Friday, January 2, 2015

Ring Bell for Service - categories: [ matter transmission | space / time travel | satire ]


 This started off as a short story but has grown substantially since. Based somewhat loosely on a   story I read back in the 60's, the title for which I have long forgotten. It begins with a travel agency setting where our unsuspecting hero decides he would like to spend his vacation at a calm and peaceful setting. Something like warm weather, sunny skies and a beach sipping on lots of umbrella drinks, the friendly natives fishing on the clear placid waters.

Too much of a good thing has changed his mind; he has become bored with the idyllic setting.  A little more adventure is what he really wants and decides to switch to a tour. Think "it's Tuesday so I must be somewhere else". Places like a mountain resort, a medieval theme park, or maybe a swampland playground await our eager traveler; just punch the button and be prepared to be amazed. In like manner, all you the reader have to do is turn the page and be amazed as well.

Now that's all fine and good, but what would happen if you, some where along the tour, missed your boat or got on the wrong boat? Where would you end up?

Sound like fun? Then join Mr. Rogers as he gets just what he asked for, and so much more.

After much work gathering the pieces, I've massaged and clipped and glued and pasted together what appears to me to be a very appropriate cover for this story. (shown above)

OK, let me say that "Ring Bell for Service" is coming along very nicely. First major edit begged a slight clarification to the ending and nearly another thousand words to support it. The overall storyline is smoothing out and the flow runs the gamut of emotions ending in both sacrifice and new beginnings.

As an extra tidbit, let's just say that some of the stops aren't quite what they are supposed to be as our Mr. Phil Rogers learns, the hard way. You may scream now if you wish.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Beneath the Double Suns Chasm of Time book #1 - [ science fiction ]

Beneath the Double Suns - copyright 2014

Prototype Cover design (C) 2014 by M. L. Humphrey

     First let me say that this book contains pieces and parts from previous novels. There, with that said I can explain the reasoning behind it. Not interested? Doesn't matter, I'm going to explain it anyway.

     My very first novel was titled "For Lorne" and comprised of two separate story lines intertwined. Some people didn't like the way it bounced back and forth between what seemed like two unrelated stories, but I had a reason for doing it that way. If you have read my Authors Notes blog, I explained the whole rationale behind it. "Beneath the Double Suns" is now all of the front back story from "For Lorne" and its rewrite "Across the Chasm of Time". When I consolidated "For Lorne" with its sequel "The 5th Agent", the front end became disjointed with respect to the rest of the book. I may change my mind and put a ghost section back in place of what I've removed, but only as a prelude that will line up chronologically with the end of this story.

     What can you expect from "Beneath the Double Suns"? I could say read it and find out, but I will tell you this much. If you've read "For Lorne" or "Across the Chasm of Time", then you know how it begins; after that, it is all new. All of the parts relating to the treaty formed between the old Empire "Haurembeau" (formerly called He-Rah-Emp-To) and the building of the city of Lurandor on the fourth planet of the binary system of  Dracor have been moved to this project. Added to that are references to the survey ship For Lorne that landed on a primitive planet; mix in a few interesting characters and a good story line, and there you have it. One other thing I can say, without giving away any of the story line, is that not only have I changed the name of the empire, but I've also added first names to the characters aside from the suffix 'deau' for female and 'dor' for male. This is after all an alien/foreign culture; I can make up my own rules.

     Now this is also listed as the first book in the series even though it is the latest addition. Sequentially the next book would be "Colony" which is still in progress. It has grown in size with the addition of moving the For Lorne's landing on the planet and what happens to its crew and how they adapt to their surroundings. I know where that story is going, but I've been side tracked a few times so it sits patiently, waiting for me to return.

     Sequentially speaking, "Little Ann" would be the next book in the series followed by "Beyond the Chasm of Time" (which comprises all of "For Lorne" and "The 5th Agent") which would be the capstone of the entire series.

     I'm beginning to think that the reason some authors have series is that there is more material in their original composition than they need, some of which actually doesn't really fit with the storyline they are working on so they create another book along the same lines from the scraps left over. I did that with "Little Ann" and again with this book.


