Teaser Friday – Excerpt from new SciFi Short Story ‘New Tricks’

Greetings everyone and happy Friday to you all!

To celebrate the weekend rolling round with a cheeky little Bank Holiday attached, here’s an excerpt from a current WIP. This short story, currently titled ‘New Tricks’, is hopefully destined for an exciting anthology planned for relase later in the year. The collection is in its early stages at the moment but if it comes together as planned, it promises to be a strong gathering of tales.

Alas, I can share no more, but please do cast your eyes over this little teaser that is currently the opening of my contribution.

I did promise myself a while ago that I would try writing Space Crime. Here is my first attempt.

Enjoy!

New Tricks

ac0cf721bf8f4a0485571e3e0105d30a“You know you didn’t have to come.”

“Are you kidding?” Helga smiled and Felix could tell she almost meant it. “I can’t wait to be let loose in that lab.”

Felix managed a half-smile of his own. “It’s good of you. I know it’s not exactly the honeymoon you were expecting.”

Helga laughed and accepted the bottled water off the steward with too-white teeth. “If I told you this is a dream holiday to me, you would never have married me.”

“What, you’d prefer to be bent over a microscope in a labour camp gene lab than a resort on a pacific island somewhere?”

“I don’t think they like you to call it a labour camp, darling,” Helga said, sipping her water. “I’m pretty sure the politically correct term Major Raleigh would like you to use is Correctional Facility.”

She patted his leg then leant to peer at the blue swirl of Earth falling away in the distance out of the porthole. Felix felt something warm inside him as he watched the easy way she was swept away with wonder by her first space trip. He himself was having trouble deciding if he’d rather have flunked the physical and been quarantined to Earth for the next six months, pollution, overcrowding and all, than be in the reclining seat on the luxury moon-bound shuttle.

He sipped his own water and looked away from the black curtain of nothing out the window. The shuttle’s environment controls heated the cabin to the perfect temperature but he still had the chill of sweat on his forehead. The passengers around him were all well-dressed and well-off, murmuring amongst themselves, reading or playing on game or book panels. There was a school party taking up the first three rows, a teacher moving amongst them to make sure they didn’t crush each other as they clambered to try and to see out their portholes. He remembered doing a similar trip to the Tranquillity Research and Recreation Centres on the moon at their age. The highlight had been riding the moon buggies through the fine dust of the boarder of wasteland inside the atmosphere shield.

He swallowed, rubbing damp palms on his trousers, wishing that he and Helga were heading no further than the Rec Centre spas and tours. He wondered if the holiday makers really knew what they would find if they got the connecting shuttle to the end of the line.

They might have a better idea now, he thought bitterly, what with the Correctional Facility Lunar Alpha making the headline news the last six weeks.

He pulled out his own data panel and booted it up. The first file that loaded was the image file of Arcadias Cole. This picture always caught him off guard. The boy’s expensive haircut, good posture, the way he managed to look down at the camera and the obvious disdain with which he wore the grey Detention Centre overalls were proof enough of his privileged background even without the attached profile data. Felix could tell just looking at him this was someone who had never been denied anything. But his eyes were the colour of ice and looked right through him, even in this poor-quality digicam image taken in some Detention Centre Processing Lounge.

Cole was only twenty one years old according to the profile. He didn’t seem to have been alive long enough to have developed a taste for destruction. But what did Felix know? He had been in the Ground Corps for three years by that age. He hadn’t killed anyone, then, though. But that was before the war.

Still, it seemed incredible that this boy – who may have easily been an upstart…possibly a rebel, even to have done the things they said he did. But then Felix looked into those eyes and he wondered.

Helga’s warm hand on his leg made him jump. He skipped the image file and the screen switched to Cole’s bio stats, but Helga wasn’t looking at the screen. Concern ghosted in her eyes and she gave his leg a squeeze.

“You’re going to do great,” she said. “It’s just another job.”

Felix sighed and rubbed his eyes. “I told Major Raleigh I don’t do this anymore.”

