Sunday, 25 November 2012

Short Fiction Installment #1 (Humour Division): "Amazon Bestsellers Rank #525,448—Market-Driven Sequel Strategies"

    Last seen facing an uncertain but no doubt pained future of secrecy or self-denial in ho-hum River Bend City, Canada circa 1965, Winston Wilson—high school librarian, mamma’s boy, melancholic closeted homosexual, and protagonist of The Age of Cities—became part of that long history of literary heroes afflicted by oppressive circumstances and scant opportunities. 
    Wilson’s inventor, meanwhile, receives a royalty cheque ($37.71) on November 19, 2012, six years after publication; the accompanying statement of total sales brings him up to speed (891 copies worldwide, ebooks included).
    With the contemporary market in view, he maps out lucrative follow-up novels.

    The Age of Cities, Volume 2: Dangerous Crossings
    Surviving well past the age he expected, a weary, grizzled Winston travels by foot with a pale mute called the Boy. To the casual eye the pair might be father and son, and the landscape they trudge on a reflection of an unrelenting cold snap’s brute fact—thin drifts of snow, gusting winds, desolation.
    Winston and the Boy cross a stubbly corn field, ears and eyes alert, worried the visibility will draw unwanted attention from mortal foes hellbent on annihilating one another and any of the pitiful remnants of human civilization coming between them. The Boy tugs at Winston’s tattered sleeve, pointing in the direction of a skeletal poplar stand; the two sink to the ground. They expect to lay until nightfall, feeling only fear and damp cold seeping into their bones.
    Silent, Winston stares at the sky; blanketing grey clouds threaten snowfall. He recalls his mother Alberta decades before, walking towards the mailbox at the driveway’s entrance, spry and sharp-tongued as ever. Winston’s new existence of heartbreaking decisions and grave necessities began with her disappearance. The arrival of the alien Visitants and their unspeakable atrocities changed the tide of human history. Worse, the hubris of science and religion unleashed fearsome predators—heartless mechanical soldiers that turned against their very makers, and The Carmilites, a coven of heretical nuns whose unholy dabbling in black magic led to soulless ghouls with an insatiable thirst for blood.
    Winston has heard whispers about Discovery, a hidden sanctuary for survivors. If they can outsmart death-dealing patrols of Visitants, Mechans, and Carmilites, he and the Boy might reach safety.
    Tagline: Caught between a rock and hard places, two men undertake a perilous journey... toward Discovery.

    The Age of Cities, Book III: A Beautiful Winter Solstice Mystery
    Winston arrives home, bushed from the squabbling of the Library Committee. Preparing afternoon tea, Alberta tells him of a letter, an unexpected inheritance, and an offer too tempting to refuse.
    Months later they’ve left behind Canada and the dark doorway to their pasts for Stornoway Manor, situated in the northernmost reaches of Scotland. Overlooking the turbulent Sea of the Hebrides, the Wilsons gradually transform the Manor into an exclusive getaway, though one whose daily arriving guests—with unsavory motivations and weighty secrets—provide ongoing trials to the taxed but beloved innkeepers.
    When the stern abbot of the Obanpool Monastery at the far end of the valley is murdered, Winston and Alberta resolve to calm their guests by investigating the shocking crime. Along the stony passageways of the ancient building that supplies the Manor with renowned goat cheese, they discover hidden rooms as well as greed and deceit.
    As the doors to their own pasts open, the Wilsons must face unpalatable truths. With compassion and warmth, mother and son plumb the depths of the human condition, learning and growing as they restore order to the valley.
    Tagline: Seeking to solve a crime, mother and son unravel the mystery of the human heart.

    The Age of Cities—Reprise: Five Steps to Heaven
    Chaos! Global war! The epic struggle for souls! Reeling from the terrors that have overtaken the entire planet since the Day of Disappearances, Winston recalls events after a near fatal childhood accident, which he related to his mother while recuperating. Voice raspy in his hospital bed, Winston shared his remarkable experience: he’d visited Heaven. Skeptical at first, his patient mother saw the truth of his words when he revealed secrets about a miscarried child and a runaway cousin she’d never before shared with anyone.
    After watching his mother praying over his unconscious form, Winston’s young soul had floated up to a Land of Light. Wandering through the golden spires and lush peaceful forests, he came upon God and His kindly Son on majestic thrones. Before Winston drifted back to Earth, Jesus whispered in his ear that he’d soon be returning—with love and fire in his heart—for one final engagement with the Antichrist.
    Surveying the ravages to his home town and way of life since those days of childhood innocence, Winston falls to his knees in prayer. He knows Heaven will answer his call, but when?
    Tagline: The moment of truth is dawning. Are you prepared?

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