Web-Only Content : Introducing… The “Lost Chapters”

The Angel Brings Fire – The “Lost Chapters”

As anyone who has ever written anything that has been published will no doubt attest, it’s never possible to include everything that one has written, in any manuscript. Editing a source manuscript is never a “fun business”; and inevitably, a lot of prose that the writer would have preferred to have left in… gets cut out. (Incidentally – one of the biggest such constraints, in the case of The Angel Brings Fire, is simply the maximum number of pages that can be safely included in a single volume of the paperback versions of the book. This generally limits the narrative to no more than about 450 pages at most.)

During the editing and re-writing process, when it’s known that a particular section of a manuscript is going to be excised, it’s the responsibility of the author (yours truly) to ensure that this doesn’t create “loose ends” to the narrative or plot – that is, something that was adequately-explained when the “deleted” section was still in there, but isn’t, after the “deleted” section is finally gone. I believe that an adequate job has been done of this to date, but from time to time I’ve had readers ask me variations of the question, “hey, wait a minute… how does ‘Character X’ know ‘information Y’ about ‘issue Z’?”.

This is never an enjoyable thing for an author to hear, if for no reason other than one then goes off in a bout of self-second-guessing, asking oneself, “oh sh** – I just knew that I shouldn’t have cut out that section… and now, my readers are telling me that I was right all along!” (Of course, the same could be and likely would be said of any section of the original manuscript, that didn’t survive the trip to the proverbial cutting-room floor.)

In the halcyon “old days” of publishing, there would be no solution to this problem, but with the Internet, we now have an escape-clause… and that’s what I’m introducing with this blog-posting.

Starting today, I’ll be publishing some of the sections that had been cut out of the original Angel Brings Fire manuscript(s), beginning with the first volume of the series (Angel of Mailànkh) and continuing sequentially, until most or all of the excised material has been made available. The only significant exception to this will be narrative that was cut for reasons other than brevity – that is, if the content in question was removed because it (for example) explored plot-options that were dropped for one reason or another, then obviously there’s no point in providing it.

As should also be self-evident, readers should be warned of a Spoiler Alert in all these chapters – you should always read the “official” version of the volume involved, first, before heading to the Web and perusing one of these “Lost Chapters”.

None the less… I hope what’s to come, will help you answer whatever questions that you may have had, about the mysterious and powerful Storied Watcher!

Marcus Shields

Author, The Angel Brings Fire

The Angel Brings Fire Is… Published!

After far too many months (okay… “years”) of effort, I’m pleased to be able to finally make the long-awaited announcement :

The Angel Brings Fire… is now published!

The Second Edition series (the definitive, final versions) of this book consist of :

Book 1 : Angel of Mailànkh

Book 2 : Doubt Me Not

Book 3 : Angel and The Empire

Book 4 : Children of The Fire

The Angel Brings Fire is currently available only on Amazon as a Kindle e-Book, but availability in .EPUB, .PDF and paperback formats will follow shortly (no later than end of 1Q 2015).

Work will now resume on the equally long-awaited sequel to The Angel Brings Fire… namely, The Future Burns Bright. Look for announcements about the sequel series right here… “Real Soon Now”!

Sincerely,

Marcus Shields

Author, The Angel Brings Fire and The Future Burns Bright

Revised Publication Schedule And Format (April 2014)

Here is an important second update on the finale of The Angel Brings Fire series of books.

As some of you know, it had been my intention to complete the series by the end of 2013.

Unfortunately, circumstances have conspired to make this impossible; I have run into a number of personal crises, particularly a major power failure in the Greater Toronto Area during the 2013 Christmas holiday season, plus various home repair and job issues which required my immediate attention, plus a host of other travails severe and mundane, that will likely push the publication of the final book(s) of The Angel Brings Fire, into 2014.

The other change has to do with the format of the series, and as you read what follows, please keep in mind that this change is purely and simply due to page count restrictions having to do with the printed (paperback) versions of the books – if The Angel Brings Fire was being published exclusively as an e-Book series, the situation would be much different.

The Angel Brings Fire series will end at Book #4, entitled (new!) Children of The Fire.

The Future Burns Bright will now be a second series of novels (2 to 3 books, each with an individual name), explaining what happens after the end of The Angel Brings Fire.

