The Guardian

51y6ffia9ql-_sx384_bo1204203200_

The following opening paragraphs are from my extremely short science fiction novella The Guardian, another tale born out of one of my short stories…

~~~

“Why us?” Lynne grumbled, once they had arrived at the silent, empty space port, parked as it is in stationary orbit several thousand feet above the dusty surface of Mars, in the planet’s upper atmosphere. Even though she already realized the answer, she still needed to say it, if only to emphasise her extreme displeasure at being volunteered like this.

She had driven her new boss Adler to total distraction during their enforced time together aboard the Virtual Intelligence controlled solar wind powered transporter, to the point where he seriously contemplated strangling her, if only to give himself some much needed respite from her endless moaning and incessant questions throughout the entire month long journey in the cramped passenger space aboard the transporter. They both knew that this was likely a suicide mission. “What’s so all-fired important about a darned automated mining operation on Mars anyway?” she continued, “and why the hell did we have to put up with that stinking ancient garbage scow. Why didn’t the cheapskates at least get us accommodation on something more luxurious for the trip?”

“For Christ sake woman, for the last time, will you give it a rest. Quit bellyaching! At the moment I’m still presuming that the bastards down there have simply downed tools over pay and conditions. You’ve read the damned brief from Earth Corp’s CEO as well as I have. Therefore you know that we are here to establish why the Olivine mining operation has ceased production, and why the regular monthly consignments of ore are no longer being sent back to Earth. For your information, even though the mining is automated, techs are still required to live on site to keep an eye on the machinery, as well as establishing the location of the next profitable Olivine vein, and from time to time, fix things when they break. Plus, the ore has to be brought up here to the space port to be loaded aboard unmanned VI controlled transporters like the one we just arrived on, for the return journey to Earth. Which means that among the mine staff there has to be someone like you to fly the damned cargo shuttles back and forth. As there is no sign of either of the shuttle pilots, or anyone else up here, we need to get down to the mine. Until we do, we’re merely speculating about what has happened.

The first thing we have to do once we get there is to talk to the mine boss, David Malcolmson. He and his team are housed in an accommodation block just inside the mine, located in the Ganges Chasma, an eastern branch of that great scar you can see in the Martian landscape below us, known as Valles Marineris. It’s Mars’ equivalent of the Rift Valley that scars the African continent back on Earth. Before you open your damned mouth again, just in case you were wondering what Olivine is used for back at home, it is the principal component in the carbon dioxide sequester process. Even you must know how bad our atmosphere is, thanks to the pollutants still being belched out by heavy industry, even though rules were set in place to safeguard the environment. Just like always, industrialist couldn’t care less. What has always counted with them is profit. According to Earth Corp, the last load to arrive back home was six months ago. Before that, the mine was sending regular monthly consignments. Any more questions? No? Good. Now quit complaining, shut up, and get us the hell down there!”

Adler shook his head as he strapped himself into the seat behind Lynne. Why the hell he had to be saddled with this irritating female was totally beyond him.

Surely there must have been other pilots that Earth Corp’s CEO, Magritte Peneaux, could have chosen? Not as far as she was concerned! Former military personnel like Major Adler Stevens of the British Army’s Military Police, and Lieutenant Lynne Crawford, a veteran fighter-bomber pilot who previously served in the Canadian Airforce, were the obvious candidates for the job. She saw no good reason to look any further. Or for that matter, to send two of her own on such a hazardous mission. Besides which, this was likely not a job for civilians. If they managed to work out what had happened, fix it, and send back a report to say that everything was back to normal, all well and good. If not, someone else would soon be sent to replace them.

Since all types of warfare and its several causes, such as politics and financial greed, along with enforced poverty, coupled with mass starvation, and radical religious differences, were all declared illegal after the world’s business leaders had finally had enough and specifically set up Earth Corp to remove all control from the Earth’s former political, military and religious masters to become the first non-aligned World Government, there were now millions of unemployed soldiers, sailors and airmen just like Adler and Lynne to choose from. The pair had been given precisely one week after their arrival to conduct their investigation before they must send that report back to Earth Corp HQ in Geneva.

~~~

The guardian watched the shuttle’s entire trip from the space station, down towards the loading bay airlock inside the mine entrance, via its own monitor within the inner sanctum. Once the shuttle had arrived, through the monitor’s speaker, the guardian heard the unmistakeable sound of the outer door first open, then close, sealing off the mine accommodation complex from Mars’ deadly atmosphere, which being mostly carbon dioxide, is one hundred times thinner than that of Earth. Next it heard the hiss as the now sealed shuttle bay automatically re-pressurised as oxygen was automatically pumped in to allow whoever was inside the shuttle to enter the mine reception centre. Bemused, it continued to watch as Adler and Lynne walked across to the door connecting the shuttle bay with the living quarters.

~~~

“Ok. First of all I’m going to talk to Malcolmson to figure out what the hell the problem is,” Adler began. “While I’m doing that Lieutenant, be so kind as to find the techs.” Lynn stiffly saluted, glad for the chance to finally be away from him for the first time in a month. She had really begun to loathe the annoying by the book Englishman. On the plus side he had one thing going for him in her eyes, he was undeniably cute. Before carrying out his order, she watched him closely as he entered the lift for the short journey up to the administration level, just to make sure that he hadn’t changed his mind and was about to follow her. Satisfied, she began a systematic search of the living quarters.

Ten minutes later, she almost jumped out of her skin when Adler silently appeared behind her to casually enquire, “found anything yet Lieutenant?”

“God, don’t do that boss, you scared the living bejeezers out of me! If the technicians are still here they must be somewhere in the mine. What about Malcolmson, is he in his office?”

“Negative. It looks as if he left in a hurry. However, I did find a list of the staff, including ID photographs, and a map of the mine up in the control room. It looks like we will have to hunt them down one by one Lieutenant.”

“Before we go any further, can we please dispense with all this military formality bullshit? We’re civilians now whether we like it or not. My name is Lynne, not Lieutenant.”

“Sorry Lieu – Lynne,” he replied, “I’m Adler.”

“What kind of name is that for crying out loud?” she asked, with a bemused look on her beautiful face.

“My father was an eccentric who had a mania for unconventional names for his children. Despite my mother’s wishes, he insisted on naming my older sister, Osceola, a Creek Indian name that means black drink crier apparently. When I came along he insisted that I be named Adler, after an Austrian doctor and psychotherapist from the nineteenth century who he admired. I suppose he wanted our names to stand out from the crowd.”

“I’d say he achieved it wouldn’t you? So what’s next Adler?”

“Well, it looks like we have to investigate the entire mine. We’ll need our suits.”

“Why?”

“No breathable atmosphere inside the mine complex. The automated mining machinery doesn’t need it.”

“Fair enough. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get going boss,” Lynne replied with the merest hint of a grin on her face. If he made the mistake of annoying her in the future, which being a man, he probably would, she was going to get some mileage out of taunting him about his strange Christian name in the future.

~~~

The guardian watched them on its monitor as they climbed aboard one of the fusion powered quad bikes parked in a maintenance bay just beyond the airlock separating the accommodation, administration and mine control from the mine itself. Wherever they went, whatever they did, it would be watching their every move. If it looked like they might find a way into the inner sanctum, then it would immediately destroy them. In the meantime it was merely content to observe.

~~~

Adler drove the quad down the main tunnel for approximately a mile before stopping at the point where it divided into three. “Which way?” he asked.

Lynne briefly studied the map before tapping him on his right shoulder, indicating he should head in that direction. For the next six days the pair systematically searched every tunnel, every side space, maintenance and storage area they came across, looking for any sign of Malcolmson and his team of technicians. By the morning of the last day of their investigation they had clearly established that the mine was devoid of any sign of life.

“I don’t know about you, but this is really beginning to totally creep me out,” Lynne whispered as an involuntary shiver ran up her spine. She might be hardened to most things thanks to her front line service, but this totally spooky situation made her feel distinctly uncomfortable. If they had come across dead bodies, she could just about have handled that. But the fact that the entire mine staff had apparently vanished into thin air was hard to take.

Adler nodded in total agreement. “Come on, it’s time to send that report.”

“Then what?”

“What happens next is all down to Earth Corp’s CEO. So while I’m preparing the report, before we head back to the space station to send it to her, perhaps you had better search everyone’s quarters for personal effects. At least that way we can offer some comfort to the families.”

“Good idea boss, I’m on it.”

It took three days to eventually receive a reply back from head office in Geneva. Magritte thanked them for what they had done, and told them to return home on the transporter which had just left the new International Space Station en route to Mars, containing the replacement mining crew. Meantime there was nothing else for them to do but wait, while trying not to annoy each other if at all possible.

~~~

A month later the guardian watched as the replacements descended from the space port moments after the transporter began its immediate return journey to Earth with its two passengers. Within a fortnight mining had recommenced. Once again the guardian eliminated the potential threat.

~~~

Adler sat in the bar of his local pub supping a much needed pint of bitter. After what had happened back on Mars, he needed some serious down time to recharge and rest, even if only for a couple of days. While the United Kingdom no longer existed since Earth Corp ended the former political union between England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, at least one thing hadn’t changed. There was no denying that the English were still the undoubted masters when it comes to brewing the finest bitter to be found anywhere in the world.

“Hi boss. God you are a hard man to track down.” When Adler looked up, for a brief moment he thought that he was either dreaming, or that he had been transported into the presence of a goddess.

Lynne stood before him wrapped in a knee length faux fur winter coat, which she now slowly opened to reveal herself to him for the first time. For what seemed like an absolute eternity, but in reality was probably only a few seconds, his eyes hungrily devoured every delicious morsel of this vision of undoubted feminine perfection. The first thing he noticed was how the makeup she wore accentuated her beautiful face. His eyes were then drawn to the top half of her body which was barely contained inside a figure hugging, flesh coloured, diaphanous tank top. It literally clung to her firm breasts like a gossamer thin outer layer of skin, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. He could be forgiven for thinking that Lynne’s breasts appeared on the point of bursting through the delicate material at any moment.

As if in answer to his unspoken thoughts, she next slowly turned around to briefly reveal what up until now had remained hidden from his gaze beneath the miniskirt she was wearing, when its hem rode up, revealing that apart from anything else she was not wearing any underwear, as she deliberately bent over to place her coat over the back of the chair. The thought occurred to him while feasting his eyes on the lower half of her exposed naked rear, that it was not so much covered by the Teal blue silk garment, as lovingly caressed by it; as indeed were her breasts by the tank top. Her long legs were clad in black fishnet stockings. On her feet she wore a pair of bright red designer leather stilettos. To complete the ensemble, she had an expensive Gucci bag slung over one shoulder, which she now proceeded to put down beside her.

In the twenty-second century, it is always the women who controls any relationship she enters into, unlike her far less sexually aggressive sisters in previous centuries. Having finally decided that she wanted Adler, despite his being a total pain at times, she had deliberately chosen the clothing as well as the heady perfume she wore, for one reason and one only, to attract the attention of the now wide eyed, open mouthed individual seated before her who was even now unconsciously licking his lips while a part of his anatomy rapidly engorged itself. She had bought every item of clothing from a boutique that specialises in top quality twentieth century second hand Italian labelled clothing, soon after she had arrived back in London from a quick trip home to Canada. If any of her clothing had been new, even the winter coat, no way could she ever have afforded them.

“Buy a girl a drink soldier?” she demanded rather than asked, giving him a smouldering look which made his heartbeat increase at an alarming rate when she sat down to face him, with her legs momentarily apart to briefly reveal another part of her anatomy, before it vanished from his sight when she demurely crossed her legs, while at the same time, readjusted the hem of her miniskirt. His very obvious physical reaction told her that her plan had worked. She now had his complete and undivided attention…

~~~

Well there you have it, another teaser just for you. As usual you can get your copy from the Amazon site you use. Here are the links to the two main ones:

Amazon.com

and

Amazon.co.uk

Nicholas Rossis Has His Say

Nicholas Rossis

In his usual acerbic fashion here’s what he had to say about The Guardian.

4.0 out of 5 stars Nontraditional Sci-Fi, October 12, 2015
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Guardian: Some things are written in stone (Kindle Edition)

The thing with Eason is, you either love him or hate him. I read with interest the reviews, but found a lot of them were of the “I saw the blurb and some sample content and moved on” kind. Which is a shame, as it feels that people didn’t bother actually reading the book before leaving their scathing reviews.

True, Eason has a unique style that ignores conventions – whether PC or editing ones. But I did enjoy the premise and the story. Would it have benefited from a more traditional editing? Yes. It does contain info dumps in the form of dialogue, that could have been handled in a better way. It also leaves some questions unanswered, and has a few typos.

Are these more technical aspects enough to make the book unreadable? I don’t think so. It was a fast read with a flowing pacing in all but a couple of places. As for the plot, I think that Eason did a great job making us wonder until the end: who’s good and who’s bad? Was this a first contact gone wrong? Or something far more sinister?

So, if you’re willing to turn a blind eye to its imperfections, this is a nontraditional Sci-Fi book with a nice story and some interesting ideas to discuss with your friends.

***

Whether people love or hate me is neither here nor there Nicholas. The haters will always condemn anything I write. I’ll never please everyone because with me there are no shades of grey. If just one person enjoys reading my books, I am content.

Thanks,

Jack

😉

The Guardian Is Now Available For Purchase

51Y6FfIA9QL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_

Click on the cover to go to Amazon.com

Well, here it is folks. The Guardian is now available for purchase in paperback. You can order your copy on any Amazon site as well as on Createspace. If you are one of the minority of people who never buy anything online, (I’m acquainted with one or two of them) but would still like to purchase a copy, simply go to your local bookshop and ask them to do it for you. All you will need to provide is the following information:

The Guardian by Jack Eason

ISBN-13: 978-1515213611
ISBN-10: 1515213617
BISAC: Fiction / Science Fiction / Adventure

~~~

If you buy directly from Createspace or your nearest Amazon outlet it will cost you US$5.38, or your country’s equivalent (£3.45 here in the UK) plus postage and packaging.

10816213_776738435708326_2117558725_n

You will note that I’ve changed the cover. While I still like the original cover pictured above, to give The Guardian a decent chance to attract readers across the world, I decided to go with the more professional looking one seen at the top of this post. One or two of my fellow writers pointed out that to their way of thinking, the original gave the impression of it being a cover more suited to a horror story, instead of an erotic science fiction tale.

~~~

Will it appear as an eBook? Given the way books offered in that particular format instantly attract internet trolls and pirates, especially when offered for free in any online promotion, I’m sorry to disappoint any of you but it won’t happen in the immediate future. In six months or so, if and when I do decide to offer it as an eBook it will be via Smashwords.

So for now my muse and I are taking a much needed R&R break until next year. We’re both worn out. Go on, buy yourselves a copy, you know you want to. Don’t forget that like any other book out there, The Guardian needs reviews, be they good, bad or indifferent to help sell them.

😉

Finished, at least for now

603926_10151262663529707_312080931_n

Derek Haines

Phew!!! At long last I’ve finished the first draft of my erotic science fiction novella – The Guardian. It ended up at just over 30,000 words in fifty-two pages. My good friend and fellow author Derek Haines has also finished his latest comical scifi novella entitled March. He’ll hate me for saying this, but to give you a flavour of Derek’s humour, think of what Douglas Adams’ character Ford Prefect got up to in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – sorry Derek.

So, between us we are now reading through each other’s books. In Derek’s case March is a follow up to his highly successful and absolutely hilarious trilogy of Glothic Tales set in an imaginary place on the other side of our galaxy.

For the moment I will be devoting all my time to reading his latest through while I wait for his verdict on mine.

More later

😉

I’ve Been Busy!!!

index

My Beautiful Muse

If you are all wondering why my own posts are few and far between lately, the answer is simple – I’m busy with the last couple of chapters of my current science fiction WIP – The Guardian! So in the meantime you will have to be content with reposts from other people like my good friend Derek Haines for instance. Hopefully you are all benefiting from Derek’s considerable knowledge on the subject of publishing and other writerly things.

Well I’d better get back to it. I have now passed twenty-three thousand words, and I’m currently working on the fortieth A4 page. What with my highly demanding female muse pictured above, aka she who must be obeyed, and the ancient one pictured below, at the moment I’m only allowed a few paltry minutes per day here on my blog. More later when both of them are not looking over my shoulder. Whoops I hear them close by, which means I’ve got to go.

thoth02

Thoth, My Other Muse

PS – Which one demands the most. Here’s a hint – one of them is an absolute pussy cat.

😉

A Quick Update

thoth02

Thoth

***

Just a quick update to let you know how my latest science fiction WIP The Guardian is progressing. I’ve added a paltry one thousand words since the previous post on the subject. While it may not sound like much, in doing so I have now expanded several passages that desperately needed attention. Plus, at long last I can finally announce that I am now completely satisfied with the private scenes between Adler and Lynne. Specifically I am referring to when they are share their infrequent extremely passionate moments together as their love affair continues.

Meanwhile I have to say that I’m still not fully at ease with how the next chapter entitled Cat and Mouse, (which I have finally begun) will work out. Unlike all of the chapters before it, this one is going to be complicated in the extreme. Why? Because of way the story dictates that it be written. You all know how I’ve often said on numerous occasions in the past that any given story always writes itself, and that all you can ever do is slavishly follow where the story wants you to go next.

Well I’d better get back to it. Like all writers, I am merely the slave of my muse who even while I write this post, demands I get on with the next one thousand words.

Oh, if you are wondering why the picture of Thoth? It’s simply that he was the ancient Egyptian god of knowledge and writing. Even though I don’t necessarily believe in such things, at the moment I’ll take all the help I can get until I finish writing this particular science fiction novella. Maybe he’s looking over my shoulder as I write it. Then again, maybe he isn’t.

Click here to find out more about Thoth if you wish – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoth

Oh well, I must crack on. More later from this particular member of Thoth’s army of lowly scribes…

😉

At long last, another milestone has been reached

10816213_776738435708326_2117558725_n

The significance of the burning eyes on the cover will only become apparent once you read the novella

***

I’ve finally reached another important milestone during the writing of my latest science fiction work in progress – The Guardian. It seems to have taken me simply forever to reach this point. But at long last I have finally passed the magic twenty-thousand word barrier after endless rewrites, the way I far prefer to go about writing these days, over any other method you care to name. Why? Because it is how I ensure that no inexplicable turns in the storyline have occurred. Or maybe something was glossed over, (the latter thanks to Bob Van Laerhoven, who kindly pointing out a couple of missing pieces of information to me the other day, after I had asked him to read through what I have written so far) as well as eliminating any punctuation and spellign errors. Damn! There’s one for a start.  😉

Now for the last few thousand words, which like the rest of the story, I’ll constantly be rewriting as I go. Not for the first time has the story dictated where it wants to go next. This time I need to split the characters up into two man teams, which means that the enigmatic guardian would appear to have a tactical advantage over them as it is thoroughly familiar with it’s own home territory, meaning that it instinctively knows every nook and cranny, hiding place and ambush point, unlike my characters. Although I have to say in their defence that they are learning. Maybe it will be triumphant. Maybe they will. Either way I’m really going to need to be on top of my game as I now intend writing the rest of the story from each team’s particular point of view, while at the same time continuing to write it from an overall perspective. A literary challenge definitely not for the faint hearted, if there ever was one. Meanwhile I’ll continue on in the same vein until this particular novella is as error free and near word perfect as I can possibly make it for all of you.

More later

😉

The Latest Progress Report for The Guardian

10816213_776738435708326_2117558725_n

If you read the lovely Jo Robinson’s post yesterday on getting bored with your current WIP, https://litworldinterviews.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/do-you-love-your-book/ all is not lost. It might just be that you are nearing the end of the particular WIP, even though you don’t realize it.

What do I mean? Read on…

***

I’ve finally realized after many sleepless nights and endless hours of thought that my current science fiction WIP – The Guardian in all likelihood will end up as a long short story. In fact, the more I think about it – it’s a given. Each story always dictates its own length. Despite what many may think, the writer often has no say in the matter. Why? Because once we start a story in a specific way, it inevitably guides you towards where it needs to end, regardless of what you want. In other words, the story is in charge, not you.

