Some great news, and some not as great news.

Okay, well, I’m not going to be writing all that much today, but I do want to make an important announcement, one to which I’ve been building up for some time:  “The Chasm and the Collision” is out!  Here are the two versions, paperback and Kindle, from which you can choose (or if you can’t decide, you can feel free to buy one of each.  Or more than one of each.  Why not?  ^_^  ).  Just click on the image and you’ll be brought to the Amazon page where the book is listed:

CatC cover paperback

Paperback

 

CatC cover kindle

Kindle

Unfortunately, on the very day it was released (two days ago, now), my mother’s health took a downward turn.  She was already in the hospital after having felt a bit weak and having some other, more specific troubles, and her situation had become more complicated than it was expected to become.  Certainly, it was more complicated than I had expected it to become.  Anyway, now I’m writing this while sitting in the Greyhound station in Knoxville while they clean the bus, having left from Fort Lauderdale (on a different bus) yesterday morning.  I have not spoken with my mother’s doctors directly, but my sister has, and my mother is apparently not expected to recover.  She is certainly very weak.

This makes the whole situation quite bittersweet.  My mother was very much looking forward to this book—at least she said so, and I believe her—so it’s unpleasantly ironic for it to have come out the very day her health took a downturn that may prevent her from reading it.

Incidentally, I apologize that the cover differs somewhat from paperback to Kindle.  For some reason, I was unable to reproduce the paperback’s cover for the Kindle version, so I had to do something else.  (Something Other, you might say.)  Looking back, I actually kind of like the forced, ad-hoc Kindle cover.  Maybe I’ll release a second edition of the paperback that has the same cover as the Kindle one.

Ugh, I feel like my writing is terrible right now.  Of course, that doesn’t stop it from coming out.  One thing I can say for me, I don’t have trouble just getting some words out onto paper (or computer, as the case may be).  But my brain is quite foggy.  Even though I’ve spent most of my time sleeping since leaving the south Florida area, no one could ever claim that sleeping on a bus is actually restful.  Well…I guess they could claim it, but they would be lying, and what on Earth could lead them to such a deception?

Perhaps they are on the payroll of the Greyhound company…

Okay, well, that’s really all I have to say, more or less.  I was hoping to be as excited as Hell (and those who know Hell know just how excitable it is) when I announced the release of CatC.  And I am excited, of course.  But it’s an excitement tempered by grim anticipation and worry.  Hopefully you readers can be excited on my behalf.  I would be deeply grateful.

Also, please call your mothers, if you still have that option.

TTFN

The Chasm and the Collision is coming soon – or is that ARE coming soon? No, it IS coming soon.

Okay, well, it’s another Thursday morning, and time for me to write my weekly blog post.  I’m abstaining from writing philosophical and/or political things, today.  Those essays don’t seem to get as much response as my more lighthearted posts, and I never do seem to get good discussions going about them, which is a severe disappointment.  I suppose in the era of Facebook, and especially Twitter, expecting people to read anything longer than 140 characters (or that is not in the form of even fewer characters, written on an amusing or startling or eye-catching picture) is a bit delusional, let alone expecting people to write anything of substance in response.

Sigh.  Sometimes I despair.

Anyway.

On to much more positive matters:  The Chasm and the Collision is going to be out sometime within the next month, and I want to start generating a bit of hype for it.  Having to edit and edit and edit and edit and to do layout and to prepare things for publication are all relatively mind-numbing tasks, especially with a fairly long book, but they are essential.  And they bear delicious fruit in the long run, so they’re well worth the effort.

Anyway, I want to give you all a little preview, or introduction, or whatever the term might be, of The Chasm and the Collision, beyond some of what I’ve written here previously.

The story would be categorized as a fantasy/adventure novel, but in some ways it’s almost science fiction, because even the fantastic elements of the story have their basis in what are, in the novel, natural phenomena.  There are no spells or demons or witches, etc., in other words.

The story centers around 3 pre-teen middle school students, Alex, Meghan, and Simon.  One day, they eat a bunch of particularly delicious berries they find in the fruit bowl in Alex’s house, assuming them to be a healthy snack that Alex’s mother has left for him.  Starting that night, they begin to have strange dreams of a world with a changeless red sky, and a vast, mountainous city seemingly hanging in space off the edge of a cliff that seems to stretch on forever, with no far side.  Dreams, though, are not the only disturbing occurrences.  Meghan, Simon, and Alex begin to hear, and even see, bizarre and sometimes terrifying creatures that no one else can perceive.  Gradually, they learn about an approaching catastrophe of staggering proportions:  the impending collision of two universes, which would destroy everything that currently exists in both.  And one of those universes is our own.

The prevention of this cosmic catastrophe centers around a single, small tree in the middle of a garden at the top of the gigantic tower crowning the city that floats on the edge of the Chasm.  Alex, Simon, and Meghan find themselves in the seemingly impossible position of needing to help that tree carry out its preventive task.

However, this is not as simple as it might seem (har).  For there is an Other, an indescribable entity, out there in between the universes.  It, and its pawns, want very much for the collision to happen.  Our heroes must try to avoid discovery by this thing of anti-sanity, to do whatever small part they can to counter its wishes, and then—hopefully—to return to their normal lives as before.  They know they will probably not succeed completely at all three goals.

Well, there it is, a quick synopsis/teaser/summary/trailer for The Chasm and the Collision.  I’m planning on creating a few meme-style promotional images to put out into the cyberverse, to garner a bit of excitement.  If the story I described above sounds to you like it might be a good one, then please keep your ears pricked and your eyes peeled.  I’ll let you know when it’s available.

If you want to find out whether you like my fiction writing style, there are two free samples here on the blog:  “I For One Welcome Our New Computer Overlords,” and Prometheus and Chiron.  Give them a read—they’re relatively short, the latter more than the former—and give me feedback, if you like.  Do remember that, unlike the two above stories, The Chasm and the Collision (CatC), is a family-friendly novel.  Though it can be scary at times, and certainly there is some violence in it, as in essentially all fantasy adventures, it isn’t gory violence.  There’s no sex, no drugs, and very little rock ‘n’ roll.  There aren’t even any effing swear words.  What the frak is that all about?

Okay, I’ll stop now before I bore you too much.  Soon I’ll begin my rundown and discussion of my favorite villains, and I think I’m going to begin with one of my personal favorites:  The psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter.  In the meantime, you fly back to school now, little starlings.

TTFN

The Chasm and the Collision: Chapter 8 is now available

CatCcover8

Okay, everybody, Chapter 8 of CatC is now available here, for your purchase.  It’s a bit of a long chapter because there’s a lot of things that get revealed to our young heroes…and by someone who may be a bit unusual as a character in a novel.  Remember, the cost of the chapter is only $0.99, and 50% of the royalties go to literacy charities.

In other news, I am almost ready to release “Welcome to Paradox City,” my small collection of dark stories.  I plan on releasing it early in 2016, probably on the weekend following New Years.  I’ve got the cover ready, and of course, the stories are all done.

And in yet OTHER news…I’ve decided that, from now on, I’m going to be doing my politico-legal posts on a different blog, and to keep this blog for writing-related posts.  I’ve already re-posted the two recent articles from this blog on that blog, which is Here.

I hope you all have had and continue to have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year…but I hope to make the first part of 2016 at least a bit unsettling for you with “Welcome to Paradox City.”  I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I wish you all the best.

TTFN!

Paradox City cover design preview. The story itself will be published soon

Paradox City Cover2

Okay, as I promised a while back, here is a preview of the cover design for Paradox City, my story that is a little too long to be a “short” story but just below the traditional borderline of “novella” (it’s about 29,000 words long).  It has been completely rewritten, and is now in the editing process, so it will soon be available for purchase.  As always, when it is up for sale, half the royalties will go to literacy charities.

I actually plan to give you all a little teaser from the story, either right before it comes out, or when it comes out.  Oh, and just so we’re clear:  While Mark Red is oriented toward the young adult market, and The Chasm and the Collision is appropriate for anyone from pre-teens to the elderly, Paradox City is definitely not for very young readers.  Bad things do happen in this story…you know, profanity, adult situations, violence, nudity, references to Elvis singing Guns ‘n’ Roses songs…things not for the faint of heart.  One of the joys (for me) of the short story is that situations don’t always have to turn out for the best, or even for the better.  Bad things can happen to good (or at least benign) people without anyone receiving his or her comeuppance, or any deep philosophical treatment or explanation of what’s been happening.  While novels, by and large, have more good endings than your average strip-mall massage parlor, it’s perfectly okay for a short story to end in an ambiguous fashion.  Actually, that’s one of the most satisfying aspects to short stories:  They can leave you guessing, which leaves you thinking and imagining.

I love ’em.

Just in case anyone wants any recommendations on the matter, my personal favorite short story authors include Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, Edgar Allen Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Robert E. Howard…just to name a few.  It’s fair to say that I’m much more excited when Stephen King is coming out with a new collection of short stories (as he is now) than I am about his novels*.

I suppose you can guess what my genre tendency of preference is in the short story world, based on that list of authors.

On a different subject, here’s advance warning:  Mark Red:  Chapter 13 is going to be out just in time for Halloween–partly by coincidence, and partly by design, like so much of the world.  In it, Mark’s nature as a newly-made demi-vampire is going to collide with some aspects of adolescence that would have made him very happy, if only…well, you’ll have to read it to see.

And on a different different subject, I am still taking feedback on the issue of “Son of Man:  Serial or novel?”  The final decision has not yet been made, and the rewrite is still very much in progress, so there’s plenty of time to put in your two cents.

Finally, I’m soon going to be posting another entry on the criminal justice system, informed by my own unpleasant and too-prolonged experience with it.  These articles take a little longer than regular blog posts, because I want to make sure they are products of serious thought as well as real research, when appropriate, not just my own personal experiences.  This is not a simple subject, and it deserves great care.

Thank you all for reading.  If you like what you’ve read, please feel free to “Like”, to “Comment”, and to “Share”, as well as to repost.  (If you make any money from doing so, just throw me a cut, okay?)  Oh, and by all means, follow me on FacebookTwitter, and so on.

TTFN!


*Which is not to disparage his novels.  While I don’t love them universally, many are among my favorite modern works of fiction.

The Chasm and the Collision: Chapter 5 is Available Now on Amazon!

CatCCh5

Konnichiwa, friends and neighbors!  As the headline above states, and as I am pleased to announce, The Chasm and the Collision:  Chapter 5 is now available on Amazon for Kindle and other readers (just click on the chapter for the link).

In this chapter, Alex has a discussion with the intruder in his house (whose name is Peetry) on the other side of the dining room wall, and learns a bit more about what’s happening to him and to his friends.  He also becomes aware once again of a danger he’s encountered before.  More questions are surely raised for him than are answered, but at least he’s making headway.

For those of you following the story, I hope you’re enjoying it.  I apologize that there has been such a long hiatus in the publication of the chapters of Mark Red and The Chasm and the Collision.  While I was away, I sent the handwritten works to my sister, and she published the chapters serially for me as she completed the truly heroic work of typing them into the computer.  It often took her a great deal of time to do this.  To try to give you an idea of why it took a great deal of time, I’ll say this:  Many brave and intelligent individuals prefer to decipher ancient Mayan and Aztec writings, without a primer on the languages, rather than attempt to read my handwriting.

Actually, most would people prefer to be hit on the head with a ball-peen hammer rather than be forced to read my handwriting.

I don’t even really enjoy doing it myself, if it comes down to it, but since I am the one who wrote the books (almost 600 pages of Mark Red and almost 700 pages of The Chasm and the Collision) I have no one else to blame.  At least I can always read my own writing, which is more than can be said for anyone else.

That actually raises an important point:  If anyone notices anything peculiar–perhaps an odd choice of words or something along those lines–in the first 11 chapters of Mark Red or the first 4 chapters of The Chasm and the Collision, there’s one of two explanations:  Either I simply wrote it badly (in the penmanship sense) and my poor sister had to guess at what I was trying to say, or I simply wrote it badly (in the authorial sense) and she was stuck reproducing bad writing.  In any case, all thanks belong to her for bringing you those chapters, and all errors and confusion have their origins in me.

Now that I’m back from being away, I’m going to try to publish these Chapters at least once a month for each book, in order to keep the rhythm going, and (hopefully) to keep everyone interested.

For those of you who don’t know, I’ll give you a very brief rundown of the plots of the two novels (both of which are complete, at least in draft, just so you know).

