Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance, Science Fiction on April 21, 2017

Title: Wanted and Wired

Author: Vivien Jackson

Series: Tether, #1

ISBN: 9781492648161

Pubdate: April 4, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Synopsis

A rip-roarin’ new snarky, sexy sci-fi paranormal romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heat, and heart. Now that Texas has seceded and the world is spiraling into chaos, good guys come in unlikely packages and love ignites in the most inconvenient places…

Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive

Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what’s left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas—sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.

Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark

Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it’s the perfect storm…

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You might be a futuristic biohacked hottie if…

When dieting, you no longer weigh yourself. The mechanical augmentations in your body skew weight anyhow, and your health stats and biometrics are tracked on the cloud. Put down the artificially sweetened protein bar. Put it down.

Excerpt

She popped her bubble gum and leaned against a Plexiglas route map. Cool as a daiquiri was Mari.

He waited for the bus to pull away from the stop and then rolled his car to the curb, about a meter from her mud-caked wellies. Green ones, with tiny sunflowers on the pull loops. He moved one hand off the steering wheel, signed a command, and her door shished open.

She leaned in, twirling the parasol, flinging errant raindrops all over his contrast-piped leather interior. Cool sprinkles, like cupcake dusting. A dimple tucked itself next to her flirty smile. “Hey, stranger. Goin’ my way?”

Heron pressed his lips into a line. “No funning, please. Get in. Quickly.”

“No kiddin’ no fun,” she muttered under her breath, probably forgetting that her com was subvocal. Although she was sharp as a shiv when her hands were on a gun, she could forget crucial things on planning and extraction. Or she deliberately relied on him to keep all that sorted.

Either way, Heron didn’t mind. He reached through the wireless and shut down her com.

She closed the umbrella, tossed it to the floorboard, and folded herself into the passenger seat. Heron had the door down as soon as her skirt was clear of the seals.

He’d examined this sector extensively in planning and had every escape route timed down to the second. He hadn’t counted on the law enforcement response being so fast, though, almost instantaneous. Road blocks and drones were popping up like dandelions every time he polled the mirror, and he had no defenses set up to counter them.

He knew precisely the speed at which information flowed, and there was no way within normal parameters the authorities could know her identity and location this quickly. Clearly, Mari had been set up. He even had a good idea who’d done it. The cloud, with its delicious glut of information, hovered just beyond his vision, tempting. He could see her doom erupting, 33.3 milliseconds behind real time, and he couldn’t do a damn thing to stop it.

No, that wasn’t true. He had a range of options, but the only one he allowed himself, the only one that made sense, was to get her away from here. Get her somewhere safe. Hide her.

Traffic became a torment, not just because his escape was slowed or capture crept closer with each passing second, but also because…she was here. Close. Too close. Within touching distance close. He could practically feel her vibrating with postjob adrenaline. Just eight blocks to the expressway entrance ramp. He endured them. Every bloody inch. Every stroke of her naked hands on the cushion. Every drip of skin-warmed rainwater from her ponytail, teasing its way down between her shoulder blades and along the seatback. Every push of her breath against damp synthetic cashmere. Every distant siren, every rolling update from his mirror… Interpol had her bios now, but he suspected the UNAN agents would find her first.

No. Over his goddamned corpse they would.

He hit the entrance ramp at 120 and blew into the cruise lane. The wireless exchange with the bus earlier had reminded him of another closed system, off-cloud. A bigger one. Private. Safe.

“Thought our exit vector was south. Cabana down in Cabo San Lucas and an endless tab of mojitos? This ringing a bell, partner?” Mari craned to see a road sign too blurry to read with naked eyes.

Heron cataloged the sign, crossed three lanes, and slung the car onto a flyover, taking them decidedly not south.

“I told you our plans had changed. No cabana this time, but don’t worry. I’m taking you someplace safe.”

“What place? Your place?” She waggled her eyebrows.

He inhaled deliberately. She doesn’t mean it the way it sounds. It is not an invitation. You know how she is. Bald come-hithers and poor timing were typical of her postjob process. Everybody had a different way of ramping up and down for jobs like this, and hers was invariable. A peek at her biometrics showed elevated hormone levels in her blood. Flight or fight or f*, and Mari had an unnatural ability to suppress the first.

