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Love, reptile style

reptile loveHere’s a snippet/excerpt from A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE. Investigator Kylie Sanderson has been caught and transformed into an alien reptile being–then rescued and the process reversed. Her cold shapeshifter lover does what he can to help. But her problems aren’t over.




“Are you ready to watch the films now?”

She shrugged without answering.

He reached for the remote the doctor had left on the counter and started the show again. “May I sit with you?” he asked.

“Sure.” She waved a hand at the chair the doctor had vacated. “Why not?”

He looked as if he were about to answer then he sat down without saying anything. Her attention was caught by the film. This section included Griff, in his reptile form. What a different attitude she displayed toward him than the staff! Whenever he entered her enclosure, she immediately calmed and became submissive to his every command, if that’s what they were, those odd clicks and bumps.

She might not understand them, but her reptile self clearly did. For the next several sections, Griff translated for her as Dr. Astrid gave commands, and Reptile-Kylie performed a multitude of tasks, manipulating machinery and other devices. She passed every one of the tests conducted by the doctor and her staff, easily lifting heavy objects, able to navigate obstacle courses at lightning speed, even passing dexterity tests with ease, especially when rewarded with raw meat.

The doctor returned during the screening to watch with them. “A fine specimen, for what she is.”

Kylie tore her eyes away from the screen. “Did — did Jaco see this? And the others? Did they?”

The doctor paused the film. “Only when you were rescued. Jaco took you to the nearest hospital, and an ambulance brought you here. After that, he wasn’t permitted access until we were well on the way to recovery.” Her voice acquired an edge. “If I’d known Rand would be such a fool as to bring you that trash this morning, he wouldn’t have been allowed in at all.”

Kylie chewed her lip, recalling the conclusions she’d drawn from that conversation. “And. my family?”

The doctor wouldn’t meet her gaze. “Your father was here. He didn’t stay long.”

“He saw it? Me?”

“He pushed his way in, or bought his way in, I don’t know which. I found him staring in the glass. I asked him if he wanted to visit. I even offered to call security if he was hesitant to try it one on one.” She rubbed her hands together, as if they pained her. “He looked through me like I wasn’t really there.”

Kylie swallowed hard, her throat closing. “Didn’t he say anything at all?” she whispered.

The doctor didn’t answer.

She turned to Griff. “Were you there? Did you hear what he said?”

Griff cocked his head and looked her in the eye. “He said, ‘That’s not my daughter.’”



Is truth just another version of fiction? Or vice versa?

My reptile shapeshifter romance book A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is featured at author Cara Bristol’s blog this week. Check out the story of how it came to be written, through a real life romance!

Even the smallest degree of hope can spark love.

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

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

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

From Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press.

Buy here:

Shapeshifter love!

small degreeToday I’m featured at Liza O’Connor’s blog with a science fiction romance novel with an alien shapeshifter and a family mystery. This unique story is available both in ebook and paperback from Kensington.

Great news–book discounts for my special readers!

Dragonfly Publishing has negotiated a great promotion over at Smashwords on the science fiction novels TRIAD, HORIZON SHIFT and HORIZON STRIFE–50 percent off!! That’s less than three bucks or the price of a cup of coffee! Here’s your special codes for those ebooks, and they should be good for the near future.

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?

CODE: Get 50% off at Smashwords with the code: ER34U




When Captain Temms Rogers of the Confederation spaceship Doubtful disobeys orders to attack innocent civilians, he and his crew become hunted rebels. In the midst of a desperate space battle, they risk using an experimental alien device that opens a wormhole which hurls them into a new universe.
CODE:Get 50% off at Smashwords with the code: DY37V




In FIVE-STAR REVIEWED  Book II of the Horizon Crossover Series, Captain Temms Rogers and the crew of the spaceship Doubtful are caught between a powerful interplanetary group called the Agency and mystical cvr200x300horizonstrifebeings known as the Ancients. With the voices of the Ancients haunting his dreams and a mysterious illness plaguing his crew, Rogers must find a derelict space station and discover its secrets before the Agency destroys them all.
CODE:Get 50% off at Smashwords with the code: NK38Y

Don’t miss your chance to read these exciting space operas! Get caught up on the Horizon Crossover series before the final book, HORIZON DYNASTY, is released later this year.

cvr200x300horizondynastyIt’s a great time to share the news with your friends who love action-oriented science fiction, with diverse and interesting characters, and a host of strong women, too.

Please pass it on, and I hope you’re enjoying these soon!

