Victoria A. Jeffrey's authorly doings. . .

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sample Chapters - Mission: Attack on Europa

Here is a sample of chapter three of Attack on Europa. It's only a second draft so there will be grammar and spelling issues. Anyway. I've got something new from here on out. I will only post one chapter on my blogs now. If you want extra sample chapters sign up to the mailing list.

(A Portion of Chapter 3)

As we made our way up a moving walkway I watched other ships mounting up or settling upon landing pads above and below us. Some were old classic solar sail ships, others with vast mounted mirrors to collect sunlight for fuel and heat, besides the usual plasma fuel based ships like ours.
“All kinds.” I muttered. Some looked like fantastic things straight out of dreams or stories.
“Those kinds of ships usually remain in areas very close to the sun.” Said Diamond. “Most of the time they're usually around the stations or hideouts near Venus and Mercury.”
“Seems like you'd save an incredible amount in energy costs flying those ships.” I said. Diamond grunted.
“You could save a lot of money. The problem is that when you need to travel for extended periods of time away from the inner planets, the power source becomes to weak. You can lose energy and fuel and be in danger of getting stranded. I'd thought of buying one of those sail ships when I started building my own team but it wasn't worth the long term costs or the danger in the end. Those ships don't have much in the way of speed. And with the situations I was dealing with, I needed speed.” I didn't press further on that.
As inside the complex, fat plexi-glass doors lifted up as our walkway ended and a series of long wide corridors inside opened up to us. We were greeted by an elaborate fountain, a copy of the Trevi Fountain. That was the signal that we were inside the sealed part of the complex and we took our helmets off. It looked like a much older built station with an amalgam of different parts of complexes patched together. There was a riot of activity going on in here and it was filled with vendors selling all kinds of stuff. Stationed at one hundred foot intervals were huge port screens being fed weather reports of various planets and solar activity reports. I was betting the truly dark and dirty stuff was hidden away in secret alcoves somewhere around here. It had a thrumming, chaotic energy that I found thrilling and scary. What I didn't see were aliens, or if there were, they were well disguised. Gunner's Run was still the province of humans. But they have to know what's going on out here. We passed by a vendor stalls where strong currents of tobacco and other substances wafted out, a fueling station where right outside the viewport I saw a long line of ships waiting to be fueled, traveler's huts, motels, bars and other businesses.
“The hideouts are in the inner ring. You won't find them on the outer ring out here,” said Diamond quietly. I saw ships bearing the company names of powerful privateer companies and other wealthy denizens who docked their ships in private hangars. Very expensive. I'm sure that affords them certain advantages.
I followed him down until we came to a large pair of polished wooden and copper doors around the corner to the right. Diamond pushed them open and we found ourselves inside a clubby, convivial- looking establishment. A courtesy mech built like a glamour model greeted us.
“Hello gentleman. It's happy hour. Please seat yourself,” she said pleasantly.
It was huge and it had three bars and at least seventy tables. Everything was leather seats, burnished brass lamps and highly polished wooden tables. I could feel my boots sink down into the plush, deep red carpet.
“Smells good already! You can get anything here if you ask the right person.” He grinned wolfishly. I rolled my eyes.
“Well what I want right now a big steak and some potatoes.” I said.
“No problem. Sounds good to me too.” Everyone here I noticed was armed and strapped out with weapons. All sorts of weapons that were banned back home. I wasn't in much position to talk seeing that I kept and still used my atomic rifle. I'd brought my laser dragon and Diamond had two small lasguns strapped on either side of his space suit.
“Want anything else?”
“Steak and taters and beer.” I said resolutely and sat down at a table while Diamond used his ear piece to make a call and then he loped off toward the main bar to order. It gave me a chance to look around. I saw all kinds of people, most busy talking and laughing, commiserating with each other. No one seemed to be paying much attention to me. At first. I saw a group of female smugglers walk in and go to the bar to the left. Covered in tribal tattoos and wearing tight-fitting black space suits that flattered every inch of their forms, they carried not only large blasters on their left hips but sported slender katana swords in sheaths at their right hips as well. They looked a whole lot tougher than me. The leader, with a long sleek black ponytail that came down her back and her entire face covered in glowing tattoos looked directly at me, her black eyes raking over me and then she turned and lead her team to the bar at the opposite end. A few guys walking past my booth gave me a hostile rundown as well and I was wondering if there was going to be a problem when finally, after about a half hour Diamond starting back toward our booth. The women glanced over at him too and eventually went back to their drinks. Diamond didn't seem fazed at all by them. I remembered that Diamond said he'd made some dangerous enemies among some of these folks a while back. And now I was seen with him. I really don't want to have a bad feeling about this. Diamond sat down with a huge tray of food.
“Got our order. T-bone steaks, medium rare, haricot verts in butter, duchess potatoes and porters.”
“What? No filet mignon?” I asked, kidding with a grin. He shrugged and laughed, setting the plates on the table from the tray. A mech came by and took the tray away.
'The beers are half off because of happy hour. Out here they ain't much into service. You get what's available. For the week.”
“It looks delicious either way.” And my mouth was watering.
“So what kind of stuff can you find on this station?” I said quietly, tucking into my meal. He raised a brow.
“All kinds. This is one of the more upstanding places. There are worse places. I was thinking of picking up a few things before we leave besides the plasma coil. I know some people here. Got a few friends here still.”
“Things such as?”
“Some miniature nuclear detonators. A few moisture pills since we're going to Mars. May be a new, more powerful lasgun. Trackers.”
“Ah! Moisture pills. Great idea. And what are the detonators for?”
