Caroline

Nominate my book by clicking here.

I need your help. Amazon is offering a publishing deal to new authors if enough users vote for the books they would like to see published. I’m asking you today to nominate my new book. Putting in a good word for my book is a pretty simple task of clicking here, signing in to your Amazon account, and clicking on the nominate button. The best part is that if I do get picked for publishing, you’ll get a free copy of the book well in advance of the rest of the world.

Thank you for your support in this endeavor and please share the link to my book with your friends. The more people who nominate, the better chance I’ll have of landing that deal. If you need further evidence that this book is worth supporting. I feel it is my most accomplished yet. It blends humor, horror, science fiction, and music. It’s about a bored post-grad who encounters a doorway that didn’t exist the last time she walked by the building. For my friends in Albuquerque, there will be humor just for New Mexicans. You can read an excerpt here.

Kal's Fall

Don’t be the only one of your friends who hasn’t read Kal’s Fall. It’s only $1.

For those of you who have been following this blog, I made a switch from comedy blogger to science fiction writer in 2014. I decided to kick off my science fiction writing career with a challenge to myself, a challenge that I didn’t announce because of the off chance that I would fail. I decided to publish something every month for 2014.

I’m happy to announce that my personal challenge has been successful. There has been something new published on amazon every single month for 2014. I plan to release all of those stories in a collection called Cowboys & Drones. It will be available for purchase soon. However, I can’t give you a release date yet because I’m waiting for a response on my first novel.

Back in October, I was contacted by a major science fiction publisher to tell me that my book was taken from the slush pile for “closer examination”. Now “closer examination” could mean many things. They could have run out of toilet paper in the men’s room, and needed my novel to fill that important if not stinky duty. “Closer examination” could also mean that they are deciding exactly how to write my Hugo Award nomination. Regardless of their answer, I must push off all self-publishing efforts for the novel until they’ve decided.

What that means for you, my reader, is that I’m going to wait till I hear back from the publishing company before I put the first novel on Amazon. If they decide to publish me, it will be about a year before my novel sees the light of day and hopefully bookstores across the country. If they pass on my novel, I’ll have it up in a couple of weeks. However I don’t want to release Cowboys & Drones at the same time as the novel, so one or the other will be coming soon.

In other news, Kal’s Fall has sold better than I have expected and is still selling well as of writing this post. The dedication of publishing a new work every month has paid off. I also thank everyone of you who paid the dollar, or borrowed it through Amazon’s unlimited service. Your support makes writing future stories possible. And on the note of the future, I will not be writing one short story a month in 2015. I want to focus more on longer works, and most importantly, some follow-ups for Kal’s Fall (I’ve already banged out the first page).

Last but not least, for my friends and fans with nooks and other ereaders, if I continue to write in the self-published realm, it may be a couple years before my stories make it to the nook and other ereader sites. While I believe that books should be available on every ereader, Amazon takes away access to marketing tools if I publish elsewhere. Since my entire writing career at this moment is from the use of those tools, I can’t afford to publish elsewhere. Once my use of those tools have run their course, I’ll work on publishing elsewhere. So stay tuned, and if you can’t wait, kindle does have an app. For anyone who is interested, here is my annual blogging report. My old humor posts seem to still have some life left in them:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Kal's Fall

Discover the secret of Kal’s father.

“Why do I look different mother?” Kal’Da’Hak often asked her mother, and her mom would smile and tell Kal that she was blessed by Earth Mother. Kal never felt very blessed by the Earth Mother. Her bones had the strength of twigs compared to her Earth brother and sisters. She was a good length shorter and her torso was thin. When the village built a new home for the Te’Cek family after the river swallowed their home, Kal wove rope for the roof rather than lifted stone and wood. The young always did the heavy lifting, and Kal was believed to be too fragile so she wove with the elders. The worst part was that her skin was the lightest green ever to have been born. Most of her Earth brothers and sisters had vibrant green skin and with blue, orange, or silver hair. Her skin was light green and her hair was black. Kal looked like she was sick even though she felt fine. The oddest part was her eyes. They were deep blue like a clear lake. None of her people had blue eyes.

In the woods, Kal would lift stone and logs. While she could not lift as much as her Earth brothers and sisters, she still could lift without breaking her bones. The myth of her fragile bones came from various accidents in her youth. The children would use stone balls during sport. While the stone ball would bounce off her Earth brother and sisters with little bruising, the ball would shatter Kal’s ribs. Her fragile nature made her feel like an outsider of the village as she would always be stuck watching the activities or be given duties usually only reserved for the elders.

