The Melding of Aeris goes Indie

TMOA EBOOK

A month ago, I wrote a post about my decision to cancel my publishing contracts and go indie. The reason for the decision was two-fold. One, to gain control over the actual book: fix typos, edit back matter, and update covers. Two, to gain control over pricing, both retail and promotional.

The first contract came up, and The Melding of Aeris has new life.

Ta da!

Aeris4The most exciting part of the process was popping on the new cover designed by talented artist Jennifer Munswami. The new one is above and the old one at left. Sort of a no-brainer. Of all my books, this is my brother’s favorite, and he’s a wonderful supporter of my work. When he worked for the Navy in Alaska, the old cover presented a challenge. He couldn’t give it away. Covers matter!

How did the rest of the process go, you might ask? A breeze.

The downside? Yes, there is a downside, which I knew in advance. I lost my ranking and most of my reviews. (Amazon moved 6 to the new book. Why 6 ??) Despite the downside, I’m doing a happy dance!

(UPDATE 4/1/16 – All my old reviews have now returned. I seemed to just need some time. I did it by asking Amazon to combine editions. The result: no downside at all.)

Prolog – The Melding of Aeris

Lasandra’s new lips curved in a bow, blood red and as plump and luscious as a bruise. Barely clad, she posed before her silvered looking-glass, glimpsing in her reflection the potential for perfection. Her transfiguration was almost complete, the last scars faint red seams that would fade in a matter of weeks.

She wanted new eyes, green ones, the bright emerald of spring grass or fresh limes, and a cascade of long curls as black and thick as a moonless sea. She’d spotted the ones she desired in the marketplace. The woman sold yellow onions from a crudely woven basket. Poor and barefoot, she would sell hers, surely. Lasandra could afford whatever the woman asked, and she’d purchase replacements. She wasn’t merciless; she wouldn’t leave the woman bald and blind.

Her fingers traced the tiny jewels arching over her eyebrows, four on each side. She’d decided on fire rubies with simple gold settings, nothing ostentatious. Bone-studding was nothing new, but with the other modifications, the gems dazzled the eye. And it hadn’t hurt at all when Syr Sorelis drilled the dainty screws into her forehead. Thank the alchemists for that little miracle.

A sultry pout over her shoulder, she turned in the mirror, admiring her skin. The designers had schemed with her for more than a year, visualizing something asymmetrical yet precisely balanced. And the Bestiary had grown the species exactly to her specifications, no easy task. The serpent skin scalloped like black lace over fresh snow: sheer, delicate, and soft to the touch. It curled across her skin, beginning behind her ears and swirling across her breasts and belly, down the inside of her thighs where it tapered to slender points near the knees. It sheathed her hands and forearms like fingerless gloves.

The fur alone had required years to cultivate for she desired fine black and white stripes with the texture of velvet. The first animals had been deplorable, their pelts coarse, the fur long and thick. When finally a creature met her expectations, the transfiguration melded its skin to her shoulders like epaulets, formed a curved V down her back, and covered every inch of her legs where she hadn’t already melded the snakeskin. Stripes ringed her long, silken tail.

Undeniably stunning, a human art form…almost.

As she studied her composition in the mirror, it was all too evident that her brown hair and brown eyes simply wouldn’t do.

USA – UK Canada – Japan

(sorry it’s not available everywhere yet)

(BTW in Japan, the title is translated as The Melting of Aeris 🙂 )

Eye of the Beholder

pixabay - natureworks

pixabay – natureworks

I don’t know why the science of light and color caught my attention. Perhaps it’s the fantastical element of how this intricate world works that intrigues me. The initial leap sent my imagination cartwheeling. Another perceptual shift in reality and possibility. More inspiration.

My first memory of the nature of color is the moment I learned that when we interpret something as being “red,” the object is actually all the colors except “red.” Red is the merely the wavelength of light the object reflects. This rule applies to every person and thing entering our vision – we see reflected light, not what is absorbed, not the “color” they are, not the solid objects at all.

Well, in my little pea-brain, that’s mind-blowing.

pixabay public domain pictures

pixabay public domain pictures

Waves of light are received by the unique cones and rods in our retinas and interpreted by our one-of-a-kind brains. Each eye has about 6-7 million cones that receive intense levels of light and create the sensation of color. Each eye also has about 120 million peripheral rods, which are more sensitive to dim light and transmit black and white information to the brain. This is why nightfall drains the color of the day. It’s not magic after all.

Biologically, what I see is different from what you see. Red to me is different from red to you. It’s all interpretation, perception, not of solid objects and entities but of waves of light. As I look around my living room this morning, I shift my perception, aware that I see only light beams.

It’s all light, all perception, beauty in the eye of the beholder.

