The Alien Chronicles

You haven’t heard from me for a while because I’ve been busy beavering away behind the scenes. Now, however, I’m excited to let you know that there’s a new CRYO tale to be had; as a short story in the upcoming ‘The Alien Chronicles‘. If you haven’t heard of the Future Chronicles series, then be sure to look them up. So far, two episodes have been released (The Telepath Chronicles and The Robot Chronicles), both of which have some of the genres top names, including Susan Kaye Quinn (Mindjack), Hugh Howey (Wool) and Jennifer Foehner Wells (Fluency). So, I’m in high spirits to be alongside these authors in the latest anthology. Of course, as an author it’s a great thing to be included in an anthology, but for readers too, short story collections are great; lots of new reads for a good price AND you get to discover unknown authors who’s work you may love.

But, what about CRYO?

So, as I mentioned, my short story fits into the CRYO universe. Here’s a little summary;

Professor Serelah Delekin is accustomed to uncovering the secrets of alien artifacts. But when one of her co-workers is killed while researching their latest find, she soon realizes that this particular artifact is protecting far more than ancient secrets—it harbors a conspiracy that will soon put her own life at risk.

For those who’ve read A Changed World, there’s a few indications of a far greater universe that John and his comrades could ever imagine. In this new tale, you’ll discover some of the local alien races, along with discovering that the Kholorians may not be exactly who they say they are.

10730916_10152845806350170_744086140384469700_nThe Alien Chronicles is coming in January, so keep an eye out!

How do you navigate the translations of alien language?

If you write sci-fi, then at some time or another, you’re sure to come across the issue of language. It’s a problem area for realists like myself- and a universal translator simply doesn’t cut it. I understand the notion of such a device in well established series (Star Trek, for example) where common races from the same region of space regularly communicate with one another. It’s not inconceivable to think that one day, a computer program will automatically translate the words from those around you into a language you can recognise. But what about when you come into contact with a brand new species?

voyager

Voyager’s universal translator seemed rather handy, if unrealistic

I’ve recently been watching back-to-back ST: Voyager on SyFy (yes, I think Janeway rocks)! However, here they are, stranded in the Delta Quadrant and as soon as they come across another race never before seen by humandkind – wham, instant English translation. There’s not even a few hours or day delay whilst the software analyses the phonetics. There was one episode of ST:DS9 that highlighted the issue and I, for one, was glad to see a little realism. Meanwhile, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy used the ‘Babel fish'; a small organism that’s placed in the auditory canal, and whilst universal translation was largely used in Star Wars, I’m always glad to see some use of interpretors; with Jabba, for example.

But here we’re talking about film. What about books?

babelfish

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had a fun idea; the Babel fish, which is inserted into the ear.

It’s not easy, but having an actor developing a few lines of gibberish for an alternate language on film is a lot easier than having pages of utter undecipherable words in a novel. And there’s the vision of it too; I mean, who wants to flip the page and work their way through entire paragraphs of nonsense? That would almost certainly see me giving up on the book entirely. Still, I’m not keen on automatic translation – especially if characters are a) dealing with a brand new alien race or b) nowhere near a spaceship or other technology that could be automatically translating. So, we back to translators.

For those who’ve read the CRYO series, you’ll know that when John first stumbles across Earth’s new residents, he cannot understand a word they say. Nor, apparently, do they have any idea to what these strange humans are talking about either. I managed to get by the lengthy language issues by having a small group of scientists and archaeologists having learned English to help them with their own research – having no idea that they’d actually encounter humans one day. There are a very few bio-translators that are programmed with set language skills, but these are rudimentary compared with the universal translators often seen. And, as the series progresses, I expect to continue the use of translators, not only for realism but also because it gives a sense of diversity. And, of course, it allows the odd alien word to be thrown in – useful when you need to use obscene language without being too obvious.

Thoughts? When you’re reading, do you care about the intricacies of language, or are you just happy everyone can understand one another? And, when writing, do you plump for a translation software, or have fun with some alien language?

A New CRYO Cover

CRYOI find the whole book marketing thing pretty hard. I’m creative when it comes to writing; not so much when it comes to trying to strategise advertising. I’ve never been one to toot my own horn. Time and time again, we hear there’s three magic ingredients to selling a book; Contents, Cover, Blurb. Well, there’s not a huge amount I can do about the CRYO contents because it’s written. And, from the feedback and reviews I’ve gathered, people like it. I’ve swapped the blurb around a few times, but I’m trying out a new cover, once again. I’ve had a few comments that the cover’s scary and implies horror. Also, that it’s too cartoony. I’ve looked down the current top lists for science fiction and dystopian and yes, there’s nothing like my cover out there. But perhaps this is where uniqueness is a flaw; perhaps I need to gel with the crowd more and give people something they’re used to.

