Saturday, September 24, 2011

Why the sequel has taken me so long.

I want to talk about Slipping the Past, today.
Slipping the Past has received multiple four and five star reviews. It finished third in the National RWI’s More Than Magic contest, has been described as unique, a story unlike anything the reader has read before. And it’s one of my favorite stories, where I was able to flex some creative muscle and build a unique world. So, why didn’t I write a sequel?
I have.
As I’ve started the last two chapters of my unnamed sequel (we’ll call it Hear No Evil for now), I ran into a wall. This doesn’t happen very often, well in most my stories it doesn’t happen, but this story has been a struggle from the first page. It has taken me literally two years to write, and is one of the most difficult stories I’ve ever written because of the hero’s POV.

What do I mean?

Good morning, Nathanial Miller.

Cyborgs, skinwalkers and a terrestrial revolution—Nate Miller would have never believed the greater forces that warned him about his future, were talking about this.
Until he opened his eyes.
Nathanial Miller hasn’t been himself for the last two months. Murdered, his soul captured, Nate wakes up to find he inhabits the body of his killer, but even that isn’t the worst of it. He has also inherited his killer’s psychic abilities, making him capable of reading someone’s past, future and thoughts, by hearing one spoken word. Now the voices in his head have convinced him that becoming a loner may be the only way he can keep from losing his mind.
Then she walks into his office, asking for help.
Paxton Silver is an expert in South American artifacts. When she finds a crystal skull in a drawer in the museum’s basement, an ancient alien evil awakens in the body of a Mayan mummy. Slowly, someone begins to erase her existence, her birth record, bank accounts, friends and associates. Knowing she could be next, she takes a chance on a business card she found on a local supermarket board and heads for the one man who will either destroy her or save her.
Drawn together because of a past-life they can’t remember, Nathanial and Paxton have to put the pieces of the puzzle together and find a missing treasure. On the run for a murder, they slowly learn about their past lives and the story of a soldadera and a 13th Calvary soldier, enemies and lovers during the Mexican Revolution. Remembering their past may be the only way they can save humanity from extinction.
But will they be too late. The invasion has started. Earth is being captured one soul at a time and the people of Earth continue to sleep.

Ah, so Nate is living in the body of his killer. He’s inherited the pychopath’s abilities, and wonders if he will become the same. Yeah, that could suck and getting in the head of a man living this nighmare was, well, a writing nightmare.

Here’s a little of the story. Bear in mind these are from a WIP and raw at the moment.

Excerpt 1:
Her soul! The fucker took her soul. Nate sat up, eyes wide open. Blood pounded through his veins and his heart slammed against his ribs like a jackhammer, driving the breath from his lungs. A trickle of moisture meandered down his spine. He swallowed, kicked the sheets away, shoved both hands into his hair and pulled his knees to his chest. No!

She didn’t kill herself. All these years—all this time he’d believed she’d committed suicide. He’d never known. Where was she now? Where did Ian put her?

He swung his legs over the bed. His innards twisted. “It was a dream.” He tried to convince himself, but he knew the truth. Why now? Ever since he’d inherited Ian’s body he’d been dreamless. The voices kept REM away and made drifting off impossible.

Tonight that all changed. What had awakened the small bit of the beast? Ian’s soul had been fragmented and destroyed, all but a small sliver that had been missed. It sat at the back of his mind and fed him dark thoughts, but never came forward, it wasn’t strong enough. It had felt like nothing more than an ugly thought.
Until now.

It reveled in the death of his mother. He felt Ian’s delight. He’d felt his hunger. Nate reached up and touched the brand that now burned. Ian’s energy felt stronger, harder to hold back. God, he was in trouble. He’d no one to talk to that wouldn’t trigger the voices and visions—an anchor to sanity.

Nate froze. Except her. He’d hadn’t heard, seen or felt anything when she’d spoken to him. Well, that wasn’t one hundred percent true. He’d felt something. He’d gotten damned hard and it had taken hours and an ice shower for it to go away. Everything about it was unnatural and if he’d learned anything lately, it was also fate.

He needed to talk. He needed to work through the dream without outside visions interfering. He needed to freaking think. Most of all, he needed to see Paxton.

She’d left her purse in the office. When Jocelyn hadn’t been looking, he’d rifled through it and had taken the opportunity to learn something about her. He should be ashamed he’d snooped, but he wasn’t. She was in trouble and needed help. But she wasn’t the only one. He needed her help.

Nate glanced out the window then at the clock. Three in the morning, a little early to drop by and return her handbag. He could go to her house and wait for her to wake. He sure wasn’t going back to sleep.
“I am not Ian Saefa. I am not a monster.” He eyed his reflection in a large mirror that leaned against the wall. The swelling in his face had gone down and the black and purple had faded to tan and olive. Not pretty, but better than before. They did indeed heal faster than most.

He reached out and touched the mirror’s frame. He kept it to remind him of what resided inside him and what he could become. He hated looking in. It always seemed like someone else stared back, and frankly, it creeped him out. But he had his reasons. Good ones. His gaze traveled to the corner to where a note had been scrawled across the silver surface.

“Know thy enemy.”

First thing when he woke, Nate looked into it and would recite the message over and over. Evil still resided in this body and he wouldn’t allow himself to forget, nor would he become the monster Ian Saefa had been.
“Know thy enemy.” The brown eyes, so dark they looked black, bore into him. Ian. That energy had wrapped him in a stranglehold, filling his head with cold thoughts, urging him to do things he would have never considered doing before—terrifying things—gruesome things—things that made him question if he was no longer sane. “Know thy enemy. Know thy enemy.” Nate leaned in. “Fuck you, asshole.” He stepped back and flipped the mirror on its stand so he could no longer see him.

Excerpt 2:

Nate surveyed the grassy clearing. He eyed the impressive group that began to gather in an area that usually had people picnicking on blankets and playing Frisbee. Everywhere, reapers stripped out of coats and boots, laced on cleats, slipped on jerseys, taped their wrists and stretched. Only reapers. He’d been alone in the park before this. The moment he’d arrived, the previously crowded area emptied.

He needed to get used to it. This was his reality now. People didn’t like him—were afraid of him. He couldn’t blame them. Before he’d ended up in Ian’s body, he’d have run too.

Now it was spook central.

Diego clamped a hand down on his shoulder. “We’re playing Lacrosse.” Bad girls need spankings and someone’s been a very naughty reaper.

Nate shot Diego a crusty look and growled. He knocked his hand off his shoulder and jumped to his feet. He raised his hand to point, dropped it instead, shook his head and turned to walk away. Fuck this.

“We’re going to play,” Crunch. Oomph. Diego teleported in front of him, stopping his escape.

Suicide. “Go ahead. Don’t let me stop you.”

“I said, we are going to play.”

Uh huh. When Diego said they played Lacrosse, he meant a free-for-all massacre, with the occasional use of a ball. It had been ages since Nate had played any kind of sport, and never something so violent—made worse by angry reapers with attitudes. No matter how much they wanted him to be one of them, he never would be.

“Got it. Have fun.”

“You’re playing.” Crack. Crunch.

Nate shuddered. He had to be kidding. Gabriel and Diego grinned and bumped fists. Okay, maybe not. “I don’t think so. I have better things to do.”

“Like what?” Diego pulled his sweatshirt off and dropped it to the ground. He squatted down, unzipped his bag and pulled out a well-used stick with a net on the end. He pushed it at Nate and extracted another, tossing it to Gabriel, who caught it and gave it a spin.

“Things,” Nate snapped. Sick of the mind barrage, ready to find a hole and bury himself in it.

“Are you too big a pussy to play with us?” Diego asked. Blood. Head-on collisions.

Nate eyed the players and looked down at the stick Diego had crammed into his hands. “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know if you’re a pussy?” Gabriel snickered. The visions went in a whole different direction, involving his sister and condiments. Do you like whip cream?

Nate gagged and balled his free fist, ready to punch. “Oh fuck me. Eeesh.” He threw his hand up to stop Gabriel before he gave him all the details of their afternoon. “Don’t. Not another fucking word. Don’t even breathe in my direction. What did I tell you about talking to me?”

Gabriel snorted and walked away. One last blast hit Nate’s mind.

“I said not to even breathe in my direction, asshole.” He did a full body shake, trying to knock the image loose. Even a snort wasn’t safe. Gabriel didn’t like Nate in his head anymore than Nate liked being there, but he could be a little more careful with the way he threw the energy around. Nate puffed up his cheeks and blew out another breath. Yeah, that had been fun. Better to drown it out. He slipped his headphones on and cranked the music. It dulled the visions, put them into a fog and made them a little less intense, but not tolerable. He thrust the stick back at Diego. He’d watch.

“You got something better to do?” What your daddy doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

“Yes. I’m going to sit over there.” He pointed at the bench. “Alone.”

“No you’re not. Lacrosse is a good way to work out the stress, and you, mi amigo, look like you’re carrying
more than your fair share. When you’re an enforcer, you have to have outlets, a way to dump all the energy you pick up throughout the day. We’re like energy vacuum cleaners, some more than most—no offense.” Yes. Yes. Yes. Oh you fuck so good, Diego. Harder, baby. “There’s nothing like kicking the crap out of someone to put you back on even ground. Come on. You can play on my team.” Diego handed the stick back to him. “We could use a big guy on defense.”

“Yeah, and you need to keep your dick in your pants and your hands off Cappy’s daughter.”

Diego narrowed his eyes. “You haven’t told anyone about that, have you?”

Nate shook his head. “I’m not a snitch, but a little advice. Daddy’s are very protective of their little girls. He’s gonna cut your nuts off when he catches you—and yes he’s going to catch you.”

Well, that’s a peek at the sequel, and if anyone has any ideas for a better title—I’m up for suggestions.

To find Slipping the Past and some of my other stories, stop by my website and visit.
Leave a comment suggesting a possible title for this sequel and if I pick your title, you'll win a copy of Slipping the Past. I'll announce the winner next Saturday.

Have a great Saturday,

D L Jackson


Kate Richards said...

Sounds very exciting, if I come up with ny ideas I'll come comment again but I'm the slooowwww title person, usually title mine as I hit submit lol.

Jessica Subject said...

Oh, this one sounds great! If you want to play on the first title, you could do 'Saving the Future' or 'Seeing the Future'.

When I read your description, I also thought of 'Remembering the Past to Save the Future', 'One Soul at a Time' and 'Waking Earth'.

I don't know... LOL I usually pick my titles after I've finished the first draft. Sometimes even later. And I poll my CPs with a variety to find out which they like best.

All the best!

Brenda Hyde said...

I really stink at titles. All my WIPs have files names like Jack's Story. LOL

The Man Inside or something relating to his true self? Told you I sucked at this. *snicker*

D L Jackson said...

Thanks for all the help. I like the man inside.
How about Inside Evil, or since he can''t read Paxton, Silent Past?
Oh this one is giving me such fits. Book three is easy, but this one won't make anything easy. Perhaps a play on Jessica's--Silent Earth.