Thursday, April 18, 2019

Perilous Siege...C. P. Odom

This is the last stop on C. P. Odom's Perilous Siege Blog Tour. I'm glad to have C. P. visit again. It has been too long since his last time here. I believe it was in 2015 during the blog tour for Pride, Prejudice and Secrets

Have you been following the blog tour? There have been some great posts and interviews. Has this book caught your interest? It certainly has caught mine. I'm fascinated with Major McDunn and his appearance in the world of Pride and Prejudice. I want to know more. How about you? 

Colin, I give you the floor!


Hello fellow Austenites. Today I’m doing a guest post for Janet Taylor’s More Agreeably Engaged blog in support of my fourth novel, Perilous Siege. I want to thank Janet for hosting me here, and I also want to give kudos to Claudine Pepes for arranging everything.
This is the last scheduled stop on the tour, and the topics have ranged from a book review to a long post discussing the 3D images I generated to a vignette about an interaction with Darcy and Elizabeth at the Pemberley ball that got ripped out of the text as I struggled to write that intense event in a way that satisfied me. So now we come to this last stop, and the question in my mind was, what do I write about? What would people who might read this novel want to see? What would interest them?
So after considerable thought and a serious evaluation of the alternatives, I decided to . . . ramble.
That’s right. I haven’t a clue what would be a good topic. So how about if I go where the muse takes me?
Firstly, for those who wonder where authors get their ideas (aside from Hollywood script writers, whose answer seems to be, “Let’s re-make things we made that were successful.” Yuck), my best place for ideas seems to be during my morning shower. I’m still trying to wake up, the cobwebs are only slowly dissipating from my mind, and I must be in a receptive, free-association state. That’s certainly what happened with Perilous Siege.
The thought that popped into my head more than three years ago was, “What if I could go back to the world of Pride and Prejudice and be one of the other characters?” Not a character who has anything to affect the story, but a third-person who could watch things happen with a modern-day perspective. As brain-storming goes, ideas started popping into my head, and the first was to make it possible by a variation on The Time Machine. Of course, that one got dismissed immediately. It wasn’t because fictional time traveling isn’t a viable concept (in fiction, at least, though Einstein says it’s impossible), but because even with a working WayBack Machine, you can’t go back to a time that never existed (except in Austen’s fertile imagination).
That then led to another science fiction concept, that of parallel universes. Ah, I said to myself, with an infinity of parallel universes resulting from different outcomes in history (the South won the Civil War, the American Revolution never took place, etc.), there would be one world where Austen’s characters lived and breathed.
Now we’re cooking, I told myself.
But I had to get my modern-day observer back to the world of that interests from the modern-day world. I briefly considered some kind of interdimensional shuttle such as used by H. Beam Piper in his Paratime series, where the Paratime Police protected the secret of paratime travel. But I really couldn’t see how that would get me what I wanted.
At almost the same time, I remembered Witch World, a science fiction novel written by Andre Norton (really Alice Mary Norton), in which the protagonist, a black marketer in the years after World War 2, is fleeing from contract killers set on his trail. The Siege Perilous was the means of transporting him to the Witch World, a completely fanciful world in which female witches make magic.
Aha! I thought. That’s how I’ll get my character to a similarly fanciful Regency England in which fictional character roamed the country!
However, it was easier said than done. I didn’t want my character to be a criminal of sorts, as was the male protagonist in Witch World. I wanted him to be admirable enough to form a friendship with Fitzwilliam Darcy so that he might get to view all the events in Pride and Prejudice through modern eyes. But the Siege Perilous of legend was supposed to have disappeared when Arthur’s knights dispersed after his death. My modern-day observer couldn’t go looking for it. There would be no ads on the internet to come be transported to the world where you belonged for only $1,999.99. He had to happen upon it by accident, and, since I wanted to stir the plot with the differences between the United States and Regency England, I had to get him to England. As well as in trouble, so he would take the one-way trip through the Siege.
So, since post-Apocalyptic scenarios have been flourishing lately (at least, judging by the programs on Netflix my wife sometimes watches when I’m trying to get to sleep), I decided to put my character into an end-of-the world scenario in which he was one of the Marines sent to England sometime in the future to save it from barbarian invaders. I know it’s a stretch of the imagination, but the whole setup was going to be completed in the Prologue. He’d get transported to the alternate world of Austen’s Regency after the last of his Marine unit was overrun and he was grievously wounded. With virtually everyone dead, then the priest whose family had cared for the Siege after it was returned to Cornwall upon the demise of Camelot could emerge from a cave and rescue our wounded observer. He’d be sent on his way at the end of the Prologue, and the first part of the book (about a third) would deal with him finding a place at Pemberley. Then I could get down to the meat of the novel and deal with what happens with Darcy and Elizabeth.
Now, the reader might ask if everything is going to transpire as it did in Austen’s novel. After thinking this over briefly, I didn’t want our observer to see Pride and Prejudice carried out as if the characters were actors reading from a script and performing for his benefit. After all, our observer might throw in a monkey wrench merely by being around. Even if he makes every attempt to refrain from interference, it might not be possible to do so. Since he and Darcy would become friends, he likely would travel with the Darcy family just as Bingley and his sisters did. So I decided to let the character of the various people be much as in canon, but I wouldn’t feel compelled to have them do and say the same things.
In short, there were going to be differences.
I’m not going to say much about the ending except that I came up with how I wanted to end things at about the same time as I started sketching in the plot outline and actually writing the Prologue. So, I ended up with a starting point and I knew how I wanted to end things. Now I just had to flesh out the plot outline to go from start to finish. Piece of cake, right?
Well, not exactly. As in so many cases, the devil is in the details. For example, I had a terrible time figuring out how to write the Pemberley ball sequence. I had about four or five different scenarios, some of them written with some detail, and I didn’t like any of them. I couldn’t figure out how to make them work, whether I stuck to Austen’s plotline or sailed off into the wild blue yonder. On one of my previous blog stops, I collected one of those discarded variations and posted it as a vignette that got snipped from the action.
Anyway, I’d done a fair amount of writing—some sixty thousand words, to be honest—with a lot of in-between stuff consisting of ideas and conflicts with what I had written. So, for the first time since I started writing in this genre, either in fanfiction or for publication, I came face-to-face with the abominable snowman of the writer. The dreaded Writer’s Block!
I’d always known it existed—but for other writers. I knew I was fortunate not to have encountered it. Somehow, when I sat down at my laptop, the words just seemed to flow. My fingers were living a life of their own, and everything was good.
Now my writing muse went into hiding. In my first stop on this blog tour, I wrote of my attempt to jump start my fingers by doing some 3D art to illustrate how I thought various characters and certain scenarios might look. But I also mentioned that this artistic effort didn’t really have much effect. I was stumped.
Plus, right about the same time, my wife came down with a deadly serious kidney infection that got into her bloodstream and almost killed her. She spent a month in the hospital, and she was out of her head for the first four days. It scared me silly. I lost my first wife to cancer, and now I was terrified I might be in the same fix. But things got better, and she eventually came home to recuperate. But it took the next year for her to get to the point where the doctors admitted she was about as close to fully recovered as she was going to get. The critical specialist was her kidney doctor, and he admitted she had suffered some irreversible kidney damage. But he also said she’d die of something else before her kidneys gave out. Not a great prognosis, but one heck of a lot better than what I’d been listening to for a year.
So, from late 2016 to the end of 2017 was a complete wash as far as Perilous Siege was concerned. And, when I tried to sit down at the laptop and pick up the threads of the story, I usually found myself pursuing other avenues. That whole period was when I started building model airplanes, ships, and tanks, something I hadn’t done since I was a teenager. But it kept me busy when Jeanine was sleeping or resting, but I was just a room away if she needed me.
But a solution was on the way, even if I didn’t know it. Around the end of 2017, I’d given my approval for my wife to look for a Rhodesian Ridgeback canine from one of the rescue organizations. She found a nice dog (who’s turned out to be a GREAT dog!), but he was in Texas and was suffering from heartworms. It was August of 2018 before he was cleared to travel, so we set off in our van to pick him up. It was on that trip that I finally defeated my Writer’s Block.
I did all the driving, since my wife still slept a lot during the day. And I really enjoy driving. So, with my wife snoozing away peacefully and the vehicle hard drive playing my musical favorites, I found myself thinking of how I might resolve certain contractions in Perilous Siege. When we stopped for the night in New Mexico, I stayed up long enough to write down what I’d been thinking. This continued for the whole trip to Texas and the whole trip back. I had scores of those little squares of note paper that are in the more economical motels when we got back to Arizona with the hound. (Have I mentioned that Amos has turned out to be the best dog I’ve had in more than forty years?)
I’d talked over some of what I’d considered, and my wife made suggestions. Unfortunately, they were pretty far reaching suggestions which would have turned the book into virtually a science fiction novel, so they didn’t make the cut. But they did make me think, so I was pretty busy getting everything down on paper and then setting out to really write. My fingers were alive again, and I informed Meryton Press that, after an delay of three years, I was finishing up another novel. I turned it in at the end of October, and Debbie Styne and I finished editing it right at the end of February.
So there you probably have more than you wanted to know about what goes on in an author’s mind when he’s putting a book together. I hope I’ve entertained you a bit, and I want to repeat my thanks Janet Taylor for hosting me and Claudine Pepes for managing everything on this blog tour.

Book Description:

What is the Siege Perilous, and how does it affect the lives of
everyone in the Regency universe of Pride & Prejudice?

When a man dressed in bizarre attire suddenly appears
in a field on his Pemberley estate, Fitzwilliam Darcy has little inkling of the many
and startling changes this man’s strange arrival will have on his life, his family’s lives,
and indeed, his whole world.

