Saturday, September 29, 2012

Writing on the sequel to Forsaken: Searching for God's Fingerprints is going slow, but good.
I have not had the discipline I had during the writing of Forsaken. While writing that novel, my first, I was home alone with not much else to do. I was not so involved in community groups, was not so involved in riding my bike and my wife was working.
Now I am president of the Douglas Land Conservancy, in charge of my Rotary club's Student of the Month program, involved in two other Rotary projects and I have increased my bike riding to between 4,000 and 5,000 miles a year. In June my wife retired and is home pretty much full time.
All of this has meant I have a lot more distractions than in the past. If I am going to write at the same pace I did before, I am going to have to be much more disciplined with my time. I need to get good block of time, four to five hours at a time, four or five days a week.
On the other hand, I have been making progress on the sequel, tentatively titled Forgiven. I have written more than 27,000 words and sketched out the three major plot lines I plan to use throughout the book.
Using the end of Forsaken as a starting point, I am bringing back most of the major characters of that work. I have already introduced a new villain, in a much different role than The Rev. Paul Larchmont. This time it is not religion that will be the primary obstacle for my hero, Jarrod McKinley, to overcome. Instead he will have to fight another common foe to mankind, the corporate giant which can rule our lives and our culture in so many ways.
Also I have introduced a new element that will make the story more of a true science fiction work. I'm not going to reveal what that is until much later, perhaps not until the book is released.
This new element, however, will add some elements to the origination theories of mankind that I think my readers will find interesting. These elements will combine religion, myth, popular fiction and some science.
But, rest assured, as the fall progresses to winter, there will be fewer yard chores and projects, much less time spent riding the bike, and more time devoted to writing. I have set a goal of getting the first draft of the novel written by April of next year, 2013. From that point, it will probably take me six months to get the research  completed, the rewrites done and then done again.
A good timeline would be able to turn it over to a copy editors by about July or August of next year.
Here's hoping. In the meantime, I have to do more to publicize Forsaken. How to do that, I am struggling with.
I now have the novel in two large local independent book stores in Boulder and Denver, a website, I have a Facebook page and mention any developments on that page and on Twitter and LinkedIn.
What else can I do? That is what I need to discover. Getting involved in a writer's group or a Sci Fi group would be good.
Just more things to squeeze into my days.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Off the bike, the hard way

I have not been riding my bike much lately, and that's good news for the writing of the sequel to Forsaken.
Aug. 9, while riding my bike, I crashed hard and landed on my left side on a local street not far from my house. I was riding one of my regular training routes where the streets are normally clean and clear.
As I approached a corner in the Bomar subdivision, I pulled out an intersection ahead of some traffic. I crossed the street and headed down the hill. I leaned to take a quick corner on to the next street.
The next thing I knew I was bouncing across the street. I could tell as soon as I hit that I had hurt something, probably my ribs. I sat up in the street and declined an offer of help from the driver of the vehicle that was following me. I had hit a patch of gravel, apparently left there by a recent rainstorm.
When I stood up, my left side was covered in blood, from my left hand, down my forearm, my hip and my leg down to my ankle. It was hard breathing, but not so difficult that I couldn't stand and straighten out my bike. I had to adjust the right brake lever.
That's when I noticed that I had soreness in my right hand, specifically the thumb.
I wiped away some of the blood, but had to blot it a couple of time to stop the flowing. I got on my bike and continued to ride, not sure how bad I was hurt.
After about a half mile, I knew it was time to ease my way home. About a half mile later I realized I was not seeing very well. My vision was blurred. I wondered if it was because I had hit my head on the pavement, but soon discovered that the prescription insert in my sunglasses was missing. It apparently had been knocked out when I slammed into the ground.
I continued home without much effort but was starting to feel the pain more by the time I arrived. After announcing my arrival and telling Susan not to worry too much, I made a call to arrange a doctor's visit. Then we went back to the scene of the crash to find my prescription insert.
After a short inspection of the crash site, a home owner announce she had found them on the road and came out to inquire as to my condition.
We then went to the doctor's office and after much longer than I expected, they cleaned me up, patched my road rash and did some X-rays on my ribs and hand. They found two broken ribs on my upper left side and a broken right thumb. I was sent home with some pain meds and a splint on my thumb.
After a week, I got a cast on my thumb. The first ride after the crash came on the Monday following the Wednesday that I received the cast. It was not easy trying to manipulate the gears and brake with the right hand.
In addition, I got a flat and tried to change it with one hand. A passing biker helped but the spare tube I had was no good. Fortunately, I was near a bike shop and got me going again.
I took another short ride about a week later. I went for a couple of more short rides on my mountain bike in the next two weeks. After four weeks I got the cast taken off and replaced with a splint. By that time the ribs were almost healed but the thumb was, and still is, very weak.
On Sept. 16, I went for a 40-mile ride with some friends. The splint worked well to support the thumb but my shoulder was still sore and caused me the most pain.
I will ride again soon. Probably tomorrow, Sept. 19.
What this has done is to redirected my attention back to my writing. In the last month I have written more on the sequel to my novel, Forsaken.
At this point I have developed a good plot line that involves several actions scenes and sets down the basic foundation for three sets of points of view. One of the main protagonist, the antagonist, and a new set of characters who will influence the overall course of the book.
I have written about 27,000 words so far and only have a few more chapters to go before all of the timelines will be in place.
Writing this book is proving to be more difficult. The plot lines are more complex and the characters are going to require much more work as to how they relate to the theme of the book and the final outcome. Another issue has been the distractions. We are traveling more, Susan is home now, home chores and other volunteer stuff seems to intrude more than in the past.
I have not gotten into the habit of spending concentrated time on the novel. Soon we will leave on a 3-1/2-week road trip to the east. I will try to write some then, but don't have much confidence I will get uninterrupted blocks of time. I suspect most of the writing on this book will have to take place later this fall and winter.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Biking vs. writing: Biking has been winning

