I just recorded Chapters 8 and 9. they were short, so I decided to combine them into one episode. I fixed the technical difficulties that prevented last week’s recording and fiddled with some settings that have improved my overall sound quality. As far as the story goes, things really start picking up speed, and gets pretty crazy from here on out. If you haven’t started listening, you’re missing out. Of course you can read it for yourself (Link embedded on the cover art). Feel free to comment or just say hi! Id love to hear what you think so far!
Character snapshot,Visual edition: Barney Derrick
I really enjoyed writing Barney’s Character. I wanted to make a character that you love to hate. I am sure everyone has met a person like Barney.
The sound of Barney’s boots echoed down the quiet hall with a hypnotic cadence. The overhead fluorescent lights seemed to flicker in time with his footfalls. He arrived at the lab and pushed through the door, causing it to bounce off the wall. Drab faces looked up from computer screens at the abrupt entrance. A soldier rushed over with a handful of disheveled paperwork, trying to organize it into a manila folder before handing it off to his superior. Barney grabbed the folder out of his and studied the file briefly. The soldier watched as he scrutinized the file, flipping pages, eyes scanning. Barney’s nose crinkled against his mustache, causing the soldier to wince. He held the folder out for the soldier to take it, allowing the pages to slip out with a whoosh onto the floor.
“What is this? Is this how I am going to get all of your reports? Is this how you show your respect to your country, to me?”
“Sir! No Sir!”
“This report is not even in order! Do you expect me to finish your work for you?”
“I understand, Sir, no Sir, I apologize, Sir.”
“Well–What are you waiting for?”
“Umm …yes, sir,” the soldier said as he scrambled to collect all of the paperwork and organize it all at once.
“Umm, yes, Sir? That’s how you address a superior officer? An umm? You Sure this is the right career for you, boy? How did you manage to crawl your sorry ass out of basic training?” he scolded, then turned away so that he could smile without being seen. Ah that felt good, better than coffee, and I’ll never get a bad report from that kid again. He took a few steps before turning around to see the soldier standing at attention, holding the folder in his shaky hands.
“Sir, your report is ready for your review Sir.” The Airman forced his words out.
Barney snatched it out of the soldier’s hands. Again, the soldier watched his eyes and fingers do their work. “That’s better, Airman. You’re dismissed.” The young Airman made his way to his desk and sat down, all the while avoiding eye contact.
Character snapshot, Visual edition: Mark and Trina
It’s a character snapshot, but these two characters are equally important
together as they are apart, so I decided to lump the snapshot together. I
really enjoyed writing the relationship between these two. I really wanted to
express the kind of purity of love two people could share if they had the
freedom of innocence….
Mark’s beat-up Honda fishtailed around the corner of the driveway and then
skidded to a stop in a cloud of dust in front of the longhouse. Trina had
a white-knuckle grip on the dashboard as if she was holding on for dear
life. “Why do you have to drive like a crazy person?” she shouted, but the look
on her face was one of excitement rather than terror. “Umm, because
it’s fun?” he said with a chuckle. “Well, here we are. Let’s find the best
cabin before anyone else calls dibs.”
“Yeah, good call,” she said as she got out of the car and stretched her
back. “This is a cool place,” she said as she looked around, taking in the
layout of the place. “But geez, namaste much?” Mark chuckled at that last
remark. “Yeah, he was the poster child for hippies, I guess. That’s
probably why my dad and Grandad pretended he didn’t exist.” “I think
you might be cut from the same cloth, honey, ya know? A long-hair dropout in a
family of lawyers and doctors. You’re not gonna get rich, but I love ya,”
she said softly.
He walked over and put his hands on her tiny waist, and pulled her close to
him. “That’s how I know you love me. You’re not a gold digger. He
whispered in her ear, “That makes me richer than any of ’em.”
“I think this place is making you mushy,” she whispered back. He moved
closer to her ear. “It’s also making me horny.” Then he playfully swatted her
butt. She pretended to be mad and started to push him away but grabbed his
hand and started pulling him to the cabins. “Let’s go find us a cabin, my
‘mushy’ man,” she said and winked at him. He dared not resist as she led
him down a random path. “These cabins are all in good condition. I was
imagining something like sleeping in a dirty barn,” Trina said as she
peered into the window of a pleasant-looking cabin. “I like this one, but I
want something, ya know, a little more private.” “Anything for you,
love,” he said, smiling. “Yeah, I think Uncle Frank had a lot of time on his
hands and kept the place up nicely.”
They reached the end of the path at a cabin that seemed to be the farthest
from all the others. Mark walked up the few steps to the porch and opened
the door. “Should I carry you over the threshold?” Trina pushed past him
with a smirk. “Don’t get ahead of yourself, bucko,” she said
“Well then,” he said with an exaggerated bow, “after you, m’lady,” then
followed her in.
Character snapshot, Visual edition: Frank
I’ve been playing with Artificial “Art” generators. Honestly, I am on the fence about how I feel about artificial content creation. While I am diametrically opposed to using AI to generate content on my blog or ANYTHING that I would put my name on as my own. But I do see value in using it as a tool to spark my own imagination. I feel AI art or other content can be used in the same way as writing prompts or thumbnail sketches to fine-tune an idea.
AI is a new and fun (sometimes frightening) technology that I am willing to explore. I wanted to know what it could do, so I decided to see how close it could get to my own internal visualization of my characters. I am also curious if you had a similar image in mind of my characters as you read my story.
The first thing I learned is AI art is NOT human art. (a relief, as a human, I don’t want to be deposed as an artist). There are things that it (in my experience) just can’t get right. Faces are number one. They are always a little “off,” a tad skewed, and more disproportionate than reality has to offer. And some of my descriptions go completely ignored no matter how I word them. (Again, proving that only a fool would rely on AI to make content that you would claim to be yours)
The image I described for Frank came out pretty close (but since Frank’s appearance and a few character traits are based on someone I actually know, it’s not perfect, of course, but it’s close enough).
An expert from “Emergence Collective.”
Still lost in his thoughts and even a little excited, he must have been
driving faster than he realized since he got to the hardware store in
quick time. It was good, though; the evening was going by fast, and the
store was about to close up for the night. He got out of his Volkswagen van
and pushed open the old door of the storefront. He only got a few steps
into the store when the cashier gave him an odd look. The young kid had spiky
black hair and a ring in his nose.
“Mister… you can’t come in here like that, sorry.” The young kid sounded
apologetic and amused at the same time.
“Like what?” Frank was oblivious to any reason why he should not be
“Your feet, bro. You have to have shoes to come in; it’s a safety thing.
Might step on a nail and sue us or something.” A smile indicating laughter
was soon to follow was on the boy’s face by now.
Frank looked down at his feet and realized that he wasn’t wearing shoes. The
thick calluses on his perpetually dirty feet did not feel shoes in the
summer most of the time. He was an old hippy and stuck in a time warp.
Shoes were for winter when it was too cold to go without. He chuckled at
himself and smiled back at the cashier.
“Sorry,” Frank said with a bit of a giggle. He was not embarrassed by his
attire. Look at that kid; why should I be embarrassed by the way I dress?
he thought to himself, almost laughing out loud. Nonchalantly turning
around, he gave the cashier a nod goodbye and headed for the exit. He
only felt a little disgruntled by the situation since it was a wasted
trip. He did not have anything much to do anyway, but wasted gasoline was
Audible update: Chapter 6
Today’s recording went well. I’m getting the hang of it, I think. Chapter 6 is a short one; I had intended to push through and get chapter 7 recorded this morning but ran out of quiet time. This is one of my favorites chapters, Frank and Barney meet and Frank goes spelunking. When I wrote this I referred to it as “The story of Frank”. The story of Frank is one of my favorite parts of the story. I think once we get into chapter 7 you might agree. Thanks for reading I hope you enjoy!
Audible update :Chapter 5
A quick update! Chapter 5 is recorded and I am almost pleased.The narration was a lot smoother (Im getting better at it) and the editing has improved. Thats why we practice folks. I feel that by the time I finish I will have it down well enough to Re-record it at a level that will be acceptable for ACX (audible format)
Check it out on spotify!
Keeping the momentum going
In my last post, I talked about how excited I am to finish “Emergence Ascended” and the next few books I want to complete this year. Here is my list of story ideas I am excited about, but I am curious about what you might want to read in the future. Here is my list: (Some of these are working titles…)
- “Field notes” A park ranger gets abducted by a troop of sasquatch in the pacific northwest.
- “The Ghost in yellow” A paranormal investigation team becomes stranded at a supposedly haunted Lighthouse.
- “Will-o-the wisp” A man travels back to his home village in Ireland to investigate the strange disappearances of the townsfolk.
- “Phantom black” A Lovecraft-inspired science fiction. (A quick short version of the story I want to expand on)
There is the list. I would love to hear what floats your boats! Leave me a comment below about what would be exciting for you to read! Thanks for visiting!
2023 is off to a good start, and I am excited to continue the momentum. I am roughly one-third to halfway finished with my WIP, “Emergence Ascended,” the sequel to “Emergence collective.” Now that the major holidays are in the past, life is settling down, and I will have more opportunities to get some solid writing done (more specifically, no more excuses to be lazy.).
I do not formally make new year’s resolutions, though I am not obstinate about them; I am more casual about it. I fully realize goal setting and the rewards of completing them; self-efficacy is the reason why we set new year’s resolutions in the first place. I make goals, sure, but less strict than a self-promise to accomplish a specific one. I have a mental roadmap of what I want to do but no set date to accomplish them. my aspirations are fluid and flexible.
After I finish my current WIP, I have at least two more books that are begging to be put to pen. I am very excited about them and I cant wait to start, now I have to decide which one to do first. There are more ideas, too, rumbling around in the back of my mind, stories I have been thinking about for years. So I plan, for 2023, to keep the momentum going. This blog, so far, has helped keep my ADD-muddled mind in check and it has propelled my ambitions, so Thank you to all who enjoy reading it; you’re my wingman (wing person?)
Thanks for visiting, and of course, please feel free to leave a comment. I love reading them!
Saturday quick post
I’m feeling great today. All the holiday stuff is past us, and I get to get back into writing. Unfortunately, I won’t get a chance to do any recording tomorrow, but I’m not abandoning that project. I finished a chapter and a half today, so at least there is that. I really wanted to keep going, but Adulting takes precedence ya know? I am excited about this part of the book, and it’s hard to tear myself away. The second act of the story is my favorite part to write. I’ve established all the setup stuff, all the important characters are doing their thing, and the plot is plotting. now I get to play with the pieces of the story. I’m already excited for people to read it!
Thanks for stopping by!
Audible update: Progress!
I had a successful weekend of writing and recording. I got my recording settings and volume levels sorted out, and I managed to record the first chapter of Emergence collective. I will re-record it because it’s kinda crap. The narration is a little clunky, and my editing skills are still below the knee of the learning curve, but progress is progress. There is a phenomenon with artists, no matter what the art is that one chooses, be it music, visual arts, dance, or whatever, that when you look back on previous works, you cringe at the level you once were. I noticed this same thing about my writing. I have definitely improved. I think narrating my story will also help improve my future writing skills. As far as my narration is concerned, there is a lot to be worked on, and as I get more practice reading aloud, I think I will find my “voice,” as it were. I also got a crash course in editing. I was editing on the fly, as in fixing flubs as they happen and other intrusive things, like my cat wanting to purr near the microphone.
So if you are interested in listening to Chapter one of Emergence collective on Spotify click the link below.
Thanks for reading!