Excerpt of SPINDRIFTS by A-M Mawhiney

Introducing author A-M Mawhiney who shares an exclusive excerpt of her dystopian sci-fi novel SPINDRIFTS…

Suddenly Fania gasped loudly and yelled, “I know where he is. He’s by the rapids. Poppy, come on. Gram, bring your kit and follow us.” She flew out the door with Kaib following fast behind her.
“What was in that tea you gave her?” Hope asked, watching them go.
Alicia was exhausted and unable to face another bout of Hope’s ire, so she merely shrugged her shoulder and stared at her daughter, gesturing with a sweeping motion of her hands for Hope to follow Kaib and Fania.
Kaib could hardly keep up with Fan she was running so fast. She can really run, he thought as he started to fall behind. He was just able to keep her in sight. When Fania got to the rapids he saw her stop suddenly, and she turned to Kaib and signaled for him to stop and remain quiet. Fania’s gestures showed she was fearful of what she saw. As he crept up, he saw why. Ollie was on the rock shelf overlooking the rapids, his back turned to the water, too near the edge for him to be safe. Kaib was terrified Ollie could back off the ledge into the rapids. Kaib followed Ollie’s frightened gaze to see what held the boy’s attention.
“It’s Mkwaa, a bear, Poppy,” Fania whispered quietly, pointing to a large sow reared up onto her hind legs, the bear and boy both frozen in place, staring at each other.
One minute Fania was beside Kaib, and in a nano-second she was between Ollie and the bear. Kaib had taught Fania to be tall and make lots of noise in a bear encounter, but he gasped in alarm when Fania did the opposite, crouching down several feet in front of the bear.
“Fan,” he started, but she motioned for silence, pointing behind her at Ollie and then to Kaib, telling him to get Ollie while she murmured to the bear softly. At first he could not make out what she was saying, until she switched to Anishinaabemowin and spoke at length, saying she wasn’t going to hurt the bear and she wanted to be friends. She asked the bear to let Ollie go with Kaib. Her calm voice seemed to soothe the animal. At that point Fania was sitting on the ground, and the bear suddenly came down on all fours and sat on her rump several metres away, mimicking Fan. Almost like a tea party, she thought, slightly hysterically before catching her breath to settle herself.
The moment was surreal. Mkwaa looked over at Kaib, grunted, and turned her head to look at Ollie, as if to say “get on with it then. Get the boy cub to a safe place.” Kaib motioned for Ollie to approach him slowly, as he inched toward the boy. Once he was close enough, Kaib grabbed Ollie gently and swung him down off the ledge.
A few moments later, Hope arrived to find Kaib holding Ollie in his arms, and Fania, of all things, sitting and chatting with a bear. Kaib passed Ollie to Hope, and once she’d checked him carefully and found no signs of injury, she sat with Ollie at the side of the trail. She gave him water and some warm soup while she glanced back at Fania over her shoulder, her heart in her throat, terrified to clear the tic lodged there in case it distracted Fania. Or the bear. She was paralyzed with fear that the animal would charge Fania. She could see Kaib was readying himself to intervene and that added to her worry, but she turned back to focus on the patient in front of her, steadying her hands so the soup didn’t spill, cooing softly at Ollie who had started to shiver. She knew she had to get Ollie to a warm place. It was time for him to be with his parents.
“We’ll go home now, Ollie. Can you walk with me?”
“Oh,” he wailed, bursting into tears. “I’m in so much trouble. My parents will be terribly mad at me.”
“Oh no, they will be happy to see you safe, you’re not to worry about them being angry. They’ve been beside themselves ever since they realized you were gone,” Hope reassured him quietly, as she put her supplies back into her kit. Standing up and taking hold of Ollie’s hand, she indicated with hand motions to Kaib she was leaving. With great reluctance, she glanced back at her partner and granddaughter one last time before taking the first difficult steps away from where they remained in danger.
Kaib whispered, trying to get Fania’s attention. “Ollie’s safe now. It’s time for you to step back and move slowly closer to me.” The bear looked over at Kaib as he spoke, grunted, and turned back to Fania.
“Oh no, Poppy. I can’t move yet. Mkwaa has some kind of problem we’re trying to figure out. I’m not sure what she is trying to tell me, but she’s upset about something.” The bear suddenly reared up, and Kaib started forward to grab Fania, terrified the bear was starting to attack, but she slowly turned and waddled off into the bush.
“Come along, Fan, it’s safe now, let’s go,” Kaib urged.
“I can’t leave yet.” After a few moments of silence, punctuated by Kaib’s panicked gasps, the bear returned, carrying a young cub in her mouth. She put her cub down near Fania, but far away enough that Kaib could see Fania was safe—at least for the moment. The bear huffed at Kaib as if she could understand what he was thinking, and backed up to give Fania room to approach her cub.
Kaib noticed the cub had fishing line wrapped around its snout.
“There’s a fishhook in its mouth, Poppy,” Fania said quietly, as she gently picked up the cub and put in on her lap while the poor creature moaned in pain. He couldn’t open his mouth because of the fishing line. Fania gently pulled the hook out while she crooned to the cub. Once the line was untied, Fania put the cub back on the ground, stood slowly, and stepped back a few paces. The cub rushed back to his mother who stood and regarded Fania intently for a few moments, crashed to the ground on all fours, and herded her cub back into the bush, stopping once to look back at Fania before disappearing from view.
Kaib quickly climbed up onto the ledge and urged Fania to sit with him, overlooking the rapids. The water level was low with the rocks showing though in places. As Kaib looked far below, at the churning water, he felt so relieved that Ollie hadn’t fallen. He’d never have survived such a plunge.
Kaib put his arm around Fania, who had started to shake. She leaned in for his warmth and comfort. “This is so strange. I felt calm and safe the whole time I was with the bear and her cub, but now I feel scared with what could have happened.”
“You were very good in such a difficult situation. It is natural to have a reaction right after such an intense experience. I’d worry if you didn’t.” He held her for several minutes, until she breathed deeply and stood up.
“Let’s go home, Poppy. All of a sudden I feel exhausted.”

