New Year’s Resolutions

Well, I suppose I better get into the spirit. It is also a handy way of putting on record my goals (notably in writing).

So here it goes:

  1. Be a more tolerant dad. My daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome and, well, anyone who knows what I and my wife goes through, knows what I mean.
  2. Be a great dad and husband.
  3. Lose weight. I have never been heavier, and so my goal for the year is to lose 20kgs. That’s a tough one.
  4. Read more. As a writer I need to read – one of the cornerstones of being good at the craft (target: 24 books)
  5. Outline Bitter Creek by December 2011 (or perhaps do much more).
  6. Revise The Scepter and the Orb by September 2011 (first Evyntyde novel).
  7. Write 3 additional short stories and finalize/publish my Evyntyde anthology, Tales from the Chronicles of Evyntyde – by June 2011.
  8. Complete first draft of my second Evyntyde novel, Crystal Peak.
  9. Write at least 12 short stories in 2011.
  10. Qualify for membership of the SFWA.
  11. Addendum – write and complete YA Dystopian novela, The Comfort of Beanbags.

Point 10: Here is my Heat Map of getting into SFWA – the easiest path is to publish 3 short stories in recognized magazines etc. When I get three green slices of the circle, I qualify. Legend: Yellow means I am currently submitted to an SFWA mag, not counting green; red means there is a slot I haven’t submitted to, unless green. Green is a success, as stated.

Point: 3: lose 20 kg:

Point 4: Current book reading count: 10 out of 24 (not quite, but close to target)

Point 9: Write 12 short stories: 9 (way ahead of schedule)

Short Story: The Wyrm’s Footprint

The following is one of many short stories that I have written in the epic fantasy genre. This one is set in my Chronicles of Evyntyde.

Each step was carefully placed as the cave floor was eternally damp and the slimy stones were polished by thousands of years of water running over them. One slip and he would tumble hundreds of feet to a shattering end. Cimiar grimaced, imagining his end in a fall – the underground stream would eventually carry his rotting corpse to the Eralyn Plains.

The young alchemist had a blazing torch in one hand, but had the other free: he more often than not needed it to keep balance or hold onto stone formations or stalagmites to keep himself from slipping. He guessed he had descended at least half a mile beneath the mountain and had no idea how much of his climb was left. The wyrm’s lair was deep indeed.

Cimiar started to wonder why he had chosen such a difficult task, why he was willing to risk his life for a single wyrm’s scale. He then reminded himself that it was worth it: that rendering the scale to powder would give him the final ingredient needed to enchant the blade he had forged. The scale’s sympathy toward fire resistance would be used to bestow the same to the wielder of the sword. He smiled at the thought of achieving this magic. His fame would spread throughout Kul-ra, and he would be invited to the Court of the God Emperor Kul himself. After pondering this his fears dissipated into the hollow darkness of the colossal cave network and into the sounds of trickling streams that joined the rushing river far below.

It seemed an eternity, but eventually the steep descent turned into a gentle grade. The river was near; its cataracts already roared in his ears and fine mist caressed his face. In minutes he was saturated.

He raised his torch and muttered an invocation to the god Aquyla in the old Kulric tongue, and for a few seconds the sputtering flame erupted ten feet in height, lighting his surrounds completely. He quickly scanned the area. Yes, the cave is still gigantic in size! A wyrm would have no problems getting down to this level. A wyrm would nest here.

He dared not enhance his torch’s flame again for fear of being noticed by the ancient creature. Assuming the alarm has not already been sounded, he soberly thought. His plan was not to see the wyrm at all. All he wanted was a scale. For hours his eyes had scanned the rocks and crevices, hoping to spot a scale that was shed or scraped off on the rocks. To no avail – so far.

Cimiar rounded a turn in the cave and encountered a narrow path, lined with stacked boulders on each side. This was the first sign of anything other than natural formations in the cave network. He wondered what purpose it could serve, having rocks the size of cows stacked up twenty feet on each side of a five foot wide path, and extending for two dozen yards. There was no easy way to get around them; it had to be a trap. Crude but… he remembered reading that Wyrms often had magical abilities.

