Thursday, July 27, 2017

Story Fragments: My Own Star Wars Fork

A little something from a work in progress:

"That will be 100 credits." the shopkeeper said.

Tom handed over a handful of coins to the old man across the counter. He took the receipt in return, and a boy followed Tom outside pulling a hoversled full of parts. As the boy loaded the parts into Tom's car, they heard an explosion erupt down by the smaller docks. Looking up, they see a plume of fire rise from one of the smaller fuel depots, one near where the yacht belonging to House Peregrin sat moored.

"I've got a bad feeling about this." the boy said, hurrying up.

"You're not the only one." Tom said, "Get inside and close up as soon as you're done."

"What is it?" the boy said as he closed the trunk.

"Trouble. I bet it has to do with that noblewoman I saw earlier. Now go!"

Tom turned over the engine as the boy ran back inside. As the engine roared to life, he looked over to see the shopkeeper locking up. Tom nodded, and the shopkeeper gave him a thumbs-up.

"This will be worth Mom and Dad being mad at me for coming back late." Tom said, and off he went towards that trouble. He headed towards the square in the Merchant's Quarter, knowing that any trouble at the docks has to go through there to get deeper into town, and that's where he last saw the girl he told the shopkeeper's boy about.

He turned his comlink on, tuning to the security band. "Target is under Court jurisdiction. Speaker's Seal confirmed. All personnel are directed to keep others away from pursuit."

"This girl's in a heap of trouble." Tom said as he prowled the backstreets to avoid Security patrols, "She has to tied to Uncle Jack somehow."

Tom saw a veiled woman wave him down. He stopped and let her approach, hoping to ask about the pursuit, when he saw the noblewoman's face looking back at him

"I saw you before. Please, let me in." she said, whispering. Without thinking, Tom complied. She hurried to the other side and got in the car, sitting across from him in the front seat. "Drive."

Tom pulled away, and then turned around the block to begin heading out of town. "Who are you?" Tom said, "And why are you here?"

The girl paused a beat. Then she said "Andrea." She turned to Tom, looked at him with a disarming smile and a pair of big blue eyes, "Andrea Peregrin."

Tom felt a surge of heat in his chest and face, and he returned that smile with his own. "Tom Walton" he said.

"Walton? Would you know a Sir Jeremiah Walton?" Andrea said, "He's be old enough to be your father."

Tom shook his head as he turned the car towards the gate out of the Merchant Quarter. "Doesn't ring a bell, and my parents aren't the sort to know either, but maybe my uncle Jack does. If there's any other Walton around this part of the galaxy, he'd know."

Andrea sank into her seat. "I see."

The comlink blared again. "Target eludes Court trackers in the Merchant Quarter. Suspected of taking a disguise. Requesting local support to locate. Lethal force authorized against accomplices."

Andrea turned to Tom, but found him unconcerned. "They can't hit the broadside of a barn." he said, "Tell me about these trackers."

"Bounty hunters, acting with the authority of the Court of Stars, specifically of the Speaker's Office." Andrea said, her voice trembling a bit, "My mother warned me that they would come after me."

Tom took her hand. "Just sit tight. I'll get you to Uncle Jack, and he can help you from there."

Tom turned the car to approach the gate. A Security android stopped them, and Tom presented his credentials. The android then pointed to Andrea. "Identify."

Tom looked over at Andrea, flashed her that smile again, then turned back to the android. "Protocol GOSG-77." Tom said, and the android seemed to short-circuit for a moment. "Understood, General. Carry on. Victory to the Loyalists!"

Tom saluted and moved along before the android's programming reset. "What was that?" Andrea said.

"Something Uncle Jack told me. He noticed that the androids are all holdovers from the civil war, but the reprogramming wasn't done well so old protocols remains as backdoors. Uncle Jack and I use them whenever we get into jams like that."

Andrea smiled, and she felt relieved. "I can't wait to meet your uncle. He sounds like a delightful man."

The comlink blared. "Target detected escaping Merchant Quarter with accomplice. Pursuit engaged. All personnel ordered to respond and support."

"Strap in, princess." Tom said, "We're in for it now."

Andrea did as Tom asked. "How did you know that I am a princess?"

Without thought, Tom said "How you move." Then a moment later, the gravity of that revelation hit him just as the first pursuit car fired on them. This is a Princess of the Peregrin Dynasty! Tom shifted up a gear and floored the accelerator petal.

"Tom!" Andrea said, "Please tell me that you know what you are doing!"

"I know what I'm doing!" Tom said as the car burst into the main street, sideswiped another pursuit car, and then gunned it for the main gate leading out of town. "Once we're past the gate, I can lose them, and after that you're seeing Uncle Jack."

And before that.

Tom stood in the doorway to his uncle's garage, where he saw the burly old man put away an open-faced cylinder. "Uncle Jack?"

"Your father told me that you saw some girl in town this morning." Jack pulled up a stool and took a seat. "I would've just laughed at him for being too much like your grandfather, but then he said he sent you here over that girl. That usually means one thing."

Tom shuffled his feet, looking down at them in embarrassment. "I don't get it." Tom said, "I just saw this really pretty rich girl in the Merchant Quarter while I got stuff Mom and Dad wanted."

Jack chuckled. "Tell you what, my boy. I'll give you another excuse to see this girl, see if she's what you think she is."

"Really?" Tom said.

Jack pulled a list from a back pocket on his pants. "Get in the car and go pick up my parts. The shopkeeper told me that they're in, and I know your father won't mind. Get the receipt; I'll reimburse your father when you get back."

"But your parts shop isn't in the Merchant Quarter." Tom said.

Jack laughed. "It wouldn't be a plausible excuse if it didn't give you a reason to take a scenic detour now, would it?"

A moment later, Tom grasped the concept, and he jumped for joy. "Thanks, Uncle Jack!"

"Don't blow it, kid." Jack said, "You're a Walton, and we don't do romance by half-measures. She'd better be worth it."

Tom smiled and saluted. "She is!" he said, and out the door he went. As Tom ran back to his parents' house to take the car out, again, Jack went to a safe inside his house. There he retrieved a faded photograph of himself, proud in the uniform of the Solar Guard, from 20 years ago. In his arms, a radiant princess royal kissing him with all the passion of the stars combined.

"So was she." Jack said, a tear running down his cheek. "So was she."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Audiobooks, Castalia Signs McCarthy, & My Updates

First: Brian Niemeier's "On The Books" had Jim Fear on this week to talk about audiobooks. The show went well into the topic, which means that it dealt with the business of the matter and what it means for you, Mr. Indie Author, as it gives you an opportunity for your book to produce yet another revenue stream. This one's well worth your time.

Second: Tara McCarthy, one half of "Virtue of the West" (w/ Brittany Pettibone, also an author w/ her twin sister of Hatred Day), signed a contract with Castalia House. Her first book is Irreplacable: How And Why We Must Save The West and the link will take you to a page where you can opt-in for email notifications.

Third: Now that Astounding Frontiers is live, I know of five outlets that are friendly to all things Pulp, Superversive, and pro-Puppy (i.e. anti-SJW and the Pink Slime fake SF/F crap that SJWs produce). (The others being Lyonesse, Sci-Phi Journal, Story Hack, and Cirsova.) This is good news. I can only hope that (a) these succeed beyond the wishes of their founders and (b) more come online as the marketplace for non-converged stories once more shows itself.

Fourth: The anthology is still in the editors' hands, so I have nothing else I can say at this time. As for my own projects, I've gone over my novel manuscript and picked it apart. Revising has begun, using everything I've learned since I wrote that thing to make the work into something good that sells. The revision's objective is to produce three not-fat-fucking-tomes (so, around 60K words) and release them in quick succession. Cut material will either be put up here or reworked into shorts (initially intended to be offered to the above outlets) before being collected and published in a volume. Once I have a manuscript done, I'll get more in detail about this.

Oh, and I may throw out another post this weekend with some stuff I'm thinking of cutting.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Don't Fear The Adaptation!

The description for this week's On The Books says it all: Author Brian Niemeier and Geek Gab Prime host Daddy Warpig chat with Mike Lermon and Richard Rosenthal, the producers of John Ringo's Black Tide Rising TV project.

Anyone going "OH, JOHN RINGO, NO!" can go fuck themselves. This is an awesome development, and I am thrilled that Ringo gets to have any of his books adapted into another medium. In this case, it's a television serial aimed at streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, but I wouldn't care if it was by Animal Planet as a docu-drama starring lemurs. The very fact that someone cut a check for the rights to do it means that Ringo did his job well enough to merit a second payday, and "Writer Gets Paid" is the fundamental measure of acumen for a professional writer.

This is why, as best you can, you need to retain rights to your work because your ability to negotiate the license of those rights to other parties is a vital secondary source of income for your work- and you need not write another word to make it happen. You'll likely need to turn around some of that income to a lawyer to help you navigate the contract and ensure compliance, but it's worth it.

The stories you create are valuable property in and of themselves, able to generate wealth well after you die in a passive manner, so don't fear the adaptation. Even if it's a dumpster fire, they still had to cut you a respectable check to make that happen, and you get to learn from your mistake without too much pain. Know your rights and guard then well; they can make the effort to write that book pay off for decades to come.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Geek Gab's "On The Books" Nails It Again

Brian Niemeier's mid-week show on the growing Geek Gab podcast network nailed it again with this week's show. (You are subscribed to the Geek Gab channel, somehow, right? You should be!) This week he talks with Jon Del Arroz about Jon's new novel, For Steam and Country, and the inevitable necessity for authors to be competent businessmen- especially as indie authors.

It's unfortunate that YouTube doesn't do Chat Replay. As usual for a Geek Gab show, the live chat is a value-added experience that the show itself cannot possibly take full advantage of for later listeners. I encourage you to, if you can, make it when the show is live (until such time as Chat Replay is a thing). The chat conversations are often as good as one's going on in the show itself.