Category Archives: young adult sci-fi
THE ELF CHILD
Clan Elves of the Bitterroot (Book II)
The moment elf warrior Astan Hawk agrees to protect the young elf queen trouble dogs his heels. Jelani’s human upbringing clashes with clan tradition, spurring dangerous intrigues within the Circle of Elders. Soon even the motives of his father Daven come into question. With nowhere else to turn, Astan asks Jelani’s human friends for help. Hiding in shadows, an outcast elf plots revenge by seeking the help of powerful elf mages who live deep within the forest. Can Astan fulfill his promise to keep both Jelani and his child safe when the whole world seems to have turned against them?
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This was Grigor’s plan, no one else’s. He’d thought of it all on his own, after the clan had discarded him, left him alone here in the pitiless rocks and cold winds and harsh rain. He deserved the right to carry it out.
“If the elders are involved in their politicking and complaining, then now is the time to strike,” Grigor said, looking Vez straight in the eye. “We should move in and take the child now.”
“All the same, if guards are posted, while they may let us in, they will not let you pass,” Vez insisted.
“We need a distraction. Something to send anyone who’s not already involved in this discussion about the false queen out of our way,” Grigor said.
Terzon’s face lit up, an idea practically bursting from his lips. “A groundquake. That would frighten them, show them we are a force to be reckoned with!” He grinned, and Grigor knew that capability existed within his childhood friend. But so did the rest of the clan.
“They would know you had caused it, Terzon. Inherent in this plan is the ability for you and the others to continue to blend into the clan, to appear innocent, until the queen is deposed once and all. The same goes for the rest of you. Your elven powers are obvious to those who know you well.”
Silence settled around them like a heavy smoke. Grigor hadn’t thought through the details, not while trying to coordinate so many of them, and now facing the open hostility in the eyes of Vez, he struggled to be clever.
“Then we should use human powers,” Vez said.
“Humans have no powers!” Hidal cried.
“Exactly. What can we do that will call to the heart of every elf in the forest, that we can blame on humans?”
“Fire,” Fontine whispered.
“Yes,” Grigor said. “Yes, Fontine, that’s just what we need.”
Grigor knew Fontine could start a fire anywhere, just by wishing it into existence. But careless humans had destroyed hundreds of acres of elven territory over the years. The possibility was one the clan feared more than almost anything.
Yadin nodded. “Beckley said a camp of human males had been on the eastern face of the mountain for the last week, hunting for animals.”
“This was known to the clan?” Grigor asked.
“Yes,” Vez said. “I heard them talking. Here’s your chance to be a hero, my friend. And we can hold the humans accountable for all of it. Of course, this would be more believable if you showed the clan you’d put up a fight to protect them.” He eyed Grigor. “I think a blacked eye and a bloody nose ought to do it.”
I knew when I got the idea for THE ELF GUARDIAN that It would be set in the Bitterroot Mountains, like the others–but I wanted a unique twist. It came when I read about the Montana Vortex.
When paranormal investigator Chiara de Luna needs a boost to her sagging career, she makes a trip to northwestern Montana for new material. Little does she know that the real story she’ll find is much more outlandish than weirdly tilted trees and brooms standing up on their own.
Clan Elves of the Bitterroot (Book IV): The strong Earth energies that support the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot have gone awry for unknown reasons, and the powerful forces at work have not gone unnoticed by the outside world. When a paranormal investigator looking for a story to save her career is told a fantastic tale by the juvenile and disobedient elf prince Elliun, his young albino elf bodyguard Max must try to fix the mistake. Can Max get humans, mages, and elves working together in time to save the land before the energies spin out of control? Or is this the end of the elven world in the Bitterroot Mountains? [Urban Fantasy series from Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.]
The phone line went dead before she could even say ‘goodbye.”
Not that she was going to say ‘goodbye.’ Anything but.
The once-sweet name turning bitter on her tongue, the whispered words sighed through her lips, becoming sharp, cutting her.
No, that was her teeth, biting down hard enough to make her bleed.
She set the phone into the stand. Gone.
Her knees gave way and she landed, hard, in her office chair, banging her elbow on the edge of the polished black-and-chrome desk. The pain reverberated up and down her arm, but did nothing to cloak the agony raging inside her.
The news clippings across the surface of the desk seemed to mock her now. Paranormal Investigator Visits Alcatraz. DeLuna Solves Local Murder with Psychic Clues. Ghosts Give Up Secrets to Ohio Paranormal Expert. All her work, fifteen years of building a reputation as an investigator of the weird and unexplained—what would it mean if Hunter Nowles walked away from her?
And why was he leaving? Because that stupid exorcism had turned out to be a fake.
Okay, and the haunting of that old mansion in Pennsylvania had turned out to be a bust.
She chewed her lip. To be honest, she’d failed to either prove or debunk the last seven investigations she’d undertaken. Lucky number seven.
“The great Chiara DeLuna bites the big one,” she muttered, waiting for the rim shot that had to follow. It was a joke, right? She was a joke. The network seemed to think so. Davis had already sent a memo warning her they wouldn’t fund her program any longer if she couldn’t produce results. And now Hunter had decided she wasn’t worth his time, either.
Or maybe he was just afraid that her failures would taint his own growing stature in the paranormal investigation community. Their three years as lovers didn’t mean anything at all?
Her gaze was snagged by one of the news photos on the desk, herself smiling and shaking the beefy hand of some small-town police chief. See, that woman was Chiara DeLuna, “spooky” media star—the woman with the chic platinum blonde hair, the expensive wardrobe, and the ominous black sedan that seemed to part crowds when she arrived on a scene.
Not the woman who looked back at her from the mirror, dreary, bookish Bonny Lang from Euclid, Ohio whose most thrilling accomplishment before she’d hit the big time was surviving a wreck with a drunk driver, as a teenager. Her mother had been killed in the crash; Bonny had sold her first paranormal article based on a post-mortem conversation they had before her mother’s spirit faded.
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Probably my favorite subject to read or watch is space opera. For the uninitiated, there is not necessarily any singing–unless you’ve got Klingons in it–but it’s a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes space warfare, melodramatic adventure, interplanetary battles, chivalric romance, and risk-taking. (fromWikipedia)
Star Trek, Star Wars, The Expanse, Doctor Who, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Avatar and so many more fit into the category. My own humble contributions to the genre include the Horizon Crossover series and Triad, all available from Dragonfly Publishing.
After five years of silence, the Arkosian space pirates are back to terrorize the sector where Trezanna Len fights to save her Solarii colony, a small group of Terran descendants settled on the planet Induna. To survive, the Solarii need assistance. And soon.
Trezanna could ask for help from the neighboring group called Dragonfleet, but its cruel leader Estrella Drake has been on a rampage to annex Solarii space. Estrella would never agree to an alliance with the Solarii. Or would she?
When Trezanna had joined the Solarii, Luca Stregone was DragonFleet liaison to the group, back when both groups fought the oppression of the Arkosian pirates, who’d terrorized this sector of the galaxy for thirty years.
The Solarii had banded together on the small planet of Induna, brave individual souls who challenged the despots, gathering members as word of their alliance spread. DragonFleet, always a vicious bunch but even more so under the petulant, tumultuous leadership of Estrella Drake, had clung onto the coattails of the new group. Dissatisfied with the bounds of DragonFleet territory, she’d use any excuse to carve a larger section of the sector for herself, and just as happy to take some of what the Arkosians had, just for spite.
The two groups had fought and won as allies, ousting the pirates in a bloody victory. But the celebration and peace had been short-lived.
Without the constant gnawing of the pirates’ fangs in her side, Estrella instigated bickering within, causing a division in DragonFleet which ultimately spawned the Khimeyr. Luca took nearly two hundred of those unwilling to live under Estrella’s prima donna rule and moved them to Zeta, promising them a new colony, a place to enjoy the free life they had earned.
But apparently that peace had been denied.
“Something got him on a scouting mission seventeen months ago, an animal or…” Catava shrugged, her voice devoid of emotion. “He wasn’t the only one. Zeta Colony was never the paradise we’d hoped it would be. Many dreams died there.” The pain that crossed through the woman’s eyes was unmistakable.
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.
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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.
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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.