Archaeology. Here is an archaeological report showing Botai DNA in a larger context: Article on Genetic history of admixture across inner Eurasia; Botai shows R1b-M73
Books. I finished writing my seventh novel this week, which is a prequel to my 6-novel Raising Up Pharaoh series. Since I edit each day’s writing at the beginning of the next day’s session, this is far beyond a first draft. More importantly, this is my first novel as an experienced and trained author. A year ago, I knew my general story line, which is hidden in this blog’s earlier posts.
A superstar author (tens of millions sold) and a great teacher of this art, Jerry B. Jenkins, collected a hundred or so of us and started a program (Your Novel Blueprint) for us to write our next (or first) novel with his guidance. I’m not touting Jerry’s program for compensation, but because it helped me enormously to structure this project in 2017 and complete the writing in 2018. At the beginning of the program, each of us estimated a deadline for completing the first draft and I, supercharged with optimism, targeted July and finished in October.
For the past two years, an erudite and brilliant critic of my work, and lifelong friend, Marilyn Janus, has completed an abridgment of the first three novels in the R.U.P. series and is well into the fourth. She’ll likely complete the 6th next year, and when she’s done I’ll replace the original R.U.P. series with this 2nd edition.
I wrote the first draft of the R.U.P. series during 2002-2006, at which time I was a neophyte author and a “pantser,” which is one of two basic writing styles. Pantsers go where their characters take them, and writing that way is a lot of fun because every morning I’d sit down at the PC and say “beam my up, Scotty” and enter into the imaginary scene where I’d left my characters the day before. Great fun, but I wasted a lot of time following “rabbit trails” (a C. S. Lewis term). I edited and then had a top professional final edit the sextet and I self-published on Amazon in 2014, at which time I started this website and began posting weekly.
Writing this blog has led me to go deeper into the prehistory of Western Asia, especially in Mesopotamia, Egypt, South Asia, and the Caucasian Steppes, but also into prehistory elsewhere, particularly in Mesoamerica and South America. As my research deepened, the story line of my current novel took shape. When Jerry came along with the “Your Novel Blueprint” program, I was cocked and loaded, and his program was my catalyst. I was no longer a pantser, for I knew where I was going in advance, and I wrote a short summary of each chapter just before starting it.
Last week, Nancy and I drove to Franklin, Tennessee for a one-day “Your Novel Blueprint” get-together. About a hundred folks showed up, and almost half had completed their novel within the program’s first year. Jerry and his guests spoke on topic. The day ended with an upbeat symphony of compliments showered on Jerry and his staff. Yours truly gave him a shout out.
Over the first two hundred posts, I have developed an insatiable appetite for man’s prehistoric activities in the 5th and 4th millennium BC, which can only be determined from archaeological excavations. Some of the most important discoveries have happened since I started writing in 2002, including the discovery of the huge number of baked clay sling balls used in the Uruk attack and destruction of Hamoukar (3500 BC) and the domestication of the horse in Botai, Kazakhstan (3600 BC).
Life is an adventure, and I have had more than my share. I hope you are enjoying yours, and are thankful for it.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke