Snippet Sunday: Epsilon Broken Stars

This week’s snip is from Epsilon: Broken Stars–a bit of prose in which Aaron Taylor thinks of his beloved mother, Madeline, dead for several years by the time the story begins.Broken Stars cover - take two

In a universe where the fate of free worlds hangs in the balance, can one man make a difference?

The Resistance is a thin line of defense for the free planets of the Borderworlds.  The strip of former colonies forms a shrinking boundary between the Earth-controlled Drilin Imperium and the Epsilon Alliance, superpowers locked in a cold war a hundred years old.  It’s a no-man’s land home to billions living under the constant threat of Imperium invasion, a place where the Alliance dares not intercede for fear of sparking all-out war.

Aaron Taylor knows what’s at stake when he volunteers to join the Resistance.  The son of an Imperium general, the Alliance-trained military spy’s existence can be officially disavowed at a moment’s notice.  It’s work that’s already cost him everything he holds dear–including his beloved partner of seven years.

He joins the Resistance as a man with nothing left to lose at a time when the Resistance needs men like him the most.  It’s far from the disorganized rabble both the Alliance and the Imperium think it is, but without more able hands, the Borderworlds are doomed.  Soon, he begins to believe as they do–that there’s no hope for humanity without the men and women willing to fight and die for their homes on the border.

Torn between duty to both, when the chips are down, which will Taylor choose: the Alliance that made him, or the Resistance that made him its own?

Snippet below the break.


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Snippet Sunday: Epsilon Universe extra

This week’s snippet is from the Epsilon universe.

Sam Cooper is Lucas Ross’s second in the Resistance.  Mac Desantis is Aaron Taylor’s pilot and temporary partner while he’s assigned to the Borderworlds, doing what the regular military can’t–supporting the Resistance in their bid to keep the Borderworlds free from the Imperium.

A funny thing happened when Sam met Mac.

They fell in love.

This never-before-seen scene is an imagining of a could be scenario that doesn’t fit into the current scheme of projects in the universe but I can’t help but share.

Snippet below the break.

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Snippet Sunday – Epsilon: Redeemer snippet

I’ll be trying something new around here and that’s something that we’re going to call “Snippet Sunday”–when I reveal a snippet of something I’m working on or have already released, depending on the mood.

For the inaugural Snippet Sunday, we’ll be paying a visit to the universe of Falling Stars and Epsilon: Broken Stars with this bit from the current draft of Epsilon: Redeemer.

Excerpt is after the break.

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Killing the darlings: Epsilon universe ramblings

The story that appears in the Epsilon series is one that has gone through a dozen iterations–and at least as many starting points.  It’s a universe that I have been working in for the majority of my writing life, though the first draft of Epsilon (back then, a single volume unto itself) was something I started back in 1996, back when I was a wide-eyed student at a suburban high school.  A lot’s changed since then, not the least of which being the story of Epsilon.

The original draft started with Aaron, as the curren series does, but it started well before the events of Broken Stars.  In fact, the period of Broken Stars was something I had never explored until I was starting and re-starting the third draft of Epsilon (still, at that time, a single volume that would encompass the material that eventually became Broken Stars told from Aaron’s point of view and then subsequent events from Caren Flannery’s point of view). Epsilon draft one encompassed an entire war–a very simplistic war, but a war nonetheless–and roughly four years of time in 62,000 words written over thirty-six months of my college career.  By comparison, Broken Stars comes in almost 20,000 words longer and doesn’t even cover six months of time.

Currently, I’m working on the second book of the series, Redeemer, a story that I didn’t even know I had in me until after I’d written what became Broken Stars.  Initially, from the end of Broken Stars, there was going to be a gap of three years, then the story was going to pick up again from Caren Flannery’s point of view (it was a holdover from previous drafts–one of those “darlings” that writers are often encouraged to kill), all in one book.  It was the summer of 2011 and I had been reading more and more about the indie and self-publishing revolution, and I made the decision by the turn of autumn to split Epsilon into a larger series than I’d intended.  As I sat down to begin writing what was then the second book, Shattered, I began to realize that there was a lot of story that I was going to miss out on telling if I moved forward with my intial plans.  In sitting down to write Redeemer, though, I’ve ripped the guts out of some old darlings from previous drafts of Caren and Aaron’s story.

For instance, over the course of every previous draft of Epsilon, a major backstory point was that during the years (and yes, it’s years) when Caren couldn’t remember who she was, Aaron avoided her, almost alienated her.  This is in stark contrast to what occurs in Redeemer.

Spoilers below the cut.

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What’s in the works…

I had intended to mostly update folks on the couple of editions of things that are in the works, but that seems silly because there’s so much that’s in the works right now.  We’ll just break it down by title and universe and work from there.

The Lost Angel Chronicles / UNSETIC Files

  • When All’s Said and Done (Lost Angel Chronicles) – This is the story of how Kyle, Ridley, and a motley crew including Julia, Kyle’s roommate Reece, FBI Agent Matthew Thatcher, and company try to rescue some of the other “angels” and bring down the Institute.  Will they succeed?  Will Kyle and Ridley end up in the clutches of the organization that once held them captive?  Only time will tell…
    Word Count: 29076 as of this writing (goaled for 85k+)
  • Girl from a Brigadoon (UNSETIC Files) – In 2027, a town that vanished more than ten years ago reappears in the wilds of Alberta, Canada.  Within that lost town is a New York woman who’s been missing for as much time–a woman who might hold the key to why the town vanished and why it reappeared.  New York regional lead for the United Nations Supernatural and Extraterrestrial Investigative Corps, Brigid O’Connell, is starting to realize exactly how much her organization doesn’t know about the “supernatural” angle of their investigations…
    Currently reassessing goaling.
  • Untitled project (UNSETIC Files) – After witnessing a friend’s miraculous healing ability aboard the USS Daedalus, Brigid O’Connell volunteers to join a new, secret division of the United Nations – UNSETIC, dedicated to investigating the unexplained and, in some cases, defending humanity from it.  She’s assigned to work with Timothy McConaway, a figure from her past that’s as much ghost as he is man.  When they’re sent to the Bering Sea to look into reports of a strange creature hassling a research team, O’Connell has to wonder if she’s cut out for the job–and if her partner is as crazy as she fears.
    Word Count: 9,814 as of this writing (Goaled for 35K+)
  • Two additional projects in this universe are in the works, both crossover pieces between the Lost Angel Chronicles and the UNSETIC Files.

Epsilon

  • Epsilon: Redeemer – Lucas Ross has made a promise to an Alliance spy: he’ll find a way to restore Ren Flannery’s memory come hell or high water.  The floodwaters are rising for the Resistance, though, as word of their success at Castion begins to make the Imperium believe that maybe, just maybe, the disorganized rabble they through the Resistance was is more dangerous than they originally believed…
    Word Count: 21,788 as of this writing (goaled for 90K+)
  • Epsilon: Spades over Kings – Working title for a little side project in the universe.
  • Another side project is planned but not in production, dealing with the investigation by Alliance Intelligence of Daniel Taylor’s disappearance when his son was eight years old.

Awakenings

  • War Drums – This is Book Two of the Awakenings series and looks to be on track to finish by Christmas…but we’ll see where the story takes me.
    Word Count: Over 100K as of this writing – another monster, probably longer than its predecessor.
  • Book One – Print edition is currently in final editing (when I pulled it from Word into InDesign and started to fix stylesheets, I lost a lot of italics, so I’m having to go back and make sure that there are italics where I want them).

Legacies of the Lost Earth

  • The Last Colony – This one is actually getting really close to finish; probably only a few more chapters until done.
    Word Count: Over 80K as of this writing (which makes it just about as long as Broken Stars).
  • Ashes to Ashes – Book two of Legacies of the Lost Earth will pick up very soon after the ending of The Last Colony — but when I begin to post it is another question entirely!
  • Untitled third installment – I do intend for Legacies of the Lost Earth to be a trilogy, but that may change depending on where the words take me.

In addition to everything listed above, I have a full-time day job, a boyfriend, and a few projects currently in production that I’m not at liberty to discuss.

Stay tuned for more updates–and excerpts–in the future!

I am, indeed, still alive…

What few normal visitors I have to this site will be gratified to learn that I am, in fact, still alive despite rumors to the contrary.  It’s been a busy summer so far and it’s not over yet.

Just to recap what’s been going on lately…

  • In April, I quit my job of six years at a major retailer of womens’ clothing sizes 14-28.  It was more than time for a change.
  • At the end of April/beginning of May, I started a new job, one with normal 8-5 hours (or 10-7 hours, but  more on that later), an hour for lunch, and good stuff like that.  One of the best parts about this job?  I don’t work weekends.  One of the worst parts about this job?  I generally get up at 6:30 to be at my desk by ten minutes to eight every morning.  Because I’m getting to be an old fart (stop laughing) it’s become increasingly difficult for me to function on anything less than six (or eight…) hours sleep, but I’m working on it.
  • I ate through my backlogs of both Awakenings and The Last Colony, so that eats up a chunk of writing time four days a week.
  • I’m working on the edits for print editions of Epsilon: Broken Stars and Awakenings Book One.  The unfortunate part of converting the files from Word to InDesign and then attempting to fix all of the errors in stylesheets (have I mentioned that I hate those styles sometimes?) was that I lost massive chunks of italics, so the process is taking longer than it should be.
  • I’ve discovered that I actually like to read again.  In order to wind down at night before I try to sleep, I end up reading for a couple hours.  This understandably cuts into writing time but is probably good for my sanity.
    • None of what I said above is helped by the fact that many of the series that I was waiting on the next books of have been released since May.  There’s one more coming in August (Caitlin Kittredge’s Soul Trade) that I’m eagerly awaiting, then it looks like things might settle down a little bit…unless I discover that the next Lightbringer book is out, or the next Graveyard Queen book.  I think I’m safe on Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices…for now.
  • Got rolling on a second draft of Epsilon: Redeemer.  It will be interesting.  Of course, then I got distracted because….
  • I had to get back to working on the sequel to What Angels Fear.  Especially because my aunt said her “friend” read it and is now demanding that I write a sequel (and wants to know when it’s coming out).  Coincidentally, this is the aunt that said she wasn’t going to read anything before I wrote my memoirs (she’s an English teacher).  So as I got to working on the immediate sequel to What Angels Fear, other things began to rear their fair heads and demand to at least in part be committed to paper.  These include:
    • A currently untitled Lost Angels/UNSETIC crossover involving Hadrian Bridger (Ky Thatcher’s main squeeze and Ridley’s former roommate at the Institute), Ridley, and Commander Brigid O’Connell (UNSETIC universe).
    • A currently untitled stand-alone piece about a girl named Caitlin and a boy named Thaddeus using virtual reality tech developed for an MMO to predict threats to life, limb, and national security.  This is also set in the Lost Angels/UNSETIC universe, like many of my works in the modern/near future.
  • Also continued some work on what may or may not be the first UNSETIC piece released (Girl from a Brigadoon is becoming more complex than I anticipated, but what do you expect from one’s first psuedo-mystery?), which is the story of Brigid O’Connell and Timothy McConaway’s first mission together with UNSETIC.

So, in a word, I’ve been busy.  I am hoping to be less busy at some point, but the date of that remains to be seen.  I’m attempting WebSeWriMo again this year, and I’ve set a somewhat ambtious goal for myself in hoping I can get twenty installments for Awakenings written in the month of August (which is just about one a day, with ten days off to work on other stuff) with secondary goals to finish the edits to Awakenings Book One for print and a tertiary goal of finishing Awakenings Book Two.

It strikes me that Book Two should have an actual title, but titles are hard.  I’ll have to think about that.