The Last Sheep – a novel

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When I started writing I didn’t think I would one day produce nine books. Not ever. Even when my first book came out. It just…it wouldn’t have computed. It still doesn’t. I have put my ninth book out just before I turn 40.

So strange.

For me The Last Sheep is the end of a journey. A journey that began in the mid-2000s and which ends now. A journey which began with Bumble Kitties and lead to Meep Sheep as I would muse over these weird creatures with a friend at our vitamin store job. Those silly animals soon became a story that was inspired by a friend and which allowed me to change gears and to write something that wasn’t overtly dark and horrific. The story became a chapbook that I took to comic conventions with other chapbooks and my first book in the hopes of making some sales and getting my work out to the world. Once I discovered Create Space and started putting books out again it became clear that there was more to the world of the Meep Sheep that I wanted to tell.

The Meep Sheep was an experiment and three have been. The first was to see if I could tell a fairy tale and not to let the darkness overtake the story. It was also an experiment in layout and design. I had never designed a book before I started with Create Space but suddenly I had to consider the book as a whole – the writing, the layout, the cover design, the back cover text, the book size, paper type, and what I do with it once it’s done. The thing is though that all of that is fun. It’s MORE fun if you are not under the gun due to some weird pressure you put on yourself but, you know, life ain’t all lemondrops and candy canes.

The experiment continued with The Kreep Sheep, the follow up book. This book began as a Tumblr blog where I wanted to occasionally tell stories about the world of the Kingdom of Man and to fill in some of the history. What I found though was that in telling random stories of this world it made me fall in love with it all over again. I had never really built a world before. Not one that I wanted to keep going back to. Sure, when I write there’s a world beneath it all that is oft-times connected but this is different. This is a place that is molded completely by me and it’s intoxicating. You can see why people write fantasy – you craft everything and can make and remake the world as you see fit. It’s not a god-trip as much as a creator trip where you get to see what you can come up with. After a few stories I realized that this project was a book that I just hadn’t been ready to write but which served as a bridge to a bigger story. It told histories, side stories, and built the first part of a bridge into the next and final story.

That’s where The Last Sheep comes into the picture. As I sat and stewed on Kreep Sheep I started to wonder what came next? What happens when the Queen’s reign is over? What happens if the past came back to haunt her and the whole world? It began with another side story, a short that leads off Last Sheep that introduces us to the Son, a thing driven towards revenge and conquest that is the first spark of a coming war. That story was meant to be a standalone and little else but it became something fare greater as it served as its own spark that started me thinking about this last Meep book. One last story to wrap up the loose ends and to open the door to a million more stories.

I wrote The Last War – the title changed so it would blend more easily with the other two books so Last Sheep it became –  between February and March 2013 and writing it was like a fever dream. I kept pushing myself and every obstacle I just pushed past until it was done. The book wasn’t what I had first thought it would be, which is usually the case, but I love what it became because it surprised me. Its trajectory surprised me.

I am proud of this book, a book about war, a last war that would decide the fate of the world. It was a tale of the end of an age and the beginning of a new one. I got a chance to say goodbye to a lot of characters I love and love writing about. And I got to put a cap on the series and my publishing.

Last War indeed.

I think if there was one thing I was most dodgy about it was the cover. I wasn’t sure what I wanted outside of wanting to do the art myself. What ego I have I try to direct towards my art and writing and not towards the other aspects of my life…which isn’t always easy or possible but I do TRY. I am not a great artist but I started toying with ideas and came up with one I liked and began working on it. The coloring of the tree was the happiest of accidents. As I was coloring it digitally something got screwed up and there were little spots here and there that were separate sections so that you had to individually color them in and as I did I started to play with the colors because the tree it represents in the book is sick and rotting but is also full of life so the color changes fit that idea and it came out pretty neat.

I truly love this book and if it is the last book I ever produce I am content with that and happy to be able to cap this series, which deserved one last story before I turned out the light.

You can find the book on Amazon, Kindle, and in the e-store.
It is 380 pages and retails for $15

https://www.createspace.com/4748543

Thanks

 

For any of my books you can find links here – http://www.meepsheep.com

The Kreep Sheep – a dark sequel

kreep cover

When I first wrote The Meep Sheep I never ever imagined there were more stories to be written. I wasn’t ‘done’ with the world so much as I didn’t know there was more to say. As time passed the world of the Meep Seep stayed with me and the idea of writing stories, side stories, histories, small little things that would fill in some more of that world, really appealed to me. I started a Tumblr page with the thought that I would fill it with those stories. Pretty quickly though I realized that this was more than an idle time-filler but was the beginnings of the beginnings and the bridge to the next chapter. This book tells the story of the very first creatures to walk the lands and begins the story of the third book. I had so much fun writing this book and putting it together. It’s a little darker than its older sibling but it’s still a fairy tale, or rather these are fairy tales. Oh, but friend, there are no fairies here. No, not at all.

https://www.createspace.com/3607760

The End Of The Third Age

  Just after midnight last night I finished work on the third Meep Sheep book. It took a little longer than the month I had planned on but I hadn’t anticipated the walls I would hit at the end. I can say that I wrote a novella now. One single story that is 83 single spaced pages. Something I never intended to do or thought I could do. As I had gotten to the end I realized I needed to make some big decisions on things that I hadn’t thought about when the fancy notion of a last book popped into my head.

Oops.

  Well, it’s done. And…it’s not what I thought it’d be. Not that this is a bad thing at all but when I first was sketching the book out in my mind it definitely was different. Even ended in a different place geographically in that world but the logic of the story forced me to change how I was putting it together and writing it.

  And am I happy?

Yes. Though I am much too close to really have a feel for how well the book works. I need to give it a month and go back and edit it and look at it then. Then I will know. But I like a lot of moments in the book and am happy how it comes together. 

And I am sad because this is the end of a journey. These three books were different than anything I wrote and even as the series got darker it was still a fantasy series with characters I am very fond of but I am glad it’s done. I wanted to get the projects off of my plate that had been started but never finished and I have done that. There’s editing to be done but in the end I got done what I need to do. 

The book/s are done. 

Wow. 

I have been talking about this book for a while now and it’s crazy to believe it’s over. But it is. As is a piece of who I was for the past several years. There’s still edits to do, still promotion to do, but really, the course of the ship began to change last night and where it leads, well, even I don’t know that. 

http://www.meepsheep.com

 

Tone

   The notion of tone has been weighing heavily on my mind of late as I work to finish the last book in the Meep Sheep series. A touchstone for those books, for me, has been that they were not dumbed down but were accessible to most ages. I strove to write and release something that wasn’t like the rest of my work but was something that hearkened to a time where stories could be dark and a little dangerous but were not offensive. 

That was my hope. 

   Now, was that why I started writing the first story? Not at all. I started because I had an idea and I had what I hoped was a fun story to tell. To me, that’s the perfect way to start with writing. I know I want the story to be what it needs to be and then worry about the rest later. I mean, I definitely worry over things and context and all that overall I try to let the story do its thing. 

That hasn’t been as easy this time around. 

   With this last book in the series I am tying up loose ends and sending things off into the setting sun. It’s a much darker, much more ‘mature’ book in that it’s about the fact that you can’t always wish away your troubles and that some things need to be faced and dealt. It’s a book about finding your place, about letting go of your past. And its a book about finding the magic in a place where it never seemed to exist before – like yourself. 

I am too close to the book to know how I feel about it completely but the tone is definitely a concern. This is a book about a change, a cataclysmic change and a war. As such It needs to be dark, and the reader needs to feel that darkness. If there’s no danger for the characters then there’s no depth to the story. I just need to make sure I am walking the line and not turning what had been fantasy tales into horror stories. I think I am on that edge. It’s dark, darker than the other two books, but it’s not cruel, and that’s a big part of it to me. I am not trying to make the reader upset or trying to punish characters. I am just trying to serve the story. 

My hope is that my choices work for the best. 

I will round out a lot of the hard edges in the edit. I just want to make sure I don’t alienate people who have been with me for two books. That’s an investment of time and interest and the last thing I want is to betray their trust. 

Heavy is the head fat with stories. 

Sheesh. 

I really need to finish this thing. 

– c

www.meepsheep.com

The Kreep Sheep–a dark fairy tale–$1 On Kindle!

The follow-up to my fairy tale The Meep Sheep, this is a book that continues in that tradition with stories of the World of Man, the Meep Sheep, the panda kingdom, and more. The Kreep Sheep is full of stories of the past and the future and fills in some of the gaps of history from the first book. If you love fairy tales, especially dark ones, then this is the book for you.

An Excerpt –

The Carnival King

 

