Sunday, December 30, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – The Nuns of Europa: Sister Katherine

The children.

She sat up in the hard, cold bed with a gasp.  The wounds on her back pulled harshly, but she didn’t notice the pain in the onrush of fear.  She held her breath and listened hard past the quick thudding of her heart.  

Shouting.  It sounded like Mother Superior. 

No release date set.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Year Ahead

The world didn’t end on December 21, 2012.  Darned Mayans, now I have all this writing work to do.  

So what do I have in store for the coming year?  Oh, tons.  At least six new books, including two new ones from the regular Clans of Kalquor series.  Alien Refuge is well under way, and I’m starting to think long and hard about Book 8, Alien Caged.  

Also coming will be two new Clan Beginnings stories:  Clan Gelan’s book, Clan and Conviction, plus the as yet unnamed story of Clan Rajhir.  Then we also have Sister Katherine’s tale and the first installment of the To Protect and Service trilogy, Ravenous Virtue.  

Shalia’s Diary is also increasing in frequency.  I start posting entries on Mondays and Thursdays beginning next week.  

Also up this year will be a re-edited Alien Embrace.  What I had initially intended as a kind of ‘clean up’ of the first Clans of Kalquor book – fixing some typos that got through the first time, adding a little here and cutting a little there – has turned into a big re-write.  The basic story remains the same, so don’t think you have to run out and buy the second edition when it comes out.  Not at all.  There is no new alternate ending or anything like that.  If classic Alien Embrace suited you fine, don’t worry about new Alien Embrace.

What happened to make me tackle a major rewrite of Alien Embrace is that I’ve grown as a writer since its release.  Plus I feel it needs work because when I wrote it, I did not intend it to turn into a series.  The most I saw happening was a sequel.  However, the Clans of Kalquor just keeps growing with no end in sight, and it feels to me like the first book of the series doesn’t quite match up to later ones.  Kalquor has evolved, with more knowledge of how clans operate and the Empire’s history.  I have to reflect that in an updated version.

A few other things jumped out at me as I set about the quick editing job I’d planned.  We have an inkling of Breft’s past, but where were the background stories on Rajhir and Flencik?  Why did Flencik sometimes not act like the gentle Imdiko I knew he was?  Rajhir seemed almost mindlessly duty-bound to Kalquor.  Didn’t he ever experience the least little doubt or conscience when it came to abducting Amelia?  The more I read, the more things I wanted to cut completely out or elaborate on.   I’m not even halfway through in the process, and there are already 5,000 more words added to the story.  That’s right, it’s gotten bigger even though I have pulled entire sections out.  Don’t bother asking when the re-edited version will be available.  That is up in the air right now because this has turned into such a big job.

Those are the plans for 2013 at this time.  As we all know, life happens so this is subject to change.  It could be fewer books make it out than I hope.  It could be more are written.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Friday, December 28, 2012

First Five Friday – Alien Refuge (Clans of Kalquor 7) WIP

Scene 1
The snowblower in Iris Jenson’s hands, which had been doing such an efficient job of clearing a path from her home’s front door to the snowcrawler shed, suddenly made a horrible ratcheting sound.  It sounded like an iron monster chewing on metal screws, a racket fit to make her ears bleed.  Iris immediately shut it off.

Too late.  Her six-year-old son Thomas was already screaming, his hands clapped to the sides of his head. 

Releasing Spring 2013

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WIP Wednesday – Sister Katherine

You’d think writing a story parallel to Alien Conquest (Clans of Kalquor 3) would be a simple matter.  I already know the background story of the invasion of Europa’s convent and Armageddon.  Many of the characters who will be on the fringe of this tale are already familiar.  I’m not really starting from scratch.

Funny enough, this presents as many problems as it solves.  I have a somewhat narrow structure to work within, having to line up one clan’s story with Cassidy and Clan Tranis.  There are certain commitments I have to observe to stay true to the original events.  I can’t just write whatever occurs to me if it doesn’t follow Alien Conquest, no matter how right it feels.

Not only that, Sister Katherine and Clan Simdow, the clan which claims her as their wartime prize, are going to view these events through the filters of their own experiences and prejudices.  Clan Simdow is younger than Clan Tranis.  Katherine is older than Cassidy.  All of them have different priorities from what we’ve seen before.

The challenge is sometimes daunting, but fun as well.  I’m going to share with you the preliminary bios of the main characters.  No doubt they will evolve as the story is written, as characters always do, but this is my starting point:

Sister Katherine:

Cassidy saw her as a sweet, kind mentor.  Katherine is not one to believe in a vengeful God.  Her faith is based on a God who loves his creations, and everything in the universe is the creation of the Almighty.  She does not believe that people should do harsh penance for their sins, though she does scourge herself under the guise of redeeming affronts.   In actuality, Katherine abuses her own body for the endorphin high she gets from it.  

When the Kalquorians initially started luring and abducting Earther women to Kalquor, Katherine approached her superiors with the idea of meeting with Kalquor and teaching them about God.  She had many reasons to do this:  to stop the kidnappings, to save Kalquorian souls (remember, they were creations of God in her view), to keep war from happening – plus she was secretly fascinated with these big, muscled aliens.  Probably more fascinated than was prudent.

The result was that her request was seen as a result of possibly questionable morals.  However, with a spotless record of service to the Church, Katherine was spared harsher punishment than most would have been subjected to.  Instead, she was sent to the remote convent on Europa.

Katherine’s main concern is with the youngest aspirants and children on Europa.  She adores children, though as a nun she will never have any of her own.  The teenagers and few pre-teens on the moon are hers in her heart, and she will do whatever she can to take care of them.

Dramok Simdow:

Simdow’s mother died giving birth to him, something his Nobek father never forgave him for.  Nothing Simdow has ever done has healed that rift between them, though he has tried.  Knowing the constant rejection could have harmful effects on the youngster, his Dramok and Imdiko fathers sent Simdow away to a boarding school.  There, Simdow found a mentor in one of his teachers, a kind Dramok that brought the young man home for holidays.  The Dramok’s childless clan became a surrogate family for Simdow, replacing the broken one back home.

Simdow, eager for the continued acceptance and goodwill of his adopted parent clan, has always pushed himself hard to succeed.  The Nobek of this clan is a Kalquorian Fleet instructor, which led to Simdow signing on for a career patrolling the galaxy.  Ambition led him to advancing quickly in ranks.  Finally, he took a position as first officer on a spyship, commanded by Captain Tranis.  As an officer for the youngest captain in Fleet history, Simdow looks up to Tranis, wanting the same success he has enjoyed.

Nobek Miv:

Miv is a fighter.  Literally.  He has been a junior-class champion hand-to-hand combatant in a sport similar to our boxing or UFC.  He had visions of turning pro and was touted as a future champion of the Empire.

Miv is also the older brother to another Nobek and a Matara.  As he was just beginning his climb in the professional fighting ranks, his sister was assaulted by a man known to be a violent predator on other worlds.  Miv caught up to the assailant before the police did and beat the other man to death.  

The court was lenient with Miv since assault on a Matara is an unforgiveable act on Kalquor.  He was sentenced to only four years in prison, plus military service.  Miv went into the Fleet after he was released from incarceration to finish out his sentence.  In his off time, he trains in the hopes of resuming his dream of being a professional fighting champion.  On a side note, Miv’s younger brother is the Nobek to one of the first Mataras brought to Kalquor.  Miv is both happy and jealous of his brother’s good fortune.

Imdiko Vadef

Vadef has more parents than he knows what to do with.  His mother discovered she was pregnant with him after deciding not to join one clan that she didn’t feel suited her and clanning with another group.  Tests done because of early illness showed Vadef was the biological child of the first group of suitors.  The two clans very wisely decided they would all accept him as their son, so Vadef has six recognized fathers.

He needed the extra emotional support.  Vadef’s immune system was badly compromised from the moment he was born, sending him in and out of medical facilities for most of his childhood.  Unable to go outside and spend much time with others his age, Vadef spent most of his time reading and studying.  It was this early influence that made him knowledgeable about many various subjects.

In his seventeenth year, a new treatment re-built Vadef’s immune system, allowing him to finally have a normal life.  Eager to travel and see all the things he’d only read about, he joined the Fleet when he came of age.  His ability to research even the most arcane subjects as well as vast knowledge of foreign languages and customs made him a natural information specialist for the tasks of a spyship, where he met his clanmates Simdow and Miv.

Right now, this is tentatively scheduled for release late summer 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Shalia's Diary

A visit from a young, handsome Dramok.

Six Sentence Sunday – Clan Beginnings: Clan and Conviction (WIP)

Krijero looked over their small, government-issued quarters, his excitement edging down in the disappointment that Pertak wasn’t home from work yet.  As his gaze swept over the greeting room’s nondescript seating cushions and tables that had come with the place, he was already planning how nice the furniture would be in their new home, the place they would now be able to afford.  The place they would start their clanship, now that the last hurdle to their parents’ objections had been cleared.  Krijero had a job.  Better yet, he had a career, one he’d been looking forward to for years.

Sure, Pertak still had to get off his ass and do something other than the government-funded infrastructure repairs delegated to those who hadn’t settled on their life’s goals. 

Releasing Spring or Summer 2013