Monthly Archives: May 2013

Many sacrifices, many tears–SFFS for June 1

The day for WINDMILLS’s release is coming along fast, and I wanted to include another snippet of this incredible book of my heart. After all the hardship I’ve gone through to see this one finally in print, it’s almost like childbirth–including the pains!– to send it into the world!

Windmills Finalbanner2Kwan makes the momentous decision to take her father’s challenge and cross the ocean with the herbs he needs, her sensei Li Zhong at her side. But first she has to pack.

She finds there’s not so much pain in deciding what to take as there is in what to leave behind, as seen in this scene with her young cousin:

***
Her eyes focused at last on her well-worn stuffed dragon, the astrological symbol of good luck and her constant companion through her childhood, its faded velvet once red with shiny gold trim. She started to tuck it into her bag, but it felt out of place.

“Shuai, can you keep my dragon for me until I come back?”

Shuai slid off the bed and hit the floor, inching across to perch on the other bed where the dragon lay in state, guarding Kwan’s pillow.

“Do you mean it?”

“Look at him–does he look like he wants to cross an ocean?”

“Not really.” The younger girl took the dragon, cuddling him. “He is like an old grandmother, wanting his toes to stay warm by the fire.”

It wasn’t till much later that night, lying in the dark, listening to the familiar sounds of the street outside, that Kwan admitted having thoughts very similar to poor old Dragon.

***

For other excerpts from the book, see the WINDMILLS tab above.  For those who haven’t caught up on the story’s premise yet, here’s the teaser:

Terrorists launch a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population. As the deadly bioweapon mutates, Tzu Lin Kwan’s father, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to MB910216387help develop a cure. His  only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt.
Then Kwan’s father summons her from across the sea to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs. Lonely and missing her parents, she accepts the challenge, traveling with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World.
But a Chinese spy is on her trail, determined to kill her and Li Zhong, and when Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.
Stay tuned to this site for exact release date from Zumaya Publications!!
For more great Science Fiction and Fantasy snippets, check out SFFS!

 

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ASDH is here!

asmalldegreeofhope3Talk about SQUEE!   I happened to stumble over to Amazon and saw that A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE had loaded up a week early–please give it a read. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever written.  :  http://www.amazon.com/A-Small-Degree-Hope-ebook/dp/B00D0G1B0Y/

Thanks Penny Barber for your dedication in making sure it met your tough standards.  🙂

Don’t just stand here–go get it!! Now!

When the winds of change come…SFFS

Never a dull moment in Lyndi-land!

Just when I thought my May promotion would all be about A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE, I found out from my editor at Zumaya Publications that the first book of my SF YA post-apocalyptic would be released nearly a month early. Awesome, right? 🙂

Windmills1 So here is the delicious cover, one of my favorites ever.

This is the story of Lin Kwan, a young Chinese girl who finds herself caught in the middle of world-changing events after a terrorist attack wipes out much of the Caucasian population of the world.

But more than this, it’s a story of survival. Kwan’s voyage to a decimated America, accompanied by her sensei Li Zhong, is traumatic, and surely would tear the heart from a lesser soul. The world she finds in San Francisco isn’t any better, but she’s determined to complete the task her father has set for her.

Today’s snippet is from the POV of the sensei, who’s just learned that his young charge has been summoned to bring a supply of fresh Chinese herbs across the ocean to America. Unsure where to even get the herbs, or how to travel, or even what Kwan’s father has done with his sanity to ask her to come on such a dangerous trip, Zhong returns to his dojo:

***

Even in mid-evening, the crush of humanity that called Hong Kong home remained boisterous and determined to suck every bit of life from the day. Young women with too much makeup and skirts too short strolled along the edges of trash-filled alleys, hoping to make a few yuan for groceries; young men congregated, looking for easy marks to rob. Neither would find their desires granted by Li Zhong.

As he passed, they fell silent, hesitating, looking up from their card games, mild flirtation fading from their eyes. He’d lived nearly six decades, the last one here on Hong Kong, but he knew none thought of him as an old man. His reputation as a martial arts master likely made up part of that respect, but an undercurrent of fear lived there, too, a word whispered, now and then, after a dark moment of recognition.

Spectre.

The ghost who walks through shadow.

Zhong had left his years in the service of the People’s Army behind, but his reputation had not vanished as easily. The distant detritus of Zhong’s silent, deadly work as an assassin for the Ministry of State Security trailed him like remora, hungry to suck up the bloody leavings.

***

Zhong is a strong companion for Kwan to have in her travels; she is no shrinking violet herself.  Their story is full of danger and darkness–see more at the tab above and in the weeks to come.

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that goes: “When the wind of change blows, some people build walls, others build windmills.” Hence the title of the book. 🙂  And also the impetus for all the action to come.

SFFSat logoFor more fascinating snippets from authors around the world, check out Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!

Could this be the new Hunger Games?

How does the world end? Let me count the ways…  in Fire? Ice? Wind? Water? So many possibilities.

Windmills1But if the world doesn’t end immediately, what will really count is how we survive.
An old Chinese proverb says: When the wind of change blows some build walls others build windmills.

That’s the opening step of WINDMILLS, a story of survival after the United States is attacked with a bioweapon that genetically sorts out and kills Caucasians.

A year after the first bioagents have been released, 16-year-old Tzu Lin Kwan receives a summons from her father who’s defected to America–bring him Chinese herbs that might stop the mutations and save the remaining population of the world.

Surely he knows this will not be easy. No airplanes. No electricity in a good part of the world, without enough people to keep machinery running even to generate it. The Asians, the blacks, the Hispanics and other ethnic groups begin to find themselves in the majority for the first time. Many changes are on the horizon, if the virus can be stopped.

So, accompanied by her martial arts sensei, she sets out on a hellish boat trip across an uncivilized Pacific Ocean, unaware that their inquiries have alerted the Chinese MSS, their secret service, and an assassin has been set on their trail. Will they even survive to complete their mission?

EXCERPT:  (as Kwan and sensei Zhong get ready to leave Hong Kong)

Li Zhong surveyed the docks out of habit, checking for possible threat. He’d worried that his inquiries had triggered some alarm on behalf of his former masters, even though no one had approached him openly. Then, he chided himself for being too paranoid. Even in a crowd this size, no one seemed to be particularly interested in them. Why should they be? An old man and a boy taking the ferry across the harbor. Hardly remarkable. Which is just how I want it.

They boarded the ferry without difficulty, Kwan rushing onto the upper level that provided a better view, taking a seat close to the rail, her pack next to her feet. He hurried to keep up with her puppy-like enthusiasm. The wind blew warm across the water, ripe with the smell of salt air. It felt good to be going somewhere for a purpose.

He wiped his brow on his sleeve and counted the beats of his racing heart, willing it to slow down. You’re getting to be an old man, my friend. His lips clamped together, he stared at the steel-and-glass buildings of the city as the ferry crossed the harbor, using that concentration to calm himself. Kwan needed him.

He had let that thought drive him though the last two months as the details of this grand mission came together. Determined to make this voyage, she would have gone by herself if he had not accompanied her. The idealism of the young—How long had it been since he’d believed that right would succeed in this life, just because it should? Reality was often quite different. What was moral, or right, often surrendered to a less-noble imperative. Sometimes, it was a financial cause, but more often a political agenda. Like the intent of those misguided souls who’d launched the SH.

While anti-American proponents around the world celebrated the initial attack, the terrorists had not only killed their chosen target but themselves and a major percentage of the non-white population of the world. Sloppy work. That’s what happened when you let amateurs run the show.

Another reason why his presence here was necessary. He could only pray that his aging heart would allow him to continue until the journey’s end. The doctors, both Western and Eastern, had warned him of his limited life expectancy. An old stab wound had never quite healed, the legacy of an assassination attempt years before. But Kwan didn’t know this. And he wouldn’t tell her.

Sneak Peek Sunday BannerWord has it at my publishing house that this trilogy could be the new Hunger Games… strong girls, damaged heroes, determined villains, a cast of interesting and diverse characters with plenty of action and still plenty of heart. It’s a great read for young men and women both. Pick up your copy on June 15!

Find more great snippets this week at Sneak Peek Sunday!

Love means never having to say you’re sorry you’re alien–SFR Brigade Presents

asmalldegreeofhope3So excited! It’s my first time posting at the SFR Brigade Presents event! Today I’ve got a snippet from coming-soon novel A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE, a story with a new kind of shapeshifter love interest–an alien reptile:

***

His were words similar to others she’d heard from boys over the years, girls too. Best Friends Forever. I’ll love you until the end of time. We’ll never be apart. Many different phrasings, never really thought through, just offered as temporary comfort.

But Griff? She’d risk her life that he truly meant every word. What a glorious being he was. And how lucky she was to have him standing by her. As she held him, his skin rippled. Startled, she pulled back.

“Do not be alarmed, Kylie,” he said from a human mouth. He had returned to his disguised state. “I wish for your comfort. I can maintain this form for now.”

Guilt dripping over her like chilled honey, Kylie turned away from his earnest gaze. She wanted to apologize, but she couldn’t find the right words.

He pulled her close, tilting her face up with one hand. “When humans wish to express their emotion for someone, they do it in this manner.” He kissed her. “Like this?” he whispered.

“Just like this.” His mouth soft against hers, his taste was reminiscent of his musky scent, slightly spicy and alluring.

***

To find more SFR snippets from authors around the world, visit the SFR Brigade site here.  For more information about this book which will be available in ebook JUNE 3, click the tab above or visit www.lyricalpress.com.

When the dead speak, you should listen

DeathPerception_coverWelcome, Lee Allen Howard, whose newest book is out May 15!   From one review: “it’s like the mutant stepchild of Carl Hiaasen and Stephen King…”

Book Details

DEATH PERCEPTION by Lee Allen Howard

Release date: May 15, 2013

Available now in Kindle, Nook, and in trade paperback

308 pages

ISBN: 0615800696

ISBN-13: 978-0615800691

Front cover art by Neil Jackson

http://leeallenhoward.com/death-perception/

Book Description

Kennet Singleton cremates the dead… and then they speak: “Avenge us!”

Nineteen-year-old Kennet Singleton lives with his invalid mother in a personal care facility, but he wants out. He operates the crematory at the local funeral home, where he discovers he can discern the cause of death of those he cremates–by toasting marshmallows over their ashes.

He thinks his ability is no big deal since his customers are already dead. But when his perception differs from what’s on the death certificate, he finds himself in the midst of murderers. To save the residents and avenge the dead, Kennet must bring the killers to justice.

LeeAllenHowardAuthor Bio

Lee Allen Howard writes horror, dark fantasy, and supernatural crime. He’s been a professional writer and editor of both fiction and nonfiction since 1985. His publications include The Sixth Seed, Desperate Spirits, Night Monsters, “Mama Said,” “Stray,” and DEATH PERCEPTION, available in various formats at http://leeallenhoward.com.

You can keep in touch with Lee on his Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lee-Allen-Howard-author/117844011639457. Follow him on Twitter @LeeAllenHoward.

Find out more:

Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/369501956493907/, or tweet at #DEATHPERCEPTION.

Blurbs

“Dastardly devious, cleverly conceived, and just a whole lot of fun to read, DEATH PERCEPTION is Lee Allen Howard on fire and at his finest. Rife with winsome weirdness, it’s like the mutant stepchild of Carl Hiaasen and Stephen King, mixing a truly unique paranormal coming-of-age story with a quirky cast of offbeat noir characters into a novel that’s simply unforgettable… and hilariously original. A supernatural crime story, blazing with creative intrigue… don’t miss it.”

–Michael Arnzen, author of Play Dead

“Lee Allen Howard’s DEATH PERCEPTION is a red hot union of Gothic crime thriller and grim humor that burns with supernatural tension. Beneath the sickly sweet scent of caramelized sugar lies the wildly entertaining tale of a man who delivers justice to the dead while fanning the fires of the living. Ever hear the expression, ‘laughing in a morgue’? DEATH PERCEPTION feels just like that. Howard has a gift for crafting eccentric characters and clever plots. This is dark fun at its best.”

–Jason Jack Miller, author of The Devil and Preston Black and Hellbender

“DEATH PERCEPTION has officially made me envious of Lee Allen Howard. It sings like a choir of angels, yet weeps like a ghost in winter. Everyone should have this in their collection.”

–Trent Zelazny, author of To Sleep Gently and Butterfly Potion

A lesson in genetics–SFFS for May 11

asmalldegreeofhope3More this week from A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE, the science fiction romance coming out from Lyrical Press June 3– I’ll be looking for guest blog spots all month long, so if anyone is looking for a guest, please let me know!!

This snippet takes place after Kylie’s been captured by the alien reptiles:

The reptile with the healed wounds stepped closer, and in a raw croak, replied, “You humans assume you are superior.”

 It gestured at the other cage, where one of the women picked at the bloody food in the bowl and the other squatted in the corner of the cage, keening in a low pitch. “If you were truly evolved, your genetic material and ours should bond well. The toxins that fill your environment prevent evolution to our level.”

 Device in hand, it reached for the lock. Kylie kept talking, hoping to distract it.

“So it’s true that defects in our genes keep you from succeeding. Your virus isn’t strong enough to make the bond.”

 “We now modify human viruses in our effort, but even your viruses are substandard.”

“Well, screw you, friend.”

***

I’m not sure it’s going to like that. Danged uppity women.

Here’s the teaser for the book:

Even the smallest degree of hope can spark love.
Against her wealthy father’s demands, and the usual blockades of a male dominated profession, Kylie Sanderson proves worthy of her position as lead investigator of planet Andan’s Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce. Someone is killing Andan’s women in an attempt to mutate them into reptiles. Kylie makes it her mission to discover who’s behind the murders and prevent more grotesque deaths.

Shapeshifting lizard Griff comes to Andan to stop his brethren from mutating other planets’ women into mindless breeding stock. Overcoming Kylie’s suspicious and defensive nature proves difficult, but he must in order to help the SIRT team thwart his planet’s scientists.

When Kylie is abducted and becomes the first human to survive the transformation, it’s up to Griff to rescue her so SIRT can restore her human form. On the run and desperate to unravel the mysteries of Kylie’s past to solve the crimes of their present, can she and Griff forge a future for themselves?

SFFSat logoThere are several other snippets listed at the SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE tab above, and an interview here at the blog home of Calisa Rhose. For more great science fiction and fantasy snippets from around the world, check out the SFFS site here.

Liza explains it all: Reincarnation——- the background for SAVING CASEY

When I was 16, I incurred an out of body experience. This gave me absolute proof that our soul and memories are able to separate from our body. The only practical reason for this to be is because God recycles us, otherwise known as reincarnation. We go from body to body learning and hopefully improving.

We don’t get to choose our next body. We don’t get to research it in advance and then tell God we aren’t happy with his choice. We simply reincarnate wherever God sends us.

I’ve created a chart to help you understand: Liza’s sincere explanation of Reincarnation.

Yes, I really believe this is the way it happens.

Reincarnation2

Possibility 2 n 3

Possibility 4 & 5

Possibility 6 n7

Did you get all that? So don’t ask me why Cass didn’t research Casey’s life before dying and reincarnating in her body. That’s not how it happens. And it lets me know you didn’t read chapter 2 very well, because Cass is shocked to be in a teenager’s body when she wakes.

But how did she reincarnate in a teen? Casey had died and left the body. However, the doctors had revived her body, so it was a functioning body available for a new soul to claim it. God sent Cass in.

Do I talk about all this in the book? No. The book is about turning Casey’s life around and finding out what happened to her. Let me give you a glimpse:

LO-SC-300x450

SAVING CASEY

By

Liza O’Connor

Blurb:

Having been diagnosed with cancer, Cass Goldman decides to opt out of any futile medical care and end her life. While she has some thoughts on afterlife, she never expects to reincarnate into the body of a seventeen-year-old girl named Casey Davidson.

 When she awakens in a hospital, Cass discovers two disturbing facts: One, she is now inside the body of a troubled teenager, and two, the former owner of this body committed suicide, but only Cass knows that. Everyone else believes Casey has survived, but suffered a complete memory loss. Cass has two choices: to take on Casey’s life and turn it around, or to confess the truth about her reincarnation and end up in a mental asylum. Given this second chance at life, Cass decides to take on the future life of Casey—the frightening ghoul-faced teen with short, black, spiky hair.

Every person around Cass has an ulterior motive and discovering the truth of Old Casey’s life is more complicated than the “new math” she is forced to learn in school. In addition, Cass has to contend with raging teenage hormones and the prior crimes of Old Casey, which she might not remember, but everyone else certainly does. However, her biggest frustration concerns her feelings for her father’s rugged security specialist who sees her only as a teenager and doesn’t want to explore the mutual attraction between them.

As determined as Cass is to turn this life around, Old Casey’s enemies are just as determined to end her life. She has no idea whom she can trust, but she knows she’ll never survive going it alone.

Excerpt

Upon settling down on the toilet, Cass noticed the floor to ceiling mirror facing her and screamed at the sight of the creature within it. Short black hair spouted about its head, black circles surrounded both eyes and fell like triangular knives down the cheeks. Black lips, stretched in horror as if in a nightmare. Pulling up her pants, she moved closer to the mirror.

She was a ghoul, an honest to God ghoul!

The door crashed open and her father stared at her, fear and panic clear in his eyes.

She touched her face. “Please tell me these aren’t permanent.”

His panic remained a second longer as her words filtered into his brain and then he pulled her into his arms. “Don’t worry, we will get them removed—if you want to…”

“If? Oh, I definitely want them removed,” she said.

How can I turn around my life if I look like the walking dead from a low-grade monster movie?

 SAVING CASEY BY LIZA O’CONNOR IS AVAILABLE AT THESE SITES: 

Bono Books     Amazon    Barnes&Noble

BIO:

Liza lives in Denville, NJ with her dog, Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 

LIZA O’CONNOR &

SAVING CASEY:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

How do you define desperate? This might qualify! SFFS for May 4

asmalldegreeofhope3This month, my Science Fiction and Fantasy snippets will likely all be about my June release, A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE, coming from Lyrical Press. It’s a sci-fi romance with an unusual twist. Everyone can understand the appear of cuddling with a warm, furry werewolf now and again, but in this story our shapeshifter is an alien reptile.

To be fair, Griff is a “good guy.”  When his kind come to the planet Andan, determined to make over the female population into lizard breeders, Griff comes to stop them. He also falls in love with the cop investigating the resulting deaths, Kylie Sanderson. When she’s captured by Griff’s brethren, she goes through a bit of hell:

***

The reptiles passed an electronic device over the lock, and the door released. The women didn’t react, but kept mournfully rocking, even after the reptiles entered the cage and closed the door. Each approached one of the women, making an odd, throaty sound almost like purring.

As though hypnotized, the women’s moaning stopped. Each laid her head against the broad gray chest of a reptile male, who stroked her back rhythmically, comforting her as if she was a child having a bad dream. Nothing romantic about it–certainly nothing sexual. The point had to be the test of control.

When the lizards quieted, the women stumbled away from their captors, tortured sounds issuing from their throats. The look in their eyes, though, more hopeless, desperate, even, than those of war prison camp survivors. Such horror.

***

Is Kylie going to be changed into a reptile, too? Or will Griff’s desperate attempt to bring her back succumb to the iron will of his kind?

SFFSat logoFind out June 3, from Lyrical Press!

Find other great science fiction and fantasy snippets at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday this week and every week.

Read more about this book, including several other promotional stops/excerpts at the tab above! May the fourth be with you!!

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