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What Went Wrong?: 15 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Tales

Today I’m super excited to share with you not only the details of this awesome anthology, but some excerpts!  I hope you end up as excited about WHAT WENT WRONG? as I am. 

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A Caring Company
By Matthew Harrison

The two HR ladies slowly backed away. Danny, still ‘reading’, kept one eye on them all the time. What did Sandra have in that handbag? “Platform infrastructure obsolescence…” Eventually, the HR ladies disappeared. Danny put down his ‘report,’ and went to the corner to check that they had gone.

On his return, he found Vicky collapsed in her seat, breathing in great gasps. Danny stood awkwardly, wondering what to do. Then Angelina, from a neighboring department, came over and comforted Vicky.

When she had recovered somewhat, Vicky looked up at Danny gratefully. “Thank you so much!” she whispered. “You faced them down.” Angelina glanced at him admiringly, and then returned to her cubicle.

“We should stick together, they won’t dare take us on then,” Danny whispered to Vicky urgently. “Here, take this.” And he handed her his own sheath knife which he had smuggled in. He would have to get another, but they surely wouldn’t come for him that day.

Vicky took the weapon in her small hand. “I’m not sure, I—”

“Just take it,” Danny insisted. “You just have to show it; that will already put them off.”

Vicky nodded, and put the weapon in her handbag. Danny made her promise to call him at once if she saw anything threatening, and then made to go. Glancing back, he saw how frail she looked. He was going to have to find stronger allies to have any chance of surviving in Prospect.

This conviction strengthened as he rounded the corner and found the large HR gentleman standing over his own cubicle.

2008
By Holly Riordan

“I want to test it first, to see if it’s safe,” my aunt said, unfolding the place mats and flipping through them. “Which one wouldn’t you want?”

“We never really did much for Easter. Try using that one.”

“Sounds good to me.” She plucked it from the pile and a smiling bunny face stared up at us. Its fur and little pink nose filled the entire mat, except for a black box in the lower left-hand corner, which held a signature line.

I nudged the knife with my knuckles, hoping she’d pick it up and slice without wasting precious minutes trying to prepare herself for the pain.

That’s exactly what she did. She swept the knife across her skin, like she’d done it hundreds of times before. Like she was as used to seeing blood as the man in the booth.   

“I guess this is my temporary goodbye,” she said as she dipped a pinky into the blood and wrote out the year she wanted. She chose 2008, the same year I was planning on picking. The year before it had happened.

As soon as she finished drawing out the last number, her hands fell to her side. Her eyes rolled up. Her back arched. Then her body froze. I would’ve called an ambulance if I’d had a more innocent childhood, but I’d seen death before. This wasn’t it.

This was magic.

Balancing Act
By N.O.A. Rawle

“Gentlemen! Just starting out on the rocky road to marriage? Want the kinks in your future smoothed out before you start?” the spindly gentleman tugged on his fine moustache for dramatic effect, “Ladies! Want to know that you and your partner will share equal footing in the house? Or know that your spouse will pull his weight?” he allowed himself a smile, but not long enough to arouse suspicion, “We all know that balance is the key to a good relationship but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get it… Or is there?”

“My secret is right here!” He gesticulated to the large oblong box draped in purple silk. “It’s simple! Here, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the key to your Happy Ever After! Here, is what no matchmaker or priest can guarantee! But do you dare to try it?”

The crowd was now so silent that his patent leather boots could be heard as he clicked back across the wooden platform.

“I speak now only to the brave among you. Those of a sound heart! Let me introduce you to the Equilibrator! Modern science, my friends, mixed with a just the right sprinkling of magic of course, has the answer! But are you sure you want what I have to offer?”

The audience nodded, some already murmuring consent.

“The Equilibrator will iron out all your differences before you even know what they might be! Lifelong attraction assured! No arguments! No Discussions! No risk! And I mean no risk, because if you are not satisfied that balance has been brought to your relationship after the first week, I personally, will refund every last penny of your hard earned cash! Yes, that’s right, you heard me correctly! If you can show me that your circumstances are not balanced, I will give you your money back.”

Descends Olympus
T.R. North

Kruse threw open the glass doors with a theatrical flourish. “Look upon my works, ye mighty!”

That part wasn’t an act. I was willing to entertain the possibility of a Guild scientist who didn’t have a few screws loose, but I’d certainly never met one. The walls were lined with wicked-looking weapons, portable orbs and platforms of dubious purpose, and stacks of canisters with brightly-colored biohazard symbols all over them. Kruse handed me what looked like a bottle of perfume from a particularly well-organized section of the counter. I took it gingerly and waited for him to explain before I did anything with it. There was still a stain on the ceiling from some apprentice shaking a bottle of what had turned out to be a new explosive.

“I’m not going to get Victoria-Charlied, am I?” I asked.

“No, may she rest in pieces. I’ve been more careful with labels since then,” Kruse said quickly. “Perfectly harmless, that one. It’s a lovely little cocktail for my new conflict-avoidance line.”

I turned the bottle over in my hands and watched the oily, pink-tinged liquid shift around the dip tube. It was perfectly emulsified, glittered in the overhead fluorescents, and looked more like a body spray marketed at tween girls than a diabolical superweapon.

“I’m calling it Love Potion Number Ten,” he continued. “One spritz and the opposite sex will be putty in your hands! Security guards will hold open doors for you as you make off with everything in the store. Policemen will help you load stolen merchandise into the back of your truck. Armored car drivers will hand over the keys and security codes with a smile.”

Lab Rat
By Jonathan Shipley

Clare reached for her phone, pausing as she felt the sudden increase of increase of air pressure around her.  “No, don’t,” she called, but already she saw the blue glow of the implant in Feodor’s temple.  And McHenry was gone.  Disappeared into thin air.

“Your heart,” she reminded Feodor as the blue faded.  “You know it strains your heart every time you do that.”  But he seemed all right for the moment — no shortness of breath or discoloration of the lips.  She picked up the phone and dialed.  “Where did you send him anyway?”

Feodor started to shrug, then winced at the pain in his arm.  “About a half-mile down the beach,” he rasped.  “He can be thankful that’s the limit of my range.”

Clare nodded absently and finished the call.  A half-mile hike would be nothing to McHenry once he got over the shock of the jump.  As angry as Feodor was, it could have been a lot worse.  A half-mile out to sea, for instance.  Or straight up.

They had a word for it–translocation–because teleportation sounded too sci-fi.  Feodor’s newly developing talent for relocating objects, his heart flutters–both directly connected to his ground-breaking research into trans-dimensional portals.  He should never have used himself as a test subject for the control implant of the machine in the attic.  Now it was to the point where this new translocation talent might be the death of him.

Literally.

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Categories: Look, May 2016 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Black Raven, White Dove by Elle Marlow

blackravenABOUT THE BOOK

The Black Raven, White Dove is a
Christian Inspirational Action Adventure Romance By
International Amazon Best-Selling Author Elle Marlow

“Welcome aboard the Raven, Miss Paloma.”

The Blurb  

Known as the Ice Pirate, Stefan Ice captains the Raven. A wicked ship filled with treasures and haunting secrets. What’s missing from the Raven’s coffers is revenge, what’s missing from Stefan’s life is love.

Bianca is the jewel in her father’s crown. When she is captured and bound on the Raven, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a feud between her father and the dark pirate. With every rock of the ship, Stefan steals her heart and unravels their tangled and tragic past.

Bianca will need to rely on her faith and her heart to find God’s purpose for her life. Is with the legendary pirate?  

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Author speaks candidly about the book.

The idea for Black Raven, White Dove was introduced to me by Captain Ice. His image came to mind, and even though he showed himself as a pirate, I could only see the goodness within.  A good man living a hard life deserves a love so powerful and pure, that the only woman for him would have to be a lovely girl he met as a child.  Bianca Paloma, aka, White Dove is only fragile on the outside.  Inside, she is a strong, capable woman who finds her greatest strength through her faith.  They make an unlikely pair as they navigate the Atlantic on the ship that is home to a slew of old sea dogs.  This book has some humor, some sadness, but it is really about finding one’s own worthiness and having a little faith that you are where you need to be.   

This is my first Inspy romance.  I fell in love with the genre.  There will be more. Perhaps another pirate tale aboard the Raven?  We’ll see.

Where to find Elle Marlow’s titles.  

elle

Amazon.com
www.ElleMarlow.Blogspot.com
ElleMarlowwrites/twitter
ElleMarlow5/Facebook

Categories: Look, May 2016 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cover Reveal: A More Complicated Fairytale by Emily Witt

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A More Complicated Fairytal
By Emily Witt

Release day: April 02, 2016

Blurb:
Most of the young women in Nardowyn swoon over Crown Prince Felipe, but Caitlin has never seen the appeal. When she catches his eye during a royal festival, she has little choice but to begrudgingly go along with his attempts to form a friendship between them, and soon learns that there is more to him than meets the eye.

When Felipe goes to war to avenge the death of his brother, Cait enlists as a nurse to be nearer to him. Here, Cait’s connection to the prince will put her in more danger than she can imagine. But Cait’s never been one to take the easy way out, so if her life is going to turn into some sort of fairy tale, with a prince and a happily ever after, it’s no surprise it will be a more complicated one.

author-photo.jpgAuthor Bio:
Emily has been writing since the age of six, but only recently developed the skill of finishing the projects that she starts (and even then, only sometimes). She is currently studying for a Masters in Museum and Heritage Studies and works at the National Library of Australia. In her spare time she can be found watching Doctor Who or curled up on the couch with a hot chocolate and a good book.

You can visit her blog for more information:
http://keysandopenmind.wordpress.com

And also her Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/keysandopenmind

Cover design:
Thanks to the very awesome K. L. Schwengel – http://klschwengel.com

Excerpt:
Towards the middle of the afternoon, they came across a wooden stage with a banner across the top bearing the words ‘Alfonso the Magnificent, Grand Illusionist’. On the stage, a man was describing the great feats of illusion that the crowds would witness when the show started in ten minutes. Neither Cait nor Ava had ever seen a magic show before, so they bought tickets and found themselves good seats.

For the next three-quarters of an hour, they witnessed mind-reading, card tricks and even a woman being sawn in half! Even Cait had been on the edge of her seat for that finale.

When Alfonso the Magnificent had taken his final bows and disappeared from the stage, Cait turned to Ava. “What did you think?” she asked.

“That was spectacular!” Ava replied. “How do you think he did that last one?”

“There were two women in the box,” said a hooded man who had been sitting on Cait’s other side. “That’s the only way it could be done.”

“Do you think so?” Ava leaned across Cait a little to speak to the man and in doing so, recognised the face under the hood. She sat back again, quickly. “Cait, it’s -”

The cloaked man held up a finger to quickly quiet her. “Please don’t give me away. I’m trying to avoid my guards at the moment.”

He lowered his hood and Cait realised why Ava had been so surprised. She looked at Ava. “Well, won’t Ginny and Bridget be jealous?” She looked back to Prince Felipe with a wry smile. “Our younger sisters are big fans of yours, your Highness. We tried telling them it was unlikely any of us would see you here, but they kept their hopes up. I’m sure they’re going to be frightfully upset about this.”

“Well, I suppose you were right to discourage them. I’m not supposed to be spending my time at magic shows designed to entertain the masses. In fact, I believe I should be dining with the Princess Royal of Brellalan at this very moment.”

“Then why aren’t you?”

Cait didn’t mean to ask such a direct – and perhaps slightly accusatory – question, not to the prince, but it was out of her mouth before she could remind herself who she was talking to.

The prince did not seem too perturbed, though. “Have you ever had to spend time with women who have been raised only to aspire to one day marry a prince?”

“I can’t say that I have, Your Highness.”

“Then count yourself lucky. I would much rather spend my time at magic shows in the company of such charming ladies as you and your friend, than dining with any of them.”

As he spoke the words, a yell was heard behind them, and the prince looked up with a start. Someone shouted “There!” and a group of red-uniformed men of the palace guard pointed towards Cait, Ava and Prince Felipe.

Glancing back at Cait and Ava, the prince quickly stood and replaced his hood over his head. “It’s been lovely,” he said with a nod, and then leapt across three benches and off in the opposite direction to the guards. They shouted again and ran after him, but Cait saw him quickly blend in with the crowds and silently wished the guards luck. They were probably going to need it.

Categories: 2016 8a, Look, Release, Uncategorized, Yay! | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Signing Today!!!

Gloria Weber (2)

And a reminder that I did a Guest Post on Lemon “Em” Law (the main character of UNMASKING: LEMON’S THESIS) over on Caren Rich’s blog.

Special thanks to A. M. Leibowitz, Fallon Brown, A. B. Funkhauser, Kate Sparkes, Emily WittTracey Ward, and Isabel Jordan for helping spread the word about UNMASKING: LEMON’S THESIS.

Can’t come? Still want the book?
Buy it on Amazon!

Categories: 2016 7a, Look, Uncategorized, Yay! | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why UNMASKING isn’t a comic…

lemonsthesis-cover

Let’s do this backwards!  A countdown.  But not the final countdown.

Reason #3 – Industry Truths
If I took the time to write this all out the chances of it actually getting drawn and made into a comic are super slim (publishing with Penguin would be more realistic of a chance).  As it is, lots of places expect the team (writer, artist, and letterer) assembled before hand.  Very few places take just scripts these days.  There are more comic writers than there are comic artists.  I’m not an artist.*

all_bets_are_off_by_gweberart-d4vjfllReason #2 – I don’t draw fast
*-I’m not an artist.  However, I do draw for fun.  Meaning, I’ve been too busy and I’m super rusty.**

Even at the height of my drawing times, like when I drew that raccoon lady, I was slow.  She took me five days!  So, imagine me trying to draw a page of comics.  A beautiful, what UNMASKING deserves page would probably be seven to ten days each.  I’d be done years from now!

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**-I’m rusty.  Even my chibi drawing has suffered.  Le sigh…

I could cut corners (the above).  Now, that took me two writing sessions.  I’d say  for the amount of text that picture covers we’re talking double the production time.  Even when you count edits, revisions, re-reads, and not just pounding on the keys, my story gets done faster being a book and not a comic.

So, why isn’t UNMASKING: LEMON’S THESIS a comic?
Short answer: Because I wanted to make sure it got in people’s hands, being the best it could be, as fast as can be.

UNMASKING #2 will be out Fall/Winter of 2016
Get #1 today!

Before I go, I want to share some good news and some bad news.  I know you’re supposed to end with the good news, but I’m starting with that.

Good News: On March 2nd I did a Guest Post over on the awesome blog of Caren Rich.   I break down some of my character choices when it came to creating Lemon “Em” Law.

Bad News: On February 28, 2016, my dwarf hamster, Gotham, passed away.  He live for almost two months, spoiled as I could manage.  I hope he was happy, because he made me very happy.

Categories: 2016 7a, Inspiration, Look, Reading, Uncategorized, Yay! | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment