Friday, August 29, 2014

Half Faerie by Heidi Garrett

Subgenre: Young Adult Fantasy
Release Date: July 30, 2014

ABOUT Half Faerie:

The Daughter of Light trilogy is... Coming of Age and Coming into Power

As a half-faerie, Melia is an outcast in the enchanted world where she lives with her two sisters and full-blood faerie mother. Their father has been exiled to the mortal world for breaking his faerie troth. He's determined to return to the Realm of Faerie by harnessing the power of Umbra--an accumulation of psychic ash which dwells in the Void.

Melia becomes entangled in her father's obsession by way of their telepathic connection. Uncertain about her own nature--is she evil or has she been tainted by her father's contact with Umbra?--the half-faerie seeks aid from the Illustrator. The mysterious woman marks Melia's forehead with a strange emblem meant to draw the help of a green-eyed stranger from distant lands.

Before the young priest--an authority on Umbra--arrives, a tragic accident destroys what's left of the half-faerie's fractured family. Melia's mother is unforgiving. The punishment she metes out will leave her middle daughter torn between guilt and ecstasy, challenge the bonds between three sisters, and complicate Melia's relationship with the young priest.

In Half Faerie, the first exciting installment in the Daughter of Light trilogy, an intriguing world backdrops Heidi Garrett's fantastical tale of mythical creatures and heart-breaking family relationships.

Excerpt:

A flap of wings approached to her right—a flock of field faeries most likely.

Someone giggled. Melia’s body stiffened as she searched the hill’s grassy incline for Tatou. If she were here, they’d leave her alone.

“What have we here?” Verbena, a loathsome flower faerie with the most gorgeous amber wings, entered Melia’s field of vision. Her two best friends, Clementine and Brigitta, traipsed behind her. Specks of gold in Verbena’s wings glinted in the afternoon sun. Melia had to shade her eyes with her hand to look at them. “Why, if it isn’t Melia, daughter of the great mortal druid, Elynus,” Verbena announced as if everyone present didn’t know who she was.

Clementine and Brigitta tittered. Their leader had said something clever. Melia pressed her lips into a sullen line.

The haughty flower faerie stepped forward, pulled her skirt with a flamboyant swish, and folded herself into a graceful pose in the grass beside Melia. “Exactly who I was hoping to find.”

Clementine’s and Brigitta’s mouths dropped open. Verbena patted the ground and her friends sat.

Still no sign of Tatou.

“You must be lost,” Melia said. The hill wasn’t where flower faeries usually gathered. They preferred the Danu Meadows, the banks of the Nyssalei River, and the shops in Bryndale.

Verbena winked at her friends. “We missed you in class today, didn’t we?” Brigitta’s and Clementine’s heads bobbed. “Melusine thought I could find you up here.”

Melia’s heart thumped in her chest. She thought her older sister’s best friend was Gisele, not this hag. Where was Tatou? “I want to ask you a question,” Verbena said.

The faerie’s smug demeanor rattled Melia. Had Melusine told her about last night? The alternative, that someone besides her mother and sisters had heard her laughing in the dark moon night, was too awful to contemplate.

“The rumors about your father...” Verbena stretched the word father to full effect.

“What a dull subject.” Melia snuck another sideways glance at the flower faerie. Was she trying to glamour her?

Full-blooded faeries could affect a mortal’s thoughts and emotions with a focused gaze, but faeries couldn’t glamour one another, and most couldn’t glamour Melia or her sisters. Pressina had always been the exception. Nevertheless, Melia made a point to look away. Her gazed settled on Brigitta’s wings. They weren’t as pretty as Verbena’s, but their unusual color made them striking. Melia shifted her gaze to Clementine’s sad, dandelion-colored wings—the plain appendages bolstered her.

“Is he going to incarnate Umbra?” Verbena asked.

“I don’t know anything about it.”

“I don’t believe you,” Verbena’s tone turned nasty. She must have figured out her glamour wasn’t working. “Everyone is talking about last night.”

Melia imagined one of the tall pine trees cracking at its roots and smashing the flower faerie in the head.

“How you were laughing outside the tree house,” the flower faerie’s words dripped with malice.

