Thursday, December 13, 2012

Salvage Operations

I have a habit of starting projects, working on them for a while, then putting them aside for a time.  The reasons for putting the projects aside vary from project to project.  Sometimes, I didn't spend enough time working out the plot line, so I have to stop and figure out what happens in the remainder of the project.  Sometimes, I get distracted by another project and just lose track of others.  Sometimes, I just get bored with an idea.

A little while ago, I had been working on a novel about a shape shifter who worked as an investigator and bodyguard.  I had put a lot of time into the race, known as the Children of Li'jha, giving them limits on their ability to shape change.  I also looked at some things that bothered me about shape changers I'd seen over the years, in particular Maya from Space 1999 and Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

With Maya, the main things that bothered me were, what happened to her clothes and equipment?  Was her clothing part of her body, or was it affected by whatever process allowed her to change form.  And how could a being the size and mass of a human being shrink down to the size of a mouse?  What happened to all that extra mass?  Was she shunting mass into a pocket dimension or was that the heaviest mouse in existence?

While Odo addressed the clothing question (his clothing was actually part of his body), there was still the question of his commbadge.  Was he duplicating the complex internal structure of the device?  And where did the power source come from?  Was he creating a fully charged battery?  How?

With all this in mind, I put some limits on the Children.  There is an upper and lower limit to the shapes they can assume, they can't duplicate complex technology and the certainly can't form a battery.  To put it in terms of Farscape, my main character, Dari Loq, could easily mimic Aeryn or Crichton.  She could mimic Chiana (a shorter, more slender form) but she'd be hard pressed to mimic D'Argo (a much bigger form).  There's no way she could mimic Rygel (a very small form).  She can simulate jewelry but has to wear an actual watch.


I had started working on a novel about Dari, titled The Shape of the Truth.  It began with Dari trying to find another of her people on a space station, someone who's been accused of murder.  From here, it went to Dari's home world then followed her as she and a couple of other characters tried to figure out who was responsible for the death of 5000 members of Dari's face who had colonized another planet.  For a while, I felt very good about the project.

After working on it for a time, I began having second thoughts about the first half of the novel.  While I thought it would be a good idea to show Dari doing her job, it really wasn't fitting with the second half.  So I put it aside until I could figure out how to make the two different stories work together.

Three years later...

While looking through some old files last night, I found the part of the novel I had written. I realized that the first half of the story, the part about Dari's missing person search, was a complete story that just needed a little love.

So I printed out the completed chapters (editing out the parts that foreshadowed the other story line) and have started an aggressive edit of the completed story.  I'm keeping the title, "The Shape of the Truth", for the shorter work.  I'll come up with a new title for the second plot line...whenever I get back to it.

I should be able to get through this quickly, while continuing to work on Before the Dawn, "The Fault Lies Not..." and "Intermezzo" (the last  story of A Bright Symmetry).  It's only a little over 16,000 words, so it shouldn't take long.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Time For A Plug, I Think...

Time for a plug, I think...

Mira Frayne thought she was going to make a change in her life, to try and make a better life for herself. Her life did change but not in any way she expected. She learns there is more to the world that she ever believed, a discovery she will deal with far into the future.


Available on Lulu -

Also available on iTunes -

Also available on NOOK -

Friday, November 16, 2012

...And Another Market...

With Eyes Open... is now listed on Barnes & Noble's NOOK Marketplace. It took a while, but I'm sure the wait will be worth it.

Find it here:

It can also be found in iTunes Market:

...and, of course, on Lulu:

Now I really have to learn about marketing an ebook without spamming everyone I know.

Monday, November 5, 2012

11/05/12 - A Bright Symmetry - Continued Progress

I've finished writing the concluding piece of A Bright Symmetry, titled "...and Forever".  It addresses a point or two raised earlier in the collection, bringing it to a hopeful and satisfying conclusion.

There's still one last piece I have to write, a short piece that bridges the six month gap between "Really Real" (yes, I still need a new title for this one) and "The Arc of Heaven".  There were some points that came up during an editing pass of "The Arc of Heaven" that I feel should be addressed.  So I'll be working on a short piece titled "Intermezzo".

So as of now, the word count looks like this:  "Only Time..." 1967; "A God to Dance With" 7724; "Really Real" 4232; "Intermezzo" 0; "The Arc of Heaven" 18306; "Interlude" 6935; "...and Forever" 1798.  This brings the entire collection to 40962.  Half the length of a novel but that's okay.  Since this is going to be published as an ebook, like With Eyes Open..., I'm not too concerned about length.

This has actually been a good year, writing wise.  With the completion of "...and Forever", I've now completed five stories, which is more than I accomplished in previous years.  Yes, I backtracked on Before the Dawn, but I'm feeling good about it, and fully expect to be able to finish the novel once I finish the editing pass I'm doing now.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

With Eyes Open... Plug

Mira Frayne wanted to change her life - but found more than she expected. With Eyes Open...  Available on Lulu, as well as on Apple's iBookstore.

Still waiting to hear about Barnes & Noble's NOOK market.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


My first ebook,With Eyes Open..., is now available on Lulu and Apple's iBookstore.

Mira Frayne wanted to change her life - but found more than she expected. With Eyes Open...  Available on Lulu

Hopefully, it'll be available in Barnes & Nobles'  NOOK Market.

(I really have to learn about self-promotion.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another Market...

With Eyes Open... is now listed in Apple's iBookstore.  So all you iPhone, iPad and Mac users can now find it there.

(I knew it was being reviewed for inclusion there but I wanted to wait until I actually saw it listed  before I said anything about it.)

Now I just have to wait for it to be reviewed for Barnes & Noble's NOOK Market.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My First Shot At Epublishing...

Not having any success getting the stories published with traditional publishing, I've decided to take a different route.

Now, yes, I have had stories published via the more traditional methods, that is, I write the story, make sure it's as perfect as I can get it then send it to an editor to decide if it's worthy of publication or not.  However, after getting two published in 2005, and two more published in 2008, I started looking into alternatives.

Enter Lulu.

For this first project, I took two stories, "With Eyes Open..." and it's sequel, "A Voice in the Darkness", and put them together under one title, With Eyes Open... (Original, I know.)  After editing the stories again, and making sure the project fit all of Lulu's formatting requirements (which seemed to take longer than the actual writing of the stories), I submitted it.  'Course, then I had to decide on a price.  I kept it low, since it's only two stories.

Now it's up and ready to go.

If there's any interest, here's the link:

Now I need to get to work on the next project, four full-length stories plus three shorter pieces that frame the longer stories.

Monday, October 1, 2012

09/30/12 - Progress and Plans

The Prologue for A Bright Symmetry, "Only Time...", is now finished.  It's just a quick piece that introduces Scott and Zoe before "A God to Dance With".  It also ends with a What The Fuck moment.  (Okay, the formal name for it is foreshadowing.)  While sitting in a restaurant with Scott, Georges and Brynna, Zoe hears someone say goodbye to her, then Scott sees a woman who reminds him of a long dead friend.  This is resolved at the end of "Interlude".

That leaves me with two short pieces left to write:  "Intermezzo", which bridges the six month gap between "Really Real" and "The Arc of Heaven"; and the Epilogue, "...and Forever", which calls back to something Zoe says in "Really Real".  Hopefully I'll be able to get those done quickly.

So as of right now, the word count is...

"Only Time..." - 1967 words; "A God to Dance With" - 7724 words; "Really Real" - 2331 words; "Intermezzo" - 0 words: "The Arc of Heaven" - 18,306 words; "Interlude" - 6395 words; "...and Forever" - 0 words.  The total word count is 37,263 words.

I've been thinking about my other stories.  I'm thinking now of possibly bundling "With Eyes Open..." and it's sequel, "A Voice in the Darkness" together.  It'll be a little short, but since I'm planning on going through epublishing, that won't be a problem.  I just have to decide if I want to use just the two stories or if I want to add something else.  A title for the new project would be good, too.

Then the rest of the stories would be bundled together into their own anthology, titled From My Cluttered Mind.

So many to carry them out.

Monday, September 3, 2012

09/02-03/2012: That's a lot of typing...

So last night, Sunday 09/02/2012, I started typing "Interlude", the next completed story in the A Bright Symmetry anthology.  Now, I didn't type continuously, rather took some breaks, did some laundry.  Still, around 4:30 on the morning of 09/03/2012, I finished the story.  "Interlude" is 6935 words long.

That's a lot of typing.

Still, it did give me time to think, plan and ponder.  I had been wondering if the last planned story for the anthology, titled "Being", actually did fit in with the rest of the stories.  There's an arc that runs through the first six stories, starting with "Only Time..." and ending a year later, at the end of "Interlude".  The last story, "...and Forever", puts a period on that sentence.  "Being" doesn't fit in with that, seeing as it take place a few years after "Interlude".

So I've come to the decision that "Being" won't be in the anthology.  I may write it later on, but not right now.  Instead, along with "Only Time..." and "...and Forever", I'm going to write a short piece, for the moment titled "Intermezzo", a short piece that bridges the six month gap between "Really Real" and "The Arc of Heaven".  It addresses some things that nagged at me while working on "The Arc of Heaven".  For example, how did the expedition come about?  Yes, Scott needed to get out to the edge of the galaxy, where Zoe's people live, but he could've done on his own.  How did the Science Directorate get involved, and why was there an ambassador along for the ride?  It is mentioned in "The Arc of Heaven" that the Science Directorate had been watching Scott and Zoe from a distance for a little while, based on the reports filed after "A God to Dance With" and "Really Real".  Perhaps they approached Scott, proposed a more formal expedition, which would include an ambassador to negotiate with a new race.  Scott's insistence on using Arcadia and her ship could've been a sticking point.


Anyway, the current word count is:  01 "Only Time..." (not started yet); 02 "A God to Dance With: (7724 words); 03 "Really Real" (needs a new title, 2331 words); 04 "Intermezzo" (not started yet); 05"The Arc of Heaven" (18306 words); 06 "Interlude" (needs a new title, 6935 words); 07 "...and Forever" (not started yet).

As of right now, the whole project is 35296 words.  I'm not really concerned with the total length on this project; the research I've done has shown me there are publishers, both traditional and epublishing, who'll at least consider a shorter work.  We'll see how it goes.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Progress 08/31/2012

Despite some confusion (never send a character back in time and have him watch's confusing), there's still progress to be made.

With the completion of this story, which is number four of the anthology A Bright Symmetry, I'm one step closer to finishing the project.  There's one last original story to write, then the prologue and epilogue.

As of right now, the status of the stories is like this:  Prologue ("Only Time...", not started); "A God to Dance With" (complete. no other editing); "Really Real" (draft 2 complete, needs a new title); "The Arc of Heaven" (draft 2 complete); "Interlude" (draft 2 complete, needs a new title); "Being" (not started); Epilogue ("...and Forever", not started).

Of course, there's a lot of typing that has to be done.  It's a dull and tedious task that I'm not looking forward to.  I enjoy writing but I hate typing.

I'll post a word count when I get everything typed up.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Memories of Light" - Channeling T.S. Eliot

I've always been prone to depression. Most of the time, it's not bad, though sometimes it gets really bad. I mean really know, life sucks...might as well end it all bad.

I went through a long stretch like that back in the late '80's - early '90's.  That depression, along with my long time love of T.S. Eliot, led to this very long poem.  It was meant to evoke a feeling like Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock".  I leave it up to you to decide if I succeeded or not.

"Memories Of Light"
(With heartfelt apologies to T.S. Eliot)

…So come with me then, dear one,
Come with me, and we'll walk through
The darkened side streets, the cold, dark, black alleys.
And we'll see what we can see:
The faceless basket people walking in circles,
Muttering to no one;
The drunks curled up on corners
Arguing with lamp posts.
I can understand them all, understand them all.
Don't ask me how it is.
Just come with me. Let us go.
The night moves on.

Above, the cloud-filled sky breaks, revealing the Moon,
Like a massive eye, watching as the fog rolls in from the sea,
Hiding everything behind shades of gray.
And like something from a horror show,
The fog pokes its head into the hidden corners,
Sliding beneath the curtained windows, lit from behind.
Stalking like a masked killer, searching for a victim.
Let us follow it and see if we can find
The homeless people and the places only they know.

I don't think they would have us,
Even if we found them.

In the darkness of the night
You turn your face toward me.
Your face, with your eyes too brown to be real,
The seemingly permanent smile.
You ask me who I am, who am I behind my face.
There is nothing special about me.
I am not a prince, not born to lead.
I simply follow, always behind.
Never up with the rest, somewhere in the back.
No officer, just another enlisted man.
I am a poet in secret.
I scratch my words onto paper
Then hide them away before they can be found.
I create people when there are none around.
I am just a man,
More screwed over than screwed up.
Just a man trapped on The Island,
More by unthinking actions
Than uncaring Fate.
Fit to serve as a court jester
To bring about a laugh, but not to join in on it.
I won't rule, can't rule.
To be ruled is my place.

I don't think anyone would have me as a ruler,
Even if I had the desire.

Ah, love, will it all be worth it, all worthwhile?
After the days of books and papers, of tests and lectures,
After the nights spent together, brown hair falling over a bare shoulder;
After the quiet moans and sighs?
Will it be worth it,
After my brain is reduced to liquid, and my body a crumpled mass on the floor?
When I'm gone, will they cut me apart
And find the words "I love you" scrawled upon my heart?

But we still have time, we still have time.
Time for the two of us to learn what we don't know.
Time for you to learn of me,
And time for me to learn of you.
Time enough for discoveries and tragedies,
Hopes and prayers, daydreams and fantasies.

Shall I measure out my life in cups of steaming coffee?
Shall I dilute it with cream? Sweeten it with sugar?
Shall I be like a butterfly, pinned beneath glass for display?
How do I begin to look back at my days? How can I laugh at them?

Memories are the last defense against Time.
And even they give in eventually.

If we should part, would we remember all we have learned?
The happiness, the laughter, the moans and sighs.
Will you remember what you learned of me?
My memories of you will remain;
At my fingertips, the feel of your skin, your hair;
In my mind, your eyes, your body, your voice.
You tell me you will never leave me
(As your eyes drift down the street),
And that you'll always want me
(As boredom creeps into your voice.)

And what should I do?
You tell me I should change my life.
So what should I do?
Climb into my time machine,
Travel back and live my years over again?
There is nothing I could change, even if I could.
(Though there are some sins I do regret.)
What should I do? What would you have me do?

You shake your head in the darkness,
Pull closer to me and say,
"That isn't what I was talking about."

Maybe I was better off before,
Just me and the solitude.
Maybe if I had taken a break,
Tasted life, not rushed on with school,
Things might have been different.

What happened to the people I knew in high school?
Around me each day, they filled my life.
Most of them laughed at me,
Tried their best to put me down.
Now, after the years have passed, I'm still here.
Most of them can't be found.
Did they settle down, become civilized?
Or were they erased by modern chemistry?
I don't think I want to know,
One way or the other.

I should have tried harder,
Instead of not trying at all.

"Are you all right?"

I'm fine, dear one. Quite happy with myself the way I am.
Even though I sometimes think I should have been
A sea creature, scuttling across the bottom of the ocean.

Should I try to make the universe aware of me,
Call attention to myself?
Then have the universe shrug in indifference,
Tell me it doesn't care.
Should I dare disturb the universe?
How should I begin?
How should I presume?

I sometimes wonder if the universe
Is aware of us at all.

"What are your dreams?
What lingering wishes do you have?"

I want to walk along the sands
Of shores found on planets far away.
I want to talk with someone
Born under a different star.
I want to talk with someone like me,
But quite unlike me.
I want to feel the tender touch of a lover more than once.
I want to hear someone say
"I will be with you through all, after all is said and done."

I think I was born three hundred years too soon.
Then I could boldly go into the unknown,
Where no one has ever been before.

Memories are the last defense against Time.
And even they give in eventually.

In order to have a past, you have to be alive.

In AD1983, I tried to get away
From the world I knew best.
I brought along what was good
And ignored what was left.
But in AD1985, my journey dead-ended;
I stumbled and fell.
Now I've bounced back.
But have I instead
Bounced over the edge and into an abyss?

I'm not the man I was then.
I steadied my hands, returned to what I once knew.
And still the solitude remains,
Hanging over me, waiting for me to get lost in it.

Would you have me change myself,
Just to eliminate the solitude?
Would it be worth it, after all is said and done,
To make myself over into a brand new person,
To change all that I am?
Would it be worth it,
When I walk down the street in my new wardrobe,
(They will say, "How overweight he is,")
With my hair combed fashionably neat,
As I listen to the fashionable music,
And go to the fashionable bars.

Would you have me become what I despise?
Just like everyone else,
No difference between me and everyone else,
No individuality.

