Author Update – July 2017

Author Update – July 2017

Bookcase against a Blue BackgroundI’ve been bad.

Why? I haven’t done a good job of communicating what’s going on with me.

Historically, I’ve just been terrible at it because:

  1. I move at the speed of light (seriously) and if I forget to share it right away, it becomes old news.
  2. I’m an introvert and not used to talking about myself.

But a reader took me to task over this recently, and it made me think about it and how I can let you guys know what’s up with me.

I’ll be doing a once-a-month author update article that will get you up-to-speed with what I’m doing.

I’ll also be doing a separate, once-a-month blog article that will give you a sample chapter from an upcoming work, a glimpse into a new novel I’m researching, depending on what I’m working on and where I am in the process.

Moving forward, you can expect to hear from me on this blog about 1-2 times a month, around the middle and end of the month.

So @michaellaronn's blogging again. Watch him not fail this time--->http://buff.ly/2twdGWi #scifi #books Click To Tweet

 

WRITING NEWS

I’m working on Horizon Down, Book 9 in the Galaxy Mavericks series. It’ll be the final one. Kind of bittersweet to finish this series, but it’s one of my best. Check out the covers for Books 8 & 9.

Book cover for Planet Eaters, Galaxy Mavericks Book 8 by Michael La Ronn. An exploding spaceship against a bloodred space background. Book cover for Horizon Down, Book 9 of Galaxy Mavericks by Michael La Ronn. Two spaceships on the run through a beautiful nebula while shots are being fired at them.

 

 

If you haven’t read Galaxy Mavericks, start here.

If you’d like to read some snippets of the series on this blog, start here.

#spaceopera that rocks---Galaxy Mavericks series by @michaellaronn--->http://buff.ly/2tvGvC6 #scifi Click To Tweet

OTHER NEWS

 

I upgraded my website. It’s a lot more user-friendly and much faster now. A couple things to check out if you haven’t seen them yet:

  • $1 Series Starters—a great intro to my work at an awesome price
  • Audiobook page—check them out if you’re looking for something to listen to on your next commute.

I started a new podcast. I have joined the Alliance of Independent Authors (Alli), and I am co-hosting the AskAlli Beginners’ Self-Publishing Salon, where I give advice to newer authors who are just starting on their journey.

The podcast is part of Alli’s podcast network, and the other hosts are all movers & shakers. Very humbled to be part of the crew.

Headshots of all the AskAlli Podcast Hosts

I did an author interview. Learn more about me, how I write my books, and how I manage to write 5-7 books per year with a full-time job and a child: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/sunday-self-publishing-success-story-michael-la-ronn/

I am starting law school next month. It’s not writing news, but it’s going to be a big life change for me. So I’ll be talking about that, too.

 

NEW BOOKS COMING

 

  • My first book, How to Be Bad, is being rebranded with a new cover and title. Look for it next month’s update.
  • My next series will be LitRPG. If you’ve never heard of LitRPG, basically, it’s a story that takes place inside a video game. I won’t say too much about right now other than that I’ll be reimagining my existing Eaten series into this genre. It’ll be awesome, I promise.

AND FINALLY…

 

See, I wasn’t kidding about having lots of news, was I?

I’ve also revamped my Patreon page for anyone who wants to check it out. I would love any and all support.

Talk to you next month!

 

 

Planet Eaters – Snippet

UNEDITED

The Mavericks Together for the First Time

Keltie Sheffield waited in the airlock as the escape pod cleared the outer doors and the inner airlock doors opened. The escape pod was a circular ball of metal that looked painfully uncomfortable to travel in.

She wrinkled up her nose.

It smelled like space, too. Like burnt rubber and popcorn.

“Smells pretty bad, huh?” she asked.

Silence.

She turned around. Eddie Puente was at a control panel, entering some commands. He ignored her.

She scoffed.

Ever since they had been left alone, he didn’t acknowledge her. He seemed nice enough to start, and they even chatted for an hour. But it must have been something she said, because he stopped talking to her. Like a switch got flipped and she couldn’t figure out why.

He avoided eye contact and acted as if the pod hadn’t even entered the airlock.

The pod touched down on the ground with a clang.

Grayson piloted, and seeing him, she laughed. He was so tall his head was almost touching the ceiling. He was laughing, too.

Devika was frowning. But then again, Keltie had never seen her smile so that was nothing new.

There was someone else with them in the pod, but she couldn’t see who it was.

The pod doors opened, letting out a large whoosh of air.

And then Keltie heard it.

A crazed, revving-like sound.

Weeeeerr!

Keltie ducked as a small black cloud darted over her head. A red eye glinted in the center of the cloud. Seeing it, her heart jumped, sweat beaded on her forehead, and she balled her fist.

“No,” she whispered. And then she yelled, “No!”

A Planet Eater. The alien race that started all of this, the race that killed her best friend before her eyes!

She ripped a crowbar off the wall and banged it as hard as she could.

The alien winced.

“Go away!” she shouted. “Go away!”

She banged the crowbar harder and the Planet Eater flew away, sputtering as if the sound were hurting it.

“Eddie, open the airlock!” she shouted.

Eddie watched with his mouth wide open.

“Eddie!” Keltie said.

CLANG! CLANG!

The alien sputtered again.

“I’ll do it myself,” Keltie grumbled, running for the airlock controls. “You killed Claire. You’ll pay, I swear to God—”

She heard gunshots in her mind.

Then she was back on Kepler.

In her spacesuit.

People were screaming.

Her best friend, Claire, was running next to her.

Bullets were flying everywhere. Planet Eaters covered the sky like ink.

A hand on her shoulder pulled her from the flashback.

She kept swinging the crowbar, denting the pod.

“Keltie,” someone said.

“Somebody help!”

“Keltie,” the voice said.

The alien retreated to the corner of the airlock, and it shrunk to half of its size.

Someone grabbed her crowbar.

She tightened her grip. But soon the crowbar was gone and it clanged against the floor.

Grayson had grabbed her.

“Keltie, it’s all right,” he said.

“What do you mean it’s all right?” she yelled. “Do you remember what they—”

“He’s not gonna hurt you,” Grayson said.

“He’s telling the truth,” Devika said. “It seems to be docile.”

Keltie shook her head at the alien. She pushed herself away from Grayson.

A petite Asian woman stood behind Devika. The encounter had scared her.

“Hi,” the woman said. “I’m Michiko. And that’s Clark.”

Clark swirled in the corner of the ceiling and hovered under a skylight, almost disappearing in the blackness of space outside.

Keltie backed out of the room. Took one last look at Grayson, Eddie, Devika and Michiko.

She thought she knew these people.

Now they were harboring evil aliens!

It was too much to take. She ran out of the room.

***

Click here to grab your copy of Planet Eaters. Or, grab the whole series in one click. 

Orbital Decay – Snippet

A Traumatic Event Florian Macalestern’s Childhood

Florian dashed as far as he could, but he could not keep up with the man.

So he screamed at the top of his lungs.

“Thief!” he cried. “That man is a thief! Stop him! Stop him!”

The man looked back, scowling. His footsteps on the wooden dock were hard compared to Florian’s light steps.

“Stop!” Florian cried.

At the entrance to the dock, someone stuck out their foot.

The man tripped and landed face-first on the wood.

Florian’s heart leaped.

He caught up with the man and jumped on him, grabbing his mother’s purse.

“Let go!” Florian cried, pulling at the purse.

The strap ripped, scattering money, coins, and credit cards all over the ground.

“Big mistake, brat,” the man said, grabbing Florian by the throat.

But Florian kicked him in the groin and the man doubled over.

They wrestled, rolling across the dock.

Florian pushed on the man’s face, feeling day-old stubble. The man pushed back and grabbed a clump of Florian’s hair.

Needles of pain spread across Florian’s scalp—the man was pulling his hair.

“Florian!” someone cried.

Greta.

“Florian!” Greta cried again.

And then Florian felt someone on top of his back.

And then he saw a hand.

Slapping the man on the face.

Again.

And again.

“Leave him alone!” Greta cried.

The man let go of Florian’s hair.

Florian pulled away when—

POW!

Stars danced across his field of vision and he fell to the ground, clutching his chest.

A punch.

He had been punched.

He tried to breathe but his stomach knotted up and his vision narrowed.

He saw his mother wrestling with the man, yelling at him.

Tatiana stood a few feet away, her hands over her mouth.

“Leave…her…alone,” Florian gasped.

And then—

CRACK!

His mother stopped.

The man stopped.

Tatiana gasped.

Smoke. Thick smoke. In the air.

His ears rang.

Florian tried to stand but he stumbled backward.

The world flipped up from underneath him and he was falling.

Falling.

The dock sailed away from him, up, up, up into the sky.

And then he hit the sea, water flooded his lungs, and he sank down, down, down into the clear blue water.

***

He woke, and sprung up, gasping.

His lungs burned and he clutched his chest.

A man put his hands on Florian’s shoulder. His clothes were drenched and his hair was wet.

“Kid, you okay?” the man asked. “You almost drowned but I got you. You’re gonna be okay.”

Florian breathed in and sputtered. Wiping his eyes, he glanced down the dock.

Someone was crying.

Through a gathered crowd, he spotted Tatiana.

He could only see her legs, and bits of her dress.

“Tati,” Florian breathed. “Tati…”

She was crying. She was holding someone in her arms.

And then Florian saw her.

His mother, in Tatiana’s arms.

“No!” Florian cried.

He scrambled across the dock. His rescuer tried to stop him but Florian pushed him away.

Florian shoved two people aside and stopped at the sight of his mother.

Blood welled across Greta’s dress. Her eyes were distant and cold.

Tatiana looked up at Florian and shook her head, crying.

Florian balled his fists.

He looked around for the criminal.

But he was gone.

His legs were suddenly heavy.

He couldn’t move.

He sank to his knees and buried his face in his mother’s chest. He didn’t care about the warm blood on his face.

“Mama,” he said. “Mama, say something!”

But Greta did not respond.

Florian curled into a ball and screamed.

***

Orbital Decay is Florian’s descent into darkness. Click here to grab your copy. Or, grab the entire Galaxy Mavericks series in one click!

Rogue Colony – Snippet

Michiko Sings Away Her Sorrows

Michiko Lins waited for her next assignment in the canteen of a transport carrier.

She glanced at a tablet on the table in front of her.

Blank.

It had been a long hour, waiting for the assignment from headquarters that would change her life. Again. At least for the next few months. Crazy to think that her life was in the government’s hands.

She couldn’t take the waiting.

There were so many places the Galaxy Corps could send her.

Some of them made her nervous. Like the border planets near Argus. Or the colonies deep in the recesses of the galaxy, where no one would hear her communications for hours if something went wrong.

Yet she kept telling herself that she signed up for this.

She closed her eyes and listened to the ship’s quiet hum as it cruised through space. The canteen smelled like a global kitchen—on the various stoves, there were skillets with remnants of curry, rice, beans, and other foods the passengers had made for lunch just a little while ago. A plate of half-eaten pork dumplings and rice balls sat on her plate, next to the tablet, along with a cup of yerba mate tea.

Again her eyes went to the tablet.

Nothing.

She sighed, cradling the acoustic guitar on her lap.

She rolled her finger tips across the strings. Quietly, slowly, she began to play a gentle samba.

A samba for all the people she’d known. A samba for all the places she’d been. A samba for love, a samba for sadness, a samba for all those feelings in between. She held in her mind’s eye her mother, pale and beautiful in a kimono, her dad, tall and dark in a soccer jersey, the blue ocean shores of her home planet, Asiazil, the sunlight shining on the water, the dancing sands, the echoes of beach laughter among gentle waves, smiling faces, the dancing—so much dancing!—and drums and berimbaus and guitars and singing—men and women singing and crooning! In an instant she was back on Asiazil, sitting on a rock on a windswept shore, watching the sunset through a vermilion torii gate in the distance. She was singing, one leg crossed over the other, picking out chords randomly and seeing where the song went. Major chords and minor chords and jazz chords that only Asiazil could pull off. Her home planet’s name and essence was an idea born from a song lyric written hundreds of years ago, one she hoped the planet would always live up to.

She sang.

In Portguese.

In Japanese.

In English.

And the time just passed her by like the ocean waves and the herds of clouds in the blue sky, and smells of the fragrant flowers and the intoxicating bento boxes with eel and crab and smoked Brazilian beef.

She sang of home. And for a moment she wished she was there, but then she realized that she could not go back.

Not yet.

Her fingers told her that the song was almost over.

She picked a final chord and arpeggiated it, letting the notes linger before she took her fingers off the strings.

She nodded in satisfaction, looking out the circular window at the stars blinking outside amidst hyperspace.

“That was some beautiful playing,” a voice said. A chubby twenty-something man leaned in the doorway to the canteen, arms folded. He had red hair and a shaggy beard, and he wore a gray t-shirt  with blue G on the left side. His shirt was tucked into cargo pants—the Galaxy Corps uniform. She was so wrapped up in playing that she didn’t hear him enter.

“Hey, thanks,” Michiko said. “I’m not bothering you, am I? Because if I am—”

“Not at all,” the man said. “The opposite.”

“Where’d you learn to play guitar like that?” the man asked. “Good god. I didn’t even know music like that was possible.”

“I learned it back home,” Michiko said, putting her guitar into a black nylon case.

Michiko grabbed her tea cup—a smooth, shiny gourd with a metal spoon sticking out of a clump of green tea leaves—and she covered it with a napkin.

“What is that?” he asked.

“Just a taste from home,” she said. “It’s called chimarrão.”

“Chima-what?”

“Nevermind.”

The man walked to the table and extended his hand.

“Rudy Rundgren,” he said. “Nice to see another Galaxy Corps member here. I was starting to think I was all alone.”

“Michiko Lins,” she said. “Nice to meet you, too, Rudy.”

“So help me understand,” Rudy said, hesitating.

A question was coming. The kind she always got whenever someone met her for the first time. After all, she didn’t look like most people. Olive-skinned with slanted eyes, long curly black hair, and very short height. She looked like a little girl even though she was already out of college. Sometimes it was the looks; other times it was her slight accent that no one could ever place, a kind of lilting Portguese but not quite.

“My mom has Japanese blood and my dad has Brazilian blood,” she said.

Rudy stammered.

“That was your question, wasn’t it?” Michiko asked.

Rudy rubbed his head. “Yeah, sorry if I offended. I figured with the guitar and the tea that you were from Asiazil, but I always hate to ask, you know?”

“No, I get it all the time,” she said, smiling. “I guess you could call me east by south.”

“Huh?”

“You know, back on Earth. Long time ago. Japan was east. Brazil was south. It’s a song reference, like our entire planet. Too obscure, I guess.”

She laughed at her own joke.

“Well, whatever you want to call yourself,” Rudy said, “you can play guitar like that all day and night and you won’t hear a complaint from me.”

***

Click here to grab your copy of Rogue Colony. Or, grab the entire Galaxy Mavericks series with one click.

Solar Storm – Snippet #2

Smoke Gets Booked for Life in Prison

Smoke stared ahead emotionlessly as the police booked him.

The Southwest Station was a large metal pod with a parking lot full of police cars. It looked like an afterthought in the middle of the rainforest.

The moon was shrouded with clouds, and a gentle rain fell from the navy sky.

The police car hauling him pulled to a stop at a side door and two policemen took him out, handling him roughly.

Smoke felt the rain in his hair and on his skin, and he wondered if this might be the last time he ever experienced rain.

This was, to his knowledge, the first time he had experienced rain since…

His head hurt. He couldn’t think. The doors slammed to the police station and his concentration jumped to the two men who were guiding him.

In a holding room with white walls, the police patted him down again and emptied his pockets. Two silver keys, loose change, and four silver bullets. They took his visor and stared in awe at his cybernetic implants.

They threw the items on a table in the corner of the room in a clatter of noise.

Glancing quickly at the contents, Smoke knew he was in trouble. Not that he wasn’t already going to jail. But bullets in his pocket…that was a bad place for them. Seemed like a good idea at the time when he stuffed them in there.

“What’s your name?” one of the policemen asked.

Smoke did not respond.

“You’re going to have to cooperate,” the policeman said. “We’ve read your rights. You know what they are.”

Smoke ignored him, staring at the wall.

“What’s your name?” the policeman asked again.

Nothing.

“Do you understand what kind of trouble you’re in?”

The policeman gathered the contents and put them into a large white envelope. He handed Smoke a pen and told him to sign his name.

Smoke refused.

“You’re not going to tell us anything, are you?” the policeman asked.

Smoke nodded.

“Are you waiting on a lawyer, then?”

Smoke shook his head.

“Don’t make this hard on yourself,” the officer said. “You’re going to get a fair trial despite what you’ve done. Talking’s not going to help or hurt you at this point.”

Smoke nodded.

“Fine,” the policeman said. “We’ll get your picture and then you can talk to the mean guys.”

Smoke did not change his facial expression as they took his photo. The bright flash blinded him temporarily. As his eyes focused again, the policemen took him and ushered him toward the interrogation room.

***

Want more badassery from Smoke? Grab your copy of Solar Storm. Or, if you liked these snippets so far, grab the entire Galaxy Mavericks series with one click.