A Place for Science Fiction Lovers

I has to be said, I LOVE science fiction. I watch it, I read it, I write it. With CRYO: A Changed World in final edits, it got me thinking about places that people can find good SF reads. A group that offers a constant stream of new releases, deals, freebies and awesome books that take us to new realms and foreign worlds. After doing a search for likely pages on Facebook I found nothing, nada, zip.

So, as if I haven’t got enough on my plate, I decided to start Science Fiction Books. For those who might be familiar with pages, such as Ebook Corner or What to Read After Fifty Shades of Grey, the concept is the same. I’m simply posting new books by trad and indie pubbed authors every day. Some Hard SF, some Space Opera. Some Colonisation, some Post-Apocalyptic. Basically,  a little of everything. There’s a few freebies, some new releases, some discount deals and some regular priced stuff too.

So, if you’re looking for a new read and want a place where you can be assured of ONLY Science Fiction, then head over to Science Fiction Books. I started it just five days ago and already have over 100 likes, and you’re more than welcome to the crowd. :)

2013 in review and 2014 Schedule

I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s posts, but I’m trying to jot up what’s happened this past year in my head and I need somewhere to put it down. Looking back, I suppose 2013 really was the year I got into publishing properly. Whilst I debuted on the indie author scene during 2012, with Inside Evil released in March 2012 and The Tower of Souls later on that summer, I really was still getting to grips with the industry and how it worked. It took until January of 2013 when CRYO and Pacifier 6 were published in quick succession, before Spirits of the Middlelands and New Alliances later on in they year. So, all in all, I published three full novels this year and a novella. Not actually very productive seeing as the majority of CRYO was actually rewritten and proofed in 2012. Still, a number of good things have happened this year:

  • Sales surpassed 500 books sold. I’m an indie prawn and don’t sell a huge amount. Getting to 500 is pretty amazing, and making over £1,000 in royalties is even more incredible.
  • Inside Evil was heavily edited and went perma-free. When I started I was a rookie and still finding my feet. I didn’t really understand how the world worked. When IE first went free, it was littered with problems. I picked myself up and dusted myself off from some unfortunate reviews, found a new editor and reworked the book.
  • I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time. I’m great procrastinator and will find any reason NOT to write. This year, NaNo fitted perfectly with my writing schedule so I used it to start CRYO; A Changed World. I ‘won’ NaNo and completed CRYO yesterday.
  • I branched onto new platforms. I’ve never been in Select; I’m a believer of not putting your eggs in one basket. This year, as well as going direct to Kobo when UK authors were allowed into the fold, I’ve also started getting my books onto GooglePlay. Sales have started to dribble in from B&N, Sony and iBooks too, which is always a good thing.

So, in about six-and-a-half hours, 2013 will be gone and 2014 will be here. I have a lot planned, and most of it hasn’t to do with writing. I’m going on holiday, getting married, going on a honeymoon, sorting out a visa for my other half to continue living in Britain and all manner of other exciting things. BUT, I mustn’t forget my writing. Whilst I thought I wrote a lot in 2013, the figures say otherwise and I want to increase my output this year.

  • Inside Evil. 2014 will bring the Inside Evil series to a close with ‘To Kill a Curse’. It’s bittersweet as this story has been with me the longest out of anything. I can’t wait to finally finish, but I’m sad to say goodbye too.
  • CRYO. As I’ve mentioned, CRYO; A Changed World now has a 1st draft. After a read through and then editing, I expect it to come out in February. I would anticipate getting the third CRYO book out in 2014 too, and a rough story is already formulating in my mind. I’m also intending on writing a few prequels which focus on main characters. John and Beth’s story will be free, and I have plans for short stories on Evie, Viktor, Anne and Franz too. I might even give horrid Agnes a little tale.
  • Pacifier 6. Despite loving this story, it really hasn’t sold; only a mere handful. I would love to write another novella at some point and I already have the story. However, it may not be worth my time if I’m not shifting copies, so any sequel is on the back-burner for now.
  • SOMETHING NEW. I do have another science fiction tale in the back of my head involving solar ships, disappearing planets and a small group of explorers. However, that’s about it (though I know as soon as I start writing, something will happen). I’m not yet sure whether this will be a project for 2014 or not.

So, for the coming year I have three novels planned and several short stories in the works. I’d like to get at least one further novel out (possibly two). For now, though, I’m going to go and enjoy New Year’s Eve cake!!

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!

A Bloody Kind of Lust

Everyone loves a bad boy, right? Or has indulged in unrequited love, or perhaps fallen a little too far for someone completely inappropriate. It’s Valentines Day, and we all know that this day of the year is about sharing time with your partner (or getting drunk if you’re single). But what if you’re love isn’t the average? What you’re in love with a monster? A zombie?

Love between a mortal and a zombie

Love between a mortal and a zombie

Whilst I’m no fan, Twilight has certainly pushed away the boundaries over loving monsters. Tales have been spun throughout the decades of mere mortals falling for deadly and vicious monsters, but Stephanie Meyer really managed to bring monster love back into the spotlight….though Edward Cullen wasn’t quite the vicious vampire that we’re all used to. Perhaps, for that, it’s best to look towards the realm of True Blod and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels. More recently, Warm Bodies has found a spotlight, with the film adaptation of Isaac Marion’s book showing that love can really cure all. But can it? And, more importantly, should it?

I’ve been grappling with this idea in my latest novella, Pacifier 6, The Shadows Within. Set after a zombie apocalypse, the human race is trying to rebuild society. Zombies decimated our population, but there were those that survived, and with the emergence of a new drug – Pacifier 6 – the remaining zombies have been drugged and farmed into a new workforce. But whilst decomposing, mute and all together nasty looking, is there still a place for love?

I’m not sure that love is the correct word, and it’s more like bloody lust. A zombie is a zombie, even when pacified, and despite that there’s a new creature lurking within, I was torn between all out love and showing just the flickering of an emotional connection. If you read the tale, you’ll discover that it isn’t really a love story, but more of a discovery of feelings. Is Carl attracted to his zombie worker because he likes a bad boy? Because there’s a consciousness deep within? Or is it simply that there aren’t many people left to choose from?

At any length, I’m not sure that love between monsters and mortals should be an easy ride. After all, love between two humans is normally less than smooth. And, if I’m honest, monsters are still monsters whatever the show they put on…they’re supposed to be scary, to creep us out, to put the fear of god into our souls. Love tends to be enduring. Lust, however, it an instant overtaking emotion that gets us into all manner of problems, especially when we’re ogling a monster.

*THIS IS PART OF A VALENTINE’S BLOG HOP – Click here for the other members of this Blog Hop.*

Thinking on a galactic level – world building with Raphyel Jordan

As a writer, I get the awesome job of creating brand new worlds. Creatures of any type, characters with whatever personality I choose to give them, vast universes full of teeming life. Today I’m VERY excited to host Raphyel Jordan in a piece about world building.

RMJordan PhotoRaphyel Montez Jordan grew up in a household sensitive to the creative arts. As a child, his hobbies were drawing favourite cartoon and video game characters while making illustrated stories. This passion for art never left and followed him all the way up to his high school and college years. When he was 19, he started writing a novel for fun, taking inspiration from the constant exposure of different ideas and cultures that college showed him. He eventually made it a goal to have the story published after he graduated, and dubbed the goal “Operation Prosia,” the very same project that would develop into his first published book, “Prossia.”

*****

You know what? The real world’s boring. I mean, seriously. Look outside. Did you just see a dragon or UFO fly by? No? Then I rest my case. And if you said yes. . . maybe it’s time to talk to a professional.

One of the reasons why we’re seeing sci-fi and fantasy films strike it big in the box office is because people love being able to get lost in a world beyond imagination. It’s our natural human nature. Classical stories like Homer’s epic poem, “Iliad,” centuries beyond centuries old, is a strong evident to that statement.

Human beings love to imagine the what-if scenario. What if there was magic? What if I had superpowers? What if aliens actually did exist? With those small sentences, with those few words, galactic governments have been put on the brink of peril, wars between elves and goblins have been raged, adventures that have challenged the test of time have been born, and that was exactly how “Prossia” was created.

After having a basis for the story in mind, I asked myself, “What if I wrote a story about aliens?” Sure, that’s simple enough, but that thought would branch off into more avenues and streams.

* What if they lived on a single planet?

* What if it was an entire solar system?

* What if the aliens were spread across an entire galaxy?

* What if there weren’t any even humans around, like so many other stories?

