One Down, Six Plus to Go

To Sleep (TS) is done. Finished editing, put in chapter breaks, named the chapters, and formatted it according to RCE’s submission guidelines, etc etc. Lorna insisted on reading it through before I submitted it so she’s doing that. She’s only tapped my shoulder about it 3 times which is MUCH less than the last time she read it. As soon as she is finished with it, I’ll submit it to RCE.

I poked some on Awakening, the sequel to TS. I really like it so far but decided I needed to think things through a little better. TS will stand on its own although there’s the feeling of wanting more. Awakening will NOT be able to stand on its own though. I just would not be possible to do a massive infodump (previously on Falcon Crest…)

Right now I have Butch Girls and Stereotypes (BGaT) open. This is Harri’s story, by the way. I’m not setting any kind of time line because the Johnson Tribe will descend soon and my time will be elsewhere. And I need to figure out a way for Harri and Liz to have conflict without bickering. I’m one of those writers who do not hear the characters speaking. I don’t have conversations with them. I don’t let them dictate their story to me. I take medication to prevent that sort of insanity. I write the story and my fingers command the action of the characters. Harri and Liz bicker a lot. There reaches a point where this sort of conflict becomes tiresome and boring and annoying as hell. I’m sure we’ve all met couples like that. Always bickering and joking about their fighting as if we need to laugh with them. No, we need to point them toward couples’ counseling.

And that’s where I am. I think BGaT will be the primary WIP for a while with Awakening popping up on occasion.

Oh, almost forgot. I’ve been updating the main site, They’re Just Words, some. Like, I gave To Sleep its own page, moved some of the non-active stuff, etc etc etc. The links to all that stuff is at the top of every page on this site (my blog) or on the sidebar of the main section. (or will be as soon as I put it there)

Getting Larger

So I am still editing To Sleep. Using the advice from the beta reader and Lorna, I’m making some changes and fine tuning.

And it is getting larger. It is now 107,922 words. I added in a scene which got bigger than I intended. I cut a lot (nearly 20K) then put one scene back and added another. Sigh.

But, I love this story. Not as much as I love poor Simple Sarah but close. The good thing is I am not freakishly attached and am looking forward to setting it free and submitting it to RCE. Yeah. I can do this.

My bro and his family will be here on the 28th. I want to submit this before then. I am fairly certain I will make it. I am on page 374 of 419 and steadily moving forward.

Teasers below. Some were cut completely, others were left in.

Mona touched my arm to get my attention. “I need to return to the Pod’s Infirmary. Do you wish to return with me or shall I leave you in their capable custody?”

“Stay with us, Karen. It is time for us to eat and probably you, too, if Mona’s kept your schedule going.” Tora said.

“If you truly do not mind…”

“Not at all!” Chloe pulled on the hem of my shirt toward an empty table. “I’m starving! I’ve just been polite but I was beginning to wonder if you would taste better fried or baked.”

I did more math in my head and realized that if all of the Firsts and Seconds were present, there would be eighteen thousand women in this room. I looked behind me and could believe that. Over half of them were on their feet and the rest were starting to stand as well. I wondered if they would do riot control now or just let it burn out. My question was answered when the First Mother left the podium and sat back down. No one else stood to take her place. She sat, hand folded in her lap, and stared toward the back of the room.

I had an urge. A strong urge. I didn’t know where it came from because I was not a public speaker at all. I hated talking to groups. Yet, I had the urge to get up and go stand at the podium and tell everyone to shut the fuck up. As I stood, Julie did as well. She took my hand and we stepped out of the aisle and walked toward the front. No one stopped us. As we walked, I stared at the First Mother, daring her to look me in the eye and deny she was influencing me. But as strong as the urge was, I knew I was fully capable of going back to my seat. I knew I could do it yet I chose to follow it through.

We reached the stage and climbed the steps together. I felt her damp palm in mine and I held onto it tightly. We got to the podium and stood there, looking out over the multitude of women. I let go of Julie’s hand and she took one step back.

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”

That’s all I said. The sound system was marvelous because my words echoed throughout the room and the shock of them did what I wanted. They shut up.

(….)

“We all have questions. We all want those questions answered. We will not get those answers by shouting them all out at once. I am sure there exists a way to ask in a safe, sane, and consensual manner.” That got some laughter. “We are lesbians. We organize Uhaul trucks better than a professional mover. Surely to shit we can organize ourselves and get our jobs done. Those four billion people will need to be woken up somehow. We have been given the task to come up with a list of ways to do that. They respected us enough that THE leader of their entire people is here. Now let’s return that respect and let her take the podium again.”

I turned then and looked her in the eye. All I felt from her was shock. I realized it wasn’t her that had gave me the compulsion to say my piece. I bowed deeply and stepped aside. Julie again grasped my hand and we stood there, waiting for the First Mother to stand. She didn’t. Instead, the Malon next to her did. She addressed the crowd.

