Below are the most recent posts on NedMarcus.com.
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!"
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.
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.
"Raise the fire and I'll return," she said.
The pressure on Thomas builds. From The Darkling Odyssey.
"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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"The basilisks rattled in anger by the forest."
From Blue Prometheus.
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.
“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
“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
“Can you guarantee our success?” Thomas asked.
The Mariner laughed. “The future is indicated, not predetermined.”
From Blue Prometheus
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.
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
“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
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.
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.
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.
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..."
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!
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.
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.
Continue reading "The Darkling Odyssey & Blue Prometheus On Sale!"
The Orange Witch paperbacks have arrived. Can you see the difference between the two? The one on the left is the cover from Ingram Spark (this is the version you'll get if you order from a physical bookshop). The one on the right is from Amazon.
I'm pleased with both, but prefer the more natural colours of the one on the left. I'm still waiting to see the hardcover version.
The Blue Prometheus series is now for sale for around $4 per paperback on Amazon. A good opportunity for those who prefer reading physical books!
Would you be interested in buying a paperback version of Young Aina? It would be short—around 38 pages. Let me know in the comments below or via the contact button above. Here's more about Young Aina...
Both my series starters (Blue Prometheus and Orange Storm) are on sale at Smashwords. 50% off each!
It's a good opportunity to begin a new series.
My first science fiction story is due to be published at the end of this year or the beginning of next. I'll link to it once published.
The story's called Warriors With Sheathed Swords. Two warriors, one human, one AI space pod, from opposite sides of a conflict, realise the ongoing war doesn't benefit them. Their strength allows them to live. Their restraint allows them to change their destiny.
Charm is one of the types of natural magic that Lucy employs in The Orange Witch. It's one that many people have but don't know how to use. She works it very well.
The prompt for the image came from Lucy: "Charm is one of the most enjoyable types of magic."
The Orange Witch is now available at all major online booksellers.
Lucy has returned to Earth!
For all links, click below to visit my books page.
The Orange Witch is now on pre-release on Kobo. It will be released on the 28th February on all platforms.
Clarkesworld—an SF magazine that rejects my short stories faster than any other—has closed its doors to new submissions, which is something it rarely does, after being flooded by AI-generated stories.
Apparently, influencers have been promoting the idea of submitting AI-generated short stories as a get-rich-quick scheme. Good luck with that!
For anyone who doesn't know, SFF magazine are not known to be high-paying. Nor do they have the ability to publish more than a few of the many stories they receive.
The Blue Prometheus boxset is on sale at Kobo. 25% off. The link is to the sales page. You need to add the promo code: FEB25 at checkout.
Here are the opening lines from the novel, The Orange Witch.
"A bell tolled in the ruined church as magic forced its way into the world. Inside, a door formed in the air; it could only be seen by the line of flames flickering around its edges. It opened, and a bright, fiery figure stepped through..."
This AI-generated art had the prompt "the orange witch." Actually, I have several. This one is a bit younger than the character, but I quite like it.
The Orange Witch is nearing completion. Over the past week, I've been reading and re-reading the novel and am now finding hardly anything to change. More on this soon.
After 2.5 years of submitting my story Hobs n' Dogs to 32 fantasy magazines—and twice getting shortlisted for acceptance with other magazines—the story has finally found a home.
Illustrated Worlds Magazine will publish Hobs n' Dogs in their fall edition.
I'll link to the story and give more details when it's published, probably some time in September.
For those of you who don't know, hobs are small household or farming spirits. Like small elves. In my story they live outside and help protect animals and the natural environment, but they also help like-minded humans.
I've pushed back the release of The Orange Witch. Things have happened to delay me, but I'll still be releasing the novel in February, just a little later than I'd originally hoped for.
"The future is indicated not predetermined." The words of the ancient mariner—the last of his species—when asked about the likely outcome of the adventure Thomas and Lucy embark on.
I've created an image of the house where this flash fiction story takes place. It's a 400 word read. Sadly, by mistake, I deleted the few reviews I had. If you like it, I'd appreciate a short review to help other people find the story.
This is an image I created for my short story The Boatmen. It begins with an act of injustice when the politician and banker fire homes of poor people in an attempt to possess their land.
Near the beginning of The Darkling Odyssey, Thomas has a lucid dream. In the middle of a dark forest a dragon visits him. He wants to be left alone, but it insists he journey to the centre of the planet.
The Orange Witch, the final novel in my latest series, is finished. I’m just waiting for the hardback cover, which will be with me later in January.
I plan to publish it in February (I've just pushed back the time a bit). Although it's the second of a duology, it’s almost a standalone novel. Lucy returns from the planet of Blue Prometheus. It’s a mixture of contemporary fantasy, science fantasy, and exotic world coming together.
No More Series
I don’t plan to write any more series. At least, not in the way I have before.
The stories I’m writing for 2023 will touch on themes from psychology and religion in a way I’ve not before.
I’ve just finished a novelette set in seventh century England. It’s about a girl who must choose between the old ways and the new religion of Christianity, which was being introduced to England at that time.
Another story, I’ve jut finished is about a man who falls into hell by mistake and finds a bishop with a procession of his followers who are going to attempt to convert one of the demon lords.
I’ll be attempting to get both these stories (and others I’m working on) published in fantasy magazines first.
A New Fantasy World
After I’ve written four or five more novelettes and short stories, I plan to write standalone fantasy novels set in a new world I’m creating. The stories will be independent but some of the countries, cities, and troubles facing the people there will be revisited in the novels. Some characters may resurface from time to time. I’m still in the early stages of planning this world.
You're welcome to join me.
Read the A-Z of fantasy. A is for the author you've read most, B is for best standalone fantasy, C is for...
Fantasy and SF—Read the best of Ned Marcus blog posts from 2022
I've had to stop this challenge because I have too many unfinished short stories. Now it's time to develop them.
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