Sunday, 11 January 2015

Reaper (free planet #3) - Please don't let me die yet - Crying Insane Assassin.

both due by end 2015
it's a thought I had regularly while writing the 2008 Silverthought Press releases Bukkakeworld and Planet of the Owls. I am forever grateful to Paul Hughes of Silverthought who had faith in these strange disturbing adult novels to publish them in the first place - they're not an easy read. At the time, I suspected these books were the reason I'd been born on this planet and they'd contain some sort of Legacy Material that I'd eventually become famous for. I'd be happy to die if only they were out, for public consumption. And that happened. And nothing happened. Anyway...

Fame is not why I write, one can achieve fame by pulling one's tongue out on Breakfast TV or dropping one's trousers on Late Nite with Letterman. That's not (personally) the Creative Path I'm travelling down. I'm an egotist; yes, as an artist it's important that the journey one takes is a personal one and the audience are dragged along in the turbulence of the output. And this applies to the writing process too.

2010-2013 was the time period in which I thought quite hard about, blog'd furiously about then finally wrote the devil's-advocate Free Planet novel Custodian. It was always intended as a one-novel project called Free Planet, but then (just prior to publication in early 2013) I realised there was an opportunity to extend the narrative out with MIDDD or Military Industrial Dogma Double Dealings that told the 'real story' of why Free Planet (Custodian) happened. But then, you see, Free Planet #2 (Liberator) hinted at the concept of a War World and the fact that everyone living today is still at war, it's just that it's now a for-profit war, a patent-protect war, a non-disclosure-agreement war. But we're still at war.

Late 2013 saw the first release of the tandem War World series. As it stands today, books one and two of the projected six-book series or double-trilogy are out in paperback, ebook, Kindle etc via Chimericana Books from Amazon, B&N and all the usual online book-buying places. Book three of the War World series (I'd like to think trilogy would be enough, I'm sure it is) Kumiko is mostly finished at 66-70,000 words or so and I'm hard at work on book three of the Free Planet series Reaper - 30,000 words and rising daily.

All the time, I'm thinking, "Don't let me die yet, don't let me die yet," and it's not as if these works are VITAL or IMPORTANT in any way, shape or form that can save mankind or otherwise alter his future. It's just a daft northerner having fun with words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, character, voice and ideas. It's a writer goading a reader to think, at the very worst. But it's the feeling that I've put so much into these six books, these parallel trilogies, and (even with the page after page of copious and contradictory notes in the unfinished manuscripts that I don't always adhere to) I'm the only who can finish this. Sometimes a character's narrative journey is more important than the story he's adopted into. So, let me do it. Let me finish it. Don't let me die yet.

WEEK LATER UPDATE: not only is Free Planet falling to bits, not only is the story racing to its breathless climax, but there's now a CRYING INSANE ASSASSIN on the loose, and he/she's taking no prisoners. Watch out, Custodians, you're on his/her list. And you deserve all that's coming to you.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Reaper (free planet #3) recommencing - ideas coming thick and fast - Kumiko (war world #3) first draft completion

during a recent extended week's holiday from my regular (bus driving) day job, I put in a good few hours per day i.e. a good few thousands of words per day, into Kumiko (war world #3). Kumiko was at the 52,000 words mark when I started my 'holiday' -- this was a mixture of 39,000 words of eight finished chapters + 13,000 words of extra notes etc. At the end of the holiday Kumiko was a much more finalised 13 finished chapters and a healthier 63,000 words. It'll be a little more than this when I've finished polishing it, but that's cool for now. Yes, I type fast when needs must and I can restructure a whole novel on the fly (as I had to here) under strict time/motion constraints.

What this means is that (while there are a couple of narrative threads to tidy up in the Kumiko first draft and a general spit and polish on the technical aspects of War World's ranks and badges) I'm happy that I've done all I can with that side of the Earth story and can now focus upon Reaper (free planet #3) as Xmas 2014 dawns and the publication year of 2015 for the tandem third parts in the Free Planet vs War World trilogies looms. I have a few more lieu days of holiday next week, so I've ample time to pen a good wedge of Reaper stuff.

The important thing is THE DREAMS HAVE STARTED. And by this I mean, "I can always tell when a novel needs to start because I start getting insistent and specific dreams about it. I've had TWO very important i.e very Reaper-relevant early-morning dreams already this week, so my Writer Mind (lol) is nagging that I 'crack on with it'." Yes, I realise the dream content is arbitrary and subjective, but I seem to know where all this material fits in - like magic. Reaper has over-grown enough now, and the story begs to be clipped and shaped. Like a hedge. Fun'd...

Running total: 20,000 words, and rising.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Reaper FP #3 - ORGANIC vs CRYSTALLINE - third split narrative

FEB 28th 2014
this happened, the genie escaped the bottle, I can't put it back in. I was there, like a good little writer, hammering away on the keyboard, re-writing chapter one (again), then re-arranging and restructuring chapter two (nipping an tucking, adding and taking away), now having a go at chapter three of 'free plane #3' novel Reaper and it just WHAM BAM THANK YOU MAM'd me.

CUSTODIAN (fp #1) was The Custodians vs You The People.
LIBERATOR (fp #2) was Civilian vs Military.
REAPER (fp #3) turns out to be Organic vs Crystalline.

Yeah, I know, I was surprised by that development, too. I certainly didn't expect to go in this direction with book three. In fact, nowhere in the detailed plan I have for the conclusion of this three-book series is there any mention of crystalline existence. But there it is.
It came from an examination of the old Patent Database - the Custodian Liberation aka McCardle and Hoskins finally get their finger out and start sifting through the Privatised Creativity, Passion and Kinship Store of ancient inventors for the good of mankind rather than the cynical furtherance of the Profit margin. And there it was ... the elixir of life, or at least the bridge to everlasting life.
Of course, I realise I've put a narrative cat among my pigeons. Do I care? Yes, it's giving me a headache, but I do this for you, sweet nectarous reader, so that you can find some succour in your daily grind. 

MARCH 16th UPDATE: I was actually considering giving up (for profit) writing for good last night. I came this close to never finishing WATCHER or REAPER. I thought, "Why should I when I alraedy have the novels in my head?" what do I need to gain from commercialising my talent? But I made a major discovery today. And that's powered me on to get these two books finished this year.
In February, I 'got inspired' to start writing about CRYSTALLINE EXISTENCE in REAPER (free planet #3). It's based on my ideas of a Sentient Water Planet i.e. Earth's real presence, its ancestry. I thought of the least likely crystal that could be out there i.e. a WATER BASED CRYSTAL that grows from salt water (with a special catalyst, nudge wink) the way salt is harvested from water.

Today's major discovery is a real mineral called RINGWOODITE that has 15% by weight of water trapped in it. I'm loath to call 'my crystal' Ringwoodite but there's no reason why I can't have a more purified form of the crystal as the basis for the Eternal Life & Homes (albeit undersea) in this third book. The crystalised memories of the ancestors forming the structures within which Free Planet will live its life?

AUGUST 4th UPDATE: REAPER (free planet #3) novel is on the blink while I'm busily writing KUMIKO (war world #3) novel. The Free Planet narrative and the War World narrative are kinda connected, or have become connected over the final stages of their respective trilogies. Is it a Free Planet or is it a War World? I like that it's happened this way, as it's less convoluted than if I'd planned a dual-trilogy series from the get-go.

Yesterday morning, during a lovely 9 mile jog in the woods and along the river, I received (from the ether) a  generous wedge of narrative resolution to add to the Crystalline/Organic thrust of the Reaper arc, just free stuff wedged into the waking dream that is my writing process. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Gene Brewer - author of K-PAX - 5***** review for Liberator

here's a FIVE STAR review of my latest Free Planet novel LIBERATOR, from one of my favourite authors Gene Brewer (K-PAX series):

Mike Philbin's Liberator does more than continue where Custodian (Book I of the Free Planet series) left off. By this time the premise is picking up more steam, the characters have become more real, the storyline more accessible, the indictment of our social and political norms more scathing. Mr. Philbin's wordplay is truly striking and original. The images stick with you. There are moments of tongue-in-cheek humor and his wit is increasingly biting. This is an author who gets better with every book. He is someone to watch. [LIBERATOR on Amazon]

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

new FREE PLANET trilogy cover?

