Monday, July 21, 2014

Spotlight: The Enclave by H.M. Clarke

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/22/14 - 7/29/14

Genres: Science Fiction

Katherine Kirk lived only for vengeance.
Vengeance against the man who destroyed her home, her family and her life.
Sent on a babysitting mission to Junter 3, RAN officer Katherine Kirk, finds herself quickly embroiled in the politics between the New Holland Government and the Val Myran refugees claiming asylum.
After an Alliance attack Kirk and her team hunt the enemy down and discover that they have finally found the lair of the man they have been searching for…
And the captive who has been waiting patiently for rescue.
“What would you do to the man who destroyed every important person in your life?”

Gunfire flew from the cars behind and Katherine turned tail and leapt up the stairs.  Joshua was crouched waiting at the top of the last tier and had managed to get hold of a pistol.  Around them the NHSIO security from the front foyer was now positioned around the portico columns and returning fire to the attackers below.   The defenders controlled the high ground and the people in those cars had no hope of getting them now.
So why were they still attacking?
Katherine dragged Josh away from the stairs back into the foyer as more security personnel streamed past them.  No one spared them much of a glance but Katherine did not care.  Something was not right.  Inexperience (or stupidity), would be the only reason someone would even consider committing to a frontal assault on Federation House.  The place was just too well protected.
Are they Alliance Katherine?” Josh asked as she checked the magazine on her pistol.  Thirty HC rounds remaining.  Hopefully it would do.
The Alliance isn’t this stupid,” she shouted over the sound of fresh gunfire.  But I would bet a year’s pay that they are involved somehow.  “Whoever they are; I think we should retreat back to my brother’s office.  At least I can guarantee that we’ll be well defended there if anything untoward happens.”
Joshua nodded.  Katherine then noted the ease with which he held his weapon.  “You’ve had weapons training?”
I served with the Alliance Infantry.  Every citizen owes three years service.”
Katherine nodded impressed.  Leading families were known for finding loopholes to stop their members from meeting their obligations.  Nice to see the Val Myrans did not use it.  “Then you can cover my back.”
Both entered the stairwell at a run; taking the lifts would have been risky if the power went; and climbed several flights before Katherine was sure they were on the right floor.  As they climbed Katherine open a comm link to the Adelaide.  
Adelaide do you read me?” no one answered her and Katherine repeated herself another three times.  “Come on damn you – somebody talk to me!” she half shouted as they reached the landing she wanted.
Skipper?”  A burst of static broke over the comm unit.
Sue, is that you?”  Abruptly the static disappeared and the musical voice of Susan Mayer came over the wire.  
-interference is shocking, like someone is jamming-”
Sue, is Steve on the bridge?”  Katherine cut across her.
Yes Ma’am.”
There was a click and then Steven Tran’s voice came over the link.
Steve, I want you and two squads to suit up and get your arses over to Federation House ASAP.  We are under heavy fire and I think the idiots outside will break off if they see some extra persuasion coming up behind them.”
There was a pause and then, “Yes Ma’am,” and the link went silent as Steve cut his connection.  “Sue, has Tom returned to the ship?” Katherine asked hoping for an affirmative but knowing that not enough time had gone by since he had left from lunch.
No ma’am”
Katherine?” A new voice cut into the line.
Richard?  I thought you were taking shore leave – it doesn’t matter.  We’ve got an incident here and I’m afraid that it might splash over to the Adelaide.  Steve is bringing two squads here to me and I want whatever personnel remaining on board to protect the ship and the port in that order.”
How bad is it Kath?” Richard asked.
Ask me again in another hour, I might have an answer by then.”  She cut the connection and turned to Joshua.  She may be overreacting but there was something in her gut telling her that she was right.  But first they both had to get back to John’s office.
Ready.”  Joshua’s voice was firm and there was a look in his eyes that Katherine recognized, she had seen it enough times in her own crew when the situation was tight.
She palmed the stairwell door open and checked that the corridor was clear, then she and Joshua came out, pistols raised to line of sight.  They moved down the empty corridors seeing nothing out of place except for the obvious signs of a hurried evacuation of office personnel.
They wouldn’t be able to penetrate this far into the building?” Joshua flexed his fingers over the grip on his handgun.
Not from the frontal assault, but I have a bad feel-”
Katherine stopped speaking as the sounds of gunfire echoed down the corridor ahead of them.

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About the Author:
In a former life, H.M. Clarke has been a Console Operator, Public Servant, ICT Project Manager, Paper Shuffler and an Accountant (the last being the most exciting.)
She also has a degree in how to blow things up and then write about why it blew up. In her spare time, she likes to lay on the couch and watch TV, read and tell ALL her family what wonderful human beings they are.
She keeps threatening to go out and get a real job (Chocolate Test Taster sounds good) and intends to retire somewhere warm and dry – like the middle of the Simpson Desert. For the time being however, she is an Aussie in Ohio and dreams about being warm…

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Spotlight & Giveaway: An Etiquette Guide to the End Times: A Novella by Maia Sepp

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/10/14 - 7/24/14

Sci Fi (Dystopian)


Good manners never go out of style…do they?

There aren’t any zombies (yet), but the world is still at the brink of destruction: It’s 2028 and global warming has led to rising oceans, crazy weather, and resource scarcity. On top of that, someone just turned the Internet off. Seeing as how it’s humanity’s last chance to turn things around manners are, understandably, a bit frayed.

Bookish etiquette buff Olive O’Malley is busy microfarming her urban property and minding her own business (and her chickens) when the government comes calling. Their goal is to push the populace towards carbon-neutrality while keeping kvetching to a minimum, and they come with a proposal: transition Olive’s popular etiquette column to a radio show for the masses, and they’ll help Olive find her grandfather, who’s gone missing.

Olive doesn’t trust the hipster government officials who try to bribe her with delicious-but-probably-a-little-evil chocolate pastries, and declines their offer. (Politely, of course.) But they won't take no for an answer, and soon Olive is knee-deep in turmoil, eco-terrorism, and missing chickens. Now she has to untangle herself from their demands and figure out how to make sure her family (and her poultry) are safe before it’s too late.

Chapter One—In the Land of Victory

My superhero power is definitely not sleeping. When I was looking for a house, my realtor rhapsodized about this bedroom’s perfect southern exposure, about the tastefully herbaceous wall treatment and charming old-world feel. Right now my room could be more accurately described as a floral-wallpapered sauna, full of an impossible heat, like three Julys stuffed into one. It isn’t helping.
I watch the overhead fan stop again, gyrate, and then restart before I roll over, the sheets coming with me. After a minute I shift to the other side, flinging the covers away with a sigh. The fan finally grinds to a halt, probably the victim of a wiring problem I haven’t been able to pin down, although lately I’ve been thinking it might just hate me.
I relocate to the living room and angle the pedestal fan my way. God, it’s hot. I close my eyes and lean back on the couch for a minute, hoping sleep will take me. The sofa is a faux leather hand-me-down that’s supple after years of wear, smelling faintly earthy, soft against my skin.
Eventually I switch the TV on. Our cable hasn’t worked properly in months, the service so erratic it’s like the people running the company are legless, as my grandfather Fred would say—a charming Irish way of saying spectacularly drunk, even though my grandfather hasn’t seen Ireland since he was a child. My eyes land on Fred’s easy chair, a pale green monstrosity he could barely squeeze through the front door when I finally convinced him to move in with me. His pipe, his books, and his old-man slippers are still where he left them.
After flipping through a bunch of static, I shut the TV off and switch to the radio, which promptly announces it’s five-thirty in the morning. I ponder what to do next, discarding juggling, mind-reading, and origami, although I spend more time thinking about mind-reading than I probably should, considering I’m the only one here. Finally I pull my computer tablet onto my lap and turn it on. I write an etiquette column for a spunky arts and culture website, and my latest instalment is due on Friday; other people’s problems are always a delightful way to get my mind off my own. I start to page through the letters, which all start with Dear Olive. Dear Olive, I’m convinced my neighbour is milking my goat. Dear Olive, my neighbour’s windmill is keeping me up at night. Dear Olive, my wife is hoarding solar panels. What do I do?
Three crashing noises erupt above my head, each more ominous than the last. I wait for it to stop, but twenty minutes later I’m clinging to the side of my house, staring down a pair of raccoons who seem intent on defiling my solar array. For a long while it’s just the three of us, locked in visual combat, but it’s my roof and unless they start paying rent, they’ve got to go. Eventually they get spooked by the noise of the six a.m. domestic surveillance drone overhead, which would make this the first time I’ve ever been happy to see a drone. I watch as it starts its first pass of the morning. They’re smaller than the military version—sleek, modern, ever-watchful. Rumour is they’re even biodegradable, although that hasn’t exactly endeared them to anybody.
After the raccoons finally lumber off I pull myself onto the roof and take a look at the solar panel they’ve sullied, the wires connecting the array to my house almost stripped. It’s not easy to carry out rooftop repairs quietly at six in the morning, and it definitely wouldn’t be polite to wake anyone up, but I don’t want to be back up here tomorrow, either. If I leave the panel like this, they’ll come back and finish the job, I know it. They’re organized.
I look up when a new-fangled Town Car, still boxy and authoritarian but now electric-powered, turns onto my street. I watch it as it goes; there are almost no cars on the roads these days, and the sight makes a faint sense of unease pulse through me. I hope whoever’s in that car isn’t carrying bad news for one of my neighbours.

Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble 

About the Author:
Maia Sepp is an author of humorous contemporary and dystopian fiction. She left the tech sector to write about sock thievery, migraines, the future, and…the tech sector.
The Sock Wars is her debut novel. The first chapter of The Sock Wars was published as a short story/novel excerpt titled Irish Drinking Socks, and became a Kobo bestselling short story. The Sock Wars has been a top-100 digital bestseller on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore, as well as a genre and Writing Life bestseller on Kobo. It is available in print and ebook formats.
Maia’s second novel is The Migraine Mafia, a story about a nerdy thirtysomething’s quest to come to terms with a chronic illness. It is available online everywhere in print and ebook formats. It has been a genre bestseller on Kobo.
Her latest is a humorous near-future dystopian novella, titled, An Etiquette Guide to the End Times, available now!

Author Links:

Enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card! The giveaway will run the length of the tour. Open internationally. Enter through Rafflecopter.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Ruins of Tropicalia by Tyler Taylor: Spotlight, Excerpt, & Giveaway

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 6/24/14 – 7/22/14
Genres: General Fiction, Literary, Thriller, SciFi, Musical
Tour Price: Free
Release Date: 6/24/14


The Ruins of Tropicalia is a serialized, pulpy adventure story, accompanied by new music by indie rock n roll band The Amends.

Expanded Plot Summary:  In early 2014, a group of Americans gathered on a remote Central American peninsula to experience the last days of an unsullied tropical paradise before its development into a corporate retreat for the world’s biggest tech company. Many of them believed they were there accidentally, but none of them were. This is the story of how a group of restless, indecisive idiot discovered who brought them there, and what they could be. This is the story of a country and a civilization few remember ever existed. This is the story behind the most mysterious mass Disappearance of the 21st century. This is a war story. And when things get bad, you rescue what you can…

Details: Two new chapters/episodes of TROT debut each week from 6/24/14 until its completion at the end of August, available for free in multiple formats (mobi/Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.) both online and on a mobile app. A new single from The Amends will premiere each Wednesday throughout TROT’s run at the above locations as well as A trailer for the book can be viewed on Youtube.


Sam Merard doesn’t recognize the station names any more, but they must be deep into Queens. They’re out of the underground, elevated. He checks the time on his phone. This isn’t right. They should have been to JFK at least fifteen minutes ago. He considers crossing the car to check the subway map, but he doesn’t want to chance Liz spotting him.
“Approaching Utnapishtim station,” a female voice announces through the rattly speakers.
Utna-what? The announcer’s voice was different, too. The train slows and screeches loudly to a stop. The doors slide open. Liz steps outside. Sam pauses his iPod, slips the earbuds back into his pocket, waits a few seconds again, and follows. The train rolls away behind him.
The platform stretches endlessly northeast. A solitary heat-lamp illuminates the stairs down to the street. Beyond that, darkness and infinity. Without looking behind her, Liz walks into the gloom. He follows.
Sam hears nothing but her footsteps. No car horns, no breaks, no drunken shouts, no anything. He peers over the edge of the platform, but has trouble seeing anything more of the city than dark, blurred outlines of buildings. This part of the city produces no light. No illumination behind the windows, no streetlights below. Nothing but shadows beyond the train platform.
He walks gingerly on the sides of his feet for what must be a mile. The platform continues on past the point of credulity. Liz is not concerned with making noise. Whenever her faint outline disappears into the murk, he is still able to follow the sounds of her heels clicking against the wood.
A faint white light appears in the distance. Liz continues walking towards it, never altering her pace. The light splits into three distinct shapes. He makes out the profiles of three men— two wear white bio-suits and gas masks, the third dons a long white lab coat and surgical mask. A dim fluorescence emanates from their clothing.
Liz stops walking. Sam’s heart thumps, and he ducks behind a trash can. He peers over its edge.
The man in the lab coat approaches Liz. His coat is open, and an oddly-shaped, octagonal stethoscope bounces against his chest. Liz unfastens the top two buttons of her blouse. She offers him her chest. He places the diaphragm against her neck instead.
The scientist murmurs something to his colleagues, who stand side by side four feet behind him. One of them scribbles a note on a pad. Sam hears their exaggerated breathing through their masks. The lead scientist reaches into his coat pocket and withdraws a portable blood pressure monitor. He straps it around Liz’s forearm. He pumps it, checks his watch, and mutters to the others again.
“Satisfied?” Liz asks.
“Somewhat,” the scientist answers in a gruff, muffled voice.
“Then give me what you promised,” she says.
Sam can’t help but notice again the lack of noise and smell and sight. It’s as if there is no city surrounding him.
One of the other scientists steps forward. He places a small cylindrical object to his throat, beneath his gas mask. When he speaks, the words come out robotic, metallic.
“After one more test,” He She or It says.
The second scientists pulls what looks like a neatly folded piece of paper from his back pocket. He unfolds it, bends down, and places it at Liz’s feet. It too gives off a faint glow. She steps upon it. The second scientist glances at the paper, checks a watch-like device on his wrist, and places the cylinder to his throat again.
He says to the note-taker, “Thirty-seven pounds. A new record.”
“Would ya look how special I am?” Liz says flatly.
The scientist in the lab coat asks, “Have you noticed anything different? Have you taken flight yet?”
Liz shakes her head. “Just give me the powder,” she says.

