I’m Moving!

Hi All. I just wanted to let everyone know that this will be my last post at the URL. As of March 2nd I will be moving my blog to the Conquer Publishing website. Actually, that’s not true. I’m not moving this blog. I’m starting a new one. So come by and check out my new home.

Mark

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Star Wars’ Influence and My Next Novel

I don’t deny that Star Wars was a major influence on me while writing The Staff of Rahgorra. I don’t deny it. I embrace it. I pay tribute to the Star Wars franchise throughout my novel by naming minor characters, ships, planets and star systems with equally minor names from the Star Wars Universe.  This is my way of paying homage to a great franchise. And though I knew that my story was similar to Star Wars, I guess I was too close to it to realize just how similar. But recent reviews of The Staff of Rahgorra have made the similarity all too clear.

The sequel, Resistance and Rebellion, is about a third complete and is the logical next step to my story, The Staff of Rahgorra. However, based on those recent reviews I now see the inevitable comparisons to The Clone Wars and other Star Wars stories from that era.

The last thing I want to do is alienate much of my audience by writing another book that is considered a clone of Star Wars. In the process of writing The Staff of Rahgorra I developed a rich history to the Universe, with several completely original, fleshed-out and ready-to-write stories.  For my next novel I have decided to write one of these prequel stories. My recent post entitled “Rough Few Weeks” gave hints at this, but now I am confirming it. My working title for this prequel is simply The Girl but that will almost certainly change.

What about Resistance and Rebellion, you ask? Let me assure you that it will be completed. None of the Staff Universe stories are “Stand Alone.” In the end they will all intertwine. Questions might be answered, but many more will be raised.

I am also currently researching and developing a story set in the near future that will be considered Hard or Pure SF. I don’t yet have a working title for this work and I’m not sure exactly when I’ll get around to writing it. But expect something completely different from The Staff of Rahgorra.

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Seeking Business Relationships

As many of you know I run a small, one-man publishing company called Conquer Publishing (see the header logo). I was wondering if any other self published authors or small business owners (you don’t necessarily have to be in the publishing field) were interested in forming a working RELATIONSHIP, an association if you will, whereby we help each other out? I’m not talking about a group or a club or a blog. I’m talking about a WORKING relationship where I promote you or your company on the Conquer Publishing website and you do the same for me and any others who decide to join us. If anyone is interested please let me know by commenting or at mark[at]conquerpublishing[dot]com.

Mark

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Rough Few Weeks

Hi All,

For various reasons, too mundane to get into now, I’ve had a rough few weeks. Writing is going extremely slow and a 2012 release date for Resistance and Rebellion is unlikely. That being said I will continue to work on my next novel. The Star Wars references will be gone and several questions alluded to in The Staff of Rahgorra will be explained. For example, the characters of Sohaila and Jalks, both mentioned in passing in TSoR, will play key roles in the new novel. The true role and internal structure of the Galactic Security Bureau will also be revealed.

But I think I’ve given away too much already. Just know that the Uto isn’t dead yet.

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Back to Work

This will be an extremely short post.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I spent two weeks in Michigan visiting my family. During that time I received the email I’ve been waiting for. Work on Resistance and Rebellion will resume immediately. I just hope I can finish it in time for a 2012 release.

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What to do? What to do?

Hi everybody (every time I write that I can’t help but hear Dr. Nick’s voice from the Simpsons),

I’ve been going through a bit of a dilemma for the past month or so. I put out a call on several forums and discussions asking people to review The Staff of Rahgorra. The reviews have not exactly been what I expected. Basically the novel is getting slammed because of its similarities to Star Wars. First, before I go any further, I want to thank those reviewers for their honesty. Although I knew The Staff of Rahgorra was similar to Star Wars, clearly I was too close to my novel to realize just how similar. Several reviewers also commented favorably on my writing style and ability, which gives me hope. Again, thank you all for your honesty.

Which brings me to my dilemma. Do I continue working on the sequel? (Which might be seen as another Star Wars clone) Should my next novel be a new and (I hope) completely original story set in the same universe and featuring many of the same characters? Or do I abandon the Staff universe for the time being and write another story I’ve been developing?

I’ve been kicking all three options around for a while now. I’ve also been exchanging emails with one of the reviewers (I’m not naming him because I don’t have his permission.). I’ve explained the plot and storyline of the sequel to him and he assures me that its not another Star Wars clone. He’s also offered to read what I’ve written so far. So as soon as he gives me his opinions I’ll start working on the sequel once again.

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Interesting (As I raise just one eyebrow.)

The other day I sat down at my usual time to write, just like I’ve done everyday for the past few months. I wrote for maybe ten or fifteen minutes before I got sidetracked by something. I don’t even remember what it was. When I came back I saw that I had five lines written…

“Cam landed Toranga’s personal shuttle in the oppressive heat of the wind swept desert not far from the canyon where the sabotage teams were training. The landing kicked up some dust, but the wind was responsible for more. Cam shut down the shuttles systems as Kayo headed down the ramp.

Shielding her eyes from Tinoor’s sun Kayo looked around.”

…I know it’s six lines here, but it was fives lines in Word. Anyway, I remember a time, not too long ago, when those same five lines would have taken me hours to write. Granted, I never learned to type and I only crank out about 20 wpm. But it would literally take me hours to write five simple lines. And I realized that now, on most days, I’ll crank out an entire 8 and 1/2 by 11 page in the same time it used to take to write five lines.

In The Staff of Rahgorra Cam says to Obek, “[J]ust like your arms or legs, the more you use [something], the stronger [it] get[s].” Cam was of course speaking of his Jai Kin abilities, but obviously the same applies to writing. Life clearly imitates art. Or, as Darth Vader famously said, “The circle is now complete.”

P.S.  Please remember the 9/11 victims, the 1st responders, and the men and women who served and are still serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And may God Bless America.

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