“Serves you right for being too good at it.”

“I never wanted to be good at it. I couldn’t help that people like to tell me things.”

“They trust you, Felix. You have this…quality.”

“My Father’s the priest. I’m just a soldier.”

“Well they must get something from you. People speak to you…admit things to you. And you can read them. Honestly, they should have had you assigned to the Investigative Service from day one.”

“I’m too old for this.”

Helga chuckled and kissed him on the cheek. “If you’re not too old for a whirlwind romance you’re not too old for a bit of action and intrigue.”

“That was different.”

Her teasing smile melted into something more affectionate. “I’m not angry we’ve had to move to the moon for a few weeks, Felix, if that’s what’s bothering you.”

“This wasn’t how I was planning our life to start, it’s true. But I told them I was done with it,” he dogged on. “I’m supposed to be retired. Major Raleigh signed the release herself.”

“She wouldn’t have asked if it weren’t important, love. And after what that boy did…” Her eyes flicked towards his panel and he turned the screen downward so neither of them had to look at the report. “Well, she’s just keen to be sure he can’t hurt anyone else. And the clock’s ticking.”

Felix nodded, glancing at the overhead chrono display. It was three hours before their connection time on the moon. Five hours before he was due to report in at the Admin Centre of Lunar Alpha. Three weeks to get enough together to formally charge and sentence Cole before his family lawyers could demand his release due to insufficient evidence and slap them with several damaging lawsuits along the way for wrongful arrest.

And then the boy would walk, and with him whatever ability or device he had that enabled him to kill seventeen people in one instant leaving no marks, no destruction, no evidence and no blood.

He shivered again and Helga took his hand. “This will be the last one,” she said. “I’ll help you make sure. I’ve got my solicitor looking into the contracts already. I guarantee, whether you get Cole to talk or not, this will be the last time Raleigh and the IS can call you up. Ok?”

He squeezed her hand. “Thank you.”

Neither of them mentioned that failing to convict Cole wasn’t really an option.

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Wet Wednesday Check-In: Haven, Events and more!

Greetings wonderful WordPress land and a happy Wednesday to you all!

I hope everyone is going well and enjoying the break in the weather. Or not. Oh well, spring showers aside, the year is definitely gathering steam and so am I.

Haven, Book 2 in the Orbit Series, contiues the adventures of the Zero crew and is out Oct 2015

Haven, Book 2 in the Orbit Series, contiues the adventures of the Zero crew and is out Oct 2015

If you haven’t been following me on Facebook or Twitter and have therefore missed my spamming, my second novel, Haven, sequel to Zero and book 2 in the Orbit Series was FINISHED and sent off to the publisher last week. It was a truly momentous feeling! After receiving some good feedback as well as good tips from my beta reader, I’m more excited than ever to share the next instalment in the series with you.

If you’ve not followed the Orbit Series so far, book 1, Zero, was released last year. It’s a character and plot-driven science fiction adventure, following Captain Kaleb Hugo, disillusioned soldier who gets reassigned to a black-ops vessel overseen by the cocky and wry Ezekiel Webb. The rag-tag crew and the questionable missions grate on Hugo to start, but he soon come to discover more than he knew was possible about the truth of the organisation he works for as well as the people that work for it.

There’s drama, action and adventure, the whole package really! It’s been described as ‘Firefly meets James Bond’ and was tremendous fun to write and has been general well-received by fans of Science Fiction and more.

Zero was released Aug 2014 by Dagda Publishing and has blasted into the stratosphere, gaining fans of Scifi, action and general fiction alike

Zero was released Aug 2014 by Dagda Publishing and has blasted into the stratosphere, gaining fans of Scifi, action and general fiction alike

Click here to find Zero on Amazon.

Click here to find Zero on Goodreads.

And now it’s time for book 2. Haven continues the adventures of Hugo, a little older and a little wiser, with another unofficial mission but a more personal axe to grind. It is out October this year and I will be clamouring for ARC readers in the coming months so if you would like a FREE ebook copy in exchange for a review to be posted on or around the release date, comment or get in touch through any of the ways on my contact me page.

SUCH EXCITE.

So whilst Haven builds up its own head of steam, for me it’s time to get on with the next project. Well, three projects actually. Starting another novel and completing two short stories for exciting new anthologies are the next missions on my list. Itching to spout details all over the place but sadly it can only be a tease right now. Do stay tuned and keep an eye on Facebook & Twitter, because I will be spouting the minute I’m allowed to spout.

Digi-Con in Doncaster is on Sun 21st Feb and promises to be a great event for all things out of this world. See you there!

Digi-Con in Doncaster is on Sun 21st Feb and promises to be a great event for all things out of this world. See you there!

I shall finish on another event announcement: I’ll be attending Doncaster Comic Con in February 2016! I love Yorkshire and I love events even more (there’s MILLIONS! Who would have known? Very much enjoying of uncovering this magical world of conventions) so I can’t wait to attend. Looks to be yet another great event with stalls and stars, the whole shebang. It’s on Sunday 21st Feb so I do hope to see you there!

For details of all my upcoming events at which I will be selling & signing copies of my Orbit Series books (Haven will be with me at every event past October 2015) as well as limited edition swag such as badges and bookmarks, check out my events page. The best part of conventions and festivals is talking to fellow fans of the fantastic, so do swing by and say hi if you’re going. I love it!

May the weekend wing round quickly for all of you, folks. Thanks for checking in with me on this wet Wednesday.

Peace & love and lasers to you all!

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A Different Kind of Book Review: Zero by J.S. Collyer #MondayBlogs #bookreview

J. S. Collyer:

Not only has this review of Zero made me beam from ear to ear from the wonderful comments, the review itself has been done in the most lovely way!

Head on over to Marie’s page to check it out and be sure to let her know how great it is :D

Originally posted on 1WriteWay:

Hello, dear Reader.  I’ve managed to squeeze some time into writing a different kind of book review.  This one is for a novel I’ve had for … ahem … well, quite some time.  It’s been available since August 2014.  Sigh.  And I finished reading it back in February.  I’m sharing these details to simply illustrate that, yes, I’m rather slow at reading and reviewing.  But without further adieu, here’s (finally) my review.  Enjoy!

***

Zero

Sarah leaned over and dropped the softcover book onto Michael’s lap. He grunted, startled out of his half-dozing state, his eyes still itchy from too little sleep.  He picked up the book and for a second conflated the book’s cover with what he had seen through his telescope only a few hours before.

“What’s this?”

“A book.” Sarah turned her attention to her hot coffee, avoiding the sight of Michael rolling his eyes.  She waited for…

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Flash for Friday!

J. S. Collyer:

Hey there everyone! Haven, book 2 in the Orbit Series, has officially been handed to the publisher!! It is out of my hands now and next stage is its October launch :D feedback from me beta reader has been good and I’m so, so excited to share the next events in the adventure with you!

In the spirit of milestones, I thought today I’d do another Throwback Thursday and, this time, it’s the first piece of Flash Fiction (fiction 1000 words or less) I ever wrote.

It’s a light-hearted piece about the difficulities of making a dishonest living in today’s world. Enjoy everyone!

Originally posted on The Path - J. S. Collyer's Writing Blog:

Well it’s 560 words, so not *quite* a proper flash fiction. But something Fun For Friday. Who’s up for make Flash for Friday a regular thing? :D

Caffeine Low

“Good morning sir. Welcome to Esquire’s City Coffee Central. How best can I meet your refreshment needs?”

The girl’s smile was so wide Harry was momentarily assaulted with the mental image of the top of her head falling off, baseball cap and all. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, palming the gun in his pocket.

“I can recommend the half and half vanilla and hazelnut skim latte, on offer today in our 12 % on Tuesdays deal, when you purchase a granola muffin or bran bar. We also offer a further 5% if you upgrade to maximo-grande with our September loyalty bonus. Have you a loyalty card?”

“Uh…”

“I am also authorised to inform you that this week…

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Haven news, more North West events confirmed and the Official Zero Soundtrack is out now!

Greetings everyone!

Sorry for the briefness of my check-in yesterday. There has been much going on I haven’t had time to stop. But don’t worry, all of it is good! I’m glad now to have the time to get a few things in order and shared with all you wonderful folk.

Haven, Book 2 in the Orbit Series, contiues the adventures of the Zero crew and is out Oct 2015

Haven, Book 2 in the Orbit Series, contiues the adventures of the Zero crew and is out Oct 2015

Firstly, as you probably know as I haven’t shut up about it in almost 6 months, the much-anticipated sequel to my debut novel Zero, called Haven, is out this October. LET GLEE BE UNBOUNDED! I continue to receive good feedback about Zero and people are already clamouring for the sequel which is brilliant. I’m just hoping against hope that Haven holds up to the demand!

Having said that, I have since had the feedback from my beta reader who has cast her talented eye over the manuscript. She is none other than the wonderful and talented M C Dulac (she has a writing blog and books out of her own – speculative and contemplative stuff worth checking out). Her comments have been very encouraging and have made me believe fans of the Book 1 will indeed enjoy Haven. It is a chance to discover what happens next to our favourite space pirates and M C assures me it is up to standard narrative-wise. She has helped direct me to strengthening a few things too which has made me even more hopeful that the story as a whole will be adventurous, fun and dramatic as well as realistically employing a setting to get into the nitty-gritty of some of the characters’ inner demons. So joy of joys! Let October roll round for release!!

Find out more about Haven on my Orbit Series page.

If you have not done so already, you can grab Book 1, Zero off Amazon as paperback or for Kindle. Just click here!

 For reviews and more, here is Zero on Goodreads also.

 So that’s that and most gratifying it is too!

Movie Con is a convention in Horwich on Sun 8th November with all things movie to get stuck into including a Terminator Exhibition, Cars of the Stars or, and me. Click for website!

Movie Con is a convention in Horwich on Sun 8th November with all things movie to get stuck into including a Terminator Exhibition, Cars of the Stars or, and me. Click for website!

Next to announce is another book signing event in the North West! Thrilled to say I will be attending Movie Con in Horwich, Lancashire on Sunday the 8th November. This looks to be a GREAT event for all movie fans as well as fans of SciFi, costumes, cars of the stars and more. I’ll be toddling along with copies of Zero AND Haven to sign & sell along with exclusive limited addition swag.

Check out the official website for more details and tickets!

For details of all my other appearances confirmed for 2015, (including Talk Nerdy To Me, a FREE event in Preston TOMORROW) see my events page.

So, that is also that. What else?

Oh YES! THE ZERO SOUNDTRACK HAS LANDED!

If the above doesn’t work, click this link to be taken to Soundcloud to play the wonderful, haunting half-hour instrumental written by Paul Batchelor of CtrlAltDel and Ultraviolence fame. Paul has done the most amazing job with this soundtrack – he’s captured the mood of the book fantastically! This is perfect for reading to, writing to or just listening to as you mooch about the house or whilst out and about. It really sweeps you along the mood of the story.

I have lots of plans for this soundtrack – hoping to have official CDs made to sell at my events, among other things. Please do let me know what you think in the comments!

Now, I think that’s us all caught up! My next mission is Talk Nerdy 2 Me in Preston tomorrow and then sorting the last few tweaks of Haven so I can get that sent off to the publisher. After that, oh well, you know me. I have two more short stories for anthologies in the pipeline (more info as and when) and another novel to write by the end of the year!

More details on the new novel the very second I’m allowed to spill, promise.

In the meantime, a huge high-five to all you wondrous folks that continue to read and follow the progress of my little exploits. A giant hi-do and hello to all my new crew members too! Great to have you on board.

