Forbidden Things: Dissident by Nikki McCormack – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions for Nikki McCormack’s newest book Forbidden Things: Dissident. The author will award a $50 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ascard power can strengthen, heal and create. It also has great potential to destroy, enough to topple entire governments. Indigo’s country places strict limitations on the use of ascard so she must channel her talents into the healing arts or risk severe punishment. An orphan from a disgraced family, trapped by her father’s treason, Indigo struggles reclaim her place in a society that has driven her into an abusive engagement.

Then a mysterious stranger from a neighboring country contacts her using ascard. He needs help escaping his prison so he can bring an end to his emperor’s oppressive rule or die trying. His unshakable devotion to his cause and the passion hidden behind his cool arrogance move her to help him at the risk of being branded a traitor herself.

When the politics of society bring them together a second time, Indigo decides to use her growing powers to help him fight his war. If only she dared fight for her own future with such passion. Perhaps she can find the courage to do so by helping the man she has fallen for win his revolution. She might have exactly the power he needs to succeed.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Her attention wandered to the fountain sprouting up in the center of a nearby courtyard, simple and elegant like a great stonework lily. A man stood by the fountain, watching water droplets falling with the shimmer of multicolored gems in the bright sunlight. Long silver hair hung to the middle of his back like a frozen waterfall. His smooth pale skin and unusual hair marked him as Lyran, but his regal bearing and rich attire didn’t befit a slave or merchant.

Curious. “Have you seen him before?”

Andrea turned, following her gaze. “Who?”

“The man beside the fountain.”

“There’s no one by the fountain.”

Andrea’s reply tugged at her awareness, but the silver-haired Lyran was turning toward them now. His pale eyes met hers and the air pressed from her lungs as if a corset were being pulled too tight. The buildings lurched and spun in her vision.

“Indigo?”

She sank to her knees. Andrea crouched down with her, her eyes wide and frightened. She held Indigo’s shoulders tight, her lips moving. Indigo heard only the pounding of blood in her ears.

About the Author:

Nikki started writing her first novel at the age of 12 (which is still tucked away in a briefcase in her office). Despite a successful short story publication with Cricket Magazine in 2007, she treated her writing addiction as a hobby until a drop in the economy left her with an abundance of free time to focus on making it her career.

Nikki lives in the magnificent Pacific Northwest tending to her awesome husband, two sweet horses, three manipulative cats, and a crazy dog. She’s a wine and tea fanatic who loves sitting on the ocean in her kayak surrounded by open water or hanging from a rope in a cave, embraced by darkness and the sound of dripping water. She also enjoys horseback riding, archery, PC gaming, dancing, good anime, etc. She studies Japanese and practices Iaido because she believes we should never stop learning.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Amazon | Barnes and Noble Author Page

Buy the book at Elysium Palace.

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Triangulating Bliss by Janelle Jalbert

MBB_TourBanner_TriangulatingBliss copy

This cover reveal is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Janelle will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Go to the publisher’s book page for some special freebies and bonuses.

MediaKit_BookCover_TriangulatingBliss
A struggling veteran reads about the mysterious death of a local athlete and wants to learn more. He meets the owner of the business linked to the crime and discovers others have “disappeared”.

All stories include a man with dark hair, blue eyes, and a strong jaw.

Then, it’s his turn.

The mysterious forces at Bliss change everything. What brought them all to Bliss is not as it appears and their lives are powerfully interconnected across space and time.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Greg opened the backdoor to Bliss. He forced himself to stop thinking about how the name of the place made him think of a day spa rather than a barbeque joint. The tell-tale wood smoke greeted him, causing his stomach to growl and suspending his thoughts about the name of the place. Musical chimes sounded above the door as Greg’s eyes adjusted from the glare of the fall sun to the darkened interior.

Figures, he thought. Why wouldn’t there be chimes at a place called Bliss?

Once his eyes adjusted, the bar area didn’t seem to be out of the ordinary. Greg stopped at the partition just inside the door. It was covered with a list of sayings:

Follow Your Bliss
Happiness Is an Inside Job
Be Careful What You Wish For
There’s No Better Time to Claim the Future You Want Than Now

A half-laugh escaped him. He thought it was a menu board at first and the philosophizing caught him off guard. Still, the final statement hit close to home, and he took a deep breath.

Greg headed to the long black bar. A smaller party room was to the right with about a dozen tables to the left. It had the feel of a contemporary jazz club or maybe a speakeasy. Beyond the tables, bright daylight streamed into the lounge from a passage between the front diner area and the bar. No creepy Twilight Zone feeling here, he thought.

Two muted, flat screen TVs hung on either side of the wood shelves stocked with bottles of all sizes. He eyed the taps and sports coverage while surveying the place. Though there were no windows in the back area, yet it didn’t feel claustrophobic. Between the lighting, mirrors and glass, there was elegance to the place that radiated a different type of light. Poster-sized black and white pictures hung on the walls, showing the history of the place. Greg guessed they were from the 1940’s. Smaller pictures of patrons and notable artifacts related to “Our Place” dotted the walls. Greg knew from his early research that Our Place was the name of the restaurant until a few years earlier.

Greg settled in, still getting a sense of the place, when a woman with graying dark hair approached him. Though he talked with Lois on the phone, this was the first time he saw her. She was not remarkably tall, but definitely commanded the bar and carried herself in a way that betrayed her real age. She had a look of knowing, or maybe it was just cheer that she had a customer on a dead afternoon.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TriangulatingBlissJanelle Jalbert has ghostwritten 15 nonfiction books on topics ranging from productivity, money management, marketing, cooking, and relationships. She also worked as a copywriter for some of the biggest online names and worked as a motorsports reporter covering NASCAR. Jalbert enjoys bringing stories to life that celebrate the magic in everyday living. To learn more about her current and upcoming releases and promotions visit www.janellejalbert.com. Jalbert currently lives in Southern California, though she regularly returns to her second home in North Carolina when her pack of pups grants her a vacation.

