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Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Enemy: On The Bones of The Gods

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Excerpt from Enemy: On The Bones of the Gods by K. Eason
Copyright 2016 K. Eason, Published by 47 North, Seattle

Smoke collected on the belly of the storm. It rose up in slim fingers above the tree line, coiled into a fist when it cleared the ridge. Hung there and spread against the underbelly of the clouds like oil across water.

If a man stood just so, facing into the wind, he might imagine that it was the forest burning. Except this was the wrong season for natural fires. Too cold, too wet, snow underfoot and more waiting overhead. It was the wrong smell, too, for burning trees. The wind brought a firepit stink, flesh and charcoal and dung. Village smells, which most days meant sure shelter, with a storm on the way.

Then that man would peer skyward and consider the clouds, and give thanks to his ancestors that the village was so near and that he had a sackful of tradables to buy his welcome. Snowhare skins, soft and white. A fine rack of antlers he’d taken off a bull elk that had broken through the snow-crust upslope a day ago, weak and furious and an easy mark for arrows.

Good fortune, Veiko had thought then. Meat and hide, horn and hooves. Worth the extra day spent above the trees while the storm gathered. Worth the weight on the hike down. A stranger did not walk into an Alvir village unchallenged, from the forest, looking like Veiko did. A stranger came by the road, with goods and hands on clear display, his axe on his hip and bow slung on his back.

Except on that road now, there was a column of soldiers jogging toward the crease in the hills, and the smoke, and the village. Their collective breath streamed out behind them like steam off a boiling pot. The standard-bearer’s flag clung sullenly to its pole, wrapped tight against the gusts. Illhari legion, armed and armored and moving fast.

Now Veiko wondered if he’d caught the elk’s unluck. Failed to appease its spirit. Because that was not village smoke collecting there above the trees. Nor was that the smell of village cookfires.
Charred meat. Charred wood. The smell of raiding.

Had Veiko not found that elk, he might have been in the village when the raiders came, and it might be his meat stinking on the wind. He shivered. Perhaps it was not unluck the elk had given him. Perhaps its spirit had repaid him in kind: saved him from a trap and slow death in return for relief from the same.
Beside him, Helgi heaved a deep-chested whine. Protest. Query. Distress, maybe, at the smoke-reek and the movement on the road. Veiko dropped a quick hand to the dog’s head. Glanced sidelong and found Logi halfway out of his crouch, ears up and curious. Logi knew roads meant villages, people, new things, and warm sleeping.

But not that village, not now. Even if he might find walls still standing, or some shelter, the legion wouldn’t welcome him. Tall, pale foreigner, with village houses burned and people dead, no, they would—what was the Dvergiri word for it?—detain him. And likely shoot his dogs. Maybe throw him in chains after and sell him in the city. He’d heard his elders’ tales about Illhari justice. Best he get as far from the road as he could, as soon as he could. There were other villages. Let the raiders come for him, if they felt brave. Let them try to find him at all.

He took a handful of Logi’s scruff. “No.” He winced. Days since he’d used his voice. “Wait.”
Logi sighed and dropped his chin onto his paws. Helgi chuffed and settled back to his belly. And the three of them waited, part of the snowscape, until the last trooper bobbed out of sight.

Snowdenaelikk had just rolled the last of her jenja, lit it, and blown the first smoke that didn’t stink like destruction, when Briel’s sending came. A cascade of jumbled impressions crowded into her skull. A svartjagr’s vantage, above the tree line and moving fast: dizzy twist of tree and ground, a flash of

two legs
color, the hollow-gut swerve and there, a
clutch

trio of troopers, marching ragged up the path above Davni. One
trailed

wounded/prey
behind the others, who
pecked

kept heads together. Two male, one female. And because Briel remembered her training: an eyeblink’s focus on the weapons. Plain legion blades, still sheathed. Short javelins in a sling on the larger man’s back. Crossbow on the woman’s. The night-and-blood diamond pattern on the tunics. They were from Cardik’s garrison, that was no surprise. But to arrive at this toadshit village already, this fast—Laughing God, that was.

The sending ended, and the blindness came. Price of a svartjagr’s sending, yeah, count it out in heartbeats. No need for panic. Listen to the sizzle where her jenja had landed, smell the sweet and spice. She thought about trying to find it, pat-pat in the snow. Salvage something of it. Swore instead and crouched, her hands flat to the wall of the ruined temple. Cold stone, slick moss, a dead Alvir god’s face roughing her palms. She waited for the sunrise stages of vision, black to grey to, well, more grey, in the shadowless pre-blizzard twilight. This wasn’t so different than the cave-dark of Below, without witchfire.

Overhead, a whisper of wings and tail. A thump as Briel found a perch in what remained of the temple’s rafters. Soot sifted down from the impact, fresh stinging insult to offended eyes.

Snow blinked tears and blur as her vision crept back. “Fuck, Briel. Kill me someday, won’t you, if you send when I need to see.”

Briel hissed. One of her three primary utterances. Big talker, Briel.

Snow squinted up, scanned the rafters. Stone building, this one, the corpse of a temple gutted during the Purge. The walls still stood, moss- grown on the north sides, the tough mountain spine-vines on the rest. Most of the roof had spilled down between them. The thatch had gone first, collapsed and left a rib cage of crossbeams. Briel’s hide matched the wood’s greasy black. Invisible until she dipped her long neck and stared down at Snow. In the twilight, the svartjagr’s eyes glowed like embers. Like the village had when the last of the fires sputtered to ash. She and Drasan had picked through the wreckage, expecting the odd bit of surviving silver and coin. Instead, they’d found all the wealth you’d expect in an Alvir village on a caravan route, wealth no raiders would have left behind.


Courtesy of 47North, I have a copy of Enemy: On The Bones of the Gods by K. Eason for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 15. I’ll draw a name on July 16, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

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Continue reading Book Excerpt and Giveaway: Enemy: On The Bones of The Gods

Blog Tour: BLOOD IN THE WATER by Taylor Anderson + 4-Book Giveaway!

About the Book:
Taylor Anderson’s enthralling New York Times bestselling series of alternate history continues as game-changing revelations upend the Grand Alliance in a potentially cataclysmic war.

Ever since the USS Walker came from another world war to defy the terrifying Grik and diabolical Dominion, Matt Reddy and his crew have given their all to protect the oppressed Lemurians. But with the Walker in desperate need of repairs just as the Grik’s First General is poised to strike, Reddy is desperate.

With more enemies than ever before arrayed against them, the crew of the Walker needs new allies. That means combing the lethal wilds of Madagascar to find the Lemurians’ fabled ancestors, as well as the enigmatic dwellers east of the Pass of Fire. But what Reddy’s crew unearths may be more than they can handle—discoveries so shattering they could tilt the balance of the war in either direction.
But Reddy’s greatest adversary is from his past: a madman named Kurokawa whose single-minded mission of revenge will shake the Alliance to its core and raise the stakes to the most personal and terrifying levels Reddy has ever faced.

About the Author:
Taylor Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Destroyermen series, including Straits of Hell, Deadly Shores, and Storm Surge. A gunmaker and forensic ballistic archaeologist, Taylor has been a technical and dialogue consultant for movies and documentaries, and an award-winning member of the National Historical Honor Society and of the United States Field Artillery Association. He has a master’s degree in history and has taught that subject at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. He lives in nearby Granbury with his family.

DESTROYERMEN SERIES ORDER:
1. INTO THE STORM
2. CRUSADE
3. MAELSTROM
4. DISTANT THUNDERS
5. RISING TIDES
6. FIRESTORM
7. IRON GRAY SEA
8. STORM SURGE
9. DEADLY SHORES
10. STRAITS OF HELL
11. BLOOD IN THE WATER (OUT JUNE 14, 2016)


Courtesy of Roc, I have a copy of the following titles by Taylor Anderson for one (1) lucky winner:
Rising Tides
Firestorm
Iron Gray Sea
Storm Surge

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 8. I’ll draw a name on July 9, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

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Continue reading Blog Tour: BLOOD IN THE WATER by Taylor Anderson + 4-Book Giveaway!

Book Giveaway: Exile for Dreamers

Courtesy of Tor Teen, I have a copy of Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 8. I’ll draw a name on July 9, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

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Star Trek Blog Tour and Giveaway!

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Excerpt from Boarding the Enterprise, the Anniversary Edition:
“The Prime Question” by Eric Greene

Eric Greene played the alien child Loki on the 1977 Saturday morning SF series Space Academy, which also starred Pamelyn Ferdin and Brian Tochi, who had guest starred in the Trek episode “And the Children Shall Lead.” He went on to write the brilliant critical study Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race, Politics and Popular Culture, and to work for the American Civil Liberties Union. We could think of no one better qualified to look at Star Trek’s relation- ship to the real world of the 1960s.

