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Posted in Betweentimes

Betweentimes: Crophaven

Nix and Laria investigate the Once King’s secret holding house called Crophaven, deep in the Mountain, where Nix’s 17 daughters were raised after being taken from him. Since the war, the girls have vanished. Will this journey bring closure, as Laria hopes, or just more questions?

This is a special Betweentimes which takes place following the events of Afterlands: After the Return. It’s presented on this website, always free to download.

If you are new to Afterlands, it might help to familiarize yourself with the characters and events of the previous stories first.

13k words. Click format to read now:

[Betweentimes vignettes may contain material sensitive in nature. This story contains references to the hardships of war, and inferences of child death.]

Posted in News

Afterlands 2022 continues: What’s Next!

With the launch of Afterlands: After the Return, it’s time to think about what’s next in the Afterlands lineup. A couple of things are underway: Book Three is drafted and going into revisions, Book Four is underway with about sixteen thousand words written, and a new Betweentimes story is fully drafted and scheduled to release October 13th.

Betweentimes stories have been somewhat experimental (and not all successes: “Feast & Famine” was originally supposed to be a picture book but I literally ran out of time with it). October’s story is titled “Crophaven”, which is the name of the secret house in which Nix’s children were hidden from the Continent throughout the war. The story is both longer than previous Betweentimes stories and, to my own disappointment honestly, darker as well.

If I had been more planful about the whole series from the start (which I thought I was!) I would have definitely handled this arc differently, but I hope you will stick with me because I really do promise that sunshine days are still to come. This Betweentimes story is also different as it is the only one I have planned for the Fall because I want to begin shifting my focus toward developing ideas for what’s to come once this first arc is concluded in Summer of 2023.

The other thing I want to, I guess, “officially” announce is that I will be publishing the four prequel Beforetimes stories as a book, maybe slightly revised, with a new cover and and new additional illustrations. I have received a number of questions about this and am happy to make these prequels available to purchase so that those of you who want a complete physical collection may have it. I am less decided about the Betweentimes stories as these need (in my opinion) much more work to be cohesive.

My publishing goal is to have Book Three available in the new year (first week of January), Book Four available the following July, and Beforetimes ready before Christmas of the same year. Because I am just starting to outline and develop ideas for what happens to Hyrhyn, Juba, Nix, and Laria beyond Book Four, this is as far as I can project for the future of the series for the time being.

Thank you for reading, for enjoying this world, for writing reviews, and giving me feedback at @NakedEchidna on the bird thing. The positive response has been such a joyful delight to me.

Posted in Novellas

Afterlands: After the Return (Book II)

Tensions in the town of Whiptail ratchet up after a hard season of bad weather, famine, and strange bodies washed up on the beach.

Hyrhyn, Laria, Juba, and Nix must face these challenges and a new enterprise that tests the bonds of their tenuous friendship. Will they ever find safety and happiness so long as there is a Harrower among them?

After the Return is Book II in the Afterlands novella series and currently available only from Amazon KDP.

Order your digital or print copy HERE!

Posted in Betweentimes

Betweentimes: Famine & Feast

The final vignette in the Betweentimes series is “Famine & Feast”. Bad Rain has blighted the land and food on the table is scarce. How will the residents of Cliff House sustain themselves until relief comes—if it comes at all?

Betweentimes are slices-of-life about tossed things, lost things, and making the best of bad situations as our survivors navigate the new world order following the events of Afterlands: After the Harrowing. Stories are presented on this website, always free to download.

If you are new to Afterlands, it might help to familiarize yourself with the characters and events of the previous stories first.

3.5k words. Click format to read now:

[Betweentimes vignettes may contain material sensitive in nature. This story contains straight-up cannibalism.]

Posted in Betweentimes

Betweentimes: Hearth & Home

The third vignette in the Betweentimes series is “Hearth & Home”. Laria has kept Cliff House locked away since they arrived, but deteriorating conditions make it clear she shouldn’t.

Betweentimes are slices-of-life about tossed things, lost things, and making the best of bad situations as our survivors navigate the new world order following the events of Afterlands: After the Harrowing. Stories are presented on this website, always free to download.

If you are new to Afterlands, it might help to familiarize yourself with the characters and events of the previous stories first.

5.5k words. Click format to read now:

[Betweentimes vignettes may contain material sensitive in nature. This one has some violence, but is overall pretty soft.]

