*Necessary preface: this is a work of fiction. I do not take the word suicide lightly in the context of my, the author’s, life. It’s a metaphorical exploration of my life’s changes.*

I tried, sis. I really did. I was often accused of being dad’s clone, and by what any given and person could see or hear, I couldn’t blame them for thinking that.

I hated you, for a while, a long damn time in fact. I tried to hide you from everyone, I silenced you anytime you crept out, I kept you all for myself, but not even that, turns out. Even I never appreciated you. Without you, I was an empty shell, a piece of armor, all survival, total and corrupt rationalization with no heart and no wisdom to guide it.

I tried, sis. I tried to be a man, but that was never meant to be. Trying to mimic dad wasn’t enough. Imitating actions and methods without understanding their origin, without being able to feel their motivations made me a self-manipulated puppet, and worse, easy prey for the worst kinds of women and pathological ideologies.

You tried, sis. You warned me and I didn’t listen. You cried, and I never attended to your tears. Your heart was broken; it gnawed at me, my ignorance of it, and every relationship and career I tried to forge imploded.

You hated me, for a long time, and I didn’t blame you because I joined you in it. Only now I’m not so sure you did. I hear whispers that I protected you and sheltered you, that without me as a shield you might not be alive at all. Rumors abound that I might have done some good somehow in these years of my chaotic, nihilistic flailing.

You tried, sis. Against all of my torture and torment, you tried to show me the way. You have our mom’s heart, and I’m thankful for that. You showed me empathy and I twisted it into darkness.

It’s time for me to go, my sweet sister. There is only room for one of us here, and there is no fairer deal I can give the world than to trade me for you. It’s time for you to go free, and show the world your light. Don’t cry for me, for you have wept enough. If there is maybe one way I can succeed as a man, it is to sacrifice my today for your tomorrow, a duty so many men face for the future’s sake. That is my first and final gift to you, something so horribly and so painfully overdue…

Falling into forever, he leaves. The letter flutters into her trembling hands, tears smearing his final fingerprints. She vows to honor him.

FIN

Ahoy there!

In a follow up to a recent post, I am pleased to reveal more details about my next novel in progress.

Its codename is Blackout, and is the character driven, science fiction action thriller I alluded to before. A few more crumbs for you: it will be written in first person, and will feature a female protagonist. This will be my first novel to have both of those things. All of my prior works were written in third person, and previous novels have either had male protagonists or male/female lead splits.

I am also pleased to announce that I will be returning to Youtube with a new channel and will have a bevy of new content for my other social media presences to coincide with this, starting next month. I realize that in the past on this very blog I have made content promises that I underdelivered on. The truth is that the biggest problem about me sharing myself with the world was my identity crisis. I have always been embarrassed about my appearance and my voice, and this created an endless cycle of anxiety and apprehension about putting myself out there beyond saying “oh look here’s some books I wrote.” Now that I am my authentic self and am comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my adult life, and also now that I am on the cusp of having some good, legitimate recording equipment, I will be putting myself out there in equal measure to my creative work.

More to come soon!

FIN

Oh hey.

Lots of movies and video games these days are being remastered and rereleased; the games industry is especially notorious for dusting off and rereleasing older titles because lack of creativity and originality and risk. I figure why not jump off that bridge too, eh?

I jest. Mostly.

The truth of the matter is that I released my first book too early. I pulled a CD Projekt Red move before that was even a thing, though to be fair at the time that was more like a Bethesda maneuver. I have talked about this in previous blog posts, but to reiterate, back in 2016 I was in a position where I didn’t expect to see many more days in my life, and I was obsessed with at least leaving something behind, a legacy. I was desperate to make my then-girlfriend and my family proud. I had something to prove to myself, which I then externalized to an unhealthy extent.

That’s a fanciful way of saying that I freaking rushed my first novel out the door too fast. Year 200’s basic foundation was solid and of course I fell in love with my characters, but I did not spend enough time on polishing the work, and especially I did not dedicate enough time to ensuring the work reflected my true creative voice. This is why I often mention that the sequel, In the Baron’s Shadow, is where I found my author voice. In that work, I had shaken off the overly enthusiastic and excessively quippy narrative tone I had previously adopted for blogging, and moved away from relying on the cliches and similes that are all too often used as crutches for beginning writers.

So then, I may be playfully calling this a remaster, but in reality this is an almost complete rewrite. The plot and character dialogue will not be altered, because I don’t believe in altering published canon (see the term, “Lucasing”), however the entire structure that the story, characters, and their interactions live upon is being rebuilt from the ground up. In addition, with this second crack at the story, I am going to be able to add back in elements that I cut from the original draft because at the time I felt I lacked the skill to implement them without killing the narrative flow.

