Author: Kenneth Brooks

Sayings from Work…

Ever have a job or Career where you catch yourself saying things that sound like one liners for short stories? Things like “It’s a prototype, what do you want from me?”

Don’t get me wrong, being a system engineer and working in an R&D lab is a blast. It is the best job I have ever had. There are weeks where I feel like my brain is being pulled in too many directions. I get home, I want to write but as soon as I sit down, i see the cursor blink at the end of the last sentence I wrote and my brain draws a flat line. The next day at work, you troubleshoot an error on a prototype, you figure; “the Cache module error is because the prototype has no cache battery, just install a cache battery and the error will go away.” You install the cache battery and then it gives you a BIOS system error about the mezzanine cards. the fellow you are helping asks you why it is suddenly giving you this error and your brain draws the same blank as you get when you see the cursor blink. fortunately i am friends with this guy so he laughs when i say “it’s a prototype, what do you want from me?”

It also helps that an hour later we are vaping outside and trading insights into problems and he asks me, “So, when did you become a test engineer?” and an innocent bystander cracks up laughing.

One thing is for sure, after close to three years of working on various prototype equipment, it has changed how I write science fiction. In the first few renditions of Ascendant, Serrah had prototypes spun up quickly and they worked well. Now, you see the prototypes being planned out but not being used right away. the latest chapter, even though she has a prototype new form ready to use, she falls back on a trusted form. Blade Prime plans the proof of concept for a new tek form that will not be seen for three books. Seeing things come from proof of concept to Development Prototypes, to validation prototypes to Manufacturing validations builds, engineering samples, test samples, and the like, has been interesting.

My job started out as being the person setting up an end to end environment consisting of servers, blades, network, storage, and making it all work. support the test engineers when their prototype software comes up with an unexpected result or when the equipment breaks for some reason. Now, we have prototype hardware that adds complexity to the mix. we have to support that, and test it out. It has been awesome and I found that what I have experienced has made its way in how I write and how I see things coming out in the world.

People expect things to work perfectly and are critical of companies when they discover a problem. they don’t seem to understand the development it takes to get the equipment to the state it is currently in. they also don’t get to see how bad the proof of concept and the DP/VP equipment that came before the finished products were. Also, there is so much testing that can be done before a product goes into the wild. Knowing what some of the products we supported went through and what they started off as, i have a new found respect for a lot of equipment currently on the market.

I wonder what kind of stories were inspired by the phrase “It’s a prototype, what do you want from me?”

How “Tekno Warrior” Became “Ascendant” An old manuscript is reborn, polished and awaits it’s siblings in the publishing line.

If you are a writer and have not been there: go there today, there are a lot of friendly faces and people waiting to hear your stories and your side of the other world. Don’t go solo with spelling errors, they are there to help you out: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge.jpg

The topic this month: Have we taken a really old story and reworked it?

YES I HAVE!

The first major novel I ever decided to write when I was in high school. It went by the really campy title Tekno Warrior: Predestined Paradox Volume 1: Initiate. Wow, that is a long title. It was actually a follow up to Tekno Warrior: The Clans of Cybertrin; A book I am in the process of re working today (At the Epilogue)! I decided to re order them into a trilogy with Initiate first. Why? In the Clans of Cybertrin I introduce a character named Servolos and she was a legend among her people. I wanted to have some mysticism around the teks at that point in time but after writing the Clans of Cybertrin I realized that Servolos needed her own Origin tale. Initiate was born at that point. After several dreams I hashed out the profiles and outlines then started to write it up. Fate seemed to be against me; my computer crashed, hard drive died, floppies died (anyone remember 3.5 floppies)?

Eventually it was finished. I re wrote it several times after that and tried to get it published the traditional way. The title was way too campy for anyone to take my query letter seriously and they didn’t like the 312000 word count (I had a lot to say on that one. It only got worse from there). I let it sit from 2006 to 2015 where I decided to brush it off. The universe I dream of is called the Ascendant universe. I needed to get rid of the old campy title and after a lot of thought, I decided this series needed to have that name (after all they are descendants of humans and the main characters go through some sort of ascension).

Predestined paradox, the name of the trilogy, still sounded good. Initiate still sounded good. Those titles stayed. The only one that still carried its original name. The Clans of Cybertrin became the Trinity Clans, In the shadows became Shadow Fall. I am happy with how this latest rewrite came out. It is a bit on the large side, I may have to break it up into two books, yikes! but I am satisfied with it. Never give up on work you believe in!

Since I published Templar; Order and Chaos and Templar; Spirit Killer will come out today, I need to edit, revise, and publish Era Walker and Forgotten before I can do some final work on Initiate. I hope that you will be able to see it one day (Probably 3/1/2020, I like publishing books on 3/1).

imgres.jpg

fever dreams and “why brain, why!”

If there is one thing good about being sick, it is the fever dreams. Wild, vivid, intense fever dreams. Some people are afraid of them but that is where i can get to the inner core of what my imagination has to offer while getting a reprieve from whatever illness struck me down. This time it is strep throat. Bleh… strep. better than the flu as I dont have to deal with my asthma flaring out of control. worked from home today so I wouldn’t get my co workers sick (family gave it to me otherwise it would have been the other way around). I didn’t go to bed with a fever last night but as the dreams became fantastic, i figured that i was getting one.

That being said…

My brain decided to give me an alternate reality dream for the templar lone wolfe saga. my own subconscious writing its own fan fiction…why brain why!

It got me to thinking, in between upgrades to systems I was doing from home, about posting a “Childhood of Lone Wolfe” story here. If you have read Templar: Order and Chaos and get and read Templar: Spirit Killer then you will have hints at what I am about to write. This will be more of an episodic chapter like system. I will write a chapter and post it on here, when I run into writers block with the current stories. This will be the complete dossier of the characters of the saga as well as meeting some characters that you have heard about in the Templar Lone Wolfe saga (Scarlet and Relena to name two). You’d get to see the tragedy that happened in his family first hand (This is where my subconscious wanted to take a nice spin off from the series).

Stay tuned!

The other world of dreams. A post novel completion blog.

Ascendant: Trinity Clans has joined the pile of waiting manuscripts to get polished and edited for publication bringing my list back to four again. This will give me some time to flesh out Jena’s Blood Legacy before moving onto Shadow Fall. It is a bit of a habit of mine to write the bio’s, the outline, and some basic notes before putting that away (usually to never look at them again…) and working on something that has always been fleshed out. I think me and my subconscious made an agreement long ago that this would work out best for me.

Yes, you read that right. How many people are actually in cahoots with their subconscious? Someone had to keep me company as a kid (only child, both parents worked and were divorced, usually no one around when i got up in the morning and when i got home from school). I am pretty sure i am in a good relationship with my subconscious; I don’t have bad dreams, none at least that i can remember and despite being in my early thirties, i still have a full schedule of dreams to look forward to every night.

Often the subject of dreams comes up with me in casual conversation. When I say dreams, i do not mean aspirations but literally the shows that go on in your brain during the time you lie somewhere unconscious. I blame my parents for this as both of them have asked me about my dreams when i was little and made their own comments on them. When i ask my friends and my family, most people except my children tell me one of two things “I can’t remember most of my dreams,” Or “I don’t have dreams.”

In most cases the first statement is true. Most people cannot remember their dreams. I seem to be in the minority; people who can wake up and say “Wow, I had six dreams last night. they were awesome!” It makes me sad that I can’t share my dreams with most people. I ask other people if they have dreams because if i just talked about my dreams I think the conversation would be a little one sided. That is best left for blogs!

I will probably use this blog to share some general facts about my dreams. I would like feed back especially if you have dreams too! I hope writers are in the minority of people that remember their dreams most of the time. I also have a couple of suggestions if you are an adult and want to try to remember your dreams. I don’t know how good the advice will be but it won’t hurt to try it.

I can lucid dream, i usually chose not to unless i am given a clue that i am supposed to. Usually lucid dreaming is the ability to control your dreams. This might be why I have a good rapport with my unconscious mind. I can control the dreams but I usually choose to go with the flow of the dream. This is the time for my subconscious to romp around and get some time for itself. If i barge in on its fun I am sure it will cause me nightmares. I like looking forward to the programming schedule it has for me every night so I don’t want to disrupt it.