Posted in Betweentimes

Betweentimes: To the Flame

The second vignette in the Betweentimes series is “To the Flame” and may be considered more “required” reading for Afterlands as a bridge between Book I and II. This piece is about yearning, contact, and facing the void.

Betweentimes are slices-of-life about tossed things, lost things, and making the best of bad situations as our survivors navigate the new world order following the events of Afterlands: After the Harrowing. Stories are presented on this website, always free to download.

If you are new to Afterlands, it might help to familiarize yourself with the characters and events of the previous stories first.

7.6k words. Click format to read now:

[Betweentimes vignettes may contain material sensitive in nature. This one has explicit sexual content, references to mental health concerns, and past trauma.]
Posted in Betweentimes

Betweentimes: Best Foot Forward

This first vignette in the Betweentimes series is “Best Foot Forward” in which Hyrhyn is challenged for being insensitive (what, Hyrhyn? No!). A short piece about trauma, memory, and moving forward as our survivors take tentative steps in the new world they find themselves, immediately after the events of Afterlands: After the Harrowing.

Betweentimes are just slices-of-life about tossed things, lost things, and making the best of bad situations. They are presented on this website, always free to download. If you are new to Afterlands, it might help to familiarize yourself with the characters and events of the previous stories first.

4.5k words. Click format to read now:

[Betweentimes vignettes may contain material sensitive in nature. This one has mild references to mental health concerns and past trauma.]

Posted in News

Afterlands 2022: What’s to Come

With 2021 behind us now, I can say it was a great year for Afterlands. The Beforetimes four-issue prequel stories ran from September-December, and culminated with the launch of Book One, Afterlands: After the Harrowing. While the publishing process could have gone a lot smoother, I’m grateful to everyone who read, enjoyed, and shared both the stories and the opening novella!

So what comes next?

Phase Two of Afterlands may be too ambitious for my own good, but I am currently planning and writing an interim set of stories called the Betweentimes. Like the Beforetimes, these stories will be made available for free on this website and will cover events that bridge the time between After the Harrowing and Book Two, tentatively titled After the Homecoming, which will launch first week of July.

While there isn’t a significant gap of time between the two books, there is plenty to be explored, particularly with regards to the progress of the four survivors and their tentative living arrangements at the Great House overlooking the bay and the town of Whiptail. For Hyrhyn, Laria, Juba, and Nix, there remains a great deal unresolved in their lives and they are only just beginning to realize it. Bad weather and surly neighbors threaten any hope of an easy existence, and a shipwreck brings an intriguing castaway into their midst.

Betweentimes stories may follow the format of the Beforetimes, though I am exploring the idea of including at least one “picture book” in addition to two (or possibly three) all-new stories.

Some questions that might be answered (or else teased a whole bunch more):

  • Are Juba and Hyrhyn ever going to get around to consummating their union?
  • Where exactly are Nix’s children and will he find them?
  • What is Laria hiding in the Great House that she doesn’t want the others to see?
  • Are we ever actually going to get to this alleged place called the Afterlands?
  • Who is Moth and how certain are we that he might be the key to everything?
Posted in Novellas

Afterlands: After the Harrowing (Book I)

Hyrhyn is determined to reunite with her Beloved no matter where it takes her, even into the heart of the Harrowing! What she and Laria find there will change their lives forever in ways they could never predict.

Juba and Nix are free for the first time in their lives. What will they do with their freedom? And can the four of these disparate souls find new peace and purpose in their collapsing world?

After the Harrowing is Book I in the Afterlands novella series and currently available only from Amazon KDP.

Order your digital or print copy HERE!

Posted in Beforetimes

Beforetimes: The Imperator

The fourth and final short story in the Beforetimes series is “The Imperator” in which Laria, accepting that the decades-long conflict is over, relinquishes her rank and sets off to reconcile what the war has brought them to. A bonus Epilogue brings the Beforetimes to a close and sets the stage for Afterlands: After the Harrowing, a novella to be released December 18, 2021.

The four short stories about what happened before the opening pages of After the Harrowing are presented on this website and will remain here for free.

Each story highlights main characters of Afterlands and reveals events leading to the end of the Continent’s war between the King and his sister’s cult of “the Mother”.

8.3k words. Click format to read now:

[Please keep in mind that Beforetimes tales may be dark as they all occur before the “dawn”. This story isn’t scary at all, though. I promise.]