A Nikki, a Dave, and the 1980’s by M. Pax

You may already know about Semper Audacia, the exciting debut space opera novelette by M. Pax---but I'll be you had NO idea her new release could possibly have anything at all to do with Three Daves.  Well, think again...here is M. Pax's unexpected tale, complete w/ retro pics:

The U.N.  (M.Pax worked in the black bldg)
In the spring of 1986, I moved to New York City with dreams of ‘making it there’, a couple of suitcases and $500 in my pocket. Fresh out of college, I envisioned writing the great American novel.

My friend Nikki, who I met at freshman orientation, was kind enough to let me stay with her the first six months. When I saved enough money, I moved to Staten Island to share a house with a bunch of roommates. Taking a boat to work was fun, at first. The novelty wore off pretty quick though.

My first job was in Midtown near the UN. I saw mob shootings, Keith Richards, shared a cab with a Chippendales dancer, lived through bomb threats [there were a lot of embassies in our building], experienced the NYC club scene and stood behind Kurt Vonnegut in the lobby news stand one morning. He lived nearby. I read every one of his books, so it was a thrill to stare at his back for a few minutes.

I wrote when I could. Longhand back then. PC’s were barely a glint in anybody’s eye and no one had one. Typewriters were still the norm for home use. I didn’t have one of those either. My dilemma that fall was buy a new pair of sneakers [there were holes in them and I had to put baggies on my feet to keep my stockings from getting torn and my feet from getting wet] or eat for two weeks. I ended up with a boyfriend instead. He made sure I kept eating, so I could get those shoes. His name was Dave. He turned out to be a jerk, but I remain grateful he didn’t let me starve.

Nikki, M.Pax & friends at Phoebe's in the Village
At any rate, Nikki and I would often meet in the Village on Saturday nights. I let her read the first chapters of my great masterpiece.

She said, “You wrote about being alone a lot.”

Yes. I was in my early 20’s and had a flare for the melodramatic. I still do, but it’s mellowed some. All these years, we remained in touch, as I left NYC for DC then left the east coast for the west coast. Every once in awhile she would ask me how “Alone” was going. It was one of several started novels I never finished. Life kept butting in. I wrote in stops and starts.

A few years ago, I picked up writing again in earnest. I finished a novel and two rough draft sequels, a second novel and now I’m working on a third and fourth. It was inevitable Nikki would ask me about “Alone”, because she loves to tease me about it. So when she did two years ago I answered that I was rewriting “Alone” in space. I did. That story became Semper Audacia. It bears little resemblance to the great American novel begun in NYC, but echoes the feel of the piece in many ways, the most obvious, Leda’s loneliness. There were more splashes of inspiration for the piece. Most of my stories are a conglomeration of several sources of inspiration. For some reason, I’m never satisfied with just one. How about you?

So there we have it, my little space opera did have a connection to a Nikki, a Dave and the 1980’s.

Details: 99 cents. Space Opera. Novelette. 13,200 words 

Description: Alone. Leda is the last living member of the brigade, the sole defender of her world. War took everyone she knew, leaving her in the company of memories and ghosts. Or is it madness?

The siren blares. The enemy is coming. Or is it? The approaching vessel isn't a friendly design, but it answers with the correct code. Leda must figure out whether the arrival is reinforcements or the final assault. In an aging flyer, she ventures out to meet her world's fate, the last stand.

About M. Pax: Inspiring the words I write, I spend my summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where I live with the husband unit and two loving cats. I write speculative fiction mostly and have a slight obsession with giant, man-eating reptiles and Jane Austen. I know, they don’t really go together, but it’d be interesting to insert Godzilla in the middle of Pride & Prejudice.


Aurora Smith said…
love the cover of your book. Those socks. Im so glad I was born in the eighties and basicly "grew up" in the 90s. altho, Im not sure it was much better! LOL
Luanne G. Smith said…
Great story, Mary. Isn't it hard to believe some days that we actually survived our twenties? Obviously your Alone story was a strong one, if it stayed with you all those years. :)
Suze said…
'PC’s were barely a glint in anybody’s eye and no one had one.'

