Title: Earth Cell: The Ux-Blood Trillogy (Book One)
Author: Charles Brass
Genre: Science Fiction
For centuries, the League of Cells and the Witches Guild have worked together to maintain order and stability across the overweb’s countless worlds.
Walking the pash of a warden for the League of Cells requires dedication, sacrifice, and devotion, as young Maels Raptori, the last of his kind, has learned. But he’s embraced these hardships, for serving as a warden represents the highest honor one might achieve in his lifetime. For six years under the tutelage of his adopted father and the wardens of Earth Cell, he has prepared to fulfill this dream.
When a powerful intruder nearly seizes control of Earth Cell, Maels is tested beyond anything he has experienced. He finds the strength to defeat the invader, but his trials have only begun. Chaos is spreading across the overweb, engulfing all who stand in its way. The conflict soon breaches Earth Cell. Alone on a world of violence, at the mercy of ruthless captors, Maels discovers his years of dedication and devotion may not be enough. To save Earth, he may be called upon to male the ultimate sacrifice…
I paused long enough to swallow a mouthful of water through my suddenly dry throat. This is going to be the most painful moment of your life, I thought. Brace yourself. Don’t stop.
Another thought crossed my mind. All in.
I pinched the base of the claw in the fingers of my right hand. With my left, I curled my bottom lip out and down. The pain sent paralyzing shocks through my body. I screamed. After a few breaths, the pain relented somewhat and I could move my right arm. I positioned the claw’s tip against the right knot after several shaky efforts. I clenched my teeth, closed my eyes, then pulled the claw through the inside of my lip.
When I regained consciousness, I reached down with trembling fingers, picked up the claw. The insect cloud around my bloody clothing seemed denser. I felt bugs walking across my face, along my lips. I cried out again when I curled my lip. The pain was just as fierce. I took me a lot longer to position the claw’s tip. My fingers trembled so hard that I took out a hunk of my gum in the process, but I barely felt the pain.
When I woke again, I sobbed and reached for the claw. I must have thrashed, because water now soaked my bloody clothing. While a good number of bugs lay motionless or struggling in the wetness, even more swarmed about my head. I switched hands, holding my lip with my right this time while I bounced the tip against my lip trying to get it into position.
I spat vomit from my mouth when I recovered a fourth time. The remnants of my lunch mixed with the blood pattering from my lip. A lot of blood covered the bile, which meant I’d been out for some time. Crawling insects had joined the bug swarm, gathering at the edges of my vomit. Hands trembling ever harder now, I grabbed the claw, pulled out my lip. I gave up on the hope I might be numbed to the pain after a while.
Regaining consciousness, spitting insects from my mouth, I reached for the claw again…
1. Tell us in your own words about Earth Cell.
Earth Cell is the story of Maels Raptori, a warden trainee for the League of Cells. He is the last of his kind, the sole survivor of a deadly plague that struck his home world. When he stops a very dangerous intruder from taking control of Earth Cell, his home, he inadvertently sets into motion another attack launched by a more vicious foe, Dominess Saawth, leader of the Qrill Clan Darkfist. She infects Maels with a blood curse, then has him brought to her home world as the poison eliminates his will to resist. Maels has only days left to somehow rid himself of the curse flowing in his blood and find a way to return to Earth to stop the Qrill invasion.
2. Describe your writing process.
The initial step is to come up with a kernel of an idea. Earth Cell actually started out as a compilation of ideas I wanted to get out of my head, but once on paper the ideas clumped together to form a story. In the two decades since I hand-wrote the first version of Earth Cell its bubbled in my brain juices for a while as I contemplated various plot twists and turns and character elements. Then I hammered out a rough first draft, which turned into a revised second draft, which became the smoother third draft I considered a good working story. Through this, I re-imagined how the second and third books in the trilogy would flow, and incorporated bits of those stories into Earth Cell to tie the trilogy arc together. (The original Earth Cell was also the first book in a trilogy.)
When I actually sit down and write, I intend to get out at least 2000 words, which takes me an hour or two. I first edit the material I wrote the previous day (which lets me drop back into the flow of the moment), then I resume writing as though I’d never stopped. Some days I hammer out two to three thousand words without pausing for breath. Other days it’s a struggle to hit 1500 words. Overall, though, I usually hit my mark of 2K. I know where I’m going with the story by mapping out the plot in my mind. I rarely outline anything, as I tend to see my stories visually, and keeping track of them visually is more easy for me than reviewing an outline days or weeks after composing it. A first draft lets me straighten out the broad, overall flow. In my second draft I fix plot holes, add detail where necessary, and deepen character emotions. By my third draft I have a version as close to the final story as I can get without outside eyes giving it all a good looking over. Another round of revisions, then off it goes to either my editor or publisher.
3. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
At the moment I have four novel-length manuscripts under my belt, two novellas, and a pair of short stories, each around 12K words. My favorite is my novelette Chainsaw. It’s a science-fiction story with a bit of horror thrown in at the end, that changes everything the reader thinks he or she knows about what’s transpired. The story itself is a fun read. While it hasn’t been the best received of my stories, it will remain my favorite, probably for a long time.
4. Do you hear from your readers often? What do they say? How can your fans get in touch with you?
Right now I hear very little from my readers. I hope to change how often I hear from my readers through book blog tours and other marketing efforts. I want to hear more from my readers. What they say lets me know how well I’m doing. I know there’s a tremendous amount of competition out there. And it’s the readers who decide which authors flourish. So all authors need to hear from those taking the chance on their work.
I’ve gotten mostly positive reviews of my works on amazon.com, which right now is the primary way I hear from my readers. Yes, I did pay for some reviews. In my opinion it was worth giving away free copies of my book to hear what some readers had to say. Their reviews were very encouraging, which compelled me to take the next step, like this book blog tour.
Fans can reach me through my blog, http://www.seabrassproductions.com. They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And they can leave reviews at amazon.com to let me know how I’m doing. I welcome any and all feedback.
5. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up I always knew I wanted work in some sort of creative outlet. I had- and still do, actually- a very active imagination. I ended up as a radiologic technologist with specialties in CT and MRI. I did write as a hobby over the years, but only recently have I buckled down, tightened m control over the mechanics of the craft, and really immersed myself in the effort.
6. Can you tell us about what you are currently writing?
My current work in progress is another novella set in my Ux-Blood universe. It deals with a Shiss warder’s efforts to free her people from Pheelm oversight. Chronologically, it takes place a good thousand years before the events of Earth Cell, and could be considered the first story in the series. Readers already familiar with Earth Cell will recognize the Pheelm.
7. What do you do when not writing?
While I’m not working, I’m either asleep (I work nights) or maintaining web sites for a couple of friends. (Web sites are also a great way to unleash one’s creative side.) This is all in addition to the usual day-to-day stuff of life, of course. When vacation time rolls around, I like to take long car drives- down to Florida to visit friends or up to Maine to see family. I can spend hours just tooling down the road.
8. What are you reading now?
Since I purchased my first Kindle, I’ve been reading a lot of independent authors. I receive a pair of newsletters offering free and steeply discounted books and novellas for the Kindle, the majority of which are written by newbies trying to establish themselves. As a result I’ve read a lot of real stinkers, but have found some good jewels in the rough. Right now I am reading and enjoying the Breakers series by Edward W. Robertson.
9. Are reindeer better than people?
I’ve never had a reindeer ask me for money it had no intention of ever re-paying, so I’d give them the edge there. But I’ve had people loan me money I had no intention of ever re-paying, so there’s that, too. In thinking back, though, I’ve never seen a reindeer with a wallet or credit cards, so either they have no use for money, or they’re so wealthy they don’t need either. I’ve also found that reindeer simply don’t want to spend any time what-so-ever reading. Anything. Ever. So, in the end, I’d have to give the edge, however slight, to humans. (And for the record, I’ve never not repaid a loan.)
10. Who would win in a fight: a caveman or an astronaut?
I’d have to give the edge to the astronaut. They’re usually very fit, and have been highly trained to think their way through daunting problems. A caveman, while possessing intelligence of its own, probably wouldn’t be able to adapt quickly enough to overcome the astronaut’s smarts. In the end it might depend on who lands the first blow- I’d give the caveman the edge there. But if Grok misses and gives the astronaut a chance to think his or her way to victory, Grok is paste.
Charles Brass works as a CT/MRI technologist in a new stand-alone 24-hour emergency clinic in a small town south of where he lives, some thirty miles west of Minnesota’s Twin Cities. During his six years of active duty service in the United States Navy, he served five months in Bahrain during the first Gulf War. Now, with a BS in Animation under his belt, he has visions of a successful patient education video business filling his days while CT and MRI scans on sick and injured people visiting the local Emergency Center fills his nights.
For more information, visit his blog at http://seabrassproductions.com or his Author Information page at http://clear¬viewpressinc.com. Additionally, he can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Charles plans to devote time to a few shorter works that have been brewing in his brain juices for some time, then resume writing novels. He expects to publish his next novel by the end of 2015.