This is an excluisve excerpt from A-M Mawhiney’s debut book, Spindrifts, published through Friesen Press, November 2021 which you can find here.

How To Stay Creative With Chronic Pain by Ariel Jensine Dodge

Creatives face a myriad of daily challenges that get in the way of their craft. From day jobs to home demands to health issues, it seems there is always something standing between the desire to create and the act of actually doing it. One of the most significant challenges a creative might face in their lifetime is chronic pain.

In March of 2018, the cartilage in my left hip joint tore because of a malformation in my femur. Suddenly, sitting down to write or draw became an agony. Taking a walk outside could lead to a several-day flare-up. I was only 25 years old, and otherwise in good health, with an unusual presentation of symptoms that led to doctors brushing me off for over three years.

I felt like everything that had meaning in my life had been stolen from me in one moment.

So how did I manage to maintain focus on my novels throughout this challenging period in my life? Of course, everyone’s chronic pain story is different, but I hope these suggestions will help you stay creative through times of adverse health.

Rest when you need to.

In a society that encourages us to put productivity before health, it’s important to recognize when you need to LET YOURSELF REST. Do some self-care, take your medicine, or get lost in your favorite media. Powering through the pain will likely burn you out and worsen the pain long-term.

Create when you need to.

There may be days that you feel you may explode if you don’t write a few sentences or finish that outline. Take full advantage of inspirational episodes. Accommodate yourself by taking frequent breaks, make sure you’ve eaten and are hydrated. Write in bed if you have to! At the least, jot down some brainstorms in your journal for the next time you’re feeling better.

Don’t stop seeking relief!

In the early months of my injury, it became clear that this was not a health issue that would vanish on its own. As I continued to go undiagnosed, I lost hope many times that I would ever find a doctor who could help me.

A friend said to me one day, “Be persistent until you get relief.” Though her words were simple, the meaning and strength behind them were the reason I finally found a practitioner who could diagnose me. I am currently working towards a life with less pain. Please, don’t give up. You will find someone who can help you.

