Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | October 24, 2014

Lunch Line Teaser Sample from The Death Dealer and The Orb of Truth

School_Cafeteria_by_Humble_NoviceI hated long lines.

Hated them for as long as I could remember.

But the crowded school cafeteria didn’t make things any easier for me than the first moment when I passed through the blue double-doors and stood behind Jack Nickerson; waiting with an almost impatient air and a nervous gait.

Clothed from head to toe in a tight-fighting dark black and blue fabric, I looked like a mummy had just escaped from the museum and decided to rum amok around town scaring people half to death.

But it was mom’s idea from the start. No part of my body should lay exposed to either the elements or human contact. I was to be far removed from tactile touch as possible.

If I violated the rules, the end results wouldn’t be pretty. Not for mom, not for me, and certainly not for any unlucky sort who was the recipient of my errant probe.

I was death personified. And nobody liked that kind of a job description. But the Death Dealers did what they could to balance things and I was no different. I may be just a wayward teenager with a lot on her mind, but I also had a job to do. I was the hopeful keeper of the Orb of Truth and that was a heavy bit of responsibility that had befallen every member of my family since we had become of age.

My father was the last to hold the device until he passed away unexpectedly, now it would be my turn next–seeing how mom had no real use for it.

But it was a delicate thing. Prone to shocks and jolts. But luckily for us, it could not be broken in the conventional sense.

So why was someone like me doing in a school cafeteria waiting for the lunch line to die down (bad choice of words, I know), so that I could get what I came for and be on my way?

I was hungry. I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast and the smells coming from the serving line made my stomach growl audibly.

Jack turned around at the sound my stomach made at that point and smiled gamely at me.

“Starving?” He teased relentlessly, the warmth behind his soft brown eyes most telling in the overhead skylights.

I blushed under my veil and nodded meekly.

I felt his impossibly warm hands through the thin fabric of my clothing–which sent shivers down my spine again–and was pushed back in jest.

“I’ll bring you your tray, Camille. Just like last time. You don’t have to worry about that.”

I nodded again, this time in a show of gratitude.

“Thank you, Jack.” I said, wishing in that instant that I could doff off my veil and mask and throw my arms around him, hug him, kiss him even, but I knew that it could never be.

I could never touch him. Not in a million years. No matter how much I wanted to.

Instead, he reached out for my arm and squeezed gently in response and nodded nonetheless.

“No problem.” He said. “I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I didn’t at least look out for you from time to time.”

“You’re always looking out for me. Ever since we were in grade school. Kindergarten even.”

Jack laughed a little. “I still remember what you looked like when your first arrived. A cute little bundle of joy with her arms immobilized by your side and those little ribbons you wore at the wrist. The knee socks, the pleated dress and everything from the neck down looking like you were wearing a niqab or something.”

“Well, I’m not Muslim.” I corrected gently.

Jack nodded nonetheless.

“No, but you are something else. Something very special.” He hinted warmly, giving me a reason to melt a little on the inside. That is, if it were ever possible for a living dead girl like me to feel such an emotion.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | October 24, 2014

New Book Series In Progress

Living_dead_girl_by_IWontLieDownI burned out completely by August with my Vampiress Hunter novel and got about 15 chapters done between August 10th and September 12th where I finally called it quits after writing the 100th chapter to the book trilogy. I just didn’t have the energy or the focus to wrap things up. So for the next 26-27 days, I was in limbo for much of September and into early October until about the 8th where I started writing a completely new book for a short series of books in the paranormal/romance department–trying to start things up with a new mission.

Presently, I have about 50,000 words done into the new novel, which is called The Death Dealer and The Orb of Truth. The book and the series centers around a Japanese-American third year student named Camille Young who is next in line to become a full fledged Death Dealer after her dad passed away ten years ago and on the cusp of her mom’s retirement.

Things seem to be simple on the surface for the young lady until you realize that she’s not quite what you expect for a promising young heroine. For one thing, she’s a living dead girl–half alive, half dead; the end result of a wish her father made with the Orb of Truth. Because of her unique status, Camille’s had to hide what she really is from the public eye through an improvised body wrap, head mask, and veil.

You would think that being born ugly and disfigured would create problems for her publicly and socially, but the community she grew up in rallied around her and gave her a lot of support and love. And since she’s been raised in the Osaka District of Japan (sans 2034), Camille has had the chance to make a few friends on the side and be accepted by the school and student body.

Along the way, she befriended a boy by the name of Jack Nickerson at a relatively young age and the two have been inseparable since kindergarten–having grown close as best friends go these days.

