When science becomes a weapon:
Cloning. Accelerated growth of replacement organs. DNA repair. In 2096, all are possible. And forbidden by law. Three people will defy these laws to save the life of eleven-year-old Zelimir, who will die a slow, painful death from a horrifying genetic disease.
Zelimir’s father hires Torver Lockwood and Demetria Greyson to find a cure for his son. Both have a personal stake in this illegal research. A cure may help explain why Torver is able to see into people’s pasts and why Demetria has visions about a violent future.
But, once developed, the solution could be used as a powerful weapon that can target specific genes. With the chance that the cure may fall into the wrong hands and start a new reign of terror, will Torver keep the secret to himself, at the cost of one small life?
SYNERGY by M. D. Benoit
The Mundial Trilogy – Book 1
Bio-terrorists release a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population. As the deadly virus mutates, Tzu Shin, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to help develop a cure. His only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt.
Then Kwan’s father summons her from across the sea to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs he needs to develop a cure. Lonely and missing her parents, she accepts the challenge, traveling with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World.
But a Chinese assassin is on her trail, determined to kill her and Li Zhong, and when Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.
WINDMILLS by Lyndi Alexander
The Color of Fear – Book 1
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.
Maxx Fragg, V.P.I.
When a real ghost attacks Maxx inside the program, he’s saved by the last person he ever expected to see again, his brother. Risking everything for a chance to say he’s sorry, Maxx, Tane, and Maxx’s almost-girlfriend Emi, need to figure out why real ghosts are haunting a virtual world while on the run from a murderous cyber-geist, high-tech security guards, a corrupt corporation with their own plans for the technology, the recluse genius who created the program, and Maxx’s own demons.
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“Don’t worry. You’ll be ghost free in no time.” Maxx knew his clients needed to believe he could make it better, take away their fears. If only it was that simple. Everyone wanted to name the night, put a label on their personal horrors. He wished someone could shut the door to the monsters in his own closet.
Today 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.
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. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? 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?
Thanks for inviting me to your blog today! I’m Laurie A. Green and I live in the great state of New Mexico, though I’m a native Michigander. My husband and I own a small ranch, so yes, we have the usual menagerie of critters—dogs, cats, horses.
As far as addictions (assuming the internet doesn’t count), I generally can’t function before I’ve had my two cups of coffee in the morning—and on really rough days I need an afternoon booster from Starbucks. I’m also a peppermint chain-popper, especially the soft puffy variety. Did you know peppermint is a natural antacid? Works wonders.
I don’t have a degree though I have quite a bit of unfinished business at various colleges. I’ve worked for 20 years as a military budget director, so the lack of a degree hasn’t hindered me and likewise, I don’t feel it’s had any adverse effect on my writing career.
I just became a debut author in January with a novelette, Farewell Andromeda, but my first novel, Inherit the Stars, launched in February. (It actually had two debuts—first as a serialized novel in three parts, and again as a complete novel in one volume.) Both titles are part of a Science Fiction Romance series. It’s now available in print, too!
What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?
The core idea for Inherit the Stars came to me in a dream. It’s about one man’s attempt to escape enslavement by a galactic superpower. To evade his captors, he strikes a desperate deal with the female captain of a prototype starship, and soon finds himself not only emotionally connected but fatefully entangled in her destiny–a course that will take him full circle to face the very evil he most fears.
I have to avoid spoilery here, but I can say I did quite a bit of research on theories surrounding dark energy, camouflage capabilities in space, and high tech communications, and then let my imagination take the reins. Writing is an education in and of itself. I always learn new things when I’m researching a novel.
Sounds fascinating! How would you best describe your books?
Unapologetically Science Fiction Romance with a side of high adventure. Most of my novels include military elements in some form, which seems to flow naturally from my long career in military in civilian support. Honor and duty are themes readers will see often in my work, and a love vs. duty scenario can lead to some powerful emotional conflicts.
What is your favorite genre to write? To read?
Oh, it’s SFR on both counts, but I do have one slipstream SFR/Paranormal manuscript completed and I do occasionally read outside the genre.
What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?
It would still be Science Fiction Romance, but I have to confess…I do have a family saga Historical on slow simmer in the back of my mind. It takes place in Spain, Mexico and the colonial Southwest (New Mexico) in the 1600-1700s. Maybe when I’m retired and have the time to do all the necessary research, I’ll see where it leads. It would be an ode to my adopted state.
When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I’ve written stories ever since I learned how to scrawl words out on paper. Just wired that way, I guess. I was a very shy, quiet kid, and it was about my only outlet for self-expression. I think I have to credit my dream to become an author to a junior high English teacher who gave me a ton of encouragement and once told me to never stop writing. Someday I’d like to be able to tell her, “Thank you, Ms. Phillips. I never did.” I’m sure she has no idea what a huge impact her words had on me.
What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?
I love everything about writing. I totally get lost in the stories and the world when I’m in the zone. A whole day can pass in a blink. What I don’t enjoy is trying to juggle the time I want to spend on writing with all the other priorities in my life—the promotional duties, professional job and household chores all add up to a lot of demands on my time. If I had my druthers, I’d spend that time at the keyboard.
Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?
I’m one of those who can’t listen to music while I’m in the process of creating the story. I need absolute quiet for that. But I do listen to music when I’m plotting or brainstorming. I do a lot of that on my two-hours commute to and from work and it helps set the mood or tone for the story. I prefer soft and classic rock—America, John Denver, ELO, John Mayer and Moody Blues are some of my faves. I have “soundtracks” on my iPod for my various novels.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?
Yes, I’m a member of RWA, LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors), FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal), and The Golden Network local chapters, CritiqueCircle, and the SFR Brigade.
CritiqueCircle.com was a huge find for me. I joined in 2007 and I made more progress in that first year than I had in the previous ten! I learned oodles about the craft through the critiques, and three of the novels that went through the CC queues went on to final in the RWA Golden Heart Awards. I also developed bonds with a large group of peers who have since become published authors—Barbara Elsborg, Arlene Webb, D.L. Jackson and Liana Brooks, to name just a few.
I know I love my critique group. You do learn so much! Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?
I think having a critique group is an essential tool for a writer. I have a pool of writers and authors that I exchange critiques with, many of whom I met on CritiqueCircle. Most of the writers on our joint blog—Spacefreighters Lounge—are close peers that I can count on to critique or beta-read my work or just help me hash out a new idea. I also have a couple of local peers I work with for face-to-face critiques. It’s more time consuming, but it can be really energizing to get that direct, immediate feedback.
I believe critiques are essential. No writer can work in a vacuum. You need to get your work in front of others’ eyes so they can point out issues or problems you may not see because you’re too close to your work. It has to be a peer you can trust to give you solid advice. Critiqueing is an art form in itself. Not everyone makes a good critique partner.
Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?
This is actually the second go-round for me. I was ardently pursuing a career in publishing back in the mid-1990s when I got so discouraged that I stopped writing for a decade. When I decided to reboot and take another shot at it in 2007 (I credit that inspiration to a Halloween eve movie marathon of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), I’d lost a lot of time but I was twice as determined.
Four years later in 2011, I was named a double finalist in the RWA Golden Heart Awards and then became a single finalist again in 2012 with three separate novels. (One of them was Inherit the Stars, under its original title P2PC.) I found my agent, Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary Agency, during that time after a peer read a guest blog she wrote and urged me to query her. Over the next two years we knocked on a lot of doors, but Science Fiction Romance just wasn’t getting any takers. We decided to forego the traditional path last September, and we co-published my first two works in January and February. C0-publishing is the term I use for being published via my agent.
As per the above, I’m co-published through my agent—I call it “Indie with benefits”—so when I talk about “the call” it was the one I received from Amanda when I first queried her, and she emailed to say “we should talk.” I was so nervous before we had that first telephone conversation, pretty much scared to death we wouldn’t click. Not to worry! We ended up chatting for hours about my work, my plans and the industry in general. Then she made her official offer to represent me. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to find someone so enthusiastic and excited about my work and who wanted to be my agent.
What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?
Inherit the Stars was a very different experience from all my other novels because the idea hit so hard and the scenes unfolded so fast when I began writing that I blasted out the first draft in six weeks. I mentioned the original inspiration came from the remnants of a dream, but the story that unfolded from that single idea was like a driving force. My muse seemed to be on auto-pilot! And this novel is no lightweight, it weighs in at around 112,000 words.
What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?
Right now, I’m working on shining up the next novel in my series, The Outer Planets, for a fall release, and that will be followed in the Spring of 2016 with the third novel, also complete but in need of a good spit and polish. The next three books haven’t been written yet, but I’ll be retiring from my day job next February so I can devote more time to getting those wrapped up.
I’ll be attending the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas from May 12th-17th. This is my first RT, so I’m really looking forward to the experience. Next year, I hope to get to several more conferences and events.
What would you like to tell readers?
If you’re the sort who loves a good romance and feels a real sense of wonder when you gaze up at the stars, you’d probably enjoy my work. After all, space is the final Romance frontier.
If you’d like to learn more about my books, please visit my website: http://www.laurieagreen.com
Best wishes with your release!
Tags: adventure, author, book, dark energy, Laurie A. Green, Lyndi Alexander, military, New Mexico, publishing, RWA, science fiction, science fiction romance, science fiction romance Brigade, space, strong women, writer, writing
I’ve had a pretty crazy month, what with getting divorced and moving from my house of 20 years into a two-bedroom apartment with my daughter, ready (?) for single motherhood again. But somehow in the middle of all the excitement, HORIZON DYNASTY was completed, edited and released, making the series complete! I know a lot of readers want to be able to plow through a series they enjoy, so I hope space opera fans will give a look to the Horizon Crossover series. The books have a wide cast of characters, as most of mine do. I grew up in the 70s and 80s, when all the big comedies and drams had big casts–Barney Miller, St. Elsewhere, Cheers, ER, etc.–so that’s what I’m comfortable with. Besides, you can never tell when someone’s character quirk might just be what you need to save the day! 🙂
For those of you who’ve missed the series so far, let me catch you up to date:
HORIZON SHIFT Horizon Crossover (Book 1): 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. Once they arrive, the ship is in sad shape, most of the crew is dead, and he’s got to rebuild both before his former commander catches up with him.
HORIZON STRIFE In 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 beings known as the Ancients in a struggle to discover the secrets of a mysterious derelict space station.
HORIZON DYNASTY — The Agency has had enough of Captain Temms Rogers’ urging for democracy in their region of space. Rogers soon realizes the Agency intends to use him and the crew of the Doubtful for their purposes or else. Can he gather the other captains of the sector in rebellion against the Agency and bring down their repressive regime? Or will Rogers lead them into a fight they cannot win?
All three are available from Dragonfly Publishing in ebook, paperback at Amazon.com, Smashwords, at the istore, Barnes and Noble.com and more. hardbacks can be purchased at lulu.com. See the complete listing of available purchase sites at http://www.dragonflypubs.com/dfp/horizondynasty.html USE this code at CREATESPACE for a special 15% discount for my special readers: B3PY6HNE
If you’ll be in the Erie area on October 18, 2014, I’ll be teaching a workshop on writing fantasy and science fiction characters through the Area One Pennwriters mini-conference at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, and I’ll have books for sale there. (Stay tuned for more details). Questions? Email me at lyndialexander at gmail dot com. 🙂
I traveled to Austin, Texas this week at the invitation of my publisher, Liz Burton of Zumaya Publications, for a launch party for the second book in the Color of Fear series, DESTINATIONS.
The first adventure was tracking down the books. Liz had brought so much stuff for Zumaya, that she’d inadvertently left the box with the books at home. She had to send someone to get them. So we sold other books and held on to the dozens of colorful cupcakes she ordered for the occasion.
Along with Rie Sheridan Rose and Gloria Oliver, we got the table inventoried and set up while we were waiting. The dealer’s room was populated with really nice people–I’d never heard of Armadillocon, but it appears to be a science-fiction based con, with a lot of really interesting discussions and panels from the Aztecs to the DNA of mummies. Who knew?
Finally we got the table set up, the drawing ready to go and we let her rip!
The afternoon went faster than I expected, and the books looked great. I had to laugh that the guy across from us tried a unique technique to attract readers. He tied his book to a long string and set it in the middle of the floor, drawing them in a bit at a time.
All in all, it was a huge amount of fun meeting these writers and readers. We had a great day and followed it with a wonderful dinner.
If you couldn’t get to Austin this weekend, remember you can order your very own copy of DESTINATIONS on Amazon.com or other online booksellers:
Xi San saved the life of a mysterious girl one night in his ravaged San Francisco neighborhood. He can’t get her out of his mind, but believes that she’s lost to him.
Lin Kwan came to America to bring her scientist father Chinese medicinal herbs, hoping to stop the virus that killed most of the world’s Caucasians before it mutates to infect the rest of the world. On her way to finding him, she meets again the man who once saved her, a man she can’t forget.
With a diverse group of fellow travelers, they head for St. Louis, where civilization is being rebuilt. Between them and safety, danger lurks—Gabriel, a self-styled religious leader and white supremacist, who has organized his army from Upper Midwest survivalist and militia followers, determined to take revenge for the white man.
But Gabriel isn’t their only enemy. Before they reach their destination, they will battle nature, prejudice and even those hidden among them who wish their destruction.
AND there’s a Goodreads giveaway for a copy of WINDMILLS and DESTINATIONS through August 7–https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/99329-windmills PASS IT ON!!
Eddie 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.
Tags: adventure, author, book, Color of Fear, cross-country, Destinations, Eddie Garrick, journey, life on the road, Lyndi Alexander, post-apocalyptic, publishing, San Francisco, science fiction, terrorist attack, vigilante, Windmills, writer, writing, YA, Zumaya
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.
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.
(For more on the story, click the WINDMILLS tab above–and stay tuned for DESTINATIONS, coming this summer from Zumaya Publications!)
Tags: adventure, author, book, cross-country, Destinations, Eddie Garrick, journey, life on the road, Lyndi Alexander, post-apocalyptic, publishing, San Francisco, science fiction, terrorist attack, vigilante, Windmills, writer, writing, YA
Welcome author Katherine Wynter to the blog, with her new book, BLACKOUT!
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.
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.
Katherine 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website http://www.katherinewynter.com