More than 7 Minutes into The Pillar Universe

I like some of the fictional worlds I’ve created. I love most of them.

One I love the best is also among the oldest. I created the first inklings of the Pillar Universe (As seen in the pages of the Forces of Empire series) when I was just a kid, definitely not yet 10 years old.

My thinking at that point was based on Star Wars, the original trilogy, which my parents showed me frequently at the time. Already a big fantasy fan, I fell into space opera or space fantasy (Whatever you call it) with a little more sense of what I wanted to do with my life.

I wanted to tell stories, and I knew pretty fast I liked originality.

While my feelings on originality have changed a little, the universe I created from the thought of “Star Wars plus something new.” have only increased in intensity as I developed the universe.

When I was a kid, I thought the least original part about Star Wars was the ‘geography’ (In a manner of speaking). I wanted to make a universe unlike any other, and for my hubris I ended up with one.

The Pillar Universe is a space opera setting, far-flung science fiction, without the physical hallmarks of traditional science fiction: planets, stars, even the void of space itself was replaced. In my case, I replaced the planets with pillars.

Pillars, in this case, are infinitely tall cylinders of stone with cores inside that go from light to dark and dark to light based on the passage of intervals of time. People live in caves within them or on outrcps arond the surface of these huge cylinders, but they don’t have gravity (The physical laws are different too, but that’s a longer digression).

Everything would fall into the airy, cloudy, abyss of space if it doesn’t have somewhere to land.

The abyss is breathable atmosphere, mostly. So much for the vacuum of space. But say hello to the wonders of storms the size of our solar system, massive hurricanes strong enough to hurl flying ships from the sky to tumble into the forever of mist below the storms.

But I missed a spot, didn’t I? The stars.

Where does heat and light originate? Well, some pillars are geologically active, but I figured that wasn’t enough. The equivalent of stars in the Pillar Universe come in the form of mighty serpentine creatures that are born in hives within some rare pillars and then fly out to find a new home as they mature.

These critters are called solnas, and they are nuclear generators crossed with dragons. Stars…in their multitudes (Please, pardon the Les Miserables reference). These creatures scan the cores of the pillars, which themselves are naturally occurring rudimentary computer systems, and the solnas use the data they garner to find the next place to start a hive to reproduce.

As you can see above, the geographty of the setting is rather steep.

If any of that sounds intriguing, check out Origin of Storms (It’ll be free on Amazon.com from the 27th of October to the 31st, by the way). Here’s a link.

That was well over 7 minutes, so I’m changing the title. Hope you stuck with me through all of the above.

And thanks for reading.

10 Minutes of Relaunch: Orphan Mage

Hey everyone, Orphan Mage (Shifter Empire Book One) is out now. I’m not going to bore you with my usual apologies over not posting more often. A writer’s gotta write, so that’s what I’ve been trying to do and fiction is my bag, far more than blogging.

The latest book is actually a relaunch of the first three books from my older Spells of the Curtain series, which are no longer available. I originally wrote the three novellas as one novel, so now I’ve put them back together as one book.

For those not familiar with the world of Shifter Empire, and haven’t read the novellas, let me fill you in on the book.

Edmath Donroi is a rarity, an orphan who received training as a mage in the Empire of Zel. He has a unique gift to speak to any animal, but unlike the shapeshifting nobility of the nation, he can’t take the form of any of them.

His first love, Chelka, is a Squid Princess, and his best friend Brosk is a prince of the Whale Tribe. That’s the kind of person who becomes a court mage in the empire due to the expense of training. Edmath’s life has been lucky to a point.

When he encounters a murderous boy with a grudge against mages on the way to the imperial city the danger of his bloodline’s past begins to arise. The imperial gardens are a place of grand power, but diplomats and mages of the rival nations make the place perilous as well.

I love this book and the series that follows it. This first book is also one of touchstones for an effective personal writing rate.

To start this book, I took a Saturday and wrote as long and as much as I could. I got over 12,000 words that day. I was swept up in the story, to be honest. I think if you check out Orphan Mage you’ll be swept up too.

The novel is sword and sorcery with a geeky protagonist and an emphasis on sorcery.

Thanks for reading.

Storybundle time!

Hey everyone! I’m pretty excited today, because I’m in a storybundle.com bundle, available right now at www.storybundle.com/steampunk.