With that in mind, I’ve created a new and VERY simple cover. Literally, it’s a slightly altered photostock image with clear text added utilising canva. It’s not yet appeared on Amazon, but if you use the ‘Look Inside‘ feature, you’ll see it’s now inside the book.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, if something isn’t working, change it. It can be hard to let go of covers, text etc you’ve worked hard on, but if it’s not actually bringing in sales, you just can’t hold on it. For now, this is a test run – I’ve only applied it to Amazon to see if it’ll have any effect. What do you think? More sci-fi than the previous cover? More eye-catching? Or, perhaps you don’t like it as much?

CRYO: A Changed World Review ARC’s available

So, as you’re probably aware, CRYO: A Changed World is coming out on April 13th!! The second instalment of the CRYO series see’s John and the other CRYO survivors stepping out into the world and trying to work out where the hell they are, and what on earth happened whilst they were asleep.

Questions will be answered for many of the CRYO candidates as they begin to explore, but as with such things, new discoveries open up only more questions. And whilst Agnes was a force from within, the gang are going to have to try and stay alive as they journey through the wilderness.

If you missed the cover and blurb reveal, here it is

A changed world 600pxIf you awoke to find that humankind had been annihilated, could you survive?

John’s dreams have crumbled. A global corporation, CRYO, kidnapped him, froze him and sent him to the future, only to fade into history as he slept. Now, John and his pod mates are in a new and strange world that’s far from anything they’ve ever known.

With a strange creature having cut their already dwindled numbers, the fight for survival has begun. There’s already discontent amongst the small group of survivors. And, as John heads out into the unknown with a small splinter group, there’s just one question; what will he find?

 

So, in anticipation for next Sunday’s release, I’m offering review ARC’s for A Changed World. The process is pretty simple; all you have to do to get your hands on a free book, is to have reviewed one of my earlier books. Yep, that simple!

Email me at geoff _ wakeling AT hotmail DOT com with the link to your prior review (it doesn’t have to be Rise of the Immortals, by the way) and I’ll send you back a free copy of A Changed World. Your review can be on Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, B&N, Apple or even a personal blog.

Of course, these reviews should be unbiased and honest; I’m not expecting to give you a free book in return for a top rating – I just hope you enjoy the read! And, if you don’t want to review a copy but just want to enjoy it at your leisure instead, you can buy Rise of the Immortals on sale at $2.99 and sign up to the mailing list to be one of the first to get your hands on A Changed World.

Happy Saturday. :D

CRYO: A Changed World – Cover Reveal

It seems like ages ago that I began to write the follow up to CRYO: Rise of the Immortals. Now, in only a couple of weeks, it’ll be released! (That’s April 13th, by the way!) In celebration, I’m not only revealing the cover, but also offering a limited time offer on Book 1 of the series. Without further ado, here’s the cover and the blurb!

A changed world 600pxIf you awoke to find that humankind had been annihilated, could you survive?

John’s dreams have crumbled. A global corporation, CRYO, kidnapped him, froze him and sent him to the future, only to fade into history as he slept. Now, John and his pod mates are in a new and strange world that’s far from anything they’ve ever known.

With a strange creature having cut their already dwindled numbers, the fight for survival has begun. There’s already discontent amongst the small group of survivors. And, as John heads out into the unknown with a small splinter group, there’s just one question; what will he find?

 

 

I’ve already added A Changed World to Goodreads, so add it to your TBR! You can also sign up to hear as soon as it’s been published so you don’t have to wait.

SALEIn the meantime, CRYO: Rise of the Immortals, book one of the series, is also on sale! Hurrah! You’ll find the $4.99 price slashed to $2.99 so you can get in on all the action without having to spend a fiver.

 

See the links to get your reduced copy of CRYO: Rise of the Immortals now. You can also read the first chapter here.

 

 

 

 

 

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK

Competition Time

CRYO: Rise of the ImmortalsAre you an artist? Love to dabble with alien concepts and create new life? Want to win some Sci-Fi goodies AND get your artwork inside an eBook? You’ve come to the right place!

As many of you may know, CRYO: A Changed World has been completed and is undergoing edits.  This is the second book of the CRYO series, and I’m expecting it to be released at the end of the March. Then, very excitingly for me, I’m having my first ever blog tour for the book. But, back to competition time.

