The Formist Series is Complete!

The Formist Series is Complete!

After four years, countless hours, and no shortage of rewriting, the third and final installment in the Formist Series – The Frost Line Fracture – is finally complete! You know what that means, don’t you? Now begins the long process of editing, revising, consulting, and reviewing. And if all goes well, the book should be released in late Fall/Early Winter.

One thing I noticed about writing this last book, it brought up a significant issue of mine that I’ve noticed only once before. Namely, I hate writing third installments! I am not sure if this is something all writer’s go through or if it’s just me. But dangit, it’s true in my case!

Let’s back up a little bit here. First of all, I should mention that my approach to trilogies was inspired by something George Lucas once said (you know, back before we got all weird!). As he explained in his famous interview with Leonard Maltin, a trilogy is basically a three act play:

“In the first act you introduce everybody. The second act you put them in the worst possible position can ever get into in their lives and it’s everything – you know – they’re in a black hole, never able to get out. And in the third one, they get out. Again, that’s drama, that’s the way it works.”

These are words that I have found myself coming back to over the years and they’ve informed a few writing projects of mine. Naturally, when writing the Formist Trilogy, I tried to do this very thing.

Whereas The Cronian Incident introduced the universe I had created, The Jovian Manifesto was all about action and things hitting the fan. Accordingly, The Frost Line Fracture was all about finding a path towards resolution for the main characters and the storyline.

But when it came time to do it, I experienced the same problem I had on only one other occassion – where I was also trying to write a third installment. The process felt  demanding and weighed down by a sense of obligation, in a way that none of the previous books did.

I guess that’s understandable. When writing a third book in a series, you have to remember all the threads you’ve established with the previous ones. This means being especially vigilante about timelines, inconsistencies, character arcs, and making sure everything wraps up nicely.

Since I’m still new to this whole being-a-writer thing, it shouldn’t surprise me that there’s a learning curve. Still, I was a bit perplexed by how the process felt so different.

In my experience, the first novel is a challenge since you’re setting everything up and introducing all the characters, settings, themes and elements. For this exact same reason, writing the first novel is fun! The second novel, where your now tasked with developing the story further and making everything take a dark turn, that’s just plain fun!

But the THIRD installment, where you’re tasked with bringing things to a close, that’s tough! Yet somehow, everything came together and I found myself writing happily and excitedly through the action chapters.

In fact, this third book contains action scenes that honestly put the previous books to shame! That’s kind of what the third act is all about, right? It’s showdown time! And when the ending finally came, I felt kind of sad and nostalgic.

Of course, whether or not I pulled it off is up to the readers. And I look forward to hearing what people think of it once it hits the shelves!

Latest Reviews for the Formist Series!

Latest Reviews for the Formist Series!

Over at Audible.com, more listeners have been posting reviews for The Cronian Incident and The Jovian Manifesto. I kind of let them pile up without sharing, so I thought I’d share them here today at last.

First up, here’s what people have been saying about The Cronian Incident, which has recieved an overall rating of 4.8/5 stars (based on nine reviews):

Cyphers Fallen (5 stars)

“I liked the main character and the journey he went through the growth he experienced during the course of the book. With a good story and narration that was great this book stands out. I recommend a listen.”

Lucas DJG (4 stars)

“This book has a lot of things going for it. The story is fun and engaging, the narrator fits the role to perfection, and the pacing is perfect. It has a hint of the 50’s private eye, but in a futuristic setting. I say only a hint, but that hint is in every scene. I really enjoyed that aspect of it and it paired nicely with all the great descriptions and world-building. The contrast between the two really made for some interesting listening.

Layla (5 stars)

“I loved the mystery in this story, even though I figured out who did it quite quickly, but we get to know the characters, the place they live and the politics.
This is for 18+ due to violence (moderate), profanity (moderate) and sexual content (one scene). I am looking forward to the next book”

Nathan J. Arnold (5 stars)

I enjoyed this read very much! The author’s understanding of potential scientific developments is impressive with fascinating ideas on the future of neural implants and planetary terra-forming (as incorporated into the story). Looking forward to upcoming installments!

