I’ve moved!

This is a public service announcement to let everyone know that I’ve moved to a new site! You can now find me at:


 

https://www.ejfisch.com/


 

This new site still contains many of the familiar features you’ve seen here on WordPress. I’ll continue blogging (at least, as much as I do on here) but there’s now a separate area for short announcements and whatnot so I don’t end up taking up half a blog post with them. Each of my books still has its own dedicated page, and I’ve included a new Art page featuring some of the promotional artwork I’ve been able to use for marketing.

I’m leaving this WordPress blog active so old posts can still be referenced (I feel like I link to that Just Do It post in just about everything I write…see what I did there?). A couple of book review posts have already been moved to the other site.

So hop on over to my new official site, look around, get comfortable. Hope to see you there!

The Ziva Payvan Collection and More!

omnibustest2WIP2First order of business! The Ziva Payvan Collection is now live on Amazon! In celebration of the new year, you can purchase the entire collection for a special price of $0.99 this weekend only (January 1-3). Kindle Unlimited subscribers can also read it for free! On Monday the 4th, I’ll be setting it to its regular price of $5.99. And hey, that’s still cheaper than buying all three books individually!

As you might expect, this collection includes Dakiti, Nexus, and Ronan, as well as exclusive character interviews (one of which is featured on The Protagonist Speaks) situated between each book and extended excerpts from my upcoming projects set in the Ziva Payvan universe, I Am Reilly and Embers.

If you’ve read and reviewed these three books already, would you consider writing a quick review for the collection? You can even copy and paste your other reviews to save time. Reviews help readers make informed decisions about their reading options and help books reach their target audience. Review on Amazon and/or Goodreads today!

liebster-award-clean

Second thing! I’ve been nominated for the Liebster award by fellow author and blogger R.R. Willica! I’d never heard of this award, but apparently it was designed as a fun way for bloggers to promote each other. Bloggers award it to other bloggers with fewer than 1,000 followers. I think this is a really cool idea, because word-of-mouth is so important when it comes to indie authors gaining exposure.

There are rules, and while I’ve never been a huge fan of these tagging games, I’ll be good and play along 😉

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator gave you.

  • Tag 11 bloggers with less than 1,000 followers.

  • Think of 11 questions for the bloggers you have nominated.

  • Let them know you have nominated them through social media or their blog.

Here are the questions I was given, along with my answers:

  1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
    • No. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I’ve always had some sort of story floating around in my head, but for years, I was so terrified of sharing those stories with anyone that I kept them all stored within the depths of my computer and refused to let anyone else read them. Publishing was a huge step for me, but I’m really glad I did it.
  2. What is one thing that inspires you?
    • Pinterest. I have boards for futuristic architecture, interior design, gadgets, exotic/intriguing locations, and even general physical appearance. Even though I pin such a huge variety of stuff, looking at images helps me visualize what I’m writing about.
  3. Do you have any other hobbies besides reading and writing?
    • I do a lot of digital art (or try to, anyway – free time is limited these days) and I love gaming. But I’m kind of limited there too because my computer kinda sucks and and half the games I want to play are only for new consoles.
  4. What was your favorite movie of 2015?
    • While I had an incredible amount of fun with Star Wars (still need to go see it again!), I think I’ve gotta go with The Martian. Seriously, SUCH a good movie. I can’t wait until January 12 when I can buy it.
  5. If you could pick one song as your theme song, what would it be
    • Oh Lord. Ummm…*goes and scrolls through iTunes* It would have to be something by Two Steps From Hell. Psshhh…I wish my life was that epic. Actually I probably don’t. #introvertproblems
  6. Dogs or cats?
    • Nooooo don’t ask me this! I love both equally so I hate to pick one or the other. I do have to say that cats are lower maintenance, although I could be biased right now because my dog is 5 months old and a total maniac.
  7. What is your favorite fictional world?
    • Like, actual planet, or universe within which a story is set? I do really love the Star Wars universe in general, but I also love the Mass Effect universe (even though it’s technically our universe)
  8. Would you rather go to the forest or the beach?
    • Heh. Depends on which beach/forest and what time of year. Oregon coast in winter? No thanks. Oregon coast in July? Sure. Actually, forest in winter and forest in July are basically the same. I’d probably be more inclined to pick the beach in general just because I don’t get to go there very often.
  9. What is the main thing that causes writer’s block?
    • Procrastination and/or other hobbies. Regardless of how much planning I’ve done for a chapter or whatever, I almost always end up procrastinating. And if I have other things I’d also like to be doing, it makes it hard to focus on writing.
  10. What is your favorite season
    • Around here, I’d have to go with fall, because summers are scorching hot and winters are ridiculously cold. I love that time in mid-to-late-September when it’s still nice and toasty during the day but it gets chilly enough at night that you can put an extra blanket on and be all cozy.
  11. What is your favorite genre?
    • Psshhh…certainly not sci fi…no way.

