April Sharing

Hi everyone!

Recently, I watched a Zoom talk by the Greenwich Royal Observatory about stars and black holes. The speakers were incredibly knowledgable about their subject areas and, at the same time, were able to make the content accessible to those of us whose understanding of astrophysics sits more at the soft end of the Mohs scale!

As is always the case when I learn a little bit about a new subject, I’m immediately convinced that it’s my passion and am filled with a desire to learn more about it. Often, by the time I make the effort to start learning, something else has snagged my attention. Those first steps are always the hardest.

Luckily, the Observatory have people like me covered! They’re currently publishing a series of easily digestible introductions to astrophysics for laypeople. These were an instant order for me and I would highly recommend them. Like the lecturers in the talk, the books are knowledgeable while being accessible.

What I’m Writing

I’m still plugging away on the sequel to Extinction Horizon. I’d say I’m halfway there. At the same time, I’ve also written a couple of short stories and have started to plot my next book.

What I’m Reading

I’ve gone back to an old favourite of mine recently. Re-reading Eisenhorn gave me the weird sci-fi bug again, so I pulled up Kameron Hurley’s Apocalypse Nyx on my Kindle, a novella collection set in the author’s Bel Dame Apocrypha universe.

If you haven’t read them, the Bel Dame Apocrypha tell the tale of Nyxnissa so Dasheem, a badass bounty hunter, and her rag-tag bunch of bickering misfits, collecting heads (literally) across a bug-fuelled, bio punk future.

Nyx is a brilliantly flawed protagonist and the setting is inventively outlandish whilst being familiar enough to relate to. Revisiting the novella collection is making me want to return to the full trilogy!

Bel Dame Apocrypha

Temple of Dogs is on Amazon

Hi everyone!

I’ve self-published a short story, Temple of Dogs, on Amazon.

Temple of Dogs is a fantasy short that I wrote to explore a setting for possible future novels. It’s the adventure of Avi, a Hound for the powerful Temple, searching for the cause of a series of mishaps in a small village.

I’m very fond of this story, as were my beta readers, but I haven’t been able to find a home for it through traditional publishers.

I didn’t want Avi’s tale to end up at the bottom of my metaphorical manuscript drawer so decided to let it out into the world. By all accounts, short stories don’t sell well on Amazon, but I’d rather Temple of Dogs had a chance of reaching an audience and, for better or worse, Kindle is the largest audience out there.

If you’re interested, please follow this link to check it out and, if you like it, leave a review.

Take care all!

Code Words

Hi all!

In my post last week, I mentioned my fondness for crossword and code word puzzles. One of the best parts is the resulting jumble of words you’re left with. My partner takes great pleasure in making up little nonsense stories using these, and I’ve started to write them down. I will occasionally share them here.

Please don’t expect any kind of coherent structure or sensible world or character building in these. I write them in a rush with the aim of hitting each word in sequence. I hope you find them as ridiculous as I do!

Gene Strike Problem

James James grabbed the last piece of his morning leavened bread and took a final heroic bite before hopping into the shower. He grabbed his premium shower gel, “Execute Lie,” and soaped up the loofah. Still feeling tipsy, he scrubbed hard to wash off the fragrant lager ooze until the smell no longer made him queasy. Satisfied, he shut off the shower and replaced the bath bung before stepping out to dry himself.

Back in the kitchen, James glanced at his phone. The message icon flashed on the screen. He picked it up.

Damage wreaked. Scale limited.

James sighed. “Cleanup in aisle five.”

***

He pulled up outside Duel, one of his employer’s numerous junk discos throughout the town.

The place was a mess of outgrown decor. Lugs protruded through crumbling walls, brass braziers dripped with dew. James passed through into the galley kitchen. It was in much the same state.

“This place needs more manpower,” he said to himself.

James started to align the mess. Then, he slowed. There was someone behind him.

“Oblige me a moment,” said a mystery voice.

There was a blur of movement, a figure vaulting over James. They landed with exact precision and ran out of the kitchen, carrying something in their arms.

“The Baddies Guild,” murmured James.

He followed the figure, out of the disco and into the street. They rounded a corner. James followed.

Something struck his chest.

Oh no, he thought. They’ve hit me with a gene strike problem.

The problem wormed its way beneath his flesh, where it meted out brutally good vibrations. His skin started to unwrap. His bone turned to quartz, his skin melting off them into a bloody red lake. Now a skeleton, James James collapsed onto a nearby divan.

James woke, revenge on his mind. He stood, a shining skeleton smudged with ripe soil. He started off in the direction the Baddie had been going.

Shortly, he found an adult man.

“Hey,” he cried. “It’s time for the showdown.”

“Yes it is,” said the man, in a West Country accent. He turned.

It was James James’s godson.

With a twirl, he left.

***

Spring Cleaning

Hi everyone!

I hope this post finds you well. I’ve certainly had more of a spring in my step now that the winter months are well and truly behind us here in the northern hemisphere. So much so that I’ve decided to finally do something with my poor old blog and share a little bit about what’s happening in my world.

What I’ve Been Writing

I am currently working on the sequel to my book Extinction Horizon, out now from Severed Press. It continues the story of the first book while also exploring the world a little more. I like to think of the first book as a swift punch to the face of dinosaurs and action. This second one is looking more like a brutal grapple to the matt of a book. With dinosaurs and action, of course.

I have also been playing around with a new form of writing exercise, which I’m calling Crossword Stories. As you will all know, there are lots of short form exercises to challenge and improve your writing. A particularly fun one is the Drabble. Jake Bible, one of Severed Press’s other authors, produces a weekly 100 word Drabble that I would recommend you check out.

To take a break from writing or my real-world job, I like puzzles, particularly crosswords and code word puzzles. One of the reasons I like them is that you end up with a jumble of unrelated words at the end, all neatly lined up in vertical and horizontal lines. I find it a lot of fun to see what stories jump out of those jumbles and, recently, have started writing them down. I will start sharing the resulting nonsense on this blog, at least until people start pleading with me to stop.

What I’ve Been Reading

This month, I’ve read the Cade Korbin Chronicles by Jasper T. Scott. Cade Korbin is a former Paladin, a special forces assassin for the Coalition. Burned by his former masters, he makes a living across worlds as an assassin for hire. The series reminds me of an unpublished novel I have lying around somewhere, about a space princess-turned-bounty hunter, that I’m seriously considering dusting off.

Jaspar’s books are fun cyberpunk thrillers with an engaging perspective character. If you liked Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs books, I would highly recommend the Cade Korbin Chronicles.

I have also been rereading the Eisenhorn series from Dan Abnett, part of Games Workshop’s Black Library imprint. Games Workshop’s Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 settings were huge influences on me when I was a child; nowadays, I get less chance to play tabletop games – even before COVID-19 – but I do like to live the universes vicariously through their novels.

Eisenhorn, for those not aware, is an Inquisitor, a special agent granted broad licence by the tyrannical Imperium of Man to investigate and put down internal threats from aliens, heretics to the state religion and, worse of all, monstrous daemons from beyond reality. The setting is vast and has a deep canon, and I believe Abnett’s books are some of the best things to come out of it.

What’s Next

My focus for the foreseeable future is going to be on the second Extinction Horizon book. I’m hoping to have the first draft completed by the end of April. Please do let me know through the comments here, or on Twitter at @ripley_c or Facebook pages, if there’s anything from the first book that you’d like to know more (or less) about. I can’t promise it will be included in the book, but I’m always happy to hear what readers what to read. After all, they are why I write!

Thanks all!

Extinction Horizon is out now!

Extinction Horizon, my Predator/Jurassic Park in space mashup, has been released by those fine folk at Severed Press.

Space: the new frontier. A place where voracious mega-corporations can conduct unethical experiments away from Earth’s prying eyes. In this unregulated atmosphere, espionage, sabotage and all-out war between corporations is rife. Corporate security services rival national militaries in size, armament and ruthlessness.

When former Marine Mike Cordero and his crack team of hardcore badasses are sent by their employer to investigate a distress call from onboard a research orbital, they are expecting a fight. After all, fighting is what they are paid for.

What they aren’t expecting – what no-one could ever have expected – are the prehistoric nightmares that wait for them in the darkness of space.

Please check it out on Amazon!

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