Finally, to maintain your creativity through chronic pain, there is one ultimate truth to hold in your heart:

NOTHING CAN TRULY STOP A CREATIVE PERSON FROM CREATING.

Art has persevered and permeated human society since the first smudge of ochre was painted on cave walls. Creation is our birthright, something that lives within us, even when we have no choice but to put it aside and focus on our health.

Whatever you do, don’t lose faith in yourself and your ability to create what is in your heart. The magic is there, and it will wait for you until you are ready to pick it up again.

You can read more from Ariel Jensine Dodge including this article via Medium

Overview: SHAKEN NO MORE by Jacqui Morrison

To thrive in the present, one must overcome the past.

Tragedy is nothing new to playwright and performer, Meredith Golden. She’s endured the violence of an alcoholic husband, the tragic death of her parents, and abuse from her uncle. To say she is a fighter is an understatement. She is a survivor. But tragedy leaves scars. When Meredith meets Paul, it seems that the past is finally behind her, but when her ex-husband begins stalking her and making new threats, old wounds are torn open. She realizes that peace comes with a high price and ’til death do us part may be a curse that can’t be undone. As her world spirals out of control, Meredith vows to be Shaken No More.

REVIEW:

Her Best Book So Far
I received an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of the book in exchange for an honest review. Shaken No More by Jacqui Morrison is a romantic suspense novel and it’s women’s fiction set in New York City in the 2010s, with flashbacks to the 80s and 90s. This is Morrison’s fifth novel, following Kaitlin Wolfe Crown Attorney, The Vigilante, Escape The Castle, and Terri’s Journey – The Colour of Rain. Shaken No More may be her best book so far.
This is the story of Meredith Golden, a performer and playwright, who has to overcome staggering real-life challenges. The novel title cleverly alludes to James Bond’s catch-phrase “shaken, not stirred” and there are more cocktails in this story than a 007 movie. There’s drugs, detectives, doctors, divorce, and violence, in this story. There’s also therapy, meditation, qigong, and healing. Will Meredith thrive? Can she survive? That’s the mystery.
The romance is with Paul, after Greg reveals he has problems. Some of the story is told from Meredith’s point of view and some of it is told from Paul’s, but most of it is a third person narrative that will keep you reading and cheering for Morrison’s main character until the final page.
This novel has 76 chapters in 267 pages and that format gives the narrative lots of momentum. Morrison describes everything so the reader can see it as clearly as in a movie. The novel would make a good movie about the scars left by tragedies and how one woman battles back, in the big city, and move on to the next stage and the next.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jacqui Morrison has a B.A.A. from Ryerson University in Toronto, and two graduate certificates. One from Humber College School for Writers, Toronto, in 2017. And a certificate in Adult Education from Seneca College, also in Toronto. She has been writing professionally since 2000.

Jacqui won the 2009 IPPY for best regional fiction for Central and Eastern Canada for her first novel Kaitlyn Wolfe, Crown Attorney. In 2013, her second novel The Vigilante came out. Escape the Castle was released in 2018. She has also been published in four anthologies, including the Best of the Muskoka Novel Marathon 2000 – 2010. SHAKEN NO MORE is her first romantic suspense novel.

Excerpt of ‘Nowonderland’ by M.C. Gladd

Billy soon ran out of tunnel, er rather hallway, and entered a room about twice the size of the living room in his and his mom’s small house. Purple tiles still lined the floor and wood paneling the walls. There was a lopsided vaguely trapezoidal shaped door on the far side of the room. Two crooked looking sofas and two armchairs of grey leather or horribly patterned fabric lined the walls, all scaled down for people of a rather small stature. He walked nearer to a sofa that had a dotted fabric on it only to realize that the small dots were in fact, insects. The bugs on one of the cushions scrambled out of the way, giving him room to sit down, but not before spelling out ‘sit here please’ in all caps and then crawling off to the side, still in formation, like a marching band halftime show. He didn’t sit down. As he backed away from the sofa, he could have sworn he heard a thousand tiny sighs of disappointment coming from it.

