In the darkness at the edge of town they stood alone facing the cool night breeze. The bustle was dying down as the last Trainees returned from dinner. The air was still thick with the din of gossip, tall tales, laughing, and screaming that marked the return to the hooches for Study Period.
He looked across the edge of the field, feeling the faint mechanical hum of the underground irrigation equipment, reactors, power lines, and landmines.
She took a deep breath and glanced at him. The wind picked up, throwing a blast of cold air in their faces. She edged closer. He felt so warm. “I’m glad you made it back again,” she said to the air, followed by a pregnant pause.
“I’m glad you were there tonight,” he replied to the ground, moving closer.
“Same here. Definitely the same here,” she replied while eagerly shifting her foot. Continue reading
Joshua leaned forward in the steaming hot shower, so far forward his head rested against the ceramic tile. He took in a deep breath that roused another cough, but when the cough passed, he couldn’t help but smile. It was totally worth it.
He again thought about Esther’s smell, her eyes, and her taut body showing through her tight clean shirt. He pretended not to notice all that. He figured she was testing him, seeing if he had improved any. He wondered if she actually did that just for him. If so, it was probably the first time that she cared for him in that kind of way.
He reached for the bar of bar soap and began to lather down. He thought about Es; every inch of her: her gentle face with her full lips and soft nose, her delicate long neck that met her deceptively soft shoulders, her firm back and perky chest, her slender, toned brown legs covered with goose bumps from the cold; her sleek, curvy hips that hugged her shorts; her . . . Continue reading
Guardian Samantha breathed deeply through her nose, enjoying the smell of a cup of coffee—which due to the recent reconfiguration in the hot houses—had become an increasingly rare treat. Another rare treat was having a off-the-record conversation with the Lead Guardian. The dark brown-skinned, gracefully-aging woman with hazel eyes was sitting bolt upright. One of her long, elegant hands was firmly grasping a coffee mug, and she was staring intently into the cup as if the brew could answer all of life’s questions for her.
“How long has it been since you’ve had time to relax, darlin’?” Samantha asked with a cocked eyebrow. The Lead Guardian leaned back in her chair, saying nothing, and Samantha waited, studying her old comrade’s face again and again, but finding nothing tangible to work with. Once again, she couldn’t help but notice that Trainee Esther was a spitting image of the LG. Creating an obvious clone of herself was taboo, as genetic diversity in children discouraged inbreeding. I don’t understand why she takes these kind of chances, and I can’t think of anyone who could possibly put her up to it, not even him. Continue reading
Joshua pushed legs that were ready to quit. He glanced across the other side of the field and saw a speck of Esther in the distance, dashing toward the concrete bunks of the Training Area. She’ll make the cutoff, he thought. Now he had to hold up his end of the bargain.
He dropped into a dry irrigation ditch that was waiting to feed the newly-planted crops on the terraces below. After some distance he leaped out of the ditch, surprising a dozen fleece-clad farming Traders in the fields, busily monitoring the planting robots and otherwise enjoying the early spring air.
The farming Traders were startled but didn’t bother saying anything. Once they realized the fast mover was a Trainee they quickly returned to their work. Some Trader’s two-year-old gray-and-black husky joined in on the sprint, barking and snarling, but after a hundred meters or so, the pup whined and returned to his afternoon nap. Continue reading
The setting sun was shining directly into Esther’s face, and the poor little star was beginning its agonizing descent behind the mountains in the distance, giving way quickly to the cool wind and its far more mundane sensations. Sitting on the wooden porch railing outside of Joshua’s adobe hooch, she swung her fleece-covered legs over and over again. Gazing into white athletic shoes, she got lost in the motion of her own feet.
“He made time the last four reports,” she said quietly while drawing in a deep breath and taking in a perfume that even she could smell. Every time she had gone out on Tuber Duty she made the time cut for reporting, thereby avoiding the dreaded Night Patrol duty. Continue reading
Even as I’m slogging through the second edition of Book 1, I’ve been plinking through the final act of Book 2, Dreadknight. All I can say at this point without spoiling too much is that it will involve a rather interesting air raid.
