Character Spotlight: The Assassin

Juni Lien was supposed to be a woman, not a killing machine. But perhaps for the daughter of three assassins, there was never anything else in the cards.

Juni is second-in-command of the Star Wraith, but sitting in one place is not something she’s used to, and the sense of confinement is growing when we meet her again nearly a year on from books 1 and 2. Working in a team, coming to terms with the fact that she’s in possession of feelings, having to confront herself as a person rather than drifting through life as a weapon…it may be too much. Perhaps she made a mistake in not pulling the trigger when she had Archer in her sights.

For the rest of the team, Juni is an unknown entity – a predator carefully placed among her prey, yet choosing instead to fight alongside them. She could be a valuable and fearsome ally…if she can be trusted.

The assassin will slip out of the shadows soon, in Fear of the Dark…


Arianne has done all of the art for my books since book 3, and you can find more of her work here: arianneelliott.artstation.com

Character Spotlight: The Freelancer

One of the two main characters of the NEXUS series, I technically haven’t written a book about him for 10 years! Travis Archer is a freelance bounty hunter with just a little obsession with the idea of being a space cowboy.

Archer is half human and half Necurian, an ancient race with psionic abilities. Although Archer can use these abilities, his lacking knowledge of how to do so safely may have caused some problems, just beginning to manifest when we meet him again, a year after the events of books 1 and 2.

He is the de facto captain of the Star Wraith, having uncovered the ship’s ugly truth almost a year earlier. Plagued by nightmares about the things he has been a part of since then, he knows that it isn’t a position he deserves.

The freelancer will drift into town soon, in Fear of the Dark…


Arianne has done all of the art for my books since book 3, and you can find more of her work here: arianneelliott.artstation.com

FEAR OF THE DARK

Coming later this summer (release date to (probably) come with the cover reveal), book 6 of the NEXUS series is again a mostly standalone one, but finally sees the return of the Star Wraith and its crew. As such, knowing the events of books 1 and 2 will be beneficial but not necessary.

For now, I can say that the title, in keeping with the Something of the Something convention corner I’ve painted myself into, is…unnecessary dramatic pause despite the all-caps title already having given it away…Fear of the Dark.

That’s it. That’s the update.

Also, because procrastination is at least two thirds of writing, I made another ‘soundtrack’ for the book.

Also, keep an eye out this weekend for artwork of protagonists Archer and Juni! They were done by Arianne Elliott again, who did the covers of books 3-5, as is the upcoming cover. Here are some reminders, because I’ve run out of things to say.

Obligatory Update

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a useless blog-writer must still update their blog at least once every year. As it is approaching the one-year anniversary of Church of the Assassin releasing (already), and I’ve written nothing here since…here is that update.

Ahem. Let’s see… What’s in the news… Well, never mind.

Although this was never supposed to be any kind of review blog, I have babbled about films and even games here and there, and yet I haven’t even returned to talk about the dreaded/fawned-over Snyder Cut. I do have a half-finished review of it written, but I couldn’t be bothered to finish. The gist is that I grudgingly like it a lot more than Whedon’s nonsense, but it’s still terrible.

More importantly, I am currently just over 90,000 words into my next book, which will see the return of Archer and Juni, the two who are supposed to be the overall main protagonists of my series, and yet haven’t been seen for 9 years. I’m glad no one was around to take a picture of the stupid smile on my face while I was writing their first scene together since 2012. It will be the first of a trilogy of sorts, alternating with the trilogy that Church of the Assassin kicked off.

In the meantime, I’m working on hardbacks of all the books, which will be available soon! And because I wanted it, the artist who has done the last three covers is doing some art for both Archer and Juni, so I should have that to share soon too.

I’m also considering writing some more of the Writer’s Guides, as they seem to be the most popular thing on this site. But you can see how infrequently I write anything here, and judge for yourself how likely that is to happen.

So there’s my annual update.

Bye.

