Thursday, 31 October 2013

Lament for the Living (David Nicol) in a One Thousand Worlds Halloween Special

One Thousand Worlds couldn't let Halloween go by, without doing something a little creepier than the regular fantasy and sci-fi features. So today I am delighted to invite you to enter, if you dare, the world of Lament for the Living by David Nicol.


Lament for the Living-


Lament for the Living is a book featuring zombies, but 
isn't a story about zombies. It's set three years after the Outbreak 
that caused society to consume itself leaving sporadic groups of 
survivors to rebuild their lives. Lament for the Living is the first of 
three books that charts the journey of the survivors as their existence 
is threatened for a second time, but this time it's not the dead they 
need to fear. Forget the dead; lament for the living.

The first one thousand words gives a taste of the initial Outbreak, 
following the effect it has on one Anthony Redfern. If you were to read 
further, you'll be transported to three years later when Anthony 
encounters Sacks, one of the survivors who lives in a secluded 
settlement called the Sanctuary. The people of the Sanctuary, under the 
direction of their leader Tobias, attempt to remain isolated and 
undiscovered. However, another group of survivors is about to smash 
their goal.

About the author-
David Nicol is a horror and science fiction author living in Wales. Lament for the Living is his his first full-length novel.






1
Anthony Redfern R.I.P.
(again)

Anthony Redfern had a good life.  It wasn't a great life; he still bought a lottery ticket each week, but it was good enough for him to be mostly content.  After kissing his wife and daughter goodbye, he left for work.  The daily commute.  The ritual observed by millions all around the world.  Two buses, one train, shoulder to shoulder jostling with numerous strangers, standing room only, avoiding eye contact.  Through the narrow tunnels, up the narrow escalator. Once out of the claustrophobic train station came the long walk.  Flowing in the river of people. Human flotsam carried on the current of human commerce. Each day, a carbon copy of the one before.  Weekends interspersed the routine, but came and went before they could be fully appreciated.
            Each morning he'd stop at 'Happy News' to buy a newspaper.  Over time his preferred broadsheet had succumbed to the changing tastes in the world where everything was being miniaturised except for prices and coffee portions.  He handed over the cost of the newspaper, folded it and tucked it under his arm.  He thanked Pablo the newsagent, and left the narrow shop to continue his journey to work.
            Movement in the periphery of his vision caught his attention.  It was out of place.  Someone running.  Not jogging, or running for a bus.  Running like their life depended on it.  It was a woman.  Screaming.  Her jacket torn.  Another woman was bounding after her.  Her clothes were ripped and blood stained.  People deliberately looked elsewhere, turned their attention to the floor, to their watches or phones, carrying on about their business.  Right in front of Anthony the pursuer caught her prey, driving her to the floor as she leapt on her back and began clawing at her.
            “Hey!”  Anthony yelled.  He swatted the attacker with his newspaper as if she were a disobedient dog, but there was no response.  The woman on the floor was screaming and crying out for help.
“Someone call the police.”  Anthony called to those walking past.  “You,” he pointed at a passing businessman who looked back at him, startled “call the police.  Do it now.”  The businessman shook his head and quickened his step.  Cursing to himself Anthony stepped forward hesitantly, unsure of what to do.  He pushed the attacker with his foot.  “Stop it.”  She snapped her head around, growling through a blood soaked mouth, her teeth broken and ragged.  Anthony froze as their eyes met; she glared at him, but seemed to be looking through him.  Her eyes bloodshot, the irises unnaturally pale, with a yellow ring around them.  Before Anthony could react, she lunged and sank her teeth into his calf.  He screamed in pain and fell heavily backwards, kicking out with his other foot.  The heel of his shoe connected with enough force to break and spread her nose across her face, tearing the flesh from the bone and cartilage revealing the gaping nasal cavity.
            Grabbed from behind, Anthony was dragged away from the bloody mess on the floor.  He looked up to see two police officers taking control.  One, on his radio updating the control room, the other was barking orders to the badly injured attacker to back away.  Two more police officers approached from the other direction.  They drove the woman into the ground and began to restrain her.  One of the officers didn't move quickly enough and was bitten on the hand, a ragged crescent of ripped flesh oozed blood.  Anthony noticed that the victim of the original attack was no longer moving.  Blood was pooling below her and running towards the gutter at the side of the road.  Vehicles had begun to stack up on either side of the road.  Impatient drivers, oblivious to what was causing the holdup angrily sounded their horns.
            The attacker continued to struggle and snap at anyone who came close despite being handcuffed with two officers holding her legs.  One of them held up his injured hand, examining the ugly bite in disbelief.
“I can't believe she bit me, the mad bitch.”  He complained.
Anthony stared in wide eyed confusion at the scene before him.  He heard someone speaking.
 “Are you okay?”  The officer that had pulled him back asked.  Anthony turned to look at him.
“Uh, yeah, I think so.”  Anthony replied absently.  “A bit shaken up.”
“Do you need an ambulance?”
“No, no, don't be silly.  I have to get to work.”
“Right.  I'm going to take your details.  We'll be in touch to take a statement later today.  You've had a bit of a shock, if I were you I'd head home.  But obviously that's up to you.”
Anthony nodded.  He gave the officer his contact information and took a card with the incident details on it for reference.  His calf felt stiff and he limped a bit as he walked away, his dark clothing masking the blood that seeped from his leg.  He ignored the noises behind him as he headed back to the train station.  In the background he missed the scene as one of the officers bent down to check on the condition of the victim of the attack, only for her to grab him and begin biting and clawing at him before the others could react.
            Anthony walked down the steps of the railway station just in time to catch the home bound train.  He rang his office to let them know that he wouldn't be in and briefly explained what had happened.  He let them know that he'd catch up with emails at home then turned off his phone.  By the time he got on the second bus in his journey he began to feel hot, his calf felt swollen and itchy.  He'd have to soak it and then put plenty of Savlon on when he got home, he thought.

