Battle Line Released! / Reaping the Whirlwind Forthcoming / The Black Hole

Okay, so Battle Line was released on Kindle and Nook this past Friday! I’m now devoting all of my writing time to making sure that Reaping the Whirlwind will be about by Christmas. Once again I’d like to assure my readers that in Reaping the Whirlwind I won’t leave you hanging. The book will bring the Spanish Confederate War to an exciting conclusion while at the same time setting things up for FLAGS AND GLORY the first installment of an alternate history series on World War I. I’m very excited about where the story is ultimately going.

There is a special preview of Reaping the Whirlwind at the end of Battle Line. It is Captain Blake Ramsey’s first chapter. I’ve decided to release another sample chapter here on my blog in a week or two. Let me know in the comments which viewpoint character you would like to see featured.

Now lets talk briefly about “the Black Hole.” No I’m not reviewing the 1979 Science Fiction movie (though perhaps one day I will– its one of my favorites) I’m talking about the “black hole” in a good story. This post is building on my previous post. Another term for the black hole might be “crisis point.” When I’ve talked to friends and fellow writers about writing novels the vast majority have expressed the opinion that the hardest part of conceiving and writing a book is the long middle. Its relatively easy to write a beginning. If I could get my old computer from High School working again, it would have over a dozen stories that I started but never finished. A lot of writers I’ve seen have given the advice “write the ending first.” That’s a fine piece of advice. Some writers are architects and plan out and outline their entire story. Others are discovery writers or “gardeners” who just start writing and let the story go where it will. I’d like to think that I’m mid way between the two. I never make a detailed outline just a very brief list of scenes each of which I basically discovery write. But I write with  basic idea of what the ending is but also what the Black Hole is. When I write a story, after I have introduced all the characters and the starting situation I start to work both the protagonists and the plot into a black hole. I try to put them into the worst situation they could ever be in. For those of you who have read Battle Line you know that at the end of that book Jack Thunder is in the Black Hole both personally and (for lack of a better word) militarily. Both the big picture of the story and his own personal life are at an ultimate crisis point. It may seem like there is no hope but remember that this is fiction–dramatic fiction. At the end of Battle Line we’re at the end of the second act and things look dark and grim. The third act is about how (more or less) the characters over come all the odds and escape the black hole.

My Early Motivations to write Sci-Fi / Update on Battle Line

 

Star Wars Book Cover

First off, its going to be ONE MORE WEEK before Battle Line goes live. I wanted to release it this week so very much but unfortunately I didn’t have the time to edit this week like I thought I would. The kids had Monday and Tuesday off of school and then Thursday my son was sent home from school sick and then Friday he ran into another kid on the play ground at recess and got one of his teeth knocked out. Can anyone say Dentist? So any how one more week. I’d love to upload it now but I really want to do a better job of editing it. I’m trying guys. I’m a story teller not an English major. My lovely wife is going through the manuscript herself trying to help me edit it. Barring another week of mayhem and chaos I’ll have it out by Friday, September 12th!

Now I wanted to share with everyone one of my early motivations to be a novelist / story teller. When I was a kid I was a big STAR WARS fan. My Mom bought me the original trilogy on VHS and I probably watched each one about a million times. At the beginning of each VHS before the movie they had an interview with George Lucas about the film. I remember on the interview before THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Lucas was talking about the difficulty back in the 70s and 80s with making good looking special effects and bringing his awesome visions from his imagination to the screen. He made a statement that had a major impact on my life. He said, “If I was a novelist I wouldn’t have to think about it I’d just write it, but when I make a movie I  have to ask myself: How am I going to do this?” I’d already taken my first steps to being a writer, I’d written quite a few short stories / comic books by that point but that statement that implied “As a novelist I could do anything my imagination could come up with” was a major inspiration for me. It also helped me understand something that Gene Roddenberry had said in his introduction to the VHS release of the Cage. He talked about the “enormous power of imagination” and “whole worlds that could come from inside peoples heads.” In those interviews I also learned from Lucas the basic structure of a good dramatic story. In drama you have three acts. The first act introduces everyone and gets things started. The second act is the dark act, its where the characters in in trouble they’re in a hopeless situation a “black hole” as Lucas put it from which there is no escape and no victory and then voila in the third act they get out and against all odds win! There’s a million possible takes on that basic story arch. For anyone interested here are links to the interviews with Lucas and the video with Gene Roddenberry. Keep your eyes peeled this coming week for Battle Line the second installment in the SAGA OF STARSTORM!