Hey, all, just got the final version of “The Four Horsemen” cover. T4H is the upcoming sequel/prequel/companion to “Skydark.” Many thanks to Tom Edwards for this awesome cover!
Tom Edwards just sent me the final artwork for my upcoming post-nuclear novel “Skydark.” Still working on this one, but it should be out sometime this summer (2017)!
Just a quick note to let everyone know that “Launch Sequence” has been published at Amazon.com:
Launch Sequence I – One week ago, Dennis Shaw was a typical twelve year old boy growing up on Daedalus-IV. Now, with an unstoppable Kai invasion fleet only hours away, Dennis is exposed to the challenges, the decisions, and the horrors of adulthood when his family is forced to flee aboard a strange starship hidden inside a secret mountain base.
As Dennis attempts to come to terms the terrifying conclusion of the Kai’s promise to exterminate humanity, he is overwhelmed by the implications of Project Genesis, Task Force Nightfall, and a newer, more dangerous threat: the sudden onset of puberty and the unpredictable, sometimes frightening emotions that come with it.
Launch Sequence II – Special Forces Commander Irina Drazek and Task Force Nightfall have assembled for one final mission: to ensure Project Genesis reaches a successful conclusion, even at the cost of their own lives. Alone and cut off from the Wire, the fifty-two ships of Silver Fleet are all that stands between the Kai’s military might and the Genesis seedships — humanity’s last, best hope to avoid the fate of the Hanura and The Seven.
As the stress and exhaustion of jumping blindly through enemy territory under extreme acceleration takes its toll on Silver Fleet’s crews, Admiral Mattias Huang and Captain Rickus Meyer plan for a final showdown with their hated enemy. With time, space, and options running out, Huang is forced to rely on desperation, his own tactical brilliance, and the Kai’s predictability to complete Nightfall’s mission against impossible odds.
Cover art by: Jeff Brown
(DISCLAIMER: this is like… super ultra first draft stuff, I literally just finished it about six minutes ago, so don’t be too harsh, eh?)
“Hey, mate,” a familiar voice said from my left.
I looked over to see the garden gnome sitting on the arm of the couch. A sigh escaped me after I blinked my eyes a few times.
“Great,” I muttered. “You again.”
“Exactly!” the gnome said without moving its lips. “Me again.”
“Go away,” I mumbled. “You’re not real.”
“Are you sure about that?” the gnome asked slyly.
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
I reached out to the gnome, sure my hand would pass right through it since it was nothing more than a figment of my imagination—a figment that had followed me around for the last three days after a binge on what I had thought was absinthe at a local watering hole in San Elira. I still didn’t know what I had consumed, but I knew it wasn’t absinthe even if it was the same electric-green color. My fingers bumped up against the solid ceramic gnome, sending it crashing to the floor.
“Owwww!” the gnome cried, its voice muffled. “What the hell, Mike?”
The sequel to “It’s Better This Way” finally arrives after a five year wait!
What seems at first to be a simple mission to destroy Base Charlie quickly becomes a test of inner strength and morality. Evan Greggs’ resolve to end the potential threat Base Charlie and the remains of the United States Army poses to The Farm is further hampered by the army’s modern amenities and Colonel Rebecca Collins.
Evan questions his place at both The Farm and Base Charlie, but the real questions are those concerning the Bulls — and no one has been able to guess the alien invaders’ intentions or motivations for the last twenty-three years.
“Granite Base, this is Alpha-1. Launch Sequence stand-by.”
“Roger Alpha-1. Begin activation sequence.”
I listened to the comm chatter from Launch Control and the pilots while my goggles displayed vast amounts of information. The engine bay information window was bordered in red that turned to yellow as the Icarus’ power plant ramped up for blast-off. There were only two weapons pods, both defensive in nature, though I wondered how effective they would be should we pop out of the mountain only to find a thousand Kai warships waiting for us. I cycled through the acceleration creches, finding my parents’ two rows down from me, both a healthy green.
“Admiral Shaw, we’re cleared for launch,” the pilot’s voice said over the comm. Captain Jun was a female according to the display data next to her name, but she sounded like the gruffest, toughest Marine my brain could imagine.
“Roger that,” my father replied in a tight voice. “Let’s light ‘em up and get the hell off this rock ASAP.”
I turned my attention back to the engineering window. The fusion reactors had been steady at five percent until a few minutes ago when they began to slowly climb into the thirty percent range. I watched, holding my breath involuntarily, as the numbers inched into the low forties, then suddenly ramped up to ninety before leveling off and continuing their journey to one hundred. I expected the ship to vibrate or hum just like in all the movies, but I felt and heard nothing. I wasn’t sure if the gel in my creche was dampening any sensations. I could still hear the muffled noises of the last few sailors climbing into their own creches after securing the rest of the passengers. Continue reading
Mom and Dad talked for a while, though not before sending me off to a corner of the room to read. I had finally calmed down enough to begin once again daydreaming of the strange, shiny ship being prepped a dozen meters down the corridor from me. I felt ashamed that I had cried like a baby, but my mother forced me to admit I’d sneaked enough looks at the holos on the Wire to have a terrifying grasp of what the Kai did to their enemies.
Both Mom and Dad admitted to being just as frightened. When I asked how come they didn’t seem scared, my dad looked away when my mom said they had both done their share of crying over the last few years and didn’t have much—if any—tears left in them. The thought of crying so much that I couldn’t cry ever again scared me almost as much as what I’d seen the Kai do to our colonies. The only thing more terrifying, according to Dad, was how once the Wire went dead, truly awful things happened.
There were rumors the aliens harvested humans for food, used them in disturbing genetic experiments, even dissolving every living person in giant vats of acid. The tales that made me shiver were the ones describing how the Kai set everyone on fire.
I’d burned myself with a nanosolder tool when I was eight. It took almost a month for the wound to completely heal, and hurt even with the pain blockers the doctor prescribed. I shivered again at the thought of that kind of pain all over my body. Continue reading
I tried to raise a single eyebrow again, as this was certainly different than any of the True Responsibilities I’d imagined.
“Hey, good one!” he said with a laugh, and it even made my mom chuckle. “You almost got it.” He changed back to Serious Dad. “Denny, you don’t pay much attention to the news, do you?”
“Not really,” I answered.
Adult news was usually boring unless it had footage from one of the colony worlds under attack, or an important space battle (but those were typically labeled “disasters”). Mom never let me watch any of those news stories, and had done her best to firewall my comm so I couldn’t pull grisly details (and pictures or video) from the Wire. I knew why she didn’t want me to watch them, at least I thought I did, and it had to do with her own experiences in combat.
Mostly, the news always sounded like a bunch of voices all talking at once. Today in blah blah blah, this bad thing happened, a lot more bad stuff happened, here’s the weather and then sports. I did my best to tune it out, but because of my accelerated schooling, thanks to both of my parents being officers in the military, I knew a lot more than most of my peers about what was happening in the galaxy.
I didn’t seek out the news that most adults paid attention to, but I didn’t ignore it either. A lot of the stuff going on around the galaxy made no sense to me for a long time, but I’d learned a lot of “context” (a concept I still struggled with) which made connections between people, places, and events easier to understand. Ever since I found out about Mom and what happened to her at Janus, I paid more attention than ever to any news that entered the small bubble of my world. Continue reading
The elevator opened up into a cavern so large I couldn’t see the far wall. Part of what was blocking my view of the other wall was a starship. I didn’t know how I could know that based on the limited section of it that I could see, but inside, I knew. There was an army of men and women in white lab coats scurrying around the ship like ants around their queen. I looked up toward the ceiling, but there didn’t seem to be one. The walls rose straight up until the darkness swallowed everything. The ship didn’t look like any ship I had ever seen before. It wasn’t that it was so alien that I couldn’t have imagined it, but it was just so… different.
I loved science fiction, both books and movies, though I hadn’t been allowed to see any of the scarier adult versions. I thought I had an idea of what every ship ever conceived of would or could look like. This one didn’t resemble a rocket, the old NASA space shuttles, nor even the Terran Navy’s almost uncountable variations in ships. It didn’t look like any of the Kai ships I had seen on the news and in documentaries.
As I walked along the new yellow line in the floor that began to glow once we stepped out of the elevator, I tried to figure out where the cockpit was, where the engines were, where the airlock for letting crew members in and out could possibly be on the massive vessel before me. The ship looked like a giant, slightly flattened egg with a polished silver outer hull that returned weird images of us as we walked by it. The reflective surface made me think of a funhouse mirror in the way that it distorted every shape it captured. Twice as we continued toward wherever Mom and the yellow line led us, I noticed that some of the reflections would simply wink out, almost as if we had become vampires for a few seconds. Continue reading