At least, she hadn’t accused her of howling.

“I heard it was a horrible, evil laugh.”

How did everyone know?

“Melusine said it made her skin crawl. She thinks you’re going to help your father destroy Illialei.”

Melia’s head was spinning. Had her sister told every single creature she’d met on the way to the river this morning?

Melusine was a statuesque redhead who didn’t stutter. Socially fierce, her lack of wings had never hindered her popularity among the flower faeries. Spiritually, she was one of them. Melia couldn’t fathom how she managed it, and secretly envied her for it, but hated whenever her sister gossiped about her. Which was far too often.

“I think you’re his spy.”

The accusation stretched Melia’s thin patience beyond its limit. “I don’t even talk to him!”

“Oh, did I touch a nerve?” Verbena’s sickly-sweet voice rotted in the air between them.

Melia’s heart raced so fast it threatened to escape her chest. “Leave me alone!”

“Or what, you’ll turn me into a toad?” the flower faerie snickered.

Fear and anger surged in Melia’s chest. She needed to get away from Verbena, but it was too late. By the time she jumped up, her reality was already shifting.

Acrid smoke burns the inside of my nose and lungs.

I turn in circles.

Tendrils of grey-white smoke rise as mist; charred tree stumps thrust jagged and menacing from the ground. Dark rivulets streak blackened rock.

Verbena’s, Clementine’s, and Brigitta’s lifeless bodies lie a few feet from where I stand. More bodies—twisted and unidentifiable, form a grotesque heap farther down the hill. Mud, soot, and blood stain my fingers and palms—accusing me of slaughter.

Vindication possesses me; wave after wave of satisfaction washes over me. My father’s disembodied voice applauds.

Heidi Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters. She's also the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole. Heidi's latest project is a collaboration with Billie Limpin. They're cooking up a yummy paranormal romance!

Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She now lives in Eastern Washington state with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle. Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Indie Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for August 28, 2014



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

Speculative fiction in general:
Writing and marketing:
Interviews:
Movie and book reviews:
LonCon3 and Nine Worlds con reports:
Awards:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I went to Worldcon

Hello!

I went to Worldcon for one day - Saturday - so this will be a snapshot.

The last Worldcon I visited was Intervention at Glasgow in 2005, when I attended the entire con. LonCon3 was very different. The venue, the ExCel in London's Docklands, was so vast you could have fitted several aircraft hangers inside. It felt like a giant greenhouse and when the sun shone it was boiling.

There were some 4000 attendees at the convention, and it had that inimitable fannish atmosphere that one can come to love. Most visible were the people in Hall costumes, many of them being photographed for charity. And there was a definite preponderance of people with spectacles (like me). There were gamers, geeks, nerds, fans, writers, readers, cosplayers - and even journalists! There were also one or two ball-jointed doll collectors, though I think we were a small sub-set. But we were there too.

The con is diverse, with people from all over the world. Other cities and countries make bits to hold a future Worldcon, as at the Olympics. There was a Chinese stall, and one from Japan. And the atmosphere was fizzing.

We were there with friends Alice and Paul. Alice is a lifelong Whovian, and Paul is a fan of Dungeons and Dragons. The other person was Stephen, my husband, who gamely agreed to accompany me.



We spent a lot of time trotting Hobbit-like from one place to another, occasionally becoming disoriented. We got to visit the Fan Village (a lot), prospect for food from one of the eateries on the main concourse, and plunge into the dealer room, where I kept asking dealers for the rather limited edition of Skeletons in the Closet by William I. I. Read (an M. R. James fan-fic). I saw some very scrumptious second-hand books, and had to be dragged away by force majeure.

The Tardis

In terms of programme events, three of the ones we wanted to see were on simultaneously. In the end, we opted to attend the panel on Adult Readers Within the YA Market with Joshua Bilmes of the Jabberwocky Literary Agency as moderator, together with Ben Jeapes, Sarah Ash and Bella Pagan, Senior Commissioning Editor at Tor. This was partly because I was interested in the panel and partly because Sarah is my sister. (We all went for tea afterwards!)

