I must be writing a ton of sci-fi this week, because I woke up one morning from a fully-faithful Tolkein-esque dream, complete with Gandalf as star. Guess my subconscious was ready for a bit of fantasy.
But too bad, because it’s space stations and ornery aliens right now in RK Thorneville!
The short story of DESERTER on Ellen’s past has actually transformed into a novella, so I’m trying to decide what to do with it. It’s pretty much done, just working on a cover, so that should be available soon.
For those of you looking forward to Audacity Book 3 — as yet unnamed, the poor thing — it’s getting big and strong and just crested 80,000 words… It’s coming!
But to hold you over, here’s a small snippet. Guess who?
(This is raw, unedited, and subject to be deleted or changed)
A plastic wrapper blew past them as the small, sad group trundled up the dim, dirty corridors toward where the Audacity was docked. The quiet left him only his thoughts.
He’d wanted a chance at something noble. He’d wanted something he’d chosen himself, something better. And like lightning striking, he’d been the one fool to actually get that chance.
But what exactly had he been expecting? It was one thing to forget about the past, move on. But the past didn’t forget about you so easily. It didn’t just wash away in a day or two.
Maybe it didn’t wash away ever.
It had been over a decade after all since he’d left Faros. The Theroki were bigger time criminals and sometimes legitimate in their own twisted way. He had become the hired guard in larger scale rackets by that time, nothing so petty as pushing normal people into submission just because they lived on a certain city block.
He’d never liked the life. But he’d been good at it. It’d kept him alive.
He was still good at it.
If Ellen hadn’t been there, he knew exactly how much further he would have gone, and it would have kept that asshole away from Claudette forever. Forever. Because he knew what he was doing.
And that. That he hated.
— Audacity Saga, Book 3, R.K. Thorne
Other than writing some yummy space opera, I had a busy September that included a writing workshop in lovely Las Vegas.
It was awesome, and fun, and really hard.
But very rejuvenating! And I read some great stories from other folks in attendance.
That alone would be awesome, but short stories have always been a struggle for me. Short anything, really. (Which, haha, all my stories were barely under the maximum word count, so “short.” But 9K words for a complete story is previously unthinkable for me. DESERTER is ~17K.) I’ve always naturally written novels. This tweet from the excellent Lindsay Buroker really resonated with me earlier this week:
I also tried to read a bunch of short stories to learn the form at the beginning of this year.
And with two or three awesome stories aside, it was mostly an unmitigated disaster.
Every story seemed to eschew the heroic for a trick twist. A gimmick. A spit in your eye, and not in a good way. Oh that character you think you liked? THE TWIST IS SHE DID SOMETHING THAT MAKES HER REPREHENSIBLE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE STORY, I JUST DIDN’T TELL YOU WHEN IT WAS HAPPENING AND ALSO ALL ALONG. (Even though she knew all along.) Alternative histories that read just like normal histories because I guess I am too young to have been alive to know the difference? Have I mentioned another story where it all melted into a dream?
They were… not for me.
And I got pretty discouraged at just how many of them weren’t for me.
(The two stories that stand out were “Walking Awake” by N.K. Jemisin in Lightspeed Magazine and “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time,” by K.M. Szpara. Saladin Ahmed also has some great short stories, but I read those before this year.)
So having so many examples of stories I loved, stories that made me want to sigh and clap and sing and be happy and also — perhaps most importantly — emulate them?
I was ecstatic!
And also maybe a bit hyped up on caffeine.
If I can, I will try to share some of the work / novels / stories of those excellent writers in the coming months.
Below are some pics from the trip. 😉
Someday I’ll do a western. Or a space western. Or both…. Raise your hand if you’d be up for that. 😉
So that’s been my month. Working toward Audacity Book 3, jotting down all my ideas that keep popping up for Clanblades Book 2 — which does have a title, FWIW.
Oh and celebrating the fact that fall has finally arrived!