Tag Archives: cyberpunk

We interrupt this blog tour…

I’m supposed to be promoting the heck out of HMS Lanternfish, my new book baby. I’ve done it all week, but it’s the weekend now. Since the free days for Voyage of the Lanternfish have lapsed, I’m going to tone the tour down to a couple of days per week.

Today, still finds me promoting to a certain degree, but stick with me, because I think it’s interesting.

Once Upon at Time (2019) I wrote a book called Grinders. This is a cyberpunk tale about Earth’s near future. I published it on February 18, 2020. Most of my followers understand the writing process, and most of this was a project dating back to the summer of 2019.

Check the publication date once more: February 18, 2020. This was before the world went to crap and everything became one massive upheaval. Some of what I’m about to share with you kind of freaks me out, even though I should feel somewhat justified.

Part of writing in the near-future involves making some guesses at the changes that might happen between now and then. I really put my effort into the world building here.

Since I’ve published, COVID-19 has changed our world, but there have been many changes aside from that.

I wrote about cyber-shut-ins in the book. This was based on the ability to work from home, and have virtually everything delivered, including groceries. We’re already living in that world mere months after I published. I made quite a few projections about things like Alexa and how artificial intelligence would improve over time. These haven’t come true, but I almost think it’s inevitable.

I’m a big believer that history repeats itself, and I’ve seen it too many times to think otherwise. I knew that historically there were many kinds of currency in the United States. This could be anything from Army scrip to company dollars that you could only spend in the company town at the company store. This was a way for big businesses to create a captive labor force, because they couldn’t afford to leave the coal mining community, for example.

I took part of this concept and projected it into cyber-currency. Many cities in Grinders have their own cyber-currency and this led to an active exchange business where executives can work from home as modern-day money changers.

This week, I found a news article involving local currency. It appears one small town in Washington is going back to something they did during the Great Depression. They are printing their own local money to help people get through the C-19 crisis. This money can be spent all over town, and is somehow redeemable for US currency eventually.

This will provide the locals a way to keep the wolf away for now, but it also traps them into shopping local. That helps the local businesses stay afloat, because places like Amazon aren’t going to accept this local currency. You can’t drive down the coast and spend it either.

I see it as one more step toward the world of Grinders. Check out the article here.

I also projected what global warming might do to us a hundred years down the line. The temperature belts have drifted away from the equator. My story is set in San Francisco, which is almost sub tropical now. It still has its cold snaps, but the weather patterns are different.

The seas have risen, and the entire coastline has been changed. Some of the original buildings still stand slightly offshore. These have been modified to allow occupancy of units that are below the waves. You might stumble across Telegraph Island if you’re reading the story. This doesn’t exist today, but could if things keep changing.

Then I found a recent news article. The last Canadian ice shelf has broken up. Read that again. The LAST Canadian ice shelf has broken up. There is a chunk of ice floating around now that is bigger than Manhattan. The article says it will melt rapidly now that it’s surrounded by sea water. Here is the link if you’re interested.

I don’t have links for other articles (sorry) but this has been happening in Antarctica, too. The point is that when all this ice melts, the seas are going to rise. Some of this has been predicted for a long time, but I never actually thought I might see it in my lifetime.

One of the things they’ve predicted is that the Pacific will get the worst of it. There is more melting ice at that tip of the South Pole. Maybe the California Coast will wind up like I predicted.

There are a couple of scenes in the book with holographic projections, even one involving a doctor. Is this so far removed from the tele-medicine we have making headway in the country?

Since all of this seems to be happening now, maybe someone will get to work on some of the good things in the story, like The Grid. A programable surface on the street that pairs with automobiles and drives them for us. No more traffic, because it handles all the cars at once. Oh, it also generates electricity as a kind of solar panel system.

If Grinders sounds like something you might like to check out, I would really appreciate it. I’ll drop a cover and blurb while I’m at it.

We will return to our regularly scheduled blog tour next week.

Blurb:

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with a veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

Don’t forget you can read it for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Purchase link: http://mybook.to/Grinders

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Not really an oracle

You have to admit, life has been strange for a while now. I’ve been fighting with technology, old and new. Working from home, and all the learning curve that entails. I wish I really were an oracle, maybe I could make some kind of plans for the future. Here are a couple of interesting things that have happened across the last year. I’m not ready to pick lottery numbers or dive into the stock market, but they’re kind of crazy.