Cimiar closed his eyes, thanking the gods that Olander, the largest of the six moons – and which held sway over the element of earth – was in the ascendant this day. It added considerably to the power of his earth based spell casting. In seconds the walls of rocks came into his mind-view – and they became known to him in every facet – the boulders were understood completely: weight, dimensions, makeup – down to the finest grain, and also their smallest weaknesses. It was costly, but he opened his eyes. Maintaining his concentration on the walls, he slowly walked down the path.

When he was exactly halfway down the rocky corridor a rumbling suddenly emanated from beneath his feet, and then the walls started to collapse in on him. This was expected and now that he fully understood the nature of the rocks, he countered their sympathy to fall – with all his might. The entire length of both walls were leaning over the path, ready to crush the alchemist like an insect under foot; but they no longer moved. They were suspended in mid air. Cimiar continued to walk but his pace was agonizingly slow as he had to spend the lion’s share of his concentration on his spell. As he approached the final yards he could sense that his strength was waning and that some other magic was trying to counter his effort. Gods! he thought, this is not going to work! Then an idea entered his head – another way to save his life. He forced his remaining strength to rapidly separate every grain that constituted the boulders; and he pushed.

Instantly, in a mighty cacophony, all the toppling rocks within a three yard radius exploded into fine dust, and Cimiar leapt forward in an attempt to avoid the tons of material. The torch snuffed out as he was engulfed by the waves of sand. Holding his breath for as long as he could, he scrambled in slow motion, trying with what little strength he had left to move toward the edge of his improvised grave. He moved his hands and arms as if he was swimming, furiously trying to edge his body forward. Suddenly he felt the freshness of the cave air caress his face, and the powdery remains of the rocks run off his body. He climbed to his feet. He was very weary but he was still alive. A simple mental gesture set his torch alight again.

“Impressive indeed,” came a hoarse, venerable voice from Cimiar’s right. He turned and saw a man so old it was difficult to grasp he was still alive. The wizened figure’s back was bowed to the point he could barely lift his head to look at Cimiar. He wore grey robes and had nothing on his dirty feet. A gnarled hand firmly grasped a crooked walking stick. “No man has ever succeeded in getting this far. You must be a powerful sorcerer indeed.”

Cimiar dusted himself but kept his eyes firmly focused on the old man. “I am an alchemist, sir, and traps that are constructed from base elements are a trifling matter to me.” He hoped his lie was convincing and did his best to disguise his exhaustion. “Now tell me, old man, who are you? I expected a famed wyrm to reside deep in this cavern.”

The figure laughed. “You could perhaps call me the Gatekeeper. I am as old as the caves and I am charged to protect those who live here.”

“Including the wyrm?”

“I am charged to protect those who live here,” the old man repeated.

Cimiar sighed. “Does the wyrm live here?”

The Gatekeeper laughed again. “No, no, no. He passed on scores of years ago! I am afraid that I now protect the bats, the crickets, lizards and fishes.” The old man’s face turned quickly solemn.

Cimiar was now concerned that he may have risked his life for nothing. “What do you intend to do now, since I am still alive?”

“It depends,” the Gatekeeper replied. “What are you planning to do?”

“With no wyrm, to return to the upper world. All I wanted was a single scale of its hide.”

The old man looked surprised. “Is that all? A mere scale?”

Cimiar nodded.

The Gatekeeper held his hand up, indicating for Cimiar to stay put, and he wandered past a small outcrop of rock and disappeared. Ten minutes later he returned, carrying a shiny red scale, the size of a small shield. “Would this do?”

Cimiar nearly choked. “Why, yes. It is exactly what I want.”

The Gatekeeper handed the glistening scale to Cimiar. “You must make a promise to me, in exchange for this boon.”

Cimiar nodded again.

“Never return to this cave. It is a sacred place and it deserves to be undisturbed.”

“I swear Gatekeeper,” Cimiar responded, genuinely.

The old man acknowledged the oath and started to walk away. “Then I bid you farewell, alchemist. We shall not see each other again.”

When the old man disappeared behind the outcrop, Cimiar turned to the path he had nearly died in, and to his surprise it was clear and lined with the same stone walls. He was weary but he chose to climb some of the way before resting, in order to honour the Gatekeeper’s request for privacy.

