Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Space Opera Begins with Void Contract

With help from my associates, I should have the first TWO novels in the Gigaparsec series out by mid April. I just started writing the third book. By May 1, I want to have a big give-away or sale of some sort. Normally, I interleave series novels with stand-alones, but I seem to be putting a lot of eggs in one basket because a) the beta readers liked them, b) the reading level is smoother and shorter than anything I've done before (average 6th grade reading level 80 K words versus my usual 120K and 7th or 8th grade), and c) I need to reconnect with my sci-fi fan base.

Book 1, Void Contract: A veteran of the Gigaparsec War, Dr. Max Culp hunts alien war criminals. Suddenly, his only surviving teammate is kidnapped. To free his friend, Max is forced to take a mob contract on a fugitive hiding at the borders of Human space. But Max is tired of wet work and alien conspiracies. Can he find a path back to civilian life without losing what’s left of his soul or those closest to him?

After all the work I did on star travel tech and the history of planets, Max takes this for granted, using whatever tools he finds to do his job. He tries to shake of injuries like John Wayne, even though his scars keep accumulating. Because he cares much more about the adventure than the tech, and this series has a sweeping galactic backdrop, I've categorized this novel as my first space opera.

The female engineer, Roz, takes over Point of View in the last chapter and retains it through her mission to the "Supergiant" system to complete the equation for a new Magi star drive that can go ten times faster. She delves deep into the tech, but personal relationships and ethics are equally as important to her. Most of the bombshells in this novel tend to be verbal. She plans everything mechanical in advance, but people still confound her. (Renee should start work on the cover tomorrow. I'll post when it's ready.)

In book three, "Union of Souls," the Goat side kick, Reuben comes into his own. During a race across the extremes of Human space, he is forced to give up his own childish desires for the good of his own people and another proto-intelligent species. This is rather like the time after college graduation where people choose to grow up and pay for the debts they've incurred over the last couple decades. I just finished the brainstorming phase and am on chapter two. I anticipate finishing the first draft about the time I'm having the give-away in May.

For the pictures to be readable in ereader format, I had to carve this master star chart down to contain only those systems mentioned in each novel. I present it here in its raw form. Note that all various of the color blue are refueling stations belonging to Blue Giant Fuel. Also notice that the name Laurelin was chosen from Tolkien Elvish to denote both the golden tree and to honor the matriarch of the clan, Laura Llewellyn, from the Jezebel series.

As a total aside, I've been giving several talks to high school kids about being a professional author. The positive response has encouraged me to investigate starting a writers' support group at the local community college. I'll look into the prospect when I give a talk there tomorrow.

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