Plus Two, Minus Many

progressreport August28Since Sunday, we have added two more chapters to Alternate Connection. Being the Plotsters (Plotter+Pantster) we are, although we have a direction and know the plot of the story in detail, we still allow the characters to dictate the course so we went with the flow. Well, the characters wanted a bit more alone time… You get the drift.

With that said, since last Sunday, we also completed seven chapters and have only two more to write to finish the story. All others in yellow are already in snowflaking/editing/revision phase.

Current count with the finished chapters and without our wonderful editor’s pass is 103,345 words. The expected final number should be around 120,000. With the editing and final revision, we should tighten it to about the same count as Countermeasure.

We’ll report again on Monday!

Sláinte!

Chris

Soooo Close

For those who have been following our first series, you may have noticed a gap between the releases of To Russia with Love and the upcoming third novel, Alternate Connection.

Alternate Connection was plotted and scripted in 2012. Long before the current conflict in the Middle East erupted. At the time, we had little to go by but our gut. We interviewed people who'd been there, who'd lived in Palestine before the Intifadas, and researched our asses off to write the best action book we could.

Then life happened and some of the drive to write the story died down. It took a lot of love for the story, love for the characters, and a lot of encouragement from friends to get the ball rolling again, but alas, here we are, only a week or so away from completing one of our most rewarding books so far.

Our methods being stranger than our fiction, we need color coded tables to keep track of what each of us is writing each day. Everything is labeled, what's in the snowflaking/editing/critique stage and the chapters waiting to be claimed by each of our muses.

Key

We are happy to show where we stand with Alternate Connection's development today.

ACStatus

We are writing, editing and revising two to three chapters daily and have no doubts we can finish the book this week. We'll even have plenty of time to read the full manuscript a couple of times before it's shipped to our editor for review.

Mark the day. Alternate Connection will be in stores on October 06, 2015. Or in your kindle at 12:01 AM if you've pre-ordered your copy.

Sláinte!

Chris

The All-time Best Way To Create Life-like Scenes

howthheadSome twenty years ago, I visited Ireland for educational purposes. While I was there to enhance my English skills and prepare for a pretty important test, I also made sure to travel and check out the many fantastic places around the country.

One of the places I had the pleasure to visit while in Ireland was Howth Head. I was in Ireland for several months in the winter of 1992-1993 and even with the cold and unforgiving weather the view from the train was impressive.

A walk on the beach, even under cold temperatures and blasting winds was mandatory. The pier was packed with docked boats waiting for better weather to pepper the dark sea with colorful sails. The angry waves crashed against the rocks with purpose, spraying white veils high in the air.

My walks around the peninsula took me all the way to the lighthouse before I made my way back to the village for some food and to catch the train back to Dun Laoghaire.

That day's adventure imprinted in my mind and has always teased me to go back to Ireland for another visit. The images I carried back with me were painted in my memory and it is what I drew from to write the beach scenes in Ecstasy by the Sea.

The hotel described in the book is a real hotel, often used to celebrate and officiate weddings. Although I never made it inside the hotel, I walked on the beach and admired the same view seen from its balconies.

It's our personal belief that drawing stories and scenes from personal experience makes them richer and more colorful, almost life-like as they should be. We only hope that the experiences and emotions we both brought forth in writing the book are as vivid to readers as living the moments we drew from were for us.

Do you enjoy reading about places you haven't visited? Do books make you want to travel and see with your own eyes the locations described in the stories you read?

Sláinte!

Chris

 NOTE: This blog post was originally created and published at participating blog hosts during Hot Beach Romance's blog tour. 

The True Gift of Parenthood

fathersday1 original

When I checked my email this morning, my inbox had been inundated with “Happy Father’s Day” emails. Most of them tried to sell me something, but a particular one caught my eye and made me want to write this post.

Father’s day. The day always brought inner conflict during my childhood. You see, my father passed away when I was two and I barely remember him. My pseudo-memories come from many stories my mother relentlessly told me over the years. She kept him alive for me. My own memories of him come from observation of the world he left behind.

I know of his humor and high spirits because I was privileged to have read his writing. I know of his musicality because I inherited his well-loved and played guitar. I know of his love of Japan’s rich culture and history because he left a shit-load of books on the subject, all clearly read multiple times.

During the first half of my elementary school life, I used to dread father’s day. I was the only one in class who would be making a gift without a recipient. I didn’t have any male family member who could have taken the father-figure role in my life and my mother wasn’t looking for a new husband. In fact, she never did find someone who could take my father’s place in her heart (and you wonder how I ended up writing romance, eh?).

Half way through elementary, I began to realize that the gifts we made for father’s day every year were unfair to those in the same situation as me. Not because they were gender specific or even promoted a bad habit (yep, we made ashtrays) but because they failed to acknowledge those women who have taken dual roles in their households.

The reverse happens on mother’s day, I know, but the reality is that there are way more women than men filling in both pairs of shoes in their homes.

Which brings me back to the email from this morning.

To most, it would appear very well crafted and joyful, but to me, it had an intrinsic flaw. It celebrated fathers and boasted a list of things we would not have learned without having fathers. Throw a curveball (in my case, kick a mean soccer ball), change a tire, fix things around the house, honor and ethical behavior, etc. All those things and many more, I learned from my mother.

Teaching your child life skills and how to have fun doesn’t come attached to gender. This doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your father or the things he’s taught you, or the many amazing moments you’ve had with him. Please do. Cherish every moment—on Father’s Day or any other day—you have with him because you never know if that will be the last one.

But most of all, for all fathers and mothers out there, don’t limit the memories you can have with your child to those traditional gender-specific roles. Bend the rules. Teach your daughter to bake a cake, but also to change a tire and fix an engine. Let her use you as a make-up sampler, too for fun. Teach your son to throw a ball, but also to cook and clean up after himself. To respect others independent of their life choices. Make your children rounded individuals so they can create the same memories with their own children, thus propagating the habit. And that’s the true gift of parenthood.

Sláinte!

Chris

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