Category Archives: SciFi

Release Blitz – Adamanta Excelsior: Season 1, Episode 3 – T. Y. Carew & Jess Mountfield

 

ADAMANTA

Season 1, Episode 3: Excelsior
by T. Y. Carew & Jess Mountfield

Genre: Science Fiction
Xander’s new mission puts his crew into the path of a Beltine hive ship. No one has survived such an encounter before.
But then, no one else has highly skilled Adamanta-equipped fighters on board, either. Even so, choosing to pick a fight with the Beltine is not a clever idea. Will the humans make it out alive once they enter the lion’s lair?
Join Xander, Mattie and her friends on this fast-paced adventure to find out. 

“Get that door open, now!” Matt launched into action, not waiting for the Beltine to react to her presence. Using four of her swords as deflectors for the laser fire, she charged at the Elite Dairos. Less than a second later, she heard a pulsing alarm start up. There would be no more sneaking aboard this hive.
Two of the Dairos were dead, leaving Matt to fight six more. Thankfully, she’d closed enough of the distance between her and them that they all focused on her, and four of them backed up to try and shelter the other side of the doorway. Laser blasts flew everywhere, bouncing off her swords and the Dairos’ shields.
Matt grunted as a shot caught the side of her left arm. As the pain spread, she almost dropped the sword she carried on that side.
“Hurry up, Drew,” she yelled, not daring to take her focus off the Beltine to check his progress. She needed help. Drawing the fire in her direction and standing out in the open reduced her to defense only.
Gun blasts from behind her let Matt know she was finally not alone. Drew had let Xander and Trey onto the hive ship. The two Elite Dairos this side of the door soon lost their lives. Matt advanced on both with her body and her swords, pushing towards the door and pressuring the remaining Dairos to make a mistake.
She was less than ten meters away, still deflecting laser shots and forcing the Dairos back, when a shot from Drew went wide. It struck the panel of buttons, sending electricity crackling across the surface. The door slipped down half a foot and stuck in place before jerking down another few inches.
With all her swords on the other side of the door, Matt knew there was only one response that made sense. She pushed herself into a full sprint and dived through the gap. From her prone position on the floor, she heard the door snap shut.
Leaping up, she brought her swords in close. The remaining Dairos hesitated, whichever Kyraos controlled them evidently not having expected her reckless act. She seized the few seconds it bought her and used her mind to remove another head with the nearest floating sword. Before she could deal with the last three, they opened fire again, forcing her to defend herself.
She rolled to one side, towards the nearest Beltine, and pulled another sword from the sheaths on her back. At the same time as slicing the gun-wielding arm off the Dairos, she managed to deflect a shot back into the chest of another. The third Dairos hesitated again, giving her plenty of time to run her sword through its torso and finish off the Dairos already bleeding out beside her. She found herself hoping the Kyraos in control had felt the pain of each of them dying.
A team of humans is willing to face almost insurmountable odds to save the human race from annihilation. But quite how safe from discovery and attack is the planet the research team has been secluded on?
Matt has spent her whole life helping her parents with research that could change the fate of the entire human race. She believes it’s time to take it to the next stage and use it in active combat, but is she really ready to join the war and fight for mankind?
Xander has dedicated his whole life to the military, keeping humans throughout the galaxy alive, no matter the risks. He’s struggling not to become disillusioned when, time and again, running away is the only option. Can he find the one thing humanity needs to turn the tide, and can he cope with that thing being a person?

The mining shafts on Kudos have been producing increasingly smaller quantities of the mind-controllable Adamanta, but when you’re fighting an undefeatable enemy you have to use every advantage you can gain.

Colonel Xander and his crew are there to secure as much of it as possible for the human military force. When an explosion traps three of the crew in the mine, the race is on to save them as well as ascertain whether the small operation is under attack from the formidable Beltine.
The explosion might have been written off as an accident if Marx, the Kudos safety engineer, hadn’t found evidence of Xander’s own transport pod having been rigged with enough explosive to destroy the whole mine and every breathing being in its vicinity.
Who would want Xander and his crew dead? And what deadly secrets does Marx harbor?
Coming July 15th 2017
Anathema is hailed as humankind’s salvation. But is it?
A team of investors insists Anathema is the safest planet for our race. And Dr. Lake’s team regularly sends reports from the surface of the planet, highlighting all the ways in which humans would thrive there. Even better, the almost invincible Beltine never go near it.
In the dog house for losing the Excelsior, Xander and his team are sent ahead to prepare the planet for human colonization. With trust at an all time low, they have only themselves to rely on, but is that enough?
What will happen to Xander and his team when even their faith in each other is put to the test?
Episode 5 – Coming September 15th 2017
Episode 6 – Coming November 15th 2017
If you want to make sure you don’t miss out, you can sign up for our newsletter here.
T. Y. Carew is the pen name for an entire group of authors. They’ve come together to write the Adamanta series and other works in the same universe. So far, they consist of Stephen P. Scott, Andrew Bellingham, Ella Medler and Jess Mountifield. They’re a quirky bunch of writers, with a variety of genres under their belt and different elements to their styles we’ll hope you agree make an interesting blend. One thing they definitely have in common is the love of diving into a book and going on an adventure, be that reading or writing one!
This episode was written by Jess Mountifield.
Jess was born in the quaint village of Woodbridge in the UK, has spent some of her childhood in the States and now resides near the beautiful Roman city of Bath. She lives with her husband, Phil, and her very dapsy cat, Pleaides.
During her still relatively short life Jess has displayed an innate curiosity for learning new things and has therefore studied many subjects, from maths and the sciences, to history and drama. Jess now works full time as a writer, incorporating many of the subjects she has an interest in within her plots and characters.
When she’s not working she can often be found with friends, enjoying a vast array of films, ice skating or trekking all over the English countryside.
You can find out more about the author and her upcoming projects by following her on twitter or facebook, or at her blog.
Facebook ✯ Website ✯ Twitter ✯ Goodreads ✯ Amazon
***WRITING OPPORTUNITY***
Would you like to write an Episode?
The Adamanta project is all go now. The third episode is out on pre-order, and episodes 4 and 5 are almost ready. We’re going for 6 episodes a year, and we have one slot left for this year, and of course, spaces from next year onward.
We have collated an Author Info Pack, which you can look through if you are considering contributing to this ongoing series. Genre: sci-fi. Length of episode: 20k words approx. Stay in the Adamanta world, but write your story. You have a core of ready characters, but can write your own and use as many or few of the original ones as you like. We’ll need to keep the series consistent, but other than that you have space to play.
What we’re looking for: good story, good writing, adherence to deadlines and a willingness to help promote the whole series.
Ask EllaMedler@papergoldpublishing.com for the link to the Info Pack if you’d like to have a look.
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Filed under Book Blitz, contemporary, excerpts, New Release, Promo, Release Day, SciFi, Series

Release Blitz – Adamanta Season 1, Episode 2: Shafts of Kudos – T. Y. Carew & Stephen P. Scott

ADAMANTA

Season 1, Episode 2: Shafts of Kudos
by T. Y. Carew & Stephen P. Scott

Genre: Science Fiction
The mining shafts on Kudos have been producing increasingly smaller quantities of the mind-controllable Adamanta, but when you’re fighting an undefeatable enemy you have to use every advantage you can gain.
Colonel Xander and his crew are there to secure as much of it as possible for the human military force. When an explosion traps three of the crew in the mine, the race is on to save them as well as ascertain whether the small operation is under attack from the formidable Beltine.
The explosion might have been written off as an accident if Marx, the Kudos safety engineer, hadn’t found evidence of Xander’s own transport pod having been rigged with enough explosive to destroy the whole mine and every breathing being in its vicinity.
Who would want Xander and his crew dead? And what deadly secrets does Marx harbor? 

Doctor Willis started forward just as they were all thrown from their feet by a massive rolling quake. A sharp shockwave of air and the deafening roar of a blast accompanied the jolt. At once, klaxons began to sound throughout the facility at nearly deafening levels.
The big lights overhead swayed on their tracks and several fell nearby, shattering, throwing shards of polymer in all directions.
Xander struggled to gain his feet as rows of crops tumbled and some of the one hundred-gallon tanks of hydroponic solutions ruptured. A sudden wave of water flooded the floor of the greenhouse and toppled more plants and growing trays.
“Holy hell!” Tyra’s voice said in Xander’s ear. “What just happened down there? I’m reading heavy localized seismic activity.”
“We’re feeling heavy localized seismic activity!” Xander said, shouting unnecessarily. “I’d say it was an explosion. Are we under attack?”
“Not from anyone up here,” Tyra said. “I don’t read any bogies for millions of miles.”
“The mine!” Doctor Willis said, his voice quaking. “We’ve got to get to the mine.” He pulled himself to his feet and began picking his way through the damaged plant life.
“I’m coming down there, Colonel,” Tyra said. Xander imagined he could already hear her hands on the controls.
“No, not yet,” Xander said. “Until we know what we’re dealing with, I want you to hold position.” He followed along behind the doctor, leading his crew.
“I’m fine,” Trey said, sourly. “Thanks for asking.”
“I’d have known if anything happened to you, brother dear. I was worried about essential crewmembers,” Tyra said.
As the group pushed through into the large staging room for the mine, they were met with a heavy cloud of smoke, dust and gases billowing through the archway to the mines.
Doctor Willis made his way around a toppled set of lockers to a storage cabinet. “Breathing protection and hard hats,” he said, handing out gear.
The room was in pandemonium, with personnel rushing from every area of the compound. Xander accepted his gear and looked around at the chaotic scene.
“Doctor,” a lanky man struggling to don protective coveralls approached, “the mouth of Shaft One collapsed. We’ve got three workers trapped in there.”
“All right,” Doctor Willis said. “Let’s find Mister Marx and get his assessment.”
“And,” the man hesitated, but then pointed to a screen on the wall. “Molly is on the roster for this shift.”
Doctor Willis seemed to stagger, as if punched in the gut. He put a hand out and Mattie helped him to sit. “Molly is my wife,” he said. “She’s a master miner and ore specialist.”
A team of humans is willing to face almost insurmountable odds to save the human race from annihilation. But quite how safe from discovery and attack is the planet the research team has been secluded on?
Matt has spent her whole life helping her parents with research that could change the fate of the entire human race. She believes it’s time to take it to the next stage and use it in active combat, but is she really ready to join the war and fight for mankind?
Xander has dedicated his whole life to the military, keeping humans throughout the galaxy alive, no matter the risks. He’s struggling not to become disillusioned when, time and again, running away is the only option. Can he find the one thing humanity needs to turn the tide, and can he cope with that thing being a person?
releases May 15, 2017
Xander’s new mission puts his crew into the path of a Beltine hive ship. No one has survived such an encounter before.
But then, no one else has highly skilled Adamanta-equipped fighters on board, either. Even so, choosing to pick a fight with the Beltine is not a clever idea. Will the humans make it out alive once they enter the lion’s lair?
Join Xander, Mattie and her friends on this fast-paced adventure to find out.
Episode 4 – Anathema – Coming July 15th 2017
Episode 5 – Coming September 15th 2017
Episode 6 – Coming November 15th 2017
If you want to make sure you don’t miss out, you can sign up for our newsletter here.
T. Y. Carew is the pen name for an entire group of authors. They’ve come together to write the Adamanta series and other works in the same universe. So far, they consist of Stephen P. Scott, Andrew Bellingham, Ella Medler and Jess Mountifield. They’re a quirky bunch of writers, with a variety of genres under their belt and different elements to their styles we’ll hope you agree make an interesting blend. One thing they definitely have in common is the love of diving into a book and going on an adventure, be that reading or writing one!
This episode was written by Stephen P. Scott.
Stephen P. Scott brings a wealth of life experience, research and imagination to his writing–from the gender-bending sword and sorcery of Jordan’s Fall, to the futuristic hit man of Serving Murphy, to the cannibalistic serial killers of the Eaters series.
***WRITING OPPORTUNITY***
Would you like to write an Episode?
The Adamanta project is all go now. The first and second episodes are out on pre-order (and so will the third be very soon), and episodes 4 and 5 are almost ready. We’re going for 6 episodes a year, and we have one slot left for this year, and of course, spaces from next year onward.
We have collated an Author Info Pack, which you can look through if you are considering contributing to this ongoing series. Genre: sci-fi. Length of episode: 20k words approx. Stay in the Adamanta world, but write your story. You have a core of ready characters, but can write your own and use as many or few of the original ones as you like. We’ll need to keep the series consistent, but other than that you have space to play.
What we’re looking for: good story, good writing, adherence to deadlines and a willingness to help promote the whole series.
Ask EllaMedler@papergoldpublishing.com for the link to the Info Pack if you’d like to have a look.

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Filed under Book Blitz, contemporary, excerpts, New Release, Promo, Release Day, SciFi, Series

Release Tour – The Game Begins – Victoria Danann

 

 

THE GAME BEGINS

R. Caine High School
by Victoria Danann
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Fantasy Myths
When it came to the attention of the old ones that their creations, the Earth gods, had been playing games at the expense of humankind for millennia, they put a stop to it. But the rebellious gods were far too addicted to their games to give them up. After several summit meetings, they voted to use their own children as players and locate the playing field in the most treacherous environment in the known universe. High school.
To make it even more interesting, they would strip their children of their memories and withhold the rules of the game. The players believed they were ordinary kids until they were transferred to R. Caine High School. When odd things begin to happen, the players gradually realize they have special gifts or attributes. But that doesn’t mean they can’t die.

My name is Ever Moore.
I know. It makes me wince every time I say it. When I’m eighteen, I plan to have it legally changed to something that doesn’t make people laugh. But right now I’m stuck.
My dad thinks puns are the highest form of humor. He calls it ‘word play’. That’s right. I’m the spawn of nerds. My dad creates video games. My mother is an ethics professor at UCLA who thinks the battle between good and evil begins at home.
If you want to know just how weird it can get at the Thanksgiving table, I can go one better. My grandfather was a big deal rock star in the seventies. You wouldn’t know the name of the band. So there’s no point in name dropping. After a visit, he exits with a two-finger peace salute like all the other well-adjusted hippie grandparents, but he doesn’t say, “Peace.”
He says, “Rock steady.”
Ugh!