There was a buzz running through the Kingdom of Man that was hard to ignore; it ran from the towns, through the forests, from the Great Thicket to here, where the crown and the Mistresses lived. All across the Kingdom things were being made ready for the Father’s Fair. After the Great Wars of the past the Kingdom had turned away from the rule of the kings and had sought a new rule, a new law, and with the guidance of the Song Mothers, who were first to come to this land from across the sea, and were the first to tame the wilds of what became the Kingdom, the first even to make contact and forge a friendship with the Pandas, a new chain of rule was created. The Kingdom would be ruled by a Queen, and this Queen would come from a royal lineage that lead back to the land across the seas, and which was connected to the Mothers themselves, and this woman would be known as a Mistress of Magic – someone who could wield magic in the name of the light and who would use it to lead the land away from the wars that had done so much damage to the people and Kingdom itself. While the world had literally changed since the Mistresses took over the rule, this did not mean that the Father’s of the Kingdom were forgotten for it was Highland Fathers that came across the far hills to meet with and befriend the Song Mothers first of all and it was from these men that the first Kings were born in the time before the Great Fall and the rise of King Brundt. The Father’s Festival was a chance for the Kingdom to remember the great deeds of the first kings, the Highland Fathers, and indeed all fathers, and was a time to rejoice and celebrate. For the Crown City this was made even more special as this was the place where the Carnival King would make his first appearance in nearly ten years. Even getting an audience with the Carnival King had been a dicey prospect after a run in with the woman known as Lady Hush, and the thing she called a daughter. Had it not been for the intervention of some of the animals of the land the King and his troupe may have been lost. That was then though and nothing like that had happened in the Kingdom of Man since Queen Anamare had taken the throne and so he had granted her an audience via Seeing Stone and she was somehow able to convince him to cross the seas once more and to travel the Kingdom. To say there was a buzz is like calling An Iperbah a Wumzoople. The air was electric with excitement.

Everyone was excited it seemed save for one very conspicuous person, the daughter of the Queen – Princess Messy. Miss Messy had heard all about the Carnival King and how great he and his troupe were from her teachers and Mr. Naysmith, her mother’s assistant and her keeper, or at least that’s what he seemed like. Any time Messy wanted to wander off and play in the mud, wanted to go for a walk in the woods, or wanted to do anything fun he was right there to make sure she had homework or chores or something else to do that kept her from getting into any trouble. What she needed more than anything though was trouble, and it seemed Mr. Naysmith was finally picking up on that. Rather, her mother had picked up on it and insisted that Mr. Naysmith let loose on the reigns a little, and the coming of the Carnival King was the perfect time for that.

Like what you read?

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The Meep Sheep–a fairy tale–Now on Kindle for $1

If your tastes lean less toward the dark horror than I have something you might be interested in. The Meep Sheep is my ode to the classic fairy tales of the past. I am really proud of the two Meep books and hope you like them as much as I do.

An excerpt from The Meep Sheep

meep postcard

Manda and the Pandas

Amanda was mad.

No, she was furious.

She looked out into the cold, dark night and saw nothing but green grass and green trees and green, green, green.

This was ridiculous.

It was Christmas Eve and there was no snow in sight. Not a bit, not an inch, there was not even a glimpse of any sort of snow anywhere and it didn’t look as if that was going to change anytime soon, and that was just ridiculous.

Welcome to Willow Falls, the smallest province in the Kingdom of Man and a place where you could have snow every day for a year and then have three weeks of sunlight with no night in sight. This sort of weather kept things interesting, to say the least, but it didn’t make things easy if you wanted to make plans. Amanda had been working on assignment taking pictures for the Kingdom Times for the past three weeks, covering the first national tour of the newly crowned Queen Messy and had been looking forward to her winter vacation. Winter was the time of the Renewal Festival which was a time of family and friends and where people would decorate their homes to give thanks to the gods of old, the gods of new, and to all the magic that made their world possible. For Amanda, the Renewal Festival meant that she’d get a much needed week off to see her boyfriend, her family, and to spend time with her dog. Ah, but things weren’t working out the way she’d hoped, not in the least.

None of this was to say she hadn’t enjoyed her tour, and she’d taken advantage of her travels with the Queen and her small entourage and had done some shopping in the more exotic shops and had gotten some gifts that really seemed to speak to the people she was buying them for. She was proudest of the Burping Bumberbash, which her mother was bound to love. She loved this time of year and as the days turned colder, her mind turned more and more to Renewal Eve and thoughts of her loved ones. All across the lands snow was beginning to fall, getting Manda giddy with excitement over the coming holidays. It seemed that everyone was getting into the spirit of things too as Messy herself had come to Amanda’s room as she was packing to bring her a special gift. The Queen had been much impressed with the talent of the young photographer and wanted to give her a gift that she might get some use from. Messy had gotten some clay from the village of Perrian, a place known for its fine potters and sculptors, and had made a simple enough looking bowl but one which, when it was filled with water, became something very powerful when the time was right.

Amanda didn’t quite understand why it was that Queen Messy was giving her this bowl which, though pretty and all, was an odd sort of gift, but she took it, thanked her highness, and packed it away. Amanda hurried so she could make it in time to the vanneroo she had rented. The driver seemed delighted though to be surrounded by the Queen and her aides and didn’t mind that Amanda was so late and even helped her with her bag. Content that she was going to have the sort of Renewal Festival her boyfriend always told her about, and which she’d heard tell of in the songs that people sang on their tour, Amanda fell into a deep sleep and dreamt.

