The Dragon Kaseraak series was a lot of fun to write. I started writing it at a dark moment in my life, unsure where it would lead. Nine years later, it’s turned into six self-published and self-designed books, ones that I’ve been confident enough about to go to a convention and sell.
They’re very important to me.
They are also over. While it is true that The Last Embers leaves open the possibility of further adventures involving Jamie and Jana, it represents a good finishing point. None of the books ends on a true cliff-hanger, but up until that point there was always an obvious direction for a new story. Each ending brought a new sense of purpose, except for the last book. The ending is comfortable.
One thing I learned in the process is that I really liked to write. I don’t know if I’ll ever be good enough at it or lucky enough at it to make it a worthwhile career, but it’s certainly a worthwhile and viable hobby.
So I’ve started a new story.
The story is called One Regret. It’s aimed at a more mature audience (fitting, since I have no more children in my house for whom to write). It tells the story of a company that offers a revolutionary treatment for the terminally depressed. Rather than offer talk or drug therapy, they offer patients the ability to reverse one decision of their past, hence the name “One Regret”.
The story has a very minor sci-fi bent to it. The way in which one decision is reversed involves time travel of a very modest sort. A part of a patient’s brain is removed, called the temporal cortex. These cells have the unique property of traveling backwards in time. They are used as a vehicle for transmitting a short message into the past, one that acts as a premonition. Once the message “arrives” at the proper time, it informs the prior decision and the patient’s fate is changed.
One of the things I wanted to do with this story was to have a very strict sense of time travel and causation. Once that message is changed, everything that results from that decision changes. This is what in fact makes One Regret possible: the only reason a person would willingly allow his brain to be dissected is because it changes the past in such a way that such an event would never happen. Otherwise, the person would remain dead on the operating table and One Regret would be criminally liable for assisted suicide, if not worse.
The challenge for me was to figure a way that One Regret could profit from this operation. Let’s suppose someone was willing to pay a million dollars to reverse a horrific decision in their past. Once that message is delivered, the line of causation changes such that the person no longer needs to reverse that decision and therefore has no reason to be a patient of One Regret and therefore would not pay that million dollars. No payment can survive the procedure, which calls into question the viability of the business itself.
Fortunately, I figured out a way around this situation. The temporal cortex cells, because they travel backwards in time, follow a different line of causation. They remain in place after the operation. Thus, what happens after a successful operation is that the surgeon who removed the cells in one timeline is sitting at his desk in the subsequent timeline, but is alerted to the presence of the cells acquired in the first timeline. These cells form the currency of One Regret, and are, by necessity of the plot, very valuable for research purposes.
Currently I have completed a first draft of One Regret and am working on the edits to the second draft. I hope to have it finished sometime in April, because I am hoping to have it available for a couple conventions this summer. I hope to continue to provide updates in this journal, but if you have any specific thoughts, feel free to contact me!