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...




Dreams coming to fruition

Everyone has dreams, visions, and fantasies, but they differ wildly between us. The question is - which are worth turning into goals? What d...