“Considering where we're going, you never know what you might need. They'll come in handy.”
“You have the money or the credit line for all that? Doesn't sound cheap.” I said. He snorted.
“I ain't broke if that's what you're thinking, Mr. Astor. Far from it. Also. . .well, I have a few favors I can call in.”
“Mighty big favors by the sound of it.” I inhaled my steak meal and after having done that, I savored my beer, sitting back to relax a bit. I threw a surreptitious glance over to the female team of smugglers to the left side bar at the far end of the room. They didn't seem to be paying anymore attention to us.
“So, any enemies here you might have run into?” I asked, trying to be nonchalant. He chuckled.
“You mean the women in black over there? Sure. But this is a “no beef” zone. The whole station is. And it's strictly enforced.”
“So what's their problem?” I asked sliding my eyes over to the left bar and then back to Diamond.
“They're pirates. They robbed a small smuggler's vessel of its most prized goods. I was contracted to get those goods back. I was good at my job. I stole the goods back. I won't say what they were. But she and her crew have had it in for me ever since. Her name's Livilla. Livilla the Black. She's also known as Livilla the Killa in certain circles. It wasn't personal but she made it personal. Something she took from that company meant a lot to her, I think. A whole lot. But it's just business.” He sighed and took a sip of beer. “She, of all people should know that. She first taught the concept to me.” He lowered his voice. I leaned in to hear better.
“The guy that owns this place is head of one of the wealthiest rings in the solar system. They're known as The Legion. This place is also the most powerful and best run stations out here. You can get everything you need. No one in their right mind who isn't running their own major station or isn't a privateering vessel is going to cross them. Some have tried but if they do, they know what'll happen.”
“What's that?”
“Any number of things. Usually they'll get banned. Might not sound like much but when you're out there and in desperate need of supplies or you come in contact with enemy gangs and you're by yourself that could spell disaster if you've burned a major bridge like this one. Having ties here can mean protection against other gangs. I know them pretty well and I've never been in their cross hairs. It might be illegal what folks do out here, but there are unspoken rules. This place is well established. They control a large share of the fuel and energy distribution out here in space and on the moon. If you want your ship and your business to reach beyond the orbit of Remus Station, if you don't want to find yourself caught and turned over to a privateering vessel, you follow the rules. If you break the rules, you do so at your own peril. In some cases, some people who cross them end up ejected out into space like so much trash, their ships and goods confiscated.”
“Do these guys know about what's happening on-”
“Mars? They know something's going on out there. Most as far as I know haven't been out that far but people do bring back information. There are a few that have been to Mars and do business there. They bring back all kinds of interesting things that folks on Earth never seen or heard before. Individual explorers, prospectors and privateers working for some government or other. There are a couple of privateering ships that play both sides of the fence. Wouldn't trust the bastards but they do bring back important information and these days information is more important than fuel, hard money, credit, gold or any other resource. Most don't go farther than the asteroid belt though. There's not much profit in going farther, yet, unless you're fabulously wealthy already and have the infrastructure and resources in place to go out here and set up an operation.”
“So people out here have heard about these things.” I said thoughtfully. He nodded and finished his beer. The tattooed-faced woman and her friends cast us another round of dark looks.
“I don't like the looks of them, man.” I said, straightening up in my seat. He shrugged.
“Whatever you do, don't show fear. Folks around here feed off of that. They'll eat you for breakfast.” I pushed my plate away and decided to keep them within my peripheral vision, kind of hard to do as the place was beginning to fill up. I wasn't particularly excited about meeting her and her friends in some dark corner out here and I couldn't figure out if Diamond was for real or only pretending not to be nervous. I changed the subject. At least I had my laser dragon at my side and I know how to use it.
“You have any idea what kinds of contraband that's made it past the belt out there?”
“Well, when I carried cargo for a guy who worked as a contractor for a large corporation. Won't name any names. On the side he bought and sold alien technology. A lot of people didn't believe it was alien, just brand new stolen military technology. It was hot and very desirable stuff. Even more so now. I carried a load of cargo for him out to Gan Ning.”
“Where?” Diamond gave me a level gaze before wolfing down the last bite of his steak and speaking again.
“It's a station beyond Atticus. Near the moon.” Things were clicking into place in my mind.
“The one most people don't know about?” He snorted.
“Well, the right people know about it. There's a lot of interesting stuff that slips through that station. If you pay the right people the right price to keep quiet.” A thought suddenly occurred to me.
“And no random surprise inspections are ever conducted there?”
“Like I said, pay the right people the right amount of money and you can move anything through there. They don't call Gan Ning Smuggler's Paradise for nothin'.”
“Well, well, well. How very interesting. Tell me, if you're not smuggling anymore Diamond how did you still know how to get in here? You seem to still know the pulse of this place.”
“I have one smuggler friend left whose still in the business. I talk to him every now and then too keep myself up on any news. Information is currency. It might be useful to U-net.” At first I was getting suspicious about him again, bringing me here but this turned out to be very helpful indeed. I was lucky to have Diamond Dog as a new ally.
So that was the station with no name. Gan Ning. I never would have found that out by myself. I made a mental note to write this information down once I got back t the Phoenix. A spy could use important information like that. I wondered if Diamond's old smuggling contacts might come in handy one day. I was thinking that they just might.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lego Return of the Jedi

Lego Star Wars - The Emperor, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, The Return of the Jedi. I love this scene with the actual actors - one of the best group of scenes in the film. This was ultra cool!

In preparation for the upcoming star Wars films!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Posting About Life and Stuff

I've been so busy the past few years that I have rarely gotten a chance to simply just post for pleasure. I'm working on book three of the Mission series and I'm busy trying to build my publishing company. A lot of work!

What have I been doing lately besides work? Well, I've been enjoying Peter Jackson's Hobbit films, especially the extended Editions. I'm a massive fan of those being a lover of Tolkien. I know some fans hate the films. Don't count me among the haters. i love the LOTR films and I like the Hobbit films. To be honest, besides Sherlock, The Hollow Crown, the new Star Wars films and the Captain America and Thor films I haven't been that interested in film or TV.

I used to watch Game of Thrones. I gave that up after the third season. It's too brutal and violent and grim for me. In fact the show goes beyond the books in gore, rape and violence and I'm sorry but I don't have the time or patience for stuff I don't find entertaining. I have been revisiting Farscape and I'm thinking of revisiting Babylon 5. Stuff I find fun and emotionally fulfilling to watch. besides that I've been working on my pie making skills - yes I do have a life outside of books - and I'm planning a trip to Vienna, Austria. It will be my first trip to Europe. I went to the Seattle jazz festival last month with my mom which was great. I'm looking forward to traveling extensively in the future. Vienna will be my first stop, the beginning.

One of these days I need to get to a fantasy/scifi convention. really. Just to see what it's like. I haven't been before. Meanwhile I'm looking forward to the last Hobbit film, The Battle of Five Armies ( I hate that Jackson isn't calling the battle by it's true name!). And I am going to enjoy watching the extended editions of The Desolation of Smaug this weekend when I have some time. I am currently watching this reunion of most of the Babylon 5 cast. it was fabulous and hilarious! I loved seeing these guys again and they were having so much fun with this! I hope you enjoy it too. meanwhile I have to get back to the grindstone. . .

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Schisms Now Free On NoiseTrade!

I uploaded Schisms to NoiseTrade, a website dedicated to getting the word or out for indie musicians and bands and now also indie authors. For about a year schisms was free on Amazon but now I've set it back to it's regular price. However, if you're curious about my red world trilogy and you wan to sample a book for free, you can download schisms on Noise Trade for free. There is also an option to add a little something to the tip jar on the page if yo like - it would be greatly appreciated but there it is. Now go and pick p a copy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Editions!

I was just listening to tORN Live! on and it was so exciting! The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition was just released digitally today and the guys were discussing all the grand things that Peter Jackson put back into the extended editions.

I love the extended editions for all the Middle Earth films. Anyway, There was so much that was missing from the theatrical film that I liked it least of all the films (with the exception of the dragon and the mountain keep scenes.) I loved how they talked about how Thrain was actually in the film! The character we all saw in the trailers for the first film that never showed up! Anyway I'll post the link to their show here and you can watch the show for yourself.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mission: Lights of Langrenus For Sale!

Mission: Lights of Langrenus is finally available for sale on Amazon. Look for it on other retailers later this winter!
Something is rotten in Langrenus. 

Or technically, north of the city. 
Bob has settled down into work and family life but beneath the surface things have changed. He's a secret agent now, building a budding network of people searching for the alien shadow groups on Earth and working to stop the coming alien invasion from beyond the solar system. But for now, all of that is far away. 

The Boss, the mysterious head of Vartan, Inc. sends Bob to the moon city of Langrenus to investigate the Transient Lunar Phenomenon, which has changed pattern and intensity over recent years. No one knows why. At first, Bob suspects he's been sent on a fluff mission. But the more he investigates, the more questions are raised in his mind as to what is really going on. The heart of the problem lies within the lunar mining communities and the increased frequency of the beautiful lunar lights are the result of something far more sinister than Bob ever imagined.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Book Cover Reveal!

Here is the art work for my new book cover! Courtesy of Streetlight Graphics. Beautiful work!
Look for Mission: Lights of Langrenus to be released next week!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Progress Report

Mission: Lights of Langrenus

I'm just waiting for the book cover art work now. Look for Mission: Lights of Langrenus to be released this month! :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mission: Lights of Langrenus - Sample Chapters (Chapter 2)

Hello readers and other folks visiting! I have another chapter up from my upcoming novel, Mission: Lights of Langrenus. It's chapter two. Things are coming along well and I'm excited (as always) about this new book. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the sample here and happy reading.

