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The Travis Fletcher Chronicles
Release Date: 12/1/2016
Book four of The Travis Fletcher Chronicles.
It has been twenty years since the Hunab Ku last contacted Travis Fletcher and warned him that he will have to return home one day. Travis is now a confident warship commander and mercenary. The Arrow has a full complement of crew and has been intervening in interplanetary wars and disputes, making the crew very rich. His telepathic abilities now rival or even surpass those of Xnuk Ek’, his teacher and lover.
It is now time to take The Arrow and its crew on its most dangerous mission yet, and deliver a message from the Hunab Ku to the people of Earth… but things are never that simple.
What will Earth make of their first interstellar visitors? How can Travis convince the most paranoid and xenophobic planet in the galaxy to listen to what he has to say? He is still haunted by his breakdown and the birth of his alter ego at Spesota, and this is made worse when Xnuk Ek’’s dreams of her own death return.
The conclusion of The Travis Fletcher Chronicles brings the story full circle to the beginning of The Archer’s Paradox.
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Cat uncurled from her sleeping position and listened, not just with her ears but her whole body and mind. It was not her time to wake but something had prematurely interrupted her sleep cycle. It was like a sixth sense, an inbuilt alarm that warned of danger, but she could discern nothing specific or immediate. What did perturb her though was that she was picking up nothing at all. She stretched her senses out beyond the perfect dark of her cabin. The ship was too quiet and the air smelled wrong. She searched further. There was no incessant chatter from the non-telepathic members of the crew, and neither could she sense the shielded minds of the telepathic crew. It was as if The Arrow was deserted.
She reached out and retrieved her visor before telling the cabin to raise the light level. It was a routine she had acquired since first coming on board The Arrow so long ago, over twenty years by Travis Fletcher’s calendar, a few more by her own, and about eighteen by Xnuk Ek’’s. She had only forgotten once and had experienced a sudden onslaught of light on her unprotected retinas that had given her a headache for the rest of the day. She silently cursed those that had destroyed the delicate natural filters that protected her eyes from excessive light and allowed her to see perfectly in near darkness, but then she remembered with satisfaction the moment that her [untranslatable] knife slid effortlessly between the ears of the leader of the hunters and the look of surprise on his face as he died. It was still too quick to have given her full satisfaction, but she had learned to live with that.
She pulled herself to the edge of the bed and put her feet to the floor, listening again, straining to pick up even the slightest disturbance. She could hear, smell and feel the ship breathing around her, but everything felt wrong. The ship should be in Hyperspace, which gave the air a particular smell and taste and made the ship resonate at a particular frequency, well beyond the range of human senses. Only the Arcturans, who had a connection with the universe and everything around them, understood exactly what she meant. The vibrations and smell of the atmosphere told her that the ship was not only in normal space but that all the engines had been shut down, which meant that they were drifting or docked, neither of which should be happening.
She called up a fresh jumpsuit and paused in front of a mirror before climbing in. She winced internally at the scarring and burn marks that covered her body. The permanent removal of her natural fur to look more like the apes that crewed The Arrow had almost killed her. Sometimes she debated with herself if her survival had been a good or bad thing. The answer usually depended on the mood she was in at the time.
About the Author:
Everyone has a story to tell and this is mine. It has been banging about in my head for years in various forms until I found myself on a long and tedious contract and started writing as a way of keeping me out of the hotel bar. That would have been the end of it if my wife had not read the first draft of what is now the first five chapters of The Archer’s Paradox and persuaded me to finish it and publish. What began as a short story became a book which then exploded into 3 books and has now become 4.
I don’t profess to be anything more than I am, much like my main character. I am an IT Project Manager with a story to tell. I hope you take the time to enjoy books 1, 2 and 3.
Book 4 with the working title of Full Circle is half written and brings the hapless Travis Fletcher back to where he began although he is no longer the man he used to be.
Chris Devine lives in rural Yorkshire, England with his wife Julie. He has two children and one grandchild, so far. He is still an IT Project Manager and works freelance for major banks, financial institutions and government departments.
If my literary ramblings persuades one more person that they have a have a story that needs telling then, I will consider that a success.
How many books do you currently have published?
Full Circle is the fourth book I have published and it concludes the story of the main character, Travis Fletcher. I hesitate to call him ‘the hero’ because he would have difficulty thinking of himself as such.
What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why?
My favourite book is always the one I am writing because I can’t wait to find out what my characters are going to do next.
Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release?
I am working on two books – one with a working title of The Goexiun Conundrum, which is a couple of storylines I edited out of the main Travis Fletcher story because they had no effect on the main story arc and would have made the books too long.
The second is called Petra and follows the exploits of a teenage girl who wakes up from a three-year coma with no memory of her past life. She is haunted by nightmares and a second consciousness in her head.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Just letting my imagination run riot. I put my characters into situations and think ‘well, just how ridiculous could this get?’
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Frequently. If it’s not happening, never try and force it. Get a beer, glass of wine or G&T. Shut the laptop down for a few days if necessary. Inspiration will strike at the strangest times – in the shower, on the loo, halfway through that really boring meeting… Then I’ll be off again.
Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you?
All the time. I don’t write a full synopsis or notes. I know where I am and I know where I want to be at the end. Life is full of choices and writing is just the same. Sometimes your characters make the wrong or strange choices and you have to go with that.
Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why?
Difficult. I like Pax a lot. At first glance she is shallow, immature and driven by her libido. It’s only when you piece all the snippets of her story together you realise just how interesting she is.
I suppose my least favourite would be President Taillis. I needed someone with no redeeming qualities, enter the President.
So far, what has been your favorite scene to write?
BEWARE SPOILERS – I think the scene where an eight-year-old girl is having a picnic she has made with a 9ft tall alien. They eat apple pies and drink orange juice while being watched by Special Branch and SAS snipers. It’s was just the absurdity of the whole situation that amused me. Inspired by The Day the Earth Stood Still (the original film, not the terrible remake).
Also, I have to mention the scene where Pax seduces a very ‘stiff upper lip’ British army officer.
I can’t help it but the scene where the British PM is hiding a nuclear bunker and the army officer above informs him that there a spaceship on the lawn. I couldn’t help a Monty Python reference here.
What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers?
If you’ve just written 120000+ words you will have made mistakes. Hire a proof-reader! Proofread, proofread and proofread again! I have read so many self-published books with good stories that I cannot finish because of lack or proofreading. Silly things like ‘their / they’re / there or to / too / two and grammar. They don’t come up in spell checks, you have to look for them and they are important. I read a book recently where a group or characters went to bar, ordered beer and then were drinking cocktails in the next paragraph. Character names that changed spellings between pages. My wife reads my books at least three times and we debate each paragraph before I send it on to Nat for proofreading. We read it again after Nat has finished and we still come up with changes.
If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why?
Start with The Archer’s Paradox – it’s the first book in the series and introduces the main characters with their back stories. I refer back to events in that book all the way through the series. It’s also a free download.
Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character?
At the end of book 3 (SPOILER ALERT) Pax leaves The Arrow to return home. I thought it would be fun for Travis to visit Pax’s home world and meet the parents. I am including it in The Goexiun Conundrum as an extra short story.
Here’s a few paragraphs from The Goexiun Conundrum. I’ve copied directly from my original draft so it’s not been proofread (see comments above) so apologies for any mistakes. I’ve also **** out the swearing J
“It is as I thought.” Xnuk Ek’ replied pointing at the display. She had a look in her eye that Travis had only seen a couple of times before. Something had triggered her scientific interest.
“What? What am I supposed to be looking at?” he looked around and saw that Cat was thinking exactly the same thing. Like Travis, Cat had never managed to completely get to grips with Xi Scorpii technology.
“There.” Xnuk Ek’ indicated a small dot on the display.
“What is it?” He was getting irritated and having to repeat himself. He could imagine the bridge being flooded with self-important diplomats all wanting to know why they had been so rudely woken from their naps and what the delay was. “Send a couple of your guys to keep our guests quiet and away from me.” He shouted across to Tshreshan who was helping another of the Arcturans to get the engines back on line.
“It looks to be some sort of unmanned vehicle.” The scanner operator replied.
“So?” Travis snapped irritably. “What’s it got to do with us?”
“It came through a hyperspace window.” Xnuk Ek’ added. “So close, we got caught in the turbulence.
“It what? Right on top of us? ****ing idiots! Mr Toaq,” Travis shouted up to the mezzanine level, when the weapons come back online, treat that thing to a couple of rounds from a pulse cannon and let’s get back on course. That’ll teach them not to check before opening a ****ing window on top of another ship.”
“No, wait Toaq Ghashil!” Xnuk Ek’ called, appalled at Travis’ suggestion. “We have to bring it on board.
“What! Star, no. We’ve wasted enough time already. Let’s just blow the **** out of it and get on our way.”
“To what end?” Xnuk Ek’ asked, gently.
“’Cos it’ll make me feel better.” Travis replied petulantly.
“No.” Xnuk Ek’ was adamant. “Look at it.” She was getting genuinely excited which was frustrating Travis even more.
“Ok, I’m looking and I still see a piece of space junk that could have killed us all.”
“No, look closer. The technology, it’s like nothing I’ve seen before.”
“A new race?” Travis raised an eyebrow.
“Not just that, it is, it is,” she hesitated, “it is…” she was trying to find words that did not sound condescending or belittling. “It is not sophisticated.” She said finally. “It almost looks as if it comes from Sol 3.”
Travis laughed. “You think Earth has suddenly discovered hyperspace technology since I’ve been away? Did you guys leave a spaceship behind last time you were there?” he jibed gently, nudging her with an elbow.
“No,” she smiled back at his attempt to apologise for his temper tantrum, “but I do think it is someone’s first attempt to create a hyperspace engine. We should bring it on board and examine it.”
“You want to pay them a visit, don’t you?” Xnuk Ek’ nodded vigorously. The chance to visit a culture on the verge of interstellar travel excited her so much she could hardy keep still. Travis smiled back. He felt her excitement rubbing off on him. “Ok but we have to drop off the cargo first.” He said, referring to their passengers. “This’ll probably be the first time I meet someone as backward as me.”
“Agreed,” she said, kissing him on the cheek, “about completing our mission first, not about…”
“I know.” He replied.
What are your favorite television shows and books? Movies?
I love Elizabeth Moon, especially her Vatta’s War and Heris Serrano books. I like Larry Niven as well – a real old school heavy duty SciFi writer. P C Hodgel as well. She wrote a series of books. The first two have been released under various titles. I have it as Chronicles of the Kencyrath but it’s also called The Godstalker Chronicles. Worth looking out and reading. I have to mention The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
As for movies – Love The Martian (from a self-published book). I like to veg out to Guardians of the Galaxy. Old movies like The Day the Earth Stood Still and Forbidden Plant still resonate with me more than many of the blockbuster CGIfests Hollywood churn out now by the dozen (big budget / zero story).
Being British, I love British Sci-Fi. Dr Who (of course), Red Dwarf and Life on Mars (sorry but the US remakes of the last two were absolute pants). Ashes to Ashes was the British follow on to Life on Mars and worth checking out if you can get it. UFO was the most absurd series but I can’t stop watching it. Also love Babylon 5, Falling skies (first 2 seasons) and Fringe. My wife and used to buy red liquorice to eat while watching Fringe. The reboot of Battlestar Galactics was phenomenal.
Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why?
Probably Stranger in a Strange Land. It was the first book my wife recommended to me when we were dating as teenagers and I have read it seven times. I have to mention Ringworld by Larry Niven. You have to admire a writer who releases a revision because someone points out his mathematics are incorrect.
Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions?
None as yet.
If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say?
If it’s not fun, then you’re doing it wrong.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers?
The adage goes that everyone has a story to tell. I’ve written mine, it’s called The Travis Fletcher Chronicles. Yours might be an essay, a short story or an epic. If you don’t write it down, it’ll be lost forever. Even if you don’t publish it, get it printed. I didn’t start writing to make money, I did it to get the story out of my head and to see where it went. Sometime in the future, someone will find a dusty, faded book, point at the author and say “Isn’t that great great grandad’s name?”