My Life Outside of Words by Kathrin Hutson – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kathrin Hutson will be awarding a $25 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.

My Life Outside of Words

I chose this topic because one of the editors I supervise (yes, I’m an editor as well…) told me she couldn’t think of a single besides writing and words she could connect to me. She followed that with, “No one believes you have a life outside of words.”

I am here to prove her wrong (though, admittedly, I found the statement oddly complimentary).

So, I’ve got a list of the top five things outside words (writing and editing) that make up Kathrin Hutson.

1. Music —I’ve been playing piano since I was five years old. Definitely longer than I’ve been writing. I was classically trained for twelve years by the most amazing piano instructor, who became a huge role model for me and a pillar of my young life. I learned music by an uncountable number of ‘the great’s’: Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Czerny, Rachmaninoff, Khachaturian, Beethoven… Won some pretty high marks in piano adjudication and competitions, and even starred as a ‘guest pianist’ in a two-piano duet with my teacher’s teacher (who was from Poland, escaped to America during WWII, and performed internationally). I was seven at the time, and only vaguely remember it (with help from the concert program). When I was seventeen, I had the natural teenager disdain for order and structure, and I stopped taking lessons. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t, but I moved my focus to composing my own pieces, most with lyrics, and singing and performing. I definitely enjoy that other creative outlet, and I go back periodically to some pretty fun open mic nights.

2. Yoga —No writer can sustain their creativity without also taking care of their body. I rather enjoy yoga, and I practice in my living room just about every morning first thing. It keeps me flexible, my muscles strong, and works better (and quicker) than a cup of coffee for waking up (though I also drink coffee). Lately, though, I’ve been unable to keep to my yoga schedule. I recently had surgery on my foot to remove a pretty nastily painful bunion, and I’ve been taken out of the game (mostly physically, at least). I got the stitches out last week, and so far we’re healing well, my foot and I—just no physical activity for a while yet. I very much look forward to future months, when I can return hiking in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains in which we live, playing in the woods, and rock climbing back into my daily life, along with yoga. Good thing my recovery coincides with Spring coming.

3. Meditation —This comes in so many different forms for me, but it rounds out my self-care. I studied Tibetan Buddhism under the Venerable Geshe Dakpa Topgyal at the Charleston Tibetan Society Dharma Center in downtown Charleston for about six months before we moved to California. I wish I had found the Dharma Center way sooner. I never took Refuge—the ceremony of declaring one’s dedication to Buddhist teachings and way of life—but I learned so many valuable things. I still try to meditate for at least twenty minutes every day, and though that’s not much, it helps keep me centered. I also consider dream interpretation (which I’ve been doing since middle school) and reading Tarot (which I started in high school) forms of meditation as well. I do read for others, if they ask me to, and I definitely enjoy helping them see in front of them what they already know.

4. Food —Boy, am I ever a foodie! My husband Henry is one of the most talented maestros of the kitchen I’ve ever met, and I’m incredibly lucky that he loves cooking so much. Our dinners consist of gourmet meals (and I’m a terrible cook). He also has a keen eye (and some special access) to fantastic restaurants, and he treats me to them every once in a while. But our mutual favorite? Sushi! Holy moley, I could eat sushi all day every day (literally raw fish and nothing else) for the rest of my life if it wasn’t so horrifyingly expensive.

5. Sadie and Brucewillis —What is this, you might ask? No, Brucewillis is not spelled incorrectly—it is, in fact, one word. Henry and I have two silly, dopey, super loving pit bull mixes. Our dogs are our babies. Sadie just turned three and embodies the brooding teenager mentality. We get our love from her when she smooshes in between us first thing in the morning for a wakeup cuddle. Brucewillis isn’t quite a year and a half yet and is completely indiscriminate with both his kisses and the things he carries around in his mouth (he’s a quarter lab). And the monster’s already 85 pounds. They’re best buds and have managed not to get into too much trouble, and they’re the perfect companions for hiking, swimming, and of course, the dog park.

See? I do things besides words! And thank goodness I’m fortunate enough to have the freedom and the time to enjoy this ‘other world’ to my heart’s content (and more completely once I heal this dang foot).

Thank you so much, Long and Short Reviews, for hosting me on your site today. Thank you, fantastic readers, for having followed along, commented, and supporting Daughter of the Drackan and me through the last three weeks. You’ve made this so much fun, and I can’t wait to hear what you think about it all. I do so hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves. –Kathrin

MediaKit_BookCover_DaughterOfTheDrackenKeelin is the only human fledgling, weaned by the drackans of the High Hills and given their instincts, ferocious strength, and fierce hatred for humankind. But even the drackans closest to her cannot explain why she has violent blackouts from which she wakens covered in blood.