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | Barnes and Noble Author Page

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Inside the Writer’s Brain by Megan Morgan – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcome Megan Morgan. The first book of her Siren Song series, The Wicked City, is on sale for $0.99. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Inside The Writer’s Brain

I’ve had “writer’s brain” most of my life. I think in terms of writing when it comes to real life situations, times when others just think like normal people. One of my favorite quotes comes from Australian author Shirley Hazzard: It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums to get rid of.

This condition—let’s keep calling it “writer’s brain” because that sounds neat and clinical—manifests in different ways. When observing things, I will concoct in my head how I would describe those things if I were writing about them. I consider this an exercise in keeping sharp, cataloging colors and textures and the general atmosphere of wherever I am. I’m sure most people wonder why I’m looking at everything with a glassy-eyed stare. I just tell them it’s for art.

Sometimes in the act of writing itself, I have to stop and make physical gestures so I can describe them, or look at a picture so I can describe an object better. I tend to be a visceral writer, so I like sense details. This is why Google Earth has been an invaluable writing tool for me. If I need to describe a street in some far off place, Google Earth can take me right to it and immerse me in the surroundings.

I dream about writing, especially if I’m deeply involved in a story. I’ll dream up plot twists and ways to continue when I’ve hit a wall. I’m not sure if my brain is trained well or a slave to my insanity, though. This could explain why every once in a while, it gives me a random nightmare about freezing to death on Mt. Everest. (Silly brain, you know how out of shape I am! But while we’re there, can you tell me how the sunlight looks when it hits the snow?)

I suppose this is all a product of repetition. When you’ve done something for a long time, you get into the habit of doing it. The same goes for thought patterns. I’ve had “writer’s brain” for so long I’m not sure how people who aren’t writers think. Everything is an experience to be put into words. Does your brain want to describe every puddle you see as a “rippled mirror reflecting the bleak wintry sky?” I’m not the only one…right?

7_29 megan morganShe’s got a voice to die for…

Whatever June Coffin says, goes—literally. And it’s not just because she’s a chain smoking rebel. As a Siren, June has the ability to force people to obey any command she voices. But in a world where those with supernatural powers quickly become lab rats for science, she’d rather look out for herself than fight on the front lines…until her similarly gifted twin brother, Jason, is captured by Chicago’s Institute of Supernatural Research.

To save Jason, June has no choice but to enter a hidden world of conspiracy, murder—and strange bedfellows—including a widowed paranormal advocate whose memory June accidentally erased, and a fiery paranormal separatist leader. Soon the lines between attraction and strategic alliance become blurred. But in a city exploding with paranormal crossfire, and her brother’s life at stake, June will have to face her inner demons and finally take a stand.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The first time June Coffin saw Micha Bellevue, he was giving a lecture at the Chicago Institute for Supernatural Research. June and her brother Jason weren’t yet prisoners of the unholy place and June had sneaked into a conference room. Though the subject of the lecture—something insipid about paranormal rights in the workplace—didn’t interest her, the lecturer certainly did. Micha was tall and rugged yet boyishly handsome, all her weaknesses. Meesha, not Mi-ca, much easier to yell in bed. He had sandy brown hair with gold highlights, cut shaggy with a swoopy fringe. He also had sky blue eyes and a crooked smile.

June, in contrast, was five-four, lean, and petite. Her father once called her “diminutive,” and she’d hated the word ever since. She had a flowing mane of jet-black hair, though at the moment it lacked volume or luster and she’d been keeping it in a ponytail. Her eyes were vivid green, nearly iridescent, but their color was real, unlike her hair. She was also over-fond of tattoos and piercings.

She was Micha’s exact opposite, which was fine, because she believed people needed to explore sexual pursuits outside their peer groups.

In the fifteen minutes she spoke to Micha after the lecture at the Institute, the lovely man revealed himself to be full of ostentatious ideas and painfully corny jokes. A bit later, June stood in an atrium, smoking a cigarette while he led a string of eager young supernatural neophytes across the courtyard below. She narrowed her eyes against the smoke curling around her face. I’m so gonna hit that. She hadn’t, not yet, for huge moral reasons.

Namely, because Micha had a wife.

Except, his wife currently lay trussed up in her casket, awaiting her funeral service in the morning, and June had kind of helped put her in it.

But right now they also had this issue with the gun.

Hanging out with dead people on a Sunday night didn’t rank high on June’s to-do list, despite her last name. But as she stood in a darkened funeral parlor staring at the tall, buxom, red-haired woman with said gun, she realized how much her priorities had changed.

“What the hell is that?” June’s question was rhetorical, but she still wanted an answer.

“It’s a Glock.” The redhead—whose name was Cindy—said this coolly, as if she were describing a pair of shoes. Cindy had dressed all in black for the occasion, like a cat burglar.

The three of them—June, Micha, and Ms. Congeniality herself—weren’t in the funeral home to steal anything. Even after the events of the preceding week, June wasn’t cracked enough to snatch a body.

“Why do you have it?” June asked. “We don’t need a gun.”

The whimpering aged gentleman on his knees next to Cindy probably welcomed this news but clearly was no less frightened, as Cindy had the muzzle pressed against his temple. The man wore a handsome silk robe with wide lapels, the kind rich guys sported in movies. Were all funeral directors so dashing in their choice of nightclothes?

“I brought it just in case,” Cindy said.

“Why would we need to shoot someone in a funeral home?” June raised her voice, no longer worried about being quiet. The director had probably heard them clamoring through the window at the rear of the house. June possessed some nifty skills: she was an excellent self-taught artist, she could shoot whiskey with the boys like she was one of them, and she could make wicked smoke rings. However, grace and athletics eluded her.

