Breaking Branches by J. Kahele

BREAKING BRANCHES

Blink: The Series

by J Kahele

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi with a touch of Paranormal

Tragedy strikes Tia Cartwright at the tender age of fourteen and she employs alcohol as a coping mechanism, to rid the haunting memories.

By eighteen she is a full-fledged alcoholic. Attempting to find sobriety, she makes the decision to move, with her cousin Nick, to a place where she had been happy as a child, her parents’ vacation house in Maui.

Sobering up is a struggle for her. The detoxing more difficult than she realizes. She seeks comfort for her troubles in the ocean and all its surroundings. It’s here she encounters the woman on the cliff. A woman with breathtaking beauty and eyes that draw her in. A woman who will change her life forever.

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Dangerously Hers by A.M. Griffin

 

DANGEROUSLY HERS

Loving Dangerously, Book 3

by A.M. Griffin

Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Jess hates aliens. After the invasion that destroyed Earth, the extraterrestrial bastards sold her to a brothel as a sex slave. She may have escaped but the old memories and fears still linger in the dark corners of her mind. Supposedly Sonis is just the place for her—somewhere safe, where she can heal and start fresh. She’s almost hopeful…until she meets Rasha, her new boss.

Rasha, Captain of the Sonis Royal Guard, is a warrior through and through. He’s huge, sinfully sexy and could have any woman on Sonis—but the woman he wants is Jess. He’s very much an alien and Jess knows she should hate him or at least be wary, but whenever he’s around, she loses control. She tells herself it’s only sex—amazing, mind-blowing sex like nothing else she’s ever experienced—but there’s something about Rasha that shakes her soul. The feel of his skin against hers, the look in his eyes as he touches her—they make her want to believe it’s possible to find love and begin again.

 

 

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Adamanta: Shafts of Kudos

ADAMANTA

Season 1, Episode 2: Shafts of Kudos
by T. Y. Carew & Stephen P. Scott

Genre: Science Fiction

The mining shafts on Kudos have been producing increasingly smaller quantities of the mind-controllable Adamanta, but when you’re fighting an undefeatable enemy you have to use every advantage you can gain.
Colonel Xander and his crew are there to secure as much of it as possible for the human military force. When an explosion traps three of the crew in the mine, the race is on to save them as well as ascertain whether the small operation is under attack from the formidable Beltine.
The explosion might have been written off as an accident if Marx, the Kudos safety engineer, hadn’t found evidence of Xander’s own transport pod having been rigged with enough explosive to destroy the whole mine and every breathing being in its vicinity.
Who would want Xander and his crew dead? And what deadly secrets does Marx harbor? 

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Adamanta by T. Y. Carew & Jess Mountifield

 

ADAMANTA

Season 1, Episode 1: Adamanta
by T. Y. Carew & Jess Mountifield

Genre: Science Fiction

A team of humans is willing to face almost insurmountable odds to save the human race from annihilation. But quite how safe from discovery and attack is the planet the research team has been secluded on?

Matt has spent her whole life helping her parents with research that could change the fate of the entire human race. She believes it’s time to take it to the next stage and use it in active combat, but is she really ready to join the war and fight for mankind?
Xander has dedicated his whole life to the military, keeping humans throughout the galaxy alive, no matter the risks. He’s struggling not to become disillusioned when, time and again, running away is the only option. Can he find the one thing humanity needs to turn the tide, and can he cope with that thing being a person?

 

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The Game Begins by Victoria Danann

 

THE GAME BEGINS

R. Caine High School
by Victoria Danann
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Fantasy Myths
When it came to the attention of the old ones that their creations, the Earth gods, had been playing games at the expense of humankind for millennia, they put a stop to it. But the rebellious gods were far too addicted to their games to give them up. After several summit meetings, they voted to use their own children as players and locate the playing field in the most treacherous environment in the known universe. High school.
To make it even more interesting, they would strip their children of their memories and withhold the rules of the game. The players believed they were ordinary kids until they were transferred to R. Caine High School. When odd things begin to happen, the players gradually realize they have special gifts or attributes. But that doesn’t mean they can’t die.

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Acadia’s Revenge by Tracy Ellen

 

ACADIA’S REVENGE
Undying Love Series – Book 2
by Tracy Ellen
Genre: Science Fiction/Apocalypse Romance 

 

Acadia King never imagined the catastrophic event she’d diligently planned years for would be an infection turning normal people into rabid crazies, nor had she ever thought surviving a global pandemic would be easy. But now that the worst nightmare has happened, Acadia is damn sure defending her home against the homicidal infected is her number one priority. Nowhere near the top of that priority list is her personal issue of a younger football player inexplicably proclaiming his love, even if he’s the hottest man left on earth. Acadia’s stubborn determination to ignore her personal feelings for Rod works, but then tragedy strikes. Tryg Johnson, the psychopathic leader of the Iron Fists biker gang, is back and proves he’ll do anything to get revenge on Acadia.
Now Acadia is all about getting personal!


Wrapped tightly in Rod’s strong arms, I pretended nothing existed but us. There were no problems–not the infected, not the refugees littering my farm, not the gap of a dozen years in our ages, and not Rod’s sweet, if idiotic, declaration of love after knowing me less than one day.

Try as I might, I couldn’t pretend for long. At this point, life was nothing but problems, and the problems weren’t going away anytime soon. Regardless what I’d said in my little speech, I knew in my gut life was about to get much worse for us all.
Even if I wished it could be different, I’m also too practical to believe in love at first sight. Rod can use any facile arguments he wants to try and convince me otherwise, but I highly doubt he’ll succeed.
Still, when Rod lowered his mouth to mine, I lost myself in his kisses. My desire for him roared back to life with every lick of his talented tongue. In seconds, his mouth brought me to that hazy place where nothing matters except getting our hands all over each other, and the throbbing need begging to be fulfilled between my legs.
This wasn’t love, but lust.
Now lust I’ve got no complaints about.
Lust feels freaking wonderful.
I’ve missed lust in my life.
Rod gave my ass a decisive slap, and I yelped in surprise, jumping away from him.
Glaring, I rubbed my stinging butt cheek. “What the heck was that for?”
“I wanted a little hug before we left, was all.” Rod grinned, his teeth a flash of white in the shadows. “Listen, my precious, sex-starved pixie,” he reached out and ruffled my short hair, “as much as I look forward to our next five seconds of lovemaking, especially if it’s you mounting me against a barn wall in public, we need to go get that highway cleared.”
“Oh my God, will you let it go already?” I whispered fiercely, knocking his hand away.
I swiveled my head to be sure we hadn’t been overheard, even as I blushed at the reminder of my behavior in the shower. After that performance, Rod had to believe I was a head case. My emotions had been all over the place. At his teasing reminder, I was mortified all over again.
“Sure, in about ten years or so.” He shook his head and whistled softy. “That ass of yours? It seriously does things to me, woman.”
At the sound of his low laughter, I was thankful for the dark night surrounding us to hide the fiery heat flooding my cheeks.
“You had to go and ruin this moment, didn’t you?” I accused while walking away in the direction Sean had taken.
Not that I could blame Rod for his gloating. I’d jumped on him in the shower, rode the man for all of fifteen seconds (not five!) like there was no tomorrow, which for all we knew there wouldn’t be, experienced an orgasm so intense the top of my head still felt blown off, and then left him alone in there. Talking about bad manners, I hadn’t even cared if he got off or not.
“Me ruin a moment?” Falling in beside me and throwing a comradely arm over my shoulders, Rod drawled, “You’re the one who hopped away faster than a scared, nakey bunny.”
Okay, so maybe jumping off him and running out of the bathroom without even drying off hadn’t been the most dignified of exits, but comparing me to a scared, nakey bunny was harsh.
“Sorry I didn’t dawdle on your knee,” I bit out, flinging off his arm. “I thought it was more important Bobby heard it from me, and not Uncle Coop, that I’d killed his stupid father.” I raised my voice over his laughter, “As well as show my supposedly dead face at the first meeting of everyone gathered on King Farm.”
I started to walk away, but Rod grabbed my shoulders and swung me to face him.
“You were running away from your feelings.” He made the statement in his quarterback voice that brooked no opposition, tipping my chin up with a knuckle. At my stony stare, he laughed again, but softer, his eyes narrowing thoughtfully. “I’ve got my work cut out for me, don’t I, teaching you how it all works?”
I watched him warily. “How what all works?”
He sighed and tapped my chin with a long finger. “Acadia, if you think that was my knee you were dawdling on, you’ve got a lot to learn about sex.”


AmazonB&NKobo 

Amazon

The first book in the Undying Love Series, Acadia’s Law is a thrilling story on the eve of the zombie apocalypse.

Ask yourself: How would YOU survive an epidemic?
Acadia King is a young widow about to discover her inner badass when she is suddenly faced with answering this question, and in ways she could have never dreamed possible at the start of her evening. It has been two long years since the death of her husband. Caving to the pressure from her good friends to go on a blind date, Acadia’s plan for a night of simple pleasure is about to get complicated. Not only does Acadia meet a younger, impossibly hot football player named Rod, but the hotel is host to much more than a fun Casino Night. A viral epidemic that turns people into homicidal crazies has begun to sweep across the Twin Cities and the hotel bar erupts into a savage battleground. Acadia and Rod, along with Rod’s two offensive linemen and a blonde groupie, barely escape with their lives. Acadia, having no other choice, reluctantly leads the group back to her home on King Farm.
Overnight, the epidemic tears loose the thin veneer of civilization. Threatened on all sides, Acadia silently vows to protect the family and friends she has left. Her promise is put to the test immediately, but the infected are not the only battle Acadia, Rod, and the other survivors on King Farm will have to fight against. When greed, betrayal, and lawless chaos start to rule, Acadia finds out being tough is one thing, but does she have the skills and strength to be the leader their small band needs to survive? Or will it cost more than she has to give?
*Acadia’s Law is meant to entertain adult audiences.

Tracy Ellen was born in Indiana to middle-class parents, the third out of five hellions. She often used her supernatural powers to compel her family members to listen to her talk and tell stories. When that tough crowd laughed of their own free will, Tracy knew the world would someday, somehow be her stage. Now she’s a full-time writer living her dream. Tracy’s resided in the Midwest her whole life–in a small town, on a farm, and in the big city. Currently, she lives in the suburbs of St Paul, Minnesota with her husband and family. Stay in touch by checking out Tracy’s website, and then signing up for her monthly newsletter to be notified of new books coming your way, giveaways, and exclusive content. She also has a fetish about giving fun surprise gifts to her lovely newsletter members every edition. (Hint: She hopes that entices you to her website.)

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Snow in July by Kim Iverson Headlee

SNOW IN JULY
by
Kim Iverson Headlee
Official genre of book: Science Fiction – Fantasy crossover
Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate’s Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people’s lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.
Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother. Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman…unless it snows in July.
Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman “squire.” But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.
Alain’s friendship with Sir Ruaud, his polished manners and speech, fighting skills, and scars—it made less sense than ever that he could be a squire. “Who are you, really?” she whispered.
His back stiffened, and he released her hand to give her a curious look. Finally, he smiled. “A complete fool.”
She arched an eyebrow. “Hardly that, if you possessed the wit to locate me. I mean, you must be a knight. Don’t bother to deny it. There can be no other reasonable explanation.”
He regarded her for a long moment. “Yes. I am a knight.”

“But why the disguise?” She recoiled as an unpleasant thought returned. “Sir Robert didn’t send you to test my virtue, did he?”

“Mon Dieu, no! Never once did that cross his mind.”
She felt her brow wrinkle. “How can you be so certain?”
“I have known Sir Robert my entire life.” His smile turned enigmatic. “He would never resort to such a ploy.”
“But he would send you and Sir Ruaud ahead to look me over, is that it?” Her ire rose on the wings of indignation. “To determine whether I am a worthy match for his lordship?” His smile inverted to dread. “Hah. I am right.”
Denying him a chance to reply, she shot to her feet. Her instinct suggested escaping into the maze, but fear of becoming lost in the mist pushed her toward the tower’s door. The bolt’s heaviness prevented her from locking him out, so she concentrated on making best speed. Pounding footsteps warned her of Alain’s pursuit.
He caught her wrist while she was still on the stairs, but she yanked it free and continued up. On the landing outside the upper chamber, she had to pause for air. He joined her before she could escape.
“Please, my lady,” he said between breaths. “Let me explain.”
“What’s to explain? Sir Robert sent you to scout me out, and you agreed. You Normans are a despicable lot. Every last, stinking one of you! I thought I had met one who wasn’t.” She blinked hard to fight off the welling tears. “I was wrong.”
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet. She has been an award-winning novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight first edition, Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying the Arthurian Legends for nigh on half a century.

In Irina’s Cards by Christine Hart

IN IRINA’S CARDS

THE VARIANT CONSPIRACY

by

Christine Hart

Editor & Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Cover Designer: Covers by Ramona

Official Genre: NA Paranormal Sci-Fi Romance

In Irina’s Cards is the story of 19-year-old Irina Proffer who discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery. Following visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards, Irina learns of an amazing variation in her genetic code. She has the ability to see the past, present and future, in her life and the lives around her.

Irina sets out from her northern home for BC’s coastal capital to get answers. She is drawn in by a powerful first love and a compelling, yet dangerous mystery. Working at Innoviro Industries and meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip. At the close of the novel, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.
I’d like to set up this excerpt if I can. This section is taken from Chapter 4. Title character Irina is still coming to terms with the fact that ‘variant’ really means mutant with a noticeable gift or ability. We get a chance to see Irina having a vision. And we get a first glimpse at the aquakinetic, pyrokinetic, and impossibly strong variations in three other core characters.
We reached the end of the Harbour and the coastline opened up around the corner. I saw a sign for ferries to the US in front of a giant concrete breakwater and a pub decorated with a helm wheel and a mural with starfish and orcas. The hazy soft blues of the ocean and sky were broken by the jagged edges of American snow-capped mountains on the horizon. The seaside sidewalk had a mix of young families, dog-walkers, and spry seniors in trendy windbreakers.
“You know what they say about the people here in Victoria, right?” said Jonah, as he watched me watch everyone else.
“No, I can’t say that I do. More money than they know what to do with?”
“True, but not as bad as Vancouver. Ever heard of the saying ‘newlyweds and nearly deads’ or as my mom says, ‘God’s waiting room.’”
“Kind of a dark way to look at things, isn’t it?”
“My mom’s a dark lady, but hilarious. I hope you don’t mind, but I also invited Cole and his sister. You’ll love this little restaurant. It’s got awesome food and live music, but not too hipster-ish,” said Jonah.
Something dropped in my chest. If Cole brought his sister, we were just a group of friends going for dinner. I felt silly for having thought that we were going on a date. We turned another corner and Jonah pulled the car over next to a brick building with a 50’s style neon sign that read ‘Cymbals’ next to a caricature of a drum set. I followed Jonah through the wrought iron gate and looked up at the oak tree on the lawn next to the patio. Tiny fresh leaves and new buds covered the gnarled old tree. It was also home to dozens and dozens of sneakers, canvas shoes, skate shoes, oxfords – basically any kind of shoe with laces to tie together.
The air felt warm enough to linger, so I walked over to the tree and looked upward. I smiled. I reached up to one of the lower branches and touched one of the shoes. The yard and the tree melted away. I saw the face of a girl with faintly bluish skin and platinum hair. She turned and I saw two leather-like wings flex and relax. Her shirt had been cut to make room for her wings which stretched out past the frayed edges of the fabric. She was standing in a sewer or catacomb.
Faces milled around the winged girl. It wasn’t quite like a party, maybe more like a camp. An older lady standing next to the winged girl reached down to the ground. She pinched the concrete and plucked something, maybe a stone, off the surface. The stone wriggled. It was a camouflaged beetle, exactly like the one I’d seen on my first day in the city. She lifted the beetle to her mouth and I reeled back.
The yard outside Cymbals surrounded me again in a blink. Jonah stared at me. I noticed my arm had stayed raised beneath the shoes and withdrew it.
“Are you all right?”
I heard fear in his voice.
“Rubin mentioned that you were psychic, but I never knew what it actually looked like. I mean, I’ve never witnessed anyone ‘see’ something if that makes sense.”
“Oh, I … what does it look like? It’s still pretty new for me. I’ve always been alone when that happens, but I hadn’t even wondered what somebody watching me gets to see.”
“You looked sort of, gone. And then your eyes rolled back for a moment. I thought you were having a seizure.”
I looked around the yard and fortunately we were alone. Still, I didn’t want to keep talking about this stuff where we could be overheard. More importantly, what was Rubin doing sharing my personal information while giving me his best poker face?
“Let’s go inside. I’m hungry.” I didn’t much feel like sitting down to a social night anymore.
Cole waved from a table on the other side of the building. Sitting next to him, a girl with purple dreadlocks looked up from her purse and smiled.
The restaurant was full and the combined conversations created a loud chatter. Dim candlelight, a few glass chandeliers, and an antique-looking piano in the corner set a romantic atmosphere that sparked another twinge of embarrassment. On the other hand, the abstract and industrial mixed media wall décor had me looking around for art and film students. Aside from a few biker bars, the edgiest hangout I knew of in Prince George was an indie coffee shop – and it had only been open for a few years when I left.
We made our way around and between tables. Everyone in the restaurant looked like an artist or an intellectual. I felt like an ugly duckling in my plain, boring clothes, but I was glad for the first time since starting my new job that not all of the blue dye had gone from my hair. Jonah reached the table and pulled out a chair for me. We sat down and Cole scowled.
“Dude, what’s up with the timeline fail? We’ve been here for like, half an hour,” said Cole.
“Ignore his attitude. I’m Faith,” the girl said as she extended her hand to me and grinned happily. The flickering light glinted off a stud in her nose and a ring in her eyebrow. She wore dark makeup on her eyes and mouth. She had the same coffee brown eyes as Cole. I couldn’t tell if it was her features or the eyeliner and lipstick, but she looked striking in a bold, exotic way. As we shook hands, her gaze shifted over to Jonah.
We looked at our menus in awkward silence, waiting for a server, sipping our water. I sighed and put down my menu. I could feel Cole’s eyes on me as I watched Faith stare at Jonah, the only person still looking at his menu. I gave in and glanced back at Cole briefly with a small smile. This was all heading in the wrong direction. The time for tact expired along with my patience.
“So I take it we’re all mutants here,” I said casually.
Jonah sprayed water onto his menu and coughed. Cole looked at me urgently. Faith’s mouth made a small ‘O’ under her confused frown.
“Seriously, I came here, to Victoria, because I started having visions of this place and I wanted answers. All I’ve gotten is cryptic nonsense. Other than meeting you people, I’ve learned next to nothing. Rubin is all vague double-talk. It’s getting old. I want to know what you all know.”
Jonah looked at me and took a breath as if to say something. He decided against it and looked around our corner of the restaurant. Nobody paid any attention to us. He placed his hand over the droplets of water on his laminated menu. The water coalesced into puddles under his palm. As he concentrated on the small pool, it lifted off the menu and spread into a donut shape. The circle broke and the stream became a spiral, getting thinner and thinner until it evaporated into steam, absorbed into Jonah’s hand.
Faith’s frown turned into a smile as she looked at Jonah. She picked up one of the unlit candles on our table and pinched the wick between her thumb and forefinger. As she released it a flame sprang to life.
“Well, I’m not breaking this table, that’s for damn sure,” said Cole.
“That’s okay. I saw your street-fight with that bouncer when I first got to town,” I said.
Cole rolled his eyes, but I couldn’t worry about his temper. I wanted to keep talking about Innoviro and Ivan. “So, now that we’re making progress, albeit moving into some surreal comic book world, tell me what’s the deal with Innoviro. What the hell does this company really do?” I felt my adrenaline rise.
“I’m not risking my job so you can get a head start on whatever Ivan has in mind for you. You’re acting like there’s something bad going on here. He helps people like us.” Cole looked over at Jonah. “For some of us, being different is actually a health risk.”
“Dude, leave it alone!” said Jonah.
Faith frowned again. “You’ve met Rubin. He’s like a recruiter. He told you that much at least, didn’t he? He works with Ivan to find people like us and help, if they need it.”
“And what if I don’t need help?” I said.
“You may help others. We’re not all different in the same way. Some of us were born this way and some of us were … made,” said Faith.
“Ivan will talk to you about all of this soon enough. We’re really not allowed to and I think the reasons for that will start to be obvious. It’s not the kind of research the government likes. You can’t put this kind of stuff in a job posting and you definitely can’t chat about it at parties.” Jonah looked around the room again.
“So they’re doing tests on people.” I felt the unease in my gut churning faster. “On us.”
“It’s not like that. We are doing research and development work, but it varies. Sometimes we’re looking at mutation in other animals or plants. We look at weather and geography to understand how a person’s gifts are advantageous or dangerous, depending on where and how they live. Imagine me living in a desert, for example. And we’re not catastrophically testing on people. Sometimes we’ll take a small tissue or fluid sample from a person, but nothing barbaric,” said Jonah. “We’ve also got to make money. Innoviro takes research contracts from public and private firms doing anything from environmental research to mining and industrial development. Ivan keeps a low profile under the guise of confidentiality for his legitimate clients.”
“Are you guys even qualified for this? Or are you all older and more educated than you look?”
“Hey, we’re not screwing around here! Jonah and I were recruited directly from our graduate programs. I was working on a master’s in geology and Jonah had nearly finished his thesis in microbiology. Don’t you think research like this is best conducted by someone who understands it first hand? Could you imagine trying to convince a serious scientist to take this on, in lieu of a real career? You’d have to divulge every secret Innoviro has just to get them to believe the work can be done, let alone get a commitment.” The table crunched under Cole’s grip.
“And how about you?” I nodded at Faith, “Are you some kind of brain surgeon?”
“I’m an IT technician. I specialize in network administration and hardware integration.”
“Wow. I feel like a complete dunce.” I had nothing unique or meaningful to contribute to Innoviro. Nothing but a tissue sample.
“Don’t be intimidated. Remember that you were recruited for a reason. You probably won’t get to know everything the company does. We don’t discuss the details of our work with anyone but our supervisors,” said Faith.
“Lots of projects are shared on a need-to-know basis. But it’s not bad,” said Jonah. “You’ll understand more when Ivan gives you a full tour. Let it happen on his schedule.”
“I can go along for the ride here, but you’ve got to see how this looks from my point of view, getting drawn to a strange city by visions – which are an entirely new phenomenon to me. Have I mentioned yet that I got jumped the other night?”
“What?” said Cole and Jonah in unison.
“And you know why I didn’t get a look at him?” I said.
The boys had quizzical looks on their faces, but Faith looked anxious.
“Because there was nothing to look at,” I said. “Some enormous thing picked me up off the ground and threatened me.”
“You need to tell Rubin. Or Ivan, but not everyone in this restaurant.” Faith scanned the room tensely.
“No kidding.” I lowered my voice. “But since I don’t have a way to get a hold of Rubin, I have to keep my fingers crossed that he’s keeping tabs on me.”
“I’m sure he is. It’s his job to keep us safe,” said Jonah.
Amazon USSoulMate Publishing  Goodreads

Tell us a bit about In Irina’s Cards and The Variant Conspiracy trilogy.
I’d definitely classify this NA trilogy as a cross-genre story. They’re a racy blend of paranormal and sci-fi with a strong romantic sub-plot. The story follows a group of renegade mutants tracking an evil corporate conspiracy from the West Coast of North America into the Mojave Desert and hopping to London, Greece, Egypt, and Kenya. But why don’t I just share the blurb?
In Irina’s Cards is the story of 19-year-old Irina Proffer who discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery. Following visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards, Irina learns of an amazing variation in her genetic code. She has the ability to see the past, present and future, in her life and the lives around her.
Irina sets out from her northern home for BC’s coastal capital to get answers. She is drawn in by a powerful first love and a compelling, yet dangerous mystery. Working at Innoviro Industries and meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip. At the close of the novel, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.
How did you get started as a writer?
I’ve been a writer most of my adult life, but I didn’t set out to be. I went to university with law school in mind, but my first year English teacher encouraged me to be a writer. I didn’t embrace the change right away, but I took a few writing courses. I was 18 when I published my first story in the student newspaper. When I saw my byline in print, I was hooked!
I changed gears into a BA degree with an English major and Professional Writing minor, the latter of which was intended to prepare students for working at newspapers and magazines, as well as corporate communications departments and public relations firms. I figured out pretty quickly that journalism wasn’t my thing. I focused on communications instead. I didn’t switch to fiction until my mid-twenties, experimenting with children’s picture books and short stories before I hit my stride writing young adult. When I realized some of the themes and plots I wanted to explore were more mature than most young adult publishers would tackle, I started considering the new adult market. In Canada, new adult is still being incorporated into the publishing landscape, so the opportunities up here are slim. Fortunately I found an amazing home for The Variant Conspiracy at NY-based Soul Mate Publishing.
Is there anything you’d like your readers to know about you?
First of all I’d like my readers to know how grateful I am that they found me and gave me a chance. With a dizzying array of choices in contemporary fiction, I value every single reader who chooses to spend time with my stories and characters.
Second, I’d like everyone to know that my story ideas come from the heart. I want to entertain and inspire, but I also want my readers to think deeply about human nature, modern society, and the future of our world. It sounds heavy for NA fiction. Hopefully my work is fun at the same time!
What do you think makes a good story?
Above all, I think a story needs a rollercoaster plot. From there, relatable and likeable characters are critical. When I shape my story ideas – both novels and shorts – I think about the stories and characters from my favourite authors that really stuck with me over the years. Who are those favourite authors? To name just a few, I’ll start with contemporary authors like Neil Gaiman, Charlaine Harris, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, and Stephen King. Going back a bit farther, I love John Wyndham, Ray Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien, and H.P. Lovecraft. Although my personal list of amazing writers is miles longer, those are the really recognizable names that top my picks for master story-crafters.
What do you get up to when you’re not writing fiction?
I used to work in the corporate world, specifically marketing and communications. I did mostly business writing – from copywriting, blogging, and press releases to huge policy documents, instruction manuals, and contracts. These days I’m a mom to two toddlers, ages 4 and 1 at the moment.
I also have a bizarre habit of breaking stuff and making stuff for my Etsy shop Sleepless Storyteller. I take apart watches, computers, electronics, and vintage jewellery to create new wearable art. It sounds odd and it is, but turning trash into treasure is too much fun to stop at my own jewellery box. I had to start selling online to make room for new creations.
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write from my suburban Burnaby home staring at North Vancouver’s iconic Coast Mountains. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.
In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.
When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband, baby daughter and preschool son.

 

Promo Tour of Holly Barbo

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF
HOLLY BARBO

TENDRILS

Where ’What if’ becomes ‘What is’
AUTHOR: Holly Barbo
GENRE: Short story collection covering the following genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Sci-fi thriller, Sci-fantasy, Contemporary, Contemporary Thriller, Historical Fiction and Fantasy

Stories come from any number of places. One could start from a memory, a photo in a magazine or from pondering a news item and wondering, “What if?”
This collection arose from that sort of random stimuli. Some are pure imagination of science fiction or fantasy. Others developed from random historical facts or the disturbing news stories of war-torn regions.
This is a collection of stories for those who like to think.
Includes 4 award-winning short stories.
“I enjoyed every story in Tendrils! I am impressed with the versatility and well thought out environment in each setting. Obviously good research was put into writing these stories as well as a wonderful gift of empathy with a delightful touch of practical wisdom. In my opinion the last story would even make a good movie!” (Cynthia)
“An excellent compilation of short stories over different genres. I was highly impressed by the quality of the writing and her use of words, which dragged me in on every page.” (Bookcollecter)
“I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I had a hard time putting the book down. Some stories are short, some long. All are suspenseful & of different genre. I am amazed at her extensive vocabulary and her overall knowledge on so many subjects. Her imagination takes you on a great trip every time with every story. None are ever boring. I highly recommend this latest book of hers. You will not be disappointed. Sit back & take yourself on an adventure. You will learn something too along the way.” (Paul and Patti L. Jordan)
SAMPLE FROM THE SHORT STORY “A CRYSTAL SNOWFLAKE”
Orion gave a quick scan of the room. He needed to make sure he had everything important. His backpack was stuffed and the computer case held so much that there were edges of paper sticking out of it in a haphazard manner. The slender young man slung the strap of the computer bag over his shoulder, grabbed the backpack and headed for the front door. His hand paused as he reached for the knob and he looked out the window.
It was dark and he could see the snow falling through the street lights. There didn’t seem to be anyone about, so he slipped from the house and walked casually to his trusty old Chevy, his breath coming out in rapid visible puffs. The nonchalance was an act. He wanted anyone watching to assume he was going to M.I.T. to get in some late night work. He scanned the shadows, hoping that no one was there. He threw his backpack on the passenger seat then wedged the computer case between it and the seat back. He wanted both within easy reach. Once buckled in, he allowed his nervousness to slip out and thoroughly checked the view from his mirrors.
He eased onto the street and when there was no sign of his tires slipping, increased his speed. Orion reached into the pocket of the backpack for the pre-paid phone that he’d picked up when he determined his cell had been tapped. At the stop sign, he punched in a number. The snow flurries were increasing and he switched on the wipers. Orion waited for his friend to pick up.
He smiled when he heard her voice and responded by saying, “I’m on my way and no one is following me. Just in case, I sent instructions to our safe place. Don’t worry about retrieving the envelope unless I don’t get there by morning. Okay. Gotta go. I’ll be at your door for breakfast with your favorite croissants. Have the coffee brewed.”
Orion laughed at the response. “Okay. I need to concentrate on driving in this stuff. See you soon, Chayse. Bye.”
Beyond the stop sign, the road sloped to a picturesque country bridge, one of many that dotted the New England states. He had to admit it was beautiful in the snowfall but with the driving conditions worsening, he focused on how the car responded to his small adjustments in steering. In the weak light, he didn’t notice the watcher standing in the shelter of some trees on the far side of the road. The muffled figure took a box out of his pocket, pointed it at the car and pushed a button. The loud sibilant schwuff of the slush hitting the car’s undercarriage drowned out the pop.
Without any warning, Orion’s power steering quit. Working to compensate on the slick road, he fought to correct the fish-tailing motion of the car. “Shit!” He tapped the brakes and was horrified as his foot went all the way to the floor.
Fighting the wheel and the momentum of the old Chevy on the slippery surface became his entire focus…and he was losing. He tried gearing down and applying the emergency brake, but the car went into a spin and he caught a glimpse of the bridge railing coming up too fast. “Shit!” The car broke through the wooden barrier and sailed into the darkness over the side.
SUNSTONE
AUTHOR: Holly Barbo
GENRE: Steampunk Thriller

The steam-powered civilization of Myrn is a thriving adolescent culture. But the rapid industrial development has given rise to greed, and the triumvirate of government, banks and industry leaders has lost sight of those it is supposed to serve and protect.
When a mysterious incurable illness sweeps through the impoverished masses, increasing the suffering to breaking point, rebellion seems unavoidable. Society is on the brink of revolution, and the planet is marked for destruction.
M’nacht, his son Kes, and his team of researchers investigate a legend about three sacred fossils that could save the people and rebalance Myrn. However, they are not the only ones looking. Where they see salvation, others see power, wealth and control.
Will the gifts from the goddess Navora be found in time to save their world, or will the sacrifice of innocents be lost under the weight of human depravity and corruption?

“Kes, M’nacht’s been attacked! He is in a bad way. I’m at Paramount Hospital now. He’s in surgery and I don’t have any information. I came back from the market to find the place crawling with security officers and M’nacht bleeding and broken on the floor. The room was a mess, as if someone was determined to find something. The officers wanted me to straighten up after they had gotten their evidence. I couldn’t find anything missing, but I did find M’nacht had programed a message bot and left it docked on the dash-key. Kes—he had set it on a timer to call in the alarm! Damn him! He had known they were coming and sent a delayed call for help! He took that beating when he could have prevented it! This morning before I left, he had mentioned for me to keep in touch with you if he couldn’t. I didn’t think much about it at the time. Anyway, I want you to know I’m here and watching out for him. Knowing that maddening old man, he probably sent you a message too. Whatever it was—heed it!”

Kes ran a shaky hand over his face and let out a shuddering breath. The steam car beeped its proximity to their destination. Kes took over the controls and parked in his space. The messages had rattled him enough that he braked the vehicle with a jolt instead of his normal smooth skill. He would rather be by his adopted father’s side, but the old man’s words kept playing in his mind. He needed to get to M’nacht’s place in the Heights as nonchalantly as possible and let himself in. It sounded like the home could be under surveillance. It didn’t matter who was watching: the law or thugs. He couldn’t be seen and he had to get in and out as fast as possible. This was the last twi-day. Perhaps the gloom would help. Pulling out a bulky sweater and a hat to disguise himself, he slipped the pack on his back and left the garage. His vacation could wait a few minutes.

When Kes got to the house, he furtively stepped off the sidewalk and behind some concealing bushes, then, crouching low, sprinted. He let himself into the empty house and, moving with as much rapid stealth as he could, went to M’nacht’s study. He glanced at the blood stains on the rug, the shards of a broken vase and the pile of books that Quin had organized as he’d tidied up. Wasting no time, Kes strode to the navorite and tapped a rhythm on the base. There was an almost inaudible whirring and a click as the gears engaged and the door opened. Kes listened to the silent house, then stepped inside the closet. He quickly removed the sweater and hat, stuffing them in the pack. The peepholes showed he was still alone in the room, so he turned to the work space. He glanced at the shelves and the armored wall safe but nothing appeared abnormal. On the narrow countertop was a small pile of items: a hand-sized leather-bound journal that looked very old and a small silk bag. On the top of both was a moon-pearl blossom. Kes knew that M’nacht loved those flowers. He picked it up. It had been cut that morning and still held traces of dew. Kes knew that the flower marked the small pile as if it had a sign with his name on it.

He stowed the journal in his pack and the small bag into his vest pocket. His hand paused as he pulled out his little fossil. Somehow everything tied back to the little navorite he’d found in the Cradle. He started to slip it back in his pocket when his attention was suddenly drawn to the peepholes. Two men and a woman were silhouetted in the study’s archway. They were using hand signals to each other and carrying cudgels. His heart began to pound and he moved to check if he had completely secured the door. It was still open a crack. With gentle pressure, he closed it, but there was a whisper of a click. One of the men whirled and leaned into the room. From beneath an overturned chair, the little robo-cleaner hummed into view. The man swore under his breath but stepped into the room anyway. The other two silently followed.

His heart was pounding as he peered through the hidden peepholes, watching the man get closer. Suddenly, Kes felt the air stir. There was a tang to the scent which reminded him of the sea. A heartbeat later, the hidden security closet was empty.

        
        

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.