Ned Marcus — Blog

Below are the most recent posts on NedMarcus.com.

Sep 22, 2023

Print Copy of Illustrated Worlds Magazine has Arrived!

My print copy of Illustrated Worlds Magazine #3 has arrived!

Hobs n' Dogs, which began life in a flash fiction challenge, is one of the stories inside.

It's now 3,400 words.

I've not read all of the stories yet, I'll be doing that later, but I like the Elusive Illusions illustration by Edward Michel Supranowicz the magazine used to illustrate Hobs n' Dogs.

Hobs n' Dogs in Illustrated Worlds Magazine=

Sep 20, 2023

Kobo 30% Off Sale!

30% off Blue Prometheus boxset and The Darkling Odyssey on Kobo at the moment.

The fantasy and SF books are in the 'Out of this world' section.

Add promo code: SEPT30 at checkout.

Also, all my ebooks are available for free on Kobo Plus!

Continue reading "Kobo 30% Off Sale!"

Sep 09, 2023

Hobs n' Dogs—A New Short Story!

Hobs n' Dogs has just been published by Illustrated Worlds Magazine.

It's a short story I wrote about an old man, whose garden is like a nature reserve in a desert of carefully manicured gardens.

One day, he's visited by two hobs (a special type of sprite concerned with taking care of the environment). They entrust him with the care of some very unusual creatures.

The link leads to the e-version of the magazine. The shop page also links to a print version.

Continue reading "Hobs n' Dogs—A New Short Story!"

Sep 03, 2023

The Ship's Cat—Tu

The goddess shook her head. “I found him floating on an old wooden map in an ocean on another world. He’s stayed with me for half a lifetime, but he misses the sea. He’s been a ship’s cat several times.”

About a very special cat. Tu appears in The Darkling Odyssey.

a black cat in a ship's cabin=

Aug 25, 2023

The artificially intelligent lift quietly laughed

The artificially intelligent lift quietly laughed. When Aina had once told him that imperial machines did this, he’d thought it a joke. But it was true. Some, like this lift, were intelligent; they were also armed with small guns and fiercely loyal to the Empire. This lift had demonstrated its power: two weeks earlier it had shot a man for telling a joke about the emperor. That single bullet had silenced all laughter.

From The Darkling Odyssey

futuristic robot=

Aug 18, 2023

A Secret About Ned Marcus

Nightcafe_Transformation of Mark Chapman to Ned Marcus 1

Learn something about me that few people know.

Continue reading "A Secret About Ned Marcus"

Aug 16, 2023

"I'm not stuck, I just can't move."

Lucy was stuck in terror to the side of a glass dome sticking out of a mountainside .

"Lucy, keep going," Thomas repeated. “We have to move faster."

"I know, but have you looked down there." The thought of the drop down the side of the mountain, which she was sure would make K2 look like a molehill, made her feel sick.

"No, I've not looked. If I did, I might be stuck to the surface like you."

"I'm not stuck, I just can't move."

From Blue Prometheus

young woman stuck on top of glass dome=

Aug 14, 2023

The Shadows of the Bright Universes

“It’s a sort of limbo. One of the shadows of the bright universes. They lie halfway between the visible ones—like the black keys on the human piano are halfway between the white keys.”

From The Orange Witch

shadows of the bright universes=

Aug 12, 2023

Psychological Types

I think everyone knows people who interpret and interact with the world in a rational way, for whom thinking is the most important way to deal with the world around them. We're also familiar with people who approach the world in a predominantly emotional way. My mother was one.

Both of these psychological types have strengths, and I write about both as characters. But they're not the only ways people interpret the world around them.

A third type is sensation. These are the type of people who are extremely practical and are often good at fixing things, or they may be wine or food connoisseurs—both my stepfathers were this type.

I like experimenting with all these types in my fiction.

But in his book, Psychological Types, Carl Jung put forward a fourth type: intuition. I think that unless you yourself are intuitive, this psychological type is almost invisible—and perhaps unbelievable.

Intuition is a hidden skill, involving just knowing things without rational reasoning. Some people have an uncanny level of skill with this.

Jung believed that everybody had a major and minor psychological type, and that over your life they could change. As he got older, he said that his intuitive function strengthened.

The same has happened to me. While thinking/reason is still the main way I interpret the world around me, my intuition has become stronger and more influential in my life and writing.

Aug 04, 2023

Blue Prometheus Audiobook

Blue Prometheus is now available as a digitally narrated audiobook on Apple. The narration is not bad.

book cover sailing ship landing on a distant planet=

Continue reading "Blue Prometheus Audiobook"

Aug 03, 2023

Darkness & Light

I've noticed that darkness creates something more exciting in art and literature than a positive idea. The prompt for the picture in yesterday's post included 'black magic'; for today's, it included 'natural magic.'

