Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Fleeting Tales #26: Violence, short stories and Corona!

This is the first blog post since I finished the original draft of The Kinetic a few months ago, so I thought it was about time I gave you all a quick update on what's going on.

The Kinetic has been released, as you may or may not know, and is doing reasonably well so far. I've had a couple of reviews on Amazon.co.uk which helps, although more would be very much appreciated if any of you have finished it yet. The power that reviews have on Amazon really can't be underestimated, so if you have a spare five-minutes and fancy chucking a few words down then I'd be extremely grateful.

I've also had a few more reviews for Kinesis over the past weeks and it has finally passed the 200 reviews mark in the UK, although it's trailing a little in the US with only 58 at the time of writing. A couple of these reviews have had me thinking and they lead me onto my first point.

Violence in Kinesis (some of this contains spoilers for Kinesis):
Two of the more recent reviews I've received for Kinesis on the US Amazon site have mentioned the violence in the opening chapters of the book and given pretty negative comments as a result. 

I understood that the beginning of the story might be quite shocking to some readers, although I tried to make it clear in the synopsis of what the start of the story involves. I really didn't get what all the fuss was about, and was sure that I had read much worse in some of the novels of Stephen King, James Herbert and similar. 

Then I decided to re-read the first two chapters with this in mind and realised that perhaps I'm

actually a psychopath! It absolutely is pretty disturbing - especially since the reader is plunged straight into this world of violence - and I could easily understand how people might find it upsetting, especially with the implied rape and attempted rape involved.

When I originally wrote that book, I was basically trying to get to the end of the first chapter where the line "...his eyes flickered and then opened." made an appearance. That was all I was aiming for since that was the image I had in my mind before writing. This man, beaten down while his family are brutalised  suddenly regains consciousness. The implication being that something is going to happen to change this horrific situation - that was the REAL start of the story.

But I needed a way to get there convincingly. So I created a violent home invasion to incite the necessary loathing of the two invading characters, so that Leonard's subsequent actions are in some way justified.

The image of this man - beaten while his wife raped and his son murdered - was so strong that I had to include it in the book since this is the scene that creates the momentum which drives the story from that point on. Leonard Samson is a victim - not just a victim of this horrific event - but of what he is. I wanted to make him weak, vulnerable and worthy of the reader's sympathy. Perhaps in writing the first chapters without creating any lead-in for such horror, I went a little overboard in trying to get this message across, and I appreciate that some readers feel this to be the case.

I tried not to be gratuitous and I would never explicitly describe a rape in any of my novels; Leonard's wife is simply lead from the room while the implication of what is about to happen to her hangs in the air. However, I wanted to create a set of circumstances that anyone would find terrifying in order for Leonard to, not only take the action he takes, but also expose himself as a Kinetic in a world that detests such people.

The feedback and reviews I've received regarding this violence originally made me consider toning it down in the latest edition of the book, because the overall story was never intended to be gratuitous and horrific violence. I used violence to propel the story along and generate characters which the reader hates (and characters who eventually get their comeuppance I hope). I wanted the reader to hate certain characters and feel satisfied by the end of the story that these people have got their just-deserts (with a little sadness of course as the opposite situation plays out for other, good, characters).

Eventually, I decided not to tone down the opening chapters, only because I think it would completely change the book and I don't want to do that - I'm happy with the story (if not the writing). I have however decided to place a warning at the end of the synopsis on Amazon in order to warn readers that they might find the opening a little uncomfortable. I hope this does the trick because I don't want to disgust my readers! I simply want them to root for the good guys!

Short Stories:
Those of you who have been following my posts and Facebook for a while might recall that a long, long time ago - and in what might as well have been a galaxy far, far away - I mentioned writing a short-story anthology. This has inevitably failed to materialise because of the frustratingly simple reason that I haven't written enough short stories!

I am however trying to rectify this and have a few that I'm happy with, although nowhere near enough to justify releasing it just yet. The compilation will probably include Safeguard when it is eventually ready and perhaps a number of other stories based in that universe as well as other, unrelated, stories.

I'll keep you updated... hopefully sometime before Fleeting Tales #598.

This might be the title of the final book in the Kinesis series. I'm currently working through the chapter outlines, although I have a general idea of what will happen in the story. The ending is pretty safely embedded in my head now and I'll start writing it in the next few months when everything is tied down.

