Almost Finished

April 1, 2016

You may have noticed silence from me over the last couple of weeks. Don’t fear, I’m not dead, I’ve just been busy… Crazy busy! It seems like every other week I am traveling around Europe doing my best to work the day job while writing in the evenings.

BUT there is a light at the end of the tunnel! In fact, I’m almost finished! I’m 50,000 words into my second novel, Fractal Space and I couldn’t be more excited. Fractal Space is a Science Fiction thriller that explores the political dynamics of war, isolationism, friendship, and courage – all wrapped into a quest to control the galaxy.

As with all of my writings, I would love your feedback and you get a chance to read a great novel for free. Please consider signing up on my Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) list on the right hand side of my website to get my latest publications free of charge! All I ask in return is that you leave me an honest review.

 

While you wait, feel free to peruse the short stories on this site.

The Accident

February 25, 2016

The Accident

Darkness. Complete darkness. Am I dead? No, I don’t think so. You can’t think when you’re dead… I don’t think. I guess I mean you can’t think “I am dead.” I think it would be more obvious. But it’s so dark. How did I get here? Why can’t I open my eyes? Why am I not waking up?

There was light, I remember now; they were headlights, a car accident. I must be in a hospital. But why can’t I move? Why is it so dark?

I hear weeping. It must be my wife – but I can’t remember her name. S… nope can’t remember.

A knock on the door. “Hello Terri.” Terri, that’s what her name is. I love Terri.

Her weeping stops and I imagine she’s turned to look at him but I can’t picture her face.

“What’s the verdict?” I hear her say, voice quivering.

“You should sit down,” responds the doctor. My stomach churns and if I could feel my face, I knew it would be hot with dread. A chair screeched as it slid across sterile floors and a thud indicated that my sweet Terri found a spot to rest.

“I’m afraid,” the male’s voice continued “I’m afraid he’s completely brain dead.”

Brain dead? I’m not brain dead! I’m not brain dead! I screamed. I guess I really thought it in the darkness.

“We have a few options,” I could hear him say. Terri was weeping again. Options. “We can keep him alive for a few weeks, see if something changes…”

“No.” I heard her cut him off. “He wouldn’t have wanted that.”

I do want that! I’m here! Keep me alive! I shouted. I’ll move my finger. I’ll show you. Keep me alive!

“Did he have a living will?” he asked.

“Yes, he didn’t want to be artificially kept alive.” She paused to cry again and he remained silent.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My sweet Terri, my sweet Terri. Betrayer. You’re going to kill me! I shouted. She didn’t hear. She didn’t care. She was selfish; so selfish. She’s going to kill me.

“We’ll need you to sign some paperwork,” he said gingerly. “I know it’s hard to hear, but we want to operate on organs as soon as we can; they save others you know.”

“Okay,” Terri responded through her sobs, “Goodbye my love,” she whispered in my ear.

Don’t sign them, Terri! Don’t sign them! I’m here.

A door closed and I was once again engulfed in black silence.

No One Understands

February 13, 2016

Depression

 

No one understands,

I just don’t want them to.

They tell me I have options,

But those will never do.

 

If life was simply talking,

I’d probably be fixed.

But talking is an option,

I want nothing to do with.

 

You see, talking doesn’t fix,

Nor repair my weary soul.

What I prefer is silence,

But that won’t make me whole.

 

No one understands.

I feel as if I’m stuck.

And when I express myself,

It comes out as awful muck.

 

They’d think I was pathetic,

Or that I was a monster.

My isolation makes me lonely,

But it preserves my honor.

 

These options that they offer,

Can’t really set me free.

For we are merely fodder,

This, I plainly see.

 

I could never tell them,

I’m ashamed of my dreams.

My anger, it controls me,

My rage, to it, I cling.

 

And so, I simply sit,

With my head inside my hands.

I’m a veteran without options,

‘Cause no one understands.

 


 

This was written for the average of 22 Veterans that commit suicide every day. Suicide can be prevented. Please join me in preventing it. #22kill

Volcanic Art

January 21, 2016

Volcano

A dash of brown, a streak of red, a glob of grey. Back and forth her brushes stroked, and swirled, and twirled against the white canvas.

“What are you making,” I asked, mesmerized by her painting to the dull sound of the radio in the background.

“A volcano,” she replied, smiling at me as she always did.

Ahh, a volcano. Her wrist masterfully swirled the grey inward to create a cloud of smoke rising from the mountain. Paint exhausted from her brush, the beautiful artist, skilled as a surgeon dipped for more. A dab of black this time added to the light grey on the palate.

“It has to be foreboding,” she told me. “You’ve got to scare the villagers, you know?”

Yes, the villagers. The villagers. Was that her that said it, or the radio? The radio. A man was speaking, something about a volcano in Peru. Smoke was filling the sky; dark foreboding smoke.

