The Stepping Stone Cycle

An episodic series of cosmic horror novellas by the acclaimed author of The Bridge Chronicles

The Stepping Stone Cycle is an episodic series of cosmic horror novels. The concept came about for a number of reasons, not the least of which was a desire to be more productive, to put out more distinct works in a shorter period of time than I had been previously with the schedule of one novel release per year. To accomplish that, I wanted to focus on writing shorter, more concise novellas that weighed in around 30,000 words as opposed to novels that were a minimum of 50,000 words.

One of my favorite mediums has been the long-form serial narrative, whether it be in comic books, book series or television series. I count the hours I spent through my life engrossed in series such as Lost, X-Files, and Babylon 5 as time well spent. With that in mind, I conceived of writing this new series as if it were a television serial, with each novella being an episode of the series (or a two-parter) and a set number of novellas being grouped together as a "season." As I finish the first season, I plan on adapting the novellas into screenplays to shop around as an actual television series. I have considered selling the screenplays as eBooks as well, based on fan demand. If you like the series well enough that you'd also be interested in having an eBook version of the screenplay, or if you happen to be a television producer looking for a new concept, contact me using the Contact page. 

With the format settled, I got to work on the concept. Jack Carter has his roots in my love of the Jack character from Lost. Despite that show's flaws, I did love it and Jack was the heart of the show, daddy issues and all. When writing Jack Carter, I picture Matthew Fox in that role as well as his role in the short-lived supernatural series Haunted. Additionally, over the last two years, I've read most of the short stories and novellas written by H.P. Lovecraft in his so-called Cthulhu Mythos. A television series, set in the modern day with the backdrop of the oppressive cosmic evil of Cthulhu was not something I've seen on television, though it would owe a great deal to the creepy style of shows like The X-Files and Fringe. Many of those shows have mentioned or been inspired by Lovecraft's work, but to my knowledge, nothing has been based around the terrific ideas he wrote about in stories like At the Mountains of Madness and Call of Cthulhu.

Rather than merely ape the stories Lovecraft wrote, I wanted to set the series in the modern day. I decided to restrict my writing to only the additions of the mythos created by Lovecraft himself and not those of some of the later writers who have delved into the setting. With a modern setting determined, I needed a place for my protagonist in that world. I chose forensic psychology as much to give the killer exposure to serial killers with diseased minds who might be influenced by a malevolent entity like Cthulhu. Finally, the mystery of Jack's missing wife would be a great catalyst to move the story forward and to have Jack go places he might not otherwise see. The uncertainty over his part in Sarah's disappearance or possible death would give the work some dramatic tension.

I currently have plans for six (6) novellas to make up the first season. Whether a second season emerges is up to the fan reaction as well as my own interest in continuing the story beyond the point that will be reached on the last page of the sixth novella.

I hope you enjoy this new series. If you buy one of the books and like it (or even if you hate it), make sure to review it at the outlet you purchased it. As an indie author, every little bit of feedback helps me write better as well as helps promote my works. More promotion equals more sales, and more sales equals more books written. Now get to reading!

  • First Stone, Episode 1 of the Stepping Stone Cycle - Cosmic horror in the Cthulhu Mythos
  • The Metal Black, Episode 2 of the Stepping Stone Cycle - Cosmic horror in the Cthulhu Mythos
  • Drowned-Cover
  • Memory Void Cover web
  • Episodes 1-3

Books by Gary A. Ballard

Under the Amoral Bridge  The Know Circuit  if [tribe] =  The Long and the Short Swords Reclamation  Tales from the Bridge Chronicles First Stone The Metal Black - Episode 2 of The Stepping Stone Cycle - Cosmic Horror Drowned

All of my books are available as eBooks (various formats), with some available in print-on-demand paperbacks as well. Click here to Buy my other Books.