Now there are some scenarios where i can tell that dark side i can’t quite touch or get to know as well as i like wants to see if i am paying attention. Usually this is something like me jumping off of a cliff or the ground collapsing and me plunging into an abyss (I know, i said i don’t have nightmares but things like that don’t scare me for some reason. Probably because I know i am dreaming and that is a cue to do something). Now most lucid dreamers would choose to fly when they jump off the cliff. I figured that has been tried so many times and our unconscious selves probably talk about this common trick they do to the waking people to see if they can do something. I choose a different path like making the ground below me something like twenty feet of marshmallow or fluffy pillows or something to take the edge off of the fall. I am curious to see what that would do to me; after all a common myth is if you die in your dreams you die in real life. I don’t wake up with bruises so I don’t think that we have anything to worry about.

Second fact: this one is something I usually don’t share with people (my wife and the sister i never had know about this though); I usually am a girl in my dreams… I am pretty sure some of the people out in the inter webs just did this:

imgres.jpg

Yes, I have gender problems. I have had these problems all of my life. Puberty also decided to be a little lighter to me than most males; my voice didn’t drop as much as it could have, my shoulders didn’t broaden at all, I look at all of my childhood pictures with short hair and shiver. I kept a picture badge of me from a job i worked at for years to remind myself never to cut my hair above shoulder length. My subconsciousness picked up on this and obviously did me a kindness. considering that i may never have the income to fix this problem of mine, i thank my subconsciousness for it.

I my mind’s eye I see me and my two closest female companions as this:

images2 (1).jpg

But the reality of it something closer to this; Yes, those two are my children:

36C.jpg

I am sure it is a good picture because four of the five people in this picture make it good. My beautiful wife on the left, the sister i never had on the left. My kids below, the only thing i see wrong with the picture is me.

She is the sister I never had because I am an only child. I have no biological siblings. I do have a step sister that is 27 years older than me and a step brother that is eighteen years older than me. I have seen very little of them, just like I have seen very little of my other family members. That is partly by my parents design. My mother wanted to limit contact with certain members of her family which meant I hardly ever saw my aunts or uncles and my father absconded from his family due to personality conflicts. Now my father wonders why I have problems keeping in touch and gets very cross with me about it. Well when I spent my childhood mainly trying to keep myself from going nuts; friends become like family to me. I told him that once, to which he said that Niki is not my family and I just about made this face:

images (11).jpg

What do you want me to do? This was their designs. Dreams are better, IMO. I don’t know how to talk to my family, my father is one of the oddest Christians you will ever meet. Well versed in the Occult. My mother is more spiritual and christian. they are upset that I turned to Druidry. I am pretty sure that my mother would be okay with me telling her I have gender problems but I can’t be sure. I know my father would make that face above or tell me to cut my hair (maybe come after me with scissors thinking cutting off the long hair will get rid of it).

So I dream I’m a girl. I function well in society when I am awake. I free floated most of that above. Didn’t mean to get off track like that.

I usually am an active participant in my dreams. Especially the ones that become the stories. I will dream about something and I will write it out. I usually write about the dreams in a journal or something because it produces more vivid dreams. They are second only to fever dreams.

My suggestions for trying to remember dreams. This has been met with varying degrees of success. I cannot say that any of these will help someone remember their dreams but they can’t hurt and you don’t have to subscribe to a costly program to try it out either. My first suggestion is to have a notebook and pen ready to go next to your bed. When you wake up in the morning, before doing anything else, put the pen in your hand, put the pen to the paper and write something. It doesn’t have to be about the dream (especially if you can’t remember it) but let it come out. Words will come, don’t worry about them making sense or anything. Sooner or later your brain will come to understand what you are trying to do and make you write what you are feeling when you wake up (usually caused by your dreams even if you dont remember them) and eventually you will start to remember the dreams. when you do; write them down even more. it will solidify in your head that you want to recall the nightly programming schedule. It will take time, could take years, but if you really want to know what you dream about then stick with it.

Suggestion number 2: There is a meditation technique to try. Fold a sheet of paper so it will stand up in a triangle and draw a red dot on it. Sit in a chair and look at the red dot. Don’t think about anything else but the red dot. Sounds easy but it’s not. When you think of something (and while you are new to this trick it will happen in a few seconds) don’t push the thought aside. As was told to me “We all have monkey brains and we need to address and tame the monkey brain.” You need to trace the thought back to its origin and address the issue. That will keep the thought from coming back (at least for a few minutes). This is also something that will take a while to conquer. I would be surprised if people got this down pat in anything less than a month. I have ADD so it took me a LONG time to do this. When you can sit in front of the chair and let the red dot be your world for an hour without an interruption from your brain you got it. That technique will help you to order your mind and make it easier for you to process thoughts in general. keep doing it once you mastered it. I didn’t and it again took me A LONG TIME to get back into the habit.

