Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Vote on the Title of my Book! Yay!

I have continued work on my fantasy novel, presently titled Praeteran.  I have just hit 71,000 words, which, while still a little short, is in the range that I wanted to hit.  While I do have a few more edits planned, I am hoping to have the first person other than me read it in the very near future, which should be easy enough, because she lives in the same house I do.  :) I will likely then have more edits based on her feedback.

For now, however, I have been thinking about the title, and I thought I'd see what my legions of loyal followers think about it. And thus, please vote in the poll! Yay for democracy in action! (In a non-binding way!)  

What should I name my current novel?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Praeteran Update 2

I have recently completed the rough draft for my current novel project, a fantasy novel currently titled Praeteran.  I seem to write rough drafts short, as I have been quite under my final target word count each time.  This rough draft was less than what I'd like it to be at the end by at least half.  It ended at about 35,000 words, and I will get it to between 70,000 and 90,000 words by the time I am done with it.

One thing I have done is rework the outline for the whole series.  I initially envisioned and outlined The Anarchist Chronicles as a five book series, but I have since shortened it to a trilogy, allowing me to move a bit from what was previously book two into book one.  I am in the middle of revisions of the whole manuscript, as well as writing additional chapters for these outline changes.  I have a lot more work to go, but I have upped the draft from 35,000 words to 47,000 words.  There is a lot more work to do - extra chapters to write and lots of detail to add.  But I am on my way.

One thing that I realized I did not fully explain in the last blog entry was about the viewpoint and tense of the book.  Like I said, I am doing the book in first person, like I did with my previous book, Override.  However, unlike that book, there will not be a single viewpoint character, but multiple, and the viewpoint character will change at every chapter break.  This will be interesting, as this is considered by authors to be a more difficult way to write.  The top of each chapter will list the viewpoint character for that chapter, but you also have to give each of the viewpoint characters a distinct voice.  I am trying to do that, but we will see how successful I was when I have other people read it.  (Which will be a while, of course.)  Most of the book will also be in present tense instead of past tense, except for a few choice chapters.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Aspiring Author

I've been upping my writing work recently, on two fronts. First off, I have sent off query letters for my recent science fiction novel, Override, to literary agents. If any of them have their interest piqued, they will ask for a full manuscript, which would be fantastic. I sent off such query letters for my first two novels, The Second Shadow and Queen of Men, never getting a request for a manuscript. In theory, my writing is getting better, and so my chances keep going up. So we shall see. :)

I am now working on my fourth book, a young adult fantasy novel tentatively titled Praeteran.  This is actually related to my first novel, The Second Shadow.  I have outlined a five book series titled The Anarchist Chronicles, with Praeteran being book one and The Second Shadow being book three.  If I manage to write the whole series, I would rewrite that book three.  I am doing something a little different this time around.  Override was the first book I wrote in the first person point of view, and I am continuing that strategy with Praeteran (and likely with the rest of the series).  I am hoping to hit 90,000 words with this book, which would make it the longest I've written.  I'm presently at 12,118 words and moving forward.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I have posted a couple times before about my current writing project, a more science-fiction based story currently titled Override.  I have hit somewhat of a lull in my writing, but I hope to be past that soon.  It is being written in first person, uses a good dose of sarcasm, and is (hopefully) more of a character driven book.  So we shall see.  However, I wanted to post an excerpt from the first chapter to show the kind of story it will be, and to get any first reactions to it.  So if the writing seems terrible, just let me know, and then maybe I'll stick to the normal fantasy writing I've done before. :)


Life is good.  And by good, I don’t mean that it holds a high quality, or that it is naturally benevolent.  I mean it is skilled.  Skilled at reminding me just how much my life sucks.

What do you do when you’ve royally screwed over everything you’ve ever done?  Your life up to the present point has been an impressive assortment of tremendous miscalculations.  It’s nearly as though every choice you’ve ever made has been incorrect, from the shirts and pants you throw on each morning, to the woman you’ve selected as your lifelong mate.  Each morning, you wake up and prepare yourself for the job you should never have accepted, in the career field you don’t understand or excel at.  You’re surrounded by evidence of the truth that haunts your every waking moment: your life, at this very moment, is precisely the opposite of all you had hoped it would be, and completely reversed from everything it should be.

