character

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Novelist

Okay so the title’s a play on words; an adulteration of the title of the famous short story by Alan Sillitoe but this blog was inspired by similar feelings to that of Sillitoe’s main character Colin.  In Sillitoe’s story, Colin uses long distance running as a way to cope with the borstal regime he is forced to endure after committing a crime and it helps him to focus his energy and determination in a positive direction.  It’s very similar to what writing does for me.

why I write

 

I haven’t made the best that I could of my life; let’s face it, who does?  I’ve had obstacles like everyone has and some of them have been pretty huge.  I’m autistic, which means I can’t communicate as effectively as most other people when in the physical presence of people.  It also means I don’t ‘get’ signals and can’t give them.  Let me explain about the signal thing as most folks don’t know what I’m on about.  We all give subtle (or not so subtle) signals to each other, body language etc, to communicate on a non verbal level.  Our subconscious mind is expert at reading these signals and this is where our gut feelings about people and their behaviours come from.  One typical form of signal is flirting.  The eye contact, licking the lips, playing with hair etc etc, all those are signals.  People instinctively know how to give them and our subconscious minds expertly read them and we communicate in more ways than just talking.  If I am in a crowded place and I’m watching two people interacting, which I do quite often: people watching is fascinating, I can read their signals to each other with 100% accuracy.  Put me into an interaction and something goes wrong with the process.  I now can’t read the other person’s signals with any accuracy at all and I can’t give accurate ones.  The whole interaction gets fucked up and they can’t wait to get away from this ugly crazy woman.  I long ago gave up trying to overcome this particular obstacle.

I was an abused child, sexually abused and this gives one a very warped sense of what men are, who they are and what my role with them should be.  This was probably the reason I always made the most horrendous choices possible when it came to boyfriends.  Two divorces later and I realised I was never going to get this dating thing right, so I resigned myself to being alone for the rest of my natural.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to look at good looking men.  After all, a thing of beauty is a joy forever, so they say, but I know that I’m neither pretty enough, slim enough, young enough or adept enough at conversation and interaction, to attract one.  I do get lonely but constantly trying and constantly being rejected is more painful than being lonely and unloved.  Believe me, it is.  You take the lesser of two evils when the chips are down and make what you can of it.

These two things combined, meant I grew up an outsider on the fringes of society.  I was always looking in the window but never had the key to the door.  I wanted to be a part of society but at the same time, I knew I never would be and I had years, decades, of anguish over it.  Inside myself I knew I had a voice, with something to say but there was  never anyone to listen or hear it and so what I had to say never got said.  I knew there was something inside wanting to get out but I had no clue how to give it that freedom.  I tried several things as I grew up, drawing, playing guitar (that one lasted a few years until I had to realise I was shit at it), acting (the shortest lived of all), craftwork of various kinds (I still do this one, kind of) but it was always the same.  Whatever I tried as a conduit to get my inner voice out, I was, at best, mediocre and no one listened.

As I grew older and older, I’d make acquaintances who would quickly tire of me and walk away hating the very thought of me (that’s one thing I am good at) and I resigned myself to just being an invisible old person who would one day wither away without fanfare (oh please let that be soon) and the world would carry on as if I’d never been.  Then Vin Diesel got me writing (yes, if you hate my writing, blame Vin as he started it) and suddenly after all these years, my voice had its way out.  It had been so long waiting that on that first night when I began to write, I wrote for 8 hours non stop and finally dragged myself from the computer at 4am knowing I was a writer, a novelist, a science fiction novelist.  I knew it with every fibre of my being and it was wonderful to know I’d finally found my place in the universe.  Now I could give what was inside of me its freedom and that would remain as part of the universal consciousness until the end of time itself.  Now I knew I had a legacy.

That was June 2011, not long ago and although I sincerely doubt I will ever be a famous writer, nor even able to feed myself and pay the bills from it, I feel I am finally fulfilling my life’s purpose.