Between each of the chairs and sofas was an end table of some sort, each supporting some of the ugliest lamps Billy had ever seen. The tables themselves had been crafted with all the loving care of a nearsighted carpenter who didn’t own a tape measure, a square, or a level, and had never held a hammer in his life, and who was working with his feet instead of his hands. In the center of the room was a dining table with four mismatched chairs. On the table was a pitcher full of water and four cups, none of which was perfectly round. There wasn’t a single right angle, level surface, or straight line in the whole room.

The water reminded Billy he was thirsty. As he looked closer to the pitcher, he noticed little fish swimming around inside. Weird looking fish that were subject to the same laws of dimension and proportion that affected the rest of the room. As he looked closely at the fish, one of them took notice of him, swam up to the glass and said, “what?” in a voice both too deep for such a tiny fish and muted like you would imagine someone speaking underwater would sound like. He also sounded a bit irritated.

“Nothing,” he replied, backing away. He pulled his backpack off his shoulders and grabbed his own water bottle. He froze before opening it when the door opened and in walked the strangest creature Billy had ever seen. It didn’t see him though, it was staring at the floor as it walked, mumbling to itself. Its mumbles were interspersed with strange whistling and popping sounds.

“Hello,” Billy said, announcing his presence and startling the creature badly.

“Oh my! Oh my,” it said, waving its arms around and jumping back. “You scared me half to death.”

Billy studied the creature while he, (it sounded male Billy decided), calmed himself down. He was about three and a half feet tall and was just as unsymmetrical as everything else in this strange place. He had ten fingers at least, six on one hand, four on the other. One of his lower teeth was a fang that stuck out over his top lip and was so long that when his mouth was closed the tooth in question rested perfectly, deep within his left nostril. This is what caused the whistling sound every time he exhaled with his mouth closed. The popping sound was that same fang overcoming suction every time it left his nostril when he opened his mouth. He had dark curly hair on the right side of his head and straight red hair on the left. His eyes were different in size and color. Every time they fell on Billy, the creature winced and turned away. The clothes he wore were almost normal all things considered, a bright red, button down short sleeve shirt with what looked like yellow two-headed lizards on it and brown slacks with rough looking, different sized, boots on his feet. Billy was pretty sure the lizards were moving around a little.

Presently it said, “(Pop) I assume you came from the…uh…Outside? (whistle)” It met his eyes again and quickly looked away and grimaced, although that may have just been his normal expression.

“What do you mean by Outside?” Billy said, confused. “I came down the tunnel at the end of that hallway he said turning toward the end of the room he had come from. The arch over the hallway opening had a sign above that read “The Gallery” in crooked uneven lettering.

“(Pop) I know that. I live here. You came through the entrance from the Outside,” the creature said, a tad impatient. Like this should be obvious, which Billy supposed it might be in a place like this. “(Pop) They told me when I bought this house that this might happen, (whistle pop) but that it was very unlikely,” he added, more to himself.

“Well, I’m here,” Billy said. “If you could just tell me where here is, I’ll be happy to return to the…uh Outside and get out your house.”

“(Pop) That would be great actually,” the creature answered. (Whistle pop) “You’re quite ugly and hard to look at to be honest. But you can’t go back that way. As I said, it’s an entrance. To go back you need an exit.” Again, his tone was that of a parent explaining something obvious to a particularly dense child.

“What do mean I’m ugly?” Billy said. “And why can’t I leave through the way I came in? It’s a tunnel, isn’t it?”

“(Pop) Sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude, but your face is rather…. symmetrical.” At this, he shuddered as though the thought repulsed him immensely. “And as I said, it’s an entrance, not a tunnel. One is one-way and the other is not. Is that not how things work in the Outside? Go look for yourself if you don’t believe me. (whistle)”

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Nowonderland’ by M.C. Gladd which you can find here. More information about the author can be found via Twitter , Facebook and his website.

Excerpts from -No Rest for the Wicked and After the Glory

Fellow author and blogger Megan Hinde shares some exclusive excerpts of her works…

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If your new here or just need a reminder I write fiction. Here are two excerpts from my ebooks available on Amazon. Also all my ebook titles are free with Kindle Unlimited, or .99 cents each. -Megan

Fireweed

Blood dripped off the side of the heavy bottomed crystal ashtray, in Corbin’s hand. Surrounded by exotic flowers in the Botanical Gardens Greenhouse, staring in disbelief over what had just occurred. Corbin had always considered himself an intelligent, rational man.

