The full version of INTO THE SILENCE will be available in print and ebook later this week. You can find it at all major online retailers.

If you’ve been reading the book chapter by chapter here on the blog, then you already know what it’s about. If you feel so inclined to purchase a copy for yourself, you have my deepest thanks. But if you prefer to continue reading here on the blog, never fear, the final chapters will be posted throughout the rest of December.

For the rest of you, INTO THE SILENCE is a novel about a drifter at the end of his rope who signs on for a long journey through deep space with a group of total strangers. It’s a long-haul trucking drama, but in space.

Full book description below the fold.


Into the Silence – Chapter 47

Gator and I eventually did clean up Chief’s body. Once we’d finished dealing with our mutual suspicion of one another and agreed to actually do the work Cap had set out for us, we made it down to the galley and tended to the chore in short order. Chief was bulky, and larger than anyone I’d ever known — even Dox — but between the two of us, and with the help of Gator’s Farseer armor, we managed to drag it to the morgue and make it presentable for whatever kind of ceremony we might hold for him.

And Em, I mused. We still hadn’t really respected her memory yet. I wondered if we would, at this rate, or if whatever had killed Chief would hunt the rest of us down.

“Are we sure it can’t be a stowaway?” I said.

“Between my suit, the other three Farseers, and the ship’s own biometric scanner, there’s no doubt that the only lifeforms aboard this ship are our own,” said Gator. “Now, I suppose you could argue that the murderer might be a robot, but I still wager on one of the crew.”

“Why’s that?” I said, looking down at Chief’s body. The enormous gash up his abdomen was still hanging limply open, but most of the viscera had been cleaned off of it by Gator and me. Now he just looked sort of pale and small, compared to the big, imposing monstrosity he had been before.

“You’ve never seen Tic-Toc near another bot,” said Gator with the smallest of chuckles. “Nor Chief. He would have made short work of any would-be assassin robot.”

Continue reading “Into the Silence – Chapter 47”

Into the Silence – Chapter 46

I stared at Gator for a long moment before speaking.

“Well,” I said as reasonably as possible. “Let’s reason it out. Right? Apply some logic. We know Sys and Mearr couldn’t have done it, they’re both bedridden.”

“Presumably,” said Gator.

“I’ve seen them,” I said. “There’s no way either of them could have gotten out of that bed, and there’s certainly no way they could have overpowered Chief. Same goes for me, I’m just barely recovering from letting Sys energy drain me.”

“And for both of these facts I have merely your word.”

“Cap was there,” I said suddenly. “He’s tending to all three of us. He can confirm our whereabouts.”

Look at me, I thought to myself. I’m starting to talk like a bad detective novel.

“And was Cap within your sight the entire time?”

“Well, no. He’s the captain. He has things to do.”

“So, for all we know, it could have been our captain,” said Gator.

Continue reading “Into the Silence – Chapter 46”

Into the Silence – Chapter 40

I don’t know how long I stayed there, next to Mearr, while Cap examined Sys, nor do I know how much longer there was to go in the delivery process, due to what happened next. But at some point, long after I had lost feeling in my lower arm from the pressure and blood loss and had started repeating myself in the words and gestures of affection and encouragement I was offering to Mearr, Cap scuttled over to my side and pulled my attention away.

“What is it?” I said, somewhat blearily, as though waking from a trance — which, in a way, I was.

“Sys,” he said bluntly. “She’s in bad shape.”

“What’s wrong with her?”

“Hard to say for sure, but it’s something she can pull through, if she has enough strength.”

“What d’you mean?”

“Whatever is ailing Sys has her extremely drained of vitality. What you saw in the lower decks was just the peak of its effects on her. And from what you’ve told me, she could barely stand even then. Now she’s deteriorated to a near-catatonic state.”

“So, what, you’re saying she’s not going to make it?”

Cap steepled his fingers, closed his eyes, and then spoke. “I’m saying she needs help, hatchling.”