“I don’t think he’s armed,” June said. “I doubt you need to defend a funeral home.”

“You never know,” Micha said behind her. “Necrophiliacs probably like to break into funeral homes.”

June closed her eyes; she counted to five, and then ten, but when she opened her eyes again, she wasn’t any calmer.

“I won’t hurt you,” the man on the floor said in a small, pitiful voice. “Just take what you want and go.”

June stepped forward and waved a hand at Cindy, shooing away the gun. June had never touched a gun in her life. She had never needed to.

Cindy lowered the gun and stepped back. “I was just trying to help.” She spoke with the petulance of an admonished child. A child who didn’t get to play with her deadly weapon.

June knelt. The paunchy balding man was shaking, his eyes wide.

“It’s all right.” A heavy energy, curled in June’s stomach like a sleeping cat, rose to her sternum and surged upward again to warmly coat her throat. “Just sit there and relax and think about your favorite things until we’re gone.”

The man’s body sagged. His face slackened. He pivoted to the side and sat down on his bottom with a shuddering thump, his gaze gone distant and dreamy. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

June stood.

“There. Isn’t that awesome? Supernatural powers and stuff?” She didn’t enjoy throwing around her “hypnotic voice phenomenon,” as the scientists liked to call it, but invasive persuasion seemed far less cruel than criminal menacing.

About the Author:7_29 megan morgan author photoMegan Morgan is an urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and erotica author from Cleveland, Ohio. Bartender by day and purveyor of things that go bump at night, she’s trying to turn writing into her day job so she can be on the other side of the bar for a change. She’s a member of the RWA and author of the Siren Song urban fantasy series from Kensington Books, as well as numerous other shorter, sexy works.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Email Megan

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, All Romance eBooks, iTunes, or Google Play.

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Where Do Ideas Come From by R. L. King – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $40 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Where Do Ideas Come From?

One of the most common questions that most writers are asked is “where do your ideas come from?” For me, the question is more like, “Where don’t ideas come from?”

I think those who’ve never written a book (or never wanted to) believe that there’s some mystical source of ideas out there that writers tap into, but for me, there’s nothing mystical about it. Ideas come from everywhere. I’ve gotten pieces of novels from internet news articles, discussions with friends, movies, TV shows, other books, and random snatches of conversations overheard from strangers. Some of the best are “bolts from the blue” that hit me at most unexpected times: two of the best smacked me in the head while I was watching movies in a theater and I had to duck out into the lobby to capture them on my smartphone before they flitted away.

Here are some of the “mystical” sources where I’ve gotten ideas for bits in the novels I’ve already written:

• A small, odd shop in a nearby town
• A preview commercial before a movie
• A Chuck Palahniuk short story
• An internet writeup about Burning Man
• Doctor Who
• Two shops and some supernatural legends from my home town
• A tabletop roleplaying game
• A really bad early 90s science fiction show

None of these things gave me whole plots—those are a bit harder, and usually end up as a synthesis of several of the ideas as they start to come together into something bigger—but each one provides part of the story and before too long I’ve got a book brewing.

For me, the hard part isn’t getting the ideas—it’s keeping them straight. I used to think, “Oh, that’s a great idea! I’ll have to remember it!” and of course, because my brain is full of squirrels, the idea wandered off and got lost among the rest of the detritus in there. These days, I always write them down. Even if it’s just a tiny snippet of an idea, I stop what I’m doing and get it down. If I’m away from home, I email it to myself from my smartphone (which I’m never without). If I’m home, I have a little box full of half-size 3×5 cards where I write the snippet down and file it. Some of them are big (the basic plot of a full novel, or even a multi-book arc for the series) and some are very small (a single scene, maybe, or even a joke). Some are silly, and some are deadly serious. But all of them are there for me next time I want to start a novel: I just pull them out, look through them, and figure out which ones will fit with what I want to do.

At this point, I’ve got so many ideas for Stone Chronicles stories that I not only have the basic series arc in place but I also have the skeleton plots for about the next five books, along with several short stories and novellas. That’s a good place to be for me, because I tend to get stressed out if I don’t know where my next plots are coming from. Also, it leaves me plenty of room to slot in other ideas—and because I spend time every day on the internet reading weird news, Twitter, and the odd stories friends post on Facebook, I’m sure those other ideas will keep coming.

So the bottom line, at least for me, isn’t where ideas come from—but how to find time to use all the ideas that never stop coming! If you’re a new author and you’re worried about inspiration, just let yourself be open to the world around you. Don’t limit yourself to things in your own genre, either. Part of the fun is taking something that might have nothing to do with what you write and molding into something you can use. Rom-coms inspiring horror novels, or vice versa? A news story about sports inspiring an urban-fantasy story? It could happen, if you let it—and it could be your next big thing!

Dr. Alastair Stone, Occult Studies professor, powerful mage, and snarky British expat now based in Palo Alto, California, does his best to keep his academic and social lives separate from his increasingly frequent brushes with various malevolent forces from the supernatural side of the street. A little horror, a little humor, but mostly straight-up urban fantasy.

Stone-and-a-Hard-Place-new-face-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalStone and a Hard Place

Dr. Alastair Stone, Occult Studies professor and powerful mage, has his hands full trying to keep the two sides of his life separate as he trains a new apprentice, deals with a malevolent entity trapped in the basement of a wealthy old woman’s massive home, and battles dark mages intent on enslaving it for their own ends.

Debut novel of the Alastair Stone Chronicles.

MediaKit_BookCover_Bk2_AlastairStoneChroniclesThe Forgotten

Dr. Alastair Stone is back, this time teaming up with Jason Thayer, a young man hunting for his missing sister. Embroiled in a web of odd homeless people, a growing conspiracy, and deadly danger, they soon realize that even if they find Jason’s sister, they might not be able to help her.

What do you do when you discover an extradimensional plot that threatens the safety of the entire world, but you can’t tell anyone about it because literally anyone on Earth could be part of it?

Book Two of the Alastair Stone Chronicles.

Enjoy an excerpt from STONE AND A HARD PLACE:

“Dr. Stone?”

The voice was trembling, female, and sounded terrified. It took him a moment to identify it. He stared as Megan stirred again, draping her arm back over him. “Mrs.—Bonham?”

Whoever was on the other end sounded like they were on the verge of hysteria. “Dr. Stone, is that you?”

“It’s me, Mrs. Bonham. What’s wrong? Is something wrong?” He sat up a little, propping himself up on his pillows. Megan’s arm slid down over his stomach, but he didn’t even notice that she was there.

“Something’s here,” she quavered. “Something’s…happening.”

He was fully awake now. Carefully, he moved Megan’s arm and sat on the edge of the bed. “Calm down, Mrs. Bonham, please. I’ll help you if I can, but you have to tell me what’s happening.”

“I don’t know,” she sobbed. “It’s like the whole house hates me. Noises—cold winds—things slamming—”

“Is Iona there? Can you put her on for a moment?”

There was a shuffling sound and then a different voice spoke, sounding almost as frightened as Adelaide Bonham had. “Dr. Stone? This is Iona.”

He took a deep breath. “Iona. What’s going on? Is Mrs. Bonham—”

“She’s not imagining things, Dr. Stone,” the woman said. In addition to sounding frightened, she sounded like she couldn’t believe what was going on. “I can hear them too. The noises. The feelings. It’s horrible, Dr. Stone. Something’s going on.”

About the Author: R. L. King is an award-winning author and game freelancer for Catalyst Game Labs, publisher of the popular roleplaying game Shadowrun. She has contributed fiction and game material to numerous sourcebooks, as well as one full-length adventure, “On the Run,” included as part of the 2012 Origins-Award-winning “Runners’ Toolkit.”

Her first novel in the Shadowrun universe, Borrowed Time, was published in May 2015.

When not doing her best to make life difficult for her characters, King is a software technical writer for a large Silicon Valley database company. In her spare time (hah!) she enjoys hanging out with her very understanding spouse and her small herd of cats, watching way too much Doctor Who, and attending conventions when she can. She is an active member of the Horror Writers’ Association and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers.

Writer Website | Publisher Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

Buy Stone and a Hard Place (book 1) at Amazon and The Forgotten (Book 2) also at Amazon.

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BMW’s Excellent Adventure by Brett Matthew Williams – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Brett Matthew Williams will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

BMW’s Excellent Adventure

Time travel is a double edged sword of awesomeness and disaster. The idea of stepping outside of it, while tempting on the outside, would be nothing but a miserably (if not gooey) inside of bad decisions and wrong turns. Much like life, the notion presents its good and its bad, the yin and the yang, of how to prioritize the responsibility and wants of such a vast undertaking. I have often dreamed of taming a pair of velociraptors to keep as pets, but the actual idea of doing that is so ridiculous it isn’t even workable. Call me a skeptic but until recently I have always thought of time travel as best left to fiction authors. But then I started doing this tour, and when (inevitably) every interview question ended up being ‘What time would YOU travel to?’ I actually gave the matter some thought to surprising results.

It has always bothered me that we as a civilization lost what came before written recorded history. Scientists estimate that human beings in our current form have been walking the Earth for near 100,000 years, yet we have but 6,000 years of recorded history to our wall of fame. Notice any discrepancy here? Most historians will give you the dull, dry answer that before written history, we as human beings were nomadic, or simply told stories and lessons via oral traditions. This leaves a wide berth for speculation.

How many empires were built, to what extend did they reach, and how did they each fall? Were there legendary heroes, long forgotten to time due to the passing of all whom whispered their names? What of villains, or warlords, or conspiring kings, queens, or whatever the leadership called themselves; how did they solve issues that we as a species still struggle with in the 21st century, like monogamy, crime, or religion. And speaking of religion, how many have been lost to the ages? Gilgamesh gave scholars so much to dote upon that few have bothered to ask what possibly could have been its competition. It’s been suggested to me that I’m not writing correctly unless at least ten percent of those who read it absolutely hate what I create. So, by that theory ten percent of ancient Sumerians were looking elsewhere for entertainment than the Epic of Gilgamesh. But where?!

I have received my share of correspondence with those who disagree with my quest on religious grounds. While I respect your right to practice your religion in its own space, I will fight tooth and nail to deter the ignorant, fear based culture that certain individuals champion behind the banner of ‘religion’. Too often the price of progress is paid with the suffrage of those who go against the grain of widely held, yet little verified public thought.

That being said, it would be amazing to walk, all alone, within the confines of a time before mankind inhabited the Earth, or visit the Library of Alexandria before it burnt down. Regardless of the when, the ultimate dream for any historian is to catalogue the unknown in an attempt to make amends with the fragmented pieces of mankind’s past so that it may better understand its shared history moving forward. It’s not always pleasant, but it is necessary, and I fear in our 21st century world of science and technology taking precedent above all else, an often overlooked subject.

MediaKit_BookCover_TimeIsRelativeForAKnightOfTime Meet Rolland Wright – a seventeen year old orphan living out of his car in rural Woodland Hills, California. Aside from grappling with the fact of being abandoned by his drunken father two years previous following his mothers mysterious murder, his life mostly revolves around finding a warm place to sleep at night. When one day he is attacked by men claiming to have killed his father, Rolland discovers a strange ability to slow the flow of time around him, beginning a journey that takes him to places outside of time, space, and eventually to the early 19th century to fight the sinister General Andrew Jackson. With the help of a rag-tag group of historical and mythical figures with various supernatural abilities of their own (Joan of Arc, Jesse James, etc) known as the Knights of Time, Rolland solves the mystery behind his mother’s murder, falls in love, battles the evil Edward Vilthe – reaper of souls, and finds a home of his own in the paradise known as Eden.

