Firstly I have to say that I’m not in any way religious. Not in the normal way at any rate. I do believe in a greater power, and I also believe that each of us has a purpose – something or things that we have to learn, do, or share along the way. So. I research a lot of old myths and legends for my Shadow People books, as well as ancient building sites and so on. I’ve been doing a lot of digging around about free will, death, the afterlife, reincarnation, angels and demons again too, and now I’ve given myself the proper willies. When I was writing Echoes of Narcissus I kept on thinking that some malignant narcissists are actually demonic entities inside. Having known my own, and seeing a couple of videos online they very often look and sound the part. Even if they’re physically gorgeous, it’s always in the eyes and the voice that you’ll see or hear those glimmers of darkness.
Some people believe that after you die you become pure spirit again, but I don’t reckon that sounds very logical. If you’ve been an evil sod during your life on Earth, why should you stop being an evil sod after popping your cork? No. You’ll enter your next incarnation with that evil remaining within you somewhere. I think that souls can be blackened by your choices, and once blackened you have to choose to unblacken them or they’ll just keep getting darker. I know that a lot of people don’t believe in any sort of life after death or spirits and that sort of thing, and that’s fine, and probably a lot less creepy, but I do believe in these things, and the more I research, the more I wonder about payback.
There is good and there is evil. It’s pretty obvious if you look around the world these days. Seeing good in any form gives you a good vibe, and seeing evil makes you feel bad – or angry or guilty. I like to think of myself as mostly as good as I can be these days, but I still do things that I know are wrong. Like those things we use in our daily lives that are produced to the detriment, pain, or deaths of others. I do try not to contribute to harm too much as I zoom along, but sometimes I’ve chosen to take the easy way and look away instead.
None of us know with any certainty whether there will be payback or not, but if there is some of us are in for a rather nasty surprise. Throughout history there have been people who have risen to greatness who shared pretty much the same messages of striving to be and do good. To do no harm and so on. While we as a species have raised them up and often worshipped them, as a whole we are all either doing, or allowing to be done, the opposite of all those things they said that we so strongly agree with.
We all appear to be watching helplessly as our world and all who sail on it are destroyed, but unless you are physically at the mercy of a stronger physical force I think that our helplessness is a choice. Free will. We are all able to be as good or as bad as we choose to be. Fair enough, heading off to have a stern talking to with those who somehow we’ve crazily allowed to rule the planet along the way isn’t going to happen (although really cool plot for a book!), but every single day we have choices that will either add or remove a black spot from our soul. Every little thing that we do is important I think, and life shouldn’t only be about self-gratification.
All of this research has me thinking now that all the bad you do, maybe you get to take that with you, and you get to stay that way until you exercise your right to free will. So those evil killers and torturers that have come and gone over the years. If they weren’t tossed into the deepest pits of hell, and if reincarnation is true, well then, they’re back with us today in some form or another, and they’ll either choose good or bad. Or maybe they’re just so bad that it’s too late for good. Or is it ever too late? Either way, there really are some evil buggers out there these days. Some pretty creepy photos of spooks too, never mind dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight.
Image Credit: Paul Rubens
I must say a VERY big thank you to my wonderful sci-fi cover designer. Even though he has read the first book in the series, Chris has only had a few bits revealed to him as to the content of the upcoming books – scribblers are notoriously reticent when it comes to spoilers. And yet he has come up with the perfect covers for the next three books in the series. So – hail to Chris Graham and all those artists who can see into our dreams and interpret them in the real world. Kudos! I can’t wait to see what he does with the final eleven.
I don’t think that a series is something that you write one book at a time, and just guess at what comes next. I have the entire plot for Shadow People planned right till the end, and most of the books already have quite a lot going on. Books two to four will all be published between now and early 2015. So without further waffle, let me share my gorgeous new covers, and a hearty recommendation should you need cover art, to pop over and have a word with their creator – Chris Graham.