Mark Red:  The protagonist, Mark Reed, is a teenager who works in an ice cream parlor three evenings a week to earn a bit of extra money for himself and his family.  He’s an earnest and well-meaning young man, and one evening, as he leaves work, he sees a woman who appears to be in the process of being attacked by a large man in a dark alley.  He rushes to her aid, but is no match for her attacker, and he’s stabbed by the man from whom he was trying to defend her.  As he falls to the ground, bleeding and about to die, it becomes clear that the woman he meant to protect was not human.  She makes short work of her attacker, and then saves Mark in the only way she can.  This process fundamentally changes Mark’s life, and brings him and the object of his intended good deed together in a strange relationship.  She desperately wants to find out how to cure Mark from what she has done to him.  At the same time, she also dedicates herself to protecting Mark from the consequences of her actions…and to protecting everyone else from Mark.

The Chasm and the Collision:  This story centers around three pre-teens, Alex Hinton, Simon Belmont, and Meghan Tewes.  One day, coming home from school with Simon, Alex thinks he sees movement in his house before they go in.  However, he finds no one home, and though Simon is nervous (which is his nature), the two nevertheless enter the dwelling.  The only atypia they find inside is a triple-branch of berries in the fruit bowl in Alex’s dining room.  The berries smell wonderful and taste even better.  Alex and Simon eat this fruit, sharing it with Meghan, on whom Alex has a crush, and whom he sees walking by as he and Simon are about to indulge themselves.  The rest of that day passes uneventfully, but that night, the three begin to have strange dreams–as well as other frightening experiences that seem to be all too real–and gradually they become aware that the fruit was only the beginning of their involvement in events that are uncanny, wondrous, and dangerous on a scale they could not have imagined.

Well, that’s the quick run-down on those two books.  I hope you’ll read and enjoy them.

FYI:  I’m almost done now with my third book, Son of Man, which is more purely science fiction than either of the previous two.  It’s an idea I’ve been sitting on for almost twenty years; hopefully it’s matured in that time, rather than decayed.  I can’t tell.  It’s all wonderful and enjoyable to me, but I’m the author.  You can’t take my word for it.  In any case, I’m not going to start publishing chapters of Son of Man until I’m at least most of the way done publishing Mark Red and/or CatC.

I also intend, somewhen along the line here, to publish a “short” story that I wrote while away.  I’m using scare quotes because it’s about 76 pages long (handwritten) and something along the lines of 25,000 words.  So it’s not a very short story, but it’s too short to be a novella.  Anyway, it’s called Paradox City, and it’s about a man who enters the titular nightclub to find some rather peculiar happenings.  At first they’re just puzzling, and then they’re quite pleasant…but things take a more troubling turn eventually.  (Bwa ha haaa!)

So, that’s a quick rundown of my writing that’s available, as well as that which is still in progress.  I’d love to receive any feedback you might wish to give.  You can write in the comments below, or contact me through my Facebook page, or my Twitter account (@RobElessar).  I’m also on G+ and LinkedIn.

You can’t get away from me.  Don’t even bother trying.

As if I hadn’t just given you links enough (a phrase which sounds like it really ought to be a Victorian exclamation of frustration), here are links to each of the hitherto published chapters of Mark Red and The Chasm and the Collision.  Please enjoy.

Mark Red: Chapter 1

Mark Red: Chapter 2

Mark Red: Chapter 3

Mark Red: Chapter 4

Mark Red: Chapter 5

Mark Red: Chapter 6

Mark Red: Chapter 7

Mark Red: Chapter 8

Mark Red: Chapter 9

Mark Red: Chapter 10

Mark Red: Chapter 11

The Chasm and the Collision:  Chapter 1

The Chasm and the Collision:  Chapter 2

The Chasm and the Collision:  Chapter 3

The Chasm and the Collision:  Chapter 4

The Chasm and the Collision:  Chapter 5

I do hope you’ll read them, and if you like them, tell your friends.  Also, remember, 50% of the royalties from all of my writing goes to literacy charities such as RIF, so we can all help share the joy of reading with those who have not yet been able to experience it.


Oh, by the way:  Today is my daughter’s 14th birthday.  Happy Birthday, Kyra!!  It’s no mere coincidence that I’ve timed my first new publication since my return to occur on your birthday weekend.  ^_^