August Wrap-Up

August has been a pretty good month.

I didn’t get as many new words written as in July.  To be honest, I’m not sure exactly how many words I wrote, truth to tell.  I don’t generally tally them up month by month.  But it was a relatively low amount.

That’s ok though, because I got a lot done.  Early in the month, I finally got around to releasing Passing in the Night, as well as three more short stories and a collection of five.  But I told all y’all that before.  Then. in the middle of the month, I got a bit more written on the scifi thriller.  Man, I really need to figure out a title for that story.  Finally, in the last week, I got the editor’s comments on Masters of the Sun.  As I mentioned before, it took a bit of time to get the corrections made.  Then I set to fixing the ending.  I finished that last night.  The fix ended up turning the final chapter into two, but it’s a lot better (the editor agrees, btw).  Tonight, after I post this, I’ll get to work on that chapter in the middle.  Once that’s done, it’ll be ready to release.  Finally.


That alone would make August a good month.  But the ebook sales…  Well, those just made it better.

I’ve not bothered to talk sales much to date, partly because I only had those two short stories up for sale so I didn’t really consider myself to have truly started trying to sell my stories.  Those first two were just an experiment in how to do the indie publishing thing, after all.  That said, they were really up for sale, and they did sell some.  So now that I’ve officially made a real start of it, I decided to tally up sales starting from when I first put Damsel and Falling Softly up.  Check it out:


As you can see, with just the two short stories, I sold 12 ebooks from February to July, across all channels.  One of those sales was through Amazon UK, which was pretty cool.  2 were through Apple, 2 form sony, and the rest through Amazon US.  Adding five more titles in August, I sold 14 in August alone, all but one through Amazon US.  The other was through Smashwords.  I know in the big scheme of things, that’s nothing at all.  But I’m pretty darn pleased about it.  🙂

But what does that mean in terms of dollars?  Well, let’s have a look:

Again, nothing huge.  I’ve earned $12.79 in royalties so far in 2011, about $8 of it in August.  Again, nothing much in the big scheme of things, but as far as I’m concerned it’s great.  Even better, by my math the sales in August finally puts my Amazon account over $10, which means I should actually get a paycheck at the end of October.  Pretty sweet, huh?

So yeah, a pretty good month.  With Masters just about ready to release, I expect September will be even better.

This is just the beginning of something great.  I’m looking forward to it!

Utterly Ignorant Dreck

Passive Guy linked yesterday to an appalling example of ignorant pessimism.

Read it, if you have a strong stomach, and a strong tolerance for BS.

I can’t fully express how idiotic this speech, or whatever it is, is.  The guy goes off into so many ludicrous cliches and unsupported claims that it’s ridiculous.  Yet he is given a pedestal to speak from as though he knows what the hell he’s talking about.

PG did a good job pulling the rug out from under some of his more silly claims, but I felt the need to comment further.  Here’s what I wrote on his blog:

I haven’t read the other 53 comments, so I apologize if this is repetitive.

Man, this guy is totally full of crap. Completely. Utterly.

Hmm, here’s a thought. If a writer doesn’t earn enough from writing alone he’ll…get a day job. (gasp) Gee, I seem to have heard somewhere that many “professional” writers do that now, and have done that for the entirety of the last 50 years that he regards as nirvana.

Frankly, as a guy who’s just getting started, I’d definitely entertain taking NO advance, in favor of higher royalty rates, on a brand new book. Because A) I already have a professional career that pays pretty well. And B) I understand finance, and I can do basic math. And unless the advance is a LOT higher than most publishers will probably be willing to pay, a revenue stream from strong sales over the “long tail” that the speaker so derides could be quite a bit more than a measly $10k or whatever. Now, for a book I already have a sales history on, via indie publishing or something else, they’d damn well better pay me an advance greater than the NPV of my expected future cash flow stream from said book, or be a LOT more generous with royalties, or do something else to sweeten the pot. But that’s not the point of this particular rant.

Moving right along, I’ve heard this “everything will be free” meme before, from multiple places, and it’s utter bunk. Just because a thing is digital doesn’t mean it costs nothing to make. And if people spend money to make a thing, they’re damn well going to expect to be repaid, otherwise they won’t make it any more. Sure some writers will go the “free with ads” route, or some other piece of stupidity like that. But those won’t be the people who take themselves seriously. And since they don’t take themselves seriously, no one else will. And guess what? They won’t make any money from their writing. Big shocker there.

