KP Blog17 Sep 2014
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I've wanted to be a writer almost as far back as I can remember. I grew up watching shows like Star Trek and Doctor Who, and I think it was around the time my parents took me to see The Wrath of Khan that I started to become aware of people who wrote movies, TV shows, and books. They didn't just come into being on their own, I realized. I was around nine or ten at the time.
I started writing at around that time, and of course the results were awful. Even at that age, I knew it was bad, but I kept at it. Over the years, I'd get a few pages into a story, scrap it, and start over, trying out this idea and that, but nothing quite clicked. But I continued to improve.
I submitted my first story to a magazine when I was seventeen. It wasn't accepted, but I kept at it. I hadn't landed on the right combination of characters, setting, dialogue, and action, but I continued getting gradually closer. Things finally started coming together when I connected to the Internet for the first time, back in the late 1990s. I discovered more outlets for my writing, where I could get rapid feedback and experiment with ideas, characters, and so on. I continued writing, practicing, improving.
In early 2002, everything in my head clicked into place and I had the core of my first novel, a huge city a few decades in the future named Neon City. It had once been a collection of small towns that went bankrupt over the years and were all bought up by a group of mega-corporations. They rebuilt the towns, filled in the empty stretches in between, and moved their headquarters, research-and-development and production facilities there. They used it as a test bed for bleeding-edge technology, and eventually the result was a population of fifty million humans, genetically-engineered "anthros," robots, and AI, along with all sorts of gadgets and weapons.
The corporations thought of it as the start of a bright, shining future. But as the saying goes, the future isn't what it used to be.
It was a setting that I could use as a backdrop for almost any kind of story.
Character-wise, I started with a guy I'd had in my mind for a while, a young man with cybernetic eyes and a surly disposition. Since I was stuck in a pizza-delivery job at the time, I decided to start the novel with this character in the same career, so he'd have a valid reason to be cranky. His girlfriend was a seven-foot-tall anthro with biceps the size of a person's head and a friendly, outgoing personality that was the opposite of his. Their roommate is another big, muscular anthro who's a skilled hacker and prefers using her mind to physical combat.
I had the first draft done in a few months. I rewrote it, added a few more chapters. Rewrote it again, cutting out huge chunks that slowed it down. Kept sending it out, having it rejected, rewriting, sending it out again. The title changed several times, until it was simply, Load. That went on for the better part of a decade, until I'd almost run out of publishers to submit it to. Finally, I discovered Amazon's new Kindle Direct publishing platform, and just uploaded it there.
And then I began writing a sequel titled Fifteen Minutes. This one gave me a chance to expand on the setting, develop the main characters and add new ones, and have a little fun with things like reality TV and a love triangle that had developed between the three main characters in Load. I found myself adding more humor to the dialogue, and also drifted more in an action-adventure direction.
That trend continued in my third novel, Chaser, which is the one that was accepted by Keith Publications at the end of February of 2013. And in one of my current works in progress, Project: Phoenix, a follow-up to Fifteen Minutes.
While working on the current book, I also started writing some fanfiction for several reasons. I'd gotten some ideas in my head that I just couldn't shake loose until I started writing them, and I realized it was a chance to provide more free content so readers could see my writing style and decide whether they liked it. And as I continued with this, I found myself writing more and more action-oriented stuff. I'm told I'm pretty good at it, so I might as well run with it and have some fun.
Recently I've been asked to teach a friend how to write action scenes, so that's become another project that's fun in itself, but it's also interesting to figure out how to teach someone something, since I've never done that before. One of the things I'm trying is to take some ideas I had for one of my ongoing stories and use them to write a sort of sample packed with concentrated action to show the protagonist's tactics, fighting style, and so on. Unfortunately, it also shows off the occasional typo I keep forgetting to fix, as well as my tendency to overuse certain words and never notice it no matter how many times I reread and rewrite it. But I'm still quite happy with the result.
One other interesting recent development is Amazon's new Kindle Worlds project. For a long time, none of the properties held any interest for me, until they added GI Joe to their list. Since it's an opportunity to get something published, make a few bucks, and possibly catch the interest of new readers who haven't seen any of my other work, I started writing a novelette for it. Which will likely turn into a series of stories, if it's accepted. This brings the total number of books I'm writing at the same time to six. I'm focusing on this one to finish it before I start working on yet another original novel (featuring a young woman with half of her face badly scarred from an accident, who's hitchhiking on starships in search of adventure and refusing to let her disfigurement become more than a minor inconvenience). It's close to being finished, so I'm looking forward to seeing where it leads.
I've been on a long, long road, but it's finally going somewhere. And that's the overall message to take from all this: Keep trying. Don't give up. It took me over twenty years for things to start falling into place, but I'm getting there. For some people, it won't take as long, and for others it could be longer. But either way, keep at it. Don't give up. Keep pursuing your dreams until you achieve them.
And then come up with new dreams to pursue.
Fred T. Kerns was born in Coquille, Oregon, and moved to Coos Bay, Oregon shortly after beginning high school. He lived there until February of 2013, when he moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he intends to stay. A life-long geek, Fred has always kept his mind in the future and in other worlds. He started writing science fiction as a child, started trying to get published at age 17, and finally succeeded at the end of February 2013, a few weeks after moving to Tucson, when Keith Publications accepted his novel, Chaser.
