domingo, 19 de diciembre de 2010

Next Up...

The next publication on Smashwords will be a Four Short Story anthology set in the Urionverse. My idea is to include the following:

The Dark Wheel - spin the wheel and take a chance
Four Minutes - not a second more to save the world
Knight's Charge - The Wildwose with a twist
Eternal - everlasting life, but not as we know it.

There still could be a change as I'm in two minds about the fourth one.

Watch this space...

viernes, 17 de diciembre de 2010

ALOF - Chapter Two

Asmode's Lair

The Artefact itself lay forgotten below the blood-stained throne. It was a curious design, resembling nothing more than the thigh bone of some medium-sized animal. At either end of the bone was a shimmering circular indentation and the body of the item was criss-crossed with a tracery of thin and strangely woven runes.

Demon-infested priests had tried to mould it to their will with the death and binding of souls to its purpose, yet it had lain inert, dormant until today. Now a faint vibration shuddered it. The thing shook ever so slightly in time to some unheard of tune and the air around it shimmered.

It seemed as though it hid itself from view, although it lay in plain sight, until an Ori slave passed by. She started with repugnance and swept it up with the rest of the effluvium. Then, she began her daily walk to the rubbish mounds heaped outside the main laboratory. There, she threw her bag of rubbish and the bone became hidden amongst a pile of rotting corpses.

Before she left, she could have sworn that she heard a haunting, yet somehow familiar tune, but the rough hand of one of the guards impacting against her cheek made her forget.

In the main plaza, Cormach stopped and listened. He too, heard the lilting tones and felt a strange yet irresistible drag on his consciousness. As K’san led the multitude out of the plaza, he lingered, his head tilted to one side. Another, gold-armoured figure stood by his side, pistol held loosely between his hands. When Cormach set off towards the main entrance, he followed.

Uncharted Space

Walters stood in the centre of the control room and stared at his new hand. The fingers were an exact copy of human flesh and bone, but their metallic sheen gave lie to the effect. He was the embodiment of an animated temple statue; hair was made of thin slivers of metal, bones and vital organs had become redundant when his spirit had infused the construct. A simple thought caused the hand to reform into a metallic blade and he laughed in enjoyment at the responsiveness of Arshavin’s original design.

It was then he felt K’san’s call and answered. Now he had the next piece in the puzzle. Instinctively he replied, channelling his power through his servant. He could taste the taint in the warp and the familiar flavour of the decaying Shan. There was also the response from the K’ran trapped on that far-off world, and something new.

“Arn,” he growled, “we need to be leaving. K’san has found what he was looking for and it appears that our old friend Shan has followed him there.”

“You have some specific co-ordinates?” asked Arn, the only one who could see through the shining body to the essence beneath.

“Of course,” Walters said, “I will give them to you shortly. First though, go and wake Berbatov up. He would hate to miss anything, of that I am positive.”

Arn bowed and left his Lord to his contemplation. One thing was for sure, life was always interesting onboard the Galleon, especially when Walters was making up one of his plans

Asmode's Lair

Cormach walked in a daze. The music filled his mind, sending bursts of bliss and pain in equal measure. He blundered on, careening from one side to the other with his ever-present golden guardian behind him. Ever downwards they went, until they reached a long dark corridor, at whose end shone a sickly red light.

They had reached the laboratory complex. Here the Master’s minions carried out his sick experiments on those tortured souls unlucky to have been chosen. Past glass jars holding body parts they walked, through rooms of half-completed monstrosities and birthing chambers, where K’ran struggled to break free. It was a riot of sound; screams, guttural cries, things which pleaded for a mercy which was never to have been their’s.

At last the corridor arced upwards and on unsteady feet, Cormach reached the horrid charnel pits. Here, failed experiments and the refuse of pain were left to rot and moulder. Without a break in his step, he trudged on. Bones broke beneath his feet, gore and excrement clung to him, but he went on.

Behind him, his companion waited. Pistol turned back towards the sickly light and the now whispering sound of dragging feet.

“You need to hurry up,” it was said quietly, yet forcefully and seemed to touch a chord in Cormach’s sodden mind.

