Writing Progress Report

I haven’t posted a book progress update in a while. So here is one. The fourth Dome of Souls novel is all but ready. It’s proofread, I have a cover, only thing I need to do is to format it and start the publishing process.
Under my pseudonym, I also have a cover for the latest beast and it is ready and currently at the proofreader. Once I get it back, I have to make the final changes and then that one will be good to go too.
So what’s keeping me from doing the final steps of the fourth Dome of Souls novel? The fifth one! 😉 I’m in the process of writing its first draft and it’s been going very smoothly and quickly and I’m already at 75,000 words. I expect the beast to have between 90,000 and 100,000 words in the end, so not much more to go. I’m pushing for the completion of the first draft to stay in the nice and steady creation flow it is in now. While Dome 3 = Jeronimo and Dome 4 = “title to be announced soon”, took a while to write, Dome 5 is like Dome 2 = The Anatomy of Anarchy, it practically wrote itself, because the story was all very clear in my head already.
It was and is a great pleasure to be writing Dome 5 due to this “the book writes” itself aspect. I’m at it for seven weeks now and I suppose the first draft will be finished after ten weeks or so. That would be my second quickest time ever for finishing the first draft of a novel, the fastest being and probably remaining “To Mix and To Stir”, the second Hagen Patterson novel, which took me a mere five weeks to write.
I’m always talking about the initial drafts here, the self-editing etc. process is so much longer than the first draft. “To Mix and To Stir” remains the fastest book also in the department of the overall process including self-editing, and editing/proofreading by someone else. To Mix and To Stir came out nine months after I started with the beast.
The pseudonym book coming out soon is the second fastest. Since I suppose it will be ready in January or February, it took/will take 13 or 14 months from writing to putting it out there. So far so good! I better get back to Dome 5, because I am itching to finish that first draft :-)
Dome 4 will probably come out in January or February too, once I get around to formatting it 😉 Cheers!

Writing Update

I’ve not announced a writing update in an age! So here is one. 🙂 I’m in the last stages of review for my fourth Dome of Souls novel before I will hand it over to a proofreader. Meaning the beast will come out before the end of the year, I hope. My alter ego (I’m also writing books under a pseudonym) is in the same stage with the (maybe) last installation of a trilogy. Theoretically there would be room for another part of the story, but for the moment it’s done. But back to Regina. So the fourth Dome of Souls novel: Remember when the sacked Keepers of Jeronimo left for the freshly found New Earth without telling the revolutionists back home where it is?
We are making a jump into the future again and a thousand years after the fall of Jeronimo, the Earthlings are finding their lost brothers on New Earth. However, what they find is not exactly what they imagined they would. Evil grin.

I must say I struggled a bit through the writing of this beast, since it represented the challenge of two cultures clashing and how to portray those, which is an aspect absent from the three earlier Dome of Souls novels where everything happened within one culture which was in the process of changing itself from within. The culture clash this time was of course interesting and a new aspect, but I did fight with how to, in my opinion, “correctly” portray such a culture clash. It is however a nice preparation for the fifth book, which will (finally) take us to Bahrein. I’m greatly looking forward to writing that beast and since it’s quite detailed in my mind (at least to a much larger extent than number four was when I started), I think the writing process will be quite fast and smooth for the Bahreinian one, though you never know. I guess I can start working on that beast in autumn.

Other than that there are two stand-alone novels slumbering. One has been shopped around agents already without a result, the other is ready to be shopped around with agents, but I’m not finding the patience and energy to write the agent advertising package for that one.
Both stand-alones have the disadvantage of being rather short, just 65,000 words, and most publishers want stuff that’s longer than 70,000 words. Ridiculous that a story can be judged by something like this, but…
I’ll try to send one off to a few publishers, the other to a few agents and after a while give up and bring them out myself again. Though I’m undecided yet whether they’ll be under my name or the pseudonym.
So, I’m busy as usual and my pseudonym has gotten a few fans on whatpadd, just five people or so, but nevertheless it feels good to get encouragement from people who don’t know me personally 😉
And thus the never-ending writing journey continues!

