Tag Archives: Days Until Home

Sundered Rock now available

Hello, all! My latest short story is live on Amazon. It’s a 7000-word prequel to Days Until Home. It’s LGBT, and I wanted it out for Pride Month. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, then it’s free. Here’s the description of Sundered Rock:

The only way Adelaide can provide for her family is by doing what she does best: keep a ship’s engine running in the black of space. Sapphire would rather starve together than be separated from her soulmate.

When Adelaide takes a job on the long haul space freighter Sundered Rock against Sapphire’s wishes, can their family survive the separation, or will everything that matters to Sapphire and Adelaide be torn asunder?

Sounds cool, right? It’s enrolled in the StoryTellerUK2018 contest, so getting the word out would be wonderful. You can pick up a paperback of it, but at $9.99, it’s not really a good deal. After the StoryTellerUK2018 contest is over, I’m going to have it in a short story collection like Warmache. Warmache and other storieswill be priced at $14.99, and will include all my novellas and shorts published under my pen name, M. A. Gardner, including the first Brass Automaton, and Nala’s Story.

I’ve decided that once I move through my current supply of novellas, I’m going to stop bringing paperback versions to shows and events. $9.99 is a lot for a 140-page paperback, and if I combine them into a collection, then I’ll sell them for $14.99. So, Payson Book Festival and Fandomania will be the last opportunities to get the old paperbacks.

So, starting in September, Sundered Rock and other storieswill include Body Rentals, Forlorn Hope,Escape, and Paradox. I’m still deciding on if I’m going to keep producing multi-language editions like Escape. I may only have those available in the UK and Europe.


Space Combat

This is sort of a reply to Linn Fergus’ recent post on space combat. My friend, Eric Larson, and I discuss a variety of things, and space combat happens to be one of them. He helped come up with this treatise. Here are the seven prompts worked into these 990 words: Terrible Minds, #SoCS, A Beautiful Mess, #52weeks52stories, The Writing Reader, Write on Wednesday, and #FFC2018. This isn’s officially part of Days Until Home, but it could be…
 

“There is a lot of space, more of it than humans can comprehend. If every person in this room had a billion children, each child could have their own area of space a billion miles wide, and we’d still have plenty of space left. So fighting for control of space is stupid. Armed conflict is most often a result of scarcity of resources, and space is a resource we have in unfathomable abundance. Why risk death, and spend resources for any piece of space, when you can just go have this other,” Jeremy Thompkins waved his hand to the side, “empty space next door?”

He leaned forward, and gripped the lectern. “What is scarce, and worth fighting for, is land. Rocky moons that we can reach are a major hassle, and we need rocky moons to make everything from space stations to underwear.” Jeremy paused as a smattering of laughter rippled through the room. “‘Hassle’ doesn’t quite cover it; these moons are like winning the lottery. These are the resources people will continue to fight over, and die for. Which brings us to the only space worth fighting for: orbital space.”

“Controlling orbital space around a moon or planet controls the resources below. From orbit you can knock out most communications, much of their surveillance of the surface, and even hamper their ability to navigate. Not to mention dropping kinetic projectiles on their infrastructure with devastating effect.” Jeremy’s knuckles turned white for a moment as he gripped the lectern. Hopefully, he thought, none of these fresh-faced contracts will experience what I did in Australia. He continued, “Sixteen days is the record that a population on the surface has held out while an embargo force controlled orbital space above. That was because the besieging force was limited, and they wanted to capture as much of the infrastructure intact as possible. No sense having to take time building new stuff if you can just use their stuff. Which was only partially successful in this case since the defenders engaged in “scorched earth” tactics – destroying or sabotaging their facilities before surrendering. This has been the last resort tactic of a retreating defender for centuries.”
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Days Until Home releases 07/04/2017!

Hey, everyone! Less than twelve hours until the official release of Days Until Home. I co-wrote it as a web serial with David Kristoph and Greg Dragon last year. Please let your peeps know that it’s available on social media, and all that jazz. It’s available as an ebook, 5×8 paperback, and 6×9 hardcover.

On a routine mining mission in the asteroid belt, the crew of the Kerwood is mired in their personal concerns: finishing quickly, getting home, and earning a fair share of the profits. That is, until the ship experiences catastrophic failure on the return journey.

Now they must put aside their petty worries if they’re to have any hope of getting home alive. Will the crew find a way to set a course for Earth with their payload, or will they discover the disaster was orchestrated by someone who doesn’t want them to return home at all?

