Monthly Archives: March 2021

When danger is all around, all you can do is move forward #MFRWHooks

Xi San saved the life of a mysterious girl one night in his ravaged San Francisco neighborhood. He can’t get her out of his mind, but believes that she’s lost to him. Lin Kwan came to America to bring her scientist father Chinese medicinal herbs, hoping to stop the virus that killed most of the world’s Caucasians before it mutates to infect the rest of the world. On her way to finding him, she meets again the man who once saved her, a man she can’t forget.

With a diverse group of fellow travelers, they head for St. Louis, where civilization is being rebuilt. Between them and safety, danger lurks—Gabriel, a self-styled religious leader and white supremacist, who has organized his army from Upper Midwest survivalist and militia followers, determined to take revenge for the white man.

But Gabriel isn’t their only enemy. Before they reach their destination, they will battle nature, prejudice and even those hidden among them who wish their destruction.

Now available at and other online booksellers. Or place an order through your local indie bookstore!

Series page:

Series video trailer:


            After one such trip, Valery came to stand behind San on the small porch.

            “You going to be up to taking off soon?”

            “I’m feeling ready, but the doctor says no. And Archer wants to wait. Weeks, maybe.”

            She snorted. “Well, don’t you worry about what he says. Kwan and I can take him.”

            San looked up at her. Her pigtails and bright ruffled shirt gave an impression of a much younger girl, but he read her adulthood in her eyes.

            “Is that so?”

            She nodded slowly. “You bet it is.”

            “Good to know.”

            She patted him tentatively on the shoulder and went back inside.

            Surprised at the unusual sign of solidarity, he chuckled. She might think he was an idiot where Kwan was concerned, but maybe when it came to the group, she was still on his side.

            Marie came to the door. “Hang? Your radio’s calling!”

            The boy extricated himself from the truck and ran inside, Piao and Terry on his heels. San got up, too, moving aside as Archer and his friends came running then followed them in.

            The man’s voice was tight with anxiety. “KC-five-NXS, KC-five-NXS, this is K-two-JJB. Hang, are you there? What’s going on?”

            “KC-five-NXS, yes, I’m here.” Hang settled onto the floor in front of the radio as the others gathered around. “Thanks for getting back to me. I wanted to let you know we’re going to be delayed.”

            “What? I don’t think you can wait any longer, son. Word came down this morning that Gabriel’s on the move. His people set off explosives all along the stretch of I-Eighty between Omaha and Lincoln, knocking out the road. It’s impassable.”

            “Cabrón,” Valery hissed.

            San eyed Charlie, his worst fears coming to life. Yeah, I do know what I know, fool. “We need a map,” he said.

            “I got one in the truck,” Terry said and hurried out.

            “Why would he do that?” Hang asked John. “Don’t his people need to get around, too?”

            “Word has it that some groups in the two cities planned to set up a blockade, aiming to take Gabriel out. Apparently, he got the jump on them. He’s celebrating on his damned radio station, claiming the other side was the attacker. I’m not sure how much of what he says you can believe, but we’ve got confirmation from our men on the ground that there are plenty of dead, and they aren’t Gabe’s people.”

            “Whoa.” Deflated, Hang leaned back against the bookshelf where the radio sat.

            “How many dead?” Marie asked.

            “Reports range from just a few to hundreds, depending on who’s telling the story.”

            Terry came back with the map, and they spread it out on the table. Mere inches separated Lincoln from their intended route on Interstate Seventy, inches that translated into only one hundred and seventy miles. And they still had three states to cross moving east.

            John continued, “I know you’re dealing with a wounded man, but honestly, son, you might have to leave him behind if you’re gonna make—”

            “No way!” Hang’s eyes blazed. “He’s going to be on the radio, and he’ll give old Gabriel hell. You just wait!”

            San reached out to pat the boy on the shoulder.

            “Calm down. I’m fine,” he told John. “We’ll be leaving almost immediately. Right?” He turned to Charlie, and the others did, too. The silence awaiting his answer stretched out. “I’ll take my people on ahead if you’re not ready.”

            “If he’s headed down the eastern side of the state, maybe he hasn’t hit Chadron yet,” Marie murmured.

            San was distracted by the non sequitur. “What?”

            “Or the Mormon lands, either. They’re on the western end of the state,” Jack said.

            “Okay. We’ve got some decisions to make,” San said. He spoke a little louder. “Thanks, John, for the information. Someone’s passing that on to KMOX, right?”

            “You bet. I expect that will provoke some discussion tonight. Gotta run. Hang, son, you check in so I know you’re okay, will you?”

            “Yes, sir, I promise. KC-five-NXS over and out.”

            He shut off the radio. San looked at the map again. Then he looked at the others. “So, how quickly can we get out of here?”

Magic is a way of life for author Jim Stein’s characters

Please welcome Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend Jim Stein!

Jim Stein writes science fiction and fantasy with a goal of transporting readers to extraordinary realms. Life’s hard, and speculative fiction offers a ready form of escapism. It also provides a safe crucible where concepts such as good and evil or tolerance and isolationism can be explored and perhaps bring personal growth. Jim has a soft spot for the underdog and central themes using teamwork to overcome adversity. His stories are teen through adult appropriate, often featuring older protagonists that don’t strictly fit the YA mold.

An avid booklover from early on, Jim hopes to reach new readers of speculative fiction interested in fantastic tales without excessive gore and language. Relationships are part of life and his work, but his books don’t embrace explicit scenes nor insta-romance.

After three decades in the navy, Jim and Claudia, his wife of 34 years, retired to northwestern Pennsylvania with furry companions and occasional visits from their adult son and daughter—a big shout out to Katie, who created character sketches for Magic Trade School (MTS) and also the commissioned oil painting used for the Planet Fred book cover. Not to be outdone, Matt produced the Legends Walk series video trailer.

Aside from fixing up their 1890’s home and recent motorhome jaunts, Jim’s been writing full time and was first published in 2018. His debut novel published through a small press, with subsequent work under his own imprint, Jagged Sky Books. With two series and eight novels, he’s still a fledgling author who gets inordinately excited when new readers give his books a try and shout out their opinions through social media or reviews.

What’s the one thing Jim wished he’d known before publishing? The demands of Marketing! OMG, you don’t just release a book and watch it fly off the virtual shelves. I’ve never needed to be a best seller, but for mental health it’s important to see people enjoying my stories. Otherwise what’s the point? A bonus would be earning back enough to cover the bills for editing, covers, and the myriad associated expenses.

It’s a hard business. Algorithms seem designed to show already successful products to the masses. Don’t believe me? Just try finding something new to watch on your streaming service outside of the standard recommendations. Paid advertising and social media often overtake my writing days—tough for an introvert who agonizes over every post in his Facebook readers’ group. Achieving life balance is something I continue to pursue with limited success. –End rant

What’s next? I’m currently working on a free reader magnet for MTS and to expand the scifi slime quotient with sequels to Planet Fred. To keep things simple, most books are exclusive to Amazon and available to borrow through Kindle Unlimited.

Legends Walk Series. A post-apocalyptic urban fantasy steeped in Native American lore. Music has true power for eighteen-year-old Edan Johnson…but can he harness that magic in time to save all he holds dear?

Magic Trade School Series: A magic academy adventure with a twist. Jason’s robots explode thanks to haywire magic. Attwater Academy trains students for lucrative trades using their special abilities…but can Jason’s fledgling powers save his friends when school turns deadly?

Planet Fred: A soft scifi novel in the space-slime continuum. After the jungle kills her crew, Nancy befriends a wise-cracking alien slug…but can one human botanist and a morally-compromised mollusk delve the mysteries of the harsh world?

Bethany’s art comes to life

Excerpt from The Heartstone Chamber (MTS book 1):

“Every one of you has special talents. We will put your gifts through their paces to figure out the vocation for which you are best suited. In just a few minutes, you’ll meet our staff.” Dean Gladstone waved to the line of people sitting in chairs across the back of the stage. “Excellent tradespeople one and all. But our placement office is just as important to your success. Setting your feet on the right career path is paramount.”

This time the applause echoed from the high domed ceiling, accompanied by a few whistles and shouts. My gaze drifted back to where Bethany now drew something roughly the shape of a butterfly below the other sketch. Maybe they were characters from a game like Pokémon.

“Work hard, earn your certification, and let us place you in the very best positions. Now, there is a catch.” Gladstone leaned in, cupped the microphone with one hand, and continued in a conspiratorial whisper that of course rang from the speakers across our hushed group. “Some would wade into sensitive topics slowly like a swimmer testing the water temperature with a toe, while their friends dove into the lake embracing the shock of cold. Such shocks are invigorating. They wake the body and mind. That jolting contrast, the excruciating moment of discovery and acceptance, is what makes us alive.” His voice rose with his passion, then dropped back down to a quiet question. “So I ask you, my new friends, do you want to tiptoe into your short time here with us, or do you want to dive in headfirst and learn?”

Owen’s a wizard with engines

“Dive in…dive in…dive in.”

The chant rose from the corners of the room, surely seeded by administration lackeys. But I surged to my feet and joined in anyway, blowing off steam and the nervousness of being in new environs with so many strangers. Stupid, but it helped.

Bethany and I grinned at each other, and Chad slapped me on the back, nearly driving me to my knees—stupid cowboy. But we all were smiling by the time Gladstone motioned everyone to sit back down.

“I guess I had better dive right in then.” His comment brought chuckles of agreement. “So the catch is—” he looked left and right as if for prying eyes. “In order to be successful and make the kind of money you’ve dreamed of—” again with the sideways glances and pregnant pause. “You’ll have to learn magic.”

Jason’s robots tend to explode!

Another wave of quiet laughter punctuated by a few high-pitched giggles crested quickly and petered out at the look of sincerity on the dean’s face. Bethany gripped her notebook tight, positively quivering with nervous energy, or maybe anticipation.

“Magic is real, my friends. Each and every one of you have the gift.”

Also, check out Lyndi’s review of the first book in the Magic Trade School series above, under the Goodreads column. Can’t wait to read more!


Legends Walk series

Planet Fred

MTS Series



Twitter:  @JimSteinBooks


Amazon Author page:



His very own creature feature–check out what’s new from Robert Herold!

Please welcome back Lyndi’s Adventurous Friend, ROBERT HEROLD!

Genre: Supernatural Horror

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Book Blurb:

The Eidola Project travels to Petersburg, Virginia, to investigate a series of murders in the Black community—rumored to be caused by a werewolf. Once there, danger comes from all quarters. Not only do they face threats from the supernatural, the KKK objects to the team’s activities, and the group is falling apart. Can they overcome their human frailties to defeat the evil that surrounds them?


Doc Curtis fought for every reserve of strength and managed to quicken his pace. He could hear them shouting behind him and dared not look back, fearing it might slow him just that much more. He made it through the field and emerged onto a rough access road running between the cultivated land on one side and the woods on the other. The doctor dashed across the dirt road and through the weeds and scrub bordering its opposite side. The trees stood twenty yards ahead. He would make it, find a thick trunk to hide behind, and fire a warning shot. If he could drive them off, it would be best. If not, he would do what needed to be done. Life had reduced itself to its most basic terms: kill or be killed.

Just five yards from the trees, a gigantic black beast bounded from the woods and landed before him. The doctor skittered to a stop, and his feet went out from beneath him. The creature stepped closer, looming. Its eyes glowed red, and the skin around its muzzle drew back, revealing a mouthful of sharp canine teeth.

The Klan had come at him in two directions, the doctor realized.

He raised his pistol and fired into the snarling face above him.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

Additional Information:

Moonlight Becomes You earned two first place wins from the Southeastern Writers Association, including Best Novel! 

Author Biography:

      The supernatural has always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since my mother refused to allow me, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved-in. (Well, not literally!)

  As a child, fresh snow provided me the opportunity to walk out onto neighbor’s lawns halfway and make paw prints with my fingers as far as I could stretch. I would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn! (They were skeptical.)

I have pursued many interests over the years, but the supernatural always called to me. You could say that I was haunted.  Finally, following the siren’s call, I wrote The Eidola Project, based on a germ of an idea I had as a teenager.

Ultimately, I hope my books give you the creeps, and I mean that in the best way possible!

Social Media Links:

Animated Book Trailer (17 seconds!):

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