The total page count of the entire series will not be significantly more than it always would have been; I’m only doing this to have an appropriate narrative end-point at the end of each series, along with trying to fit each individual book’s page-count into something that my publishers can actually print.

So, the complete series will be :

The Angel Brings Fire

ABF Book #1 : Angel of Mailànkh (unchanged except new cover art).

ABF Book #2 : Doubt Me Not (unchanged except new cover art).

ABF Book #3 : Angel and The Empire (unchanged).

ABF Book #4 : Children of The Fire (Editorial work is complete on this book; it will be published shortly.)

The Future Burns Bright

FBB Book #1 : Title T.B.A. (Editorial work is complete on this book.)

FBB Book #2 : Title T.B.A. (as of now, about 90% complete.)

FBB Book #3 : Title T.B.A.

Please let me take this opportunity to thank all of my readers for your patience, in dealing with this revised schedule and layout. Within the limits of having to price the printed versions of the book so that I don’t sell them at a loss, I’ll try to keep the price of the extra volumes as low as possible, to accommodate those of you who were expecting a shorter series.

The main consideration in my mind has always been for The Angel Brings Fire and The Future Burns Bright to be the exciting and compelling stories that I have had in my head since my childhood days; I will settle for nothing less, and neither should you.

Marcus Shields

Author, The Angel Brings Fire and The Future Burns Bright

The Future Burns Bright : Status Report (September 2013)

As it has been a while since the last blog posting, I thought I should update those interested, in the status of work on The Future Burns Bright (The Angel Brings Fire, Book 4).

The book was originally scheduled for release at the end of summer 2013 (and this was always do-able); however, I have run into certain production delays (outside of my direct control), having to do with the look and feel of it, that have led me to believe that the preferable thing to do, would be to delay release of the fourth and final book of the series until early 2014.

Editorial work on The Future Burns Bright (volume 2) is about 85% done (the plot is complete and how the series will end, is known; I just have to put pen to paper as it were) and should be completed before the end of this year. Without giving away too much… I’ll just say, “I hope all of you like ‘action’… because you’ll get loads of it, in this last part of The Angel Brings Fire!”

I’m also considering a separate “Epilog” volume which would describe what happens to some of the main characters, past the end of the formal narrative of The Angel Brings Fire. I might also do this as a fully Web-based “freebie” that could be read, and updated, on this blog, or on the official ABF Book Website (the two options are not mutually exclusive, of course). Please ping me by e-mail if you think this would be a good idea and if so, which option you would prefer.

As always, if you’re willing to write a review and can meet certain other qualifications, I can make a pre-release .pdf / .mobi copy available to interested parties. Please fire off an e-mail to inquiries@abfbook.telostic.com, should you be want more information.

Marcus Shields

Author, The Angel Brings Fire

The Future Burns Bright (Volume 1)… Done!

As has previously been noted on this blog, the fourth and final book of The Angel Brings Fire — namely, The Future Burns Bright — will consist of two (2) separate volumes.

I know this may seem rather counter-intuitive to some readers (e.g. “why didn’t you just call it ‘Books #4 and #5?”), but The Future Burns Bright really is a single story (you’ll just have to take my word for this). But actually, the main reason for the two-volume format is, for the paperback version of the book, the various POD publishers impose certain upper limits in terms of “maximum page count”… there was simply no way in which to properly finish the story, within the artificial limits that would have been required to fit it into a single book.

(Note : Obviously, these limits don’t apply to an e-Book; but to have done The Future Burns Bright exclusively as an e-Book, would have created an entirely different set of problems… like, “people who bought the paperback versions of the first 3 books and who don’t have an e-Reader, are “SOL”… “let’s not go there, eh”.)

In any event, I’m pleased to report that all editorial and narrative work is now complete on Volume 1 of The Future Burns Bright; it exists as a .PDF with preliminary cover art (I’m waiting for the “final” cover art to get done).

I’d ask fans of The Angel Brings Fire to be patient, as The Future Burns Bright will be available in its entirety, in the late summer of 2013… but if you just can’t wait, send me an e-mail and I’ll try to get you a preview (in .PDF, .MOBI or .EPUB e-Book formats, only) copy.

And as a “teaser”… read on, to see the back-cover synopsis of the book!

The Angel Brings Fire
Book 4 (Volume 1) : The Future Burns Bright, Volume 1

The “Storied Watcher”, a.k.a. Karéin-Mayréij, is living up to her name : at war with the U.S. police state of 2040, she’s just paid a visit to the White House, that nobody will ever forget. But she’s not the only disaster with which the President must contend… nuclear terrorists are almost ready to set off an H-Bomb, somewhere in America.

While a FBI team tries frantically to placate the alien-girl, treachery abounds : the government plans to rid itself of her, by murdering those she loves, many of whom have been “renditioned” to a nightmarish, secret Alaskan prison.

But the friends of Karéin-Mayréij now have alien-powers of their own… and they’re in a desperate battle to stay alive, while the Storied Watcher recruits an army… one that the President (to say the least) isn’t prepared for.

Unfortunately, time’s running out… both for millions of helpless Americans, and for the family of a certain “Destroying Angel”.

It’s only a few minutes, to a bright-burning dawn…

Marcus Shields

Author, The Angel Brings Fire

Angel and The Empire is available!

I’m pleased to announce that The Angel Brings Fire, Book #3, a.k.a. Angel and The Empire, has now been published in all formats… including “conventional paperback” which typically takes the longest.

The URL for the paperback version, on Amazon, is :

http://www.amazon.com/Angel-The-Empire-Brings-Volume/dp/0986915866/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1337530175&sr=8-8

The URL for Angel and The Empire, on the main Angel Brings Fire Website, is :

http://abfbook.telostic.com/Book_3/ABF_Book_3.html

This go-around in the publishing process (compared to what was encountered in the first two books) has been unusually challenging, due partly to the last-minute discovery of many minor “typos”, but mainly because of problems encountered with the printed Createspace proof; to make a long story short, despite the fact that exactly the same OpenOffice template was used to format all three books, when the proof for Angel and The Empire was received, to our dismay, what was supposed to have been 10 point font looked like it had been mysteriously reduced to 8!

Subsequent research (and frantic complaints to Createspace…) confirmed (at least this is what I think it means), that printed copies of the “real”, “final” version will be in the larger, appropriate typeface… just another example of what one deals with, in the world of PODspace…

For those of you who are already familiar with The Angel Brings Fire series of novels, you’ll notice two things that are different about this book, compared to Angel of Mailànkh and Doubt Me Not : (a) the cover art is significantly better than had previously been the case (although… it is due to be “improved” for the earlier two books as well, in subsequent editions); and, plot-wise, (b) our heroine, is, well… let’s just say that she’s in a really bad mood about what’s recently befallen her, and, unlike the situation in Doubt Me Not, she’s now in a position to do something about it!

Incidentally, there is a political narrative embedded in all of this, that should be apparent to anyone who is familiar with current events. I’d be curious to see how many of you can correctly guess what it is.

Finally, I hope that you all like the book! Whether or not you do, comments and critiques are always welcome, so if you have something to say, please don’t hesitate to do so, by entering a guest post on this blog.

Marcus Shields

Author, The Angel Brings Fire

Progress on “Angel and The Empire”

Work is now progressing nicely on The Angel Brings Fire Book 3, namely, Angel and The Empire.

Actually, the manuscript has been “done” (in a loose sense of the word, “done”) for quite some time, but it still needs to be proof-read and cleaned up before it will be ready for publication… the time-table for which — and this is very subject to amendment — is “sometime around March / April, 2012”.

Without giving too much of the plot away, let me just say that those of you who have asked for more “action” in the series, are about to be supplied with ample amounts of the same, as the Storied Watcher begins to “give some back” to the many who have done her wrong… including, but not limited to, the President of a certain future U. S. of A..

On a separate note, I think you will be very impressed by the new cover art that will shortly be applied not only to Angel and The Empire, but, retroactively, to Books 1 and 2 respectively. We have contracted with a professional artist to re-do this vital part of the series’ look and feel and the results have been… well, what they should have been from “Day 1”.

It’s really too bad that the outward appearance of what is, after all, a work of printed literature, has such an important effect on a novel’s market acceptance; but it’s one of those situations where “you can like it, or you can hate it, but you can’t ignore it”.

If you’d like a sneak peak at the cover for Book 3, just send me an e-mail and I’ll reply with a .jpg reproduction of how it’s likely to appear.

The Author

Begone, ye accursed DRM!

