I was in the call screening booth minding my own business when Steve Blair sprung a mini promo interview on me. We talk about where to get 16Sunsets, and the importance of book reviews.
The serial will run each Wednesday, starting with David, followed by Greg, and finally I’ll wrap up the cycle. We’ll each write this space disaster web series, alternating chapters. David is doing the miners, Greg is doing the bridge crew, and I’m doing the engineers.
I was in a Burger King yesterday, and one of the managers was asking about the project. He insisted that “Scotty” was overdone, and I should maybe consider an Australian engineer named Jeremy (his name.) Well, I’m a good sport, and love you fans dearly, so, at least, one of my characters will be an Australian engineer named Jeremy.
So, the basic premise is that a spaceship is on a mining mission to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The mining is all done, and the ship is preparing to head back to home to Earth. DISASTER! Something blows up, the ship is disabled, and a bunch of the crew is driftwood. Think Gravity but cooler. Because hey, if my girl Sandy B. were on our ship, we wouldn’t have a problem, right? (BBT reference!) Now, each of us is going to assume that our faction is responsible for the disaster. We’re not going to say precisely that we did it, but we’ll be dropping red herrings, and our POV will be that we’re the bad guys.
But we don’t know who done it. You guys will vote around week fifteen or so on who you think done it. Whatever faction gets the most votes is the faction that done it. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Of course, we invite you all to let us know how the serial is going in the comments. You’ll have fifteen weeks to gauge the story, and make suggestions, etc, but when the votes are tallied, we’ll have our villains.
This 21-week epic is going to be… well, epic. It’ll be fascinating to see how our styles mesh. David is crazy with the outlining. Even his bullet points have bullet points. His Tales of a Dying Star series is a taut and concise five-book adventure you should check out right away. You all know I’m a total pantser. Click on the projects page to see all the rough stuff I’ve started but have yet to complete. I scoff at outlines! (Except David’s, he insisted I not scoff at his outline for this project.) Greg is somewhere between David and me. Be sure to check out Greg’s Vestalia series. David and Greg are both long-form writers, and I’m a short fiction/flash fiction kind of guy. They’re both tasty humans, and I’m a sentient drinks machine… no, wait. Ignore that last one. (Yes, that was a nod to Sir Terry Pratchett, RIP.)
Anyway, we hope that fans of them will become fans of mine and all the permutations and combinations of that statement. (Nerd joke!) I could draw a Venn diagram, but that would be stupid. You all know about me, so here are the public bios of David and Greg (I managed to get ahold of their driver’s license photos):
The young woman frowned and turned her head toward the command. She scowled and stared at the old man, his robe barely concealing his enormous pot belly. His face wrinkled and lined, gleamed in the mid-day sun. I hope you die of heat stroke, she thought before gathering herself, disregarding her chains, and replying: “No man has power over me, yī qiào bù tōng.”
Her scowl changed to a smile, and she fluttered her eyelashes as the old man processed her insult and her use of the modern Han Chengyu. His face darkened, and the wrinkles that were so pronounced began to flush a deep crimson, as he translated the words: to lack the most basic knowledge.
Her victory and the accompanying smile were short lived. He gathered the chains binding her wrists and pulled down hard. The force spun her around, and she stumbled backward. The slave-trader grabbed at her, clasping his large hands tight on her arms. She was compelled to stare up, her back arched over his pot belly, the sweat-soaked clothing unwelcome against her bare skin.
He looked into her wide eyes and whispered. “Watch your tone, slave. Or I’ll sell you to the Magistrate at a discount.” His eyes roamed her supine figure, his perpetual frown forming a lecherous leer. “You know what happens to girls joining his harem…”
He let the threat linger, unclarified. She cringed, not at his threat, but at his affront on her olfactory. He stunk with a stench of fermented wine, onions, and urine. The odor was all the more evident as he leaned closer and tugged at her bindings. As the metal dug into her wrists, all she could do was close her eyes and will the cretin to have his fun humiliating her and return her to the line.
Before he could further her humiliation, an ebony hand waved between his roving eyes. “Please, honorable sir, forgive Nala, it won’t happen again.”
The old man looked into Hazina’s face. Her soft features and skin the color of wet river rocks elicited a leer. He spun Nala around, grabbing a handful of her hair in his meaty hand. She saw the gleam in the old man’s eyes. It was a dangerous gleam. A gleam born years of getting what he wanted. When the gleam was aimed at Nala, she did not fear it. He could wear out his eyes, staring at me like that; Nala had told Hazina once, he has no hold over me.
This time, however, the look was aimed at the only thing that made Nala endure his advances: Hazina.
Hazina’s soft eyes pleaded with him. She repeated her earlier plea: “Please, honorable sir, forgive my sister’s rude behavior.”
The old man’s eyes flittered back and forth between Hazina in her pastoral dress and Nala in her slightly parted ruqun. He erupted in a spattering of Han dialect, too fast for Nala to comprehend. The tirade ended with him turning his head and spitting into the dirt. He released Nala, and she collapsed to the ground. He glared at Hazina a final time before stalking away.
Off to harass some other girl, Nala thought as she gathered herself up and worked to loosen the chains that bound her to her sister. She pressed her knuckles into her back at the strain the altercation had caused her.
As a celebration, I’ve set up three of my short stories to be free today and tomorrow. Go ahead and download them even if you’ve read the early drafts here. If you leave a review on Amazon after purchasing these three stories, then your review gets the “Verified Purchase” tag which is worth something, I just don’t know what that is! Anyway, I need reviews for these three stories, and I’d appreciate it if you did so.
Once again, reviews are the goal here. I need 20 reviews for each title so I can do some targeted advertising that will only accept titles with 20 or more reviews. Let your friends know too – spread the love around. Also, if you’ve already read the early draft of 16Sunsets, please leave a review on Amazon. I think an influx of reviews on the first day and first week do something good in the Amazon algorithm.
I appreciate each and every one of you who helped, and/or read the story. You’ve all been so wonderful, and your encouragement turned this from a solitary writing endeavor to a finished novel we can all be proud of! I’m a week away from the digital and (hopefully) paperback release, and I couldn’t have done it without you all.
If any of you would like a digital copy of the novel for review purposes, shoot me an email, and I’ll send one your way. The bulk of the story hasn’t changed from the web serial, so it’s likely you’ll see your suggestions in the final novel. I’d appreciate if you could share the Amazon link on your various social media platforms: