Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The War Room

Want a chance to get a FREE book?

Go to Goodreads and enter the drawing to win a free print copy of STARBLUE, the sequel to my SF romance novel, BLUE FIRE, from Desert Breeze Publishing.

The giveaway runs until September 11. Plenty of time to enter.

In fact, go to Goodreads and check out ALL their giveaways. You could enter a drawing every day of the week -- every day of the month. Not saying you'd win every single time, but your chances go up if you keep entering. Just imagine all the books you could win and read.

So what's STARBLUE about?

Starblue Ash swore never to do two things: join the Rovers and leave Mallachrom. Commander Day of the Rover Corps didn't care -- she was the last of their family and her heritage was the Rovers. When Rover Pilot Neona Creed needed rescuing from creatures that mimicked the Shadows of Mallachrom, Blue's psionic bond with Neona and her twin brother, Keegan, was their best chance of breaking her free. Blue teamed with Keegan and a ship full of Rovers to chase the kidnappers across the galaxy. The long journey deepened their bonds and changed their friendship to love. If they survived this crisis, they might change the universe.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Book of the Week: JA'HANNA, Wildvine Book 1

Wildvine Series

From Writers Exchange

In multiple worlds, universes and dimensions of reality, there are tales of Hub Worlds, where many different realms can meet and intersect. Some travel between worlds through the power of the mind and Talents born into the blood, while others are chosen through vision and prophecy and step between worlds with the power of talismans. None can go to the others' worlds, except when they meet in a Hub World.

Wildvine County, somewhere in the United States, is that pivotal point where the travelers from

multiple worlds and universes meet.

Dayree was born to a powerful family in the Taksearhe Clan. She was expected to have strong Talents, yet her gifts never emerged. Mocked by some, ignored by others, she took the opportunities offered to her and explored other gifts, becoming a craftsman and then a teacher. In the process, she found her soulmate, Jayx.

Years later, when their village was threatened by rebels who wanted to control their world, Dayree's gift awakened, enabling her talented cousin to evacuate the entire village to safety--stepping through the vortex between worlds, to a planet called Earth.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

TURNABOUT: Phoenix Fan Fiction

Footsteps. They ducked into an open doorway, and Bennu leaned out in the cover of the shadows far enough to see a man come out of a room, locking the door behind himself. Another walked out of the room opposite, and they talked in normal voices. No fear here. The first reported to the second that "the kid" was still asleep. Preminger's hand tightened on Bennu's shoulder, and he smiled. He had always known Preminger had some soft, sentimental spots, well-hidden. A little half-Indian girl named Joanna Wolf claimed one of those spots.

When the two guards were gone, they went straight to the locked door. Bennu grasped the handle, pressing himself against the doorframe to muffle the thrumming as energy poured from his hand, breaking the lock. He touched Preminger's shoulder as the other faced away to guard them from discovery, and pushed the door carefully open. Sliding through like ghosts, they closed the door behind them. Preminger turned on his flashlight.

The room was dingy, the windows covered with blankets, a few crates scattered around to make tables and bookshelves. Their target was curled up on a cot, fully clothed. The sweep of the flashlight over the girl woke her and she flinched and opened her eyes. Preminger dashed towards her to keep the girl from crying out, but she just sat up and looked at them. No fear, just curiosity and acceptance. And old beyond her years.

"Joanna." Preminger knelt in front of her, staring into her wide, dark eyes. "Do you remember me? It's Uncle Jay," he whispered.

The veil of age dropped from her face and Joanna nodded delightedly. She pointed to the door, her questions very clear on her face. Preminger nodded, and her smile grew wider as she hugged him briefly. Then she slipped off the cot and began pulling on a ratty pair of tennis shoes.

"How is it?" Preminger whispered, going to stand with Bennu at the door. "We still have time. When do the others attack?"

"In about --" he checked his watch "-- five minutes. It'll be close." He took hold of Joanna's hand as she came up behind them. He took the lead and Bennu guarded the rear as they backtracked to the stairs and up to the roof. This time they stayed together, going down one fire escape. Joanna didn't make a sound, even when she slipped and smashed her ribs against the iron ladder. Preminger refused to wonder what her captors had done over the years to keep the girl so quiet.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book of the Week: NOVA VENDETTA #2: The Truce

Commonwealth Universe
Downfall Era/Era I

The Sorendaal/Pirate novels

“What’s been going on outside?” Niall finally asked, when the hubbub finally calmed down and people went back to their bunks, got in line to use the sanitary cabinets now that there was hot water available, or gathered at the other table groupings to talk. Kimber and Sureena and the leaders of the prisoners in the other compartment joined the command team and Dr. Hallbar. It was time for a serious conversation, to finally get facts and decide what they could do.

