Category Archives: fantasy

A scorned minotaur wreaks havoc in The Minotaur King from Stuart Thaman

Thanks for being with us today, Stuart!

First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.  What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing?

Hey, my name is Stuart Thaman, and I’m a best-selling author from Kentucky, though I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, and I received a BA in politics, a BA in German, and a concentration in classical political philosophy. I’m currently in my second year of law school as well.

That’s really interesting to me–I’ve been a lawyer for 30 years (now retired), and found that the call for creative solutions that comes from lawyering also helps in the creative writing process!

My background helps my writing quite a bit as I believe the hard work and extreme academic environment provided by Hillsdale College has shaped me into the self-starter that I am today.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?

I do drink a good deal of coffee, though I enjoy tea as well, especially mint tea.

Tell us about your latest publication.

PerfectThe Minotaur King is my latest release, and it becomes available on September 1st. The short novella is my first published novella. Set in the world of The Goblin Wars, it follows Qul, a would-be royal guard of a minotaur clan and his ultimate rise to power through the mountain ranks.

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

Qul has a pretty cool backstory that I just barely touch in The Goblin Wars book 2, and I really wanted to flesh it out to give readers an idea of what he was like before they meet him as the bloodthirsty king he is in Death of a King.

How would you best describe your books?

I write epic and heroic fantasy. This is a layout of the covers of the Goblin Wars series–I love it! 

All 3 no TextWhat is your favorite genre to write? To read?

I read mostly horror and sci-fi with just a little bit of fantasy, though my writing is the complete inverse. Fantasy is just so much more fun to write than it is to read.

 

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve always wanted to be an author. That much I knew from when I was little. And the best thing about writing is getting to craft the most grandiose, over-the-top scenes I can imagine and bring them to life.

I also love meeting fans at conventions—I hate driving to conventions.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I’m a mod over at www.reddit.com/r/selfpublish, a community of 14,000 self-published and indie writers.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

Oh yes. I always listen to music. Usually, and more so when I’m writing a battle scene, I listen to Sabaton. Other favorites include: Unleash the Archers, Epica, Dimmu Borgir, Kamelot, Arch Enemy, and The Agonist.

 

Tell us a little about your path to publication.

My first book was written for National Novel Writing Month. I got an offer on the manuscript through some personal connections, and that proved to largely be a scam. But regardless, I had my foot in the door. That gave me a platform to approach larger publishers.

How did you finally find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

I met Tony Acree, the owner of Hydra Publications at an author fair in Indiana. Wehydra were on a panel together and seemed to have very complimentary personalities, and I had been sitting on a horror manuscript (eventually turned into For We Are Many) at the time, so it made sense to submit to Hydra. Luckily, they accepted me!

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

The Minotaur King has some cool aspects. At its core, The Minotaur King is about a lost love and a delusional minotaur who thought he had the queen’s eye. It also tells a bit about manipulation and how those emotions can be turned to pure rage and then molded to something useful.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

I have another full length novel coming soon: The Chronicles of Estria Part One: Blood and Ash. The book is a bit of a departure for me, though it is certainly epic fantasy. Blood and Ash follows Lina Arias, a princess who forsakes her family and crown in favor of fangs and dark, evil magic. The Chronicles of Estria is a series that goes along with the tabletop miniatures game Chaos Wars, produced by Iron Wind Metals.

Up next I’ll be at Cincy Comic Expo in September and Lexington ScareFest after that. I can’t wait!

What would you like to tell readers?

Keep the fantasy alive!

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Steampunk dreams

A few summers ago, I got the wild hair to turn my living room into a steampunk masterpiece. Not that I knew a whole lot about steampunk, mind you. But I’d been fascinated by the fashions and decor for awhile, and I liked Wild Wild West and Firefly (which isn’t steampunk but it is Chinese and Chinese is cool).

steampunkery and zoos 027We added the Victorian interest in nature by having mounted butterflies with microscopes, the old steam trunks, the Persian rugs… and this Chinese cabinet which was truly a beautiful antique, with lacquered carvings all across the front panels.steampunkery and zoos 024

This was the highlight of our collection, acquired in a dusty old antique store in Asheville, North Carolina. We were in love with it. (Right now though, I’d love to sell it so I don’t have to move it again. It’s very solid and heavy!!)

 

We added the gear-naked clock, and a gear-laden chicken. (see below).

So what have I written that qualifies as Steampunk?

Absolutely nothing.

One of the delights of steampunk is the adherence to knowledge of machinery and science. I’m a mother, not an engineer, damn it, Jim. One day, I might take the time to research and educate myself in an effort to get up to speed enough to write on the subject. I like what I see that other people do, for sure. I mean, who doesn’t like magic steampunkery and zoos 029flying machines and submarining 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea??

steampunkery and zoos 031Another facet of steampunk that I love is the focus on travel. People are always flitting about in airships, or on boats or underwater or into space, even. The curiosity of the Victorian Era just continues on in spades.

Sure, there’s still politics and poverty and all the other parts of modern society, but the chase for knowledge seems to be valued above all else.

And they love one thing I also love: the octopus.

Not just your average little inking cephalopod, either. They don’t mess around. Their octopi can take down whole boats. And they are ubiquitously useful. Do you need one of your very own? Check out this video! They come in chandeliers and door handles. They make lovely Halloween costumes. Need I say more?

What do you think about steampunk? What’s your favorite example?

One of my sister authors has a beautiful photographic novel entitled THE DOOR—this post is part of her campaign to raise funds for its publication before she goes on for her Masters’ degree. Hit the link above to enter the contest and capture your clue words for the scavenger hunt of the week. Win wallpapers and other bonus gifts. Most of all, support starving artists everywhere! 🙂

octopus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark skies, dieselpunk and super heroes: welcome author Pippa Jay!

Welcome a writer friend from across the pond, the fabulous Pippa Jay!! And don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom to learn about her intriguing contest, which runs until December 19–take it away, Pippa!

WP_20141125_007pippaHi, I’m Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Over the last year I’ve written things I never imagined I would, from subgenres of SF to paranormal and urban fantasy. From aliens and space-faring humans to zombies. And now to superheroes. If you told me I’d be writing those a couple of years ago, I’d have laughed. But here I am, with my first superhero story out in the wild.
Several things influenced the setting for When Dark Falls. When I first started thinking about the story, it materialized as an urban fantasy, something I’d never written and don’t read a lot of, so the idea scared me off a bit. I tried to put a SF twist on it as I started Camp NaNoWrimo in August 2012, but soon I realized I was trying to write two different genres in one and I had to stop. When Dark Falls stumbled to a messy stop.
Then I was listening to Living Things by Linkin Park, and the music transformed the story. The album had a quite dark/industrial sound. It made me think of Art Deco buildings, of technology out of synch with the period feel. It reminded me of Dark City and Skycaptain and the World of Tomorrow. Smoke, oil and metal. Bronze and chrome. Black skies and flame.
A bit of research took me into dieselpunk and decopunk. I’d found the setting I wanted for my characters, and a bit of research into Egyptology (which was so tied into the Art Deco/Art Nouveau periods) gave me a name for the city from the goddess of funereal custom – Nephthys. So Neophopolis, with its bronze futurist towers and dark skies with pillars of flames came to life.
Just think what might have happened if I’d been listening to something else…

About the Story:

In a city where Dark Technologies Inc. now runs the show, Kadie Williams has more immediate concerns than the fall of Blaze, their guardian superhero. Almost every morning for the last few months she’s woken up with cuts and bruises on her body, and no idea how she got them. There are no nightmares. No evidence that she sleepwalks, or any sign of a break in. And nothing to tell her who’s been cleaning up after her. As just one of thousands of civilians conscripted to slave away in the labs of Professor Dark, she knew there’d be trouble ahead. But she never expected it to be so bad, or so personal.

Desperate for answers, Kadie looks to the new defender of the night, the only person who can hinder the total domination of Professor Dark—Nocturnelle. The mysterious vigilante superhero came from nowhere with her cybernetic sidekick Shadow, set on putting an end to the brutality of Dark’s regime. But as his laboratories work on a new secret super-weapon, Nocturnelle and Shadow may not be enough to save Nephopolis…or to save Kadie either.

When Dark Falls is an alternative 1920s superhero romance released by Breathless Press on the 21st November. Add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE. Sign up to my no-spam newsletter HERE to stay up to date with releases, cover reveals, sales and giveaways for all my titles and more.

whendarkfalls_1650x2550Excerpt:

Nocturnelle perched on the carved griffin statue decorating the tower’s cornerstone, with hundreds of feet of empty space between her and the ground below. Her second skin felt tight. It was a familiar sensation and yet always the first thing she noticed on waking, as if her body needed to remind her of the fact. She stretched and her outer skin crackled like leather. She flexed her fingers, the delicate oh-so-white digits a stark contrast to her black arms. Silver lines marked her left forearm, and she frowned at them. She was meant to be impervious to blades and bullets, and yet somehow, not too long ago, she must have injured herself.
As she rose, her skin creaked. She stretched again, and then tugged her hands through her hair, pulling the thick swathe of black silk from her face and knotting it at the back. Darkest Night forbid it should get in her way. The second skin pressed tight against her forehead, running around her eyes and mouth, cradling her chin. She ran her fingers around the edges, tracing the outline. Perfect. Her body tingled as though electricity danced in her veins, and she smiled. Breathed in the evening air. This was her time.
Viscous and reeking, the night sky hung over the city of Art Deco towers and buildings like an oil-slick. Behind her, the metallic chinking of the cloudburner cooling after a day spent scorching the sky ticked away the seconds like a clock.
“Nelle?”
The deep male voice sent a shiver down her back, and she turned. “Ah, my faithful Shadow. Ready for another night-time jaunt?”
A figure stepped out of the shadows to join her. He matched her for height; his whipcord frame clad in a charcoal-colored armor vest, black combats, and a hip-length military jacket. When the rooftop lights hit his face, the chiseled jawline showed; his skin a dark tan. He wore a mask over his eyes, but his teeth gleamed white when he smiled. And when he smiled, something inside Nelle set her heart racing.
“Ready and set, Nelle.”

About Pippa Jay:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

Website – http://www.pippajay.co.uk
Blogs –
Adventures in Scifi – http://www.pippajay.blogspot.co.uk
Spacefreighters Lounge – http://www.spacefreighters.blogspot.com
Romancing the Genres – http://www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.co.uk/
SFR Brigade – http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/pippajaygreen
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Pippa-Jay-Adventures-in-Scifi/114058821953752
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/pippajaygreen/
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/101080630877126516448/posts
Wattpad – http://www.wattpad.com/user/PippaJay
Amazon page – http://www.amazon.com/Pippa-Jay/e/B0080QVWEE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1406376408&sr=8-1

Buy Links:

Breathless Press – http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=25&products_id=691
Bookstrand – http://tinyurl.com/kkonr53
All Romance eBooks – http://tinyurl.com/n873eap
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/When-Dark-Falls-Pippa-Jay-ebook/dp/B00P5MQR6Y/
Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Dark-Falls-Pippa-Jay-ebook/dp/B00P5MQR6Y/
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/495412
Web page to other links – http://www.pippajay.co.uk/#!when-dark-falls/cl15

Contest:

Open internationally until the 19th December. I’ve donned my superhero guise for the length of the tour, and you get to name me and decide my talent(s)! If I like it, I may include it in the sequel to When Dark Falls and credit you in the acknowledgements. To enter, please put the name, talent, and your contact details in the comments. Please note – by entering this contest you are giving me full permission for me to use the superhero name without any recompense to you, financially or otherwise, other than the acknowledgement, and you are waiving any rights to the name. You’ll also get a digital format of your choice for When Dark Falls.

***

How exciting is that? Your very own superhero in Pippa’s next book? Can’t wait to see all the possibilities.  Thanks for visiting, Pippa! Cheers!

Are monsters real? Ask Tera Shanley

SWC CoverSilver Wolf Clan   A new Paranormal romance from Tera Shanley and Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing Corp.

Book 1 in the Silver Wolf Clan saga

 

Blurb:

What happens when monsters turn out to be real? One summer night while camping in the woods, Morgan Carter finds out in a big way. A tall mysterious stranger, Greyson Crawford, risks his life to try and save her sister from the vicious wolf attacking their camp. When he’s bitten and disappears into the night, Morgan can only assume the worst.

Greyson shows up a year later, and he’s a different animal altogether. His eye color shifts constantly and the rumble in his throat sounds more animal than human. She hasn’t any idea where he’s been all this time, but a good guess as to what he’s become.
Grey is determined not to let the darkness of his new existence affect Morgan and the little girl in her care. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Morgan but knows he should stay away and let her live a normal life. That’s easier said than done, though. A new danger pulls him from the shadows to keep her safe, and he’s no wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Can she accept what lurks just below his surface? More importantly, can she survive him?

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Wolf-Clan-Tera-Shanley-ebook/dp/B00KYUNENG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403281510&sr=8-1&keywords=Silver+Wolf+Clan

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/silver-wolf-clan-tera-shanley/1119847720?ean=9781616505424

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/silver-wolf-clan

Kensington Books: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/30513

Author Bio:

Tera Shanley writes in sub-genres that stretch from Paranormal Romance, to Historic Western Romance, to Apocalyptic (zombie) Romance. The common theme? She loves love. A self-proclaimed bookworm, she was raised in small town Texas and could often be found decorating a table at the local library. She currently lives in Dallas with her husband and two young children and when she isn’t busy running around after her family, she’s writing a new story or devouring a good book. Any spare time is dedicated to chocolate licking, rifle slinging, friend hugging, and the great outdoors. For more information about Tera and her work, visit http://www.terashanley.com.

blog tour author picAuthor Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terashanley.author

Blog: http://www.terashanley.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/terashanley

Website: http://terashanley.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7212904.Tera_Shanley
Excerpt

Greyson’s muscles quivered under Morgan’s hand but it likely had nothing to do with the cool rain. He opened his eyes slowly and the brilliance of the golden color pooled there was almost too dazzling to look directly at. Like staring at the sun. No one would mistake those for human eyes.

If she’d had any doubt before about the brand of monster he’d become, those liquid amber eyes put them to rest. He pulled his hood back and the chin-length dark blond hair from her memory fell forward into his face. She moved a strand to the side. He’d lost weight in the past year. He hadn’t had an ounce to lose in the first place, but it looked as if he’d struggled to stay healthy. His eyebrows, just a shade darker than his hair, were furrowed but he let her drink him in. He was playing fair. For all she knew, he’d been watching her the entire year. It was her turn now.

His nose was straight and his jaw line masculine. From the brief moments she’d known him out in those woods, she’d seen how intoxicating he was. He’d been a fearless warrior bent on that murdering wolf’s destruction, no matter the cost. Here, in the dirty alley under the relentless clouds, with those glorious feral eyes and a snarl in his chest, Greyson Crawford was utterly consuming.

Softly, she said, “You’re beautiful.”

His shaky whisper tore at her. “I’m a monster.”

The Shaughnessy File, revealed!

shaughnessyfilecoverFrom author ETTA JEAN, her latest, The Shaughnessy File, first in a five-book series:
Welcome to the 3rd District in New York City, where pumpkins become limos and corporations are kingdoms in this modern take on classic faerie tales.

Trouble starts in the Shaughnessy household when youngest daughter Aenya starts dancing her way through her shoes every night—without ever leaving her room! She keeps her double life a secret from all the men who try to find the truth, but then private investigator Hiro Michaels arrives on the scene. Can she find a way to have her dreams and her love all at the same time?

Kienan Shaughnessy throws his dreams of a musical career on a wild gamble that takes a detour once he meets plain nightingale Madelyne Winters. The young innkeeper has been burned by love and cursed by hate, and she can’t trust anyone as beautiful as swan-like Kienan. Can he teach her to sing a love song before it’s too late?

Eldest sibling Taegan Shaughnessy unexpectedly gets a new pair of glass slippers as he pines for a princess out of his reach. Station and impropriety alike threaten to keep Kalliope Tavoularis from having the man she loves, but this princess won’t take anything lying down. Can some help from an unlikely faerie godmother stop the clock from striking midnight forever?

Mel Shaughnessy is the wild-spirited beauty of the household. Though as smart as he is handsome, his college grades have plummeted past the point of no return. His only hope is the university’s tutor: a woman nicknamed ‘the beast’. Audra Alexandros has no sympathy, and no graces, and yet there’s something about this lone wolf that Mel finds himself helplessly drawn toward. Can the beauty win the beast and close the file on the Shaughnessy Family for good?

Excerpt

****

“Special delivery!” Kienan told Madelyne cheerfully as he reached her side. “I caught the teacher at the door and decided to save him a trip.”
If she hadn’t been sure that he was behind it, she would have never suspected him. She warily got to her feet and took the carnation he was holding out. The card was blank and she blinked at it. “It’s not signed.” What was this maddening male up to?
“It’s not?” He peered at the card. “How are you supposed to know who it’s from then? Ah! Wait. I bet this will help.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pen. Before she could stop him, he had taken the card and scrawled his distinctive signature across it. “There. That ought to do it.”
“Oh my god!” a girl in the back of the room blurted excitedly. “Kienan Shaughnessy is courting Madelyne Winters!”
The entire room erupted into an excited buzz. It was the most interesting thing to happen in a long time, and definitely the most romantic thing to happen ever.
“No!” Madelyne said hastily, trying to wave her hands in the air for attention. “No, he’s not! Kienan,” she pleaded, looking at her ‘admirer,’ “tell them the truth!”
“What truth?” He grinned. “I am courting you, nightingale.”

***

AVAILABLE AUGUST 2014 from PDMI Publishing!

Bio:
Etta Jean was made in England but born in Sacramento, California. Her destiny as a bard was somewhat inevitable. Little else can explain how she constantly told her mother tall tales so outlandish that she couldn’t even get grounded for them. A love of worlds created by others eventually brought out the desire to create her own, and she has never looked back. She has seen both good and evil in her life, and her stories, like life, have no half measures. Her happy endings never come without cost, though, for she truly believes we can’t appreciate the good and the joy without the bad and the pain along the way.

Her current haunt is a comfy house in her beloved Sacramento where she wrangles four feline fur-kids and consumes peppermints like mana in order to balance a calendar filled with more creative venues than a sane person should realistically undertake. If she’s not chained to her desk, she’s stomping through the scenery in search of equally fantastical photographs.

 

Have you met Eddie yet?

eddieEddie Garrick is one of my favorite characters of the Color of Fear series–he’s telling the story of his journey across a virus-devastated America in the Splendid Expedition of Eddie Garrick, Esquire.   Come check out his backstory, and get ready for the next book, DESTINATIONS, coming from Zumaya Publications in July 2014.

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Are you ready for Eddie?

Eddie Garrick, teenage electrogeek and wunderkind

Eddie Garrick, teenage electrogeek and wunderkind

Today begins a new column here at the Worlds of Fancy, where one of the characters in The Color of Fear series gets the chance to share his story, one that isn’t told directly in WINDMILLS or DESTINATIONS. His life and journey, however, impact all the other characters’ lives in ways they could never have suspected.

Credit Flickr Photos, Donna Sutton Creative Commons license

Credit Flickr Photos, Donna Sutton– Creative Commons license

Eddie’s wry observations of life on the road as he leaves the home he’s always known in San Francisco for a life away from the smell of death and the danger of the street gangs. He didn’t intend to go alone, but when his best and only remaining friend Xi San refused to give up his self-appointed job as vigilante protector of their Pacific Heights neighborhood, he didn’t have much choice.

Eddie may no longer have the cutting blog he loved back when they had internet as free as running water, but he can cut and piece a good journal together. You’re invited to come along on his journey. You might see some country you’ve never seen. You might meet some people you’d never have imagined you’d know. But you will meet one indomitable spirit, who helps save what’s left of America after the terrorist attack known as the Second Holocaust.

Windmills Finalbanner2Read The Splendid Expedition of Eddie Garrick, Esquire now!

(For more on the story, click the WINDMILLS tab above–and stay tuned for DESTINATIONS, coming this summer from Zumaya Publications!)

Eternal life as a zombie–is it for you?

Welcome author Katherine Wynter to the blog, with her new book, BLACKOUT!

zombieBlurb:

Zombies walk among us. Look like us. Talk like us.
When Chicago scientist Bryan Southworth found the secret to eternal life through nanocell technology, he didn’t know it’d come with a cost: death. The process of Reanimation requires physical death for bio-synthetic cellular replication to take hold, but maintaining eternal life depends on timely injections of fresh cells to replace those used. Should a patient’s supply run too low, the computer chip installed at the base of the neck deactivates consciousness, freeing up the body to seek out new cells any way necessary.
Mikal Edmonds is your average zombie – or Reanimated Citizen as they prefer to be called – on his first date in over a decade when an attack by the religious terrorist group calling themselves the Naturalists changes everything. Now the target of a zealot’s fervor, Mikal’s willpower is tested as he confronts his past and tries to avoid the one thing he fears above all else: a blackout.

Excerpt:

Chapter One
He scanned the darkened bar, his gaze passing quickly over worn tables and chairs, couples whispering in darkened booths, drunks playing virtual pool with neon balls projected on an old-style wooden table, and the ever present football game covering the back wall with brightly colored violence but no sound. Life had changed dramatically over the many years since his Reanimation, but a bar was still a bar and people were still people. Under normal circumstances neither interested him.

Few things did.

Blind date. Never should have let them talk me into it.

He spotted her sitting at the bar – right where Jose had promised she’d be – and froze. That hair, strawberry blonde, reached in waves past her shoulders, and her slender silhouette seemed as familiar to him as his own breath. Emily? In his mind, he was sitting at a different bar, and her blue eyes sparkled at a joke of his, something about politics though he didn’t remember what exactly. They had been happy then. Before. No. If Emily were still alive, she’d have to be over a hundred years old; this wasn’t Emily. She had moved on. Probably remarried with children and grandchildren by now.

He shook his head, banishing the unwanted memories, and slid onto an empty bar stool next to the girl who could not possibly be his former wife. How old could this new girl be, anyway? Early twenties? Twenty-five, tops. It didn’t matter. With the potential for surgery and Reanimation, apparent age wasn’t an accurate guide anymore.

She wore a Parisian-Oriental fusion dress which hugged her just enough to be alluring yet showed no more than a small taste of ivory skin and knee-high black leather boots. She was attractive, he was forced to admit. Especially with those green eyes. Green, not blue, he reminded himself. Emily’s eyes had been blue.

“Mikal, I presume,” she took a delicate sip of her pink cocktail then pressed a series of buttons on the touch screen built into the surface of the bar. The noise level faded to a hum as the environmental sensors kicked in, shielding them from their surroundings. He rubbed his sweaty palms on his jeans. He could have changed it back, but explaining why might be awkward. “I expected you to be…older.”

He grunted and leaned away. Even with six inches of space separating them, the heat of her body warmed the chill that never left his skin. “I am older.”

A pink flush spread across her cheeks to the tips of her ears as she looked away.

The gesture seemed quaintly sweet. Almost antiquated. Maybe the date hadn’t been such a bad idea after all.

He sat up a little straighter and tapped the touchscreen twice. “Scotch on the rocks,” he said when the bartender appeared inside the controlled environment. Mikal pricked his finger on the scanner set into the bar and opened his tab. As the drink was prepared, the computer system scanned his manufactured genetic code and registered the purchase to his company account. A yellow light flashed on the scanner, completing the transaction.

“Fucking zombie freaks,” the balding bartender muttered but he still set the scotch down before he disappeared into the hazy background.

“I’m…I’m Rose,” she extended her hand, which he took, her fingers like feathers, steel feathers, against his clammy grip ”It’s such a pleasure to meet you, you have no idea.”

“Same here.” He tried to smile, curling his lips up and baring his teeth. Rose didn’t run, so it probably worked.
He took a long pull of the scotch, savoring the line of fire that trailed down his throat and settled in his stomach. A wave of lightheadedness moved through him, relaxing his muscles and bringing a small sigh to his lips as he settled onto the stool. The sensation faded quickly, however, as the tension returned in a rush. Stuck sober just when I need help the most. Not bothering to lower the controls this time, Mikal gestured for another round and waited for it to appear.

She arched one eyebrow.

Shit. I need to say something.

“Have you been waiting long?” Mikal asked, his stomach knotting as soon as the words passed his throat. What a stupid question to ask. He ran his hand awkwardly through his hair.

“No, not long.” She lifted her glass slightly: “This is my first.” The silken material of her dress parted briefly when she uncrossed and then re-crossed her legs.

He swallowed, hard. The movement had bared her smooth, defined legs along the line of the slit, exposing a tantalizing expanse of thigh for the briefest of moments. He ran his hand though his hair again. “Can I get you another?”

She laughed, a sound like the ringing of small bells, and tossed back the rest of her drink. “I’d like that.”

Mikal signaled for the bartender again, and the conversation stalled while they waited for the drinks to appear. He tried to find something appropriate or suave or at least inoffensive to say, but the words just wouldn’t form in his head much less make their way past his lips. What do girls in this decade like? The only ones he saw were usually naked and dancing on a table at the club where he worked. Do I talk about the weather? Politics? Shopping? Please not shopping.

The empty glasses disappeared and a moment later there were two fresh drinks on the bar next to them. Rose picked up the glass, wrapping her slender fingers around the stem, and sipped. “So, Mikal, my friend tells me that you work at NightWatch. How’s that?”

So it was work then. He shrugged, relieved to be on safe ground. “It’s a job. Had worse – not many people want to employ some like me.”

“You mean a zombie?”

“I used to hate that word but anymore…I guess I’m getting more tolerant as I age.”

Her eyes lit up. “You don’t look a day over thirty-two.”

“Pretty spry for the oldest man alive, huh. Maybe next time I’ll bring a cane.”

She laid a hand gently on his wrist. “Next time?”

Warmth flooded through his hand. Life. She hummed with it, vibrated joy and youth and everything he’d missed by hiding himself away the past few decades. Mikal didn’t move away from her touch. “I’m boring and old. Tell me about yourself. Do you have a job?”

Small lines tightened around the corners of her eyes, only to vanish a moment later. The change was so brief he almost missed it.

“Not right now. The economy, you know. I studied cellular bionics at the university before I had to drop out. Now, without a degree, there aren’t many options for a girl like me.”

“A girl like you?” What was he missing? He couldn’t imagine her having trouble finding work. Problem was, the more desperate people became the more depraved their tastes. He studied the angles of her face again. Had he seen her at NightWatch? He clenched and unclenched his fist. She deserved better than that.

She sipped her cocktail and shrugged delicately.

Can I tell her she’s too beautiful to have trouble finding work? Would she think it flattering or creepy this early in the evening? Girls liked compliments. That couldn’t have changed. Mikal opened his mouth to speak.
That’s when he heard it.

A sound, nothing more than a slight ringing, something that shouldn’t have been able to get through the environmental sensors, pulled his attention. First one and then another shadow flitted across the blurred edges of his vision.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, but he gestured for her to be quiet.

The time for civility had ended. No one should have been that close besides the bartender, and they had already received their drinks.

Mikal tapped the touchpad twice; the environmental controls lowered in response. What he saw didn’t make sense. Half of the bar’s hundred-odd patrons drank contentedly, oblivious to their surroundings.

The other half ran for their lives.

One woman tripped in the mad rush for the front doors, knocking over a chair on her way down as a younger man stepped on her back, using her to vault himself up and over her. Three guys in football jerseys each grabbed one of the antique wooden cue sticks off the wall and used it to shove an older man aside, sending pale ale flying up into the air and startling a couple out of their environmental sensors.

A girl screamed.

A lone man with sunken, bloodshot eyes, loomed in the center of the bar, his balding head glistening from sweat. The jacket of his camo-green duster parted momentarily as he raised his arm, revealing a series of clear tubes filled with a greenish liquid strapped to his chest. Thin wires connected the tops of the tubes.
His left hand rested on what had to be a trigger.

“…deserve to die. You are abominations of existence, a blight on the sight of the God who had given you breath and life. Death is sacred and pure, feared only by those certain of their own damnation. Prepare to face His judgment, monsters, and know the wrath of God!”

Instinct took over. Mikal stood, hooked Rose around the waist, and pulled her over the bar with him.

I’m going to die. His shoulders slammed into the hard concrete floor as shattered glass fell around him like rain. He covered her with his body. Maybe this death will be the last.

The world exploded around them.

Bio:

katherineKatherine Wynter is a fantasy/horror/steampunk author of novels and short stories. Her debut novel Blackout is being rereleased by Under the Moon, an imprint of Final Sword Productions, in April 2014. Her second novel, Reaper Legacy, is due out later this year.
Katherine fell in love with the horror and fantasy genres at a young age, hiding in libraries whenever she had the chance and reading till they made her leave – usually by throwing her book out the door so she was forced to follow. When she was old enough for an allowance, she spent it exclusively at bookstores and began building her own library which has grown and been donated only to grow again like a bookish vestigial tail. Although she once planned a career in genetic engineering so she could create her own time traveling dragon, she abandoned this profession when it became clear that sometimes the best science lives only in the imagination of readers. (Okay, her friends pointing out that said dragon, should she create it, would probably just end up having her for lunch instead of letting her ride its back may have also influenced that decision.)
On a less crunchy note, Katherine lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and three insane cats of doom and destruction. She’s an avid reader, hiker, and world traveler. Nothing makes her day more than taking off for somewhere new and getting to experience different cultures and ways of life (probably why she spent two years with the Peace Corps serving in Kazakhstan).
She’s always happy to answer questions or hear from readers. You can email her at katherine@katherinewynter.com or visit her website http://www.katherinewynter.com

Amazon Book Link: http://www.amazon.com/Blackout-Katherine-Wynter-ebook/dp/B00JWR2K8M/ref=la_B00JX6YW6K_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398394128&sr=1-1

Price: $1.50

Write what you know–J.C. McKenzie with a great read and a chance to win!

First, I’d like to thank Lyndi Alexander for inviting me to be a guest on her blog today. I plan to discuss the setting of my debut novel, Shift Happens, which is now available exclusively on Amazon. At the end of the post, you can enter ShiftHappens_w8140_300for a chance to win one of five kindle ebooks of Shift Happens.

Shift Happens takes place in Vancouver, Canada. In this case, I took Mark Twain’s “write what you know” quote literally (although I personally feel he referred to emotions). I’ve lived in Vancouver for many years and definitely know it. Born and raised on the West Coast, I feel at home in the rain, with the ocean breeze, and the picturesque views of snow-capped mountains and dense evergreen forests.

My not-so-secret plan is to spotlight a beautiful city in a beautiful country. With writing Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, I add “supernatural” elements to the location to make it my own, but I keep a lot of the landmarks, street names and areas the same, hopefully preserving the ”feel” of the city. I like mixing the known with the unknown. Isn’t that what Urban Fantasy is all about?

Does that mean every book I write will be set in Vancouver? No. In fact, I’m currently working on a short story set in Maine. Writing a piece with an unfamiliar area takes a lot of research. It’s definitely not the easy way out. What types of birds do they have? Flowers? Trees? What kind of slang do people from the area use? It’s exhausting. As much as I love research, the need for accuracy (total A-type here) means I’ll never do something like Historical Romance. Not only do historical writers have to get the area and landmarks right, they also have to get the time period aspect correct as well—when did they stop wearing pantaloons, when did indoor plumbing come about, when did men wear knee-high boots, etc, etc. Exhausting!

So did I “cop out” by placing my series in Vancouver? I don’t think so. Vancouver fits with the dark, gloomy and rainy image I’m going for with Shift Happens. I needed a city that could be beautiful and bright, and at the same time be seedy and grimy; and all surrounded by the brilliance of pristine nature, namely forests and mountains. In other words, Vancouver! My imagination took me on a journey; one that specifically took place in a city I love.

 What’s your take on setting?

Does it matter to you if you read a book set in Vancouver, versus New York or LA?

Do you like it if you read a book set in a place you know really well, or do you find it distracting, even insulting (if they describe a place you like negatively)?

Do you prefer to read about a place you’ve never been to? Escapism at its best?

 Thanks for taking a moment to join me. Happy writing and reading!

·         HER PAST DESTROYED HER HEART, CAN SHE PUT IT BACK TOGETHER IN TIME?

Story:
Andrea McNelly’s job as a government agent is not asking questions, but then a routine assignment turns into a botched assassination of a Master Vampire’s human servant. Answers become a priority. Her search to discover the truth is riddled with obstacles, the largest being an oversized Werewolf who resembles a Norse god. Andy can’t afford the distraction he offers, because if she fails, she faces eternal enslavement.

 Wick’s job is to monitor Andy, but he prefers more intimate activities, none of them G-Rated. His choices, however, are often not his own. His ability to help Andy is limited by his bond to the Master Vampire.

Facing many trials and challenges along her path to redemption, Andy learns the value of her freedom might be set too high.

Excerpt:

A large black wolf trotted into the clearing to confront me. He had a white-tipped snout, white boots and mitts and would have looked cute had he not been the most intimidating Werewolf I’d ever seen. Standing tall and solid, power rolled off of his body. His eyes bore into mine. I sniffed the air. The strong Werewolf scent of rosemary swirled around me, strong and seductive, laced with sugar. A weird fuzzy sensation spread out from my chest. Whoa.

Alpha.

My other form growled low, demanding release, straining against my skin. The energy of the wolves built—layers upon layers of excitement and impatience. The air pulsated with anticipation. They could sense the imminent kill.

Let me out! My other form repeated, throwing her power against my built up walls, howling in defiance.

When the energy of the Werewolves surged, I finally released her. My wolf form flowed out fast, wiping out the feline in little more than a heartbeat. Smaller, weaker and the size of a natural wolf, a Shifter in this form was no match for a Werewolf, especially a dominant one. I had time to meet the eyes of the Alpha for only an instant before the pack leapt forward. My limbs shook. It went against every instinct ingrained within me, but I rolled onto my back—submissive.

 Buy Links:

Available exclusively in Kindle electronic format on March 27th, 2014

Available in print and all other electronic formats on July 16th, 2014

View More: http://photos.pass.us/headshot2About the Author:

Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Contact Information:

Website: www.jcmckenzie.ca

Blog: www.jcmckenzie.blogspot.ca

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/j.c.mckenzie.author

Facebook Account Name: JC McKenzie

Twitter Page: www.twitter.com/JC_McKenzie

Twitter Account: @JC_McKenzie

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/JCMcKenzie

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Meet GETHYON—- with sparkling British sci-fi writer Pippa Jay!

487970_396457363750310_1481028755_n (640x640)Today I’m so excited to have my writing friend from across the pond come visit–  Pippa Jay has been a colleague since my early days at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday, and we’re also in the Science Fiction Romance Brigade.  She’s a mom and a rock and roll fan and a great writer–I’m just thrilled to have her here! I hope you all welcome her as much as I do.

Today she’s here with a character interview of her main character in her book GETHYON. Take it away, Pippa!

****

It’s been eight months since I left my young hero Gethyon on the planet Loganum, with his baby niece in tow and him hoping to see more of Marisol, the girl he met there. I thought I’d check up on him and see how things were going. When I finally track him down he’s trekking around a junk yard on the outskirts of Spire City, apparently on the hunt for a spaceship. Half buried in the cylindrical hull of an escape pod, it’s not until he pulls himself out swearing with his hands covered in green sludge that I see he’s let his red hair get long again. Other than that, he hasn’t changed at all as far as I can see.
Me: Hey, Gethyon.
His expression isn’t exactly welcoming once he catches sight of me, but I can’t blame him for that. I gave him a pretty hard ride, especially over the last few weeks we were in company. Oh, and I lost him his beloved Spirit Drifter, the spacecraft of his dreams and part of the reason he’s wiping slime off his hands in a junk yard. Maybe this wasn’t such a good time to visit…
Gethyon: Did you want something?
Me: I thought I’d see how you were settling down on your new home-world and how things were working out.
Gethyon: Everything’s fine.
I sense an unspoken ‘no thanks to you’ tacked onto the end of his words, but either he’s got better at diplomacy or he’s worried saying the wrong thing might spark off a new batch of trouble. Can’t blame him for that.
Me: So you’re all settled into a place? How’s Kauri?
Gethyon: Yeah, we’re settled. Got a nice apartment on the west side of the city, near the park. I take Kauri to play there every day after work.
Me: She must be getting big now. What is she, about eighteen months? Must be a handful.
This time I get a rueful smile.
Gethyon: More than a handful. She’s a full time job all by herself.
Me: So you’re working now? Doing what?
Gethyon: Installing and repairing crystophilic systems. I can pick and choose my hours, so that works out best for Kauri. I can spend a bit of time with her and Marisol.
Me: I’m glad to hear it. So you see a lot of Marisol these days?
Maybe I’m imagining it, but I’d swear he blushed then, just before he ducked his head so I couldn’t see his face.
Gethyon: (mumbles) Quite a bit.
Aww, bless! I guess he hasn’t got around to asking her to move in with him yet. Or maybe her parents didn’t like that idea even though they’re both majority age. Not when Gethyon turned up with a baby.
Me: So you’re happy here on Loganum? Not finding it too quiet?
I get a chuckle at that.

dreamstime_xs_13596577(1)Gethyon: I prefer it quiet, thank you, although it’s a bit more lively than being stuck on Lyagnius with mother. Loganum is working out just fine.
Me: You’ve not had any trouble? No sign of that Jinx coming back?
Gethyon: (shuddering) No, no sign of her. Haven’t sensed or seen her around. I’m hoping my run in with the Siah-dhu means I’ve scared her off. For now at least.
Me: And I bet that’s a relief, especially with little Kauri to look after.
Gethyon: Very much so. (He hesitates) You really tried to make life difficult for me. For all of us.
I shrug. Me: That’s kind of my job.
He gives me a frown. Gethyon: If you say so…
Me: Well, I’m really pleased things are working out for you now. I’ll leave you to it. Great to see you again, Gethyon.
I turn to leave but…
Gethyon: Wait!
Me: What?
Gethyon: I mean, is that it? You turn up out of nowhere, ask me how things are going and just leave again?
Me: Yup.
He looks suspicious.
Gethyon: Seriously?
Me: Seriously. I mean, you surely don’t want me to stick around, do you?
I grin. After all, last time I was near him, he ended up travelling halfway across the universe and through twenty years in time. Twice!
Gethyon: I guess not. No offence, but I’ll be happier if I don’t see you again.
Me: None taken. And yes. You probably would.
Shame really. Because I’m pretty sure he will be seeing me again…

BIO:
A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moments trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 20 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the SFR Brigade, a community of science fiction romance authors and publishing professionals committed to writing and promoting the very best in the genre. Double SFR Galaxy Award Winner. Readers Favorite Contest and GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards finalist.The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards semi-finalist.

Website – http://www.pippajay.co.uk
Blogs –
Adventures in Scifi – http://www.pippajay.blogspot.co.uk
Spacefreighters Lounge – http://www.spacefreighters.blogspot.com
Romancing the Genres – http://www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/pippajaygreen
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Pippa-Jay-Adventures-in-Scifi/114058821953752
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/pippajaygreen/
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/101080630877126516448/posts
SFR Brigade – http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.co.uk/

gethyon_300GETHYON:

A YA Science Fiction Novel
Released by Champagne Books 3rd June 2013

His father died. His mother abandoned him. In the depths of space, darkness seeks him.

Abandoned by his mother after his father’s death, Gethyon Rees feels at odds with his world and longs to travel the stars. But discovering he has the power to do so leaves him scarred for life. Worse, it alerts the Siah-dhu—a dark entity that seeks his kind for their special abilities—to his existence, and sets a bounty hunter on his trail.

When those same alien powers lead Gethyon to commit a terrible act, they also aid his escape. Marooned on the sea-world of Ulto Marinos, Gethyon and his twin sister must work off their debt to the Seagrafter captain who rescued them while Gethyon puzzles over their transportation. How has he done this? And what more is he capable of?

Before he can learn any answers, the Wardens arrive to arrest him for his crime. Can his powers save him now? And where will he end up next?

BUY LINKS:

BURST – http://burstbooks.ca/product.php?id_product=99
Kobo – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Gethyon/book-PBNMPmlj7E-LpAed79fkDQ/page1.html?s=Cgke5CRKHESGZxG7MmccQQ&r=1
Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gethyon-ebook/dp/B00D5UIQ80/
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Gethyon-ebook/dp/B00D5UIQ80/
Omnilit – https://www.omnilit.com/product-gethyon-1216049-245.html?oid=
B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gethyon-pippa-jay/1115474634?ean=9781927454565

Don’t miss this fabulous trailer!!

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