So I've been editing The Vampire of Rome, and I'm wondering about the ending. Should I have everything wrap up all happy, or at least as happy as one can get while fighting the forces of evil? Or should I end it with another cliff hanger? I'm not sure, which way makes for a better story. Of course, I could go full- George RR Martin and kill everything. Options abound and I have to admit, I'm still conflicted.
How about a nice book trailer while I think about this?
I'll work it out, and you'll be able to read The Vampire of Rome on/about the 15th of October. I should be setting up a pre-order option on Smashwords shortly, as well as on Amazon. I'll be sure to tweet and FB about it once that is all set up.
Speaking of monsters both internal and external, let me introduce you to Phillip Stevens and his latest Novella Reality Seed. Take it away Phillip -
With the discovery of alternate dimensions, a new perspective of the universe has allowed incredible technological innovation and amazing philosophical advances. But a monster is lurking within the human psyche, threatening consciousness itself, and the future of everything will hinge on a soldier lost in reality, a woman fighting for love, and an expedition trying to survive at the edges of the universe. Reality Seed: Where the truth lies.
The Closed Gate
She walked into a large oval room with smooth metal walls and a curved ceiling. Crates of various sizes were piled neatly around the sides, and a wide, black metal case, almost a metre long with a flashing lock-mechanism in its side, hung from the ceiling to the left of her. Then her eyes fastened on an object at the centre of the room — a steel sarcophagus encrusted with circuits and extruding cables, with an opaque glass screen in its front. A nano-tank. Two marines were busy disconnecting the various cables coupling the tank to the Vector, when a third entered, saluting Keeves. “The sled is prepped, Sergeant.” His voice was a coarse drone through his helmet comm. “I can route power when the tank is in position.”
“Why isn’t it already?” Keeves said, spinning to confront the two men still disconnecting the last of the N-tank. “The enemy is at the gate, you dogs! Hurry the fuck up!”
They lifted the tank from its berth with mechanically enhanced arms, and hauled it onto the pad at the room’s centre. Arelis admired the tank’s intricate controls and sleek curves. The activation grid was right in front of her. A simple procedure and Avril Sonota would be on the irreversible path to consciousness, but if Arelis did nothing… what would happen then?
A low moan sounded as the stern wall of the cargo module folded apart to reveal a long silver tunnel stretching off along the length of the Vector. “Get away from that tank, Exo-Tech,” Keeves snapped, startling her. “I presume you’d rather not be crushed.”
Panels in the floor slid aside and a flat cargo-sled ascended on a pulse of hoptocrons. It rotated ninety degrees until it was facing the tunnel. “Get both items loaded!” Keeves barked. “I want them secure and ready for transport in twenty segs!”
“Who’s in there?” Arelis asked, keeping her voice as neutral as possible.
“I have no idea,” Keeves said, as a pair of heavy mechanical arms descended from the ceiling, gripping the N-tank and hauling it up onto the sled.
A marine lowered the black metal case from the ceiling and clamped it to the back, next to the tank, then climbed aboard with the other two. Keeves pointed at a seat, his eyes narrow. “Sit, Exo-Tech.”
Arelis climbed up alongside the three marines and rested the back of her head against the hard metal of the nano-tank. Where it went, Lexi Sonota would follow, bringing a terrible vengeance with her. Arelis shivered. Thinking about it made her uncomfortable, like Lexi was there, watching her, examining her.
“Power’s fluctuating,” Keeves said, reaching past Arelis to manipulate the control panel. “The level’s good, all the diagrams check out.” He glanced at something over her shoulder and his eyes grew wide. “It’s here!”
The marines opened fire as one. Arelis felt the flash of heat, saw plasma burn white trails across her vision, and ducked down in her seat, covering her head with her arms. After several segs, the firing stopped, and she leaned forward to see around the bulk of the N-tank. The metal floor of the hold was glowing red beneath flickering puddles of residual plasma, and within the flames a charred form lay curled up on the floor. Then Arelis saw a darkness growing in the fire — specks of black that blossomed like inkblots on paper.
“Start the sled!” Keeves shouted, slamming his visor down.
A great surge of darkness broke over the flames, dousing them and hitting Keeves head on. The marine Sergeant barely kept his balance as it poured over him, wrenching the weapon from his hand with snaking tendrils of black. Keeves roar of rage gurgled to an end as the substance slid through the ventilator in his visor and into his suit. He fell to the ground with a crash, his body shaking as darkness advanced over his helmet and down his chest. It rippled gently, Keeves’ body tensed, then lay still. Arelis gripped the sled with her hands, trying to focus on the cool metal — the solid, logical reality amongst all this — but she couldn’t avoid the sight before her.
A blackened skeletal figure stood at the centre of the room, wreathed in smoke and dripping molten flesh onto the sizzling metal at its feet. It was nothing more than bone and roasting muscle, white teeth and empty eyes, but she knew it had once been Slev.
Lights flashed on along the length of the tunnel, and Arelis felt the sled rise on a swell of hoptocrons. The marines resumed firing on the Hive, but the darkness was soaking up the plasma while slithering forms raced out from Slev’s feet, gliding across the floor like the serpents she’d seen recorded in the historical index.