Synopsis

I dislike synopsis. Synopsi? Anyway, I hate writing those things. I spent most of the day working on one for my novel To Sleep. It was too wordy, too relaxed, too….something. Then someone over at Lesbian Fiction Forum said to check to see what the publisher requires as some state the length. Whoo Hoo! RCE doesn’t require one! Happy dance.

I’ll still do one, I just won’t make it all pretty. I will submit a brief ‘plot summary’ however. A synopsis is quite useful before and after writing a book. It helps you to see any plot gaps or problems. For one, there’s a lot going on in this novel. Not quite too much, but close. The idea is to not overwhelm the reader but also not put them to sleep. It’s a delicate dance especially with science fiction.

When I have something finalized, I’ll let y’all know. My goal is to have the novel submitted by the end of this month. But I’ve got a toothache and came home from Minneapolis with a stomach bug. Yay. But I am working on it. I am editing and using the beta reader’s input as I go.

Working On Another

Yep, couldn’t resist. I’m working on the second (and most likely last) sequel to To Sleep. It is a true sequel in that it won’t make much sense if you’ve not read the first. I’ve tried to not do much “As you know, Bob” stuff but in some places it can’t be helped.

The book is called The Awakening although that will change. That may be what I call the second half of To Sleep. It starts about 2 yrs after the end of the first. So far it feels rather dry and boring. But I am just getting a feel for where it is going. And I’m not sure where it is going. I got a general idea of what I want to happen but not too sure how it will end. Weird, right?

To Sleep is still with the beta readers. No word from them so maybe that’s a good thing?

Worked out in the yard today. I’m exhausted and sore. We wanted to plant some plants (duh) but when we started to clear a spot, we kept finding rocks and brick. Yes, bricks. Old old bricks. We had this problem before there but this was worse. We got this wee little spot clear but found a ton of rocks. A lot of them were flat, like they were paving stone or something. Very bizarre. I may take photos of them tomorrow.

It’s Off!

My novel, To Sleep, is off to the two beta readers! May their eyes not bug out and may their brains not turn to mush.

After the editing, chapter adjustments, and putting back in a scene, the word count is 99,116. The ‘cuts’ document is 17,745 words.

I really like this novel. But, like I just told the beta readers in their email, I don’t want this one to languish in perpetual re-write like poor Simple Sarah.

Now, to work on a synopsis. I hate those things.

Beta Readers Wanted

I have finished my science fiction novel, To Sleep. I have edited it (twice) and am now going through and putting in chapter breaks. No, I don’t do them as I go. Tried that once. It was a freakin’ mess.

Which means I am in need of beta readers. The novel is roughly 96K words. And, like I said, it is a science fiction.

I am still working on the synopsis so I will put a bit here. If you are interested, email me or use the contact form. Be aware this novel has lesbians in it. And it is not very nice toward heterosexuals on the whole (I’m mad at most of y’all anyway). There are no sex scenes but there is mention of boobs and liking them. Oh, and there’s cussing. The f word flies about quite a lot. So, if none of this appeals to you, don’t volunteer. I really wanted to submit it before the GCLS con in June but I don’t see that happening (forgot I had to do a synopsis and those are things you just don’t whip together at the last minute). So I am aiming instead to submit it when I return. Therefore, I need your opinion no later than June 18th.

So what I am needing is someone to read it through and tell me how it went. Did you get thrown out of the book? Was there something that didn’t fit? Is there something missing? Was it believable? Etc etc. I am NOT looking for a “yeah, I liked it”. I am not looking for someone to edit it (unless something jumps out at you, then sure, tell me).

Below is a bit from the first chapter.

I woke up later to someone was banging on my door. I stumbled to it and looked out the peek hole to see Jose in his rainbow pajamas. I removed the chain and opened the door. “What the fuck are you doing? It’s–” I squinted at the clock. “Three a.m.”

“Comeoncomeoncomeon” He kept saying as he grabbed my hand and dragged me down the hall to his place. His apartment was one of the big ones even though it was just him. He was some sort of computer geek for some big company. He had this huge television. And I mean huge. As in my bed was smaller kind of huge. Watching football on that thing was better than being there in person.

Right then, his big ass television was showing a very tired Ray who was now in what looked like a press room. His hair was still glued in place but his eyes had dark circles under them. Someone really needed to relieve the guy. Unless this news was so big, he’d drop dead before he stepped out of the limelight.

Next to the big television were two others Jose had moved out of his office. One had the “All News, All the Time” channel and the other was on a local station. This one showed downtown Philly where cars were parked in the street and people seemed to be rioting or something.

“I knew you had to be sleeping and I waited as long as I could before waking you. You know about the asteroid or did that happen after you went to bed?”