And friendships is what will help Camille solve a lot of problems along the way–including the theft of the Orb of Truth from her, the saving of her father’s spirit from the Soul Collector, and the hunt for two legendary Orbs; the Orb of Wandering Souls and the Orb of Fate. (Which the latter rounds out the fifth and final book.)

So I’ll be working on this one for awhile. Each book will mostly likely average about 140,000 words (maybe 150K–depending on what’s being written) and if I can hold the line, I should be finished by June of 2015–as I’ve put all my other projects on hold until then.

But this is will mark the first YA series I’ve ever written as well–having culled some inspiration for the book series on Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil. (I read that book twice.)

So wish me luck. The coming months are going to be crazy and fun-filled.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | September 28, 2014

Location, Location, Location…

post_apocalypse_locations_4_by_hiddenyume_stock-d5a1l5mA user in my Nanowrimo FB group wanted a different locale and setting for her paranormal/romance novel because–in her words–“Washington state” has been done to death in that regard because of what went on with the Twilight books. In her words, “I want to put some distance between me and that trope.”

Which is perfectly understandable, but has Washington state been done to death in paranormal/romance? I tried to see if I could find the answer on that on the internet, but my findings were inconclusive to say the least. There’s plenty of listings for paranormal romance novels and the like, but there’s nothing–no studies–which could shed some light on this interesting problem.

However, I may not have to look very far. I recently remembered a book series by one Patricia Briggs whose werewolf series involving her character Mercy Thompson was set in the Tri-Cities of Washington state–far from the usual locales like Port Angeles and/or Seattle–where many popular book series involving the supernatural or the paranormal were inherently based.

But given what I know about paranormal romance and the settings each author used as their default settings, I hardly think that Washington state has been a veritable magnet for all things vampires and werewolves, fairies, warlocks, demons, and the like.

Washington state hasn’t been the most popular state–in my opinion–for use in such stories because there’s not a lot there to excite the reader in terms of a romantic setting that instills excitement and drives the imagination to new heights of ecstasy. It’s like my pen pal in Ketchikan, Alaska using Alaska as her de facto setting for her science-fiction and fantasy novels these last 13 years: It doesn’t mean that using such genre elements makes the state a bad place to set your book’s theme in.

It just implies that there’s a lot of potential for growth in the historical and conventional sense.

That would be like me basing one fantasy series or something to that effect in my home city of Everett, Washington. Or even Marysville, or Lake Stevens.

But nothing–in my opinion–has been done to death. Location, settings, the whole nine yards, there’s still plenty of room for growth and book potential if given the chance. Just because Stephanie Meyers used Port Angeles as her “go to” destination for her Twilight saga doesn’t mean that the Evergreen State is off limits to the rest of the writing world and therefore unappealing to newcomers and burgeoning writers who want to add a little spice and excitement to their lives and in their novels.

But if you want to talk about over saturation of book settings, New York and California are used more often in most genres because of their idyllic settings and because some of us writers often dream about what it’s like to be in either state.

Plus, they are great fodder for disaster scenarios and post-apocalyptic story plots. Granted, Prodigy and Champion use the Pacific Northwest as their starting point (along with some zombie apocalypse novels), but writers these days are a lot more diverse when it comes to choosing where to set up camp with their books.

My Price of Freedom novel starts out in Kentucky of all places and ends up in enemy-occupied San Francisco. My Vampiress Hunter novel is set in Berkeley, California. So it’s not exactly in the most common places used by today’s authors. In fact, any location we choose for our novels would become the most idyllic setting. Some people just have their own preferences.

But done to death?

Not so sure.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | September 19, 2014

Better Late Than Never! ^_^

laptopWell, it took me four days longer to achieve my goal of 230,000 words on The Vampiress Hunter, but I did it. I’m sitting on a new milestone for a first-person novel. I’m trying to be a little more realistic now that I have another goal to reach, but in a month or two, the book should be nearly finished.

Right now, I’m having way too much fun writing the book, so I’m going to focus on the next 70,000 words and see what happens.

(A special note: I am also thinking of establishing either a GoFundMe or Kickstarter account so that I can raise money to go towards paying for the editing and cover art costs of a couple of my books–so that I don’t have to wait another decade or two to self-publish.

Keep in mind, it’s just a thought.)

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 29, 2014

Self-Publishing Goals Vs. Reality

Reality_1920x1200_by_pyxelatedAbout 15 years ago, I had a pretty decent shot of getting traditionally published with my first novel, The Starchild.

