Friday, September 23, 2011

Deliver Us from Evil... Underway!

Yes, the first book of Deliver Us from Evil has actually appeared on FanFiction.Net!  Well, to be precise, the first book has been online since the 1st of August.  Somehow, I never got around to making an announcement ‘til now—my blushes, Watson.

So!  This first installment is titled Mortality.  Rating is T.  Genres are Crime/Friendship (there are several genres into which the story could fit, I think, but these two seemed to be the best).  The main characters are listed as Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Lestrade.

Hold the ball!  Lestrade?  Why is Lestrade one of the two stars?  It’s not a pre-Watson story!

Well, dear reader, we’ll get to that in a minute.

The summary is as follows:
Late 1890: a young gentleman hires Sherlock Holmes to investigate his step-uncle, Culverton Smith. As Holmes digs deeper, he finds links to a powerful old enemy—and must come face to face with his own mortality. The first part in a series.
However, I’m thinking of changing that summary in order to draw more interest—the first nine installments have garnered only 22 reviews.  That, m’dears, is the worst review ration I’ve received in a long time—compounded by the fact that I’m getting about 100 hits per chapter.  A big shout-out to MadameGiry25 for her faithful and constructive reviews—and to VHunter07 and RachelG, as well, for their enthusiastic encouragement in their reviews!

Now, every story should be able to be condensed into one sentence—this is called a storyline, and it’s vital to getting a novel from the laptop screen to the bookstore shelves.  Here’s the current storyline (though I’m also going to rework this):
Late 1890: A murder investigation tangles Sherlock Holmes and those around him in a conflict that has been years in the making with a powerful enemy.
So how about this for the FF.N summary:
In November 1890, a murder investigation sparks off a chain of events that will end at a Swiss waterfall. Scotland Yard and Watson struggle to stop Moriarty’s most devastating plan: the destruction of Sherlock Holmes. First in a series.
Sound good?  Now, how about this for the storyline:
Scotland Yard and Dr. John Watson struggle to prevent the goal of London’s greatest crime lord: the destruction of Sherlock Holmes.
So, let’s return to the little (forgive the irresistible pun) matter of Lestrade as one of the stars, and why he’s listed as one of the two main characters on FF.N.  Frankly, it’s all due to his “bulldog tenacity,” as Holmes so aptly puts it.  Lestrade committed himself early on in the story and has refused to stay off the stage since—he still doesn’t mind being the follower, but he’s pretty keen about seeing this mess through to the end.

The same can be said of Davy Wiggins, Holmes’s grown-up leader of the Baker Street Irregulars, but this young man is more than just tenacious—he’s positively fierce in his loyalty.

So where does Watson fit into all this?  I was asking myself that question for months, because he most definitely was not getting enough screen-time.  That wasn’t fair—after all, we wouldn’t have the Canon if not for Watson!  Of course, he’s had four scenes thus far in the FF.N version, but four scenes in eight chapters… yeah, a bit not good.  But with the way the story was shaping up, he didn’t seem to be absolutely necessary oftentimes, which was appalling.

Then inspiration struck.  Don’t ask me how exactly—even though it was only this past weekend, I’m no longer sure of how that lightbulb turned on in my brain.  It was the solution to both my dilemmas: that of less show than tell and less Watson.  Originally, about three weeks were glossed over.  No longer!  The train has left Paddington Station, and this author has just barely gotten aboard in time!

But I’m excited, and this turn of events should certainly excite you, dear reader!  One word: undercover.  Let’s just say that… we know Watson will go to the ends of the earth to find Holmes if he’s missing, right?

Last but not least, I had originally planned to get Mortality finished by Christmas and out on Kindle sometime this coming winter.  I say originally because my plans have changed since then, and my audience might have to wait a few months (or even a year!) longer than originally planned.  That’s because I may well try to get Deliver Us from Evil to a publisher.  AMM hasn’t made any sales this month, and sales in August were few and far between—i.e. self-publishing is not yet a viable means of making a living for myself.  (Kindle is currently my sole source of income.)  So I’m going to get Mortality finished and spit-polished and go through the torture of writing a query letter & proposal, etc. and see if I can sell an agent and/or acquisitions editor on the book.  If you know or know of any agents or publishers who would be interested in a Sherlockian pastiche, please let me know!

Weeell, that’s all for now, folks!  Please keep track of Mortality, and please let me know what you think of it!  A little encouragement would not be amiss.

MORT status: 13 out of 20+ complete.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Eyes and Brains, My Dear Sherlockians

He’s brilliant.  He’s fast.  He’s strong.  He’s… blond?

A little hard to believe, but Sherlock Holmes is blond in the 22nd century.  Blond and blue-eyed—very Anglo-Saxon, and finally living up to his name: fair-haired.

He hasn’t lost any of his sardonic wit, but, on the other hand, he’s also mellowed some.  Not that this is a bad thing: this is simply Sherlock Holmes having lived a full life (some 70 years at least), died, and then returned to life.  Though he has the body of a 25-year-old, he has more of the maturity of an older man.

His supervising officer is the direct descendant of his “favorite” Yarder—folks, meet Inspector Beth Lestrade.  His comrade-in-investigation is New Scotland Yard compudroid Watson, a robot who has scanned the real Watson’s journals and taken on an imitation of the Good Doctor’s personality.  His home is once again 221B Baker Street, restored to living quarters after museum attendance fizzled out.  His eyes and ears in the Underworld are teenager Wiggins and tweens Deidre and paraplegic Tennyson.

