Review: Cadence of Consequences: The Chronicles of Xannia Series (Book 2) by M.J. Moores

I had the pleasure of reading Cadence of Consequences early, given that I was lucky enough to beta read the second novel in The Chronicles of Xannia series. To be completely honest, after reading the first, I jumped at the chance. You can read my review of Time’s Tempest here.

So, before I share my review of this great adventure, here’s a little more about the book itself.

TheChroniclesofXannia3_1400She risks losing her life above-ground, in the city she loves, and for what? Possibly harming the innocent if she remains hidden below…

Trapped in a foreign Underground world, Taya battles inner demons and alienation as the man she promised to protect… to love… remains firmly planted in the government’s cross-hairs; hell bent on fulfilling his destiny to change the world. Constantly accosted by a fanatic sect of the Followers of Light, praising her as a false goddess in a religion she never truly believed in, Taya searches for something to return a sense of meaning and purpose in her life. As her skepticism for the impending coup grows so too does Gerrund’s lack of trust, undermining not only her sense of self-worth but their ability to overthrow a corrupt government.

Even as Taya desperately works to establish a communication network spanning the Deserts in an effort to keep a promise she never should have made, her past interferes causing any sense of the future to spiral out of control. It is up to Taya to fix herself and her fractured relationships in order to embrace her destiny and help two very different men attempt to alter the course of history.

Cadence of Consequences – Review

In the first book of the series we were introduced to Xannia, and got a real feel for this new and exciting world. We joined Taya on an epic adventure as she led Dezmind and a group of his followers across the Deserts. We saw Taya use her expertise as a guide to keep the group alive, and learned the origins of Dezmind’s prophecy. These revelations led to a different fight for survival and culminated in an explosive finale – one which made Taya a target.

In Cadence of Consequences we journey with Taya below ground. Separated from Dezmind, lost and determined to return to her duties topside, Taya faces a multitude of challenges. This chapter in the series packs an emotional punch, which cements a reader’s loyalty to Taya and her friends. Not only does she suffer a crisis of identity, this sense of loss is exacerbated by a group of fanatics known as the Followers of Light. They plague Taya mercilessly, delaying her journey into a renewed sense of self.

Despite the turmoil, Taya’s true personality shines through and her skills are as admirable as ever. I particularly enjoyed the differing points of view within Cadence of Consequences; both the scenes in the Deserts, where a group remains, and of Dezmind’s own struggles in a changing world.

It is a story of unrest, fear and mistrust. But it is also a tale of love, discovery and Taya’s interminable strength. As a reader I was rooting for her. I’m drawn to the connection she has with Dezmind, and though the two are apart in this particular adventure, the author managed to show us the link they share in a variety of ways.

The pacing of the story is one which allows a reader to settle in and appreciate the journey. It’s a definite page turner, a book you’ll find hard to put down. As with the first in the series, Cadence of Consequences is a rollercoaster ride, and it is one which will stay with you. I can’t wait to join Taya and Dezmind for their next adventure.


Chronicles of Xannia Poster

Purchase Links:

Time’s Tempest

Cadence of Consequences

Excerpt – Cadence of Consequences

I float under a clear lid, in a sealed grey metal box filled with red-tinged water. Holding my breath, wanting desperately to feel the pain of my marks release, but my gills refuse to open. I heave my body around in circles as the metallic cuffs rip into the tender flesh of my wrists and ankles. A thick, muffled, tick-tick-tick ebbs through the water. I try kicking out with my bound feet to free myself. My heart pounds in my ears, even as the ticking echoes through my brain. My lungs burn.

A faint pin-point of light flashes somewhere above me. Help me! I scream in my mind. My neck goes limp; my chin drifts to my chest. Help me Four bubbles of air escape from my nose. The light disappears as the metal walls push in toward me

Gasping for air, I jerked backwards. The island stool fell away and I smacked my head on the edge of the breakfast bar as I crashed to the floor, cracking my hip against the stone floor.

I opened my eyes, but they refused to adjust; the room remained black. Grasping at the smooth floor, I pulled myself forward on my stomach until the glow from the timer on the coffee pot became visible through the pulsating ache above my right eye. My chest constricted against my lungs before I managed another gasp, taking in oceans of air. Great sobs wracked my over-taxed body. In the pool of dim light illuminating the kitchen floor, I curled into a ball and wept.