“Last I heard, it had changed trajectories or whatever then Ray there got interrupted and there was a big ruckus.”

“Ah, well, you at least have some sort of clue. Here.” He picked up a wireless keyboard and quickly typed something in. The screen showing the news channel changed to his desktop screen then to a video. “Poor Ray is rambling through most of this so I’ll keep him on mute. That is the asteroid.” Jose looked at me to make sure I was following along.

“That’s the grainy image I saw, yes.”

“What interrupted poor Ray was telescopes and radar picked up this.”

On the screen was a slow moving white-ish blob. Jose tapped his keys and the recording sped up. As the blob came more into focus, even I could tell this was no asteroid. It was too smooth, too round. And it didn’t tumble or even rotate. It looked like a egg with the narrower end facing the camera. “Amateur astronomers were following this before the other one changed its course. This is their recording of it.” He tapped some more. “This is Spitzer-Webb looking at it.”

There were no crater pock marks on its surface. There were very little shadowing at all. “What is it?”

“This.” He clicked again and this time the image was very crystal clear. It was the biggest egg I’d ever seen. “It is stationary now. Parked itself in geocentric orbit over the Atlantic between the moon and the ISS3. The other object is slower but is coming to about the same area.”

“Ooookay. What the fuck is it?”

“Probably friends of these guys.” He tapped some more and the image changed to show two other whatevers. These were blurry again so I assumed they were either further away or were moving. “This is them an hour ago. Lemme see where they are now.” He did his thing with the keyboard and soon the image cleared. One of the objects was more arrowhead shaped, but instead of being flat, it was fluffed up with projections and angles. The other was a box. A very square box.

I couldn’t help myself. I guffawed. “The Borg?”

Jose laughed, too. “Yeah, the ‘Net is all over that theory.”

“Do I want to know whose system you are tapped into to get these images?”

“Doesn’t matter, I don’t think.”

“So, what, aliens?”

“No, dumbass, it’s the Russians.” He elbowed me. We had long debated that Russia’s continued failures to go further than the moon was because they were hiding something. They couldn’t be that bad at it. “Ray is waiting for a news conference to start. Meanwhile, the nutjobs are out in force.” He nodded toward the other small screen that showed the rioting downtown.

“Let’s show the aliens how stupid we are.” I mutter. “I probably should head to the hospital. They’re going to need all the help they can get.”

“No way. You can’t get there from here. Not even on your bike. Look.” He did some more with that magical keyboard of his and the big screen changed. Ray was put into a box in the upper middle while the rest of the view was about a dozen traffic cameras. Traffic jams, burning cars, accidents, rioting. Every road was blocked.

“Holy shit. How long has this been happening?”

“An hour or two. Like I said, I figured you’d need your sleep. Then when these things showed up, I knew it was time to wake you.”

Wake me. It seems as though I am still waking up. Something new each time I open my eyes.

See, soon after that, my alarm went off. Jose looked at me. He was kind of sad and I started to ask him why but he waved me toward my apartment. He told me I ought to go turn off my alarm and I moved to do so. Before I got to the door, I felt a buzz and it was as if I got lighter, like I’d stepped into a bees nest and they were lifting me.

Then I woke up.

Yes, Editing

Still at it. Eegads.

I just cut a huge scene (over 4000 words) and finally got the thing below 100K. It is now at 99,367. The document where I put all the cut stuff (I save everything) is just 11,680 words. Doing some math, I’ve added over 10,000 words, almost as much as I’ve cut.

This is good.

I hope it doesn’t feel choppy. It does now so I’ll need to keep an eye on that. I keep having to check stuff because things have changed. Meaning the big plot change. Pain In The Arse.

Cut:

I did not recognize the Malon at the podium. Not that I had personally met that many. Like Mother Maya, she was a woman of power. Her clothing was a dark blue with white accents. It looked very similar to the brown uniforms of the security folk. Behind her sat four others, one of which was Mother Maya. I did not see Arrogant Bitch and Secretary but I did notice the four brown uniforms nearby. The speaker waited until there was silence before she began. She had her device in front of her but never looked at it.

“I am First Captain Rema. We who are the crew of Mother Five bid you welcome. We wish we could have met under different circumstances. The ship and her crew have traveled across a large portion of the galaxy you know as the Milky Way. During our travels we have met many sentient beings. Some we have assisted, others we merely observed and reported. We have seen planets with four moons and tides with waves higher than this room. We have seen planets with two suns that gave them just two seasons. We have met species who walked on six legs and built cities that would dwarf this ship. We have met species with mouths with four rows of teeth yet sang songs that would make us weep. This ship and her crew have visited your solar system on a regular basis as it is part of our route, for lack of a better word. When it was decided someone needed to be watching you more consistently, Mother Five volunteered with enthusiasm. For over fifty of your years, we have watched humanity in both its beauty and its horror. It is good to finally meet you in person.