Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Regarding Maggie...




While going through some old papers, I stumbled across something interesting. I used to be a dungeon master back in my youth... so when I later started writing, it seemed only natural to make a form of character sheet for the different characters in my novels. I later got away from the practice and forgot about them. But I recently came across one of those old sheets, made sometime way back in 2009, and since it was for the character that I'm probably most often asked about, I thought I would share.


Maggie Weston
Book: Spiderstalk
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 425 lbs (due to tremendous muscle density)
Age: 20
Hair: Blonde (originally in long braid, later chopped short by knife
Eyes: Blue

Appearance: Maggie is a tall girl who appears muscular in a lanky way, much like a  professional beach volleyball player. She dresses in rural fashions, usually boots, jeans, with flannel shirts or black tee shirts, although she sometimes wears army surplus camouflage pants as well. Her face is angular, a bit harsh, and she has a slightly weathered look due to a great deal of time outdoors.
Her clothes conceal the fact that her torso is covered with a short fuzz similar to that found on the abdomen of some spiders. It covers an area similar to that of a one piece bathing suit. It  is mostly black and yellow on her back, featuring the same pattern as a corn spider, and almost completely black on front with the exception of two short diagonal orange stripes at the bottom of her ribcage,
  
Abilites: As one of only two known living third-generation talents of the Spider Tribe, she is far stronger (both physically and psionically) than the other talents of her people. This is because she has more of the Great Mothers DNA in her genome, meaning she is more spider and less human than the others.
The downside to this (in her case) is the spider fuzz covering her torso, and the fact she is a dedicated carnivore who requires a diet almost exclusively of meat. Her weight, due to her muscle density, also means she has serious negative buoyancy and can’t swim. Also, when greatly upset or preparing to fight, her eyes wills sometimes change to become more like those of a spider.
On the other hand, her physical strength is well into the superhuman range. Her bones are mostly composed of the same carbon nanotubes forming the great mother’s exoskeleton, and her skin is meshed with them as well. This makes her very resistant to damage. It would take a high powered rifle at close range to completely penetrate her skin, or some other projectile at extremely high velocity. The majority of firearms would bruise her at most. Since nobody actually put this to the test, neither she  nor her people ever had a precise understanding of her durability.
Psionically, she is also the most powerful of her tribe, although she does not possess the wide range of psionic abilities of Grandma Lilah (the other third generation talent). Under perfect circumstance (having veneno in her bloodstream, her companion nearby, and in an open but isolated area) she can detect a normal person's presence at almost a quarter of a mile, and actually read them at near a  hundred yards. Many factors can diminish this, including closer peoples thoughts drowning out more distant, having a large number of people around, physical barriers such as walls of different construction, etc…
Her psionic defenses are second to none, and when she has them fully up she becomes completely psionically undetectable, even to the best of her own people. Not even the rogue or the Great Mother can pierce Maggie’s defensive barriers when she has them at full.
She also has a latent healing ability, although not on a par with Grandma Lilah’s. It has not yet been explored or developed due to her difficulty with control, and that difficulty forcing the tribe’s elders to focus on training her to control her other, more immediate, attributes. So that ability only manifests itself as her having an incredibly strong constitution, and her being able to survive illnesses that should otherwise kill her.

Personality: Maggie has a complex, and often misunderstood, personality. Her mother died during the pregnancy, because Maggie started causing damage as she developed and became more active before birth. After a severe episode resulting in her mother's death by internal  hemorrage, Grandma Lilah performed a rough operation and managed to save the baby.
 Due to her tremendous strength and abilities, Maggie was completely isolated from other children until the age of seven. At that time she was finally allowed to visit Billy Clayton, who was two years her junior, but being a second generation talent, was more rugged and able to withstand an accidental lapse of control. It was still dicey at first, although they eventually became friends.
(In the book Billy will be officially sixteen, but is actually eighteen due to the tribes reluctance to make any newborn spirit singers “official” until they’ve survived a couple of years)  
So Maggie is only close with her father, her companion Molly, and Billy... and also carries a certain level of guilt over the death of her mother. The result of this will be her emotional stability being badly rocked when her father dies due to circumstances she created by saving the main character’s nephew.
Her training started at a very young age and focused on two areas. Warfare, and learning to control her strength. This has resulted in a serious, and somewhat repressed girl, who is often at war with her own emotions. She has had certain concepts of honor and responsibility deeply drilled into her, but those will be shaken as she starts to realize how her people’s adherence to the past, and its antiquated laws, was just as much responsible for her father’s death as her.
This will leave her faith in everything she believed in shaken, and utterly isolated with the limited exception of Billy.