Hell he was Dr. Corbin Newcomb practicing Cardiologist with the University Medical Center.

Diana had done nothing wrong, they had spent a lovely day together looking at antiques, having lunch and touring the gardens. She had even picked out the ashtray that was now splattered with her blood as a gift for him. Corbin dropped the ashtray, turned and stumbled towards a bench. He sat staring at Diana’s body. Trying to remember…

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Excerpt of ‘The Big Cinch’ by Kathy L. Brown

The Big Cinch, Chapter One: Goodwill


I tapped the Judge’s office door, once, then twice more. At his beck and call day and night, I was. “That must be him now,” Judge Dolan rumbled through the oak panel. “Come on in, Joye.” He was behind his desk, and a swell doll in a smart black dress sat across from him. He gave me a nod and a wink and said, “Mrs. Humphrey, please meet my assistant, Mr. Sean Joye.”

The lady stopped rooting through a beaded bag on her lap and looked up. Pale blue eyes behind a short net veil met mine. They gave me the once-over. A high-society doll and not a bad looker at that. She hadn’t bobbed her hair yet, like half the women in the city. It was all pinned up, mysterious-like, under her wide-brimmed purple hat. Whatever this job was, it couldn’t be all bad.

“Sean, this is Mrs. Taylor Humphrey,” said the Judge. “She brings me an interesting problem.”

“Mr. Joye,” she said, extending a small hand with long, slim fingers. “Please call me Violet.”

I didn’t think she meant it. I shook her sweaty palm, which smelled of Shalimar and jumpy nerves. “Mrs. Humphrey, an unexpected pleasure. This fine morning is now brighter, indeed.”

Her look told me, “Cut the blarney, paddy,” but she said, “The old woman in the lobby predicts snow. The ghost from the elevator shaft told her so.”

I didn’t know which old woman she meant but pretended I did, doubling down on the brogue. It seldom failed me. With American women, anyway. Gents? Not so much. “Pulling your leg was she?”

At that time, I didn’t know any better than old granny tales, that ghosts were merely folks carried off to Faerie, come to pay a bit of a visit to our mortal realm. Not that I’d ever seen any of the fae, including ghosts. At least, not in the courthouse lift. Other places perhaps? I’d just as soon not dwell on that.

Violet returned to the bag and fished out a photograph. The Judge took it, gave it a glance, and handed it back to her. “Why don’t you explain your problem to Mr. Joye?” He folded his hands across his tweed waistcoat, leaned back in the chair, and smiled. I’d never seen him more pleased with himself. “Of course.” She took a deep breath. “This is difficult.” I dumped my coat and fedora on the coat rack and pulled up a chair. “It’s about my sister, Lillian. Lillian Arwald.” She indicated the photograph in her hand and handed it to me.

A pretty young woman—a child, really—in a white, high-collared dress that hung near her ankles, smiled out of the sepia-toned picture while her eyes challenged the world. She looked about sixteen years old. Long blonde hair was pulled back from her face with a fancy comb and hung in loose curls down her back.

“We had a small family squabble, and now Lillian’s run off.” Violet looked down at her lap. She bit her lip, like she was about to cry or something.

I didn’t buy it. Something had spooked her, but it wasn’t the need to discuss her sister’s indiscretions with a circuit court judge. “Do you think she’s in danger?” I leaned in closer. “Sounds like a job for the cops.”

“No, no. Nothing like that. Her debut is this weekend at the Piasa Lodge Ball.”

“Debut?”

“A party. Where young ladies are presented to society.”

I nodded like I understood. I didn’t understand. “And it’s in a piazza? Somewhere on the Hill, I guess.” I tried with difficulty to picture which courtyard in the tidy Italian neighborhood, not far from where I stayed, could hold a fancy society party—in February, to boot.

“No. Piasa. Pie-uh-saw,” Violet said as she crossed her arms. “The American Indian mythological figure? The painting on the river bluffs discovered by the first French explorers?”

The Judge looked embarrassed at my ignorance. “At least a dozen businesses in St. Louis and even more across the river in Alton are named for it,” he said, smiling at her. “And, of course, the premier civic booster organization of the city.”

Well, la-de-da. “So, nothing else for her to hide from?”

“She’s been a bit wild.” Tapped the picture in my hand, Violet said, “That’s from a few years ago. Now her hair’s cut short. Skirts too.”

I liked the twinkle in Lillian’s eyes and something about the smile. The girl had a secret or two, just waiting for the right moment to bust loose.

“She’s just in a phase,” Violet continued. “She’s engaged to be married to a respectable attorney.”

“Trouble with the boyfriend?”

“Perhaps.” But from the look on her face, the boyfriend had nothing to do with it.

Kathy L. Brown’s The Big Cinch is a Dashiell-Hammett-style supernatural noir mystery novel featuring wizards and Mississippian mythology, available now from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Book Reviews XIV

A big thank you to fellow author J.D. Cunegan for sharing some recent reviews including one for Consistent Creative Content

J.D. Cunegan

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age by Lee Hall

I honestly believe every indie author needs this book on their shelf.

I’ve made no secret on several different platforms my creative problems of late. The reasons for this struggle are numerous, but at least throughConsistent Creative Content, I now have a road map for getting back on the proverbial horse. At the height of my writing powers, I was publishing two novels a year and averaging a blog post a week — and it’s no coincidence that numbers, meager though they were, were much better than they are now.

Lee Hall’s brief how-to not only offers a road map; it’s also inspiration (for things I can do going forward) and validation (that, in some ways, I was on the right track when I was at my best and most productive)…

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Excerpt of ‘Zero-Day: A cyberpunk action adventure: The Sommerfeld Experiment #1’ by Al Davidson – Discounted Today!

Somewhere in the desert east of San Diego, California.

“Joshua, don’t be a dick. Okay? Humor me,” Marta Guerrera said.

The weapons dealer of choice for terrorists worldwide wore a long-suffering expression. She braced a hand on the warm metal skin of the mobile tech unit, her voice low. An awning shaded her and Joshua from the worst of the searing afternoon sun.

“You have an odd definition of ‘humoring’. You’re asking me to kill four people.” Joshua squinted out over the monochromatic tans and browns of the desert. Far out over the next hill, he could see vultures circling. The sweet-rotting smell of death floated in on a tepid breeze.

“You and I want the same thing. We want Zosar’s money, and he wants a complete demonstration of the Maelstrom’s capabilities.” Marta wasn’t a nervous person, but Joshua noted the tension in her stiff posture, the tight set of her mouth, the pinch at the corner of her eyes. She didn’t like the change in plans either.

“Dead bodies attract the wrong kind of attention.” Joshua had come outside to compose himself before linking his brain to his experimental weapon. He needed a moment, but Marta didn’t seem willing to give it to him.

“They’re scumbag implant counterfeiters.” Marta gave a stiff one-shoulder shrug.

“That’s not the point, you know it.”

“How many hundreds of people are dead because of them? You’re doing the Federal Implant Directive a favor.”

“Doubt they’ll see it that way. We should put this demo on hold. Let me talk to Zosar.”

“Not happening. I know you, and you have no filter. By the time Zosar finishes listening to your bullshit, he’ll want to drop a nuke on this state just to shut you the fuck up.” Guerrera took a breath. “This deal has taken me months to set up, and this is it for me. I’m retiring, so I’m not watching our money storm back to wherever the fuck Zosar hides in between his little wars.” She pursed her lips and watched a lizard sunning itself on the top of a nearby boulder.

Joshua watched Marta walk to the edge of the awning’s shade and cross her arms. Tall for a woman, with a compact frame and dark hair peppered with gray around the temples, she was an ex-marine, and about as endearing as a hungry wolverine.

“Look, we don’t have to like this, we just have to like his money. Do your job, demonstrate the weapon and be a good boy.”

“Good boy? You sound like my fucking mother.”