In this particular instance, one thing and one thing only brought me to this conclusion. The Guardian’s natural fast pace. The very thought of trying to maintain such a pace until I pass the eighty or one hundred and fifty thousand word mark, simply doesn’t bear thinking about. I did that once many years ago to the detriment of my health, never again. Yes I could have written endless pages of totally boring, nauseous descriptive prose and mind numbing dialogue. But that’s not me these days. That’s not the way I write any more. After many years I’ve finally seen the light!

For the handful of individuals who actually bought and read my scifi novella Cataclysm, (published last year) who got in touch with me privately, the one thing that the majority of you communicated was the fact that I kept it uncluttered and fast paced.

Maintaining a blog like mine soon teaches you how to convey what you want to say with the bare minimum of carefully chosen words.

Many writers still prefer to delude themselves into thinking that writing between eighty and one hundred and fifty thousand words is the only way to go. Not necessarily so, especially in this day and age. The times we live in along with reader tastes have dramatically changed in the last ten years or so, in favour of the shorter literary work. Both of the aforementioned are signs which no writer can now afford to ignore.

Think about it, how many times recently have you read a book from beginning to end, only to forget what it was all about by the time you eventually arrived at the last page, or far worse, wound up totally confused from information overload? Even the top one percent of writers hate having to artificially fill a manuscript merely to keep their literary agent, editor and publisher happy.

I recently learned that busy commuters across the world are my main reading group these days. Fifteeen years ago it was my contemporaries. Times definitely change…

As an Indie, I now only have to please myself and the wishes of the modern commuting reader who wants a fast paced story, paired down to the essential nitty gritty, and of course, told well. So now that I’ve finally made the decision, based purely on the way the story is panning out, I’ll be heading towards the first of several possible conclusions. I’ll settle on which one over the next few weeks.

I’ve only ever written one novel (back in 2003) that exceeded one hundred and fifty thousand words. The fact that writing it led to my suffering a total mental breakdown brought on by the stress of it all, which damn near ended me, should be a salutary lesson for anyone contemplating writing such a lengthy work.

The novel in question became my first published work back in 2010. It was a science fiction space opera entitled Onet’s Tale. While it still appears on Amazon, it is no longer available. Besides my paperback ‘author’ copy, and my Kindle one, I still have it as an unedited .pdf file for anyone who wants to read it. If you want an unbiased view about it, ask Chris The Storyreading Ape what he thought. He read the .pdf version.

I’m not an old stick in the mud. I do take notice of trends. Now I’d better get back to it. If anyone thinks that writing is easy, tell them to just try pairing down a story to its absolute essentials as I did with Cataclysm last year, and am currently doing with The Guardian, to suit a specific emerging eBook market – the busy commuter. The things we do for our readers eh?

PS – because it will be a long short story, when the time comes I’ll price it at a mere US$0.99. If Amazon allowed it, I would like it to be even cheaper. But unfortunately Amazon doesn’t do Permafree.

Be good…

😉

At last, I’m back at the coalface once again

honey-blonde-hair

How I picture my heroine, Lynne Crawford

After almost three weeks of endless pontificating I’m once again back writing my science fiction WIP, The Guardian.

The story was at a crossroads. I had several ways in mind for where it may go next. Each one wholly dependant on a specific character, or characters, and how they had reacted so far. I gradually eliminated each of them in my mind for varying reasons. That’s why it’s taken me all of this time to finally decide on which character, so that the story can continue.

If you are at all familiar with the way certain wooly headed academics behave, it will come as no great surprise that I’m using my character, Professor Ephraim Adelmann, once again. Having worked with academics like him for a quarter of a century, I know how they think. Most of the ones I knew seriously needed a notice slung from around their necks, clearly stating to all and sundry that under no circumstances should they ever be left alone for one second. When it comes to common sense, most truly classic academics have none. Ephraim is no exception. In short, he has… Whoops, I almost told you then. All you need to know for now is that this part of the story unfolds back where Adler and Lynne first became aware of just how much danger they faced when they arrived in the Valles Marineris on Mars.

Here’s hoping The Guardian keeps its distance!

More later

😉