As I say in the quote above, only via my writing can I achieve all that I failed to achieve, only via my writing can I experience all that I failed to experience and only via my writing will I be, all that I failed to be.

Through writing with my characters I can be strong, courageous, fearless, popular, funny, beautiful and loved.  So long as I write, I can be them, live their lives on their worlds, feel their feelings and be a part of the universe at last.

That is why I write, why I will always write.  Without writing, I had no life and without continuing to write, I will have no life.  I am still the outsider but for a moment, when I am with my characters, I’m someone else, somewhere else and I’m smiling.

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A New Novel is Born

Now that Floxham Island ~ Sinclair V-Log AZ267/M is out, I can turn my attentions to my next two works in progress.

I have the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2012, Acts of Life to edit and proof read ready for publication in July 2013 and I’ve just begun writing a new novel featuring Sam Sinclair from Floxham Island.

Acts of life will be first of these projects you will see and features Jake, a famous movie star who agrees to work aboard an inter galactic freighter for three months as research for his latest movie role.  Events quickly take an unexpected turn and Jake finds himself and his new friends, stranded on a dangerous and uninhabited planet.  In a desperate fight for survival, not only from the indigenous life of the planet, Jake and his companions must also avoid capture by those intent on doing him harm.

The new Sam Sinclair novel, as yet untitled, sees Sam go undercover to find out the cause of seven mysterious deaths.  In the process he gains, and then loses, a great friend whose legacy ensures he finds an important ally in the future.

I’ve decided upon my plot line for this year’s NaNoWriMo, which will be published sometime in 2014.  This story is an epic quest involving a race across planets to save not only the protagonist’s true love, but also to save an entire planet from annihilating themselves in an unnecessary war.

Lastly for this year’s writing plans, I have ten short horror stories to write that will complete my planned horror anthology and hope to get it published this year.

I always like to have plots planned for a couple of books ahead as I have this dread of finishing a current WIP and then not finding another plot to work on.  Hopefully, by the end of 2013 I’ll  have eight books under my belt.

Dream Project

Someone over on facebook had a great idea for a blog hop.  Taking place every day of February, one person blogs each day and answers questions relating to your own personal ‘dream project.’

You’re supposed to tag the person who is due to blog the next day and so it continues etc.

Maybe you’d like to join in and do your own blog with these questions.  Leave your link in the comments.

Writers dream. Now it’s time to dream BIG.

You have the opportunity to hire anybody as your cover artist, who would you get for the interior artwork?

I write space opera/science fiction so for my space opera series, The Lilean Chronicles, I would need an experienced concept artist. I don’t know the names of any and don’t have a favourite but I like what I’ve seen of Lik Studios in Taiwan. As you can see in the pictures below, the realism is amazing. To have these guys working on my books would be simply awesome.

Visit Lik Studios on this link.

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Who would you co-write your next novel with? What genre? Why?

I couldn’t imagine ever writing in any genre other than space opera. All the books and movies I love are space opera/science fiction/fantasy and all of my own daydreams and personal imaginings are in based in such a world. I’m a very creative person and have always had a very vivid imagination and a yearning to escape from this world, this life and everything within it. It stands to reason therefore that my creativity takes me as far away from this reality as it’s possible to go and that is the only place I find joy and fulfilment.  If I could co write a space opera/science fiction novel I’d love to work with Dave Twohy, the movie Director of Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick fame.  He wrote the Riddick story and directed all three movies and he has great imagination and the ability to bring the imagined into being.  I believe he would help me to make my story more real.

Visit Dave on this link

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Your publisher wants to do an audiobook version of your novel and they’re not sparing any expense. Who do you think can narrate your masterpiece?

Well certainly not Morgan Freeman..! Seriously though, my narrator would need a deep velvet voice with a calm flow and not too strong an accent. The Lilean Chronicles, although basically a space opera novel, has a strong spiritual thread running through it and some of the main characters are deeply wise spiritual guides and nothing else but a deep, warm and slow voice will do. A warm deep voice relaxes you and allows your mind to absorb the words more easily and really live the story. My choice would be James Earl Jones, without doubt the best voice for my project.