The house was empty.  His wife at work, his daughter at school.  A cup of tea and a nice warm bath would sort him out.  He was sweating.  His head hurt.  Anthony turned the bath taps on and then made himself a cup of tea.  Feeling tired from his chaotic morning he sat down on his favourite chair.  Just for a minute, with his cup of tea.  He closed his eyes.
            Anthony Redfern died in his chair.  The bath continued to fill.  It overflowed, flooding the bathroom and the rooms below it.  When his wife came home she found him.  He killed her before she could be upset about the water damage, or realise he was dead.  Their daughter came home later.  She had been out with friends to an after school club.  Together they killed her.  Then the three of them made their way out of the house and visited their neighbours.

That was three years ago.






Where you can buy The Chamber:




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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Author Interview - Michael G. Munz on One Thousand Worlds

Michael G. Munz is today's interviewed author on One Thousand Worlds. An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Munz was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Washington State at the age of three. Unable to escape the state's gravity, he has spent most of his life there and studied writing at the University of Washington.
Developing his creative bug in college, he wrote and filmed four amateur films before setting his sights on becoming a novelist. Driving this goal is the desire to tell entertaining stories and give to others the same pleasure with those stories as other writers have given to him. He enjoys writing tales that combine the modern world with the futuristic or fantastic.
Munz has traveled to three continents, and has an interest in Celtic and Greco-Roman mythology. He resides in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguini.


Michael G. Munz's Latest Book
The Interview

Tell us about your latest book.
The latest one I've written, or the latest one I've published? Let's go with the latter! It's called A Memory in the Black, and it's a sci-fi thriller set in the mid-21st century. On the surface, it's about a struggle between various groups to control an alien spacecraft found buried in a lunar crater, but on the character and thematic side it deals with the power of our memories to affect who we are and how we behave. Different characters explore that theme in different ways: One is forced to reconnect with a dangerous ex-mentor he thought he'd kicked out of his life, another is haunted by a tragedy she alone survived, and others are driven to extremes in the wake of a murdered man's memory. Memory brings these separate threads together in different ways to affect the outcome of the story. While it is the second book in the series, with some characters and events having been introduced in book one, its story and character arcs can be experienced without having read the first book.


How many books have you written?
I've written four novels. Two of these, both science fiction, are published as the first two books of my New Aeneid Cycle: the aforementioned A Memory in the Black, and its predecessor, A Shadow in the Flames. The others, both of which are flavors of contemporary fantasy, I am currently pitching to agents and publishers. I've also released in ebook form a trio of comedic short stories about characters from Greek mythology interacting with the modern world called Mythed Connections.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on the third book in the New Aeneid Cycle, the working title of which is A Dragon at the Gate. I'd put this series on the back burner for a couple of years while I took a break from writing sci-fi, so I'm having a great time getting re-acquainted with the characters after releasing A Memory in the Black (long after it was actually completed) last August.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Wait, what? Remaining sane? I think I have to be just a little insane to spend my free time toiling away at fictional worlds, so I think actual sanity would only be a hindrance. Besides, insanity is far more inspiring and fun!

If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?
I'm terrible at choosing just one, but I think I'd have to say Thalia. She's from my not-quite-yet-published novel Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet, which is a comedic contemporary fantasy about the Greek gods returning to our world after Zeus gets assassinated. Thalia is the muse of comedy and science fiction (the nine Muses had to take on new duties with all of the modern genres): smart, geeky, cheerful, and awesome. She's a blast to write because everything she says is pure stream of geeky-consciousness with the confidence of someone with a half-dozen millennia under her belt. It's entirely possible that talking to her in person would drive me insane, but it'd be worth it just for how meta the process would be of talking to a muse who is also a character that I've brought to life.

Do you have a favourite character among the ones you've invented?
Again, I'm terrible at picking favourites, but Felix Hiatt, from the New Aeneid Cycle, is certainly among the top. He tends to deal with stress through humor, even at inappropriate times, so when I'm writing him I can usually just stop filtering all the odd, goofy thoughts that pop into my head and let them come out of his mouth. It gets him into trouble at times, but he's usually pretty good-natured about it. He's also a pretty darned nice guy. Of all the characters I've written, readers seem to like Felix the most. Plus he has the memories of a seventy year-old man implanted into his brain, so that's got all sorts of implications for me to work with, both serious and not so serious.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
I'd trade with one of the tenth Doctor's companions (Doctor Who), but during one of the times between episodes when they're NOT actively being chased by Daleks or Cybermen or militant rhinocerous-folk. That way I've got a time machine and can use the week to pick all sorts of places to go.

What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
My mind tends to wander and my imagination starts to play. I might try to figure the details of whatever creative project I've got on my plate. I might try to come up with something funny to tweet (after I'm done driving). I might just riff to myself on things I see, songs/ads on the radio, or just random thoughts that pop into my head. If I'm lucky, I'll even get an idea for something new to write!

Oh, and at some point I think about the road and making sure I don't plow through a building. That's important, too.

What song best describes your work ethic?

