New Pages …

You may have noticed I changed the blog slightly. I added a different theme that should make it easier to read. Also, I have added a new page (accessible from the menu at the top right) called My Books …

This page has a link to my first published novel and a sneak peak at the current synopsis for ATLAS (sequel to KODIAK) and the date I am hoping to have it released. I might do a bit better and get it out sooner. I will add any books I am working on or have published to this list going forward. That way they’re easy to find in the future.

Right now only KODIAK and ATLAS are displaying, but after November and NaNoWriMo I imagine I’ll be adding either URSIDAE or CENTAURI ONE to that list. That’s all for now folks. Until next time.

 

Your Friendly Neighborhood Author,

 

DJ Morand

I like Maps …

So being a writer often has a bit of a imaginative side, obviously. However, that side often conflicts with my ability to remember things clearly. Many authors, especially novelists, have an Author’s Bible, this the conglomeration of notes and ideas and things said about their setting or story. In my author’s bible I like to include things like maps and star charts, sometimes I even make my own. Feast your eyes below for my meager/amateur star maps for the Centauri One universe setting:

PreEarth-ExpansionWars

Centauri One Universe - ExpansionWars

Centauri One Universe - Earth Empire Era

The colored dots represent entire star systems under the name of the star listed next to it. The lines represent the distance in parsecs. The first ring around our solar system is the equivalent of 1 parsec, give or take. The second ring is closer to 4 or 5 parsecs, out to the furthest distance being somewhere around 12-20 parsecs.

The smaller text beneath lists the controlling interest of that system, but does not however account for smaller factions within each system.

So for instance where you see Vega in the first image, it is controlled by the Earth Royal Alliance, whereas the third image it shows Earth Empire. This shows the change from the ERA to the EE over time. Or we can investigate Alpha Centauri where it was originally controlled by the Sterlin Empire, then eventually was taken over by the Earth Empire.

The time lines are listed above in the upper left corner of the charts and a brief description of the era is listed. If there is enough interest I will start a timeline sort of deal and explain the change/growth of this system over time. Until next time.

Your friendly neighborhood author,

DJ Morand

Being sick is terrible …

So just to put it out there, being sick sucks. It keeps you from working and from doing the things you love. Personally, I love reading, writing, and getting out, just to take a road trip or go to a duck pond. When I’m sick I can’t do much besides lay on the couch catching up on all the TV shows I haven’t bothered to watch because I am busy doing other things. To top it off I am usually so out of it that I won’t even remember what I watched. So often I’ll watch reruns because I’m not paying much attention anyway.

This weekend (and Monday and Tuesday) I watched the entirety of Supernatural Season 9, which I had not seen. Then I went back and started watching old Doctor Who episodes, this partly because I am excited for the Doctor Who Series 9 starting up again this September 19th, and partly because I’ve seen them so much I knew I wouldn’t forget what I had seen.

It was not until my drive into work this morning that my creative muse jumped back in the passenger seat with me. It was as if she was afraid I might be catching. Muses are funny that way. When you are feeling your worst they’re often hanging out in the back of your mind content to remain silent until you’re feeling better. Now that may not be entirely true as some muses only show up when you’re miserable, hence the stereotype of drunks with writing problems. Personally though, my muse as fantastical as she is, prefers I am sober and in a working mindset before she will grace me with her presence.

So, even though I am not feeling 100%, that is to say my throat feels like the desert looks, my stomach is certainly a maelstrom, and my head still feels like there is a train passing directly behind my eyes, I am once again feeling well enough to write. Which begs the question, how bad did I feel this weekend that I did not feel at all like typing? HA! I’ll no go into detail but lets say that I prefered the dark, wrapped in a blanket despite the 100+ degree weather here in Arizona.

So now that I have bitched my way through a blog post I think I’ll actually get to some serious writing. I haven’t a real deadline, but my tentative one says I should have Centauri One finished by the end of November, we’ll see. It is entirely likely that I will finish it by November 30th, but it is also highly probable it will be sometime around the end/beginning of the year. I will have to play it by ear, or by fignertip. Thank you for hearing me out today, I really hate being sick and sometimes one feels the need to complain about it. Until next time.

WORD COUNTS!!!

Good Morning, or afternoon, or evening, or whenever you may be reading this. How are you? I am well, thank you. So, greetings aside I have been struggling with this writing schedule thing. I know I need to get down, get writing, and get going, but somehow it eludes me. I tried to determine what my issue was, and again it eluded me. So instead of writing, for the sake of writing, which does sometimes work, I decided to read instead.

I have been reading two extremely helpful books:

Might I say these two books are a well of information, ideas, and tips. Not to mention they are also very encouraging and carry little condescension, like some other books on writing I have read. In Plot & Structure I gathered the idea to create daily word count goals, then I expanded this idea and came up with creating a Google Sheets spreadsheet with some self-made calendars to track my daily, weekly, and monthly goals while still tracking my overall percent to completion, etc. See the screenshot below:

Word Counts

This allows me to enter a word count for the day and it will calculate everything I need on the right. Words Remaining to Write, Percent to Goal, Daily Word Count Goal, Weekly Word Count Goal, and Current Word Count. What is really nice is that the Daily and Weekly goals will adjust based on how many words I write in a given day/week. For instance right now I have about 5200 words, give or a take a few, so my daily goal to finish by the end of November is 1,238, however that goal can vary if I write more, or write less.

