Making Monsters and Dancing Spiders

I’m excited to announce that another of my short stories, Making Monsters, is now available through Amazon.com.

monsters-revisedMaking Monsters

Shai is a girl who has nothing in a world run by men. Her parents are gone. She has no lineage to brag about. No future to hope for. Only her brother keeps her safe, but even he isn’t willing to stand up to Kurth, the leader of their little band. Not when it comes to keeping Kurth’s hands of off her and not now, when he should be disputing the older boy’s plans to involve them all in a dangerous heist.

Shai knew the heist would go terribly wrong and, when it does, she is the one to pay the price. Only this time, what promised to be a tragic end brings her together with a woman secretly practicing magic, a craft forbidden to her gender. The encounter will give Shai the strength and freedom she needs to turn the tables on Kurth, but she may have to abandon her humanity in the process.


In other news, the sequel to The Girl and the Clockwork Cat went to the publisher this week. Fingers crossed they like it and we can get it on track for publication soon. Now I’m ready to start editing another project, assuming I can decide which other project to work on.

Lastly, for anyone who still doubts me when I say jumping spiders are the cutest things, take a gander at this (brought to my attention by the wonderful @ViolaFury).

Happy writing and reading!

The Caelimane Operation a Sneak Peak and Giveaway

thecaelimaneoperationSouthwatch is a steampunk city divided: the rich live in the luxurious airships of the Aerie, while the poor eke out an existence in the pollution-choked streets below. From one extreme to another, idealistic professors, devious aristocrats, mechanicals and fae all struggle for the future of the city they all share — or just try to survive.

The Caelimane Operation by Chris Pavesic is the latest story in The Darkside Codex, a series of stand alone stories which take place in Southwatch. Released January 16th, this is one story you won’t be able to stop reading.

In case you still need some convincing, here’s a blurb:

When the Temples to the Goddess north of Southwatch are burned and followers of Dione are murdered, Hierocrat Catherine, a bard of the Caelimane Temple, sets out to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. With only the help of a traveling group of minstrels and a retired fae investigator, Catherine must solve the mystery before more people are killed, but will she succeed when she finds herself pitted against members of her own Temple, rogue members of the Seelie Court, and a seemingly unstoppable army of undead?

And here is how the story begins:

Prologue: Jackson

“We should turn north, sir,” Corporal Ben Jackson urged as the shadows started to lengthen. “If we hurry, we can be inside the capital city borders by nightfall.”

He glanced up at the surrounding trees, tall oaks for the most part, with a birch or an ash here and there. To the west, where the sky glowed with the departing sun, the branches and leaves were outlined in yellow light like the converse of the unifying dark lead network of stained glass. To someone like Jackson, more accustomed to patrolling fields swept clean from the Dark Cloud devastation that still surrounded the towering city of Southwatch, the sight of so much living vegetation was unnerving.

“Are you afraid of the dark, Corporal?” Lieutenant Reginald Daniels asked with the hint of a smirk.

Jackson did not respond directly to the question. He was experienced enough in the Army to know that no good came from answering an inquiry of this sort. Newly appointed officers like Daniels loved testing their men with these types of abstractions, and Jackson did not want to spend the foreseeable future on night patrol outside the borders of the city when they returned to Southwatch from their current mission.

“Just concerned about the mounts lasting, sir,” Jackson lied. “We’ve been riding hard since we left the garrison, and it’s been a while since I’ve wound the clockwork.” He patted the side of his horse’s neck almost as an afterthought to lend credence to his reply. The mechanical tossed its head in close approximation of a real horse. It neighed, the gentle sound echoing a bit too loudly back from the trees. Somewhere, an animal crashed off though the underbrush, startled by the noise.

“There is no need to be concerned, Corporal. Thalaker’s Mounts are the original all-terrain vehicles.” Daniels smiled at his own humor. He sat a bit straighter in the saddle and brushed a bit of dust from his left sleeve.