Friday, October 10, 2014

ALL ABOUT MY VERY FIRST BOOK!- Chasm of Time Series #0


An Authors Dilemma

I wrote my first book titled "For Lorne" back in the spring of 2012. The original theme was a young man that inherits his grand father's farm and finds a spaceship hidden in one of the barns. I even had a couple of chapters written and a couple of the main characters defined. It was going to be titled "My Grandfathers Spaceship". Catchy title don't you think?
But, the story had a different idea and kept teasing me to change focus. Then came my first decision on where the story was headed all based on my first sticking point. Sticking points, you know, those things in a story that just reach out like thorns behind the roses and keep jabbing at you.
Anyway, I changed direction and decided to tell the story behind how the spaceship came to be hidden in the barn. Maybe it was left there by aliens and the grandfather vanquished them? Naw, that won't work. That's just an example of some of the thoughts that went through my mind before settling on the present storyline; an ancient alien machine buried in a mine on Engineer Mountain near Durango, Colorado. I picked the setting mainly because we have family living near there and I knew the perfect spot for the setting.
As the story developed, the spaceship became a smaller utility vessel from a larger ship of alien manufacture and its placement meant that it had been buried there for thousands of years; but what circumstances led to its being there?
As those questions mounted up, I added another dimension to the story; the vessel they found actually contained...but that would give away a big part of the story! So, along with a sense of closure for what was found inside that vehicle, I created a series of chapters explaining it all.

Now comes the next dilemma; do you devote the whole first part of the story for just the explanation on how the vehicle and its contents got to be where it was found, or space it out amongst the chapters of the main story, bringing closure at the last moment? I picked the latter, interleaving the chapters to reveal the contents of the vehicle at the same time as the main characters find about them. That was my way of not giving away a secret until its time.
For those of you not keeping up at this time, the vehicle is discovered by a person who has died before the main story starts. His son later on discovers what his father had uncovered before he dies from a heart attack leaving his whole estate to his favorite nephew; who isn't really his nephew at all. Are we convoluted enough for you yet? Anyway, that's how my first novel titled "For Lorne" came to be. My major critic didn't like the story jumping back in forth in time between the different story lines; but I forged ahead anyway, determined to make it work.
Extremely pleased with the outcome, and feeling that the story wasn't really over, I immediately wrote a sequel which I titled "The 5th Agent". Actually the title was my grand-daughters idea after I told her what the story was about. This story also jumps back and forth between the main characters and a shadowy group of people bent on finding out what the main characters had discovered in the mine. Eventually the two story lines and characters converge near the end of the story. There were some threads left hanging from the first novel, which are wrapped up in the second one. After that, they all live happily ever after. Or do they?

In writing the first novel I had cut some lines about the early life of one of the main characters. After thinking about it, and while working on another project which was published next, I decided to expand on those few words and consequently wrote the next story called "Little Ann". Although not exactly long enough to be considered a novel, it is a complete story in itself and not really science fiction but more of a ghost story. It tells the story of the early life of Ann Lyndes who plays a major role in both books.
There was also another section of that first novel that didn't quite fit. It was more of a branching storyline going in its own direction and not really contributing to the overall purpose of the book. Since I don't throw anything away, it became another story in the same vein as the lead in part of "For Lorne" but occurs after the critical point featured in the first book. I titled it "Colony"; and that is what the core of the story is about. It is roughly about 10,000 words long and unfinished as yet and still sitting on my to do list. "For Lorne", "The 5th Agent", and "Little Ann" have been published as eBooks on since 2012.

The dilemma continues. I did some thinking, while working through several other projects and that always gets me in trouble. With all of my doubts in check, I forged ahead and rewrote "For Lorne" pulling all of the alien culture chapters to the front part of the book, dividing it into two separate sections; the first called "Empire and Flight" and the main story becoming "Discovery".
The "Empire and Flight" part ended up being too short in comparison, so I added a whole new section that leads up to the building of the ship and what eventually happens to it and why. This means new, almost unrelated characters to the existing ones, more intrigue and in general telling the story of what really happened to the For Lorne, and pushed the size up over 110,000 words. I published the rewritten novel under the title of "Across the Chasm of Time" in 2013; thus evoking the title of the series.

The dilemma rears its ugly head, again!
I guess I can't leave it alone. After "Across the Chasm of Time" was published, I found myself unhappy with the result and pondered what to do with it next. Lurking in the back of my mind was the grand idea to combine "Across the Chasm of time", with all of its additions, and "The 5th Agent" into a single volume. The resultant project took two months to complete and the combined size far exceeded 160,000 words!
I already had the title, "Beyond the Chasm of Time"; even though I waffled a lot, I couldn't come up with anything better and I didn't want it to seem to be a rehash of "Across the Chasm of Time", but a work of its own. It was easy enough to combine the two in the word processor, but then I had to sew them together!To accomplish that, I rewrote the first section of the second book to form a smooth transition covering the four year interval between where the first book leaves off and the second book begins. Strictly speaking, I just didn't see any need to do any rewrite of the second book beyond that, and the same for the main story in the first book; just edit out the little mistakes and it would be good to go. But what to do with the beginning? Empire and Flight had become an ugly monster that no longer fit well with the rest of the book.It was an object of its own now.

