Sneek Peek at “Refractions of Frozen Time” (Star Trails Tetralogy Volume IV) and Cover Reveal (sorta)

I recently achieved a major milestone only authors or their families can relate to, i.e., uploading the interior of “Refractions of Frozen Time” to CreateSpace; now I await arrival of a proof copy. Like an expectant mother, I will finally get to hold my “baby” in my hands. I do my final edit with a print copy because it’s so much easier to catch typos and such when you’re reading an actual book. I suppose I could do the same with my Kindle but being old-fashioned there’s something about holding a physical book that delivers that final rush of accomplishment.

When “Refractions. . .” passes muster and is properly birthed it’s more significant this time than finishing another book. This is the fourth and final volume to a story I’ve been working on far longer than I care to admit. Wrapping it up was complicated, mainly tying up loose ends of all those “sub-plots galore” referenced in one of my reviews as well as maintaining consistency with regard to details such as Erebusite eyes.

But now it’s almost over, the end in sight. I never dreamed when I started that it would grow to four full-length novels. I suppose I should have known since I’m incapable of writing a short story; they always turn into a novel. So it should be no surprise that a novel turned into a series, right? In its entirety the tetralogy comes in at approximately 1520 pages. Holy cow, that’s a lot of writing, if I do say so myself.

I don’t think that I’m unique as an author in approaching this upcoming release with mixed feelings. It feels wonderful, yet lonely; exhilarating, yet sad. These characters are like virtual family and I’m going to miss them. Of course there’s a chance there may be sequels or possibly prequels. My muse, Kalliope, has planted a few ideas, but I’m seldom at a loss for something to write about. I may even write my NASA memoirs before diving into something else. Or maybe that book about astrology, religion and science. Then again, maybe not. Time will tell.

That said, let’s get down to business.

Those of you who have visited me just about anywhere on the web know why this is a “Cover Reveal—sorta.” My awesome artist, Steven James Catizone, finished up my covers earlier this year and provided the 3-D shot of all four books which I have posted somewhat generously in cyberspace. At the time I was naïve and didn’t realize that a “Cover Reveal” was a big part of the book promotion process. Oh, well, my bad. So here it is officially. You’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the weeks to come.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00004]

If you’ve already read the first three volumes which include “Beyond the Hidden Sky;” “A Dark of Endless Days;” and “A Psilent Place Below” you are probably wondering how this saga is going to end. To be quite honest, I often wondered myself. And of course I’m not going to tell you. Muuhahahahaha! But I will include an excerpt as a teaser.

If you’ve at least read “Psilent” you have the context for this scene which picks up with Laren Brightstar on his way to Bezarna, a blackhole which serves as a prison planet to which he’s been exiled. He and a handful of others are on a space vehicle headed in that direction. (If you haven’t gotten to that point yet in the series, then what are you waiting for? You have plenty of time to read the other three books and come up to speed by the time this one is ready to go. Book links follow the excerpt.)

Excerpt from “Refractions of Frozen Time”

The Bezarna Express

Laren slumped back in his seat, staring blankly at the seamless curvature of the passenger compartment which was fully isolated from the rest of the ship. An unpadded bench followed the perimeter except for the alcove that led to the sanicube and where they picked up their daily rations. Sleeping cylls were stowed in the domed ceiling above, destowing at sleepzone onset. The ship was much larger than it appeared from inside. For all he knew there was a full crew somewhere above. He was reasonably familiar with RA-681s, like Igni’s, which were originally designed by the HIO for exploration, not warfare, and lacked weapon systems.

This one’s interior had been drastically refitted to suit its macabre mission, the area they occupied originally the cargo hold, supplies and replacement parts kept in a similar space on the starboard side. Whoever had designed it had been an obvious master at psychology as well as engineering. Six of his fellow passengers remained, three already resorting to their captor’s supposedly humane alternative to commit suicide via the airlock. If all prisoners opted for a fate that was known versus one that wasn’t then a perfectly good space vehicle would go to waste.

He straightened as a new thought chain developed. No doubt they were being watched, even with escape seemingly impossible. A successful escape you survived, he thought grimly, or it was pointless. Knowing the likes of Spoigan, Troy and Argo they probably tuned in on their situation using tachyonic video on a regular basis for entertainment purposes. They could even use such transmissions to scare others into submission, seeing those who’d been convicted hopelessly confined then witness how they dealt with their imminent demise. Undoubtedly witnessing someone choose the airlock rather than never-ending yet meaningless life on a blackhole made for good INTEGRATOR motivational material.

So what if everyone resorted to that? What if they had an empty spacecraft worth nearly as much as a small battleship on a heading toward Bezarna? Would they kiss it goodbye or bring it back?

He’d been around long enough to know that finances were seldom a driver for a dictatorship. Nonetheless, the quality of the vehicle made more sense if it was retrievable. And if that was the case, if he could fool them into thinking everyone had checked out, preferring to explode their earthly remains in deep space rather than face an unknown and possibly worse fate, maybe there was roundtrip possibility after all.

His eyes met those of fellow Clique member, Jirhod Rhodus, seated on the opposite side. Rhodus was quite a bit older than he was, perhaps even old enough to be his father, his once-blond hair interrupted with streaks of grey surrounding rounded features set with penetrating ice-blue eyes. A massive man, built more like an Erebusite than a typical human, he’d lasted as long as he had because no one wanted to mess with him. His demise had come when he’d insisted on an audit and recount from the election that brought INTEGRATION to Pi, one of only two remaining Neutral regions. As Deputy Territorial General he’d been vocal and effective, too much so, because he’d suddenly disappeared, a former Clique mystery now solved by his presence.

“You’re thinking, Brightstar,” the man said, his voice deep and resonant. “That’s dangerous, you know.”

Laren held his gaze and smiled, trying to figure out how to communicate based on the premise they were being monitored. A moment later he extracted his c-com from his breast pocket and psied his thoughts to it, then did the necessary coding to grant Rhodus access.

“Just playing a little mind game,” he said innocently, handing over the device. “Want to play?”

* * *

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BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume I
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A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume II
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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00005]

A PSILENT PLACE BELOW – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume 3

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