“Did you know about this before you started to paint?” I asked.

“Know about what?” she replied, humming a bit to herself.

She was in her own world, smearing grey across the canvas; turning the baby blue sky into a darkened and smoldering black. But there was more. I watched her in anticipation as she moved her dainty wrist to spin up some orange and add some red. Fire bolts erupted from the volcano as she slashed at the canvas. Some here, some there.

I could hear the radio echo her work, but this was real. Molten rock was erupting from the mouth of the volcano and onto the village below according to the voice. Villagers were terrified.

“You have to make them panic. Their lives are on the line,” she muttered.

“Will they make it?” I asked suspiciously.

“Oh no. They won’t make it,” she said smiling, “but tis the nature of art.”

 


 

If you like this story, consider reading my collection of short stories called “Tales and Tidbits” or my novel “Trials

Wormhole Travel

January 20, 2016

Wormhole TravelWormhole Travel is a topic in science and science fiction that has always fascinated me. The problem with writing a science fiction story that involves space exploration is the sheer distance that one would have to travel conventionally in order to reach a habitable planet. We’re not just talking years of conventional travel. We’re talking hundreds of lifetimes to reach even the nearest star; let alone a habitable one.

To go around this problem, writers like myself use wormholes for two primary reasons. First, wormholes are scientifically plausible according to Einstein and Rosen. Second, wormholes solve the time conundrum that we have while traveling long distances in space.

The way wormholes work is that there are proposed bridges through a folded piece of space, allowing a ship to simply step across a bridge rather than traverse the entire swath between two points.

In my novel Fractal Space, I describe the processes as skipping. Rather than trying to fold space over long distances, I propose the solution is to fold space over very short distances and take many tiny steps. Scientifically, I think this solves a few problems. First, the wormhole can be made more stable using less natural and exotic energy to keep it open. Second, even trying to open a wormhole across a span of several light years would take, well, light years. By opening one locally as a skipping process, you avoid the time required to simply build the bridge across long distances. Third, wormhole travel over shorter distances requires far less space be bent – again a factor of time and energy.

Of course, any time new technology is introduced, the first step is to militarize it. Check out my newest novel Fractal Space to see how the galactic powers did just that!

There are a few dangers to skipping across the surface though. If your ship hasn’t carefully charted your route you might find yourself skipping on top of a black hole, only to get sucked in before you can take the next step. Free floating asteroids, rogue planets, solar systems, and stars all pose a similar threat.

What do you think? Is wormhole travel plausible or even feasible? How would you handle the threat?

The Basement

January 16, 2016

The BasementThat noise, that noise, that wretched, eternal noise. I can’t take it any longer, the rap tap tap always coming from the basement – the forbidden basement.

I throw of the sheets. No more. Every night I hear that same rap, tap, tap. Every night it torments me until I can no longer stand the sound. It drives me crazy. No pillow is thick enough nor door sealed enough to shut out that noise. That horrid noise.

I’m going to go down there. I have to. Surely my hosts will understand. Surely they can’t blame me for investigating the noise despite their warnings. No, in spite of their warnings.

Rap, tap, tap. There it is again. I’ve made up my mind and swing my legs off the bed and onto the cold wood floor of my rented one room apartment. As I push my body off the bed, the old hickory creaks and groans under my weight.

Rap, tap, tap. In anticipation, the tapping gets louder and urges me forward. I don’t care what I find. I’m furious. I must know. I must!

As quietly as I can muster, I creep down the hallway, using my hands to feel my way in the dark. The floor creaks but my bones and joints pop louder from being disturbed out of their midnight slumber. Rap, tap, tap; rap, tap, tap. It hastens, growing louder as if a choir of drummers were begging me forward, insisting that my night culminate in their performance from beneath the home.

Pale orange light glows from beneath the basement door. I had never seen that light before, but I didn’t care. It was no longer the curiosity that drove me but my insanity and my desire. It propels me onward, through the door and down the stairs. Rap, tap, tap. Rap, tap, tap. Rap, tap, tap. I must know!

Suddenly, the rapping stops. The tapping ends. And I’m face to face with it. I shouldn’t have come. I regret coming, but I know it’s too late. So does he. He, I mean me. It was me doing the rapping. Me doing the tapping. How can this be?

“I shouldn’t have come,” I manage to stutter.

Me doesn’t speak. He simply raises a small iron pipe above his head. I shouldn’t have come.

The Bomb – Flash Fiction

January 13, 2016

The BombFifty-nine seconds. That was all that remained in Malek’s life until he became mere particles floating through the atmosphere in search of a resting place. A lot could happen in fifty nine seconds. A whole lot. Malek traced the wires. Red, blue, and yellow. Red, blue, yellow. The three simple wires ran from a green motherboard and into an ignitor that attached to a deadly mix of diesel fuel and fertilizer. In a sadistic display of humor, the maniac that planned to kill everyone inside had left Malek a clock. Thanks for that, he thought.