The last six to eight months I have been devoting most of my spare time to biking. I like to ride road bikes, the two-wheel, pedal kind.
Since January I have ridden about 3,950 miles with a goal of 5,000 by the end of this year.
I took two long rides this year. A 440-mile ride through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It's an annual ride put together by the Denver Post. This year we rode from Gunnison to Fort Collins, going over about six passes, include Independence Pass near Aspen and Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. I finished that ride June 15. On June 20 I left for France where I joined a group which traveled to the Dolomites in Italy for a six-day ride. That ride was more challenging, 12 passes, climbing more than 43,000 feet.
I did well on both rides. Had a fall on the Italy ride which gave me some road rash and a sore shoulder but did not stop me from completing the ride.
I continued riding after I got home, until this last Thursday, Aug. 9, when I hit a gravel patch on a ride around my neighborhood streets. I was in the Bomar subdivision in southwest Denver. It is a large lot subdivision of small paved streets, gentle hills and very few hazards. Normally the streets are clean and smooth. Just before I fell, I pulled on to Sheridan Blvd. and increased my speed to get off the road because I could see a small pickup truck had just pulled away from a stop sign behind me. I banked hard to take a left turn. Right near a bush, still in the shadows, was a gravel wash, left there by recent rainstorms. I had no warning. First thing I knew I was on the ground, the impact was hard and I felt some pain. I must have flipped because I also injured my left side. The driver of the truck slowed to ask if I was alright. I nodded yes, and he drove off. I collected myself, straightened my brake levers and, after a few minutes continued the ride. After a mile or two, I decided I had better head home. Many years ago I had fallen and broken three ribs and punctured a lung. This didn't feel that bad, but bad enough to make me want to be off my bike.
I got home and I was a bloody mess all along my left side and I was in more pain. After about three hours in the medical facility, mostly waiting for care, the diagnosis was two broken ribs on my left and a broken thumb on my right hand. I got severe road rash on my left side from the tips of my fingers to my ankle. They were digging out gravel with a forceps.
I am now hobbled up, won't be riding for a while, so maybe I can get back to writing more.
I've completed about 21,500 words of the sequel to Forgiven and have pretty good idea where it's going. There are some details that I am sure I will have to iron out, and a lot of facts to check. But, I've got a good idea where I want to end up.
This novel will be a bit more in the sci-fi realm than was Forgiven. I want to deal more with the big question, "Are we alone in the Universe" and how the heck did we get here in the first place.
Maybe I will keep up with this blog more often when I get back to the writing mode.