Continue reading “Into the Silence – Chapter 40”

Into the Silence – Chapter 39

My mind raced, though it knew not where it was going. I felt a dozen different things, all of them crashing into each other and vying for attention such that I couldn’t keep track of any of them. There was fear, there was rage, there was a heady, floating feeling as if I had consumed too much alcohol.

Everything was super-sharpened, as though my senses were enhanced, yet I saw it all as if once removed from reality. Looking at myself looking at the world. It was baffling.

“An hour ago?” I said, repeating what Sys had said. It was my first step back to immediacy from the rush of emotion that had filled me, and a rather feeble on at that.

She nodded, then shuddered again. This time, it was clearly involuntary.

Continue reading “Into the Silence – Chapter 39”

Into the Silence — Chapter 29

Guhle brought us around and into the hangar bay of the enormous, broken vessel. As we approached, it became clear just how devastated the battleship was. It had the same sleek structure of the scout ships we had encountered early on in our travels — an aesthetic to match the armor of its Farseer creators. But this ship was so beaten and battered that its elegance was almost unrecognizable. Jagged rips along the edges of its metal plating. Great, big holes dotting the surface where something had punched through it. And inside, though the sleek aesthetic was better preserved, piles of shrapnel, debris, and once-operational devices took away from that perception.

As we touched down, Guhle deployed our docking clamps — magnetic feet that held us down to the deck, even in zero gravity.

“Alright,” he said. “We’re latched on. Everybody suit up.”

And, as if to drive home the point, he lifted a pressurized helmet from underneath his seat and settled it over his head, fastening the clasps to the stiff collar of his suit.

Once everyone was fully prepared for the lack of atmosphere — some, like Cap and the Farseers, didn’t have to put anything on, since they were already enclosed in their own survival suits, and Sys apparently didn’t need any kind of atmospheric protection at all — Guhle lowered the gangplank and we all marched on down onto the hangar deck.

It was the first time I’d seen Mearr, or most of everyone else, in close proximity since the attack. I was somewhat startled by the change in her appearance. It was as though her entire features had ballooned out, along with her stomach. While she retained her feline grace and agility, there wasn’t any other word I could think of to describe her except…pudgy.

I made a note to keep such thoughts to myself. At all costs.

Continue reading “Into the Silence — Chapter 29”

Into the Silence — Chapter 15

Sometime later, I don’t know how long, but it was after I regained control of my limbs, I wormed my way up to where I could look Mearr in the eye. Some of the fur was creeping back onto her face, and her eyes had already regained their catlike shape and sheen. I cupped her head in my hands and just stared at her for the longest moment.

Then I kissed her. Disregarding the fur and the whiskers and the shape of her face, I kissed her.

Her pointed teeth nicked my tongue as it slid inside her mouth. Her own tongue was rough against mine, but I didn’t care about any of it. I just desired to stay close to her.

When we came up for air, I wrapped my arms around her shoulders, and felt her wrap her arms and tail around my waist, and we lay there just feeling each other breathe as we each recovered from what had just happened.

Eventually, I became aware of the cold, wet spot directly beneath us. Mearr had no doubt missed it due to the fur on her body, but it was an immense distraction to me. Rolling over, I stripped the sheets from the bed, which solved most of the problem, leaving us to lie naked on the bare mattress.

Continue reading “Into the Silence — Chapter 15”

Into the Silence — Chapter 13

The next few weeks were a nervous drudgery as we all discussed the Farseer Scouts and their visit — what it meant, what they were like, how it must be to patrol the Dominion borders, and so on. But the excitement soon wore off as nothing out of the ordinary happened and we were left to assume that their visit was just as routine as the rest of this trip.

In the same time span, my thoughts of the Farseers had been replaced with thoughts of Mearr’s transformation, which became readily more apparent as the days and weeks wore on. Sure enough, as Sys had said, breasts appeared while the rest of Mearr’s once-chiseled physique melted into soft curves and sultry grace. Even his voice changed, which was the second-most frightening transformation, coming in right behind the change in his face.