This sounds like the start of a self-help book.  But it’s not.  This is my scourging life.

Not that these exact examples have anything to do with me.  Seriously.  I just tried to come up with relatable things, things that normal people might have felt disappointment with.  The mistakes I’ve made are really not anything like this.  They’re much, much worse.

So, I’ll ask you again.  Actually, no, wait.  What in God’s green but now black and brown Earth am I talking about?  This is just inner monologue.  If I start to get responses, then I’ve obviously gone farther off the dock than I thought.  It’s a defense mechanism, as I’ve heard from a million different court-appointed counselors.  I also tend to daydream, moving my attention away from things in reality that I don’t really want to deal with.  And that’s what is happening now.  If you, nonexistent voyeur upon my thoughts, could see what was happening in front of my eyes at this very moment, you would want to escape from it too.  I only hope the sight is gone before I wake up.  It’s really rather frightening, though I have to admit, I have no idea why it’s happening.  I seem to be blocking out the last few moments.  Some part of my defense mechanism, I’m sure, or selective amnesia or some other psychological jargon that I wish I didn’t remember.  Well, whatever happened to bring me here, it appears to be really rather frightening.  I guess I already said that.  I pray that my bladder can restrain all of its contents.  I’ve heard of people having their life flash before their eyes in a moment of extreme panic, and I suppose that’s what this is.  Oh, good, cause all those wretched counselors haven’t made me rehash these events enough.

Anywho, this is my story, one that should never be told, since it never should have happened.  I am not who I should have been, or who anyone should have been.  I did not become what I was purposed for.  No, I’m not looking for pity, so wipe that sympathetic frown off your fictional face, cause I’m sure you haven’t hit the bull’s eye with every one of your choices.  But I’ve never hit it.  When you see all those marks on the wall, not even hitting the target, think of me.  Cause that’s where all my shots have hit in life.

What can I say?  I’ve been rather efficient at stupidity.

Or so I’ve been told.

It all started on the eighth of June, in the year 2182, in a run-down motel northeast of Saint Paul, Minnesota.  No, I admit that it doesn’t sound like the most exciting place to start a thrilling story, but what do you think this is, science fiction?  This is still just my life.  Anywho, it was the Happy River Motel, I believe.  A lovely little spot overlooking the Saint Croix River, except for all the roaches and the smell of death.  I don’t really remember that day, for I didn’t even start it alive, yet it is a day that will ever be important to me.  You see, it was the day I was conceived.  I know the date because it was carved on my father’s tombstone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jobs, iPhones, and Novels

Did you know that my life is, in general, not all that interesting?  Yes, it's true.  I know it's shocking.  Thus, nearly five months between blog posts.  I might end up doing something in the near future, where I use an online random blog topic generator to come up with ideas for posts.  (I am, of course, always accepting questions for Ask Cooper Anything, for this blog or for Don't Feed the Hypocrite.)

Here is a quick recap, however, of a couple of the interesting less boring things from the last few months.  First, in July, I transitioned from contract worker to full time employee at Rust Consulting in Minneapolis, doing database programming.  It's nice not to wonder whether my contract will be extended every few months.  I also finally joined the twenty-first century, trading in my old dumbphone for an iPhone 5S, and I've been quite happy with it.  It's nice to do all the smartphone related things, but especially nice to have a GPS device, and once again to be able to read my Kindle books on the bus.

In writing news, earlier this year I started work on a science fiction-esque book, presently titled Override.  It's quite different than anything else I've written, and allows me to write from a first-person point of view, and lets me write quite sarcastically.  I also set out to write a different book for NaNoWriMo, which challenges you to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.  While I am not going to come anywhere close to that goal, I do have a decent start on that story, which also has some science fiction elements and is presently titled Sensur.

I've been having an interesting thought run through my head concerning these two stories: with a little tweaking, they could become compatible.  So now I'm considering combining those two stories into one, which may end up as a book with dual timelines, where everything comes together nicely (in theory) at the end.  I'm still considering whether or not to do this, but I like the idea of it, I just need to work through some things and determine whether it makes sense to do it that way.  That would certainly be unlike anything else I've ever written.

So we'll see.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ask Cooper Anything 5: Where to Live

"If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why? Assume for the purposes of this question that the people you want to live close to would also be there, and that you would be able to find a job."
- Erik C.

To come up with this answer, I had to start be eliminating the places I wouldn't live, coming at this from a practical point of view.

For starters, and this may seem incredibly lame to some people, I'm going to go ahead and disqualify a massive percentage of the world.  I actually wouldn't really have any desire to live outside of this country.  There are places around the world I think would be neat to visit (New Zealand, England, Egypt), but this country is my home and I don't ever see myself living away from it.

Next, however much I love the ocean, I don't want to live next to it.  Especially in Florida, or any place where hurricanes are a real possibility.  That's just something I would never want to deal with.  While places like California eliminate themselves due to the ocean, I also wouldn't want to live anywhere that has a good chance for earthquakes.

I don't want to be too far south, as I'm not a fan of scorching heat, and I really do enjoy being able to experience all four seasons.  Geographically, Alaska is my favorite state, because of the mountains and the ocean.  I'd be more likely to live near the ocean in Alaska than in Florida, but the high temperature in southern Alaska is maybe 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, so the window for enjoying the outside during that time is fairly small, and I want to be able to play softball and do other such outdoor activities for a good amount of the year.  So no to Alaska.

Oddly enough, my current state of Minnesota fits everything pretty well so far.  The one thing that it is missing is my favorite geographical feature: mountains.  So, I would probably choose somewhere with a similar climate to Minnesota, but more mountainous.  This puts me a little farther west or southwest, ending up in western Montana, or perhaps somewhere in Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, or Colorado.  I do like having access to the big city, and yet I'd be just as happy being in the middle of nowhere, though preferably with some kind of city within reasonable driving distance.  I'd love a large amount of (low maintenance) land, where I can't see any neighbors.  As long as I can have access to high speed Internet.

I'd probably end up picking somewhere in western Montana.  That probably is quite a pathetic answer to some people, but it seems pretty nice to me.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Ask Cooper Anything 3: Color and Sadness

"Well Erik and Tim asked complicated questions. So I'll ask - what is your favorite color?  and what makes you sad? You are always happy."
- Gina C.

My favorite color is green.  Specifically, forest green - a nice dark
color.  After we recently had water coming in through the egress window in my office in the basement, the wall needed to be repainted.  I could have painted the whole office, but instead I opted to paint just that one wall.  So now my office has a dark green accent wall.  Which is pretty neat.

I do sometimes consider switching my favorite color to black.  It's an
exceptionally close second.  Green has held on thus far to retain the crown.  The color I would choose for different things depends on the circumstance, though.  For instance, I think black, dark grey, or silver cars look the best.

Oddly enough, my favorite color used to be blue.  Back a long time
ago.  I think I switched it some time in my early teens, maybe.

Concerning sadness: I don't particularly enjoy being sad.  Not that a
nyone does, of course, but when I become sad, I tend to maneuver my mind to focus on something else instead.  Sitting around focusing on whatever is making you sad doesn't really help much.

That being said, one of the main things that makes me sad is something
I've written about a few times on these blogs: my own shortcomings and failures.  I hate it when I'm working on something, or playing something, and make a silly mistake that I shouldn't make, or I am unable to do something I think I should be able to do.  Things that happen that cause me to doubt my own abilities, my own competence, or my own intelligence.  Especially when other people see me do it, and then I start to assume that they're now also doubting my abilities, competence, and intelligence.  It makes me sad when I fail.

Other saddening things include all the suffering in the world.  I know t
hat I have been incredibly blessed in my life, more so than I could ever deserve, but there are many people who have been born into situations that I can't even fathom.  I find it sad when people endure terrible hardships that were not of their own making.  Mostly, I find it saddest that there are so many people completely oblivious that there is a God that loves them, or they simply reject God.  Either way, they are living their lives without a savior, whether or not they know they need one.