Shadowed Vale - Secrets

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Shadowed Vale
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Imperial Sigil by Tanna Borrell

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Shadowed Vale


I know I will get in trouble with some people for even contemplating a book that contains any mention of psyonics.  The Ghost Chronicles theme is based and propelled in the idea of psyonics.  I wrote about this subject because I grew my reading teeth on Andrea Norton and the Suttons.  I was both intrigued and interested in the topic.  The idea of secular psyonics seems troubling to some people, and I'm not sure why.  In the Ghost Chronicles, I wanted to use psyonics to give a secular basis to multiple spiritual topics.  I do this to promote a spiritual world view.  The first and most important is the eternal state of the spirit and soul.  In Ghost, I try to show this duality of spirit and soul.  Den, loses his soul and the spirit-soul of Fredrik-Keris is trapped in the body of Den Protania.  Den gains the whole of the being and mind of Fredrik-Keris.  The soul of Den is gone, but not his mind.  Throughout the Ghost Chronicles, Den becomes less and less.  Subsumed by the soul and spirit of Fredrik-Keris, while Fredrik-Keris takes on many of the characteristics of the mind of Den Protania.  Hopefully not too many of the negative characteristics.

Second, I wanted to promote the oneness of the being of Nata and Den.  This spiritual oneness is paralleled in their physical life too.  Natana drives this part of their life.  That is the character I gave her.  You can see the reticence of Den and Fredrik-Keris in this part of their lives with Nata.  Nata may be a slightly unusual character for a woman, but I don't think she's that far fetched.  She knows what she wants and she gets it.  Nata drives unintentionally, Den's flashbacks.  She propels his initiative.  She moves his sex life.  She still hangs back about some things--isn't that interesting.

Third, I wanted to show the dangers and the advantages of a possible far future where psyonics was possible.  This is very tightly drawn and very gray in the novels.  The Empire, the Reps, the society on Jouray, the society on Acier, each has problems.  Each is affected by the psy.  The Empire and the Reps are destroyed by it.  Jouray is paralyzed by it.  Acier has potential, but subjugated it out of fear.

Fourth, with Nikita, there is healing in psyonics.  Already we can see how it has helped her and how she used it to help others.  This is assumed in the other novels under Natana, but with Nikita you get to see it full on.           


You might conclude that pure science fiction requires no research--this is an absolutely wrong idea.  Good science fiction requires a basis of the real world with a projection of authentic science overlaying it.  If the world does not match the proper sense of the reader, the story is ruined.  If the science is not convincing and logical, the unique feel of the future is gone--the novelty of the science part of the fiction has been lost.  For me, writing science fiction is like developing a new idea in engineering.  I can see it in my mind, and I try to describe both its effects and its design.  The research is through constant immersion in engineering and in fiction.  This way, the imagined worlds are real and the science comes alive. 

The world of the Dragon and the Fox is a projection based on the idea that genetic manipulation was required for humankind to conquer the worlds they discovered when they traveled into space.  The genetic manipulation was used to create great doctors, technicians, scientists, and leaders.  Eventually the society became moribund and turned into something akin to feudalism--the Human Galactic Empire.  Against this backdrop, the Dragon and the Fox fight for honor while their world and civilization is falling around them.

The technology of the Dragon and the Fox is also a projection.  All of the concepts described are potential technological solutions.  The big idea isn't the technology or the changes to the human species.  The big concept is how little technology and human changes have really affected the fabric of human interaction.  The one specific change that is very evident in the world of the Dragon and the Fox is the differentiation between men and women.  This change in human culture historically reverses itself based on the organization of society and the identification of the differences between men and women.  The world of the Dragon and the Fox highlights this differentiation based on the feudal and genetic leadership base of their society.  I don't advocate these roles or this type of society--the ideas come out of the question that brought about the world of the Dragon and the Fox.       

The Question: 

The End of Honor asks a unique question:  what can be the ramifications of personal relationships when they are ultimately based on political ends? 

The Characters: 

We applaud Prince John-Mark and the Lady Lyral.  We applaud their happiness, love, and pleasant agreement.  However, this agreement results in the death of John-Mark's father, Lyral herself, and provides the tipping point for the entire Human Galactic Empire.  We love the characters.  We see the honor in their actions and lives.  But when we reflect on the harm they have caused, we wonder if honor is enough.  Good intentions and good people are often the cause of much suffering.  That is more akin to the theme.