And once again, his enemy is none other than James Moriarty.

However, unlike the cellular rejuvenation of Holmes, Moriarty is not the real McCoy returned to life, but a clone with all the original’s memories.  To borrow Holmes’s own words, “isn’t technology wonderful.”  This clone is younger, stronger, theatrical, and rather emotionally volatile, prone to anger.  Nevertheless, Moriarty is once again working his way up to the top of the criminal world, and he’s not content with just that, either.  Nope, this Moriarty is setting his sights on global domination, a goal he could well have achieved several times over by now did not Sherlock Holmes, compudroid!Watson, and Beth Lestrade stand in his way.

Moriarty’s one main assistant is Martin Fenwick, a rogue French geneticist.  The world has Fenwick to thank for retrieving the original James Moriarty’s DNA and RNA from the ice cave below Reichenbach where Holmes buried the Professor.  From there, Fenwick grew himself a criminal mastermind with the intention of using the clone as his servant.  But, as Lestrade deduced, “slave turned on master,” and Moriarty took control.

Fenwick is perhaps of average height but grossly deformed, looking more alien than human with his grey skin, distorted face, and demented eyes.  Lestrade makes regular cracks at the man, calling him “beautiful” and Moriarty’s “lab rat”—Fenwick could almost pass as a caricature of Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.

Beth Lestrade herself is in her mid-twenties at the oldest, quite possibly New Scotland Yard’s youngest Inspector.  She’s notorious for risk-taking and reckless driving, and she’s more than willing to stand up for herself, be it to her boss, Chief Inspector Greyson, Holmes, or Moriarty himself.  Lestrade (lehstrahd) is either American or Canadian, judging by her accent, and she stands nearly as tall as Holmes.  She’s brunette and pretty, but don’t let her looks fool you: the woman is one zedding good fighter.  She can take on three criminals with lightsabers all at once and have them on the ground in handcuffs in under two minutes—impressive, yes?  She gets easily irritated—more than ever, with Holmes and the Irregulars around—but she has a heart of gold underneath.

It was Lestrade, a Sherlockian, who recognized Moriarty and made the decision to have Sherlock Holmes’s honey-entombed body rejuvenated.  And since she took the responsibility to resurrect the Great Detective, she got stuck with the responsibility to keep tabs on him.  Fortunately, she seems to hold her own pretty well with the not-so-very-misogynistic Holmes.

Lestrade’s compudroid was meant to keep an eye on the volatile Yardie; he made sure she stuck to the rules, took her every word very literally, and reported to Greyson regarding Beth.  Despite her frustration with these traits, she named the robot “Watson,” and, upon introducing him to Holmes, ordered the droid to scan the original Watson’s journals.  After doing so, the compudroid took it upon himself to act as if he were the real Watson—he appears even to consider himself as such, though there are times when he very clearly identifies himself as a machine.

Holmes initially shunned the compudroid’s new persona but very nearly lost it when he thought Watson destroyed by the Thames.  The detective then embraced the droid with the kind of fervor only Sherlock Holmes can have when he attaches himself to something, and went so far as to insist that Watson lived with him in 221B.  Watson took on an elasto-mask that was meant to be a replica of John H. Watson’s head, bowler hat and monocle (???) included.  Watson now accompanies Holmes on all his cases and has proven himself an invaluable assistant.  Though quite tough in a fight, the droid is gentle and very good-natured, not really an exact replica of the canonical Watson but a fair imitation.

Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century may be a cartoon, but don’t let that put you off.  Though the outdoor animation is a jarring 3D (think late ‘90s computer game graphics) compared to the indoor 2D and the dialogue is sometimes not quite… there… the show is quite faithful to the spirit of the Canon.

Holmes may have to fend enemies off physically more often, but the Great Detective has lost none of his stellar ability to observe and deduce.  As he says so often in the show, “eyes and brains.”  A robot may ironically be the heart of the group, but Holmes lets others see a fair bit of his own “great heart.”  Holmes and a new Inspector Lestrade argue as much as ever but have a strong friendship beneath.  Moriarty may be somewhat less stable, but he’s as evil and as cunning as ever.  And one thing hasn’t changed: the world still needs Sherlock Holmes.

Most of the episodes take stories from the Canon and update them to the 22nd century, sometimes retaining only the bare bones of the original story in order to give the audience something fresh (e.g. “The Sussex Vampire Lot”).  But not all episodes are Canon cop-offs: some are completely original stories, such as the premiere and its sequel.

And if you’re worried about any romantic interaction between Sherlock Holmes and Beth Lestrade, you needn’t be.  Nope, they don’t kiss… though there are quite a few fans of the show that wish they would.  The creators seem to have left the relationship open-ended: friendship or potential future romance.  Some fans prefer the former, some the latter.  If you’re willing to be convinced as to the potential, however, you need look no further than this page
, which lays out a compelling case using Holmes’s own methods of observation and deduction.

All in all, a terrifically fun show for kids and adult Sherlockians alike!  Holmes’s stellar characterization alone makes it worth seeing, and watching him react to 22nd century changes and interact with both friend and foe (Moriarty, especially) is fantastic.

I’ve only just recently started to watch the show, and I’ve yet to make it all the way through.  But, of course, the muse has already been fired up—you can find two SH22 fics on my profile thus far!  In fact, if you’re an AMM fan, I’ll go so far as to recommend my SH22 stories to you—they use AMM material, including material that you can’t find anywhere else except for in the book itself.

