Tag Archives for " science fiction "
Dindi is kidnapped to be the bride of a shark... To escape she must untangle a terrible curse caused by a love and magic gone wrong.
This stand-alone novella is set in Faearth, the world of The Unfinished Song. Available here ONLY.
The Unfinished Song - This Young Adult Epic Fantasy series has sold over 70,000 copies and has 1,072 Five Star Ratings on Goodreads.
I’m so excited to introduce you to the debut novel from R.S.A. Garcia. We are in a writing group together and I’m so thrilled for her first novel, Lex Talionis, a science fiction mystery. I have an interview with her below, as well as all the details on Lex Talionis.
1. What is your favorite place to write?
If I had my way, I’d write where I had a view through a picture window to water, mountains or trees. However, my computer is in the spare bedroom in my house, so I go there. It’s got the advantage of being quiet, so it’s my favorite place.
2. Tell us a little about your writing process.
I’m a dedicated pantser. I go in knowing the beginning and the end and a bit about the middle, but I don’t like writing scenes out of order. I get inspired by kernels of ideas and usually bury them deep. They can take months or even years to germinate a story. Once that story idea has reached a point where I have to sit down and tap away at the keys, I’ll generally keep going until it’s done.
I don’t usually write more than one book at time, but I’ve recently developed that skill out of necessity. I’ve also realised it might be a good idea to start doing plot outlines and keeping lots of notes rather than storing the entire book in my head and flipping back over the text when I need to remember a small detail, like the colour of someone’s eyes. LEX TALIONIS was written this way, but I’m looking to try different methods. I’m exploring Scrivener at the moment.
3. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
That’s a huge question! Why do I have to pick one? I’ve never been able to narrow down anything I love to just one favourite. So for now, I’ll just say there was a time I wanted nothing more than to be the captain of the Enterprise, or Xena, or Buffy. But deep down I think I just want to be Spock.
Or the woman that ends up with Shane Gooseman of the Galaxy Rangers.
What? A girl can dream.
4. What is the best writing advice you’ve been given?
You have five senses. The more you use them to build a scene, and by extension your story, the stronger your writing will be. Lots of writers–myself included–have vivid imaginations and a great love of film. This leads us to write amazing visuals, but your writing can’t immerse the reader until you can make them smell, taste and touch the world you’re introducing them to, as well as see and hear it.
A battered young woman wakes from a coma in a space port hospital with no memories of her past. The only thing she remembers are two words: Lex Talionis—the Law of Revenge. To discover her identity, she must re-live the nightmares of her past, and face the only survivor of a terrible massacre that connects her with her abductors.
Death came for Michael while he slept.
He woke, gasping and trembling, from a dream of being pushed out the airlock. His fingers were cold and numb; the weight of his head on his arm had cut off his circulation. Michael sat up, wiping sweaty strands of hair off his forehead. Shifting his feet out from under him, he cursed as pain lanced up his leg.
Shit. I fell asleep. I can’t sleep. How long was I out?
Michael crawled along the vent to the grille that covered its entrance, stopping once to catch his breath. Despite having dozed, he was exhausted and cold. The air in the vent left a metallic taste in his dry mouth and he couldn’t stop shaking. The wound in his leg, which he’d bandaged with cloth ripped from his pants, made a white-hot line down his shin.
God, it hurts. If I don’t find some meds soon…
He had to figure a way out before he was incapable of going on, or lost consciousness again–maybe for good. Michael pulled himself onto his knees, inching his way toward the harsh light that shone through the grille. Dust motes danced in the path of square patches of illumination.
Then he heard it.
Faint, a mere whisper: the brief sound of air being expelled from lungs. And it came from outside, from the corridor below the vent. Despite the fact that he was freezing, sweat broke out all over his body.
Fuck. Oh, fuck no. Please, no.
Michael strained to hear, ignoring the pain in his wounded leg, which had become twisted beneath him. There was nothing but the impossibly loud sound of his own breathing. Seconds ticked by, then minutes. He blinked as sweat dripped into his eyes.
Heart tripping, he decided he must have imagined it all. He began to shift his weight in a careful movement.
Tap, tap, tap.
All the air left his lungs. The grille wavered and darkened before his eyes.
The sound came from right below him, on the wall just under his hiding place.
Tap, tap, tap.
He recognized the rhythm. It had been centuries since anyone had used it on a military vessel, but everyone had studied the same vids in their naval history holobooks during basic training.
Three short, three long, three short. SOS. Save Our Souls. A cruel jibe. The only soul left to save was his, and the very thing he tried to escape stood right outside, mocking him with the ancient distress signal none of them, least of all him, would ever be able to send.
The tapping stopped. Michael stared at the opening in front of him, seeing the grille being yanked off like paper as if it were already happening, seeing the light falling fully into the narrow vent, revealing him where he crouched, helpless and too terrified to move.
Not that he would be able to escape even if he could.
The silence pushed at his ears. The grille in front of him continued to filter the light into shapes on the inside of the vent. He waited, certain he was a dead man; wanting it to be over now, because he was tired, so very tired.
Eventually, it dawned on him that it had been silent too long. It took a few more minutes before he worked up enough courage to make his way to the front of the vent and look down to see the empty corridor stretching out on either side.
After he opened the grille and slid down from his hiding place, his legs gave way below him and he crumpled to the floor.
I’m still alive. I’m still alive.
But not for long if he just sat there. He had to find medication. That meant Med Bay–and the bridge.
He shuddered, his mind shying away from the endless corridors that waited for him, lights flickering while darkness edged their walls.
Don’t think. Just go. Go now.
Leaning on the wall, Michael pushed himself to his feet. He started limping down the corridor, slow at first, and then faster. The way to the bridge would be long and dangerous, and if he was right, he had very little time to get there.