Diamond Dog, aka James Jenkins, was a great pilot. A great teacher? Well, I don't know about that. Over the next few weeks, in the mornings if I didn't have work, I practiced on flight simulator software that I'd downloaded from the Dappa network, I would meet Diamond out in Burning Man's Field at night for real time lessons. I did a lot of vomiting and panicking while Diamond Dog did a lot of laughing and trash talking, which enraged me. He didn't seem to have much compassion for my predicament. I suppose he wouldn't, given his history but that didn't change the fact that I was mad as hell after each lesson. His lessons felt more like ridicule sessions and there were times when I wanted to tear his head off.
We used his fly-car that he usually had towed behind his own ship, or sometimes he only brought the fly-car. I could drive a fly-car just fine, if you were merely driving it as a hover car. He programmed it in ship-mode which meant that it could then serve as a low flying spaceship. Our last flight session ended in a huge shouting match in which I wanted to punch him in the face. He regarded me steadily for a few seconds after we landed.
Look buddy! I've had it with you and this nonsense! This isn't a lesson, this is playing games with my life!” His expression had changed from irritation to slight sympathy.
I apologize, Mr Astor. I realize that this is hard for anyone, especially for rank amateurs. But out in space there is no pity, nor mercy, nor quarter given whether you're talking about human enemies out there or Nature itself. And considering what we are all facing – yes, I know all about your travail to Mars 'cause I work for some of the same folks you work for - it would be best if you decided now if you can do this. You're being groomed for hero status by The Boss. In case you didn't know.”
What are you talking about?”
What do you mean what am I talking about? You flew all the way out there to Mars without any training or knowledge at all and took care of business and came back in one piece? Wake up, man! We need folks like you, but first you need training. Training is hard if you want to do things right. You did a grand thing but it won't happen a second time without knowledge. The next time you could end up stranded out there, which means death. Luck holds for only so long.”
Alright. But why all the crazy manuevers?”
I'll admit I'm a daredevil. I love stuff like that, but you never know when a difficult manuever will mean life or death. Being a dare devil saved my life on many occasions. But I guess we started out too advanced. I'll start at real basic for you.”
Thank you.” I said, relieved. “But sometimes I really don't know if I'm cut out to do this. I don't think I have it in me to be a pilot.”
It's a mental thing, you know. Most things are. If you don't have it in you it's because you've trained yourself to think so. I can't believe that considering what you've done.”
I really think that was a fluke.”
Nothing wrong with flukes. Doesn't mean it can't be done again, this time with intention.” I sighed.
Diamond, your brother said that you used to be in the military. Is that true?” His expression darkened.
It's true. It's a part of my life I prefer not to talk about. At all.”
I see. Sorry.”
No worries.”
You've said you've worked as a smuggler.”
What sorts of things did you carry?” He frowned and took a long pause before speaking.
Well, usually that's my business. I'm not proud of everything I've done and I've seen some frightening stuff out there. One memorable job was when I carried supplies for a company doing business with one of the mines out there on the moon. I have no idea what it was I was carrying. I don't ask questions and these folks don't volunteer information. Anyway, I saw the strangest stuff out there. I'm not even sure how to explain it.”
What did you see?”
Well, that's the thing. I don't know how to describe it. Words fail. But it was creepy as hell. The company that contracted me was NCO, I think.”
NCO?” The name sounded vaguely familiar.
Yeah. They were doing business with one of the worst mining companies out there, from what I've heard. They put some of the bad actors here on Earth to shame.”
Why did you do it?” I asked. He shrugged.
At the time, it paid the bills and I needed the money. I like to think I was rescued from going too deep into smuggling by The Boss. It can get ugly depending, on who you're dealing with. To be honest, I'd gotten myself into a bad situation with a smuggling group that wanted to boil me alive, claiming that I'd crossed them.”
Did you?”
I sure didn't!” He said indignantly. “But when you're dealing with no good folks there's no telling what they'll try to cut you over. You can just give somebody the wrong look and they're ready to chop your head off. Literally. There's one smuggler out there who has a large collection of glass jars with heads in them. Heads of smugglers and dealers who've crossed him. I was a hot head and I was moving up, building my own smuggling crew and getting my people some of the most lucrative work in the business. My crew were trustworthy. We had a good rep among the various smuggling rings. Some of the old established crews felt threatened. They put a stop to it and even though I can be a bad ass in the ship, I'm no cold-blooded killer. If The Boss hadn't convinced me to leave the life, I'd be dead by now.”
I'm glad you got out, James.”
Just call me Diamond.”
Alright, Diamond. I'm also glad you came over to the Light side. We need folks like you with us. Ah. Okay then.” I said, blowing my breath in and out to psyche myself up. I stretched my arms out, trying to get my mind in the right space for this, even though I still felt queasy. I was going to have to do this thing. Like Yoda once said: “Do, or do not. There is no try.” Yeah, thanks Yoda.
I'm ready to continue my lessons. . .Diamond.”
Good. Let's get real basic from here on out. First, banish the word “can't” from your mind. It'll do you no good right now. You can ponder on your limitations later, once you can actually fly a ship.”
And stop whining so much. It's pitiful, grown as you are. Like I said, outer space gives no quarter. Besides, in space, no one can hear you whine anyway.”
. . .

Work was going well and at a clipping pace. We were coming to the end of one more project, the building of pre-fabricated domiciles for another city that would be built in space in the near future. I looked over at the digital clock in the wall. It was 9:00 A.M. And who walked in but Fred, right on time. I smiled broadly.
Hey, hey! How's it going? You and Bev have been gallivanting all over the world lately. Finally decided to come back to work?”
Well, you know. I have to make money to do all that gallivanting.”
I've noticed you've been coming in earlier and staying later this week, Fred.”
Overtime. Bev wants to remodel the house. Again.” He frowned.
I see.” Was the overbearing black and gold get up she had in her house not enough?
Anyway. I didn't come here about all that. I came because I've got news.” He rubbed his hands together and had an excited look on his face.
Don't keep a guy waiting, Fred.”
I've heard that there's going to be a Green Room meeting tomorrow. A surprise one.” Rarely was anything like that a surprise around there. My grin disappeared. I raised an eyebrow.
But this meeting is about the new city poised to be built north of Langrenus!”
Really?” I perked up. Now that was news. “I thought that was just wisps of rumor, Fred. This has been rearing up its head every few years. The new city isn't poised to begin building until 2169.”
Nope. I assure you that this issue will be brought up and expanded upon in the next meeting. Which will be happening next week. Besides, what do you think all these housing modules down there are being built for?” He grinned like a Cheshire cat. I knew better than to doubt Fred's ability to ferret out accurate information from the web of gossip.
Hmmm. Good point.” A year ago we were building housing modules that could be used on Mars. Now, I'd heard talk of these particular modules being shipped off for building on Venus, considering the extreme heat and pressure proofing the materials had gone through before being assembled. But Fred was often right. I guess the human Martian city had been put on hold – probably a good thing, considering. . .
Word is, they have a building plan. A model already made about how it's going to look. From what I've gathered, the terrain around this city will be near the highlands. North or northeast. Near the dark side of the moon.” I raised a brow.
The highlands. If so, it'll be a beautiful city. And difficult to build.”
And probably one of the richest cities on the moon. Besides Langrenus, this one will be near some of the richest sources of ore and minerals on the moon. If you need anything else or any information at all, let me know and I'll try to help,” he said. Fred made to leave and then turned back at my office door. “Oh, and I almost forgot. The new city will be named St. Anthony.” He shrugged and he was off.
I cocked my head to one side. I had inducted Fred into my little network that I was trying to build with Genevieve on Mars. So far, I wasn't sure how successful we were. It seemed as if things had turned back to the normal daily grind. Even though I knew things had changed the semblance of normality was deceptive and it had a lulling effect on me. However, my allowing Fred in on a bit of what I'd done had helped and I could see that he really was very important to me. Robin, of course was on another level here. She was the head of the operation here on Earth, though she didn't know about Genevieve. I don't think. I hadn't told her. In my opinion, I still had the right to have my own secrets until I got to know people better.
St. Anthony.” I said quietly and went through my stretches for the morning before drinking down my coffee. Then I turned to my blinking and humming computer consoles, watching and sifting through the 3D image holograms of real time work being down on some of the assembly rooms on the other floors of section C-30. I grinned appreciatively about Fred's ability to fish useful information out of the vast Vartan drain and my reliance on him. Then I got to work.
By lunch time the green alarms went off throughout the campus. Then came the announcement through the Virtual Voice.
Attention, all Vartan management employees of section C-30. Special required meeting in the Green Room, Friday, 9:00 am. Attention, all Vartan management employees of section C-30. Special required meeting in the Green Room Friday, 9:00 am.” We would also get this memo by company mail.
I was intrigued, for once, in a very long time about a company meeting. Usually I was exempt from company meetings, after the mess last year. Not from Green Room meetings, however. But I wanted very much to hear what they had to say about St. Anthony, the new moon city.

It was now lunch break. Fred, Chip and I took a gander up on the promenade above the fly-cars and roving cargo ships flying below.
As many tines as I've been up here it never stops amazing me how beautiful it is. And the sky! Bluer than blue.
It's as beautiful as the lights on the moon. Heard they were having an unusually active amount of light showing up there.” Said Fred waving at a freighter ship whizzing buy a few meters out from the promenade.
'What do you mean?”
TLP. You've been there. You should know about that stuff. Reminds me of the time my wife and I went to Alaska and saw the northern lights. Gorgeous sight!”
I'll bet. Aren't those flycars supposed to be on the first air traffic level, like way below here?” Asked Chip giving a hard look at the freighter ships passing by.
Things have been getting busier. More people moving here. Besides, if they're headed either from space or headed out to space their allowed to cross traffic levels. Chip, you're talking about flycars, not freighters.” Said Fred authoritatively, as if that ended the matter. It did, verbally, but Chip and I shared private looks full of misgivings about this. I think we were wondering where all that extra traffic was coming from lately. A worrisome thought.
So what do you think?” Asked Chip.
About?” I asked.
The name and the meeting?”
St Anthony is an interesting name. People invoke his name to recover things that are lost. If memory serves me right.” I said but this jostled uncomfortable and mournful memories of my time on Mars and what I'd learned there. Humanity and all its rich cultures and tapestries of history would be lost if we didn't act and I was learning over time that many preferred to believe a lie – that we were fine and things were getting better. That was always the way with Man. Nothing on that front had ever changed. I changed the subject. I didn't want my friends to see me brooding.
I'm feeling like bratwurst and sauerkraut and a good hot pretzel and a soda. How about you guys?”
Sounds good.” Said Fred. “Let us know a bit about what you learn there. My reputation's at stake Bob.” He added.
Don't worry Fred. You've got my back, I've got yours.”
I've got something else you might find interesting but I wanted to wait until we got outside. You know how many ears are plastered on walls in there.” He cast a glance around.
What?” We both asked.
The president of the company is suppose to be meeting with you guys at this meeting. Last minute change. You haven't heard about it from anyone but me yet. Don't say I told you.”
The president of Vartan?” Asked Chip as we made our way to the company beer garden. “Who is the president now anyway?” We all glanced at each other and shrugged. Even Fred didn't know. I'd assumed it was Elias Vartan, the one who had always been here since I'd been working here. But a year ago that was put in doubt. Truth was, no one talked about it openly. No one knew.
Let us know. Only you will find out before we do now.” Said Fred.
I'll definitely let you know.” I said and moving in line, I ordered a weisswurst and a soda. I wondered whether any of this new information was somehow related in some way. How could I piece these things together? After work, which would end right after lunch for me, I was going to have more vomit inducing flyboy lessons from Diamond Dog.
All that while after lunch I wondered, why St. Anthony? My friends had seemed to find it interesting as well as a few other employees at the beer garden.

Why St. Anthony? And who was running the corporation now?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sample Chapters - Lights of Langrenus

I've managed to clean up the first chapter. It's still under editing but here it is, for now. as I've stated before this particular book is not a true mytharc book but a villain of the week sort of book that is tangentially related to the big mytharc of the series - alien invasion! Anyway, hope you like it, it's chapter one. Happy reading!


My hands were steady along the shaft of the rifle, my concentration keen. Not only was I looking for the sneaky target, I was also in expectation of the powerful jolt of the weapon itself. Instead of fear this time, I felt an exhilaration. Okay, well, maybe a little fear. I still found it disconcerting to use but my skills were growing. At least that's what Fred said. I could sense my growing skill in the strength I'd acquired over the months working out. I was pretty proud of it, no doubt about it. The target moved across the wall again, this time it was a ghost bird, barely perceptible. I was quicker this time, holding the shaft of the rifle still and straight, lifting it up just enough to get a bead on the image fluttering in and out of sight. It disappeared again and I stilled myself until all around me was utter silence except the thundering of my heart in my ears and the faint trembling of my own breathing. I stopped breathing and even in this tense moment I felt relaxed. The light target flew up again this time to the right, near the top of a fir tree. I arched slight upward fixed the rifle on the target and pulled the trigger. Missing the first time and undeterred, I lowed it it a centimeter and fired again, this time a small explosion flying up as the power of light from my ancient retrofitted atomic rifle exploded out. I felt the physical power of the weapon surge through me even into my back and spine but I held my ground against its force as fred had showed me. He said to anticipate the power and ride with it. Until I had lotd of practice I had no idea wht he meant by “ride with it”. Basically, it meant to not fight the power of the weapon or fear it. It felt satisfying. I could handle an atomic rifle without dislocating a joint now. Atomic rifles were unpredictable though, which is why few people used them. The federal government had even banned the use of these particular kinds of rifles. They were only supposed to be decorative is used by civilians and the vast majority had been destroyed or collected by museums. Normally, I always followed the law, but lately. . .
I'd been practicing with a few other weapons as well, especially the long bow and arrow, a truly ancient weapon that one needed a certain amount of strength to use, I'd taken up broadsword practice and also target practice with various laserguns. I wouldn't say I was mastertful with any of these weapons but I was proficient in using some of them. With work and family I didn't have enough time to progress in weapons training as much as I would've liked.
My phone beeped. I tapped my ear piece which erupted in a flutter of blinking light.
“Yeah, what's up?” I could tell by the ring it was Jerome, head of security at Vartan Inc.
“Bob! Glad I got a hold of you. You know the flight lessons you asked about?”
“Well, we've finally arranged for someone to help you out. My younger brother James is a pilot. Used to be military but now he's an indie contractor carrier-pilot. Flies cargo for different companies and owns a few ships of his own. I don't know if you've ever heard of him but a long time ago he made a name for himself among the Firewake set.”
“Firewake? What's that?”
“Young daredevils. Let's just say they have their own way of doing things. Anyway, word got to me you needed some lessons and that's the guy I know. Texted his number to your phone. Best pilot this side of the west coast! Anyway, I gotta meeting. Gotta go!”
“Jerome-” He hung up with a click.
Firewake? Looks like I had some research to do.
. . .

