The heroic story of the men and women who battle the paranormal evils that are converging on a mysterious canyon in southeastern Utah with a deadly past. The series details the formation of S1, a Navy SEALs meets the X-files group, and other people who have supernatural abilities to predict and stop the congregation of darkness that is seeking to bring destruction to life as we know it.
past few months, I’ve been in between working on the next book in the Blackrock
Canyon series (Intersections) and
revising the first book (Dead Mouths).
This hasn’t been easy for several reasons:
whole day / night job thing keeps me from having the time to just sit for hours
and hours at a time to write without interruption. Instead, I do the work I have
to do in order to create a class, grade classes, and tutor people, which means
that I don’t always feel so creative when I’m done (instead, I get sucked into
my TV addictions or reading mindless things like Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract).
away from the writing that has happened before creates a worry about
connections and diversions from the original facts with the new material. Here,
I have had to go back and change / fix things (both with the story and grammar)
while I’m re-immersing myself in a world that was completely real while it was
being written. Last summer when I gave the majority of my time to the Blanding
/ Moab / Salt Lake City story, which dealt with the fictional Black Rock Canyon,
I was so fruitful that even my dreams were about these “people.” I lived them
24/7 (not that I don’t brainstorm their fates – it’s just that I’ve done little
more than outline where they are goin). That said, I was riding into the middle
part of the last story on a train of death metal, which worked well for the
spooky / horror world (as did many of the ghost stories I was reading and
watching), but eventually, I hit a wall with one particular murder (and that
music, which does have an energy though it also creates a sense of animosity,
which isn’t always conducive to other things), and those 2 scenarios brought me
out of the moment so I had to take time off before going in again. By stopping
as I did (then and recently), I felt like I had created Pirandello’s characters
and left them without an ending. In a related way, I also felt removed from
both the metal that was driving and spawning the music that influenced that
world. Instead, I am consumed by Neutral Milk Hotel’s last live tour material.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as what is being written at the start of
this 2nd book is more like a mix of that surrealism and the
character development / creation episodes of The Walking Dead, which is one of the best shows ever on
television, by the way (if you needed convinced). However, coming at this story
from a different frame of mind (and research) has changed the tone of the story
to come somewhat, which demands that the things that have come before it get
changed to reflect this new world.
1 case, this has seen a character get a name change. That’s not a bad thing or
a tough thing to fix since the good folks at Microsoft created the “replace”
function. It also allows this character (Ivan Parker, Moab Chief of Police) to
appear more like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who is the man I envision to play
him (though it would be a Rock that is made to look like he grew up in the
Vietnam era). The Rock just isn’t a Pankowitz at all.
another case, this is creating a change in the nature / morality of other principal
characters. Like M. Night Shyamalan (or Nathaniel Hawthorne), it means going in
there and leaving clues to how these things were always there (but weren’t
visible), which takes work. For as much as I’d like to get that original story
out there, it feels like I have to be careful with the story and not rush it.
is also a need to create more mystery and options for some incidents than to
just have a straight vision through to the bad guys. I’m more conscientious in
creating those and thinking about what they could be than just creating a
page-turner that says “enjoy the ride” or “suspend disebelief.”
the story to an end would lead to some sections that could also be very lame in
comparison to some of the suped-up ideas that I’ve been having, which would
make sections of the story better than they would be otherwise. This is based
in large part on reading a lot about the Colorado Plateau to make sure that my
original facts are as they should be. There are so many neat events in history,
and while I don’t want to steal them and put different names on things that
already were, the nature of historical people in similar world should be
understood before making them into fictional people that you, my reader, are
supposed to buy into and believe in (root for / against).
leads to the difficult decisions of priorities with fixing grammar while I am
rehashing the old material or going forward with the new, original ideas to
come, which I could do without having to make sure there is fact consistency.
Inevitably, spring break is set to dawn upon me on March 4th at
230pm. For that week or so, I will push ahead regardless to get some of the new
/ revised ideas out of my head and onto the paper, even if they are only in
some brief skeletal form. I’m definitely looking forward to making things
happen that have been germinating in my mind for some time.
that note, there are other stories that I’ve been thinking about… the wendigo
story for my step nephew, for instance. A part of me would really like to knock
the first chapter of that out, but I don’t know how caught up in the whole
story I want to get, which is the danger that I feel it would present.
I alluded to earlier, in the new book, there are characters that are mentioned
in passing, who seem to get a bigger take than the first book. Benson Villaneuva,
the Jeff Mangum-esque singer, comes to mind. I can’t say that I always wanted a
bigger part for him, but he does allow me to move characters from different
places to the same place. That’s something good. I don’t want to force The Aeroplane
over the Sea into the story, but the genesis of a new CD after his success with
the story of Nadia could really lead into connections here.
going with a lot of real song names in here (as opposed to fake ones), and I
really do want to incorporate the Polyphonic Spree lyrics in the final chapter,
so that needs to be at a place before I ask permission to go forward with asking
to be allowed to use them verbatim in my work.
the beginning, there was a feeling that Dave and Charlotte would represent the
author and his wife’s persona more than they do. To some degree, they still do,
but there is a place where they will quit doing that and instead end up where
they were always meant to be. To another degree, Dave was always meant to be a
Roy Scheider in Jaws character who
was more in place because of the need to balance his faults with his need to be
strong in other places. I’ve always liked that place for him, but I didn’t want
to get caught up in him mirroring my world, so I’ve let him change and go to
the places that he needs to be. This allows the same for Charlotte.
addition, instead of Dave’s unquestioned path to being the hero of the story, I
have seen Tony Lucas as the main, driving force. Rather than divulge his
destiny, which is now almost 3 full books away, I can say that he represents
the man that all men want to be or be friends with. In some ways, he is our
fathers. In other ways, he represents the male force in a rugged universe. When
I think of him, I think of Dave Turin from Gold
Rush Alaska. From the shaved head and facial hair to the hard-working, blue
collar guy image, I can imagine Dozer Dave with a badge and a pistol providing
wall-to-wall counseling to the people of Blanding who need some redirection for
their bad choices (since there are no bad people).
always been a place for Suzie in this story, and as time has gone by, she’s
grown from a passing side note in the original story, which was to be a trek
into an underground cave where evil resided to… where the story is (which has
also grown from 3-4 total books). In the first outline days, it was about 250
pages of planned activity. In reality, the first book of the series alone is
400 pages of something completely different than what it was planned to be.
Now, I’ve wrestled with making the first book 2 books (thus doubling the total
to 8 books), but I just can’t do that since the cut off points are where they
are. In many ways, thinking of how to print a book that costly (small font?)
does concern me, and it might change at some time, but until then… there’s that
e-book thing to go with. But Suzie… Suzie… she represents a lot of people and
things, and it’s necessary to learn about her and expand her. Here, the cliff
hanger that I don’t want to reveal the beginning, let alone the ending of
(either here or in the typing of what is to become of her), keeps me away from
typing her out and retying some of the stuff at the end of the first book to
transition and maintain the new direction well. As for who I see Suzie being
portrayed by, I think a good actress for her would be Zhang Ziyi from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Of
course, she makes me think of other people, too, but that’s a good image to see
her as. However, for where she’ll go, I need a greater understanding of new age
and psychic phenomena.
also been thinking about getting students from graphic arts at the school I’m
at to help design covers and e-books. As I get closer to the real, I can
definitely see that happening.
if you’ve read the early 4 chapters, I will have them changed to their new
edited versions by 230 today. Feel free to check them out again or for the
always up for constructive thoughts and ideas! Thanks for reading. Have a great