Update!

[ Cover art by: xaiyasak ]

It’s been a little while since I last did a proper blog post. Rest assured I’ve been writing each and every day. That’s the strange thing with writing. The finished product is literally the tip of the iceberg, floating on the back of years of effort and struggle.

So what’s breaking the surface next for me? Well, I’ve started writing outlines for Death Echo: Vol. 3.

DEv3 will be the final instalment in what has been a massively interesting and educational experience. I’ve made mistakes, and I know now that I am many things, but I am not an editor. How they manage their magic I’ll never know! I’ve also received some wonderful reactions and it feels amazing to have my work out there, being read by real human eyes.

Death Echo: Vol. 3 won’t be out for a while, at least a year. I really want to take my time with it.

In other news my novel, Proper Magic (a comical but sincere fantasy) is nearing completion. I’m so excited about it! I’ll be looking to find an agent and get it traditionally published. As previously stated on this blog I don’t trust Amazon with a novel. Or rather – I don’t trust myself to do the long, hard sell that novels require when it comes to self-publishing.

In that regard I’m perhaps a little too insular. That’s something to work on I suppose.

I’ve found a really good life/writing/relaxing balance. I take my laptop into work now and spend around 40 minutes of my lunch break writing. Then when I come home I’m not on edge about needing to write and I’m able to enjoy time with my fiancé and fur babies. Then on the weekends I do some editing and a big chunk of writing, along with playing computer games (maintaining other hobbies is key to happiness y’all!).

In conclusion – All is good. I’m writing, a lot.

Now, if I could only shake this cold…

– Sebastyan

 


Death Echo: Vol. 1

Death Echo: Vol. 2

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Death Echo: Vol. 2 is now out!

Death Echo: Vol. 2 is now out! Due to issues on Amazon’s end the paperback hasn’t gone live for .co.uk but it can be bought from .com. Good for Americans, bad for brits. Don’t go spending out on American shipping though, it should be available soon!

In the meantime it can be downloaded for Kindle here for a mere £1.99!

I’m super proud of this collection so I hope everyone enjoys it. P.s if you haven’t jumped on the Echo train yet (note to self – ‘Echo Trains’) the first volume is still free for the rest of today so grab a download 🙂

Now I can finally get on with all that other writing I’ve been meaning to do!

– Sebastyan

 

What is Death Echo: Vol. 2?

Tomorrow  (13/1/18) will mark the release of Death Echo: Vol. 2. It contains ten stories, a mixture of fantasy, science fiction, and good old regular fiction. The cover and inside illustrations were all done by Jade Andrews.

Vol. 1 came out back in March 2017 and there was a big build up to it. This release is a quieter affair.

The first volume came in at a modest 16,000 words whereas this one is closer to 26,000 words – still well below the length of a novel – all the stories are a nice manageable length for the most part. It will be going for the same price (eBook £1.99 and paperback £3.99).


 

In the far future a dying man chooses to take his own life under an alien sky. A young girl sets off to find twin lights she saw fall from a mountain top and in a post-rapture town three survivors are hunting divine prey. The Echo continues.

 

Memento Mori

Upon receiving awful news a young woman must return to her estranged grandmother, despite every bone in her body telling her to turn tail and run.

Route 20

A man and a boy are on a strange, endless road-trip through the long arid stretches of middle America. What drives them forward? And for that matter what drives the car – the gauge has been on EMPTY for a long time now.

Falling into the Sky

Even in the far future there are illnesses that drive us to extreme measures. Oswen Shaff has lived a long life, but it is not without regrets. Under the sunset of an alien sky he is left alone with his thoughts, and copious amounts of drugs.

Hollow Harvest

Nothing happens on the Hollow family farm, except one night when something DOES happen. Esmeralda is too young and headstrong to understand fear so she goes to investigate. Perhaps tonight she’ll learn how deep the shadows really are…

Grand Leader

Everything is fine in the Holy City of Midden, according to the old Grand Leader. His people are happy and protected and the faith is strong. Admittedly he hasn’t looked outside in a long time, but why would his faithful servants lie to him?

The Last Wedding of Plas Teg

The apocalypse is here. More specifically the apocalypse is gathering around the Plas Teg stately home. Time is running out and the vicar is nowhere to be seen…

Blood for Barthmont

Tael gave up his old life in the treacherous South to protect his new life in Barthmont. Winter is approaching the mountains he patrols and it rarely travels alone. Barthmont is a pretty prize for any daring enough to try and take it.

Immortal

It’s Nold’s job to raise servants into willing cattle for the Immortal Lords of the Forbidden Palace. He enjoys his job. He’s good at his job. So why does it concern him so much that one Lord seems to refuse his offerings? Why does he feel like Lord Ruine is planning something?

Hope Street

Perhaps it was the rapture, perhaps not. All the same the strange creatures that came from the skies on golden wings have got to go. Enter the two man kill-team of Al and Fezz, backed up by young Ben, who is about to learn that his life underground hasn’t really prepared him for the violence of top-side.

Below the Storm

When something nearly wiped out all life on Earth some humans managed to escape to an orbiting station. Generations later they want to take Earth back, but what awaits them under the strange storm that covers the planet?

 


 

I’ve had a few problems with the up-loader where certain alterations haven’t stuck. Hopefully this will all be sorted as soon as possible and it shouldn’t affect your enjoyment. Do let me know if the format has been thoroughly messed up though and I’ll do everything I can to make it right!

I’ve learnt a lot more this time around, not just about the obvious (editing and writing) but also about myself. Volume 2 was not an easy road for me. I struggled with motivation a great deal and pushed the release back a few times – Christmas happened slap bang in the middle of it too (the nerve!).

All the same I’m relieved to be at the end of it and see the fruits of all those sleepless nights. I still feel like I’m learning a lot about writing every day and it means the world to me that there are people out there willing and able to join me on this strange little literary trip.

I appreciate you all. Thank you.

– Sebastyan

 

Death Echo: Vol. 2 | 13th of January | Pre-Order Now!

Death Echo: Vol. 2 is ready to be released! It will be available on Amazon in both eBook and paperback. The eBook version is available to pre-order now!

Vol. 2 will go live on the 13th of January 2018!

From the 9th to the 13th Death Echo: Vol. 1 will be free to download so if you missed it the first time feel free to grab it now.

You don’t have to read the first volume to enjoy the second, but there are connections between the two!

I’m very pleased to announce Jade Andrews has returned to provide the cover art and the illustrations! Each story has it’s own image and Jade has really knocked it out of the park – I just hope Amazon doesn’t butcher the image quality!

You can Pre-Order Death Echo: Vol. 2 here.

Join the Facebook release party here.

Or just check out my Amazon page when you get chance by clicking here.

Skull swirl

When is your Story Ready?

‘When is it ready?’ is the ultimate question for anyone trying to create something, be it a song, a painting, a sculpture made entirely of bread-sticks, or even a story.

The answer to this is: never. That’s right. Nothing is every finished, but it can be ‘good enough’. Everything you’ve ever absorbed through whatever media has been pushed out because it’s ‘good enough’, not because it’s done in the eyes of the creator.

That sounds really cynical – but let me explain. There are countless writers out there writing and rewriting stories that will never see the light of day. Editing is vital, obviously, but I have to wonder whether in these cases the writer simply doesn’t want to let go of their creation. It’s like being an over protective parent – you have to let your baby grow up and go out into the world. That child has to make mistakes in order to become better –  a story has to be exposed to the eyes of strangers in order for the author to learn from it.

Why am I talking about this? Because Death Echo: Vol.1 was an exercise in getting something out there. It was also an exercise in editing, which was helped by the relatively low word count of each story. I couldn’t have gotten through it without all the people who came forward to test-read my work.

Vol.2 is a different beast. Having listened to feedback I wanted to make the stories longer – not massively so, just a little meatier. This has slowed the process down, and getting beta-readers will be vital in order to create the story collection I envision.

The worst thing I could do is release a volume with shoddy stories. I mustn’t let my eagerness result in a bad product, but I also don’t want to sit on my hands and delay!

Essentially when we create something we have three options –

  • Keep working on it endlessly and never show another living soul (it’s important knowing when to let go!)
  • Release it too soon and risk a bad response (All confidence and no restraint is generally a bad move – patience is key.)
  • Work on it to the best of your ability and then have the courage to share it (This one. Do this one.)

It’s a balancing act between all three even at the best of times. I can honestly say that sharing my work has helped a huge amount. To share something is to show courage. To improve upon something is wise. To love the (sometimes painful) process is liberating.

Your story may never be ready – but you can be.

– Sebastyan

 

Where did Death Echo come from?