And now The Jovian Manifesto, which has fewer ratings (2 so far), but is currently enjoying a 5/5 star rating!

Helen (5 stars)

“The Solar System is on the verge of ignition, and all that is needed is a spark.
I really enjoyed this book lots of twist and turns through out the book”

Placid (5 stars)

“This book is the second in the series. It continues when an inspector is sent to determine what occurred and who had released the manifesto that shocked the entire solar system. It seems that the solar system is full of many competing factions what want to kill the inspector. At the same time they discover some allies while the authorities are trying to do mass extermination of dissenters. The book is one continuous series of near death experiences where the inspector must not only survive but try to discover the truth.

“The narrator did an outstanding job of presenting the story with the various characters having individual voices.”

In case you’re wondering, the third installment The Frost Line Fracture, is coming along nicely and will be finished and published sometime this Fall! Once that’s done, I plan to get to work on the next project, which is TBD at this point.

 

The Formist Series is Almost Complete!

The Formist Series is Almost Complete!

Hey folks! As always, I feel like I’m overdue in posting an update and letting you know what’s going on. I guess it’s just the nature of my work, but at the end of the day, I just seem to have very little energy left to write anything. But that’s no excuse. So as always, allow me to apologize for not posting this sooner!

As the headline says, my first series of novels – which includes The Cronian Incident and The Jovian Manifestois nearing completion. It’s been quite the long road and there’s been plenty of peaks and troughs. But now that the finish line is finally in sight, I’m feeling excited! So let’s do this right and start by talking about this final installment in the series…

Inspiration for the Title:

First, a little Astronomy 101. Within our Solar System, as with all star systems, there is a line of demarcation of sorts. Within this line, volatile elements like water, carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia will exist is gaseous or liquid form. Beyond it, these elements will freeze.

As such, scientists have taken to refer to this border as the “Frost Line” (aka.”Snow Line” or “Ice Line”). In this case, the Frost Line refers to the space beyond the Main Asteroid Belt. This border is significant because the Belt represents the boundary between the Extropian factions of the inner Solar System and the Retros of the outer Solar System.

Whereas Venus, Earth, the Moon, and Mars are all populated by people that are super-advanced, the moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus are populated by people looking for a simpler existence.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Initially, I was going to name it the Frost Line Accord, which (no spoilers) obviously refers to something important in the story. However, it was a friend of mine (hey Paco!) who recommended the word Fracture! He felt the word was appropriate for capturing the sense of disharmony and conflict that is taking place by this point in the series.

And so I decided to name it The Frost Line Fracture! You got to admit, it sounds better. And (no spoilers!) it also works better as far as the plot is concerned.

New Characters:

Several characters from the series of reprising their roles in the finale. These include Janis Amaru, Franklin Houte, Veronika Gallego, Adelaide Cheboi, Emile Chandrasekhar, Pinter Chandrasekhar, Xenia Elenko, Alastair Fionn, and Michael Adler. However, characters who have been introduced already (but only in passing) will now have their own important parts to play. They include:

Paulo Auriga:
Auriga is the leader of the Illuvian faction, a group dedicated to the terraforming of Venus. For years, he and Emile Chandrasekhar have been partners, but there relationship has become somewhat rocky since the events of The Cronian Incident took place.

However, with everything hitting the fan and Emile coming back from the brink, Auriga and Emile are once again plotting together. If there’s anything thing more dangerous than an Extropian with a ruthless mind and limitless resources, it’s two!

Terraforming Venus. Credit: Watsisname

Seamus Crannog:
Crannog is a terrorist or a freedom fighter (depending on whom you ask). He leads the Children of Jove (CoJ), the insurgent movement on Ganymede. Since its inception, the CoJ has fought for reform and the overthrow of the Jovian Alliance, which it views as a collaborationist government.

