Oct 15

The Universe Expands! Well, This Corner of It, Anyway…

By terranceacrow | News

Trying to write novels when you have a full time job, a family, and an anime blog is slower going than I wanted to believe it'd be! But I want this series of books to be enjoyable, and that means I need to craft them with all of the skill at my disposal...

Who am I kidding? I'll need more than all the skill at my disposal!

I want to prove to you that I'm still moving forward, so I offer proof that the beats continue to take shape. Here's a screen capture of my Scrivener project after tonight's work:

In my last post, I had six chapters plotted. Now, I have twelve! That's double! And yes, I'm trying to make it sound more impressive than it is!

You might reasonably point out that back in August, I had plotted six chapters. Now, I have twelve. It's double. But it's twelve.

In my defense, I offer this: Given how I approach novels, each  early chapter takes longer because I have to build the infrastructure to support it. For example, I've had to design the TransStell Expeditionary Force (TDF) Indianathe first of the fissure ships. I've had to come up with a new way to rank officers and enlisted crew in an age where corporations dominate. To be candid, I'm excited about this change. I hope you like it and think it's interesting!

I've also been building the star systems on the other side of the Fissures. Take, for example, 61 Cygni:

I'm amazed at what I can find on Wikimedia Commons! Take these images of 61 Cygni, for example...

That doesn't include the work I've done on the characters and situations around the United Nations, the new character from India who will command the TEF Indiana, the plans the Ghast is laying now that she's off world. That's not to mention an overarching story that I just put into place.

See, I've been reading the Lensman series, starting with Galactic Patrol. E. E. "Doc" Smith, Phd, wrote them in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Culturally, the books show their age. But technologically and philosophically? They're fantastic! Like Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, the Lensman books reminded me that I need a theme or over-arching concept to tie the books together. And I think I've established that with the character of Adam Barnasha.

Which will mean nothing to you until you read the books!

I know it's taking me forever to get this done! I know that even as I plot the fall of Arequipa, Peru, time is screaming by. But this blog is helping me keep focused. 

I'm going to finish the beats for this book, and the next, and the next. Then I'm going to write these three books and the prequel. Then I'm going to offer them to you and the rest of the world! 

And I really hope you like them! Because without readers like you, what's the point?

Aug 02

A Ghast in the Machine Takes Shape!

By terranceacrow | News

A Ghast in the Machine continues to take shape! It’s been May since I last posted about it, and I haven’t made anywhere near the progress I wanted, but I’m still fighting the good fight!

Well, at least I haven’t given up…

That’s something!

Here’s what Scrivener looks like right now:

What? Only five chapters? To be fair, if you look at the Character folder you’ll see that I haven’t been completely idle!

Now, before you accuse me of sloth, take a look at the Characters folder. You’ll see some work’s done there! Plus, you can’t see the Planetary Systems folder, or the folder called Ships…

Like Divinity Ascending before it, the background is expanding by leaps and bounds. It’s not reflected yet in the beats, but I have the elevator speech done, so that’s guiding my development. At this stage, I have two things I’d love to share with you.

First, I just learned that one of new characters, Yessica Romero, is from Cusco, Peru. I had no idea! I love discovering stuff like this about my characters. Whether this is just me trying to make the creative process sound more portentous or not, it’s still fun to see the characters develop at this stage of my novel writing process. In case you’re interested, Yessica is the President of the UN’s General Assembly. Whereas Divinity Ascending focused on what had once been the United States, A Ghast in the Machine takes place all over the globe and beyond the Sol System. In fact, this is the book that beings to move in the direction I’d originally envisioned for the series — that of a Space Opera.

Yessica Romero is from the Peruvian city that’s home to these ruins (Machu Picchu). Beautiful, aren’t they? If a corporation were to say, threaten them, it might come across as a bit negative, right? “That’s a nice world heritage treasure you have there. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it…”

Second, I just had lunch with one of my friends, Bruce Westbrook. Since Divinity Ascending takes place mostly on Earth, I can’t really call it Space Opera, can I? That was really bugging me, because I’d intended for it to be the first book in the series. Bruce, an avid science fiction reader, reasonably suggested that I make Divinity Ascending a prequel and release it after the initial two or three books to satisfy the curiosity of readers who might like the characters and situations.

And suddenly, everything made sense!

A Ghast in the Machine will likely (according to my current plans, which, as you well know if you’ve been reading this blog, change from time to time) be the first book that I try to publish. Instead of a trilogy, I think I’ve come to understand that the characters and situations are pushing me towards a long-running series. I’ll probably try to publish two or three books, then release Divinity Ascending. Or maybe I’ll save it as a gift to entice folks to join my e-mail list.

In any event, I had to write the beats for Divinity Ascending before I could understand how to start A Ghast in the Machine. So the work, far from being wasted, was foundational.

Now, if I could just figure out how to wring more time out of a day…

As it stands now, I’m having a blast fleshing out the world and writing the beats. I really hope to have something concrete to share with you soon! Until then, have you ever read fanfic? You might know that I watch a lot of anime (it’s good for the creative juices!). One of the series (Sekirei Pure Engagement) inspired me to write a short story, and you can read it here.

At least it’s evidence I can write fiction! Note that I’m not making any claims to its quality…

Thanks for reading!

May 17

The Beats for Novel 2 (Trilogy 1) Are Underway!

By terranceacrow | News

I’ve been able to give real life the slip for a few days, so I’ve been able to get started on the beats for the second novel (of the first trilogy)!

Remember when I announced that I’d finished the beats for Divinity Ascending? At that time, I wasn’t sure what the next novel would be called. The two main characters of Divinity Ascending, Melchizedek “Dek” Conrad and Matsushita Sachi, had staged a coup, and they forced me to reconsider my plans for the first trilogy. After intense negotiations (you have to keep both eyes on Sachi, I can tell you!), we’ve decided on the title of the book 2:

A Ghast in the Machine

Wow. It sure looks empty.

Before, I mentioned that the Ghast wasn’t even supposed to be in the first book. Well, not content with a larger role in Divinity Ascending, she demanded to be featured in title for the second book. And to be honest, I still don’t know her motives. I’m not kidding — this character’s going places I didn’t intend!

The screen shot above is from what I’m evolving as my default Scrivener template for a book. It’s only a little different from the standard Scrivener fiction/novel template, but I like to add things like the “In a Nutshell” section with the elevator speech. I was surprised how much that helped me focus the direction of Divinity Ascending. Want a taste of the first few lines of the elevator speech from A Ghast in the Shell?

What if you try to get away from the corporations, but they get there ahead of you?

Starts in Spring, 2166.

At the end of Divinity Ascending, Mel and Sachi had struck a deal with TCP to fend off the destruction of TransStell. But TransStell was no less damaged, and TCP no less strong. They’d only bought themselves some time — if they could use it.

Now, if I can elude Real Life’s attention for awhile, maybe I can crank out these beats!

Mar 11

Does Finishing a Novel’s Beats Qualify for a Celebration?

By terranceacrow | Novel Pre-Production

Remember back in January when I said I hoped to have the beats for Divinity Ascending finished soon?

Guess what?

As of 6:30PM on Sunday, March 11, 2018, the beats for Divinity Ascending are done!

Does finishing the beats/outline quality for a celebration? I don’t know for sure, so maybe I’ll only have a Bud Light instead of a higher quality brew…

Yes, it’s true! The beats for Divinity Ascending are done. And you know what that means! Time to write the beats for the next book!

73 chapters. From Columbiana, visible from the wreckage of what used to be Columbus, Ohio to the gilded vaults of Manhattan. From the ruins of Old Cleveland to the launch ports near the coast in Opelousas, Louisiana. From the TransStell manufacturing facilities in the L2 Earth/Moon orbit to the bases constructed in the Newton crater on the moon. The beats for Divinity Ascending are done!

I mentioned earlier that I want to finish the beats for the first three or four novels before actually writing them. I’ve been studying Sterling & Stone, whose Fiction Unboxed is well worth the price, as well as Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10,000 readers, which seems to be  a great resource for setting up your own marketing infrastructure that is independent of, but takes advantage of, the e-publishers like Amazon. The consensus seems to be that you need three or four books in the chute to begin building your audience, and I guess that makes sense. So, that’s my plan.

Problem is, Mel and the Ghast weren’t content with dramatically changing the plot of Divinity Ascending. I thought I had the initial trilogy planned. But Mel, the Ghast, and others (don’t even get me started on Matsushita Sachi and her family) have decided that no, Olympia Dreaming isn’t the next book. In fact, it’s not even in the first trilogy!

In all honesty, I’m hugely relieved that the characters are interacting with me like this. The stories are about them, and if I’m serious about viewing my writing as an act of sub-creation (albeit in a derivative sense), then I’m going to need their help.

Now that I have a system down, I hope I can crank out the beats for the next two books (whatever they’re called!) in less time. According to my instance of Jira,* I spent 48 hours and 31 minutes of effort hours to write the first beats. That seems excessive to me. I’ll see if I can do the next book even faster, with more coherency!

I hope you’re excited to see forward motion! I’ll try to have some interesting material for you as we get closer to launch.

Hope to have more good news soon!

* Yeah, I use Jira, a software development tool, to track progress on my books. Old habits die hard!

Jan 14

Characters in Rebellion!

By terranceacrow | Novel Pre-Production

My characters are assuming control of the first novel.

This is actually a good thing. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. This is what happened: As I was pushing to finish the last 20% of the beats, the Ghast and Mel Conrad conspired to dramatically change the direction of the plot.

First, not content with a bit part, the Ghast (who wasn’t even supposed to be in this novel!), demanded a bigger role. For reasons unknown, Mel supported her! Now her role is about 60% larger than I expected.

Second, in a related development, the title is changing to “Divinity Ascending.” I hope you’ll see why soon.

What high maintenance characters!

Seriously, I do think this is a good thing. It means I’m getting to know the characters better. It means they’re speaking to me and they’re trying to help me be a less stupid writer.

I almost feel sorry for them. Their struggle in that regard will be mighty!

In any event, I hope to have the beats done for Divinity Ascending soon. Then, I’ll write the beats for the next two novels before harmonizing all three. If my plans go well, within a few months I’ll start writing in earnest.

I hope to have more news soon!

Nov 21

Progress! Otherwise Known as “Beats are Hard!”

By terranceacrow | News

Over forty and counting! Conrad’s in Old Cleveland and Sachi is trying to keep TransStell together.

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 can buy it here — I can’t recommend it enough!), which means that according to Billy Wilder’s plot nomenclature, my main character is up in the tree, and the tree’s now fully engulfed in flames.

I’m really enthusiastic about that description!

During the time this story takes place, what was the US has broken up. Kinda the way things are now, but with national boundaries and military involvement. Plus corporate interests. The profit motive and international politics are a bad mix…

Not only do I have the beats sketched for 40+ chapters, but I’ve greatly refined the map of the North American continent since the time of my screen shot comparing Scrivener to Storyist.

I’ve also greatly expanded the list of characters and locations. A lot of the story happens in Columbiana, Ohio, which rests northwest of the remains of Columbus. It’s basically the result of Delaware, Ohio and Marysville, Ohio. I’m not sure if the backstory will make it into the novel (at least the first novel), but Colonial America made several deep incursions into The Middle States, and both Columbus and Cleveland were nearly destroyed.

Fortunately for the story, Old Cleveland is fertile ground: The ghast has taken up residence there. What, a ghast? You can read a little about the ghast in this post.

I still hope to get a mailing list up and running soon, because if I’m going to independently publish this, I’ll need to have folks (like you?) interested ahead of time.

If you’ve read this far, thanks! I hope this sounds interesting to you.

See you next post!

Oct 18

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

By terranceacrow | News

I should probably tell you to sit down.

So, for your own safety, please sit down!


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 told you to sit down, didn’t I?


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 a more positive note, I invested in Sterling and Stone’s Fiction Unboxed 1.0. It’s a video/audio/artifact journey. Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant (with some guest appearances by David W. Wright from Undisclosed, Florida) go from no concept to finished novel in 30 days. Putting aside the achievement of writing a 100,000+ word novel in 30 days, I found the insights gained from seeing how they leverage beats and story planning sessions to be fascinating.

And helpful.

I don’t get any kickback if you invest in that series, so please know I’m only recommending it because I thought it was helpful.

Not ready to invest that much? Then I can recommend the book from Amazon. And I do get a cut if you buy that book, since I’m an Amazon affiliate!

I’ll keep you up to date on my progress. I might share an occasional scene, if there’s interest.

Okay, back to writing for me!

Jun 27

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

By terranceacrow | Novel Pre-Production

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 original script for Star Trek’s (original series) episode City on the Edge of Forever, legend has it that he had crew members on the Enterprise dealing drugs. The Star Trek audience wouldn’t have accepted that, because that’s not the world Gene Roddenberry envisioned for Star Trek. Harlan Ellison* criticized the decision to change his script, but in the end, Roddenberry and associates won out to protect the integrity of their vision. Otherwise, they would have disconnected from their audience.

As I’m building the world for Divinity Falling, I saw the official first look trailer for Star Trek: Discovery. I wondered why I disliked it so intensely. Stars I like hold the leading roles. The special effects look like they’re top notch for today’s technology. But you know what?

It’s not Star Trek.

Even though it says Star Trek right in the title, it is not Star Trek.

First, Star Trek is about the ships. I can tell the difference between the Constitution-class Enterprise and Enterprise-A; the Excelsior-class Enterprise-B; the Ambassador-class Enterprise-C; the Galaxy-class Enterprise-D; and the Sovereign-class Enterprise-E. I can even identify the NX-class Enterprise by sight. Maybe because of the tireless work of the designers since the original series, the ships of each era had distinctive characteristics. At a glance, you know that the USS Reliant from Wrath of Khan was a contemporary of Enterprise-A, or that the Defiant from Star Trek Deep Space Nine was a contemporary of the Enterprise-D. The ships and their related technologies like Star Bases gave the world of Star Trek a distinctive and comfortable feel. Not only the ships, but their interiors, especially the bridges, were part of a continuity. As a fan, I loved that.

I’ll bet you can tell at a glance what period a ship comes from. Check out this image from Deviant Art. Don’t read the caption. Just at a glance, what period is it from?

The Discovery doesn’t seem to fit anywhere in that timeline. Watching the official first look trailer, I felt like I was watching something from the Kelvin timeline. It’s nothing like what I’d expect for a bridge that existed before the Enterprise of the original series. If anything, I’d expect it to share updated characteristics from the Enterprise shown in The Cage. Truth be told, I’d love to see a resurrected design like that!

Technology changes, you say. I can’t expect a series produced in 2017 to use such outdated visuals, you say.

Sorry, I ain’t buying it!

The Star Trek Next Generation episode Relics showed the original series Enterprise bridge in a Holodeck simulation, and it never looked better. And if you want to be part of Star Trek, be part of Star Trek! Don’t make something that looks like a cross between Dune and Star Wars A New Hope! Both are great franchises; but neither are Trek.

The second characteristic of Star Trek has survived almost all of its television incarnations, even to a lesser extent through Enterprisesocial awareness and commentary. Whether they’re protesting the war (like the war contemporaneous with the original series, which was Vietnam) in A Taste of Armageddon, exploring the insanity of racism in Let This Be Your Last Battlefield, or the implications of disability (like deafness) in Loud As a Whisper, Trek often dove into these topics. That’s part of its timeless appeal. Did you see anything like that in the Kelvin timeline? I didn’t. This is only conjecture, but I’m betting that’s part of why the latest movies haven’t spawned the kind of merchandising success that we saw for previous efforts.

As a part of the original Trek audience, I can say that those forays into social commentary are what stay with me.

I look at the official first look trailer, and I don’t see anything that speaks to me. And lest you think I’m just being a typical old curmudgeon yelling at the new series to get off my lawn, consider: I watched Prelude to Axanar, and I see what could have been if the powers that be doubled-down on the core Trek audience. I even watched the trailer for a Trek spoof called The Orville, and I’m excited! That’s more Trek than Discovery!

Be honest. Watch the official first look trailer:

Then go watch Prelude to Axanar:

Heck, go watch the trailer for The Orville:

Please, be honest.

Which of those three shows look and feel the most like Trek?

I’ll tell you my opinion: Axanar first, Orville second, and that’s it. I don’t think poor Discovery feels at all like Trek.

If Harlan Ellison, a Science Fiction Grand Master and one of the most prolific and imaginative writers of our time, had to respect his audience with “City on the Edge of Forever,” then I’m betting that Discovery will have to as well. That is, if the show hopes to succeed.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh on an unproven series? Does Discovery’s current masters seem to lack respect for the Trek universe? Or am I setting up a false dilemma? Let me know in the comments!

* If you’re interested learning more about Harlan Ellison and his colorful personality, I strongly recommend Dreams with Sharp Teeth. I re-watch it when I need a creative boost.

May 02

Can Storyist Defeat Scrivener?

By terranceacrow | Product Review

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 and I can’t get up vibe,” so I switched). That means it’s character creation time! I’ve taken some hints from The Smarter Artist, and one of their ideas was to use actor’s photographs to “cast” the role. I can’t exactly show that aspect in this post, because I don’t have enough money to afford to buy the rights to the photographs. But I can compare the non-photographic pieces. Comparing the two program, I can say that:

  1. Both allowed me to create a section to hold characters
  2. Both allowed me to create folders under that section
  3. Both allowed me to create character descriptions/sheets under the folders

Here’s a sample of what the two looked like:

Scrivener is in the upper left; Storyist, in the lower right.

The good news for Storyist? First, I liked its dark-mode. It looks particularly good on my iMac’s 5K Retina display. It let me create the layout I wanted, and it gives me an overview display that lets me see the characters at a glance.

Unfortunately, there’s bad news, too. I can add pictures to the Storyist character pages, but the size is fixed. I can’t change the size of the display! To me, that’s a big problem. When I’m in create mode, I like to just slam pictures into the page. I don’t want to have to stop and think of how I have to center/modify/etc. the pictures. So, I have to give this important category to Scrivener.


There’s good news for Storyist here, too. Consider this screen shot comparing the two programs:

Again, Scrivener is in the upper left and Storyist is in the lower right.

I’m trying to learn how to implement the ideas Larry Brooks writes about in Story Engineering. Not sure if I’m doing it right, but both programs let me try to interpret those concepts. You can see the basic outlines in the screen shot above.

Storyist gives me something that Scrivener doesn’t: a really easy way to link scenes to plot points (the documents with light bulbs) to sections (the documents with gray hashtags). First, I laid out the sections (Set-Up, Response, Attack, and Resolution). Then, clicking on one of the sections, I was able to create the plot points. As I did so, those plot points were automatically linked to the section. I found that really convenient.

This category goes to Storyist!

Creating a World

This category was the make-or-break category for Storyist. How’d it do?

Take a look at this diagram:

Scrivener allows pretty much any size graphic. Storyist? Sigh…

In Scrivener, I can paste just about any size graphic into a document. Need a huge map of the US? No problem! Need a panoramic view of a valley? Sure! Paste away!


Remember the note about character graphics? It applies to graphics pasted here, too. There’s supposedly a way to get bigger graphics by using a collage, but I want a graphic of a map for my world location/setting called United States Map. I want to be able to read “Kansas Supremacy” (even if I can’t spell it in the screen shot!). That’s not happening in Storyist.

For me, this was fatal. I had to disqualify Storyist, at least in terms of my workflow, because of this.

Scrivener’s Death-Grip!

Scrivener doesn’t have styles. That offends me. Okay, that’s hyperbolic. Its lack of styles blunts my control over formatting. However, when I looked at Storyist, I liked some of its features and could live with other features that weren’t my favorite, but it’s approach to graphics was a complete mismatch for how I approach writing.

Am I saying Storyist is bad or evil or whatever? Good gravy, no! I’m just saying it didn’t work for me because of how it handles graphics.

So, Scrivener retains its position as my writing tool of choice!

Guess I don’t have the excuse of trying another writing tool to prevent me from getting back to writing!

Nov 21

Politics Aside, We Are Supposed to be a People…

By terranceacrow | Politics

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, please be aware: I do not accept the idea that there is a Right and a Left in American politics. I perceive these as fictions designed with one simple (and unfortunately effective) idea in mind: to control the population, to pit one “side” against the other, the convince people on one “side” to ignore their own best interests under the auspices of supporting their party.

Second, I ain’t the brightest person Sol III’s produced. I admit that readily. The trouble is, of all of my attributes, my intellect lets me down the fewest number of times, and it’s whispering some dark things in my ear…

I get that the political elite have utterly (and I fear, irrevocably) ignored the needs of vast swaths of the population. Global trade deals, while necessary for the country’s long-term health, were implemented in such a way that too many citizens lost their jobs. One would have been too many, but these losses crushed the middle class — the segment of the population on whose backs the country rested.

Much like the military rests on the backs of the senior non-commissioned officers.

The political elites — the military officers in this analogy — abdicated their responsibilities. Instead of building programs to retrain those who wanted to be retrained, or to incentive industries in the same areas where the jobs bled away, the political elites made deals that ensured their personal futures and fortunes.

And the middle class workers watched their livelihoods wither.

To support this rift, to obscure their real goals and to maintain their power base, the political elites pushed more and more heavily the false “right vs left” paradigm. They also manufactured artificial enemies, whether they be minorities, those who have non-traditional (whatever that means) sexual views, or whether they hold a faith different from those in power, because what artificial power base can exist without a presumed enemy?

I mean, the very last thing the political elites want is for citizens to awaken to the simple idea that they were all suffering, and that many of their collective woes could be addressed by a common set of programs and themes.

I also get that those who were neglected and relegated to the fringes would latch onto anyone who seemed like they would speak for them. The hero motif is strong in human civilization, isn’t it?


Pink Floyd’s The Wall was not supposed to be a How To!

I watch The Wall’s scene for “In the Flesh” and I see the coming inauguration…

Watch this and be honest. How many of the “enemies” that Bob Geldof’s character call out are the same ones that the current President Elect, and his supporting apparatus, call out as enemies? As those whose rights must the stomped into the dirt?

And these same people who are called out are United States citizens!

I watch “Run Like Hell” and I see the first 100 days…

I mean, we’re already seeing an upsurge in incidents of cruelty. I’m not talking about sins against “political correctness,” a concept that I reject as nonsensical. I’m talking about humans being cruel to other humans. No spin, no euphemisms, just a stark, honest recognition that those who now see themselves as in power are ramping up their verbal and physical attacks on humans who are not now in power.

White supremacists supporting the President elect

How is that an America ideal?

Thousands of Americans died in the mid 1800s in an attempt to kill the idea that one color of skin was superior to another.

What’s it going to take to grant Liberty to all Americans?

What’s it going to take for those of us who the political elites ignore to come together, ignoring the political parties who have clearly failed us, and demand that the government do the work “of the people, by the people, for the people?

As a science fiction writer and student of history, I can see that the times we live in are of academic interest. I can compare what I’m seeing how to 1984 and reflect how that, too, was not supposed to be a “how to” manual. I can reflect on how my next novel was going to tackle many of these themes, but now I’m wondering if history’s caught up with me. Maybe I’m writing a news article instead of a science fiction novel?

But as a human, as someone who struggles to understand the plight of other humans and who tries, however much in vain, to alleviate the pain our society inflicts on others…

This is a terribly dark time to be alive.