Tag Archives: short story

Free Short Stories

Because of Myths and Legends Con in Denver this weekend I’ll have Look to the Stars and The Freeport Mutineers available for free.

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

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.

Look to the Stars is a short story in the Shadow Space Universe

The Freeport Mutineers, by Kal Spriggs
The Freeport Mutineers, by Kal Spriggs

Young Midshipman Wachter is about to face the rope.

Troubled by the rumors spread throughout the Southern Fleet, the young officer turned to the Marines and Sailors under his command… yet he and they were betrayed, arrested, and convicted of mutiny, all under the orders of the ambitious Lord Admiral Hennings.

Faced with the prospect of not only his own death, but that of the men under his command, Wachter must somehow find a way to do the right thing. Yet there is little hope with he and his men jailed, weaponless, and condemned, while the town of Freeport lies under martial law and the threat of dark sorcery.

Only one course lays open to him, to break his oaths and to swear allegiance to the cause of another, to become exactly what his enemies have accused him of being: a mutineer.

 

Free Short Story: Look to the Stars

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, will be available for free January 22 & 23 on Amazon since I’ll be at CoSine this weekend.  You can get it here.

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.

Look to the Stars is a short story in the Shadow Space Universe

Free this Weekend: Look to the Stars

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

Since I’ll be at Liberty Con this weekend, I’ve made my short story, Look to the Stars, free on Amazon.  This is a short story set in the Shadow Space Universe and tells the story of Mason McGann, a smuggler who lives in the shadows.  Mason finds himself drawn into a dangerous game of politicians and warlords, where one wrong step might spell the end not just for him, but for millions of innocent people.  It is set before the events of The Fallen Race and can be seen as a prologue, of sorts, for the Shadow Space Chronicles.

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.

Look to the Stars is free on 28 and 29 June, 2015 on Amazon.  Get your copy here.

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.

Kal’s August Updates

August is here!  As far as my updates, I’m still finishing up The Shattered Empire and I’ll be getting it out to my alpha readers in the next couple weeks.  Echo of the High Kings is now available on Amazon as an ebook and paperback.

In addition, Look to the Stars is now available on Amazon.  The short story takes place just before the events of The Fallen Race.  Look to the Stars is from the perspective of the smuggler, Mason McGann.  As an introductory offer, I’ll have it available for free this weekend, 10-11 August.  You can get it here.

Lastly, I’ll be at Myths and Legends Con this weekend in Denver, Colorado.  You can find their website here.  I’ll have paperback copies of my books with me if anyone wants to get a signed copy.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for other updates and snippets/samples.

 

Independent Author’s Toolbag: Editing

If you’re an independent author like me, when you get to the point where you’ve finished your manuscript, you need to start editing. This really gives you three options: self editing, getting someone to help, or hiring a professional. Each of these has some positive and negative aspects, and I’ll do a rundown of my own experiences therein. I cannot overstate the importance of editing, both for formatting and for appearance. Nothing turns off readers faster than poor grammar and misspellings.

First off, self editing. Self Editing is just what it sounds like, going through your manuscript and doing a line edit for grammar, punctuation, and flow. Most of this is simple stuff, but sometimes, you may have to stop and look up specifics on how the mechanisms work and to make sure you’re using things correctly. There are a couple major issues with self editing. The first one is that you, as the author, are probably not the best person to do this. A tendency for most people is to see what they expect to see. What that means is when you look at something you wrote, you know what you wrote and therefore might miss a typo or will understand something that will be confusing for someone else. The second issue with self editing, especially if this is your only method of editing, is that without outside influence, issues with the flow or structure of your work will not receive outside attention. It is difficult to improve these kinds of problems when you may not even realize that they are there. In the positive, self editing allows you to improve your writing through discovering issues with word use and other bad habits. In addition, self editing is cheap. For those looking to save money, this is one place where that can serve as a trade-off. However, you may find you’ll have to do multiple series of edits to make sure you clean up your manuscript. There are a few tools to mitigate some of the issues and maximize the positives. The first is reading your text aloud as you go through. This will often allow you to notice issues with grammar and word choice. Why this works is complicated, but basically you use a different part of your brain when reading aloud. It’s also a great method to see if your dialog is wooden. Another method is, oddly enough, reading sections of your book in reverse order. Note, I don’t say read the sentence backwards, but start at the end and read paragraphs out of order. This disjoints the experience and allows your brain to focus on the individual sections rather than putting the whole into a story.