But whether or not you check out said fics, do check out the show itself!  It might take some time to get used to it, but give it a chance—it just might grow on you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

“...Else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable.”

I recently finished The Language of Bees, the ninth Mary Russell novel and one of only two Mary books that my library has.  It was my first full foray into that universe.  It was… okay.  It was a fairly fun read—Mycroft was adorable and fantastic.  On the other hand, Sherlock did not have as large a role as I wished he could have (I hope this book was the exception rather than the rule).  The sexual morality of many characters was nonexistent (and a note to Ms. King: you actually can write a good book without ever once making a reference to sex).  I also didn’t… appreciate the usage of the Baring-Gould idea that Holmes and Irene Adler had an affair and a son (although King’s handling of Holmes as a father is masterful).

But do you know what really bothered me?  It’s a common-enough misrepresentation of Sherlock Holmes’s character, certainly in fanfiction:

Holmes is depicted as being atheistic and averse to Christianity.

How is that a misrepresentation, you say?  Surely Holmes’s logical mind would naturally be averse to religion?

Well, that’s what a lot of people seem to think.  Either that, or they think that Holmes was more interested in Eastern religions than Christianity, thanks to his description of the Great Hiatus and a couple of other little bits in the Canon.

However, neither idea is true.  Actually, both ideas must needs ignore no fewer than a dozen passages throughout the Canon that, altogether, form a very clear picture of Holmes’s spiritual beliefs.  In fact, it would appear that Holmes’s rational mind strengthens his faith rather than weakens it (allow me to submit C. S. Lewis to you as a real-life example of such a man).

The avid Sherlockian will no doubt recall the rose soliloquy of “The Naval Treaty,” the closing words of “The Cardboard Box,” and Holmes’s patriotic little speech at the end of “His Last Bow.”  These three passages alone can build a credible case for some sort of theism on Sherlock’s part.  But it’s everything else altogether that makes the case concrete (emphasis mine).

A Higher Court than Man

The first inkling we have that at least one of 221B’s tenants believes in a judgment after death is Dr. Watson’s own narrative in A Study in Scarlet, when he says of the late Jefferson Hope:

A higher Judge had taken the matter in hand, and Jefferson Hope had been summoned before a tribunal where strict justice would be meted out to him.

And in one of the earliest short stories, Holmes himself echoes this view to a man guilty of a similar crime:

“You are yourself aware that you will soon have to answer for your deed at a higher court than the Assizes.”

Sherlock Holmes never speaks idly and, in such moments, never falsely.  In the hour of judgment, his words come straight from his soul.

Familiarity with the Bible

At least, Holmes knew his Scriptures, even if he sometimes forgot them.  At the end of “The Crooked Man,” he berates himself for not remembering a certain Biblical record sooner:

“There’s one thing,” said I as we walked down to the station. “If the husband’s name was James, and the other was Henry, what was this talk about David?”
“That one word, my dear Watson, should have told me the whole story had I been the ideal reasoner which you are so fond of depicting. It was evidently a term of reproach.”
“Of reproach?”
“Yes; David strayed a little occasionally, you know, and on one occasion in the same direction as Sergeant James Barclay. You remember the small affair of Uriah and Bathsheba? My Biblical knowledge is a trifle rusty, I fear, but you will find the story in the first or second of Samuel.”

Acknowledgement of Satan as a Literal Person

The central figure of The Hound of the Baskervilles is the titular canine, merely the latest reincarnation of a popular mythological element, the hellhound.  Holmes, of course, doesn’t buy the idea that the hound is supernatural, but he when he speaks of the Devil, he does so as one who is already convinced of the reality of such a person:

“I have hitherto confined my investigations to this world,” said he. “In a modest way I have combated evil, but to take on the Father of Evil himself would, perhaps, be too ambitious a task.”

“Yes, the setting is a worthy one. If the devil did desire to have a hand in the affairs of men– –”
“Then you are yourself inclining to the supernatural explanation.”
The devil’s agents may be of flesh and blood, may they not?

Note that he doesn’t just say the Devil in that first passage, but uses a Biblical title for Satan.  And, in the second passage, he refers to Satan as an actual, existing person.

Catholic Sympathies

It is actually possible, based on HOUN, that Holmes was a Catholic (as Doyle himself was).  Another option, based on the quote below, is that Holmes’s French heritage (he was one-quarter French) instilled in him a respect for Catholicism:

“I must thank you,” said Sherlock Holmes, “for calling my attention to a case which certainly presents some features of interest. I had observed some newspaper comment at the time, but I was exceedingly preoccupied by that little affair of the Vatican cameos, and in my anxiety to oblige the Pope I lost touch with several interesting English cases. This article, you say, contains all the public facts?”

His anxiety to oblige the Pope?  Usually, the people who are anxious to “oblige the Pope” are monarchs and other political leaders, people who “suck-up,” and Catholics.  Holmes is obviously not in the first or second category, and, though he may not be Catholic, it is difficult to conceive an atheistic Sherlock as giving a care for the Pope, much less anxiety.

God-given Abilities

That’s a term you come across in Christianity.  The talents you possess are the talents God gave you, because He made you.  Holmes agrees with this idea in “Lady Frances Carfax”:

“What time was the funeral? Eight, was it not?” he asked eagerly. “Well, it is 7:20 now. Good heavens, Watson, what has become of any brains that God has given me? Quick, man, quick! It’s life or death–a hundred chances on death to one on life. I’ll never forgive myself, never, if we are too late!”

God-given Health

It’s a vow, a vow made in “Five Orange Pips”:

“That hurts my pride, Watson,” he said at last. “It is a petty feeling, no doubt, but it hurts my pride. It becomes a personal matter with me now, and, if God sends me health, I shall set my hand upon this gang. That he should come to me for help, and that I should send him away to his death– –!” He sprang from his chair and paced about the room in uncontrollable agitation, with a flush upon his sallow cheeks and a nervous clasping and unclasping of his long thin hands.

And it’s a pretty dead-serious vow.  It’s also worth noting that the only time Holmes ever uses God’s name in vain is twice in as many minutes in “Three Garridebs” (“For God’s sake, say that you are not hurt!” and “By the Lord, it is as well for you.”).

Not Chance

Holmes himself struggles with the senselessness of tragedy but, at the same time, can’t reconcile himself to the idea that chance rules the universe and thus life is ultimately purposeless:

“What is the meaning of it, Watson?” said Holmes solemnly as he laid down the paper. “What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.”

The Existence of an Omnipotent God

Sherlock Holmes never lays out a string of deductions for the existence of an omnipotent God, though he does say that deduction is necessary in religion.  Instead, he acknowledges the existence of a Creator God and goes so far as to deduce a characteristic of God, rather than His existence:

What a lovely thing a rose is!”
He walked past the couch to the open window and held up the drooping stalk of a moss-rose, looking down at the dainty blend of crimson and green. It was a new phase of his character to me, for I had never before seen him show any keen interest in natural objects.
There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,” said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. “It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.

Note that he doesn’t say, “We can deduce the existence of God from the flowers.”  Instead, he says, “We can deduce the goodness of God from the flowers.”  He’s working on the acknowledgment that God exists, and he’s deducing a characteristic: God is good.  Later in the story (“The Naval Treaty”), we discover that his fascination with the rose was a decoy; nevertheless, when Holmes spouts philosophy, he’s always shooting straight from his head.

The Grace of God

“God help us!” is not an uncommon ejaculation for the age, but it sounds like Holmes means it.  Not only that, but he makes a quote about God’s grace and means it, apparently because he realizes that it’s only God’s grace that keeps him from such a sad fate as John Turner’s in “Boscombe Valley”:

“God help us!” said Holmes after a long silence. “Why does fate play such tricks with poor, helpless worms? I never hear of such a case as this that I do not think of Baxter’s words, and say, ‘There, but for the grace of God, goes Sherlock Holmes.’”

This idea is repeated in “The Empty House”:

“I scrambled down on to the path. I don’t think I could have done it in cold blood. It was a hundred times more difficult than getting up. But I had no time to think of the danger, for another stone sang past me as I hung by my hands from the edge of the ledge. Halfway down I slipped, but, by the blessing of God, I landed, torn and bleeding, upon the path. I took to my heels, did ten miles over the mountains in the darkness, and a week later I found myself in Florence, with the certainty that no one in the world knew what had become of me.”

Torn and bleeding Holmes may be, but he’s alive, and he acknowledges it as the work of God.

The Supremacy of God

Early in his life, Holmes acknowledges an omnipotent God.  After a Great Hiatus, he still acknowledges an omnipotent God.  And as an older man, he still recognizes God as being in control over all, even wars:

“Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”

The date is August 2nd, 1914.  In two days, the First World War will commence; Holmes knows that it will be the most devastating conflict the planet has yet seen.  And yet he firmly believes that God has a plan and is ultimately in control, that He can use even the worst experiences for good.  It would seem that Sherlock Holmes has at last come to settle on the answer to his own question, some three decades previous:

“What is the meaning of it, Watson? What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear?”

The answered:

“But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”


A Study in Scarlet
“The Boscombe Valley Mystery”
“The Five Orange Pips”
“The Crooked Man
“The Adventure of the Cardboard Box”
“The Naval Treaty”
The Hound of the Baskervilles
“The Adventure of the Empty House”
“The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax”
“His Last Bow: The War Service of Sherlock Holmes”
“The Adventure of the Three Garridebs”

And a big shout-out to Steven Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes for Dummies, who not only pointed out twice in said book that Holmes holds Christian beliefs but also shot down three different anti-Christian ideas about Holmes’s spiritual worldview.  I highly recommend reading his top-notch deductions about Holmes’s beliefs, as well as just reading the entire book—it’s excellent!

Disclaimer: The words regarding Laurie King’s works are the disappointed opinions of a Sherlockian.  The quotes are all from the Canon in their originality, save the emphasis of certain phrases, and are the original intellectual property of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The commentaries are my own; the deductions are elementary.  No part of this post, even the review of The Language of Bees, is intended to offend any person of any belief or background.  The body of the post merely lays out the facts.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Favorite 10 Sherlockian Characters


So, I have a chance to be online right now, and I am so taking it!  I’ve just recovered from a terrible case of writer’s block which overtook me before I took an enforced break from writing—but a week’s absence from the creative world has left a terrible mark on my thought processes.  I’ve still been having severe difficulty in writing anything.

However, reading an old issue of Writer’s Digest inspired me to do a top 10 list, Sherlockian-themed, of course.  It was my first piece of writing in a week, and it felt bloody marvelous.  So, here we go!


1. Sherlock Holmes!
No duh, right?  ;D

1.5 John Watson, M.D.
‘Cause you just can’t have the one without the other…

2. Inspector G. Lestrade
Small, feisty, sensible, smug, hardworking, willing to admit that he’s wrong… and Colin Jeavons, FTW!

3. Mycroft Holmes
The original, lazy, lovable Big Brother.  (Plus, Mark Gatiss.  Yesss, my preciousss.)

4. Mary Watson
A fairytale-esque heroine who gets neither her castle nor her happy ending.  But she is strong, smart, compassionate, loving… and she does not object to her husband’s gallivanting off with a certain private consulting detective, who appears to admire her in turn.

5. Professor James Moriarty
The very first super-villain, his coldness, cunning, and overall intelligence still outshines the vast majority of villainy.

6. Inspector Tobias Gregson
From “That’s Lestrade’s fault, not mine” to “Ha-ha, that idiot Lestrade!”—he’s just plain adorable when we first meet him in STUD.  Later, however, he’s as serious and dedicated a detective as Sherlock Holmes could wish to work with.

7. Wiggins
The original BSI director whom fans seem determined to keep forever young.  (He was old enough to lead the gang in 1881—he had to have been an adult in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s!)

8. Alec MacDonald
One of the very first Holmesians!  Listen to him at the beginning of VALL—he’s a fanboy!

9. Maud Bellamy
This oft-overlooked character from Casebook is that delightfully attractive combination of beauty and bravery—and just look at the reaction she invokes in Holmes!  (Sherlock/Maud, anyone?  *ducks tomatoes*  Well, it’s not impossible…)

10. Irene Norton
Like her successor Maud, Irene is beautiful, brave, sensible, and smart.  Far from being a criminal or a lady of the night, Irene is much closer to the quintessential American heroine of the time (think of the women of the American West—there’s a definite resemblance).  She’s been knocked down by a royal she once loved, but her never-say-die attitude allows her to find love again and her smarts show her her misstep in revealing the photo’s hiding-place.  And… Sherlock Holmes calls her The Woman.  No lady ever was before and ever has been since so privileged.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Goodbye! So soon! And isn't it a shame~

What can I say?  I've always liked that song.  Now, this is not a permanent goodbye, all right?

But I will be on partial hiatus starting today, with sporadic Internet access. Updates will be irregular and few and far between. This state of affairs will continue until September or, at the latest, October. Terribly sorry, m’dears, but that’s life for you.

Now, meantime, you could make me an extremely happy woman by buying AMM, yes?  *puppy eyes*  Please?

Quick update for Deliver Us from Evil: a prologue and 6 chapters have been drafted for the first book of the series, with over 18,000 words.  Target release date is Winter 2012.  Stay tuned!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sherlock Holmes, America, and Independence

“Then I trust that you at least will honour me with your company,” said Sherlock Holmes. “It is always a joy to meet an American, Mr. Moulton, for I am one of those who believe that the folly of a monarch and the blundering of a minister in far-gone years will not prevent our children from being some day citizens of the same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes.”
—“The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”

Halloa, halloa, there, folks!  Today being the United States of America’s 235th birthday, I wanted to blog something about Sherlock Holmes and the U.S. of A.  I was wracking my brains trying to come up with something when suddenly I remembered this little gem of a quote.

A rather… interesting… opinion

…Oh, boy, Holmes, you came up with some interesting stuff, but this one’s a doozy.  And what did he mean by “I am one of those”?  I certainly hope there weren’t other Englishmen of the belief that America would one day rejoin the British Empire!

Seriously, though, how on earth could Holmes possibly have formed that opinion?  By the time of NOBL (October 1888), the United States had been her own country for well over a century!  Did Sherlock seriously believe that the fiercely independent Americans would surrender their liberty once more to a foreign authority over three thousand miles away?  Especially considering that a civil war had been fought in America in his lifetime (his childhood, to be precise) over independence for the southern states!

America is not Scotland.  Scotland was conquered by England, regained its autonomy, then lost it when the monarchies were joined under King James I.  America was born of England, grew up, and left her tyrannical parent.

Not the same at all.

He was also factually wrong.

It was neither the king nor the Prime Minister that the Founding Fathers declared war upon—it was Parliament.  It was the legislative body that was levying taxes and tyrannizing the colonies.  The Americans wanted to be answerable to King George III himself—some of the individual colonial constitutions recognized him alone as their ruler.  They were not going to stand for being controlled by a legislative group that was not recognized in their governmental charters and in which they had no representation.


Sherlock was actually growing up while the American Civil War was being waged three thousand miles away.  If he had indeed been born in 1854, he would have been eleven years old when the North won (though in my own timeline, he was born in ’58 and would thus have been seven).  If he had but been old enough to travel to the South, Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and others would have gladly taught Sherlock a lot about liberty and independence.

Had Holmes ever bothered to study the men who fought for independence, he would have found ample proof that America would never willingly resubmit to a foreign power.  (And England, by 1888, was very foreign to the States—descendants of English colonists were only part of the population, which was also comprised of Germans, Irish and Scotch-Irish, blacks, French and Spanish in the south, and even Chinese in the West.)

Consider Patrick Henry’s immortal words, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

Or Colonel Robert Magaw of the Continental Army: “Actuated by the Most Glorious Cause that mankind ever fought in, I am determined to defend this post to the very last extremity.”

And, clearly, Holmes never watched Mel Gibson’s The Patriot or Gods and Generals (starring Stephen Lang, Jeff Daniels, and Robert Duvall).  More’s the pity!

Did he ever learn?

In the years leading up to World War I, Holmes went undercover for the British government as counter-intelligence.  His guise was the Irish-American Altamont, and he spent over a year in the States just to return to England as a spy for German military intelligence.  Holmes played a dangerous game not only with the Germans but with the Irish as well—his cover was amongst the very people that would secede Ireland from the British Empire in less than twenty years!

As he immersed himself in the role, did Holmes ever truly understand the need for national independence?  He himself had created his own profession and valued individual independence—did he ever come to understand it on a much-larger scale?

We can’t know one way or the other, of course.  But there’s a chance he did.  There’s a chance.

To all my fellow Americans, a blessed Independence Day.  Never forget that our liberty was won at a price, and that liberty cannot be maintained without sacrifice of ourselves to that Most Glorious Cause.

America, America!
God mend thine every flaw!
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November!

Okay, why am I, an American, referencing Guy Fawkes Night now, at the end of June?  And what does the Halloween-esque English holiday have to do with Sherlock Holmes?

Oh, my goodness, you will not believe this…  It’s tied into the chronology of the Canon.  Seriously, it is.

1887, December: The first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, is published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual.

1888, September: The events of The Sign of the Four take place.

1889, early: John Watson and Mary Morstan are wedded.  I have no concrete evidence for this assumption, but the stories that take place in the months following the wedding (e.g. “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “The Naval Treaty,” etc.) seem to place the happy event in early 1889 rather than late 1888.  ’89, then, is the first year of Watson’s marriage.

1890, October: “The Red-headed League.”

1890, November: “The Dying Detective.”  Watson places the event “in the second year of my married life,” which would be 1890 if it is true that he and Mary were wedded in ’89 and that the marriage referred to is his first rather than his second.  (No bringing up the 3+ wives, please—I’m sure Doyle meant for Watson to have had only two.)  Also, Mrs. Hudson informs Dr. Watson that Holmes cooped himself up in his room on Wednesday, three days before she came for Watson.

Now, here’s where it gets really cool.

My reason for DYIN being during Watson's marriage to Mary is twofold: one, the story potential of Culverton Smith working with Professor Moriarty is staggering; two (and far more importantly), Holmes would not have pulled such a stunt on Watson after all the consequences of Holmes’s faking his death.  He would not have fooled Watson so a second time.

That being said, can there be a specific date for DYIN?  Well, not actually, because we're never told whether it was early, middle, or late in the month.  Still, there’s no reason why DYIN could not have taken place early in November, no matter the year, and that got me thinking.  There’s a particular British special day that occurs early in November…

I checked out a calendar for the year 1890.  It was a normal year (non-leap year) starting on a Wednesday.  November 1st that year was a Saturday.  Are you doing the math?

Guy Fawkes Night fell on a Wednesday in 1890.

When I saw that, I could have screamed my excitement.

Culverton Smith tried to infect Sherlock Holmes on November 5th.

This is, of course, assuming the year is right and the events took place early in the month.  But what better day could Smith choose to defeat the Great Detective than a special day on the English calendar?  Especially one associated with the words:

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November.

Culverton Smith would have ever after heard that and smiled at his victory over Sherlock Holmes, had the detective not beaten him at his own game.  (And we already know it was in his character to gloat.)  It was perfect timing!

In the end, it really is mostly conjecture with only a little bit of deduction, which naturally goes against Holmes’s grain.  But if it were so, ah! if it were but so…

It’s certainly something neat to think about.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Merged: Comparing Time-Travel Traits

This is not a post glorying about how Merged will be better than any other girl-travels-back-in-time story out there.  It’s simply making some points about how it’s different from other such stories (and why, therefore, you should read it).

1. The Heroine Is a Detective.
Now that’s a pretty big deal.  I’ve only ever seen one other story in which that was the case, and… the plot wasn’t really that similar to mine, which is good.  =)  More specifically, Kathleen Stewart is an independent investigative consultant, a.k.a. private consulting detective.  She is not an official part of law-enforcement, but neither does she choose to identify herself as a P.I.

2. The Novel Uses a Canonical Story.
You don’t see too much of that, though nomdeplume30’s awesome A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Set did actually send Jeremy Brett and David Burke to the events of “The Dancing Men.”  Anyway, Merged uses “The Final Problem” in a very important way—in fact, the modern-day characters go back about a year before the events of FINA.

3. The Method of Time-Travel Is a Machine, And the Government Is Involved.
A crucial plot-point.  Some time-travel stories basically use supernatural means to cross time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But the reason we have an adventure in the first place is because the CIA’s secret superweapon, a time-machine, is stolen by the (fictional) mastermind criminal of our day.

4. The Modern Big Bad Seeks Out Moriarty.
Yesss.  Indeed.

5. Both the Modern Heroine And the Modern Villain Are Sherlockians.
Sometimes the girl is a Sherlockian; sometimes she isn’t (though that doesn’t seem to be often).  But what you’ve never seen before is a modern bad-guy who’s actually a fan of Sherlock Holmes (no, Sherlock!Moriarty doesn’t count—different circumstances).

6. Sherlock Holmes Is the Heroine’s Hero.
Hero, role-model, and longtime fangirl crush—considering that Kathleen grew up with Jeremy Brett as her Holmes, you can’t blame her for that last bit.  The reason she’s a detective in the first place is because of Sherlock.  And despite her determination to make her hero see that she’s fully as capable as he is, she’s also not afraid to let him and Watson know that she’s a hardcore fangirl.

