New Story — They’re Harvesting Stars, You Know?

Photograph by Axel Antas. A thematic image, borrowed from the collection at StockSnap.io

Photograph by Axel Antas. A thematic image, borrowed from the collection at StockSnap.io

I wrote a piece of flash fiction over the weekend called They’re Harvesting Stars, You Know?, which I’ve just posted in a couple places. I usually work in science-fiction & fantasy, but this is a step or two outside of my comfort zone, falling instead into magical realism. It’s all of 900 words (or 4 minutes by Medium’s estimation), and I’d be tickled pink of you’d hop over and give it a read.

You can find the piece at Medium.com;

Or with an ambient soundtrack at Booktrack.

Cheers, and I hope you enjoy!

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Long Fall, Free to Download

Keeping the promotion train a-rollin’, Biotech Legacy: Long Fall is currently available for free through the Kindle store! As with last week’s promotion, this is running today and tomorrow, after which it’ll pop back up to its normal price ($4.99).

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Four years have passed since mankind fell, and the Earth has evolved. Powered by living technology, human and Oikeyan nations now war for control on the surface, while the ancient starship Legacy and her human commander, Marcus Donovan, wait in orbit for a chance to create a more lasting peace.

But all of that changes when search & rescue specialist Jack Hernandez uncovers something dangerous hidden in the jungles of Mexico.

Now the race is on to control the artifact. Driven by fanatical ideologies and an insatiable hunger for victory, each side will unleash soldiers with power beyond reason in their bid to control the Earth.

But is any creature incorruptible enough to wield the power of a god?

Grab a copy. Tell a friend. Further my wicked plan for world domination!

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Stars Rain Down, Free Promotion Update!

With 13.5 hours left in the promotion, Stars Rain Down has been downloaded just over 1400 times! The book is currently #2 in free Space Opera, Space Exploration, and Alien Invasion, and #10 in free Science-Fiction!

Color me jazzed! By my best estimates, we should close out with somewhere around 2,500 copies total, which is simply tremendous for a book that’s sold less than 10 copies in the past year.

There’s still time to grab yours, of course! In fact, there are exactly 13 hours and 24 minutes, so head on over to Amazon and get clicking!

Biotech Legacy: Stars Rain Down cover

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Biotech Legacy: Stars Rain Down is FREE Today and Tomorrow!

 

Biotech Legacy: Stars Rain Down coverThe sale is live! Biotech Legacy: Stars Rain Down is currently free in the Amazon Kindle Store, so boogie on down and grab a copy! Every download helps feed starving children in Africa! Wait! That’s not true! But every download actually does help me climb higher in the ratings, making sure an even bigger audience gets a chance to find and read this excellent book!

That’s a lot of exclamation points. I’m kind of out of breath here… huff, puff, gasp

So, what’s it all about then?

When the stars rain down from the sky, who will rise up to meet them?

Marcus Donovan is an astronomer, daydreamer, and smart ass. He used to be just another researcher in a jumpsuit until he saw something that didn’t fit, an asteroid in our solar system that wasn’t an asteroid, and now he’s off on a mission to investigate in person.

Meanwhile, seven massive discs appear in orbit around the Earth and rain fire from the heavens. The world is broken and conquered before anyone even realizes it’s an attack.

On the ground is Jack Hernandez, a rescue specialist and everyday hero with a knack for getting in trouble. After crashing in the wasted ruins of China, he links up with the scattered resistance and begins to fight back, driven to do whatever it takes to protect human lives.

Neither Jack nor Marcus ever could have predicted it, but mankind’s future now depends on them both, and they’ll each face challenges beyond imagination in a war older than time.

Sounds awesome, right?

What are you waiting for?! Click this link and get your copy right now! Time is running out!

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Heads-up: Change in Ebook Availability

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’m returning to Kindle Select, so in the next few days, both Biotech Legacy books will only be available through Amazon. I really dislike exclusivity, but my royalties are currently hovering around $3 for the month and something has to change. The upside is that I’ll be able to run free promotions through Amazon again, starting with a 2-day sale this Thursday and Friday! If you can help me boost at all, I’d appreciate it mucho!

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Biotech Legacy Hypothetical Cast List

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A few years back, I went over who I’d cast if Stars Rain Down were (by some stroke of amazing luck) turned into a major motion picture. Although there’s still no movie deal (and I’d prefer a fully CG 6-hour cable miniseries, anyway), I thought I’d revisit the idea for a fun Sunday project, updating my old choices and introducing some of the important characters from Long Fall along the way.

