C S McClellan

Biography

I'm a blogger, novelist, and short story writer. My first completed novel, Hidden Boundaries, a Novel of Slavery, explores personal conflicts and relationships in the context of unequal power. It's psychologically driven, with an undercurrent of romance that builds subtly and slowly. The two protagonists are a slaveowner and the young man who becomes his slave. Unlike most novels with a male owner and male slave, Hidden Boundaries is not about BDSM or erotica.

My fiction is concerned primarily with issues of personal freedom. My settings are either slave societies or societies in which the question of personal freedom is increasingly tied to extreme political, economic, and social changes.

I also blog about writing and reading, with occasional reviews of self-published books.

Where to find C S McClellan online


Books

Someday Will Be Too Late
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,100. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2013. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The new laws allowing indentured service may be salvation for some or a return to slavery. It all depends. Times are hard, your husband has died, your children are still young, and you’re buried in debt. You’ll sacrifice anything for your family, even your freedom. Because that’s all you have left.
The Darkest Prison
By
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 12,560. Language: English. Published: May 14, 2012. Category: Fiction » Horror » Crime
(4.00)
(12,000 word short story) Bran Carstairs is convicted for a murder he didn’t commit, left free to walk the streets — if he dares. Transformed into the thing used to frighten naughty children, a Null, he will be a man without a face, hiding in the shadows, no longer human. He will be prey, hunted for sport. His only choice is to survive or die. How long will it be before death is the better choice?
Within the Silence
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,220. Language: English. Published: March 1, 2012. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » General
(5.00)
“My master can do anything he wishes to his property; use me in any way that pleases him, even deprive me of life. But he cherishes me. Everything I am is of his making.” A master’s treatment of his pampered slave is challenged. A slave’s devotion is tested as the wheels of memory begin to turn. Long-hidden truths are revealed. Is it a gain or a loss? 16,000 word character study. Mature topics.
Privileged Lives and Other Lies
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 94,770. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(5.00)
Gifted fifteen-year-old Linden Thomas receives a college scholarship he didn’t apply for and can’t refuse. Arriving at Merriman College, he finds he’s as much a prisoner as a student in an experimental program run by the military/corporate government.
Crossing Boundaries
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 57,260. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2011. Category: Fiction » Gay & lesbian fiction » Gay
(4.00)
The comfortable life that Cor and Jordane have shared for two years is turned upside down when Jordane impulsively buys an abused young slave. Cor finally has to come to terms with being a free man in a slave nation. Cor’s new freedom hasn’t come without costs and now he finds himself having to come to terms with being a free man in a slave nation.
Hidden Boundaries: a Hand Slaves Novel
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,040. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2011. Category: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays
(4.67)
A young man is kidnapped from his own nation and sold into slavery. His hands are pierced in an ages-old tradition that makes him a hand slave. As he fights to retain his sense of self, his sympathetic owner struggles with his inherited, hated role. Their attempts to understand each other are marked by conflict and reconciliations.

C S McClellan’s tag cloud


C S McClellan's favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by C S McClellan

  • Going Down on July 23, 2010

    I'm a big fan of Ann Somerville's books, and while I enjoyed Going Down, I didn't think it was as strong as most of what she's written. The problem may be that's it's a novella rather than a full-length novel, and it wasn't possible to develop the characters in the way she usually does. Still, not a bad read.
  • Games & Consequences (Remastering Jerna #2) on Aug. 06, 2010

    Games & Consequences is the sequal to Remastering Jerna. As usual with Ann Somerville's books, it's well-written and an engaging read. For anyone who loved Remastering Jerna, it may be a bit of a disappointment, since it's Ria rather than Jerna who's the central character this time. This time around, Jerna is so thoroughly a victim of circumstances and without the resources to fight against them, that it's much harder to relate to him than it was with the previous book.
  • The Breaking (The Eternal Dungeon) on Aug. 15, 2010

    Elsdon Taylor, condemned to be executed for the murder of his sister, has been committed to the Eternal Dungeon for Searching and Breaking. The question isn’t about his guilt, but about whether there’s any reason why he shouldn’t suffer the ultimate penalty. Expecting to be tortured, he meets Layle Smith, the High Seeker, whose reputation is that of a fearsome torturer. He isn’t what Elsdon expected, and it turns out that Elsdon is also not what Layle Smith expected. Thus begins a story in which a tormented young man is pitted against a man capable of extracting the darkest secrets from his prisoners. The Breaking is the first part of Rebirth, part of the Eternal Dungeon series. The series explores the range of human emotions, from love to madness, all within the confines of a dungeon shut away below the “lighted world.”
  • The Penal Colony on Sep. 22, 2010

