My Schedule for Stan Lee’s Comikaze

Comikaze 2015 logoOkay, I am going to Los Angeles for Stan Lee’s Comikaze Comic Con, a place I lived for 7 years and have not visited in 19. Excited to see old friends and see how the city has changed. I will also be hanging out with some very cool people, both at the WordFire Booth #1342, on panels and at the Con generally, including stars from Star Wars, The Flash, Star Trek TOS, 2001: A Space Odyssey,  and more. Come join us. I will have early release copies of both my novel, The Worker Prince and my Baen hard SF anthology, Mission: Tomorrow. Here’s where to find me Friday through Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center:

Mission Tomorrow cover 2 larger
TWP WFP front cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Panels 10/30/15:

4:00 – 4:50 pm          Writing Existing Worlds

A panel of authors and editors discuss writing media tie-ins, comics and more in popular franchise from Star Wars to X-Files and more

Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Panelists: Kevin J. Anderson, David Farland, Jody Lynn Nye, Peter J. Wacks, Neo Edmund

Panel Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Room: 505

 

Saturday Panels 10/31/15:

11:00am-11:50pm                Worlds of WordFire

Publisher Kevin J. Anderson and several authors discuss existing and forthcoming titles from WordFire Press, a small up and coming small press publisher whose authors include New York Times Bestsellers like Frank Herbert, David Farland, Jody Lynn Nye, Todd McCaffrey, Alan Dean Foster, and More

Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Panelists: Kevin J. Anderson, Peter J. Wacks, David Farland, Jody

Lynn Nye, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Neo Edmund, Rebecca Moesta,

Quincy Allen

Panel Moderator: Kevin J. Anderson

Room: 502A

#

 

4:00pm-4:50pm                    Publishing Unlimited: The Many Paths to Worldwide

Publication for Writers

E-Books. Digital Comics. Newsletters. Blogs. Print on demand. For those of us

with a passion for telling stories through the written word, there are now

limitless opportunities to publish, produce, and distribute our work. Of

course, with so many options, it can be a brain scrambler to know which path

is best suited for a particular project. Write it as a book? A Screenplay? A

comic? Is it better to go indie or seek out a traditional publisher? Join this

awesome panel of professional writers and story editors, and story editors as

they discuss the many paths they’ve taken to get their work published and

produced.

Genre: New Media

Panelists: Kevin J. Anderson, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Peter J. Wacks, Rebecca Moesta

Moderator: Neo Edmund

Room: 502A

 

Sunday Panels 11/01/15:

12:00pm-12:50pm                Iron Author:

Like Iron Chef except with writers. Each person Includes subject and a

“secret  ingredient”. The audience judges the winner

Genre: Literature

Panelists: Jody Lynn Nye, Rebecca Moesta, Qunicy Allen, Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Moderator: Alexi Vandenberg

Room: 502A

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1:00pm-1:50pm                    How to become an Author:

An  award winning panel of bestselling authors discuss how to be an author

and more.

Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Panelists:   Kevin J. Anderson, David Farland, Jody Lynn Nye, Peter J. Wacks,

Rebecca Moesta

Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Room: 502A

#

2:00pm-2:50pm                    How Not to get published:

What is the surefire way not to get published? Managing editor and

bestselling author Peter J. Wacks and his panel discuss the pitfalls of new

authors trying to break into the field.

Genre: Literature

Panelists: Peter J. Wacks, Quincy Allen, Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Moderator: Alexi Vandenberg

Room: 502A

 

Venue Details:

Los Angeles Convention Center

1201 South Figueroa Street

Los Angeles, CA 90015

 

 

Exhibit Floor

Booth # 1342

Friday October 30th  – 1PM to 7PM

Saturday October 31st  – 9AM to 6PM

Sunday November 1st – 10AM to 4PM

 

On The Web: http://comikazeexpo.com/

 

Friendly reminder to adjust your clocks, Daylight Savings Time ends at 2AM Sunday November 1st

Write Tip: Thoughts On Choosing Point Of View

There are many decisions one makes when writing fiction. One of the most important is the choice of POV character and whether it’s first person or third. Often, when dealing with multiple POV characters, the choice is based on who has the most to lose or gain in a particular scene. But sometimes other factors can be useful.  

In The Returning, my forthcoming sequel to The Worker Prince, I found it advantageous to tell a scene from the POV of an antagonist despite the fact the focus of the scene was a subplot of the romance between the protagonist and another character. In doing so, I was able to up the tension beyond the drama of the moment. While Davi and Tela are having a fight and their relationship is jeopardized, the scene becomes more powerful because Davi’s rival, bent on killing him in revenge for past slights, is stalking them during the scene. Thus, not only is their relationship in danger, but their very lives. It wound up becoming one of my favorite scenes because of that.

A further advantage was that several subplots are advanced in the process–the Davi-Tela love story, the Bordox revenge plot, and the main story about attacks on Davi’s Vertullian people are all advanced in this scene. Having Davi’s rival, whose hatred for Davi seethes throughout the book, see Davi in a humiliating fight with his girlfriend also serves to make Davi’s situation more sympathetic. It’s bad enough he’s messing up his relationship, it’s bad enough some of that conflict is based on misunderstanding each other, but now his life’s in danger and he’s been humiliated in front of Bordox. It just adds layers of dynamics to the scene which up the pace, the tension, and the stakes all at the same time. When you add to that the fact that this encounter was coincidence–Bordox was there for other reasons and just stumbles upon them–it’s all the more dramatic.

Below is the scene from my third draft so you can see how it plays out. Remember: Bordox is working for a group trying to unseat the government and reenslave the Vertullians, ancient enemies. He’s Davi’s Academy rival and his family are the rivals of Davi’s for the leadership of the Borali Alliance. Tela is Davi’s former trainee, fiancee and a fellow Vertullian pilot. The romance that started in The Worker Prince is facing new pressures and their relationship is strained because of it. 

As you read, consider the POV choice. How does it work for you? Would you have chosen differently? What are the questions you ask when deciding which POV to use in scenes? Feel free to discuss it in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts on choosing POV.

***

Bordox fought his every instinct as he stepped off the shuttle into the starport landing bay on Legon. His mission required stealth yet he stiffened at having to sneak around a place he’d once walked freely—admired and respected. Here he was, less than a year later, hiding in shadows like a wanted man. And there was only one person to blame: Davi Rhii!

He made his way through the pedestrian corridors and deliberately avoided areas frequented by pilots and maintenance crews with the hopes he’d be less likely to be recognized. The datacard in his pocket pressed against his leg with every step. He just needed to get to the flight data booths and insert it. The program it contained would do the rest, drawing out the desired intel from the systems, and he’d be on his way again.

“What’s keeping you so quiet?”

He knew that voice, stopping to listen as it came from around the corner ahead of him.

“Nothing. I’m fine.” A woman’s voice answered. One he didn’t recognize. He heard footsteps approaching and shrunk back into a shadowed doorway. “Just let me check the shuttle maintenance records for Aron and we’ll be on our way.”

“I know you, Tela. Something’s upsetting you.”

Rhii! Bordox gritted his teeth. His old enemy, the idiot who’d ruined his life, was coming toward him. What was he doing here this time of night? Last he’d heard Davi was a squadron commander. Military pilots didn’t casually walk around this side of the starport.

Davi and the woman appeared around the corner and stopped as Davi jumped into her path so they were face to face. The woman was medium height, shorter than Davi, with long brown hair and sparkling blue eyes. Her pleasing curves stiffened in anger as Davi blocked her way. Both wore Borali Alliance flight uniforms with rank insignia on their shoulders and blasters holstered at their sides. Seeing Davi in uniform just launched him into a rage. Rhii had the career Bordox deserved.

“I know you, Tela,” Davi said. “Why won’t you talk to me about it?”

“Because it won’t make any difference. We’ve tried before.”

She stepped around him and continued down the corridor as he hurried after her.

“So it’s about me then? What did I do?”

The woman, Tela, sighed. “I am not some delicate damsel in distress, Davi Rhii. I’m a fully qualified Borali officer, just like you.”

Davi looked confused. “Of course you are. What are you talking about?”

She stopped and whirled to face him, arms on her hips. Her eyes narrowed with annoyance. “You had me taken out of your squadron rotation. You got me in a lighter flight duty assignment. I keep finding myself not chosen for any risky missions—”

“There haven’t exactly been a lot of risky missions lately, and your reassignment was required by military rules. Couples can’t fly together.”

Tela growled. “A convenient excuse.”

“It’s true. I can show you the memo the commander sent asking me to sign the transfer paperwork.”

“You don’t get it! I am not going to be the girl who sits at home and pines after you. I want to do my duty like anyone else. I don’t want to be protected.”

“I’m not protecting you.”

“Yes you are!”

She whirled and started up the corridor toward Bordox again. He slipped further back into the shadows, sliding his hood up over his head as he enjoyed the show. They were so distracted with each other he doubted they’d even notice him. Bordox began to relax from his rage a bit as he watched Davi Rhii get put in his place by a woman. The only thing better would be the day he did it himself. Like instinct, his hand felt for the blaster at his hip, closing around the handle, he squeezed it. All he had to do was draw and shoot and Rhii would be dead. They would never see it coming, totally taken by surprise. His fist clenched and unclenched around the handle as he fought the urge. He’d blow his mission. But he might never get a chance like this. The feel of the cold steel of the blaster against his palm got his adrenaline pumping.

“Okay, maybe I didn’t argue.” Davi smiled as if that alone would charm her. Bordox wanted to step out and wipe that smarmy grin off his face with a fist but he swallowed, silent and hard, and stayed frozen in place. Or maybe I should blast it off. “Look, I love you, okay? Guilty! It’s my instinct to want to protect you.”

“We fought side by side in the Resistance. Why can’t we do that now?”

“Well, there’s not really any enemies at the moment for one. And we were just getting into things then. Now we’re together.”

“So I’m supposed to sit at home and worry about you while you get to relax and know I’m safe? That’s fair.”

Davi grinned and shrugged. “I’d feel good about it.”

Tela groaned and punched him hard in the arm. “Well, I don’t.” She turned and marched on down and through the door into the landing bay as Davi raced to catch her.

Bordox paused a moment, tempted to follow, but shook it off, remembering his mission and slid on down the corridor the way they’d come. There was more at stake. He had to remember that. Rhii’s day would come. Just not today. In less than two minutes, he’d stepped into the data center and selected a private booth. He slipped the datacard from his pocket and inserted it into the terminal then watched as the screen exploded in thousands of numbers moving and changing at a pace so fast his eyes could barely recognize them. After another minute, the terminal beeped and the datacard ejected. He returned it to his pocket then slipped out and headed back the way he’d come.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novel The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and has several short stories forthcoming in anthologies and magazines. His second novel, The Returning, is forthcoming from Diminished Media Group in 2012. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chatevery Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. He can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Excerpts from The Worker Prince can be found on his blog.‎ Bryan is an affiliate member of the SFWA.

4 5-star & 11 4-star reviews THE WORKER PRINCE $3.99 Kindlehttp://amzn.to/pnxaNm or Nook http://bit.ly/ni9OFh $14.99 tpb http://bit.ly/qIJCkS.

Hello 2012! Good Riddance 2011! (Predictions & Reflections)

Well, 2011 is gone and I am as glad as anyone it will never return. I thought 2010 was a bad year but 2011 was so much worse. In may 2010, I lost my full time job. By the end of the year, my part time one also went away due to my out of state job search and their wanting continuity. Unemployment problems began. We made it through 2010 without a relapse of Bianca’s health issues, but in February, 2011, they came back with a vengeance, resulting in her spending most of February through May in various hospitals against her will and causing a great deal of financial and emotional stress for me. While I did sign my book contract at the end of 2010 and see my debut novel published to good reviews and even a B&N Book Clubs Honorable Mention on Years Best SF releases, overall, 2011 was pretty unhappy. I did complete a sequel to The Worker Prince and start a new heroic fantasy novel. I outlined some other ideas and I did see stories published. I made my first paid sale to Tales Of The Talisman early on but it won’t appear until Summer 2012. Residential Aliens finally bought my long standing Worker Prince prequel story, “Rivalry On A Sky Course” and published it a few days before the novel’s release. I also sold stories to the anthologies Of Fur and Fire and Wandering Weeds and got the editing assignment and completed Space Battles, which will feature yet another Worker Prince universe story. Both Wandering Weeds and Space Battles should appear in 2012 along with The Returning, book 2 in the Saga Of Davi Rhii and hopefully other things which have yet to materialize.

SFFWRTCHT became a major thing in 2011. I started it in Fall 2010 and it grew into a majorly respected interview series with a column, guest posts and much more. I got bigger name guests and publishers partnered with me to get me arcs of their books. I also started columns on the  blog as well and am looking into a podcast.

My first book tour was a success and a lot of fun in 2011 and I plan another one for mid-2012 to promote both The Returning and Space Battles. I did my first podcast interviews, author interviews and guest posts all as part of this tour. Additionally, I attended my first Cons as a panelist and author guest. And moderated my first panels. I now do them a lot more often and am enjoying the opportunity to share my knowledge, vision and ideas with a larger audience and interact with them. I really feel like I got legitimized as a member of the professional SFF community this year and that’s a really good feeling.  I also got my first reviews. Most were positive, thankfully. And I’ve learned as much as I can, applying it as we edit The Returning for its 2012 release.

As for 2012, after what I’ve been through, I’m hesitant to make too many prediction, and, frankly, not very optimistic. But based on the few positives from 2011, I can make a few guesses. I imagine SFFWRTCHT will continue to grow. If it’s approved, my membership in SFWA will commence as an affiliate member. I will have three more books published, two anthologies and one novel with my material. North Star Serial will finally come to ebook and I’ll be writing more episodes at some point. I also hope to make my first traditional publishing deal and get an agent. I really feel like those are the next steps in my career but we’ll see.

I have quite a few Con appearances and signings scheduled for 2012. My first signing was a success despite low attendance. I didn’t promote it well due to a date change and just not being on the ball. But we sold well above the statistical average number of books for a signing which I consider a huge success. I will be an Author Guest at Convergence and ConQuest. With Convergence having an average attendance of 5k, that’s a big deal and it will coincide with my having Space Battles and The Returning released, giving me five books with my work to sell. I also plan to attend ChiCon WorldCon and several more area cons and will aim for World Fantasy and GenCon as well.

