The Pericles Conspiracy – Chapter Thirteen

It’s time for another chapter.

I am posting The Pericles Conspiracy for all y’all to read here on the blog.  Two chapters per week.  Given there are 63 chapters in the book,  if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover

Chapter 13 – Deliberation

“Why?  Why would someone do such a thing?”

Malcolm spoke before Becky could reply.  “Do you really need to ask, Jo?  Power.  And fear.  They see threats everywhere.  They long ago sold their souls, and they assume everyone else has as well.  It’s especially easy to assume the worst of intentions in this case, because the creatures involved are not even human are they?  Therefore, they can justify doing just about anything and not feel even a heartbeat’s guilt or remorse.”

Jo wanted to retort, to deny the truth of Malcolm’s words, but any arguments that sprang to mind rang false even before she gave them voice.  Finally, after a long moment of silence, she sighed and nodded.

“Do you understand now why I had to leave?”

Jo looked back at Malcolm as he spoke.  His gaze was gentle despite the stern, determined set of his jaw.

“No.  You didn’t know this until a couple months ago.”

“But he suspected.  And he was pushing.  Hard,” said Becky.  “We overheard high level chatter with his name on it.  Chatter that made it clear if he didn’t stop, he would be in serious danger.  So we approached him to let him know he wasn’t alone and to make him aware of the threat.”  She smiled faintly.  “He didn’t believe us, at first.”

Malcolm shrugged, his gaze dropping for a moment as though he was embarrassed.  “I was naive.  With what I already suspected, I shouldn’t have been, but…”

“But it’s hard to really believe those who are supposed to be the people’s servants would fall so far,” Becky finished for him.  “Until you’ve seen it happen.”

“What convinced you?,” Jo asked.

“After they warned me, I started paying more attention.  I noticed the same people around me wherever I went.  At the market, on the train, in restaurants…”  He scowled.  “I realized I was being followed.  It wasn’t hard to put two and two together from there.  Becky’s friend left contact information.  I got in touch, and we made a plan.  You know the rest.”

Jo nodded.  The fire had been very convincing.  No one ever questioned that Malcolm had died there, asleep in his apartment.  Oh, there had been whispers around the office about how unlikely it was for a short to cause a fire of that intensity.  But no one seriously doubted he was dead.  A bunch of rocket scientists were not all that smart after all, apparently.  Jo found herself suppressing an amused smirk at the thought.

“I had hoped to show all of this to Reynolds,” Malcolm continued.  “Once he saw the truth, he would go to press, and the conspiracy would be laid open for all to see.  The government would have no choice but to do the right thing and send the remaining eggs home.  But now…”  Sighing, he shook his head.  “You’re our last hope.”

Jo blinked.  “Me?  What are you talking about?”

“No one else in our crew will talk.  And even if they did, you have the most gravitas among us.  If you’re not onboard, the word of a subordinate crewmember can be discounted.  That’s why we waited until we had definitive proof.  I wanted you there with me to confirm what happened to Reynolds.  Now, with him dead…”

“Hold on a minute.  There are plenty of other news agencies out there you can go to.  For that matter, why don’t you just post it up on the internet yourself?  Between that video and Alison’s…”  Jo stopped speaking, confusion welling up within her.  “For that matter, you said you didn’t have Alison’s video before.  How did you obtain it to show it to Reynolds?”

Becky answered, gesturing at the screen.  “The mole.  He managed to smuggle a copy of the video out.  Nearly got caught, but he made it.”

“Ok, fine.  So why not upload…”

“We tried that, Jo.”  Malcolm’s tone was somber, dejected almost.  “As soon as we got both videos, we made an edited version that explained what was going on and uploaded it.  It wasn’t easy, because our organization does not operate any computers that are attached to the network.  We had to go through an outside entity.  But the Feds have bots on the Net, trolling for this sort of thing.  Within a few minutes of our upload, the bots deleted the file and initiated a denial of service attack on the connection.  An hour and a half later, agents raided the company’s offices and confiscated all of their data storage drives.”  His eyebrows lifted high on his head.  “Remember that?”

Jo did indeed remember a combination SEC/NSA raid on a local investment banking firm.  They had been accused of insider trading and securities fraud, or something like that.  But that company had very quickly been cleared of all charges and allowed to resume operation.  It had taken them some time to get back up and running, though.  They lost a lot of money and more clients.  From what she had heard, they were now a shadow of their former selves, small time players at best.

“Ok, let’s say I believe you.  What are you proposing?”

Becky exhaled, tension seeming to leave her in a rush.  “You and Malcolm will hold a press conference and reveal what happened onboard Pericles to the world, as well as what’s happened since.  I believe we can guarantee most of the largest networks in the world will be in attendance.  It will be exceptionally difficult to shut down a gathering like that, or make it disappear.”

“Then what?”

“Then,” Malcolm said, “we wait to see what the government does, and whether we’ll have to take more…drastic…action.”

That sounded rather ominous.  Jo inhaled and looked away from Malcolm and Becky.  As her gaze swept over the room’s displays and equipment, she found herself focusing on the readout of a starliner leaving Gagarin Station.  From its displayed trajectory, it was on a heading for the Talos colony.

As she considered the vessel’s course, memories welled up, of the Vine Peaks of Talos and of the days she’d spent there with Malcolm, so many years ago.  Other memories followed.  Dozens of exotic locales and celestial phenomena, more than most planetbound ever dreamed of seeing, passed through her mind’s eye.

Jo felt blessed to have been born a starfarer.  Some starfarer natives, in their teen years, rebelled and left, choosing the life of the planetbound over the one they’d been born into.  But Jo had never even considered that.  The magic of traveling the stars had called to her from her earliest memories.

To do what Malcolm suggested would put the life she had always lived in jeopardy.  If it went wrong…  The notion of spending years in prison, followed no doubt by never being allowed aboard a starliner again, was unacceptable.  It was a big risk.  But at the same time… Jo looked back at the image frozen on the main display: the dissected alien embryo.  Could she just let that go?

“I don’t know,” she said.  “I need some time.”

From the corner of her eye, Jo saw Malcolm and Becky exchange glances.  Becky wore an annoyed expression, but when Malcolm replied, his tone did not reflect his partner’s opinion.

“Fair enough.  But time is something we’re running short on.  Before too much longer, they’ll call that portion of the project complete and dispose of the remaining eggs.  When that happens…”  Malcolm spread his hands in a helpless expression.

They stood in silence for a long moment.  Then Malcolm cleared his throat and spoke again.  “Come on, Jo.  I’ll drive you home.”

 *  *  *  *  *

Malcolm dropped Jo off a kilometer from her condo, in a small park that was devoid of streetlights.  They sat for a moment in the car as Jo removed her blindfold and collected herself.

“I’ll be in touch in a day or two.  I hope by then you’ll have decided to do the right thing,” Malcolm said.

Jo looked away, not sure how to respond for a moment.  Finally, she just nodded and stepped out of the car.

The darkness masked their identities, but as Malcolm drove off, Jo could not help but feel nervous as the night closed in around her.  This area of town was not particularly crime-ridden, but it was not the most secure either.  She had read about a woman being attacked in this very park seven or eight months ago.

Pulling her light jacket tight about her body, Jo hurried through the park toward the main street.  Not normally given to flights of fancy, she nevertheless found herself suspecting eyes were upon her.  And were those footsteps behind her?  Her breathing became rushed, and her brisk walk became a slow run, then a sprint.  Surely the man behind her would catch her before she took her next step!

Jo emerged from the park next to a streetlight and almost collapsed next to it, panting from exertion.  Leaning against the metal framework of the light for support, she looked back over her shoulder, half-expecting to see a burly, lecherous attacker emerging from the undergrowth behind her.

Instead, there was only the nighttime breeze moving the tree limbs in the park with a gentle rustle.

Jo managed a short laugh as relief flooded through her.  A heartbeat later, chagrin and embarrassment followed.  She wasn’t a silly girl, scared of the world, and unsure of herself.  She was a grown woman, successful and strong!  She commanded a starliner crew who followed her orders without question, and respected her judgment implicitly.  What was she doing, jumping at shadows?

Annoyed with herself, Jo pushed off from the street light and, pushing her hair back from her eyes, walked down the street toward her condo, standing as straight and tall as she could manage.  But, confident exterior or no, she couldn’t shake the feeling of impending danger.

It must have been the things Malcolm and Becky showed her.  Jo wasn’t about to admit it to them, but the video had shaken her to the core.  She had always proceeded from the assumption that the government was a force for good.  Keeping the order, providing a stable structure where people could live, pursue their passions, and conduct business that benefitted not just themselves but everyone else.  These were good things, necessary things, that people needed government for.

But she had hardly ever lived under this particular government’s thumb.  Jo was forced to admit, as she walked through the night, that she had been very insulated in her little world aboard ship.  If she saw some injustice here, or on one of the other colonized worlds, she often would just shrug it off.  It did not concern her, because she would be gone in a few months, or a couple of years at most.  As one of her mentors once said, she could stand on her head for two years if she had to.  That was nothing.

All the same, she had never before been confronted with an injustice, a duplicity, of this magnitude.  And from the very people she’d trusted to do the right thing!  When she had left the security debriefings, Jo felt sure the NSA, and the other government bodies that would inevitably become involved, would do whatever analysis of the aliens’ artifacts was necessary, then hurry the eggs on to their homeworld.  That was the decent and right thing to do, wasn’t it?

Jo had upbraided Malcolm for his cynicism, for his distrust.  She had actively helped push him out of the loop, recommended against his being included in the team the NSA put together to perform their analysis.  In the brief time between her crew’s release from debriefing and when the Deputy Director asked her opinion, Malcolm had simply become too distrusting.  Outright paranoid.

And now, it turned out he was right all along.

Jo blinked in surprise as a familiar doorway appeared off to her right.  Had she reached her building already?  Snorting in a mixture of disgust and self-deprecating amusement, Jo turned and walked into her building.

The lift ride was slow, as always.  During the wait to reach her floor, fatigue suddenly set in.  It had been an exhausting evening.  Glancing at the chronometer on her wrist, she was shocked to find that it was 2 o’clock in the morning.  It had been an exhausting night!  And she had an 8 o’clock meeting with Jan Sholsburg, the navigation training department head, tomorrow.  He planned to pitch his latest idea for new hire training.  She had not been looking forward to sitting through the presentation, since Jan was, at his best, dry as a stack of well-seasoned firewood.  As tired as she knew she would be in the morning, the briefing would be intolerable.  It was too late to get out of it now, though.

Jo stifled a groan as the lift doors opened.  Wanting nothing more than to grab what few hours of sleep remained for her, she hurried down the corridor to her doorway and pressed her identicard against the controls.

She crossed the entryway in a rush and was just opening her bedroom door when she heard a deep male voice behind her.

“Good morning, Captain Ishikawa.”

 *  *  *  *  *

Jo whipped around, her fatigue forgotten as she instinctively dropped into a ready stance.  Her weight settled evenly between her feet as her hands raised into a guarding position before her torso, the way her father taught her all those years ago, and her eyes quickly scanned the room.

The man was sitting on her couch, apparently taking his ease.  She recognized him at once: Special Agent Calderon, of the NSA.  Red hot anger rushed through her, replacing her momentary fright.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing here?” she demanded through gritted teeth.  “Get out!”

Agent Calderon either didn’t hear her demand, or he just ignored it.  She suspected the latter, as he replied, “You’re out quite a bit later than normal tonight.”

“Like that’s any of your business.  Get the…”

Before she could repeat the command, Agent Calderon tsk’d softly, shaking his head.  “It is very much our business when someone who is supposed to be helping our investigation goes off the reservation.”

A chill went up Jo’s spine.  What did he know?  But she maintained a straight face, her anger at his presence overcoming the uncertainty she suddenly felt.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.  You’ve no right to be here.  Get out, now, or I’ll call your superiors and have you brought up on charges.”

Agent Calderon laughed, a mirthless chuckle that did not touch his eyes, hard as agates beneath his bushy brows.  “You have it backwards, Captain.  You have no right to keep us out.  And if anyone should be worried about prosecution, it is you.”  He stood up quickly, his powerful frame moving with a fluid grace that Jo would not have expected him to be capable of.  “You’re going to have to come with me.”

Jo snorted.  “The hell I am.”

