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The Alien Element – Chapter 1

<unedited>

Snippet 1 from The Alien Element
Translocator Trilogy Book Two
by M.G. Herron
Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved, yadda yadda

 

The Alien Element by M.G. Herron1

A Year-Long Peace

Rakulo trudged through the ancient forest with low spirits and limbs so tired and heavy it seemed a miracle that his feet continued to obey his commands. He walked on through the grey, sunless day, clenching his teeth each time the cold and biting wind sliced down through the trees to prickle his sweat-soaked skin.

He held his head high despite his exhaustion. Thirty young warriors trailed in a ragged line behind him, their clumsy footsteps occasionally catching on concealed tree roots or vines buried among the deep leaf-covered forest floor.

Even though Rakulo felt as tired they did, he couldn’t let them see any signs of weakness. A good leader never showed weakness, no matter how tired he felt.

About an hour outside the village, Rakulo held an open hand up, signaling to the warriors following him that it was time to stop and rest. Most of the weary men and women sank wordlessly to the ground with their backs against the nearest tree, not even bothering to seek out the most comfortable spot. When you’re that exhausted, anything that supports your weight feels like the softest feather bed.

“We’ll be home soon,” Rakulo said. “You’ll have two days with your families before we set out again, so make good use of the time. And it goes without saying, but not a word, not even among family, about what we were doing at the Wall.”

They nodded, but no one spoke, for no one had the energy. A few heads lolled back to rest against moss-covered trunks. One or two warriors took deep breaths and blew out their cheeks as they sighed.

Citlali stood from where she had been squatting and walked over to Rakulo. Of all his warriors, Citlali was among the fiercest. Where some of the younger men were still scrawny, lean cords of muscle stood out beneath Citlali’s tawny skin. Where others tired after half a day of hard walking, Citlali could run from one end of the wall to the other in a single day, and have energy to spare. Even now, the only sign of her fatigue was the quick rise of her chest while she breathed, and her puffy eyelids, which betrayed a lack of sleep.

She leaned close to him and spoke in a low voice so the others wouldn’t overhear their conversation.

“Don’t you think you’re pushing them too hard?” Citlali asked. “We’ve been in the forest for a score of days now.”

“They need to be in fighting shape,” Rakulo said.

“They also need time to recover,” she said. “And time to spend with their children. You’re too hard on them.”

“No one knows what dangers wait for us beyond the Wall. They need to be ready—for anything.”

She bobbed her head from side to side considering this. Rakulo said nothing about the fruitless journey from which they were now returning. They had searched along the Wall for days and days, looking for a way around or through, and found nothing. She finally nodded, turned, and sauntered casually back to where she had been resting a moment ago, making sure not to let her agitation show in her movement or on her face.

Citlali might disagree with Rakulo about his methods, but even if she was opposed to him, she would be careful not show any sign of open dissent. Rakulo was their chief now, and had been for twelve cycles of the two moons.

Rakulo turned his back on the group of weary warriors and gazed off into the distance, where he knew the empty stone city called Uchben Na—Ancient Mother—stood empty in the jungle. His ancestors had lived there once, but not for many generations. For as long as anyone could remember, and long before that, his people had lived in Kakul, the village on the edge of the sea.

Citlali was right, of course. He was too hard on them. But he had to be.

They hadn’t found a way through the Wall this time, but one day they would. He needed them all to be ready when that happened, when the day came to fight for their freedom. Rakulo directed them to prepare in other ways. Together, they had learned to carve canoes from sturdy tree trunks. Together, they made flint-tipped arrows, and knives of obsidian, and spears with tips of obsidian and flint. All of it was training. All of it was preparation.

When his warriors had caught their breath, Rakulo motioned them to their feet and moved onward, setting a slightly slower pace this time. They skirted around Uchben Na, crossed the river, and soon were padding into the farmland around the village, past the rows of corn and beans, toward the thatched-roofed huts that made up the village.

Men and women came out of the field and village to greet them. As soon as word spread about their return, more people emerged from between the mud daub walls. Children cried out happily, weaving between their parents’ legs in bare feet.

Rakulo exchanged polite greetings, and smiled as his warriors were reunited with their families and led home by their husbands, wives, brothers and mothers. The children ran circles around them, whooping and laughing. Rakulo breathed deeply of the tangy sea-smelling air, carried to him by another cool breeze. Despite his discontent at a year of searching and no results, it sure felt good to be home, especially now while the weather seemed to be giving them a break.

A plump figure draped with seashell necklaces, her shoulders thick with tattoos that showed her seniority and high social status, turned a corner. Spotting Rakulo, Ixchel walked quickly toward him. He could tell by her posture that something was bothering his mother.

“Chief Rakulo,” Ixchel said, loud enough for those still lingering nearby to hear. “I’m glad to see you’ve returned home safely again, my son.”

Rakulo hugged her close to him and whispered, “Is everything okay, mother?”

“We must speak in private,” she replied softly.

He followed her back to the house they shared near the center of the village. It was one of the oldest homes, with a fired clay foundation, sturdy wooden walls, and a thick roof that kept the house dry during even the fiercest monsoons. As chief, Rakulo could have commandeered a new house for himself, but he wasn’t home that often, and didn’t want to isolate his mother, who had lost her husband and her youngest son in quick succession last year. Although there was no door to close the hut—all the houses in the village were open to the air—once inside, they had some privacy and could speak more openly.

“Did something happen while I was gone?” Rakulo asked.

“Ekel, the fisherman, has gone missing,” Ixchel said without preamble.

“What?” Rakulo swore, his hands clenching into hard fists. “When? Who else knows?”

“Word has certainly spread by now, although no one is talking about it where they can be heard.”

So that explained the obvious relief on the faces of his warriors’ families when they came to greet their loved ones. It was no shock that no one was talking about it. Everyone knew what it meant when an old man or woman went missing.

“Could he have just gone off on his own for a while? Down the coast, or into the forest? Has anyone checked the caves?”

Ixchel gave him a condescending look. “Old Ekel, the homebody? The man who’s gone fishing in the same spot every day for ten years?” She shook her head firmly. “No.”

Strange, indeed, Rakulo thought.

It had been over a year since Xucha had shown his face—the God had been absent since the death of Chief Dambu, Rakulo’s father. Had Xucha taken Ekel in retribution for what he’d done? And if so, why had it taken so long?

In direct contravention to tradition, Rakulo’s first order when he became chief was to immediately cease the human sacrifices that Xucha had demanded, and which had been reinforced by Chief Dambu and the endless line of shamans and chiefs that came before him—often unwillingly. Chief Dambu had been punished for his resistance, and eventually offered as a sacrifice himself.

When Rakulo became chief, he decreed that Chief Dambu was to be the last sacrifice.

The next few cycles of the moons were tense as everyone braced for a retaliation from their God. None came. Xucha stayed away, no one fell ill, and eventually people began to relax. Many new babies were born in the last year, and—this was unprecedented—one elderly woman even died a perfectly natural death in her sleep. Rakulo had her buried next to the grave of Ixchel’s youngest son, Rakulo’s little brother, Tilak, who had been struck ill by Xucha in punishment for Dambu’s disobedience.

Since Rakulo took over as chief and refused to continue the tradition of sacrifice, their village had experienced a year-long peace.

Until now. Until Ekel’s disappearance. He knew what people would think. The whole situation stank of Xucha’s influence. The black-clad God was known to be deceptive, to work in secret and by the cover of night.

Or was there another explanation?

“Why Ekel?” Rakulo asked. “Why now?”

“He stopped fishing while you were gone because the journey to the beach had become too hard on his knees. At least, that’s what he told everyone.” She was silent for a moment, considering the source of the information. “Your father would have said he was the sensible choice.”

“There are other things Ekel can do! And father’s not with us anymore. I’m the Chief now.”

“I know that.” His mother scowled at him, and for a moment he felt like a child again, and doubly guilty for reminding his mother that her husband was gone. “Why do you think I’m telling you these things? But there’s something else.”

Rakulo took a deep breath. “What is it?”

“I think Maatiaak had something to do with it.”

“Elder Maatiaak?”

“The two of them barely spoke to each other before a few days ago.”

Rakulo nodded. “They both wanted to marry Dea, Citlali’s mother, and have been rivals ever since. But why does that matter?”

“They were never kind to each other. But after you departed a few weeks ago, that changed. Maatiaak began spending a lot of time with Ekel. They suddenly acted like old friends. I thought it was odd, but paid it no mind at first. I was happy to see that they had finally found common ground after all these years.” She pursed her lips and paused.

Rakulo finished her thought for her. “And then Ekel disappeared,” he said. “All of a sudden.”

“Something’s wrong, Rakulo. I can feel it.”

A dread twisted his stomach. She was right. Something was very wrong.

“I better pay Citlali’s father a visit.”

 

Not Alone: A Sci-Fi Short Story

Ahoy, stargazers! I’ve returned to Austin from a week-long vacation at the land of 10,000 lakes. Just in time to deliver you a new sci-fi short story.

Not Alone is about a freighter pilot who’s down on his luck but won’t give up his dream.

Here’s the blurb:

Not Alone: A Sci-Fi Short StoryDid life ever exist on Mars?

Astrobiologist Ackley Griven once set out to answer that question…and came up with squat.

The mining companies, though? They struck gold on the red planet. Gold and oil.

When accidents in the low mines bring Griv back to Mars with a delivery of mining bots to replace the ones that were inexplicably destroyed in electrical fires, his stale search for Martian life is thrust onto a surprising new trail.

Not Alone is a science fiction short story about space ships, superstition, and one man’s lifelong obsession.

Get Not Alone on Amazon

A sample from the beginning of Not Alone

 

1

Deirdre

After paying for the station mechanics to repair a small breach he discovered in the hull of his ship during the journey back from Mars, Griv bounced off his freighter like a man half his age and fifty pounds lighter. A message from Deirdre had synced to his personal inbox when he docked, and though they had bickered bitterly last time they spoke, the prospect of seeing his daughter elated him. Not even the cost of the repairs could get him down just now. It felt like someone in the control room had cranked back the artificial gravity on the space station.

He relished the floating sensation as he strode in worn leather boots through the familiar bustling traffic of pilots, passengers, and supplies on the hangar floor. His equally battered duster—not leather or canvas, but a heavy, breathable synthetic the color of which matched his brown boots—billowed appreciatively behind him.

Near the far end of the hangar, Griv stopped and waited while a young mechanic with a scraggly goatee guided a replacement spacecraft wing through a thick crowd. The wing was supported on a maglev cart. Griv knew the metal floor was lined with magnets so that a single person could move heavy equipment—like that wing— across the hangar. But most civilians had never seen such a thing. A knot of Asian businessmen and their wives—space tourists—whispered and pointed excitedly, and waved the mechanic to a halt.

A geriatric gentleman wearing a green casino visor and fine polished shoes of expensive leather separated himself from the others. With a wide grin plastered on his face, he approached the mechanic. The young man’s expression went blank and he nodded, but Griv noticed his posture stiffen as the tourist ran his hands along the sleek metal surface of the spare wing. A woman handed a small camera to a third man, and sidled up next to old gent. The third man took photos of the couple in two poses, and another when the woman pulled the mechanic into a third shot. The young mechanic’s face softened into a hesitant smile. The old man laughed aloud, then lounged back onto the edge of the maglev cart and jostled the heavy metal wing.

The mechanic’s face went pale. He tore himself away and fumbled with a controller in his hands. The top-heavy wing began to tilt and the mechanic desperately threw his own shoulder under the wing. Griv brushed through the crowd, elbowing the frightened tourists out of the way, and added his own hands to the other end of the wing. The mechanic finally managed to stabilize the maglev cart with one hand on the remote control.

“Thank you,” the mechanic whispered to Griv.

“Damn tourists,” Griv muttered under his breath, winking at the younger man.

The mechanic blanched, then rapidly hurried off in the opposite direction, using the remote to speed the wing to safety, away from the tourists. They hollered apologies as he retreated.

Griv chuckled and shook his head as he walked onward. It was no surprise that the mechanic kept his mouth shut at Griv’s comments, but it rankled him at the same time. The lucrative space tourism trade greased the metaphorical wheels of every space station now, he knew. Near-Earth orbit was the new exotic getaway.

Ridiculous, he thought.

Silence finally came like a thunderclap as he passed from the orderly chaos of the hangar into the narrow corridors of the space station proper. On the High Road—a long, slightly curved foot path that encircled the rotating core of the station—where he had time to think, Griv began to worry what his daughter might say. Could they just have a nice lunch together, or would she bring it up again, all that stuff about his health and how he needed to settle down? She was just like her mother that way. Griv lengthened his stride, knee joints popping from lack of use. He used to be able to do a dozen round trips to Mars with barely a dock-day between them, but the same pace was much harder on his body these days.

He finally stepped off the High Road and turned into the newly constructed greenhouse extension, where Deirdre said she would be. The round entryway door spiraled open with a soft sigh of air, and Griv waded into the thick smell of rich earth, thyme and rosemary and—he wrinkled his nose—cabbage. Vines hanging from a lattice overhead brushed his shoulders as he wandered deeper into the place.

Incredible that they’d set all this up here. The scientist in him, long dormant from lack of use, began to wonder how they’d transported the soil, and what percentage of the water used to grow this lush opulence was recyclable. Was it a drain on the station’s ecosystem? Was growing thyme extravagant, and should they focus more on the staples of the human diet—potatoes and cabbage for instance?

Deirdre would know. The company she worked for, Sustainable Rotation, had been crowing about a sustainable future for humanity in near-Earth orbit for over two decades. They ran nearly a dozen of the so-called Habitation Stations, space stations meant only for civilian use, and reserved for the ultra-rich.

But this was something else entirely.

Griv rarely made it out of his ship, let alone wandered to the experimental side of this station. Remarkable what they’d managed to achieve. Would it reach their goal of full sustainability? And if so, how long would it last? He absent-mindedly cycled through water-use calculations in his head, but was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of it, and was that much more impressed with his daughter’s abilities. She was light-years ahead of him as a scientist. Good for her.

“Ackley Griven!” A man’s surprised voice cut through the thick air. “Is that you?”

The prideful glow dampened, and Griv turned to see a group of lab-coated scientists surrounding a man wearing designer jeans with more holes than fabric. The difference in the man’s appearance drew his eyes—he was a full foot shorter than Griv and wore a Henley t-shirt with all three buttons opened at the top to reveal an annoyingly well-muscled chest. His head was as hairless as his chest, and he was missing both eyebrows. Once a genetic disorder called alopecia, full hairlessness was now an affectation of the ultra wealthy.

“Well, I’ll be,” Griv said, extending his hand. “The man himself. I wasn’t sure you’d be here, Sinclair.” He owned this station—he owned nearly a dozen of them. Of course Griv knew Sinclair Axelrod would be here. He was just hoping he wouldn’t be.

“Deirdre,” Sinclair said, mock disapproval in his tone. “You didn’t tell me you were expecting a visitor.”

Griv’s daughter stepped out of the pack of scientists that surrounded Axelrod. Auburn curls framed her lightly freckled face. Soft cheeks cut down to a pointed chin the exact opposite of Griv’s own chin, which in recent years had seemed to merge into his neck. Her face was hard, her green eyes flat and angry. But a big, loving smile spread helplessly over Griv’s face at the sight of her, and his daughter’s face softened as well.

“I didn’t know if he would come,” Deirdre admitted.