The return journey was difficult as Cimiar’s spell had taxed him nearly to his limit, and despite the short rest, it would take days to fully recover. When he finally exited the cave mouth overlooking a small clearing on the side of the mountain, into the freshness of the Western Waymoor Ranges, he was barely able to find a spot to collapse and fall asleep. It was night, and it seemed so easy to close his eyes. He cared little for his safety…


The sun had already risen an hour before when Cimiar awoke. He stretched and scratched his chin, slowly getting up, trying to shed the last vestiges of his sleep. He was lying on a small patch of grass on the side of the cliff face where the cave mouth yawned, and as he stepped forward to gain a better view of the valley below, he tripped into a shallow hole in the ground. He was sure it wasn’t there before.

Cimiar stepped out of the hole and studied it. He then fell over laughing. “Old man, or should I say old dragon! You sly devil!”

He had fallen into a fresh wyrm’s footprint.

Short Story: Three Destinies

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I wrote this short story a little way back, but I only recently exposed it to a wider audience, on another site. This coincided with a very healthy discussion about what constitutes a Short Story – what are its essential elements.  No rocket science, mind you, as there are numerous books and courses out there that talk about these ingredients, with few variations. Why I bring this topic up is that I put forward the following short story as an example where, perhaps, a rule or two is broken – but for a good reason. This erupted into an interesting (but healthy) debate – some say that only one major POV and only one major CHARACTER may be used, and otherwise it isn’t a short story (I posed the question that if these rules were broken, what were these stories – micro-novels, or novellas?)

As for my own opinion on my work below, I actually enjoyed writing it and I believe it is successful in its experimental nature – you will hopefully see what I mean. My only self-criticism is that it has a rushed feel about it and probably could benefit from a doubling of its size.

Kind visitor, I would love to hear your comments on this story – any comments are welcome, but I am looking for whether I have violated what constitutes a short story or not, by introducing more than one POV and more than one CHARACTER.

Journey on!


My name is Scaramouche and I was made by Cimiar, the greatest alchemist of all time.1

Snick, snick. Bite sharp! Taste blood; drink deep.2

I am no ordinary dagger, oh, no. Not even for an enchanted blade. I was crafted by the master, and he had one, specific task for me. My sole purpose is to kill one human – the Sultan of Kzar-Runuk.3

I remember when I was born, over two thousand years ago, in one of Cimiar’s tall-towered castles, perched atop a small mountain thousands of miles from the Kzar – it was surrounded by green fields at that time, but now it is enveloped by burning, dusty desert. My making took many nights of work, and over many months, for it is uncommon to have three specific of the six moons in alignment – Asanar, of the Spirit, to allow life to embrace the cold metal; Melura, of Fire, essential for powerful enchantments; and Olander, of Earth, the element that governs my existence.4

Snick, snick. Seek the Sultan’s flesh! Churn it into gory pieces!5

Cimiar, my father, found the purest of iron and transformed it into the highest grade steel, by use of masterful craftsmanship as well as the most arcane and powerful enchantments. He invoked the gods and demigods of Earth, and captured the stark, dark attention of Zirvana, goddess of black magic. He delved deep into the building blocks of my metal and rendered me virtually indestructible, and sharp enough to cut granite as if it was cheese. While I was still white hot he dropped a few pieces of ice on me, and as they instantly evaporated, they instilled the icy malice into my heart that was needed for his task.6

He wanted me to be single-minded, focused entirely on one vengeful mission.7

Snick, snick. Consume the Kzar essence! Fulfil my bloody purpose!8

Cimiar served his liege-lord, the God Emperor Kul, and obeyed every one of His wishes. The Sultan of Kzar-Runuk had deeply insulted the Emperor and posed a threat to the stability of Kul’s northern sultanates. An object lesson was required for the civilised world. And consequently I was born.9

Fate, however, had different plans for me.10

A young soldier volunteered to carry me to Kzar-Runuk and all he had to do was get near enough for me to smell the Sultan. That was all that was needed, for then I would do the rest and no-one would be able to stop me. Afterwards I would be finished, depleted. I would die, happy, fulfilled. But alas, this young man was assailed by brigands and slain, not even half-way to his destination. These murderous thieves found me and sold me to a wealthy merchant, who kept me as an ornament. When he died a few years later, he had me buried with him – such was his vanity.11

I slept for nearly two thousand years in his grave, until… well, that is another story.12


We are sisters and call ourselves Vengeance and Retribution. We once were dormant, asleep, but a villainous crime – one so heinous it outraged the gods – caused us to awaken.14

Ching, ching. We are two and we seek justice! We will never rest until we are sated.15

Before we were born we were but simple silver coin of the mountain city of Tzic-vec, in the heart of the Sultanate of Kzar-Runuk. We knew not of our existence then, but we have on many occasions imagined that we would have been kept in the purses of rich Kzar merchants, and perhaps exchanged in vendor stalls in Tzic-vec’s busy streets. For over three hundred years we have discussed between us what delightful, serene, and simple existences we must have had. But now…16

We know that, just prior to our awakening, we were together, among other coins, in the purse of the Vizier to the Sultan of Kzar-Runuk.17

Ching, ching. We feel the agonizing pain of our adopted mother! We long for justice!18

The captain of the guard of the Sultan was, on one dark night, ordered to slay one of his lord’s enemies. It was a vile task, one more suited to an assassin, as the target was an important administrator of the sultanate and an honourable man. The captain was upright in character and refused, but he was told that his family would die if he failed to complete his murderous task. He had no choice but to obey, but before he journeyed to his victim’s home, he confided all to his beloved wife. He kissed her and left hurriedly.19

The next day the Vizier knocked on the door of the captain’s home. He informed the captain’s wife that her husband had died in the service of the sultan. She looked in his eyes and saw the truth – he had indeed killed the sultan’s target and then was killed himself to remove any evidence. She was horrified and could barely stand on her feet, but then the Vizier added insult to injury by taking two silver coin from his purse and dropping them into her hands.20

We were immediately born from that lowly act – the first thing we saw was the wronged woman’s blue eyes, surrounded by her white silk hijab, lost in indescribable numbness. Yes, we were born and my sister and I knew that our purpose was to find a way to avenge the death of the captain, and the disgusting insult to his wife!21

Ching, ching. Let him touch our tarnished silver bodies! Let us draw him to disaster!22

She threw us into the desert sands, of course. What else could she do? Her life was disrupted, destroyed. We have never blamed her for separating us from her. We knew we had a task to complete.23

Many years passed and we were left in the dirt, undiscovered. But one day, a lowly peasant child found us and presented our good selves to his parents – and within a day we were exchanged for a herd of goats and our long journey began. We visited many cities and lands, riding in the purses of numerous men, and we learned how noble, and how vile, humanity could be. A thousand transactions had taken place and yet we always stayed together. Kismet.24

But greater miracles had taken place. We soon discovered that we could control our bearer – at first, in simple ways, swaying him to choose one action over another, if the choice was difficult; later we could instil ideas, especially in his sleep. As we became more practiced with our new-found talents we found that we could do more, such as cause our bearers to take action contrary to their nature. Never, mind you, with evil intent.25

Ching, ching. Lead him to the precipice! Let him jump!26

It was only a few months ago when we were given a sign that we had to return to Kzar-Runuk. Our bearer met an old, wizened woman who claimed she was a soothsayer. Whether she was or not did not matter, as she was possessed by some powerful, female spirit who wished to speak to us. She said that we must journey to Tzic-vec and complete our quest for justice.27

It was easy to manipulate the man who held us in his purse, and our journey was swift, given the many leagues we had to traverse. And now… well, that is another story.28


My name is Lalitha, a sorceress, and I was, once, the number one concubine of the Sultan of Kzar-Runuk. That was many centuries ago. My mortal remains now lay in an unmarked grave.30

Jingle, jingle. Curse him for his treachery! The dog deserves to suffer!31

I had been number one for seven years and my eyes were always open to his machinations and his contempt for human life. It was helpful that I had the Gift where I could see events, past, present and future, and also far away and near. I was rarely able to control my powers, but it often gave me advantages in life, and saved my skin on more than one occasion. It was a good life; despite him.32

I was in awe of my Gift and trusted my intuition as an extension of it – I still do, even though I am now but a spirit residing inside this gold necklace.33