Sweat poured off Malek’s face as he stared at the circuit board. The red one, the red one. No, it’s always the red one. That’s too obvious. The red is the fake. Malek traced the red again and then examined the flattened copper circuits that connected the red wire to the same ignitor.

Forty-three seconds. In forty three seconds Malek and the Jinnah International Airport would disappear. At least it was just him. His team had left hours ago. At least he was alone. He liked working alone, but he wasn’t sure if he was ready to die alone.

Thirty-nine seconds. Malek gave up on the red wire. It can’t be the red wire. It has to be the blue wire. He traced it with his cutters. Red to conductor, conductor to blue, blue to charge, charge to ignitor. It has to be the blue. As he prepared to clip, steam from his breath fogged his vision.

Malek tore his face shield off and let the sweat drip steadily from his head directly onto the green device. Three hours of staring at this stupid thing boiled down to thirty-three seconds. Suddenly he doubted his conviction. What if it wasn’t the blue? What if the blue was the fake? If he clipped the fake, everything was bound to explode as the device sensed a short circuit and sent a reverse charge into the ignitor. He couldn’t clip the fake.

Twenty seconds. Twenty seconds. Malek panicked. Red, blue, yellow. One of the three. Take a guess. Take a guess. Any guess. A river of sweat now fell from his face onto the motherboard. Onto the batteries, onto the circuit; and everything stopped. The clock turned off, the little red light on the motherboard faded. The home-made explosive remained still. My magical sweat, Malek thought smiling. My magical sweat.

 


 

 

The Bomb is a short story developed from Malek – a character in the novel Trials. If you liked this short story, try picking up the book here!

Jacob Densy – Trials Character Deep Dive

January 9, 2016

“Mars promises to be the next great frontier of human exploration” – Jacob Densy

 

Character Deep Dive

Jacob Densy is a character that is only mentioned by name once early in the book. This doesn’t reduce his significance to the overall plot. As an author, I decided to put a conversation between Jacob and an advertising executive to act as a sort of prologue for the next book. When people see Jacob’s name again, they’ll hopefully remember him as a proponent of the Mars effort – but he’s far more than that. Jacob is the Chief Executive Officer for a company named Unicore, which is a mining conglomerate that owns interests on Earth, the Moon, and Mars.

Recently, research into psychopathy has indicated that the majority of CEOs are actually psychopaths. They are willing to take risks, are self-centered, lack concern for the people around them, and have generally flatter affects. Jacob is no different. While Jacob believes he always does the right thing, he also is a man who staunchly believes the ends justify the means. With the disaster on earth and an even greater one brewing on Mars, you can expect the most powerful man on the planet to be at the center of the drama.

Read Trials to get the background and be looking for a big move from Jacob in the sequel!

Trials on Sale Tomorrow

January 7, 2016

Trials Science Fiction Novel Thane KellerEveryone! Tomorrow will be the last day for a while that Trials will be sold for $0.99. The promotional period is ending for Trials the Kindle edition and I will be raising the price back to $2.99.

 

Grab your copy at the lowest price and leave me some feedback to let me know what you think!

Trials Paperback Now Available

December 30, 2015

Trials Science Fiction Novel Thane Keller After months of reworking the cover, waiting for proofs to arrive to an APO box during the busy Christmas rush, reworking the cover, and waiting for more proofs to arrive, I’m happy to announce that the Trials paperback version is now available on Amazon and through numerous other distribution channels!

There are a few things I’ll be doing differently for its sequel and, hopefully, the many other books I’ll be publishing.

1. Use Kindle Scout and CreateSpace preview features to upload pre-published copies to generate hype, reviews, and interest.

2. Publish on CreateSpace first, not Kindle. CreateSpace will help build the Kindle version of your book and makes it an easier transition time all around. A second reason to think paperback first is that the paperback version will require a finer amount of detail on the cover. It’s easy to cut away at a JPG cover for the Kindle version, but much harder to add to a Kindle cover for a paperback version. (Ana Spoke – an amazing writer and my hero in the blog world likely has similar advice after battling over Kindle and CreateSpace here – Your final product looks great by the way Ana!)

3. Buy my graphic designer (Sarah Keller) roses after each version (I think this was cover version 6 if you count the minor versions and cover version 12 if you count the differences between Kindle and paperback). She’s an amazing graphic designer (and painter) and is my number one recommendation for anyone else looking for book cover designs. 

4. Get my writing on a schedule. This is the hardest thing to balance because with 3 kids, Masters courses, and a full time job that includes travel two weeks out of every month, I’m struggling to maintain any type of regular writing schedule – It’ll come though, and this must become my number 1 priority!

5. Beg more people (like YOU) to leave me reviews 🙂

Thanks for everyone’s support!