Friends old and new, don’t forget I have a lot of short fiction for free right here on The Path – both Flash Fiction (including Zero side-story Downtime) and short stories. If you’re interested in my published works, short and long, click here for my Amazon author page.

Don’t forget you can contact me in lots of different ways too! Just see my Contact Me page. Always pleased to hear from fellow SciFi and fiction fanatics :)

Until next time, folks! Live long and prosper :D

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Super Flash Quickie

Hi everyone!

Just a super fast post today as I’m aware it’s been over a week since I last checked in. I have been visiting family which was lovely but also went on some tours of some historical sites in Shropshire which was wonderfully inspirational! 

There’s also more announcements to make about my next release Haven, the Zero Soundtrack, upcoming events and more!

A huge thank you to everyone who’s journey this far with me :D I’ve reached 350 followers and this makes me so happy! I can’t wait to share everything that’s happening next with you all!

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‘Downtime’ – ‘Zero’ side-story and #FlashForFriday

J. S. Collyer:

For Throwback Thursday this week I thought it would be nice to share some fiction – specifically a Zero side-story. This was released with a special e-book edition of Zero last year through the crowdfunding campiagn but is also posted for free here on my WordPress (although the special e-book edition did have a couple of exclusive Zero side-stories that are not avialable anywhere else)

It’s a nice little and rare glimpse (since Zero is told entirely from the protagonists Hugo and Webbs’ points of view) of two of the chracters close to Webb during a trying time in the story.

Enjoy!

Originally posted on The Path - J. S. Collyer's Writing Blog:

If you haven’t read it here then you have probably heard me shouting from the mountaintops that my debut science fiction novel, Zero, has been accepted for publication and is due to be released August 2014. YES IT’S TRUE. THEY’RE LETTING ME LOOSE ON AMAZON.

Ahem.

You can read the official publication notice here and, if you sign up to Dagda’s newsletter whilst you’re there, you will get updates on the book as well as news on their other works. They accept submissions of poetry, short and flash fiction as well as novel manuscripts and have a rapidly growing catalogue worth checking out.

Rest assured however that I shall not be shutting up about this for some considerable time, so keep an eye on The Path also for cover reveals, commentary on the bittersweet process that is editing, as well as my usual waffle on writing, reading, the universe…

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Sequel Achievement Unlocked: Two Books Further Down the Road

achievement.goal_.mountainWell, spin me round and call me Frank. I’ve written another book.

I kid ye not!

Last year I released my first novel, Zero: a space-pirate-packed romp following the exploits of the crew of an undercover privateer ship that uncovers Orbit-wide revolutionary conspiracies. It is book one in my Orbit Series and has done very well so far, I am very pleased to say, received enthusiastically by fans science fiction and general fiction alike.

See synopsis & reviews on Amazon (and pick up a copy for yourself if you so please!) here

See synopsis & reviews on Goodreads here

I have now finished my final edit of the sequel, Haven. Haven revisits the characters of Kaleb Hugo, former captain of the Zero and his one-time commander Ezekiel Webb, to see how they have moved on (or not) from the tumultuous events at the end of Book 1. They are now that they are faced with a whole new challenge. And this time it’s personal.

Haven, Book 2 in the Orbit Series, contiues the adventures of the Zero crew and is out Oct 2015

Haven, Book 2 in the Orbit Series, contiues the adventures of the Zero crew and is out Oct 2015

I’m super-pleased with how Haven has come together. It’s a different flavour to Zero, no question, lower-key in some ways, more ambitous in others. But is still full of action and intrigue with buckets of character-driven plot twists and turns. I really hope readers of Zero will find it a worthy follow-on.

It has now gone to a very lovely person for a beta-read and then it shall wing its way back to Dagda Publishing to be checked over and finalised ahead of its release this October.

