How to explain it? There is a weird sort of magic that occurs when writing a novel. Here's what happens to me time and time again. I'll put something in the story that seems completely extraneous at the time. I don't know why I'm adding it. I'll even think to myself, "why am I putting this in?" But later, I find I'm using it as a major tool in the story. For example, in chapter 9 of Origins Rising, the Taka clan is crossing the savanna heading toward the mountains. On the way I describe the landscape. I decide to add cactus-like trees with long dangerous spines or needles. (I have family in Arizona and, I've got to tell you, everything there seems to be out to stick or bite you. So that seemed like a fun thing to add.) But then I decide that the needles should be lethal. Well, that suddenly gave me a tool to work with in the story. I didn't really know how at the time, but I just had a feeling I could use it somehow. And I did. In chapter 20, Ordo (an elder erdwon) uses the needles to take care of nightflyer guards, allowing trapped erdwons to escape. "Wow," I thought, "good thing I invented those in chapter 9." So here's the point: I didn't create the poisonous needles in chapter 20 and go back and edit chapter 9 to put them in--they were already there ... like magic!
So, look, you can't plan out every detail in a novel. Don't try. Listen to that little voice and let the magic happen. Good luck!
And it starts...Here's the prologue and first chapter of ORIGINS RISING: KRON'S REVENGE, the sequel to the Award Winning Indie Young Adult Novel by Eric Andreas. If I get 100 "likes" I'll post more. Thanks for everyone's support!
On board the International Space Station, Commander Akbarov still felt strangely numb—it was just too hard to believe. Five days ago, he and the other crew members on the International Space Station received the news that a giant asteroid was going to hit Earth . . . today.
Orders were to wait it out. It was the safest thing to do.
At first, Mission Control assured him that they would find a way to deflect or destroy the asteroid. The mood had been optimistic—not anymore. Despite the combined effort of the nations of the world, only one missile armed with a nuclear warhead reached its target. But the asteroid was too big, and it absorbed the blow the way a catcher might a 95 mph fast ball.
There were no more options.
Time had run out.
A few minutes earlier, Commander Akbarov had finished saying goodbye to his wife Nadia and son Oleg from inside the Soyuz capsule. He had told them to be brave and promised that he would see them again soon. He'd also told them that it wouldn’t be as bad as the media said, that it wouldn’t be the end of the world, that they would rebuild after it was over, that there was hope. Their voices from the staticky radio connection replayed in his head. It was hard to lie to them.
Clutching a wedding picture of himself and Nadia (they looked so happy) he left the Soyuz, glancing for a moment back at his one-piece Sokol space suit. They had all decided not to wear them; it would just prolong the inevitable. A few moments later, he found himself floating through the central part of the station toward the main viewing port; its seven convex panes arranged in a dome protruding into space always reminded him of the window on the Millennium Falcon in that Star Wars movie. He wished he was on a real spaceship now, real like in the movies. He wished he could swoop down and save his family and anyone else he could fit inside and take off at light speed for a safe place, any place.
Just as he expected, the rest of the crew were gathered there: six, including himself. No one said a word . . . just nods, solemn nods, like at a funeral. But it wasn’t dead silent. There was still the electric buzz of the equipment—and then there was Liz, one of the Americans. She was crying softly, and her tears pooled below her eyes, unable to fall in zero gravity. Commander Akbarov tried to comfort her. She apologized, and he told her, of course, that she didn’t need to.
Beneath them, Earth rolled by like a giant marble as they zipped along. They were in daylight, the canvas of the vast Pacific Ocean painted with white clouds drifted past, the diaphanous blue layer of the atmosphere visible on the horizon. It always surprised him how thin it was, like an eggshell, really. And it was a reminder of just how fragile the planet truly was.
They were approaching the west coast of Canada and the United States when they first spotted the asteroid off in the distance, glinting in the sun. There was a collective sharp gasp. It was oblong, much larger than anyone expected . . . and screaming in like a bullet.
