Happy Halloween/Samhain! As we enter the dark winter days (at least here in the Northern hemisphere) what could be a better than a free story for your hibernation entertainment? I just finished a new novelette, Wild Type, that I can’t wait to share.
This prequel to my Syzygy series stands on its own–you don’t need to have read the series to enjoy it, and there are no significant spoilers–but it also adds some intriguing narrative depth for fans of the hexalogy. Wild Type has a little something for everyone. Post-apocalyptic sci-fi action? Check. Humanity hanging in the balance? Check. Troubled but tough heroine? Check. Angsty YA romance? …OK, there’s a sprinkling of that, too. Here’s a taste from the opening pages:
“…You’re also supposed to be mentoring her,” Magnolia reminds me. “She’ll trade her Hummingbird for a specimen knife soon enough.”
“When I’m grounded,” I mutter. When my sixteenth birthday stamps my one-way ticket back to Luna, to dull grey habitats and two-week nights. I turn in a slow circle, basking in the rare spectrum around me. An Acer macrophyllum so old it probably watched humanity go extinct, pokes its branches through broken windows, leaves a striking green against the grimy glass and sun-bleached brick. Water splashes behind me—I turn in time to see Pandion haliaetus snatch a wriggling creature from the sound. It struggles a moment under the weight, then flaps toward a skeletal pyramid protruding from the skyline a few blocks away. With a flared disc at the top, it looks a little like the Vator in miniature. I shiver. How could anyone have imagined this desolate future?
Something brushes my ear—instinctively I reach up to check that my mask strap is in place, but it’s only an Anisoptera perched on my shoulder. Its body draws a brilliant azure stripe on my battered armor.
“Hey, you,” I murmur to it. “Want to come to Mars?”
A quartet of gossamer wings flick, and the dragonfly darts off into the fog.
“Lily, look! A…a…” Ivy struggles to recall the Linnean name recently stuffed into her brain from hours studying zoology and botany modules. “Whatever, it’ll be my first GAEA specimen!”
“If you can catch it.” I suppress a laugh as she dances in circles, leaping ineffectually for the insect.
“I will! I’ll be as good a Gatherer as you, just watch.” The dragonfly circles Ivy’s head and zips off into a derelict building. She dashes after it.
“Ivy, I said no, dammit!” She’s already clambered over the pile of rubble blocking the entrance. Through the empty windows I glimpse her climbing rickety stairs on all fours, a skinny green-clad sprout clinging to the cracks like a real weed.
“I’ll get her,” says Magnolia, worry creasing her normally serene face. She ducks inside.
“Both of you get out here, or I’ll have Azalea ground both of your butts when we get back to the Vator,” I yell into the gap. A long, shuddering creak replies. Then the world explodes. A roaring cascade of bricks and beams swallows a girl’s scream. I tumble backward, blind with dust. Three years evading predators and spores, and this is how I’m going to go….
Want the whole thing? I’m offering this “treat” to all who subscribe to *drumroll* my upcoming newsletter! Starting in January, I’ll publish a short quarterly email journal. Full of geeky, fiction-loving fun for readers and writers alike, each issue will feature things like:
- Exclusive excerpts from my works-in-progress
- Book recommendations
- Insight into the cutting-edge science and little-known history I research for my stories
- Funny episodes from my indie author journey
- Thoughts and tips on creative, curious living
You can sign up directly here, or click the “Newsletter & Novelette” image in the footer. Don’t worry, there are no tricks hidden in this treat: I promise I’ll only use your email for the newsletter and occasional publication announcements when I release a new book. Please hit me up on the Contact page if you experience any issues with the sign-up form: I’m still learning this mailing-list concept!
Haunting, but with a touch of sweetness, Wild Type is the perfect bite-sized story to gobble up with your leftover Halloween candy!