Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Black Gate - Twin Worlds Trilogy, Vol 2 (Dom King) in One Thousand Words

The Black Gate by Dominic H. King is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds. Volume 1 of the series was featured on this blog in October 2013. You can find that post here.

The Black Gate-

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.
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 –

Chapter 1.i

Something pulled her through the darkness, dragging her towards the light. Snapping back into consciousness felt like bursting to the surface of a lake after having dived to its depths. Instantly, a high-pitched whining battered at her eardrums. The air tasted gritty and dry and she lay face down on a hard surface. Not wanting to make any sudden movements, she cracked her eyes open. Huge shapes moved slowly across her vision, and a dull light flickered from behind them. She closed her eyes again and slowed her breathing.

Play dead until I find out where I am. And what else is here.

Instinctively, she reached out into her mind, searching for the level from where she could feel for the beings surrounding her. She slid with practised ease onto her plateau, basking briefly in a familiar sense of blue, fiery euphoria. She looked down from her mountain at the myriad of colours that marked the thoughts of those nearby. Creatures surrounded her, their flows dark and menacing. But there was something else; brighter flows which flickered dully. They were closer to her, within touching distance.

Suddenly one of the dark flows below her burnt blood red and she slid off her mountain, every muscle in her body tensed as she waited for the creature to strike.

This is going to hurt.

Chapter 1.ii

Something sharp slashed across his back, ripping him away from the darkness and he cried out in pain. He tried to roll away onto his side but the pain in his back doubled and he stopped moving. Opening his eyes he could see nothing but a great mass of hairy limbs so he slowly twisted his neck to look upwards. The creature holding him down was grotesque. Beady, black eyes and a pair of pincers set into a small head on a huge, multi-limbed body. It looked familiar somehow but the pain in his back was flooding his senses and he was unable to retrieve the memory.

What the hell is it? And what am I doing here?

Something dark flashed across his line of sight. The creature snapped its head round to follow the blur and its grip on his back weakened. He rolled away quickly, feeling its claws tear at his flesh. As he did so something dug into his hip. The creature took a swipe at him with one of its many legs but he had already reached down without thinking to withdraw the sword that was tucked under his cloak. As he slid it out, the sharp blade severed the creature's leg. It screamed in pain and threw another of its huge, hairy legs at him but he rolled backwards rising lithely to his feet. Without taking his eyes off it, he tried to look for an escape route. He seemed to be in some sort of high-walled compound, around thirty paces square. In his peripheral vision he was aware of other figures lying on the ground. The creature swung at him again, howling in displeasure and he staggered as he deflected a blow to his right side and then to his left.

It’s trying to pin me against the wall.

He was just about to launch a reckless counterattack when he saw something moving rapidly up behind the creature, little more than a blur of black. He retreated, reasoning that whatever it was, it could hardly make his predicament worse. The figure in black soared upwards, vaulting onto its back and bringing the end of a long black quarterstaff down hard on the back of its head. As the quarterstaff sunk in, the creature gave silent shudder then collapsed to the ground. The figure jumped neatly off its back and walked purposefully towards him.

“Your name is Kal,” the figure said, lowering her hood, “and I am called Daine. Come on, we must rouse the others. More of the daemonspawn will be on their way.”

He stared back, his eyes wide in disbelief. The figure was a girl of perhaps nineteen summers, with dark hair that fell past her shoulders and beguiling oval eyes that seemed to suck him in. Something about her was familiar. A deep, heavy memory was pulling him away from consciousness.

The girl in front of him began to blur and sway.

Chapter 1.iii

Daine watched Kal’s eyes flicker madly as he looked at her and she rushed forward to grab him as he fell forward. She laid him down gently and decided to check the others whilst he was incapacitated. Caephillius, the half-goblin, half-man, Wai Lin, the warrior monk, and Beatrice, the Chief Temple elder lay face down on the ground around her.

Why are they taking longer to wake up? Because they’re older? Or because they’re not from this world?