7. The Heroine Has Unique Characteristics.
+A: Heroines in these stories tend to be short, 5’4” or shorter.  Holmes is at least 6’ (commonly written as being taller).  Now, there’s always Han Solo and Princess Leia (6’1” & 5’3”) and Anakin and Padmé Skywalker (6’1” & 5’4”), and shorter females tend to be feistier than their taller counterparts.  But Kathleen Stewart is very Scotch-Irish and tall at 5’10”, which comes to her advantage in her line of work.  There’s less than half a foot in height between her and Sherlock.
+B: Heroines are either beautiful or just plain-looking.  Kathleen is neither—simply nicely attractive (although she can look gorgeous if she really dolls herself up).
+C: Heroines are often blue or green or hazel-eyed—anything but the very common brown.  Kathleen has brown eyes courtesy of her Spanish-Jewish mom, and the color works well.
+D: Time-travel heroines typically don’t have the same IQ as the Great Detective.  Kathleen does.  She’s as good as he is at what they do.  And yet, their personalities remain different…
+E: Heroines don’t usually have very much family and/or friends holding them back from staying in late Victorian London.  Kathleen, on the other hand, has parents she adores, eight brothers and sisters (the youngest of which is a full twenty years her junior), a team in the New York Police Department (NYC) with whom she loves to work, and an overall well-developed life that would be difficult to give up.  The two things she does not have are a husband and children of her own.
+F: Heroines tend to be in their early or mid-20s.  Kathleen is 32, the same age as Sherlock when they meet.

8. The Story Takes Place When Watson Is Married to Mary.
As far as I know, this has never been done before.  The heroine either arrives before Watson’s marriage or after the Great Hiatus.  (And there’s always a third bedroom created at 221B that was never mentioned in the Canon, since it’s now three people sharing rooms.  But in this story, since Watson is married and moved out, Kathleen takes his old bedroom.)

9. The Girl Could Hold Her Own Against Holmes in a One-on-One.
This is not Mary Sue-ism.  This is just being realistic.  Kathleen is a private detective who often gets herself deep in trouble.  Thus, she’s made sure she’s gotten the best combat training a civilian can have.  You’d better believe a person with that kind of training could take on the Great Detective.

10. The Girl’s Got a Gun.
Though she’s determined not to use it often in order to conserve on expensive ammo that can’t be replaced in 1890, Kathleen is a dead shot with her customary Glock 10mm (which is a very powerful handgun).  And she is.  Not.  Afraid.  To Use.  It.  Her view on killing and murder differs from the views of a lot of people today, and she has no moral compunction about killing a person to defend herself or others.

11. More Than Just Holmes & Watson Know.
Mary Watson, Inspector Lestrade (and possibly Gregson and maybe Hopkins), Wiggins, and maybe Mrs. Hudson all know the origin of the individualistic American woman living in 221B.  And, of course, Moriarty finds out.

12. “Just Like a Married Couple.”
Oh snap, I just lost half of you, right?  Well, if you’re willing to keep reading, yes, it’s Sherlock/OC—which, I’m well aware, isn’t everybody’s cup of tea.  But I hope to bring something fresh and new to the concept, partially based on the characters’ ages.  Sherlock is 32, old and mature enough to have learned some lessons about a few of the ideas he formed as a young man, and—contrary to popular belief—he is not a misogynist.  He simply doesn’t understand what makes women tick, and he doesn’t like it.  Kathleen, however, has an intelligence equaling his own, character traits not unlike Watson’s, and an overall mature but fun personality that enjoys sharp, witty banter.  He can be at ease around Kathleen, because she lets him be at ease.

Those are the twelve major points I can think of at the moment.  Now that I’m starting to actually post up experimental vignettes for Merged, you’ll probably be seeing more about it in the future.  (Although the very next post may well be about Deliver Us from Evil.)

And just to remind my readers… At the Mercy of the Mind is now available for purchase, and it's begging to be bought!  At least go check out the page!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


This is real, peeps.  This is really IT. 

(Price: 5.99 in USD; 4.26 in GBP.)

I AM SO VERY EXCITED!!!  I've even made my very first sale already!

Now, for certain reasons, my hope is that I can make 20 sales by the end of the month (nine days from now).  Anybody willing to help out?  =)  Pretty please?

A big thanks to my wonderful, wonderful editor Christine for putting up with me, doing such a fantastic job, and supporting me all the way.  Thanks also to all my lovely reviewers!  (If you want to see the rest of my gratitude, though, you'll have to buy the book. ^_^)

Please buy it, do!  You'll love it - I know it.

Upward and Onward!

Friday, June 17, 2011

AMM: Agonizingly Close!

The business aspects are turning out to be so much simpler than I’d originally thought!  Hallelujah!

Oh, wait.  You guys don’t even know yet.



This is not a drill.  This is the Real Thing.

All that remains is to upload it to the eBook manager, then upload it from there to Amazon.  It is done.  All the illustrations, all the edits… complete.

I am practically bouncing off the walls.

It is not only possible, but likely, that the book will be available for purchase next week.  When it is, I’ll post up an announcement here right away!

So!  Just to whet your appetite for this momentous occasion, here are some of the things you can expect from the titles that go beyond number 50:

—More tales involving Cécile Holmes.
—More WWI stories, including a post-war reunion.
—A scene from John and Mary Watsons’ wedding day.
—The introduction of two childhood friends for Sherlock.
—A short piece from Moriarty’s POV.
—Tie-ins to “The Empty House.”
—The continuation of the “Holmes-captured” story-arc.
—Tie-ins to A Study in Scarlet

…and so much more!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

AMM and yet ANOTHER Novel Concept

I’m afraid so.  My muse is an odd, capricious creature, indeed—as I am partly Irish, I suspect some Leprechaun blood runs in her veins.  But first, let’s talk AMM.

