Corrosive Knights: Comments and Updates, 12/10/18

Lev wrote the following:

Love your series, just bought book #7. Will there be a book #8 – the epilogue and when?

First and foremost, thank you so much for the very kind comments you offer as well as the fact that you’ve decided my work was worthy enough for you to spend your hard earned money on buying it!

Will there be a book #8?  The short answer is: Absolutely.

But…

Here’s the thing: The 8th Book in the series is, as I’ve noted many times before and you’ve noted, is an “Epilogue”…

See, that’s how I’ve listed Book #8!

…as such, the Book effectively closes the door on stories featuring at least two of the major characters I’ve introduced in the series (I’ll not say who they are!) and I’m not sure I want to close that particular (pardon the pun) book on them quite yet.

Author Agatha Christie, during the heights of World War 2 and the London Blitz of 1940 and fearing that England -and she- would not survive the war, wrote the novel Curtain, which was the “final” and “concluding” story featuring what was arguably her biggest, most beloved creation, detective Hercule Poirot.

Ms. Christie put the novel in a lock box, intending it to be released only should she not survive the bombings and/or war.

Ms. Christie, England, and the world survived the war.  Ms. Christie kept writing new novels at an astonishing rate, including new novels featuring detective Poirot, but she kept Curtain in that lock box.  The novel would not be released until 1975, very shortly before Ms. Christie passed away in January of 1976.

Now, without sounding too obnoxious, I sometimes think that maybe Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series, or what I call the “Epilogue”, once fully fleshed out (I already have most of the novel written, believe it or not!), should also be kept in my own little lock box and released when I’m certain I don’t want to write any more Corrosive Knights novels.

So the short answer regarding Book #8, “Epilogue”, is: I WILL write this novel in the next year.  It WILL be done.  But it may not be released right away.  I may give myself a few weeks/months to think through the whole thing and see if I do want to release it or, perhaps, work on a different Corrosive Knights #8 novel and, in time, release the Epilogue when I feel its worth doing so.

Moving along, Lev, I hope this answers your question!

To you and those who have read my books and enjoy them, I ask a big favor: PLEASE write reviews for the books and post them either to Amazon or, at the least, offer a star review for Goodreads (if you read the Kindle edition of the books, you get the chance at the very end to click how many stars out of 5 you feel a book merits).

I jokingly say that if you loved my books, write reviews praising my oh-so-magnificent work.  If you didn’t, then don’t bother! 😉

Seriously, though, tell your friends about them, write reviews.  If you want to see more of my works, make them successful enough for me so that I can devote even more time on ’em!

Corrosive Knights, a 12/7/18 update… Mechanic!

A couple of days ago I noted I’d be revising Mechanic, the first book in my Corrosive Knights series…

The last time I did any sort of revision on the book, I found, was way back in 2011, so its been roughly seven years since I’ve re-read the book.

I wanted to revise it because it has been so long since I worked on it and figured if I was going to revise the covers to the series (already done), I might as well make sure the first book of the series is as good as I can possibly make it, given that for many this will be their jumping in point in this series.  If the first book doesn’t work for a potential new reader, chances are they won’t bother with the other books.

Added to that is the fact that I feel as a writer I’ve improved.  Hell, if I haven’t improved my skills in the seven plus years and six new novels made since Mechanic, then I don’t deserve to continue in this field.

But I’d be lying if there wasn’t a hesitancy to doing this.

In my previous post I noted I didn’t want to pull a “George Lucas” with Mechanic.  I wanted to “revise” the book and make sure there are no grammatical/spelling errors and ensure the reading experience is a smooth one.  What I absolutely DID NOT want to do is “re-do” the book and make it something all new and very different.  After all, there are many people out there who read the novel as it originally was (and, for the time being, is) and may react negatively to the author “meddling” with what they liked to begin with.

With that in mind, I began in earnest yesterday to re-read and do the revisions on Mechanic and, in that first full day, nearly made it to the book’s half-way point.

What fascinates me about reading the book after all these years, and after finishing the series, is that there were a few things right off the bat I needed to add/change.  Small details, mind you, and not BIG things.  As I worked deeper and deeper into the series, for example, I came up with certain names for things that I didn’t bother with back then.  But apart from those minor changes meant to make the book fit more snug into this series, for the most part I’ve kept to my word and cleaned up grammatical/clarity issues.  The dialogue remains the same, the story absolutely remains the same.

