Archive for the ‘Vesta-Ceres’ Category

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Vesta-Ceres: Chapter 6

February 9, 2011

Below is Chapter 6 of Vesta-Ceres.  If you’d like to read the novel from the beginning, please visit my Vesta-Ceres page.

VESTA-CERES – CHAPTER 6

MARK’S EMOTIONS, instinct and intellect wrestled to understand what he was witnessing.  The movements in the cabin atomized into frozen images of surreal clarity.

A leg swung into the aisle.  The knee was higher than the thigh, coming to a point, as if a man-sized spider was about to lift itself up.  Another smooth appendage, similar to the one on the forearm, wrapped around the side of the leg and connected at the ankle.  The foot, covered in the same thick gray skin, did not flatten to the ground.  It was a webbed tripod that reminded Mark of the buttressed trunks beneath south Pacific fig trees.

Its head entered the doorway.  A rounded snout jutted forward, a thin mouth slitting the center, almost apish.  A smooth, nose-like ridge divided the top of the snout and swept back to a shallow forehead.  A deep eye socket cut an oblong cavity beside the ridge.  Its squid eye peered at Mark from the depths of the socket.  The forehead smoothly continued its slope to the back of the skull, where a small overhang, a rear visor, flared straight out.  Its head was hairless, as far as Liú could tell.  The same mottled-gray skin was everywhere, smooth at the top of the head, pebbled over the face and thick and craggy on the snout and neck.

Its torso leaned out and balanced over the leg.  It was as tall as the doorway, standing over two meters.  The gray pachydermal skin covered the body.  Its torso had a lighter, cream-colored section making a rounded “T” shape in its center that puffed out from its body.  There was no clothing covering any part of it—unprotected hide in zero atmosphere.

Turning its head to face Mark, its eyes shifted—rather, the eye sockets shifted.  They pressed forward at the outside edges, filling in some of the deep cavity.  Where its view had been  on either side of the skull, like an earthly herbivore, both eyes could now focused on Mark—like a predator.

The alien’s frame swung with the second leg, turning into the aisle.  It filled the doorway, casting itself in shadows from the gleaming lunar surface.  The eerie outline striped the floor.

Mark stood still, numb and dumbfounded.  He couldn’t deny it to himself any more—no excuses or theories could explain it all away—he was looking at an alien.  A living, breathing—was it breathing?—alien.  It was at once a tree, an elephant, an insect, an ape, a man, a squid—and nothing he had ever seen.

The torso and arms abruptly moved.  Its snout was mouthing something as well.  The oddly-shaped hand made a stroking motion diagonally across its stomach area.  Then it pointed its left arm toward Mark and made an arching gesture down toward the floor.

Mark was distracted by the belly gesture.  Does it want to eat me?

He reached his right hand to activate his headset.  He couldn’t believe he hadn’t gotten any help by now.

The alien lurched toward him, its mouth moving quickly.  Mark put both hands back on the Taser and leveled it toward the alien’s upper torso.

“Stay where you are!” Mark said instinctively, still forgetting he wouldn’t be heard … or understood.

It squatted down, as if to pounce.  With more light, Mark saw its mouth hanging open and a nearly circular throat inside.  His ears rang with silence.

I guess this isn’t a cordial introduction where you’re from. The menacing, squat form put Mark on edge.  He focused on the gun-barrel and aligned his sights.  The creature shifted forward again, still ready to spring.  No communication.  No understanding.  A threat of force.

He fired.

The cartridge bounced uselessly off the alien’s torso.  Gray hands grabbed the counters on either side of the aisle—it lunged at him.

Mark fired again, higher this time.  The alien was moving too quickly, the second cartridge ricocheted off its shoulder.

Mark squatted down to throw the charging beast over his head.  But the strange appendages flipped forward and caught him unprepared.  One smacked the Taser out of his hands.  The other clanged his helmet into the side of the countertop.  Mark and the alien fell slowly in the lunar gravity.  Its forearm landed on his thighs and trapped him on the floor.  Its other arm was on his chest.  His helmet rang in his ears when it hit the metal decking.

