Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is not just Friday - which is always awesome - it is also Valentine's Day, and release day for Kidnapped and its companion book Courage and Retribution. What a day, right! 

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know some people who have a hard time with Valentine's, because they feel lonely. "No one buys me flowers." One of my friends said Valentine's feels like a scorn, and it's the worst day of the year.

To me, that's not what it's about. To me, it's a great day to be thankful for the people in my life, and my pets. And, to take the opportunity to spoil myself.

It sounds trite to say that life becomes what we do with it, but it's true. :-)

And here we should have a logical connection into talking about Kidnapped, but I got nothing, so let's just plunge in.

I watched a lot of Better of Ted when I wrote that book. It was my favorite TV show at the moment, and yes, "my" Veronica is inspired by Portia de Rossi as Veronica Palmer.


I mean, how can you watch that and not be inspired? 😂😂😂  Several of the other characters have their roots in the same show. If you haven't watched Better off Ted, it's worth seeing. I don't think I outright stole any of them, but they were definitely inspiration.

Anyway, you can see a preview of the book here. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!



Thursday, January 30, 2020

Kidnapped is back!

Kidnapped is back, and available for pre-order! 

This year is the 10th anniversary of my first novel: Kidnapped. To celebrate, it has been re-edited and gotten a brand new cover from Deranged Doctor Design. It will be released on February 14, and it's available for pre-order now.

Blurb

It's a late winter night when Patricia Risden heads home in her car, on a road she's driven many times before. She doesn't have a care in the world, that is, until a man appears from nowhere, right in front of her. The next thing she knows, she's a prisoner of the unscrupulous Alliance Commander Travis 152; an intimidating man who demands information and complete cooperation.

Travis soon realizes his mistake; Tricia doesn't know anything, and she is incapable of even getting a glass of water from the ship's computer. Infamous for being a ruthless executioner, conditioned since childhood to feel nothing besides fear and pain, he still deems her harmless, and finds enough pity for the lost young woman to let her out of the cell; a decision that will change both their lives forever.

Excerpt

A voice from his memory echoed in his head. It was his commanding officer snarling, “Such a pathetic little creature.”

He heard a woman’s scream, one of many imprints in his brain that would never go away, and his commander’s quiet laughter. Through the commotion in his mind, he could also hear the real but muffled sound of Patricia crying on the other side of the wall.

Shaking his head made the imagined noises go away, but the weeping was still there.

Would he be able to hear it everywhere in the ship?

He turned and entered the cell again.

“Don’t do that.”

Patricia lifted her face up and sniffled, “Don’t do what?”

“The thing with your eyes.”

“I’ll stop if you take me home. I didn’t do anything.” She was trying to shout at him, but her voice cracked, and he felt an unfamiliar twinge of sympathy.

“I know. You’re really useless, aren’t you?”

He looked down at his gloved hand, flexing it, but couldn’t help seeing she was trying to dry her eyes. Probably too scared of him not to obey.

“Maybe I should just kill you. Since you’re useless.”

The threat didn’t seem to faze her, and he crouched down to be able to look into her eyes. “I can’t take you back. I’ve already reported in I’m bringing you. They’d kill us both.”

“So what? Now they’ll only kill me? Unless you do it first?”

Feisty. Admirable, but not a quality that will serve her well.

“No. You’re young and strong. You’ll be sent to some colony as labor. It could be worse.”

He rose up again and headed towards the door, and when he heard her voice call out for him this time, he did glance back over his shoulder.

“Can I have some more water?”

He surprised himself with flashing a smile.

“Figure out how to get it.”

Back on the bridge, Travis sunk down in his chair and stared straight ahead.

If she was still crying, he couldn’t hear it.

Good.

A holographic screen flickered on, showing Patricia sitting on the cell floor. He didn’t particularly want to look, but found it difficult to keep his eyes averted from the tiny, three-dimensional woman. He saw her get to her feet, approaching the wall where he got the water for her, muttering, “Figure out how to get it.”

He watched her without blinking as she made a couple of tries, finally got the terminal to appear and jumped around jubilant, displaying more energy than he could ever remember feeling.

After taking a sip, she paced around the cell, talking to herself.

“I have something now. The next time he comes in I can... I can jump him. Surprise him. He has a weapon I’m sure. I can take it and force him to take me home.”

After taking a long good look at the useless cup in her hand, she slumped and tossed it to the side. When she sunk down in a corner and started to cry again, Travis said, “Turn it off.”

The familiar voice of his computer echoed in the room.

