Tag Archives: novels

The Big Cover Reveal

Today is the big day. 

At long last I can reveal the new covers for The Eternals Series and the news that INTO ETERNITY will be released in the next few days. I’ll do a post with all the appropriate release codes etcetera as soon as it goes live. For now, however, I present the new covers in reverse order. I hope you all like them as much as me because I think they’re perfect.

BOOK 3: INTO ETERNITY

Book 2: HUNTER HUNTED


Book 1: THE ETERNALS


Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

Author of The Eternals Series

The Eternals

Hunter Hunted

Into Eternity (A few days away!)

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Influences 3 – Fantasy

My love of Reading

There’s something about the word that drips from the tongue, fan-ta-sy. Three syllables became my sanctuary. I’m thankful for them daily.

It all started when a little girl — not me, thank you very much — walked through a wardrobe and stepped out into snow. Wow! Could you? Would you?

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There was a simple answer for one young lad who wanted his own space, his own little world to live in: yes. Perhaps it was isolationism or just a desire to dream during the safety of day instead of risk the terrible nightmares he suffered every night? I still can’t answer that, but my future was set. Not only this, but I secretly promised myself that at some point, at some time, I would write something that released others in the same way that the incredible C. S. Lewis did for me.

Once one develops a taste for a certain genre of writing it can rapidly develop into an obsession. It did, too. Every penny of pocket money, odd jobs and birthday money went on comics and books. We weren’t well off and neither were my extended family, but one advantage of loving the written word is that generally, you don’t need to be. I bought, collected and read. It made me happy.

As I grew from single figures into double and onwards, my lust for reading never evaporated although it was kept secret from my friends and even family to a degree. Being sporty, which I was and still am, it would have been unwise or at best ill-advised to advertise a passion for books to the world if you know what I mean. And so my secret horde grew. Foremost amongst my collection was the author Michael Moorcock and for one good reason: Elric.

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Elric was first written as an exact opposite to Robert E. Howard’s classic Conan the Barbarian. Where Conan was muscular, powerful and epitomised physical might, Elric did not. The albino prince of a dying race, Elric survived on drugs and sorcery. He prayed to Arioch, a less than redeemable God, and had a general dislike for everyone: just my kind of guy. When Elric (and I can’t remember how he actually came to own it) finds the sword Stormbringer — wow, what a name — the circle is complete. Elric’s sword sucked souls and passed that vitality to its owner. The white wolf was born and my love of antiheroes with it. I read many Elric novels — Moorcock was ever prolific — and was staggered that right at the end of them, my hero was killed by his own blade. So many twists. So many possibilities. So much scope to learn from in my desire to write. I read EVERYTHING that Moorcock wrote and still own upwards of fifty of his novels. One of my few regrets of youth was not getting to meet him at a book signing. I drove, then walked many miles to get his autograph only to find it cancelled when I got there. For someone as shy as me to have plucked up the courage to do so was devastating.

Fantasy can be interpreted in so many ways and so my reading diversified. I vacuumed up Gene Wolfe’s poetic prose, Ray Bradbury’s never ending imagination, everything and everyone from age old classics to the latest in modern writings. I enjoyed them all and still do when I can find the time to read. Fantasy provided an outlet, an escape, a place beyond the sneers and angry words of what to me did and still does seem a vicious world. At times, anyway.

The best Fantasy authors have the ability to not only drag you into their worlds but make you think they’re real, possible, plausible. I think this is why I did and will always prefer Fantasy to Science Fiction. No matter how good a Sci-Fi novel is at its core you know it’s not actually happened, where just perhaps a Lewis or Tolkien might have been to their worlds. Maybe that’s just me, but I like to think it.

In these days where computer games deliver sights and sounds to our every sense, where cinema slams ideas in through our eye-sockets, I feel very sorry for those kids who aren’t given the freedom to use their own imaginations as of old. There is and never will be anyplace like the deepest parts of our own minds. We have such scope, such magnificent horizons available to us that lie just waiting to be unlocked. I hope children in particular can return to these places over the next few years. Things often have a way of going in cycles. One can hope. As for me, I’m now writing what I was once reading, and it’s still the only thing that really makes me happy. Long may it continue.

Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

Author of The Eternals Series

http://mybook.to/TheEternals

Hunter Hunted

Into Eternity (Very Soon!)

All Images courtesy of Goodreads.com

A Super-Swanky New Me

Med-Fina

Any of you who have read or purchased my books will know that I am published by a company called Creativia. The lovely people involved have just upgraded their website so that their authors and books are put front and centre. The result is the page that I had with them is now brand new and (as stated in the title) a Super-Swanky New Me.
Some of the publicity links I have received are now actually included on my author page with more to come. Accordingly, I would like to say a special thank you to Chris the Story Reading Ape and also Sally Cronin whose links are already being used there.
Please feel free to click HERE and have a nosey and see what you think. My book pages are clickable so you can peep at them too. I would be extremely grateful for any social media shares from those pages. These things are a great help to Indie Authors.

Thank you as always for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of The Eternals Series
New Titler FullSizeRender-2 copy

Sneak Peek: Britannia Unleashed

I’m so pleased and relieved to have just finished editing what will in a few months time be released as Britannia Unleashed that I thought I’d share a passage. I have spent the last three years editing The Eternals Series and this and for the first time in as long can now start writing again. (THANK GOD!) I have big plans for the Britannia books. Big, big plans!

I hope you enjoy this little snippet.

Richard

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From Britannia Unleashed section: A Certain Release.

Note: Britannia’s greatest investigator, an ageing Mortimer Headlock, is led to a dilapidated mansion by a lady that is not quite a whole woman. Here he meets a foe from his past. A dead foe!

Stocked with more paraphernalia than Headlock had ever seen in one place, the mansion mired in mismanagement. He glanced into what appeared a dining room and back across the hall to what might have passed for a lounge, both cluttered from floor to rafters with junk. Piles and piles of miscreant objects littered every surface with none left bare. The lounge was worst with the accumulated garbage almost touching the ceiling. Great heaps rose from the carpet, tables and chairs like a London cityscape reimagined in miniature with only one area, darker than the rest, ominous by its excavation. Something resided in that blackness; two glittering eyes confirmed it. Headlock noted them but said nothing, there would be time for such things later.

“Shall we take a seat?” No-Name enquired.

“Lead the way, Madame,” he replied. As he suspected, she led him away from their fellow resident. Holding aloft the lantern more for himself than No-Name, Headlock followed her through the warren that was her father’s home.

It was here that he imagined a reasoning for his companion’s strange gait. Whereas Headlock stumbled and bumbled into this item and that, a straight passage elusive, causing commotion after commotion of tumbling junk, she tottered between the stacks of papers, plants, furniture and more bizarre items like a world champion in avoidance. Her tottering seemed perfect in its side-to-side rotations to make haste through the accumulated detritus. Headlock’s longer strides were less so.

By the time he reached No-Name, she’d pulled up two chairs to a large, mahogany kitchen table, and sat, her hands by her sides. Headlock took his place opposite and began as he would in any procedural meeting by asking questions. “So, where is said ghost?”

“Close,” her cryptic reply.

“And how long has this demon antagonised?”

“All my life.”

“Hmm, that is unusual.”

“Is it?”

“Very. As a rule, the spirits of the deceased come and go at will. However, in my experience of such things, they almost always require something before departing.” Headlock found himself tapping the one bit of exposed table top for dramatic effect, his fingertip orchestra echoing around the room.

“And if they required something to facilitate not departing?”

“My apologies, Madame, but I don’t follow.”

She opened her small almost circular mouth to elaborate when something interrupted her.

“Headlock,” said a disembodied voice. “Headlock,” it came again shaking the room’s wooden beams with its depth of bass.

“Sir?”

“Mortimer Headlock.”

A dispassionate individual, though undoubtably male, Headlock found the voice’s owner both hard to read and altogether rude. As such…

“I would care for you to do me the service of addressing me face to face, Mister?”

“Sir,” hissed the voice. “Sir Magnus Monk.”

And the proverbial penny dropped.

Thank you for reading

Richard

Richard M. Ankers

Writing Practise and Forgetting Your Work


Author’s Note: When I am working on a large project, I will often practise with dummy scenes and similar passages to those I will eventually publish. I find this an ideal way to feel a story out without worrying about it effecting the eventual outcome. The problem is, as with many creatives, your mind is so full of ideas that you prioritise the important ones and forget the rest. A case in point is the following short story. I hate to waste them.
I am collating a steampunk anthology — one of my favourite genres — whose main characters shall then appear in their own books. This along with The Eternals Series, which has just been completed, have monopolised my brain (it’s not big enough to handle too much). Everything else has slipped into a hazy past. So, I thought I’d share the following story here so people can see the sorts of things that often get forgotten, bypassed or dumped without even realising they’ve disappeared. This turned up in my hunting out another story that I’ve misplaced (yes, I am that bad). I genuinely hope you enjoy it.

PS. My Advice: Take more care of your writing than I do mine.

The Tinkerer


An irreconcilable truth, yet, nevertheless a truth, we were meant to die, not last forever. Eternity was meant for gods and monsters, myths and legends, dreams and imagination, never for the ordinary and undeserving. We were supposed to live our lives, make foolish mistakes, garner regrets and memories to be passed down through the generations like water to the sea. Yes, we were meant to pool in that oceanic basin called life, but never stagnate. We were meant for better things but never on Earth.

Modifications, they called them, modular adjustments, augmentations of self. The supposition was that a world without death might become a world without fear and therefore one without any desire for war. The warring nations of our planet would come together under one banner, Victoria’s banner, and peace would settle like the first winter snows carpeting the world in gentle sleep. Peace was an enviable utopia if it were the truth, but eternal life, mortality if you will, could not have been farther from that truth. I knew for I fabricated the lie.

I was an inventor, not a scientist, nor even a man of particular cranial might. My skills, for what they were worth, were formed in those steam powered machines that encircled the globe, and in particular Great Britain because she who must be obeyed — otherwise known as Queen Victoria — commanded it. The youthful me’s methods were formed from cogs and steam under the ever watchful eyes of such engineering stalwarts as Stephenson and later Brunel. If it sounded glamorous, it wasn’t. Filth and smog and oil were my medicines, and I hated taking them. So, I diversified. I tinkered, or so my mother used to say, dabbled with things beyond my ken, things that were better left alone. I left my work and retreated to the basement of my home to be seen less than frequent but more than seldom. Frogs were my speciality, my experiments of choice, as they were plentiful in the streams and ponds abutting our village: frogs in metal frameworks; frogs with extra brains stuffed in their tiny heads; frogs made to be not-frogs. Like a mad professor from a children’s fairytale, I fiddled and jiggled with the fabric of life and never once had a clue what I tampered with.

My parents did not take well to my work, in fact, they hated it. So I took my tinkering elsewhere, left the pile of stone and ivy that constituted my family’s legacy, my home, and ran away for good. I had no desire to have scorn heaped upon me at every turn, who would? Instead, I sought the quiet surroundings of nature, rural comforts, one might have said. I found them, too. Nestled away in a small corner of Yorkshire where a good horse was a greater prize than any of those new-fangled automobiles, I settled into endless days of adjustments.

I grew so good at what I did in those formative years, in my improving, that the local farmers actively fetched their livestock to be remodelled. Can you believe it? To me! I sewed extra udders here and there, grafted a pair of extra legs to this or that animal, increased a sheep’s wool capacity to that of a seeding dandelion. All knew my work by the white clouds of precious wool which lifted from said oves with the ease of blowing seeds from the dead flowers they resembled. There was no limit to my refabrications. I even crossed a pig with a Zeppelin to make it easier to move. Not bad, eh? Not good, either! I should’ve sewn up their behinds before allowing them the freedom of the skies, tethered or otherwise. Life was good. Life was easy.

My fame grew in proportion to the experiments I perpetrated. I say perpetrated because they should never have taken place. My mother had called me evil — I was not evil, I was good — but I began to see why she’d claimed it. A Mister Samuel Rothbarton, an owner of several Bradford Mills and a small island in the Caribbean, had acquired enough of a fortune to prize me from my arboreal bordered land to one of stone and brick. He refused to die and wished for me to prevent it. “I am not a commoner and shall not die like one!” he’d proclaimed. I almost believed him, too.

I had never considered the process of immortality in my tinkerer’s remit. Honestly, I hadn’t! You must believe that. However, I must confess it appealed to my bravado, my showmanship one might have said, to see if I might have managed it. I did. It wasn’t even hard. A few organs replaced, limbs adjusted, all with gears and clockwork minutiae, more than did the trick. In fact, Mister Rothbarton became more of a grandfather clock than the actual clock I’d stolen his parts from. He did not care. The cancer that had plagued him had no hold over metal, his gout ineffectual on an articulated leg. He showered me with all the money I could ever have dreamed of and never required. But like all greedy humans, once garnered, I wished for more.

I advertised myself as a man of miracles, augmenter extraordinaire. The population at large believed me. Eventually, so did our Queen.

Her Majesty Queen Victoria regarded me through heavy-lidded eyes, old eyes, and passed me a sheet of paper that merely said, I wish to be Immortal. She did not speak, not a word, and neither did her advisors. I nodded my acquiescence and was then dismissed to a small workshop adjoining the palace stables.

Things might have gone better with Her Majesty’s alterations, much better. However, live she did and would for as long as someone oiled her. I could do little about her exterior appearance, age had withered her, but her beating heart was strong and became stronger. She took to her new form like the bitten to vampirism, ruled with vigour and a literal iron fist. She bounded about the palace on strong-sprung legs like a newly walking toddler. And for a time, her people admired her that way, accepted her for what she’d become, and she accepted them. It did not last.

Victoria first pitied those doomed to die, then grew bored, then raged in spiralling madness at those unlike her, the unaltered. In a moment of sheer frustration, she had them butchered, every last man, woman and child. Not one regular human remained. Not one! Except me, that was, for I faked my metal appendages; I had no desire to last forever.

Her Majesty never allowed me far from her side — just in case, she claimed — but after a time age told upon me. Whereas she and those she’d had me correct thrived, nature took its course on my weak body. I claimed most of it by choice: I whitened my hair because I disliked black; stooped because it made the table closer, and any number of ridiculous lies. Ridiculous or not, she and her underlings believed them. Believed them until my heart attack, that was, but not after.

Victoria had one Ignatius Bumbleswick perform the operation, my one time assistant and general dogsbody. The man who I had always considered a prying fool was in fact an absolute genius. He manipulated my tools with a skill I should never have managed. Like Constable a painting, or Shelley words, Bumbleswick tore me apart and remade me: he made me exceptional.

I did not thank him or his monarch for gifting me renewed life, how could I? I wanted to die. I wanted death more than anything for I knew God would never allow me into the realm of eternal light after what I had done, not unless I remained untainted myself. That had been my hope, anyway. They stole my one chance of a pardon with an ever-present reminder ticking in my chest.

And so I persevered through the changing dynasties of the world, through Victoria’s massacring of everyone except those she wished Bumbleswick and I to maintain. Soon, although it might have been many aeons, one loses time after the first few centuries or so, few remained in a world too spacious to appreciate its worth. We congealed around London like germs a handkerchief as the rest fell into disrepair then ruin. Or so we thought?

They came from overseas. More beasts than men, the evolved and evolving, such a crush of feathers and fur were they that most Victorians — as we still called ourselves — gawped and stared in disbelief of what we witnessed. The beasts neither gawped nor stared, they butchered.

They saved me until last. I saw all fall before me, even Queen Victoria in an explosion of oil and flame, every human I’d augmented, every soul I’d taken. When a cotton wool ball of a creature tottered over to stand before me, I realised the truth. The creatures were the descendants of those I myself had altered. The ghosts of my past had come back to haunt me, my first tinkering experiments had returned tenfold.

Even then, I might have been excused, pardoned the fate of the others. They watched me through great, big eyes with the expectancy of children unwrapping birthday gifts. However, when upon closer scrutiny I scowled upon their unkempt forms, their ugliness, half-smiles turned to full snarls. They had thought me their God, when in truth, I was the Devil. They tore me apart by talon and teeth. I was glad to go.

There was no promised light, not even a candle. I lapsed into darkness like the shutting of a coffin lid on a catatonic man. In darkness I remained, my conscience trapped to tinker in obsidian forever.

The End

As Always

Thank you for reading

Richard M. Ankers

Author of The Eternals Series

The Eternals

Hunter Hunted

Into Eternity (Very Soon!)

 

Mouldering in Time

Author’s Note: When I first started writing The Eternals Series one of the major stumbling blocks I attempted to overcome was one I felt others authors had neglected: the true effects of time. If one could not die, how would it affect one’s sanity, especially if the minds in question deteriorated where the bodies did not? As a consequence, I wrote hundreds (literally) of text snippets. They were nothing flash, but it was like swilling my mouth with them until the taste was right. This is one such piece.

I hope you enjoy

Richard

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Our memories decayed over time. What resistance the mind endeavoured to propose failed at every turn; I lost my sanity but never my smile. With each passing day those snippets of self were dispersed like cherry blossom in a breeze to pile in unfortunate heaps of mouldering nothingness. It saddened me whilst still I understood what sadness was. As the aeons slipped by like dew from a hedge all remnants of self faded until all that remained was instinct and sight. You were my waking sight each day and for that I needed no memory. With every rebirth our love was reborn and no traversing through time could diminish it. Love proved eternal.

Richard M. Ankers

Author of The Eternals Series

The Eternals

Hunter Hunted

Into Eternity (Very Soon)

The Eternals Sample Chapter

#VignetteSeries – Felicity Backscratch

Felicity started life as a joke name for a friend’s daughter (if that friend reads this, she’s probably already killing herself with laughter). Now, she has moved on, and is fast becoming an integral character in my latest novel. Felicity is perfect. Felicity knows it, too.

“Gawd, it’s Felicity Backscratch,” repeated pedestrians hissed like stage fillers in a play, hands cupped to secretive mouths.

She acknowledged them all with a wink or a nod, swish of hair or a sparkle of sapphire eyes. She was marvellous. She was beautiful. She was life.

Felicity glided through the fog as though there was none. Not once did that earthbound angel dally at a street corner, not once did she slow her pace as the Londinium streets filled like a harbour at high tide; no boat was as fine as she, Felicity not even slowing for the Hanson Cab that stopped to allow her safe passage, and then lingered longer than perhaps it should. She mesmerised, and a starry-eyed cabby might have been forgiven for a lapse in protocol. He might, but it wasn’t his hand on the reins, so it seemed, anyway. Once Felicity’s glow had ebbed, the cabby felt a sharp rap as of a cane on a wooden door snapping him from his reverie.

“Move!” a man commanded.

Move, he did.