I’m back from a long summer vacation to say that seeing a humpback whale jump out of the water in real life is not the same as seeing it on television. These things are so terrifyingly huge. I mean it. If it pops up out of the water and happens to look in your general direction, it seems like some crazy alien cannon is being swiveled in your direction.
Hold out your hand, palm down, fingers together like you’re going to slap someone. Now stick out just your thumb and pinky but keep your middle three fingers together. Turn your hand slowly, very slowly, angle it upward, and you’ll have some idea of the movement involved in a whale’s breach. Seawater spins off the tips of their outstretched pectoral fins. The whole thing only takes a second, but it is so epic in appearance that the image burns into your brain. Well, mine, anyway. We also caught it on video, in case the memory gets fuzzy over time.
So that’s all I have about whales. We saw those in Alaska. I also went to Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Scotland, Ireland, Washington, and Canada, and probably a couple other places I have already forgotten. There were some cool castles and some good food. A porcupine ate a small tree. That may have been my favorite. That and the whales.
As far as the writing thing goes, I’m going to stop planning things in advance since I always change my mind anyway. I guess what that mostly means is that I’ll stop posting on this website in regards to what my “plans” are for the near future. Understand that I have about a dozen books in my head at any one time screaming to get out, and by the time I finally give in and sit down to write one, I come up with a “better” idea and start all over again. So that’s unfortunate news for Alphashock fans, since that series is getting a slight nudge to the back-burner for the time being. Instead—and I can say this with certainty since I have already started the book—I will be continuing the Ashes and Hello Darkness story lines in book three of that “theme” trilogy. I’ll have it done in time for Halloween, because I’m going to make it as frightening as I can and that seems like a good date for that kind of thing.
I haven’t written a lick in more than two months due to the traveling, and it feels really good to fire up the old rusty knuckles once again. I always think I will lose the knack when I leave it for long periods of time. There are some aspects which need a bit more dusting than others, but I am always pleased that the most important aspect of the process—the discovery—is there waiting for me when I sit down. By discovery I mean the unexpected surprises that you can’t plan for and that don’t show themselves until you come right up on them, the kind that couldn’t be planned for no matter how hard you tried.
I’m pretty excited about the new story. It takes place about ten years after Hello Darkness, and features one of the main characters who survived that ordeal. Karen Raines was a deputy in the town of Falling Rock, Colorado, and she barely escaped in one piece. Now she has a set of twins, aged ten, from a father who wasn’t so lucky. If you remember what else happened to Karen near the end of the book, you will get an idea of one aspect of the new story. Here’s a hint: her kids were born with a little…something extra inside. When our new story kicks off, something comes to collect on what the kids should never have had in the first place. I hope I can make it righteously spooky, because as I said, I’m excited. I’ll be working to find a cover artist for it over the next few weeks, so I’ll try to remember to post an update here as the book progresses.