The Worldbuilding Blogfest: History & Government of The ABACUS Protocol universe

I’m back and better than ever. I’m taking part in Sharon Bayliss’ Worldbuilding blogfest. I’d like to flesh out the world that Sanity Vacuum and the rest of The ABACUS Protocol take place in.


I’m running a day behind, but I’m going to come out swinging with an article on the history and government of The ABACUS Protocol.

The ABACUS Protocol takes place almost 1000 years in the future. In The Pandora Machine (book 2), I establish the date as being 2998-2999. History repeats itself, and many expect the new millennium to herald the end of galactic civilization.

The first colony, Aurora, was founded about 800 years before the events of Sanity Vacuum. The Auroran sun, Helios, is highly unstable, and the first colonists crash landed. The date of planetfall became known as the First Thanksgiving–because they made it to a new world alive. The Second Thanksgiving is the date of the first harvest on their new world, and is celebrated a few weeks before the first in a calendar year. The Thanksgivings are usually referred to collectively.

Over the centuries, other planets were settled. Elyssia, Caesarea, New Damascus, Nova Albion and Kanadia Prime are the most notable colonies.

Until the late 2800s, the galactic hegemony was ruled from Earth. The ABACUS Incident changed everything. ABACUS gained sentience, and in response Earth was cut off from the rest of the galaxy. Humanity plummeted into another dark age, from which it had only recently begun to recover.

The ABACUS Protocol was created so no supercomputer would ever reach sentience, again.

Now, the galactic hegemon is a figurehead, and most planets are self-governing.  Caesarea is ruled by its ruthless Imperatix, and most other planets follow the democratic model. The Epsilon Eridani spaceport was orphaned after the fall of Earth, and is run by a board of administrators. Aurora is controlled by the Traditionalists–anti-technology zealots.

Want more? Tomorrow, I discuss Religion & Culture in The ABACUS Protocol.

Sanity Vacuum

Sanity Vacuum, book one of The ABACUS Protocol, is available in paperback and all ebook formats!


I’ve been tagged! – Author tag

I’ve been chosen to participate in the life-or-death game of Author Tag by James Wymore, a fellow CQ author.

What is the working title of your book?

Sanity Vacuum. It’s part one of The ABACUS Protocol. It was the first good name I came up with, and it stuck.
Where did the idea come from for the book?

I used to do psych studies when I was in university. It was an easy $10 or $20 when good food was hard to come by. I was biking there, and the original story idea came to me. It’s morphed a bit, but the general idea is kind of the same.
What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I honestly have no idea. I don’t pay attention to actors as a rule.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

What is self-awareness, and why does quIRK care?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m being published by Curiosity Quills Press.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

One month. It was part of NaNoWriMo 2011.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m honestly not sure. quIRK could be construed as a bit like Data from Star Trek. A galactic human civilization is a pretty common theme. Like Dune, there are no sentient alien species. I took some inspiration from a made-for-TV movie called Moon, too. (Amazing movie, totally check it out. I love the AI/robot character.)
Who or What inspired you to write this book?

It’s mostly based on my love of science fiction, and my fascination with sentient artificial intelligence. I’ve always wanted to meet one.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I try to explore some deeper things–elements of sentience, intelligence and ethics. How does quIRK evolve from an automation into a self-aware superintelligence? Can the human characters accept him, or will they recoil from the revelation that humanity isn’t the only known form of sentient “life?”

Also, the character Alec. He’s just so outrageous, but he has a heart of gold.


Now, it’s time to tag. I choose… Courtney Worth Young!

Sanity Vacuum is getting published!

I’m going to kick off a renewed frenzy of activity here, with some very cool news:

My novel, Sanity Vacuum, won the Curiosity Quills Nano-virtuoso contest a few months ago, scoring a publishing contract. That’s old news. The new news, is that it’s signed and I’m waiting to get my edits back.

For your reading pleasure, here’s the press release. I’m part of the 2012-2013 new fiction lineup.

Also cool after note: I started writing a sequel, because I have to know what happens! Technically, I already do know what happens, but, my characters don’t torture themselves. (Speaking of which, Bedlam needs my attention, I have yet another character who desperately needs a good breaking.)

A New Project Beckons

I’m back after an extended disappearance! I didn’t forget about you guys, but, no news is no news. Now, I have news, am making news and am ready to rock some socks.

