Tag Archives: Running Out of Space

Weekly Wrap-Up – 1st May

Standard

Weekly Wrapup

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

It’s been a really busy week. My course at Northbrook is now settling down, so the flurry of admin will now ease up, thankfully. I was also rushing around, getting organised in order to zip off for a few days to stay with my mother. It’s always lovely going to visit her, but the big bonus this time around is that my sister is over on one of her rare visits from the south of France, where she lives. We had a fantastic few days catching up together and nipping off to the shops. I needed to arrive back today in order to give Himself a lift to work. But all the packing (which I loathe!) was absolutely worth it!

I’ve read three books this week:
The Snare – Book 1 of Star Wars Adventures in Wild Space by Cavan Scottthesnare
This is a children’s book that Oscar chose for Book Week, attracted by the fact it is set in the Star Wars world, but features two children whose parents have fallen foul of the Empire. We zipped through it last week-end when he came to stay, as he was desperate to discover what happened next. I shall be reviewing it in due course.

 

 

 

 

A Rruralaffairural Affair by Catherine Alliott
This contemporary romance was a complete change of pace for me – and not an entirely successful one, so I will not be reviewing it. I thoroughly enjoyed the opening pages and, indeed, the first two-thirds was engrossing and took off in all sorts of unexpected directions. Then I realised who was going to end up with whom (it is, after all, a romance) and read on, hoping I was mistaken and I wasn’t. Not the author’s fault that I found the ending a tad flat – more mine for imagining these days that I’d enjoy a straight romance.

 

queenofhearts

Queen of Hearts – Book 1 of the Queen of Hearts Saga by Colleen Oakes
This dystopian, YA take on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is an intriguing, tension-filled read, which is due to be published later this week. So, I’ll be posting my review in a handful of days.

 

 

 

sjhigbeefinalWhile away, I’ve been reading through my own ebook Running Out of Space on the Kindle, checking the formatting and looking out for any more mistakes. It’s been really helpful looking at the text in another format and I’ve found a handful of niggling issues which I’m pleased to be able to fix before publication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My posts last week:
Weekly Wrap-Up – 24th April

* NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Bright Blaze of Magic – Book 3 of the Black Blade series by Jennifer Estep

Teaser Tuesday – Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

* NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* The Star-Touched Queen – by Roshani Chokshi

Review of The Executioner’s Heart – Book 4 of Newbury and Hobbes Investigations by George Mann

Friday Faceoff – Like One, That on a Lonesome Road featuring Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Obviously being away has impacted on my blogging output and reading – but I’m hoping to catch up this week. The weather this week has slid into manic mode, with most days swinging from bright sunshine through to sudden and very cold flurries of hail, sleet and actual snow. Happy May Day everyone and many thanks for reading my blogs – and an especial Spring thank you for those of you who have gone to the trouble of commenting. Have a great week everyone, and let’s hope that sometime soon, we get to have the sunshine without the snow showers…

Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2015 – How Did I Do?

Standard

Thanks to the success of this form of goal-setting, concocted by writing buddy Mhairi Simpson and moonme one New Year’s Eve a couple of years ago when we were slightly the worse for wear – this has now become an integral part of my writing process. The theory is that I set myself some crazily ambitious targets and while striving for those, achieve more than I would have done, had I been more sensible. Um. Yes, I know… But it made sense at the time, when you consider we were both rather the worse for wear – and it has proved to be a very successful strategy for improving my productivity. Question is, did I achieve my targets for 2015?

• The Challenge – Publish Running Out of Space
Nope. This was a decided fail and when it happened, felt like a devastating blow. I had intended – and announced – that I would self publish Running Out of Space, Book 1 of The Sunblinded in time for Fantasycon at the end of October. And I was fully geared up to do so – but fell at the very last fence due to a major glitch in getting it formatted. It was a nightmare, with the clock ticking and convinced it would only take one more major effort, I pulled three 20-hour days in a row trying to get it right. Only to face the fact that it just wasn’t going to happen – unless I shrugged my shoulders and let those occasional bolding/italicization errors remain. I was tempted. Truly. But when I went back to the uploaded version on my Kindle, I felt vaguely sick every time I flipped through the pages and came to those particular passages and knew that feeling would intensify tenfold if I took the decision to publish with those errors in place. So I took the decision not to do so and set off for Fantasycon without having Running Out of Space live and available. It hurt. So much so, that I woke up on the last day of the conference with a heavy head cold that lasted six weeks – and I think the fact it lasted so long was due to exhaustion, both physical and emotional.
However, I take comfort from the knowledge that I made the right decision – and that if I had gone ahead and published Running Out of Space with those errors in place, I would have bitterly regretted it.