~

@@@@@In her dreams she was with her friends, family, and boyfriend, sitting around the great, magical flame that would be conjured for all to tell stories around and to share the things they’d seen and done since the last time everyone had met. It was a wonderful dream but it was ended by the driver as he shook her awake.

“We’re here Miss, we’re here in Willow Falls.”

Amanda smiled and stretched inside the cab of the vaneroo as she got her backpack and slung it over her shoulder. The driver stood aside and let Amanda out and she stepped out into what she expected to be snow. When there was no corresponding crunch to her step she looked down and saw grass, and beyond that more grass, and grass, and grass, and grass.

Everything was green.

Winter hadn’t even made it yet and festival was only a day away.

Amanda’s heart sank.

She didn’t see the driver as he took her bag off of the vaneroo and didn’t hear him as he bid her a happy festival and didn’t notice at all when he drove off into the night.

All Amanda knew was that it was time for Renewal and there was no snow in sight.

Every story Amanda had ever heard about the festival told about how beautiful the snow was, and how it made everything seem so perfect. This was the first time she’d be celebrating the Renewal with anyone other than her mother and dog and realizing that she wasn’t going to have snow for her first Renewal with her boyfriend brought tears to her eyes.

She made her way home and saw that her message globe was blinking with messages but ignored it. She didn’t want anyone to know she was home yet. She had a day, a day to make things right, to make it snow, and whatever it took, she was going to do it.

Amanda sat on her couch and her dog nuzzled up alongside her and put his head in her lap. She petted him, as they both lay there, but her mind was somewhere else.

It was late when Amanda decided she had a place to start, somewhere she might find an answer, but as much as she wanted to get something done, she knew she had to get some rest.

So she slept.

And she dreamt.

And in her dreams it snowed.

The next morning Amanda got up early and dressed quickly then made her way to the office of the town elder. Her name was Iridor and she had inherited her mantle from her brother, who had been lost in a long ago battle with a tribe from the Great Thicket, but she had become the voice of reason in an age that had been very troubled until recently. Amanda came to Iridor and asked her one question and one question only – why?

That was all it took Iridor because she had seen Amanda coming to her in a Seeing Stone and had heard similar questions from the others in town. Why wasn’t it snowing, they all asked.

Why?

“It is the pandas, my dear. You see, they have always been jealous of our Renewal Festival and the things we share with one another in this time. They have no such customs and they resent that we do.”

Amanda frowned.

“But Iridor, how can they do this? What power do they have over the elements? How can they stop it from snowing?”

“Their elder possesses the Winter globe, one of the four globes the Narcissan kings had made for them so they might control the weather. The other three, Spring, Summer, and Fall, are lost, but the Winter globe came into the possession of the pandas and it seems they’ve decided to finally use it.”

“But what can we do to make them stop this? How do we convince them that this is wrong?”

“I would imagine that if the new queen were too…”

“There is no time for that though, madam Iridor. Tonight is Renewal Eve.”

“Then I guess for this year, there will be no snow. I am sorry child.”

Amanda’s frown deepened, but beneath it, there laid a smile waiting to be born.

The Meep Sheepread the entire book on your Amazon Kindle for only $1

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Something Kreeps Over the Horizon

Well, last night was a pretty important night in the life of the new book – it was the last day of editing on The Kreep Sheep, which means that the hard stuff is done.

Well, not really, it just means the editing is done.

I am pretty stoked. I set deadlines for myself as to when I want projects done and when I want to move on with them and I had targeted May as the release of this book and it’s looking like it will hit that without issue. And May means that the book will release at the Motorcity Comic Con, in Novi, Michigan, a show I have done for a good many years.

The Kreep Sheep is a sort of appendix to The Meep Sheep and tells some of the history of that land, its places, and its people. Here you will find out where some of the heroes of that world came from, as well as some of its enemies, as well as what  happens with some of the people you met in the first book. This was not a planned book at all but was one that grew organically out of the first. I had set up a Tumblr account and was posting some short stories about the Kingdom of Man and the Lands of Man and as I was writing and posting them I realized that I could collect the stories into a book. The interesting thing for me is that this is truly a continuation of the world and stories from the first book and it shows how much changed in that book. The Kreep Sheep is the darkness to the light of The Meep Sheep and shows how dangerous this world was and still can be. These are the scarier stories, the darker stories but that doesn’t mean that there is not light here. That there is not hope.

Next up comes cover work and layout and maybe some other fun stuff, but we shall see.

Now is the perfect time to catch up on things though and see what all the fuss is about.

You can find out info about and order The Meep Sheep HERE