Get it on Amazon:
Kindle eBook
5×8 paperback
6×9 hardcover


David:
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Greg:
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Mark:
Amazon
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Scandalous Contradiction

This is a continuation of Permanence, but if you missed it, you can still read this. Both parts are still not an official part of Days Until Home. But, and you have to imagine me leaning in close and whispering conspiratorially, there could be an announcement this summer about that… Anyway, these 1,487 words are from the following prompts: Terrible Minds, Inspiration Monday, The Writing Reader, Sunday Scribblings 2, #3WW, & #SoCS.

* * *

Adelaide was eager to disembark the Juniper Jumper. Even with no advance notice, information brokers found their way into tickets for the short hop from Earth to Luna Station. Some were able to purchase their passage on the atmospheric jumper by purchasing their tickets on the exchange. Those that were tardy ended up paying a premium on the secondary market. At least one information broker stood with her equipment at the boarding gate and simply offered each patron before they boarded triple and quadruple the going rate for tickets. To the young couple who intended to vacation on Luna, a delay of only twelve hours was worth is for the exorbitant profit they would make reselling. Even after paying the taxes on their windfall, they still would have enough to upgrade their accommodations and tuck a little away for the next tax season. She wondered how many ticket holders were re-accommodated to later flights. Adelaide frowned at the euphemism often employed by the corporations. It was an offense to language that they would hide their true actions behind innocent words like that. The flagrant disregard for, and the lengths to which they go to violate an individual’s rights was almost an anticlimax when she saw it in person.

Adelaide did her best to keep out of the digital eye of the brokers. Paparazzi, she remembered the archaic term for the ambush journalists. They were like bitches in heat, their tongues wagging and doing everything to catch her eye. They knew that with Adelaide and Erika traveling together, something was going on. Even a year after their return to Earth and six months after the Kerwood Nine stood trial for the destruction of the mining ship they were still newsworthy. Those that cared about such things knew that there were at lease two other Kerwood survivors living on Luna Station, plus both Jeremy and Old Vicky found their way on board regularly.

Erika complained constantly about the intrusion into their privacy. Adelaide shrugged and shared a knowing and sympathetic smile with the flight crew. At least they kept themselves professional, she thought. The same couldn’t be said for the information brokers.

Adelaide’s years of spacefaring allowed her to know the exact moment that they switched from the fractional gravity aboard the Juniper Jumper to the full-G of Luna Station. Most people knew that something was up when their stomachs lurched from aft to “down” as the jumper aligned itself with the station’s rotation.

As an engineer, Adelaide appreciated the complex mechanism that allowed the station to rotate around the space elevator that tethered the monstrosity of steel and Lexan to Luna. Adelaide would never admit it to anyone, but she felt the pull of Luna. It was as if she was coming home after a particularly long contract.

Adelaide saw one of the flight crew poke her head into the first class cabin and lock gazes with her. Her reaction was slight, and the crewmember nodded and retreated to the cockpit.

“Hey,” Erika pouted when Adelaide grabbed her by the elbow and moved down the narrow aisle.

“We don’t have time for a show,” Adelaide hissed to her companion.
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Permanence

This story isn’t part of official Days Until Home canon or anything. I just wanted to write something today, and felt like writing more in the DUH universe. There are minor spoilers if you haven’t read the entire web serial, so you’ve been warned. Chuck’s doing a one-word title flash fiction challenge, so here’s “Permanence” at 1190 words:

* * *

“I’m worried about her.”

Adelaide closed her eyes for a moment. She breathed in through her nose and out through her mouth. When she opened them, she locked her gaze with Old Vicky’s. “Viktor,” she began, but Helena appeared on screen and smiled at Adelaide.

“Adel,” Helena pleaded, “Viktor would check on her himself, but you’re so much closer.”

Adelaide rolled her eyes. Viktor and Helena were still on Luna Station. The notoriety of surviving the destruction of the Kerwood made Viktor a minor celebrity. Adelaide was counted among the Kerwood Nine as the media dubbed them all. She hadn’t talked to her any more or less than she talked to the Kerwood Chief Engineer, or the rest of the survivors. Since returning to Earth, Jeremy regularly sent recorded messages to them all, and personal messages to Adelaide. He wanted her to help him on conglomerate jobs he performed “in system.”

Adelaide was a pretty hot commodity. Everest and Matsue both tried to recruit her. The offers started with the same position she had on the Kerwood: Main Propulsion Assistant. She spent too many years aboard the Kerwood as an MPA, and she didn’t want a lateral transfer… she wanted to reach for the stars. Eventually some of the smaller corporations started offering her the position of Chief Engineer.

It wasn’t that she was unqualified; she just had a new lease on life, and wanted to weigh her options before accepting permanence. The sound of Old Vicky clearing his throat brought her out of her reverie. She sighed. “ChEng is closer, you know.”

Viktor’s eyes narrowed. “That may be the case, but you know why it should be you to see her.” His eyes softened. “Jeremy has tried…”

Adelaide waved her hand at the crotchety retired miner. “I’ll go see her,” she finally relented. “I guess I could use a holiday.”

Viktor nodded, leaned forward, and the image winked out. Adelaide leaned back in her utilitarian chair and fingered a pendant of schorl tourmaline around her neck. It was a gift from Jessica, and when Erika saw it, she broke off all contact with Adelaide. Adelaide was at first offended that Erika would act in such a manner. It wasn’t as if accepting the black gem meant that Adelaide had chosen one over the other. She walked to the Lexan portal and stared at the sidereal landscape. Her gaze was blank until a piece of debris flared past her view.

Adelaide turned from the portal and consulted her panel. It was bizarre that she had to perform so many supernumerary steps to get anything done. She was used to having her way with the Kerwood computer systems. She located a fast jumper with the annoyingly alliterative name of “Juniper Jumper.” If she hurried, she would make it to landing pad Charlie before the Juniper Jumper left. She wished she had time to visit with Matt Siebert who lived in the same section as her, but he was on Earth practicing his bushcraft searching for a lost ossuary in Austria. Adelaide smiled remembering the rotund Siebert brandishing his chemical welder so long ago in the Kerwood’s escape trunk. She saw a photo of him on the cover of an e-magazine specializing in outdoor life. Siebert had toned up since his stint on the ill-fated Kerwood.

Adelaide stepped out of her quarters and into the undulating flow of foot traffic toward landing pad Charlie. She was not looking forward to seeing her.
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Days Until Home Paperback

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Hey Days Until Home fans! For those of you who would like a dead tree version of the web serial, head over here:
http://daysuntilhome.article94.com
If you use the following code: E4EUKEVT we’ll knock the price down to our cost ($6.95.) We’re working on getting this ready for a proper release in 2017. When that happens, this special edition will no longer be available.

Days Until Home, a retrospective

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Twenty-one weeks, twenty-one chapters. Three authors in three different time zones. The Days Until Home collaborative web serial ended last week. I asked David and Greg to jot down a few thoughts on the project and I added my own two cents. You know, the standard stuff: what we enjoyed, what vexed us, and how the collaborative process was different than our normal writing process. Since the chapters went David, Greg, Mark, I’ve ordered our responses in the same way.

* * *

I’ve worked on collaborative projects before. Danny McAleese and I started the hit new Choose Your Own Adventure-style series Ultimate Ending, where readers make decisions for the character throughout the book and reach endings based on their decisions. However, the [Ultimate Ending] collaboration is more strategic than tactical: Danny writes a book, then I write a book, alternating back and forth and giving each other feedback and ideas. Aside from beta reading and general criticism, each book is either his or mine.

The collaboration on Days Until Home was an entirely different experience. Alternating chapters is simple enough in concept but adds a new dimension to the writing in a lot of different ways.

First, there was very little outlining. Mark, Greg and I wrote down a super rough idea of things at the start, but it was just a guideline to estimate how long the project would be, as opposed to an outline to follow. I’m normally a big outliner, creating outlines that are dozens of pages long, so this was a new (and fun!) experience for me. Each chapter was written mostly on the fly, seeing where it would take me. Near the end of the project the three of us ran some ideas by one-another a bit more, which was necessary since we were hitting the climax, but most of the book was written more-or-less blind.

Second, the goal of each chapter was slightly different. On normal projects I’m always thinking about what’s next: what’s going to happen next paragraph? Next page? Next chapter? Days Until Home always had a big blank space just ahead, since Mark and Greg would be writing the next two chapters before I had my turn again. So instead of setting up my own plots, I felt like I was playing a game of volleyball, constantly setting the ball so one of them could spike it. I really enjoyed this part of the project because it allowed me to “let things go” that I would otherwise obsess over. Normally I’d be focusing on every little detail to make sure everything is consistent and makes sense, or is perfectly explained. This project allowed me to let go of some of those details, “setting” the ball for Mark or Greg instead.

Finally, the biggest part of this project was not knowing where my writing comrades would take things. I would be brainstorming one thing, and then Mark or Greg would drop a big fat (and awesome) new plot that I’d need to work with. As a writer, this was a fun new challenge. There were times when something they wrote screwed with one of my ideas, and I’m sure there were parts I wrote that messed them up, but that forced us to be more creative and work together.

I had a blast working on this project. Writing once every three weeks helped me avoid writing fatigue, so I was always excited to work on the project when one of my chapters was due. Mark and Greg are great guys who I’d be honored to work with in the future. Check out their other published work if you haven’t already!

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