A rough snippet from April 12

“Mr. Hall, I’m Henri Colombe. We met at dinner in France.”

“Certainly Monsieur Colombe. I remember you well.” Irwin also remembered he’d seemed rather cold and skeptical of Jeff and Jeff’s associates. Even though it was Jeff who had extended an invitation to call anytime he wished to discuss banking, it was instead Irwin he was calling. The lag between speaking and Henri’s visible response said he was still on Earth.

For some reason, there was a ding, ding, ding of alarm sounding in the recesses of Irwin’s mind. He smiled pleasantly at the man, but was already sliding a pencil back and forth through his fingers. Something he did as a stress reliever. People thought he was taking notes and felt good that he assigned their conversation that much importance. In reality he doodled fantastic creatures, fragments of ancient movie scripts and odd nonsense lyrics from early TV used to sell soda and razor blades.

As Henri inquired about the progress on Beta, Irwin scribbled paisley creatures with big eyes, zen-doodle fields of geometric shapes, and in careful script, Danger Will Robinson, danger! He made the exclamation extra dark and circled it all. What was bothering him so? It came into sharp focus suddenly.

People on Home were not above name dropping and flaunting influence. They were human after all. It simply wasn’t quite as structured as Earth. Colombe should be reminding him they met at the Prime Minister’s home because that enhanced his status. If he wanted to emphasize the social aspect over political considerations, he still would say they met at the Durand’s. Why wasn’t he doing either?

Irwin mentioned a few milestones in the progression of Beta’s construction. That was easy to relate since it was all things he’d told others recently. All the while, he was thinking furiously on why Colombe had disassociated himself from the Prime Minister. Or was he avoiding any mention of France itself? That should be easy to find out.

“Were you interested in Beta as an investment or as a personal residence?” Irwin asked. “I made that mistake recently with another gentleman. I’m afraid I subjected him to my standard investor’s sales pitch only to find out he simply wanted to buy an apartment for his own use. He was rather kind about correcting me but I still felt silly.”

“For my personal use, certainly. I’m surprised you still have any room for general investors,” Colombe said. “If it was a high-rise apartment building, I’d think you’d be at the stage you had all the street level commercial space leased and a big billboard out front saying there are residential units for sale. I’d like to get in before all the desirable units are spoken for.”

“It’s true many of the business spaces were designed for specific customers,” Irwin admitted. “Including a high g cubic sited and drawn to spec for a branch of our bank. I do have one gentleman who put a deposit down to have first choice on a residential unit on a full g corridor. We’re not as restrictive as most Earth cities with zoning statutes. There isn’t a strict division of residential and commercial unless there was a noise or mass issue that would encroach on their neighbor’s quiet enjoyment. Or dual use for that matter. I’d be happy to accept an earnest deposit to reserve second choice for you if you wish. That is still early enough to give you access to equivalent units.”

“What is a suitable deposit?” Colombe asked. “I’ll arrange transfer if you will grant me that reservation status pending receipt.”

“The first fellow volunteered a four-hundred-ounce bar. That seems like a good enough token to make standard,” Irwin decided. That at least finally elicited a few extra eye blinks from the fellow. Whatever his personal wealth, a standard bar was nothing to be sneezed at.

“I’ll arrange for it to be shipped,” Colombe promised.

Now that the deal was sealed, Irwin could try to dig a little deeper to see if his misgivings had any basis. He wanted new business but not if it was shady or outright criminal, and that’s what his inner voice had been telling him about this from the start.

“I’m surprised you didn’t look to acquiring a property on the Turnip,” Irwin said. That was the unofficial and much shorter name most applied to the French habitat due to its shape. “It has more of a French culture and uses your language. It’s also closer so you don’t have this irritating lag to do business. It’s not as if the North Americans and Chinese are a threat, constantly snipping at you like they did us.”

Colombe waved that away with one emphatic sweep of the hand when he replied. “They aren’t shooting at us right now, but I regard the entire Earth as a less stable region I don’t care to stay near. I want a clean break from Earth law, even French law, and all my attachments to the past when I leave. I don’t plan to stay active in business to need good quick communications.”

“That’s fine then,” Irwin said. “Beta should suit you.”

“Very well,” Colombe agreed and disconnected looking satisfied.

Irwin hadn’t wanted to keep questioning him further but Colombe’s answer raised more concerns than it answered. Colombe was in his fifties by his appearance, young for a man of his station. Irwin needed to find out his exact age and a lot more. He was at the peak of his career and there wasn’t really anywhere to advance. The head of the European Central Bank wasn’t going anywhere soon, and was pretty much a figurehead now.

The previous head of France’s Bank had remained at his post for a couple of decades and there seemed no reason that Henri Colombe could not do the same if he wished. Right when he was ‘sitting pretty’, as Irwin’s mother used to say, he was subtly disassociating himself from their present administration and planning his exit. It smelled.

He’d have to investigate what Colombe actually made and if he had unexplained wealth beyond his earnings and smart investments. Perhaps he had inherited wealth and all of Irwin’s misgivings were wrong. But it felt like the man had his hand in the till the way he wanted to be beyond the reach of French law.

Irwin did regard that as his business. He didn’t want to be associated with a crook, didn’t want to be responsible for bringing such a person into Beta. Besides that, he’d taken a liking to Joel and knew that a scandal in banking would attach to him and his administration even if he was personally uninvolved and unaware. That would be a shame. Irwin would give Joel a back-channel heads up to audit him if Colombe still looked dirty a few days from now.

If he was innocent, and Irwin in serious error, it would simply be an inconvenience to him. The harm done would be more to Irwin’s reputation with Joel, so he wanted to be certain about the matter.

48 Responses to A rough snippet from April 12

  1. Anonymous April 22, 2020 at 8:20 pm #

    Thank you!

  2. Thomas Jones April 22, 2020 at 8:37 pm #

    I like Irwin. He was reticent to take on the responsibility dropped on him, but handled it wonderfully.

  3. Tim Fay April 22, 2020 at 11:04 pm #

    Thanks Mackey, I’ve been wanting for this. I have all of the April and Little Fleet series
    I’m enjoying your books immensely.
    You’re a damn fine storyteller.

  4. Jørgen April 23, 2020 at 12:20 am #

    Thank you so much, that helped sooth an urge for something I didn’t know was there. I simply can’t wait for more books 😀

    I can’t read everyday anymore due to eye problems, but still I feel that need to emerge my self in stories I like and I love stores told from the April books. Så I cheat and actually use a text to speech solution when it gets bad, I just wish the TTS systems were a bit more natural sounding.

    Oh, well. I can wait a bit longer and I’ll try dig up something more while I wait. There has to be more books out there about going out into space similar to the April books, right?

    I love these look into how the charaters thinks that also pushes the story forward in tiny steps. So thank you for this and all your books so far.

    • Mac April 23, 2020 at 5:18 am #

      There are lots of fine books. Finding them can be a difficult process. It’s interesting that I really like some author’s books who I can’t stand as people, and can’t read the books of some close friends.

      • Stewart April 23, 2020 at 12:34 pm #

        I’ve always felt you have to treat the art different than the artist, the character different than the author, and the actor/actress different from the role.

      • James Loan May 20, 2020 at 10:12 pm #

        THAT sounds like a story! Hi, still alive here. Glad you are (apparently) as well.

        • Mac May 21, 2020 at 8:25 am #

          Doing just fine. I don’t get out that much anyway. Lockdown doesn’t hit us as much as younger working people.

    • Big Ben April 23, 2020 at 1:06 pm #

      I also look for ways to pass the time while Mac writes the next dose of our mutual addiction.
      Here’s a few recommendations for SF with strong young female MCs from some lesser-known indie authors you may not have found:
      Check out Colony One by T.L. Ford. I picked it up on a whim a while back and am really glad I did.
      The Regan’s Reach series by Mark G. Brewer.
      The Families War series by Bruce Bretthauer.
      Perilous Waif by E. William Brown.
      The Far Side and the Kinsella series by Gina Marie Wylie.
      And of course anything by Laurence Dahners.

      • GL April 29, 2020 at 8:45 am #

        Tried Colony One, and had suspension of disbelief problems until I hit 80% of the way through and then the politics became impossible. Had the book been physical, it would have hit the wall. (Books have, in the past.)

        Writing despite an overwhelming main character and under-developed minor characters is basically passable, but honestly I’d prefer Mackey’s work as his writing is … not good (but improving!) and his stories and characters are much better.

      • GL April 29, 2020 at 6:33 pm #

        Regan’s Reach was good enough for an insomniac night, but I found it difficult to care about any of the characters, none of whom were at all easy to relate to.

        I’m not going to continue with the series.

        (Writing: a bit confusing about who’s speaking from time to time. Usual punctuation errors. So it goes.)

      • GL April 30, 2020 at 6:20 am #

        The Families War (first book of the series, anyway) is not fast paced, but was an enjoyable-ish read. Mildly recommended.

        • GL May 1, 2020 at 2:46 am #

          Note: second (and later) books are not available via Kindle Unlimited, but are inexpensive.

          The second has severe formatting problems. It’s readable, but hard line breaks within paragraphs make it awkward. I reported that. On to the next in the series and I hope it doesn’t have the same problem.

          • GL May 9, 2020 at 12:43 am #

            Update: later books in the series ARE available via Kindle Unlimited, and having finished that series i highly recommend it.

      • GL April 30, 2020 at 6:26 pm #

        Perilous Waif:strongly recommended.The best of the suggestions I’ve tried so far.

        • Big Ben May 1, 2020 at 4:02 pm #

          Eh, that’s the problem with indie authors … and making recommendations in general. Not everything is for everyone, and very few indies quite match the broad appeal of Mac or Laurence Dahners.
          However, since you seem to be every bit as voracious as myself, here’s a few more to check out, if you’ve never heard of them …

          Joel Shepherd – his Cassandra Kresnov series is one I reread every few years (long enough for me to forget the details and enjoy it anew), and his Spiral Wars series is better than most, too
          Thomas DePrima – his Galaxy Unknown is a fun, lengthy series with a nice spinoff series
          Evan Currie – I particularly like his On Silver Wings series, but it’s all good
          J.A. Sutherland – his Alexis Carew series is quirky … a bit like Drake’s RCN series
          C.R. Daems – perhaps start with the Riss series – enjoyable, if a bit simplistic
          Niall Teasdale – he writes sci-fi, fantasy and erotic urban fantasy. Not for everyone, but he has several gems sprinkled throughout his prolific catalogue.
          Anthony Francis – check out his Skindancer series if you’re looking for a bit of fantasy

          And a few “traditionally published” authors who may have slipped under the radar:
          Literally anything by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. If you start their fantastically long Liaden series at the beginning and read one per day it’ll take you a month to savor them all.
          Also anything by Wen Spencer. Her Tinker / Elfhome series is a treasure, and her singleton books are great, too. My only problem with her is she writes too darn slow. Writers like Mac spoil us … how quickly we forget that many old-school print authors used to only put out one book every year or two.

          • Mac May 1, 2020 at 8:07 pm #

            I like Sharon Lee and Steve Miller too. The only problem there is figuring out which stories you have already read – because they got bounced from publisher to publisher and there are multiple printings of the same stories.
            If you like the detailed creation of an alien society C.J.Cherryh’s Foreigner series is good, but not if you aren’t fascinated with the details of a human dealing with taking tea with an alien grandma. Cherryh’s Chunar series was a favorite too.

          • Brent May 2, 2020 at 3:44 am #

            Big Ben,
            I heartily second your recommendation of Joel Shepherd and Niall Teasdale and will check out the others you recommend. I also agree that Mac and Dr Dahners seem to have a universal appeal. I read anything they release on the release date if I am at all able (thanks Mac, I enjoy the books!).
            From traditional publishing I would add anything by Peter F Hamilton or William Gibson. Bruce Sterling and Walter Jon Williams are both good as well, but may not appeal to as wide of an audience.
            From the self-published arena I would add David VanDyke’s Eden Plague series. An interesting read with us all in the throes of Covid-19 right now.
            Mac,
            Thanks as always for the books. I’m eagerly anticipating the next April and Family Law series. Keep up the good work and above all try to stay healthy!

          • GL May 9, 2020 at 12:51 am #

            Exactly, but thanks for your recommendations. For Laurence Dahners I like some of his series, but not others, but everything I’ve read is a bit simplistic. Suspend disbelief, go along for the ride, but he tends to make his main character nearly invulnerable.

            One series I don’t like because it’s post-apocalyptic fiction, and I generally don’t read that genre. (I don’t read horror or much dystopian fiction, either.

            Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are great (and very few errors even in their self published work – they’re a standard to aspire to).

            John Ringo’s Troy Rising Series might belong here, although it’s military SF and he didn’t continue the series despite the third book ending on a cliffhanger.

            John Ringo also has a strong female main character in “The Family Trade” but that series jumps the shark by book six (original publication) into political allegory (third book of the “omnibus editions”) and the books following that can’t maintain continuity within paragraphs … I understand he’s unwell, but his publisher is simply cashing in on his name in later works.
            The first book however is excellent.

        • Christin May 4, 2020 at 12:21 pm #

          Second Wen Spencer, anything by Octavia E Butler or Lois McMaster Bujold great too

          Recommend Trying:
          Katharine Eliska Kimbriel – Fires of Nuala
          Ankaret Wells -Heavy Ice
          Doris Egan- the Gate of Ivory

      • Timothy May 1, 2020 at 3:34 pm #

        A good series/universe is M.D. Coopers Aeon 14. Though be warned that there are over 90 books in the universe spanning 5ish thousand years worth of stories. Some good starting points are the Sentience Wars: Orgins series starting with Lyssa’s Dream, the Origins of Destiny series starting with Tanis Richards: Shore Leave, the Intrepid Saga starting with Outsystem and Rika’s Marauders starting with Rika Outcast, (yes these are all in the same universe, set at different times)

        • Big Ben May 4, 2020 at 1:32 pm #

          Yeah, I really enjoyed the Rika series.
          I’ve stopped reading it and am waiting for him to complete it, though – the next installment is scheduled for this October, as I recall, and who knows what comes after that. The Rika series is long enough and spread out enough (the first came out in ‘17) that I forget the details of the earlier books if I don’t reread them … and I don’t like them enough to invest the time to reread them all every time a new one comes out.

          There’s so much good stuff to read these days that I don’t like rereading too many series when the latest book comes out, just to refresh myself on the details, especially when those series grow into dozens of books. I reread Mac’s stuff, ‘cause it’s just as good the fifteenth time as the first. Same with a select few other writers.

          Christopher Nuttall is another extremely prolific sci-fi and fantasy author who has several verrrry long series in progress. I really enjoy most of his stuff, but not enough to go back and reread the 18 earlier books in his Schooled In Magic series … I stopped reading around 10 books in and will binge buy and read them all when he finally says “The End.”
          … Also, Nuttall’s Angel in the Whirlwind series is some pretty good sci-fi.

          And I second Janice’s recommendation for Marc Stiegler‘s Brain Trust series. His free market Libertarian world building reminded me a lot of the April series … same depressingly corrupt and inept Big Governments, too.

      • Earl May 29, 2020 at 3:47 pm #

        Ugh! Generally liked Colony One, hated the ending.

    • Boballab April 23, 2020 at 1:22 pm #

      You might want to try Alma Boykin’s Colplatski series, Shikari Series and possibly her Cat Among Dragons series. They are not so much going out to space but already there over coming so unique experiences. The Colpalatski books start with a 5 book arc centered on one character as she lives her life from a young adult until almost her death, the rest bounce in time from the founding of the colony, to just prior to her and to just after she dies. The Shikari books start with the MC as a young girl and how her discovery of ancient ruins on the colony planet she lives on changes the relationships between humans and the indigenous peoples of that planet. The Cat Among Dragon stories revolve around a person that is a hybrid of two alien species: The first is the Wander/Trader species that is almost completely human with the Traders having a big taboo against cross species relationships and the second being a felinoid race. The Wanders/Traders are a time traveling race and she has a time traveling ship so the stories skip through time ala Dr. Who, but most storied take place on Earth (lots of Dr. Who references) and a planet called Drakon IV. That latter planet is home to the Azdhagi, a reptilian race that has problem dealing with aliens, particularly mammals and their Emperor comes up with a novel solution to fixing it.

    • Janice May 3, 2020 at 11:26 am #

      Try the Brain trust by Marc Stiegler. And the share series (quarter share,half share ect.) By Nathan Lowelll the first series goes into the stupidity of Earththink of today the second is a gentle series that starts as a kid living on a corporate plant when his mom died and he can no longer stay on the planet. A another fun series is Ell Donsii series by Laurence Ranger fist is quicker Metal boxes by Allen Black is another fun series. Also Freddy Anderson series by John Ricks.

  5. HamsterDesTodes April 23, 2020 at 10:16 am #

    Thanks for the snippet

  6. Big Ben April 23, 2020 at 12:30 pm #

    Cue a heftier, taller, younger (and much handsomer) Mr. Burns, hunched over his tablet, fingertips tapping against each other ….
    “Excellllllent!”

  7. Jim April 23, 2020 at 7:45 pm #

    Very much looking forward to April 12, thanks for the snippet. Thank the other readers for some book recommendations, I will check them out.

  8. Cheryl April 24, 2020 at 12:04 pm #

    Ooh, very interesting. Looking forward to it

  9. Cheryl April 24, 2020 at 12:12 pm #

    How many words in April 12 so far

    • Mac April 29, 2020 at 4:48 pm #

      35,700

  10. Chuck. April 26, 2020 at 8:42 pm #

    Another good series is the Stork Tower Series starting with Nascent by Tony Corden. I have to skip the D&D Character Sheet info dumps. Both the VR story and the IRL story are compelling.

  11. Michele Starr April 29, 2020 at 4:12 pm #

    Thank you. Keep safe and write on! I own all the e-versions of April and Family Law and the hard back of both number ones. I will purchase any of the April and Family Law when they are available in print. Just a FYI when you consider in-print.

  12. StevieM3 May 6, 2020 at 11:29 am #

    I love the April series and knew I had found something great to read when the first April immediately made me feel like I had found my old childhood friend “Poddy”. I slipped back into that state of dreaming “if only” that I had as a young Heinlein fan, when I read and reread everything he ever wrote. Thank you.

    I am rereading April now and have just got to book 10. Next I will reread Family Law and hope then that April 12 won’t be too far away.

    I hope you keep writing these fantastic series Mac and I too have bought all the Kindle books and would happily buy any in print.

    I also have Chris Nuttall Angel in The Whirlwind and think I will add them to my reread list as I enjoyed them.
    I also have enjoyed pretty much anything written by Glynn Stewart and as he has some recent publications I will also be rereading his Starships Mage and Duchy of Terra books.

    • Mac May 6, 2020 at 3:33 pm #

      Thanks, it’s still fun. I like Nuttell. I count him a friend and did a blurb for one of his books.

  13. harry May 6, 2020 at 1:14 pm #

    Hey Mac, glad to see April #12 is on the way!! Any ETA on when it’ll be ready to publish? I’ll try to time my next re-read of April 1-11 so I can smoothly segue into the new one.