Although following the same general pattern, the material in Daniels’s uniform was of higher quality than Jackson’s own—a creation from a tailor that serviced the families in the Aerie. It wouldn’t do to have an aristocrat wearing something that was standard issue, after all. Jackson favored his superior’s outfit with a bitter glance. The cloth and tooled leather were probably worth more than his annual salary.

“And we’ve barely put the mounts to the test,” Daniels continued. “I’m sure the clockwork will hold until tonight.”

“The test, sir?” Jackson asked. He didn’t like the sound of his superior officer’s comment.

“Need to Know, Corporal, but I can guarantee you won’t see the inside of St. Louis tonight. We have other duties.” He spurred his horse down the path. “Quickly, now, before the light deserts us completely.”

Jackson glared at his superior officer’s back, suppressed anger in his eyes. He didn’t believe the “Need to Know” explanation one bit; the commander of the Southwatch Army unit, Lt. Colonel Randall Fitzgerald, wasn’t the sort to send out men on a mission with so little information, or even normally to send them this far outside the borders of Southwatch. Fitzgerald might be a bit lax when it came to some things, but he was not one to put his soldiers’ lives at risk unnecessarily. And this was beginning to feel dangerous. He suspected Daniels was making some sort of a power play and dragging him along for the ride.

This was typical behavior of aristocrats who joined the military, and Daniels came from a family that lived in the Aerie, albeit in one of the lower airships without the best view of the sky. Still, it was a lot higher in the city than a low rank solider like Jackson could ever hope to attain. He doubted if he and his family would ever live above the Dark Cloud, the toxic stew of chemicals, pollution, and dust bisecting the city. But there was nothing to be done for it. The order had been given, and honor bound him to obey.

Ten minutes more of hard riding found them approaching a small, overgrown side road, now no more than ancient double ruts cut into the ground. Daniels swung them onto it, slowing their pace to accommodate the new terrain. The road carried them up and across a rising series of fields like steps. There were many deep breaks of evergreens on the rising slopes at either hand. They finally topped a long ridge where the path split; to the east, the road descended into a dark wood, finding its way among trees that were centuries old. To the west, the fields had been cleared and gradually sloped even higher. A building stood on the apex. The upper reaches still held the sunset and glowed with a delicate cool pink.

Daniels dismounted. He checked the position of the sun. “Just enough light left, I think, for a quick reconnaissance. We will continue on by foot from here, Corporal,” he said. “You take point. We are heading for the Temple of Dione at the top of the hill.”

The ground was damp and muddy, pulling at their boots when they lifted their feet to take a step. There was no sound except the chirping of small insects in the grass. The old cobblestones from the path were scattered, making footing even more hazardous, and Jackson threaded his way through. He could just make out the outline of a burned wall and spire, all that was left of the Temple.

Jackson felt a momentary sadness seeing the Temple in ruins. Like many others in Southwatch, he was a follower of Dione and a member of the Caelimane Temple. He may have been a bit careless of late in attending services, but that was more about his distrust of the clergy rather than his faith in the Goddess. He still believed in Dione; he believed in her light as a shining salvation. To see one of her Temples reduced to this burned state didn’t fit into his concept of divinity.

He considered what it must look like inside—the stone altar scorched, the pews overturned, broken, and blackened—and he wondered if anyone had been inside when it burned. Had this happened during the night when the Temple was deserted or during a full service? Had the people been able to evacuate in time, or had they been trapped inside?

“Do you know what happened here, sir?” he couldn’t help asking.

Daniels paused a moment, staring off into the distance, his face reflective. “This is what we need to determine, Corporal.”

Jackson scanned the area as they approached the ruins. The shadows of the evening were beginning to stretch outward and obscure the small details of the landscape. The ground here was dry and level. The smell of the fire, a mix of charred oak and a sickly sweet odor he couldn’t identify, still lingered in the air. Even their footsteps seemed to fall like stones dropped into water, muffled and dying away in ripples. Then the wind picked up, flattening the grass in the courtyard. A few of the ornamental trees in the yard of the Temple creaked and groaned in chorus, the movement of the leaves and branches making shadows jump and dance across the ground.

