“A Texas Naval Affair,” final cover

Barring one of you sharp-eyed readers finding something my drunk eyes through bifocals did not, this shall be the cover for my next novel (at 47,200 words, I’d call it a novella, but that’s me).

Yes, I am fully aware the back blurb is long. Per something I discussed in someone else’s podcast (which shows how lazy I am to not ferret out the link) is that a writer has about 0.25 seconds to catch and hold a potential reader’s attention as they scroll down on their phone. That is what the front is for. The back is me pulling up on the line once the hook is in their mouth. Given that this is a romance, girls and women will be expecting to know more about the cute couple on the front (not kidding: I’ve had two women say that to me already). If this were another military story, I’d write, “the character does cool stuff and shit blows up” and there’s my male reader base.

[Still working on “Tillamook” with Gil, Nichole, and Teresa. I bet Mackenzie is a little less than pleased that her husband’s former lover, who has not aged a day in twenty years, just showed up as she’s entering menopause.]

“A Texas Naval Affair” rough ideas

Getting close to the release of my next, 14th, book. This is a romance with some scifi elements set about sixteen years before “Obligations of Rank.” In that book, Allen and Ryland’s daughter, Livia, plays a role in Part One. I was curious about Livia’s parents. So, here’s a rough draft of the backcover blurb and how the front cover is shaping up.

At eighteen, Allen Rupert’s criminal past has caught up with him and he is given the choice of the military or jail.  To get as far from central Texas as possible, he joins the new navy, but spends half of his time in the brig.

Recognizing Allen’s mechanical skill, he’s trained as a machinist and assigned to the small corvette Liberty, patrolling the Gulf of Mexico.  During an ASW drill, Allen defuses a torpedo which went live in its tube, and his summoned to the bridge.  There, Acting Captain Ryland Rigó commends him for his good work.

For the first time in his life, Allen sees someone look at him with respect.  Weeks later, ashore, he invites her to lunch.  To his utter shock, she accepts.

Thinking her just another girl, Allen is shook to his core to find himself swept into a maelstrom of domestic politics, international intrigue, and the plots and plans of Demi-humans and Machines.  All while trying to fix his broken life and attain the only thing he wants:  Ryland.

Ceres, part 1

I got caught up in research about crab boats vs. fishing trawlers for the Tillamook story, so this next short is what I started writing first. This is about Crown Prince Laszlo Hartmann of Faustina’s imperium not quite alone on high-speed space ship. Not quite alone? The android Minerva is with him. Ordered by his mother, the Empress, their first scouting mission is to the asteroid belt, to assess not only mining possibilities but also colonization.

Because this takes place seven weeks after then conclusion of “Obligations of Rank,” spoilers are unavoidable. Unless you think it will be some months before you get around to reading that book – and you will – and might have forgotten this, go listen to one of my podcasts or something if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Again borrowing an idea from another writer, in this case Michael Chricton, I’m taking two very, very different people, packing them into a sardine can, and sending them somewhere they cannot escape from.

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Continue reading “Ceres, part 1”

Utterly Useless

To you, my content consumers, that is. I’m not going to take the time to look at the records, but it is quite possible that this January which just passed was the only time I did not post for an entire month. Yes, in the post preceding, I mentioned I would have much on my plate… But I’ve no excuse, so I won’t make on.

The most important news is that “Obligations of Rank” is now out and available. I have yet to port it over to Smashwords; if I did nothing here you can bet I did nothing there.

In novel news, my short story about Allen and Ryland is now not only a 48,000 book, but it is already in the hands of both my copyeditor and my cover designer. With chance and luck? Call it released in two months. It is my first romance-only story; no horror or anything like Cursed Hearts. Are there complications? It would be a damn poor story if there were not! Each of the four parts of the book are these two youngsters getting permission to marry; from his parents, from hers, from her cousin the empress, and from the Machines. Not to mention the huge problem this creates for the Texas Navy.

Podcasts? Yeah, sure. I did at least take the physical step of moving my mic and stand from my quiet corner in the freezing cold basement to here at my right, next to the laptop on the dining room table, where I work. The only excuse to not start talking is… again, I have no excuse. Apologies.

So, that’s the update. New book out; newer book already on the way. No reason to not inflict my voice on y’all again. Let’s get to it.

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Still alive. Plus: editing

Yes, I dropped off the radar again. At DayJob, the IV Room assignment has become a punishment detail, what with all the drips for the vent patients we’re killing (avoid hospitals, everyone). At home, much better but just as busy: That short story I wrote in October, which was growing into a novella in November, has metastasized into its own novel, meaning over the last three weeks I’ve put down about 15,000 words.

Which all ground to a halt yesterday evening. I’d a few pages for the opening of part 2, but the main character, Allen, is presented with a nigh-well insolvable problem. Until I think of how he can solve it, nothing to type.

In the meantime, here’s an ad and a link to my copyeditor. The man is efficient and reasonably priced. I have relied on Mr. Zimmer for, what, five of my novels, now? And hope to continue to in the future.

“Allen x Ryland,” part 8 [end]

Wherein we reach the conclusion of this short story. Note how I phrased that. The 6055 words of parts 1-8 were from a glimpse of something I had at church three weeks ago. It took about five days to write it all down. Once complete, I thought it would be a nice addition to my second short story collection.

Until last Sunday, when another reel started playing in my head. Picking up right where this one ends, with Allen up in his room using his tablet to read Ryland’s bio on the Naval Academy’s page. The next day he’s back at the Galveston base and the following day at his job, doing in port maintenance on TNS Liberty. And that’s only what I’ve seen so far. I do know Allen develops a friendship with another sailor and it is quite possible that the Mexicans, Cubans, or some other power, have slipped a submarine into the Gulf of Mexico to interdict commercial shipping.

Saying all that to say this: thanks for reading along with this short story and look forward to its novella in 2022!

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Continue reading ““Allen x Ryland,” part 8 [end]”

Fish and Shrimp Radio Waves

The good folks at The Star Chamber were having an open lines night. I was just following along with a few lines to their Chat Room when they foolishly wandered onto a topic I found relatable. After all these months, I would have thought that the host would know to recognize at least my Area Code and block all numbers from there, but no… once again they wagered their reputations on letting go live. The triumph of hope over experience.

I wander in almost exactly at the 1:15:00 mark and babble for about eight minutes. Once off, the hosts try to recover from my verbal Molotov Cocktails. It was fun.

“Allen x Ryland,” part 4

The “x Ryland” part of the title has been off-screen long enough. So I’ll start to fix that here. Any cop comes to understand human nature pretty damned fast as a part of their job and Allen’s father is no different. Sure, it’s possible for broken people to turn around their lives, but most do not.

I had finished the original 6000 words of this short story several days ago. Thinking a little too much about this past Saturday… and hello to an additional 1800 words! This is now definitely headed into “novella” territory and one again I conclude that creative writing is a mental illness.

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Continue reading ““Allen x Ryland,” part 4″

New book, in process

Finally settled on a name: Obligations of Rank. Got the copyedit back and just now finished implementing those changes. Rattled the cage of my cover designer to move things from the back burner to front. All in all, coming together nicely.

Wasn’t sure if I needed to add maps to this one and ended up adding two: one of central Kentucky, as that story moves around a bit and I don’t want the readers to get lost. The other is just to illustrate the progress of the Martian terraforming project. I also had to update the stemma as there are just too many family connexions to keep track of.

If all goes well, it should be out for Thanksgiving in the US; the third week of November.

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Continue reading “New book, in process”