Simple Insanity

Author’s Note: I’m stuck on my other projects, so… Back to the editing I need to do.

Simple Insanity

tentacle bigger than small

“Those among the collectors who had taken the role of trainer—the ones that sought to teach the newer generations the process and duties and even morality of a collector—were the first to see the eventual end of all collectors. They were going mad, one by one,” the trainer said, pacing the far end of the room. He seemed uncomfortable with his subject, or perhaps the boy was still being punished. He did not know. They’d left him alone with the tendrils for far too long, and while they might have said it was not torture, it was. He was going to be as insane as the collectors that the trainer spoke of, all because of what they’d done to him.

They said it was his fault.

He did not understand why it was always his fault, why he was always the one to blame. He supposed it had to do with his unhappiness, with his willingness to be what they expected of him, and he did not know how he could change that. They would never let him be free, never let him have what he wanted, and that meant that he would always resent them. He would always do things that got him in trouble.

He knew that he would never want to be what they wanted. His mind was too independent, and they hated that. He was supposed to be loyal. If he could accept the lies they were telling him about the great importance of his work, about the necessity of what he did, the honor that it was, then he’d be the perfect minion that they’d engineered him to be.

He thought it was a shame that the robots could not do what they wanted him to do. They could program those poor machines, make it easy for them to get all of what they wanted.

He wasn’t programmable. He wasn’t pliable, wasn’t able to ignore what he knew was right. He didn’t know how the trainer had convinced himself of their lies, but he knew that he would not be able to do that himself.

A part of him wondered if that was why he’d been sedated. They’d scared him, and he’d begged the trainer to stay so he wasn’t alone. What if they did that again? What if he went through it a second time? A third?

He’d give in, wouldn’t he? He’d become dependent on them, give them what they wanted.

“Can I go crazy already, then?”

The trainer looked at him. “Why are you asking that?”

Sometimes the boy thought his trainer was an idiot. He didn’t understand how they could be so stupid or unwilling to listen, but they were unwilling to hear what he said. They refused to accept his words, so why should he accept theirs? “I hate being what I am, and I hate you. I would rather be crazy than be a prisoner. It is that simple. I don’t know why you’re asking why I’m asking.”

“It is not that simple. You say that you were frightened by the experience you had when you were given that sedative. You were terrified by the things you saw, by the way all of it blurred together and twisted around, confusing and scaring you. Do you understand that fate could be yours again—without the medication this time?”

The boy frowned. Not again. Not that. He had just been thinking about them using that against him, and now they would. He didn’t want that. He didn’t want any of this. “You do realize that by the day you give me less and less reason to want to live. If all I have to look forward to is a life of slavery and then madness, why would I ever want to be a collector?”

The trainer sighed. “I thought I had answered that question.”

“No. You will never answer that question to my satisfaction. Never.”

tentacle bigger than small


Author’s Note: So… it’s interesting adding new content to stuff that’s been finished for a while. I have been extending some random quotes into larger pieces, parts of the Collector’s training, but I don’t really have an audience for them since I’ve already “completed” this story.

This particular section was done to explore his physiology as a Collector and the effect that has on him, but I fear the first part is too confusing…

Also, please enjoy the divider art created by the other half of the Kabobbles team. It is quite nice, and separates the scenes rather well, doesn’t it?



Everywhere all over him, crawling and claiming and drowning. He couldn’t get free. He was caught in the memories and he would never get free. They had him. He was dying. Drowning. He had been swimming, but he did not know how to swim. He did not know water. He hated water.

This wasn’t water.

Where was he? He felt so strange. He was caught, so tangled up and twisted. He did not feel as he should. He hated this. He could see things, hear voices, but they are not his and not ones he knows—but they are. He knew they were. He’d been in the memories. He knew them from the memories. He knew all of their lives.

“You love me. You know you love me.”

“No! I never loved you! Let me go!”

The pain, the pain, so much pain. He could feel it. He could still feel it, but it wasn’t his. It couldn’t be his. The pain belonged to the woman, but he was not a woman. He didn’t understand. He could not hurt like this…

The son, being held by his father. “This is your legacy. Do you understand? Do you know what all of this is? What we have built for you?”

“We’re rich, aren’t we?”

The father laughed. He embraced his son, pleased with the young child’s comprehension. “No one is poor anymore, but we have much more than most do.”

Not his father. He didn’t have a father. He was born of the vat, and he never knew a father or a family. He did not have anyone. He was alone. Alone and drowning and…

There was blood. He can smell its strange odor, can watch it cross the floor and drip down the side of the steps. Drip, drop, the color was wrong, and he was wrong about everything. No murders had been committed in centuries, and he knew that. He was too far back in the memories.

No. Wait. The blood belonged to someone with Rashon heritage. That was why the color was wrong. No. They lied. They said no murders, but the Rashon were still hated, and they had killed this one because he carried that legacy within him.

Murder. He could feel the pain, that fear, that outrage. He had been killed, but he was not dead. He did not understand. He did not see this. He did see this. He felt strange, so strange…

“Who gave him a sedative? Don’t you know better than that? He is not like other children.”

“He was trying to escape. He was violent and abusive. He had to be restrained. He might have done harm to himself or someone else.”

“He is a Collector. He cannot be drugged.” That voice he knew, and not from the memories. The trainer. “Yes, that’s it, young one. Listen to my voice, let me guide you out of the memories now.”

“He’s not in the memories, though. He’d look different if he was.”

“He’s trapped between the two worlds, and he might not come back thanks to you. Never sedate a Collector. Now go. You will be dealt with.”

The boy moaned, trying to fight the tendrils. He couldn’t get free. They were dragging him under again, and he no longer heard the trainer. He could hear nothing. All he could feel was pain. He thought he smelled something, but nothing was real here.

Everything was real.

He didn’t know what this was. He didn’t know where he was. He was sick. Must be sick. He could not be sick. He could not feel pain. No, that was a lie. He didn’t know what was happening. He wanted the tendrils to let him go.

They would never let him go.

He would never be free.

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“Open your eyes. Do you know where you are?”

“No. Yes. No.”

The trainer gave the boy a small smile. “I know you are upset, but you must try and sit up. Physical movement will help reorient you to this world, help you find your way again. You have been dealing with a lot of images, haven’t you?”

The boy swore that he could still feel the tendrils. He shuddered, pulling his legs up against his chest and cursing when he bumped the nodule on his side. The trainer frowned. “Language.”

“I’d say a lot worse. I hate you.”

“I did warn you what would happen if you tried to escape. I told you it was an ill-advised decision. I tried to stop you, but you would not be stopped. You had to try and leave. You know the consequences of your actions now.”

“What, torture? You can torture me and pretend that it is nothing?”

“It was not torture. The guard made a mistake. You are not supposed to leave, and for most people, a sedative is a suitable deterrent. You are not like most people. Your body reacted unfavorably to the sedative—something the guard should have known—and the drug blurred the lines between your reality and the memories, between your past and the truth. You could not tell the difference between the realm of the memories and your own world.”

The boy looked at the trainer, still shivering. “Was… Was any of it real?”

“I cannot be certain. I had to draw you out, and you were quite resistant.”

“I do not remember that.”

“You would not,” the trainer said, sitting down next to him. “The doctors say that you are well enough physically. Your training is expected to resume—”

“No! No, you can’t—I don’t want to go back in the memories. I won’t go back in the memories, not ever. I won’t. You can’t make me. That was… It was…”

“You were frightened.”

He drew his knees tighter against his chest. He tried to keep himself calm, but his body would not stop with the shaking and shuddering. His mind kept going back to the things he’d seen, and he felt the tendrils pulling at him. “Am I not allowed to feel fear, either? Is that it? Must I always be like one of the robots and obey all commands without thought or emotion?”

“You brought this fear and upset upon yourself. You were warned.”

“You are… punishing me?”

The trainer adjusted his robe. “You know the rules. You have been told of our guidelines from the day you were born.”

“I was not born. I was engineered.”

“True, but the principle is the same. You knew the rules, yet you chose to attempt escape. You must learn to live with the consequences of your actions.” The trainer rose, and the boy stared after him. He was about to be left alone, and that was what he wanted—most of the time. Not now. No, not now.

“Don’t go.”

“We have no training to do today. You need to recover.”

“No! No, you don’t understand,” the boy said, shaking his head, rising from the bed. “You can’t leave me alone with the tendrils. They’ll pull me in and under, and I’ll drown all over again. I can feel them. I don’t know how to get away. Please.”

The trainer stopped at the door. “The drugs are gone. You are in no further danger. Your training will resume when you are in a fit state to proceed.”

“You… You don’t care about me at all, do you? How can you walk away when I ask you not to, when I beg you not to? I know I have been difficult, but I am scared, and I don’t want to be alone. Please.”

“You may be a child, but you are also a Collector. You must be able to overcome whatever you experience in the memories, and you brought this fear upon yourself. It would not be proper for me to indulge you when you knowingly broke the rules. We are held to higher standards, and we must be. You cannot escape your own actions.”

The boy bit his lip. “If you would have let me see the world, I wouldn’t have tried to escape. I tried asking. You wouldn’t let me. Now you tell me it is all my fault and I should suffer because your rules are intolerable?”

The trainer shook his head. “When you are told no, that does not give you the right to go against it. You have had a lesson, whether you like it or not. You must learn from it.”

He turned, stepping through the door. It closed behind him, and the boy sat back down on the bed, shuddering as the tendrils tugged at him. He tried not to cry. If they wanted to make him a robot, then he’d act like one. He would.

Being a robot had to be better than being a Collector.

Proper Meaning

Author’s Note: I’m sharing this as incentive to keep me working on my edits.

Back to the beginning, sort of, with the Collector’s training.

Proper Meaning

“The world is founded on one basic principle—you cannot hide what you have done. This echo you leave behind, in this moment, will always carry with it the truth of your actions and what you have done, what you have felt, and what you intend to do now,” the trainer said as he led the boy out onto the balcony, showing him the city.

The boy studied it for a long time. It seemed to come up from the clouds, a shimmering land of pale cream towers, each a different height, jutting up from the ground, separated from each other by vast courtyards of marble with a few pieces of intha in between. He knew that there were many more colors mixed in and blended among the cream, but he could not really pick them out from where he stood. He wanted to. He wanted to see so much more than this. From up here, the people seemed tiny, small blurs of blue mixed with other colors as they hurried about their days. Occasionally, the light glinted off something metal, reminding him that the machines were among them as well, robots that had very nearly come into their own sentience. These machines were helpers and some considered them… friends. Yet they were not allowed on their own.

Like him. He was like a machine to them, that was all. They would give him orders, tell him to listen to the trainer, and they expected him to do it as mindlessly as the robots followed their programming.

Though he knew it was rare for them to be outside, and he wanted to see more of the people and things that were real, he turned away from the trainer and walked toward the door.

“Where are you going, child?”

“I do not see what you want me to see. I refuse to see it. I want to go out there, to be down in the city. I do not want to watch. I do not want to stay here—and I do not care about your stupid memories! What good are memories to anyone? They’re not… They’re not real.”

“The memories are forever. They have always been, and they will always be,” the trainer said, and the boy looked back at him, folding his arms over his chest. He did not care. He was sick of looking at things but never touching them, hearing them but never speaking to them, seeing emotions but never feeling them, not for himself. “It was the Collectors that came later. Their true nature and importance was misunderstood at first.”

“I do not want a history lesson! I do not want another lesson at all! All you ever do is talk or drag me into the memories, and that is not living! The world is out there! It is not in our minds.”

“That is not true. It is both.”

The boy shook his head, but his trainer caught hold of his arm before he could return inside. “Have you learned nothing from what I’ve taught you? Do you still fail to understand what you really are?”

“I know what I am! I am a prisoner and a slave! You give it a fancy name, you make it sound better than what it is, but it is still slavery! It is not collecting anything. It is watching. Always watching. Endless watching. Answering questions that other people ask. Doing what I am told. Always what I’m told and never what I want. Never what those people out there are doing.”

“They are not like you. You are special.”

“This is special? Then I do not want to be special! I want to be normal and ordinary and free.”

The trainer shook his head. “That is not possible. You are a Collector. You will always be unique. You more so than any of the others—you are the last, and you are unlike any that has come before you. That makes you all the more valuable.”

“No,” the boy corrected coldly. “It just makes me a prisoner. Forever.”

Learning the Lesson

Author’s Note: When I went back and started editing The Memory Collector, many more months ago than I want to admit, I began to expand on the world and the history of the Collector in flashbacks of his time with his trainer. They are interesting pieces, these flashbacks, not just for the insight into what Collectors do and the way they learn to do it, but also for how he came to be what he is at the beginning of the story, how he ended up accepting the role forced upon him.

Learning the Lesson

“Another history lesson? Must we do this? Can’t I… go outside and play for one day? You do realize that I have never actually done that. I have never had a toy, never had a friend, never gone out to the places where other children gather. I’ve seen plenty of them in the memories. I know what it’s supposed to be like to be a child. I just… Never get to be one.”

“You are a Collector. The physical age you have is very nearly meaningless.”

“You say that because you’re all convinced I’ll go crazy before I even reach maturity, so you’re forcing me to learn all this stuff because we all have that same fate. All collectors go mad. They lose track of what’s real and what isn’t, and they go insane. We don’t even know why, do we? It’s just what happens. The memories take over everything, leaving us nothing. Don’t you think that maybe I should have one day where I get something normal—something real—is reasonable? That it’s not too much? One day. No lessons, no memories. A chance to play.”

“You have a weighty responsibility. You cannot afford to play.”

“I hate you.”

The trainer sighed, putting a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “There are far greater things to worry about than a few minutes of playtime.”

“It isn’t so much the playtime as the… principle. Yes, that’s it—the principle. Isn’t that something you understand, the principle? I should have that kind of thing in principle.”

“You are a Collector. Your principles are different. They have to be. Our role in society is one of the most important and most influential, do you not comprehend that yet?”

The boy looked down at his hands. “I want more than this. I don’t care if what the collectors did allowed us to push the Rashon off the planet during the second war. I don’t care if they come back. It’s not like forcing them to leave solved anything. We still hate them and they still hate us. Only I can’t really hate them because I’m kind of… one of them, aren’t I? I can access their memories, too.”

“Not from the other world—and you know better than to access memories from the wars. That is too long ago. That will surely drive you mad.”

“Maybe I want to be crazy. Maybe I’d rather be crazy than a prisoner,” the boy snapped. He sighed. “Besides, there are still Rashon descendents here. We hate them, we oppress them—though we say we don’t—and we lie and say we have a perfect society, but we don’t. I’m a slave, you’re a slave, and anyone with Rashon blood is hated for no reason at all.”

“We are none of us perfect, but there is peace here, peace that the Rashon do not know.”

“It is easy for us, for a society lead by the oh-so-important and oh-so-wonderful collectors to look down on the Rashon for their war-like way of life, but we are not any better, don’t you get it?” The boy shook his head, moving away from his trainer. “I have been in those memories that you and the others like to forget. Centuries of peace allows them to forget that they were ever equal to the Rashon in their blood lust, but they were. Those times might exist only in the memories, and the collectors—you—never remind them of that part of their history, but it’s still there. Still true. We could easily go back to that.”

The trainer looked at him. “And you still fail to see the importance of your role as a Collector?”

The boy frowned. “What do you—You think without the collectors, we would descend into that again? Is that it?”

“What most of society likes to forget was that it was the threat of exposure for their actions that kept people from doing what they might have done—kill, steal, cheat—and not actual power within themselves,” the trainer reminded the boy. “They may believe that the Rashon should put these things away as easily, but they never truly had, so why would anyone else?”

“They wouldn’t.”

“That is why they need us. Why there must be Collectors. Why you must train. We are law and order. Without us… There would be nothing but chaos.”

The Crumbling Facade

Author’s Note: A lot of times when I write a scene, I feel compelled to make the point of view of the scene clear right away, to show who is telling the story at that point. In this case, I didn’t, and then after months away, I said “ah, that, must fix.”

Then I reread it, preferring the sort of “surprise” of it the second time. I now find myself going back and forth about it.

The Crumbling Facade

Their perfect society was dying.

The people were strong, healthy, with no awareness of how close to the end they truly were. It was not an outside threat. It would crumble quietly, but when it did, it would shatter all the foundations and rock the entire world, leaving nothing standing to aide them.

“The truth is unavoidable,” the leader began, his arms folded behind his back as he paced the room. His skin had taken on a purplish hue—a clear sign that he was agitated. The orange markings on his face stood out more than usual. The others watched, waiting. “Millenias have passed since the last birth of one with the natural gift to do this. We must face the fact that the order has died, that our society will no longer continue as it has done. Indeed, our very world is ending.”

“Must we speak only of doom and gloom? Have we not any other options left to us before washing our hands of our own fate and succumbing to this calamitous future that you see for us?” the other minister asked, shaking his head. He leaned forward in his chair, placing his hands on the table. His skin remained the natural pale blue, still calm. “What if it is not as bad as you fear?”

“How can it not be?” the oldest one among them demanded, her voice harsh as she got to her feet. “Do not be a fool. Our entire lives, our existence, is based upon the idea that no crime can ever go unpunished. There has been no crime in thousands of years. We do not know how to cope with the people knowing that we cannot access the memories anymore.”

“That is not true. There is still a collector.”

“One! He cannot cover an entire planet, and you know this as well as I do. It has been a long pretense, one that used to serve us well, but it is over now. We cannot hold this together any longer. No one has been born with even the slightest bit of the genetic components needed to learn how to access the planet’s fabrics, and those who would teach these ones are all but gone as well.”

