Pre-Order: The Falconer’s Stairs

It’s official.  The release date is set, and The Falconer’s Stairs (Glimmer Vale Chronicles #5) is now up for pre-order everywhere.

Jared Tolburt twice almost cost Raedrick Baletier and Julian Hinderbrook their lives: once when he turned on them while they were fleeing the Army, and again when he unwittingly led a group of bandits into Glimmer Vale.  While fighting off the bandits, Raedrick and Julian found a cryptic, magically protected letter that hinted at the location of a great treasure.  Now, with help from Melanie Klemins, Lydelton’s resident mage, Tolburt intends to claim that treasure for his own.

The treasure is hidden far away from Glimmer Vale, and guarded by both physical and magical obstacles.  With Raedrick unable to travel due to his wife’s pregnancy and Melanie eager to assist Tolburt in his quest, Julian has to do the last thing he ever wanted: travel with and help the man he trusts least in the world.

Far from their home and beset with dangers of all kinds, Julian, Melanie, and Tolburt will have to depend on each other even to survive, let alone succeed in their quest for The Falconer’s Stairs.

But Tolburt already sold Julian out once when the going got tough.  What’s to say he would not do it again?

The sale price is $4.99, and the release date is 15 April.  Members of my Advanced Reviewers Program will receive their review copies by next Sunday, 26 March.

So go, grab a copy.  Read, enjoy, and leave a review somewhere!

🙂

Release Day

It’s December 4th, which means….

*drum roll*

It’s release day!

*cheers echo throughout the room*

 

That’s right!  Robbed Blind, the fourth book of the Glimmer Vale Chronicles, is now out there for the world to grab and enjoy.

Robbed Blind Ebook Cover 700x1060

A stunning robbery threatens to bring Lydelton’s economy to its knees, and it is up to Julian and Raedrick to find the culprits. With the year’s first trading caravan in town and the missing funds needed for vital transactions, time is of the essence. Fortunately, the Constables have assistance in the form of a team of Royal Marshalls, in town for a prisoner transfer. But they have an agenda of their own, and Raedrick and Julian must tread carefully to avoid revealing the secret of their own past.

With few leads and little time, the Constables will need to use all of their skill and wit to solve the case and save their adopted home from ruin.

 

The ebook is $4.99 and can be found on Amazon, KoboiBooks, SmashwordsInktera, and Scribd.  Nook and Google Play are still processing, but it should be live there shortly.

 

Alas, it is not available in print at this time, because of an unexpected problem with the cover art for the print version. I expect the problem to be resolved shortly, and will get the print version out there as soon as possible.  Stay tuned here for updates.

 

So that’s what’s new around here.  Go pick up a copy already!

The Pericles Conspiracy – Chapter Thirty

It’s time for the next chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy.  Don’t forget, it’s available in ebook and trade paperback from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

The Pericles Conspiracy Cover

Chapter Thirty

Alone

Jo stalked into the motel room and hurled her bag across the room.  It struck the wall with a resounding thud and for a moment almost seemed to stick there before falling to the floor.  She did not want to consider what was on the wall that could possibly have made it do that.

“Calm down, Jo,” Malcolm said from behind her.  He pulled the door closed with a solid click of the lock.  “We can’t be going off the handle, here.”

“What?”  Jo turned on him with her best ‘I’m the Captain and you have really pissed me off’ look.  This time she did not need to fake it.  She was gratified to see him recoil a bit.  “What did you say?”

Malcolm raised his hands in front of himself in a placating gesture.  “If we’re going to get through this, we need to be calm.  Think things through.  I can…“

“Stow it!  Just stow it, Malcolm!”  Jo was half-inclined to march over there and smack him silly.  This was all his fault.  All of it.  If he hadn’t gone and…

And what?  Tried to do the right thing?  

Snarling, Jo forced that little voice in her head away before it stole her fury.  Anger was all that kept her going right then.  She needed it.

Malcolm just looked at her silently, his face smooth.  But his eyes told a different story.  He was stricken, stricken to the core, and beyond his fear she could see guilt and concern.  For her wellbeing, she was sure.  Jo’s momentary fury at him left and she slumped down onto the edge of the bed.  It was hard as a rock.  Typical.

“What are we going to do?” she asked, and inwardly cringed at the despair, the hopelessness that she heard in her own voice.  “I gave up my career – my life – for this.  And now it’s over?”  Horrified, Jo heard her voice break at the end.  She was not going to cry.  She had not cried since her father died, and she had promised herself…

She could not help it.  Tears welled up, and she could not suppress a sob.  That first one unleashed the floodgates.  She sagged down, cradling her face in her hands and wept.  She wept for herself, for Malcolm.  For the helpless babies that were being destroyed.  For everything.  At some point, Malcolm sat next to her on the bed and pulled her close.  She fell asleep weeping on his shoulder.

 *  *  *  *  *

The next morning dawned clear, with only a few high stratus clouds in an otherwise pristine sky.  Any other day, Jo would not have noticed so much.  But today, the beauty of the new day kindled something within her.  Looking out the motel window toward the sun as it slowly peaked above the mountains to the east, Jo felt the despair and grief from the previous night wash away.  Yesterday had been horrible, yes.  But today was a new day, and could be better.

She turned away from the window and sipped at her coffee – Malcolm had slipped out before she woke and returned with it, along with bagels – and found herself wishing the same could be said of the motel room.

It still sucked.

She had thought the motel they crashed in with Raúl was bad, but at least that place had been cleaned sometime in the previous year.  This place stunk and had dust on every horizontal surface.  If she had been in a state to notice last night, there is no way she would have consented to stay there.  She felt grimy just looking at the room, but she did not even think about using the shower.  There was no telling what had taken place in the bathrooms of a place like this.  But there had been little choice last night; by the time Pedro’s men were finished with them it was late and they could either use this place or wander around for a while trying to find someplace else.  That prospect was even more unappealing than the conditions of the motel.

All the same, it was a good thing they weren’t staying.

“Ok, what’s the plan?”  Jo had a couple ideas, but none of them were very appealing or likely to succeed.  Hopefully Malcolm had come up with something.

He rolled his shoulders in an almost-shrug.  “First we need to find a place where we can stay for a while.  Settle in.  Then,” he ran one hand through his hair in the same way he did back as a non-qual on his first starliner when he could not answer a superior’s question, “we find some more support.”

Oh great.  He had no more clue what to do than Jo did, and between the two of them he was the expert in the underworld.  They were so screwed.

Her doubt must have showed on her face, because he smiled in a manner that Jo supposed was meant to be comforting.  “It’ll be ok, Jo.  I know some other people.  We can get a team together, figure out a way to make some money…”

“I’m sorry.  What?  We’re not trying to start a business here, Malcolm.”

Malcolm sighed and looked down at the floor.  “Jo, I think you need to face the fact that we’ve lost.”

“Like hell.”

Malcolm scowled, the first genuine emotion he had shown since leaving Pedro last night.  “What would you have us do, Jo?  We’ve only a little money, no contacts, no friends.  No way to fight, or even find out what the NSA is doing with those eggs.”  He spread his hands helplessly.  “They beat us.  I’m sorry, but it’s true.”

Jo snorted.  “I thought you said there were other underground cells all over the world.”

“There are, but…”

“Pedro doesn’t speak for all of them.  We’ll just head on down to Australia and make contact down there.  They may still want to help.”

Malcolm looked at Jo for a long moment.  Surprise, then excitement flashed across his face.  Then that faded back into resignation.  He shook his head.  “It wouldn’t work, Jo.  I’ve only ever dealt with the cell here in Quito.  I wouldn’t know how to get in touch with the Brisbane group.  And even if I did,” he sighed, “Pedro will send word to the other cells that we can’t be trusted.  They will not give us the time of day.”

“We should try anyway.”

Malcolm rolled his eyes.  “And how will we get there?”

Jo blinked.  “What do you mean?  We just hop on a plane and go.”

“They take biometrics at every airport, Jo.”

“Oh crap.”  Jo had forgotten about that.

Malcolm nodded.  “I’ve not left Quito, except by car, in eighteen months, for security reasons.”

Jo found herself biting her lip in frustration, something she had not done since she was a girl, and forced herself to stop.  This was going to be even more difficult than she thought.  “Well, we’ll figure out a way.  We have to keep going, Malcolm.”

“I don’t see how.  I think it would be best to take some time to get our feet back under us first.  Get some cash flow, make some new contacts.”

“How much time do you think those eggs have?  If I were Chandini I’d be making preps to close up shop right now.”

Malcolm had no response to that.  He simply frowned and looked away.  Truth told, there was merit to his notion; it was hard to be effective without a solid footing.  But there was no time!  All the same, the obstacles seemed insurmountable.

There had to be a way.  There was always a way.

“Well,” Malcolm said as he rose from his seat, “we won’t figure it out right this second.  For now, let’s find a better place to hole up.”

Jo could not argue with that.  Just the thought of leaving this place behind lifted her spirits considerably.

 *  *  *  *  *

They emerged from the motel room into the morning sunlight, and the earlier optimism Jo felt watching the sunrise returned.  She slung her bag over her shoulder and inhaled deeply, reveling in the fresh morning breeze for a moment and letting her mind go while Malcolm went to the motel office to settle the bill.

