Tag Archives: novella

Look to the Stars: Free!

Look to the Stars, a short story by Kal Spriggs
Look to the Stars, a short story by Kal Spriggs

My short story, Look to the Stars, is available for free from Amazon starting 9 August and going until 10 August.  This is your opportunity to get it for free.  Look to the Stars is in the shadow space universe and takes place just before the events of The Fallen Race.  Look to the Stars is space western/space opera in the tune of Firefly.

Mason McGann is a smuggler, a liar, and a cheat. With his ship impounded by customs, he figures he has no choice left but to auction off information about the lost Dreyfus Fleet. But things are never what they seem when you hold information that can change the course of history.

Writing Progress & Update

I thought it best that I update my readers (or at least those of you who check here for inf0) on my current work and progress.

Right now I’m done writing Renegades: A Murder of Crowes, the fifth novella in the series.  That will be posted singly.  I’m currently working on Lab Notes, a short story from Run the Chxor’s perspective.  That story, along with Runner, Fool’s Gold, XXX, and Refugee will be included with all five Renegades novellas into one omnibus called Renegades: Origins.  While I know that many people have already purchased some or all of the novellas, this will be your chance to get all five as well as five short stories, four of which are all new.

Once Renegades: Orgins is completed, I’ll go to work on my next project: The Shattered Empire.  The second book of the Shadow Space Chronicles follows the events of The Fallen Race.  It takes place a short time after the Third Battle of Faraday, and it covers Baron Giovanni and the UC taking the offensive, not just in a raid or battle over a minor world, but engaging the Chxor at vital systems and trying to turn the tide of the war.

While writing that, I’m going to try to balance attendence at various conventions, editing and releasing some of my other finished works, and plotting out the YA science fiction book I’ve been wanting to write.  So I’m pretty busy.

I’ve been asked where some of these series are going and whether there will be series.  As a short answer… yes and no.  The Renegades novellas are something I love writing, but to be honest, they don’t earn back nearly as much effort as I’ve put into them.  I’ll still write them and I plan that series to be a long-running one.  The Fallen Race has left some (very big) loose ends, which I plan to tie up in another two or three novels.  After that I’ve got another series planned that ties in, though it is set a few years later, with new characters and a new storyline.

I do have a few stand-alone books, both written and plotted.  The issue I face with that is as an independent author, there are some readers that I can’t reach without an estabilished series.  That said, I’m not the type to run a character through ten or even twenty books of action.  At a certain point an author runs the risk that the character’s arc is spent, either they’ve culminated and grown to the point that they can handle whatever follows or the story becomes repetitive.  Don’t get me wrong, some authors can do it, and do it brilliantly.  But that’s not where my current novels are headed.  Eventually Lucius Giovanni’s part in The Shadow Space Chronicles will come to an end.  I know who will take up the fight after him.  I know where the story will go from there.  But, it will be a different series, new characters, and a new story arc.

All that said, any comments or questions from me?  I don’t mind taking time to answer questions.  Also, I’ll be attending Starfest at Denver on 2-4 May, 2014, so if you have questions, want a book signed, or just want to talk, feel free to find me there!

Renegades: Compendium I

I’ve been doing a little thinking.  A dangerous pasttime, I know.  Still, from looking at sales over the past few months, I’m thinking about compiling my Renegades novellas into one omnibus and selling them in that form.  This would  be the first five novellas: Deserter’s Redemption, The Gentle One, Declaration, Ghost Story, and A Murder of Crowes.  It would also contain some exclusive short stories (Fool’s Gold a short story from Anubus’s perspective, Runner which is already available in my free fiction section, and a couple others).  I’ll probably do a compare and contrast and see reader’s preferences (judged by both comments and sales).  If this goes well, I’ll publish the future novellas this way as well.

Renegades: Compendium I would be released to coincide with Renegades: A Murder of Crowes.  Expect both in early April.

Renegades: Ghost Story out tomorrow

Here is the cover art from the awesome Robert Brockman

Renegades: Ghost Story will be out tomorrow.  It is the fourth novella in the Renegades series.  This one follows the perspective of Eric and if I had to pick favorites, it would probably be the novella I enjoyed writing the most.  I’ll be doing a book bomb for it tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon, MST.  So if you plan on buying it, buy it then.  If you haven’t read any of the Renegades novellas yet, you can pick them all up individually for a dollar.  Yes, just a dollar.  Each one is good for a few hours of light, enjoyable reading, or (at least through Amazon, so I’m told) you can return the book.  So why not give them a try?

Here’s the short synopsis:

Erik Stryker is a former Centauri Commando; highly lethal and experienced in combat on a dozen worlds. He’s had almost everything taken from him, his family, his career, and his team. He and his companions have broken out of an alien prison, hijacked a ship, and are en route to human civilization. A chance encounter with a derelict ship brings up ghosts of Erik’s past and awakens something which preys on ships and crews. Erik will have to face his own ghosts if he wants to save his new team.

Renegades: Ghost Story is coming!

