Monday, December 15, 2014

Upcoming Projects for 2015

Christmas and New Years are fast approaching, and I am grateful for that. Other than spending time with family and loved ones, next week will give me a chance to go over my writing projects I want to get stuck into in 2015 (which is about time, this year feels like I've done nothing in regards to creative writing). The most obvious are the two primary titles in my A Puppet on a String series; Enemy Within and Collateral.

Both stories are in the process of being edited and written, and am rather excited. The main character in the series, Jack Crowley, is going to be thrown into the proverbial deep end in my stories, and am looking forward if he will survive. Both stories in the series are set in and around South Africa for reasons that I will explore in another post next year.

Then there is Oranges. I must confess that Oranges is a hard one for me. It was wrtten a long time ago and yet it is a solid story, one I firmly believe you would enjoy, but it is a story that needs lots of tender loving care. Right now the story is a stand alone thing, set on Mars more or less. The final version may be different. My hopes had been to put it up on Amazon before Christmas, but that will not be doable.

Then there is another, a novella roughly 20,000 words long. I can't say anything more about the as yet untitled novella, largely because I need to go over a fine tooth comb and see where it leads. All I will say is that it was written a couple of years back and had been largely forgotten.

Until next update.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Stories for ebook lovers this coming Christmas

Would you believe that Christmas is roughly ten days from now?
Pretty scary that, wouldn't you think? Especially if no one had time to purchase presents for family and friends. Fortunately for you, I may have a solution; ebooks. They are awesome, mostly because they don't require trees being cut down. 

Here is my list, just click on the headings:

Black Donald, by Nigel Gillson

Being forced to leave your teaching job and move to a remote part of Scotland, was not Michael Cameron's ideal choice, but when his wife, Mary, was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity for success, he didn't have the heart to say no.

Then he witnesses the murder of a first year student during a satanic ritual, thrusting him into a world he does not understand or believe, ultimately culminating in his wife's disappearance.

Wracked with guilt and despair, Cameron charges to her rescue only to discover he has a much larger part to play in the colossal battle between the spiritual forces of good and evil.

Callisto Collection, by Erica Conroy

Includes the novellas, novelettes and all character interviews from this fun Science Fiction Romance series and contains science fiction, romance, aliens, blood and guts, humor, time travel, a cheeky (slutty) Duarr and genetically engineered telepathic (killer) children! No, I'm serious, Killer children.


The stories included are . . .

Adrift

Hearts will ache and heads will roll!

Stealing damning evidence from a covert ops section of Space Corps makes Jasmine a target. So what does she do? What any good undercover investigative journalist would do, she runs. Hops the first civilian
transport ship off the planet, but with the bad guys on her heels who knows how long she’ll live. A vacationing half-alien colonel who is a deft hand with a sword might just increase her odds of survival, but helping this woman could be hazardous to his health!

Taken


Respect the enemy, fear his daughter...

Peace negotiations are easy right? Not when you're learning a language composed of hisses, growls and other guttural sounds. And that's not even the tough part for recently divorced diplomat Viktor Jacobs. No, that would be matching wits with the fiercely intelligent daughter of the opposing side. Between dodging her claws, avoiding a myriad of cultural taboos, and not accidentally getting married or killed, he has to somehow make the Lyrissians see that joining the Alliance of Worlds is the best choice for all of their futures.

United

She just can't get him out of her head--literally!

The exciting conclusion to the Callisto trilogy! The mastermind behind the genetically engineered children is revealed, mothers are kidnapped, feelings are felt and shockingly Xon grows up–just a little. The only question that matters is: does the Duarr finally get the girl? You’ll have to read United to find out!

Plus: Nancy and the Caveman ~ Anari and the Future ~ Norik and His Daughter

Bonus material: All four interviews ~ Species list ~ Introduction to The Feisty Princess - Episode 1

*

Wait?

What?!

Since when did I promote romantic science fiction? Since now really, and mostly because Erica is a good writer.


Allusions of Innocence, edited by Jax Goss, is an anthology of short stories aimed at adults containing smart, precocious child protagonists. Many of the stories in the book are very dark and twisted, though they run the gamut from horror to comedy. The world of a child is not all innocence and sweetness. Children see the world differently to adults, slightly askew, somewhat less preconceived. They see the things adults have trained ourselves to miss. Their world is less explicable, more wondrous, more frightening. Here we have 18 such worlds, some funny, most dark, many creepy. Innocence has a dark side, and many of these stories will introduce you to it, sideways, sidelong, from the corner of your eye. Remember how strange the world was when you were a child? Welcome back to that world. The book contains 18 stories from 18 excellent writers.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Number of Characters in Oranges

I posted earlier about my novelette, titled Oranges. Today is no exception, and I wanted to talk to you about
the number of characters one needs in a story.

For starters, let me be the first to admit that the original manuscript of Oranges had way too many characters to begin with.

For a story that was just on 10,000 words one requires no more than one main character, not a dozen. The more you have the problematic it gets, especially if you want to include all of them. In the first A Puppet on a String novella, I actually have one main character and a primary opposing character. But the difference is that the word count is much higher.

As I did an edit run and slight rewrite, I decided to put a focus on the senior non-commissioned officer and build up his relationship with the officer in command of the main character's unit. Jax did indicate that the reporter, seen in the original version, was also interesting. But . . . well . . . I am unsure.

Monday, December 8, 2014

An Orange update

The other day I wrote about submitting a novelette to my editor and her response.

Across the Board: Oranges, so far so good: So I wanted to write a small update about an upcoming title, Oranges . My editor Jax had this to say: Well so far it's a solid story ...
Today is a follow on.



This is her feedback:



I have my usual issues with your ending - it's all very sudden and
unsatisfying. Like there's this massive lead up, but then bam it's
over. 



I think you need to extend that last bit of
fight sequence. You're in the action, and then it's like you're
reporting f
rom a distance. The last couple of paragraphs with the orange
are cool, but before you get there you need way more, well, action. 

BUT
it is a pretty complete story, which is good. :) There are not a
bajillion loose strings, which is good. I just think you need to expand
the climactic action sequence. 
Why am I sharing this with you? That's pretty easy, I want to post more regularly for one. For another, I wanted to share with you the journey of writing and then rewriting a story, and then go through the process of cleaning it up. As a side note, the current draft is 10,179 words long. I am curious how much of a word count I will have in my next update.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I prefer A



So, I found this image to your right on my facebook page . . .

These flags are currently doing the rounds after the Prime Minister of New Zealand made it an election issue out of changing this country's flag. The fact that the money spent for this could be better utilised elsewhere, like pouring it into the social services and schools, is not the point of this blog entry. I want to write about why we should keep the flag as it is (hence the title of this post, I prefer A). You see, I like the current flag. Yes, it may be confused for the Australian one, but so what? What many forget is that both New Zealand and Australia are interlinked culturally, historically and politically to a certain level. 

But my point is not that.My point is that our current flag actually means something, and that there is a history behind it. Seriously, there is - go to the NZFlag website or New Zealand History to learn more.

For me the flag shows our British heritage, which this country was part of until 1947 when the New Zealand parliament finally passed the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act; henceforth giving the country greater autonomy as a sovereign state. Look, I understand there are grievances between the various iwi and the Crown, but we have here what other colonised nations had not; an indigenious nation state that was created to help local Maori trade overseas and the Treaty of Waitangi. Yes, there have been problems. A change of flag would not change anything, just waste tax payer's money.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thirteenth's Luck teaser


