What Am I Doing?

I’m somewhere between ‘this is a great story’, ‘why did I even start this’, and ‘I’ve no idea what I’m writing’ in Scarlet Rose. I didn’t outline this book as much as some of my others and that is not a mistake I’m making again. Every writer works differently…and I work best with an outline. I’m on building up the climax of Scarlet Rose right now and almost every chapter I’m tweaking a few things or making more changes. 
Still, the good news is that the rough draft will be finished in early December (probably). The bad news is that it’s 72,000 words long already. It will probably be around 80,000 by the time I’m finished…and when I go back though for the second rewrite I might add up to twice as much content as I pick up various subplots and add a whole other section to the climax itself. 
Originally I hoped to have the rough draft of the first book finished by the new year and I write the next two books next year. I can tell you right now that’s not happening. I’ll probably spend the first six months of 2016 rewriting Scarlet Rose and outlining the next book, Gideon’s Sword. The second half of 2016…well, I suppose we’ll see. 
Found on Pinterest

Isabella The Yorkie

Meet Isabella, Kagan Trent’s Yorkshire Terrier and my newest character in Scarlet Rose. 

I knew Kagan, the ruthless interrogator focused on unveiling and capturing the famed Scarlet Rose, liked dogs. There’s nothing as guaranteed to throw this Reasoner Captain into a rage as someone mistreating a dog for any reason. Anyway, as I was thinking about his character while taking a shower one night, I got the idea for his dog to be a cranky Yorkie.
Isabella, sometimes called Izzy, is six years old and prefers Kagan to any other human on the earth. She frets if left alone too long or if anyone else tries to take care of her. And she will only eat one specialized brand of food…and that only if it’s at the perfect room temperature. Despite this, or perhaps partly because of this, Kagan cares for her dearly. He has no family; no one left to care for (or to care for him). It’s just him and his dog; and Kagan has unwittingly let himself get more attached to Isabella than is probably wise for a person to be attached to a pet. 

Futuristic Structures

Well, I’m almost out of characters to write about. There are other characters in Scarlet Rose, but most of the rest are a bit mysterious so I don’t want to say too much about them here. Anyway, for today I decided to post some pictures that I’ve used for inspiration for my futuristic buildings and skyscape. 
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Oliver’s house is based off this old fashion structure
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Jasper Cornelius Wyss

Jasper Wyss; found on Pinterest
Jasper Wyss is 29 and a interesting character. He’s very smart and fascinated by the brain, emotions, and controlling both. Currently he’s working with the Doran brothers on a top-secret project called Enigma which contains layers upon layers of secrets. His choice of employers isn’t completely free, but they know where his family is and how much he cares for them. And they will, and have, used his love against him. 
Still, regardless of working conditions, Jasper does enjoy his research. Even more, he enjoys his own plans to use his processes against those who now control him. Control the mind, control the person. Control the person, and he can do whatever he wishes. 
And he knows by personal experience that fear is a great way to control the mind. Jasper dreams of gaining enough power that he’ll no longer have to fear for himself, his mother, and his siblings. Already he has gained quite a bit such power and that’s why he has also slowly grown to hate Christians…they aren’t afraid of him. He can’t control them like he can control others.
On a more personal note, Jasper likes modern tools…everything modern. actually. He likes to put new conveniences to work for him and, as he’s payed well for his work, he lives very comfortably. He dresses nicely, but doesn’t focus too much on clothes or hair. He listens more than he talks, though he is very coherent when speaking. And he thoroughly enjoys poking fun at those around him. 

William Lea West

William Lea West (found on Pinterest)
After much searching, I’ve finally found a picture of William Lea West, Anna’s Father. 
Though suffering a great tragedy in the loss of his wife and three of children two years ago, he survived though his faith in God. He is a great pastor and currently head of Gideon’s Sword. 
He is a great encourager and a personable man…you feel like you could tell him anything, and many people do. He is also unbending on God’s word and cannot stand hypocrites. He lives for his remaining children, the church, and Christ, but is quite willing to leave this world when the time comes. 
William is constantly working, getting up before anyone else and not resting until long after others are exhausted. Believe it or not, cooking is how he relaxes. He also likes jokes (but not knock-knock ones) and he hates nicknames…not replying to most calls until the speaker says his real name. 