The only thing that pleases me more is looking at the position I’m in now. If you told me at the beginning of 2013 that in two years’ time I would have written two books, one released, one due for release and have the deadline for a third looming, I would have put down my cup of tea, patted you on the shoulder in a pitying manner and said, ‘if you say so’ in an unconvinced sort of way.

What a wondrous drive a deadline can install in you!

Stay tuned for news of the upcoming release of Haven, Book 2 in the Orbit series including its official launch date (and possibly event), more appearences and merchandise as well as details of Dagda’s next planned crowdfunding/pre-order campaign. I’ve been promised there will be lots of exclusive perks potentially up for grabs in order to raise money for the Haven marketing budget. We’re going to make it blast off into the stratosphere!

Now to settle down and try not to bite nails whilst I wait for the beta reader’s verdict.

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Event Announcement – Talk Nerdy 2 Me

Hi everyone! I have confirmed my place at another event, this time one for my fellow Lancashire dwellers.

This great FREE event is perfect for the nerd in everyone. Fri 8th May, Harris Library, Preston from 4pm - 9pm! See you there!

This great FREE event is perfect for the nerd in everyone. Fri 8th May, Harris Library, Preston from 4pm – 9pm! See you there!

I’m thrilled to announce that I will be attending Talk Nerdy 2 Me in Preston on Fri 8th May. This looks to be a great event, held at the Harris Library with lots of stalls for all that is nerdy & geeky (heaven!) as well as a cosplay competition, an open mic event (which I’m going to be brave and participate in) and an Authors’ Corner. I will be there selling & signing copies of my SciFi novel Zero and EXCLUSIVE limited edition goodies.

I know fellow Lancaster author A. S. Chambers, who is the man to read for all your paranormal fantasy needs, will also be in attendance.

Everything SciFi/Fantasy/Fiction fans will enjoy!

If you are in the North West I hope to see you there.

Oh yes and, did I mention, this event is FREE ENTRY? Even more reason to come along for a great afternoon/evening of treats and fun.

There is a Facebook Event and a Facebook Page and a Twitter Account with lots of details so do check it out! I haven’t linked to any website for ticket sales because, yes, it is FREE!

Awesome sauce :)

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Author Interview with Spectrum Books

Greetings everyone!

Hannah made an amazing Marylin Harvey! She is a true spacer!

Hannah made an amazing Marylin Harvey! She is a true spacer!

For those of you that had one, I hope you thoroughly enjoyable Easter Bank Holiday weekend and that much chocolate was consumed. I spent most of mine in Sheffield at Yorkshire Cosplay Con, selling & signing copies of Zero and had a great time! As predicted, there were some truly astounding cosplays and my own glamorous assistant, Hannah, work cosplayed my character Marilyn Harvey from Zero itself!

I want to thank the organisers who had 5000 + Cosplayers turn up and all the wonderful fiction and SciFi fans that came over to say hi and looked at Zero. Hoping to see you all again in the near future.

I can’t wait for my next event which will be Blackpool Comic Con on Sat 12th September. This gives me summer to get the last few edits of Haven wrapped up and get started on my next Project With a Deadline. Yes, I have another!

More for the SciFi fans. More details to follow.

In the mean time, I wanted to share this interview I did with the great Spectrum Books. Nadine of Spectrum was good enough to ask me some questions about writing, my experience and opinion of different methods of publishing (including the old chestnut of self v traditional) and my top tips for writing fiction.

Haven, Book 2 in the Orbit Series, contiues the adventures of the Zero crew and is out Oct 2015

Haven, Book 2 in the Orbit Series, contiues the adventures of the Zero crew and is out Oct 2015

You can find the interview here. Do leave some comments for Nadine to let her know what you think! And check out the rest of the site – she regularly posts author interviews and book reviews. Right up the street of any reader/fiction fan.

Great to touch base with you all! Now I need to get my head down and finish editing Haven so it’s all shiny and ready for its release in October.

Remember to sign up to Dagda Publishing’s Newsletter for further updates on my Orbit Series as well as news about all the other fiction and poetry they release. Again, a must for fiction fans!

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