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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hot Off the Pen: Book #4 Rewrite Excerpt Ch. 2

I've started the rewrite of Book #4 to take it from MS3 to MS4 (manuscript 4). MS4, when completed, is the first version that gets submitted to professional editors. Because Book #4 is the conclusion of the serial (not the series), it is a convergence of a number of plot lines and many (but not all) the secrets kept by the characters are revealed. It is  the most intense of the four books and my rewrite not only deepens the characterization but the intensity of the drama. Each book rises in intensity progressively not only to build the drama but to allow more sensitive readers to opt out if things get too intense.

Although most early readers I have talked to have had no problems, bear in mind that this series has some parents who are not nice people and this may be the first time a middle school reader encounters the idea that a parent may raise a kid as a tool to achieve their own ambitions, not for the kid's best interest. Some of the alien characters do worse things to the kids. Some may wonder why would I include such horrific characters in a middle school novel. I leave  those people with this metaphor: A shiny jewel is best shown on a black background. 

With that introduction, here is an excerpt from the rewritten part of Book #4 chapter #2. This is not polished so there may be mistakes in it. The setup: Elof2 is a 20 year old Tibetan-American. Paul7 is a 9 year-old blue-eyed blond human-looking boy who can shoot lightning bolts from his fingers. He is the policeman for an advanced culture---these nine-year-old kids, the Pauls, are used as policemen because at 9 years-old, these kids are unquestioningly devoted to their culture as if it is their parent. Paul7 has been assigned to protect Elof2. But he cares about Elof2 more than just policeman, perhaps wishing he would be his parent...all Pauls are orphans. The dotted line signifies part of the text I have redacted to avoid giving away the story line.

Ed yells, “If you think I am just going to sit here while you  ...”

POW! Paul7 shoots a lightning bolt that hits Ed. Ed jolts back, then he collapses forward, face planting on the desk.

“I decided to save you from any annoying retort from the ‘Killing Bastard of Silicon Valley’,” mocks Paul7, sharing Elof2’s digust.

“Say the word, Dad,” thinks Paul7. “Say the word and I will reduce him to a pile of dust. Please, Dad. I can’t stand to feel you cry inside—say the word!”

“The darkness within Paul7 whispers, “You must not. They will know I am within you.”

“Thank you,” says Elof2. “I was already upset enough thinking about cleaning out the room I grew up in, without listening to his insults.”

“I sense the wound within you, Dad,” Paul7 silently worries. “He has torn it open—he is bleeding the love from your heart. I need your love—do not spill it to the darkness. Save it for me. Save it for me, Dad.” He knows Elof2 is close to cracking. He cannot consult anyone telepathically because Elof2 would hear. Then something happens which Paul7 could never foresee. It shocks him. A tear drips from his eye. He is terrified that he is experiencing emotion.

“Let’s get this over with quickly so you can end your suffering,” instructs Paul7. “Place your hands on each side of his head as if you were going to link with him. I will put my hands on each side of yours and guide you as you learn the memory erase technique.”

Like a brain surgeon’s robot under Paul7’s direction, Elof2 begins to erase his life’s history from Ed’s mind. They remain linked to Ed for several minutes. Elof2 finishes the link and has a tear in his eye. Paul7 remains linked to Elof2. His eyes begin to glow brightly. Elof2 has a look of sadness and surprise when he realizes what Paul7 is doing. Elof2 begins to scream in pain—his shock-ridden body quivers, as the scalpel of chaos repeatedly slashes the order of his mind. Paul7’s hands begin glowing, gripping ever tighter as if he is a murderer in a battle to triumph over life. Elof2 becomes silent. He stands there limp, as if he is a mindless zombie—his carefully ordered and cherished memories flow from him like bloody brain-mash. The murder has succeeded. All emotional connections between Elof2 and his so called father are gone.

Paul7 releases Elof2. He watches Elof2, terrified with what he has done. Elof2 has become a statue. His eyes sparkle occasionally with an eerie faded blue light. His mind struggles to fight its way back from the pit of oblivion to the light of consciousness. His body jolts. His mind has resumed control. He displays a slightly sad, somewhat stoic look, unaware of what Paul7 has done.

“I never thought I would be sad to leave him,” muses Elof2 sadly. “I guess there is no overcoming human emotion and the need for a parent and a home. And yet, I feel so strange—as if somehow his grip has been released from me—with every passing moment I feel he is eminently forgettable.” He pierces Paul7 with a suspicious gaze.

