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Monday, October 19, 2020

It Builds Character

I've been reading this great trilogy lately.  I don't want to name it, because I'm going to mention something that might be considered a bit "spoilery".  The thing I'm loving is how the characters do something big, with much celebration and a sense of accomplishment, but soon thereafter they start to have the sneaking suspicion that maybe they shouldn't have done that.  Even better, they realise they'd been missing obvious clues about the unintended consequences all along.  It's big fun.

The series does the same thing with its characters, too.  As the books go by, we learn more about them.  There are sides to them we hadn't seen before.  But right from the beginning the characters' behaviours have been shaped by the stuff we didn't know yet.  What seemed like eccentric behaviour when we first met them turned out to be perfectly reasonable, driven by things we just hadn't known.

People are like that.  When someone new comes into our lives, we don't know much about them.  We learn about them bit by bit, and we may find out stuff about them that we wouldn't have imagined.  Stuff that explains why they do what they do, or why they believe what they believe.  Maybe knowing more about them makes you grow closer, or maybe it makes you grow apart.

I'm trying to keep this sort of stuff in mind with my own characters.  I'm about 70000 words into the fourth (and last?) book of the Hybrid series, and I'm not even halfway done.  I'm at the point where the characters are revealing stuff about themselves that the readers (and other characters) didn't already know.  My goal is for the reader to learn something about the character and feel that it explains some of their past behaviour.

Because it's me, I'm also thinking ahead to what comes after the Hybrid series.  There are two strong contenders jockeying for position in my head; I'll have to wait and see which of them escapes first.  



Thursday, September 3, 2020

Alliances: Now Available!

The story continues!  Alliances, the third book in the 'Hybrid' series, is now available.

Continuing shortly after the events in Coreward, we rejoin Yaella in her ongoing quest to find and rescue the Human/Palani hybrids like herself.  She'll have to travel to places old and new, to pick up the trail of her abducted 'family'.

In the meantime, her formidable adoptive mother, the Mahasa Zura Varta, fights to stay on top of squabbling human governments, the indifferent Palani leadership, and a developing political crisis. 


"You don't have to do this alone."

Fifty years have passed since the end of the war and the evacuation of Earth.  Millions of people still live in refugee camps, while humanity's governments argue over their fate.

Humanity's ally -- the ancient Palani Empire -- is creating colonies to house the neglected refugees.  Ruthless war hero Zura Varta now finds herself governing dozens of colonies full of irritating humans.

Zura's people are dwindling toward extinction.  To stave off oblivion, geneticists are creating a generation of Human/Palani hybrids.  But those that are 'too human' are abandoned; only a lucky few are adopted, like Zura's daughter Yaella.

Now, hybrid children are being abducted.  For impulsive Yaella, finding and rescuing her hybrid 'family' gives her the purpose she's been looking for.

For resolute Zura, the fate of a few hundred children is trivial compared to a widening crisis that threatens the lives of millions.

Mother and daughter are both headed into uncharted territory.  They'll need to find people they can trust.  They'll need to make Alliances.


Alliances is available on Amazon, in both e-book and paperback formats:

Universal Link:   link 
National Links:   .com .ca .uk .de .fr .es .it .nl .jp .br .mx .au .in

Books 4 and 5 are already underway; if all goes well, Book 4 will be available this winter.  Come continue the adventure!

 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Review of 'Burnt Worlds' on ManyBooks

I'm delighted to report that Burnt Worlds has been reviewed by ManyBooks, who had some nice things to say.

Their review can be found here:


In order to mark the occasion, the e-book of Burnt Worlds is currently available for free on Amazon, and will be for the entire long weekend!

In other news, the latest book (Alliances, the third book in the 'Hybrid' series) is almost ready to go.  I'm standing by for a last few edits, and if all goes well it'll be out in August.  Yay!





Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Alliances: Cover Image

Up here at the Secret Lair, we're fortunate to be mostly safe from the variety-pack of misery that this year has served up.  People are behaving themselves and, for the most part, not being terrible to each other.  So that's nice.

At the moment, we appear to be experiencing the start of an insect plague.  Untold legions of caterpillars have descended on the compound, crossing the lawn like a fuzzy brown carpet and stripping their trees of their foliage in a matter of days.  Why?  Because it's 2020, that's why.  I would expect no less. The way this year has been going, I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see Godzilla go stomping by.

In the meantime, the third book in the 'Hybrid' series now has a name: Alliances.  The book has made the rounds of the Readers Of The Apopsicle, and is really coming together.  It even has a snazzy cover:




Fifty years have passed since the end of the war and the evacuation of Earth.  Millions of people still live in refugee camps while humanity's governments argue over their fate.