As many of you know by now, The Angel Brings Fire, Books 1 & 2, is now available in e-Book (.EPUB) format, from iTunes. The e-Books can either be accessed by searching for “Angel Brings Fire” in the search field (currently on the top right of the iTunes interface), or by referencing the following direct links :

http://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/the-angel-brings-fire-book-1/id467695286?mt=11

http://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/the-angel-brings-fire-book-2/id467674463?mt=11

There is, however, one caveat to the preceding, and it’s unfortunately a big one : despite my policy that The Angel Brings Fire should not be encumbered by “DRM” (“Digital Rights Management”), I have been receiving reports that attempts to open .EPUB versions of these e-Books in third party computer e-Reader applications (for example the popular “Calibre” program), after they have been downloaded (and paid for) via iTunes, have failed with a “Locked By DRM” (or similar) error message. Needless to say, those to whom this has happened, are the proverbial “unhappy campers”, since they have in effect paid for content that they can’t conveniently access.

I have reason to believe that this situation is unique to iTunes and is probably the result of Apple’s highly (ahem) controversial strategy of tightly locking content purchased through iTunes, to only “approved” devices (e.g. iPads, iPhones, iWhatevers).

I’d like to re-state to everyone involved, that any application of DRM, or any other similar copy protection for that matter, to The Angel Brings Fire series of e-Books, has not been intentional, on my part : in fact, the opposite has been the case (I have been very careful to avoid “enabling” DRM, where that option has been presented to me). This includes content posted to iTunes, obviously.

I am attempting to get in touch with the publishers involved to determine where this “anti-feature” ended up infesting my e-Books, but please be aware, as an individual author, I have very little leverage over the entities involved.

So if you find that you cannot effectively use a copy of an Angel Brings Fire series book that you have legitimately paid for, please send me an e-mail and I’ll mail you (or otherwise arrange to send you) an “unprotected” version of whatever volume(s) that you have purchased.

And while we’re both at it, let’s raise a collective glass to being “collateral damage in the ‘Internet Piracy’ Wars”. Frankly, the faster that DRM dies the ignominious death that it so richly deserves… well, that won’t be fast enough for me.

The Author

 

Publication schedule

A number of readers have been asking me, “I can’t wait to find out what happens next… when is the next book in the series going to be published?”

Here (as of September 29, 2011) is the projected publication schedule… note that (needless to say) this is subject to change at any time without notice :

Book 1 (Angel of Mailànkh) : As of September 29, 2011, fully published (and available in paperback via Amazon and the ABF Website, available in e-Book format from Amazon / Kindle, Lulu, iTunes and the ABF Website).

Book 2 (Doubt Me Not) : As of September 29, 2011, available in e-Book format from Amazon / Kindle, Lulu, iTunes and the ABF Website. Paperback copies should become available from Amazon and the ABF Website on or around November 1, 2011 (but this is very dependent on final print proofing and order shipping issues).

Book 3 (Angel And The Empire) : Manuscript is complete but still needs to be edited, proof-read, corrected, etc.. Expected publication date : Mid-March, 2012.

Book 4 (The Future Burns Bright, Volume 1) : Manuscript is complete but still needs to be edited, proof-read, corrected, etc.. Expected publication date : October 1, 2012.

Book 4 (The Future Burns Bright, Volume 2) : Manuscript is approximately 70% complete but is still very subject to revision. Expected publication date : Mid-March, 2013.

As a side-note, I have also been asked, “why do you have a ‘Volume 1’ and ‘Volume 2’ for the last book of the series, as opposed to just having a ‘Book 5’, or as opposed to just having a larger ‘Book 4′”.

The reasons behind this are involved… it comes down to the fact that there is a hard limit of around 500 pages per single paperback book that can be printed by the POD publishers, and were I to try to shoe-horn the ultimate book of the series down to this size, I think that the story would suffer and readers would have an unsatisfying experience. Furthermore, narrative-wise, The Future Burns Bright is more of a single book than it is two distinct books (you’ll just have to take my word on this for now), which is why I decided to call both volumes part of “Book 4”.

So the two-volume format is a compromise between the imperatives of the paperback industry and my desire to fully tell the story of the Storied Watcher.

Hopefully you’ll agree, when you read The Future Burns Bright!

Sincerely

The Author