Hard Bargain

Counting down to live.

Hard Bargain will drop in a couple of days. If you haven’t already read Longshot Hypothesis, you should do so now. (And by the way, Outermost is available for pre-order most places, but doesn’t come out until October 10.)

So Hard Bargain was not supposed to turn out the way it did. But those of you paying attention also know that I frequently write into the darkness. The original series was supposed to be a set of one-off novels (and will be so again after 6) that just followed the crazy adventures of Valentinian Tarasicodissa and his ship, Longshot Hypothesis, as he adventures, with a new First Mate that has a shady past, and the entire Dominion coming after him. (Silly little things like being party to the assassination of the Dominator himself. Whoops.)

Hard Bargain starts with a poker game. A card game I invented from scratch, just because it is science fiction and I could. (Might publish the rules at some point. Might do a Print-On-Demand deck if enough folks ask. That’s on you, btw.)

It was just supposed to be a game to set up Butler Vidy-Wooders for some righteous payback, but something went a little sideways on me. (Yeah, I know. “You?”)

The card game turned out to be crooked. A set up, where the local sheriff is stacking cards against one of the other players, and Valentinian just happens to be there at the table.

As a result, he ends up literally winning a treasure map in a crooked card game. Honest.

And meeting some interesting people.

And, oh, by the way, Dave’s ex-wife shows up in a Dominion Assault Courier, with Kyriaki Apokapes in tow.

That’s as much as I’m going to tell you now. Y’all have to read it to see where we go.

But at the same time, I just want everyone to know that this stupid treasure map is the reason I ended up with six novels in one long arc, when it was supposed to be one novel at a time.

The arc from Hard Bargain to Prince Rualoh tells one long story with several stops and one utter cliffhanger. You’ll meet the salvager Bayjy Endon, and later Captain Redtip Windrunner Oedressa Farther Glaxu, who is my favorite Dire Ground Cuckoo of all time. And the deadliest.

So y’all lemme know if you want to know how Arcades is played. And maybe want your own deck, because it has six suits and seventy-two cards, rather than the 4/52 of a Hoyle Deck. I’d have to have one designed for Print-On-Demand, but you can do that these days.

And thanks again for all the support that just lets me write.

shade and sweet water


West of the Mountains, WA