Update: Audio book for The Mandrake Factor coming!

I am finally close to getting The Mandrake Factor out to the public in e-book and regular book form, and soon my wonderful friend and writing buddy, Joe Zieja, will begin recording the audio book. (Check out his website “Loose Threads”.) When the audio book–and hopefully a book trailer–are finished, I will be putting everything up for e-book and audio book sales, both on this website and at other e-book and self-publishing locations (to be announced later).

I’m really excited about this audio book. Joe is a very engaging reader as well as a fabulous writer!

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Sequel on its way

Well, the sequel: THE MANDRAKE FACTOR: TANGLED WEB (working title) is coming along, and I’m excited about it. I still have to get the first novel published, but honestly, I haven’t really tried that hard. I’ve been too busy tweaking it to send it to anyone else yet. I’m a never-ending editor, but it is getting better with each revision. Yea!

However, as I’ve said, I have moved on as well. I’ve set a deadline for myself of January 1st to have the sequel done. That gives me five months to finish. I’m sure I can do it, too, and it will be an exciting adventure for me as I take what I think is an exciting plot and flesh it out.

Meanwhile, I’m going to try to get more motivated to send THE MANDRAKE FACTOR out to more agents. I’ve had nothing but positive feedback, and I really need to focus on the business end of things more–a weak area for me, as I’ve known for years. With encouragement from friends and family, it will be done, though. It will!

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1000th unique hit today

This site has hit a landmark number today! On Monday, May 2, 2011, it reached its 1000th unique IP hit (3557 hits total). This is quite amazing to me.

Thanks to everyone and the few bots that made this possible. Smiles. :-)

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A Great Site on Writing with Great Links

I’ve been writing for many years now, working my craft and learning as much as I could about writing.  Although I received a degree in the areas of English, Communication and Teaching, only one of those classes taught me about the business end of Creative Writing, and most of that information is outdated now.  Therefore, I search books, the web, and go to conferences like the one I went to last week, the Life, the Universe and Everything (LTUE) symposium held at BYU in Utah.

There is much to learn about all aspects of writing, especially with the changes going on in the publishing industry with e-books literally putting large book stores chains like Borders out of business.  Writers have both suffered and benefited from this change.  Those who previously didn’t have their writing craft to a level that would be publishable are now publishing their own novels and selling them on Amazon as e-books.  While this is an exciting breakthrough for them, it has become an annoyance for readers who are expecting a great book, only to find that it’s poorly written and edited.

I am tempted, as they all are, to try and sell The Mandrake Factor and my other novels by myself and avoid all of the middlemen like agents and editors and those publishers with tight purse strings, but there are so many things that they can do for me that I can’t do for myself.  Foreign rights, for example.  Agents and publishers have connections I will never have unless I decide to get a job as one of them.  Agents are trained to know how to get their clients good contracts, too.  Writers must know what’s going on as well, so they don’t sign anything they can’t live with, but agents who are reputable and on the writer’s side will do the best they can to get their client a good deal.

So I’m opting at this point for the standard route of submitting everything to an agent first.  I’ve just started this process, so my toes are barely wet, but as I go, I’ll try to let you know how it’s going and what I’ve learned.

Meanwhile, this link below is a great site with links to many writing sites I often visit for advice on writing.  I’m excited to share it with you.


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Going Up!

One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve written stories, and The Mandrake Factor is no exception, is my love of elevators. There is something innately fascinating about how elevators transport us up and down, instead of to and fro. Don’t know why, but there just is.

A hot topic these days is the concept of the space elevator—an idea dating as early as the 1960s. Now the space elevator isn’t a part of the first Mandrake series book, but it might be in one of the sequels. Most likely as the ruins of a space elevator that’s about two hundred years old. Gotta wonder what that might look like. Hmm. Ruins of a space elevator. I certainly hope I don’t see any of those in my lifetime!

Space elevator pictures pictures are great! What imagination these artists have. Check them out. Here’s the google search link: space elevator pictures

Real elevators are fascinating as well. Here’s a link to ten very interesting elevators that you can go and ride right now!

10 Fascinating Elevators, oddee site

This link shows creatively designed elevator advertisements: Creative and Funny Elevator Designs at chilloutpoint

I certainly hope that we have more fun elevator designs in the future. I think someone should start a contest!

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Latest update

October 14, 2010

The first three chapters of THE MANDRAKE FACTOR have been sent to Denise Little at the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. Denise is a new agent there, and she’s right in the middle of moving to Houston at the moment. I’m very excited that she was interested in my novel. I hope her move isn’t too hard and that everything goes smoothly for her. And, of course, I hope that she likes what I’ve written enough to ask for the rest. I guess time will tell. Wish me luck!

November 13. Poor woman’s swamped with queries and submissions. Still waiting to hear…

Jan. 12. Still waiting…  I’ll be sending it elsewhere soon, though I’d love to have Denise Little represent me.  I’m sending her one last revision before I do that, too.

Feb. 24.  There have been a few things burying Denise and making it hard for her to work as efficiently as she’d hoped.  Freezing pipes in Texas being one of those things.  I’ve finished another draft of the novel and sent it to a couple of readers, then I’ll update it with her.  I realize this is going to be a long, slow process.  Sometimes it can take six months or more to hear back from an agent.  I’d shop it around more, but I’m more interested in getting it right and working on the sequel than securing an agent quickly.  But I will persist!  Besides, I like Denise and what Ethan Ellenburg do.  They’re worth the wait.

May 6. I’m going to be sending it out to other agents on the 18th. That is all. :)

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Flying Coolness

Photo courtsey of Moller International

Come on, jump into my two seated jetter! Two hundred years from now, plus some, they’ve got to have personal flying vehicles.  Oh yeah.  That’s just a given, isn’t it?  And they’ll have cool sporty ones, too, right?  Uh-huh.  So, of course, I had to make those a part of my story.

Sure, personal flying vehicles jetting around a city are nothing new (Jetsons, anyone?), and the Star Wars movies (especially SWII) had numerous, cool-looking flying contraptions in them.  I particularly liked the yellow, open-top speeder that Anakin hopped into to help out the plunging Obewan.  It didn’t even have wings!  So, granted, I’m not going for unique here.  But I am determined to have them.  I’m even calling them Jetters, though that might irk some.  Eh, too bad!  I can just see Garrett Hardwicke, my main character, hopping into his little candy-red jetter that might look something like the one on top of this post.  His would have wings, though.

As I looked around to find more fun stuff on what brilliant people had created in the small class flying field, I found a few fun links as I researched.

The howstuffworks article on “How Flying Cars Will Work” with the Moller M400 (pictured above) link: howstuffworks article

This link shows what happened all the way back in 2007—a hovering little jet that is a subscale prototype of duPont’s Aerospaces’s DP-2 vectored-thrust verticle take-off aircraft.  Since I have my jetters hovering with what’s called a heli-drive system, I thought this was cool: duPont’s aerospace vehicle, tethered hovering clip

Of course, I couldn’t leave out the BD-5J (Bede’s super small, super fast jet). This clip includes background interviews and classic clips from the James Bond movie Octopussy, where the BD-5J mini jet was flown through an airplane hangar. Lots of good fun! BD-5J Acrostar Jet

The Samson Motorworks site gave me a few ideas about how I might manipulate my jetters to fit in smaller spaces.  Cool things, here!” Samson Motorworks

And this clip shows the Terrafugia—a car/plane hybrid that has actually flown! Terrafugia

Of course, I had to look up different flight maneuvers.  Here are a couple of sites that I found interesting and easy to read on that little bit of research (Wiki saves the day!):

Wiki’s Aerobatic Maneuvers

Wiki’s Basic Flight Maneuvers

Now I’m going to let my imagination take flight!

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Hats Off To You!

Royal Ascot Hats

Hats that make you say, "Wow!"

So, I’m thinking clothing, hats in particular. My world creation has a class system with numbered levels, One thru Ten. Tens are the lowest level (the Undesirables that must be Eliminated) and Ones are the most valuable, the most beautiful, the smartest, the richest, and the most high tech-enabled class. An upper elitist level surpasses the Class One level, as is usually the case in real life. Those are the filthy rich, the privileged, and those who somehow manage to rise above the law. Hmm. That doesn’t seem fair, does it? Gah!

Of course, my protagonist must be a Class One, so his clothing must to reflect the Class Levels, too. Being curious about what kind of hats I might put on him and the other Ones, as well as the elite, upper crust, I decided to check out what was already out there in the world. Knowing how creative people can be, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. And oh, boy, how I wasn’t!

The amazing womens hats are not to be missed. Some are brilliant, others, well… a little strange (or a LOT strange, actually). Here are a few of the fascinating links for womens hats I found:

Shenor hats link
Ilda DiVico Ascot Hats link
Shining Trends hat link

The men don’t seem to have as much fun as the women do. Poor men. So sad. How I pity them! But somehow, I don’t think they mind… Here are a couple of impressive links for mens hats:

Mens Hats link
Hats in the Belfry link

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The Mandrake Factor-Chapters 1-3

I’ve revised The Mandrake Factor, and here are the first THREE chapters, plus an extended opening section. Because I shortened the chapter lengths, the previous first chapter is now two chapters. I’ve added the third chapter to give everyone a little more, just for fun. I’ve changed the audience from Young Adult to Adult as well, though there is nothing that would receive harsher than a PG-13 rating.

I wish I could say that it was published and you could buy it already! Maybe soon…
Mandrake Factor, Chpts 1-3

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Exploring Interesting Beds

Floating Bed

Floating Bed

As a writer, I love research! So many things to discover, so many cool ideas from people. Well, I had to see what brilliant minds had done with beds, because I wanted to put a bed into my story, and it couldn’t be a normal bed. This is, after all, a futuristic soft SF story, and Boring is not acceptable!

So I began my hunt. Wow. There are some really fun beds out there in the world. Some are so all-inclusive that a person might find it hard to want to leave them. I realize that can be the case even with a boring bed, but I’m not talking about being lazy and wanting to sleep in here. I’m talking about being set up to have food and drink at hand, as well as entertainment systems that can provide movies or games. Man, the absolute sluggishness that could be aspired to! (No, I’m not condoning that. Get a life, instead!)

Though some of these beds are lavish and comfortable, some are downright odd, and nothing more than works of art. Those are the more fun ones, of course.

Here are some of the links that I found. Enjoy!

World’s Best Hotel Beds
16 of the Most Extreme Beds
Weird and Unusual Beds
Delightful, Strange, and Unusual Beds
Oddee site link

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