“Here I am,” Griv said, spreading his arm magnanimously. “Sinclair, the space tourism industry has been good to you. This garden is like a slice of Eden. Incredible, truly…but we all know who really deserves the credit.”

Deirdre blushed. “Dad, stop.”

“He’s right, of course,” Sinclair said. “You have a naturally green thumb, and a brilliant rational mind.”

“She inherited that one from her old man,” Griv said, tapping his temple with one finger. Deirdre gave him a wry look. “Do you mind if I borrow your head botanist for a little while?”

“By all means. We were just wrapping up.” Sinclair made a motion, and the cluster of lab-coated cretins followed the little bald man away.

Griv held out his elbow. Deirdre took his arm, looking askance as she pressed her tongue against the inside of her cheek

“You’re not mad?” she asked when the others were out of earshot.

“I can’t stay mad at you.”

“You have to admit, you do spend a lot of time on that ship.”

“That’s how I make my living, sweetheart.”

She looked at the floor. “It’s also become your home, which is not healthy. You can’t live on your ship, Dad. Fill out an application and I’ll fast track you into the Habitat program. You’ll get a place to live, a guaranteed basic income…a cabin all to yourself!”

“I’m not taking charity, Dee. Especially not from goddamn Sinclair.”

“It’s not charity. You’d have to work your hours on the farms or in the water sanitation facility, the same as everyone else. And Sinclair has nothing to do with it.”

“You work for him.”

She frowned at her father. “I work for his company. I live for myself. And I care about you.”

Griv sighed heavily. “What’s the difference if I live in a metal box on my ship or a metal box on a station?”

“Other people live on the station, Dad. I worry about you, spending so much time alone.”

“Pfah!” he said. “I see plenty of people, here and on Mars.”

She gave him a dark look. They didn’t talk about his work much. Griv had been a government researcher once, the head of the first team to conduct scientific research on a foreign planet. No research teams worked on Mars these days. All the money for industry on Mars went toward the hunt for new petroleum deposits, and the lucrative gold and platinum mines. Griv used to be get angry when he thought about the potential signs of ancient life those idiots were probably destroying every single day as they greedily sucked the marrow from the bones of their sister planet.

Deirdre put her hands on her father’s arms and looked straight into his face. His heart broke when saw the tears forming in those big glistening greens.

“Dad, I know why you keep going back. You’re hoping something will change. But there’s no life on Mars. We’ve known that for decades now. I can’t deny that there’s got to be sentient life out there somewhere. You taught me to believe what I can see with my own eyes, and I look out at the stars and think that in all that vastness, there have to be others like us somewhere in the universe. But can’t you look elsewhere?”

Griv said nothing, but his heart ached.

“I love you, Dad, but you can’t go on like this. It’s not good for you. I miss you. Even mom misses you, though she’ll never admit it. Stop searching for something where there’s nothing to be found.”

Finish reading Not Alone on Amazon

The second to last episode of Tales of the Republic out now

Episode 6 of my dangerous dystopian thriller, Tales of the Republic, came to life yesterday. It’s called Early Warning and it’s the second to last episode in the series.

Here’s a little teaser…

First, the print cover spread for the print-on-demand version.

Then the opening chapter of this episode…

Episode 6, Chapter 1
Click to embiggen

This is one of my favorite episodes of the series for many reasons, most of which have to do with the urchin communication network that Po recruits, and the return of Noura, as she takes on a new role and helps Po on her mission because she believes in her.

You can buy Episode 6: Early Warning on Kindle now. The print version is on its way and will be available shortly.

The final episode to complete the series will be out in a couple more weeks. It all comes together in Episode 7: Killer Cause, on May 10th. The last stand. The final battle. Who will survive? What price must be paid to save the Republic, and who will pay it?

• • •

So what’s next?

About a month after the TOTR episodes are all out, I’ve got some fun plans for launching the complete novel that include bonus goodies like a deleted scene and some wallpapers and a chance to get a signed copy in the mail. Still trying to think of what else to give away that might be fun, maybe do a few readings on Facebook.