I don't know that it describes my work ethic, but I have sometimes related to Sarah McLachlan's "Building a Mystery" in the sense that when I'm writing it can feel like I'm painstakingly crafting something in secret designed to capture an eventual reader's imagination and lead them, sentence by sentence, into a place of my own weird creation. It's entirely possible I've missed the point of that song, but if I have, I don't want anyone to correct me. ;)



Where to buy Michael G. Munz's books:


Find out more about Michael G. Munz

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Lies That Bind - Book One of the Hand of Fate series (Jessica Catherine) in One Thousand Words

The Lies That Bind by Jessica Catherine is today's featured book on One Thousand Worlds.


The Lies That Bind-



The Oracle’s daughter, passionate storyteller Alaria, spends every night scouring the land for new adventures to tell by the fireside of her encampment. Unfortunately, she finds more than she bargained for when she happens upon an unconscious boy with a sword of gold, who bears the holy Sign of the Heavens. It is a mark that defines him as the glorious, influential, yet potentially dangerous, warrior catalyst in her mother’s most ancient and disturbingly vague prophecy. However, before Alaria can rush home to tell her family or her sovereign – the illustrious sorceress known as the Faerie Queen – of what she has discovered, her worst fears are confirmed. Emissaries from the rival Amazon City of Light come with plans to convey the boy into the care and control of their leader, Alexis, who will seek to use his power in her long-awaited quest to become the ruler of all and wreak vengeance upon the enemies declared responsible for her husband’s murder by seemingly magical incineration. 
The arrival of the boy, known only as Skylarius, sets a series of unavoidable events in motion, as the hand of fate casts its dice – amid a backdrop of secrecy, deception, tragedy, romance, friendship and adventure – to determine the lives of all on the island of Indyria. 


About the author-

Jessica Catherine is a twenty six year old writer from Kent, England. She has a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and 'The Lies That Bind' is her first novel.




Alaria


It is said that everyone, and everything, has a story to tell, whether it is their own story or not.
            The Oracle’s daughter, Alaria, was a gatherer of such stories. She absorbed them, fed on them, revered them, loved them furiously and ultimately passed them on – so that they would never be forgotten. The only problem was that none of them were ever really hers. So, every night, like penance, she would go in search of one of her own.

Alaria sneaked silently out of her caravan and took a look around. The air smelt fresh – of wet grass and scented oils. The encampment was motionless in the dark and only the light from the hanging oil lamps lit the space before her eyes. The giant wolves howled into the night as she scuttled quietly down the steps, past innumerable wagons and caravans. For a Gypsy, it was a pleasant sound – the sound of security. As she moved, her shoulder length brown hair swirled against her tawny-hued cheeks; her untidy corkscrew curls barely kept contained under a red handkerchief she wore like a bandana – a present from her brother – and her vibrant purple eyes glittered as short bursts of moonlight shone through passing trees.
Like every other evening, she followed her route like clockwork. She would slip out in the middle of the night and make her way south by southwest toward the borders of the known mainland. It wasn’t a short journey by any means, sometimes she barely returned to the encampment before daybreak. She knew she would get scolded for it – she grimaced at the thought – but all in all it was worth it. She would head beyond the lip of the forest, to the oasis on the other side of the rolling hills. The green undergrowth would make way for a stretch of scrubland – sun-bleached patchy grass and craggy rock – that would eventually become the sands of the vast desert to the south. It was there that she would lose herself in her imagination. The oasis was no longer a pathetic reserve in a patch of parched earth with her around; to a fourteen year old girl with a sense of adventure it was a treasure trove that she would defend from incoming bandits, and the tall palms the rooftops that she would scamper across in an attempt to conceal herself. There, she could be someone important, someone heroic – the person she longed to be – and find her own place in the old tales she would tell, even if it were make believe. But sometimes, she would stop and realise that it almost hurt inside to imagine a life so opposite from her own at the encampment. She wanted it so badly; sometimes she could almost feel it with all her senses. However, for the meantime, her farfetched dreams would have to suffice.
Even with the sights and sounds around her so familiar, still that particular night did not feel the same as all her others. It was as if there was something in the atmosphere. Having come to know the island so well, she felt she’d know instinctively if anything were wrong or different. She wondered if she were like the fabled wood sprites that knew everything going on around them. Secrets would whisper through the trees, stealing among the leaves and into their ears, so the tiniest change wouldn’t go unnoticed. When Alaria wriggled free from her imagination, she remembered it was unlikely wood sprites existed, or at least she’d never seen any. However, one thing she knew for sure – out in the real world with her something had altered, signalling the beginning of something new. Whatever it might be, Alaria knew she wouldn’t discover it lingering in her mind’s well-versed version of her beloved sanctuary. She wouldn’t waste any more time, and set out toward it once more in reality.
Making her way through the outer reaches of the southern area of her encampment, Alaria took several well-known shortcuts to lead her into Brightmoon Forest, the dense woodland that surrounded her home. Soon, she reached the foot of the hills that separated the forest from the desert. Thaymor’s Hills they were called, and – like the wood sprites – just the sound of their name filled her mind with more childhood stories. Thaymor was supposedly the last giant in existence, and when he lay down in the earth to die the weight of his body formed the hills and dales. Humans had loved him so dearly that they’d give the broad, grassy range of low peaks his name.