Kevin J. Andersen assembled a super-team of books and authors, including little old me. My contribution, Tenlyres, is still one of my best works and there are 12 other books in the bundle, up to and including the novels Kevin wrote with the great Neil Peart of Rush fame (May he rest in peace) .

I can’t say enough good things about the bundle (And my inclusion in it). The bundle is pay what you want, with $15 US required to get every book and not just the first four.

Anyway, this deal is a limited time. I’ll be spreading the word far and wide, naturally. From the date of this posting the bundle has around 30 days left. Click here to get the bundle, share, and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Shaking Up the Routine

Hello, folks!

Let me get a couple things out of the way first.

One, I had awesome birthday this year, celebrating with my twin brother in Portland Oregon. I’m home now, and I’m hard at work for both my own books and those I’m creating for my new job.

The podcast is flowing.

Editing my older work a little to bring it up to code is giving me confidence.

I am working with an artist for the cover of Shadow Prince (The next book in the Demon Hunter series), so get ready to see that when the book is ready to launch.

All in all, over the last few weeks I’ve been working (moderately) hard and having some fun.

In short, I’ve been blessed with a phenomenal year so far.

However, it wasn’t until I began a mindset shift this past week that I started to truly understand how well I’m doing.

Mostly I’m trying to look at my process and projects as though they’re new. New concepts and ideas are always exciting for a while, but I remember fondly when I was just learning to write and every technique sang with joy when I put it to work. Every sentence felt like a triumph, no matter how obtuse or terrible.

I am happy to report that this shift in mindset to appreciate my new methods (Such as dictation) as novel is really helping cheer me up and make my days more exciting. Inspiration tends to be a fleeting sensation, but joy is available from other sources on the regular.

Appreciate what you have. I wish I could attribute a quote I remember Mercedes Murdock Yardley shared on a favorite episode of the Archivos Stories podcast a few years ago: “Celebrate every step.”

I’m trying to do that.

Taking a step further. Appreciate every breath.

Every word gained or trimmed.

Every keystroke.

Every moment.

Thanks for reading.

If you want to check out my stories, Amazon.com is currently the easiest place to do so, but I’m also giving a few ebook ARC copies away from Booksprout right now. “Demon Scroll” is up again for a limited time, and my latest re-release, the short story fantasy-thief collection “Dark Work” is also there. Download either of them, both of them, or whatever you like but its first come, first-served so if you have time to read and review check ’em out.

Share and enjoy, folks.

And I’ll write here again soon.

Demon Scroll is Near!

Hi folks. Woah, it has been a bit since I announced the approach of my first full-length epic fantasy novel, over a month.

In that time, I managed to complete the rough draft of the book and am most of the way through the edits as well.

I’m very proud of the book, Demon Scroll, which is up for preorder at a nice low early bird price right now. Launch day is on September 3rd, 2019. The 99 cent price point won’t last long after that, so check it out as soon as you’re able.

Thanks for reading. I will leave you with a link to the book.

Demon Scroll

I’ll be back before launch day.

As always, thanks for reading.

Overlogic – January 29th 2018

Hey, everyone! I just launched my Patreon page!

Starting February 25th you can read my new serial story, Razavoda there, and support my various efforts online and in books.

I had some major flashes of insight, also sometimes referred to as “overlogic” as I prepared this page, and I’m quite proud of the story I’ll be releasing through it. These bits of inspiration resulted in little breakthroughs for this story. I can’t wait to share every bit of it with you.

Here is the video for the page.

 

Please consider supporting me. I appreciate very pledge from the greatest to the smallest.

Thanks for reading!

January 22nd 2018

Here we go, people. The pre-order for my next novel, “The Cleanway” is now live right here.

Check out that cover! I’m very pleased with it.

This book continues the story from “The Mangrove Suite” and is about twice the length of that book. For those who wanted to see more of this world and the characters, this book brings that, along with an exciting continued exploration of themes deepening of the story.

Pre-0rdering this book is a great way to support me, but its also the best thing I’ve written yet. Book 3 will release in mid-March, by the way, so jump on this now and prepare yourself for the sequel. It’s a great story, and if you don’t believe that from me, check out some of the reviews people have been leaving for “The Mangrove Suite.” on Amazon.com.

I dare you not to like these books!

Anyway, thanks for reading. Always glad to post here.

Talk to you soon.

The Return of Blogging

 

Hey, everyone.

 

Let me just dust off this old blog here.

 

Whew.

