The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 4

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph


The Queen's Triumph, Chapter 4. A space opera serial. Image is a colorful alien planet with two moons.

Surprise! Because this chapter has been edited for content, and the next one is a little shorter, you get two chapters this week!

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Valentin and I spent the rest of dinner on more pleasant topics. As the meal came to a close, anticipation pushed my pulse faster. Finally, Valentin stood and offered me a hand. I slid my fingers into his and sparks danced up my arm. He helped me to my feet, but made no move to pull me closer, despite the heat in his gaze.

“Would you like to check out your ship now?”

I nodded wordlessly. Truth be told, my ship wasn’t the only thing I hoped to check out tonight. I sent Ari a message explaining that I was taking Valentin for a private flight in Ardia, so ground control wouldn’t try to stop us when I took off.

“Should you let Luka know?”

“Already done.”

We headed for my private hangar. On the way, I reached out and threaded my fingers through Valentin’s. He smiled at me and my stomach flipped over. Giddy excitement mixed with nervousness, but as soon as I set foot on the ship, my nerves settled. Proof of Valentin’s care surrounded me, an unmistakable statement.

And I would show him exactly how much I cared, too.

But first, I had to get us in the air. I was dying to get a feel for the ship that would become my home away from home. I led him to the bridge. Instead of letting him go, I pulled him closer. “Thank you,” I whispered, trying to put the enormity of my feelings into those two words.

Valentin’s mouth curved into a tender smile. “You’re welcome.”

Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 4”

The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 3

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph


The Queen's Triumph: Chapter 3. Two wine glasses with lights in the background.

Imogen waited for us at the door to the guest suite. She had deep brown skin, striking cheekbones, and short, curly black hair. She must’ve come from work because she had on a long-sleeved purple shirt, black utility pants, and heavy boots. Even in her work clothes she looked gorgeous and harmless which led people to assume she was harmless—much to their regret.

If I hadn’t been paying attention, I wouldn’t have noticed the tiny change in her expression when she spotted Luka. She was playing it very cool, as was he, but her eyes were just a tiny bit brighter when she smiled at us in greeting.

“Imogen, you remember Valentin and Luka?” I asked. When she nodded, I continued, “I’m assigning you as their security liaison while they’re here. If you need anything, contact me or Ari directly.”

“Will do.” She turned to the two men. “It’s nice to see you again.”

“You, too,” Valentin said.

Luka grunted in acknowledgment, and Imogen rolled her eyes. “I see you haven’t learned how to use your words, yet.” She gave him a smile edged with mischievousness. “Let me show you the suite’s security features so you can prevent your principal from being murdered while you sleep.”

Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 3”

The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 2

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph


The Queen's Triumph, a space opera serial. Image includes a futuristic spaceship in a gray hangar.

www.jessiemihalik.com

“Do you like it?” Valentin asked quietly from somewhere behind me.

It took two tries before I could swallow past the lump in my throat and force the words out. “What is this?”

I heard him shift. “It’s not perfect, but I tried to get it as close as I could remember. I know nothing will ever replace Invictia, and I’m so fucking sorry you lost your ship because of me. But I’m hoping that you’ll accept Ardia as a poor replacement.” He paused, then tacked on, “Surprise.”

That did surprise a half laugh, half sob out of me. I looked around the room with vision gone watery. It wasn’t an exact replica, but it was such a close match that Valentin must’ve personally specified every detail from memory—and he’d only been on my ship once.

In the soft sunset light still streaming in through the open door to the hall, it was incredibly, unimaginably perfect, and I wanted it more than I’d ever wanted almost anything.

But it was far, far too much.

This ship would easily buy four or five ships of Invictia’s caliber—and that was before you added whatever special stealth technology the ship had.

The door swished closed as Valentin moved farther into the room. He stopped in front of me, expression shuttered. He gently touched my damp cheek. “I apologize. I just thought…” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. You’re welcome to pick whatever ship you like, of course. It doesn’t have to be this one.”

“It’s perfect,” I admitted softly. “I love everything about it. But I can’t possibly acc—”

Valentin interrupted me. “If you don’t accept, then Ardia will sit, unused, in a berth somewhere. I already told you that I’m not replacing Korax, and I won’t sell Ardia. I had this ship trimmed out just for you, so you’d be doing me—and the ship—a favor by accepting.”

I arched an eyebrow, back on firmer ground and glad that he hadn’t made a big deal of my emotional breakdown. “Are you trying to guilt me into accepting a ship?”

He grinned at me. “Yes. Is it working?”

Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 2”

The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 1

Part of the serial story The Queen’s Triumph


The Queen's Triumph. A space opera serial. www.jessiemihalik.com

Your patience has been rewarded! At long last, The Queen’s Triumph serial has begun. :) Chapters will be posted weekly, barring any disasters.