However, since the attack on Selket (for which they were implicated), the movement went underground and began fighting a guerilla war against the Alliance. He and his people are in a protracted conflict with the Jovian authorities and are fighting to stay alive.

However, his group is thrown an unexpected lifeline when a mysterious backer provides them with the necessary weapons and information to make a conduct a major strike. The only problem is, there’s a good chance he’s being played…

Rebecca Van Dinh:
For years, Van Dinh has controlled the Aquiline Front, an insurgency based on Callisto and the Jovian system’s oldest rebel front. Like the CoJ, they are currently in hot water because of the violence and the backlash of the past few years. Luckily, Van Dinh has been training her people for some time to be ready, and those skills have come in handy against government forces.

Unfortunately, Van Dinh and her cadres find themselves put in an impossible position. On the one side, Crannog appears to be taking marching orders from a third party who may not have the Jovians interests at heart. On the other, they swore to present a united front to the enemy. But as time goes on, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell who the real enemy is.

Syfy Channel

Xaver:
People may remeber this individual from the first book. As a resident of Hygeia, Xaver presides over a rather large human trafficking operation. In the old days, Jeremiah Ward was tasked with bringing him down, but failed when his addiction to Glow caused him to leave two witnesses high and dry (who were then murdered by Xaver’s men).

Xaver is known for a few features, like the long dark crop of hair on one side of his head, or the dynamic tattoos (aka. dynamos) that mark his face. But the real draw are the rhodopsin and phosphorous implants in his corneas, which give his eyes a natural bioluminescence. It also provides him with natural night vision, which comes in handy when you’re spelunking around in Hygeia’s rocky corridors.

In time, Xaver will find himself face-to-face with another one of Ward’s old enemies. Will they get along, or is there room enough for only one monster inside the Frost Line?

New Locations:

Ares:
People who have read the first two novels ought to recognize this place. It’s the massive installation that sits atop the Martian space elevator, where two counter-rotating sections provide artificial gravity and all major shipping to and from Mars takes place. It’s also where the home of the Formist faction is located, in a compound known as Sarak Lovelock.

Interesting fact, this place takes its name from James Lovelock, author of “The Greening of Mars” and a major proponent for terraforming the Red Planet.

Granted, Ares and Lovelock were both featured in the first story and served as important locations as far as plot incitement was concerned. However, in the final installment, they will be featured more prominently as the location where the story reaches its denoument. You could say there’s a “the circle is now complete” thing going on here! 😉

Christian Darkin/Science Photo Library

Gaia:
Similar to Ares, the Gaia Installation sits atop Earth’s space elevator, and is where people coming and going from Earth have a bit of a layover. As a massive transportation and commercial hub, it also has a few dens of eniquity tucked away within it. What better place could there be for evil men to meet up and share details of their grand machinations?

Hygeia:
Speaking of dense of eniquity, the asteroid Hygeia is also a location of some importance in the story. Located in the Main Asteroid Belt, Hygeia is the fourth-largest body between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, behind Ceres, Vesta and Pallas. Like all of the larger bodies in the Belt, Hygeia was hollowed to create a facilitiy and its rotation was sped up to create artificial gravity.

It is here that a certain someone (let’s call him Adler) is looking to discreetly book transport to Mars. Not surprising, since Hygeia is the place people go if they are looking to smuggle goods (and people) back and forth across the Frost Line. But to do this requires that they understand the inner workings of Hygeia and its operations, which are ruthlessly controlled by a series of clans.

These include the Devata (denoted by the mark देव), a clan run by the Bhakta family who control the docks and take a piece of everything coming and going through there. Then there’s the Chang’e clan, a gynocentric organization established by the matriarch (Qingshan) and denoted by a crescent moon who run all of Hygeia’s “special services” and a piece of the recreational substances market.