He could see its eyes in the approaching skull.  They didn’t seem like the eyes of an intelligent being.  They were impassive—like an animal—a snake, a lion.  It climbed over him up to his helmet.  The end of its snout deformed and discolored as it met his glass visor.  Its body pressed on his chest.  Mark could feel a smooth ridge running the length of the forearm appendage.  It arched its head back and the mouth opened wide in a silent howl.

It nodded its forehead downward and thrust it up again.  Two fangs, or tusks, thrust out from openings under its lower jaw.  Clean at the tips, stained at the base, the arched sabers straddled Mark’s helmet—like a wild boar in the forest.

Liú stared at the tusks, spellbound by the awesome presence of the creature.  He had time to be afraid again.  This time he was.

Don’t scream.

It reared back.  Mark tensed his stomach, sure that he was about to be disemboweled.  He felt the forearm push against his ribs.  Then the weight lifted.  The alien had stood up.  It pulled its tusks back under its jaw.  Mark yanked up his knees to crawl backwards.  The alien patted his knee.  Then it turned back to the cockpit.

What the hell?

Liú sat up and checked his suit as the creature sauntered away.  Not surprisingly, he had a leak.  The suit had some ability to close off air channels to minimize leaks.  He tore a piece of tape from the roll attached to his belt and patched the small opening he found under his left elbow.

Mark leaned back on his arms, still panting for air.  He scanned the cockpit again.  The alien was in the driver’s seat, trying to start the truck.  It didn’t know to grab the keys in the center of the console.

Mark pushed himself up with some effort.  His legs gave a little underneath him.  He laughed.  He was lucky to be alive—and he knew it.

Where the hell is that Taser? He didn’t care if it was useless.  It had a few more cartridges and he felt naked without it.

Mark started toward the back of the truck to search.  He felt the floor bouncing beneath him.  Shadows jumped on the cabinets.  He glanced over his shoulder.  It was rushing him again.

Dammit!

Mark made a leap for the rear of the truck, but with little traction, he slipped.  Alien limbs grabbed him around his upper arms and chest.  Not its hands, but its boney appendages.  They clamped on him securely and dragged him back toward the cockpit.

Is this some kind of game?

They passed the storage bins and entered the cockpit.  Mark didn’t struggle to get free.  If he tore his suit badly enough, he’d be as dead as if the alien impaled him with a tusk in his back.  In the midst of a second terror, Mark disjointedly made a connection.  The strange appendages that gripped his body reminded him of the tibia on a mantis.  It was not a consoling thought.

Inside the cockpit, the arms lifted Mark up.  His feet touched the driver’s seat; he was facing sideways, the steering wheel to his right.  The alien stood in the space between the cockpit chairs.

The side window of the truck rushed toward him.  Mark’s visor made a hollow thunk against the glass.  The alien’s torso pressed his body forward, the inflexible helmet bent his head and neck backwards.  He faced left so his spine could stretch backward further.

Mark pressed his eyes shut and clenched his teeth.  I’m a dead man.

Don’t scream.

Even in the most removed of circumstances, he still heard Coach Palea yelling in his ear.  “No screaming!  I’m not coaching the girls’ wrestling team!”  Mark was always surprised how well not screaming had served him over the years.  It wasn’t just an outward facade.  He thought it made him braver on the inside too.

But this was it.  He felt the alien’s left tibia shifting its grip.  The tusks were coming.  He knew it.  And he couldn’t do anything about it.

A tapping sound intruded on Liú’s personal last rights.  It vibrated into his helmet from the glass.  He opened his left eye, his right still pinched closed, ready for execution.

The alien finger was drumming on the glass.  Its hand was still free to move atop the complex intersections at its wrist.  The shifting bones under the stretched gray skin revolted Mark.

What does that mean?

Mark squinted both eyes and peered outside, straining his neck to improve his angle.  The visor had tinted itself, but view was still bright.  The last vertical water tank stood immediately to his left.  Beyond was the moon’s horizon—the undulating rim of the Gay-Lussac A crater.  Large boulders thrown out of the crater eons ago littered the ground.

Mark spotted it.

Another alien.  It was leaning its back against a boulder, maybe thirty meters away.  It wasn’t wearing a spacesuit either.  It held a tubular object—as thick as its arm, as long as its torso.  Mark could only assume it was a weapon.  It was watching the warehouse.

Another movement.  Another alien.  This one was a few meters closer, its head and weapon poking out from behind a bolder.

It wants me to see more aliens? Mark wondered.

He pieced together what little he knew.  Its ship crashed.  It was injured.  Maybe it was pursued?  And shot down?  Maybe it wants to get away from these guys?

And it wants my help.

Mark knew he was guessing.  He slapped the cockpit glass with his right palm.

The arms jerked him away from the window so they could face each other.  Mark pointed with his free hand toward the other aliens and nodded his head “yes” to say he understood.

The alien tipped its head from side to side.

Great.  Now we’re communicating.

The arms let go completely and Mark fell into the chair, still standing, and caught himself on the steering wheel.  The alien was pointing again at the glass with its hand up-turned, wagging its last long finger.  Its mouth was moving.  Mark peered out the window.

One of the aliens outside was pointing at the truck.

“They’ve spotted us,” Mark said to his helmet.

He grabbed the keys out of the console, shoved the fob into the ignition and pressed the start button.  It occurred to him that he hadn’t ever driven one of these maintenance trucks.  He dropped his left knee into the chair and his right foot onto the floor, still leaning over the large steering wheel.  The alien loomed overhead, ready to push Mark out of the way and drive.

Mark glanced to his left; the alien outside was aiming its weapon at the truck.

He pulled the gear shift on the dashboard and stomped his right foot on the gas.  The truck jolted—backwards.  It veered left.  The cabin bucked to a stop when the back end hit the tank platform.

“Shit!”

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Vesta-Ceres: Chapter 5

December 17, 2010

Below is Chapter 5 of Vesta-Ceres.  If you’d like to read the novel from the beginning, please visit my Vesta-Ceres page.

VESTA-CERES – CHAPTER 5

MARK COULDN’T tell if it was climbing up or down.  He unsnapped the Taser again, ready to jump onto the second level grating.

Several more pulses rang through the ladder.  Then nothing.

Mark secured the Taser and moved up into the darkness, shaking the tension from his clenched left hand. Only the vaguest outlines were becoming visible again from the far away lighting over the conveyor.  He carefully searched for each rung of the ladder.

The service door on the fourth level flung open.  Daggers of light cut through the warehouse.  The form was in front of the door again.  Then it moved out of the light from the door, away from the ladder.

Mark continued up.  When his head passed the fourth floor grating, he moved cautiously, scrutinizing his field of view.  He scanned for any movement.  The opening was no more than two meters from him, its light shining almost directly opposite of Mark into the alcove and falling into the abyss of the warehouse.  The door felt much further away.

He stepped onto the platform, drawing his Taser.  The grating had a rubbery give under his uniform boots.  The top of all the grating in the warehouse had been dipped in a thick coating to prevent snags—for both the containers and the humans.  The platform continued straight in front of him into pitch blackness, all the way along the warehouse wall.  Mark spotted a rag on the platform, conspicuous in the middle of the sunlight.  He checked to his right and behind himself.  No movement—but he was wary.  He turned back toward the rag.

Mark felt a tremendous shove from behind, hands—or feet?—that covered large parts of his back.  He fell, turning to his side to see what was behind.  Confusing shapes tumbled in the shadows.  He bounced into the sunlight from the open doorway and was blinded.

Mark aimed his Taser in the direction of the attack and fired.  Nothing.  He rolled quickly onto his feet.  He flicked his wrist to check the uniform’s keypad—no lights. His spacesuit wasn’t  depressurizing.