So on the surface, Maggie normally comes across as forceful, stern, and sometimes harsh. But underneath there is confusion over her own identity, fear of losing loved ones, and an uneasy relationship with her own emotions.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Current Project




So this is my current project.

I'm about sixty thousand words into it, so I feel there is a good enough chance of completion to risk a cover reveal. Or at least one of the possible covers.

I've written a zombie novel, a giant spider novel, and a Lovecraftian novel with a sequel, so I decided it was time to change gears again. This time I decided to write my version of a haunted house book. While I have released an anthology of ghost stories, I hadn't dedicated a true novel to them yet.

There's still a long way to go, but I'm hoping for the best.

And since my hands have actually stabilized a little, it looks like I might get at least one more novel out of them. Awesome. It just goes to show that sometimes there is good news too.

I know it's not much, but that's pretty much all for now.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Crossroads




It has happened.

I have finally arrived at a crossroads that I always knew was coming, but never really allowed myself to think about. My neuropathy has progressed to the point that I am being forced into making life changes, and making decisions on what I can and can't do from this point forward. I have finally reached that stage where I'm that guy at Walmart driving the little electric shopping cart. Even with a rolling walker, I can only gp short distances before my legs get unsteady and I have to sit down to avoid the risk of falling.

And now it appears that time has run out on my hands as well.

I have been having trouble with my hands for a long time, yet up until now I've managed to keep adapting my typing style to account for it. But lately, as the neuropathy has further encroached into my fingers and weakened them, it has started affecting my proprioception as well. I cannot tell exactly where they are on the keyboard without looking at them. Combine that with the fact they don't even move in certain directions anymore, and I have come at last to that  point where more drastic changes must be made.

If I am going to continue my career as an author, I am going to have to attempt to learn how to write a novel with speech recognition software. I simply have no choice. I have been researching the topic, and will soon be buying a copy of Dragon Premium 13 and a microphone. It's a bit of an investment (for me, at least) and I truly hope I don't end up wasting my money… mainly because I have no idea if I can teach myself to write this way.

I'm a painfully old and decrepit dog, and I despise new tricks.

But I have to try.

Unfortunately, this means my schedule and timelines have been shot to pieces (not that I was accomplishing much with these hands lately, anyway). But maybe the time spent educating myself will let me get a fresh perspective on my current projects and make them all the better for it. I hope so. A silver lining here and there is always appreciated.


So wish me luck as I sojourn forward to try to keep this thing going, and maybe that luck will translate into another book or two down the road. If not, at least I can console myself that I tried, and that my final body of work didn’t include anything I'm ashamed of. But for now, I'm still seeing what can be done. 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Internet Toxicity




I was afraid this would happen. To my dismay, it appears I have developed a case of Internet Toxicity. I know I'm naturally vulnerable to it, and I try to avoid it, but it seems this recent elections and the effects i has had on some people have made it unavoidable.

It's no coincidence that I wrote my first novel when the cable company dropped the ball and left me without internet for six weeks. Not wasting hours in constant web surfing certainly helped, but that wasn't the whole story. After a week or two without the non-stop drama of Facebook, forum arguments, and political discussions occupying my thoughts, my focus changed and made it easier for me to concentrate on other things. My creativity improved dramatically. My mind (especially when I was in "idle mode" while driving or doing other automatic tasks) now spent it's time musing on story concepts and situations as opposed to politics or other internet driven drama. It made being productive a whole lot more possible.

When I got my internet back, I learned I had to self limit. I needed to avoid the trap of wasting time continuously clicking that next link. It was destroying my attention span, and starting to eat up that "idle mode" I had started using for plot and character development purposes. So, after some experimentation, I found a happy medium that allowed me my internet fix without undue damage to my creativity and attention span.

