Bil’Tross is out + a writing update

Bil’Tross, the epic conclusion to the Jazz Healy, Reunion series, has been released! Actually, it dropped over a week ago but the important thing is that it’s available, right? 😁

You can buy it on Buy Me a Coffee page (in fact, you can now buy all the Reunion Series over on BMC, and Miltan Epsilon, book 1, is just as free there as it is everywhere else), or you can procure it from Amazon, Google, Apple, and at plenty of other places, too.

To the fine folk who preordered the book: you are awesome and I appreciate you all very much!

Also, to everybody who has taken the time to leave a rating or a review for any of the books in the series, on any of the reseller pages or review platforms: you are also awesome and I appreciate you all very much, too!

Release day was strange, in many ways. Jazz Healy had taken up a large portion of my creative brain-space for many years – since 2013, actually, even though I didn’t start properly working on the first novel in the series until 2018 – and suddenly her journey was done. I should’ve been super-pumped, right, just bouncing off the walls to see the complete series out in the world. But strangely, I wasn’t. I wasn’t all ‘meh’ but, if I can describe it this way, I felt businesslike about it all. As in, ‘Well, that’s great and cool but I need to keep moving on my other projects.’

Over the last couple days, though, as I’ve been writing up this blog post, now I’m feeling it a bit more. Interesting factoids: 1) I wrote what I now think of as the Jazz Healy origin story (available to supporters here, which I’ll get to later in the post) in October/November 2013, and 2) I finished the first draft of Miltan Epsilon in November 2018. So symmetry, right, seeing as I’ve released the final book in the series in November 2021. Right, right? 😅

Yep, definitely feeling it now. Please excuse me for a couple moments while I lean back in my chair, put my hands behind my head and bask just a little in my accomplishment.

Okay, all done. Where was I?

Oh yeah, I tell you what, it feels like way more than 6 months have passed since I released Reunion books 1 & 2. But that’s all it’s been. Miltan Epsilon and Chak’r’Das dropped on May 4th, 2021, only a short 6 months ago. And man, have I learned a ton in that short time, and made plenty of mistakes (some of which I’m sure I’m not even aware of yet). But overall it’s been a blast, and I can’t wait to publish my next books! Without rushing them, of course. Gotta put out the best product I can for you all!

Speaking of next: Do I have any plans for Jazz Healy and the other folks we’ve been introduced to in the Reunion universe? Will there be any next for them? Well, for Jazz, I’m about to start work on a couple short stories set prior to the events in the series. So prequels, I guess, if we’re being efficient with words 😋 The plan is to include these in a short story collection I’m hoping to release sometime during February or March 2022. The collection will include some previously published stories, some previously sold but never actually published stories, and some brand new ones.

I’ve also got firm ideas for a standalone novel featuring Jazz’s Dad and a series featuring Turk B’sin’Glou and Lady Celia D’san’Edo, plus potential ideas for some Vince Eisner novelettes/novellas, and a Four-One-One + Xandra series. Those are all very much future projects right now, however, as I’m currently waist deep in the Lincoln Reilly universe. Spider’s Hub is sitting in a digital drawer awaiting edits and I’m 23K into The Votack Rebellion, Lincoln’s second adventure. Unlike with Jazz, where I knew early on that the story I wanted to tell about her would take 4 books, I don’t know how many I will need for Lincoln.

Once I finish drafting The Votack Rebellion, which I’m hoping to have done by the end of December, I’ll outline my next project (whether that’ll be a Lincoln Reilly story or something from one of the several other universes currently vying for attention in my noggin I’ve still to decide), and then get to edits on Spider’s Hub. I’d like to publish Spider’s Hub by the middle of next year but as I mentioned earlier in this post I want to be very careful not to rush things.

In other writing news, I’ve currently got 2 shorties out in the world trying to find a zine home somewhere, plus 3 others on the go, though there’s just 1 I’m primarily working on right now. Thus far without a title, it features Byte Tanzil, former pro spaceball (groan, amirite?) pitcher with addiction issues who’s turned PI and taken on a case involving an adversary from his playing days. I hope to have that draft finished by the end of next week, after which I’ll let it sit for a month or so before starting on edits.

In August I set a goal to have 5 short stories on sub by the end of the year but the reality will likely be 3. My goal for 2022 is 12 short stories, including any I self-publish. This is part of the Write 1 Sub 1 challenge we’ve revived over at Absolute Write. If anybody reading this is into writing short fiction then you should head on over and join up. The more the merrier and all that!

Aside from the Jazz Healy books now being available on BMC, I have made some other changes to my BMC page. I’ve decided to scrap the S.C. Mae Book Club for now. I might bring it back at a later date or I might not. Looking at it again a couple weeks ago I decided the Book Club rewards were just too nebulous and actually a bit confusing. Which means there are no membership options currently available. But you can still definitely be a supporter. And because Miltan Epsilon is permanently free, now if you support me I will gift you Chak’r’Das and Garbadon Major, books 2 & 3 in the Jazz Healy series, in epub format (if you use a kindle, there are plenty of user-friendly, free convertors out there to get the book onto your device – Calibre is one that springs to mind). Also, The Parmethon Caper, Jazz’s origin story and exclusive to Buy Me a Coffee, is now available to all supporters, past and future. All you gotta do is click the link above 🙂

I think that covers most everything.

So, in conclusion, if you haven’t read Jazz’s adventures yet, then hurry up and get on it! Stop depriving yourself of something amazing! 😁

And, as always, thanks for stopping by!
S.C. Mae

Bil’Tross Cover Art, Blurb, Excerpt, and Preorder Links!

Bil’Tross, the epic conclusion to the Jazz Healy, Reunion Saga, will drop on November 2nd, 2021. Yep, that’s only 4 weeks away! Are you excited? Of course you are, what a silly question to ask.

To get you even more hyped, here’s the cover art, courtesy of the most excellent L.E. Badillo. It’s been a real pleasure watching L.E. bring my cover visions to life across this series. In this cover, we get to see Jazz’s face for the very first time.

Now that you’ve reveled in the cover, how’s about reading a blurb? Yeah? Yeah!

Blurb

Ride the space-lanes beside Jazz Healy in this epic conclusion to the Reunion saga. Accompanied by Rainbow Ninja, Eisner, Xandra, and the Four-One-One, Jazz will battle pirates, crooked information brokers, planetary blockades, familiar faces, and more as she draws ever closer to being reunited with her father.

Will the trials and tribulations, the heartache and the joy, all be worth it in the end? Find out today!

***

So, it’s a lot shorter than my other blurbs (and I’m not totally sold on the second paragraph yet) but I figure if you’ve made it this far you just want a quick summary to assure you there’s gonna be plenty of what you’ve enjoyed from the first three books in this one. Right? Right! What a silly question to ask 😋

That brings us to… dun, dun, dun… brace for impact… The Excerpt…

Hmm, that sounded way more dramatic in my head.

Excerpt

Bil’Tross Chapter 1, Scene 1

Jazz Healy yanked aside the tattered grey curtain to find her path blocked by an overturned crate. She suppressed a sigh. She was deep within He-san Station, picking her way through a seemingly endless maze of shops and homes. Eisner crowded into the makeshift room beside her and tugged the curtain closed, shutting off a tiny yet exorbitantly-priced tech store.

A mound of grubby blankets beside the crate obscured a snoring, gaunt-faced man. Jazz coughed. With a start, the man opened his eyes and heaved himself upright. One of his pupils was cloudy and a ragged scar stretched across his bare torso, running from his left shoulder to the right of his belly button.

“Giggs?” Jazz asked him.

He inclined his head towards the yellow curtain on his other side.

Jazz nodded. “Thanks.”

“Got any spare cash?” the man croaked.

Jazz did, though not in local currency. “Only a couple Commonwealth coins.”

“They’ll do.” A hand holding a chipped plate appeared from within the blankets.

Jazz dug two coins out of a pocket in her cargos and flicked them across. Both bounced off the plate but the man made no move to retrieve them.

“Thank you, kind lady,” he said.

The scent of charred meat and spices tickled Jazz’s nostrils. She edged around the man, left hand resting on the butt of her holstered gun, and dragged the next curtain out of the way. A woman squatted in front of a giant, steaming pot, scraping food into it from a chopping board. Beside the woman, a man in a sweat-stained singlet worked a grill, watched by a pair of spacers in greasy coveralls. They both wore guns on each hip, their caps pulled low over their eyes.

This was a more open area of the station, the ceilings high, the hot air not so close and heavy. Apart from being a neutral zone for all the criminal enterprises in this part of the Independent Fringes, He-san Station also orbited very close to its star. The powers that be didn’t have to keep the temperature quite so warm, of course, but perhaps they liked to remind everybody of the station’s precarious position.

A busy food court operated on Jazz’s left, the center space taken up by benches and tables assembled from leftover pallets and other scraps. Smoky haze made it difficult to take in all the details. Straight ahead and to her right, curtains of varying colors and density covered more passageways, giving no clue as to what lay beyond them.

“I think that guy gave us bum directions,” Eisner said.

Jazz shrugged. “They were about as specific as my request.”

A flash – flashes – of yellow from the crush of people at the far end of the food court caught her attention. The jackets of a group moving through the masses, most everybody giving them space. Jazz squinted, dialed her enhanced optics up a few notches. Each jacket had the same emblem on the upper arm. The outline of a bent-winged fighter, swooping.

The universe stilled, the thudding of Jazz’s heart thunder in her ears. In an instant her mind rewound to when she was sixteen and aboard a commercial freighter above a frontier planet, alongside her father in a similarly smoke-filled corridor. They were exchanging gunfire with a trio who’d hired on as crew but now revealed themselves to be something else entirely. Each of the traitors wore a yellow bandana over the lower half of their face, the outline of a bent-winged fighter, swooping, covering their noses and mouths.

“What is it, Jazz?” Eisner said.

She pointed, unable to turn away. “Proof we’re on the right track.”

Eisner shaded his eyes with a hand, the underarm of his suit jacket wet with sweat. “The yellow guys?”

Jazz nodded.

He took a step forward. “We should introduce ourselves.”

The fear of an abandoned child manifested in Jazz’s gut. She swallowed. “No. That’s going too far back in the history books. Probably not even the same people. The lifespan of a pirate isn’t particularly long.”

“Your call,” Eisner said. He turned to the woman by the pot. “Giggs?”

She stopped stirring for a brief moment to point at a faded orange curtain directly ahead.

Jazz took a deep breath. She needed to focus. She had ventured onto He-san to speak to the famed information broker Durl Giggs. If anybody out here in the Fringes could tell her where her father was now it would be Giggs. And that was what she wanted to know. Dad’s current whereabouts. She couldn’t allow herself to be distracted from that objective, even if the faint – it had been thirteen years since the attack, after all – possibility existed that one or two of those yellow-jacketed thugs shopping for chow down the way had been present at Yeoman’s Harvest.

To give herself an extra moment to clear her head, she opened a comms channel via her neural rig to her ship. “You copy, Xandra?”

“Yeah,” the kid’s voice came back. “What’s wrong?”

“Just checking in.”

“Well, don’t worry about us. We’re fine.”

“Okay.” Jazz cut the connection.

Eisner, hooked into the conversation via his own neurals, grinned. “Cocky one, ain’t she?”

Jazz smiled. “She’s all right.”

She had officially left fourteen-year-old Xandra in charge of both the ship and the other kids: Breem, Khasti, Loom and Maria. Really, though, it was Rainbow Ninja – Jazz’s waist-high, muscular, red-and-black striped cat – who would ensure the youngsters didn’t do anything stupid.

Hopefully. The cat had been a lot less responsible since the arrival of the children.

The man laboring over the grill pointed at them with his spatula and said in thickly accented Trade, “You want special? Best deal on station. Two bowl driski noodle and vegetable, ten klait.”

“Maybe later,” Jazz said. That did sound like a good deal. Ten klait was about what the Commonwealth coins she’d given to the man in the room behind were worth. They wouldn’t have bought a pair of noodles back in Commonwealth space, let alone a full meal for two.

“Sure, sure,” the man said. “Don’t forget, okay? Ten klait, big bowl.”

Setting thoughts of food to one side, Jazz strode towards the faded orange curtain and pushed through it. Her neural rig tingled. Scan shield. Very well-disguised but definitely present.

This might be the place, then.

***

Preorder Link

No point engaging in any more preamble, is there? You want the book, I know you want the book, so where can you preorder the book from?

Here you go: https://books2read.com/biltross

As of posting this, only Kindle and Google are live but as Bil’Tross becomes available at other stores the link above will update.

Don’t delay, preorder Bil’Tross today!

Oh, and if somehow you haven’t read the first three books in the series (yeah, I’m confused as to how that could be possible, too), then you probably want to get started right away. Follow this awesome link to acquire Miltan Epsilon, the first book in the series, free from your bookstore of choice. Free. Did I mention that book 1 is free? No. Well, it’s free. Really, really free.

Also, if you support me on Buy Me a Coffee, I’ll gift you Chak’r’Das, book 2, as a show of appreciation. I’ll do the same if you become an S.C. Mae Book Club Member. If you want to learn more about supporting/membership, head on over to my Buy Me a Coffee page and toggle between Membership and Support on the right-hand side to see how you can support me and what perks membership offers.

Catch you all soon, punks, erm, peeps!

S.C. Mae