished?

This is such a difficult question to answer, and I’m learning my own response to it!

I re-wrote Regression a number of times, and actually am going to work on an omnibus for the holiday season which includes the first draft (alternate ending) as a bonus. Interestingly enough, neither Evolussion nor Revolussion have alternate endings since the first draft was very close to the completed copy. Why?

Because I learnt that the book will never be finished until I choose it to be finished, because there is always something which could be changed. When I read Regression, I begin to re-write it in my head, while I am more satisfied with the other manuscripts.

So the completion of a manuscript is the point at which you the author think it is finished telling the story. In looking at Revolussion, I know there are the smaller, side story-lines which I could have kept on writing, but I decided that those could be left up to the reader’s imagination. Dawn’s story was over. At least, her story as the mother of humanity. Stew, Nicholas, Hope, Avery…I could continue with their stories, but their roles in the original plot have ended, and I need to take a break from the Infinion Series to test myself against new material. Can I write something else? Fantasy? Science Fiction? Contemporary? I want to try them. And then, I might come back and carry on where Revolussion left off!

Look for news on Synergy 2012: Return to Magic on the blog as I begin a new project!

11/11/11 – Revolussion!

Yes, release date is finally here. I am a bundle of nerves.

See, publishing Regression was easy, because no one had any expectations of me. Actually, as one person said, they ‘didn’t know [I] had it in [me]’. But, for Evolussion and now Revolussion, I know there are people waiting to see how the story plays out and I’m afraid of disappointing them. So I doubt I’ll sleep a wink tonight as the conclusion of the Infinion series goes live on Amazon. I’ll be checking the site all the time, wincing as I slowly scroll down the page to see any new reviews…I suppose if the first one is a negative, it won’t be a surprise because the star rating will show up top anyway. But, I do hope the majority of readers enjoy the story.

And, that is all I can ask for, that most people are satisfied with the ending. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, and I am happy with where the story went. But, that doesn’t change the fact I am anxiously fearful of reader responses telling me they hate it!

I set a deadline for Revolussion, one that made sense based upon the key date in the story. I don’t know if that was a good thing, or a bad thing. Many authors and bloggers say they love the flexibility of self publishing because they don’t work to a deadline, they work to their own pace. To be honest, I likely would not have finished the novel without a self-imposed but publicly posted deadline, because life has the bad habit of stealing my time away from me. But, knowing that people were looking forward to the deadline had me stealing that time right back – often late at night again, just like with Regression. My next project is a fantasy, Synergy 2012: Return to Magic, and I have not set a deadline for completion. I’ll see if the world conspires against me less when they don’t know what I’m doing, LOL!

Off to press publish on the Amazon version of Revolussion…Amazon: . Apparently it hasn’t propagated through to other etailers yet.

Behind Regression: The plasmid

Science is cool. Funny, I didn’t necessarily think so in high school, and now here I am teaching science. I was just asked to teach Grade 12 Chemistry…should be interesting!

Anyway, my curiousity about science has led me to devour articles on the internet, and also I’ve used resources for teaching in the classroom, so I was familiar with the plasmid as a vector for genetically modifying organisms (can you say Monsanto, anyone?). When I began to write Regression, I had planned on the plasmid being passive, but as the story evolved the strand literally took on a personality of its own. Especially in light of the fact that the more I refreshed my university genetics coursework/knowledge, the more I saw the parallels between computer program coding and genetic sequencing. So, of course, the strand of DNA had to become a computer!

My husband has been watching quite a few TED videos lately, some of which grab my attention and I lurk over his shoulder (I never have much time to actually sit my butt down so tend to graze the Internet). A recent one spoke to multiple intelligences and creativity being best expressed by people with backgrounds in various areas. I think my writing reflects that, since I am in an unusual position as a teacher (and person, I suppose), straddling the boundaries between not two, but three departments of very disparate subjects. Science is usually paired with math, but instead I have double qualifications in Science and Humanities (Psychology) augmented by computer experience. I think the three areas of knowledge blended together to help me generate the Infinion Series with more richness than if I was just familiar with one domain. I recognize I took that concept to an extreme with the friction between Adya and the scientists, but I also built upon human nature…people excel in one area, sometimes to the detriment of others.

Because of the plasmid taking on a sentient role, the subsequent books headed in different directions than orginally planned. Other posts talk about how unexpected those directions were, but it all points back to the junction point where the plasmid veered off from being a simple vector to becoming an actual character in the story.

Free Ebook!

I’m getting ready for the release of Revolussion, the third book in the Infinion Series. Smashwords is my distributor for Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. I’m thinking ahead…I would like to propagate the ‘free’ price for Bestselling Regression on their listings pages, but it can take up to three months to trickle down. By listing now, maybe Regression will be free when Revolussion is released on 11/11/11. And perhaps even Amazon will catch up on the price. So, if you like Smashwords, science fiction, and time travel, stop on by and grab a free copy of my book.

Doing a Book Reading Online

Sort Of. I’ve been invited to host a ‘Read With The Author’ Book Klub on Kindleboards and will be reading through Regression, Evolussion, and finally Revolussion (in the form of Advance Reader Copies). So, my monotone voice will not be droning on but I will be reading along with other people, in their heads. I hope. More need to show up or I’ll just be talking mainly to myself!

So, what is Kindleboards? It’s a great social site for Kindle users to share tips, ideas, book recommendations, and just hang out. I just learned a whole bunch about Walt Disney World from hanging around the boards, so it’s not just about Kindles, although ownership is strongly recommended as it does make it easier to take part in the conversations!

Since I’ve made the committment to visit the Kindleboards site daily over the coming months, I’m also going to try to get slamming out some blog entries. And of course, with the final book in the Infinion Series coming out soon, I’ll have to work in some background about that. Get it months before it goes on sale by joining me in the Book Klub!

A bit Late!

I took an interesting phone call the other day. This call was interesting only in that it exemplified the state of the publishing industry.

The woman on the other end of the line identified herself as being with a publishing company who was interested in publishing my book. I laughed, and told her she was more than two years two late, as my book had not only been published, but also made the Amazon Bestsellers list in 2009, had the sequel out last year, and the conclusion to the trilogy coming out this fall. The other end of the line went dead for a moment, and then she asked me with whom I had published. I said, myself. Dead air again, and then she repeated her question. I said, I did it myself. I really don’t think she knew what to say, but then she went on to ask if I planned any other books. Obviously her script did not cover how to deal with someone who was happily published, as she tried to convince me that I needed her firm. I politely but firmly indicated that I really did not think print was the way to go, and that digital was my primary target market so no, thanks. She wanted to engage in a debate, asking me who told me print was dying and digital flying, but I closed the conversation with a quick ‘Thank you for your time” and a disconnect.

You know the print companies are in trouble when they’re soliciting future manuscripts by telephone! I wish I had thought to jot down which firm she represented. Three years ago when I was sending out manuscripts, I would have loved to get a phone call (actually, I did get a number of positive emails but nothing panned out), but now I recognize how much more effective publishing with Kindle and the other electronic platforms is, and would not want to deal with any publisher who will not admit it is time to do digital or die.

Behind Regression:The Men of Three Eleven or Why Noah’s Ark Wouldn’t Work

Yeah, I know, the thought of twenty-eight men and one woman seems right out of a porn movie but…that’s where the story went in Regression. I am a science fiction reader, so that sort of thing perhaps doesn’t disturb me as much as someone who has never read the odd and perhaps awkward situations deemed acceptable on other planets or in other cultures created by scifi authors. Same with the age of the main character…although that will be the topic of another blog.

The men of Three Eleven are all excellent scientists, but even more importantly, they represent the various alleles within the human genome. One man and one woman would not be able to retain the multitude of individual traits present around the globe, since each would only contribute one allele for each gene. Obviously, Adya could only contribute two possible alleles, so the plasmid had to step in to create greater variability by forcing the polar twins instead of simple fraternal or less diverse identical twins. And, although it hasn’t been called for as the story developed, it was my plan to have the plasmid suppress any expression of Adya’s genetics. Babak continued that thought anyway, with his secretive Pluman production in Evolussion taking into account the genetic background of the mothers to dilute Adya’s influence. She also was composed of mainly recessive genes which the plasmid would control future inheritance to maximize variability, so her influence was to be minimized as the generations developed.

Sanctum was designated a type of Noah’s Ark, but there would have to be significantly more than two animals per species to preserve the world as we know it. There were not grown animals deep below the surface, rather, some female embryos, then lots of sperm and ova. Some species likely have less variability, so would need fewer samples, but essentially you would need to have a speciman for every single allele to ensure you preserved what we see in the world around us. Just in breeding my bulldogs, I’m amazed with the genetic variability within the breed. I’ve always loved genetics, and getting to play with them while playing with puppies is awesome. Watching the recessives (we found out the hard way that the short tail is recessive when one of our girls got ‘accosted’ by a border collie while living with a foster family…no more foster agreements for a decade), predicting the outcomes of the crosses, is all fascinating. But humans have significantly more variability than a breed of dogs (perhaps not more than the canine species, though), so I know that even my 28 representatives of the human cline would unfortunately still lead to some loss of traits unless they spontaneously re-emerged through mutation. So, generational ships, arks, Sanctum, or any other attempt at preserving our species will never be able to retain the full spectrum of uniqueness.

Behind Regression: Nicholas Weaver

Although I knew, when composing Regression, that a man had been responsible for forcing the regressions to save the woman he loved, I had not planned on working him into the first story. But beta readers kept on asking how the heck Adya knew so much, making me realize my hints about her having multiple past lives were not obvious enough. Hence the journal entries from the future, sharing Nicholas Weaver’s thoughts and exeriences.  Not everyone catches the clues in Nick’s Notes (I tagged them as such when working on the draft) which explain not only what the disaster of 11/11/11 is, but also how many times he has replayed this same history.  

Even those who absolutely hated the novel appear to enjoy Nicholas and his thoughts. I enjoyed writing them, as well. I wrote them haphazardly, in no particular order, and then organized them within the sequence of the other chapters to compliment the content of the main story. One very astute reader noticed that the dates of Nick’s notes coincide with the date of the subsequent chapter of Adya’s story, but I am not sure if many others caught that connection. I added the dates after inserting the journal entries where they made the most sense.

Nicholas Weaver is a man chasing a dream. The dream of a woman loved and then lost, but also the dream of being the saviour of humanity. When he arrives to join the alternate timeline already in progress in Evolussion, he finds a world beyond any of his imaginings. And a cataclysm even greater than the one he spent one thousand years trying to avert. But, at least he has Hope. Where the two of them go in Revolussion is yet to be seen, as the story weaves itself at the end of my fingertips, but his character is one I especially relish writing. Perhaps he’ll give me a few surprises as the story materializes.

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