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Centurion: A Post-Apocalyptic Story

I’ve got a new story out today! Originally part of a science fiction anthology, Centurion is now available as a standalone ebook (for a mere 99 cents—I’d charge less but they don’t let me.)

Here’s a little bit about the story…

Centurion

Centurion ebook cover

New planet, new problems

Josu and his father trade up for a second chance at life by emigrating from a dead Earth to the Alpha Centauri system.

But their new role as planetary pioneers presents its own challenges.

One of which is that on this wild, waterlogged world, they always have to watch each other’s backs.

How dangerous can a little fishing trip be? Josu is about to find out.

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Hope you enjoy it.

This story will also be included as part of an post-apocalyptic short story collection I’m putting together to release in December called Boys and Their Monsters. It will collect all the post-apoc stories I’ve written in the last year and a half into a single volume.

It will also mark my twelfth consecutive publication. My goal this year was to publish a new book or story every month and I’ve nearly done it. The finish line is in sight. Just in time to set bigger, badder, better goals for 2018.

A chance for more sci-fi stories here

I’m a science fiction writer first, so I’ve been contemplating the best way to get more SF stories onto this blog.

I always post snippets from my upcoming novels, of course, but I don’t produce full length books fast enough to keep those snippets running for long. (The next book in my Translocator series won’t be out until early next year, for example, and that’s good for about 3 snippets, or 3 days worth of blogs.) I have occasionally posted short stories on the blog, but they have historically been few and far between.

If I add a weekly column like I’ve been contemplating, something like “Flash Fiction Friday,” where I publish short short stories (likely less than 500 words) once a week, that would be fantastic…but it would also add more to my workload. That time has to come from somewhere else.

So the trick to getting this right is going to be about timing and effort, and finding a balance between the two.

So here’s a couple things I’ve got to sort out, and what I’ve been noodling on while I consider the best way to make this shift without losing ground on the daily blogging streak (which has been super fun and gratifying!)

  1. Have a plan. Right now I have problems, not plans, but I’ll get there. Whatever the plan is, it needs to be sustainable.
  2. Gather the prompts/ideas ahead of time. Either come up with some process that generates infinite combinations of SF writing prompts, or buy books of sci-fi writing prompts, or just make and keep a massive list. Most likely it will be “all of the above.” Having the prompts takes the hard decision making out of the writing—simply open the prompts, pick one that sounds neat, and you’re off!
  3. Build up a backlog. So that I can plan ahead for holidays/times when I’m just busy.
  4. Start short. Start with flash fiction and short short stories. 50 word stories. 100 words. 250 words. No more than 500 words, TOPS. One day, I’ll have a back catalogue larger than you can believe, and I’ll be able to run full short stories (5-8k words) once a week on the blog…but that’s years away.
  5. Think long term. I plan on reusing the stories of course, bundling them together into books when I have enough to publish. So I am already thinking about themes and genres and certain series characters that would fit together in a book. Being able to publish stories later in books/collections, makes me feel like the time I spend on stories for the blog is not wasted, but is contributing to another product that helps grow my author business. That’s important to me, too, because one day I plan on making a living writing fiction.

So that’s it, basically. Publishing more short fiction here is something I want to do, but it’s always presented a challenge of time and effort. For the past few years, the vast majority of my fiction-writing time has been dedicated to creating publishable stories and books. For the foreseeable future, the vast majority of my fiction-writing time STILL NEEDS to be dedicated to publishable stories and books.

But if I can eek out a little more from my time and regularly publish flash fiction here, especially stuff that can eventually be wrapped up into SF flash fiction collections, that will be good for me and good for finding new readers.

So it looks like the next step is gathering a ton of writing prompts, and coming up with a process to nail down SF flash fiction ideas quickly.

More soon, I hope!

A new apocalyptic book cover!

The next short story I’m going to publish as a solo effort is a post-apocalyptic adventure called Centurion, which first appeared in the science fiction anthology At The Helm: Volume 3.

But I like having them available as standalone ebooks, too, and since I’ve now managed to establish a brand for my post-apoc series, it’s really fun to see them all together.

So here’s the new cover for Centurion, which will be published soon. Plus all the other post-apoc stories I’ve put out this year, four of them that have covers.

I almost have enough for a low price collection.

Make Like The Roaches And Survive: A Post-Apocalyptic Story

A brand new post-apocalyptic story I wrote back in August is now available as an ebook! You can download Make Like The Roaches And Survive on Amazon, or on iBooks, Kobo, Nook and other retailers.

This is a brand new story that fleshes out the post-apocalyptic universe I created in The End of the World Is Better with Friends, and continued with Low Desert, High Mountain, Big Lizard. Like those two stories, this one introduces a new character in a dire situation, is packed with action and sprinkled with a dose of sarcastic wit.

You’ll have to read on to learn what makes this tale unique.

Here’s the cover and a blurb.

Make Like The Roaches And Survive

Make like the roaches ebook cover

People used to say that after the apocalypse, only the roaches would survive.

Well, there were roaches all right. But that was just the beginning of my problems.

While the world was ending, I was trapped in a basement with only a feral cat to keep me company.

It took me weeks to dig my way out. And THEN it got strange…

I guess that’s what happens when you get buried alive during an alien invasion.

Make Like The Roaches And Survive is a story of scrappy survival in a post-apocalyptic Earth ravaged by mysterious alien invaders. A first contact story of a young man armed only with his wit—and the loyalty of one very fierce feline—in the face of mortal danger.

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July-August writing challenge finished

Did anyone else notice it was nearly the end of September? Good grief.

Despite the late date, I wanted to return to the subject of the July-August challenge briefly and review the results. I always get mad at myself when I don’t close the box on goal-setting exercises like this, so here we go.

My goal was to write four short stories in July. This got bumped by other project back to August, hence “July-August Challenge.”

I managed to write only 2 of the four stories—a 2k word story and a 8k word story…

  • The Road Is Three (2k) – Read it here.
  • Make Like The Roaches And Survive (8k) – Still in editing

Would I rather have gotten 4 complete stories out of the challenge? Of course. But sometimes you’ve got to be flexible. Life intervenes, like the vacation I took in June. Then finishing a cowriting project took priority through July and into early August. And after I finished two stories in August, I had to switch gears in order to get through the Translocator 3 outline on time.

The way I look at it, I got 2 new stories out of the challenge and a nice break between novel projects.

So that’s a win in my book.

Have you done any writing challenges this summer? I invite you to share your own experiences with writing challenges in the comments section.

Low Desert, High Mountain, Big Lizard: A Post-Apocalyptic Story

My post-apocalyptic novelette Low Desert, High Mountain, Big Lizard is now available as an ebook!

Originally published in a monster anthology back in the Spring, this is the first time the story is available by itself—and it’s only $0.99. Here’s the blurb:

Low Desert, High Mountain, Big Lizard

Low Desert, High Mountain, Big Lizard: A Post-Apocalyptic StoryA basilisk barks and chases boulders across the desert.

Has the thing lost its blinking mind?

As a scavenger, Das is no stranger to the beautiful and deadly alien creatures the invaders left behind. He’s always careful, like his father taught him, when he’s exploring the ruins. But this is unlike anything he’s ever seen.

Putting himself at risk is one thing…but imperil the lives of the people he loves? Unthinkable. When the mad basilisk goes on a rampage, it’s up to Das to prove himself worthy of his father’s memory, and find a way to put the brute out of its misery before it hurts anyone else.

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