(C) Copyright 2011 by Rusty Biesele, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Random Thought for the Day

If you read my serial book: "The Saeshell Book of Time" from the Children of Sophista Series, there are a lot of thoughts about randomness verses determinism . The human mind was born in the randomness. Random gene combinations were tried until a brain was born and then a brain that was capable of thinking logically was created.  So although randomness created our brains, our brains have deterministic thoughts. 
So here is something to have a deterministic thought about: Say you tune to a certain range of radio frequencies and receive signals from space. Each frequency in the range has a digit assigned to it, 0-9. So you are monitoring 10 frequencies. Each time your machine for monitoring these frequencies detects a signal, it spits out one of those digits to indicate what frequency it detected the signal on.  
Here comes the output: 2, 6, 5, 3, 5, 8, 9, 7, 9.... Looks pretty random. So you think the randomness is just transmitting random radio signals, the emissions of uncountable celestial bodies. What else could it be? 
Little did you know that you jumped into the middle of the transmission of the irrational number, Pi. Pi is the structure of the signal and although the signal seems random, the sequence of the digits is absolutely deterministic. Think about how many possible irrational numbers there are. I wonder if any of them are being transmitted?
Maybe all of them are being transmitted at once. If that is the case, perhaps the randomness has a deterministic structure. Perhaps randomness is determinism that is not understood. What does that say about our actions and destiny?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ending Paragraphs of Book #3 MS4 version

Here are the final paragraphs of Book #3 of the MS4 version of the manuscript.  These paragraphs are past the plot end so they won't spoil the book. They serve as the teaser for the next book of this highly connected serial.  Syon is Stefan's son from the future. He can control time and can travel in time. I believe he is 9 years old at this point and has bright purple hair and golden eyes. He has brought the Ty from the future back to see the events covered at the end of the book. Ty from the future is approximately a 5th grader.

Here are the last paragraphs of the book:

Meanwhile, an older Ty and Syon are floating invisibly in a time bubble across the room. Ty says to Syon, “Thank you for bringing me here to see this moment. I always wondered what happened when I left the room. I was so scared back then. Still, sometimes my talents scare me now.”

“Your talents scare you? Look at what I am doing now. This is scary. Yet, I use my talents all the time. I enjoy them. They define who I am. You cannot be afraid to use them.”

“You know, I never realized it until now. You really are similar to your dad. I think he would look better with purple hair, though.”

“Syon smiles a huge smile and quietly giggles a little. “Come on; let’s go forward a little bit. I just love what you do to the lizard man.”
(C) Copyright 2011 by Rusty Biesele

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where I Am At: Progress Report

Crossed a milestone: All 4 books of the serial together have crossed the 300,000 word boundary. I still have to finish rewriting the last chapter of book #3 and all of book #4. Book #4 is still back at the MS3 manuscript level. So I suspect I will end up at 310,000 to 330,000 words for the 4 book serial. I hope I have the opportunity to continue the series after the 4 book serial has been completed. One day I would like to say the series is half a million words strong. But for now, I need to finish up Book #3. After the rewrite is finished, I will have to take an editing pass on it, and then get it off to the professional editor. I need to get the artist/layout person to finish book #1 and book #2 so I can put them into production and put them up on Amazon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hot off the pen sample of Book #3 Chapter 19

Here some more writing, hot off the pen, so excuse the flaws. This is part of a thread I added to bring some of the political thriller aspect out in the book. It is kind of unique in that this contained in an otherwise science fiction/fantasy blend. It gives it a unique flavor. 

Here is the sample:

“Another brown-coated man walks up to him and says, “There’s a snake on the bench against the wall over there.”

Mr. Daugherty looks and sees a man sitting quietly dressed in a black suit with a black overcoat. The man has gray hair and is holding a black walking cane topped with a shiny silver handle embossed with a gryphon carving. He mentally gasps, “It’s Mc Pherson! Why would they send an assassin? He’s in country so at least he won’t be carrying any weapons, hopefully.” He walks up to the man and yells, “As I breath, you are certainly an ugly bloke.”

“Ah Daugherty. I see the Prime Minister has let his throne out to take a walk around the block. Come use this fine piece of institutional wood to rest your dead-weight.”

