Shadow of the Rain Catchers Free at The Colored Lens

The_Colored_Lens

My story ‘Shadow of the Rain Catchers’ is now available for free at The Colored Lens website. http://thecoloredlens.com/?p=3973

 

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Alien Apocalypse – The Storm/The Hunger by Dean Giles

Doubleshot Reviews gave Alien Apocalypse a “Triple” (I think that’s a good thing).  Check out the post here:

Alien Apocalypse – The Storm/The Hunger by Dean Giles.

The End is Like Really Nigh

It’s four days until the end of the world and I am absolutely quaking in my boots. I haven’t bothered with my Christmas shopping this year. I haven’t done my tax return, haven’t renewed my car insurance. I mean, what’s the point? We’re all going to die is a few days. Thanks to those bloody Mayans and their crafty calendars.

I think I read somewhere* that archaeologists unearthed a Mayan artefact that finally revealed the extent of the coming apocalypse. It talks about a malevolent alien mind growing across our planet. It is a green, moss-like, acid that consumes everything it touches.

The Mayans predicted that this alien moss would use Earth’s DNA to replicate the biomass it had consumed. The final part of the Mayan artefact is missing, and so the purpose of the alien attack is still unclear.

Or is it?

The Alien Apocalypse series of novelettes by erm, me, will probably be the only thing you need to survive the coming apocalypse. Ignore it at your peril.

The books are published through TWB Press. Purchase information here:  http://www.deangilessf.com/?page_id=78

* may be complete bollocks

Some News of the ‘Good’ Variety

I got a couple of bits of good news recently. First up was an acceptance in Jupiter Magazine, which will be my second story published in the British SF magazine. It is scheduled for release in their April issue next year. Exactly a year after The Post-human Condition was published.

Secondly, I received an honourable mention from Writers of the Future contest. This is my third HM so at least I know it’s not a fluke! I just need to up my game if I’m going to take it further.

It’s amazing how much boost I’ve got from this. Just when I thought it was all going nowhere… This is why I like submitting to WotF contest. The way they structure the results promotes optimism for those who came close but don’t quite make the cut.

Likewise, I can’t believe my luck getting a second story published in Jupiter. This particular story is one of my favourites. It’s called Mad World and is about (yup you guessed it) a world that goes mad.

The Next Big Thing – Tag! You’re IT!

I’ve been tagged by Edith O’Deer http://edithodeer.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/the-next-big-thing-tag-youre-it/  to talk about my next big thing in this chain-blog. Read on through these Q’s and A’s and you’ll get to see who I pass on the baton to…

What is the working title of your next book?  

This is a hideous insight to my chronic indecisiveness, but I’ve copied this directly from the Word document I’m writing my story in:

The Space Between

Dream Machine

Creep

Subliminal

Catch the Girls

And none of those will probably be the final title!

Where did the idea for the book come from?  

In a nutshell, from dreaming. But I guess it goes a bit deeper than that. Sometimes, when I’m really unlucky, I get sleep paralysis and a recent spurt of bad nights gave me the seed of an idea. However, I’m a little nervous the whole thing is beyond the point of weird and firmly in the realms of lunacy.

What genre does your book fall under?

Most of my stories have a sci-fi element, but this is probably closer to dark fantasy with a sci-fi touch. Crucially (for me), it also has a monster in it.

I like monsters.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Any actor?? Okay, my MC is a loner and has some issues he is trying to deal with in a slightly unorthodox, perhaps misguided, way. I’d have to go with Johnny Depp for the ‘weird’ factor.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   

Disillusioned loner stalks the dreams of a beautiful stranger and stumbles upon a dangerously dark, and ancient, monster secret.

Will your book be self-published or represented by a traditional publisher?

It will probably turn out at around 15,000 – 20,000 words so I’ll throw it at a few genre magazines. For sure, I won’t self-publish.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Not even there yet. I’m only 5K in.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Not that I could ever compare myself to Stephen King, but the genre is similar

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Overdosing on Black Static Magazine

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?             

