It’s been a while since I posted, but I've been busy! Not that I’m complaining, but it sometimes feels like there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything.
I’m working on an SG-1 novella right now (Permafrost) that I’m hoping to release in time for Christmas, and also – excitingly – I’ve made contact with my editor at Choc Lit. She’ll be editing my first historical romance novel (pirates!), which I believe will be published either late this year or in early 2015. It doesn’t have a title yet – (how does ‘The Winter Pirate’ sound? Good? Cheesy?) – but I’m expecting edits by the end of the month. VERY EXCITED! I may be odd, but I genuinely love the editing process. I can’t wait to get started.
Meanwhile, I’ve just finished checking the galley proofs of my SG-1 short story, Off Balance, which is in our STARGATE: Far Horizons anthology, out on 24th October. So I thought it was about time I posted a little preview of Off Balance. It’s a short story, so this is a short preview – it’s more of a teaser, really – just to get you wondering what the heck’s going on...
STARGATE SG-1: Off Balance - Sally Malcolm
Coming out of the bend, he opened the throttle and smiled as the bike leapt forward, eating up the empty road. Adrenaline kicked, the needle nosed over ninety, and the thrill of all that raw power brought him alive for a precious few seconds.
Cliffs soared high on his right, sunset casting the rock in shades of burnt orange, turning the landscape alien, otherworldly. And he should know.
He felt a spike of loss – still keen after nine years – and accelerated harder, just to blast the feeling away. He liked speed, he’d always liked speed. His wife had once told him, with a note of fond exasperation, that he was born to be a flyboy. The memory still made him smile, though it was long ago now, part of his lost life.
Up ahead, he could see a line of mountains – the Collegiate Peaks – and the glitter of Buena Vista’s lights scattered through the evening shadows. He’d almost topped ninety-five, and was just throttling back, when he heard the siren wail behind him.
He slowed, glanced in the mirror and saw the flashing lights of the patrol car pulling him over. Obeying orders was in his blood and, besides, he knew the drill; this wasn’t the first time he’d encountered Colorado’s finest. Pulling onto the shoulder, he killed the engine and tugged off his helmet. He’d never been good at feigning contrition, but he did his best as the officer climbed out of his car. Recent experience had taught him that cops didn’t like kids with smart mouths.
Tall, lanky, maybe early thirties, the police officer walked with a youthful swagger – the kind of bravado born of a uniform, a rank, and a gun at your side. “You know why I stopped you, son?” the cop said.
“Yes sir.” He hated being called ‘son’ by kids almost half his age.
“I’m gonna need to see your driver’s license.”
He handed it over and the officer studied it for a moment, then peered at him over the tops of his sunglasses. “Jonathan O’Neill.”
“You go by Jack?”
“Used to,” he said. “Not anymore.”
The officer didn’t comment, eyes hidden again behind his dark glasses. “Is this your bike, son?”
“BMW R1200GS? That’s a lotta machine for a kid your age.”
He gave a little shrug. “I’m older than I look.”
“Says here you’re twenty-four. And that’s an expensive bike.”
“It was a gift,” he said, “from my uncle. Uncle Samuel.”
And, all things considered, that wasn’t exactly a lie. He had to do something with the guilt money that dutifully rolled in each month from the Air Force.
As usually happened, the police officer walked away a few steps and spoke into his radio, probably calling through a check to make sure the bike wasn’t stolen and that ‘Jonathan O’Neill’ wasn’t wanted for grand theft auto across all fifty states. Everything came back clean, of course, and in the end he only had to endure a lecture on responsibility from a guy who had no idea what responsibility meant.
It was dusk by the time he was allowed to go, so he turned around and headed back toward Salida. He was a little surprised that the police car followed him all the way into town, only moving on after he’d pulled into the parking lot outside Bosco’s Tavern. He guessed the cop didn’t have much else to do, and resisted the urge to wave him goodbye. Low-profile was the watchword of his so-called life these days, and sassing the police wouldn’t help keep him out of trouble.
Since I also edited Far Horizons, I can tell you that the stories are all fantastic. Despite the 10k word limit, we’ve got ten complex, thoughtful stories that range from funny, to heart-warming, to (Peter Evans, I’m looking at you!) chilling.
This is Fandemonium’s first anthology of short stories and I’m really excited to see what our readers make of it, because I’d love to do another collection next year. It’s been so much fun reading and compiling the stories and I owe huge thanks to the wonderful Stargate authors who’ve contributed.
And now I’d better get back to work on Permafrost. Only anther 7000 words to go!