Tempus Automata – two


My companion had ground to a complete stop before me and I had nearly walked right over her.  But when I looked at what held her eyes, I too stepped back in shock.

The being before us was like a man and yet unlike one.  It was sexless.  Its hide was run through with small fissures where it had dried under the harsh winds.  In some spots it had blackened with age.  Its hands loosely rested on the exposed rock that somehow resembled a chair; no a throne.  The skin over the fingers was cracked at the joints and metal, though pitted, shone through.  Its head hung forward and its eyes were closed.

Was this the Watcher?  What did it see with its eyes closed?  Did it still live or was it dead?

“Has our journey been a waste?” cried my companion.  “Was all this just to find another carcass among many?  Was it all for naught?”

My hand reached out to touch her shoulder, but I held back.  A small, simian-like creature had arrayed itself across the being’s shoulder and glared at us.  My companion moved away as the thing chittered at her in annoyance.  The strange little eyes of the ape spoke with a dark intellect as they bored into mine.  One of its hands rapped a repeating pattern against the large head of the being until the eyelids of it split open.

My companion and I crumpled under the strange gaze.  Its machine eyes measured us and we felt small in comparison.  It was hard not to look away, but we had come to this forsaken planet for this very meeting.  My companion fell to her knees and I joined her.  We clasped hands and whispered our request.

The being’s voice stuttered out from long disuse, “You wish to ask of me questions?”

We both nodded, though mine was with the slightest hesitation.

“You traveled all this way for that?  What would you ask of me that you couldn’t find elsewhere?”

The voice of my companion echoed out into the wind of this dead planet, “What are you?”


Tempus Automata – one


The earth below us was broken.  Shards of stone jutted out into a sky as black as a cave.  But there was light.  The very cracks in the ground seemed to glow with it.

We had left the ruins of the city behind and followed this ancient trail out into the fractured peaks that lay on the western edge.   Strange weeds struggled to grow underfoot, but our steps turned them into dust.

Were the weeds truly alive?  Was anything on this Gods forsaken planet?

The stories of this world were whispered of in the darkest corners of the universe and they were believed to be the tales of madmen.

“There is no Earth to be found!” cried the naysayers.  “No Sol System on any star chart.”

Where the rumors say it hung in the night sky was a spot of blackness, blacker than the darkest night.  But one day, that fleck of blackness had faded and an ancient star system had lain in its center.

My companion and I had come to this ancient birthplace of the human species and we had come in search of answers.

“Answers to what?” you might ask.

What had happened here?  What had brought the denizens of the darkest domain back to this moribund sphere?  Where had they gone?  The answer would always be knowledge, be it forbidden or dangerous.

Time was of the essence as the days left for it to circle its dying star grew short.  Its magnetic field had begun to weaken and the atmosphere was dissipating into space.  The oceans had lost much of their moisture, but the waves continued to slap the lonely shores.

It was with a shock of surprise that we actually found our quarry seated amongst the bones of this corpse world.  We had believed it to be myth and fairytale, but our deepest hopes had been that there still lay a grain of truth in the legend, that the Watcher was real.

And it was.

My Search for a Book Cover Pt. 3


I’ve continued my journeys into the headwinds of cover design…

But clear waters may be ahead!  I am currently sitting on a book cover, a completed book cover… many actually if the truth were to be told.  I’ve done a ton of research and I believe (!) I am good to go concerning its Licensing Agreement / Limited Use Agreement.

The formatting is solid and if I decide to actually get a print run done, there is minimal tweaking needed.

All in all, I am pretty happy right now.  This took much longer than I had initially expected.  I had covers created for my four books, which as you know, I have split out into shorter works and they have been changed to something better.  At least I think so.

I got so excited about it that I even made a cover for the Nun with a Gun!

Now comes the long period of getting the episodes out there!

(image courtesy of Ryan McGuire of http://www.gratisography.com/)

Other Exciting Tales in the Pursuit of Publishing Pt. 1


What else should I know?

I have learned a great many things in my pursuit to become more than a writer.  More than I thought I would possibly need to know to actually segue into the world of an author… like publishing.

This all started as a gamble to see if I could write a book.  Then it swelled into the wonder if I could write another, and then another.  Once I had the first three in various stages of completeness, I wondered what was next.

What would it take to get published?

I read everything I could and checked with multiple publishers, but the genre my books were in was not the one they were looking to fill.  The other shoe dropped when I found out that my stories were considered too short for the science fiction genre.  I thought about padding the stories out, but it would absolutely kill the flow.

Each of my stories were between the mid fifty thousand words to over sixty thousand words, but the genre I was working in regularly requested between eighty thousand to one hundred thousand words.  These two things pretty much curdled the publishing plan.

But what about Self-Publishing?

