Otherworld at 9

I first started writing my Otherworld series in 2013. Nine years is an awfully long time no matter how you look at it, and it’s the longest I’ve stuck with…well, pretty much anything in my life. Okay, my laptop dates to 2007, my tablet is from 2011, and I still play retro games from the 80s, but you get the idea. Otherworld is my longest-lived creative pursuit by far.

The setting still has a lot of life, even if I’m not sure I do. I’d originally planned four “seasons” of eight stories each, for a total of 32 “episodes” in the series. Later on, as I discovered that some stories needed to be told outside that fixed schedule, I added a kind of interstitial set, which I (quite naturally) called A Bridge Between Worlds. That six-part miniseries then became a blueprint: the time between Seasons 2 and 3 got its own bridge stories, Tales of Two Worlds, and I intended to write a third group, titled Best of Both Worlds, before tackling Season 4. Will that still happen? I don’t know. I’d like to keep it going, though.

Now, while I set out with the idea of writing eight short novels that functioned as individual parts making up a cohesive whole, Otherworld originally served two purposes that had nothing to do with creating a million-word magnum opus. First, it was a playground for worldbuilding, because that, to me, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of fiction creation. More specifically, this series was to be my experiment in creating languages as something more than a one-off, and with the intention of somehow using them.

That succeeded, in my opinion. In its 33 entries so far (20 episodes, 12 bridge stories, and a prequel/spinoff) I’ve managed to sneak in snippets from seven of the ten languages I sketched out for the setting. Most of the time, it’s a single word or phrase here and there—most of the characters in narration are people from Earth who have been transported to the Otherworld setting, and that’s one way I represent their lack of knowledge about that world. A couple of times, I’ve included longer stretches of alien speech, usually to indicate a change in style or formality, or to show that a piece of text is in a language nobody understands. It’s not perfect, but then Otherworld is a labor of love. I’ve never truly expected anyone to read it.

As I wrote, the languages and even the setting itself began to shift into the background. Somehow, despite all my intentions to the contrary, I began writing a character-based drama. Some episodes even end up as more “slice of life” than anything, and that’s a genre I never even wanted to enter.

But it worked out that way, and I feel that’s partially due to the characters I chose at the beginning. They numbered seven, all in their early 20s, all college students. Nothing like someone who had just turned 30 and never even set foot on a college campus as an adult, right?

Apart from that minor distinction, these seven were…parts of me. Through the nine years of Otherworld, I’ve come to understand that. They represent aspects of my personality, whether or not I realized it in the beginning. I grow, and so do they, but in different ways. And that’s what I want to look at today. Where were they at the start? Where are they now? And what does that say about me?

Obviously, this post is spoiler-heavy, and it even includes spoilers for stories that aren’t out yet. Then again, Otherworld isn’t the kind of story where knowing what happens next ruins the ending. It’s about the journey, not the destination.

We’ll start with Ryan. After all, he’s the leader. Initially, I saw him as just that, maybe with a little bit of jock mixed in. To put it bluntly, Ryan is the avatar of my masculinity. He’s a man, he knows it, and he knows what it means. So he has a chivalrous streak, not because he thinks women are weaker than men, but because he has the protective nature that I believe all men should strive for.

After two and a half years of story time, Ryan has become a CEO. I’m a CTO, so that’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. He’s still the protector, though, the man who places himself in charge to make sure nobody else gets hurt in his place. And he has been hurt: physically, by being on top of a collapsing wall in Situational Awareness, and the mental strain of dealing with a natural disaster in Waters Rising.

He hasn’t come out unscathed. Neither have I, even if most of my wounds are self-inflicted. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

Before I even typed the first word of what became Out of the Past, I knew Jenn would be the hardest to characterize. She’s so unlike me that I’ve written two posts complaining about the troubles I had finding her voice. I still haven’t fully grasped it after all these years, and I continue to find her chapters a chore, but I’m finally starting to come to terms with her.

Jenn is the explorer in me. That’s the best way I can describe it. She always wants to see what’s around the next bend or over the next hill, and she won’t stop until she finds a way to get there. But she has something I don’t, something I often wish I did. In The City and the Hill, she felt compelled to hide her faith. By Light to the Depths, she has embraced it, and found her calling as a kind of missionary.

I’ll never be one to spread Christianity to anyone, let alone a bunch of medieval-level demihumans living on another planet. Strange as it seems, though, I do see that same kind of zeal buried deep within myself. It’s one of the reasons I’m working on the technetism project, and I have to admit that Jenn earns some measure of credit for bringing that out.

Amy got the first chapter of Out of the Past and the last non-epilogue scene of Long Road’s End. There’s a good reason for that, and it’s the core of what makes her character. She is my hope, my optimism. She always has been. Since I wanted to start off on the right foot, the opening scenes of the series are from her point of view: a young woman seeing parts of the world for the first time and wondering what might be out there. By the end of Season 1—a mere four months, really—she has lived a life, and now she’s excited to come home and tell people all about it…but equally ready to go back.

More than any other character, Amy fell in love with the Otherworld, just as I did. She spent the entirety of The Control Variable thinking about what would happen the next time she had a chance to go there. When she finally did in The Second Crossing, she threw herself into it. Now, she’s happily married (beating me in both categories) and living the dream. But she still wants to make things better for herself and everyone around her. She has a love of the world around her, but also faith in humanity.

That’s me in a nutshell. Even underneath all the depression and anxiety that have troubled me for the past two years, I still retain both of those. Since I so rarely have the chance to let them out, Amy becomes my outlet. Through her words and actions, I can express my feelings.

That’s becoming increasingly true of Ashley, as well. At the start, she was even more the devil’s advocate character than Jenn. I detest identity politics and “wokeness” in all their myriad forms, and 2013 was around the time I started noticing such evils creeping into society. Since Otherworld was set a few years later, my thought was that the rot would only increase—I was right, but I’ll save the gloating for another post—and it just made sense that at least one of the characters would be all-in on the whole thing.

She’s grown a lot since then. In Situational Awareness, she came out as bisexual. (I’m certainly not doing that, so don’t get any ideas!) The stories of A Bridge Between Worlds introduced the character of Jeanette, who has since become somewhat more than a love interest; Light to the Depths involved the two of them dealing with a near-breakup, then committing to taking their relationship to the next level. I’d like nothing more than to have that chance.

While she still retains some of her former beliefs, they’ve been tempered by time in the Otherworld. She learned, which is something so many people her age just can’t do today. If Ashley represents any part of me, then, it’s the willingness to try something, to dive into a new hobby or job or, well, relationship. Yes, that can get me into trouble, but it’s fun while it lasts, right?

At first glance, Lee is even harder to pin down. I think that comes from being a little bit of a mixture. On one hand, he is my connection to history and heritage: he’s proud of his Navajo ancestry, just as I am of my descent from Cherokee and Choctaw ancestors. On the other hand, he also carries some of my sense of humor. He’s acerbic, sarcastic, often to the point of grating, and that makes him easy to write half the time.

His character growth has been the most obvious of all. Lee’s chapter in A Matter Settled was, at the time, the closest thing to a sex scene that I’d ever written. His scenes in Written in Black and White, where he became the first Earthling to marry a woman native to the Otherworld, were an adventure for me as much as him. The Code Breaker saw him become a father and invent a whole new trade, two items high on my own bucket list.

Lee’s history resembles mine in another way, however. His parents divorced when he was 11, and he grew very attached to his mother as a result. Not in any Oedipus kind of way, mind you, but the very natural clinging of a desperate, depressed child to the only anchor in his life. My own life, with a similar event at almost the same point, comes to mind when I read the family reunion in The Second Crossing, and it’s one of the few Otherworld scenes that brings me close to tears.

Jeff also stayed behind in Long Road’s End, choosing the relative unknown of the Otherworld over a return to everything he’d ever known on Earth. Like Lee, he did it because of a woman, even if he claimed otherwise.

But let’s back up for a moment, because Jeff has another purpose in the story. He was always the linguist, and thus the best way for me to introduce the language aspects of the setting. To do that, however, I had to make him knowledgable. Thus, Jeff is the avatar of knowledge, and he has stayed as such throughout the entire nine years of writing. His scenes are my window into the greater history of the Otherworld, which has even led to Seasons Change, the prequel set over four thousand years before the main story. Without Jeff, I never would’ve considered doing that.