This diatribe contains an almost complete ignorance of history, economics, and business, and an appalling eagerness to adopt tyranny as a “solution”. As though political “solutions” to economic matters ever result in anything other than decreased freedom, decreased choice, decreased quality, and decreased standard of living for the very people who the “solutions” claim to help.

Guys and gals with his mindset should be mocked off the stage, tarred and feathered, and run out of town on a rail.

I need a drink.

I’m serious about that tyranny bit.  It’s unbelievable how quickly people of a certain mindset endorse laws and rules that shackle their fellow man, when those people think they will gain from it.  Rather than take the time and expend the effort to learn how the economic world really works, rather than have faith in their fellow man to take care of himself or help his neighbor take care of himself, rather that doing any work themselves to help make the situation better, and rather than spend a few minutes to learn, from history, the inevitable and horrible results that will come from these sorts of laws and rules, these sorts of shallow-minded, lazy, heartless, and downright evil people will instead entreat the most corrupt and vicious among us (the political class) to bind the rest of us in amoral and unjust laws.  And then, when inevitably those laws fail to achieve the result that these people thought they would, instead of blaming the laws, these people blame the marketplace all over again, and just make things worse with further tinkering.

And then, years down the road, they wonder why they’re living in a poverty-filled police state.

It’s happened before, too many times to count.  Too many people seem hell-bent on making sure it will happen again.

Editorial Demand

I got the editor’s feedback on Masters yesterday morning.  Good stuff! 

I spent a good chunk of the day, and an hour and a half late at night, moving her corrections and tweaks from the .rtf file she sent me into Scrivener.  That was a bit annoying because I had to do it by hand.  No just clicking “Accept Changes” like you can do in Word.  So that’s one downside to using Scrivener exclusively, I guess.  Oh well, no worries.

Looking at her comments, most of the corrections are for comma usage.  Which is rather funny, considering I always thought I was good with a comma.  Oh well, just goes to show you don’t always know your own strengths as well as you think you do.

I also got some more feedback from a beta reader, who was very delayed in reading the manuscript.  He had a lot of good points about some technical issues, and pointed out one plot point that could use expansion.  Another reader had an issue with that particular plot point as well, and I totally get what they’re both saying.  So with two data points, I’ve determined that I need to add a chapter into the middle to elucidate a bit.  Also, I want to add a little bit to the ending.  I think I sort of let the story peeter out instead of giving it a proper ending.  All told, I’m probably looking at an additional 3,000 to 4,000 words.  Of course, I could really stretch and find 7,000 words to push it over the boundary to my next pricing tier.  But only if the story needs it, of course.

So I’m getting close.  It’ll probably be ready to go by the end of the week.  Finally.

Stay tuned.

Sample Sunday – Lords of the Remnant

Sample Sunday again.  🙂

This week, an excerpt from Lords of the Remnant, a science fiction story about an alien invasion.  Here it is:

They came at dawn, a streaming mass of bodies falling from the sky.  As with everything else about them, this method of attack took us completely by surprise, and we had no immediate defense against it.

It was as though we were half a step behind them each time we met.  When the Centauri colony reported contact with craft of unknown origin, the people living in the various settlements in the Sol system were amazed, excited, filled with joy.  We were no longer alone!  It was real, and undeniable.

Two weeks later, when the next transmission from Centauri brought news of the opening of hostilities, that feeling of euphoria changed to one of dread.  Mankind had stopped warring with itself centuries ago.  With the exception of certain outlaw elements, the average person had no concept of war, or how to fight one.  Yes, there were old warships drydocked in a station orbiting at the trans-lunar LaGrange point, near the James Webb historical site, but it had been decades since the reserve units charged with their maintenance had even powered them up.

All at once, though, those relics of man’s warlike past became the Sol system’s only hope of defense, and every available resource was put to making the small armada ready for action.  But as further transmissions arrived from Centauri, we all began to realize that thirty ships, crewed by people with no experience in battle, would be of little use against the invaders if they came to Sol next.

And so Congress voted to build planetary defense grids on Earth, Mars, Luna, Europa, and Titan.  The theory was that if we built large automated weapons arrays, the planets would be impregnable against any vessels that managed to make it past our small battle fleet.

The problem was time.

Centauri was about four light years away.  At our best cruising speeds, it was a trip of about ten earth years, and that was damn little time to build the kinds of systems the plans called for.  But the continuing transmissions from Centauri provided all the motivation we needed.  Pictures of the aliens’ relentless advance, and our kinsmen’s inevitable defeat, spurred every industry to put aside everything except war preparations.  When, two years after the first one, the final transmission from Centauri came through, a static-laced image of a man with hopeless, yet undefeated eyes bidding fair well to the rest of us, we figured we had at a minimum another five or six years to prepare.  The aliens would want to take time to lick their wounds, consolidate their holdings, before they moved on, wouldn’t they?

They arrived a month later.

Lords of the Remnant is available for $.99 on Amazon and Smashwords.

Or it is one of five short stories A Jar Of Mixed Treats.  You can find it for $2.99 on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.

Is The Advance You’ve Been Offered Good Enough?

The other day I wrote about my consternation over a thread on Kindleboards about whether or not an indie writer should use an agent to help negotiate the deal if publishers come knocking on the writer’s door.

My thesis is no.  There’s only down-side to doing that.

I attempted to explain why I thought that on the kindleboards, but based on the initial responses to my comments, I don’t think I did a very good job of it.  Plus, I began behaving badly in that thread, and that never helps lend weight to one’s arguments.  I have no idea how the rest of that thread turned out.  I’m not sure I really care, either.  But I think there are some important points to make on this subject, so I’ll try again here to explain where I’m coming from.

One of the arguments people make about why we should use agents is that publishers won’t accept submissions from unagented writers.  Dean Wesley Smith did a good enough job debunking that particular meme that I don’t need to go into that here. 

But there’s an extension of that thought which crept into the thread over on the boards.  Agents know the publishers, therefore they know which ones are more likely to offer more, which are more likely to be interested in the first place, and which are more likely to do the best job with the book.  Now that may or may not be true, but that’s immaterial in the situation we’re talking about.  In this case, the writer already has an established sales record, and the publishers are coming to HER based on that sales record.  Now maybe she might want to query some others publishers as well, and really get a bidding war started.  But if she’s already got a couple people knocking on her door, I’m not sure what that buys her.  And beyond that, I think she could probably do that querying herself.  How long it would take is another issue, though, and might make it impractical for her to do on her own.  So I’ll plead ignorance about those prospects.

Another reason people have said she should use an agent is that the agent will be able to get a better advance for her than she can on her own.  I’ve heard that particular meme a number of times before, and from multiple places.  I’m unsure if it’s true though: is there data behind this, or is it just groupthink?  How many writers even try to neogtiate their contracts at all?  How many just leap at any opportunity that’s thrown in front of them?  I kind of think this is another myth.

But even if it’s not, it doesn’t matter.  And here’s why.

As an example, let’s say I publish Masters next month (I will…finally), then its sequel next spring.  I’m unsure if the story will require a third book or not, but let’s say it does, and I put that out next fall.  For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the Dawn Of Enlightenment series makes me $2,000 next year, then it starts picking up in 2013 and makes me $10,000.  Then, in 2014, it really starts cooking, and I make $30,000 from it.  At $3.99, assuming the other titles are the same length as Masters, that’s a little over 10,000 sales.  Not too shabby.  But then suppose in 2015, it goes up again, to 15,000 sales, or $41,895.  Then at the end of 2015, a publisher notices it and approaches me with an offer to publish it in print, and I decide I want to do that because bookstores have figured out how to thrive in the new environment and print is still attractive to a lot of people.  How much should the publisher pay me?  What level of advance would be good enough for me to sell?

In the past, writers were pretty much in the dark about this sort of thing.  How much would they sell?  Who the hell knows?  They didn’t know, their agents didn’t know, and neither did the publisher.  It was a shot in the dark.  So in negotiations, it would be really hard to know if the writer was getting a good deal or not.  So maybe back then a good agent really could make a big difference.  But no longer.  Now, I’ve got an existing sales record that I can draw on to make forecasts of what I can expect in years to come.  And that makes a huge difference when it comes time to negotiate.

So how does that work?

Let’s assume that the meteoric rise in Dawn of the Enlightenment readers stops, and sales growth slows to 10% per year each year after 2015.  If that happens, my cash flow for 2012 through 2020 looks like this:


I hear the questions now.  What’s that NPV thing?

