New Serial Novel!!!

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There’s a new serial novel on the block, people.  “A Pawn Up My Sleeve” is the most recent story to hit the bits and bytes of this blog.  With the readership “Twicebound” is enjoying (and with how much I’m enjoying writing it), I decided to take the serial novels a step further.

APUMScoverHere’s the blurb for it:


Imagine you have a problem… a big problem… and that problem won’t go away. No matter what you do. When you have that sort of problem, conventional methods don’t work. You have to resort to unconventional ones. And when you need unconventional methods… you need an unconventional man. You need a man who doesn’t play by the same rules the problem does. You need a man who plays chess when everyone else is playing poker. You need a man who’s playing for keeps when everyone else is playing for little things like power, money, or their lives.

You need a man like Hubert Spencewood.

Huey, for short.


It will be published weekly, but instead of coming out Saturday morning, you’ll be able to take a break from the vicissitudes of Monday with each installment of “A Pawn Up My Sleeve”

The big difference is this; “A Pawn Up My Sleeve” is subscription-based.  Don’t worry, I based the subscription rate around the price-tag you might find on a nice trade-paper back in a bookstore.

The first thousand words, however, are yours for the reading.  Jump in!!

ButtonOr, if you’re the adventurous sort, just go straight to the
A Pawn Up My Sleeve Main Page.

Twicebound: Chapter 14 – Part 2

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The vet stitched the incision on Armelle’s bicep closed, then dabbed at it with a disinfectant swab.

“You’re good to go.  Will you please tell your sinister friend there to put down the gun?”

Armelle turned a questioning eye on Vančura, but the big man shook his head microscopically.  The revolver remained where it was, unwaveringly trained on the veterinarian’s third jacket button.  The vet sighed and tossed down the swab on the tray next to the three computer chips.

“Fine.  So, what do you want me to do with these?”

After sliding off the table and putting her coat back on, Armelle shrugged.

“Whatever you want.  It won’t make much difference in a few hours.”

The vet gave her a strange look, but kept his mouth shut.  Vančura, however, stepped forward and gathered up the chips, slipping them into his pocket without lowering the pistol.

“Let’s go.”

Armelle frowned, but grabbed Eddie’s arm and towed him out the door.  With a slight nod to the vet, Vančura backed away, only dropping the pistol after the spring-loaded door had swung shut behind him.  Gravel crunched as he made his way to the truck and slid in beside Eddie.  The engine was already running and Armelle kicked it into gear as soon as his boots left the ground.

“What was that all about?”

He turned a neutral expression on her.

“Could you guarantee me the time-travel would erase the events at the veterinary clinic?  Mathematically speaking.”

She winced and turned onto the main highway.

“You can’t guarantee anything in the real world, not in a mathematical sense.”

Vančura nodded and pulled the chips out of his pocket.  He waited a few moments, then rolled down the window and tossed them into the slow moving water of a drainage ditch.

“It’s time-travel, Armelle, not a computer simulation.  You can’t predict anything accurately; there’s no way to be sure that we can wipe out past events, even if we go back in time and keep ourselves from going through the knothole.”

She didn’t reply, but Eddie propped his feet up on the dashboard and closed his eyes with a self-satisfied grin.

“Can’t take no chances wid time.”

End Chapter  14 – Part 2
Go to Chapter 14 – Part 3


Want to read the previous installments of ‘Twicebound’? They’re right here!
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three,
Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six,
Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten,
  Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen – Part 1

Possible Serial Novel Launch?

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As most of my readers know, I’ve been writing and releasing the serial novel “Twicebound” for nearly a year now.  It’s still a long way from completion (totaling less than 30,000 words) and might run for several more years.

What most of my readers don’t know is that I’m planning a new serial novel.  It will run alongside “Twicebound” but in a very different genre.  However, the key difference will be that the new novel won’t be published in the same free-to-read format as “Twicebound”.  I’m planning to run it as a subscribe-to-read serial, at about the same price you’d pay for the standard trade paperback ($10.00) for a full year’s subscription.

It will be released on a weekly basis, with installments averaging 1,000 words each.  I’m still working out the delivery details, but it will probably be released as a PDF download.

The question YOU want answered, though, is “what is it about?”.  Rather than answer that right away, I’m going to let the anticipation sink in for a while first!  The only hint you get right now is the title and a teaser.  The title is:

“A Pawn Up My Sleeve”

We all play games.  That’s life.  Lots of little games all going at once.  Some of us play chess, others play poker, or backgammon.  Everyone turns life into the game of their choice.  Some of them even win at it.

Me… I stole the rulebook.  I don’t play the game, I play the players.  And I always win.

Twicebound: Chapter 13 – Part 3

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“You’re kidding, right?”

Vančura gave Armelle a semi-apologetic shrug.

