I am very excited to share the cover of our new anthology.
This has turned out pretty darn well.
Thank you to Jeff Minkevics for the wonderful cover.
Believe it or not, the idea that writers write is not as universally accepted as you might imagine. And the worst part many people who call themselves writers don’t write. Oh they talk the talk, but when it comes right down to the actually butt in chair fingers on keyboard, or pen to paper time, it just does not happen.
Oh these folks have reasons aplenty why they are not writing.
They are too busy,
they have writers block,
they can’t think of anything,
some major life event,
they have a day job…
All of these things are legitimate, but in the end it means that they are not writing. I have been a member of this club for way too long. About 6 years ago now, I started my writing career over, and for at least three years I wrote almost every day. I loved it. The stories I put out were not great, they were not works of art, but they were stories and I had a great time working on them. (By the way if you are interested you can still see many of them over at GreatHites) Then something happened. Really several somethings, and writing got harder. Harder to find the time, harder to make it happen, and well, the list of reasons why I was not writing was higher than my word count.
That is going to change. I realized that I really want to be an author. I want to have more than one published book to my name, and that if I want these things to be true, then I need to actually do something about it.
To that end, I am going to try to kick start my writing again. I am going to attempt NaNoWriMo again this year. You can find my author page if you would like to follow my progress or join in and be a “writing buddy” here.
Yes, the novel that I am writing sounds very much like something that you might find on my bookstore, and it should because it is the expanded version of that story. I am taking it a little bit easy on myself this year and not going into NaNo completely blind, this will be a rewrite for a lot of this story. I have written about 30,000 words of this story already, but most, if not all of it needs work, and this rewrite will hopefully clear some of that up. Hopefully by the end of November I will have a complete story that I can start editing in January. And then in December I can start going back to other projects that I have abandoned over the last few years.
I have to make something clear. Those things, that list the reasons I stopped writing, they are all still there. Being busy, major life events, they still happen, but I need to find a balance. I need to figure out how to make all of it work. This is not going to be easy, but if I want to be an author, it is something I need to do.
Wish me luck.
A new short story from me.
Death, the ultimate of headmasters, has a test for Mother Nature. If she passes she will finally get that finally piece to her project, but if she fails it could mean the end to all life in the system.
Nature stood, her arms to her sides, on the edge of the eternal field high above creation and waited. This was the third time in a month she had been called here and she was getting pretty darn tired of it. It was not like she had all the time in the world. She really did have things to do, papers to write, undergrad tests to grade and articles that her colleagues were begging her to read and get back to them about. It seemed unfair that she had to keep coming out here.
If you send me the receipt from this book I will send you a code to get one of my other stories for Free.
Originally posted on Aug 25, 2008
Peter S Won this week. Thank you Peter for submitting, and please come back any time you like.
Submitted By Peter S.
Evolution is a wondrous thing. It is fickle and gruff and subtle and violent. It is a speeding bullet headed toward rice paper. It does things, not because it can, or it should, or it was suggested that it do so, but none the less, it still does, and these choices are not negotiable. You cannot decide to undo something like evolution. It is just done, no questions asked, none offered and none accepted. The choice is made and you MUST accept it.
Sometimes the biggest changes are the hardest to fathom. Evolution made one of these amazing and infuriating choices here which changed every carbon-based life-form on this planet. Changed it for eternity. Oh, they did not notice it at first, as most sentient life-forms rarely notice things at the macro level until it is way too obvious, but they must have tasted some of the changes. It must have been so odd at first. A report here shows how some found it odd that some persons can crave sugar like that. Crave sugar in any form. Raw, unprocessed sugar seemed to be their favorite, an almost obsessive choice, but granulated and cubed started out as a tolerable choice as well. The others, almost understandably, were confused by this new ‘sub-culture’ appearing. Some thought it was a fad, a phase, like bed-wetting or extreme sports that would naturally disappear after some unknown point, be it age, or intelligence or just time. But it never did. It never went away. Never subsided, or dissipated, until it was too late.
This change was so very important. So very monumental in their history but they were too preoccupied by other things to devote the necessary time to investigate this phenomenon properly. They all had a larger problem to worry about. Apparently it was called Columbia.
Columbia was a world power. They came to this power quickly, having sold an addictive narcotic called coffee. Apparently everyone on this planet was hooked, or as they called it, a caffeine junkie. This was not a problem for them as long as everyone had their coffee. There was an order to this world. The order was peppered with odd words, words like mocha, grande, extra extra extra sweet, frappuchino and other equally odd words, which as an inter-galactic archaeologist, I hope to translate one day. Anyhow, it was because of this new and growing sub-group that over 10000 years ago the Eugenic War started. Started and very quickly ended with the completely thorough annihilation of all life on this planet. This war was started all because Caffeine junkies were left with no sugar for the coffee.