He flipped on his headlamp.  Scanning the area, there was no one on the grating platform with him.  He bounced back over to the ladder and grabbed hold.  It was vibrating again.  He looked down.  Nothing moved below him.  He looked up.  The vibration stopped and he saw nothing.

Mark considered the shadows he saw as he fell.  He thought he had seen wings—long, black, insect-like.  He shook his head.

Great.  An unidentified winged object.  That’ll go over well.

One thing was certain, whoever just attacked him was not looking for his help.

The intruder had climbed further up in the building.  There wasn’t any way out up there.  If Mark secured the access door down on the service level, the only place the intruder could exit was the way he came in, through the connector tunnel.  All the other exits were guarded airlocks—the man-doors required a security badge and scanners would disable the conveyor airlocks if anything living were detected.

Liú holstered the Taser and exhaled heavily as he swung himself onto the ladder.  He only needed to call for backup.  Central Security might think he was crazy, but they’d eventually catch the intruder and Mark would be vindicated.

Maybe even rewarded?  I doubt it.

More light flashed from another access door.  Mark focused on the new opening—the sixth level.  Whatever was up there might start back down the ladder toward him.  He felt adrenaline flowing again.

Something flashed in his peripheral vision.  A shadow at the fourth level access door he had left open.

Was that?  Did it?

Mark put both hands on the side rail of the ladder and threw himself toward the alcove.  Grabbing the inside flange of the I-beam at the corner, he swung into the doorway before his feet touched the ground.  He shoved his head outside.

Squinting into the blinding light,  Liú could barely make out a four-limbed shape bouncing onto the lunar surface far below and leaping to double-back around the corner of the building.

Mark didn’t know if the fall could kill him.  The only math he knew was that if he didn’t jump, the bad guy might get away.

He stepped back and lunged out the doorway into space.

Mark had time to be afraid—but he wasn’t.  He aimed his feet downward, bent his knees, relaxed his body—a reflex long-since drilled into him.  He even had a moment to review the shape he just saw bounding away.  No wings.

Would you use wings with no atmosphere?

The ground interrupted his musings.  He bounced in lunar dust at an earth-like fall velocity.  Both feet landed together; he fell forward and rolled.

Pushing himself up again, the ashen moon-dust showered off of his suit.  He took leaping strides in the direction of the intruder.  Running on the moon caused a weightless feeling in the bowels, leading to a natural giddiness—Mark suppressed it as best he could.

This is work, Mark, not fun.  Well—maybe a little of both.

The intruder had turned toward the emergency water silos.  Mark followed the crater-like tracks in the dust.  He didn’t have time to examine their triangular shape—he was fast approaching a platform at his eye-level.  The tracks discontinued below the platform.  He made a short hop to get both feet underneath himself, then leapt for the top of the platform railing.  Grabbing it on either side like a baseball bat, he kicked his legs over the rail and pushed off explosively with his upper body.

Mark hoped to keep his momentum.  He overdid it.  In the light gravity, he flew toward one of the tanks.  He turned his back to it and felt the solid mass slam through his suit.  His body ricocheted toward the next tank a meter away.  Mark bent his arms and pushed off the silo.  He landed and rolled in a heap.

Definitely not fun.

Mark staggered onto his feet.  He was under an awning that covered the service side of the tanks.  He looked down the platform and the row of silos in front of him.  There were only a half-dozen.  They were part of an emergency network of back-up water tanks.  The 38 megaliter primary tanks were underneath the main structure.  Artemis had multiple layers of backups for critical systems.

The awning overhead connected to the next building to Mark’s right.  Between the platform and the building was a shaded maintenance bay on the lunar surface.  Two parked work vehicles faced the open end of the bay.  They were ten-wheeled mobile repair trailers that carried spare parts and tools.  One of the trucks jostled—someone was in it.

Gotcha.

