Tag Archives: science-fiction

They. Have. Arrived….

Not ten minutes ago, the doorbell rang, the animals scarpered, and I took possession of a small cardboard box with my name on it. I knew what it must be, but…it was almost a week early!

And there they were, the print proofs of the Innerscape books. Real at last:

Sorry for the poor quality of the pics. I took them with my mobile phone so you can’t see the rich deep colour or the way the light reflects off the gloss covers. What you can see, however, is that the Godsend cover didn’t work. This is a close-up:

The bit inside the red rectangle is the background image that’s meant to represent the Innerscape containment units. Instead of being a subtle hint, the image is as good as invisible. 😦

I know I’m not a professional cover designer, so I have to learn from my mistakes, but I feel as if I should have expected this one. You see in the print preview of the Godsend cover, the image did appear much darker than the image I was working on. But…I assumed it was just something to do with the print preview function. Wrong.

The Godsend cover won’t be hard to fix, but I’ll have to ‘guess’ at the finished product because I won’t be able to request a second proof [not because CreateSpace won’t allow it, but because the postage is so ridiculously expensive].

Another thing I’m going to have to guess at is the width of the Miira spine. For some reason, the actual spine is wider that the dimension I was working with in Corel. But this is both an annoying thing and a very, very good thing because I was worried ‘Miira’ would end up being ridiculously ‘thin’. Instead, it looks and feels like a normal, albeit ‘slim’ book so I’m thrilled by that. I’m also thrilled by the back covers. They look great, they’re very readable and they are beautifully consistent throughout the three books. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for that. 🙂

The Offspring and I are going to celebrate tonight with a tender Rack of Lamb, roast potatoes and a salad of homegrown lettuce, followed by a movie. I hope your weekend starts as well as mine. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 

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3 hours to enter a great sci-fi competition

I don’t normally enter competitions because I never win anything. No, seriously. Nevertheless, the thought of winning a new Kindle as well as a stack of new books made me change my mind.

 

Click the link below to go to the competition page being promoted by Andy McKell, one of the sci-fi authors participating in the competition:

https://booksweeps.com/enter-win-space-opera-science-fiction-novels-july-17/

Best of luck everyone!

Meeks


Sometimes I surprise even myself…

Apologies if I’ve been less visible of late, but I’ve started writing again, and that tends to give me tunnel vision. The story I’m writing is the long delayed, next chapter of the Vokhtah saga.

The story of my psychopathic hermaphrodites languished for four years while I wrote Innerscape, but now they’re back, and I’ve had to re-acquaint myself with their world all over again. Part of that process was to do a backwards outline of the original story, and that’s where this post comes in. I’d actually forgotten that I wrote this preface to the Vokhtan to English dictionary:

Due to the radical differences between Vokh and human physiology, this sound guide is an approximation only. Where humans speak by forcing air past their vocal chords and then shape the resultant sound in the mouth, the Vokh and iVokh use their mouths for eating only. Their lungs are located in their wings, and they inhale and exhale through hundreds of small cilia on the leading edges of their wings, by-passing the mouth entirely. Thus the sounds they produce are akin to the multiple sounds produced by a pipe organ. Even pure sounds have a resonance human speakers cannot match.

Adding to the difficulty of accurately representing the Vokhtan language is the native speakers’ habit of deliberately distorting their speech with ‘chords’, in order to convey tone and inflection. Harmonious ‘chords’ – like the major 5th in human music – denote agreement, pleasure, delight etc. Discords, on the other hand, can imply a range of emotions from disbelief to contempt. Yet despite the musical quality of Vokhtan, neither the Vokh nor the iVokh have ever developed the concept of music.

Vokhtan for human speakers is further complicated by the fact that the spoken language also includes an array of scent cues produced in glands at the base of each cilia. These scent cues are aspirated with certain audible sounds to form a combined sound/scent amalgam. For example, in the word ‘Vokh’ the ‘h’ at the end represents both the sound of the aspiration, and the scent denoting respect or admiration, something humans are incapable of reproducing.

Please keep these difficulties in mind when attempting to speak Vokhtan.

lol – I really did spend a lot of time thinking about the Vokh and the iVokh. From 2004 to 2012 to be exact. There was so much to discover about them. I mean, they all have sharp claws, right, even the much smaller, less aggressive iVokh. But sharp, pointed claws tend to get in the way when you’re not killing something, so how were the iVokh supposed to craft anything?

The ladies reading this post will immediately recognize the problem of nails that stick out half an inch past the end of your fingers. So how did the iVokh manage? By doing what we do, of course. They squared off the tips of their claws. But wait…how would they have cut their claws? Clearly they would need tools of some kind. Not scissors, no, but something like a small nail file perhaps. Except that nail files don’t grow on bushes. The iVokh would need Smiths to make the nail files, and the Smiths would need metal of some sort…

And so it went. Every idea came with its own baggage of pre-requisites, and each day of writing revealed some new discovery. It was an exciting time, but that was then. Now, I have to relearn all these tiny, yet important details so I don’t make any horrible mistakes, like saying that one iVokh punched another.

The iVokh certainly fight, but not with a clenched fist. Why? Two physiological reasons:

  1. Even with their claws blunted, striking with a clenched fist would drive the claws into their own palms, and
  2. Both iVokh and Vokh hands are quite weak in comparison to the rest of their bodies. They do have opposable thumbs, but they only have two fingers, and those fingers are long and spindly. A punch would probably break the whole hand.

And these are the little things that I have to learn all over again. If anyone’s interested, I’ve been trying to do a graphic of the hand. Still very much a work-in-progress, but here it is:

cheers

Meeks

 


Spotlight on #Indie, Chris James

Six months ago I published Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064, and those of you who know me well, also know what I saw when I looked at that word “Repulse” on the cover, and therefore why its modest success is just a mite ironic. Altogether, this little book has managed to get itself over 3,000 […]

via Repulse: Six months of #Gratitude — Chris James’s blog

Chris James is an Indies Unlimited buddy from way back, and he’s also a very good sci-fi writer, but that isn’t the reason I reblogged his post today. I did it to give the rest of us a good news story with a dash of hope.

Self-publishing can lead to success, Chris is proof of that, but it rarely happens ‘overnight’. Behind every ‘Repulse’, you will find years of patient effort during which the only thing that keeps you going is pig-headed obstinacy.

The moral of ‘Repulse’ is that success is possible, if you have the intestinable fortitude to keep slogging away at it. Please read Chris’ post and take heart.

much love,

Meeks


The birth of cybernetics?

Doctor Who fans will immediately recognize the concept of the ‘Cyberman’, but for everyone else, it’s a being that evolved from a biological base into a fusion of ‘meat + machine’.

In the Doctor Who series, the Cybermen are more machine than meat, but the concept stays the same. And it’s been a recurring theme in science fiction for decades. Anyone remember a TV show called the 64 Million Dollar Man?

But that’s all just make believe…isn’t it?

Well, no, no it’s not, not any more. Welcome to the world of David Eagleman. If you have any interest in what makes all life on earth tick, you will find this TED talk absolutely rivetting:

Did you watch it? Did it blow you away? Yeah, me too. 😀

There were a number of things in that talk that made me nod like crazy, but two really stood out:

  • the brain is a general purpose computing device, and
  • the concept of sensory substitution

As someone interested in biology, I sort of knew about the parts of the brain and how they functioned, but until quite recently, I assumed that brain plasticity [the ability of the brain to change itself when necessary] was restricted to fairly ‘small’ functions. And then I heard about Daniel Kish. He has no eyes, so everything you see him do, he does without using the physical pathways you or I use when we ‘see’ things. Instead, he makes clicking sounds and ‘hears’ them bounce off objects in their path:

Daniel Kish is an example of biological sensory substitution because he uses his hearing to provide data to the brain which the brain then interprets as a kind of vision. It’s real, it can be done, it’s just that most of the time, we humans prefer to use the easy path we learned as babies.

Just as a matter of interest, did you know that the visual cortex of a newborn baby is ‘unfinished’? Steropsis, or

The perception of depth produced by the reception in the brain of visual stimuli from both eyes in combination; binocular vision

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/stereopsis

is ‘learned’ in the first 18 months of a baby’s life. If something happens to disrupt this learning process, binocular vision will not develop. Instead, the child will learn how to see 3D using a process called ‘motion parallax’. I know, because that’s how I see, and I can play pretty fast and furious table tennis. 😀

The more I learn about the world, the more amazed I become at its incredible power. Is it any wonder I’m a sci-fi nut?

Special thanks to Museworthyman for pointing me towards that mind-blowing TED talk. Kindred spirits unite!

cheers

Meeks

 


Science fiction on parade!

meeks-books-small

I’ve never published a print book version of any of my books, but this wonderful graphic by Chris Graham is the next best thing. He just ‘whipped it up’ and sent it to me in an email. I have no idea how he put it together, but I love it. Thank you, Chris!

And while I’m at it, I’d like to thank everyone who left reviews on Amazon for Innerscape. You may not know this, but if you add up all the pages in all the episodes of Innerscape, they total about 1014 pages. I say ‘about’ because Amazon only displays page counts for episodes 2-5, so I had to guesstimate the page number for episode 1. Slight inaccuracies aside, that makes the story of Innerscape about 200 pages longer than George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Game of Thrones’ which comes in at 819 pages. So to all those brave souls who have read all the way through to the end…THANK YOU!

Now, I’m a polite girl, and polite girls don’t crow, but here are the reviews for Episode 1, including the 1 star by Austin Myers. 😀

David Prosser
Can Innerscape really live up to it’s reputation, can Miira live on without her bodily ills and find some happiness. Given an introduction is like watching world building at it’s best. You’re there and can see it but don’t have to cope with all the technical side.
Ms Flory has created characters real enough to evoke emotion in the reader. You’ll like, love and possibly hate too but you won’t want to stop reading.
I was given an advance copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Stephanie Briggs
Personal hopes and private fears leap from this writer’s imagination and grab the reader’s attention. Once she piques your interest, the conviction to know more will fuel your desire to read the next Episode. A. C. Flory does for science fiction what sunlight does for soil. She incubates an idea until it flourishes and feeds the deep hunger in us all.

Chris James
Anyone who’s read this author’s first book, Vokhtah, will know that she can deliver when it comes to entertainment. Innerscape part 1 doesn’t disappoint. The story tackles one of the most thought-provoking ideas in science fiction: what if, as your health failed and you approached death, you could effectively download your mind to a virtual reality and live on in the freedom of youth for as long as science could keep your decaying body alive?
We follow the dying Miira as she enters Innerscape and goes through her “orientation” into this virtual paradise. But right from the beginning, Innerscape shows one side to its Residents, while hiding real-world complications behind its pristine veneer of professionalism.
I finished this first part with my curiosity peeked and wanting to know what will happen next. It is a terrific introduction to what promises to be an outstanding series of books.

Candy
I thoroughly enjoyed Episode 1 of Innerscape and just downloaded Episode 2! The alternating perspectives, the vivid characters, and the intriguing vision of the future all work together to create a compelling narrative. Miira and Dr. Wu are sympathetic protagonists and the prospect of futuristic corporate villainy in the next couple of episodes seems likely. A.C. Flory has succeeded in creating a coherent, reasonable, and scary future, where the virtual and real exist side-by-side.

Candace Williams
This is the first episode of a smart, well written sci-fi series with a fascinating premise. I’m looking forward to finding out what’s really going on in both worlds, Kenneth’s real world and Miira’s utopian VR, Innerscape. There’s plenty to think about – a must in sci-fi, imo – within a storyline that captivates. An excellent read!

Dawn
Well. This was a delightful surprise. I’m quite traditional in my thinking- I always say to people I’m more of a crafter than an artist; and I think that shows in my reading. Much as I like to be fully absorbed in a novel, I find that most fantasy is just too fantastic for me to suspend disbelief. Same often goes for science fiction. For example – TV wise – I’m more of a Battlestar Galactica / Caprica girl than Farscape. My favourite authors writing for adults in this genre are Margaret Attwood and Iain Banks.
Having completed Episode One of Innerscape, however I think I might be adding AC Flory to my list.
Really convincing new technology and logic behind it; borderline dystopian; well realised characters; interesting premise throughout. Additionally it’s set in a future just sufficiently distant as to make all these things feel as though they may be about to occur, yet the lead character (a woman – hurrah) is incredibly relevant; especially reading this at the tail end of 2016. Oh – and unusually well written; no typos, no gaps or character name swaps, no odd leaps or discrepancies.
I bought this book, and am looking forward very much to buying all the remaining ones in the series.

EllaDee
A great start, introducing engaging characters who invite you to champion, fall in love with or hate them.

Austin Myers
There may have been a story of some sort but it was taking far too long to get to it.
Note to author: The first few pages / chapter has to grab the reader and pull them into the story. This book failed to do anything of the sort. This was disjointed and boring. I hope your next effort is better.

Penny I Howe
From page one, I could not put the book down. It was simply wonderful. Gripping & excitingly realistic. I’m getting ready to order the next episode (book ) right now. I would highly recommend this book. Excellent and entertaining. Exactly the way I like my Sci-fi!

And thank you to everyone who comes to my blog as well. You’ve made me a ‘very happy, Meeka’.

-hugs-

Meeks

 


Allelujah! Innerscape, Episode 4 is finally free…

I’d better make this quick. Episode 4 is now available for free download from December 6, 2016 to December 10, 2016. To get your free copy, please follow the link to Amazon below:

https://www.amazon.com/Innerscape-Episode-4-C-Flory-ebook/dp/B01N0MZ35R/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1481019068&sr=1-4&keywords=kindle+innerscape

The Innerscape competition is ready to go as well. Simply read the ‘Look Inside’ below [use your browser’s back button to return to this post] and answer a simple, multiple choice question in comments, and hey presto, you’ll be in with a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift voucher. 🙂

The question for Episode 4 is – what did Alex Tang die of?

  1. pneumonia?
  2. a heart attack?
  3. the common cold?

If you know the answer, please write it in comments [only one per person please] at the end of this post. When the competition finishes, I’ll write each correct entry onto a piece of paper which will then be folded and placed into a vessel of some kind, maybe a hat. Finally, the Offspring will come along to select the winning entry. Easy.

The winner of the competition will be announced on this blog, plus I’ll email or contact the winner directly. Then it’s just a case of deciding what to treat yourself to…erm, with.

If you haven’t entered the competition yet, please do because I get as much fun out of it as the winner does. 🙂

And now for a music track that I didn’t listen to while writing Innerscape. It’s a cinematic from Advent Children, an animation by Square Enix. This scene depicts the final fight between Cloud and Sephiroth, iconic characters from Final Fantasy 7. Even if you don’t like fighting, please watch the incredible cinematography and animation. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


State Zero – short, sci-fi movie – brilliant and Indie

I don’t like zombie movies, or horror movies in general, but I loved Alien when I first saw it at the movies.

Okay, stop sniggering, I was a lot younger then. Anyway, this Indie short reminded me of the very first Alien movie with a hint of Silent Hill because of the intelligent use of fear. Plus the graphics blend seamlessly with the live action. See for yourselves:

State Zero is top quality movie making at an Indie price.

Apparently DUST is a channel on youtube created to showcase short, Indie movies and I, for one, intend to see more of what’s available.

Happy Sunday,

Meeks


Innerscape, Episode 2 – live and kicking. :)

Happy Monday, all. 🙂 Before we begin, a quick recap of the changes: the prize for Episode 2 is one $20 Amazon gift voucher, and the answer to the multiple choice question can now be found in the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ feature below. You will have to click the back button on your browser to exit the ‘Look Inside’:

 

To enter the competition, please read the ‘Look Inside’ for Episode 2 [above] and answer the multiple choice question below:

Miira’s little black cat is called:

  1. Rosie?
  2. Golli?
  3. Timmy?

When you know the answer, please type the name [or the corresponding number] in comments below, and that’s it. You do not have to purchase anything and you do not have to download Episode 2 [unless you want to]. 🙂

As with Episode 1, the competition will run for 5 days until Friday, November 25, 2016. Once the competition closes, I will write the names of the correct entrants on pieces of paper and they will go into a blind draw on Saturday, November 26, 2016. The winner of the $20 Amazon gift voucher will be announced in a post and on Twitter. I will also try to leave a message on your blog or website.

If you simply want to download the free copy of Episode 2, you can find the link here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1H5S1E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1479624105&sr=8-3&keywords=kindle+Innerscape

If you prefer to browse to the Amazon page, you can find Episode 2 by typing ‘kindle Innerscape’ in the Amazon search box. Just be careful as Episode 1 will be at the top of the list, not Episode 2.

And now a video of another track that inspired the writing of Innerscape:

This one is part of the soundtrack to ‘Colin Frake’, and I love it. 😀

cheers

Meeks


Innerscape FAQ

I messed up yesterday’s post because of toothache, so here’s all the stuff I should have explained before showing the covers:

What is Innerscape?

Innerscape is one very long story serialised in 5 episodes. Hence the numbers on the covers:

innerscape-episodes-1-to-5

What is the total Innerscape wordcount?

Total wordcount for all five episodes comes to 212,000 plus change. Divided by three, that would be 3 books of roughly 70,000 words each.

Why not just publish a trilogy?

Two reasons:

  1. Science fiction is traditionally about 90,000 words in length so I’d feel as if I were short-changing readers,
  2. The story simply refuses to fall into 3 neat piles. Instead, it evolved in 10 ‘parts’, 2 per episode.

How long is each episode?

The following shows the approximate wordcount for each episode:

Episode 1      48,000

Episode 2      35,000

Episode 3      40,000

Episode 4      30,000

Episode 5      57,000

Why publish Innerscape as a serial?

Each episode ends at a natural point in the story and is a novella in length; just right for a serial, just wrong for everything else.

[Note: According to Wiki, a novel is anything over 40,000 words, so technically episodes 1 and 5 are novels, but I’m not comfortable with that so I’m classifying them all as novellas]

How quickly will each episode be published?

