Friday, October 24, 2014

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for October 24, 2014


  Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web:

Speculative fiction in general:

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Reviews:

Interviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Odds and ends:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dark Creature (Wizard of Ends Book 2) by Vanessa Finaughty

Release Date: October 9, 2014
Subgenre: Heroic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Magical Realsim

ABOUT Wizard of Ends Book 2:

The Queen of Ends has been cursed into a rabid creature of darkness. Only Lashlor’s old flame, Rune Arcana, might be able to remove the curse. Lashlor believes he can find Rune in the Mountains of Eclador. The only trouble is – Rune now despises him, and, in all of recorded history, no one has ever returned from these mountains. Fearing the Wizard of Ends will not be able to bring help, the king goes against Lashlor’s advice by enlisting the aid of other magic users.

Excerpt:

King Lanaran watched as the two cat-men took positions on either side of the table near the beyeni’s head. Radlor undid the sleeping spell on Queen Narraki, and the beyeni’s glowing orange eyes snapped open. It snarled and tried to leap up, but the cat-men placed their hands – claws retracted, to Lanaran’s approval – on the dark creature’s torso, holding it down with apparent ease.

The druid stepped forward, his hands weaving intricate patterns in the air above the queen. Any moment now, if it worked, the beyeni would see Assassa instead of Nyssayth.

The druid said, “Be calm, and let those gathered here do what they will. I command it.”

The beyeni spat at him and increased its struggles. Nyssayth sighed, then weaved more patterns in the air. The dark creature’s eyes fixed on him, then the anger left them and a sense of awe filled the Great Library, as if all within its walls saw whatever it was the beyeni did. Nyssayth moved to her tail end, still weaving his illusion. His eyes rolled back, displaying the whites, and the beyeni calmed, to Lanaran’s relief.

The cat-men removed their hands from the queen at Violet’s command, but remained at Narraki’s side.

Radlor administered the potion. Some of it trickled from the beyeni’s lips, but the wizard paid no attention. Perhaps it did not matter that some was lost.

It’s too easy, Lanaran thought, an ominous feeling settling over him.

Temdin raised the magical staff and pointed it at the beyeni, then he and Radlor began chanting. “A curse upon an innocent has been cast. We call upon the Great Beyond, to make this curse the past.”

The beyeni snarled and thrashed, foaming at the mouth. The cat-men stepped forward to restrain her. Nyssayth’s eyes glowed, and the beyeni relaxed somewhat.

The wizards continued the chant. “The rabid bitch before us will exist no more. Our queen we will see once more. This creature of darkness is a mythical carcass.”

The library darkened.

The wizards cast each other worried glances.

The witch should have stayed to help, Lanaran thought. She was the expert spell caster among them. Why in all the lands had he allowed her to leave? Because she said she couldn’t do it, he reminded himself.

“As this rod strikes, come to us, oh Snykes.”

Lanaran shuddered at the mention of the Snykes – ancient gods believed to have once protected humans, before they had been angered by all the evil humans perpetuated.

“Free the queen from this curse. Let her be no more perverse.”

Temdin struck the rod on the table three times, once on either side of the beyeni, and once at the head of the table, opposite where Nyssayth stood.

A gust of unnatural wind swept through the library.

The wall torches flickered and went out, plunging the room into darkness.

Amazon | Apple | Smashwords

Vanessa Finaughty is an author of many genres who now focuses on fantasy and science fiction. She’s published 15 books, of which 6 are fantasy. Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.

Vanessa has always been passionate about books, and knew from a young age that she wanted to write them one day. She loves animals, coffee and the smell of wet grass, and hates liars, sweltering weather and long queues. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, mythology, aliens and outer space, ancient history, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.
Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Smashwords | iBooks | Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The "Meet My Character" Blog Hop

One of the reasons behind the creation of this blog was the Speculative Fiction Writing Process Blog Hop, in which speculative fiction writers answer a few questions about their writing process and what they're working on. Jessica Rydill has collected all posts to date on her blog.

Now another blog hop is going around, in which speculative fiction writers introduce their characters. Here is a list of all posts so far, so prepare to meet some fascinating, albeit fictional people:

And here are some coming attractions: 
  • October 26, 2014: William D. Richards
  • November 2, 2014: Landon Porter
  • November 9, 2014: S. Elliot Brandis
  • November 16, 2014: Izzy Hunter
  • November 23, 2014: Randall Boleyn
  • November 30, 2014: Ruth Nestvold
  • December 7, 2014: Robert Dahlen
  • December 14, 2014: free
  • December 21, 2014: free
  • December 28, 2014: free
As you see, we still have some free dates. If you're interested in taking part in the "Meet My Character" blog hop, please contact Cora Buhlert.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wave Links by Randall Boleyn

Sungenre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal Psychic
Release Date: October 21, 2014

ABOUT Wave Links:

They feared how the truth might alter Llad Fleck. No one ever told him about his talented ancestors, their extraordinary heritage, or how they died. He never learned that a powerful research institute in London considered him a lethal threat. Other than the need to move on to the safety of a another big city every few months, the only thing Llad knew for sure was that the men he played ball against said he had “mad skills not suitable for a fifteen-year-old.”