And so began my great search for information into what was needed to make that happen and as you already know, I have hit on that mission in previous posts.  I’m finalizing some steps before I hit the next bigger ones and then it hit me, what is the hardest part about being a new author?

Being known.  You’ve written a book, but who knows who you are and why would they buy your book?  A cover and a byline will give you some traffic, but that’s it.  I started this whole blog to work on that (plus its good writing practice in a different format).  How is that going?  Only time will tell.

So what’s another hold back from someone buying a book from an unknown author?  Expense.  I have thought long and hard on this one and you have no idea how many algorithms I’ve read for pricing it out.  I’ve looked into the KDP Select and how that works.

How can I make stories intriguing without a lot of cost to someone?  Then it hit me, the initial idea had been for a TV show and each full length book represented a season.  So why not break each season down into three episodes?

The shorter length fit the lower cost algorithms for buyers and I can release them relatively quickly which should give me the time to complete the fourth one and get a final rewrite on the third one.

So, I’ve got my plan, my calendar and I’ve got all my ducks lined up in a row.  I will be knocking them down one by one sooner than later.

How bright can the future be?  Let’s find out!

Collaborating with Tyson K. Lane Pt.3


As you can see, I have now listed the other writer as Tyson K. Lane!

Once this whole project took a huge step forward, he no longer wanted to lurk in the shadows like some puppet master.

And by a huge step forward, I mean that the peoples of the world have more structure, world is more fully realized (there’s even a map of sorts) and there’s more detail in how the locations function.

Beyond that, the main character has more of a back story as well as a direction forward.  And in the words of Mr. Lane himself, “She is finally talking to me and I think I like her…”

To top that off, we even have a few first draft chapters in the pile now.

Huge.  Step.  Forward.

The Mysteries of Waking


The dry rasp of his eyes opening dispelled the dust that had accumulated in the grooves of his skin.  His sudden indrawn breath created motes in the dim light of the early dawn.

His body jerked violently upward and a wretched cry burst from his lips as gravity pulled him to the dry, rotted floorboards.  Thin slivers of wood punctured his skin while he lay there panting.

It was a matter of moments before he pieced together that the slick wetness his hands and head lay in glittered with a crimson sheen.  The surface of the pool was broken as he struggled to push himself away from it.

Wildness radiated from his large eyes as his hands searched his body for the source of the blood.  Streaks of it ran up the walls and glistened against the filthy popcorn ceiling.  Horror ruled the curves of his face as he spied the body draped unceremoniously over the small chest in the corner.

Tears cut runnels through the scarlet splashed across his face as his body shook, “How long have I been here?  How many days?  How many months?  Each morning it’s the same.  More blood on my hands and a new body somewhere in here.”

His eyes lit upon the long piece of cool metal that rested forlornly under the saggy and broken bed frame.  Greedily, his fingers reached for it.  It was cold to the touch, much colder than the room would allow.

“Why is this happening?” he cursed against the four walls of his prison.  “How many times have I tried to leave and yet I always find myself here,” his eyes lit upon the form on the chest, “with only the company of a corpse.”

The slide of the M1911 pulled back to frame an empty chamber before it slipped back with a violent click.  The magazine clattered against the floor, but he could tell from the sound that it was empty.

The pistol fell loosely from his grip before he looked skyward, “Why is it always a different body?  Where do they come from?  Where do they go?”  His bloodied hands clutched at the skin stretched over his skull, “Am I going mad?”

A woman watched as he pulled himself under the bed from the tiny monitor bolted to the desk.  Her lips curled of their own accord as she grabbed the handset of the old rotary phone and her long, painted nail dialed 0, 1, and 0.

The buzz and click sounded loud in the confines of the security station, but she remained languid until the voice came through.  “Yes sir, I believe this one is almost ready.  Only another day or two.  Thank you, sir.”

The phone clacked against the ancient plastic of its body.  Her fingers steepled as she continued to watch him through the monitor, “Only another day or two…”

Collaborating with another Writer Pt.2


Progress!  It feels good!

I haven’t written anything fantasy based in a very long time, but it’s one of those genres that I have enjoyed many times throughout my life.

Where am I going with this?  Well, this collaboration is going to be in the fantasy genre!

And I got bit hard by the idea bug.  Ideas flowed like water and we were able to hash out a more descriptive world and the main city in which the story will take place (at least the beginning of it).   Maybe I’ll draw a map!

We’ve got a finger on the pulse of the races that would populate this world and what their abilities would be.  We’ve even got the semblance of a series of magic systems and how they would interplay in the world and with each other.

Even a semblance of the religions of this planet has been cobbled together!  I think we also got a touch of the mythology of the world in place too!

We’re still throwing the pitches back and forth to see what stays, what changes and what new things are added, but man, I am so excited!