Monthly Archives: January 2013

THE CAVE, a free fantasy short story

My new short story, The Cave, is now available for free download from Smashwords!

It’s the first (first published, second written!) story set in my fantasy world, Enteya. I have a novelette, also set in the world of Enteya, currently being edited. I’m looking forward to telling more stories of my little Stone Age world! Click on the image below to go to the page where you can download a copy from Smashwords, or, click here.

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The Adventures of the Sulky Slut – Part 8

Part 8

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew had wandered off in different groups throughout the Port. After a while, Senys realized that he was no longer walking with his crewmates, but with a different (and yet oddly similar) group altogether. He turned a street corner underneath a sign that promised “Cold Beers”. As he rounded the edge of the building, he bumped into something small and round. Thinking it was an obese child, he looked down, and screamed in alarm.

The thing screamed back. “Good heavens. Pardon me, good sir,” it said. It was a small bearlike creature with weirdly marble-like eyes and tawny fur. It wore a gray vest with gold buttons, an aviator’s cap, and a monocle. It wore no pants.

“What the eff?” Senys blurted out, wide-eyed.

“My goodness. How impossibly rude.”

“Uh…” Senys looked around. “Is anyone else seeing this?” he said. A woman who was walking by looked their way, and tripped over a potted plant. Senys looked back to the small furry thing.

“My apologies for running into you, sir. Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Ostorio St. Lugamond.” He bowed.

“Why aren’t you wearing any pants?” was all Senys could say in return.

“I beg your pardon, sir, but my kind do not need to wear pants. Pants are for furless, naked things such as yourself,” Ostorio said, his voice dripping with disdain.

“Then why are you wearing a vest?”

Ostorio chuckled and adjusted his monocle. “Why, because… I… well… that is enough of your rude and silly questions. Now, I must be going. I have a space dirigible to catch,” he said with a huff, glancing at the golden pocketwatch he pulled from his breast pocket. With that, he bustled away down the street.

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The Adventures of the Sulky Slut – Part 7

Part 7

“What are your rates?” asked the grizzled old woman manning the corndog station.

“Excuse me?” Nole said, through a bite of corndog.

The woman indicated Nole’s questionably-labelled t-shirt. “What are your rates?” she asked again, this time with a crude leer. Nole gagged on his corndog, and spit out the mouthful.

“Hey!” said the waste droid nearby. His head fell dejectedly as he moved to sweep up the spat-out food.

“I don’t want to know what you were thinking, but I am the Captain of a merchant ship, madam,” Nole said with a noble tone to his voice.

“Aw… that’s a shame. I woulda paid nicely,” she said, winking.

Nole gagged again, and the woman cackled.

“Merchant ship, eh?” she said. “I used to be in that business, myself. Had the prettiest ship you ever seen. Course, that was before the war.”

“What war?”

The woman stared blankly at him for a second, then continued. “She was called the Heart’s Desire. We had many a fine run together, me and her.”

“She and I.”

“Eh?”

“Nevermind.”

“Say, you know, if you’re interested… I’ve got a business friend who’s in need of a merchant ship,” the woman said, leaning close and peering around suspiciously. Her frazzled gray hair brushed over the corndogs in front of her, and if Nole had seen, he would have gagged again.

Ever the keen businessman, Nole accepted immediately. Of course, he would normally have consulted Alena first, but under the sway of the heady scent of corndogs being made, he was like putty in the old woman’s hand.

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No Part 7 today!

I’m in Jacksonville, Florida today with my husband for a Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra concert, so Part 7 of TAOTSS will be posted tomorrow!

That is all.

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The Adventures of the Sulky Slut – Part 6

Part 6

“Oh. My. God. Corndogs! I thought these had been banned! I haven’t seen one of these in years,” Nole said through a mouthful. He and the crew of the Sulky Slut strolled down one of the main avenues on Port Europa, pushing through scattered crowds of tourists. Merchandise of all kinds, mostly of terrible quality, sat on display on bright carts along the road. Gray, squat buildings lined the street, covered in ugly advertisements, neon banners, and streamers.

Senys scrolled down the screen of his tablet. “The welcome guide says that corndogs are one of the top five exports of the Europan economy. Wait, that can’t be right…” he said, furrowing his eyebrows as he reread the section. Concentrating, he murmured to himself as he read: corndogs are one of the top five exports.

“At least that explains the smell,” said Logan, the ship’s security guard. He grinned, flashing his pearly whites as the crew laughed.

Nole frowned, unamused. Fresh corndogs for breakfast were, so far, the highlight of the trip for him. He finished off his third, taking a moment to gnaw the hardened breading off the stick before flicking it at a gleaming waste droid sweeping the street.

“Hey!” the droid said, then turned sadly back to his work and swept up the stick.

“Shirts! Get ya shirts here! Division Day shirts! Custom shirts made to order on the spot!” a street vendor with one eye cried nearby.

