World of Skills 2: Anger’s Reflection

I’m happy to announce that the second instalment of World of Skills is now available to suscribers on my Patreon page.

The first instalment, Only the Wicked, is available to download free, also on Patreon.

There’s a dedicated page on the site for the series, which I hope will run to about 10-15 episodes, assuming there are enough readers to make it worthwhile.

What is World of Skills?

World of Skills is a fun little project based around a world identical to our own except for the emergence of “Skills”. Skills are unexplained abilities that manifest randomly in the general population.

My two protagonists are an insurance investigator and his associate, and their specialty is identifying when and how a Skills has been used in a crime.

To protect their employer – the insurance company – from having to pay out on claims in such cases, they try to recover stolen property or catch thieves or identify Skill-enabled fraud.

My protagonists are not un-Skilled themselves. The investigator, Darius, has a mysterious ability that frightens even the most powerful among the Skilled. Molly hides a secret even she doesn’t understand. But new differences give rise to new prejudices, and being Skilled can be more of a curse than a gift.

Why Patreon?

A lot of what I write, I give away for free. I’ve enjoyed doing this and I get a lot of satisfaction from it, especially when people reach out to let me know they liked something I wrote.

However, nothing I’ve written in the past has made me any money (a little side effect of giving almost everything away for free). As a consequence, I’m beginning to explore models where I might make a little bit of income from all the words I put down.

I’m trying to find a way of doing this which doesn’t offend or alienate any readers. While full-length novels or novellas might be sellable on Amazon, my preferred format is slightly shorter. Therefore: Patreon. It’s my hope that enough people who read this story will think it’s worth paying the price of a coffee each month to keep the series going.

I’m also putting additional content on Patreon such as short stories unrelated to World of Skills, information about the process of writing these stories, and occasional early warning when some of my writing goes on sale (or free) on Amazon.

If you choose to support me there, then you have my unending gratitude!

We Interrupt Your Regular Programming to Bring You… A Little Horror

I don’t write a lot of horror. The closest I’ve been was an unsettling story called “Eternal Child” that you can download from Amazon, or read about on Goodreads.

That said, sometimes I write a story and it crosses that line where it’s no longer ‘urban fantasy’. I don’t choose for this to happen. Stories sometimes take you places you don’t intend.

One reason my supernatural work ends up dark is my aversion to romance-supernatural themes that predominate since Twilight met with such amazing success. Werewolves, vampires, reanimated dead people, these things are horror tropes at the outset. While having a romance between a vampire and a human was interesting once, it feels overdone to me now. When such creatures make an appearance in my literature, they’re usually suitably dark and foreboding. They are ancient beings of incredible power, not lonely teenagers waiting an eternity for the hero/ine to relieve their terrible suffering by releasing a century of pent-up teenage angst.

Sorry… got a little carried away there.

Anyway, I wrote this story in response to a prompt I found somewhere. It strayed into supernatural territory and I started to wonder what a hidden society of supernatural beings would be like. How would they hide and live among us? Where? What sort of rules might govern their existence? I ended up with Rare Gifts, which is a glimpse at a hidden world, and the mysteries that inhabit it.

Cover of "Rare Gifts". Black and white image of a dark street with a person walking away.

Introducing “World of Skills”

I’m very proud to introduce you World of Skills. This is new series of stories I’ve been working on for a while.

The idea behind this effort is to provide some exclusive content to some people who support my work, by making it available to tier 2 and 3 subscribers on my Patreon page.

The first episode is available for free, by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.

What’s It About?

World of Skills is set in the present day, in a world where a few, random people have developed unexplainable skills that appear to defy the normal rules of nature.

Is this like X-Men? I hear you ask.

I suppose so, but while the idea of people obtaining unexplained abilities is not new, my little series has little in common with X-Men in terms of actual story.

My hero(es) are an insurance investigator and his assistant/sidekick, who are employed to get to the bottom of expensive heists that cost the company a lot of money. Occasionally, they also assist the police in investigations that have unexplained elements that suggest a Skilled person was involved.

Is this like Sherlock Holmes? I hear you ask.

