Preserved Remains of ‘First Man’ Discovered

Gordon Terenson reports:
“The amazingly-preserved remains of a 5000-years-dead male homo sapiens were recently discovered encased in a peat-bubble under the Persian Gulf.
“Carbon-dated remains show evidence that this man was 930 years of age at the time of his death. Also present in the peat bubble was an accompanying fig leaf.
“DNA traces of the ‘First Man’ were present on the fig leaf, showing the difference in cell degradation with an equal range to the man’s life-span, suggesting he wore the leaf from the time of his creation until the moment of his death and subsequent preservation. It seems even Biblical foliage was privy to extended longevity alongside such characters as Adam, Moses, Noah and Methuselah.
“The corpse is being kept here in the Vatican near the tombs of St Peter, and Pope John Paul II who, incidentally, famously accepted Darwinism. It is being called a “tactical placement” to show the erstwhile leader of the Catholic Church “just who is right around here, already” by those who snubbed the Church’s acceptance of Darwin’s evolution theory.”

Cut to a video of the current Pope: “It’s just a theory, after all,” says Pope Francis. “And to think for more than the last half of a century we’ve allowed ourselves to be duped by science.”

“That,” continues Terenson, “was His Holiness yesterday, looking rather put out and just slightly miffed.
“The now vacuum-sealed corpse is being dubbed Persian Gulf Man by scientists, and Eden Adam by the Church, jokingly shortened by cheese-loving physicists to Edam.
“The Vatican is in turmoil, a schism separating those who have accepted Darwinism since Pope Pius XII, and those who secretly continued to keep Creationism close to their hearts.”

Cut to Pope Francis again: “I honestly don’t know what to think. I’m as confused as a dyslexic homosexual in a seminary.”

“Words,” concludes Terenson, “which His Holiness may come to regret.
“There’s a heated debate going on in the Vatican about whether to open the doors to the public and allow people to witness, pay respect, and pray to the First Man. The talks suggest a half-day ticket into the Vatican tombs should rival the cost of a Virgin Galactic seat at US$250,000.
“Beneath the Persian Gulf, the underwater search continues for further remains. Just this morning the dismembered remains of an alligator lizard were also found in the mud, seemingly placed to point towards the north-west. Scienctists and the Catholic Church are working together around the clock to piece the clue and the rest of the puzzle together.”


The above flash skit is included with the perma-free short story When Gods Awaken on Amazon, which is available for download here.

My Review of Electa Graham’s “Blood and Loss”

I just finished the Kindle edition of this book and I have to say I very much enjoyed it. First person isn’t usually my cup of tea, but it worked well with Electa’s writing style. Blood & Loss is one of those books that’s damned easy to turn page after page; you don’t feel like you’re struggling to get through it at all, despite the occasional sense that the story was still finding its feet. But find its feet it did.
The character of Cassandra is complex, although I get the feeling that Electa is keeping much of the hinted-at complexity to be revealed in more depth in later books in the series. For me, the story came in two distinct parts, the first being much shorter. I really enjoyed the first part, and I was intrigued to discover which direction the rest of the story would go. For much of the second part, the story revolves around the titular character and three secondary characters; one of these was extremely interesting and very likeable; the second was at first annoying, but over time managed to win me over; the third, for me, was unlikeable and annoying from the offset, and my views on that character didn’t change right up to finishing the book.
Cassandra’s earlier choices were understandable, and the bad ones she made were thankfully turned around (either by her own will or by the intervention of a friend), but a couple of her later choices (again, only from my perspective) were questionable. Especially later in the story, I found myself wanting to yell at her and tell her it was a bad idea to do what she was doing. However, this was rectified in the final chapter when a particular event made me grin and punch the air, thankful that a certain element had (seemingly) been removed from the board.
I’m certainly looking forward to reading the second book in the series, and I hope to see the return of one character who I very much liked but who, in this book, I felt was under-utilised; again, I suspect the best is being kept back for later instalments. For these reasons I’m giving Blood & Loss 4 stars, holding back on that golden 5th just as Electa has held back her strongest cards for this first book of the series. I expect that by the end of the series at least one book will have received that golden number from me.
A promising start to an intriguing series. Now, where’s that second book…?

You can get Blood and Loss from Amazon here in kindle and paperback editions. Oh and by the way, I’m now the proud owner of the paperback edtion and hope to see other books from the series next to it on the bookshelf! :)



A Long-Overdue Blog Post – Stories, Poetry, Art & Life: The Story So Far

It’s been a long while since I posted anything tangible here on WordPress, and I’ve perhaps been neglectful of some of my duties. But while that is indeed true, I have in fact been busy, and, for the most part, the results are a myriad of minor excitements.

Where to begin, then? The first on the list: Stories. Some of you know I published my first short story back in September of 2014, at the time of this post a 2/3rds of a year ago. That first release, entitled When Gods Awaken went modestly well. Between September and early January I went on to release four short stories and a collected works including shorts, poems and sketches. Three of the five releases were also published in paperback format as well as Kindle and epub. Here they are, in order of release:

First 5 Covers

The first three of those releases gained a little attention and received some lovely reviews. The last two, Moses Garrett and Night of the Taking, made negligible sales and (at the time of this blog post) received no reviews.

Undeterred (well, perhaps a little,) I strove on, adding finesse to existing stories, revising old cover images and creating new ones, and continuing to work on what will be my first full-length release – an epic fantasy novel belonging to the series introduced in Night of the Taking.

February 2015 saw the release of no less than four short stories, all of which I made free to download on Kindle and epub. Those included an apocalyptic horror zombie love tragedy, and three stories linked by the same main character known as the Forever Stranger. The downloads for these four free releases came thick and fast, and things started looking hopeful as the muse for my epic fantasy novel also sallied forth unhindered. Then came April and I decided to make my first four short story releases also free, as well as reducing the price of my story/poem/sketch collection to just 99c. I also made my first non-English release in the form of Trostloses ’93, the German version of Bleak ’93.

So, now I had no less than nine free releases and the collection.

When Gods Awaken (Biblical parody)
Bleak ’93 (contemporary family drama)
From Grains To Galaxies (collection)
Moses Garrett (dystopian urban sci-fi)
Night of the Taking (Verragos Tapestry, epic fantasy)
The Lingering Remains (apocalyptic horror)
Falling (The Forever Stranger, visionary)
Island in the Sands (The Forever Stranger, horror, meta)
The Hyperverse Accord (The Forever Stranger, meta, hard sci-fi)
Trostloses ’93 (German Bleak ’93)

The story didn’t stop there.

Hot on the back of making my first four releases free, I prepared my first poetry-only release in the form of DeadVerse. DeadVerse contains 26 poems, extensive afternotes, and an essay, and will be released in paperback and Kindle formats, available for pre-order now and published on the 7th of May.

Here are the second batch of short story releases and DeadVerse, in release ordert:

Second 5 Covers

And that covers stories and poetry, bringing me to the third part of this post. Sketches.

2014 was a modestly busy year (for me) with not only writing but also sketching. I sketched no less than four Gigi Edgley portraits (that’s Chiana from Farscape, for the sci-fi nerds like me,) as well as Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager, Yuna from Final Fantasy, and a couple others. Yes that is busy for me! In 2015 I sketched Percy Montana from Starhunter, and a portrait that I intend (provisionally) to incude as an illustration in my current epic fantasy project. The sketch is entitled “Calm After the Storm”.

I’m in the process of adding the sketches to my DeviantArt profile and making them available as prints, canvases, mugs, coasters and mouse mats, as well as other options.

Here’s are the Gigi sketches, #1 #4.

Four Gigi SketchesGigi 1 canvas1

And here’s a selection of my other sketches (when I’m not obsessing about the gorgeous Gigi Edgley.) From left to right they are Seven of Nine, Pursuit, Yuna, Tanya, and Calm After the Storm.

Five SketchesCalm After The Storm canvas1

Which brings me, sadly, to the last item on the menu. Life.