The sky ignited in wall of fire as it pierced the atmosphere. They shielded their eyes, but were unable to resist stealing a glance of Earth’s impending doom. When it hit, the initial flash from the explosion outright blinded them. The blast that followed was so enormous that it ripped a hole right through the eggshell atmosphere and deep into space. Helpless to avert it, the Space Station flew right into the ejecta path and was catapulted out of orbit, spinning wildly like an out-of-control carnival ride.
Commander Akbarov held on for dear life. Whatever remained of it.
The lights flickered like a strobe.
There were sounds of shearing metal . . . hissing gasses . . . and screaming.
Then the power went out.
They say that revenge makes the Earth Mother cry. Yet even though Kron had heard this many times, revenge was the only thing he thought about, the only thing he cared about, the only thing he dreamed about. It was the blood in his veins, the air he breathed, the food that sustained him.
Yet revenge, despite how much he yearned for it, was impossible as long as he was trapped on the island where the nightflyers had left him several moons ago. Left him to fend for himself after having lost the battle against the dayflyers. Left him even after he helped them capture the erdwons. Left him to rot.
He wasn’t going to let himself be caught by the dayflyers—so he hid. He hid when they first came looking for him and took his mother’s body away. And, after that, he hid at the slightest hint of a skywon’s silhouette in sky.
He hid from the feshwons, too. They swam about and occasionally lounged on the shore of the island, chattering away and cajoling each other. It was from them that he learned what had befallen the nightflyers: how the erdwons had escaped from the island with the help of the feshwons, how they helped turn the tide of the battle, how Tor defeated the apophix with a single shot from his sling.
Of all the Mother’s people, Kron thought angrily, did it have to be Tor?!
They had all done this to him, and they would all pay . . . somehow.
One morning, Kron awoke and looked out from this hiding place, and he noticed that the feshwons had all left the lake. He thought to himself, too, that he had not seen a dayflyer fly over the island for nearly half a moon. Venturing out in the open without fear of being spotted—something he hadn’t done for some time in the daylight—he stood on the shore and pondered his fate. Food was growing scarce on the small patch of land, and he was feeling the pinch of hunger. If only he knew how to swim like that blasted Flint.
Maybe he could. If Flint could do it, it couldn’t be that hard. So, he walked partway into the water, but it was too shallow. He ventured out a little farther, to about his waist, where he began to move his arms through the water. Seemed simple enough. He went in a little deeper, up to his chest, then up to his neck, his toes still making contact with the soft bottom.
Feeling confident, he kicked off and stabbed each limb through the water as fast as he could. To his horror, instead of swimming, he began to sink. When he realized he could no longer touch the lake bed, panic set in. Flailing in the wetness, the water lapping at his chin, he made it back just far enough to get an extended toe planted in the muck, and then another, and another. Eventually, he forced himself back on land, where he collapsed, breathing heavily.
Swimming was not as easy as he had thought. He’d have to find another way off the island. But for now, he decided, he needed to rest.
The promise of salvation came a few days later, when Kron watched a tangled mat of branches and reeds float past. He watched it for a long while, noting how the wind carried the bundle clear across the lake to the far shore—that’s when the idea struck him.
At first he tried gathering fresh branches and held onto them as a bundle when he got in the water. But when he put his weight on them, he found they seemed to have a mind of their own, fleeing like captured crawler bugs. Scrambling to reassemble his craft, he barely made it back to shore, where he threw a tantrum, thrashing at the sand with his feet and cursing everyone he could think of. He wished he could tie up all his enemies and toss them into the lake to drown.
. . . tie up all his enemies.
Kron stopped kicking the sand, and a crooked smile crawled up the corners of his mouth. “Why had I not thought of it before?” he asked himself, delighted. There was a large patch of siskel around the other side of the island; he could use the plant’s long, fibrous leaves to make enough cord to tie the branches tightly together.
With something like a bounce in his gate, he grabbed his blade and set off to harvest his crop. On the way, he passed a new stand of mianzi growing on the flanks of the island’s dormant volcano. He stopped in his tracks. The mianzi was a strange plant: it bloomed and fruited only once in a hundred seasons. Then it all died. From its fallen seed pods, a new generation would spring forth surrounded by the dried and fallen corpses of the parents.
Kron was staring at all the fallen mianzi stalks laying haphazardly among the new growth. Besides growing straight and tall, mianzi was hollow, and strong. Very strong. He guessed, correctly, that the dried mianzi would float excellently on the water—even better than the branches. There was just one problem: the green leaves of the plant were poisonous and often deadly. If you were unlucky enough to brush against them, they’d cause you to break out in a rash, then blisters, big ones, that would ooze and eventually crust over, leaving horrible scars. If the accompanying fever didn’t kill you, you might be lucky enough to survive.
That’s why Kron hesitated. He would have to be exceedingly careful not to touch any of the new growth. Tiptoeing between young shoots and twisting around taller ones his height that were fully leafed out, he was able to grab one skeletal stalk after another, collecting them under one arm. After a short while, he was at the point where it would have made all the sense in the world to carefully retrace his steps, deposit his load, and call it a day.
It would have been the best thing to do, really.
But he didn’t.
Instead, Kron was certain, so certain, he could grab one, or even two more, and he twisted and reached and he bent. Holding his position on one foot, he wrapped his fingers around his quarry. At that very moment, Mount Kifo belched, like it had just eaten something disagreeable, and sent a small shudder across the lake, just enough to knock Kron off balance.
When the earth shifted beneath him, Kron desperately tried to right himself, but to no avail. Still clinging to his bundle, he twisted in midair and was swatted across the face by a fresh, leafy mianzi branch before hitting the ground with a thud. Immediately, his face felt like it was on fire, and, horror-struck, he ran clear of the mianzi patch.
He knew he had to act fast. So he dropped what he’d collected and searched madly for a dogo berry bush. The narcotic berries would help him survive the onslaught of pain that was just beginning—pain that could kill him outright, or cause him to take his own life to escape it.
Fortunately, he recalled seeing some dogo growing near the mouth of the cave where Krypteros had kept Alwaid, the monster apophix. By the time he reached the cave and found the bush, the rash had already spread over the entire left side of his face, stinging like an angry swarm of bees. He hurriedly collected a handful of berries. The vision in his left eye blurred as he looked at the small, purple orbs in his hand. How many should he eat?
His mother would know.
His mother was dead.
Jura would know.
Jura had left him, abandoned him on the island. Just like the others.
Kron roared, a mix of pain, anger, frustration . . . and fear. His face throbbing in pain, he eyed the berries in his hand and swiftly ate the lot of them, forcing the bitter medicine down with a gulp from his water gourd.
Then he waited.
Sitting on his haunches in front of the cave entrance, Kron held his face in his hands, rocking in agony. Longing for the effect of the dogo berries to kick in, he noticed that the gate of matunda thorns, which had once acted to keep the mighty Alwaid confined to the cave, was now in tatters. A fever gripped his body, and he vowed to throw himself on the remains of the poison gate if his misery did not end soon.
Then came the first tiny wave of relief, and he cried and laughed at what he thought would be the end of his nightmare.
But the nightmare had just begun.
The small ripples of relief soon morphed into a deluge of numbness, followed a tsunami of nausea.
Too many dogo berries.
He clutched his stomach and tried to stand. His legs wobbled at fist, then shook uncontrollably as he pushed himself up. Once on his feet, he kept one arm wrapped around his belly and the other he used to balance himself against the cave entrance. Suddenly, everything started spinning uncontrollably; his eyeballs dashed from side to side in their sockets trying to follow the motion.
That was it—he bent over and retched until it felt like his insides had come out.
He did it again.
Exhausted, he collapsed to the ground in a heap, his eyes shut tight, his breathing quick and shallow, all feeling completely drained out of him.
The right side of his face was plastered against the dirt; he couldn’t move a muscle; it was if he had turned to stone. He couldn’t even scream. And then, slowly, his eyelids opened wide on their own and stayed that way. The spinning had stopped—and he stared straight ahead, across the shore, across the lake, like he was looking through time.
Then came the hallucinations.
Nine ghostly figures appeared before him: the Council of Elders. In the center was Gossan. With red glowing eyes, he pointed a bony finder at Kron. “It was the will of the Mother that you were banished.”
“It was the will of the Mother,” the other eight repeated, their voices hollow and distant.
“Go away!” Kron tried to howl, but couldn’t, and was forced to stare blankly at his accusers.
“You lead no more than the clouds lead the wind,” Gossan said, as he and the other others dissolved into the background, “no more than the clouds lead the wind . . . no more than the clouds lead the wind . . . no more than the clouds lead the wind . . .”
“Wait!” Kron screamed on the inside. “Do not go! Help me!”
But they were gone. And although somewhere in the still-sane part of his mind he knew they couldn’t help him, he was still furious that the apparitions had left him. Left him, just like they did before.
“My son,” a voice said sweetly when he first heard it. “You have chosen poorly.”
She now stood before him, like he remembered her from his youth; her hair no longer gray, her fingers straight, her skin smooth.
“Why?” she asked gently. “Why did you betray us?”
But Kron could not answer.
With a sigh, Ursa turned away and walked toward the water, where Berg joined her with an adolescent version of Skarn. The three held hands, happy together without him. The young Ursa turned back and gave Kron a disappointed look before all three walked across the water. Being reminded of how his mother mated with Berg right after his father died, fueled enough rage, guilt, and sorrow to momentarily overcome his paralysis, and he let out a soft, “no.”
There was suddenly a new voice. It said: “Do you not see? This is not the way!”
The voice came from an image of Flak standing sideways, pleading with someone. And that someone was him. Kron remembered pushing his son out of the way, knocking him to the ground, when he said this to him. It was very nearly in the same spot.
The scene played over and over: Flak pleaded; Kron struck his son. He was helpless to stop it, helpless to stop himself.
Then, in an instant, the image changed: his character was replaced by the apophix, and it swallowed Flak whole in one delicious bite. It then looked at Kron with a deadly stare, and with a mighty roar, it charged straight at him. A harrowing fright surged though Kron’s rigid frame . . . and just before the apophix reached him, it burst into a giant ball of blood-red flame.
Kron tried to scream . . .
. . . then he blacked out.
When Kron finally awoke—it could have been days, he wasn’t sure—he remembered nothing. Not what had happened to him. Not where he was. Not even who he was. He sat up. The left side of his face throbbed in a dull ache. Carefully, he touched it, and felt that it was crusted over in an oozing scab. Then it all came flooding back: he was Kron; he had been abandoned on the island; he had stumbled in the mianzi patch; there was pain . . . horrible pain. And they had left him here to die, to suffer like this.
Thanks be to the Earth Mother that the pain was mostly gone. Thanks be to the Mother?! Kron screamed inside his head. Damn be to the Mother!
Although it was midday, Kron suddenly felt stone cold. He shivered. Not only was his soul empty, but so was his stomach; he was starving. After some much needed nourishment—a few crawler bugs and a juicy grub or two—he went back to collect the stalks he had dropped in his panicked flight from the mianzi patch. Although he shuddered at doing so, he needed those stalks. He needed them because he remembered why he had risked his life to collect them in the first place: he needed them to get off the island and back to . . . to . . . to what? There was nothing left for him.
No, no, there was something—there was revenge.
Enlivened after remembering his new purpose in life, he found the stalks where he’d left them. Now all he needed to do was find some siskel plants and tie some together. Then he would lie on them and let the wind and waves push him to shore. It would be as easy as taking a walk.
At least that’s what he thought.
I'm looking for a little inspiration to finish the second book in the Origins Rising Series, and I need your help. Tomorrow, January 2nd, I'm going to start posting the first 13 chapters of the new Origins Rising novel here and on Facebook. If I get 100 "likes" on Facebook, I'll post more. Let's see what we can do together in the new year. Yours, Eric.
"When do you find the time to write?" is the question I get asked the most. I usually answer with "I don't find time. I try and make time." When I decided to write my first book, I was working at a law firm and had a busy family life. There was no "extra" time. No long mornings, no breezy afternoons, no quiet evenings to sit back with a cup and create. The first step to finding time is a commitment—a commitment to yourself that you're actually going to write the God damned thing. After that, go on the hunt for the little breaks in your day. I call them "the interstices of life." What are these interstices? They are the little spaces between the things you have to do. For me, it was the time commuting on the train, the time waiting in an airport, the early morning before anyone else was up and after the dogs were fed. (Dogs will not let you do anything in the morning until they're fed. I mean anything.) So here's the thing, you have to let go of that stereotypical notion of sitting in front of your computer with no interruptions blissfully tapping out a best seller. Life will not cooperate. And I'll tell you what, sitting alone in a room with yourself is just plain lonely. You'll go mad like Jack Nicholson in the Shining and chase everyone with an axe. Not fun. You're also going to need tools to become a time commando. You can't run to your computer or whip out some ungainly laptop to accomplish this task. Your book, or at least the chapter you're working on, has to be with you everywhere you go. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to keep printing out the latest version and carrying around a note pad, the other is to embrace technology. I wrote 90% of Origins Rising on an iPad ... with no attached key board. Yep. I'm writing this on an iPad right now, sitting on the porch with my wife. Hold on, she wants me to get her a margarita. Ok, I'm back. Easy breezy. She's reading the newspaper and I'm writing to you. It can be done. The thing I like about writing on a tablet is that my entire manuscript is with me. I can search it, edit it, make notations. I can also research on the Internet and I have a thesaurus app to boot. Take it everywhere you go. I was waiting for the dentist the other day and carved out a paragraph in my new book. So remember to be a time commando and hunt down those little pockets of time. They can add up to a novel eventually if you keep at it.
Photo Credit: Salvidor Dali, The Persistence of Memory, 1931
I've heard it said that either you can write dialogue or you can't. I don't believe that--if you can hold a conversation, you can write dialogue. As strange as it sounds, the key is to listen. You have to listen to those around you. Listen less to what is being said than to HOW it's being said. There is a musical cadence to conversation. It's like listening to birds singing. There's a beat, a rhythm, a give and take to it. And here's something else, you need to write what is true, what is natural, what is REAL ... not what you THINK should be said. If you don't write real, as I call it, the dialogue sounds stiff. But really, what does that mean? Here's a little before and after example. The scene ... father and daughter arguing:
"I forbid you from seeing him again," he said angrily.
"But father, I love him," she said crying. "My life means nothing without him."
"I'm sorry, Juliet, but he does not measure up to the standards of this family, and that's final."
"I'm so angry at you father," she shouted. "I'm going to my room and will stand out on the balcony until I catch a cold and die."
"You may do as you wish, my dear," he said. "But you are not to see him. Have I made myself clear?"
"You have ruined my life!" she yelled, marching off.
...Ok, anyone who thinks that's good dialogue, please don't admit it. Here's a different and more natural take:
"Juliet, where the hell have you been?" he asked, not kindly.
"Nowhere," she said.
"Don't give me that shit," he said, finger pointing, "I know exactly where you were."
"Then why'd you ask me?"
"Don't be a smart ass."
She glared at him, saying nothing.
He blinked. "You can't see that Romeo kid," he snarled, nearly stabbing her in the chest with his fat index finger. "He's bad news, and that's final."
"That's final . . . that's final," she said, poking her finger in the air and mocking him.
"No, you stop it, dad!" she snapped. "Romeo and I are in love. In love! But you don't know what that is, do you? You never loved mom. You never loved me. You don't love a God damned thing except yourself."
"You little ..." he started to yell, raising his hand. But she didn't flinch. "Go to your room," he said instead, his voice cracking.
"Gladly!" she shouted as she turned and marched off. "And I'm never coming out!"
...I'm going to add one more tidbit of advice here: learn to use identifiers sparingly. When there are just two people talking, you can get away with not always using, "he said" and "she said." See how I dropped the identifiers above in certain spots. I could have even used fewer. They tend to get repetitive and slow down the music of the dialogue.
I hope this helps. By the way, the image above is from NASA showing Fish Mouth nebula.
In chapter 8 of Origins Rising, you learn a little bit about the background of Hallux, the oracle. But I cut most of Hallux's background story from the final draft. In the uncut scene below, Himmel recollects the story of Hallux in a way someone might tell themselves a story in a day dreamy kind of way. Enjoy.
Unlike everyone else, Hallux did not live in a tower, because unlike everyone else, Hallux could not fly. Without that most precious of abilities, it was impossible for him to reach any of the skydoors located high above the ground.
He lived instead in a stone hut a short distance from the palace, surrounded by a protective fence of long wooden spikes to keep out predators. It was a lonely existence, but an existence nonetheless, and one he almost did not have. This was because when Hallux was born, his wings were severely misshapen, and he would never fly; his back was crooked, and he would never stand straight; his legs were gnarled, and he would never do more than hobble.
His mother, a young servant, was horrified, but not by his appearance, for she truly loved her son, but because it was skywon custom—one never before broken—that such infants had to be sacrificed to the fires of Mount Kifo to appease the Darkness.
The father had died early in the pregnancy as the result of a hunting accident. (The lesson learned too late was to recognize the signs when a gopter is nearby.) The shock and grief of his death nearly killed the mother as well, and no doubt affected the babe’s health. With no father, it was the mother’s task to perform the sacrificial ritual. She begged to be allowed to keep the child, but the priests were against it. As far as they were concerned, Kifo was the Darkness trapped beneath the earth fighting to be free. Failure to provide the occasional sacrifice could tip the balance, and who knows what would happen. It was best to continue doing what had always been done. Broken hearted, the mother prepared for what was required of her.
She flew alone to the mountain, her infant swaddled tightly and clutched in her feet. She was to set him free over the mouth of the monster and into the lake of molten lava that bubbled and hissed in its belly. By the time she arrived over Mount Kifo, her eyes were so full of tears and her heart aching so, that for a moment she thought of sending them both to a fiery grave. The babe cried, too, hungry for its mother’s milk. Unable to bear it any longer, she descended on the side of the mountain and placed her package gently down in front of her. They had both stopped crying, and emotionally exhausted, stared at one another. For the remainder of the afternoon they sat together while he fed on and off. She spoke to him, telling him all about his father and what a brave skywon he was. She told him, too, that she had decided they would stay together; that she would rather live in exile than give him up; that she would hide him carefully in the rocks, go back to get some things for their journey, and be back before he would even miss her.
But it did not come to pass that way.
Once back at the palace, they asked her if the deed was done. She told them it was, and many gave their condolences. It was hard to slip away, though, and dusk fell before she knew what happened. By the time she neared the volcano, it was night. The half moon and the red glow from the mountain provided her with just enough light to navigate. After landing, she frantically searched for the spot where she had left him. Finally she found it—but he was gone. Just gone. She searched in the dark calling out for him. There was no response. His fate, she thought, must have been horrible, just like his father’s. She had lost everything. There was only one thing left to do. After a quick prayer to the Sun Father, she flew high up above the mountain—and hesitating for a moment—plunged into the mouth of the volcano.
The next morning, the misshapen infant appeared clean and swaddled at the entrance of the Temple of the Sun. A nightflyer pair had been out poaching in the highlands under cover of night and heard the child’s cries. They could see it had difficulties, but still could not fathom why it had been left behind. A nightflyer mother would never do such a thing. The two cleaned and tried to feed the infant. He would not take solid food, so they fed him the blood from their kill. Taking a great risk, they brought the child to the Temple of the Sun where they knew he would be quickly found.
