Monthly Archives: February 2022
Mars Wars Series:
Detonation Event (Mars Wars Book 1)
by John Andrew Karr
GENRE: Science Fiction
For decades the Space Consortium of America has searched for new ways to harvest resources beyond an increasingly depleted Earth. The ultimate plan is about to be ignited. So is the ultimate threat to humankind . . .
Battle-hardened Captain Ry Devans and his crew of the Mars Orbiter Station One (MOS-1) are part of a bold plan: resurrect the active molten cores of the Red Planet with synchronized thermonuclear explosions, and terraform the hell out of that iron-oxide rock for future generations. It’ll change history. So will the strands of carbon-based Martian cells that have hitched a ride on the ship.
Dr. Karen Wagner knows the microbes’ resistance to virus is incredible. It’s the unknowable that’s dicey. Her orders: blow them into space. But orders can be undermined. Two vials have been stolen and sent hurtling toward the biosphere. For Devans and Wagner, ferreting out the saboteurs on board is only the beginning. Because there are more of them back on Earth—an army of radical eco-terrorists anxious to create a New World Order with a catastrophic gift from Mars.
Now, one-hundred-and-forty-million miles away from home, Devans is feeling expendable, betrayed, a little adrift, and a lot wild-eyed. But space madness could be his salvation—and Earth’s. He has a plan. And he’ll have to be crazy to make it work.
Mars Wars: Annihilation Plan
Mars, in the throes of resurrection.
If you happened to have an illegal telescope, or proxied your galaxynet address well enough to pirate your way to satellite images of Mars, you might glimpse a damaged but operational Mars Orbiter 1, alive with ‘rebels.’
You could see clusters of superheated propellant burning beyond Earth space, as the EFF (Earth First Faction) sends armed planetary shuttles on an attack route to relieve the rebels of their existence.
If so, you’d be witnessing Mars Wars.
From Destination Event, Mars Wars, Book 1
The barren red face of Mars grew before them.
The space shuttles of two centuries earlier had orbited Earth at roughly five miles a second. Doubling that speed, even tripling it—and in a hurry—was within easy capability of the PS-class shuttles.
Devans threw in a series of mild doglegs to make it a little interesting for Wagner. He had to admit, the youth had staying power. An hour later and Wagner hadn’t even taken a bathroom break. Two blips showed up on the main hologram of the planet below. They marked tunnel locations T1 and T2 as yellow-highlighted lines that shot straight down. Both had tiny right angles at the ends where the bombs were housed.
As they approached the space over T1, the surface camera feeds showed nothing but a mass of gray-and-red dust. Very little wind speed. It was thick but gentle, like a snow globe after its been shaken.
“Raise shields, Nuro,” Devans said. “Shannon, how about splashing our entry on the big monitor here and the feed to the crew?”
The shuttle’s shields warded off the entry heat and they entered the anemic Martian atmosphere.
“Withdraw shields, Nuro.”
“Nice sandstorm,” Devans said, gazing at the roiling wall hundreds of feet high.
“Dust storm!” Trent Wagner said over his shoulder as he leaned back and forth on the table as if shredding the galaxy’s longest wave. “This is the tail end of it!”
“How long until cleared?”
“Two or three.”
“Couple, three hours, not so bad.”
“Weeks,” Wagner said.
“And here I just had this thing washed. Let’s go to the dark side for now.”
The sun cut a divide on the red planet’s surface. PS-9 easily outdistanced the storm and raced over the desert surface to the dark side. The second blip beckoned them on the navigation screens. Near total darkness pushed against their vessel lights.
This was the eve of the moment they all had labored for…One last manual check and they would attempt to resurrect Mars with synchronized thermonuclear explosions at the core.
At least, that was the plan.
Mars Wars: Annihilation Plan
The debris would be recovered by the drones for re-purposing.
No one on MOS-1 wanted human bodies to be stripped of their space suits by drones.
The machines would take them to Mars entry, however, for incineration.
Devans flew just past the next drifting form. He twisted into a one eighty to allow the ion jets to act as space brakes, then angled the small funnels to keep himself at the same rate and direction as the deceased.
He held an arm out and touched the suit.
