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Richard Jefferis, PO Box 86, Esk, Queensland, 4312, Australia
Trapped in a minimum wage café job in London, Sylvia is running hard simply to stay still, her ambitions fading as time moves on. Her gran has died too, leaving Sylvia only a little cash and an old ring that has been passed down through the generations.
Perhaps spurred on by a subconscious desire for change, Sylvia puts in a bid on eBay for an ornate share certificate for a long defunct railway company in Yorkshire, UK, thinking it would make a interesting wall hanging or something. She was a little drunk at the time, having been to a party. Still, her inadvertent purchase dramatically changes her life and leads to her falling in love. Unfortunately the man concerned is a smuggler who was hanged 160 years previously.
Conspiracy theories, Artificial Intelligence, even religions are caught up in a public backlash against widespread falsehoods and mass deception. The Empirical Police are ready to swoop on any who flout observable, measurable fact and re-educate them.
Nick, on the run from the Empirical Police because of his esoteric skills, is invited to join
SANE, a secretive group that has a solution to the problem of climate change. Unfortunately SANE's definition of the problem is radically different to everyone else's and to Nick's horror their solution is a frightening new application of AI. Unless, of course, it turns out to be just another conspiracy theory created by Nick himself in a past he does not remember.
Laura didn't want to be the shopping centre management's answer to how the Plaza is perceived; to update the security staff's image from 'tough and macho deterrent' to 'tough but motherly facilitator'. Still, a job's a job and this one involves a move to a sleepy seaside tourist town which can only be good – almost like being permanently on holiday. Surely her three week online course had covered all she'd need to know?
Laura soon finds “mostly you'll be telling people where the toilets are,” simply isn't true as she battles her own insecurities as well as oddballs, sleazy patrons and even some occasional crime. The appearance of a hunky police officer, there to make an arrest, only adds to her inner turmoil.
Privileged, elitist and well educated, Elisha is going places, at least in her head. The reality is that after six years of studying classical clarinet she's back living with her parents and doing the occasional bit of freelance orchestral work when she can get it. Her boyfriend has been in the USA for the last three years and doesn't seem to be going anywhere either, except perhaps from bed to bed.
Then one day Elisha meets a homeless guy in the disused chapel where she's been practising during the COVID lockdown
Seven years after the Chinese invasion of Australia and the execution of her journalist boyfriend, Natalia is barely getting by as a driving instructor in a small coastal town in NSW. Depressed, impoverished and alone. Then, unbelievably, a handsome man books a full course of driving lessons.
Are Natalia's fortunes about to change? Absolutely.
And being unexpectedly arrested for treason is just the harrowing beginning.
It's an idyllic rural retreat for David, a retired computer security expert, and his wife Angie. Twelve acres of peaceful woodland on a hillside on the edge of a small town in Queensland. Perfect.
But the locals won't talk about the place; they go quiet or change the subject. No one wants to live in any of the deserted properties along their isolated road, apart from the town's recluse. Then strange things begin to happen with the electricity. What is going on? Even the normally chatty local historian can only give the vaguest of hints of something that may have happened a hundred and fifty years before. And what about the invitation to afternoon tea from someone living on the supposedly vacant neighbouring property? Someone who, it seems, is living in a confused Agatha Christie-style 1930s novel.
Could it be that someone is growing drugs on David and Angie's property and is trying to scare them away? Or perhaps some past computer criminal is seeking revenge? Certainly David, with his logical mind, would never have guessed the truth.
Outwardly successful but inwardly struggling with an angst she can't define, Penny has sacrificed her dreams of beautiful engineering to run the family's sheet metal fabrication business. It doesn't help that her meddling grandfather, the founder of the business, doesn't approve of women in the workplace and wants to run the business again himself.
Three strangers come into Penny's life: Sarah, a victim of domestic abuse; Richard, an elderly enigmatic eccentric; and Gail, an unorthodox Art student. Each in their own way challenge Penny's preconceptions and free her to embrace a new and risky pathway with potentially far reaching humanitarian consequences.
Titan Colonisation Mission: Crew Selection Test Results Summary
Name: Phillip Roach, aka Felippe
Occupation: Pet Portrait Artist
Age Range: 40-49
Scientific Qualifications: None
Engineering Qualifications: None
Physical Fitness: Poor
Psychological Fitness: Poor
Team Commitment: None
Status ~ Selected; Primary Crew
Destiny can show itself in many forms. Some who have a destiny may find their lives little changed for their destiny may be to change the lives of others.
Ben is self-absorbed, care free and commitment phobic. He spends his days travelling from town to town, busking for coins and enjoying what life brings without ever becoming involved. But circumstances begin to embroil him in his destiny when he is adopted by an abandoned dog, injured and starving, and Ben decides to stay a little longer in the fading seaside town of Fairchester-on-Sea. As the days and weeks go by, Ben's destiny unwinds and the lives of those around him are irrevocably changed in the process.
Brought together by a falling steam iron and buoyed by banter, Estelle and Nick's budding romance is tested by death threats and falls apart when Nick's secret is revealed.
Obviously their romance is rekindled and the death threats resolved without any fatalities, it's that kind of book, but how are they connected? And isn't reuniting young lovers asking a bit much of the anonymous sender?
Humorous and quirky, this novel touches on darker themes of suspicion, fear, prejudice and (in)justice and shows that, so everything can end happily, wonderful things must come from adversity.
Appendix C ~ Initial Target: Primary
Name: Trinity Moss (aka Trina), female, 36
Domicile: lives alone in high security women-only housing complex
Occupation: promotional video creator and influencer
Spouse: Damien Moss, non-exclusive marriage, lives separately
Children: none (0)
Parents: both deceased (2023); killed in riots in aftermath of Cyber War 8
Servants: one (1) – type CL-D:331 holobot (Claude); domestic manager and personal/professional co-ordinator; low to medium security protocols enabled
Pets: one (1), type RB-i holobot (Ruby)
Affluence: high to very high
Psychological status: assessed medium level paranoia; displays high level dependency on domestic holobot; normal/adequately compensated on all other psychometrics
Rating: HIGHLY SUITABLE
What happens when your boyfriend sleeps with your best friend then, as a joke, puts his used condom over your souvenir rock?
Toni, a student of Norse Mythology, is about to find out. That souvenir rock is no ordinary rock. It's a 'god-egg'. It's been fertilised. And it's going to hatch. The Giants are out to destroy the egg before it upsets the balance of power in Utgard.
Toni, the de facto mother of the egg, and Bjorn Halftroll, the centuries old berserker who is the egg's protector are joined by a Light Elf, a Wizard and Toni's newly reinstated best friend as they are pursued through Jotunheim, the Land of the Giants, in search of the Norns, who weave the threads of life, to protect the egg's destiny.
Tom is the archetypal stuffy old accountant. His nickname at work is Tom the Apostle. His life, since his wife died, is a self imposed prison of safety, a sanctuary filled with routines that protect him from more pain.
Then that sanctuary is violated. Reluctantly, Tom takes Jessica into his home, giving her sanctuary from domestic violence. Slowly, Jessica and her gay teenage son become an important part of Tom's evolving world. But that too is shattered when Jessica and her son move to Australia and Tom is made redundant from work.
Can Tom return to the safety of his routines or can he now, at last, take a risk again? Perhaps the biggest risk of his life?
Illicit romances are best kept secret. Usually.
One from the long distant past snatches Sheila from her empty, lonely life in Australia. An unknown, reclusive uncle has left her his entire estate in London. An inscription in a children's book leads Sheila into her uncle's past and helps her understand her own childhood and the heartbreaks from before she was born. More than that, though, the inheritance propels her into a new beginning with plans for the future. But to realise them she must face and overcome the tragedy in her life.
* The companion book, Toska of Toy Town Tunnel by Miranda M Moor, is only available as a facsimile in PDF format.
Armed only with a new hairstyle and a sense of relief, Charlie heads for the Mediterranean and endless scuba diving. Her loveless, child-less marriage and career lie in tatters behind her.
A tense encounter with a lustful French truck driver on the Channel ferry jerks Charlie out of her old, familiar world. Alone and with growing self-confidence, people and situations take Charlie on a powerful journey of self discovery. Confronting her old values and stale pre-conceptions, Charlie emerges into a new life, empowered, self-reliant and free to love again.
Walter is on the fast track to mediocrity.
In one fateful 24 hour period, Walter loses his girlfriend, his job and his home. His descent through a cycle of uncaring bureaucracy and casual accommodation begins. In desperation he applies for the job of keeper of an isolated lighthouse; the only lighthouse still manned because something there isn't quite right …
And just who is the flame-haired girl who appears in the mist? And why does she think Walter is a long dead druid?
Henry finds everything a mystery; girls, jobs, social interaction, ambition, even manhood At the age of 24, Henry's father throws him out to 'get a life'. Bewildered and confused, Henry retreats into coping one tiny step at a time and ends up spending the night in his car in a local park.
Denise and her daughter, Julie, need a lodger and Henry moves in. Under the influence of these two women and their partners, Henry begins to feel part of a family for the first time. Slowly his fragile confidence builds but his overly literal interpretations and complete ignorance of nuance lead him into a heartbreaking situation and, ultimately, a terrifying confrontation.
Diane and Bill
Diane is an impoverished single mother reduced to begging for handouts on the street. Bill is a highly specialised travel facilitator for the mega-wealthy. Ordinarily their worlds would never overlap. One day, a chance meeting at an intersection in Melbourne leads Bill, on impulse and out of character, to offer her a job.
Thrown into a miasma of eccentric celebrities, global travel and office dynamics, Diane must cope as best she can in a world she barely knew existed. Bill, on the other hand, is slowly growing disenchanted with a world with which he is over-familiar, one that includes an expanding list of ex wives. Set against a background of idiosyncratic staff and clients, the story bends and twists through office politics, female empowerment and unexpected romantic entanglements as well as one or two illegal activities.
What happens when a couple go in search of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and one feels left behind?
Escaping London, Miranda's counselling business looks set to forge ahead in the the tranquillity of the Lake District. As a session musician, the narrator won't be able to find work there. Miranda's pregnant, too.
So how does he find a new purpose in life? And after a lifetime of one night stands before Miranda, how does he come to terms with fatherhood? And how does he handle discovering his perfect Goddess has her own insecurities and that they have devastating consequences?
Long ago on a far distant planet a young woman left her sanctuary in search of her true place in the world.
Trained from infancy as a philosopher and a warrior she became a legend.
Her name was Autumn Savannah.
The Annals ~ The First Tale
Autumn is joined by Logan as she begins to explore Aferraron, a land where magic is real and the gods roam freely. Faced with a corrupt ruler, a rebel warlord and Yammoe, the Lord of the Undead, Autumn and Logan try to return Darius, a talking lynx, to his homeland. Their quest aided only by a length of silver ribbon and a small black stone, gifts from the mysterious Mother Midcarn.
The Annals ~ The Second Tale
Autumn and Logan head North and need money to buy warm clothes. In the process they encounter the destructive power of primitive capitalism personified by Cymogene Hirao Sastruga, the owner of a copper mine in the Mapdil Mountains. In league with an augetreinn from the underworld Land of the Cysciec, Cymogene is destroying the natural world and Autumn must seek the spirits of Havildar to counter her threat.
The Annals ~ The Third Tale
Autumn and Logan head south to the Ahon Hara Mountains where they are forced to flee into a cave system and, bizarrely, find a pair of mittens left as a gift from Mother Midcarn. Autumn and Logan become entangled with the Esuaqi; fanatical worshippers of Mor’upita-sehen, god of volcanoes. Their god went missing and the Esuaqi called in Mother Midcarn to help. Unfortunately she, too, has gone missing.
The Annals ~ The Fourth Tale
Autumn and Logan are cast ashore on the Island of Zuit and encounter a strange new god with voracious appetites, unusually pliant plantation workers and a victim from a past encounter. All is not what it seems on this island and Autumn must face a grievous insult to everything she holds most dear – the wealthiest man on the island wants to hire her as an assassin.
The Annals ~ The Fifth Tale
Autumn and Logan are attacked by a shark and their boat capsizes, leaving them stranded on the desert coast of Neander. They struggle through the arid sands and are rescued from near tragedy by a trading caravan taking goods to the capital, Cim-Irsou, where lives the Karoi, Soros, and his court sorcerer, Subota.
As Autumn and Logan explore the strange new culture of Neander, Logan's shadow, rather worryingly, begins to take on a life of its own …
The Annals ~ The Sixth Tale
Autumn and Logan come upon a scroll addressed to Autumn yet written by Xanos, a long dead elder from Autumn's Esyup. The scroll enjoins Autumn to undertake a quest for a dragon which is absurd since everyone knows dragons don't exist. However, the re-appearance of Darius brings with It the existence of forbidden knowledge and an age old conflict between Zeeth and Xanthous over a truth-seeing artefact. Is this conflict between Gods too much even for Autumn?
The Annals ~ The Seventh Tale
Autumn and Logan head into Wase, intending to explore the country. They encounter a man whose skills in some ways are better even than those of Autumn and a bandit leader of surpassing cruelty who is obsessed with Autumn's fingernails. As so often before, Mother Midcarn sends her aid when the time comes for a showdown but this time the magic in her gift doesn't work …
The Annals ~ The Eighth Tale
Autumn and Logan decide to winter in the city where they encounter extremes of poverty and ostentatious wealth and where money rules every act. Their easy companionship and apparent naivety attract both the best and worst of the city folk. Autumn's healing skills quickly become in demand while Logan becomes involved with the girl next door. Meanwhile, Mother Midcarn arrives unexpectedly. Autumn and Logan's easy going relationship is finally put to the test when antipathy raises its head and Autumn is forced to flee the city, but must she flee alone?
The Island of Danornor is land of diversity; with its jungles and fields, mountains and flat lands on the one hand and strange inhabitants and wild life, even soskas and gangsis on the other. Divided by the Wall of Loriki, Danornor is a land of contradictions and risk and these have a profound impact on Autumn and Logan. After crossing the Wall, Logan has to take on responsibilities and leadership while Autumn must confront her vulnerabilities and, through necessity, consider renouncing her vows and making Danornor her place.
A scroll, recently discoved by an archaeological team on Mottle Blue, that was written by Autumn Savannah herself!
Each of the Tales includes a glossary for that Tale. This is the combined Glossary for the First to the Ninth Tales.
A map of the areas covered by Autumn and Logan in their travels. It is available in two sizes, Large (780Kb) and Small (115Kb).
On 31st December 2018, after a bout of depression on Christmas Day, I decided to test my creativity by taking three words from a dictionary and writing a short story using them. Despite how bad it was I wrote another the next day, and the next, and the ...
I have compiled these short stories into a book, together with a commentary, which explores my journey into creativity: from my first (fairly dismal) 300 word attempt at writing to what became the first chapter of Miranda, my first novel. Each of the short stories is as I wrote it, complete with spelling and grammatical errors, logic holes and whatever other faults you can find. The point being that errors can be corrected later but you have to write something first.
I have produced this compilation in the hope of encouraging others to discover and develop their creativity by persisting and not giving up when the first few attempts turn out to be depressingly bad.