|Cover art copyright 2015, Chris Howard|
One year ago, DERELICT burst into the world, fueled by incredible luck and timing, and hit the best seller lists on Amazon. What started with a junked spaceship and a computer programmer driven to escape her abusive father continues in ITHAKA RISING, book 2 of Halcyone Space:
A derelict ship and a splintered crew are not the rewards Ro had hoped for when she helped disrupt her father's plans to start a war with smuggled weapons. But with the responsibilities of full Commonwealth citizenship and limited resources, she is forced to take her father's place working as an engineer on Daedalus station while she and Barre try to repair their damaged freighter, Halcyone. Barre's brother, Jem, is struggling with the disabling effects of his head injury, unable to read or code. His only hope is to obtain a neural implant, but the specialists determine he is too young and his brain damage too extensive.
When Jem disappears, his trail dead ends at the black market. Ro and Barre race to locate Jem before he sells his future, risking his mind for an illegal neural implant. But they're not the only ones looking for "The Underworld" and its rogue planet, Ithaka. What they find endangers more than just the three of them and forces them to confront a very different truth about the war they believed was ancient history.
I would be pretending a degree of cool and calm I really don't have if I said I wasn't concerned about the book release. All my writerly insecurities have come out to play, in force. They try to tell me that DERELICT was a fluke. That ITHAKA RISING can't possibly enjoy the same success. That I was foolish to believe I had any sort of traction in the marketplace. That I'm a poser and a fraud and an asteroid will strike our house and velociraptors will eat my dogs.
Imposter syndrome, I am in you.
The thing is, this happens every single time I put a project out into the world. It probably will always be the case. The blessing/curse of being an artist is that intense sensitivity to both the highs and lows of the creative life.
A book release is both at the same time: the high of seeing a project through from the wisp of an idea to a complete reality. The low of the fear that this intense work no longer is under your control. When I look back through the past year of creating ITHAKA RISING, I can honestly say I am proud of the work I put in. And I am honored to be sharing these characters and their story with you.
Jem shut his eyes tight, hoping the meds would ease the symptoms. Passengers were encouraged to fixate on a still point in the distance during a jump. The display screens helped by projecting a simple vista with parallel lines, like a forest, or monorail tracks. Something that gave a geometric reference helped the strange wobbly feeling that jumpers experienced from being slightly out of temporal phase. But Jem knew that trying to stare straight ahead would only make things worse for him.
It was like he was jumping all the time, his body at war with the signals from his brain and his eyes and ears. The times he had jumped since his injury were miserable. He braced himself. The ship spiraled into the wormhole. Colors swam across his eyelids. A star-scape sparkled through his mind. His vertigo surged and he lost all sense of his own boundaries. Jem knew that it was impossible for his body to actually turn inside out, but that’s what it felt like. Nothing held. There was no up or down, no stable gravity. His thoughts fractured into a thousand glass shards.
The memory of his latest consult replayed like a vid with a sync glitch between visual and audio tracks. After his parents had left the room, Jem asked the question that had been burning in him for weeks. The doctor’s mouth moved and then her answer hung in the air, the sound cycling in frequency from low to high, from slow to fast. “I’m afraid you’re far too young. And even if you weren’t, the damage may be too great for your brain to integrate the implant. I’m sorry.”
The word melted. The colors behind Jem’s eyes flared brighter and brighter, melding to a white that seared his vision.
Pain blossomed in the space the colors left behind.
After what seemed like an eternity, his body coalesced back onto the cushioned berth. The all-clear sounded.
One jump down. Two to go.
ITHAKA RISING is available in all eBook formats and as a trade paperback and can be purchased at all major online retail outlets.
Signed paperbacks are available. Please contact me via email. (firstname.lastname@example.org)