A desperate, reckless search for the source of this secret brings her face to face with the human world and memories from a locked-away past, long forgotten. Keelin becomes a terrifying legend among human assassins while she hunts for answers, and the human realm’s High King is murdered.

While a sickly steward hides within crumbling walls, commanding her every move with a magic he should not possess, Keelin’s journey to track him down threatens her loyalty to the drackans who raised her. The rogue who crosses her path hides familiar secrets, echoing her own terrifying bloodlust and forcing her to consider that there may be something human about her, after all.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Igetheyr stood unmoving, and E’Kahlyn gently unfurled her red-brown wings. The child sat atop the drackan’s scaly back, legs huddled up to her chest. She too stared at Igetheyr, eyes glowing from beneath the shock of tangled hair.

The others snorted and growled at the human, their hatred and bloodlust already thick in the air. The drackans’ centuries-old feud with the scale-less race ran deep within their blood. Seeing one now in their home stirred timeless memories of the war, so long ago, that had started their hatred in the first place, and memories of the last human fledgling who had turned astray.

Igetheyr shifted his eyes toward the child, expressionless until he chose to speak. E’Kahlyn shot her mind-voice in a direct, shielded stream to the child, hoping to reach it before Igetheyr did. ‘Have you heard our discussion?’

A light, purple-gray blotch found its way slowly to her mind with the feeble words, ‘I did.’

‘Then go to him, young one.’

The child slid to the ground, gazing at the drackan with pleading eyes. E’Kahlyn nudged her forward with her snout. The child stumbled toward Igetheyr’s great figure and placed her hands behind her back. Her narrow chest stuck out vulnerably, head held high, and she met eyes with the black drackan. Fear did not exist in the child, as if it never had. She was part of the new world around her now and still so disconnected.

Igetheyr snorted, seemingly entrapped by her boldness. E’Kahlyn opened her mind to just the two of them, eagerly awaiting the important exchange, the final word.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_DaughteroftheDrackenKathrin Hutson has been writing fiction for fifteen years, editing for five, and plunging in and out of reality since she first became aware of the concept. Kathrin specializes in Dark Fantasy and Sci-fi, and the second novel in this series, Mother of the Drackan, will be released this February.

Kathrin runs her own independent editing company, KLH CreateWorks, for Indie Authors of all genres. She also serves as Story Coordinator and Chief Editor for Collaborative Writing Challenge, and Editing Director for Rambunctious Rambling Publications, Inc. Needless to say, she doesn’t have time to do anything she doesn’t enjoy.

You can grab your copy of Daughter of the Drackan, in print or as an ebook, on Amazon.

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The Sugarspear Chronicles by Nicole Arlyn – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will win the prize described in the Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheSugarspearChroniclesThe Sugarspear Chronicles, the incredible twenty-six-novella saga that started with a little girl and her willow tree, is finally available in one complete collection.

The Sugarspear Chronicles: The Complete Collection is the story of young Sadie Sugarspear, a girl who endures intolerable abuse by reading about a fantasy world filled with incredible sights and outlandish people—a place she’s only ever encountered through her real father’s storybook.

One day, when the cruelty becomes too much to bear, Sadie runs away and hides inside her beloved willow tree. To her surprise, the tree opens, sending Sadie down into the abyss, into a land she’s only ever read about—where she must being a long, terrifying, and heartbreaking journey home.

Readers can now enjoy the entirety of author Nicole Arlyn’s dark fantasy saga in one complete book. This complete collection also includes a note from the author detailing the inspiration and events that led to The Sugarspear Chronicles.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The wind was ripping through the dandelion fields. The fence that stood alone shook but the blue flowers hanging off it stayed still. A pale girl walked on the dirt road through the fog and mud puddles towards the fence, her long brown hair slapping against her face, covering her green eyes that seemed blue when she turned them to the sky. She pushed her thin body through the wind, the black Rolling Stones t-shirt she wore as a dress blowing into her stomach. When she stood in front of the fence, the flowers finally swayed. Sprinkles of dew dying. Then she pulled them off, the crushed flowers in her hands, falling to earth. The wind never took them.

She sat on top of the fence watching the sky for rain. Instead she saw the faces that the clouds made morphing from evil to angel in one blink of her eyes. She ran her hands along the old brown wood, digging her fingertips hard in, crusted blood under her fingernails. She kicked her legs against the fence half wanting to knock it over and half wanting to fall with it, but it wouldn’t fall. She rubbed her thighs with the splinters until they burned and then made a fist with her right hand and bit down on it. She bit hard enough to stop her own tears. Only cry when the rain comes, she thought. That way the rain would wash away her tears and no one would know. She saw a caterpillar sitting beside her and picked it up.

“No one knows youʼre here but me,” she whispered. She laid the caterpillar where she found it. She opened her hands and kept waiting to catch the rain. She waited as the sky twisted around her, sealing her in a mist she wished only the sky could see through.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheSugarspearChroniclesNicole is a writer and an actress born in Brooklyn, New York. She has worked in films such as Clay Pigeons, opposite Joaquin Phoenix; The Wedding Planner; and Brooklyn Bound, among many others. She has performed, written and directed theater productions in New York, Los Angeles, and Europe. She has also read her poems in many poetry lounges in Europe and America, and is a song lyricist for musicians.

After living in Rome, Italy, for the past several years, Nicole has returned to New York City where she lives with her husband and son. She is at work on more novels.

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Run Ragged by Kari Aguila – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kari will be awarding a $20 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.

MediaKit_BookCover_RunRaggedIn a devastated country, those in charge rule by fear, inequality, and oppression. Rhia, a strong and independent sea captain, just wants to keep her head down and do her job, unitl she finds herself trapped in a re-education facility designed to help people fit into the rules of the New Way Forward. The warden claims to be guiding those in her care, but Rhia quickly sees the cracks in the system. As she is faced with torture and brainwashing, those cracks become gaping holes that threaten to pull her down into the depths of despair. Can Rhia resist the slow subversion of re-education and become the reluctant hero the new world needs?

RUN Ragged is the thrilling second story by the award-winning author of Women’s Work. This brilliantly imagined novel is both a scathing satire and a profoundly poignant look at the price we are willing to pay for peace and what we are willing to ignore to keep our conscience clear.

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

When the last board was pounded into place, they began to clean up. William carried the tools outside and checked them back in with the guard at the toolshed while Rhia collected the few nails that littered the floor around the small metal can. When he returned, he stood in the bright doorway, silently watching her. His long shadow covered her as she squatted to drop the last nails into the can, the cool umbra of his body draped over her back, but she didn’t turn around.

“Looks good.” William’s deep voice resonated in the small space.

The smallest hint of a smile tugged at Rhia’s lips, and she turned to look at him. “You mean the floor?”

His eyebrows crinkled together for a second, then he quickly looked away. “Of course. The floor.”

“Step out of the doorway. You’re blocking my light.”

William walked inside, his tattered shoes clunking across the newly lain floor as he moved to Rhia’s side. He squatted beside her, held out his hand for the can, and nodded at the floor. “Good job.”

Rhia sat back on her heels and wiped her brow. “You too.”

“Yeah.”

Rhia watched him as he continued to nod, looking around at the floor, the nails, the walls, everywhere but at her. Once his mouth opened as if to speak, but closed again, his lips pressing together. She couldn’t figure out if he wanted to praise her work and was hesitant to say too much, or if he thought he should say more but couldn’t think of anything. She waited, hoping he would look into her eyes again.

Finally, he cleared his throat, stood up, and walked to the open door. “We’ll be working on the plumbing in here soon. You can either help with that or move on to the next box to do another floor.”

Rhia followed him out the door and was glad when he turned back to look at her. She stood straight, her shoulders back and her head lifted.

“It’s up to you,” he added.

“William,” Rhia said softly. “Where are you going to be?”

“I’m doing the plumbing.”

“Then I’ll work here, too.”

William stared at her for a moment. He blinked, his broad chest expanding with a deep inhalation. Cocking his head to one side, he studied her intently, perhaps trying to gauge her meaning and wondering if he dared reciprocate the affinity she was suggesting. His dark eyes flitted quickly down the length of her body and back up again to meet her gaze.

Rhia saw the confusion in his eyes, as if he both feared and longed for the companionship she offered. Then there was the slightest softening of his brow, and the corner of his lips curled into the faintest smile. He had made his decision. Rhia smiled.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_RunRaggedKari Aguila was the recipient of an IndieReader Discovery Award for her first novel, Women’s Work. Her stories are gripping and thought-provoking looks at gender stereotypes and relationships set in a dystopic future. She is also an avid gardener, geologist, outdoor enthusiast and mother of three. Aguila lives in Seattle with her family. RUN Ragged is her second novel.

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Handling Negative Criticism by Ellis Morning – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ellis Morning 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.

Handling Negative Criticism

Would-be authors must master their approach to negative criticism well before their first book is published. In fact, if they haven’t learned this skill by the time their work is first reviewed by an editor or beta reader, they stand to lose out on a lot of valuable advice that can elevate their manuscript.

Once criticism is received from any source, you must first determine whether it’s constructive. Non-constructive criticism puts someone or something down, sometimes in a hurtful way, without offering any suggestions on improvement. A simple “This book sucks” is the sort of criticism you can safely disregard, because there’s nothing actionable within it. The commenter offers nothing to justify their opinion, and may have written the comment out of spite.

But what about something more like, “In Chapter 3, the pacing was too slow to hold my attention?” Now this is more the sort of criticism you can do something about. It may still feel like a punch to the gut. It may make you biting mad. But there’s something here that’s potentially valuable to your writing. So here’s how you handle it:

1. Walk away for a few days. That’s right—if you’re angry, step away from the keyboard! Don’t fire off any righteous replies. If you must get something off your chest, do it in a plain text file or a notebook, something that you can’t send to someone and regret later.

Focus your attention and energy on other things. It’s OK to grumble once in a while, but don’t obsess. Wait until all the hurting defensive instincts calm down.

Feeling better? Good! Now it’s time for step 2.

2. Return to the criticism with a less sensitive, more receptive eye. When you’re calm, you’ll be able to determine if there really is merit to the criticism. Look into it as carefully as you can. If you’re not sure about it, ask the opinion of a neutral third party.

3. Take to heart the criticisms and improvements that make sense to you. Whether it’s in a current rewrite or future work, make whatever changes are needed, then give yourself a pat on the back. Slow, conscious improvement like this is the only way to become a better writer!

4. Place more weight on criticism received from several sources. You can’t please everybody. Some things might not need changing just because one person complains about them. However, if you see a common theme throughout reviews or your editor’s feedback, that’s something you want to take more seriously.

If you like my advice, I’ve written more about receiving great feedback on your writing here.

Have you had any memorable, informative experiences with dealing out and/or receiving feedback? I’d love to here about it.

MediaKit_BookCover_BloodsForceWhere superstition is law, there is no order!

Dame Jessamine is a knight errant with a spaceship for a steed, a pupil of ancient science and technology who quests on behalf of the downtrodden. She’s accustomed to forging her own path through the galaxy—until she’s hijacked at sword-point and sent to investigate Nidaros, a remote barony known for bursts of rebellion.

In Nidaros, Jessamine finds a populace short on food and patience, innocents detained for torture, and a court trapped in a web of delusion. The Baron considers her a distraction. The magicians, convinced of a “curse,” dismiss her pleas for rational action. Even as Jessamine forges an alliance with the soldiers, an unknown foe seeks to frame her as an agitator.

Stuck amid murderous intrigue and cut off from her mentors, Jessamine must figure out how to save Nidaros from starvation. But the only people who understand the true “curse” have been accused of witchcraft—and if Jessamine’s not careful with her ancient knowledge, she’ll join them in the dungeon!

Blood’s Force is Book 1 of the Sword and Starship series of science fiction/fantasy adventure.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The uneven fence lacked the care and planning of a permanent fixture. It also lacked a gate. At the point where cobblestone met fence, a proclamation had been nailed up on the boards, stalwart against the wind threatening to carry it elsewhere. Flanking the parchment were two iron amulets of circular serpents gagging on their own tails, warning enough for those who couldn’t read. Weathering had warped the parchment and smeared the issuing party’s seal, but the message remained legible:

TURN BACK
By the Will of the UNSEEN,
by Decree of OUR LORD AND SOVEREIGN Albion Hadwin Catherwood VII (LMHR)
and by the Might of his Magic Adepts is the Settlement once known as Gules hereby
CURSED
for Failure to protect Assets sacred to OUR LORD and his Dominion.
Gules is cast from the Domain of Catherwood, furnished back unto Nature,
Her Denizens confined herein without Wish or Aid.
An any should trespass, shall the Trespasser share the Curse.
An any should render Succor to the Wretched within, shall the Renderer share the Curse.
Such is the Will of the UNSEEN, the Powers holding Dominion over all Dominions.

“Hell,” I muttered, for once regretting my gift of literacy. I felt like I’d just read the account of a madman who’d cut off his own hand to teach the rest of his body a lesson. My ribcage tightened, but not with the primitive fear of evil forces. Drea and my other mentors had freed me from belief in curses, Unseen, and other powerless superstitions. My heart ached for the people trapped beyond the fence, who almost certainly hadn’t done anything to deserve being so cruelly severed from the rest of the galaxy.

Damned magic adepts. They were the same everywhere I went. There seemed no limit to the evil they could justify as “the Will of the Unseen.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_BloodsForceEllis has always loved staging adventures in her head before going to sleep each night. When she was twelve, she started putting these adventures on paper.

For the next twenty years, she wrote with varying degrees of seriousness, but always as a hobby. In that time, she fell in love with Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, the original Star Trek series, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Science fiction became her favorite domain to work in, but she also enjoyed reading fantasy, horror, Western, and detective stories, and incorporating their elements into her work. One of her favorite things to do was make people laugh.

Ellis denied being a writer for decades. But then she sold articles to The Daily WTF, and a short story to Analog Science Fiction and Fact. After quitting her full-time job to finish her first novel, it was time to own up to writing as her calling. She’s currently an editor at The Daily WTF, and having the time of her life penning novels and short stories.

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What Makes for a Good Foundation for Writing Science Fiction by Gerhard Gehrke – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gerhard Gehrke will be awarding a $10 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.

What makes a good foundation for writing science fiction?

Neal (Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash) Stephenson’s father was an engineer and his mother a scientist, and he himself studied science at Boston University. Isaac Asimov (Foundation) has a PhD in Chemistry. Stanisław Lem (Solaris) was a medical doctor. Besides a Master’s Degree and other educational achievements, Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake) is an inventor of a robotic writing device.

If you’re an aspiring science fiction writer, examining the education and life accomplishments of your favorite authors can make you feel under-qualified. I read through their bios and find scientists, doctors, inventors, mathematicians, and physicists. I dropped out of college to start a service business, yet still have the desire to write science fiction. Is this a lost cause?

Not if you research what you’re writing. This should be a necessary step for any writer, as you will inevitably touch on something of which you do not have all of the facts. The most obvious source for information is the internet. Research is deceptively easy here, yet there’s the caveat that what you find might be incorrect. Check your sources, find confirmation, and take notes.

More rewarding is developing contacts whom you can question on their area of expertise. I’m writing a decline-of-civilization story currently, and I have a scene that involves cracking a safe. There are YouTube videos to watch for some of the basics. I’ve also read “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”: Adventures of a Curious Character about Richard Feynman, which covers his breaking into everything with a combination at Los Alamos during the development of the atomic bomb. But I also have a friend who picks locks and worked at a safe company. This third source added the most color to what could be a procedural scene and added points that contribute to my story’s authenticity.

Besides direct research, keeping up with current scientific discoveries is key. Even a non-scientist can follow the latest developments. My favorite source is listening to the Science Friday podcasts from NPR. This can become a springboard for further investigation on any topic that interests me. I’ve gone on to read about how sow bugs can drink out of their anus, fundamental attribution errors, exoplanets, and the development of sulfa and antibiotics. These are just a few items from my truck’s notebook where I put down things I hear about to read up on later. While I read both paper books and e-books, the time I spend idling in traffic is put to good use. Besides Science Friday and other podcasts, I download audiobooks. These can be either purchased or borrowed for free from many libraries. Besides, talk radio makes me want to plunge an awl into my ears.

Curiosity would be the third component to writing science fiction, as it contributes to the first two, but also will spring out of life experiences not associated with staring at a computer screen while trying to write. I find being outside, hiking, looking at bugs, etc. to be such a wonderful way to learn about the world. Have an appliance that you need to replace? Try fixing it. I learned about microwave ovens by dismantling one and looking it up in the book The Way Things Work. Lots of pictures help. I discovered how to change a simple fuse and kept the oven working for years at the cost of one blown fuse a year. I finally retired the beast after it started to give me electric shocks.

Your imagination and creativity are your own. But science fiction requires a level of plausibility that needs to be backed up by the writer’s experience, education, and research.

(And an education counterpoint: William Gibson (Neuromancer) did horribly in school and just wanted to write science fiction. Frank Herbert (Dune) didn’t finish college.)

MediaKit_BookCover_ABeginnersGuideToInvadingEarthWhat would you do if you found a dead alien on a lonely highway?

Was it an accident, sabotage, or murder? And why is everyone blaming Jeff?

The extraterrestrials aren’t waiting for answers. They want revenge. And Jeff isn’t ready for company.

His only hope is an outcast mechanic from another world and a woman who might do anything to get off planet, including selling out her own kind. Jeff has to get to the bottom of why there are so many alien bodies piling up and who is really responsible.

A science fiction adventure novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth tells the story of a reclusive ex-computer programmer who is the unwitting central figure of a plot to keep humanity from ever making first contact.

Enjoy an excerpt:

First contact with the humans wasn’t going as planned, as was obvious by the rank smells that choked the air of the alien visitorsʹ craft. But no one called them aliens where they came from.

Seven little Greys, short bipeds with large heads and big eyes and delicate limbs, sat in the flight seats of their ship’s crew compartments and listened as the Mission Commander lectured them from the Command Module. The harangue lingered in the air, not as words or even sounds but as a smell, a ripe one replete with pheromones and scent packets that the Greys used to speak with one another. A new string of curses from the Commander’s glands smelled of licorice. The Mission Commander composed itself. It wiped sticky sweat from its hairless frontal lobe.

The lights and displays in front of the seven crewmembers blinked and flashed. No one would so much as touch a button until the Commander was finished addressing the crew.

“I’ll hear no more of it,” the Commander said. “We’re on the human world. We go forward. Probability calculations for success show at 100%. The computer will be trusted.”

About the Author: Gerhard Gehrke studied film at San Francisco State University. He wrote and produced several shows for community television. His Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories have appeared in several publications, including an Editor’s Choice-winning short story at AnotheRealm.com. A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth is his first novel.

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BOB by Tegon Maus – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tegon will be awarding a $25 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.

After 27 years as a newspaper man, Peter Anderson’s career is slipping away, at least it was, until he stumbled upon the story of a lifetime. Sent to do a fluff piece about lights in the night sky over Arizona, he discovers far more than he ever expected when he comes upon a mysterious young woman held prisoner in a basement. After helping her to escape, she disappears before he can learn the truth about who she is or where she came from. His search for her leads him back to the lights in the sky and leaves him with more questions than answers. The only thing he knows for certain . . . the only thing he can count on are the two words offered repeatedly by his friend and guide . . . “IS BELT.”

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

Her scream filled the air, sending chills up my spine, as the table disintegrated under Bob’s weight.

My mind raced as I tried to decide what to do. I was looking for a spot to jump in between the two titans.

Suddenly, Fred reappeared from nowhere, lunging headlong, throwing himself at Carl with no self-regard. He was a lunatic, screaming, punching, scratching, biting all at the same time.

Carl brushed him away, striving to reach the woman scrambling on the floor, trying to get up.

No time like now. I jumped on his back, riding him like a child on his father’s back.

Somehow, she was free of the table but still impaled. She grabbed the spike in her left hand, pulling at it. Her skin stretched with the effort, clinging to the metal. Finally succeeding, she clutched it like a dagger. Getting to her feet, she lunged for Carl.

With shocking swiftness, she plunged the spike into his chest.

It was Carl’s turn to scream and he did… a howling snarl of a growl that curled my toes.

“You should have killed me when you had the chance,” the woman said through clenched teeth, trying to force the spike deeper with her weight.

“Fucking bitch,” Carl shouted, backhanding her, sending her to the floor again.

He seized the spike, yanking it from his body, throwing it at her; the woman, having gotten to her feet, removed the second nail and braced for another assault on Carl, her hands bleeding freely.

About the Author:

I 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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Protector by Vivian Lane – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Vivian Lane will be awarding a paperback copy of Protector (International Giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Los Angeles cityscapeFirst in a new series!

Carys Taylor has her life perfectly under control. Equipped with a nice inheritance, she goes where she wants, when she wants, pursuing anything that interests her. So when her old professor asks her to come on a research trip for his thesis, she’s eager to tag along.

Until that ill-fated trip to the South American jungle changes her into a supernatural being. Now she’s sprouting claws and stronger and faster than any human being in existence. The reclusive tribe calls her their Protector – but from what? And why now? Why her?

Carys is pulled into a world she never knew existed. Is she up to the task?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Carys, next time someone asks you to go with them to the middle of nowhere, say no.

My old professor asked me to come along on a trip to study native music. He was cataloging the songs of an obscure tribe. I had nothing more important to do, so I said sure. Got all the necessary shots and documents, and we made the long journey down.

Little did I know, it would be a life changing experience.

Our destination was a small village in the heart of the South American jungle. How he ever heard of them, I didn’t know. Took us three days by boat to get there. Our team consisted of the professor, our guide/interpreter, the professor’s assistant who was using this trip as info for his thesis, and me. As a music therapist, I used music to heal people’s souls, so I would be lending my expertise in the emotional resonance of the songs.