On top of all that, he has to be the teacher within the setting, too. Part of that comes from my innate desire to teach, because what good is knowledge if you keep it all to yourself? His native wife is certainly very indulgent in many respects, but her occasional chapters have given me the chance to illustrate that from another point of view: one of the biggest reasons she loves Jeff is because of the way he opened her eyes to a whole new way of looking at the world. Almost nothing would make me happier than a woman saying the same about me.

Last, but certainly not least, is Alex. I saved him for the end because anyone who has read Otherworld (or even my earlier posts about it) knows that Alex is simply me. He’s a genius whose favorite subjects are math and astronomy. He’s an overweight loner with major depression and a serious lack of self-esteem. He’s a guy who’s terrible at relationships and somehow finds himself falling into one. He is the author insert, and I won’t deny that.

Yet Alex still shows character growth. In that, he has become a kind of yardstick. He does the things I want to do, and I measure my success against what I’ve written for him. Ever since Situational Awareness, so much of his character arc has been about his flailing about in matters of love; while I never expected I’d have the chance to experience that when I wrote the story in 2016, that’s pretty much what happened. I’m sad to report that Alex handled it much better than I could.

Over the course of 32 stories and a million-plus words, he has reinvented himself. Sure, he lapses into “loner geek” mode on occasion, but at least he can get out of it. Although he continues to worry about how others see him, judging himself as he believes they would, he understands that his life has become better. For me, that would be the marker of true success: not only improving my lot, but recognizing and accepting that it has improved. As this new year dawns, and the first decade of Otherworld is nearing its end, I still can’t do that, so Alex remains a vision of what my life could be, what I would like it to be.

These seven aren’t the only perspectives in Otherworld, but they are the ones who received the most time on screen and the most dedication in my writing. For one such as me, seemingly destined to be alone and childless, they are my friends, my children. Because they, more than any other characters I’ve written, are pieces of me. They always will be. As Otherworld enters its tenth year, I see that more clearly than ever.

Release: The Price of Freedom (Tales of Two Worlds 6)

Here we are, nearing the end of another year. And we’ve reached the end of another set of Otherworld stories. Tales of Two Worlds concludes today with “The Price of Freedom”:

Adinia, the land of the free, the other world’s refuge for the broken. Here, there are no slaves. No man may own another. Damonte made sure of that when he founded his city of liberty. In the months since, he has learned that freedom isn’t free. It must be protected, as must the people who have taken his opportunity. His nascent nation sits in a precarious position, vulnerable to its neighbors and the elements alike. Yet freedom, he knows, is worth any price.

Of course, you know where to find my complete Otherworld collection. It’s over at my Patreon, on its usual sale price of only $3/month. Pick it up, why don’t you? It’ll help me pay for Christmas presents.

Now, this may be the end of Tales of Two Worlds, but we’re far from the finish line for the Otherworld series as a whole. In 2021, I’ll bring you Season 3 of the “main” storyline, which I’ve titled Adventures in the Otherworld. It’ll be big, I promise. So I ask only one thing from all of you.

Keep reading!

Release: Destiny Fulfilled (Tales of Two Worlds 5)

We’ve come a long way. Some of us more than others. And in the case of two characters from this installment of Tales of Two Worlds, the distance is unimaginable.

For some, the other world is home, and ours is the alien land. A man on a mission discovers that the land he believed a paradise is instead something else entirely. His sister, happy in the life she has made, fears for him, yet she wants him to experience the same wonder she had a year ago. And her husband would gladly forget about the other world altogether, but he knows he can’t. The bonds of family are strong, even when pulled to their limit.

Since it’s an Otherworld story, you know it’s exclusive to my Patreon. And you know it only costs you 3 bucks a month to pick it up. So I don’t need to say that…except that I already did.

Well, no matter. The next in line is also the last. Tune in this November for the Tales finale, “The Price of Freedom”. Until that day comes, keep reading!

Otherworld and reality

For the most part, I try to make my stories natural. They aren’t necessarily believable, as many of them are set in fantasy worlds, but I strive for realism of the sort that can make a reader feel drawn into the world. So characters act like people. Dialogue is sometimes halting or rambling, depending on the situation. And the settings get a lot of love from me, because I just enjoy worldbuilding.

