Writing Progress Report – January 2015

What’s going on at the writing front? A bit of a 2014 review and an outlook for 2015:
I am still tired of „marketing“ my books but not tired of writing them.
After disappointments accumulated in the beginning of 2014, I sort of withdrew from the submission circus and have not yet gone back into the gauntlet.
In the meanwhile, I finished my Hagen Patterson trilogy and put out the last one – “Give Substance to a Thought” – in November. Before that I put out the revised version of my first non-self publication „Dark Matters“ under the new title of „The Glow of the Dark“. And before that Dark Quest published my novella „That One Minute“, so actually, quite a lot was happening in 2014 even without the submission and rejection madness.

I also tackled a huge project – going back to my „Dome of Souls“ world. The entire project and world is around since the late 1990ties, was originally written in TV script format and I had sort of given up on it. However, in 2011 I published my „Dome Child“ novel, which was never written in script format but right away as a novel. It constitutes the beginning of the whole „Dome of Souls“ idea. At the time, I thought I end this idea with its beginning and was determined to put the large rest into the drawer and turned to other projects.

I made the bill without the innkeeper as we say in German (to reckon without one’s host?), and now the project has come back massively.
The „Dome“ bug bit me again and I wrote, from scratch, without looking at the old TV scripts, the second installment of this series in novel form. It’s become my longest novel so far, counting a proud 140,000 words at the moment (first draft). I am highly pleased with the outcome and the first beta reader liked it too. Now the job will be to revise this beast and put it out there somehow. I am not sure yet how. Shall I send it into the submission idiocy or just show that part of the business the finger and put it out myself? I don’t know yet.

Some hints as to what’s going on with this series:
The 140,000 words beast is not a sequel to „Dome Child“ and does not deal with the same characters.
The „Dome“ Series is my idea of „future history“. I am visiting pivotal changing points in my version of humanity’s future in this series. Usually the demise of an old system and the birth of a new one.
„Dome Child“ dealt with the demise of the times of Bihindi and its religious sects, and marked the beginning of the times of „Lei Lao“, a guild-based political system.
The 140,000 words beast deals with the end of the times of Lei Lao and takes place 500 years after the „Dome Child“, which is set in an unspecified future of humanity after the „second postmodern robot war.“
What connects all the „Dome of Souls“ novels is of course the „Dome of Souls!“ 😉
While Jove Hendricks was the first „Dome Child“, the „Dome“ has become a more common, if still exotic „gift“ that some humans possess. At the end of the times of Lei Lao there is even a „Dome guild“ where everyone who sees the „Dome“ is registered.

Impatient suddenly, I even started with the third „Dome“ novel, which, in fact, is the central piece of the story. „Jeronimo“ is the book/idea that kicked off the entire „Dome“ series. I’m at the moment in the middle of writing „Jeronimo“ from scratch, without looking at the old TV scripts. Since this is the oldest and most central piece of the idea that’s quite a challenging task.
So, there is a lot more „Dome“ stuff to come 😉
I’m very glad that I went back to this world, I sort of feel incomplete without finishing this big big thing that has been with me for such a long time.

But, I have more in store. At the moment writing work on „Jeronimo“ is resting, since I am, for the 100th time, revising another soft SF project, a space opera, which might also be the start of a bigger series. The problem with this beast is, that it’s written in 1st person and I wrote its first draft before I learned a lot more about the craft and am now struggling with the language.
I still love the story, but the execution and language… sigh… anyway, I already asked Katoh sensei for cover art and it’s excellent as usual and I am eager to get rid of this beast so that I can concentrate on the „Dome“.
I am looking at new ways of distribution and am thinking of publishing this space opera myself via Wattpad. Well, we’ll see what happens.
So, 2015 will, in whatever form, see the birth of that space opera and it will see some action concerning the „Dome of Souls“ novels, plus? We’ll see, since there are even more finished novels in my drawers!

Since I am still frustrated with the submission hell, I guess I’ll just let it burn and consume others, and put things out myself again…
Stay tuned for soft SF pouring out from Regina in 2015 😉

The Glow of the Dark

My first book is back out again: “The Glow of the Dark”, formerly published in 2009 as “Dark Matters” by Absolute XPress, an imprint of Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy.
The book’s history is much older than 2009. I wrote the story first in screenplay format in 2001 and I remember clearly that it took me a week to write its first draft – 120 pages in screenplay format.
After the usual rounds of revisions, I submitted it to the Slamdance screenwriting contest, where, oh miracle, it made 2nd place in 2002.
The Glow of the Dark v9
I flew to Park City for the festival in January 2003, but I was still too young, too inexperienced, green and geeky/insecure to make the most out of such a festival visit. I got a famous 1 dollar option offer from a small production company but declined, thinking other, better offers lay around the corner. I have no clue of course whether any good would have come out of this, but if there is one decision I regret, then it is not having taken that offer.

Other offers didn’t lie around the corner and I wrote to some 100 companies before getting a second. I don’t remember why I did not get back to the guy with the initial offer. Maybe I should have. Anyway, I finally had a second one dollar option and worked together with the producer on some rewrites and things looked good and I was hopeful until I stopped hearing from the guy.

After some digging, I found out that he had been fired, as happens frequently in Hollywood… His successor who took over my project was far less enthusiastic. The thing was not his baby and he didn’t appear to be doing anything with the story.
This whole exercise mounted up to me quitting my job in Japan and flying to Hollywood for three months over x-mas and new year 2004/2005 in a desperate attempt to mend things.

I met with the new producer dude, a complete jerk, arrogant as an asshole-only version of Iron Man, and I bet he was not a stranger to cocaine. He told me he wanted monsters in the story…
I actually wrote a monster version with cthulhuesque creatures in the ocean of the alien planet and one of my friends actually read it, but it was messy and neither I nor the producer dude liked it.
I had dinner with the original guy who had been fired and remember him as a frustrated, desperate, jobless and burned-out guy who was too nice for this business.

It all ended with the one dollar option for Dark Matters dissolved, the rights returned to me, and me leaving Hollywood thoroughly disillusioned but knowing much more about myself and how far I am willing to go and where my limits are. I will maybe write a sort of memoir one day, my three months in Hollywood – a story of shattered hopefuls, but in essence – the place presented itself to me as the harshest, nastiest, coldest and most competitive on earth.

I went on to New Zealand and Australia for a month each before I arrived at the end of my money and returned back to Japan, which, compared to Hollywood, felt like a balmy paradise of humanity.
I returned to Japan also with the decision to make novels or novellas out of my work. Funnily the first thing that I “sold” was Dark Matters. The first edition from 2009 makes me cringe today. I believe in continuous improvement and that every book should be better than the last. I learned a lot since 2009.
I recently read an article in the BBC about a sushi chef in Tokyo’s Ginza. He is a sushi chef for 50 years now and he also believes or strives for every sushi he makes every day to be better than the one the day before. He hosts prime ministers and movie stars by the way. And it’s like that. Writing is constant learning and it will never end.

After three years, Dark Matters sat stuck. I met the publisher at the 2012 world science fiction convention in Chicago again, after initially meeting him in Montreal in 2009 when the book came out, and we made a “deal”: I’d produce a revised version (my desire) and he’d publish it in digital form only, with a new title under a new imprint.
I happily went about rewriting the “horrible” beginner version of Dark Matters. I did so in autumn 2012 and here is a blog entry about that. I delivered to the publisher as promised before x-mas 2012 and was kept in the dark ever since, pun intended.

Nothing bloody happened and a year went by when I finally got an answer out of the publisher. Things are delayed with his new imprint and blah… It will be 2014 or so and blah… Frustrated and pissed off, I asked him to return the rights to me, which he did and sayonara.
It’s been nothing but an endless chain of waiting with this publisher with years going by like farts in the wind and my patience had come to an end.

So, The Glow of the Dark is now “mine” again, and revised and enriched. It has gone up from 33,000 words to 45,000 and I am, as of now, spring 2014, content with the result.
Never say never again, but for the moment I am done with this story and don’t want to touch it again 😉 it has been with me on and off for 13 years and shall be put aside and make way for other books. I salute the Captain of the Luminous and the crew of the Gao and wish them a good journey.
The paper version is now out and the kindle version will follow in a couple of weeks.