ONE


Near East Carona and Juventae chasms, Valles Marineris
09: 45 am, local


The highlands were testimony that the entire countryside was a war zone, and had been since the Global Security Agreement endeavoured to restore order in the violent corridors through the eastern Valles Marineris colonies. Unrest had spilled to the other colonies and in near-orbit, as a war in all but name raged between those wanting a return to the status quo—essentially falling under the primarily Earth-based GSA or corporate protection—and those wanting the planet independent. Somewhat inevitably, also in the middle of it all were the members of the ‘Lucky Thirteen’.
“Well,” drawled Specialist Stephanie Crow, a brown-skinned and deceptively fresh faced young woman who nonetheless was a veteran of several peacekeeping assignments, “This is fun.”
The gunner gave her a small grin, and yawned. The long compliment of tactical hovercraft and armoured freight carriers were thirty kilometres northwest of Orinoco. Spread out in a line, the convoy carried enough humanitarian aid to feed an entire village for over an entire month. The platoon was en route to a small agricultural village, supposedly a friendly zone, to hand over the aid to Red Cross personnel who would then distribute them to the villagers who desperately needed food and basic supplies. The aid packages could, of course, simply have been air dropped but the peacekeeping commander thought it better that the aid be delivered physically and under armed guard, as separatist guerrillas had been known to steal aid that had been air dropped in the past. “Beats walking the streets,” he then allowed as their leading craft tilted to compensate for the hillock’s angle, making the corporal turn to eye Specialist Dustin Stokes. “And where else can we have Dusty display his driving prowess?”
The young specialist grinned, but kept his attention on the nine-meter long attack craft’s flight controls.  
“I have a few suggestions Byron,” grumbled Crow.
Corporal Byron Jones smirked, and turned his attention to the rusted prairie. Like Crow, he had been too late to have had served during the climax of the civil unrest due to still being back on Earth. However, in the few short weeks since reporting to the Lucky Thirteen, Jones had been tasked to command one of the squads attached to the convoy. He frowned, and checked his wristwatch. The convoy had another seven hours of daylight left.  Jones wanted to be back on base when night fell, not because he was scared of the enemy but because had a date with a blonde medic with melting green eyes, and a rather mean right hook and he had no desire to stand her up like last time.  His jaw still ached where she had indicated her dislike of being left waiting for a date he didn’t show up to.
“Come on, Dusty,” he called to Stokes. “Pick up the pace!”  With that said, the corporal looked over his shoulder.
Further down the column, in the second hovercraft, Lieutenant Erik Greenberg ungainly lowered himself into his seat after checking the horizon in so many minutes. The apparent nervousness didn’t worry the other occupants aboard, largely because they were old Mars hands selected by the Platoon Sergeant. In turn Greenberg was a new addition, a recent graduate of West Point who opted for off-world duty at first opportunity. He sat down, and fumbled with the lightweight A-4 e-reader. The specialist behind the flight controls, along with the other two noncoms, ignored the fact that he nearly dropped it, with all three feigning interest towards the world outside.
“Relax,” said the gunner.
It was the last and only thing said since the convoy left camp.
Accepting a piece of tobacco flavoured gum, Jones looked up sharply as something caught his eyes and he thought that h heard a low whistle but seeing the lieutenant’s hovercraft explode. “Dusty!” he shouted. “Step on it!”
The question was, where to from here—
For her part, Crow scrambled towards the navigations station that doubled as a scanner.

“What are your orders?” she demanded. Jones sat frozen, feeling everything slow down as the leading hovercraft’s nose exploded. He could see several soldiers tossed out like rag dolls, making the corporal if they had been killed instantly, while at the same time the lieutenant’s craft listed over to port then to starboard. Another explosion rocked the hovercraft, and Jones winced. “Corporal—” Crow’s growl snapped through his momentary freeze, “—orders—now—!”


***
To read on, go to Amazon and purchase Thirteenth's Luck for only 95 cents (or click on the second cover on your right). When done, please leave a review.

A Puppet on a String, A Writing Update

So it's the weekend, and work for the business has been done. This means writing, along with an attempt in keeping this blog updated.

Today I want to talk to you about my attempt in working on a series of interlinked stories. As you know, I
Mock Cover for new series
wanted to try that with Gene Bukowski in Compromised and Across the Board. It was not meant to be. Sure, the motivation to do it was there, but I lacked the necessary skills to pull it off. Then Jax became my editor and writing mentor, to learn more about her go Passport to Everywhere. With her guidance, my writing skills have improved.

It is with these skills that I will endeavour to try writing a series once more. Tentatively titled Piotr Mierzejewski's A Puppet on a String, it will be comprised of novellas and novelettes. The story will feature Jack Crowley, a Sergeant in the Australian Army and a Military Police Investigator, and his many adventures. I will be honest with you, Bukowski and even the characters featured in With Prejudice may end up in this.

The first in the series, Enemy Within, is written. All I'm doing is working with Jax in polishing the manuscript and am deciding if new scenes need adding. Once it is ready, I will let you know. In the interim I wanted to invite you into my journey in seeing this series (and my other works) come to you in ebook form.