Back in September, on Friday the 13th, I released Viral Blues. This is a story featuring Lizzie and The Hat, and deals with tampering of the nation’s vaccine supply. Not quite the same thing as COVID-19, but maybe it’s just circumstantial. There is localized quarantine in the story. This is dark humor, so I’m not sure anyone is ready for that right now.

I released Grinders on February 18, 2020. This one is a cyberpunk tale that projects what I was seeing at the time into the future. It has cyber-shut-ins in the story. These are people who never leave home. They work from home. Play and gather online. Even take advantage of deliveries for every personal need. I had no idea we’d be living this mere weeks after I published it. It’s kind of starting to creep me out.

Recently I’ve been drafting HMS Lanternfish. This is the second book of a series about pirates in a fantasy environment. A gunpowder fantasy if you like that term. I don’t have a link for this one yet, but here is one for Voyage of the Lanternfish, book one in the trilogy.

A big part of the story is the environment they live in. This leads to what gamers call random monsters on occasion. The first book had a creature called Buwaya. This is like a mashup of a crocodile and a dinosaur. She walks upright on land. She never appeared in the story other than via some vocalizations and stories.

Part of her story is that one day her mate just swam away. Aptly named, Buwaya’s mate, appears in HMS Lanternfish and is a bit more active than she was. (Naming kind of reminds me of Grendel and Grendel’s Mother.) Here is the weird part. Scientists have just discovered a fossilized trackway in present day South Korea. It provides conclusive evidence of crocodiles who walked upright on land. I swear, I didn’t miracle this into existence somehow. It provides some of that reality I try to bring to my speculative fiction. I’ll take it.

Maybe they were in shallow water, and the article didn’t address that. I’ve seen photos of crocodilians standing up in the water with only their nostrils above the surface, but this doesn’t sound like what they discovered. There were no tail-drag marks like you would expect.

Maybe something like this? Maybe not?

If you’re interested, you can check the article here https://tinyurl.com/y7xxu96c

I wish I were an oracle, and these were more than blind-assed luck. I’d find a way to sell a few more copies of these books, and to end this infernal lockdown without making everyone sick again.

The only draft I have going is The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is a new book for Lizzie and The Hat. After that, my focus will move to publication and promotion for the new stories. I’m going to take a break from drafting new material to work on some storyboards.

With my recent string of luck, maybe we’d all be safer if I avoid anything too futuristic for a while. I have one historical piece I could move on next. Or there is the post apocalyptic tale I have roughed out, but it includes autonomous zones and some things you might not want me poking with a stick.

I’d appreciate it if you’d check out the links above. I think these are all good stories, and you might find something that appeals to you. You can also read about the scientific discovery and that might spark you to try out Lanternfish.

What weird circumstances have you stumbled across lately?

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A quick update about Grinders

I love hour-long lunch breaks, they allow me a moment for things like this. The WiFi came back on yesterday, so last night I spent some time on Amazon and uploaded Grinders. This morning they notified me that it is a book. Here is a little bit about it:

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

This is the all-important purchase link, if you have an extra $3 lying around:  http://mybook.to/Grinders The graphic in the sidebar is also linked if you prefer that one.

***

Grinders satisfies my love of stand-alone stories. I will always try to have one of these in process. This does not mean I’ve given up on the series work. Lanternfish has surpassed 60,000 words, so far. The next book about Lizzie and The Hat is my side project, but it only has 6000.

It’s the middle of the work week, so that’s about all I can manage right now. This weekend I’ll start reaching out to some of you about the possibility of some promotion.

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Got some things accomplished

Not having WiFi sucks, but now that I have a hotspot available, I decided to get busy.

I skipped out on most of my social media lap this morning, opting instead to address my work in progress.

My writing days always start by reading the last section I wrote, and this really helps when I’ve been away from it for a few days. The Lanternfish crew arrived in Giapon and got into a bind with the political upheaval in that country.

I picked it up from there, and approached this problem with more of a diplomatic approach. At 1.5 books in, they’ve blasted their way out of plenty of issues, so I felt like something else was in order.

Of course, this poses even more problems when it comes to reaching the ultimate war in Prelonia. They now have a third ship, and only Lanternfish can jump ahead and speed up the travel time. At this point, what’s one more when you have to sail the old fashioned way.

