9. Ladder Logic

May 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapter nine of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


General Rauchbach was quite proud of the message they intended to send back. You couldn’t assume any amount of intelligence, so pictures were certainly the way to go. He wasn’t entirely convinced that whatever received it would be able to use the circle and representative equation to establish that they, the Earthlings, understood pi, nor that they could use the same equation to establish the average height of a human being (or would care), but Dr. Angelo Moore had assured him it was the best way, and it certainly made more sense to General Rauchbach than the near-lunatic ravings of Dr. Fobell.

“That’s the problem with genius,” the general had commiserated with Admiral Thomas when they’d read Howard’s letter of resignation. “They’re one tiny stumble away from insanity.” » Read the rest of this entry «

8. RadialShade

May 15th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapter eight of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


It was so subtle, not even those watching noticed it. The ruddy pink surface of Mars shimmered to a paler pink in three specific spots for only a second. Somewhere, in some laboratory, a computer clicked and chattered, recording the change in the surface features of the planet. But the detection, though logged, would not be seen as anomalous. After all, the shifting dust on the planet’s surface often revealed and covered shinier spots of the rocky crust. No one noticed because science, with its massive telescopes and most powerful microscopes, is only able to register what can be seen and can be reproduced. The pale pink flashes of light would not happen again, would not be seen, and would not be able to be reproduced.

To mainstream science, they had never happened. » Read the rest of this entry «

7. Wooing Luci

May 7th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapter seven of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


“I just don’t understand why you’d want me to go to Mars,” Luci von Embers said for the umpteenth time. She’d been flattered by his charming explanations, but the scientist in her was still extremely skeptical.

And, of course, Bransen couldn’t really answer, “Because of a dream I had.” The real reason didn’t seem too compelling even to himself, but he’d hoped that dinner on him in the city’s finest restaurant would earn him a few points—and if he could somehow convince Luci to join his team, then he’d just trust her judgment and stop trying to convince himself.

He grinned sweetly because he was beginning to think he may have convinced her—she’d stayed for dessert, after all. » Read the rest of this entry «

6. The Ladder and the Hollow Oak

April 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapter six of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


Bransen didn’t realize it would be so difficult just to gain an audience with the man. His “simple hike” through the woods had elicited ripped jeans, the loss of his left shoe, and a tear in his shirt over his left breast. Still and all, when he finally reached the clearing and saw the homespun cabin of Dr. Carlos Resua (anachronistically wired with solar panels, a modern windmill, and three satellite dishes), his mood instantly lifted. » Read the rest of this entry «

5. Threatening Questions

April 18th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapter five of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


Howard Fobell couldn’t be entirely sure he wasn’t under arrest: The room was stark and furnished only with a plain table and two chairs, there was a tape recorder on the table, and the overhead lighting was bright and flickering. It also didn’t help that behind him paced Admiral Thomas and sitting across from him was General Rauchbach—two names someone like Howard Fobell had only ever heard before in hushed whispers accompanied with deer-in-the-headlights stares. Howard fidgeted in his seat and watched the General watching the Admiral. Both men were cordial enough, but Dr. Fobell still had the willies. » Read the rest of this entry «

4. A Spider in a Wheel

April 13th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapter four of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


Bransen really didn’t like the looks of the bar. His was the only four-wheeled vehicle in the lot, and he veritably tip-toed past the lineup of hogs and choppers so his footfalls wouldn’t topple them like dominoes. A couple of bikers had just arrived and glanced at him suspiciously as he walked toward the doors. He’d opted to fit in as little as possible, going on the assumption that a nervous man in a golf shirt and khakis would pose no threat as either interloper or poser and thus would be left alone. Besides, his careful swoop of brownish-blond hair, stubbled chin, and beaming smile looked best with grown-up frat-boy garb—anything else would’ve been immediately suspect and would undoubtedly have drawn more attention to him than he wanted. » Read the rest of this entry «

3. The Quintessence of Light

April 9th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapter three of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


Dr. Howard Fobell had been asked to work on the Star Event because of his views that natural light might actually be conscious. It was an odd take, to be sure—and one that would never reach as close to the surface as even the obscure, scholarly science journals—but here, in the shadows where science still asked the left-field questions, Dr. Fobell was highly respected. » Read the rest of this entry «

2. The Not Knowing

April 6th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapter two of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


Henry Jacobs adjusted the focus on his Bransen Labs Deep X Telescope (“bigger, better, cheaper”) and tried in vain to relocate the four stars of the Star Event. He’d got the telescope last year for his tenth birthday, and was only dimly aware that his mother had forgone replacing the dishwasher in order to afford it. In fact, she was even now at the kitchen sink, washing the dishes by hand. » Read the rest of this entry «

1. Four More Stars in a Starry Sky

April 3rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Chapter one of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done (aiming for two chapters a week). All chapters: Unknown North.


No one really paid any attention to the stars that appeared one morning, where no stars had been previously. Which is to say, only the mystics and stargazers noticed and found it odd, even disturbing, and they created web pages and spent hours dialing into radio talk shows, searching for an explanation. » Read the rest of this entry «

Great quotes about writing

February 8th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Honestly, the title probably says enough: These are a few quotes I always trot out when someone asks me about writing, and why I write. » Read the rest of this entry «

F

January 31st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

A painter in a creative slump finds unexpected inspiration when he buys a rare work that holds a ghostly secret. » Read the rest of this entry «

An Exercise for Inspiration

January 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

I have two conflicting theories about writing: 1) You should write every day, even just a few words. Make it a habit, not a choice that can be derailed by TV. 2) There’s no such thing as writer’s block. If you’re blocked, you’re writing the wrong story. Sometimes you have to wait it out, other times working on something different kicks everything back in. If you’re truly uninspired, just don’t write: If you do, it will come out forced and, well, uninspired.

The problem is obvious: How can I write every day if I’m waiting around to feel inspired? A recent writing workshop I was asked to lead forced me to answer that question. » Read the rest of this entry «

Reading Makes Writers Better… Or Worse

January 17th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

One of my favorite shows on TV these days is The 100 on the CW. It’s pretty grim sci-fi with a touch of fantasy, and while the teenage love/angst can get in the way sometimes, it generally works. Whenever I love a show or movie, if I find out it’s based on a book, I have to read the book. It only seems fair—we all know the cliche that “the book is always better.” Unfortunately, in this case it’s far from true. The book (sadly, books, plural) written by Kass Morgan are among the most poorly written books I’ve ever read. This concerns me not because I believe all books should be great, but because reading books is how writers indirectly learn to write, and this book is geared to the young-adult market. » Read the rest of this entry «

Boleskin, I Barely Knew Ye

January 6th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

When it comes to bucket lists, I admit mine is pretty strange. I want to see places like Sedlec Ossuary (“the bone cathedral”) in the Czech Republic and Hoia Baciu Forest in Romania. High on that list had always been Loch Ness, but not for the obvious reason. » Read the rest of this entry «

The Wind

January 1st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

A man finds himself fighting for the life of a stranger’s daughter when a flat tire leaves him stranded in the woods… » Read the rest of this entry «