Otherworld, the setting of my largest series (31 parts and counting!), is no exception. Really, it’s the poster child for my “hardcore” style of worldbuilding, as I’ve stated on numerous occasions. I started developing the world in 2013 as little more than a conlang playground, then redesigned it in 2015 as part of my serious writing push. Through it all, I’ve tried to keep one goal in mind.

This could be our world.

Sometimes, that doesn’t work out. Nobody could have predicted the coronavirus panic this year, that the entire world would shut down for months. So Otherworld stories don’t talk about that; for them (and my other “Paraverse” novels, such as the Endless Forms series), it was nothing more than another swine flu scare. Likewise, the characters don’t have to worry about riots when they’re on Earth. Even the original deus ex machina for getting them away from our planet didn’t materialize: Tropical Storm Chantal was late last year, and it didn’t go where I predicted it would seven years ago.

Despite those flaws, I try to keep Otherworld as close to reality as possible while maintaining the dramatic aspects of the stories. It fits “in the gaps”, so to speak. We don’t know that these things don’t exist. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The big one

Of course, keeping that fiction alive is hard to do when you look at the overarching hypothesis of the series. To sum it up, the Americas were inhabited long ago, far longer than our theories (as of 2013) suggest. The original inhabitants were advanced, and possibly not even fully human—the truth of that remains a mystery even to me. They didn’t have an empire, but they did create numerous points of civilization that have since been lost.

This culture was far better adapted to the cold, dry climate of the Ice Age. When it ended about 12,000 years ago, their largest settlements sank beneath the rising seas, which is the main reason we can’t find them. (Yes, it’s an Atlantis riff. Sue me.) Seeing this catastrophe, they evacuated, using a set of ten mysterious sites containing wormholes. These linked to corresponding sites on another Earthlike planet, a colder one in general, where they set up shop.

Along the way, they brought the plants and animals they were familiar with. Some of those we know: Otherworld has corn and potatoes, New World raccoons and squirrels, though nothing not native to the Americas, with the possible exception of bottle gourds, which may have come over during the Ice Age. But it, unlike Earth, did not suffer the Pleistocene extinctions. So there are mammoths, sabretooth cats, dire wolves, and a few others.

This ancient civilization also interacted with the “first” Americans. Indeed, they traded with them, taught them, respected them. When their perceived apocalypse arrived, they took some of their neighbors with them to their new home. Thus, Otherworld’s natives are cousins to America’s natives. They aren’t the Aztec, Maya, Inuit, or Iroquois. They’re their own people. But they’re related, and they’re much closer to these than they are Europeans, Africans, or Asians.

Once they crossed over, the two races mostly returned to their dynamic. The ancients continued to learn and teach, even going as far as genetically engineering new sub-races of humans. The less-advanced natives accepted their wisdom, in some cases deifying them.

That worked until Otherworld began to snap out of its Ice Age about 4500 years ago. The ancients, now with nowhere else to go, retreated to high mountains and the Arctic counterpart, pushed along by one of their created races. (One small part of this tale is told in my free novel Seasons Change.) Whether any of them remain is an open question, one I have yet to see a need to answer.

Keeping it real

So that’s the backstory. Almost none of it really matters to the main plot of the stories, except that the characters from Earth are trying to piece it together out of curiosity. Still, I wanted it to be something that sounded plausible and wouldn’t be debunked easily. Yes, I’m aware that we’d probably have found evidence of advanced technology before now. And there’s not a millennia-old temple hidden around Soto la Marina, Mexico. Or Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Fossil, Oregon; Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan…

Still, there could be. So what about the rest of it? Specifically, the timeline. How does that hold up after nearly a decade of new research?

Pretty well, in my opinion. The “gap” trick continues to work, keeping my ancients safely away from debunking. Even better are some of the findings that have come to light in the past three years.

We used to know the timing of the first Americans. It was a done deal. Call it about 13,000-15,000 years ago. They walked across a land bridge where the Bering Strait is now, then kept going through a narrow corridor between the glaciers in western Canada, following the plentiful game as they rapidly spread out through the two continents. Within a thousand years, they were everywhere from Alaska to Argentina, known by the distinct stone artifacts first found in Clovis, New Mexico.