Now with pictures!

 

IdrisElba

Idris Elba as Dr. Marcus Donovan

Marcus Donovan
Old Pick: Joe Morton
My dream pick for the maverick astronomer is still The Brother from Another Planet. I’ve just always been a fan, and Joe is literally the man I had in mind while writing about Marcus. However, (playing through the fantasy here) a studio would likely want someone with a little more heat, so…
New Pick: Idris Elba
He’s just awesome, isn’t he? I’d worry that he might be a bit too manly for Donovan, but I think he can play it down if need be. He’s certainly a talented enough actor.

 

 

 

MannyMontana

Manny Montana as Corpsman Jack Hernandez

Jack Hernandez
Old Pick: Major League pitcher Jonathan Sanchez
I couldn’t think of a single suitable latino actor, so I picked a baseball player to pose as a stand-in. That seems pretty danged sad in retrospect.
New Pick: Manny Montana
Currently in USA’s Graceland. He has a good physical look for the part, and from his work on Graceland, I know he can play honest, brave, and heroic. Just imagine him in an orange jumpsuit and I think we’ve got a winner.

 

 

 

 

MiguelGómez

Miguel Gómez as Sgt. Charlie Hernandez

Charlie Hernandez
Old Pick: Didn’t have one.
Charlie just wasn’t a particularly important character in the first book, so I generally imagined him as Jack but a little younger. With his increased role in Long Fall, that had to change.
New Pick: Miguel Gómez
You probably recognize Miguel if you watched Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain on TNT this past season. He’s got a very similar look to Manny Montana, but tougher and harder edged, making him an ideal choice for the younger Hernandez brother.

 

 

 

 

AzitaGhanizada

Azita Ghanizada as Amira Saladin

Amira Saladin
Old Pick: Sarah Shahi
She’s a good performer and the camera loves her… but in retrospect, she doesn’t really seem like the right fit for Amira. Too sexy and tough.
New Pick: Azita Ghanizada
She played Rachel Pirzad on Syfy’s (sadly) short-lived series Alphas, where we’ve seen her play hyper-competent but not particularly confident or socially gifted. Feels like a good match.

 

 

 

 

KristenBell

Kristen Bell as Dr. Lisa Albright

Lisa Albright
Old Pick: None
In my old list, Lisa was one of those characters who simply fell through the cracks despite her importance to the narrative.
New Pick: Kristen Bell
Small, plucky, warm-hearted and athletic. I think Kristen could do an amazing job with the role. An easy pick.

 

 

 

 

 

BenedictCumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sinit Kai

Kai
Old Pick: Guy Pearce
I’ve been a fan of his ever since Ravenous, and I enjoyed his recent work in both Prometheus and Iron Man 3, but I don’t think he’s quite what I’m looking for in a genetically engineered alien super-soldier anymore.
New Pick: Benedict Cumberbatch
He was the only part of Star Trek Into Darkness that I actually liked, and we’ve seen him playing a different sort of sociopath in Sherlock. There was something especially interesting about his performance as Khan (calculating, serpentine… a genetically engineered super-soldier), and I can hardly imagine anyone else in the role, now.

 

 

 

MelanieLaurent

Mélanie Laurent as Dr. Juliette St. Martin

Juliette St. Martin
Old Pick: Lena Olin or Juliette Binoche
Both fine actresses, but also a bit older than I’m currently thinking. Also, neither has much currency in Hollywood.
New Pick: Mélanie Laurent
The star of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Mélanie is an excellent actress and a better fit as a contemporary of Idris Elba (though perhaps just a smidge young).

 

 

 

 

KevinDurand

Kevin Durand as Corpsman Leonid Nikitin

Leonid Nikitin
Old Pick: Ray Stevenson
Not a bad pick, but a bit old and doesn’t really have the spirit I’m looking for.
New Pick: Kevin Durand
Another cast member of The Strain, Kevin Durand is a towering human specimen with a very goofy air about him that fits the human lighthouse, Leonid Nikitin, very well.

 

 

 

 

PatrickWilson

Patrick Wilson as Lt. Daniel Grey

Daniel Grey
Old Pick: None
Daniel Grey’s part in Stars Rain Down was sooooo small that there really wasn’t any point casting him (did you even notice him in that book?). With his massively increased role in Long Fall, it’s clearly time to pick an actor.
New Pick: Patrick Wilson
I wanted someone with a good dose of charm, but with a certain creepy edge to it. I considered Josh Lucas, but Patrick Wilson (who you may know from The Watchmen and dozens of other things) seems the best all-around choice.

