Friday, September 30, 2016

Giveaway Coming To A Close

Just a quick announcement. The Birthday Bash giveaway is coming to a close in the next... *points down* hours.

I did have a scare. One of the book orders was taking forever and I thought it might not be delivered in time. I think I might a bit spoiled because it's been a long time since I had to wait almost a month for a delivery to come. The stuff I ordered from Amazon came really fast and the other orders from different publishers was almost as quick. At least I know what to expect now. :)

If you missed any of the blog posts, I've attached a list. Just click and it will take you to the post. At the bottom of the post I've also listed the books that will be bundled for the giveaway. Heck, you can even comment on this post and it will count toward the entry and you can also tweet from it everyday.

Video Reading Darksoul

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

My titles that will be given away:

8 – Series Bundle of Sumeria's Sons

9 – Series Bundle of The Valespian Pact

6 – Series Bundle of I.O.N.

7 – Unshakable (to be mixed in with the surprise bundles)

4 – Keep The Stars Running (to be mixed in with the surprise bundles)

Books that will be mixed together in the Surprise Bundles:

Dandy – Jaidon Wells

Noble Metals – LA Witt

Prickly Business – Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade

Prickly by Nature – Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade

Snow on Spirit Bridge – Freddy MacKay

Dark Love (Live Oaks Tales, Vol. 1) – Stephen Del Mar

The Harvest: Taken – MA Church

The Harvest: Journey's End – MA Church

Perilous – Cari Z

The Necromancer's Dance – SJ Himes

Perfect Love, Vol 1 – Trina Lane

Alliance Vol 1 – Jambrea Jo Jones

Swift's Temptation – JR Loveless

Murder Above Fourth – JP Bowie

A Suitable Replacement – Megan Derr

Wolfsbane – KC Burn

Undertow – JM Snyder

Finders Keepers – Jaimie Samms

Vince – JM Snyder

Codes and Roses – Julia Talbot

Cowboy Flats – Julia Talbot

Upside Down – Andrew Grey

A Strong Sudden Thaw – RW Day

Bones Anthology – Eli Easton, Jamie Fessenden, Kim Fielding

Fighting Addition – BA Tortuga

Golden Boy/Golden Man – Claire Thompson

Counterpoint – Rachel Haimowitz

E-male – Scott & Scott

Men of Charleston Vol 1 – Andi Anderson

Daywalker Legacy – Amanda Young

Brown-Eyed Devil – Evan Gilbert

Who Knows the Storm – Tere Michaels

Half Pass – Astrid Amara

Surface Tension – Drew Hunt

Life in Fusion – Ethan Day

Shifter's Haven Vol 1 – Lavinia Lewis

Gale Force – Rory Ni Coileann

Firestorm – Rory Ni Coileann

Deep Plunge – Rory Ni Coileann

Hard as Stone – Rory Ni Coileann

Hot Sauce – Scott & Scott

Honour – AF Henley

Angel's Quest – Greg Bowden

Heaven Sent Vol 1 – Jet Mykles

Heaven Sent Vol 2 – Jet Mykles

Something About Trevor – Drew Hunt

Jonathan's Hope – Hans M. Hirschi

Gay For Pay – TM Smith

Campy Cravings Vol 1 – Sara York, Cassandra Carr

Wrong Turn – Taylor Law

Free Falling – SE Jakes

Giving and Inch – Heidi Belleau, Amelia Gromley

Revelations – Julie Lynn Hayes

Running With Scissors – LA Witt

Static – LA Witt

Limelight – Sara York, E.M. Leya, H.L. Holston, Eleanor Bruce

Fated – Indra Vaughn

The House on Hancock Hill – Indra Vaughn

Semper Fidelis – T.A. Chase, Morticia Knight, Devon Rhodes, S.A. McAuley, LE Franks, Sara York, Kendall McKenna

Quinn’s Gambit – Angel Martinez & Bellora Quinn

Breathing Betrayal – Bellora Quinn & Sadie Rose Bermingham

Hearts on the Line – TA Chase

Texas and Tarantulas – Bailey Bradford

Dark Nights and Headlights – Bailey Bradford

Forbidden Waters – LM Brown

A Shadow of a Dream – Isabella Carter

Alexey Dyed in Red - A.M. Valenza

Black Magic – Megan Derr

Drinker Class X – Sasha L. Miller

For Promise Yet Unbroken - Tygati

No Ocean Too Deep – Leona Carver

New Beginnings - Ann Anderson

Of Last Resort – Megan Derr

Private Dicks: Undercovers - Alison Bailey, E.E. Ottoman, Holly Rinna-White, Isabella Carter, K-Lee Klein, Megan Derr, Sasha L. Miller, Siobhan Crosslin