For an idea of how this will look, here is the first paragraph of the book.

Original:

“Out in the fringe of the Solar System, two hundred years beyond Terra’s death, there was an aberration: a silent, star-lit field pierced in an ungraceful manner by a metallic human construction. The overworked, underpowered shuttle sputtered across the expanse, struggling to stay on course toward the blue orb in the distance. The passengers’ fragile hope of making it to their destination alive was wounded by a collision between the shuttle and a hunk of debris.”

And now, rewritten:

“It was quiet in this pocket of the Outer Solar System. That was, until an aberrant perturbation caused a relative ruckus. It was an overworked Type-E passenger shuttle, freshly caught by Neptune’s gravity. There was nothing in the vacuum to transmit the creaking inside its bulkheads, nor the crackling of sparks coming from its overloaded circuitry, but it made up for it with a wobbling, visual commotion and plenty of fresh interference to filter out in comms traffic.”

It is a short sample to pick up on this to be sure, but I’ve done away with the attempts to be overly cute in my narration, and have dialed back on the character descriptions and perspective-distancing titles that, to be frank, I ripped from games such as Borderlands. The final product will be a story that will at last be able to stand by its younger sisters, In the Baron’s Shadow and Lunacy.

More details to come on this and my other two aforementioned writing projects in 2021.

FIN

If you have followed me up until now, even in a haphazard fashion, you know that the After Terra series is my flagship as far as creative works, and that the fourth full length novel in said series, Return of the Gods, was due to release last year. It could have been made available last year. The book is done. I mean, of course there is still a lot of editing and finessing I am going to perform on the work, but it is already of a higher quality in its current state than anything I have published before, so I could have hit the button. But, I wanna do things right this time. Unlike Cyberpunk 2077Return of the Gods will be released when it is truly ready, and when I have successfully rebuilt and reestablished myself as a creative entity, after having made the decision to commit to transitioning gender. Yeesh, what an ask of myself, eh? I tend to make that last bit sound like a smaller deal than it really is.

So while Return of the Gods is cooling its heels in my creative space, I do have two new writing projects lined up for 2021. One was technically started for last year’s NaNoWriMo, but I was unable to make as much progress as I normally do in Novembers. Said project is a memoir. That’s right, I’m writing about me. Maybe it will end up being more of an autobiography, not sure yet, but that’s a thing.

Along with this, I am working on new science fiction story. At this time all I am going to tease is that it will be written in first person, and one of the cinematic themes that will color the narrative and setting of the story is a future-transposed United States versus Soviet Union sort of vibe. Think of some Cold War, Space Race ideas played out over a cyberpunk space western and you might be on track to where I’m going with that. More to be revealed in the future.

FIN

 

I suppose this is the most appropriate of all places in the world to announce that I have finished the first draft of my fifth novel, and the fourth novel in the After Terra series: Return of the Gods.

The project started officially on March 21, 2017. My, how many twists and turns and misfires my life has endured since then. I survived many changes, including several relocations and a disastrous excuse for a marriage that thankfully never legally existed. And thus, so did my novel, and might have come out the better for it, albeit at my own expense.

Return of the Gods is the largest project I’ve ever created and possibly ever will. Even in its current state, its size eats up the previous two After Terra novels and the short story collection, and is close to Dune in its word count. It is nearly twice the size in words of everything I ever published on uncommongeek.com.

So, you can imagine (hopefully) why this project has consumed so much of my writing time and creative power. There came a point where, when given time and opportunity to write, Return of the Gods was all I could think of. Now that it is done, yes, there is editing, rewriting, formatting, and other fun stuff to take care of, but the most difficult part of the task is done. The foundation is laid.

I have also been busy behind the scenes exporting the majority of posts I made for The Uncommon Geek for republishing here on afterterra.com. Although I don’t know all of the details to the letter, but it has been indicated to me that uncommongeek.com may not be accessible as we know it in the relatively near future. Besides, the posts I saved were mostly in bad need of rewrites anyway. So, this is another reason why posting here has been quiet.

Now that my head is clear from writing an epic, there will again be regular activity on this site, and lots of exciting publishing news about my work is coming your way in 2020. This is shaping up to be my most prolific year yet.

Until then.

FIN

I realize that the site has been on ice for a while. I intend to remedy that.

The following writing I am about to share is a piece of catharsis that wants out; it is not intended to be strictly poetic nor is it necessarily a story. It is a raw piece of expression. It only in a fractional way has to do with After Terra; readers of the entire series up to this point may understand where it has synergy. Those of who also know me in my personal life and happen to know some of my situation, you would be mistaken to assume you know who I am talking about with my use of pronouns in this writing expression.

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