I suppose so, in some ways, but it can’t by like Sherlock Holmes and like X-Men, so make your mind up!

The Format

Two-to-five thousand word short stories. Each a self-contained adventure, but with season-long plot and character development arcs.

I will be publishing an episode a month at least, until the ‘season’ has run its course.

I anticipate about 10-13 episodes but that is subject to change.

Where do I sign up?

I really wish you’d asked that question instead of my having to pretend you asked that question. I’m going to provide the answer just in case you’re curious.

If you like episode one enough to sign up for the rest, the remainder of the episodes will be available through my Patreon.

There are three tiers to my Patreon, “kitten”, “feline” and “lion”. “World of Skills” episodes will be available to the last two tiers. If you like the style of my writing but not this particular series, then exclusive short stories are also available through Patreon at the “kitten” level. Subscribing at this level will set you back a bit less than the cost of a coffee each a month.

Where’s the Free Download Already?

Right here:

Short Story: Rare Gifts

I don’t do all that much horror, but sometimes that’s just how a story turns out. Not that my horror is all that horrifying, but this story very clearly veered towards that genre about a third of the way through the writing process, and there was no clawing it back after that.

At about 1350 words, it’s pretty short, so it’s quick to read and easy to digest. I hope you like it.

Here is “Rare Gifts”.

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New Fiction – “What You Might Find”

The Christmas holidays are – despite appearances – an impossible time for me to write anything substantial. I have made zero progress on my more substantial projects (other than call into question everything I’ve written so far), and I’ve been unable to find the time to write any more of the short story or novella series that I’ve been working on.

Without the routine of home, there isn’t any time to sit at a keyboard and hammer out anything more sophisticated than a very short story.

But I have managed that, a very short story. Particularly in response to prompts over at Reedsy.

This particular story is a reaction to “write a story about a very skilled pickpocket”. It’s about an immigrant pickpocket in a big city. Unusually for me, there are no fantasy of science fiction elements at all. I did have some in mind, but as the story decanted onto the page, none of them made the transition.

The story is downloadable for free, in a number of formats, by clicking here..

You can comment on it below.

I like writing in response to prompts because it allows me to generate a short story that’s hermetically sealed away from the longer-term projects I’m working on. Writing straight from my own imagination, without a prompt, results in my cannibalising bits from my stories-in-progress. I currently lack the mental discipline to write a spin-off of an unfinished story, instead I compromise the story itself as my imagination goes off in new directions with an unfinished universe.

New Fiction – Rewind

Cover for Rewind by Nick Lavitz

I’ve been writing some short stories (and a much longer story) for a while now but they’re not ready. Sorry.

They’re a new direction for me and they’ve taken a lot of time to get off the ground as I frequently bring them to the shredder to start again.

New beginnings are painful.

I was, however, browsing the web recently when I came across Reedsy. There they have a competition page with writing prompts, and one of the prompts for the month bounced off some random thought, which resulted in a quick and cheeky short story. Which I submitted.

They’ve put it on their website, so I invite you to take a look at Rewind, and let me know what you think, either over there or over here.

Rewind – by Nick Lavitz

Short Fiction : Snow

The Ortholan’s crew barely survive their crash on an icy moon, and they owe their narrow escape to the least popular member of their crew, the Navigator, whom they call Blue. But they will need him again if they are to survive, because he is the only person aboard capable of flying the ship back to civilization. Unfortunately, without access to their medication, Navigators become somewhat unstable, and the crew’s only hope of salvation may well be the one who kills them all.

Available on Amazon by clicking here .

Eternal Child

Not All Writing Is Created Equal

Today I finally took the advice “do something that scares you”, and published Eternal Child, a novella I’ve been sitting on for quite a long time.

I’m a little confused as to where Eternal Child should sit in the traditional fiction categories. It’s a supernatural horror story with very little actual horror, but a ton of subtle foreboding.

If you’d like to read it, you can find an excerpt below and a full version of the book over on Amazon (click on the image to the right).

I would really like to know what you think. Let me know in the comments below, or by email.

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