I have to write book 3 in the Saga Of Davi Rhii, finish The Relic Of Aken, my heroic fantasy, and do draft two of Sandman, as well as write those North Star stories.  I have two steampunk novel ideas and an urban fantasy I would like to get to. And I’d like to get back to short stories outside North Star despite my failure this year to do much with them. I really feel I am terrible with that area of craft but since novels are doing so well for me am focusing my attention there for now. The sole exception being North Star because the present run is almost exhausted and the zine wants more episodes to complete the cycle.

In any case,  I also hope 2012 brings financial stability again, either through a book contract or a steady job or both. This living on the edge has been very devastating, causing me to have serious depression for the first time, gain a lot of weight, and have a lot of health issues. And getting back on a even keel would really change how I produce and enjoy life in 2012. With Congress playing games on unemployment extensions, my current account runs out in February and it’s uncertain how I’ll get by. My parents have strained their resources helping me and I don’t know how to burden them any further. Let’s hope 2012 is not my return to flipping burgers. That doesn’t seem like a good use of my Masters.

Anyway, there’s my reflections and predictions. I tried not to be too negative. Most of you have already seen my hard life posts so why rehash it. After all, isn’t the goal to predict a happier future?

In any case, I hope 2012 brings better times for all of us.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novel The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and has several short stories forthcoming in anthologies and magazines. His second novel, The Returning, is forthcoming from Diminished Media Group in 2012. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chatevery Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. He can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Excerpts from The Worker Prince can be found on his blog.‎

4 5-star & 11 4-star reviews THE WORKER PRINCE $3.99 Kindlehttp://amzn.to/pnxaNm or Nook http://bit.ly/ni9OFh $14.99 tpb http://bit.ly/qIJCkS.

 

Write Tip: 3 Steps To Cost Effective Homemade Bookplates

You never know when you’ll run into someone who wants an autograph or knows someone else who would like one. Signing books is a matter of spreading good will and showing gratitude to readers. As SFWA Vice President Mary Robinette Kowal recommends in her great post on signing books, they should be on hand for when you need them. But bookplates can get expensive. So I decided to make my own, using my years of computer and office support staff experience. Here’s how I did it.

Supplies: Things You’ll Need
1) Avery Labels 8164 or compatible (you can easily replace this with heavier duty labels but these work find with caveat below*)
2) An image with license to use
3) Microsoft Word or Open Office

3 Steps To Making Your Own Bookplates

1) Create a full page template of labels with Avery 8164 in Word. Here are the buttons to click:

a) Click Mailings. (It’s in the top menu bar for MSWord 2077 and 2010. Earlier versions vary.)

b) Click labels on the box that opens up.
c) Click the  button then select Avery 8164 from the list that pops up.

e) Click .

f) Click .

A sheet filled with the labels will appear in MSWord.

2) Create Your Bookplate Template

a) Create a Text box and insert Ex-Libris, standard Latin used on bookplates or some other phrase.
b)Insert the image centered on the page below the Ex-Libris (leave blank space at the bottom for your signature)

c) Once you have the image and text where you want them, then copy and paste to the other labels to make a page and save.

3) Print your bookplates

a) I suggest that you print first on the back of a label page OR a blank 8 1/2 x 11 sheet and hold on top of labels up to light to see if the borders work.
b) Once borders are verified and any adjustments made, print your bookplates on the labels themselves.

Cost: $10.99 for labels (25 sheets of 6 each) + partial print cartridge and your time.

My bookplates look like this: 

 *Caveat: Label adhesive, like tape, can lose strength over time. For best results, I suggest adhering these to the inside of a book page rather than the inside of a cover and be sure and rub it down good so it adheres well.


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novel The Worker Prince, an honorable mention on Barnes & Noble’s Best SF Releases of 2011, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, and has several short stories forthcoming in anthologies and magazines. His second novel, The Returning, is forthcoming from Diminished Media Group in 2012. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chatevery Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. He can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Excerpts from The Worker Prince can be found on his blog.

‎4 5-star & 8 4-star reviews THE WORKER PRINCE $3.99 Kindlehttp://amzn.to/pnxaNm or Nook http://bit.ly/ni9OFh $14.99 tpb http://bit.ly/qIJCkS.

 

Write Tip: If You’re Not Signed Up for Kindlegraph, Why You Should Be

KINDLEGRAPH is new. You may not have heard of it, but it’s a MUST DO for published authors. Here’s why:

1) It’s free

2) You can do this, in less than 15 seconds from your laptop at home at any reader’s request:

 

 

Yep, they buy your ebook.

Then they request an autograph.

You type a message which comes out in handwriting as shown.

You sign with the mouse. (I’m sure my signature and yours will improve with practice.)

You send it.

Costs you nothing.

Gives them the chance to have what before only hard copy owners could.

It’s a win-win for everyone and if you’re a published author, it’s a no brainer, you need to sign up. Go to http://www.kindlegraph.com/ and click Author’s Sign-up here! 

 

Any questions? Seriously? Why wouldn’t you do this?


Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novel The Worker Prince, the collection The North Star Serial, and has several short stories forthcoming in anthologies and magazines. His second novel, The Returning, is forthcoming from Diminished Media Group in 2012. He’s also the host of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chatevery Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter, where he interviews people like Mike Resnick, AC Crispin, Kevin J. Anderson and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. He can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via his website. Excerpts from The Worker Prince can be found on his blog.

‎3 5-star & 8 4-star reviews THE WORKER PRINCE $3.99 Kindlehttp://amzn.to/pnxaNm or Nook http://bit.ly/ni9OFh $14.99 tpb http://bit.ly/qIJCkS.

 

 

 

The Worker Prince Concept Art

We needed some concept art for our book trailer for my debut novel The Worker Prince, and talented Scottish artist Miranda Jean rose to the occasion. It’s quite thrilling as an author to see your vision brought to life in this way. Although some details of the images differ from book descriptions, there are some nice editions and Miranda did very good work and I’m proud to share it with you.

This scene is inspired by one in Chapter 1 where Davi Rhii, the hero, goes to the Palace to meet with his mother Miri and the High Lord Councilor of the Borali Alliance, his uncle Xalivar–basically a Pharoah type dictator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one is where Davi goes with his friend Farien Noa to see the slaves at work in their first post-military Academy assignment to supervise the “workers.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This last one is a battle scene from later chapters where Davi Rhii and his worker pilots take on the Boralians in defending their home planet of Vertullis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Altogether exciting for me to see. Very good work by Miranda. Check out the link to her profile (click her name above). She’s done work for Tales Of The Talisman and Rigor Amortis too! Thanks, Miranda!

 

 

The Glorious Life Of An About To Be Published Novelist (Video)

113803 Click here or view below.

NOVEL EXCERPT: The Worker Prince Chapter 2

This excerpt is from Chapter 2 and the protagonist, Davi, has been discovering that life on the neighboring planet, Vertullis, for enslaved peoples (aka workers) is worse than he’d ever thought under his uncle Xalivar’s rule. He’s now finding himself torn and coming into conflict with friends and family as he begins to question it. Here he’s just received a letter from his mother about his questions.

Davi sat at his desk stunned. His mother had always been candid, but the content of her missive left him at a loss. He’d expected her to remind him of his uncle’s love and urge him to not be hasty in rushing to judgment, but he’d also expected her to tell him he did not yet have the full picture to understand the reasons behind the decisions his uncle had made in regard to Vertullis. Instead, she confirmed everything he had discovered and been wrestling with. What now?

He would have to be careful. Xalivar would indeed have spies and most people in the Alliance were loyal to him. Davi needed to control his feelings and consider each move. Would he take on the whole Borali Alliance as Farien had said? Not even his status as a member of the Royal Family ensured success. He would be fighting an entire system and way of life for his people, and he knew few would support him.

Slow down, Davi, and remember your place.

Needing to get out of this office and distract himself, he decided to explore areas of the capital he had yet to see. After all, for the time being, this would be home. It might be a good idea to get to know his environment. He deleted his mother’s e-post from the server and shut his terminal, returned the paperwork he’d been reviewing to his inbox and headed out the door.

Outside the noise of the city assaulted his ears. As the twin suns sank toward the horizon, the late afternoon light began to fade, dressing the transportation corridors around him in a mix of light and shadows. Past the end of a long block of administrative offices, he entered the narrower corridors of a residential district. The area surrounding the Borali Alliance’s offices had become prime real estate and contained some of the largest houses in the city, most occupied by off-world government employees.

A few corridors over, a tall security fence sectioned off that neighborhood from the adjacent one. On the far side, the houses changed noticeably, three story apartment buildings mixed with small dwellings, the landscaping sparser, the corridors narrower. He heard even more noise here than in the area around the government center. People bustled around the corridors past shopkeepers on sidewalks drumming up business. It almost seemed like earlier in the day, rather than early evening. In such worker neighborhoods, life began when the people came home.

He wandered, pondering the juxtaposition between houses which seemed run down, set between pristine, newer dwellings on either side. In other places, a thatch-roofed house would have added plants or laser displays on the sides, its small yard kept tidy and fresh, while vines ascended the walls of sleek modern transparent aluminum dwellings with overgrown yards. Finally, he reached a point where the corridor made a sharp turn.

Turning the bend, he found himself in the market with rows of stalls and tents of all shapes and sizes, bustling workers and vendors. A few saw his uniform and looked at him with wary glances but most went about their business as if he weren’t even there. The smell of various perspirations mixed with manure and fresh meats and fruits assaulting his nose.

Vendors offered everything from standard vegetables like green heads of lettuce, orange carrots, and shiny red tomatoes to more exotic ones like Feruca, Gixi, and Jax—fruits from other parts of the solar system. Feruca was black with a thin skin and soft pulp and was often served with various sauces. Gixi, a round, purple fruit grown in orchards on Vertullis and Italis had a delicious, tender pulp and sweet juice. Jax were blue and oblong with crispy pulp and a taste, which went from bitter to sweet during boiling. All had been discovered when colonists first emigrated here centuries ago and now were regular staples of their diets.

Other vendors offered livestock for sale, everything from blue Daken and goats to Quats and Qiwi, a long antlered creature from icy Plutonis. Dark brown with white spots lining either side of their spines, Qiwi stood waste high on Davi and had four long legs ending in black hooves. Their antlers grew up to forty centimeters out of their skulls. He also spotted Gungors, the six-legged brown animals with yellow manes raised for their tasty meat. Davi moved on past as vendors hollered prices and argued with customers, while the various animals brayed and moaned around them.

As he neared a tent, someone grabbed his arm—a smiling vendor who looked half-human and half-Lhamor, gesturing with his bottom two arms when he spoke, his forked tongue giving him a strong lisp.

“’ello, Capt’in, my frien’, wha’ever you nee’, I can ge’ for you,” he said with the accent of Italis and patted Davi’s back like they had been lifelong pals.

There’s a reason others of your race use translators. “No thank you, just passing through,” Davi said, moving on.

The market fascinated him. He saw many species and products he’d never seen before, realizing how big the Alliance really was. He hoped someday he might have time to explore it. When he was younger, he’d dreamed of going on a starship to see the planets in the outer solar system—alien species, plants, animals, alien languages. He’d spent so much time in the office, he hadn’t even bothered to discover what awaited him on Vertullis. He dodged another eager vendor and ducked into an alleyway. Quats moaned and darted out of his path, scattering the trash crowding the walls as they ran.

Might as well see what the neighborhoods are like on the other side.

Entering a corridor so narrow it was restricted to pedestrian traffic, he set about exploring. The corridor and buildings curved, making it impossible to see one end from the other. He walked past doors and windows of one dwelling after another. Separate units shared outside walls like one long building. The area appeared deserted. Everyone must be at the market or already inside.

A woman screamed around the bend ahead.

He quickened his pace, rounding the corner to see an Alliance Captain the size of an air taxi with a worker girl backed into a corner. His gray uniform was dirty and wrinkled, his hair graying around the edges. The girl looked to be upper teens, almost a woman, her face full of fear and apprehension. The Captain struck her across the face with the back of his hand and was preparing to do it again.

“Please,” the girl pleaded, “let me go.”

“You’ll go, when I say you can go,” the Captain responded, his voice like poison.

Neither had noticed Davi creeping toward them along a wall behind them. As he drew near, his nose crinkled at the overpowering smell of the Captain. He reeked of sweat and alcohol. Not even the girl’s sweet, flowery perfume could overcome it.

“What do you want from me?” The girl demanded.

“I want you to show me the proper respect.” The Captain swung his arm, but instead of hitting her face, which she turned away, he grabbed the collar of her blouse and ripped it open.

She slid along the wall, trying to get away. “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.”

“Workers like you are always disrespectful,” the Captain said. “Stop moving and come closer.” She shook her head as he grabbed her and pulled her to him, trying to press his lips against hers. She kept wiggling and pushing, making it difficult.

“I’m gonna teach you what it means to obey now, slut,” he said. Buttons popped as he ripped her blouse again and threw her to the ground, climbing on top of her and trying to force her legs apart.

Davi rushed up behind him, grabbing the Captain by the shoulders and pulling him off. “Enough, Captain,” Davi said.

The Captain swung to his feet and whirled around, pulling free with a power that sent Davi stepping back. The sobbing girl picked herself up and cowered against the wall behind him. “Who do you think you are?” the Captain sneered.

“A fellow officer concerned with a peer’s professional conduct,” Davi said.

“I’m off duty,” the Captain said.

“You’re in uniform,” Davi said.

“I guess this worker slut’s not the only one who needs a lesson in respect,” the Captain said, looking Davi over. He towered over Davi, muscles bulging from his jacket.

Davi stepped back. Maybe he has slow reflexes.

The Captain swung at him and Davi ducked, throwing a fist into the man’s gut. His fist throbbed like it had hit an iron wall.

The Captain laughed. “Is that the best you can do?”

“Run,” Davi said, his eyes meeting the worker girl’s. “Get away now!”

The Captain swung at him again as the girl backed away. “Where you going?” The soldier asked, missing Davi as he whirled and reached for her. Her blouse pulled loose into his hands.

Davi glimpsed a necklace around her neck with a blue-green crest at its center. The Captain knocked him to his knees with a blow he hadn’t seen coming.

Where are my friends when I need them? He struggled back to his feet.

The Captain swung again, and Davi dodged to one side. “You need to learn to mind your own business!” Keeping ahold of the girl with one hand, he swung again at Davi’s midsection.

Davi ducked to one side as the girl tried to pull free. His adversary found himself pulled in two directions but managed to grab Davi’s collar and jerk him roughly off his feet.

As the Captain pulled Davi closer and closer, the girl bit the Captain, who yelled and flinched, letting her go. Davi tried to use the moment to pull himself free, but the Captain pulled the collar tighter and cause Davi to slip and fall away from him and into wooden double doors which cracked loudly as they splintered from the force.

Seeing the girl slipping away, the Captain chased after her, turning his back on Davi.

Davi needed some kind of weapon. He thought for a moment of his blaster, but the Alliance had laws and he could think of none which would justify shooting a soldier, especially not to save a worker. Besides, the Captain had a blaster hanging on his hip.

As he climbed to his feet and stepped away from the door, part of it slipped back inside the house behind him. He looked at the splintered wood and began pulling free a section he could use as a club. Wood creaked and snapped as he pulled.

“Why are you doing this to me?” the girl screamed, as she continued dodging the Captain.

“Because you’re a worker,” the Captain said, grabbing her again as he looked around for something to tie her with.

Davi ran up behind him with the board. Seeing him out of the corner of his eye, the Captain turned, raising an arm, as Davi swung the board down hard atop his head.

The Captain’s arm deflected the board, sending it hard against the side of his head. He froze and emitted a loud gurgling sound, releasing the girl and falling to his knees as blood poured from his ears.

Davi pulled the board away and saw that a large spike had entered the man’s head at the temple. The Captain fell over face down and lay still as the salty smell of warm blood rose into the air from a widening pool around the Captain’s head. Oh my gods! I killed him!

“Is he dead?” the girl asked, petrified.

Davi knelt beside him, feeling for breath. The strengthened stench almost made him gag but he swallowed hard. “I think so. I don’t know.” The Captain’s chest wasn’t moving.

The girl gasped. Davi saw her pointing at his chest where his ripped uniform revealed his own necklace—an exact duplicate of the one she wore around her neck.

“Where’d you get it?” the girl asked.

“I’ve had it since I was a baby,” Davi responded.

The girl’s eyes widened as she turned and ran back up the corridor.

“Wait! Come back here a moment!”

But her footsteps faded into the night.

Davi glimpsed faces peering at him from nearby windows and heard footsteps behind him.

A worker stood in the splintered doorway as it finally sunk in—he’d killed an Alliance soldier.

Davi took dark side corridors all the way back to his quarters, ducking into alleyways every time anyone approached. Gasping for breath until his lungs were about to explode, he ran as fast as his feet would take him, his soaked clothes sticking to his skin. I hope no one got a good look at my face. How am I going to explain this?!

326 pp · ISBN 978‐0‐9840209‐0‐4 ·Trade Paperback/Epub/Mobi · $14.95 tpb $3.99 Ebook  · Publication: October 4, 2011  · Diminished Media Group
Available now for 20% off on preorders!!!

Trade paperback only

 EPUB or MOBI — please specify in notes on order

The Worker Prince: Book 1 In The Saga of Davi Rhii

NOVEL EXCERPT: The Worker Prince (Chapter 1 opening)

This excerpt is the opening scene from Chapter 1 of my forthcoming debut novel, the space opera “The Worker Prince” wherein the protagonist and his buddies are introduced along with chief rival and antagonist number 2, Bordox:


“Why do they keep staring at us?”

Farien nodded toward the dance floor and Davi realized all eyes in the Bar Electric were focused on them.

Sweet, fruity perfumes contrasted with stale sweat from gyrating bodies and afflicted Davi’s nose. “I told you we looked good in our uniforms,” he joked as his eyes turned back to his friends. After twenty-one years, he’d never gotten used to it.

Farien stood shorter by almost a foot than his friends, but made up for it in a bulk which filled out his gray uniform. The shiny gold buttons and shoulder insignia appeared ready to pop loose at any moment. Yao was the tallest, thinner than the others. A humanoid from the planet Tertullis, he could pass for human if it weren’t for his dark orange tinted skin and purple eyes.

“I think they’re staring at you, Prince Rhii,” Yao said.

Like an old habit, Davi forced a grin and waved casually as the crowd watched his every move. “And to think I felt like just another cadet at the Academy.” He looked around. “Serve-bot!”

Metal feet pounding on the floor mixed with flashing lights and the electronic tones of a recent pop hit blasting through speakers overhead. The automated robot waiter waded through the crowd toward their table. Other cadets, a few officers, and regular citizens were scattered between the dance floor and tables as identical serve-bots worked the room with drinks and food.

The serve-bot stopped at their table on one corner of the dance floor. “How may I serve you, sir?”

“A round of drinks for everyone, on me,” Davi instructed.

“On you, sir?”

Davi chuckled. Bots’ vocabularies were simple, practical, devoid of any colloquialisms or idioms. “Bill it to the Royal Palace, please.”

“I’d need authorization—”

Davi sighed, holding up his ID. The serve-bot scanned it, its facial LEDs lighting up with recognition. “Right away, Prince Rhii.”

Yao and Farien chuckled as the serve-bot hurried off.

“Come on, Davi, when are you going to drop the childhood nickname and use your real name, like a man. Xander sounds much more mature than Davi.” Farien’s face was serious, yet Davi couldn’t help but laugh.

“It may be a nickname, but it’s one I like.”

Farien rolled his eyes. “Haven’t you been teased enough over it? Don’t you want to be taken seriously as an officer? We’re not kids anymore. We’re going into the world as adults.”

“Let the man choose his own name, Farien. No one’s asking you to change yours even though it sounds a little feminine.” Yao and Davi exchanged a look and laughed.

Farien scowled. “It’s not feminine! It’s a family name!”

Davi and Yao just laughed harder as Farien took a huge gulp of his beer. After a moment, Yao turned serious again. “Now that you’ve made the public happy, how are you going to deal with the other crisis?”

“What other?” Farien asked.

Davi and his friends came to the bar to celebrate after graduating from the Military Academy. After receiving congratulations and hugs from their friends and family, the three headed off to Bar Electric to discuss their assignments and dream about the future awaiting them—which meant Davi had skipped out on the celebratory dinner planned in his honor at the Palace.

“They’ll get over it.” Davi dismissed it with a wave.

“When have they ever gotten over it?” Yao asked with a knowing look.

Davi sighed. “Yeah, they’ll make me pay, won’t they?” They both laughed. “Let’s make it worth it then!”

“Vertullis,” Farien muttered as he took another sip of his favorite off-world beer. “Babysitting slaves, great.”

Davi chuckled and sipped his own beer. “What did you expect—some grand adventure?”

“No, but maybe at least an assignment on one of the distant planets with breathing apparatuses, aliens to encounter…”

“We can make our own excitement, as usual.” Davi pointed at Farien and grinned. Farien rolled his eyes and they gave each other a high five.

“You’ll be there supervising work crew guards. I get to be supervised by some newbie fresh out of the Academy like you,” Farien complained, a glint in his eye. “Funny how your Uncle couldn’t pull strings to get you a cushier assignment.”

“You’re a newbie fresh out of the Academy,” Yao reminded him, shaking his head as Farien grinned.

“You can shut up, mister star-student-professor,” Farien answered. Yao had received the most prestigious assignment of all.

His uncle’s explanation was that Davi needed to earn the people’s respect, not just count on it because of his uncle’s favor or position. But Davi did sometimes wish his uncle would relax a bit and use his influence on his nephew’s behalf.

Seeing his friends staring, he brushed it off and reached over to squeeze Yao’s shoulder. “Yes, congratulations, Yao, it’s well deserved. The Presimion Academy is a fantastic school,” Davi said, proud of his friend. The ceremony had consisted of the usual speeches, and faculty aggrandizing, but Yao had won recognition for his skills with math and sciences, and Davi had received the leadership medal.

“Instead of serving alongside newbies fresh out of the Academy, he gets to prepare pre-Academy newbies.” Farien downed the last of his beer in one long sip and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. “Anyone else want another round?”

Davi and Yao shook their heads as Farien rambled toward the bar. “We’d better slow him down or there’ll be trouble,” Yao commented.

Davi motioned to the door as three girls they’d seen on the front row at the graduation ceremony entered. “I think the diversion we need just walked in.” Yao turned toward the doorway as Davi stood, making his way toward the three beauties.

He approached their table and smiled. “You all look even better than you looked at the graduation.”

“You remember us?” the dark-skinned one asked as the girls exchanged shy looks.

Davi laughed. “Of course. Who wouldn’t notice you three?”

The music swelled as Davi asked their names and chatted with them a moment. Then he offered them his arms. They giggled as they stood, two of them looping their arms under his as he led them back toward the table.

“You know who I am, right?” he asked as they neared his table.

The girls all nodded. “Of course, Prince,” the dark-skinned girl said.

Davi preferred the rare woman who didn’t, but he nodded and bent to kiss her hand as they stopped at the table where Yao and Farien waited.

“Yao, these beautiful ladies are Bela, Jaqi, and Vivi,” Davi said, helping the girls with their chairs. They smiled at Yao, ogling his uniform as Bela and Jaqi sat on either side of him. What was it about Tertullians that seemed so irresistible to women? Davi took the seat next to Jaqi. The sweet scents of the girls’ perfumes teased his nose and made him smile. Vivi sat down on his left.

“We saw you at the graduation,” Yao said, smiling awkwardly as Jaqi slid her arm into his.

“Congratulations on your awards,” Jaqi said. “You must be very smart.”

Yao blushed. Despite the fact they seemed drawn to him, he’d never been as comfortable around females as his two friends. “Well, I studied hard.”

“Yao’s being modest. He’s been appointed a professor at Presimion Academy,” Davi interjected.

The girls exchanged a look, then Jaqi scooted closer to Yao, resting her head on his shoulder. They’d worn beautiful gowns at the ceremony, but now their form-fitting pants and low cut blouses flattered their impressive figures. The most exotic of the three, Vivi’s dark skin hinted at mixed racial blood, but Davi couldn’t guess which.

Farien returned with another beer and smiled at Davi. “I see you two didn’t waste any time.”

“Meet Bela, Jaqi and Vivi,” Davi said as Farien took a seat between Bela and Jaqi.

“So pleased to make your acquaintance,” Farien said, as he put his arm around Bela. She smiled, snuggling up to him.

“Are you going to be a professor, too?” Bela asked.

Farien grimaced as Davi and Yao stifled laughs. “I’ll be serving on Vertullis, making sure our worker population continues to produce at proper capacity.” It came out with such bravado that Davi and Yao couldn’t hold back.

“Oh, Vertullis. I always wanted to visit another planet,” Bela said, looking impressed as Farien shot his guffawing friends an annoyed look.

“What about you, Prince Rhii?” Vivi smiled at Davi. Her accent was Southern with slow and precise words. He wondered why her family hadn’t moved to another system with the others.

“Call him ‘Davi.’ He doesn’t like formality.” Ignoring sharp looks from Yao and Davi, he pressed on: “Our fearless leader will be leading the workers as well,” Farien said, ignoring the fact that Davi would be his supervisor.

“Oh,” Vivi said, her eyes sparkling. “I always wondered what the workers are like. I’ve never met one.”

“Me neither,” Davi chuckled. “We failed to offer you ladies libations. What can we get for you?”

As Davi turned to search for the nearest serve-bot, a group appeared in the doorway—Bordox and three of his cronies. A huge, hulking cadet with light yellow skin and a dark beard, he sneered as he spotted them, then led the way to a corner table across the dance floor. Davi frowned. He hadn’t seen Bordox at Bar Electric in months. Why today?

His mind flashed back to an incident at the Academy after he’d beaten Bordox on the flight simulators. Bordox let slip about a rumor claiming the “royal prince’s blood wasn’t so royal”—an attempt to rile Davi up and create a distraction.

Davi and his friends had demanded to know what Bordox meant.

“Who’d have known you’re so fond of folk stories, Bordox.”

“If it’s a folk tale, I guess you’re the folk lore prince,” Bordox cracked. “A starport rumor about a baby who arrived in a courier craft from the stars and landed near the palace, adopted by a lonely princess with no offspring.” Then he and his friends had laughed loudly.

Farien had wanted to tackle him, but Yao and Davi managed to hold him off. It took their professor threatening to charge Bordox with impugning the reputation of another cadet without cause to end the incident, but Bordox had never really let it go. From that day forward, he and Davi became fierce rivals at everything. Bordox was not as smart or coordinated, and far less likable than Davi, but they each had their crowd and were very competitive. Since the incident, each set his goals of achievement at a level designed to ensure he could better himself over the other.

Davi sipped his beer and reached down to finger the necklace he’d worn around his neck since childhood. His mother had given it to him, insisting he never take it off, even though the symbolism of it was lost on him. He’d never gotten around to asking her about it, but he’d never seen another like it, and he knew many regarded it as a symbol of his Royal heritage.

“Would you like to dance?” Vivi’s question broke him out of his reverie. He spotted Farien and Bela out on the dance floor, and Yao had taken Jaqi’s hand and was leading her there.

Davi stood and extended his hand to Vivi. “Absolutely. I thought you’d never ask!” Vivi laughed and took his hand as he led her to an open spot on the floor.

Davi hadn’t danced long when Bordox and his friends came onto the dance floor. Not finding immediate partners of their own, they began tapping the shoulders of other men, looking menacing if they showed any reluctance. Then, paired with the former partners of the frightened men, they maneuvered themselves to the area surrounding Davi, Farien and Yao.

Davi and his friends danced as if nothing mattered until the song ended, then Bordox smiled and leaned close to Davi. “So, folkloric prince, what assignment did you draw?”

“It’s nothing as glamorous as yours,” Davi replied, doing his best to ignore him. The music started again and Davi and Vivi resumed dancing.

“Lieutenant of the Lord’s Special Police,” Bordox responded with pride. The LSP was indeed a respectable assignment. Only the cadets deemed most loyal and sure to serve with lifelong honor at the High Lord’s beck and call would ever be chosen. It didn’t hurt that Bordox’s father, Lord Obed, ran the LSP.