    I normally don't read anything labeled as a thriller, but the sci fi tag and the generous excerpt drew me in. Once started, I was hooked. This is a well-plotted story of injustice, survival, and courage. There's plenty of action, but without slighting character development. The author also has an excellent eye for detail and gives the reader a real sense of place as the story progresses.
  • Grace - A Short Story. on Sep. 23, 2010

    Not even interesting enough to finish reading. Very amateurish. Loved "I watched them pass through the peephole..."
  • Waterman: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus of historical fantasy and retrofuture science fiction on Sep. 26, 2010

    This volume contains an excerpt and two complete stories. The True Master is one of my favorite stories from this author, so I'm somewhat prejudiced in advance of reading the Omnibus. Unmarked takes place at a much later date (centuries) and is set in a boys boarding school. The underlying theme of the stories is inherited power relationships, the effect on individuals of being unable to fit into the established hierarchies, and the wisdom of learning from those below you. Unmarked is, on the surface, a typical boarding school story, complete with fagging and footer (football). The hierarchy of master/slave that was at the core of The True Master, is now master/liegeman, but the conflicts remain much the same. Male/male sex is taken for granted, but handled very discretely, and focuses on hurt/comfort rather than hot man on man action.
  • The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus of historical fantasy novels on Jan. 14, 2011

    The Eternal Dungeon is one of those rare series that draws you from story to story, leading you on with deeper insights into its characters, and plot twists that take you completely by surprise. The world that Peterson reveals has a sense of authenticity that makes you believe it could be real. It’s a world that’s teetering on the cusp of modern technology, but still tightly bound to the past. Victorian England comes to mind, though Peterson’s world is stranger and more violent. Most of the stories take place in the Eternal Dungeon, an underground prison where the jailers are as much prisoners as are the men condemned to its cells. Torture, once used without limit to obtain confessions, is now a last resort. The goal of the Seekers, whose role was once that of torturers, is to help prisoners toward rebirth after death, by persuading them to confess their crimes. The relationship between Seekers and prisoners is a complex one, bound by the rules in the Seekers’ “bible,” The Code of Seeking. The most important rule is that Seekers must be willing to suffer for the prisoners. The emphasis in The Eternal Dungeon is on transformation and redemption, and it isn’t only the prisoners who go through the psychological changes that can take them out of their personal darkness. Reading these books will immerse you in a world like no other and leave you with the memory of characters who are, for the most part, neither completely good nor completely evil.
  • Voices - A Special Abilities Novel Series on Jan. 31, 2011

    It sounded like a very interesting plot idea. Unfortunately, it only took a half dozen pages or so to realize that it was a good idea spoiled. The author is in serious need of some grammar lessons, especially in the use of commas and apostrophes. He also gets bogged down in petty details that do nothing to enhance the story or move it forward. This seems to be a first draft by a beginning writer, and shouldn't have been offered to the public without extensive rewriting and editing. Being free doesn't make it better.
  • The Vampire from Hell: (Part 1) - The Beginning on Feb. 23, 2011

    Rayea is a young, sassy, very contemporary vampire with the normal concerns of any young woman: clothes, friends, actors. But one of her interests really pisses off her father, who prefers to be addressed as Your Highness. She wants to save humanity from him, and it isn’t going to be an easy job. It’s an interesting concept with a heroine who isn’t exactly the typical vampire. The story suffers from some sloppy grammar and editing, but not so much that it would be distracting for most vampire fans. It has all the signs of being the first novel of a young writer, with enough imagination to make the reader anticipate the next installment.
  • Cold Front (Pindone Files #1) on March 09, 2011

    This is a good solid read for fans of mysteries. Somerville's novels are always well-written with fully developed characters that the reader can sympathize with. There's a good deal of gay sex, but it's part of a developing relationship that feels real. The mystery is a complex one, centering around a series of murders, and leads to an unexpected ending. It all takes place in an alternate universe where paranormal abilities are part of the culture, but the feeling is of a contemporary setting rather than someplace strange and exotic.
  • The M and M Who Lost His Way on June 23, 2011