The helmet had been atomized on a diagonal. He could not determine the gender of the victim inside. The identification chip was either gone or damaged.
This one’s even worse than the last one, he thought.
A glow spot grew in the corner of Devans’ eye. At first he thought it was notification of a mindtext, as they came with tiny dots in the periphery. But this was on the wrong side of his mindtext queue.
“Ry, duck and move! NOW!”
He knew Burroughs’ tones well enough to react first, ask later.
His hand blurred to hit a double max jet burst downward and sideways.
A concentrated cluster of laser beams lit up the inside of his helmet and hummed through his suit speakers.
He didn’t stop there.
He arced up and he drew the spatz pistol holstered at his side.
Another flash and he hit a jet burst upward this time. The beam went low, anticipating a maneuver similar to his first.
“Crew, back to ship!” Devans said. “Gwen, fire a volley at the origin.”
PS-17 shifted and fired, the beams trailing out into darkness.
“Shannon, where the hell is it?”
“I can’t see it!” her voice was frantic. “INCOMING, RY! Go, Go, Go!”
He zipped away on a spin, returned fire though he had yet to make visual, even with the face shield’s enhanced zoom.
“They must be cloaked,” he said, dodging two more beams.
PS-17 lit up the originating area with a barrage of streaking plasma rounds. He saw a single splatter that had appeared as nothing.
He aimed and fired at it, shouting coordinates.
“Get in the ship, Ry! They’re after you!”
If true, then PS-17’s shields were as about as impervious as human flesh to a spatz beam, and he’d be putting the crew at greater risk. However, his little suit jets were micro thrusters compared to the fusion engine of a shuttle, and the crew and all the ‘rebels’ of MOS-1 had already been hurled into the risk vortex that accompanies war.
The space crazy had an answer.
“Nah, I’m good out here.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
From his home in Wilmington, North Carolina, John Andrew Karr (also John A. Karr) writes of the strange and spectacular. He is the author of a handful of independent and small press novels and novellas, and also leaves in his wake a trail of short stories.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/John-A-Karr/e/B003DVNQ8G%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
Detonation Event: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D6BDQBC
Rogue Planet: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XFMCD21
One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
It Takes Two
by Nicole Sallak Anderson
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
Twenty years ago, Willow Dwyer nearly died in a school shooting that stole the life of her true love, James. Now she’s forty, infertile, newly divorced from a man who refuses to leave her alone, and on the brink of a breakdown.
Even after all this time, she still finds herself unable to move forward from the dream of a life and family she lost that day of the shooting. At the suggestion of her therapist, Willow takes up the tango, the dance she’d mastered with James before his death. It seems an innocent enough plan, until Willow dances with Merrick Montagne.
Merrick is a strikingly handsome, twenty-year-old college student with an uncanny ability for the tango. He makes her heart race for the first time in she can’t remember how long, and the strangest thing is, he claims he’s been searching for her his entire life. Willow doesn’t know if she believes him, or if she can handle the scrutiny she’s sure to get for dating someone so much younger than her. Yet no matter how hard she tries, she just can’t seem to walk away. When revelations begin to connect Merrick even further to her past, Willow must decide how much she’s willing to risk for a love that should be impossible, a love she’s not sure she could survive losing again.
“Excuse me,” he said, his blue eyes piercing, as if he could see into her soul. “What is your name?”
Her body quivered. Why did she feel like she was going to fall over? Two gin and tonics was nothing for her. It had to be his eyes—they reminded her of James.
“Willow.” Even her feet were now numb. “And yours?”
He gazed at her as if appraising a new car, and then smiled. “Merrick Montagne. May I have this dance?”
She nodded and followed him to the dance floor. The touch of his hand was electric, familiar, warm. She wanted to cast off the spell, but instead decided to be curious. Who was this young man? Merrick took her into his close embrace, and she smelled his neck—cologne but not obtrusive, mixed with the scent of a male, pure and raw. He led her in a sequence that slowly came back to her.
Milonete, step, step, cruzada, hesitate…hesitate…enganche…embellishment…dibujo…
Willow held her ground, drawing tension out of Merrick. He waited for her, cheek to cheek, as she dragged her foot up his leg, one millimeter at a time, leaning her breasts into his chest. He gasped, and his heartbeat quickened against her own. When his body trembled like a taught bowstring, she placed her foot on the ground and he walked her again, releasing his breath as she granted him control of the dance. By the end of the triplet, the two of them were breathing as if they’d jogged for an hour.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Nicole Sallak Anderson is Computer Science graduate from Purdue University, and former CTO for a small Silicon Valley startup, turned novelist, speaker, and blogger. Her essays range from AI and Zen to direct democracy to the loneliness of modern parenting— featured as a top twenty story on Medium. She is the author of The Song of the King’s Heart Trilogy, is a series about the last native Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt and his quest to take back his ancestral kingdom from the Ptolemaic Empire. All three installments, Origins, Blood and Chaos, and Civilization’s End, are available on Amazon. Origins is also available on Audible.
Her recent novel, It Takes Two, is about forty-year-old Willow Dwyer, who takes up the tango and finds herself dancing in the arms of Merrick Montagne, a man half her age who claims he’s been searching for her all his life.
You can keep up with all her latest writing on her website nicolesallakanderson.com or by following @NSallakAnderson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Medium. Feel free to contact her, she always answers any query or comment!
Nicole Sallak Anderson will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Disaster Dates – FIlm Production
Disaster Dates is a comedy, very loosely based on a previous project called Bogan Bachelor. Each skit goes for 5 minutes, 6 at the most.
Plot Outline: Mike and Susie decide to explore the world of online dating. However, they find out that dating has changed quite a lot, and everything that can go wrong, does go wrong as they have one disasterous date after another.
Date 1: The “Not a ONS, but really is a ONS” – Mike meets Gabriela. A woman who has lived in Manchester for 5 years. She works as a cleaner. During the date, she says that he would not be able to live under her “strict rules”. He then goes on a series of hilarious questions such as: What rules would those be? Does that mean I cant shag the sofa? Can I still spread kitty litter all over the floor? Can I still drink from the toilet? Can I still do ass race across the carpet with my dog? What about shagging your leg? Am I allowed to do that? What about the GILF who lives next door? Can I still shag her leg? Am I allowed to throw my cat up on the roof and see how long it takes for him to get down? Can I chase the postman and cars? What about the dog biscuits? Am I allowed to still eat those with my dog? Can I fart all over the house like my dog and blame it on the cat? Can I still howl at the moon in the middle of the night? What if my balls are itchy? Can I lick them myself or will you do that for me? She does not understand his humor, and calls him some colorful names then abruptly leaves.
Date 2: The Wanna-Be-Spokesperson – Mike meets Rita. She has ambitions to make it big on social media as a spokeswoman. Every chance she gets, she will break into product placement lines, even when there is no camera on her. Mike thinks she is a bit of a loon, especially when she orders a meat pie with adding “Because your Pies are not the only meat I like in my mouth”
Date 3: The Cling-On – Mike meets Karen. A separated woman in her 50’s who drinks too much, sleeps in separate bedroom to her husband, likes to give unwanted advice to “potential” lovers, and wants to be a model, even though she is not suited to do anything in modeling.
Date 4: The Psycho – Jeannie is a woman in her late 30’s. Control freak and if a partner does not comply to her “wants” she yells at him and goes on a massive rant. The date ends after a few minutes when Mike orders for himself a drink that is not what she wanted him to have, and she starts verbally abusing him.
Date 5: The Stalker – Carol is in her early 40’s. She takes an instant attraction to him, and after the date ends she starts to follow him, to the point when after he notices her following him, he walks off faster, and then runs off with her running after him, yelling “Wait Mikey! Dont go! I love you!” He manages to loose her in the shopping mall and quickly goes home.
Date 6: The Alcoholic – Betty is in her 40’s and a constant drunk.
Date 7: The “DOLE” girl – Sharon is in her late 30’s but looks to be in her 50’s. Making a living on the Single Parent Pension, she is always on the lookout for her next “donor” so she can claim benefits for another child. She is foul-mouthed, loud, a stoner, and doesn’t care about creating a scene in public, especially at the welfare office when they “stuff up her payment” and how the current PM can’t house anyone.
Date 8: The “Good Religious Girl” – Mary is from a very religious and strict family. Mike is waiting for her at the cafe, and when she arrives, he is taken-aback to see that her father has turned up as her chaperone. Instead of getting to know her, Mike is given the “20 questions” routine by her father, and then when he “summizes” that Mike is not good enough, he tells Mary that they are going, then has some choice verbal abuse for Mike as they leave.
Date 9: The “I Have A Secret” Girl – Dayanne. Late 30’s. Dresses nice. Works as a secretary for a law firm. She seems to be a little bit too perfect. After a while he realizes why she looks familiar, as he saw her on TV a while ago, wanted by the police for murdering ex boyfriends in various cities.
Date 10: The “This Could Be The One” Girl – Mike meets Katrina, or Trini/Kat to her friends. She works at a restaurant nearby as a manager. She is level headed and knows what she wants in life. They hit it off, and there is that “instant” connection between them. We see the ending scene of Kat and Mike cuddled up in bed, and her sharing a startling secret of her own.
Date 1: The Yella – Gary – Late 30’s. He thinks he is high class and can cook meals that would want the royal family approve of him being their head chef. He likes to boast of his “royal” connections and expensive taste in wines, but in reality, he lives in a very modest flat, his cooking skills are limited to ‘baked beans on toast’, the only ‘royal’ connection he has is the brand of cat food he buys, and he has a habit of screaming ‘shut up!’ to anyone who does not see things his way. Needless to say, the date ends after he yells at Susie when she remarks that he did not need to wear a tux to a casual date.
Date 2: The Redneck – Darren (Dazza) – He knows all things Holden, Beer, Smokes, AFL and classic Aussie rock. Wears flannel shirts without the sleeves, mullet hairdo, talks like the typical Bogan. Date with Dazza ends before it begins as he walks up to her table at a cafe and slams his foot down on the table and says “G’day love”. Little did he realize that his balls are exposed for everyone to see. Susie abruptly leaves.
Date 3: The Yuppie – Teddy, 40’s. Teddy is a yuppie through and through. He turns up for the date, carrying 2 cell phones, hair slicked back, designer sunnies. During the date he talks only about himself and shows vain interest in her.
Date 4: The Boaster – Peter, early 50’s. Peter dresses smart and has a habit of wearing a drivers cap whenever he goes out. He has a humor that ponly himself thinks is funny. He has a habit of boasting (several times) how much he makes Nett (repeatedly, NETT) a year. Little does Susie know is that Peter is married. For him, he is only looking to get laid.
Date 5: The Gambler – Brad, late 30’s. Brad lives in a HMO. A hard worker but has an issue with drinking and gambling. He never sees any of his own money, as his salary is deposited into his sister bank account and she pays his rent and gives him allowance for his shopping. Otherwise, he’d gamble the lot away. Date ends after he asks her for £100 for a quick gamble.
Date 6: The Cop – Mark, late 40’s. Mark is an undercover cop. He takes his job way too seriously and thinks everyone is guilty of something, except himself. He has a dark side to his personality, and compares himself to Justin Statham. He takes a shine to Susie, only because he has another agenda…
Date 7: The Comic – Jim, late 40’s. Jim takes care of himself. He lives in a modest 2 bedroom flat. Divorced, no kids. A dog owner. He works for a staffing agency in town, and has a very comedic side to his personality. He is known to do the comedy clubs in Manchester, where he is a stand-up comic, and still waiting for his big break. He considers himself the next Jim Carrey.
Date 8: The Chopper – Reece, 50’s. Reece is a biker and used to be part of a gang in the 80’s, when street violence was a ‘thing’. He is as rough as they come, and the mouth to match. Despite his tough appearance he does have a soft spot for kittens.
Date 9: The Klepto – Spencer, late 30’s. Spencer is a thief, plain and simple. During the date with Susie, he is fidgety and nervous, then when he see his opportunity he snatches her handbag and runs off, with her in distress. Fortunately for her, Mark (The cop), apprehends him and saves the day. Little did she know is that it was a set-up by Mark.
Date 10: The Mr Perfect.. Or is he …. Malcolm, 40’s. Malcolm is intelligent and has a good balanced SOH. Never married. He has a mental ‘check list’ of what he expects in someone. Susie suspects something is not quite kosher with this date, expecially when he orders steak, raw.
Susie and Mike. Both Mike and Susie are fed up with the whole dating disasters they have both been on, and giving it one last try, they meet. The conversation starts awkward at first, then opens up when Mike asks her about her previous dates. From there, there is a connection between them. We see them having a meal, a glass of wine, sharing laughs, then afterwards see them walking down the street, hand in hand.
Some of the production team for the comedy film, Disaster Dates
by Michael Leon
GENRE: Sci-fi/ Fantasy Romance
CHANDELIER is the genre-bending sci-fi/fantasy-romance novel follow up of Michael Leon’s 2019 fantasy-romance book, PHANTOMS. A century has passed since the fabled Phantom ruled the Garnier Opera House. Technology has advanced, and AI has evolved beyond human knowledge. They reside in a virtual Earth, free from the ravages of an environmentally damaged Earth where humans and post-humans live under AI’s qualified governance. CHANDELIER follows one AI sentient’s journey, Benny, whose loyalty for a famous opera singer, Madame D’Arenberg, sets him on a dangerous course, entangling him in The Phantom of the Opera’s deadly web.
A human whistling sound, distant but growing louder permeated the chill of the room. An unearthly chilled breath wafted over his face. He opened his eyes and looked up to its source, but he was alone, until light formed on the wall behind Gaston’s bed. Shapeless light swirled as if blown by that same breeze. The foggy disturbance slowed, allowing the swirling shape to take form. It was human but completely covered in black, bar the shape of a smooth ghost-like face. As the contours sharpened he realised it was a mask. Was he looking at the phantom? If he was, Gaston’s stories had all been real!
Fear gripped him to the seat. He wanted to flee but dared not move. Before the apparition suddenly looked Flynn’s way, turning his fear to terror.
“Who are you?” He asked feebly, but the apparition remained silent.
Flynn went to stand but a second shape appeared from behind him. A man dressed in white walked toward Gaston’s bed, making no sound as it glided across the room. Both apparitions studied the body for a time, ignoring Flynn before vanishing through the bedroom wall, leaving Flynn alone. He immediately stood and left the room, fearful they may return, not daring to look back. Whatever he witnessed, he didn’t wish to see again. Flynn was a scientist who staunchly refuted Gaston’s ramblings about ghosts as the product of a vivid imagination. They had spent many years arguing over their existence. Perhaps this was his friend’s final wish, to show him that everything he had written and said was true.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Michael Leon is an explorer, writer and author of the new novel, Sentient. Professionally trained in international trade, Michael has spent the last decade reading and writing SFF novels about new worlds to be explored in the future. His latest work, Sentient, imagines Earth in the year 2120. His next novel, Chandelier, will be released in 2022. Michael has travelled extensively around Europe, walking the paths of his characters, from the famous European opera houses in Phantoms to the mountain tops of Switzerland in Emissary.
One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
Can’t Think Straight
by Isabel Scheck
A collection of 35 poems in which a poet thinks about women a little too much… (Sapphic poetry)
Poem no. 2: Love Is…
I am in love with love
Love is blonde hair and green eyes.
Love is infectious laughter and soft smiles, Love is cuddling while watching a movie.
I am in love with love
Love is caring and loyal.
Love is pretty and tells me she loves me
Love is patient and laughs at my stupid jokes.
I am in love with love.
Love is playing with my hair and kissing my forehead. Love is comforting and wipes away my tears.
Love is mine and I am hers.
I am in love with love.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Isabel is a self-published author and artist who comes from England, but lives in Switzerland. She works with children, which she adores, but she also loves to write; especially in the genres of fantasy, poetry and romance. She uses experiences and images as inspiration to create words. Isabel also loves to express herself by drawing.
Lulu spotlight for all of my books: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/isabelscheck
Link to Can’t Think Straight: https://www.lulu.com/en/gb/shop/isabel-scheck/cant-think-straight/paperback/product-mv998q.html?page=1&pageSize=4
Isabel Scheck will be awarding 1 of 2 autographed books to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.