Visit James on this link.

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They’re really going all out! Your novel is getting a full soundtrack. Who should compose it? If your novel uses a lot of songs, list your compilation here.

Now this is one of the easiest questions to answer. Without a second’s hesitation I choose Heart of Courage by Two Steps to Hell, closely followed by Asimov, Archangel and Dragon Rider, all by Two Steps to Hell. Bringing up the rear would be Bravest of the Braves by Kosinus Music. I was halfway through writing the first of The Lilean Chronicles series when I first heard Heart of Courage and the moment I heard Heart of Courage, I knew it was perfect for the soundtrack of the movie. When I’m writing or editing, I take regular breaks and during those times I often listen to it a few times, to keep me in the right zone.

Congratulations! Your novel is being turned into a major motion picture. As the creator of the original work, you get to pick the director.

Easy peasy, Dave Twohy for all the reasons mentioned above in the co writing question. To have this amazing man direct The Lilean Chronicles movie would be mind blowing. His ability to bring what I see in my mind into reality, to create the imagination in physical form is simply awesome. If anyone could bring my characters to life, it’s Dave Twohy.

The director has some ideas on who to cast, but you get to cast one character. What role/character is it and who portrays them?

Well ideally I’d like to cast two characters, but if I had only one, I would have to lay claim to first choice of actor to play my main male protagonist. The Lilean Chronicles’ main male character is called Vincent Richard Domenico and there is only one man alive suitable to play him and that is Dwayne The Rock Johnson. The main reason is his size; Vincent is a very big and muscular man and therefore needs a very big actor to play him but also for his racial look. Vincent comes from a planet called Lilea and their physical appearance is what we would term ‘mixed race’ – light brown skin and black eyes. When I was a few chapters into writing the first volume of The Lilean Chronicles and just getting to know Vincent, he began to show me the kind of look he wanted to have and by the time I’d finished chapter ten, it was Dwayne I saw in my mind whenever I wrote about Vincent. I tried to change this image, to make it go away because I originally had another actor in mind for his look but Vincent knew what he wanted and he laid the law down, so Dwayne it is.

Visit Dwayne’s facebook page on this link.

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 You’ve been hired to write a novel based on a preexisting character or franchise from another medium. Which character or franchise is it?

It would be Riddick. I would give my right arm to write a Riddick story and that is in fact how I first began writing. I wrote short fan fiction pieces, new adventures for Riddick and that’s how I was first inspired to write my own character and story. It was great fun and satisfied my need to connect with the character as a fan of his but pretty soon I realised that it would be so easy to just carry the story on and let it run. Once I got to twenty thousand words I realised that this could be a whole book if I just kept going and let it have it’s head and lead the way. I then had a dilemma though; Riddick has already been invented. He’s a copyrighted trademark and I’d probably end up in trouble if I wrote a book with him in it. I almost gave up but then I thought “oh what the hell, just start again with my own character.” The background could stay the same and the peripheral characters could stay but the main protagonist must be new. So Vincent was born.

It’s the anniversary of your favorite literary character’s debut. You’ve been hired (yay, work!) to write an anniversary novel. Who is the literary character?

This would have to be Willis E Davidge, one of two main protagonists from Enemy Mine by Barry B Longyear. The movie that was made from this book is one of my favourite space operas and the character Davidge is everything I love my protagonists to be; fearless and flawed but with an over riding sense of what is right and a willingness to give his life in the quest for justice and truth. He’s not bad looking, funny and the adventure he has with his co protagonist, the Drac, is heartwarming and emotional. Writing an anniversary novel of Willis E Davidge would be huge fun and something of an homage to one of my favourite movies.

Visit Enemy Mine on this link.

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Visit the next stop in the Dream Project Blog Hop with this link.

Floxham Island ~ Sinclair V-Log AZ267/M now available

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My brand new novel Floxham Island ~ Sinclair V-Log AZ267/M is now available to purchase in both paperback and e-book formats from Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu and Ganxy.  All the links are on the Floxham Island page (link below or click the link at the top of the page).

Sam Sinclair thought this was just another run of the mill job. As a freelance law enforcement operative, his job is to find the target and deliver them into the hands of the Law Enforcement Agency. When his law enforcement contacts asked him to find Professor Nembier who they believed had murdered nine of his co workers out on a secluded archaeological dig on Agrillia 3, he fully expected to have the job done quickly. Finding the Professor was the easy part and was to become the beginning of a terrible nightmare for Sam and his companions.

Delivering his prisoner to Floxham Island Prison should spell the end of the job for Sam and some much needed time off but once he and his companions find themselves stranded upon the strangely deserted prison planet and discover the horror that has recently taken place there, it soon becomes his worst nightmare. Facing the horrors that lurk in the dark whilst avoiding those that dwell in the light, Sam discovers that a new killer is amongst them.  As their numbers dwindle, Sam races to find the killer and secure the lives of those still surviving amidst the terror that is Floxham Island.

Click here to Visit the Floxham Island page

New interview with Vincent Domenico

Vincent Domenico just popped in to give us a third interview.  He tells us of the events told in the fourth volume of The Lilean Chronicles series, Avalanche Effect and how they affected him and his family.

Click here to visit Vincent’s third interview.

The Sinclair V-logs – coming soon

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A brand new space opera series is on its way

The first volume in my new space opera series will be available during February.  The Sinclair V-logs introduces you to Sam Sinclair, Freelance Law Enforcer with the Intergalactic Law Enforcement Agency who will be recounting the more memorable of his experiences in his own series of personal video logs.

Floxham Island

Sinclair V-log AZ267/M

Sam Sinclair thought this was just another run of the mill job.  As a freelance law enforcement operative, his job is to find the target and deliver them into the hands of the Law Enforcement Agency.  When his law enforcement contacts asked him to find Professor Nembier who they believed had murdered nine of his co workers out on a secluded archaeological dig on Agrillia 3, he fully expected to have the job done quickly.  Finding the Professor was the easy part and was to become the beginning of a terrible nightmare for Sam and his companions.

Delivering his prisoner to Floxham Island Prison should spell the end of the job for Sam and some much needed time off but once he and his companions find themselves stranded upon the strangely deserted prison planet and discover the horror that has recently taken place there, it soon becomes his worst nightmare.  Facing the horrors that lurk in the dark whilst avoiding those that dwell in the light, Sam discovers that a new killer is amongst them.  As their numbers dwindle, Sam races to find the killer and secure the lives of those still surviving amidst the terror that is Floxham Island.

Endorsed by the Great & Mighty (part 3)

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My Nano Encouragement

A couple of weeks before Nano began, I joined a Nano themed group on facebook. The guy who runs the group suggested we write ourselves a letter of encouragement and email it to him.  He would then email it back to us during the third week of Nano.  It would be a way for us to encourage ourselves during the latter half of what can be, for some, a really difficult exercise.

I thought his idea was fantastic, so I wrote my letter to my future self and sent it off.  Nano began and I quickly forgot about my letter, until yesterday when it arrived as promised.

As I read the letter I wrote to myself I felt a mixture of emotions, the main one of which was to wish that someone else had written that letter to me.  To have the belief of someone else must be a wonderful and heart warming thing.

I would like to share my letter.

My dear Merita

By now you are reaching the home stretch of NaNoWriMo 2012 and winning is just a week away.

Writing is such a lonely pastime and you are such a lonely person; you are ideally suited to it don’t you agree?  One could say that you were born an ideal writer.

Your creativity amazes me you know.  The ease with which you connect to the universal creative force and allow its energies to influence you is a great gift that many dream of and few can boast of.  You may not have as much education on the bricks and mortar of ‘good’ writing, whatever that may mean, but your words transport those with open minds to worlds they could never have imagined.  You build your characters with such authenticity, they really live.  They are real friends and your relationship with them is real, tangible.