Desmond Obuki was not particularly kind or generous. He gave to charity for the tax breaks and avoided fund-raisers like the plagues they were usually trying to eradicate. He was a businessman, not a meal ticket. But he was also something else.
And if the shoe on the unmoving foot he had spotted told him anything, it was that the Elutheran had a human down on the ground. It kept lashing out viciously, its muscular proboscis waving between its short, sharp beak as it chirped away to itself. The feathered red ball of its body rippled every now and again, as if caught in a stiff breeze. It was at least knee-high; definitely an adult.
After that, he couldn’t very well walk away. The warren of alleys surrounding Bradley was dangerous. Not so much for a former soldier like himself, but even he wouldn’t be here now if he wasn’t trying to beat the clock.
He had no idea how the Elutheran had managed to overpower the human, but a mudsucker couldn’t be up to any good in an area like this one. The guy had probably fallen asleep drunk in the gutter, and the Elutheran must have come across him. Humans were few and far between in this part of PortCity; the least he could do was drive off the little mudsucker and help the poor bastard up out of the gutter.
He didn’t need to check the dim street for friends of the alien. The alley finished in a dead-end beyond the spot where the Elutheran had the human backed up against the building. The smooth seventy-foot walls of the ore factories on either side offered no hiding places.
“Hey! Get the fuck off him!”
The Elutheran panicked. It sucked its feeding tube back into its head, rolled across the narrow alley, bounced along the lower edge of the wall and shot past Obuki before the man could grab hold of it. Shrugging his shoulders, Obuki walked over to the gutter and bent over the shape clad in a dark jumpsuit and a pair of spacer’s boots. There was a faint smell in the air–like rust.
“Hey, you, wake up. This is no place to sleep off…”
He rolled the body over and sucked in his breath.
His hands were wet. He looked at them and it dawned on him that the top half of the jumpsuit was not red. It only looked that way because of the blood.
He’d lost his comm panel on the flight back. Hadn’t thought much of it at the time as he had a replacement at the office, but that wouldn’t help him contact the police now.
He looked at the battered face again and sighed. It had to be a woman. And she was still breathing.
Well, he thought, no good deed goes unpunished. He would be late for sure now. Grumbling under his breath, he picked up the unconscious woman and strode out of the alleyway.
I’m excited to feature the RONE Award-nominated Displaced by J.F. Jenkins.
Chevelle Donahue thought going into work would be just like any other boring day at the mall. Sure, there was her annoying co-worker Wicken Sanders, and a promotional visit from teen heartthrob Timber Hudson, to watch and keep her entertained. But who was she kidding? Working retail was lame no matter what happened.
A terrorist attack changes everything – an attack from aliens of all things. The patrons are given two options: comply or else. Complying means giving in to a new set of rules and changing her entire life. “Or else” means she has no chance of going home again.
She must figure out the truth behind why the aliens are holding everyone hostage. In doing so, she risks her chance at freedom – but by the time she learns what’s really happening, she might not want it.
I looked between the two guys standing between me and the doorway, wishing I could read their minds. They were both so quiet and I hated it. Earlier they each had rather strong opinions of what to think. Now there was nothing? Did I have to make the decision for all of us? I wasn’t sure if I could handle that kind of pressure, let alone live with the consequences.
But I wasn’t left with much of a choice.
“I guess we turn ourselves over,” I said quietly, my face half-buried into the large hippo’s synthetic gray fur.
Timber nodded, his shoulders hunched up around him, and he rubbed his arms slowly. His gaze hardly ever left his phone. The light bouncing off his eyes revealed a glistening of tears. If that wasn’t the look of defeat, I don’t know what was. Wicken was the exact opposite image. He remained confident and poised, his gaze strong and determined. The only hint that he might have been afraid was the slight shaking of his hands.
He looked down at me. “You don’t know what they’re going to do to us.”
“I know what will happen if we don’t agree to their terms, though,” I said softly. “Escaping is futile, not following instructions sounds dangerous. I personally do not want to die.”
“And you’re assuming they won’t mass execute everyone or pick us off one by one until their demands are met,” he snapped. “I think I like my chances better with escaping.”
Timber held his phone over his watch. “We have twenty-five more minutes to decide. Ten if you want to include time to walk down to the main entrance. I’m personally going to go along with them. I’m with her.” He pointed at me. “I’m not ready to die yet.”
“Then I guess this is where we go our separate ways,” Wicken said. Again, he looked as if I had betrayed him or something. There was a sadness in his tone laced with anger. His gaze met mine and for a moment his strong composure faltered. “Last chance, Chevelle.”
I shook my head, tears pooling in my eyes. “I’ll never make it. I’ll slow you down. I’ll be the reason you can’t get away.”
His hazel eyes closed and he reached over to hug me. Then he whispered in my ear with a shaky voice, “I love you.”
My gaze met his and I didn’t know what to say in return. Part of me was wondering if I even heard him right or if I imagined him talking in the first place because the words had barely been audible. When the sadness in his frown increased, I knew he had actually said it. He pushed his way past us and toward the back door.
“Wicken,” I whimpered. “I…” Felt the same way? Loved him too? None of that seemed right, though my heart did have a special fondness for him that I didn’t understand. We’d gotten close enough through all of our time together.
He waited in the doorway, waiting for me to finish my thought.
“I…s-same. Please be careful so we can talk about this again.”
He flashed me a small smirk. “Of course.”
And then he was gone.
Timber gave my shoulder a squeeze. “Come on. If we’re going to do this, we should go now before we waste any more time.”
I nodded and stood, never letting go of the hippo. That thing was coming with me, I didn’t care how stupid I looked. The girl brought along her teddy bear, and the three of us made our way out of the door using the light of our phones to make sure we didn’t trip over anything. Timber dropped down to pick up his bag of purchases from earlier on our way to the gate – the gate which was now open. Outside were bright blue lights which reminded me a lot of tiki torches. They were tall and illuminated with electric light instead of fire.
We followed the lights to the escalators which were now nothing more than an ordinary staircase leading us to our potential doom. Timber took the lead and with his free hand he held onto the little girl who had been forced into our care. Every so often he’d look back at me and give me a small smile, as if that were his way of silently telling me he’d take care of me too.
At the bottom of the stairs was the main entrance. There were not as many people there as I originally thought there would be. Somewhere between fifty and seventy individuals of mixed ages sat on the floor under the glow of the blue lights. What disturbed me was how many of them were parentless children or teenagers. The next-well represented age group was twenty-something-year-old women, then a few middle-aged couples, and an even less number of elderly. How many men tried to get away? What had happened to the mass of teenage girls who had been here earlier? There wasn’t any blood, and the only signs of struggle were a few tipped-over plants. Did they escape, or at least try to?
The three of us found an open spot on the floor and sat down near a group of crying children who couldn’t have been any older than nine or ten.
“Do you think my mommy will be here?” The little girl asked.
I shrugged. “Maybe!” I wanted to be hopeful for her. Maybe that’s why all of the kids had decided to congregate at the entrance too. They were looking for their parents as well.
Timber reached into his bag and pulled out a bag of gummy bears. The guy was like a walking candy shop. I wondered what else he bought. He opened up the bag and waved a few of the other kids over.
When our gazes met, he shrugged. “It’ll keep them from panicking or going into shock.” He looked me over. “So you know who I am, but I don’t think I’ve caught your name.”
“Chevelle,” I said softly.
“Like the band.” He smiled.
“I doubt that’s what my parents were thinking, but yes, like the band.”
He nudged the girl. “And what’s your name?”
“Lara,” she said in between bites of gummies.
“Nice to meet you Lara, I’m Timber.” He kept his voice low.
It was hard to tell if she recognized him or not. She was a little young to be a part of his fan base. I pegged her at about six years old. Still, kids were smart and observant. If she knew who he was, she didn’t care. She did, however, lean in closer to him to snuggle in a little.
“Will you stay with me until my mommy comes back?” She asked.
“Of course.” He smiled and showed off his perfect teeth again. They glowed in the blue light, and it was more than a little amusing to see. Lara giggled, and the sound was music to my ears and contagious. Soon I was laughing as well, if not quietly. Sure, we both got a couple of strange looks from some of the people sitting around us, but I didn’t care too much. A small lift in the tension was nice.
Not like it lasted long, because eventually our half-hour deadline was up. I’d been praying silently that Wicken would change his mind and come with us after all. He never showed.
I just wanted to take a moment to remind you that review copies of my books are always free! If there’s a book of mine you’ve been wanting to try, just email my assistant, let her know which one and she will send you a copy. All I ask is that you leave a review of the book when you’re done. This does not have to be a 1,000-word essay on your blog, but can be as simple as a recommendation to your friends on Facebook or a quick sentence on Goodreads or Amazon. You can even review just Hood & Fae, my new novella which is currently only available in the Faery Realms bundle.
UPDATE: Hood & Fae is now on Amazon, available independently, as well as at other online retailers.
Today I’m excited to share the first book in the dark fantasy Survival Trilogy, Breaking Cadence.
I snorted softly. “You expect me to believe that you came to town looking for a cure? I’m not stupid, Zander. There is no cure. There never will be.”
“Oh there is,” he assured, staring right at me. “There has been for years.”
Decontaminated. Deflowered. Defunct.
Cadence Laurence has suffered pain and humiliation at the hands of the town committee, but the saving grace of her torture means nothing when her brother, Alex, and his girlfriend, Kitty, break the rules for the last time.
Now the only place they have left to go is on the run in the unforgiving Wastelands, a place where sand spiders and the Infected become the least of their problems when Cady’s ex-lover escapes her darkened past and deepens their plight with an agenda of his own.
Dodging Wastelanders out for blood and Kitty’s father determined for revenge, can Cadence avoid a bite from the Infected long enough to save her two wards and escape or will her ex-lover’s plans destroy them all?
Warning: Mature content with reference to criminal, adult-themed acts that may serve as triggers.
It was raining the day we were outcast. And I blamed him.
I drove my car over to their house, windscreen wipers flipping in the heavy downpour as my headlights grazed the row of small suburban bungalows. This was one of the more populated areas but the street was quiet. Nobody was out.
A streak of white caught my eye. My brother’s car sat comfortably in their driveway, engine off. I pursed my lips together and tugged my eye patch a little further down. I would be unwelcome, but they would just have to deal with that.
My car pulled smoothly to a stop, barely any noise emanating from the wheels in the kerbside puddles. The headlights died, leaving the faded ginger streetlamp the only light source. I took off a glove and wiped the rain residue from my brow as if it was sweat. It dripped from my sodden hair, staining my cheeks and clothes. I’d been walking when she’d called over to me, all filled up with panic. A stroll to reminisce would have to wait now.
The box on the seat behind was still there, strangely reassuring me in the rear view mirror. It was white and well cared for even though the dress, once entombed, was no longer inside.
But these things change.
Heavy hearted, I swallowed, glancing up at the house between the shadows of running rain on the window. If it had been anyone other than Sera who’d asked I wouldn’t have gone, but I’d sealed all our fates when I’d said yes to her.
Yet, hesitation clawed at me. He should be old enough to look after himself and to follow the rules, but obviously that was too much to ask for. This was not somewhere I’d choose to go. The cold windows of the house stared back.
I still remembered the family inside. They despised the tainted ones.
Tainted one. There was only me, now, to claim that title. All others had drifted away or died. I established the knife in my belt, just in case, and then stepped out of the car. The rain had grown heavier. It hit my coat like a shower of lead shot, reminding me of long days in the Wastelands. It was always heavy there when it came.
My key checked the car door with a soft chink like locking it would really matter in a place like this. My shadow cut a dark line in the dull orange light. The neighbours were probably watching behind their darkened curtains, but the street remained eerily quiet all except for the sound of the skittering rain. The silence didn’t bother me any more. I moved past my brother’s car, hand sliding across the cold, wet paintwork as I passed.
He would be inside the house courting the girl, but that was no excuse for taking that thing from Sera. He was getting us all into trouble.
I stepped up to the door and instead of simply turning the handle, I knocked. An uneasy feeling unfolded in my stomach like the separation of haemoglobin and plasma in a bag full of blood. Crimson and ochre. You were always supposed to knock, but I hadn’t knocked in a very long time.
The door opened filtering out a cold light. She stood there with curlers in her hair, feverish rings under her too wide eyes like a ventriloquist’s dummy. If her lips hadn’t compressed I might have mistaken her for one of the Infected. Her shock died down, her eyes tightened to small holes. It didn’t take a genius to work out that she’d recognised me.
“I don’t want you in my house.”
It wasn’t really her house; it was just one of many things inherited from long dead inhabitants, but there was little to gain from arguing with her. To her and plenty of others I was already outcast.
What was going to happen would make no difference to that.
“He’s here and I need to see him.” I raised an eyebrow at her impassive façade. “Is Maurice inside?”
Her eyes flared for half a second, telling me all I needed to know. Diplomacy wasn’t usually my strong point where committee members were concerned. My hands tightened into balls and I tried to soften my tone, gentle but unyielding.
“Let me in, Wilma. I’ll speak to my brother and I’ll be gone.” She didn’t inch from the door, her pincers curled around the wood. My gaze levelled on her, cool and calm. “I give you my word.”
“What good’s your word?” she hissed, retracting from the entrance nevertheless.
I stepped inside, moving smoothly past her as she recoiled. Frightened rabbit syndrome scratched her gaze. Once upon a time, I might have sympathised, but now I didn’t care having been treated to her cruel words and unkindness more than I deserved.
The kitchen felt loveless, the kind of place where food preparation had no passion and eating was a task forced in silence. It was a graveyard to fine dining, the pale bulb sluicing everything in a jaundiced light.
Wilma still held the door ajar, her eyes burning into my back. Her disdain hardly registered any more. Instead, I focused on the voices in the other room. The girl’s laughter wrinkled my nose. Silly teens. I pushed through the door, soft browns and pale creams divining nothing but a washed out heart of a so-called living room.
They were on the sofa. My brother saw me first, rolling his gaze and wrenching his lips into a twist of disgust. “If they sent you to spy on me–”
“You took Sera’s pet.” The words were hushed. “You know what’ll happen if they find it.” My hem dripped dark circles onto the faded carpet, pooling around my boots. My brother’s mouth moved into a line. I could see the cogs working in his skull, preparing his angry excuse. “I need to take it now, before you get us all into trouble.”
Discover the fantasy world of The Seedbearing Prince…
Dayn Ro’Halan is a farmer’s son sworn to a life of plowing on his homeworld, Shard. After finding a lost artifact called a Seed, he’s thrust into an ancient conflict between voidwalkers of the hated world Thar’Kur, and Defenders from a floating fortress called the Ring. Dayn must become a Seedbearer and learn to use the Seed’s power to shape worlds before the entire World Belt is lost.
The torrent shifted again, and a thousand shards of onyx flashed to fire as Corian swept through a roiling field of ice and stone. The sheath on his worn black armor held, but would not last much longer. The stream of rock in the space between the worlds drifted slower here, and boasted several floating mountains large enough to hold a layer of air. Green ferns covered the surface of the nearest, providing plenty of cover. Corian was tempted to stop and rest, but crater wolves likely roamed in such thick foliage. The entire World Belt hung on the message he bore to the Ring, and he could rest after his task was done.
A field of red granite stretched in the space above him like the bizarre clouds of some nightmare, the individual boulders careening off each other by the hundreds. Only the hardest minerals and metals endured the endless pounding of the rock flow, and only the most foolish men would brave such a swath of torrent. They were moving the direction he needed to go, into the flow where the rock moved fastest. In the torrent, speed kills, he reminded himself. He was the best courser among the Ring’s Guardians, but the rock never cared.
Corian deftly attached a new talon to what remained of his silver wingline, then heaved it. The metal hook took hold, his wingline snapped taut, and the boulder yanked Corian into the flow. He repeated the process, each time roping a boulder moving faster, until his last guide rock pulled him along at hundreds of spans a second. A layer of white frost appeared on his armor and mask in a blink. He reeled himself in and clung to the red surface, like a flea riding a river bison in the middle of a stampeding herd. He watched every direction at once from his perch, digging his gauntlets into the crumbling surface. The boulder was actually some ancient rusted metal, not granite as he first thought. The torrent here was so thick he could barely see the stars, and it filled his ears with a distant roar.
He sped along this way for some time, until he spied a pockmarked mass of stone and iron, large as a dwarf moon. A cleft right down the middle threatened to split the entire thing in half. A tower in the northern axis had seen more than its fair share of rust, but the light strobing from it pulsed regularly, illuminating the smaller rocks orbiting around it. As a whole, the wayfinder was ugly and old, but the mass of rock was the most blessed sight Corian could imagine after a week of surviving the torrent’s attempts to grind him to powder.
His next wingline took him closer. If the wayfinder was powered as well as he suspected, he could use the array inside it to find out where he was in the torrent, and see how close the Ring lay. He might even find food and water, if peace favored him. A fellow Guardian must stop here often for such an old wayfinder to be this well preserved, he thought.
Smaller debris pelted the wayfinder’s old crust, disintegrating in flashes of light. The surface shone with hundreds of impacts, large and small. Corian chose a crater near the old tower, perhaps seventy spans deep with high walls that would offer good angles to slow himself as he approached.
As he prepared to throw out another talon, dark shapes poured from the wayfinder’s cleft. He stared for a moment, incredulous. There could be no crater wolves on a wayfinder, with no game to hunt, unless they were marooned after striking some other erratic in the torrent. No, those shapes moved with a military precision, more lethal than the deadliest pack. He could see them clearly now, massive men covered in black. “No. Not here!” Corian barely recognized his own weary voice.
The voidwalkers had seen him. A pinprick of light shone on the wayfinder’s surface, brighter than the tower’s regular strobe. He eyed it mistrustfully as he searched for a place to throw his next wingline and change his momentum. He spotted a tumbling boulder half covered with ice, moving away from the wayfinder too fast.
The light near the voidwalkers flashed. A beam of energy rushed into Corian’s path, hot as molten steel. A lifetime of coursing experience kicked in, and he curled his legs up until his knees touched his ears, rolling forward. The strange fire passed underneath him by less than a span. He could feel the heat of it through his protective layer of sheath. The beam burned past, and slammed into a rock fifty spans away. The tumbling boulder barely even slowed in its course, but the spot where the weapon struck—for there was no question that is what it was—glowed red hot at the edges. The glistening center had cooled quick as glass.
Another pinprick of light. He twisted around in the weightlessness of the void to point his feet back toward the wayfinder and make himself a smaller target. It did no good. The beam rushed straight at him, and his world turned red with pain.
An impact jarred him awake. Another. Corian opened his eyes. I’m much too cold. The voidwalker weapon had burned away his sheath. Layers of his black armor were peeling away from the metal plates like paper curled in a fire. He had been caught in a tangle of purple-rooted vines intertwined in a mile long cluster of the floating rock, what Jendini coursers called a knotted forest. The roots were nearly hard as stone in places. Dusty old bones from animals Corian did not even recognize littered the tangles. Debris from the torrent stretched around the forest in every direction, and errant stones pelted the mass of vines, which he immediately recognized. Courser’s nap, the whole forest is covered with it.
Corian reached into a compartment on his armored belt and removed his last flask of sheath. He applied the clear liquid to his ruined armor in quick, smooth motions, not leaving one inch exposed. The sheath locked together in small patches of light, and his body’s heat immediately began to warm the interior of the invisible, protective barrier. Once the sheath was gone, his armor would not prevent the smallest pebble from killing him, if one struck him moving fast enough. For the first time, Corian considered that he may not survive.
This was to be his last circuit as a Guardian for the Ring, and he held the hope that he would look into his grandchildren’s eyes back on Jendini now that his service was finished. Yet his duty hung over him, heavier than ever. In the distance he could see the world of Shard, verdant and green just beyond the torrent’s chaos. His resolve hardened.
He slipped a speechcaster into his mouth and began to speak as he worked himself free of the tangled vines. The small wafer could hold his words in secret for a few days, should things go badly here.
“I am Corian Nightsong, a Guardian of the Ring. There are Thar’Kuri warriors on the world of Nemoc. The voidwalkers have built a device that allows them to…teleport themselves at will through the Belt. They are gathering in numbers, preparing for an attack. There are captives from all over the worlds imprisoned on Nemoc. The voidwalkers have weapons unlike anything known from the Ring. They use energy and can attack over great distances. They must have been made in the age before the Breach.
If you knew where to look for this message, you must deliver it with all haste to Force Lord Adazia on the Ring. The worlds all depend on you, for I have failed them.” The admission filled Corian with bitterness, but he forced a strength he no longer felt into his words. “My sons and daughters live in Denkstone, on Jendini. Tell them…their father served well.”
One of the vines tangled around his torso began to quiver. Corian looked down, fearing a leaf, but instead he saw a voidwalker, climbing toward him. Corian was tall, but the hulking brute easily overtopped him by a head. His glistening black armor looked as if it were melted to his frame, and covered him from head to toe save two dark slits for his eyes. The vines broke like dried mud in the voidwalker’s grasp.
Corian began to climb, scrambling further into the vines. He did not bother to draw his sword, the voidwalker would overpower him in moments if they were to fight.
“So afraid of an old courser?” Corian shouted. He pulled at every vine in his path as he fled, but most of them were stiff and gray. Living vines of the courser’s nap were purple and sticky, but the true danger lay with the leaves.
The voidwalker’s gravelly voice called to Corian, cold as an orphan’s gravestone. “Come to me, degenerate.”
Corian drew his sword, and began slashing his way through the vines. They sparked as his blade struck, but gave way. He leapt through an open space nearly ten spans across. The voidwalker followed without hesitation. So strong. Corian knew the brute meant to take him alive. He could not allow that.
He landed on a solid gray swath, fleshy beneath his feet. He rolled and lunged just as the leaf stirred. A row of spikes slipped out of the edges, thick as Corian’s leg and sharp enough to cleave a horse in two. Corian barely cleared them. The voidwalker was not so lucky. His momentum carried him right into the center of the carnivorous plant, which enveloped him with a twist of blue-veined leaf. Steam issued from the folds near the plant’s edges as it fed.
More pods of the courser’s nap were coming to life, enlivened by the voidwalker’s screams. Corian avoided the leaves wherever they stirred. He climbed and lunged and dived through the vines, soon pulling himself to the edge of the knotted forest. Pure torrent lay before him, an endless landscape of chaotic rock. There was no clear flow in any direction, the individual boulders in the skyscape crashed into each other in a hundred shattering impacts. I’ll leap blind and pray that my sheath holds.
Another voidwalker tore himself out of the vines a few spans away. Peace, but look at the size of him! The voidwalker’s armor looked as chewed up as the oldest rocks of the torrent, endless dents and scratches plastered the black surface.
“I’ve enjoyed hunting you, degenerate.”
Another courser’s leaf reared up behind the voidwalker as he lumbered toward Corian. The leaf lunged and took the voidwalker up, curling round and round as the folds of leaf tightened. Corian allowed himself a moment of elation, but it was short lived. A pale hand appeared on the side of the courser’s nap, and bright green fluid poured out. The leaf whipped back and forth, emitting a piercing shriek as the voidwalker pulled it apart piece by piece from the inside. Corian needed to see no more. He leaped, and prayed the torrent would show him mercy.
Check out this adventure-filled science fiction novel from Pippa Jay: Gethyon.
Abandoned by his mother after his father’s death, Gethyon Rees feels at odds with his world and longs to travel the stars. But discovering he has the power to do so leaves him scarred for life. Worse, it alerts the Siah-dhu—a dark entity that seeks his kind for their special abilities—to his existence, and sets a bounty hunter on his tail.
When those same alien powers lead Gethyon to commit a terrible act, they also aid his escape. Marooned on the sea-world of Ulto Marinos, Gethyon and his twin sister must work off their debt to the Seagrafter captain who rescued them while Gethyon puzzles over their transportation. How has he done this? And what more is he capable of?
Before he can learn any answers, the Wardens arrive to arrest him for his crime. Can his powers save him now? And where will he end up next?
“Tell me about the angels.” The plea in Gethyon’s voice forced him to put aside the issue for now. Time enough for that later.
“Not angels,” Embar said thoughtfully. “Something not of our world, perhaps.”
“Where did they come from?”
“I don’t know, exactly. They called themselves the Rion, and I assumed they were your mother’s people. They were carrying you and Callon. She was asleep, a little pink face with her red hair in curls. You were crying.” Embar gazed towards the window. “I didn’t hear any vehicle come up to the house. They were just there, at my door. The man carrying you had a long, silver staff etched with symbols. They came into the house and sat with me, and then told me my son was dead.” Embar swallowed hard, a knot of grief lodging painfully in his throat as he said the words. “He’d tried to stop a cataclysmic explosion that would have destroyed an entire planet. He managed to contain it, reduce the force of it, but it killed him.”
“And my mother?” Gethyon asked hesitantly.
“Well, they never told me and I never asked,” Embar admitted. “She must have survived the explosion because they said Solar had died before you were born. All that concerned me was Solar’s fate, not hers. And you and your sister, of course.” It had been quite a shock to learn of Solar’s death and inherit two grandchildren in the same instant.
“She might still be alive, then.”
Gethyon’s face glowed with hope, the brightest Embar had ever seen it. The contrast to his own feelings about their mother was stark. He’d never wish ill on anyone, but he hoped they would never see her again.
“What was her name?”
“I don’t know.” Embar rose, bringing any further talk to an end, tired of reliving such painful memories. He saw the barriers close in once more as the boy retreated into his private darkness. “I must finish my thesis. I have a lecture to present next week.” He gazed down at the boy, sensing his disappointment. “Gethyon, we can talk about this again another time, if you wish.”
For the first time Embar could remember, a faint smile grew on the child’s face as he stared up at his grandfather. “When?”
“After my presentation.” He patted Gethyon on the shoulder, and noted with shock the red lines that crisscrossed the boy’s arms. “You should ask Keisha to clean those for you. They must sting.”
Gethyon nodded, but remained seated on his bed as the old man left.
~ * ~
As the door closed behind his grandfather, Gethyon rose and went to the table. A large, clear octagonal crystal lay nestled in a protective bed of fabric, glittering faintly in the slivers of light that trickled beneath the edges of the black curtains. An Χ—the company emblem of the ancient Greek letter chi taken from the acronym for Crystalline Holographic Imager—was carved into one facet of the device. Gethyon traced the emblem, a rare smile touching his face. This was his one treasure, the one sure thing he had. Lifting it from its box, Gethyon clutched the CHI in his hands and activated it. A representation of the galaxy filled his room with a translucent blackness. Stars glittered and planets glowed before his eyes.
Take me away from here. He stared deep into the image, his longing to be out there burning in his chest. Take me far away.
Something within him stirred, forcing him to focus deep inside the image. Warmth flowed from his chest, through his arms and into the crystal. Suddenly, the image opened and surrounded him; the room transformed into the dark void of open space, the stars orbiting him in slow rotation, a supernova within the grasp of his free hand.
Gethyon gasped in shock and dropped the CHI device; the illusion vanished, leaving the inactive crystal gleaming at his feet. He stared at it, expecting the images to leap from the crystal again and surround him. Tentatively, he reached down for the gem and his fingers closed around it. He lifted it to his face, gazing intently into the faceted prism, turning it this way and that as if it would suddenly reveal its secret. When nothing happened, he held it at arm’s length and activated it a second time. Again, the picture rose from the CHI device and hovered above it, nothing more than a simple hologram. Not understanding the strange sensation that seemed to spill from him into the heart of the imager, he allowed it to happen again. The view expanded and enfolded him in deepest, blackest space and sparkling stars. A cloud of infinitesimal space debris drifted across his eyes like wisps of cloud, and he pushed the fingers of his free hand into it, watching as the particles dispersed around his fingers.
Marveling at the sudden magic that had brought the galaxy’s image to life, he permitted more of the energy to surge into the CHI device, forcing it when it threatened to trickle to a halt. The image expanded farther, beyond the confines of his room and out into the landscape. Something within him seemed to unlock, and glittering threads of crystal fire shot through space, a long twisting corridor stretching out to infinity. Gethyon stood gasping on the threshold, dizzy with power and exhilaration, waiting to fall into the passageway.
Sudden alarm shot through him in an icy stream; he turned, fear stinging his nerves and fiery agony pulsing in his mind. From behind him darkness deeper than space, an antithesis of light, life and warmth, billowed into his vision, swamping and consuming all before it. He tried to scream, but the sound locked in his throat, leaving him silent and helpless. He tried to release the CHI device, to banish the image and the darkness back into the gem, but a paralysis claimed him. The blackness swelled. Amorphous fingers reached for him across the millennia, seeking to claim him. Power bled from him as the darkness drained his energy, sucked the life from him.
Pain exploded in his hand to the sound of splintering, and the vision shattered. Gethyon stood frozen. Shards of the CHI device fell from a hand dripping in crimson. He screamed as the darkness swallowed him.
With nearly 100 reviews averaging over 4 stars, Tara Elizabeth’s Zoo is definitely worth a read.
A chronicle of my time living in a zoo . . . I’m not really sure where to start, and you may have trouble believing me even as I tell you my story. My family did. They laughed the first time I told them, so now I just say it was all a crazy dream. You see, I died in a totally preventable car accident . . . or so I thought. When I opened my eyes, I was shocked to discover that I had been resurrected into the year 2282 and, just as unbelievably, was locked up in a zoo! A HUMAN ZOO! Oh wait, I mean the People’s Past Anthropological Center.
The Global Government created the Centers because all of the different cultures of the world had, over centuries of time, slowly absorbed into one uniform culture. Everything and everybody felt the same, and the world didn’t like it. So, to help the people of 2282 find cultures they thought worthy to live their lives by, they used time travel to zap the people of the past into the future. They created enclosures to house their live human exhibits. And that’s what happened to me. I became a research project, a source of entertainment. I was a prisoner who was over two hundred years away from my family and friends.
Most of my time in the enclosure was spent trying to escape. I also made friends, lost friends, fell in love, was betrayed, was held captive within captivity, and lots of other fun stuff. There were some shocking moments and some devastating moments . . . It’s a lot to recount, but I’ll try my best to tell you all about my time travel . . . PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE.
I’m Emma, by the way.
DAY ONE – THE ENCLOSURE
When I woke up, I saw green, lots and lots of green. There were green plants, green trees, and green moss covered rocks. Underneath me was a cushion of green grass. I heard rushing water coming from somewhere nearby, but the pounding in my head dulled the pleasant sound. They drugged me, and my body did not like whatever they gave me. I stayed stretched out on the soft carpet of grass, trying to adjust to my surroundings.
“Hi there! About time you woke up,” a breezy, female voice chirped.
I slowly rolled my head in the direction of the voice. A girl about my age was sitting on a boulder staring at me. Her blonde hair was wild, like she took the time to tease it but used a twig to do it. Her eyes were a cool blue like a clear sky. Her dress was plain. It was made from what looked like burlap or some other horrible fabric (if you could even call it fabric). It looked completely out of place on her.
I was thinking about how awful it would be to wear something like that while I was scratching at my own skin. And sure enough, I had the same horrible fabric on. I was so mortified. I was wearing a brown sack that came to about mid-thigh, and when I checked, I discovered that I also had on tiny, bikini-cut panties. I was more of a boy short kind of girl.
“Where am I?” I asked the blonde girl.
“Didn’t they show you the film?”
“Yeah, but . . . ”
“Well, you’re in your new home.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder, and I almost expected her to start smacking on some gum.
I sat up and looked around. There was a small jungle toward the back of the enclosure with the rest of the area being flat land. The jungle was thick with ferns and trees. I could see a hint of a waterfall over some low hanging vines. At the front of the enclosure, on the flat land, I could see a small vegetable garden, a fruit tree, and a cow tied to a post. Half of the space was surrounded by a rock-wall, and the rest was encased by a glass-dome.
“This isn’t anything like where I came from,” I said aloud to myself and to the girl.
“Yeah, me neither. All I can figure is that they want to experiment by putting us in different environments and then seeing what happens.” The girl shrugged her shoulders. “So, what’s your name?”
“Emma David. You?”
The girl spewed a ton of information at me all at once. “Janice Hall. Grew up in Manhattan. Got into partying young. Overdosed on cocaine in a nightclub. Been in here alone for about a month. It’s good to have some company. I started talking to the cow a few days ago. Can you believe that? They could have at least put me in one of these things with some good neighbors or something.”
She completely overwhelmed me, and I didn’t know what to say in response. The thing that stuck out the most about her little speech was that she said she had overdosed. She looked too young to have had an overdose. “How old are you?” I finally asked her.
“Sixteen,” she answered nonchalantly, while inspecting her cuticles. Then she dropped down next to me and grabbed my hand to have a look at my nails. She was behaving like a monkey. I could recall watching them at a regular zoo. They would sit and pick at each other, searching for bugs or whatever nasty things inhabited their fur. It made me uncomfortable, but I was so focused on figuring her out, that I let her continue for a while longer.
Janice was so young and beautiful, and she was probably wealthy if she grew up in Manhattan. I’ve seen plenty of famous socialites on cable TV hit rock bottom before they hit 18. What a waste. Drugs were one thing that I never messed with, and she was a prime example of why.
“What year are you from?” I could tell she wasn’t from my time, even though we were dressed the same. There was something about her that was different, besides the New York accent.
She continued to look over my cuticles. I let her because it seemed to calm her down, which also helped my own nervous energy. She answered, “I was born in 1962. They ‘saved’ me in 1978.” She made air quotes with her fingers as she said the word “saved.” Then she asked me, “What about you?”
The time travel crap was starting to weird me out. I felt like my head was going to explode, but I held myself together long enough to answer her. “Um, I’m 17. I was born in 1995 and they ‘saved’ me in 2013 . . . This is crazy!” Nope. I couldn’t keep it together after all. Why was I sitting there making small talk with a strange girl? I needed to get the hell out of my new prison.
I ran over to the rock wall, searching for a door. Nothing. After I reached the glass front of our enclosure, where the public would be observing us from the other side, I beat my fists against the hard surface. I screamed and screamed and screamed.
Then, I screamed some more.
“Tried that already. It’s no use. Besides, the park’s not even open. Nobody’s here, silly,” Janice told me. She stood behind me, next to the cow, with her hand on her hip. I noticed she had fashionably tied some kind of vine around her waist to accentuate her curves under the hideous sack dress.
I didn’t care what she said, so I ignored her and kept beating the glass wall from one side all the way to the other. I went on that way until I reached a point where I could see into the enclosure next door. What I saw was unexpected.
The Dusan and the Gadi want the key. So do the Ojemba. They think Sara has it. They are willing to do anything to get it.
Sara will have to do anything to stop them…
Check out Breaking the Nexus, the first in Lindsay Avalon’s dark fantasy series. Book 2 is coming soon!
A homicide detective out of his element…
Demons? Magic? Strange realms filled with mythical creatures? Connor Flynn had no doubt these things existed…in the pages of fictional books. As a homicide detective, he knew evil, witnessed it every day on the job. Even when a series of ritualistic murders begin appearing, he looks to the evidence, not the supernatural. Until the day he found a mysterious woman sitting right in the middle of his latest crime scene. While he searches for a rational explanation, all signs indicate she materialized out of thin air.
A woman in a foreign land…
Locked in battle with a fierce hellbeast one minute, then lying in a pool of blood the next, Sha Phoenix has no idea what happened. A Sorceri within the Mythrian Realm, magic is a way of life, as she manipulates the elements of fire and water. She understands banshees, blood mages, and dragons, not waking to find a sexy detective accusing her of murder. Trapped in the Human Realm, she can be sure of only one thing: the barrier that separates her world from Connor’s is weakening by the minute.
A world on the brink of destruction…
Thrown together by fate, Sha and Connor must find a way to put a stop to a killer, bent on destroying the world as they know it.
The Nexus is breaking, and all hell is about to unleash…literally.
Fantasy meets science fictions meets romance in The Magic Wakes.
Since childhood, scientist Talia Zaryn has been haunted by recurring dreams, visions of an alien attack on her planet Sendek. Each time it ends abruptly with Talia’s death in the capital city Joharadin, a city that she has spent her life desperately avoiding. Talia keeps these dreams a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when she is unexpectedly transferred to Joharadin she is convinced that the conflict, and her own death, is at hand.
As Talia’s nightmares occur with increasing frequency, they reveal the imminent invasion of a half-dragon, half-human race called Dragumon, bent on the annihilation of her world.
In Sendek, magic is dead and science rules, forcing Talia to keep another secret, one that could cost her everything if it were known. Now, in order to save her planet, Talia must awaken the powers within her and rely at last on the magic that is her true inheritance.
Talia stood in the dark at the top of a tree covered hill waiting for the sunsrise. The breeze cooled her hot skin and sent goose bumps down her bare legs. She stared at the city of Gneledar sprawled across the valley below. The skylanes had already filled with aeroflyers, and it wouldn’t be long before the pedestrian zipways filled.
What would happen if they knew what I could do?
The thought made the hair on her arms rise. She shook it off; grateful the city consulate had allowed her to retain her parents’ home after their deaths. Her father had cared for the nature reserve all his life. Now she could hide within the shadow of the trees a few miles from the busy city below her. This was the one place she felt safe to drink the sunsrise without prying eyes.
How will I survive the dreams without the sunsrise? Talia directed her thoughts to the trees.
Don’t go. Their deep tones resonated through her mind, sending warmth with the tremor of their strength.
A sigh escaped. If only it were that easy.
All other thoughts disappeared as the first sun rose between Mount Riyou and Mount Gair on the other side of the city. Her shoulder-length hair filled with static electricity as the energy of the sun tugged at her. Sunbeams bounced off metal and glass in a glaring shower of radiance. As the second sun climbed into view, she raised her arms and drew the light to her.
The rays swirled and coalesced as she inhaled the flowing energy. Her lungs expanded as pure life flowed through her body, healing the damage from the dream. The blisters disappeared and the aching muscles relaxed. Her soul expanded until her spirit pushed at the skin, reaching for freedom.
The excess energy seeped into the surrounding wildlife as the glow of power faded into the normal light of day. The euphoria of the sunsrise faded with each step home. Small animals and birds drew near, touched her feet or shoulders and skittered away again. They knew this was goodbye.
You will come back. The trees hummed.
Not this time. I’m going to Joharadin. Talia shuddered as she pushed back memories of a childhood trip.
Dreams can change.
This one never does.
Stay then. We will protect you.
Talia rested a palm against the trunk of a large tree. Energy pulsed from deep in the core, warming her hand. Power coursed between them like a heartbeat.
She spoke aloud, “They’ll come anyway. I have to fight for all of us.”
And she would. She didn’t know how, but she couldn’t leave her world in the hands of the Scalies or Draguman. Whatever they were called.
The trees sighed as she reached the door to her parents’ house. It was all she had left of them. Keeta clung to the vines growing up the side of the door, and launched himself toward Talia as soon as she was close enough to catch him. She carried him through the door.
“Computer, access tram schedule.” Talia called out while she sat Keeta on his favorite pillow to sleep.
“Destination required?” the automated voice asked.
“Joharadin, capital of Algodova.” Talia moved to the metabolizer and punched in an order for breakfast.
“Tram scheduled to depart Gneledar station at nine rising.”
“Delays?” She took a bite of eggs smothered in cheese and mushrooms.
“Of course it is.” She dumped the full plate down the sink as her stomach twisted. Another deep breath. “I can’t fight destiny. If this is it, this is it.”