Being as I really don’t know a ton of people with blogs (and in the case of some of those, I have no idea how many followers they have), I’m not going to actually tag 11 people. But here are the ones I came up with:

And here are my questions for all y’all if you feel like answering them:

    1. What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
    2. What’s the last book you read?
    3. How about your favorite book series?
    4. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
    5. What’s your favorite snack while reading or writing? Don’t tell me you don’t have one!
    6. Kindle/e-books or physical books?
    7. Pick up the book closest to you and post the second paragraph on page 48.
    8. Name a book you’ve read more than once but love it just as much every time?
    9. What’s your current favorite TV show?
    10. When and where do you do most of your writing brainstorming?
    11. What’s the first book you’re going to read in the new year?

 

Book Review: Rath’s Reckoning by Piers Platt

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4.5stars

I was given a free advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This ended up being a really fun series. I think back to when I first started it, and I really had no idea what I was getting into. While the characters weren’t as well-developed as others I’ve read, I still really enjoyed following them throughout these three books and seeing how events forced their paths to cross.

Like Rath’s Gambit did before, this book started out exactly where the previous one left off. And, as before, I thought I might end up rating this one 4 stars (which would have made me sad because I feel like the third installment should always be the best!). But the further I read, the more action there was, and the faster the plot moved. I ended up finishing the book in a single sitting.

I have to say I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in terms of an ending. While a bittersweet ending would have been appropriate considering the backstory and content matter, I’m now glad that the characters ended up with a happy ending. The final showdown (and aftermath of said showdown) with the Guild was epic — very Italian Job-esque.

Recommended for readers who like plenty of action and intrigue in their sci fi!


 

Deception-600x800 27211683Rath’s Reckoning releases January 1, 2016! Look for it on Amazon and Goodreads. Find books 1 and 2 in the Janus Group series – Rath’s Deception and Rath’s Gambit – for Kindle!

 


 

About Piers Platt:

7265977“I grew up in Boston, but spent most of my childhood in various boarding schools, including getting trained as a classical singer at a choir school for boys. I joined the Army in 2002, and spent four years on active duty, including a year-long deployment to Iraq in 2004 as a tank and scout platoon leader.

When I’m not spending time with my lovely wife and daughter, I’m frantically working on my next book.

To be the first to hear about new releases – and get a free e-book! – sign up for my newsletter HERE.”

An Announcement…and a Surprise

nexuscoverrevisedFirst of all, shout-out to Nexus, which turns 1 today!

*waves and blows kisses*

Hi, baby!

*sheds a tear*

They grow up so fast…

I’ve been kinda quiet lately, huh? Having a day job tends to have that effect. Well, I should say having-a-day-job-and-coming-home-to-a-four-month-old-puppy-who-is-going-through-her-sassy-toddler-phase-and-requires-constant-supervision. And it’s not like I spent nearly two months totally engrossed in Fallout: New Vegas during every possible second of free time. No way.

(great game, by the way)

Anyhow, yes, having a day job does hamper my writing abilities a little, but not to the extent to which I’ve been letting it. My job is such that I’m not actually doing things 24/7 (or should I say 8/5) and I therefore have a reasonable amount of — I hesitate to say “free” time because that doesn’t seem totally accurate, but you get the gist — during which I have ready access to both my on-the-go notebook and Microsoft Word. I’ve got to start getting back into Just Do It mode, because that strategy ended up working incredibly well when Ronan was still in progress.