By 2013, that theory was already beginning to crack. Now, it’s dead in the water. Spear points predating the Clovis style have been found in a number of locations, most notably Gault, not too far north of Austin, Texas. Bone tools in the Yukon site of Bluefish Caves go back a full ten thousand years before the earliest Clovis theories—they’re twice as old as the end of the Ice Age!

I’ve incorporated some of these into the Otherworld series. The remains of a child in Alaska showed DNA markers distinct from any extent Native American populations; she became, in my telling, a possible member of the ancient civilization. A similar find in Mexico dates to the “evacuation” period of my setting, and I’m on the fence as to whether that one represents an ancient or one of their neighbors who stayed (or was left) behind at the end of days.

So far, there’s nothing that really destroys the worldbuilding. In fact, some of the archaeological finds can actually be seen as strengthening it. None of them do so as much as last week’s.


The paper is “Evidence of human occupation in Mexico around the Last Glacial Maximum” by Ardelean et al. Written in 2018, it was published in the online edition of Nature on July 22. Six days ago. You don’t need much searching to find a copy…if you know where to look. (I’m not supposed to link to such sites, of course.)

Chiquihuite Cave is in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. Right in the middle of cartel country, I’ve read, so you can imagine how hard it is to run a dig there. Inside were found nearly two thousand stone artifacts: cores, flakes, blades, points, you name it. A bit of charcoal made from a Douglas fir, found near one of the points, provided an estimated date, and it’s unbelievable if you’re a “Clovis-first” adherent.

28,000 years ago. No joke. Twenty-eight thousand. In other words, about as old as the Bluefish Caves bone, which not only guts the theory that the Clovis points represent the oldest inhabitants of the Americas, but also drives a big nail into the coffin of the “Beringia standstill” hypothesis. That states that the first Americans came over from Siberia during the Ice Age, then settled down in Alaska and northwest Canada for a few millennia, sometimes ranging down the Pacific coast in boats.

Of course, the odds are astronomical that these are the oldest human tools south of Juneau. More likely, they represent a snapshot of a culture that lasted for hundreds or thousands of years, which only pushes the migration date further back in time. So we’re really looking at 30,000 years or more.

The population probably wasn’t very high, and these are nomadic hunter-gatherers we’re talking about. Not the ancients of Otherworld at all, yet Chiquihuite is evidence that people were living in the Americas—all throughout North America, for certain—not only at the end of the Ice Age, but at its height. The climate would have been much harsher then. Cold and dry in general, with a lot of erratic patterns near the glaciers. Sea levels were a hundred or more meters lower than today, so as much as three to five hundred feet, which pushes the coastline many miles out from what we see in the present. In other words, plenty of room to hide an Atlantis.

And that’s what I take away from the Ardelean paper. Beyond the groundbreaking discovery itself, I’m happy to see that my outlandish worldbuilding of seven years ago still survives to this day. With upheaval all around it, my creation stands. It grows. I already consider Otherworld to be my greatest creation. Now, though, I can take even more pride in what I made, because it’s…prescient, in a way.

I hope future discoveries can further enrich our knowledge of the earliest Americans. I don’t hold out hope that we’ll find wormholes and genetics experiments, as that’s too crazy even for me. But any evidence that the indigenous peoples of this continent were growing along similar lines to their brethren across the ocean is welcome. Add in the intriguing possibility that the Chiquihuite culture isn’t related to any known Native Americans, and then you start to wonder what else is waiting to be found. Who were the first people to settle in what’s now the US, Mexico, Central and South America? What kind of world did they inhabit?

Were they more than we believe?

Release: A Life Complete (Tales of Two Worlds 4)

Four down, two to go. The Tales of Two Worlds series enters its second half with this fourth installment, “A Life Complete”, which returns to two of my favorite characters in the entire setting. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

To live in the other world is to cast away much of what makes a modern man…or woman. Amy knew this, and she willingly gave up the life she knew, its comfortable familiarity, for love of the unknown. Alex, by contrast, chose this path because he felt he had nothing to lose. Both see now that the road is hard, the struggle real, but they believe that, by working together, they can overcome the obstacles while bringing into their new lives a little piece of the old.

