Tagged: Elsewhere’s Twin

Like Sands Through the Hourglass

December is coming to a close, which means it’s time for our annual Year in Review post, 2017 edition.

At the beginning of the year we rather optimistically predicted that we might finish up both Son and Grandson of Science novel, and at least get a start on the third Music novel. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! We were so fucking naive!

While we did manage to get the last two Divided Man books polished and released, we didn’t even come close to finishing the Science novels. Jen was already frustrated at our lack of completion last year, so just imagine how thrilled she is now that it’s a whole year later and we’re still not done!

So what did we accomplish, if not everything on our wish list?

In January we had a belated launch party for Miss Brandymoon’s Device, and fretted a bit about what we would do once we finished writing our current trilogy of trilogies. February was spent editing various Divided Man books.

March brought the release of Tenpenny Zen. Yay! 

In April we seem to have wrapped up the first draft of Son of Science Novel, and were somewhat disappointed by its size. In the months since, we have added a bit more to it and, you’ll be relieved to learn, it now checks in at just a hair over 104,000 words. That’s still a bit slight, but is much less frightening. It’s now closer in size to its Mama.

Along with flowers, May brought major edits to Elsewhere’s Twin, and an important decision about the Music novels. And some delicious Greek food.

June was full of chainsaws — real ones, this isn’t an editing metaphor. When we got done bitching about that, we diagnosed some of what was missing from Son of Science Novel and finally got started composing Grandson.

By early July we’d already banged out 11,000 words for Grandson, which begs the question of why it’s still not done. Some of the blame should lay with Elsewhere’s Twin, which needed more edits before its release.

In August we took a road trip to attend a concert, and had a wonderful time. The band was great, and we used the car time to brainstorm ideas for the Middle Music novel. We also topped 20,000 words on Grandson of Science.

All we could talk about in September was the release of Elsewhere’s Twin. Have you seen the gorgeous cover? Our first trilogy is complete! We felt quite the feeling of accomplishment. We’re very proud of those books and all the work that went into them.

October had the new novel’s word count at 40,000, which is nothing to sneeze at. It also had us jetting off to Europe, which we didn’t talk about until November because we like to keep you guessing. And as soon as we got back from overseas, we turned right around and ran off to a writing conference.

And here we are again, back in December. Grandson of Science Novel is sitting pretty at 70,000+ words, which many people would consider novel-length. Just not us. Apart from that being far too short to fit in with our other work, we’re nowhere near done telling the story we set out to tell.

Our 2017 was quite successful, with the editing and publishing of two novels, the completion of a third, and a really good start on a fourth. Just try telling Jen that. She needs to recalibrate her expectations to be more in line with reality, and Kent is doing his best to help her with that. Maybe 2018 will be the year she finally gets it figured out.

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago today we released our first novel, Miss Brandymoon’s Device. It’s been an exciting and momentous year for us. We’ve finally gotten our hard work out in front of an audience. The financial rewards are, so far, very modest. It’s the other, less tangible rewards that we’re basking in. We’ve racked up some reviews, we’ve added newsletter subscribers, we’ve enjoyed conversations with our readers. It’s been a really busy year, but an incredibly satisfying one.

Just a couple of weeks ago we released our third novel, Elsewhere’s Twin, in ebook format, and we’re thrilled to announce that it’s finally available in paperback, too. Since we’d been through the process twice before, we thought we were old pros. We thought that ordering a proof copy was a mere formality. So when the proof arrived and there was an issue with the cover it threw off our schedule. After a bunch of fiddling and phone calls and reformatting we finally have the cover looking how we want it. Which means it’s ready for you to enjoy!

Elsewhere’s Twin is the final book (so far) in our Divided Man series. Since we’re self-publishing, we do all the steps ourselves. Editing and polishing Divided Man has pulled us away from writing the new Science Novels more than we anticipated, and more than we like. We’re planning to slow our pace a little bit for the next set of releases so that we have ample time to make everything the best that we possibly can.

But right now we’re just basking a little bit in the glow of our accomplishment. Go Team Skelley!

Today’s the Day! Elsewhere’s Twin Arrives!

Perhaps this was mentioned once or twice, but it always feels nice to do things thrice!

Elsewhere’s Twin, book three of the Divided Man, is available now.

Prophecies Don’t End With Happily Ever After

Fin and Rook never wanted to be heroes in the first place, so it’s no wonder they did a sloppy job of it. All the same, they thought they’d earned a bit of downtime by averting the enslavement of the entire human race. And, Willow’s return should be the best news imaginable. But it’s hard to fit the pieces back together without cutting yourself on the edges.

It would be easier with fewer distractions. The alien spiders have discovered the prophecy, and disapprove of the reluctance of those called upon to fulfill it. Rook’s demonic inner children remain at large in her mind, with ambitions. Meanwhile, a new adept takes instruction in the attic of Threshold House, offering Severin another chance to assault the Collective Id, while the nanotech body jewelry falls into yet more wrong hands. Every player is trying to upend the board.

To learn the true nature of this shifting game of shadow-selves, Rook and Fin traverse hellish mindscapes and duel bizarre new adversaries alongside familiar ones. Every answer leads to new questions, with the fate of the world hanging as the ultimate riddle.

But Rook and Fin are driven by something far more important.

Elsewhere’s Twin Sample

We’re excited to announce that Divided Man book 3: Elsewhere’s Twin will be released Friday, September 22. That’s just a week away!

UPDATE: get the ebook now at Amazon.

Completists rejoice! Elsewhere’s Twin brings together the characters from the first two books, and closes out this plot arc. There might be more Divided Man books someday, but for now we’re giving the survivors a breather and turning our attention to the Science novels.

But how will you wait an entire week without a heaping helping of the promised sex, doppelgängers, and the Collective Id?

We’re reluctant to share the entire first chapter because it’s chockablock with spoilers for both prior books, so instead of a whole appetizer we’re proud to offer an amuse bouche.

SPOILER ALERT: This novel picks up immediately after the events of Miss Brandymoon’s Device and Tenpenny Zen.

ELSEWHERE’S TWIN: a novel of sex, doppelgängers, and the Collective Id

Of course it had to be both.

Snow or sleet on its own would be bad enough, but the universe had a sense of humor, alternating between the two with startling frequency. Rook Tanner shivered. Neither she nor her husband Fin were wearing coats.

A patrol of mercenaries ran past them toward the devastated cathedral, weapons drawn. Rook knew that should be alarming, but she’d already used up her adrenaline. The mercs worked for Fin’s half-brother Kyle and would presumably be interested in whoever left him in his broken state.

“We can’t be here when they come out.” Rook tried to ignore her throbbing headache and the tang of acrid smoke in the air.

“I’ll talk to the aliens,” Fin said. A quick and traceless exit was called for. The space-spiders routinely transported people to and from the asteroid belt, so sending Fin and Rook home to Webster should be a snap.

Fin closed his tired green eyes, his forehead scrunched in concentration. Rook could see the puncture marks where she pierced his left brow on the day they met, and it made her a little sad he wouldn’t be wearing a hoop there anymore. That hoop’s hidden technology had corrupted his dreams, but it was also the thing that brought them together.

Small ice pellets settled in Fin’s dark hair as he communed with his friends on the asteroid. Rook stamped her feet and regretted her bare legs.

Fin snorted and opened his eyes. “They can’t help. They say they’re too drained from the fight.” He sounded unconvinced.

Rook threw a look at the smoldering shell of the once-grand glass cathedral. She wanted to be far away before the mercs came back out. “Let’s get to the highway. We’ll hitch a ride.”

Fin nodded.

They jogged across the grounds of the Shaw Ministries compound and made their way to the main road.

A stoner couple in a blue Geo Metro were the first samaritans not to take offense at their burnt carpet stench, or the bloodstains on Fin’s shirt. Rook and Fin shared the tiny back seat with a heap of food wrappers and a friendly brown dog.

The drive from Donner to Webster usually took an hour, but the hellacious winter mix pelting down on the mountain road made the going slow.

Three hours trapped in the weed-and-wet-dog-scented car with an endless supply of Phish left Rook carsick. Fin fell into an exhausted slumber, but Rook’s throbbing head and queasy stomach kept her awake. She replayed the terrifying mental battle Fin and Kyle waged in the cathedral — and in her mind — obsessing over the traitors inside her head who almost tipped the outcome into disaster.

When their clown car finally made it to Webster, they stopped for gas about a mile from Fin and Rook’s bomb shelter hideaway.

The precipitation was a mere flurry and Rook was desperate for fresh air, so they thanked their chauffeurs and set out on foot. Immediately, the snow turned into a drenching five-minute downpour, changed briefly to sleet, then settled into pinprick needles of ice. The wind knifed through Rook’s sodden black sweater and rattled her frozen hair.

“We’re almost there,” Fin said through chattering teeth.

Rook looked up at him in the illumination from a nearby porch light and smiled weakly. His lips looked as blue as hers felt. His dark hair clung to his forehead like unruly seaweed. At the base of her skull, the signal that connected her mind to his thrummed steady and comforting, and blissfully unchallenged.

Trudging along the suburban street through the slush and darkness, Rook hugged her soggy sweater tighter against herself, like pulling on wet socks for warmth.

“Chez Tanner.” Fin gestured to his father’s large, bland house, the only one on the street not lit up. He led Rook off the sidewalk into a clump of pine trees. Her go-go boots sank into a slushy, muddy quagmire, but she couldn’t care. They would soon be inside. Beyond the pines they squelched across piles of wet, compacted leaves under naked trees that afforded little protection from the wind and ice and returning rain.

“I’m so cold,” Rook finally allowed herself to complain as Fin hauled open the hatch under the bushes. He hugged her with his free arm, and she tilted her face for a kiss. His lips were frozen, but his tongue was hot and probing.

“Don’t slip,” he warned as Rook started down the long ladder.

The only light in the bomb shelter was the warm gold and red glow of Vesuvius, their lava lamp. The feeling of entering a furnace was a welcome one. Rook pulled off her dripping sweater, leaving herself topless, her nipples hard as ice. It felt good to be back in their little pocket of tastefully decorated 1950s nuclear paranoia. The hatch clanked shut and Fin climbed down to join her.

“Why, Mrs Tanner,” he said, “you seem to have lost your shirt.”

“Lose yours too, and your pants. We need to generate some body heat.”

“I like the sound of that.”

Shadows shifted. They weren’t alone.

Too Many Projects? There’s No Such Thing!

Throughout its many arched galleries and torchlit colonnades, the writing cave has lately resounded with the hammer-blows of feverish industry — because it was annexed for a side project that kept both Jen and Kent preoccupied and away from our writing. Alas! But that gloomy epoch draws to a close, and scrivenings are nigh once more!

The Labor Day weekend will see us plunging back into Elsewhere’s Twin to get it spiffed up and ready for its debut at the end of the month. Wow, that’s coming up fast. One more month. Good thing we’re awesome.

Working with a partner is like having extra days on the calendar to get shit done. Even when the distractions just won’t let up.


Elsewhere’s Twin continues its sojourn in its chrysalis, preparing for its glorious emergence next month as a beautiful butterfly of prose.

Grandson of Science Novel is chugging along, approximately a quarter of the way to the first draft finish line.

Sibling of Music Novel, which is next in line for composition, is like a snowball rolling downhill, getting bigger and bigger, collecting more and more plot complications and character details. Soon we’ll have a full-blown avalanche of an outline on our hands.

We’ll talk more about each of those in the coming weeks. Mark your calendars!

Right now we’re splitting our time between writing, brainstorming, and research for a variety of projects. Our current research topics include brain structure, the history of the New York City skyline, cancer, the Mandela Effect, and birth videos. And there’s a TV show that touches on subjects somewhat similar to some things we’re working with, so we’re binging our way through that to make sure the similarities stay in the realm of “slight” and don’t require us to restructure anything. So far so good. And it totally counts as research. It’s not a distraction, honest!

Plus, of course, we’re keeping up with Twin Peaks. Our son comes home every week to watch with us. No, your family is weird.

Hit the Road, Jack

There’s a lot of music in our lives. We listen to it when we’re writing, editing, and plotting. Our sons are both omnivorous musicians, which means we’ve spent more than our fair share of time attending drum, guitar, bass, and piano lessons, marching band parades and football games, piano recitals, jazz band, concert band, symphonic band, and orchestra concerts, and battle of the bands. One son was in a metal band that had gigs at a local bar before he was 21, the other plays highly esoteric and experimental stuff, in addition to straight-up classical and jazz.

For as much as we like music, though, there unfortunately aren’t many local shows that interest us, which means that when there’s a band we want to see, we have to hit the road.

That’s just what we did earlier this week. We like to use the time in the car to brainstorm ideas, and this time we worked on fleshing out Sibling of Music Novel. It felt fitting to talk about music on the way to the concert, and on the way home we were flush with energy and insight. The drive was about six hours each way, so we had plenty of time to dig in on some details of world building and theme. Since this one is a sequel, you’d expect a lot of the world building to be done already, but we’re adding a new wrinkle which requires us to start from scratch for one of the settings. We’re talking “are the laws of physics the same here?” level stuff. There’s a lot to talk about.

Kent did all the driving, while Jen navigated, which is how we like to run things. It also means that it was up to Jen to take notes on our conversation. She used the voice recognition dealy on her phone, to quite amusing results. Our main character has a non-standard name, and in the notes it ended up being spelled at least four different ways. When we got to our hotel we had a good laugh over all the other kre8ive word choices as we transcribed the notes and expanded them.

We’ve been pretty deep into editing Elsewhere’s Twin, while also doing some writing on Grandson of Science Novel. It had been a long time since we devoted a lot of brainpower to plotting out a new story, and it felt really good. We came up with a lot of really fun stuff. Well, we think it’s fun. Our characters definitely won’t.

But back to the important thing, our concert experience: the venue was small and stuffy, there was unexpected moshing and crowd-surfing, the opening act was pretty good, and the headliners — Royal Blood — were phenomenal. We were only about 10 feet from the stage. We both got caught up totally in the music, which is just how it should be, and which is a feeling we want to be able to capture in our Music novels. The sweat, the flailing limbs, the thump and roar, the smell of the smoke machine, all of it will hopefully make it onto the page.

The evening was topped off with the surreal discovery that the building across the street from our hotel burned down while we were at the show. That unsettling feeling might make it into the novel, too, but mostly we want to just relive the excitement of a really good rock show.

The Surgery Was a Success!

It took a week longer than we had hoped, but Jen just completed an editing pass on the Science Novel. It had been through the ringer at least once before, and she still managed to smallerize it by 7,000 words. Meanwhile, our current manuscript-in-process, Grandson of Science Novel, has topped 11,000 words, most of them from Kent. It feels really good to have such a solid start on the new book. It feels even better to have a net gain in word count. We’ve added more to this series than we’ve taken away.

While Science Novel lays in the recovery room for a bit, waiting for the bandages to come off, Jen will turn her attention to Divided Man Book 3. It’s called Elsewhere’s Twin, and its release date is on the horizon. We’re hoping to go through the whole thing twice more before sending it out into the world, which means we have no time to waste.

That extra week we devoted to Science Novel makes the schedule a little tighter than we would like. Jen won’t get any downtime between the projects to clear her head. She’s already eyeing up a fresh scalpel. The last time through Elsewhere’s Twin she was still wielding her chainsaw. This time should see fewer huge cuts and much more finessing. Another difference is that this time, Kent will follow along a few chapters behind Jen with his own surgical tools. Having a coauthor means having more eyes on the words at every step in the process. It means a better finished manuscript.

Less is More

There’s a certain joy that comes from being in total agreement with someone, and we recently got to experience it a whole lot. During last week’s lengthy power outage, we whiled away hours and hours listening to an audio book, and holy shit you guys, it was terrible. It was way too long, and the focus was on all the wrong parts of the story. We had to stop the book numerous times to voice our many objections.

This book was painful for us, but it did spark some fun discussions. They weren’t arguments because we were in fierce, burning agreement. But we were both quite passionate, and voices were raised. It was cathartic.

Also educational.

As we mentioned recently, we struggled a little bit with just how much spectacle we wanted in the finale we were editing. The dust had settled, the darlings were buried, the ego-bruises were being iced, and then we listened to this load of hooey and suddenly felt much more confident about the amount we cut.

The protagonist in this audio book finds himself alone in an allegedly spooky setting, and proceeds to run around for what felt like hours and hours of listening time, not interacting with anyone else. It’s just this seemingly endless string of “and then this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened” and it carried all the excitement you would expect from a stranger on the bus telling you about the dream they had last night.

It taught us to use care when sending a protagonist off on a solo mission. Most compelling conflicts arise between characters, so with only one character on the page you’re setting yourself a challenge to hold reader interest. They say getting there is half the fun, but we needed to make sure that the journey didn’t overshadow the destination and what happened there. And now we’re in fierce agreement that we’ve got the right balance.