Mark stepped off the platform at a ladder and floated down to the surface.  He approached the truck.  The rear hatch was in the right corner.  A small airlock maintained pressure in the truck.  Mark drew his Taser again.  He saw his headlamp reflecting on the truck body and switched it off.  The door stood ajar; he eased it open.  The airlock was about the size of a shower.  The second door—also open—lead to the truck’s central aisleway.  The truck wasn’t pressurized.

Mark climbed in.

The dark, empty corridor stretched five meters to the cabin.  Light from the front windows glinted off of the drawers and large plastic bins in orderly grids along both walls.    The driver’s cockpit was too bright to see at first.

Liú moved smoothly down the aisle with the Taser in both hands, aimed at the ground.  His eyes adjusted to the changing light and focused on the dashboard.  A strange arm moved over the controls.

Mottled shades of gray covered the forearm.  Mark recognized the wing-like shape he had seen earlier.  It wasn’t a wing at all.  It looked like a shield along the outside half of the forearm.  Hinged near the wrist, it pulsed away from the arm, like it was fanning air.  The appendage cast an angled shadow over the forearm, which undulated with the tendons at work under the thick-looking skin.

Mark counted fingers on its hand as they moved across the dashboard.  Seven? They were a darker grey on top, lighter on the bottom.  Two of them appeared to be operating in a thumb-like, opposable position.  The next three were long by human standards.  The last two were half the size.  Some of the dried yellow-green liquid flaked off the hand onto the dashboard.  Mark stopped walking; he felt his heart pounding against his left arm.

It’s not wearing a spacesuit.  There is no air in this cabin, Mark thought. This is definitely not some human in a costume.

He reconsidered his situation.  Can I communicate with this thing?  I’m not animal control.

Get out of here, cover the door and call Central.  He—it—might start the truck.  Can it drive?  Who cares?  Get out of here.

Standing halfway down the aisle, he took a step to move backwards.  He noticed the hand and arm in the cockpit were no longer moving.  The forearm appendage wasn’t pulsing.

Mark tightened his lips and forced a breath out of his nostrils.

It can’t hear me.

He glanced over the cockpit area.  At the top of the windshield glass, he spotted a mirror.  In the reflection, the sun highlighted the shape of a black eyeball—like an otherworldly squid.  It was staring straight at him.


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On the Naughty List

December 16, 2010

I’ve posted Chapter 5 of Vesta-Ceres.  But I totally cheated.  What’s in Chapter 5 was originally written, edited and proofread as part of Chapter 4.  I decided arbitrarily to separate them after the fact.  So they are Siamese twin chapters.  (I’m supposed to say conjoined twins, aren’t I?)  I look like I’m being very productive when I’m not, really.

Also, I forgot to mention another rule-breaking issue.  I added a paragraph at the beginning of Chapter 1.  Martha Barnette on A Way with Words said that she buys books based on their first line.  I felt my original first line was weak.  I did not change any character or plot details.  So you don’t have to reread from the beginning if you don’t want to.

Have a great Christmas week, everyone.  Even you atheists.

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Vesta-Ceres: Chapter 4

December 12, 2010

Below is Chapter 4 of Vesta-Ceres.  If you’d like to read the novel from the beginning, please visit my Vesta-Ceres page.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

BY THE TIME Mark brushed the yellowish liquid onto his pants, it had dried into a thin crust.  Flakes ground off of his glove, shooting out like fireworks into the vacant atmosphere.  He drew his Taser and slid to the corridor wall.  Following the droplets, he cursed the moon’s gravity.  Quick steps would bounce him away from the surface.  Tracking the liquid would be a Parkour training exercise.  He adjusted his pace to make as little vertical movement as possible.

Mark clicked the headset button on the forearm of his spacesuit.  It wouldn’t be a special forces unit, but he needed some kind of backup.  “Central Security, this is Mark Liú.”

“Go ahead Liú.”  The supervisor responded, without improving his pronunciation.  “What did you find out about the camera?”

“I think the camera is the least of our worries.”

“Where are you?  Why is your Taser out?”