Soon to Come – Give Substance to a Thought

My latest novel, “Give Substance to a Thought” will soon see the light of day (November, if all goes well).
It’s the last part of my Hagen Patterson trilogy. Thus it is also the first time that I finished a trilogy in novel form. The entire trilogy took roughly 260,000 words to tell (80,000 + 85,000 + 95,000), not bad considering that the first volume “She Should Have Called Him Siegfried” originally was supposed to be a stand-alone.
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Funnily, the second part was easiest to write. The first draft of “To Mix and To Stir” took me barely 5 weeks. The first draft of the last part – “Give Substance to a Thought” took about 4 months to write.
I kept the same structure throughout the entire trilogy = Alchemist Hagen Patterson as the main POV in third person limited. Then in each book another minor 3rd person limited POV – In part 1 Hagen’s mother Emma, in part 2 Hagen’s alchemy “candidate” (precursor to apprentice) Lana Hardwood and in part 3 the minor 3rd person limited POV has fallen to the alchemists’ arch enemy – the head of the “governmental agents” – a guy called Andy Mitchell. Further each book has a more or less mysterious 1st person POV who tells her story in present tense. In part one that was Hagen’s potion client Helena, in part two a strange lady who turns out to be Al’s wife and in part three it is an even more mysterious entity from Al’s realm that I shall make a secret of right now.
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Last but not least there are “reports” from the governmental agents. Most of them are to be found in part 1, in part 2 they are still there, but in reduced form. Now, since in part 3 one of the agents is a POV character I decided to not use these reports anymore, except for one. In the prologue myself, the author, is agent no. 1 and gives a bit of a summary in the style of “what happened before”. I wrote several versions of this prologue, once in Hagen’s mother’s Emma’s POV even, but then decided to become agent 1 and do the summary in a “neutral” form. I was thinking for a long time whether to do this summary at all or not, but one of my beta-readers advised me to better leave it in, since the piece is so plot-heavy. Is it??? 😉 If the Hagen trilogy is plot heavy you haven’t read my second Dome of Souls novel yet. lol. Well, nobody has read that one yet, since the first draft was just finished some 2 weeks ago 😉 I would call that one plot-heavy indeed 😉
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Back to Hagen and the rest of the cast.
At the end of To Mix and to Stir is the big revelation of who Al is. Part 3 now deals with the “real” Al and his realm and Hagen is quite torn between his “normal” life that consists of brewing potion, being a father of three children and dealing with the governmental agents on the one hand and Al and his problems on the other. Looking at the end of the book – man, it is quite long, since all those threads need to be brought to a closure (Yes, there will be closure, if with a loophole ;-))
Another thing about structure is the timing and pace of the trilogy. the “Siegfried” novel happened within a span one half a year, “To Mix and To Stir” within the span of a few weeks (I think it’s six, I must check again) 13 years after part 1, and “Give Substance” now takes places within the span of a few days (some two weeks in total) and picks up right where “To Mix and To Stir” left off. Such deliberate scheduling has its challenges but it also provides a nice frame that I could hold on to while writing it. And one more bit about structure: Book 1 started with Hagen’s POV, Book 2 started with the POV of the minor 3rd person limited character – in this case Lana Hardwood. Book 3 starts with the mysterious 1st person POV in present tense. It’s all deliberate…
I had great fun constructing this world and also Al’s realm and I hope you will like the grand finale of my musings about the problems of my favorite alchemist of all times – Hagen Patterson 😉 – And I personally am very very happy with Katoh sensei’s magnificent covers for all three Hagen books! Thank you Katoh sensei!

Writing Progress Report

It’s time for a little update concerning my writing activities.
I would like to be thoroughly occupied with writing the second Dome of Souls novel (the first one was Dome Child) but things are getting in between.
Currently I am at 90,000 words with Dome of Souls 2 SciFi animal. That sounds as if the novel was finished, but far from it. The demise of the Lei Lao system, 500 years after the Dome Child ended the times of Bihindi, has epic proportions and therefore also epic book length 😉 I expect the Lei Lao upheaval to require another 40,000 words or so. My target is to keep the thing under 150,000 words 😉 The beast is huge and I like huge beasts! 😉

That One Minute
The much smaller beast of “That One Minute” – a fantasy horror comedy novella as I like to call it – is “officially” out already since 31st of March… but only in paperback form. Dark Quest is just not coming around to getting the kindle version ready and I am refraining from any “big” announcements as long as the thing is not available in e-book form… sigh…
This is my second title with Dark Quest by the way after “Lord of Water” and I love Katoh sensei’s as always great cover, which is for the first time not a pure “painting” but combinations of several photos (of the lake and mud) plus paintings of the gray hands and the staircases to hell ;-). So, the waiting for the kindle version continues… a painful three and a half months already……………….