So where does this science take me? Straight into fantasy, of course.

pixabaystevebidmead

pixabay – stevebidmead

When writing The Melding of Aeris, I researched the visual perception of animals. In the book, humans have developed the ability to graft animal skin, scale, horns, other stuff, and eyes to their bodies. (I know, weird, but that’s me). I learned that although humans discern a broader spectrum of colors than most mammals, many animals perceive color better than we, see sharper and farther or have vision highly attuned to movement. A variety of birds, fish and insects see the shorter wavelengths of ultraviolet light invisible to the human eye.

Well that’s cool. What else can’t we “see?”

pixabay geralt

pixabay geralt

Centuries after Newton first observed that color is not inherent in objects, our scientists experiment with bending waves of light. Since all we see is reflected light, it makes sense that if we bend it around something, we render that thing invisible. In The Bone Wall, a few characters have developed the ability to manipulate light waves. Of course, to my thinking, if we have the skill to bend light, why not waves of sound and heat as well? I travel that path without a second thought.

I’ve always liked musing about perception, chipping away at the borders of what I imagine is real. I like watching science “discover” what ancient wisdom has been teaching for thousands of years. We all experience those laughable moments when science proves a truth we already know. At the same time, I relish my eye-opening moments when science flints a spark of creativity and leaves me with the question, “What if?”

 

 

Poetry through the ages…of me.

flickrcom

On rare occasions, poetry pops into my dreamscape complete, every word in place and patient for ink. Well, last night that did NOT happen. Instead, what popped into my head was a poem I wrote when I was 8, followed by another I wrote at 20, and one beyond that.

What popped into my head was an idea for a post!
A good thing, since I was coming up with squat.

Below are those poems:

commonswikimediaorg1

 
 

Age 8 – as written

Patterns 

If all the world were patterns
Ill tell you what there woud be
A dot woud be a flower
A line woud be a tree.

commonswikimediaorg1

 
 

Age 20 – after staying up all night trying to write a poem for class, I gave up and wrote this

Two Ravens 

Two ravens sat one sunny day
Upon a scarecrow stuffed with hay.
They perched on his arm and pecked at his head
Just to see whether the bastard was dead.

Although not quite certain the poor soul was dead
They looked at each other and one raven said,
“He must be real stupid with a head full of weeds.”
“Pretty damn ugly,” the other agreed.

Up and down its arm they paced.
They looked in its eyes and said to its face,
“Not very kind of your family or friends
To leave you out here in the rain and the wind.”

The ravens they strutted in deep contemplation
Worried to death by the sad situation.
They sought for an answer to bring him relief
But the scarecrow’s position was far past belief.

When on came the evening the facts they did face
That the scarecrow was really a poor hopeless case.
They filled up their beaks with plenty of corn
And headed due west over cornfields toward home.

commonswikimediaorg1

 
 

Age 50 – written for The Melding of Aeris

In the Garden 

In the garden of eternity
Beauty unveils her secret soul
From the dark and silent soil
Unaware of her own loveliness

She is the verdant field, the quaking leaves
Arching branches heavy with summer sweet
He finds her entangled in creeping vines
Wending the pathways to his heart

She colors the lover’s ardent cheek
Burns in the flames’ crimson belly
Her fingers pry open the secret worlds of night
To find him, buried in a gemmed mine
Yet undiscovered
Longing

They travel this journey side by side
Beauty and Love
that the desert may become a garden
that timid wings may rise in flight

And when the petals fall
Carried by winter’s white wind
Love will bear Beauty beyond the veil of death
Into eternal spring.

commonswikimediaorg1

 

 

Poetry image from flickr.com
Flower image from commons.wikipedia.org

Launch Party – The Bone Wall

imagesLaunch Day came and went, but it’s not too late.  

The Bone Wall is officially official. Available on Amazon Kindle’s KDP program for 90 days before it expands into other formats that I have yet to figure out.  This is the launch of the book and the start of my experiment in self-publishing.

Still Available:

Bone Wall CoverFree kindle download of The Bone Wall with a quasi-commitment to bless me with a review. (I promise no pestering if for some reason you decide not to).

To get this rolling, just drop me note in the contact form below mentioning The Bone Wall. I’ll use your email address to gift you a kindle copy of the book.

Five Elements CoverFree pdf download of the new Sci-fi/Fantasy release Five Elements Anthology by me and my Writers Group buds. Six authors with seven unique short stories despite the fact that they all include: 1. an alien, 2. a ghost, 3. a spaceship, 4. a conflict with a boss, and 5. a…fireplace poker? Download your Five Elements Anthology here: Five Elements Anthology PDF

 

The Bone Wall

This is a dark, gritty fantasy. Not for the prim or squeamish.

Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.

For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world.

Thank you for helping me celebrate.

thank you