“Weren’t you watching my camera?”

“I was attending to another issue.”  The security manager took a bite out of his donut.

“You should look at what I saw out there.”

“Why?  Is there a problem?  Why are you leaving the area?”

Mark had made his way into the warehouse, turning left to follow the trail around the perimeter of the service level.  He panned his headlamp through the empty space.  The conveyor to his right marked the central axis of the building.

“You need to look a the footage, sir.”

“Look, Liú, you’re not following procedures—”

“Sir, if you’ll look a the footage, I think you’ll agree there’s not a procedure for what’s out there.”

Security for Artemis Plaza di Luna was not a job Mark would have chosen for himself.  Despondent after GISA rejected him, he resigned from the Navy.  His CO did not accept the resignation, but instead suggested Mark take a leave of absence.  The Lieutenant Commander called in a favor with one of the big-wigs at Artemis.  “Go do something low-stress for a while.  Sort things out for yourself.  Take it easy.  Enjoy the resort.”

I haven’t been this relaxed since hostage rescue training, Mark thought.  He quickly inspected his glove again. I wonder if this goop dissolves spacesuits.

At the corner of the warehouse, the droplets turned right and continued.  Twenty meters away, the trail moved out from the wall—to one of the service ladders.  A yellow-green puddle was drying out and cracking at the base.  Liú looked up the ladder at grating platforms above.  He didn’t see anyone climbing it.  A dried blotch was streaked on the right side of a rung.  More dots on the concrete floor angled back toward the wall, although they could have fallen through the grating.

Mark followed his first instinct, holstered his Taser and started climbing.  He faced the far wall where the control office was located.  His feet only lightly touched the rungs; he climbed easily using his hands and arms.  Above the operation level grating, the conveyor sat far to his side.

The stains continued up the ladder rungs.  Mark heard his heart racing.  He breathed more deeply to slow it.  On his right—through the ladder cage—the warehouse shelving formed an undulating plane to infinity.  On his left, above the operation level, the ladder connected to grating platforms at intervals up the side of the building.

Liú, what the hell is that thing?!” stung Mark’s ears.

He missed a rung and fell into the ladder, hitting his visor.  Mark caught himself and rebalanced.

That is what I was talking about, sir.  I’m following a trail of droplets that lead away from it.  Have you checked the other warehouse cameras recently?”

“You’re following something that spilled out of it?  You need to have your head examined.”

Likewise, Mark thought.

“Why did you stop to take a nap before you got to the connector?  Do you have narcolepsy?”

“What?”

“Narcolepsy.  You fall asleep a lot.  I’ve seen your office footage, I think you might have it.”

“Sir, I think that’s beside the point right now.”

“Why were you dawdling?  Were you waiting for whoever planted that thing outside to get out of the way?”

Whoever planted that thing? Mark had restrained his opinions about his superior up to now.  But his respect for the chain of command had reached its limit.  He punched the button to shut off the headset.  I hate this job anyway.

Mark climbed further.  He wasn’t ready to give up the hunt, with or without backup.  He wanted to resolve this security breach for himself—for honor, if not for duty.

It would all be logically explained, he was sure.  Some kind of experimental ship from the Armstrong University test labs.  A guidance computer glitch.  A scared kid-rocket-scientist with antifreeze dripping off his right glove.

More splotches on the ladder.  Mark was a small halo of light in an expansive sea of darkness.  His headlamp showed only the ladder rungs, the bottom of the grating above, and the shelves nearby with large plastic crates.  In the weak gravity, he could mistake the grating levels for walls and the shelves for obstacles on a floor.

Sunlight flashed in from Liú’s ten o’clock view, casting sharp trapezoids and stark shadows across the shelves and crates one aisle away from him.  He was disoriented for a moment, but then recognized the opening.  Utility access doors opened off of the service platforms to the outside for portable lifts to deliver maintenance supplies and tools.  The door was in a small alcove of the building and faced the same direction as Mark did on the ladder.  The sunlight flooding the next aisle cast him into deep shadow.  He had just passed the second level; the open door was on the third.