She crouched down next to Wai Lin. The monk was breathing, a look of serene calm on his face; she gently stroked his cheek, then gripped him by the shoulders and shook him, but he remained motionless. She shook him more firmly, but still nothing moved on his handsome light-brown face. She moved over to Caephillius, but the ranger was as impassive as the monk. She walked across to Beatrice and studied the thick strands of silvery hair on the Chief Elder’s head for a moment.

The arrochom was calling for help when he found us. I’m sure of it.

Daine stood and listened hard. The sun hung blood red in a dirty grey sky and she coughed as the cloying air caught in her throat. She glanced back at the boy convulsing on the floor and found herself grinning at the complete role reversal, tracing the thin scar on her arm he was responsible for.

Of course. That’s how the boy regained consciousness before the others.

The sudden realisation wiped the smile from her face. She withdrew a dagger from her boot and ran across to Wai Lin.

“Sorry”, she said as she dug the blade into his bicep and traced it down about the width of four fingers.

The Black Gate, is now available from:

Connect with Dominic H. King:

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Author Interview - Alan Denham on One Thousand Worlds

One Thousand Worlds today has the pleasure of interviewing Alan Denham. Alan is co-author with Graham Buckby of several books (four published so far) set in a world of carefully structured magic. We like to tell the stories, so we don't get too involved with violence, the puzzles are more interesting - and the magic is fun.

Alan and Graham were featured on this blog, in November 2013. You can see that post here.

Interview with Alan Denham, co-author of:-

Tell us about your latest book.
Latest?  That’s difficult.  Most of my writing (all my published writing) is co-authored with an old friend, Graham Buckby – and stuff gets written, rewritten, argued over, put on one side for three or four years, argued over again . . .  Latest published (Shades of Gold) was among the first actually written, many years ago, and it has been hacked about a lot in the mean time.

How many books have you written?
I have had a hand in about six, maybe seven.  Three of the four we have published so far, the other one is pretty well pure Graham – see above. It’s difficult to keep track!   Those four are Shades of Smoke, Shades of Gold, Shades of Magic, and Clissa’s Lay - all on Amazon and Smashwords.  Find links and more details on our website at

What are you working on at the moment?
At one point we decided we needed some short stories, and we each wrote a few.  One of mine (mostly mine – Graham tweaked it quite a bit!) looked good enough to be a stand-alone short, and also to be the first chapter of a larger book. The short version is already published (‘New Beginnings’, in Shades of Magic) and now I am working – very slowly, it is not going well - on the development.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Sane?  Whoever said I was sane?

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Who said I have to grow up?

If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?
Cormell, from Shades of Smoke.  He isn’t me, but we have things in common – and no, I am not going to explain any further.

So what inspired your world?
Now that’s a long story! 
First answer:- As we said on our website, Graham started writing first, then I tried because I thought if Graham could do it then so could I . . . but it was harder than I thought!  However, we found that some of my ideas, my frameworks, polished up with Graham’s tweaks and background improvements worked rather well.  Then we spent YEARS treating the world as a private joke, until one day we realised we had something good.

Alternative answer – I have to refer to specific parts of our work.  Could I talk about Cormell? (Shades of Smoke).  He started because we wanted a short story.  It didn’t work – once we started he wanted to be quite a major character.  He is an Illusionist – an artist -  mostly working in coloured smoke.