    Reads as if the writer is about five years old. Even free doesn't make up for incompetent writing.
  • The Three Lands: an omnibus of fantasy novels set in the Great Peninsula on July 03, 2011

    Even in Dusk Peterson’s darkest stories there is hope and, when it’s needed, redemption. Characters betray their own vows, are betrayed by those closest to them, and make tragic sacrifices. The ending of their stories is always, if not happy, resolved with a feeling of rightness and inevitability. Hovering over all the stories is the mysterious figure of the Jackal god, who may be a myth, a real god, or a man in the guise of a god. Whichever he is, his demands are real and, often harsh. His greatest power is in the land of Koretia, but even the godless rule-bound Emorians can’t escape his influence. These are powerful stories, beautifully written, with characters who will linger in your memory.
  • Broken Slate on July 13, 2011

    Broken Slate is one of those novels that proves the worth of giving a potential buyer a generous sample to read. To tell the truth, I was hooked well before coming to the end of Jennings' 50% sample. My slender book budget tells me I have to be pretty darned sure about buying anything over $2.99, but Broken Slate was worth it. Jennings does a wonderful job of getting deep into her central character's psyche and providing him with a convincing world in which to live. The background for that world, and how Martin wound up as contracted labor (a cot) is developed in a very natural way. This is a very intense novel, with an air of mystery that takes its time to reveal itself.
  • Hidden Faults on Aug. 03, 2011

    Hidden Faults is written with the same skill and attention to detail of Somerville's previous novels. I wondered whether it's an alternative view of the earlier Pindone novels, or just takes place a long time after those stories, when society's attitude toward paranormal abilities has evolved into open hostility. The change is quite extreme and disturbing, but it's not something that would bother new readers. What kept me from giving this novel five stars was the prison plotline. I wish the author could have found some way to avoid the stale "fresh meat"/"you belong to me or else" cliches. Still, the protagonist's prison experience had some interesting twists and turns that were well done. Considering that I don't care much for paranormal stories, and have even more trouble with that genre when people use the power of their mind to enable them to fly, it's an exceptional writer who can keep me reading her books.
  • The Vampire's Warden (Undead in Brown County #1) on Aug. 13, 2011

    If your book isn't good enough to stand on its own, then using spam SEO keywords isn't going to help.
  • Smashwords Without Microsoft Word on Aug. 25, 2011

    As a freebie, this seven-page offering would be worth it. It doesn't claim to offer much, and it doesn't. It's a sketchy outline of what-to-do with very little how-to-do-it information. The links at the end are useful for those who are completely unfamiliar with the process of publishing ebooks.
  • NaNo for the New and the Insane on Sep. 07, 2011

    This is a fast, enjoyable read for anyone who's thought about jumping into National Novel Writing Month. Gifford is a professional writer, editor, and publisher who's been a part of NaNoWriMo for years, and still loves it. She punctures misconceptions, makes it clear it's not for everybody, but might be exactly right for you. As if that isn't enough (and all for free), there's a good deal of practical writing advice that's worth checking out even if you think NaNo is a creation of the devil, to be undertaken at the risk of your creative soul
  • Don Coyote de la Merika on Oct. 22, 2011

    This is just one story in a collection of five, and it's enough to make me look forward to reading the rest. Beautifully written, it's a subdued vision of a post-apocalypse world. We don't know what happened, or who's to blame. We're not even sure who the "good guys" are in the struggle for survival, but the young girl, Silene, through whose eyes we see it, already understands what it takes.
  • A Not-So-Grimm Fairytale on Nov. 17, 2011

    A charming and amusing take on a classic type of fairy tale. A gay romance of love sought and found.
  • The Making of an Indie Writer on Jan. 07, 2012

