Review of “Border Lines” & NEW RELEASE “Every Storm Breaks” by L.E. Fitzpatrick

(I don’t normally post reviews of sequels, but these books are REALLY good, you guys.  To see my earlier review for Book 1 in this series, go here:  The Running Game)

33553840I love sequels that don’t feel the need to recap every little thing from the first book before moving on with the story. While you should read the first book in the series first, this one is very much its own thing. Same characters, yes, but the setting quickly becomes different and the job, dangers, and relationships are different.
The dynamics between Rachel, Charlie, and John are great. The interactions between the brothers feel and sound the same as they did in the first book, but with Rachel added to the team they’re now more protective and a bit more loving. Rachel isn’t afraid anymore and has her confidence bolstered by the brothers, and I really liked how these three worked together.
The story’s world again feels very dystopian, and there’s some interesting commentary here about the health care system in particular. The “whodunit” aspect adds a nice mystery element. The ongoing background tension with characters from the first book ties in nicely to keep the books connected and the overarching story moving forward, but it was balanced well with the brand new plot of this book.
The writing is great, witty, and sets the mood perfectly for the story. I eagerly look forward to the next book.

5 Stars

See it on Amazon!


21148270_1355021074595848_121658889_n(Okay, so I didn’t wait long between reading the previous book and this one.  I was supposed to read other books in between, but I cheated.  That’s how good these are.)

I loved the first two books in this series, so saying this one is my favorite should give you some indication how much I really, really loved this one.  We know these characters by now, we know how they interact, we recognize the world they’re in.  At the same time, nothing that happens in this book feels predictable or boring.

Charlie, John, and Rachel are once again quickly in over their heads in a dangerous situation, and the suspense and twists kept me reading.  I love how subtly this dystopian world is different. The telepathic, telekinetic Reachers add a Sci-Fi element, of course, but it blends so well that it doesn’t feel overly Sci-Fi.  These books all feel more like crime thrillers, in a way, which is a cool way to approach it.

The fact that this chunk of the overall story is once again a complete book unto itself is also great.  It helps to read what’s come before, of course, but this book feels like its own unique part of that story with nice resolution for what’s happened here.  You feel satisfied with the ending because it wraps up this particular storyline, even though it’s obvious Charlie, John, and Rachel have more work ahead.

5 Stars

See it on Amazon !


 

Psst!  

Because the above book is a new release, the author was kind enough to give me a snippet to show my followers!

 

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EVERY STORM BREAKS
Reacher Series #3
L.E. FITZPATRICK

SNEAK PREVIEW….

The concrete barrier separating London and the surrounding Safe Haven was impenetrable. Built to withstand a full militia invasion, it was guarded day and night by trained security officers. On a normal day they would be watching a queue of traffic as the daily commute crossed the open gates, but this wasn’t a normal day. A full watch was gathered at the top of the blockade, automatic weapons poised, ready to shoot, ready to kill. The growing crowd being kept out was swelling, spilling over into the surrounding streets like an overflowing drain. The bubbling cesspit of discontentment polluted the atmosphere. Tension climbed as more and more people took up the plight of the immigrant workers, fuelled by fear, isolation, and more hardship. The rioters crushed themselves against the gates, kicking at the barbed fencing; screaming, climbing, falling. Blood stained metal like crimson rust. Things were turning bad and turning quickly.

John pulled up the car at the junction leading to the main gate. It was farther away than they had originally planned their ambush, but there was no way they were going to get any closer without being swallowed by the crowd. A raucous energy surged through the concrete jungle. Rachel dared a glance behind them. Another tribe of urban warriors was coming towards the gate, and soon their current position would be compromised too. Police sirens were getting louder, a tinnitus in this nightmare. It was going to erupt into a full-scale riot, and in a few minutes all of S’aven would be engulfed.

She twisted her fingers together, focusing on the closed border, allowing her powers to penetrate the collective feeling of the mob. The concentrated fear and hatred were overwhelming. She could feel their frustration, their utter hopelessness, even as far back as she was. Desperation was winning, and nothing short of a miracle could sate it. Bottles, launched into the air by the protestors, smashed against the fence. Glass rained down on the crowd, and blood started to pour. The police were closing in. Soon the fighting would flood into the surrounding streets. All of S’aven would be consumed. Rachel watched the gate and the air around her seemed to thin. She took a desperate gasp, trying to visualise their rescue attempt in this chaos. Anything leaving London was going to get swallowed up; anyone trying to help would be trampled.

“What if they don’t come out?” she asked.

“They’ll come out.” The certainty in John’s voice was unwavering. Nothing about their current view seemed to concern him. His composure was measured, as though he were watching this from a distant window, unaffected by the consequences of the phone call he had made.

Rachel couldn’t understand how he could be so calm. A couple of hours ago he was throwing bottles at a wall like the desperate men and women in front of her. Now he was sitting patient and expectant, waiting for a miracle she couldn’t believe in.

“And what if they do come out?” she said, softer this time. She clasped her hands together. The anguish around her was contagious. She wanted to lash out. To scream. To charge the gate and save Charlie herself. This wasn’t fair. This wasn’t how people should be treated. The rich shouldn’t be locked behind a wall with all the wealth, while people on the other side died in squalor. People shouldn’t be punished for wanting a better life. For trying. For being different. They shouldn’t be locked up, experimented on, executed.

“Hey, the gates are opening,” Roxy said, drawing her back before her outrage compelled her to action.

A shower of rubber bullets and gas canisters rained down on the crowd. Through the chemical mist, a vehicle pushed into the mess. It was unmarked, but it was obviously a government transporter. What else would brave leaving London in the middle of a riot? Before anyone could react, the guards behind it opened fire again. People dropped to the pavement, gasping in the smoke, crying out as feet stomped on their helpless bodies. Rachel could feel the rage surge through the street. If there had been a chance this was all going to pass over, they’d just lost it.

“Well, that was a good idea,” Rachel said.

The smoke hissed, making it impossible to see anything. Bloody, bruised people fell out of the poisonous fog, into cleaner pockets of air, but more were coming. Coming from the surrounding streets; healthier, stronger, angrier. And the border patrol continued to fire. Rubber bullets giving way to metal. This wasn’t a security mechanism—this was war. The gas was clearing and the gates were once again closed, but that left the van stranded and suddenly the only thing the crowd could retaliate against.

“Oh God, do you think Charlie’s in there?” Rachel said, unable to control her panic. Would the crowd take mercy on a prisoner? She didn’t think so. Even if they did, how much damage would they do before they even reached him?

“He’s in there,” John said. Still cool. Still calm.

The protestors started pounding on the truck, rocking it back and forth. Again and again.

“Holy shit, they’re going to tip it!”

“Take the wheel,” John told Roxy. “Turn the car around and get ready to move. Do not fall behind. Rachel, you’re on crowd duty.”

“Are you bloody kidding, they’re going to rip you apart!” Roxy shouted.

John gave Roxy a look, half smug, half challenging—I’d like to see them try—and gestured for Rachel to get out.

Marginally inspired by John’s confidence, Rachel took his hand and focussed. If they were going to have any chance, she couldn’t let her surroundings frighten her. The people’s tension and anger were fuelling the riot. This wasn’t going to dissipate. This was years of stored-up fury at the richer classes, at the injustice folk on the wrong side of the border suffered. There was so much hate. Too much to control. The weight of it was oppressive and, as Rachel tried to sway the crowd to her favour, she found herself blocked and unable to push her commands into their one-track minds. Her subtle Let me pass was being ignored, or unheard, or deliberately disobeyed, as though that was the one command they had conditioned themselves to reject. She needed something more, something that suited their mood.

Red and blue started flashing. The police were encircling them. They were surrounded, unable to go anywhere, and Rachel knew what to do.

“Stop the police cars,” she said, tapping the nearest man to her. He paused, his hand held up in the air as her words filtered into his brain. Then, like a switch being pressed, he was charging towards the nearest police car. She touched another, giving him the same command. By the third, the crowd had picked up the idea. They covered the police cars like a swarm. There was no escape.

Rachel squeezed John’s hand. She braved a step deeper into the rabble. If her powers failed, if her concentration slipped, they could both be crushed. A shot was fired in the distance. More smoke canisters struck the crowd. John took over. He pulled her towards the truck, somehow able to see what was happening in the frenzy.

“Get in the passenger’s side,” he told her.

She let him go, and for the briefest moment she was drowning. Smoke stung her eyes, and she had to hold on to the vehicle for support. As her hands touched metal, she could feel Charlie inside. The connection to him steadied her nerves. It was as though he were speaking to her, only there were no words or directions, just a feeling, a knowingness. A tremor passed through the vehicle, and she knew he had unlocked the doors for her.

She grabbed the door handle and pulled. It flung open, and she nearly went with it. A rioter pushed past her and grabbed a fat man from the passenger seat. As he came hurtling out of the truck, she launched herself inside. She swung the door closed and jammed the lock in place. Another rioter pounded on the glass, ecstatic that she’d breached the vehicle. He cheered, and a bullet hit him in the temple, spattering the window with pink flesh. His body fell out of view, swallowed by the violence below.

She turned to the driver and froze.

Mark was staring back at her. His lost brown eyes were wide, his mouth agape. Of all the people to come across. She tried to think of something to say, and then she saw the barrel of John’s gun press against his head.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” he said, and hauled Mark from the driver’s seat.

John slammed the door closed. A bullet hit the safety glass, scratching the surface. “We need a route out of here,” he said.

Rachel nodded and closed her eyes. She pressed her hands on the dashboard. Her heart was racing, but her head was focused. The command was instinctual. Attack the border! Immediately, the crowd was moving, abandoning the vehicle and heading straight to the gate. She didn’t watch them go; there was enough on her conscience already. John slammed his foot on the accelerator and hit the road.

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See all 3 books here:  Reachers (3 Book Series)

Review of “Strange Luck” & “The Nightmare Birds” by Amie Irene Winters PLUS Early Look at “A Darling Secret”

25418989First, beautiful cover.  I feel like it fits the playful, whimsical, slightly mysterious tone of the story.

Second, I loved the complex and unique use of memories.  It was a great way to shape the fantastical world Daisy finds herself in, and it was a neat way to bring so many fantastical elements together – in a world of happy memories and dreams, anything goes!  The danger of Daisy losing memories added a great sense of tension. Her romantic partnership with her best friend Roger was also believable and made me care about the characters.  And, how she gradually learns how to save the day was creative and pulled it all together.

I have to admit that Daisy’s character bugged me a bit.  At times she’s loving and confident and brave.  At other times she flies off the handle and is snippy and doesn’t think before saying or doing something stupid.  This would sometimes all happen in the same scene, and it felt a little unnatural.  Also, towards the middle of the book, the maturity level of the writing shifted weirdly.  The book was plugging away and feeling very YA, and then suddenly it was like the dialogue and action were more fitting for a far younger audience.  I still liked the story during this part, but it was a bit jolting to read.

BUT, I really enjoyed the last half of the book.  I felt like the plot finally had solid direction, and I loved how everything I’d been wondering about came together.  The twist towards the end was pretty cool too – although you worry for a second.  And I really liked the time jump at the end that further showed how everything turned out.

Overall, I’d recommend this for anyone who likes YA fantasies that give you a mystery to figure out.

4 Stars

See it on Amazon!

 


29806696A bit of time goes by between the first book and this one, and the maturity level definitely goes up as well.  It’s nice to see Daisy has moved out of her teens but is still young enough to struggle with questions about life and who she is.  For that reason the book still feels YA, but it’s definitely not as light as the first.  This story is a lot darker.  There’s dark magic, many skeletons, murder, etc., and the Theater of Secrets is definitely a dramatic place full of dangerous characters.

I liked how this plot felt much more straightforward than the first book. While there are still plenty of magical surprises, this world also feels more familiar.  I think that makes the danger to Daisy that much more suspenseful.  She again made decisions that annoyed me, but considering her emotional state, it kind of makes sense.

I loved how the plot thickened and you were never really sure what to believe – and Daisy wasn’t either.  Is her own mind tricking her? Is Mr. Black telling the truth after all and there’s going to be a huge twist on everything we thought we knew as a reader so far?  This story definitely kept me turning the pages as I tried to sort it all out.   I liked how certain things from the first book tied in here, but it’s definitely a new story.  And the end certainly suggests Daisy has more to learn.

5 Stars

 

See it on Amazon!

 


A DARLING SECRET_AMIEIRENEWINTERS_FRONTCOVER

A Darling Secret
Strange Luck series, Book 3
Coming September 22, 2017

 

Learn the fate of your favorite heroes and love-to-hate foes in the thrilling conclusion to Amie Irene Winters’ bestselling Strange Luck series.

Before the Theater of Secrets was formed, before the Nameless was built, before Daisy Darling learned of her magical bloodline, there was the Realm of the Shadow Gods—ruled by the most powerful and wicked creatures known.

For nearly two decades, Daisy’s twin sister, Rose, was held captive by the Shadow Gods and survived. Now Rose has come to find Daisy to stop their impending evil from spreading into the human world. But Rose bears a terrible secret that has the power to destroy everything.

In the devastating Realm of the Shadow Gods, dark magic holds no bounds. Daisy will risk everything to save those she loves, but will the truth finally break her?


Unlock the final book in the Strange Luck series with A Darling Secret.

Pre-order today, read it September 22, 2017.


 

A Darling Secret excerpt:

A slow, creeping fear wound its way around me.

Tiptoeing around the mysterious plain, too afraid to call out, a surprising wisp of music came floating through the air. It was a jingly little melody—like a music box—followed by soft voices.