Mr. Daugherty sits down beside him and Mc Pherson’s emotionless head rotates like a tank turret bringing the battery of his icy cold stare to bear.

“So why has the Den taken such an interest in the internal affairs of the Prime Minister,” asks Mr. Daugherty. “I believe this is out of your jurisdiction.” The internal government nickname for Mc Pherson’s department was the Den of Snakes.

“I believe escorting aliens, possibly very dangerous aliens, across the country to one of our nation’s treasured resources bears monitoring, especially if those actions are potentially treasonous.”

“Oh don’t flatter yourself. This endeavor has the full backing of the Prime Minister.”

“I’m sure somewhere a nice cell with a gold-plated lavatory has already been arranged for him. You’re participating in a dangerous endeavor, my friend.”

“How dangerous could it be escorting a pair of teenage kids to see a university. I’m still waiting for the thunder.”

“I’m sure by now you have slithered your way in and retrieved a copy of the threat assessment report by that American, Ed Harris. He says that those kids carry enough energy to literally reduce Parliament to a pile of rubble. I don’t believe the latest teen energy drinks pack quite that kind of punch. The department thinks that these kids’ presence in the country places us in great danger.”

Mr. Daugherty shakes momentarily with a suppressed shiver. He mentally gasps, “They haven’t sent him to monitor—they have sent him on an errand!” His mind races searching for a solution. “I mustn’t let him succeed. I’ve only tried it once. It was an accident when I did it. I don’t know why, but I know it will work again.”

Mc Pherson notices Mr. Daugherty’s concealed nervousness. He places his hand on Mr. Daugherty’s shoulder. “Don’t worry my friend. I know you haven’t the stomach for this sort of thing. I don’t even want you to be there when it happens. You have that wonderful son of yours. Once you run this little errand, take a few days with him. Remind yourself of why England must be protected, even when extraordinary measures are required. The Den will tell the Prime Minister that they have borrowed you for a few days for a special assignment. It might even impress the old bastard—make him respect you even more.

“We have set up a building next to the University—labeled it with the proper markings. Ed Harris has supplied us with the proper tools. We have set them up in the building. He has given us his expert assurance that it will be painless and quick. They will not know what hit them and neither will any of their friends, if they have any. Now is the proper time, before anyone is aware of their existence.”

“What about their parents?”

“That American girl’s mom already thinks she has run off. I’m sure Ed can fan those flames. The boy’s mom, well, she is a shopkeeper. She will do as she is told or meet destiny on uncertain terms. Her husband died of radiation, I suspect. We can simply ensure she meets the same fate. It will work out well. We can blame the aliens for killing her. That will turn the tide in our favor. Nothing scares sissy bureaucrats more than ‘undetected poison’ and ‘radiation’ on the same report line.”

(C) Copyright 2011 by Rusty Biesele, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another Rant about Gifted Education

I am sorry for those who opened this blog posting expecting to see more on gifted fiction or for tidbits about the four novels of mine cranking through the pipeline. This particular post doesn’t contain that. What it contains is another rant about gifted education. I am not an expert on this subject, this is just my opinion.

There is such a tangle about the definition of giftedness, whether or not giftedness is really a talent developed, whether or not the tools developed for gifted education can be applied to the normal classroom, whether gifted education can be justified by developing methods that improve the nongifted classroom, and on and on.

Giftedness is doing exceptional work or the potential to do exceptional work. Not really. Defining like that sounds like a slavery contract in that if you don’t do exceptional work or can’t be “fixed” to do exceptional work, then no one cares about you simply because you are not useful to the “others” (read in some cases, people who plan to use a gifted person for a particular purpose).

Giftedness truly means that your brain is wired differently—that you experience the stimulus of the world or think about the problems of the world in a wonderfully exhilarating way. If you want to identify a new gifted student, find a gifted student who is a little older and have them spend a little time with the new student. Then take the older student aside and ask them, “Do you think that kid is gifted?” If they say yes, it’s very likely they are. If older student says “I don’t know”, then they probably are (maybe 2e). If they say no, it’s likely they are not. Why? Gifted kids want other kids to be gifted. They don’t want to be a sole oddity. How can they tell? Beats me. They probably detect the different thinking pattern, that different wiring. In any case, one common experience among teens I’ve talked to is that they can just tell. They don’t know why. I’ve had similar experiences. There are a lot of people living in Silicon Valley who have never heard of gifted identification. So they are unidentified. Yet, in a crowd, they can find each other. You just know.

