Jan 29

Space Opera Slice-Of-Life Serial, Updates Twice A Month



Ever wondered what heroes do when they’re not saving the day?  Or what life is like for ordinary people in a place and time where going somewhere 100 light years away is just a couple hours trip?  Click the image above then!

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Feb 28

Chapter Four is up!

Chapter Four of Intertwined Lives, wherein Quinn starts seriously thinking about what to do about his problem is now up:  http://intertwined-lives.universal-nexus.com/2015/03/01/chapter-four-quinn/

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Feb 19

Short story: Test of Honor

flickr-2874946032-original(Also known as “Test of Honour” because my wife insists on using British spellings even where I haven’t.)

I have no idea where the idea for this one came from.  I wrote the first version of it back in 2011 and got less than stellar commentary from everyone who read it.  I reread their commentary to get ready to edit it for posting today, and, well, long story short, I rewrote it completely.

Thanks to Elizabeth McCoy for the suggestion that Lyndsey keep getting shot at while she’s talking.  The image in my head for that bit is so very her.  It helped set the tone for the whole thing.

If you enjoy this, The Crown of Eldrete also features Lyndsey as a main character.  Its sequel will be out sometime before Ragnarok.  I hope.

The story:

“This could be a problem,” I said, peeking around the corner in the warehouse we were raiding.  We’d apparently triggered a silent alarm when we broke in.

Martoz looked concerned.  “You think something could be a problem?  You?  Miss-Ten-to-one-odds-are-too-easy?  Move so I can have a look.”

I moved so he could peer around the corner.  “You’re right.  This could be a problem,” my husband said.

“Told ya so.”  I checked the charge on my blaster, pushing all fear from my mind with practiced effort.  “So, you got a plan, or we just gonna charge in and pray for the best?”

“We’re going to stay right here and hope they don’t see us,” he said in a commanding tone.  “If they do, we take as many of them with us as we can.”

I got an idea.  “Boost me up there,” I pointed to a ceiling beam, “I got a better plan.”  My plan was a long shot, but it was better than sitting around waiting to die.

“Tell me what it is first,” he said, grabbing my shoulder and holding me in place.  “I don’t want to have to explain to Ana — or Val — that you got yourself killed.”

The mention of our wife and son sobered me, but . . . I peeked at the group approaching again.  “Well, darling, we’re both gonna be dead if my plan doesn’t work, so you don’t need to worry.”

I started to climb a nearby pile of boxes.  He pulled me down.  I turned to him, almost mad enough to lash out at him.  “Lyndsey, if we stay here, there’s a chance they’ll pass us by.  Don’t move.”  His fangs were bared now, and his tone was almost a growl.  For once, I wasn’t turned on by this.

“Fine,” I not-quite-snapped.  I shut my eyes and took a few deep breaths, forcing myself to calm down.  I knew he was right, but holding still instead of fighting is not something that comes easily to me.  I heard the Gristin soldiers getting closer and touched the mjöllnir pendant I always wore as I said a silent prayer for victory, strength, and courage.  After a handful more deep breaths, I added another prayer for the gods to take care of my wife, son, and unborn daughter if Marty and I didn’t survive.

“How’s your weaponry?” Martoz asked suddenly.

“Hands and feet are intact, got about half a dozen shuriken left, half a charge on my blaster, and my blades are sharp.  You?”

“Less charge than I’d like, some sharp knives, and what the gods gave me.”  He shut his eyes and whispered a quiet prayer to his gods and ancestors for victory.  I smiled slightly.  Even in a situation like this, he still refused to pray for strength or courage.  According to the branch of the Faith he followed, praying for those was cowardice.  As recently as last sulid we’d had a spirited debate about that . . . or a heated argument, according to everyone who overheard it.  I started to smile, remembering that debate and what it had led to, then forced myself back to the present.  This was no time for pleasant reminiscences.

We sat there, both expressionless and deathly calm, waiting for our foes to appear.  I yearned to jump up and start shooting.  If I was going to die here, if these bastards were going to make me break the oath not to die on a mission that I’d sworn at Georgia’s insistence all those years ago, I wanted to take as many of them with me as I could.

Take as many of them . . . I was reminded of the story of how Grandpa’s grandpa had died defending the temple he’d sworn to protect.  At least one hundred Neo-imperials were felled by my great-grandfather before he died on the steps of the temple.  They had powerful blaster rifles and armor.  He had nothing but a sword.  I felt even more frustrated at having to do nothing, until that story of Grandpa’s reminded me of another.

“Any of you guys wanna do this properly?” I said, striding forward, katana in hand, as the Gristin soldiers opened fire.  Gristins tended to be very old-fashioned, old-fashioned enough to still have champions from both sides fight instead of the whole force when the option presented itself.

Or they had been in the days of the Civil War, at least.  If they weren’t now, it wasn’t like I’d be any less dead if I’d stayed behind the boxes.

I dodged the continuing blasts from the soldiers as I repeated my challenge, carefully never letting my expression change from cool confidence.  Years of ninja training were paying off big time right then, in more ways than one.

