Two and a Half New “In Love and War” Stories Available

http://corabuhlert.com/2018/09/12/two-and-a-half-new-in-love-and-war-stories-available/

http://corabuhlert.com/?p=25247

Yes, it’s a new release announcement and there will be more of them to come, as I get the stories from the July short story challenge ready for publication. But don’t worry, this blog is not about to turn into “Sell, sell, sell” all the time and there will also be some SFF analysis and geekery coming up, not to mention a new post at Galactic Journey.

But first of all, let’s have a commercial break, because the good folks at Kobo are holding a “3 books for 5 bucks” sale in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, where you can get three e-books, including some of mine, for five bucks in the local currency. And indie author C.B. Maurice is also running a “Sweet Firsts” cross promo where several indie authors are selling their first published romances for 99 cents. Mine is The Kiss of the Executioner’s Blade, by the way.

And now let’s return to my own new releases, both of which are new stories in the In Love and War series (I’ll explain the half new release later). The first of these, Evacuation Order, is a prequel novella and chronologically the earliest story. Yeah, so I’m writing the series out of order, but then so did Lois McMaster Bujold, Fritz Leiber and many others.

Evacuation Order takes us back to an event that’s very important to the In Love and War series, namely the destruction of Mikhail’s homeworld Jagellowsk. We meet Mikhail at the age of eight as well as his parents, his grandmother, his older sister Katya and family dog Laika. We also meet Brian Mayhew in his days as a fleet captain and learn just why there is such a bond between Mikhail and Mayhew, regardless of everything that happens later.

Initially, I had intended for Brian Mayhew to be merely a recurring antagonist, a thorn in Mikhail and Anjali’s sides. However, the character refused to cooperate and insisted that he was not a villain, even though he very much behaves like one at times. Non-cooperative characters can be a pain in the butt, though the story is usually more interesting for letting them have their way. And Brian Mayhew as a man whose desire to end the war and make the galaxy a safer place leads him to some very dark places and gradually causes him to abandon pretty much every ideal he ever had is a lot more interesting than Brian Mayhew, the one note villain. Evacuation Order shows Mayhew at his most unambiguously heroic, for he and his crew try very hard to do the right thing, even though they’re completely overwhelmed by the situation. You can argue with their decisions, but you cannot argue with the fact that they try to save as many lives as they can.

Oh yes, an Mayhew’s crack that should it become necessary to throw someone out of the airlock, so everybody else aboard the Fearless Explorer can survive, he’s volunteering, is of course a reference to Tom Godwin’s classic science fiction story “The Cold Equations”. Because there’s always time to make a swipe against “The Cold Equations”. Coincidentally, that remark makes Mayhew, who was once supposed to be the embodiment of everything that pisses me off about the typical square-jawed male science fiction hero, a lot less awful than a very famous example of the breed.

Coincidentally, Evacuation Order is also the most Star Trek like story I’ve ever written. Considering how much Star Trek I have consumed over the years, I’m surprised that it took me so long to write a Trek-like story, but for some reason both Star Wars and Raumpatrouille Orion have been a bigger influence on my work. But Evacuation Order is very much Star Trek influenced, since we have a ship, a captain, a crew, a mission, an ethical dilemma and the characters doing their best to deal with it. Of course, the Fearless Explorer and her crew are serving a regime that’s very much not a utopian society like the Federation, but then the Federation isn’t much of a utopia anymore either these days, if it ever was. While writing the story, I also became quite fond of the crew of the Fearless Explorer and I’d certainly like to revisit some of those characters some day. For that matter, I’d also love to revisit baby Svetlana to see what became of her. Though Mayhew’s first officer Natalya Shepkova does show up in Freedom’s Horizon as captain of the battlecruiser Dauntless Courage.

I started writing Evacuation Order in early 2018 and I’d known about the arbitrary age divisions in the Republic’s evacuation procedures, which cause Mikhail to be separated first from his parents and later his sister, for a long time before I wrote the story. But while I was writing the story, the news about the ICE separating children from their parents by order of the Trump administration hit and sharply brought home that separating children from parents and caregivers except in the most dire of emergencies (though a planet about to be destroyed certainly qualifies as a dire emergency) is a really bad idea. Though to be fair, pretty much everybody in Evacuation Order is aware that separating families is a really bad idea and both Anna Kim and Dana Gibson explicitly say so. They just don’t know what else to do, given the circumstances.

So if you’re curious to see just what exactly happened on Jagellowsk, how Mikhail and Brian Mayhew first met and just why this whole event was so traumatic for Mikhail or maybe if you’d simply like to read my take on a Star Trek type story, then check out…

Evacuation Order
Evacuation Order by Cora BuhlertAfter the test of a planet killer weapon goes awry, the light cruiser Fearless Explorer is ordered to the planet Jagellowsk to evacuate the scientists in charge of the test before the planet breaks apart. But in defiance of orders, Captain Brian Mayhew and his crew decide to aid the civilian evacuation efforts instead.

Meanwhile, on Jagellowsk, thirteen-year-old Katya Grikova is desperate to get herself and her little brother Misha to safety from the ever stronger seismic shocks that are rocking the planet.

The Fearless Explorer is Katya and Misha’s only chance to get away from Jagellowsk. But Captain Brian Mayhew and his crew cannot evacuate all the children waiting for rescue…

More information.
Length: 29000 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

Collision Course, the other new In Love and War story, was written during the 2018 July Short Story Challenge, where the aim was to write a short story per in July 2018. Like many stories to come out of the July short story challenges, Collision Course was inspired by a piece of concept art or rather two. The first of those was this piece by Owen Freeman showing two futuristic snipers on a roof. They don’t look very much like Mikhail and Anjali, but when I started writing, I quickly realised that this was an In Love and War story and so I wrote a scene of Anjali and Mikhail bantering and eating tuna salad on a roof, while waiting for something to happen. Coincidentally, we also get to see Mikhail in full space marine mode in this story, complete with cool power armour.

Eventually, I felt the need to describe the surroundings a little more and so I went through the folder of inspirational images on my harddrive, which also has a lot of images of futuristic cities both shiny and gritty, and hit upon this rainy cyberpunk cityscape by Tim Blandin and quickly realised that the roof of the hotel in the image could be the very roof where Mikhail and Anjali were stationed. And then, when it came to writing the chase scene, I of course needed to have Anjali and Mikhail chase the assassin somewhere. So I looked at the cityscape image again and quickly decided that fleeing into the doughnut shop and out the back was the most logical escape route.

In Freedom’s Horizon, there is a throwaway line about how Anjali and Mikhail ran into a Republican spy at a place named the Plasma Café and that’s why they have to leave Metra Litko so quickly. So when I sent Mikhail and Anjali chasing the assassin into the doughnut shop, it suddenly occurred to me that this doughnut shop could just as well be the Plasma Café mentioned in Freedom’s Horizon. So what if Anjali and Mikhail ran into the Republican spy while chasing the assassin? And what if the assassin was the spy? The story pretty much wrote itself from there.

Chronologically, Collision Course is set just before Freedom’s Horizon and indeed leads directly into the latter story. So if you want to know just what exactly happened to force Anjali and Mikhail to leave Metra Litko, read…

Collision Course
Collision Course by Cora BuhlertOnce, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living as mercenaries on Metra Litko, an independent world on the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

Anjali and Mikhail are working a routine bodyguard job. But things quickly go awry, when an assassin bypasses all security measures to shoot the wrong target… or does he?

Anjali and Mikhail set off in pursuit, only to find themselves confronted with a figure from Mikhail’s past who could threaten their newfound freedom.

More information.
Length: 8000 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

That makes two new In Love and War stories. So what about the half story mentioned in the title? Well, first of all, it’s not half a story, it’s a complete story, albeit a short one. It is, however, half of a book.

The story in question, “Shipbound”, is another story to come out of the 2018 July Short Story Challenge. This one was inspired by one of Chuck Wendig’s writing prompts, namely to write about food. That prompt was certainly a fruitful one, for it generated four stories altogether during the challenge, but then I really like writing about food. I also combined the food prompt with another of Chuck Wendig’s writing prompts, namely “space opera”, and got an In Love and War story.

And so I started writing a scene featuring Pietro Garibaldi, the hapless pilot from Freedom’s Horizon, grumbling that he’s stuck aboard the ship, while everybody else is out and about, which he suspects is because Pietro is a screw-up with a gambling problem. Then, Pietro makes dinner – the only dish he knows how to make – for himself and Sabrina Cho. Pietro’s spaceport pasta is based on this recipe, by the way, which is one of my go-to quick and tasty pasta dishes. Though Pietro also adds olives (as do I). I usually also add a swig of white wine. Pietro doesn’t, because piloting spacecraft and alcohol don’t mix.

The result was a nice little story, but it was also a very short story, only 2900 words long, and very much a side story featuring two supporting characters. So it wouldn’t really work as a separate entry in the In Love and War series. However, “Shipbound” also happens parallel to Bullet Holes, so Pietro is making pasta, while Mikhail and Anjali are fighting for their lives. So I simply decided to bundle both stories together and add “Shipbound” as a bonus story to Bullet Holes.

If you have already bought Bullet Holes and would like the updated version with the bonus story and the vendor won’t update it (cause not all of them do), drop me a line and I’ll mail you the updated version in the e-book format of your choice.

Meanwhile, here is the cover again (because it’s one of my favourite) plus the updated blurb:

Bullet Holes
Bullet Holes by Cora BuhlertOnce, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

When a seemingly routine courier job turns out to be a trap, Anjali is hit by a so-called smart bullet, a Republican weapon that slowly and inevitably kills its victims. Mikhail is given a choice by his former commander Brian Mayhew: Surrender or watch the woman he loves die in excruciating pain.

It is a choice between two equally horrifying fates. But maybe, there is a third option…

Bonus story: Shipbound

Pilot Pietro Garibaldi is frustrated to be stuck aboard the freighter Freedom’s Horizon, holding the fort, while everybody else gets to enjoy themselves on the rim world of Varishka. What annoys him most is the suspicion that he wasn’t chosen to keep watch at random, but because he is considered unreliable, someone who cannot be trusted in port.

But when trouble comes calling, it becomes clear just why Pietro and his crewmate Sabrina Cho were exactly the right people to stay aboard the ship.

More information.
Length: 6200 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

And that’s it for today. However, there’ll be more new releases coming up, including another In Love and War story as well as more Helen Shepherd Mysteries, more Two-Fisted Todd Adventures, more Hallowind Cove, more tales of The Day The Saucers Came…, two more stories set in the dystopian future of The Shantytown Robin Hoods as well as a brand-new sword and sorcery series.

Send to Kindle