Jingle, jingle. Gods, allow me the chance to witness suffering in his progeny!34

I remember the day so clearly, as if it was only this morning. My intuition – my Gift – failed me. I knew that he was in a bad mood, that something was bothering him. I also knew that I had been gradually losing favour, much like being aware that a dull ache in my mouth was perhaps more than just a simple tooth ache, but still not doing anything about it. I do not know why, but I did not panic when a pair of the sultan’s eunuch guards entered the harem. I did not see.35

Suddenly, without warning, they grabbed me and dragged me out of the harem. I remember the look of shock in the other girls’ faces. The guards threw me into a palanquin and took me into the desert. We journeyed for hours, and I can remember the slaves huffing and puffing in their arduous task, but eventually they stopped, and I was dragged out. I did not recognise the place I had been taken to, although the rocky outcrops and heavily weathered hills indicated that it was part of the desert near Tzic-vec that was riddled with chasms and ridges – all too easy for someone to get lost in. All too easy to hide a body.36

Before a small hill severely eroded by wind, with the desert sand blowing about me, the bodyguards cut my throat. They hurriedly buried me between the vertical fall of the hill and a column of stone that jutted from the ground into the cliff. One of the guards claimed my gold necklace, but not before I willed my soul into it. At the end of my mortal life, my Gift did not betray me.37

Jingle, jingle. Slay those who carry his blood! Reveal the contempt of a murdered sorceress!38

The guard sold me to a deceitful merchant who made a tidy profit from his exchange, selling me to a nomad chief who wanted to please one of his wives. I was angry and ignored the world around me for several generations, but eventually shifted my awareness to what was happening outside, instead of within. Scores of years had passed me by. I discovered that my Gift was more powerful in this new form than when it was contained within flesh and bone, and that I could, if I wanted to, exert some small influence on those who wore me; my Sight had become powerful indeed, and I was able to spiritually wander the lands and witness the lives of people in all corners of the world. For a while I was distracted, but my need to avenge my murder had no bounds and I often withdrew into my golden home, gnawing at my heart.39

One day, not too long ago, having been handed from mother to daughter for centuries within a noble family line that ruled a city of tents, I stumbled on an idea to exact the revenge I so longed for. Using my Gift, I searched for humans who wanted the same retribution, and surprisingly, instead of beings of flesh, I found an ancient dagger who was given a spirit to destroy the Sultan of Kzar-Runuk, and a pair of old silver coins who were bestowed a similar sentience by the grace of the gods of justice. They had the power to destroy the sultan of the day, and it mattered little what human receptacle was needed to carry them. I used my Gift to contact them, in the best manner available to me, and summoned them to this oasis. The coins controlled the mind of a merchant, who journeyed to the graveyard where the dagger is buried, and on its recovery, had many leagues to travel to this city of tents. All I had to do was wait.40

Jingle, jingle. Waiting, waiting. The three of us must unite! Our needs will be met, combined!41

Today the dagger and the coins were delivered to the young girl who owns me – and she is of noble birth. I asked the coins to erase her mind of memories, so that she can better be controlled; she can show no fear when approaching the Sultan of Kzar-Runuk. I am excited by the prospect of what will come next. She will ride a camel to Tzic-vec by the coins’ compulsion – only two days journey – and all she needs to do is be within sight or smell of the sultan. Then the dagger will fly by itself, cutting through anyone and anything in its way, and exact the revenge and justice we all seek!42

When the girl awakes, she will steal out of her camp and ride to Tzic-vec.43


I am aghast! How can this be? Am I not Scaramouche, the deadliest weapon built by man? Why is my purpose in existence eroding? Is what Lilitha had told me so profound in significance?45


We are fading! Vengeance and Retribution will melt into this desert sand. Is it true what Lilitha has said? And if so, why is it that it defeats our purpose?47


I have done it. I have told them what I have discovered. There is no point in hiding from plain facts.49

