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Find your Escape

A Star Curiously Singing

Sandfly is a debugger. He is property, bought and paid for in an Earth under sharia law. All faiths but one have been banned. And the rule of the great Imam is supreme.

Now he's been called into Earth orbit. The masters have a new spacecraft—one capable of interstellar flight. On its maiden voyage, the only robot on board went mad and tore itself apart. Why? 

As Sandfly pieces together the clues, a trap spreads beneath his feet. If he solves the mystery, he may doom himself. And if he fixes the robot, he may shatter his world. 

The Superlative Stream

Sandfly is free of the rules—free of Earth—but now there’s a new mystery to solve. Using a secret ship named DarkTrench. he is determined to find the source and meaning of the transmission that altered the former crew. Joining him is his new girlfriend HardCandy, another enigma whose former life for Sand has become an obsession.

Arriving in the Betelgeuse system, Sandfly discovers something the former crew did not—a planet! On it are the traces of a civilization that defies description. Technologically advanced, peaceful, and mystifying. Is their meeting an occurrence the scriptures predicted? HardCandy thinks so. Sand is not so sure.

But what he most wants to know is: Why is he now seeing things no one else can see? And where, is the Superlative Stream?


Sandfly and HardCandy make their way back to Earth. They have a message to deliver. A society to free. And A~A3 is with them. Their mission is simple, and just. What could possibly go wrong?

Unexpectedly, DarkTrench drops into normal space. He is malfunctioning, wounded, and the only people who can fix him are hundreds of light years away. 

Ultimately, Sandfly is alone, and Earth's freedom relies on him and his newfound faith. But does his mission even matter anymore?

He's a misfit, and a throwback. A symbol for all that's evil.

Perhaps he's the last freehead?

Amish Vampires in Space

Jebediah has a secret that will change his world forever and send his people into space.

The Amish world of Alabaster calls upon an ancient promise to escape destruction. Then end up on a cargo ship bound for the stars.

But they are not the only cargo on board. Some of it is alive...or used to be.

Now, with vampires taking over and closing in on the Amish refugees, these simple believers must decide whether their faith depends upon their honored traditions or something even older.

Amish Zombies from Space

First, vampires in space. And now...zombies. 


Jebediah and the others are trying to get over the horrors they faced in deep space, and now this.

It’s been five years, and the Amish colony on Miller’s Resolve has finally gotten settled. Jeb and Sarah have a son. Elder Samuel is happy not being in charge. Darly has a private practice. And Greels is out of jail at last.

But when a mysterious ship from space arrives on Resolve, it unleashes a horde of undead that might spell the end of the survivors and their dreams of peace.

Will the specters of the past save them, or seal their fate?

Amish Werewolves of Space

Some say death comes in threes.

For the Amish community of Alabaster, it seems to. They’ve maintained an uneasy alliance with the vamperkinder, the altered humans that rescued them from the zombies seven years ago. But after several vicious attacks—nighttime slaughters that could only have been perpetrated by the kinder—the union of the two peoples is shattered.

Meanwhile, a resurgent zombie horde and mysterious nightly howls signal doom, not only for the Amish, but for the entire galaxy.

As more and more planets fall, the Raven survivors hunt for a solution.

Can they restore the peace? Escape the horde? Save the galaxy?

Or is it already too late?


ThreadBare is a debugger. He’s property, one of the Imam’s vast pool of implanted servants. He lives in a smelly, greasy garage on the boundary of the battlefield known as Delusion. All he wants is to complete his tasks, exceed his rival BullHammer, and stay alive. Possibly get a promotion.

When an atypical chore brings Thread into contact with Sandfly and HardCandy, things get complicated. Day by day and task by task he struggles with the life he’s always known. Ideas plague him, brutality vexes him, and women distract him. 

Then there’s the list of offline debuggers, those who’ve quietly disappeared. Through datamixes—dreamlike records of their lives—Thread tries to uncover the truth. Where did they go? What does it all mean? And what can one forgotten debugger do about it anyway?


Debuggers have one purpose, to obey their masters. The implants in their heads ensure they can’t forge their own path, can’t disobey or even fall in love. But after ThreadBare’s master is assassinated, his implant goes haywire, terrorizing his mind with unpredictable pain. 

He's in love despite the implant, with Damali—a woman who's disappeared from his life. In addition, he hears rumors of a plot to end debuggers forever. To end his single purpose.

ThreadBare finds sanctuary in a school for future debuggers. He hopes a teaching position will give him time to investigate Damali’s disappearance, and for his fraught brain to heal. Time is exactly what he doesn’t have, though.

When an act of terrorism puts the students in danger, Thread is forced to do battle. He needs a miracle, or his purpose—and his love—may be ripped from him forever.

Author's Preferred Text

America has fallen. Remnants of states cling together. The Pacific Northwest is now PacNorth.

Democracy has gone off the rails. Citizens still vote, but only to vote away anything--or anyone--they don't like. Long-term wisdom loses to short-term pleasure.

And the Collectors come in the night.

Radial is a Collector. The instrument of the will of the people. You get voted away...Radial makes you disappear. The system works, and he is its servant. The rule of the people is the highest form of human government. He is a believer.

Until he is asked to collect someone who should never, ever be voted away.

Lost Bits

The last thing K-404 remembers is a happy home with the human child Ele, whose care is his primary purpose. So, when he wakes up in a landfill of tossed-away technology, his only thought is to reunite with his family. 

This world is not his own, though. It’s a wasteland of desolate buildings, flying metal disks, and monstrosities that keep themselves active by stealing another bot’s power. 

How did the world get this way? 

And why was he discarded?

Hampered by imperfect memory, an obsolete body, and limited battery life, 404 sets out to find his home. Joined by other castaways, he faces off against scavengers and monsters, only to encounter greater threats. 

Pursued, outsmarted, and manipulated on every side, 404 teeters on the brink of annihilation. His only chance of survival? Those bits of himself—the connections—he hasn’t lost.

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Lost Bits
Just Dumb Enough

What happens when you bring seven different authors together and unleash them upon a single story?

One wild adventure.

Famed archer Barzillai Broadhead gathers a band of four unlikely compatriots in a quest for the Crystal of Darkness. Monsters and sorcery bar their way at every turn. If they're brave enough - or dumb enough - they might save the world.


Written by Morgan L. Busse, Kerry Nietz, John W. Otte, Steve Rzasa, Marc Schooley, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, and Jill Williamson.

All profits will be split between support of the Realm Makers Mobile Bookstore, and a scholarship towards registration at the Realm Makers conference.

Behind the Scenes at Fox Software

Much has been written about the battles that rage between software companies over market share. FoxTales is the story of one such battle, told from the perspective of a foot soldier. My perspective.

When I started with Fox Software, it was a company of barely thirty people. It shared space in a small bank building on the edge of Ohio’s farm country. It was a quaint, family run business, and its product, FoxBASE+, was a niche player.

The next four years brought many surprises: lawsuits, buyouts, off-the-wall management, and even a flying book or two. Things no college course could prepare you for. 

And to think, I could’ve been a farmer.


XV scours the lonely surface of Proteus looking for the mineral “graxin.” But graxin isn’t the only thing waiting to be found.

A short story of 4500 words.

* This edition also includes the super short (1000 word) story "ThreadBare"


Beyond the boundaries of civilized space lies the region of the Muto Empire. Mutos are a mammalian race that resemble a cross between a human and a Terran rat. Though spread across thousands of worlds, mutos—or rhats, as they are sometimes called—trace their lineage to a single dark world that orbits a ruined sta–

Enough of that!

My name is Frohic, and I’m a muto. I’ve never seen the homeworld, and I couldn’t care less about civilization, empires, or space. Especially space. All I want is to survive in a family that sometimes forgets I exist. My mother is always pregnant, my dozen siblings are swarming over available surface, and my father makes plan after plan to send us all away. Sure, our hovel is crowded, the food is sparse, but at least it’s home.

Then everything goes tails up.

Rhats Too
Rhats Too!

As battles rage and allegiances shift, the muto Frohic returns home an unlikely hero. Now rich beyond measure, fat from the spoils of conquest, he takes his place among the Emperor’s honored champions. His symbol is raised over the Black Wall and his name inscribed into the Book of Remembrance. Yet Frohic’s heart is troubled. His destiny unfulfilled. For somewhere in the dark reaches of—


Who is writing this stuff? That isn’t how it is at all.


Frohic again. Listen, I got home to find squatters living in my family’s hovel and no clue as to where father, mother, and the rest of the family went. The only help I have is from someone I just met, and I half suspect she’s looking for a sire to start her own family. I don’t trust her, and I certainly don’t like her. Least, not like that.


Meanwhile, an old friend shows up with a fantastic offer. Lose years of my life on another scavenging mission! And this time we’re going to a part of the galaxy that no muto has ever seen. Much less returned from. 


Did I mention there might be ants? Giant, ugly ants. Plus, a crew of lunatics. Always fighting or fussing. If I survive, I might get to see my family again. Do I want that? Do I want any of this?


My name is Sedrick. I'm a man-size, space-faring rhat. I'm also executive officer for an interstellar cargo ship—the Granum. My captain and I are in a wee bit of trouble. We've been summoned by the Emperor's auditors. Now, That doesn't sound ominous. But, believe me, it is. These aren't your typical bean-counters. These guys will extract a nose or a tail if you mess up. And we messed up.

It was a simple job. Deliver a hold packed with cheese and spirits to a backwater planet in the Orion spur. Things didn't go as planned. They never do on a ship full of buffoons and malcontents. Chief among my problems were those two scientists Dontel and Uzel. Their spectacular bungle landed us on Earth, an even more backwater world than the one we were headed for. No starships, no flight—not even a lightbulb!

I did my executive level best—threatening, bargaining, and stunning to get the job done. To get the hold filled. The Granum was safe and secure. Nestled within a forest in northeastern France. I made connections with the locals. I had a plan!

Then the soldiers arrived. All sorts of soldiers. It was an absolute mess. A scheduling nightmare! How was I to gauge the long-term effects? The galactic repercussions?

And now our lives and livelihoods are at stake again. The best I can hope for? This memory machine the auditors have me connected to will cook my brain.

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Rhats Free!

Having exposed the dark innards of the galaxy and pilfered its treasure, the warlord Frohic sets his sights on a new target: the Outer Rim. With a gleaming armada of Imperial ships at his disposal, Frohic arrives to find a populace subjugated beneath the iron tales of a legion of frost-breathing lizards—the Shikasta. War ensues, but the shikasta’s uncanny powers exploit a weakness in the armada. As one ship falls after another, Fro is forced to—

No. For the third time. No!

Frohic here. I’ve found myself in another fix. Jobs got scarce and everything went tails up. Captain Abs took us to the smelly end of the galaxy to find work and to give me a present I never asked for. Next thing you know, there are pirates chasing us, lizards shocking us, and a whole lot of Stelltron corporate hijinks that I’m not real clear on. Also, there’s time spent underwater, crazed metallic demons, wasted time, and a dead friend or two.

Despite all that, the crew still thinks I’m lucky.

I’m lucky, all right. But my luck is all bad.

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Rhats Free
Heroes of the Realm

When villainy strikes, when harm threatens, when nature takes its brutal unsympathetic course, true heroes take their stand in an instant, without thought, and chose to act on the side of good, despite risk. Not because of glory, or for reward, but because it is right.

Of course, some who are hailed as heroes are nothing of the sort,

and what we perceive as villainy is at times simply misunderstanding.

It takes a brave soul to seek out the difference.

Rebirth: Havok Season One

WARNING: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. This book may include mysterious thieves, soul-weary assassins, paranormal archivists, reformed vampires, apprentice magicians, and clown armies.

You may be transported to a small moon orbiting Neptune, a bridge that erases your past, a store selling re-purposed family members, a dinner party served by fey waiters, a haunted golf course, or an island at the edge of the world where magic finally died—and is reborn. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Rebirth: Havok Season One is a collection of flash fiction stories from forty-four different authors, including never-before seen work from bestselling and award-winning authors James Scott Bell, David Farland, Robert Liparulo, DiAnn Mills, and Kerry Nietz. From fantasy tales about magical rebirth to science fiction stories about time loops and second chances, the entire collection celebrates the theme of starting anew.

Digital Dreams
Digital Dreams and Other Distractions

Software developer turned story-teller, Kerry Nietz brings artificial wonders to life. Digital Dreams and Other Distractions is essential Nietz—nine tantalizing tales of synthetic futures, unfolding across a background of stars. In this surreal landscape, dying legends haunt sheltered keeps, young boys reconstruct ancient giants, astronauts push the boundaries of the solar system, and metal nightmares reign over faraway rocks. Alluring and compelling, Digital Dreams is a multifaceted blend of mystery, imagination, and devotion—as thrilling as interstellar exploration and as dangerous as another day at the office.

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