Just a quick update to say I’m not dead. I feel like it some days, but that’s just the whiner in me.
After some family challenges, I woke up to realize that I was indeed alive. And as it happens, I met someone who told me about their most memorable moment in high school. It struck something inside me, so I began writing Allie’s story.
Tonight, I posted the first chapters, and will continue to post as fast as I can.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Just a quick update...
Already the proud grandfather of twin three year old boys, my other daughter presented us with another set on Sunday night.
Yep... that's right! Another set of twin grandsons.
One is just fine, the other is still in neonatal, but should be okay.
And no, there have never been twins in our family, going all the way back to the 1700s. Pretty much the same for my in-laws.
Like I said, truth is stranger than fiction. And now you can see why twins play such a big role in my stories.
I was working on finishing up the re-edit of Book I, but I'm going to be a little busy for the next few days. I'll get back to it soon.
Thanks for all your notes and prayers...
Since posting the final chapters of “Second Time Through – Book Two,” I have received hundreds of e-mails. And over two thirds of them have asked or hinted at the same three basic questions. So I thought I would try to answer them for everyone.
First, you WILL have to wait to find out which of the twenty-three girls that had a special connection to Michael will stay connected to Michael, now that the danger has passed. I am not telling.
Second, as to what happened to all the stuff the Omugi salvaged from the landing craft? It is currently in the warehouse where they stored it yesterday (story time). Your real question should have been, “What kind of ship sank, causing the Protector to be washed ashore on Tapato, so long ago?”
Third, as to why I am re-editing Book One before/instead of writing and posting Book Three, I’ll try to explain.
When I wrote Book One, I had no training, education, or experience in writing. I received over a thousand e-mails on the story. And while the vast majority were positive, more than half of them politely pointed out errors. Like how I used the wrong tense (begin instead of began, etc.) or the wrong word (balling instead of bawling) to cite a few.
Take Chapter 2 (of Book One). Did you know that there are over 40 grammar and punctuation errors alone? While I am proud of the story, I am not happy with the all errors. I don’t plan on making any major changes to the plot or the storyline. It really is just a cleanup.
Also, I am buying time. The pace of writing every single day for the last nine months, has taken a toll. And while I don't want to stop writing completely, re-editing takes considerably less brain power (compared to writing), little or no creativity, and gives me the opportunity to go back and refresh myself on the story as I flesh out the outline for book 3.
Now before you think I said ‘editing is easy’, go back and re-read what I wrote. I said re-editing something I wrote (and tried to edit by myself) is easier. ESPECIALLY when you have a team like I’ve got behind me. I just give it a once over, catch the ones I can spot, then send it on to the real experts.
Anyway, I was talking about buying time to finish the outline for Book Three.
Something I ran across while re-editing Book One was the Prologue that starts with Michael/Phil in his office on the anniversary of his first time through life where he killed himself. The rest of Book One is Michael remembering and relating his story.
While Book Two's Prologue was basically just a recap of what had happened so far. I was never happy with it.
While working on correcting the errors, I got the idea, why not create a Prologue for Book Three, just like the Prologue in Book One. Sort of re-visiting the Prologue in Book One, and continuing the 'story within the story'.
So I wrote out a draft of my idea for my editors and they all liked the idea. (It’s posted below, if you’d like to check it out. Just remember, it is a ROUGH draft). Of course, the next chapter, Chapter One of Book Three, will then pick right up with Michael and family, still on the train, going to visit Hanna's parents (where Book Two left off). Feel free to let me know what you think of it.
Now, this presents a major challenge. In order to keep continuity, I will probably need to go back and add a similar Prologue to Book Two.
This technique was used very well by Nick Scipio, in his "Summer Camp" series with Paul preparing to attend a funeral at the beginning of each book.
(We STILL don't know who died!)
Hopefully, this helps you understand my situation a little better.
I will tell you that even if I weren’t re-doing Book One, I still wouldn't be writing Book Three yet. I'm not ready. There is much to do to finish the outline, and then I have to start doing the research.
And just so you know, I have actually begun the outline of Book Four as well. It will be focused around Michael's search for his 'holy grail', or the remaining two pieces of armor to go with the sword and the gauntlets.
By now, you're probably like the little boy who asked his dad what "sex" was. When his dad told him he should go ask his mom, he replied, "But DAD...I didn't want to know that much!"
Well, now you know. So, it’s back to work for me. I can’t really say how fast I can pull this all together, but the last time, after I posted Book One, it took me about six weeks to start posting Book Two. That’s not a commitment, just an observation.
As always, thanks for reading my story. And now, the tentative Prelude to “Second Time Through - Book III”:
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 – The Second Time
The sound of Narvenia at the door brought me out of my reverie. I knew why she was here.
I looked at my left wrist to check the time.
"Shit," I thought to myself. "I forgot to put on my watch!"
I heard Narvenia's giggle from the other office.
"It's ten minutes after," she called out happily.
So, the midnight hour had passed. It was now Tuesday morning, and nothing had happened yet. I wasn't surprised. When they said they would return in forty years, I had assumed midnight as the arrival hour, but I guess that even Narvenia's people could not accurately predict a time warp to the minute some forty years in advance.
"I tried to explain that to you," Narvenia said. I was used to her hearing my thoughts by now. "You'll have to be patient. Space/Time warps are difficult to predict."
"I know," I said tiredly. "It's just that some human traits never seem to go away, regardless of all we learn."
"I can't wait to see my mother!" she giggled. "She and Father will be amazed when they find out they're great-grandparents!"
"Is Philly coming with the kids?" I asked. Philly was our daughter.
"I wasn't sure when we'd make contact. I told her I'd see her later today. Stephen has soccer after school, and Jamie is going somewhere with her boyfriend."
This was my second time living this day. In fact, every day for the last forty years had been my second time. But tonight was different. Tonight marked the 40th anniversary of the end of my first trip through life. The fortieth anniversary of my awakening after killing myself.
Narvenia and I had discussed this many times. She was from a world that was literally in another dimension. And every forty years, a naturally occurring time warp allowed the two worlds to overlap, as she described it.
During this brief window, usually about four weeks as we measure time, the two worlds could interact. But in all their history, they had never interfered with our world until they perceived a danger from a distant universe, headed our way.
Forty years ago tonight, Narvenia and her sister, Spiro, using a technology that she had never explained, had taken me back forty years in our time, placing my mind and soul in the brain dead body of a sixteen year old accident victim. Then they had helped prepare me for the threat to our planet, in an effort to save our world with only minimal intervention.
The funny part was, this whole thing was the equivalent of a class homework assignment for Narvenia and Spiro. A science project that had little or no effect on their world, but far reaching and permanent impact on ours. This was also only the second time that the technology had ever been used, and the first person they had tried it on, didn't survive for them to find out what would happen. Narvenia, having been out of touch with her world for forty years now, had no idea what would happen to me past this point in time.
So while Narvenia was excited about seeing her parents and sister again, she was also apprehensive for me, as I prepared for the worst.
"I felt you deep in thought when I arrived," she said conversationally, trying to take my mind off worrying about what was to come. "What were you thinking about?"
I smiled as I nodded to my journal that was still lying open to the first page.
"I was remembering..." I told her.
Well, boys & girls… it’s done!
After nine long months and over a million words, the Epilogue to “Second Time Through – Book Two” is finally posted.
I commented to one of my editors that I felt like I had given birth, after living with the story every day for nine months. Her response was quick and to the point.
“When you piss a grapefruit through your dick, you let me know. THEN, we’ll discuss whether giving birth to a story is like giving birth to a baby!”
Okay, okay! Point taken.
But I do have an empty feeling since I don’t have any personal deadlines to get chapters posted anymore. In fact, while the final chapters of Book Two were with my editors, I actually started the re-edit of Book One. Mostly because I just couldn’t quit writing ‘cold-turkey’.
And as soon as my editors take a breather from the pace of the last nine months, we’ll all be hard at work on that project.
After Book One is reposted, I plan on starting Book Three. I already have it outlined, having already begun discussions of some of the things that will happen with my editors. But as to when that will actually be, I don’t really know.
I will confess that I have discovered that I love to write. And now that I have discovered editors and proofreaders, I’m in hog-heaven (a good place to be, in case you’re not from East Tennessee), as I no longer worry about the mistakes. Good editors are like addictive drugs, in that, after a while, you can’t live without them. That’s how I feel about Jack, Cassie, LaToya, and Roger.
So I plan to keep on writing, but all I’ll promise for now is to keep writing. This is because I still work fulltime for a living. And since I do, a vast majority of Book Two was written at my local IHOP. (Open 24 Hours and an endless pot of coffee). Thanks guys! You know who you are and I promise to be back soon.
To the rest of you guys who read every chapter as I posted it, and always seemed to find the time to write and the words to encourage me along the way, a BIG thanks. I’ll feel lost not getting regular emails from you, and that alone will spur me to writing again soon.
As for those of you that may not have read my story yet, let me know what you think. There’s a feedback button at the bottom of the page.
Finally, always remember that truth REALLY IS stranger than fiction.
As always, thanks for reading my story,
(For those of you who have been following the weekly postings, Book Two is almost completed, and the final chapters should be posted shortly. Thank you for all your feedback, encouragements, and ideas - Phil).
For those of you who only read completed stories and therefore, may be new to ‘Second Time Through’ - Welcome!
Here’s a little history, I hope will help you:
I work in the construction industry and I have never written before. I fell on a jobsite and broke my femur (the big bone above the knee). Recovery is usually 8 to 10 months, and I was about to go crazy. My doctor recommended I try writing. So I did, writing most of Second Time Through.
Once I returned to work, I dropped it, picking it up to write some more, only when things were slow.
By accident, my sister saw the story (she borrowed my laptop and I had forgotten it was on there) and badgered me into posting it on-line, at this cool site called SoL. I am an amateur, and a first-time amateur, at that. I had not written STT with the intensions of ANYONE else ever reading it. But, I finally gave in, (those of you with little sisters know what I mean) and posted it in October of 2011.
At the time, I didn’t have a clue what editors and proofreaders were, or what they actually did, but I learned… the hard way.
Aside from the emails about grammatical and punctuation errors, (which I really did appreciate, believe it or not), the vast majority of the responses were overwhelmingly positive, and many of you requested a sequel. So I started writing STT -Book Two. This time, posting the chapters as I completed them.
Fortune smiled on me as I began to acquire a team of volunteer editors and proofreaders. I cannot tell you how valuable they have been! They are not professionals, and their efforts are strictly voluntarily. Only one of them has ever edited for an SoL author before. But they are accurate and extremely responsive, consistently helping with ideas for improving the story. They have often reviewed a chapter for errors, only to have the entire chapter altered (by me) and then have to review and correct it again. There was one chapter that was rewritten seven times! (I consider myself lucky they didn’t quit on that one!)
So my special and heartfelt thanks to Jack, Cassie, LaToya, Bill, and especially Roger. I cannot even imagine having done this without each of you.
My current plans are to go back, and with the help of this same team of volunteers, re-edit and improve Book One, to make it more consistent with Book Two. Then, start tackling Book Three in the series.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, (about the story), please let me know. And as always, THANKS for reading STT.
P/S: For all of you who blessed us with your wonderful e-mails of concern and warm wishes, my wife and I are doing much better now. It is a long road we walk, but finally, a happy one.