We had the overarching authority of science fiction and we could go anywhere with that and under that guise we could also talk about the issues of the day…. The war in Vietnam… no one was allowed to talk about on television if you had a contemporary show, but under sci- ence fiction we were able to get in commentary on Vietnam.

—d. c. Fontana, Star Trek Story Editor

Has a war been staged for us, complete with weapons and ideology and patriotic drum beating? Even… race hatred?

—Captain James Kirk, “Day of the Dove”  (3-7)

 

In its forty years Star Trek has become a legend. As the legend would have it, Star Trek derives its popularity from its positive view of the future, a future in which humanity has overcome poverty,  prejudice and war, reached out to alien species and joined with them in a United Federation of Planets to explore the stars in peace and friendship.¹ Camelot in outer space.

More than an exciting concept for a series, this is an inspiring prospect for humanity. Like any mass media project, Star Trek was many things: entertainment, a livelihood, art, product. But it was also a bold attempt, conceptually, to burst open an unoccupied space—the future—and shape its contours. It was a bid to create that future by suggesting what it might look like, how it might function and what values it should embrace. That must be why the show struck such a nerve, right? Yes. But there was more to it than that. There always is.

Like Arthur’s Camelot, or, more to the point, Kennedy’s Camelot, the legend of Star Trek and the history of Star Trek overlap but also diverge. The legend represents an appealing and important piece of Star Trek’s success but overlooks other essential truths. Star Trek was not only a vision of a utopian future; it emerged from, described and addressed a fractured, violent present.

I by no means want to dismiss  the positive  vision  that  was such  an important element of Star Trek. In my own case, for example, as a kid watching Star Trek in the ’70s, the image from the show that most excited me—more than  the colorful  bridge,  the magical  transporter or even the elegant starship—was the briefing room. That’s right, the briefing room. Just a table and some chairs. “The briefing room,” you might ask yourself, “a table and some chairs? That certainly doesn’t sound exciting. What could possibly be so exciting about that?” But I remember taking the worn copy of Stephen Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry’s Making of Star Trek paperback that I shared with my older brother Jeff (the  person  who earned  my everlasting  gratitude for introducing me to Star Trek—and all that came with it), staring at the picture of the conference room set and marveling at the memory  of Captain Kirk looking around at those gathered together of different races, species and specialties and saying to them, “I want options.”

¹ Leonard Nimoy provides one of the most articulate versions of this view explaining that Star Trek “was always a very humanistic show; one that celebrated the potential strengths of mankind, of our civilization, with great respect for all kinds of life, and a great hope that there be communica- tion between civilizations and cultures.” (Quoted in Greenwald, Jeff. Future Perfect: How Star Trek Conquered Planet Earth. New York: Penguin Books, 1998, p. 111.)

Something about that seemed encouragingly democratic, meritocractic, American. That conference room was where  decisions were made, and destinies were shaped—where all that mattered was if you had the brains and imagination to sit with the best and the brightest, think through problems and create solutions. The position you earned counted. The wealth of your parents, the color of your skin, did not. That’s a pretty powerful idea when you are seven years old, and I suspect I’ve carried the image of that briefing room with me into committee meetings, board rooms and conference tables throughout my adult life.

But the picture of that idealized briefing room was not the whole picture of Star Trek. This complex series had its share of contradictions: yes, the show featured a groundbreaking mix of ethnicities and nationalities and featured many guest stars of color in nonstereotypical parts,

even playing authority roles;² yet the recurring actors of color were kept in subordinate parts (as the TV satire In Living Color would brilliantly lampoon twenty years later). Yes, the show featured aliens who while initially feared as monsters, were eventually understood as beings who were just trying to defend their homes, protect their children or survive as a species; however, the Federation and Starfleet were largely “homo sapiens only” clubs.³ Yes, the show featured TV’s first interracial kiss, but that was hardly a breakthrough: Kirk and Uhura were forced into that kiss—it was desired by neither and resisted by both. And a Black woman forced to kiss a White man against her will ain’t romance. It’s rape. And a kind of rape with a disconcerting resonance in a country in which, for the majority of its history, Black women were subject to the sexual depredations of White slave holders.4

²Indeed African American actors were repeatedly cast as doctors, scientists, even commodores. This casting diversity seems to have been quite by design. While Gene Roddenberry had to fight for the inclusion of the alien Mr. Spock, an August 17, 1965 letter from NBC executive Mort Werner to Gene Roddenberry explained that NBC’s non-discrimination policy included encouraging the casting of racial minorities in order to reflect accurately U.S. population demographics and that “mindful of our vast audience and the extent to which television influences taste and attitudes, we are not only determined but anxious that members of minority groups be treated in a manner consistent with their roles in our society.” (Letter reprinted in Solow, Herbert F. and Justman, Robert. Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. New York: Pocket Books, 1996, pp.76–77.)

