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