Book Two: The Hunger
After the sudden and dramatic appearance of thousands of alien ships in Earth’s skies, and the attempted infiltration and destruction of the planet by the demonic Nefandus, the rulers of the world are reeling. Natalie returns to Lapillus, and together with the Voxavi and their allies meet up with a previously unknown race of ocean dwellers, with a seemingly dubious agenda. Over the millions of years that Lapillus has lain prey to the Nefandus much has changed and there is much to be learned. Gabe, Brian, Shelty and Naka head off on various expeditions that reveal stunning revelations on Earth, Mars, and the Moon, but what is revealed in the deserts of Libya changes everything. The Gluri reveal more to Natalie, and she begins to search for the truth in the ancient, but seemingly universal, legends of God, angels and the devil himself. The Vimana remain as secretive as ever, but one secret as to their origins is revealed. The Voxavi children grow as warriors, and a new race of genetically engineered dragons begins on Naka’s home planet that will resemble their ancestors very little.
Book Three: The Jewel
The importance of Earth in the final battle of good and evil is slowly revealed. More is learned about the souls of all and the simplicity of time and space. The golden orbs in the seas of Lapillus are finally broached, and strange and wonderful treasures are found within, as well as hints as to the origins and motives of the Gretch. The great megalithic jewels of the planet are found to hold strange powers, and the shifting green sands of Lapillus hold the key to finding the most terrifying entity in the universe. Gabe, Brian, Shelty and Naka undertake a dangerous journey to try and recover the one thing that allowed evil to take precedence over good in the universe.
Book Four: The Keeper
It is discovered that the Gretch never gave up their zoo worlds – they merely hid them. Natalie comes face to face with the greatest evil of all time, and it wants more than anything to change her. Only Sablo can save her, but will she be in time? The home world of the Nefandus, thought to have been destroyed by Natalie and Sablo is found, and only the concerted efforts of all the remaining Vimana can prevent their desperate attempts to leave it. Success is unlikely, and if they fail the demons will infiltrate unmapped portions of the universe. The Atunlaki fall into a trap that could signal the death of all of them. Earth struggles to rise above all those who wish to see evil reign. The machinations of a small elite of the new order who worship the Gretch mean that the push of a button will mean the end of the entire battle.
I’ve been really sick this week, but not dead yet so things are looking up again. It’s because I’ve been overly gung ho about drinking the tap water here after everyone warned me not to. I reckoned that the news reports of this municipality happily dispensing crap in the water supply didn’t apply to me. Well. Bottled water for me from now on, and I really don’t recommend cholera, no matter how “mild”, as a new way to diet. I’m still not feeling a hundred percent, so I’m going to take it easy for another couple of days, and not allow myself to zoom around too soon. Anyway.
Before I was taken down in my prime, I had the most fantastic birthday ever on Saturday. Thanks to the most wonderful friends on the planet, turning fifty was actually a lot cooler than I expected it to be. I learned that one guy can singlehandedly ingest a small chilli and garlic plantation on Portuguese buns and live to tell the tale, and that you’re never too old for pressies, choccies, champers, good buddies and laughter. I remember my fortieth birthday as being a bit of a downer. It felt like I was officially middle-aged and that everything would be all downhill from there. Fifty is totally different. Apart from the recent invasion of the innards, I’ve never felt better. I certainly don’t feel old, and I’ve got no intention to swop the skinny jeans or heels for twinsets and slippers quite yet.
I have to do an emergency re-edit and format of African Me & Satellite TV now. I thought that it was in really good shape, and that Shadow People would be the one with hidden typos or issues, but that’s just had another proofing and one typo was found. African Me apparently has quite a few issues, and I’m cringing with terror, so I’d better get to finding them. The second book in the Shadow People series is still a good way away from publishing, but my lovely furry friend and genius cover designer Chris Graham has finished the cover, so now the new book excitement has already started for me. It’s gorgeous! Thank you Chris!
