Progress! Otherwise Known as “Beats are Hard!”

Okay, maybe “Beats are hard” is a little hyperbolic. They’re only hard in comparison to something, and when I’m in a complain-y mood, beats are hard compared to sitting and drowsing on the couch. But if I’m honest, beats are actually easier that the regret I’ll feel if I don’t finish them! In my last post, I mentioned that I was working on the beats for “Divinity Descending” (it was called “Divinity Falling”). Then, I had about 10 chapters outlined. Now, I have over forty. I’ve finished the Setup and the Response (based on Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering, which you Read More

No More Excuses! (Said More Timidly than the Exclamation Point Suggests)

I should probably tell you to sit down. So, for your own safety, please sit down! Ready? I’m trying to write again! Semi-defeatist humor aside, I’ve been plugging away for a couple of weeks now after wrapping up the massive spring/summer project. Here’s proof:     I have the major character fleshed out, as well as many of the world’s settings. It’s been just over a year since I selected the working titles for the trilogy, and only my full time job and family commitments have stopped me from moving forward more rapidly. Well, that and insecurity. Oh, and on Read More

The “Whole Audience Thing” through the Lens of Star Trek Discovery

I’m trying to be a student of Sterling & Stone’s Smarter Artist approach to indie writing. One of their core concepts, just after “Know your why,” is to know your audience and to write material they’d want to read. Not sell yourself out by writing junk you think might sell, but by finding your audience, a group of folks who want to read the kinds of things you want to write, and writing for them. It’s an important rule, and like all rules, only a master can break it with hope of success. For example: When Harlan Ellison wrote the Read More

Can Storyist Defeat Scrivener?

I like Scrivener. It’s powerful, it gets out of my way when I want it to, and it can produce e-book output. But there are times it lets me down. Like when I want to change a Style and — whoops! — Scrivener doesn’t have styles! Then I get antsy and look around. Yesterday, I tried Storyist. The feature-set looked close enough to warrant the effort. Wonder if I’m still using Scrivener or not? Working with Characters Right now, as I’m working on Divinity Descending (previously known as Divinity Falling — but that had too much of an “I’ve fallen Read More

Politics Aside, We Are Supposed to be a People…

To file under the auspices of “I think we’re living in a science fiction parallel universe…” Or, more accurately, “Please God, let us be living in a parallel science fiction universe…” Yeah, I know it’s horribly arrogant. But I’m going to say it anyway: The United States is supposed to be a beacon of hope to the world. The Founding Fathers tried to establish a government that would “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Secure the Blessings of Liberty… First, Read More

A Ghast in Melchizedek’s Backstory

You know how when you’re really into writing — when you forget there’s a keyboard and the words flow unfettered from mind to screen? It’s like establishing a warp field. Until something pierces the field, your creativity’s flowing — but even then, you’re only mostly in control. Case in point: I’m working on a scene from Melchizedek’s* adolescence to help me fully envision his backstory. I had a specific goal in mind, and I was happily writing toward that goal. Dek’s was a VR landscape when he encounters an AI ghost that’s supervising some children. Here’s where things got weird. Read More

Titles, Characters, and Old Demons

Trilogy’s Title In my last post, I laid out the titles for the books making up my first planned trilogy. You may recall that they were: Divinity Falling Olympia Dreaming Founders’ Rising I proudly announced that the trilogy’s title would be The Fall of Caerleon. My daughter, who is herself a published writer*, read that once, frowned, and asked why the titles were non-parallel. Sigh. She didn’t buy my explanation that Auto Correct was the culprit. So, I am now re-announcing the trilogy’s title. It’s: Caerleon Falling. Characters My favorite part of writing a novel is building the characters and Read More

Prose Just Got Real: The First Trilogy Has Working Titles!

My last post mentioned Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering (you can buy it here — I can’t recommend it enough!). The book’s a wealth of information about all aspects of writing a novel, from the nuances of character creation to plotting. The latter was of particular interest to me, since I had concluded that my writing skills lacked one critical part: I didn’t know how to plot a novel. Yeah, I’m kinda disappointed with me, too. You’d think by now… Putting aside my natural tendency to take myself to try myself, convict myself, and give myself a stern talking to, I’ve Read More

One More Piece of the Puzzle…

One more piece of the puzzle and I’ll be ready to start working on the arcs for the first trilogy. No, really! That’s the plan! This time for sure! Why now? What’s changed since I wrote my last novels?* Well, my wife introduced me to Sterling & Stone. If you have any interest in self-publishing, go check out their site. Right now. I won’t mind! I’ll wait. They’re busily perfecting the art of self-publishing high-quality works in a number of genres. Even better (as if that accomplish weren’t enough, which it is!), they share what they’ve learned. Watching their videos Read More

Wasn’t This an Application Security Blog?

Yes, it was!

Interstell, Inc.’s adjusting its properties to better serves its customers, so this site,, is transitioning to a blog covering the challenges and jobs of writing novels.

Realigning Our Sites2

The application security material is moving (and we hope expanding!) at this site:

Please visit us there!

And if you’re interested in writing novels, please check back here from time to time!


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