Mysteriously sent to the Regency world of Pride and
Prejudice, this refugee from a future Armageddon is befriended by Darcy.
How will the presence of Major Edward McDunn influence the events
of Jane Austen’s signature work, especially the tangled courtship between Darcy
and the complex and endearing Elizabeth Bennet?

Author Bio:

I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres
are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading
(and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest
was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife's beloved Jane Austen books
after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have three novels published:
A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014),
and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015).  My fourth novel, Perilous Siege,
was recently published in the second quarter of 2019.

I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family
a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather
strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football
and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly
good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up
building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).

Author Links:

Colin Odom’s Facebook page:  C.P. Odom's Facebook Page
C. P. Odom’s Amazon page:  C.P. Odom's Amazon Page
C. P. Odom’s Goodreads page:  C.P. Odom's Goodreads Page
C. P. Odom’s page on Meryton Press site:  C.P. Odom's Meryton Press Page

Perilous Siege Blog Tour Schedule

April 8 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post
April 10 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Excerpt
April 12 / Austenesque Reviews / Character Interview
April 13 / Just Jane 1813 / Meet C.P. Odom
April 14 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review
April 15 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Excerpt
April 16 / From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette
April 17 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Excerpt
April 18 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post

Congratulations to C. P. Odom for designing the artwork for his cover. From what I've been told, that's a first at Meryton Press. A special thanks to Claudine Pepe for organizing this blog tour and to Meryton Press for the giveaway.

Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of Perilous Siege.
Thank you for your support with these giveaways.
The giveaway runs until midnight, April 21, 2019.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This books sounds so intriguing! I just finished another book of yours and I like your style!

    1. I hope you enjoy it when you do read it. I finally got my wife to read more than just a few excerpts. She announced last night she had now read every word of Perilous Siege and posted a 5-star review on Amazon! Ya gotta love a faithful wife!

    2. Thanks for stopping by Mazee1.

  2. This story sounds so interesting it is on my wishlist. So glad your wife is well now. I cannot imagine how scary that time was.

    1. It certainly re-orients your priorities in a hurry! But I figured I was just losing some time - I didn't expect a concrete barrier when I finally dusted off the old laptop.

    2. Hi Debbie, Thanks for popping in and commenting. Good luck.

  3. Interesting to learn how it came about. I hope that I'll be able to keep it in mind as I read it.

    1. Thanks for your interest, Ginna. I hope you enjoy it as much as my dear wife did! I was rather surprised that she couldn't put it down!

    2. Thanks, Ginna, and good luck.

  4. The book sounds wonderful. I've enjoyed following the blog tour. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    1. It's great to hear that you've enjoyed following the blog tour. I have enjoyed it. Good luck.

  5. The blog tour has indeed been a ride! Thanks for being along for every stop! You have to have a good chance in the giveaway.

  6. Janet, thanks for hosting me today on the last stop on the tour. For those of you who don't know, Janet and I have been working informally on various aspects of Perilous Siege. She was very helpful when I tentatively shared some of my 3D art with her, and she passed those images on to Ellen Pickels, who was assigned the role as my cover artist. That's how my images got used for the front and back cover of the book. She also does cover art herself, with the occasional assistance of her son, who is an absolute whiz at Daz Studio (which is the 3D Modeling software I also use). She played middle-man to a lot of my questions, passing questions and answers back and forth. Thanks for everything, Janet, and not just this tour!

    1. It was a pleasure, Colin. I had been looking forward to it. I as happy to play middle man and you're welcome. I thought it was neat to find someone else interested in the 3D art.

  7. Interesting to learn how the book was born. Congrats, Colin!

    1. Thanks, Sophia, Rose, for commenting. Good luck.

  8. Love your work! Thank you for the giveaway.

  9. Such an intriguing storyline--sounds like another wonderful book, Mr. Odom!

    1. It does sound intriguing. Glad you stopped by, Regina.

  10. Thanks for the giveaway - I'd definitely like a chance to win a copy.

  11. It is a terrific behind-the-scenes story on how your new book came to be written. Thank you for sharing it, Colin. Your hard work certainly pays off. Btw I had a great time following the tour.

  12. Hi Sylvia. Wasn't this a good account of how the book came to be. Mr. Odom made it personal and real. I liked reading it too. It was a good blog tour and I enjoyed following it as well. Good luck!

  13. That was a fascinating post!! I hope your wife is doing well and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are lovely dogs...not that I have owned one. We were Whippet owners and will be again someday in the future! As for Perilous Seige I do look forward to reading it as 'outside the box' does appeal to me! Congratulations!

    1. Hi Carol. Glad to hear from you. I think one of my rescue babies has some Whippet in him. He's a cutie! Good luck in the giveaway.

  14. A very interesting idea, I'm looking forward to reading it

    1. Hi Kate. Hope you are doing well. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  15. Ouch! That writer's block can be mean. It's cool the way you were able to recover from it. Kudos to you and your wife for adopting a difficult case. I'm glad you're happy with him. I hope you enjoyed your blog tour. Janet's place is the best place to end, is it not? Best wishes!