The Ori reached down, into the horrible mess and drew one bone clear. There was a ringing sound of completion and a silver glow covered his hand where he held the Artefact. From each end of the bone poured a cleansing light. Two symmetrical shards burst clear, coalescing into rigidity and he raised his weapon high.

Creatures shrank back into the tunnel away from the cleansing fire. They were hideously deformed, neither human nor beast and their eyes shone with malice and hate. Cormach waded clear and stood by his companion’s side.

“Come,” he said and strode forward. His right arm swung rhythmically and the weapon became a blur. The shards seemed to flow together, producing a shimmering circle. On he went, a battle cry bursting from his lips and without pause he ran, straight into the monsters’ midst.


Arshavin’s constructs had reached the outer city now, and their beams of destruction struck deep into K’san’s new forces. He hurried them away, even though his only thought should have been battle. They were mostly unarmed, weak and wasted. There would be time to repay the slights and suffering they had been put through. Half of his men he sent to chivvy them on, the others stayed with him to act as a rearguard.


Shan knew that he was close. He could feel the power of the artefact and he had little concern over its current master. The demon-spawn had fled back to the city and he strode at the head of his twisted Immortals.

In front of them was nothing but prisoners and slaves, freed in the insanity of his attack. They would provide him with new followers in time, but first he needed to secure his prize. He was still congratulating himself on his success when brickwork and bodies exploded out from the main building. As the dust cleared he saw one man, a gold-armoured figure at his side and a silvery blur of light.


Lilith knelt before her Master’s throne, leathern wings trailing along the blood-soaked floor. Above them were the sounds of bombardment, yet here there was calm. She had not reverted to her normal shape as she felt the call of battle. As it was, she was but a pale parody of the being who filled the bloody throne.

“It seems,” his deep voice boomed, “that the tales of my brother’s avarice are true. How far he has fallen. I can taste each breath of his lackey here on my world.”

“Why do you not crush him?” hissed Lilith, “The death of his servant would be a clear message.”

“My Dear Lilith,” he rumbled in laughter, “that is your job. Even I would not flaunt the Accords.”

“But, My Lord...?”


The room trembled with Her Lord’s rage and Lilith cowered. He was as close to a full Demon that one of the Tauran’s could be and still retain his own sense of identity. After generations of worship, he had climbed to the pinnacle of power, crushing and burning his enemies as he rose. Old, he breathed an arrogance which brooked no question, yet even so, Lilith felt he was wrong.

“You will do my bidding! This Shan comes for the Artefact, which even now sings its horrid dirge of death. Bring me its new owner and I will break him to my will, as I have done so many others. Shan you will ignore for now. Group together our forces and ready them for my signal. When the times comes we will send my brother a message, one than his disease-ridden spawn can take to him personally.”

This was more like it. Lilith licked her lips in anticipation; death and torture would stalk this world once more.

Her Lord stopped, sniffing the air with a strange motion as though questing for an elusive scent.

“There is something else,” his stentorian whisper still causing the bones in her chest to vibrate, “another comes...”

Lilith looked up, there was something in her Lord’s voice she had never heard before...fear!

miércoles, 15 de diciembre de 2010

Sudden Dearth III - A Leap Of Faith

As I am in the final stages of editing Book III in the series, I thought that I would give you all an insight into how it's going. So here is Chapter One of Book III...

Ori Homeworld

Cormach was angry. To be captured as easily as a newborn babe, whilst sleeping shamed him. He had been warned of the effect of excess, how it led to the Twisted Way. Yet he was young, over-confident and had ultimately paid the price. His nose wrinkled in response to the stench which wafted up from his unwashed and battered body.

They had taken a break and he sat in his and others’ filth. The rough chains and slave collar chafed against his skin. Runes ran along its length and negated his will. Not all, though. How he longed for the feel of his bow and blade in his hand. Then he would make these accursed Taurans pay. It was not to be though, his weapons lay forgotten on his homeworld, along with the shattered bodies of his kin.

The bestial grunts of his captors broke into his reverie and he flashed a hate-filled glance towards them. His time would come, yet for now he must wait.


Ships, bloated like flies after a carrion feed, rose from the burning remains of the Satellite colony. They had come to fill their bellies with sacrificial souls for their Master. It had been a good raid and now they left, before the Ori reaction force could retaliate. One by one they winked out of existence, the last leaving just as the first of the vengeful Ori vessels exited the boiling maelstrom of fold space.

Inside the lead ship, Lilith laughed. Her Master would be pleased. The forges and laboratories were waiting for these long-lived souls. The Artefact would be activated and their troops become unstoppable. Yes, it had been a good day.

Asmode's Lair

The Ori had seen his brothers and sisters herded into the dark doorways, he felt their fear and despair. Still he did not lose hope. Their misery had been compounded by the treatment they received within the Tauran ships and then on the forced march from the landing.

He recognised that his moment had come when the foul beast turned on its handler. The chariot’s passage back through his people snapped his chains and he rose, calling to his brothers to help. They ran blindly away from the tangled mess of bodies.

At first they made ground, but soon heard the sound of pursuit. Cormach began to lose hope when he was dragged roughly into an alleyway and saw more enemies awaiting him. Surprise stunned him into silence as they were roughly manhandled to one side and gold-armoured creatures stood to meet the Taurans’ charge. It was soon over and once again he was a captive.

He was shocked when they were not mistreated, yet bundled into a large room above the streets. The armoured men parted and he saw a silver-haired individual approach. There was something animalistic about him, barely held in check. He reminded himself that he was a true warrior of the Way and stood to meet his fate.

The man signalled to one of the smaller of the armoured figures, who removed his helm and Cormach gasped.


K’san saw the quickly masked amazement on the Ori’s face. S’sral’s collection of allies had been indiscriminate and now it was as though the rescued alien looked into a mirror. The only difference was the snarling K’ran’s head tattooed on his colleague’s pale face.

“Tell him why we are here,” he said, turning away, “and be quick about it. We don’t have much time.”


Lilith was furious. She had been so close to perfection, when the idiot guard had spoilt everything. With a snarl, she withdrew her knife and slammed it into the cowering man’s chest. He at least would not fail her again.

“Loose the beasts!”

More K’ran were brought from a nearby building. These were smaller, lithe and deadly. Bred for hunting, they strained in eagerness to be away. Their handlers took them close to some of the mashed corpses and they snuffled at the alien smell. Yips of excitement told her that they had found the scent of the fugitives and they were set free. There was no need to follow quickly behind them. She was no longer interested in the capture of the Ori prisoners. Their deaths would suffice.


A growl interrupted Cormach’s discussion. He looked up and saw the silver-haired man’s face contorted in anger. His eyes blazed and he barked something at two of his men. They were quickly away. The Ori was sure he saw their bodies changing as they ran, but it could have just been a trick of the light.

“Stay here!” K’ran snapped.

Then Cormach was sure, as the human’s body rippled and shuddered. Before him was a growling, fur-covered beast. It snarled once and then leapt after the others.

High Orbit

The craft hung silently above the planet. It was spherical in shape, silvered to the point of brilliance. One small red light pulsated, swishing round the sphere in a slow orbit. Without warning, it sped up. Now it blurred with its velocity, almost an excited and continuous line. A bubble in reality formed near it and a much larger ship winked into existence. The small craft whizzed upwards and a large black opening cracked wide, into which the tiny craft disappeared.

Master Arshavin sighed in contentment. It was as he suspected. Their mission was still alive and his new master, Shan, would be pleased. The time spent in study had not been wasted and the Artefact was still here. He bridled as the huge and pestilent bulk of a diseased Immortal brushed past him. Arshavin was lucky that he had no nose to smell the awful stench of Shan’s minion. It was bad enough that he could see him.

This one and his fellows’ presence on Arshavin’s craft, spoke clearly of the lingering mistrust in which he was held. Still, it was of little significance. He hurried to his control chair, sighing as he felt the surge of connection. Now he could carry out the first phase of his plan and perhaps at last be rid of the disease-infested Lord and his minions.

His commands were quickly transmitted and from the darkness of the open bay, silver forms emerged. They were larger than their tiny brother, cigar-shaped, but ending in a wicked point. Engines burst into life and drove them down through the unresisting atmosphere. Petal-like brakes deployed, slowing them, before falling away as their cargo bloomed forth.

Long, spindly arms flowed outwards from a diamond-shaped arm. They whipped in the self-generated breeze of descent for a moment, before realigning themselves into a streamlined shape. Explosively they struck the earth, burying deep into the tortured ground and destroying wilfully the horrid vegetation around them.

With a hiss and a groan they drew themselves forth, the trailing protuberances hardening into strong metallic legs. These clicked into life, drawing the diamond bodies upwards. Slender antennae appeared and twin red lights sparked. As one they moved forward, heading directly for the city in front of them.

Happy that his work was done, Arshavin sent his signal. Fold space began to boil and spat forth the Spiteful Dawn. Shan had come.

Asmode's Lair

Lilith was lost in the anticipation of the hunt when the first red bolt struck the city, tearing its way through barely resistive rock. It was followed by beam after beam, which melted a path through the surrounding buildings. She heard her Lord’s mental scream of rage at the temerity of the action and his irresistible call-to-arms. She spat in frustrated pique, then ordered half of her forces to deliver their charges below. The rest she would need.


K’san felt the impact of the beams through his pads, yet his focus must remain on the hunting pack. They skittered around the corner of the alley, their claws losing their grip and he chose that moment to attack. He leapt from the shadows, one taloned paw crushing the first of the K’ran’s skull. His brothers joined the battle and the alley became a mass of snarling growls, rending fangs and tearing claws. Although numerically at a disadvantage, K’san and his men were much larger than the hunting pack members. They had also been imbued with their Lord’s grace and so the battle was short and bloody.

At last they stood, chests heaving. Beneath the unsheathed claws of each of them lay the bared throats of their victims, submissively stretched. Another volley of energy weapons crashed into the city and K’san paused, squinting towards the sound of destruction.

He lifted his claws and spoke, “Follow.” The now submissive K’ran rose and fell in behind him as he stalked away. It seemed that someone else had arrived to stake their claim and with much heavier firepower. He needed to think.

Drop pods continued to fall in a virulent wave from the sky. Shan had lost little time in disembarking his troops, the urge to kill was strong upon him. The world below was already tainted with the kiss of one of the Taurans’ demons, but he had a different embrace in mind. Within a number of the pods were special packages, humans infested with the blessing of his patron. Once on the ground, they would release their own kind of welcome to their warped brothers. It would be delicious.

Master Arshavin continued to cluck and scold his creations as they methodically destroyed buildings and razed ground. Beams of terrific force melted rock and evaporated any flesh foolish enough to place themselves in their way.

Shan could feel the call of the Artefact and this time, there was no semi-deity to stand in his way. Instead he could sense the presence of souls in torment and it excited him to think of the use he would put them to.


Lilith drove her bestial horde onwards. Her anger now had a target and she screamed in rage, the froth of madness spitting from her lips. She called on her Master and felt his power surge through her body in response. Ropes of muscle stood out as she swelled, wings burst from her shoulders, horns pushed from her head in an explosion of gore and she leapt free. Her whip crackled with energy and shimmered with an awful heat. A cackling joy bubbled from her lips as the long weapon licked out.

The first of Arshavin’s creations felt the touch of her weapon. Its caress scored the metal, leaving a trail of acidic bubbles. With a grown the limb doubled over on itself and the machine crashed to the floor. Behind, her troops fanned out. They too felt their Master’s benediction and changed.


Within the city and from the roof of his building, K’san watched the drama unfold. He was surrounded by his followers, new and old and they watched in surprise as he dropped to his knees. Arms wide in supplication, he called out to his Lord. A fresh breeze sprang up from nowhere, his hair fanning out in response.

The K’ran who had recently joined him fell to the floor, their bodies wracked with convulsions of ecstasy. Cormach too bowed under the pressure wave of love and concern which washed over him.

As one, they clearly heard Walters’ voice as it roared through their minds, “I come, my children, do not fear.”

K’san turned to face them, his eyes blazing with a peculiar green light, “Prepare yourselves,” he crowed, “our Pack will run again!”


On the battlefield, deep within the forges and laboratories and even in the torture and slave pits they felt Walters’ call. K’ran knew the Truth, Ori a blessing and hope which renewed them, and they fought.