Career-wise, Fred has delivered newspapers, worked as a pizza-delivery driver, a week and a half as a call center customer service agent, and spent seven and a half years working in a one-hour photo lab in a department store in the small, Oregon-coast town of Coos Bay. All of these experiences have boosted his desire to earn a living exclusively with his writing.
To find out more about Fred Kerns follow the links below.
Leave a comment for your chance to win an Ebook copy of Fred Kerns'-"Load"!
Blurb of Book:
In a city of fifty million cyborgs, bioengineered "anthros," robots, AI, and plain old humans, a young man, his girlfriend, and their roommate stumble into a situation that quickly turns deadly...and the way out could prove just as dangerous.
Excerpt of Book:
Pervy Patty passed their table, frowned and turned slowly. He took a step back the way he'd come, then he noticed Myaku and her friends. He smiled, crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall. He locked his eyes onto them and remained where he was, content to watch them for a moment.
Corona shuddered. There was something about his eyes that told her the young man was a couple quarts low. "Oh, man, he gives me the creeps."
"At least he's not wearing that damned skirt again. Jeans and a wife-beater--not exactly the height of fashion, but he's looked worse." Jack smirked. "The shiner is a good look for him, though."
"He's gonna look even worse than that if he doesn't leave those girls alone." She took a deep breath and let it rush out. "Okay, you recording?"
"Yeah, I started when he headed for their table."
"Good. Now let's see if he tries anything."
The minutes ticked slowly away. Corona finished her drink and ordered a refill. Henderson hadn't moved by the time she finished the second one. He hadn't approached their table, but the way he'd kept his eyes locked onto them was one of the most unnerving things Corona had ever witnessed. She suppressed another shudder.
Jack didn't take his own eyes off Patty, though, even when he took a moment to sip his coffee. By the time his cup was empty, Henderson still hadn't moved.
Finally, Nori pushed her chair back and stood slowly, fear and dread clouding her face. She met Corona's gaze and twitched her head toward the front door, then turned and shuffled away.
Even from halfway across the room, Corona could see the girl's hands shaking.
Henderson turned his head to track Nori.
Come on, take the bait. The more Corona saw of this guy, the more she wanted to beat the living shit out of him.
On the other hand, if he didn't go for it, at least Nori would be safe.
Henderson glanced around, pushed away from the wall and followed Nori.
"Got him," Jack muttered.
"Yeah. Hold on a sec." Corona waited until Henderson had moved far enough away not to notice her following him, then she nodded at Jack. "Okay, let's go."
They hurried after him, staying back far enough to avoid spooking him, but close enough for Corona to reach him quickly if he got out of hand.
Henderson stepped outside and Corona caught the edge of the door before it could close. She paused for a few seconds, pulled it open and ducked through. She found Henderson disappearing around the corner to the left, heading for the alley behind the club.
Corona peeked around the corner and saw him following Nori into the alley. She moved aside to give Jack an unobstructed view.
Nori leaned against the wall, opened her purse and dug around inside, pretending not to see Henderson approaching her. But once he got within five feet of her, she lost her nerve and backed away from him.
"G...get away from me!" Nori turned to run.
Henderson grabbed her arm. "Hey, wait a minute. I just wanna get to know you a little better." He slid his free hand under her shirt.
She screamed and tried to push him away, then wrenched her arm out of his grasp. She screamed again and turned to run, but he reached out to grab her, clamping one hand onto her arm and the other onto the lapel of her coat.
"Wait just a minute! Don't be in such a hurry. I just want to--"
"Let me go!" Nori lunged away from him, but couldn't break his grip. "Let me go! Let me go!"
He covered her mouth with his hand, muffling her screams. "Quiet. That's right. Don't make a scene, now."
Jack drew his gun and flipped the safety off.
"You get all that?" Corona whispered.
"Yeah," Jack answered through clenched teeth. "Take care of him before I blow his fucking head off."
Corona strode over to Henderson. She clamped her hand onto his left shoulder and squeezed. He cried out and let go of Nori. Corona spun him around to face her, grabbed his throat and lifted him off the ground. His eyes almost popped out of their sockets. He clawed and pried at her talons, but couldn't budge them.
"Better go back to your friends," she said to Nori. "You don't want to see this."
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Other Book Links for Fred Kern:
Fifteen Minutes: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003GIRE2U
Elsewhere Vol. 1 - Displaced: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B27G0WW
Elsewhere Vol. 2 - Future Shock: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B2G81DE
Elsewhere Vol. 3 - Dead Rising: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B3I4AG8
Elsewhere Vol. 4 - Lab Rats: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B4XHOR4
Elsewhere Vol. 5 - Reunion: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B5NP6K0
Elsewhere Vol. 6 - Rough Ride: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BGZCZSS
Elsewhere Vol. 7 - Transitory Ataraxis: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ETJ12M8
Freelancers (Mass Effect): https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7443161/1/Mass-Effect-Freelancers
Freelancers: A Personal War: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10463045/1/Freelancers-A-Personal-War
Game-Changer (Transformers Prime): https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7187985/1/Transformers-Prime-GameChanger
Rematch (Transformers Prime): https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7479137/1/Transformers-Prime-Rematch
Enemy of my Enemy (Transformers Prime): https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8560078/1/Transformers-Prime-Enemy-of-my-Enemy
Harbinger (Transformers Prime): https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9512800/1/Transformers-Prime-Harbinger