The Time is Relative series chronicles the origin story of the mythical figure Father Time, beginning with the award winning first novel, Time is Relative for a Knight of Time. All dates and events are historically accurate. The participants… maybe not.

Enjoy an excerpt:

It was a muggy, humid morning when U.S. General Andrew Jackson woke to the sound of tribal horns. Immediately identifying their purpose, he quickly gathered both his wits and his pants, grabbing his sword and sidearm as he left his tent.

Known to be tough as hickory, Andrew Jackson was a moderately tall man for his time, standing at six feet, one inch. In this and in his military rank he was often compared to George Washington among elite society in Boston, Washington, and New York, despite his humble beginnings.

Jackson’s rigid demeanor was only matched by his sharp attention to detail. His crisply, pressed uniform was such that it demanded the attention of all the company’s men. Each stood at full attention, showing perfect respect for their commanding officer as Jackson made his way through the columns slowly, careful to catch each and every pair of eyes.

“Today we fight like dogs, and live like kings!” Jackson roared to his men, who cheered loudly in response. Their gusto and appreciation for their General’s bravery in the face of danger was not unnoticed by his adversaries on and off the battlefield.

A slave, brought directly from Africa on Jackson’s orders, walked Jackson’s horse to him around the hustle and bustle of preparing for the day’s campaign. A light rain began to fall on the heads and shoulders of every soul under the barely visible sun, uniting them in nature. They all felt the soft droplets as they landed on both white and brown skin alike. Lightning struck diagonally across the gray sky, followed shortly by an attention-stealing clap of thunder that rocked the previously dry Florida landscape.

About the Author: Brett Matthew grew up with a passion for both film and history. He began his career fresh out of high school as a Production Assistant/ football player on NBC Universal’s television series Friday Night Lights (of which he can often be seen in the first two seasons as a member of the championship team – Go Panthers!). He quickly moved on to serve as an Original Series intern with the USA Network in Studio City, California. Following work on shows like Monk, Psych, and Burn Notice, Brett returned home to Texas to continue his education, graduating with his degree in History from Texas State University. A proud Master Freemason, Brett thoroughly enjoys fantasy fiction, watching Netflix, running, baseball, Shakespeare, and spending time with his family and critters.

Website | Twitter | Blog

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Fallback by Lori Whitwam – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lori will be awarding one prize pack consisting of $25 Amazon/BN GC, plus a signed print copy of Fallback, as well as bookmarks and magnets (international) to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_FallbackAfter being rescued from a brutal band of marauders, Ellen Hale rebuilt her life in the fortified neighborhood that became her home. A heartbreaking decision and devastating loss pushed her to become a fierce fighter, because weakness only got you and those you loved killed.

Now her community is facing a deadly threat, and Ellen has another choice to make.

Ellen volunteers as a member of fallback team three, tasked with establishing a temporary refuge for their citizens in the event their community is overrun by the enemy. As the danger intensifies, she and her adopted sister, Melissa, set off with the rest of their team on the road trip from hell.

Their mission is cloaked in secrecy, but suspicions of a traitor arise.

Something is affecting the zombies’ migration patterns, and when blacksmith Tyler Garrett is discovered trapped in a farmhouse, the team refuses to trust him. But Ellen believes his story, and it’s not just because of his rugged, blond good looks and soft-spoken manner—his skills can greatly benefit their team.

As the team struggles to reach the fallback, previously secure locations are overrun, and their chances of success seem remote. With the likelihood of a traitor nearly certain, and the lives of everyone she loves at risk, Ellen must figure out who to trust before the traitor—or the zombies—destroy them all.

Is there a spy among the fallback team,or is there another threat lurking in the Kentucky hills?

Enjoy an excerpt:

The machete slipped from my fingers, and I slumped against the chain link fence, exhausted. I swiped my forearm across my face, clearing the sting of sweat from my eyes. My vision cleared, I looked with grim satisfaction at the half dozen corpses strewn around me. There wasn’t as much blood as you might expect. They were dead long before I killed them.

“Nice job, Ellen,” my combat instructor, Theo, said as he handed me a canteen. I drank the lukewarm water gratefully before handing it back.

“Thanks,” I said, “but my arms feel like warm Jell-O.”

Theo released a short laugh and led me from the training area, and we sat on a bench outside the fence. “You’re doing great,” he said, pulling his dark hair from its ponytail and running his fingers through it, a few droplets of perspiration dotting his t-shirt. “You didn’t even need any backup today.”

Whenever we were training with live—well, relatively live—targets, a trio of sharpshooters always stood around the perimeter of the field. “I almost…” I began, but Theo interrupted me.

“Shut it, you.” He nudged me in one limp-noodle arm. “You’ve come a long way, and you know it.” His lopsided grin broke through my self-criticism, and I had to smile in return.

“Maybe,” I conceded. “Sometimes it feels like no matter how good we are, it’s not good enough, though.”

He shook his head. “You’re too hard on yourself. A year ago, you’d barely even touched a machete, and now you’re going on patrols and kicking loads of zombie ass.”

I snorted. “Yeah, once I stopped trying to use a gun.” Despite months of training, I remained a terrible shot, and eventually gave up any sort of firearm in favor of a machete. This machete, which was now never far from my side.

Theo looked away to where the sharpshooters were dragging the permanently dead from the enclosure in the direction of the burning pit outside the fortified subdivision in which we lived. When he returned his gaze to me, his eyes crinkled with amusement. “Uh huh. I never saw anybody who was more shit with a gun than you.”

“Hey,” I protested, “that wasn’t all my fault. Everybody said I wasn’t strong enough to swing a blade.”

