Hard Cargo

The most wanted salvage marine in the universe thought he was done fighting. He was wrong.

For Samuel Hyst the nightmare was over, left behind upon dead worlds and within the derelict ships drifting through space, he and his family having fled to the edges of the frontier to begin a new life of peace. In the aftermath of a violent raid by slave traders, the long suffering marine discovers that a relic of the ancient machine civilization has been left at the doorstep of his pristine forest homestead. He feels the menace radiating from it, and knows that the various powers and factions that rule necrospace will soon come for all of them. Samuel cuts a deal with Captain Dar of the freelance prospecting ship Rig Halo, who years ago saved Samuel’s wife and son from the trade war. Tension is high aboard the ship, as the Hyst family adjusts to being in the rough company of the Halo and a life on the run. As it turns out, the Rig is also a ship full of mercenaries, and once more Samuel finds himself with rifle in hand and squeezing the trigger just to stay alive.

The hunt has already begun and Grotto predators are closing in.

Available now on Amazon!

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Nobody Gets Away Clean

Writing can be a costly thing for the person hitting the keys, and for me there is no price more steep than to venture into Necrospace. I can only write in that world for a short time before I must pull back, because I can only stand in that hard light for so long before my soul grows too heavy to continue.

I have been writing for over a decade, everything from screenplays to comic books, with many a novel in between, and nothing demands so much from me as a Necrospace story. I grew up in the Boy Scout of America, working summer camps as a living history staffer, and reading the poetry of Robert Service. Such things gave me much in the way of a framework of mythology, which I carried into my college years as a Theology student. We are nothing if not stories, and the ones that always resonated with me were those of the common men, those born to toil and die unsung in such epic tales as the Iliad and Beowulf, or in the lesser known moments of the Industrial Revolution, when much of humanity worked to justify itself upon the gears and levers of the new machines that would replace the labor of their hands and minds all too soon.

I have always been fascinated by the faceless men and women of history to whom we owe the greatest of debts. Those who wielded the iron of plow and of sword, the hardy folk who swung hammer and pick in mines of coal, the mighty among us who endure the 38 hours of no-benefit service industry labor, and the seniors who did not even get the golden watch at the end of a lifetime’s tenure at the desk or on the assembly line. The soldier who fights for minimum wage and comes back broken to a world that knows nothing of his long journey. The mother who knows her newborn child’s fate is already wed to the grind.

Carrion Duty (Book 5) took a king’s ransom from me, costing me nearly a year to write and nearly a year to recover. My own life has been a troubled one since that novel’s release, and I have had precious little to give to the scrapyard universe. I took to the road at the top of the year, and have been chewing up the miles since then (today is the 17th) with at least a week or more till I stop moving, and it has been a healing balm to do so. Out here on the blacktop I feel that I have found the energy to carry on, the surge to return to my old friend Samuel Hyst and his tragically epic life has found me again, and though I know it will hurt I am ready to return to the darkest place I’ve known.

Hard Cargo (Book 6) will be an ugly thing, and yet beautiful in its own way. I want it to hurt you to read it as much as I know it will hurt me to write it, and in the doing perhaps we both will find some measure of peace. Some kind of hope that will empower us to soldier on.

May we be so lucky.

This is the job.

Welcome to the Red List

Excerpt from Necrospace Book 5 – CARRION DUTY 

Never was there a battle so pure as the one waged for survival. As a Red List community, their freedom was a desperate sort, fueled by theft and piracy in an unending struggle to last just one more cycle. Fiat Lux had been living lean for nearly six months as their rangers had been scouring necrospace for a worthwhile target. There were mouths to feed, with prescious little time to make a good kill and harvest a fresh bounty.

“Eight flak batteries and four turbo-lasers on the compound, looks like they weren’t expecting anything heavier than conventional air support, and the frigate is a solid three minutes out,” reported Lelani. The mech squad could hear the voice of Morgan growling from inside Night Witch as Lelani added, “Swarm barges away. Planetfall in twenty seconds. War machines, fangs out!”

“I am the Hammer that strikes Unrelenting!” shouted Gregory Schnect from the cockpit of Swift Hammer, a Titan class mech that stood several meters taller than Sokol in his machine, making the Coyote class machine look more like an exoskeleton than a mech by comparison, as he chambered and primed high velocity thud rounds in the cannons mounted on both his arms and shoulders.

“I am the Beast that stalks the Fields!” answered Sokol before he revved his ripsaw and squared his shoulders, the beat of his heart and the grind of his mech combining to breach the barrier in his psyche between man and machine while he braced for eject.

“I am the Storm that shatters the Walls!” bellowed Angron from within Thunder Walks, the re-furbished Titan class mech that had seen combat in a dozen wars before the Fiat Lux reavers had stolen it, though any who witnessed the mech in action would swear that the man named Angron had been born in its metal womb.

“I am the Darkness that destroys all Hope,” whispered Morgan, while the Night Witch, with its twin plasma lances, stood perfectly still as the pilot deftly adjusted the mech’s stance in time with the impacts and shifts in the ship’s course.

“Good hunting,” intoned Lelani as she keyed the quick release hatch and activated an ejection sequence that hurled the four mechs forward even as the ship’s hard banking maneuver dumped them out right above the complex.

Art Scavenger

I have a facebook page for Necrospace (HERE) where I occasionally post scavenged and modified digital art. Most all of this stuff is either stock art that I’ve got laying around in my junk pile or uncredited and random pics that I’ve found online. I take these and give them some text and a few color & texture tweaks, then get the out there. I thought it would be fun to collect all of these into a single blog post. Enjoy!

 

Necrospace Teaser Trailer

A little something I put together using a digital piece by artist Tithi Luadthong, the audiobook(s) prologue from Jeffrey Kafer, and some bootleg garage band sounds from yours truly.

Hostile Salvage Confirmed

NECROSPACE BOOK 5 

At long last the fifth book in the Necrospace series has reached publication. We are at the halfway point in this sprawling tale, and as we meet new characters with their own trials and tribulations there are a number of familiar faces who return to the stage. This book more than any before it embodies the ‘pulp noir’ style that has become the hallmark of the series. Enjoy!

 

Rhett Calibos is a bounty scrapper, his life as an indentured soldier a welcome alternative to imprisonment on a penal colony. A man haunted by his past, Rhett throws himself into the work, his only sanctuary. Sokol Targe is the leader of a mech warrior squad, stationed aboard an ancient and deadly warship, and conducts violent raids on behalf of a Red List commune. Cast away from corporate society, they have embraced the ravager way of life.

As these troubled men endure furious combat across the ragged edges of civilization, neither of them realize they’ve become entangled in the deeper mysteries of necrospace.

It’s a hard universe, and nobody gets away clean.

Beowulf in Space

Star Vikings and the Bug Hunt

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I have been crazy about Beowulf since I was in elementary school, having fallen in love with the tale of a mighty warrior and his epic adventures only a few years before becoming equally enamored by the Alien(s) universe. When my brother and I were young I always wanted to play swords and he always wanted to play guns, so most of the time we had to take turns, until one day the idea hit me that we could be space guys and still battle fantasy monsters. So here we are years later, and once again (like Necrospace) I am transforming stories that I played out from my youth to fit the core Beowulf narrative I’m framing the novel with, to the point of adapting scenes based on the memories our childhood battle games.

I was knee-deep in the writing of Book 5 of my Necrospace series when my son wanted to play space marines versus angry tentacle crab monsters (yes, that’s how we roll in this family) and I found myself thinking about the story of Grendel as my son described the bad guys. That little seed stuck in my head and later that night I cracked open the Beowulf comic book I have on the shelf, and as I read it I imagined it with space marines.  Thing is, when an idea hits you and won’t let go, you have to put down whatever else you were doing and get to work, which is why Book 5 of Necrospace will be coming out this spring instead of being hot off the press now. I wasn’t sure if readers would be willing to come along with me on this, given that I was trying to present an epic poem that had been remixed as military science fiction, but it looks like overall people were happy to take the ride. That supports has been very encouraging, and now that I am putting the finishing touches on Necrospace Book 5 there will be time to once again take up the fight against the Extinction fleet.

Expect more Beowulf remixing and expansion in more Norse Mythology SciFi this summer as we follow the marines of Hydra Company into the darkness between the stars.

Call for Reviews

If there are any of you good folks out there who happen to have purchased my most recent novel “Space Marine Ajax” I could really use an honest review on the product page. If you haven’t had a chance to check this one out, and enjoyed my Necrospace novels, you won’t want to miss this one. Thanks!

Click the marine…

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Junk Empire

 

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The new year dawns with me gearing up to re-apply myself to the grind stone of Necrospace, a military science fiction series published by Severed Press that I have been working with for the last several years. At present I have four books in the series completed, with the first three being focused on the story of Samuel Hyst, a salvage marine from a brutal corporate society who finds himself caught up in events that affect humanity at large. All he wanted was a paycheck and pathway out of debt.

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The fourth novel shifts focus to a supporting character from the core trilogy and we are shown a glimpse of the fierce world of the elite mercenaries that stalk the ruins of this scrapyard universe. Since completing those I have taken something of a break from the world of Necrospace and written the first novel in what will be a trilogy about clone troopers striving to save humanity from extinction at the claws and jaws of an alien swarm from deep space. I traded in the futuristic pulp noir of Necrospace for the strange equilibrium of Norse mythology and alien invasion scifi. It was a wild ride, and one I am glad I took. So now I have two series I am working on, with the first of the new series coming out soon and the next Necrospace shortly after, from then I’ll be writing one and then the other in what I hope to be a very productive year.

As I prepare myself to dive back into Necrospace, I find myself planning out the next four books before launching. There are a great many meta-plots and sub-plots at work throughout the first four books of Necrospace, and it is important for me that there be closure. I want to give the series plenty of room to breathe, for not just the epic journey of Samuel Hyst to reach its final conclusion, or for the mystery of the Gedra to ultimately be revealed, but for the Necrospace realm as a whole to reach a milestone that yields a satisfactory series finale. As keen as I may be to develop this series into a number of feature films or an episodic for streaming/television, not to mention my day dreams of table top role playing games, board games, and video games, all of that is a distraction until I am able to complete the robust tapestry that you (the reader) and I (the storyteller) have embarked upon creating.

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As any of you who have enjoyed the first four novels of the series know, there is much that can happen in the span of four novels. As much of an intense journey as the first half of the series has been, you can expect just as much, if not more, from the next half. In the course of the novels we will re-visit our salvage marines, hunt forgotten technology on wasteland planets, and pursue scrap bounties to the edge of the universe. We will fight mutated nightmares, struggle against devastating alien technology, battle space pirates and corporate security forces in equal measure, and we will ride to war with the Folken once again.

Necrospace is rich with salvage, and soon the next chapter in our search for freedom and fortune will arrive. Time for me to get back to work. Until that day…

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Ghost Faction (Necrospace Book 4)

ghost-faction-ebook-cover Available now on Amazon.com

During an apocalyptic battle against murderous machines and hardened soldiers a lone salvage marine turns the tide with a devastating counter attack. Having revealed herself as a consummate warrior, Jada Sek is welcomed into the ranks of the Dire Swords, an elite fighting force loyal only to the contract.

As the other marines return to their salvage duties Jada and her new comrades, each as haunted by the ghosts of their past as she is, plunge yet further into necrospace. They are repeatedly deployed to disrupt and destroy the endeavors of corporate competitors, and along the way discover that the enigma of the machine race is more sinister and complex than any imagined.

Surrounded by the specters of an ancient holocaust and forced to face her inner conflict, Jada must make a choice. When the money ceases to matter, when surviving loses its significance, and the thrill of taking the fight right into the teeth of the enemy seems like the only truth left in this scrapyard of a universe, it is time to let the marine die so that the mercenary can be born.