15-Day Story Challenge: Week One 🐉

This is one of my world-famous emails, originally sent Sunday, December 9 2018. You can get on the list here.


Week One: in the Bag

You may remember our threats to begin a 15-day story challenge. It has begun. This week:

  1. A recap for you, in delightful video form,
  2. The good news I alluded two a couple weeks back, and
  3. An excerpt from the story challenge.

Let’s rock.


The 15-Day Story Challenge Kick-Off

Nervous laughter. Anxious smiles. It’s all here in our kick-off video:

So, how did the week treat me? Pretty well. I completed 22,000 words this week, averaging 4,400/day (Monday was a bit of a dick, dragging the whole side down). The story’s about where I thought it would be: general chaos, madness, and disorder.

Speaking of which, I learned some things, like don’t ask for advice. People will tell you to do horrible things. You can see the results in the excerpt at the end.

You’ll get this whole story on the house when it’s done. We’re planning to ship out the stories to our fans January 11, with post-editing updates January 18 (…2019).


15-Day Story Challenge: Week One Recap

We got the crew back together at the end of week one. How did we fare? There’s been a fatality and an injury thus far:

  • Tee had to retire from the race. Her life derailed mid-week, so she’s looking after hearth and home.
  • Much as Nova/Cassie’s not visible in the next video, she’s still with us. She stood on MiL-delivered ordnance and has glass in her foot. I believe pliers were mentioned as the extraction tool of choice.

Video, if that’s your thing:

This coming week I’m planning to showcase some of John, Kim, and Nova’s writing on the site. I’ll send you links next email.


My good news

And, potentially, your good news too. I mentioned I’d had a round of bad luck with the Future Forfeit launch, but also had delightful news the same week. I can now share!

Tyche’s Flight is being featured by BookBub in their newsletter. This is a Big Deal™ in the author world; the Bub are notoriously choosy. Sunday, 9th December they’re showcasing it to 1.8 million fans of sci-fi.

If you haven’t picked it up, now’s a good time: it’s 99c or adjusted Earth currency, on Amazon, iBooks, Nook, and Kobo. This is a planet-wide deal. If you haven’t read the best thing since Firefly, now’s your moment.


And now, your excerpt…

For those who’ve not read Tyche’s Ghosts or Tyche’s Angels, Algernon is an AI/construct who joins the crew of the Tyche, ultimately aiding humanity in their fight against the Ezeroc. It’s kind of a big deal, because humanity enslaved the AI, but we all know what a winning smile Nate has.

Following the quick poll in our Facebook group, everyone decided the scene should include wanton murder. Please to enjoy this, below. WARNING: this is unedited tripe. You will find typos, spelling errors, grammar cock-ups, the works. If this makes your stomach churn 🤮 wait for January’s edited version 😬


When Kohl heard the comm chatter from the Intervention, he’d figured it for a joke. Karkoski, having a turn, maybe hitting the commissary’s liquor stores a little too hard before breakfast. Then Al said the Intervention’s particle cannons tracked them, and he knew it wasn’t a joke.
There weren’t that many people who’d have pre-breakfast liquor on the bridge of a Navy destroyer.
Odd thing was, the Nostradamus didn’t hail them, so they gave the ancient hulk a tight-beam. Yes, she’d carried the Admiral here. No, they hadn’t heard from Karkoski in a long time. Yes, any intel they could provide would be useful. No, they didn’t think they could win a pitched battle against the Intervention. And so on.
Shit was getting real.
While Kohl and Karkoski hadn’t always seen eye to eye, and he remembered threatening to kill her at least once, he counted her on Team Cap right now. Killing the faux Marines outside the airlock was more of a formality. The start of a new day.
The elevator opened on a short corridor leading to the bridge airlock. Outside the airlock was the standard pair of Marines, looking ready to rock. Combat armor. Visored helmets. Plasma rifles carried across chests, fingers not far from triggers. They took in Karkoski’s stance, complete with blaster.
The left one did a double-take. The right one shouldered their rifle, so Kohl shot him through the neck. The blue-white plasma tore the Marine’s head clean off, helmet rattling to the deck, the smell of burning meat filling the short corridor. Kohl aimed the barrel of his rifle at the other Marine. “We going to have a problem?”
Karkoski stepped from the elevator. “At ease, Marine.”
“Aye, sir.” The Marine lifted his visor. Younger than Kohl, but that was most of the troops they fed into the war machine these days. Wary eyes, but not frightened. Confused, more like.
Kohl left the elevator in her wake, Al tugging along. They didn’t make it three steps before the corridor lighting went from a pleasant white to angry red. A klaxon sounded, a recorded male voice saying, “General quarters,” but on repeat like a broken holo vid. The bridge airlock made an unpleasant clunk sound a magbolts fired home.
Al glanced through the airlock’s viewport. “There appears to be some excitement inside.” He turned to Kohl, pointing a finger at the still-upright Marine. “How did you know this meat sock wasn’t an insurgent?”
“Just knew.” Kohl nudged the body on the deck with his boot. “This one was an asshole.”
The still-upright Marine nodded. “Kept to himself. Came aboard last supply dock. New rotation.”
Karkoski grimaced. “They’ll be everywhere. The bridge is locked down. We’ll never get inside.”
“Hah.” Al placed a hand over the access panel. “Is everyone ready?”
Kohl nodded at the Marine. “Here’s what’s gonna happen. Al will open the door. He’ll head on in like an angry minotaur, goring people like as not to start something they can’t finish. Your job is to join in the fun.” The Marine nodded, reading his weapon. “Good to go, Al.”
“I’d like to know how he can break mil-spec encryption.” Karkoski raised an eyebrow.
“I’d like to know who’s friendly inside,” said Al. “You meat socks do not have instruction manuals.”
“You’ll work it out,” promised Kohl. “Punch it.”
The door hissed open. Beyond lay the bridge, a massive holo stage at the far end. It showed system data. Telemetry. Delta-V. Lines and jaggies looking for all the world like a fancy kid’s game of shoots and ladders. The Nostradamus was on the holo, as was the Guild Bridge. Both had angry red targeting reticules on ‘em. The bridge was crewed by nine people. One was a hawk-nosed motherfucker who looked surprised like someone told him the tooth fairy wasn’t just real, but a doped-up stim junkie who made necklaces from children’s teeth. There were two Marines immediately inside the airlock, one of whom was going to be a problem.
Further in, the Tactical console lay on the starboard side, three officers paused mid-fuckery. To port, the normally busy Comm station held a single soul, a woman who looked like she’d been in a tense conversation with debt collectors. Near the holo stage was Helm control, two officers in acceleration couches turning to see what the ruckus was.
A moment of inactivity held. A half-second tops. The air smelled of recycled air, stale sweat, nervous fear, and the tension that comes right before an act of war. Karkoski broke the silence, her sidearm moving to the hawk-nosed motherfucker. “Godzislaw Spark, you are under arrest.”
Kohl grinned, pointed his rifle, and shot the right-most Helm officer. The asshole looked twitchy, hand going for his sidearm. The plasma blast hit, coring his body and chair both, an arm blasting free to spin through the glowing lines of light on the holo stage.
Spark ran. He dived over Tactical, an impressive feat for a guy coasting into his fifties, making for the escape pod companionway on the starboard side. Karkoski sprinted in pursuit, head down like a charging rhino, arms pumping.
The Marine who’d survived their initial encounter entered the bridge, grappling another just inside the doorway. Kohl saw knives and bared teeth and left ‘em to it. Al jumped, feet braced against the wall, and launched himself toward Tactical. He impacted the nearest officer like a launched cannonball, the poor man’s body crunching within the confines of his acceleration couch.
Standing the comm officer cleared her sidearm, pointing it at Al, so Kohl shot her too. Plasma hit her top-torso, tossing burning meat over the comm station.
The deck thrummed, a deep sound running through the Intervention Kohl could feel in his balls. It rose to a crescendo in less than a second, brilliant white fire blooming through the windows on the starboard side. Some imbecile fired a railgun. The guns fired again, and a third time, before the farthest tactical officer shut them down. The middle officer spun, punching his colleague.
Al’s bright-white eyes scanned the room. Kohl pointed at the middle tactical officer. “That one.” The machine nodded, punching through the spin of the officer, then tossing the boneless body to the deck.
A grunt behind Kohl caused him to turn. The still-upright Marine was no longer so, a knife in his sternum, his enemy roaring victory. Kohl took three steps toward ‘em, grabbed the asshole Marine, and tossed him toward Al. Contrary to what you see in holos, throwing a human was a difficult affair. They often didn’t want to be airborne in the first place, but there were times you needed to hit a motherfucker with another motherfucker.
Al retrieved the throw, grabbing the Marine around the middle. He tightened his arms, a whine escaping his chassis. The Marine struggled, screamed, choked, and then his ribcage ruptured in a shower of blood. Al let the remains slide to the ground.
Spark made it through the escape pod airlock, slamming it closed behind him. Karkoski hit the door with the butt of her sidearm. “Open the door, Spark!”
Kohl sauntered through the mess. He nodded to the still-living Helm officer, then to the remaining Tactical crew member. “You fired on the Nostradamus?”
A nod. “Aye.”
Kohl sniffed. “Karkoski? We need to get off this ship.”
“Spark’s getting away!”
“Problem that’ll solve itself. Our issue was ensuring no one fired on us as we left.” He eyeballed the Tactical officer. “You gonna fire on us?”
“No.” Head shake, rapid fire, eyes on Kohl’s rifle. “Definitely not.”
Al sidled up, looking between Kohl and the officer. “How do you know you can trust this one?”
“Just do.”
Blink, blink. “I think I see.” The construct wandered to the Helm, grabbing the officer by the throat.
“Al? No. Not that one.” Kohl sighed. “Leave him alone.”
Al paused, hand around the officer’s throat, the hapless human’s feet off the ground. “Are you sure?”
“Pretty sure.” Kohl wandered to Karkoski, who was still hammering the airlock. “Let’s go.”
The Tactical officer shifted back to her station. “We’re being targeted by the Nostradamus. She’s firing.”
More white light outside bridge windows. Sound like a cork popping as Spark’s escape pod launched. Kohl eyed the bridge crew. “In about two minutes, a thousand assholes will come in here, shooting first and asking questions later.”
“Marines,” said the Helm.
“Like I said, assholes.” Kohl ambled toward the elevator airlock.
“You’re assuming the ship’s still in one piece,” said Al.
The Intervention shook as railgun rounds impacted. Kohl glared at the construct. “You just had to say it, didn’t you?”
“I’m sorry.” Al made his way to the comm station. He unspooled diagnostic cable from underneath, snapping it into his wrist. “Allow me to … borrow some useful intelligence.”
“Not sorry enough.” Kohl led the way. Karkoski, after a reluctant last attempt at the door controls, nodded to Helm and Tactical to follow. Al brought up the rear.
Now, to get off this death-trap ship.


That’s it from me. I hope your weekend is awesome! Don’t forget to check out Tyche’s Flight while it’s on sale. If you want to get in on the Facebook action, you can clicky the clicky:

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