 

By god, it has been a while.

 

First off, I want to say thanks to everyone who read and enjoyed the serials Tenlyres, Stolen Parts, and Invisibles. Those are going to be on hiatus for the time being, to give me more time to write other fiction. I love writing stories, but right now I don’t have the ability to split my focus and construct fiction for sale and fiction for this blog simultaneously.

 

Next up, there are only a couple days left before October, at which point I will be ending my giveaways on instafreebie.com. If you want to get Rem’s Dream for free, head over there using this link before the first of the new month.

 

Now, a quick update on my writing process.

 

I picked up the writing pace on Sunday, and maintained a pretty solid rate (for me) through the week. All these words either went to notes in the “Clean” universe, where my latest release is set. This is a pretty unusual genepunk/cyberpunk setting which also features an alien occupation of the Earth in the near future.

 

I decided on Sunday, after a solid day of writing on the second book in the series, that I want to keep this setting alive for a good long while. I don’t want to be bound to one story-world for my whole career, but I think I can commit to this one for a while. Along those lines, I started brainstorming some new spin-off story ideas on Tuesday, for use once I get some more released in the main series.

 

It’s also worth noting that I have begun a consistency challenge to write at least 100 words every day for 100 days. Lately, I haven’t always been consistent, and this has hurt my momentum on the stories I’ve been producing. I started this challenge on Sunday, so I’m now on Day 6 of the challenge, as of this writing.

 

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with my progress. I’m sharing a brief sample of the week’s writing below. It’s good to be back and talking as myself. Feel free to leave a comment, or click on the sidebar at mentalcellarpublications.com and check out any of my books. Thanks for reading everyone.

 

Weekly Writing Excerpt (Rough Draft)

He nodded. “It felt good to help. To be one of the good guys again.”

“Is that how you felt when you served?” Elizabeth’s voice was soft. “Like a good person?”

I remembered how she once told me her father had been in the military. Elizabeth rarely discussed her family, and I could tell at the time she and her father were not on good terms. She looked down at her plate with a sigh.

Thomas glanced at me. I unfolded my arms. The silence seemed absolute despite the other residents eating at neighboring places all around our table.

I said, “Don’t rush into anything, Thomas. It’ll be dangerous out there.” Outside the window, snowflakes started to scatter from low, gray clouds.

Thomas gave me a small smile. “I promise, I’ll tell you first if I decide to do something crazy.”

Invisibles 13

Hey everyone, Tim here. Today’s chapter will be the last serial fiction on the site for a while. I need to evaluate if posting fiction here is a good use of my time, as it really disrupts my writing of other fiction. This chapter wraps up the current story. Enjoy!

Here is just a quick reminder I have two new books out.

The Mangrove Suite

Soul Art

Now back to the story.

Invisibles

Within the circle that protected Kalfar there was one city that commanded true respect and awe, the world over.

Sarsa, the seat of the Lord Executive, ruler of Kalfar. Glorious city, stern line of defense against beings from beyond. This was the richest and proudest of all cities in the near-eastern alliance.

Sarsa, city of countless exiles.

Sarsa should have drawn attention for all kinds of reasons, but there was a side of the city not often discussed on record.

Sarsa, the shadow city, where the desperate and the skillful plied their illegal trades. Darkness under street lamps. Poison in the minds of the high officials. Ice in the veins of the guilty.

That is the Sarsa to be watched.

And that is the Sarsa waiting to be seen.

 

13

The sapphire-inlaid mask slid across the smooth counter of the morning bar, an establishment on the south edge of Nicodod Ring. The place would not open for another fifteen minutes, but the proprietor knew Kelebek when he saw her, and let her in the door. She looked at the old man behind the counter. “What can you make of that?” she asked.

“The korda diplomat’s mask. I know a collector who may be interested.” He took the mask off the counter and replaced it with a bag of coins. “Hope it’s worth the trouble.”

Kelebek smiled at the old man. “Me too,” she said, “time will tell.”

 

A short distance away, down the street at dawn, walked Martin and Saint. They were off duty for the day, but everyone trusted Kelebek to hold onto their shares once she fenced the mask. Good thing too, Martin thought, yawning. He needed food and sleep in that order. Martin glanced at the hulking golem walking at his side. “You alright?” he asked, holding up a small pad of paper.

Saint’s airborne pen scrawled a few letters on Martin’s paper.

Martin read the two words to himself. Worried. Alina.

He looked at Saint and nodded. “Me too big guy. Me too.”

 

Once Alina changed into her damp clothes from the night before, Rethe shewed her onto the dock as quickly as she could. She had not asked for a share of the crew’s profits. The girl had killed Ceth, and that would make life interesting for her awhile yet. She raised the houseboats anchor and removed the line from the dock. “Until next time, kids,” she said to the two young thieves on the dock. They did not answer her as the boat pulled away.

 

Percival walked with Alina, feeling as tired inside as she looked outside, but not nearly as down-trodden. He knew why. He had not taken a life this morning. Though he worried about her, he did not know what he could say. When she ran forward to help Martin as Ceth prepared to strike, she ought to have known what could happen. By Percival’s estimate, killing Ceth was nowhere near the worst it could have been. He sighed when they parted ways, then pulled his dust coat around his shoulders, and walked for home.

 

Alina did not go home, not right away. She marched steadily east through the city, toward the Furnace of Confession. Every day, countless pilgrims and believers wrote their sins on small pieces of paper. Every night, those secret confessions went into the fire, symbolizing the angels forgiving the sinners.

Alina had offered confessions their before, and fairly regularly when she was a few years younger. Yet, never had she felt so filthy, so in-need of forgiveness as that morning, with the bloodstains left on borrowed clothes, and the implement of murder still stowed, freshly cleaned, in the concealed sheath in her trouser-leg.

On a scrap of paper, she took from the woman overseeing the collection of sins, she wrote the crime. Murder. Her hand trembled as she wrote. Once she folded the paper up and dropped it into the basket of metal wire with those filled out by others, she hoped she would feel better, feel forgiven. She did not.

Even that night, when she went to meet the others and the smoke drifted over the city from the Furnace of Confessions, she could only think of the blood dripping from the blade. Every time she recalled it, she knew what she had done would not be easily forgotten or forgiven. From on high, the angels answer the righteous. From below, the demons answer the wicked.

And in Sarsa, those who work in the dark could only truly answer to others who ply the shadows. The girl who felt remorse looked ordinary to the people she passed that night, but to those who could see into the heart, she would have been the rarest sight in the city. Few would pray for forgiveness here, and fewer still could find it.

 

#

 

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this story.

Invisibles 12

Hey everyone, Tim here. This is a little late in the day, but I am back with a new chapter!

Here is just a quick reminder I have two new books out.

The Mangrove Suite

Soul Art

Now back to the story.

Invisibles

Within the circle that protected Kalfar there was one city that commanded true respect and awe, the world over.

Sarsa, the seat of the Lord Executive, ruler of Kalfar. Glorious city, stern line of defense against beings from beyond. This was the richest and proudest of all cities in the near-eastern alliance.

Sarsa, city of countless exiles.

Sarsa should have drawn attention for all kinds of reasons, but there was a side of the city not often discussed on record.

Sarsa, the shadow city, where the desperate and the skillful plied their illegal trades. Darkness under street lamps. Poison in the minds of the high officials. Ice in the veins of the guilty.

That is the Sarsa to be watched.

And that is the Sarsa waiting to be seen.

 

12

Ceth and his band of Watertakers marched down the street just before sunrise. Percival watched the dozen or so korda advance on the boathouse. The burning signal Kelebek had lit on a pole in the darkened street in front of the boathouse cast their shadows out behind them.

Martin stood beneath the burning signal, a pile of rags Rethe assured were especially irritating to korda. He wore full armor, covered in mud-turned-clay dredged from under the dock and held in place by his geomantic abilities. The damp surface of his armor glistened in the flickering firelight.

The gang of korda drew closer, clubs and pistols carried openly.

Martin called to them, “Want a rematch, Ceth?”

“You should never have strong-armed us. We own the Fog.” Ceth grimaced at the crew from behind his breathing mask. “And now you and your thugs are going to find out what that means. Rethe, show yourself! I know you’re here.” He brandished a pistol in one hand, a short blade clutched in the other.

Percival tensed for the Watertakers to rush forward, to make a break past Martin to where he and Alina and Kelebek stood. A high-pitched whistle came from the boathouse behind them. Rethe straightened herself to a standing position behind the barrels on the raised porch of the building.

“You want to see me?” she raised an ornate pistol, one of the old artisan match-grade smokeless weapons she collected and winked. “You got it, Ceth.” She pulled the trigger.

