Saturday, March 31, 2012

An Aversion to Sequels

47,500 words and counting, that's how far I've got with writing and editing the sequel to Divide by Zero. My main character's finally told me how the story ends, so now I've just got to set all the pieces in place and avoid that insidious urge to race too fast to the finish line.

When the author of Fezariu's Epiphany told me the title to his guest post today it sounded just perfect. He doesn't like sequels and I'm writing one. I'm also reading, of course, and have just finished reading his unsequeled novel, Fezariu's Epiphany. He's created a huge and fascinating world, filled with social and geographic history, great characters, curious nations and much much more. But perhaps I should let him tell you about it.

Click here for my review of Fezariu's Epiphany, and read on to learn of author David M. Brown's aversion to sequels. Thank you David for visiting my blog.

An Aversion to Sequels
When I published Fezariu’s Epiphany back in May 2011, I sometimes found interview questions wanted to explore the possibility of a sequel. I can say for certain that you will never find me writing a follow-up about another epiphany Fezariu has. The Elencheran Chronicles are intended as a series of self-contained novels, a visit for the reader to a different period of history, and a brief amount of time spent in the company of some of the characters. The timeline currently stretches to 47,000 years and may go further when I revisit the world history at some point, so readers are not short of literary destinations for their summer holidays.
So, am I saying that sequels are completely taboo? My next novel, A World Apart, will not have a follow-up. It’s a long novel but by the end there have been enough resolutions to say the story is well and truly over, there isn’t a need for any more from the three main characters – Demetrius, Eleyna and Halcyon. That said the idea of writing a series of novels about the same characters is not one I can readily dismiss, the history of Elenchera simply won’t allow it!

Looking through the history I find I have many ideas waiting to be written and it becomes more difficult trying to decide which one will be the third book in the Elencheran Chronicles. Some events in the history are so action-packed and stretch across a vast range of years that one novel may not be enough to contain them all. I think inevitably sequels will be necessary, perhaps a trilogy, but no more than that, I simply can’t commit to that many books.

When I first started writing about the world of Elenchera I knew that I wouldn’t and couldn’t write a series like Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time or Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth. I never got into Jordan’s work despite completing the first Wheel of Time book but I read every one of Richard and Kahlan’s adventures in The Sword of Truth series. Goodkind did very well to sustain those characters through one long and continuous narrative but I did find the later instalments inferior to the earlier books. I didn’t want to go down that same path. I love my characters but the thought of spending half a dozen books with them is not an appealing one. I would strangle them before their stories were finished!  

This is one of the reasons I am drawn towards Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. They’re always in the same world but they are self-contained novels and feature a wide range of characters, always plenty of variety. Although regulars like Rincewind, Death and the Guards of Ankh Morpork would request that you read their books in order I don’t always think it’s essential. Elenchera will be just the same. If you saw a pile of books about Elenchera you could pick any of them up and not be missing anything. 

When I come to write those longer novels I will have to commit to a maximum of three books to tell the story but no more than that. I’d rather have just one novel to tell a story but some are such long narratives I fear they could stretch to 2,000 pages which is an epic book for any reader, it would even put War and Peace to shame. I’ve seen many people roll their eyes at the mention of Tolstoy. I don’t want that to happen to me! 

My aversion to sequels means that some much-loved characters may only get a brief time in the spotlight but although that saddens me to a degree I think it’s also a mark of great characters if readers can get attached to them after knowing them for only a short time. The more I focus on self-contained novels, the more of Elenchera I can show you. There is a lot that goes on in those 47,000 years, certainly more than I can tell you in a lifetime but I will endeavour to whisper as many secrets as I can. Just remember that if a novel of mine does not end on a cliff hanger then the chances are you won’t be getting a follow-up.

Thank you for visiting today David, and, having read the book, I can certainly agree that Elenchera is an amazingly detailed world worthy of many more novels, and Fezariu's Epiphany is a wonderful introduction to its peoples, history and places.

More Information

Title: Fezariu’s Epiphany
Author: David M. Brown
Genre: Epic Fantasy

12-year-old Fezariu thought his mother died when he was little, but when his beloved stepfather dies the boy discovers she is alive and well - and working at the most famous brothel in all of Elenchera. When she cruelly rejects him it's more than he can bear, and he runs away to join a band of ruthless soldiers for hire. The Merelax Mercenaries will fight for anyone who can pay them, no matter the justice of the cause.

Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn't buy... and maybe it's time Fezariu took his revenge.
Author Bio
David Brown could be considered a fantasy fanatic, especially since he has spent the last 10 years developing a 47,000-year history for his fictional world of Elenchera. When converting his obsession into literary form, David commits himself to a rigorous writing and editing process before his work can meet his approval. Combined with the critical eye of his wife and a BA Honors in History and English, David's dedication leads him to his goal of inspiring readers through heartfelt stories and characters.
Although David is inspired primarily by fantasy fiction, he also finds his muse in the form of anime, world cinema, history, and biographies. His own books, Fezariu's Epiphany and the in-progress A World Apart, combine aspects from worlds both old and new into compelling tales of a world not soon forgotten., David himself certainly does not lack a spirit of adventure; in fact, he left his job in 2007 in order to spend a month traveling. Second only to meeting and marrying his wife, David counts this as one of the most amazing experiences of his life.

Important Links
The Elencheran Chronicles
The World According to Dave

Friday, March 30, 2012

One of my favorite books of the year so far, free on kindle

Just for Saturday, free on kindle, James Conroy's Literally Dead. Click here for my review of Literally Dead, and hurry over to Amazon to get your copy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Paper and Words

I cancelled the newspaper a few days ago. Yes, I know--as a writer I really ought to support my fellow writers. But the cost kept going up and up and I'd rather read a book.

Two days later we had a phone call from the newspaper distributors. For half the price we could reinstate our order. Two months later the fees would start to climb. And eventually they'd be less than they were when we stopped. Really? Not only that, but if we didn't like the new price, we could always phone and get it reduced again.

I guess the moral of the tale is remember to complain. And the impetus to my writing it here is I've read four books in the last four days, all of which were printed on paper. It was kind of nice, relaxing and comfortable, and I didn't have to worry what would happen if I dropped the book 'cause paperbacks don't break.

So, if you want some fictionpaper reviews, grab a coffee and read on...

Isaac, by Ivan G. Goldman, comes out in April from the Permanent Press and is a modern fable of good and evil, love and loss, God and the devil, Job's patience and Isaac's redemption, and much much more. Literary allusions abound side by side with the Biblical, and modern academia deconstructs Frankenstein while Isaac reconstructs his history. Enjoy this complex fiction with a 5-star bold dark coffee and explore forgiveness, freewill and Hollywood while you drink.

Zetta Elliott's Ship of Souls is written for younger readers and combines the present with a somewhat less distant past as three Brooklyn teens--the nerd, the Muslim jock, and the gorgeous geeky girl--break their stereotypes and find mystical adventure among ghosts of the Revolution and African slaves. The mix of wholly believable modern-day school and mystical history is kind of intriguing. Enjoy with a 5-star intense cup of coffee, or let the kids choose their own drink.

January's Thaw, by J. Conrad Guest, mixes recent history with the future as a time-travelling 1940s PI finds himself trapped in 2047. Combining H.G. Wells-ian  analysis of future history and society's fall with a dawning recognition of love and lust, January's Thaw makes a fascinating addition to the January Tales. Enjoy its twists and turns with a complex 4-star cup of coffee.

Last but not least is Connie Dial's Fallen Angels, an LA detective story with a female protagonist balancing work's demands, loyalties to family and friends, and concerns for her grown-up son who'd rather play piano than go to college. A starlet dies and Captain Josie Corsino's husband walks out. But there are many more betrayals, large and small, and the protagonist's honest search for truth will reveal truths about herself as well as everyone else. This one (another April release from the Permanent Press) deserves a 4-star complex coffee too, with intriguing mystery, great characters and a solid bedrock of rules and law.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Not quite paradise

I'm delighted to feature Aubrie Dionne on my blog again today. Author of Paradise 21 and the new book Tundra 37, Aubrie has imagined a fascinating future earth, and colonists who venture on centuries' long journeys to distant stars. The following is the prologue from Tundra 37, where the fascinating beings who pilot the spaceship Expedition to Paradise 18 are introduced.

The Seers

I’m losing her.

Abysme guides the vessel in silence, her blind eyes rolling as she senses our course, two hundred years away from Paradise 18. She’s scattered her thoughts among the stars, and her mind drifts farther from the sister I once knew. I fear the machine has engulfed her individuality. She’s forgotten the meaning of our goal, the oath we took three centuries ago. Most of all, she’s forgotten me, creating an emptiness inside me more profound than the desolation surrounding us.

If I had my arms, I’d reach out to comfort her and usher her back from the black abyss spread before us. As children, I kept her alive through the destruction, signing us up for the Expedition and winning two tickets off Old Earth before it succumbed to hell. But can I save her now?

I send impulses through my brainwaves and into the ship. Bysme, do you hear me? 

Unlike her, I have one operating eye and can see the control chamber we hang from. Twisting my head, I search her features. Her skeletal face twitches. She writhes and the wires holding her in place stretch taut. I wonder what I’ve done to us, the shock of our disembodiment jolting me. Every input hole drilled into my skull snakes with activity. The ship surges through me, a vast intranet of information, names, status charts, and infinite trajectories. If I couldn’t feel the cold, regulated air on the remnants of my torso, I’d be lost in the machine too. I remind myself of our mission and the perseverance flows into my veins.

She doesn’t respond and the fear wells up from within me. Can I guide the ship alone? I realize I’ve left her at the helm for too long while I drifted into memories.

Status of Beta Prime? Bysme speaks in monotone computer speech as she turns to the corner of the main control deck where the orb glistens, tempting us with the mysteries hidden in the cosmic swirls within its core. Sometimes, I wish we’d blasted the ball off the hull after its tendrils attached to the outer frame instead of recovering it for study. We’ve guarded it for so long, Project Beta Prime has become part of us, yet we’re further than ever from unlocking its secrets. All I know is the insistence of my memories, like ghosts that refused to be ignored.

Unchanged. The weight of my voice in our mindspeak reflects my disappointment. Like everything else.
Bysme falls silent, and I scan the systems searching for answers that aren’t there.


But how is the gene-pool of these colonists kept vibrant and strong over hundreds of years of interstellar travel? Meet Genne, the Matchmaker.

Chapter One
The Expedition 2751

Names trailed in pairs along the wallscreen as the next batch of destinies unfolded. Gemme pulled her hair into a ponytail and sipped her synthetic coffee, reviewing the computer’s choices. Beside her, a constellation of stars glittered on the sight panel. She studied the spherical pattern, content to watch the world float by from the safety of the Expedition’s computer analytics wing.

She’d live and die on the decks of the aging transport ship. The certainty of her fate comforted her from the black void pressing in. Consistency gave her solace, and in her life regularity reigned. She lived through her work, finding life in numbers.

After another long sip, she gazed up at the screen and read the first pair of names.

Aaron Tixton and Cassandra Smith.

She accessed their profiles with the tip of her finger on her keypad. Both Lifers tested well in energy maintenance and ship repairs. Their personalities were type ISTP and type ENFJ, and their family trees didn’t intersect until third cousins in the first generation, providing a promising match. Neither showed any manifestation of the rare hypergene they’d searched for since they left Earth, but no one she’d ever matched had. There were no guarantees the Seers would last until the ship reached Paradise 18. Suppressing a moment of worry, she scratched her chin, then typed an affirmation on the touchscreen.

Ray Ellis and Melissa Stewart. Although they were three years apart, Ray being the senior, their genes were optimally compatible. With resistance to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease, they would produce durable children. The touchscreen flashed as her finger pressed enter.

Molly Fritz and—

The portal beeped, interrupting her work. Who would visit so early on the first morning shift? She’d dragged herself out of her sleep pod for a reason. The Seers expected the next report by fourteen hundred, and she didn’t have time for unplanned meetings.

Gemme sighed and clicked off the screen. 

If you want to know more, you'll have to read the book. Suffice it to say, spaceships and love are both subject to changes of course.

Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her writings have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Hazard Cat, Moon Drenched Fables, A Fly in Amber,
and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Entangled Publishing, Lyrical Press, SynergEbooks, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Aubrie teaches flute at Plymouth State University and the Manchester Community Music School. Please visit her website:

Book Trailer:
Twitter: @authoraubrie
Aubrie’s Blog:
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