“We’re going to Vertullis to keep the workers in line,” Farien said, breaking the lull.

“Glorified babysitters. I wondered if they’d let you three do any real work,” Bordox replied as he swung his reluctant partner around them. The girl seemed too afraid to do anything but try and keep up.

“Yao will be teaching math and sciences at Presimion Academy,” Davi responded.

Bordox’s smugness faded a moment, before he recovered. “Presimion, well, at least one of you was smart enough to draw a real assignment.”

Davi wanted to reply but Yao and Farien maneuvered their dates in between him and Bordox. He did his best to maintain his composure, but Bordox had gotten him fired up.

“Are you hungry?” Vivi asked as the song ended.

Davi smiled. Not many girls would be so direct knowing who he was. He liked this girl. “Yes, I am, as a matter of fact. Would you like to order something?” She smiled, then nodded and he led her back to their table. Farien and Yao followed with the others.

As he helped Jaqi into her chair, Yao leaned toward him. “Don’t let him get to you. It’s all petty jealousy. You’ve always bested him at every challenge.”

Yao’s eyes met Davi’s as Yao slid into the opposite seat. Davi smiled, calming the raging storm within. It was true. Despite the constant challenges, Davi had always come out ahead. Bordox was still looking for an opportunity to prove himself better. Davi sighed, as he glanced over the menu. Perhaps Bordox’s LSP assignment would keep him off their backs. At least Bordox could feel superior for the moment, if he wanted. He didn’t have to know that Davi would have turned down the LSP if he’d been asked. It held little interest for him.

Davi saw Bordox motion for a serve-bot, as he and his friends requisitioned a nearby table. They threatened the occupants, who stood and hurried for the door, while Bordox and his friends helped themselves to the food and drinks the party left behind.

Davi glanced over to where the bar manager and Bouncer-bot stood watching the events unfold. “Aren’t they going to do anything about it?”

“His father’s head of the LSP, remember?” Yao said. “They can pull bar licenses whenever they want.”

Davi started to stand but Farien reached over and pulled him back down into his seat. Both of his friends shot him warning looks.

“Maybe you ladies would like to find somewhere more romantic to dine?” Davi suggested.

Their dates smiled. “That would be nice,” Vivi said.

Davi and his friends stood, taking the ladies by the elbows and leading them toward the exit.

As they waited beside the air taxi post outside, Davi glanced through the Bar’s window and realized that Bordox and his friends had abandoned the requisitioned table. The blue air taxi arrived and Davi’s group climbed onto the two benches behind the cab-bot driver. As the door shut, Bordox and his friends appeared at the taxi stand, waiting impatiently for another taxi.

“He never gives up, does he?” Farien asked.

“Let’s make ourselves hard to follow,” Davi replied. “Taxi, take us to the starport please.”

“Of course, sir,” the cab-bot whirled around and steered the auto taxi into the flow of traffic.

Their dates’ faces lit up. “The starport, really?” Jaqi said.

“We’re gonna take a little tour before we head to the restaurant,” Yao said.

The cab-bot consisted of a torso with two arms and a head, on which lights lit up when it talked, attached to a seat facing the control panel at the front of the air taxi. Created to take over simple tasks like answering phones or loading cargo, newer bots now performed even more complicated tasks, including some trusted with the safety of humans.

Davi relaxed as the air taxi turned between a row of buildings and rose up onto the main artery running through Legon, the capital city. While Davi and the others enjoyed the ride, chatting with their dates, the auto taxi executed a few more twists and turns on the transportation corridor before turning onto an off ramp marked with signs for the starport.

“You’re not gonna fly us to some remote star restaurant, are you?” Bela asked.

“Not really. We’re just trying to lose our friends,” Davi answered as the air taxi threw him forward against the safety bar. There was another bump as something hit them from behind.

They all whirled around to see another air taxi with the cab-bot disabled. Bordox was at the wheel.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Yao muttered.

Davi turned to the cab-bot. “Please outrun that taxi and take us to the north shore.”

The cab-bot’s facial LEDs lit up in the shape of a smile. “I am attempting to adjust our velocity, sir.”

The taxi jerked as Bordox rammed them again. Davi leapt over the safety bar and pulled the manual override lever, pushing the cab-bot to one side and placing himself at the controls.

“Do you know how to drive this?” Vivi said, alarmed.

“Davi’s the top pilot in our class,” Farien said and smiled.

“Let’s see what this thing is made of.” Davi began pushing buttons, bringing the air taxi to a much faster speed.

Bordox launched another run at them, but Davi braked, and then slid in behind him, taking an onramp back up onto the air highway overhead. As he turned onto the onramp, Bordox’s frustrated face appeared in the rearview mirror. Bordox’s bulky body looked ridiculous behind the wheel of the air taxi. His dark beard couldn’t hide his aggravation as he struggled to turn the air taxi around.

As they merged into traffic, Davi couldn’t see Bordox behind them.

“Maybe we lost him,” Bela said.

“I doubt it,” Yao said as he and Davi exchanged looks.

In a moment, Davi saw another taxi racing up from behind. “Here he comes.”

Davi weaved their taxi in and out traffic, trying to keep Bordox at a distance, but the other air taxi continued to close on them.

“What’s his problem anyway? Why won’t he leave us alone?” Vivi said, her voice shaking.

“It’s a long story,” Davi replied, braking and bringing their taxi in behind the other. “Who’d have thought he’d fall for that twice?”

Yao and Farien laughed as Bordox hit the brakes, forcing Davi to dodge and bringing them side by side.

Bordox looked over—-his face a mask of bitter resentment. His friends stared at them with sneers of contempt. Bordox and Davi wove their air taxis through traffic, each trying to keep the other at bay.

“We’ve gotta get away from this traffic before someone gets hurt—” Davi was silenced by a jolt as Bordox slid his air taxi in behind theirs and slammed into them again. The windows around them cracked loudly as veins creeped out in all directions covering the panes.

“Better get us down to the lower airways,” Yao suggested, “before the windows disintegrate.”

Davi nodded and dove onto the nearest off ramp. Bordox followed. Now, buildings surrounded them, but the traffic had thinned. A group of barges plodded along ahead of them. He aimed the air taxi straight at the rear of one of them and accelerated.

“Do you know what you’re doing?” Yao inquired as he leaned over the safety bar close to Davi’s ear.

“Just secure everybody back there, okay? I have an idea.” Davi said.

“May the gods help us,” Yao answered, shaking his head. “You ladies might want to get into those safety harnesses now,” he said, motioning to the girls, as he and Farien began strapping themselves in. As the girls grabbed for their harnesses, and Yao and Farien turned to help secure and adjust them, Bordox rammed them again from behind.

The windows in both vehicles shattered, glass exploding around them with a deafening crash. The girls screamed. The wind blew against their faces, strengthened by their airspeed and pressing them back against the seats.

“Hold on,” Davi said. Slowing a bit as they approached the rear barge, he suddenly accelerated and pulled the air taxi up over the top of the barge.

Alarms blared from the speakers overhead. “Warning. Violation!” a computer voice screamed.

“Is this even safe?” Jaqi screeched.

“He knows what he’s doing,” Farien assured her.

Bordox’s air taxi cut across the incoming traffic lanes, zipping around the barge as Davi slipped between the two barges. In seconds, Bordox had squeezed in behind them again.

“I thought Bordox sucked at flying?”

“I guess he’s been practicing,” Farien said with a shrug.

Davi saw the first barge enter an intersection as Bordox accelerated toward them, and smiled. He had a plan. When the air taxi’s front passed the corner, Davi made a sharp turn, whipping everyone to one side and landed safely on a corridor to the side.

Bordox’s air taxi accelerated straight into the back of the second barge. Bordox and his friends looked shaken and confused, covered with blue Daken feathers from the barge’s shipment of the frightened, squawking birds.

Davi and his friends exchanged high fives, laughing. “That ought to hold him for a while.”

They watched as Bordox struggled to stand despite the slippery feathers all around him. His eyes met Davi’s in a hateful stare barely visible amidst the feathers dangling from the sweat on his face.

“He doesn’t look much different than he did before,” Farien joked. Yao and Davi laughed.

“Can we please get out now?” Vivi asked, trembling.

“Just a few more minutes. We know a great place on the north shore you ladies will love,” Davi said, relieved as he accelerated again and turned onto another corridor.

326 pp · ISBN 978‐0‐9840209‐0‐4 ·Trade Paperback/Epub/Mobi · $14.95 tpb $3.99 Ebook  · Publication: October 4, 2011  · Diminished Media Group
Available now for 20% off on preorders!!!

Trade paperback only

 EPUB or MOBI — please specify in notes on order

The Worker Prince: Book 1 In The Saga of Davi Rhii

Call For Beta Readers: The Returning

After learning from other novelists about how they do beta reading, I’ve decided to try and recruit beta readers to read as I write. The novel in question is the sequel to my forthcoming first novel, “The Worker Prince.” This book, titled “The Returning” is a space opera epic with a touch of thriller, murder mystery and political intrigue.

The basic premise is that after the workers (Vertullians) achieve citizenship and freedom from years of slavery, someone is killing them off, one at a time and stirring up questions amongst both workers and their former enemies, the Borali Alliance about whether they can all live together in peace. Our hero, Davi Rhii, former Borali prince, now a Captain in the Borali military, is sent to investigate the murders and report back to the Council of Lords. In the meantime, he faces a personal challenge in his developing relationship with Tela as their parents pressure them to marry and Tela resists his attempts to keep her safe. Aron, the first ex-worker to serve on the Council of Lords, has proposed making the worker religious holiday, The Returning, an official Alliance holiday to encourage a sense of unity, but now that plan is stirring up controversy. Meanwhile, Davi’s exhiled Uncle Xalivar is content on regaining his power as High Lord Councilor of the Borali Alliance.

Beta readers will recieve a chapter at a time. I am using the system developed by AJ Hartley at www.magicalwords.net. Readers will read the chapter on either Word file or paper and mark passages using the following system:

A=Awesome. Something about this just blew me away. Excellent.
B=Bored now.
C=Confused. He said what? The people of Anth believed in what? He can get out of the rabbit burrow because…? Huh?
D=Don’t care. Ten pages on minor character’s lineage? So what? Yeah, I’m sure it’s really clever and all but… I’ve got QVC to watch.
You only need to mark the passages which evoke one of the four responses listed. Total honesty is requested. Don’t worry about offending me. It’s first draft–a lot of work will be needed before it ever sees a publisher’s desk. And detailed explanations won’t be demanded, although they can be helpful when offered. This allows me to get a sense of how you respond to the manuscript. I prefer people who have not read book 1 because I need a sense of how well I am trickling out the back story. Is it too much, too little?
I am writing about a chapter a week (22 pages on average). I would hope you could read each chapter within 2-3 weeks and get back to me. I can’t pay you except to say I will acknowledge you in the book when it’s published and I can offer you a free copy. 
If anyone’s willing, please get in touch. My beta readers on the first book said it captured the feel of “Star Wars: A New Hope” and really liked it. I hope you’ll enjoy this as well. You’ll be helping me write a better book and I’ll also throw in a free e-copy of book 1 when you’re done if you want.
Thanks for taking time to consider it and for your support of my work and this blog!

The Worker Prince Synopsis

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of telling stories and one of the stories I came up with was a Star Wars-type space opera with elements of the Moses story mixed with action and intrigue. Somewhere along the way I lost my notes, but three things stayed with me, the name Xalivar, the name Sol, and the opening lines of the novel.

Twenty-five years or so later, in August of 2009, I sat down to write the novel. It was my second attempt at  a novel, my first in science fiction. Sixteen months later, I am preparing to sign a publishing contract for that novel and have two sequels I need to write. I’ve gotten a lot of good reader response to this, and I’ve taken numerous drafts to hone and refine it. People frequently tell me I captured the feel of “Star Wars” very well. That’s exciting, because it means I accomplished exactly what I set out to do.

Now, I’d like to share the synopsis with you.

THE WORKER PRINCE

For as long as Davi Rhii can remember, the Boralians and Vertullians have been enemies. After years of fighting, they left Earth to colonize the stars. Who knew they’d wind up neighbors again. Now the Boralians have held the Vertullians as slaves for years, and Davi Rhii uncovers a secret. Although raised as a Prince, he was born a slave.

As he sets out to discover who he is, he comes into conflict with his family and friends. Then a tragedy occurs and he finds himself on the run. Aligning himself with an underground slave movement, soon he’s training slaves to pilot fighters as they prepare to launch a war for freedom.
In the midst of the revolution, he meets Tela, a beautiful pilot. Judging him as the typical cocky fighter jock, and an enemy to boot, she wants nothing to do with him. But Davi sets out to win her over, and they wind up falling in love.

While Davi learns more about the Vertullians’ culture and begins to think of himself as a slave, he struggles to win the acceptance of slaves who question his loyalty as well as the family and friends he left behind on Legallis.

The High Lord Councillor of the Borali Empire, Xalivar is used to people obeying his every word. Then his nephew, Davi, fresh out of the military academy, begins rebelling. He shows sympathy for the ancient enemy Vertullians, and worse, he starts spending more and more time with them.

Xalivar overhears his sister, Miri, confessing that she adopted Davi secretly. He was born a worker. Stung by the betrayal, Xalivar is torn between his love for the boy he raised as an heir and his hatred for the slaves. 
When Davi finds himself hunted, Xalivar sends him away to cover it up. Davi returns and begins helping the slaves, and Xalivar sends Davi’s old Academy rival to hunt him down.

As the Boralian Council and people begin to question the treatment of the workers, Xalivar prepares an army to take them down. When the slaves attack two starbases and escape with fighters, the war begins. Xalivar’s family honor and way of life are at stake, and he’s determined to win at all costs.

When even his sister begins to scheme against him, Xalivar does whatever it takes to bring the situation back under his control. Finally, the Council overrules him and forces a Peace Conference. But Xalivar initiates a secret plan to conquer the slaves and capture their leadership, including Davi, at the same time.

Xalivar mistakenly lets word slip out of his plan while taunting Miri and finds himself confronted from both sides–by both the Council and the slaves. He’s losing the battle and now he’s the one fighting to survive. 


(FYI, in the novel, the slaves are called “workers”, hence the title. But for ease of understanding I just refer to them as slaves here.)