NPV is Net Present Value.  What you have to understand when you’re dealing with money, and future cash flow streams, is that a dollar five years from now is not the same as a dollar today.  Inflation will make that dollar worth less, and to compare apple with apples, you need to account for inflation when comparing two cash flow streams.  To compute the net present value of a cash flow stream is pretty simple.  You discount each year’s cash flow back to it’s value in current dollars, then sum them.  Use this equation:

In the equation P(0) is the value of the cash flow in current dollars.  P(n) is the value of the cash flow in year n. i is the discount rate (interest rate) you use for the computation.  And n is the year.  Year 0 is today, 1 is next year, 2 is the year after, etc.

You can do this computation very easily in excel.  The NPV function is a snap.  Just enter the cash flows into excel cells, the pick the cell you want to do the computation in and type =npv(interest rate, cell identifiers for the cash flow cells).  The only thing to watch out for is that you have to enter the interest rates as a decimal (in other words 3% would be .03).  The interest rate can be anything you choose.  If you’re using NPV to compare different investment options, for instance, you’d use the expected return from those investments.  When a business decides whether or not to launch a new product or start a new project, they compute a minimum required rate of return for the project, then use that as their interest rate in the NPV computation

In this case, I assumed a 3% inflation rate, since this is money I wouldn’t have anyway, and wouldn’t be investing if I didn’t have it.  So the average inflation rate is a reasonable interest rate to assume.  Doing that, the net present value of my projected cash flow for 2016 through 2020 is equal to $256,256.20. 

Right now, at the end of 2015 (for this example), I’m considering whether or not to take this publishing deal.  Since I’d have to take Dawn of Enlightenment down and couldn’t sell it as an indie any more, to make it worth my while the publisher would have to give me an advance of at least $256,256.20, assuming a contract length of five years.  A longer contract length would require a greater advance.

But Mike, you don’t know for certain that you’ll make that much in those future years!

True.  But you have to assume something.  I guarantee you the publishers have finance people plugging away to forecast future cash flows before they offer any advances.  They’re NOT going to pay out more than they think they can bring in.  I would be a fool to not do the same thing.

Now, maybe I want to be conservative.  Maybe my indie sales will go down from here on out.  It’s possible, so let’s compute what happens if my sales decrease by 10% each year after 2015.  That cash flow looks like this:

Now my NPV is $142,305.85.  So if I think my sales are going to go down from here, maybe I accept something as low as this, but I try to get more.

The question, sports fans, is the following: knowing these facts and projections, going into the negotiations armed and prepared, what am I missing by not having an agent?  What exactly can an agent do to earn his 15%.  For the life of the contract.  Get a better advance?  *snort*  I know exactly what the advance should be, and I’ll walk if I don’t get it.

So really, what am I paying for?

Think about it.

Funny How Things Work Out

So I went to KDP tonight to see how sales are going.  The answer: pretty well, for my first real month of sales (I don’t count the months with just Damsel and Falling Softly because, well, I’m not…).  Still, the sales stats are a bit weird.  Amusing even.  Check it out:

Pretty funny, huh?

Cutting Back

Ok, I put this post under the category “douchebaggery”.  Unfortunately, that douchebaggery applies to me this time.

On Friday evening, I got into a bit of an argument over on the Kindleboards.  The argument centered around whether a successful indie author who’s had publishers coming to her should get an agent or not.  My thesis is no: there’s no need.  The publishers are already coming to her.  She can compute her expected future cash flow if she stays as an indie.  The publishers need to give her at least that much money, or it’s not worth it for her to sign with them.  So what the hell can an agent do that’s of any value?

I don’t consider that thesis to be douchebaggery.  The douchebaggery came in when someone posted that my advice to say “screw the agents”, go to Laura Resnick’s list of good IP lawyers, select one, and use that guy/gal to help negotiate the deal was the worst advice ever.

I was feeling a little punchy from screwy sleep patterns during the week (my 2 year old has taken up the habit of waking up at 2 am screaming, and not going back to sleep until 4-ish.  Ugh.) and from several glasses of wine.  So I responded a bit..aggressively.  And verbosely.

Another poster called me on it.  She started off by explaining why she disagreed with me, but concluded that I must be a sexist because I responded so aggressively to a female poster, and there’s no way I would respond the same way to a man.