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About the Author:

Photo of The Amends, including TROT’s “curator”, Tyler Taylor (wearing the shark shirt).

After taking a temporary leave from his Colorado-based rock n roll band The Amends, Tyler Taylor was among the group who went to Central America, and witnessed the events described in The Ruins of Tropicalia. He edited and compiled the accounts of his fellow travelers into the main text of TROT. He and Amends lead singer/guitarist Drew Weikart worked to put some of the events to music, and the entire band (including bassist Chris Childress and drummer Shay Byington) recorded the eight new songs in April and May.

Connect With The Author:


The author is giving away: (5) The Amends T-Shirt (Multiple Sizes Available), What We Could Be Studio Album (3), and The Amends Studio Album (3) on The Ruins of Tropicalia Book Tour! Open internationally, enter through Rafflecopter!


A Blast From The Past - The Terminator

Thirty years might have passed by since the release of The Terminator, but it's still one of my all-time favorite science fiction films. I not only enjoyed the original film, but I've enjoyed the rest of the film in this series, too. 

The Terminator is really a futuristic film, but the plot centers around the past. A futuristic soldier sends a human back in time to protect his mother, a woman that has not even conceived him, yet. At the same time a robot has been sent back in time. His mission? To destroy the woman that will one day give birth to John Connor. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger was cast as the Terminator, a decision that personally I feel made this series. Personally, I couldn't imagine anyone else filling his shoes. He took this character and made him his own, turning this show into a complete success. 

So I hope you enjoy my tribute to this show. Please feel free to comment on your favorite moments in the comments section below. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Spotlight & Giveaway: The Circuit: Executor Rising by Rhett C. Bruno

Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/11/14 – 7/18/14
Genres: Science Fiction

It has been centuries since Earth was rendered a barren, volatile wasteland. With their homeworld left uninhabitable, humanity founded a system of colonies throughout their local solar system. Known as the Kepler Circuit, these settlements are strung together by a network of nonaligned Solar-Ark transports, locked in continuous motion. They have served to provide an influx of resources to every faction ruling over the remnants of humankind, most importantly the newly discovered element Gravitum which is found only in the Earth’s unstable mantle.
By 500 K.C. a religious sect known as the New Earth Tribunal has risen to preside over most of The Circuit. Though there is barely a faction left remaining to challenge them, a string of attacks on their transports force them to summon the enigmatic, yet brilliant, Cassius Vale for help. What they don’t know is that together with his intelligent android creation, ADIM, he is the one orchestrating the raids.
His actions lead to the involvement of Sage Volus, a beautiful Tribunal Executor sent by her masters to spy on their mortal enemies – the Ceresian Pact. In order to find out who is behind the attacks, she infiltrates the ranks of a roguish mercenary named Talon Rayne. Against all her intentions, however, she finds her faith tested by him and his ragtag squad.
While Sage and Talon are engaged in a futile hunt, Cassius Vale initiates his strategy to bring down the narrow-minded Tribune once and for all. But will anyone be able to survive what he has in store for the Circuit? 