Jingle, jingle. Truth is penetrating, permeating… calming.50

The girl awoke in the early hours, only a few minutes from the rising sun. As a final step in my preparation for my plan for her to bear us to Tzic-vec, I opened my Gift, my Sight, to her, to find out more about her, and how best to use her. What I saw made me dizzy, crushing hundreds of years of belief in a single blow! Fate drew the dagger and the coins to me, but Fate played a higher game and drew me to this girl. She is a noblewoman, of strong lineage among the nomadic tribes of Kzar-Runuk, but she also has other blood in her. I saw the different strains as plain as day.51

The girl had the blood of the captain of the guard who was murdered by the Sultan’s men, and she had the rare blue eyes of the captain’s wife – also her ancestor. She had the blood of the sultan’s line and so the vile men who perpetrated all those awful crimes were her ancestors! More importantly, she was a descendent of mine.52

We had created an assassin who was the least likely candidate. Or was she?53


Snick, snick. I am altering; dying. My edge is blunt!55

Should I just cut her down now, before it is too late? No… it does not seem right. And yet, the need to sate my thirst of so many hundreds of years…56

Useless. I can feel my very being fade. Why?…57

Is it because the sultan – my target – is long dead? Is it possible that Cimiar, my maker, and Kul, my patron, never intended me to carry on? Am I that temporary? Was my purpose such a miniscule fraction of what I actually thought I had?58

I feel myself being distended… I wish that I…59


Ching, ching. The gods, we can hear them calling us!61

How can we hurt such an innocent girl? Nay, beyond innocence, because we have removed her past from her memories! Why have the gods played such a cruel trick on us?62

We see her eyes now… just like our mother’s. The injustice, unpaid, sickens us… but wait. Look at her. She has the strength of our mother in her, and the tenacity of the sultan’s line. Is it possible she has been fated for some great deed? Is it possible that justice has been served by reward, instead of penalty?63

Look… the Spirit Realm now beckons, and the path is before us! Perhaps it is time to go, after all.64


Jingle, jingle. The cancer is gone. I am content. Where to from here?66

I am alone with this girl, for my allies have left. And yet I am with my daughter, albeit many times removed. She is wonderful, young, fit and ready for adventure. She has no memory, which is sad, but perhaps it will benefit her, as she has nothing to unlearn.67

And she has my Gift. My Sight.68

She has the dagger, but it is – almost – ordinary. She has two ancient coins, which will feed her for her adventures ahead – for a while. And I think I will stay with her. 69

I may teach her some tricks that I have learned over my very long life.

The Sceptre and the Orb

Where do I begin? This is my first novel, my baby, and I genuinely believe it’s very good. It is epic High Fantasy, all 200k words of it. It is also reasonably uniquely structured and has the right story lines to introduce the world where Evyntyde exists.

As I stated in another blog, the world I write about was not altogether my construction – there were a bunch of roleplay game designers who collaborated on convention modules, and with a great deal of enthusiasm, we did a lot of world building. I was one of the most active, but certainly not the only one. The group eventually went their separate ways in terms of this project, and I continued it pretty much solo for a while, and eventually realised that the world had a lot to offer from a writing point of view. The other designers either formally handed over rights to the world to a smaller subset of designers, and those that remained consented to allowing me to dip into the stuff we collectively built. I should point out that my creative writing effort is mine, and mine alone, and by far the bulk of the world building used to construct the novels (and short stories) are also mine.

For fear of jeapardising my chances of selling the book through a publisher, I will refrain from quoting from my work, at this stage, and for that matter, divulging too much about the story. The following is what I am willing to offer.

The Sceptre and the Orb (‘scepter’ in US English) are two ancient artefacts, one created by a god-emperor, while the other by one of the greatest alchemists of all time, who used god-originating materials to construct it. They were designed to work together. They symbolised the right to rule the Kingdom of Waymoor, as well as the Kingdom of Evyntyde, that came out of a Great Migration from the earlier land. They also are powerful items of magic in the hands of people who know how to wield them (spell casting alchemists), and who have the Gift.

The novel is set in two places and timeframes, and appear to be two different stories, although each have spell casting alchemists of the Cimiaric Order, and the two artefacts play an important part in the conduct of events. The earlier thread takes place in the Kingdom of Waymoor, about 550 years prior to the events in the Kingdom of Evyntyde. The lives of three alchemists are followed, each having challenges in their lives, but also being entangled in the fate of the Waymoorian Sceptre and Orb.