Not much else to say about that just yet. 

Thanks for reading this slightly extended post and please follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorethanspier if you've yet to do so... oh and please leave a review on Amazon too!

Cheers all,

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Fleeting Tales #25: The Kinetic - 1st Draft Complete!

Photo: The Kinetic - 1st draft - done... finally!
The Kinetic - first draft of many

The Kinetic: First draft

Well, a few months later than expected I have finally finished the first draft of The Kinetic. It's been a tough slog in places to be honest, which hasn't been helped by me having a busier year than I originally anticipated - one that included a prolonged, and pretty hectic, house move. But with the first draft finally here, I suppose it's time for a quick update on what's going on.

Well now that the first draft has been finished, I'll get my team of proofreaders on the case (my wife and my parents). After they've given me their feedback on what works and what doesn't, I will then go through and make any required changes.

After a couple of weeks, I'll then go through the manuscript at least another two or three times to make sure I've caught any typos or grammatical errors (hopefully I'll do this to a reasonable standard, although this can sometimes be an ongoing process as I have found out with Kinesis, but more on that below).

The Kinetic: coming soon
With all this in mind, I would hope that the book will be available towards the end of February or at the latest, beginning of March. Initially I am going for a Kindle-only release of this book, although other e-reader formats should follow very shortly. The few of you that require a paperback version might have to wait a little longer, but I will give more info on that once the book has been released.

Kinesis: Re-edit

In other Kinesis related news, I am currently re-editing the first book in the series as I have recently gone through it again and found a number of typos, grammatical errors and just general poor writing that I really want to rectify. I'm confident that this - 5th edition of the book - will be the final edition for the foreseeable future.

Other books:

Finally, I'll just mention quickly of what my plans are with future books. Since I'm fully Kinesis-ed (that's a tough one) out, I doubt I will begin work on the final book in the series for a while. I've got a few ideas on how the conclusion to the trilogy will go but I have a lot of plot to work out yet.

So with that final book on the back-burner for a few months, I've got a few ideas for stories that I'm going to work on first. Some will be short stories, others novellas, and I even have ideas for a novel or two in the old noggin so check back here, or my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/authorethanspier) for up-to-date news.

Thanks for reading, and all your patience in waiting for this long overdue sequel!

Speak soon,


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Fleeting Tales #24: The Kinetic - it's coming, I promise...

Once again, it's been a while since my last update and there are a couple of reasons for that, but rest assured that I'm still alive and still writing... honest.

The main reason for my lack of activity during the past couple of months is to do with the fact that I have recently moved house which turned out to be a little more prolonged than we expected. As a result, I didn't really have a writing space set up for a few weeks so couldn't do too much work. Now - finally - I have a new office set up in my garage and can really get on with finishing The Kinetic.

At least that was what I thought a few weeks ago...

Since having a few months off from writing I have found it a little difficult to get back into, which is pretty frustrating in all honesty. I really want to get this book done because I have other ideas I want to work on and also want to get cracking on the final book of the trilogy.

The problem is that, by not writing for a while, the story seems to have stagnated a little and there are parts I have found I'm unhappy with. I have been going through what I have written and have changed sections but have not really progressed the story a great deal. I don't usually alter things until the first draft has been completed and only then do I really go at it with my red pen, but this time I've certainly altered a lot more during this first stage and I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing.

This all came to a head last week when I sort of forced myself into writing some new chapters. I wrote around 500-words in an evening and that was a real struggle; I just couldn't get into a flow and lacked confidence that what I did get down was going in the right direction. I gave up.

Then, later that evening after my family had gone to bed, I decided to give it one more try. This time it was a completely different experience. I managed to get over 3000-words down in just a couple of hours and I really felt that what I had written was heading more in the right direction.

I've just finished another 1000-words tonight and am enjoying watching the word-count increasing as the story gradually builds and I can feel it gathering momentum once again. I can't wait to get this story finished, so please be patient. Although the November release is now out of reach, I'm going to work as fast as possible and will post updates on The Kinetic as soon as there is some news.

Thanks for waiting and keep reading!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Fleeting Tales #23: Not rushing, and the difficulty of sequels.

It's been a while since my last post and that is mainly because I have very little to post about unfortunately.  I have been hard at work with the sequel to Kinesis, although I have very little to show for it at the moment (I'll go into that a little more below). The 'hard work' stems mostly from going through the plot and trying to work out various holes etc, rather than actually getting the words down.

Before I go into the difficulties I'm having with The Kinetic, I just want to acknowledge the benefits of not rushing this novel. I didn't rush through the writing of Kinesis as I didn't give myself a deadline and I didn't really put myself under any pressure to finish it in a certain time-frame. Having said that, I did like to write at least 1000 words a day just to make myself feel better and convince myself that I would one day finish it. This 1000-words-a-day inevitably didn't always happen due to the fact that I have a family and a full-time job outside of writing. But I did find that some days I would write two, and sometimes three or four thousand words, which counterbalanced the times when I wrote zero.

What I'm getting at is that I wrote Kinesis on my own terms and didn't force myself to write (too much) when I really didn't feel like it - I didn't rush it.

Kinesis: Available for FREE from Amazon
This also goes for Kaleidoscope, although I did give myself a deadline for that one. Kaleidoscope was a very difficult book to write, but it was one that I really wanted to get down on paper and finished, so that inspired me to keep at it even when I didn't feel like writing.

I think that by not rushing my books and giving myself plenty of time, it gives me the opportunity to re-think the plot over and over so I can iron out any problems. Kinesis wouldn't have been half the story it is if I had gone with my original idea and stuck to it without thinking up extra sub-plots and working out all the holes; something that wouldn't have happened if I had given myself an unrealistic deadline. I spent many days writing nothing at all while working on Kinesis, but I was always thinking about how it could be improved, giving the story time to grow. This is the advantage of not rushing, whereas the disadvantages are obvious I guess - my output is lower than it might otherwise be.

This brings me onto my latest project, The Kinetic. Writing this book has been so much more difficult than I ever imagined and I have a new-found respect for all writers who make their original story expand into a series of novels.

I added an epilogue to Kinesis which opened up the possibility for a sequel on just a whim really. I had no intention of writing it in reality; I simply liked the idea that the story went beyond what I had written. When I decided to actually go through with The Kinetic, I was a little daunted to say the least. I came up with the basic story while writing Kaleidoscope and it has changed a little since then, but remains fundamentally the same - the story focuses on Holly Samson.

Kaleidoscope: Available from Amazon
Here's the problem - I've given myself a deadline of November 2013 for the release of this novel. This is something I really want to stick to (and I hopefully will), but at the same time I really don't want to rush through it and disappoint the readers. I know I won't release the book unless I'm happy with it, even if that means it's a couple of months late, but I must admit I'm starting to feel the pressure of getting it finished (it's only self-inflicted pressure; people aren't bashing down the door for another book I can assure you).

In terms of how it is actually going at the moment, well I think I've just about flattened all the little bumps in the plot and am pretty much on the home straight. I'm still about 40,000 words away from finishing the first draft so there is still a long way to go, but as long as I keep at it over the next few weeks I think the November deadline is a realistic one.

Finally, I'll just mention that I have a few ideas for my next novel; some better than others. But I think I'm going to go for one which will probably be a stand-alone science-fiction story called 'The Valleys'. It centres around the story of two children - a brother and sister - who are living in a world devastated by the effects of an alien invasion some years before. I haven't really planned much more beyond that at this stage, but it will be released some time in 2014.

Please 'like' by facebook page (www.facebook.com/authorethanspier) to receive up-to-date news on how my novels are progressing.

Ethan Spier


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Fleeting Tales #22: The Kinetic - An Update

The Kinetic:
I'm currently working on the sequel to my debut novel, Kinesis, which will hopefully be released later this year. It will be called The Kinetic and follows several characters from the first book, although I have found it much harder to begin writing than I anticipated.

I have had a basic idea for the sequel rattling around for a quite a while and knew roughly where I wanted the story to go, although this has changed a little in the time it has taken to write my second novel, Kaleidoscope.

The Kinetic will be set seven years after the events of Kinesis and follows Clarissa Chapman (now a superintendent) and Holly Samson (now studying at college), as well as several other characters from the first book. The story will reveal a little more about where the ability's origins lie as well as several other subplots (one involving a serial killer).