At this range, she could not have hit Ceth, but the bullet burst into the air, propelled with smokeless powder it made satisfying bang as it left the chamber. A clattering sound followed that sound as the bullet ricocheted off a distant roofing tile. Rethe lowered the pistol.

“Are you crazy?” Ceth stalked forward. “You’re going to bring the Red Guards into this.”

Rethe smiled. “That was the idea.”

“We’ll kill you. Never, never bring the guards down on me!” Ceth trained the barrel of his pistol on Rethe. “You first, human-consorting whore!”

Martin’s small stone-headed hammer went overhand, left his fingers and flew straight, guided by his geomantic influence. The impact would be strong enough to break bones. The hammer’s head struck Ceth in the wrist. His pistol snapped from his hand before he could fire. His hand swung on the end of a shattered wrist.

“No way to talk to a lady,” said Martin.

The Watertakers roared in fury, but none louder than Ceth. They charged as a mob.

Percival supposed the guards would arrive in minutes at most, just as dawn broke. Kelebek backed up at the stairway toward where Rethe stood on the boathouse porch. She, Alina, and Percival each produced a pistol lent to them by Rethe, a collector if ever there had been one.

Martin breathed evenly as the first trio of Watertakers raced toward him. He held a mace in each hand. The one in his right was made of solid steel from handle to head, a single piece with the gnashing jaws of a hound sculpted on the front. The other had a metal handle, but the head was formed of solid granite. Both weapons felt light as feathers in his hands, thanks to his powers taking their weight, but he knew each one was heavy enough to stop a blade and break a limb if the swordsman parried.

The Watertakers’ blows met air or armor. He crushed one leg with each blow and then backed away from the third attacker. For his part, the last of the three chargers left standing looked at his moaning comrades in shock, hesitant to follow Martin any further.

Another gang member rushed past him, trying to circle around Martin’s side. Kelebek shot him in the belly. The korda man went down with a wild yell. His weapons skittered across the paving stones and landed at Martin’s feet. He backed up toward the boathouse. Then, Ceth and two more Watertakers barreled into him from the opposite side.

He grunted as the wind rushed from his lungs and he tumbled over backward in spite of his armor’s massive weight. He realized as he fell that one of the korda must be a hydromancer, a common ability among their people though rare among humans, and his armor was still damp with mist and water from the mud he had dredged for extra protection. He hurled the stone hammer at the first Watertaker to leap at him, where he lay on the pavement.

The hammer caught the korda in the chest and hurled him to the ground. Martin scrambled to get up, but his movements felt sluggish, resisted by the powers of the hydromancer. Alina and Percival fired their pistols, but with only one shot each, Martin doubted they would stop Ceth and the others.

“He’s not going to make it,” said Alina. She stuffed the pistol back into its holster. Her other hand found the knife tucked into the sheath on the other side. She rushed toward where Martin lay just as Ceth reached the fallen man.

The korda raised his sword. Alina felt impossibly slow, too far away to stop him.

Percival’s imp snatched at the grip of Ceth’s sword. He swung his other hand at the creature to ward it off. Percival knew he would pay for this in the contract if the imp was hurt at all. The creature spun through the air, smarting from Ceth’s blow. The exchange happened in seconds, but it gave Alina time.

She lunged forward, under Ceth’s swinging arms. Her dagger found flesh. Ceth hacked a cough and looked down at the blade emerging from his chest. Alina released the handle of the knife, and the leader of the Watertakers tumbled backward into the street.

“Time to go,” Kelebek said.

Martin got to his feet.

Three squads of Red Guards emerged from the alleyways opposite the boathouse. They advanced on the fighting criminals holding single-shot rifles, barrels bristling with bayonets. Alina stared at the blood on her hands but backed toward the boathouse, as the plan had been. Martin grabbed her shoulder and turned her. They ran for the boat, though Alina’s whole body felt numb.

Up the porch, through the doors to the dock. They reached Rethe’s waiting houseboat with a pair of Red Guard’s close behind. But Saint waited on the boat, concealed by a heavy sheet. His huge oars dug into the water with more than human strength. Alina staggered to a stop on the deck. Saint dragged his oars and pulled them out into the harbor, the whole crew on board.

The sun broke through the clouds over the water, making the blood on Alina’s borrowed clothes and pale skin look dark.

She had not meant to kill him. She started to cry.

 

 #

This story concludes next week! See you then.