Category Archives: young adult sci-fi
One of the themes of this blog is adventure, which I think everyone should experience at some point. But sometimes adventures are planned…and sometimes….
As she reached Broadway, a worn blue bicycle pulled up next to her, horn screeching over its rider’s distinctive squeal. “Where is your car, woman?”
Jelani eyed her best friend, Iris Pallaton, whose blonde hair swirled above the bright cloud of a magenta blouse. “Richard had it towed.”
“Tell me about it. I’m late.” Jelani headed off again.
Iris pedaled along the curb beside her. “You should call his supervisor and complain.”
“And what? Humiliate myself because he’s a jerk? Screw him!”
“Maybe you should.” Iris laughed. “Then he’d be too awed to bother you again.”
Jelani glared as they crossed the street. “Funny.”
On the far side, she caught the glint of glass in the middle of the sidewalk. “What idiot would drop a bottle when there’s a trash can right there?” she grumbled. “I’ll get it. First karma points of the day.”
Iris climbed off the bike and put down the kickstand. “What is that?” She bent down near the object. “Oh, sweet Gaia! It’s a glass slipper!”
No kidding. It really appeared to be a shoe made out of glass. A large one.
“Who would have left this here?” Jelani picked it up, looking around for a prankster camera team. Something kept her from tossing the shoe.
“Try it on,” Iris whispered. “It would get Richard Snyder off your mind.”
“Richard is not on my mind. He’s on my crap list.”
“Oooh. Sorry.” Iris ran her finger over the shoe. “You’re chicken anyway.”
“Don’t even go there.”
“Chicken. Bawk-bawk.” Iris giggled.
“Fine! If it means I can get to work.” Reaching down with her right hand, she unzipped her boot and kicked it off. “Ready? You want a picture?”
Iris dug for her cellphone and raised it, ready to take a shot. “Just in case your prince shows up right then.”
“I don’t need a prince,” Jelani complained. “I don’t need a man. I need a new life.”
Setting the shoe on the ground, Jelani slipped her foot in it and gently stepped down, not sure to what expect.
The slipper shattered, slicing into the sole of her foot.
Nauseous, Jelani screamed and could only watch in disbelief as tiny men sprang from the blood trickling under the broken shoe. She lost track of how many. With the biggest maybe two inches high, the men scattered into the shadows around the nearest building and disappeared.
She lifted her foot, shaking off the blood, and examined her sole to see if glass remained buried in her skin.
“Did you see that?” Iris gasped, nearly breathless. She grabbed at the wall, eyes closed for a moment.
Jelani felt faint, too, suddenly washed out. “I don’t know.”
There were no glass fragments in her foot or anywhere. The shoe had vanished. The only trace of the whole incident was dark blood, slowly drying in the sun on the sidewalk. As she watched, the cuts in her foot healed.
Iris knelt down to peer at Jelani’s foot. “There were little people. Naked little people. They ran away. I swear they did.”
“Did you get pictures?”
“I almost forgot!” Iris got up and activated the screen on her cell phone, pressed the arrow. Jelani leaned close to watch the whole thing replay in living color. “Oh. Bless. My. God,” Iris said, in her shock reverting to the male deity.
Jelani nodded. “And the horse He rode in on.”
When Jelani tries on a real glass slipper left lying on the sidewalk, it splits in half and out pour dozens of two-inch high creatures who scurry away into the shadows. As if that’s not bizarre enough, she is soon approached by two men claiming (of all things) to be elves who need her help to rescue their queen.
Buy now at Amazon!
Ordinary Series Book 1 by Starr Z. Davies
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Dystopian
Fans of Powerless, The Testing, Hunger Games and The Maze Runner will crave this world of iniquitous secrets, intrigue, and desire to find a place in society.
Divinic. Somatic. Psionic. Naturalist. Who will you be?
Having a superpower is ordinary. Your Power determines your job, social class, and future success.
But Ugene doesn’t have a Power. The only thing special about him is that he isn’t special at all. Ugene is Powerless.
So when the most prominent biomedical research company in the city offers Ugene a solution, he jumps at the possibility to be ordinary. All he has to do is agree to allow them to use him in their research. But the longer he stays at the research facility, the more he realizes something isn’t right.
Friendships are forged. Trust is broken built and broken. And everything Ugene thought he understood and believed is called into question.
Who can Ugene trust in his search for answers? What is he willing to sacrifice for Powers?
About the Author
STARR Z. DAVIES is a Midwesterner at heart, and lives in Wisconsin with her husband and kids. From a young age, Starr has been obsessed with superheroes like Batman and Captain America, which inspired her novel, ORDINARY. If Starr had a superpower, she would be an Empath, because she is an emotional sponge and easily relates to how others feel.
While pursuing a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, Starr gained a reputation as the “Character Assassin” because she has a habit of utterly destroying her characters both emotionally and physically.
In her free time, Starr loves watching Doctor Who or anything with superheroes, reading books (duh!), writing about her favorite fantasy stories (Song of Ice and Fire, Mistborn, The Wheel of Time), and staring out the window as she dreams up more stories. Oh, and sometimes she steps out the door.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
AN excerpt from my post-plague novel, WINDMILLS, part of The Color Of Fear series (see above tab):
The book’s hero Xi San is debating his fate as the Enforcer, a self-made vigilante protecting his former San Francisco neighborhood.
He could have abandoned the city, like his friend
Eddie Garrick three months before. Head out to the middle of the country, where people were nicer, Eddie said. Farther from the poison’s strike zone. Friendly Midwesterners. A chicken in every pot. Fresh pies on the windowsills.
“C’mon, Sandman. There’s nothing left for us here. Never will be!”
San plopped down in the blue butterfly chair Eddie had always loved and studied the skinny young man he’d known since middle school, his unruly brown hair worn
in wild spikes although not color-tipped at the moment, as they had been over the years. Blue, green, orange—Eddie’d had them all.
He’d also had a bent for the technical. He could enslave any computer to his will, and his personal blog, of clearly liberal bent, had drawn attacks from rabid conservatives of all sorts. The more famous his critics, the more pleased he’d been.
Isn’t too bad working under a Chevy’s hood, either.
San shook his head. “There’s nothing left for anyone, anywhere, Eddie.”
It wasn’t the first time they’d had this conversation, speculating what might remain of life past the San Francisco city limits, past the California borders.
“There’s gotta be someone left, some community somewhere where things are normal.”
Eddie hunched over on his bed, the tangled covers in a ball. “I want my life back! I want to be able to hit the bookstore and read three chapters of a book without buying it. You know, sit there for two hours with a hot latte and frellin’ Muzak playing. I even miss effing Muzak!”
The plaintive wail provoked San’s ironic smile. Eddie had always been partial to grunge rock. Kurt Cobain would have turned over in his nonexistent grave hearing one of his most ardent fans begging for elevator music.
“Come on, I can make my ma’s dream come true, meet a nice Jewish girl, go to temple. Hell, meet any girl.” Eddie squirmed, sheepish. “Not that I ever had much success in that area.”
“You’ve other talents. Just haven’t met the right one, Spaghetti Man.”
“But you don’t know some medical school might not still be open out East. You can be the doctor in the family, so I don’t frellin’ have to.” Brown eyes pled with San. “I’m going tomorrow. Maybe Friday. ” Eddie patted the green duffel bag on the bed beside him. “Figured I can grab a car out on the East Side. I can trip a gas station, get enough to get me started, anyway.”
His dark gaze slid down the navy blue bed sheet to the four .38 caliber revolvers he had laid carefully next to each other, along with four boxes of bullets.
“Got enough ammo to last a while. We can take care of ourselves, San.” His voice tightened. “I don’t want to go alone.”
San resisted the urge to choke up along with his friend. “I have to do things here, Eddie.”
“Bullshit. There’s nothing more for you here, either. Our parents are dead, our friends are dead, this city is dead! Why do you want to effing waste your life walking
around these empty streets till some gangbanger offs you?”
Today I’m sharing an excerpt from WINDMILLS, the first book in my post-apocalyptic trilogy THE COLOR OF FEAR. This piece gives us insight into Valery Paz, and a glimpse into her history.
Before she stepped over the threshold, Valery Paz patted her two front pockets. The left one held the book she was currently reading, a fantasy story about a modern-day barista and a glass slipper, the right a fully loaded pistol she wasn’t afraid to use.
Yep, Uncle Dave, you’d be proud of this little Latina. Self-defense: Never leave home without it.
Wary of the street after hearing about Kwan’s encounter with the gang, she set off at a swift pace, spurred on by the damp chill in the air, her well-worn sneakers making hardly a sound. Twenty blocks along Broadway, then a right turn, then up to the attic of a small house just past Jackson Square, and she’d be home. She could sit by her tiny window and look out over the bay near the Embarcadero.
If she was lucky, and the fog held off, she might catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate.
The bridge still seemed more like another fantasy to her than reality, even though she’d seen it in clear weather, swathed in fog, and in dozens of different states in between.
She hadn’t lived in the city before the Second Holocaust. Then, she’d been the nearest thing to a Valley Girl at Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas, about a hundred miles south of San Francisco, her daily language peppered with southern California slang. She’d been slated to graduate salutatorian of her class, bound for Stanford. The Second Holocaust ended the school year early.
Then it ended a lot of things early.
Her younger brother had died first, but in the twelve months afer the SH, she’d lost her mother and “Uncle” Dave too. Her parents had broken up years before, but her dad had always stopped in when his sales job brought him within shouting distance. It had been maybe a month before the SH when he stopped in before heading to southern California. She hadn’t seen him again.
She’d buried her mother and Dave, then packed a duffel bag with her dearest possessions and those her family had treasured as well. She had to go somewhere,
People came through town, heading to Colorado or New Mexico, and said San Francisco was at least providing some services to residents. Valery had some very
fond memories of the city by the bay, one visit in particular when she’d gone shopping with her mother as a young adolescent. They’d had warm sourdough bread and
shrimp cocktail from a cart on Fisherman’s Wharf and toured Chinatown, just the two of them. Her mother had bought her a new pair of shoes and a tiny cable car ornament
for their Christmas tree. A magical day.
That’s what made up her mind.
Six months now since she’d moved here, and she still sought real direction. When she was younger, she’d wanted to be a fashion model. She was tall enough, and when she only let herself eat lettuce—for a week or so—she could be skinny enough. It wasn’t like modeling scouts came through Salinas, though. And Mama wouldn’t take me to the city to try out. Not till I was eighteen.
She muttered, “Well. Now I’m eighteen, Mama. Look at me. Sneaking around the streets after dark like some matón.”
Kwan said the Enforcer had rescued her from the gang. A tendril of wistful thought wound itself around Valery’s heart. When will I have a white knight riding out to save me, huh?
Even as she wished for that person who might be waiting out there, somewhere, she shoved that idea aside.
That’s why I’m better off. I don’t need saving.
Besides, she didn’t intend to stay in San Francisco all her life.
She reached her house without incident and ran up the steps, scanning the street before she opened the door. Once she was safe inside, she triple-locked it and headed
upstairs to her room, locking the door to the attic as well. She tossed her pea jacket onto her bed, a mattress on the floor she’d dragged up the narrow steps, then lit several
candles. When everything was arranged to her liking, she rummaged through her “pantry,” a cardboard carton of cans and boxes of food she’d collected over the
last few weeks. One can called for her attention, and she took it out, cradling it in her hand. The brilliant orange of the mangoes on the Goya juice can reminded her of the
ambrosial juice awaiting her inside. She could almost taste the sweet tartness on her tongue.
She popped open the top and took a small sip, letting it roll around her mouth like the finest wine. Amazing.
She leaned down to glance out the window before settling in, disappointed that the cool, wet air had brought along a flood of fog that covered the waters of the bay. No bridge-gazing tonight. What else to do?
She plopped down on the worn blue beanbag chair she’d wrestled up the steps the first week she’d arrived. It was just like the one her brother Jimmy’d had, back in the
The loneliness was starting to get to her. She should leave. Comparing the number of survivors in the site of the SH attack, San Diego, and San Francisco, she could extrapolate
the differences between San Francisco and other parts of the country. The farther east you went, the better the chances there would be a healthier population.
Who knew? Maybe they still had fashion runway shows in New York City.
Si, chica, the models, they are very skinny this year…skin and bones…well, maybe bones without the skin…
A chill ran up her back, the black humor a little too close to truth.
“Hope?” you say? From all these stories of civilization torn down, people in chaos, life destroyed?
It may seem contrary, when real life is at a frightening point. But one common thread in much of this fiction is the inherent goodness of man. For every toilet-paper hoarding idiot, there is a Stu Redman fromThe Stand. For every self-serving politician, there is a Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. Even in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which is about the most bleak, horrifying, hopeless story ever, in the end there is a moment of humanity.
I believe we’re starting to see it now, in the communities around the world. People are beginning to reach out to others, while observing the new rules and realities of Covid-19 times. Italians confined to their homes sing to each other to boost morale. Local restaurants in my city make sure kids have lunch while schools are closed, and surely they can least afford it, since restaurant attendance is down. People shop for their at-risk elderly neighbors who should not be out. Granted, we are early in the process, and things may become more desperate as it lingers on. But humans are best at doing human.
My own post-apocalyptic YA series THE COLOR OF FEAR is founded on that issue of hope, and the conviction that those who stick to the path of right will triumph in the end over those who espouse hate and fear.
Tzu Lin Kwan, Xi San, Valery Paz, Eddie Garrick, Marie, Arik and all the others who try their best for their fellow humans are inspirational, and some of the favorite characters I’ve created. Not only do they fight the results of a terrorist plague, but they also oppose the white supremacist cult leader Gabriel and his Angels, who take advantage of the decimated population and the fears of the remaining white men and women to try to overthrow what remains of a poorly-organized government. The first book, WINDMILLS, takes the reader from Hong Kong to San Francisco; the second, DESTINATIONS, tells what happens as the ethnic survivors band together in the face of Gabriel’s threat, and the yet-to-be-released ADVERSARIES will reveal what happens when the inevitable clash of the two occurs. Find out more at the COLOR OF FEAR tab above.
In the meantime, there are many other books that can remind you about the good that may come from tumultuous, post-apocalyptic times:
If you prefer movies, check these out: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/30/entertainment/contagion-and-pandemics-in-movies/index.html
So this week, I’m trying something new, after being invited by author Lisabet Sarai to join in a bit of good work! Each participating author will identify a charity they wish to benefit, and then pledges to donate a certain amount of money to their charity for each comment made by a reader.
Furever Friends is a cat rescue organization in Asheville, NC. I have fostered–and foster
failed!– for them, and in fact, have my dear Daisy Mae, Reba and Clarice all thanks to them.
Fortunately, I’ve passed on more kittens than I’ve kept to great furever homes, and I am so pleased to be able to work with Pam and Glynn Lookabill and the other volunteers.
Kitten season is coming up, however, and they will need a new influx of cash for the rounds and rounds of bottle babes, kittens and mommas that will come through their doors.
So as a result, I will donate $5 for each comment made as part of this blog hop to Pam and her group.
If you, too, love kitties and want to help out, contact Pam at fureverfriends at bellsouth dot net, and she can give you all the particulars!
Now for the entertainment part of the post, here is a blurb and excerpt from THE LOST CHORD, a YA fantasy from Dragonfly Publishing with Bee Warrick, a girl on the autism spectrum, as a heroine!
A poisonous wave is spreading disease and discord across the eleven known universes. Seven special people, known as Keys, must strike the Lost Chord in order to restore the balance. Among those Keys is Bee Warrick, an autistic teenager from Earth who has traveled between the realms for years without realizing it. Can Bee help the Conductor find the other Keys before a bitter enemy strikes the wrong chord and shatters the universes?
Halfway through, her brother Reese barged in. The tall, broad-built boy plopped down on her bright pink bedspread and dropped his football helmet on the floor, where it rolled in a circle before coming to a stop.
Bee jumped and covered her ears to protect herself from the sound.
“Hey there little SPED girl. I see Mom isn’t riding you about your homework.” He glared at her. “Must be nice to be autistic.”
“I’m not stupid like you.” Bee knew Reese wasn’t supposed to call her names. Mom had told him often enough, ever since she was little. But he never stopped, so now she called them back.
She wasn’t sure exactly what ‘autistic’ was supposed to be; she’d read about it in books. She was just what she was, not some word that started with A. Her favorite book was Songs of the Gorilla Nation, about a woman with autism who’d learned to communicate with gorillas.
At least gorillas didn’t make fun of you, she thought.
“Stupid is as stupid does.”
Reese twisted up his face at her. He had the same auburn hair as Bee, a color received from their father’s genes. She hardly remembered their father. He came and took Reese away every other weekend. He never took her. She didn’t even bother to go to the window and look at him any more.
“Bzzzzzzz,” she said, annoyed and wishing he’d go away.
“You know that’s so damn lame. Knock it off. People talk about you at school. SPED.”
Bee knew that term was derogatory by the tone of Reese’s voice, though she couldn’t understand why it was bad. ‘Special’ was something that was extra good. So special education should be something really great, like a Christmas present.
Besides she wasn’t in specials any more. Just speech. Her classes were regular, just like everyone else, and she finally didn’t have a TSS following her everywhere.
Ever since she could remember, she’d been in therapy—occupational therapy, where she’d swung in a net and glued letters on paper; hippotherapy, where she rode and cared for horses at a local farm (she’d liked that); and de-sensitizing therapy, when her mother had scrubbed her body with a surgical sponge for 15 minutes at a time several times a day (she’d hated that).
The longest had been speech therapy, where she’d struggled to learn language, a process that was short-circuited somewhere in her brain. So much didn’t make sense.
Like special education.
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A short time later, Kylie noticed the man at a table near the door. His intent stare dissected her in a way that felt not like he was undressing her, but that he looked into her. Kylie stared back, putting a forbidding expression on her face. Usually, that was enough to scare off a would-be masher. But it didn’t seem to faze this one.
The man’s persistence triggered a defensive response, and she lost interest in the alcohol. She left half a dozen plat coins on the counter, enough to cover her tab and something for Lin, and then headed for the door.
As she approached the man’s table, he stood up. “Please join me,” he said.
“No, thanks, I’m on my way out.”
“Please,” he said more firmly. She stopped to look at him. That glance froze her steps. His eyes were the exact yellow tone of the dead woman’s. Exact.
She surveyed the room, but no one seemed to be paying attention. One gesture from her would have garnered assistance, but those eyes compelled her to wait. “Why should I?”
His voice softened. “I have information that could be of use to you.”
“Then perhaps you should come down to the Cendiary. That’s where SIRT’s camped while this investigation is going on.” Her mind clicked along frantically trying to reject the half bottle of alcohol she’d consumed. There was something about this man, something about him. His eyes, but more than that. Taller than most men, and broad-shouldered. Hair, perfectly combed, his skin, without a blemish. Not even the hint of an old scar. Clothing, unremarkable. Hands, not quite perfectly proportioned, his fingers a little long, the nails even but lengthy for a man.
“No. I need to talk to you now.” His gaze continued to dance with hers.
She blinked and looked away. “This isn’t a good time, friend.”
He cocked his head, a, thin eyebrow raised. “You consider me your friend?”
His hesitation made her miss a beat, too. “No, I don’t consider you my friend.” She frowned. “Come to the Cendiary in the morning.” She turned to go, but her wrist was suddenly caught in an iron grip.
Tugging on her captured hand, she looked over her shoulder. He held no apology in his eyes, and his expression was grim. He nodded to the empty chair beside his. “I need to talk with you, Investigator Kylie Sanderson. Please hear what I have to say before any more females are damaged or killed.”
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 planet’s 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?
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A teaser for Thursdays: The opening to DESTINATIONS, the second book in the Color of Fear series. Meet villain Gabriel, the leader of the white supremacist cult:
Gabriel was God’s favorite angel.
Or so he liked to believe.
“He” being plain old Bernard Ellison, former ordained minister and woodworker, discarded by so many of his former associates and society. They’d laughed at him, reviled him and called him depraved.
Who was laughing now?
“Not a one of ‘em,” he muttered to himself.
He surveyed his current quarters, finding them lacking. The South Dakota farmhouse had been built more than a hundred years before. It creaked, its bones old and tired. Its white paint peeled and flaked away in the dusty wind like a heavy winter snow. Its chairs and thin cotton curtains smelled of mildew and mold. Dust coated the windowpanes and any surface that remained bare.
He’d been better provisioned in the survival bunker back in Great Falls, with its years’ worth of food, water and supplies to feed him and the rest of his Angels. They hid in safety, waiting out the worst of the Second Holocaust that had wiped out the majority of the white men and women in the country, then the world. Waiting till the air was clean, and he could breathe free again.
They’d done it, those crazy Ay-rab bastards. Them and the Asians that had given the terrorists the ship to bring that poison ‘cross the ocean. They’d come down on these United States of America and destroyed it all.
Six months he’d waited underground, constantly monitoring the airwaves for signs of recovery.
When news never came, he’d sent men out to test the situation. Once they started coming back alive, he’d decided it was safe.
Outside, he’d discovered vast tracts of Montana abandoned. He’d claimed it. Then, as he gathered more people, he moved them on through South Dakota, claiming more land.
Some “claiming” was easier than others. Several times, they’d found people of color—brown, red or yellow—on the land that had been given by God to white people. Gabriel had…persuaded…them to move along. Some went voluntarily; others became food for carrion birds.
So many towns and cities they found empty. Millions had died in the Second Holocaust. Millions.
But Gabriel had survived.
He knew he’d been spared for a reason.
Pausing by the window to survey his flock at work, Gabriel was pleased. They scurried about, maintaining the trucks, sorting equipment, obedient to their orders. His orders.
Daddy always said I wouldn’t amount to much.
A memory of his father—worn striped overalls, his weary gray eyes—came to mind. A small farmer living north of Atlanta, Frank Ellison had borrowed and borrowed to survive the droughts, the floods, until the bank had taken the farm. His father and mother had moved to the city, where his mother cleaned rooms at the Motel 6. Daddy just sat and stared out the window, imagining those green fields that would never be his again.
“Look how much land I have now, Daddy,” Gabriel whispered. “Are you proud of me yet? I’ll make you proud. I will.”
Come by, read an excerpt and check out the new covers for the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series!!
My space opera TRIAD is the guest of honor in the sci-fi fantasy section of ROMANCE LIVES FOREVER today! Stop by and see what secrets are revealed! https://www.rlfblog.com/lyndi-alexander-011020/?fbclid=IwAR0vCQ8rmhz6OtPWn-Ra-rqxBRx30OF_f4ZOZBmencnI5C5sO1i0ITv-8h4
This story is based on an old online RPG I played in, and the characters are near and dear to my heart! This book is offered by Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.