The discovery of the misshapen babe in the morning, and the disappearance of the mother, caused a stir in the kingdom. No one knew what should become of the nameless infant that would never fly. The priests accused him of being accursed and insisted that he be sent back to his fate at the mountain. But there was a rumbling among the commoners, and even among some of the nobility, that the child was spared by the Father himself, and to harm him now would be sacrilege and put a curse on Alcyone.
The King, who at the time was Opteryx’s father, decided the child should live and to the surprise of everyone, declared he would stay with the priests and be trained as a scribe. The priests, angered by the King’s actions, reluctantly took in the child, but in a small act of defiance named him Hallux, after the King. King Hallux, however, took no offense and visited his namesake on several occasions. As it turned out, the boy, despite his disabilities, was exceptionally bright and at only fifteen seasons had mastered the knowledge of the temple.
Soon thereafter, the young Hallux had his first premonition. He dreamt there was a great earthshake, and the royal tower collapsed, killing the King and Queen. He told the High Priest, but he would not listen and just accused Hallux of sorcery. But night after night the vision returned to him. He was hoping the King would visit, but he did not. Desperate to warn the one who had spared his life, Hallux escaped from the temple. While the priests were at morning prayer, he took a long cord, tied it around his body, anchored the other end to the temple door, and lowered himself to the ground. It was the first time he had touched soil with his feet since he had been delivered to the temple as an infant. Wasting no time, he immediately began to hobble to the palace. To all those flying around, he must have been a curious sight, like a fish walking on land. Before long, the guards were on top of him, and he struggled, howling that he must to warn the King. The commotion had the desired effect and stirred King Hallux from his morning prayer. Looking down from the perch outside his skydoor, the King could see it was the flightless one and descended. Hallux told him what he had seen in his dreams, how the dream would not go away, and that he was afraid for the life of the King and Queen. The monarch did not know what to make of it. There had been earthshakes before, but none great enough to topple their towers. He called to the Queen for advice. She joined him reluctantly, for she was with child and flying had become difficult.
Then it happened.
A low rumbling sound filled the air, and the ground began to move in waves like those upon the water. Skywons flew from every tower. But before all could escape, the tops of several towers came crashing down. And so too—just like Hallux foresaw—did the top of the royal tower, and along with it, the King’s chambers.
King Hallux owed his life, and that of his wife and unborn son, to the strange one. But once again the King would have to intervene to save Hallux’s life. The High Priest, Arcrux’s predecessor, accused Hallux of sorcery and claimed he was a child of the Darkness. The punishment demanded—despite having saved the life of the royal family—was banishment, which for Hallux, would have meant certain death. Defying the wishes of the temple keepers once again, the King ordained young Hallux the Oracle of Alcyone. And as his reward, had built for him a separate stone dwelling from which he could come and go as he pleased.
King Hallux was often seen entering and leaving the stone hut of the oracle until the end of his reign.
At least that is how Himmel recalled the story of Hallux, which she had put together from snippets of gossip and conversations overheard.
Happy Darwin Day!
To me, Darwin represents uncommon intellectual bravery. Origins Rising is about helping to spread that courage.
This is from the site darwinday.org:
In the beginning, the solar system revolved around the earth, and humanity was carved from clay and bone—plopped, as it were, perfectly formed into a populated garden. Origin stories are, however, meant to be rewritten, and the reformation of central, essential ideas about the nature of things meant and means challenging powerful ideologies and institutions.
As was the case for earlier insights that re-situated our view of our place in the cosmos, the study of naturalism and biology threatened to expose the mutability of the human species and jeopardize a theological stranglehold on scientific discovery. The truth will out, as they say, and as Copernicus struggled to free the truth behind a heliocentric system, so too did Charles Darwin muster an immense intellectual bravery, a perpetual curiosity, and a ravenous hunger for truth in an attempt to understand the origins of modern life.