With respect to trying to show people the wonders of how the methods of gifted education could be applied to educating  nongifted people, give it up, they don’t want to hear about it. There are two aspects to this. The first can be demonstrated by this analogy: “I have a new teaching technique for the mentally disabled that will revolutionize the nondisabled classroom.” *Cough* But it’s different for gifted! Not really. First you have to get the people buy into the whole giftedness is a good thing. They may not say anything negative, after all, they are supposed be thinking of the kids. But really in their minds they are thinking:

      1.      Gifted kids disrupt the flow of cramming information into the skulls of the other kids. That is, after all, what is truly required to make them pass the test.
      2.      Gifted kids are discipline problems. They have that whole bored thing going on. “They don’t have the self discipline to control themselves, take what they can get like the rest of the kids and behave properly.”
      3.      Gifted kids, like the mentally disabled, cost extra money. However, if the mentally disabled aren’t taught to be self sufficient, then society will bear the burden of caring for them. It’s a strong threat. A gifted kid can “choose” to be self sufficient if they “want to”.

Secondly, people recognize the “new technique”, no matter how wonderful it may be, as a thin veil for begging. Begging means you have tried every way possible to get resources for gifted education, been told no, and now you are trying this. Many extinct animals are fond of this method. The environmental movement generalized their existence to many wonderful things that would be lost if they were gone.

The talent development trap: If you equate developing a gifted student to developing talent then you bury the different wiring issue. You start to get articles like the one recently where someone claimed that they could teach any kid to be gifted. It’s just a matter of developing a talent, right? It’s such a pleasing way to look at things, like spraying hair spray into a paper bag and taking a huge whiff—first you get a pleasurable jolt and then a mental numbness that lasts for the rest of your life.  You see with the talent argument: “Everyone can perform so much better if their talent is developed. We try to find ways to develop talent so that everyone can perform at a higher level. There is only so much development that can be done with current budget, but we hope to find ways to get increased resources or more efficient ways of teaching to make an impact and improve our student’s talent every year.” A pleasing way to put the following: “We have minimized the permanent damage we are doing to gifted kids minds. We hope every year we do less damage.”

Some people who are performing this damage are nice, well intentioned people. Some really try hard to help the gifted. But the facts are the facts: If the needs aren’t met, the damage occurs. I know that for me, some of the places where damage occurred were in classrooms where I liked the teacher (upper elementary). She was nice and she was trying her best to meet mine and sometimes 2 or 3 other kids needs. I certainly never told her what her classroom was doing to me. What was the point? It would just hurt her. She was out on a limb as far as she could go. Yet, if the needs aren’t met, damage occurs.

I showed a few gifted teens the article on “Making a kid gifted.” The response was, “If they knew what giftedness was really about, would they still want to make their kid into a gifted kid.” It a poignant question because one thing many gifted kids desire is the owner’s manual for their giftedness. It’s that different wiring…

So why go off on this rant? Here it is: Too much talk about the gifted is abstract, idea centered talk. There is not enough pull up the sleeves and do what can be done right now. At least that is my perception.  Some of those gifted kids (the older ones) will be reading those papers to figure out why damage is occurring.

Stop debating issue about how to define giftedness or how to identify it or what to call giftedness or trying gain approval from outside the gifted community. Stop begging and start doing. Forget the outside world. If we can’t find enough support within the gifted community to support what needs to be done at a practical level, then who are we anyway?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Excerpt from Book #3 Chapter 18

I have been distracted by a lot of things lately but I have still managed to write some more material to go into the rewrite of Book#3. Paul1 and Paul25 are the 9 year old adopted alien sons of Tova2 and Stefan. Her is an excerpt hot off the pen:

Paul25 gently grasps Tova2’s head and slowly turns it toward him. Her hostile expression melts when her eyes meet Paul25’s. “Mom, this is hard for Dad to tell you. Please listen to him. He needs your love.”

Tova2 releases a long sigh. She turns toward Stefan, grabs his shoulders, and pulls him close. She feels a slight quivering from him and realizes that he has been quietly crying. Her mind frantically searches for the magic to stop Stefan’s crying.

She puts her arms around him, pulling his head tightly, burying it within her chest; he sniffles, “I am not a crippled Tiny Tim. I am a fairy—strong empathy is not a weakness.”