Casualties Of War Audio
Casualties Of War
“There are so many things that make war and ugly business, but probably one of the worst what is lost. Loss is by far the worst part of war.” The Captain stood, but deftly grabbed the desktop to prevent himself from rising up and hitting his head on the ceiling. Many of the younger members of his audience had been born at this level of gravity so the slow moment required to prevent such an action was in their nature he knew. Not him, he was born on Earth, Earth before the war. And no matter how many years he spent out here, he would probably always do things like that. “We all lost so much,” he said as much to himself as to the new crew.
“Sir, are you ready for the slides?” The XO asked. He was a good strong officer, and wonderful at keep the captain from getting mired in the past.
“Yes. Before we begin our tour of duty, I must remind you of why we are here. Forty years ago, the Martian and a few of the belt colonies decided they did not want to be ruled by the central government on Earth. Earth, forgetting the past attempted to repress the colonies into submission. Then just like the Americas of five centuries before, the outer colonies rebelled and decided to fight for their freedom.” He thought back to the first attacks. They were so minor: hitting the robotic probes, destroying minor communication satellites, rejecting the shipments of the extras, setting up their own government. It should not have escalated the way it did. “I don’t pretend that I was not biased in those days… I was a citizen of Earth, I didn’t understand why they felt they needed to break away. But now I don’t care,” He took a step around to the front of the desk so that they could all see him, taking care to step slowly. “And to be honest, I don’t care what you think now. We are nearing the half century mark since the war that made man’s cradle a radioactive mess and people are talking about fighting again. You would think that people would remember the losses we suffered and never make that mistake again.”
“Next slide sir.”
“Thank you. Mr. Murphy and I are dedicated to our cause. We both have an unswerving understanding of what is at stake here. So should you not agree with our cause, stow it, and keep it stowed until your tour is over. It will not be tolerated here.” He said raising his voice to the limit of the sound systems ability.
The three dimensional slides to this point had been showing pictures of green forest lush fields, and the Terra-formed Martian landscapes. Now it divided into four sections and showed burned out ship hulls, ruined cites both Terran and Martian, and burned out forests. The slide was over laid with the sounds of an ancient Geiger counters tick tick ticking and occasional squeals. He let the slide stay on the screen a few seconds longer than switched to the next one. This one more horrific than the last, the charred remains of humans, floating space suited bodies, and live stock turned to ash where the stood in the fields.
“We ruined the two best planets that we have access to.” He said quietly “Utterly destroyed them, and made the inhabitable for human kind for at least a hundred years. Now we as a species have exiled ourselves to a few large bodies in the belt and the moons of Jupiter. And yet!” He said topping out the sounds system again, “We have not learned our lesson. There are factions at work that want us to go to war again! Next slide,” he said calmly. “The Interplanetary Fleet was commissioned 30 years ago as one of the first acts of our system wide government, to protect the peace and to prevent us from wiping our species off of the galactic map.”
He paused and sat down again behind his desk. The XO stepped forward in front of the projection of his boss. “Room, Ten Hut!” Everyone in the room stood as sharply as possible, and stood stone still in a position of attention. An ancient custom, but one the captain would not relinquish.
“Dismissed!” Captain Fin McGrath said standing smoothly and returning his XO’s salute. “Return to your duty stations, we will be leaving space port in fifteen minutes,” then more quietly “Murphy please come to my ready room with the rooster.”
“Yes sir.” Murphy dropped his salute and switch off the large monitor. Two minutes later the chime at his door rang.
“Come in.” The XO floated carefully through the door a data chip in one hand and two coffee bulbs in the other. “Ah, thanks Murphy, you always know what is needed,” McGrath said taking one of the bulbs and the data chip.
“Probably why you keep me around sir.”
“I would not be so cocky there,” McGrath said swallowing the first bitter sip. “Unless you find me some sugar for this stuff I might have to find a new XO.”
“Even with all my connections there are some things that even I can’t do. And getting the sugar to grow in a low gravity environment is one of them. And the stored stuff is nearly five hundred credits a pound, if you could ever find that much of it in one place. You could always use one of the fruit extracts to sweeten it.” This was a well rehearsed conversation and the captain knew his next line without even thinking about it.
“That is next to mutiny my friend, one more comment like that and you will be taking a walk out an air lock. Coffee should taste like coffee not apples or peaches. Talk about your casualties of war, who would have thought…” he trailed off.
“Very well. As you know the roster has two points of concern.” Murphy said sliding seamlessly into the next conversation. He pointed to the two red highlighted areas on the projected screen. “The first one is easily remedied, we simply have the navigators rotate eighteen hour shift. Three slots are needed with only two men, they will get a break when we get to Cerise, and pick up someone for the vacant slot. And you and I can help relieve them.”
“A Captain? Doing navigator functions?” he said in mock indignation. The XO ignored him and continued.
“The second, as you know is more worrisome. I attempted to get a replacement for him before we left dock but the only way to do that would have let him know that Interpol was on to him, so we will have to keep an eye on him ourselves for the time being.”
“And you have confirmed with Interpol that he is a Martian sympathizer?”
“Yes, he has been in contact with two of the local leaders in the last week. To that end, they have issued us both sidearms.”
“You think that is necessary Fava?” The XO nodded. “I must confess that I don’t like the idea of weapons walking around the ship, even in our hands. Too many chances.”
“Fin, You know that I feel the same way but.” He trailed off for a moment. “The last time a Martian sympathizer was on an IPF ship they managed nearly crashed it into Cerise Colony, and both the captain and the XO were the first two they went after. Their bodies still have not been found. If midshipman Hector has any ideas, I want to be prepared.”
“Your point is well taken.” He accepted the small weapon that was not much more than a child’s dart gun and slid it into his coat pocket. “We had better get to the bridge for launch. I don’t have to tell you to keep that information close to you at all times.”
The two them them made their way toward the bridge when Murphy bumped into his captain, knocked of balance by something that had hit him in the back of the head.
“You will have to be more careful there Fava, the crew will start calling us old timers…” He never finished the statement, as his executive officer’s body continued to fall, eyes rolled back in his head. McGrath turned just in time to see a second dart fly past him. Three men stood in the passageway one of them struggled to reload a makeshift dart gun.
“That will be enough, Captain.” We could easily take the ship by force, but unless you want to see exterior of your ship first hand, I suggest your cooperate.” Two of the men moved forward toward him and grabbed the XO’s body.
“What are you going to do with him?”
“Nothing but lock him in your ready room for now, but I must say it is very tempting to see what a few minutes of O2 deprivation would do to the great mind of Fava Murphy. He had been a thorn in our side for a long time.”
“What do you want?”
“Simple, launch the ship as normal.”
“But then what?”
“Oh come now Captain, this is not some cheesy novel where will tell you what we plan so you can thwart us. There will be no heroes today. For now launch the ship, we will deal with one thing at a time.”
“Very well, let’s get to the bridge. We only have a few minutes until launch.” The two men carried the OX back to the captain’s ready room waited there, while Hector followed the Captain to the bridge. McGrath palmed the lock to the bridge and the door popped open. He left is palm on the lock a moment longer than necessary and tapped his two middle fingers on it to alert the security officer there was a problem.
“Alright everyone ready for a smooth launch?” McGrath announced his presents on the the bridge in the normal way. “Midshipman Hector here is studying for his navigators test and since we are short one navigator, I thought we would get him some hands on training.” Hector shot him a glance. “I had to have an explanation for you being here.” he whispered to the unasked question. “So Ensign Paul, would you kindly show him what you are doing?”
“Of course sir.”
“Good. Head over there midshipman, and just watch over his shoulder.” Hector moved slowly to the navigator’s position and looked at the screen for a moment. Just long enough for Fin to fire his side arm. The would-be hijacker slipped to the floor. “Ensign Paul, quickly get his wrist strap and put it on. They are no undoubtedly monitoring for something like this. Your heart rate should fool them for a few minutes.” He moved to his chair and pushed the button for his encrypted communication channel. “Begin the launch sequence as normal.” He said to the rest of bridge crew. He waited for the beep that told him the encryption was active. “Tom, they have Murphy, I saw them heading for my ready room.”
The voice that came back was not the one he expected. “I am afraid Tom can’t talk right now, he and Commander Murphy are having some trouble breathing at the moment. Launch the ship now or more people will be taking a walk.” The line went dead.
McGrath hung his head for a moment. Then stood and issued the command to begin the launch. “Damn MS!” he swore. “Forgive me Fava, you were a very good man. I should have acted quicker.”