“You are both so convinced that everything will end when they learn the truth. You don’t know that it will end like that.”

The leader shook his head. “Today the last of the trainers died, and we have but one collector. Milayan is right. We cannot use him for an entire planet. He is in no shape to do that—far overworked and close to the mental illness that claims them all in the end. These people have been bred out of our society, and our attempts at breeding them back in have proved unsuccessful.”

“Then what do you call our collector? Nothing?”

“You know what was supposed to happen with him, and you know what we got instead.”

“I am in the room, you know,” the collector said, his voice quiet yet compelling enough to cause the group to look at him. “Even if I were not, I could come here later and learn what you were saying and how you felt. You have no secrets from me.”

“Forgive us. You understand our distress.”

He nodded. “I am the last. When I die, there will be no others. The world as you know it will end. However, what concerns you more than my death is what proceeds it—the inevitable loss of my mind.”

“The planet has probably bred your gift out of existence for that reason.”

“You cannot know what the planet wants.”

“No, but he can. He can communicate with it in a way that has never been fully understood by our scientists. The genetics are a part of it, but it requires more than that.”

The collector regarded them all, his gaze cold. They had trained him, yes. He had been bred with only one thought in mind—making a collector—and he was nothing to them besides it, for all of the posturing and deference that they showed him. He often found himself preferring the company of the memories, of the planet itself. “Perhaps instead of debating what you already know, you should take action.”

The leader nodded. “That is why we asked you here. Though Termlin is against it, Milayan and I both feel that we must ask you to find the old laws for us.”

“Those are so old that you will cause him to go into madness. Do not agree to this, Collector. Give us time to find another option.”

“Now you would give me a choice?” he asked, shaking his head. “Do not patronize me. I have been a slave to this life since I was born. Were it up to me, you would get nothing. Let this world fall.”

The leader shook his head in protest. They wanted this life. They wanted to keep it together. They did not see how much their perfection cost others. “People do not kill. They do not steal. They do not rape. There is no crime. People simply do not hurt each other. This is a good life for everyone.”

“Except the collectors. Your perfect society is perpetuated on slavery.”

“Not all of you felt that way,” they disagreed. “The role of a collector was a privilege, a position many aspired to, and they did so without being forced. It was—and still is—an honor.”

“No, it used to be. Before the collectors stopped being born and you had to create them,” he corrected, getting to his feet. “You cannot deny that I had little choice in the matter, having been engineered to this life and trained to it from birth. Still… It is petty of me to leave this world with nothing but chaos after I am gone—or my mind is.”

“Then you will find the old laws in the memories?”

He hesitated. He would not promise them anything. “The ancestors were foolish not to write anything down. There should be records.”

“We had the collectors,” Termlin said, his voice full of bitterness as always. “What use did we have for records? The memories would always be there, always a part of the world, for us to get later. We cannot change what the ancestors did.”

“No, but you had better learn from this. Records will have to be made now. You don’t have forever.”

An Impossible Meeting

Author’s Note: I was looking to pull a part of The Memory Collector to prove that I was writing too much of a certain type of protagonist in my science fiction stories, that type being ones like Whim, Tynan, and the Collector, but when I went looking for one, either it was too spoilery or not quite enough like the others to share (though the Collector doesn’t have a name until the fourth chapter, which is a lot like the cases of the others, that cannot be denied.) Instead, I drug out this.

An Impossible Meeting

For a collector, he’d never been particularly good at controlling what he was supposed to be looking for, not that it mattered. No one could see what he did, and even those that thought they could conceal their crimes quickly confessed in his presence. Sometimes it took longer for that to happen, sometimes he did still have to search for the specific memory, but the reputation was usually enough. It was a fortunate thing. He had never truly mastered control over it.

This time, of course, was no different.

He walked around the room a little. It was not his, and he was not truly there, but he always liked to get a sense of where he was before he pressed on further. He knew that he was not in the right place—this was a small home, not from one of the cities, with rudimentary construction, hastily assembled with a lack of permanence—scavenged from the wilderness around it. The tree branches were stacked against each other and covered with reeds. It would not stand up to any kind of weather.

“I seem to be more lost than usual.”

“I would say so,” a voice said from behind him, and he turned to look at the one who had spoken. It was very rare for anyone in the memories to be aware of his presence, and even then, it was usually just a fleeting moment where they seemed to notice something had changed, looked for him, but did not see him. That this woman had heard him and responded—impossible. “No one comes here on purpose. You must be lost.”

