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Dylan Cuffy
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Ultimate Nature Island Plusser
Ultimate Nature Island Plusser

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Folks, it's all come down to this: November 3, 2018--or bust.

Yes, you read that right: I have a (patriotically motivated) deadline to meet. (There's your TL/DR, readers.)

After 4.5 years of false starts, scattershot drafts, retool attempts, soundtrack stockpiling, and story considerations...I now have all of 18 months to deliver at least 50-75% of Unspooled, Book 1, or the first 15-20 chapters, or the first 100-200 manuscript pages -- whichever goal I can attain. For those outside the Nature Island or Commonwealth Caribbean (or their diaspora), the aforementioned date marks Dominica's 40th anniversary as an independent island nation. (This very fact began to dawn on me during my overnight downtime, earlier this week.)

To recap: The Unspooled series revolves around a long-unseen 1930s film, which two raccoon cousins are determined to find because their late relative appeared in it. As you may see, it's set in a version of Earth where fully dressed, walking and talking mammals substitute humans. (The latter species died out centuries ago, and the domesticated critters slowly took their place until the whole world was repopulated. I recommend Harman/Ising's 1939 MGM short, "Peace on Earth", as reference viewing.)

The six installments planned in the series are separate, yet interconnected. In the first one (currently my focus), a homeless Roseau solenodon's passport falls into the hands of Alfred, the older raccoon cousin, days before summer begins. Alfred's teacher has recently assigned his class an essay on their "Most Interesting Relative", which they must turn in by the start of September. After finding him, the raccoon gradually forms a bond with the solenodon -- first name Maurice -- as they venture on a cruise that takes them (and the raccoon's parents) to Martinique, St. Lucia, and the Grenadian island of Carriacou.

Because he can't think of any relatives to base his vacation essay on, Alfred sticks with Maurice all the way through and hopes no one chides him for that decision. But at Carriacou, things become far more interesting than he bargained for. Whom else should fit the assignment title but his soon-to-be-eleventy great-grandmother, Agatha! Neither he, nor his cousin Sam, had ever heard of her. With barely a month and only a handful of papers, tools, and camera space left, Alfred must make up for what he committed in the first place--or face censure before even the first bell of First Term. Because, like Tod and Copper, like Snake and Frog, some species were never supposed to meet each other.

Unbeknownst to the raccoons, the guests they visit, or much of the townfolk, Maurice has long hidden across Roseau and beyond -- on purpose. He ran into a bunch of hitmen 40 years ago, thus sparking off a decades-long pursuit that involved local police, a TV commercial director, an air pilot who fought in World War II, Cubans at Grenada's Point Salines, a charitable couple who soon divorced over money issues...and more recently, the father of Alfred's lemur friend. If it weren't for natural instincts and the secret weapon in Maurice's teeth...

A few things to take note of here:

1) Solenodons are mole-like creatures endemic to Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles.
2) "Eleventy" is a fancy word for 110, popularised by Tolkien.
3) In Dominica and other islands, the First Term runs from September until December.
4) Roseau is the capital of Dominica, as already stated in past entries.
5) Tod the Fox met Copper the hound dog in a 1981 Disney flick; Snake met Frog in an African folk tale, collected by William Bennett in 1993's excellent Book of Virtues.
6) The last three paragraphs are only a rough sketch based on past and present notes, and details are subject to change over time.

Think I'm getting ahead of myself here, too....

So now I have it all figured out: Spend 4-6 days on an outline of 2,000-2,500 words in the mold of the Masterplots, starting...today. Because I'm also developing a conlang I call Relformaiké (while that name lasts), and a map series for the fictional realm of St. Isabel, West Indies.

Not only that: I'm still tracking the whereabouts of my main characters, whom I refer to as Adanson (after the Marigot manse the organisers in this group hail from). They perform charity concerts for their homeland's benefit and those of other places, as the re.BUILD Ensemble. (As I've already mentioned, they're set to perform at New York's Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.)

Which reminds me: It's about time I revisited the Dixwell Dossier -- at dixwell.referata.com -- just to put the plot details/character roster for that first book there. (Dormant since last summer in lieu of Relformaiké duties.)

Not to mention a serial version remains on this long-gestating project's docket◆ -- as well as the inevitable roundtable at AbsoluteWrite/AW.

And as usual, folks, what I've written above is only scratching the surface. About time I re-invested in Google Docs for real -- and set up a preview queue for this feed soon. The less time I spend preparing epic posts like these, the more room to breathe for everything else.

And...that's a wrap. See you next time with more updates and predictions, and wish me luck as always.

By the way, wouldn't this make a spectacular birthday present? (I myself turn 31 in a couple of months.)

P.S. Wouldn't you believe I began typing after 6:30 a.m.? Yep, that's how long it took.

◆ Eternally delayed since Easter 2014 -- nothing compared to Harlan Ellison's The Last Dangerous Visions, "coming soon" to sci-fi shelves since 1973. No wonder they coined a term I euphemise as "Development Limbo" -- which was never a popular dance craze to begin with. See where I'm going?

(For +Mike Spinak​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, Mrs. +Adriel Wiggins​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Polly Little​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Mac Vogt​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Candace Mountain​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Lisa Cohen​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Ryan Toxopeus​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +John Doe​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Agent Green Strawberry​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ [formerly Rhys], +Mikko Kai​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Franck RABESON​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Zannah L​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Jon Lim​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Jim the Otter​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Jacob Bridenbecker​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Sean Cushing​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Elizabeth Johnson​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +AioxBearru​​​​​​​​​​ [formerly Quontos], +Furryhart the Starcat​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Professor Fennec​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Vandy Prince​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Gwenith Whitford​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Larry Fournillier​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Sam Diggy​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +glyn moody​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Rick Falkvinge​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Piti Yindee​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Nina Paley​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Sylvia Sotuyo​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Jonathan Piercy​​​​​​​​​​​​​, +Dharshanth Kumar​​​​​/Darshanfo, +KENNETH UDUT​​​​​​​​​​​​​​, and +Eli Fennell​​​​​​​​​​​​​​. Pardon if either we haven't met on the Plus or anywhere else in ages, or I overwhelmed you with everything above this space!)​

(Sent via my Galaxy Tab 3)

#MarigotNotebook (#186)

#WhatLiesAground (originally posted May 4)

More on this mighty wind (advisories, tweets, reliable items) next we meet...

along with part two of my Irma evacuation story, plus a few extras on the side. Still to come elsewhere: A declension summary for Relformaide; another 2-4 Marigot Notebook entries (and the scrobbling of Unspooled #1, Side 1A); a dispatch on Diana (20 years on); another snap from 8/21's T/SP maximum; more from the Great American Eclipse; and (if time permits) an Inkbunny pick.

For now, this is your Once and Future Captain speaking. Till we meet again, it's diè wåde, ovwa and out...​

And to all Dominicans everywhere: Stay strong, and stay safe...for We Are One. (About time I changed my icon at least.)​

(Sent via my Galaxy Tab 3)

#WhatLiesAground​

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Obligatory postcard to end this run with; eclipse leftovers to resume soon.

(Sent via my Galaxy Tab 3)

#WhatLiesAground
The scene last night at Wellington's south coast, with the Milky Way so clear even with the city lights beyond...

Jonathan
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"We're having a terrible time."

Or, the English equivalent of the headline Dutch phrase at https://plus.google.com/103283675665371670119/posts/AcSw5PXB1hz during today's overnight stretch. You learn something new, travellers.

(Sent via my Galaxy Tab 3)

#WhatLiesAground

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One more from the tweet deck...and I'll wrap it up on the Plus.

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#WhatLiesAground

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As of 11:00 p.m. Eastern/EC:

"...HURRICANE MARIA MOVING AWAY FROM PUERTO RICO BUT TORRENTIAL RAINS CONTINUE...
...WEATHER CONDITIONS DETERIORATING OVER EASTERN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AND WILL SOON IN THE TURK AND CAICOS ISLANDS...

"LOCATION...19.2N 67.9W
ABOUT 55 MI...85 KM NE OF PUNTA CANA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
ABOUT 260 MI...420 KM SE OF GRAND TURK ISLAND
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...110 MPH...175 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 310 DEGREES AT 9 MPH...15 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...959 MB...28.32 INCHES"

(Sent via my Galaxy Tab 3)

#WeatherAlert

#WhatLiesAground

As reported on Q95 (via the authorities) a few minutes ago: One dead in the eastern village of Grand Fond, bringing the Maria death toll in Dominica to nine.

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#WhatLiesAground

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As of 8:00 p.m. Eastern/EC:

"...CORE OF DANGEROUS HURRICANE MARIA GRADUALLY MOVING AWAY FROM PUERTO RICO...
...CONDITIONS NOW DETERIORATING OVER EASTERN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...

"LOCATION...18.9N 67.5W
ABOUT 55 MI...90 KM ENE OF PUNTA CANA DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...110 MPH...175 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 305 DEGREES AT 12 MPH...19 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...958 MB...28.29 INCHES"

(Sent via my Galaxy Tab 3)

#WeatherAlert

#WhatLiesAground

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Giving new meaning to the term "lost contact"; Adanson performed at this city in December 2015. (Next advisory follows shortly.)

(By Sarah Kaplan)

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#WhatLiesAground

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If you're on that outlet, keep it tuned to this thread.

(Via this tweet by Viv Elston:
twitter.com/Vivian_Elston/status/910644273149878274)

(Sent via my Galaxy Tab 3)

#WhatLiesAground
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