Raven of Iskandar – What’s up next….

Book 5 ‘The New Season’ is still in editing.  We’ll be heading into the third round of edits.

I don’t think I’d mentioned this before, but Book 5 will include a bonus.  It will include the short story ‘Foosball’ which was in the short story book ‘The Day the Elves Stole My Wife and other stories’.  This story relates how Calamity Angel and Dahija met and how they were promoted to the Prime team.

In addition, I am re-editing and expanding the first book ‘Raven:  The Call from Central’.  As you read the series, you may have noticed that some details changed, especially in relationship to the technical aspects of the matches.  I’m going back and ‘correcting’ them and expanding some of the scenes as they were fairly bare of description and emotion.

For example:

Old version

Josie was a dark human who stripped Raven of her beltpack and backpack, and led her in a trot down corridors.  Before Raven could get her mind around it, she was in harness and being pushed into a pod.  She had a brief thought as to how comfortably fit the harness was, when she was immediately on the field.

Her first thought was this is Niflheim.  Then she was nailed.  The match had already begun.  It was a free-for-all deathmatch with Instagib.  She was nailed twice more within the first minute, but then got her first frag.  After getting nailed again, she became angry.  She channeled it into concentration, and began to get frags.  However, she was getting nailed too often.  There must be 50 players on the field, she thought, and she was constantly getting nailed from behind.  It was a tough grind.  No subtlety here, too many competitors.  Spawn and frag, or be fragged.

The bell rang. Raven was exhausted and depressed.  Those 15 wild minutes had passed quickly.  She went through the traditional final greeting with the smile she could muster and then was back in the pod.  No extractor was there, so she let herself out of the pod and harness, and redressed.

New version

Josie was a dark human who stripped Raven of her beltpack and backpack, and led her in a trot down corridors.  They needed to hurry.  The lift bounced them up an uncertain number of floors and they continued running to a pod room. It almost looked like the janitor’s office and all four pods were empty.

“We’ll put you in here because I don’t know if there are any empty pods upstairs,” said Josie quickly. 

Before Raven could get her mind around it, she was pushed into a pod.  She did manage to get her top and jeans off.  Josie found an adjustable harness and connected it up.  She had a brief thought as to how well an adjustable would work when she was suddenly on the field.

Her first thought was this is Niflheim.  Then she was nailed.  The match had already begun.  It was a free-for-all deathmatch with Instagib.  She had a super shock rifle in her hands.  She was nailed twice more within the first minute, but then got her first frag.  After getting nailed again, she became angry.  She channeled it into concentration, and began to get frags.  However, she was getting nailed too often. 

There must be 50 players on the field, she thought. Overloaded.

She was constantly getting nailed from behind.  It was a tough grind.  No subtlety here, too many competitors.  Spawn and frag, or be fragged.

The bell rang. Raven was exhausted and depressed.  Those 15 wild minutes had passed quickly.  She went through the traditional final greeting with the smile she could muster and then was back in the pod.  Josie wasn’t there, so she let herself out of the harness just as she had done so many times at home, and opened the pod.  Her clothes lay on the floor just where she discarded them in a rush.  It seemed a fitting end to a disaster.

Right now I’m not sure if I am just going to update the first book or do an entire re-release.

Book 6 has no working title as yet.  I’m collecting ideas and have a few things written, but this will be the first book that won’t have any material to start from.

I was thinking of what kind of stuff I could offer as bonuses and began writing a story about how Gothgirl joined Iskandar Prime.  This would go back at least 12, maybe 15 years, so the Iskandar team and situation would be vastly different.  Of course, Grabby and Soria are on the team and of the rest you’ll finally meet the real Baroness, the person depicted in that poster on the wall in Raven’s bedroom on Necris.

The Gothgirl story has gotten pretty long already, so I’m toying with the idea of making it a book on its own.

That all for now.  I hope that all of you are having a Merry Christmas and you have my prayers for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Second Editing Round for Book 5

Book 5 of the Raven of Iskandar series is now in the second editing round. I’ve gotten it back from Yvonne and, thank God, there was a lot less blue on it. In a perfect world, all you would need is one round of editing, but the human brain doesn’t seem to work that way.

After having been through the editing cycle a number of times, I can tell you that you get used to the narrative and skip completely over missing words and bad sentence construction. One technique that proofreaders use is to read each line backwards. That will help spot misspelled words but I doubt that it would do much for storyline and sentence construction.

The book title is finally nailed down (in my own mind) as ‘The New Season’. The ‘Raven’ part is going to be dropped but I’m going to make sure you know that it is book 5 of the series right on the cover. I don’t know how many times I’ve been confused by the sequence of other writers’ series.

The title has been solidified mainly by writing it into the storyline. Here’s that excerpt, which incidentally, was add after the first round of editing.

This excerpt takes place after Iskandar faces Hooloo on the assault map Subrosa on Opening Day. Of course there are a lot of fans watching from the Angwin ‘Tournament Room’ back on Necris. (Caution, some profanity below)

Except from Raven of Iskandar Book 5: ‘The New Season’

“We won!  We won!” Raiders were shouting and there were high-fives and hugs all around.

“This may be fucking loud,” said Mason Wendlis as he high-fived Dennis.  “But it is fucking worth it.”

“Another one for the board!” yelled Jolo, high-fiving the two of them. 

On the far side of the room was the largest marker board Dennis had ever seen.  On it were three long rows of names with bright green W’s next to them.  There was a line, then another long list of names with green W’s marked ‘Championship’.  Then there was a fresh line and beneath it was the name ‘The New Season’.  Several Raiders were cheering on one of their own who was marking on the board ‘Hooloo; SubRosa; W’

‘A New Season’ is off to the Editor

Book 5 of Raven of Iskandar is now off to the editor. Well, actually, it’s already come back with lots of red (Yvonne actually uses blue). Ugh.

Book 5 will be named Raven: A New Season. I’m thinking of dropping the ‘Raven:’ part. Originally the plan was to have different book named for different characters and that’s not happening right now.

The one thing I’ve ignored so far is the cover. Not sure what I’m going to do there. I have been doing them myself but it might be time to hire a professional.

Finally, here’s another teaser from Book 5. Those of you who’ve read book 4 will remember the characters, who to this point have remained anonymous.

Interference

Lunchtime was not his preferred hour to be at Rushanak’s.  His preferred lunch was at more…let’s say ‘comprehensive’ food establishments where the meals were larger and more perfectly executed. 

He was again waiting for the younger man.

He had received a message for an urgent meeting.  That was all he knew.  He did not have to wait long, as the younger man approached with a decisive and indeed angry pace.

His companion refused to order lunch and his demeanor exuded anger as they waited for the service attendant to leave.

“Are you going to let me do this or are you going to keep interfering?” said the younger man.  “What you pulled yesterday was incredibly stupid.  Let me know now because if you continue, I’m out.”

If the older man was taken aback by this outburst, he did not allow it to show.  As he was in control, not the hired help, he took his time replying.

“It was a diversion and it has been taken as a malfunction,” he replied.  “We haven’t had one for a while.”

He knew his blasé manner would irritate the younger man.  It was time he realized who the boss was.

“The general public may think that but Iskandar knows better,” the younger man said with venom.

This was a shock to the system.  What right did he have saying these things out loud!  He stopped his reaction before it started.

“You are not supposed to say certain words here,” he said with a touch of venom.  “It can compromise the objective.”

“Any more than you did, you bumbling fool?  I doubt it,” the younger man shot back.

The older man was not used to this type of insubordination. 

“You are not going to tell me how to do my job,” he retaliated.

“And you are not going to tell me how to do mine,” the younger man responded.  “So get the hell out of my way or I’m out of here.”

People in the adjacent tables were beginning to notice the vehement conversation.  The older man was stuck between his pride and his exposure.  His pride was demanding that this hireling respect him while the niggling thought to the back of his head was caution.

“This is not the place for this discussion,” he said pompously.

“Ha, there is no discussion.  I’m out of here!” yelled the younger man, who emphasized his point by smashing his glass on the patio stones.  He was now gone and the older man suddenly realized he was left with the embarrassment.

Calming down, he decided that the whole situation was a childish display.  That was something he would deal with right away.

Excerpt from Book 5 (Coming Soon)

This is a excerpt from the next Raven of Iskandar Book (Book 5). Tentatively, the title is just ‘The New Season’.

Raven returns to Central and we have the return of a character from Book 1. This scene seems to have come out pretty well for someone who never had a music instructor (me). No spoilers for the big event.

They both turned as they heard the doors to the lounge open.  Chaoschick walked in.

“Hey, Rave,” she began, walking over to them.  “Wow, another new person.  Where do you get them all?”

They both laughed.

“Actually not that new,” said Raven.  “This is Lily.  She’s formerly of the Music Workshop.  I guess you didn’t meet her when we were up there during the playoffs.”

“I’m one of you now,” added the Twitterall.  “I am officially the music tutor for Iskandar.  I’ve also heard that you are quite a virtuoso on the viola.”

Chaoschick looked uncertain and shrugged.

“Well, go get your viola and play something for me,” stated Lily.  Raven cringed a bit.  Chaoschick was not the type of person you’d order around.  However, she was surprised.  The brunette just walked over and took her viola out of the case.  Sitting on the floor, she went through her routine of tuning.

Lily got up and walked over to her and pulled over a stool.

“Sit up here,” said the twitterall.  “You have a great ear for music.  Now you learned by someone playing the notes for you and then imitated them, right?”

“I don’t remember much about that time,” said Chaoschick.  “When things come out, like this,” she said gesturing with the instrument.  “I get scared.  A bit.”

“Nothing to be scared about.  It’s all in the past,” said Lily.  “You are very blessed to have learned so young and to care so much about playing.  I can tell by the way you were tuning.  That’s more than an instrument to you.”

“Every time I hold it, it makes me feel strange.”

Raven was fascinated by the way Lily was relating to the brunette.  It was amazing.

“Oh, the viola is just an old friend,” continued the twitterall.  “You’ve had breakup and you just don’t know if you can trust it any more.  Just forgive it.  Then forgive yourself and play.”

Chaoschick laughed.

“Should I give it a name too,” she quipped.

“Go for it.”

Chaoschick looked serious for a moment, then broke out in a smile.  “I’m calling my viola, Tracy,” she said.  “That’s what they used to call me down at West Haven.  When I learned to play.”

“Good.  Now play something.  Something upbeat.  I don’t feel like crying,” quipped Lily.

The brunette grinned at the joke and then went serious.  “I don’t know what I can play,” she said.

“No matter.  That will come with time.  For now, just play some random notes and see what they remind you of.”

Chaoschick put the instrument under her chin and just ran the bow over the strings.  Suddenly, she began to play.  It had an old classical feel and seemed to alternate passages between legato and staccato.  Her movements were crisp and precise.  It there were any bad notes in there, Raven couldn’t tell.  Lily listened with a smile. 

Chaoschick played steadily for almost ten minutes and then ended with a flourish.  Suddenly there was applause.  While she had been playing, Grabby, Skylla, Zinaida and Badger had come in, unnoticed.  Chaoschick had a smirk on her face, got up and performed an elaborate bow.

“That was amazing,” said Grabby.

“Do you remember the name of that?” asked Lily. 

Chaoschick shook her head and shrugged.  “I don’t know if I ever knew,” she said.  “Hmm.  Did that make sense?”

Everybody laughed.

“Ok,” said the twitterall.  “Whoever taught you must’ve loved Messenger, because that was the second movement of his first violin concerto.”

“Violin?” interjected Raven.

“Yes, she was playing it a fifth lower,” said Lily.  “So I’d have to say that whoever taught her was a professional.”