Mark switched off his headlamp and stopped.  He breathed heavily through his nose.  He could feel the gritty textured paint of the ladder through his gloves.  He shifted his head to stop his eyes from focusing on the grating and instead to look at the light beyond.  A form was in front of the door.  Through the grating and structure, Mark could not see what it was.  He knew there was an emergency help button at the door.  He had noted them at the access levels during his initial tour.  The intruder wasn’t interested in the button.

A large object jumped up at Liú to his right—one of the warehouse robots.  Mark clenched his jaw and tightened his grasp on the ladder.  The robot’s LEDs lit up the red reflective patches on his gray suit from outside the ladder cage.

Go away! He thought, glaring at the robot, his joints stiffened from the tension of surprise.  The LEDs blinked; as if astonished to see someone up in the stacks.  The machine went about its business and loaded a plastic crate onto its forklift arms.  At length, it was finished and glided silently away.

The form moved in the sunlight; the door closed.  The warehouse plunged into darkness again, deeper now without the headlamp.  Mark waited.  He instinctively opened his mouth to breathe more quietly, though his sound could travel nowhere.  His hot breath bounced off the visor back into his face.  He lifted his right hand to find the next rung.

A heavy clunk reverberated through the ladder.  Liú froze.

Another pulse rang.

Another.

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Vampires on the Moon?

December 11, 2010

I’ve been writing.  Honest.  And something finally made it past the “publish” button.

I’ve posted Chapter 4 of Vesta-Ceres—now that anyone reading along has completely forgotten what happened in Chapters 1-3.

I’m also going to post the chapter on my main page tomorrow.  I’m hoping more people will be able to find it and read it here.

In the midst of reading Les Mis (I’ve passed the half-way mark, page 833!)  I also read Putting Your Passion into Print by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry.  (If you want to get published, I recommend it, even though it leans a little to nonfiction books.)

PYPIP, as it refers to itself, wants me to have a marketing plan for my book.  It doesn’t need directly relate to the book, it just needs to hook into it somehow.  It seems to me that aliens are a bit passé in popular culture these days.  Vampires are all the rage.  Maybe if I use the word vampires enough, I’ll grab some web traffic.

Here’s my marketing plan:  I’ll have a book signing tour in mall bookstores.  I’ll hire one of the models from the local Abercrombie store.  He will sport a pair of vampire teeth as an accessory to his bare, V-shaped torso.  Intent and glowering, he will stalk through the mall to my pathetically empty book-signing table where I absentmindedly click my pen and read my own book-jacket copy.  I’ll do my best silent movie heroine impersonation while the model attacks my neck and several gallons of fake blood pump out.  Then I’ll play dead and he will sign my book with the blood.  Perhaps we could rig some kind of recirculating fountain out of my neck.

How’s that for a hook?  Can you tell I was writing this in October?

Vampires, vampires, vampires…

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Unfamiliarity Breeds Content?

August 26, 2010

In almost every writing class I’ve attended, I’ve been encouraged to write what I know.

I’ve just posted Chapter 3 of Vesta-Ceres.  I want anyone who cares to know that I’ve not visited the 22nd century.  I’ve never been to China or Hawaii.  I’ve not been in the Navy or any other military branch.  I don’t have a clue how to fly a plane.

And I’ve not even seen the movie Alien.

Read at your own risk.

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Craig Stevenson, Futurist

July 9, 2010

I posted Vesta-Ceres Chapter 2 today.  Click on the Vesta-Ceres Novel page to the right if you’d like to read it.

As an unexpected consequence of this project, I’m forced to be a futurist.  As I’m outlining, sketching and writing Vesta-Ceres, I have inevitably begun predicting the future.  I’m throwing my two cents worth into the collective jug of what parts of the future will still feel familiar and what parts will be significantly altered.  I feel like I should be touting my grand schemes at a World’s Fair.  Whatever happened to those anyway?