The panel discussed whether books - young adult, new adult or children's - should be targeted at such a specific audience, and about the fact that increasingly adults are not ashamed to read Young Adult or Children's Books - the most salient examples being Harry Potter and the trilogy His Dark Materials. It was very interesting to me as a person who has continued to read YA books, but also as a writer whose first book at least seems to have appealed to a YA market, though published for adult readers.

The other event we managed to visit was my friend David Wake launching his fourth book, The Derring-do Club and the Year of the Chrononauts, for which I had been one of the proof-readers. We kind of missed the launch, but managed to track down David, his girlfriend and the books. (We made off with a few copies. Having paid, of course).

Storm trooper with doll

Apart from that, I had a lot of fun taking photos of a very cool Jedi knight, and Alice got an Imperial Storm-Trooper to pose with her BJD doll, Victoria. (Victoria also got her photo taken sitting on the Iron Throne!).

Jedi Knight

There have been lots of serious (and some very good) posts about issues like gender and diversity at the Con. I feel that is really important, and I was sorry to hear stories of attendees being rude to members of staff at the ExCel - that really sucks big time. There has been an article complaining that this Con was dominated by old, white men - that was not my experience. Of course, the Con is absolutely huge, but I got the impression that the con-runners had worked overtime to try and make sure that attendees were comfortable, and had somewhere to go if there were difficulties.

I've never attended a Con outside the UK - I would love to do so, but the cost may be prohibitive. I wonder whether there were other indie authors there - I'm sure there were. Perhaps in future it would be interesting to have a stream - or a panel - for indie authors, as there is undoubtedly an overlap with fan-fiction - and trad published authors too. In fact, there's probably a Venn Diagram since there are a lot of writers like myself who have brought out their backlist as eBooks and self-published other or new works.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Guest post by Harry Manners, author of Ruin



Harry Manners is a member of the Speculative Fiction High Five circle on the Kboards. Harry has just published his first novel, post-apocalyptic science fiction Ruin. To quote his Amazon bio: Harry...lives in Bedfordshire, England with his family. When he's not writing, he studies Physics at the University of Warwick, reads a ton-load of books, and generally nerds out--for which he is staunchly unapologetic.

You can read more on his web-site at: Harry Manners - official author web-site

Ruin is to be launched on 25th August on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords.

And now - on to the questions!

What made you choose post-apocalyptic fiction?

I hate to sound corny, but it chose me. It's my default genre, where I'm most comfortable; isolation and extreme circumstances are the themes that captivate me. People behave strangely when they're in trouble, and stranger still when they're under the impression that everything they know might have gone down the toilet. The evolution of relationships and the miracle of civilization--just how shocking it is that civility crept into our world society in the first place, and what a monumental task it would be to try kick-starting all over again--are forever circling in my mind. 

What did you do when world-building for Ruin?

I did a hell of a lot of... well, just sitting and thinking. All the minute details of everyday life that we take for granted would be turned upside down by a real return to savagery. In Ruin, all technology is turned to dust, and over 99% of the human population simply vanish. The survivors are left scattered and alone in a world that sustained no visible damage. 
How would these people find one another? Would they try to begin again, or try to follow their loved ones? What would happen when the preserved foods ran out, and the gas stations ran dry? Does the average citizen of a first-world country actually have the knowledge required to survive in a hostile environment--or is such knowledge scattered between the teeming masses of our nations?

Endless spider webs of questions, all of which needed answering. It took a long time. 

Besides that, I visited a lot of archaeological sites and ruined temples, mounds, tombs, abandoned towns etc, to get a real feel of the kinds of decay you find in abandoned buildings left to nature's hand.

Which writers have influenced you (inside and outside the genre?)

In the post-apocalyptic genre, I've been hugely influenced by David Brin, of the Uplift and The Postman fame. Stephen King (The Stand and The Dark Tower), George R. Stevenson (Earth Abides), Neville Shute (The Beach), Richard Matheson (I Am Legend) and Pat Frank (Alas, Babylon) also shaped my voice. I spent my teenage years consuming post-apocalyptic fiction, breathing it in and basking in the brilliance of these ruined worlds. 