When Llad meets an eccentric parapsychologist, Dr. Jemma Rask, she explains that she has waited decades just to teach him how to expand his mind and utilize the unique traits she thinks he inherited. Even though Dr. Rask and her stories come across as way too weird for Llad, he begins studying her techniques. He quickly realizes that just because the link might be there, it doesn’t mean he actually has the talent or the patience to develop his abilities.


After multiple killings shatter Llad’s life, he still doesn’t know who is behind the brutal murders or why he’s involved. He knows now that he’s fighting for his life against a fanatical enemy and that he needs to discover more about his family-tree to learn the secrets on how to control his psychic gifts―if he has any. Alone with his grief, Llad takes off searching for clues about his cryptic lineage while being haunted by reoccurring dreams of a mysterious girl trying to help him master the bizarre talents he needs to survive.

Excerpt:

They said sadists created this ritual to humiliate overachievers, but Lad Fleck felt certain that all these so-called adults concocted this deal just to bust his stones. Lad raised his hands in surrender, “I can’t believe I’m going to do this.” Lifting his right foot, he rested it on his other knee and untied the laces. After tugging off his mud-spattered rugby boot, he stood gripping it from under the cleated bottom with the toe pointed at the crowd.

Seventy-five thirsty revelers spread out into a semi-circle around the pool table in middle of the old bar to watch their unanimous MVP suffer through his award. The players waited for Lad to get this last party started, but as he continued ignoring their razing, they began a slow cadence of loud insistent claps.

Locked in a rigid stance of attention and holding his chin high, Lad stared beyond the crowd at the seven nicotine-stained beer signs hanging above the tattered dartboard awash in their yellowed glow. Grimacing that he held the sweaty old shoe too close under his nose, he pushed the shoe farther away while tipped his head back and thinking... I’ll never get through this without spewing!

He glanced across the throng and spotted his mentor laughing at him. Lad yelled out over the din, “Ian! You’re a freaking doctor; you are supposed to have some sense. Who the hell does crazy crap like this?”

Ian pushed his hands up over his head continuing to clap in time with the group as he shouted back. “Only the best, Lad, only the best. And winners! You are both. Cheers!”

Lad smirked shaking his head and looked back into the crowd again, locking onto his friend who would be most affected by all of this. “Yo, Bubbles?” He shouted. “This is going to ruin your shoe that I borrowed. Tell me not to do this and save these good cleats! ”

“Those spikes never enjoyed a game like you had today. And they were never voted to be the boot to shoot. They can die proud. Fill’em up, Lad. Drink it down, then throw’em away. And do it now—everybody’s thirsty as hell!”


When those first few novels transported Randall into the intrigue of other cultures and the complexity of foreign lands, his life changed forever. He wanted to experience those kinds of adventures and ended up traveling the world doing international business while living his own bizarre experiences. Realizing he wanted to create the same kind of stories he loved to read, Randall coaxed the Muse by writing, studying and learning the craft. After years of toiling with the words, the stories suddenly just seemed to happen. It was startling! It was the same joy and surprise he had relished as a reader in guessing how a plot might unfold affecting the characters’ lives. He now writes with the eye and passion of creating that next great story like he would want to read.

Randall now lives in the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and is focused on completing the Powers Meant for Gods trilogy to publish by December 2014.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wizard of Ends (Book 1) by Vanessa Finaughty

Release Date: October 9, 2014
Subgenre: Heroic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Magical Realsim

ABOUT Wizard of Ends Book 1:

A powerful sorceress wants the Queen of Ends dead, hoping her demise will render the king unable to defend his crown. Only the wizard Lashlor Leaflin is in a position to protect Queen Narraki Dragonsbane, but he avoids using magic – at almost any cost. With creatures of darkness hunting the queen, however, he may be left with little choice but to call on the power he holds within.

Excerpt:

Lashlor asked to go home, and King Lanaran agreed. “But first, I must ask you… I’m told Assassa cursed the queen. Do we need to be concerned?”

Lashlor scrutinised the queen. He’d been so angry and caught up in defending himself that he hadn’t noticed… dark magic clung to Queen Narraki, almost unnoticeable as it merged with her aura.

“Wizard?”

Lashlor held up a hand. “Give me a moment.”

Try as he might, he was unable to see exactly what the dark magic was intended to do. It could be anything from causing mild depression or making her suicidal or homicidal to a death or disease curse, or anything in between. Assassa had hidden her intentions well.

“What was it Assassa said before she died?” Lashlor murmured to himself.

Queen Narraki said, “The Queen of Ends is cursed. She will be but the first. A rabid bitch is she, and a creature of darkness all will see.”

The king smiled. “She has a better memory than all of us put together.”