    • Mac May 6, 2020 at 3:32 pm #

      #12 is at 44k + as of today. No promises but I’d like to get it and another out this year. Will be a couple month yet.

  14. GL May 9, 2020 at 12:54 am #

    General response to all the recommendations above: thanks everyone!

    I’ve not got quite a reading list (and yeah, Mac, whatever you publish next I’ll read day #1).

  15. ld May 13, 2020 at 1:18 pm #

    whos is the author

    • Mac May 13, 2020 at 2:34 pm #

      I think you will have to be more specific to get a reply.

  16. Ann May 15, 2020 at 2:35 am #

    Another great read s Bob Blanton’s Delphi Series.

  17. James May 15, 2020 at 9:34 am #

    What’s the status of the next Family Law book? I’m really looking forward to it, April not so much.

    • Mac May 21, 2020 at 8:24 am #

      For some reason April has been going easier.

  18. John Leggett June 1, 2020 at 8:01 pm #

    Any chance of another snippet?

  19. John Leggett June 9, 2020 at 7:50 am #

    Is every thin okay it has been almost 3 weeks since you posted?

    • Mac June 9, 2020 at 8:50 am #

      Things are going very well. I probably should post more. I do appreciate that people like my books. I’m safe, I’m well. Where we live IS in a real hot spot of the Corona virus. We live in Oakland county – just north of Wayne county that contains Detroit. We’ve had over a thousand deaths and Wayne to the south had had over twice the cases and deaths we did. Going just an hour drive north of here there is practically nothing…
      Indeed if anything we are doing better in a pandemic. I’d feel guilty if it was anything I was doing to take advantage of people but it’s just the crazy world we live in.
      My books are selling well and I’m at 78k words on April 12. My wife still works at a university and she has been working from home. They didn’t ask – they just put her on one of the Federal programs that reduces her hours. It saves the university quite a bit of money but it pays her thousands of dollars over the next couple months to work less. I seems very inefficient and unfair to me – but what do I know?
      I got a very nice letter from a man in California who was delighted to see me mention Hazitt’s “The Failure of the New Economics” in one of my books. His education was in economics. He knows the author well enough to have a signed copy and had some thoughts on how likely it would be available that far in the future. He sent me a silver Mises Institute coin and a rather substantial check. I’m still not adjusted to having fans at all much less fans that mail me things like that!
      I will look and see if there is anything that wouldn’t give away too much as a snippet. Writing this one has been fun, although I did get stuck mentally for about three days and had to jump ahead a couple scenes to break it.
      Thank you for your interest.

  20. Big Ben June 9, 2020 at 1:02 pm #

    Stay safe and write on, Mac.
    My sister and her husband are elementary school teachers. She was kept on full time, teaching her second grade students on line several hours per day. My brother in law taught various special ed students full time, though he had no standard classroom. Since he was a “contractor” and fell outside of union rules they laid him off months ago, told him to go on unemployment and it’s uncertain what he’ll do if schools don’t reopen in the fall.
    The whole thing is worrisome … how many millions of students from preschool to post-doc are falling behind, perhaps never to catch up?
    But then, what’s to be done about it?

    …. Stay safe and write on, Mac. We all need some delightful escapism, now more than ever.

  21. Gregg July 14, 2020 at 11:01 pm #

    The April and Family Law series are real favorites. I too am looking forward to April 12, but no pressure Mac. I am amazed by how fast you are able to bring us new stories… so take your time, don’t burn out, because we want dozens more. I particularly enjoy reading these series over again.

    It’s interesting seeing some of the other authors suggested, only a few of which I’ve discovered. Thanks everyone! For a very light read and a bit of slapstick humor try “Bob’s Saucer Repair” by Jerry Boyd. I also liked the Athena Lee series by T S Paul. For those that like a strong female lead character in a non sifi setting, the Emily Kane series by Jacques Antoine might offer a change of pace.

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