Claudia plunged deeper underwater, staring up at the flickering starlight and the moon shadows blinking under a veil of the cleansing water. She held her breath, her heart beating the only sound, moving her arms and legs in slow motion. The burn in her lungs began as a memory of her father, when she was four and he pushed her on the backyard swing, his tie loose at the collar, gray flannel pants billowing in the breeze she made as she flew past him. Then, when she closed her eyes, the sensation of movement made her feel like she was flying like Wendy through the clouds to Neverland.
The burn continued, more strenuous now, vying for attention. It grew into a dull, penetrating ache. She released some air and watched the bubbles float above her face, drifting toward the surface, merging with the dappled light like a Monet seascape. Deeper, and a little deeper yet. More bubbles rushed to the surface. The ache became an urgent scream in her brain, and just when she thought she would black out, in that thin space between consciousness and some other realm, she kicked hard and torpedoed up, breaching the surface in a midnight explosion of splashes and sloshes and eerie echoes and great inhalations.
Crickets still chirped in the background and there, across the bay, fireflies danced in the darkness of the marshes. As she swam quietly, calmly back to the shore, feeling the water caress her naked body, the decision that haunted her for the past week solidified in her mind. It was time.
Cold sand pinched between her toes. Claudia gathered her clothes and climbed the stone steps to the cabin. Everything made sense now. Everything so clear. On the porch surrounding the wooden structure, she stopped to gaze across the mirrored water. The moon’s reflection and winking stars rippled across time, across the lives of all her generations. She shivered as droplets of water fell from her skin. She touched her belly softly, dead fingers trembling. Then, swallowing a deep breath, she turned and stepped inside.
- from a writing exercise in one of the Ottawa Writing Workshop sessions.
March 1st, and this is the official release date of my new book, "Echoes in the Grey". It's the second book in the Ross 128 trilogy... the first trilogy I've tackled. As I write this, I'm sitting in my writing chair. The temperature is below zero in Ottawa where I live, and the sun is brilliant. I'm going outside for a bike ride later this afternoon despite the two feet of snow on the ground.
And here's the thing. I made this story available to beta readers in advance with a view of getting some feedback, some reviews, and so on. And today, I got the very first 1 star rating I've ever received (which probably tells you, I haven't written a ton of stories!), which is fine. My belief is that if I get a bad review or rating, it has more to do with a mis-match of that reader with this story. Hey, if King and Atwood can get 1 stars, then anyone can.
I don't want to spoil the plot for those of you who have read the first book "The Crying of Ross 128", but I can tell you that in this story, we actually meet an alien life form, and that meeting takes place on Luna. The regular cast of characters: Kate, Jim and Esther are here, and there are new ones too, like Clayton Carter, the ambitious CEO of Titanius Space Resources, and Mary Atteberry who has grown up a bit from the first book.
If You Like Star Trek...
One question my readers pose is: will I like this story? Short answer is: who knows? But I can tell you that my stories tend to focus on the human side of SF. I'm more interested in exploring aspects of the human condition rather than the technology. Sure, there's some real science in here to keep the science types happy, but this story is really about our own relationships, our curiosity, our sense of value and work and ethical behaviour.
I can also say that if you like commercial fiction like the Star Trek novel series, you will enjoy this trilogy. I have been influenced by Robert J. Sawyer, Neal Asher, Greg Cox, Jeff Mariotte, Ursula Le Guin, and Ted Dekker. I'm not saying these are all my favourite writers, but I like the way they construct scenes, characters, conflict and tension, and SF speculation. So I'm confident when I say that if you like any of those authors, you will probably find my stories likeable too.
Anyway, as always, if you do enjoy my stories, I would appreciate your rating/review on goodreads or amazon.
Hi, I'm David. I'm a science fiction writer, lover of Star Trek, fascinated by alien contact, galactic space battles, and near future dystopia. Want to know the darker details? Click here.
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