Lashlor nodded. “Dark magic surrounds the queen, but I cannot see what harm it’s intended to do. However… ‘she will be but the first’ – I suspect that means that every future Queen of Ends will suffer the same curse at some point. As for the rest…” He didn’t want to say it. It was unthinkable.

“Am I to turn into a creature of darkness?” the queen asked, calmer than Lashlor would have been had it been he Assassa had cursed.

Lashlor hesitated. “It would seem so, My Queen.”

“Undo it,” King Lanaran ordered.

“I cannot, My King. As I said, I cannot see exactly how the curse was created. Meddling with a curse when one doesn’t know the method used to cast it has the potential to make matters far worse.”

“What could possibly be worse than turning into a creature of darkness?” Queen Narraki asked. “And a rabid one, at that! If that happens, I will most likely kill my beloved! Remember Assassa said if she cannot have Ends, no one will.”

“What could be worse?” Lashlor shook his head at her ignorance. “Worse could be cursing the king to the same fate, or myself, or anyone else in the vicinity. I cannot meddle without more information.”

“You mean you will not,” Lanaran growled.

Vanessa Finaughty is an author of many genres who now focuses on fantasy and science fiction. She’s published 15 books, of which 6 are fantasy. Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.

Vanessa has always been passionate about books, and knew from a young age that she wanted to write them one day. She loves animals, coffee and the smell of wet grass, and hates liars, sweltering weather and long queues. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, mythology, aliens and outer space, ancient history, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.
Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | FacebookSmashwords | iBooks | Barnes & Noble

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Moons of Solsticia by K.A. Madison



Release Date: October 24, 2014
Subgenre: Science fiction

ABOUT Moons of Solsticia:

K.A. Madison’s The Nether Chronicles began with The Awakening.  The eagerly anticipated Moons of Solisticia continues the epic saga.

Ten years ago, humans created machines so powerful that they became aware of the world around them. The bots improved themselves until their intelligence far surpassed all of humanity’s. They used this intellect to take over everything. Their awakening ushered in a time of darkness for all mankind.

Now, Aiden is determined to find a way to help the resistance infiltrate the bots’ network. Working with his soul mate, Kyra, he must find a way to harness the unimaginable power of the Nether for his fight against the machines.

The fate of two worlds hangs on their shoulders. They must not only face an unbeatable foe on Earth, but race to find a traitor on Solisticia that will stop at nothing to do the unthinkable.


Excerpt:

Aiden watched in horror as the explosion expanded in a circular ball of destruction that consumed everything in its path. He watched as Kyra’s eyes of steely determination instantly turned into a look of terror before they closed, understanding her imminent demise.

He forced his concentration away from Kyra and back onto the terrain in front of him. Two choices presented themselves. The roaring and spinning black tower or the nebulous white light on the horizon. Again the black one called out to him, stronger than before. It was the right choice, he knew, and it was a siren song that he could not turn away from. He had to touch it, consume it, become one with that boiling, raging, torrent of power.

Aiden stepped out onto the desolate ground. Distance was irrelevant here, but the physical act of movement made sense to him. He took that understanding and moved his sense of self to the raging inferno. But something blocked his way. He tried again, but an invisible force prevented him from getting any closer to the black tempest of power. He tried harder and pressed his body against the shield, but it held. Despite his efforts, it even repulsed him back. The feeling was no different from a fish that swam into the hard glass of a fishbowl. The harder he pushed, the farther it retreated away from him. He staggered and flailed at the shield, but it didn’t budge.

The line of fire approached Kyra. The explosion seared everything in its path and was now only inches from her body. Aiden had to do something. She meant so much to him. He could not watch her die. Not again, damn it. Not again.

Aiden closed his eyes and reached deep within himself. He was not going to fail. He would not let it happen, not this time. He placed his hands in front of him on the invisible barrier and felt for a weakness. But he found none. He refocused on the darkness and willed the pulsating blackness to come to him while, at the same time, he moved his mind into its midst. He picked a random spot within the darkness and saw himself there. There was no shield, nor was there a barrier. Nothing was there except his essence, and it existed at the spot where he willed it to be.


About the Author:



K.A. Madison lives in Brambleton, VA with his wife and two children.  Although he has told stories to his children for years, The Awakening was the first published novel that he’s written.  Moons of Solisticia, Book #2 in the Nether Chronicles series, is the second.  Much of the inspiration he got for the series came to to him after he read The Singularity Is Near, by Ray Kurzweil.  He was fascinated by Mr. Kurzweil’s scientific explanations of why he thinks humanity will eventually reach an inflection point that allows machine intelligence to surpass ours and become self-aware.  He read that book quickly and found himself thinking, What if?  What would happen if machines became self-aware and began to realize how much smarter and more powerful they were than their human creators?  He decided it would make a great sci-fi story.  When he isn't writing, he's working as an IT Manager at a large financial services company in McLean, VA.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for October 17, 2014


  Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web:

Speculative fiction in general:

Writing, publishing and marketing:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports: