Writing Babylon’s Song

Interspecies - smallOne of the reasons why Interspecies is so special to me, and specifically my novella “Babylon’s Song,” is that this is the first time I’ve ever written a female protagonist where I looked past the femaleness and focused solely on the character’s mental and emotional development.

This tale, heart-wrenching at times, explores heartache, determination, hope, hate, and a plethora of other emotions generated by trauma. For me, writing this story explored what it means to be human. What it means to value life under normal circumstances and whether that same sense of value decreases under abnormal circumstances. The story deals with extremes.

I’ll be honest, I did not set out to write Babylon’s tale with that specific focus. I wanted to tell a story first and I wanted to stay true to the character and provide context to her adult personality as a soldier in “The Last Devil” and, more importantly, her hate of everything inlari. In order to do that, I had to explore how life events affected her as a child and I had to do it truly.

Was it intended to mirror reality? Only in that, I wanted plausibility and realism in my story, for it is realism that allows a reader to connect and invest emotionally. I had no message to give, not consciously. There was no hidden life lesson I wanted to convey to my readers. As a general rule, I abhor so-called message fiction that puts message before the story. Any life lessons or observations of social issues must filter through the story naturally, unpushed and unforced. That is the only time they possess any real power.

“Babylon’s story” is about Samantha Babylon’s ordeals and about the things that shaped her as a child. It’s also a good yarn filled with action and drama and takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride from the foothills of the Barren Mountain in Australia’s New South Wales to New Zealand’s alien-infested North island.

Overall, Interspecies exists as a seamless cohesion of stories that explore a broken earth populated by broken people. Yet, in this post-apocalyptic world, hope still exists and there are plenty of adventures to be had, even love if you’re stubborn enough.

Interspecies has had a good run thus far, reaching the top-ten of two Amazon bestseller lists and staying there for a couple of weeks, even becoming the number three hot new release in its category.

Which brings me to the awesome part of today’s post. The paperback version of Interspecies is now available. So, if you prefer a more tactile reading experience, click here and get a copy. We’ve even lowered the price to $9.99 for a short time.

Of course, if you prefer the e-book version and haven’t picked it up yet, it’s only $1.99 right now to celebrate the paperback release.




#Art of Fantasy 85: J.R. Coffron

j-r-coffron-lockbox-poster-working-final-web-smWe’re entering the realm of darkness again with today’s edition of “Art of Fantasy.” J.R. Coffron is a true fan of horror and you can see that devotion in his twisted creations. He’s been perfecting his particular style of art from an early age, focussing specifically on the dark creatures that dwell in the hidden world. Coffron resides in Menifee, California.

Below is a small collection of his work. As per usual, each image links back to the site of origin. Enjoy!












Dark and twisted, Coffron’s work is fascinating and falls more in the realm of horror than outright fantasy, maybe even cosmic horror. He creates gloomy and dark atmospheres through the effective use of shadow and muted colors and gritty textures that only serve to highlight the harrowing nature of his creatures and their nightmarish surroundings.

In earlier posts, I’ve mentioned how fantasy artists have the ability to create almost palpable windows to other worlds. Today’s artist is no exception.

If you’re interested in commissioning the artist, feel free to query him for availability through his website which I linked to above. Otherwise, leave me a comment below and tell me your thoughts on today’s collection.

Also, remember to check out this week’s “Art of Science Fiction” over on Kōsa Press’ blog.




#Art of Fantasy 84: Henrik Rosenborg

henrik-rosenborg-superdragon-doneI have a Viking for you today. Henrik Rosenborg hails from Sweden where he works as a freelance illustrator and concept artist with a special focus on creature characters.

His fantasy art reminds me of Paul Kidby‘s  covers for the Pratchett books but with a darker much more detailed approach. I also see a lot of Paul Bonner in his stylings although I’m not sure if this is accidental or intended. I’m a big fan of Bonner’s work, by the way. A Nordic thread runs through this collection and appeals to my well-documented interest in Scandinavian folktales.

Below is a small collection of my favorite illustrations from among Henrik’s work. Each image links back to the site of origin. Enjoy!










Henrik’s overall style takes me back to the days of classic fairy tale art where trolls and dwarfs had oversized noses and limbs and were portrayed almost as caricatures of themselves. I also love Henrik’s color composition here as he makes good use of dark and muted colors interspersed with smatterings of brightness. This approach creates a moody atmosphere of a dark world steeped in mystery and magic. And that, folks, is pure fantasy bliss.

Let me know your thoughts below and remember to check out this week’s Art of Science Fiction over on Kōsa Press’ blog.