Any other job, he’d have her on a plane by now and off to the hired harem of cabana boys she needed to seduce to prove she was still alive. But this wasn’t any other job. This was a botch. On a contract held by Texas. She was in danger, and he didn’t have time to wrestle with her attempts to make him into another of her temporary playthings.

Temporary, because the only time she’d be able to stomach f*ing a post-human would be right after a job. And then she’d hate herself after. He knew what she thought about people with implanted tech. Cyborgs. No better than machines.

And he sported a metric shitload of implanted tech.

So he’d kept their relationship purely professional, and there had never been a reason to alter that structure. Until today. Now, to keep her safe, he was willing to suffer a lot more than her derision. He was willing to lay bare his most deeply held secrets and hope she didn’t heckle. Or worse, send him away.

He accelerated through fourth gear, and the car lowered, uncomplaining, hugging the asphalt.

F* it all—he was taking her home.

About the Author

VIVIEN JACKSON is still waiting for her Hogwarts letter. In the meantime, she writes, mostly fantastical or futuristic or kissing-related stories. When she isn’t writing, she’s performing a sacred duty nurturing the next generation of Whovian Browncoat Sindarin Jedi gamers, and their little dogs too. With her similarly geeky partner, she lives in Austin, Texas, and watches a lot of football.

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Spotlight on March 18, 2017

Synopsis

900 years ago, Dogane fell at the hands of Ubinion and Ramas. That day, the people rejoiced to the heavens, which had finally removed its dark veil and given them the warmth they deserved for so long. Since then, nearly everyone had forgotten the power that almost tore Agrathias apart.

But Ubinion and Ramas had always warned of the corruption they were never able to completely rid the world of. A corruption that now allows one sorcerer the chance to rule Agrathias…forever…

Excerpt

Pivincy didn’t move.  He wasn’t going to.  This town had been his life, and this town was one he’d sworn to protect when he took the sacred oath linking his fate to Terrifor’s.  And he would fulfill the oath today.

He withdrew from his lap a heavy, black sphere.  He cupped it in his hands and pressed on it tightly.  Black and white fog swirled within, and a slight hissing sound was heard.

Give the people one last chance at a better position.

He thought of all the people he’d met in his life.  He held onto each of their smiles as he thrust the sphere down.  A shriek sliced the air, one that went high and low, and this noise would drive the Arcams even crazier than they already were.

It didn’t take long for the stream of black to flow through the town and pound up against the gates to the manor house.  Arcams used themselves as rams as flesh met iron, and Pivincy accepted a fact before it even happened: the gates wouldn’t hold out.

He stood up and placed his sword out in front of him.  He remembered the first time he held it in his hands: his first battle over two decades ago.  A tear and a chuckle came to him as he remembered in that battle Lynn’s wide eyes as she struck the Arcam Pivincy failed to see rushing at him.  He hoped she was still alive somewhere in this town, and if she wasn’t, that she’d been able to die with friends rather than alone like him.

As the gate buckled in and crashed to the side, Pivincy drew in his last, long breath.  He was going to miss Terrifor; he was going to miss this life.  But before he died, by everything on this Earth, he was going to show what defending a home really looked like.

About the Author

I’m a graduate of The University of Notre Dame with a BA in Chemical Engineering.  I just really like writing on the side.  This book was started in middle school, and it was interesting seeing how the writing style and plot changed as I got older (although I made sure to keep the general story the same since that’s what I wanted in the first place).  I’m currently writing my second book, but now I’m just trying to get this first book out for anyone to read.

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Posted in Science Fiction, Spotlight on February 1, 2017

Science Fiction

ReAnimus Press

320 pages

February 1, 2017

Synopsis

The arrival of a moon-sized triggers an exploratory mission led by Alis, a cybernetically enhanced woman. The journey into the object allows Alis to explore herself as well as the new arrival.

About the Author

Science fiction and mystery author John E. Stith writes across many worlds. His books have been translated to French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian and are even available in braille for the sight-impaired.  His stories have been categorized as “Hard science fiction,” a label given to those stories thoroughly researched to play fair with the rules of science; something any die-hard SciFi fan can appreciate.

It was during the summer Science-Math Institute for High School Students at Cloud State College, John served as editor for the school paper, but several more years would pass before the urge to write, strengthened by years of loving to read, was too compelling to ignore.  His stories vary, but his books are packed with suspense, mystery, and humor.

Stith holds a B.A. in physics from the University of Minnesota, has served as an Air Force Officer, where he worked at NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The passion for science runs in his family, as his father George worked at the White Sands Missile Range on such projects like the rocket sled.

He has appeared on a live nationwide PBS broadcast or Science-Fiction Science-Fact (SF2) and his work has also been sold to film and television. His novel Reckoning Infinity was chosen as one of Science Fiction Chronicle’s Best Science Fiction Novels,  Redshift Rendezvous was picked as a Nebula Award nominee and Manhattan Transfer received an honorable mention from the Hugo Awards and a nomination from the Seiun Award in Japan.

Stith is a member of Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Writers Guild of America (WGA), International Thriller Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW), Colorado Author’s League and Mensa.  He currently lives in Colorado Springs.

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Spotlight, Urban on January 29, 2017

Synopsis

Ian’s alliance with the rebels brings the wrath of the Pur army crashing down on them, but he is forced to abandon his new allies and travels to Earth’s alternate universe to rescue Rayne. As Ian combs the strange, desolate planet in search for her, he discovers the true story of the Weir and his connection to Earth’s imminent destruction.

Excerpt

Several miles later, and unsure if he could take much more, the current slowed and he leaned back in exhaustion. The boat glided into a wide cavern with a high-arched ceiling. A narrow ray of natural light streamed from a sizeable crevice overhead. The striations across the rock walls took Ian’s breath away and he yearned for better light to view them in all their splendor. The wall depicting the planet’s evolutionary story, displaying various crust layers rising high above his head.

Bump! One of the paddles slipped out of Ian’s hand and he scrambled to retrieve it before it floated away. He slid the handle back into the iron ring that rose from the side of the boat and breathed a sigh of relief. Droplets, either from sweat or from his wet hair, plopped onto his cheek, and he used his forearm to swipe his forehead. Bump!

The rowboat swished sideways in the water. It hadn’t been diverted by an underwater rock. The motion felt more like a nudge.

A water creature swam beneath him. Was it playing with him, or was the gesture a warning?

In order to conjure a core blast, Ian would have to let go of one of the oars. If he pulled it into the boat, he’d be unable to steer.

The creature’s back broke the surface on the port side. It was about seven feet long and covered in thick scales, each one the size of Ian’s hand. Phosphorescent algae grew between the curved scales, outlining them in an emerald glow. Ian leaned over the side of the boat as the creature dove beneath and disappeared into the murky depths. He had no idea how deep the water was in the cavern, but from what he could tell, it was enough deep for this creature to have grown to the size of a small car.

He searched for a ledge, anything he could paddle over to so he could be better prepared if the creature returned. Nothing but sheer rock walls surrounded him.

The sounds of the gentle lapping water kept his breaths company, yet were unable to sooth his pulse.

When the creature didn’t return after a couple of minutes, Ian dipped the oars into the water with the merest of sound and pulled back with gentle force, headed for the mouth of the cave several yards ahead. Ian passed under a stream of natural light, and was blinded for a few seconds.

He cocked his ear at a change in the surface of the water from behind. The creature was on a direct path toward him. Ian pulled the oar in his left hand with everything he had but it wasn’t enough to skirt the oncoming blitz. The creature lifted the back end of the boat out of the water and sent Ian lunging to the side.

He face-planted on the surface, and then was pulled under the water.

 

About the Author

sue duffSue Duff has dreamed of dragons and spaceships before she could even read, so it’s only natural that she now combines both fantasy and science fiction as her favorite genre. Having written since high school, Duff never took it seriously until a skiing accident laid her up for an entire summer and she turned on the word processor to combat the boredom. A couple years later, her first urban fantasy novel, Fade to Black , was one of five finalists in the RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest and in 2015, Duff’s writing earned her the PEN Award.

She is the second oldest of six girls with an avid reader mom and her dad, the family’s single drop of testosterone in a sea of estrogen.

By day, Duff is a dedicated speech-language therapist at an inner city school district, a career she pursued much in part to her aunt who got her hooked on stories of the profession when Duff was younger. She is passionate about the work she does and regularly works to help those students that need it the most.

Sue is a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and The Pikes Peak Writers.  She calls Colorado home and when not saving the world one page at a time, she can be found walking her great dane, getting her hands dirty in her garden, or creating something delicious in her kitchen.

Check out her blog, A Cook’s Guide to Writing and other musings on her website.

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Catch up on the series by reading Fade to BlackMasks and Mirrors and Sleight of Hand!

Love Audiobooks? You can also listen to Fade to Black through Audible.

Posted in Fantasy, Science Fiction, Spotlight on January 22, 2017

Synopsis

Quiti and the rest of the Hair Suits have just set up the Hair Suite, the embassy of the alien Hair Balls, when they learn they have competition. Alien cyborgs called Chip Monks want to win Earth for themselves. The two species must duel for control.

These rivals discover a third alien species that threatens to destroy Earth, and have to join up quickly in order to protect the planet they are both seeking to win. Along the way, they get swept up in a world of intergalactic politics, wormholes, and role-playing.

Will they be able to save Planet Earth in time?

About the Author

Piers Anthony, critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestselling Xanth series, shows off his signature originality and wit in this entertaining and inventive sequel to Hair Power.

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Posted in Children, excerpt, Science Fiction, Young Adult on December 31, 2016

Synopsis

Fourteen-year-old Hannah Bradbury loved her father so much that she worried about him constantly. After all, he was a photographer who traveled to the most dangerous places in the world.

To allay her fears, each time he came home he brought her silly gifts, each one with supposed magical powers: the Seal of Solomon, the Ring of Gyges, even Aladdin’s Lamp. It was that lamp Hannah found the most unbelievable, for it looked like an ugly teapot. Nevertheless, her father assured her it was real, and made her promise to save her three wishes for something very special.

Then . . . six months later . . . the unthinkable happened. Her father was killed while on assignment to Baghdad. And so on the day of his funeral Hannah did something she never thought she would ever do.

She took out that teapot and gave it a rub . . .

The Ugly Teapot by Fred Holmes is a timeless tale, filled with magic and adventure. More importantly, it will make you believe in the overwhelming power of love.

Excerpt

Hannah Bradbury opened her eyes, feeling forty, not fourteen. Every part of her ached: head, stomach, neck, back—which was weird because she had felt perfectly fine two seconds ago. Plus now she was freezing. That part, at least, made some sense, for it was cold outside and she was lying next to her cupola window.

But the weird part? —the seriously bizarre, mind-blowing part? —two seconds ago she had been lying in her bed across the room.

She pulled her father’s shirt tighter around her narrow shoulders and sat up. Her dog, Griff, was still asleep in her bed, just as he had been two seconds ago. And her furniture looked fine—chest-of-drawers, study desk, nightstand—right where they should be. At least they hadn’t moved like last time.

The only thing that wasn’t where it should be—other than herself—was her clock. It was one of those old-fashioned analog clocks—brought to her from London by her father—and night before last it had been moved from her nightstand to her study desk. Now it was back on her nightstand. And the time had changed. She had checked it before closing her eyes, and it had said it was midnight. Now, two seconds later, the luminescent hands pointed to 6:15 a.m.

She shivered as she swung her legs off the love seat. Keeping her thigh muscles tensed in case someone grabbed her legs, she let the toe of her left foot touch the floor first. The wood felt buckled and splintery and colder than usual, but nothing grabbed her legs, so she stood up.

She hovered next to the love seat for a moment, her hand gripping the wall for balance, then wobbled unsteadily to a pile of dirty clothes on the floor of her closet. She rifled through them until she found a pair of jeans that didn’t smell too badly, slipped them on, then took one of her father’s sweaters off a hangar and pulled it over her nightshirt. It was thick and warm and still smelled like her father. Thinking of her father made her smile, but that smile disappeared when she saw her reflection in the mirror on the back of her closet door.

She looked horrible: pale skin, dead seaweed hair, dark circles around her eyes. Her skin used to be tan, her hair the color of burled walnut, and everyone used to compliment her eyes. Now everything about her looked dull and lifeless. And she was weary, dead tired. She would have loved to climb back in bed with Griff, but morning would be coming soon, and she didn’t want to miss anything.