My family is big on manners. They’re too strict to let me say what I think, especially about Buzz’s love life. My grandfather doesn’t want to be called Grandpa or Grandad or Gramps or anything close to normal. Oh no. He wants to be called ‘Buzz’. I have no idea why. That is not his name.
Anyway, the best protest I can mount is rolling my eyes. I keep trying to get his attention and roll my eyes back further into my head when he does the ‘rock steady’ thing, but he will not be deterred.
Anyway I was leading a completely typical and deliciously angsty teenage life in Austin, Texas when my parents were suddenly offered jobs in the LA area at the same time. It was weird, but weird is part of my normal. Always has been.
Since my grandad, the rocker, still lives in LA with the latest girlfriend who’s barely legal – she’s two years older than I am and her name is Charmin, yes, like the toilet paper. If that was my name, I’d have the decency to go by something like Charm, which would really be making lemonade from lemmons. But not Charmin. I don’t think she’s bright enough to understand what people are thinking whenever they say her name. Anyway, with the jobs and the fact that ‘Buzz’ lives there, moving seemed like a good idea.
To them.

~~~

Now here we are in beautiful Oxnard. Yeah. I know. It sounds like somebody was in the middle of a sneeze when a cough barked out. I try looking it up to see what an oxnard is. Of course that was a circular exercise; ‘see city in California’. So I try ‘nard’. Closest thing is spikenard which is an herb. At that point I lose interest.
I’m stuck with Oxnard and, at least for the time being, Oxnard is stuck with me. So here’s a rundown of the good, the bad, and the boring.
The good news is that we managed to get a boat dock house. It’s on the water, but not on the beach. No extra space. There are three bedrooms. Guess who gets the ‘master’? That left two little rooms for my brother and me to fight over. I pulled rank – I’m four years older – and got the one facing the front. That means the water view.
Among other noteworthy travel facts, Oxnard is in a valley between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Los Padres, which is a cluster of mountain ranges. I’m told that you could be surfing at the beach while looking at snow-covered mountains. Put that in the kind of cool column.
Now for the bad. The house is tiny compared to where we lived in Austin. It’s going to be an adjustment.
As far as boring, I know no one here. As in NO ONE!
The only thing that could be worse than that is the fact that on Monday I’m going to have to walk into a new high school. Did I mention that I know NO ONE? Not even my brother will be in my school, which, okay, I admit I’m thankful for that because, if things could be worse, that would be it.
I’ve seen it. The school, I mean.
When nobody was there, I walked around the grounds with my dog, Elke. She’s a Norwegian Elkhound, really smart, really pretty, and really sure she doesn’t have to do what I say.
The school is kind of a gothic monstrosity that couldn’t be more out of place in SoCal. It looks like a Wizard of Oz tornado picked it up in Crumbling, Maine and dropped it in Oxnard.
I imagine the ground shaking when it hit. Boom.
How do I feel about starting a new school in two days?
As a sophomore?
Let me put it this way. Last summer my parents decided we were going to take a family trip to England. They said the educational value was astronomical. It would be like a field trip on steroids. Their words. Not mine.
So we went. But we didn’t go like normal families and stay in hotels. Of course not.
We stayed in family hostels. What’s that, you ask? Imagine going to camp with other families and sleeping in big bunk rooms with people of all ages, both sexes, some of whom make noises in their sleep that you wouldn’t think were possible for humans.
Don’t even ask about the shared bath.
Anyway, we went on one of those Bloody Tower tours in London where they trot you past all the torture tools and devices. Our guide tried to give cryptic descriptions about how they were used, because of his perception that my brother is of a tender and sensitive young age. The guide kept glancing at my brother nervously like he was afraid the information would scar the boy’s precious psyche, imprinting evil on the tabula rosa. On the contrary my brother probably invented some of those devices himself in past lifetimes.
The point I’m getting to is this. Given the choice, I’d gladly choose the rack over having to walk into a new high school as a sophomore where I know NOBODY! But this is the real world and I don’t have a choice.
I’m feeling sorry enough for myself to consider curling up into a ball when my brother barges into my room without knocking. “What the…? We moved here three weeks ago, Never. You’ve had time to unpack. You’re supposed to be the neat one. Miss Smart Perfect Suck up.” He punctuates that with a perfectly disgusting sucking noise.
Following his line of sight to the bed, the chair, the desk, I’m forced to agree that clothes draped everywhere looks like a breakdown straight ahead. Naturally I counter by going on the offensive.
“Nobody invited you in. Try knocking! I could have been getting dressed.”
“So what? You’ve got nothing that interests me.”
“Idiot. It’s called privacy. I deserve to have some in my OWN ROOM!”
“What’s this about?” He waves his arm to indicate the trunk show.
“I’m deciding what to wear the first day.”
He laughs that unbelievably aggravating laugh that never fails to make me want to pitch him out a second story window. By the way, there is one close by. It draws my gaze and gives life to my fantasy of hearing him scream on the way down.
“You’re worried, aren’t you?” he asks, wearing his smarmiest smuggest sneer face. “Well, sit at the feet of the master, little girl, and I’ll tell you how to conquer first day fever and win.” He sounds like an infomercial for a self-help guru. Maybe he’ll do okay in SoCal. “When you walk in, look for the biggest toughest-looking girl around. Then you walk straight up to her and punch her in the mouth.”
No. He’s not going to do okay in SoCal.
“Levi. This is California. They have zero tolerance for that kind of thing.” He shrugs, completely unconcerned. I put my hand to my head. “Wait. Wait. I’m getting a premonition. Yes. Yes. I can see it now. Mom and Dad are going to get a call from your vice principal within ten minutes of dropping you off at school. He’s going to tell them that they’re raising a barbarian who’s prison bound.”
“Just telling you. It sets the tone for the entire year. Your life can be bumpy or smooth. Take it from me. Your barbarian is my bad ass.” He holds a finger up. “Oh. Did I mention the part about run like hell after you punch Alice Assault in the mouth?”
I blink at him, wondering for the multi-thousandth time which one of us was adopted. It was probably me. “Say your name slowly.”
He rolls his eyes, but gets the message and leaves.
My brother’s name is Levi. We’re not Hebrew. My parents just liked the jeans which, I guess, must have been cool at one time. If he says his name slowly, it sounds like, “Leave. I.”
If you’re thinking that’s mean, don’t even go there. He gets back at me by calling me Never and cawing like Edgar Allen Poe’s raven, especially if I have friends around.
Naturally he leaves the bedroom door standing open just to irritate me. I slam it, hear my mother’s faint shout saying don’t slam the door, lock it, and turn back to the impossible task of figuring out what people at this alien outpost consider first day of school clothes. If only I could…
That’s when I realize I might get a preview into life at R. Caine High School. I open the laptop and pull up images.
Why didn’t I think of this before?
Track and field. Lots of running and jumping enthusiasm then.

Football. Concussion anyone?

Basketball. No comment.

A CPR dummy. How many times has that thing been kissed?

Softball. Hmmm. Maybe.

Graduation. Gold robes. Ew.

And finally, a photo of kids swarming a large paved area, not wearing athletic gear or some kind of club tee shirt. Whether they were coming or going I can’t tell. The main thing is I can see the clothes and they aren’t all that different from what I’m used to. In fact, the picture could have been taken at my old school. Sigh.

So alright. I can do this. All I have to do is pick out something that makes me feel reasonably attractive. It’s the first day of school. Not the end of the world.
Right?
Right?
Lots of people have been through this and survived.
Yes.
I know I’m taking that on faith, but since I haven’t heard urban myths about kids going to new schools and never being heard from again, I’m going with that assumption. Or trying to.
~~~
Who am I kidding?
Doomsday looms.
I mean you wouldn’t think a person could actually fear lunch. Not the food, of course. Although some might say fearing the food made in the cafeteria is a test of Darwin’s theory. I don’t think Darwin’s theory applies to humans anymore. Modern medicine is pretty good at interfering with the impending doom and saving the day no matter how badly we botch genetics.
It probably seems like I’m obsessing over the word ‘doom’, but it’s just that kind of weekend. The kind that will live in infamy forever.
What was I saying? Oh, yeah. I was talking about the rites of lunch. The quest for that magical place where you can be part of a herd of the like-minded; meaning people who understand you well enough that you can talk to each other, eat together, gossip about whatever, and kid yourself into thinking they don’t gossip about you when you’re not there.
I look at the clock. Again.
The first day of my sophomore year should be a celebration of not being a freshman anymore. But that’s for kids who get to stay put. Not for people like myself who’ve been forcibly relocated, that means moved against my will, to the other side of the country.
By this same time tomorrow I’ll know if my quest was successful.
Will I be able to locate the magical lunch herd on the first day?
Have I been a good person?
Do I deserve that fate?
Why yes. Yes, I do.
AmazonAmazon Int’liTunes  B&N  Kobo  Goodreads
New York Times bestselling author of eighteen romances including paranormal, scifi, fantasy, contemporary, and teen. Victoria’s Knights of Black Swan series won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES and PARANORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL OF THE YEAR the past FOUR YEARS IN A ROW. This past year two of her series took the top two places and two of her books took first and second place Paranormal Romance of the Year category. – Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.
Her paranormal romances come with uniquely fresh perspectives on “imaginary” creatures, characters, and themes. She adds a dash of scifi, a flourish of fantasy, enough humor to make you laugh out loud, and, occasionally, enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. Her heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, werewolves, hybrids, psychics, or past life therapists. Her heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners… usually.
The rich characterizations come from being a lifelong student of behavior, casually, and a serious student of behavior academically. She also studied comparative religion, myths, and Dark Ages history.
Victoria lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her husband and a very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog.
Website ✯ Twitter ✯ Goodreads ✯ Amazon ✯ Facebook ✯ Street Team ✯ Newsletter ✯ Pinterest
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Filed under Blog Tour, contemporary, excerpts, Fantasy, New Release, SciFi, YA

Release & Promo Tour – The Last Drop Series – Andrea Perno

THE LAST DROP series

Books 1 & 2

by Andrea Perno

GENRE: Science Fiction
Publication Date: May 20, 2016

They fought to death for the last drop of water. The virus erased the rest. Avery must protect his little brother, Jace, the only family he has left, his last reason for living. But when soldiers are needed, no one cares about the details. He gets Tasered before he can save Jace and himself from being forcefully conscripted.

Two years of cryo-sleep later, the brothers are aboard an aircraft taking the last humans from Earth to a new home, Panacea. Life is good. Food and water are plentiful. Jace is a happy kid who will never see a day of war.

So why does Avery feel like he’s making a big mistake trusting the new commander?

And who or what is Lupète? Why is Commander Smith so intent on making the natives on the new planet sound like bloodthirsty killers?

With his life in danger and Jace lost, Avery must find a way to protect Jace and the natives, too, before human greed and desperation destroy yet another civilization.

 

“I nearly got killed out there. If I die, if you die…people are being killed, Avery. No one has a good solution to this mess. No one wants to give up the rights to their water. They don’t even want to share. Shit is hitting the fan over all this. Look, Jace is too young for recruitment. Caileen would be the only other person who could sign up so that the family could live on base. Can you picture her in basic? Boy, I bet she’d be the perfect person to go out and shoot people. You aren’t even fit to do that.”

My teeth grind in opposition, but I know he’s right about Caileen. Basic training would eat her alive. She wouldn’t have the guts to shoot someone. It has to be me that stays behind.

“Look, I know you’re against the space program, but it’s our best bet. You think it’s bad in Asik? You think the outsiders living just beyond our walls have it bad? I already talked to Bruce, so I know you’ve been out there…”

“Bruce? You’ve talked to Bruce? How long have you been back?”

“A few days.”

“God, Jeremy. A few days! What the hell! Does Mom know? When were you going to tell us?”

“It doesn’t matter. Probably won’t be staying here for long anyway with the way things are going. Look, what matters is you get back on the space settlement list.”

“Why’s that so important to you? What aren’t you telling me?” I yell at him.

Jeremy glances at the receptionist, who’s beginning to eye us suspiciously. “Stop shouting,” Jeremy whispers and walks me farther away from the lobby desk. “If you’re chosen, the rest of the family gets to go. Don’t you get that? Look, if you knew half the shit that’s going down right now you’d be begging to leave.”

“If it’s so damn important to you, why aren’t you trying to get on the list?”

“You think I haven’t?” Jeremy gives me a pained look. He’s easily smart enough and he’s in great physical condition. It makes no sense. Zimmerman should be standing on his head to have a person like Jeremy. Then it hits me.

“Dad didn’t approve it?”

“I’m his right-hand man,” Jeremy scoffs. “If he only knew, right?” Jeremy’s lips curl in a devious grin and I can’t help but smile back. He’s opposed pretty much everything Dad’s put in place. Jeremy doesn’t support recruiting hundreds of men to use for missions, and he helps sneak food to the outsiders. By how smoothly things went with this morning’s supply drop, Jeremy’s got a whole crew of people on base working covertly against our father.

“So, if you’re his right-hand man, you must know what’s going to happen next.”

Jeremy runs a palm across the top of his shaved head. “Let’s just say our trade didn’t exactly go as planned.” He sucks in a breath and gives me a serious look that makes my stomach drop again. “This is why you need to get your act together. Today! The shit storm is coming and it won’t be long until it hits home.”

With nowhere else to go and separated from their friends, Avery and Clesandra head into the dark mist with Commander Smith hot on their trail. Endless are the rumors about the mist and its shrouded secrets. Avery cannot worry about those rumors. Other problems plague his mind.

Where is Jace? Is he safe? Where are the others? How will they find them without getting lost themselves? Will he and Clesandra live long enough to see their child born?

Avery and Clesandra discover new truths and lies as they continue their periled journey, including a dark secret that threatens not only the colonists and natives of Panacea but also the entire Universe.

 

Death. I’ve thought of it often. The freeing peace of nonexistence. No more fighting. No more war. I’ve ached for that serenity on more than one occasion. Of course, there’s also that terrifying moment of meeting the unknown head-on. After watching more than half my family die in front of me, and nearly dying myself, it’s hard not to commit to the reality that, in moments, Clesandra or I could be gone forever. I cast a sideways glance at Clesandra. Her luminescent green eyes are focused ahead, straining to see what’s inside the mist.

She removes her knife from her back pocket and presses the button on the side. The instant the blue blade appears, the gray mist enveloping us crackles with blinding, bright lightning bolts of blue.

Bolts whiz around us, expanding in all directions like an exploding star. Instinctively, I cover Clesandra’s head. She nearly slices my arms open with her knife trying to do the same thing for me. Just as quickly as the lightning storm started, it disappears. We’re both left gripping each other for dear life and squinting into the distance. The sudden blast of light was so blinding that the mist seems even darker. We crouch, huddled together, waiting for our eyes to readjust as wispy gray tendrils wrap around us. It’s almost as if they’re pulling us forward.

Now, faced with the moment of unknown and the knowledge that a swift and unavoidable death may be lurking mere feet in front of us, I’m not ready to die. There’s more I want to experience. More I want out of life. I want more time with this woman, however horrible or tragic it may turn out to be.

“Put the knife away,” I whisper.

“What was that?” she asks, disengaging the blade.

I shake my head. “I don’t know. Come on. We have to get moving.”

Despite the gripping fear making my heart all but leap from my chest, I pull Clesandra forward, trudging through the deep mud and embracing the unknown. There’s not a doubt in my mind that Smith saw the blue lightning. We might as well have a neon sign hovering above our heads. We aren’t safe where we are. We probably aren’t safe where we’re going.

 

In an effort to write a biography that won’t bore people stiff, I’ve kept this one pretty simple. I, Andrea Perno (and yes it is very strange referring to myself in the third person) write futuristic science fiction. I am a writer, an illustrator, an artist, an outdoor enthusiast and oh yeah, how could I forget the most important one? I’m a middle school inspirational life coach, disciplinarian, stand-in parent, “stop throwing clay at him and for the love of God put your jacket on it’s cold outside”…teacher.

I grew up in Florida and Pennsylvania where my childhood consisted of riding horses, catching lizards, shooting, hiking, building things, and camping literally all over the U.S.A. My parents are keen on experiencing all that life has to offer. That mentality has really shaped who I have become as an adult. I also grew up watching huge doses of science fiction (thanks, Mom) and home improvement shows (thanks, Dad) Star Trek, Star Wars, Batman, Superman, Bob Vila, Home Improvement, MacGyver…I could go on or I could just say that’s where a ton of my writing inspiration comes from. I love creating worlds for people to escape.

I’m a workaholic with very little free time who’s fueled by chocolate and French Vanilla tea…yes tea, not coffee. I’m allergic to coffee. I will die. Though it may seem like I run all day and have zero time left for anything else, I am savagely loyal and passionate and will drop anything in a heartbeat for friends or family who need me. I, we…are nothing if not for the people around us.

 

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Pre-Order Tour & Giveaway – Terra Nova – Christine Hart

TERRA NOVA

Book #3 of The Variant Conspiracy

by Christine Hart

Editor & Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Official Genre: NA Paranormal Sci-Fi Romance

 

The end of humanity and an unrecognizable future Earth are now days away. After their first glimpse of the Terra Nova virus, Irina and her variant friends know their former employer’s plans are almost at hand. Their failed attempt to publicize Ivan and Innoviro Industries’ horrific activities has left them utterly reliant on their own wits and weapons.

After surviving a catastrophic earthquake in San Francisco and destroying a secret viral testing facility, Irina’s crew has traveled by a variant portal to London. On the other side of the world, they begin tracking when and where Terra Nova will be unleashed on the world. They know stopping Terra Nova is only the beginning of unraveling Ivan’s plans to reinvent the planet, but if they can’t stop this virus, there will be no one left to save.

 

Faith returned with four glowing green drinks in a cup holder tray. Clear plastic cups, lids, and straws let the liquid inside glow through. It smacked of something that would spawn ninja turtles. “These are the Incinerator’s own toxic spills. They’re just vodka and sprite with a capful of that crap they put in glow sticks. Did you know you can drink that shit?”

Jonah reluctantly took a plastic cup. “Are you sure we should drink it?”

“It’s not going to kill us. No more so than the alcohol.” Ilya picked up a cup and took a long generous pull on his straw.

I took an experimental sip. It tasted like vodka and sprite. There was a mildly synthetic aftertaste, but nothing toxic. I took another, much larger sip. Aha – the warmth I’d been craving since my shower. I might stand a chance of sleeping tonight after all.

Jonah followed my lead and took a slurp on his straw, pausing to let the liquid do its work. He leered at me with a devilish grin and grabbed my hand, pulling me off to the dance floor. His touch radiated energy into me, right through my skin waking up every cell in my body.

He leaned down and kissed me, running his hands through my hair. His powerful grip felt restrained, as though his mind fought to control his body. The intensity surpassed our first night together. After we had spent so long mocked by his unstable mutation, first hurting me and then nearly killing him, we were both finally stronger than ever.

“I can’t help myself. I need to touch you. I don’t ever want to let you go. We’re going to make up for some lost time tonight.” His lips brushed my ear as he spoke. His fingers traced the line of my neck and it sent shivers down my spine. So much for sleep!

 

In Irina’s Cards is the story of 19-year-old Irina Proffer who discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery. Following visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards, Irina learns of an amazing variation in her genetic code. She has the ability to see the past, present and future, in her life and the lives around her.

Irina sets out from her northern home for BC’s coastal capital to get answers. She is drawn in by a powerful first love and a compelling, yet dangerous mystery. Working at Innoviro Industries and meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip. At the close of the novel, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.

“You know what they say about the people here in Victoria, right?” said Jonah, as he watched me watch everyone else.

“No, I can’t say that I do. More money than they know what to do with?”

“True, but not as bad as Vancouver. Ever heard of the saying ‘newlyweds and nearly deads’ or as my mom says, ‘God’s waiting room.’”

“Kind of a dark way to look at things, isn’t it?”

“My mom’s a dark lady, but hilarious. I hope you don’t mind, but I also invited Cole and his sister. You’ll love this little restaurant. It’s got awesome food and live music, but not too hipster-ish,” said Jonah.

Something dropped in my chest. If Cole brought his sister, we were just a group of friends going for dinner. I felt silly for having thought that we were going on a date. We turned another corner and Jonah pulled the car over next to a brick building with a 50’s style neon sign that read ‘Cymbals’ next to a caricature of a drum set. I followed Jonah through the wrought iron gate and looked up at the oak tree on the lawn next to the patio. Tiny fresh leaves and new buds covered the gnarled old tree. It was also home to dozens and dozens of sneakers, canvas shoes, skate shoes, oxfords – basically any kind of shoe with laces to tie together.

The air felt warm enough to linger, so I walked over to the tree and looked upward. I smiled. I reached up to one of the lower branches and touched one of the shoes. The yard and the tree melted away. I saw the face of a girl with faintly bluish skin and platinum hair. She turned and I saw two leather-like wings flex and relax. Her shirt had been cut to make room for her wings which stretched out past the frayed edges of the fabric. She was standing in a sewer or catacomb.