• The Challenge – Complete first draft of Miranda’s Tempest
Yes – I managed to achieve this one. Ironically when I was so ill throughout November, I couldn’t sleep much or read – but the one thing that alleviated the misery was writing. So I dived back into this world which has been burning a steady hole in the back of my brain since I started it over a year ago and couldn’t get it right. I went back to the beginning and did a major rewrite, then powered on until I completed the manuscript. It is the most ambitious book I’ve attempted to date.
When teaching Shakespeare’s The Tempest as part of the GCSE syllabus, I always wondered about poor little Miranda. She has been running around an enchanted island, playing with spirits since she was three-years-old. And now, engaged to Prince Ferdinand of Naples, she is sailing off to become a 16th century princess in an Italian court. I never saw that one ending well… So I wrote her adventures, first as a short story, and then when the idea still wouldn’t leave me alone, made a start on the novel. I feel delighted I’ve managed to finish the first draft and am currently working on fine-tuning it, ready for submission.

• The Challenge – complete Chaos in New Cluster
This is the book my pal Michael Griffiths and me started writing a while ago, now. We are really, truly now on the last lap – but Mike has a new baby, so it is not a surprise that this one is still on the backburner. But the nice thing about this project is that it has been written in amongst all our individual writing activities, so if it takes a tad longer before it sees the light of day – so be it. It’s a bonus any way you look at it.

• The Challenge – Write at least 100 reviews for my blog
Done. Actually, I wrote 108 reviews, after reading 121 books, so I only achieved it by the skin of my teeth. This is the one target I haven’t bothered to strive for – I enjoy writing book reviews and I read for pleasure. It was a target I’d set in 2014 and achieved, so there was no point in changing it. But if I hadn’t met it, I wouldn’t have been unduly worried.

• The Challenge – Propose and plan Creative Writing courses for 2015/16
Done. I didn’t manage to get the courses written during the summer, as I had wanted, because I was busy on the final edits of Running Out of Space. In addition I was also very busy Grannying, which tends to drive a coach and horse through all my writing schedules. But I had a successful teaching year, with some new tweaks to make the classes more interactive which have proved popular and I’m pleased to say that both current courses are full.

• The Challenge – Submit Mantivore Eyes and Netted
Those of you kind enough to closely follow my blog will know this has been a major block for me – I am reasonably productive, but not terribly good at getting my work ‘out there’. I resolved to submit my work to at least 50 agents. And no – I didn’t achieve those numbers, BUT I did send out both manuscripts and received a number of nicely worded rejections along the lines of ‘this one isn’t for us, but please bear us in mind for your next project…’ and both manuscripts are currently under consideration.

Overall, despite the mess-up with Running Out of Space, it was a successful year for my writing. And the very good news is that my clever son managed to untangle the formatting issue for me over the Christmas holidays. As for my 2016 targets – I will be posting those at the end of January.

Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2015 – October Roundup

Standard

It was a busy old month and I missed one of my main targets for the year. Which was to get Running Out of Space published in time to have it available as an ebook for Fantasycon. So what happened next?

• It’s certainly been a roller-coaster month and I was lined up, all ready to go. The cover is just what I wanted – eye-catching and genre appropriate, yet simple enough to look really good as a thumbnail, thanks to the wonderful moonJanet Sked. Mhairi Simpson had helped me get started on the formatting, which was always going to be a major headache, given the number of foreign phrases and internal dialogue running through the book. I couldn’t get it to upload without it looking a dog’s breakfast on my Kindle and when Mhairi rootled around, we discovered the progam we’d been using had become corrupted. And at that stage, I decided with only a couple of days to go before we set off for Nottingham, I’d rather step away, take some deep calming breaths and sort it out when I got back.

When we sat down and discussed the situation after Fantasycon, I decided that I’d rather publish the whole Sunblinded trilogy together – while it won’t be in 2015, it shouldn’t take all that long as I’m well on the way with editing Dying For Space and Breathing Space should be a lot more straightforward, anyway.
• Challenge – To have Running Out of Space – Sunblinded: 1 published by Fantasycon. Nope. This one is a bust for the year. Still, I’ve plenty to be getting on with…

• I read 9 books and wrote 8 reviews during October, bring my annual total to date of 92 written reviews. So it looks as though this target will be met during the month. Oh well, nice to meet this one, I suppose.
Challenge – To review a minimum of 100 books during 2015. In progress…

Inevitably, this month it’s been all about Running Out of Space, other than Fantasycon, which was great fun and a welcome break from all the pressure. I’ve written about it in more detail here.

My wordcount in October is fairly paltry. Again, I wrote next to nothing creatively in October, other than some rewrites and a few bits for the preliminary pages in Running Out of Space, which came to just under 3,500 words. My blogs totalled just over 6,000 words and my teaching admin wordcount came to just over 8,500 words, bringing my monthly total for October to just over 18,000 words and my yearly total to date to just over 212,000 words.

Book cover reveal for Running Out of Space

Standard

Here it is… my cover for Running Out of Space, plus the blurb that a number of you kindly helped me straighten out.

SJHigbeefinal

Jezel Campo has yearned to be an officer on her father’s Iberian merchanting ship for as long as she can remember. But serving aboard the Estrella Fugaz is a very different experience from the excitement and adventure she’d always imagined. So Jezel and three friends take themselves off on an unchaperoned jaunt to the lower reaches of Space Station Hawking to prove that young women can also deal with danger – a big mistake.

The consequences of that single expedition changes the lives of all four of them, Jezel’s family – and the blond-haired stranger who steps in to save them from the dregger gang in the lawless Basement Level. And now, Jezel has more excitement and danger than she knows what to do with…

With a following wind, the ebook will be available next Monday 19th October. Running Out of Space is the first in the Sunblinded trilogy, which will be the background to a science fiction crime series I’m writing, featuring my protagonist Jezel Campo as a pan-galactic private investigator.

Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2015 – September Roundup

Standard

We are hurtling towards Fantasycon 2015 at breakneck speed. Am I going to get Running Out of Space published in time to have it available as an ebook at the Con?
• Hm. Still not sure. I’ve completed the line edit and now will be handing over to uber-editor and word-wrangler, moonMhairi Simpson to cast her picky, experienced gaze over the manuscript. She has already spanked the Spanish phrases into submission, bless her. I still have the glossary of Spanish words and phrases to compile and the preliminary pages to sort out. The book cover design is being finalised by the awesome Janet Sked and Mhairi has also finessed my design of the logo for Griffinwing Publishing, my self-publishing imprint. It all feels very grown up and exciting. I have a reading slot at Fantasycon on Saturday night, at 8.20 pm, so if you’re at a loose end and fancy coming along to hear a slice of Running Out of Space, you’ll be very welcome.
• Challenge – To have Running Out of Space – Sunblinded: 1 published by Fantasycon. Probably…

• I read 13 books and wrote 11 reviews during September. More or less on target with this one.
Challenge – To review a minimum of 100 books during 2015. In progress…

• The new academic year is in full swing and both classes are settling in well. While the new classroom isn’t quite as convenient or roomy as the previous one, it is large enough and while it tends to be a bit stuffy with the warm autumn sunshine, at least it will be cosier in winter.
Challenge – To strive to make my Creative Writing courses enjoyable and informative for my students.

Inevitably, this month it’s been all about Running Out of Space. I did take the week-end off to go to Bristolcon a couple of weeks ago – which was so worth it. Every year I come away from this friendly, eventfill Con buzzed and enthused from having met so many lovely folks and the panel subjects were outstanding – read about it here.

As for writing – I had a couple of ideas that were rattling around my skull until I got them down on paper, but that only amounted to a paltry 3,500 words. Other than that, it was all about the editing. I wrote just over 6,000 words reviewing books and blogging this month. As I’d expected, the majority of my writing and a fair chunk of time and mental energy went on writing course notes and admin for my teaching commitments, which amounted to just over 15,000 words, bringing my monthly total in September to around 25,000 and my yearly total to date to just over 193,000 words.

HELP! I’m all blurbed out…

Standard

I’m working on my back cover blurb for Running Out of Space and have got to the stage where I’m spinning in hamster-wheel circles in my head… I cannot decide which is the better, punchier-yet-informative blurb. I’d be very grateful for any feedback!

Running Out of Space – Blurb 1

Jezel Campo is supposed to find a husband within the Iberian space-merchant community, settle down in Nuevo Madrid and produce a brood of babies. But her ambition to be a serving officer enrages her disciplinarian father, Captain Vicente Campo.

An illegal expedition to the lower reaches of Space Station Hawking spins out of control when Jezel and her friends tangle with a dregger gang. However, they are saved from a beating, or worse, when Wynn steps in and guides them to safety. Dazzled by his blonde good looks, Jezel takes him aboard the Estrella Fugaz and guarantees him safe passage to their next destination. Which turns out to be a very rash promise…

Running Out of Space – Blurb 2

Jezel Campo has yearned to be an officer on her father’s Iberian merchanting ship for as long as she can remember. But serving aboard the Estrella Fugaz is a very different experience from the excitement and adventure she’d always imagined. So Jezel and three friends take themselves off on an unchaperoned jaunt to the lower reaches of Space Station Hawking to prove that young women can also deal with danger – a big mistake.

The consequences of that single expedition changes the lives of all four of them, Jezel’s family – and the blond-haired stranger who steps in to save them from the dregger gang in the lawless Basement Level. And now, Jezel has more excitement and danger than she knows what to do with…

Jezell Campo from Running Out of Space – to be released Summer 2015

Standard

My pal Sara Letourneau had blogged these answers for her character and mentioned they were part of the Beautiful People section of the Further Up and Further In blog, designed to help writers get to know their characters better. This is the July crop of answers and given that Jezell is going to see the light of day sometime this summer, I figured I’d give it a whirl… Thanks to Sky and Cait for taking the trouble to draft these monthly questions.

beautiful-people-11. What’s their favourite ice cream flavour?
Jezell likes the red wine and blueberry flavour as the alcoholic content helps to mask the blueberry, as she isn’t all that fond of fruit. Not that she often gets to taste this particular ice cream flavour at home – anything remotely tasting of wine disappears down her mother’s throat well before she gets so much as a sniff at it. So now she’s away on her father’s spaceship, she makes a point of ordering it. Because she can.

2. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?
She’ll be out with her amigas – Donice, Alita and Efra. Left to herself, she’d probably set off wearing ship’s overalls, but the chicas won’t let that happen. They’ll take her in hand – she and Donice are more or less the same size, although Donice is more generously proportioned, so she’ll borrow one of Donice’s off the shoulder blouses and flared skirts. She will also wear a wig to hide her shaved head, part of ship’s regs for all serving crew. Wherever the ship docks, she and her amigas will end up at a bar or dancing venue previously approved by the shipboard chaperones and fiercely protected by the hombres from the ship.

3. Look at your character’s feet. Describe what you see there. Do they wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Are they in socks that are ratty and full of holes? What do they consider comfortable and what do they consider agony?
When on duty, Jezell has to wear military grade boots. The Captain, who is her father, used to serve in a mercenary force and has a penchant for all things military, especially as surplus gear can be bought for a generous discount – something that appeals to his merchanting, cred-hugging instincts. When she is off duty she would wander around  barefoot if she could get away with it, but it’s against ship’s regs, so she wears non-slips. They are often odd colours as she tends to lose one of a pair, which has Alita rolling her eyes over her untidiness.

4. Do they have any birthmark or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?
She has a small mark on the pad of her left palm and a small star-shaped scar behind her ear which she only got to know about when undergoing the extensive physical before joining the merchanting space ship, Estrella Fugaz some 9 months earlier. She doesn’t know it, but both scars were inflicted by her brother Duardo when he was an 18-month-old infant, a long time ago, now. These days, any wounds going to be inflicted, it’ll be Jezell doing the deed, that’s for sure – especially where Duardo’s concerned…

5. What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent? (Feel free to share samples!)
She loves music, particularly the Old World stuff from pre-Diasporan times. The modern multi-tonal bot-compositions leave her cold – apart from anything else, they are next to impossible to sing unless you have your voice artificially aug’d and she’s no intention of letting some bot-brain tinker with her voice, muchas gracias for asking…

6. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How’s their singing voice?
She sings a lot. Often at the end of an evening, when the wine is flowing and people want to hear the old songs from Homespace, she is asked to sing, which she enjoys doing. Although she gets very fed up when fast-talking hem-huggers overpraise her performance, just to get on her shiny side because she is The Cap’s daughter.

7. What kind of book would you catch them reading?
Ha! As if she’d ever be given any slack time to prone around with a book. Back home, she was always pressed into service to help out with her baby brothers, particularly when Mamá retreated to her room in a drink-sodden haze. And now on the ship, she is vaguely aware of the library but is more interested in delving into the musical archive.

8. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?
The Cap generally books them a hotel suite at his favourite tourist resort in the whole of Sector Two, Costa del Iberia, where there are sandy beaches and warm seas for a couple of weeks. Not that Jezell gets a whole lot of time to laze around on the sand – she’s too busy keeping tabs on her baby brothers. Though the last time, baby Orly was only a couple of months old, so she stayed at home with Mamá, who was still recovering from her confinement and helped with the night feeds, while The Cap took the boys away. It wasn’t a success. They came home early with The Cap tight-lipped and a face darker than a black hole, muttering about having to do something about the boy’s discipline – so Jezell figured it was probably Duardo messing things up. Again.

9. It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. Ex. If they’re eating breakfast, what’s on the menu? Are they hiking, shopping, lazing around?
Now she’s on the ship, it majorly depends on which watch she’s on, given Estrella works a three-section dogged watch system. Being on Shift Segundo, she’s either still on the changeover and very much looking forward to brunch in the mess with her amigas in another hour, or standing by to take over. Or if she’s off-duty, she’ll have spent a morning lazing in her cribicle – if Donice will let her – and then have a big meal before getting ready to go on duty. If on shore leave, it’s all a question of when the chaperones feel inclined to escort the chicas to the approved shopping or trading areas.

10. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?
She is exasperated by the constant chaperoning because she is a fertile señorita. She wishes that she was one of the infertile chicas on board the ship who have a whole lot more freedom to spend time with whom they want. Apart from anything else, there are a bunch of hombres on the ship who have decided that paying court to her would be a zesting career move, so she is always having to flick away unwanted attention. Which gets to be sooo boring…

FICTION FRIDAY – Extract from Running Out of Space – Book 1 of The Sunblinded trilogy

Standard

Abia got straight to the point after ordering drinks. “If you were to join us, what could you offer the Quixote?”
“I’m training in Procurement,” I offered, grateful all over again to Lnard.
Abia shook his head. “We have an experienced family that ably handles that side for us. What else?”
I opened my mouth and shut it again. I’d been about to mention that I was fertile; but given that I was docking with a non-Iberian, that was no longer relevant. Besides, producing bambinos was way down my piclist, anyhow.
Other than that, I haven’t any talents. Except for annoying mi padre – and a whole bunch of folk are equally gifted in that department.
I shrugged, feeling stupid. “Nada, as it happens. That’s why I wanted to train as an officer.”
Abia didn’t exactly grimace, but his expression prompted Alita to speak up for me, “She works hard, querido. A willing pair of hands is always useful.”
He didn’t look convinced. “Oh, .”
I hunched in my seat, feeling like ship-soiled goods.
“There’s her singing.” Wynn turned to me. “I can’t believe that you haven’t holo’d your stuff. People’d pay for that. Majorly.”
I rolled my eyes, but said nothing as our drinks arrived. Abia was the only one drinking wine, while the rest of us had fruit juice. After taking a large mouthful of the house red, he asked, “Would you agree to produce a holo of your singing?”
“So long as I wasn’t liable for the production costs when you make a loss on such a wet-brained venture.”
Alita shook her head as she and Abia grinned at each other.
Abia turned to Wynn. “And you?”
“There’s my sculptures. They generally fetch a good price.” Wynn took a deep breath before leaning towards me. “Thing is, cooped inside a tin can doesn’t do it for me. I’m a dirtsider. Born and bred.” His grip on my hand tightened. “I can work my passage, or whatever. But don’t know how you space camels keep your heads straight, living like this – and that’s a fact.”
I winced at Wynn’s use of the term ‘space camel’, but Abia’s face cleared.
“Well, that’s a whole lot easier.” He raised his glass, relief pouring off him that we didn’t want to permanently clutter up the Quixote. “Can’t see El Capitán having a problem giving the pair of you a lift. For the right price. So where d’you want to go?”
I gulped half my fruit juice in one huge swallow, wondering if this was some whacked-out dream.
Wynn looked at me pleadingly as he answered, “I was heading to Ceres. Their economy was still functioning, last I heard. That smooth with you?”
I shook my head. “It’s part of Estrella’s regular trade run back to Nuevo Madrid, so the Cap has contacts-”
“Wouldn’t worry about him too much longer, chica.” Alita knocked back her drink.
“He’s got a very long reach.” I looked at Wynn. “We’d be safer elsewhere.”
Alita leaned closer. “It’s smooth, Jez. He won’t be promming around the Bridgedeck much longer.”
What! “You told Capitán Diaz the truth ‘bout Donice, Alita?”
She flushed. “’Course not. He made me swear that I wouldn’t. What d’you take me for?” She lowered her voice, “Didn’t have to. The Cap’s lost the support of the abuelas on Estrella.”
“What’ve they said, then?”
She tossed her hair like it was head-grown. “That’s not how it works. It’s what they haven’t said. They haven’t told us chicas that’ll we’re headed hellwards for stranding poor Donice. They haven’t wordslimed you once – not even with you being DeepSpaced.”
“Doesn’t help that Estrella has a putrid rep with the other ships,” Abia added, tossing this info-nuke at me as if it was the weather. “They reckon your Capitán would flush every one of them away sooner than spit, if it came down to them ‘gainst his beloved Military.”
Yeah well, they’re probably right.

FICTION FRIDAY – Extract from Running Out of Space – Book 1 of The Sunblinded trilogy

Standard

I felt cold as I leaned towards Wynn, trying to screen him from the monitors. “You haven’t said anything about what really happened in Basement Level, have you?”
Ricco barged between us, bristling with outraged machismo.
“And what d’you think you’re doing, Rubio?” He spoiled his attitude of pent aggression by tipping a plateful of food down himself, then scraped at his smeared tunic, making the stain a whole lot worse, cursing steadily as he did so.
“You better wash that mouth out before you kiss your Mamá with it!” I snapped, as pieces of paella showered down on me. “Quit staling our air, Ricco.”
Giving up on his uniform, Ricco didn’t even look in my direction, too busy trying to eye-slice Wynn into submission. Who leaned back in his chair with his hands laced behind his head, grinning. I felt a wave of affection for him.
One of our hombres would feel honour-bound to square up to Ricco, by now.
“Step away from my intended, sobra!” Ricco hissed.
What!
“This true?” Wynn turned to me, his face now stone cold.
“’Course it isn’t! What d’you take me for?” my furious voice soared over the polite mutter susurrating around the cargohold. I jumped up and turned on Ricco. “What holo-scam you pulling now, hombre?”
Sudden hush dropped like a blanket around us.
What I should have done was slam my mouth shut. Or just head for the door. Preferably both. What I actually did was shout at the top of my very loud voice, “I’m not your intended! Never have been and never will be, Ricco Solana, and you know it!”
Fully fired up, he also lost any sense of propriety. “Don’t you give me that, you holo-hoaxing deceiver!”
“Deceiver!” I spluttered, “What deceit, you wet-head? Have we ever exchanged any promises? No. Any ring? No. Have we even kissed? No.”
“But you knew,” he howled, his face blotched and furious. “It was understood that we’d marry! We grew up together-”
I wasn’t letting him get away with that fuse-brained reasoning. “Sí, you’re right. So we did. I also grew up with five brothers and a pet rabbit. I’m not marrying them, either!”
“But your padre and me – we have spoken of this. He has given his permission!”
I might’ve known it. Papá! You’re the deceiving holo-hoaxer, here, aren’t you?
I saw Ricco’s contorted face through a red haze as my fury nocked up to giddy recklessness. “Oh, fine. Marry him, then. I don’t want you in that way, and I never have!”

