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: http://www.amazon.com/Revolussion-Infinion-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0065SEITA . 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.

Dirty Old Men

When I was a teen (I’m talking as young as fourteen or fifteen years old), it was not uncommon for me to be the subject of pick up lines from men on the street, or at the mall, or elsewhere, who were at least ten if not twenty years older than me. Things like “Do you want to go halves on a baby without the kid” or “I’m giving free moustache rides tonight, are you in?” were par for the course, although not all of the attempts at connecting were quite so vulgar. I was so naïve I had no idea what the second one meant until much, much later, thank goodness, as I think I would have been mortified to understand what was being offered. No, these were not people I knew. These were complete strangers making advances!

It happened to me so often that I actually had a couple of standard comebacks – when I was really young, it was “Hey, Dad, you need to take me home so I can do my homework,” or as I got older it was “So, Dad, can I borrow the car keys ‘cause I have a date tonight”. Both played on the fact the man in question, truly old enough to be my father, was usually surrounded by a bunch of buddies and I could rebuff his offer in a way that got everyone laughing, instead of yelling “Get the F*^# away from me, you perv!” I lost count of how many times I used the lines, but it truly was a regular occurrence right through until I was of legal…drinking…age.

Do I think they were serious? Had I been receptive to any of the come ons, I highly doubt the guy would have said, “Hey, sweetie, I was only kidding.” In fact, I know more than a few fifteen year old girls who had relation(ship)s with guys at least ten years their senior, and at least one twenty years older, back in the eighties when I was a teenager.

Do I think it’s okay? No. Nor in the reverse with a teenaged boy and an older woman. But, it did happen with girls who are truly aged fifteen years. So, in Regression, when a forty-year old woman in a fourteen-year-old body is having a relationship with a man who is a decade older than her, I did not think it was entirely out of the realm of possibilities, because my own experiences in the eighties were that many guys made the attempts, and I’m sure that more than a few of them found success when they tossed out those lines at teenaged girls.

Then again, maybe my experiences with those hound-dogs back then was unusual, but I doubt it! Today, perhaps such behaviour would not be as common (although I’m thinking it is!), but since Regression is set in the eighties anyway, I stand by the validity of the relationship!

Synchronicity…again

In an earlier posting, I had mentioned the number of recent coincidences. They continue…

In April, I had been dealing with a government refund for an overpayment on deductions, and had only gotten a partial refund. I called back in June, but still nothing last week. So, I tried to call on Tuesday but the office was closed. I phone the government office on Wednesday only to be told a refund check had been issued on the Monday!! Strange that after almost two months, when I randomly begin to re-initiate contact, they had also begun to work on the file. Granted, there was still a missing portion to the refund (no one can explain that mystery to me, but it is par for the course in my dealings with any financial institution, whether it be government accounting, banks, or payroll!) which is supposed to arrive in the next five days, but at least forward motion had begun.

On a more sombre note, as I’m reading Regression again for the first time in quite a while, I realized another eerie coincidence which does not have a happy ending. In trying to determine the veracity of her memories, Adya called her past/future in-law’s house, and recognizes the voice on the line as that of her deceased mother-in-law, who had died of cancer. My mother-in-law is fighting a losing battle with cancer after a 2010 diagnosis…two years after I wrote the passage in the novel. Again, to be shrugged off as a sad twist of chance but still, it makes you wonder at the alignment of many of the world’s occurrences. Jung’s concept of Synchronicity strikes a chord and makes for interesting reading.

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.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/5649

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!

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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