For that, I talked with a few people that know about these things a lot more than I do. The key is to draw the reader in with a good beginning, well defined characters but not too many of them, keep the action going, and don't make it too long or the reader will lose interest. Too big, too long, less than 80,000 words, seriously? I believe that a story is as long as it takes to adequately tell it in your own words. There are many stories that span several separate volumes and they work just as well as the shorter ones do. Consider that the movie "The Fly" was adapted from a short story, and then look what they did with Tolkiens "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
I still needed to keep some aspect of the original lead-in story, but decided to strip as much of it as I could and focus specifically on setting the stage for the main story to work from; just simple two dimensional characters, more shadows than anything else, just enough to get the job done.
Again, I don't throw anything away; the pieces cut out had a great story line with well defined characters. I had 10,000 words to start from, but it needed more. Well, the title was easy, "Under the Double Suns" came to mind and its coming along nicely at the moment.

While researching editors and publishers I came across a website that said they would evaluate my book for free. There was much more to the offer, but aside from that I learned many things from that evaluation other than what they told me. I had just passed on a similar arrangement with one of the major publishers of SF. All they wanted me to do was submit a manuscript, 80,000 words minimum, single sided, double spaced, 14 point Times New Roman font, and mailed to them for evaluation. Do you have any idea how many pages that amounts too? I did the math, somewhere in the area of 250 pages, to which they would probably only look at the first few chapters. I deemed that a waste of paper and moved on.

Yes I know, I think too much! Remember I mentioned a story line that was still sitting on my to do list? Yes, that one, "Colony"! What if I take all of the pieces that I stripped from the beginning of "Across the Chasm of Time" and "Beyond the Chasm of Time", and use them as a lead-in to what is already written in "Colony"; what would I have? I already knew where the story was going, just hit a temporary writer's block. I'd keep the same title "Colony", and the added stuff already uses the same characters. It seems like a slam dunk, don't you think? After all, they were together to begin with.

Now I'm waffling again. What about if I separate the two original novels from "Beyond the Chasm of Time" back to their original titles? Now why would I do this? I don't know; maybe I think about it too much! At this point I don't know if the readers, if there are any, are confused with my work or not; but it is my work and I love every little piece of it; but for some reason I just can't let this one go.

Here's what I do know, for now I'm leaving the two combined, I must get back with Colony and bring that to conclusion. Beneath the Double Suns has been completed and converted to an epub so my critic can read it. So far all she's said is that its not her kind of book, but she's still going at it.

M. L. Humphrey

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Beyond the Chasm of Time - Chasm of Time book #4+5

Front Cover under construction

*2 July 2014*
     Some people will probably not like this, but I have decided to try and rewrite my first two books into one complete novel; something I've been planning on doing for the last year. I won't give any hints on the changes that will be happening to the storyline, but this new book will exceed 100,000 words in size; my largest undertaking to date.
     In the time since these first two books were first published, I've written several other stories and have hopefully gotten better at it. As I've mentioned before, I've been wanting to do this for sometime and decided to tackle it now.
     I haven't taken the time to work on the front cover; that was another thing that I've since learned, sometimes less is more. Those first two covers were a great learning experience and I definitely went overboard on the second one. This time I'll take my time on coming up with a very appropriate but simple visual experience. How's that for some sophisticated words? The title alone was hard to come up with because the original three were so descriptive; I needed something new and fresh.

     Right now I'm part way through the first merge and slightly appalled at the number of mistakes I made in those first two manuscripts. Grammar was not my strong suit in school but I learn best by doing and I've been doing a lot of that lately.
     The most time consuming part of these first two stories was keeping all of the multiple parts of the story in proper order. In "For Lorne", it was getting the dates in the journal entries to match up with the ages of the people involved. I had several sheets of paper laid out with time lines to keep the events in order. Not only that, I had to create the family trees for all of the families involved with notes as to where and when they entered into the plot.

     With "The 5th Agent", it became even more challenging; in one place I actually had to duplicate the dialogue on both sides of an event as the two separate parts came together.
     If you're big on a lot of science fiction mixed in with a few characters you will probably be disappointed. Don't get me wrong here, the SF portion is the main part behind the story but not as dominant in the storyline as the political intrigue, mystery, and character interaction. I try to make my characters lovable and believable by basing them on real people I know, including myself.

*22 July 2014*
This rewrite/compilation is nearly complete and is enough different than the preceding works to stand on its own. You will also notice that I've changed the title back to its original one. Don't get me wrong, either title will work but it's my painful decision to make.

The title has stuck, but I've had to shave over 20K words from the combined manuscript shortening the portion dealing with the intrigue behind the fate of the survey ship For Lorne. That included all of the storyline I created when I rewrote it as "Across the Chasm of Time". After all, it's a back story and I've cut it to a minimum.
Did I throw it all away? Absolutely not! All of what I cut out will now be the basis for a new book I've titled "Under the Double Sun". This is my present project and its already half written. I will need to add more storyline and rearrange a few sequences, but it will work fine. I haven't decided how to handle some parts just yet. I've even had the fleeting thought of  pulling all of the ships storyline and putting that on the front end of "Colony", the previous part culled from "For Lorne".

Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Book of Ezram

12/11/2014 - "THE BOOK OF EZRAM"

Will consist of three sections (unless I change my mind!).
For those of you coming back to read the latest EZRAM blog posting, you will note that I have changed everything! That's because I have decided to turn this into a multiple segment story.

This is the latest on the book cover for all the novellas (or whatever size they end up being) combined.

Section One - The House of Ezram
      This is the story of Hugo and Sally and how he is kidnapped and brought into the world of The House of Ezram, the place where he was born. Throughout the story he slowly comes to realize his heritage and the destiny that his parents had planned for him. But as he learns about his past, he also leans about his families enemies and the dangers that abound in this seemingly pristine paradise. He is surprised when he is confronted by his older brother; a brother that is under orders to kill both of them. Both Hugo and Sally escape back to a place where they believe no one will find them. Sally is bitten by a poisonous insect and he takes her back to Earth for treatment. By the time she recovers both Harold and Vlad have caught up with them and Hugo finally understands what he needs to do. This is where the first story ends.

Section two - The King of Ezram
     The first part has already been published on, and serves as the beginning segment. In this part we pick up with the life of Hugo and Sally 10 years and three kids later as they are finishing their tour of duty, so to speak, as the King and Queen of Ezram.
I hope to expand on the use of the dimensional traveler, maybe a quick stop back to visit George the Pterodactyl.

Section Three - Destinies Children
     The third section will be titled (still subject to change) Destinies Children. The intent here is to continue seveeral years after our hero and heroine have stepped down from their exalted position and resumed their lives among the normal folk of their realm. Think that will be easy?
The title alludes to the antics and adventures of their children along with Vlad's and possibly the use of the dimensional traveler as well. As I gaze into my crystal ball things are still a little misty and I haven't finished part two yet!

M. L. Humphrey

Friday, April 25, 2014

Short Stories of all types


Short Stories of all types is really very ambiguous, don't you think? I have a list of several short story titles such as: "Mr. Klien's other Bottle", Mr. McDonalds Magical Miniature Zoo", "Holding cell", and "The Doctor and Mr. Jones". The first two are titles that peaked my imagination and for now just take up a little bit of memory on my hard drive. Of the second two, "Holding Cell" is a rather bizarre tale that seems to have no beginning, no end, and no purpose; it'd just a place I know of near where I grew up taking place at a time before I lived there; that is before the road was paved, probably about 1946. Maybe some day I'll do something with it. The last one, "The Doctor and Mr. Jones" is complete, very short, and meant to shock the reader. That is if you don't figure it out before you get to the end.

This next entry is an idea I woke up with one morning and it tormented me constantly until I wrote it down. I think the title tells it all, it is a fantasy story taking place in the kingdon of King Fortane involving a reporter named Morley whose assignment is to interview the Dungeon Master. I put this together in less than a week.
This is my first excursion into the world of fantasy as you may well guess by the title. Mr. Gabble, an editor for a local paper in the kingdom of King Fortane, has been given the assignment of doing a feature piece based on an interview with the Master of the King's Dungeon.
Now you may think this seems like an easy task, but Morley has no idea where the dungeon is or how to get there; but he knows someone who may. And that's when the fun begins as Morley literally drops into the dungeons to find himself face to face with the real Master of the Dungeon, Sergeant Tern Klugg. Together they descend through the several levels of the dungeon as the sergeant gives him the grand tour. Find out what happens to our hapless hero as he tries to survive 'Interview with the Dungeon Master'.
Available now at 

"Venus Dea Milo, Another Morley story"
12/8/2014 - Well, believe it or not, I have been industrially working on a second Morley story. It is turning into a longer adventure for our little guy and hopefully you will find it just as graphically funny as the first one is. I do believe that this story will more than likely be a capstone for the series and any further entries in the series will all take place before this one. The title is no longer Venus dea Milo, as it has dragged me off on a tangent about a beauty pageant with a couple of side trips in between. It hasn't quite been finished yet, but will be soon.
Will there be others? Of course; I've already come up with a few other interesting plots.Perhaps I'll eventually write a complete volume on the Tales of Morley. Who knows? At this point, not even Me.