You pull closer to me, rest your head on my shoulder
And say, "That is not what I was talking about.
That isn't what I meant, at all."

I think we have lingered too long
On what lies within me.

We have lingered too long here on the street,
Surrounded by the fog (which reminds me of an angry god),
And watched by the full moon (an eye afflicted by cataracts).

I think, dear one, it's time we moved on.

Time has passed us by.

And as the sun travels across the sky
We still wish and dream, hope and pray.

Until the sun sets again, and we fade away.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Monday, August 20, 2012

"My Soul to Keep"

I'm really anxious to get into this story but there's going to be a lot of work to be before I can really get into it. I have to make sure I have the history worked out. By my character's reckoning one year is three hundred days long and they think the world was created six hundred thirty-five years ago. What they don't know (that is, they're not allowed to remember) is that every one hundred sixty years the entire population is killed and the habitat they live in is scrubbed clean. A new population is cloned and a new scenario is started. They alternate between cycles of war and peace. So yeah...there's a lot I have to plan out. I also have to figure out what my alien race looks like. I'm thinking of a cross between an octopus, a jelly fish and a starfish. Now I just have to do it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Some Poems From The Past...

I used to write a lot of poetry.  There was a point, when I was going to Weight Watchers, that I would write a haiku before every weekly meeting.  Writing poetry always helped me sort out my emotions (and I was an emotional wreck for a while...more than I am today).

So I've decided to start putting up some of the poems here, while I continue to make progress on the stories.

So here's the first two, written for specific people.  "For Lisa":  Lisa was a childhood friend that I've lost touch with, much to my disappointment.  Wonder if I can find a way to locate her...

BTW...Long Island is where I grew up.

As for "Drifting Star"...well, let's just say that Simone, the woman it was written for, was and still is...special to me.

"For Lisa"

Long Island
Can be cold
In the winter.
A frosty wind
Blowing off the Sound
Tossing around leaves and debris,
Depositing them
A place is open.
And when it snows,
It can be so lovely
The way the snow
Forms drifts
Along side cars and fences.
The gentle rain of spring
Sounds like your laughter,
And I remembered you.
As the leaves
Turn from green to brown,
The red in between
Reminds me
Of your hair.
And as I sit there,
Watching the rain
And viewing the leaves,
I remember you
And realize
That I miss you.

Top of Form

Bottom of Form
"Drifting Star"

My life was lit up by a drifting star
That had been there all the time.
(Odd that I had never seen it before.)
Each of us wanders through this life
As the world wanders through space
Where there is nothing but darkness
And nothing to do but drift alone.
(And being alone is the worst way to be.)

You appeared suddenly, without a moment's warning.
The task you chose was hard, but you succeeded;
You made me talk when there was nothing to talk about.
You seemed ready to accept me as I wasAnd accepted what I was free to give.
You listened to me and I to you
And we shared some time together
Just being ourselves.
(And being yourself is the hardest thing to do.)

Around us lies the entire world,
And beyond that, the whole universe.
I don't have the words to say how I feel.
You made me feel good for more than a day.
I just want to thank you;
You brought to me a little piece of happiness
That I never thought I could own.
(And being happy is the best way to be.)

(For Simone, wherever you go.)


"For Lisa" and "Drifting Star" (c)2012 Michael P. Dunn
Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oh Brynna...Choices...Choices...

So, after spending most of the day trying to continue working on Before the Dawn, I find myself faced with choices...

I could 1) continue struggling along with it, getting, quite honestly, nowhere with it; 2) let it sit for a while until the story line comes back to me; 3) write it off as a failed project and forget about the over sixty-five thousand words that I've already written; 4) go back to the beginning and start over.

After thinking about it, I'm going to go with number 4.  I like the characters too much to abandon the project.  And the sixty-five thousand words I've already written are good.  The story works until I get to Chapter 23.  This has worked before with other projects that I've gotten stuck on, gone back to the beginning, started over and finished the project.

So it's back to the beginning, back to 11 October 2012 and go at it again.

And we go...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fear of Ending Without Ending...

...or as Spock would say, "Fascinating".

Sometimes, when I'm getting close to the end of a story, I start to feel a bit of reluctance.  Usually, it's because I've spent so much time living with the characters, essentially playing God with their lives, that I don't want to let them go.  Other times, it's a nagging fear that, once the story's finished, there won't be any more stories to tell.  Yes, I know it's an irrational fear - my imagination is constantly working, coming up with characters and story ideas - but it still pops up every now and again.

I'm feeling it right now...and I'm not even near the end of the story I'm working on.

Today, I'm working on the second draft of "The Arc of Heaven", the second sequel to "A God to Dance With".  It was written before I ever started the first sequel, the soon to be retitled "Really Real".  I'm going to put these three, along with two others, into an anthology title A Bright Symmetry.  Once all the stories are where I want them to be, I'll try to get it published, either traditional publishing or epublishing.

As I said, I'm working on the second draft of "The Arc of Heaven".  It's not a complete rewrite, because at least 95% of the first draft is remaining.  But I'm a better writer now than I was when I wrote the first draft, a number of years ago.  So things are being cleaned up, a few names are being changed, the description of a character is being done over.

The thing is, I'm getting close to the end of the notebook I'm using for "The Arc of Heaven".  Today or tomorrow, I'll be changing to a new notebook so I can finish draft two of "The Arc of Heaven", then start work on the third sequel, "Interlude". 

That nagging, neurotic voice in the back of my head is saying there's nothing else to tell once I get through this notebook...even though there'll be at least a third of "The Arc of Heaven" left, then "Interlude," followed by "Being".

I sigh deeply and head back to the notebook...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Better Living Through Shortcuts...Or Tell The Damn Story & Worry 'Bout The Rest In Editing!

Usually, when I reach a sticking point, a point where a story gets hung up by details, I'll side-step around it, leave a red star and a note telling me what's supposed to happen at that point.  This usually happens when I have to describe a character or a setting.  For example, in Before The Dawn, there's a conversation that takes place in Mason's office.  It's the point where I was introducing one of the federal agents, Special Agent Sebastian Eckes.

The scene was taking longer than I had thought it should because I was dwelling on Eckes's appearance and how the office was decorated.  So rather than dwell on both of those descriptions, I put a red asterisk where Eckes's description would be so I can put in a description of who he looks like.  (Yes, I have a specific person in mind for Eckes.  No, I'm not going to tell you who it is.)  I did the same for the description of the office.  This let me get through the scene and continue telling the story.

Of course, I got hung up later on by my inability to write a believable action sequence, but that's a story for another day.

I've run into the same problem in "The Fault Lies Not".  It had been cruising along quite nicely, and I was confident that I would be ending the story soon.  Then I ran into a problem.  I had to have my main character, EarthGov Security Special Agent Lin Sillo, kidnapped by the killer she and her partner have been searching for.  There would then be a scene in which information is provided to Vincent, Lin's partner, by agents of another government, and a scene where the killer gives Lin information that's counter to what Vincent's been told.

But how to do that?  There's a scene where the eighth victim is found, then an info-dump which leads to the search of an apartment and the discovery of the ninth and tenth victims.  Now, the apartment is in a tall skyscraper, so I had first thought about having the killer show up then be chased to the roof.  Lin engages him in hand-to-hand, as she did earlier in the story, but ends up being dragged off the roof by the killer.  They get caught in specialized fields designed to catch jumpers, Lin's rendered unconscious and she's carried off.

It just wasn't working.

I thought about maybe having Lin confront the killer in the basement of the building, lose and get carted off.  I was having trouble with that because, as I said, I have trouble writing action sequences.  I've been trying to figure out how to transition between these scenes.  Getting from Lin's scene, which is told from her point of view, to the scene with Vincent, a scene which Lin can't know anything about.

After much deliberation, I think I've come up with a solution.

It's a slight variation of what I usually do when I get stuck.  Rather than just put in a red asterisk and a note, I had Lin ask the unseen person she's telling the story to if he/she wants to hear all the sordid details about how she ended up being the killer's hostage.  She then says she has to refer to Vincent's report, which gives me leave to shift back to third person and write the scene with Vincent and the other agents, then go back to Lin's first person point of view and continue the story.

This will allow me to continue telling the story, while following my usual mantra:  JUST TELL THE DAMN STORY!  Finish the story and worry about fixing the details later.

Feeling confident about the story again, and about writing in general again.  Hopefully, this will help me get back on track and back to writing on a more regular basis.