After a long 'gestation' period (funk, cogitation, plot-scheming) I've begun work on the second book of the Masi'shen series. The title is "Masi'shen Evolution" and the first draft is over 15,000 words and counting. I'm adding about 1800 words a day at the present pace. Given an estimated length of 100,000 to 120,000 words, it will take a while longer before I can edit and be content with a final version.
The good news (to me, anyway) is that so far, it is going very quickly. The characters are mature but evolving; the plot is simple but tangled, and the words almost write themselves as each part of the story reveals itself in my imagination. I am very, very happy with this story so far.
Oh ... I did receive some grief for the abrupt ending of Masi'shen Stranded. That was deserved, I suppose. I thought there was sufficent hint in the final paragraphs to indicate that Michael refused to be left behind, and he hitched a ride with the outbound fleet. That was Michael laying in the healing chamber while Dee'rah stood watching.
Michael is transformed; he is both human and Masi'shen; he acquires their energy and aura enhancements.
Dee'rah was gifted with a locket from Marie, containing human DNA. Dee'rah joins Michael as both human and Masi'shen. The effect is astounding to themselves and the Masi'shen people. It seems that one plus one equals three, and three plus three equals nine! The pair become much, much larger than the sum of their parts.
Book two, when finished, will post here on Finestories.com, from start to finish, at the rate of one chapter a day until complete.
One note about the Masi'shen. I'm growing quite fond of them. Obviously they are something much greater and quite different than the disguise they assumed for their terrestrial ocean work.
Following two major scenes where they've encountered human aggression, two things should be quite clear: they refuse to kill, to take human life; and most importantly where the inter-species relationship is concerned, being pacifist does NOT mean they are defenseless! As Jon'na-ren explains, We have capabilities!
I've discovered that this story has become an absolute delight to write. It's my second major effort at telling a story (Pasayten Pete was the first) and it's become a learning experience. Writers sometime say that the characters begin to control the story; I'm learning that the story begins to run away with the writer. Once the imagination starts flowing, combined with decades of life experience, the scenes shape themselves. Oddly enough, this rarely happens for me until the keys on my antique Apple Extended Keyboard II* begin rattling. The process unleashes the flow; the flow takes its own direction.
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* My Apple Extended Keyboard II is dated 1990. I have two of them. I've never found another that works as well for my hands which began touch typing on a manual typewriter in a 1956 high school classroom. Writers wax poetic about their favorite writing instrument, whether it's an old fountain pen, a new sharp-tipped gel pen, or a particular keyboard. We're funny that way; some might call us eccentric. They'd be right.
Regarding the deranged idiots in Masi'shen Stranded:
Yep, it may seem that the Director n' the President have gotten a little beyond the safeguards of Constitutional and judicial restraints, and I agree. They have. They're deranged with power, have operated for a long time with a Congress that has chosen not to get involved, capped by a Supreme Court hell-bent on making new law with a succession of 5-4 decisions, unfettered by judicial precedent.
Also, there is the nifty device of agencies and administrations being free to interpret things however they wish. Don't like what the resident lawyer says? Get a new one! Don't like what the watch dog says? Bury 'em in a flood of opinions from yer own pet lawyers. Easy! Effective!
Add in a dash of national security hysteria, and scream "alien invasion" in a paranoid President's ear—well, there ya have it. The dance of the maniacs.
Some might wonder why my characters are walking around on a cabin sole, when most of us are walking around on the soles of our shoes. Here's the deal:
I realize the terms which apply to a ship or boat may seem arcane, but that is the proper word. This is from a Wikipedia entry:
"An enclosed space on a boat is referred to as a cabin. Several structures make up a cabin: the similar but usually lighter structure which spans a raised cabin is a coach-roof. The "floor" of a cabin is properly known as the sole, but is more likely to be called the floor (a floor is properly, a structural member which ties a frame to the keelson and keel). The vertical surfaces dividing the internal space are bulkheads."
I have a 30-foot sailboat, and it's always fun to introduce the proper terms to my friends who come aboard for a cruise out into the San Juan Islands.
The deck is the topsides walking surface. The sole is the cockpit and interior walking surface; walls are bulkheads, the cabin has a coach-roof, the windows are port-lights, the door is a companion-way, the corridor is a passage-way, stairs are ladders (my boat has a three-step ladder to go below (never "down") into the cabin. The sliding cover is a hatch, the kitchen is a galley, the cupboards are lockers, the beds are berths, and the toilet is a head ... and so on. Then we have fore, aft, abaft (behind), port (left side of vessel) and starboard.
Since my boat is a fiberglass hull laid up in a mold, it doesn't have floors, frames and stringers, but it does have a keel. Oh, the ceiling in a boat is the lining inside the hull, screwed to vertical spacers to insulate and hold things away from the damp insides of the outer hull. Most modern boats have molded inside liners rather than ceiling.
There .. that's a quick course in boat terminology (smile) ...
An hour and a half before the deadline of midnight, Nov. 30 slammed the door shut on me, I ran 51,056 words through the validation machine (to verify the word count). All of that was recent chapters on Masi'shen Stranded, some already posted, and (glory be!) some advance chapters. It will need proofing, editing, and delousing prior to posting, of course, but I can breathe a small sigh of relief. Once again, we're a little ahead of the curve.
One small promise: the next major project will be part two of my planned Pasayten Pete trilogy, called "Gold Mountain." Another promise: the damned thing will be writ and finished before I start posting it.
Addendum: Spouse and I celebrated Black Friday by staying in the black. We didn't spend any money at all. Nada. No shopping. Guess that makes me the Grinch. S'ok. Its better to be a solvent Grinch than a broke Grinch. So Christmas is coming. We're gonna send universal gift certificates. Saves on them freaky freight charges, and the grandkids love to get 'em. Happy Holidays, all. Keep yer heads down.