A thin trail of blackened grass started about ten yards away from the building and led toward it in a straight line. Daniels knelt next to it and scooped up a handful of earth and ashes. He examined them, lifted them to his face to smell, and then sifted the ashes and dirt through his fingers as the wind bore it away in a puff of dust. “Definitely some sort of an accelerant was used here. Probably splashed over the building and then the arsonist used this as a safety zone to start the blaze.”

“Were there people inside, sir? When it burned?” Jackson didn’t know why he asked; he didn’t think Daniels would even know, and indeed his commanding officer appeared to be ignoring the question. It was just a desire for comfort, perhaps, so he wouldn’t have to envision the worshipers caught in the flames, crying and shrieking to the Goddess for mercy. He shook his head, as if to clear it of the images, and found he was sweating.

You have to stop being so spooked,  Jackson told himself.  Its only an empty shell of a building. Even if people died in thereyou have to go up there and investigate. Thats all. Dont give Daniels a reason to write you up when you get back. Dont give him the satisfaction.

A huge white owl circled above the crumbling Temple spire, unhurried, powerful, and silent.

Daniels dusted off his hand against the leg of his trouser. “Take a look around the perimeter.”

They had almost crossed the courtyard when the wind shifted, blowing in from the dark forest. The stench was horrific. Jackson covered his mouth, and Daniels was struggling not to gag. It was the fetid reek of carrion.

“Respirator!” Daniels barked, pulling on his own. Jackson fumbled with his protective breathing apparatus, managing to snap it into place after a few frantic seconds. He took a deep breath, grateful for the clear air that flowed into his lungs.

A shadow arose from the dark of the wood. It came at them with startling speed, almost seeming to sprint up the hill. As it drew closer, the last gleams of light fell upon its maggoty-white, glistening skin. Black, gelatinous fluids seeped from pustules that covered its face and arms. It bared its teeth and spat specks of ichor with a burbling growl.

It was the shambling wreck of a human being. It was one of many.

They emerged from the shadow of the forest and charged up the hill en masse, ten…fifteen…twenty… Jackson stopped counting and drew his weapon a scant moment after Daniels barked a command to attack. They fired their pistols into the advancing horde with no effect.

“Rapiers!” Daniels yelled, throwing his pistol to the ground and drawing his secondary weapon. He activated the electrical field, and sparks flew. Jackson followed suit.

They fought with their backs to each other. Their electro-rapiers flashed in the dim light. Fluids gushed from the undead creatures, the flesh taking on a creamy consistency and turning black where their blades sliced and burned. Pieces of the creatures fell in all directions. Limbs were everywhere, crawling on the ground, unattached fingers squirming. Howling with harsh tones, thrashing in agony, the undead fell at their feet, the bodies still flaying with wild movements.

Daniels fell to his knees, shrieking and covered in blood, overwhelmed by the sheer number of bodies charging him. Cold, fish-white hands rent his limbs. Some were more decomposed than others, bones visible in places as they staggered forward, mouths gaping. The eyes were as dark as the pavement on the lower streets of Southwatch; there was no human thought or feeling in them.

Jackson was panting from the effort, now. His respirator could barely keep up with the increased breaths. He took one hit, then another. He felt the sting of torn flesh as the undead carved away chunks of his body. He cried out in pain. The sharp white teeth, behind the full lips of blood dripping mouths, clamped together like those of wild beasts. A flash of anger filled him that his body would be taken in bits and pieces by these things to feed them—it was not acceptable. That his living flesh was no more than so much meat to be torn and slashed by their ravenous maws spurred him into a frenzy of unthinking attack. He thrust his rapier forward, overbalanced, and fell to the ground screaming as a dozen maggoty-white bodies swarmed over his fallen frame.

The men’s cries of agony silenced. Soon, only the wet sounds of flesh being torn and dragged could be heard.

You can purchase a copy of The Caelimane Operation here.

Giveaway

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Cover Reveal: The Caelimane Operation by Chris Pavesic

Periodically I like to share information about other authors. I don’t have time to read as much as I’d like, so unless I’m posting an actual review, I can’t promise you’ll like everything. However, if it is here, I do plan to read it eventually and I hope you find something here you truly enjoy. If so, please provide feedback for the benefit of myself and other readers.

Happy Reading!

The Caelimane Operation cover reveal

thecaelimaneoperation

The Caelimane Operation

When the Temples to the Goddess north of Southwatch are burned and followers of Dione are murdered, Hierocrat Catherine, a bard of the Caelimane Temple, sets out to find those responsible and to bring them to justice.  With only the help of a traveling group of minstrels and a retired fae investigator, Catherine must solve the mystery before more people are killed, but will she succeed when she finds herself pitted against members of her own Temple, rogue members of the Seelie Court, and a seemingly unstoppable army of undead?

the-darkside-codex

About the Darkside Codex

The Caelimane Operation is part of Musa Publishing’s Darkside Codex, a shared world series with a steampunk setting.  Although steampunk forms the basis, the novels in the series explore science fiction, high fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, paranormal, romance, mystery, and noir themes.  At the center of each story is the city of Southwatch and the dark cloud (a toxic stew of chemicals and pollution) that bisects not only the city, but the people who live in it.  Segregation is quite literally built into the structure of the city with the rich and the powerful citizens living “sunside” while the poor and downtrodden live beneath the dark cloud.
The higher up you are in the city, the wealthier and more powerful you are.

The Caelimane Operation is scheduled for release on January 16, 2015 by Musa Publishing.

You can learn more about this at www.chrispavesic.com

Leading up to the publication date there will be special posts, pictures, and contests.  Please check often to make sure you do not miss anything!

Chrisauthorphoto

About the Author

Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Email: chrispavesic@outlook.com
Blog: www.chrispavesic.com
Twitter: @chrispavesic
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1IvVb7W

A Little Stocking Stuffing

Christmas is coming and we all know everyone wants a little something catty or a touch of clockwork in their stocking, right? Well, maybe that wasn’t what you were planning for a stocking stuffer, but now you’re thinking it’s a great idea I bet. I’m here to help with a fun giveaway for your holiday or just for the heck of it if you don’t happen to celebrate Christmas.

So what’s in this stocking stuffer giveaway?

santacat

You get this fantastic set of magnets…

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…and some fun swag from The Girl and the Clockwork Cat.

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Enter to win by December 23rd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Holidays!

 

In Silence Waiting and Working

I’m excited to announce that my short story, In Silence Waiting, is now available through Amazon.com. This story was a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future 2nd Quarter 2009 contest and came close to publication in Jim Baen’s Universe right before they closed up shop.

In Silence Waiting

silence_frontThe New Gobi desert is a dangerous place. The only way to cross with relative safety is with guided caravans using genetically engineered slaves, the cynta, creatures designed to sense the dangers of the desert.

When the guide is killed in a tragic incident partway through the crossing, his shackled cynta finds an unlikely ally among the people in the caravan. This ally bring the cynta hope for greater freedoms, but there are still the dangers of the New Gobi to face and many others in the caravan who would keep the cynta a slave.

The cynta can face the threat of the desert alone. The threat of continued slavery, however, is one it cannot conquer without help. Without the ability to speak, can the cynta build a strong enough bond with its new ally to weather the challenges lying ahead?


In other news, the sequel to The Girl and the Clockwork Cat is out with beta readers and I’m now working madly on an unrelated project for NaNoWriMo. Any other crazy NaNo addicts out there? I imagine you’re to busy writing to read this right now, but ganbatte!

I’m currently a few thousand words behind because I started the month sick and now…

DAI

Yep. Curse you EA.

Happy writing and reading (and gaming)!

Another Halloween Medley

Because everyone needs a medley now and then and Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love the costumes and the creativity. This year, I’ve been too busy to invest a lot of time into it, but I wanted to share a little seasonal fun with you all, so here is my Halloween medley.

Last minute pumpkins.

Dragon

Dragon

Shoggoth

Shoggoth

Dressing up the kids.

Demon kitten

Demon kitten

Bat dog demonstrating correct ear placement for an in flight right turn.

Bat dog demonstrating correct ear placement for an in flight right turn.

A bit of Halloween fun from Eldritch Black including Pumpkins, skeletons and a cat in a tutu.

No Halloween is complete without a little Manson. Here is Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare before Christmas’ re-cut with Marilyn Manson’s version of ‘This Is Halloween’ for the re-release of the film in Disney Digital 3-D and 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack.

If you’d like a little steampunk in your Halloween, you can visit my interview over at YA Interrobang.

For a little extra boost of steampunk Halloween, here’s Abney Park performing Evil Man in their studio.

Happy Halloween!

Sweet Romance: 君がいるから

If there is a consistent source of inspiration in my creative life it’s music. I have more than one book idea that was inspired by a song and I often listen to music while I write, tailoring my playlist to the mood I’m trying to set in the scene. I also drive down the road singing along at the top of my lungs and dancing behind the wheel, but I try not to subject others to that part. karaoke

I thought it might be fun to share some of the music that inspires me when I’m working. The first is one of my favorites of all time and a regular go to when I want a sweet romantic feel in a scene. This song isn’t inspiration for a first kiss or night of hot passion. This is two people who mean a great deal to one another discovering their love, reaffirming their love, or perhaps being reunited after a traumatic separation. It even works for non-romantic love, in the case of friends with a deep bond to one another.

This, for me, is one of those rare songs I always play two or three times every time it comes up in my playlist simply because I love it that much. It is in Japanese, however, so I provided a translation below the video.

“kimi ga irukara” (Because you’re here)

The rain which began to fall still hasn’t stopped crying
Although the coldness was too painful because I didn’t have an umbrella with me…
The one who warmed me up, was you

I, who have lost my voice, only sleeps as if I’m dead
Although I cried as I became lost amidst the dream I can’t wake up from…
The one who found me, was you

It was sad and distressing, if I look back
Traces of the dream so transient
Here and now, once again,

“arigatou”

Is what I want to convey to you

If you will laugh, I’ll sing
If you wish for it, I’ll be by your side
If you are doubtful, I’ll say it as many times as it takes
Until my voice withers…

Can you hear me? Am I reaching you?
Because you’re here, I’m here.

Translation from here.

Because I’m always collecting more music, I’d love to hear what your favorite sweet romance songs are?

Book Signing: Lesson Learned and Cool Stuff

 

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I’ve been on the reader side of the table many times in my life.

A little nervous. A little excited. Trying to think of something to say to a favorite author that doesn’t sound absurd.

Glowing and happy as I approach the signing table of someone I know. Delighting in their accomplishment and proud to know them.

I never thought of what it’s like to be on the other side of the table, not even when I was getting ready for my book release party. I was far too busy fretting about whether the books and swag would arrive on time or if I forgot to invite anyone to think about actually being in that seat on the other side of the table.

The books arrived and the swag was perfect.

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Stickers and magnets and bookmarks! Oh my!

I even had someone there to handle the purchasing side of things. All I had to do was talk to people and sign books. Easy right?

Ever seen a deer in the headlights?

Deerheadlights

Yep. That’s how I felt, which wasn’t a real problem until it came time to write something in the books. I had no idea what to write. I hadn’t thought about that part of it. Not once. To be fair, I think it’s harder when you know a lot of the people buying the books because you want to say something personal to each of them, but having some vague notion of what to write would have made it so much easier.

Can I run away now?

Can I run away now?

So this is my advice to the new authors out there. Put time in on swag and ordering book copies and arranging all the details (better if you can delegate some of that), but also spend time coming up with a plan for how your want to sign those books so that you don’t have to try to engage your brain when you feel like a deer in the headlights (this is especially important for true introverts).

For all of you on the other side of the table, be gentle.

Making it through.

Making it through.

Now for a few of the fun things from the book release party.

An amazing bag gifted to me by the extremely talented Ann of Romany Rapture.

handbags

This fantastic pendant gifted to me by another incredibly talented woman, Lora of London Particulars.

pendant

And some great bouquets from more lovely people.

gears

flowers

skittles

Happy book signing, regardless of what side of the table you’re on!

 

Pacific Northwest Writers Blog Hop

I had a different post planned for today, but I was hit up by fellow Pacific NW author Michael G. Munz, author of Zeus Is Dead and several other novels (learn more about his books here) for the Pacific Northwest Writers Blog Hop. Not only did this sound like fun, but it bumps my other post to next week, freeing me from coming up with a new idea. procrastinate So Here’s my contribution to the hop…

1) What am I working on?

My immediate goal is to finish editing the second book in the Clockwork Cat series and get that to my agent by the end of October. Why the end of October? Because we all know what November is.

NaNoWriMo!

TheGirlWiththeClockworkCat-NikkiMcCormack-500x750[2]I know a lot of authors aren’t into the NaNoWriMo write 50,000 words in a month thing. I love it! I won’t wax eloquent on why here, I’ve done that in several blog posts previously. If you really want to know why I love it you can learn more on some of those old posts (My NaNoWriMo Tips and Lessons Learned and Confessions of a NaNoWriMo Addict (and Lessons Learned)). For a short answer, The Girl and the Clockwork Cat started life as a NaNoWriMo novel and that alone is reason enough for me to keep doing it. I already know what I’m writing this year and, after all the editing and book promotion, I’m dying to get started.

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

In the Young Adult category, I think having a really strong female protagonist without having a heavy romance is fairly unusual. In all my work, I like to establish the women as self-sufficient and strong before I let them get too involved in romance that might take away from their own self-discovery.

November Silence: Head Down in the Steampunk NovelOn the steampunk side of things, the low-key gradual development of that technology throughout the series is also uncharacteristic of that genre. It has been a source of disappointment for some readers who are heavy steampunk devotees, but hopefully I can win them over by the end.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I love working in fantasy and science fiction, mostly because there is boundless opportunity to explore creativity while still giving ample opportunity to research and learn. In The Girl and the Clockwork Cat, for example, I spent days researching Victorian London and learning everything I could about that time, but the fact that it is fantasy gave me the ability to take what I learned and turn it into something new.

4) How does my writing process work?

I do actually outline in a sense, but not in the typical sense. When I get an idea, I bounce it around in my head for a while. When I have a good feel for my primary character(s) and I know, at the very least, what their goals are and where I want the book to start and end, I begin making notes and sketching out pivotal scenes. Sometimes I’ll rough out a more detailed timeline, but most of the time I let that information live in my head and start writing, allowing it the story to move dynamically while I work. And there you have it. My contribution to the Pacific NW Blog Hop. Don’t forget to drop by Michael G. Munz and follow through to some of the other authors on the blog hop.

Now to keep the blog hopping I’m passing the torch to another Pacific Northwest author.

CDevine_Headshot41414_smCeejae Devine

Ceejae Devine focuses on personal spiritual experiences, which is something she never imagined she’d be doing because she’s not religious and she doesn’t fit most people’s ideas about what it means to be spiritual. She is a feminist and a single parent with two daughters who are both strong in art, math and science. Ceejae spends most of her time following thoughts to see where they lead, and she’s been making surprising discoveries. She is currently fine tuning her memoir and developing a mini-book called “Critical Revelations About Contemporary Spirituality.”

Ceejae’s links: Facebook, Twitter, Website

Enjoy!

Rising from the Ashes

A dramatic title, I know, but when your computer dies, it is really dramatic. Even if you have the important stuff (writing) backed up, losing your computer means losing your ability to work effectively. This time around, when we pulled the hard drive, it looked like it had started melting. Definitely dead.

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On the up side, if your computer dies right before bonus time when several wondrous new games are lurking on the horizon…

Borderlands Pre Sequel

DA Inquisition

Witcher3

…it can be a blessing in disguise.

Criteria for a new computer for me is simple.

  1. It has to be quiet, so it doesn’t drive me bonkers when I’m writing.
  2. It has to be able to run upcoming games with ease.
  3. It has to do everything without overheating.

Now for a little amateur video.

There will be many books written and edited using this computer, which is its primary purpose, but there will also be epic gaming.

The best part is, now that I have a working computer again, I can get back to editing the next book.