³ As a Klingon would pointedly observe in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, in an admirable instance of those who made Star Trek actually challenging the legend themselves.

4 What’s actually striking about that much-hyped scene is not the obviously faked kiss (you never really see their mouths touch), but the surprising level of emotional intimacy in the dialogue leading up to the kiss. And that was not forced.


Courtesy of BenBella Books, I have a copy of Boarding the Enterprise, the Anniversary Edition by Charlaine Harris for two (2) lucky winners!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 24. I’ll draw a name on June 25, and notify winners via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

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Continue reading Star Trek Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Book Giveaway: Night Shift

Courtesy of Ace Books, I have a copy of Night Shift by Charlaine Harris for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 3. I’ll draw a name on June 4, and notify winner via email.

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Continue reading Book Giveaway: Night Shift

Prize Pack Giveaway: The Last Star

the last star prize pack the last star prize pack

Extended Sampler: https://issuu.com/penguinteen/docs/the_last_star_sampler

Courtesy of Penguin Teen, I have a prize pack consisting of a tote bag, poster, and a finished copy of The Last Star by Rick Yancey for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends May 20. I’ll draw a name on May 21, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

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Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Chris Howard’s NIGHT SPEED

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Chris Howard joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about what super power he would chose to have and what he would do with it…

Pick your own super-power!?

If I could have any super-power at all?! Whoa. For a long time, I’d have said “flying”. Kinda obvious… but, come on, flying! How awesome?! But we all kinda know how that would work. So I’m gonna mix it up and say the super-power I pick is… the “ability to freeze time”.
Right?!

I’d love this. Heck, I’d never run late again! Well, I would run late, because I always seem to push it so I can get more things done before I set off wherever it is I’m trying to go, but now I’d just freeze time, and go zipping through the static world (on my bike, I guess, or I could just walk because there’d be no hurry). That’s the beauty of this super-power… there’d never be any hurry. At all.

So let’s think about this…

Continue reading Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Chris Howard’s NIGHT SPEED

The Queen’s Poisoner Excerpt and Giveaway!

Excerpt of The Queen’s Poisoner: Chapter 17

A sound whispered from the corridor behind him. It was a footfall. Not the sound of a boot in the corridor beyond the wall. The sound of someone approaching within the tunnel. It was coming from behind him.

The queasiness blossomed inside Owen and a cold sweat started on his brow. Going back was no longer an option. The tunnel was narrow and there was no place to hide, so Owen hurried forward, hoping to find an escape into the main palace corridor. It would be infinitely better to be punished for wandering the hall at night than to be caught in the Espion corridor. His little heart started to hammer wildly in his chest and the blackness in front of him became even darker somehow.

He heard the footfalls again, coming closer.

The boy was starting to panic. Ankarette had warned him this could happen. She had told him it was dangerous to wander the tunnels alone and that he needed to be very cautious and always listen for sounds that were out of place. Such as the footfalls behind him.

The narrow pinch of the corridor suddenly filled in ahead of Owen, the walls closing like an arrowhead. It ended abruptly and finally. It was a dead-end.

Excerpted from THE QUEEN’S POISONER © Copyright 2016 by Jeff Wheeler. Reprinted with permission by 47North. All rights reserved.

About the Book:
King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.
Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor by proving his worth—through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny.

Jeff Wheeler-Photo-KimBillsAbout the Author:
Jeff Wheeler took an early retirement from his career at Intel in 2014 to become a full-time author. He is, most importantly, a husband and father, and a devout member of his church. He is occasionally spotted roaming among the oak trees and granite boulders in the hills of California or in any number of the state’s majestic redwood groves. He is the author of The Covenant of Muirwood Trilogy, The Legends of Muirwood Trilogy, the Whispers from Mirrowen Trilogy, and the Landmoor Series.


Courtesy of 47North, I have a copy of The Queen’s Poisoner by Jeff Wheeler for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends May 20. I’ll draw a name on May 21, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading The Queen’s Poisoner Excerpt and Giveaway!