After a couple of hours of walking, climbing ever higher up the gentle incline, Alaria eventually reached the top of one of the flat summits. From there it was easy to spot the oasis, not too far below her; it was the only patch of green beyond the hilltops, amongst the sandy landscape that formed the Amazon kingdom. Alaria knew the Amazons’ City of Light, and particularly Alexis, their queen, would not welcome intruders so she always stayed well out of sight. She made a lightning dash, skidding down the hillside on the heels of her leather shoes, causing debris to cascade down with her and drop into the oasis pool beneath. She flinched as the stones hit the water; the sound seemed so loud in the quiet of night. However, it wasn’t really the noises she made that she had to worry about, it was purely being seen at all in Amazon territory, and she hoped that the sentries on the Great Wall – as usual – would be oblivious to her presence. Despite her happiness at being re-united once more with the place she loved most on the island, Alaria was cautious of the Amazons’ trained guards. She summoned her courage to look out toward them. Standing atop the giant man-made structure that encompassed their city on all sides, the Amazons had eyes everywhere.



Where you can buy The Lies That Bind:

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Connect with Jessica Catherine:

Twitter

Saturday, 26 October 2013

A Trainspotters Guide To Other Earths (David Stevens) on Sci-Fi Saturday

A Trainspotters Guide To Other Earths by David Stevens is this weeks Sci-Fi Saturday feature on One Thousand Worlds.



About this author-


David Stevens

Hello and welcome.
   Write a biog they say! Now there is a challenge. Stories, books, even articles are easy to do as they are held at a distance, admittedly short but still distant. A ‘biog,’ that is another thing altogether. Why anyone would want to read about the writer I can’t envisage, writers lives are really rather boring, it is the tales they tell that have such wonderful abilities. I am often told that fateful sentence, ‘I could be a writer’ or ‘I would like to write a book’. To these people I always say do it, write it, it does not matter whether it is a good book or a bad one, because it is your book, well it is until you contact a publisher, then that all changes.
   At roughly fourteen years of age I was carted off to Bangor for an excruciating length of in-depth testing, where they discovered that I was severely dyslexic and reasonably intelligent. The first was new to me, the latter something I had naturally known, but it did explain why I could not write. Then along came the computer and thanks to a good friend I acquired one, and that was the start of a long long road.
    Just to put things in place, let me point out that the computer in question was made by Amstrad and it had no, yes I said no, hard drive. In fact it used five and a quarter floppy disks and had the processing power of about 56 K. Now that sounds shocking these days but consider that 56K was about what N.A.S.A had when they put a man on the moon.
    Back to a biog. To my readers I would like to say that I hope you enjoy my work, because for me to say anything else would be a lie, as is clearly shown by the fact that I place my work out there amongst you, obviously I want it to be read, but more importantly to be entertaining for you the reader.
   The more you write the more you open yourself up for criticism, but also the more you learn and the better your writing becomes. Writers call this learning the ‘craft’ or developing it. In my case as with most, the more I developed the craft the better the stories construction became, so old stories are never as well constructed as new stories but the editing process improves with practice, that is one of the drawbacks to posting on the net, you are always stuck with the old stories. Those older stories will have a greater number of problems than the newer ones but it is not the style that matters but the content and of course the improvement.
     For those of you that just need to know more about your pet authors, consider that writing at any level is a serious commitment in both time and lifestyle. Books take a long time to develop; they are mostly created in the loneliness of an office or a chair. Sometimes, if you are very lucky they grow by a fire-side with a nice coffee and perhaps biscuits. You know, the nice oat ones or perhaps rich chocolate, but I digress.  More often than not they are written in the dark wee hours of the night and have little input from others during their actual writing. Therefore a writer must be able to be alone with them self and their characters and be dedicated to whatever tale they are creating at the time. Or as a friend of mine so succinctly put it ‘you need to be a touch mad.’
   As I said quite boring in reality, so instead may I suggest that you acquire a good book and enter into the world the writer has created for you, and hopefully enjoy it.









          A TRAINSPOTTER’S GUIDE TO OTHER EARTHS   
                                       By David Stevens.
         This might well be the second strangest
           Science Fiction story you ever read!

PRELUDE.
 
    This is the life story of a geek from a small town, who accidentally discovers, he believes, that by holding his nose tightly, screwing up his eyes into tiny slits and blowing trapped air against his tightly closed nose, he can if he gets it just right, merge and blur the universe around him, just enough to be able to slip from one plane of existence into another.
  He then discovers that the further he moves away from his start existence, the more time has split and different pathways have opened up within society.
   Little does he realize that he has discovered nothing, that he is being sought and maneuvered by an alien ‘She,’ to another place, there to become the saviour of a different world called Earth.
   This is the story of his adventures, and the enlightening road down which his life meanders. This is the story of a dedicated Trainspotter who battles a despicable malignant horror that threatens all life and how he becomes an unknown hero to millions, whilst learning a thing or two about himself along the way.                                                         

      A TRAINSPOTTER’S GUIDE TO OTHER EARTHS
The second most weird science fiction story you might ever read.
                                                                                       
CHAPTER 1

Every adventure has a beginning, so here is mine!
                                                                                     First, let me explain something you need to know. This adventure occurred to me some years ago my time, and my now wife insists that I write it down, even if it is only to be read by our grandchildren. I think she sees long lines of them dwindling into the future and all interested in their famous grandparent’s adventures. I have tried, honestly I have to remember everything as it happened, but many years have passed and I am a very different person now, to who I was when this all happened. Also the damned ship computer refuses to be of any help at all!
   I have decided to tell my story exactly as it happened to me, which means that I have written it in two parts. The first part is clearly insane, but do not worry, do what I did and accept everything that happens as being true, if improbable. I believe my tale will open the eyes of those that did not live through it, or were unaware that they were living through it: and for those of you that are going to live through it soon, what can I say?
   Anyway, all will be explained in part two, well sort of, and may even give you an explanation for some of those questions that have lurked in your darker thoughts, questions which until now have remained unexplained.
   Ok, so you now know that it all turns out pretty well in the end, but there were times I can assure you, when I did not think that it would, or will again.