She returned to her love seat and sat down with her legs crossed. The advantage to living on the second floor of a three-story house in Green Park, Tennessee, was that on a clear morning you could see for miles. The disadvantage was that there were very few clear mornings in the Great Smoky Mountains. They were usually—well, smoky—and it often took the anemic sun half a day to burn off the fog.

Fortunately, the mist was already starting to lift from the cemetery below. Soft, grey wisps still lingered lazily among the tombstones, but they would be gone soon. A dove was cooing, and that meant the sun was about to peek over the mountains.

She was starting to think they were going to be late, when she suddenly heard the deep rumble of an engine. Seconds later a pickup truck chugged through the cemetery’s wrought iron gate. Hannah followed it with her eyes as it came, fog swirling around its tires, engine sputtering, tailpipe coughing. It stopped beneath the gnarly branches of an arthritic oak tree not far from her house. She watched it shake off like a dog after a hard rain, then heard its motor shut down. All became quiet again.

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About the Author

THE UGLY TEAPOT is Fred Holmes’s first novel. He’s known primarily as a writer/director of television and films, specifically children’s television and family films. He’s worked on such TV shows as WISHBONE, BARNEY & FRIENDS, MARY LOU RETTON’S FLIP FLOP SHOP, IN SEARCH OF THE HEROES, HORSELAND, and many, many other shows. He’s written and/or directed over 250 episodes of television and has been nominated for Emmys five times and has won twice. He’s also won three CINE Golden Eagles, plus numerous other awards. Besides his work in TV, he’s directed three feature films: DAKOTA, starring Lou Diamond Phillips, for Miramax; HARLEY, starring Lou Diamond Phillips, for Lionsgate; and HEART LAND, a Bollywood feature film that he directed in India and starred Indian superstars Divya Dutta and Prem Chopra.

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Posted in Science Fiction, Spotlight on December 18, 2016

memory-blankISBN: 978-0-9672984-5-0

Paperback: $15.99

E-book: $4.99

Mystery, Science Fiction

ReAnimus Press

198 pages

December 15, 2016

Synopsis

Cal Donley wakes up covered with someone’s blood. He’s on the orbital colony Daedalus. And the last ten years are a total blank.

His wife, Nikki, is a tantalizing stranger. His only ally is Vincent, a wise-cracking, AI Smart Watch. As Cal tries to unscramble his missing memories, people around him begin to have fatal accidents.

What disaster has stripped away so much of his memory – and why? And what about the dried blood on his hands…?

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About the Author

Science fiction and mystery author John E. Stith writes across many worlds. His books have been translated to French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian and are even available in braille for the sight-impaired.  His stories have been categorized as “Hard science fiction,” a label given to those stories thoroughly researched to play fair with the rules of science; something any die-hard SciFi fan can appreciate.

It was during the summer Science-Math Institute for High School Students at Cloud State College, John served as editor for the school paper, but several more years would pass before the urge to write, strengthened by years of loving to read, was too compelling to ignore.  His stories vary, but his books are packed with suspense, mystery, and humor.

Stith holds a B.A. in physics from the University of Minnesota, has served as an Air Force Officer, where he worked at NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The passion for science runs in his family, as his father George worked at the White Sands Missile Range on such projects like the rocket sled.

He has appeared on a live nationwide PBS broadcast or Science-Fiction Science-Fact (SF2) and his work has also been sold to film and television. His novel Reckoning Infinity was chosen as one of Science Fiction Chronicle’s Best Science Fiction Novels,  Redshift Rendezvous was picked as a Nebula Award nominee and Manhattan Transfer received an honorable mention from the Hugo Awards and a nomination from the Seiun Award in Japan.

Stith is a member of Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Writers Guild of America (WGA), International Thriller Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW), Colorado Author’s League and Mensa.  He currently lives in Colorado Springs.

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Spotlight on November 25, 2016

night_watch-cover

Synopsis

In the chaotic and crime-ridden settlement of Boxtown on Mars, Minty Storey witnesses a bar fight she has no idea will change the course of her life.

Halfway across the planet, Janet Pilgrim and the Volunteer Space Rescue Service struggle to do something about the pirate menace on the spaceways between Earth and Mars.

But the problems both face are much bigger than pirates and bar fights. When a leader of Earth’s Manifest Destiny movement makes an appearance on Mars, events begin to roll to a climax that will hold the fate of the planet in the balance.

**how funny that the character has the same last name as me and this blog!**

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Excerpt

Bulk Cargo Ship Lisco Gloria, Mars Orbit

Will Saldana wrinkled his nose.  “Why oh why did they have to ‘jack a ship full of coffee,” he asked.  Since he was alone in the zero-gee centerline passageway of the spaceship Lisco Gloria, there was no answer forthcoming.  “I should have stayed home,” he said, pulling himself aft with one hand while trying to keep the semi-auto pistol in the pocket of his coveralls with the other.  Fortunately the pistolwas attached by a string to a belt-loop, so no matter what he wasn’t going to lose it.

He contemplated “home” as he continued aft.  He’d been born on Mars, and spent most of his 10 Martian years or Mears living in a small station in the Libya Montes region of Mars.  It was the most boring place possible, so when a trade convoy had driven by he’d lit out with them.

“That was a mistake,” he said, addressing one of the many equipment panels he was supposed to be checking.  Why they needed to be checked every hour, including the middle of the night, was beyond him.  But he was getting paid.

“Money is good,” he said.  The handheld radio in his other pocket beeped, and he fished it out.  “Yeah,” he said, keying the mike.

“You’re late,” came a woman’s voice from the device.  The ‘again’ was unspoken.

“You got a hot date?” Will asked.  He wasn’t wearing anything under his coveralls, and thinking of his highly attractive boss was starting to create a reaction.

“Down, boy,” she said, as if she could see him. “Report every 30 minutes means report every 30 minutes, not whenever you feel like it.”

“Fine, fine, keep your shirt on.”  Actually, take it off please.  “I’m at the Number 2 HVAC panel and nothing to report.”

“Copy, check back in 30, please.”

“Yes, boss.”

Will continued on his rounds.  He’d ran out of money in New Hue City, which was especially problematic because most of the locals spoke Vietnamese and he didn’t.  Fortunately he hooked up with the pirates, who were looking for a crew to guard whatever ship they took.  Will, desperate, signed up.  He ate most of the advance, keeping just enough to get his nine-millimeter pistol out of hock.

“But why, oh why, did they have to ‘jack a coffee-boat,” he said aloud, hoping talking would keep him awake.  Martians, or at least those who actually liked coffee and had money to burn, would pay extra for Earth coffee, and coffee had to be shipped in pressurized cargo holds.  Thus, the Lisco Gloria, a ship that reeked of coffee.

He came to the end of his round, a zero-gee corridor that led to an external cargo airlock.  He pulled himself into the corridor, intending just to eyeball the airlock from the junction as opposed to go all the way down to the lock.

“Who are you?” Will asked, startled.  There was a man in a spacesuit about two meters down the corridor from junction.  His suit helmet was open, revealing a full salt-and-pepper beard.

“Easy, kid,” the man said, his gravelly voice quiet.  He looked and sounded like somebody’s grandfather.  The gun in the man’s hands did not fit with the grandfatherly image.  “Just stay cool and nobody will get hurt.”

“Look, man,” Will said, his mouth suddenly dry.  “I gotta check in, and if I don’t…”

“Your next check in isn’t due for half an hour,” the man said.

A blower kicked on, and Will’s body started to twist in the sudden breeze.  He felt his gun slide out of his pocket, and reflexively reached for it.

“No!” the other man said.

“I’m cool!” Will shouted, thrusting his other hand toward the man.  This caused Will to twist some more and the gun to fall completely out.

There were two pops, each as loud as a handclap, and Will felt a burning pain in his chest.  His eyes suddenly wouldn’t focus, and he was spun in a different direction.  He looked down the corridor and saw the old man’s gun flash, producing a muted clap.  Will screamed as something hot drove into his shoulder.

The gun spun away from his suddenly nerveless hand, dangling at the end of the string.  The room was getting dark, and Will couldn’t catch his breath. He tried to talk, but couldn’t get any words out.

“Nice shooting, Nick,” Will heard somebody say.

“Kid gave me no choice,” the old man said, his voice sounding distant.  “One pirate down, Junction Alpha secured.”

Will closed his eyes.  The last thing he heard was the old man saying “too late for a medic.”

