Strange Waters Story Reveal

*aggressive electric guitar riff*

Just trying to get you in the mood. Things are going to be very 80's around here today. Visually, at least. So far as the actual story we're discussing is concerned, we'll be dealing with familiar magical hijinks…

…but in SPACE.

Yes, I said SPACE.

You didn't think I could write things in space, did you? Well, I can't, since NASA keeps turning down my applications to experiment with fiction-writing in zero gravity, but I can write stories which are set in space. However, because I am me, they still involve magic and general shenanigans.

The story I'm talking about is my contribution to this year's Phoenix Fiction Writers anthology, entitled Strange Waters. We were each instructed to write a story based on a picture of a sailboat in a beautiful, peaceful expanse of water.

What did I write about, you ask?

A vast, terrifying, soul-rending nebula made of pure chaos magic so wild and vicious that it drives people insane if they merely look at it for too long.

You did ask. And if you're familiar with my work to any degree, you're probably not surprised. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's consistent branding.

As you might have guessed, this is not an Afterverse story. Oh, I don't deny that there is a space element to the Afterverse, and I may get into that someday, but I wanted this story to be completely free of any and all continuity constraints. So we've got an all new universe with all new characters.

*another electric guitar riff* Here we go.

Ric Vayne and the Curse of Ghoul Nebula

Any wizard can fly a spaceship. Hotshot pilot Ric Vayne can fly one better than most. But just as he's about to land a job that could finally pay off his bar bill, he finds himself pressed into service by a deranged captain.

That wouldn't be so bad…except that Ric isn't expected to fly the ship. When he wakes up after getting kidnapped, he discovers that he is the ship.

Which is a bad thing for many reasons–including, but not limited to, the fact that Ric no longer has fingers to hold his spellblaster. If Ric is ever going to get his soul out of a computer core and back into his body, he'll have to be very clever about it.

But he'll also have to work fast…because he's headed for Ghoul Nebula, a place of pure chaos magic. And no pilot–or  ship–gets out of there alive.


Yeah, so this is basically Firefly plus Harry Potter with maybe a little Star Wars and a dash of Thor Ragnarok. It's just a short story, but I had such a good time writing it that I think I pretty much have to do more with Ric at some point. Who knows? Maybe he'll get his own full-length book someday.

All the Phoenix Fiction Writers are currently in the process of revealing their stories, one per week. Check out this page to learn more about the other entries for Strange Waters! The book will be available in October 2019.

Comments (8)

*jumps up and down* I can’t wait to read this!!!

Glad to hear it! Thank you!

Oh dear… First, of all, if you must know, that, ahem… “Aggressive electric guitar riff” just reminds me of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who, you know, the part where he comes in on a tank? So, yep. That is officially how I picture you in this moment in time.
Second, that cover is BEAUTIFUL! And do I detect a face in that nebula? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Your covers are stunning and I need posters of them. (Although if that is a face, this one might give me the heebie jeebies.)
Third, I have anxiously been waiting for the cover reveal of your story since the dawn of time. (Okay. Maybe not that long. More like since I knew there would be another anthology by you awesome Phoenix Fiction people.) It doesn’t disappoint and I’m looking forward to it very much.
Fourth and last of all, I’m totally gonna explode when this anthology comes out. There are so many amazing stories in here and I can’t wait to read them all.

Thanks so much, Julia! Hope you enjoy the story! (And yes, I was definitely trying to evoke that Doctor Who moment. :D)

Yessssss! This post is pure gold (laughing so hard) and has me super excited for this story and anthology!!

Guys, I edited this one and it’s hilarious and intense and brilliant and sooo much fun. So basically the usual Shultz fare. XD

Can’t wait!!

Thanks so much, Deborah! 😀

‘kay, this story sounds amazing, and weird, and definitely something I would read. I desperately want to read it now.

LOL, thank you! 😀 Hope you enjoy it!

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