don't ask me if this is for real or anything, there's every possibility I'm deluding myself about my ability to finish book three in the free planet series and I'm not totally convinced this idea is any good yet, but...
I've just been playing around with the idea of bringing out (or selling on to another publisher) the idea of the FREE PLANET trilogy, as one book. The three separate parts of the proposed book would sport the names of the separate novels Custodian (2013), Liberator (2014) and Reaper (2015). 
FREE PLANET was always envisioned as 'one book' but then it got a little more involved, became a second, then third book (potentially) so I thought, "Maybe this is the time to show you what I've been working on as a cover idea for such a trilogy," were it a) possible or b) attractive to publishers.
It'd be about 80,000 + 60,000 + 60,000 = 200,000 words as a book, which is quite a wedge of words. Just a thought... back soon.
APRIL 13th UPDATE: for those of you going, "Where did the updates on Reaper (free planet #3) go?" fear not, I am still, technically, working on it. It is still destined to be released in 2015. Watcher (the project I'm writing at the same time) is dominating my thoughts right now, is all. As you'll see from the new War World TRILOGY cover, it's Free Planet's real competition, and I'm not sure which'll win, yet.
Reaper has not been put on the back burner, in fact I'm going to make myself write some more of it right now to push the book past the 20,000 word mark also. Yeah, maybe that'll do it. I'll try to make myself write more Reaper before I allow myself to write more Watcher. In reality, I'll probably finish Watcher first.
"Who watches the watchers?" indeed.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Reaper FP#3 will be twenty chapters, how do I know?

I know because I just adapted the 2,000 words short story of 'what happened to the hunted-to-exhaustion Janey and Timmy' (you'll remember tham from the tail end of Liberator FP#2, if you read it) for use as a structural device throughout the novel.
It's done already. It's in the can. Finito.
I decided to split this 2,000 word Oral History of Timmy Brecke into chapter starts, each paragraph of this 'short story' precedes the action of each chapter of the yet-to-be-written novel. I sensed that (as it was 2,000 words) it would be nice if it came to about TWENTY CHAPTER beginnings, hundred words a-piece.
And it did. Exactly twenty paragraphs. 20 chapters.
I was very surprised by that, and it felt like 'some kind of sign'. That means I can write Reaper in chunks of 4,000 words giving me a novel total for FP#3 of anywhere around the 80,000 words mark. We all know my 'guesstimations' aren't always reliable and we all know that whimsy, inspiration and good old randomness can insinutate its way into my novel writing process but there it is. Day of the Reaper is officialy GO, GO, GO and there's lots to say about 'why Free Planet took four years' to really gets its arse in gear. Why the world nearly had to end, twice. And why you'll shit your pants when you see who was behind what. There really were so many counter/parallel FPS simulators going at the same time, and the PPI or PATENT PROTECTION INITIATIVE was very well funded by T.H.E.Y. i.e. You The People, so no fucking surprise there then.
We'll find out what happened to Timmy and Janey, we'll see if this near-ruined homeworld eventually became a Free Planet.
FOUR MONTHS LATER UPDATE: as the War World series and the Free Planet series have organically intertwined in the last year or so, Reaper (free planet #3) will be probably remain on hold until some narrative issues in Kumiko (war world #3) have been ironed out. Reaper is due to be finished, then, some time AFTER Kumiko has finished.
Or at least until the threads and connections between the parallel projects have been finalised, not necessarily 'set in stone'. Oh, set in stone, Mike, I like that. SET IN STONE.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Free Planet 3 - REAPER - 2014 cover concept

don't ask me why I'm releasing this visual interpretation of the Free Planet 3 narrative so early. I say 'visual interpretation', as are most covers, but it's not 'really' what REAPER'll be about. I mean it's not set in space, it's not a Space Opera and no invading alien presence is due. At least there's no plan for such yet.

Though I have a really good idea where this third Free Planet novel may go, I haven't started to work on 'Reaper' yet. In fact, I don't intend to for another maybe six months or more as my main focus this season will be the STALKER'S GUIDE TO... novel.

"Why not make the third novel in the Free Planet series take place all on the same day," the day when it all happens. The day Free Planet 4 Real is born.
It's still gonna contain the same narrative elements I'd always intended to include, but I'll cram it all into one day. Dawn to Dusk, eight months after the events in Liberator. Have it a non-stop marathon of intense emotional and physical drama. Wear down the reader as it'll undoubtedly wear down the characters.
This will be the day when the old (Commercialised (Consumerist (Corporate))) world ends and a new one begins. This will be the day when mankind finally begins to see the 'great gift he's been bequeathed' and the thing he nearly ruined with his Quest for Profit/Asset/Conquest.