Agent Calderon shrugged, the movement of his shoulders somehow concealing the movement of his right hand as it dipped into his jacket pocket.  Jo did not even notice it until the hand emerged, carrying a small plasma pistol that he proceeded to point straight at her heart.

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to insist,” Agent Calderon said in a quiet, no-nonsense tone.

*  *  *  *  *

I hope you enjoyed this chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy.  Stay tuned in a few days for the next chapter, or, if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.


#NaNoWriMo 2013 Update

Hola everybody.   🙂   Not that I delude myself to think there are all that many anybodies reading this.  But still.  🙂

I haven’t done an update on NaNoWriMo in a while.  Or really at all this month.  Well, you can see my word count status over to the right, above my blog and mailing list subscription links (and really, if you haven’t signed up for the mailing list, why not?  It’s spam-free, but it will inform you of upcoming releases and periodically provide exclusive free content.  What more could you ask for a free signup?  😛 ).  I’m a bit behind.

Started out pretty strong, but not completely up to snuff.  Then I hit a few zero word days.  But I made up for them (mostly) in the next several.  And then I kept on going.

As we “speak” I’m a 27,900 words on the month, with tonight and 8 more days to go (I’m writing this at 2100 local).  Impossible, you say?  Hell no.  Looking at my NaNoWriMo stats page, I’m almost exactly where I was in 2011 when I won.  At day 23, I reached 31,000-ish words.  Then I had a 5,600 word day and a couple 3,000+ word days, and I came in right at the buzzer to finish up at a hair over 50,000 words for the month.  Right now, I only need to do 2,500 words a day to make it.

Totally doable.  But it would help to get a few 3,000+ word days to lower that required amount.  Again, totally doable.

So I’m not out yet.

But I hear what you’re thinking.  How’s the story coming, Kingswood?  Well, that’s how.  Glimmer Vale 3 is a rescue story that goes poorly, and then gets worse when the principals realize that the person they were out to rescue was, shall we say, not really in need of it.  In fact, he was kind of shining some people on to get them out of his way.  Naturally, the heroes who set out to do the rescuing find that a bit, shall we say, disappointing?

And hijinks ensue from there.

It’s good fun.  I think.  Plus, we get to delve a bit further into Raedrick and Julian’s past, and into Raedrick’s psyche in particular to find out what makes him tick.  And that’s all good.  🙂

I still have a bit to go on it, though.  So I’ll get back to it.  Just figured I’d do a quick check-in.

I’ll post the next chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy tomorrow, sometime.  Until then, have a great night.


The Pericles Conspiracy – Chapter Twelve

On to the next chapter.

I am posting The Pericles Conspiracy for all y’all to read here on the blog.  Two chapters per week.  Given there are 63 chapters in the book,  if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover

Chapter 12 – Evidence

“We keyed in on the Pericles situation shortly after you docked,” Becky said as she tapped the control pad at the command station.

On one of the display screens that lined the far wall, a video clip began to play.  Jo recognized it as the news footage from Pericles’ arrival.  She recalled there had been minor media attention when they did not unload immediately, but it had quickly faded.  The video was nothing special: just a long panorama of Pericles’ two and a half kilometer long hull and the two counter-rotating rings which contained the ship’s main living and cargo storage spaces.

“Who is we?”

Becky looked sidelong at Jo and hesitated for a moment before answering.  “A group of concerned citizens.  Over the years, we’ve observed the Coalition government becoming more closed and secretive, taking a more oppressive stance toward the civil and economic rights of the citizenry.  A number of us, who value liberty and would not see it perish, gathered together to monitor the government’s activities and bring its misdeeds to light.”

Oh boy.  Jo had heard about these kooks, or at least about people like them.  Conspiracy theorists who saw malice in every act, no matter how mundane.  From what Jo gathered, there was little to be said to convince them otherwise, either.

“And have you found very many misdeeds?”

Becky nodded.  “More than we feared we would.  But none matching what they did with the eggs you brought to earth aboard your ship.”

Jo rolled her eyes, looking from Becky to Malcolm.  “Malcolm made that same claim to me before.  Do you have anything to back that up besides conspiracy theories?”

Becky glowered at her, and opened her mouth to reply, but Malcolm beat her to it.

“After what happened to Reynolds, do you still believe the Coalition is on the up and up?”

Jo hesitated.  Was she sure they were wrong?  What happened was awfully coincidental, after all.  No, that was not enough.  “You haven’t shown any evidence to make me think otherwise.”

Becky jumped back into the discussion, gesturing toward the video of Pericles.

“At first, all we had was suspicion.  The government’s behavior after you docked was completely irregular.  Which was odd, but the virtual news blackout at the same time made us certain something was amiss.  Then we met Malcolm, and he described what you encountered out there.”

Jo glanced at Malcolm.  She was sure her continued disapproval showed, but he returned her gaze with a level stare of his own.  “I can’t imagine you just took him at his word.  What convinced you, the video Alison shot?”

Malcolm shook his head.  “I didn’t have a copy of the video when I met them, just the technical schematics.  Those were enough for them to believe my story, at least at first.”  He gestured to the back of the room, where the men in lab coats were working.  “The group’s engineers were just as intrigued as I was when I first saw the documents.  Working together, we made more progress in three months than I had made in nine aboard Pericles. And since then…”

In spite of herself, Jo felt a surge of curiosity.  “What have you discovered?”

Malcolm smiled, an expression of wonder and eagerness that made him seem a young boy for a moment.  “It’s amazing, Jo.  Because the aliens only have three fingers and a thumb, they use a base-eight number system…”

“We knew that much on the ship.”

He nodded.  “Of course.  You remember how difficult it made deciphering the documents, though.  How frustrating it was.  Well, about six months ago, we finally learned enough of their mathematical language to translate the schematics.  Jo, they’re plans for an artificial gravity device!”

Jo felt her eyebrows rising high onto her forehead.

Malcolm’s grin grew more broad, and he bobbed his head.  “You see it, don’t you.  With such a device we could build more efficient ships that won’t require spinning rings.  We could build new propulsion systems, hovering systems, you name it.  It’s so exciting!”

“That’s a year after these people met you.”  Jo looked back at Becky.  “You’re very trusting.  That was a long time to go without any real evidence to back up his claim.”

Becky shrugged.  “If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s the value of caution, and of patience.  Malcolm made himself more than useful during that time.  And if his claims amounted to nothing…”  she spread her hands “…we at least got good work out of him.”

