Here’s the trailer for the third Gaea Ascendant story:
Cyber-Witch’s medal made the local paper. I’ll take my kudos when and where I can get them (although it’s a poor substitute for massive sales:-)
On another note, I just received the cover art for the sequel to Cyber-Witch. (See below.) Now I have to make a painful decision: What am I going to title this next book?
I’ve thought of Cyber-Magic, Nano-Magic, Cyber- followed by conjurer, shaman, thaumaturge, sorceress, enchanter, magician, witch, warlock, whatever, and nothing seems to work.
This new story has many of the same characters as Cyber-Witch and it takes place some time later after the world has completely changed as a result of what might be termed an AI apocalypse. A new character kind of forced himself into the plot: Snake – a composition of nanobots and biological cells gleaned from his prey. He’s reached a sentient level and is struggling to develop a sense of ethics or a code of behavior for himself.
He is allowing me to play around with what is going to become a very serious real-world question: at what point do we view AIs/robots as deserving of human rights. What are human rights, anyway? How do we interact ethically with other creatures in general? With other humans-especially those that are not in our personal group?
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Snake is a bit of a baby and mostly wants surcease from his personal suffering. He wants someone to be nice to him – in short, he has decided that he – an artificial construct – wants a mother. (Notice the little element of pathos there?) I’ve had a bit of a problem with his speech. He can’t speak terribly clearly and his syntax is lacking, not from ability, but from opportunity to learn, and that poses a challenge to write.
I am enjoying the journey of discovery with him. Will he get what he wants? Will he find a mother? Will he turn out to be one of the artificial constructs we humans use: good or evil?
Still, that doesn’t help me with the dratted name.
I’m probably going to go with Cyber-Magic for lack of anything better. Suggestions welcome.
Here’s the new artwork:
You can see how it echoes the colors in the cover for the first story.
Despite my late night blackest imaginings, apparently I can actually write a good story.
“I loved these two books. A wild and crazy ride, with great characters and a very imaginative story. I need more….please!”
The introductory speculation (first sentence, above) probably makes more sense to other authors. I’ll elaborate.
The problem is: writing a reasonably good book is only half the equation. The book still has to find readers and that requires marketing–aggressive marketing. At the current rate of change in the book marketplace, doing a reasonably good job of marketing requires all of your time, so how does one find the time to write?
I’d rather be writing. It’s fun to develop a book and watch the characters you’ve imagined develop. It’s enjoyable to tell an entertaining story. Getting positive feedback is wonderful.
On the other hand, marketing is expensive, a lot of drudgery, boring (at least to me), and frustrating. The learning curve is very steep and to make matters worse, the topography of the available venues and tools changes continuously.
Then there is the competition — millions upon millions of books, who knows? Thousands, maybe even tens of competitors are searching for your perfect reader. (Trying to be funny here.) In point of fact, the better you narrow down your optimal market, the fewer the competing books, but then the fewer the buyers also.
Heart of Fire Time of Ice seems to enrage some readers, while others find it so enjoyable they immediately start on the sequel: All the Moments in Forever. I can live with that, if I have to, that is.
Then there’s Cyber-Witch: The Origin of Magic <sigh>. It won the silver President’s medal from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association this year (2018). People who read it like it, but readers aren’t finding it or are bypassing it for some reason. Few sales to date and I’m deep in the end stages of writing a sequel.
Why am I doing this? I mean writing a sequel for a book that doesn’t sell. Why??? <insert mental picture of a man choking himself with his own hands>
Two reasons really. One is that Cyber-Witch is really close to potential reality. It is a possible version of our world at the very beginning of the AI apocalypse. The sequel extends that world into an interesting future.
The other reason is I think the basic idea is a good one and the characters deserve their story to be told.
The two books are entertaining and hopefully thought-provoking. The reader is led to contemplate questions about sentience and whether an AI can be considered to be equivalent to a human. I’m not positive yet, but I’m pretty sure that the character “Snake” in the second book will tug at the reader’s heartstrings with his (its-although he has decided that he has masculine characteristics) struggles.
As I write, I’m continually amazed at the plot twists that develop seemingly without my active intervention. Things just suggest themselves as part of the story. I’m left wondering how I can blend the various elements into a seamless whole, but they are resolving nicely at this point. Still, I want to be done–just to see how it all turns out.
The one thing I’m sure of is I’m not making much money out of all this effort. However, I still love to write.
Still writing on the sequel to Cyber-Witch. Somehow it’s turned into a difficult task, although once I get to writing, the words flow well.
Meanwhile, here’s a fun word – one of my favorites, although I like them all:
Absquatulate — meaning to leave somewhere abruptly.
For some reason it always reminds me of the early Tarzan movies where Tarzan would say, “Umgahla.” (Or something like that.) The result was always that the elephant he was riding and any other nearby animals would abruptly leave the scene.
Based on that observation, Umgahla (or whatever it was that he said that sounded remotely similar) is Tarzanese for Absquatulate.
It’s just that having Tarzan holler, “Absquatulate!” seems a little out of character. It might have worked though. I’m of the opinion that most of the audience for those movies wouldn’t have known the difference. I could be wrong on that.
That’s enough rambling. Time to get back to Sophie and her problems. Most recently she’s been faced with a surreptitious attack that exploits her previous drug addiction. I’ve got to write the next few scenes in order to find out how she handles it.
On the other hand, it’s probably a good idea to write a section about another character and leave Sophie writhing in pain until I can get back to her. I’d like to find out how Snake is dealing with his (its?)* involuntary enslavement by Abubecar.
(its?)* — I can’t quite make up my mind how to deal with Snake, inasmuch as he/it is a nanite-based AI construction with some organic parts created from cells extracted from other creatures. The only thing I know is he is somehow becoming convinced that Sophie will be good to him if he ever contacts her again, despite his origin as part of a nanite-dragon that she mostly destroyed.)
The weird and strange way this story is developing is starting to get a little intimidating. Hope it works out the way I think it will.
More to come later.
I was pleasantly surprised on July the 3rd by an email that informed me that my last book: Cyber-Witch: The Origin of Magic has been selected as one of the finalists for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award. It seems that Cyber-Witch is going to receive a medal in the Adult Fiction-Genre: Sci-Fi and Fantasy. There has been, to date, no mention of whether it will be awarded Gold, Silver, or Bronze, but I still feel like it’s a significant accomplishment.
I’m working on the sequel to that book. Cyber-Witch spins today’s science (AI, speech-recognition, CRISPR/genetic modification, hacking, encryption) together with a little imagination into a new world where science-based magic is commonplace. The results are nothing short of catastrophic, resulting in an almost complete destruction of the old power structure while forming a new magic-based and almost feudal structure that replaces the old.
The results give free rein to an almost infinite expansion of the author’s imagination and I’m letting mine roam and explore as I write the sequel. At this point, I’m just completing the first half of the book and the threads of numerous conflicts are tracing out their convoluted paths and (hopefully) leading to an amazing conclusion. I planning for the sequel to leave its readers with a feeling of satisfaction as intense as the one experienced in reading Cyber-Witch.
I’d be pleased if some other authors based stories in this new world. There’s plenty of room for fantasy there.
A brief note: Cyber-Witch is adult reading with drugs, violence, and sex.
Thanks to all my readers!