Ned Marcus — Blog

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Dec 05, 2023

The Magic of Charm

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

beautiful woman in armour. a blue light around her heart=

Dec 01, 2023

A Flight of Rocs

A flight of rocs landed breathing fire. Each of the birds radiated power, and each stood twice the height of a human.

From Fire Rising

a flight of fire-breathing rocs=

Nov 26, 2023

Hobs n Dogs

NightCafe_Hobs garden sprites

Hobs n' Dogs is a short story in which an old man is visited by two hobs who entrust him with the care of some very unusual creatures

Continue reading "Hobs n Dogs"

Nov 25, 2023

A Gathering in the Inn of the Sixth Heaven

In a candlelit inn, on a hidden lane in London, a gathering of magicians, princes, seers, and spies takes place.

An imagined scene from my work in progress, which I'm writing as part of the Nanowrimo month.

gathering of magicians in london inn=

Nov 23, 2023

A Telepathic Dog

“Food?” the dog asked in the True Language.

Lucy was taken aback. It was rare for an animal to initiate a telepathic conversation with a human. “No, I’m sorry.” Unsure what else to say, she waited.

From Fire Rising

black telepathic dog=

Nov 22, 2023

Nineteen Eighty-Four

I'm currently rereading Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It's been a long time since I last read the novel. It's a bit dry, but still good. I'd forgotten the secret romance.

In part, it's research, because my new novel also has some dystopian themes.

This is the old Penguin edition.

old penguin cover of 1984=

Nov 21, 2023

Rock Magic

He studied the crystals. They were midnight blue and beautiful. Their life pulsed in his hand, and he stroked them with soft rock magic, polishing them. “They want to grow.”

Thomas using rock magic, from Fire Rising

blue crystals growing=

Nov 17, 2023

Lucy is Concerned about Thomas's Dark Dreams

“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 after Lucy tells him that dreams don't raise the dead.

surrealistic fantasy forest on alien planet=

Nov 16, 2023

Dreams Don't Raise the Dead

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

“The Aina you saw was spirit.”

“But . . .”

From Fire Rising

surrealistic fantasy forest with planet rising in the sky=

Nov 13, 2023

A Golden Dragon is Born

Far away, in the distant peaks of the Eastern Rim, a golden dragon was born. She shone in the early morning sun, her scales glittering brightly as she crawled from her cracked egg towards the frothing pool.

From Fire Rising

golden dragon by pool=

Nov 12, 2023

Sailing through the Inner Sea to the Planet's Core

The shore faded from view, and they sailed deeper into the red sea, towards the bright yellow sphere in the centre of the planet.

From The Darkling Odyssey

barge on an orange sea

Nov 11, 2023

Albino Troll with Mystical Tattoos

An albino troll, red-eyed with long white hair, blocked his way. Tattoos of mythical scenes covered his half-naked muscular body. And Thomas sensed more than physical power.

From The Darkling Odyssey

an albino troll covered with mystical tattoos

Nov 10, 2023

Blue Prometheus Series Sale on Kobo

The Blue Prometheus boxset is on sale on Kobo. 40% off the regular price. Click on the link and then to to the 'fantastical adventure' section. You'll need to enter NOV40 at checkout!

Continue reading "Blue Prometheus Series Sale on Kobo"

Nov 07, 2023

Red Eyes Stared from the Cave Walls

Lucy screamed and scrambled away from the wall, wiping saliva from her face as a large snout pushed out of the rocks. Bright red eyes stared and then vanished back into the rocks.

From The Darkling Odyssey, when Lucy and Thomas journeyed to the centre of the planet.

a red eye stares from the cave wall

Nov 04, 2023

Journey to the Centre of the Planet

They fell through the hot and sticky liquid rock, their combined magic lighting them up like a rocket shooting into the depths of the planet.

From The Darkling Odyssey when Thomas and Lucy journeyed through the mantle and then into the core of the planet—a place with its own magical life.

travelling through the planet's mantle

Nov 02, 2023

Monkey Oracle Card

A magical monkey oracle card from The Darkling Odyssey.

a magical monkey oracle card

Nov 01, 2023

NaNoWriMo Nov 2023

Unexpectedly, I'm starting a new novella (or perhaps a novel—I'm not sure how long it will be) at the beginning of NaNoWriMo month.

Cheating a bit because I've already written 7,000 words, but perhaps I can finish a first draft. Not promising, even to myself, because I write slowly, but it's possible. This won't be doorstopper size.

The story starts in London some time after the new world government gains power, and with it, brings terror.

Oct 30, 2023

The Wolf Oracle

As she turned the deck over, a card jumped out. Turning over the card, she saw a wolf staring at her.

“Were you speaking to me earlier?”

“Who else? And I lent you my fleas, too.” She involuntarily scratched herself. “They’ve gone now. Mostly.”

“Who are you?” Lucy had used oracle cards before but had never imagined cards like this.

From The Darkling Odyssey

a magical wolf oracle card

Oct 29, 2023

Repelling Leeches

The mist covered islet lay several yards ahead when their boat ran aground on a mudbank. It was impossible to move. They left it and waded through the swamp. All the time, Lucy was repelling the leeches that swam towards them. As soon as she stood on the muddy beach, she double-checked for any that had stuck to her.

From The Darkling Odyssey

Young woman magically repelling leeches

Oct 25, 2023

Carillons in Fantasy

I've just learnt about a new (for me) musical instrument. The carillon. They have a keyboard that looks like wooden skittles sticking out of a giant piano, and somewhere above—often in a bell tower—they have 23-77 bells, and can weigh up to 100 tons.

Originally, they were from the Low Countries, but I want them in my next fantasy. When played, the whole town will hear the music.

Listen to Bach played on carillon (links to YouTube)

carillon on a truck

Oct 23, 2023

Green Head with Gnashing Teeth

A burnt green head with gnashing teeth floated towards her. It watched her with cold, intelligent eyes. Despite the cold, she was sweating heavily; she knew this was not a dream. A part of herself had somehow travelled to another place. If the silver cord attaching her to her body snapped, she would die.

From Blue Prometheus

an evil green head with gnashing teeth floating in the air

Oct 19, 2023

The Final Voyage

This was the final voyage of the ancient mariners.

From Blue Prometheus

a wild sea stretching up to the universe

Oct 18, 2023

Social Media—Pinterest

Here's the link to my Pinterest page. It's quite new—at least—I've only recently begun to actively post there, so I'd appreciate any new followers!

Continue reading "Social Media—Pinterest"

Oct 18, 2023

Social Media—Instagram

I've begun to post on new (to me) social media platforms. Previously, I only posted on my here and on Facebook. Now I post on Instagram and Pinterest.

If you're interested, you're welcome to join me on Instagram.

Continue reading "Social Media—Instagram"

Oct 15, 2023

A Thought Disturbed the Darkling Sea

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.

The opening lines of Blue Prometheus.

the universe visible from the sea

Oct 12, 2023

Six Ideas for Novels in Six Months

After outlining four novels in the past six months, only to find that none of them really worked, I've finally developed an idea I like. Two, actually.

My fifth outline is for a contemporary fantasy - science fantasy blend set in mostly in London and somewhere not of our world.

In a recent flash fiction challenge, I had a sixth idea that may work better as a novel than as flash fiction. I've written a rough outline I like, but have put it to one side, for now. It's set in a distinct fantasy world.

I'm now writing a new novel based on the fifth outline.

Oct 11, 2023

Surrealistic Forest on Blue Prometheus

If she hadn’t known how deadly almost every living plant, insect, and animal on the planet was, she would’ve thought the scene quite idyllic, in a surrealistic sort of way. The forest was bright: a sign of calm, perhaps. The scene reminded her of pictures of old Venus, before it had been poisoned and desecrated, although it’d probably never had the pure energy of Prometheus.

Aina in Blue Prometheus.

dark almost idyllic forest with dragonflies over the river

Oct 10, 2023

The Forests Radiate Fear

The country is feeling despondent and depressed. The forests radiate fear.”

The forests in the north of England have changed.

From The Orange Witch

the forest radiates fear

Oct 07, 2023

Hobs n' Dogs has just been Published in Galician

Hobs n' Dogs has just been published in Galician in Nova Fantasia.

They translated it as Trasnos e Cans, which, as far as I know, translates as Goblins and Dogs in English. I wondered how they'd translate hobs, which is regional in English.

It’s interesting for me to read a story I know so well, in a language I don’t know, but feel like I know, because I can read Spanish, to some extent, and Portuguese a little. Galician is related to both, but closer to Portuguese.

The link leads to the magazine:

strange orange plants

Continue reading "Hobs n' Dogs has just been Published in Galician"

Oct 06, 2023

Pale Orange Snow Falls 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. An old church dominated the centre of the square, and tall trees, barren of leaves but covered in fairy lights, inclined towards it. Dickens had called St John’s a petrified monster with its legs in the air. Now, the monster was orange.

From the beginning of Orange Storm

pale orange snow falling over London

Continue reading "Pale Orange Snow Falls Over London"

Oct 05, 2023

An Orange Wasteland

“An orange wasteland will cover your world.”

This was the psychic message that Amelia received, warning her of the damage the aliens may inflict on Earth.

From Orange Storm

an orange wasteland

Continue reading "An Orange Wasteland"

Oct 04, 2023

New Darkling Odyssey Quotes & Images

I've updated The Darkling Odyssey article with more quotes and images as I build up a bigger collection. In the future, I'll add more to this page, and all the book pages, forming pictorial guides to the stories.

black cat in ship's cabin

Continue reading "New Darkling Odyssey Quotes & Images"

Oct 03, 2023

More Sentient Mushrooms

Another image of the whitecaps, a species of sentient mushrooms, which play a part in the Blue Prometheus stories.

white mushrooms in forest

Oct 02, 2023

Sentient White Mushrooms

They were surrounded by wild forest. A tightly knit patch of white mushrooms, about seven foot tall, grew on one side of the dark forest, with protruding feelers waving towards them on the other sides.

From The Darkling Odyssey

white mushrooms

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=

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