Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It's Half-Time!

I reached a benchmark tonight: halfway through this final pass on "The Linen Butterfly!"

Very excited about this.  The book I had given up for dead is humming with new life.  Right now, as worried as I am about the state of things, writing seems to be one of the few outlets I have to really properly express myself, and it never ceases to amaze me what I'm capable of doing when I put my mind to it.

The next little bit should go fairly quick.  It's all very polished from here.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Linen Butterfly Update

I finished two chapters tonight.  Getting into the part of the book that's much more smoothly written so work will begin speeding up.

The parts I'm working on now are basically less than a year old because I completely rewrote this bit.  In the original "Goldenlea," Sylvia lived in a camp in the woods like a Hollywood medieval outlaw.  Now she's a titled lady who lives in a decaying manor in a rotten borough in a remote province, like a real medieval outlaw.  This, of course, changes the dynamics of the story quite a lot.

The characters and subplots that were written out completely have also changed the dynamics.  This is where the story diverges sharply from the original.  The story is more focused and delivers its punches more directly.

I really think those who liked "The Goldenlea" will appreciate what I've made of it. And those who didn't like "The Goldenlea" may still like "The Linen butterfly."  I'm very proud of how it's shaping up so far.

I hope this isn't my magnum opus though.  It'd suck to be played out so soon; I'm only just getting good.  It will be the absolute best novel I can write for now but that's a temporary thing. If I can't write better in a year, then I'm slacking.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Latest Progress on "The Linen Butterfly"

This will definitely be my last editing pass on "The Linen Butterfly" before submitting the manuscript to my publisher.

I'm proud of "The Vimana Incident," but just thumbing through my personal copy today I couldn't help but feel like my work has improved by leaps and bounds since that book hit the presses.  "The Linen Butterfly" will be far and away the longest, most polished, and most complete work I've ever written.

It's the book I wanted to write back in 2003 when I started "The Goldenlea," but couldn't at the time.  14 long years as a novelist, maxing out my skills trying to write something of professional quality, are finally paying off and I'm excited for the future now.

Since I'm not on a strict deadline for this project, I'm going to take my time.  I'm going to refine every last detail I can think of and not be the least bit lazy about anything.  I proved with "Vimana" that I could knock out a 5-star book in 9 months so now there's nothing left to prove, except that I'm capable of better still.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Why Do I Deserve Your Help?

To give some idea why I think I deserve to travel to the UK to do research, consider that I'm probably the most thorough biographer of William Longsword to date.

The extant biographies of him are very short and many are out of date or contain inaccurate information. Even firsthand sources on him are incredibly scant.

 Even though he was probably equal in importance to William Marshal, nobody bothered to write a biography of him back in the Middle Ages like they did with Marshal. And yet, he's a common figure in pop culture.

During my research I discovered that he is a very popular recurring figure in historical romances, from Shakespeare's "King John" to recent historical fiction novels like Chadwick's "To Defy A King." The gap between his importance in history and culture and the amount of material about him is something I plan to remedy.

I've literally doubled the length of the Britannica article simply by gleaning disparate sources but there is still a lot I don't know. Some of the firsthand sources may exist and be cataloged, but may be in Latin. I need to photograph these and attempt to translate them with the scant Latin I know. I also need to speak to archivists and historians about what they know and where to find more leads.  I also need to get photographs of places he frequented so that I don't have to pay for stock photos, which could save me tons of money.

 More than that, though, I want to get a feel for his world. Going to the places where history happened always makes it easier to write about. You can read clues in buildings and landscapes that can shed light on historical narratives.

 I'm fast on my way to writing a masterwork of biography on a medieval figure who had a significant impact on history and popular culture. But I need help to complete my work.

https://www.gofundme.com/9w4ja-help-me-get-to-the-uk

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Bad Things (short story)

This short story was inspired by cats' tendency to pounce at things that weren't there, and by ancient beliefs that cats are able to protect people from evil spirits.  I imagined my kitten Venus chasing demons away when she pounced at shadows, and this story was the result.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Help Me Get To The UK For Research!

I want to go to the UK to visit several sites including Hereford, Shrewsbury, Wells, Salisbury and Bath as part of a research effort for several projects.

Back in 2003-2005, I lived in the UK for a short period of time, so I also intend to catch up with a few of my friends I haven't seen in years.  But the main point of this trip is research.

I am a published writer with several books out from a small print publisher.  One of my planned projects, "Wake of the White Ship," takes place in the West Country during the 12th century anarchy.  It's a spinoff of my novel "The Vimana Incident."  Another project, a biography of William Longsword, Third Earl of Salisbury, will require visiting archives and speaking with historians.

My biographical work on William Longsword has already been featured in Encyclopedia Britannica.  I rewrote their article with a great deal more material gleaned from my research, but I feel I can gather more information still. 

I would like to spend at least 3 weeks in the UK if at all possible.  I will need some money for ground transport and lodging as well.  If possible I would like to bring my husband with me since he has never been to the UK.

My novel "The Vimana Incident" can be purchased here:
https://www.amazon.com/Vimana-Incident-Rose-LaCroix/dp/1614502277

My article about William Longsword can be read here:
https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Longsword-3rd-earl-of-Salisbury

Donate to my GoFundMe page here:
https://www.gofundme.com/9w4ja-help-me-get-to-the-uk


Sunday, June 25, 2017

"The Linen Butterfly" Update

The stylistic rewrite of "The Linen Butterfly" is up to chapter 3 now. The book is now down to 114,001 words. It may end up longer or shorter depending on what I decide to do with some passages toward the end that still need extensive revisions.

After this stylistic rewrite I'm going to set it aside for a week, then read through it again and see if it needs anything.

The current editing pass is ironing out awkward prose and dialogue, and fixing some issues I identified in the continuity check. The next pass will be reading it with fresh eyes to see if I need to make some tweaks to the pacing and plot, or if I missed any mistakes.

I should have my manuscript ready to review fairly quick, actually. I'll need Beta readers soon, depending on how the next few phases of work go. I remember from my continuity check that in the passages written back in 2013, some of the prose was pretty clumsy.

Still, this manuscript is less of a sow's ear than I'd thought. I'll make something of it.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"The Linen Butterfly"- DRAFT DONE!

I finished the draft tonight. I just couldn't keep my hands off it. Word count stands at 114k words which is within my target. However I don't know what the final word count is going to be.

The next phase will probably have to start Sunday night since that'll be the tedious part, making sure this story 14 years in the making can still be made into something presentable.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"The Linen Butterfly" Progress!

I hit a crucial benchmark with "The Linen Butterfly" tonight. I finished the first half of the story arc- rewritten from scratch from the original "Goldenlea"- and pasted in the second half.

The second half needs to be reworked for length, style, and content and then the whole book needs a good once over, but the current word count is 126k words so my goal of 110k words is absolutely on target once all of the redundant, obsolete, and unnecessary material is removed from the second half.

This includes several passages that I copied and pasted from the second half and moved into the first half to make the story flow better. Those will be removed from the second half and new material will only be added if it makes the narrative flow better.

My goal is still to have a draft ready for proofreading in one month, and to have a draft ready to submit by the end of the summer. Knock on wood, I'll have "The Linen Butterfly" out by January.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Linen Butterfly Update!


Current goal: finish "The Linen Butterfly" by late August. Three years late from my original goal but I promise it'll be the be worth it!

I'll have the first draft done by my mid-June at this rate, and revisions will be relatively fast. The biggest operation will be merging the two halves which were written with slightly different continuities.

I expect to shed about 10-20% of the total volume of the text because there are some redundant passages and some scenes that no longer work. I'm also going to trim the ending a bit, it runs long. My total word count should still be about 110k.

It will be the longest and most involved story I've ever written in part because it takes place in two different worlds. I hope you all will enjoy a medieval swashbuckler with a hefty dose of cyberpunk!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Worldbuilding: Medieval Currencies

One of the fun things about worldbuilding is figuring out sundry things like how basic exchanges are reckoned!

I thought I had it figured out in "The Goldenlea," but I think I'm revising the old system I had in those books in favor of one that has a bit more basis in history for "The Linen butterfly."

Previously in "The Goldenlea," I had a three-tiered system of coinage.  This was based on the Anglo-French model of the Livre, Sou, and Denier, and on the thought that it was mostly the same as pre-decimal UK coinage.  But that was a mistake.  In fact the Livre (Pound) was not a standard coin in its own right until much later.

In fact the Kings of France tried to standardize a Livre coin in the 13th and 14th centuries and failed because it was over- or undervalued.  The Livre, for most of the medieval period, was a unit of account for large sums but not an actual coin of the realm.  Most transactions were rendered in silver Deniers or the gold Sou, or Solidus.

I revised my Gold Sol/Silver Luna/ Copper Terra system. Instead transactions are rendered mainly in silver Terras and Gold Sola, and an additional unit of account, called a Handweight, has been added.  Of course, larger sums can be rendered in marks for accounting purposes.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book Has Arrived!!!

My copy of the Gesta Stephani (the deeds of King Stephen) arrived in good order today. This is a rare English translation published by Oxford Medieval Texts that I will be using to write my first straight historical fiction novel, Wake of the White Ship.

Incidentally, when reading the introductory notes on the text, it noted that it for a long time the only text scholars had access to was a 1619 printing called Historiae Normannorum Scriptores Antiqui. However:
Such being the state of affairs, Duchesne's Scriptores was the inevitable basis for this new edition, and a text made from his had already been long in type, when Providence relented, and produced a manuscript.
MS. 792 in the Municipal Library of Valenciennes, from the nearby Premonstratensian abbey of Vicoigne, a noted centre of learning and a daughter-house of St. Martin of Laon, contains a collection of works relating to English history...
 (emphasis added).

I got chills when I read that because St. Martin of Laon was the abbey I had Godric at in The Vimana Incident. If I didn't know any better, I'd say this is a sign I was meant to write Wake of the White Ship. It's not quite as dramatic as being sucked into one of my own books but it's enough of a coincidence to get my attention.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Silver linings

This has been a very difficult time for me as my 19-year-old cat is now clearly and obviously dying.  He's been terminal for some time with end-stage renal disease, but he lasted months longer than the vet had told us to expect.

But while digging for my husband's birth certificate so that he could change the name on his IDs, I've come across a set of vintage color slides from the 1950s that I bought at an antique store in Las Vegas for something like $10 or $20 in 2007.

I'd assumed that the slides had been stolen or thrown away accidentally while clearing out junk papers, since I literally hadn't seen them in about five years. It turned out they were at the bottom of a drawer of Kobi's sketches, the one place I didn't think to look.

Now that I've found them again, what I have in my possession is a treasure trove of fine vintage photos. It was actually the content of these slides that prompted me to shell out more than $5 for someone's old slides.

These slides came in pressed aluminum magazines for an old Argus projector. They were from the mid 1950s, but there was not a single black and white image among them; they were all gorgeous, rich color images. They include views of Las Vegas, circa 1956. Color views of Disneyland in the same era. A local parade somewhere in California. A number of interesting cars, including hot rods, a Thunderbird parked in front of a sign advertising Frank Sinatra, and a newish-looking '53-55 Corvette, and some vacation shots of Alaska by train.

I know that first, I have to be sure this isn't going to be a copyright issue, but I'm not sure how to do that. I would assume that someone would relinquish the rights to an image if they sold the item through an antique dealer? One of the subjects in the photos is named. He's wearing novelty glasses. Another subject, on the Teacup ride at Disneyland, is identified as “sister” (the caption, charmingly, reads “Sister got sick”). The likelihood of tracking down the owners of these images is slim to none.

If I can establish a reasonable certainty that I can legally do this, I may try to license these images, either as stock photos or possibly in an art book. I'm still trying to figure out more about how to make the most of these images (both for public enjoyment and for my miniscule investment in these slides to pay the most dividends) so if you find anything before I do or know somebody that does this sort of thing, I'd love to know!

I'm excited to finally find this item that's been missing through the very worst of my lost years. I hope it's a sign of better things to come.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Short Story- Sheriff Laredo's Bees

This story is a year and a half old and I had nearly forgotten all about it!

My original description as posted on another site:

This story was inspired by events that I fear may come to pass sooner than most people think.
Consider the following elements:

1. The threat of the extinction of the common honeybee from overuse of pesticides.
2. The droughts in California, which are forcing lawmakers to choose between water for the people and water for lucrative cash crops.
3. A general attitude that pervades the culture of the United States that poverty represents a moral failure.

I see this as a perfect storm for a new breed of slavery in which those too poor to afford the spiraling cost of food and water will be pressed into involuntary service doing jobs that had previously been done by insects.

I decline to comment on whether or not Sheriff Laredo is inspired by a real figure active in law enforcement in the US today -whose name may or may not rhyme with "Ohio"- who attracts millions of admirers with his brand of so-called justice and likes to sue people for exercising their constitutional right to criticize him, but let those who are savvy see the truth for what it is.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Big Announcement!

It's been a little while since I updated, hasn't it?

I have something I'd like to share: I am now married!

Artist, illustrator, and musician Kobi LaCroix (no relation) of Dementia Radio fame is now my husband.  We've been seeing each other for about 12 years and we figured it was about time we got married.

This is probably one of the most positive developments in my life of late, and the most noteworthy.  Our wedding on New Year's Day really got 2017 off to a good start and we have high hopes for a wonderful life together.