The motel was nondescript, easily exchanged with any of a million similar places, except for its level of upkeep; just a row of rooms with doors opening onto a small parking lot and the office at the far end.  At this time in the morning, the parking lot was next to empty and Jo imagined most of the rooms were as well.  This place struck her as more of a place where people come for just a short time at night with people they have no intention of seeing again, or with whom they do not wish to be caught.  She had heard a term once: No Tell Motel.  It summed the place up perfectly.

Jo shook her head, smirking at the judgment she was making.  She was not so different than those Johns and cheating spouses at this point, was she?  On the run, fearful of being caught.

But at least she was trying to do something good.

Malcolm returned, the resignation and grimness gone from his face now that they were taking action.  “We’re all set.”

They set off walking.

The motel was on the outskirts of one of Quito’s northern suburbs, though suburb was probably the wrong word for it.  Most suburbs were fairly well-to-do and nice, while this place could charitably be called down on its luck.  It was strange to see the closed businesses, the boarded up buildings, the destitute-looking people so close to the wealth and extravagance of one of the world’s greatest cities.

“How did this place get so run down?”

Malcolm eyed a man with hungry eyes who watched them as they walked past.  For a moment Jo almost thought the fellow was going to do something, right there in the daylight, but instead he looked away, defeated.

“I heard that there was some sort of scandal with the town’s mayor and a large business owner.  Millions of credits embezzled, or some such.”

“That wouldn’t drive the entire town to poverty,” Jo said.  “Not unless it was in isolation.  This…”  She gestured to yet another house that looked as though it was barely standing.  “This is horrible.  Why hasn’t anyone done something?”

Malcolm raised an eyebrow at her.  “They are.  Most of the people here are on public support of some sort or other.  The local chamber of commerce is trying to encourage businesses to return…”

“…but it takes a lot of encouragement to get someone to be the first to go into a situation like this,” Jo finished for him.

Malcolm nodded.  “Becky told me about some of the projects the CFL was doing here to try to pull the people out of their learned helplessness.  Progress was…slow.”

Jo mulled that over as they walked.  She should not have been surprised; she had seen poverty on every world she had visited.  Some had it worse than other, but the poor were always there.  And, it seemed, would always be there.  It was sad, but she had more immediate things to worry over at the moment.

After a couple of kilometers, they came to an intersection with a larger road and turned south.  It took a moment, but Jo realized it was Highway 35.

“Is that safehouse you mentioned before near here?”

Malcolm looked sidelong at her, confused, for a moment.  Then he blinked in surprise.  He looked around at the buildings and signs on the road, and grinned.  “It is.  About five clicks ahead, and then left another couple of kilometers.”

“Is it continuously manned or just available for whomever needs it?”

Malcolm’s smile grew until it nearly stretched ear to ear.

*  *  *  *  *

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 a couple months to read the rest book, you can always go buy it (it’s available in ebook and trade paperback) from AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, or  iTunes.

One Heck Of A Deal

Hi folks!

Before I put of the next chapter of The Pericles Conspiracy, I thought I’d tell you about a great deal going down.  Today and tomorrow, Short Story 10-Pack, my new release, is on sale.  For free.

Because I love you all, and want you to be happy.

🙂

Aren’t I nice?

So go on over to Amazon and pick up a copy.  You’ll be happy you did.  And when you’re done reading it, whether you love it or hate it, please leave a review.  Because every honest review helps.

🙂

Lots And Lots Of Shorts

You may have noticed I’ve fallen off the short story bandwagon lately.  There are a lot of reasons for that, which don’t really bear going in to now.  One of the things I intend to do this year is get back into the habit, though, because there is a lot of goodness to short stories.  And because I can’t enter Writers of the Future without writing them (or at least novelettes).

That said, I have a few short stories sitting around on my computer that have not found homes in publications.  I’ve meant to put them out myself, but haven’t gotten around to it.  For that matter, I’ve a couple novelettes still sitting around that need to go up as well.  Well, I’ve decided that from now on Sunday is going to be my official “work on publishing, not writing” day.  When I have stuff that’s ready to go up, that is.

So this past Sunday I got all of my short stories together into a big collection, including the couple that haven’t been published yet, and  formatted them into a collection.  I  also created a cover.  I was all set to push publish when it hit me: Copyright Registration.  Is it strictly speaking necessary?  No, not really.  But it does open the door to statutory damages, and it records my pseudonym for posterity and to avoid confusion.  Problem was, several of the stories had already been published, but not registered.  So how do I handle that?  I decided to wait until I could talk with the Copyright office, because their circular wasn’t completely clear on that question.  I spoke with them on Tuesday, got the copyright registered last night, and pushed publish earlier today.

And so, without further ado:

10-Pack (600x900)

The Short Story 10-Pack.  $4.99 on Amazon.

A bundle of ten science fiction and fantasy short stories – a 50% discount compared with buying the stories individually.

Lords of the Remnant – Aliens strike at the Centauri colony, overrunning it completely. Then, sooner than anyone imagined they could, they arrived at Earth to continue their conquest. An infantryman, certain resistance is futile, nevertheless deploys with his unit to fight against the first wave of invaders. As his comrades die around him and all hope seems lost, he finds the courage to fight on, but is confronted with a choice that will not only affect his own future, but that of all mankind as well.

How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress – Bandits stabbed Larian’s father and kidnapped his girl. Confident in his freshly-learned swordsmanship, Larian set out to track them down, avenge his father, and rescue his first damsel in distress. Things did not exactly go as planned.

The Blob On The Rock – A scientific expedition to deep space makes a discovery that will re-shape what we believe about life in the universe. As long as it doesn’t kill them first.

Falling Softly – An assassin and his partner embark on the biggest job of their careers. The payment if they succeed is enough to set them up for life, potentially allowing the assassin to get out of the business and finally live a normal life. But even succeeding in a high profile job like this carries its own danger.

The Memory Of Justice – In the future, mankind outlawed capital punishment. Instead, the worst convicts had their memories erased and new personalities implanted. Then the authorities set them up in a far-away place and left them to live out their lives. This process worked well, to everyone’s approval. Except for the families of the victims.

Measuring Up – Larian Elesir, a young recruit in the Citizens’ Army, arrives at his first post. Eager to join the war effort, he is nonetheless nervous in his new environment and worried about setting a foot wrong. During his first day in camp, his new companions put him through his paces as they both learn who he is and teach him the basics he’ll need to survive in his job in the army.

A Chat Before Dinner – A record of a Zombie’s rant about the trials and tribulations of his life as a dis-respected member of the Undead. His rant centers around humans’ inherent racism, and he attempts to cajole his human listener into understanding his point of view. Darkly humorous and snarky, this story paints a new picture of a Zombie’s life.

First Blood – Intelligence told the High Command that the Mar Tabban, arch enemies of the Citizens’ Army, had moved into the territory garrisoned by Larian’s Regiment. In response, the Regimental Commander sent the B company scouts, Larian’s unit, out to investigate. On his first operational assignment, Larian has to overcome inexperience and his own fear and uncertainty if he wants to survive and get the information his Regiment needs to emerge victorious.

Who Ate My Sock? – A single sock missing from the wash – the source of universal frustration and untold family bickering. Justine never gave thought to what happened to those missing socks, and where they went. Until the day her mother sent her into the basement to change a load of laundry, and she learned the terrifying truth behind it all.

Brother In Law, Brother In Blood – A great hero can come from a humble past. Great love can bloom from the embers of conflict. And sometimes the two can happen at the same time, to the near ruin of both.

It is up now, and ready to read.  Enjoy!

 

Free Dragon Slaying

As I mentioned before, So You Want To Be A Dragon Slayer… is published through Amazon’s KDP Select program.  One of the perks of that program is the author can make his title free for 5 days in every 90 day period.  Well I’ve chosen today and tomorrow for my first free promotion.

Yes, that’s right.  For two days, you too can obtain this fun and exciting story of adventure for free.  So way wait?  Go download a copy today!

Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/vNiOaT

Enjoy!

Sales! And updates!

First off, Damsel has sold twice this month so far: once on the Amazon UK Store and once on their US Store. Considering I’ve done nothing in the way of promotion except this blog, facebook, and a couple comments on some other writers’ blogs, it’s hard to find anything to complain about with those sales numbers. Considering my cash flow estimates assumes five sales for each short story each month, it looks like I’m on track. Except Falling hasn’t sold at all. But whatever, I’m not worried at all. The more stuff I throw up, the more sales that will happen. Theoretically anyway.

So it’s a good start.

As for updates, I got about 800 words written in Masters last night, and just under 2200 tonight.  That brings the total word count to 44,363 so far.  By Scrivener’s reckoning, that’s 138 paperback pages or 212 printed pages.  I’m not sure how it differentiates between the two.  Regardless, this is far and away the biggest thing I’ve ever written.  And there’s quite a bit more to go.  So maybe it’ll be a bit more than 50 to 60 thousand words I projected last week when it’s done.  I don’t know.  We’ll see how it goes.

I will say the chapter I finished tonight is pretty good, if I do say so myself.

🙂

Clearly the new plan my wife and I are executing is working well so far.  Amazing what results come from just turning off the damned Boob Tube!

Well that does it for tonight.  Until next time!