End of May update

So it’s the end of another month, and I’m happy to report that things are going well. Gunslinger to the Stars has had a decent release, and seems to be on its way to grow into its natural readership. I don’t want to push it too hard just yet, better to wait until a few reviews and also boughts come in. But I can push the short story, “Jane Carter of Earth and the Rescue that Never Was.” Will be interesting to see whether that garners interest in the novel.

On the writing front, I’m making good progress on Patriots in Retreat, my current WIP. The plan is to finish the last four Sons of the Starfarers books in quick succession, in order to release them one after another in the beginning of 2018. The covers are all done, and the editing shouldn’t be too expensive, so if I can knock all these books off over the summer, I’ll be in good shape.

The goal is to write each one of them in four weeks, with a week-long buffer between each draft. I’m trying out a new writing method—actually, a method I used to use when I was a kid but laid aside when I wrote my first novel. Instead of writing several distinct drafts, I’m cycling through the previous day’s work in order to produce a more clean first draft.

When I wrote my first novel, the goal was just to finish the thing, so instead of trying to fix all the problems with it as I went along, I prioritized getting to the end. Needless to say, that hot mess of a novel will never see the light of day. But for some reason, I’ve stuck with that method of writing ever since, sometimes to great detriment. Heart of the Nebula took several years to complete because the first two drafts were full of plot holes, worldbuilding inconsistencies, and totally useless characters.

Of course, back then I was a much less experienced writer and needed some emotional distance in order to figure out how to fix my own work. But now, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle of it. So we’ll try out the cycling thing with these books and see how it goes.

I did recently reread the first book, Brothers in Exile. Have to say, it’s not my best work. Not that the story itself is bad, but the writing is pretty poor and needs a good polish. Also, some of the character reactions are off. There’s a bit more melodrama than I’d like, and not enough consistency.

Again, nothing in need of a complete overhaul. Just a touch up. And maybe this is more just a recognition of how much my writing has improved over the last couple of years (at least, I hope that’s what it is). But once the last four books are done, I plan to take a couple of weeks to really touch it up.

In other news, The Sword Keeper, my first fantasy novel, is just about finished and on track for a September release. There’s a couple of issues my first readers have pointed out, but it’s more a question of patching the sails than bringing her into drydock and building a new hull. The next big step after sending it off to the editor is to find a good cover artist. I’ll probably post a classified on Deviantart, see who bites.

I really want an illustrated cover, not one of these photo-realistic things that all tend to blend together (or worse, copy the same stock photos). Those do tend to be a bit more expensive, but for my first fantasy novel, I’m willing to pay a little more.

On the publishing side of things, I’ve got a short story single and a short story bundle lined up for June. It didn’t seem fair to release the one story as a single only to release it a couple months later in a bundle, so I’m doing them both together. The cover is pretty spiffy—I’ll be sure to do a reveal later this week.

And that just about does it. Lots of things to do on the publishing side, lots of stories to write on the writing side, but it’s all coming together and I think you’ll really enjoy how it turns out. Take care!

Out Now: Gunslinger to the Stars!

Great news guys! My latest novel, Gunslinger to the Stars, is now out!

I really believe that this is the most entertaining book I’ve written to date. Definitely the funnest one to write. In some ways, it’s quite a bit different from my previous fare, but I think my readers will enjoy it nonetheless.

If you do get a chance to read it, I would greatly appreciate if you’d take the time to post a review. Now is the most important time for reviews to be posted, in the days and weeks immediately after release. It will also help me to decide whether and how soon to turn this into a trilogy If you can’t, no worries, but a huge thanks if you can.

Other than that, thanks for reading and enjoy!

Gunslinger to the Stars

Gunslinger to the Stars

$3.99
Sam Kletchka here, freelance gunslinger and interstellar privateer. This, my friends, is how I went from being stranded in the armpit of the galaxy to becoming the luckiest human being in the universe. More info →
Buy now!

Gunslinger to the Stars — excerpt 8

“Oh my heck,” said Jane, still trembling.

I holstered Kindness and reached down to help her to her feet. Her face was pale and her arms were trembling, so I figured it was a good time for us both to leave.

“Barkeep,” I said, pulling out a credit chit. Behind the counter, Ivosh rose unsteadily to his feet.

“My apologies,” he said, cracking his neck. Though the rockadillo grunt had punched him hard enough to break some bones, he looked none the worse for wear.

“You okay?” I asked.

“I’m perfectly fine,” he said, walking around the counter.

“Are you sure? That blow you took—”

“For members of my species, the physical form is less of a liability than it is for yours. Emotional energy does much to revive us, as I’m certain you can tell.”

He gestured to Jane. Her cheeks were still pale, and she was gripping my arm as if to never let go. I had no idea what was running through her mind, but it was clear to us both that I had just saved her life. Apparently, her relief was enough to make Ivosh regenerate.

“Let’s get out of here,” I said. “Can you take us to your place?”

“Certainly,” said Ivosh. “Come, let’s go.”

I left the credit chit on the counter and followed him out, Jane by my side. The fact that no one else seemed fazed by the gunfight told me everything I needed to know about the Gorinal Cluster. This place was going to be tough.


Gunslinger to the Stars

Gunslinger to the Stars

$3.99
Sam Kletchka here, freelance gunslinger and interstellar privateer. This, my friends, is how I went from being stranded in the armpit of the galaxy to becoming the luckiest human being in the universe. More info →
Buy now!

Gunslinger to the Stars — excerpt 7

The .45 is an excellent caliber for dealing with unfamiliar races. Having never faced a rockadillo before, I wasn’t sure what to aim for, but the .45’s stopping power covers a multitude of sins. I aimed for the leader’s neck and fired twice. Kindness bucked in my hands, and the rockadillo leader stumbled backwards with dark, oily bodily fluid gushing from his wound. He squealed like a pig, and Grunt Number Two drew one of his blades. Unfortunately for him, Kindness was faster. I shot out his wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints in quick succession. The blade fell from his pudgy armored hand, and his arm went limp, dripping oily blood all over the floor.

With the rockadillos more or less neutralized, I risked a quick glance at Jane. She was huddled on the floor behind me, clutching my leg. I turned and stared the aliens down with Kindness pointed squarely at them, but the fight was over. Grunt Number One dragged the unmoving body of their leader away toward the door, while Grunt Number Two staggered after him.

“Ack mar alakzan!” he shouted in my direction just before leaving. My wrist console attempted to translate, but the rockadillo’s native tongue was not in the database. Still, the meaning was clear: I now had a price on my head.


Gunslinger to the Stars

Gunslinger to the Stars

$3.99
Sam Kletchka here, freelance gunslinger and interstellar privateer. This, my friends, is how I went from being stranded in the armpit of the galaxy to becoming the luckiest human being in the universe. More info →
Buy now!

Gunslinger to the Stars — excerpt 6

Our little pissing match had attracted some unwelcome attention, in particular three large and rather unfriendly looking aliens. Picture the love child of an armadillo and a rock, beaten half to death with the ugly stick. Their tentacle-like tongues flicked in and out of their narrow mouths as they formed a half-circle around us.

“You are hoo-man?” the largest one asked in the local trade language. My wrist console translated for me through my ear-jewel, though I understood well enough to get along without it.

“Yes,” Jane answered before I could say anything. “Though we are not official emissaries, we express our greetings in a spirit of friendship.”

She was a lot better at the trade language than I was, but she had still missed a few non-verbal cues. The two grunts stood with their centers of gravity low and their arm-like upper appendages ready for action, like linebackers just before a play. They all carried dagger-like blades on their belts, with a longer one sheathed on the backs of their knotted shells. It was clear that they weren’t here to establish friendly diplomatic relations.

My hand slipped down to Kindness, the .45 ACP 2011 holstered on my hip.

“You come with us,” the head rockadillo said, its tongue flitting rapidly. “No question. No resist.”

“I’m sorry, but there must be some mistake,” said Jane, frowning at their odd request.

“We no mistake. You hoo-man, you come now. No more talk!”

“Friends, please,” said Ivosh, stepping between them. “There is no need to—”

Without any warning, Grunt Number One lunged forward and threw a punch into Ivosh’s body with a sickening snap, and the empath tumbled over the countertop. Jane screamed, and I bolted into action.


Gunslinger to the Stars

Gunslinger to the Stars

$3.99
Sam Kletchka here, freelance gunslinger and interstellar privateer. This, my friends, is how I went from being stranded in the armpit of the galaxy to becoming the luckiest human being in the universe. More info →
Buy now!