Through Stranger Eyes – Cyberpunk Thriller – Release date and other things happening

Lots of things have been happening for a while now. First of all, I’m getting ready to publish my next novel. The book’s official release date is October 13, 2019. The genre is cyberpunk thriller. If you’re unfamiliar with cyberpunk, then the best (and simplest) definition is that it’s a futuristic urban dystopia, and practically all things cyberpunk can be summed up as, “high tech, low life.”

If you’ve watched movies like The Matrix, Blade Runner (both films), or the TV show called Altered Carbon, then you have already taken a taste of what Cyberpunk is all about. Or you may have read books like Neuromancer by William Gibson or Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. If you’re a gamer, look no further than Deus Ex and of course the game all cyberpunk fans are waiting (myself included), Cyberpunk 2077. All the above fall under the category of Cyberpunk. As you can understand, the subgenre is quite broad and is tightly related to Science Fiction.

At the moment, the book is with a handful of blog reviewers to get the word out, and of course my trusty team of ARC readers in order to get some early reviews when it goes live. So I’m quite anxious to hear what they think of it. To be honest, out of all the stories I’ve written so far, this has been my favourite and I’m really looking forward to hearing their thoughts.

Hmm, I forgot to mention the book’s title, didn’t I? The book is called Through Stranger Eyes and the series it’s part of is called Matriarchs – Silicon Gods. Through Stranger Eyes is book 1 of 3.

I have also finished drafting book 2, though it needs a lot of work before any of my beta readers get to read it. A LOT!

Lastly, I have been trying to find a decent plot for book 3. So far, I’ve come up with 5 different plots, but none of them impresses me much. I know how the trilogy should end, it’s just that I don’t like the way the events leading to the end unfold. It will come to me eventually (hopefully), but for the time being it feels like I’m churning out sub par ideas, and that is what annoys me the most. To be clear, each book has its own story line and its own heroes. Events take place in different periods, and by the end of the series the reader will have a clear understanding of how the world has evolved and been reshaped from its key players. So each book has to have a strong and independent plot from the previous books in the series.

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for more info on the world, the characters, and everything else related to the book.

I miss reading

Admittedly, the one I thing I’ve missed the most during the past few months when I started at my new job is being able to read as much as I used to. Between commuting to work (which luckily enough in my case is under an hour), spending eight hours there, attending to issues at home, spending time with the family, taking a little bit of time for myself (it doesn’t include reading or writing), and of course editing/writing, there’s hardly any time left to read during weekdays. To be honest, there’s hardly enough time to write. I have an app on my phone, a simple counter, where I’ve added the number of books I’ve read per year. I’m not a fast reader, but the average was 20-22 books. Now? It’s October and I just reached double digits. Yeap, it’s shameful.

What makes it worse is that what I’m reading is actually very interesting (rejoice sci-fi fans – it’s The Expanse series).

A few weeks ago, I mentioned my betas gave me their feedback on my latest cyberpunk novel (still not in shape for your eyes, I’m afraid). In their notes, one point stood out more than others: some scenes were repetitive.

*GASP*

I wasn’t prepared for this. But they were right, as always.

Last week, I started revising based on my betas’ feedback. Start with the big issues, I said to myself, move on to the smaller ones (like my innumerable typos, which caused my spell checker to crush – don’t laugh, because that’s what happens when you write sci-fi and you invent words, names, and terms). Bigger issues meant tackling those pesky repetitive scenes. By creating new ones.

So there I was, back on my ancient PC (thank you autumn for remembering to visit Greece and for allowing me to turn my PC on once more), trying to come up with a couple new scenes. And…

*crickets*

Seriously, nothing. If you want to know the truth it scared the $h!t out of me. Why couldn’t I write? My intention was to change the chase and escape scenes, since most of the betas comments about repetitive scenes was about them. It shouldn’t have been too hard, since the betas didn’t have a problem with the plot per se, which meant the beginning and the ending of those scenes were set. All I had to do was change the setting and I’d have a basic draft to work with. On the other hand, escape and chase scenes don’t offer much in terms of variety. Something bad happens, the hero has to run for his/her life, and either makes it or not. The only thing that can limit a writer is the world the writer has created for the hero. In other words, you can’t have a dragon saving the hero if you’ve created a hard sci-fi cyberpunk story and you haven’t included dragons in the first place. It took me two days to come up with an inkling of an idea. Which, of course,  in the end created a plot hole.