Faces milled around the winged girl. It wasn’t quite like a party, maybe more like a camp. An older lady standing next to the winged girl reached down to the ground. She pinched the concrete and plucked something, maybe a stone, off the surface. The stone wriggled. It was a camouflaged beetle, exactly like the one I’d seen on my first day in the city. She lifted the beetle to her mouth and I reeled back.

The yard outside Cymbals surrounded me again in a blink. Jonah stared at me. I noticed my arm had stayed raised beneath the shoes and withdrew it.

“Are you all right?”

Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. After strategically sharing their story with the media, the group heads south from Vancouver to Seattle hoping to recruit more experienced—and lethal—variants to their cause.

Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Ivan is using what staff and resources remain of Innoviro Industries to set off a violent earthquake in San Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check.

Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Innoviro could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.

 

I awoke standing on an orange cliff under a purple sky. An unfamiliar canyon wound under the horizon on either side. I looked down to see a river of metallic sludge oozing along the canyon floor. Chunks of debris floated in the sludge. Steam intermittently bubbled here and there. The sky darkened as I watched the river. Lights streaked across the sky, red and white, blinking. Black pellets fell from the lights, exploding in the distance as they hit the ground.

A figure walked through the smoke left by an explosion on the cliff directly opposite from me. While the smoke cleared, Ivan reached the edge of the cliff. His face distorted with a ripple. He reached up with both arms, burying his hands in his hair. His fingertips pulled on his scalp. Ivan’s expression melted. He peeled off his face in a downward motion taking the rest of his body with it. In Ivan’s place stood a red-eyed humanoid reptile with giant curling horns, identical to what I’d seen reflected in the window of Ivan’s apartment.

The horned figure let out a ferocious roar. The ground shook. The landscape shivered until the canyon transformed into a green valley below dry sage-covered hills. Ivan seemed himself again, smiling and tapping his wristwatch, strolling toward me. I shuddered, shaking my head. The green grass floor trembled and a crack opened horizontally between us. Trembling turned to shaking. The crack ripped into the ground in both directions until a canyon separated us.

A hand brushed my cheek. I whirled to find the source of the touch. I found myself lying in bed back in the guest bedroom in Josh’s farm house. I shouted and sat up.

 

Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write from my suburban Burnaby home staring at North Vancouver’s iconic Coast Mountains. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.

In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.

When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband, baby daughter and preschool son.

 

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Pre-Order Tour & Giveaway – Acadia’s Revenge – Tracy Ellen


ACADIA’S REVENGE
Undying Love Series – Book 2
by Tracy Ellen
Genre: Science Fiction/Apocalypse Romance 

Acadia King never imagined the catastrophic event she’d diligently planned years for would be an infection turning normal people into rabid crazies, nor had she ever thought surviving a global pandemic would be easy. But now that the worst nightmare has happened, Acadia is damn sure defending her home against the homicidal infected is her number one priority. Nowhere near the top of that priority list is her personal issue of a younger football player inexplicably proclaiming his love, even if he’s the hottest man left on earth. Acadia’s stubborn determination to ignore her personal feelings for Rod works, but then tragedy strikes. Tryg Johnson, the psychopathic leader of the Iron Fists biker gang, is back and proves he’ll do anything to get revenge on Acadia.
Now Acadia is all about getting personal!

Wrapped tightly in Rod’s strong arms, I pretended nothing existed but us. There were no problems–not the infected, not the refugees littering my farm, not the gap of a dozen years in our ages, and not Rod’s sweet, if idiotic, declaration of love after knowing me less than one day.
Try as I might, I couldn’t pretend for long. At this point, life was nothing but problems, and the problems weren’t going away anytime soon. Regardless what I’d said in my little speech, I knew in my gut life was about to get much worse for us all.
Even if I wished it could be different, I’m also too practical to believe in love at first sight. Rod can use any facile arguments he wants to try and convince me otherwise, but I highly doubt he’ll succeed.
Still, when Rod lowered his mouth to mine, I lost myself in his kisses. My desire for him roared back to life with every lick of his talented tongue. In seconds, his mouth brought me to that hazy place where nothing matters except getting our hands all over each other, and the throbbing need begging to be fulfilled between my legs.
This wasn’t love, but lust.
Now lust I’ve got no complaints about.
Lust feels freaking wonderful.
I’ve missed lust in my life.
Rod gave my ass a decisive slap, and I yelped in surprise, jumping away from him.
Glaring, I rubbed my stinging butt cheek. “What the heck was that for?”
“I wanted a little hug before we left, was all.” Rod grinned, his teeth a flash of white in the shadows. “Listen, my precious, sex-starved pixie,” he reached out and ruffled my short hair, “as much as I look forward to our next five seconds of lovemaking, especially if it’s you mounting me against a barn wall in public, we need to go get that highway cleared.”
“Oh my God, will you let it go already?” I whispered fiercely, knocking his hand away.
I swiveled my head to be sure we hadn’t been overheard, even as I blushed at the reminder of my behavior in the shower. After that performance, Rod had to believe I was a head case. My emotions had been all over the place. At his teasing reminder, I was mortified all over again.
“Sure, in about ten years or so.” He shook his head and whistled softy. “That ass of yours? It seriously does things to me, woman.”
At the sound of his low laughter, I was thankful for the dark night surrounding us to hide the fiery heat flooding my cheeks.
“You had to go and ruin this moment, didn’t you?” I accused while walking away in the direction Sean had taken.
Not that I could blame Rod for his gloating. I’d jumped on him in the shower, rode the man for all of fifteen seconds (not five!) like there was no tomorrow, which for all we knew there wouldn’t be, experienced an orgasm so intense the top of my head still felt blown off, and then left him alone in there. Talking about bad manners, I hadn’t even cared if he got off or not.
“Me ruin a moment?” Falling in beside me and throwing a comradely arm over my shoulders, Rod drawled, “You’re the one who hopped away faster than a scared, nakey bunny.”
Okay, so maybe jumping off him and running out of the bathroom without even drying off hadn’t been the most dignified of exits, but comparing me to a scared, nakey bunny was harsh.
“Sorry I didn’t dawdle on your knee,” I bit out, flinging off his arm. “I thought it was more important Bobby heard it from me, and not Uncle Coop, that I’d killed his stupid father.” I raised my voice over his laughter, “As well as show my supposedly dead face at the first meeting of everyone gathered on King Farm.”
I started to walk away, but Rod grabbed my shoulders and swung me to face him.
“You were running away from your feelings.” He made the statement in his quarterback voice that brooked no opposition, tipping my chin up with a knuckle. At my stony stare, he laughed again, but softer, his eyes narrowing thoughtfully. “I’ve got my work cut out for me, don’t I, teaching you how it all works?”
I watched him warily. “How what all works?”
He sighed and tapped my chin with a long finger. “Acadia, if you think that was my knee you were dawdling on, you’ve got a lot to learn about sex.”


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The first book in the Undying Love Series, Acadia’s Law is a thrilling story on the eve of the zombie apocalypse.
Ask yourself: How would YOU survive an epidemic?
Acadia King is a young widow about to discover her inner badass when she is suddenly faced with answering this question, and in ways she could have never dreamed possible at the start of her evening. It has been two long years since the death of her husband. Caving to the pressure from her good friends to go on a blind date, Acadia’s plan for a night of simple pleasure is about to get complicated. Not only does Acadia meet a younger, impossibly hot football player named Rod, but the hotel is host to much more than a fun Casino Night. A viral epidemic that turns people into homicidal crazies has begun to sweep across the Twin Cities and the hotel bar erupts into a savage battleground. Acadia and Rod, along with Rod’s two offensive linemen and a blonde groupie, barely escape with their lives. Acadia, having no other choice, reluctantly leads the group back to her home on King Farm.
Overnight, the epidemic tears loose the thin veneer of civilization. Threatened on all sides, Acadia silently vows to protect the family and friends she has left. Her promise is put to the test immediately, but the infected are not the only battle Acadia, Rod, and the other survivors on King Farm will have to fight against. When greed, betrayal, and lawless chaos start to rule, Acadia finds out being tough is one thing, but does she have the skills and strength to be the leader their small band needs to survive? Or will it cost more than she has to give?
*Acadia’s Law is meant to entertain adult audiences.

Tracy Ellen was born in Indiana to middle-class parents, the third out of five hellions. She often used her supernatural powers to compel her family members to listen to her talk and tell stories. When that tough crowd laughed of their own free will, Tracy knew the world would someday, somehow be her stage. Now she’s a full-time writer living her dream. Tracy’s resided in the Midwest her whole life–in a small town, on a farm, and in the big city. Currently, she lives in the suburbs of St Paul, Minnesota with her husband and family. Stay in touch by checking out Tracy’s website, and then signing up for her monthly newsletter to be notified of new books coming your way, giveaways, and exclusive content. She also has a fetish about giving fun surprise gifts to her lovely newsletter members every edition. (Hint: She hopes that entices you to her website.)