In A Changed World, an alien race make their first appearance and it’s time for you to get your thinking hats on. Using the information below, prepare artwork on how YOU envisage these new alien creatures. The best will be showcased here on my website, across my social media sites (G+, Pinterest etc) and the one winner will be placed within the print and digital copies of the books themselves!

PRIZES:

- One Winner will have their image featured within CRYO: A Changed World. They’ll also receive digital copies (in their preferred format) of books 1 and 2. They’ll be showcased on this blog too!

- Five runners-up will be featured on this blog and will also receive digital copies (in their preferred format) of CRYO books 1 and 2.

*NOTE* All entrants will keep the copyright to their images, but provide me with an attribution license to distribute artwork untouched. This includes sharing on social media websites and within the book itself. The winning entry will have a link to artists website from the digital copy (for print, the web URL will be provided).

Submission Details and Closing Date

The closing date is Friday March 28th. Please submit artwork with a subject line of “CRYO CONTEST” to geoff_wakeling(at)hotmail(dot)com. In addition to submitting your art, please let me have details of your website so I can link at G+, Pinterest posts etc to your portfolio’s!

Artwork Details

Now the fun bit! I’ve included as many details below as I can think of. Ask questions in the comments section if you need! And please, spread the word.

Physiology
 
-          Amphibian-like
-         Large eyes
-         No ears – just folds. Lacking hair – again, think amphibian.
-         Between 4/5 feet tall.
-         Three fingered, three toed.
-         A range of skin colours, from mottled brown and grey, to teal and silver. The colour of reflect their caste.
 
Clothing
 
-          Natural coloured tunics.
-         Their skin is breathable and has to be kept damp. As such, when outside their cities/vehicles etc they wear biosuits. These keep the moisture in. The suits are transparent but can be flicked to a dense opaque texture with the push of a button. However, they’ll often wear a body suit without the head component, slathering their face with a muddy moisturiser instead.
-         They use growing plants as adornments. Plants, fungi, lichen, flowers have roots embedded under the skin. These tiny pieces of flora then grow across the skin. Creatures are described as having swathes of silvery lichen up their neck, a cluster of bright flowers over their brow, or perhaps, fungi growing over their heads.
-         In addition to plants, they’ll use feathers and beads to decorate themselves.
-         Adult males wear funny flat-cap type hats, whilst the larger and taller females utilise long conical headdresses with adornments to make them appear even taller.
 
Environment
 
-          the creatures live in vast underground and cavernous cities.
-          These are kept moist, well lit and filled with plants; an artificial oasis.
-          Some architecture is on the surface, but covered with a transparent layer like their biosuits.

NaNoWriMo; When inspiration finally comes to fruition

I haven’t updated the blog in a while and that’s been because every available word at my disposal has been thrust into this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those of you who don’t know). And, for the first time it looks like I’m going to complete the challenge; 50,000 words in a month. I reached 40,000 yesterday so thought I’d take a brief gulp of air and push my head up to see what’s happening.

Many years ago as I was walking passed a building site, inspiration struck me. The first year accommodation for my university were four concrete and skyline-domineering tower blocks. They really were an eyesore, but I had many good memories. When the site was sold to developers, I assumed they’d simply blow the towers up; you know, Vegas style. As I walked by on this particular day, an extremely long crane with a unyielding set of metal jaws rose into the air instead, and it began to dismantle the towers from the top downwards. The image immediately sparked something in my head; it was like a great creature reaching into the air and causing destruction with ironic grace. At that time I was writing Inside Evil, and there was no way I could fit in these beasts. And so, CRYO took its first footsteps of life.

Like all things, the CRYO tale took on a life of it’s own; so much so that these beasts almost didn’t appear at all. John and Kath, my main characters in the first novel, took over my head and led the story where they wanted it to go. But finally, as I hit 30,000 words in the sequel, years of thinking finally came into alignment and the huge crane de-constructing my former home finally wormed its way into the pages of my book.

This year, NaNoWriMo has been a complete God send. It’s fitted in seamlessly with my writing schedule, and I intend to have about 60,000 words written by the end of the month; that’s two-thirds of CRYO – A Changed World complete. It’s been extremely interesting writing this sequel and taking John, Anne, Amity and co into the great world beyond the CRYO station. They’ve discovered – actually, they still are discovering – a lot of new things and are leading me in great circles around my story milestones.  There’s also the battle of a language barrier between my CRYO survivors and a new race to contend with ….it’s a difficult line to write a new language without it becoming absurd, whilst trying to put enough in to show the difficulties my characters face.

Whilst I was aiming to get this sequel out towards the end of February, it’s looking like it might come early…and that’s something I’m extremely pleased to hear!