That feeling of helplessness and confinement clung to my skin like cobwebs. The nightmares were evolving and coming more often now. What hurt even more was the reminder of Gerrund’s words after leaving me alone in my new apartment for the first time: They found you once, theyll find you again. No amount of body art is going to change that. They know you.

He’d claimed that the Kronik’s Special Agents evolved from the CTF just as I had. That my employer’s knowledge of my actions, reactions, body language and vocal patterns made me easy prey in the wrong company.

Being abducted and tortured in the Warehouse showed that I wasn’t invincible after all… that maybe Gerrund and Dez had a point about it being safer for me to remain Underground – but the only things this cage reinforced were failure and susceptibility to the whims of others. The truth serum had been in my veins… if Gerrunds team hadnt saved me, could I have held out against it?

Sitting on the cold floor, against the half-wall of the kitchen island, I leaned my head back as the last remnants of tears dried in salty streaks along my cheeks. I sat there, in the dark, afraid to move and ignite an electric shock-wave in my head. My arms hung limp beside me, my legs at odd angles on the floor, as my breath came in shallow, uneven wisps.

I had no idea how long I’d been there. It was obviously still twilight, so I hadn’t slept for long – just long enough. The more time that passed, the steadier my breathing became. The longer I waited, the clearer my mind got; until a plan formed.

As my brain eagerly welcomed the onslaught of budding thoughts, the feeling slowely returned to my fingers and toes. This was what I was trained to do: identify the situation, analyse it, deconstruct it, and plan for the offensive.

I had to stop the dreams. If I didn’t, they’d kill me. I couldn’t go on like this. Its time to get mobile again gain some semblance of control. Reaching forward, I rested on my hands and knees before crawling into my bedroom.

I sat beside the nightstand with my back against the bed. Yanking the drawer out, I spilled the contents on the floor in front of me. My eyes finally adjusted to the dark. This simple function took three times longer than usual, and had never really worked since the nightmares started. My half-Talian abilities were rendered useless.

I sifted through the mess on the floor: pens, paper, a book, some loose hair clips, and a couple of small plastic containers… until my wrist bumped the empty bottle I searched for.


Melissa6 portrait - AM.J. Moores began her career as an English teacher in Ontario, Canada. Her love of storytelling and passion for writing has stayed with her since the age of nine. M. J. relishes tales of adventure and journeys of self-realization. She enjoys writing in a variety of genres but speculative fiction remains her all time favourite. M.J. is a regular contributor to Authors Publish Magazine and she runs an Emerging Writers website called Infinite Pathways where she offers editing services and platform building opportunities. Her debut novel Time’s Tempest is currently available in print and e-book with Book 2 launching September 28th, 2015.

Connect with M.J.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Blood, Boobs and Carnage Blogfest: Time for a little Serenity!

Blood Boobs Carnage Blogfest (2)

The blogfest is organised by Heather M. Gardner and Alex J. Cavanaugh. Visit the other participants here.

I’m a huge fan of Firefly, so when Serenity was released I was over the moon. Mal Reynolds and his crew are an absolute blast, and the film certainly has its share of blood and carnage, so it fits with the theme.

I was going to review the film, but instead, to avoid the whole issue of spoilers, I’m going to summarise the wonderful cast and the reasons I love them. To add a little context, if you haven’t seen either the show or the movie; it is an adventure set five hundred years in the future. It revolves around the crew of a small transport ship (Serenity) who fly under the radar, taking any job they can to survive.

One of my favourite elements is the humour; not to mention the loyalty within the group. They refer to their ship as the boat, and she is often held together by luck and sheer determination – dashed with a little love! In one of the opening scenes of Serenity, the ship is barely holding it together. At which point Wash, the pilot, informs Mal things are about to get interesting.

Mal: Define interesting.

Wash: ‘Oh god, oh god, we’re all going to die!’

That’s the kind of humour you can expect from the movie. It’s one of the reasons the cast work so well together. Speaking of which, let’s take a closer look:

Serenity_CastMal Reynolds – Nathan Fillion is in his element as the captain. He is prepared to do whatever it takes to protect his crew, and his sense of loyalty and honour are his greatest strengths. He can be stubborn, and carries many personal demons, but he’s definitely somebody you’d want watching your back. Mal is an unconventional hero.

Hoban Washburne (Wash) – Married to Mal’s second in command (Zoe), Wash is often the calming influence on-board. He is laid back, has a dry sense of humour and a skill at the helm which fluctuates between intense calm and controlled panic.

Zoe Alleyne Washburne – Zoe has a military background and his highly skilled. She has a close relationship with Mal and often offers him guidance. I love her strength; the contrasting sides to her, and her intuition when it comes to the mission. She has a wonderful relationship with Wash – they make an excellent team.

Jayne Cobb – Jayne was a mercenary before he joined Mal’s crew. He has a tendency to act before engaging his brain, but he has excellent intuition, is a good fighter and remains loyal to his friends. One of the things I enjoy about Jayne is his obsession with weapons. He is fearless.

Kaywinnet Lee (Kaylee) Frye – Kaylee is the ship mechanic. Her skills as an engineer are exceptional, despite a lack of formal training. She is extremely patient, kind, and sees the best in people. She is the heart of the ship. I love the quirkiness to her character; she has a humour which is often overlooked.

The crew are also joined by brother and sister, River and Simon Tam. The pair seek refuge on Serenity when Simon rescues River from a secret government facility. River was transformed into a weapon. She has psychic abilities and lethal combat skills, which make her extremely dangerous. In one scene, she takes on a group of cannibalistic pirates, known as Reavers, and barely bats an eyelid!

And now it’s over to you. Have you seen the movie? Are you a fan of the show? Are you, like me, still holding out for a sequel? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Author Interview: Luther M. Siler

Sanctum_72dpiWelcome back to my feature on Luther Siler, author of Skylights, The Benevolence Archives and The Sanctum of the Sphere. Today I would like to share an interview with you. I had a great deal of fun discussing Luther’s reading and writing habits, so much I couldn’t resist a few follow up questions! If you don’t already follow Luther’s blog, you’ll soon discover that he has a great sense of humour and an engaging voice.

An Interview with Luther M. Siler

Author of Skylights, The Benevolence Archives, and The Sanctum of the Sphere

Mel: Do you have any strange writing habits (like writing in your favourite pair of socks? A beer in one hand, your pen in the other!)

Luther: I use it more for heavy-duty blog posts than for fiction, but I have this Jackass wristband that I wear every now and again when I really need to concentrate.  I did the last 10K words or so of SANCTUM in a day, because if I didn’t finish the book I was going to go mad, and I’m pretty sure I had that wristband on the entire time.  I need to be listening to music, but that’s about it.

Mel: Anything is particular? The film score by John Williams perhaps? Or do you just rock it out with your favourite musical accompaniments?

Luther:  Rocking out, and to a wide variety of stuff, although I seem to recall Mac Lethal, Mika and Chuck D getting a fair amount of rotation while I was working on this particular book.

Mel: What book do you wish you had written?

Luther: John Scalzi’s LOCK IN.  Saladin Ahmed’s THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON.  The entire HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE series.  Andy Weir’s THE MARTIAN.  No doubt many others.

Mel: I imagine, like Weir, you had to do a fair bit of research for Skylights. You’ve talked about your interest in statistics on your blog, but how did this translate to the book – did you have to make a conscious effort to pull back, or was it easier because of your teaching background?

Luther:  Keeping Zub in his own voice whenever he was explaining anything was REALLY tough, because the sixth grade curriculum includes astronomy and that unit was easily my favorite part of the year when I was teaching sixth grade.  He tended to sound a lot like me in those moments.  I ended up being pretty happy with the amount of exposition I included in the book– I think it’s all stuff that needs to be there, and enough non-sci-fi people have enjoyed the book by now that I think I did a decent job of not being overwhelming.  Those who complain will be forced to read THE MARTIAN, by Andy Weir, which was one of my favorite books of last year and includes actual equations and chemistry.

Mel: Who would play your favourite characters in a movie?

Luther: Most of the BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES characters would have to be mo-capped CGI– Grond is eight freaking feet tall and Brazel is covered in fur, but Zub from SKYLIGHTS was explicitly based on DJ Qualls.   I could also see Jim Parsons playing him, but Qualls is a little bit more manic and twisted than Parsons is.  You’ll have to go find one of my old archaeology professors to play Tsvika.

This is Asper.  Xe’s real.

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Mel: Qualls certainly fits the image in my head, though I can see Parsons fitting the role too. That doesn’t always happen. Is there a particular character that stands out for you – a person you envisioned in your head who doesn’t translate to film?

Luther:  I’d have a hell of a time casting Gabe, actually.  I’m tempted to racebend him and cast Don Cheadle or somebody.

Mel: How important are names in your books? Do you choose based on the sound of the name, its meaning, or some other method?

Luther: Pretty important, actually.  Zub’s nickname is a reference to Robert Zubrin, who is a champion of Mars exploration, and his actual name came later.  Both of Gabe Southern’s names are family names, and Zvi is named after that professor I just mentioned.  Most of the rest of the characters in that book are named after former students.  I wrote a whole article on my blog about naming practices for BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES– long story short, I’m really careful about names in that setting, and there are rules.  Grond is named after an old D&D character.  Note that the name was not originally intended to be a reference to the ram in RETURN OF THE KING, but I’m not bothered that it worked out that way.  🙂

Mel: Maybe that’s the trick, a respectful nod to those who influence us in some way. I’m sure you’ve been asked by a friend or family member to write them into your work – are you ever tempted? Or does that go against one of your rules?

Luther:  The biggest butthead in fourth grade is a tuckerization.  She didn’t ask, and I don’t know if she’s noticed yet.  She made me send her a signed copy of the book, though.

Mel: If you had an endless budget, describe the trailer for Skylights.

Luther: I’m starting to think that you picked up on one of the things I tried to do with that book, which was to have it feel cinematic.  🙂  I’m not sure about the entire trailer, but I know exactly what the last shot should be– a Michael Bay-style swooping camera shot of a monkey in a spacesuit taking a flying leap into a black, bottomless pit.  Then, BOOM: Title card.

Mel: Skylights would certainly translate really well on the big screen. Have you created any of your own trailers? If not, would you consider making one to tease your readers?

Luther:  I haven’t.  I’m not terrible with iMovie, but I’ve never quite figured out what book trailers are for.  I may need to spend a couple of days watching a bunch of them and see if inspiration strikes me.

Mel: List five adjectives to describe yourself or your writing habits.

Luther: Um… “flailing” and “panicked” should probably be two of them.  I’m not good at this.  Is “Batman” an adjective?  It is if he says it is, right?

Mel: Right.

Tell us about your next project.

Luther: My next book is currently planned to be a nonfiction book about teaching called SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA– mostly a collection of reedited blog posts, although I’ll be drawing from previous websites I’ve run and writing some new stuff as well, so people who have been reading infinitefreetime since the beginning won’t be seeing nothing but old stuff.  That said, I’ve tried to write that book three times and walked away, so it may not happen.  I’m planning for it to be out this fall.  After that, the sequel to SKYLIGHTS and then another short story BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES collection.

Or maybe something else.  We’ll see.

Mel: I’m thrilled to hear a Skylights sequel is on the cards. I think we can all relate to those difficult projects, the equivalent of a literary brick wall. Do you have any tried and tested methods (other than letting it sit for a while) when the going gets tough?

Luther:  Blind panic generally works well for me.  That said, sometimes I just have to let a piece sit until I know where it goes next.  Sometimes just skipping to the next chapter will work, but not always; frequently if I’m having trouble getting through a section it’s because the section is wrong and I just don’t know how yet.

Mel: What has been your greatest challenge as a writer so far?

Luther: Time.  Writing nonfiction is terribly easy for me, but I need an hour of staring at a blank screen and “thinking” before I can get even a couple of sentences of fiction out– the fact that I have three books out is a small miracle.  I need to either get more efficient as a writer or get real famous real quick so that I can quit my day job and have the desk time to write.  I will admit that my teacher’s schedule does help, because beginning a project is always the hardest part.  But I’m still working six days a week at two different jobs right now and have a three-year-old in the house, so finding time to write fiction is occasionally really, really difficult.

Mel: I imagine you have to find new and inventive ways to steal time, as it were, to write. Inspiration can strike in unusual places too. Can you give us an example of an occasion when an idea hit and you just had to write it down?

Luther:  I have an app on my phone called “Wunderlist” that I use almost solely to record story ideas as they occur to me.  Some of them are only a word or two long, and occasionally I look back at them and realize I have no idea what the heck I was thinking later.  I really wish I could remember what was going through my head the day “Mars Needs Internet!” got entered into that list.

Mel: Are there any genres you would love to explore?

Luther: Sooner or later I’ll write a straight fantasy book.  I’d love to do a detective story, and historical fiction appeals to me as well, possibly combining the two– but I don’t know that I’m a strong enough plotter for a detective story and the idea of doing all the research that would be necessary for a historical fiction makes my teeth hurt.  One of these days, though…

Mel: Perhaps something like Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – I could see that!

Thanks so much for agreeing to the interview, Luther. I’ve had an absolute blast, and I’m sure the readers have too!

***

LutherSilerHeadshotLuther Siler was born in 1976 in northern Indiana, where he currently resides along with his wife, three-year-old son, two cats, and a dog. In his spare time he works at a school helping other people be awesome.   he writes about space gnomes and Mars.

Sanctum_72dpi“Go rob that train.” Nice, normal. An everyday heist.

But nothing is ever normal for Brazel, Grond and Rhundi.

A simple act of motorized larceny quickly explodes into a galaxy-spanning adventure for the two thieves. Blade-wielding elves, a fast-moving global war, a secret outlaw space city, incomprehensible insectoids and one impossibly lucky human are just the start of their problems. And that’s before they learn that someone from Grond’s past has gotten the Benevolence involved…

What is happening on the ogrespace moon Khkk?

Who are the Noble Opposition?

And what is the secret of THE SANCTUM OF THE SPHERE?

***

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any other burning questions for Luther, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

Mel

Review – Skylights by Luther M. Siler

Final Cover Mock Med copyAugust 15, 2022: the Tycho, the most advanced interplanetary craft ever designed by the human race, launches from Earth on an expedition to Mars. The Tycho carries four passengers, soon to be the most famous people in human history. 

February 19, 2023: The Tycho loses all communication with Earth while orbiting Mars. After weeks of determined attempts to reestablish contact, the Tycho is declared lost. 

2027: Journalist Gabriel Southern receives a message from a mysterious caller: “Mars.” Ezekiel ben Zahav isn’t talking, but he wants Southern to accompany him for something– and he’s dangling enough money under his nose to make any amount of hardship worth it. 

SKYLIGHTS is the story of the second human expedition to Mars. Their mission: find out what happened to the first.

Review of Skylights by Luther M. Siler

I had a lot of fun reading Skylights. The narrator, Gabe Southern, has an engaging voice, and it was kind of like embarking on a journey with a friend – a really cool friend who takes you to space! There were times when I wanted to run back home and promise never to set foot on a spaceship again, but I adapted quickly, thanks to an excellent team and, unexpectedly, a monkey! That’s how real it felt – how vivid the pictures were in my head. Gabe’s humour and uncanny observations just drag you right into the story. There’s a mad scientist or two, a skilled pilot, an engineer, a medic (who’s also the chief scientist) and some extremely cool technology.

The novel has something for every fan of the genre – enough science to get your geek on, but not enough that you’re overwhelmed with jargon. It’s clever that way – some readers will catch more references than others, and that’s okay. You never feel like you’re missing something. It makes it ideal for readers who are new to science fiction.

The pacing is great. It allows you to stretch out, to get to know the characters, and to enjoy the ride. One of my favourite parts is the build-up to the mission. The mystery element, not to mention the growing anticipation, serves to pull you in and keep you there. The action also takes a thrilling turn when the group arrive at their destination. Here, Siler’s excellent sense of timing comes into play.

The humour in Skylights, especially the banter and natural camaraderie, was a highlight for me. Zub and Gabe’s relationship stood out in particular, but it didn’t dominate. This is due to the excellent characterization of each member of the team – including the monkey (did I mention the monkey?)

Which leads me to one of the strongest elements in the novel – the descriptive prose. The worldbuilding is truly thrilling, and I loved the interpretation of the skylights. I won’t say too much about that though, because I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

The cliffhanger is shockingly good. While managing to leave you hungry for more, it also provides a resolution – an answer to the questions raised at the beginning. So, where one journey ends, another is sure to follow!

***

Luther kindly agreed to an interview, which I will be posting tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d like to share information about his new release, The Sanctum of the Sphere, which I can’t wait to read!

Sanctum_72dpi“Go rob that train.” Nice, normal. An everyday heist.

But nothing is ever normal for Brazel, Grond and Rhundi.

A simple act of motorized larceny quickly explodes into a galaxy-spanning adventure for the two thieves. Blade-wielding elves, a fast-moving global war, a secret outlaw space city, incomprehensible insectoids and one impossibly lucky human are just the start of their problems. And that’s before they learn that someone from Grond’s past has gotten the Benevolence involved…

What is happening on the ogrespace moon Khkk?

Who are the Noble Opposition?

And what is the secret of THE SANCTUM OF THE SPHERE?

***

LutherSilerHeadshotLuther Siler was born in 1976 in northern Indiana, where he currently resides along with his wife, three-year-old son, two cats, and a dog. In his spare time he works at a school helping other people be awesome.   he writes about space gnomes and Mars.

Don’t forget to return tomorrow to learn more about Luther and his work, in an exclusive interview.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Review: Time's Tempest by M. J. Moores

Time's Tempest - Official Book Cover

Embarking as a guide into the death zones that are the Deserts, Taya leads a group of civilians who blindly follow a prophet obsessed with preventing the planet Xannia from environmental self-destruction. Here, Fate and Destiny wage war propelling an epic search for truth amidst 2000 year old lies, in opposition to a government bent on burying ancient secrets and anyone who goes looking for them.

 As Taya desperately attempts to keep the prophet and his followers alive, this journey forces her to grapple with the circumstances of her past which have aligned to hurdle her into her darkest memories; making choices she never wanted to consider; learning truths she was never meant to know.

Review

Time’s Tempest is an epic journey, with so many twists and turns my head is still spinning. There is action throughout, and the intrigue, the sheer excitement of the journey had me completely hooked.

I love conspiracy theories, so add in science fiction, prophecies, destiny and a fight for the truth, and it equals one grand adventure. One which is too good to miss. I found myself immersed in a new world, and life on Xannia was extraordinary. The hierarchy is well established in the beginning, introducing the Kronik and their own brand of government. M.J. describes the world beautifully; the descriptions are well written and the colour she provides is exquisite.

The novel is told from Taya’s point of view and I really loved her character. It’s not only her strength and resilience, her sense of authority. It is her quirky ways and the fact she has real heart – that’s what really draws a reader in.

Taya is a government contractor who accepts a mission to guide a prophet and his followers into the Deserts. What begins is more than a journey of discovery. The group face danger at every turn, but within the danger, the conflict and the quest to find the ultimate truth, there is a deep sense of connection. In its essence, it is a beautiful love story.

The relationship between all the characters is engaging, often electric. The first time Taya meets the prophet, Dezmind (face to face), I could feel the power in them, and the more time I spent with them, the more I grew to love them. But I liked getting to know each member of the group as they journeyed together, fought for each other, and drew on each others strength. I can’t say too much about what they faced in the desert, without giving too much away. I enjoyed it so much I don’t want to spoil it for you.

I said it earlier – this story is too good to miss.

****

Melissa6 portraitBio

M.J. Moores began her career as an English teacher in Ontario, Canada. Her love of storytelling and passion for writing has writing has stayed with her since the age of nine. M. J. relishes tales of adventure and journeys of self-realization. She enjoys writing in a variety of genres but speculative fiction remains her all time favourite.

Connect With M.J. Online –

http://mjmoores.com

http://facebook.com/AuthorMJMoores

@AuthorMJMoores

http://infinite-pathways.org

http://juzdizrts.wordpress.com

http://www.gwlpublishing.co.uk/m-j-moores

Author Central: http://amazon.com/author/mjmoores

Purchase links:

Barnes & Noble – Print Edition 

Amazon – Print Edition 

Amazon – Ebook Edition (kindle) 

Standing my ground – WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday, the brain child of K.L. Schwengel.

First off – I had a very productive weekend! I came to a decision about the name of my female protagonist – perhaps a surprising one. I’m sticking with Audrey. It feels good to stand my ground 🙂 So, no more indecision. It just wouldn’t feel right to change it and she’d never forgive me if I did 😉 I’ve also decided on a title. I’ve scrapped ‘Outlanders’ because it caused too much confusion, and settled on ‘The Fifth Watcher.’ When I say settled on, I mean I’m about 75% sure! I’ll sit with it for a while before I set it in stone.

So let’s get to the math – I was going to go with a page/paragraph combination linked to the date, but I didn’t think it was fair to leave you hanging from last week! So I just added the numbers together, came up with 40 and shared with you the same number of sentences directly where I left off. It also helps me, because although I’m happier with the majority of the book, I’m still having difficulty with the first chapter. This way, you might be able to help me figure out what I’m missing! Oh, and feel free to tell me if something doesn’t ‘sit well’. I have thick skin – I can take it 🙂

Here’s how I ended it last time:
As I watched my father struggling for breath, I felt anger bubble to the surface. The disease had taken so much from him, from all of us. It was hard to believe this was the same man who had trained me relentlessly for hours, preparing me for a future only he could see.

Then I caught the look in his eyes, the steely determination that spoke of his character. Whatever else the cancer had taken, it couldn’t take that.

He sat straighter in his chair and began again in a raspy, uneven voice.

“I’ve had so many opportunities to tell you the truth, opportunities I squandered because of my own cowardice. When we lost your mother, and then years later when I met Ann and we became a family again. I should have told you then. It haunts me knowing how much I failed you. All the hours we spent together, preparing you for this, and not once did I share the truth about your heritage.”

I paused the tape before he could go any further because, even though I knew it was delaying the inevitable, I wasn’t ready to let go. Real or not, my memories were the only thing I had left.

It’s not that I’m a coward. Until that point, I’d spent my life doing my father’s bidding. The simple fact is, at the root of his paranoia was a genuine fear for my safety.

He had almost lost me once, and it haunted him. I was five years old when they came for me. I still don’t recall everything that happened, and perhaps I never will. But I know I got away.

That was worse somehow, being stranded in a place I didn’t recognise or understand. It was dark and cold, a place I was forced to revisit night after night in my dreams.

I remember the strange pull it had on me and though I didn’t understand it as a child, later, when I could identify the emotions, I knew something had been tracking me in the dark.

Perhaps that’s why I tucked the memories away, and why, when we continued to run from an invisible threat, I didn’t question it.

Looking into my father’s tired, drawn face, I couldn’t help but remember the man he’d been before the abduction; his sunny smile and easy-going temperament. That part of him shifted overnight, and to a young girl, the change had been terrifying.

He took longer to laugh, his eyes became troubled, and his face tense. In a way he embraced the soldier in him and forgot about the man. When I was old enough he trained me to protect myself, and we grew further and further apart.

I was thirteen when I began to rebel against his teachings, to question his decisions. Then my mother died and, for a while, nothing else mattered.

We found our rhythm again, and I continued to train without complaint, as we moved around the country.

I never felt a sense of danger, never once feared for my safety. But I came to believe he was the reason for that and I found my father again.

He was always there to protect me, and I relied on his strength. When my best friend died, he was the one to sit with me night after night as I cried myself to sleep.

However many friends I made, and however easy it was for me to connect with people, I did so with an understanding that those friendships were fleeting. Our lifestyle taught me the danger of attachments, and I was careful.

With Nathaniel it was different. For reasons I didn’t understand at the time, his family travelled with us. Right from the start.


Not an ideal place to leave it I know, but the math is there for a reason.

Thanks in advance for your feedback, and for reading.