Seventh – Rachel White

Tantalus – Albert Nothlit

The Gift – A.F. Henley

The Heart of the Kingdom - Sasha L. Miller

The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate - Kay Berrisford

Supernatural Consultant: Volume 1 - Mell Eight

The Party Boy's Guide to Dating a Geek - Piper Vaughn Xara X. Xanakas

Six Ways from Sunday - Celeste, Mercy

Broken Soldier - Miller, Jamie Lynn

Absolution (The Protectors) (Volume 1) - Kennedy, Sloane

Salvation (The Protectors) (Volume 2) - Kennedy, Sloane

Sidelined (Southern Scrimmage) - Celeste, Mercy

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

On Fire by Alicia Nordwell

I want to share a big thank you to my host for featuring the cover reveal today for my latest Dreamspinner Press release, On Fire, made by Garrett Leigh. Without further ado...

A fun tidbit: I actually took the picture of the mountain (it was not on fire at the time, lol)

A picture is definitely worth a thousand words when it comes to a cover, and these guys are hot, but I bet you'd like to know more about their story, so here goes!

Nothing beats getting out of the concrete jungle and into the quiet of the forest. Website designer Scottie Ness is taking a well-deserved vacation from the grindstone, and he plans to spend it in the solitude of Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest around Mt. Adams. He’s prepared for everything—except the lightning storm that traps him in a wildfire.

The firefighter who rescues him sustains serious injuries and ends up in the hospital. Jax Quintero might be abrasive, but the guy saved his life, and Scottie wants to thank him. As they spend time together during Jax’s recovery and exploring the state’s landmarks when he’s released from the hospital, Scottie discovers there’s more to Jax than a smart-ass adrenaline junkie. Jax reassesses his opinion of Scottie as an arrogant city boy who has no business in the mountains. Though Jax’s wounds prevent them from taking things as far as they’d like for a while, they can’t deny the heat building between them—and this is one fire they don’t want to put out.

Where can you pick up your copy?
On Fire is available for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press now!

About the Author:
The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she's a MM romance author: "Why gay fiction? Why write men when you're a woman?" and her answer is: "Why the hell not!" Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started... Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out.

Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing. Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she's a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course!

She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on under her online nickname, Cia.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Birthday Bash: Tagline Contest #giveaway

Today is the last day of the Bash and a little different because this contest is separate from the bundle giveaway.

For this contest I'm looking for ideas and help devising taglines for several books. If I select your tagline or a part of your tagline you win a $5 Amazon gift card. You can submit as many taglines as you want for each of the books I've listed. The contest will end on October 1st and I will name winners on October 3rd. More than likely I'll pick more than one so there will be multiple winners for this contest.

If you've been following along all week, I recorded video excerpts for some works in progress. 

Releasing Chaos 

Devil's Heart 

Death Mask 


I already have one for Werewolf's Tale: The paranormal world fears them but one man will endeavor to be their champion

I'm looking for something similar that embodies the title/story/feeling. 

So have at it. Have fun with this. I'm excited to see what you come up with! :)

Rafflecopter Giveaway

** Note: Participants will be required  to comment (at least once) the list from most to least which series--Sumeria's Sons, Valespian Pact, and I.O.N.--they'd like to win. (The rafflecopter widget will have this.) Entries will remain open until October 1st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Birthday Bash: Reading for Death Mask

I'm sad, the birthday bash is almost over. Tomorrow is the final day with the tagline contest. I've had a great time sharing excerpts with you. I learned a lot along the way and I'm better at reading aloud than I was when I started.  If I keep it up, then by the time Rainbow Con 2017 comes around, I just might be good at reading excerpts.

Today's excerpt is from my upcoming release, Death Mask. I'm not going to have a big intro here because I talk a little bit about the book before I read the excerpt. Since this is the first excerpt posted, I went with the beginning.  Enjoy!

Death Mask,

Release Date: November 9, 2016
Cover Artist: Kirby Crow
Categories: Fairy Tales / Gay / Roughhouse Raiders / Urban Fantasy / Standalone /

Series: #1 of Black Harbinger MC
Word Count: 43,000


Grim Misery, the President of the Black Harbinger Motorcycle Club, discovers a wounded warlock and four werepups aboard the club's LSD shipment. And the news kept getting better and better. Not only is the warlock sitting on the edge of death, he's illegally bonded to the werepups, which could trigger a war with the werewolves—and he turns out to be Misery's estranged husband.