He nodded. He had to stop interacting with her. She was not like any other person he’d encountered in his time in the memories—not in appearance, for in that she was fairly common, with no distinguishing features. She was not extremely tall or very short, just somewhere in between, and her eyes were the standard black of their people, the same with her hair. She wore it simply, with no ornamentation except the section braided and held behind her ears on either side of her head. Her garments were not finely made or expensive, but practical and yet… untouched, as though at odds with the simplicity she wanted to convey.

A manifestation of the planet, then, was she? He had heard some of the collectors rave about the goddess when they lost their minds, but he did not think that she was real. Not everyone saw her—only the ones that believed in her to begin with. Most of society had given up belief in a higher power long ago—the memories showed no sign of one that had ever been a part of their daily lives, and this goddess was worshiped only by a small sect that had started following a former minister who had been just as insane, proclaiming herself the goddess reborn when there wasn’t one to begin with.

“Where did you mean to go?”

“The past. The creation of the laws,” he answered, and she frowned. He should have not expected anything different. She was not real. This was probably not any true memory. It was a sign that his mind was failing faster than he had thought.

“You are in the wrong place—they make laws in the capitals, far from here,” she went on, shaking her head. “I would like to see the other cities, though I have no interest in the laws. Why do you care so much?”

“Don’t you already know?”

She frowned. “Why should I? I do not know who you are.”

He shook his head. This was not the way to find the laws. He did not have much time. He was clearly close to that final step, and he would finish what he started, even if he did not feel that they should get anything from him. They had condemned him to this before he was even born, and that was unforgivable.

“You could take that as a sign to give me your name, and I can send you in the right direction if you want. I know there is a city two days journey in that direction.”

“It wouldn’t matter if I gave you my name. This never happened.”

“You are a very strange man,” she said, turning away from him. He watched her for a moment, then forced himself to reach into the memories again. He could not be far from where he should be, and it was time to move on, to find what he needed before he was completely gone.

He thought he had hold of the tendrils again, but nothing changed. He frowned, then saw her hand was on his arm. “Strange or not, I could use some help gathering up supplies. Since you’re here, you could help me.”

He stared at her hand, shaking his head. He shouldn’t be able to feel that. It was all wrong. He yanked himself free, and then the forest was gone and the walls were white again. He sat for a moment, trying to process what he’d seen and experienced. This wasn’t possible.

He ran his hands over his face. His mind was already gone, wasn’t it?

More Scarring, if Only for Me

I had to watch that in my French class. Even my teacher winced.

We did write our own stories featuring the little prince. In French, mind you.

Mine conveys a parody of the sheer horror of the words “Dessine-moi un mouton.”

Still… It won.

She called the collector a little prince, even gave him a word that means that as a nickname.

Kabobbles Sing Along is just what I think when I hear songs. I sometimes see images when I hear lyrics, pictures or movies in my head. Sometimes I relate it to stories. My interpretation of the songs and lyrics are probably nothing like their original intent.

Just When I Thought It Was Done

So I had thought that The Memory Collector would end up the next book that ended up published. I thought it was done and just needed a few edits.

I was wrong. I can admit that.

Editing is a painful process, no denying that. It’s hard to get oneself to go back and look it over, though it can be helpful to get back into a story that’s been set down for a while. That part I do actually enjoy, getting back the feel of the world and the characters. Sometimes I see what I missed putting down before. Or sometimes I have to cut things that I liked. Rare, but it happens, as it did with the stuff I dealt with in The Monster in My Garden Shed today. I started back at the beginning, really enjoying the journey with Ren as she found her way through the world of the Ascanati and seeing her relationship with Kyran in the new flashbacks, but then I got to the end with what I needed to change because it didn’t fit, the part that became Verina’s story. It was hard to cut… But I eventually did it.

Now, I have new scenes for that story at last. This is good. It makes me happy. I even have plans for a side story from their universe later.

However, the really painful part was my discovery regarding The Memory Collector. It’s not done. Not by a long shot. I need to pull all the quotes and make them a coherent narrative and add more from the Collector’s childhood and more from when he’s in the memories in general. And more with Sanity, too.

So, with that in mind, The Memory Collector will not be the next book published. It’s now my hope to make that Nickel and Dime instead. It would be good to launch the series, and the third novel in it is coming along again now that Verina’s story (still unnamed) is done.

And, of course, I have a lot of edits to do to fix what I found wrong with The Memory Collector.

Did I mention I wanted to start a new story? When am I ever going to have time for all this?