Outside the genre, I'm something of a literary buff, especially when it comes to 19th and early 20th century works. My chief influences are William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, and John Steinbeck.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

My imagination. The mechanics of writing itself, I've always taken for granted; it's just been something I've always done, to some extent. I've been writing in an organised sense for around nine years, now, and in that time I've only slid backward. By that, I mean that despite spending endless hours with a pen in my hand or my fingers poised over a keyboard, I've slid behind the endless ideas that spark from the ether of their own accord. 
I feel blessed that I'm able to live a life exploring so many other worlds. But, at the same time, I'm cursed by the knowledge that I'll never live long enough to write it all down; I'll die of old age long before I can explore all the worlds that lie in the depths of my subconscious. 

What are your plans for the series?

The Ruin Saga will comprise a trilogy, all of which will run for around 400 pages each. It's going to be quite the ride!

Further to that, the Saga will be the jumping-off point for a much larger body of work that will span at least a dozen books, the Pendulum Universe. Here's a little taster:

Something has gone wrong. A pendulum’s swing is dying. If it stops, everything stops. The fabric of all existence is in danger. 

Shadows are moving, long-sealed doors have fallen ajar, and the balance of an infinitude of worlds has shifted. 

On one world, something has gone very wrong indeed: the End. Six billions lives have vanished, leaving a barren Earth populated with scattered survivors. While man struggles with mere survival and the eternal plagues of betrayal and retribution lay waste to an already crumbling wasteland, a far greater mission begins. 

The Ruin Saga opens a universe that stretches far beyond Earth, across deserts and tundra, kingdoms of past and future, and ancient forgotten worlds between the cracks. If there is any hope, it lies in a precious handful, creatures of destiny scattered across the depths of reality. The success or failure of their gathering will decide the fate of countless lives. 

Bringing them together will cause destruction, pain and death. Some will run, some will fight, and some will turn to darkness. 

Only one thing is certain: the End was just the beginning. 

(Cross-posted from Living in the Maniototo).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Indie Spec Fic Links of the Week for August 21, 2014



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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month: July 2014

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month
The Speculative Fiction Showcase will officially restart on August 31 with a new feature called "Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month".

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published in the month in question. Sometimes a few books published the previous month sneak in as well, if I missed them the first time around. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to Amazon.com, though other retailers may be added for future editions.

However, to tide you over until August 31, here is the "Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month" feature for July, reposted from my personal blog as well as my Pegasus Pulp publishing blog.

On offer this month is a broad spectrum of titles, featuring science fiction, space opera, grimdark fantasy, Steampunk, dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, urban fantasy, Asian based fantasy, fairytale retellings, the ever popular vampires, the ever popular zombies, the not quite so popular selkies, dinosaurs, gladiators, superpowers, soul thieves, funeral gatecrashers, the afterlife and much more. We even have a non-fiction essay collection

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven't read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books:

The Heretic by Lucas BaleThe Heretic by Lucas Bale

Earth is gone.

Centuries have passed since the First Cataclysm ended life on the blue planet. Humanity’s survivors are now dispersed among distant colonies, thousands of light years from the barren, frozen rock that was once their home.

A new Republic has formed – one in which freedom no longer exists. In return for the protection of the Consulate Magistratus, citizens must concede their rights. The Magistratus controls interstellar travel, access to technology – even procreation. Organised religion is forbidden. All crime is punished by banishment or a lifetime of penal servitude on the Kolyma prison fleet.

And humanity’s true history survives only in whispers of a secret archive.

Yet there are those who preach a new religion and who want to be free.

A revolution is coming…

Wrathlight by Christopher BarrieuWrathlight by Christopher Barrieu

The Bathel: A race of psychopaths and murderers, consuming worlds and cultures with terrible sadistic joy.
They have conquered every race they have found.

Now they have found mankind.

Scott Shaw, soldier, widower, and father, is the best warrior humanity has. He is trained in the alien combat of humanity's new universe. But compared to the Bathel, he is a mere novice.

The Bathel demand a ritual combat: should Scott win, the Bathel will leave the small colony of mankind alone. Should he lose, everything and everyone he knows will suffer beyond the imaginations of humanity.
But no one has ever won, and Scott knows he heads to certain death on a foreign world.

