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!

And Then There Were Three

I just received the proof copy of Jeronimo and all looks fine. So I pushed the publication button and the novel should be available on Amazon worldwide within the next few days.
The trio looks good! 🙂
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For Jeronimo, the Keeper’s tower is actually in the center of the picture, but since the picture bends around the spine, just looking at the cover, the tower seems off center. But, I kind of like it because the centrist world of Jeronimo is about to be unbalanced mightily by the course of events 😉
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The trio looks good from every angle and it also shows the mightiness of the Anatomy of Anarchy, which is a bit longer than its two brothers Dome Child and Jeronimo 😉
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I’m already looking forward to add number four to the bunch – I’m writing it right now. The fourth Dome of Souls novel will be called “Red Angel 42”.

I’m now working on the Kindle conversion of Jeronimo. Let’s see how long that will take, since the process seems to be changed compared to a year ago. Well, it’ll work somehow!
In the meantime I’ll have a juka2 (I wish) and enjoy the ride.
Happy birthday, Jeronimo!

Twenty Years of the “Dome”

As long as twenty years ago, I had the first idea for the “Dome of Souls” series.
It all started with the world of Jeronimo, and twenty years on, the story will finally see the official day of light. It has changed a lot over those twenty years.
Here is the gorgeous cover by Katho Sensei.
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Jeronimo started as a television series screenplay, became a role playing game for a few session, then continued as a screenplay.

After Jeronimo, I wrote (in screenplay format) it’s prequel The Anatomy of Anarchy, which saw the light of day last year, then I wrote two sequels, which are not yet published.
Next, I abandoned the whole series and switched from screenplays to novels. I wrote the pre-prequel of Jeronimo, the Dome Child and published it in 2011.
After Dome Child came out, I thought I was done with the Dome for good and turned to other stories, some of which have been published under my name, others under a pseudonym.
But then, in around 2014, the Dome bug bit me again. This story has been with me my entire adult life and it wanted to make its way out into the world. This time I stayed in chronological order and completely rewrote the Anatomy of Anarchy without even looking again at its old screenplay version. I highly enjoyed writing the Anatomy and it flowed very well. I published it exactly one year ago, then turned to the center piece, to the idea and world that started it all and I found rewriting Jeronimo to be a tough job. Maybe half of its original version was scrapped.
In the next few weeks, I’ll proudly publish the new Jeronimo, twenty years after its first version. Many of its characters feel almost like real people to me. I know them for twenty years! Most of all the protagonist of course, Jiroemon, or short Jiro. Jiro actually did not change too much from his original version, but the story around him changed quite massively over the course of time. He’s like my younger brother, kind of 😉

At the moment I am rewriting the Jeronimo sequel from scratch, which is also a tough exercise, since the Jeronimo sequels have to change a lot after the changes applied to Jeronimo. But I’m getting there, I think, 200 pages of the first Jeronimo sequel are already written. At the moment six Dome of Souls novels are concretely planned, three and a half are written. Considering writing time, I might be finished with the Dome of Souls series after twenty-five years. Well, only five more to go and twenty behind me.
Good luck out there in the big world, Jiro, I hope a few people read about you 😉
It truly does feel like I’m releasing my little brother who I cared for and nursed twenty long years out into the wild!
And when you read Jeronimo, you will finally find out why my homepage is called juka-productions, some ten years or so since it came into existence. 😉

A Big Thanks to the Characters of the Anatomy of Anarchy

Five years after the “Dome Child” the second “Dome of Souls” novel “The Anatomy of Anarchy” is now out there in the ether.
Of the books I have published so far, this is the one that causes the fuzziest feelings. The characters in this book all feel like relatives or at least good old friends. And good old friends they are, the first version of the Anatomy dates back from around the year 2001. I invented them a bloody damn 15 years ago. No wonder they feel like family. The original version of the Anatomy was written in screenplay format then abandoned, until the “Dome” bug bit me again and I pulled the Anatomy back out in 2014 and rewrote it from scratch.

The characters have much evolved since their first infant version in 2001. They truly have grown and become adults.
Master Darnar, my good old villain buddy. What a wonderful asshole he is, cunning and shrewd plus a bit crazy.
His brutal side-kick Mortimer.
The loud and shiny Juggernaut.
My wonderful Dome Guild Master – Eveless – the bitchy white goddess.
Her side-kick Henry, whom you just want to hug and kiss on the cheek.
Eveless’ melancholic partner Marusar who you just want to slap and shake the whole time.
The slippery Zero, Master of the “Bottom Guild”.
My wise and too honest alien, Lofgar.
Darryl, that old coward of a sect guru.
The nasty, slimy inquisitor Brother Mathew.
That unbearable brat Rila.
The prudish and tragic Claude.
The always drugged inventor Talip.
The weird Bottomers – the Admiral, Creeper, Pinky and Zora.
The mutants… oh, the mutants.
And the one who holds them all together – my tragic hero Floyd Takashimoto. Floyd feels more like a brother to me than my actual brother. Floyd who tries to do good, who only wants the best, but never quite makes it. Floyd, who has brilliant moments and qualities that have never been nurtured, as Master Darnar once says.

It’s quite an ensemble in the Anatomy of Anarchy and all play their part in the inevitable outcome. It felt overwhelming and a too big task to write this book, my longest and most complicated as of yet, but once I was again surrounded by all those familiar guys and girls who I invented 15 years ago, the inevitable ending pulled everything in place like a center of gravity.

