Monday, December 18, 2017

The Game Players of Meridien (Chronicles of the Second Interstellar Empire of Mankind, Book 1) by Robert I. Katz

Release date: December 16, 2017
Subgenre: Space opera


About The Game Players of Meridien:



Douglas Oliver loves to play games.

He’s good at games, but the game he likes best is the greatest game of all, the game of life, where success is measured first by survival and second by rising to the top.

The world of Illyria was settled three thousand years ago by the First Interstellar Empire of Mankind, with the goal of breeding the toughest soldiers in the galaxy, men and women who would glory in competition, never give up and endlessly strive to dominate their environment; but the First Empire went down in flames and Illyria was isolated for two thousand years, until a new Empire rose from the ashes of the old and spread among the stars.

Douglas Oliver is a respected member of Argent, the foremost Guild in the nation of Meridien. The Guilds offer their members financial backing and military assistance but no Guild member is immune to challenge. Douglas Oliver doesn’t mind being challenged. Challenge goes along with success. Douglas Oliver accepts this. He enjoys it. Sometimes, he even loves it, until a challenge arrives from an unknown agent and suddenly, the Game is no longer just a game. It’s an all-out war where the stakes are survival, not just for Douglas Oliver, but for the nation of Meridien and the entire world of Illyria.

You will love this hard hitting science fiction adventure from Robert I. Katz, the award winning author of Edward Maret: A Novel of the Future and The Cannibal’s Feast.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

“Hold him down.”
I winced. Both men were tall and broad shouldered, with shaved heads, wide, sadistic smiles and tattoos running up both arms and across their chests. They were holding a third man, slightly smaller and leaner, immobilized on the ground. The smaller man struggled. His face grew red and he gave out a high pitched, desperate squeal. The big guys restrained him with professional competence. One of them pulled a Bowie knife from a holster at his belt and pulled the smaller man’s head back. “I love this part,” he said.
I pressed the stop button on my control panel and sighed. I had gone through this scenario more than once already. I knew that if I continued, bright red blood would spurt from a severed carotid artery and agonized screams would come from the victim’s throat. He would thrash his legs, drum his heels against the ground, struggle and die. Points would then be added to my score.
I had a professional interest in games of all sorts but this one was a little too obvious for my tastes. Violence, like sex, always sells, but I have limited patience for gratuitous violence, violence that does nothing to advance a plot or to highlight a theme.
Such games will always have their fans. I know that, but I have no interest in catering to them. This game was popular, particularly among young men of the Commons, but it wasn’t popular among the Guilds. If you want to reach the top levels of the game, the real game, a certain amount of restraint is required. You have to know when to go in for the score but if you’re going to survive, and ultimately to prevail, then you had better be able to identify a losing hand because nobody wins them all.
It paid to keep up with the competition, though.

I was seven years old when I invented my first game. The game started with a circle which turned into a square which turned into a wheel which turned into a spinning cylinder which turned into a torus and so on. It was a simple game but my father was smart enough to register the copyright and then he took it to one of the bigger conglomerates who decided to finance it. That game made me a lot of money, which a few years later, I used to fund a small corporation which financed another game, and then another, and pretty soon, my small corporation had grown into a larger corporation.
I was good at games. Games have patterns, some meant to be obvious, some meant to be concealed, and I had a talent for spotting patterns.

Some of my games are story games. You have to have a good story. It’s surprising how often storytellers lose sight of this fact. You can tell a story in the simplest of ways and it will hold the attention of your audience. A caveman sitting around a fire could do it. A medieval schoolman in the town square. Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, wise men with strong voices, writing their stories down on clay tablets or papyrus scrolls, if they even knew how to write. It’s easy to sell a good story and all the special effects and computer-generated crap isn’t worth shit if the story doesn’t cut it.
You start with a hero. There has to be someone for the audience to focus on, to identify with. If you don’t have a hero, then you need an anti-hero, someone for the audience to hate. If you have neither, then it better be a comedy, but you still need someone they can laugh with (or at). I’ve never lost sight of the need to have a good story. It’s made me rich.

My corporation, or what has become just one of the divisions of my corporation, continues to make games, but we do many other things, as well. All of my products are among the best in their field. I’ve found that it’s not too hard to make money if you’re better than your competition.
You have to keep it all in perspective, though. You can’t fool yourself. Fooling yourself is the quickest way to lose. I’ve done well. I’m a medium sized fish in a very deep ocean. My corporation is profitable and respected but it’s nowhere near the biggest corporation around.
But that’s alright. I have plenty of time.

 

Amazon

 

About Robert I. Katz:



I grew up on Long Island, in a pleasant, suburban town about 30 miles from New York City. I loved to read from a very early age and graduated from Columbia in 1974 with a degree in English. Not encouraged by the job prospects for English majors at the time, I went on to medical school at Northwestern, where in addition to my medical degree, I acquired a life-long love of deep dish pizza. I did a residency in Anesthesiology at Columbia Presbyterian and spent most of my career at Stony Brook University, where I ultimately attained the academic rank of Professor and Vice-Chairman for Administration, Department of Anesthesiology.

When I was a child, I generally read five or more books per week, and even then, I had a dim sense that I could do at least as well as many of the stories that I was reading. Finally, around 1985, with a job and a family and my first personal computer, I began writing. I quickly discovered that it was not as easy as I had imagined, and like most beginning writers, it took me many years to produce a publishable work of fiction. My first novel, Edward Maret: A Novel of the Future, came out in 2001. It won the ASA Literary Prize for 2001 and received excellent reviews from Science Fiction Chronicle, InfinityPlus, Scavenger’s Newsletter and many others.

My agent at the time urged me to write mysteries, as mysteries are supposed to have a larger readership and be easier to publish than science fiction. Since I have read almost as many mysteries as science fiction and fantasy, and since I enjoy them just as much, I had no objection to this plan. The Kurtz and Barent mystery series, Surgical Risk, The Anatomy Lesson and Seizure followed between 2002 and 2009. Reviewers have compared them favorably to Patricia Cornwell and Robin Cook and they’ve received positive reviews from The Midwest Book Review, Mystery Review Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Lady M’s Mystery International, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and many others.

In 2014, I published a science fiction short story, To the Ends of the Earth in the Deep Blue Sea on Kindle for Amazon. Since then, I have made all of my previously published novels available for purchase on Kindle. A new science fiction novel, entitled The Cannibal's Feast, was published in July 2017. The next, entitled The Game Players of Meridien, a tale set far in the future after the collapse of the First Interstellar Empire of Mankind, is the first in a projected seven book science fiction series, and will be published on December 16, 2017. The second novel in the series, The City of Ashes, will appear early in 2018. In addition, a fourth novel in the Kurtz and Barent mystery series, The Chairmen, will also be published in the first half of 2018.


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Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Lion of Ackbarr by Erme Lander

Release date: December 15, 2017
Subgenre: YA fantasy

About The Lion of Ackbarr

 

“Primal forest, dim light and the muscular grace of a large predator sliding through the undergrowth. Mika twitched, caught up in her dream. Gnats swarmed above the moss coated pools. The crashing of beasts in the distance and the humming of bees. She threaded her way through, blinking in the green light.”

Fifteen year old Mika is to be married to a foreign boy she has only met once, despite her family mourning the recent disappearance of her twin brother, Kaylan. Forced to live in a strange land, far from her home in Cassai, she is resigned to her life as a lady until the day she discovers her new family dead around her. Mika escapes the city and disguises herself to travel to Ackbarr, certain she will discover the real reason for her brother’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, her dreams are filled with a predator stalking the forests of her homeland. Dreams that leave her trembling with the taste of blood.

Excerpt:

 

The wedding day came too soon for Mika. Tense with nerves, she woke early for once and tiptoed out of the room. Alma was breathing lightly, curled into a ball on her bed next to the wall. Mika slipped into the garden before the servants saw her, enjoying the respite. The sun had risen, the dew fresh on the grass, the wind rippling through the trees beyond. She was light headed, not believing today would be her last day here.
She’d dressed without thinking, slid into her old clothes, a tunic and trousers left over from her brother. They’d been stuffed into a pile under her bed, dusty from the weeks of not wearing them. She stretched her legs and revelled in the freedom to walk properly, not having to worry about how her dresses were draped and having them catch her stride.
Her boots became damp from the dew as she walked to her favourite spot, a bench close to the wall and she sat, enjoying the coolness. The sun’s light warmed the red tiles of the house, the cook house’s fire had just been lit, dark smoke hung in the air, misting the deeper green of the broad leafed forest behind. A sigh escaped her, the smell of grass, the calls and distant laughter of the guards changing over. Home, secure in the garden her mother tended, coaxing the plants to do their best in the poor soil. Flowervines clambered and humped over the trellis fencing between the paths, a tiny stream sparkled around carefully placed boulders, the cream walls of the house and small deep windows. Tears prickled her eyes at the thought of leaving.
Leaning against the wall, she wondered what would happen if she climbed the wall and ran away. The idea tugged at her. It would be easy, the wall wasn’t high. Leave this whole business behind, live as she wanted to. The idea expanded, filling the whole of her, becoming a longing, a desperation. To stride through the woods, like in her dreams, a tingling passed over her skin and she shivered.
The tugging ceased as she heard her mother call and the scent of the flowervines filled her nostrils. Her mother was looking for her. She stayed quiet. The consequences of running? Whilst she was headstrong, she wasn’t stupid. She didn’t know enough about surviving out there. She’d be found and brought back in disgrace. Whether she would marry after that, she didn’t know, but there would be punishment.
Mika sighed again and stood, she had to go through with this, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. He was good looking in his own foreign way, maybe they could learn to love one another or at least respect each other. Her mother saw her coming out and she realised from the unguarded expression on her face that similar thoughts had been running through her mother’s head.
Expecting a scolding for being in her old clothes, she was surprised to receive a hug and have fingers run through her hair. “I will remember you like this. Do not forget yourself.” Mika found the concept ominous considering she was expected to marry out and be someone she wasn’t.


Amazon.com | Amazon UK


About Erme Lander:


More frog than princess, Erme Lander lives in Gloucestershire, England.
My hobbies when not reading books are dancing, motorcycling, playing my accordion and karate, although not all at the same time. And daydreaming. I’ll daydream in the bath, on the sofa, in bed at that time in the night when all decent folk are snoring and allow the images to pass over my brain. But I’ve never actually written them down, until last year when a certain vampire wouldn’t leave me in peace. I’m still dealing with the fallout...


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Friday, December 15, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for December 15, 2017


It's time again for the weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Star Wars: The Last Jedi (no spoilers as of yet), The Shape of Water, Star Trek, I Remember You, The Punisher, the uproar about changes to Patreon's fee structure as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding campaigns, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Comments on Star Wars: The Last Jedi (mostly spoiler-free):


Comments on Star Trek in any incarnation:

Comments on The Shape of Water:

Comments on I Remember You

Comments on The Punisher:

Awards:

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Science Fiction, Genre and Literature: guest blog by Robert I. Katz

Science Fiction, Genre and Literature

Between 2001, when my first book was published, and 2011, when I moved away from the Northeast, I attended an average of three science fiction conventions each year. At all of these conventions, there were numerous panel discussions on topics of common interest to fans of the genre. One of the more common topics was, "Is Science Fiction Literature?" To science fiction fans, and hopefully to the writers as well, the obvious answer is "Yes," but since the question is so commonly discussed and debated, I suspect that there is a fair amount of insecurity among those who write science fiction for a living as well as those who read it for enjoyment.

Personally, I have a rather jaded view of the whole question. As an English major at an Ivy League school, I was required to read a lot of great books. The classroom discussions tended to focus more on how the book illuminated both the author's mind and the times in which the book was written--a combination of psychoanalysis and sociology--than on the book itself. Though a lowly undergraduate, I nevertheless held to the conviction that it should have been the other way around. Naturally, as a lowly undergraduate, I kept this opinion to myself.

Later in life, I became good friends with the Vice-Chairman of the English Department at the University where I worked. I once remarked to her that one of the things that I found discouraging about so many of my classes was the fact that never once did any of my professors ever discuss what made a book "good." She seemed surprised by my statement, and then said that she herself would never dream of discussing such a thing. My decision, made so long ago, to not bother seeking an advanced degree in the Humanities was thereby confirmed; though again, I kept this opinion to myself.

So, what does make a book "good?" The basics of good story telling are the same no matter the genre: plot, theme, characterization, style. Many writers often considered great were lacking in style. Theodore Dreiser, for one, comes immediately to mind. And one can argue whether or not Finnegan's Wake, for instance, had any plot at all, but it is rare for a "good" book to be seriously lacking in any of these characteristics.

Literature has sometimes been defined as “news that stays news.” A good story is timeless. It will speak to people across many cultures and eras. It says something worth saying about humanity and the human condition. There are many science fiction novels that have stood the test of time: Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Frankenstein, many others. I read an essay some years ago by Gore Vidal on Tarzan of the Apes. Gore Vidal did little to hide his contempt for Edgar Rice Burroughs and his creation, but generations have read and are still reading the adventures of Tarzan and John Carter. I doubt that it ever occurred to Gore Vidal that Edgar Rice Burroughs was a far more important, more influential writer than himself.

Similarly, I once read an essay by a professor at Columbia on The Lord of the Rings. The professor did not think highly of Tolkien’s trilogy. The books lacked realism. Evil was too starkly drawn. There were not enough shades of grey. The characterizations lacked subtlety. The place of women in Tolkien’s world was too minor and too restrictive. The last words of the essay were, “The Lord of the Rings lives, but on borrowed time.” Yet here we are, more than fifty years after its publication and The Lord of the Rings is more popular than ever. Will it still be popular fifty years from now? A hundred years? We cannot know, of course, but I suspect that it will.

Genre writing: science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, romance, westerns, thrillers, are all regarded by the commentariat as somehow inferior to what is often referred to as "mainstream," or literary fiction. But this opinion is no more nor less than intellectual snobbery. It’s a distinction without a difference. If a book has an engrossing plot, characters that come alive, themes and ideas that resonate with the reader and reflect real issues, and if the style at least provides clarity and does not distract from all the rest of it, then it's worth reading. A good book is a good book, and if it lasts for a hundred years, then it’s literature.


About Robert I. Katz:



I grew up on Long Island, in a pleasant, suburban town about 30 miles from New York City. I loved to read from a very early age and graduated from Columbia in 1974 with a degree in English. Not encouraged by the job prospects for English majors at the time, I went on to medical school at Northwestern, where in addition to my medical degree, I acquired a life-long love of deep dish pizza. I did a residency in Anesthesiology at Columbia Presbyterian and spent most of my career at Stony Brook University, where I ultimately attained the academic rank of Professor and Vice-Chairman for Administration, Department of Anesthesiology.

When I was a child, I generally read five or more books per week, and even then, I had a dim sense that I could do at least as well as many of the stories that I was reading. Finally, around 1985, with a job and a family and my first personal computer, I began writing. I quickly discovered that it was not as easy as I had imagined, and like most beginning writers, it took me many years to produce a publishable work of fiction. My first novel, Edward Maret: A Novel of the Future, came out in 2001. It won the ASA Literary Prize for 2001 and received excellent reviews from Science Fiction Chronicle, InfinityPlus, Scavenger’s Newsletter and many others.

My agent at the time urged me to write mysteries, as mysteries are supposed to have a larger readership and be easier to publish than science fiction. Since I have read almost as many mysteries as science fiction and fantasy, and since I enjoy them just as much, I had no objection to this plan. The Kurtz and Barent mystery series, Surgical Risk, The Anatomy Lesson and Seizure followed between 2002 and 2009. Reviewers have compared them favorably to Patricia Cornwell and Robin Cook and they’ve received positive reviews from The Midwest Book Review, Mystery Review Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Lady M’s Mystery International, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and many others.

In 2014, I published a science fiction short story, To the Ends of the Earth in the Deep Blue Sea on Kindle for Amazon. Since then, I have made all of my previously published novels available for purchase on Kindle. A new science fiction novel, entitled The Cannibal's Feast, was published in July 2017. The next, entitled The Game Players of Meridien, a tale set far in the future after the collapse of the First Interstellar Empire of Mankind, is the first in a projected seven book science fiction series, and will be published on December 16, 2017. The second novel in the series, The City of Ashes, will appear early in 2018. In addition, a fourth novel in the Kurtz and Barent mystery series, The Chairmen, will also be published in the first half of 2018.

For further information, please visit my website, http://www.robertikatz.com or my Facebook page,www.facebook.com/robertikatzofficial, and for updates on upcoming books, stories, promotions and author appearances, please subscribe to my email list at www.robertikatz.com/join


Robert I. Katz's latest novel, The Game Players of Meridien, is available for pre-order from Amazon and we will be featuring it as a new release on this blog on December 16, 2017.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Using Kickstarter’s Drip Platform to Write a New Kind of Novel: guest blog by Craig Engler




The Last Days of Earth starts when everyone on the planet learns the world will be destroyed in six months. It follows the lives of six characters who are uniquely impacted by the news and who will find their lives changed and intertwined in unexpected ways.

It was inspired by a quote from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, who said: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” 

I originally wrote The Last Days of Earth as a TV pilot, but realized when I was done it needed to be a novel first. But not just any novel. The story felt like it would be best told in serialized installments. So I decided to write a serial.

Then when I began working on it I saw that it was going to be bigger than just a single novel. So, not just one serial novel but three short serialized novels that would be delivered with breaks between them, like TV seasons.

That felt closer to the shape of the story but still wasn’t quite right. So I decided that as people read the story, they’d also receive physical objects in the mail timed to arrived at key points in the narrative. 

Wait, what?

That idea might sound odd, but it actually has its roots in narrative theory. Specifically with an idea called paratext. 

Paratext is anything that accompanies the main text of a work but isn’t directly a part of it. Like a foreword or a blurb or the cover art of a book. While paratext is separate from the primary work, it influences how we experience the text.  

Literary theorist Gerard Genette suggests paratext can create “a better reception for the text and a more pertinent reading of it.” Paratext also asks the question, where does narrative end and the “real world” begin?

With The Last Days of Earth I wanted to push paratext to the extreme and create physical objects that would influence how people read the main narrative and help put them into the story, which is a present day thriller about the end of the world. That felt like the last piece I was missing.

But now that I finally knew how the story needed to be told, there was no mechanism to publish a novel like that. Readers wouldn’t buy the book in the traditional sense. Instead they’d subscribe to it. I needed a platform for both payment and digital distribution, which I didn’t have.

Then a chance encounter with my friend Margot Atwell, the Director of Publishing at Kickstarter, gave me just what I needed. Kickstarter was going to launch a new platform called Drip. While Kickstarter was designed for one-time funding, Drip was created as a venue for ongoing funding, such as recurring subscriptions.  

Even better, Kickstarter members can use their existing logins to seamlessly access Drip, giving Drip an installed base of more than 13 million members. Far more than something like Patreon.

So with the help of Kickstarter and Drip, The Last Days of Earth was born. It’s currently in its founding period, which means anyone who signs up now becomes a Founding Member. Founders get special rewards and will forever have a privileged status with the project. With The Last Days of Earth, Founders also become part of an advisory board for the project, able to influence how it develops.

You can sign up for The Last Days of Earth at https://d.rip/craigengler

About Craig Engler:




Craig Engler is a TV writer who co-created the hit Syfy series Z Nation, currently in its fourth season. He’s written articles for publications like The New York Times and Wired, as well as comics, short stories, a non-fiction book and films. His new project The Last Days of Earth can be found at https://d.rip/craigengler


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Chameleon's Death Dance (Chameleon Assassin, Book 4) by B.R. Kingsolver

Release date: December 12, 2017
Subgenre: Post-apocalyptic, dystopian

About Chameleon's Death Dance:

 

Even a chameleon can be a target.

Libby makes her money as a thief and an assassin, but a girl has to have a cover. To her surprise, her business installing security systems in 23rd century Toronto is taking off, as is her romance with Wil—North America’s top cop.

Then an insurance company hires her to recover a fortune in stolen art and jewelry. Bring them the stolen goods and they'll pay an outrageous fee, no questions asked.

The Vancouver art scene is hot, in more ways than one. Billionaires compete for bragging rights, and they aren't picky who they deal with.

With big money and reputations on the line, Libby is on a collision course with the super-rich. When too many questions make the art thieves uncomfortable, one of the world’s top assassins is hired to eliminate those who know too much—including Libby.

 

 Excerpt:


Danielle Kincaid hit the Vancouver social scene with a splash. Variously called ‘a breath of fresh air,’ ‘an arrogant bitch,’ ‘refreshingly open and intelligent,’ ‘a promiscuous slut,’ ‘a spoiled rich girl,’ and probably a few dozen other labels—depending on the particular commenter’s point of view—she was certainly prominent. In a city with entrenched, and some might say fossilized, upper-crust families dating back before The Fall, the Kincaid name gave her instant access to high society that no one could deny.
Scion of the industrial dynasty founded by Daniel Kincaid two hundred years before, Danielle was a tall, dark blonde girl in her mid-twenties, beautiful, educated, and uninhibited. That she was wildly wealthy went without saying. She was a Kincaid.
Daniel Kincaid had been a visionary. Founder of a computer software company in Scotland at the end of the twentieth century, he paid close attention to the scientists who foretold an environmental catastrophe as humanity polluted the planet and changed the climate. He expanded his business empire to Northern Ireland, and then to Canada.
His three sons and one daughter inherited their father’s smarts and ambition, further expanding the business that became a dominant player in computer controls for solar, wind, and hydro energy production and distribution. Also like their father, they evidently enjoyed procreation and had a lot of children, who also had a lot of children. The business grew and prospered, and the family grew and prospered.
Danielle was the dynasty founder’s great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter. At her birth, the family probably expected her either to join the business, or to marry well and extend their wealth, influence, and power. Or both. But the older corporate families that controlled the world’s economy considered it quite acceptable for members of their newest generation to sow a few wild oats after university. Whether it was called ‘seasoning,’ or ‘gaining a broader perspective,’ it kept the young inheritors’ wild and undisciplined behavior out of the corporate halls until they were ready to settle down and get serious about making a few more billion or trillion credits to pass on to the following generation.
That would have been Danielle’s path in life had she survived past her first birthday. Not only had Danielle died at an early age, but her parents and her younger siblings, who she never met, had taken an ill-fated airplane ride a few years later, leaving no close relatives.
Since the Kincaid clan was so large, and spread so widely around the world, it was easy to take her identity and create the person she might have become. Through manipulation of various databases, including those inside Kincaid Controls Corporation, plus the planting of fake news stories on various net sites, she came back to life.

“Danielle! I’m so glad you could make it!” Marian Clark leaned close and we air-kissed each other’s cheek. Marian was the kind of effusive, cheerful woman whose speech was always somewhat breathy and excited. She was also the hottest and most exclusive hostess at the top end of Vancouver society. Her dark hair was perfectly coifed, her blue silk dress cost enough to support a middle-class family for a year, and her jewelry was even more lavish than my own.
I’d been in town for over a month, and had finally managed an invitation to one of her soirees. Of course I came. I would have crawled over broken glass to get there. If I could impress Marian and her friends, I’d be in—on the guest list of everyone who was anyone.
She introduced me to Sheila Robertson and Laura Henriquez—women who were also members of Vancouver social royalty—and turned me over to them to take me around and introduce me.
I recorded everything with a device in my bra. That was not the time to miss a name or forget an expression. Any of those people could be useful or harmful to my reasons for being in Vancouver. Not to mention linking a name to some of the jewelry they wore would help later to identify its location. In general, the jewelry was incredible. I tried not to drool, and was glad I hadn’t scrimped on my own wardrobe and accessories. Nothing about Marian or her guests could be described as understated.
Marian also was as subtle as a sledgehammer. The purpose of the cocktail party and dinner was to raise funds for Marian’s favorite charity, and I was quickly steered toward her secretary, who was collecting the guests’ contributions. Cheryl Frind, who had helped me to get the invitation, suggested that ten thousand would be a proper donation. But I was playing a Kincaid, and I didn’t plan to take years climbing the social ladder. The fifty thousand I contributed caused the secretary’s eyes to widen slightly, and she gave my face a thorough study. I gave her a slight, acknowledging smile, and received an almost imperceptible nod in response. We were on the same page, and that was good.
Cheryl retrieved me from Sheila and Laura and handed me a flute of champagne immediately after the funds changed hands.
“I don’t know what you gave, but you impressed a couple of people,” Cheryl muttered. “I could see it in their faces.”
I smiled at the curvy, short-haired blonde who had become my closest friend in Vancouver. Barely over thirty, she had grown up in one of the city’s prominent families and married into another.
“It’s only money,” I said, taking a sip of the bubbly. “Getting in the good graces of this crowd is worth it.”
She gave me a searching look. “That sounded almost like a business comment. You’ll damage your party girl reputation if you’re not careful.”
With a laugh, I said, “Kincaids are given a shot of business with our mothers’ teats every morning. If I stumble across an opportunity, why wouldn’t I let my family know about it? They didn’t send me to university to study art.”
“You know, that’s part of what I like about you,” Cheryl said. “You don’t try to pretend you’re just a pretty face.”
 

Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon DE | B&N


About the Chameleon Assassin series:

Book 1: Chameleon Assassin

Book 2: Chameleon Uncovered

Book 3: Chameleon's Challenge

Book 4: Chameleon's Death Dance

 

About B.R. Kingsolver:

BR Kingsolver, author of the Telepathic Clans and Chameleon Assassin series, grew up surrounded by writers, artists, myths, and folklore in Santa Fe, The City Different, in the Land of Enchantment.

After living all over the US and exploring the world--from Amsterdam to the Romanian Alps, and Russia to the Rocky Mountains--Kingsolver trades time between Baltimore and Albuquerque. With an education in nursing and biology and a Master's degree in business, Kingsolver has done everything from construction to newspaper editor and jewelry to computers.

Kingsolver, a passionate lifetime skier, currently spends time writing and working with computers while living nine blocks from the harbor in Baltimore as servant in residence to a very demanding cat.

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