“Why did you go down to her, Commander? You didn’t torture her.”

He looked at his hand in the black glove.

“You do your job and deal with the ship. I’ll do mine.”

Help me make it a success. Pre-order your copy now! :-) 

Weird and disturbing

I was browsing through the Kindle version of Valentin last night - and discovered sentences that don't belong in the book. At first I thought, "Am I really that incoherent? This is complete gibberish" - but it's not in my source file.

The "extra" material isn't in my Word file, but re-uploading it didn't make the sentences go away in the Kindle version. I am stumped.

I've contacted Amazon support, and it will be interesting to see what they have to say.

Hopefully this isn't a common problem: I haven't read the Kindle versions of all my books - I've just trusted that they contain the same text as the source files. Now I wonder if all of them are filled with gibberish sentences.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Courage and Retribution

Time goes by so very quickly, and 2020 is the ten-year anniversary of the first release of Kidnapped. I'm currently on the final read-through of a complete re-edit that - in my opinion - makes the story flow a lot better. It will be available soon. And this time, I mean it, lol. I even have the new cover!

Anyway, there are three short story prequels to Kidnapped, and now all three are available for the first time. Courage and Retribution will be published on February 14, 2020, and can be preordered now!

It's a short read and the Kindle version is 99 cents, or free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Blurb:

On the outskirts of the ever-present Alliance’s watchful eye, William Reynolds leads a good life as preacher and mayor for a small town. He pays little attention to the iron fist that runs the galaxy, and ignores rumors of a paranoid government using violence to keep its citizens in line.

The conflict between the Alliance and its people comes uncomfortably close as a family fleeing oppression seeks refuge in William’s basement. He agrees to help them, but the Alliance is on their heels, and reaching out to the people in need proves to be more dangerous than he could ever have anticipated. Once events are set in motion, there is no going back.

The beginning:

Aaren pressed the button to call the lift and grimaced when a display lit up, telling him he would be waiting for a while.

He considered taking the emergency stairs, some exercise would do him good, but the server central was located eighteen floors below his office. Even if he could jog his way up all those steps, he didn’t want to.

He crossed his arms over his chest and averted his eyes from the reflection in the metallic doors. His temples showed signs of silver and he couldn’t escape small wrinkles forming around his eyes. Soon he’d have to resort to chemicals and surgery to live up to the Alliance’s standard on a leader.

Screw that.

He had better things to do than meddle with his face.

Being head of IT security at the Alliance’s central bank was a prestigious job - and kept him much too busy to dilly dally with insignificant details like hair and wrinkles.

When he reached the floor that held his office, he decided he deserved a cup of tea to get through the morning’s pile of routine administration. There were no doubt heaps of forms to be filed. He should get an assistant to deal with all these tedious tasks, but working closely with someone would require incessant explanations and communication.

Unbearable.

If he did it himself, it would be done right the first time.

He usually avoided the common areas. At lunch time, the break room would be filled with chattering, gossiping hens, but at this hour it might be empty.

 Computers are so much easier to handle. Clean, logical, and easy to understand.

At first, he thought the room was deserted and exhaled with relief. Then, he spotted three people by the beverage dispenser. He recognized the all too talkative chief programmer and her assistant, but who was the third?

There shouldn’t be any new faces on his floor.

Berry was good at her job, as a programmer she almost surpassed even him, but she was oh so sociable. This was probably one of her cousins, or nieces, or other distant relatives.

Company security should not take a backseat to entertaining family.

“What’s going on here?”

Berry’s assistant winced at the curt question, but re-found his footing quickly.

“Sir, this is Jayda. She’s the new programmer.”

The girl was young, mid-twenties maybe, with cheerful eyes and her hair cut in a short bob. It was jet black, except for a bright blue stripe in her bangs. Her hair was at least two inches longer on the right than on the left.

Peculiar.

If this was the fashion of the day, he must be getting old, indeed.

“Welcome.”

Berry giggled. He hated a woman her age giggling. It made her sound mentally challenged.

“This is Aaren. He’s our boss.”

How could the woman talk and still giggle?

Jayda didn’t look intimidated at all. She flashed a smile so sincere it made him forget to be grumpy. Luckily, his communicator beeped before he accidentally showed himself human to his subordinates.

“Sir, this is the lobby. The Supreme Commander is here to see you.”

Great.

Exactly what he needed to make the day even better.

The guard’s voice had a slight tremble, and who could blame him. With any luck at all, the informal Alliance sovereign brought her favorite killing machine along.

Hopefully, he could get them out of the building before Murder and Mayhem became annoyed and destroyed something.


Help me get it off to a great start and order yours now! :-)

Monday, January 27, 2020

Valentin - new novella available now

Valentin is a novella that has slumbered in my computer since... 2009. I never did anything with it, because it's so unlike other things I've written. It feels like 2020 is a good time to let it get out there. Who knows, someone might enjoy it.  

When Anette’s car breaks down, she knows asking her ex-boyfriend for help isn’t the best idea. Sadly, it’s still the only idea she has. She doesn’t expect the encounter to go smoothly, but she also doesn’t expect him to drop the car off with a Russian gangster. The chop shop boys don’t even bother with picking it apart for parts – they dump it in the junkyard.

Valentin Abarnikov has problems of his own, millions of dollars’ worth of them. An old lost Impala isn’t high on his list of things to deal with, but the crying woman in his garage is definitely more interesting than his business partners. It doesn’t take long until the people chasing him takes interest in her, and suddenly, finding a way out has become urgent.

It is available now. It's a quick read, but with the bedroom door a little more open than my characters usually leave it.

Monday, January 20, 2020

I have officially reached "Crazy Cat Lady" status

I never really liked the term "crazy cat lady" - I find it demeaning to both women and cats - and I definitely haven't considered myself a person in the category. Yes, my cats are a big part of my life. Yes, I work for an animal rescue organization. But, I only have two cats.

This weekend, I realized I'm wrong. I'm not just an official "Crazy Cat Lady" - I'm the "Crazy Cat Lady" of my village.

Evidence to support the statement:

I not only work at an animal rescue organization - I also volunteer for a small, local cat rescue. Actually, I'm on the board. Okay, I'm the primary signatory, but I did not found the organization.

Anyway, we had a board meeting this past weekend, at my place. In the midst of the meeting, one of the girls says, "There's a blue car outside. A man is coming this way. Is it your boyfriend?"

I'm like, "No. I'd remember if I had a boyfriend."

It turned out to be the local pizza delivery guy, and he came to see if I wanted another four cats. Or maybe five, the number wasn't completely clear.

That means, a random man I only know from his bringing pizza to my house a couple of times must have thought, "She's middle-aged and single, I bet she needs more cats."

The Crazy Cat Lady. It's me. Here's my blind cat helping me work through sleeping on my right arm. He's named Adam after Adam in the Embarkment 2577 series, they share the love for stealing croissants...




Friday, September 27, 2019

The age of "Not My Fault"

Lately, young people changing the world has been a big thing in the media. I approve - if anyone can do it, it's teens. They have an energy and drive that we adults long since forgot.

Naturally, there's a backlash - mainly from white men - who do all they can to slander the new generation. (Read, Greta Thunberg.)

"Did you see this? She can't even talk if she doesn't have a script. We're all being played."

It's true: Greta Thunberg sounds better when scripted. We all do. And to be perfectly honest, there's a prominent figure in a large country to the west of me that can't speak coherently even when reading from a script. They still let "grab them by the pussy" lead one of the largest nations on the planet.

"It isn't my fault. These damn kids keep blaming my generation, but when I was a child, we got milk in glass bottles. I liked glass bottles. They use plastic and throw it away."

I've seen this image shared probably 20 times in my Facebook newsfeed in the past few days. Sometimes it says Britain and sometimes USA, but the sentiment is the same.

I don't even know where to start with this one.

First of all, if it wasn't your generation, who do you think did it?

I was born in the 1970s. The glass bottles were gone long before I was born. We had milk cartons and I learned to read from them. We still have milk cartons and I still read from them. Nowadays I buy oat milk and not milk from a cow, but it still comes in a carton.

If remembering milk bottles is your great argument for how the current environmental crisis isn't your fault, I have to ask, what did you do when "progress" replaced them?

Obviously not enough - they disappeared. Having liked them back in the day when they still existed does not absolve you from guilt and the milk bottle argument is moot.

Who removed the milkman you're so proud of remembering? Who brought plastic toys to fast food chains? Who invented polystyrene food boxes? Who invented the "mummy's 4x4" - it wasn't the children of today!

Another one is, "When I grew up, we learned to use things over and over again."

I did too. But be honest: Ever since then, you haven't purchased a new item in your life?

I bet you have participated in modern society with the same enthusiasm as the rest of us. Is that a gigantic widescreen TV I see on your wall? And a new iPhone in your hand?

