I’ve been working on Reclamation for some time, to say the least. Years, on and off; for a while, it was the book I didn’t want to write for fear I couldn’t do it justice. But for whatever reason, these past few months I’ve felt up to it.
Which is why I decided that I could aim to get it finished well before the end of the year.
And I can — that’s not really in doubt. I can write fast, and I can write well, and while I can’t always do both at the same time, I can certainly overlap them well enough. I’ve got months to go and very little else to do in them, since my chance of summer employment appears to have lost my records down the back of the sofa and refuses to respond to my emails. All is set very fair indeed.
But it’s still rather more scary the longer it goes on. For once I’ve actually promised something, with a certain specific date and deadline, something that I can let people down on. And I really don’t want to do that. But who knows if I will? The future isn’t certain, even when I pretend it is. And I have other responsibilities I’m determined to fulfill.
Still, nothing doing — it’s done, and whether or not it’s intimidating, I won’t back out now!
The exam period is just about over, and with it I am freed to go back to writing! (I’d have written an explanatory post, but I didn’t realise quite how busy I’d end up until it was already too late!) Which means… that I am now ready to promise you all a new book! Preorders are now open for Erithenia: Reclamation, the first in a new series that will bring us to the world of Thenia, a modern technological society built in part around a power — sharren — as fundamental to Thenians as gravity. Old tales of gods and monsters are a myth — until the day that a cruise liner runs aground, a seemingly reasonless event that heralds the return of the heroes and villains long since thought to be no more than fable.
Reclamation will be out on the 1st of December, but register your interest now to be sure you get it as soon as it’s released!
And in other writing news… there’s about to be a big sale at Smashwords, and for the whole month of July, the ebook of Before the Sun Fades will be absolutely free! So why not pick it up?
I wanted to explain what it feels like to me when I go caving. This was my best shot: (actually finished 13/12/2016)
The path ahead is cloaked in shadow
Total stillness of the air;
If I speak, my words will echo.
To venture onwards still I dare.
The rock is worn of every edge,
And coming close above my head:
Rushing water carved this path,
But long ago that water fled.
Sinking deep inside the earth
Along the paths I follow now;
Somewhere still that river runs
Its lightless course beneath the ground.
This edge was once a waterfall
Now down its empty side I climb
Wire ladder anchored into rock –
Other hands were here before mine.
Yet in my mind I’m first to walk
Along these silent hidden roads
Though other people stand beside me,
In my head I’m still alone.
Far away from sun and wind,
Beyond the easy reach of man
In these all but untouched wilds
A lone adventurer I can stand.
The rock is not my enemy,
Its cool dark shapes a kind of friend;
Its challenge something deep within me
As I explore to journey’s end.
And round each corner marvels wait
Sometimes subtle or unseen
Sometimes obvious and plain:
Rock veils in hanging filigree.
A sinkhole like an inverse tower,
Water falling from above,
Daylight shining brightly down –
Places like this, too, I love.
Climb down towards the pool below
One last look, then back again,
Upwards to the light above;
Below, this untouched world remains.
The water’s risen in the caves,
Yet still I feel no fear at all.
Retrace my route: I know the way.
In my skills I feel secure.
I test each step on hidden ground,
Or climbing up a steep incline,
As careful on the journey out
As I was when I stepped inside.
I have mastered this dark world;
I have seen the great unknown
And when, in time, I might return,
‘Twill be a new quest all its own.
For now I breathe the open air
And see the sky so high above.
Out to horizons vast I stare
And can’t say what I’m dreaming of.
My journey done, my quest complete,
Adventures new another day.
New memories now mine to keep
Wherever next my path may stray.
(*Post backdated to the date I actually wrote the poem. Post posted on 19/04/2017.)
Riding back on a bus from work, I saw this amazing cloud covering the sun and looking for all the world like a plume of smoke streaming from something coming down fast through the atmosphere. Well, apparently I just can’t let something so glorious go unremarked, so I got out my phone, took some photographs, and set my thoughts to, if not exactly paper, then certainly pixel.
Like a plume of smoke, the cloud wisps
Up from the sinking sun
Like a spaceship sinking, burning:
A battle lost or a battle won.
Blazing down through the atmosphere,
Reentry or retreat
Fusion reactor meltdown
An alien or human defeat?
Or maybe just a chance disaster:
Malfunctions are nothing new,
The captain giving orders
As she fights to save her crew.
The sun is slowly setting
And the cloud drifts further away –
Will the crash site be forgotten?
Did the engineers save the day?
The sky has cleared, the cloud is gone
Whether for good or ill
End the story how you want
And imagine what you will.
This might look awfully fast, but it has been a few months since I wrote the first one. I just didn’t post it for quite some time!
Serene in space, the gossamer relic hangs about the star at its heart, draped like a crystal cobweb. Who built it, what it even really is, no-one knows. Its interior is all but fractal, here graceful and soaring, there blocky and compact. Gravity changes smoothly or sharply, so that people might be seen walking at all angles. And though the relic has never been fully mapped, it is full of people — for explorers come from all over the galaxy to seek out its secrets.
I got it into my head to set up an old list of songs I haven’t heard in a long time, and boy is this a window into the past. I haven’t remembered my younger self this strongly since the credits of Star Trek: Beyond. Except this time I’m just looking in and back, and seeing, well, me. So much of what I built then is still standing, and I hadn’t really fully realised quite how much of the old framework is still in there. Or how much I built atop it.
I also just went off to tidy some things, knocked over an old penholder that recently reappeared from my Boxes O’ Stuff, and discovered several whiskers from one of my old cats when they fell out along with a shower of drawing pins. (Ones she shed in her lifetime, not ones I clipped or anything.) I’d forgotten I did that. Apparently, when confronted with a full understanding of mortality, my response was to make sure I was able to memorialise and/or clone my then fairly youthful cats against the day, years in the future, when they were going to die. I’m not actually sure those shed whiskers have enough DNA in them to clone my cat, and in fact I wasn’t even sure then: I was banking on advances in technology, I think.
(This particular cat, incidentally, was called Tabitha. The other was Frisky. I have what’s probably one of his whiskers somewhere too: I remember my other storage place for them was an old film canister, which I labelled neatly with its contents. I haven’t found that yet, though.)
In other news, The Fused is about to come back online, as I’ve just been writing up the next chapter! The Tuesday posting schedule should, unforeseen issues notwithstanding, resume this week. More is about to be explained…
I have a lot of fond memories of messing about on the river. And see, now the Internet learns why no-one should ever encourage me even a little bit. 😉
The river waters ripple
Splash quietly ‘neath the hull
In the dappled sunlight shining
Through the pale green leaves above
The oars rest in their rowlocks
Drift slowly with the flow
A quiet day on the river
With nowhere else to go
The breeze may blow by gently
And make the ripples dance
The wind may blow through strongly
It’s all up to chance
The sun is bright in sapphire sky
The few clouds small and white
Drifting down the river
Until the time is right
To turn around and head upstream
To where the trip began
To moor the boat and climb out
Back on the riverbank
And walk away still smiling
The river in your head
A rowboat gently rocking
Long after journey’s end.