Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nifty Newly, featuring James Austin McCormack

Welcome to another Nifty Newly! James is a Class Act Books author, like me! Unlike me, he's also a college lecturer from Manchester, England. In addition to writing, he loves hiking and playing the guitar, though not at the same time. Please welcome James Austin McCormack

What's the title of the book you're currently working on? 
The Clockwork Man, a sort of Arabian Nights/sword and sorcery fantasy novella. I have also just finished the last book in my science fiction series, Dragon. The book is called The Prisoner of Valathia and will be out in June this year

How many books have you written? Published/unpublished? What genre? 
I have two novels, four novellas and a quite a lot of short stories in various anthologies. published so far. I also have about twenty or so unpublished short stories which may or may not see the light of day sometime in the future. I write speculative fiction, mainly science fiction, horror and fantasy.

What inspires you, as a writer? 
Escapism, pure and simple, the more I can create my own worlds, setting and characters the better.

How do you come up with names? 
I often look up real and ancient names, then give them a twist. It's too easy to come up with cheesy sounding names when writing science fiction, especially of the space opera variety. I try to avoid this at all costs.

How do you come up with ideas? 
I'm not a prolific writer by any means. I tend to write 300 to 500 words over the course of the day. I find when I do this the ideas keep coming. All I need to do is give my subconscious time to work on plots and themes. This wouldn’t happen if I set aside a writing hour or couple of hours like a lot of authors do.

Why is originality important in fiction? Or is it important? 
I think it all depends on what you are trying to do. Personally, I enjoy writing pulp flavored speculative fiction (mostly sci-fi). I'm not trying to break new ground or write a post- modern classic. I write the type of stories I enjoy reading. I don’t worry too much about being that original.

What would you consider a good example of originality in your fiction? 
Well, if I had to point to something it would be the blending of genres. Several reviews of my first science fiction book, Dragon, have mentioned how different and original the ending is, as much fantasy as science fiction. The last installment is even more of a mix, equal parts science fiction, fantasy and also with more than a touch of horror in there as well. There is also, as with all the books in the Dragon series, a large dose of humor.

Thank you so much for joining us, James! If you'd like to find out more about James's fiction, please check out his social media and author pages here: 

There are more purchase links following the excerpt. 

After the death of the Tuolon Ambassador Lagua and the failure to bring the non-humanoid worlds into the Alliance, Sillow and Brok’s long partnership is finally at an end. Now a reluctant solo agent, Sillow is called upon to undertake his first mission, investigate the Tower, a high-tech prison complex along with the oligarch who runs it, a mysterious nobleman who calls himself Tamerlane.

Seeking evidence to prove Tamerlane is responsible for a series of terrorist attacks, Sillow quickly uncovers the sheer scale of his plans, a lethal military strike on all four humanoid home worlds. Caught and imprisoned however, the Sylvan finds himself helpless to warn the Alliance of the coming danger.

All the while, something has been evolving, growing stronger inside the Tower, something intangible yet far more dangerous than Tamerlane ever could be, a being implacably opposed to all life in the galaxy.

And only Sillow has any chance of stopping it.

EXCERPT from Dragon: The Tower of Tamerlane:

Laser fire and shouts echoed as Sillow was thrown headlong into the cell.

What are you?” a female voiced asked. “Some type of green midget?”

Sillow groaned and tried to get up. He settled for a slumped kneeling position.
I’m a Sylvan,” he replied. He squinted into the shadows and saw a figure seated on the upper berth of a bunk. He could make out little apart from a muscular, yet shapely pair
of legs. “Who are you?”

The figure jumped down from the bunk. She was an Amazonian, strong and athletic with an impressive cleavage and long chestnut hair falling around her shoulders. She was
also extremely pretty despite the artificial eye and cheek implant. She stretched out a perfectly formed silver arm, extending her hand. “Titanya.”

Sillow’s eyes widened. “The Pirate Queen?”

The woman nodded.

The Sylvan took her cybernetic hand and let himself be hauled to his feet. He found himself head high to her magnificent chest.

Sillow,” he replied, smiling at her breasts. “I’m from the Alliance.”
Up here, short stuff,” the woman told him.
Slowly and very reluctantly, Sillow turned his attention upwards. He grinned. “Nice to meet you.”

Outside, cries and weapon fire continued to echo through the halls.

Titanya frowned. “Any idea what all that’s about?”

Whole place is going crazy,” the Sylvan replied. “Something got into Tamerlane’s AI system.”

The woman took a couple of tentative steps toward the door. Screams echoed through the walls.

Sounds like a warzone out there,” she remarked. “You sure the AI is causing all this?”

Sillow frowned. “You know, this is going to sound kind of crazy but…” he paused, running a hand over his pointed chin.

What?” Titanya demanded.

Well, it kind of looks like the one causing all this is Darius Drake. You heard of the guy?”

Oh yeah,” the Earth woman answered. “We’ve met.”

Well, somehow he’s put himself into the computer system.” Sillow gave an embarrassed shrug. “Sounds sort of off the wall I know.”

There was a sudden explosion and flames tore through the slits at the top of the door.

Look out.” Sillow threw himself at Titanya, knocking her off balance and sending her tumbling to the floor. The Sylvan landed on top of her, head buried in her thick auburn locks. A fireball tore past them, turning the bunks into cinder.

It was some moments before Sillow glanced up. He found himself looking at the stern, beautiful features of the Terran woman.

You okay?” he asked. “Just so you know, that was me protecting you.”
Just so you know,” Titanya replied, “under any other circumstances I’d have busted your jaw for that.”

Sillow grinned. “You mean saving your life?”

Titanya flung the little Sylvan back onto his feet. “Yeah, right. I can’t believe a pipsqueak like you got the drop on me.”


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