“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.]

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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“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]”

“Allen x Ryland,” part 7

At the end of another long week. I’m almost beginning to hope I get let go from my DayJob. Now that my wife has a full-time job with health benefits for when her lymphoma comes back, I’m just working to pay my bar bill.

After upsetting her boyfriend’s mother, Ryland takes a moment to fill in some historical gaps Allen didn’t know, even if it had to do with family. I’ve seen that often in meatspace, esp with Millennials and GenZ who don’t even know who their grandparents are. As someone who can trace my family back over 300 years, it is almost impossible for me to grasp such ignorance. Your family, after Christ, is everything.

And then Ryland gets all nice with Alan. Clever girl. And, as this is the future history of Machine Civilization, it is about time I drop that into the story.

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Continue reading ““Allen x Ryland,” part 7″

“Allen x Ryland,” part 6

Taking a break from tractor engine work, the Ruperts try to be hospitable. It appears that is as difficult for Ryland as it is for her cousin. I wonder if the Barrett family descendants are mildly cursed to be assholes?

Caught up in the family emotional drama, Allen briefly reverts to form; at least verbally.

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Continue reading ““Allen x Ryland,” part 6″

“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″

“Allen x Ryland,” part 3

The story takes a turn for the murky as Allen’s father seeks to provoke his son, to shock him into realizing this sort of relationship just won’t work. The lad responds by saying something Ryland told him. Personal family history which no one talks about.

And the old tractor needs fixing; there’s that.

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Continue reading ““Allen x Ryland,” part 3″

“Allen x Ryland,” part 2

The short story continues as we get both a little more about Allen’s backstory, including an outburst as to why he hates his old life, as well as a tiny introduction of the this girl.

For those of you who have read it, we meet 14-year-old Ryland in “Empress’ Crusade,” she’s even on the cover with her cousin, where she proves a very level-headed girl. I say there that she is “graduating the academy in two years,” so that would seem to be where we are right now.

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Continue reading ““Allen x Ryland,” part 2″

Backstories and November

Today is my seventh anniversary. As a writer. I’ve discussed how that happened before so I shan’t replay that here. But… a dozen books with another on the way, an audiobook, my poorly kept-up podcasts; not that bad for just seven years.

Even in the slow month of October, I banged out the short story, “Cadets.” And, from Sunday before-last at Mass, I saw another story. I think what this is, is that while putting together the stemma for “Obligations of Rank,” some of the gaps shouted out to me, for example, what did happen to St. Louis, hence “Cadets.” Then, how did Ryland Rigó meet her future husband, Allen Rupert? Which is what follows, below the fold.

My cover designer has completed her other project and now turns her attention to OR. I’m older to not even attempt to guess what I’ll be working on the remainder of this year. But, I hope to have fun. So, let’s meet Allen; if this turns into a novella, I’ll love to hear his first talk with Arpad Rigó, who was also a thug until forced into the military.

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Continue reading “Backstories and November”