Mel

Making up for lost time – WIPpet Wednesday

I missed WIPpet Wednesday last week. I’d intended to take part, but time got the better of me and my post sits half finished among a dozen other drafts!

There was the tour, which is part of the reason, but I also stretched myself too thin and suffered a burn out at the weekend. I didn’t even do any writing, or nothing productive anyway.

I have two WIP’s on the go. In my previous posts I’ve shared with you a character from a Fantasy novella I’m writing. The first draft of which is almost complete. Today though, I’m going to share a scene from Outlanders, the first in my Worlds Apart series. It’s a science fiction novel and one I’ve had a few problems with of late. I’ll be sending it to Beta Readers next week, but I still don’t feel quite ready. I originally wrote it in third person and due to feedback changed it to a first person POV. Whether it works better, I’m not sure, but I guess I’ll find out!

To give you a little background, the character in this scene, Keith Delaney is a law officer. He has the ability to shift between worlds, and he is about to go on the hunt for a criminal with his partner. I remembered the math too – here’s how I got to the magic number: 10×9=90 x2 =180 +14 =194.

  

In reality the shift takes twelve seconds, give or take. But time has a funny way of altering our perceptions. It feels like a lifetime when all your senses are heightened and you feel a rush, deep within the blood. It can be as addictive as a drug.

Anticipation flowed through my body as I prepared myself for the shift. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the image in my head, locking onto our location with a single minded focus. I always travel that way, though I know my partner steps into the shift with his eyes wide open. It causes a sensory overload, not an unpleasant feeling, but the overstimulation can be distracting.

Nathaniel enjoys to point out that I’m a control freak, and do everything on my own terms, even the shift. Maybe he’s right.

I sensed him beside me, and smiled without looking at him. “Let’s fly,” I said, feeling my cells burst to life. I welcomed the hum in my blood, felt the drag as Nathaniel calls it; the feeling of being pulled at an exponential rate towards a single point.

The picture in my head never wavered.

 


Thanks for reading. I’ll have more details on Outlanders in a future post.

Mel

Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for the opportunity to take part in WIPpet Wednesday. Click the link to find out more.

The prompts are now up for week 28 over at Featured Fiction

FF #20

If you’d like to take part in the Featured Fiction Writing contest this week, the prompts are now up. Visit the page by clicking here.

Here are the prompts:

Sentence starter

A white hot shaft of fear pierced through her, and still she stood, defiant and strong in the face of danger.

suggested genre

Science Fiction

featured words

Magic; Smoke; Handle

suggested theme

The world is on the brink of war. You are tired of fighting an inevitable future and your only hope now, is of survival.

poetic form

Free form

Dinner for…seven by Mark Morris [30 Days of June] Writing 101 Prompt Series

30 Days of June ImageAnother great post by Mark Morris. This one in response to a prompt about a virtual dinner party. As a reminder, the details are below:

 

5 June 2014

A new store opens using the latest holographic technology. One of its features is a restaurant which incorporates virtual guests.

Prompt: You manage to obtain a much sought after ticket and can invite five people to dine with you. Who will you choose?

Here’s what’s in store tomorrow – I’m aiming to contribute something to this prompt.

6 June 2014

You are at a party and, as a joke, you introduce yourself as a clairvoyant. You field questions from other guests, plucking information from your head, which is surprisingly accurate. What starts off as a little fun, turns into a deadly game.

Prompt: Write a story based on the above theme.

Don’t forget to check out the 30 Days of June, a new prompt for every day of the month, and add your contribution.

A huge thanks to Mark for his contributions. I thoroughly enjoyed both posts.

Mel

A Message to the past by Mark Morris – [30 Days of June] Writing Prompt

30 Days of June ImageCheck out this entry by Mark Morris in response to the prompt for today (4 June 2014) and the prompt special 30 Days of June. It’s highly entertaining.

Here’s a reminder of the prompt:

4 June 2014

The year is 2019 and life as we know it has ceased to exist. Your own future is in jeopardy, so you take drastic action to change past events and give yourself a fighting chance at survival.

Prompt: Write a letter to one of your ancestors to describe their future, advising them of the events that could lead to your destruction.

Enjoy!