Monday, September 29, 2014

Up the Tower by J. P. Lantern Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Up the Tower
by J. P. Lantern



Disaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these folks couldn't be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake in the dystopian slum, Junktown, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go...UP THE TOWER.



“This kid comes in, okay? Starts doing all this stuff with Wallop's tech fists. Powering them up and such. You know, they can bend steel, they can punch a man so far a distance, all of that. At first, I think the kid's pretty young, but then I see his eyes—they're old enough. I seen his eyes, they're about my age, those eyes. And it’s important, okay, how old he is. Because this kid? He looks a h*ll of a lot like me.”

“So what? Lots of kids look like you.”

“Yeah. So do Georgeson. So do Jonesboy. So do Figueroa.”

“What are you saying?”

“I'm saying…” he palmed the side of his head. “I’m saying, it ain’t no secret that you got yourself a certain type of person that you pick up. A type of boy. I sort of thought I knew why. Last night I found out for certain.”

Konnor was right. Ore was angry.

“The h*ll are you saying to me? Just say it.”

“You said you had a brother. His name was Samson. He was good with tech, you said. Well this kid? The one tailoring Wallop's new fists? Samson. That's what Wallop called him. ‘Samson, touch here.’ ‘Samson, look at that, is that right.’”

Ore didn't say anything.

“He's alive. Your brother. In The Tower. He’s maybe been alive this whole time.”

Silence, then. Even the eyebots outside seemed to get quiet.

That godd*mn Wallop. Her job, her Haulers, and her eye. Now he had her brother, or near enough.  Everything. Would he take everything from her?

Konnor stood up and headed to the door. The shack squeaked beneath him.

“If it was any other sort of job…if it was a job that maybe wouldn’t have gone against the Faces…”

“Shut up, Konnor. It’s all against the Faces. It’s under ‘em or it’s with ‘em. You know that.”

“All right. All right.” He opened the door. An argument had started down the street; someone lit a fire in a barrel on the balcony above her shack; an eyebot stopped, scanned the two, and then zipped away. “It’s a h*ll of a plan, though, Ore. A h*ll of a plan. And maybe I won’t get around to telling Wallop what’s what for a little while.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed "rugged," though he would also be fine with "roughhewn" because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word.
Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.

Guest Post:

The Ideal Writing Day

The ideal writing day is when I get to be at home, and not working at one of my other jobs. I write at my wife's old desk, which I've recently upgraded with an adjustable standing desk (the pneumatic sort that you can move up and down to write and sit at your leisure). The desk has, over time, become surrounded by piles of unfinished Lego projects (X-Com Lego, I will finish you some day!), Transformers lost deep in half-transformed stages, as well as lots of notes scribbled on a horribly arranged system of sticky notes.
My dog is usually nearby, sighing on her chair, thoroughly disappointed in me for not playing with her.
I have to take a moment to make sure to commit to what I’m doing before I even sit down. Committing doesn’t happen after you’ve sat down. Every day, when I write thousands of words, I’m already a little tired when I start, because I approach the computer knowing that it must be done. There is no getting away. There is nothing else I am allowed to do. Those words must be written, somehow, some way, and if they are not, then I am in the wrong (at least, that is what I tell myself).
For the writing itself, typically I’ll put in about six hours, spread out over two or three different projects. The first hour of that, sometimes, is just screwing around, doing things somewhat related to writing (research, formatting, message boards) and sometimes not (Facebook, message boards). I try to get around this dicking around period by just having the word processor open, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.
I put on a play list. Lately I’ve been listening to a video game soundtracks. Gunpoint has this fun, noir-type music that is very moody and relaxing to have on in the background. I am terrible at talking about music with correct terms, as my wife often points out, so there are just things about those kinds of music that enable me to write. The neat part is now I’m basically trained to get into a writing mode when I listen to certain songs at my desk.
I have all kinds of posture problems related to writing and reading, so every thirty minutes or so, I get up and do some stretches or play with the dog. I've also got a powerball, which is like a little weighted gyroscope that you hold and shake in your hand, to improve my wrist and forearm strength. I'd really recommend one for anybody that has to do a lot of click-intensive activities.
On average, I can pump out about five hundred words in a half hour, though sometimes it’s closer to a thousand. If I’m being very meticulous and revising, that number goes down drastically. If I’m starting something new and just seeing what I can put down that makes sense and sounds good, that number goes way up.
Writing itself is thoroughly enjoyable, but when you’re self-publishing, there’s lots of other things you have to attend to. Most forms of social media are often a source of insane stress for me, as I’m never quite sure what I need to be interesting about on a given day. Then there’s all the formatting and uploading that comes along with the territory of publishing, which has a sort of steep learning curve that I feel I’ve mastered now, but even the simplest of tasks can take up to an hour. Then, because as an indie publisher, you’re basically an online presence, there’s a lot of emails to sift through and reply and a lot of good, wonderful people to keep in touch with who have helped you out or who are going to help you out soon.

So all of that stuff is kind of like what I do just so I can maintain my ability to write—which is what I love. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to just write exclusively…but for now, I get to spread my time around to make everything work.


twitter: @jplantern

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