Her village and Earth brothers and sisters always treated her with respect. In fact she never felt unwelcome, or unwanted even though she felt alone. Everyone in the village looked out for one another, and Kal felt that she could never look out for them. A cart smashed the leg of one of her brethren, Wek’Ri’Ket, and Kal could not lift it. By the time she found a villager to lift the cart, Wek had lost a lot of blood and joined the ancestors with the Sky Father. No one blamed Kal or doubted her sincerity to help. Accidents were the will of the gods and not the blame of Kal’s birth. Despite the comforts from her fellow villagers, Kal felt guilty. Her “birth-blessing” was more of a curse. She would always be the weakest one of the village.

Kal also knew she was different beyond the constraints of her earthly form. Most of her Earth brother and sisters had fathers. She did not have a father. Her mom always told her that father had died in the Teristaque invasion. Kal’s father left the tribe to fight in the war while Kal grew in her mom’s belly. The Teristaques won the war, but left Kal’s village alone because they wanted Mother Earth’s metal, and Kal’s village had none. Despite never meeting a Teristaque, Kal imagined her father dying in a great battle and fighting to the last breath. She didn’t tell her family about her visions of war. Violence was abhorred by the tribe, and was only a last resort.

Aside from Kal’s fantasies, all that was left of her father was an insignia. It was a patch from his uniform. The patch featured a fierce bird swooping in an attack pose and strange lettering in a language no one in the tribe knew. Because the Teristaque’s were feared and hated by all, legend said that other tribes who lived in the stars followed the Teristaque fleet to Kal’s world and helped fight the invading force.

It wasn’t until her sixteenth season and her first real encounter with a star species that she would come closer to finding out the fate of her father.

_______

Kal pushed against a giant felled tree. Most of her Earth brothers and sisters would have easily pushed the tree without much effort. Kal pushed with all of her might, and the log barely budged. She wanted to push the log down a hill. There was a pile of logs and rocks at the bottom of the hill that she had collected from the woods. Kal planned to build a cabin by herself. She collected a fair amount of building supplies and even snuck a few tools from the tool common.

Kal liked her trips into the woods, and no one seemed to notice she was missing. She was free to do what she wanted, and never was asked to perform the tasks of the elderly. Kal thought about never returning many times even though she started building the cabin as way to display her strength to the tribe. However, the cabin would never be finished if she couldn’t push the log down the hill. She had dragged the heavy log from a long distance only to get it stuck in a rut near the top of the hill.

She pushed, pulled, yanked, and even tried to dig the log out of the rut, but it was too heavy. The rollers she used to pull the log long distances would not work in the rut. For heavy objects, the tribe would put rollers on the ground then would push or pull the objects to their destination. For several people, the task was steady and always flowing. A few of the young would pull. An elderly or Kal would dart back and forth taking a roller from the back and put it in the front. For a single person, Kal would push the log, move the rollers, and push the log some more. It was slow, but Kal was determined. And now she was thwarted by a rut.

“You know, that’s easier with two people,” A voice said from behind.

Kal nearly jumped out of her skin. She had been alone in the forest every afternoon for almost three weeks and never saw a soul. Behind her was a star species! The being was strange looking. It had thin twiggy arms, and a small chest to match. It had tan skin and brown hair. Kal was a good six inches taller than it. The being was definitely one of the star species. Kal couldn’t help herself. She reached out to touch the thing to make sure that it was real.

“Ok, ok,” the star being laughed. “I get it. You’ve never seen a human before.”

“HU-MAN?”  The clunky word did not roll of her tongue. “You mean star species?”

“Right,” The HU-MAN looked down at a device on his arm, “The translator doesn’t have human. Call me Oliver.”

“All-LIV-ER?” Kal had trouble making the words.

“Ah hell, just Sarge. The folks in the service days used to call me Sarge.”

“Sarge,” Kal pointed to him and then pointed to herself, “Kal.”

“Thank god for small favors, a local who has half a brain. You couldn’t spare some of that jerky would ya? I’m mighty hungry, and I don’t know what’s good to eat or what will kill me on this planet.”

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One Way Trip to Solasoma

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I woke from a deafening roar. My bed roll was tangled with ShaShe’s bed roll. The cave violently shook and ShaShe sot my protection. She grabbed my waste. I had no time to comfort her as the whole tribe scrambled in a state of panic. The warriors scrambled for their stone hammers, and the gatherers collected the children. DaWin’s baby cried, and she gave it some root to calm her down. The warriors gathered and looked to me. Warriors and gatherers were both sexes. Warriors were composed of anyone who could wield a hammer. Gatherers were anyone small who could fit through the cracks of rocks.

I nodded to the warriors, and the panic subsided into nervousness. Most of the tribe was hardened by the angry sun. They could deal with crisis as we’ve had many over the years, as many had succumbed to the wrath of the Sun God. This situation was different, and I could see the fear on the warrior’s faces. These were men and women who usually faced death with stoic bravery. I could sense their fear.

“We must go investigate,” I proclaimed to the warriors. They began to wrap themselves in the day fabric. It was black, lightweight, and loose to capture the sweat and create a breeze from our movement. The fabric wrapped every part of the skin. Deformities were a common punishment for those who had the audacity to bare their skin to the Sun God.

The fabric was weaved from the leaves of the Zuuzaan plant. It was one of the few that didn’t live in the shade of rocks, so it offered special protection. Water not in the belly of the Earth God was rare. Finding a Zuuzaan was a gift of the Earth God. For the most part, we stripped the fabric from the dead to create our clothes. Mine was a combination of my mother and my fathers.

ShaShe was not pleased. She voiced her objection, “You will not last long. It’s still daylight.”

“We are honor bound to protect the tribe. We must go investigate,” I said firmly.

She conceded with no further objection. Arguments never lasted long. The Sun God sapped the energy to argue.

The warriors and I carefully made our way to the front of the cave clutching our stone hammers. My grandfather claimed he found a spear made of wood once, deep within a cave. The wood spear burned when he left it out in the daylight too long. He gave me the stone tip when I accepted tribal leader after my father’s death. I wore it around my neck. The stone would heat during the day and leave a scar. The scar is my reminder to be wary of the Sun God or fall to the same fate of my father.

As we came closer to the mouth of the cave the heat rose before the first crack of light. Once we saw the light of day, the heat began to suffocate. Our bodies poured sweat. Our throats became dry. We carefully sipped from the water skin tube near our mouths. Drink too fast and you’ll run out before you can return. Drink too little and the Sun God will claim you.

We were leaving the protection of the Earth God. The Earth God was the only god to stand up against the Sun God. She sheltered the Water God in her depths. She provided reprieve and sometimes cave dwelling fauna for a scarce meal. Though for the most part, we hunted small creatures and ate plants that dwelled between the rocks on the surface.

We stepped out into the Sun God’s realm. The landscape was barren. There were no clouds in the sky. The baked sand and craggy rocks stretched in all directions. We were about to turn around when HaraTas, the leading female warrior, pointed to the horizon.

“Look. The Fire God signals us,” She pointed to a glint on the horizon. The glint was a regularly blinking silver light. The warriors murmured at the discovery. The Fire God was controlled by the Sun God. He burned at the whim of the Sun. But the Fire God was also a trickster. He gave us fire to cook our meals and make our tools. If the Sun God knew the Fire God was going behind his back, we’d surely loose the gift of fire. So why was the Fire God openly defying the Sun?

“We will answer the Fire God’s call,” I decided.

There was a nervous shift among the warriors. “But we will not have water for the return journey!” One said.

“We must answer the call,” HaraTas retorted.

“The Fire God will betray us!” Another said.

“Anyone who wishes to return may do so.  The Earth God held us in her womb and shook violently. She wants us to answer the Fire God’s call. We must honor the mother and answer the call,” I said and simply began walking. HaraTas followed. The others followed. I hoped I was right. The Earth God could be crueler than the Sun because of the hope she offered, especially if the hope was misplaced.

Read the full story on amazon here.

Time Beast

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Squire sat at the banks of Lake Privus. Two suns set in the horizon casting a pale orange glow on the barren rocky landscape. He absentmindedly tossed rocks into the grey lifeless water and watched the bubbles as the impurities dissolved. An extra large stone splashed a little of the water onto his boots. After being transfixed for a moment by the acid’s path through his thick rubber soles, he quickly tore off his boot before the acid penetrated any deeper.

There was now a huge hole in the bottom of his boot. Normally, ruining a pair of military boots would mean serious trouble. Not to mention the act of leaving the military installation without permission would compound his trouble. However, Squire wasn’t worried. He earned his nickname by being a bit of a squire to his superiors. Often, they would have him go to supply depots to fetch one item or another. He would just have to remember to pick up a new pair of boots for himself.

With that thought, he sat up and turned to face the large military compound in the distance. He enjoyed getting away from the compound every so often. Even though his trips involved exploring a bleak and desolate landscape, it was better than the daily grind at the compound.

The tanned sand dunes with intermitted grey rocks jutting from the sand stretched out on the horizon. On the other side of the lake, a hundred meter cliff marked the northern boundary. The cliff was composed of varying shades of grey and white.

Life in the Interstellar Forces rarely varied from day-to-day much like the landscape around Squire. The same vitamin enhanced but lacking in taste meal rotations were served in the mess halls. He woke up each morning to the exact same exercise routine as the previous morning. Like clockwork, he knew exactly what would happen anytime. Even when they were surprised with a drill, he knew that it would be exactly the same as the other surprise drills before it. Squire felt trapped.

Squire originally joined the military to satisfy a sense of adventure when he really was just trying to escape mediocrity. A civilian life in the United Planets of Earth would have a routine except he could choose the routine rather than it being chosen for him. The military life decided that he would always be a private and never fit to wield authority. Not that he wanted to be a leader; he would just feel less trapped if the opportunity was there. Squire understood that civilian or not, his life would be spent in servitude to someone else.

The United Planets of Earth valued the freedom of choice. Yet Squire knew that there wasn’t really any choice involved. Every choice a person could make depended on the opportunity around them. Squire was born in the gas mines of Jupiter. Even though planets in the U.P.E. jurisdiction hundreds of light years away were as wealthy as the capitol planet of Earth, Jupiter, only light minutes away from Earth, was still a struggling cesspool of humanity.

Squire knew that his only choices were to work in the gas mines like his father or join the military in hopes that he wouldn’t reduce his life span by thirty years like his father. The military life at least offered adventure. His sense of adventure was cut brutally short when he discovered that military life was exactly like the gas mine life with the exception of living on a world rather than a floating platform.

Squire despised the United Planets of Earth. He felt as if it was a system set solely in place to feed itself. The politicians and media alike often displayed a different, warmer, reality than real reality of the system. Reality wasn’t wholesome, it was morbid and dreary. The U.P.E. was created with the idea that all sentient life possessed basic rights. Most of the population of the U.P.E. dealt with different sentient life with a high degree of fear and ignorance. Wars, enslavement of harmful races, a regressive paranoia and fear flowed through the government.

Squire understood the real reality, but he did nothing as there was nothing he could do. He decided to keep out of politics, keep to himself, and look out for his own survival. His father followed the same simple rules of life and seemed to lead a genuinely happy life. Squire thought too much about everything. At least on his unsanctioned walks, he could clear his mind for a while and forget about everything.

Squire’s deep brown eyes caught some movement in the lake. He immediately pulled himself out of his meditative haze and focused his attention on the water. The grey murky sludge was still. He stepped closer to the edge of the water. The only sound was the slightly increased pace of his own breath. Something wasn’t right. He could feel it.

He glanced around and could see nothing. Back at the compound, he saw life going on as usual. There were no signs that they had gone on alert during his absence. A splash broke his train of thought.

Squire whirled around to see a distinct set of ripples in the lake like stone had been through into the depths. Scared, he slowly knelt down and picked up a stone from the ground. He tossed the stone near the fading disturbance in the water. The water rippled again from the stone. He watched, listened, and saw nothing.

The lake was pure acid anyway and nothing could survive in its depths. A stone must have toppled into the water. He probably unconsciously kicked it in when he was thinking. He needed to get back before the guard change at the depot because it was Jace’s turn for the night shift, and he knew Jace wouldn’t let him get away with taking a pair of boots.

Before he was able to take a step towards the compound, something prevented his legs from moving. He toppled over into the dirt. The chemicals in the soil slightly burned the skin on his exposed face. He would have a hell of a time explaining that to his superior officers. Before he regained himself enough to see what had tripped him, he was dragged into the lake by an unknown force. All that remained was the bloodstained sand, his boot, and the churning water of the normally placid lake.

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