Hopefully I didn’t scare anyone away or upset anyone. I hope to see you again soon.

 

How has being a writer changed my experience as a reader?

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

There is a simple answer to that: No matter how much editing a person does, something always seems to be missed. I learned that with my first novel, Templar: Order and Chaos. I am lucky to have a relative with an English Degree and she is helping me to fix that for the first novel. As I have little funds to hire an editor, i still have to go it solo for now. I love the novels that have come out because of Amazon and I realize now that I am far from the only writer that has a spelling problem. I don’t hold it against the authors, especially the ones that have little money to hire an editor.

Even with an editor, on more professional novels I can still catch spelling mistakes and little grammar mistakes. I see it everyday at highly visible sights like CNN. I also see the people make comments belittling the editors because of the mistakes that were missed. It upsets me that people go out of their way to point that out; it doesn’t matter how many pairs of eyes sees it, little mistakes can be missed on the passes. You could have an army of editors and something could still be missed.

In the end I just smile when I see spelling mistakes and grammar issues. I don’t hold it against anyone.

insecure-writers-support-group-badge
http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Templar: Spirit Killer release date

If reading something over and over could make your eyes bleed then I would have died of a hemorrhage. I have tried my best to scrub my drafts of TSK for the last several months and hopefully I will have caught most of the spelling errors this time. I wish I had enough money to hire an editor to go through it. Alas, I financially support my family with just my income. Two children and my loving wife make it worth it but it leaves little money after the bills to hire an editor. We also had some medical issues with both me and my wife that has made the monthly budget a little tight. Hopefully that will in improve.

That said; queue the crickets…

Templar: Spirit Killer, Templar Lone Wolfe book 2 will come out on 3/1/2017!

I am happy to have the little sibling of Templar: Order and Chaos on the shelf. Once i order the proofs I will wait to submit the paperback until about five days before the kindle release date so they can be on the site at the same time. I didn’t know create space would post the paperback for sale the moment I approved the proofs.

I thank all of my readers for their support on the first book. I also am very thankful to my family; my wife, my children, and the little sister I never had that made sure I had time to write so I wouldn’t go bananas from the stress.

A little bit about the Templar Lone Wolfe series.

By now you may have noticed that the copyright dates on these novels are a bit old. They were not released right away. I actually came up with the concept of the Keepers of the balance before I was married and had written a version of these novels long ago. It was actually because while I and my friends were playing Dungeons and Dragons that I came up with the concept. If you have played tabletop RPGs then you may understand this; sometimes the dice don’t roll your way. I was having a bad night and thought it would be nice to have a class of characters that didn’t always have to roll. Some hashing out of concepts happened and I came up with a new game, new classes of characters and integrated it into the universe in my head (Ascendant).

Templar was a bit of a departure from how the rest of my novels are born. Normally I dream of something and it sticks in my head. The dream doesn’t want to stay in my head and has to come out. My waking mind brews about it and works it into the universe of concepts in my head. A novel is born. Templar worked off of a concept of a game that I made in a cafe because of a bad night with the dice. Not something that needed to come out of my head.

Years later I learned that I was being laid off (mass layoff) in a job that i had worked at for almost six years. Anyone that has gone through this knows it is a stressful time and the dreams get a bit strange. I thought I hit pay dirt when I found a Mass storage technician job. It wasn’t as good as I thought; it didn’t come with medical benefits and being a person with severe asthma I needed medical insurance. I was working in a job that I liked but I needed insurance. I had to get another job; one that did have medical benefits.

A call center was opening in the town I lived in and I submitted my resume for an IT position there. They filled the position before they got my resume but the IT manager passed my resume to the Resource Management Director. Several interviews later, I was hired as a Resource Management Analyst to open and maintain the call center. It came with a complete benefits package and my IT knowledge helped out both in opening the center and maintaining it.

If you have ever worked in Workforce Management then you know what kind of job I had. that was the resource management Analyst job. You may also know that managing the scheduling and staffing of a call center is a stressful and thankless job. It doesn’t matter if you want to help an agent or not, people will blame your department at the first sign of any trouble. The Call center switches go down; its RM’s fault. Someone missed compliance because they decided to take an extra break to go to the bathroom, its RM’s fault. Someone gets VTO and another person doesn’t… you get the picture.