Did you see what happened? Did you see that snowball-turned-avalanche coming down the mountain? When I asked myself if my story was going to be about aliens, I was already challenging myself to explain why these people’s world was the way it was, without even realizing it.

Aly-Portrait-or-312And granted, universes aren’t made over night, so creating the Prossia Universe has been a very long process. The other challenge of the universe comes from the fact that this is indeed a science fiction story. Meaning, I can’t just say something is the way it is by magic. This genre requires a little fact, as much as feasible. So, when I made my main character, Aly, come from people who had infrared vision, had super reflexes and agility, and could form energy out of their hands, I actually had to explain that Aly has infrared vision because it helps her see approaching threats. I have a separate file listing the anatomy of my aliens, from what type of cartilage and muscle tissue would be possible for Goolians to move the way they do, to the extrasensory perceptions they have when it comes to their ability of using fusion to create a ball of plasma.

And that only covers one of the current nine races! What about the other aliens and their designs? I wanted them to look a certain way, but there had to be a reason why. Humans and other animals look the way they look due to Earth’s size, its closeness to the sun, the ecosystems it has, and tons, I MEAN TONS, of other factors. So, it’s only natural other life-forms would evolve to fit their environments as well. That is, after all, one of the key functions of life. Seriously, look at how diverse the biology on our very own little rock is.

So, more questions:

If we must adapt to our surroundings, what if I make aliens that can adapt to their surroundings through an advanced acclimation process? If that were the case, wouldn’t that mean what took us millions of years to do capable of being done much sooner? And how much sooner am I talking? Am I still talking millions of years, or just a few thousand?

And still, the questions continue, and guess what else, so does the world I find myself lost in. Maybe some people would think such world building is just wayyyy too much trouble. I, on the other hand, think it’s totally awesome. Being an artist and a writer, I like being able to create, so what’s cooler than creating an entire galaxy!?

To think that I studied Civilization, Psychology, Ethics and Values, Biology and Ecology just so I could have some ideas for Prossia’s Universe. Now, I’m not saying that’s what all writers should do in order to build their worlds. I was just fortunate enough to be in my college years while I was writing “Prossia,” and I needed to fill in some class electives. :P To me, researching is good, and the deeper I go into a universe, the better. Still, in the end, none of this could’ve happened if I asked the one thing that humans love to ask. “What if–” . Why don’t you ask the same question? Who knows what wonders you’ll bring.

I have to say a massive thank you to Raphyel for sharing his post and fantastic artwork us. If you want to find out more, then here’s a few links:

Prossia on Amazon
Prossia on Barnes and Noble
Goodreads
Raphyel’s Website, Facebook Page and Twitter

FINALLY, if that wasn’t enough there are also some goodies to win with a Rafflecopter giveaway. There’s FORTY (yes, 4 – 0) paperbacks up for grabs, as well as some Prossia merchandise AND a $25 Amazon gift card so it’s WELL worth entering.

CRYO: The Rise of the Immortals has arrived

cryofor kindle-revI’m over the moon to announce that CRYO: Rise of the Immortals has finally arrived. I got the final revisions this morning, spent a couple of hours making corrections and going through the manuscript one final time, before uploading to Amazon. As ever, Amazon were pretty swift off the mark, and CRYO: The Rise of the Immortals is already available to purchase.

This is a novel that has taken a LONG time to write, and there have been a lot of revisions along the way. Scrapping characters, changing existing ones, creating new ones. Throwing whole storylines away in favour of an alternate route…it’s certainly been an interesting ride.

If you’d like to know more, the the CRYO page now has the full first chapter, or alternatively you can download the sample from Amazon itself. Whilst CRYO is available at Smashwords, it’s still going through for Kobo, and could take some time for B&N because I have to wait for Smashwords to send the manuscript through.

Cover Reveal – CRYO; Rise of the Immortals

I feel like I’ve been waiting MONTHS to get this artwork. In fact, it’s only been a few mere weeks. Keith Draws has done an amazing job with this cover, and it’s everything that I wanted and more. This has been a novel which has been in the works for years, so to see everything finally coming together is rather incredible.

The book itself is currently with my editor and I’m hoping to get it back and corrected in the next few weeks so that I can make a December launch! For now…I’ll have to just gaze at the cover….and keep writing the next Inside Evil book too. :)