Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Manuscript being read!

Okay, not by an agent or a publisher, but a very good friend of mine is reading the story to see how it reads.

After he and I speak about it, I'll start actively pursuing an agent. I do have to do some work first on a synopsis and a blurb, but I can do that. The process will bring about many rejections, but I've waited 25 years... I can wait a little while longer.

No one else has ever read the book except me, so having anyone read it scares me. I know that I love the story, but what if my friend doesn't? It's just something that's out of my hands now. Facing reality sometimes makes me uncomfortable, but what other choice do I have? Right?

We'll see!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Excerpt from Ch. 9

Part of Demetrios' journey into the underworld:

       Journeying along the stretch of this impervious Tartarean blackness gave him time to consider his place in this cosmic amusement for the Moirae. Born of Olympæan and Protogenos ancestry, allied with the life force of the sacred mountain, and now a bonded ally with three storm gods, he could appreciate Zeus’ omniscient concerns better as well as the irony that he never asked for any of this. Moving up the divine ladder was never an aspiration of his; ruling his people with compassion and wisdom was more of what he had in mind. The air temperature around him dropped dramatically to where his teeth chattered and his eyes went numb, and then came the despair and sorrow and grief in waves. Olympæia counseled him to remain on the path, to follow where she guided him, since he would soon be in a place so sacrosanct that even to look, or try to look, at what would be around him would bring on a madness from which there was no return. He pulled his helmet over his head, his eyes toward the ground, or at least where he thought the ground should be.
       Arkadæa’s beleaguering winters, with ice storms and blizzards to blanket the region until Persephone surfaced from her Hadean sovereignty, were temperate compared to the bitterness carried through the obscurity through which he traveled. His faith in both the Earth Mother and her sister kept him from faltering, keeping him from succumbing to the rawness. From the heart of Tartaros, where Demetrios was headed, blew this breath of anguish, this killer of hope. Panic grew from within his gut, spreading like a cancer, moving through his chest and arms as he neared this sepulchral place, this place he could never see but had to pass through with only his devotion to be his beacon. A few steps later, without being told, he knew he was there, and the talons of terror snatched him, tearing apart his resolve, one piece at a time. He had arrived where none save Zeus himself had ever seen, and even the god of gods had felt the same emotions Demetrios felt; no one was immune from such soul-shredding agony.
       Here was where Kronos was buried.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Final Edit

After reading through the entire manuscript, I now have to go through and fix the minor errors, largely spelling and punctuation (with a few content glitches to fix). It reads pretty well to me, but -- hell, what do I know? ;)

Soon, I mail a copy to my reader who will tell me what he thinks. As I finished the read, I came to the conclusion that this is more of a setup for the next book (and I promised my mother that it won't take 25 years to write this time). The sequel will be even easier to write, since I now have plot points to flesh out and characters to develop further.

I need to write a short blurb about the book and a paragraph summary to put into a query letter for an agent. I need to be able to sell the novel to someone who will then help me get it published. It scares the hell out of me, too. What if the agent doesn't like it? What if he or she wants me to make major changes? Too much to think about. Best to wait until my reader sees the book and get a sense of what he/she feels.

Scary. Very scary.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

IT'S DONE!

25 years of love, research, changing plot elements and characters, late nights, proofreading, editing, more research, tears, laughs, moments of accomplishment, moments of failure have come to fruition. My novel, Task Force: Gaea -- Finding Balance, is DONE.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Part II - Beginning of Chapter 12

