• Mark Meier

I recently finished reading the last book on my stack. I know, I know, I should have been getting more books all along, but it’s been busy.

Last night I wandered into my basement and looked over the books I’ve already read. There are thousands, and that’s after I culled the collection a couple of years ago. Hundreds went into the garage sale, and it was a sad day. They were likely books I’d never read again, but I hate to give up. They were my friends for so many years.

I looked over Salvatore, Card, McCaffrey, Hill, Smith, Baldwin, Anthony, and the myriad of series done by multiple authors. Star Wars, Star Trek, and more. Nothing really appealed to me. Eventually I ended up going to sleep without reading anything.

This morning, after finishing breakfast and cleaning up, I went back to the library. (Actually, “the” is kind of a misnomer. There are at least three other rooms which qualify.) Asimov, Bear, Niven, Herbert . . . maybe the Foundation trilogy again? Dune? Then my eyes were drawn to a stack I haven’t re-shelved.

THAT!

The Cowboy and the Cossack.

I’m not exactly a fan of Westerns. There are a (very) few I like, but only two spring to mind: Cowboy/Cossack, and Last of the Breed.

So today I’ll start in on Cowboy. It’s funny, touching, funny, heartbreaking, funny, enlightening, and did I mention it’s a laugh riot? Last time I read it I shared the “good parts” with Linda. I ended up reading her about two-thirds of the book.

Probably my favorite parts are at the beginning, where the cowboys are denied docking at the Russian port (they wanted bribes). So they open up the side of the cargo ship and stampede a herd of cattle into the stormy sea off Russia’s east coast.

A Russian mayor won’t let the cowboys into town to buy supplies (he wanted a bribe), so the lead cowboy pulls out a cigarette, lights it, and shoves the lit match into the man’s beard. To “warm” the cold cattle they soaked a pile of oats with vodka and fed the herd until they were drunk.

I contend I’m doing this book terrible justice. The hilarity is throughout, I won’t give any more spoilers, and I will stop embarrassing myself by trying to describe it.

Suffice it to say, I thoroughly love this book and I’ll be reading it for probably the fifth time.

Which is okay, because I’ve probably bought it a dozen times and given the copies away.

That’s how much I enjoy it.



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  • Mark Meier

My first novel in The Archives is coming along nicely.


When I say it's the first, I don't mean chronologically. This is not the first story in that universe. It's merely the first to have this much development, and will probably be the first published. If the series reaches across 10,000 years, this is about a quarter of the way through.


Why start there?

Because it's sort of a pivot point in the overall plot. This novel would be an anchor point from which I'll be extrapolating forward and backward. Getting this story right will set things in place for everything else to build from.


So far there's only 17,000 words written, but that's about 10k more than any of the other stories. This is my starting point. From here I research and write.


The Archives takes shape.



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  • Mark Meier

There’s a movie version of Frank Herbert’s Dune that came out back in the 1980s. Personally, I really liked the David Lynch’s interpretation, despite what most others have expressed. Sure, there were things I didn’t like, but overall I liked the characterization.

The beginning of that movie had an introduction by the Princess Irulan. “The beginning is a very delicate time.” There was a chapter header in the book (it wasn’t the first chapter) with a similar sentiment.

I’m writing in The Archives right now – the first novel. I have a working title, but it’ll change probably three times before I settle in on it, so I won’t give it out now. But the beginning of the first novel requires a delicate touch. If one thing is is “off” a bit, everything will be off. And there could be in the neighborhood of thirty books in this series.

So far I have about forty pages written. Some of that is a sketch of the plot, but the actual prose of the story has been getting a going-over multiple times. Each time I detect something missing or wrong that would affect not only this book but the rest of them, too.

Yes, the beginning is a very delicate time.

The Archives is coming together. Slowly for now, but it’s on the way.

Anyone who is interested in reading VERY rough drafts and commenting, please contact me.