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Release Boost – Matronly Daughters – Melissa Kendall


MATRONLY DUTIES
by
Melissa Kendall
Genre: Romantic Science fiction

Centuries after the asteroid that sent Earth into the ice age, the remaining humans live in underground sanctuaries. As the Impact Bi-Centennial Anniversary approaches, Bethanie Greene prepares to take her place as the Government’s new leader. Or so she thinks.
With her life planned out, Bethanie trains to become the next Matron of the underground nation of Oceania. Until six weeks shy of taking office she’s kidnapped by extremists; then rescued by a handsome stranger.
Harboring a deep-seated resentment of the government, Howard James struggles to survive in a world where those in power wished he didn’t exist. Ironically, he finds himself rescuing the soon-to-be head of the government, Bethanie Green. Torn between his resentment of everything she represents and her beauty, Howard shows Bethanie a different side of life in Oceania, while at the same time opening her eyes to the injustices of the government she is meant to lead.
Can Bethanie trust this man? Who is this handsome stranger who fights everything she believes in?. And he gets under her skin like nobody has even dared before.
Against all odds, Bethanie must decide if her heart and her duties can coexist.

 

A yawn creeps up my throat and I suddenly feel like I haven’t slept in weeks. The temptation to curl up and go to sleep is strong, but my body is telling me I need a trip to the bathroom first.
I head down the hall to the door at the end. It’s ajar, so I push the door open—and freeze. The bathroom is not empty.
Howard stands at the sink, naked from the waist up, cleaning his teeth. Without clothing, his shoulders look twice as wide as before and every curve and dip in his muscles is clearly visible. Down the middle of his back is what looks like a big, black T. I have this crazy inclination to trace it to see how it feels.
Howard clears his throat and my gaze shoots up to find him watching me in the mirror. “Do you mind?”
He winks at me.
Oh crap!
“Sorry.” I pull the door shut. I’m mortified to have been caught staring. I also have butterflies in my stomach again, stronger than ever, and my heart is pounding. I fan my face with my hands in an attempt to calm myself down.
Before I can get everything under control, the door opens and a still-shirtless Howard walks out.
“All yours.”
“Uh-huh.”
I mentally slap myself for such an inept reply, but the view of him from the front is even better than the back. He has one of those washboard stomachs I’ve heard Gail talk about. I never understood what she meant, but now I can see how apt the description is. Once again, I find myself unable to stop staring.
“Good night, Bethanie,” Howard says strolling down the hallway.
“Howard? What’s the T on your back?” I ask, curiosity getting the better of me.
He stops and half turns towards me. “It’s a tattoo, and it isn’t a T, it’s a crucifix.”
“A crucifix?”
“Yeah, it’s the cross Christ was nailed to. It is a symbol of the weight I bare in the name of justice.”
“Huh. I’m sorry, I don’t really know what you’re talking about. It’s nice, though.”
“Thanks,” he says, “but I better get to bed if I’m going to be up early to take you to the post office.”
“Night,” I call after him.
“Sweet dreams,” he calls back.
I smile. They might just be.


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Melissa Kendall is a forty-year-old mother of two from Perth, Western Australia, the second-most isolated capital city in the world. Predominantly a stay-at-home mum, she works a few hours a week as a software support consultant. She has always loved to read and write, and spent most of her teens writing poetry and short stories. Over the years, daily life got in the way and she lost the passion for it, but after the birth of her first child, Melissa discovered e-books and her interest in writing rekindled. She is now the author of four published short stories. Matronly Duties is her first full-length novel.

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Release Tour – In Irina’s Cards – Christine Hart

IN IRINA’S CARDS
THE VARIANT CONSPIRACY
by
Christine Hart
Editor & Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Cover Designer: Covers by Ramona
Official Genre: NA Paranormal Sci-Fi Romance

In Irina’s Cards is the story of 19-year-old Irina Proffer who discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery. Following visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards, Irina learns of an amazing variation in her genetic code. She has the ability to see the past, present and future, in her life and the lives around her.
Irina sets out from her northern home for BC’s coastal capital to get answers. She is drawn in by a powerful first love and a compelling, yet dangerous mystery. Working at Innoviro Industries and meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip. At the close of the novel, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.
We reached the end of the Harbour and the coastline opened up around the corner. I saw a sign for ferries to the US in front of a giant concrete breakwater and a pub decorated with a helm wheel and a mural with starfish and orcas. The hazy soft blues of the ocean and sky were broken by the jagged edges of American snow-capped mountains on the horizon. The seaside sidewalk had a mix of young families, dog-walkers, and spry seniors in trendy windbreakers.
“You know what they say about the people here in Victoria, right?” said Jonah, as he watched me watch everyone else.
“No, I can’t say that I do. More money than they know what to do with?”
“True, but not as bad as Vancouver. Ever heard of the saying ‘newlyweds and nearly deads’ or as my mom says, ‘God’s waiting room.’”
“Kind of a dark way to look at things, isn’t it?”
“My mom’s a dark lady, but hilarious. I hope you don’t mind, but I also invited Cole and his sister. You’ll love this little restaurant. It’s got awesome food and live music, but not too hipster-ish,” said Jonah.
Something dropped in my chest. If Cole brought his sister, we were just a group of friends going for dinner. I felt silly for having thought that we were going on a date. We turned another corner and Jonah pulled the car over next to a brick building with a 50’s style neon sign that read ‘Cymbals’ next to a caricature of a drum set. I followed Jonah through the wrought iron gate and looked up at the oak tree on the lawn next to the patio. Tiny fresh leaves and new buds covered the gnarled old tree. It was also home to dozens and dozens of sneakers, canvas shoes, skate shoes, oxfords – basically any kind of shoe with laces to tie together.
The air felt warm enough to linger, so I walked over to the tree and looked upward. I smiled. I reached up to one of the lower branches and touched one of the shoes. The yard and the tree melted away. I saw the face of a girl with faintly bluish skin and platinum hair. She turned and I saw two leather-like wings flex and relax. Her shirt had been cut to make room for her wings which stretched out past the frayed edges of the fabric. She was standing in a sewer or catacomb.
Faces milled around the winged girl. It wasn’t quite like a party, maybe more like a camp. An older lady standing next to the winged girl reached down to the ground. She pinched the concrete and plucked something, maybe a stone, off the surface. The stone wriggled. It was a camouflaged beetle, exactly like the one I’d seen on my first day in the city. She lifted the beetle to her mouth and I reeled back.
The yard outside Cymbals surrounded me again in a blink. Jonah stared at me. I noticed my arm had stayed raised beneath the shoes and withdrew it.
“Are you all right?”
I heard fear in his voice.
“Rubin mentioned that you were psychic, but I never knew what it actually looked like. I mean, I’ve never witnessed anyone ‘see’ something if that makes sense.”
“Oh, I … what does it look like? It’s still pretty new for me. I’ve always been alone when that happens, but I hadn’t even wondered what somebody watching me gets to see.”
“You looked sort of, gone. And then your eyes rolled back for a moment. I thought you were having a seizure.”
I looked around the yard and fortunately we were alone. Still, I didn’t want to keep talking about this stuff where we could be overheard. More importantly, what was Rubin doing sharing my personal information while giving me his best poker face?
“Let’s go inside. I’m hungry.” I didn’t much feel like sitting down to a social night anymore.
Cole waved from a table on the other side of the building. Sitting next to him, a girl with purple dreadlocks looked up from her purse and smiled.
The restaurant was full and the combined conversations created a loud chatter. Dim candlelight, a few glass chandeliers, and an antique-looking piano in the corner set a romantic atmosphere that sparked another twinge of embarrassment. On the other hand, the abstract and industrial mixed media wall décor had me looking around for art and film students. Aside from a few biker bars, the edgiest hangout I knew of in Prince George was an indie coffee shop – and it had only been open for a few years when I left.
We made our way around and between tables. Everyone in the restaurant looked like an artist or an intellectual. I felt like an ugly duckling in my plain, boring clothes, but I was glad for the first time since starting my new job that not all of the blue dye had gone from my hair. Jonah reached the table and pulled out a chair for me. We sat down and Cole scowled.
“Dude, what’s up with the timeline fail? We’ve been here for like, half an hour,” said Cole.
“Ignore his attitude. I’m Faith,” the girl said as she extended her hand to me and grinned happily. The flickering light glinted off a stud in her nose and a ring in her eyebrow. She wore dark makeup on her eyes and mouth. She had the same coffee brown eyes as Cole. I couldn’t tell if it was her features or the eyeliner and lipstick, but she looked striking in a bold, exotic way. As we shook hands, her gaze shifted over to Jonah.
We looked at our menus in awkward silence, waiting for a server, sipping our water. I sighed and put down my menu. I could feel Cole’s eyes on me as I watched Faith stare at Jonah, the only person still looking at his menu. I gave in and glanced back at Cole briefly with a small smile. This was all heading in the wrong direction. The time for tact expired along with my patience.
“So I take it we’re all mutants here,” I said casually.
Jonah sprayed water onto his menu and coughed. Cole looked at me urgently. Faith’s mouth made a small ‘O’ under her confused frown.
“Seriously, I came here, to Victoria, because I started having visions of this place and I wanted answers. All I’ve gotten is cryptic nonsense. Other than meeting you people, I’ve learned next to nothing. Rubin is all vague double-talk. It’s getting old. I want to know what you all know.”
Jonah looked at me and took a breath as if to say something. He decided against it and looked around our corner of the restaurant. Nobody paid any attention to us. He placed his hand over the droplets of water on his laminated menu. The water coalesced into puddles under his palm. As he concentrated on the small pool, it lifted off the menu and spread into a donut shape. The circle broke and the stream became a spiral, getting thinner and thinner until it evaporated into steam, absorbed into Jonah’s hand.
Faith’s frown turned into a smile as she looked at Jonah. She picked up one of the unlit candles on our table and pinched the wick between her thumb and forefinger. As she released it a flame sprang to life.
“Well, I’m not breaking this table, that’s for damn sure,” said Cole.
“That’s okay. I saw your street-fight with that bouncer when I first got to town,” I said.
Cole rolled his eyes, but I couldn’t worry about his temper. I wanted to keep talking about Innoviro and Ivan. “So, now that we’re making progress, albeit moving into some surreal comic book world, tell me what’s the deal with Innoviro. What the hell does this company really do?” I felt my adrenaline rise.
“I’m not risking my job so you can get a head start on whatever Ivan has in mind for you. You’re acting like there’s something bad going on here. He helps people like us.” Cole looked over at Jonah. “For some of us, being different is actually a health risk.”
“Dude, leave it alone!” said Jonah.
Faith frowned again. “You’ve met Rubin. He’s like a recruiter. He told you that much at least, didn’t he? He works with Ivan to find people like us and help, if they need it.”
“And what if I don’t need help?” I said.
“You may help others. We’re not all different in the same way. Some of us were born this way and some of us were … made,” said Faith.
“Ivan will talk to you about all of this soon enough. We’re really not allowed to and I think the reasons for that will start to be obvious. It’s not the kind of research the government likes. You can’t put this kind of stuff in a job posting and you definitely can’t chat about it at parties.” Jonah looked around the room again.
“So they’re doing tests on people.” I felt the unease in my gut churning faster. “On us.”
“It’s not like that. We are doing research and development work, but it varies. Sometimes we’re looking at mutation in other animals or plants. We look at weather and geography to understand how a person’s gifts are advantageous or dangerous, depending on where and how they live. Imagine me living in a desert, for example. And we’re not catastrophically testing on people. Sometimes we’ll take a small tissue or fluid sample from a person, but nothing barbaric,” said Jonah. “We’ve also got to make money. Innoviro takes research contracts from public and private firms doing anything from environmental research to mining and industrial development. Ivan keeps a low profile under the guise of confidentiality for his legitimate clients.”
“Are you guys even qualified for this? Or are you all older and more educated than you look?”
“Hey, we’re not screwing around here! Jonah and I were recruited directly from our graduate programs. I was working on a master’s in geology and Jonah had nearly finished his thesis in microbiology. Don’t you think research like this is best conducted by someone who understands it first hand? Could you imagine trying to convince a serious scientist to take this on, in lieu of a real career? You’d have to divulge every secret Innoviro has just to get them to believe the work can be done, let alone get a commitment.” The table crunched under Cole’s grip.
“And how about you?” I nodded at Faith, “Are you some kind of brain surgeon?”
“I’m an IT technician. I specialize in network administration and hardware integration.”
“Wow. I feel like a complete dunce.” I had nothing unique or meaningful to contribute to Innoviro. Nothing but a tissue sample.
“Don’t be intimidated. Remember that you were recruited for a reason. You probably won’t get to know everything the company does. We don’t discuss the details of our work with anyone but our supervisors,” said Faith.
“Lots of projects are shared on a need-to-know basis. But it’s not bad,” said Jonah. “You’ll understand more when Ivan gives you a full tour. Let it happen on his schedule.”
“I can go along for the ride here, but you’ve got to see how this looks from my point of view, getting drawn to a strange city by visions – which are an entirely new phenomenon to me. Have I mentioned yet that I got jumped the other night?”
“What?” said Cole and Jonah in unison.
“And you know why I didn’t get a look at him?” I said.
The boys had quizzical looks on their faces, but Faith looked anxious.
“Because there was nothing to look at,” I said. “Some enormous thing picked me up off the ground and threatened me.”
“You need to tell Rubin. Or Ivan, but not everyone in this restaurant.” Faith scanned the room tensely.
“No kidding.” I lowered my voice. “But since I don’t have a way to get a hold of Rubin, I have to keep my fingers crossed that he’s keeping tabs on me.”
“I’m sure he is. It’s his job to keep us safe,” said Jonah.
Tell us a bit about In Irina’s Cards and The Variant Conspiracy trilogy.
I’d definitely classify this NA trilogy as a cross-genre story. They’re a racy blend of paranormal and sci-fi with a strong romantic sub-plot. The story follows a group of renegade mutants tracking an evil corporate conspiracy from the West Coast of North America into the Mojave Desert and hopping to London, Greece, Egypt, and Kenya. But why don’t I just share the blurb?
In Irina’s Cards is the story of 19-year-old Irina Proffer who discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery. Following visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards, Irina learns of an amazing variation in her genetic code. She has the ability to see the past, present and future, in her life and the lives around her.
Irina sets out from her northern home for BC’s coastal capital to get answers. She is drawn in by a powerful first love and a compelling, yet dangerous mystery. Working at Innoviro Industries and meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip. At the close of the novel, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.
How did you get started as a writer?
I’ve been a writer most of my adult life, but I didn’t set out to be. I went to university with law school in mind, but my first year English teacher encouraged me to be a writer. I didn’t embrace the change right away, but I took a few writing courses. I was 18 when I published my first story in the student newspaper. When I saw my byline in print, I was hooked!
I changed gears into a BA degree with an English major and Professional Writing minor, the latter of which was intended to prepare students for working at newspapers and magazines, as well as corporate communications departments and public relations firms. I figured out pretty quickly that journalism wasn’t my thing. I focused on communications instead. I didn’t switch to fiction until my mid-twenties, experimenting with children’s picture books and short stories before I hit my stride writing young adult. When I realized some of the themes and plots I wanted to explore were more mature than most young adult publishers would tackle, I started considering the new adult market. In Canada, new adult is still being incorporated into the publishing landscape, so the opportunities up here are slim. Fortunately I found an amazing home for The Variant Conspiracy at NY-based Soul Mate Publishing.
Is there anything you’d like your readers to know about you?
First of all I’d like my readers to know how grateful I am that they found me and gave me a chance. With a dizzying array of choices in contemporary fiction, I value every single reader who chooses to spend time with my stories and characters.
Second, I’d like everyone to know that my story ideas come from the heart. I want to entertain and inspire, but I also want my readers to think deeply about human nature, modern society, and the future of our world. It sounds heavy for NA fiction. Hopefully my work is fun at the same time!
What do you think makes a good story?
Above all, I think a story needs a rollercoaster plot. From there, relatable and likeable characters are critical. When I shape my story ideas – both novels and shorts – I think about the stories and characters from my favourite authors that really stuck with me over the years. Who are those favourite authors? To name just a few, I’ll start with contemporary authors like Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, and Stephen King. Going back a bit farther, I love John Wyndham, Ray Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien, and H.P. Lovecraft. Although my personal list of amazing writers is miles longer, those are the really recognizable names that top my picks for master story-crafters.
What do you get up to when you’re not writing fiction?
I used to work in the corporate world, specifically marketing and communications. I did mostly business writing – from copywriting, blogging, and press releases to huge policy documents, instruction manuals, and contracts. These days I’m a mom to two toddlers, ages 4 and 1 at the moment.
I also have a bizarre habit of breaking stuff and making stuff for my Etsy shop Sleepless Storyteller. I take apart watches, computers, electronics, and vintage jewellery to create new wearable art. It sounds odd and it is, but turning trash into treasure is too much fun to stop at my own jewellery box. I had to start selling online to make room for new creations.
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write from my suburban Burnaby home staring at North Vancouver’s iconic Coast Mountains. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.
In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.
When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband, baby daughter and preschool son.