When this is written it's 2019 and I think Greta Thunberg is 16. That means she was born in 2003. She didn't create the consumerist society and the problems we have today - she was born into a way of life we created. You, me, all of us. We might not have made the inventions or the major decisions, but we did our part in making it happen. Her generation never had a choice.

All of us who are adults today have contributed to the problem. If you don't think it's your generation, I'd love to hear who you think did it?

It's not the children of today, because the problems were here when they were born.

I'm not innocent. I love technology and I bought a brand new computer this year. Sure, my old one broke and I need a computer to work, but I could have found a used one.

I try to telecommute as much as possible, but sometimes I fly. To the other side of the world. And I have the audacity to enjoy it. It's true: I like flying.

Meat is a large environmental problem and today we humans consume it as never before. When I was a kid, you had potatoes and vegetables with a small piece of meat. Today, the steaks are larger than the plates. But I'm sure you who are so innocent don't eat that?

I don't eat meat and I strive to grow a lot of my own vegetables, but this does not absolve me of guilt. I have dirty secrets: I love imported fruits and vegetables. Especially avocados. They're apparently a huge culprit of the current environmental crisis, but I still sometimes buy them.

We live in a time where the global seed vault on Svalbard ran into problems because the permafrost is gone. People on Iceland recently held a funeral for an ancient glacier that disappeared. The ocean levels are rising at a never before seen level. Koalas are functionally extinct and the bees are dying out. (The bees are a problem that will affect you too, because you will starve to death.)

But sure, your generation is innocent, because when you grew up, there were milk bottles.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Sorcerer is back!

When Anne accepts a job in a German boarding school for gifted children, her main concern is surviving without California’s sunshine and beaches. She doesn’t anticipate anything more dangerous than getting lost in an unfamiliar place. Nowhere does her work description mention three men betting on who will get her into bed first, or being rescued by the reclusive math teacher David Lindeman; a man her new friends claim is evil incarnate.

The old castle houses many secrets, and as days go by Anne finds it increasingly difficult to separate reality and superstition. She becomes a reluctant participant in an ancient battle between good and evil, and to survive, she must channel a power from deep within herself she could never have imagined. Who can she trust in a world where myths become real and nothing is what it seems?

Available now!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Shadow of a Man has been republished!

There might be a place Theresa fears more than Parnassus, but she can’t think of one. The old and decrepit station houses all sorts of cruelty, and to make it better, this is where her husband Dominic was imprisoned, drugged, and tortured. He returned a mere shadow of his old self, scarred by abuse and Uudon withdrawal.

Parnassus is the last place Theresa wants to go, and the only one she can’t escape. Dominic’s apparent madness does nothing to alleviate her fears. Her once sweet husband has turned into a womanizing monster, and will destroy anyone who gets in his way.

Geo, her faithful and all too handsome bodyguard, appears to be the only one on her side. He once helped rescue Dominic, and pays for the insurrection with a lifetime on the run. This might be a situation not even he can handle, and Theresa fears none of them will make it out alive.

Available now!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Operation Earth is back!

Seven billion people on Earth go about their daily lives, and no one is prepared when a global EMP slows the world to a crawl. Within days alien soldiers line the streets, and life will never be the same. In the midst of chaos, Rachael Hill struggles to adapt to the new order, doing her best to keep herself and her cat alive.

On a ship far above the planet surface, Peter just got his new Earth name, and can’t even remember his identity from the last world he visited. It’s another day on the job, one more planet on a never-ending list. That is, until Rachael bumps into him, dropping exotic objects all around his feet. His culture taught him females should be obeyed and protected, but he never had an urge to leave himself at a woman’s mercy until now.

Available for Kindle and as paperback now. :-)

Friday, August 31, 2018

Life when you're clumsy

This summer has been the hottest and driest I've experienced in Sweden. We had snow, about a week of spring, and then it became hot. All through summer, it rained maybe three times. This week, water has returned with a vengeance - it has been pouring down.

As a result, my back yard is now a slope of fresh grass and mud. Naturally, I still clomp out in garden slippers, and naturally I just experienced close contact with the ground.

I surprised myself with the amount of creative curses that flowed out of my mouth. Good thing no one else was close enough to hear.

Catching oneself with one's hands may be a natural instinct, but it isn't a good idea. I could hear something snap in my right hand. By now it's swollen and sad, and all activities including typing are one handed.

Five pets to tend to and just opening a can of cat food is near impossible. Work is out of the question.

I hope it will heal on its own - quickly - but there might be a trip to the doctor in my near future.

Bugger!

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is not just Friday - which is always awesome - it is also Valentine's Day, and release day for Kidnapped and its companion book C...