Release: The Candle’s Flame (A Bridge Between Worlds 6)

And so we come to journey’s end.

In the entire history of her people, Etanya was the first to travel to another world. Her new friends, including one who had become somewhat more, all came from theirs to hers, but she went the other way. No story, no tale, could prepare her for what she saw. Surrounded by unfamiliar faces, strange machines, and things she can only describe as magic, she wants nothing more than to find her place. That place, she well knows, is at Ramon’s side, but can he take that final step?

This is the end of A Bridge Between Worlds, but it’s far from the last you’ll see of the Otherworld setting. No, I have greater things in store for it. Season 2 of the main story, titled Return to the Otherworld, will debut in early 2019. Until that time, you can get all of my novels and novellas in this setting, plus the many other works I’ve written, at my Patreon. All it takes is a pledge of a few dollars a month. You can cancel anytime, and you get to keep anything you’ve downloaded. No DRM, no fuss. It’s almost too easy.

Whatever you do, I’d like to thank you for traveling with me down this strange and wonderful road. I’ll see you again soon, so keep reading!

Release: The Beast Within (Endless Forms 2)

October means it’s time for scary stuff. Halloween, my birthday, anything that strikes fear into your heart. So how about more monsters?

Fame is fleeting, but fear lives on forever.

The monsters are real. Cam Weir knows this. He’s seen them in the flesh, in all their naked, hideous glory. Yet he remains skeptical. Perhaps two monsters were enough for one man, for one life. Surely all those other things people see, those shadows lurking in the night, were merely products of overactive imaginations.

In most cases, they are nothing more, but not every call Cam receives can be so easily explained as a hoax. As he struggles to come to terms with his new status as a celebrity, a famous hunter of the paranormal, Cam finds that the world is strange, and it’s only becoming stranger. Now, in addition to Bigfoot, he must hunt a werewolf.

The Beast Within is the second in my paranormal thriller series titled Endless Forms. As of today, you can pick it up on my Patreon if you’re in the Serious Reader tier, which only costs $3 a month. I’ll see you there!

Free release: Fallen

It’s not often I release a full story for free. The last one was “Miracles”, which I put right here on PPC back in 2015. But it was unfinished, unedited, and really not all that great. This time, however, I have something far better. Or worse, considering which story it is.

That’s right. It’s “Fallen”, probably my strangest novella. First off, here’s the blurb:

Out of work and down on his luck, an atheist spots a shooting star as it falls to earth. What he finds, though, is not a meteorite, but something entirely unexpected, something that will test his resolve and his lack of faith, even as it changes his life forever.

Originally, I had the idea of “nonbeliever meets a fallen angel” and intended it to be a kind of theological deconstruction, a way to explain my own beliefs and defend them by way of a story. Many fantasy and science fiction authors have done exactly that, whether in religion or politics, so why not give it a shot myself?

It…didn’t turn out that way. In a sense, “Fallen” is my biggest mistake. I aimed for allegory and wound up with paranormal romance. How, I couldn’t tell you, but that was just the way the story went. At some point, I couldn’t steer it away from the inevitable, so I went with it.

The story isn’t bad, just very, very different from what I normally write. So that’s the main reason I’m releasing it for free now. In addition, it’s of the wrong length to publish on its own. Worse, I’m a man. A straight, white male. I doubt I’d get the time of day from a publisher of romance fiction even before I offered the story.

Anyway, you can pick up “Fallen” over at my Patreon or right here on PPC. It’s absolutely free, the story’s only about 60 pages, and there’s really nothing to lose. So go ahead. Read it. You might be disappointed, but you won’t waste anything but your own time. And if you do like it, consider giving me a dollar or two a month over at Patreon. It helps me make more quality (ha!) fiction like “Fallen”.

Whatever you do, remember to keep reading!

De-ESL-ifying the web

English is the language of the world at this moment in time. True, Chinese has more native speakers, but the overwhelming majority of those live in China, whereas English is spoken as a first or second language essentially everywhere. Whatever you think of it, it’s not going anywhere, and anybody doing serious work on the Internet, on the global web that so suffuses our everyday life, really needs a good grounding in standard English.

That is a problem, however. Not everyone has that grounding, and it shows. Especially among developers, programmers, and documentation writers, it’s all too common to see broken English, even when the work in question is intended for audiences of all kinds. It’s not their fault, of course, and it’s not exactly fair to ask everyone to learn formal English before they’re allowed to write software or documentation.

Yet language has the sole function of communication, and when we use poor language (for whatever reason), communication suffers. Think of how many times you’ve had to strain your brain to decrypt a particularly obtuse text message. Think about how much more effective a well-written post on Facebook or Twitter can be when compared to the word salad used by certain…politicians.

Even among those who try, there can be problems. As English is spoken in many different countries, the other languages of those countries have imprinted themselves upon it. Thus, “World” English contains quite a few phrases and idioms that can confuse even native speakers. To take one common instance, someone on a game’s forum might speak of a “doubt” about performance; what they’re really saying is that they have a question to ask.

Not everybody needs correction, and a lot of people will consider it insulting to offer. (Indeed, a lot of people actually are insulting when they offer a grammar or wording correction, so the concern is understandable.) For a project intended to appear professional, however, it’d be nice to have an editor.

I am not an editor. I am an author and programmer, an amateur linguist and creator of languages. In nearly a quarter of a century online, I’ve probably seen every possible “ESL-ism”, and I think my experience and expertise qualifies me to lead the charge in eradicating them from the world of professional software and its documentation.

So that’s what I’m doing with this post. Today, I announce that I’m open for business. If you are an author or creator, and you’d like to de-ESL your project, I am here to help. I offer my services in the hope that I can make the world, the web, a better place.

For a small fee (rates are negotiable, especially for Free Software projects), I will proofread your documentation, tutorial, wiki, or other prose work concerning your software. I’ll remove ESL idioms, American or other regional colloquialisms, and any sort of unprofessional language to create a document that is easier for everyone to understand. If you’re interested, contact me at support@potterpcs.net with a subject containing “ESL”.

Release: The Lessons Learned (A Bridge Between Worlds 5)

We’re almost done. Here’s Part 5 of 6 in A Bridge Between Worlds.

Summer vacation has to end sometime, even in the other world. Jeff understood that, and he accepted it. The coming of fall brings him a new sort of college experience, something he never could have imagined. Together with the woman he loves, he hopes to find first his feet in this new life, then answers to the greatest mysteries of all. Yet even in this place, he learns that some judge solely by appearance, never considering actions.

Remember, you can download this story, as well as the rest of those in the Otherworld setting, exclusively from my Patreon. It’s only a few dollars a month, and you get access to far more than just a single novella.

On November 20, this series comes to a close with the release of Part 6, “The Candle’s Flame”. Stay tuned for future plans, because the Otherworld endures. Until then, keep reading!

Amazon: Taking a break

In the past two years, I’ve posted quite a bit of my work on Amazon through their KDP program. That’s great. It really is. I won’t say I’ve been all that successful with it, but I have seen a modest number of sales here and there. Even better is the newer paperback option. I prefer physical books, and I truly love holding one bearing my name in my own two hands. That’s a wonderful feeling, probably the closest I’ll ever get to holding a child of my own.

Today, I had planned to release my novel Innocence Reborn in paperback. But I won’t. Why? Because I’m taking a break from KDP for a while. I don’t know if Innocence Reborn is ready for the platform, and it’s just too much trouble changing things around to fit their requirements. I’ve had no end of problems adjusting margins, for example, because LuaTeX (the engine I use to create print-ready PDFs) doesn’t play nice with whatever Amazon uses to measure. Thus, my “0.75 inch” margin—the minimum required for a book of the intended size—is somehow smaller than the “0.750000 inch” that they ask for.

On top of that, I have yet to get the print cover looking the way I want. In every case thus far (Before I Wake, Nocturne, The Linear Cycle, and The Shape of Things) the end result comes out too dark. Granted, I’ve used black backgrounds for three of those, and a dark red for The Linear Cycle, but…I’m no artist. I’m not a designer. I really don’t know what’s going on, nor do I know how to ask for help, let alone whether anyone would bother giving it.

This isn’t permanent. I fully intend to come back to the platform, but I really feel like I need a break from the hassle. Let me write. That’s all I ask. Then, once I’m done with the writing (and the editing, the re-editing, the re-re-editing…), I’ll worry about print-friendly cover art, half-title pages, and things like that.

Release: The Dark Continent (A Bridge Between Worlds 4)

Halfway across the bridge now, and we’re still going strong.

For Damonte, crossing the bridge between worlds was like going back in time. Choosing not to return home was one of the hardest sacrifices he had ever made. But it might be for the best. Here in this world, among a different sort of people, he has a chance. A chance to make a difference, a chance to right a wrong. A chance not only to be free, but to truly understand what freedom means.

The Otherworld series remains exclusive to my Patreon, and you can pick up this installment, as well as the rest of the story, for a pledge of only a few dollars a month.

A Bridge Between Worlds continues with Part 5, “The Lessons Learned”, coming September 25. Check back for more info, and remember to keep reading!

Release: Lair of the Wizards (Hidden Hills 1)

Once again, it’s time for a new novel release. This one is Lair of the Wizards, Book One of the Hidden Hills series. It’s a monster that defies categorization, in my humble opinion, but I hope you’ll like it. Here’s the blurb:

For ages, the wizards guided the people of Stada. They brought knowledge, advancement. They were the bearers of the future. But generations have lived since the last wizards left the land to parts unknown. Now, war with a neighboring realm is bringing Stada to the brink, and the tribulations of battle reach even to the city of Karston. Here, the wizards may be gone, but not forgotten. Here, their knowledge lives on, their secrets have been preserved. The tales all tell that the wizards lived in the Hidden Hills north of town. Although they left, their home remains, and when an earthquake rattles Karston, it reveals the path leading to the lair of the wizards.

I actually started writing this novel all the way back in 2015. (Originally, I envisioned it as a short story!) I spent the next two years working off and on, mostly whenever I was taking a break from other projects. Lots of editing ensued, and I finally have something I feel ready to share with the world. You can find it over on my Patreon if you’re in the Serious Reader tier or above. That’s only $3 a month, and it includes DRM-free copies of all my other stories, like Nocturne, Before I Wake, and many more. No matter what you call Lair of the Wizards, whether fantasy or sci-fi or whatever, you have to call that a deal.

Check it out, and have a great summer!

Release: The Control Variable (A Bridge Between Worlds 3)

We’re still building those bridges. Here’s the third one, “The Control Variable”:

The other world was exciting, but theirs still has so much left unknown. Amy knows that, yet she finds her thoughts constantly drawn back to her time away from her home planet. She also knows that there are other crossings, other bridges. Even if those won’t take her where she wants to go, they need to be found. Alex can find them. He has the map. All he needs is the time, but that may be running out.

Otherworld stories remain exclusive to my Patreon for the time being, so you can pick this one up there, along with over 20 other stories, for only a few dollars a month.

Next in the series is Part 4, “The Dark Continent”, coming July 24. Until then, have a good summer, and keep reading!

Amazon release: The Shape of Things (Endless Forms 1)

Just a heads-up today, as my latest novel, the paranormal investigation thriller The Shape of Things, is now up on Amazon, in both Kindle and paperback versions. The price is $3.49 for the ebook, $9.50 for the real thing, and here’s the blurb to get you started:

The world is stranger than you know.

Cameron Weir hunts the paranormal. It’s a hobby, a second job, a nice diversion from the rigors of life. Whether it’s ghosts or monsters or aliens, he’ll be there to find the answer. And that answer is never any of those things, because he well knows that monsters don’t exist.

But something is out there. Something lurks in the night. What started as a simple call with a mundane explanation turns out to lead to a much deeper mystery. Glowing eyes in the dark. Strange, animal-like sounds echoing through the night. And then the most monstrous of all: a dead body. In the midst of such weirdness, Cameron questions his own rationality, and that leads him on a trail that will take him to the most fabled monster of all: Bigfoot.

If you’d like to know more, head over to the page for the book, where you’ll find a link to Amazon, as well as my Patreon, where you can get The Shape of Things, as well as DRM-free copies of my other released works, for as little as $1 per month.