She grabs his shoulders, pushing him away far enough to look into his eyes. “You heard!”

“Everybody heard all those hateful things you thought. You know my mind reading talent has been improving. Mum grabbed the thoughts from my head and rebroadcast them to everyone.”

“But Stefan…”

“But what? Do you think that after my entire life I would just jettison my bond with my Mum? Haven’t you ever heard of a mother-son bond?

“But why did you share?”

“You know it’s part of my fairy nature. Sometimes I can’t help it, especially when I feel like people are being unjustly treated.”

Tova2 mentally worries, “He is cracking. He’s talking about fairies again. He’s nuts like his mother.” She sees Stefan hang his head again with tears dripping to the ground; it jolts her as she remembers Stefan can hear her thoughts. She feels a tapping on her left shoulder. She turns her head to look, only to stare Paul1 straight in the eyes.

“Mom, I have thoroughly analyzed Dad’s mind and he is not nuts,” says Paul1 with an indignant air of confidence. “And he is a fairy. You should believe that. And though you might not like it Mom,  I have analyzed your mind thoroughly too. You might want tidy it up a bit because there is a lot of stuff floating around in there. You are a fairy too. You need to believe me.” He flips upside down, floating in mid-air, nodding his head continuously.

Stefan begins shaking. He raises his face and it is filled with teary laughter. “First, you are such a loose screw.”

Tova2 sighs and shakes her smiling face. She points her palms at Stefan. “Now can we?”

“You realize that sharing will be involved? That even the Pauls will feel this?”

“Yes, yes, they always do. Can we get on with it?”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book #3 Chapter 16 Sample

I've been working on rewriting book#3 and adding new material. This a sample hot off the pen. Paul25 is an immortal 9 yr old from the planet Sophista (he looks human). Jenny is a Federation police officer who doesn't believe he is immortal. He is proving it by linking to her mind and showing her his experience on Earth as a cabin boy on a sailing ship in the late 1700's. The stars on the paragraphs denote the mental experience vs. present reality.

* The scene changes and the captain is sitting up against a mooring post of the dock in the deserted darkness, gasping for breath. A little finely made wooden box is next to him. Paul25 is sitting on the ground, frantically, tearfully wiping the captain’s forehead with a damp handkerchief.

* A rough looking man walks up to the captain. “Let me see whatcha got in that there box.”

* “Be off ye scoundrel,” yells the captain, gasping and coughing afterward.

* The man pulls out a knife; Paul25 points his finger at the man—a lightning bolt with the intensity of the core of Zeus burns its way through the air, plummeting into the assailant’s heart. His body erupts with thousands of tiny sparks, sizzling and crackling like the hairs of death; he wails in a cracking voice as the terrified child within dies in a searing fit. He leaps into the air, slamming the ground, and begins to flop around like a freshly caught fish until the stillness of the North Atlantic cold overtakes him.

* “I’m dun fur lad,” groans the captain, in agony. “Now I know why ya been such a good cabin boy. Ye's a sea fairy. I always hoped I’d see one. When I’m dun, ye take my box. Git some good man to show ya how to use it. You can sail the seas. I’d know you’d be a good captain, you would.”

* Paul25 says, “You can’t die here now, alone.”

* The captain takes Paul25’s hand with his shaking hand. “I’m not alone. Ye’s always been me faithful sea fairy. Ye’s the best cabin boy I’d ever have. If I’d a married some fine wench, I’d wish I’d have a son like you.”

* Before the captain can get another sentence out he collapses, coughs one last burst of blood, and is dead.

The link ends and some tears are coming down Paul25’s eyes. Jenny is just standing there, staring at Paul25. He looks at her with the tears of a begging child—a child begging not be soiled by the public revelation of his grim deed of reaping.

“He was a really nice man,” sniffles Paul25. “I didn’t want him to die. It was so terrible. He had no family, no one. I had to stay with him. He would have been so lonely.”
(C) Copyright 2011 by Rusty Biesele, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book #1's Cover Proof #8

Well things continue to proceed at a glacial pace. Looks like the table is finally right and the shirt decal is bigger. But maybe the question mark on the shirt should be bigger so that it shows up for sure on the cover. I still think the character's skin is a little too dark for a Tibetan. 