Three months later.
Drawn from its scabbard, the sacred blade screamed, golden adamantium glistening in the Atlantic moonlight. The two-headed creature was scarcely noticeable in the darkness and Danelos’ hands, one above the other, gripped the hilt until he felt the etched metal dig into his palms, his heart beating in his head which seemed to pulse into the sword, bringing it to life. As the furry form maneuvered over the grassy field, its guttural growl portended an inevitable confrontation, but Danelos’ instincts were blind to the signal. Such was the nature of the beast to generate confusion right before it struck. In the gauzy darkness, that dangerous time of twilight when human eyes scarcely perceive, a serpentine hiss hovered around them. From deep within the obscurity struck a snake head with fangs that Danelos quickly deflected with his sword. Before he could find his bearings, again the head lurched forward. It didn’t want to attack him directly; if it had, it would have aimed at a more vulnerable place. These lunges were tactical—this creature wanted to know exactly where it could strike with its jaws, two sets, fangs oozing caustic venom that would dissolve steel. For some reason, this monster showed up in Bar Harbor, Maine of all places, but where the portals existed, these monsters tended to appear. Danelos had managed to lure it into an uninhabited area, but he didn’t know how long that would last. If it had the capacity to strategize, it could lure him somewhere more populated, endangering innocent lives. He’d have to vanquish this thing and do it with minimal loss.
A whistling sound approached, and a boulder, no doubt thrown by the serpent-like tail, hurtled toward Danelos. He jumped out of its path, swinging the blade down, slicing the rock in two just as it reached him, both stony halves plummeting to the ground like a marionette with its strings severed.
            “So, this is how you want to play,” muttered Danelos.
            Another smaller rock came careening at him, and it, too, met the same fate. Following that came a chunk of cement, but he dispatched it as well.
            “Bring it,” Danelos announced, flipping the blade around.
            With that, five other rocks, unearthed by the massive paws, flew at him at once, all but one falling to the ground in pieces having been kissed by steel. The last boulder hit him square in the chest, knocking the wind from him and sending him back fifteen feet while the animal moved closer. Regaining his composure, but thrown off a bit by the proximity to his adversary, Danelos leaped to his feet, sheathed his sword, and darted into a park surrounded by trees, careful to look for bystanders. This time, when the boulder came toward him, no sword in hand, he instinctively threw up his left arm to shield his face and the stone shattered into dust.
            “That’ll work, too,” he said to himself. The manacle had created an invisible shield.
            As the dust cleared, all he could see was a massive oak trunk, having been bitten off toward the base, cast toward him. He knew this would not be pretty. Again the sword came free from its sheath, just in time to come crashing down on the trunk, slicing it in half lengthwise. A second oak knocked Danelos to the ground, an unforeseen consequence of sawdust impeding his vision. Teeth clenched, he threw the same tree back. A third collided with it, splintering both. Intuitively, he gave himself enough room to maneuver. As the last tree whistled closer, he jumped into the air, knowing he wouldn’t get a good angle to use the sword, and he hoped the manacle would do what it had done before. The impact pulverized the tree as it struck his invisible shield, something he would have to ask Hephaestos about at some point, but knocked him down.
            The four-legged assailant finally stepped into the moonlight, and Danelos recognized it as Orthros, a sibling to Cerberos. One of Hades’ hounds. Excellent, he thought. Fiery eyes flared in the darkness. At such close range, the confusion Orthros generated took Danelos off guard, and this time when the serpent tail lunged, it headed for the throat. A swift move of his left arm placed his manacle in the way, and the fangs bounced off adamantium with a clang. Recoiling, the snake head bit Danelos’ wrist, immobilizing it long enough to stagger Danelos. Both feral dog heads reached out to snatch a bite, but they snapped shut just shy of his torso. Even though the manacle was unbreakable, he felt the pressure applied by snake jaws as well as a burning sensation from where drops of venom dripped down his arm. If he was going to free himself, it had to be soon before he became so disoriented that he couldn’t concentrate.
This time, when a mouth attacked him, he kicked it back, enabling his sword arm to come down on the snout, breaking the serpentine grip on his wrist. Orthros didn’t like having his muzzle smacked, and a louder growl signaled a change in strategy. Danelos stepped back a bit to survey the scene just in time to see the dog leaping for him. Taking a firm grasp of his sword, he jumped forward stabbing upward into the chest. Momentum kept Orthros’ body moving as the sword ripped through his abdomen. Crashing to the ground, its innards hanging free, the underworld canine attempted to get to its feet, but he couldn’t get enough strength to push his body up. Side-stepping clear of the frothing mouths, Danelos stood behind them as swung down hard, severing them from their necks, silencing Orthros.
“Back to Hades, mutt,” he uttered as he watched the creature melt into gelatinous ooze and get absorbed back into the earth.
He sat on a bench a few feet away from the dead grassy patch where the hellish hound once lay. His sword back in its shoulder sheath, both became invisible. His chest still ached from when the rock hit him, but he would heal. He wondered how the others were faring, no doubt engaged in similar skirmishes. While he regained his breath, Danelos’ mind wandered back to when he had come to be fighting underworld dwellers.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Speed bump overcome :-)

So, without revealing too much, I had a major issue with a character's background (a MAJOR character, too) because it just wasn't jiving with what I wanted. I think I've finally figured out how it will all work together now, so when I get to tweaking/editing that section, this issue won't be an issue anymore.

I think I've spent a significant amount of my day at Panera. It's about time to go. There's always more time later to keep going.

Editing has resumed!

I am now working on Part II of the novel, and I have to tweak some plot points that no longer work. Some of the character names may change, too, since I would rather them be Greek derivatives.

Gaea as we know it now contains two places: Oikoumentos (the inhabited world within) and the Exoikoumene (the inhabited outer world) -- both are words with roots in Ancient Greek.

I also solved a MAJOR plot point that had been hanging over me, like the sword of Damocles. ;)

The goal? To be done by summer's end with the edit and shopping around for an agent.
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