Cover Reveal: Church of the Assassin

Coming very soon, Church of the Assassin is a standalone sci-fi thriller and the 5th book in the NEXUS series. Blurb and pre-order information will be coming later in the week.

This is the third cover to be art-iculated by Arianne Elliott, and hopefully won’t be the last.

Authors Give Back

POSTER ALL

I should probably have written about it before, since it’s already been going for a month, but Smashwords is running a sale during the pandemic to help people stay sane. There are huge discounts on a large number of books, which can be downloaded for any e-reader, including Kindle. This sale, unless it is extended again, will be running until May 31.

It would be nice for authors, in the same position of decline in work and income as everyone else, to see a rise in downloads through this and other legitimate sites, rather than on torrent sites. And don’t forget to take a couple of minutes to post a review when you’ve read them; it only takes a small effort to support all of the authors here providing their hard work for drastically reduced cost, or even free!

Click here to start browsing this vast library of discounted books.

My own books are all anywhere from 30-100% off:

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Pre-order Ghosts of the Fallen

Ghosts of the Fallen is now up for pre-order (ebook version only) on AmazonSmashwords, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. It will be sent to you the moment it is published on November 24.

This is a direct sequel to Blades of the Fallen, so if you haven’t read that, you can use this code to get it for 75% off ($1): TU36E.

Pre-ordering goes a long way to helping the book’s visibility on launch, so any pre-orders would be appreciated.

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Four inquisitors, four paths. The path of justice. The path of vengeance. The path of love. The path of fear.

The Vanguard is still reeling from Bane and his master. There are still scattered remnants of the Fallen to hunt down. But so too are there unknown elements moving in the shadows. A cult whose path to their god of war is through the death of inquisitors. An empire on the path to something terrible. And meanwhile, a familiar darkness rises anew.

The little girl with accelerated ageing asked only one thing before she died: don’t let them do this again. It was a promise they could not keep.

Ghosts of the Fallen, coming November 24, 2019

Ghosts of the Fallen

The sequel to NEXUS book 3, Blades of the Fallen, Ghosts of the Fallen is coming soon, and it is time to reveal the cover! So…here is the cover!

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As you can probably tell from the cover, Blades secondary characters Mara and Tillann take the lead this time. It will likely change multiple times before release, but here is the current version of the blurb:

Four inquisitors, four paths. The path of justice. The path of vengeance. The path of love. The path of fear.

The Vanguard is still reeling from Bane and his master. There are still scattered remnants of the Fallen to hunt down. But so too are there unknown elements moving in the shadows. A cult whose path to their god of war is through the death of inquisitors. An empire on the path to something terrible. And meanwhile, a familiar darkness rises anew.

The little girl with accelerated ageing asked only one thing before she died: don’t let them do this again. It was a promise they could not keep.

It will be up for pre-order very soon. In the meantime, now would be a good time to get up to speed by getting Blades of the Fallen from Smashwords or Amazon (or other places that are too numerous to link).

 

The Writening IV…With A Vengeance

It makes me cringe every time I check my site and see that the last time I wrote a blog post was in…wait, I need to check, which you don’t need to know because we’re not writing and reading in real time, but now you do know and you feel more engaged in the whole process…June last year. So here’s that update you’ve all been clamouring for (don’t check my social media for proof of this).

Fountain PenI have a mostly finished novel waiting for a last edit, which will come after I finish the novel I’m nearing the end of now. These will be, respectively, novels 5 and 4 of NEXUS. Yes, I wrote them in the wrong order. Book 4 is more space opera like the existing books, but book 5 will be a little more grounded with a thriller-ish feel, while still being part of the series. And also I want to do more of the Writer’s Guide articles. They amuse me – probably more than they do anyone else.

As well as that, I’m writing two screenplays, holding myself back from writing a thriller series, continuing notes for a fantasy series, and wondering how long I can stay away from my short story series before the government declares it dead.

The writing of book 4 seems to be speeding up as I near the end, so I think it will probably be ready for a summer release, with book 5 coming reasonably soon after, rather than the years of waiting we had between books 2 and 3. I’m looking forward to putting these out as they are the best things I’ve written, and book 5 in particular has led me on to something compelling I want to get on with.

Playtime is over for the NEXUS characters and the galaxy is getting a lot darker.

Of Thanos and Polymer Clay

I should probably have written this right after I actually saw Avengers: Infinity War, but…I didn’t. But I have seen it and it was fine. Nothing overly special but vastly better than Age of Ultron and Civil War – each tied for worst Marvel film.

The spoilers start here, so if you haven’t seen it, skip to the superman head!

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I was wrong-ish about who would die, because I completely forgot that there was a second film, originally pitched as Infinity War Part 2. I said Iron Man and Captain America would die. I stand by that, but obviously with a conclusion still on its way, that’s the one where it will happen.

Speaking of dying, we might as well jump straight to that. It was bad. Does anyone actually believe that Spider-Man is dead? Or Black Panther? Or the entirety of the Guardians? Of course not. We know they have their own solo films on the way. Then again, the way Black Panther goes, off-screen, makes me think that the Russos never actually intended for us to believe that these heroes are all dead. Rather, I think we’re just meant to wonder how they’re going to get themselves out of this situation. The answer will sadly probably be alternate timelines or time travel, neither of which I’m fond of. But really, I think the problem is that it’s an issue at all. I know the fact that Thanos actually clicks his fingers is meant to be a shock, because that’s the big finale that the heroes are meant to prevent, but all that death doesn’t make for a sad ending. It’s too much and it’s too obviously temporary. If anything, the very last scene of the film should have been the click. Then cut to black. Leave everyone wondering what it meant and who died.

Otherwise, it was decent. Absurd that right after they find out that their friend is dead, along with an entire race of people, Iron Man and chums are cracking jokes. But that’s just the Marvel way of desperately trying to cram comedy into every gap. There are a lot of heroes to keep up with, and mostly it’s balanced well. Perhaps too much Thor and Vision, perhaps too little Black Panther and Captain America/Nomad, but generally, it was well done. Other than how they chose to make Peter Quill fairly unlikeable and Gamora little more than a token sacrifice.

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Thanos himself was good. I liked the way they made him less bloodthirsty than they might have. He talks to the heroes, rather than monologuing at them. He understands and respects – to a degree – their efforts to fight him. Even when he has defeated one of them, he doesn’t kill them. He knocks out Nomad, but then just steps over him. He reaches down to the defeated Scarlet Witch, but just holds her head in an almost comforting manner. He might be mad, but he’s not 2D, cartoon evil. This is, of course, contradicted by the earlier parts of the film, where he slaughters every last Asgardian and murders both Loki and Heimdall. But still…

And then there’s the after credits scene. Nothing too special, other than A) I don’t think Fury will be one of the ones to come back, and B) She’s coming! I’ve been looking forward to the solo Captain Marvel film since it was announced, and I’m looking forward to seeing her arrive in Avengers 4. The colourful logo on Fury’s pager seemed a little over the top though. I maintain that, rather than the logo, a shiver-inducing, exciting end would have been:

…CONNECTING…

…CONNECTED…

Fury?

I’m coming.

And also that she should be in his contacts as ‘The Other Cap’. But that’s beside the point. It was good, I’ll watch it again, but I hope Avengers 4 will be better.

And now Superman:

Superman head sculpt

I mentioned before that I tried my hand at sculpting in polymer clay, and Superman was the result. I then tried sculpture 2, the main character of the book that I’ve just finished and am now editing.

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It includes this weird, Winston Churchill-looking baby. Better than the original ET-Yoda hybrid look it had before. Alex herself, on the other hand, didn’t turn out so well. Confirmed by the number of times people called her a he.

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But the finished product turned out well enough. Plenty of issues, as with the Superman head, but I at least have an idea how to avoid those issues next time.

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As for the book itself, even when I’ve edited it, I still need to finish writing another book that has to come out before it, so it will still be a while.