The sled seemed to move in slow motion as a snake of darkness reached them, writhing up a marine’s leg and encircling his body. A squawk of pain sounded over his helmet comm as the darkness constricted, crushing the armour plate like it was aluminium foil and compressing the man’s body into a grotesque shape. The marine nearest to her got to his feet, only to be pierced through the chest by a blade of pure darkness, and then Slev was next to Arelis, grasping her forearm tightly with blistering fingers as it climbed onto the accelerating sled. The last marine hesitated, and a loop of ebony streaked from beneath the sled, encircled his neck and violently yanked him from his seat, where he careened off the wall and disappeared behind them in a shower of sparks.
Arelis felt sick, and looking at Slev made the feeling worse. His ribs were shining yellow through the cooked flesh of his torso, and his face was a bloody mess, with lips burned away to reveal a cadaverous grin. Black threads were leaking from his eye sockets and weaving over his frail body, connecting and strengthening the scorched muscle and bone. “You should be dead,” she said, her voice sounding distant to her own ears.
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Reality Seed Q & A
Main Character's motivations
Reality Seed is a trilogy of novellas with three primary characters, so there are varied motivations, but they do share a desire for truth and a need to find something that’s been lost. Skedic Vom, the protagonist of ‘Glyphein’, is seeking forgotten memories, specifically those concerning a family he no longer remembers. In ‘The Closed Gate’, Lexi Sonota searches for the answer to a mystery at the edge of the solar system while her sick wife lies dying back on Earth. And in ‘Infinitesimus’, Arelis Flim is thrown into a situation which demands she find a solution to a seemingly unstoppable evil. Basically they’re all clinging to life and sanity in an impermanent world. Yeah, just like you and me.
What is MC's secret strengths/ weaknesses
Skedic is a strong, capable fighter who has lost everything but won’t give up, and this stubborn streak could save or damn him. Lexi is a highly trained cyborg with a keen mind and a strong sense of duty, but her love for her wife could compromise everything. Arelis is clever and resourceful, but, as a noncombatant, she is ill prepared for the horrifying events in her future and will need a little help.
Any philosophical issues in this story? If so how do you address them, how does MC live and over come them?
The main philosophical drive of the story involves the concept of reality — an ultimately real and solid plane we can stand upon and know to be true. I think it’s natural to build a narrative as we grow older so as to make the world intelligible and provide purpose, whether it’s religion, philosophy, or some artistic or poetic interpretation. There is a difference, however, between the universe we are perceiving and the definitions which we use to understand it. In Reality Seed, I’ve presented these different perspectives with a multidimensional universe that exists within the mind, meaning that the world acts differently according to the individuals understanding of it. If this sounds heavy, be assured I’ve veiled these deep concepts in violence and adventure!
Any offbeat obscure or 80s references?
When did you start to write this one and why?
I graduated with a BA in English Philosophy and decided I should do something a bit serious. I had an idea for a SciFi story set in the blasted remains of Africa, so I began ‘Glyphein’ as a serial and released it on a web magazine. By the time I’d finished it, I realized it was connected to my main project, ‘Captain Wizzlebeaks’, so I wrote a sequel, ‘The Closed Gate’, and published them both independently on eBook while I finished the final part. ‘Infinitesimus’ was a nightmare to write. It took me over two years to finish, but I think it ties the trilogy together well.
What's next in this series or in your next book?
The Reality Seed Compendium is a prequel to my next series, ‘Captain Wizzlebeaks’. I’ve been working on Wizzlebeaks for ten years and have completed three drafts. The next one will be the last.
Preview of your next book?
My next series, ‘Captain Wizzlebeaks’, continues the ‘Reality Seed’ story centuries later. The last survivors of a distant reality are travelling through the dimensions aboard their ship, the TCS Crow, as they search for an end to the Hive — a parasitic evil that brings damnation to all it touches. Julius Wizzlebeaks, Captain of the Crow, has other priorities, however. His wife and children were killed when the Hive destroyed his world, and now he seeks for them in other dimensions, other realities, all the while knowing that, according to the Laws of Dimensional Relativity, they cannot exist. With the fate of all realities at stake, Wizzlebeaks must wager the future of everything against the losses of his past. Fortunately, he’ll have help…
When will it be available?
Reality Seed is available now on paperback and eBook. Captain Wizzlebeaks will be a year or so, so no date as of yet.
A year? Heck by then I should have number 5 of the Inquisitor Series done, or typed up, or maybe just a rough outline....SIGH
In any event Phillip's books are out and you should buy them, not only for yourself, but your friends and family.
Speaking of books you can use to turn enemies into friends and you should buy to had out on street corners to the less fortunate, how about checking out The Inquisitor Series
Junior Inquisitor Book One
Amazon - http://goo.gl/D6KrbX
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8
Soulless Monk Book Two
Smashwords - https://goo.gl/NXw3Gr
Amazon - http://goo.gl/p9fBn0
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/5lCyaX
The Witch’s Lair Book Three
Amazon - http://goo.gl/ZRO6Jw
Smashwords - https://goo.gl/MokJnC
Inquisitor Series - http://goo.gl/mJtTf8
The Vampire of Rome Book Four
|Coming in October|
When Chased by a Werewolf