Shan spat in rage and fury, urging his troops on. Lilith screamed in challenge, before wheeling away, her wings beating strongly to carry her back to her Master’s side. There, upon his blood-soaked throne, her Master dropped the Artefact in his hand as it burnt and scored his flesh. He struck about him in a hate-filled frenzy. His goal had been so close and now he must begin again.


Masses of K’ran and Ori poured from the exits of the building below and huddled together in the main square. Their faces turned up to feast greedily upon the silent figure which stood high above them.

“Come,” said K’san, “it is time to gather our people, ready for our Lord’s arrival.”

They followed him down, pushing and shoving to be at his side, Cormach the foremost of them. Now he could fight and he screamed his battle cry of old, and from below he heard its echo.

martes, 14 de diciembre de 2010

Christmas Cheer...

Really getting into the swing of it now - the tree is up, lights work, baubles dangling and I've even written my letter to Santa. I love how he always eats the cookie, drinks the whisky, lets Rudolph eat the carrot and leaves me a message every year.

Talking of messages, the Wildwose seems to be sending out the right one. More and more people are downloading it, and that is just on Smashwords. It gives me a warm feeling about how the anthology will be accepted. People are still downloading Sudden Dearth too. If you haven't got your copy - what are you waiting for?

More details on the shorts to come soon.

Watch this space...

lunes, 13 de diciembre de 2010

Next up on SW...

Well, having survived the terror of Christmas shopping on the weekend; mothers screaming at children, arguements over where the queue to pay starts, who gets the parking spot and of course the ultimate being the that guy with the white beard is so not giving me a kiss. Love it...

The next instalment for Smashwords will be a small short-story anthology. There will be three or four shorts, with the background being the Urionverse. This will include The Dark Wheel, Eternal and Four Minutes. All are a mix of horror and science-fiction, with some more horror than others.

They will hopefully be up in the next week or so.

Watch this space...

viernes, 10 de diciembre de 2010

Cover Art Works

I am definitely convinced that the art work is what snags the interest, especially for a digital site. The Wildwose topped over 100 downloads in the first few days, with plenty more page views. Okay, it was free, but I reckon that the picture sold the concept before anyone read the synopsis.

This picture attached was used for a story of mine called A Cold Dish. Again, it is set in the Urionverse, but tells the tale of cold vengeance and a man who like a violent storm follows his designated path, irrespective of the consequences. You can see the first chapter up on the SD facebook page notes. More to follow.

Watch this space...

jueves, 9 de diciembre de 2010

How do you choose?

Now that I am out there on Smashwords and the bigger world is just days away, I have been studying the competition, so to speak. One of the big questions I have, when I look at the multitude of offerings is - how do you choose? Is it the cover art? Is it the synopsis? What is it?

I personally have tried a little of both first hand on the free samples and have been both surprised and disappointed. The synopsis gives a small space, 400 characters, on Smashwords with which to hook a reader. I'm working on that for the next offering. The cover art for SD and The WW is awesome, so we have a winner there.

I was at a Book Fair this morning and started testing out my theory that the art attacks the eyes first and then the synopsis tidies up any doubts, and for me it works. Am I strange? You tell me. As an aside and perhaps a visual teaser, here is the art, courtesy of Diggory, which I want to use for SDII - A Guiding Light. which has been part-serialised on this blog. What do you think?

SDIII excerpts coming soon. Watch this space...

miércoles, 8 de diciembre de 2010

Oh, Happy Day - Apple here we come

Well, the rain in Spain actually falls directly on my house...guarantee it. Yes, I know it's not snow and it's not cold, but torrential rain stops a walk in the park, tapas and a cerveza sat in the sunshine...the usual stuff. Anyway, it does give me some time to write a bit more about how things are progressing on the self-publishing front with respect to Sudden Dearth and The Wildwose.

Great news yesterday that SD has been accepted first time into the Smashwords Premium Catalogue (just gotta love my wife for her many skills) and now will be available on Barnes & Noble, Sony, Diesel, Kindle and Apple. Amazon as well soon. The Wildwose should be no problem either, just time in the queue. So, I'm going global!

The next offering will be up soon, although I am toying with what it will be. More on this to come soon.

Watch this space...

martes, 7 de diciembre de 2010

I'm Contagious...Pass me On!