Ex-Tribune Cassius Vale stood at the edge of a three-dimensional map of the Circuit in his clandestine lab on Titan. His icy glare moved decisively along the bluish projections of the slowly rotating planets, those always stanch eyes narrowing as they fell upon that of Earth. A small HOLOProjector, in the shape of a sphere, with fluted rifts of radiant, blue lights all around its circumference, rested in his upturned palm. Without looking, he twisted his thumb, shifting one of the offset planes on the device so that a splaying beam of pixelated light shot upward. The particles began to rearrange, the dusky likeness of a human head taking form.
His heart skipped a beat. He tried to steady his breathing, his hands beginning to tremble, but all the swollen emotions were only serving to drench his brow in sweat. It was the same as the year before, and the years before that when that fateful day inevitably would come to bring with it irrepressible pangs of grief and rage.
Once the projection was fully configured, the face of Caleb Vale was rendered with such realism that only a closely discerning eye would be able to notice the space between each floating fragment of light. But the image was frozen, the tip of Cassius’ finger hovering over the blinking sliver on the device that would set the recording to replay for the thousandth time. The image had no background. It was as if the young man portrayed was there with the ex-Tribune, a living bust joining him at the viewport.
Cassius could usually fight back the tears, but on that day it made his eyes well. It was all he could manage to urge himself to switch on the message, cuing the lips of the hologram to begin speaking.
“Happy Birthday, Dad!” Caleb wished cheerfully, with only a hint of the vocal dilution inherent in a typical recording. The ex-Tribune’s inventions were far from typical. “I bet you thought I’d forget.”
Cassius released a pitiful sound, more a grief-stricken snivel than the reminiscent laugh he had thought would slip through his quivering lips. That face was so familiar to him, and yet stranger with each and every passing day.
“I can’t believe how fast another year has gone.” Caleb’s expression dropped to a grimace.
“Look Dad. I know you’re worried about me, but I’ll be fine. You see, we did it, we finally did it.” The hologram rearranged, zooming out to trace Caleb’s full body. The floor of his environment was rendered, illuminating beneath his footsteps as he walked over to run the back of his hand along the surface of a glass chamber. At first glance it appeared to be filled simply with water, but swaying beneath the ripples was the straggly form of an aquatic plant. Its stem was wiry, almost pathetic looking, but Cassius remembered the shiver up his spine the first time he saw it.
“We moved it here from the lake. It’s growing under the surface! A real, Earthborn plant. For the first time in decades, the purification process is taking a step forward. I…I–” the excitement in his voice was palpable, bringing to Cassius a twisted smile as his youthful son tripped over his own words. “I know it doesn’t seem like much, but life on Earth after centuries… Dad, it’s…it’s a miracle.” Caleb gathered his breath, and then chuckled to himself weakly. “You probably don’t care, but it’s everything to me.”
Everything to me, Cassius thought to himself, his hand nearly slipping from the burnished sill he leaned on.
“Well, we’re about to head out for supplies. And don’t worry, I’ll be safe. Earth isn’t as vengeful as you recall. Anyway, you know I’ll be thinking about you. We’ll see each other soon, I prom–” Cassius’ son was cut off as a powerful tremor knocked him off of his feet. A woman’s voice shouted frantically in the background as he scrambled across the floor and reached out. Then the recording froze.
Tears ran from Cassius’ eyes in streams as he ran his thumb over the HOLO-Projector, replaying those last words over and over until he unraveled. The device slipped through his perspiring fingers, its impact drowned out by his angst-ridden groans. He hunched over the table, his insides curdling, his throat clenching as if he were being choked to death.

Buy Links:
Barnes and Noble
Mundania Press 

About the Author:
Rhett Bruno grew up in Hauppauge, New York, and studied at the Syracuse University School of Architecture where he graduated cum laude.
He has been writing since he can remember, scribbling down what he thought were epic short stories when he was young to show to his parents. When he reached high school he decided to take that a step further and write the “Isinda Trilogy”. After the encouragement of his favorite English teacher he decided to self-publish the “Isinda Trilogy” so that the people closest to him could enjoy his early work.
While studying architecture Rhett continued to write as much as he could, but finding the time during the brutal curriculum proved difficult. It wasn’t until he was a senior that he decided to finally pursue his passion for Science Fiction. After rededicating himself to reading works of the Science Fiction author’s he always loved, (Frank Herbert, Timothy Zahn, Heinlein, etc.) he began writing “The Circuit: Executor Rising”, The first part of what he hopes will be a successful Adult Science Fiction Series.
Since then Rhett has been hired by an Architecture firm in Mount Kisco, NY. But that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to work on “The Circuit” and all of the other stories bouncing around in his head. He is also currently studying at the New School to earn a Certificate in Screenwriting in the hopes of one day writing for TV or Video Games.

Enter to win an autographed print copy of this book! The giveaway will run the length of the tour. Enter at Goodreads.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway  

        The Circuit by Rhett C. Bruno    

          The Circuit      


          by Rhett C. Bruno      

            Giveaway ends July 18, 2014.          
            See the giveaway details             at Goodreads.          
      Enter to win

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Presenting Shardfall by Paul E. Horsman - Light, Epic, Historical Fantasy

Virtual Book Tour Dates:  6/12/14 - 7/10/14

Genres:  Light Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Action-Adventure

Tour Promo: Use Coupon Code AR72V at Smashwords through July 31, 2014 for a free copy!

Muus is only a thrall, a chattel without rights, but he knows the small, blue shard he picked up belongs to him alone. His commonsense saves their lives from cold and starvation.
Kjelle, heir to the Lord of a rich mininghold, is spoiled, and covetous of his
thrall’s tantalizing find. His greed causes an avalanche that leaves both
young men marooned on an icy mountain slope.
Birthe, young wisewoman and huntress, mother of baby boy BĂși, is brave and clever. She knows her way through the snowy wilderness of the Norden and her songs are filled with magic.
Now they are bound together on a danger-laden journey to a lost and burning land, where Muus needs to connect the skyshard to the Kalmanir, the standing stone that is the world’s fount of all magic. The Kalmanir’s time is almost up and it urgently needs to be replenished before the magic of Gods and men runs out.
The two boys have to learn to trust each other, for all around them, enemies abound.
Rebels threaten both the kingdom and Kjelle’s holding, and a tribe of mad idolaters is trying to recall the banned primordial Old Gods.
Even more imminent is Muus’ danger, for it comes from nearby, from the shard itself.

After a bend in the path, Hagen halted. He peered at the ground, uncertain like a hound that found a fresh bear track. ‘Holderling, the snow – I don’t trust it.’

Kjelle cast a suspicious glance at the ground. ‘What about it?’
The karl hesitated. ‘I don’t know if it is safe to go further. The snow isn’t solid. An avalanche …’
‘Nonsense,’ said Kjelle, turning away. ‘The slope looks fine. Keep moving; we’re almost at the high pasture.’
The nearer they came to the plateau where in summer the sheep grazed, the brighter the blue glow became. The last stretch seemed like walking through the cold fires of Helheim, past rocks and snow, covered with dancing light. Muus glanced at Kjelle’s face. He noticed the glistening sweat on Kjelle’s forehead, the staring eyes and the hasty white puffs of his breathing. Muus knew Kjelle was scared. Muus remembered Kjelle’s training sessions with Oskar, the drunken, blustering weapon master. Muus had been there, guarding the Holderling’s weapons, watching his master fight, sweating and shaking, while Oskar shouted and pressed him. Kjelle was always angry after those sessions with Oskar, angry at his slave, never at the weapon master. Muus laughed soundlessly. Kjelle must be the only Nord who’d completed his manhood’s Testing by hunting a nearly dead bear. Muus had been there. He’d carried his master’s spears and he knew someone else had gone first and done the real work. It was because the Holderling’s life was precious and he couldn’t be risked, people said. Muus knew the truth. The Holderling with his blustery mouth and his hard hands was scared.
After three hours on the mountain, they reached the high pasture.
‘By Thor’s Beard.’ whispered Kjelle. In the middle of the field was a round hole, about a foot deep and round as the shield of a giant. The blue light radiated from the shield’s center.
The men murmured uneasily. ‘Alf work,’ shouted Orn. ‘We must get away from here, before the svartalves drag us into the mountain.’ Muus saw his whole face contort in fear.’
‘Svartalves are a bard’s tale,’ said Hagen. ‘Shut up and wait for orders.’ He looked at Kjelle.
The Holderling wiped the sweat from his face. ‘Go see what it is,’ said he, poking his slave.
Muus shrugged. The blue glow didn’t scare him and he walked into the circle. The light enveloped him as if in welcome. In the middle lay a shard the color of a cloudless winter sky, translucent like a lump of ice and as big as the palm of his hand. This was where the glow came from. Without thinking, Muus picked up the shard. A noiseless flash covered him; a sharp pain came and went. As he stood there in a daze, staring at the glowing stone, Kjelle came up to him.
‘What have you got there?’ he snapped. ‘Give it to me.’ The Holderling held out a compelling hand.
Muus started to give him the stone, when a voice in his head said, ‘No.’
‘No?’ said Kjelle in disbelieve.
With a shock, Muus realized that he had spoken aloud.
His master exploded in wrath. ‘You mangy rat! Give it to me, or I’ll leave your carcass here for the wolves.’
The skyshard strengthened Muus’ resolve and he shook his head. ‘It’s mine,’ said he in a soft voice. ‘I found it.’
‘You’re a slave,’ yelled Kjelle. ‘Nothing is yours.’ He grabbed Muus’ hand and squeezed.
Muus tried to break free, but the Holderling was stronger. When Kjelle bent his middle finger back, he had to give in. He opened his hand and eagerly Kjelle grabbed the blue stone. The moment his fingers touched the shiny surface, a thunderclap echoed against the top of the Silfjall and shook the plateau. A massive tremor threw Kjelle and Muus hard against the mountainside. From somewhere came a cry of deadly fear, which was drowned out by a growling like the awakening of a large, hungry snow bear. Dazed, Muus saw an immense load of snow pass within an arm’s length of where he lay. Without thinking, he pressed himself against the mountain, his ears filled with the wild roar of the avalanche. It happened in three or four heartbeats, before a final boulder bounced past and a swirling cloud of fine powder rose above the pasture. The roar died into deep silence.

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble
Google Play

About the Author:

Paul E. Horsman is a Dutch and international Fantasy author-publisher,
Born in Bussum, a quiet little suburbal village in the Netherlands (1952).
After finishing school and doing a stint in the army in tropical Surinam, he served for thirty years as a Scoutmaster. Professionally, he earned his bread in various business capacities.
From 1995 to 2012 he was an instructor at a large educational institution – where he taught foreigners the wonders of the Dutch language and customs – until Governmental budget cuts terminated both the school and his job.
Since then is Horsman a full-time fantasy author.
His first three Dutch books have been trade published in The Netherlands by Zilverspoor.
His English books are published under the Red Rune Books label and appear at Amazon and many major on-line book stores.
His tales are light fantasy, characterized by their positive mood. Equality and friendship, courage and determination, humor and growth form some of the colors with which Horsman paints his stories. His worlds and their peoples are diverse and full of adventure. And behind it all there is always that dusty scent of old death so characteristic of dungeons, and the smell of dragons, kobolds or other denizens of other worlds.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Spotlight and Must Read Interview: Crucible by T.D. Wilson

Virtual Book Tour Dates:  5/27/14 - 6/24/14

Genres:  Science Fiction - Space Opera, Military

Publisher: Carina Press, Harlequin Ltd.

Book two of The Epherium Chronicles
January, 2155
Earth Defense Forces Captain James Hood is on the mission of his life. The Cygni solar system is just one space-fold jump away. One more jump and they'll have reached the fledgling colony that Earth desperately needs if the human race is going to survive. But a plot to derail him has already damaged his ship, threatened the lives of his crew and cost him time. Time the colonists might not have.
So much depends on him now, but Hood's confidence is shaken. It's self-doubt he thought he'd buried, a brutal mind-killer for all military commanders. Yet danger surrounds his team; a brutal insectoid alien race is still out there, intent on eradicating humans, and a greater threat from an unknown, elusive enemy has emerged.
The forces at work on Cygni are like nothing Hood has trained for, tactically or emotionally. When put to the test, he must choose to either trust the unlikeliest of allies, or run and seal the fate of the Cygni colony forever.


The Epherium Chronicles: Crucible
By T.D. Wilson
Carina Press, Harlequin Ltd. 

Chapter 1
EDF Armstrong
Deep Space Route to Cygni
Sunday, January 26
Earth Year 2155
Captain’s Log, Sunday, January 26, 2125, EDF Armstrong, James Hood commanding. Three days. Probably the longest three days of my career. Three days stuck licking our wounds from a near disaster I didn’t see coming, but through profound actions from our crew, we managed to survive.
It’s been a little more than a week since we left Mars Station en route to the first of at least two new fledgling colonies. Our trek following the path of the colony ship Magellan to the Cygni system has already seen its fair share of setbacks. An attack on the Epherium Corporation’s temporary office on board—the very company that developed and launched the massive colony ships—has catapulted us into a full-blown conspiracy. It seems one of my officers, Lieutenant Commander Walsh, is involved and the potential assailant. Early on, the evidence centered on our best fighter pilot, Lieutenant Krieg. He was framed for the attack at first but has since been exonerated. Afterward, Walsh, along with the help of some unknown force flying a prototype stealth frigate, managed to move our jump beacon into an asteroid field and caused significant damage to this ship. I believe the entire situation was created to facilitate his escape.
The motive for this whole sequence of events appears to be linked to two sets of personnel data. The first list contains records of individuals who had been experimented on in development and in actual flight with Epherium’s Embrace sleeper cell technology. Most of their testing was related to brain activity reinforcement and memory or knowledge enhancements, but there is a darker side to their experiments. One of their scientists discovered a way to use the Embrace units to rewrite a person’s entire personality, and even though Epherium shelved that piece, Epherium unearthed it to reprogram convicted criminals aboard the Magellan and the other colony ships. The revelation by Henry McCraken, the head of the Epherium Corporation’s contingent on board this ship, about the use of the technology is troubling enough. According to my chief security officer, Lieutenant Greywalker, some of the criminals were among the worst of their time. If we arrive at Cygni and this personality replacement has failed, we could be in for a very rude reception.
Our Epherium troubles aside, I’ve kept the crew’s focus on repairs. I know the incident in the asteroid field has cost us valuable time, but our repairs are almost complete. The gunship Percival took the worst of the damage during the first collision with one of the asteroids, but we’ve managed to get her back to 80 percent operational status. Repair crews had to cut her away from our hull, which has caused considerable delay getting us back under way. Two of her gun arrays were destroyed and she suffered a large hull rupture. The damage to the ship was
compounded with the deaths of two of her gunnery crews and the fact that her captain, Will Alford, is still in a coma. While we have more arrays to replace the ones lost on the Percival, it will take more time to finish installing them. I think it’s more important to reach Cygni now at our current strength and continue repairs there.
The stealth frigate we encountered has caused quite a stir back at HQ and with the companies involved in its design. Greer Technologies and Epherium have both denied any involvement in the further development of the ship. The original prototype is still in pieces and its parts were distributed between the two companies. There has been no trace of any information leak of the classified design, nor have there been any sightings or intelligence provided outside of our own. All EDF commands have been alerted to be on the lookout for Walsh and this vessel, but I’m positive both will avoid contact with any outposts for some time.
For now, she’s still out there, but we must press on to Cygni. The delay for repairs has caused us to lose precious time, borrowed as it may be already for the colonists, even the ones with new personalities. I understand the position McCraken was trying to defend for his company, but lifetime-sentenced criminals or not, a death of self cannot be decided with a simple wave of a pen. Due process and all alternatives should have been considered. Now that the program’s existence is known to at least EDF Command, I don’t envy the Epherium executives right now. The problem remaining is how to rectify the matter and not show the EDF as complicit in what transpired. 

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About the Author:

T.D. Wilson was born in 1968 in Troy, Ohio and has been an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy from a very young age. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and has supported the systems and networks in several of the largest Supercomputing data centers in the world. His early thirst for adventure in reading began as he explored many of the great stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As his reading scope expanded, Mr. Wilson was fascinated by strange new worlds from the magical of Middle Earth and Narnia to the far reaches of space in Star Trek and Babylon 5. As a science fiction author, he strives to integrate a realistic flavor to his worlds by providing his readers a feel for the real science in science fiction. A topic he loves to discuss with his friends and readers. Mr. Wilson still lives in Ohio with his wife and their two sons.

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Interview With T.D. Wilson:
Have you always wanted to write?
I loved to create stories, but I never believed myself to be a writer.  In Junior High, I wrote a few small plays with some friends, but it was never serious.  In college, my first year English professors often remarked about my writing and recognition of different aspects to stories.  They wondered why I wanted to be an electrical engineer and not an English major.  Well, I loved technology and science for one.  Two, it paid more, so that's where I kept my focus.  I kept creating a few small short stories, including, "Into the Black", which was the basis for the The Epherium Chronicles

Are there any other genres you write in or just science fiction?
Sci-fi and fantasy for now.  I have some series projects planned for epic fantasy and one more urban.  This series now is so fun to write and I have a lot of material to make spinoffs if needed.

Can you tell us about your current releases?
The Embrace and Crucible are the first two books of my debut Sci-fi series, The Epherium Chronicles.  The story follows the adventures of the main character, Captain James Hood and his ship, the Armstrong.  The story is set in the mid 22nd century after Earth had just recovered from a horrific alien invasion into the solar system.  The aliens are an insectoid race called the Cilik'ti.  Before the war, a major corporation called Epherium launched three colony ships to distant worlds in hopes of creating sustainable colonies.  Now after the war, two have arrived and Earth realizes they must make contact.  The series revolves around the Armstrong's mission to reach those worlds, encounters with Earth's old enemy, and several conspiracies that threaten everything.

Have you been a lifelong fan of science fiction?
Oh yes.  In TV it started with Lost in Space, Star Trek and Space: 1999.  I love big monster movies like Godzilla and Gamera.  I remember watching the movie Them so many years ago.  Was it wrong to root for the giant ants?  Star Wars and other movies really increased my interest and it's never stopped.

What are some of your favorite television shows, movies, and books?
There are so many.  TV it's been Star Trek, Babylon 5, the Stargate Series, Battlestar Galactica,Farscape... the list goes on.  Today, I really love Sleepy Hollow and Supernatural.  Oh and I can't forget Dr. Who.  For books, I love reading Star Wars novels, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and almost anything by Margaret Weis or RA Salvatore.

Do you attend any science fiction conventions?
I've gone to few in the past, but nothing recent.  I used to frequent GenCon, Origins, and Marcon since I was a big gamer in my college years.  I would love to go to one of the big ComicCon events. Having some of the CosPlayer's create costumes for some of my characters would be a thrill to see.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I love watching sports, mainly baseball and football.  I used to play softball, but now I help coach my boys play baseball.  I haven't played any table top RPGs in a while, but I play some of the online ones like Lord of the Rings Online with my kids.

Star Trek or Star Trek TNG?
Tough call.  I like the brazeness of Kirk and the diplomacy of Picard.  As a series and based on the budget, I like the original.  Spock, Scotty, and McCoy made a much more concrete crew.  I do love Q and Data in TNG.  It will be interesting with the Star Trek reboot. Will they take that step forward to a different next generation now that the timelines have changed.  Or at the least, give us a peek.

Aliens or Zombies?
Hmm.  I love aliens and I played lot of zombie maps in Call of duty.  My wife is a huge Walking Dead fan.  I still have to give a nod to Aliens.  Game over man, Game Over.

Starship Troopers or Aliens?
I read the Starship Troopers book and it was far superior to the movie, and smaller budget movies that were made later.  The Aliens storyline had so much more backstory, conspiracy and dimensional feeling that you could feel yourself with Sydney as a part of it.

You're trapped on a planet full of dangerous aliens. Who would you rather have at your side? Casper Van Dien or Sigourney Weaver?
To be honest, who has the better weapons.  Those would be the ones I gravitate toward.  I'd probably say Sigourney Weaver since she's done more with less in her movies.

The aliens are infiltrating. Do you stand and fight, or do you retreat?
Tough call.  If there is a way out, I say set the auto guns, run like hell, and nuke 'em from orbit.  Only way to be sure.