When I look back on you as that isolated, silent child and see how far you’ve come I’m both amazed and proud.  Always remember why you write.  You write because your characters demand you do so, not as a way of getting rich.  Hold this truth close always and your words will always carry that ethereal and rarest of qualities – authenticity.  You have waited so long to get where you are now; at the beginning of an exciting creative path and how you’ve suffered as you waited.  Not a moment of that suffering was in vain for every painful moment has moulded and refined you and you have the richest of experience to draw upon and the greatest of ability to use that experience within your creativity.

Never doubt yourself on this new and exciting path.  Your words have the power to heal, to change people, to change worlds and open minds and hearts.  You must learn to judge yourself less harshly so that a healthy balance can be achieved within yourself and no one has a greater wisdom nor the ability to put that wisdom into words, than you.

When you first began writing and creating Vincent, you created your greatest friend.  He has waited from the beginning of time for you to write his story, for no other in creation is more worthy of the task than you.  He loves you very much, he is always with you and immensely proud of you.  He will always call you his friend.

Few in the living world know you and fewer still will understand you but fear not for you are doing what you were born to do.  You are fulfilling your own ancient prophecy and just as Vincent endured those lonely years on Vinbuk before the light began to shine for him, you too endure the pain of isolation.  He is by your side always, he hears your every thought and shares your every feeling and he will be by your side for every step still to be taken on your journey.  You are never alone.

I am so proud of you.  Hold your head high as you win NaNoWriMo 2012.  You are worthy.  You will always be worthy.

Merita King.

******************

I have already surpassed the required 50 thousand words.  I reached the 50k on Nov 12th and as my novel was nowhere near finished I’m continuing.  I’m currently at 65 thousand and probably two chapters from finishing.

I am pleased with my Nano effort and happy that what I’ve created during November will be wonderful addition to my portfolio of work.

I hope everyone else is finding Nano a valuable experience and learning much about their own ability and endurance.  Keep going, you can do it.

NaNoWriMo Update

It’s day 4 of NaNoWriMo and it seems that many of my contacts on facebook are taking part.  This is my first year participating and I must say I’m enjoying it very much.  It is good discipline to make yourself write every day and even if you don’t reach the 50 k you’ll have pushed yourself and learned a little more of what you’re capable of.

I’m doing okay with it so far.  My total stands at just over 20 k and I’m on track to hit the 50 k on the 9th November.  My novel will be longer than that though; I like my novels to be between 80 – 100 k and it would be super awesome to finish the whole thing in the month.  I’ve completed 4 chapters so far and the real action has just begun.

The only difficulty I’m having is actually nothing to do with it being NaNoWriMo.  I’m having a problem making my protagonist nasty enough.  You see, my main guy is not nice, in fact he’s a bastard but I am finding it a real job to make him horrible enough.  I love writing nice guys and I find them easy and natural but this character is proving a challenge.  As with all my characters though, he is building himself in the way he wants to be and I’ve learned not to fight my characters when they dictate stuff.  I let them have the lead and they know I will listen to them.  I may argue sometimes but they always get their own way in the end.  Jake isn’t a nice guy but I’m finding he’s building himself into a different kind of not nice than I envisioned at the start.  His not niceness comes from his own ignorance rather than any real malice; he is so up his own ass that he just doesn’t see what a prick he is and how he pisses people off.  He is building himself into a far more sophisticated kind of not nice than I thought he would be and y’know what?  I like the guy.

Another thing I didn’t plan or envision when I began was how much sex there would be in this book.  I knew there would have to be some, seeing as how my character is a narcissistic megalomaniac celebrity, but even I’m surprised at how often he ‘whips it out.’  This is definitely going to be an 18+ novel.