Wow, that seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

12106870_536581763170763_5768380613232963193_nThe whole #DayJob thing hasn’t been totally terrible either because, as some of you who follow me know, I put book posters up in my office. This was both a way for me to still feel “near” to my writing and a shameless marketing ploy. I’ve got hard copies of each book on my shelf and a stash of business cards in my desk. I’ll be honest – I’m totally fishing for questions…and it’s WORKING. One of the MDs (I work in a clinic) stopped by to ask me something a couple weeks ago and saw the posters. Turns out he’s a huge sci fi fan and loves Neal Asher. He ended up buying Dakiti and said he really enjoyed it, and he stopped by again a last week and said he couldn’t sleep the night before so he started Nexus. He says the stories have really sucked him in and he’s loving the characters. Other people have asked about the books too, and while some of them have said the genre isn’t for them, they’ve added things like “Oooh, I’ll bet so-and-so would like it!” So it’s great to feel like I’m still accomplishing something even when I’m not getting much actual work done. Naturally they’re moving me to a different office today though; there’ll be far less foot traffic but also a lot more wall space to hang up cool stuff, so maybe that will help balance things out. *crosses fingers*

Now listen to me blabbering on when the title of this post suggests I actually have important things to talk about…

The Announcement:

omnibustest2WIP2If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and G+, you’ve likely already gotten the memo. I’ll confess that I’d actually forgotten about this after the Ronan release, but I’ll be releasing an omnibus version of my series for Kindle, The Ziva Payvan Collection. Sorry, no Goodreads page or anything yet. I’m pretty excited about this though. Sure, it’s just the same stories we’ve already read, but it was fun to put together a new, unique cover (fun fact: this face on the cover is also this face – huzzah recycled artwork!) and I want to try a couple new things in terms of interior formatting. The book will – obviously – include Dakiti, Nexus, and Ronan, and I’ll be including a few other fun little things as well.

The book will be released January 1, 2016. I had honestly wanted to get it done in time to release it today for Nexus’s 1-year anniversary, but alas, I procrastinated, and I want to do a thorough job getting it ready. It WILL be available for pre-order in late December, and it WILL be priced at $0.99 for a limited time. I’ll be posting more details the closer we get to the release.

 

The Surprise:

I’ll admit the Kindle Countdown Deals I did for my books a few weeks back were poorly-timed, because I used up all of my KDP Select promotion days and therefore couldn’t do any sort of sale or free promo for the Nexus anniversary. But I’m hoping to make up for it with…EXCERPTS!

If you’ve paid attention to my sidebar, you’ll have noticed that I currently have three projects going, though I should use the term “going” loosely because I haven’t actually worked on them for…um…awhile (*shoves Fallout back onto game shelf* I’ve been doing a lot of reading too, okay?).

wordmeterI’ve made the least amount of progress on my DREAMER project (the story will actually be titled “Dreamers” but yes, it is an acronym) because I still haven’t nailed all the logistics down. In fact, the majority of the progress I’ve made is in outline form and the excerpt included below is all the further I’ve gotten in the actual prose. I’ve had the idea in my head for a little over three years; it’ll be more of a near-future Earth cyberpunk/psychological thriller type thing…if I ever actually make any progress on it 😉

wordmeterDue to popular demand, I’ve started a short story starring Kat Reilly (working title “I Am Reilly” – AKA one of her quotes from the end of Nexus). It will feature her working on Chaiavis solving one of the cases she mentioned in the main story.

wordmeter (1)The one I’ve been most motivated to work on – mostly because I’ve had scenes and ideas in mind since back before I even started Ronan – is what I’ve been referring to as my Secret Project. There’s been a lot of outlining going on here too but I’ve at least started writing up some of those scenes just to see how they work. I can’t say much about it, other than that it’s set in a familiar universe and will feature some familiar characters. Working title is “Embers” so I changed the word meter color to something more appropriate, but that shade of orange is kind of hideous so I might go back to red… And of course me being me, I can’t stay away from assassin characters for too long so that’s what the excerpt features!

So without further ado, here they are. Bear in mind that these are raw and unedited and may not perfectly reflect the eventual finished products…

 


Dreamers excerpt:

The room beyond the window was dim, with muted gray walls the same color as the concrete floor. A single, harsh light dangled from the center of the room, illuminating the four reclining chairs. Each contained a prone form – two men and two women, it appeared – dressed in thin white medical attire. Bulky goggles attached to each chair obscured their faces, and glove-like contraptions similar in design covered their hands. Wireless electrodes dotted their skin, sending data streams to monitors on the wall. Each of those screens was paired with another one that showed a live, first-person video feed. One user was driving a car. One was on the computer. One was walking through a house, and the other appeared to be out on a run.

He managed to pry his eyes away from the window when the sound of stiletto heels clack clack clacking on the floor echoed through the hall. He turned and found a woman in a sharp navy pantsuit advancing toward him, tablet in hand.

“Mr. Hollander, Nora Morgan,” she said, offering a perfectly-manicured hand. “Sorry to keep you waiting. I trust your tour has been informative.”

“Fairly.” He returned her handshake, impressed by her grip. “Your facility is extraordinary.”

“We’re one of the nation’s leaders in VR tech,” she answered with a nod. Not a single strand of her strawberry blonde hair came loose from the knot at the nape of her neck. “And of course that tech is what fuels the DREAMER Project.”

 


I Am Reilly excerpt:

The interior of the restaurant was darker than he’d expected. Upon further consideration however, he wasn’t sure what he’d expected, if not this. He could have guessed that entering a dark alley and descending a set of dark stairs into a dark tunnel would have led him to a similarly dark space.

He paused in the restaurant’s entryway and swept his gaze over the cramped space, unable to fathom how anyone could stand to eat here. It occurred to him that this trip had taken him far outside the borders of Chaiavis’s prestigious Government District. Here in the Endion Entertainment District, the lower-class citizens had lower standards to match. He coughed against the musty scent of some unfamiliar smoke and reminded himself that he’d come all this way for his own protection. The thought brought him minimal comfort.

The restaurant’s layout was circular, just like the only-slightly-more-reputable club above it. It was late in the day for lunch but too early for dinner, and thus only a handful of customers occupied the space. Some of them looked his way when he entered; despite the fact that he’d dressed down per his contact’s suggestion, he still felt conspicuous standing there in his polished boots and unsoiled jacket. He forced his shoulders to sag a bit in an attempt to mimic the posture of those around him.

Maintaining a low profile was not his area of expertise. It was his job to stand out and be in plain sight. But at the moment, his career, his family, maybe even his life…they all depended on his ability to stay out of the spotlight. That’s why I’m here, he reminded himself with a sigh.

He forced his feet forward, hoping he hadn’t been standing there as long as he felt like he had. The bartender, an older woman with tired eyes and a mop of ragged gray hair, glanced his way and jerked her head toward one of the booths on the far side of the room. He hesitated, but she shifted her gaze back down to the damp cloth she was wiping back and forth over the counter.

A figure occupied the booth she seemed to have indicated, so he cautiously resumed his circuit around the room, ready to reach for his concealed pistol at a moment’s notice. He’d been expecting to find some sort of world-weary mercenary – probably greasy, probably armed to the teeth – waiting for him, so the sight of the stunning young woman sitting there came as a bit of a surprise.

“I was beginning to think you weren’t going to show,” she said, nodding toward the vacant seat across from her.

He took one last look around and then, against his better judgement, slid into the seat without bothering to size her up any further. Anything was better than remaining out in the open any longer.

“Trust me, the harder you try to blend in around here, the worse you’re going to fail. Relax.”

“So I’ve noticed,” he muttered, slouching down far enough that the back of the seat hid his face from any onlookers. The fact that his back was to the door made him squirm, but based on the way the woman glanced periodically between him and the entrance, she’d be well aware if trouble arrived.

The slight accent he’d detected in her voice prompted him to take a closer look at her. She didn’t look it at first glance, but her voice was unmistakably Haphezian. Her skin was ghostly pale, and in the dim light it was difficult to tell whether her hair was extremely light blonde or actually white. She wore it bundled back in a thick ponytail, and he thought he caught a hint of silver when she moved her head. Silver. His attention shifted to her eyes, an intense icy blue. He bristled as the realization hit him: she was one of them.

The woman sighed and drummed her fingers on the table. “It never gets any easier.”

“What?”

“Oh, you know, facing the shock people always seem to show when they realize I’m a Defective.”

Was he being that transparent? “If I’d known Briggs was going to set me up with you, I wouldn’t have agreed to this.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “Charming. If you want to find someone else who can do this job in time and keep your predicament under wraps, be my guest.” She zipped her flight suit and picked up a helmet from the seat beside her, ready to leave.

“Wait,” he said, not prepared to grovel to the likes of her but too desperate to let her just walk away. “I need you to do this.”

“Better.” She set the helmet back down and considered him for a moment. Despite the intensity of her gaze, there was a kindness in her eyes that – if only for a moment – made him feel sorry for being rude. She produced a small data pad from her pocket. “Let’s start with the basics. Kellen Stice, age thirty-five. Hailing from Haphor, you’ve been transferred between offices a total of seven times throughout your twelve-year career with the Haphezian Special Police.” She tilted her head. “Must be your sunny disposition, right?”

Kellen ground his teeth. “Where are you getting all of this information?”

“Relax. It’s my job to know everything I can about you. You don’t get to know much about me; it’s for your own protection.”

His gaze shifted between her eyes and hair again. “I know all I need to know about you.”

“You know nothing about me.” She didn’t raise her voice, but the words were said with enough force to make him regret his jab.

She stared him down for several more seconds before taking another look at the data pad. “You were transferred to the Haphezian embassy here on Chaiavis as a disciplinary measure.” Her arched eyebrows and pursed lips gave him the impression she was restraining herself from making another snide comment.

“Been on the embassy’s security detail for the past six months,” Kellen said.

The woman set the data pad down. “And I’ve lived here for twenty-five years. Been on the streets for seven. This is my turf, and you’ll follow my lead. Got it?”

 


Embers excerpt:

Just go. Run.

The front door of the empty house was just a few more strides ahead. His legs were pumping as fast as his heart was beating. He wasn’t even sure if his pursuer was still behind him, but he was in no mood to find out. To his delight, the door was already unlocked; he punched the controls and slipped inside, taking a moment to catch his breath.

There was no doubt in his mind that this hunter was hoping he’d lead them to his father, the real target in this situation. He was merely a decoy, a distraction to occupy this assassin while the rest of his family fled the city. So far the plan seemed to be working, but the thing about fishing was that it never worked out so well for the bait. If he failed, The Assassin would not hesitate to kill him, regardless of whether he was the quarry.

Once his racing heart slowed a bit, he carefully turned and risked a look out the window. The clearing outside was bathed in brilliant silver-blue moonlight that seemed nearly as bright as the daytime sun. He scanned the tree line for several minutes, watching for any movement or shapes that seemed out of place. Just as he’d made up his mind that he was finally safe, a shadow detached itself from the foliage and stepped into the clearing, striding purposefully toward the house. He shuddered and his heart collapsed into his stomach. This was the same shadow that had just pursued him for three kilometers through the forest, the one that had already killed his sister in an attempt to reach his father.

He was unarmed and The Assassin knew it. Otherwise he doubted they’d be so quick to come out into the open. If they were trying to get inside his head, it was working. Purposely putting themselves in such a vulnerable position was just a reminder of how powerless he was. He had no idea whose house this was, but chances were slim that there were any weapons available. Anything that could be used for self-defense had likely been taken during the evacuation. He at least had the presence of mind to lock the door, and he stood there listening with bated breath as footsteps approached outside.

This house seemed bigger than others in the area and was well-decorated with a variety of expensive-looking objects. The owners were probably well off and had no doubt been some of the first to leave the city. Large pieces of furniture were stacked up nearby, giving him the impression that the front door had recently been barricaded against any attackers. He considered trying to move the stack back to the door, but even if he could move it himself, there was no time. He slowly began to back away, looking wildly about for some other means of escape.

A soft clicking just outside sent him scurrying down the hallway. Based on the skill The Assassin had already shown, he didn’t doubt their ability to breach the lock. Even so, the sound of the door sliding open came far too soon for his taste. He darted into the first room he came to.

It appeared he had entered some sort of study or sitting room. A plush sofa and matching armchairs were arranged around a low table, and a desk and large cabinet were positioned against the far wall. He ran to the cabinet and flung it open, finding it empty except for a couple of deactivated data pads and an old blanket. The bottom shelf was clear, so he ducked down and crawled inside, pulling the door shut as quietly as he could behind him.

There in the confined space, each breath and heartbeat sounded horrifyingly loud. He leaned forward and rested his head on his knees, watching the room outside through the narrow crack between the doors. The moonlight poured in through the window, giving him a clear picture of the area. He strained to hear, willing his pulse to slow. He’d been able to hear nothing but himself since leaving the front door, and he had no idea where The Assassin had gone.

A cold sweat coated his forehead and he shivered, though whether it was due to nerves or an actual drop in temperature, he wasn’t sure. The idea of having been left behind was beginning to take its toll on him. Per his father’s plan, there was a small shuttle waiting for him at the spaceport, but the trek through the forest had taken time he didn’t have and he doubted the pilot would have waited this long for him. Most of the personal transports had either been destroyed or taken during the evacuation, but maybe there’d be something left that would at least get him up to the orbital transfer station. The trick now would be to just make it to the port in the first place.

An unfamiliar shape caught his eye and he leaned over to peer through the crack again, shuddering when he realized The Assassin was standing in the doorway of the room. The galaxy only knew how long they’d been there. He swallowed against the bile rising up in his throat and clamped a hand over his mouth, mostly to keep himself from crying out. His skin crawled as The Assassin took a couple of slow, silent steps further into the room. The moonlight turned their dark clothing a silvery-gray and illuminated severe facial features, and he was surprised to see that the person was a woman. She wore her dark hair pulled back and surveyed the room with eyes that appeared just as dark in the shadows. She had a long combat knife strapped to one thigh, and in her left hand she gripped a suppressed projectile pistol.

The Assassin stood so still that for a while he wondered if she was simply a figment of his terrified imagination. But then her head moved, and she turned to look directly at the cabinet. It was all he could do to keep from squirming. Surely there was no way she could actually see him, but although he couldn’t see her eyes clearly, he was almost positive the two of them were making eye contact.

She knows you’re there, and she wants you to know it. After everything he’d seen, he wouldn’t put such a manipulation tactic past her, but he sat there shaking his head as discreetly as possible, hoping she couldn’t sense the movement and trying to convince himself there was no way she could possibly know where he was.

He nearly wet himself when he saw her take a step, but she simply pivoted and strode from the room as quickly and quietly as she had entered. He leaned forward, straining to see through the crack and hoping he’d catch sight of her passing by the doorway as she searched the remainder of the house. He held his breath and listened for her footsteps but was met only with silence. Then, after what felt like years, he heard a beep followed by metal scraping on metal. The front door had opened and closed. She was gone.

He was torn then between waiting to make sure she didn’t come back and rushing to a window to see if she was setting up an ambush outside. He settled on a happy medium and sat there counting under his breath for three minutes before easing the cabinet door open. When he was sure everything was still quiet, he crawled out, crouching until the circulation had returned to his legs. He moved across the room centimeter by centimeter, half-expecting The Assassin to appear in the doorway again. The journey out into the hallway remained uneventful however, and he breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that the path to the front door was clear.

He stepped out, mentally running through all possible routes to the spaceport from here. He dreaded the thought of going on foot but he hadn’t the foggiest clue how to break into a car and doubted he’d find one available for breaking into anyway. Running wouldn’t be so bad; it would enable to him to hide and maintain a lower profile. But running would also require him to cut back through the same forest he’d just been chased through, and he had no idea where The Assassin had gone.

He wasn’t entirely sure which came first – the explosion of pain at the base of his spine or the realization of exactly where The Assassin had gone. Perhaps he had heard a sound or seen something in his peripheral vision; he couldn’t remember for sure. The next thing he did remember was striking his head on the floor.

Something warm and wet was spreading at the small of his back and he could feel it pooling under him. But there was no pain. He didn’t think he could feel his legs.

The floor behind him creaked and the rough tread of a boot sole came to rest on his shoulder. He drew a sharp breath in through his nose and was blinded by hot tears as a powerful leg flipped him over onto his back. The woman was nothing more than a dark shape hovering above him, distorted by his swimming vision. Though he couldn’t see her face, he could once again feel her icy gaze drilling into him.

She stood there observing him silently for several seconds before bending down and shining a small spotlight directly into his face, blocking his view of what – if anything – she was doing. He did his best to keep his eyes open, not wishing to be caught unaware again, but the light burned and sent pain stabbing through his head so he eventually allowed his eyelids to shut. He wanted to beg for mercy, offer to disappear and tell no one about this incident, but his throat seized up and the words eluded him. He guessed the effort would be futile anyway.

The light shut off after a moment as if she’d finished studying him. He thought he heard her release a disappointed sigh, though it was difficult to hear over his own raspy breathing.

“You shouldn’t have run,” she said.

Her voice was a far cry from what he’d expected. It was low and smooth, and despite the circumstances he couldn’t help but be soothed by it.

I know, he wanted to say as tears spilled down his cheeks. I know that now.

“Please,” he managed as she rose back into a standing position. The moonlight glinted off of the casing of her pistol as she took aim for his head.

He shut his eyes again, reveling in the darkness. There was a soft pop followed by a brief burning sensation in his head, and then…nothing.


COMING SOON!

Book Review: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

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Let me just start by saying it’s been forever since I’ve read a Star Wars book, and that alone made this a fun book to read. I read a lot of the Young Jedi Knights books and other Kevin J. Anderson stuff back in the day, but I honestly can’t remember how long it’s been.

I’ve gotten to where I don’t mind a little romance in books – at least if it’s handled well and isn’t the focus of the plot – though I’ll admit I’m still usually pretty leery about YA romance. I’m one of those people who thinks Hunger Games would be better without all the Team Peeta/Team Gale nonsense. At least in Lost Stars, I expected it. I’d read enough reviews that I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into, and I was willing to dive in anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the romance aspect of the story was fairly low-key and handled really well, and I didn’t think it took away from the plot. If anything, it gave us a deeper look at the characters.

Those characters were also very well done. I can sometimes be leery about YA characters too because they’re often so angsty and overly dramatic. That’s not to say there wasn’t any angst and drama in this book, but Ciena, Thane, and the supporting characters were intelligent, resourceful, and tough (which is still what I love most about Hunger Games). I really loved the way each of their backgrounds/upbringings influenced their decisions and actions throughout the story.

Also, as a Mass Effect fan, I still can’t get over Thane’s name…

I’ll admit I pictured the characters being older than they were (maybe late 20s) because, at least in my experience, no actual 19-year-olds are this mature 😉 Their ages/actions definitely seemed more realistic in the latter parts of the story.

Being YA, it was pretty fast/easy reading, but the story didn’t suffer for it. I loved the glimpses we got of characters and events from the movies, and there was something about the dynamic I really loved. We had the girl sticking with the Empire and the guy joining the Rebel Alliance and trying to win her back, when I feel like it’s often the other way around. Seeing each of their unique perspectives was interesting too, because – for the majority of the time, anyway – they both thought their side was trying to do the right thing.

And the ending. Oh, the ending. Flawless. And very appropriate after everything that had happened. I liked how it tied in with the upcoming movie.

This isn’t the type of book I’d typically give 5 stars, but reading a Star Wars book was so refreshing after all these years and I can’t remember the last time I was this relaxed while reading. When you’re doing a read-for-review or beta reading, you have to pay close enough attention that you can’t completely relax. This was clearly a young adult book, but I’d recommend it to Star Wars fans of any age.

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Star Wars – Facebook

Book Review: Rath’s Gambit by Piers Platt

27211683I was given a free advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

4.5stars

 

After completing Book 1 – Rath’s Deception – I was excited to continue with this series. It has elements from many of my favorite sci fi stories; the tech is like Terminator, the environments are like Blade Runner, and the structure is like the Bourne Series. There were even hints of – I couldn’t believe it – Fallout, which, as those of you who follow me regularly know, is my current obsession.

Once again, I thought I might end up rating this book 4 stars. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it quite as much as the first one, but when I gasped, grinned, and said “oh no” out loud at a certain part toward the end, I knew it had sucked me in enough to warrant another 5-star rating.

That said, it was different than Deception in that there was a little less action and a little more intrigue. The story picked up right where the last one left off and continued following all of the plot threads that were previously left open. There are also some new political elements introduced that seem kind of unrelated at first, but as the story progresses, these new details start shedding light on some of the “whys” and “hows” readers might have been left with after Book 1.

I mentioned in my last review that I didn’t particularly like Rath as a character, but he has really started to grow on me. I think it has a lot to do with the way his character has matured over the course of the story. Like Jason Bourne, he’s no less skilled now that he’s on the run, but he’s dealing with a lot of pain and regret and is having to find new ways to apply his skills in order to avoid the lifestyle he has come to hate. As another reviewer mentioned at one point, he’s “an assassin you can root for.” Paisen/Contractor 339 is turning into a great character too. She’s focused on the future and (mostly) just wants to do what’s right these days. She’s resourceful but only uses her more destructive skills in the direst of circumstances (which she does find herself in at several points in the book). I’m glad we got to know her character a little better, though I was honestly a little disappointed that we didn’t see more of her. But based on the cliffhanger ending we were left with, I have a hunch she’ll play an even bigger role in Book 3.

With some new allies AND new enemies thrown into the mix, I’m excited to see what becomes of this pair in Rath’s Reckoning !

 


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Rath’s Gambit releases December 1, 2015! Look for it on Amazon and Goodreads. You can also grab a Kindle copy of Rath’s Deception for $2.99 – $2 off the regular price – for a limited time!

 


About Piers Platt:

7265977“I grew up in Boston, but spent most of my childhood in various boarding schools, including getting trained as a classical singer at a choir school for boys. I joined the Army in 2002, and spent four years on active duty, including a year-long deployment to Iraq in 2004 as a tank and scout platoon leader.

When I’m not spending time with my lovely wife and daughter, I’m frantically working on my next book.

To be the first to hear about new releases – and get a free e-book! – sign up for my newsletter HERE.”

Book Review: Sidespace by G.S. Jennsen

Let me just start by saying that it has been an absolute honor to beta read for and work with this wonderful lady over the past couple of years. This sprawling saga she has created has become one of my favorite stories ❤


 

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When I finished Transcendence, I was satisfied. I knew the story wasn’t over – there were plenty of hints that there was much more to come – but the Aurora Rising trilogy had been wrapped up nicely. There was something else coming, but I had no idea what it was.

Then I started reading Sidespace. At first I was thinking, “Whoa, I totally wasn’t expecting this!” but after a while that thought transformed into “Well obviously this was bound to happen!” Things happened that I would never have imagined while reading Starshine and Vertigo (and even Transcendence) but once the concepts are introduced, you realize everything has been flowing inevitably toward them the entire time.

Sidespace is the Starshine of the Aurora Renegades trilogy. That’s not to say it IS Starshine; in discussing the book with Ms. Jennsen earlier this fall, she mentioned never wanting to be accused of just repeating the same story, and that’s certainly not the case here. Sidespace is like Starshine in that it’s clearly an introduction to this second act inAurora Rhapsody. Yes, it’s a continuation of the story we’ve been reading, but there’s so much new material and you just KNOW it’s going to end up having a huge impact on both the plot and the characters. It’s by far the most unique book of the whole series so far. The plot switches back and forth between the post-war turmoil and political intrigue within Aurora and the mystery and adventure within the pocket universes through the Metigen portal. The latter reminded me a lot of classic, old-school sci fi with space explorers, alien life, and some sort of behind-the-scenes plot by an evil entity.

It was also great to see so many familiar faces. I think back to reading Starshine and remember what a hard time I had keeping track of all the characters, but now, even though they don’t all have huge roles, they’re like old friends. It has been fun to see certain characters shine from book to book too. A couple of my favorite minor characters played larger roles in this story, and that was fun to see.

We’ve once again been left with a glimpse of what’s coming next, and I’m very excited to find out what it is!

 


 

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Sidespace is Book 1 of the Aurora Renegades trilogy, the second act in the three-part Aurora Rhapsody series. Find it on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats!

In addition, you can get the complete Aurora Rising collection for $0.99 for ONE MORE DAY. This collection includes the Aurora Rising trilogy (Starshine, Vertigo, and Transcendence) as well as two Restless short stories. Restless Vol. I is also available for free via Amazon.

You can find all of my reviews on Goodreads.

 


 

 

About G.S. Jennsen:

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G. S. Jennsen is a science fiction author, futurist, geek & gamer (as well as a recovering lawyer and software engineer).

In less than two years she has become an internationally bestselling author, selling in excess of 50,000 books since her first novel, Starshine, was published in March 2014.

When she isn’t writing, she’s gaming or working out or getting lost in the Colorado mountains that loom large outside the windows in her home. Or she’s dealing with a flooded basement, or standing in a line at Walmart reading the tabloid headlines and wondering who all of those people are. Or sitting on her back porch with a glass of wine, looking up at the stars, trying to figure out what could be up there.

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