Sunday, 5 February 2012

This week's word is: BRRR!

Note, that's brrr, not hrrr!  Winter has come to the Dragons' Den and there has been a good deal of hurring going on.  G'reth poked his head out of the window yesterday and needed to have his ears thawed out by Gruffen.  It is pretty cold in England right now - and we're in the warmest part of the country.  Dragons, of course, like snow.  We haven't seen any here, in Torbay, though there are huge amounts in the Midlands where we used to live.  Mrs Author says she's glad to be out of it.  Talking of Mrs Author, she is hard at work right now on the final changes to the US edition of RAIN & FIRE.  We are hoping, as we've said before, that this book will feature some of the material that was cut from THE FIRE ASCENDING, though serious blog followers are getting hefty extracts here, and another part will follow at the end of this posting.

It was National Libraries Day yesterday, so we thought we'd show you the above: a little facebook posting from one of the dragons' favourite school librarians, Nikki, in Cambridge.  Notice how she's carefully chosen lines from FIRE WORLD to illustrate the benefits of reading.  The author says, "Happy librariums day to you, Nikki, and all of you who still passionately believe in the power of books - especially 'tree' books. Has anyone discovered a way for an author to sign an eBook yet...?"

We were very pleased this week to see THE FIRE ASCENDING mentioned in a publishing industry magazine called The Bookseller where it was highlighted as 'one to watch'.  We certainly think so.  There is a buzz in the ether about the book, not just from here in the Dragons' Den but from you, the fans.  It's as if everyone is willing this to be a huge bestseller and rocket back onto the New York Times bestseller lists.  With your help guys, we can do it!  Hrrr!

And finally, before we reveal the extract, we thought you might like to know that this very afternoon the author made an entry on a website called TeachingBooks.net. On this site, authors are invited to leave an audio message describing how they pronounce their name.  If you've ever wondered how to say d'Lacey, you'll now be able to hear it in a mixture of his 'telephone' voice and his native northern accent.  Duh-lay-see.  It looks rather French, and it is.  The d' means 'of the' in French, whereas 'lacey' loosely translates as 'lake' or 'light'.  So he is Chris of the lake or Chris of the light, whichever you prefer.  Personally, we like Chris of the last biscuit in the tin as it always seems to be him who gets it.  We'll give you the proper link when it goes up.

And now for a little more of the outtake we've been running. If you cast your mind back three posts you'll recall that the Higher (the Fain Collective) came up with a spectacular way to defeat the Ix.  They imagineered a parallel version of Earth that they called Co:pern:ica.  They hoped the human souls would migrate to the new world, leaving the Ix isolated on Earth.  On Co:pern:ica, things are a little different, as anyone who's read FIRE WORLD knows...


            Having set Co:pern:ica in motion, the next task for the Higher was to start the transition.  They prepared a unique fire star (a portal through spacetime) which they suspended above the Earth like a second sun.  Only people like David could see it for a while, and it was closed down during his time in Ki:mera.  Before they opened it again, the Higher arranged a ‘sign’ to guide humans to it.  A Wearle of imagineered dragons was sent to Earth to colonise the ‘Arctic’, but this only created worry and confusion.  (The false association of dragons with evil also proved to be an inhibiting trend.)  The Higher thought again.  After more research and powerful meditation, they altered their strategy and decided instead that the migration should be led by an illumined being.  An angelic creature, not unlike a dragon, that humans upheld as a symbol of righteousness.  A child, blessed with the power of flight.  That child, of course, was me (Alexa). 

              In principle, the plan was sound.  As the timeline developed, many aspects came to fruition.  But all was not well with Project 42.  The Higher, despite their inestimable wisdom, had made one fundamental error.  They had forgotten (or ignored) the laws of chaos.  They had put aside one of the most crucial yet perplexing functions of living systems: that nothing ever happens quite the way it is intended to.  The new world was about to spring a flaw.

            At first, the system blossomed as expected.  The auma fields settled to their symbiotic levels.  The atmospherics clicked into place.  G’ravity was set to its optimum intensity.  Co:pern:ica began to spin.  But as the various elements began to gel together, Co:pern:ica reacted like any free-living organism: it generated its own identity.  It developed a ‘mind’ of its own – a rough equivalent to the Earth spirit, Gaia.  It had no ‘name’, this spirit, for the alternative humans which wandered the new world were too ‘young’ in their construction to identify any holistic entity, let alone put a name to it.  But right from the start the Higher began to notice spontaneous disruptions occurring within their allegedly ‘closed’ system.  More worryingly, in a world of supposedly general equality, some templates were gaining prominence over others.  When the Higher analysed their equivalents on Earth, the word ‘sibyl’ cropped up over and over again…

            Curiosity got the better of the Fain collective.  Rather than modify Project 42 (or abort it), they allowed the system to organise itself.  They gathered in the Is and warily observed their flower of the universe.  Co:pern:ican society advanced at pace, but showed worrying signs of self-indulgence.  The prominent templates continued to gain.  One in particular commanded the Higher’s greatest attention: the sibyl that on Earth had been known as ‘Gwilanna’.

            On Co:pern:ica, the template called herself ‘Gwyneth’, a member of a self-elected council of ‘Aunts’.  In the new world, a woman rose to be an Aunt if her powers to imagineer were demonstrably superior to other women.  The Higher encouraged imagineering; they saw it as a form of evolutionary progression – a means for their templates to become ‘co-creators’ with the auma of the universe.  The ability to materialise objects from thought was a skill that had long been forgotten on Earth.  Restoring this skill was regarded by the Higher as another incentive for Earth-based lifeforms to enter Project 42.  Sadly, the templates proved them wrong.  The tendency for dominance by rule of might flared once more.  Instead of living in harmony and simply imagineering what they needed, Gwyneth and her dubious cast of Aunts began imagineering to excess, so they might rise above and subjugate others.  To the Higher’s amazement Gwyneth even developed a means of absorbing the auma of dying creatures, mainly small animals.  One or two deaths made little difference.  But as her hunger for power increased and her secret leaked out to the other Aunts, animal templates began to disappear.  So did the vital habitats they lived in.  Before long, half the new world was barren. 

            Co:pern:ica had taken a difficult spin. 
Gosh! Until next time.  Happy reading.  Hrrr!

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