Monday, August 22, 2016

A Note on Fauna


One of the Pela's any sorts of feathered fauna, a “sentry serpent” first appeared in The Black Bright Sea. In the first edition of this story, the sentry serpent was incorrectly described as a snake rather than as a serpent type of dragon. I regret this error. I can only claim that term “sentry serpent” led me to assume the creature was a snake rather than the long, Chinese-style " serpent dragons" of the Pela. That, and the great distance from which this story originates – untold numbers of light years and perhaps 80,000 years in the future. At the time I rather wondered how this creature could move – my inaccurate description had it moving by a combination of wiggling and expanding and contracting it's feathers never seemed to make much sense. And so on further investigation I discovered my mistake.

This mistake was corrected in later editions of the story. (Non-Amazon editions can be updated with new editions from Smashwords and iBooks. Newer editions, in addition to this correction have many typos corrected as well. Highly recommended.)


Siss

The actual sentry-serpent, or Simla dragon as it is know in the part of the Pela that the Castaways of the Lost Star takes place in, is a serpent dragon which looks much like a rather slim, feathered crocodile. (See the quick sketch above.) Simla dragons move in weightless conditions much like earth crocodiles swim through water, using their tail, with it's feathers extended to create a broad paddle, and with a little help from their legs.

I mention this because that a Simla dragon is a character in the Castaways of the Lost Star, and if anyone reads that story from the first edition of The Bright Black Star, may well be confused by the metamorphosis of this sentry-serpent into something rather different.



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Castaways of the Lost Star


The adventures, and misadventures of Captain Wil Litang continue with the release of The Lost Star Tales #2, Castaways of the Lost Star. Wil Litang is back to spin another of his “old spaceer's” tales, this time of danger and romance amongst the floating islands of the Archipelago of the Tenth Star. When we had last seen Litang, at the end of The Bright Black Sea, he had embarked on what proved to be an ill considered mission to warn the friends he'd left behind that the old leader of the counter-revolution, Hawker Vinden, could not be trusted. And that he was brutally ruthless enough to murder a dozen people, including old friends and shipmates, just to insure the secret of the Tenth Star did not leak out.

As we know from the end of The Bright Black Sea, something went awry. Litang awakens in the wreckage of the gig smashed into on a small floating island that is drifting ever deeper into the archipelago. And he finds that he's not alone – a very mixed blessing.

Castaways of the Lost Star is the first story, or “episode” in Litang's adventures amongst the islands of the Archipelago that will be (hopefully) eventually collected into The Lost Star's Sea, a companion volume to The Bright Black Sea. It is, however, a novel length story – nearly 73K words long – and acts as the hinge between Litang's adventures in the Nines Star Nebula and his new adventures in the Archipelago of the Tenth Star, wrapping up the loose ends in the former and introducing some of the mysteries and settings in the latter.

Whereas the first book of Litang's adventures was an old style space opera, written in a richer, more character-driven style than the old pulp adventures, Castaways of the Lost Star is a “planetary romance” redone in a similar matter. It seems that the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories that I read in my teen years, many years ago, left their mark in all my writings, and in this story I've taken the typical Burroughs story with a shipwrecked hero in a strange land filled with danger and romance and re-imaged it my style, turning a few of the conventions upside down, while still paying homage to those wonderful stories of Barsoom, Venus, Pellucidar and the Land that Time Forgot.

Castaways of the Lost Star is available for FREE on Smashwords, and will make its way to iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo in the next few days. It is also available on Amazon for $.99, Amazon's minimum price, along with The Bright Black Sea. Smashwords offers a FREE kindle compatible version if you care to take the trouble to side load the mobi version on to your kindle. I am not in the “business” of writing or selling books. I write and publish my stories simply because I enjoy the writing and sharing of them, so that FREE is my preferred price.