Renegades: Ghost Story will arrive on Tuesday the 21st.    Here is the synopsis:

Eric Stryker is a man on the run with a past that haunts him, which has led him to his current rag-tag companions. They’ve escaped from the xenocidal alien Chxor, hijacked a ship, are headed for human space, and they’ve even selected a captain for their motley crew. Yet on the edge of human space, the margin of survival is as thin as the blade of a razor.

When they encounter a ghost ship, the crew awakens a threat. Something awaits them, something that preys upon ships and crews as they ply the void. It will test the fragile alliances of the crew to the breaking point and beyond. Eric will have to bury the ghosts of his past to face that danger… or his past will bury him.

Renegades: Ghost Story will be available on Tuesday (21 January) on Amazon and Smashwords.

I’ll be doing a book bomb for it on the 21st, at 12 noon, mountain standard time.

Free Space Opera / SF Novella

For a limited time, I’m giving away free copies of the first novella of my Renegades series. For the next five days, if you use the coupon code MG57A when you check out, you can get Renegades: Deserter’s Redemption for free from Smashwords (link).

Mike doesn’t want to be anyone’s friend. He doesn’t want to be a leader. He sure doesn’t want to be a hero. He’s tried all of that before; it didn’t work out then and he knows it wouldn’t work out now.

He doesn’t have a choice.

Caught by an invading alien race and shipped off to a prison station as (expendable) labor, Mike will have to become all of those things in order to escape. More, he’ll have to turn a band of misfits into a group that can not only survive… but escape from a place where survival is measured in hours. In the doing, he may have to do the one thing he knows will get him killed: learn how to trust.

Renegades: The Gentle One now available on Amazon!

RGO Cover

My new Novella, Renegades: The Gentle One is now available from Amazon and coming soon to Smashwords (and then to various other outlets).    Renegades: The Gentle One is a 35,000 word novella and is the sequel to Renegades: Deserter’s Redemption and the continuation of the Renegades serial.  Read below for the description.

Ariadne has built her life around being a good person. She thinks positive, she tries to help people, and she never gets angry. The last is especially important, because Ariadne is a psychic, and bad things can happen if a psychic loses control of her emotions. 

The problem is, Ariadne and her friends are on the run from an expansionist alien race. As an escapee from a prison station, she’s been marked for death, and the only way out of the star system is to hijack a ship. With limited supplies, powerful enemies, and companions whose trustworthiness is questionable, her enemies seem almost assured of victory. Ariadne is going to have to do the one thing she’s sworn never to do again… 

She’s got to get angry.

Get it here from Amazon

Get it here from Smashwords, and coming soon to other outlets.

Renegades, Psychics, and Aliens, oh my…

The current series that has most of my attention is what I call the Mira universe. I’ve got one completed novel and six novellas as well as five or six short stories set in this universe. This is the universe in which the series Renegades is set. It is also the setting for the book The Fallen Race, coming soon to a Kindle near you. Additionally, I’ve got two more novels outlined and nearing completion in the same universe.

What is so interesting about this universe? I’m glad you asked. The Mira universe is set several hundred years in the future. I’ve set most of my stories in times of either great social upheaval or moments where military combat is common… and sometimes both. These are times where humanity, as a race, is at a cusp, the points where the actions of a few can turn the balance and change the fates of millions.

There’s some other fun things about this universe, both as a writer, and I hope, for those of you who read it. There are boundaries to explore, new worlds, distant space, and of course, the boundaries of the human mind and body. Some humans have developed psychic abilities, and they are a powerful minority. Dealing with the fear and uncertainty that normal people feel for those who can alter their perceptions or read their thoughts adds a layer of social dynamics. In addition, the psychics themselves deal with tough questions as they explore what it really is to be human… and if they really qualify. There are renegades and outcasts of all types: mutants, deserters, pirates and mercenaries. These men and women are often the dregs of society. However, the societal upheavals often put them in positions where they are given opportunities to redeem themselves… or to become scourges who write their names in blood across countless worlds.

And then there are the aliens. There are five highly advanced races that humans have encountered in this future. The Chxor are the emotionless and implacable invaders, who seek to supplant humanity as the reigning power. The Ghornath are friendly if temperamental, eight limbed and three meters tall, generous and honorable, and the most relatable to humans. The Wrethe are violent sociopaths, each a militantly individualistic carnivore that views even their own species as prey. The Iodans are alien and almost incomprehensible. And the Balor are the unknown menace, their advanced weapons and technology sweeps aside human defenses and seems determined to make humanity extinct. Exploring these alien races allows me, as a writer, to explore humans better. When confronted by the unknown and the alien, what responses do the characters have… and what similarities do we see in even the most alien of species?

In both the Renegades series and the upcoming novel The Fallen Race, humanity is pinched between two hostile alien races, both of which will bring about the extinction of our race. Human space is fractured, with the various nations embroiled in wars with one another. Technology is on the decline, as aliens and civil wars have destroyed key infrastructure. Piracy is common, indeed, the most powerful pirates are the Shadow Lords, human psychics whose fleets loot entire worlds and drag away the populations to be their thralls. Civilization is on the decline… the barbarians are at the gates.
The Renegades is a series that explores the efforts of a handful. In feudal Japan, they might be called ronin. In the American West, they would be desperadoes or gunslingers. These are men and women and a few aliens who have no home, no place. They are — with some exceptions — bad people who do bad things. Yet they also have the power to change history. They are people with nothing left to lose… and that makes them very dangerous.

