Short Story Available

Blogging is one of those activities that’s deceptively simple. How hard is it to write a few hundred words a month and keep people up-to-date on things? Hard, apparently. Because my first professionally published short story came out two months ago and I’m just now posting about it. (Though if you follow me on twitter @dbrentbaldwin you would have heard about it long ago…)

Anyway, Who We Once Were, Who We Will Never Be is available from Fireside Fiction. It’s very short, only about three pages (or 750 words for my fellow writers), but it packs a punch.

The story itself is a result of my trip to China last year. One Saturday evening I found myself trying to find a cab at Luohu Port, and I decided to cut through an alley to get to a better intersection. Halfway down the alley I ran into a number women that seemed very interested in inviting me upstairs. It was a very eye-opening experience, and this story grew from the question of “what if things in the alley went terribly, horribly wrong?”

Some News

Hello again, you handsome jumble of electrons. I have a few exciting pieces of news, which is synonymous with “I have things published again!”

As anyone following the blog is likely aware, I spent a chunk of my Spring in Shenzhen, China. I blogged about the trip at the time, but I also set to work on a novel set in the same area. I am very pleased to announce that the novel is finally finished. In addition to the novel, I also have a novella (i.e. a short novel) and a short story set in the same general area.

I grew up reading the Hardy Boys. Frank and Joe, those All American bad-asses, always running across parking lots without losing their breath, always foiling evil through cleverness and a little fisticuffs. (I always saw myself as Frank, more cerebral, more brown-headed.) From there I moved on to Tom Clancy and Jack Higgins and Micheal Crichton and grown-up thrillers with guns and spies and science. Take a few drops of spy thriller, mix in a little technothriller and dash with a trip to Hong Kong, and you apparently end up with Porter Melo, retired SEAL and CIA agent, dragged back into the shadow world.

When I set out to tell a story set in China, I looked around for historical conflicts I could use, and sure enough, there was a really obvious one right in front of me in Hong Kong and the democracy protests. Of course, I was about half-way through writing the novel when the 2014 Occupy Central protests began, and my fictional story was overtaken by reality. In my fictional world the protesters are not going to go quietly into that good night, but that’s a story for the sequel.

And so, I’m happy to share that Kowloon Sunrise and Kowloon Spring will both be available on Wednesday, November 26th. Both can be pre-ordered now at Amazon, and Kowloon Sunrise can be found at Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Nook.

The opening novella in the Porter Melo series.
The opening novella in the Porter Melo series.

After a decade of service in the U.S. Government’s black ops branches, former Navy SEAL and CIA agent Porter Melo has retired to a quiet life of fishing, sailing, and corporate espionage in Hong Kong. When a shipment of Top Secret weapons is hijacked just off the Chinese coast, Porter is yanked back into the shadow world he thought he’d left behind.

With vicious Chinese secret police, a murderous Japanese assassin, and ruthless Hong Kong Triads on one side, and a power-hungry CIA station chief on the other, Porter is in a race for his life to recover the weapons before they can be used against him… and against millions of innocent civilians.

The Kowloon Sunrise is a fast, furious story that centers on Porter, and I intend it to be the appetizer before the longer, meatier Kowloon Spring. You can find it here on Amazon, on Nook, on iBooks and on Kobo.

Kowloon Spring

When a mysterious Chinese agent tracks down former Navy SEAL and CIA agent Porter Melo in Hong Kong, Porter isn’t interested in the man’s offer: a ten million dollar payday for the high-profile assassination of the Mayor of Hong Kong, an assembly of Community Party officials, and the President of China.

But there’s one form of leverage Porter can’t refuse. When Porter’s brother Sam is kidnapped, the clock starts ticking, and Porter only has three days to find his brother and unravel a conspiracy that threatens to start a new world war with China on one side and the United States on the other.

Kowloon Sunrise is only available on Amazon for the first 90 days, but it will be everywhere else on February 27th. You can find it here.

In addition to the novel and novella, I also have a short story that will be published in late December. “Who We Once Were, Who We Will Never Be” has been purchased by Fireside Fiction, and it will appear the January 2015 edition of the magazine. This is a story set in China, but not precisely in the world of Porter Melo. It’s a dark, twisty little tale that originated when I wandered down the wrong back alley and later wondered what the worst thing that could have happened would be.