Years ago, Griffin turned Misery away to be with another warlock by the name of Marcheso Aldo. Misery left everything behind, even his family, but couldn't shake the heartbreak Griffin caused. With Griffin thrust back into Misery's life, he discovers things aren't as they seem... and everything is about to get much, much worse.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

** Note: Participants will be required  to comment (at least once)once the list from most to least which series--Sumeria's Sons, Valespian Pact, and I.O.N.--they'd like to win. (The rafflecopter widget will have this.) Entries will remain open until October 1st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Birthday Bash: Sneak Peek at the WIP Devil's Heart #giveaway

Welcome back to the birthday bash!!

Today, I'm reading from a work-in-progress called Devil's Heart. During the recording, I give out a lot of information for the series. So I'm going to leave you to listen to first. When you're finished, I'll give more information about the series Kenzie and I have planned.

Devil's Heart is my first collaboration with another author. Kenzie Cade is the expert. She and Piper Vaughn wrote the Prickly Business books together, so she and old hate. I admit I was nervous because my drafts are crap and I've seen Piper's and Kenzie's when they were writing together and I geeze, their WIP was so clean all of the time. By comparison, my was chopped liver. So I was self-conscious of revealing to someone how messed up my first draft (and second and third) really was. :)

On the video, I gave a pretty good background on the futuristic world. One of the things that I didn't talk about was the cyberpunk element of the series. We really should say cyberpunk-ish because the plot doesn't center around conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, or among megacorporations.

For the record, cyberpunk is (from Wiki) "a subgenre of science fiction in a future setting that tends to focus on the society of the proverbial "high tech low life" featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as information technology and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order."

In Devil's Dawn, the humans could stand on equal footing with the fae because most humans incorporated cybernetics into their bodies, making themselves safe from fae manipulation because of the metal. The nations' armies had soldiers replace an arm or both of their legs to keep their fighters from being taken over by the fae.

The first book in the series takes place about 15 years after the war (If I remember correctly) and the humans are still incorporating cybernetics into their bodies. The plot of the 3rd book in the series will more closely follow the cyberpunk side of this series than the other books will, so therefore--cyberpunk-ish... :D

I hope something about this book/series has whet your appetite! We are having a bit of fun mixing the fae magick with this kind of setting, and Kenzie and I are excited to hear what people think. <3

Rafflecopter Giveaway

** Note: Participants will be required  to comment (at least once)the list from most to least which series--Sumeria's Sons, Valespian Pact, and I.O.N.--they'd like to win. (The rafflecopter widget will have this.) Entries will remain open until October 1st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Birthday Bash: Werewolf's Tale and a Druid's Sword #giveaway

On August 31st, the second book in the I.O.N. series, Werewolf's Tale and a Druid's Sword was release. It was a toss up on whether I should do a reading of  that or the first book in the series, Ruby Red Booty Shorts and a Louisville Slugger. I chose Werewolf's Tale because I "think" people are already familiar with Ruby Red.

There's already been a couple of exclusive excerpts used for Werewolf's Tale blog tour so I picked a section that hasn't been used. There's a conflict between Jude and his older brother Beck that wouldn't give away spoilers.

This is the first excerpt I read. (Yeah, I hadn't planned out which day would reveal which excerpt when I began recording.) It took a couple of readings to become comfortable with reading aloud. I recorded this one three times and still wasn't satisfied. But it doesn't have to be perfect does it? I'm definitely not narrator material. :D

If you are not familiar with the I.O.N. series I've attached the information about the first book, Ruby Red, below with it's excerpt.

I hope you enjoy the selection for Werewolf's Tale and a Druid's Sword.

The paranormal world fears them 
but one man will endeavor to be their champion.


After he's kicked out for being gay, still reeling from being abandoned by the man he loves, Jude goes to live with his brother Beck, who thankfully is more than happy to take him in. But Jude has other secrets he's yet to share, for fear that even Beck will reject him, leaving him well and truly alone.

Then he draws the attention of werewolves, and discovers that everything he thought he knew about Levi, the man who abandoned him, is a lie. But one lie leads to another, ending in a vast conspiracy that threatens to destroy everything Jude loves—and that doesn't even begin to include the challenges that Beck is facing.

Series: I.O.N. # 2
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Categories: Gay, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Length: 67,000 words
Release Date: August 31, 2016

Buy LinksLT3 Press | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | All Romance | Bookstrand |

Title: Ruby Red Booty Shorts & A Louisville Slugger 
Series: I.O.N. #1
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Categories: Gay, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy


Eager to escape the shadows of a tragic loss, Diego built a new life with his best friend, Beck. When he finally decided one night to admit that he's in love with Beck, that new life takes a new, hot and happy turn. But happiness is easily shattered, as he's learned all too well, and this time it's ruined by the arrival of a mysterious package and the arrival of men bent on violence.