Beside her, Malcolm smirked slightly at Becky’s words, but she did not seem to notice.  Or at least, she ignored it.

“But it didn’t come to that.  Within a few months, we received confirmation, of sorts.  One of our informants within the NSA passed word that something strange had been unloaded from Pericles.  Something not on the shipping manifests.  If it had been narcotics or other contraband, the news would have been awash with reports of your arrest and trial.”

“That’s a big leap to make, from narcotics to alien beings and their artifacts: right past common sense to the fantastic.  You didn’t think it could possibly be anything else?  You don’t seem that dumb.”

Becky glared at Jo again, then tapped, more like jabbed, the control pad, and the display shifted.  The video of Pericles was replaced by an image of a long corridor, lit by recessed lighting in the ceiling.  The image bounced around slightly, as though the cameraman was walking.

“We investigated very carefully.  It took many months to learn where the NSA brought the eggs.  But finally, just a few months ago, we managed to get a person inside,” Becky said.  Despite her obvious irritation, Jo noted that Becky’s voice was calm and serious, and found herself impressed.  Becky at least was not a complete amateur.

“So this place is where, exactly?”  The corridor could be in any number of buildings Jo had seen over the years.

“Deep in the Australian outback.  Far from observing eyes.”

“Uh-huh.  And who is this person doing the filming?”

“Just someone who works there and decided he didn’t like what was happening.  You’d be surprised how many government employees come to us for just that reason.  He, however, was…a bit more emphatic about it.”

Jo held off replying, as the mole turned a corner and approached a wide antechamber that contained a security checkpoint.  Half a dozen men, armed and armored in the latest government issued gear, manned several scanners of various makes.  The image bobbed, and Jo realized the bobbing was caused by the mole nodding to the security foreman.  She blinked in surprise.

“He recorded this through his database implant?” Jo asked, feeling even more incredulous than she sounded.  “How?  Secure facilities have building-wide bug jammers so people can’t do that sort of thing.”

Becky crossed her arms over her chest and smirked.  Her voice was positively smug as she replied.  “It wasn’t too terribly hard to design an algorithm to overcome that.  It has a pre-programmed lifespan, so it will delete itself and be undetectable later, but it’s more than sufficient to get the recordings we need.”  She lost some of her smugness as she added, “Unfortunately, it’ll only record video, not audio.  But it’s better than nothing.”

Jo had to concede that was a pretty impressive feat.  From what she had learned during her security indoctrination, that sort of thing was supposed to be impossible.

On the display screen, the mole left the security checkpoint behind and walked through a pair of double-doors and onto a narrow walkway that ringed a large, open room.  The mole looked down over the railing that ran along one side of the walkway, and revealed that the room was two stories deep.  Jo could see from this high vantage point that it was divided into thirds.  The nearest area was set up like a lab of some sort.  Over by the far wall, it looked like there was a machine shop or something.  The central third of the room was covered, preventing a recording of its contents.

The mole turned away from the work floor and moved over to a set of spiral stairs at the far end of the walkway.  Quickly descending to the ground level, the mole passed by a round fellow in a lab coat who was waiting at the bottom of the stairs and stepped into a work area.  The image panned slowly around and Jo could see it was much more than the machine shop she’d taken it for from the overhead image.  There were lathes, drill presses, and all the other sorts of machines one would expect from a shop set up along one wall.  But the rest of the work area was filled with computer workstations and electronic devices of all kinds.  That was not unusual, of course, but Jo could see no less than three clean room containments and a vacuum chamber, and along another wall a series of pages containing odd symbols.  It took her a second to realize those pages were recreations of the pages of mathematics she had seen in holographic form aboard Pericles, projected from the alien leader’s black rod.

At least thirty people, all wearing lab coats, were working in the area.  A few nodded familiarly to the mole, but he did not pause to engage them in conversation.

Instead, the mole walked over to the wall dividing the work area from the central, covered area of the room.  A single door in the center of the wall provided access.  The mole stepped through and into an airlock.  A few seconds passed, probably for the airlock to shift over to the internal atmosphere, then the mole pushed open the inner door and stepped into the second area.

It was wide open, with hardly any furniture.  In the center of the chamber rested the aliens’ incubator, or egg stasis unit, or whatever the right term was.  About two meters long, a meter wide, and a meter and a half tall, it was colored black with the exception of the control panel on one side and the frosted-over transparent lid on top, it appeared the same as when Jo saw it last.

“Everything looks in order,” Jo said, not trying to keep the doubt out of her tone.

Becky cast an annoyed look her way.  “Wait until you’ve seen the rest,” she replied in a biting tone.

Jo sniffed.

The mole walked past the egg machine, and Jo saw that it was not as intact as it first appeared.  One whole side of the machine had been removed, revealing its innards.  Numerous probes and leads ran from a console set up nearby into the machine, to monitor or sustain its function, Jo surmised.  That wasn’t so very surprising.  The researchers would want to learn how the machine worked, but also would not want to disturb its function if they could help it.

The mole did not linger, but instead made his way through another airlock door which again stood in the center of the far wall.

“Son of a bitch,” Jo breathed.  She did not need to look away from the display to know that Becky wore a deprecating smirk as she voiced the words.

The laboratory beyond the airlock was clean, antiseptic even.  Yet it was also ghastly.

In an anti-microbe containment not far from the door sat an egg.  An elderly man with a kindly face that did not match what he was doing had his hands stuck into gloves built in the wall of the containment.  He was cutting into the egg with a scalpel.  Another containment several meters away contained what Jo had to presume was an alien embryo.  It was dead, dissected.  Nearby, three lab-coated men stood looking at an electronic microscope display of what could only be a part of the embryo and chatting amongst themselves.  One of them laughed.

Jo felt sick.

“Seen enough?” Becky asked.

Jo nodded, and Becky tapped the control pad again.  The video playback stopped.

*  *  *  *  *

I hope you enjoyed this chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy.  Stay tuned in a few days for the next chapter, or, if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

Novella Launch – What Lurks Between

Update – What Lurks Between is now live on amazon. Check it out!

Hola Amigos!

Just a quick post to update everyone on what’s new in the Kingswood world, besides the ongoing posting of chapters from The Pericles Conspiracy.

