Posts tagged ‘The Red Mirror’

And at last I arrive in Egypt

For those of you interested in my progress with The Black Scroll, let me say that I’m advancing at a rapid clip. 59,967 words. 185 pages. Ready to start Chapter 29. Ready to visit Alexandria, 130 AD, 15 years after the Great Jewish Revolt that almost burnt the city to the ground.

You might ask how I know the page numbers with such precision.

I gather that I’m an odd duck among writers, as my preferred technique for channeling the story is to manifest the visual form as I create. I write directly into Adobe InDesign. As the words flow onto the page, they look exactly as they will look in final published form. That’s the print version I’m talking about.

Before putting the first word on the first page, I set up the layout, which in the case of The Black Scroll is the same as The Red Mirror and The Emerald Tablet – the first two novels of the Red Mirror Series. I’ve got the header at the top of the 6×9 facing pages with my name or title, book-specific Egyptian hieroglyph, and page number. The margins are there. The title page has been created.

note: As a reminder – or for those who haven’t seen the print versions – the glyph for The Red Mirror is a snake, typically Pharaonic Egyptian to my mind. The glyph for The Emerald Tablet is the owl – for Athena, the wisest of Greek Goddesses.  The one I have chosen for The Black Scroll is the lion – Rome – Africa.

The print version must be re-formatted for export into Kindle, so thinking logically, I decided to write The Black Scroll directly into the layout I use for the ebook version. It’s the biggest market, after all.

It didn’t work for me. All those lovely graphic details of layout disappear. The process is no longer visual.

After a chapter or two, I gave up and allowed myself the crutch. Didn’t authors of old write with a favorite pen? Or typewriter? I need my print version InDesign layout for the Muses to sing. And so be it.

I’ve got an art degree. What’s wrong with painting with words?

February 11 was the Monday I started – day after Chinese New Year. Today is March 12. Three days from the Ides. Five days from St. Patrick’s Day. Eight days from my 38th wedding anniversary and the spring equinox.

Goodbye Libya. It was quite a ride. Hello Egypt. I can’t wait to see what happens.

March 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm 6 comments

How the Arab Spring has influenced my third book, The Black Scroll

It occurred to me that I’m supposed to be writing here about writing. I haven’t done a very good job with that, so am striving to make some course corrections.

At long last, I got the courage to start writing Elektra’s story. I’ve thought a lot about why it’s taken me so long. Was it fear of writing itself? Of not having any more ideas? Or was it fear of the story that Elektra has to tell?  Now that I have begun, I know that this is a story I couldn’t have told without going through the experience of Arab Spring.

You may ask what the Arab Revolution has to do with ancient Roman Egypt? Well, for starters, I wouldn’t have thought to begin the book in Leptis Magna, which is outside of Tripoli, Libya. At least, I don’t think I would have. I will never know, of course, because I chose the path I am on. No one can say where another path would have lead me.

I don’t think  Elektra would go off to the Nafusa Mountains to learn the Sacred Arts (magic – or black magic, if you prefer to use its power in that way) if I hadn’t followed battles there during the Libyan Revolution via twitter. I wouldn’t have realized how ancient the Imazighen people are. That’s “Berbers” to those who don’t know that the truly native (non-Arab) North African prefers to be called an Amazigh (singular). Their language is properly known as Tamazight and remarkably close to the language spoken in ancient Egypt.

But I have diverged. There’s more to the Arab Spring influence on my writing than geography. Until I lived the stories coming out of Libya, Egypt and Syria, I had no real understanding of brutality. I knew about it intellectually. I’ve done extensive research on the Roman Empire. I studied Latin years ago. I’ve seen almost every film made on ancient Rome. But there was something about the modern brutality I experienced through twitter that simply brought ancient horrors to life.

When I was writing a couple of scenes, which I believe I portrayed with just enough detail that you can use your imagination to make more graphic if you please, I reminded myself that things much worse happen every day, right now. “No,” I tell myself.  “It’s not over the top.” It happened. Far worse things happened. And it was institutionalized – an accepted part of culture and life.

The Black Scroll, after 27,000 words, deals so far with slavery, the power of magic – perceived or real – and of course, Elektra. Isis has gone back through the Red Mirror to her incarnation in 130 AD, the time of Hadrian. If the book evolves as the other two, I’m not quite a third of the way into the story.

It’s been intense. This book is very different from The Red Mirror and The Emerald Tablet, which are actually different from each other. I think that a trilogy is usually a continuing story with very similar drama. So perhaps it is appropriate, after all, that I have re-titled the group as Red Mirror Series.  The modern story is the continuing thread that binds them together. And the characters, of course. The reincarnating circle of souls.

I’d like to think that each book can be read separately. I tried to write them that way. I’ve had some feedback from readers who started with The Emerald Tablet and report enjoying it very much with no issues of ‘feeling lost.’

Elektra‘s story has begun with new characters in key roles. That’s just the way she’s telling it. My impression as I leave ancient Libya to make for Egypt, is that Hektor, the General, Antinous and River God will soon take center stage.

BTW, you’ll notice that I don’t have a new name for River God, aka Black Falcon. I’m waiting for him to reveal himself.

February 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm 1 comment

Finished First Draft of “Isis” – first of Red Mirror series

Sandra celebrates finishing 1st draft of Isis in the Red Mirror Series with husband Jesper and Garden Dude David Georgi at writers bench

Yesterday afternoon was a first in my life. I had finished the Egyptian part of my novel on Saturday: plot strings tied up, emotionally satisfying ending.

Isis was set to go back to Las Vegas and I had this panic that I wouldn’t be able to do it – to finish the book.

I needed to get several characters to the right place, set everyone up for the next book, and leave the reader feeling good.

Over dinner my husband and I discussed the men characters as they are incarnated in Las Vegas.

Thanks to his suggestions, I fleshed them out solidly in my mind.  They became real.

I let them germinate on Sunday, played around with some scenes and dialogue, and had Easter dinner with friends. Then Monday, April 5, I sat down and put them in the scenes I had envisioned and let them go at it. By 5:00 pm I finished.

99,539 words – 6 weeks

Isis ended up with a different guy than I intended, but she made her choice.  And there’ s always the next book and the next visit to the past to get another.

I actually cried. It was crazy, but I just had to cry. It was the emotional release of childbirth. No kidding, it was that profound.

My husband and I went for a walk along the ocean and then up to our local cafe for fish tacos and a Corona. They have a Taco Hour special, everything 2 bucks.

Then I put on my Egyptian wig (check out photo) and we cracked a bottle of Veuve Clicquot with our neighbors Carol and David, who have lived Isis with me. David and I meet at the writers bench almost every sunset.

Joy, great joy is the best description I can give.

April 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm 4 comments


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