15 years ago.

1999-2000.

That was when I was in my mid-20s and feeling pretty gung-ho about myself. I figured that I could accomplish something worthwhile so that I could show all the naysayers and pessimists who kept dogging me for the better part of my life that…yes, I could do something! Will you kindly shut up now?!?

In my life experience, getting people to understand what you’re trying to accomplish (in terms of life goals) is a lot more harder than it looks. Since I chose my profession to be a writer and a hopeful author sometime this century (and no, I’m not kidding on that front), people have become less interested in what I’m doing and more interested in giving me the third degree on pretty much everything I’ve tried to accomplish or set out for myself because in this life, everyone is expecting me to be either insanely successful or stupidly rich beyond measure.

But when I’m bumping along from one minimum-wage job to the next and not advancing at all in my career choices (it’s hard when you’re not a kiss ass like everyone else), people start to look at you differently and treat you just the same; like you’re damaged goods or something.

It’s even worse when you don’t have the same lofty ambitions as say the guy who works as a mechanical engineer at Boeing versus the guy who is just getting out of college and trying (again) to find a better job than something that is less than minimum wage.

So…as such, my life hasn’t been all that exciting. Or fulfilling. I’ve been stuck doing the same thing over and over for the past 15 years and nothing has come to fruition. What’s worse, is that I don’t have a job to speak of and the prospects of finding one is less than the same odds in winning the lottery on a $1 ticket.

Or waking up the next day and finding out that you’ve been accepted by a major house to publish your book.

None of those things are in my immediate future. No job, no publishing contract, no lottery winnings, no nothing.

Just absolutely nothing. And the reason I say this is because my situation–as it is–isn’t going to change in the next several years, possibly longer.

Because there are no opportunities out there for me to advance. Not when you’re living on so little money and having to prioritize things once again to make sure that everything you need and have is met. The base existence and nothing more.

So as things have changed and times have changed, I find myself looking hopeful again that I can at least get something on the board in the coming years. It would be so easy to ask people for money to help me accomplish my dreams through some lofty Kickstarter campaign and get the ball rolling then, but as I’ve already stated, not too many people know what I’m trying to accomplish. When you’ve shown no encouraging results from your past attempts, people begin to question why they must do it all over again. Especially to someone like myself who isn’t going to be doing much but sitting on his butt, drinking lemon tea with juice, watch the world go by, and write his books.

Novels that few people will end up reading in the end.

So my goals in getting self-published in 2014–or even earlier–is dust in the wind. I mean, I could just self-publish now, but the truth is, none of my books are even remotely edited. And as I’ve seen in many self-published books of the past 7 years online–and in print form–books without a hint of professional editing or whatever, don’t tend to sell at all.

Especially when they don’t have a good cover to them.

So I could self-publish everything I’ve been writing for the past 20 years, but it wouldn’t avail me anything. Or you anyways. Because my reading audience would pick up on that fact and clue me in on how bad everything is, how many grammatical errors there are (more than the industry standard allows) and so I wouldn’t make enough money to buy a single loaf of bread or a gallon of milk in terms of combined royalties.

I just wouldn’t.

But 15 years have passed and I find myself writing my novels and not thinking about the urgency in getting something out within the next two or three years. I just don’t have the urge. And it’s not just because I don’t have money or an online presence to speak of (or a reading audience for that matter), I just find myself growing tired of the whole thing.

I’ve put so much effort trying to make people understand my position and my own ambitions, that I’ve left nothing else in reserve to fall back on. I simply don’t have the energy anymore.

I’m tired most of the time. And as such, time goes by and I still don’t have anything to showcase. And I’m not getting any younger either. With each passing decade, I find myself just less interested in the process and more focused on basic survival than anything else.

I stopped thinking about the fame and fortune game years ago when I lost my chance at becoming traditonally published after 9/11 hit.

So…self-publishing seems to be the only game in town. But for me, I still want to make something of an impression on people and I want to do it right. But as I’ve said before, I lack money and resources to do it. People tell me too many times that self-publishing is cheap and inexpensive, but you tell that to someone like me who has trouble scrounging up enough money to buy a decent pair of shoes every eight months, and you’ll soon discover that the process isn’t as cheap and inexpensive as one is led to believe, okay?

Because in my world and in my profession, I want to have a decent cover for my books and a professional edit for my novels before I sell them to the general public. I do not want to end up like those tens of thousands of self-published authors who have forsaken both because they were impatient.

So when I say that one of my novels won’t be available until 2026 or later (or never), I’m not saying this to piss interested people off. I’m simply gauging what I can do now versus what I can accomplish for later. I have to weigh in my options just like everyone else and act on them in kind.

But the truth is, without a stable source of income to propel me forward towards my goals, or anything else for that matter, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

I’m going to be stuck in this one gigantic holding pattern until my situation changes–for better or worse. I wish I could give people better news, but there hasn’t been any better news in a good long time.

Of course, some people will think–after reading this–that I’m not making any effort to change things, to take charge of the situation, but the truth is, I’m not assertive enough, nor am I aggressive enough.

I never wanted things badly like some of you have in the past, people who are driven to succeed at the cost of everything else. For me, my life has been empty of want and needs, but the desires are still there. I still dream of things, of better days ahead of me, but realistically-speaking? It’s not going to happen anytime soon. Not this year or the next, or the following year after or in 2018.

Because the opportunities that were there in the past that kept me and my life on an even foundation is now gone. And what’s left isn’t worth writing home about. So I’m stuck in a rut for the time being. I have been like this for awhile now. And not because I’ve grown complacent and lazy, but because I’m watching the world and I’m seeing how things are changing and how things are impacting a whole population of people, and I don’t see how their situation is going to change any better than mine is at the moment.

I wish I could just go out there and grab things by the horns, but in truth, it’s not who I am. I am a passive individual. I don’t go out there and take the initiative like so many people I’ve watched (and failed at) have, I just wait. I’ve made a career of waiting. And watching. And observing.

Because when you’re in a holding pattern, you begin to see things differently. For the past five years, I’ve been waiting. I’ve been in a holding pattern. I’ve also been struggling to get my life back on track. And having no job doesn’t help matters much, but when you’ve been out of work for as long as I have and have nothing to really offer to prospective employers, your chances of getting a job is so diminished, it’s not even worth thinking about.

And yes, I’ve thought about college too, but the truth is, I would find myself back where I started 15 years ago after I got out of college the second time and discovering the hardened truth about how employers treat the college-trained graduates like me. (It’s not pleasant or pretty.)

So when you’re faced with that and so many other challenges, your options of advancement is severely limited and you have to start thinking realistically what you can actually do versus what everyone else around you expects you to do.

And I for one would rather do the things I’m capable of than do the things that society demands I do out of some sort of misplaced sense of hierarchical methodology that pits the strong against the weak for a bid at the top rung of the sociological ladder.

But as I’ve said, I’m surrounded by impatient people. By parties who don’t value individual accomplishments, but are more consumed by the acquisition of money, power, and status. By how they see people like me even.

So unless you’re really pressed for time, you’re just going to have to stick things out a little bit longer than planned. Because I have no intention of rushing things. I could–realistically–wait out the rest of my life until the very end to get something going.

Seriously, another fifteen year wait wouldn’t faze me. I’ll be 55 then and probably homeless and living on the streets with only the clothes on my back to sustain me. I couldn’t tell you for certain. But what I do know is that for now, I have nothing waiting in the wings–but just a bunch of unpublished books.

And it could very well be that I’ll never publish or self-publish. I keep seeing myself just writing and not doing anything because the color has gone from my life and all I’m doing is nothing to advance my situation in any way.

And when that happens–the common sense approach is to cut everything loose and salvage what you can. Start over from scratch.

In the business world, it would be called a lay off. In the working world, it would be called a termination. But whatever you want to call it, it would simply be simple dead wood. Drift wood.

And from my experience, nobody is really interested in that–leaving my reality very much in doubt for any hopes of change.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 26, 2014

Panty Thief Sample (The Vampiress Hunter)

black_by_kanikeyI don’t know much about vampire hunters other than what I’ve seen on both Vampire Hunter D movies, but my vampire hunter has this black cat named Sebastian who is a load of trouble and a lot of fun. His favorite activities are getting out of the apartment to eat bugs and hide Marlena’s panties under the bed for later.

So writing this bit made me laugh because…hell, it was funny having a pet that did all sorts of strange things, right? Because I had a black cat named Bandit that used to poop under my bed when I was a teen. But he was a superb mouser.

So writing about this particular black cat made me think of him and so many others whose antics were the stuff of legends and memories.

***

I tossed them into the small hamper next to the door, then went on the hunt for my own clothes and found them to be in three separate locations–with my panties stuffed partly under the bed towards the end.

I was at a momentary loss as to how this could’ve happened and then I suddenly remembered something.

Damn. I thought with hot embarrassment; turning to the one and only thief in the house who had the balls to pull something like this off time and again.