I cannot take credit for the idea, as I said I took it from Plot & Structure and expanded it from my experience last April in NaNoWriMo. I plan on doing NaNoWriMo in November this year, so I plan to have around 100,000 words by November 1st. If I do or don’t, is not really the case, it is moreso that I have a goal to attain, which is easier for me than say, sticking to a rigid schedule (even if it is one I set for myself). I would like to note, however, that it is Monday, and this is a blog post. *insert cheesy grin here* Until next time folks.

 

 

Your friendly neighborhood author,

 

DJ Morand

Centauri One …

With the completion of my first novel and beginning the nitty gritty of the editing process (grammar hammer!) I found I needed a new project. I’ve been bouncing around ideas hither and tither, but nothing was really sticking for me. I tried to write the sequel to Kodiak – Atlas – but it didn’t feel like the “write” time. So I began world building for a novel I am calling Centauri One, that fizzled out during my vacation in July and I’ve been struggling to get back into the swing of writing for about two weeks.

The beginning of August led me to a good place and I made a schedule, I failed the first couple of days at following that schedule, but I am on track now. I managed to write around 1,250 words yesterday, which incidentally is the exact amount I need per day to reach my goal of 100,000 words before November 1st. In November I am going to use Nanowrimo to finish the last 50,000 words for the novel. Then after revisions and edits I am hoping to have a novel around 110,000 to 130,000 words. Centauri One is planned as a stand alone novel.

So enough about what I am planning, how about what I have done already? Below you will find the current cast of characters for Centauri One, note that I include the starships as characters because honestly they have a personality and quirks all their own:

Basilisk (starship)
Centauri One (starship)

Captain Ajax Finn
Commander Gaul Duric
1st Officer Urex Torol
STAC (Sentient Terminal Access Computer – pronounced Stacy)
Corporal Sajoy Mal
Quartermaster Vex Erebus
Corporal Calien Vestro
Baxter Wren Songyoo – Heir Apparent to Songyoo Industries

The book itself will follow Pirate Captain, Ajax Finn and his crew as well as former Detective for the Earth Empire Police, Commander Gaul Duric. The setting begins on the planet Canisia in the Procyon System. Canisia orbits Procyon A, a main sequence star, but also has a dwarf star, Procyon B. Barely in the habitable zone the planet is mostly toxic to humans. A brief synopsis can be found below:

A notorious pirate.

A disgraced detective.

An experimental starship.

On the only (semi)habitable planet in the Procyon system, legendary pirate, Ajax Finn, and former detective, Gaul Duric, race to the wreckage of a Mariner class star cruiser – Centauri One; but what made the ship crash in the first place?

Both, Commander and Captain, want the secrets of Centauri One, without letting the other take them. Commander Duric must convince Captain Finn he is not a threat, while at the same time keeping one step ahead of the notorious pirate; but what they find aboard the cruiser transcends them both and will forever alter the course of history.

Let me know what you think, comment below. Also, yes it has also become apparent to me that I cannot limit myself to a single post on Mondays (or Tuesday, if this week is any indication), I write when I am inspired. So Mondays will be the official release of new content and inspiration shall guide me otherwise. Until next time.

 

Your friendly neighborhood author,

 

DJ Morand

Hello July, Hello NaNoWriMo …

So it is July 1st, today in fact. That means a few things to me:

1. I have birthdays to remember.
2. My daughter is coming to stay for a couple of weeks.
3. It is time for Camp NaNoWriMo again!

These three things will likely be consuming the majority of my time this month, so if I disappear, fear not, I shall return. I have decided this NaNoWriMo to go in a different direction. Instead of writing another novel, although I still intend to write and complete the Abel Cain series in Kodiak, Atlas, and Infinity; I have a broader goal in mind for this July. Part of this has to do with the limited time to write while my daughter is in town, but also in part that I have an amazing idea for a new space setting. This new setting, in all honesty, I think will blow the Abel Cain series out of the water.

Let me back up for a moment here. When I began writing Kodiak, I had never written a novel before. According to feedback, I did a pretty decent job of it. I will always herald Kodiak as my first completed novel, and one that is really character driven. With that in mind, I realized some of its flaws and things that are not easily reconcilable. For one, the world itself is not nearly as robust as I would prefer it. As a novel and for how it is written, it works and it does not detract from the story, but once I finish Abel Cain’s story I do not see a future for the universe I created specifically for Kodiak.

So for this July, I am focusing on World Building or, more accurately, Universe Building. I have a new novel I want to write, which I am tentatively calling Centauri One, in which I need a politically, socially, and wholly defined universe. The premise of this new novel is based in a universe where humanity rules and has subjugated most of the alien races they’ve encountered.

In this future, mankind has become the tyrannical empire that controls the majority of the outer rim worlds of the Milky Way. Employing nano-technology to install kill switches they maintain authority over criminals and mercenary groups, utilizing them to control the systems. When one of those mercenary groups vanishes, and their kill switches disabled, the Earth Empire is forced to come to terms that their control may not be absolute.

I don’t want to give anything else away as it may be some time before I even get to writing this piece, I have a ton of research and ‘Universe’ Building to do, but rest assured this is going to be a more serious novel and one that is on a much grander scale than the personal story of Abel Cain. So, wish me luck in getting that building done this July, because come August I’d like to start writing. Until next time.

 

Your friendly neighborhood author,

 

DJ Morand