Two new ebooks: “The Activist, or the Snake’s Chuckle” and “The Activist, or the Snake’s Chuckle: A fantasy collection” are now available!

theactivistorthesnake'schuckleebookcover

Hey everyone. Just blogging here to announce the release of my two newest ebooks: A fantasy novella called “The Activist, or the Snake’s Chuckle,” and a fantasy collection called “The Activist, or the Snake’s Chuckle: A fantasy collection,” which, in addition to having that novella, also has four short stories in it by yours truly.

Here are the blurbs, first for the novella:

When Koromo Samver, leader of the spiritual/social movement known as the World Activists, receives a letter from her old mentor, Mother Dimina, summoning her back to the Mountain Monastery, she answers it without believing much will come of it.

As it turns out, the Mountain Monastery is under attack by Lord Skamva and his Trinity, a group of demons thought to have been banished three hundred years ago. Even worse, a terrible skin disease–one which drives the infected insane and often leads to suicide–has spread throughout the Order of the Monks, infecting almost all of the Monks, including Mother Dimina herself.

And when Koromo herself comes down with the disease, she must race against time to find the cure for the disease and stop the demons before they succeed in destroying the Monastery. Because if she fails to stop the demons, then not only will the Order fall, but the rest of the World as well.

And the collection:

In “The Activist, or the Snake’s Chuckle,” the first and longest story of this fantastic collection, Koromo Samver, leader of the spiritual/social movement known as the World Activists, receives a letter from her old mentor, Mother Dimina, summoning her back to the Mountain Monastery, which she answers it without believing much will come of it.

As it turns out, the Mountain Monastery is under attack by Lord Skamva and his Trinity, a group of demons thought to have been banished three hundred years ago. Even
worse, a terrible skin disease–one which drives the infected insane and often leads to suicide–has spread throughout the Order of the Monks, infecting almost all of the Monks, including Mother Dimina herself.

And when Koromo herself comes down with the disease, she must race against time to find the cure for the disease and stop the demons before they succeed in destroying the Monastery. Because if she fails to stop the demons, then not only will the Order fall, but the rest of the World as well.

In the second story, “The Creator’s Dilemma,” the being called Listener must help his master, the engimatic deity known as the Creator, decide the fate of a woman’s life. When the Creator confesses his love for the woman, however, Listener realizes the situation is far more complicated than it first seemed.

The third story, “The Most Beautiful Island in the World,” features Igici, the King of the Island of Niji, as he works tirelessly to save his people. But after one too many failed schemes on Igici’s part, his friend Gikil is no longer sure she wants to support him.

In the fourth tale, “Not Malicious. Jusy Unlucky,” Alica Onok finds herself alone with the strangest toy fox terrier she has ever met. He claims to be an unlucky spirit named Ginor, but can Alica trust him? And just where did he come from, anyway?

And finally, the collection concludes with the fifth and final story, “The Gift of Valgink.” In this tale, the human slave Desdar and his elvish mistress Kencha are trapped by a tribe of smoke wolves, who claim that Kencha stole their most precious treasure. Will Desdar and Kencha escape alive or are they destined to be little more than fresh meat for the wolves?

Buy them both at these ebookstores (novella for $4.99 and the collection for $5.99):

Amazon/Amazon

Kobo/Kobo

Barnes & Noble/BarnesĀ & Noble

Google Play/Google Play

Smashwords/Smashwords

DriveThruFiction/DriveThruFiction

XinXii/XinXii

Libiro/Libiro

Omnilit/Omnilit

A print version will come out sometime later. If you want to be the first to know about it, then you can sign up to my mailing list here.

Worldbuilding and short stories

Short stories generally do not require as much worldbuilding as novels.

That may seem an obvious thing to say, but it’s something I sometimes struggle with when I’m writing fantasy or science-fiction short stories. Unless I set a short story in a universe I have written in before, it means coming up with a new world to write in. I try not to do a whole lot. Whereas with a novel I might map out the history of the world (to varying depths depending on the needs of the story, of course), with a short story I will stick strictly to what I need and never make notes on it, again unless it happens to be set in a world I’ve already written in before.

Still, despite that, writing short stories can be difficult for me because I run into a couple of temptations.

The first is to expand the short story into a full-length novel. This isn’t an entirely bad thing to happen, mind you, but I don’t always want to write a novel because I’m not always interested in fleshing out a world or universe in immense detail. Sometimes I just want to explore a simple idea, without having to commit to the length of time a novel usually requires.

The other temptation is to not use any of my good ideas. This thought stems from my fear that I might “waste” a really good idea that I could use for a novel later on, but it’s a really silly fear when you think about it. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “wasted” idea. After all, there’s nothing stopping me from taking that same idea later on and expanding upon it in greater detail in a novel.

Nonetheless, every time I sit down to write a speculative fiction short story set in a universe I’ve never written before, I feel like I have to do the same amount of worldbuilding I would do for a novel. This is where I am thankful for the Ambage, my writers’ group. For both of the anthologies that I’ve contributed to so far — Constellations and Fantastic Depths — I’ve forced myself just to write my stories and do only as much worldbuilding as each story requires, no more, no less.

Once I get past this irrational desire to worldbuild in excess, however, short stories are usually great fun for me to write. Not quite as fun as novels, true, but they are still fun, as writing should be.

-Tim