Started up reviewing the pre-alpha draft of GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.

Got through the first three chapters of GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND already, which involved breaking up a fourth chapter, then redistributing it. I’m going to be working on this today and tomorrow, but since I’ll be more or less taking the weekend off for family-related stuff, I need to seriously buckle down to it.

If you’re interested in being a reader, let me know: unfortunately, there’s a pretty hard deadline on this one. I need to get this book in the hands of my editor by July 1st. That’s on me, I know.

First draft of GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND up on Patreon!

Subscription-only, alas. A little bit of an experiment, this: I want to increase interest in the book ahead of time. Also, it must be admitted that my Patreon subscribers largely paid for GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND’s production already, so the least I can do is slip them an early draft of the final product.


PS: Don’t worry about coming up with feedback or errata. At least, not yet. I already know the book’s going to need a line-by-line workout before I let the alpha and beta readers take a slap at it.

Snippet the LAST, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND :ha-ha, ho-ho, heeeeheeeeheee twitch twitch twitch:

103,496 words. words. Last word written! It’s a goram first draft now!

…Sorry, I’m at that stage of the novel-writing process. I’ll be better in a bit, I promise.


Even the fuzz seemed to recede for a moment. You learn out here very quickly that there are things you must never say aloud. There are topics so taboo, you may not even think about their outlines. At the top of that list — the very, very top — is the dread certainty that somehow, all of this death and destruction, all of the endless ghosts on alien winds and twisted fragments of a wondrous civilization, is our fault. None of us know why it’s our fault, but it is. You can forget about it, for a while, but not forever.

Maybe all of the myriad iterations of The Process isn’t sapient, after all. It must have deduced what we instinctively know; and yet, it does not hate us. I don’t think that I could extend that kind of grace, if I was the one being so wronged.

05/15/2023 Snippet, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.

The last bit of “write this scene later” has been written. The draft’s not actually done, but from here on out it’s more formatting and changing details as I go. I might get it done by the end of the week. Huzzah!


…well, we didn’t do anything horrible to anyone. But all of those pieties about respecting personal information that we quoted to Rubicon, back at the beginning? Of the five entities at that meeting: two were dead, one was in medical cold sleep, one was still recovering from the mental equivalent of a heart attack, and then there was me. If I was the functional one, we were nowhere near out of the woods, yet.

I’m not apologizing. We were right to be concerned about hidden cultists, and roughing up personnel records was a lot better than roughing up the personnel. I just wish — I just wish people had made better decisions, or at least not make poor ones where I had to see them.

One of the things that I did, once I was effectively in charge, was to pull Syah off everything else and have him handle the records searches. I worried that I was playing favorites, but Maki signed off on it right away. So did Nur, ironically. The sooner we cleared everybody, the faster we could go back to work. The quarantine was definitely starting to pinch us.

The problem was? We didn’t clear everybody.

05/14/2023 Snippet, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.

Another hole patched!


He was in a perfect position to attack, too: he started off to one side, out of the blast zone of the door and the line of fire. And he didn’t have a knife, either; this guy’s weapon of choice was a blowpipe. Only works at short range, but he had that, didn’t he? His buddies had cleared a path.

We keep forgetting this about cultists. They have a list about things they care about, and ‘staying alive’ is on there, but it’s nowhere near the top. When a cult wants somebody assassinated, a lot of times they can do it just out of sheer and literal bloody-mindedness.

But I digress, to quote the classics. Third Bastard had me dead to rights; I could feel time slow down as I turned to face him, too slow to shoot him before the dart left the pipe. The dart was foul, too, all bone and glass fragments, and its tip was coated with a green liquid that I knew was poisonous. I remember a horrible buzzing silence surrounding me as I looked at my death, and there was nothing I could do.

I tried shooting at the dart anyway, because why not? But my hand and brain betrayed me; instead of shooting, I managed to lose the gun completely. I didn’t even just drop it; I flung it across the room. I also remember having just enough time to feel embarrassed…

…before the gun collided with the dart, sending it tumbling across the room, and away from my precious, precious hide.

05/11/2023 Snippet, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.

I can start seeing the end from here.


Oft had been saying something, but I didn’t hear him over first the roaring in my ears, and then the roaring of my gun. Nothing wrong with his reflexes, though; he immediately had dived away from the door, clearing my line of fire as the door shattered from the shots. It’s bulletproof only one way, you see. Shoot from outside, it’ll deform and crack. Shoot from the inside, and it’ll explodes outward.

That particular feature saves at least four people’s lives a year, or so the manufacturer claims. Even a cultist slows down when he gets a face full of glass splinters.

And they were cultists: three of the bastards, and only one was on the floor, kicking and screaming and clawing at her face. I forced myself to ignore her to put three more rounds in the second cultist, since he had obligingly stepped on his fallen ‘sister’ in order to clear the doorway faster. Cultists can take a surprising amount of bullets and still keep going, but three in the center of mass knocked him down, and possibly out of the fight.

Good enough.

05/10/2023 Snippet, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.

Over 100K words at this point – but, more importantly, a bunch more of the ‘add something here’ sections have been filled in! I might have this first draft done by the weekend! Huzzah!


I didn’t feel the urge to watch one friend cut up another friend for parts, so I decided to see how Oft was doing. I assumed that the conversation would be just as grim than if I had stayed with Maki, but at least it’d be differently grim.

He had been set up in Burcu’s old office, and was busily going through her notes when I dropped by. “Oh, hello, Pam,” he said with the wan smile that had been living on his face since the attack. “I’m going through shore leave reports for the crew. Perhaps I’ll see something Burcu didn’t.”

“What are you looking for?” I asked him as I sat. “Suspicious behavior?”

“Yes! The problem is, I have no idea what ‘suspicious’ would entail. I’m not very familiar with what normal shore leave behavior is.”

“Really, Oft? Can’t you just see if anybody’s acting weirder than usual?”

“No, I’m afraid: there’s no ‘usual’ to look at. This is the first voyage to a populated Tomb World for most of the Redacted’s crew,” Oft shook his head. “Including the captain. Oh, and me, truthfully.”

“What?” I said, just like an intelligent and educated professional. “That makes no sense. Why would the Council send out an inexperienced ship?”

“I didn’t say we were inexperienced, Pam. Dealing with living settlements is just not in our normal skill-set.”

05/08/2023 Snippet, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.

This might get into first draft form by the end of the week! Huzzah!


Oft looked over to the now-uncovered window, which showed Nemo hunched over the Box. The heavy fabric covering him and it both descended halfway to the floor, because you can’t be too careful. “It’s still foul,” he muttered.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “So is trying to kill every person on One-Eighteen. You heard their plan, right?” Both of them nodded. Not that it was much of a plan; the last batch of cultists was going to skip subtlety entirely, and just poison the water supply with deathheart. I was damned if I knew why they thought that would work, but even when it didn’t they’d still probably kill a bunch of people, and contaminate far too much of the base.

“I asked the Redacted to send over a security team,” Oft told me. “They can spare Chalerm Suwern, and only because he’s already present. He is our best Security officer, though.”

“That’s something. Syah, I need somebody to do locks. You checked out on field technical operations?”

“Yes, Pam, but just the basic qualifications. Happy to do it, but don’t you want somebody better trained?”

“We’re doing this now, we’re really short of trained personnel, and I need somebody I can trust.” Then I shifted my eyes, because that admission hit him pretty hard. Which is what I wanted it to do.