Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Uncharted Territory cover image

Didn't get to this as early as I expected due to a two-mile walk to pick up some groceries followed by a two-mile walk back home (can't remember if I already mentioned this or not, but I don't have a car anymore and can't afford a taxi). But I got it done a few minutes ago despite being exhausted and half-asleep.

Might make some small changes later on, but for the most part, this is what I'm going with.

And now I'm off to bed while I'm still awake enough to drag my ass away from my desk ....

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Another excerpt from Project Revenant

Here's another little snippet from Project Revenant, currently in Kindle Scout. In this one, Otto and Shakira have just made a quick stop at a convenience store and are on their way back to her hot-pink Humvee when she's assaulted by a mugger. It doesn't go as the mugger planned. XD

In the corner of his eye, a hand reached out and clamped onto Shakira's shoulder.
"Into the alley," an unfamiliar voice hissed. "Now!"
Before Otto could turn his head, Shakira spun and rammed her left elbow into something, forcing a startled grunt from the voice's owner.
What …? Otto caught a glimpse of a guy in a black hoodie and sunglasses snapping his head back and starting to fall over. Blood trickled from his nose.
A knife slipped from his right hand and clinked onto the sidewalk.
Shakira dropped the Viso and drove her right fist into the guy's chin, channeling the weight of her entire body into the blow, and the guy toppled over like a felled tree.
the hell? Otto stared at him, only barely able to comprehend what had just happened.
Shakira stared at the guy for several seconds before glancing at the knife and backing away, covering her mouth with her hands. Her eyes opened wider and her whole body shook.
"Oh, shit! I can't believe I just … that guy had a knife! I – I – I gotta sit down." She staggered over to her Humvee, opened the door, and half sat, half collapsed into the seat. She fumbled in her pocket, pulled her phone out, and almost dropped it. "Gotta … gotta call the cops," she muttered.
Otto turned back to the guy she'd dropped, and found him still sprawled face-down. Passersby stopped nearby, flicking their eyes back and forth between him and Shakira.
"Whoa. You knocked him the hell out." Otto grinned at her. "That was awesome! Where'd you learn to fight like that?"
"Growing up with two older brothers." She tried to dial the police and the phone slipped from her trembling fingers. "Had to learn how to fight so they couldn't keep pinning me down and beating the piss out of me."
Otto glanced at the knife guy, turned back to Shakira, and grinned. "That was the hottest thing I've ever seen. You've just become, like, a million times sexier!"
She grimaced as she picked up her phone and tried to dial again. "Ugh. I should've let the bastard mug me."

Shakira Mosely may not be a bioengineered badass or a cyborg soldier, but she still takes no shit.

If you liked this glimpse into the book, please head over to Project Revenant's Kindle Scout page and nominate it. Give it a shot at publication. If it gets enough votes to land a publishing contract, readers who nominated it will get a free copy.

Also, if you'd be so kind, please check out and vote for my entries in several contests over on Inkitt:

Game Over in the "Hidden Gems" novels contest ...
Mission to Bellatrix in the "Entwined" romance contest ...
Fifteen Minutes in the "Reinvent Reality" sci-fi contest ...
Game Changer in the "Fandom" fanfiction contest ...

Game Over, Mission to Bellatrix, and Fifteen Minutes will remain on Inkitt in their entirety, free to read, for the duration of each contest. Once the contest ends, they'll be taken down and will be available only for purchase from Amazon and other sellers.

And please check out my work-in-progress on Inkshares, Uncharted Territory, a full-length novel based on Mission to Bellatrix. I'm planning to begin its pre-order campaign once I've got a the majority of the book finished. After that starts, if it gets at least 750 pre-orders, it'll be published as an ebook, and if it hits at least 1,000 it'll be printed as an actual, physical book. I'll post an announcement when I'm ready to kick off the campaign.

Finally, on upcoming stuff: I'm planning to make a short video about Project Revenant and its scout campaign, which will be uploaded by tomorrow evening, if all goes well. And I'll also whip up a new cover image for Uncharted Territory, aiming for completing and posting it tonight.

More updates coming as more stuff comes together ....

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Project Revenant" Kindle Scout campaign

... and a few other things.

There's a lot to talk about tonight. First of all, I've just gone through a very ... unpleasant time during the past couple of months. I won't go into much detail here, but basically ... I lost my car, came close to losing my (incredibly low-paying) job, and very nearly ended up homeless. I'm still kind of hanging over the abyss, but there's a slim chance that things are improving, at least slightly.

While struggling through all of that, I kept working to finish Project Phoenix, which I retitled Project Revenant. I'd started writing it four years ago, so it was about time I got the thing finished anyway, but I also needed to get it into Kindle Scout as soon as possible. Well, it's finished, polished up, and it's been approved for Scout. Here's the page for the book's campaign. If it gets enough nominations, it'll be published and everyone who voted for it will get a free copy.

Project Revenant is my fourth novel, and the third in the Neon City series. Click the link above and you'll get to read the first chapter and part of the second as a sample. And if you enjoy what you see of the story, please nominate it. As mentioned above, you'll get a free copy if it's picked up for publication.

For another small sample of what you'll find in the book, here's the following snippet:

Machiko's helmet camera scanned the edge of the parking garage roof and picked out a figure partially hidden behind a series of ducts, pipes, and power junction boxes, aiming a sniper rifle at the street. She'd landed on a rooftop nearby that was higher than most of the surrounding buildings, which would make it easy enough to glide down to the ADS headquarters. She'd prefer to pick the guy off from where she stood, but there were too many ducts and pipes in the way for a clear shot.
[See any others, guys?]
[Nope,] Jamie said. 
Machiko spread her wings, leaped off the edge, caught an updraft, and sailed around to the south side of the ADS building. Once she was close enough, she dived at it, pulled up, and dropped the last few feet to the rooftop. A quick glance at the sniper confirmed that he'd spotted her – just as she'd hoped. She ducked behind a part of the air conditioning system, pulled her own sniper rifle from her back and made sure the safety was off.
Yeah, that's right, keep your eyes on me.
The sniper switched from his rifle to a machine gun and squeezed off a few dozen rounds. They punched into the metal between himself and Machiko.
She plucked the grappling hook gun from her belt and waited for a pause in the shooting. When the sniper stopped to reload, Machiko launched into the open and bolted across the roof. The sniper finished shoving a fresh clip into his gun and continued firing. The bullets nipped at her feet as she sprinted toward the east edge. He tracked her all the way across, but couldn't quite keep up with her.
She fired the grappling hook into the edge of the roof and clipped the gun to her belt.
The sniper's weapon clicked and he popped the clip out.
Machiko leaped off the edge, spun around in midair, and raised her rifle into position.
The guy shoved another new clip into his gun.
His head entered Machiko's sights and she pulled the trigger while still pivoting and beginning to drop down the side of the building. The man's head snapped backward and the rear half exploded out behind him. His body tumbled off the edge just as Machiko dropped out of sight and completed her three-sixty turn. The line buzzed softly as it unreeled. A few yards above ground, Machiko grabbed the grappling gun and hit the retract button. The hook disengaged and the line zipped back into the gun a split second before she hit the pavement. The servos in her armor absorbed the shock and she rolled forward and came up running. She sprinted into an alley across the street and holstered the sniper rifle on her back.
She reactivated her comlink implant and sent, [Jamie, Adam, double check. Still no more snipers?]
[None. But there are vehicles in the garage heading for the ground floor.]
[Thanks, guys. Jack, you're okay to go.] Machiko grabbed her plasma rifle and crouched behind a minivan parked at the curb. [We'll keep 'em off your back while you get to your car. Let's get this done.]

Another project I've just started: expanding Mission to Bellatrix into a full novel. I changed the title to Uncharted Territory and have posted the first three chapters (so far) to Inkshares. I'll continue posting new chapters there as they're finished, and if the book gets enough votes and preorders, it'll be picked up for publication.

Inkitt is also running several different contests. I've entered Game Over into one called "Hidden Gems." Again, if it gets enough votes, it'll be published, so if you enjoyed the book, please vote for it.

Another of their contests is for fanfiction, so I decided to toss Game-Changer into it and see what happens. The winning author has a shot at Inkitt helping to revise the story into an original work and publish it.

I actually wanted to use Freelancers for this, but the entry had to be both complete and over 40,000 words. Freelancers is past 120,000 words, but nowhere near complete yet. More like ... 25% complete. Maybe. I wouldn't be surprised if it hit 500,000 words by the time it's done.

One of the other contest categories is romance, so I figured I'd enter Mission to Bellatrix in that one. There's also one for sci-fi novels, and I'm probably going to use Fifteen Minutes for it.

Back to fanfic for a moment. I finally finished chapter 9 of Harbinger, and posted it yesterday (on and AO3). Here's a snippet of Miko's brain/mouth filter failing again:

"The general said this is an outtake from one of the interviews conducted by the news team that recently arrived at the base. He found it while vetting their recordings. This one won't be made public, apparently, but he thought it'd give you a laugh."
"Can't wait to see it, then." Jensen woke the tablet and found the clip already loaded in the media player. He tapped the play button and chuckled at the sight of Miko sitting on a bench beside Bulkhead's human-size Pretender body. "Oh, this oughta be good."
The reporter, Tenesha Hargrove, sat on the end of the bench and smiled at them. "So, you two have known each other for only a few months, but you appear to get along quite well."
"Bulkhead's like a big brother. I never knew what that was even like until we met. Turns out we have almost the same taste in music, TV shows, movies, and so on." Miko fired off a wicked grin. "We don't see eye-to-eye on everything, though."
"Oh, here we go." Bulkhead chuckled.
"For instance, Bulk is really into Coldplay. Just loves 'em. Me?" Miko grimaced. "Can't stand 'em."
"Come on, they're not that bad, are they?"
"Every Coldplay song I've ever heard sounded like my grandparents fingering each other."
Jensen barked out a laugh as Tenesha's face twisted up like she'd just bitten into a rotten lemon. Bulkhead snickered and another voice burst into laughter. The guy holding the camera, Jensen guessed.
A light flashed on the console on the far side of the room. Ratchet and Optimus walked over to it as Agent Fowler's face appeared on the screen. Miko glanced over her shoulder at the image, turned to Bulkhead, and nudged his shoulder.
"Hey, d'ya think Fowler's ever been, like, just fuckin' hammered?"
Bulkhead guffawed again and shrugged. "Well, I've seen what he's like when he wakes up after being knocked out for a few hours. I figure it's probably a lot like that."
The next words out of Miko's mouth were apparently so profane that they had to be censored. With a huge grin and an evil glint in her eye, she leaned over to Bulkhead and said, "D'ya think Fowler likes [BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP]?"
Bulkhead stared blankly at her. The guy holding the camera emitted an audible gasp. Tenesha's "I ate a rancid lemon" expression twisted up even further.
Jensen snort-laughed. "Oh, wow!"

And in video-blog news, I've finally found a bit of time to record another of my How Not to Tell a Story videos. In this one, I kept getting distracted by several NPCs who wouldn't stop following Shepard around and just staring at him.

I'm hoping to get another one done in the next day or two, assuming the game doesn't crash like it did at the end of this one. And I'm planning to do another of my commentary/writing discussion videos on Mass Effect 2.

And finally, a while back I was experimenting with streaming on Twitch. I edited the videos down so they'd be much shorter and uploaded them to YouTube. I kept trying to get the Twitch video quality up to a decent level, and kept failing. Also had a lot of audio problems, and my voice often couldn't be heard over the game's sounds.

If I can get the audio and video issues worked out, I'm planning to do a Twitch stream of one of my favorite games, Saints Row: The Third, sometime soon. I'll post an announcement if/when that happens.

So, that about covers it for now. Just had a lot of stuff to catch up on, and a lot more to do. The Kindle Scout campaign for Project Revenant runs for thirty days, and I'll have to spend a lot of time doing promotional stuff and drawing as much attention to it as I can. I really, really need this to succeed.

I'll post more announcements when new developments come up.