Friday, October 21, 2016

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for Oktober 21, 2016

Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, as aklways  with the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding projects, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:


Writing, publishing and promotion:




Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Deep - Part 1 by Amanda Creiglow

Release date; September 25, 2016
Subgenre: Post-apocalyptic science fiction serial

About The Deep - Part 1


Anna was a psychologist before the world ended. Now, she's just a member of the not-yet-dead, waiting out the days until sickness takes her. But when an indecipherable signal from the depths of the sea hints at hope, she goes along on a mission to discover its source. She's supposed to keep the rest of the crew sane, and they're supposed to keep her alive. But not everything goes as planned...

Will the secrets of the deep hold hope for the future of the human race? Anna's adventure to discover the truth begins.



First came the throbbing – a pulsing, piercing pain in her head. It was centered just under her temples, but radiated throughout her brain, along the line of her skull. It was insistent. Threatening. And it kept perfect time.
Second came the knowledge of the noise that caused it – a blaring alarm in echo. It made her bones vibrate and her pulse race, playing over an intense hiss and static that she couldn't place.
Third came the feeling of mist on her face, calling up a memory from when she was young. Biosphere two. She could still see it in a hazy montage – the domes under the death sparkle of the sun. The arid Arizona heat separated by glass from the warm, soft mist of the Rainforest Sector. She'd told herself she wanted to live there. She told that to the tour guide, too – a lean black woman with playful hair and long legs in short khakis – and the tour guide had laughed, and her parents had laughed and her brother had laughed.
The tour guide was dead. Her parents were dead. Her brother was dead. Biosphere 2 was dead. The Arizona sun had survived.
And the alarm and the mist meant that the Arizona sun would out-survive Anna, too.
She shouldn't have been asleep. She and the crew were supposed to be alert and awake for the whole of the descent, just in case something went wrong. The safety briefing and the hopes-and-dreams speech... It was all coming back, now. She forced her eyes open, the cold mist in the enclosed space threatening to force them shut again.
There was pressure. There was too much pressure. Her skin felt wrong and hot, and her breaths hard-fought. She tried to tune out the blaring alarm, but it had her nerves more scattered than anything else.
Her eyes searched the mist, looking for movement. Looking for someone to save her. They were supposed to keep her alive. That was the deal. The crew kept everyone alive, and she kept everyone sane. But someone hadn't held up their end of the bargain.
Her hot, numb hands fiddled with the straps, searching for the clasps. They were re-purposed seat-belts from long-grounded aircraft, and her half-lucid mind saw the safety demonstrations from long-ago flights as she fought for release.
She'd gotten the first one off and hung painfully from the second when the sub jerked to one side, nearly flinging her out of her standing bay, and dragging more of the pieces into place. She remembered, now, the terror she felt when the attack from Whatever It Was began. There had been no warning -- just a sudden impact to the side of the sub. Without a word, they'd all run to their standing bays and latched themselves in. All but the pilot, who went forward into the cockpit.
Her gaze shot forward toward where she knew the cockpit was, but between the mist and her own rising panic, it was hard for her to even make out the hatch. Why weren't they moving forward? Why wasn't she feeling what the pilot was doing to get them away from Whatever it was?
The pilot is dead.
The thought hit her with a certainty it didn't deserve. She'd long ago accepted that death was the most common explanation.



About Amanda Creiglow: 

Amanda Creiglow is an irredeemable wanderer, but she currently calls Greenville, South Carolina home. Aside from telling impossible tales to improbable people, she enjoyed spending way too much time playing video games for the amusement of strangers, and writing and performing depressing songs with cheerful melodies.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bullet Holes (In Love and War, Book 4) by Cora Buhlert

Release date: October 7, 2016
Subgenre: Space opera, science fiction romance

About Bullet Holes


Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

When a seemingly routine courier job turns out to be a trap, Anjali is hit by a so-called smart bullet, a Republican weapon that slowly and inevitably kills its victims. Mikhail is given a choice by his former commander Brian Mayhew: Surrender or watch the woman he loves die in excruciating pain.

It is a choice between two equally horrifying fates. But maybe, there is a third option…

This is a story of 6200 words or approx. 22 print pages in the In Love and War series, but may be read as a standalone.


Inside, it was dark. Anjali’s heightened senses could make out boxes stacked on both sides of a narrow passage that led towards a single light at the end.
Of course, boxes and labyrinthine passages in warehouses were not exactly uncommon, nonetheless something about the whole set-up gave Anjali that tell-tale prickle at the back of her neck that told her they were walking into a trap.
Her right hand drifted to the grip of her blaster, while her left reached for the hilt of her dagger, the signature weapon of the Shakyri Corps. She cast a sideways glance at Mikhail, which told her that his hand was resting on the grip of his blaster, too.
Their steps slowed, as they cautiously moved forward, Anjali using her genetically enhanced senses to scan for potential dangers ahead.
A normal, unenhanced human, and even Mikhail, who was far from normal, would never have picked up the subtle sounds near the pool of light at the end of the passage. But Anjali did. She picked up the quickened breaths of nervous humans, the slight shuffling of feet jockeying for a better position, the gentle clicks of blasters and rifles being readied for action.
“Mikhail,” she whispered, “Run.”
And not a moment too soon, before a volley of gunfire opened on them.
They ran back down the passage, dodging and swerving to avoid the blaster bolts and bullets — Honestly, bullets? Who the fuck used projectile weapons these days? — crisscrossing the warehouse, only to realise that the door at the far end had swung shut.
They were trapped.
Mikhail pushed Anjali into a side passage, really nothing more than a gap between two shipping containers, and took up position at the entrance to return fire at their attackers.
The overhead lights came on, blindingly bright, allowing them to finally see their pursuers.
“Mine or yours?” Anjali asked, her body flattened against the wall of the container.
“Mine, I fear,” Mikhail replied, “Republican Special Commando Forces, a squad in full armour.”
“Fuck,” Anjali exclaimed.
Both the Republic and the Empire were hunting them, eager to bring the deserters and traitors to justice. Though it seemed to Anjali that the Republic was more enthusiastic about it. Probably because Mikhail hadn’t just walked out on his comrades and his country, he’d also walked on his mentor, who just happened to be the Deputy Commander of the Republican Special Commando Forces and was apparently the type to hold grudges.
While Mikhail kept returning fire at his former comrades, Anjali scanned their surroundings for a way out, only to find that there was none. The side passage, into which they’d ducked, ended after a few meters at the exterior wall of the warehouse. And the only exit was the one they’d come in through.
“It’s a dead end,” she said to Mikhail, raising her voice over the roar of the guns, “We’re trapped.”

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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 
Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres. When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher.


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Monday, October 17, 2016

Mind Behind the Mind (Trinity Torn, Book 1) by Alexa Grave

Release date: October 13, 2016
Subgenre: Epic fantasy, fantasy romance

About Mind Behind the Mind:


A witch who believes one of her own kind could never kill...In a world where people believe the crimson sun is a dead witch’s head and the witch hunter who killed her stalks the night sky, a witch who ventures outside of Haven risks losing her life. Tessa is one such witch. Like many of her kind, she hopes to help the people of Leera, not harm them, and she’s on her first mission to heal an ailing man named Jeremiah. But when she crosses paths with a witch hunter, instead of avoiding him like she knows she should, she succumbs to her desires and ends up in his bed.

The local Enforcers believe a witch is behind Jeremiah’s sickness, so they call Bastian to town. He’s a young witch hunter who normally has a knack for sniffing out witches. But when he runs into the striking Tessa, she scrambles his senses. He’s inexplicably drawn to her and abandons his usually cautious nature.

As Tessa and Bastian uncover clues about Jeremiah’s illness, Tessa has to face the possibility that another witch may have had a hand in the incident. And if Bastian learns she’s a witch, he may point his finger at her. Then her head will surely roll.



Slowly, Tessa opened her mind, stretching her senses toward the woman. Loss and fear. Yes, it’s her. “Betha! Cousin? Is that you, darling?” She waved and hustled toward the woman, acting as if they’d known each other their whole lives. Best to do so even if it didn’t look like anyone else was about.

An O of surprise lit Betha’s face. “Miss Tessa?”

Tessa embraced the shorter woman, the stranger stiff in her arms. With lips close to Betha’s ear, she whispered, “Remember what I wrote in my letter.” She backed away and observed the streaks of gray in the woman’s curly black hair. “Cousin, I hardly recognize you. You’re so thin, a horse’s snort could knock you over.” Tessa smoothed out the wrinkles in her cotton dress, pausing mid-stroke when she recognized her act of nervousness.

“The years haven’t been good to me.” Betha averted her gaze. “If only I were your age again.” Her pale eyes grew distant.

“Come now. Perk up. Enough of the sadness.” Tessa hugged her again, but Betha still didn’t soften her body. This woman’s suffering struck Tessa’s heart. “Let’s go. I’m exhausted, and I’d like to see Jeremiah.”

Betha picked up one of the bags. “Of course, dear. I reserved a room for you at the inn. Sorry we don’t have space to keep you, but we abandoned the larger house a while back for something more suitable to our needs. The inn should be comfortable, though.”

Betha would rather not have a witch under her roof – any excuse would have done, even if the house was big enough. Tessa dismissed Betha’s words with a wave of her hand. “Don’t apologize. We must make do with what we have.” She picked up her other two bags. “Shall we?”

“Would you like to stop at the inn first?”

“I have a bag here I’d like to keep at your house. And besides, I can bear the burden of carrying my bags if it means seeing Jeremiah all the sooner.”

Betha led the way off the platform and onto the town’s main dirt road and turned right, heading away from town and toward the orchards and farmhouses. Tessa marveled at the thriving plants, awed at the knowledge used to irrigate this miracle at the edge of the desert. Her ancestors had created the irrigation system, as her lessons had told her, yet the making was lost to her generation. Tessa’s home, Haven, was an oasis – practically a paradise – unlike Sierka.

Silence fell between the two as they walked down the road, clouds of dust rising at their heels. Orchards and stone farmhouses surrounded them. The crimson sun, in the green-blue sky, beat down on ripening fruits and vegetables. A sweetness filled the air, promising the taste of pomegranates and golden desert glowras.

Tessa imagined what the orchards would look like if the irrigation failed. Twining fruitless branches stretching upward, imploring the sky to open and bring forth rain. She regarded the trees, envisioning their lifeless husks, and noticed a tree with two shadows.

One of the shadows shifted.
Cold tendrils wove into her mind. The shadow shouldn’t have been there; it was wrong.


About Alexa Grave:

Alexa Grave loves to tell stories--it just so happens her characters occasionally take her on an unexpected ride. Most of what she writes is dark fantasy, but she enjoys her attempts at the humorous side of things. It's not odd to find romance within her fantasy as well.

She has an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, and she is a member of Broad Universe.

Alexa's life isn't filled with writing alone. In her spare time, she enjoys gaming. And she has a supportive husband just as addicted to gaming as she is. Reading and thinking up large, impossible projects to work on top her list of fun things to do as well.

Most importantly, she has two beautiful daughters who don't give her much spare time to do any of the above.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Friday, October 14, 2016

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for Oktober 14, 2016

Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with discussion of the series Luke Cage and Supergirl and the movie Godzilla Resurgence, a whole lot of new trailers including one for Star Wars: Rogue One as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding projects, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Comments on Luke Cage:

Comments on season 2 of Supergirl

Comments on Shin Godzilla a.k.a. Godzilla Resurgence:


Writing, publishing and promotion:




Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Determination (Noble Born Vampires, Book 1) by L.D. Silver

Release date: September 26, 2016
Subgenre: Urban fantasy 

About Determination:


Skye Denali promises herself that she'll never enter The Highlands. But then her sister Bree is taken by a vampire, and her mother is overwhelmed by grief.

She has no choice. To help her family, Skye will have to face her fears. She'll have to go into The Highlands - a town that's governed by vampires. And once she crosses the border and leaves the human sector, she'll lose her rights.

Any vampire can demand her blood and by law she can't refuse.

She'll have to avoid attracting attention, search the town, and free her sister. All without getting caught.

Because getting caught means an automatic death sentence, or worse...


I can hear my mother's crying through the door and I force myself to ignore it.  I breathe past the knot of pain in my chest that's been there for months.
Today I'm doing something about it.  Today I'm taking action.
I take off my gloves and wash my hands to get rid of the plastic smell left on my skin.  Then I put in the dark brown contacts and stare at the stranger in the mirror.
It's taken only two hours to transform me.  My blue-black hair is now a muted brown, and my normally pale skin is now golden tan.  My makeup isn't quite as effective with my new look.  I'll have to pick up new eyeshadow and lipstick.
I slip out of the bathroom and pad down the hallway.  I pass by Bree's door, the proverbial elephant in our broken home.  I don't have to look inside to know that her wedding dress is still wrapped in plastic on the bed.  The ceremony would have been four weeks from now.
I reach my bedroom and close the door behind me.  I dress in a beige knee-length skirt, white blouse, beige jacket, and beige heels.  I put my keys, phone, bus pass, and some money into a matching purse and then sigh with disgust when I see myself in the mirror.  I look bland.  Normal.  Cookie-cutter.
"Only for you, Bree," I say, then kiss my fingertips and press them against the mirror.  It's a habit I picked up from her; a way of wishing yourself good luck.
The gesture makes me look in the mirror, though, and into my new strange eyes.  There, past the contacts, is a glint of fear.  It's not the interview, or the job, that's making me afraid.  It's the location.  I always promised myself that I would never go there.
Then Bree disappeared, taking with her all of the happiness in this house.  It was as swift and as destructive as a tornado.  I can feel the hole in our family with every step, with the aching quiet when my mother's asleep and with the sounds of her crying when she's awake.  My father tries to help her, but I can see the hole in his heart in his eyes.  It echoes my own.
It's why I have to get her back.  We can't live like this.  And I know that I can do it.  I don't care that it's never been done. 
I can get her back.  I will get her back. 


About L.D. Silver:

LD has been writing stories since she was a little kid. She writes about people in worlds similar to our own, but with a twist. Sometimes it's zombies, or vampires, or magic, or robots. She likes to add a dash of romance too.

Website | Twitter

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eidolon (Lance Canela, Book 2) by Carlyle Edmundson

Release date: September 29, 2016
Subgenre: Cyberpunk

 About Eidolon:


After Lance's contact, Wyatt, is driven underground by the followers of a crusading hacker known only as Eidolon, Lance gets saddled with the unenviable task of digging up dirt on them—one made even less tolerable as he finds himself working alongside a clickbait blogger whose only concern is the next big controversy.
But as Lance gets to know Eidolon and what he stands for, he becomes less and less sure that he's on the right side. Is Wyatt merely taking advantage of him, or could there really be a dark secret at the heart of Eidolon's attempts to right the world?

Eidolon is the second book in the Lance Canela series, following The Arcology. It features a special bonus short, Thoughts as Gray as Ash.



“Took you long enough to get down there. They’ll be starting soon.”
“How am I supposed to respond to you exactly? Won’t I just look like I’m crazy, talking to myself?” I whispered.
“Nah, those micro headsets from a few years ago are still fairly common with the business crowd. No one will give it a second thought as long as you act normal,” he said. “Though I can see how that one might be tough for you.”
I grunted dismissively and looked the crowd over. There weren’t any giveaways to identify the protesters by at a glance; they certainly knew better than to show up in the typical punk outfits that would have made them so easy to spot. No metal studs decorating their cuffs, no raw denim instead of corporately produced artificial fabrics. No bright hair or body mods, at least not visible ones. The uniform of the counterculture, and every bit as conformist as what they claimed to stand against. But not tonight.
A commonality between the people standing around finally caught my eye: many of them had coats off to the side, or draped over an arm. Two women talking by an inoperable fountain had large purses on their shoulders. Another girl was sitting on a park bench, pretending to pay attention to her phone. As the clock above the courthouse rang out for the six o’clock hour, they sprang into action. All at once the protesters whipped out masks from bags and coats and under their shirts and dropped what they were carrying. The collection of eerily emotionless Carey masks coalesced into a crowd, swarming towards the courthouse side. The handful of strangers who weren’t involved stood agape, staring at the proceedings in horror like they’d just witnessed his assassination all over again. The girl with the phone was now holding it up as if recording the incident. A chant broke out from the crowd, repeating a slogan that I couldn’t quite make out.
“What? What’s that? Are they starting already?” Wyatt shouted. I winced.
“You didn’t talk to any of them! What are you even doing?”
“Shut up, I’m trying to watch. Let me handle this side of things.”
The crowd’s chanting grew clearer, louder, until at last I could understand it: “This court’s corruption can’t continue.”
The pair of women near the fountain had pulled out a huge sheet of some kind, then spread it wide across the park’s flat surface. From my angle I wasn’t able to tell exactly what image was on it, but the colors suggested it was Eidolon’s insignia. It was right about then that sirens began to wail in the distance, and cops who had been inside the courthouse emerged to find out what the disruption was. The group scattered like roaches, ripping their masks off and donning the coats to conceal their clothes. In seconds the park was vacant, with only a handful of shocked pedestrians and the thin white sheet left as evidence of what had occurred. The girl who’d been recording pocketed her phone and took off, trying to chase after some member of the crowd. The cops from the courthouse spread out, trying to catch any of the protesters, but there seemed little hope of that happening. One cop stopped the phone girl instead, towering over her mousy little frame. She looked up, huddled back against the mottled marble at a statue’s base.

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About Carlyle Edmundson:

A lifelong fan of science and science fiction, Carlyle Edmundson is a blogger and aspiring filmmaker from North Carolina. His first book, The Arcology, launched the Lance Canela series, which hits on modern social issues with a dystopian, cyberpunk style.