That idea originally came from something I read when I was about 15.  It was in one of those big yellow Gollancz SF books from the early 1960s, and I can’t remember whether the story I read was a short or a full length, or who it was by – probably Pohl or Anderson – but one small scene made quite an impression, and this is what grew out of it.  Cormell is also a leatherworker, partly because a decent character needs some hinterland, some backstory, and partly because it was only after my father died that I discovered he had been quite an artist in embossed leather when he was young – but he never taught me how!  I got quite annoyed about that.  I work in wood, instead – there is one relevant picture on the website, and some more if you search for my name at

As for our other work – Thales, our ‘magician’ (he would hate to be called that!) is a user of the old ‘Like-to-Like, Part-to-Whole’ style of magic that is probably the easiest way to write ‘magic-with-rules’ that can be made to look like science, and is also a relatively ‘weak’ form of magic – so the users can’t just wave their arms and achieve miracles, they must prepare, and work at what they do, and apply some logic – so the reader can see the twists.  Vordan, the Assassin, started off as a stereotype – gentleman thug/murderer for hire – but we soon realised he also needed some complexity and some backstory, so we made his Assassin’s Guild grow up into an organisation having some law enforcement and policing responsibilities – and then we gave him a conscience, to make life even more difficult for him!

However – after all that, I also have to admit that the principal motivation for writing all these stories was to have a bit of a romp – adventures without the militarism and violence that characterises far too much of modern SF and Fantasy, and also without the elves, dwarves, unicorns and talking dragons that characterise much of the rest.

So your books deal with magic – and anything else?
Nuome is a mediaeval sort of world – lots of Fantasy is set in this sort of environment – it could go on into Sword and Sorcery, like the old ‘Grey Mouser’ series – or various forms of magic.  We have a world that is a failed colony.  I suppose there are hints of Dragonflight in there somewhere – but this colony has failed because our magic, the old ‘Like-to-Like, Part-to-Whole’ is endemic in all the raw materials of the world.  So when the colonists try to build an electrical generator using locally-mined copper for the wire, they get power surges that burn out other equipment.  When they try for an oil-based plastics industry, the plastics are reluctant to form – and then all go at once, so the machines get clogged.  As they go back to more and more primitive technologies, the blacksmiths discover that they can save fuel by softening or even melting quite a lot of iron by working on a small piece and letting that influence the rest – but they also learn to store their metal stockpiles a safe distance from their working area!  This is going to lock them in a technological stage just short of steam power – they are stuck!

That’s the scientific/magical background.  Socially, they develop a mediaeval-style society – fairly severe poverty by our standards, swords and armour – so the trappings of wealth and social status are very important.  They have no advanced communications – and that means problems with what we would regard as basic law enforcement.  It is a society that will accept ‘vengeance’ as a reasonable way to behave, if kept in proportion to the original offence.   We have also given them a medical condition that restricts the birthrate and hence keeps the population fairly low – and under those conditions, some restrictive religions are likely to develop, akin to the worst excesses of the Catholic Church in the days of The Inquisition.  

What did you read when you were young, and what do you read now?
I discovered SF  in my early teens – or maybe even younger if you count one extremely battered children’s space adventure by W.E Johns.  I was reading fairly ‘hard’ SF for preference – Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Niven.  I didn’t read much Fantasy at that time – things like Anderson’s Broken Sword felt too much like a simple reworking of Norse mythology, and I never took to Conan or The Grey Mouser.  I rather liked Tolkien, but regarded it as a ‘one off’ – way different from the rest of the genre.  And I had no time at all for Moorcock’s Elric stories – they just didn’t appeal to me.  I read early McCaffrey, but didn’t much like her later stuff.   And Zelazny’s Amber series, of course – that also stands out from the crowd, enormously!  Then I read Cadfael (of course- didn’t everybody?) and some police procedurals (Stuart Pawson).  I suppose that was about it until I hit my late forties.  I was a Pratchett addict by then, of course – but by then Graham had started writing on the F/SF boundary, and I had joined in.  Now, I read a lot more Fantasy, but I still read SF.  I don’t think there is a clear separation between those two – they are opposite ends of a scale.  That said, there are not many works around the middle of the scale, but what there is, I generally like.

You write as a hobby rather than as a career – what are you professionally, and do you have any other hobbies?
That’s going to be another long answer!  Professionally, I am retired.  I spent most of my career in education, and most of that as a Science Teacher in Junior schools, with children aged 8-13 (ish) – but that went wrong back in the late 1990s, I ran into a bullying boss and didn’t learn to keep my head down (I kept my professional integrity instead, but I lost the job) – so I did the last 12 years as an Open University Tutor. The final outcome is that I have taught all ages from 4 to 90, all abilities from Special Needs to real Spectacular High Flyers (are you reading this Elliott?) and a fairly wide range of subjects at Junior school level, and computing at first year University level, and tutor’s professional development for Adult and Community Education.  Quite a career!

As for the ‘other hobbies’ – I took up woodcarving about 20 years ago, and my work now sells in a small gallery in Rothbury, Northumberland (England!).  Yes, I know I said I wasn’t too impressed with dragons in Fantasy books, but woodcarving is different, OK?

Connect with Alan Denham on Goodreads

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Author Interview - Marsha A. Moore on One Thousand Worlds

One Thousand Worlds today has the pleasure of interviewing Marsha A. Moore.

 Author Bio:

Marsha A. Moore is an author of fantasy romance. Much of her life feeds  the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.

The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as  watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in  2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical! She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and recently completed a year-long Kripalu-affiliated yoga teacher training program. The spiritual quest of her yoga studies helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy.

Tell us about your latest book.

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1,200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications.
Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her. 
When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe.

What are you working on at the moment?

After the super-interwoven plot of a 5-part, high fantasy epic series, I’m looking forward to shifting gears a bit. I’m excited to be working on a few magical realism books, a slightly different fantasy subgenre. The next release will be magical realism with a paranormal mystery set in a yoga studio. I’m eager to work with new parameters of magical realism—a more character driven plot than I’ve done before.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

I need my hobbies to balance the concentration of detailed writing work. I enjoy gardening, knitting, kayaking, and reading. My husband and I live on a large saltwater lagoon outside of Tampa. I kayak from our dock and make regular visits to talk with the brown pelicans. Reading or knitting while relaxing in the lanai is a real treat too.

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

Childhood books had a big impact on my interest in writing. I still have my much-loved and well-thumbed copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. In addition to those tales, a story that sticks with me is a verbal tale my father and I made up over years, adding new adventures—called The Land of Wickee Wackee. I loved creating new stories in that world!

If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?

I feel like I’ve already met the character I love most—my heroine, Lyra McCauley. The more I look at this series, the more of myself I see. Lyra, is very much connected to me. Even in the first chapter of the first book, the childhood memories brought to her mind by Cullen’s magical tea are actually all mine. How Lyra interacts with her Aunt Jean has been a way for me to work through my own issues with my mother’s failing health and passing. Some scenes intentionally connect to my own experiences, like those, and others surprise me much later when I’m polishing my draft to send to my editor.

Do you have a favourite character among the ones you've invented?

This is a truly epic tale with a large and wonderful cast of otherworldly characters, including many talking animals and trees. My main characters, Lyra and Cullen, must attempt difficulties that stretch their abilities and test their love for each other over numerous quests. But my secondary characters often bring laughter and lighten the couple’s load, or encourage their strength to persevere. Kenzo, a giant tiger owl, and Noba, a pseudodragon, are among my favorites, and the readers’ also. Their innocence is charming as they draw out deeper emotions from everyone.
An extra note about pseudodragons—they’re not true dragons, being much smaller, only three feet long. In my legends, we get to know Noba, the pseudodragon Cullen keeps as his wizard’s familiar—a typical role for this species. Noba has a heart of gold that makes people melt. He always manages to find some mischief. I smile thinking about how he helped Lyra raise a dragon hatchling. She had no idea what to do with a baby dragon. I’ve had many readers tell me they want a pseudodragon of their own! Me too!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’m doing my dream job now. I don’t think I’d change anything in my immediate life. All the past happy times and hardships have helped me know myself more deeply and to be more compassionate toward others. I value each step and each lesson along my path. I feel fulfilled being able to share those experiences with my readers.