I started having dreams of Lone Wolfe and the keepers of the balance. In 2012 I also started the process of buying a house. I wrote that draft of Templar: Order and Chaos in 3 months. As I worked in RM, the stress continued to build and I wrote most of the series before I moved onto my current job. Now that I am a Systems Engineer, you would think the stress would be phenomenal but it isn’t as bad as RM. So the dreams have slowed and I finally have time to edit my earlier works. Still get the dreams and still cleaning up and rewriting older novels but Templar found its way into my subconsciousness and had to make its way back out.

Merry Christmas: info and updates

Good evening Readers!

This may be my last post before Christmas so as I get through my writers block, let me give you some information about what is coming up.

Seal color types.

By now you should have seen the different types of seals in use in Templar: Order and Chaos. While I never stated it directly, there are different types of magic at work depending on the seal color which I will list below. These will all be seen by the time Templar: Spirit Killer comes out in March.

Gold: Aspect Power, The use of energy to change aspects of a seal or create a seal spell

Green: Balance Protective Power: Protection used by the Templars which comes from the balance.

Red: Locked Seal, when a templar uses their abilities while their seal powers have been locked.

Purple: Rune Power: when a templar uses their rune abilities

Gray: Five Points Focus powers: when a templar uses their five points abilities

White: Balance Influence; when the balance tries to influence a templar to do something counter to their own will.

Fuchsia: A type of protective power that protects a templar from persistent injury or energy.

 

New books

Ascendant: Pre Destined Paradox Trilogy (Initate/Trinity Clans/Shadow Fall)

I am currently working on the Ascendant; Predestined Paradox trilogy. Some parts of this more sci-fi series takes place on Earth but the first two books have very little to do with Earth. Less of the hidden world is involved here with the exception of psychics with their abilities. I know i am being vague but I will have more details on it when the trilogy is finished and I am tying up loose ends. I am a bit protective of this series because I have written and re-written the series several times. I feel like the first book of the trilogy is as good as it is going to get. I will have to see about the other two books but I feel like these will be ready to release into the wild soon after the first book does. The series gets stuck at certain points usually when an important character is about to die which is why I have writers block right now.

Templar: Jena’s Blood Legacy

I feel like I have not given Jena enough time with the readers which is why the books following the Trilogy will be Jena’s Blood Legacy. I am still fleshing out the details but the book will center around Jena with limited appearances from other templars from the Lone Wolfe saga. The first book will be titled “Scisms” and takes place in 2038 in the middle of the mage war. You will understand her precarious position once Templar: Spirit Killer is released but there are sure to be fireworks in it. The second book will be “Antediluvian” Which deals with the progenitors of the Lilithian race. I am pretty sure in the second book, if not the first, that I tell the story of how the Lilithians secured their rebirth before the apocalypse that wiped out the old races. In that story, the progenitors of the Lilithian race placed themselves in a deep meditative state and hoped to survive the coming apocalypse. They knew that they would have to be revived so they hoped that one of the new lilithians would find them. I have not nailed down a date in the timeline yet but it will be sometime after 2050 (That is an important year in the Ascendant saga so I try to avoid that date at all costs). There will be more books to come in her Blood Legacy story but they need to be fleshed out first.

Ascendant: Origins

This will be a set of stories set before the Predestined Paradox trilogy as some characters have interesting Stories to Tell. The First one will be “Sora of Phoenix” which revolves around the Celic warrior named Torae Reid. She helped Servolos in the first book of the PD trilogy and there are hints at her back story in that. This centers around her upbringing and what led to her betraying the Celic domains. It delves into the depths of their bio technology and energy that creates their synergy forms.

The Second Story is “Akasha of Spirit” and revolves around the Alpha Tek, and Servolos’s grand mother Akasha. This dives into the war with Kelv’Nen, the species often mentioned in the PD trilogy and gets to heart of the hatred she has with the Primus. A very different Calnisha Commonwealth awaits the readers familiar with the PD trilogy.

Origins will be a revolving door with origin stories of many of the characters but those are the first two that needed their own tales told first. These will come out either after the first two of the Jena Blood Legacy series or after that series has been completed.