“Sorry, but no. The only other way to deal with these things is to remove them surgically and we don’t have to tools or the skills for that.”

Eddie looked like he was seriously considering panicking, but Armelle spoke before he could.

“Hold on a minute.  We might not have the skills, but what if I know someone who does?”

“I’m listening.  Just remember, we’re going to need a really good explanation for why the three of us urgently need military grade tracking and termination chips removed from our arms.”

She glanced up at the ceiling and screwed up her face into a grimace as she thought his point over.  It didn’t take her nearly as long as it should have, Eddie noticed.  As far as he was concerned, the more thinking was done about it, the longer it would take them to get around to reconsidering the taser.

After a moment, Armelle got up and disappeared into a back room.  Something thumped and wood scraped along the floor, then there was silence.  Eddie and Vančura waited, trading glances over the coffee.  Eddie slurped his, then eyed Vančura with as much disapproval as he could muster.  It didn’t have any effect, but it made him feel better.

“A taser?  Y’serious?  You been shocked wid one of does t’ings before?”

“I can’t say that I have, no.”

The reply bubbling up in Eddie’s head was interrupted by Armelle’s return.  She was carrying a battered cardboard box and tossed it down in front of Vančura.

“That ought to be reason enough.  There’s a veterinary not far from here; we should be able to… persuade… him to remove the chips.”

Eddie nodded, happy to have the tasers off the table.  Vančura, however, gave her a sharp look and flipped the top off the box.  One eyebrow rose as he examined the contents.

“Are you sure?”

That surprised her.

“What, getting that poison time-bomb out of yourself isn’t worth a little intimidation?”

He lifted the snub-nosed revolver out of the box and dangled it by the trigger guard.  Leaning forward, he studied her curiously.

“No, it doesn’t bother me at all.  You, on the other hand, seem to be remarkably amenable to the idea.  That… surprises me.  A lot.”

Armelle shrugged and grinned at him, tapping her watch.

“Time-travel, remember?  A little threatening never hurt anyone and, besides, once we go through the knothole again, it won’t have ever happened, anyway.”

He sat back and finished his coffee, still holding the pistol in the other hand.

“That’s quite a grey area, Armelle, and you found it remarkably fast.  It almost makes me wonder if you hadn’t already figured it out.”

End Chapter  13 – Part 3
Go to Chapter 14 – Part 1

Okay, so maybe this installment didn’t really answer the question of whether they get poisoned or not.  But hints are just as good, right?  No?  Okay, okay, I’ll rescue them in the next installment, I promise. Maybe.  Getting rid of a plot tool as useful as a poisonous computer chip isn’t something a writer does lightly!


Want to read the previous installments of ‘Twicebound’? They’re right here!
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three,
Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six,
Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten,
  Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen – Part 1
Chapter Thirteen – Part 2

New Cover Reveal: Pyramid 76

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My sci-fi thriller short story “Pyramid 76” has been out for a while now and I decided it was time for an update of its cover art.  The original P76 covercover was the product of a half hour’s work with my laptop’s built-in graphics program.  (One of my beta-readers absolutely hated it at first sight.)   It wasn’t particularly good, since I’m no wizard with visual art and was in a hurry, and it was more of a stop-gap cover than anything else.

However, a few weeks later, I had a brainstorm about how I wanted the final cover to look.  None of the artists I know were interested in doing and I didn’t have the art skills to pull it off with a pencil or paints.  That left photography, which meant props were needed.  Unfortunately, some of those props (like the medical bottles) are a little hard to come by.  Then, last week I had a lucky break and got some that would work.  After that, some fancy work with some superglue and playing cards and it was photo time.

Getting the picture turned out a little harder than I thought it would be, thanks to some unwanted help (pestering) from onlookers and the bad shape of the background cloth.  None of the numerous shots I took looked particularly great, but while I may not be any good with a pencil, graphics programs are DEFINITELY within my abilities.

After some judicious smudging, blearing, copying, color balance modifications, and other assorted photoshopping (oh, and a neon outline mask) I had four different cover versions.  I ran those by several readers and they all settled on this one as the best suited to “Pyramid 76”.

RevealCoverI’m pretty pleased with it and all the people I showed it to were impressed.  The blend of sci-fi and realistic feels like it’s balanced just right to fit the story.  Each element in it is important to the story in one way or another.  (you’ll have to read it to know just how, though!)

All in all, this cover really finishes “Pyramid 76”.  The story had been feeling incomplete for a while now, but that feeling is gone.  The cover is the part of the book that snags the very first bit of the reader’s attention.  What do you think?  Does this one do its job?


PS. Since this story is now officially ‘completed’, it now appears on my Goodreads Author’s Page.  Please, stop by and add it to your ‘to-read’ list (if you haven’t read it) or to your ‘read’ list (if you have).  And, remember, reviews are pure gold to any author!

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