My wife and my life, before my adventure.
  
   My wife was the love of my life then; she brightened up my day, enlivened my existence and I thought enjoyed sharing my exciting hobbies such as trainspotting. For the record, I believe that this is a much maligned but highly interesting hobby. Trainspotting offers many layers of fascinating achievement for the dedicated Spotter to collect and catalogue. We, I thought, had spent many happy hours in the pouring rain dressed in our matching anoraks, waiting for a two-double–0 steam train to blast passed, coating us in its sooty but exciting emissions.
   Then there were my detailed and neatly catalogued sets of important foreign stamps to glue in on an evening. All in all, I genuinely believed that the love of my life felt totally fulfilled and lacking in any hidden desires. I was sure that if something occurred to her that she would say it, and together we would explore her new hobby idea. Just like that time when she had suggested that I get ‘Plaice’ not Cod for Friday’s tea! That had been a bit interesting, and just to please her you understand, I had deliberately got one Plaice and had even extended on her idea, by adding a pickled onion each to the order. What a successful night that had been!
   My life could get no better or so I thought, until that was I got up on that dim overcast Tuesday morning, and as I always did, I made her a nice cup of tea and a boiled egg with neatly decrusted soldiers. She was sitting up in her bed, her hair net placed on the bedside cabinet I had made especially for her, she looked at me as I entered the room carrying her tray.
  “Darling do you think that you might do something exciting for me?” She smiled and I just said “Yes” and waited…
  “Darling, could you get your coat and go outside and have an adventure, without me. Then once you have explored the whole world, return and tell me all about it.”
   What was I to say, what could I do but please my loving angel, so without hesitation I put down her tray and turned to go.
   “Darling” she called to me; I half turned and waited.
  “Make it a long detailed and exciting adventure, I won’t expect you home for tea this year or maybe even next.”
   “Yes my love, well I will be off now to start my adventuring and see you again as soon as they are completed, I might even be able to take a few photos if I remember to take the camera.” I added.
   I of course would deliberately forget the camera as so far I had failed to take a single photograph with it. The damn thing just did not like me and I guess I did not like it either, so no camera.
   She listened intently hearing the front-door close, he was gone at last she thought. With the tray ignored and its lovingly prepared breakfast going cold; she shoved it away from her and across the double bed. She looked out of the window just catching sight of her boring husband as he walked away from their house. Quickly she pulled on a pair of leather jeans, and removed a matching leather jacket and a motorcycle helmet from within a box secretly kept beneath the bed. He was gone and she was ready, she left the bedroom intent on enjoying an adventure of her own.
   Well reader of my scrawled musings and adventures, you now know how I came to be the challenger of all perception. What you do not know is how I developed the ability to slip from one universe place, across the dead separating void of almost nothing into an almost identical place to the one I had just departed from, but on a parallel universe. Now that was a mouth full to say!





Want to read more? You can buy A Trainspotters Guide To Other Earths at:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Other work by David Stevens:

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Connect with David Stevens:


Free stories at:- www.short-fiction.co.uk

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Siren's Tale - Book Two of the Home Schooling Trilogy (Anne Carlisle) Plus Giveaway in One Thousand Words

The Siren's Tale by Anne Carlisle is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds. Book two in the Home Schooling Series, The Siren's Tale can be read as a stand-alone book. Anne is offering a signed copy of Book 1, The Fire Night Ball for the winner of the giveaway, plus an ebook of Book 2, The Siren's Tale. But that's not all, there is also a runner up prize of ebook copies of both books.

Unfortunately not everyone can win, but if you're willing to review either book, copies are available for Read 2 Review, with expectation of a review within 2 months. You can find the email address in 'How To Submit' - please put R2R in the subject line.


The Siren's Tale-


It's 1900 in remote Wyoming, where a smart young siren in human form falls into a trap.  Because of a curse, her lover may die if she acts on her passionate instincts.

Blurb/Description: The novel is a new take on speculative fiction, treating real coming-of-age issues of choice for modern young women and meanwhile weaving a cautionary tale of paranormal romance and terror set in the distant past.  

This is the story of a group of sirens, told in part by the ghost of the main character, Cassandra. The sirens are creatures who are part human but who have strange powers and skills. Cassandra's love life in the Old West results in a curse which passes down the generations.

A family of paranormal women, an ancient lineage of sirens in human form, are  threatened by extinction, unless Marlena, the youngest, carries her pregnancy to term in 1977. Cassandra,  the siren ghost, tells Marlena her own story, how back in 1900 in Wyoming, she followed her passion rather than a code of human values.  Falling into a trap, she brought on the family curse and disaster. Now the men loved by the sirens face an untimely end.   

Genre: paranormal historical-romance

Age Group: 16+  NA-Adult


About the author-


Anne Carlisle, Ph. D.,  is an award-winning author. The Siren's Tale is the most recent release, from LazyDay Publishing and available on Amazon, B&N, and ARE. It is the second novel in her Home Schooling trilogy, paranormal-romance novels for New Adults which feature the sexual exploits of sirens in human form as they emerge into adulthood. Carlisle holds a doctorate in 19th Century British Literature from Case Western Reserve University. Currently Professor and Course Chair at the University of Maryland, she teaches college writing worldwide to U.S. military students. Formerly, while working as a newspaper columnist, magazine editor, and theatre reviewer, she authored a book on writing, wrote hundreds of articles, and was awarded prizes by the ANPA and the National Writer's Club. She also served as a dean for Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She works from her homes, in Seattle, Key West, and Wilmington, NC. 