At the Mercy of the Mind now possesses a subtitle (which is a surprise I’m saving for the release) and some twenty-odd illustrations, including several pictures of a young Master Sherlock E. Holmes.  ^_^  My beta has been cutting a good clip through the stories; the book is 80% edited.  (Actually, as of last night, it’s 90% edited on my beta’s side—and still 80% on my side. *blushes*)  The foreword and acknowledgments are also typed up!

Can we see the book by the end of the month?  It’s entirely possible!

Now, as to the novel concept.  No working title at this time, just an idea brought about by a couple of supernatural fanfics I’ve read recently: The Light of Pure Reason (one of the best Holmes-in-the-21st-century fics ever!) and Westron Wynde’s duology, The Case of the Dead Detective and The Haunting of Dr. Watson.  All three star Sherlock Holmes as a ghost (the poor dear!).  Of course, my muse would be inspired by this.

The idea?  Holmes is not a ghost, per se.  Rather, he is forced into limbo because a certain mathematical genius tampers with time to ensure that Sherlock Holmes was never born.  However, rather than Holmes’s existence ending altogether, the detective survives in spirit-form, unable to retain his body in a world that no longer knows him.  The workings of time and divine purpose cannot be altered so casually, however; so it is up to Holmes to restore the time-space continuum and return to his physical form.

His helpers?  The only three people in the world who still remember him and don’t understand what’s wrong either with the world or themselves: John Watson, Mycroft Holmes, and Geoffrey Lestrade.

And Sherlock Holmes will find that his struggles are not against earthly powers alone…

Sound good to you?  Personally, the idea intrigues me.  However, Deliver Us From Evil and Merged still take priority.

I promise it won’t be so long ‘til my next post this time, and I’m sorry I’ve been silent for so long!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Laptops, Sherlock, and Granada, oh my!

MY LAPTOP IS FIXED!!!  I AM IN HEAVEN!!!  ...Readers of A Study in Stardom may recall that my laptop crashed back in late January.  'Tis fixed now, and ALL MY FILES ARE SAAAFE!!!  (Including this one future scene from A Time to Heal that will probably never make it into the story—but it was fantastic to read it again.  I had typed it out that day and not put it on my flashdrive... so when the computer went down, the file went with it.)  All my screenies of Jeremy are there, toooo~!  Hallelujah!

No longer need I work on a desktop that freezes on me completely at random, or that won't let me watch .mp4s or DVDs!  And now I have my lovely laptop keyboard back, with its short, musical keys and spacebar that doesn't get stuck!  (Good thing, though, that I haven't lost my skill with a mousepad, 'cause my regular mouse ain't workin'—which is really not very good at all.)  Just to celebrate, I popped in my Sherlock DVD last night and watched a few minutes—specifically, the Mycroft warehouse scene.  I haven't watched Sherlock in three months because I didn't have the means.  It was great!

And at last, I am getting the Granada series in full!  It may be a little bit before I actually have it, but I will!  *dances for joy*

...I'll try tomorrow to bring y'all up to speed on AMM.  All the stories have been written, but I'm now in post-production.  =D

Saturday, April 23, 2011



Now to start the editing (and may it be swift!).  Upward and Onward!

...And a Happy and Blessed Easter to you all!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Merged …Another Sherlockian novel?

Imagine this: a private detective at the top of her game in New York City.  A mastermind criminal and a long-running vendetta.  A machine that can create rips through time to send a person into the past.  Whoever controls this machine effectively controls the fate of our world.

And it’s been stolen.

Thirty-two-year-old Kathleen Stewart, independent investigative consultant, is on the case.  Her mission: to get the time machine out of Richard Stirling’s hands, or destroy it.

Instead, she finds herself propelled back in time—to London, 1890.

A lone female in a strange city, Kathleen proceeds to Baker Street, where—as an avid Sherlockian who knows that Sherlock Holmes was a real person—she finds the detective and explains her incredible story.  The proof of her sanity is the technology she bears, completely impossible for the time period.

Meanwhile, Rick Stirling is not idle.  He sends himself back to the same year and finds James Moriarty, intent on enlisting the former professor’s help in defeating both Sherlock Holmes and Kathleen Stewart once and for all.

As two very different times merge, the game is on, and the stakes have never been so high.  Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are in for the adventure of their lives.

…Don’t start panicking; Deliver Us From Evil will come first—at least Book One, anyway.  Once the first book is out, I might return to this idea to get it out there before continuing the series, just because this idea has me fascinated, hook, line, and sinker.  (And I’m not the only one—my dad was getting excited about it, too, lol.)

Those of you who have read A Time to Heal probably recognized the two original characters right away: Kathleen and Stirling.  Yes, this is an alternate reality of ATtH, reversing the roles (and making the characters younger)—this time, it’s the people of our time going back to the Victorian Era, rather than vice versa. 

Why is Kathleen going by her maiden name, you ask?  Well, it’s for the very simple reason that she isn’t married.  (I know, Kathleen Duran sounds so iconic, and I hate to lose it, but…)  Thus, the Kathleen that you’ll see in this story will be not only younger, but also a bit edgier.  Not too edgy, though, mind you, because her romanticism, her fangirlism, and her child-at-heart-ness are a big part of what makes her, her.  Without those traits, you really don’t have Kathleen Aubrey Stewart.

I’m really looking forward to doing this, eventually.  I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.