Luckily, the first idea created another, and another, and another, until the problem was solved, but I mean, come on. Two days?! For one idea? A bad one at that?!

Did I exhaust my storytelling skill after two books? Did the pool of ideas writers supposedly have dry out after two novels, a dozen short stories and poems, and a few hundred thousand written words?

No. well, I don’t think so, anyway.

What was the reason? I believe it was because I hadn’t been reading enough. I hadn’t had enough mental stimulation these past few months, even though I managed to save a couple of hours during the weekends for reading. It just wasn’t enough. Add to all this that I haven’t read a good cyberpunk novel for a long time to get inspired, you can see why there was a problem in my inspiration and idea reservoir.

Not to mention the creativity leech.

So, dear readers, fellow writers and other creative people, the answer to such problems is immerse yourself in the work of others. Learn from them, make them part of you, take them apart, study the way others created their stories, their songs, their painting, and recreate something unique, something that could have only been done by you. Allow the creator to transport you to new and wonderful places. Let the ideas of others inspire you. If you want to write, then you have to read a lot. I imagine the same principle applies to all other forms of art.

For the record, after I managed to tap into my inspiration pool, I wrote 2000 in three days. It’s not a lot, if you consider that I used to write 2000 words a day when I had the whole day to myself and nothing else but writing and reading to do, but it feels good nonetheless.

Finally, it happened. Again.

2017-03-03-16-29-37

Through Stranger Eyes is finally printed, and the red pen is anxious to have a go at it. Isn’t there something magical when you transfer the thing of your labours into a physical medium? I mean, when you type it and store it in the cloud or wherever, you know it’s there, it’s accessible, and if anyone ever doubts you wrote a book all you have to do is go online, access your files, and voilà! You can easily say, “Ha! In your face, nameless person who doubted me.”

But you have to admit there’s something so much better when the object of your desire, the reason you locked yourself away for weeks, months, or years and allowed people to think you’ve turned into a deranged hermit, is tangible and in your hands. I mean, it’s been three days since I printed it, and I’m still giddy and excited. Hell, I feel as if I can take on any one and any thing, maybe even tackle another one…

Just kidding. I will not start another story until I’m through with this one.

e442fcac1d3aedfa2dd64880d5260040d54ef2a9760e2d6c73aa08ff3080287a

So this should keep me occupied for a few days (weeks or months, more likely). As I mentioned in an earlier post, once I fill this bad boy with as much red ink as I can fit on the margins of its pages, I’ll transfer all the changes into the digital copy, then turn on the macro function and sweep away all the nasty adverbs, filter words, etc that I have missed on all previous editing rounds .

My only concern at the moment is that the story came out at 140k words (!!!), which is 20-25k more than what I wanted it to be, and I doubt if I cut every adjective and adverb from the manuscript it would reach my intended word count. The funny thing is that the first draft was 128k words, but I needed to replace some of the scenes with new ones and ultimately had to add one or two extra, and that’s how I ended up with so many words.

Regardless, this ought to be fun!

Character building and setting

I’ve been going over my second novel (provisional title: Through Stranger Eyes) and in particular trying to make sure I have created a fully fledged main character. In doing so, I came across C. S. Lakin‘s post on Live Write Thrive where she suggests we ask our characters twelve questions related to the setting to present and create them in the most realistic way. As she says in the beginning of her post, “When choosing settings for your scenes, you want to think about the kinds of places that will allow the emotions, needs, dreams, and fears of your characters to come out.

In my second novel, the setting is an important element of the story and goes hand in hand with the plot for a reason. In cyberpunk worlds (such as in Through Stranger Eyes), the fall of moral and social values alongside the disproportionate rise of technology that makes life easier for very few, could easily have its roots in the socio-economic structure of today. In that case, the setting can (and in my mind, should) be something not only to set up tone and mood for a story, but to also create awareness in the subtlest way possible.

Of course, no one expects a fiction writer to go that deep into sociology and philosophy just to tell a good story. But we are expected to create well-rounded characters, with their hopes, fears, and memories, and at the same time flesh out worlds for them that could easily be real, regardless of the genre. Hopefully, these questions will help all of you in this pursuit.