I enjoy writing a flawed character, and this one is flawed in a rather perverted way…

If you want to learn more about my stories please visit:

http://deangilessf.com/

https://deangiles.wordpress.com

And I tag:

In turn, I’d like to invite readers to visit the blogs of the following authors in the next few weeks to find out about their Next Best Thing.

Fellow TWB Press author Craig Jones, who has an awesome website here: http://craigjoneshorror.co.uk/

“Paradox” Published in The Speculative Edge Magazine

Issue 4 of The Speculative Edge magazine is out now. It features my short story, “Paradox,” a time twister with a heart-breaking touch. I hope you can grab a copy and let me know what you think.

https://sites.google.com/site/thespeculativeedge/praise

 

 

Write Write Write Submit. Repeat. Really?

Like most writers trying to find their way I spend my fair share of time reading advice on blogs, websites, and books on how get my fiction published – as if there are fundamental rules you must follow to become successful. The most prominent of these are the KEEP WRITING advisers. There is a great amount of guidance that promotes the ethos of writing at least an hour every day, even if we don’t feel like it. We are advised to finish what we start and always submit. I see the logic here and it’s all about statistics. It’s pretty easy to find stats on publishers acceptance rates by looking on Duotrope. The numbers are compelling. If a publisher has a 1 percent acceptance rate, then you should find a home for your story after 100 submissions. That is, of course, assuming the quality of your story is comparable with the other acceptances for said publisher. And that’s where my scepticism in this advice is revealed. I’m sure there are plenty of great writers out there who can spin off story after story of good and consistent quality (good enough to be in the top few percent of submissions at their chosen publisher). However, I know that I’m not one of those people. Even if I did have the time to write every day.

Here’s what I mean. As a SF writer, I want the idea in my story to be jaw dropping. Ideally, I want to be very excited about the premise so that I just can’t wait to get started. But this takes time. First I need to find the spark, then the idea needs to cultivate in my mind. Then, I see if it can be woven around a plot with real characters. The whole process takes time, which is time spent not writing.

So, I guess the concept is to have several ideas stored up ready to go. As soon as you finish your last story, you can hit the ground running on your next. And again, this is where I struggle with it. For me, I like to let the idea settle in my mind where it can grow and transform into something bigger. In order to do this, I need to pick up books on the subjects and read. I need to watch films and documentaries about it. I like to have the themes knocking around my head where I can easily access them. I then need to find a character to drive the story. Finally, and most importantly, I sit down and plan the entire plot (subject to changes throughout). This part of the process is just as important as writing. But critically, I need to properly complete it in order to give the story its highest potential. Therefore, I must focus on it, which means no writing. Just reading, thinking, and note scribbling.

Recently, I have taken some time off writing to catch up on reading. The few weeks I’ve allowed to do this has filled my mind with several ideas for future stories. It’s the fuel that drives my writing process and without it I run out of gas and stall.

So my advice to myself is not to “write write write submit,” because I would end up with a whole lot of bad quality, half thought out ideas with cardboard characters. Instead, I say: “think, read, scribble, think some more, then write. And if it’s any good then submit, but if it’s not then think again.” Maybe not such a great sound-bite, but if you’re anything like me this approach should yield better quality work with a higher chance of acceptance. Not through sheer volume, but through quality.

Writing regularly is great advice, but I would add that subject knowledge, idea development, and planning are equally important – even in a short story. And if that means taking a break to let it all settle in your mind then why not?

As aspiring writers, we need to understand what makes other writers succeed, and then tailor those processes to suit our own personality and needs. What works for me might not work for you. And what works for me now may have to be modified and evolved as time goes by. I guess the key is trying to understand how we can maximise our own potential without blindly following other people’s practises.

Shadow of the Rain Catchers Published in The Colored Lens Magazine

“Shadow of the Rain Catchers” is a novelette set in the far future where machines rule. They use water restrictions as a mechanism to control the population. They have developed technologies that literally plug the water cycle. Huge Rain Catchers follow storm clouds collecting every drop of water. The water is stored in huge tanks and deposited in a secure location.

Water has become the most valuable commodity in the world. Those who control it control everything.