I’m also in the process of recruiting an army of ARC readers, people who will help me launch books by reading early and leaving honest, timely reviews. Email me or leave a comment here if that sounds interesting to you, and I’ll add you to the list personally.

I’ll be posting the good photos from my trip to Portland soon. But first I have some work to do on Translocator 2. Recently crested 40k words and I don’t want to lost that momentum.

Catch up on my sci-fi series’

Straight fell off the blog wagon these last few months. Blogging just isn’t a priority right now. If you want to get updates from me in real time, I’d suggest the newsletter, which I am striving to make more entertaining and the primary source for book news.

Writing and releasing new fiction IS a priority, however. I’ve got a few new episodes of Tales of the Republic out over the last month, and you can read samples of them or catch up on the series right here:

And if you’re hungry for more, Episode 5 is available for preorder.

Long time readers will be thrilled to hear I’m also 15,000 words into Translocator 2! Drafting is coming along nicely. Smooth and fast enough that I’m happy with what I’ve done so far and the pace I’m moving at.

The drafting process isn’t very visual, but here are some photos of the outlining process, when I was using index cards to break out the plot into chapters.

Translocator 2 outlining process, phase 1
I’ve got the rough outline in broad strokes in Scrivener there on my laptop—now I’m just starting to break it out into notecards (1 card for each chapter).
Translocator 2 outlining process, phase 2
Act 1 is now broken out into chapters, with some placeholders for the rest. I went for 12 chapters per act this time, and a 75k target for the story.
Translocator 2 outlining process, phase 3
Two and a half acts complete now! This whole process with the notecards took 3 days, a whole weekend basically.
Translocator 2 outlining process, phase 4
Outline complete! Four acts, 48 chapters, an entire novel outline. Beer time!

If you want to know when Translocator 2 is ready, sign up for my newsletter. The big news will go to that list first.

This blog will remain as a creative outlet, but my activity will vary as I’m prioritizing writing and publishing in the limited time I have apart from my freelance business.

Christmas Eve Writing Update

Whew, a lot of good stuff has happened since I last gave you a writing update.

First of all, “End of the World” has done all right for it being the first piece of fiction I’ve published in several months. I had zero expectations, so I can’t be disappointed. I’m simply happy it was well-received by those who have read it, and continues to sell a bit.

Door Below the Comic Store - High Resolution - alternate fontBut my focus has been on what’s next. Edits for my next fantasy story, “The Door Below the Comic Store” came back, and I’ve already gone through those and produced the ebook. I need to finish the paperback, and then that should be available about January 10th (my target).

My newsletter finds out about everything first, so sign up if you want to be notified (and get a free review copy!) Here’s the cover for “The Door Below the Comic Store”.

Edits for “Wendigo” also came back. This is a paranormal/horror story, a bit of a departure from my usual stuff, but in a good way if you like dark and twisted stuff. It’s inspired by the Wendigo legend of the Navajo tribe, and is about twice the length of most of my short stories: 12,000 words, either a long short story or a short novella depending how you want to look at it.

Funny story: I totally botched the ending of “Wendigo” the first time through. I sat on it, knowing something was wrong, for a couple months before I finally gave up and sent it to my editor. I knew, for certain, that I screwed something up, but sometimes you need an objective opinion. Once I realized it was the ending that was the problem (thanks to my editor and the help of a writer friend), it only took a few hours of focused work to fix it. “Wendigo” also has a creepy cover that I’ve already picked out, and will share soon. That one is slated for release in February.

So now, as you can see, I’m ahead of the curve as far as scheduling goes. That’s never happened before, but damn it feels good. Things are going to be different in 2017.

And that’s not all!

I also wrote 3k words of a new science fiction story that I’m calling, “A Body of Work.” I doubt that will be the final title, as I almost always change titles several times before a story is done. This is a hard science fiction story set in the near future, after Earth has colonized Mars and built a dozen habitable space stations in near-Earth orbit. Also, aliens. Fun stuff!