Elizabeth Grace West

Picture from Pinterest

Elizabeth West is thirteen and the youngest surviving member of the West family.

Before her family died, Elizabeth was a loving, compassionate girl, always wanting to find ways to witness and help out in the underground. She loved her family and, though there was danger in being a Christian, she accepted that. Still, she never dreamed over half her family would be gunned down before her very eyes. She was quiet if in a group, but talkative when alone and great with comebacks which would startle some people because she looks like a meek girl.
But after watching her family brutally murdered, including her closest sister, Sarah, Elizabeth withdrew into herself. She hardly speaks, only eats what is given to her, and huddles up with her blanket on a couch or in a corner most days. She rests on her family…on Anna mostly (partly because they are both girls, partly because she went through the same experience). Only children and babies can spark some life into her. 

Sophia and Levi Hawthorne

Sophia and Levi weren’t originally twins. At the beginning, they weren’t even related. But I’d been developing lots of backstories and by the time I got to Levi, I figured there was no reason to give him his own separate family when I could easily put him with Sophia, Besides, siblings are always good for suspense and a bit of fun. So they became twins.

Both Sophia and Levi are twenty, though Levi is 27 minutes older than his sister…something he tends
to bring up whenever Sophia has bested him in an argument. Their father died before they were born, killed by a certain Damon Barrus (the current Reasoner dictator). Their mother died at their birth, due to complications and the lack of access to medical care. William West, their mother’s brother, raised up the children as his own. So, while they are cousins to Anna, Titus, and Elizabeth, they treat each other more like siblings. 
The picture I have of Levi isn’t quite accurate. His left eye was blinded in an explosion around a year before the start of Scarlet Rose and there are several jagged scars along the left side of his face. He wears sunglasses in public, but takes the ‘disfigurement’ with good humor, preferring to joke about it rather than feel sorry for himself. He’s adventurous, outgoing, very logical and yet occasionally getting into trouble because he doesn’t think the plan through to the end. He loves boots, a cowboy hat, old-fashion four-wheelers, random jokes, and his family.
Sophia is one of Anna’s best friends and is the practical side to Levi’s occasional rashness. She is a comforter to those around her, but has a hard time opening up emotionally herself. She is cheerful and encouraging, though she also has a tendency for sharp speech and quick anger…normally at things that deserve her wrath it is true (such as someone being lazy) but it is still a flaw she’s trying to mend. She is good at computer hacking, though not quite as good as her brother…I should have mentioned, Levi is the Christian’s top hacker. Sometimes brother and sister work together as a team on tricky problems. She also enjoys knitting shawls, and if you calling knitting crochet…well, beware. 
Apart, both these siblings are formidable opponents. Together their strength is even greater.

Jason Holt

Picture from Pinterest 
Jason Holt was a surprise character. That happens to me on occasion…like Captain Tor in The Shield and Spear. Anyhow, Jason elbowed his way into the Scarlet Rose and I can’t say I’m sorry since I’m growing quite fond of him. 
Jason grew up among the gangs of Elkbend. He ever knew his mother, and his father died when he was young. When Jason was eighteen,  he and his younger brother, Marcus, joined the freedom fighters. They were the ones who found Allen when he was fleeing the Reasoners and remained close friends with him as he quickly rose to become the leader of the group. 
Picture from Pinterest…he doesn’t normally
look this pleased
At twenty-four, Jason is now Allen’s second-in-command. While Jason dislikes the Reasoners, his own beliefs about where man came from and the purpose, or rather purposelessness, of life are very similar. This might lead to some interesting conversations with Anna or the other Christians…once he gets along with them, that is. Right now, he despises them, viewing them as too weak to stand on their own which is why they must trust in something greater than themselves. He has no faith they will stand and fight when the going gets rough…needless to say, he’ll be disillusioned quickly once he sees them in action.  
A year ago, Jason had a tragic run-in of his own with Enigma, the (current) name of the effort to tamper with the brain and memories. Since then, he’s fueled his strength on thoughts of revenge and the program’s utter destruction. The only problem was that it vanished for over a year. Now he and Allen finally have one tentative lead. Anna.

Allen Shran

Allen Shran is another major character in my trilogy. He’s fairly new to the Rebel cause, but assembled a group of Freedom Fighters and quickly became one of the Reasoner’s most wanted fugitives. The second most wanted man in America, to be exact, right behind the elusive pastor who’s code named Gideon. (This is a chagrining topic for Allen because, for the life of him, he can’t understand why the Reasoners value a pastor, of all people, above himself). 
Allen was born the only child of a privileged family. His father was involved in politics, his mother in science. Allen spent his younger years in the best schools his parents could afford, but when he was eighteen, his mother died in an explosion at the lab where she worked. Though he hadn’t known her well, the death was still a blow and Allen and his father grew closer after that. The next year Allen went to collage with plans to join the Reasoner party and rise up the political ladder like his Father. He’d almost finished his studies when the dictator died and nearly a year of political turmoil, including hundreds of imprisonments and dozens of assassinations, followed.  
While in collage, Allen had gotten chances to discover old works and histories he’d never dreamed of. Books on the founding of America and strange ideas that government should be by the people and for the people. When his own father was murdered part way through the struggle for power, Allen lost all faith in the Reasoner cause and abandoned it completely. He went into hiding, joined with with a small group of rebels, and quickly rose to be their leader, learning as he went. Now, at age twenty five, he has recently met Titus, who’s coupled to Gideon’s Sword, and is hoping to work with the Christians in one overwhelming revolt against the Reasoners. 
While not a Christian himself, Allen has a grudging respect for the ‘religious ones’, if for no other reason than because they’ve managed to survive the Reasoners for over fifty year. He has few friends and doesn’t trust others easily. And, though he puts on a careless face, Allen is serious and conflicted underneath. He’s drifting, with nothing but his hatred of the Reasoners holding him together. 

Titus Stephen West

My sister asked me why I did my first character profile for Scarlet Rose on a man who was hardly even in the first book. Because I wanted to, for some reason, I suppose. But the character today plays quite a big role in all three books.
Meet Titus Stephen West. At twenty, he’s the oldest child in the West family. Anna is two years younger and they’ve always been close. Ever since a narrow escape from Reasoner police, when Titus was only six, Anna has looked on him as a bit of a hero. And Titus has viewed her protection as his own personal duty. This isn’t to say he didn’t love his other siblings as well; they were all dear to him and when his mother, David, Bethany, and Sarah died, he masked his sorrow in silent grim work to save as many others as he could. And the incident has only enforced his protective attitude toward his two remaining sisters, Anna and Elizabeth. 
Though two years have passed, and his sorrow has dulled, Titus is still serious, cautious, and very intense…and not without reason seeing he’s faced the possibility of death his whole life. He isn’t without a sense of humor however, which can appear at the most unexpected times…normally in the form of a very dry or sarcastic comment. 
Titus is a strong Christian. He also has very strong political views…mainly that the Reasoners need to be thrown out of the government and the people should reclaim their freedoms. He is willing to fight for what he believes, but isn’t going to lead a rebellion himself. He doesn’t plan on getting married until America is free, however. And he intends to spend his whole life in the meantime doing what he does best, protecting the innocent.
How does he do this? Well, you must promise to keep this a secret but Titus is the second most powerful man in Gideon’s Sword. He is in fact, Sword himself…the code name referring to the leader of the military part of Gideon’s Sword. Though the Christians do not attack Reasoner patrols, they do set up sentries around safe houses and house churches and will defend themselves and buy time for the woman and children to escape. Titus has also led over a dozen successful prison breaks to rescue Christians the Reasoners have captured. 
A few fun facts about Titus. He loves chess and refers to his sister, Anna, as the queen. He likes old classics, like Lord of the Rings and a particular seven book fantasy series by a certain author, Hope Schmidt (well, perhaps not). His favorite color is deep indigo blue and he likes to wear steel tipped boots. He carries several knives and is an excellent shot with about any gun.
Titus is a great friend, a loyal comrade, and a confident fighter. His friendship is a great asset. And if you are his enemy…well, all I can say is watch out. And, under no circumstance, mess with his sister.