It’s been great fun writing you guys. I’m kinda sad that it’s done now.
But the “Dome” continues and “Jeronimo” awaits, which is the true center of gravity and which was the beginning of the “Dome” idea in 1997… OMG! Next year, 20 years on, the plan is to finally, finally get this off my chest. Like the Anatomy, Jeronimo was originally a screenplay, last year it became a novel, written from scratch again like the Anatomy and after some more polishing it shall come out next year.
But for now – here’s: The Anatomy of Anarchy
And thank you my dear characters, I’ve had a great time with you!
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Writing Progress

I’ve not done a writing progress update in a while, so here it is 🙂

I’m busy as always.
Right now I’m working on the final revisions of the second Dome of Souls novel. The first one is Dome Child and already 4 years old. Now, finally, there will be a second one, I hope the beast will be ready around January or February 2016?
Then I’m also polishing a stand-alone second-world contemporary fantasy which I want to send into the submission gauntlet… Not much hope for such endeavors, but… “never give up, never surrender!”

There is a high fantasy novel lying in the archives of Dark Quest Books with a vague promise at publication, but I haven’t heard from the decision maker yet in the entirety of 2015, despite emailing him some 30 times. No further comment…………….

Then there is stuff going on under the pseudonym! One novel out, one novel under submission under that name and if nobody wants it, I’ll put that one out next. The (very nice) cover for it already exists 🙂
I’ve written part two of the first novel published under the pseudonym this summer, and at the moment that first draft is resting. I have a very good feeling about this part 2 and shall get back to it shortly.

Dome of Souls novel number 3 is also already done (the hardest first draft I ever wrote so far) and will follow the second Dome of Souls novel at the end of 2016, perhaps?

Then I’m going back a bit back to screenplays 😉 I just made scripts out of two of my unpublished short stories for a possible collaboration with a movie maker. It was great fun to go back to the screenplay format after a pause of a staggering eight years. Let’s see if something comes out of this project.

New short stories? No thanks. I just love the longer form and want to write novels, period.

I haven’t submitted anything to agents and publishers for more than 12 months out of frustration and have resumed with that last month, finally, quite disillusioned though about the chances of success.

Nevertheless, the writing continues and I’m eager to finish all the current revising, since I have already a new stand-alone science fiction novel in my head and several books to write in several series – Dome of Souls 4 and 5 and maybe even 6, then books 3 in two series that are at the moment destined for the pseudonym.
= there is a lot to write, a lot to do, so little time, and there is no drying up of the juices in sight anywhere!
Thus are the troubles of the prolific writer, so much to write, hardly anybody to read it………. yet… I’m still saying “yet”! Cheers!

The “Out of the Box” Myth

In my day-job I am again and again confronted with the wish for „out of the box“ thinking. Oh, how all those managers wish and starve for their subordinates to „think out of the box“ and produce fresh and new ideas.

But!

1) If you do think out of the box and it goes wrong – oh how big and bad is the blame! As a result, the person who dared to think out of the box, will never do so again, since he or she does not want to hear the blame and accusations again.

For an „out of the box“ culture you need a framework of: mistakes are allowed and OK. A framework that exists in the fewest of places, I dare say.

2) Much deeper than the „mistakes are OK culture“ goes the problem that you cannot demand of a „monoculture“ or of people who have done the same stuff for many years, to suddenly think „out of the box“ – they don’t know how to do it. They will only come up with the same ideas that they are familiar with and that they have used for years. They simply don’t know how to think out of the box and how to transcend what they know.
That’s not their fault, how the hell are they supposed to think out of the box if they never learned it, and if it is not really, truly allowed.

The other aspect, monoculture, does the same thing: It limits you. A homogenous group of e.g. Japanese men over fifty will only generate what a homogenous group of Japanese men over fifty can think of. If there is no stimulus of whatever sort, different gender, generation gap, different nationality, etc., there will be no new ideas but again only all those ideas the Japanese men over fifty have produced over the past twenty years already.

There are of course failed diverse teams. That failure generates mostly from being unable to accept each other as equal partners after all. The older person might still think the younger person is „stupid“ because he/she has no experience yet, even if the older person does not say so aloud and is friendly to the younger person. Diverse teams only function and bring a task forward if they truly embrace each others diversity and accept each other as equal human beings – and hell, that’s difficult.

I am amazed as to the stubbornness with which the cry for „out of the box thinking” remains without ensuring the per-requisits: a “failure is OK” culture, enough time and space to generate new ideas, and functioning diverse teams.

But – where does the cry for „out of the box thinking” come from? Pressure from business and society to gain market share, to „stand out“ in order to be noticed in the „sea of choice“ that we face these days.

This goes back to writing or rather to trying to market your books. Everybody wants to stand out from the crowd and be noticed… in doing so, we are all the same = a monoculture.
I don’t know what the solution to this is and, for example, how I shall manage to make my books stand out from the crowd and be noticed…

But there is another (frustrating) aspect that I realized just last week.
Were you/are you aware of the fact that in 1960 there were only 3 billion people on the planet? And now, only 55 years later, there are over 7 billion? See Wikipedia – world population

No wonder the individual doesn’t manage to be heard anymore and does not manage to stand out from the crowd without a ridiculous amount of luck. No wonder everything’s been invented already and every book has already been written…

Well, but that shall not stop me from keeping on writing, since I get huge personal satisfaction out of it! I just started reviewing my second Dome of Souls novel (part 1: Dome Child) yesterday after letting it be for half a year and damn! It’s good! I’ll publish it this autumn or so.

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 😉