The problem I've had with writing it so far is that I couldn't pin down how far after Kinesis I wanted it to be set. I had ideas for stories which were set 2, 4 and 7 years after the first book, all of which could have worked. But having finally settled on one, writing is now moving steadily forward. I am around a quarter of the way through at the moment, but have also planned a little on where it will go next.

So, just to let any interested parties know, The Kinetic will most likely be the second in a series of three books (I know, a trilogy... how predictable). Unless things change radically in where I want the story to go, this is almost definite now as the idea I have for the final book wraps things up pretty well.

That's about it until I finish the first draft. I'll post on my facebook page (facebook.com/authorethanspier) when it is complete as I will have a more definite idea on when the release date will be by then, so please check back for updates.

Thanks all,


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fleeting Tales #21: Cancelled Tales

'Well that was a f#*king disaster!' - I could be quoting any number of people but in my head, that particular quote was from The Thick of It.

With that I am referring to the fact that the glorious relaunch of Fleeting Tales I initiated a couple of months ago hasn't really played out the way I hoped. I'd like to thank the two authors who contributed stories to my blog as I really did enjoy reading them and I had a big hike in visitors when they were featured, which hopefully resulted in a bit of publicity for all of us. However, getting authors to contribute short stories for free has proved a little harder than I anticipated and I think I will now have to abandon the initial premise of this blog for good.

So what now? Well, to be honest I don't really know. I think for the time being I'll return to updates about my forthcoming books and anything else of interest which I hope a few people would like to read about then, who knows?

I'll be giving an update in a few days about my next novel, The Kinetic, a sequel to my debut - Kinesis.

All the best.

Speak soon,


Monday, 18 March 2013

Fleeting Tales #20: Maxwell's Demon by Jacob Prytherch

This short story comes from Jacob Prytherch, an author who was also featured a few weeks ago.

Maxwell's Demon by Jacob Prytherch

I want to wrench the sun from it's perch and drown it in spit, crushing and pressing it down until it collapses in on itself. Dark matter, a black hole. Diamonds in an empty cosmos, reflecting nothing. It punctuates a picture I no longer want to see... a man, hunched shoulders giving the image of a dessicated spider's corpse. A perch of rain soaked rocks over atlantic coast, the edge of the sunken world.
That face, those lines of concern and self pitying anguish, skin quivering either from tears or from the movment in the brackish sea water. Kelp twitches past, locked in an embrace with rotting wood lost from land, miles from home.
Those eyes cut into me, grey as ghost skin. Maxwell.
The surface twitches with a new zephyr that tosses a sticky mass of hair across cheeks that seem too sharp for humanity. A tongue, almost purple with cold, licks cracking lips and savours the blood vessels that have seeped through their makeshift doorways and made their escape.
Revulsion is all I can register when I look at that face, staring back at me from behind the shifting foam. The face is mine but I feel no connection to it.
Death is too good for such a creature, but it is all that waits. Deeds are done and deeds are known and deeds are felt with regret, but they are never undone. There must be resolution.
Did the child scream, or had it simply been his own soul expelling its last shred of humanity before spiralling away?
The body still lies a little way off, water pressing in on it and leaving a halo of foetid scum on the blood soaked clothes. Perhaps the lapping waves were urging the thin legs into an awkward jig upon the polished pebbles but the face doesn't move to look. Rheumy eyes remained fixed on mine.
Rain begins to stab at the image, bursts of movement on a face that registers nothing.
There must be an end.
I reach forward towards the surface, my thin fingers twitching with anticipation as I curve my body towards the threshold, the plane that marks the divide, the ever shifting tide.
The surprise on his face is a marked change as my hand plunges from the water to grab his feeble throat. The flaps of ageing skin that encircle his neck slip and slide over convulsing tendons.
With a single wrench of my arm my quarry is within the frozen waves.
Air is a memory that is expelled.
A haze of blood from a broken mouth stretched to a scream.
There is no reflection of a man who cannot call himself a man, only the demon.
I am Maxwell's Demon.
I was Maxwell's Demon.


Calling all indie authors! 
If you would like to have your short story (up to 2000 words, although this isn't set in stone) featured on my blog to showcase your writing, then please send an email with your story as an attachment and a brief bio to: ethanspier1980@gmail.com