For the next five days the Shattered Realms collection is free on Amazon until 7th February. Take a look and pick it up if you fancy a short dose of spooky fiction to pass a lunch hour/boring journey home.
Greetings on this wet and windy Sunday (at least it is ‘oop north in the UK). I’ve collated my four remaining short pieces (don’t ask about the rest, it’s a sore subject) into a collection that’s now available for purchase on Amazon, and free on Kindle Unlimited.
The reasons why are two fold:
Anyway hope you enjoy, if you read any I’d suggest Mirror Man, which is my personal favourite still. Coma Companion is my first ever published piece from way back in 2005 but it still holds a special place in the story vault.
A collection of four creepy stories exploring various elements of the supernatural, from the subtle, growing dread of Mirror Man to the mind-bending revelations of Cogito Ergo Sum, Shattered Realms is a must for fans of the Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits.
All four stories have been published previously as stand alones, but are now available for the first time as a collection.
The Mirror Man
Steven Cree wakes up at the same time, every night. With every passing day, injuries appear on his body, cracks appear on his walls, and the trees that surround his estate seem to encroach upon his home.
But worst of all, it’s the man in the mirror. The face that was himself, but is slowly changing into that of a stranger.
Cogito Ergo Sum
“…you never wonder how you’ll react to a defining moment in history until you experience it for yourself…”
Gareth Young makes a tweak to the most powerful experiment on earth based on just a hunch. The result is a revelation of the most profound, but is all it seems to be?
The Reality Trip
A routine flight takes a turn for the supernatural as Chris finds himself in an altered reality where the world he knows no longer exists, his identity is in doubt and where terrifying beings hunt him down.
When Doctor David Baines creates a machine that allows him to directly enter the mind of a comatose patient, he encounters a twisted reality that, rather than being the inner workings of one person’s mind, is actually a limbo world beyond life, and death, in unexpected forms, awaits the unwary.
So I’ve passed the 50,000 word mark now, and am approaching 60,000 at a good pace. With a target of 100,000 words (Message Bearer was 101,000), it’s looking good.
I’m coming into the back end of the middle section now too, which is a great relief. It’s this area that always sags and where the story seems to meander all over the place as it strives towards that end goal. True, I have my “must have” scenes that link the story together, but the path getting there can be a confusing spaghetti-like mess of random scenes, conversations and characters that appear in one chapter only to never be seen again.
Thankfully, the beginning of the end is in sight. I’ve just written a pivotal sequence of scenes that not only ramp up the tension significantly but also explore in much greater detail the mythology of the Auran Chronicles. There’s a lot of history behind the magi and the Weave, and it’s nice to delve even more into that, especially when it relates directly to our protagonists. Obviously there’s going to be a heavy amount of chopping, changing and re-aligning for the second draft, but I’m happy the end of the story as envisaged in my synopsis is on track, even if all the stuff in between hasn’t quite so stuck to plan 🙂
The problem now, if indeed, it is a problem, is that not only am I almost certain that the story requires four books not three (although I really want to get in done in three) , but in expanding the world significantly in book 2 I’ve also introduced a new bunch of characters, of which at least two I’d love to spin off into their own series, or at least, to steal a Disney term, an Auran Chronicles “anthology” story or two. Aside from Cade, the half-daemon Brotherhood warrior who so deserves his own story (mental note – Auran Chronicles: Born of Blood), we also meet Shimmer, a Borderguard from the barren lands that exists between shards (the shattered worlds of the Auran Chronicles), who has a fascinating back story of his own that I can’t wait to explore.
So all in all, definitely a good problem, the challenge is, which one to write first?
Anyway, must dash, last night I left Seb several hundred feet up in the air with the ground rushing to meet him. I didn’t know how he was going to get out of this one, so just left it like that. It seemed a good idea at the time, but as I stare at the flashing cursor I’m not so sure. The joys of writing I guess!
Well, after 14 attempts (and several shouting matches with my computer screen) at converting my proof manuscript into a pdf that looked right in the CreateSpace digital viewer, I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally managed to get Message Bearer out and available in paperback as well as Kindle.
I don’t expect many sales from this version, the price required for PoD (Print on Demand) seems a bit on the excessive side to be cost effective, but at the very least I get to own a few “real” copies that I can share with friends and family.
Also, I learned a few lessons formatting the word document to be fit for use on CreateSpace, and found a few good links in the process which I’ll add to the blog later as these proved to be a godsend! I thought I knew MS Word until I encountered this particular challenge!
Anyway, I digress, the link is below. If you prefer your books in dead tree format then please take a look 🙂
PS – I need to link the ebook and paper versions together on Amazon, as at the moment they don’t appear as alternate options for the same book. Yet another challenge on this self-publishing roller coaster!
Another milestone reached as Auran Chronicles #2 ploughs on with merrily abandon.
I’ve hit one of those critical “what if” moments now that always happens and threatens to blow my carefully planned outline to smithereens! It’s such a cliché but when those characters get formed on your head they really do things that you didn’t plan for!
So, on this occasion I’ve decided to follow Cade to see where his way of working takes the story. So if the novel goes crazy from this point on it’s not me you blame.
It’s the characters… ☺
Perhaps a bit metaphysical this post, but magic, and its role within reality, plays a key part in the ongoing mythology of the Auran Chronicles.
When I first started writing Message Bearer (Book 1), I wanted a magic system that could in theory exist in the real world of today. As much as I love the various systems out there (the stored magic of the AD&D, the Will and the Word from the Belgariad and so forth), I wanted something that you could explain away with actual science.
Well, sort of… (this is fantasy after all!)
The origins of the magic system used in the Auran Chronicles can be traced from my layman’s interest in quantum physics, specifically the “observer effect” often referenced in the thought experiment known as “Schrödinger’s Cat”. I won’t go into the full details of this (look here) now, but the key points, as adapted for the Auran Chronicles, can be summarised as thus:
Which leads us to:
By day I’m an IT consultant, and my magic system built upon quantum physics complimented nicely with a concept known as Object Oriented Programming. Again, I won’t go into this in detail, but basically this allows for an abstraction layer above the underlying machine code that allows programmers to plug in to systems without having to know the complexity underneath. They have access to a library of objects, each serving a different function, and then call them as they see fit.
With the Auran Chronicles quantum physics and object oriented programming work in tandem, without actually being referenced as such. A mage has access to libraries of patterns that can affect reality without having to access the actual “machine code” behind it. The only issue then is challenging the consensus maintained by the subconscious minds of the observers.
But that’s for the magi to worry about…
A milestone reached last night – 10,000 words in the sequel to the Message Bearer. I don’t have a title for it yet, so “Book 2” will have to do for now. Message Bearer changed names about 7 times during its lifetime, including during the beta read, so I’m not losing any sleep over it just yet.
What is interesting is how easy the words are coming out for the sequel. During book 1, the story was so tricky to nail down (won’t say anymore than that – spoilers) that it was like navigating a plot minefield ensuring all the pieces aligned up correctly.
With book 2 though, this isn’t the case. I’ve got a clear end game for this one, and the way book 1 ended allowed me plenty of opportunity to reach it. In fact I think it gave me too much scope with which to attack book 2!
In summary, I’m enjoying writing book 2 immensely, my only fear now is that I won’t be able to wrap up the whole story in 3 books!
What’s the term for 4? A quadrology? 🙂