I've seen the same result in poetry: Blake and Milton. Blake's Songs of Innocence are, at times, almost namby-pamby. His Songs of Experience are exciting. Perhaps it's because darkness provokes a reaction—a need for a change.

That said, I still like the image below. It's the more relaxing of the two.

magical blue river flowing through multi-coloured land=

Aug 02, 2023

Natural & Unnatural Magic

“Wait,” Lucy said. Orange turned to face her. “You talked about natural magic. Does that mean there’s an unnatural magic?”

“Natural magic flows in harmony with the universe, while black magic forces itself on life.” Orange turned and disappeared into the darkness.

From Blue Prometheus

half machine half monster performing magic=

Jul 20, 2023

The Orange Witch—40% Off On Kobo!

The Orange Witch is on sale at Kobo Canada, US, UK, AUS, and NZ. With 40% off, it's a good opportunity to read Lucy's story.

For some reason, The Orange Witch is listed as science fiction (really it's fantasy with some SF elements) and is in the "These eBooks are out of this world" section.

The deal's only on Kobo (though still a good buy at Amazon!) and you need to add the promo code: 40JULY at checkout.

Continue reading "The Orange Witch—40% Off On Kobo!"

Jul 16, 2023

Magic Acted Like a Love Potion

She’d sometimes had to deal with the magnetic attraction magic created, too. It was one reason she no longer mixed with people as she once had. It was like perspiring a love potion that attracted men and women alike.

Lucy in The Orange Witch

young woman in intricate golden and purple armour=

Jul 09, 2023

Two Orange Eyes

“There’s something in your garden.”

She joined him and peered through the window into the darkness beyond.

Two bright orange eyes stared back.

From Orange Storm

When I first created this image I saw two orange eyes staring at me. Now, I can't stop seeing two cats staring at each other. In the story, it's a black panther with orange eyes.

ambiguous picture: two orange eyes and two cats staring at each other=

Jul 07, 2023

The Black Dragon Saved Her Life

The black dragon saved her life and breathed a special fire on her,” Orange said. “The kind of fire a dragon breathes on its own young to awaken their magic. I’ve never heard of this happening outside of a dragon family before, and certainly not to a human.

Orange speaking about Aina's childhood in Blue Prometheus.

Dragon on alien planet breathing fire=

Jul 04, 2023

Hobs n' Dogs (September publication)

Hobs n' Dogs is a short story I wrote about an old man, whose garden is like a nature reserve in a desert of carefully manicured gardens. One day, he's visited by hobs (a type of sprite concerned with taking care of the environment) and entrusted with the care of some very unusual creatures.

The story is due to be published this September by Illustrated Worlds Magazine. The link goes to the website.

Continue reading "Hobs n' Dogs (September publication)"

Jun 23, 2023

Dark Eternity

I've just written a 1200 word short story for a flash fiction challenge. The working title is Dark Eternity, and it's set on a rogue planet.

I was surprised that only a few people knew what a rogue planet was—a planet that wanders between star systems unattached to any star.

The astronauts landing on the rogue planet unearth an ancient evil that proceeds to kill them. Only a dead alien may stand between them and this evil artificial life. The image is of the alien ghost.

ghastly blue grey alien on desolate misty planet=

Jun 17, 2023

Charm was one of the most enjoyable types of magic

When Lucy uses charm—a soft magic—to enter a private reception.

Charm was one of the most enjoyable types of magic, and she waited while her magic worked its way into the man. His energy was dense, and warmth was alien to him. He began to brush off her charm, but she sensed cracks in his armour, and through those cracks she poured love. Nothing sentimental or romantic. Simply the fulfilment of need, of which this deprived man had many. For a moment, she became a healer. Confused, he blinked away a tear, and she entered the lower reception.

From The Orange Witch

young woman with red and purple hair wearing armour. magic forms over her heart=

Jun 11, 2023

I Travel the Multiverse

“What do you do?” the journalist asked.“I travel the multiverse and vanquish evil.” He raised his eyebrows. “You mean metaverse?” She grinned at his expression.

Lucy speaking to a reporter in The Orange Witch

young woman with purple hair surrounded by light wearing fantasy armour=

Jun 10, 2023

Pale Orange Snow Fell over London

"Pale orange snow fell over London, and it flurried around Luke Lee as he cycled into Smith Square. The colour of the snow was only the first of three things that were odd. "

From Orange Storm

orange snow falls over london=

Jun 08, 2023

Pinterest

I've just set up my first board on Pinterest. Only 6 pins so far, but I'll be adding more soon.

If you're interested, take a look and follow me there.

Continue reading "Pinterest"

Jun 04, 2023

The Giant of Old Spike Marsh

I've just finished a short story I've been working on for a while. I used the title, The Giant of Old Spike Marsh, as a prompt for the image.

I have three (or four) more short stories to do before I begin my next novel.

a giant emerging from a mountain=

Jun 01, 2023

Hyenas from Blue Prometheus

The thin man glared at her. “Witch,” he muttered under his breath.

Lucy’s face reddened. She brushed the hyena’s fur and pointed at the man. The animal walked across the taproom and pushed its bared teeth into the man’s face.

From Blue Prometheus

fantasy hyenas outside an inn=

May 31, 2023

Blue Prometheus & Orange Storm Reduced to $0.99!

The first book in each of my series has been reduced from $2.99 to $0.99!

A good opportunity to try both series.

Click on my books page below for more details.

Continue reading "Blue Prometheus & Orange Storm Reduced to $0.99!"

May 29, 2023

2nd Person POV

Several times a year I run a flash fiction challenge with my writers group, and one of the prompts I set this time was for a story written using the 2nd person POV. I've written many stories using 1st and 3rd person POV, but this is the first I've tried in 2nd person—as in You rush from the building clutching your package. Actually, after writing the first draft in 2nd person, I decided to mix it with 1st person to avoid monotony.

The story itself is set on a rogue planet and involves AI, an astronaut, and an alien ghost.

May 25, 2023

What I'm writing now

I'm reworking an old short story (one I first wrote a few years ago) based on a dream. 10 days after the dream, I heard my dream described in an online lecture on shamanism.

The dream was intense, and so was seeing a lecture examine and break down part of the dream I'd had the week before.

I'm sure of the dates because I keep a diary; otherwise, I'd doubt the strange synchronicity myself.

The dream involved me meeting an ancient and intelligent civet in a wasteland. She told me she had to kill me. Only then could we be one. Everything about the dream was intense. There's more to it than that, and some of it's in the short story.

I plan to submit the story to fantasy magazines later next month.

May 18, 2023

Raise the Fire

"Raise the fire and I'll return," she said.

The pressure on Thomas builds. From The Darkling Odyssey.

young woman with magic in the fiery planet's core=

May 11, 2023

A Dark Creature Stepped from the Forest

"A dark creature stepped from the forest, the ground trembling as it approached. Its eyes burnt red, and he felt its heat—just as he had on the day of her death."

From The Darkling Odyssey

dark creature with red eyes steps from the woods=

May 08, 2023

Changes

I'm in the process of making changes to this website and to the books and stories I offer. I've already made some changes to the homepage and to the tagline.

Most likely, I'll stop offering free copies of Young Aina and The Huntress of Prometheus, replacing them with something else quite soon.

I'll explain the details and rationale for these changes in more detail in future posts.

May 06, 2023

What are the most popular drinks?

What are the most popular drinks in the Blue Prometheus and Orange Storm series?

As in most fantasy, my characters drink ale and wine. There's no lager anywhere. They also drink mild (a weaker dark beer that used to be popular in England when the water wasn't as safe to drink), stout, porter, dark rum, and brandy.

The nonalcoholic drink of choice is tea.

woman in red in old english inn

May 05, 2023

Blue Prometheus—Planet of Ice and Fire.

Blue Prometheus is a planet of extremes. Within the forests, it can be warm. They create their own atmosphere. Outside them, the planet is often extremely cold.

warrior on blue planet

May 03, 2023

Changes to Young Aina

I'm considering increasing the price of Young Aina from free to $0.99, so if you've not read it and want to, then it's a good idea for you to download a copy now. It's available pretty much everywhere. See my Books page for relevant links.

Some other changes coming up too. I'll keep you informed here and via newsletter.

May 01, 2023

Fuzzy Green Ball

I was once on my roof practicing mizong when I saw a buzzing green ball fly from the forest opposite my house. If flew awkwardly over the river and came straight for me. It looked something like a fuzzy green tennis ball.

Then it landed.

It was a large praying mantis. They're ungainly flyers but interesting to watch on the ground. This image actually looks something like the mantis I saw that day.

praying mantis that looks like a green ball

Apr 29, 2023

The Basilisks Rattled in Anger

"The basilisks rattled in anger by the forest."

From Blue Prometheus.

a basilisk in the ancient forest

Apr 28, 2023

Does Thomas find Aina?

Lucy is concerned about Thomas's obsession that Aina is still alive, but this doesn't stop his search, which takes him from the planet's core to outer space.

Join him on his journey!

30% off the Blue Prometheus trilogy boxset on Kobo. Add the promo code: BOX30 at checkout. Available in Can, UK, US, Aus, and NZ. Offer ends midnight Sunday.

You can also read the trilogy for free on Kobo Plus.

Continue reading "Does Thomas find Aina?"

Apr 28, 2023

The Aina you saw was Spirit

“The Aina you saw was spirit.”

“But . . .”

“She’s dead, Thomas. If she was reborn, she’d be a baby. How would you find her amongst the millions of babies born every day? And then she wouldn’t know you. Thomas, stop this. You’re worrying me.”

From Fire Rising

young woman with red hair in armour

Apr 25, 2023

Dreams don't Raise the Dead

“Dreams don’t raise the dead.” Lucy was sweating heavily; she wiped dirt from her face."

Lucy speaking to Thomas, concerned about his obsession that Aina was somehow still alive.

From Fire Rising

dark fantasy forests with blue spirits

Apr 24, 2023

The future is indicated not predetermined

“Can you guarantee our success?” Thomas asked.

The Mariner laughed. “The future is indicated, not predetermined.”

From Blue Prometheus

A woman with steampunk spacesuit

Apr 21, 2023

30% Off Blue Prometheus Boxset!

Escape to a distant world!

30% off the Blue Prometheus trilogy boxset on Kobo. Add the promo code: BOX30 at checkout. Available in Can, UK, US, Aus, and NZ. I've just added the boxset to Kobo Plus, so if you're enrolled, it should be available for free there in a few hours.

Continue reading "30% Off Blue Prometheus Boxset!"

Apr 20, 2023

The Final Voyage of the Ancient Mariners

The stars swam in the black sky, and he stood still on his deck and focussed his thoughts on a man and a woman who had the power, if they chose, to alter the destiny of the universe. This was the final voyage of the ancient Mariners.

From Blue Prometheus

A sailing ship on another world

Apr 17, 2023

We’ve lived for eighty years in this river

“We’ve lived for eighty years in this river. We can protect ourselves.” The fish moved away from them, slowly rising closer to the surface, but remaining beneath it... Dark shadows passed overhead—they were chasing the fish.

From The Darkling Odyssey

Big surrealistic fish swimming over river

Apr 15, 2023

Tu

Tu is the cat—one with many lives—that decided to help Lucy and Thomas in The Darkling Odyssey as they travelled through the depths of the planet. I used part of the quote below to generate the image.

The goddess shook her head. “I found him floating on an old wooden map in an ocean on another world. He’s stayed with me for half a lifetime, but he misses the sea. He’s been a ship’s cat several times.”

I think of names in many ways for my stories. In this case, I took his name from Mandarin Chinese. I knew I wanted him to be discovered in this unusual way, and I named him after 'map' in Chinese, which is 地圖 (dìtú). Actually, his name is really 'picture' because 圖 by itself means picture, so I'm quite pleased with how the image turned out.

A black cat on a wooden frame floating in the sea

Apr 13, 2023

An Offer of Redemption—Audio Version

Listen to the new audio version of my fantasy flash fiction story "An Offer of Redemption." I wrote this one in 2015, so it's one of my earliest published stories.

An old house in the forest

Continue reading "An Offer of Redemption—Audio Version"

Apr 10, 2023

Read my Books in Kobo Plus

Kobo Plus is a subscription service for ebooks and audiobooks. It's recently expanded to the UK and US, as well as being in several other countries. For a monthly subscription, you can read as much as you want.

I don't make any money on this [unless you use it to read my books] but it's another way to access books and is good if you're a big reader.

Link goes to Kobo Plus.

Continue reading "Read my Books in Kobo Plus"

Apr 04, 2023

A thought disturbed the darkling sea

Art that I created using the beginning of Blue Prometheus as a prompt.

"A thought disturbed the darkling sea. From beyond our universe, it rippled through the millions upon millions of galaxies and on through the many planes of the universe that lay together so closely intertwined that few could distinguish between them..."

dark sea from rocky cove blue swirling light above

Mar 29, 2023

The Boatmen—Audio Version

A new YouTube channel, Fantasy Storytellers, has just published an audio version of my story The Boatmen. Overall, I'm very happy with it.

Listen on YouTube, like and subscribe. Let's help them grow!

Continue reading "The Boatmen—Audio Version"

Mar 25, 2023

I Met a Bishop Wandering in Hell

I've recently finished a short story—I Met a Bishop Wandering in Hell—which is now doing the rounds with fantasy magazines.

A man falls through the cracks in the world and ends up in Hell, where he meets a C of E bishop wandering with his flock. They discuss the nature of truth.

Here's the image I created using the title as a prompt on Starry AI.

Red Bishop

Mar 18, 2023

The Darkling Odyssey & Blue Prometheus On Sale!

The Darkling Odyssey and Blue Prometheus are both on sale on Kobo CAN/US/UK/AUS/NZ. Link is to the general Kobo March Sale page. 30% off! Enter promo code MAR30 when buying.

I almost never put the second or third book in a series on sale, so it's a good opportunity to buy.

The Darkling Odyssey

Continue reading "The Darkling Odyssey & Blue Prometheus On Sale!"


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