“And you couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with an arrow, either.” He seemed about to tease me further, but he glanced down at my machete, and his mood sobered. “He…” His voice caught, and he cleared his throat. “Quinn would’ve been proud.”

I felt as if the breath were being squeezed from me, and I stared desperately at Theo, wanting it to be true. “If I’d been able to do this before…before he died…” Before I killed him.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FallbackLori spent her early years reading books in a tree in northern West Virginia. The 1980s and 90s found her and her husband moving around the Midwest, mainly because it was easier to move than clean the apartment. After seventeen frigid years in Minnesota, she fled to coastal North Carolina in 2013. She will never leave, and if you try to make her, she will hurt you.

She has worked in public libraries, written advertising copy for wastewater treatment equipment, and managed a holistic veterinary clinic. Her current day job, conducted from her World Headquarters and Petting Zoo (her couch) is as Managing Editor for Limitless Publishing, as well as editing for a select list of indie author.

Her dogs are a big part of her life, and she has served or held offices in Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees rescues, a humane society, a county kennel club, and her own chapter of Therapy Dogs International.

She has been a columnist and feature writer for auto racing and pet publications, and won the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Award for a series of humor essays.

Parents of a grown son, Lori and her husband were high school sweethearts, and he manages to love her in spite of herself. Some of his duties include making sure she always has fresh coffee and safe tires, trying to teach her to use coupons, and convincing the state police to spring her from house arrest in her hotel room in time for a very important concert. That last one only happened once—so far—but she still really, really appreciates it.

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Dark Horse by Michelle Diener – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michelle will award one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter a $25 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_DarkHorseSome secrets carry the weight of the world.

Rose McKenzie may be far from Earth with no way back, but she’s made a powerful ally–a fellow prisoner with whom she’s formed a strong bond. Sazo’s an artificial intelligence. He’s saved her from captivity and torture, but he’s also put her in the middle of a conflict, leaving Rose with her loyalties divided.

Captain Dav Jallan doesn’t know why he and his crew have stumbled across an almost legendary Class 5 battleship, but he’s not going to complain. The only problem is, all its crew are dead, all except for one strange, new alien being.

She calls herself Rose. She seems small and harmless, but less and less about her story is adding up, and Dav has a bad feeling his crew, and maybe even the four planets, are in jeopardy. The Class 5’s owners, the Tecran, look set to start a war to get it back and Dav suspects Rose isn’t the only alien being who survived what happened on the Class 5. And whatever else is out there is playing its own games.

In this race for the truth, he’s going to have to go against his leaders and trust the dark horse.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Rose slipped her ticket out of hell over her head and tucked it beneath her shirt, where it lay against her skin, throbbing like a heartbeat.

The sensation was so unnerving, she curled her fingers around it and lifted it back out, eyeing the clear crystal oblong uncertainly.

“Iʼll try to keep all the passageways clear for you and Iʼve disabled the lenses, but just in case someone disobeys orders, it would be better if they didnʼt see me.” Sazo spoke too loudly through the tiny earpiece she wore, and she winced.

She reluctantly tucked the crystal, that was somehow also Sazo, back under her shirt, tugging the cord it hung from so it was below her neckline. After three months of being the only thing sheʼd had to wear, washed over and over again, the shirt was threadbare, and barely concealed Sazo anyway, but it was better than nothing.

She took the two steps to the door of the tiny control room tucked away to one side on the Tecran ship and it slid silently open. Sheʼd only been inside for ten minutes at most to steal Sazo, or break him out, depending on your view of things, and the corridor was as empty now as it had been when Sazo led her here.

She looked back, but the door had closed, completely concealing the control room, so it looked like an uninterrupted passageway again.

“Youʼre still in control, even though Iʼve unplugged you?” She spoke very quietly, because even though Sazo had opened doors, and diverted traffic all the way from her prison cell to this room earlier, there was no point taking foolish chances like talking too loudly when it was unnecessary.

“I would not have initiated this plan if I wasnʼt absolutely certain that it would work.” Sazo sounded a little . . . stressed.

“You okay?”

“There has been a delay loading the animals at the launch bay and the Grih have come through their light jump three minutes sooner than I calculated.” He went quiet for a moment. “Iʼm sorry, Rose.”

“What? What is it?” Freezing hands of panic gripped her heart and she stumbled to a halt. If he was going to tell her they had to abort, that she had to go back to the cell . . .

“The lion has been killed.”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_DarkHorseMichelle Diener writes historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction. Having worked in publishing and IT, she’s now very happy crafting new worlds and interesting characters and wondering which part of the world she can travel to next.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.

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The Last Book Ever Written by Jonah Kruvant – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jonah Kruvant will award a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter a $10 Amazon/BN GC plus a copy of the book. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In a futuristic American society where all citizens have computerized chips in their brains and insert needles into their veins to enter a virtual reality, Victor Vale leads a fairly typical life. He is an officer of the law with greater ambitions, a family man, and a dutiful citizen of the Nation. Yet when The Chief assigns him a case to go undercover and expose a community of illegal “creators,” Victor finds himself strangely compelled to creative writing. For the first time, he starts to question the world around him, and becomes involved in a web of lies, uncertain of whom to trust, and unable to distinguish between virtualism and reality. As he searches for answers, Victor slowly begins to unravel hidden truths about the world, and even uncovers an astonishing secret from his own past.

In order to prove to the “creators” that he is genuine, Victor writes a manuscript, at great risk to his wife and son. When books are banned and ultimately destroyed, Victor realizes that his book alone has survived. Only then does the reader come to a startling realization in a unique narrative twist.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Not long after the Cleansing Act, I was promoted to Detective. I was thirty-four. I had a wife and child to support. A career to pursue. My son wanted things, my wife wanted things; hell, I wanted things. I had worked on the force for thirteen years and it was time I got my detective badge.