It was as if Mearr wasn’t even Mearr anymore. While, granted, I didn’t know him very well at that point, I had been around the crew long enough by necessity to pick up on some of their quirks and mannerisms and to grow accustomed to their presence and appearance.

Gator and the Cap still freaked me out at times, but I chalked that up to them being in command, and needing to maintain an aura of mysticism because of it.

But the rest of the crew…well, they wouldn’t ever be family, but they were close-quarters co-workers, so how could I not know a thing or two about all of them?

Continue reading “Into the Silence — Chapter 13”

2014 Year in Review

WRITING TOTAL – 83,490 words

A not-unimpressive number. I’ll admit that I’m not satisfied with it. But I’ll also admit that (a) I’m not likely to ever be satisfied in this department, and (b) this number is actually better than I expected it to be, considering I didn’t write anything for basically half of the year (as documented below).

Unfortunately, my list of completed projects total exactly three, all of which were finished in the first half of the year. Considering I tried to make “finishing things” a goal for the year, this is a discouraging number. But… that’s three more stories I have finished than last year. So that’s still a win of a lesser sort.

As I move into 2015, I now have a baseline to surpass. And that should be a powerful motivating tool, even if it takes me a few more years to build up the writing muscles to actually reach my stated goals.

Here’s the list of completed projects, by the way:

THE RED VAULT — short story, 7,200 words
THE BREMEN STREET SWINGERS — short story, 3,600 words
A TEN-YEAR GOD — short story, 7,650 words

And the list of production-by-month:

December – 0 words
November – 0 words
October – 0 recorded words
September – 11,735 words in 12 days
August – 4,505 words in 9 days
July – 0 words
June – 11,300 words
May – 13,900 words
April – 16,300 words
March – 2,300 words
February – 9,650 words
January – 13,800 words


This list is a bit more challenging for me to assemble, as I didn’t really keep a record of the things I read, watched, played, etc. throughout the year. Moving into 2015, as I track my writing, I will be tracking my geekery more consistently as well.

That being said, here’s what I remember consuming in 2014:


GONE GIRL, by Gillian Flynn
WOOL, by Hugh Howey
ENDURANCE, by Alfred Lansing
PROMISE OF BLOOD, by Brian McClellan
THE NAME OF THE WIND, by Patrick Rothfuss
WISE MAN’S FEAR, by Patrick Rothfuss
ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
WORDS OF RADIANCE, by Brandon Sanderson
ANNA KARENINA, by Leo Tolstoy
THE MARTIAN, by Andy Weir





COMMUNITY (Season 5)
DIGIMON (Seasons 2 and 3)
DOCTOR WHO (Season 8)
LEGEND OF KORRA (Books 3 and 4)
SHERLOCK (Season 3)

Go to Bed, Young Man!

On Productivity

Someday, when I’m rich and famous and oh-so-successful, I imagine some interviewer is going to ask me a question along the lines of “What’s your secret to success?” or maybe it’ll be “Do you have any advice for those who want to be successful?” or something similar.

And I will of course reply, “Why, yes, I do have an answer to your question,” which will be followed by this golden nugget of wisdom:


Seriously. So much of my day is determined by when I went to bed the night before. And it doesn’t even have much to do with the amount of sleep I get.

Consider: for the first few weeks of almost any break from school, I tend to maintain my “end-of-school-freaking-out-now” sleep schedule (which puts bedtime around 2 a.m. with a standard deviation of about one hour). But I cannot for the life of me keep up with whatever waking schedule I may have had during the school year. So I’ll worm my way out of bed around 10, 11, noon, whatever. Noon is usually the latest, but I’ve gotten up at 1 or 2 pm before, hasn’t everyone?

Anyway. This destroys my chances for getting anything done that day.