Yet the natives speak of Wrathlight, the ultimate power, the power of judgement, wielded by powerful spirits with sky-blue eyes. An old myth, but can a mere man perhaps embody such a thing? Can he strike back for all the suffering races and save his own?

Scott is about to find out.


Steel and Song by Ani BoltonSteel and Song by Ani Bolton

Airwitch Tova Vanaskaya's choices are few: use her magic to fly an elite aircraft in the Grand Duchy's army or be shipped to the trenches. But invoking too much magic can kill the wielder, and her Cossack captain has a hell-bent-for-leather streak that pushes her to the brink. It’s a good thing she’s not afraid to push back.

Airship captain Piers Dashkov lost his friends, family ties and self-respect in a rash act years ago, so it's fine by him if the odds of surviving a dogfight are slim to none. His goal is simple: find redemption through valor and regain his lost honor in death if not life. He needs the smart-mouthed airwitch to achieve that impossible goal, but he never thought she would prove to be his salvation.

While the enemy is on the move, and whispers of revolution echo from the salons of the noble Cossack Houses to the tenement slums of Muscovy, one reckless night of passion creates a connection that will reverberate fatally for nations as well as for Tova and Piers.

Degenerated by S. Elliot BrandisDegenerated by S. Elliot Brandis

Humanity is divided.

In the tunnels, beneath the city...

Flynn was imprisoned at birth, spurned by society because of his differences. By age thirteen he was ready to die. By all accounts he should have.

Now he lives amongst those who'd wish him dead, struggling to understand the affliction that saved his life. Life in the tunnels is dark and twisted. He must find a way to make things right.

On the surface, in a sun-scorched wasteland...

Pearl lives in a camp of survivors, learning to adapt to the hostile climate. The mood has begun to darken. Bad habits and dangerous ideas are infiltrating her people.

When the camp decides to attack the tunnels, she faces a choice: will she do as she's told and stay safe, or risk her life to save a society of people she doesn't understand.

DEGENERATED is the second novel in The Tunnel Trilogy, following Irradiated.
















History Lesson by Cora Buhlert

The nights are long on the rebel world of Pyrs, most of the man and women hiding out there have demons that haunt them and everybody deals with those demons in their very own way.

For Holly di Marco and Ethan Summerton, two of the more than two thousand rebel fighters on Pyrs, the best way of staving of the nightmares is arguing about politics, eating sweets and getting drunk, very drunk.
But one long night of arguing about politics reveals some unexpected truths about the history of the Fifth Human Empire… and also about Holly and Ethan.

This is a novelette of 13000 words or approximately 40 print pages in the Shattered Empire universe following Mercy Mission.

Zombie Town by Griffin CarmichaelZombie Town by Griffin Carmichael

From city to suburbia, zombies are all the rage as they rampage on their quest for sustenance, taking down strangers, friends and neighbors alike, without pity or remorse.

Here are nine short stories about the times when the dead walk and the living fear.

MY BIG FAT ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: What better place to be when the dead rise than the local fitness center.
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT CAROL: Suburban life can be deadly dull. Or maybe just deadly.
FIGGY PUDDING: Holidays are known for feasting and jubilation, but one restaurant manager comes to regret keeping the doors open one Christmas eve.
NEITHER RAIN NOR: Public servants are said to be a dedicated lot, but carrying on with business as usual after the zombie apocalypse is taking it a bit too far.
SILENT: Little children look forward to a visit from Santa with great anticipation, but there’s nothing good coming down the chimney this year.
DARKNESS FALLS: Even a sturdy fallout shelter isn’t any protection when the super flu everybody’s been predicting lays waste to the world.
FLASHLIGHT: All she wanted was a flashlight so she could see what all the ruckus outside was about. Sometimes it’s better to remain in the dark.
IN THE MEADOW: Winter has come to a small Nebraskan town, bringing huge snowfalls. But nobody is in the mood to build a snowman.
RITUALS FOR THE LIVING: Long after the dead have risen, the survivors learn to cope with new ways of living and dying.

Selkie by Claire ChiltonSelkie by Claire Chilton

She just lost her heart to the ocean...