First, I’m doing NaNoWriMo again.  I think I mentioned that before.  I posted a little word count tracker on the sidebar, so folks can see how it’s going.  If you hadn’t noticed, I’m a little behind going into today.  Ok, 3,000 words behind.  But I’ve got a string of 2,000+ word days going, and I plan to crank today and tomorrow (it’s Veteran’s Day so I don’t have work) to get caught back up.  Then I can not slow back down, to get finished.

See what I did there?  Not slow down?


Ok, the second thing is a bit more cool.  I pushed publish on a new novella this morning.

What Lurks Between

I finished this one earlier this year, sent it through to a few beta readers and got some great feedback, and then did nothing with it.  There were a couple reasons for this: 1) I initially meant it for Writers Of The Future but it came in way too long (25.5k words), 2) I was busy cranking on The Pericles Conspiracy and other things, and 3) I felt a little self-conscious about it.  More 1 and 2 than 3 really.

But anyway, a couple weeks ago, I went back through the beta reader/proofers’ comments and made the necessary changes and corrections.  Then I did a re-read and caught a few typos and things that they missed.  I also determined that I really like this little story.  It’s not a big hefty, deep story.  It’s just fun, which is the way I like it.

Here is the back cover copy:

From a place beyond reality, it comes to consume the world.

For Barry, getting a transfer to a new position as an electrician aboard the Ketcham Space Station summed up his professional life perfectly: just one dead-end job after another.  Little did he know that job put the fate of the world in his hands.

Waking up at home with no memory of how he got back from the Station, Barry soon finds that he brought something back with him.  Something hungry.   Now he has to stop it.  Somehow.

As you can no doubt tell, What Lurks Between is a mixture of scifi and horror.  The ebook is going to be exclusive on Amazon until February because I decided to give KDP-Select one last chance, for giggles.  However, the trade paperback version will be available in all outlets within a few weeks.

So look for What Lurks Between on Amazon.  It’s a bunch of fun.

Trust me.  🙂

The Pericles Conspiracy – Chapter Eleven

On to the next chapter.

I am posting The Pericles Conspiracy for all y’all to read here on the blog.  Two chapters per week.  Given there are 63 chapters in the book,  if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover

Chapter 11 – The Underground

Malcolm had a car waiting near the entrance of the Parque, an older model that would pass unnoticed in just about any corner of the city.  Motioning her to remain within the Parque, he looked around carefully as he crossed the street to the car and took a few moments to look beneath it, behind every tire, and under the hood.  Then, apparently satisfied, he opened the passenger door and gestured for her to come quickly.

Feeling a bit of a fool, Jo complied, racing across the street and ducking into the car.  Malcolm closed the door for her and then hopped in himself.  He grinned at her as he closed his own door and started the car.

“Going a little overboard on the cloak and dagger, aren’t you?” Jo quipped, and instantly wished she had not.

“Can’t be too careful, Jo.  Friends of mine have found car bombs before.  One died because he wasn’t looking.”

The smile she had been wearing disappeared and she felt her heart rate begin to increase.  Maybe this was a mistake, after all.  Then Malcolm fished into his pocket and held out a bandana.

“What’s this?” Jo asked.

“A blindfold.  For my protection, and for yours.  You can’t be made to tell something you don’t know.”

“You know what?  Never mind.”  Jo opened the car door, and Malcolm grasped her arm.

“Please, Jo, trust me.  I’m not going to hurt you, nor will any of the people you meet tonight.”

She knew she should get out of the car and walk away, but Malcolm’s expression was so earnest, so full of need, that she couldn’t bring herself to walk away.  With a disgusted sigh, she pulled the door shut and took the bandana.

“Thank you,” Malcolm said, and put the car into gear.  Jo tied the bandana over her eyes and slid down in the seat to wait out the ride.

 *  *  *  *  *

The ride was long and bumpy, with many turns.  In reality it probably did not last as long as Jo thought, sitting there in her blindfold, but it felt like an eternity.  Of course, seeing how careful Malcolm was, how willing to believe he might be followed or car bombed, she figured he probably turned many more times than necessary, to throw off a tail.  And, she was forced to admit, he probably did it to confuse her sense of direction, so she could not retrace the drive even if she wanted to.

Finally the car came to a stop, and Malcolm said, “You can take off the blindfold.”  She eagerly complied and sat up straight to take a look around.

The car was parked in a small, two-car garage.  The parking area next to them was dusty, and filled with clutter: boxes, a work bench, tools, the usual sort of things that people put in garages instead of cars.  Looking behind them, she could see that the garage door was closed.  The only other way out was through a small door to their left.

“Here we are,” Malcolm said as he turned off the car’s motor.  “Are you ready?”

Jo nodded, and they got out.  At the door, Malcolm knocked thrice, then once, then four times.  Jo shook her head and smirked in amusement.  Three, One, Four: the secret knock was the number pi.  Cute.

Malcolm noticed her smirk and shrugged.  “We’re almost all engineers, here,” he said.

The door cracked open, and a nasally man’s voice said,  “Who’s that with you, Malcolm?”

“Josephine Ishikawa,” Jo announced.

The man behind the door grunted, then the door closed again.  Jo heard a muffled electronic beep, followed by a series of rattles and thumps.  Slowly, the door opened wide, and she was able to make out the man who had greeted them.

He was short, wiry, in his early middle years, maybe sixty at the most.  His face was long and scrawny, his nose a little bit too large for the rest of him.  He wore loose-fitting overalls and work boots.  And he held a plasma rifle, pointed right at her chest.

“What’s she doing here?  You were supposed to bring the reporter,” he said, his squeaky voice managing to sound menacing.

Jo blinked in surprise.  He didn’t know?  Apparently not, as Malcolm replied, “Reynolds is dead.  She’s all we’ve got, now.”

“Fuck,” the man said, and lowered the rifle.  “All right.  Come on, then.”

The little man turned and vanished around a corner, and Malcolm, gesturing for Jo to come along, followed him.

They walked down a short corridor that ended at a narrow staircase leading down.  The stairs descended for longer than Jo expected, stopping at one landing and bending right before continuing down again.  They finally ended, after what Jo estimated to be a fifty foot descent, at another door, this one more solid looking, with a sliding view hole at chest level and an antique intercom box to the side.  Looking up, Jo could see a small camera in the corner, looking down at the area before the door, and wondered at the purpose behind the view hole.