    In some ways, this little book is a summary of all the complaints about the traditional writing path--the long, frustrating wrestling match with agents, editors, publishers. That's part of its strength. The other part is that it's a personal story that should speak to anyone who's still on the fence about whether to tread that traditional path or go it on their own. The end of the essay does a very nice job of summing up the traditional path. "When we were telling an artist friend of ours that agents and then editors often ask writers to rewrite their work, he frowned and said, “Isn’t that kind of like someone looking at one of my paintings and telling me I need to take this chunk of paint off here and paint this part of the canvas with a different color over there? And if I do all that, they’ll pay me.” “It is like that,” I said, “only it’s worse. Half the time they’ll ask you to make those changes but they don’t pay you for it. They end up saying, ‘geez, I guess I still don’t want it.’” It isn't about traditional publishing being evil; it's about finding the way that works for you.
  • The Tide Mill on Feb. 24, 2012

    If you love historical fiction, you need to acquaint yourself with Richard Herley. His novels are not only rich in detail, they're beautifully written. His descriptions draw you in with the sounds, scents, and views of an often wild and unfriendly, but beautiful world. His nature isn't a passive thing that you merely look at. It's active and engaging, and always very much a part of the story. When he writes about a flock of seabirds swooping over the water, you can see and hear them. His descriptions of manual skills and handcrafts, often of another time and place are thoroughly convincing and contribute to the feeling of authenticity about the periods he writes about. I think his knowledge must be based as much on his own skills as on research. The heart of The Tide Mill is about the intersection of the lives of serfs, free men, and nobles. Characters defy their ordained destinies, suffer the consequences, or reap the rewards. Nothing about this life is easy, even for the highborn, who have to balance the opposing demands of their king and the church. The characters struggle against each other, and against nature, mostly in the form of the sea that edges the village. Most of all, they struggle against themselves. Two threads wind through the story, the forbidden love of two people from different social classes, and the construction of a new kind of mill that attracts the greedy attention of the Church.
  • The Surrogate on March 11, 2012

    As the author says, this isn't a book for the faint-hearted. The characters suffer through incredible brutality, but find the strength, not only to survive, but to find happiness. It's a long hard road, and one that draws the reader into the emotional turmoil and the struggle of all three characters to recover a sense of their own worth and their value to the other two.
  • Rise Above on March 05, 2013

    Beautifully written story with, as another reviewer said, a shocking revelation at the end. Shocking and heartbreaking.
  • A Checkered Past on June 15, 2013

    A Checkered Past is a powerful and moving memoir by a man whose life began to unravel when he was only eleven-years-old. The result was an escalating series of crimes and prison sentences, until he was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to death. Bill Poyck died in the execution chamber on June 12, 2013, after having written this memoir and two novels, and served as a jailhouse lawyer, working to help unjustly imprisoned men to gain their freedom. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why so many people and organizations are working to amend laws that are putting more and more people in prison, and killing more of them. It is only one of many authentic insider views of the abominable conditions that exist in so many prisons, and the misery that is the American justice system, but it's an important one.
  • Egerius on Sep. 10, 2013

    It's an intriguing beginning,, but it isn't a good idea to preview a novel by publishing a chapter that's full of typos and punctuation errors. The frequent substition of a question mark for the first letter of a sentence may be a problem of converting one word processor format to another. But there are places, where a sentence is incorrectly divided, sometimes with two punctuation marks together. Also sentences without spaces in between, and a few other problems. I read it first in PDF format, which can sometimes be a problem, but the same errors appear in the epub version.
  • The Earth Goddess on Nov. 15, 2013

    It's taken me too long to get around to writing a review. This is the third and last book of the Pagans series, and as much as I admired the first two, I think this is the best. It's a magnificent ending, even if not a happy one, and beautifully written, as Mr. Herley's books always are. It moves forward in time, when the pagans have lost the battle for their way of life and a hierarchical religious institution has gained power over the land. Taggart's son, orphaned, is taken in and starts the long journey to priesthood. But life eventually exposes him to the realities outside his privileged enclave, and he is forced onto an entirely different path.
  • Star's Reach on May 10, 2014

    I hate to call this book post-apocalypse because that sub-genre is so full of cliches. Star's Reach contains no cliches. It's a future in which the United States has collapsed in a way that isn't actually described, but includes the ecological disasters that we are now being faced with. The US has gone through three civil wars and is now split into several nations. The citizens of "Meriga" are living at a simpler level, but are not desperately crawling in the dirt or fighting each other for the basics of life. The story is engaging even while it shows us the consequences of uncontrolled technology and the drive for constant growth. Unlike most of the genre, it's a hopeful book, and points the way to a realistic and viable future.