About the Author

Chris Gerrib admits to being a bit obsessed with Mars, but in a healthy way – all three books of his Pirate Series are set on Mars.  Chris still has a day job as the IT director at a Chicago-area bank, and holds degrees in history and business from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University.  He also served in the US Navy during the First Gulf War, and can proudly report that not one Iraqi MiG bombed Jacksonville, Florida while he was in the service.  In his copious free time, Chris is a past President of and currently active in his local Rotary club.

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Posted in Science Fiction, Spotlight on November 20, 2016

redshift

ISBN: 978-0-9672984-4-3

Paperback: $15.99

E-book: $4.99

Science Fiction

ReAnimus Press

244 pages

November 15, 2016

Synopsis

WARNING: Read This Guide Before Boarding the Redshift.

The environment aboard a hyperspace craft is quite safe as long as you are careful. The management reminds you that the speed of light on board this craft is ten meters per second (or about 30 million times slower than what you are used to). This means you will frequently encounter relativistic effects and optical illusions.

Aboard the hyperspace liner Redshift is a relativistic world of slow light and treachery.  The first sign of trouble is the apparent suicide of a passenger.  When the first officer discovers that she was murdered – he wants answers.

Before long, a desperate group of hijackers use the hyperspace liner to plunder a fabled colony – and only one man stands in their way.

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About the Author

Science fiction and mystery author John E. Stith writes across many worlds. His books have been translated to French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian and are even available in braille for the sight-impaired.  His stories have been categorized as “Hard science fiction,” a label given to those stories thoroughly researched to play fair with the rules of science; something any die-hard SciFi fan can appreciate.

It was during the summer Science-Math Institute for High School Students at Cloud State College, John served as editor for the school paper, but several more years would pass before the urge to write, strengthened by years of loving to read, was too compelling to ignore.  His stories vary, but his books are packed with suspense, mystery, and humor.

Stith holds a B.A. in physics from the University of Minnesota, has served as an Air Force Officer, where he worked at NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The passion for science runs in his family, as his father George worked at the White Sands Missile Range on such projects like the rocket sled.

He has appeared on a live nationwide PBS broadcast or Science-Fiction Science-Fact (SF2) and his work has also been sold to film and television. His novel Reckoning Infinity was chosen as one of Science Fiction Chronicle’s Best Science Fiction Novels,  Redshift Rendezvous was picked as a Nebula Award nominee and Manhattan Transfer received an honorable mention from the Hugo Awards and a nomination from the Seiun Award in Japan.

Stith is a member of Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Writers Guild of America (WGA), International Thriller Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW), Colorado Author’s League and Mensa.  He currently lives in Colorado Springs.

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Posted in Fantasy, Giveaway, Science Fiction, Young Adult on November 19, 2016

rimrider-cover

Synopsis

Teenager Jane Benedict is awakened by her father and ordered to memorize a mysterious code. Hours later, Mathias Benedict is dead and Jane and her brother, Will, are wards of United Earth Corporation. To evade the company’s murderous clutches and uncover the meaning of her father’s last message, Jane leads Will on a desperate escape across the galaxy aboard the Freetrader smuggler ship, Solar Vortex. Tangled in the crew’s fight against UEC, Jane saves the life of young smuggler Maclan Sawyer and learns her father’s code identifies a secret cargo shipment that may spell doom for the entire Freetrader cause and the extinction of an alien race.

Piracy, intrigue, romance, and a daring rebellion from Earth wait on the planet Rimrock. Will Jane answer the call to adventure and find new purpose on the galactic rim or will death for high treason be her fate?

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Excerpt

As they raced across the bay another pallet full of cargo erupted. Flying bits of debris rained down on them. Jane slapped the falling embers from her hair. They reached the bulkhead and huddled behind stacked containers. Jane stifled a cough as acrid smoke rose in billowing clouds from the burning goods.

Her mouth went dry. “Mac, there’s no alarm. The fire suppressors must be off-line. The smoke will get thicker and eat up the oxygen.”

Mac spied around the corner of the crate. “I see him. A sweeper on the catwalk with a laser rifle. He can’t draw a bead from there, but the instant we make a run for the hatch, he’ll spot us. We’re trapped.”

“How did a sweeper get on the ship?” whispered Jane. “I thought no UEC boarding party made it over.”

“No clue. Nobody spotted any, and none of the alarms went off….what’s he doing now?”

