Rip: Grail of the Secret Sun

Rip: Grail of the Secret Sun

Only the Vampire Priests understand the Blood Moon Prophecy: “A drop of His blood fills the cup and brings the Blood Moon Dawn.”

Water makes people forget.
For seven ages They have walked the Earth, seeking a cave of Vampire Priests. For only the Priests know the meaning of the riddle, believed to hold clues to an extremely ancient device that can restore purity to water.
The seventh age will be Their last chance.

Watch the YouTube video trailer below!

“Lots of cool action and drew me well in.” – AHF Magazine.

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Let me buy Rip Volume 1 on Amazon for 99 cents now!

Water makes people forget.
For seven ages They have walked the Earth, seeking a cave of Vampire Priests. For only the Priests know the meaning of the riddle, believed to hold clues to an extremely ancient device that can restore purity to water.
The seventh age will be Their last chance.

Excerpt from Rip Orange
After perhaps an hour, during which time Tom began to believe his carriers had unlimited strength, the leader stuck his hand in the air and the column stopped. The snow seemed to ease and then stop altogether. While the strange leader laid out thick, flatbreads and salted rinds of meat on plates, the clouds cleared, and the sun began to warm Tom’s cheeks.
“Not so bad after all!” he joked.
His rescuers crowded around Tom while their leader, the only one wearing a white fur coat, raised a water-bottle to his patient’s lips.
“Good to drink?” Tom asked, feeling nervous.
The leader nodded. Tom tried a sip and found it to be water, clear and refreshing. He waited for any side-effects but only felt better. After eating some bread and meat, he felt better still and grinned. The leader raised Tom up by his shoulders and showed him the terrain ahead. The mountain path dipped down to a dry valley and then rose to a line of green hills. These lacked the icy caps of those Tom could see either side of the mountain they were on, but beyond these, far beyond and just poking through a haze of cloud, he could make out a single peak, rising much higher than any other hill or mountain. Upon its tip he could see no snow but only two jagged peaks, one white and one black.
“Where are we?” Tom asked.
The leader of his rescuers pointed to himself. He said, “Inyan! Inyan!” and pointed to Tom, who replied:
“Tom. Tom Merriweather.”
Inyan shook his head and pointed to tom. “Omacron! Omacron!”
“Omacron!” Inyan’s men echoed.
“No! Tom!” Tom repeated, but Inyan only laughed and moved to Lucky. He repeated his introduction.
“Alan!” Lucky replied. “But everyone calls me Lucky.”
“Alan Lucky!” Inyan replied, laughing. “Tallana!”
“Where are we?” Tom asked.
Inyan shook his head and furrowed his brow. Tom swept his arm around to encompass the whole landscape before them.
“Ah!” Inyan replied. “Atalan’Tea Llantu.”
“Okay. Nice.” Tom asked, “And that?” pointing to the high peak in the far distance.
“Tpatam t’akalliyan,” Inyan replied.
Inyan’s words sounded strange to Tom, guttural, with lots of glottal stops and sudden sounds that surprised him. But he found Inyan’s face reassuring. The stranger had a long face and doleful eyes that seemed sad in some way. His cheeks converged with his mouth in jowls that would make him look more and more like a bulldog as he grew older. But when Inyan smiled, he did so with his whole face, the creases in his cheeks disappearing as if a sun radiated from within. It was a simple, innocent smile that Tom had never seen in anybody, except children, during the war. And in Inyan’s eyes, as well as the apparent sadness, there lay a stillness that seemed like lake that had lain undisturbed for centuries. These features made Tom smile, so that he decided that he liked Inyan. Without thinking Tom reached out and took Inyan’s hand. At first the strange man from this strange land seemed unsure of Tom’s touch, but seeming to come to a decision, he clasped Tom’s fingers within his own and shook Tom’s hand heartily.
“Peroturnakar!” Inyan said, pointing to the sky.
“I’ve heard that word before!” Tom replied, not understanding the significance of the sky.
“Peroturnakar!” Inyan said, looking sad.
Tom looked up again and thought he saw something strange through the clouds. It seemed to him that high up there, above the clouds, the sky consisted of rock, faint but hanging impossibly over them and mountainous landscape.

Excerpt from Rip Blue
My brother had a ball. When you tried to kick it, it moved away from you. I grew tired trying to hit the thing.
“Don’t think about kicking it,” he told me. “The ball is designed to read your intentions. Think about nothing.”
It felt very satisfying when I finally got a foot on it and sent it into the back of the net.
A ‘beeping’ interrupted his memories.
So I have been asleep?
He tried to open one eye, but it felt gummed up. Screwing his face up to make tears, he eventually managed to open one, only to see a panel, which proved to be the source of the ‘beeps.’ A sign flashed, ‘Hello Omah,’ in in red letters. You’re in waking up phase. I’m administering stimulants. Please drink the water.’
“Oh great! Thanks! I hate cryo-sleep!”
A distant hum occurred at the same time as his cryo-chamber began to incline. The glass-lidded container, little more than a box, began to raise at his head’s end and continued inclining until he lay at a forty-five-degree angle. The lid opened and straps released his arms and legs. He felt sharp stabs of pain as a needle retracted from each arm, but didn’t have the energy to say:
Omah remembered the water and tried to reach for a cup in a tray section of the chamber’s rim. But his arm wouldn’t move. And then he noticed how black the water in the cup looked, blacker than ink. It seemed warm and inviting and seemed to expand as he looked at it. He felt he could jump right into it, Deep within the liquid, far, far away, there seemed to be a faint light.
It came as a relief to see an attractive, blue woman approaching him in a white jumpsuit. But when she smiled he saw that her eye sockets looked completely empty, not empty as in the eyes are covered over, but as in a black depth, like a liquid, filled her sockets, a depth so fathomless that Omah lost his balance trying to find their bottom. He slid out of the chamber, teetered for a moment on numb feet and began to fall forward, onto a glass cabinet of surgical instruments. A moment stretched out for what seemed minutes, allowing Omah to think:
“What a strange place to die!”
Omah had no control of his feet, so it came as a complete surprise when the trolley, upon which the cabinet sat, rolled out of the way just before his face hit the pane of glass. The trolley crashed into a wall shattering the cabinet and sending glass shards skittering across the floor while Omah fell in a painful heap on the floor.
“Oh shit!” the blue woman cried, hastily turning Omah over. “Are you alright?”
“Yes, I think so!” Omah gasped. “I … don’t know how that happened!”
“I know how you fell – toxins in your muscles making them unusable. I don’t know how the hell you kicked that thing out of the way!”
“I didn’t!”
“Well, it didn’t move on its own! Your foot must have kicked it. Freakiest thing I ever saw! I better let the others know what happened. Let me get you into a chair!”

Excerpt from Rip Red
Omah’s head-up display on the visor of his helmet indicated to him the likelihood of criminal activity with a coloured halo around each citizen; blue for law-abiding, white for untouchables, red for Scum. He had always had a visceral tendency for violence:
His mother thought he had a look like a, “Whipped dog.”
His father told him to, “Keep his collar clean.”
The funny thing was that he had never seen a dog.
He took another look at the row of columns under the Hall on the far side of the street and suddenly couldn’t remember what he had just been thinking. Not only that, but he had the feeling something had changed irrevocably.
A puddle near his feet dragged his attention away from the display in his visor. The more he looked, the more he felt as if he were being sucked into the black water. It seemed endlessly deep, but a dim light, like a lantern lost at the bottom of the sea, seemed to beckon him down. Without thinking Omah stretched his gloved hand toward the puddle, but a boot stepped in the puddle, sending ripples out across its surface. It was only water. Omah looked up, feeling angry, and stared into the empty eye sockets of a man. Where his eyes should have been, only endless, dark emptiness could be seen. There was no light at the back of the eyes at all. It’s repulsiveness shocked Omah, making him jump back.
“Look out!” the man screamed.
A car’s horn blared, somewhere close behind Omah. He heard the screech of brakes as he leaped for the sidewalk. An instant later, the fender of a black car entered the space where his body had been. The car accelerated away before Omah could get its license plates.
“Thanks!” Omah said, scrambling to his feet and stretching out his hand to the stranger.
“No problem! You nearly got hit! I just wanted to ask the way to the Mayor’s Office?”
“Oh.” Omah couldn’t think for a moment, because the man’s eyes now looked completely normal. “Back that way, second left. It’s on your right, about two blocks down. You can’t miss it.”
“Thanks! Take care.”
Shalto Denner leaned as casually as he could against the side of the brick column buttressing the City Measurers Hall under the colonnade. Shaded from the main street he lit the rollup he had stuck above his ear. He had thought about giving up many times, but it marked you out as Void scum; an emblem that could save your life in tight situations. This was one.
He recalled that his good looks had often caught him out, so he slipped on a pair of dark shades. He still looked handsome; silver hair above a craggy face, cross-hatched by age lines and azure eyes. A girlfriend, more generous than most, had described his face as like a crystalline rock face, carved into the likeness of a man.
‘Can’t keep it up long enough to satisfy a woman anymore,’ he mused.
His thoughts were interrupted by a sparkle of light in the crowd. Looking more closely he saw the distinctive black helmet of a Municipal Policeman’s helmet and slipped round the corner to hide down Subaltern Street.
Omah could see a sea of blue, flecked with white in his display, no red. This made him suspicious. From the corner of his eye he thought he saw a single flick of red vanish round the corner of the old Measurers Hall.
“Ah ha! Got you!” he muttered. The midday heat made sweat seep into his collar. He slowly shook his head once to sooth an itch. He decided to pass Subaltern Street and double back, round the block.
“Something’s going on, Sector 4, corner of Subaltern Street and Main. Falcon 2 requesting back up.”
“Roger 2. Falcon 3 right behind you, half a block, on the right.”
“Crossing to right now. Stop on the intersection and wait. I’m gonna circle round and flush him out. Suspect he’s the lookout for something. These buggers always have complex crimes in mind these days.”

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How to Write a Good Book – Post 5. Varying the Pace

pen5So you have your plot of Rudolph’s adventures all worked out and you know where the climax and twist will be. Now you are considering writing the climax and want to know how to show tension when Rudolph can’t get the tractor down a narrow alleyway, or gets stuck in a snowdrift. So how do you show the tension?

It’s not as easy as you might think!

Action Words and Expletives

The first rule is to use more action words when you are writing action sequences. These are words like ‘ripped,’ ‘spun,’ ‘yelled,’ ‘wrenched,’ and ‘panted.’

Here is an example. See how this sentence sounds quite calm.

– He knew he needed to get through the door. He put down the axe and walked up to the door. He pulled on the handle and it opened. He went thought the opening and all was well.

That definitely lacks tension. Let’s try it again:

– He had to get through the door. He only had seconds left! He threw his axe down, spun round and leaped toward the door. Grabbing the handle, he pulled and pulled but the door wouldn’t budge. Using all his strength, he gave it one last almighty heave and wrenched the door open. The wood cracked and splintered as the lock broke, and he was through!
“What’s the problem Rudolph?” Santa yelled.
“The door! It’s bloody stuck!”

Okay, so I went a bit over the top there; it’s twice as long. But it’s much more exciting.

Notice the use of words like ‘grabbing,’ ‘cracked.’

Also notice saying ‘had to’ instead of ‘knew he needed to.’ Forget about considered thought in tight situations. People just act and think later when they are desperate. This is one place where we definitely don’t need to know what the hero is thinking.

Also note the use of an expletive (swear word) by Rudolph. You might not want to use expletives in your writing but it’s a fact that people swear a lot when under pressure. Leave swear words out and you risk losing realism.

Short Sentences

For the last reason above, short sentences are good in action sequences. We want simple action, and short sentences tend to increase the pace.


Another trick is to use time. If the hero is not only fighting against an evil adversary or obstinate door, but also against the clock, this will dramatically increase tension.

I used this a great deal in Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate.

Adversity or Obstacles

Elements of adversity of obstacle can also add tension. In the example above the door wouldn’t open easily and he had to wrench it open. Small accidents can also increase tension. He needs a key to unlock the door but he drops it, as people do when tense or in a hurry. Both accidents and obstacles also prolong the tension, which also helps create tension.

Use of Commas

The use of less commas during action sequences can increase tension, but this is a technique not all authors employ. If you try it, you still need to observe good grammar rules.

A Word of Warning about Length of Description

As you probably noticed in my example above, quite often action sequences can make the prose longer. For this reason, you will need to allow a bit more space for describing action, perhaps as much as 50% more space. But on the other hand, if you use short sentences carefully and avoid any description of inner feeling, you can sometimes keep the prose in action scenes as short as elsewhere.

Slowing the Pace

It may sound crazy, but sometimes you will want to slow the pace!

You can’t have climactic scenes throughout the whole book. This would be exhausting to read, and would ignore the whole point of climaxes. But you may want more than one climax. In The Devil’s Own Dice I knew there would be a big battle in the middle of the story. Inevitably this has to be very tense and a climax of some sort. But I didn’t want it to be the final climax. This made things tricky. I got round it by making the lead up to the battle quite leisurely and keeping the tension high afterwards. I also had a strong ‘insight’ scene after the battle, so that we see a previous love affair in detail and how it affected the main character. This kept the pace up, because of the tension of an affair, but also allowed the reader a bit of a contrast to battle. I had to make sure the final climax was even more exciting, but on the whole I think the reader feels they got a bonus, rather than a let down

Using Chapter Breaks and Scene Switching

I put these 2 factors together because they sometimes amount to the same thing.

Because you will want the climax somewhere near the end of the book, each chapter should, on the whole, be more gripping than the last. This drags the reader along and won’t let them put the book down. For this reason, you should normally end each chapter on a cliff-hanger. That is, they should either be just about to learn something, or have just seen some action but not know the outcome. This will make the reader want to turn the next page.

If the book has a large cast and a complex arena of action such as the invasion of Earth in my science fiction book Worlds Like Dust, you might try switching between different areas of action, either at section breaks or chapter breaks, rather than trying to describe it all simultaneously. Allowing yourself to describe one piece of action completely before switching to another increases tension, because the reader is wondering in the back of their mind what has happened to so-and-so in the other scene. Tolkien does this brilliantly in Lord of the Rings. You must handle continuity very carefully when you do this.

So, in conclusion, to vary pace, use:

  1. Action Words and Expletives
  2. Short Sentences
  3. Time
  4. Adversity or Obstacles
  5. Reduced Number of Commas
  6. Chapter Breaks and Scene Switching

Join me for the final part of this series 6. Editing in two weeks’ time.

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Coming Soon! RIP – the greatest story adventure!

RIPSubscriptions will soon start for RIP – a scifi, paranormal and  alternative history adventure in the online magazine format.

There is a RIP in the fabric of time space which allows two spirits, joined by the dream of a world that might break out of a cycle of progress and destruction, to seek each other out, again and again. Omah is a man with a key, but he knows not what it will open. Bri is an empath of outstanding ability. Together they will find a way to open up the RIP and find man’s destiny.

Subscriptions will be for $0.99 for 2 chapters per month (RIP Prime), or $0.49 for one chapter per month (RIP Stream 1 or 2), of a story that will build into seven novels of up to a million words and take years to complete.

You will be able to get all chapters or choose your genres from two streams:

Stream 1: Mostly Alternative History and War thriller, with some Romance

Stream 2: Mostly Science Fiction and Romance, with some Alternative History

The first two chapters will be FREE! And you will get one month free after you subscribe and a further month’s trial subscription after that.

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Would a subscription for magazine delivery of fiction work?

Too Bright the Sun cover

Too Bright the Sun cover

I wrote about the idea of subscribers in my 2010 scifi book Too Bright the Sun. In the story, Army officers during wartime were required to create video podcasts for subscribers, as a way of raising income for the army. Somebody in the Tom Winton Authors Helping Authors group on Facebook recently posted an idea of a group of writers offering a subscription deal to read a chapter of their work each week in magazine form.

While the subscription services idea sounded great to me at first, I spent some time thinking on it and thought that while it is probably fine for non-creative industries and occupations like soldiering and construction, there are potential problems for creative industries.

The idea of publishing a chapter a week sounds great. I am very productive and just published 4 novels in 8 weeks but even I need a break now and then. I don’t foresee me doing anything but editing for the next few months (yes I have 2 more completed works). Nobody is going to want to subscribe to that! I think such a service would have to be either pay-as-you-go or you would need a large number of writers to guarantee that there is always content and if you did that, you would need admin staff running the thing, hence putting up the overheads.

However, I see a bigger problem; making the actual creative process on-demand introduces and element of performance, which will affect the work. Let me explain; I have written 2 novellas specifically for commercial gain and I set myself a time limit to do it. Most writers and artists have probably done something similar but to do this all the time seriously would threaten to undermine the very foundation of true art.

Who hasn’t written a book for their own pleasure and many great works of art have been an unexpected success. To churn out creative work to schedule all the time would not be art but craft.

Then there is the issue of editing! Who hasn’t written a first draft, only to find that Chapter One should start completely differently or should come later in the book? There is no way you can construct a good piece of art in a linear fashion. You ALWAYS need to go back and change things. If you don’t, you are almost certainly writing inferior fiction and the readers are going to notice. I suspect that a subscription service like this would suffer from very low quality levels at the very least.

Furthermore, what about an artist who wouldn’t or couldn’t compete in such an environment, were it to take hold. Kate Bush would be a good example. Who can deny the brilliance of her recent album, Aerial? And yet this took about 10 years to make and nobody knew what she was up to. She had complete lack of pressure and look at the result! I doubt she could do create such beautiful work to a deadline. Other artist may be able to but not all.

There is also the issue of exclusivity, or more accurately, limiting the licence using exclusion. What if I am a musician (I like using the musician analogy because it is often more collaborative and I used to be a musician) was working on a Kate Bush album. I know Kate insists on complete secrecy in all she creates. There is no way that musician could blog/Vlog about what he is doing with her and yet it might be hard for him or her to judge where to draw the line themselves. What if they are practicing a certain style of playing or researching a style for her album? Would she object to the artist giving that away innocently? You bet she would.

Lastly, what about unscrupulous bottom-feeders like the paparazzi? In this case, they might be called ‘subscriperazzi’ but their intentions would be the same. Some of them would pay good money to publish information about upcoming projects from the greats.

In short, making the creative process part of the publishing process so intimately introduces a great danger to the quality of art and indeed to its very survival. Do you we really want to see a 22nd century where art no longer exists and is simply replaced by a form of craftsmanship? Have we really reached the zenith of ART?