And finally, I made a smidge of progress on Tales of the Republic. Par for the course there. Now that I’m ahead of schedule, I’m going to make a big effort to change that and get through it sooner. Won’t speak to launch dates yet (I’ve made that mistake before…sorry).

2017 is definitely going to be different.

Which story are you most excited about? Leave a comment to let me know.

Last day to enter 12 Days of Books giveaway

Oh yes! And today is the lat day to enter the 12 Days of Books Giveaways. Click that link and leave your email to enter 12 signed novels.

12 Days of Books Giveaway

Story Tracker

Novels

Tales of the Republic … Status: Revising … Second draft, 30% complete
(24,088 words revised / 80,000 estimated total words)

Short Stories

“The Door Below the Comic Store” … 6,000 words … Status: Post-production

“Wendigo” … 12,000 words … Status: Queued for post-production

“A Body of Work” … Status: Writing (2,694 words written / 6,000 estimated total words)

“Centurion” … 3,000 words … Status: Out for submission

“Earworm” … 3,000 words … Status: Out for submission

A New Post-Apocalyptic Story!

The End of the World Is Better with Friends

Sid is all alone at the end of the world, with only his robot and his garden to keep him company. He tends his plot, and tries to keep his distance from Slimeball, the lake monster the aliens left behind. But a hot spell and the need for water finally forces him to the lake’s perilous shores. His clever plan to distract Slimeball goes sideways, and turns into a discovery that forever alters the way he lives his post-apocalyptic life.

The End of the World ebook cover

Kindle  Paperback

Author’s Note

This story was written for a workshop I took back in August. It’s now available in both Kindle and paperback formats. I hope you enjoy this post-apocalyptic tale of survival and friendship. It’s set in one of my favorite cities.

Tons of fun making these little paperbacks, too. They’re only $5, with free shipping for Amazon Prime members. Never done a paperback on a short story before, but they make great little gifts, and bring me joy to hold in my hands.

Christmas joy! Order a paperback of The End of the World Is Better with Friends and/or Magick Mirror, and help stuff the stockings of some happy readers.


Story Tracker

I’ve got 2 good news updates on the writing front. I made over 2,400 words of progress on the revisions of Tales since my last update. It would have been more, but I also publishing this book, completely revamped the website, and wrote a new author bio (something I’d been putting off forever), so not a bad week.

Next time I do one of these updates, I’ll remove the newly published story from the works-in-progress list below.

Novels

Tales of the Republic, second draft … 28% complete
22,475 words revised / 80,000 estimated total words

Short Stories

“The End of the World Is Better with Friends” … 6k words … Status: Published!

“Centurion” … 3k words … Status: Out for submission (trade pub)

“Earworm” … 3k words … Status: Out for submission (trade pub)

“The Door Below the Comic Store” … 6k words … Status: Out for edits (indie)

“Wendigo” … 10k words … Status: Rough draft complete (tbd)

“A Body of Work” … Status: Prewriting

12 Days of Books, Christmas Giveaway

12 Days of Books Giveaway

Holy wow, Christmas is coming up fast! To celebrate the holidays, I’m participating in a 12 Days of Books promotion with some very awesome authors. From now until Christmas, you can enter to win the whole set of 12 signed science fiction and fantasy books, including my own novel, The Auriga Project, E.J. Wenstrom’s Mud: Chronicles of the Third Realm War, Jade Kerrion’s Perfection Unleashed, and a many more!

How do you enter? Simply sign up on this giveaway page between now and midnight December 24th, 2016, Christmas Eve.

I’ll post some more blogs going into the books being included in more detail. In the meantime, you can browse the websites of the other participating authors for more ways to enter and good books to read. Here’s the full list:

Charles Cornell

Danielle DeVor

Louann Carroll

Connor Drexler

Jeff Elkins

M. G. Herron

Sharon Johnston

Jade Kerrion

R. Perez de Pereda

Brian Rella

Antonio Simon, Jr.

E. J. Wenstrom