You see, what Jerome didn't tell me was that this brother of his also had some shady connections. I took it that Jerome didn't know about his brother's other activities. Gangsters, drug dealers, illegal arms dealers and all kinds of other rogues with something to trade or sell often kept tabs on and sought out young people who were a part of Firewake. He not only worked as a cargo carrier but he was a smuggler. I'd already figured that if he was part of the Firewake crowd – those brave young souls – or fools depending on one's take on it - that go out to the Antarctic or the Kalahari desert with their air craft and do amazing, insane stunts, then he was a bonafide, highly skilled daredevil. I had no idea about what he was smuggling. But more on that later.
I contacted him and instead of another voice on the other end I got directions to go to a specific location. A place called Burning Man's Field. I was already not liking this. But my little network that I was trying hard to grow wasn't exactly official and I needed all the help I could scratch up. It was small and secret as of now and those of us in it wanted it to stay that way. When I thought about it, I guess I couldn't really look askance on James, given my own shady situation. I chuckled a bit at that and then my heart started pounding. Learning to fly a spacecraft was frightening to me but I am sure that sometimes auto pilot didn't work. I didn't want to get out in the middle of the great black maw of space and find that the auto-pilot program on my ship had stopped working.
I kissed Pam goodbye after dinner. It was late evening, September and a year after my first mission to Mars. Pam was my rock and I'd told her enough of my situation without going into too many details that she understood that that I had extra duties assigned to me from the Mr Vartan – of which no one had seen in a great long while after his supposed ouster. That was a confusing situation that no one at work talked about. An interesting black-out of information on that. I say so because the rumor usually went full tilt on things like that.
So, I went to this field of fire. It was really a small meadow in the middle of the city. An abandoned field surrounded by walls of unruly blackberry bushes. Above the sky was crowded with traffic to the east. To the west there was still a good view of the stars, though. Standing in the middle of the field with a small civilian ship behind him, leaning across it lazily was a tall, slim young black man who looked as if he could pass for Jerome's eldest son. He grinned as he saw me approach.
“So you're the mysterious dare devil Jerome's been talking about.” I said.
“Jerome's been talking about me? I thought he'd given up speaking to me, let alone talk about me. Anyway, I was told you needed some flight training.”
“I do. How do we get started?” I asked. He looked me up and down and then grinned.
“Well, the first thing we do is get acquainted with the ship. Oh, by the way, the name's Diamond Dog. That's what everyone calls me.”
“Diamond Dog? What kind of name is that?”
“A damned fine one.” I nodded still bewildered by what I might be getting in to.
“Well good. My brother told me that some big wig at his company was looking for a pilot instructor. So they got me. I'm the guy that's gonna teach it to ya. Never had a student before. This should be very interesting,” he said with great relish, clasping his hands together. Oh great.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Blueshifters, Part One Ebook!

Wow! I feel like a book-making machine! I just released the first book of a new series, the last book of the previous series, a new short story and now a new serial, the first part of an ongoing serial. It's called The Blueshifters and I have a blog dedicated to this project here.

Anyway, I've turned the first part of this series into an ebook. You can purchase this part and all subsequent parts for $0.99 once each section of episodes is finished on Amazon and later at other ebook outlets.

The Blueshifters, on Amazon.

Friday, July 4, 2014

New Weird Fiction Short Story

Just on the tails my new space opera release I have another weird fiction short story. I wrote it back in February of this year but haven't released it due to the fact that it was in submission and then when it got back, rejected, I had other more pressing things to do (I was still writing Rise of the Red King.)

So, I'm releasing it now. I call it weird fiction because I don't know what else to call it. It isn't firmly, fantasy, science fiction or anything. it just is what it is. Sort of like The Candy Shop. readers who signed up to my mailing list, here get it for free. It's called Memory Lane and its available for $0.99 on Amazon.

A lonely old man who lives in a lonely old house on the edge of town dies. And with him, a strange secret about the town itself.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mission: Flight To Mars Now On Sale!

Mission: Flight To Mars is now available for purchase on Amazon and at the introductory price of $0.99!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Mission: Flight To Mars.


Look for the release of Mission: Flight To Mars next month!

Sunday, June 8, 2014


A lowly quality assurance employee befriends an android who by accident uncovers a mysterious plot at the behemoth corporation where he works, Vartan Industries.
A lowly quality assurance employee befriends an android who by accident uncovers a mysterious plot at the behemoth corporation where he works, Vartan Industries.
The Prototype is a sci-fi short story I wrote back in September, 2013. At the time I wasn't sure of where the story would go but now I've expanded it into its own science fiction series. The Prototype is short story prequel to my upcoming Mission series, the first book Flight To Mars, due out this summer. Click the book cover image to download a copy. Pick up a free copy of The Prototype now! 
And I also have another sample chapter for you below. This will be the last sample chapter of Flight To Mars that I will post on the website. if you want more free sample chapters of the upcoming book, join the mailing list!
I have more sample chapter of Mission: Flight To Mars available on my website: 

