Friday, 25 May 2018

Sleepless Flame: A #SciFi #Cyberpunk #Novel by Odin Oxthorn

A chronically bored spooky creature, Odin dabbles in a strange array of interests to keep their wandering brain in check. When not writing under the influence of caffeinated drinks and sugary snacks, Odin can be found escaping reality with video games or getting their fingers tangled in a mess of threads and needles. Provided their cats do not scatter the contents of their workspace across oblivion, Odin also creates beaded jewelry and video lessons on YouTube.







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Read the first three chapters of Sleepless Flame!



About the Book


How much havoc could one upstart young Upworlder create?


Thirty years after her exile from her homeworld, Nara was growing weary of the monotony of mercenary life: Do job for Company A, anger Company B, survive the inevitable retaliation. Repeat ad nauseam.

Most importantly, try hard not to anger Galavantier Corp again.

Evading the reach of the ubiquitous Biotech enterprise in the shadows of the Undercity was easy enough. That is, until the unconscious body of the CEO's heir lands at her feet.

Both ignorant of their mutual vendetta, the brazen noble offered a proposal: help him escape Uppercity, and he'd buy every tool of destruction her heart desired. But it was the danger that tempted Nara, not money.

As their business relationship evolves into a tenuous comradery, Nara is thrown into the jaws of her most ruthless adversary. She must now decide what to do with her strange bedfellow-and hope to survive the aftermath.

Sleepless Flame is a faced-paced action-packed scifi story that features a nonbinary protagonist. Follow the exploits of a disgraced war criminal as they navigate a vibrant cyberpunk world full of corporate intrigue while using fascinating automated combat technology and computer skills. Great for readers who enjoy Bladerunner and Shadowrun games.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


“Ouch! –Oof, yeah?” a voice squeaked through the box.

“It’s Nara. Got something I need.”

“Oh, hi! Come on in.”

After a series of cluttered crashes, screeching metal, and intermittent distressed yelps from the intercom, the door buzzed open. Nara heaved the vault open, waving a hesitant Garrett inside the dark corridor.

With a heavy, echoing clunk, the cavern burst with light, revealing a techno geek’s wildest fantasy. Wires and computer parts were haphazardly strewn all over the floors and the walls, emulating a nest of an enormous gadget-obsessed vermin. Half-built robotics and cybernetic body parts stood vigilant amid the labyrinth of cluttered workbenches overflowing with tools and broken electronic boards. Glinting LEDs flashed sporadic, garbled messages, illuminating the path with a rainbow of jarring beacons.

Making their way gingerly through the shiny perilous mess, the duo entered a clearing in the madness occupied by a desk and a few chairs, also piled with half-finished projects. A scrawny young man emerged from the chaos, bits of shredded circuitry slung around his neck. Upon noticing the visitors, he hastily removed the wiry adornments, placing them on top of a teetering pile.

“What can I do for you?” he asked cheerfully, wiping his hands clean on his jumpsuit.

“This is Art,” she said to Garrett, gesturing toward the technophile. “Art, this is an annoying little sod who keeps following me around.”

“My name is Garrett, actually.” He offered his hand to Art, who energetically shook it. “I hired Nara as a bodyguard.”

“An Upworlder, eh? Well, you certainly have an eye for quality.” The quirky man scratched his nose, leaving a black streak of grease on his tawny beige skin.

“Need a Hawk kit for the armor.” Nara tossed over the newly purchased badge.

The glinting projectile landed squarely on Art’s chest, causing him to perform an impromptu flailing dance as he fought with his limited coordination. He raised it to his face, scrutinizing the serial number on the back of the case.

“Whoa, nice! It’s one of those new Nexuz models,” Art marveled, the enthusiasm radiating across the room.

“It does what I need it to. I don’t care who made it,” Nara stated.

“You know, I could probably tweak its performance a little,” he offered, her remark falling on deaf ears as he mentally tore apart the device. “Make it a bit sturdier, if you know what I mean.”

“You break it, you buy it at double cost,” she warned.

“That’s not fair. You know me well enough.” Art jabbed a defensive finger into the air.

“Exactly. I do know you well enough.” She sighed with a defeated wave. “Eugh, do what you want. It isn’t on my tab.”

“Really? Awesome! You will be totally psyched with what I can do with this thing.” Art’s eyes lit up with glee. He then met Garrett’s worried expression and restrained his excitement with a cough. “Don’t worry, it won’t cost much. I should be able to get what you need in a few minutes. Just let me do this one thing and . . .”

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Is This Me? - A #Romance #Novel by Tricia Copeland

Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in sunny Colorado with her family. In addition to the award-nominated Being Me series, her books include Best Book Award Fantasy Finalist series, The Kingdom Journals, Lovelock Ones, a post-apocalyptic dystopian adventure, and Drops of Sunshine, a YA paranormal novella. Find all of Tricia’s books on her website!








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About the Book


Have you ever chosen a path that led you astray?


Amanda has no trouble choosing a college or picking a major. What she does have a problem with is what she would have least expected, a guy. Smart and sexy, Doug is focused on school responsibilities and post-graduation plans. Their paths intersect and Amanda must accept his help or risk losing her scholarship. Determined to maintain appearances, Amanda begins to lie to family and friends. The ease at which she repeatedly deceives those closest becomes disturbing and leaves her questioning: “Is this me?”

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


“You stink, and I already took a shower,” Lila squealed, bringing me out of my trance. Ross grabbed her and slung her over his shoulder, carrying her across the lawn and towards the house.

Mark tapped me on the shoulder. “Hey, I need a shower, too. I’ll be back in a few minutes. Do you want to hang out here?”

He’s abandoning me? In front of two good-looking, shirtless strangers? “Sure,” I heard myself say.

Thankfully, he stood there a minute longer. “I’ll grab a round of drinks.” He darted away.

“Nice spike there at the end,” I commented to Zack.

“Thanks. I see you have a shadow.” He bent down and patted the dog still glued to my leg.

Excusing themselves to replace their shirts, Doug and Zack once again towered over me. Even in my wedges, the top of my head barely reached the middle of Zack’s chest.

Zack spoke before the silence became obvious. “So, Amanda Avery of the famed Avery sisters?”

“In the flesh.” I waved my hands past my legs, not quite sure where he was going with the conversation. Obviously they knew their alums.

Doug continued in an Elizabethan tone. “The beauty of the Avery girls has inspired many brothers to greatness.”

“I’m just glad no one remembers when I flashed everyone on the front lawn when I was three.”

“Your reputation is still intact.” Doug winked at me with his blue eyes.

Mark approached with three plastic cups filled with amber liquid. I wondered if this counted as taking an open drink from someone. At the very least, it went against the no alcohol rule. Not even six hours in, and I was already contemplating being an illegal drinker. Maybe I needed that orientation more than I thought.

Even though I didn’t like beer and had never drunk a whole glass, I wasn’t going to stand there and do nothing. The sip I took tasted bitter, and I hoped my face didn’t betray my attempt at a relaxed facade.

“Not that great, is it?” Doug asked.

“It’s relatively cold.”

Zack held up his cup. “Cheers to that.” Doug and I did the same, and we clunked the cups together. “If I may, my lady, I’m not sure you’re going to maintain your virtue drinking that.”

Doug punched Zack. “Dude.”

I winked at Zack. “Maybe you should stick with flattery and leave Shakespeare to Doug. You have to stay in your niche.”

I was surprised how comfortable I felt with them. Their knack for humor immediately put me at ease, despite their magazine model aura. “So do you guys do this routine on a regular basis?”

Zack held his cup out. “This is a one-time only special showing. If we hope to win the heart of an Avery girl, we have to be creative.”

“And there are only two of us left to be wooed.”

“We would be nothing without your inspiration.” Doug bowed towards me, one hand over his heart.

Zack and I both faked a cough.

Doug grabbed a Frisbee from the lawn. “Frisbee?”

Monday, 21 May 2018

Saving Dabba: A #Mystery #Novel by Randy Rawls

Randy Rawls was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state. From there, he says he inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country. As a career US Army officer, he had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from his parents. Following retirement, he worked in other ventures for the US Government. Every job has in some way been fun. Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and he cherishes the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.

Today, he has short stories in several anthologies and a growing list of novels to his credit. As a prolific reader, the reads across several genres and takes that into his writing. He has written mysteries, thrillers, a historical, and two fantasy/mystery/thrillers featuring a Santa Elf. The count is now at fourteen and growing. He is a regular contributor to Happy Homicides, a twice-annual anthology of cozy short stories. He also has a series of short stories featuring a cattle-herding burro. Wherever his imagination will take him, he follows.

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About the Book


Beth Bowman is a PI in Coral Lakes, FL who works with a homeless group. When one of them turns up brutally beaten to death, Beth feels obligated to become involved. She learns there is a group in town to demonstrate, Friends Intent on The Environment (FITE) who could be involved. Another murder occurs and evidence points to Dabba, one of Beth's friends. Beth sets her sights on FITE as their demonstrations become more violent. Cloie Morales, the leader of FITE is a formidable adversary, causing Beth to reach deep inside herself.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


CHAPTER ONE


The first blow killed him. If the attacker had looked, he’d have seen the side of his victim’s head caved in, pieces of the shattered skull exposed. A section of one-inch diameter Number 8 rebar, swung through a full arc, tended to do that to a human head. But the assailant did not notice. His adrenalin flow was too high, his mood too joyous. He swung again—and again. After a few more cranium-crushing blows, his partner grabbed his arm. “That’s enough. Let’s get out of here.”

* * *

Beth’s cell phone went through its standard number of chimes, then fell silent. A few seconds later, it repeated itself. The third time, Beth fumbled on the nightstand, pulled the phone to her ear, and mumbled, “Hello.”

“Beth, I need you to come into the station,” she heard. “How long before you can get here?”

“Huh? Who . . . who is this?” Through sleepy eyes, she saw the call was from the Chief of Police of Coral Lakes. While she had worked with him before, his contact had always been during normal working hours, or better said, after the sun came up. She shook her head, trying to throw the sleep out of it, then rose and stumbled toward the bathroom. “Chief, what are you doing up at this ungodly hour? It’s only five in the morning. One of the things I like about being a PI is that if I do anything at this hour, other than snooze, I get my full hourly rate. Are you hiring me?”

Beth’s experience with Chief Elston began on a negative note when defense attorney John Hammonds all but ordered the chief to stand down from investigating the kidnapping of his five-year-old daughter. Instead, he named Beth to lead the investigation and recover her—at any cost. Since Hammonds had extensive political contacts in the state capitol in Tallahassee, the chief had no choice but to back off and assume a supporting role. Beth’s success raised her profile in his estimation from poor to competent Private Investigator. Didn’t put her on his A-List, but did give her a high B List position.

“Simply another early morning, Beth. It’s the job. And, no, I’m not offering you a position.” The chief chuckled. “I need you to come in though. We have a situation that might affect you.”

She turned on the cold water and put the phone on speaker. “Tell me about it.”

“Not until you’re here. It’s too complicated to tackle over the phone. You might misunderstand and do something rash.”

She doused her face with water, then grabbed a towel to dry it. “Chief, you’re not making any sense. Tell me what’s up.”

“When you get here. I’m putting together a team, and I want you involved. Soon, Beth, please.”

Beth frowned and stopped her drying action, wondering what the hidden message was. What could have happened that would cause the chief to act so strange? Since when was she important enough to be included on a team of his? But, he sounded sincere.

“Alright, give me an hour, and I’ll be there. Make sure the coffee is fresh and hot—and I don’t mean that sludge you serve in the break room. Also, have some donuts brought in. Breakfast is on you.”

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