When putting effort into writing stories and poetry and sketches, it’s probably a good idea to stop occasionally and ask yourself if you’re putting effort into other, equally if not more important, areas of your life. The part of me that most people see is my public face, the guy who writes, the guy who sketches. What people don’t see as much of is the more real part of me, the personal part that loves, gets frustrated, drinks whisky, longs for a cigarette, ruminates over the wonders and horrors of existence. The part who forgot the importance of relationships; the part that withdrew further and further into his safety bubble and pushed out the last person he should have distanced himself from – his wife.

There is a down-side to all of these tiny successes (well, successes if you ignore they’ve made me next to no money at all,) and that down-side is that April 2015 will forever be remembered as The Month My Marriage Fell Apart.

Awkward silence.

That’s right. I let my emotional state sink to a level where I could no longer treat the woman I loved the way she deserved to be treated. The result: she finally found her limits, and with them she found the bravery and resolution of character to tell me it was too late. After all was said and done, I was left a stranger in a house that I once called home, in a country I chose as home five years ago almost to the day. But my wife was right in her decision, and as crushing as it is to do so, I’m saying goodbye to this chapter of my life – the best chapter so far in my 37 years in this universe – and preparing to begin the next chapter. The hybrid dedication/poem I wrote as a reaction to this awful life-changing event perhaps explains my feelings the best. It is also the opening poem (and dedication) in my newly-released collection DeadVerse. Here it is:

A Dedication

For Silvi, whose depths of love
were boundless for her boyfriend,
but whose patience in enduring
her husband – ever a bother,
oft a bane – finally reached its limit.
You inspired me to view the world
with brighter colours than these
eyes alone could ever see;
your presence – letting me in
to your life – led me to my goals,
but at what terrible, terrible cost.
You shone a light in an otherwise
grim and shadowed world;
you gave me of your strength,
and I sapped it like a vampire.
You were my sight in the darkness,
my guide through the crowd,
and I wrapped myself in your safety.
You were my voice, my understanding
in a place so full of strangers.
You were my wife, my friend,
my companion, my life.
You gave me more and more,
while I gave less and less;
I hope your freedom from such
burdens sets you on a journey
to true and lasting happiness.
I loved you with all my heart,
but love, I know, was not enough;
you deserve to be adored; somehow
I forgot that, and remembered too late.
For you a candle will always burn,
in whatever passes for my soul.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I have spent the last eight months; becoming a self-published fiction writer and poet, taking my hobby of sketching to the next level, and destroying my marriage and life. I hope there’s a modicum of truth in that we live and learn, for I very much want to have learned something positive that I can take with me to wherever my future is.

Thank you.

And consider…

When my bones join the dust
of this world’s countless billions,
when my name is forgotten,
my story stashed deep,
when the memory of me
dies with those I encountered,
and the sun swells to nova,
will the universe weep?

New novel from fellow fantasy author Nancy Chase

I only ever plug another writer’s work if I think both it and they deserve the plug. This is one of those times. Nancy’s debut novel, The Seventh Magpie, is more than just a fairy tale; it’s a personal journey that spans decades, culminating in a literary triumph and, along with Katrina Sesum’s illustrations, an absolute work of art. Do yourselves a favour and check it out. This is a gem worthy of a pedastal, and it needs your help to be raised out of the quagmire.

And here’s how certain I am that, if you’re a fan of fantasy stories, you’ll enjoy The Seventh Magpie: if you purchase Nancy’s novel, and genuinely don’t feel you got your money’s worth, then I will GIVE you a copy of my book, From Grains To Galaxies. Can’t say fairer than that, hey?

How can I be so certain that The Seventh Magpie is any good? Because I’ve read enough snippets and seen enough teasers of the interior to recognise quality when I see it. I’m a good writer, and quality gravitates to quality. It’s an unwritten law of universal nature. You’ll see.

The Seventh Magpie, by Nancy Chase at Amazon

Nancy’s personal website and blog

And while I’ve got your attention, why don’t you come and join Nancy’s Facebook launch event where there are lots of guest authors, including myself and Nancy’s illustrator, Katrina, with lots of giveaway competitions every day until Saturday! Just click on the cover image and be whisked away to the event! And when you get there, do by all means vote for my name in the ‘who invited you?’ poll. ;)