And you know what?  Despite the fact that I feel I’m a better author today than I was back then, the story and the way I originally wrote remains, IMHO, very strong.

Mechanic is the shortest, length-wise, of the Corrosive Knights novels.  When I presented it to a friend of mine, I told him the book was like a “shark” in water, a novel that doesn’t waste the reader’s time and moves along from scene to scene with minimal “fat”.

Curiously, most of the revisions I’ve done to date tend to involve eliminating lines or words here and there and making the novel even more like that shark in water.  I suppose I’m doing the exact opposite of what Mr. Lucas did with his original Star Wars trilogy*.

In the next couple of days I should finish the read-through and, following that, I’ll put the revisions into the document.  I’ll let you know when the new -and hopefully improved!- version is ready and released.

*****

*Regarding the Star Wars trilogy and Mr. Lucas’ revisions of it: I have ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM with Mr. Lucas going back into those films and adding things he wanted to add but wasn’t able to way back when or decided, afterwards, was worth revising.  Hell, I have no problem at all with him making the films something far different than what they originally were.  They’re his films and he has every right to do what he wants with them.

My problem with Mr. Lucas is his stubborn insistence on not releasing the original theatrical cuts.  Do with your films what you want, but give audiences the ability to see the versions they originally saw way back when as well.  Hell, its a win/win situation for him, as far as I can see, to release his “new” version along with the original.

Yet he steadfastly refuses to release the original films in their original form and that, to me, is a crying shame.

Corrosive Knights, a 12/5/18 update… and… Whew!

As you’ve no doubt noticed, there have been a dearth of updates/blog entries as of late ’round these parts.  Usually, I’m looking around and offering my 0.02 cents about many (too many!?) things.

Well, the reason I’ve been rather quiet is because not only did I finish up writing Legacy of the Argus, the seventh and concluding novel in the Corrosive Knights series, I’ve contracted ebooklaunch.com to re-do the covers for books #2-6 of the series along with doing the cover to Legacy.

But hiring them was just the first step.  Being something of an artist myself (cough), I’d work on rough versions of the covers as I was hiring them and sending those roughs out to them to use as the basis for the covers they came up with.  Then, when I’d get their versions of the covers, most of the time we’d go through a few “drafts” before hitting on the “right” cover to use.  To be fair, though, there was at least one cover, that of Nox, which they hit at the first go and I didn’t feel any more work needed to be done.

And while doing all that, I was preparing the paperback versions of the books, which meant going back to the original book files (not an easy task…I had to make sure I had the right files!), making sure I fixed any glitches (grammatical or spelling) that I was aware of in the earlier drafts and taking care of them.

Right now, I finished going over all the books but the first so that when I get the paperback cover files in the next few days, I’ll send both the new covers and revised/corrected novels in to Amazon.  While I can’t promise you ALL the grammatical/spelling glitches were found and taken care of, I’ve done my level best to go through these books and give it my best shot.

As for the first book in the series, Mechanic, given how long ago I wrote it, I’m going to spend a little more time on it.  In the next few days I’ll read through the entire book and see how it works while fixing any problems -if any- I may encounter within it.

No, I won’t pull a “George Lucas” and reinvent/rewrite the book.  Her story will remain as it is, but I figured given its age I needed to do a more thorough read-through and make sure everything within is smooth.  I figure in all the years between making that book and Legacy of the Argus, I’ve become (hopefully!) a slightly better author and am capable of smoothing out any rough edges while strictly adhering to that novel’s story.

Truthfully, I don’t anticipate any major changes!

So, for now, that’s what’s left on my creative “plate” for what’s left of this year.  It’s been a wild 10 or so years of writing the Corrosive Knights books and now that the main story is done, I want to make sure that in 2019 they’re cleaned and polished just right.

Onward!

John Allen Chau…

Is the name familiar to you?

If you’ve been following the news …well, the news outside of whatever latest lunacy Donald Trump’s been involved in… John Allen Chau is the Christian missionary who earlier this month went to a remote Indian island with the intent of converting an isolated tribe there to Christianity.

He was killed by the remote islanders, who are isolated and have had no outside contact with “civilization” and thus know nothing about Christianity or current events and, no doubt, came to view Mr. Chau as a threat to themselves.

Over on Slate.com I found this fascinating article by Ruth Graham titled…

Martyr of Dickhead?  Why missionary John Allen Chau’s death on a remote Indian is so unsettling to Christians

Christian missionaries entering potential “hostile” territories is nothing new.  Part of their mission (they are “missionaries”!) is to convert people to the Christian cause, and no doubt Mr. Chau viewed his outreach as trying to spread the word of God to those who needed it.

The article is most fascinating in the early paragraphs, where the author offers the following history:

In January 1956, five young American missionaries decided to make contact with a small tribe of natives in eastern Ecuador, with the purpose of converting them to Christianity. Instead, just a few days after their first direct contact with the group, they were speared to death on a secluded beach. News of the missionaries’ deaths spread quickly in the United States. Life magazine devoted a 10-page spread to the story of “five devout men who sought to bring the word of God to a fierce tribe of Stone Age savages.” The reverence for the missionaries went even deeper in Christian circles, where believers saw the men as martyrs killed for their faith.

Back in 1956, the author goes on to note, the killing of these missionaries was viewed as a repugnant act by a “savage” people.

Today, as you can tell by the link/title of the article presented above, society’s views of missionaries has changed.  While Christians no doubt view Mr. Chau’s death with sympathy and outrage, clearly there is a large segment of people out there that view his actions as the height of hubris/arrogance.

In other words, he got what was coming to him.

Now, I view his death as a tragedy.  Then again, I feel anyone with a sliver of a pulse should view the death of any young person by such violence as a tragedy.

But another part of me completely agrees that he was a well-intentioned but supremely arrogant man who walked into a very dangerous situation and -surprise, surprise- met his end because of that arrogance.

I can’t help but think of the longer history, though, well beyond 1956 and the way Christianity in general has spread throughout the world.  The Crusades, for instance.  The initial forays into the “New World” and the way the Native Americans in South and Central America were treated and at times violently forced to convert.  Hell, our own U.S. history and the way we’ve treated Indians.

What fascinates me the most about this article is that it shows a societal/world view certain shift in perspective.  The “civilized world” no longer automatically sides with the zealous missionary and his holy crusade.

We have developed the capacity, maybe several hundred years too late, to realize that our world view shouldn’t be imposed upon others, that a rarity like the remote tribe in that Indian island should be allowed to live their lives in peace, as they have for generations, and we have no right to impose upon them.

A fascinating shift, for sure.

Corrosive Knights… Ghost of the Argus!!!!

The fine folks at ebooklaunch.com have been re-doing/doing the covers to Books #2-7 of the Corrosive Knights series and, IMHO, have been doing a terrific job at it.

They saved the best for last:

…swoon…

What a freaking lovely cover!  I’ve uploaded it to Amazon and it should show up very soon for the Kindle edition of the book (you will find it here).  The paperback with this new cover will arrive soon, along with the paperback versions of all the new covers for the various books.

Now, to update the covers:

And, finally, the promo page I will use for all the covers (to date anyway!) of the Corrosive Knights novels:

I’m just beside myself with happiness! 😉

Oh, and just so we’re clear: I intend to keep the original cover to Mechanic (Book #1) as is.  Yeah, it no longer fits with the other covers but, of the covers I personally created, I’ve always liked that one the most and plan to keep it.

At least for now!

Megadeth’s Killing Is My Business… And Business is Good 2018 Remaster

All right, so I’ve dealt with the remastered editions of some VERY big heavy hitting talent in recent days, first David Bowie with his Loving The Alien boxed set, which includes a pretty good re-do of what many consider his career worst album, Never Let Me Down, and more recently the beautifully remastered The Beatles, aka The White Album.  You can read about the Bowie remaster here and The Beatles here.

Remastering albums is certainly not a new thing, and at times it has been met with anger.  In recent years, however, it seems like newer remasters have been better.  Certainly in the case of the Bowie and The Beatles albums, it was for the best.

Megadeth, one of the pioneer thrash/heavy metal groups fronted by one-time Metallica member Dave Mustaine, released their first album in 1985.  Titled Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good, it was a more than decent first effort with some really fun songs (I loved the very profane remake of These Boots).  The sound, however, was quite muddled and, when I heard Mr. Mustaine was remixing the album back in 2004, I was hopeful that the muddled sounds would be alleviated.

