“Genesis-6” covert art done!

Trevor Smith has finished the cover art for “Genesis-6.” G-6 is the sequel to “End of the Line.” Rebecca Frank (Weaver) is working on the typography right now. This book should be released sometime around December 2015!

“Genesis-6” cover art by Trevor Smith

Launch Sequence I (a “Genesis-6” story in “End of the Line” universe)

SOME of you have arrived because you’ve read “End of the Line.” Some of you are probably VERY angry at me for what I’ve done to humanity. I would like to remind you, before you launch a plasma grenade through my window, that EotL is just a story. Fiction.

I would also like to remind you that as bitter and depressing as EotL was, it of course was NOT the end… though I doubt anyone will be prepared for what becomes of humanity. Don’t worry, it’s pretty good. Keep in mind that I’m judging my own writing, so you should be wary of any claims I make about it being “pretty good.”

Right. The chapter preview at the end of EotL is “Launch Sequence II.” What you are about to read is actually the first novella of the sequel, and takes place before LS-II. Don’t worry, it all ties together. EVERYONE DIES! Haha, just kidding. Maybe. We’ll see.

ONE

My mother held my hand so tight that it began to hurt. She gave me a soothing look, but I could see the fear in her eyes. I didn’t really understand what was happening, but I knew that all of the adults were scared. The thunderous booms that filtered down through the underground complex resonated regularly. Every thump caused Mom to jump a little, and each time she would squeeze my hand even more.

“Mom, you’re hurting me,” I said after another powerful explosion made the world around us vibrate.

“I’m sorry, honey,” she replied, relaxing her grip, then giving me a quick hug while holding a small smile on her face for a few seconds. “I’m just nervous.”

Another boom, this time louder than any previous, rumbled down the walls. I could hear other children crying, whimpering in the line all around us, along with the voices of parents doing their best to soothe them. Just like my mother was doing for me. I wondered again if I was dreaming.

—|—

A week ago, I was playing in the park, beating my friends at video games, and practicing with my school’s basketball team. At ten years old, I didn’t pay much attention to the adult things like the news unless my father left the tablet screen open to the cartoons, though some of the cartoons made no sense. Chancellor Ryley was a woman who looked almost like my mother, and I didn’t understand why some cartoons showed her as a donkey, or why the aliens we were at war with were stuffing apple pies into her exaggeratedly large mouth.

Sometimes I liked to read the sports section. Earth was two hundred light years away, but they had all of the best leagues and sports, as some sports couldn’t be played on colony worlds if the gravity or atmosphere wasn’t right. Once in a while, my own name was in the local sports section, along with those of my teammates. Sometimes we got our pictures in the news as well. My father printed a hardcopy of the time I made the news by scoring the winning basket in the championship game when I was eight.

It was a distraction from the hushed whispering—sometimes even shouting and shoving—that the adults did over what was happening in the Coalition. All of us kids were told not to worry about any of that, only to focus on the next game, the next day, the next homework assignment. It was easy for me, though it made me uncomfortable around certain adults, as they sometimes forgot to stop worrying and focus on the next game, day, or work assignment. Continue reading

It’s Harder This Way – Chapter One

And finally tonight, many, many, MANY readers have been waiting for some sign of life concerning a sequel to “It’s Better This Way.” Well… “It’s Harder This Way” is getting dusted off and is in the queue. Here’s a sample. Keep in mind, it hasn’t been heavily edited (or even lightly edited). Enjoy! I’ll update as more gets written ;).

1. Onward and Forward

“Mr. Greggs, sir?” Spider asked, skidding to a halt in front of me.

“Spider,” I said, trying not to laugh at his name, “just call me Evan.”

“Evan, sir,” he said, fumbling the words. I could tell that it was hard for him to keep the Mister title from slipping out. “There’s an army scout coming up the road.” He looked back, as if the scout had been stalking him, then back at me. I nodded for him to go on. “He’s coming to you and Mist… Tony.”

“Okay,” I said, glancing over at Tony Galliardi. He shrugged. “Make sure he finds his way to us, and make sure no one says anything. Go.”

We watched him run back down the road, an all-out sprint at first, then after a sheepish look back at us, he smoothed out into a jog. I picked up my pack, shouldered it, waited for Tony to do the same, then began walking south again along the Willamette Highway.

“Who do you think taught him manners like that?” Tony asked as we put one foot in front of the other.

“No clue,” I said with a chuckle. “Is he a Farm kid, or from one of the outer reaches?”

“He’s one of the Davies’ kids. From up on the northeast edge.”

“Huh,” I said, trying to place the family to the location. “I don’t remember them. Seems like a good kid, though.”

“Let’s just hope he doesn’t fall on his knife while trying to slice into an apple.”

I laughed, imagining the gangly teenager tripping over his own two feet, especially around council members. We stopped when we came to the small bridge over Big Marsh Creek. Tony gave the halt signal to the… soldiers behind us. I didn’t want to call them soldiers, as they definitely weren’t that. They passed the signal back down the line, where it would eventually reach the rear, almost a mile behind us. Continue reading

Chronvalescent (a story in the “Departure” universe)

If you’ve never read “Departure,” then this story might not make as much sense. Then again, it might not make much sense mostly because I wrote it…

NOTES: Not edited, so there will be mistakes/errors. I am around 85% finished with the story, which has sort of come on strong over the last few days out of nowhere. I AM planning on a sequel to “Departure” (and in effect, this story as well), which will be titled “Arrival.” This story together with “Departure” will give a more complete backstory to “Arrival.”

CHAPTER ONE

“We have to go, Drea,” Melly said, tugging my arm.

“I don’t want to,” I said. She heard the sulking, near-whining in my voice. “Well, I don’t. I want to stay here with you.”

“You can’t,” she said, her voice heavy with emotion. “You know you can’t. We’ve talked about this for years.”

“I don’t care,” I said.

“Bullshit. You DO care. You’ve seen what happens when you miss your departure.”

“I don’t care,” I said again, feeling every bit the petulant child that I sounded.

“Then you lied all these years,” she said with sudden anger as she let go and pushed me away. “Because if you cared, you wouldn’t do that to me. You wouldn’t make me watch it.”

“It’s not fair, goddammit!” I nearly screamed. I only kept my voice down because the Hackers were everywhere in this part of the Bower.

“I know, baby,” she said, her face immediately back to the crushing defeat she’d tried to hide from me for the last few months. Hell, the last year or more, but it really began on my 39th birthday. She stroked my cheek, trying to wipe away my single tear without allowing herself to shed any. The heartbreak in her face made me want to fall to the floor and just give up. I would just lie on the floor and cry until I missed my departure. The memory of what happened to the unlucky (or stupid) ones who missed their departures was ingrained in us from childhood. Even without the instructional holos we were forced to watch at various intervals in school, there would be one or two who drove the message home every month when they refused to depart.

“Come on,” Melly said. “We have a ways to go just to get topside.”

When I refused to budge, she cupped my cheeks and pulled me in close. I stared into her eyes for an eternity while she nearly brought me to orgasm with an intensely passionate yet soft, loving, slow kiss. My mind whirled as her tongue gently flitted against mine. Time became nothing. My departure became a worry for someone else. I was no one and nothing, my only thought on Mellisandra and how much I loved her. Continue reading

“End of the Line” published!

“End of the Line” is a pretty dark tale about the last dozen human soldiers left in the galaxy as they witness the horrors of war against an alien enemy who knows (nor shows) no mercy. It’s an adult tale, so it has profanity, violence, and adult situations (like sex stuff but nothing graphic).

Give it a read on your Kindle (it’s exclusive to Amazon for the first 90 days) for $2.99 by clicking on the image below!

Many, MANY special thanks to Trevor Smith for painting such a gorgeous cover, and to Rebecca Weaver for doing such great typography!

“End of the Line” cover update #5

Trevor Smith is done with the ebook covers for “End of the Line,” and now Rebecca Weaver is working her magic with the title/author typography. These are not final versions, but they are looking pretty awesome!

"End of the Line" alternative cover - title test #1

“End of the Line” alternative cover – title test #1

"End of the Line" main cover - title test #1

“End of the Line” main cover – title test #1

“End of the Line” update

Julie Galbraith, my editor for “End of the Line,” has informed me that she is finished with the manuscript. I’ll be going over it once, and then hopefully the cover(s) will be completed and I can get it published ;).

“End of the Line” cover art update #4

Man… what the… Trevor Smith is killing me. I just received TWO possible covers from him. Take a look:

"End of the Line" concept cover art - 3 Marines

“End of the Line” concept cover art – 3 Marines

"End of the Line" concept cover art - Through the Scope

“End of the Line” concept cover art – Through the Scope

 

Top picture – “Three Marines”
Bottom picture – “Through the Scope”

So… my dilemma is… which one? I’m actually thinking of asking Amazon if I can offer alternate covers, and if not, use one for the ebook and the other for the print paperback. What do you think?

“End of the Line” concept art update #3-ish

Right. So. Trevor Smith and I came to the conclusion that the original cover idea gave away too much, so he’s back at the drawing board. However, we both loved what he’d drawn before scrapping the idea, and Trevor has decided to keep working on it to add to his portfolio.

The new cover will have Terran Marines in their CR-31 combat fighting suit, probably blasting the bad aliens and such. In the meantime, here’s some more of the original art that won’t be on the cover (however, I might go ahead and purchase it as an alternative cover for the paperbacks, because it is pretty damn awesome).

More concept art from Trevor Smith for "End of the Line."

More concept art from Trevor Smith for “End of the Line.”

End of the Line – Chapter One

(First chapter of a nearly finished post-apocalyptic, alien invasion, military science fiction novel. Not sure why I can no longer get proper formatting in these posts anymore…)

ONE

I watched the endless lines of humans allow themselves to be herded to their deaths from three miles away. The combat scope’s digital zoom was top-notch, and allowed me to see too much detail. A woman in a torn red dress, crying with two children clutched to her chest, a family of at least eight, most of the children still in their pre-teen years, a group of at least thirty senior citizens, all of them too dazed to resist as they were led like cattle to the slaughterhouse.

The building that housed the Kai ovens reminded me of a warped children’s toy, one invented by a sadistic madman. Instead of malleable clay being fed into one end and spaghetti or pizza coming out the other, this one took in human beings and belched out an oily, blackish-grey smoke that hung in the air like thick smog. I wondered if the Kai had bothered to learn some human history, then decided to pick one of the most terrible events ever recorded as a fitting end for us. We had no idea what the Kai had done to the Hanura, other than once the Wire had gone silent, their amusing voices no longer chattering on the network, we knew that they’d become part of galactic history. The same with The Seven, our other ally against the Kai. Maybe this was the way that the Kai always vanquished their foes.

A commotion to the right caught my attention and I shifted the scope. A Kai soldier had picked up a human in each of its two powerful hands and carried them toward the entrance of the furnace. The two Kai soldiers guarding the doorway stepped forward to block the mass of humans while their comrade dragged the kicking, screaming men inside the building. The soldier reappeared three seconds later, and began patrolling the area as if nothing had happened. I thumbed the power button on the scope and rolled over when the Kai began shuffling people into the incinerator again. I couldn’t watch anymore.

“How bad is it?” Sergeant McAdams asked me from a few feet down the hillside.

“The same as Denver, Salt Lake, and Great Falls,” I whispered down to her.

“Come on, let’s go,” she said.
Continue reading