I’ve also been formulating ideas for the cover art and have a brilliant idea, which I’m not going to tell you about.  The last time I shared a cover before it was published, some other asshole chick stole my idea and published 2 weeks before I was due to.  My cover art guy had to race around looking for a new idea.  Luckily we found one and it’s  actually better than the one I had planned to use so all ended well.  So I’m keeping this idea under wraps.  This book won’t be published until mid summer anyway so there’s no hurry.  I have the fourth and final volume in The Lilean Chronicles series coming out in the first week of December, then I have a second of my novella series to write so I can publish the first pair as a single volume in spring of 2013 and then it will be time for my NaNo project to come out in summer.  I also had a full plot idea fall right into my head the other night as I sat trawling through facebook, so I be getting on with writing that once my first novella pair is published.

So all is well on the writing front here.  I just wish people would buy the books so I can eat and pay a few bills..!

Seeds of Inspiration

A friend on facebook asked me not long ago, “where do you get all your ideas from?”  A simple question indeed but one that is almost impossible to answer in a way people who aren’t ‘like me’ will understand.

By ‘like me’ I mean, well like me.  Let me try to explain.  I’m autistic, which means I don’t do the social thing at all well.  I don’t mix with folks effectively and I tend to quickly piss people off and if I do make a friend, I tend to lose it pretty quickly.  This means I’m alone for most of the time, both physically and inside my head.  You know when you have friends but they’re not actually ‘here’ at this moment but you know inside your head that they exist and they’re your friends?  You have an innate knowledge that you’re not emotionally alone don’t you?  Well I don’t have that.  I’m physically alone and alone inside my head too.  Now that’s freaking alone man..!

I also have major emotional baggage left over from an abusive childhood which means I have a trust issue.  Not something you want when you’re trying to make friends.  This also tends to add to my isolation.  I’m also physically unattractive so even if men did happen to overlook my other failings, the sight of me puts them off anway.  This also means I’m destined to remain just as alone as I am now.

All of this isolation takes its toll and not all of the effects are negative, for me as a writer anyhow.  I’ve developed an immense imagination.  Every moment I’m alone I’m living one of my internal fantasies.  People who see me may think I’m just shopping or taking out the trash but really I’m exploring the outer regions of some far flung planet, searching for the ancient truth stone that will save the people and show me my one true love who just happens to be mixed race, hugely muscular, clean shaven and hung like a horse.  I may appear to be driving to the store, or to my day job but really I’m on my way from my Los Angeles mansion to meet with my agent to discuss my latest appearance on the Ellen show and whether we could fit in a spot on Jimmy Kimmel the same day or whether we need to put that one back a week.  I may appear to be doing housework but really I’m searching the cargo bay of the intergalactic freight liner for clues as to the whereabouts of the hand written  notes that would prove that hugely muscular, mixed race, well hung hunk of a prisoner is completely innocent of those murders on Taxos 4.

You see what I’m driving at?  This is me every minute of every day and several hours into each night too as I toss and turn and struggle to switch it all off so I can sleep.  The moment I wake it all starts again.  This is the stuff that fills my mind 24/7 and all of the locations, the conversations and the people are as real to me as anyone I may physically meet.  Being completely alone both physically and emotionally too, allows me to indulge in this fantasy reality to a high degree and I’ve been doing it for so long that I doubt I could stop for long and I couldn’t imagine being able to survive without it.

It’s the easiest thing in the world for me to just write this stuff down.  I’m so tapped in to my creative flow that I can just sit down and switch it on and let the words come tumbling out.  I see it all happening as I write it.  I actually live it as I write it and I feel all of the emotions each time I re read it.  All I have to do is sit down, switch on and step out of the way.  My higher self does the rest, my creativity, my muse, call it what you want.  I always say that I don’t actually write my books; my characters write them and I just take dictation.

Last night I was bored so I sat down and opened a blank word document and then opened my mind.  An hour later I had a full plot synopsis for brand new epic space adventure novel.  No pain, no tears, no agonies of writers block (what the fuck is that anyway?) and no prob laymo.

So in answer to my friend who wanted to know where I get my ideas from.  The answer is, from me.