The ostilin who was the ranking officer there loudly said something I couldn’t understand and the shots ceased.  Thank you, I silently said to the gods.

He walked over and said, in Galfarran that was so thickly accented that it was hard to understand, “You are a warrior?”

“That I am,” I said, trying my best to keep my normal bravado out of my voice.  Coolly confident was the way to play this.

“What is the strange weapon you carry?”

“It’s a katana.  It’s from my father’s homeworld, Earth.”

“I have never heard of this ‘Earth.’  Have I heard of your father?”

“You might have.  He’s Viktor Blue, Slayer of Drochslem and Hero of Culs III.”  I couldn’t keep the pride out of my voice as I said the titles Daddy hates so much.

“I have never heard either appellation.  What of your mother?”

“Renata Kavaliro, Dagger, inventor of, among other things, the HIR87 manuever drive.”

“Those I have heard of.  They allowed us to reach this moon easily.  And Kavaliro is a name I have heard, though not with ‘Renata.’  Were they, of old, guardian faeshir?”

I made a mental note to tell Darrien to be more careful who he sold Momma’s drives to, then said, “Some still are, I hear, but I’m descended from Kalem Kavaliro, who fell at Polthaina.”

“Polthaina hasn’t fallen in four human generations.  Are you sure of this descent?”

“As sure as anyone can be of such things.”

“Are you as honorable as your faeshir ancestors?”

Still keeping all cockiness out of my voice, I said, “I believe so.”

“Then I accept your challenge.”  The tall insectoid drew a slender blade from a sheath on his side and brandished it in my direction.  He looked fierce.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t very briefly have second thoughts.  I pushed them aside and moved towards him.

Our swords met with a clang.  The fight was over quickly.  I was, easily, twice the swordsman he was.  The ostilin fell, clutching his abdomen.  I’d wounded him badly, but non-fatally.  “You have bested me.  The Spirits have spoken though you.  You are the more honorable one this day.  You may leave,” he said as he rose to his feet.

I was careful to keep the cocky smile I felt trying to break through off my face.  I inclined my head slightly and said, “Thank you.  You fought well.  Your honor must be nearly equal to mine.  My husband is allowed to go too, right?”  My voice broke a little on the last sentence, despite my best efforts to stay in total control.

“He is,” the insectoid said.  “He is a very lucky man to have such an honorable warrior for a wife.”

“Thank you,” Martoz said, standing up for the first time.  “She’s one of the most honorable warriors I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.”  The pride in his voice was unmistakeable.  I finally let myself smile at my husband’s praise.

“I don’t think I remembered to introduce myself properly.  Name’s Lyndsey Katherine Kavaliro-Blue,” I said with a deep, flourishing bow before walking back over to Marty’s side.

“My name is Ostilin Krigthrikis do Vild’g, and it was an honor to fight you.  Kalem Kavaliro lives on in you.”

I felt tears in my eyes, which I quickly blinked back.  It was one of the best compliments I’d ever received.  “Thank you,” I said quietly, as Martoz and I walked away, leaving the weapons we’d come to liberate behind.  I’d won our passage out of the warehouse, I didn’t want to push for more than that.


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Feb 15

Annoying Dilemma

I’ve got a problem with Jake’s Last Mission, and I don’t know what to do about it.

You see, between writing it and giving it it’s final editing pass for publication, I discovered I write much better in first person.  I toyed with the idea of converting it to first person, but that would’ve meant delaying its release, which would’ve meant I couldn’t have taken advantage of the two free print copies I got from CreateSpace for winning NaNoWriMo.  Yes, this was a dumbass reason, considering a copy of the book only costs me $2.15 plus shipping, but I didn’t realize that at the time.

Oh well, it’s out and has gotten reviews and such, so whatever, get on with the next book, right?

That was the philosophy I was taking.  Alas, I’ve since gotten two ideas for prequels.  Both of them work much better in first person.  In third they both are way, way too tell-y.  I can’t make the emotions show without telling them from Jake’s POV, not just looking over his shoulder, but looking out of his eyes.

When I faced this same dilemma with “Once A Hero, Always A Hero,” it was easy.  My only reviewer was my mother.  I could account for all but about three sales personally.  So I rewrote it with a clear conscience because it’s not like anybody could be mislead by reviews, you know?  But with this one, I did the review group thing, a person or two found it on their own and reviewed it, so regardless of how much I revise it, people are still going to be judging it based on reviews of an earlier version, and that just doesn’t seem like it’s going to give it a fair chance.

So I don’t know what to do:

Do I leave it as it is and go ahead and write the others in first person and just let people chalk it up to Early Installment Weirdness?  (Warning:  TVTropes link.  I am not responsible for lost productivity caused by clicking it.)

Do I leave it as is and write the others in third despite them suffering for it?

Do I take it down and release a completely rewritten version, under a different ISBN and maybe title, with a note in the front that it’s a heavily reworked version?

Do I rewrite it and just put in my description, as I’ve seen other indie authors do, “Reviews before DATE refer to an older version of the book”, despite me being annoyed by that, because it’s not like that changes the fucking average or anything?

I just don’t know.  Advice?

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Feb 12

Progress Report

Instead of listing all my works-in-progress and getting depressed by how many I haven’t worked on in ages, this year I am instead updating how far I’ve come on the to do list I posted at the beginning of the year.  With new items being added because I’m great at making plans, but suck at sticking to them.  Asterisks mark things added before this update, but after the initial list.

January did not go well.  Due to being sick for about a quarter of the month, I lowered my goals for editing and writing to 5000 words each.  I wrote 2779 and edited 4690.  So I guess I didn’t really do that poorly on the editing.  It seemed like less than that.

  • Edit my wife’s story she wants to submit to Queers Destroy Science Fiction, if she decides she wants to expand it.  DONE
  • Submit it for her.  DONE, AWAITING RESPONSE
  • Finish editing my own story for Queers Destroy Science Fiction.  DONE
  • *Edit Jake thingy inspired by annoying bit in book I was reading. DONE
  • *Submit it to Queers Destroy Science Fiction too, since it’s flash fiction instead of a short story.  DONE, AWAITING RESPONSE
  • Alternate between writing Blaughk on EarthIntertwined Lives, and editing No More Lies, not becoming slavishly devoted to any one work, but keeping in mind and tracking my monthly word count goals.  UPDATE:  I’ve written 2206 words of Intertwined Lives since posting the last progress report.  Unfortunately, most of that was a pair of chapters from the viewpoint of a character I’ve decided not to use as a viewpoint character.
  • NEW ITEM:  Maintain schedule of editing and posting a chapter of Intertwined Lives every Tuesday.  DOING FINE SO FAR.
  • NEW ITEM:  Once have enough word count/regular installments to do so, submit Intertwined Lives to webfictionguide.com
  • NEW ITEM:  Remember to use the #TuesdaySerial hashtag on twitter when announcing each week’s chapter.  FORGOTTEN SO FAR, GO ME.
  • Publish No More Lies.
  • Devote a month to marketing it.  Just a month.  No more.  After that, it’ll sink or swim on its own.
  • Alternate between writing Blaughk on Earth, Intertwined Lives, and editing the leytgeleshi short story collection, with the same caveats as above.
  • Write remaining leytgeleshi stories.
  • Alternate between writhing Blaughk on Earth, Intertwined Lives, and editing the Dagger short story collection, with the same caveats as above.
  • Write remaining Dagger stories.
  • Edit remaining leytgeleshi stories.
  • Publish leytgeleshi story collection.
  • Devote a week to marketing it.  It’s going to be a free short story collection (or 99 cents, I can’t recall what we agreed on now.)  There’s no sense in devoting a lot of time to marketing it.
  • Edit remaining Dagger stories.
  • Publish Dagger story collection.
  • Devote a week to marketing it.  See above for why only a week.
  • Alternate writing Blaughk on Earth and Intertwined Lives.

Word count for February so far:

Written: 946/10000

Edited: 6365/10000

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Feb 10

Chapter Two is up!

Chapter two of Intertwined Lives is now up.  If anything looks or works weird, blame the site.  It’s doing its best to drive me insane tonight.

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Feb 09

Five star reviews — Rescue One: Breaking Point by Michael Gardner

The description, via Goodreads:


Antonio Baros has invented an engine that can propel a spaceship faster-than-light, but he has no idea if it works.

Fearful of losing the glory of his invention, Antonio pilots the prototype spaceship himself, with disastrous results. Alone in space, with little hope of survival, he must face his inner demons or reach his breaking point.

Breaking Point is the prequel to the forthcoming novel Rescue One.

And my review:

This was a very good, if rather short, story. I know it’s a short story, but it felt like it could’ve easily been a bit longer, like some of the flashback bits could’ve done with a bit more fleshing out. I liked the main character, especially that he was far from perfect while still being competent. I liked that it starts with things going wrong and then flashes back to how the experiment got funded and whatnot, instead of moving chronologically. Really, my only complaint is that it was so very short.

Like the last review I posted on here, there’s not much more I can say.  This story was only 19 pages, so between the description and my review, everything non-spoilery is covered.

And I’m sorry the regular features of my blog haven’t been seen in a while.  The short story that was supposed to have gone up a few weeks ago proved to be so far from my current standards that it needed rewritten, not just edited, and I couldn’t work up the enthusiasm or interest to do so, since it’s not really very interesting anyway.  Then the next week I was so busy working on launching Intertwined Lives that I totally spaced on putting this up, and this week I, after getting frustrated with both GURPS and Traveller one time too many, finally started working on my own rpg system, like I’ve been considering doing for several years.  And bought and started playing Torchlight 2, but I’m sure that had nothing to do with losing track of the date . . .

The post that was supposed to go up this week will be up Wednesday or Thursday, and a new chapter of Intertwined Lives will be up tomorrow!

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Feb 02

First chapter is up!

I posted the introduction the other day, but today Intertwined Lives has officially started.  Follow the link to the first chapter, wherein you meet some of the characters.

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