The Fallen Race is similar in concept. It follows the crew of the battleship War Shrike, of the Nova Roma Empire. The ship is cut off after an ambush, heavily damaged and left without support. The ship’s captain is considered little better than a traitor by his own nation, despite numerous heroics, and his family’s history lays over his every accomplishment like a burial shroud. Yet they struggle to take a stand, to halt the steady grind of history before it churns everything they know and care about into the mud.

As a writer, both series allow me to explore the setting. The characters are products of their time, often flawed, sometimes tragically so, they are people, and their emotions and experiences feel as real and raw as those of real people. Everyone has a story; from the Pirate Tommy King, whose every good deed goes wrong, to the psychic Kandergain, whose own mother turned her into a weapon. There is a history here, which I love to explore, one that I hope to share with my readers… and I hope it is as fun to you as it is for me.

So, that’s what I’m working on now. Welcome, and feel free to look around. There will be a short story added to the free fiction section in the near future, something of a prequel to the events of Renegades: Deserter’s Redemption. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.

Kal’s Writing Worlds

Now that the insanity of Dragon*Con is past, I think it’s time to tell you all a bit about what I’m writing, what I’m working on, and most importantly, what I’ve got in the chute.

Currently, I’m actively writing in four universes. Two are space opera, one is straight military science fiction, and the last is an epic fantasy setting. I currently have four completed novels, six completed novellas, and some indeterminate number of short stories, all in these same four universes. Each of the novels is intended to be the first books of their own series, while the novellas are a series themselves.

I’ll go into more depth on each of the individual books in a later post, but I thought I’d give an overview here, and later on I’ll link the post here to those later posts.

My first published book, the novella Renegades: Deserter’s Redemption, is the first story in a serial that takes place in what I call the Mira universe. It’s a series of short stories and novellas that cover the adventures of a band of, well… renegades. The second novella, Renegades: The Gentle One, is set from the perspective of Ariadne, a psychic and all around nice person who just happens to light people on fire when she loses her temper. My novel, The Fallen Race, is also in this universe, and there is some overlap and interaction between the two series, mostly in the big events but sometimes in individual characters as well. The Fallen Race is a hundred and twenty thousand word novel and is set around five years after the Renegades series begins. The Fallen Race is the story of Captain Lucius Giovanni, the captain of a warship whose nation and home have fallen to aliens and who seeks to take a stand and make a difference.

My military science fiction setting is the Star Portal setting. In it, a very distant cluster of colonies has become separated from Earth. Alone, they’ve encountered several hostile alien races. In wars of vast scale they’ve managed to survive, but most worlds suffer as protectorates of the core colonies and the Star Guard. My first novel in this setting is Fenris Unchained which is a hundred thousand word novel. Fenris Unchained follows the story of a sister and brother who get dragooned into helping to stop a berserk automated warship from destroying a planet.

The third setting is what I call the Eden universe, and my first book in that is the Eden Insurrection. This universe is set several thousand years in the future. Technology, society, and humanity itself have stagnated and the power brokers within the Confederation prefer it that way. Several waves of colonization have spread humanity in a vast sprawl across the galaxy. In the Eden Insurrection, various factions of humanity seek to seize power within the Confederation and to forge it into a weapon to seize still more power. It is a complex story, with varied plots and morally ambiguous characters.

The last setting is my take on epic fantasy, with the novel Echo of the High Kings. I’ve personally grown frustrated with the slew of generic epic fantasy novels I’ve seen. Particularly where magic is poorly understood or virtually nonexistent, yet technology is undeveloped. I’m also sick of the characters who seem to be recycled from multiple books: the archetypical hero, the scoundrel, the damsel in distress. Or the writer goes the other way and has characters so morally ambiguous they can’t pull on their boots without stabbing someone in the back. The characters in these books are real people, with complex motivations as well as reasoning and logic to their behavior. I also did my own take on magic, one where I applied scientific method to how wizards develop magic. Here the magic has rules, and follows some fundamental physics. Conservation of energy is a big one… so are the principles of thermodynamics. But I think I kept most of that off scene, so for those of you (like me) who hate the math… well, just set back and enjoy the ride.

So that’s what I’m currently working on. The first novel in the chute is The Fallen Race, which dependent upon real world stuff, I should have out sometime near the end of September or early October. The next novel out after that will be Echo of the High Kings, my epic fantasy. All of this is being self-published, and will be made available on Amazon and Smashwords (and through them, their affiliates: B&N, Sony, and Apple stores). My goal is to publish a novella a month, but as I’m also active duty military, that could be somewhat problematical. Since I’m doing this in my (limited) free time, as well as writing… well, I’m doing what I can to get them out. If you like what you see, please tell others. They can find my stuff on Amazon or Smashwords or just follow the Buy My Books link at the top of the page. Monetary incentive means I’ll work harder at getting things written, edited, and published.