Today is Read Tuesday guys. A day for me to release my inner book glutton and load up my Kindle with piles of discounted and free books. There are some awesome authors on this list, so click here – Read Tuesday – and get shopping. And don’t forget the bookworms in your life this Christmas – check out this post on how to gift an ebook from Misha Burnett.
My African Me & Satellite TV is discounted on all major Amazon sites. It’s 99 cents on Amazon.com, and equal currencies on Amazon.uk, and the rest. Also on Smashwords. Shadow People is also 99 cents on Amazon.com, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. My short story, The Visitation is free today on Amazon.com and Amazon UK.
I’d be most grateful to any of my friends who would share this news anywhere at all. Now – I’m off on a book binge – happy shopping!
Life’s been getting in the way of my writing world lately. It doesn’t look like it’s going to let up either. Whenever I’m not able to go online for a day or three, opening my email on my return generally has me falling off my chair, having multiple simultaneous panic attacks, and rushing off to tremble in the wardrobe for a bit before I gather up the courage to force open an eyeball and get stuck back in to everything. I don’t know if I’m just a whole lot less on the ball than everyone else, or if there are thousands of other scribblers out there regularly falling off their chairs and cowering in terror at the thought of all that they missed. Anyway. I’m out from under the desk now, and attempting to move swiftly on. As well as life insisting on getting all up in my face right now, I’ve broken off a big bit of tooth (extra tough toffee) so I have a toothache, a looming visit to the dentist, and I’ve somehow taken some gluten aboard also. So. I’m a bit of a sour bunny with a bellyache. Never mind. Life would be really boring if it was all just smelling the roses. Blog catch up first.
I must say though, I’m always really impressed with bloggers who produce consistent, daily, professional posts. Especially writers. I know that as self published authors we’re expected to be businesslike and maintain a constant online presence, but sometimes that really isn’t possible. I don’t mind when the authors I
stalk follow disappear for a bit, then resurface with a sorry tale of woe, or huge rant about whatever in the world it was that kept them away. Keeps things interesting. When I’m in the throes of writing a new story or editing, my brain is useless for pretty much all else apart from cheese pancake production or watching dodgy television programmes. I TRULY believe that dodgy TV is the best place to go for inspiration for future scribbles by the way, so I consider it RESEARCH, and not procrastination in any way.
For instance, a while ago I happened to eyeball a series called Extreme Cheapskates that’s definitely got a load of great characters in it. I’m all for living a non-wasteful life, but…. One lady always peed in a bottle and had her boyfriend take it out and toss it on the compost heap – so as to save all that money you waste when flushing the loo. Ha haaa! Ya sexy thing ya! Another one made good use of dumpster dive cake and road-kill to produce squished bunny stew and dessert for her delighted friends and family. Then there was the chap who zoomed from table to table in restaurants bumming peoples leftovers to take home with him. You can’t make that stuff up.
I’m working on the ending for the second Shadow People book – Return to Lapillus, as well as tweaking and getting already published books as polished as they can be before loading them up on Createspace and Lulu. That’s the thing with self-publishing, you learn as you go, so you often have to fix as you go too. These things always take much longer than I think they will though – hence my personal brand and sly marketing tactic of always being late for everything. I really do need to stop with all the self-inflicted deadlines. Anyway. Much more on the ball than I, Chris Graham, my cover designer – yip, got my own cover designer now – has produced the new cover for the first in the Shadow People series, and the book has been updated on Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads with its new look. I love it, and can’t wait to see his vision for book two. For those of you guys who have the original version, open up your Manage Your Kindle function and update there if you haven’t set your reader to automatically update.
Whoever’s been in charge of the universe for June and July, should please reconsider their enthusiasm with lobbing challenges at me. It’s getting a bit much now Big Fella. I’ve decided to hang about here as long as I can today, catching up with blogging and so on, so forgive me if I get a little spammy. I’ll also be keeping a weather eye out for any more of these things that float about and make life “interesting”. Mainly, rotten little tentacled bugs, considering the way my life’s been going lately.
After my poor parrot was sick as a… parrot, there’s been Jelly hurting his leg again, and me bringing a rather large guava tree branch inside (in a bid to try and lose my dawn to dusk live feather boa for a few hours a day), which then subsequently fell on me when I forgot it was there, and zoomed on forth to get my morning cup of tea. It also fell on Angus, as he predicted it would when I brought it in to begin with, but we’ll say no more about that.
Then I lost my balance a bit, when I was carrying a nice warm bowl of home-made stew type stuff for the dog and the chickens outside, and with a perfect flick of the wrist, ended up with horrible looking, warm gunge, all over myself. Not a good look, any day of the week, I can tell you. Bits flew all over the place. Including into my left ear. The chickens created such a scene, you’d have thought arma-egg-don had arrived. And I’ve got a pulled muscle to add injury to insult also. Crappy internet issues followed, although I should be used to those at this point, and now I have my second round of malaria in less than a year happening. Happy days, you say? Well… I’m going to have to insist on it.
I do feel crap though. I’m dosed to the eyeballs with everything I can think of. I don’t want to head down the quinine route again, and end up hearing Mozart’s piano concertos in my head, for two weeks straight. I’m not having the musicals return without a fight. That quinine had me seeing the weirdest things, and having even weirder dreams. Not good stuff at all. Then, there’s the still quite recent memory of the last bout of malaria not being so keen on leaving, and death becoming a point to ponder. Bugger all that I say! I’m typing! And also most definitely planning on moving, in the foreseeable future, to climes less prone to full body invasions by bugs.
I’ve been getting on with all the editing that African Me is needing. I’ve honestly been tempted on many occasions to toss the whole thing in the bin. It’s so littered with newbie grammar gremlins and plot issues that I’m embarrassed. It’s not a good idea to write a doorstopper novel before you’ve so much as written a one page short story. I’m realising that I’ve still got years of learning this craft ahead of me.
When I wrote Shadow People for the NaNoWriMo, I got very excited about the whole “write on through without editing” thing, but now I’m thinking that this isn’t such a great idea. Maybe getting it pretty well near perfect as you write it is slower, but you have a lot less chance of problems with grammar or plot sneaking through to the final result. With Shadow People 2 growing nicely, all my previous scribbles are getting makeovers and tweaks too. I’m hoping for the first week in August to launch all my new and improved books. That’s if I survive that long. And if I don’t, I’ll be spending my spectral evenings visiting whoever’s chanting my name, while tossing eye of newt and toenail of toad into their bubbling cauldron. The swine!
Till next time friends. Which should be shortly.
My books are free on Amazon today and tomorrow, so I’ll pop the links on here for any blogger friends who fancy reading them.
And if you fancy more of the free, or if you have anything on free promotion today, it’s FREEBIE FRIDAY on our buzzing Google+ community. ALL are welcome to join this community.
Happy June guys!
What not to do at one o‘clock in the morning if you don’t want to get the creeps …. Google Shadow People, and then read articles about them. I’ve got lots of things on the go right now. One of them being the second book in the Shadow People series. I woke up at midnight with all my projects, and currently hectic real life bits also, zooming around my frontal cortex. Trying to go back to sleep was futile, so obviously it was time to start my day. There I was, innocently sipping a nice hot cup of tea, about to check my emails, when it occurred to me to have a squiz online for inspiration to resolve a tricky bit of Return to Lapillus. So…
The first article I opened told me what I already know. Shadow People is the name of things that many people claim to have had experiences with. They are shadowy apparitions that sometimes appear once only, but often hang around and terrorise specific people. They’re completely black, some have blood-red eyes, some totally white, and some have no eyeballs or features at all. There are quite a few theories about them. One scientific theory is that they are visions caused by an anomaly in certain individuals brains. Others range from the ghosts of dead people trying to manifest as full-body apparitions, alien beings from another dimension, or demonic entities. My Nefandus in Shadow People are a bit of a combination of all of these things, so not new news that brought on any light-bulb moments for me.
