Dear All

The weather last weekend wasn’t conducive to spending much time out of doors, so I got on with the book, and made a huge amount of progress!  It always amazes me how things you put in by accident turn out to have an essential role in the plot – on this occasion something I wrote over six months ago when I did an exercise Chuck Wendig set to outline my characters.

2014-Participant-Vertical-BannerI was playing with titles, too.  There’s an object involved in the plot, and I had a few phrases for it which I thought might make good titles.  When I googled them they turned out to be everywhere!  I never understand why people pick titles for their books that have already been used (sometimes dozens of times).  I ended up making up a word, which as far as I can see has only got one other use in the googled world – the name of a software developer – so I think I’m safe using it, since it isn’t related to them at all.

So, ta-da – the book is provisionally entitled The Perihelix (Viridian System book 1). Or do you think I should make it Big Pete and the Swede Book 1?

I find it fascinating that I reliably write 1000 words per hour.  Maybe I’ll blog about that some time.

Here’s a little excerpt for you from the draft chapter 10.


Cry for Help

Zito sat at the desk in his back office staring at the unscrambled message he’d retrieved from his digitape.

“Boys kidnapped from spacecraft. We are following but cannot access account to refuel. Urgent access to funds needed. Please help. Pringle, Doughnut and ArtyFarty.”

Clever, he thought. And brave. Or just resourceful, as these girls were, and that was why the boys liked them. One of the reasons, he corrected himself. To use his pet names for them was a stroke of genius, since it not only verified who they were but didn’t tell anyone else should the message go astray. Maggie had probably thought of it, since her name appeared first. He wondered who was flying it. As far as he knew, none of these girls had any space experience except as passengers.

He sat back. Why should he bother?

He went out to the bar and got himself a shot of amber liquid, and went over to stand at the doorway, looking out on the dusty street. It was siesta time; he was on his own, since he napped when the first night shift came on. He could let the girls sort themselves out, but then again, they were talented escorts, obviously with more talents than they’d admitted. He could put their charges up if he could hire them out as space chauffeuses as well. That would give a few potential customers an extra kick. Valuable merchandise.

The boys had been kidnapped. Big Pete and the Swede. Quiet, unassuming, successful. Great customers. Some would even say the perfect customers. Never asked the impossible more than once a week, and that was only in their vacation time. He’d better check that villa was secure while they were absent. He totted up the amount he earned from them most vacations. He had a lot of credit riding on those boys.

His eyes strayed across to the exchange. Who was their contact there? He’d be making a mint from them too. He drained his glass and sauntered out into the glare of the Viridian sun, crossing to the exchange and stepping into the shadow of the archway before the porter realised he was there.

“H-hmm,” Zito cleared his throat as the porter came to.

“We’re closed. It is siesta time.”

“Mr Garelli will see me, I’m sure.”

“Mr Garelli is resting.”

“Why not check?”

“Mr Garelli is resting,” the porter had a one track mind.

“Shall I check, then you can rest, and I’ll still serve you when you come off duty tonight,” Zito smiled pleasantly at the porter, knowing his favourite drink and that he wasn‘t supposed to drink at all in the employment of the exchange.

“Mr Garelli may not be resting at present.” The porter let him in and gestured to the stairs that led up to a gallery. Zito climbed them and admired the view of the cubicles below. Anyone up here would have an excellent view of all the ‘private’ transactions. He wondered whether the asteroid miners knew that.

Garelli came out of a side office to intercept him. “This is a surprise, Zito. A business or pleasure surprise?”

“Hopefully both, my friend.” Zito followed him into the office and took a seat. The marble floor, even upstairs, was beautifully cool. The opulent overhang of the building’s architecture shaded the arched windows. Although the exchange building looked like a millionaire’s anachronism, it was superbly designed for its situation.

“I received an interesting message,” he opened.

“Interesting for you or for me?”

“For us both, I believe.” Zito outlined the problem, and the general idea he had for its solution.

Garelli was intrigued. These customers, Mr Garcia and Mr Nilsson, were so much more fun than any other client.

(c) J M Pett 2014


Postcard from Camp (3)
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4 thoughts on “Postcard from Camp (3)

  • 18 July, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Hope you were cozy in your tent during the bad weather! For the title, I do like Perihelix, but it has to be something which appeals children, not just the young at heart!

    • 18 July, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      Oh, this isn’t a children’s book, Noelle, it’s straight scifi. Occasionally not so straight. Tasteful, though 🙂

      I may make it Parahelix. The prefix may fit it better.

  • 18 July, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    I think “Viridian System” makes it more clearly scifi than would using their names–which do have a certain goofiness to them (in a good way, but might make people think kids).

    Glad Camp is treating you well!

    • 18 July, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca. Hope Lima is treating you Uniformly and the Hotels are not Charlies 🙂

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