Approximately fifty people lived in the village, some of the nicest people I’d ever met, instantly welcoming and glad to share their musical history. My job was recording the performances with the handheld camera. They kept staring at me when they thought I wasn’t looking. At first, I attributed it to them never seeing a fair-skinned woman before, but the stares continued through the week.

That should have been my first clue.

About the Author: Writer of supernatural badasses.

Vivian Lane is an American author. Born a Gemini, her interests fall under a myriad of subjects including classical music, American and World History; fantasy books, TV shows, and movies; travel, marine biology, and fashion.

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Cubeball by Michael Leon – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC by entering the Rafflecopter below. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_CubeballA naturally gifted ex-national champion and a savant with a computer-like mind compete against the world’s best in the 22nd century’s most popular sport – CUBEBALL – the chess-like, technology-enhanced, snooker of the future where the world stage is dominated by gambling, drugs and massive audiences.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jules’ gaze emboldened Mickey to reveal his special gift to her. He strode confidently to the cue-ball and lined up one of the most difficult shots in cubeball. Then with little thought, he cracked the cue-ball with a force that matched the passion he was feeling. The curve on the first line was more pronounced than the programmed line set by the computer.

Mickey had struck the perfect shot. Sam and Riley sat staring at the console, mesmerised by what they had just seen and eager to re-capture its perfection on replay. Only champions could play this way and it was clear to all that Mickey was developing into one.

“Fucking incredible,” said Johnnie. His eyes were wide. Filled with awe for Mickey’s skills and expectation with how much he could earn from it.

Mickey didn’t hear his appreciative manager. He didn’t see the small tear that had formed in his kid sister’s admiring eye. His gaze remained on Jules. She brushed her hair back on to her shoulders before resting her slender hands on her hips. Her mouth was wide open, breathing in her excitement for what she had just seen. Then her eyes revealed that there was more to her feelings than that of an adoring fan. Her gaze began to fill with a stirring hunger. Fate was beginning to move into Mickey’s life like an evening moon tide.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_CubeballI worked with national and international organisations as a business analyst in Australia and overseas. I authored many business books analysing the foodservice and food retail industry in Australia, Europe and Asia, as well as agribusiness global trends. I also ran a consultancy business that assisted Australian enterprises to develop new markets in Australia and overseas.

I commenced writing science fiction novels full time in 2009. It was a life-long interest of mine. I have written five novels – all exploring contemporary social issues in future speculative worlds. They are: Shadow Dance; Extinction; Cubeball; Titan Sages and Alive. My novels blend speculative science, new age and poetry. Readers of novels such as Carl Sagan’s Contact would enjoy my novels.

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Sonar the Cyclone by B. Truly

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon GC plus Swag: 1 Sonar The Cyclone e-book, 1 Sonar The Cyclone Photo Magnet and 1 Sonar pen to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_SonarTheCycloneIs your destiny determined by what the future has foretold? Or is fate deemed in the hands of what you behold?

The Royal 4 are now back on their home territory of Nazari, determined to get things back to normal. Syira’s forbidden love is being held captive. She is hell-bent on fighting for him despite the immense obstacles. She must find a way to convince her race that Kadeem is not dangerous. Their threat lies from deeper within.

Shiray has accepted her past and is moving forward with her life, but it comes back to haunt her tenfold. That all changes when she stumbles across the truth. Now, she must pick up the pieces of her shattered life.

They are in the calm but know when they approach the dirty side of the Cyclone storm, terrible things will unravel. The future is revealed and they get a glimpse of Fate’s course. Time is not on their side. They must attempt to change their destiny or their world will be doomed.

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

King Julius had gotten busy with meetings, and I didn’t get a chance to speak with him. I searched for the king and couldn’t find him anywhere. I decided to see if he was in his bedroom. I raised my arm to knock on his door, but it was cracked open slightly. King Julius was talking to our technology specialist, Kanen. It was rude to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help myself. It sounded like an intense conversation.

“Your Highness, you have to stop beating yourself up.”

“It’s hard not to; my decision caused severe consequences. At the time, I believed it was the right choice. I was only thinking of their survival. But I have regretted that decision ever since.”

“I understand your turmoil, but you need to forgive yourself. They survived.”

“But another catastrophe has arisen from that choice. It almost got an innocent killed.”

“They recused her.”

“Well, if I had not sent them there in the first place, then she wouldn’t have needed to be saved.”

“They needed to go to Earth, regardless. We needed the black diamonds.”

What was this about? Why did King Julius feel so guilty?

“I just want my son home and safe. I almost destroyed his life once. I’ll feel better once he is back in the Sonar galaxy.”