The second method is getting a friend or someone else to help out. Note, if your ‘someone’ is a professional editor, that’s a different can of worms which I’ll address later. This method is great if you have a friend or family member (or even a fan) who has a mind for nitpicking details. This method is good for a few reasons. First off, a fresh set of eyes may catch details that you would miss. Also, if the person finds some section confusing, then you probably need to go do some edits. It is also a great method for seeing if the story flows well and if it hooks the reader. If your friend can’t put it down and finishes it quickly, that’s a great sign. On the downsides this method is rarely foolproof. No matter how helpful the person might feel, this will probably not be their priority. You may have to wait weeks or even months for them to finish their review. Also, depending on their background, your friend may miss certain issues, especially the kind of things such a pacing and scene tones which can change a good book into a great book. Lastly, sometimes these kinds of arrangements can go sour or can strain a friendship. There are a couple of methods to improve your results in this style of editing your manuscript. The first is to take a step back and realize that any criticisms are not attacks on you… they’re attempts to help you improve your story. Unless of course, they are attacks on you, in which case you should politely tell your editor that their assistance is no longer required. The next method, is to be sure you find the right kind of help. Writing groups are good places for authors to network, and some authors are more than willing to exchange manuscripts. Editing someone else’s manuscript is also a great way to learn about your own writing issues and can give you a different perspective on the editing process.

The last method is to hire a professional editor. This is often a task that can seem daunting, but can have the biggest payoff. There are a number of freelance copyeditors and editors who will look your manuscript over for reasonable rates. The first issue here is cost. If you don’t have the money to pay an editor, then this probably won’t work out for you. However, I view this as an investment. Find a good editor and they are professionally inclined to clean up the issues… because it’s not just your work at that point… they put their professional name behind it as well. The other issue here is making certain you find the right editor. Talk with other independent authors. Many times they have experiences with various editors and can give you info on the ones they liked to work with.

Hopefully this helps you in editing your manuscript. Remember, editing is an investment (of time or money) to make your story better and more palatable to readers.

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!

Runner sample

Here’s a quick sample from Runner, a short story written about the origins of Run the Chxor, a character in The Renegades series.  Runner will also be available in the upcoming Renegades: Compendium

***

 Ghren paused as he pulled up his notes: “On 5674-Juhnar, Medical Scientist Rhxun, violated standard methodology and protocols with his current experimentation. He disobeyed direct orders from the Planetary Governor, violated Chxor Medical Procedures seventeen, forty-two, one-ninteen, and seven-thirteen through eight-forty-five.”

“Also, technically, nine-fourteen,” Rhxun added.

“As well as nine-fourteen,” Ghren amended. “Due to his inability to follow proper procedures regarding medical methodology, he implanted three quarters of the population, roughly four million of the Than subcaste with implants designed to limit free will and induce loyalty protocols to the Chxor Empire in general and to Senior Scientist Rhxun in specific. His implants utilized wireless signals to maintain overall control of the population and had minimal electromagnetic shielding.”

“Four million, three hundred thousand, four hundred and seven of the Than subcaste,” Rhxun corrected automatically. “With an additional one hundred and twenty test subjects who survive at the shielded testing facility.”

“Correct, four million, three hundred thousand, four hundred and seven,” Ghren stated flatly. Apparently he did not like the reminder that his inferior intelligence did not allow him to retain data as well as Rhxun. Well, it isn’t as if I didn’t expect as much, Rhxun thought. The Tier Three Investigator continued, “When a stellar flare erupted, it caused massive radio frequency interference across a broad spectrum, this interference proved particularly hazardous to the population implanted by Senior Scientist Rhxun. The result was initial extreme pain, followed by violent aggression. Final results appear to be the destruction of higher level brain functions and feral behavior. This subsequently resulted in the termination of the entire test population as well as some three million – “

“Two million, nine hundred thousand, nine hundred and thirty,” Rhxun interrupted.

“ – of the rest of the population. This number included seven District Administrators as well as the Assistant Planetary Governor, Police Commander, Deputy Fleet Commander, and Investigator Krell who had been dispatched to investigate Planetary Governor Hraal’s statement regarding insurrectionist activity in regards to Senior Scientist Rhxun’s research.” Tier Three Investigator Ghren paused. “I therefore find that the proper punishment is to strip Senior Scientist Rhxun of his rank and sentence him to immediate termination.”

“I understand how you have come to this decision,” Rhxun shook his head. “And I believe you have done your best at the limits of your intelligence and understanding. Am I correct in my estimation that you have followed procedure fifteen of the investigation protocols and have waited to file your official findings pending my sentencing?”

“Of course,” Ghren said. The tone of his voice suggested that any other option would not follow the proper regulations. A loyalty to regulation and bureaucracy that Rhxun agreed with and appreciated immensely.

“Excellent,” Rhxun said. He drew his dart pistol and fired once. The small dart struck Ghren in the side of his thick neck, just above the collar of his brown uniform.

Ghren stared at him in shock for a moment. Then the convulsions began. Rhxun walked calmly around the desk and deleted the Tier Three Investigator’s notes. He then pulled the dart out of the dead Chxor’s neck and carefully dropped it down the incinerator chute behind the desk. A moment later he tapped the intercom button. “Excuse me. It seems that Tier Three Investigator Ghren has undergone a seizure. I would suggest that a body disposal team be dispatched.”

***

You can find the rest here

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 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.