Social Media Links:

Enchanted Bookstore Legends purchase links:

Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One

Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two

Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three
Staurolite: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Four

Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Author Interview - F.T. McKinstry on One Thousand Worlds

F.T. McKinstry is today's interviewed author on One Thousand Worlds. This follows on to her feature on this blog last week and you can read that post here.

Tell us about your latest book.
Ascarion is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Ealiron. This story begins on a cold backwater isle that harbors some dark secrets. When a woman with royal blood and a rugged disposition crosses an order of warlocks under the king's command, she sets in motion a war that gets the attention of wizards and gods. This is a story of hunters and hunted, spies, thieves, sorcerers and otherworldly beings with private agendas. Beneath this lurks a god with something to hide; if discovered, it will alter the world's timeline and plunge it into desolation.
This book introduces some new characters while also giving protagonists from the other books, including immortals, a big role to play.

How many books have you written?
Four novels in the Chronicles of Ealiron: The Hunter's Rede, The Gray Isles, Crowharrow and Ascarion. The books in this series stand alone as individual stories that happen in the same world, sequentially in time, with some of the same characters appearing throughout. It is character intensive, heavy on swords and sorcery, mythology and pagan themes. I've also published a novella called Water Dark that takes place in Ealiron; and a short story collection called Wizards, Woods and Gods, eight tales with a fairytale flavor that delve into tree and animal lore, magic, cosmos, love, war and mysticism. Some of these stories were originally published in fantasy magazines.

What are you working on at the moment?
A fantasy novel with scifi undertones and Norse mythological themes. It involves warring immortals and the mortals who traffic with them. It will probably start a new series, but we'll see about that.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
Most days I think one has to be insane to do this. But many things keep me between the worlds: music, cats, fishes, gardens, woods, long winters, reading books and coffee. I also paint. This is a different kind of space that has a way of feeding my writing, and vice versa.

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?
I spent my childhood reading fantasy and scifi novels, encyclopedias, dictionaries, psychology, mythology and other such things. I found answers in unlikely places and at some point I decided I wanted to write and offer the same thing to others. The first "book" I wrote was a housecleaning exercise for childhood trauma: evil gods, wizards, princesses, monsters—nearly 300,000 words of it. It could have been a psychological case study in dealing with difficult archetypes. I wanted to publish it, but that never happened and many years later I realized that wasn't the point. It got my head together, taught me things and built foundations. It was the beginning of my writing career.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
I often think I learned more from my books (this was before the internet) than I did in school, but the few things that did interest me there were telltale and gave me a sense of personal identity. Later, when school became all about making a living, I took a stark detour into high tech and discovered that I'm kind of a geek. I wasn't looking for credentials or a future, I just wanted to survive so I could do what I wanted with my life. But I took to computers and software like a fish to water and this came in handy when I forged my way into publishing. It gave me an incredibly versatile structure for expressing myself.

Do you have a favourite character among the ones you've invented?
Lorth of Ostarin. He is a complex character and a driving force throughout the Chronicles of Ealiron. He is a well-paid assassin with the rough skills of a wizard and an uncanny sensitivity to the Otherworld. A bit tormented and utterly lawless, he is ambivalent in his loyalties to humans, but he likes animals, finding them to be true guides and companions in his dark business. He is a paradox, and as he develops throughout the series, he becomes a force to be reckoned with.

If you could meet any of your own characters, who would it be?
While Lorth is my favorite character, I'm not sure I would want to meet him because I would be a babbling idiot. What do you say to a man like that? So I'll go with Hemlock, the protagonist of The Gray Isles. He is a seer with a mysterious past and a link to the sea that ends up being his undoing—or so it seems, until it changes him into something...else. He is all about the struggle to know oneself and I have some questions.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A shaman.

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?
That would be a toss-up between Jimi Hendrix and Gandalf.

What song best describes your work ethic?

Applying the word "ethic" to the way I work is pretty dicey. How about "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin.

Connect with F.T. McKinstry:

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Once Humans - Vol.2 of the Daimones Trilogy (Massimo Marino) on Sci-fi Saturday

Once Humans - Vol.2 of the Daimones Trilogy by Massimo Marino is today's Sci-fi Saturday feature on One Thousand Worlds.

About Massimo Marino

I'm Italian, and because even in Italy that means everything and nothing at all, I should say, I am Sicilian. I was born in Palermo, and as it happened with countless Sicilians, I left it, back in 1986. I lived more years abroad than in my home country, and I have changed in many and different ways than my old friends there. It is always a pleasure to go back, but it is now 6 long years since my last visit. Saudade? Maybe, a little.

I lived in Switzerland, France, and the United States. I am a scientist as a background, and have spent over 17 years in fundamental research. Most of my writing are then academic stuff, and I always wonder at how much Google is able to find about everyone. I am sure one has to Google oneself so not to forget too much...

I worked for many years at CERN—an international lab for particle physics research near Geneva, Switzerland—then in the US at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Fantastic moments and memories from those years. In 2005 I moved to the private sector, worked with Apple Inc., and then for the World Economic Forum.

I wrote since I was a kid, short stories and novellas, but never had anyone read it. It was a personal thing. Then, work and life took their toll and I stopped. Slightly over a year ago, for various reasons, I started again with some burning inside that needed to come out. On the first weekend I got over 15000 words, then subscribed to for peer review, lurked a year keeping on writing and getting feedback.

On September 2012 my debut novel, "Daimones", saw the light. It received the 2012 PRG Reviewer's Choice Award in Science Fiction. Last February it was awarded with the Hall of Fame - Best Science Fiction by Quality Reads UK, and received over 64% of the 1600+ readers votes. To the day, Daimones has sold over 4,000 copies. Both novels are available as digital and printed editions.

The sequel, "Once Humans", was published last July and has sold more than 1,000 copies since. I'm writing Vol.3, "The Rise of the Phoenix”. Its Prelude (chapters 1-4) has been published last November and readers can have a taste of what’s coming in the trilogy.

In January 2014, the “Daimones Trilogy” won the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award as Best Science Fiction Series.

The novels have been optioned by an Independent Audiobook Publisher in the US, Sci-Fi Publishing LCC, and both Daimones and Once Humans are now available as audiobook, too. (From, Amazon and iTunes).

We had the perfect life in the French-Swiss countryside until that mysterious windstorm in February. No one realized anything unusual has happened, but the next morning, while driving Annah, my daughter, to school, I discovered that vehicles littered the highway, with their dead occupants still inside.
Returning home, no one answered the phone at any of the emergency departments nor could I or my wife, Mary, reach our relatives and friends. Checking on the neighbors, I found them dead.
We soon realized we might be the only survivors of a global catastrophe. We stocked up on emergency supplies, turned the house into a stronghold, and collected food and medicines. The Internet still worked so I launched a large, online campaign to find other survivors with the hope of learning more about what we were facing. While waiting for any response at all, I managed to befriend some neighborhood dogs and we armed ourselves with survival gear.
At first, it felt weird and disturbing to go into stores and take things without paying but, of course, there was no one to pay. The whole world had become a ghost town.
At home, to keep a sense of normalcy, we went by the calendar and home-schooled Annah. After lessons and on weekends, we trained the dogs, practiced shooting with the arsenal I had gathered, and patrolled the surrounding area to nurture the hope of finding others alive.
More changes came as the months went by and our lives took some turns we couldn’t have predicted in our wildest dreams. Yet, now, it became a case of survival and adapting to what would come our way.
Finally, we discovered others had also survived and that some strange entities were behind the human extermination.
We met Laura, and her presence made us question what was right and wrong in our new existence. Mary chose to support Laura's infatuation with me rather than chasing her away and possibly condemning Annah to an isolated life, waiting alone for her own death. We became a multi-partner family and Laura became pregnant to give birth to our daughter, Hope.
Those behind the extermination of humans manifested themselves to me, and my family experienced the horror of the first encounter. I learned from the aliens—the Moîrai Alaston, Mênis, and Algea—what the extermination entailed: the genetic transformation of a small group of people, the Selected, and a planned process for the creation of a new race with others survivors spared in the culling.
Through the Palladium, an alien artifact that modified us genetically and provided the Selected with a means of direct communication, I recovered the lost memory of the frightening history of mankind; a disturbing revelation I could’ve never envisioned.
Yes, I’m one of the Selected on the planet and I’m charged with the reconstruction of the race of man. Mary became the mother of my first transgenic baby and, together with Laura, we settled with the first survivors we met beside Laura: Jean-Claude and Liliana, Camille and Sarah, and others who joined us in the medieval city of Civita, Italy.
The communities of spared ones, each led by at least one of us Selected, grew under the benevolent eyes of the Moîrai. The aliens instructed the survivors thanks to the Palladiums and we all developed technical skills that were crucial in the initial months and years.
The final events brought some closure about the catastrophe to everyone... but also laid a heavy burden and responsibility on the Selected and myself.
 We kept in touch with other communities and the Moîrai, the humanoid glowing aliens who culled the race of men with their twisted salvation plan. They became a constant presence although they tried not to become an intrusive one.
Early during the first year, another Selected, Marina, and her rescued people joined us in Civita; other spared ones found our community, too. They said they followed the Palladium’s beams, visible from afar. People still feared the future, the uncertainty, and the way the Selected had been changed scared many of the spared ones. We knew people thought of us as aliens—the same as the Moîrai—and suspicion took hold in the minds of those who refused to join us. They were suspicious...we are different...though, in many respects, we are all still the same.
We couldn’t verify the actual number of survivors and we had no way to tell whether only ten million spared ones lived on Eridu, as we called Earth. Communities founded by the Selected received support from the Moîrai and they allowed each community to become self-sufficient. Things looked promising and were moving along, so why did I have the impression the Moîrai pursued other goals than just helping us to settle in only a few years? At times, they showed urgency in their manners I couldn’t explain.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dark Peak - The First Elemental (J. G. Parker) in One Thousand Words

Dark Peak by J. G. Parker is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds.

Dark Peak: The First Elemental-
A land of long fields and rough mountains becomes the battleground between two protectors of the Earth’s and a nebulous entity known only as the Beast. Dark Peak is a novel set in the Derbyshire Peak District in the middle of a scorching summer. It's so hot the stones are practically melting in the walls. And there's a reason for this, and Jake Walker - unwitting and reluctant hero of the book – is soon to find out what it is. He’ll also find out what he’s got to do with it. And he won’t be happy, that much is certain.

About the author-

JG Parker lives in Northamptonshire in the UK and is surrounded by smallish towns, fields and forests and many birds and beasties and creatures that hoot or bark or screech in the night. Some of them come into the garden – they’re very welcome.

A Prologue of Sorts

The tail crashed into the wall inches from his face. Bricks and weak cement jerked and crumbled as the solid muscle pulled away and struck once more. Jake sank to the floor. His stomach wrenched and heaved and he was dizzy from the blood pounding in his head. He was riddled with adrenaline, useful enough when he’d started this fight, fizzing and cocky as a summer storm. Now it only made him shake, rapid and uncontrollable.
The tail paused mid-air and pulled sharply away. It was replaced by the sounds of heavy feet moving over debris. Above him, Jake heard the wet snort he’d grown used to from his nightmares. He wiped his face with a bloodied hand and stared up.
Through the gaps in the derelict roof he could see the comfort of the early evening sky; plums and oranges, and in the distance, the moon already rising. Then
nothing but solid shadow.
Then a face, thin and grey and longer than the whole of Jake’s young body. It was covered in dust and smoke, and it leaned down until its eyes were level with the crumpled boy. It didn’t blink even once and Jake thought, not for the first time, how the eyes reminded him of the colour of mountains in winter. In the centre, they were filled with fire.
And disappointment.
Jake was dog-tired. He coughed, his throat ragged and dry, and held his hand against the pains in his chest.
A voice spoke.
It went beyond deep.
It was every sound ever made by stone: the clacking of pebbles on a beach, the trickling of sand in an egg timer, the wreck of valleys in a landslide. It was the havoc of volcanoes singing in the smallest hours.
And Jake could feel it in his bones, his brain, his blood. In his heart. The voice entered and occupied him. He would never quite get used to it.
‘There, lad,’ it said, calm as a glacial lake. ‘Now do you understand?’

Chapter 1

It wasn’t as if she was going to keep it. She’d borrowed it only for the journey but, jeeze, he could be so touchy about his things. And anyway he wasn’t using it, it was just lying there on top of the drawer in his bedroom. An old comb.
This is just crap, she grumbled to herself. I get a bawling off Mam and he gets to stomp around acting betrayed and righteous! It’s different when he goes through my things (not that he ever really does but that’s not important right now) but when I do it once – okay maybe twice – it’s like the world’s gunna end! It wouldn’t be like this if dad was still alive. Oh, yeah!
Elizabeth Walker sat on an unfamiliar bed running her hands over the thin quilt. It had little flowers on it. Her red suitcase lay half-unzipped beside her next to her guitar. She picked at a loose thread on the quilt’s stitching, rolled it into a little ball and tried to push it back into the fabric. That comb! She wished she’d never took it. It would have been easier to pop to the poundshop and pick up half a dozen cheapo ones. Definitely a lot less stress, anyway.
It wasn’t even a very good comb! It was too fine for her hair and stiff. Fair enough, it could get lugs out quickly (like a hot knife through butter) but it took forever just to give her hair a proper comb. All that static! By the end, she’d looked like a Troll-doll, and no amount of patting it down with a dampened hand worked.
She didn’t even know why she’d kept it!
Opposite the bed was a long, discoloured mirror fastened to an ancient wardrobe. Elizabeth caught her reflection in it. Her face was still red and blotchy but she was calmer now. She sat for a few minutes staring at the yellowish figure looking back at her. She looked older than her eleven years, as if she carried the weight of the world on her back. And in a way she did because she’d grown up a lot in the last year or so.
She’d had to. They all had, even Mam.
Grown up and faced the world differently.
She sighed and ran her fingers through her soft, brown hair. Her mother liked to call it auburn, but she knew it was brown. A long bob. She’d thought recently about cutting it short but she’d miss the way she could hide her face if she needed to. She pulled her hair back and up, holding it tight at the crown. No, she didn’t have the facefor short hair.
A small knock sounded on her door and she looked up to see her brother holding on to the frame. She stared at him and sucked at her teeth. ‘What?’ she said, flatly. A shaft of sunlight cut across the room, dividing it in half. The boy sagged a little and started to step over the threshold.
‘Don’t you come in ‘ere,’ snapped Elizabeth. ‘No way, get lost! My room!’
Her brother hesitated, frozen to the doorframe.
‘Look, Bett–’
‘Don’t ‘Bett’ me! My name’s Elizabeth!’ It was a defence she retreated to when she was upset with Jake, as if she could hide behind the name her father had given her like it was a shield or a talisman.
‘I got a gobfull coz of you and that comb, Jake, so go on! Sod off!’
For a minute, her brother looked smaller and younger than she was, even though he was neither. He scratched his arm and stammered, ‘I- I know, but look–’
He edged in and sat on the bed, carefully, sliding the suitcase to one side.
Elizabeth slapped his hands away and pulled her case towards her.
‘Get off my stuff. I can’t touch your stuff. Keep off mine! Go on! I mean it! Freg off!’

Where you can buy Dark Peak:

Connect with J.G.Parker:

Elementals website

Twitter: @J_G_Parker