Then the view hole opened and the muzzle of another plasma rifle poked out.  That answered that.

After a brief exchange of words, the second rifle withdrew.  A moment later, the door opened and the small man gestured for Malcolm and her to enter the room beyond.

*  *  *  *  *

Jo stepped through the door and her jaw dropped in amazement.

The room she walked into could have been transported to McCallister headquarters without missing a beat.  In fact, the controllers in the ECC or Flight Control would probably look with envy at some of the equipment they had here.  Satellite tracking stations, communication downlinks, interactive star charts, and command summary displays dominated the wall to her right.  Off to the left, through a set of plastiglass sliding doors, it looked like there was a lab of sorts.  Or at least, several men in lab coats were working around work benches in there.  Further back, past the working men, was another set of doors marked with containment seals like were used for a clean room.  In the center of the room, a command station similar to hers in the ECC was set up, facing the display screens.  Past that, the wall opposite her was plain, with two standard sliding doors leading to more rooms.

A solid thunk from behind them drew Jo’s eye as a tall, powerfully built man, dressed similarly to the first but much more effective in the role of imposing security guard, closed the door behind them, leaving the smaller man to his post outside.  Seeing her gazing at him, he grinned at her, a broad smile that suddenly made his severe features warm, handsome, and inviting.

Jo felt a sudden heat rush to her face as she realized she had let her gaze linger on his impressive figure longer than she intended, and she quickly looked away.

Jo caught Malcolm looking sidelong at her with an amused expression on his face.  “Lars has that affect on a lot of women.”

“Shut up,” Jo replied.  She had to force herself not to grind her teeth in annoyance, both at him and at herself.

A soft chuckle drew her attention back to the command station, where a plump woman in jeans and a green blouse was just getting up from a chair.  A bit taller than Jo, she wore her extra pounds in a manner that only accentuated her natural curves.  Add to that a pleasant face with an inviting smile, and Jo supposed she probably did not have much difficulty attracting men, if she wished to.

The woman stepped up to them and extended a hand toward Jo.  “Captain Ishikawa, I’ve heard a lot about you from Malcolm.  I’m Becky.”  She had a bit of the Land Down Under in her accent, unless Jo missed her guess.

Jo shook hands, and was impressed at Becky’s firm, confident grip.  “The pleasure is mine,” she replied.  “Are you in charge here?”

Becky shrugged her shoulders.  “More or less.”  She and Malcolm shared a quick look.  A moment of awkward silence followed.  Finally, Malcolm cleared his throat.

“Anyway, Jo, you probably want to get down to it.”

“That would be nice.”

Becky blinked, then nodded and led them over to the command station.

“This is a pretty impressive setup,” Jo remarked.

And it was.  The displays on the far wall showed a complete readout of every satellite in Earth orbit, from the smallest weather bird to the five large spacedocks in their geosynchronous positions.  But beyond that, Jo saw starliners on departure vectors, shuttles running to and from the various orbital stations and Luna, pleasure craft of every kind…everything she would need to manage an orbital traffic control station.  How did they get all this?

“It ought to be,” Becky replied.  “We paid enough for it.”

“Surely this isn’t a licensed traffic control station.”

Behind her, Malcolm half-snorted, half-chuckled, and Jo found herself flushing slightly.  Becky glanced at him and frowned slightly, then shook her head.

“No.  Everything here is strictly passive: receive only.  The Feds would shut us down in an instant if they knew we were online.”

“Passive only?  That doesn’t make sense. How do you…”

Becky interrupted, “Every vessel and satellite transmits its location and velocity every several seconds via special coded sequences in its Stellar Navigation Transponder.”  She looked at Jo with incredulous eyes.  “You didn’t know that?”

Jo blinked, embarrassment flooding through her like a tsunami.  She felt her cheeks flushing, and she nodded quickly.  “Yes…of course.  I just…”  She managed a half-smile and shrugged.  “I wasn’t thinking about that.”  Clearing her throat, Jo changed the subject.  “Where did you get the funding for all this?”

Becky and Malcolm exchanged glances, and were silent for a long moment.

Finally, Malcolm ran his hand through his hair and replied, “We provide…services…to people who would rather not have their comings and goings monitored by the government.  Some of them pay quite nicely.”

He almost sounded embarrassed.  For that matter, Becky avoided looking her in the eye.

“So…narcotics dealers,” Jo said.  “Looks like the news broadcast was right about Reynolds’ death, after all.”

Becky perked up, her nostrils flaring and her lips compressing into a snarl as she drew breath to retort.  Then Malcolm placed a calming hand on her shoulder, giving it a slight squeeze.  At Malcom’s touch, Becky’s ire seemed to leave almost as suddenly as it flared up.  He spoke in an earnest tone.

“That’s not how it is, Jo.  Yes, we sometimes assist gangsters.  But we mostly help honest people who have fallen afoul of the law through no fault of their own, or legitimate businesses who find themselves unable to do business effectively with all the regulatory and bureaucratic hoops they’re forced to jump through.”

As he finished, Becky reached up, taking Malcolm’s hand into her own as it lay on her shoulder, and exhaled slowly, her shoulders losing their tension.  Jo found her curiosity piqued, seeing the strangely intimate physical exchange.  Were they involved as more than just compatriots?

“So, what does this have to do with me?”

*  *  *  *  *

I hope you enjoyed this chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy.  Stay tuned in a few days for the next chapter, or, if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

The Pericles Conspiracy – Chapter Ten

On to the next chapter.

I am posting The Pericles Conspiracy for all y’all to read here on the blog.  Two chapters per week.  Given there are 63 chapters in the book,  if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover

Chapter 10 – We Interrupt This Program…

Jo was halfway through spreading cream cheese on her morning bagel when the news broke.  At first it did not register; there were murders every other day, after all.  Then Reynolds’ face appeared on the vidscreen and she dropped the knife.  Moving quickly, she turned up the volume control and reversed to the beginning of the report.

