The first of five chapters of my upcoming novelette-length epic fantasy origin tale is polished to a shine. One down, four drafted-out chapters to go. The cover is also completed and looking gooooood!

The Verragos Tapestry series is the entire reason I started down the writing path in the first place. I’m excited that the first story of this mammoth project will soon be shared with the world.

I will probably create a Facebook Page just for the Verragos Tapestry. Stay posted for further info!

TVT Banner

Concept banner for the upcoming FB Page of The Verragos Tapestry.

Shame on you all.

They say there’s always someone who’s worse off than yourself. I find that hard to believe when children are being raped, set on fire, buried alive and beheaded, probably as I type this or as you read it, in a place we’re all too familiar with. What’s worse is that other kids are carrying those heads around in the streets, playing with them, and laughing. It’s difficult to crack a smile throughout the day – let alone a joke – with the knowledge of how sick and depraved this world still is after so many centuries of religious oppression and barbarism. Don’t you think we should have learned by now?

Be Muslim, and be ashamed to belong to a religion that stands for paedophilia, suppression, oppression, and mutilation, which executes all who doubt the Quran or the existence of Allah.

Be Christian, and be ashamed to belong to a religion that stands for bigotry, inequality, and eternal damnation of all who doubt the Bible or the existence of God.

Be an Orthodox Jew, and be ashamed of the four millennia of pain and suffering your religion has brought to the world, beginning with the atrocities of the Torah, leading into Christianity and the New Testament, and culminating with Mohammad and the Quran.

Shame on you all.

Falling – A special flash story for 500+ followers

With over 500 followers it’s time for a small treat, so here’s a light-hearted little flash story of mine, shared here for the first time, which is suitable for anyone between the ages of 8 and 80 (give or take.) Perhaps I’ll publish it one day in a collection. I hope you like it!

Falling

With duvet pulled to my nose I lie still, silent. A ceiling of fake stars and moons illuminates a hovering metallic disc above my bed, so close I could reach out and touch it. Four plasticine figures are stood upon the disc, each holding a musical instrument poised to begin playing. One has a bass guitar, one a trombone, another a trumpet, and the last a saxophone. The saxophone player—a lumpy thing like a vague, cartoon elephant—is stood in the centre, forward from the others. It lifts its instrument to its knife-slit of a mouth and begins to play. The others join in and a discordant, hypnotic tune spills into my bedroom.

Time becomes meaningless as the music plays, and the world shrinks to just the metal disc and its occupants. At last, the music ends. With the fading of the final notes the saxophone player turns to me. Its baleful, otherworldly gaze bores into my soul. It lowers its instrument to the disc and extends a podgy, grey hand to point at me. It looms closer, its head expanding, arm elongating. Something brushes the tip of my nose and a tingling numbness spreads over my face like an ice-cold spider web. The beady, black orbs are no longer eyes but deep, obsidian pits …

The bedroom door swings open and light spills in. The disc and its occupants shatter into a million motes of moon dust as my grandmother shuffles into the room, breaking the encapsulating spell. All is gone but the lingering tightness, prickling across my face. My grandmother tucks the sides of my duvet tighter under the mattress, her rheumy eyes full of kindness and love. My arms and legs are straight, pinned by the bed covers, and I remember why they tuck me in so tightly: It’s to stop me floating out of bed as I sleep.

Was it my father who first suggested that? Son, if you don’t tuck your bedclothes in, you’ll wake up on the ceiling and fall back to Earth. And you might never stop falling. Maybe it was Dad. It could have been anyone; memories are often slippery things. I was only glad there was a ceiling above my bed—a roof over my head—otherwise I might never stop floating. Up, up through the plastic moons and stars, plummeting upwards through the sky and on towards the Sun.

And then I would wake and fall back down through the night, all the way to Earth.

My grandmother leans down and kisses me on the forehead. I can barely feel it through the numbness. My eyesight blurs and her image fades, the moons and the stars go out. Without a word, she leaves, and I hear the soft click of the door latch as she closes me in.

Slowly, I drift into another world.

A small world of discordant music.

Like a leaf buffeted by a gentle breeze, I float up through the glow of a sky full of five-pointed stars and crescent moons towards a silver circle. I land lightly on the disc, slow like the men walking on the Moon. The soft impact lowers me to my hands and knees. The metal is yielding to the touch. Sponge-like under my—

My hands … Indistinct, swollen. Grey.

Between them—lying upon the disc—a saxophone.

Origin Stories From My Upcoming Epic Fantasy Series

I’ve taken three origin stories of my work-in-progress epic fantasy series The Verragos Tapestry (which you might have heard me going on about, or seen the encyclopedia). I’m dusting them off, polishing them up, extending them into what will hopefully be solid introductory short stories or novelettes to the series; something to whet your appetite while waiting for the first novel to be finished.

With luck, they should all be ready for release within the month. But I won’t be releasing them all at the same time, though that might change if I can garner more recognition for When Gods Awaken (and Bleak Ninety-Three, which sank like a stone). Despite the support some of you were kind enough to show, results have been underwhelming and somewhat depressing.

Boosts of self-confidence and bouts of disappointment seem to come in equal measures at the moment while I’m struggling to get noticed as a writer.

When Gods Awaken

My new book, When Gods Awaken: A Short Story of Biblical Proportions is out now on Amazon, available in all regions worldwide.

Going wrong at the beginning is usually for the best, but there’s a certain deity who omnipotently disagrees. Forget Genesis; forget all you thought you knew about the first moments of existence. Prepare to have your beliefs played with, tickled, spanked, stretched across spacetime and shattered into so many irrelevant motes of stardust. Travel back to before Creation itself, and witness what happens …
When Gods Awaken.

You’re one click away: When Gods Awaken @ Amazon

When Gods Awaken

Responses to When Gods Awaken from reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic:

The author’s ability to weave such an intriguing tale, making mock of Creationism whilst doing so, is wonderful. I gigglesnorted more than once.

I read this short with a perma grin on my face. Funny and thought-provoking. Satire at its best.

Elegant language, interesting ideas, and very funny one-liners.

Anyone who enjoys Douglas Adams will appreciate this. I sat sniggering the whole time.

Absolutely brilliant! Engaging, funny and highly recommended.

When Tolerance Is As Bad As Intolerance

I know Christians who don’t follow any of the immoral doctrines and tenets in the Bible. Unfortunately, many don’t realise the irony that their extremely selective cherry-picking technically puts them closer to deism than theism (Christianity). Organized religion, no matter how well-intentioned, wlll always lead to immoral, inhumane acts being done by humans to humans in the name of the Abrahamic deity (Yahweh/God/Allah). Witness the world today; no better than the world of 2000 or even 4000 years ago in terms of intolerance and brutality for the sake of religion. In the words of Chris Morris: It’s a strong-feelings kidney, whichever way you slice it.

These are my views, and I’m proud to share them rather than hide behind a curtain of apathetic pretense, even if doing so may damage any future sucess I have as a writer.

I don’t hate Christians; I despise bigots, murderers and rapists. The unfortunate truth is that these are the ones who shout the loudest and are heard across the world. It’s often atheists – unbiased towards any of the faith systems – who have to stand up to these people. I wish, just once in a while, the extremists’ fellow “moderate” believers would rise up and flush the zealots out of their flock. Sure, Christians are currently taking action against Muslims, but where do you see Christians standing against fellow Christians? Or moderate Muslims against extremist Muslms? Nowhere, because moderates don’t stand a chance against such terror. They cower in submission, and usually wind up dead.

What the world needs is a peaceful unity, but such will never be realised while there are so many religious and non-religious factions. Humanity has always thrived on conflict within itself, regardless of how many of us would like to turn blind eyes to the sickening truth. Religion is not good. Believe, by all means, but do so quietly – like some do – without forcing your beliefs on others.

If your fellow Christian is spouting hate against atheists or homosexuals, speak against him. If your fellow Muslim is sawing the heads off children and putting them on sticks, shout your disgust! Silent acceptance is for weak-willed people who are content to let the madness of monsters thrive upon this crowded Earth.

Creationist Parody Free eBook Giveaway Event – Amazon Kindle

“In The Beginning” is Genesis rebooted; the most important story in the entire Cosmos and in all of Creation. Or so certain folk would have you believe. Blending the unintentional comedy of the original with a fantastical redux of parodic wit for the 21st century, In The Beginning will change your views on Creationism forever – or as near as damn it.

The 24-page Kindle edition, complete with bonus vignette “To Onan Is Human” is free to purchase from all Amazon stores from September 30th to October 2nd. This means you can buy that soggy sandwich you’ve been saving up for, instead of handing your bag of copper coins over to me. Hurray!

The event will start at midnight (Pacific Time) leading into the 30th of September.

“In The Beginning” – Free eBook Giveaway Event Extravaganza

For anyone taking part from Alpha Centauri, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait another 4.37 light years until you can get your free copy. Hey, that’s spacetime for you; I’ve tried arguing with physics, but it’s like debating a deity who thinks he knows everything …

The window of opportunity is drawing near for all you critical thinkers, Christians, fence-sitters and head-scratchers to snag a freebie from my ebook giveaway event.
I suggest you make the most of it, because when the event’s finished the book’s getting a significant overhaul, with a new blurb, new title, new cover, new extra bonus content, and entirely new story- Just kidding about that last bit, but there will be some revisions, and possibly an extended ending … But you’ll have to pay for all that.

In the meantime, you know where to be, when to be there and what to do. If you’re already attending, or even if you won’t be attending but would still like to lend your support, please feel free to share this event to your friends, especially those who enjoy a bit of clever British humour a la Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Spike Milligan and Monty Python.

Incidentally, if you pay close attention you might see a python hiding among the foliage, curled around an apple. Or you might not.

Speaking of food – fhose of you on a diet should feel free to unburden yourselves of the money you’ve saved by not buying that small bag of chips, and grab the first Kindle edition of “In The Beginning” for only US99c, EU88c, or UK77p.

“In The Beginning” at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de

Scott Kaelen @ Goodreads

Described as “wittily irreverent” and “gigglesnortingly funny”, it would be unreasonable and illogical to pass this opportunity up. See you there.