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I got the beast back proofread last night (thanks Tom!) and now have to go through it one more time (therefore I cannot continue with Dome of Souls novel 2…) and then start the Createspace process. I already received the magnificent – send shivers down my spine – cover from Katoh sensei. It’s a worthy cover for the last book in the trilogy.
I suspect/hope the beast will come out September/October or something like that. I find the prospect to have to go through it now a couple more times rather unthrilling. I have moved on! I’m now back at the Dome of Souls! Hagen stuff is finished, done, completed! lol…

Then there is the bunch of other novels which are already written but I’ve done nothing with them yet. There are three at the moment, all of them potential starts of other sets of trilogies or series. One is “brand new”, just written half a year ago, and I’ve never sent it anywhere yet, but the other two have gone through the agent gauntlet – unsuccessfully.
I am suffering from a continuing “marketing block”. I just wanna write, not do all this stupid crap of query letter bullshit… I am so “anti-marketing” at the moment that I’m not even working much on my homepage, nor have I even looked yet at the video I took of me reading from Hagen 2 = To Mix and To Stir at Hal-Con in April.
I am tired of being nice and taking all that idiotic, arrogant crap from the publishing industry.
There is just too much stuff out there that goes by unnoticed… mine among it… and too may hopefuls that too many people try to take advantage of you.
I have very limited time for books due to job and the rest of life. Do I want to waste that time doing something I hate = marketing and sliming and being nice and hoping and being punched in the stomach again and again? Or do I want to use that time for doing something I love: WRITING?
2014 is clearly a time of I don’t want to waste my precious time with marketing bogus. Maybe I get my marketing desire back in a couple of months or so, maybe not.
As long as I am only suffering from marketing block and not writing block I am not worried 😉

Oh… there is another book in the pipeline, high fantasy novel with Dark Quest (first real long novel with them)… but considering their speed I am inclined to believe that it’ll become 2016 before that novel comes out…

Short fiction? Sorry, nah… At the moment I have zero desire to write short fiction. I want the big, epic, long, lavish stuff where you have time to construct and destroy whole worlds and where you spend some time with the same characters. Epic is the order of the day 😉 I wonder when I will be able to finish the first draft of my 2nd Dome of Souls novel? Some time around autumn? We’ll see.
Now off to Hagen 3 edit duties.

Hal-Con 2014 Report

Hal-Con has gone into its fifth year and is still going strong 🙂
Our non-Japanese writer GoHs so far were in chronological order: Charles Stross, Robert Sawyer, Alastair Reynolds, Joe Haldeman and this year it was Peter Watts.
Hal-Con is two days long and always in April. Hal-Con means two things to us here, of course it is inspired by Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey but the Japanese pronunciation of “Hal” is somewhat like “haru” which is a word in Japanese and means spring.
So far we changed venues every year and this year’s event was held in the Sanpia Kawasaki a municipal gathering venue. A bit old and moldy but not without Showa-era charm.

Thanks to writing a lot I have currently six books of mine on offer and that starts to be a bit heavy for carrying it in suitcases via public transport, but, oh miracle, I’m more or less driving a car since X-mas, if driving is still a big challenge for me. But, I made it and arrived safely with my two suitcases full of books on Saturday morning. I am not a morning person at all and was thrilled to see whether traffic would be light at 9 a.m. on a Saturday. It is not, which I find very reassuring, no need to get out of bed for driving practice!

I placed my books into the dealer’s room right away, them being: “Dome Child”, “She Should Have Called Him Siegfried”, “To Mix and To Stir”, “Lord of Water”, the anthology “Clones, Fairies & Monsters in the Closet”, and the revised edition of what was formerly “Dark Matters”, now freshly enhanced and re-published under the title “The Glow of the Dark”.

The rest of the day was spent with translating for our formidable GoH Watts san and also with translating a bit at the “Build the World” program. This year we invented a wandering planet that has an alien intelligent core which is off-center and causes weird spinning and highly disturbs the indigenous species of the planet 😉
The day ended with the GoH party and for me with driving home again 20 km including traffic jam thanks to an accident with police and fire-brigade on my route 🙁

The next morning meant a slightly more relaxed driving for me thanks to now knowing the route to the convention venue, but at the gate happened what I had feared. The Sanpia guard man said I have to remove the car from their grounds after the convention is over and need to park somewhere else for the “dead dog” party (the party at the end of a con for the staff , usually with GoH participation). The “dead dog” party was supposed to be held at a restaurant close to the hotel where the GoH stayed, right behind Kawasaki station with no suitable parking far and wide.