Jane and Will inched up beside Mac. The sweeper bent over and appeared to adjust a device at his feet. “We have to warn the others,” Jane said. “There may be more.” She spoke into her com. “Doc, can you read me?”

“Jane—” A crackly din drowned out the rest.

“We’re trapped in cargo bay Delta-120 with a sweeper. Do you read?” The only response was a hiss of static. Jane peered at them with anxious eyes. “My line is dead. Anyone have a signal?” Neither Mac nor Will’s com had reception.

Jane swallowed. “I don’t know if Doc got the message.”

Mac scowled. “We’re out maneuvered and outgunned and can’t wait around to find out. The smoke is getting thicker by the second.”

Hack emitted a muted tinny whine. “What’s his problem now?” hissed Jane.

Will yanked off the tarp and checked the readouts. “The weird signal’s back. It’s stronger this time. Hack has a lock. It’s definitely coming from that thing on the catwalk with the sweeper.”

Mac’s gaze narrowed. “His rifle beats the cutter for long-range shooting. If the sweeper were at ground level, the odds would be more to my liking. I can sneak up on him.” He blew out his cheeks in frustration. “How to draw him out without getting shot is the problem.” He turned to Jane and Will. “You two wait here. When the shooting starts, make for the hatch.”

Jane grabbed his arm. “Mac, this is crazy. You’ll never get close enough. We need a better plan—”

Mac shook off her grip. “There’s no time. One of us has to make it out of here and go for help. Now run!” He broke from cover and darted around a loader.

The sweeper instantly spotted him. Jane watched in horror as the laser rifle fired a spread of explosive charges. A direct hit to the loader’s engine mushroomed debris into the air. Mac dove behind a cargo container abutting a rack of mech suits. He was unharmed for now, but had no safe way to advance any farther.

“What do we do?” said Will. “Run for help?”

Jane’s focus returned to the sweeper. With his laser rifle at the ready, he used his other hand to hurriedly work on the object at his feet, acting as if time weighed hard against him. Jane’s gaze narrowed. A person so consumed by a task would hate to be interrupted. As a matter of fact, the right interruption might make him boiling mad. Mad enough to drop his guard and take his attention off Mac.

Her expression hardened. “Will, I have a plan.” She explained in a rush.

Will chuckled. “I like it.”

“How much time will you need to get into position?”

“Thirty seconds ought to do it.”

“I can keep the sweeper busy that long without getting shot.” Jane drew the cutter from her holster. With shaking fingers, she reset the controls for a tight beam. At this distance, hitting the sweeper would be a miracle, but the glow from the cutter made her a fine target for him in the dark. “Ready?”

Will’s face turned pale. “Are you positive Mac will be in position?”

“He’ll understand as soon as I start running. He knows how to shoot.”

“Yeah, but you don’t. Be careful, Jane…promise.”

“I’ll make it back, Will. I swear. On three…one…two…go!” Jane dashed from cover aiming straight for the sweeper’s position.

Jane fired wildly while mentally counting the seconds. Her shots went way out of range. Although none landed anywhere near the catwalk, they drew the sweeper’s immediate attention.

Crackles of lightning ripped through the air as he returned fire. An energy blast hit near her feet, bubbling the metal deck plate. Jane dodged in panic, adrenaline pumping through her veins.

Close—too close. Don’t think! Run! Run! Run! Twenty more seconds

Jane tore across the bay, darting through smoke, dodging flames. She veered toward the bulkhead aiming for the safety of a storage container. The back of her neck burned as if she could feel the laser sight zero in on her. A beam sliced the dark to her left. Jane sidestepped in a panic. She was in the open…no place left to hide. The sweeper had her in his sights. A red dot centered on the middle of her chest. She looked into the face of death.

“Now, Will!” Jane shouted.

About the Author

l-akelley_bird-mamaBest-selling Kindle author, L. A. Kelley lives in Florida where the heat and humidity have driven everyone slightly mad.  Every aspect of Mother Nature in Florida is evil and wants to kill you. The state has hurricanes, tornadoes, rip currents, floods, brush fires, and giant sinkholes that will drag you to hell without even time to pack a change of underwear. She considers it a favorable place to write fantasy/scifi adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. Her favorite pastime is to call in Bigfoot sightings to the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife. They are heartily sick of hearing from her.

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