A few moments later the ship was underway, and there was a knock at the bridge door. “Let us in, or more people walk home.” The voice from the other side said with an eerie calm. The communications officer stood to open the door, but McGrath shook his head.
“I will not give them someone else to kill.” He made his way to the door and palmed it, then slid his had off the pad rapidly in sideways swipe. The door clicked as normal, then the whoosh of the pressure seals could be heard as they flung the door open in an emergency decompress action. Both men behind the door where slammed violently against the passageway wall. “That is why you don’t stand right behind the doors.” He said to the young bridge crew. “Ensign Paul would you begin plotting us a course to return the station. We have had some terrible losses today and our departure is going to be delayed.” He breathed deeply to calm his voice. “And called down to the galley and get me some coffee, with some real sugar in it.”
Casualties of war by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.
If you have not already heard Michell Plested and I are at it again. We are soliciting submissions for a new anthology. This time we are looking for stories about Magical portals that take you to those places that are, well let’s just say that they are not on the top ten destinations you would pick for a vacation.
Today we wanted to share with you a quick example of what we are looking for, and give you people out there who might want to read the book, and idea of what you would be getting into.
You might think that the editors of a book called, A Method To the Madness: A Guide to The Super Evil, would themselves be pretty evil. Well believe it or not, we aren’t.
To prove the point we have decided that from time to time we will post snippets of stories that we may or may not be developing for this anthology. We are doing this for two reasons. First, for the readers, we want you to be interested, to know what you are getting when you buy this book. Second for the writers, we want to give you and idea of what we are looking for. Obviously this is only an example written by one of the authors, but it should give you some ideas.
Here is our first example. This has a working title of: The Other Wonderland
Wonderland is one of those places that could really go either way. There is of course the truly wonderful Wonderland, the one with friendly creatures, and food on every tree that you can just pick and take with you. Everything your heart could desire right at hand all the time. It is really a wonderful place to go. I should know, I have been there several times. There is also the not so wonderful Wonderland where the wonder is more of a, “I wonder what kind of sick twisted mind made up this place.” I had never been there, that was until today.
I should back up and explain a little bit. I am Colonel Jack Underwood, the portal seeker. It is my job to seek out and find portals for the rich and, well really the rich, and sometimes the people who have enough power, that they act like they are rich. Anyway, my job is to seek out the portals to these places so these people have a place to go when the troubles of too warm bree cheese and too cold champagne become too much for them to handle.
Normally I seek out places like Wonderland, the first type not the second, for them. Not Wonderland itself, of course. I keep that one just for me. I have to have some place to go when things start to get bad, or when I have had a trip to one of those places that one does not bother to talk about. They always want those idyllic settings with hot and cold running everything. And they are out there, have no doubt about that. They are not even that hard to find; the auras that the portals themselves give off tell you a lot about the worlds they lead to. Not everything mind you and sometimes they can fool you but normally you can get a good read that way.
That is what happened this time. Usually if a world gives off one of those feelings, I don’t even bother going in. I mean what is the point? I don’t get paid for taking them places they don’t want to go. But sometimes I get a real nut job, one that wants to take a gun in and blast everything in sight, or bring out a trophy that no one else has. That is dangerous business for me so I tend to stay away from it but, once in a while, the money is just too good to pass up so I keep a couple of those tucked away for times like those.
As I was saying, what happened this time was the biggest hazzard of my job. Everything looked great, the aura was good, the look and feel of the place felt right, everything was in place. So I armed myself up with the normal gear and set out to explore this new world. As soon as I set foot in the place I realized I was in for more than I bargained for. It was not the look of the place. Like I said, it looked like wonderland. There were no dangerous animals, that I could see at least.
I guess you could say that we are still pretty evil, for giving you such a little teaser but we are hopeful that you will like it and that it might get those creative juices flowing.
Best of luck to all of you, no matter what portal you have just come through.
For more information about the book, how to submit your own magic portal story or to keep up on all the news from Col. Jack Underwood please visit http://portalundermysink.wordpress.com/
There is a Portal Under My Sink: And Other Stories Of Places you Don’t Want to Go is a new project by Michell Plested and myself. The anthology is a somewhat humorous, somewhat serious look at all those portals to places you may not want to visit.
From the editors that brought you, A Method To The Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil, comes the official book of stories for all those magic portals to places you might not really want to visit.
Everyone always talks about all the ones that take you good places like Narnia, Terabithia and even some place that serves cake I am told. But what about all those magic portals that take you places that you don’t want to go?
We are selecting the ten best places (or is it worst?), distilled from the ramblings and mutterings of madmen who have come back half-broken to tell their tales. These are their stories of adventure and magical places you might not really want to go to.
For more information about the project or to submit your story go to PortalUnderMySink.wordpress.com
You might have seen this post once before, and you might notice that the text of the story itself is missing. Well there is a reason for that. shortly after I posted it, one of the editors of Every Photo Tells read it and said that they liked it. (Thanks Odin) He wanted me to submit it to them. They don’t have any exclusivity clause or anything but I thought since I was submitting it somewhere I would pull it down off my site.
The Very Talented Mick Bordet did a wonderful reading of the story, that you can find below.
Thank you very much to the crew at Every Photo Tells for taking this story on. I am really grateful.
This is a piece that was fueled by my sleeping through half of Lincoln two nights ago and popping my head in every 15 minutes or so while my wife watched War Horse. By the way, both look like good movies but I can’t be sure unless I get to see them all the way through.
The title is a play on the book “My Brother Sam is Dead.“ A book that my fifth grade teacher read to our class, and I remember really enjoying.
Click Here for the Audio Version
You can also get the story in e-copy on smashwords for free until the end of August with the coupon code DQ29K. After that it will be just $.99.
Just a quick note to share with you that I got my first video review yesterday (below.) I was so excited I created a video reply this morning (also below.) I think they speak for themselves so on with the videos
And if you want to get The Voyage Home or any other stories, check out my Book Store
I just wanted to share a little of what I was working on today. I have had this idea in my head for a while. Today it said it needed to come out. I like this scene because I hope it gives you just enough about the protagonist that it makes you want more, while still giving you a bit of action.
This novella or a longer short story is not like most of the stuff I write since it is neither science fiction nor fantasy.
Here we meet Bob. Bob is a professional. He takes his work, and loyalty to his boss and his men very seriously, two things that are likely to cause him some trouble.
I hope the rest of the story might kind of surprise you but this scene is still a lot of fun.
Last, while I know this is still rough (I just wrote it today) any feedback you have is always welcome.
Bob stood in the tiny office space, looked at the Man laying on the floor nearly mummified in duct tape and shook his head. What a waste. The fools had used nearly a hundred dollars in duct tape and for what? This guy wasn’t going anywhere. He didn’t need this much tape to hold him. They probably could have gotten away with a couple of wraps around his wrists and one or two at his ankles.
It is a misconception that you need more at the ankles, because the legs are usually stronger than the arms. In fact, the muscles you would use to pull your legs part are usually pretty weak, and the ones you use to pull your arms part are proportionally stronger. These new guys were amateurs. They would certainly need a good talking to when they got back tonight.
Bob rubbed his face and hoped that the man laying on the floor took the look of disappointment to mean he was disappointed in him and not the guys who had made this mess.
Out loud he said, “Roger, you have not been fulfilling your part of our arrangement.”
A muffled grunt from the man on the floor.
That was the last straw.
Bob tried to control the eye roll that he knew was likely telling Roger just what he thought about the tape job. That would not be good.
“Nicko.” he said quietly, turning to the man behind him.
“Yeah Tony?” Nicko whispered.
He had been called Tony since he took the job three years ago. It had something to do with the image, but he still could not think of himself as a Tony, or even and Antonio, in his head he would always be Bob.
“Why is Roger’s mouth covered?” He knew he should not be having this conversation here and now but Nicko and his boys needed to know that this was not acceptable. Maybe, If he kept it quiet Roger might just think they were discussing how to work him over.
“I don’t know, I think the guys just went a little crazy here.”
“You think? You think?”
“Well they did go a little nuts with the duck tape.” He pronounced it like it was something used to hold water foul together.
“Just a little?”
“Well, you know how it goes Tony. They get all excited about subduing someone.”
“Well this is over the top. You and your boys need to work on that.”
Turning back to the man on the floor Bob reached into his pocket and fished out the small pocket knife he had there. Roger’s eyes went wide.
“Now Roger, this is going to hurt.”
The smaller mans screams could be heard even through the duct tape.
“You want I should, you know, subdue him some more Tony?”
“No,” Bob said as politely has he could manage. He knew Nicko’s accent, like his name, was just put on for affect, but it was so fake, it bugged him. Then kneeling on Rogers Chest, he carefully cut the duct tape around his mouth.
“Hold still.” He said and then quickly ripped the tape away.
There was a scream of pain and then a series of curses, suggestions about Bob’s parentage, unlikely applications of bodily parts and more curses.
“I think that is why they taped him up like that.” Nicko admitted when Roger finally wound down.