Arriving at Remus started off uneventfully. Remus Space Station was a great, oblong-shaped station with ring structures that spiraled around the main unit. The main structure held the military, medical and scientific personnel living quarters, ships and work sites while the ring structures housed all other civilian personnel, organizations and units; hotels, shops, markets, offices, private employers, etc. It was vast from my view, with what looked like round plates on either end. There was one hospital, stationed in the main unit. Think a humongous version of Seattle's Space Needle. With several round saucers ringing its length. Its docking bays, with more being built, were nearly full. Not only did US ships dock there but all ships that were part of the Western Hemisphere Space Alliance. Ships from western and northern Europe, North America, parts of South America, South Africa, Japan, Australia, South Korea and a few other Asian countries. There existed another space station on the other side of the planet where the other alliance ships docked. On rare occasions there was interchange but recent aggressions in Eastern Europe and the Middle East put a damper on the growing peace relations between the earthly alliances.
I decided to follow a few of the delegates who wanted a chance to get a good look at the place. There was a shopping center which was still in the middle of expansion, a few restaurants and cafes and small businesses that catered to the permanent residents there, both military and civilian. The military base on the station was located in the heart of the station with the civilian population living in the outer layers of the station around them. We went for lunch at a afro-sushi bar and a few cocktails and walked the promenade gazing at the earth on the horizon. For me, in fact for all of us, it was a marvelous sight. It was actually right there near the promenade and where we went for drinks while watching the ships come and go and the encompassing blue horizon of Earth leading off into the deep black of space, when it happened.
A courier mech made its way through the promenade before turning off and climbing into a tram car to. A great explosion rang out through the promenade. The floor shook and trembled as blooms of fire flared out. Two people were caught up in the flames. Alarms shot off and instantly the water sprinklers came on and the airlocks throughout the station began operation to ensure no air leakage. There was smoke and confusion.
"What's happening?" Shouted one of the engineers from Aero.
"How could this happen?" Said one of our own, a systems analyst from Vartan. A good question. There hadn't been a war or a serious skirmish on Earth for at least ten years. The Pax Americana was holding. What enemy did we have that decided to rear its ugly head again?
The fire department and a bomb specialist quickly arrived to put out the fires, assess the issue and calm everyone down. An emergency medical tram flew in to take the two, civilian residents that had suffered serious burns, to the hospital unit. After Robin nervously herding us all back to our ship and telling us to stay there until they could find out what was going on, our excursions were cut short. So I didn't get to see as much as I'd wanted to see of Remus. Later we found out that just after the Starbird had arrived to the docking bay that a small pod had exploded mysteriously, one that was preparing to leave the space station. Luckily no real damage to the station was incurred and no one in the station was killed. Whether or not anyone was in the pod was unknown and no information was forthcoming. The lights on the promenade blinked and some of them had gone out. I watched the work being done to repair the promenade from the Starbird. Wondering. It was on the day we had arrived that it happened. A small, supposedly unmanned pod. The most recent explosion I'd heard through the grapevine later was that this was a carrier mech that had been destroyed. Many agreed that it may have been a malfunction and that a recall of most C-4 carrier mechs would be in process soon. I asked Robin what she thought of the whole matter.
"I don't know. I don't know. I doubt that mech was malfunctioning." I'd happened to catch her alone at the time, walking down a corridor. As soon as she made this comment I saw several delegates striding toward us.
"Ah, we have a meeting soon. Don't worry about it, Robert!" She said animatedly. Her demeanor changed swiftly, leaving me confused. It was a far cry from her more somber tone just a few seconds earlier. What a strange woman! She was like a room full of cloud and mist. I couldn't understand her. I tried to find her and speak to her alone again but for the rest of the trip she seemed to have acquired the ability to not be around unless she was swimming among gaggles of people. So I gave up that curious path. Besides, she was young and inexperienced in the position and it seemed to me that she was in over her head.
A door to a gravity boot-shop and the staircase near the north corridor was burned down but beyond such damage to these, the pod, the mechanical courier and the promenade nothing else was affected. When I thought about it, I wasn't so sure. After my conversation with Taylor Richmond and the disturbingly dark conversation between Teely and whoever he was talking to, I suspected that all of these events were related. Taylor had mentioned that he was meeting someone that might help him get the files away, hidden and safe. Who was on that pod? Was that the person who was helping him? Was there even anyone on it? I wondered what he would do now. No one would release any more information about the pod. News reports on Remus made mention of it only twice and after that, I heard no more about it. I felt danger was lurking everywhere. Suddenly it wasn't about losing a job or a career but losing one's life. I was growing afraid of my own thoughts.
I didn't see Taylor as he didn't come on the excursion with us. I checked to see if he was still on board the Starbird. I saw him briefly, glimpsed him making his way from the dining room on the ship. His face was sunken, pinched and his pallor, gray but he was still alive. I ran to catch up with him. It would be a few hours before the Starbird disembarked.
"Hey Taylor! I heard-" I said, quickly looking around.
"Stay out of it, Astor! Or you'll find yourself on the wrong end of a refuse chute!" He flared and stalked away. I decided to heed the warning. There was nothing I could do and he was adamant about not wanting any help. I stayed away.