Memories of a dead brother and an untouchable drug lord rise inevitably to the surface, and Diego dreads that the man he loves is mired in the world that Diego tried to escape. But Beck's secrets aren't so simple, and neither is the world in which Diego has been living…

Buy LinksLT3 Press | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | All Romance | Bookstrand |


Diego walked the dreaming. Not the normal everyday imaginings of deep sleep, but the type of dream his abuela whispered of, where the veil of time drew back to show him the future. Unlike a normal dreamscape, where the colors were flat and the people one-dimensional figments of his imagination, here in the dreaming he’d one day be able to walk the scape as events unfolded around real people.

He was barely twelve years old and this was his very first dreaming. Abuela would be proud, and even though he wanted to run and tell her, he had to put his enthusiasm aside and do his duty well. Until the veil dropped back down, he wouldn’t be able to pull away from the dreaming. But why would he want to? This was a blessing from the Gods. His responsibility was to watch and learn, but more importantly, he had to remember.

A heavy fog caressed his skin as the mist slid past him. The cold touch caused a shiver to work its way up his spine. He stood in a warehouse, and the concrete had a layer of grit that clung to the bottom of his bare feet. The smell of old oil burned his nose and coated his tongue. No matter how many times he swallowed, the rancid taste clung to his mouth. People clustered around a painted circle in the open area of the floor. Diego recognized many of the gangbangers that belonged to The Man who ruled their streets of East L. A. with an iron fist.

A lead ball formed in Diego’s stomach. No one looked at or acknowledged him, but they moved out of his way all the same. Diego’s toes butted up against the broad white line. The mark wasn’t painted on the floor as he’d first thought, but was chalky, like the powder used to mark a baseball diamond. The noise of the crowd unnerved him. He could see the faces of the people, mouths moving exaggeratedly as they spoke, but their voices were odd: their slow, slurred speech made the words almost intelligible. The laughter, though—the eerie cackling skirted over his skin and filled him with dread.

On the other side, the crowd hoisted someone above them. He rode the outstretched arms until he reached the edge of the circle and then they set the person on his feet inside. Diego’s brother, Hector, appeared alternatively nervous and excited as he bounced around the interior of the ring on the balls of his feet. Five years older than Diego, Hector was the tallest person in their family, just shy of five foot ten. Diego wanted to have a strong body like his brother’s when he was older, but his madre told him Hector spent too much time at the gym and not enough time on his studies to make good grades. Hector claimed he had to be strong to protect their sisters from the vatos. Diego couldn’t deny how proud he was when people stepped warily away from the line when Hector bounced close, yelling excitedly at the crowd. His hermano had a reputation for ruthlessness when he defended the familia, and the vatos had learned the hard way to keep space between them and Hector.

Something—someone—stepped into the circle, the figure blurred and wispy-thin as if they were a ghost and not a solid person. Hector halted before the apparition, his expression sobering, his pinky tapping nervously on his thigh. Who would make Hector anxious? Hector was fearless; no one scared him. Well, perhaps there was one person. The Cadillac Man. Now that Diego thought about it, the sensation pressing against his skin wasn’t caused by the crowd, but had always been caused by the nearness of the Cadillac Man.

“Hector Emmanuel Hernandez,” Diego flinched, shocked Hector had given someone his full name. Their abuela warned to never do so. Names had power and could be used against them. The raspy quality of the voice caused Diego’s hair to stand on end. “Do you vow your service unto me, do as I bid of your own free will, and will you be loyal to me in exchange for the safety of your family?”

Hector bobbed his head at each question, bouncing in place. “Yes, sir.”

Black smoke drifted from the blurred figure, the tendrils snaking around Hector’s ankles. “No,” Diego breathed. Something was wrong—he had to stop Hector. He went to step over the line and an electrical current zapped him as he ran into an invisible wall. Blue webbed lines spread out from where he frantically struck the barrier again and again, ignoring the sharp pain in his fists.

“Will you accept the gift of the jaguar, willingly submit to the way of the warriors of old?” The grating voice held an air of expectation.

Diego slammed his fist against the wall. “Hector, no!” he shouted.

“Enter your blood into the book of binding.” The apparition held out a large weathered tome several inches thick.

Withdrawing a pocket knife from his jeans, Hector sliced his palm over the yellowed pages. He squeezed blood from his fist while Diego yelled and screamed for Hector to stop. Couldn’t he feel the wrongness of this place, in the people surrounding him? Did Hector not see the darkness of the person he was vowing himself to?

“It is done.” The finality of the statement was like a punch to Diego’s gut.

He didn’t understand what happened, only that Hector had committed to something he couldn’t walk away from. The dark mist swirled around Hector, clinging to his body, stroking him almost lovingly. Without being told, Diego knew it was evil. How could Hector not sense the vileness?

The blurred figure retreated from the circle and the spectators took several steps back. Hector’s smile faltered, but he pumped his fists in the air like a prize fighter. Diego yelled for Hector to run. Something would happen. The tension of the oncoming moment caused his skin to crawl with unease. Hector stopped in the center of the ring and spread his feet, his expression scared but determined. A large jaguar prowled forward, the low growl the only warning before the cat leapt. Hector struggled as he was borne to the ground, screaming while powerful jaws clamped down on his shoulder. The jaguar planted a massive paw in the middle of Hector’s chest as it mauled him.

Diego fell to his knees, desperate to reach Hector but unable to answer his brother’s call for help. Hector fought, but Diego could see how quickly Hector’s strength left him, until he struggled no more. The feline released him, roaring in his face, bloody saliva dripping from its wide jaws. Too much blood pooled around Hector, and his head tilted toward Diego as his body shuddered. Diego pressed against the barrier, the sting no longer registering because he was too wrapped up in his grief as he watched his brother die.

“Diego.” Even though Hector whispered, he heard his name clearly, as if Hector sat right next to him. Hector’s gaze ran along the gathered crowd, eerily coming to rest where Diego knelt. “Lo siento, hermano. I didn’t mean to break my promise,” he rasped.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

** Note: Participants will be required to comment (at least once) the list from most to least which series--Sumeria's Sons, Valespian Pact, and I.O.N.--they'd like to win. (The rafflecopter widget will have this.) Entries will remain open until October 1st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Birthday Bash: Finally!! Releasing Chaos #giveaway

So for those who haven't heard yet, I finished and submitted the final installment to Sumeria's Sons. The sixth book, Releasing Chaos, was accepted by Less Than Three Press earlier this month.

Writing this last book took much longer than I thought it would. Part of the reason was the length but the other part had to learning characters who I only knew through Tristan's eyes. I had to figure out who they really were before I could go forward, otherwise I would be putting down words that I would have to delete. I hate throwing away scenes. I take a lot of time putting it together and only to trash it makes my heart hurt.

Anyway, on to the excerpt. Since I don't have a cover or other book information to share, after the video I'll give you a list of things I want to write in the next twelve months.


So I promised a sneak peek at my future projects.

Well, right now I'm working on edits for Darksoul and Devil's Heart which are taking up all of my time so far this month. Bespoken is the next book I will write, but because of all the editing, I'm still putting together info for the world Prometheus is on.

Next on the list a book in a collaboration world with Cailtin Ricci, Elliot Cooper, Blaine Arden, Kenzie Cade, and few other authors. The series is titled Have Human Will Travel. My story Lucky Charm and will be a poly (quad) with aliens and well... I can't give too much away. :)

Sometime in there, Kenzie and I will start the next book in the Devil's Dawn series, Devil's Poison.

I have a super secret standalone planned for a character in Sumeria's Sons. I have a title but I can't give it just yet. *makes complicated secret hand gesture*

I want to get on to the 3rd book in I.O.N. - I don't have a title yet but it will have something in it about a grimoire and an assassin. There will be only one more book after this one.

There is a sci-fi tournament for love book that I want to write. No title yet but I have to fit it in here somewhere. Piper Vaughn just might hunt me down if I don't hurry.

Sci-fi marriage of convenience. World already built, I just need the time.

The Valespian Pact #4 - Chosen.

How many is that? Seven. I want to fit more in there but I can't. So there you go, a glimpse at what's to come!

Rafflecopter Giveaway

** Note: Participants will be required  to comment (at least once)the list from most to least which series--Sumeria's Sons, Valespian Pact, and I.O.N.--they'd like to win. (The rafflecopter widget will have this.) Entries will remain open until October 1st.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Birthday Bash: The Aurora Conspiracy #giveaway

Thank you for stopping by today and the continuing birthday bash. I hope it's been fun so far. :)

The book I'm reading from today is from a short story in the Keep the Stars Running anthology. I haven't talked much about it since it came out, so I thought the excerpt would be fun.

I had a fantastic time writing The Aurora Conspiracy. I have to admit the best part was writing Danny, Regin's best friend. He almost stole the show. He's a secret experimental A.I. that the company Regin works for is testing. Everyone sees Danny as a computer except for Regin who knows Danny is a person. I had a great time working with my brother-in-law, Jorge, to shape Danny into the character he came to be. 

Unfortunately, the excerpt doesn't include Danny because the scenes would've given away spoilers. Since the excerpt listed is for a couple of others stories from the anthology, I went with Chapter One.


Keep the Stars Running
Author(s): Andrea Speed, Cassandra Pierce,Leona Carver, Lexi Ander, Talya Andor

Categories: Anthologies / Gay / Sci-fi /


Space is not always filled with adventures and glory. Not everybody goes racing off to battle evil and save the galaxy. Between the rebels, pirates, royals, and spies are the everyday people who work hard just to get by and ensure everyone gets home safe. Less Than Three Press presents a collection of tales about the ordinary folks who keep the stars running.

» The Prince and the Programmer by Cassandra Pierce
» The Aurora Conspiracy by Lexi Ander
» About a Bot by Andrea Speed
» Flight Risk by Talya Andor
» Survival by Leona Carver


About a Bot by Andrea Speed

Tahir was woken up by Bagel bot freaking out. “Variance off by point two of a percent,” Bagel bot was repeating, spinning in a very small circle. “Variance off by point two of a percent.”

“That’s within normal parameters,” he said muzzily, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He wasn’t actually sure what Bagel bot was referring to, but it didn’t matter. Point two percent wasn’t anything to stress about in almost any context.
Tahir sat up with a groan, and asked, “What time is it?”

“Nine forty-three a.m.,” the computer replied in its mellifluous, gender neutral voice. Spider crept closer to him along the wall, and Tank’s stronger motor hummed as it maneuvered around the floor, clearing the way for his eventual walk to the bathroom.

He groaned. It was probably about time he got up and got going. The space station wasn’t going to clean itself. Although, actually, it might.

Tahir was, according to the station roster, the Chief Maintenance Officer of the Galactic Force station M163, although it was known colloquially as Nebula Station. He enjoyed calling himself the head janitor, fully aware that he was the only janitor… Well, at least the only flesh and blood one. His entire staff was automated; they were all scutters and crawlers of various shapes and sizes, which, in theory, should have made his job easier. But the reason the job wasn’t fully automated was simply because no one had ever perfected the maintenance bot that could supervise and fix other maintenance bots. Who would fix the maintenance bot if it needed maintenance? So Tahir was essentially a custodian-slash-bot wrangler. He didn’t mind it, though, as he found machines more reliable than people.

He stretched and headed straight for the bathroom, ignoring the impatient robots circling his feet. Most of these were what he called his “pet” robots, ones that no longer served a specific janitorial purpose, but were too good to junk. He knew this made him an eccentric to many, but he didn’t care, as he had been called worse.

He’d been counting on the sonic shower to wake him up, but it didn’t. What inevitably woke Tahir up was checking his calendar on his internal optical implant, and seeing a new task there, added by Commander Leopold herself.

Tahir tapped the comm implant behind his ear. “Commander, this is CMO Domi.”

“Go ahead, Domi,” she replied.

“Why does it say I’m meeting with a representative of the Galactic News Service on my schedule?”

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?” she replied brightly. “GNS is doing a feature on people behind the scenes, those of us behind the lines. It’s not just the mech pilots and ship’s crew who are heroes.”

Tahir groaned as Bagel bot finally triggered the door open, and she wheeled in, circling around his ankles. She looked exactly like a Bagel, but with tiny wheels, and she was exactly Bagel sized too, a bit smaller than a human hand. She actually had a name, Maddy, but in his mind he always called her Bagel bot. She was just so darn cute, and so many of her brothers and sisters were thrown on the scrap heap once they upgraded the vent scrubbers. That had been just a couple of weeks before he came here, so he was only able to rescue Bagel bot, and to scavenge enough parts from broken units to repair Bagel’s busted pieces. Of course, he was probably the only one who thought these weird little cleaning bots were adorable. Most people didn’t think of them at all. “I don’t want to be someone’s feel-good human interest story.”

“No! I’ve seen the reports, they’re great. You’re a natural. Besides, he requested you.”

Now that was truly baffling. “He did? Who the hell is this guy?”

“Jorian Sanchez. He’s a real cutie too. Have you seen his profile on the GNS site?”

The name hit him like a blast of cold water. “Jorian? Oh, Einstein on a crutch.”

“What, you know him?”

Tahir stared at himself in the mirror, glad he never got the optical implant so he could see faces, and vice versa. Because much to his horror, he was watching himself blush, a physiological response he was sure he left behind in his teens. “We went to the same academy. I was pretty sure he didn’t know I was alive. I guess I was wrong.”

Flight Risk by Talya Andor

The thudding rush of blood pulsing in one ear was a louder backdrop to Kiel Navarro’s work in the Gear hangar than the whine of engines, roar of propulsion jets, or shouts from the Gryphon wings scattered throughout the multiple bays lining the launch lane for deployment. Kiel was half-deaf and kept a sound damper studded in his good ear as he worked. His hearing loss, like that of many of the long-term mechanics who worked at Cadlow Hangar, tended to be an asset to him when it allowed him to tune out the myriad auditory distractions of the Gear bays.

That morning Kiel’s concentration had renewed focus as he bent his efforts on the new Gear that had arrived in one of Wing Bravo’s bays at some point after his previous shift. Its lines were slimmer than the other Gears he’d worked on, its propulsion jets set to a higher output than he was accustomed, and its handling yoke was tuned more sensitively than Kiel would have recommended for the Gryphons at Cadlow.

Kiel wanted to run his hands over the Gear’s matte frame and acquaint himself with it, from front-mounted rail guns to rearmost output manifold, but it appeared to be in top condition and he didn’t have any excuses to touch it. Yet. All Gryphons, no matter how good, crashed and burned at some point and Kiel was among those who fixed their Gears.

There was no harm looking, however, and Kiel put a finger to his MagLens goggles, switching to a higher magnification with a flick. His vision was degrading after years of squinting at small machine parts and smaller circuits and couplings, but that hadn’t fazed him. He’d switched to using the MagLens to augment his vision and never looked back—the goggles held over twenty layers of lens filters and made his job exponentially easier.

He flicked over to his energy output lens and studied the Gear for a moment, noting the contrast between cool metal and all the places where residual energy from the fusion drive core kept the Gear ready to roar out at a single pulse from the throttle in its handling yoke. Improvements had been made in the fuel lines that snaked like arteries throughout the frame. After a moment of admiration, Kiel switched back to color vision.

Most visiting Gears that came from hangars closer to the interior of Gilbrand were black or silver, following with the republic’s colors, but this one was in buff and sage colors, its subtle contouring similar to the camouflage pattern the rest of Cadlow Hangar used. Outside the hangar, the sparsely-populated scrub steppes stretched for many klicks beyond North Cataranga, one of the furthest settlements out along the Gilbrandan border. There wasn’t much cover, but if the Gears blended against the turf, their Gryphons were less likely to be shot off.

“—does that ratty barn owl think he’s doing, going over Lafaele’s brand new Gear? Hardly needs maintenance!” The jeer was distant, distorted as though reaching him through a wall, but Kiel heard the nearest Gryphon nonetheless.

“Probably assessing his chances for coupling with it when the hangar gets quiet,” the Gryphon’s wingmate suggested.

The Gryphons knew by now that maintenance was his passion as well as trade, that he kept them in the air, yet their jibes were unceasing. Kiel kept his face impassive and cycled to another lens, looking over the frame for wear and tear. He kept his attention where it belonged, because acquainting himself with the new Gear rated higher. Though the matte colors were unscratched in a way that suggested fresh paint, the Gear had seen its share of fighting. His gaze followed the wrinkles of an old scar to the crest of the vehicle and the name etched there. Battlehawk.

It was a traditional Gear name, fairly common. Gilbrand’s first Admiral Scanlan had ridden the premiere Battlehawk to war.

The name suited the Gear, sleek and maneuverable but sturdy in the way frontline Gears had to be. Kiel turned, reminding himself of his schedule, one hand raised to shift his MagLens back to normal vision. He pulled up short, vision gone blank with darkness until he noticed an eyelash in the upper right quadrant and realized he was face to face with a person. He cursed himself, cycling lenses.

A dark-skinned man in a Gryphon flight suit stood blocking his path. He had lean features and alert brown eyes under thick brows, and black hair outlined the curves of full lips beneath a broad, blunt nose. “Hello,” he mouthed. His helmet was tucked under his arm.

Kiel merely widened his eyes in response, knowing it made him look even more owlish but not caring. This brand-new Gryphon would only go the way of the rest. Kiel was good enough to keep their Gears in the air, but otherwise beneath notice. The sooner he got past any attempts at friendship, the better.

The new Gryphon’s brows rose. Instead of stepping around Kiel to get to his Gear, though, he did something astonishing. He set his helmet down beside his feet and lifted both hands.

Kiel tilted his head, sure the Gryphon was wasting his time, but fascinated.

Hello, the Gryphon signed to him in standard Gilbrandan DHHL, the language of gestures used by the deaf and hard of hearing. Most Gryphons would only be familiar with the abbreviated military sign language. I’m Marco Lafaele. The new Gryphon.

Kiel couldn’t help snorting, though he was reluctantly impressed. He pulled the sound damper out of his good ear. “I’m only half-deaf,” he admitted. His DHHL was decent enough to get by with Bryzha, the hangar’s fully deaf mechanic, but not good enough for extended conversation. “Wasn’t born deaf. I’m Kiel Navarro. One of your mechanics.”

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Birthday Bash - What's Happening with #Bespoken ?? #giveaway

The next book on my writing schedule is Bespoken. Yay! Finally, right? 

Bespoken was one of those storylines that I had to discover answers to because of what I'd written in Alpha Trine and Striker

Why wasn't Zeus as good as Prometheus for the new Triumphant that would take over as the Galactic Emperors and manage The Grid? What did Prometheus have that Zeus didn't? HOW did the Triumphant manage The Grid? 

Unknowingly, I'd built Prometheus up to be indispensable and I had no clue how. The answers had to be plausible and fit the realm of sci-fi not fantasy. Hell, following a fantasy, the answer could've been easier to devise, but I needed something that was believable and made sense. I tossed aside many different answers because they weren't strong enough for what I envisioned the last book of the series. I hope readers will enjoy what I came up with.

I should probably also talk about the number of books in the series. The 5th book, Canry's love story titled Rebirth, won't be included in the series because the story I have in mind doesn't fit into the overall plot of The Valespian Pact. So the number of books for the series has dropped by one. Tentatively, the list will now go as follows:

1) Alpha Trine
2) Striker
3) Bespoken - Prometheus, Vipre, and Malek
4) Chosen - Axis and the Chimera triplets
5) Boundless - Madux & Star Eater
6) Legends - wrapping up the plot arc.

If I do write Canry's story, it will be a standalone in the Valespia-verse. 

Unfortunately, I haven't completed enough of Bespoke to include it in the readings but I have the play list. It will give you an overall feeling that I'm shooting for.

Goo Goo Dolls - So Alive

"Breaking down the walls in my own mind
Keeping my faith for the bad times
Get up, get up, stand like a champion
Take it to the world, gonna sing it like an anthem"

Ingrid Michaelson - "Afterlife" 

"You and me
We got this
You and me
We're beautiful

Sheppard - Geronimo

"Can you feel it?
Now it's coming back we can steal it
If we bridge this gap,
I can see you
Through the curtains of the waterfall"

Gin Wigmore - Black Sheep

"Make me mad, I'm not here to please
Paint me in a corner but my colour comes back
Once you go black, you never go back
I'm a black sheep"

Of Monsters And Men - Wolves Without Teeth

"I'll be the blood
If you'll be the bones
I'm giving you all
I'm giving you all
So lift up my body
And lose all control
I'm giving you all"

James Bay - Let It Go

"So come on let it go

Just let it be

Why don't you be you
And I'll be me
Everything's that's broke
Leave it to the breeze"

X Ambassadors - Unsteady

"Hold, hold on, hold onto me
'Cause I'm a little unsteady
A little unsteady"

Of Monsters and Men - Crystals

"Lost in skies of powdered gold
Caught in clouds of silver ropes
Showered by the empty hopes
As I tumble down
Falling fast to the ground"

Skylar Grey - Cannonball ft. X Ambassadors

"And when they light their torches, when they scream and yell
I'm gonna raise my flag and gonna give 'em hell"

Oh Wonder - Without You

"Cause I'm kicking up stones without you
Can't pick up the phone without you
I'm a little bit lost without you
Without you"

Black Stone Cherry - Blind Man

"So we will try not to cry
When we're walkin' in their shoes.
Have you heard the news?
Hey have you seen the blind man in disguise,
Lookin' for his eyes?"

X Ambassadors - Gorgeous

"Nobody understands you
You ain't nothing they can handle
Every man you put your hands on
You make him feel so god damn handsome"

Katy Perry - Rise

"I won't just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can't write my story
I'm beyond the archetype

I won't just conform
No matter how you shake my core
'Cause my roots—they run deep, oh"

So there you are! A bit of insight to Bespoken! It's going to be awesome!

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** Note: Participants will be required  to comment (at least once)the list from most to least which series--Sumeria's Sons, Valespian Pact, and I.O.N.--they'd like to win. (The rafflecopter widget will have this.) Entries will remain open until October 1st.

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Thank you for stopping by and reading!!