Friday, 19 October 2012

Avenir Girls' Day

It was a surreal experience to look at the faces around me and realise that they understood about the Bug Wars, Ash Lung, angels and spiders, nomads and miners. Four of us in one room for the first time ever! As we discussed our characters and stories, reconciled different elements and brainstormed new ideas, reminisced on Walt's legacy, and exchanged signatures in shiny books, it came home to me once again that I know these people very well, even though we only met that morning.

Stories do that. I've been following these ladies' work for a long time now, editing, tweaking, and enjoying. There are real people behind this world, and it was my great pleasure to meet some of them.

Above, back: Deborah Cullins Smith, Kaye Jeffreys and Mary Ruth Pursselley, contributors to the Avenir Eclectia project. Grab it now!

Avenir Eclectia Volume 1 - Paperback $5.98 (or 4 for the price of 3!)
Avenir Eclectia Volume 1 - Kindle $2.99
Avenir Eclectia Soundtrack by Michael L. Rogers - CD $15.00 or $8.99 on MP3.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Avenir Eclectia - The Beginning

Last week, the first print collection of stories from the Splashdown project Avenir Eclectia was published. I'm so excited! We've been working slowly at this for almost two years now and it's wonderful to see this culmination. Of course, it's just a start - there's much more to come.

There are a bunch of other blogs posting about it this week:

Heather Titus, another contributor, interviewed me about it here.
Travis Perry, my intrepid co-editor, considers the scientific basis for the existence of such a planet.
Contributor Jeff Chapman interviewed Greg Mitchell about his stories.

And much more... a search would serve you well :)

So for my part I'm going to go all the way back to the very first story that I wrote, at a time when nearly no one knew about the project and no one else was writing for it. Thankfully, that all changed! But this first tale was my attempt at setting the bar - I wanted my contributions to be short, punchy, evocative and deep.

I did as every Avenir writer after me would do: I created a character, gave her a name (a somewhat unusual one in this case, because of the cultural shift), a location and a position in life. Then picked a turning point for her to experience in the moment that my window looks in on her.

The part with the song was inspired by a track that had already been written for the project:

I felt the potential in the spawning world, but wanted to begin gently with just a tiny peek. And this is what came out of it...

COOL, SMOOTH METAL by Grace Bridges
First published online on March 12, 2011
Story no. 1 in Avenir Eclectia Vol. 1 (click for buying options: $5.98 paperback, $2.99 Kindle)

Cool, smooth metal met Ave’s fingers as she slid down the wall to sit in the corner. No one would bother her here in this obscure corridor—not for a while, at least. She concentrated, and felt the distant, almost intangible vibrating of the station. Its comfort calmed her, and she hummed to herself, head down, hair shutting out the world and thoughts of Smith. A good kid, but they were both too young—only fourteen Foundings.* And the children—the beggars, the poorest of all beings, who didn’t even have a claim to parents—they looked up to her. She must do right, and not be distracted by an obsession for love, as heady as it was. The time was not yet come.

Ave recognised the tune she hummed, and smiled a little: her name-song, and that of the colony. “Arise, Avenir Eclectia; be strong, Avenir Eclectia. Stand firm, Avenir Eclectia; live on, Avenir Eclectia.” A rousing anthem that gave her the tingles. Her first carer had given her the name of the entire colony: Avenir, though she went by Ave. She placed her hands on the floor, felt her connection to the huge space habitat and the presence of the planet below, and hoped she hadn’t hurt Smith beyond repair. He’d understand, someday. Wouldn’t he?

The beings on the planet called to her and she rested in their mental embrace, sensing only the living station through the cool, smooth metal.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Devil's Hit List by Frank Creed

Splashdown's first new release for October is here!
Check out this excerpt...


The three of us entered the three-story catwalk ringed room.
One of the two figures on the first floor looked up at us, and then exited the room.
“Uh, guys, you may want to hurry,” I said.
“Okay. It will be in this batch,” said Tom.
As he swapped out e-girl’s case of trays, she put a hand on each and closed her eyes a moment, searching for the circuit board. Then she nodded. “Yep, it’s in this one.”
They swapped out my case with miscellaneous boards as well. It was not necessary, but as long as my sister insisted on having me along, it would make Enertech’s lab technicians guess harder at what we had really been after.
The door through which we had entered clicked open. The man who entered wore a rumpled suit and had to be security. His clothing bulged in all the right places for concealed weapons—including at his shoulders that could, by-the-way, bench-press a Buick. “Hi, Tom, how’s it hangin’? Some of the boards we need today were among the ones that cycled up here. Could you check…” His eyes fixed on me and widened slightly.
I’d only once been recognized by a stranger before, and for this, inside a MegaCorp Ancology, to be the first time on an op? It made my head hurt. My body relinquished control to my mindware, and I slipped into overdrive. With a thought I drew one I. M. I. nine millimeter Baby Eagle from a Quick Draw holster, and splattered a tranq on his forehead. With reformed speed I rushed to the sec-man and eased him to a seated position before he could collapse on the catwalk and alert his two friends below.
Control of my body ebbed back to me. Without a word I walked to my case and closed it.
“Even if we weren’t done, we’re done,” said e-girl. Without waiting for Tom to lead the way, she opened the door, stepped into the hallway and dragged her case as quickly as she could to the elevator.