PREFACE
   

My name is Zoe Augusta Drake, but I go by Zaddie. Today is supposed to be the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar, but so far, so good.
The winter solstice is a special day in our family. Cassandra, our most controversial ancestress, was born on December 21, 1880. She died at age ninety-six on December 21, 1976, on the same day as her only son. On the solstice of 1977, during a rare family reunion, Marlena Bellum, our mother, was told Cassandra's secret story and ultimately decided to continue with her unexpected pregnancy.
This solstice is a marker for me. Six months ago I published the first book in a trilogy, which is collectively entitled HOME SCHOOLING. Today I finished the second book and am beginning work on the third.  The end is in sight. Woo-hoo!  
I began composing the books as an adolescent, soon after I discovered mother's journals in a folder entitled "The Pink House" at the bottom of an old trunk in our attic. We were living exclusively in Alta, Wyoming then, and my idea was to memorialize our family history for posterity. It was about the same time the trouble began between mother and my twin brother, and after a while I put away the project.
I had formed the writing habit at an early age. I began talking with the dead at two, writing down their stories at three, and reciting them from memory at five. As a result, I blush to say, our mother pronounced me "a prodigy with an old soul." But Grammie Bellum said I was a fibber.
These days, it is not that uncommon for teens to publish fan-based fiction, and I am no longer a precocious redheaded adolescent (though I am still red-haired). On the first book's publication date I turned thirty-four, along with my twin brother Gordie, whom Grammie once described as "gloomy, grand, and damned peculiar."
Grammie Bellum is dead serious in her opinions, and I love her too much ever to contradict her. I would give an arm for her. I love everyone in my family that way. Sometimes it is a chore to love them so deeply, but when I think about the alternatives, they are not so good. There is too much hate in the world and lots of room for unconditional love. I often give my readers that advice, but I wonder if they take it.
My day job is writing an advice column for young women. "Rules of engagement for the chick lit generation," the New York Times Book Review has called it. My monthly column first appeared a decade ago as a hoax. Here is how that went down.
I wrote a private letter containing heartfelt advice to a desperate friend back in Wyoming, that was filched by my prankster brother from the mailbox at Sally Honeywell's mansion in Key West, where we were staying. Gordie typed its content into a "Dear Abby" format, falsely attributed authorship to local psychic Sioux May, and sent it to the city desk editor of the Key West Citizen. The editor was on deadline, and she published the column without checking with Sioux May.
Even after the hoax was disclosed, the readership refused to go away. Now the audience for "Ghost Orchid" is worldwide, from South America to the South Bronx. My column is named after a tropical plant that derives its nourishment from air.
Full disclosure: my books are not derived from thin air. That trick is seriously difficult to pull off. They stem from my home schooling and are indirectly related to a seminal work published in 1978, Home Schooling: How to Build a Happy Home/life. It was co-authored by our mother and her mentor, our dearest old cousin, Dr. Chloe Vye. They wrote their book while Gordie and I were in utero. It is part psychology and part home-building advice; a must-read for architects, who spend as much time handholding their clients as they do designing rooms for them, according to mother.
My books are part family history and part bildungsroman. "Educational journeys undertaken by women to fathom the power and responsibility of sexual allure," in the words of one reviewer. In plain English, I write for women who are trying to navigate the hookup culture with the Bible in one hand and Fifty Shades of Grey in the other.
All four works, mother's and mine, focus on the importance of homes: building happy homes, rescuing historic houses, and surviving homecomings. They also have to do with schooling. But, there is no connection to the popular practice of keeping children at home for their education. In Marlena Bellum's opinion, "that kind of home schooling is too often aimed at conforming the young mind to the principles of this or that religious system, thus defeating the purpose of education, which is to lead the mind away from narrow indoctrination."
With the notable exception of Grammie Bellum (her first name is Faith!), the women in our family do not go in for organized religion. Mother says we are "unrepentant pagan spirits, attracting that which is unexpected and unsanctioned." I believe she is referring to events in the family history that cannot be explained either by traditional religion or traditional science. You see, I come from a long line of non-conformist women with voracious sexual appetites and gifted with paranormal powers. 
Let's call us sirens.   
An early siren in our line was a young red-haired courtesan who was painted and bedded by the great Tiziano Vecellio, more commonly known as Titian. Their love affair ended with Titian's death in 1576. She carried on with tonsured members of the clergy, only to have her temptress career cut short by a papal Inquisitor. He pronounced her an agent of Satan and axed her in half to avoid looking her in the eye.
At my second birthday party, a beautiful, red-haired stranger appeared in Dr. Chloe's vegetable garden. She and I had a short conversation. That was the start of my home schooling. Mother acknowledged that the woman was the ghost of our ancestress, Cassandra.
Two years ago, after a rather long absence, the red-haired ghost appeared to me again. This time, she introduced herself formally, beginning with these words: "In life, I was Cassandra Vye, born Cassandra Zanelli in 1880. I come from a proud and ancient line of sirens in human form. Home base, the Italian Alps." Her introduction was a nice gesture, I thought. Mother taught us always to be polite, and though Gordie has no use for etiquette, even he would have enjoyed her narrative.
As children, we were told little about the controversial figure; only that she was the mother of Dr. Chloe and had four names. She was born Cassandra Zanelli, then re-named herself twice, taking the name of Cassandra Vye, in 1899, and eventually a nom de plume, Nevada Carson. During the brief time she lived in Alta, she also had a married name, Cassandra Brighton.
Eventually Mother did admit Cassandra was controversial because of being a "bounder," which is an archaic but apt term for a runaway wife. Our siren ancestor was "assertive" long before the term was invented by modern feminists, and therefore she was grossly misunderstood. Cassandra was distinctive for other reasons. For instance, she anonymously funded a number of cultural institutions in Alta, including a large regional arts center where, as a toddler, I played my baroque zither in a public concert.
Before we were born, mother rattled some local cages by making facts known about Cassandra Vye's anonymous generosity. This exposure was a controversial move in the extended family, one that was hotly contested by Marlena’s mother. "Our practice is to debate key issues. Afterward, your mother goes out and does exactly as she pleases." That is what Grammie says, and I would agree there is truth to her observation.
Because of mother going public with Cassandra’s anonymous generosity and the inference we were proud of her legacy rather than ashamed of her notoriety, we were obliged to live somewhat reclusively in what mother has always called "the pink house" - an old Victorian frame home dating from homesteading days. As the Casper Star-News wrote, "Thanks to the persistent efforts of architect Marlena Bellum and her powerful preservationist friends, Lila and Bryce Scattergood, Alta has a higher percentage of rescued historic homes than any other frontier town of the Old West."  Our beloved pink house is one of them.
According to Cassandra's ghost, her good works were anonymous because the natives of her time hated and feared her, dead or alive. This generalization brings me to the most distinctive thing about her. In 1900, not long after arriving in Alta, she was branded in church by a local witch-hunter as a force for evil. Later, she was accused of being a murderess, even by her husband, and driven from town. The ghost told me her version of the story, which is included in the pages that follow. The villagers blamed her for four deaths between 1901 and 1917. She said they were owing to a family curse that was "fiendishly devised to end our siren line."
To this day, most in Alta remember Cassandra as a common slut, and some believe she was an evil witch. Elsewhere, she is star material. Under the pseudonym of Nevada Carson, she prospered as an actress, writer, and producer for the film industry until her death in San Francisco.
But all are somewhat mistaken. Cassandra Vye was a true siren.
Cassandra says I am a siren, too. "The green twig on a dying holly bush," she sings to me in my dreams. Her lyrics are accompanied by the plink-plink-plink of a zither. I will be the last of our siren line, unless I manage to do what my mother did and reproduce a siren offspring.
No pressure there. LOL.

