Tuesday, July 17, 2018

LOVE FOR SALE & MORGAN D'ARCY: A VAMPYRE RHAPSODY by Linda Nightingale

LOVE FOR SALE & MORGAN D’Arcy: A VAMPYRE RHAPSODY
by Linda Nightingale

LOVE FOR SALE

March Morgan still believes in true love, but her faith in finding her soul mate is slowly vanishing. She’s been married but never in love. So, it is a miracle to find that fantasy exists on the last page of a glossy women’s journal. Mayfair Electronics, Ltd., in black and white, offers Love for Sale. The London firm has engineered sentient androids indistinguishable from humans. She flies to England and meets the man she has been searching for her entire life.

Christian requires no programming to love March at first sight. He’s handsome, cultured…absolutely perfect…and a little different from the other androids. He has an unexpected independent streak. March signs on the dotted line, buying her dream man. They return to Houston, but soon her past and his future threaten their Happily Ever After—indeed their lives.

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MORGAN D’ARCY: A VAMPYRE RHAPSODY

The greatest enemy of a vampire is boredom. Four centuries of existence have taught Lord Morgan Gabriel D'Arcy to fear nothing and no one. Humans and their weapons have little chance against his preternatural speed and arcane powers. Vampires are viral mutations of human DNA. Still, the Vampyre code requires secrecy, and he has learned to hide his nature from the world. The lure of mortality, of a life in the sun, puts Morgan again and again at the mercy of calculating human women though they fail to consider his charm and determination into the equation. However, even grooming a future bride from infancy proves to be fraught with heartbreak. And second chances are not always what they seem unless... you are Morgan. Immortality and beauty, aren’t they grand?

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EXCERPT FROM LOVE FOR SALE
Motionless, she watched the parade of beauty, but none of them struck the special chord that would make her heart sing. These men—androids—can be customized, March reminded herself. Still, it took more than looks to make her fall in love.

Then he strode through the door, and her heart did a double back flip. She inhaled a soft gasp. He was perfect, no customization needed. The only programming required was a sense of humor and an intense libido. Lord, she wanted to touch him, run her fingers through his hair and kiss that luscious mouth.

“Sorry to keep you waiting.” His voice defined musical and played that special chord she’d dreamed of. “I was on the phone.”

The Special Editions had gathered around her. The auburn haired woman whispered a laugh. “Is there any need for more than one introduction, Ms. Morgan?”

That someone was speaking barely registered. March didn’t respond. She was speechless and couldn’t peel her gaze off the most beautiful man she’d ever seen. His eyes were crystalline blue, his hair wheat colored. She’d wanted sparks. She’d gotten fireworks! No way in hell was she leaving London without him.

Spellbound, March was drawn one step toward perfection, her willful eyes traveling over his body, pausing at his zipper, sliding down his long legs. The wasted years looped through her memory, regret stinging her eyes.

Melissa squeezed her hand. “Ah, you like our blond.” She beckoned. “Come, Christian.”

In tight jeans and a tux jacket with plaid cummerbund and bow tie, her dream man paused in the light of a crystal and gold chandelier. His shoulder-length hair shone like silk. Mischief sparkled in his eyes. Full lips parted on a smile, his teeth white and even. March loved a beautiful smile, and everything inside her melted. ~Follow the rest of the tour

AN INTERVIEW WITH LINDA
-What inspired you to become a writer?

I was an avid reader. Summers, I sat in the open door at home, with the screen filtering light and dreams, a dill pickle jar at my side, devouring pickles and novels, when I was young. Those memories are quite clear. In the winter, I lay on my stomach before the fire with a different jar of dill pickles and consumed books daily. Those words and dreams stuck in my subconscious. I admired the authors, and I wanted to be one. English was my best subject, and the long hike to publication began.

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

I’d have a date with my hero Morgan D’Arcy. I created him and totally fell in love with him. We’d begin at a cocktail reception, whisk off to his concert at the Royal Albert, and after, enjoy a late supper at a fashionable restaurant in London with his friends from the orchestra.

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

This question reminds me of Lucifer episodes when he looks into the killer’s eyes and says, “What do you desire?” Too bad they canceled the show! Back to the question: I must choose a villain. Since A Vampyre Rhapsody is a collection of Morgan stories, I’ll ask the CEO of Mayfair Electronics from Love For Sale. He whispers that in Christian he created the man he’d want to be: tall, blond and devastatingly handsome. He confides that, regardless of March’s Contract of Purchase, he intends to have the beautiful android for himself.

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

Any of the heroes! Morgan or Christian, but then there is Austen from Gambler’s Choice, a knowledgeable horseman (and I love horses), or Gyldan from Gylded Wings. He is far more than he seems on the surface.

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?

Clap him on the shoulder and buy him a drink.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

Zombies. At the end of the world, the dead will rise, and that scares the pants off me. There is absolutely nothing romantic about a dead thing, with flesh falling off its face and body. I shudder at the thought of zombies.

ABOUT LINDA

Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston. She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.

Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award and the SARA Merritt. She retired from a career as a retired legal assistant, just joined the Houston BMW Club, and the stars in her crown—two wonderful sons. In a former life, she must have had to walk everywhere because today she is into transportation with fine taste in expensive horses and hot cars! She likes to dress up and host formal dinner parties.

Find her online:

-Twitter
-Facebook
-website – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
-blog - Lots of interesting guests & prizes
-Goodreads
-Pinterest
-Amazon

GIVEAWAY

Linda Nightingale will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 13, 2018

FREAKING FAST by David Pereda

FREAKING FAST
by David Pereda

The city is Asheville, North Carolina, and the year is 2066. As renowned mathematician Alexandra Martin travels in her self-driving car to assassinate the love of her life, she reminisces about how they met and fell in love fifty years earlier in middle school when she was a thirteen year old poor math whiz and he a wealthy teenager. Alex recounts her struggles to be admitted to the best private school in the county, her happy teenage years running track, and her close relationship with three handsome and charming boys: Xavier, the intellectual; Andrew, the golden boy; and Vitali, the suave foreigner. One by one, she visits the three boys of her youth, now successful professionals in their sixties, one of whom is her intended victim.

EXCERPT
Year 2066
8:30am. Asheville, North Carolina

Today I’m going to kill the love of my life.

This deliberate act should not to be misinterpreted for what the sensationalistic media will surely call a crime of passion, because it isn’t. There’s nothing passionate in what I am about to do. My action is premeditated, has been planned for a long time, and will be executed for the benefit of our city, our country, and our crumbling world – as well as for my own peace of mind.

I know people say things they don’t mean all the time, especially when they are stressed out, upset, or angry. People lie either to hurt others or to protect themselves or simply because they like to lie. I swear that every word written here is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God. May He also forgive me for this murder I’m about to commit.

I have chosen this date for a reason. Today is my birthday, and the anniversary of our first kiss, fifty years ago. I turn sixty-three years old today. Five decades ago, I would have been considered an old woman at this age, gray-haired and wrinkled, and possibly overweight. But that was then. Nowadays, thanks to the medical advances of the past fifty years, of which I have partaken freely – they’re there, right, so why not make use of them? I’m in the prime of my life. I look and feel not a day over thirty and have the sculpted body, the vigor, and the mental acumen of a highly intelligent woman in her twenties.

When I was a teenager, there was this beautiful model named Cindy Crawford, who in her sixties looked like she was in her late thirties and was an example to women all over the world. She was to me. But the world has evolved, and that was then, and this is now.

Were Cindy Crawford alive today she would look like my older sister or maybe my young-looking mother, even though we would both be about the same age.

But I digress. I have, perhaps, too much on my mind. Images of the past keep streaming through my head. I think of the love of my life, him, and wonder what could have been but wasn’t; what was and shouldn’t have been.

I feel like crying as I see my life play out, in black-and-white like an old movie, on the screen of my mind.

~Buy FREAKING FAST on Amazon

~Follow the rest of the tour

ABOUT DAVID

David Pereda is the award-winning author of nine novels, including Havana Blues and However Long the Night, as well as the Havana Series of thrillers featuring the dashing Doctor Raymond Peters and the beautiful but deadly Cuban assassin Marcela. He has traveled to more than thirty countries and speaks four languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching, David had a successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Qatar, among others.

A member of MENSA, David earned his MBA from Pepperdine University in California. He earned bachelor degrees in English literature and mathematics at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

He lives in artistic Asheville, North Carolina, with his youngest daughter Sophia, where he teaches mathematics and English at the Asheville-Buncombe Community College. He loves sports and is an accomplished competitor in track and show-jumping equestrian events.

Check out his Amazon Author Page

GIVEAWAY

David will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 12, 2018

MADAM TULIP AND THE BONES OF CHANCE by David Ahern

MADAM TULIP AND THE BONES OF CHANCE
by David Ahern

Suspense, mystery, action, a little romance and lots of laughs.

A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands. But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion. Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.

As Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.

~Buy MADAM TULIP AND THE BONES OF CHANCE on Amazon

~Add it on Goodreads

AN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID
-What inspired you to become a writer?

I can’t say I ever wanted to be a writer. It’s just something I do. Like growing onions.

-What draws you to your genre(s) of choice?

I love a mystery, especially character-driven ones, and I like action in a story, but I don’t enjoy gore. Cozy mysteries are fun but rarely page-turners, and thrillers tend to have too much explicit violence for me (okay, call me a wuss!). So to find a mystery-thriller that’s as much fun as a cozy, I had to write one myself.

-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.

US Navy SEALS were once based on an island airbase off Scotland’s West coast waiting for defecting Soviet aircraft or the space shuttle to make an emergency landing. True, although the story doesn’t figure in the book as it was too many years ago.

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

Any of my main characters, although each would present hazards: Derry, I’d probably fall for and make a fool of myself; Jacko would be great company but the chances are I’d wake up with a hangover and only the vaguest memory of where I’d actually been; Bella would get us both arrested for some obscure but principled transgression; Vanessa would want me to sign something I didn’t understand. I think Bruce is the answer, as I could exchange supportive advice about surviving auditions for protection from thugs, aggressive drunks and over-mighty bouncers.

-For aspiring writers, any tips?

Keep going. You haven’t failed until you stop.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

Horror. I’m so squeamish that if I was a medical doctor I’d have to ask patients to stand in a closet with a paper bag over their heads before telling me their symptoms. Or maybe write me a note.

ABOUT DAVID

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

Madam Tulip wasn’t David Ahern's first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’s ever had with a computer. He is now writing the fourth Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.

David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.

Find him online:

-website
-Facebook
-Twitter

Monday, July 9, 2018

A PROMISE REMEMBERED by Erin S. Riley

A PROMISE REMEMBERED
by Erin S. Riley

Two souls entangled in an eternal echo of true love…

Rowan and James have been drawn together in every existence since the beginning of time. But love's sweet promise is cut short after an unthinkable tragedy strikes two young families, shattering the bond in this lifetime.

Is love stronger than death? Can Rowan and James find another way to each other? Against all odds, a forgotten promise is remembered and kept, reuniting two souls destined to be together.

EXCERPT
Rowan opened the closet door, jumping back as the hinges squeaked, and gazed around the empty space. It was an old fashioned small closet with a single hanging bar and a shelf on top. There were no visible signs of rodents.

Scratch, scratch, scratch.

The sound was coming from under the floor, it seemed. She knelt carefully, keeping her can of compressed air at the ready, as she examined the wooden floorboards. Looking closer, she furrowed her brow. The blemish was nearly seamless, but she could tell the floorboards had been cut. Despite her fear of the rodents, her curiosity was piqued. Was there actually a secret compartment hidden in the closet floor?

Rowan used her fingernails to pry up the end of one of the floorboards, peering down warily in case the mouse decided to jump out at her. After removing two more boards, she used the flashlight on her phone to examine the dark hole. No beady red eyes stared back her. The secret compartment in the floor contained only what appeared to be a dusty shoebox.

Rowan sprayed some compressed air around to be safe, then pulled it out the box marked Airwalks, men’s size twelve. Carrying it closer to the window, she sat down on the floor to lift the lid.

There wasn’t much in it. A crumpled pack of Marlboros, so old the tobacco had fallen out of the cigarettes. A lighter. Several baseball cards. A pencil drawing of a large tree, drawn by someone who was by no means an artist. A well-worn Playboy magazine with Pamela Anderson on the cover. Rowan glanced at the date—1997.

A wave of sadness washed over her. She must have found the secret stash of Bella’s long-dead brother. Poor kid. It seemed oddly intrusive touching the private things of a dead boy, and Rowan hastened to put everything back where she found it. But the sound of something rolling in the box caught her attention, and she peered in.

A stick? A small twig half the size of her pinkie was in the bottom of the shoebox. Why had the dead boy put a stick in his secret shoebox? Despite herself, she reached in to pick it up.

A wave of energy prickled through her body, like a shot of expresso, quickening her pulse and her breathing. She heard a noise behind her that sounded like a gasp of surprise, and turned sharply to find she was no longer alone in her bedroom. Rowan screamed as she leapt to her feet.

A man stood in the middle of her bedroom, blocking her only exit. Tall, dark haired, lean yet muscular, he was nearly naked, wearing what appeared to be bicycle shorts. How had he gotten in her room? What was he going to do to her? With a sick sense of panic, Rowan remembered Bella saying her ex had been a crazy stalker. Had he returned to kill them both?

“What the . . .?” The man’s voice was deep and grumbling as he glared at her with displeasure. “How the hell did you get in my house, Rowan?”

Rowan backed up, still gripping the stick, and desperately looked around for a weapon. “How do you know my name?” she squeaked.

He stepped closer, his broad shoulders and naked chest now very close to her face. She got a whiff of aftershave as she peered up into angry green eyes that seemed startlingly familiar. Blinking in confusion, she dropped her gaze for a moment, which unfortunately landed on his ripped abs and the trail of fine hair that lead down toward the low waistband of his bike shorts.

Oh, they weren’t shorts. They were underwear. An angry man who somehow knew her name was standing in her bedroom wearing nothing but a tight pair of boxer briefs.

“How do I know your name?” he echoed unbelievingly. “Are you on something?” Confusion lanced his face as he looked around the room. “What did you do to my bedroom?”

He took another step in her direction, reaching out as though to touch her. Rowan screamed, dropping the stick, and bent to pick up the discarded can of compressed air with the intention of bashing him in the face with it. But when she looked up, he was gone.

~Buy A PROMISE REMEMBERED:

-Amazon
-B&N

~Follow the rest of the tour

REVIEW
I don’t usually go for romance novels with the “love over the course of multiple lives” trope, but this one surprised me. The idea is fresh and different, and I found this journey of two souls searching the cosmos for one another quite delightful.

Rowan and James are both interesting characters. I didn’t feel like I got to know James as well as Rowan, but I can appreciate his love for Star Trek. Now, original or next generation? Kidding. Rowan’s eating disorder was a great twist on her character, and I liked how that played into the story later on. It was also interesting to see two different Rowans with the same insecurities who became two vastly different people. It really begs the question, what would we be like if we turned left instead of right?

The romance was fulfilling, if a bit rushed. I felt like the getting-to-know-you phase was a bit glossed over. Though, it worked for the story, given Rowan and James’s unique “different universes” circumstance. The ending, too, felt a bit rushed, and there was a question about James’s sister that didn’t get answered. Overall, though, this was a fun and interesting story.

ABOUT ERIN

Erin S. Riley has an undergraduate degree in psychology, a graduate degree in clinical counseling, and is a board-certified lactation consultant. Since Erin was a child, she has been fascinated with human nature and what motivates behavior. She enjoys writing suspenseful, complicated love stories that take the reader on an emotional journey and end in happy tears. Erin is the author of the Sons of Odin Series: Odin’s Shadow; A Flame Put Out; and Oath Breaker; as well as a paranormal romance, A Promise Remembered.

Find her online:

-A Promise Remembered
-Amazon Page
-Facebook
-website
-Twitter

GIVEAWAY

Erin S. Riley will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Cover Reveal: TRANSCENDENT from Transmundane Press

Coming this fall from Transmundane Press…

A parallel dimension exists below the surface of reality. Its doors swing open every time we sleep, allowing us passage into the land of DREAMS, a plane rich with exotic fantasy and limitless bliss. Within this wonder world, however, lurk dark corridors and terrible creatures—some unfortunate travelers never escape the NIGHTMARES waiting in the shadows.

Many have tried bridging our worlds. Seekers and wise men have meditated for VISIONS and ingested intoxicants for HALLUCINATIONS in hopes that the veil between our realms will thin, allowing access to all the thrills, joys, and horrors beyond our senses.

TRANSCENDENT is an open gate, a gangway linking our realm to the shimmering sphere where nothing is certain and anything is possible.

~Visit Transmundane Press online

Monday, July 2, 2018

HEARTSONG by Annie Douglass Lima


Two alien worlds.
One teen emissary.
No reality she can trust.

Thirteen-year-old Liz Smith has been ripped away from one foster family after another for years, so the idea of a permanent home is tantalizing. Who cares if that home is a colony sixty-five thousand light-years from Earth? The friends in her trusty e-reader will keep her company just fine on her interstellar relocation.

But when the adventure of a lifetime turns into the disaster of the cosmos, Liz can only retreat so far into the books that have always sheltered her from loneliness and loss. Trapped in half-truths and secrets that leave her questioning reality, can one orphaned bookworm find a way to stop two races from destroying each other … and somehow write a happy ending to her own story?

If you like books about space travel, aliens, or cross-cultural transitions, you’ll love this poignant science fiction adventure. Click here to get your copy of Heartsong now and start the journey today! (Shh! For July 1st and 2nd only, the ebook is available for free!)

Read on for a sample of the story ...

Heartsong
Chapter One

My love of reading started the whole thing.
The best place to read on the Laika was in the lifeboats. I’d discovered that on the first leg of the trip, during the flight from Earth to the jump point off of Phoebe. I mean, what else was there to do when we couldn’t see much through the viewports? The view was exciting when there was one, but when you’re far away from anything, space all looks the same.
The hyperspace jump that shot us across the galaxy had been quick, of course, so no time to get bored there. And after we came out of it at the jump point off of Somav, the blue giant that would light my skies for the rest of my life, the flight toward the little moon Soma was pretty exciting, too. I couldn’t stop staring as we passed Somavia, the blue and white planet I knew none of us would ever see close up again. I wondered about the aliens whose home it was. What were they like? The pictures and video Forerunner had sent back, from the few passes it had taken in high orbit, left everyone with more questions than they answered.
Of course, we knew the planet had a breathable atmosphere. If it hadn’t been for the alien race who already lived there — and the tirtellium that we were going to mine on Soma, of course — New Horizons Industries might have decided to set up its colony on the planet Somavia instead of on its moon.
We passed Somavia three days ago, and we’d been orbiting Soma ever since. Which was also exciting, at first. I couldn’t wait to actually get down there and start life on my new home. A home I would get to help create, along with the adult scientists and miners and the rest of the Young Explorers. A home I would never be taken away from just when I was starting to settle in. My forever home. Normally I hated new beginnings, but this one was different. This would be the last new beginning of my life.
Even the colony’s name, chosen by the Samoan astronomer who discovered this solar system, was perfect. Avanoa, which apparently meant opportunity in the Samoan language, sounded to me like a kingdom from some fantasy novel.
Not that life in Avanoa was going to be a fantasy. I knew that starting a colony would be hard work, but that didn’t matter. A real home, with friends I would never have to say goodbye to, would be worth any amount of work.
Soma was interesting to look at, though not as pretty as the planet it orbited. The moon was mostly brown, with splotches of gray-green surrounding the dark blue dots that marked the location of its scattered lakes. With no actual oceans, the moon had just enough water to support a little plant and animal life. Nothing too dangerous, at least as far as we could tell from Forerunner’s pictures. Insects. Some fish and crustaceans that might or might not be edible. Small reptilian or maybe amphibian creatures that lived in and around the lakes. A handful of different mammals, all tiny, that made their homes in the hills. Nothing that seemed likely to bother two hundred human colonists setting up a new home on their world.
Of course, the aliens could be another story. We knew the Somavians had developed a limited form of space travel; we knew they had mines on Soma, too. But whatever they were mining for, it wasn’t tirtellium, and they only had a few tunnel mines in a few locations. We planned to set up our colony hundreds of kilometers away, where if all went according to plan, they wouldn’t even know we were around. Forerunner’s sensors had not detected any other artificial satellites in orbit around either Somavia or Soma, and as far as we could tell, the locals had no instruments capable of detecting Forerunner, no way to suspect we were coming. Its orbit was carefully programmed to keep it out of sight of any of their mines after dark, when it might be visible from the ground as a moving point of light.
The adults all said that hopefully we would never have to encounter any Somavians, but all of us kids hoped we would. I mean, why would anyone in their right mind not want to meet the first real live aliens actually confirmed to exist?
Jessie, who loved science fiction movies almost as much as I loved reading, had often kept Maria and Shaliqua and me awake late into the night back in our dorm room discussing all the possible alien-related adventures that awaited us if we ever made contact. Most of those possibilities were a lot more fun — though some were scarier — than the idea of living in isolation and never letting the locals know we were on their moon.
Anyway, judging by Forerunner’s footage, Somavian culture seemed peaceful, with no evidence of any wars going on down on their home world. If they did find out about the humans in their solar system, hopefully they wouldn’t mind us being there. We wouldn’t bother them, and with any luck, they wouldn’t bother us. And if they did get mad, well, the Laika had some weapons. Not enough to wage war with, but hopefully enough to convince them to leave us alone.
So much to wonder about. So much to look forward to. I could hardly wait to get down to the surface and start my new life. But here we all were, stuck in orbit for three whole days so far. Three painfully long and boring days. Earth days, that is. It had been nearly five Soman days, though we wouldn’t officially switch to using Soman time until we landed.
Atmospheric storms. Who would have thought that storms would be this big of an issue on a world with virtually no precipitation? Our science team had come up with a theory about minerals in the soil reflecting particles and wavelengths from the solar flares that Somav had been throwing out since our arrival. Whatever the case, the result was some pretty impressive windstorms in parts of the atmosphere. Since the spot picked out for Avanoa was directly underneath one of the worst storms, Captain Tyler insisted it wouldn’t be safe to try to land yet.
But no one had anticipated that the flares and storms would go on this long. At first, I was glad of the opportunity to orbit my new home and see what it looked like from space. But after a while the excitement faded, and everyone turned grouchy as we all grew more and more bored and impatient. The movies and games preloaded on our Horizon-brand tablets weren’t good enough to keep everyone happy, not while we had to put the adventure we’d all waited over a year to start on hold indefinitely. And I’d never been a big fan of video games or movies anyway.
So I did what I always do when real people get too annoying. I pulled out my old-school Novareader and turned to my true friends, the ones who never got annoying, who would always be there for me no matter what, who I never had to say goodbye to. And I escaped to the one place I had found on board where nobody would bother me or interrupt my adventures to ask what I was reading or exclaim over their new high score in who-cares-what-virtual-adventure on their RizeTab.
The Laika was designed to be taken apart when we arrived. Its decking and bulkheads would be used to help create Avanoa’s buildings until we could construct permanent residences from local rock, and that was one of the reasons the ship was so large. But big though it was, it had no extra empty space. Every compartment was full of freeze-dried food items, mining equipment, packages of seeds for genetically modified crops designed to grow well in the moon’s dry soil, and educational resources for us youth, because even on an interstellar adventure, there was no escaping school in some form.
So I had discovered in between Earth and Phoebe that the lifeboats were the best place to read. I wasn’t sure if I was really supposed to hang out in them, but they were unlocked, because after all, what would be the point in locking something that people would need to get into in a hurry in an emergency?
I sat curled up on a seat in Lifeboat 1, alternating between reading and looking out to see if anything interesting had come into sight down below. But from this angle, the one window — a wide viewport at the very front — was mostly full of stars, only a tiny sliver of Soma visible from one edge. I could have turned on the screen at the lifeboat’s navigational console and adjusted it to show me any view I liked, but that might trigger some sort of alert, and I didn’t want anyone showing up to tell me I wasn’t supposed to be in here.
So I joined Caz and her friends on their travels across the Granbo system, caught up in their space adventure on my Novareader screen, since my own space adventure had turned pretty dull. Lunch was another two hours away, so I might as well enjoy myself in the meantime.
And I did — until the ship vibrated more vigorously than usual and the fasten seatbelts sign flicked on.
I often felt as though several of me were debating inside my head. For a moment, Cautious Liz wondered if I should return to my seat. But what was the point? Practical Liz reminded me that I would be just as safe here in the lifeboat, and if the turbulence got bad, walking around with the Laika lurching under me would not be the smartest idea.
I already had my seatbelt on, since that was the best way to keep from floating around. Not that floating around wasn’t fun, but there was too little room in the lifeboat to do mid-air flips and spins without banging into things, and drifting around while I read made it hard to focus on the book. Of course my magnetic-soled shoes could have kept me anchored to the deck, but not when I wanted to sit cross-legged.
So I just tightened my seatbelt a little and turned back to The Gypsy Pearl. We had encountered turbulence lots of times in the last few days, thanks to the solar flares. It was no big deal.
But the vibrations grew stronger, and then the ship started lurching under me. I lowered my Novareader and looked around, but there was nothing to see here in the little lifeboat. The stars jumped and jerked outside the window, and if it hadn’t been for my seatbelt, I knew I would have been thrown about and probably injured already.
I waited for the crackle of the intercom and Captain Tyler’s voice to explain what was happening or issue instructions. But I heard nothing, and I wondered if the flares had damaged the lifeboat’s intercom system. They had interfered with the Laika’s electrical systems before, after all. Now I wished I’d returned to my seat while I could. If something dangerous was happening, I would rather face it with the others in the main cabin, where at least I would know what was going on.
Without warning, the lights flickered and then went out. Now that was a first. An instant later, an alarm screeched, making me jump. I gasped, really worried for the first time since we left Earth. The screeching continued as the stars swirled and zigzagged, sending faint but frightening shadows thrashing around me like alien spirits trying to take over the ship. For a second I wondered if that could actually be happening. Maybe the Somavians had powers we didn’t know about. Maybe they were trying to drive us out of their system … or worse.
Then the emergency lights embedded in the deck glowed to life, and I let out my breath in relief. The navigational computer two rows ahead of me powered on automatically, its screen lighting up green.
My relief was short-lived, though. The alarm kept blaring its intermittent warning. Screech! Silence. Screech! Silence. Screech! The turbulence was worse than ever, as though the Laika was a wild horse, bucking and leaping and trying to throw its rider off. And that rider gripped the edge of her seat all alone there in the lifeboat, wondering what in the universe was happening.
Suddenly the whirling stars vanished and Soma swung into view, filling the viewport ahead of me, a blur of brown-blue-gray-green-brown. I barely had time to notice before it was gone and the streaking stars reappeared. Then the moon appeared again.
My stomach was spinning as fast as the ship. Thank goodness I had inherited the Smith Stomach of Steel, or my breakfast would probably have ended up all around me. I could only imagine what a nasty experience that would be in zero gravity with the ship thrashing around like this.
A new noise caught my attention. A mechanical noise, a series of clicks and clinks and the sliding of metal against metal. I had only ever heard it before in simulations, but I recognized it right away, and my heart lurched in terror. “No!”
Words flashed across the computer screen, large enough to read from where I sat. LIFEBOAT LAUNCHING.
“No! I yelled again. I fumbled for the seatbelt clasp and flung myself across the tiny cabin, lunging for the manual override button beside the door. Not a smart move, I have to admit, considering how wildly everything was jerking around me. But I panicked. Can you blame me? None of our training, none of the simulations, had dealt with what to do if the lifeboat you were sitting in alone accidentally detached from the ship.
I knew what to do if a lifeboat didn’t detach when it was supposed to. I knew which lifeboat I was supposed to board in an emergency. Not this one, though they were all the same. I knew who my lifeboat buddies would be — a fairly even cross-section of the ship’s crew in terms of age and abilities, so we would have the best possible chance of survival in case not every lifeboat made it. I knew how to steer the lifeboat and bring it down for a controlled landing, even though I wasn’t the assigned helmsperson in my group. We had all learned all those skills, just in case.
But I didn’t know how to survive in deep space or on Soma’s surface on my own. The cupboards contained emergency rations and survival gear, of course, but not enough to live off of indefinitely. Of course the lifeboat would emit a signal that the ship’s sensors would pick up — I knew they were picking it up already, as of the moment my craft started to detach — but what if no one could come and get me right away? What if I landed on Soma, but the Laika couldn’t land for days or even weeks? They would have no way to rescue a stranded teenager who shouldn’t have been reading in a lifeboat in the first place.
And what if the aliens found me before my people did?
All that went swirling through my brain within a couple of seconds as I slammed my fist into the manual override button again and again. But nothing happened. That is, the hatch didn’t open to let me out into the ship’s corridor. But the incessant alarm finally went silent, and the frantic jerking and thrashing stopped, replaced by a slow, gentle twirl.
For a second, Optimistic Liz dared to hope that the trouble was over. But I knew that wasn’t it.
The lifeboat was no longer connected to the ship.
Too horrified even to yell again, I watched the Laika drift past the window, Somav’s light tinting her silver-white hull a metallic frostbite-blue against the blackness of space. She was still spinning and dancing like some huge bird as the solar flares played havoc with her electrical systems. And then I saw only stars, and then the mottled brown of the moon, then more stars. And then there went the Laika once more, further away this time.
Grabbing the back of a seat for leverage, I shoved off from the deck, thankful for the zero-gravity training. Floating was faster than clomping along in magnetic shoes, and I had to get to the controls now. I had to steer myself back to the ship.
But as I seized the arm of the helmsperson’s chair and maneuvered my body into it, I realized I had no idea how to reattach a lifeboat to its socket on the ship’s side. They had never taught us that. Were lifeboats even designed to reattach once they were separated?
Well, somebody must know the proper procedure for this kind of emergency. Captain Tyler or one of the other adults could talk me through the process. Right?
I fumbled for the seatbelt, twisting my ankles around the legs of the chair so I wouldn’t float off in the meantime. Jabbing the intercom button, I called, “Help! I’m in a lifeboat that just detached! What do I do?”
Realizing how panicked and little-girly I sounded, I took a deep breath and tried again. “I mean, this is Liz Smith on Lifeboat 1, calling anybody on the Laika who can hear me. Come in, please.”
There was no response, and I realized that the communication light wasn’t even on. The intercom was offline.
Great. Dang solar flares.
I took another deep breath. I had never felt so alone.
But the controls in front of me looked exactly like the ones in the simulator. I could do this. It would be just the same as I had practiced.
Except this was no game, where the only real struggle was to beat my classmates, to be the first to land my virtual lifeboat safely.
This was a real emergency.
This was my life at stake.

Buy Heartsong from Amazon in Kindle or paperback format here: 
http://smarturl.it/HeartsongSciFi

About the Author:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published eighteen books in a wide variety of genres (science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.









Friday, June 29, 2018

SHENANIGANS by Gail Koger

SHENANIGANS
by Gail Koger

Kandi Cain inherited her Dr. Doolittle abilities from her grandmother and became a psychic pet detective. To her dismay, she just acquired the power to communicate with the spirit world, but dead people give her the willies.

Just when Kandi thought her life couldn’t get more complicated, the neighbor from hell moved in next door. The nasty guy’s name is Dutch Callaghan. How can someone so gorgeous be such a dick? Kandi could chalk some of it up to his job. Dutch is a Phoenix PD homicide cop.

Kandi’s current case is rescuing a Yorkie from a brutal dog fighting ring. Little does she know her dog napping suspect is involved in a series of brutal murders. Disguised as an elderly nun, Kandi rescues the Yorkie and, in the process, blows the hell out of Dutch’s undercover operation.

Kandi now finds herself a person of interest in her client’s murder and her sexy-as-hell, pain-in-the-butt neighbor is in hot pursuit of the Ninja Nun. Is Dutch about to slap the cuffs on? Only time will tell.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT
Using my inner eye, I examined his aura and found no hint of deception. “What do you really want?”

“You.”

“Why?”

Dutch chuckled. “Suspicious little thing, aren’t you?”

“Answer the question.”

“You’re loyal. Family means something to you. You fight for what you believe in and try to do the right thing, even when your actions aren’t quite legal. I like your spunk, the way you kiss and your ability to think outside the box. I think we would make one hell of a team,” Dutch said.

“You’re good, I’ll give you that. I think you’re only interested in my psychic abilities.”

“They’re an added bonus, but it’s you I want in my life and in my bed,” Dutch answered.

I wanted a relationship with Dutch too, but if he found out my father had been a mob enforcer, it would be bad. Very bad. I shook my head. “Not interested.”

“Liar.”

“Look. I’m hot, tired and in serious need of a shower. Can we continue this discussion later?”

Dutch glanced at his watch. “Yeah, my lieutenant got the search warrant for Lopez Meats about an hour ago and the tactical team is gearing up. Fire 1 will take us back to Phoenix.”

I groaned. “All I want is a cold shower and a big glass of iced tea.”

“How about a bottle of cold water and some wet wipes?”

“Wow. You sure know how to show a girl a good time.”

“Tomorrow I’ll take you to Hilberto’s. Monday is all-you-can-eat fajitas,” Dutch said.

“Be still my heart. An all-you-can-eat feast at a fast-food joint.”

Dutch waggled his eyebrows. “It’s a date then.”

“Date? Like a date, date?”

“Yes. I’ll even walk you home and give you a goodnight kiss that will rock your world.”

My girly parts were jumping up and down with anticipation. I hadn’t dated since Grandma Hester died. “I do love their tamales.”

“Good. I’ll pick you up at seven.”

~Buy SHENANIGANS:

-Amazon
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~Follow the rest of the tour

ABOUT GAIL
I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Glendale Police Department and to keep from going totally bonkers – I mean people have no idea what a real emergency is. Take this for example: I answered, “9-1-1 emergency, what’s your emergency?” And this hysterical woman yelled, “My bird is in a tree.” Sometimes I really couldn’t help myself, so I said, “Birds have a tendency to do that, ma’am.” The woman screeched, “No! You don’t understand. My pet parakeet is in the tree. I’ve just got to get him down.” Like I said, not a clue. “I’m sorry ma’am but we don’t get birds out of trees.” The woman then cried, “But… What about my husband? He’s up there, too.” See what I had to deal with? To keep from hitting myself repeatedly in the head with my phone I took up writing.

Find her online:

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GIVEAWAY

Gail will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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