Bonded Agent

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been participating in the Fall Fantasy Conclave, where I shared some great books by fellow authors. Today and Monday I’ll share work by authors I have worked with more directly. Today, I bring you David B. Riley who introduced intergalactic insurance agent Sarah Meadows in his story “The Claims Adjuster” which appeared in my anthology Space Pirates. Sarah’s adventures continued in my anthology Space Horrors and on the pages of Tales of the Talisman among other places. Now, David has just released a Sarah Meadows novel called Bonded Agent published by Wolfsinger Publishing.

Here’s what it says on the back of the book: They say graduates of the Martian School of Economics really go places. That’s certainly true for Sarah Meadows. After taking a job with the Gompers Insurance Company they send her to weapons training on her second day on the job. She’s soon parachuting out of space ships, hunting down cargo pirates and even trying to salvage a derelict vessel that may be haunted. Not to mention getting involved in a war between Earth and a reptilian race.

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With that, I’m going to turn the post over to David:

Bonded Agent features my Sarah Meadows character. Sarah has appeared in five short stories, but this is her first novel. In Sarah’s world Mars is an independent republic with an uneasy relationship with Earth. Sarah finds herself taking an insurance job with the Gompers Insurance Company just after graduating from the Martian School of Economics. On her second day they tell her to report for weapons training. She’s soon parachuting out of space ships, hunting down cargo pirates and even trying to salvage a derelict vessel that may be haunted. Not to mention getting involved in a war between Earth and a reptilian race.

I like Sarah because she’s not yet another white dude. The fact is, there are few human males in this story. This book is packed full of aliens. It’s got the Chironese, whose world is being occupied by Earth. The reptilian Tau, who are at war with Earth over a mineral-rich asteroid. And there’s also the Almerians, who are referred to as dragons. It is an Almerian who runs the Gompers Insurance Company. And in the middle of this is Sarah Meadows, a woman of average height who is a strawberry blonde. And a raging war is about to change her life forever.

Bonded Agent is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

Too Early for Halloween Decorations?

As long as I can remember, people have complained about Christmas decorations appearing in stores earlier in the current year than the previous year. This year is the first time I can remember people commenting—mostly in a lighthearted way, it seems—about Halloween decorations appearing early. As it turns out, I actually don’t mind a little lead time on the Halloween season. I love Halloween, but because of my observatory job, I only get a couple of weeks at home in a month. If I’m working on a writing or editorial deadline, I might not get to a store that has decorations to remind me Halloween is approaching until very close to the date. fsf-sep2016 Also, although I attend several science fiction, steampunk, and comic conventions each year where cosplay is encouraged, I don’t often get to go full-out since I’m appearing as a professional on panels. Halloween is a definite chance to play.

Speaking of conventions, when I was at Bubonicon in Albuquerque a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a copy the David Gerrold Special Issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from Gerrold himself. He was kind enough to sign it for me. The issue has proven to be worth the money just for Gerrold’s fine science fiction novella “The Further Adventures of Mr. Costello” and Peter S. Beagle’s “The Green-Eyed Boy,” which is a prequel to The Last Unicorn. However, I’ve also been enjoying the fact that the issue contains several spooky tales about ghosts and murder most foul. It’s done a great job getting me into the Halloween frame of mind!

2020-visions As an aside, David Gerrold is actually the first professional science fiction author I met. We met at a convention in California circa 1981 and he signed my copy of his book The Trouble with Tribbles which told how he created the Star Trek episode of the same name. I was honored to appear alongside Gerrold in the anthology 2020 Visions edited by Rick Novy. The anthology tells stories set in the year 2020. You only have a little more than three years to find how good we did predicting the future!

Back on the subject of Halloween, this is one of those years where I have to work at the observatory on the big day itself. Unfortunately, that means I can’t really go all out on costuming this year, but I’m still thinking about dressing up. Perhaps I’ll go as an astronomer’s ghost in honor of my forthcoming novel, The Astronomer’s Crypt!

The Dead Planet

First off, for those in Las Cruces who missed me at Las Cruces Comic Con, I will be signing my novels tomorrow at Branigan Library in Las Cruces from 2-4pm. Hope to see you there!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to The Dead Planet, a science fiction novella by Canadian Author T.J. Ryan and the first part of the Broken Earth Saga. Ryan was born on the rainy West Coast (or is that wet coast?) of British Columbia. He spent his early years travelling the world, obsessing over new cultures and culinary experiences. Preferring spaceships to airplanes, he has now settled into his little slice of rainforest paradise, escaping reality through Science Fiction.

He is known for packing high levels of action and mystery into his writing, and his latest book, The Dead Planet has a growing number of 5 star reviews. TJ has a number of exciting new sci fi books planned for this year, including the second book to his Broken Earth Saga space opera series.

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Here’s what the novella is about:

A dead planet. A rogue AI. A secret mission.

Tara Royce’s first day as the Academy’s newest Earth Defense Engineer was anything but ordinary. If humanity has any hope of returning to the dead planet in the next few thousand years, that is assuming it regenerates at all, they must first protect it from alien attack—and the Defense Engineers are its first and last line of defense. Aliens aren’t the only thing the new Engineer needs to look out for, though, and she soon discovers that the stakes are much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

    “I want to thank you.”

    The hatch closed behind her with a snap-hiss and she started down the handrails to the bottom level. “Thank me for what?”

    “For not disclosing the parameters of our mission.”

    “I don’t think this is ‘our’ mission, Aiden. That would have to mean that you let me in on it from the beginning. Instead, you’ve kept me in the dark this whole time, remember?”

    He was silent until she opened the door to the bottom levels. “Then I want to thank you…for keeping my secret from Engineer Tyrese.”

    “Sure, Aiden. Whatever.” The hall down here was dimly lit, with strips of light on the floor that led to the separate sections.

    “I would not have liked Tyrese to know what we are doing.”

    The armament section was the first door on the right. “Why would you care what Tyrese knows or doesn’t know?”

    “Because…I do not like him.”

    A sense of forbidding creeped up her spine. Aiden was doing it again. Sounding far too human and far too…interested in her. “You don’t like Tyrese?”

    “No.”

    “Aiden, you don’t know him.”

    “I know he wants to see you. I don’t like that.”

    She bit down on her lip. She was definitely going to have to inspect Aiden’s programming, whether he wanted her to see him naked or not. For the moment, she chose very carefully to not ask any more questions. She didn’t want to know what he was going to say next.

    Instead, she opened the door to the section where the weapons tubes were charged and loaded and maintained. Usually an Engineer would never have to come down here. The flash lasers were maintained by the droid crawlers on the rare occasions when something went wrong. Only Tara wasn’t looking for something wrong. She was looking for something that shouldn’t be there.

    Inside, among the standard configuration that she expected to see from the simulations and technical data specs, among the massive cable lines and sleek black tubes that carried the energy for the flash lasers, was something that definitely should not have been there.

    Twice as long as she was, sheathed in a spiraling metal shell, with four direction jets built into the fins at the back. A device perfect for launching through a planet’s atmosphere to the surface, and then retrieving it from there again.

    “Beautiful,” Aiden’s voice said to her. “Isn’t it?”

    She had to admit, it kind of was.

    “All right,” she said after another moment’s consideration. “Let’s go find out if the Earth is worth saving.”

You can find The Dead Planet on Amazon.

You can connect with T.J. Ryan on Facebook, Twitter, or at his blog.

Spellbound

Today, I want to tell you about the first book in an exciting Young Adult fantasy series by my friend Tricia Drammeh and the best part is it’s free! Keep reading to find out how you can get a copy of Spellbound, the first book in the Spellbringers series. Tricia Drammeh is an author of multicultural fantasy, young adult paranormal, and contemporary fiction. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, children, and three adorable animals. When she isn’t writing, she can be found devouring books and consuming vast amounts of coffee.

Spellbound

In Spellbound, the Demon Re’Vel stalks his prey in the forest of dreams, slowly gaining control over the mind of his victim. Rachel doesn’t realize the Demon is real. In fact, she doesn’t believe in magic, Demons, Hunters, or any of the other things the Alexanders have warned her about. She resists their protection, but can’t resist her overwhelming feelings for Jace.

Alisa has been drawn to Jace since the day she saved him from a Hunter attack. A mere human in a world of Spellbringers, Alisa has been embraced by the Alexander family as a hero, but not everyone is willing to accept her. Jace’s intimidating older brother, Bryce, keeps his emotions and his secrets hidden. When Bryce confides in Alisa, it puts her relationship with Jace and the entire Alexander family at risk.

Danger, secrets, and betrayal collide, and when the Demon makes his claim, the small, southern town of Oaktree becomes a battleground for Rachel’s life.

As I mentioned above, you can get Spellbound for free by visiting the following places:

You can connect with Tricia at:

The Last Bucelarii

This weekend, I’m at Las Cruces Comic Con being held at the Convention Center by the University. Click the link to get all the details. You can find me in the vendor hall at booth E23. If you can’t catch me at Comic Con, no worries. Next weekend, I’ll be signing books at Branigan Library here in Las Cruces on Sunday, September 18 from 2 until 4pm.

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Meanwhile, here at the web journal, I’m excited to share information about a dark fantasy series by my friend Andy Peloquin. The second book in his series “The Last Bucelarii” has just been released. The first book is called Blade of the Destroyer. In the novel, we meet the Hunter of Voramis. He is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

Blade of the Destroyer is available as a Kindle Ebook and in Paperback at Amazon. Click the links to order, or mark it to read on Goodreads!

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Andy has just released the sequel, called Lament of the Fallen. Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective: travel north to find Her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories.

When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set the Hunter at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii.

Left for dead, the Hunter must travel to Malandria to recover his stolen birthright. There, he is inexorably drawn into direct conflict with the Order of Midas, the faceless, nameless group of magicians that holds the city in a grip of terror. All while struggling to silence the ever-louder voice in his mind that drives him to kill.

From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter’s journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is … what he really is.

You can buy Lament of the Fallen as a Kindle e-book, from Amazon in Paperback, or you can add it to your Goodreads Shelf.

I’ll wrap up this post with an excerpt from Lament of the Fallen. Enjoy!

    He filled his lungs with the fresh night air. The taste of smoke mixed with the earthy scent of loam. The warmth of the fire soothed and relaxed him, the hypnotic rhythm of the dancing flames calming his mind. The fatigue of the day washed over him, and he allowed his eyelids to droop.

    The visions came then; memories leapt out at him.

    Within the bright depths of the flames, he saw the hell he had glimpsed in the Serenii tunnels. Lord Jahel’s face appeared in the fire, laughing, mocking. Bone and skin morphed into the faces of Lord Cyrannius and the First of the Bloody Hand. Shuddering waves of flesh and gristle writhed, shifting, transforming.

    Demons roam Einan once more. People treat them as myth and legend, but I know the truth.

    The Hunter retreated deeper into his blankets, his sword clutched to his chest. He told himself it was out of habit rather than fear.

    He had left Voramis behind, not only to find the truth of the woman whose face plagued him, but to discover the truth of the demons. Curiosity drove him to learn of his past, and his own heritage as a Bucelarii—descendant of the Abiarazi horde.

    The demon added its voice to the swirling maelstrom in the Hunter’s mind. ‘He disowns his blood, all to play the hero, the protector.’

    The Hunter was too tired to fight it off.

    I’m no hero. If it was up to me, they’d all rot.

    He had no desire to save the world. He had no reason to save humans from themselves.

    A vision of horror flashed through his mind. Creatures of nightmares seized a screaming child, tearing at pale skin with razor-tipped claws. Blood splashed across chitinous armor as the demons ripped the child apart in their haste to devour the flesh.

    The girl bore Farida’s face. She lay bloody, mangled, discarded like refuse, gasping her last agonizing breaths.

    Oh, child. I am so sorry.

    He wished he could scrub the memory from his mind forever. With it gone, the sorrow would leave. He needed no reminder that he was once again alone.

    He turned his back on the fire and buried his face in his cloak.

    He could turn his back on those who had feared and hated him, yet he had not the strength to hide his face from the suffering of innocents. People like Old Nan, Ellinor, Little Arlo. They would suffer most should the Abiarazi find their way into the world once more.

    The demon whispered in his mind. ‘Why must you protect them? You are not one of them, after all. You are Bucelarii.’

    They do not deserve such suffering.

    He squeezed his eyes shut and pushed back against the demon’s voice.

    I’m doing this for them.

    He pictured Farida the way he had seen her that day in the Temple District, with that same bright smile. She was happy. That was what mattered, and that was what he would remember.

    I’m doing this for her.

Scarlet Order Vampire Novels Half Off

This month, the Scarlet Order Vampires raise a toast to Lachesis Publishing, which celebrates its eleventh birthday! This is a great opportunity to pick up ebooks of the Scarlet Order novels, which are both discounted 50%. That means you can get the entire series for under $2.00!

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The Scarlet Order is a team of vampires who came together to fight as mercenaries in the year 1067. Although these vampires must exist at night, they do wish to live in the shadows. Fighting as mercenaries allows the vampires to use their natural strength and predatory abilities to serve human causes.

SummersDragon'sFall Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order tells the origin story of the Scarlet Order vampires. Bearing the guilt of destroying the holiest of books after becoming a vampire, the Dragon, Lord Desmond searches the world for lost knowledge, but instead, discovers truth in love.

Born a slave in Ancient Greece, Alexandra craves freedom above all else, until a vampire sets her free, and then, she must pay the highest price of all … her human soul.

An assassin who lives in the shadows, Roquelaure is cloaked even from himself, until he discovers the power of friendship and loyalty.

Three vampires, traveling the world by moonlight—one woman and two men who forge a bond made in love and blood. Together they form a band of mercenaries called the Scarlet Order, and recruit others who are like them. Their mission is to protect kings and emperors against marauders, invaders, and rogue vampires. In the end, they must confront their ultimate nemesis, Vlad the Impaler.

Author and publisher Stephen C. Ormsby writes: “At the heart of this origin story is dark, descriptive writing that makes you believe that real vampires, not sparkly ones, do actually exist. An exciting novel that made me love a good vampire novel again.” The ebook edition of Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order is available for $1.49 from Lachesis Publishing for the month of September.

Vampires of the Scarlet Order

Vampires of the Scarlet Order picks up the story of the Scarlet Order vampires in 1492 as they fight alongside the forces of Queen Isabella to rid Spain of the Moors. We follow their adventures into the present day when the United States government had decided to dabble in forces they don’t understand to create their own vampire-like super soldiers. At that point, it’s up to the Scarlet Order vampires to save humanity from themselves. In the process, the vampires learn about the origin of their kind and discover exciting possibilities about their future.

Author Neal Asher calls Vampires of the Scarlet Order “A novel with bite. An amalgam of Blade and The Name of the Rose with a touch of X-Files thrown in for good measure.” The ebook edition of Vampires of the Scarlet Order is available for just 49 cents from Lachesis Publishing for the month of September.

Las Cruces Comic Con and a Birthday Sale

Next weekend, I’ll have a table at Las Cruces Comic Con in my home town of Las Cruces, New Mexico from September 9-11, 2016. I’ll be selling my novels plus copies of recent anthologies I’ve been in. New products available this year include my novel The Brazen Shark and the anthologies Gaslight and Grimm, The Martian Anthology, and Gears and Levers 2. I’ve also been thinking about a special autumn giveaway to hold at the convention to whet people’s appetites for The Astronomer’s Crypt.

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The guests of honor this year include: Seth Gilliam from Starship Troopers, Teen Wolf, and The Walking Dead; Casper Van Diem, from Starship Troopers and Sleepy Hollow; plus I’m excited to see that Camille and Kimerly Kitt, the Harp Twins will be performing this year. If you’re in Las Cruces next weekend, I hope I’ll see you at Comic Con! You’ll find me at booth E23 in the Exhibitor Hall.

LACHESIS PUBLISHING SALE POSTCARD 2

Also, this month, Lachesis Publishing celebrates its 11th birthday! All of their books priced above 99 cents are on sale for 50% off. This includes two of my science fiction novels.

The Solar Sea The Solar Sea tells the story of humanity’s first voyage through the solar system aboard a solar sail spacecraft. As it turns out, solar sails are real technology that organizations such as NASA and the Planetary Society are testing now. In my story, the Quinn Corporation discovers particles orbiting Saturn’s moon Titan that appear to travel through time. They build a solar sail to investigate these particles, which could have strong implications for humanity’s future. On their way to Saturn, they stop off at Mars and Jupiter and find clues that humanity may not be as isolated as SETI scientists have led us to believe. Author Nicole Givens Kurtz says, “The Solar Sea captures the thrill, threats, and theories of exploring the unknown. Summers does what explorers have done for centuries, inspire us to look beyond our own backyards out into the vast possibilities of our imaginations.” All month long, The Solar Sea is only $1.49 at Lachesis Publishing.

Heirs of the New Earth In Heirs of the New Earth, Earth has gone silent. John Mark Ellis and the crew of the Sanson are sent to investigate. When they arrive, they find vast alien machines known as Clusters in orbit. Fearing the worst, they land and discover that the once overcrowded, polluted Earth has become a paradise of sorts. The problem is over half the population is dead or missing and the planet’s leaders don’t seem to care. As Ellis works to unravel the mystery, sudden gravitational shifts from the galaxy’s center indicate something even worse is in the offing. Author Greg Ballan writes, ” A warning to every reader…block off a good chunk of time, pour your favorite beverage and sit down in your favorite comfort space. Once you start reading, the story jumps out and grabs hold, drawing you into a world one thousand years in the future where mankind has spread across the universe, contacted other intelligent life and colonized new worlds.” Although this is book three of a series, it is designed to stand alone. You can pick it up for $1.49 for the entire month of September.

If you do want to get the entire series, the first book, The Pirates of Sufiro, is Free at Lachesis Publishing while the second, Children of the Old Stars, is 99 cents. That’s a three-book series for just $2.48!