“All clear, Doctor.” Selendon’s voice came through the medical insignia pin on the doctor’s collar. “Tell them whatever they want to know. It’s the only way we’re going to survive.”

“Tell me, Commodore,” Niall said, struggling to keep his voice calm, though it still felt like his throat had been scraped with sand, “did you authorize--“

“Absolutely not. And you should know that the ship punished those skabblenaqs before we even knew what was going on.”

“How?” He met Dr. Hallbar’s gaze, saw the shift to bleakness mixed with something like weary horror.

“Everything that could go wrong in the room where they conducting their questioning,” the doctor began.

“This is no time for niceties, Dru,” Selendon cut in. “Call it what it was, torture, plain and simple. The ship turned everything backwards in the room. We’re still trying to untangle the programming, figure out if it was a cascade failure on a massive scale, or this ship of … it’s our ship, not mine any longer.” A gusting sigh came through the connection, buzzing a little. “Our ship might just be sentient. Somehow. An angry, confused, hurting, frightened child, lashing out at the ones who hurt its friends. Or maybe even part of its consciousness. Who knows? We have no access to any of the research, any of the theories or science behind what the researchers were doing when they built the ship. Too much was either lost or deliberately destroyed and hidden.”

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Book of the Week: NOVA VENDETTA #2: The Truce

Commonwealth Universe
Downfall Era/Era I
The Sorendaal/Pirate novels

At the end of twelve days, Niall was escorted to the captured RA ship -- expected. The cargo bays had been modified into dormitories, and all the former crew of the Nova Vendetta were housed there -- also expected. The section where Niall was left contained almost all of his command crew -- not expected. He hadn’t identified anyone by name, but then again, Selendon also hadn’t asked about any of his tribe.

Everyone wore clothes similar to his. Simple, long tunics and loose trousers and shipboard-boots with magnetic plates in the soles. Dark cloth in blue, green or brown, with the silver sensor threads woven into a loose square over their hearts. Niall looked around the dormitory room with bunks for thirty and found an unoccupied bunk. He assumed it was unoccupied because the sleeping sack was still rolled up on one end, unlike the other bunks. Most of them had bags hanging from the support posts, just like the bag given him when he was finally dismissed from Selendon’s office for the last time. There were a few personal items in his bag, retrieved from his prison quarters. He assumed everyone else had been given the opportunity to find something they valued, to take to their next point of incarceration.

“They fixed the engines,” Nesta said, approaching him.

“Their mistake.”

“They’re listening,” Doc said from a bunk two rows away.

“We’ve had bigger challenges.” Niall sat down and settled the bag at his feet. He closed his eyes and felt the rumble of the engines coming up from the deck, through his boots. Flickers of his hallucination-dreams came to him, and he shivered deep inside as he imagined the Nova Vendetta had welcomed him home.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Book of the Week: NOVA VENDETTA #2: The Truce

Commonwealth Universe
Downfall Era/Era I

The Sorendaal/Pirate novels

Niall and his crew were just centimeters away from freedom, escaping in the stolen starship they had christened the Nova Vendetta. Then disaster struck, paralyzing their ship. Retaken as prisoners, they found themselves transported on the very ship that had been their ticket to freedom.

Then the unthinkable happened: experimental technology and a risky gamble put the ship under their control. The escaped prisoners headed for the furthest reaches of known space, determined to stay free at any cost.

Labeled rebels and pirates and criminals, they held to the principles that had let them survive and stay Human during their time in prison. To the outlying colonies slowly being abandoned by the disintegration of the Central Allied Worlds, the crew of the Nova Vendetta and its slowly growing fleet of allies were heroes in the truest sense of the word.

Then the revolution reached out to threaten Niall's homeworld. It was time to go home. He had to protect Sorendaal, even if it meant giving himself into the hands of the very people who wanted him dead.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS, Terry Brooks

The subtitle is: Lessons from the Writing Life

In case you've been living under a rock for the last forty years, Terry Brooks is the author of the Shannara and Landover books. He's been compared to Tolkein -- all other comparisons don't really matter, do they?

I remember reading Shannara in college, with the incredible Brothers Hildebrandt illustrations. The glory days when I was buying every book I could afford from the Science Fiction Book Club.

Yes, this book is about writing. I love seeing inside other writers' heads, getting glimpses of their struggles, the processes they go through, the breaks they got and didn't get. Brooks offers some insights and wisdom applicable to all writers of fiction, no matter what genre you love or loathe. It's a shorter book compared to some of the massive explorations of other writers' careers and minds and journeys that are on the market. Easy to digest, but a lot of "writerly nutrition" packed into it.

Read it. You'll be glad you did.

And when I get my to-be-read skyscraper whittled down a few million pages (yeah, that big!) I'll have to pull out the first books of Shannara and Landover and read them again, and see how different they are, now that I've had a glimpse through the eyes of the wizard behind the words.