Monthly Archives: December 2020

Slowly detaching from a created world and cover reveal

Like the prelim cover for Heritage? It’s pretty reflective of the book, so it’s science fiction with horses and dogs. And despite his Martiniere veneer, Mike Martiniere is still an Eastern Oregon cowboy because that’s how he was raised. Even if he does come from a rich and powerful family that controls an international consortium. But Mike has to face up to what the heritage of being a Martiniere means, including who and what he is–the clone of a powerful, vicious, and autocratic man, Philip Martiniere, who saw Mike as a disposable means to achieve immortality. Mike is Philip’s thirteenth clone attempt, and the only one to survive his progenitor.

I’ve been living in Mike’s head since August. Unlike most of my books, where I start at the beginning and work my way through, The Heritage of Michael Martiniere has been written in self-contained short pieces written to address certain themes. In fact, one of the major chunks, the interactions between Mike and his great-granddaughter/niece Lily*, were amongst the last pieces written because I couldn’t get my head around Lily for quite a while. Once I figured Lily out, the whole last section of the book came together and was written more or less linearly. Let’s just say that I finally figured out how to incorporate some inspirations from watching Swan Lake into a story.

*(um. It’s complicated. Mike was adopted and raised by his biological son Gabe after being rescued from his creator/progenitor Philip at the age of five. Lily is the daughter of Gabe’s son Brandon)

I’m jokingly calling Heritage “literary science fiction,” because while it’s near-future and has technological/cyberpunk elements, it’s also very focused on relationship, emotion, and what it means to be a clone to that clone as he grows up and has to deal with all the BS that goes with being a clone. It unfolds bit by bit, piece by piece, as Mike comes to terms with the physical, psychological, and political toxicity of his progenitor Philip…and to some extent, the Martiniere family. Mike is a very broken person because of what he inherits from Philip. But so are the people who raise him.


Yesterday I finished the first revision, which for me means taking paper edits of the rough draft and incorporating them into the main document. It’s the beginning of walking away from the story. It still has to go to edits, but the essential act of original creation has been completed.

For some reason I’m finding it hard to let go of this creation. Last night I actually came up with ideas for two more books in this setting…one, Broken Angel, about Gabe, and the other, Rescue Angel, about his sister Justine. Not ready to write those stories just yet but they could end up being a 2022 project. All the same, I have to wonder if the degree to which I immersed myself in the world of the Martinieres is due to the nature of the story, or the nature of writing something like this during Covid? I did achieve a lot while writing these books–approximately 270,000 words in the trilogy, Heritage at 115,000 words, and assorted short stories at around another 30,000 words. So close to 400,000 words this year, all in one world. That’s more than I’ve continuously written in a single setting before now. Part of this was due to the decision that I wanted to write the whole darn thing all at once before doing something else, unlike in the past when I was alternating Netwalk and Goddess’s Honor books.

Covid is a factor, all right. Without my other usual activities, this year in writing has basically been go to the computer, futz around on line, write for a while, go do some other stuff, then write some more. However, that decision to work in one world until I reached an endpoint in the major story arc was a huge chunk of this year’s production and it’s affected me in other areas.

I haven’t made jewelry. I haven’t made any quilts.

It’s just been writing, riding the horse, and getting out into the woods.

But now that I’m having to detach myself from the Martinieres, I’m finding it hard. Like I said…at least two more possible books. At least. And while I’ve written this world from the top layer, there are lower layer pieces that could be written as well.

I hate to say goodbye, but in the next week or so, the last pieces of this world get wrapped up and move from creation to production.

I’ll miss them.


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Random post-book thoughts

I finished The Heritage of Michael Martinere this last week–Wednesday, or maybe it was Tuesday, I can’t be certain now without going back to look at the Facebook/Twitter posts. Almost right away, I came across an article which not only clarifies something I did in Heritage but also somewhat underpins and supports the elements of The Netwalk Sequence. Food for thought, but it kind of blows up part of the ending of Heritage…and gives me something to think about for the next book, should I choose to write another Martiniere book. Which I think I may…there’s some elements I can still mine in that world. The whole indentured servitude/body modification issue…what happens when indenture gets wiped away quickly? What impact will it have on society? I’ve written about this from the upper end…now how about the everyday end?

Thinking about it. One problem is that I don’t feel confident about writing that kind of story. That might be an exercise that is good for me. On the one hand.

On the other…so many people write about the gritty side of things. I’m not sure I want to join those ranks, necessarily, and the everyday life in that particular world might not look so nice. Gotta think about it.

Then again, I do leave an opening at the end of Heritage for Mike and JoAnn to further that story. We shall see. I’m resisting the urge to print it out and do those revisions because I need to think about that major ending revision pretty darn hard. And Heritage is already at 117,000-some words.

But there’s other things going on besides the book and thinking about the next project (I always try to have December as a not-large-project month).

Mocha’s sore and I think it might be age plus frozen ground with no snow cushioning. And she did tweak something. I broke down and ordered a quarter sheet to go under the saddle when I ride, because I suspect that her back muscles are tight and perhaps a little extra warmth when riding might be useful. We’re doing short rides with a focus on bending and flexing–and the other day she suddenly came right after doing a little bit of two-tracking. Meds kicking in or she finally got warmed up? I don’t know for sure, but at her age it doesn’t hurt to pamper her a little bit.

We are reorganizing the house–all this time in it during Covid kinda has helped us revise our organization. A couple of chairs got relegated to the basement (one is an extra we don’t use but can come out post-Covid for visitors, and the other is my porch rocking chair that stays out once weather gets good in the spring). But there’s some other system stuff going on.

I generally start bringing the grooming caddy for Mocha inside once the weather consistently drops below freezing, because it has wet stuff in it that doesn’t take well to freezing. Because I also keep horse cookies in the caddy, I’ve been concerned about attracting rodents into the house so I’ve had it in the main house, which eats up space. This year, I’m keeping the caddy in a big garbage bag in the basement. Same for the big garbage bag. Soon I’ll be moving saddle into the basement and definitely the bridle I’ll be using most of the time so that it isn’t constantly cold. I’m also rotating halters because of possible fomites on gates etc when I’m at the ranch, and I want to keep all of that stuff out of the main house. Which means my boots also live in the garage instead of in the house.

I do like that setup. It’s much more efficient and then I don’t have a whole bunch of horse tack in the main house. The Western saddle is going to be the big challenge, though. It may just keep living in the horse trailer tack room.

We went for a “get OUT of the house” drive yesterday, first up to Wallowa Lake and then in the grain and hay fields to the east of town. Saw elk, a fox, lots of deer (both whitetail and mule), assorted raptors including eagles, and took some artsy photos.

But for the most part we’re hanging out and staying away from Covid. It’s a quiet life right now. I’ll take it.

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