Author Spotlight: Miranda Brock

Miranda BrockFrom an early age Miranda Brock has always loved fantasy and adventure everything. Since she doesn’t live in a world of enchanting powers, mythical beasts, and things unbelievable she has decided to write about them. (Although, if you happen to see a dragon flying around, do tell her.) Born in southern Illinois, where she still resides with her husband and two children, she grew up running through the woods, playing in creeks, and riding horses. What started out as writing poetry grew into short stories and eventually led to her first novel, Souls Discovered. Miranda lives in the country where she finds inspiration in the simplicity and beauty around her. With the help of a ridiculous amount of coffee and some good music she writes whenever she gets a chance.

Today we are featuring her novel, Souls Discovered.

Check it out!

Blurb:

Spin away with young Autumn as she finds a seemingly innocuous gold necklace on her family’s farm and inadvertently uncovers her destiny as “The Keeper.” Autumn’s discovery of the necklace activates “The Window” and alerts both good and evil forces to her whereabouts. Autumn is pulled from everything she knows and tossed into a life of unknowns. Enigmatic enemies called Dehmons hunt her at every turn and if captured the very world she lives in will fall into destruction. With the help of seven Searchers Autumn must learn to use the power she has been given before it is too late. 

Will she choose to follow the dangerous destiny thrust upon her?

Will she be able to withstand the temptation of a relationship that could jeapordize everything?

Most importantly, will Autumn be able to find the strength within herself to fight the dead-eyed evil Dehmon souls?


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Web Serial: The Wielders of Arantha, Book One -Pawns

WOA coverAn excerpt from Pawns (The Wielders of Arantha, Book1) by Patrick Hodges

 

PROLOGUE

The old woman lay on her bed, motionless, staring up at the ceiling of the only home she’d ever known. She was born in this room. She would die there too.

She’d laid her withered hands upon the Stone one last time the day before, feeling the surge of warm, familiar energy as it coursed through her frail body. Her mind beheld an array of familiar images: the past, present and future of her people, a history she helped shape. As the feeling of unity with Arantha began to subside, she felt suffused with a tremendous sense of inner peace. Her work finished, she would soon be welcomed into Arantha’s waiting arms.

For her people, the road ahead would be difficult. Their isolated way of life, the path Arantha put them on centuries ago, would end. The chain of events she’d set in motion with her final order would see to that. And it would be up to her daughter Kelia, as her successor, to discover a new path for them. New enemies would arise, as would new allies. She saw them all, time and time again, in her mind’s eye: the dark twins, the northern mage, the painted woman from the Above.

One last, lingering doubt crept through the old woman’s mind. She’d prepared Kelia for her role as Protectress her entire life, and though Kelia didn’t possess her mother’s level of foresight, her elemental abilities were unequaled. She was a strong leader, well-respected, and wise beyond her years. But would it be enough?

It has to be, she thought with a regretful sigh. To fail would mean oblivion for my people, and for all of Elystra.

Her vision darkened, a curtain of blackness that stole her sight one inch at a time. Her breath became ragged, and she felt her heart beat for the final time.

As her spirit left her body, her final thought was a silent prayer:

Arantha, watch over them.


 CHAPTER ONE

 Richard’s dead.

Maeve blinked back tears as the Talon powered through Earth’s atmosphere. They’d evaded the Jegg’s ground-based weapons, but that was merely the first line of defense.

Once they hit open space, their problems increased exponentially. She didn’t have to look at the sensors to confirm the Jegg ships were following them. The Talon was the first Earth ship to be airborne in five years. Even though the hull was black and silver, it may as well have been pink and yellow with a huge bull’s-eye painted on it.

For eighteen months, they’d planned this mission. With the help of his contacts in the Underground, Richard not only restored a junked Space Corps cargo ship but somehow combined a Jegg quantigraphic rift drive with a Terran supralight engine. Two completely different technologies, and he miraculously got them to speak the same language. This brilliant engineer, the man she fell in love and had a son with, was the key factor in the Underground’s last-ditch effort to find a way to escape the alien conquerors who had subjugated the human race.

They’d celebrated last night, the ten of them: Maeve, Richard, their fourteen-year-old son Davin, Richard’s protégé Gaspar, and the entire team that toiled in utmost secrecy to get this bucket off the ground. The mood was ebullient, as it seemed their mission would finally commence.

Mission! Maeve snorted as the ship burst through the stratosphere and out into open space. A Hail Mary is what it is. We’re hanging our last hope on the word of a shimmering alien being and praying there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Brushing strands of her purple, shoulder-length hair away from her face, she cast a sidelong glance at the copilot’s chair. Seeing its emptiness, a tear escaped her violet eyes.

Richard’s dead.

My husband is dead.

So are Manny, Kacy, Calvin, Ji-Yan, Suri, and Mahesh.

She chided herself. Now was not the time for these thoughts. They threw her adrenaline rush out of whack and disrupted the concentration she badly needed right now. There were still three lives to save, including her own. Fighting down her emotions, she called upon the piloting skills she spent fifteen years in the Space Corps sharpening.

Jegg fighters were nearly impossible to detect unless they were right in front of you, one of the reasons the Terran Defense Forces had been so helpless against them. Gaspar increased the sensors’ capabilities just enough for them to know fighters were in pursuit. Judging from the number of explosions detonating near the ship, causing it to rock back and forth like a kayak on white-water rapids, there had to be at least three of them.

Regaining her focus, Maeve banked sharply to the right and fired the sublight thrusters, making a beeline for the Asteroid Belt. Once they cleared that, and the Jegg dampening field that effectively rendered supralight technology inoperable, they could engage their makeshift QRD and be out of the Terran system in the blink of an eye.

The pursuing Jegg fighters increased their speed. They were gaining.

Maeve flipped a switch on her panel. “Gaspar!” she shouted. “I don’t think they’re gonna let us go without a fight!”

“Oh, ya think?” came a frazzled voice from the other end of the intercom.

“Any ideas?” Maeve asked. She pushed the steering column forward a few inches, and the Talon increased its speed. The vibrations intensified, as if the ship was about to fly apart at the seams.

“Hold on a sec,” Gaspar said, pausing briefly. “I’ve got four canisters of D34Z ready to jettison. Let me know when to detonate. Maybe we can take a few of ‘em out.”

She checked the sensors, which indicated five Jegg fighters in hot pursuit. “Stand by!”

The Belt loomed in front of them, millions of rocks that had floated in space between Mars and Jupiter for eons. A few more seconds, and they could lose themselves within it. Or die a fiery death.

Davin burst through the cockpit door, threw himself into the copilot’s chair, and fastened his safety belt. “Anytime you want to get us out of here, Mom . . .” Sweat and grime caked his freckled face and curly red hair, but his eyes shone with fierce determination.

She returned her gaze to the viewport, gripping her controls even tighter. “Don’t start, kiddo, we’re in some deep-level shite here. Where’ve you been?”

“Helping Gaspar load the canisters into the airlock. Let’s blow this pop stand and go, okay?”

“Roger that,” she said as another explosion rocked the ship. Into the intercom, she yelled, “G! Eject the first three canisters . . . now!”

The sound of a metal hatch clanging open echoed through the ship, followed by a whoosh of compressed air as three large, yellow containers shot from the airlock, one after the other. She followed their trajectories on the scanner, watching as the Jegg fighters pressed in.

“Detonate on my mark!”

Seconds ticked off as the enemy ships drew ever closer.

“Mark!”

A huge explosion violently rocked the Talon again. A control panel behind Davin sparked and began to smoke. He unhooked himself, leaped out of the chair, grabbed a fire extinguisher, and sprayed the panel with fire-suppressing foam.

Maeve checked her scanner again. Where before there were five faint blips following them, there were now only three, and one was falling behind, obviously crippled.

She allowed herself a smile. “Three down! Well done, G!”

“Major?” came Gaspar’s voice, laced with desperation. “We have a big problem!”

“What now?”

“The quantigraphic rift drive is offline! That last explosion blew the containment field!”

Oh, shite. Not good. “Can you restore it?”

“Assuming the manifold stabilizer isn’t fried, yes.”

Maeve gulped. “Be careful, G.”

“You got it. Give me two minutes.”

“No promises.” Maeve executed a barrel-roll, evading the maelstrom of rocks that seemed to fill nearly every square inch of the window. The two remaining Jegg fighters were still right behind them, firing in a continuous barrage.

Just then, a crazy idea came to her. “Dav, is that fourth canister ready to go?”

Davin, back in his chair, checked the panel in front of him. “Locked and loaded.”

“Perfect!” She pulled back on the controls, banking upward and narrowly missing a huge, jagged asteroid. It was impossible, but Maeve swore she felt the wind of it going by.

One of the pursuing fighters wasn’t so lucky. It tried to veer off at the last second, but it was too late. The asteroid clipped its starboard thruster, and it spun out of control until it crashed in a fiery conflagration on another enormous rock.

“One more down!” yelled Davin.

The last remaining fighter bore down on them, firing salvo after salvo. The Talon rocked again, and sparks poured from another control panel.

Maeve activated the intercom again. “G, we gotta go! Is the containment field back up?”

“Yeah!” came Gaspar’s voice. “Thirty seconds to power up the jump!”

“Okay, here’s what’s gonna happen,” Maeve instructed, banking hard left again. “We eject the final canister, and detonate it at point-blank range just as we make the jump.”

“Are you crazy?” Gaspar sounded frantic. “The hull’s already been weakened! You detonate that close, it’ll tear right through us!”

Maeve sighed. “The Jegg’s long-range scanners will think we were destroyed. It’s our only hope right now.”

“Major –”

“No time, G! Prepare to eject! Twenty-second countdown till jump, mark! Get yourself to safety!”

“On my way,” he said, and the intercom cut off.

Maeve and Davin both held their breath.

The Talon twirled around another flying asteroid. They’d cleared the Belt.

“Eject!”

Another clang, followed by another whoosh.

Maeve’s thumb hovered over a button that read ‘QRD – Engage’.

“Detonate!” she shouted.

The screen displaying the ship’s rear sensor array flashed fiery orange and red.

Half a second later, Maeve pressed the button. “Mark! Hang on, Dav!”

A whir of built-up energy filled their ears as the quantigraphic rift drive powered up. The control panel on Maeve’s left erupted in a shower of sparks, and she felt an intense burning sensation on her arm.

Her mouth opened in a silent scream as an energy field enveloped the Talon.

 

If you like the story, download the whole thing on Amazon for only $2.99!  

Author Spotlight: G. Scott Huggins

G. Scott HugginsG. Scott Huggins grew up and lives in Wichita, Kansas. Growing up, he fell in love with the worlds of Pern, Tran-Ky-Ky, We Made It, and many more. He studied all around the world, and speaks both German and Russian. He is a graduate of the Clarion Writing Workshop (1997) and sold his first story in 1999.

When he is not writing science-fiction and fantasy, Huggins teaches history at The Independent School. With his wife, he is in the process of raising children and tolerating cats. His favorite authors include G.K. Chesterton, Dan Simmons, C.S. Lewis, Lois McMaster Bujold, Larry Niven, and Terry Pratchett.

Today we are featuring his novelette, Doctor to Dragons, which is about the Dark Lord’s chief veterinarian who is in charge of seeing that his horrible monsters don’t die.

Check it out!

Blurb:

The Dark Lord’s favorite dragon is constipated. Dr. James DeGrande, veterinarian and orc-slayer, is going to have to deal with it.

This one could get messy.

Everyone says it was better in the Good Old Days. Before the Dark Lord covered the land in His Second Darkness.

As far as I can tell, it wasn’t that much better. Even then, everyone cheered the heroes who rode unicorns into combat against dragons, but no one ever remembered who treated the unicorns’ phosphine burns afterward. Of course, that was when dragons were something to be killed. Today I have to save one. Know what fewmets are? No? Then make a sacrifice of thanks right now to whatever gods you worship, because today I have to figure a way to get them flowing back out of the Dark Lord’s favorite dragon. Yeah, from the other end. And that’s just my most illustrious client. I’ve got orcs and trolls who might eat me and dark elf barons who might sue me if their bloodhawks and chimeras don’t pull through. And that doesn’t even consider the possibility that the old bag with the basilisk might show up.

The only thing that’s gone right this evening is finding Harriet to be my veterinary assistant. She’s almost a witch, which just might save us both. If we don’t get each other killed first.


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Author Spotlight: Bonnie Milani

Bonnie Milani

Bonnie Milani’s stories are garnering attention. Her short story ‘A Hot Day on Titan’ (Visions of Titan Anthology, Lillicat Press, 2015) has been nominated for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Her novella ‘Liquid Gambit’ was a Reader’s Choice 2015 Top 100 selection. ‘Home World’ a sci fi novel set on the shattered remains of a future Waikiki, won the 2016 EVVY awards’ 1st place in the science fiction category. Most recently, ‘Home World’ has been awarded the Books Go Social Gold Quality Mark. Bonnie started writing before she started school. Over the years, her articles have appeared in ‘Science Digest’, a variety of East Coast newspapers, and magazines ranging from ‘Mankind’ through regional magazines such as ‘Peninsula’ to ‘Speculations’. On the business side, she’s also written and taught in-house classes for pension administration firms on such delightful topics as (yawn) ‘IRC sections 404 and 415: understanding the differences’ or ‘Implementing REA’ an administrator’s guide to managing the complexities of the Retirement Equity Act.

She holds a Master’s in Communication/Journalism from Stanford and has taught classes in every aspect of writing, from business courses in sales writing to understanding three-act structure in fiction. She is also a freelance editor for indie authors. And when she’s not writing, teaching, or editing she keeps her wits sharpened as an insurance broker.

Check out her story Tales from the Rim:

Blurb:

Welcome to a pair of rousing adventures set on the edges of the star-flung human Commonwealth. ‘Liquid Gambit’ is a sci fi noir call out to ‘Casablanca’. It’s a tale of hope and sacrifice in Rick’s Bar – a lost souls hang out on the last station in human space. In ‘Cherry Pickers’, seventeen-year-old Nikki is determined to prove she’s a woman, even if she has to kidnap the only man on the planet to do it. It’s a rollicking coming-of-age story – with spiders. Romantically challenged spiders.

Check out her story Cherry Pickers:

Blurb:

At seventeen, Nikki Sotolongo has had it with being considered a kid. With her hopelessly romantic adopted brother Sam, Nikki figures the surest way to prove she’s an adult is to lose her virginity. Problem is, Nikki’s mom is director of a woman-only penal colony on the out-to-get-you planet Sisyphus.

So when a supply ship puts in with hot and handsome Jake on board, Nikki and Sam launch a sure-fire plot to procure Nikki’s adulthood and save Sam: they kidnap themselves a Grade A cherry picker. Trouble is, Jake has other plans. To make matters worse, Sam has just been chosen for marriage by the local Sissy warlord – a fate that can literally mean death for an arachnid Sisyphus native like Sam.

And somebody’s trying to get Nikki fed to Sam’s would-be bride.

Check out her story Liquid Gambit:

Blurb:

Death is never more than an airlock away for the denizens of Hell, the last deck before the Void on the last station in human space.

It’s a place where justice is for sale and slavers hawk their human merchandise to the highest bidder. But to Rick, a scarred, bitter Lupan warrior, it’s home – or at least the one place in the known universe where he can ignore all the death warrants on him throughout the rest of the Commonwealth. It’s also the place where a few drops of the most precious liquid in all of human space can buy him a berth on the last ship back to his birth world. Until a mysterious, vaguely familiar woman walks into the dive Rick runs. And brings his deadly, ugly past in with her.

Somehow Rick must unlock the secrets she carries. Because if he fails, he will lose far more than just his life.

Check out her short story The Good Old Days:

Blurb:

Where do you go when the night closes in around you?


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Author Spotlight: Jeanette O’Hagan

JEANETTE O’HAGAN.jpgJeanette O’Hagan writes fantasy and science-fiction, blogs and writes poetry. She began spinning tales in her imaginative secondary world – Nardva – when 8 or 9 years old. Her stories span continents, time and cultures.

Jeanette wrote a novel in her teens, but life intervened until she began writing again in 2012. Since then she has had several short stories and poems published in a number of anthologies (Like a Girl, Another Time Another Place, Glimpses of Light) – with another 4 short stories due to be published this year in Crossroad anthology, Futurevision, Quantum Soul and Tales from the Underground. She published two short stories (The Herbalist’s Daughter and Lakwi’s Lament), and Heart of the Mountain: a short novella. She having just released the sequel, Blood Crystal, this July.

Born in Australia, Jeanette has lived in Australia and Africa – and engaged in few different careers from doctor, lecturer, mother – and now writer. She lives in Brisbane with her husband, two kids and two cats.

Check out her Under the Mountain Series:

Blurb:

YA Fantasy Adventure in the lost realm deep under the mountain.

Twins Delvina and Retza’s greatest desire is to be accepted as prentices by their parents’ old crew when they stumble across a stranger. Trapped under the mountain, young Zadeki’s only thought is to escape home to his kin. Peril awaits all three youngsters. Will they pull apart or work together to save the underground realm?

Blurb:

YA Fantasy Adventure in the lost realm Under the Mountain – Book 2. Blood Crystal: the sequel to Heart of the Mountain

The underground realm is under attack from mad Overseer Uzza and the Crystal Heart is failing. As things become desperate, Twins Delvina and Retza must brave a treacherous journey to seek help from their new friend Zadeki and his people.

Will they find the answers they seek before it’s too late? Is the blood of Uzza’s children the only way to restore the Crystal Heart? What are the twins prepared to do to save their realm and those they love from certain destruction?

Check out her Tamrin Tales Series:

Blurb:

Fantasy Romance – The Herbalist’s Daughter is set in the Golden Palace of Tamra.

Anna has her heart set on the young guard at the Palace but he seems not to notice her and the antics of the young Prince threaten her future.

Blurb:

A middle-grade to Young Adult short story set in the fantasy world of Nardva:

Lakwi would love to read the books in the Royal library, but girls aren’t allowed inside. Her passion for books attracts the attention of her dashing older brother, Prince Rokkan, and her suave cousin, Lord Haka. Will her drive for knowledge lead her into more trouble than she can handle?


You Can Follow Her:


Are you an author? Would you like to receive an Author Spotlight by SciFan™ Magazine? Do you need help promoting your book(s)? Check out the Author Services we offer! These promotional tools include, but are not limited to: Paperback Featured Author, Editorial Reviews, Author Spotlight, Line Editing, Content Editing and Live Story Consulting. Find out more here.