I’ve also decided on keeping the blog on WordPress.com for now, but I’m going to scape up the money to ditch the ads sometime this month. Rejoice.
Speaking of ads, I’ve set up an e-mail list, but I will only bug you with actual publishing updates, as well as discount promotions, when available because I hate spam as much as you do.
Finally, I turned Likes back on for some posts, so please like my stuff if you like, like it. -James Kresnik
I hope everyone has launched into the new year in good spirits and in good shape. My 2013 was–how shall we put it–an exciting and perilous year for myself, along with many other aspiring authors who are taking our first modest, shaky steps into self publishing. Continue reading
Ma Sue was an imposing, broad-shouldered, pale-skinned female. She stood at least 200 centimeters tall—taller than most Trainees, male or female. Her frame balanced that height with a muscular yet statuesque figure that seemingly every other female Trainee secretly desired. Her yellow hair was unusually long for a Guardian, and she kept it high and tight with a dazzling array of loops and braids.
Esther noticed that Ma had swapped her usual PT t-shirt and sweats for dark green and black camouflaged fatigues. She was leaning back in her chair, idly cleaning her fingers while intently reading a tablet placed flat on her desk. She also noticed that the bunk behind her desk was not yet made. A small pot of coffee on the desk was still warm. Her silver back up .500 caliber revolver pistol and sleek black ASR rifle were visible in the open weapons locker, and they both smelled of propellant gel. Ma must have just run back from proficiency training. Esther glanced over at the tablet, but all she could make out was, “Condition 3: Approaching Unidentified” on the display. Continue reading
“Did you hear that?” Joshua whispered intently. “Trucks. Heavy. A lot of them. Let’s go.”
Esther dropped another tuber in the bag, shaking a bit of dirt off her left hand. Out of reflex she cupped that hand over her forehead and scanned upward into the blue horizon then down toward the enormous forest lining the opposite tree line, about five kilometers off—left to right—in a pattern that didn’t miss any areas.
The only things she could see in that blue sky were a couple of swooping brown hawks. On the ground was the usual scenery: an unnaturally flat and desolate clearing extending into a vast forest of aspen and pine in the far distance. The air was almost warm, but she could feel that warmth surrendering to a fading sun in the western sky. The shadows of the pines were growing longer, brushing their backs.
Soon enough, it would be dusk. Continue reading
She held the rifle steady for him. He was barely conscious, propped against the unforgiving stone, unable to feel his legs.
She was leaning back on his chest, and felt each of his shallow breaths giving way to a slump. He could feel her warmth rapidly fading.
The entire world seemed to be turning red—the burning palace, the sky, the stars, even the light in the sky sweeping the ground.
The light in the sky, approaching. Continue reading
I’m about one-third the way through this re-edit of Return – The Survivalists, and while it is going smother then I expected I do not regret the decision pull the first book from publication. I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to make more changes–so many that the next release can be considered a second edition. I have already struck down the old preview chapters and the new material will be forthcoming. Any comments, criticism and participation is welcome.
And on that note, have any other authors with WordPress blogs notice that they receive a bunch of likes and follows on posts from people who aren’t actually bothering to visit the log or post comments? To nip that problem in the bud I’m turning off the Likes on posts for now. I see no point in receiving self-promoting drive-by likes from the WP Reader.
Thank you for your patience and I look forward to your comments and support. -JK
I had a chance to pick through the manuscript and it’s not quite as bad as I thought. There’s a few typos and some pronoun deficiency but nothing completely hackish.
Still, it’s going to take several weeks to finish and republish in all the stores and even more time to make it free on Amazon.
I’m also using this as a chance to rearrange some deck chairs on the front and back matter. So, there are no more crazy rants in the back matter, for now.
I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for waiting. -JK
Three months after publishing, I took another read through the manuscript and I’m not at all happy with what I’m seeing. I also appeared to have completely flubbed the launch and store set-up.
I will relaunch the first book someday, but I can’t make any promise when that’s going to happen.
Once I re-publish, the first book will stay free as a favor to anyone who has already read it and hoped for better.
Finally, I may well take down this entire blog. No one seems to care about this one and I want to set up a new blog on my own server.
Please accept my most sincere apologizes and have a Happy New Year. -JK