#Art of Fantasy 83: Mike Azevedo

mike-azevedo-15We had terrible winter weather here in Hawke’s Bay the last two weeks, including torrential rains, heavy snowfalls, and gale force winds that caused a widespread power outage across the region this past weekend. And now my kids are home sick, including me. I’m writing this post with glazed eyes and a brain high on prescription meds. Got to love the winter. It’s a far cry from sunny Brazil where the 2016 Olympic Games kicked off with great fanfare and jubilation this weekend.

Talking about Brazil, our artist today hails from São Paulo, Brazil. Mike Azevedo is an illustrator and concept artist and has worked on projects like League of Legends (Riot Games), Hex (Cryptozoic), and Legends of the Cryptids (Applibot). Some of his clients include giants like Blizzard, Guerrilla Games, Games Workshop, and Direwolf.

Below is a small collection of his awesome work. Each image links back to the artist’s  gallery.










I love the clear brush strokes and overall painterly feel of Mike’s paintings. There is a visceral element to his work that makes his illustrations stand out more and his expert use of shadow and dynamic lighting draws the eye to unexpected detail and texture. Let me rephrase that last bit. At first sight, you see a lot of detail in his work, but when you take a closer look and study his lines and composition, you’ll note how rough and coarse they are. It is then that you realise the importance of shadow and lighting and how they accentuate the tone and detail in his paintings. Really masterfully done.

Let me know what you thought below. Remember to check out this week’s Art of Science Fiction over on Kōsa Press’ blog.




#Art of Fantasy 82: Richard Wright


From studio artist to freelance illustrator, matte painter, and concept designer, UK artist Richard Wright has worked on projects for Blizzard Entertainment, Games Workshop, Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: The Gathering, and the World of Warcraft. And, as you’ll soon see, his fantasy worlds are sublime.

Below is a small sampling of his awesome work. Each image links back to the site of origin. Enjoy!











I love the scale and proportions in his art. Richard creates worlds where leviathans and other behemoths dwarf humans and epic structures dominate the landscape. His color composition is faultless. As a matte painter, Richard’s photo-realistic environments are perfect. A visual feast, for sure, that awes and inspires and draws you in to explore more.

Let me know your thoughts below. Also, I revisit Pascal Blanche in this week’s Art of Science Fiction over at Kōsa Press with some updated work from the artist. Check it out.




#Art of Fantasy 81: Slawomir Maniak


My apologies for the post being this late. I have excuses. Good ones. Oh, look! A pink albatross!

Our artist this week paints with lightning and thunder. Slawomir Maniak hails from Gdansk, Poland and works as a freelance illustrator and concept artist. His clients include Wizards of the Coast, Wizkids, Sony Entertainment, Pinnacle, and a bunch of other well-known companies. And he is good.

Below you’ll find a small collection of Slawomir’s work. Each image links back to the site of origin. Enjoy!












 Like I said above, Slawomir paints with lightning and thunder. His paintings crackle with energy and power. Violence bubbles under the surface, pushing against the digital canvas, threatening to tear the thin veil between our world and the fantasy one. Or maybe that is just my imagination wanting to cross over. Whatever. I love this artist.

What do you think? Share your thoughts with me in the comment section below. And don’t forget to check out this week’s Art of Science Fiction over on Kōsa Press.




#Art of Fantasy 80: IGOR SID

igor-sid-half-frost-giantIgor Sid is a 2D artist and freelance illustrator out of St. Petersburg, Russia, and currently works onWarhammer 40k and Warhammer: Age of Sigmar for Games Workshop. He is also the senior 2D artist for Grafit studio’s Starcraft 2  (Blizzard), The Elder Scrolls (Bethesda), and The Witcher (CD Project). Before that, he was Sperasoft 2D’s senior artist on BattleCry (ZeniMax) and League of Legends (Riot Games).

Below is a small collection of his work. Each image links back to the site of origin. Enjoy!










Dark and grim with petered light filtering through here and there and featuring broken people with scars and pain etched across their faces, the gloom and brooding shadows are apparent and dominate in these paintings. The fantasy aspects are less overt than in some of the previous works I’ve spotlighted, and yet you can feel it bubbling under the surface.

Artists, whether they’re commissioned for original work or paid to stick to a theme, cannot paint without investing of themselves in what they create, and you see that clearly here. You see it in the composition and tone, in the eyes and faces and body composure, and you see it in the fading light and dull glimmer of a fading halo.

Obviously I love Igor’s work. Sound off below and don’t forget to check out this week’s Art of Science Fiction over on Kōsa Press.

Cheers, folks!