Monday, December 28, 2015

Hidden Treasure

This is a post about both my "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories: the one you probably already own, and the one in production now.

I'll start with the one in production, "Transfixed." As you know, the first half of the story is already on sale as an independent ebook with a semi-cliffhanger ending. But the thing about the cliffhanger is that you already know you can resolve it in whatever way you please, because the sequel is a "Choose Your Own Adventure." If you want to save Character A, who got enslaved in Part 1, you can save them - and you can also save Characters B, C, D, and so on. You can save everybody, if you do it right. Or if you prefer, you can doom everybody to a life of blissful slavery. Whatever floats your boat. My point here is that you shouldn't be afraid to buy Part 1 before Part 2 comes out. You can already imagine whatever finale you like and know that you can make it happen. Meanwhile, you've got a 77-page all-new story with lots of hot sex and creepy brainwashing bugs.

You'll also be pleased to know that I have an enthusiastic new volunteer (in additional to my usual cohorts) helping me brainstorm plot threads for the "Transfixed" CYOA. That means I'll be able to get up and running pretty fast. At this point I have a clear idea of the overall picture and several interesting story paths, and I'm just working out the fine details before I start writing. I think I'll be able to put this one together much faster than What Do You Give the Alien Who Has Everything?, partly because of my volunteers and partly because this time I know what the hell I'm doing.

So, moving on to "Alien," it has come to my attention that some readers who think they've read the book pretty thoroughly still haven't found the game-changing hidden plot line; and that makes me wonder what else readers might have missed. Well, the book's been out for over a year now, so I thought I'd give you a few helpful hints. Only the last one is a real spoiler, so I'll put it in spoiler text. You can read the other bullets points freely - and refer to the map above to refresh your memory of what's where.
  • I intentionally built this story in a way that forces you to follow many paths and interview many people to get the whole story about the Imperators. 
  • Visit each location more than once and make different choices each time. There's no way you can gather all the important information in one walk-through; and aside from the statuary, every location has at least one "lesson" you can't get anywhere else.
  • You can interview the Imperators in detail if you can make it into the observatory, but you have to ask the right questions before they'll let you even start to interview them, and you can't trust everything they tell you. To get the true story in all its dirty details, you'll have to find that hidden thread.
  • There's no advantage to choosing one reporter or orientation over another, but there's exactly one choice where the guide you picked could make a difference.
  •  No doubt you'll make a lot of bad choices and end up getting sent to the brainwashing chamber a lot. When this happens, don't skip past the text without reading it each time. There are lots of different ways you can be transformed in those chambers, and everything depends on who sent you there and why. My personal favorite result is getting turned into a mer-person.
  • And now here, in spoiler text, are the directions for finding the secret story line. Just be warned: it's a game-changer, but it's also a game in itself, and it's not easy to win. All I'm telling you here is how to start playing. Highlight the next bit to find out: [Go to the lily pond, let the mer-people grab you and take you under, but don't fight them a second time. Instead, look for a hatch in the pond wall.]

Friday, December 18, 2015

Updates, answers, questions, and maybe a way for you to make money

Best wishes to all of you out there celebrating whatever holiday(s) you celebrate. I hope you get to be with the people who make you happy and to do things you enjoy.

I see that a lot of folks have already downloaded Transfixed at Smashwords, but for those of you who were meaning to do it and didn't get around to it yet, I've extended the coupon's expiration date to December 25. So if you want it for 25% off, just go here and enter coupon code ZG53J.

If you have any questions about the story, I do hereby declare the comment section of this post a spoiler-friendly zone. Ask whatever you like, and I'll answer it as long as it doesn't give away any secrets from Part 2.

But I'll keep spoilers out of this post itself. Here's what I can tell you about what's next for the "Transfixed" storyverse without spoiling anything for those of you who haven't read the first book yet. You can read Part 1 alone, but if you do, you'll be left with a cliffhanger that's larger than (just as a random example) the one at the end of the first Matrix movie but smaller than (again, just an example) the cliffhanger at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. It's my hope that you'll leave Part 1 knowing that this time it's the good guys who'll be striking back; and because of the nature of the CYOA, they can win. If you figure out all the secrets, you can not only rescue everybody who was enslaved in Part 1 but also put an end to the tick menace once and for all.

Also, Part 2 will give you the option of following the story from a second point of view: the crazy Swede from the fridge in Part 1 (His name is Nils). If you "play" him, you'll find out his backstory and motivations, and you'll see how his goals dovetail a lot with the goals of the better know "good guys." That means Nils can win the big prize just like they can, but he can also get into some pretty nutty situations.

Now, about that ship hanging around at the top of this post. For the cover of the "Transfixed" CYOA, I need three realistic-looking ships depicted at angles that will allow for me to fuse them the way the Ajisashi and Myrddin were fused in Part 1. I've found lots of great spaceship art on Dollar Photo Club, including the above, which might work nicely for the Ajisashi if I tweak it a little. The problem is that I don't play video games, and I discovered entirely by accident that a lot of the best-looking ships I've found on Dollar Photo Club are close reproductions of ships from famous games and movies (Even the USS Enterprise is in there. I can't believe no one's been sued yet.). Obviously I can't use one of those ships for my cover, but how can I be sure I get something original? I'm going to need your help. Here are a couple of ways you can assist me:
1. Does anyone out there have the expertise to look at my potential choices and tell me whether they're ripoffs or true originals? If you can help, I'll give you full acknowledgment in the book and a cameo if you want one.
2. Does anyone out there have the skill to make three spaceships for my story from scratch? I would pay you for that, and we can work out the details of the payment in private. Email me if interested.

Sorry to anyone hoping to make money. ;-) I've got a couple of volunteers now, checking my sample pictures.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

You don't mind if I titillate you, do you?

This is a passage from my new book, "Transfixed" (available on Smashwords and Amazon, but you
have a few more days to get 25% off at Smashwords with the coupon code ZG53J).

"Alec?" said Michiko. He was standing right in front of her, nude aside from patches of silvery gel. His was thinner than the armor she'd seen on the soldiers who stormed the bridge, and it didn't look like it was meant to protect him so much as to arouse him. Every strip covered an erogenous zone: his chest and shoulders, his navel, a broad diamond that stretched from his navel to somewhere behind his balls, and the inside of his thighs. The gel rippled almost imperceptibly, massaged by starfish-like creatures not much larger than a pinhead.  Alec's cock was at half-mast, his body trembled, and she recognized his smile from more than a decade of foreplay.
But she couldn't look at that for very long, because the real horrors lurked above the gel. Her husband's eyes had rolled up so far that she could see only the barest blue sliver of iris; and a…a monster…had spread itself across his head and forehead. The thing's body was white, chitinous, and divided into eight narrow segments. Its scorpion-like tail curled backwards over the top of Alec's head and seemed (Michiko prayed she was wrong) to be buried in his skull, while its head was level with Alec's nose. Its multi-jointed legs – sixteen in all – pressed against, or possibly through, Alec's temples and other sensitive spots around his face.
The creature raised its head on a narrow stalk-like neck and looked at Michiko. Its eyes were blue-black and fathomless.
Hatred welled up in her. She'd never been a violent person, but seeing this…thing attached to her husband, she wanted to rip it off his head and tear it apart with her teeth.
But Michiko couldn't move. She was standing motionless, just like Alec; and looking down at herself, she saw a pattern of silvery marks across her own erogenous zones. Thankfully, her starfish weren't massaging her into unwanted arousal. That would have been too disgusting to bear.
She looked at his face again, and a sudden, horrible though struck her. Although she couldn't raise her arms, she could blink and frown, and by doing so she was able to confirm that there was an alien like Alec's on her own head. "Alec," she said tightly, "get this thing off me."
He flashed his most charming smile, but it didn't work without his eyes, and she sensed that he wasn't really the one smiling anyway. "Sorry, sweetheart," He said. "We can't resist our owners." His voice was softer than usual, but the ecstasy she heard in it sounded all too real.
Michiko ground her teeth. "These things are not our owners. They're aliens – enemies – slavers!"
"Poor Michiko," said Alec. He still hadn't lowered his eyes, but she could swear he was looking at her. Maybe the alien was looking at her for him. "I know you're scared, but don't worry. You'll feel better just as soon as your owner connects to you."
She could guess what that meant. "Look at me, Alec! Do I look like I want to feel better? Look at me!"
His upturned eyes didn't waver. "I can't, darling. I'm in such ecstasy that it's all I can do just to stay my feet. But that's all right because my owner keeps me focused. It even sees the things I can't and feeds the images into my brain, so there's nothing to worry about. Really, sweetie, it's okay. You're going to feel just as good as I do before long."

Pre-Christmas specials

Just a quickie here.

I've made "Willing Subject" free on Smashwords through December 24, and I'm having a Kindle Countdown Deal Dark Spaces and Sleepwalkers from December 11-18. On December 11 the price of these two books will be $0.99, and then they'll edge back up to the original prices by December 18.

Also, I've permanently dropped the price of Slave-Bride of the Sidhe to $0.99.

This is a great time to pick up some of my books for yourself or as holiday gifts for your friends.

Monday, December 7, 2015

"Transfixed, Stage 1" is now available for purchase

I've just posted "Transfixed, Stage 1" at Smashwords, and as usual I'm giving you a coupon (good for one week) to get your copy at 25% off. Here's your code: ZG53J. You can also buy it at Amazon here.

This story turned out to be pretty long and lots of fun to write. As I told you, I developed such a fondness for one character that I changed the whole ending to accommodate them. I also had fun learning Swedish curse words, and I tossed in a bunch of clues that will make you go "hmm" now and "aha!" when you read the eventual Choose Your Own Adventure.

Here's the synopsis. I hope you'll enjoy the story. :-)

Captain Michiko Sato is quite literally in an impossible situation. Her ship has been attacked by another vessel under the command of mind-controlling alien “ticks,” and now their human slaves are after her crew. Still worse, those slaves came from her husband’s ship, and he’s at the head of the brainwashed attack force. It’s not that slavery has turned Alec into her enemy; he still loves her. He just wants her to join him in the bliss of thralldom.

Before long Michiko is separated from her crew and held captive aboard Alec’s ship, where he tempts her to submit and unwittingly tortures her with memories of the man he used to be. Meanwhile, the crew on Michiko’s ship are no match for the invaders, and everyone’s on the lookout for a wet-behind-the-ears assessor who could be the key to breaking Michiko’s will. Then the crazy Swede in the refrigerator….

This ebook is not only a story in itself, but it’s also prelude to a “Plot Your Own Adventure.” In Stage 2 of “Transfixed,” you’ll be able to play some of these characters, rescue others, and (if you’re clever enough) stop the tick invasion for good.