When I originally researched these critters I never looked at any of the comments attached to the articles I read. This time I did, expecting the laughter and jeering that this sort of thing seems to bring out in the online universe. Not so much this time though. Most of them were from those sharing their own experiences. Judging by the couple of hundred of accounts that I read, from people (most of whom seem to be just normal folk, leading ordinary lives) who say that they’ve not only seen these shadow people, they’ve been rendered immobile, and sometimes touched or hurt, I started to wonder how close to reality some of our fictional tales are. Given the weirdness of reality in general, I don’t see any reason to doubt the existence of these things.
Each one of the billions of us that inhabit this particular space-rock lives in a totally different reality. Life is experienced differently by all, and seen differently by each different set of eyeballs. Not one of us has any kind of proof as to why we’re here, or even if we’re here, and not part of the fevered dream of some unimaginable being, or the denizens of some wild computer game being played by more unimaginable beings. Scientifically we’re only starting to find out where we are, and it’s highly unlikely that the known universe that we can actually see is all that there is. What we can see is still a mystery anyway. We know that there is more “dark matter” (the invisible mass that must exist because it has a gravitational effect, and therefore weight) than there is matter that is visible.
I also read about a study done years ago, where it was found that the human body lost a couple of grams of body weight when we spiritually depart this mortal coil. I don’t know how true that is, but then again, maybe those grams are what make up the mysterious dark matter that makes up most of the universe. And it’s all over the place, so who’s to say whether or not, apart from possibly the souls of our benign great, great, great, great grannies, there aren’t a couple of Shadow People, lurking about in there, waiting to scare the daylights out of us in the dark of the night. Now I think I’ll just be off to turn on a few more lights.
Till next time friends.
I’m all buckled and bent from painting all day. I’m not an artist by any stretch of the imagination – I think pre-school was the last time anyone tried to show me how to draw. I’m determined to give this cover art my best shot though, no matter how doubtful I’m feeling right now. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as my dear old mother used to say. I’m doing a stand alone painting for African Me, but for Shadow People I had a bit of a brainwave. It could also be my unfortunate desire for instant gratification. Apparently people who desire instant gratification are actually lazy, and lack self-control. So…
Because it will be a series, it occurred to me that I could get more than one cover from one painting, linking one to the other, and creating a sense of continuity. Lovely idea you say? Well. Even though going from stick figures to the Sistine Chapel was obviously not what I was aiming for, it’s really not as easy as I thought it would be. Regardless, bent muscles notwithstanding, I’m still a bit hopeful that this might work in conjunction with the photo shopping thing.
So, right now I’ve got a humungous piece of hardboard with key scenes from the Shadow People series plopped around and about on a background that needs work – to put it mildly. I’m revamping the first book in the series for release at the same time as African Me. Being the secretive soul that I am, I’ll just share the very first really rough pencil doodle of my vision of what the Voxavi look like (just a tiny part of the total painting). Yes I know I haven’t even rubbed out lines that shouldn’t be there, and he does acquire some really cool spikes in the painting, but… As with the poem for African Me, I’m going to save the final for the actual book. My theory being that if you don’t find the doodle rotten and offensive, and curse me forever for offending your delicate eyeballs, you may not hate the final cover pictures. I’m praying here that ridicule and laughter aren’t lurking in my future.
I will say though, that regardless of whether my attempts are toolish or not, I don’t think that I’ve ever had so much fun. Scribbling is my favourite thing to do, but letting loose, and immersing yourself in art and poetry for a while is really an amazing thing to do. I totally recommend leaping wildly from your comfort zone now and then, and doing something you never imagined that you could. What have you got to lose?
Till next time friends. xxx