There’s also the Jokos, an old family clan that are identifiable by the Basque crosses on their necks who control the rest of that drug racket, as well as gambling and credit. Last, there are the Galeans, who represent themselves with an icon of an ancient sea-faring ship and who (predictably) control shipping and emerged in response to the Devatas taking control of the docks.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Phobos:
For those who don’t know, Phobos is the larger of Mars’ two moons. In truth, its two moons are believed to be asteroids that were kicked out of the Main Belt in the past and were captured by Mars’ gravity. As the larger of the two, Phobos will undoubtedly serve as a sort of gateway to Mars once it is colonized.

The way I see it, a base on Phobos would be built in the Stickney Crater, which is located at the tip of Phobos and measures about 9 km (5.6 mi) in diamter. This would allow for the colonists to simply build a dome over the crater’s rim and fill the inside with all the housing, buildings and utilities they needed.

Since the gravity on Phobos would be near-negligible, getting around inside would be interesting. The only way to avoid drifting around would be to have magnetized or adhesive boots, and people would have to reorient themselves as they moved from one place to another (since the moon is not round and travelling along the surface would be ill-advised).

Well, that’s what I’m working with, what’s new, and what’s familiar. I was hoping to have it finished this month, but history has taught me that deadlines need to be a little flexible. Regardless, it is coming together and it will be the culmination of this trilogy! I hope people like it when it comes out.

First Review for The Cronian Incident (the Audiobook)

First Review for The Cronian Incident (the Audiobook)

My good friend and fellow writer, Rami Ungar the Writer, recently posted the first review for audiobook version of The Cronian Incident! Here’s what he had to say:

“I read the book when it first came out, and was interested to hear the audio version. Suffice to say, it did not disappoint. Part mystery, part look at what humanity could be like one day, it’s a great story paired with a top-notch narrator. Totally recommend.”

Thanks, Rami, good to have you in my corner! Also, I happened to notice that the audiobook has five ratings so far, with an average rating of 4.8 stars out of five! This is certainly an encouraging thing to see when consulting your book’s listing for the first time.

It’s even more encouraging considering that the audiobook has only been out for a few weeks! Now if I could just convince more of the reading public to leave reviews, I’d really be cooking with gasoline!

In addition, I have some more news about the Formist Series – the trilogy for which The Cronian Incident is the first installment – but it warrants its own post. Stay tuned…

The Cronian Incident Audiobook Has Just Been Released!

The Cronian Incident Audiobook Has Just Been Released!

It’s finally happened! After years of work, Castrum Press has delivered and released my first published novel, The Cronian Incident, in audiobook format! The story is narrated by Steve K. Rausch, a voice actor whose good work I can personally attest to! After listening to him a few times, I’ve come to hear a certain Keith David quality to it (another gifted voice actor/regular actor).

For those who are interested, the book is available for download through Amazon’s Audible service and is free if you sign up for a trial. I have some promotional codes that will get you a free copy! All that I ask in return is that you give it an honest review when you are done. There’s also a sample, which is taken from the novel’s prologue. It’s all in the link below:

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Today, I wanted to share a thought piece I recently submitted to Quora, which I wrote over the course of weeks in reponse to the question, “Is the United States going to finally collapse?“. This is something I wanted to answer because I’ve been pondering it myself for some time. Ever since the days of the Bush administration, I’ve been made aware of the fact that the US was behaving precisely like an empire in decline.

Continue reading “The Decline and Fall of the American Empire”

Some Updates On My Next Project – Transverse!

Some Updates On My Next Project – Transverse!

Hello fellow readers and purveyors of all things nerdy and cool! Today, I wanted to talk about my next literary moves once the trilogy I am currently working on is finished. There are a few ideas I have in mind, but right now, my main focus is on a standalone novel that will serve as a transition between the current trilogy and the one I hope to write next.

This story will take place inside a generation ship that is making its way towards a neighboring star system. Within the confines of this self-contained world, thousands of humans have committed to waiting and working for generations as their massive ship – the Traverse Velocity, which in astronomical terms refers to the speed at which a star moves perpendicular to our line of sight – transports them to an Earth-like world outside of our Solar System.

Continue reading “Some Updates On My Next Project – Transverse!”