Ex-hacker, Cassie Easton, has just made out with her boss—mistake #1. And he's just told her he's engaged—mistake #2. She thinks her heart might have just been shredded for good.

The idea of going back to work with him after that is humiliating enough, but things just keep getting worse. Sean's not acting like the man she knows and loves. She barely recognizes him anymore. Something fishy is going on, and Cassie reverts to her criminal ways to find out why sexy Sean O'Callaghan is dating an old trout and running scared.

When it turns out to be the mystic forces of the ocean that’s screwing up her love life, she wonders if she’s finally lost her mind. If she can just survive a wasted wizard, a jealous sea witch and Selkie lore, maybe she'll get to fall in love, assuming she doesn't get arrested first.

Selkie is the first book in The Celtic Witches series.

Hidden Intentions by Stacy ClaflinHidden Intentions by Stacy Claflin

Fun-loving Clara is keeping a dark and deadly secret from William, the love of her life.

Not because she wants to hide things from him, but because her story is so unbelievable he will probably think she’s crazy.

If she tells him, she could lose him. If she doesn’t tell him, she will.

This is a standalone novel loosely connected to The Transformed series. And yes, it's speculative fiction.

Hunted by A.J. ColbyHunted by A.J. Colby

Vampires, werewolves, and serial killers, OH MY!

Eight years after the attack that changed her life forever, Riley Cray is confronted with something she never thought she’d have to face again: Samson Reed, the werewolf who nearly killed her, has escaped from prison. With the help of Special Agent Darius Holbrook, Riley is racing against time to stay one step ahead of the crazed werewolf. But Reed isn’t the only monster with his eyes on Riley and as the bodies are piling up she’s beginning to wonder how long it will be before she’s one of them.

Fight or Flight by Chele CookeFight or Flight by Chele Cooke

A single secret might change a war, but a lie can destroy those fighting it.

Georgianna Lennox’s biggest fear has become reality: she has been sold as a slave. Caught in the middle of the brewing war between the Adveni oppressors and Belsa rebels, she is recruited to be the rebels’ eyes behind enemy lines.

As the Belsa make bolder attacks against the cruel Adveni, Georgianna finds that the lies she is tasked to tell her owner are nothing compared to the secrets she must keep from her friends – secrets that could change the war in their favour, and lies that might destroy them all.

Part 2 in the Out of Orbit series, following Dead and Buryd, which is free right now.

The Girl who believed in fairy tales by Heidi GarrettThe Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales by Heidi Garrett

Heidi Garrett has written a lyrical collection of short stories woven with the threads of three very poignant fairy tales that pull this literary tapestry together to create a shimmering picture of love and acceptance.

THE GIRL WHO WATCHED FOR ELVES desperately needs to find her elf--it's her only hope for happiness and, ultimately, survival.

THE GIRL WHO DREAMED OF RED SHOES is slowly dying inside until she learns that nothing is right until it's the right fit--and in vivid, living color.

Lastly, THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T SING has to step out into her dream or she's going to die with her song hidden inside her heart.

Anyone who misses these tales, will miss the experience--no, transformation of a lifetime. It's time for everyone to get their real on!

The Wish by Judy GoodwinThe Wish by Judy Goodwin

Jodi is in love. The problem is that she's in love with her best friend, Tanya. And her best friend is in love with Roger. Even worse, they're getting married. As her friend prepares for a big wedding combining her Japanese and American traditions, Jodi finds herself praying to a long lost Japanese goddess for help.

When the goddess answers, Jodi is faced with a terrible choice. She can either have passion and heartache, or she can have friendship and loneliness.

Wishes always come with strings attached.

Bonus short story: Reflections of Chi

Geneva Lin runs a respectable interior decorating business. Her orderly world turns to chaos when a woman barges in, insisting that her house is rearranging itself. Geneva only hopes a little Feng Shui will solve the problem.

The question is, what do you do with a house that may want to kill you?

Warbound by C.P.D. HarrisWarbound: The Shield Maiden by C.P.D. Harris

A LOST CONTINENT. A LEGION IN PERIL. THE FATE OF TWO EMPIRES.

In the Domains of the Chosen magic is power.

The Grand Championships are over. Two Gladiators have joined the ranks of the immortal rulers of the Domains. As Gavin and Sadira learn their way as Chosen, their friend, Vintia sets sail with an expedition that will reshape the future of the empire. Chosen Brightloch has found the way to Ithal'duin, a continent lost since The Reckoning. New allies, and new dangers await. Fortunes will be made and the balance of power will shift. It is up to Vintia and the Ninth Legion to safeguard this expedition. Yet, while the Legions faces strange foes, the politics of the Chosen might present an even greater danger.

This is the third book in the Domains of the Chosen series, following Bloodlust: A Gladiator's Tale and Bloodlust: Will to Power.

The abnorms by Gregory HoffmanThe Abnorms by Gregory Hoffman

The world thinks they are useless.

Society thinks they are freaks.

They are Abnorms.

People born with special powers that set them apart from normal humans. Abnorms with useful or dangerous powers are snatched up by the government and never seen again, those with powers deemed useless are set free, back into a population that hates and shuns them. This is a story about a group of so-called useless Abnorms but these teens must do their best to make their useless powers useful as they try to rescue one of their own from the clutches of the government, and maybe fall in love along the way.

Heir's Revenge by Patty JansenHeir's Revenge by Patty Jansen

If Miran had princesses, Ellisandra Takumar would be one. Smart, pretty, engaged to a high-profile man, everything a high-class Mirani woman should be. But things are not well in Miran. Many years of boycotts have taken their toll on society, and the regime becomes more desperate to keep its citizens under control. Revolt is brewing. As director of the state theatre, Ellisandra has been asked to stage a violent traditional play which stands stiff with threatening political messages for the populace. She hates it, but speaking out would risk that she'd be cast out from the only world she's ever known.

Next to her house is the burnt ruin of the house of another high-class family, the Andrahar family. They fled Miran for political reasons when Ellisandra was a little girl and the house has lain untouched ever since. One night, she spots a mysterious young man walking around the yard, putting out pegs and pieces of string. He's re-building the house. That makes no sense, because the family is no longer welcome in Miran, and who is he anyway?

She is curious and investigates. He seems too good-natured and naïve for his own good, so rather than telling her brothers, she tries to shield him from her own society. And so starts the slide that leads to her being cast out from the only life she's ever known.

This is the final book in the Return of the Aghyrians series, following Watcher's Web, Trader's Honour and Soldier's Duty.

Mission: Flight to Mars by V.A. JeffreyMission: Flight to Mars by V.A. Jeffrey

Bob Astor is a Quality Assurance agent working at Vartan Inc. Lately his days have been stressful, to say the least. Butting heads with upper management has put his career on life support. A surprising change in circumstance has Bob going on a business mission to the moon city, Langrenus. On the way, he meets one of the delegates on board the Starbird, a desperate man with a dark past and a very dangerous secret. Through a mysterious series of events Bob finds himself in the middle of an interplanetary crises that no one knows about. These secrets could change - or destroy - all human life on Earth. The key to the answer of the crises is on the Red Planet, Mars. It's up to Bob, the burnt-out Q. A. agent to rise to the occasion and stem the dangerous tide coming from beyond the solar system.

The Dinosaur Four by Geoff JonesThe Dinosaur Four by Geoff Jones

They came for the coffee and wound up in the Cretaceous.

A ticking sound fills the air as Tim MacGregor enters The Daily Edition Café, hoping to meet his new girlfriend for coffee. Moments later, the café is transported 67 million years back in time, along with everyone inside.

As Tim and the others try to find out what caused the disaster and how to get home, one survivor plots to keep the group trapped in the past, in a world filled with prehistoric monsters.

Dark Legion by Paul KleynhansDark Legion by Paul Kleynhans

Once a Prince, now a slave. Once a torturer, now a liberator. But still his transformation is nowhere near complete...

Saul Baz Sharmoun has been holding onto something lost to many of his fellow slaves: hope and a desire for justice. A fire was set ablaze within him, growing brighter with each of the twelve years since the Emperor slaughtered his family, and he knows the time to escape his shackles - and to free his people - is now. With his hunger for retribution fueling him, Saul begins an epic journey, searching for his brother and looking to rebuild a world that would allow the crown in his family's name to rise from the ashes.

But the road to justice is never a straight one. Saul and the uncertain allies fighting alongside him find themselves up against a much greater enemy than they could have imagined. If he is to emerge victorious, he must fan the flames in his heart, and never allow himself to forget that he will stop at nothing to see this done...no matter how much blood must be spilled along the way.

She Who Fights Monsters by Kyoko M.She Who Fights Monsters by Kyoko M.

Jordan Amador. 23. New Yorker. Waitress. Investigator for souls with unfinished business, also known as a Seer. Michael O'Brien. 25. New Yorker. Lead guitarist. Commander of Heaven's Army. The dynamic supernatural duo is in the middle of trying to solve a deadly case. Someone is methodically hunting down and murdering Seers one by one. After six months with no leads on the killer, Jordan and Michael are forced to work with their worst enemy—the archdemon Belial: a self-professed Prince of Hell who is dead set on stealing Jordan for himself. However, with the archdemon’s help, they pick up on the trail of the serial killer and plan to stop him no matter what the cost. When the shocking truth behind the murderer’s identity is revealed, Jordan begins asking herself if she is still fighting for the good guys or has she become one of the monsters she is desperately trying to stop?

This is the third part in a series, following The Black Parade and The Deadly Seven.

Masque of Shadow by T.A. MilesMasque of Shadow by T.A. Miles

Heartbroken over the premature death of her young sister, Estelle conceives a dark plan to recover Lunette's innocent soul from the thief she witnessed taking it. The price is higher than she anticipated, reaching far beyond the loss of her own innocence when she enters voluntarily into the realm of the Lord of Shadows, into a theater of madness constructed by the souls of the dead.

This is a short story. Contains violence, mild gore, sexuality, and thematic elements

A Brief History of the Future by Sunny MoraineA Brief History of the Future - Collected Essays by Sunny Moraine

As an author, scholar, and essayist, Sunny Moraine has mused on a variety of things in a variety of ways. In this collection, spanning over two years of work, they make their way through thoughts on the form and business of writing, the nature and meaning of games, the interweaving of society and technology, and the anxieties, awkwardnesses, and hopes of the everyday.

Gently humorous, self-deprecating, and occasionally painfully honest, these essays offer a journey through a process of body, heart, and mind, and hints of what waits beyond.

The Commons by Michael Alan PeckThe Commons: Book 1: The Journeyman by Michael Alan Peck

“Paul Reid died in the snow at seventeen. The day of his death, he told a lie—and for the rest of his life, he wondered if that was what killed him.”

And so begins the battle for the afterlife, known as The Commons. It’s been taken over by a corporate raider who uses the energy of its souls to maintain his brutal control. The result is an imaginary landscape of a broken America—stuck in time and overrun by the heroes, monsters, dreams, and nightmares of the imprisoned dead.

Three people board a bus to nowhere: a New York street kid, an Iraq War veteran, and her five-year-old special-needs son. After a horrific accident, they are the last, best hope for The Commons to free itself. Along for the ride are a shotgun-toting goth girl, a six-foot-six mummy, a mute Shaolin monk with anger-management issues, and the only guide left to lead them.

Three Journeys: separate but joined. One mission: to save forever.

But first they have to save themselves.

Strangers at a Funeral by PhronkStrangers at a Funeral by Phronk

Brandon notices them at his grandpa’s funeral first: a pair of men in sunglasses who nobody seems to know. They’re not family, they're not friends, they’re just … there. No big deal, until they show up again at the next funeral. Drawn into a world of funeral selfies and burial crashers, Brandon needs to know what these strangers want from the dead.

Only problem is, nobody gives a crap except him, and his school frowns upon skipping classes to watch people get buried. His sanity can’t take many more funerals, and those bulges under the strangers’ coats probably aren’t concealing anything pleasant.

Strangers at a Funeral is a 5500 word (22 page) short story.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

On Vacation!!!

***The Speculative Fiction Showcase is on vacation. If and when we come back:) We'll let you know  right here!!!!***