You might recall Craft Keep VR from my writeup of EGX 2016, where I was lucky enough to try out the virtual reality fantasy artisan game first hand. Well, there’s some exciting follow-up news. First of all, Craft Keep is coming to Steam Early Access on the 10th of November: that’s less than a week away!
Second, I’m writing this thing! At EGX I got talking to the developer, Arvydas Žemaitis, who said that he was looking to include an interesting story as the player travels about setting up shop in all these weird and wonderful locations around the world. Naturally I sent off an email about it after the event, and here we are! Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 30
The corpse of the dragon lay steaming upon the floor, the marks of its wrath seared permanently into the cavern walls. Yet the heroes stood victorious. Leaving the dragon to stink and smoulder, they ventured deeper into its lair, appraising the stock of treasure the winged terror had amassed across the ages.
“This will ease the suffering of our land…” observed Khemaghan the Keen, lifting a gem-studded chalice, worth several fortunes on its own.
“…but it will not repair the devastation that the beast has wrought.” Quilbar the Quick was troubled by the same thought.
“We beat it,” said Skondar the Strong, speaking firmly as ever. “We won. It’s over.”
But from the bones of the dragon, there sprang forth a new threat. For in its hoard—beyond the reach of mortal man for years known only to the gods—there stood a copper lamp upon a bare pedestal. In every other room, gold and jewels had lain strewn across the floor, a careless bed for the vile serpent.
In this room, the floor was bare. A perfect, solid circle of clear stone marked a perimeter about the pedestal, as though gold and silver feared to draw too close to the base metal that stood atop it.
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 4
Challenge #2: Write a story in 300 words or fewer that involves a little-known historical figure and begins in media res.
“Alright, Zhang Xun!” Linghu Chao stamped with his right foot, inadvertently splattering his left with battlefield muck. “It’s been a …fun…four months, but this really has to stop! You’ve got no food, no arrows, and no lumber. My army outnumbers yours twenty to one. Why don’t you come out here and we can talk about this?”
“Why don’t you come in here and we can talk about it?” jeered Zhang Xun, from the top of the ramparts.
Linghu Chao spluttered momentarily. “Do you remember that time a couple of months ago when I sent in, like, six of my best guys to do just that?”
“And you were all like: ‘Oh! I’m convinced! These six guys have put together a really coherent and well reasoned argument! I’ll surrender now! Okay!’”
“And then you beheaded those six guys?”
Linghu Chao spluttered again. “It’s…you see… You’re really screwing me over here, man!”
The soldiers of the Yan Dynasty were looking less and less loyal after four months of Zhang Xun’s nonsense. This particular diplomatic exchange was not helping matters.
“Surrender now, or we’ll just bust right in there! Our fortifications are looking great, but your fortress might just fall down on its own!”
“Okay,” called Zhang Xun. “How about you back off, say, thirty miles so all my guys can retreat.”
“What?” blurted Linghu Chao. “I’m not about to go thirty…” there were mutinous groans from the troops. “Alright, fine!”
Linghu Chao and 40,000 very tired Yan soldiers began to make their way back the way they’d come four months ago.
“They’re not retreating,” said Linghu Chao’s advisor as they crested the first hill. “In fact…” he squinted through his telescope. “Yeah. They’re stealing our tents.”
Linghu Chao put his head in his hands. “I don’t even care anymore.”
If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:
Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 3
The cruelty of the sphinx was the cruelty of a thousand ages. The cruelty of wind and sand. The cruelty of stone. She remembered the mighty river that had cut her from the gorge. She remembered the sweeping grit and pebbles that had shaped her face. And she resented the pitiful trickle of dust-robed pilgrims who had come to replace it, treading its long-dry course.
“What,” hissed the sphinx, “goes upon four feet in the morning, upon two feet in the afternoon, and upon three feet in the evening?”
The man visibly quaked as he answered. “It is…man,” he said. “Man crawls on all fours as an infant, stands upon two feet when grown, and uses a stick also in old age.”
This defeat stung the sphinx, but her stone face would never show it. “You may pass,” she breathed, her voice hard as ever.
Many years passed, and the sphinx’s hunger for torment grew ever greater. The winds changed. The sands changed. But minds of stone will never change. Continue reading
It’s that time of year once again! Every single day this month, I will be writing and posting a brand new story between 55 and 1,000 words in length. If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll know the drill: this is now the fifth year in a row I’ll be participating.
Last year I was lucky enough to win one of the weekly challenge prizes, and I got this lovely mug, designed by Neurotype. I’m drinking coffee out of it as I write this! If you’ve been following me for a while now, you’ll also know that “Size isn’t everything” paired a Lovecraftian flasher is about my level of humour.
The mug design for 2016 (this one by Joe Wright) looks super cool as well, though.
Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re already set up to get notifications whenever I post a new story: I’ll be sharing them on this very blog, on deviantART (home of Flash Fiction Month), on Wattpad, and I’ll be linking to those various places through Facebook and Twitter. I’ll also be sending out weekly digests to anyone subscribed to my newsletter and notifications; people who are just subscribed to the newsletter will get a list of the complete 31 stories once the month is over.
If you somehow manage to miss all those opportunities to catch the stories as they’re released, I’ll be collecting them together into an anthology, as I have done every year since I first took on this challenge in 2012. If you want to catch up on my work from previous years, the first three ebooks are permanently free to download:
The fourth ebook usually costs a token amount, as will number five when it’s available, but as Flash Fiction Month 2016 coincides with a site-wide sale at Smashwords, you can now get it free with promo code SFREE. As an added bonus, my prehistoric fantasy novel, Face of Glass, is also currently 50% off with code SSW50.
Clicking the cover of any one of those books will take you to its page over on Smashwords. The books are DRM free, and come in a variety of formats, so you should have no trouble copying them to any number of devices you might want to read on. You’re also welcome to pass them on to friends and family. On the flipside, if you have got your book for free (either from a friend or through this promotion), please consider helping me out by leaving a review (on Smashwords or anywhere else) and maybe buying a copy of something down the line. Alternatively, send a copy to someone else. That’s good too.
If you’ve been following for a while, you may have already seen my first and second articles on the Early Access version of Epistory, an open-world typing game by Fishing Cactus. Well, now that the game is out, and now that my computer is capable of reliably recording gameplay, I thought I’d try a video review.
Chapter One: The Watchtower
It was a marvel to see the White Queen paint. Marcia watched as the brush drifted across the surface of the paper, leaving no mark: its bristles held only water.
There was a knock at the door.
Marcia looked to the queen, and was answered by an almost imperceptible nod. Stepping neatly over to the door, she opened it.
“Your Majesty,” said the general, bowing deeply as he stepped inside. “We have repelled an attack at Hobnail Pass, but the lines will not hold.”
The White Queen traced the brush across the paper with extreme care. Marcia closed the door, then once again took up her place by the queen’s side, examining the paper with silent interest. There was no hint of her mistress’ work but a faint glistening of water in the light.
The general took no more notice of the queen than she did of him. Marcia observed him in one of the queen’s three grand mirrors as he strode over to a map laid out on a nearby table, cluttered with painted wooden models representing various companies and legions. The general scowled, removing a few dusty pieces and rearranging several more.
The queen dipped her brush in the little cup of water and dragged it back and forth quickly across the top of the paper, catching the little beads of liquid as they formed. She stared out of the window at the garden below, comparing this scene to the one she had formed. With a quick flick of the brush, she made an adjustment.
“It is my opinion that we must give up Wieseberg.” The general proceeded to shove a line of figures into place with a straight edge, then formed them into a swooping curve with a pudgy hand. “The city is of little strategic value, but eliminating this salient would shorten our lines considerably. The surplus troops here could be…”
“Give up the pass,” said the queen, dabbing carelessly at the paper.
“Give up the pass.” The White Queen folded her hands on her lap and turned to the general. “Our foe is determined to have that ground no matter what the cost. We will not be so foolish.” Continue reading
There are a whole lot of book giveaways running as part of the event, and though all the paperback ones seem to be US-only, I’ve taken the opportunity to make the Face of Glass ebook available as a free download worldwide. Since Face of Glass was until recently the only book I actually charged for, this isn’t something I’m likely to repeat any time soon. Grab your copy now, and pass the message on to any friends who might be interested, because when the fair ends on March 4th, I’ll be shutting that link down.
Incidentally, you might like to download all the different formats while you’ve got the chance: this is always an option if you buy from Smashwords, but if you only download one during the giveaway and change e-readers later on, you might regret not getting hold of the version it takes.
As it’s the first day of the book fair, it’s hard to say how this will all play out, but I’m looking forward to seeing some interesting things from some interesting authors. M.R. Graham‘s The Medium is also among those books featured today, and having seen the blurbs for some of the things coming up later in the fortnight, I know for sure that I’ll be keeping an eye on the event.
The sky is filled with great heroes of lore: Orion, Cassiopeia…Girth Loinhammer.
That’s right! I got a truly spectacular Christmas present this year in the form of this certificate:
There is now officially* a star named Girth Loinhammer in the constellation of Sextant (abbreviation: “Sex”). I’m trying to come up with a joke involving “rectascension” as well, but mostly I’m just super happy that there’s a star out there named after my unintentionally erotic epic fantasy bad guy.
*Nobody but the International Astronomical Union has the authority to name celestial bodies. Since they didn’t choose the name, it’s essentially only as official as the printed-out certificate makes it. That being said, I do have the certificate, so nyah nyah! Take that, space!
While preparing the paperback version of Osiris Likes This, I took the opportunity to revise a few of my other books as well. In most cases that involved little more than making sure the front and end matter was up to date (the “Books by Damon L. Wakes” page has grown significantly since the earliest ones were first released). However, for Face of Glass, I wanted to do something a little more significant.