I paused. Through the violet-stained sky and swirling rainbow mist I saw something moving. My eyes narrowed as I stealthily approached an illuminated cave.

Shadows were gathering there.


A Darling Secret Amazon link:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074JVRWH4?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660


MEET AMIE IRENE WINTERS

Amie Irene Winters Headshot Cropped.jpgAmie Irene Winters was born and raised in California but now lives and writes in western Pennsylvania. She is the author of the bestselling Strange Luck series.

When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dog, baking desserts, or breaking a sweat in kickboxing class.

To learn more about Amie and her books, visit amieirenewinters.com.

 

Sign up for my mailing list here! You’ll only get emails when I have a new release coming up, a sale, or a giveaway.

Social media links:

Website: http://www.amieirenewinters.com

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Blog: https://golden-cricket.blogspot.com/

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmieIWinters

 

 

Cover Reveal – Locke and Keye

I really enjoyed Anatomy of a Darkened Heart by Christie Stratos, and I’m definitely looking forward to her new book, Locke and Keye.  Christie was kind enough to let me be a part of her cover reveal for this, her second book, and I’m excited to share it here along with the blurb (and a link so I could go pre-order my copy right away – I encourage you to do the same).


As a standalone novel, Locke and Keye’s distinct characters and tense atmosphere create a dark Victorian experience that will stay with you after you turn the final page. As the book immediately following Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, Locke and Keye leads the Dark Victoriana Collection in a whole new psychological direction while expanding familiar characters and scenes to continue the Whitestone legacy.

LOCKE AND KEYE 003

BLURB:

“Brothers in the art of keeping secrets.” This is the mantra Mr. Locke’s carefully chosen five employees must repeat together every day before starting work.

If you won’t tell them your name for Locke and Keye’s ledger, they’ll find out. They have their ways—and many of them. Yes, these talented locksmiths can make a new lock and key set for you. They can even make a special padlock for a diary you never want to share with anyone. But just remember: when they make the lock, they keep a key—and it’s only a matter of time until they use it.

Day by day, each of these young, single, alone-in-the-world workers is being molded into the family they crave. A family in which each member has his use toward an end he doesn’t even know exists.

How do the brotherhood and the town’s secrets interlock? Only Mr. Locke holds the key.

EXCERPT:

Matthew looked down at his interwoven fingers. “I wonder what Jude knows that we don’t,” he said.

John put the journal down and looked at Matthew. “I don’t want to know,” he said. “Being asked to follow someone? It seems a little…” John shook his head once and looked down at the journal again.

“Well it must be for a reason,” Matthew said. “Mr. Locke wouldn’t be part of anything underhanded, I’m sure.”

The corners of John’s mouth tightened. “I’m sure.”

Locke and Keye
(Dark Victoriana Collection Book 2)
Coming September 7, 2017

Preorder your copy on Amazon HERE


Christie Stratos headshot_outdoors.jpg

Christie Stratos is an award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. She is the author of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart and Locke and Keye, the first two books in the Dark Victoriana Collection. Christie has had short stories and poetry published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Andromedae Review, 99Fiction, and various anthologies. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies.

 

 

 

 


FIND CHRISTIE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

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#AuThorsday with Amie Irene Winters

AmieIreneWintersHeadshot.jpgToday I’d like to welcome Amie Irene Winters, bestselling author of the Strange Luck series.   

Can you give us your quickest description of your books?

Dark.  Strange.  Adventurous. P erfect for fans of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Neil Gaiman, and all things supernatural.  If you love magic, wizards, oddities, teen fantasy, mythology, supernatural creatures, young adult dark fantasy, and other realms, then the world of THE STRANGE LUCK SERIES awaits you!

I love when the “fans of” list clearly sets the tone and feel of the story.  Are these elements things that you look for as a reader as well?  What are some favorite books in your genre?

Thanks.  I tend to look at the description first, but if I’m still not sure about the book I’ll check out the “fans of” component.  I included titles/authors in my description because people have told me that my books are similar to those.

I love anything by H.P Lovecraft and Neil Gaiman.  I’m really into gothic horror literature right now and have been reading authors who influenced Lovecraft.

I’m a Lovecraft fan too.  What are you working on currently?

I’m finishing up the final edits for the third (and last book) in the Strange Luck Series—A Darling Secret.  All the books in this YA Fantasy series center around a specific theme. Strange Luck (Book I) focused on the value of memories and identity.  The Nightmare Birds (Book II) focused on fear.  And, A Darling Secret (Book III) will focuses on inner strength.  A Darling Secret will be released fall 2017.  I can’t wait for the series to finally be complete!

Congratulations on nearly being finished!  Did you always plan to focus each book on a specific theme, or was that something that developed as you went along? Are those particular themes important to you?

I didn’t plan it.  The themes developed as I wrote.  When I write I don’t plot everything out.  I have a very general idea of what I’m going to do and the rest I come up with as I go.  For example, I wanted to write a book about a world built using stolen memories.  That was the general idea I had for Strange Luck.  The rest took form as I wrote.  A lot of the time I don’t even know what is going to happen in the story or to my characters, but that’s part of the fun.

All the themes I discuss in my books are important to me and are largely based on my own experiences/thoughts, like how we are our memories.

I’m a plotter myself, but your approach sounds like a fun way to create.  When you get stuck in your writing, how do you make yourself keep going?

It sounds counter-intuitive, but I take a break from writing.  I’ll go for a walk, hit an aerobics class, paint.  Whatever it takes so that I feel recharged and can look at my work with a fresh eye.  Sometimes it might take a few hours.  Other times it might be a few weeks.

Do you find that your method brings a flood of ideas back to you so you start writing again, or do you eventually just decide to start writing again and hope ideas come?

More often than not, I’ll get a flood of ideas.  This is why I always have a notebook with me or my cell phone, where I can take verbal notes.  I also get inspired by reading.  I’ll be sitting there half paying attention to the story I’m reading and then suddenly, an idea will come.  All my paper bookmarks are covered in notes.  Lol.

Ha!  That’s a great idea for bookmarks.  Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?

Definitely!  Since I’ve always been an outdoorsy girl, I found it easy for my protagonist to be one too.  Daisy’s a bit of a tomboy who loves hiking and camping.  The trails she hikes and places she goes are based on some of my favorite real-life places in California (where I grew up).  Almost all my characters are inspired by people I know.  Even some of my old pets I had growing up!  There’s a lot of other secret things I throw in too, like how my experience as an aerial acrobat influenced writing The Nightmare Birds, which is centered around a dark circus.

If you are curious about more secrets behind my books, check these out:

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Strange Luck

10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Nightmare Birds

Aerial Acrobat?!  That’s definitely a unique experience to draw ideas from!  When real-life people inspire you to create characters, do you ever tell the real people?  And do you ever encounter random people with quirks you use in your characters? 

Yes, I do tell certain people that a character was inspired by them.  They always get a kick out of it.  And yes, I do encounter random people with funny quirks that I’ll implement into my stories.  An example of both is Christine (the German aerial acrobat) from The Nightmare Birds.  In real-life Christine was a German foreign exchange who stayed with me and my family in high school for a semester.  She was obsessed with the color orange. Everything she owned was orange and she only ate orange food.  She also had really long brown hair, which she always chewed on like a beaver.  You’d be standing there talking to her and she would start chewing on her hair like it was a meal.  I always thought both of those quirks about her were funny, so I used them in the story.

That is funny.  Is there anything you’ve read that made you jealous you didn’t think of it first?

Probably Harry Potter.  It’s one of my favorite series of all time, but I think J.K. Rowling is more than deserving, especially after all that she has been through.  She’s truly an inspiration and a remarkable person.

Many authors seem to feel that way about Harry Potter and Rowling.  Why do you think her stories make SUCH an impact on not only readers, but authors in particular?

J.K. Rowling effortlessly invites you into her magical world, which leaves a delightfully whimsical lasting impression on any child or adult.  I think it’s impactful on authors because the story resonates across multiple genres.

Thanks, Amie, for sharing!

WHERE TO FIND Amie Irene Winters: 
Website:  www.amieirenewinters.com
Goodreads: Amie Irene Winters
Amazon Page: Amie Irene Winters
Facebook:  Amie Irene Winters
Twitter: @AmieIWinters

“The Kota” Relauched

THIS WEEKEND ONLY, GRAB THE KOTA FOR $0.99! 

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Kota Cover New Front (1)

A terrifying virus.
A global tyranny.
Humanity remembers no better life.
It’s time to give them one.

Troy Kandoya wants nothing to do with his brother’s Kota movement. But when the DRK virus threatens mankind and strange portals open in the sky, the Kota are the only people with answers. Troy becomes Trok, the immortal Kota Interceder, and he soon finds himself responsible for more than he ever imagined.

After 500 years of war, genetic manipulation, viral plague, and the Dominion tyranny, Trok must unite four prophesied Kota Warriors destined to save Earth.  But nothing about these heroes is what Trok expected. Loree is an assassin with the ability to dematerialize.  Zaak is forced to grow up on an alien planet. Alex is a telepath missing a year of her life.  Ryu has incredible mutate-genes of strength.

Together, the Warriors join Earth’s rebels and use their abilities to fight the Dominion. But rebel politics are complicated. And always, the Dominion threatens its subjects with an unstoppable weapon – the dehumanizing DRK virus.

For centuries, no one’s been able to stop the Dominion and the DRK. Can four Warriors really make a difference?

Excerpt:

Lee’s expression was one of complete confusion as he looked up from within the cryogenic bed and saw Trok kneeling beside him. Reviving him had been a shockingly easy procedure, but the Kota scientists with Trok had prepared for this their whole lives.

Lee coughed and struggled to sit up in the steaming cryo bed.

“It’s alright,” said Trok. “You’re okay. Just take it easy.”

He was so excited and relieved to see Lee alive that he nearly grabbed him in a long-overdue embrace. Instead, he placed a hand on Lee’s shoulder to steady him. Trok was tense for several reasons, but first off he wanted to make sure Lee was okay.

He’s my long-lost little brother, thought Trok. Please, oh, please, just let him be okay!

As the doctors examined him, Lee looked beyond Trok at the dozen men and women gathered. Then he looked around the lab-cave. Trok knew Lee would see immediately that a good deal of time had passed – the state of the lab-cave showed centuries of disuse. Trok and the descendents of the Kota remnant had always kept a careful eye on the place, but some things couldn’t fight age. Faint running lights hummed overhead, but the balcony around their lower level had rusted long ago and collapsed in places. Most of the ancient machinery was broken. Only the life support functions remained intact, though the system had been repaired many times by the Kota assigned to guard over Lee throughout the years.

Lee looked back at Trok and examined his face. Lee himself had physically aged maybe ten to fifteen years while sleeping. Now middle-aged, his forehead was wrinkled. His hair and beard were peppered gray. His body underneath the medical scrubs appeared only minimally atrophic, though very pale.

“You…” Lee cleared his throat to find his voice. “You were frozen too?”

Trok lifted an eyebrow. “Not exactly. Let the doctors check you over, and then we’ll take you out of here. I’ll explain everything once we’re safely away.”

“These are the Kota?”

“Yes.”

“How long has it been?”

Trok hesitated, knowing this would be hard, but there was no real way to ease into it. “Five hundred years.”

Lee’s eyes widened, but he’d been prepared for this. He asked no more as the doctors finished examining him.

The doctor in charge stood, lowered his x-ray scanner, and turned to Trok. “Sir, he’s as stable as we could’ve hoped. I think we’re safe to move him. He’s weak and groggy, but that’ll wear off soon.”

“Good.” Relieved by this news, Trok focused on the next concern. He lowered his voice so as not to worry Lee. “I don’t want to stay here any longer than necessary. I’m sure Dominion patrols check this place on a daily basis in hopes of intercepting us.”

“Good thing we brought soldiers, then.”

Yes, thought Trok bleakly. Kota soldiers, anyway. And we’ve only got five with us. They’d be no match for Dominion drone soldiers.

“I’d rather we didn’t have to use them,” he told the doctor. “We can’t afford getting caught in a firefight.” He looked down at his brother.

The doctor nodded and turned to help his partners with their patient. Lee seemed curious about why the Kota deferred to Trok, but he allowed himself to be lifted into a wheelchair. Once he was ready, the whole group hurried for the ancient building’s exit.

Outside, the warm sunlight pouring down didn’t bother Trok’s eyes. He looked over the wilderness beyond the crumbling gates, searching for danger. Trok saw Lee take a deep breath of fresh air and close his eyes to feel the sunshine. This once again reminded Trok how disconnected he was from everything around him.

But now Lee’s with me, thought Trok. I’m not as alone anymore. I just hope he can handle this.

“No patrol activity in the area, sir,” called a Kota soldier from his position near a hover hummer.

Trok snapped into action and took over wheeling his brother toward this soldier’s vehicle. “Let’s be sure we’re gone before they arrive.”

“Yes, sir.” The soldier whistled to his partners. “Load up!”

The Kota doctors and soldiers piled into the other vehicles as Trok helped Lee into the backseat of their hover hummer. Once Lee was secure, Trok closed his door and stepped around the vehicle to climb in the other side. He watched as the first hummer started off toward the road.

So far, so good.

Inside the hummer, Trok ordered their driver to go. They took off smoothly, and Trok relaxed enough to face his brother. He remembered the last time they’d been here – at the lab-cave, in a hover vehicle, with a Kota driver.

Things are so different now, he thought.

Lee took a drink from a thermos the doctors gave him. “I don’t think I can wait until we get to wherever it is you’re taking me.” He was coming to life a bit. “What’s happened?”


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e-Book:  AMAZON   

“The Prophet” NEW RELEASE!

Woo-hoo! It’s finally done.

Starting today, if you sign up for my mailing list (and if you’re already on my list, you should be getting a link soon) you’ll receive a free, brand new, exclusive copy of The Prophet (The Kota Series Companion Story).
This is the story of the prophets who originally wrote the Kota prophecies. It’s a prequel of sorts, so you can jump into The Kota Series world for the first time OR read for surprises if you’ve already read the series.

TProph

Mind your own dystopia.

Hazen Stephenson grew up pampered, and he knows it.  But he’s never had it easy. Hazen’s nightmares aren’t merely products of his imagination, and he wrestles daily with guilt, responsibility, and questions of fate.  Setting off across the globe, he meets people he’s dreamed about and changes their lives…for better and for worse.

Then he meets Renny Nado, who never dreamed her Creative Writing degree would amount to much.  But a people called ‘The Kota’ say her gifts point to an important destiny, and she must convince Hazen of their purpose.

Meanwhile, the world is full of pain, hate, and political upheaval. Should they accept what the Kota say about the future and their place in it?  Or should they keep their heads out of the clouds?

Want to read it? 

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#WriterWednesday

For the past however-long, it might seem like I’ve been a bad writer/author.  However, behind the scenes, NOT SO!  I’ve actually spent pretty close to every waking moment working on The Kota Series and Shorts updates.

The facts were these:

I decided at the beginning of January to take The Kota away from my old publisher and go the full, do-it-myself self-publishing route.  Long story less long, their customer service is not making me regret the decision to leave…but it could take up to 30 days…but it’s unclear, so I have no real date to plan a relaunch yet.

So, that resulted in me deciding, “Well, might as well re-edit the whole series and relaunch!”  Enter Sunshine the Editing Zombie as I update The Kota Series Books 1-4.  BUT, they’re nearly done now.  I have awesome new covers, so stay tuned for those.  Each book contains a new map of that book’s world.  They now have sneak peeks of the following book.  AND, these updated versions are going to be on Kindle Unlimited, so there will be ways to get them for free!

Also, as you may recall,  I started working on Ebon, the next Kota Short.  Yeah…it’s going to be a Summer/Fall release now.  😛

THAT’S because another idea popped into my head – writing a Kota Short exclusively for my mailing list.  Because why NOT create even more work for myself?!  The Prophet will be a true prequel to the Kota Series.  This short story will introduce Renny and Hazen, the Kota prophets who wrote the original Kota Prophecies.  The story is coming along nicely, and hopefully it’ll be a good intro to the Kota world while giving old readers new backstory with surprises (wink, wink).  The Prophet will be finished and delivered on 04/01/2017.

BIG NEWS:

I took a leap and now have Wednesdays off my day job to focus on writing.  (Working only 6 days a week?  What?!  This is kinda great.)

My plan is to use the first Wednesday of every month to give you book news via video (on YouTube, Facebook, and my home page).

Also on the first Wednesday of every month, I’ll start monthly raffle giveaways exclusive to my mailing list.  The prizes will include:

  • The Kota Series and Shorts swag (bookmarks, posters, magnets, shirts, etc.)
  • Amazon gift cards
  • eBooks by other authors (only books I’ve read and HONESTLY recommend)
  • signed paperbacks
  • other surprises!

The first monthly giveaway will start on 03/08/2017. (Too busy to start this week!)  Each giveaway will last until the following Wednesday.

If you’d like to subscribe to Sunshine’s Mailing List, remember this also means getting the exclusive Kota Short, The Prophet, on 04/01/2017.  You can subscribe here:

 http://bit.ly/SunshinesMailingList

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(Deep breaths.) Okay, so that’s what I’ve been up to in my absence.  Once I know The Kota is removed from the publisher, I’ll reveal the cover, set it up for pre-release, and create a ReLaunch Party on Facebook.

Until then, cheers!  I’m going to enjoy my Wednesday off. 🙂

#AuThorsday with Calvin Demmer

calvindemmer-1Today I’d like to welcome Calvin Demmer, one of my favorite short story writers and author of the Dark Celebrations series.   

Can you give us your quickest description of your books?

I currently spend the majority of my time writing short fiction.  As a relatively new writer, this gives me the opportunity to experiment a bit more with different genres and styles.  But I’d say most of my work falls under the speculative fiction umbrella, leaning towards the darker side of things.

Having read some of your shorts, I definitely agree about your work leaning towards the darker side, and I love that you play around with genres.   In my experience, writing shorts is a very different process from writing longer works.   If you start writing longer works (a novel, let’s say), what have you learned by writing shorts that will carry over to longer work? 

I’ve learned so much… But some of the major areas are pacing, not overloading with exposition at the beginning, and keeping the story tight.  With short fiction you’re always focused on making every word count and have a purpose.  I think that is a great skill to carry forward to any other works.

Agreed.  What are you working on currently?

My main focus is writing short stories and flash fiction then sending them to various markets.  I was fortunate to get published in a few places in 2016 and hope to continue that in 2017.  I also have a side-project, which are stories I write in my Dark Celebrations series.  These are short stories that I write for pure enjoyment with no restrictions. They’re really about having fun with the story and are usually written when I need a break from the main focus.  I’m also looking into some of my older stories with the idea of maybe putting some together for a possible future collection.  This is a slow process as many of them do require some work.  And then I’m also playing around with ideas for possible longer works.

Have you ever started a story or even finished a story and just not liked it, so you toss it?  Or do you always find a way to use a story? 

I’ve tossed a few away.  I’ve also made stories work in the past, but I don’t like doing that and don’t anymore.  There is always a fresh idea.  When I started writing, I probably wrote just over 200,000 words that I never used.  But I knew beforehand I likely wouldn’t use any of it as it was more for practice than anything else.

That’s a lot of practice!  What is one bit of advice you’d like to share with writers?

One of the things I’ve learned is that the editing process is as important as the initial first draft.  In the beginning, I neglected the editing side a bit.  I now separate the two processes and give them equal attention.  It’s a lot of fun during the first draft.  Everything flows, usually, and it’s exciting to get to the next scene.  Editing was a bit more labor intensive for me.  However, it is where I can shape my story, give it direction, and make the story shine.  As I get better at editing, I am starting to enjoy it more and more.  I’ve also found that it helps to give myself a break from a story after the first draft and then tackle the work from a more critical standpoint when it isn’t so fresh.

Great advice.  I’ve read a lot of books that could be great if the editing was better, and it’s an extremely important step that authors need to pay attention to.  I’m glad you’ve found a way to enjoy editing (and it shows in your work that you take your time), but did you have to work at being critical of your own work, or does that come naturally to you?  I know some authors struggle with that.

It comes easy to me.  I battle myself quite a bit on some stories.  There is a good and bad side to that.  Sometimes, the stories never see the light of day because of it.  Other times, the stories really come out great and shine.

When you get stuck in your writing, how do you make yourself keep going?

I find that having more than one project on the go works for me.  I guess that’s easier when you’re focusing on a lot of shorter works, but even if I throw some longer projects into the mix it would still be a formula I use.  I like to be able to switch to something different if I get frustrated or hit a brick wall with one thing.  This way the writing never stops.

That’s a good system.  When you’re working on more than one story at a time, do you find that thinking about one leads you to ideas for the others?  I imagine that would help keep the creative juices flowing, rather than being stuck in one story.

It does, mostly because your mind is always active and gets used to thinking like that.  I’ve been working on a story before when an idea for something else pops into my mind.  Depending on how interesting and complex the idea is, I might make a note of it.  But usually, the good ideas never really disappear.

Is there anything you’ve read that made you jealous you didn’t think of it first?

When I started just about everything I read and enjoyed made me jealous.  I was amazed by some of the epic works like Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.  Books like Richard Matheson’s I am Legend and Phillip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle also left me in awe.  But as I started to write more and more, I realized that it wasn’t so much jealousy but rather an inner desire to create my own world and characters that was growing within.  These types of works then became inspiration that fuelled me to keep on improving, so that I may also one day create my own colorful worlds and characters.

(That’s always where I hope authors will take this question – turning it to inspiration.) 🙂  Even though your work is mostly on the dark side, do you get inspiration from all over the place, or just stick to certain genres?   How important is being well-rounded as a reader, to you?   

That’s a tough one.  Some people say you should stick to your genre and focus, while others say reading more diverse will make you a better writer.  I don’t know the answer to that, but as for myself, I read almost everything.  I do spend majority of the time in the genres I enjoy, but I also like the challenge of reading things I normally wouldn’t.  As for the inspiration, I get it from everything.  Sometimes works that are not in my genre will trigger an idea.  I would hate to be closed to any avenue that could provide fresh inspiration.

Thanks, Calvin, for sharing!

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WHERE TO FIND Calvin Demmer: 
Website:  www.calvindemmer.com
Goodreads: Calvin Demmer
Amazon Page: Calvin Demmer
Facebook:  Calvin Demmer
Twitter: @CalvinDemmer

A Fairly Fairy Tale

The official page for “A Fairly Fairy Tale” is now live!
See link below. 

Source: A Fairly Fairy Tale

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