Alas, the end result was not very good.  Worse, the original authors of These Boots were apparently quite offended with Mr. Mustaine’s… uh… reinterpretation and new lyrics of the song and would not allow it to be re-released as it was.  So, in a very silly move, the remixed version of 2004 featured the song with “bleeps” to negate the offending lyrics.

Fast forward to (and unknown to me until yesterday) June of this year and a new re-mix of Killing Is My Business was released.

I have to say, Killing Is My Business is a terrific improvement over the original 1985 release and most certainly much better than Mustaine’s 2004 remix.

Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good - The Final Kill [Explicit]

If you like that album, getting this remaster is a no-brainer.

As for These Boots… it appears we’ll never again see the release of the original Megadeth version of the song.  However, this time around they wisely nixed the whole “bleeped” version of the song and, instead, remastered the music and had Dave Mustaine simply sing the song with its original lyrics.

Yeah, it isn’t quite as darkly funny as the original version and, yeah, Dave Mustaine’s voice is clearly more worn down than it was on the original album (decades of concerts and singing will certainly do that to you… check out Bruce Springsteen’s voice in some of his earliest albums versus while currently on tour).

So, if you’re into 1980’s era speed/thrash metal, checking out the most recent remix of Killing Is My Business is a no-brainer.

…sigh… (Corrosive Knights)

Apropos of nothing… and at the risk of puffing my own chest, I was staring at the computer and noted…

So I decided…

Yep, its the entire run of the Corrosive Knights series (my own copies) laid out on the floor just so I could admire ’em.  Note the many little stickers I’ve put into various books.  This was done to keep track of certain characters/scenes.  Also note the covers to Books #2 (The Last Flight of the Argus) through #6 (Foundry of the Gods) have the “old” covers.

For now, if you order the books through Amazon (you can check ’em out here), you will get them with these original covers and as shown in the photograph.  Very soon, though, these books will be upgraded to the new covers I’ve shown off before (just scroll down a few posts… you can’t miss ’em!).

If you look closely at the cover to Legacy of the Argus (the last book in the series, #7), you’ll see a gray band on the upper half of the book and over “The Argus” on the title.  It is a “Not for Resale” statement.  The copy I have of the book was a “preview” copy I ordered so I could see how the novel looks and then determine if it can be formally made available via Amazon.  I have made it available although, for now, Amazon hasn’t linked the Kindle (digital) copy with the Paperback.  I assume that will happen soon enough.  UPDATE:  It’s happened.  When you click on The Legacy of the Argus via Amazon, you’ll have the option of getting the Kindle/Digital copy or the paperback.

One final picture (hey, humor me here, I feel so proud of all this work!)…

The Beatles, a (right on time!) review

On November 22, 1968 The Beatles released an untitled  double album which, over time, came to be known as “The White Album”.

The album, IMHO, is incredible and, in retrospect, one can view it as something of a line in the sand.  There’s the stuff that came before and, sadly, this album was pointing toward what was to come, ie The Beatles’ eventual breakup.

The album features a mind-bogglingly number of great songs in so many different genres that one can’t help but admire the group’s ability to stretch their boundaries.  There are rock songs, there are ditties.  There are songs that seem to fall into country, there are songs that fall squarely into a avant guard.  There are fragments of songs, there are songs that seem almost like children’s compositions.  There are hard rockers and even what can be called a proto-metal composition.

There’s an incredible amount of music of all different types and what’s the most amazing thing is that when one listens to the album, it feels like there’s a flow to the compositions, a logic that only a band with as much talent as The Beatles could dare to try… and, incredibly and perhaps improbably, succeed.  For the most part, anyway.

There are those who feel there’s a superb single album buried in this double album, and even I have some songs I don’t care that much for. Still, how can you knock something that ambitious and successful?

When I heard Giles Martin, son of the late George Martin who was the original producer of almost all of The Beatles’ albums, was doing to The White Album what he did to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, i.e. doing an intricate remastering, I was so there.

What Mr. Martin did with Sgt. Pepper’s was revelatory.  He made an already superb (IMHO!) album sound even better, and managed to make two songs in particular I didn’t care as much for on the album shine like they never did before.

This past weekend I finally got my hands on the “Super Deluxe” edition of The White Album’s re-release.

Starting with the original album itself, I have to once again give Mr. Martin an incredible amount of credit.  The songs sound extraordinary, and he’s managed to make some compositions I didn’t care all that much for suddenly light up.  He’s brought the instruments out and made the voices clearer and… jeeze, its like you’re there in the studio, listening to the lads as they play the material for you.  There is an intimacy and clarity you didn’t realize the album needed to make it even better than it already was (and, if I haven’t made it clear already, I felt the album as it was was pretty damn great to begin with).

And the bonuses… oh my.

First up are the so-called Esher Demos.  After finishing their trip to India, The Beatles got together at George Harrison’s house and essentially created rough demos of the majority of the songs that eventually made their way to The White Album.  Here then you have those demos and they’re wonderful to hear in their embryonic, and sometimes quite close to finalized, form.  You also have some songs that didn’t make the cut -at least not at that point- which are fascinating to hear as well for a total of 27 songs.

Following that you have another FIFTY alternate/early takes of the various songs which eventually made it to The White Album along with a few that did not, including early versions of Hey Jude, Across The Universe, and Let It Be!

Incredibly fun stuff to hear and it again makes you realize that this band, when it came to music, was on a whole ‘nother level when it came to releasing original compositions.

The price for the Super Deluxe edition of The White Album ain’t cheap.  The CD release will set you back about $140 and I can’t even begin to guess how much the vinyl version is.  There is a cheaper CD version (I saw it at Target on sale for around $25) which includes the full album plus the Esher Demos.  It does not include the other bonus material, including all the other takes of the songs plus those I mentioned above.

So if you’re anything at all like me, you either get the whole thing or nothing at all.  If you don’t feel you need the wealth of other demos/alternate takes, then you may be fine getting the smaller package.

Either way, this is a hell of a gift to music lovers and The Beatles lovers in particular.

A very, VERY easy recommendation.

*****

I’ve found some interesting lists online regarding ranking the songs on The White Album from best to worst.  Here’s one list, found on Ultimateclassicrock.com and written by Michael Gallucci, where he offers…

Beatles White Album songs ranked from worst to best

A second ranked list can be found on stereogum.com and was written by Chris DeVille…

Beatles White Album songs ranked from worst to best

I find such lists fascinating, and I do have to offer my 0.02 cents.

Worst song on the album?  It may be Wild Honey Pie for me.  Or perhaps Revolution #9, John Lennon’s trip into the avant guard.  However, listening to these songs now, in this freshly remastered version, has quite literally opened my ears and even these works feel fresh and interesting to me.

Best?

George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps is terrific, as are Lennon compositions like Dear Prudence and Julia.  Much as I like the single version of Revolution, the slower, bluesier Revolution #1 is quite terrific as well.  Paul McCartney was also on a roll, bringing some great rockers like Birthday, Back in the U.S.S.R. (a hilarious parody of Beach Boys-type “Americana” music), and, especially, Helter Skelter, easily the “hardest” music The Beatles ever made and arguably one of the earliest “heavy metal” tunes.

All of it is damn good stuff!

Corrosive Knights, a 11/21/18 update – Foundry of the Gods!

New cover for Foundry of the Gods, Book #6 in the Corrosive Knights series…

So, an update on the series as a whole, with the new covers put in place…

Next up is a remake of the cover to Book #5, Ghost of the Argus.  After that, I’m done.  I like the cover to Mechanic (Book #1) and will likely keep it as is.  I may, in some future date, change my mind, but for now I’m happy with it!

Soon enough, all these covers will be available in the paperback editions!

Corrosive Knights, a 11/15/18 update… Legacy of the Argus!

BAM!!!!

Legacy of the Argus, the concluding chapter to the Corrosive Knights series, was made available, via Amazon Kindle, yesterday, November the 14th.  The paperback will be made available as soon as possible, perhaps by next week.

I’m incredibly proud of the book and the series and hope those who have enjoyed previous books give it a try.

And now, finally, I get to update the graphic of the series…

Whew…!

Legacy of the Argus ties up all the various strands in the Corrosive Knights series and answers any lingering questions.

As for Book #8, I’ll be getting to it as soon as I finish up all the remaining work that needs to be done with Legacy of the Argus, ie getting the listings correct and getting the paperback ready for sale.

I repeat: Whew!

😉

The Blog of E. R. Torre

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