That was all I could see back then. I didn’t care about creators.

Then I was assigned to the case. But even before I stepped into the Chief’s office, events began taking shape that marked both the beginning and the end of a new chapter in my life. It was on my way to the police station, wading through the unbearable stench of the dirty human flesh of the Slums, that I began to question things, what I thought I knew about the world … and about myself.

So this is where I start my story. This is where I begin my book.

That day, for whatever reason, I felt conscious of my surroundings. The beggars were pushing each other out of the way to get under awnings and balconies of restaurants and apartments as it started to rain. The restaurants were filled with shattered glass, moldy kitchens. The strongest beggars lived in cramped apartments with cockroaches and termites. The ones that couldn’t find shelter that morning just lay there, shivering from the cold. Some would let raindrops fall from the sky into their open mouths. Two naïve children were chasing each other around bodies and giggling, cleaning dirt out of each other’s hair. The bright lights of the skyscrapers, the swiftness of the skytrain, the convenience of the airpath—all a beggar had to do was look up and he would find himself in a fantastical world of dreams.

About the Author:

A writer, teacher and student of the world, JONAH KRUVANT received his BA from Skidmore, his teaching degree from Fordham and an MFA from Goddard College. Jonah lives in New York City. He is the author of The Last Book Ever Written.

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UFO’s by Tegon Maus – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tegon Maus will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

UFO’s

Do you believe in UFO’s? It’s almost impossible not to. There are more than 4 billion stars in our galaxy… each of those has a string of planets… according to Drakes formula that works out to a little over 26,000 civilizations at our level and or higher in our galaxy alone and we know about another couple of billion other galaxies in the observable universe so…

When I was twelve I lived close to Norton Air Force base. They carried out training exercises on a regular bases doing what was called a “sac run.” Giant planes called Star Lifters that roared from the sky one after the other to have their wheels touch down for a brief moment and then take off again.

At that time there was a road at the end of the runway you could park and the planes would pass no more than thirty feet over head. Their power as they floated by shook me to the core. It filled me with fear, trepidation and excitement that has lasted a lifetime.

Then, late one afternoon as I sat on the hood of my father’s car, I saw it. It gleamed with the brightness of unimaginable silver. It was stunningly thin from tip to tip with a recognizable bulge at its center… a saucer. It floated silently in place, hanging stationary in the air like a balloon and my heart jumped to my throat in surprise. I stared in disbelief as several minutes crept by and it inched closer and closer, inching its way to the ground and to me.

My heart beat as never before and my mind filled with every Sci-Fi movie, every book, every abduction story I had ever been exposed too. I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t move. It was clear… they were coming for me.

At that instant as it was nearly overhead I crawled backward over the roof of the car to stand on the truck. I was about to scream in terror and the craft turned slightly, banking to the right.
It glided softly toward the runway becoming a Star Lifter once more as it roared over head.

My father and I laughed wildly but to this day the image burns in my memory.

I saw it for myself and real or not I believe. If you can’t write Sci-Fi after a thing like that you’ll need the help of a tin foil hat… you know the one!

MediaKit_BookCover_BOBThe first time I heard it, I thought nothing of it at all… nothing. I’ve been in the newspaper game for more than twenty-seven years and that kind of experience gave a guy an edge but even that didn’t prepare me.

I’d been beaten, shot at, even stabbed a couple of times over the years but I always got the story… always. But this one… this one was big… too big perhaps… Maybe we were ready, maybe not. Either way, it wasn’t my call.

None of which filled me with the fear, the trepidation… the anguish of five little words that still haunted me today…

“Is okay. I have cousin.”

Enjoy an excerpt:

I blinked in disbelief, too stunned to speak.

Standing in front of me, dressed in black jeans, a dark blue tee shirt with a picture of Bob Marley and a backward baseball cap was a small, no more than 5′ 2″, twenty something, black man.

“Hi. I’m Pete,” I said, offering my hand.

“Ahh, is sad story. Bob’s cousin not speak English,” Bob said pushing my hand away.

“Awhhh,” the little man breathed hoarsely, turning away, his arms swung loosely in response.

“Bob, he just said dude to me when he came in,” I said, pointing an insistent finger at the little man.

“He tries, broken English not so good. Is Fred,” he answered, spinning his hand playfully in the air, pointing, draping a large, affectionate arm over the man’s shoulder.

“Fred… your Russian cousin?”

“Da,” he answered simply without blinking.

“Bob… he just spoke to me and it wasn’t Russian,” I protested.

“Ahh, Bob’s friend generous, not make Bob’s cousin self-conscious. You good man, but Fred speaks no English,” he argued, folding his arms.

“Ahhh, damn it, Bob. You promised me… you said I could talk this time. Shit man,” Fred cursed in a raspy whisper, stomping his foot, turning away.

“Nyet, nyet,” Bob scolded, grabbing Fred. He began to speak Russian, shaking his finger in the other man’s face.

Fred’s shoulders slumped. His head swung loosely from side to side, avoiding Bob’s gaze.

“Da,” he said dully, turning in my direction once more.

“His English not so good,” Bob added, wiggling his hands dismissively.

“Sounded damn good to me,” I said honestly.

“Bob understands. Bob’s friend speak Spanish?” he asked with a little annoyance in his voice, threading his fingers through his hair in frustration.

“Nope. Can’t say as I do,” I answered, folding my arms.
“How you say… no speak Spanish?” he asked, folding his arms as well.

“No habla Hispano.”

“AAAHHH, to Bob, Bob’s friend sound like native. Bob thought he smelled burritos, heard waves on beach. Very impressed. Bob’s friend has gift for language. Sure not speak Spanish?”

“Fred,” I said flatly, stepping directly in front of the little man. “Do you speak English?”

“Da. Fred speak no English,” he responded dully, tilting his head from side to side, his arms hung slack, swinging loosely as he spoke.

“Very sad, like Bob say. Fred’s parents live too close to nuclear plant. Sure, sure, rent very cheap but Fred… no brain for English,” Bob said, closing his eyes, shaking his head in a pretentious, melancholy way.

“Bob,” I started.

“Very late. No time for Fred’s story. Bob’s friend want to see house tonight or no?” he asked, pushing himself to stand between me and Fred.

“Alright, have it your way. Let’s go,” I demanded now irritated, angrily grabbing my coat off the back of the chair.

“Nyet, nyet. Bob’s friend almost forget,” he said, turning his back quickly, wriggling his fingers.

“Dear God. Money? Now?” I said, throwing my coat across the back of the chair again.

“Business before pleasure… makes good fences.”

“The saying is, ‘good fences make good neighbors’ not…”

“Bob’s friend knows what Bob say. Not want money to be sticky bug between us.”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it. How much this time?” I asked aggravated, removing my wallet.

“Bob not know about such things. Must speak with cousin,” he said, wrapping a huge arm around the tiny man, pulling him to the other side of the room.

“Bob, you gave me your word,” Fred whispered forcefully, sending a pointed finger into Bob’s chest.

“Fred say, must think about it. Fred likes Bob’s friend Peter, wants give good price,” he said, smiling in my direction and then began to speak rapidly in Russian.

“Damn it, Bob. You promised me,” Fred whispered disappointedly.

“Fred say, four hundred dollars,” Bob said, holding up four fingers of his right hand, all the while maintaining his grip on Fred’s shoulder.

“Three hundred,” I countered, folding my arms, returning my wallet to my hip pocket.

“Oooh, Bob’s friend breaks Bob’s feelings. Bob’s friend would steal bread from Fred very mouth?”

“It’s not in Fred’s mouth just yet… three hundred,” I insisted.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_BOBI was raised pretty much the same as everyone else… devoted mother, strict father and all the imaginary friends I could conjure. Not that I wasn’t friendly, I just wasn’t “people orientated”. Maybe I lived in my head way more than I should have, maybe not. I liked machines more than people, at least I did until I met my wife.

The first thing I can remember writing was for her. For the life of me I can’t remember what it was about… something about dust bunnies under the bed and monsters in my closet. It must have been pretty good because she married me shortly after that. I spent a good number of years after inventing games and prototypes for a variety of ideas before I got back to writing.

It wasn’t a deliberate conscious thought, it was more of a stepping stone. My wife and I had joined a dream interpret group and we were encouraged to write down our dreams as they occurred. “Be as detailed as you can,” we were told.

I was thrilled. If there is one thing I enjoy it’s making people believe me and I like to exaggerate. Not a big exaggeration or an outright lie mine you, just a little step out of sync, just enough so you couldn’t be sure if it were true or not. When I write, I always write with the effort of “it could happen” very much in mind and nothing, I guarantee you, nothing, makes me happier.

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Five Lessons I Learned from a Galactic Bartender by M. Pax – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $40 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Lessons I Learned from a Galactic Bartender

An average dude in the galaxy, Craze dreams of owning a successful bar and becoming a business tycoon. The galaxy can’t grant him a single wealthy customer let alone his loftier goals. He lives on an arid moon full of dust, yet he has a few things going for him: living hair so he’s always perfectly groomed, irresistibly soft skin, good looks, a good size, and he brews a fantastic ale, malt, and mead.

What I learned from him:

  1. The next person through the door will most likely be unhinged. Nothing sane travels the starway connecting the solar systems of the Backworlds. Keep a stunner handy.
  1. Practice a good growl and sneer. Appearing intimidating is a handy tactic, and it’s OK if the loons believe you’re loonier. It’ll keep them far away, which is the best place for the loons to be.
  1. Chocolate is better than gold. It’s the most valued commodity in the Backworlds. Yeah, it’s great stuff. Always keep a stash.
  1. Good business will multiply chips. Bad business will drain accounts. Location and connections will get you far. However, nasty past affairs can bring down the best-crafted plans. Don’t leave baggage hanging around.
  1. It’s OK to have a big gooey center that oozes for a good sob story. Living on the edge of the Backworlds is harsh. Everyone needs a break and most need a second chance.

I also learned survival can be bigger than myself and to pour my heart into what I make.

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.

The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.

The genocidal alien he had trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.

The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy.

The looming war will be a holocaust unless he can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.

Boing Boing gives The Backworlds 5 stars! “This is a fun, fast paced novel that reminded me a bit of early Heinlein”.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Engaging the thrusters on the jetpack strapped to her back, Rainly steered herself through space. Its vastness terrified her. Her skin prickled. The man in the white robe jabbering in her head overwhelmed her, blocking out all until she found herself back on the Sequi opening the box she had retrieved. She had hoped answering the man’s summons would end her blackouts.

“I don’t want to know what I did,” she whispered, her teeth chattering and limbs quaking. She couldn’t take much more of this.

The size and dimensions of a coffin, the box was also a ship. One more sophisticated than the Sequi. Using a control paddle, Rainly maneuvered a dolly under the box, then she wheeled it into the living quarters. Her sister had moved the couches, creating ample space.

Her hands clapping, her sister beamed. “Let’s meet our master.”

Together they pried open the chamber per instructions pulsing in Rainly’s head. The flood of data had to be making a clamor in her sister’s mind too, because she moved in the same ways.

Inside the box lay a brain in a sac of goo. Nothing like Rainly expected. “Is it a Fo’wo?” she asked her sister.

“Not yet. We have to reboot him first.”

Rainly had to wonder whether she and her sister had gone insane.

M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds and the contemporary science fiction series The Rifters, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide, has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock, and is slightly obsessed with Jane Austen. Learn more at:

mpaxauthor.com

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