FICTION FRIDAY – Extract from Running Out of Space – Book 1 of The Sunblinded trilogy

Standard

This is an extract from Chapter 4 of Running Out of Space, which I’m planning to publish in the summer, along with Dying for Space and Breathing Space. Jezell is being carpeted by her father, the Iberian merchant space captain when a situation flares involving the ship…

As the Cap and Josian continued playing tunes on the emergency console, a rumbling shudder started somewhere beneath our feet.
That’s the engines. Is this a mega-bluff or is the Cap really going to take on the whole station?
SS Hawking was one of the planetoid class of space stations. Trader Level was sited around the equator, with the docking bays fanning out from reinforced spokes known as pontoons. The Cap was threatening to blast the pontoon connecting Bright Nova to Hawking.
Not that he’ll do it. There’s three other merchanters docked in the same bay… he won’t, will he? Because if he does and those three ships find themselves adrift, they could crash into the air membrane, or each other. Hundreds could die…
Screens dotting the console reflected rainbow colours across their faces, while the Cap and El Segundo watched the firefight on the docks, in between dealing with the coms-traf stacking up.
Watching all this unfold in front of me – so like a holovid – felt unreal. Seesawing between terror and excitement, I held my breath, hoping the Cap would continue to ignore my presence till the emergency was over.
A series of percussive bangs boomed sullenly from outside the ship.
That’s the tethers blown. The Stationmaster won’t like that one little bit.
He didn’t.
“Stationmaster is demanding alpha priority comlink, señor.
The Cap’s grin pimpled my skin. “Is he, now? Make him wait two more minutes, then patch him through. Jonte – you there, amigo?”
Jonte Prado, Chief Engineer, was one of the Cap’s primero compadres when he was Military. And it showed. He reckoned not to have favourites, but he did. Generally, they were all his old army pals.
I zoned out the stab of jealousy.
“…train those guns onto the pontoon on my mark. Un, dos, tres… Now!” His face was lit up, his eyes sparkling. It came to me that this emergency was bread and air to Papá.
“Capitán, I have the Stationmaster on a priority hail for you.” The careful formality told me that the Stationmaster could hear all this.
Capitán Campo at your service-”
A spluttering roar cut off the Cap’s greeting. “He’s done what? The piratical fuse-brain! Estrella Fugaz why are your armaments deployed? And you’ve blown the tethers at your docking station. Explain yourself, sir! You’re going the right way to be blacklisted from all Sector Two stations!”
“We are under attack, señor. Station security is doing nothing to help. Our assumption is that you are in alliance with the forces assaulting our crew,” the Cap’s voice was measured, but an underlying vibrato raised the hairs on my neck. He was furious. If I were the Stationmaster I’d be choosing my words with care, just now.
The Stationmaster did nothing of the sort. Chiefly because he was also enraged. “What wet-headed piece of reasoning brought you to that conclusion, sir? From where I’m sitting, a petty squabble ‘tween two Merchanter ships has gotten out of hand-”
The Cap’s voice coshed across the Stationmaster’s blustering like a durasteel bar, “Entirely due to the negligence of your own security in not restraining the crew of Bright Nova when they started attacking my crew, señor!”