Well that REALLY set me off.  If you want to A) Piss me off to no end and B) Prevent me from taking you and your reasoning seriously, the best way to do so would be to accuse someone of sexism or racism when the topic of conversation has nothing to do with either.  Or even if it does.  Because wake up, people.  It ain’t the 1860s any more.  It ain’t even the 1950s any more.  In this day and age, just about no one cares what anyone else’s skin pigmentation is (except to be jealous that some have to worry about sunburn less than others), except for professional racists (Sharpton, Jackson, David Duke, the NAACP, the KKK, and others of the same ilk).  And the only interest most people have in what gender another person happens to belong to is if they’d like to get a date from said person.  So really, that whole racism/sexism thing: totally over, unless you’re someone who’s trying to profit from it.  Get with the modern world.

So I fired back.  Swiftly and meanly.  Then I wrote a (very lengthy) blog post about what happened.

Then I left to do family stuff for a bit, and to cool down.  But I returned later to find the second poster correctly calling me out for not even bothering to address the substance of her comments.  I apologized and did so, and she graciously accepted the apology.  I think we departed as friends, or as close to friends as two people who have never met before and only interacted once with on the internet can be.

But I didn’t stay up to see if there was any other fallout from my comments.  Truth to tell, I haven’t been back to the Kindleboards since.  Yesterday (Saturday), I woke up at 3:30 am, partly from expectation of hearing my son screaming and partly from angst over what had just happened.  He didn’t wake up (wonder of wonders), but I was still unable to get back to sleep until about 4 or 4:15, from replaying the whole incident in my head.

I was bloody tired all day Saturday.  But beyond that, I was cranky.  I was cranky because I was stewing over what happened, and how I’d been a total ass.  I re-read the blog post and took it down, realizing that post wasn’t going to do anyone any good for anything.

Now I normally don’t dwell on things very much.  I’m not mister emo-man.  But it’s important to me that I act professionally, and I don’t think I did on Friday night.

So I think I’m going to post an apology to all on the kindleboards and then cool it there for a bit.  In all honesty, I’ve spent more time on there lately than I should be.  It’s eaten a lot of time that I should be using to write.

So I think I’m going to cut back.  Not just there, but on the web and blogs in general, with a few specific exceptions.  I’m just going to write, edit, publish, then repeat for a while.  In other words, I’m going to concentrate on the important parts of this writing gig, and leave the trivial for later.

A Series Of Fascinating Events

Man, it’s been a very interesting day in the news.  Riots in England, Presidential doldrums, Stock market zig-zags…and two articles about Apple.

First, there’s this one, which announces the kick-off of Amazon’s new kindle cloud reader.  So how cool is this?  Apple tells them they can’t sell things through their apps without giving Apple a 30% cut, and so Amazon takes the in-app purchasing button out of their apps.  Then a day or two later, they release this, which completely circumvents the app, and Apple’s purchasing restrictions.  ROFL.  You gotta love when smart people figure out a way to overcome obstacles in their path!

And then we have this one.  Apparently some lawyers are suing over the under reporting of ebook royalties that Kris Rusch pointed out a few weeks back.  The suit was announced in the last couple days.  Now, today, it turns out those same lawyers are suing five of the “Big 6”, and Apple, for price collusion in ebooks.  Specifically, the suit alleges that the agency pricing method, and related efforts to keep ebook prices at or above print prices, violates the anti-collusion articles of our various anti-trust laws.

I’m not a lawyer, but I was wondering how long it would take someone to make this case.  Passive Guy alluded a little while back to the possibility that the “standard” 25% ebook royalty could possibly be considered collusion, and wondered if someone would try to challenge that, too.  Interesting, eh?

I’m a bit confused as to why Apple got singled out in this suit though.  Did they do something above and beyond what the other ebook outlets did?  I seem to recall negotiations between Amazon and the larger publishers that ended in the agency pricing policy a few months back.  Why not name Amazon also?

Regardless, it’s a bad day to be Apple. 

Too bad, in a way.  I rather like Apple’s products: I use Macs, AppleTV, and the iphone and ipad.  But they do sometimes irk me with their obstinance (Flash support, anyone?) and closed policies.  The in-app purchasing flap in particular seemed a bit over the top to me, so I’m glad Amazon found a way to give them the finger over it.

It’ll be interesting to see how these two cases play out.


Oh yeah, I just recalled.  This post marks a bit of a milestone: my 100th post on this blog.  Pretty neat, eh?  🙂

A Pub-ing I Will Go

I’ve not done much writing in the last week.  Partly that’s because I’ve just been having a bunch of fun with my family.  But also it’s because I spent the week practicing covers and getting a bunch of my stories up for sale.

I’d been putting off publishing some of my short stories because I was waiting to hear from magazines or anthologies.  But also because I wanted to hit the market with a bang once Masters was ready to go.  Plus, maybe there was some (childish, I admit) trepidation about putting some of these stories out there.

Regardless, over the last week I decided to hunker down and git ‘r done.  So now everything I’ve written is up on Amazon and Smashwords, with B&N, Apple, et al to follow in a couple weeks once Smashwords distributes to them.  Everything, that is, except for Masters itself, In Your Sleep, and Delphinus.  There were a few more delays with the editor, but I expect the Masters edits by mid-week.  Probably it’ll be ready to put up in a week or so.  The other two are still on submission, so it’d be premature to epub them just yet.

But that makes five short stories and a novelette.  I also went ahead and compiled the five shorts into a collection, which I called A Jar Of Mixed Treats, and put that up for sale as well.  So I’ve got seven titles now, priced in accordance with the plan I discussed a little while back.  Eight once Masters is up.  It’s modest, but I think it’s a good start.  Guess we’ll see how the market reacts, eh?  So far I’m feeling good about it.  Within five minutes of loading Measuring Up onto Smashwords, someone purchased a copy there.  And since Saturday, some other kind people purchased two copies of Measuring Up and one of Passing In The Night on Amazon.

A good start.  🙂

Sample Sunday – Passing in the Night

It’s Sunday, so it’s time for a sample.  🙂  This excerpt is from my hard science fiction novelette, Passing in the Night.  Those who know me may recall that this is the story that got an Honorable Mention from Writers of the Future.  I’ve since been unable to find a home for it with the fiction magazines, so this weekend I put it up as an ebook.  It’s now live on Amazon and Smashwords, for $1.99.  In a week or two, it’ll be up on the various Smashwords distribution channels (B&N, Apple, Sony, Kobo).  And now, the excerpt:

Carlton was about to respond when the first few bars from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony emanated from the console on the wall and drew his attention.  Each crewmember wore locator devices that allowed the ship’s internal sensors to keep track of them and forward calls wherever they were onboard.  Beethoven’s Fifth was Carlton’s “ring tone”, to borrow a phrase from ancient Earth history.

He walked over to the console and tapped the screen.  An automated message popped up.  Forward sensors had detected something ahead.  Carlton frowned in annoyance.  Probably just another rogue asteroid crossing their path.  All the same, he had to check it out.

“I gotta go back to the bridge, babe.  Be back in a bit.”

Five minutes later, he floated up to his pilot’s console and woke it up with a tap on the screen.  A couple taps later and he had the forward sensors called up.  This was no asteroid.  Whatever it was, it was big, about a light-hour ahead, and traveling on a near-collision course with them.  The doppler readout indicated the object was traveling at .8c: slower than a starliner, but definitely not natural.

Carlton punched up the intercom to the command center.

“Yeah Carl.  What’s up?”

“Better get up here, Cap’n.”

In the few minutes it took the Captain to get to the bridge, Carlton entered the commands to wake up the lower forward observation camera.  Essentially a 4 meter telescope mounted beneath the bow of the ship, the camera, and its fellows mounted just aft of the bridge and above and below the main engines’ fuel tanks aft, was onboard for just this purpose.

The camera finished warming up and was beginning to zoom in on the approaching object when the Captain arrived at his side.

“Object ahead, Cap’n.  Moving too fast to be an asteroid.”

Her eyes scanned the sensor readout quickly, and she nodded agreement.

“Another starliner?”

“Not supposed to be another until Haverly, next month.  Besides, this thing’s too slow.”


The Captain’s words stuck in her throat as the image from the camera filled the screen.  It was difficult to make out in the faint illumination from the distant stars, but it was definitely a vessel.  It was of no design Carlton had ever seen, though, and he’d seen them all.  No rings, no plasma engine nacelles.  It was crescent-shaped, off-white in color, and tumbled slowly end over end through space.

“What the hell is that?” Carlton breathed.

And that’s just the beginning.  Head on over to Amazon and Smashwords for the rest.

And with that, I’ll bid you good day.  🙂