Anyway, it was also the day of my two seminars and between lots of translating I held my “indie vs. traditional publishing” program. It was already the third round for this program and I discussed the good and bad points of self-publishing vs. small presses and elusive big presses with the audience.
Next up was my reading. Unfortunately the iBook program on my iPad with the galley proof of my not yet released second Dark Quest Books novella “That One Minute” kept on crashing and I gave up on recording this reading 🙁
The reading for “To Mix and To Stir” went better, since the book is on Kindle and I’ll be uploading it to YouTube soon (if it’s any good, that is. I haven’t checked the recording yet).

Due to my own two seminars I unfortunately missed Peter’s talk on consciousness together with Japanese biologist and author Hideaki Sena. It’s about time that humans can be in at least two places at the same time 😉

I feel honored that Peter had the guts to board my car after the con was over! He folded into my smallish Suzuki Swift and I drove him to his hotel. He survived! 😉 I let him out in front of the hotel and then ventured into a small side street in search for the hotel’s parking that I had been promised existed. I found it in a side street swarming with pedestrians and it turned out to be a parking elevator. There are a few of those in Germany I’ve heard, but I am not sure whether they exist for example in the US, so let me explain. You must drive your car onto a platform (you must aim well) and leave your vehicle and the platform lifts your car to lofty heights where it stores it out of sight and mind.
I told the operator of the thing, well, um, never did this before. He said he’s not allowed to park it for me due to insurance reasons and just drive slowly. What helped was a mirror, which allows you to check whether your tires are aiming for the rails they must go onto and I managed to park Alfie successfully on the thing in creep speed .

That done, I waited in the hotel lobby until someone else came from the con to pick up Peter and me and to guide us to the restaurant. Now that restaurant was a highlight: A wonderfully nerdy place with Star Trek, Thunderbrids, and whatever other SciFi movie memorabilia and of course also a screen where they played old SciFi movies. Astonishingly few Star Wars stuff in the restaurant, but loads of Enterprise models and also an awesome model of the 2001 Space Odyssey ship and and and. During our three hours in the restaurant there was Forbidden Planet on the screen, Star Trek – the Movie (man they were all still so young there) and an “alien invasion” movie from the sixties perhaps, whose title I don’t know. What an awesome atmosphere to finish off a SciFi con. The restaurant is called “Pepper Land” and is right behind Kawasaki station. I’ll surely go there again and am adding some photos of the restaurant below.
The con was over much too quickly and due to opposite scheduling I actually didn’t get into any of Peter’s seminars, which is a bit of a shame.
Next year’s Hal-Con’s GoH and place are not yet decided but I’ll be there again as always, unless heaven falls onto our heads 😉

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Greetings from Hal-Con

Once a year, there is Hal-Con – our “local/international” little SciFi convention in Japan. It’s a 100 people con with a non-Japanese writer as the GoH (Guest of Honor).
This year it’s Peter Watts from Canada.
Day one is already over and I shall report about the Con in blog entries hereafter.
For now – too tired and one more day to go and tomorrow I’ll have my two programs, so see you later. 🙂

Welcome 2014!

So, yet another year is gone down the road and we have now 2014. 2013 was good and busy. I wrote the first drafts of three novels, I went to Europe twice, I took paper-driver lessons and “graduated” and bought my first car ever. Also busy working life with loads of domestic business trips but only once to Shanghai.

The outlook for 2014 – maybe twice Shanghai work-wise, we’ll see, and I expect the same amount of domestic running about.
Lots of car adventures are planned, of course, to come into and stay in practice. So hopefully, by the end of 2014 riding my little car will become the most natural thing ever, as opposed to the pangs of fright I am still suffering frequently and the constantly wet hands that get wiped at every traffic light! 😉

Book-wise I am planning to write part two of a space opera whose 1st part is still in the process of being shopped around, and part two of a high fantasy trilogy, whose first part is supposed to come out via Dark Quest at the end of the year, but since That One Minute novella is not out yet either, I rather suspect it will become 2015 before the first part of the high fantasy trilogy sees the light of day.

There is the never-ending hope to land an agent and subsequently a bigger book deal of course – we’ll see what happens.

Right now I am busy with another Odyssey Online course – powerful dialogue – for which I must do a bunch of homework now and which is my excuse for this blog entry being rather short 😉
The first course happened for me on the morning of the 3rd of January and it was great and the course will keep me busy throughout January.

Oh… and yes, Hagen 3 will come out in the middle of the year or so 😉
I wish everyone who reads this all the best for 2014!