Humanity's ally -- the ancient Palani Empire -- is creating colonies to house the neglected refugees.  Ruthless war hero Zura Varta now finds herself governing dozens of colonies full of irritating humans.

Zura's people are dwindling toward extinction.  To stave off oblivion, geneticists are creating a generation of Human/Palani hybrids.  But those that are 'too human' are abandoned; only a lucky few are adopted, like Zura's daughter Yaella.

Now, hybrid children are being abducted and shipped Coreward.  For impulsive Yaella, finding and rescuing her hybrid 'family' gives her the purpose she's been looking for.

For resolute Zura, the fate of a few hundred children is trivial compared to a widening crisis that threatens the lives of millions.

Mother and daughter are both headed into uncharted territory.  They'll need to find people they can trust.  They'll need to make Alliances.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

It came out of nowhere

Here at the Madill compound, spring has appeared all of a sudden.  Last weekend it snowed, which I thought was a bit disrespectful.  This weekend, it's somewhere around 27C (that's 81F or thereabouts) and absolutely glorious.  There have been no apologies for last weekend's wintry nonsense.

I'm happy to report that the third book in the 'Hybrid' series (currently called Hybrid #3; catchy, huh?) is off to visit the Readers Of The Apopsicle.  It's already been through three edits/rewrites/beatings, and there are still a couple chapters that need another visit from the red pen.

The middle book of the last series (Loyalties) felt the same as this new one does:  it's the middle of the series, so it doesn't so much finish plot threads as it does set pieces in motion for what happens next. 

Zura, for her part, would say that this newest book is mostly about people trying to distract and irritate her as much as possible.  She's not wrong.

Also, for the person who asked, another familiar face from the 'Borealis' series does indeed stop by, and they have an agenda of their own.  But more on that later.


Monday, April 20, 2020

So, apparently...

... a lot can change in a month.

In fairly short order, the world has turned upside down.  Human civilization has ground to a halt while efforts are focused on dealing with a pandemic.  It's a bit like a science-fiction story, apart from the bit about it not being a story.

Like a lot of stories, it does have heroes.  So that's good.  But it's not a single take-charge-and-fix-everything hero like the type that wears a colourful suit and can fly (and/or leap tall buildings in a single bound).  Our very real heroes number in the thousands, and many of them wear scrubs and lab coats (and lots of masks and gloves).

While the professionals are working their butts off to get us through this, many of the rest of us are sitting tight and trying not to make things worse.  For some of us, that might mean feeling like we have too much time on our hands. 

In that case, I'd humbly recommend some sort of creative project.  Writing (obviously), painting, knitting, sewing, carpentry, gardening, that sort of thing.  Or, you know, you could try your hand at video editing.  Like the inspired genius who did a remix of our Prime Minister mis-speaking a word during his daily televised address.  Having a project can help distract us for a little while, and maybe give focus to an otherwise unproductive day.

In time, we'll be on the other side of this, and humanity will find a new version of 'normal'.  I don't know exactly what that'll look like, but I'm hoping we'll finally get flying cars.


P.S.  In less-important news, Book 3 is going through its second round of edits & rewrites.  In a few weeks, I hope to get it out to the Readers Of The Apopsicle for them to look at and/or throw stones at it.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Try soaking it with vinegar, then blot with a damp cloth.

Here in the Great White North, we're safely into the month of March.  I've heard that the other, less awesome, parts of the world aren't too far behind.

After three months of snow, ice, and precious little sunlight, winter has lost much of its initial charm.  Now that it's March, we can finally hope for spring. 

And then, of course, the universe will see us being hopeful, say "nuh uh", and dump more snow on us.  Because that's how these things work.

While more white nonsense falls from the sky, I've been working on the next book.  The third book in the 'Hybrid' series doesn't have a name yet; I'm referring to it by the compelling and exciting name of 'Hybrid 3'.

The first draft of 'Hybrid 3' is done, and I'm well into my initial editing pass.  It's bigger than the first two books: over 90k words, compared to the 70k of the other two.

Since it's the third book in a five (or six?) book series, there's a lot going on.  We're getting to know characters, and events are starting to move on their own.  There's even a little bit of 'old meets new' that happens.

I'm hoping to shorten the time between books, but we'll see.  It only takes one zombie apocalypse to throw off the schedule.  And no one ever thinks about the cleanup afterward; zombie stains are hell to get out of carpet. 

Uh... I mean, that's what I've heard.