AS you delve deeper into the world of e-Book Marketing, you begin to learn new terms and methodology (see, I'm already using big words!). Apart from tag clouds which I learnt about yesterday, apparently today's lesson is all about going viral.

Now, you can imagine what initialy crossed my mind...careful, I thought we had entered one of my stories. Well, no, it's all about linking, sharing and passing on. Did that sound bad to anyone else?

As my first try, I decided to see what could be done with The Wildwose. It's FREE, is an interesting premise and hopefully people will enjoy the read as a reward for their eforts.


lunes, 6 de diciembre de 2010

Smashwords update

So, first day over and The Wildwose seems to be doing alright - over 200 page views and 50+ downloads. It has already helped provide some traffic for Sudden Dearth itself and so maybe a revisit of my strategy to short stories rather than a FREE novella makes more sense. Time today to think about it.

Oh, and if anyone needs reminding, you can download 40% of Sudden Dearth FREE as well.

Watch this space...

domingo, 5 de diciembre de 2010


An interesting statistic is that The Wildwose, since I put it up this morning, has been seen and downloaded more times than Sudden Dearth in nearly two weeks. Could it be that it's much shorter than Sudden Dearth and in our fast-paced world attention spans wander too...we're losing, again? Chris Hughton needs to put a rocket up someone's ar...where was I? Oh, yes, I personally think it's the great cover by Diggory, it sort of smacks you between the eyes with its awesomeness.

Anyway it's now on Smashwords at and is absolutely FREE.

SALIGI will be following soon. Watch this space...

sábado, 4 de diciembre de 2010

The Wildwose Part II

So, woke up this morning feeling fine...sorry, too much coffee. The cover art, awesome work by Diggory Steele-Perkins, is ready and I posted it on the FB page. Checked some of the Sudden Dearth page stats and found that there are now 342 likes, 100 active monthly users and that there were 999 page views yesterday! Smashwords page views and sample downloads are rising.

Looks like the marketing is starting to work...but I need more readers, followers and connections so, back to the grindstone.

Watch this space.

viernes, 3 de diciembre de 2010

The Wildwose

Very near to posting The Wildwose on Smashwords - it should be available this weekend if I can agree on the cover art and pester my long-suffering wife to make sure I haven't screwed up the formating with my edits. As soon as it is ready, I will let everyone know.

As background, this was a short story wot I wrote a while back (apologies to Ernie Wise). A few people who got the chance to read this at the time mentioned that it would have made a great comic book...or it was something to do with a clown, anyway... I would be interested to hear what people think.

It is, like Euthan Palace and A Cold Dish, set within the Urionverse, yet at a time distant from Sudden Dearth. It was an idea started as a potential book, which then became a short story, kept for future reference. I think it works as a short story, but I'm biased, so would be interested to hear from you...yes, you at the back!

Watch this space...

jueves, 2 de diciembre de 2010


So let's see where we are...number one, write a great book (well it's written anyway), number two, write another one...what the! Oh yeah, got a couple more somewhere. Number three, maximise distribution - that is what I'm working on, but it takes time. Number four, give (some of) your books away for FREE. Check. I will be posting a short story and a novella for FREE on SW real soon, and anyway there's Euthan Palace, 26S, Urion's Belt...wait a minute, am I charging for anything! Crap, what's next?

Okay, calm down, number five is trust your readers and partners which I do anyway, so no worries there. Number six is have patience and seven is marketing starts yesterday. Sod it, I knew I was too late...oh yeah, see number six.

And last but not least, number eight, architect for virality. Well I can be as contagious as the rest of them, so we're set, no?

(Tips extracted from The 7 Secrets to e-Book success by Mark Coker)

miércoles, 1 de diciembre de 2010


This promises to be an interesting journey, as the fresh rush of viewers trails off from the initial page impact. I have spent some time studying various success stories, blogs with tips and even the Smashwords own marketing guide. Armed with my list I have begun...

It's opening up new skills today, as I learn how to link all of my preferred sites via URL either to here, or direct to the book page. Not everyone is standard so I now have a list of URL formats required by different places. Signatures on sites now include my link too. I have yet to stoop to begging, but that apparently is an option for the future!

I will give updates on here and my FB page on how I get on and am expecting the FREE copy of SALIGIA to help in the process. That is of course is someone likes it.

Watch this space...