It will be available on the Fireside website in late December.

New Short Stories

I put a couple new short stories on the usual sites last night.

Steampunk airship cover
The Whirlybird Cover

When Eden steps off the zeppelin in Chadwick, he’s ready to finally put the war behind him and go see his lady love. Not long after he arrives at her father’s steam powered workshop, the war steals back into his life in the form of a rival suitor and his gang of baldknobbers. Eden’s in for the fight of his life if he wants to win his girl’s heart and not get himself strung up as a traitor.

Yes, that’s a Baldknobber steampunk short story. It has fantastical gadgets, men with silly hats and a dashing escape.

Available on Amazon, B&N, Kobo and (someday soon) Apple.

replacements story cover
Replacements Cover

When Kayleigh’s grandmother takes a cybernetic replacement body, she becomes a virtual superwoman. Unfortunately, Kayleigh’s grandmother just can’t keep up. The family is forced to explore a new world split between the young, the old and the eternally young. What they discover threatens to tear them all apart.

This was my entry for last quarter’s Writers of the Future contest. It didn’t place. I’ve sent it out to a few of the scifi magazines and had it rejected, so I’ve decided to make it generally available. I was going for a scifi Glass Menagerie thing, but I’m not as talented as Ken Liu (yet).

Available on Amazon, B&N, Kobo and (someday soon) Apple.

I did these covers myself. The Whirlybird I like fairly well, though that particular image has to be the most overused piece of steampunk stock art. The image for Replacements wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I’m not good enough with Photoshop to put that kind of effect onto someone’s face. If I were, I would have found a picture of an elderly woman since it would have fit the story much better.

New Story

I wrote a short story for the girls a few weeks ago. Then I looked at the word count and compared it to some of the chapter books Sophia has (that are emblazoned with the Scholastic ribbon), and realized that for the first and second grade age group, 4,000 words is a book, not a short story.

I wrote a children’s book for the girls a few weeks ago. That sounds weird. It’s a fun little story, and of course it includes a dog. One can’t write a story for Sophia without including a dog. And since both girls are now in ballet lessons, I’ve worked that in, too.

The Girl Who Danced on the Moon Cover

After the older girls in ballet make fun of her, Jersey wants to quit dance forever. The only thing that can cheer her up is her dog, Bromley. When Bromley leads her into the trees near her house, she discovers a world unlike any she’s ever known–a world of fairies. The fairy Luna flies her high into the clouds and dances with her in the moonlight. Luna teaches Jersey what it means to believe in herself, but will it be enough for her return to ballet?

I’ve looked into getting it published in dead tree form through CreateSpace, but once I got the proof back I decided that I didn’t like how Word made the text look. I’m in the process of learning Adobe InDesign so I can make it look better, but InDesign is hard and I end up finding that I’d rather write something else or read something else, so I haven’t learned it well enough to get the book layout finished yet. Someday. Maybe.

Available for Kindle
Also available for Nook
And let’s not discriminate against Kobo
I’m discriminating against Apple because their process for self-publishing is terrible.

The Paper Menagerie

I didn’t write this story, but I enjoyed it. This is the 2012 Nebula winner for short story.

http://escapepod.org/2012/05/17/ep345-the-paper-menagerie/

The Paper Menagerie is one of the saddest stories I’ve read in a long time. Whether it be the sadness and regret of The Paper Menagerie or the fear and anticipation of horror or the fascination of fantasy, and author’s job is to evoke emotion. Ken nails it and he does it in precious few words.

Snow Dog: A Short Story

I wrote a short story my oldest daughter. Among her favorite things she lists snow and dogs, so I went for an obvious title, but perhaps not an obvious story.

The story is currently available on Amazon, though I’ll put it on B&N soon. You can find it here.

Here’s the blurb:

Ellie, an elementary school aged girl, and her mother wake up to discover that it’s a Snow Day and Ellie doesn’t have to go to school. They go outside to build snowmen and go sledding with Ellie’s dog Max, but Ellie’s sense of adventure leads them into danger.

This 5000 word short story is appropriate for middle grades children through adults.