Ned Marcus — Blog

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Mar 26, 2020

Chess Strategy for Fantasy

When I was stuck writing part of the climax for Fire Rising, I remembered something I'd heard Garry Kasparov say when discussing chess strategy. He'd explained that in chess, it's not always the number of pieces you have that counts, or even their power. Sometimes, although it may look as if you are at a great disadvantage, the positioning of the pieces can make the difference between winning and losing.

Thomas was alone and facing deadly enemies on the top of a fiery tower. I couldn't see how he could survive, let alone defeat his enemies. But then I thought about Kasparov's advice for chess. I imagined the top of the tower as a chessboard, with each piece having to act according to its nature—in this case according to the nature of their magic. I immediately saw a way for him to use the physical environment to survive the encounter.

The usefulness of learning new skills and experiencing the world in different ways for creativity and deepening new fantasy worlds is something I've known for a long time, but it still surprises me.

Feb 27, 2020

The Darkling Odyssey on Sale!

The Darkling Odyssey is on sale in Canada and the US for 5 days. I sometimes run sales in other territories too (previously Australia and New Zealand) but this time just in these two countries.

Links on my books page below...

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Feb 27, 2020

Deep Inside the Planet

"Lucy watched a small yellow monkey in one of the giant fungi stare at them as their boat moved into the waterway. A constant drizzle fell over the swamp, and she wiped the water from her face; the tiny monkey copied her, and then they left it behind.

Thomas rowed while Chloris bailed out the water slowly gathering by her feet with her hands, and Lucy sat at the stern searching for any signs of intelligent life in the forested swamp.

“Need to eat,” Chloris said. She leant over the side and tried to catch a fish from the channel. It slipped through her hand. The thought of eating fish from this turgid grey river made Lucy feel nauseous—and thankful she’d become vegetarian. But still, it was better Chloris eat fish than humans."

One of the quieter moments on the journey to the centre of the planet in The Darkling Odyssey.

The Darkling Odyssey

Feb 18, 2020

Flash Fiction

I run a critique group in Taipei, and we're in the middle of a flash fiction challenge. We have three days to write a 400-800 word story based on a few prompts. It's a lot of fun, although my first attempt ended in a 3,000 word story on Saturday. I wrote a new one on Sunday, which I've now finished, and I managed to limit it to 800 words.

Now back to the second draft of my new novel...

Feb 08, 2020

25 Word Short Story

Here's a 25 word short story I wrote for fun—fantasy of course...

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Feb 07, 2020

First Draft Finished

I've just finished the first draft of my new novel, tentatively named Orange Earth. It will be the first in a new contemporary fantasy suspense series. The novel is quite short—that's just the way it came out, although it will probably expand when I come to the second draft.

I expect that later novels in the series will be longer. This one, although a complete story in itself, sets up what will happen later in the series.

Feb 04, 2020

Fantasy Quotes

Enjoy some fantasy quotes from famous fantasy authors and others…

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Jan 21, 2020

Blue Prometheus—New Reduced Price!

Just to let you know that I've reduced the price on the first novel in the Blue Prometheus Series from $3.99 to $1.99 on all major online booksellers.

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Jan 20, 2020

The Blue Prometheus Series Box Set

You can now read the complete Blue Prometheus trilogy in a single box set—and save money!

The box set is available on most major online retailers...

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