If you want to check this one out, you can find it and all its many brethren over at my Patreon. A mere 3 dollars per month is all it takes, and you get more than just a few novellas. So much more.

For those of you following along at home, the pattern should be obvious. We’ll come to the penultimate tale in September, and it’s called “Destiny Fulfilled”. I can’t wait, but you can keep reading!

Release: Secrets Uncovered (Tales of Two Worlds 3)

Here we reach the halfway point of this newest bridge to the Otherworld. Tales of Two Worlds continues today with “Secrets Uncovered”:

Some things never change, and Jeff believes he has found many of those in the other world. And he has also found archaeological evidence from the most ancient days, tantalizing clues to the mysteries he has longed to solve for over a year. As a professor at an alien university, his responsibilities stand in the way of devoting himself fully to research, but he knows he needs something to show when his friends from home arrive for the third time.

I’ll admit that this one is more “slice of life” than my usual writings, but sometimes you have to take a break, right?

This tale, like the previous two dozen in the Otherworld series, can be found on my Patreon, where you can get the whole set by pledging only 3 dollars. That’s not even a Memorial Day deal—it’s always that cheap!

For the second half of 2020, I’ll be releasing the second half of this series. Next on the list is “A Life Complete”, coming in July. See you then, and remember to keep reading!

A difficult decision

Sometimes, you have to make a judgment call, and it may not be the one you wanted to make.

In my two months of writing hiatus, I contemplated many things, some of which I have discussed in recent posts. In the past week and a half, however, I’ve come out of my personal lockdown to rediscover my favorite hobby. But this disruption to our world has caused me one other problem I didn’t anticipate when The Powers That Be closed everything for what we now know to be something no worse than a bad flu.

As I have said before, a number of my books and shorter works are set in a shared universe. This collective setting, which I sometimes call the “Paraverse” in my mind, now encompasses my extensive Otherworld series, the Endless Forms paranormal thriller series, the Modern Minds short story collection, the RPG knockoff The Soulstone Sorcerer, my historical fantasy novel Heirs of Divinity, possibly my free semi-romance novella Fallen, and a couple of odds and ends I rarely talk about.

These all take place in the same setting, the same world. It’s a world essentially the same as ours, except that there are differences at the margins. So monsters like those in The Shape of Things exist, but they’re so rare that almost nobody believes in them. There’s a portal to another planet hidden deep in the Mexican forests, but it only works one day out of the year (okay, two, but spoiler alert), and it’s almost impossible to find anyway. A secret society dedicated to psionic phenomena existed back in the Roaring Twenties, but the Great Depression basically ended it. And so on.

The link between all of these is Project Daylight, a dark web forum dedicated to exposing the “truth” behind all the weirdness in the world. They’re not always right—some of them believe the moon landings were faked, a point of view I find so offensive I can’t even write about it in detail—but they occasionally knock it out of the park. For the most part, though, they’re the crazy nutter types you’d see associated with Alex Jones, Gab, QAnon, and other internet nastiness.

The members of Project Daylight didn’t exist when I first started Otherworld. That only came about much later, when I needed a reason for the kids who had visited another planet to be found out. Since then, I’ve made them a larger part of that series, even giving the forum’s administrator his own story: “Alone With Myself”. Another member appears in Change of Heart, the latest Endless Forms novel; this one, named Shane (but going by the moniker Lurker), is based on my neighbor, who really does believe some crazy things.

Now, the more historical entries in the Paraverse obviously don’t have a group that formed in 2016, and there’s no evidence the forum even knows about the secret 18th-century college in London claiming descent from Simon Magus through a “lost” book of the Bible actually written around 800 AD. (Yes, in case you’re wondering, that is part of the plot for Heirs of Divinity.) Likewise, they weren’t around to see the foundation or fall of Matrema in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

But they’re around now, and therein lies the problem. See, I had already written multiple stories set in 2020 before this year went off the rails. The Beast Within and Change of Heart both take place right about now. “The Candle’s Flame” finished up just as the Wuhan virus was making its alleged debut in the US (although we now see it was here as early as November, a few weeks before I caught it!), and its immediate successor, The Second Crossing, starts right about now. None of them mention a global pandemic, a panic-induced lockdown, or anything of the sort. Which really breaks the idea that these books are set in our world.

But I think I’ve found a way to save face.

Bear with me here. The problem is that no one could have foreseen our present crisis. If I had written it into a story, even I would have dismissed it as too outlandish. Too unrealistic, and I value realism in my stories. On the other hand, it seems wrong not to mention the coronavirus in some way going forward, seeing as how it defines the current generation the same way 9/11 defined the last. (Take that as you will. It’s an entirely different debate.)

My solution is simple: yes, the virus does exist in the Paraverse. But it was less virulent, less widespread, and less deadly. Thus, it was more in line with what we actually see, rather than what we were originally told. The media reaction in the US was closer to what we saw with SARS way back when. Oh, it was talked about in the news in February and March, but as a problem almost exclusively tied to Asia. Project Daylight found some information about…certain actors trying to hype it as something more dangerous, but that narrative fizzled before it had a chance to affect us too badly.

In this, I recognize that I’m effectively rewriting history to suit not only the best needs of the story, but also my personal beliefs. And that’s okay. I have no problem with it. The Paraverse diverged from our world long ago. I just want to keep it close enough that we can imagine, that we can look at it and wonder how much of it really is happening right under our noses.

Release: Alone With Myself (Tales of Two Worlds 2)

The tales continue. Here’s the second of Tales of Two Worlds. Be warned, this one is the closest I’ve ever written to a “bad guy” point of view.

Another world. The other world. Pete Towson always knew aliens existed, but when he was presented with undeniable proof, with the chance to meet them in the flesh, he knew he had to take it, whatever the cost. Now, alone in an unfamiliar land, he must use all his skills, his intelligence, and his cunning. The first task is survival, but where will his road lead?

“Alone With Myself” is, like every story in the Otherworld series, currently exclusive to my Patreon. You can get it and the entire saga for a pledge of only a few dollars a month.

Next up is “Secrets Uncovered”, coming in May. I hope to see you then. For now, keep reading!

Release: The Frozen North (Tales of Two Worlds 1)

It’s time to build some more bridges to the Otherworld. This set of 6 stories is called Tales of Two Worlds, and it focuses on the “in-between” times following last year’s Point of Origin and Future in Sight.

First up is “The Frozen North”, and here’s a blurb for you:

The other world touches ours in many places, and Damian Enfield believes he can find one of them. The problem? It lies deep in the Canadian wilderness, miles away from any modern civilization, locked in ice for the winter months. Even after he locates the most promising site, time is short, and his team must contend with not only the elements, but other forces beyond their control, for some foes may pose as friends.

As always, my Otherworld stories are available on my Patreon for a mere 3 dollars per month. And you get all of them: 23, as of this writing. That’s too good a deal to pass up.

Make sure to check back in March, when you’ll get the second installment of this series, “Alone With Myself”. Until then, remember to keep reading!

Release: Future in Sight (Return to the Otherworld 8)

This is it, the end of the line. Well, at least for this season. Here’s Future in Sight, Part 8 of Return to the Otherworld.

This is no longer the other world. For those who dwell here, whether by birth or choice, it is home.

Seven have now crossed the stars to take this place as their own, and their reasons are as unique as their personalities. Knowledge, science, acceptance, love, or lust, the outcome is the same. They are the colonists, the pioneers, and their numbers, they know, will grow with each passing year.

But being in this world means becoming a part of it, with all that entails. In a place no longer foreign, they are drawn into politics, intrigue, the games of a land not their own. Those around them, their families, friends, apprentices, and students, can do little but come along for the ride, and that ride is reaching its roughest section yet.

Last time, it was all about Earth. This time, it’s all about the Otherworld. Specifically, this story only has POVs from characters who live there. Whether they were born there, or simply moved, the Otherworld is their home and this is their story. And it’s about to get a lot bigger.

But not this year. Future in Sight marks the end of 2019, at least as far as this setting is concerned. Next year, I’ll be back with 6 new “bridge” stories, a set I’m calling Tales of Two Worlds. And then, in 2021, I hope to bring out Season 3 of the “main” series, which I’ve tentatively titles Adventures in the Otherworld. I’ll see you then!