“Wait here, guys,” Nole said to the crew, then walked to the shirt vendor’s stand. After a few minutes, he returned with an armful of white t-shirts. “I got custom made shirts fresh out of the printer for all of us!” he said excitedly. “So we can match!”

He handed the shirts out. When they held them up, most of the crew sported looks of horror. Seeing the thrilled look on their captain’s face, they sighed and pulled the shirts on over what they already had on. Blazed across the front of the shirts, in bold black letters, were the words SULKY SLUT.

“Alright guys. You go on out and have fun today. Meet me at the bar we passed on the way in at 1900!” Nole said. The crew nodded, said goodbye, and wandered off down the street. Nole watched them go for a moment, then turned around to find the corndog vendor again.

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The Adventures of the Sulky Slut – Part 5

Part 5

“Geez, this place is really packed today, isn’t it?” Nole said as the Sulky Slut cruised through the lanes of Parking Lot K on the south side of Port Europa. Bright billboards lined either side of the huge deck, where dozens of midsized ships were parked, from chrome-plated pleasure cruisers to RV-like family starwagons covered in bumper stickers.

“Well, when we paid for our parking, the Slut‘s computer downloaded a pamphlet about things to do and see in the Port,” Chase said, clicking through the pamphlet on his computer screen. “Says here, today is Division Day. All these ships must be here for the celebrations.”

“Ah, yes, division: the most hallowed of mathematical operations,” Nole said with an air of ceremony.

“Uh, no, not division. Division from Sultaives. Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the Europan citizens’ cessation from Sultaives Station. They have parades and fireworks and everything today.”

“But weren’t they kicked out?” Alena said from her place by the coffeemaker. “For being lawless hooligans?”

“Generally, yes, that’s how the story goes, just don’t say that to a Europan,” Chase answered.

Nole nodded. “So… they’re like the rednecks of space.”

Chase shook his head. “Nope. Don’t say that either.”

“Ugh, fine, Mr. PC. The country music lovers of space.”

“Hey, I like country music,” Alena said, crossing her arms.

“Really? Hm. Well, you can be our diplomatic representative to the redne- excuse me- country music lovers of Port Europa. Oh, there’s a spot! Get it! Right there! Get it now!” Nole said as he pointed excitedly.

Chase repressed a sigh and pulled the Sulky Slut into the parking spot.

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The Adventures of the Sulky Slut – Part 4

Part 4

A few hours later, the Sulky Slut pulled out of hyperspace. Before it, mighty Jupiter loomed against the star-strewn blanket of space. Most of the crew had awakened at that point, and were huddled in the dining hall over steaming cups of coffee and day-old bagels.

After breakfast, the crew went to the bridge, where they had been directed to gather via neon-colored notes taped to their doors while they were sleeping. Captain Nole Tachora stood at the viewport in his usual dramatic fashion, hands clasped behind his back as he looked out onto the huge planet filling the window. The tiny black shape of Sultaives Station hovered in the distance above the outer atmosphere of Jupiter.

The crew staggered in, yawning as they went. Chase, one of the ship’s engineers, came up beside Nole and looked out on Jupiter. “They’re amazing things, gas giants,” he said.

“You’re a gas giant,” Nole said automatically, never taking his gaze off the stormy planet below. Chase gaped silently for a moment, then turned and walked back to join the crew behind him.

Nole turned around. “I wanted to gather you all here to speak to you for a moment before we head to our destination today. Now, I realize I’ve been a little harsh lately, and I know I can’t be the easiest guy to work under sometimes.”

Yentz, one of the cargo workers, muttered something under his breath, causing a ripple of muffled laughter to course through the people beside him.

Nole pointed to the door. “You. Out. You get to stay on the ship today.”

“We’re getting off the ship?” one of the crewmembers asked.

Nole let out a tense sigh. “Now see, Yentz, you made me ruin the surprise. Get out of here — go feed my fish or something. Out.”

Yentz left the bridge, relieved that he would actually get to be alone on the ship for once. His crochet habit had suffered as of late because of interruptions and distractions.

Nole turned back to his crew. “We’re going someplace magical today. A land of plenty, where there are all-you-can-eat buffets, casinos, hookers of all shapes and sizes, and even those street entertainers who pretend to be statues!”

Senys, the ship’s maintenance guy, nodded and grinned, while others groaned quietly.

“My friends, I am giving you the day off to relax and unwind in Port Europa!”

“Aw, yeah!” said Senys, and he went to high-five the cargo worker beside him. The man ignored him, and so he played it off by scratching his beard.

“This is my way of saying to you, ‘please forgive me for being an ass, I want you to go enjoy yourselves, so here’s a bonus for you all to go out and spend however you want to, completely on me, and I promise to try to be a better captain in the future’. Alright?” Nole said.

The crew perked up at the mention of the bonuses they would be receiving for the day’s excursion, and cheered and clapped, despite the fact that Port Europa was one of the worst-rated travel destinations in the system.

“Okay! Now let’s get this ship down to Europa!” Nole said, and turned back to the viewport as the bridge crew hurried to their stations.

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