Monday, October 24, 2011

Book#1's Cover Proof #7

This is still just a partial rendering of the cover. Looks like the table is starting to take shape though I want the top to have more of the look of the sides in terms of contrast so that the texturing doesn't wash out in the inherently low contrast cover process. I also think I'll get them to make the question mark/galaxy on Elof2's shirt bigger so that it shows up better. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chapter Ending Sample from Book #3 MS4

 I am working on the rewrite of Book #3 to bring it from the MS3 version to the MS4 versions. One of the things I am having to contend with is that my writing style has changed a good bit since I originally wrote MS3 and it's been tricky integrating the two styles. I wrote a blog post on Repressed Memories and Writing trying to explain why this has happened. I'm having to integrate the two styles, which sometimes is a bit tricky. In the rewrite, besides deepening the characterizations and exposing the thoughts of the characters, I have also tried to insure that more of the chapter endings have some "spice" to them--hopefully to keep the reader reading. 
The chapter I just finished working on is one of the apexes of the entire serial, because it is where critical emotions, critical facts, and the full use of interwoven telepathic conversations and mind reading come into play. It is a fairly complex chapter requiring the reader to track who can hear what while simultaneous decoding the mind manipulation going on between the two parties who communicate over the vastness of space using something similar to a video link. So the two parties cannot hear each others telepathic conversations where they strategize in a chess game style what the next negotiating point will be.
In this chapter,  Sophista has negotiated with the Federation of the Twenty for control of present day Earth. Stefan, a seventh grade boy and Tova2, a nineteen-year-old girl have recently become immortal super-beings and are betrothed to each other. They have two adopted 9 year-old alien sons, Paul1 and Paul25. The "@" marks communication on a family private telepathic channel. Stefan must learn to be the secret king of Earth in 8 weeks or he will be killed. Here is the chapter ending. I hope you enjoy it.

The connection ends. Tova2 walks over to Stefan and takes his hand. “Don’t worry, Babe. It will get easier. I will always be with you.”

“I just want to enjoy life with you,” whines Stefan. “I wish our family could just stay on Sophista. I hate having to be on guard all the time, especially on guard for the Federation.”

“I know, Babe,” comforts Tova2. “We had a good time at the Peter memorial and so did the Pauls. We will find ways to have good times in spite of it all. Please don’t say anything about this to Peter2. He is really depressed about you going to Earth.”

“After the conversation with the Federation, I know how he feels,” moans Stefan.

Stefan’s mom walks over and takes Stefan from Tova2. She grasps his head and gives him a tight hug as if he is still a little boy; he closes his eyes. She looks directly into Tova2’s eyes as she strokes Stefan’s hair. “I know this is hard, my son. But soon you will rule and you know very well that it is inevitable. It would be terribly bad for you to be poorly prepared.”

While she continues to look at Tova2 and stroke Stefan’s hair she thinks, “It’s up to you now, Tova2. Whether he is ready or you murder my only son, is in your hands.”

Tova2 hears within Paul25’s mind, “Please momma, dad must not die.”

A tear drops from Stefan’s eye. Tova2 realizes that he has read those around him too. Fear penetrates her heart like an icy shard.

@ Paul1 blurts to all listeners on the channel loudly, “Dad will be ready; I will make sure!”

Anashivalia begins to smile in relief as she sees a smile begin to sparkle across Stefan’s face. “That’s my boy,” she praises.

Everyone begins to smile as they see a radiant light of happiness fluoresce from Stefan’s darkness. Tova2 covers her mouth with her hand in silent terror as she watches, for only she realizes that the light slips through from the first tiny crack in Stefan’s mind.
Copyright 2011 by Rusty Biesele, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back Cover Text of Book #2

I uploaded the following text as the back cover text of Book #2

Stefan, a seventh-grader, shouldn’t have to decide the fate of his mother’s unborn child, prevent his adolescent anger from burning innocent people to a crisp, and be a father-figure to his three-year-old sister. Evolutionarily advanced Stefan loves fantasy, magic, and art – all expressions of a science too advanced for contemporary humans. Three-hundred-thousand years ago an alien, by modifying human genetics, predestined Stefan, his mom, and friends to travel to Sophista, a utopia seventy-three light years away. They return to secretly rule present day Earth and to save other advanced humans from exploitation and torture. An immortal love between Stefan and the older Tova2 strengthens Stefan as he witnesses the atrocities of the universe. Will Tova2's love cause the magic deep within Stefan's heart to fashion a bright future for all? Or will Stefan crack, violating his path of destiny in The Saeshell Book of Time, and cause everyone to cease to exist.

In part 2, Tova2 and Stefan discover their immortal love yet the loneliness of being the first of a new species of super-beings. Stefan discovers that he has a 3 year old sister who is destined to become the Oracle of Sophista. What is her secret connection to Atreyeu? Stefan and Tova2 crown the new Queen of Sophista and discover the horror of her unbridled ambition. Tova2 and the Great Sophistan fear Stefan’s enormous power, combined with his boyish vulnerabilities, will kill everyone. Has the Saeshell Book of Time lied to Stefan? Is Sophista headed for destruction? Did Elof2 hack the Great Sophistan—and Tova2’s heart?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book #2 Cover Design

I don't know how much people will be interested in reading this but I thought I would post the actual document that I use to communicate the initial starting point of the book cover design. This cover design spec is not as detailed as I might normally make one because it leans on book #1's cover design. Books one through four are part of a serial story and are tightly linked. The story continues uninterrupted from book to book. So the covers reflect that uniformity. This serial is a bit unusual in that all four books cover roughly an eight week period on the storyline (plus some history of the childhood of some of the older characters). Anyway, here is the cover design:

Cover Spec for Book#2:

Overview of Cover Design

This cover design is for book #2 of a four part serial novel. Because it is a serial and not a series, the story line continues uninterrupted across all four books. Therefore, all four books have a similar look, with some parts of the cover being exactly the same. The titling for the books will be in bright cyan. In the upper left-hand corner of the cover will be the same exact crystalline pyramid with aurora-like glow from within and a pulsing beam from the top apex shooting across the page. Whatever the final design for this element is in book #1, the exact same image needs to be used in book#2. In the top right corner of the cover needs to be a large number 2 indicating that this book is number two of the series. It should be the same style and size as the numeral one used on book #1.  Either along the top edge or the spine edge needs to be "Children of Sophista Book Series". It needs to be in the same location and in the same style as book #1. Near the top of the cover in exactly the same style as book#1 should be the main title: "The Saeshell Book of Time". Below the main title should be the subtitle unique to the book: "Part 2: The Rebirth of Innocents". The title should be in the same style as book #1's subtitle. This should complete the fixed elements of the cover.

The Cover Scene for Book#2

The same Stefan and Tova2 characters created for book #1 will be carried over to book #2. Both Stefan and Tova2 will be near the center of the cover, next to each other, facing toward the reader. They will be the most foreground of all cover elements. Stefan is still a seventh-grader with the same sixties retro hairstyle as in book#1. His hair is a very light brown with two fluorescing thin bright red streaks coming from the crown of his head and running to his forehead: one going to the left front side and the other one going to the right front side. Parallel to the red streaks are two thin fluorescing blue streaks, one on each side. A streak of his light brown hair appears between the blue streak and the red streak. The light brown hair does not fluoresce.  The color of the iris in Stefan's eyes is bright golden and they are glowing. He is holding out his two hands slightly, palms up, and is looking down at them. A purple jewel is floating above his left hand and a purple mist is streaming from it to Stefan's right hand. Floating above Stefan's right hand is a statue of a lizard like man, made of the purple jewel material. The purple mist streaming from the jewel in Stefan's left hand is materializing into the purple lizard man statue floating above Stefan's right hand. You will need to draw the jewel and the lizard man so that it is clear that the jewel is dissolving and the lizard man is materializing.

Tova2 is still nineteen-years-old in this picture, just as she was on the cover of book #1. Just as it was for book #1, her hair is platinum blond with a long ponytail extending down in the back. Since she is facing forward, you cannot see it probably, but her hair style is the way it needs to be having been pulled into a ponytail in back. She has the same two fluorescing red and blue hair streaks as Stefan. The irises of her eyes are blue and are emitting a blue glow. Tova2 has her hands out in front of her, palms up, just as Stefan does. Floating above her left hand is the same purple jewel as Stefan's. Floating above her right hand is a real purple flower with large petals made of real living flesh. A purple stream is streaming out of the dissolving jewel above her left hand and hitting the flower above her right hand. The flower is in the process of materializing from the purple stream.

Both Stefan and Tova2 are wearing the same shimmery white satin pajamas: a collarless shirt which is not button up and featureless pants. On both of them, their left sleeve has two color bands around it: one band is blue and the other is bright red. Be sure the blue band is truly blue as a cyan band means something different in their culture. Remember, the top of Stefan's head is even with Tova2's neck.

The next cover element is a group of small nine-year-old kids called the Pauls. All Pauls look almost identical. The Pauls have platinum blond hair. The iris of their eyes is blue and it has small green triangles embedded in it. Paul1 and Paul25 have blue eye shadow on their eyelids. Paul7 has black eye shadow on his eyelids. All Pauls wear the shimmery white satin pajamas. Each Paul has their number printed in blue on the front of the left shoulder of their pajamas. Paul25 is floating up in the air above Tova2 looking down at what she is doing with a big smile. Paul1 is floating up in the air above Stefan looking down at what he is doing with an intense, thoughtful expression and displaying a muted smile. To the right of Stefan and Tova2 and slightly further back, Elof2 and Paul7 are standing side by side. Paul7 has his two index fingers pointed at each other, about a foot apart. A bolt of lightning is jumping between his two index fingers. Elof2 has one of his hands on Paul7's shoulder and is watching what he is doing. Elof2 is dressed in shimmery black satin pajamas. This is the same twenty-year-old Tibetan-American character that is on the cover of book#1. Don't forget the red fluorescent hair streaks (two on the left side and two on the right side) running from the crown of his head to the front.

Sitting on the ground at the foot of Stefan and Tova2 is Stefan's three-year-old little sister, Aleah. She has platinum blond hair which reflects light in such a way that it looks like little lights of different colors of the rainbow are in her hair. She is wearing the same pajamas as everyone else except that hers are shimmery purple. She is holding with both her hands a large purple jewel and she is examining it. Her eyes are bright golden.

All people in the picture are barefoot. The setting for this scene is a lush tropical garden.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Book #1's Cover Proof #6

This is still a partial render of the cover. I was disappointed with this proof as they saw fit to incorporate none of the features I had requested for the table. There are other things wrong with this picture that I will have to try and get fixed. I never imagined this process would involve me repeating over and over again what I want. It is very very tedious. Anyway, here is the proof.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Table

How do you describe a blue marble ring that glows from within to an artist. How do you convey the fact this ring is connected to a human like computer, that it connects people telepathically to the computer, yet it needs look a bit like it was chiseled out of stone. Well I tried making a bird's eye view using windows paint to demonstrate the texturing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Book#1's Cover Proof #5

This is the start of the rendering process in the cover design for book #1. This is just a small piece of the overall cover picture. It looks like the artist is being methodical, trying to get each aspect of the cover correct in the rendering before doing an entire cover rendering. There quite a lot of changes that need to be made to this rendering but still, it is exciting to see the first rendering. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book #3 Sample: The Landscape of Time

Here is a sample of the new material going into book #3 to create manuscript 4 (MS4). A new chapter was created by carving some text out of a previous chapter and then adding new text. The text below is some of that new added text. The chapter is called "The Landscape of Time."  Syon is a relatively new character introduced in the previous MS3 version. He is the future son of Stefan. His nickname is the "Child of Time." Although he does not have that many pages devoted to him, he has been a resounding favorite for some reason among recent early readers. Some kids have begged me to do a whole book on just him.

“I am going to do something that will help Atreyeu,” says Elof2. “But it will be really scary for you. Your mom will probably be very angry when she finds out I did this. Do you want me to do it?”

“Atreyeu knows what you are going to do and he says, ‘do it,’” says Aleah.

“Oh, yeah, of course he does. So put your hands on my head and see what I see.”

Aleah gives Elof2 a kiss on the cheek and puts her hands on each side of his head. Elof2 already has one hand on the computer wall and he closes his eyes.

He commands, “Tonya, execute program Jack in the Box.” Both Aleah and he freeze, becoming statues; the room now looks like a Greek museum containing alabaster statues and twisted by interwoven computer displays. The silence and peace of the room hides the life or death tragedy being played out in some virtual forum.

Syon floats at the top of the room invisibly, watching over this turn in time. He sighs to himself, “So many painful events, so much sadness inflicted upon you, dad. No matter how many times I watch it, it always hurts for me to see it again.  You were so happy and free—happy and free until they made you preside over the building of your own prison. I wish I could change it all. I wish, I wish, I wish…”