My grandfather died Christmas 2016. Death had seemed a long way away – suddenly it was at the door. The bubble had popped and everything felt suddenly very small and very delicate.

Mortality had arrived.

One of my short stories had been published but I felt as though I was standing still. On January the 1st I swore to put something out there. Time was short and I had to DO something.

Telling people I was a writer felt like a lie. I needed a product.

Reading through the short stories I’d written over the years something struck me – they were all about death. Not always directly, but they were all touched by the idea of endings, of passing.

This gave my theme: death.

March 2017 saw the release of Death Echo: Vol. 1, a collection of short stories by myself, illustrated by Jade Andrews.

Death Echo is a personal project. I never intended to make money from it (I still don’t) but I knew I wanted full control, something self-publishing facilitates. Three months of nonstop writing and editing, and some beautiful art and I had a product.

It went on sale at the end of March, though it nearly ended up in April due to my own struggles with Amazon’s upload system. The reaction was far better than I expected – I don’t have much of footprint when it comes to social media. Despite that I had over a hundred units moved in a week and a half (downloads and physical copies). I’ve not looked since, this isn’t a number game at the moment.

It was encouraging. Now I had something to talk about, something to sell. It was something I’d written and shaped and sent out there. I had friends, family and strangers all reading a reviewing my work. For the first time since declaring myself a writer I actually FELT like a writer.

It came from a place of desperation and fear but became something rather different. It may be about death but I hope in execution it’s something more uplifting.

– Sebastyan

Blade Runner 2049: Film Review (light spoilers)

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. A sequel to the 1982 film Blade Runner.

I wasn’t a fan of the original. That’s not to say it was a bad film, I just went in with the wrong expectations. Teenage Seb went into it expecting a sci-fi romp. Blade Runner is not a franchise that can ever be associated with the word ‘romp’. Despite this I appreciated the first film on an artistic level. I appreciate that it exists, just as I appreciate this one for not selling out.


 

The film is stark, unforgiving, beautiful, awful, engrossing, captivating, oppressive and above all else – faithful.

 

 

It would have been so easy to create an action film, all the assets are there – guns, flying cars, synthetic people, dystopia, Harrison Ford. But instead the result is something very much embedded in the original story.

It doesn’t retread the same story, despite having similar roles. There is a Blade Runner. There is a corporation. There is a plot. Yet everything feels fresh.

One of the big debates around the first film was whether Deckard was a replicant or not, with the original director saying that he was while everyone else claiming that this was stupid. This film (thankfully) doesn’t clarify this and we’re still left wondering. It also doesn’t focus on Ford, instead following Ryan Gosling who absolutely nails the role of K who IS a replicant – this isn’t a spoiler, it’s one of the first things we’re told.

 

 

This is what I mean when I say the film feels fresh. It recognizes that here in 2017 the old human/robot story-line has been played out. As a fan of Science Fiction I’ve seen it done a hundred times in a hundred ways. Blade Runner 2049 feels nuanced and carefully laid out. It’s layered and smart, without being too obscure. It doesn’t shy away from flipping your expectations and it certainly doesn’t doubt its own style or imagery. I joked before going in that the film with be 80% establishing shots and I wasn’t far off. That might sound awful but coupled with the downright aggressive soundtrack it locks you into the kind of cinematic experience that I can’t remember ever having had before.

 

 

No-one left for the bathroom in my viewing, despite the long running time. Everyone was pinned to their seats. It was a spectacle, an experience, a high budget art-house film with a good morality narrative the likes of which I’ve not seen for a long time.

 

 

Enjoyed isn’t the word. It wasn’t fun. It was dour and stunning and depressing and captivating all at the same time. I don’t want to call it clever cinema, because that makes me sound like an asshole. Nor would I mind if people walked out of it – it’s a bit like marmite. I can see why some would be bored out of their minds.There’s something about being in a cinema for something like this where you have little option but to sit and soak it all in.

 

 

The world of Blade Runner is so vast, yet the stories are so small and human – even if there are no humans involved.

The movie is unashamed of what it is. It doesn’t seek to pander or entertain – it seeks to tell its story, whether you’re on-board with it or now. As a writer I can’t help but respect that.

So in closing:

Should you watch it? If you’re a fan of the original, or a fan of sci-fi then yes – give it a go.

Will you enjoy it? Perhaps, but don’t feel like you missed something if you didn’t.

 

I give it 8 Harrisons out of Ford.

 

–      Sebastyan