Happy Tuesday everyone! Today, check out the humorous tale he shares with us, and read the excerpt from his book, Dragon. Welcome, James.
I used to work as a lecturer at a university in Taiwan. I need to be careful here not to name names, but it was in the prefecture of Taipei and the Chinese name of the town translates as clear water (in case anyone Is inclined to check it out). There was a head of department and an assistant head who ran things. The head was a large set, surly figure who lightened up outside of work with a beer in front of him, but was quite taciturn during work hours. I think it was because he was under a lot of pressure from the principal to constantly hit targets. Despite this though he was quite a pragmatic individual, and often used his common sense to ignore policies which were good ideas on paper but unworkable in practice. I remember him as constantly exasperated.
The deputy meanwhile was quite short but possessed a restless energy and enthusiasm which tended to irritate rather than inspire. Although extremely intelligent, he was of an academic turn of mind and constantly got into hot water with ill thought out ideas. One example I recall is him attempting to put on the musical Cats (after someone told him how good it was) and having flyers printed without checking out the logistics such as available student talent or even how to obtain a license to perform the musical. I hear Andrew Lloyd Webber is quite a litigious individual so who knows what may have happened.
Because of their differing physical presence and personalities, they made something of a comedy double act, especially when the assistant head was oblivious to how much he was irritating his immediate superior.
I finished a draft of my first science fiction novel, Dragon, when I was in Taiwan and submitted it to a now defunct publisher called Big Engine. The editor rejected the novel but was very complementary and gave me some helpful advice. One thing which was extremely useful was to make the characters as distinct from each other as possible. Considering this, I didn’t have far to look for inspiration and so Sillow, the small, hyperactive, nervy and impulsive elf and Brok, the surly, ill-tempered barbarian assumed their present characters and their dysfunctional interpersonal dynamic.
I should have dedicated the novel to them but somehow I don’t think they would have appreciated it.
LOL, I bet you had quite a challenge keeping a straight face!
Tell us a little about your book, Dragon!
As worlds conspire against each other, Gax, an insane warlord, stockpiles an arsenal of ancient technology in his attempt to rule known space. Less
Two ill matched and reluctant heroes stand in his way; Sillow, a neurotic and cowardly Sylvan and Brok, a surly and ill tempered Herkulun warrior. After a chance meeting in a seedy, mobster owned casino the two find their fates interlinked as they are propelled into a series of hair raising adventures that takes them from wanted smugglers to agents of a peace keeping alliance.
Asmara was a small desert moon orbiting its gas giant parent at a distance just great enough to put it outside the planet’s radioactive reach. It was a cold, dusty little place, barely capable of supporting microbic life. Yet it did have one thing in its favor, its location.Asmara was in the gray zone, an area of space almost central to the six worlds. None dared lay claim to it and consequently it was free of all outside authority. That was why the crime syndicates built their Pleasure Dome there, and in the two decades after the Dark Age Wars it flourished.
It was here, at one of the casino tables, the last three players of a merciless card game studied their hands. Two of them, a human and a reptilian Tuolon, were far from happy, glaring angrily at the third player as he whistled out a tuneless melody. If Sillow had been human, he would have been judged to be no more than fourteen. He wasn’t; he was a Sylvan, and his childlike face and adolescent build were quite normal for his twenty-five years.
As he looked over his cards from beneath a shock of dark green hair, only his large eyes were visible. It was just as well, for his lips moved frantically as he mentally played through the possible scenarios.
Finally he gave a little nod and placed his cards face down. He took his cigar from the ashtray and began puffing heavily on it. The human, a skinny man with pockmarked features, ran a hand over two day’s stubble,
“Make your damn move,” he growled. “If you’ve got the goods, show them.”
Sillow shrugged. “Hey, give me a break Garrick,” he replied in his soft, musical voice. “You can’t rush something like this.”
He looked at his cards again, studying them as he blew smoke rings in the air. His little feet tapped all the while on the hard marble floor.
His fellow players regarded him with extreme irritation, and the human cameto the decision the Sylvan was playing mind games with them. The truth though was far different. Sillow was scared and was trying to decide how best to safely extricate himself and the credits he needed from his present circumstances.
Although he couldn’t say why, he was certain now the Tuolon was a professional assassin here to kill him. His would be killer even blewhis ship up to stop him escaping.
Since then the little Sylvan had been busy at the tables making the money he needed to get a freighter off the Dome. There was a royal summons to answer and he’d delayed too long already. The message was just one word, Suleiman.
“Okay, ready,” he finally announced. “You want to see this hand it’ll cost you…” he paused for effect, “six more credits.”
The human thought hard for a moment, shook his head then threw the chips into the pot in the middle of the table.
Paperback from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/science-fiction/dragon-396-detail?Itemid=0
This sounds like a really great read, James. Let's see what we can find out about you, the author.
James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and his free time enjoy writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin.
Find out more about James at:
Class Act Books http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/our-authors/manufacturers/james-austin-mccormick
Thank you so much, James, for stopping by and sharing your book, Dragon. I hope you have great success with it.
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3/13/2018 07:42:10 am
What an interesting story! So nice to meet you - Thank you for sharing.
3/13/2018 10:53:09 am
I'm in awe of all the distinctive world-building required to write science fiction. And yet, as your post shows, when it comes to creating characters, we find them all around us! Best of luck with the book.
3/13/2018 02:08:28 pm
Thanks so much for the kind words- I prefer world building to using real settings- it's a big part of why I enjoy writing
3/13/2018 03:09:13 pm
This was a great blog on you.
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