Sunday, June 07, 2015

A Navigator's Tale: The Arcane Map of the West
(reviewing soon)


A dangerous man and an unbelievable offer—she should have run….
Starship navigator Hanna Baskira is entangled in a job contract with a hostile merchant-trader who doesn’t trust women pilot-navs. Captain West has hidden agendas. He’s also the commander of an elite military crew. They’re the intersystem government’s secret weapons—and the captain is the most dangerous weapon of all.
He plans on using Hanna in his espionage against an intersystem rebel network, but the captain has a thing about sharing plans…. And she has trust issues with the military.
If she wants to survive her new job, Hanna must trust the unpredictable captain of secrets and resist her attraction to him.





EXCERPT:
This is not a story about a strange mystical map. It is really about the convoluted inner secrets of a man named Captain Dregarth West—an enigmatic, strange man with a thirst for justice. A man whom I’d discovered belonged to an elite legendary military team rumored to have mysterious technologies and power…and who was more difficult to decipher than a star map. Meeting him for the first time had landed me in danger. Afterward, I’d found myself pulled into one strange adventure after another.
I only got a few of my questions about this man answered. I confidently thought the hidden parts of his secretive soul would unravel for me within a brief time, and then I could go on with my life and forget him…but I was wrong. He’s an ever-evolving mystery to me.
I’m still trying to understand what drew me to him, why I agreed to serve as a navigator on his ship…and why I followed him. I will tell you how it all began….



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AUTHOR BIO:
D. Martin likes science and finding out how things work. She has a science degree from Eastern Illinois University, where modern dance and creative writing also caught her interest. Her professional career as science researcher has ranged from biochemistry to industrial chemistry applications. She retired to pursue a lifelong dream to write.
She believes a person can never have too many books. She reads everything, but is fond of Sci-Fi fantasy and romance. She’s a sporadic gardener, who’d rather write than pull weeds. World cultures and their foods fascinate her. She loves Sci-fi movies. She once wanted to be an astronomer and adores the NASA app on her phone.
She lives in the Midwest with her husband and daughter, who are both very understanding when she’s off the planet writing.




Saturday, June 06, 2015

Water so Deep
(on the To-Be-Read List)





Seventeen-year-old Emma Harris is drowning on dry land.

No one knows what’s happening to her, and she’d like to keep her evolution from human to mermaid a secret, but the truth is getting harder and harder to hide. From her adoptive family, from her friends, and especially from the irresistible James Phelps.

Her time in the ocean is spent dodging a possessive merman, while her time on land is split between caring for her special-needs brother and squeezing in every last possible moment of human life. She soon realizes falling for James is unavoidable when he constantly comes to Emma’s rescue and somehow manages to see through her carefully constructed icy facade to the vulnerability she lives with every day. Everything about James makes Emma yearn for a life on land she just can't have.

When Emma’s brother disappears on her watch, James is the only person she trusts to help her save him. But even if they can save her brother, nothing can prevent her return to the sea. Whether she likes it or not, Emma is changing—unable to breathe without yielding to the tide—and it's only a matter of time before she's forced to surrender forever.





EXCERPT:
With a sigh that sent a stream of bubbles trailing behind her, Emma put on a burst of speed that brought her back to the cove she considered her own. She swam the length of the inlet once, twice, then returned at a leisurely pace. After taking time to ensure she’d been in the water long enough to keep her going for several days, she hoisted herself out on scaly, but nimble, feet and stole into the privacy of the cave, scratching her itchy hips and legs. 
“You cannot avoid your fate.”  
Emma jumped, swallowing a curse, and turned her back on Merrick, who had apparently been waiting in her cave. Why did he always come out of nowhere? “I can try.”
“Why will you not swim with me?” 
If she believed him capable of feeling, she would think he sounded hurt. “I prefer to swim alone.” As her towel soaked the drops of salt water from her legs, the itching eased, and her white skin smoothed. Once she’d finished drying her body, Emma squeezed the water from her hair and wrapped the towel around her head, then turned back to Merrick, leveling her gaze on his face to avoid seeing the parts of him she preferred not to see. “What do you want?”
“You have ten moon cycles left.”
Her neck stiffened. She hardly needed the reminder. “I think it’s eleven, actually.”
“We will be tied soon after your arrival.” He ran his fingers along her shoulder, over her birthmark, until he touched her necklace. 
Her hands stilled in the process of unfolding her jeans. She stepped away and yanked the pants on over her swimsuit, then pulled on her tank top and slid her feet into her sandals. If he didn’t represent everything she hated about her future, she might at least try to appreciate his friendship or the way his boyish white-blonde hair belied the manly muscles that bulged along his shoulders. But right now, that was too much to consider. “You’re too old for me, Merrick.”
“You will be happier if you accept your fate.” Heat radiated off him as he moved in behind her, his breath hot on the back of her neck as he forced her into the corner. “Accept me.” 
She whirled around, hands clenched into fists, and shoved against his chest. “Go away, Merrick. Leave me alone.
I hate you. I hate you all for giving me a family and then taking it away.”
“Emmalina. I am your family now. In time, you will learn to love the sea. Your ties to land will no longer be a burden— you will forget.” 

“I’ll never forget. Ever.”







AUTHOR BIO:

Nichole Giles, the author of the Descendant trilogy, has lived in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. She loves to spend time with her husband and four children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.   
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Around the web:
-----"Why Swimming Like a Mermaid is the New Extreme Sport"
-----A lady living the mer-life.
-----A Florida town where "mermaids" outnumber humans.
-----Some cities have banned mermaid tails.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Regeneration X
(on the To-Be-Read List)



To be or to have been …

If Charlotte Rhys Fenn could do it all over, knowing what she knows now, she would be different.
Charley leads a comfortable life with her best friend and perfect match, Michael, a man with whom she shares two lovely pet children (canine and feline), and a home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She’s fortunate to have a caring and supportive family, and two amazing friends, Inez and Becks. Professionally, she holds a secure position as editor of a respected healthcare magazine. Her life is settled, as is her future.

Acquiring this existence of hers hadn't been easy. For at least twenty years she felt like a wind-up toy, methodically following preprogrammed rules—step one ... step two. She even imagined herself as a minuscule, but essential, cog inside a big machine with the mechanical brain. No matter what she tells herself, it hasn’t helped since another thought flutters through her mind as frequently: Going through the motions is the same as coasting toward nothingness.

It is 2025, the time is right. Technology, in a rapidly advancing world, makes it possible to reimagine the future by recreating the past or, more aptly, by creating another past.



EXCERPT:
Many of her ways were because she secretly longed for the slower-paced days. Days when people took time to appreciate their actual surroundings, other people and life, for example going for strolls or sipping a port or sherry over a philosophical conversation, instead of the occasional wine with dinner or a binge night out chatting about mundane details. She fancied the idea of a habitual thing, not something you just did on occasion between scheduled happy hours and video conferences, or amidst the chaos of group chats, social media, and messaging, virtual or otherwise.
All of the boxes that were part of today’s norm were tedious and as Becks called it, “soul sucking.” Charley agreed wholeheartedly and felt, sometimes, she didn’t quite fit into the modern world even though she could navigate through it well enough. She even had a HaloYou profile. She tuned-in to her connections’ lives, but rarely posted virtual moment videos of her own self and life. In this way she stayed informed; held fast to her privacy and managed some semblance of unspoken social responsibility. Privately, she also attempted to appease her quirks in a modern way, even though she was old-fashioned at heart. For example, since the beyond-repair fireplace was long gone (demolished during their remodeling) and she’d have to join some Meetup group just to play board games (she played Solitaire or Candy Crush on her tablet), and around Christmas, she launched a hologram of a roaring fire as part of their decorations.







AUTHOR BIO:
Ellison Blackburn is a full-time designer/web developer of fifteen years. Ironically, she often waxes nostalgic over simpler days. Her passions include writing fiction and poetry, painting, and collecting vintage thingamabobs.

Raised in Chicago, she relocated to the Pacific Northwest where she currently lives with her husband and three beastly, furry children.

She is a writer of fiction and poetry and the internationally published author of Regeneration X.
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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Future's Edge



Most people do not carry the fate of the world on their shoulders. Sam Greenhut does.
By the year 2230, the world is no longer dependent on fossil fuels. All power is harnessed directly from the Earth’s core. A clever integration of neural technology and wireless energy gives rise to the Global Network (GNET), revolutionizing society. Diverse industries operate efficiently under the umbrella of a neurally connected world economy, powered by an unlimited geothermal fuel supply controlled not by Presidents, Sheikhs nor Monarchs, but by a Corporate Federation run by seven individuals.
This is the state of the world when the Corporate Federation charges Sam Greenhut with ensuring GNET’s unquestioned reliability and integrity.
Sam sees a world whose population is totally dependent on GNET, as if the previously admired trait of self-reliance was weaned from the gene pool. Inevitably, the insatiable demand for energy prompts a reckless decision by Corporate Federation board members to expand the geothermal energy lattices. Despite Sam’s protest, the choice to exceed the cautionary “Greenhut Limits” precipitate a string of earthquakes that destroy GNET and plunges the planet into the chaos known as “The Upheaval.”
What happens next fundamentally alters the destiny of the planet and catapults Sam into the center of The Seed – book one in my science fiction trilogy, Future’s Edge.





EXCERPT:
…“Let’s not make a scene. You’re being detained for improperly distributing proprietary business information. Your neural fingerprint has been disabled and you no longer have access. Please follow me.”
After delivering these words in a calm, professional manner, Bill Strong waited. He was a formidable physical specimen with a chiseled physique, sharp eyes, and a calm, but overtly suspicious demeanor. What made Bill intimidating was not his physical appearance as much as his reputation for being able to out-think and out-guess an adversary. If you did something wrong and found yourself in Bill’s sights, there was no escape.
Despite Bill’s presence, the perpetrator made a mad dash to escape.
Is he stupid? How crude to try to make a run for it. He’s easy to track. He’s now in Sector 18b.
Bill smoothly cycled through a series of neural commands.
Shield enable, Sectors 25a through 27j – Got him – Narrow the field – Good – Security breach file 343, pick up perp held in Sector 26f. He’s in the pocket.
Bill was delighted to have finally found the source of the recent information leak. Wheeler was careful about sensitive information being revealed to the public, especially when it had to do with rates of world energy consumption. With corporate security on the way to pick up the suspect, Bill started back to his office, encountering Sam making his morning rounds at the NCC.
“Hey buddy, how are things going this fine day?” asked Sam, congenially.
“We found our leak. Just waiting for Security to get him.”
“Good job. Who was it?”
“Peter Gilles,” said Bill.
“You suspected him for a while. Were there any problems?”
“Well the dammed fool made a run for it. I don’t know what he expected to accomplish, but I think all the excitement is over. Have him held in a security pocket.”
“Well, now I’ll have to replace him. Too bad. It’s not easy finding someone with his expertise,” Sam lamented.
“I could never figure out why you needed someone with experience in sonic phenomena,” remarked Bill.
“Whenever something goes wrong here, many alarms go off. I was never happy with the way they sounded. We hired Peter to design an assortment of sounds that would help us identify the type of problem we’re experiencing more intuitively. It’s quite subtle, but we found it helps improve response time. Now we’ll need someone else to finish this work. Damn difficult finding people with this skill. Took us over two months to find Peter,” replied Sam.
“Hey, Bill,” said Sam, changing the subject. “When we get another day off, can you join me on Deliverance?”
“I normally wouldn’t miss a chance to be on Deliverance, but it’s a busy time for me now. Can’t Jeff help you out? He lives on the boat.”
“No, we need to change some of the lines and check rigging tension. I need muscle for this type of work. It’s the one thing Jeff can’t do.”
“Okay Captain. I’m in. After that last sail, I’m not surprised to hear some work is needed.” Bill paused. “Sam, I love being on Deliverance. It’s the only place I can let my guard down. You know me – always paranoid.”
“That’s why you’re good at your job. Always thinking of what could go wrong. Anyway, I’m glad you’re part of the crew.”
“Me too. Sailing is so therapeutic. It helps me learn to trust others. Too often I feel defensive –I can never let my guard down.” Bill changed the subject. “I have to get back to my office. Need to file the report on Peter. Care to walk with me?”
“Sure. I have some time. Let’s go.”
Bill stops in his tracks. “Wait!” Report. “Son of a bitch. He somehow breached the security pocket and is on the loose again. We’re having trouble tracking him. I’ll meet you in my office. This shouldn’t take too much longer.”
Sam looked at Bill. He had the face that showed he was deep in neural interactions. Sam referred to it as the “neural face.” Better let him do his job, Sam thought.
Once again, Bill resumed his neural interactions.
Research, Peter Gilles … Sonic phenomena expert … Worked for the Military Alliance’s weapons division … A loner … Level 18 Master Technologist … Many scientific papers … Oh no! Method to breach Tansford Shield with sonic projections … Sonic interference patterns disrupt neural tracking mechanisms …



MY THOUGHTS:
The world socially united via the "GNET" and energy provided by tapping into the earth's core. For a long time society is mostly idyllic. Unfortunately, the famed Sam Greenhut and the world are being deceived...and that leads to the beginning of "The Upheaval." The story is a timeline of the people and events contributing to downfall of a united society and the struggle to rebuild. As a reader, I couldn't help but go down many what-if roads.
---I Googled some of the terms mentioned and would like to learn about those parts that are real science.
---Bonus points for garnering my husband's interest. :-)
My rating: 4.5 out of 5








AUTHOR BIO:
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Mort Herman has a Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering. Holder of six patents, he worked at several companies including IBM, Texas Instruments, AT&T and Lucent Technologies where his specialty was semiconductor electronics, systems design, and marketing.

Mort lives on the Jersey shore with his mate Mary Ann. When he’s not writing, Mort is an avid sailor, a wood sculptor, and a charter member of the Arts Society of Keyport. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, he added his technical, artistic, and project management skills to the design and implementation of three, free form concrete sculptures that replaced destroyed public art in the town of Keyport, NJ.
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