As a reminder, the serial is a rough draft, which means it has typos and grammatical errors. I’m still writing it (yes, still), so it’s also subject to change (sometimes drastically!) during edits. If the serial format isn’t your jam, you can preorder the edited novella (out Dec 8)!

If you haven’t read The Queen’s Gambit and The Queen’s Advantage, you are going to be a little lost because this series follows Samara and Valentin across books, so go binge the previous novellas and then come back. :)

Happy Friday!


The trick to meeting an enemy at a time and location set by a traitor was this: don’t. I stalked through Arx trying to find a way around such a universal truth, but the plain white halls of the Rogue Coalition’s capital did not offer up any suggestions.

The meeting would be a trap, and skipping it entirely was the only way to guarantee safety. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option. Commander Tony Adams—formerly of the Quint Confederacy but disavowed, supposedly, by the current Chairwoman—had attacked my people, destroyed my ship, and threatened the tentative peace treaty in the works between the universe’s two superpowers.

He needed to die—slowly.

I just had to figure out how to go to the meeting and survive. And, ideally, how to go alone.

I mulled over the problem as I moved through the familiar halls. Moving helped me think, and being out and about also gave people a chance to air their grievances before they became problems. My frequent availability was one of the reasons I was still queen after five years, despite ruling a group of people who took grave exception to rules.

I stopped in the market, and Zita shouted from her bakery, “Samara! If you don’t kill Eddie, I’m going to do it for you.”

She poked her head out of the building and scowled at me. She was in her forties, with pale skin and curly red hair. I was happy to see that her cheeks were returning to their usual cherubic fullness thanks to the new food supply.

Zita was Arx’s main baker, and Eddie was our main chef. They’d been locked in a fierce competition to produce the best pastry, and Zita was kicking his ass. She had years of experience on him, so it didn’t surprise me that he’d tried a new tactic.

“What has he done now?” I asked.

“He’s been in my supplies! As if I wouldn’t notice that salt and sugar aren’t the same thing.”

“Did you catch it before you used them?”

She looked mortally offended. “Of course!”

I laughed and raised a placating hand. “Okay, I’ll talk to him. Don’t start a murder spree just yet.”

She harrumphed at me, but finally inclined her head and went back to work. I stayed and chatted with a few other people before moving on, but as soon as I was alone again, my mind returned to the problem of the meeting.

No matter how far I walked, I couldn’t figure out a solution because Arietta Mueller, my best friend and head of security, would never allow me to track Adams solo, no matter how well suited to the task I was.

I’d tried to leave my past behind, but it kept coming back. But I’d take every skill I’d ever learned if it meant keeping those close to me safe.

And keeping them safe sometimes meant keeping them in the dark.

Continue reading “The Queen’s Triumph: Chapter 1”

Being Creative in 2020

Some people thrive on adversity. I am not one of them. If a time machine dropped me in some other time and place, I would immediately meet an unfortunate end, and probably in the stupidest possible way. Oh, you mean I wasn’t supposed to pet that saber-tooth cat? But it was so fluffy!

So while Taylor Swift is busy dropping a new album that she wrote and recorded while stuck at home, I am… not. I write slowly in the best of times and 2020 definitely doesn’t qualify.

In the entire month of May, I wrote the same number of words (in total!) that I can write in one really good day.

Yeah…

So if you’re struggling to create this year, know that you’re not alone. Don’t listen to the people (hi, mom!) who tell you that you should be super productive because you’re stuck at home and can’t go anywhere. Mental health is important for creativity, and stress and anxiety aren’t great for mental health—and there’s plenty of stress and anxiety this year.

The myth of the tortured, starving artist, is just that—a myth. Sure, some people probably thrive on chaos, because nothing is ever one-size-fits-all, but I am not one of them. I have two deadlines upcoming, and I’m behind on both. Usually, this would fill me with panic, but this year the best I can summon is a detached sort of dread. I’m all panicked out.

But I continue to trudge onward because that’s all I can do. New Shiny is over 30k, and TQT just crossed 30k, too. I was trying to get TQT done by the end of the month, but that’s just not going to happen unless some sort of miracle occurs.

But, lest you think it’s all doom and gloom around here, I sent the first six chapters of New Shiny off to Mr M and my bff, and they both loved it, so that’s nice. They are biased, naturally, but at least it’s not completely terrible. :)

Now back to the writing cave, Batman. Be kind to each other, wear a mask, and hang in there!

P.S. If you’re in the US, don’t forget to register to vote! And if it’s a been a while, check your registration to ensure you haven’t been dropped from the voter rolls. Even if it hasn’t, it’s a good idea to check. November isn’t that far away and many states have registration deadlines that are quickly approaching.