I’d really like to publish episode 5 in time for Christmas, so that’s roughly one episode per week starting next Monday, 14th of November. The extra week is my margin for errors, emergencies and disasters.

During the week between episodes, I’ll be giving the next episode a final edit-and-polish as well as running the music competition for the previous episode.

What music competition?

I suck at promotion, especially promotion that promotes me or mine. I have tried, but this leopard is too old to change her spots now. So what was I to do?

In a light-bulb moment of truly epic proportions, I realised that while I couldn’t promote Innerscape per se, I could promote the music behind Innerscape. All the musicians and composers who inspired me while I was writing are Indies, like me, and I can sing their praises all day without feeling embarrassed at all.

Then I had another light-bulb moment: instead of wasting my money on paid advertising, why not spend my limited budget on giving the music away? All the music is available in digital format so there would be no extra postage costs and delivery could be almost instantaneous. Brilliant!

From there, the idea of giving the music away via a competition was a no-brainer. And if there were five episodes, it made sense to run five competitions… -face palm-

So, there will be five competitions. Each competition will start when the relevant episode goes live on Amazon. Each competition will then run for 5 days and the winner will be drawn before the next episode is published. That’s the plan.

What music will be given away?

The following is a list of composers and music to be given away:

Jo Blankenburg

  • Elysium
  • Vendetta
  • Levitation
  • Feather Dance

Two Steps from Hell

  • Colin Frake
  • Illusions
  • Sun
  • Miracles

Audio Machine

  • Tree of Life

Roger Subirana

  • XII

Ten albums, one for each Part of the story. That works out to be 2 albums given away for each episode.

And that means there will be two winners for each episode.:)

Will people have to buy the relevant episode to take part in the competition?

NO!!!! No need to buy anything at all.

So what will people have to do?

I want this to be a fun experience for everyone, including me, so each competition will be very simple:

  • I will publish an article for each episode.
  • In that article will be a question with multiple choice answers.
  • In that article, I will also post a link to the relevant ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.
  • The correct answer to the competition question will be in the ‘Look Inside’ pages.
  • Simply type the answer in the comments section of the article and that’s it.

How many times can people compete?

Please! Only enter once per Episode. While I’d love to have a million entries, the thought of handwriting each correct entry and folding it fills me with horror. I do have to sleep, you know.

That said, please do enter each competition. And Regulars? That means you too. Please don’t feel as if you shouldn’t enter just because we’re friends. This is going to be a party and I want my friends there, sharing it with me. Okay?

How will winners be chosen?

Every correct answer [for that episode] will be:

  • written on a piece of paper
  • folded
  • thrown into a big mixing bowl
  • and TWO pieces of paper will be drawn from the bowl. The names on those pieces of paper will be published in a post and tweeted.

How will winners receive their prizes?

I can only afford digital albums so each winner will have a choice of downloading the album via:

  • iTunes, or
  • Amazon

That means they will have to provide me with an email address that iTunes and/or Amazon can use to deliver the music. I promise not to misuse the email address with spam.

Will people have to sign up for a newsletter?

NO!!!! I never read newsletters myself so I won’t ask anyone to sign up for mine. Besides, I don’t have one. If by some chance you are interested in knowing what I’m publishing, I would love it if you ‘followed’ me on Amazon.

By following me, or any other author on Amazon, you authorize Amazon to send you information about any upcoming events from that author. It’s like a really to-the-point, mini newsletter that you only receive when an author has a new book to promote.

How does the Amazon ‘Follow’ option work?

The Amazon follow option is shown as a big yellow button beneath the name/picture on my author ‘page’. This is what it looks like:

acf-amazone-author-page

 

 

You can reach my author page by clicking on the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/A.C.-Flory/e/B00B1M04JI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1478817747&sr=8-1

…or by finding one of my books and clicking on my name as the author [blue link]:

acf-amazone-author-page-2

You will need to be signed in to your Amazon account to use the ‘follow’ feature.

Will Innerscape be given away for free?

YES!!! -cough-

Obviously, I would like as many people to read the story as possible, so each episode will be given away for free during the week in which it’s published [and promoted].

After the free period, each episode will revert to its launch price of $0.99.

Once all five episodes have been launched, the price per episode will rise to its normal price of $1.99.

I would love to keep Episode 1 free permanently, but Amazon only allows ‘permafree’ under certain circumstances, none of which I meet at the moment.

Okay, I think I’ve covered everything this time. It’s amazing how much better the brain works when it isn’t distracted by toothache!

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 

 

 


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