“Sabby, you little pervert!” I scolded him in a whisper–looking at his beautiful yellow eyes in passing. “If I told you once, I have told you countless times: No stealing Mommy’s panties!

But my cat just bumped up against my legs while I wore a disgusted look on my face.

“You better not have peed on them again, you little monster.” I growled, holding my panties to my nose and doing a sniff test.

Nope. My cat was in the clear this time. No smelling of funky cat pee. Nothing to suggest he was marking them for his very own…this time.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 23, 2014

Sample Teaser For The Vampiress Hunter. ^_^

lesbian_animals_by_inusen-d5ltjuiA bit of a teaser sample from my Vampiress Hunter novel. Publication date? 2026.

***

Tabby continued to kiss me tenderly on the stomach, trailing her mouth along the soft contours of my abs, dropping down just a little bit more in passing, her fingers snaking themselves down a little further towards my kitty.

With a little gentle insistence on her part, she managed to get my legs partly open so that she could gain access to the prize that awaited.

I didn’t so anything then, but stood there and let her explore on her own terms. I certainly didn’t want her to stop either, even as I felt the first of two fingers gently probe my folds, part my lips, and play with my swollen nub just a little before going a little further down.

“You smell wonderful.” Tabby complimented. “Like fresh rain after a summer storm.”

I tried not to giggle, but what came out of my mouth was aborted laughter and I quickly squelched any further precept by letting her retain control over the situation.

For a moment, a sliver of clarity entered my mind and I thought for a second that my little mind trick had gotten things a little backwards.

Wasn’t she supposed to be enjoying this to the fullest or was it vice-versa? Me enjoying instead? I thought to myself as I felt her nose bump along the my stomach before she spread my lips as far as they could go. Then I felt flicks of her tongue delicately plumbing my valley and swirling around my clitoris–sending small shots of electricity down my spine and into my legs–while ending somewhere below the knee.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 21, 2014

Panic. Just…panic.

panicThis month has been a complete and total waste–so far. Three chapters in less than three weeks means that my current win streak is over. Not to say that the past couple of months haven’t been liberating, but I wish August had been a little more kind to me than it has been thus far. But I suspect that all my energy reserves had been depleted after a vigorous summer of writing non-stop.

However, I have broken the 200K word count barrier for The Vampiress Hunter today, so all that remains is the 30,000 to do before the next month’s goal and deadline. I do have to get a start on The Lost Princess and The Life of Pi for the coming new year and that means a lot more writing ahead of me. But it also means a couple new goals to set in the interim.

I’m hoping that the fall and winter months are as productive–before December comes calling and it’s another job of bell-ringing for this out of work writer. (I have since given up looking for work because…no jobs and nobody interested in hiring the chronically unemployed. And I’ve already had long discussions with people about going back to college and facing the same hurdles coming out: Being overqualified and having no work experience, plus being out of work for almost twenty years. (How do you explain that to employers?) )

But I think I can nail down 1.5 novels before then. But as it stands, inspiration to write only strikes when you want it to, not because it has to.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 16, 2014

Codename: Velocity Fan Art #1

image_by_artemuses-d7uiikvI think I’m going to start encouraging people to send me fan art based on the book–so that everyone can see who their favorite character looks like. 

But this one is based on what Velocity might look like lounging about. I still have to come up with some that depict Jaen and Mari. But those might come later. :)

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 15, 2014

Time To Set A New Goal!

goals__by_costalonga-d50x4vwAugust is officially my slowest month so far yet.

Two chapters in 15 days, with five days off and I feel fragged. So I’m going to reset my goal keeper for a mid-September completion date and see where that lands me.

I still haven’t broken 200K on the novel, but I did come up with two new Vampiress Hunter novels for the planned prequel trilogy which follows Child of Blood, Circles of Desire, and Pools of Sorrow.

The first novel is called Blood and Bone and it will take place 16 years before the events set in the debut novel. The story line follows Marlena around in the European Union during the year the terrorist bombings strike the college campuses around the US, heralding in a new age of fear and terror–while laying the groundwork for the military protectorate.

I’m still trying to figure out the whole plot to the book–on top of everything else–but this is what I do as a novelist.

The second book titled Shadows in Starlight tells of what happened to Marlena during her first job assignment as a vampire hunter 200 years after her family and village were wiped out by the earthquake which left her an orphan and into the eventual care of her master and Creator, S’onu.

The third novel in the planned trilogy still doesn’t have a title, but I’ll be thinking of something in the interim.

 

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