I mean, think about it, you get up and the sun has passed its zenith, most everyone around you is about to hit their afternoon slump, and whatever plans you made for the morning (if, indeed, you made any) feel unattainable because you budgeted a WHOLE day for whatever-it-is, not HALF.

And even though you went to bed last night at 2 am, and are thus running on 8+ hours of sleep (PLENTY of sleep, people, almost too much for a workday), you don’t think of your day in terms of “10 to 2” or whatever. NO. Nine to five. Just like the song says.

(Actually, come to think of it, nine o’clock is a generously late starting time. I don’t think I would ever get anything done if I was forced to wait until nine o’clock to get started. But whatever.)

So you tell yourself, “It’s fine. The day’s  wash. But I’ll do better tomorrow.” You promise yourself that you’ll go to sleep at midnight, or eleven, or whatever other reasonable time you think will give you enough fuel to get up at eight, or seven, or whatever other arbitrary time you set for your day to begin.

But, of course, it doesn’t happen. You find yourself trying to fit all the fun stuff you were hoping to do today into half a day (or maybe you just putter around on the internet for twelve hours [don’t lie, you know you’ve done it]) and then you finally look up at the clock and realize “omygosh, it’s already ten/eleven/etc. o’clock, and I haven’t even checked my email/Facebook/Twitter/blog/webcomics/etc. I’ll just do that quick before bed.”

Four hours later.

“Yeah. I guess I’ll just go to bed now.”

Rinse. Repeat. Regret.

Now, I know there are a lot of folks who HAVE to get up in the morning because they have kids/jobs/etc. that don’t give them any other option. That’s great for them. But for little old nonparent unemployed me? Not gonna cut it if I want to get stuff done.

Actually, the bulk of what I’m talking about here is directed at the entrepreneurial (being defined here as “anybody who has to their own stuff done, instead of someone else’s”). The more and more I sink into this culture/lifestyle, the more I grow convinced that success in it is driven primarily by your consistent effort, as opposed to inconsistent effort — i.e. a routine.

A couple weeks ago, I started a daily routine, filled with various writing, reading, education, workout, meditation, and etc. goals. I had specific tasks, and a system for determining how much time to devote to each, and alarms and alerts and timers and everything. Glorious!

For about two days, my life was bliss. Productive bliss.

Then I was up until 2 am cleaning house after a game night. (I love my game nights, don’t get me wrong, I just need to be more responsible about scheduling them.) As you can probably guess by now, I woke up late the following day.

And…I moped around doing pretty much nothing (though I told myself I was “cleaning,” and “cooking,” and all kinds of other homey things) until about 4 pm, at which point I “got around to” starting my daily routine.

Yeah, it didn’t go very well.

That’s when I realized how much sleep affected my productivity.

Yeah, yeah, news flash and all that. But again, I’m not talking about AMOUNT of sleep. I’m talking about WHEN you sleep.

I’ve always known that I should get eight hours (or seven, or nine, or 4-5 cycles of 1.5 hours each, or whatever the new fad is) of sleep each night. And I always tried…yeah, “try” is a really weak word. Sigh.

Back on track. Amount of sleep is a significant factor in physical and mental health. I recognize that. I’ve almost always recognized that. But this was perhaps the first time that I recognized the impact that the time I went to bed at night had on the following day’s productivity.

Since this revelation, while I haven’t been perfect at it, I’ve had an explosion of productivity. I won’t go into all the details, but I have to say that getting up in the morning, seeing the sun hanging low in the sky where it’s marking the start of a new day, almost giving you permission to make new opportunities for yourself, well, that’s exciting.

I’ve always considered myself a nightowl. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to develop and maintain a schedule where I worked through the night and slept during the day. But after seeing the affect the sun has had on my productivity, I really have no choice — if I want to be successful in my various endeavors — other than to become a morning person.

You want to know how to be successful? Try getting up in the morning. It might help. 😉