December 21, 2012
Key West, Florida



Where you can buy The Siren's Tale:

 Amazon (Kindle)

Connect with Anne Carlisle:
Home Schooling Series

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

September's Mega Monthly Giveaway Winner and Book of the Month on One Thousand Worlds

One Thousands Worlds in One Thousand Words is delighted with the response to the first Mega Monthly Giveaway. In total, the original post was viewed 325 times, 64 people voted in the poll and 5 people entered the giveaway.

I would like to express my gratitude to all the athours who donated their books and thank everyone who took part. One Thousand Worlds is still in its infancy and thanks to your tremendous support, will continue to evolve and grow. It's a blog for all fans of Fantasy and Science Fiction, readers and writers alike.

Unfortuntately, due to circumstances beyond her control, C.M.J. Wallace has had to withdraw her novel, Sing the Midnight Stars from the giveaway. Nevertheless, the prize of 13 books is still a great one. In addition, I will give ebook copies of both my own books in the Tales of Finndragon series to the winner. The other four entrants also get a runner-up prize of the Tales of Finndragon.

So the winner, selected at random, is.....Janice Horton! Congratulations to you Janice. Please drop an email to One Thousand Worlds and I will arrange for the authors to contact you directly.


Runners-up can also email me and I will send you copies of The Legend of Finndragon's Curse and Return to Finndragon's Den (please state either Mobi for kindle or PDF).


September Book of the Month

The poll for Book of the Month showed two clear favourites, the winner, The Sleeping Warrior by Sara Bain taking 50% of the votes cast, while Defense Mechanisms by Amber Michelle Cook was the the first choice of 35% of voters. I hope to have a BotM badge designed shortly.



September Book of the Month






The Chamber - Twin Worlds Trilogy, Vol 1 (Dominic H. King) in One Thousand Words

The Chamber by Dominic H. King is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds.


The Chamber-


When an unstoppable evil force known only as ‘the Reaper’ seeks to break into Kal’s world, his life becomes intrinsically linked to that of Daine, a ruthless female assassin. Boy and girl must face challenges both together and apart if Kal is to save his father who lies in a chamber far away, and Daine is discover why she has been called away from everything she has ever known. 


Kal must travel further than he has ever been before, alone, except for the sporadic guidance of his father’s best friend, the mysterious Juquor. Relentlessly pursued by the deadly Arrochom, he must show maturity beyond his years to fight prejudice, solitude and the fears that cramp his every waking moment if he is to find a way back to his father. 


Daine finds herself in another world, ripped from the comfort of the profession that is all she has ever known, unable even to converse with those around her. Confronted with feelings from a missing adolescence and forced to learn everything she once knew again, she must battle with her gender and revisit painful memories if she is to find purpose and quell the daemons that stalk her dreams.



About the author-

Dominic was born in Bath, UK in 1982. 

He is the author of the Twin Worlds trilogy that follows Kal and Daine in their epic battle against the Reaper. The first two instalments, The Chamber (2012) and The Black Gate (2013), are currently available. He cites writers such as Tolkien, Pullman, Martin and Bernard Cornwell and time spent in China, India, Nepal and Latin America as his major inspirations.


Sports-mad he aspires to greatness as a football, cricket, rugby, hockey, golf and squash player, but has to settle with mediocrity. He has been more successful at charity challenges including the Blenheim Triathlon, the 3 Peaks Challenge and the London Dragon Boat race.