Like your shapeshifters… coldblooded?

asmalldegreeofhope3So excited that A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is back on the “shelves” as a Kensington product now– check it out!

Great new reviews, too–

“…highly recommend this story to young adult to adults who enjoy a smart, well written, interestingly different sci-fi story with lighter romance in it.” Open Book Society

“The author grabs you in the beginning of this amazing story and doesn’t let go. I loved it. I loved the characters; Kylie–she rocks, I’m in awe of her. She’s tough, not perfect, and totally loyal to her family (sort of) and job. Then of course Griff, so sweet and loving and sexy in both forms…” Up All Night, Read All Day Reviews…

Time to get your copy now! At Amazon for Nook

The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes–Cover Reveal!

What could draw poet, explorer, loner and paranoid Mykol Ranglen away from the relative peace of his own ring-in-space habitat?

He has no choice in the matter as one by one acquaintances are murdered or disappear altogether. Propelled by ever changing and deepening mysteries Mykol embarks to uncover secrets which could make people rich beyond their wildest dreams…or tear apart human civilization.

The escalating quest takes him through worlds of many dangerous extremes, leading him to confront the deadly alien Fist of Thorns, extinct species refusing to give up their power over the future, and those racing against him to uncover the secret first. But in the course of his pursuit, he must also face his own secrets. And some of these are even more dangerous.

The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes by Albert Wendland

Cover Art by Bradley Sharp

Foreword by William H. Keith

Space Opera Paperback coming from Dog Star Books in June 2014


What They’re Saying About The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes

“Mystery, heart-pounding adventure, and the dazzling wonders of far-flung space play significant roles in Wendland’s breakout novel, all while gifting us with a mesmerizing tour of alien landscapes destined to get under your skin and remind you of the very reason science fiction exists: Not to escape to other worlds, but to find ourselves within them.”
–Diana Dru Botsford, author of THE DRIFT and FOUR DRAGONS

Inside are alien worlds and titanic space habitats and a brilliant and paranoid hero, all skillfully blended together with long-vanished galactic secrets. Science fiction… good science fiction, by a college professor of literature who loves good SF.”
–From the foreword by William H. Keith, New York Times Bestselling Science Fiction Author

Is the grass greener on the other side? Only S.A. Check knows for sure

Thanks for being with us today. I’ve enjoyed reading your snippets and excerpts of this story—glad you could be here!

First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? Hi. I’m S.A. Check and I’m a sci-fi / fantasy author. Thanks for having me!

What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.? I grew up and write from southwestern PA. I’m a product of a coal mining patch town that filled the days of my youth with adventures exploring abandoned mine shafts, swimming in ponds, and having winter bonfires in deserted coke ovens. My wife is an E.R. nurse and I have a tween daughter whose imagination dwarfs my own.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? Every few years I think my taste buds may have matured enough that I’ll enjoy a hot cup of java and I’ll give it a shot but it still tastes like crap to me (apologies to all coffee lovers out there). I can’t say there’s any certain flavor that I have a particular bias towards but, in general, not my cup of…yeah you get it. I do love me some milk but my wife and daughter laugh when I order vanilla milk instead of calling it white. What?

What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have? I’m a PennState grad and proud of it. My degree is in English / Writing Option and while it may not have been the best suited to help me land a job in the market post-graduation, I’m still glad I travelled that literary road. Do you need a degree like mine to pursue a writing career? Absolutely not, but it forced me to examine a lot more divergent genres than I had before college and I really feel it helped me round out as a writer.

WTG_cover_eBook_mediumTell us about your most recent publication. Welcome to GreenGrass is a straight up science fiction fantasy adventure centered on a murder mystery.  I started writing the novel back in 2008 and have revised and re-touched it more times than I can count. The story is about family, in whatever non-traditional form it may take, and what it means to be a part of the world around you. The main character, John Traveller, is tested and torn but at his center he holds true to some core beliefs. When Dave Barnett from Bedlam Press / Necro Publications decided to pick it up, I was thrilled this would be my debut title. I’ve finished a couple other novels since GreenGrass but it’s always held a special place for me.

What inspired you to write this story? This was the kind of book that I would lose myself in as a reader, a world built all on my own with endless possibilities and countless tales that could spring from within the domed city. I enjoyed every minute of crafting GreenGrass and it really was a novel that I wrote as much for myself than the prospect of publishing but then you come to the point that it’s done and you say, “I wonder if anyone else would like this?”, and here I am.

How would you best describe your books? I try to keep my books fast, fun, and entertaining. I consider myself plot-centric at times and I spend a lot of effort in pulling together tight story arcs. I just want a reader to enjoy themselves and read the last page and be a little disappointed that the ride is over but be glad they bought the ticket.

What is your favorite genre to write? Most of my writing leans towards worlds of the fantastical nature. I think science fiction and fantasy really allow an author to let loose with their imaginations and disregard convention a bit but I’ve done a few realistic fiction shorts that I’m proud of too. Check out Tangled Lines, a short story I contributed to a charity anthology, Hazard Yet Forward, out last year.

To read? I read a lot of scifi and fantasy novels but I always grab something totally out of genre every fourth or fifth book when it catches my eye. I enjoy Jim Butcher’s Dresden series and lately I’ve been reading A. Lee Martinez’s work, and I read Joe Hill’s Horns.  If you keep my entertained, maybe a chuckle or two along the way, I’ll read it, even if it’s the instruction manual to my microwave.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write? Wow…that’s up there with a wood chuck would chuck wood. I think I’m already writing the kind of tales I want. I grew up on comics and they’ve influenced my writing as much as anything else I’ve read. I really put everything I can into one of my novels and try not to hold back. I keep the strong language to a minimum and the violence intrinsic to the story. One of my favorite things about John Traveller in Welcome to GreenGrass is his use of the word thunderin’ in lieu of other curse words. It’s fun and really adds something to his character.

What do you most like about writing? I love the initial phases of creating and developing a project. The idea phase when you’re trying to piece together something and see if the kindle (no pun intended) takes flame. Maybe it’s a thought here or a twist there that I jot down until the novel begins to take focus. I always try to outline my novels to a certain degree and it’s the one point in the process that I let loose with pen to paper and scribble down some mad notes. Outlining by hand feels very organic and I enjoy watching it take shape.

Least like? I should say revisions and it can become tedious after the first few run throughs but as long as I know the story will be better for the effort, than I can’t really say I mind.

Do you belong to any writing groups? I’ve been a member of Pennwriters for several years now and they really are an excellent group. The conferences they hold are top notch for both networking with other writers, classes into the craft of writing, and meeting industry contacts along the way.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. Like a million other writers, I’ve received more than my fair share of rejections from prospective publishers. I’ve kept a rather simple philosophy to the whole process. Every time I received a rejection, it was just a reminder that I’m still in the game and another opportunity to fine tune my pitch. I kept writing and refining. One of my favorite sayings is that you can’t fail if you never quit. When Necro Publications agreed to publish Welcome to GreenGrass under its Bedlam Press imprint, it was a thrill and especially so because you finally find a literary home and someone who appreciates you as a writer. David Barnett, the main man at Necro, has simply been awesome to work with and to have someone with his experience and talent backing you makes the whole process that much more fulfilling.

How many books did you write before selling one? I have three books in the done bin prior to getting the green light for Welcome to GreenGrass and several others in various states of completion. I’m really glad that this one turned out to be my debut novel and has always held a special place for me. GreenGrass touches on so many of literary influences to this point in my career and I literally have an entire notebook of notes and scribbles, circled passages, arrows, and filled margins while I was crafting it. Maybe I can include some of the more busy pages when I release the twentieth anniversary edition? Hey, you never know!

How did you find a publisher? You have to put the time in! Finding a match for where you want to be and be comfortable with who’s handling your work. Necro was looking to expand its sci-fi fantasy imprint with Bedlam Press and I had the right submission at the right time.

How did you receive the Call? David Barnett reached out to me and said he really enjoyed my manuscript and wanted to add it to Necro Publication’s line-up and it didn’t take much for me jump on board. There’s a definite feeling of satisfaction to reaching your goal of publication.

What are you writing now? I have another novel ready to go. It’s another trip through a fantastical world but with a twist that I hope the readers of Welcome to GreenGrass will cross over and enjoy also. It focuses on friendship and family and the characters find out a bit about themselves along the way. Oh yeah, there’s murderous ghosts, virtual worlds, and high tech armored enforcers too!

What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you? I plan on making the rounds to several sci-fi and writing conventions throughout the coming year and I’ll be posting specific dates and locations on my blog as the dates approach. I was down at the Virginia Comicon last month and had a great time meeting and talking with so many of the folks who attended.

What would you like to tell readers? That’s easy. Thank you! Sincerely! By reading my work, you give me the privilege of building worlds to capture your imagination and attempt to hold on long enough to leave you with something more than when we started and if it can change a perception or add to a perspective or keep you entertained, then I’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

Here’s a link to the book –

and one for the book trailer –


There have always been alleys. Whether in a big city, a small town, or the end of the world, the spaces in between, the dark corners of civilization, have always needed a place to breathe. The Mayans had Tikal, Rome raised the bar, and the Big Apple grew into a city that never slept. Too many eyes made secrets difficult to hide. Worlds need those pockets, the urban closets that hide the skeletons of a modern society. Just as sure as the sun rises, even if it’s not the one you’re expecting, there are places that never see the light of day.

Resting against the fire escape grating, John Traveller knew as well as any that even the cast-outs and misfits needed a place to call home. For two nights straight, he watched the same alley from his metal perch and all he had to show was a sore back and numb fingers. The dual red moons overhead stared back at him, a constant reminder this world was not his own. Not that he needed any.

“Another thunderin’ dead end.” Traveller tossed a stone at a garbage can. The clang echoed down the alley. “I guess you can’t surprise anyone if there’s no one here.”

He laid a single barrel shotgun on the grating beside him and pulled a small notebook from his back pocket. The calculations seemed right. Traveller looked over all his data at least ten times. It looked like he missed his mark on this one. He couldn’t wait any longer. They would all be expecting him back at the house. He made it up to one knee when something caught his eye near the ground.

A blue pinhole of light hovered over the quiet cobble stoned street, floating in the evening air, unaware it hadn’t existed moments before. Traveller felt the air in the alley pull towards the floating glow. The tails of his trench coat bustled in the artificial breeze. And then everything stopped, like the moment before someone unleashed a sneeze.

The radiance rushed out into the night, erupting from its center and blowing discarded trash down the passage. A pair of tennis shoes emerged inside the pulsing glow. They hovered in the brisk night air before a figure gushed out of the portal, flowing through like a water slide without the benefit of a pool underneath. The confused rider struck the ground hard, tumbling end over end until skidding to a stop on his stomach. The body remained motionless.

Traveller chuckled. That may have been one of the top five most unglamorous entrances he ever witnessed. The naked guy from a couple months back would still be hard to beat. From his shadowed vantage, Traveller watched the bewildered figure scrambling along the ground. His red jogging pants and t-shirt that read Start Slow Then Back It Down was covered in whatever muck accumulated on alley floors. The man clung to his elbow that took the brunt of the initial impact and blood seeped out between his fingers.

Wake up and smell the coffee–or whatever that is… SFFS for Dec. 14

Greetings from frosty Pennsylvania! With nearly two months of winter weather down, I’d say that we were pretty lucky this year to have mild conditions, but I don’t want to jinx us all! 🙂 Either way, it’s a great day to stay inside and read, SFFSat logoand the Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday team has some great snippets to introduce you to authors around the world this morning. Check them out here.

For my snippet today, I’ve returned to my science fiction romance that came out earlier this year, A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE.  Our heroine, Kylie Sanderson, is a lead investigator with the elite Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce team (SIRT, for short), and she’s been assigned to a case where a serial killer is dumping bodies of dead women, each partially mutated into a lizard form. As more of them are found, the heat is on for a solution and arrest of the perpetrator:


After the lab techs had analyzed the evidence, Kylie, as the squad deputy supervisor, prepared to give the daily briefing. Wishing she could prop her eyes open with toothpicks, she settled for popping two amp pills, and yawned as the fifteen members of the team gathered.

Her team met in the largest conference room of their digs, which were the best available in town. Boxes of evidence piled onto the table in the center of the room, allowing each team member scant space for their computers. She sat on the windowsill, watching the street six stories down as the team grabbed their morning sustenance.

After the sleepless night she’d spent haunted by the victim’s hideous face, the buzz of male voices, men laughing and joking about the usual crap–sports, spouses or subordinates–got on her nerves. She activated the computer projector, the first picture on the screen a full-on picture of the two bodies in the dumpster. Without the smell to accompany it, the view was nearly tolerable, but all the same, she didn’t look. Been there, done that. No one wanted the T-shirt.


asmalldegreeofhope3It’s tough to be a woman in a male-dominated field, but throw in murderous aliens, and life just gets pretty complicated.

“Teach me, Kylie Sanderson. Show me how to make love like a human.”– Griff

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?

The novel is published by Lyrical Press, and is available in ebook for Kindle, Nook and other ebook platforms. Stay warm and enjoy!

Is reputation everything? SFFS Oct. 26

Hello, sci-fi fans and friends! I’m finally getting things back on track after a whirlwind summer from hell that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. (Well, maybe on my WORST enemy. Just sayin’.)

cvr200x300horizonstrifeI’ve been nose-deep in the second novel in the Horizon Crossover series, and just now am coming up for air, about to submit it for editing. Those of you who are writers may sympathize with the issue, in series writing, of trying to get back into the flow of a cast of characters and a setting after you’ve worked on other things in between. *raises hand* Learned my lesson here. So I’ll go right into book three, HORIZON DYNASTY as a NaNoWriMo project so I can kick out the first draft while I’m still immersed in these people’s lives.

Today’s snippet is set in a repair and parts shop in the city of Roandock, on planet Marriel. Under-the-table dealer Jowalt Edwards has been approached by Temms Rogers and his mercenary captain friend C.T. Dutton for information about some mysterious alien artifacts associated with the Ancients. Rogers has previously learned that the Ancients seeded the universes with their progeny and are actively trying to re-engage with those left behind.  Jowalt, however, is less than excited about that:

Jowalt rolled his dark eyes. “Yeah, you want to harvest the artifacts and build yourself a superweapon.”

            Temms couldn’t have been more surprised if Jowalt had punched him in the face. “I—what?”

Jowalt’s gaze darted from one of them to the other like a vole hyped up on speed. “That’s what the scuttlebutt says–you hunted down a gob of those artifacts already, and you used them to destroy an empire where you came from. You’re looking for these so you can challenge the Agency and you’re going to destroy the worlds.”

            A shocked silence settled over the room at his pronouncement, then C.T. started laughing.

            “All this time I’ve been associating with a destroyer of worlds, and I didn’t even know it? Hey, Temms, why haven’t you just singlehandedly blown up Agency headquarters by now?”


It sure would have saved a lot of time, I suppose, but that’s obviously not what happened. 🙂

Hope to be here more regularly, with new material. You’re all still plugging away–I’m proud of you!

Never a dull moment…

Happy Saturday scifi and fantasy fans! Hope you have something lovely planned–here in beautiful Crawford County, it’s the last night of the huge fair…demolition derby and fireworks! Highlight of the backwoods week. 🙂

cvr200x300horizonstrifeBut out in space, book two of the Horizon Crossover series is slowly coming together. HORIZON STRIFE picks up a year after Temms Rogers and his crew burst through a wormhole into a new universe. They face new issues and new enemies:

After his sudden, shocking arrival in the Mariel star system, his ship broken and crew decimated, Captain Temms Rogers has fought his way back to self-sufficiency, even prosperity, in a new universe with his new crew. Over the months, he’s established a reputation as a fair and competent mercenary ship—if someone’s got a job, he can handle it. His fledgling alliance with the powerful Consortium has opened many doors for him, and he repays that support with his loyalty.

As time goes on, what appeared to be a rosy future begins to pale. First, the Consortium’s system rival, The Agency, takes notice of Rogers’ efforts to rally the other independent ship owners against them, and trouble isn’t far behind. Worse, those officers who crossed over through the wormhole with Rogers have begun to fall ill, victim to a local virus or germ to which they’ve never been exposed or developed immunity.

 Just when he needs his ship at full battle readiness, Rogers finds his crew incapacitated, one by one, leaving the new recruits from this side of the barrier to try to rescue them from impending death.

Even as he deals with these possibilities, Rogers finds he has to face a horrifying fate worse than that of his crew: a lovesick doctor determined to marry him—or else!

So here’s today’s snippet, from the opening chapter:

The door slammed open, and the two men, blindfolded and bound, were shoved inside, bouncing off the hallway’s narrow walls. “Keep moving!” barked the man who’d brought them. He planted a hand firmly in the back of the second in command of the ship Ramman and pushed him ahead into the darkness.

“Captain, what do they want?” the second gasped between clenched teeth.

“Shut up,” his captain replied. Jak Moster had been around this cosmos for nearly sixty-five annuals, forty of those dealing with the financial monster called the Agency. The organization controlled the way free captains did business in nearly the whole interplanetary sector, on an unofficial basis. The local governments couldn’t—or wouldn’t—take action against them.

He had a pretty good idea what was wanted here–most important now was the ability to stay alive through this encounter. It might happen, too.


Poor Jak. Not a good time to be wrong.

If you haven’t read HORIZON SHIFT yet, it’s still available. Check it out here:

| Amazon.UK
| Barnes & Noble

or also on Kindle.

SFFSat logoFor more wonderful snippets for FREE, check out the rest of today’s list at Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday!



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