The Theme: 

The theme of The End of Honor is that responsibility and humility are the greatest human virtues and the basis of true honor.  We see good intentions and seeking honor ultimately cause untold hardship and pain.  The result of John-Mark and Lyral's apparently honorable actions is a universe at war and friends dead.  John-Mark must give up everything to return the Human Galactic Empire to peace and political balance.  In the end, we find honor is the willingness to give up everything for the good of others.   


Would you be willing to give up everything to attain true honor even if that meant your own degradation, pain, and suffering.

24 August 09, The first cut of Shadowed Vale is complete.  I am happy with the love story and the adventure story.


17 August, I know where Shadowed Vale is going--Yah!  We are moving ahead full steam.  I am growing Nikita so I can integrate Mara, her sister.  I also have increased Alex's role.  The denouncement will focus around him.  I am revealing more details about the Family Traders--there is so much fun detail.  Den and Natana are still there, but they have taken on more a caretaker role--they will play a pivotal role in the final big events.  I'm almost certain I will need another novel to finish the series.  I'll see.  Shadowed Vale is up to 13 chapters and moving toward completion.  There looks like the need of a fifth book. 


18 July, time passes so quickly, I have been busy, but I haven't put up any progress for a while.  I have been working on the notes for Children.  I just love this novel, and I hope it will be in publication soon.  I don't get tired of reading it--and I wrote it.


I took a little break from Shadowed Vale--I want to figure out just where I am going.  I know where, but sometimes you have to take a little break. I want to bring in a child for Nata and Den.  I met the sweetest and outgoing child during vacation and I want to model Kita's sister after this kid.  I want to grow her to about 8 with Kita at around 20 to 21 with interaction between the two.  Need to figure this into the story and build up to it.  This interaction will show the culture of the ship and time.  Still no word on a publisher--oh well.


22 June, progressing slowly toward the major point of this novel.  It's a slow revelation.  I want an big Kita denouncement but I'm not sure if I want that as the denouncement of the novel itself.  As I wrote, this is a Nikita novel too.  I didn't intend to make it so much about this character, but I need to have her grow up and her growth and problems on the ship seem like a great way to explain the culture and times.  These culture and times issues will play in the overall context of the plot, theme, and story.  Of course, you must guess the overall issue is the government of the Human Galactic Confederation.  How this fits in the larger sense of the novels is difficult.  The novels are a microcosm of the larger issues in the Confederation.  I need to grow Kita as well as Den and Natana.  The point is how and to what extent and where and how will the larger picture of the political aspects fit into the story.


Also thinking a little about Klava's story.  Aegypt didn't really end with Warrior, although only one of the Aegypt novels is in publication--as of yet.  I really need an agent to help push these works at a faster pace and with more market.  My publisher is fantastic, but I need a larger following of readers and perhaps more than one publisher.  If anyone has an idea, send me a note.


18 June, Shadowed Vale is progressing more as a novel about Nikita.  I think this is okay, she is really an adult character in a kid's body.  The character herself kind of engenders this excitement.  She is competent and capable, but has to learn how to interact with people and in the environment of the ship.  The most interesting turns have been with her training as a shuttle instructor.  She was driven to learn piloting a shuttle via her psyonic abilities when she was on the streets of El Rashad.  Now, the Shuttle Master, Steve Larsen wants to continue her training.  The council knows what is going on, but Nikita isn't even an apprentice yet--in the ship she has no status.  When Alex won't continue as NIkita's student for instructor training, Master Larsen finds Nikita a student to instruct.  The student is 17 year old Candice Dirk (tactical: Candy).  The problem is that Candy resents being trained by a twelve year old who looks nine.  Nikita's problem is that if Candy fails, Nikita fails--she can't allow that.  We also discover that Nikita's tactical is Nitro (lot of explosive in a very small package).  I work very comfortably in this pilot type environment--I think my readers enjoy seeing this glimpse of this flying world.


17 June, Fourth chapter on Shadowed Vale.  Already four small resolutions in the lives of Den, Natana, and Nikita.  Unresolved: Alex has a crush on Nikita--you know where that will lead with her.  Nichol's career has some snags.  Nikita is having issues as an instructor.  Small knots leading up to the big one--where is the Shadowed Vale.


6 June, still working on Shadowed Vale, but I think I will reread Aegypt and also put my reader's comments in for Children and Warrior.

1 June, I haven't been unproductive, on the contrary, my readers have been going through the Aegypt novels and I have hard comments on Children and Warrior that I will put in.  One reader was not very happy with Sveta (compared to Klava) as the major character in Warrior.  I actually think that isn't as bad as some might think.  I would like to write Klava's story in the future, and I will work more on Sveta, but not necessarily to make her more palatable.  One of my readers dislikes Lumiere.  The rest love her.  No one yet dislikes Kathrin or Leora--that's very interesting.  They all have their own faults and each is distinctive--my reader's opinions just make this clearer to me.  I don't want anyone to hate the characters, but I want them to be so true to themselves that they do invoke strong responses.  If they make the reader want to keep reading, that's the point after all. 

I have been writing on Shadowed.  I may change the name of the ship/novel--maybe not.  It's a working title, after all.  The writing is slightly slow, but that's okay.  I tend to either work straight through a novel or start and stop for a while until it really flows.  I did reread the first few Aegypt novels when I sent them to one of my readers.  I didn't make any corrections to them at the time--just read for fun.  I saw some issues, but I'm convinced they are fun to read.  I told one of my readers, I was achieving my goal of actually writing novels I like to read.  This isn't as strange as it sounds.  My favorite writers are my models.  I reread their books because they speak to me.  If I am getting writing down on paper that has some of the force of my favorites, I hope that means I am getting better as a writer.   

11 May, Put together the file structures in a briefcase for Shadowed Vale.  This is the next novel in the Ghost Ship Chronicles.  I know where I'm starting and I know where I'm going.  Getting there should be interesting.  Aiming for about 70 to 80K novel.  We know where than went last time.

I have to say, Warrior is really a fun book.  I can't wait til it comes out in print.  This is a long novel, but one I can't put down--and I wrote it.  Children is similar.  These two really fit together nicely.  I think most will really like the Sveta character, especially in Warrior.  She absolutely knows what she wants and she goes to get it.  To watch her thwarted and challenged, first by her parents, next by her love, then by her grand parents, then by Yinglong, then by Fenghuang, and then by her real mother.  The tone of the novel is poignant and Sveta is the reason. 

7 May, I added some secrets to the Ghost pages.  It's the same discussion on all three explaining why I decided to make psyonics a major theme of the novels.  I'll add more secrets in the future--promise.

Already thinking about the next Ghost book.  I printed copies of Children and Warrior and started to read Children.  That's a fun book.  I see stuff that needs work, but I'll wait until my reader gets to slash it up later this month.  Then I'll go back over it in detail--same with Warrior.  If anyone is interested in becoming a reader.  I'd be happy to send a manuscript.

6 May, Regia is finished for now.  I moved the notes from here to the secrets page.  I haven't worked on the secrets page for it much yet.  I will in the future.  Thinking about Ghost IV.  Maybe titled Shadowed Vale--thinking.  Nikita, Den, and Natana's story is not nearly done.

Length of Novel:

? words (work in progress)

Keywords and Market Focus:

Science fiction, space, adventure, intrigue, space ships; will appeal to adults and young adults interested in science fiction/adventure

Ghost: Regia Anglorum is a unique novel but the concept is similar to Jack Vance’s To Live Forever or many of Andrea Norton’s mind swap novels.


Science Fiction


The continuing adventures of Den and Natana Protania now in their own Family Trader ship: Regia Anglorum.

Author's reviewer’s quotes:


Short descriptive teasers:


Further Information:

Ghost: Regia Anglorum is the third novel in the Ghost series. 

The Ghost trilogy is a follow-on from the distant future of the universe introduced in the Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox.




  If you are interested in reviewing this novel for publication... Contact the author




  Novels by this Author
       The Second Mission (Available now)
       Centurion   (Available now published by OakTara)
       Aegypt            (Available now published by OakTara)


The Dragon and the Fox


                     (Available now published by OakTara)



      The End of Honor           The Fox’s Honor               A Season of Honor 




  L.D. Alford is the author of 41 technical papers published in international journals on flight test, military policy, flight safety, space, and cyberwar.  Technical Writing
  L.D. Alford has been a professional aviator for 30 years.  Aviation Writing

L.D. Alford Aviation Writing Technical Writing Unpublished Novels Writing Links Engineer


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