“There’s no logical explanation why the force shield didn’t hold around the ship, because it should have. That’s not your fault. You had no idea they would be thrown from the ship and separated. They were only supposed to crash, but still be together. Fate has a cruel way of unleashing its path. Even though a lot of things are unfair, everything happens for a reason,” Kanen explained.

No! This could not be happening. My own father- in-law is the one who sabotaged our ship and caused us to crash?

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SonarTheCycloneB Truly has wanted to be an author since she was fifteen years old and is grateful to have accomplished this dream. She has very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. She likes to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. She is addicted to romance and gets a thrill out of action and suspense. She writes New Adult, Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Paranormal-Romance.

In the Sonar series, B Truly said, “It was fun to explore different elements of Sci-fi romance and create various realms of powers for my characters. I want to show my readers that Sci-fi can be fun, but also traumatic. I hope you guys enjoy the Sonar Series.”

B Truly has three wonderful children and a husband who defines the person she is today. She works full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Sugarland, Texas.

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Hedon by Jason Werbeloff – Spotlight and Giveaway

FREE DOWNLOAD TODAY ONLY!!  SEE THE BUY LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jason will be awarding a $15 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.

What if happiness were compulsory?
What if your thoughts were not your own?
Plunge into HEDON for soul-twisting sci-fi.

In 2051, the Bhutanese Empire rules post-apocalyptic Shangri with iron-fisted Buddhist compassion. Happiness is compulsory, but making everyone happy isn’t easy in an overpopulated world. Breeders are ghettoed, homosexuality is mandatory, and Shangrians’ happiness levels are strictly monitored by hedometers implanted in their heads. Become depressed, or feel too happy without helping others feel the same, and The Tax Man will get angry. Very angry.

Gemini and Cyan, winners of the pregnancy lottery, are on the run. Cyan can’t fall pregnant, and Gemini is addicted to the Experience Machine. Will they evade The Tax Man, and find a way to end the brutal pleasures of Shangri?

The lovechild of Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale, HEDON is gritty satire on a dystopia drunk with bigotry and positive thinking.

“A one of a kind dystopian novel.”
“As politically depraved as anyone could desire.”
“This is storytelling at its best”.
– ReadersFavorite.com 5 star review of HEDON

Enjoy an excerpt:

The day before his father died, Gemini had carried the old, old man to the summit of the district heap. Cardboard boxes, plastic packets, clothes hangers, rags, and a thousand other remnants of the past had sagged, crunched and scratched beneath Gemini’s bare feet. By the time he’d reached the top, he was out of breath. But it wasn’t the weight of his father in his arms, clinging to his neck. His father weighed less than a memory. No, it was the thought that this would be the last time they would share the view together.

The heap was higher than the ghetto Wall, higher than the Devas. From the top, they could see it all. Rows and rows, and rows, of tin shacks stretched behind them. And before them, a mile away, was the great Wall, brown as the earth. Beyond was the city, its brown-white spires shrouded in fog. Brown fog.

His father had looked at Gemini then. Really looked. Looked at him, his son, not as a war veteran. Not as someone from the past. “Boy,” his father’s voice was hollow, soaked up by the heap, “are you happy?”

The breath in Gemini had caught. Of course he was happy. Everyone was happy. It was Shangri. But his lips formed a different reply. “No,” he said, and stared out beyond the Wall. His cheeks burned.

“That’s okay, boy. They say they’re happy. But they’re not. Nobody is.”

Gemini swung his head to study his father’s eyes. The blasphemy. Sure, there was unrest here, in the ghetto. Sure, there was discontent. But few spoke such … such blatant heresy. Such negativity.

“Find a girl,” his father said, placing a veined hand on his son’s. “Be happy with her, but not too much. Never forget …” His head twitched. “Never forget that there is more.”

His father fell silent. Gemini scooped together a pillow of detritus so the dying man could lie comfortably as he stared out at the city. The city the old man had fought for, and lost.

About the Author:

Human. Male. From an obscure planet in the Milky Way Galaxy. Sci-fi novelist with a PhD in philosophy. Likes chocolates, Labradors, and zombies (not necessarily in that order). Werbeloff spends his days constructing thought experiments, while trying to muster enough guilt to go to the gym.

He’s written two novels, Hedon and The Solace Pill, and the short story anthology, Obsidian Worlds. His books will make your brain hurt. And you’ll come back for more.

Amazon Author Page | Subscribe to get ‘The Solace Pill’ free, as well as VIP access to Werbeloff’s latest fiction | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter ~ Website
 

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