“Tragic news this morning, as a well-respected member of the news media was found murdered.  The body of thirty-one year old Jeremy Reynolds, a highly respected investigative reporter for Star News, was discovered in the west Quito apartment of known narcotics dealer and gang leader Henry Friedheim, also found dead at the scene.  Police found weapons and residue from a number of narcotic compounds as well.  Although the police have not released an official report as of yet, sources close to the investigation tell us they believe Mr. Reynolds was involved in a narcotics deal gone bad.  Star News has not responded to requests for comment.  We will follow this story closely, and bring you more as information comes in.  And now, a look at the weather for the next…”

Jo turned the broadcast off, a chill traveling down her spine.  For a long moment, she just looked at the blank display screen.  Then, her breakfast forgotten, she strode briskly to her door.

 *  *  *  *  *

Steven announced Jo’s presence, and she waited for a couple minutes before Harold told him to admit her.  She walked into Harold’s office to find him sitting behind his desk, reviewing a document on his desk display.

He looked up as she came in.  “Morning, Jo.  What can I do for you?”

“Did you see the news this morning?”

He shook his head.  “I had an early meeting.  Why, what’s up?”

“Jeremy Reynolds is dead.”

He looked confused for a moment, and mouthed Reynolds’ name.  Then a light came on in his eyes, and he nodded.  “The reporter who talked to you right?  Damn.  He was a young guy, didn’t you say?”

Jo nodded.  “Thirty-one.  He was found dead here in Quito, in some drug dealer’s apartment.”

“Really?  What do you think was he doing there?”

“No idea.”

“Well, that’s too bad.  Hope he didn’t have any kids.”

With that, Harold went back to reading over his document.

“That’s it?”

With a sigh of consternation, Harold looked up again.  “What do you mean, that’s it?  What do you want me to do, break down and cry over the guy?  I didn’t know him from Adam, but he was making some trouble for us.  So yeah, I’m sorry he’s dead, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.”

“You don’t think it’s weird that he dropped dead here in Quito, just a few weeks after he approached me, after we discovered that Malcolm’s still alive and apparently on the prowl here also?  Star News is based in New York, so what was he doing here?”

“From the sound of it, I’d say he was investigating the drug trade and got caught somewhere he shouldn’t have been.”

“That’s what the news reporter surmised, too.”

“Probably because that’s what happened.”  Harold’s eyes narrowed as he looked at her, then he groaned.  “Ah, Jesus.  You’re not going all conspiracy-theory on me, are you, Jo?”

Jo looked askance at him and shook her head.  “Of course not.  It just seemed odd, that’s all.”

“Well, I wouldn’t dwell on it, if I were you.  I love you Jo, but you’re not the center of the universe.  I’m sure whatever Reynolds was doing had nothing to do with your little adventure up there.”

Jo shrugged and walked out.  Regardless of what Harold said, she was not so sure.

 *  *  *  *  *

Jo could not stay cooped up in her office with her mind racing, so she left at lunchtime.  She spent the afternoon walking in the Parque La Panecillo.  As sunset approached, she settled down on a bench and watched as Sol slowly dropped behind the towering mountains to Quito’s west.  As it always did, the orange-pink of the sunset juxtaposed with the shadows cast by the mountains touched something within her.  It made her feel small, but also somehow in tune with the natural cycle of things.

She often came here to think when she was confused, or troubled.  The natural surroundings and breathtaking views helped her get to the bottom of her troubles, normally.  But not this night.  The news story about Jeremy’s death kept intruding on her thoughts.

It was difficult to believe the story that he was in Quito investigating the drug trade.  For one thing, why Quito?  Important as the city was, it wasn’t a great hub of drug manufacturing and trafficking.  Just a few hundred kilometers away were half a dozen better places to go for that sort of thing than Quito.

But far beyond that, the thing that caused her doubt was what she had seen in his eyes that night in La Chupacabra.  She only met him that once, but he had made an impression: a smart, driven, determined young man who was not going to be put off from reaching his goal just because Josephine Ishikawa put a roadblock in his way.  So why would he abandon the Pericles story and shift gears so quickly?  Even if all the other members of her crew held their silence, and there were a couple that Jo was not so sure about in that sense, she felt sure he would continue to search for some way to break the story open.

Try though she might to come up with another answer, Jo kept coming around to thinking that Jeremy’s death had something to do with Malcolm and the crowd he ran with these days.

Which is why she was not surprised at all when she stood, turned around, and saw Malcolm standing there, watching her.

“Hello, Jo.”

Jo looked at him, standing there so calmly, and irritation flared up within her.  “Damnit, Malcolm, can’t you take a hint?  I don’t want to see or have anything to do with you.”

“I know.  But events have left me no choice but to ask for your help again.”

“What events are those?”

Malcolm looked down at the ground for a moment.  “I met with a friend of yours last night.  Jeremy Reynolds.”

“I knew it!  What did you do to him?”

He looked back at her, a flash of anger in his eyes.  “I didn’t do anything.  You’re the one who killed him.”

“What are you talking about?”

Malcolm took a step closer, and Jo found herself tensing her muscles to fight off an attack before she realized what she was doing.  Foolishness!  Malcolm would not harm her.  At least, she did not think he would.

“You told the NSA that I came by your condo.”  She opened her mouth to retort, and he continued, “Don’t try to deny it.  We both know it’s true.  Did you also tell them that Reynolds was asking questions?”

Jo nodded,  “Of course.  It’s standard security protocol, you know that.  But that doesn’t mean…”

“You warned Carl, back on the bridge when you and he first detected the aliens’ ship, that the NSA might make us all disappear if we screwed up the first contact protocols, remember?”

“No, I said we’d get in trouble if we let word spread too far about them.”

Malcolm didn’t reply.  He just looked at her with his direct gaze, and slowly Jo got a sinking feeling in her chest.  Could it be true?  No.  Rumors about inconvenient people disappearing were just that, no matter that she had used them to remind Carl about security requirements.  And yet…  And yet, Jeremy was dead, and she had told them about him.

“Do you have proof, Malcolm?”

“Of course not.  There’s never proof.  But last night, I met with him and showed him a copy of Alison’s recording…”

“You did what?”

Malcolm gave her a long-suffering look, and after a moment, Jo’s ire lost some of its fury.  Did she really expect him to do anything else, after what he had already done?

Malcolm continued.  “We were supposed to meet again tonight, and I planned to show him the other evidence I’ve found.  The proof of the things I told you about before.”  He turned to the side, staring at the Virgen Del Panecillo, the last remnants of the sunset coloring the statue in beautiful pinkish hues.  “I’d hoped he would write the story, blow the thing wide open, and they’d be forced to admit the truth and do the right thing.  But now…”  He shook his head.

Jo did not really know how to respond.  His words triggered feelings of guilt within her, despite telling herself that what happened was not truly her fault.  Malcolm saved her from having to say anything by turning back to her and speaking first.

“Come with me tonight.  I’ll show you what I meant for him to see, and you can decide what you wish to do with it, in honor of his memory.”

Jo shook her head.  “No.  Whatever it is you’re into, I don’t want to be involved.”

Malcolm smirked.  “You’re involved already, whether you like it or not.  They’re following you, you know.  Your house is bugged.”

“I know that.  I signed the consent forms, and they gave me a list of the bugs they installed.  I’ve got nothing to hide.”

Malcolm chuckled, his eyes flashing in amusement.  “Ah, Jo, how trusting you are.  That list is far from complete.”

Jo crossed her arms over her chest, annoyance growing within her again.  “If they’re following me, how come they haven’t shown up to arrest you?”

“If they catch me, Jo, they won’t arrest me any more than they arrested Reynolds.  They don’t follow you all the time; they have other leads to follow, and they’re not sure about you yet.  But from time to time, if you look carefully, you might see one of them.”

“I guess I won’t have to worry about being mugged, then.”

Malcolm looked incredulously at her for a moment, then burst out laughing.  Jo had forgotten how vibrant, how full of life, he sounded when he laughed.  Despite herself, she found the corners of her mouth turning upward into a grin as some of his mirth carried over onto her.

His laughter fading, Malcolm returned her smile and asked again, “Will you come with me, Jo?  I promise, if you’re not convinced after what I have to show you, you’ll never see me again.”

All at once, Jo came to a decision.  Part of her was sure she would regret it, but a deeper part, the intuitive part of her mind she had long ago learned to trust to guide her in making difficult command decisions, told her she would regret it more if she did not.

Jo nodded, and Malcolm’s smile widened.

*  *  *  *  *

I hope you enjoyed this chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy.  Stay tuned in a few days for the next chapter, or, if you don’t want to bother waiting half a year to read the entire book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

#NaNoWriMo and Finished Novels

Hola folks.

I’m departing from the chapters posting tonight to talk about other things.  Three things, in fact.


1) I finished another novel last night.  This one is called Out-Dweller, and it is the sequel to Glimmer Vale.  I decided a little while back that I really really enjoy the Glimmer Vale world and characters, and I wanted to go back to them.  Several of my beta readers (but amazingly no reader readers…although to be fair GV hasn’t had that many of those) agreed and have been pestering me to hurry the hell up and write a sequel.

So I did, and it was fun.  It came it at just over 60k words, so it’s about 6,000 words longer than Glimmer Vale.  I don’t envision any of the Glimmer Vale Chronicles (that’s the series title now) being much longer than that.  My concept for these books is to keep them short (for novels) and fun.  Considering that the setting is a mixture of fantasy and a western, I think it’s ready-made for the fun part, anyway.  🙂

Anyway, Out-Dweller is off to the beta readers.  Meanwhile, James Beveridge, the guy who did Glimmer Vale’s cover, is just about finished with the cover for Out-Dweller.  I’ll post the finished version here and on Facebook when it’s ready.  Trust me, it’s pretty kick-ass.  Then I think I’m going to run another Goodreads giveaway in the second half of November for Glimmer Vale, to prime the pump for Out-Dweller’s release, if you will.  Naturally I’m going to do a giveaway for Out-Dweller as well, but I think I’ll wait until I know better what day it will really be ready to go before I plot that scheme too much.


So that’s the first thing.  Pretty cool, right?

*defeaning silence*


Right, item the second:


2) I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year.  I think I promised that before, but it’s all official now.

You may (or may not) recall that I won NaNo in 2011 with Glimmer Vale, and failed it last year with a bunch of short stories.  I want to say I got 33k-ish words done last November: nothing to mock, but not enough for NaNo.  This year, I’m going to deviate from my initial plan a bit.

Well, sort of.

Recall that I planned to finish Out-Dweller a couple months ago, return to work on the sequel to Masters of the Sun, then get to Glimmer Vale 3 for NaNo and finish up Masters 2 in December and into the New Year.  Clearly I gooned that plan right up if I only finished Out-Dweller last night.

So I’m skipping Masters 2 and going straight into Glimmer Vale 3, starting tomorrow when NaNo begins.  And I have no idea what’s going to happen in it.  With Out-Dweller, I had a rough notion.  For this one?  Not a clue.  So it’ll be interesting.

But that brings me to…


Item the third.

3) We are buying a house here in San Diego.  Well, Chula Vista, but it’s close enough to San Diego proper that calling it San Diego is close enough.  It’s a pretty kick-ass place and will give us a lot more room for the munchkins to do what munchkins do.  And for Mommy and Daddy to do what Mommies and Daddies do.  We’re closing on 20 November, and then will be moving in shortly thereafter.

Guess what that does for my NaNoWriMo schedule?

I’ll be taking a couple weeks of leave to facilitate the move-in, but even without work hanging over my head it’s going to be busy.  Busy.  Busy.  Odds of getting a lot of writing done in the last week and a half of this month?  Pretty low, I’m thinking.

Which means I need to finish Glimmer Vale 3 (or at least get it to 50,000 words) by the 20th.


Nah.  In July 2011, I cranked out just under 30,000 words in ten days, as a challenge to myself while the better half and kids were out of town.  That’s a greater daily word count than I’ll need to pull this off now.  Of course, the better half and munchkins are not out of town, and we’ll have moving preps to do over the next couple weeks.  And I still have work.  But hey, it’s just 2,500 words/day.  I write about 1,500-1,700 words/hour.  Given that, it’s only an hour and a half to an hour and 45 mins a day.  Go a bit longer on the weekends to add a bit of buffer.

Totally doable.

I just have to actually do it.  Which means no screwing off on the internet, I guess.  *sigh*

And speaking of screwing off on the internet, I think I’ve done enough of that for one evening.  I’m going to hit the rack, then get up early to get started on Glimmer Vale 3, and NaNoWriMo.

Have a great night, everybody.  Wish me luck!