Unfortunately, I have recently been forced to confront the fact that recent events, and the reactions to those events, have undone the balance I strove for. Despite efforts to avoid it, I have been poisoned by the current state of the internet, and I need to focus on recovery.

So that only leaves one solution.

I will have to drastically cut back on my internet usage, especially at Facebook (I will likely budget fifteen minutes at the end of the day for that so my friends don't think I hate them), and will have to confine my online activities to research and business. Also, I will especially need to curtail the amount of time I spend online in general. Time spent clicking that unending chain of links can be better used reading the works of other authors, or maybe even spent outdoors. Things that will help the old brain get used to focusing on things for longer than a few minutes at a time again. And things that will help me mentally detoxify.

I'm going to hate this, but my previous experience with kicking a twenty-year smoking habit means I know an addiction when I see one...and that means it needs to be done.

Time to go read a book.

Then maybe I can start writing one.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Crazy Nate's Big Giveaway!



Well, maybe not so much “crazy” as “intellectually sketchy”, but we won’t go there. The important thing is that it felt like a good time to have one of those free ebook thingies that authors do from time to time. Therefore I decided I would make all of my ebooks on Amazon free, but not all at the same time. Gotta mix it up a little.  Can’t make it too simple, right?
So below is the list of dates each ebook will be free…

The Ways of Khrem Jan 16-20
Nightwalk Jan 23-25
Ghosts, Monsters and Madmen Jan 25-27
Spiderstalk Jan 30 – Feb 1
Shades Feb 1-3
Dead Stop Feb 6-8
Nightwalk 2 Feb 8-10

I hope all of you enjoy them and read them in good health. Have a Happy 2017!


Monday, December 5, 2016

Nightwalk 2 is here!



Mark Garrett is about to go home again...

Two years have passed since the disaster at Coventry Woods, and Mark has made a good effort at recovering from the ordeal. He has published a new novel, replaced his lost belongings, and bought a new house in New Mexico. Life is finally moving on. He's hidden the few scars that remain, and with Casey having left for college he looks forward to a comfortable future with his wife.

But the past is not done with Mark Garrett.

The enigmatic man in white has returned and announced the world is doomed. Another survivor of Coventry Woods has sealed it's fate. The future's only hope is for Mark to go back to that terrible night and once again navigate his way through a death infested hell. Only this time he won't be trying to escape. His mission is to intercept and kill a man he's never met.

Now the clock is ticking as Mark races against a nuclear deadline. He must save the future, while at the same time trying to minimize his impact on a past that will not hesitate to eat him alive. And as he soon discovers, any change he makes can cause unexpected complications...

...especially when he gets stuck with the last travelling companion he would have ever wanted.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Nightwalk Movie!



Yes, this is actually happening

An indie film company is trying to make a movie based on my novel, Nightwalk. It will be called, "Coventry Woods" They have already secured a location, and will soon start casting.

Words cannot express how grateful and excited I am for this opportunity to arise.There is still a long way to go, and a lot of hurdles to be crossed for this to make it to the screen, but things are moving. At this time I can't go into it more than that.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Rough Draft Achieved




I saved the file "Nightwalk2 Rough Draft.docx" to Dropbox last night. I have a whole laundry list of fixes that need to be incorporated, and a good bit of polishing before its even ready for proofreaders, but I now have a story.

Work proceeds.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tentatively Quarter Four, 2016




So this is my current project.

That's just a placeholder cover until something better occurs.

I have never written a sequel before, but I have had sequel requests for each novel I have written. Since the world of Nightwalk was freshest in my mind, I thought I would do some writing on ideas for that while I outlined another original novel project and prepared to get serious on that.

But a funny thing happened during the outlining. The writing on the sequel started to take off and get more of my attention each day. And since I had been fighting a season long case of writer's block all autumn, instinct told me to start going with where the action was happening.

So it appears we may all be going back to Coventry Woods.

I'm still early in the project, but the proofreaders are liking what they see so far and I put a lot of stock in their opinions. I've had a late start on it, so the odds of having a rough draft by the time the kids get out of school for the summer are minimal. Then there is the fact the CMT in my hands has gotten more pronounced so I'm typing slower than ever. That's why I'm predicting a winter release this time. I prefer early autumn, but I just don't see it.

Still, I have settled on a project and getting on with it.

Wish me luck!