The story follows Ewan, a factory worker trying to make enough water (water is the currency) to support himself and his sick father. When he loses his job and can no longer afford his father’s medication, Ewan must find another way to cure his father.

The Colored Lens magazine published the story in their new autumn edition:

It is available exclusively at Amazon:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Kindle Surprise! Download “The Tournament” from Amazon FREE. Offer open for two days only.

My new short story (~45 pages), “The Tournament,” is available FREE for a limited time this month. To take advantage, download it onto your Kindle from Amazon US or UK today and tomorrow (Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th August)

The future is no place for weaklings.

Only true warriors can police Earth-Government, warriors who can kill without hesitation, but Klay, genetically enhanced and constantly ridiculed because he is different, doesn’t possess the killer instinct, so when he’s called upon for his final trials in combat, he will fail the test and die. However, Master has given him the skills for battle. Klay just needs a little motivation, which comes in the slender form of fellow student Zasha. With her life in danger, he will do anything to save her, even kill for her… if only it were that easy.

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008TUDD98

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008TUDD98

How My Time Training Kung-Fu in China Inspired Me to Write a Novelette

Martial Arts has played a big part in my life. From the age of six, my Dad (a second dan black belt in karate) took me to judo. I loved it. I trained twice a week until I was fourteen years old. Later, I decided to take up kickboxing. I trained hard in my sport and competed at an international level, even winning a couple of titles. I am a 2nd dan black belt and taught my own kickboxing classes for several years. In this time I had the honour of watching my students become strong, fit, and successful in the sport. Now, at thirty-four years old, I have two young children and have stopped teaching. The last time I fought was back in 2010. I now take private boxing lessons and run endurance races instead!

 

Above: Me and my best mate, Matt, in China back in 2003

Back in the day, I spent a few months in China at a martial arts academy. The training was hard, repetitive, and effective. Imagine living with a handful of fellow Europeans and Americans on top of a mountain in the wilderness of Northern China. The nearest airport is a three hour drive away, the closest town is over an hour away, and the local area is rolling rice fields, winding valleys, and spectacular mountain views.

 

Above: A rainy day on the mountain

The academy is situated amongst forests of pine and thick woodland. Morning training consisted of Qigong, a Shaolin style of martial arts that uses your body’s energy to generate huge striking power. Students practice every day striking the surrounding trees. Over years, the trees have been shaped by the monks and students: large sections of bark are missing at chest to head height – a visual reminder of years of hard training.

 

Above: Stunning countryside around the academy

After breakfast, morning training begins. Three hours of kung-fu training mixed with technical, weapon, gymnastic, and fitness training.


Above: The morning run up the mountain!!

 

 

This training continues after lunch and culminates in the evening with another session of Qigong.

Every second week the instructors would duly take their bets on their favourite student to win the sparring sessions. Full contact with, frankly speaking, rubbish protective gear. It actually sounds worse than it was, but it certainly added some spice.

 

Above: Practising  my jump kicks

 

Each morning we would run three miles through the lush forests and mountain paths (over seven hundred steps carved into rock). I’m sure the local farmers wondered what the massive westerners were doing thundering over their land in big orange trousers. Mothers’ lifted their children onto their shoulders so they could get a glimpse of the silly westerners. Probably the first they had ever seen in the flesh.

 

Above: Reverse-round kick

In the evening, swarms of insects would cover the academy. Attracted by the lights they took up every available space. The window nets barely kept them at bay. It seemed to me at the time that Chinese insects were twice the size of British ones…

 

Above: Ridiculously big insect

In the two months that I spent at Siping Marital Arts Academy (www.shaolins.com) I barely touched the surface of the deep, intricate, and ancient art of Shaolin. Nevertheless, I took away something special. I took away an experience so rich that it has forever changed the way I look at my own training, and the way I look at life in general.

My latest short story, “The Tournament,” released through TWB Press was inspired by my time in China. It is a science fiction action novelette with a heart breaking touch. I’m happy to announce its release on Amazon US and UK. For more details and a free excerpt click here: http://www.twbpress.com/thetournament.html

Much thanks, as always, has to go out to Terry Wright, owner of TWB Press for all his help and motivation in getting this story published.

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