Civil War, treason, jealousy – great events take place and near the conclusion of the novel all threads join together and add meaning to each other.

The story is truly epic, and I am proud to have written it.

My Novels – Completed & Planned

Hmm, can’t give too much away, but I would like to talk about my writing efforts, particularly in the medium that I enjoy the most.

The core of my writing at the moment, and certainly over the last few years, has been The Chronicles of Evyntyde. Stories set in the world where that island kingdom exists. It is so unique and expansive, and there has been so much work put into it, that it just oozes plot lines and characters. I suspect I will be writing Evyntyde short stories and novels until the day I die.  Having said this, I am not limited to this series, and I have just made a strategic decision where I am placing all of my major writing effort into a YA novel (see below).

The Sceptre and the Orb

This novel (200k) is my first, and it is done and dusted, in terms of readiness to be picked up by an agent and/or publisher. It has been polished so much I can see my face reflected in it, and I figure any further changes would be as a result of professional editing assistance. I will post another log on this work, as it deserves its own discussion.

Crystal Peak

Before I finished the final polish of The Sceptre and the Orb, I planned and then began drafting Crystal Peak. This work is about two-thirds complete (120k written, and it will probably resolve to about 160k). This is a fun story to write, although my day job has caused a major slow-down in production. I enjoy having characters from my first novel play roles in this story, but also introducing new ones, and in particular a female astrologer who is one of the main characters. All good.

Guardians of the Sky Realms

This novel has an interesting history. I wrote a short story, inspired by a painting (via a writers’ challenge), called The painting. It is one of my best stories and I wrote it deliberately for the younger set – to be specific, females aged 13 to 18 (although not inclusive). As soon as I wrote it I knew it had immense possibilities, and about a month later I plotted out an outline for a YA (or perhaps slightly younger age group) novel, and I also wrote the next chapter. I deliberately left it in hibernation, as I really wanted to progress Crystal Peak, and so it was left uncooked for quite some time.

Two things caused me to rearrange my priorities.  Firstly, Text Publishing (a small Press here in Melbourne) announced the winner of it’s second annual YA novel award – the prize was getting the novel published the next year and $10,000 advance on royalties – which seemed a really good target for my YA effort for next year’s awards – so I have until about July next year to get it written. The second reason why Guardians could be given higher priority was the simple fact that I have come to the conclusion that it is simply a more marketable work while I am still unpublished and have zero street cred. So, I have decided to swap the priorities between Crystal Peak and Guardians of the Sky Realms, and make a BIG push to getting the YA novel completed as soon as possible.

This is a wonderful baby for me – it just reeks of being a publishable, marketable work, and possibly even more. My decision to emphasize my YA novel is the right one.

Other Works

It is always dangerous to forecast far into the future, and to describe things that are, by their nature, subject to change. So dear reader, take this with a grain of salt, and forgive me for being deliberately general, as I don’t want to give away trade secrets ;-).

I have a third Evyntyde Book in mind, whose working title is The Crimson Pirate. Evyntyde is a seafaring nation and an enjoyable part of Crystal Peak is the sea based chapters (of which there are many). I thought it would be very enjoyable indeed to have a novel largely devoted to the topic.

Ah, my secret project. When I was in my late teens I was a passenger on a long country drive in inland New South Wales, Australia, and I saw a bleak landscape and an idea sprung in my mind. A pretty much complete storyline entered my head in the space of about ten minutes. Periodically, I thought about the story, and then forgot it (hibernation again), and about two years ago it made it’s timely return, and I started to put pen to paper. I genuinely believe it is a very good story, and I consider it a jewel that I need to work on in the next few years. What makes it interesting for me, aside from it’s conception, is that it isn’t a fantasy, YA, or even conventional Scifi. My best description would be to say it is a Michael Crichton style novel, set primarily in Australia and Antarctica. It’s working title is Bitter Springs.  This is likely to be the final title.

I have other ideas, but they are not worthy of mention at this stage. I am a contented soul when it comes to creativity, as I have about a couple of years’ worth of work lined up, if I was a full time writer.

As an aside, I am putting together an Evyntyde Short Story Anthology, which, I suppose, can be considered a large piece of work, rather than short stories, per se.