Anne Gallagher said…
Oh how true the 80's were for all of us. I remember them well. Semper Audacia sounds like a great story. It's on my list. Much success with it.
DL Hammons said…
Good idea's never die, they sometimes just morph into something else. Loved the story! Good luck with the Novella!! :)
M Pax said…
Thanks, LG, Anne and DL.

Suze we shared 'terminals' at work. PC's started cropping up in 1988 though. They operated on DOS.

Three Daves is a great read if none you have read it yet. I loved it.
Belle said…
It was interesting to read that some of your first writings was about being alone. I bought Semper Audacia and found the concept and plot so interesting. I'm now reading the sneak peek of your next book, "Stopover at the Backworld's Edge." I'm loving the first chapter and can't wait to see what happens next. Interesting characters!
M Pax said…
Thank you, Belle.

I'm getting to work on Stopover after I hit 'publish' on this. The first draft is a little over 1/2 way into polished draft.

I also have a short story ... maybe longer ... I'm working on called The Backworlds, which I will release right before Semper. I intend for it to be free. The story of how many of the characters get to Pardeep. Writing a prequel at the same time has helped me enrich Stopover even more.

Well, I better get to work ;)
Tara Tyler said…
that is so cool that you guys were friends back in the day (sorry, that was lame)
but seriously! wow! and now both published!

ps, nicki, just finished 3 daves, Awwwww!
Nicki Elson said…
Thanks, everyone for stopping by - isn't this post fun? Love getting the backstory on where it all began. Thanks M. Pax!

Tara - it was actually a different Nikki that she knew in New York. But dang, wish I could've been there. ;)
M Pax said…
Thank you for having me, Nicki.

Yes, two different Nicki's. 'Nikki' being my pal since we were both 17. That's hard to imagine ... although sometimes I still feel like that naive 17 year old.

We would have had a blast, 'Nicki' with a c. NYC seemed more crowded to me when I went back a year ago. But maybe because I live out in the sticks of the American west now. I'm used to seeing more critters than people.
Kittie Howard said…
What a great story! Semper Audacia is on my list. A story that lingers that long has got to be a great read. The part about the shoes and getting a boyfriend was - well, perfect 1980s.
I'm still laughing at the thrill of staring at Kurt Vonnegut's back. Didn't expect to read that in a sentence today.
M Pax said…
Hi, Kitty. The 80's was a great decade. I may have to fuse some into a future work. Semper got another great review today. :D

Hi, Tony. Kurt had a very literary back. lol
Golden Eagle said…
I like using several sources of inspiration as well. One usually lights the spark for an idea, but others add to it.

And--Kurt Vonnegut? Wow.
Good for your friend that she kept asking about that story!
Oh, and I'd read Jane Austen if you inserted Godzilla. Just saying!
M Pax said…
I do the same, Eagle. It's fun.

I might do that someday, Alex. lol
I too loved Kurt Vonnegut. I'm sad that he is no longer with us. He never traveled far from Cornell I guess...stayed in the same state. I'm going to read your book, Mary. I promise. I just got to get through Practice Cake by Dalya Moon (she sent it to me...I feel obligated). But it's also really good.
Jennifer Lane said…
That's great to have the support of a friend to stick with it like that. Congrats on getting back to writing!
M Pax said…
It is sad, Michael. He was a great talent with a unique voice.

Thanks, Jennifer.
Arlee Bird said…
That's a great story. A true tale of the struggling artist. What a time that must have been.

Blogging from A to Z
Best of luck with the novella.
That trailer is AWESOME!
M Pax said…
It sounds much better when I'm not in it. Time makes all things tinted in lovely nostalgia, Lee.

Thank you, Elisabeth
All the best Mary! The trailor is awesome!

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