Sketchbook: Virginia Bridge

sketch072Virginia Bridge
Age: 22

Like many settlers, Virginia was born of Chinese and Latino descent. This shouldn’t be surprising, since the Idyll expedition was primarily populated by volunteers from the Sino-Pacific Partnership and the United Americas.

Virginia prefers to wear leafweave clothes, which are made from gene-modded plants. The preferred method to tailor leafweave clothes is to arrange the seedlings over mannequins so that the creeping ivy intertwines together. Some articles of clothing are created from fronds meshed in a herringbone pattern. Others are made of broad, felt-covered succulent leaves. Leafweave clothes are usually not green. Jackets, blouses, and skirts are often tawny brown, or very pale blue. Deep red or bone white. If you squint you eyes, you’ll probably see an ancient American-Indian influence to most leafweave fashions.

To learn more, read Idyll, or download a free sample today:
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Or check out the continuing story from Virginia’s perspective, starting with The Wilds.

Rum droll, please!

Book 2 of the Idyll Trilogy will drop on June 21! Check out the cover & blurb for THE WILDS!

The Wilds by James DerryWalt and Samuel Starboard. Miriam and Virginia Bridge. Four travelers entered the mysterious City-Ship of Marathon, but only three made it out.

Now our heroes are faced with a new, more existential threat. An invader from Mother Earth has arrived on Idyll—an outlaw psychopath who will use Terran technology to establish himself as the planet’s ultimate creator-destroyer.

And to make matters worse—he’s brought company.

To face this ‘outcaster,’ Marathon’s survivors will fight their way through a demolished starship, under the bowels of their planet, across untamed wilds—and into a stark white desert unlike any they have ever imagined. But will it be enough to save their world from certain doom?

Continuing the story started in 2015’s IDYLL, THE WILDS is jam-packed with plasma-gun shoot-outs, a love triangle that spans an ocean, and ‘Lord of the Flies’-style suspense. If that sounds like your kind of character-driven sci-fi goodness, then you should check it out!



Idyll Chatter, Part 1

IDYLL_Cover4c_1200Releasing this week, a new book! Yeee!

IDYLL is the end result of a long strange trip that started in February of 2006. Since then, I’ve married, had two kids, began and released another novel, took a writing hiatus, and went through a short-story phase.

Before all that, IDYLL started with an image in my head of two horseman in a big woolly field surrounded by mountains. I knew that I was having was a sci-fi daydream, but the riders were dressed like Stone Age hunters, replete with slings and polished spears. How did they get to this desolate place? Why were they carrying prehistoric weaponry? Why were they riding alone?

With these questions in mind I formed the backbone of a big story. These future riders were dressed like prehistoric hunters because they believed that cavemen live purer, more ‘human’ lives than spacemen. (Ah, that old cavemen versus astronauts debate lives on!) They were alone because their world had been ravaged by a plague. And yes, in early drafts, that plague was of the zombie variety. They were riding to a towering spaceship, which was stuck like a thumb emerging from the ancient landscape. A retro-ancient quest to find a technological cure for an apocalyptic disease. That was the start of the premise anyway.

Over ten years, lot of the important details changed. Very early on I saw the movie I Capture the Castle. Then I read the book by Dodie Smith. That’s when I knew that my two lonesome brothers were going to meet two isolated sisters. An extra complication. To make my book more relatable, or possibly more marketable, I decided to shift from a Stone Age setting to a Western. (After all, if you lived in the future, and you turn back the clock to live in any time period, would you choose to live in an era before plumbing, before beer, before some form of dentistry?)

Making the book possibly less marketable (but hopefully less cliched) I got rid of the zombie idea.

This manuscript has been through seven significant overhauls. Most of those ,thankfully, were not start-to-finish rewrites. Usually a quarter or halfway through my new status quo I would realize that it was seriously flawed in some way, and would have to start over. The final manuscript of IDYLL was titled ‘7th Round5f.’ But hey, who’s counting?!

But finally it’s ready (I hope). A nearly-ten-year process coming to a close, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And there’s a whole new vista beyond. IDYLL is the first in a trilogy, after all.

The journey ends. The journey continues…