Three Keys in the Desert: the map!

Hello friends!

So, we’re past the middle of June, and past the middle of Thee Keys in the Desert! Yesterday part 20 went live, which means there are only 7 parts left, meaning 7 days and we’re done.

So, I thought today might be a good time to take a break and post some bonus material. A few people have asked me about how the world of the novella is arranged, what districts are next to what, how the space works, etc. To answer all (or at least some) of those questions, I’m happy to share with you this map!

(All credit for making it pretty, instead of an ugly, crooked drawing on a piece of printer paper, goes to the amazing Dana.)

 

map600

>> click for full size map <<

Here you can see where all the districts are, and their size relative to each other, and where the food happens, and where the Fluff Palace is.

If you have any questions about it I’m always happy to answer!

I hope you’ve been enjoying Three Keys in the Desert, and I promise we’re going back to our regular posting schedule tomorrow.

 

Three Keys in the Desert

Three Keys in the Desert is a science fiction novella about a bunch of girls (and a few boys) at a futuristic military boarding school.

The official summary is:

On a remote planet, a military boarding school is about to get a new headmistress. Her charges will include Ebie, a girl desperately trying to keep a secret, Kim, a boy desperately trying to keep his friends from dying, and Vrei, a girl who just wants to make it to the end of the day. Will any of them get what they want? With only a week until Transfer Day, the biggest and most important event of the year, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Over the course of June 2017 I’m posting the entire story on my website! You can read it using the index below, or buy the whole thing as en ebook.

Buy the ebook:

iTunes | KoboAmazon | Barnes & Noble

 Read the story online:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Part 24

Part 25

Part 26

 

For updates about future stories sign up for the New Release Mailing List.

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Three Keys in the Desert: summary + excerpt!

Guys, I can’t believe June 1st is only a few days away. Which means  I’m about to start posting Three Keys in the Desert, which still seems unreal somehow. Even though there’s a cover (which you can see right next to this text)! And an ebook file! And like, a public record that this will actually happen!

Anyway, if you’ve read my previous posts you already know the story behind how this novella was written, so it’s probably time you knew what it was actually about. I’ve spent a lot of the last decade tinkering with a potential summary for this thing, since like a lot of authors no single-paragraph description seemed adequate.

But I finally settled on one! So, without further ado:

On a remote planet, a military boarding school is about to get a new headmistress. Her charges will include Ebie, a girl desperately trying to keep a secret, Kim, a boy desperately trying to keep his friends from dying, and Vrei, a girl who just wants to make it to the end of the day. Will any of them get what they want? With only a week until Transfer Day, the biggest and most important event of the year, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

😀 😀 😀

If that sounds interesting, here’s a short excerpt from said headmistress’ point of view:

“The girl in front of Claudia took a deep breath, as if trying to come up with more reasons to argue. She clearly hadn’t anticipated Claudia’s resistance. She’d thought the morning bulletins would turn Claudia into a cowering idiot.

“If there’s anything–” Ebie began, but the door interrupted her, opening with a chime and revealing the head doctor’s face.

Claudia was already tired of the woman’s perpetual cheerfulness. She wasn’t looking forward to prison, or wherever they sent her next, but at least she could be certain that after this posting there would be fewer annoying underlings to deal with.

Susanna looked from Ebie to Claudia. “I’m sorry, should we postpone?”

“No,” Claudia said, and then looked at Ebie. “Your ten minutes are up. Get out.”

The girl grabbed the edge of Claudia’s desk. “Colonel, please, let me just–”

“Get out,” Claudia said again, in the tone it had taken her a decade to perfect, the one she used to discipline her officers.

The girl got up, surrounded by a halo of violence. Claudia watched her carefully, almost hoping she’d do something, give Claudia an excuse to burst.

But no further response came. The doors slid shut and Susanna sat down. Claudia pretended to look at the numbers on the sheets Susanna pulled up and nodded along.

This day would be without end.”

What’s got Claudia in such a foul mood? Will Ebie actually punch someone? Should someone protect Susanna the head doctor from all this negativity? Tune in on June 1st to find out! 🙂

Tell me more!

Gladly! If you want to be notified when the novella finally goes live, the best way to do that is to sign up for my New Release Mailing Listd For more updates on cool stuff I’ll post before and after June 1st (yes, I have at least one more thing planned for May!) you can follow me on twitter or facebook.

In any case, thank you for reading this far, and oh my god this is really happening isn’t it?
Don’t answer that.

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Three Keys in the Desert – cover reveal!

It’s a little over two weeks until I start posting my science fiction novella Three Keys in the Desert online, and I figured now was a good time to introduce everyone to the cover!

It took a lot of work and fiddling, but I’m pretty happy with how it came out 🙂

To recap: the story is set on a remote planet where girls (and boys) live at a military boarding school. I’ll start posting it on June 1st! You can read my previous post to find out how it’s all gonna work.

And now, without further ado:

Continue reading

New novella forthcoming!

Robot sitting on a bunch of books. Contains clipping pathHi everyone! I’ve been waiting to make this announcement for a while and now I finally can: next month I’ll finally get to put something I’ve written up for free on this website!

Specifically, I’ll be posting my science fiction novella Three Keys in the Desert starting June 1st!

What is the story about?

There will be a lot more details forthcoming in the next three weeks (including a cover!) but the short summary is: it’s a story about a bunch of girls (and a few boys) living in a military boarding school in space, trying to navigate bureaucracy, romance and adventure. The action takes place over the course of a week, when the school experiences some dramatic upheaval.

Why are you posting it on this website?

I originally wrote Three Keys in the Desert in 2007 and put it aside for a few months, intending to finish working on it later. A few months turned into a few years, and before long I fell into a ritual of pulling it out every few years and telling myself that I couldn’t Really Be A Writer until I finished it and managed to get it traditionally published.

But then about 18 months ago I decided to take a deep breath and instead focus on creating new material. Which was a good move! I now have two short stories and a poem published in various venues, which would never have happened if I hadn’t let the novella go for a while.

All of which is to say, I still adore this story and its characters and what it has to say about the world, but I’ve been carrying it around on my hard drive for so long that at this point I just want to have it out in the world, for people to enjoy. There’s a bigger market for novellas now than there was in 2007, but I decided not to try and pitch it to publishers, even now that it’s as close to perfect as I know how to make it.

The main reason for this is that I’m a pretty slow writer (for example: a decade spent on this one novella) and none of the stories I’ve managed to sell so far are available online for free, and I really wanted there to be something of mine people could just read in their spare time, without necessarily spending money.

So how is this gonna work?

Well, Three Keys in the Desert is about 39,000 words long (that’s about 130 pages in a printed book) and I’ll be posting it in parts over the course of June. Because of the structure of the story, the parts will actually be fairly self-contained and no chapters will cut off in the middle of a conversation or anything like that.

The whole story will also be available as an ebook, if you wanted to get the whole thing on June 1st, or if you’d rather have it in that format.

Cool. So what now?

Now I’m probably going to go crawl under a table and breathe into a paper bag (it’s been a DECADE with this story, okay, I don’t even know who’ll I’ll be once it’s out in the world!) while you can do a bunch of things to make sure you don’t miss any Three Keys in the Desert-related updates.

You can sign up for my New Release Mailing List (I’ll send an email when the first part of the novella goes live) and follow me on twitter or facebook to get updates about the cover reveal and other cool things I might post in the run up to June.

Sounds good! Are you okay?

Yes! Mostly. I’ll just go eat an entire cake and have a glass of something alcoholic. I’ll be right back.

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New article about “Black Sails”

MV5BMjMwMTMwNjA1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDgzNTEyMTI@._V1_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_It took me a while to like “Black Sails”, the TV show about 18th century pirates that seemed to be made out of every trope I loved as a child.

 

I watched it out of order: season 2, then 3, then 1, then 4. But once I got  hooked on the show’s mixture of fact and fiction, tropes I love and modern sensibilities, I fell for it hard.

 

Recently I had the amazing opportunity to write about some of my “Black Sails” feelings for Vice.com. The article is really only a fraction of what I think about the show, but it’s something I think needs saying. “Black Sails” broke new ground when it came to historic storytelling, especially on TV.

 

‘Black Sails’ Depicts the Untold Story of Queer Pirates >>