 

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Promo Tour – Beyond Ice – Helene Levey Zemel

BEYOND ICE
by
Helene Levey Zemel

After the death of his wife, Dr. Martin Singh has become more and more involved in his work. He and his associate, Professor Jim Harrison, believe that they may be on to some important scientific discoveries that will help to prolong human life. They are intent on keeping their discoveries under wraps for the time being because they don’t believe that the scientific community is quite ready for what their research reveals. They set up a secret laboratory in the beautiful wilderness of the Maine North Woods and are excited because Martin’s son, Pete, and his young bride, Liz, will soon be joining them at the laboratory.
As the story opens up, we find Julie Miller, a Long Island housewife and well respected high school music teacher, looking forward to the start of the new school year. While busy at work preparing her music students for the school’s annual musical production, she suddenly falls ill with a life- threatening illness. This upsets the entire Miller family including family dog, Seymour. Julie turns to the Internet to find support from fellow sufferers. One of the members of her Internet forum recommends that she attend a conference given by the brilliant but reclusive Dr. Martin Singh and his associate. Could this offer Julie hope or might it lead her down a dangerous path?
The Discovery

Later that day, Seth returns home from his senior year classes. He pulls up into the driveway and gets out of the car. He rings the doorbell expecting Elena to open the door. When nobody answers, he fumbles for his key, finds it, and opens the door. He is surprised when Seymour does not come to greet him. A sense of panic comes over him. His heart starts pounding in his chest.

Seth leaves the hallway and walks into the living room. He finds the dog limp on the floor. He crouches over Seymour. The dog appears to be breathing. He rubs the dog’s body firmly, and Seymour lifts his head. The dog appears dazed and bewildered.

“What’s the matter, Seymour? What happened to you? Where is mom?”

Seth calls out Julie’s name several times while searching the house. By now he is in a panic, and he breaks out into a cold sweat. He can barely move his fingers as he calls his sister on his cell phone. After two rings, Alexandra answers her cell phone.

“Hi Seth. What’s up?”

“Alex, please come home as quickly as you can. Mom is missing from the house and something seems to be wrong with Seymour.”

“Perhaps mom just took a walk or went out with Aunt Irene.”

“Why would she go out on such a cold day? She would certainly have told us if she had plans with Aunt Irene. Besides Aunt Irene is probably still at school.”

“I don’t know. You’d better call Dad. He’ll know what to do about Seymour. I’m leaving school right now. I should be home in about twenty minutes. Give Aunt Irene a call, too, to see if she might know Mom’s whereabouts. Try to stay calm until I return home.”

Seth ends the call with Alexandra and then calls David at the veterinary clinic. The receptionist answers the telephone and hears the panic in Seth’s voice.

“Seth, what’s wrong?”

“Mom is missing and something’s wrong with Seymour,” Seth blurts out in a panicked voice.

“Oh my God, Seth. I’ll get your Dad, immediately. Hold on.”

“Thanks.”

The receptionist finds David in one of the examination rooms and tells him there has been an emergency. David speaks to Seth and tells him that he is on his way home. David gets one of the veterinary technicians to come into the room to stay with the dog that he had been examining and its owner. He explains to the dog’s owner that an emergency has come up at home. David apologizes and tells his patient’s owner that his associate will be in to see them in a few minutes as he must return home. David puts on his overcoat and takes a medical kit with him. He pulls his SUV out of the veterinary clinic’s parking lot and starts on his way back home. When he arrives at the house, he opens the door and is greeted by Seth.

“Thanks for coming so quickly, Dad. Mom’s missing and I found Seymour collapsed on the floor. I’m scared something has happened to Mom.”

Helene Zemel spent her childhood and young adulthood studying for a career as a concert pianist. She received a B.A. in Music from Hofstra University and an M.A. in musicology from Queens College which is part of the City University of New York. She performed in numerous piano recitals and spent many years teaching piano. Ms. Zemel also held various positions in business including accounting, marketing, and insurance sales. She received an M.B.A. from New York Institute of Technology.
Ms. Zemel grew up on Long Island and also raised her family there. The opening beach scene was inspired by her childhood on the island. In March of 2015, after the death of her husband, she retired to Oklahoma City where she is enjoying the friendliness of the people. This is her debut novel.

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Release Blitz – The Last Drop – Andrea Perno

THE LAST DROP

by

Andrea Perno
GENRE: Science Fiction

They fought to death for the last drop of water. The virus erased the rest. Avery must protect his little brother, Jace, the only family he has left, his last reason for living. But when soldiers are needed, no one cares about the details. He gets Tasered before he can save Jace and himself from being forcefully conscripted.
Two years of cryo-sleep later, the brothers are aboard an aircraft taking the last humans from Earth to a new home, Panacea. Life is good. Food and water are plentiful. Jace is a happy kid who will never see a day of war.
So why does Avery feel like he’s making a big mistake trusting the new commander?
And who or what is Lupète? Why is Commander Smith so intent on making the natives on the new planet sound like bloodthirsty killers?
With his life in danger and Jace lost, Avery must find a way to protect Jace and the natives, too, before human greed and desperation destroy yet another civilization.

“I nearly got killed out there. If I die, if you die…people are being killed, Avery. No one has a good solution to this mess. No one wants to give up the rights to their water. They don’t even want to share. Shit is hitting the fan over all this. Look, Jace is too young for recruitment. Caileen would be the only other person who could sign up so that the family could live on base. Can you picture her in basic? Boy, I bet she’d be the perfect person to go out and shoot people. You aren’t even fit to do that.”

My teeth grind in opposition, but I know he’s right about Caileen. Basic training would eat her alive. She wouldn’t have the guts to shoot someone. It has to be me that stays behind.

“Look, I know you’re against the space program, but it’s our best bet. You think it’s bad in Asik? You think the outsiders living just beyond our walls have it bad? I already talked to Bruce, so I know you’ve been out there…”

“Bruce? You’ve talked to Bruce? How long have you been back?”

“A few days.”

“God, Jeremy. A few days! What the hell! Does Mom know? When were you going to tell us?”

“It doesn’t matter. Probably won’t be staying here for long anyway with the way things are going. Look, what matters is you get back on the space settlement list.”

“Why’s that so important to you? What aren’t you telling me?” I yell at him.

Jeremy glances at the receptionist, who’s beginning to eye us suspiciously. “Stop shouting,” Jeremy whispers and walks me farther away from the lobby desk. “If you’re chosen, the rest of the family gets to go. Don’t you get that? Look, if you knew half the shit that’s going down right now you’d be begging to leave.”

“If it’s so damn important to you, why aren’t you trying to get on the list?”

“You think I haven’t?” Jeremy gives me a pained look. He’s easily smart enough and he’s in great physical condition. It makes no sense. Zimmerman should be standing on his head to have a person like Jeremy. Then it hits me.

“Dad didn’t approve it?”

“I’m his right-hand man,” Jeremy scoffs. “If he only knew, right?” Jeremy’s lips curl in a devious grin and I can’t help but smile back. He’s opposed pretty much everything Dad’s put in place. Jeremy doesn’t support recruiting hundreds of men to use for missions, and he helps sneak food to the outsiders. By how smoothly things went with this morning’s supply drop, Jeremy’s got a whole crew of people on base working covertly against our father.

“So, if you’re his right-hand man, you must know what’s going to happen next.”

Jeremy runs a palm across the top of his shaved head. “Let’s just say our trade didn’t exactly go as planned.” He sucks in a breath and gives me a serious look that makes my stomach drop again. “This is why you need to get your act together. Today! The shit storm is coming and it won’t be long until it hits home.”

With nowhere else to go and separated from their friends, Avery and Clesandra head into the dark mist with Commander Smith hot on their trail. Endless are the rumors about the mist, what lies within it, and its shrouded secrets. Avery cannot worry about those rumors. Other problems plague his mind. Where is Jace? Is he safe? Where are the others? How will they find them without getting lost themselves? Will he and Clesandra live long enough to see their child born? Hints and whispers about Daniel’s past and his whereabouts have now surfaced and are troubling Avery. They remind him of his lost brother, Jeremy, whom Avery strives to become but is afraid he is spiraling down the same path that consumed his father. Avery and Clesandra will discover new truths and lies as they continue their periled journey, including a dark secret that threatens not only the colonists and natives of Panacea but also the entire Universe.
In an effort to write a biography that won’t bore people stiff, I’ve kept this one pretty simple. I, Andrea Perno (and yes it is very strange referring to myself in the third person) write futuristic science fiction. I am a writer, an illustrator, an artist, an outdoor enthusiast and oh yeah, how could I forget the most important one? I’m a middle school inspirational life coach, disciplinarian, stand-in parent, “stop throwing clay at him and for the love of God put your jacket on it’s cold outside”…teacher.
I grew up in Florida and Pennsylvania where my childhood consisted of riding horses, catching lizards, shooting, hiking, building things, and camping literally all over the U.S.A. My parents are keen on experiencing all that life has to offer. That mentality has really shaped who I have become as an adult. I also grew up watching huge doses of science fiction (thanks, Mom) and home improvement shows (thanks, Dad) Star Trek, Star Wars, Batman, Superman, Bob Vila, Home Improvement, MacGyver…I could go on or I could just say that’s where a ton of my writing inspiration comes from. I love creating worlds for people to escape.
I’m a workaholic with very little free time who’s fueled by chocolate and French Vanilla tea…yes tea, not coffee. I’m allergic to coffee. I will die. Though it may seem like I run all day and have zero time left for anything else, I am savagely loyal and passionate and will drop anything in a heartbeat for friends or family who need me. I, we… are nothing if not for the people around us.

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