However, this new ship is full of disgraced soldiers, criminals, and even soldiers from the opposing side of their own local conflict. This is not going to be an easy group to manage.

It also poses the problem of not having enough veteran sailors. James has spread the Lanternfish crew thin by trying to man the two ships he has already. There is a small hope that some of these new people will have some sailing skills, but getting them to embrace the mission could be a deal killer.

In his mind, he’s acting as a privateer. The job is to provide war materials to his queen. They still have most of their captured gold. Add in two new ships, and possibly some soldiers, and it may be a successful voyage. Even if the soldiers serve as nothing more than cannon fodder, it could buy some time for the Prelonian forces he’s supposed to be supporting.

Oh, and I also wove in a ghostly encounter. It wasn’t much, but it turned out pretty cool. Every stop in this series has provided some kind of fantasy element, so why not Giapon. I’m still thinking about revisiting it for a bit more fun. I ought to be able to milk it just a bit more.

I didn’t do a strict word count, so I’m estimating here. I know where my last critique submission ended. I know about where I stopped writing after that. It isn’t perfect math, but it comes to around 2500 words today.

That’s a pretty good day by my standards. It’s going to need another 500 to 1000 words before I’m ready to submit the next section to my group, but it’s more than I had yesterday. Then, of course, I need to comb through it and try to fix all the stupid mistakes before I ask them to do all that work.

My “shift” ended with a short tour through blog land. I didn’t get to all of them, and many of you got a like and a tweet. I’m working without WiFi here, so I hope you’ll forgive me. I ought to be back online once the regular work week resumes.

Back to the paycheck job tomorrow. If I do manage to get WiFi back, my first priority has to be publishing Grinders. I had it earmarked for this weekend, but it wasn’t meant to be. Don’t give up on me here. Grinders is a fun cyberpunk story, and I think many of you would enjoy it.

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Vacation time trickles out…

I have everything I need to publish Serang today, but I procrastinated. People aren’t hurting for something fresh from me, so I have time.

  • Side note, still time to read Viral Blues for Halloween.

I’d like to publish this before the year runs out, and next weekend is a fair option. I need to devote some time to the blurb for this one. Because it’s a supporting story for Lanternfish, it takes place in a mildly fantasy setting. It isn’t quite as big as Lanternfish, but there is a dragon of sorts, (Maybe two or three depending on how you count) and I don’t want to mislead anyone.

Serang is a coming of age tale, so I need to communicate that. It takes place in a time of great political upheaval, so that has to get in there. I don’t want people to be upset because there are fantasy elements, or disappointed that it isn’t epic fantasy. A bit more thought might help when writing this blurb. By next weekend I might have it all sorted out.

What did I do with my spare time? I spent some time supporting the Something Wicked blog tour, along with some of my older posts. Today there is a blog push from the paid promo I did, and I already saw one sale from that. Fingers crossed for more.

I’ve also been staying up late for the World Series. So far the home team hasn’t won a single game. That’s never happened before, and it’s been a great series. Game seven is tonight, so I’ll be tired at work tomorrow. A nap seems like a good idea so I’m not too flat in the morning.

We had a chore day, so we got the camper put away for winter, and managed a date night out of the deal. Halloween is the only beer tour I participate in these days, and got my glow in the dark tee-shirt. I’m wearing it right now.

I spent a couple of days adding thousands of words to my side project. This one is a cyberpunk tale set in a futuristic version of San Francisco. It challenged me to use science fiction to exaggerate some issues we see in current society, and it challenged my world-building skills, too.

I’m very happy with a piece I wrote yesterday that went down during the Chinese New Year parade. A cyberpunk version of that parade. If the stars align, I can publish it on actual Chinese New Year for a bit of extra luck. I’m year of the rat, next year is rat. Maybe I’m due for some luck. There are rats in the story…

The story is called Grinders, and I’m at 71,000 words right now. Getting it done this year shouldn’t be too tough, and if I can afford the artwork, publishing on Chinese New Year seems realistic.

I didn’t do anything particularly exciting, and it felt great. I did what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. I was mildly productive and I wasn’t at the office. Sometimes it’s good to have a break from the workaday world, and that’s what I did.

Hope everyone has a Happy Halloween, and finds a way to take a small break on occasion.

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