Breakthroughs in understanding our own origins would require setting aside prevailing cosmological and anthropocentric views; they would necessitate a commitment to the scientific method and the potentially disconcerting facts that may arise from its rigor. Empiricism in the field of biology, and its immense potential benefits to human well-being, had, for centuries, been stymied in order to maintain theological tenets. The fantastic realization behind the interconnectedness of the living world and the biological mechanisms that inform adaptation and survival were hidden behind a dark veil, awaiting discovery.
Darwin’s daring depictions of evolution via genetic variation and natural selection lift the veil revealing what, at the time (and, for some presently), may have been philosophically or ideologically troubling. His innovations are, when seen through the dispassionate lens of scientific data, however, neither inherently good nor bad, merely properly sourced and factual.
The repercussions of these discoveries are wide ranging and awe-inspiring! Darwin’s life and work continuously impact science and humanity. His discovery of natural selection as the mechanism for evolution unclasped scientific progress from theological limitations and paved the way for a fuller understanding of our place in the universe. Without the discovery of natural selection, the greatest achievements in health, philosophy, and human well-being over the past two hundred years would have been impossible.
While Darwin’s remarkable impact on biology, cosmology, and the scientific process generally cannot be understated, it is again his undeniable desire for truth through scientific discovery, his unwavering curiosity to discover that which was hidden (naturally or purposefully), and his determination to brave intellectual depths that inspires us.
Celebrate the truth with me this Darwin Day!
We all know what cliches are, don't we? Those oft used idioms that eventually become annoying and meaningless. Here are some good ones: "at the end of my rope," "he's a thorn in my side," "I'm all ears," "as luck would have it," "she let her hair down," "every cloud has a silver lining."
In all seriousness, these should be avoided like the plague! ;)
Why are cliches so bad if they convey a meaning so efficiently, you ask? It's because they are a short cut that demonstrate a lack of creativity. Let me demonstrate. You could write:
Jane entered the room as silent as a cat. She was dressed to kill. It was the first time in years she had let her hair down.
Doesn't sound too bad, huh? Well, it is bad. I didn't really write any of that. I just pulled everything out of the prefab cliche drawer. It took no effort and no creativity. I can do better ... you can do better.
How about this instead: Jane slipped into the room without being noticed ... at first. But it didn't take long before everyone in the room was staring at her, especially the men. Maybe it was the low cut dress. Maybe it was the stiletto heels. Maybe it was the way her auburn curls bounced as she walked. Maybe it was all those things. But Jane didn't care. It had been months since she had ventured out alone. And it felt good.
... Piece of cake!
"Evolution is one of the most powerful and important ideas ever developed in the history of science. It describes all of life on Earth. It describes any system in which things compete with each other for resources, whether those things are microbes in your body, trees in the rain forest, or even the software programs in a computer. It is also the most reasonable creation story that humans have ever found."
"Evolution just is. It doesn't matter if you believe in it or not."
If you've read Origins Rising, you know it's premised on the idea that a catastrophic asteroid strike nearly wipes out humanity, and over the eons, we re-evolve into flyers, swimmers, and runners. I started writing the book in 2011. At that time, I was riled the news here in the U.S. of school systems in the south trying to prevent the teaching of evolution. That's just so ridiculous, I thought. It's like teaching kids that the sun revolves around the earth. I decided I had to try and do something. But what? I knew it had to be a fun way to bring evolution to kids so it was less of a controversial thing and more of just a really cool thing. And that's when I remembered Bill Nye! I had watched his show, "Bill Nye the Science Guy," with my kids when they were growing up. And I had been following Bill and admired his support for teaching science, including evolution, to kids. "I'll tell them a story," I decided. "A really cool story, like Bill." Now, to be sure, I'm not teaching evolution in Origins Rising, but by relying on it as a premise for creation of the characters in the book, it opens up the imagination to what is possible with the plastic miracle of DNA. Thanks Bill. And hey, did you ever get the autographed book I sent you?
EVOLUTION … it can happen to you!
His debut novel Origins Rising brings evolution to a whole new level . . . yours.