Release: Seasons Change (Othersides 01)

It’s been about a year since the last time I put out a free story. This one works because it just doesn’t work anywhere else. Seasons Change, the first of my “Othersides” series, is now available on my Patreon.

The rest of this post will contain Otherworld spoilers, so be warned.

Continue reading Release: Seasons Change (Othersides 01)

Release: Change of Heart (Endless Forms 3)

Another October has rolled around, so let’s release another monster novel, why don’t we?

What is real, and what is within our minds?

Cam Weir has seen things no human being should ever look upon. Once, he was a skeptic, believing that monsters were nothing more than figments of the imagination. Hallucinations, certainly not reality. But now he knows the truth.

And the truth is only getting stranger, for this case doesn’t match those he has investigated. Details are different. Motives are unclear. Worst of all, the gruesome murder of an accountant will lead Cam to a frightening conclusion. Because this monster will strike too close to his heart.

Change of Heart is the third installment of Endless Forms, a paranormal thriller series I started writing in 2017. You can pick this book up over at my Patreon with a Serious Reader pledge of only $3 a month, and you’ll also find the two preceding novels, The Shape of Things and The Beast Within. If you prefer physical copies, those two are on Amazon already, and Change of Heart will join them in a few short months. Whatever your choice, thank you, and this is not the end of the series by any means. So keep reading!

Amazon release: The Beast Within (Endless Forms 2)

Has it been a year already? Time for another Amazon release.

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.

If you’re interested, head on over to the book’s page, where you can find a link to the Kindle Store for the digital edition, or the paperback for those who, like me, prefer the real thing. As always, be sure to check my Patreon for more info on how you can support me.

Release: The Second Crossing (Return to the Otherworld 1)

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for a new season in the Otherworld. 2019 brings Return to the Otherworld, a new eight-part series following the further adventures of those who have visited this strange land, those who stayed behind a year ago, and the new faces seeking their first opportunity to glimpse the alien world for themselves.

Opening up this time is The Second Crossing:

A year ago, eleven college students stumbled into another world by virtue of an accident. An unforeseen, yet ultimately beneficial, accident. Now, they plan to return, this time with purpose.

New faces will join them. Old friends will welcome them. Enemies will show themselves. And the second crossing will test this expedition in ways they never anticipated. What new discoveries await? What new dangers lurk on the other side of the strange, inexplicable portal between worlds?

None can say, but the students and their companions know one thing for sure: they must return to the other world.

It’s going to be a fun ride, and you can see it all through the year over at my Patreon. All I ask is a simple pledge of $3/month, which gets you access to Return to the Otherworld and the previous series, as well as much more. How can you go wrong?

Look for Alignment Adjustment in six weeks. Until then, have fun and keep reading!

Release: Beyond the Horizon (Orphans of the Stars 2)

Let’s get back to space. Back to the future, even.

They were lost, but they found themselves. Now, they will find a piece of their past that brings about a new chapter in humanity’s future.

Seventeen children inherited a ship, a mission, a legacy. Few among them truly understand what it means to be an officer, an engineer, or a medic. Youth is bold, however, bold and adventurous. Thus, the immature crew of the Innocence yet believe they know what they are doing. They believe they can navigate not only the endless void of space, but also the turbulent waters of life, a life marked by their shared history.

Something lurks out among the stars. Something turned these young people into orphans, into the last survivors of Marshall Colony. Only they have seen the truth and lived to speak of it. Only they are prepared to find what lies beyond the horizon.

I was really excited when I released Innocence Reborn last year. Rarely have I ever felt so good about a book, like it had so much promise. Maybe I consider Nocturne my best work, but Innocence Reborn was by far the most fun.

That’s all I ask from the Orphans of the Stars series. It’s my chance to have fun, to show that space opera and science fiction can still be fun. Whatever you think about our future, the one I’ve created in these books is bright. In my darker times, it’s one of the few lights that shines through. In better days, it outshines the sun.

You can head on over to my Patreon if you want to check this one out. It’s currently in the Serious Reader tier, which requires only a monthly pledge of $3. A cup of coffee, a small meal, or the future. It’s your choice.

And, in case you’re wondering, I’m already planning out Part 3 of Orphans of the Stars, tentatively titled Time in the Sun. Keep watching this space for more info on that.

2018: a recap

So it’s another year in the books. 2018 is ending, and I think that’s something we can all be thankful for. No matter what you believe, no matter where you live, no matter who you are, this one’s been a wild ride. For me, that’s especially true. I’ve done a lot this year that I didn’t think I’d ever do, and you can probably figure out some of that by reading between the lines on my posts the past few months.

But now we have to look forward to 2019, the year of the future. (Seriously. Blade Runner is set in 2019. PKD couldn’t write some of what’s happened in real life lately, though.) Other places can give you some idea of what to expect in the wider world, but this post will let you know what it means for me.

First off, my main resolution for the coming year is to finish all the stories on my list. To start, that’s 6 Otherworld “bridge” novellas, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem. (I sometimes wonder if I could write one in my sleep. The way the words come to me when the mood is right, it’s not that far-fetched.) On top of those, I’ve got a pair in the Modern Minds series, Orphans of the Stars #3 (tentative title: Time in the Sun), Endless Forms #3 (confirmed title: Change of Heart), and a Nanowrimo story to be named later. All told, expect about 500,000 words of output on that front.

That’s about half of what I wrote in 2018, and an even smaller fraction of my massive 2017 output. Why the steep drop? Because I’ve got other projects I’m working on right now, most of which have little to do with writing. As they tie in to what the new year means for Prose Poetry Code, I’ll deal with all of it together.

If you’ve noticed the last few weeks, I’m working on a new conlang. Well, it’s not technically a conlang. More of a conscript, you might call it. Earlier in the year, I asked myself whether I could make a hieroglyphic or ideographic script using only emoji. The answer can be found in the 🖼🗣 or “Pictalk” series, which I’ll be extending throughout 2019, mostly at 5-week intervals.

That’s a side project, as language work tends to be for me. My “day” job, I hope, will involve programming. (I’m looking for work, and I’ve already signed up for at least one freelancing site.) That’s right. It’s time to put the “code” back in Prose Poetry Code. While I’m working on what I’m calling Project Themis, I’ll add in a dev diary every now and then. Don’t expect these to be regular—I’m not that dedicated. But this is a project I’m really passionate about right now, one I hope I can get into a stable state very soon. If all goes well (don’t count on it), I want a full 1.0 release on October 1st.

The more sporadic “whatever I feel like writing” posts will still be here, but not nearly as common. Maybe one a month, if that. Mostly, what you’ll see here in 2019 are those two series and release announcements. Unless I hit it big, of course. In that case, I’ll have a lot more free time.

Whatever the new year brings, I hope you all enjoy it, and I hope it turns out great for everyone. Just remember one thing: keep reading!

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”.