He works as an in-house economist at a global consultancy for whom he has written over 100 reports on the world economy. He lives in London with his Mexican wife Liz (and, from October, daughter Elena).


You can follow Dominic's blogs about publishing, economics, hockey and his pet hate, tiny trolley bags, via his website – dominichking.com.




Chapter 1.i

“You must get back. He is coming–the evil one. You must be gone before he arrives.”

The old man called to him, but his mind felt heavy and sluggish. Great trees and fields of corn burned. Children ran screaming, their faces contorted with fear. A dark presence rose up, high as a mountain, blotting out the sun.
“Do you hear me? Help is on the way but you must get back!”
The boy awoke with a start. Cold stone bit into his back and he raised himself onto his hands. As he did so, a flash of pain erupted from his leg and looking down he saw that the right leg of his hair trousers was wet with blood. His vision blurred and he tried to focus on his surroundings. A great stone chamber engulfed him, hollow except for thirteen pillars which formed an inner-circle. A shaft of light fell from an unseen hole in the cavern ceiling, flooding the centre of the chamber with a pale, ghostly green translucence.
Is it illuminating something? Or someone?
He became aware of an unseen force; a howling, gusting gale that he felt in the depths of his soul. It bounced around the chamber, wailing and screeching, cutting and biting. But yet nothing stirred.
Lying in utter darkness some twenty paces outside this circle, the boy groaned, raising himself into a sitting position and squinted ahead, trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his leg. A man lay prone on the cavern floor; his naked body looked frail, brittle. The boy could make out a deeply lined, lightly bearded face and something stirred inside of him.
Was this the man from his dream?
Have I been entombed? Or am I dead?
He thought he should check on the old man, but he was scared.


Chapter 1.ii

The air was heavier than usual, as though unwilling to allow either heat or rain to escape. Following a deluge the girl thought would never end, dark clouds still swirled menacingly overhead, as though forewarning her of danger. She had scouted the area and found nothing, but the stillness made her wary.

Could it be a trap?
She kept her senses sharp, mind alert for any signs of company. There was only a small window of time to complete the mission. She had to get in and out without being seen. There was no back-up, no friends to ride to her rescue if things went wrong. But she always worked alone. That was the way she liked it. That was the way she had been taught.
She straightened slowly, trying to ease the stiffness out of her legs, and craned her neck around the low stone hut she had been crouching behind since the sun had gone down. It looked like the Reaper’s army had moved on but a deep sense of foreboding gripped her. She must be gone before they returned. She made one final scan of the area from her hiding place before gliding away across the sodden earth. The evening was stiflingly muggy under the blackened sky which offered just the faintest tinge of murky moonlight to guide her. She would not make a sound, she had been taught by the best. 
But then I am the best they have ever seen.
She crept forward, eyes fixed on the low stone entrance, senses straining for any sign of an ambush. The landscape was bleak and barren. All living things had either escaped or died trying. Charred remains of what might have been the villagers smouldered around her and she tried to block out the stinging, nauseating stench of burnt flesh that seared her nostrils as she crossed towards the low entrance to the chamber hewn smoothly out of the black rock.
Get in, get out. It was a job. Nothing more. It was how she survived.




Chapter 1.iii

The dream seemed so vivid. He could still make out the faces of the children running towards him, their eyes red and wild, their cheeks stained with tears, their mouths twisted in pain. Whether they had been fleeing the fire or the dark figure or both he was not sure, but the sense of desolation and hopelessness still felt raw inside him. The old man in his dream had been telling him to get back.

But why? And how did I cut my leg?
He reached down and pulled up his trouser leg to expose the wound. The cut ran down the front of his calf muscle, less than the length of his little finger in length, but deep enough to be filled with blood. Gingerly he tried to get to his feet, but as soon as he put pressure on his damaged side, a bolt of pain shot up his leg and he fell back to the ground.
With a grunt he rolled over onto his side and slid his hand into his pocket. He withdrew a small bronze coin, and flicked it through his fingers thoughtfully. On one side he could make out the helm of a knight, crested by a snarling bear, and on the other a cluster of thick trees. Its presence gave him an odd measure of comfort; it felt familiar, but his memory flickered and faded. He scrabbled around in the darkness, his hands searching for a pebble to use instead, but the cold chamber floor stayed unflinchingly smooth. Gritting his teeth against the pain in his leg, he got onto one knee, took aim and threw the coin directly towards the centre of the chamber where the old man lay. It span through air, glinting as it passed through the shaft of dirty, pale green light descending from the chamber ceiling. But then, as it was about to strike the old man, it slowed, bending as though melting in a furnace. For a moment is flashed bright. 

And then it was gone.




Where you can buy The Chamber:





Connect with Dominic H. King:





Volume 2 of the Twin Worlds Trilogy, The Black Gate, is now available from:






The Blurb

Kal and Daine are back in the world where they first met. Daine’s world. The Reaper’s world.

The Temple Elders sent them back through a portal between the twin worlds as bait for the Reaper’s army of arrochom, the creatures trying to break the bond between Kal and his father, so allowing their master to cross the void.

But will the creatures follow? Can Kal find a way back to his father in the chamber? Will Daine find the answers she is looking for at the Commune? Can a plan forged by an old mage before they were born really help them to defeat the being who has conquered a world? And how long can they both keep out of the Reaper's path?

The Black Gate is the second volume of the Twin Worlds trilogy, an epic tale of swords and sorcery, travel and adventure, love and loss, good and evil. But most of all, a tale of adolescence and growing up.