“There’s a reason I don’t have kids.” She drummed her fingers on her forearm. “It’d be my luck to pop out an asshole like you, and I’d rather not have strangling my kid on my conscience.”

Curbing his irritation, Joshua pressed a palm against the tech van’s security reader and the door slid open. He walked inside, the air conditioning a welcome reprieve from the heat. Guerrera followed, the door closing behind them. Kevin Maitland, Joshua’s best friend and weapon co-designer, sat in front of a half-dozen inactive holoscreen disks and a control panel. He was a slender, dark-skinned man with a halo of black hair and a pleasant, expressive face. His blue t-shirt read, ‘Science is Like Magic, But Real’. Kevin reminded Joshua more of a college student preparing for a math competition than one of the world’s foremost weapon engineers.

Kevin gave Marta and Joshua an absent wave. Kevin had designed and outfitted the mobile tech unit, the size of a delivery skyvan, to support Maelstrom’s operation. The U-shaped console with the holodisks allowed a tech to monitor data. Next to the console was an integrated Virtual mainline rig for the weapon’s operator, its pure nanogel material engineered to block out any outside stimuli. Typical mainline Virtual rigs nanogel material provided virtual sensations, but Joshua’s connection to the Maelstrom depended on nothing distracting him, a complete absence of sensation.

Marta’s gaze darted to a Deimos machine pistol on a stainless-steel table. The automatic pistol’s digital readout displayed a full magazine. “Where the hell did that come from?”

“I got it from one of your people. I told them to put it on your tab.” Joshua couldn’t suppress a fleeting ghost of a snarky smirk.

“Of course you did,” she muttered under her breath. “Are you expecting trouble?”

“It’s only trouble if you’re unprepared.”

“I need that on a t-shirt,” Kevin said, leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms behind his head.

Joshua could hear Marta’s teeth grind.

“Well, it looks bad to our clients, like we’re expecting problems.”

“This is my ‘I don’t give a fuck’ face,” Joshua replied with no inflection.

“That’s Z’s normal face,” Kevin chuckled.

This is an exclusive excerpt of ‘Zero-Day: A cyberpunk action adventure: The Sommerfeld Experiment #1’ by Al Davidson which is discounted today and available here.

For more information head on over to Al Davidson’s website here and you can also find Al on Twitter and Facebook.

2021 in Review: Indie Books, Author Interviews & More!

A huge thank you to Indie Book Spotlight for the wonderful support of my work and many other creatives. Check out this huge list of reviews, interviews and much more!

a writer’s blog.

a man holding a sparkler, text reads '2021 in review, indie book spotlight'

I started Indie Book Spotlightabout a year ago in an effort to find other authors and connect with them, and the result has been wonderful! I’m stunned by the reception of the page, and so utterly grateful to everyone who’s helped boost the reviews and writer’s lifts and pinned reposts, etc. There is such lovely community spirit in the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, so for anyone hesitating joining, I definitely recommend it.

It’s fabulous to be able to boost indie voices in a way that’s actually getting noticed and I’ve met so many amazing authors and read some seriously fabulous books. From short stories to poetry to kid’s books to fantastical novels with epic world-building, the indie world has such a plethora of wonder on offer! Really, a great group to be part of!

For my part, I didn’t write as much this year as I’d hoped/planned, but I did…

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Book Review: The Ghost Beside Me (2019)

Thank you to fellow author and blogger Rebecca Crunden for this awesome review of The Ghost Beside Me

a writer’s blog.

The Ghost Beside Me by Lee Hall

If I could just break away from the shackles of that internal torment I have created that imprisons my confidence. Just the idea and thought of tackling this enigma of feelings spirals my own self into a deep sadness, hence my lack of entries in the past days.

I’ve been meaning to try one of Lee Hall’s books for a while now, and I don’t have the attention span for a long book right now, so this novella was just the right size! And I do love a good ghost story. Further, I kind of love the kismet of picking this one up now, because the writing style actually really reminds me of the start ofFrankenstein, and I’ve been discussing Mary Shelley all week. ’Twas meant to be! Not that I would liken the story lines, that is, just the stylistic…

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