The Color of Fear series is topical and satisfying– the country is suffering from the aftermath of a deadly virus, and a group of young BIPOC is under attack from a a cult leader and white supremacist. But they have the herbs and seeds, brought by Tzu Lin Kwan all the way from Hong Kong. that may turn the tide and save the rest of those threatened by the now-mutating virus.
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.
“Oh, my God!” Valery squealed, staring at another brochure. “Look at this. We have so got to stay here.”
“Stay…here?” Kwan’s features tightened into a frown. “We have far to go—”
“Just for tonight, chica. Look, while I love looking at the stars, camping out with you, my aching bum also loves sleeping in a real bed.” She handed over the advertisement.
Kwan examined the photos of the cream-colored Victorian house with the blue trim, surrounded by flower gardens. It looked magical, like a castle built to attract the seven daughters of the Jade Emperor.
Valery jabbed her finger at the picture. “They’ve got a veranda. A real veranda.”
The word unfamiliar to her, Kwan deduced a veranda must be some sort of railed porch. “It also says high tea from eleven until two. It takes three hours to make tea? Quite a long ritual.”
Val laughed. “It doesn’t take three hours. High tea was a Brit tradition, you know. The rich used to eat meals a couple times a day, like, breakfast and dinner. About halfway through the day, the ladies would get faint from hunger and being squished by those damned corsets and so they started a tradition, more like what we’d call lunch.” She took the brochure back. “You know, they have, like, finger sandwiches—”
“Finger…sandwiches?” Kwan gasped. The thought brought flashbacks of the ocean voyage with Zhong. Then, people ate many things to survive.
“They don’t put real fingers in them, silly.” She pointed out the menu. “Kind of prissy ladies’ lunch with tea, fruit, scones…that stuff.” She sighed. “Although something tells me there won’t be table service today.”
Kwan considered the pictures of the three guest rooms, two with four-poster beds and cozy teddy bear themes, and the other a watercolor brush of white and pale blue with a sea motif. She hadn’t slept on such a soft mattress since before her parents had left Hong Kong. At her aunt’s, she had slept on a futon, and at the Hsus’, on a thick mat. The thought of a real bed appealed to her, too. Very much.
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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.”
Come by, read an excerpt and check out the new covers for the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series!!
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. 🙂
But 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:
or also on Kindle.
For more wonderful snippets for FREE, check out the rest of today’s list at Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday!