Confidence Game – More on the new story in TCOTU

I’m feeling pretty “confident” that the new book will be published in August. It’s time to give you more information on what it’s all about. As you know, we’re returning to the This Corner of the Universe galaxy, but in a sector that hasn’t previously been featured. You also know we’re deviating from the military focus of the series books, which necessitated a search for a different sort of cover. A while back you even got a first glimpse at the cargo ship featured in the story.  So, without further ado, here’s the set-up:

In every game, someone draws the short straw.

As a smuggler and con man, Reece Lochlain has always taken care of himself first. When the captain of his latest ship gets busted and everyone but Lochlain takes the fall, he does what he’s always done, looks after himself and moves on to the next scheme. But how can he move on when an entire criminal ring blames him for the bust and is hungry for payback? Running from a corporate-controlled system is rarely wise but running with one of Appiation Unlimited’s infiltration experts by his side could very well be suicide.

Out of money, out of contacts and out of time, Lochlain is desperate to escape and start fresh somewhere new. CSV Zanshin, though old, looks to be a sturdy ship, and Lochlain can get her for a steal. With an entire star system after him, he jumps at the chance to stay one step ahead and sails the aging cargo vessel from her graveyard orbit. He’s confident he can get away if he can find the right crew.

But Zanshin seems to have her own ideas. She’s far from her original home and has a haunting story to tell, one that could risk the lives of everyone aboard her. How can Lochlain protect his crew when his first instinct is to save himself?

One beta reader has mentioned that Confidence Game has a sort of Firefly feel to it. I’m looking forward to hearing what my readers think in August, and whether you want to hear more from this new cast of characters.

(One other note: Scorched is currently available as a free read through Kindle Unlimited.  If you are a KU subscriber, now’s the perfect time to check out my dystopian story outside of This Corner of the Universe!)

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Confidence Game Has Its Cover

The beta readers have the new book, leaving me some clear time to work on interior images, finding a cover, and describing the new story. As you know, Confidence Game is a standalone novel (or, the first in a new series if the readers want more from these new characters, I’ve certainly fallen in love with them), set in my TCOTU galaxy. This time around, the focus is not *military* space opera, just straight up space opera about a cargo ship and its crew of characters. Each has a different background, and different motives, and they are brought together by one man who’s not quite playing by the rules. As was the case with BRS Anelace, the ship in this story is another character. In fact, I haven’t felt so attached to a ship since Old Ana, and CSV Zanshin has got plenty of character. More on that in a later post.

Today is about finding the right cover. This one was tough, because the book deviates from my military focus. Karen and I searched through a great many cover ideas until finally finding a theme that caught our eye. Then we asked the cover artist to try a couple things, add my star chart (you may have noticed it’s incorporated into every cover for books set in the TCOTU galaxy), and give it her artist’s touch. The result, we think, is perfect for the new story:

Cover by Monika at Ampersand Book Covers

This art is the work of Monika MacFarlane over at Ampersand Book Covers. Not only do we love her design, but I want to say that she was very easy to work with. She was enthusiastic and responsive (aka *fast*), able to make our changes and explore our ideas, and added a great touch and good eye to the project. In addition to her website, you can find her on Facebook. She does great work.

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Confidence Game – Where Does it Take Place?

The rough draft of the new book has undergone its first editing sweep and is also now titled. Confidence Game will release in late August or early September. Again, this is a standalone story in the TCOTU galaxy, with the sequel to Hero of the Republic still in progress. I’m still searching for the perfect cover art for Confidence Game but the internals of the book are complete with just a multitude of editing passes to go.

Two blog entries ago, I touched on the location in which Confidence Game takes place. Here is a map insert that will come with the book. It fleshes out much of the Solarian Federation, and the enlarged portion shows the key locales in the new book:

It’s been a real joy to watch this galaxy grow as the various books and series evolve. We’re finally seeing what’s “East” or Spinward of the Brevic Republic. The Coreward Corporate Zone (CCZ) is the yellow portion of the map and helps designate four more of the thirteen major corporate-owned systems. (The final four are the Central Systems, where Nessus is located, which appeared in Last Measure of Devotion.) The two major corporations portrayed in Confidence Game are Appiation Unlimited Transactions (comprising the Svea and Imdali star systems) and Tengying Corporation (made up of the Shui Wei and Ctama star systems). Notable are also major features in this sector of space: The Izari Nebula and The Spinward Expanse.

There has also been some “creep” coreward by the Federation and Republic as both governments have expanded upward on the map over the past 10 years (relative to where we are in the various storylines). The Solarian Federation has made greater gains, despite the unfortunate position of the Izari Nebula, but then, the Federation’s resources weren’t drained by the Brevic-Hollaran War.

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