"UNCLE PHID'S CLOSET" [The face in the closet]
I started writing this one under a different title, and as yet I don't have it completely ironed out. The story begins in 1927 before fast forwarding to the 1950's then jumping back in time to 1927. No, this is not time travel, but a story spanning generations. The main characters are Phineus Edwards and his grandson Jerry. It's a little rough right now, but it's as good, if not better, than many of the short stories I've read over the past 50 years.I'll report further when I iron a few more wrinkles out of it.


 My next idea for a short story is tentatively labeled "High Jacked". And, with any early project, that may change as the story unfolds. Unlike my recent excursions into the many aspects of the realm of science fiction, this story derives from two main sources, the movie "UP" and a Monty Python short  entitled "The Crimson Permanent Assurance", and resembles neither one of them or maybe I should say I added a nightmarish twist as I mangled the two entirely separate sources into a story about a young couple and an old house. Of course I will mix in a few 'wee folk' just to make it seem real.
How's it coming, you may ask? Well, let's just say that I've made some notes and created the necessary folders on my computer, so I've committed space at least, for now I'll start writing notes and see where it leads me.

There are a few others that I won't list here as they will probably languish in obscurity until I have the time and inclination to continue with them. There's nothing unusual in that, many authors have ideas and grand designs on what to do with them that get relegated to the back pages of their notebook or hard drive, whichever the case may be.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Galactic Quest: [book 5 of The Cornish Talisman Series]

2 Feb 2015
Wow, exactly a month later from my last post to this project and there is progress being made. Shortly I will post a timeline of how all the books line up, just haven't finished it yet. I've also wondering how I can setup for two other books in this series but that's merely speculation at this point; need to focus on getting this one down first. You'll notice that I have spent some time putting together a possible cover page and this is somewhat more modern looking than some of my previous ones have been. Outside the snow is falling as is the temperature and even though I still have new ideas pouring in on additions to my other projects, this one is still  my top priority. Never fear, it will be worth waiting for.

2 January 2015
I'm putting this update at the top for the simple reason I haven't had the time to build a cover page yet. There are many issues I have to work through and I'm slowly chugging my way through them. No, it's not writers block as I've nearly finished another story that has grown from just a short story into almost a Novella; I will concede that it could be something similar though.
At one time I had considered intersecting with"Betrayal on Gruentok" but have slowly moved in another direction. We'll see after I get these next two books I'm finishing up with out of the way.

SPOILER ALERT! Don't read this unless you've already read the first three books in the series.

Let us begin with the situation that Admiral Jasom Kingston finds himself in at the end of book 3: Return to Earth. I'll leave the major details out.

- He has managed to escape from Garlo, with the help of Holly's father, by stealing their flyer; that's a lose end that will have to be taken care of.
- Garlo's stepson Jared was rescued from Obehail using Jasom's flyer after Obehail set the barn on fire. Obehail's body has been found in the wreckage of Jasom's burned out barn and Jasom's old nemesis Herbert Dressler is not only the truant officer and high school gym teacher, he is also the fire chief and the local sheriff. He's everywhere and into everything, and still suspicious of Jasom.
- His high school buddy is getting married, and he just proposed to Arial.
- Back on the Cornish Talisman and against his mothers wishes, he now must meet with the Ambassador; somehow their destinies are intertwined.
- What more could happen to our hero?

Well, as hero's go, Jasom has found himself in quite a position with things definitely not going as planned. But wait! What plan did he have to begin with?

Well, that is quite a bit to start with, but I've also added in a lose end left over from "The Crystal Crowns"; dealing with the order itself. Have you noticed anything strange about the order yet? You should have, I've alluded to it often enough, and no I'm not going to explain it here, you'll have to read the book to find out what it is.

2 July 2014
No, I haven't finished this story yet! But it's on the burner, even though I've written two short stories and a novelette in the meantime. It is still on my mind as I work my way through to finish it. I have the ending down and several of the plot twists that happen in between. I'm having a little trouble with resolving all of his issues in the beginning. The plot is firm, but I'm overloaded with details!