 

 

 

 

AlexanderSiddig

Alexander Siddig as Colonel Galili

Colonel Galili
Old Pick: Oded Fehr
Oded Fehr is a very entertaining performer, but not particularly known for his dramatic chops. In recasting the role, I had a slight change of heart.
New Pick: Alexander Siddig
This is one of the few times where I’ve switched to an older actor. I’ve been a big fan of Siddig’s ever since Deep Space Nine (back when he was known as Siddig El Fadil), and I’d really enjoy seeing him play the leader of the human resistance.

 

 

 

 

JonathonRhysMeyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the Nefrem Prince

The Nefrem Prince
Old Pick: None (role didn’t exist)
New Pick: Jonathan Rhys Meyers
This role calls for someone really special. The character is androgynous, stately, imperious, and commanding. Jonathan Rhys Meyers offers just the right mix of character traits, and his work in Velvet Goldmine seems especially relevant. As an alternate, I wouldn’t mind seeing Matthew Goode in the role.

 

 

 

 

 

And that should cover the key parts. For most of the roles I didn’t mention, they’ve either remained the same from the previous version or didn’t warrant casting at this time… except for the few dreadfully important characters I’ve certainly forgotten, and will commence slapping myself for later.

Do these match what you imagined? If not, who would you like to see playing these characters on the big screen? Let me know in the comments below!

Alternately, if you have no clue who any of these characters are, you should immediately buy Stars Rain Down and Long Fall, read them, and then leave some comments.

~Chris

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Arcana Universalis — What is It?

The cover of Arcana Universalis: Terminus, the first section of a sci-fantasy novel.

The cover of Arcana Universalis: Terminus, the first part of an ambitious sci-fantasy novel.

On Monday, I mentioned that my current goal is to finish Arcana Universalis: The Hanged Man’s Revelation, and for many of you, the immediate response was doubtlessly, “What the heck is that?” I can hardly blame you; I published the last part nearly two years ago, and have spoken nary a word about it since. Well, consider this your refresher.

The very short answer is that Arcana Universalis is a story about wizards in space. Simple enough, right?

I had been watching Dragonslayer, a fairly wonderful movie about a young magician in training, and it got me thinking about the entire fantasy genre. These stories are infested with nigh-omnipotent practitioners of arcane arts, but where’s their ambition? Why are they content to sit around in drafty towers while the simple folk below farm the land? Despite all their power and ingenuity, these wizards are trapped in a pseudo-Medieval pastiche, when they could just as soon ascend to the stars.

So, I set out to tell a story about just that. I dreamed up a world where starships powered by ancient artifacts blast through the cosmos in search of star-born dragons; where spells operate with the depth and complexity of computer programs, manipulating energies invisible to the naked eye; where nothing is at it seems, and even death may not be the end of a contract.

There’s more to it, of course. The story that takes place in that setting deals in big themes like gender & class inequality, and the twisted ways that our traumas sometimes heal. It’s actually a very morose tale that only grows more so as it spins on.

It’s also the most ambitiously overwritten thing I’ve ever worked on. I make no bones about the fact that I really like to hammer at my prose, and this is the story where I decided to let the hammer fly. Take for example the opening paragraphs:

The universe is vast. It’s so vast that the very concept of it—the sheer beastly immensity of it—thrashes at the fabric of reason itself, and to our mortal minds, it appears chaotic. Stars flare into existence while others perish, great stones hurtle through the empty dark only to crash into one another and be obliterated, and life pervades everywhere.

All of this activity carries on seemingly without direction or purpose, but such appearances belie a strange truth: the veil of chaos conceals a subtle order which governs all things, a queer music that suffuses and binds, pulsing through the glittering stars and clouds of burning gas, over crystalline shores and fields of shifting sands, weaving all of creation into a single unbroken whole.

There is harmony, though we lack ears to hear it. There is order, and in its intricate majesty, that order is divine. There is music among the spheres, and all the petty toils of men are but the transitory notes and cadence of its forever wandering melody.

And that, more or less, is Arcana Universalis: a strange premise saddled with heavy ideas, written with all pretentiousness turned up to 11. I rather love it, and I hope you will as well.

You can find the first two parts of Arcana Universalis: The Hanged Man’s Revelation at Amazon, each for the bargain price of $0.99.

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