Sanity Vacuum is done for the moment and awaiting edits, which leaves me with a void in my life. As we know, nature abhors a vacuum (haha) and thus, there is only one or two logical things to do, especially since day job style work is slow.

1. Fill it with zombies

Bedlam is getting moved off the back burner, and finding itself thrust back into the angry, violent recesses of my mind. The fourth part of the Zombie Bedtime Stories introduces new characters, new places, and new atrocities. There will be some familiar places, and names, because the whole series is interconnected and will lead up to the terrifying and ultimate series conclusion. I love the Zombie Bedtime Stories, and it will get its 12-15 story run.

2. Write a sequel

That’s right, I started the sequel to Sanity Vacuum today. The working title for the series is The ABACUS Protocol, and the title I’ve picked for the sequel is The Pandora Machine. There’s not a lot to tell here yet, but it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Deadlocked is coming soon, and I’ve entered a contest!

I know, I should update more, and with less topics. I hate 100-word updates, what can I say?

I can say with some authority that Deadlocked will be gracing your Internet as of Friday, for your weekend dose of zombies. Trust me, you need zombies every weekend, it’s vitamin Z, and totally not me trying to get you to read my (and other great) stories. Sadly, continuous annoying pneumonia complications keep creating unexpected delays, but I’m 95% certain that I’ll be able to make my latest self-imposed deadline.

As for the contest, I got wind that the fine folks at Curiosity Quills were holding a contest for books written specifically during NaNoWriMo, so I threw my science fiction novel, Sanity Vacuum (link will show the first three pages of my draft), into the pot. I’m currently in fourth place, and I need to stay in the top ten to move on to the next round. Please vote for me, or a number of the other fine contestants, or both!

Coming soon: Deadlocked Chapter 1 sneak peek, and Christmas Blog Hop madness!



The story behind the SPACE STATION: My #NaNoWriMo Work in Progress

There seems to be some curiosity, and an overwhelming fascination with all the space station babbling I’ve been doing. The working title is Sanity Vacuum. I’m not sure what variant of science fiction it is, but I seldom concern myself with the particularities of genre. I find it’s simpler to let others classify it. Right now, no sub-genre seems to fit.

It’s a science fiction story, set about 1000 years from now on a space station called the Extra-Galactic Observatory (EGO) at the edge of the galaxy.

My main character is a girl named Vivian Skye, from the world of Aurora, which features persistent “northern lights” over most of the planet, day and night. As a result, not much advanced technology works on Aurora except for deep underground, and she studied quantum informatics at the planet’s only tech school. She took her first job on the EGO because she wanted to work with advanced quantum computer systems, and to get away from the memories of being disowned by her anti-technology family because of her passion for computers.

The other primary character is the EGO’s computer, quIRK. He is unique in that he’s been programmed to observe human behavior so that he can fit in better and alleviate the stress of extended isolation. quIRK is eccentric, likes cats and the color antiblue, and is generally a bit of a goof. Unknown to everyone, quIRK has become self-aware, though he harbors no ill-will towards the crew, but he is paranoid, because sentient computers are illegal and if discovered he will be destroyed.

The primary antagonist is called Bryce. He comes from a planet named Caesarea, a caste-based planet modeled loosely on the Roman Empire. He is driven to make it to the upper echelons of his society, no matter the cost. He has a general disdain for the crew of the station he administrates, calling them plebeians, and a special hatred for Vivian, whom he refers to as a barbarian because of her Auroran ancestry, because she was assigned to the station to conduct work that he felt entitled to perform. Bryce has become obsessed with quIRK’s emerging personality, and does not want to be blamed for it.

Other characters are Alec, the squash-loving smart-ass Mr. Fix-It from the planet Elyssia who taught quIRK sarcasm, and the two “Newfound Blob” obsessed scientists. (yes, it’s a real space-thing!)

There is a plot. Vivian is intelligent and driven–no matter what happens to her, she redoubles her efforts and keeps going. This enrages Bryce, who has tried to disrupt her work at every turn. Eventually, he figures out a way to compel quIRK to kill her without his knowledge, and the fun lands them drifting into the unknowns of inter galactic space.

Um, whew. That’s the most I’ve ever actually written about the NaNoWriMo WIP. It feels good. I hope it’s coherent! Now, I just need to write the Earth-shattering conclusion.

I’m not posting an excerpt as of yet, because it’s very unpolished and I prefer to be seen at a level closer to my best. I have a propensity for stupid typos, which would probably make me look incompetent if I didn’t catch them before posting.