Halfskin by Tony Bertauski

Cover - HalfskinBiomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body. No more kidney failure, no severed spines or blood disease. No cancer. Pharmaceuticals become obsolete. With each dose of biomites, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier.

We become better.

At what point are we no longer human?

Nix Richards nearly died in a car accident when he was young. Biomites saved his life. Ten years later, he’s not so lucky. The Halfskin Laws decree a human composed of 50% biomites is no longer human. Halfskins have no legal rights and will have their biomites shutdown. It’s not called murder, merely deactivation.

Cali Richards has been Nix’s legal guardian since their parents died. She has lost far too many people in her life to let the government take Nix. She is a nanobiometric engineer and will discover how to hide him. But even brilliance can succumb to the pressure of suffering. And technology can’t cure insanity.

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Excerpt

THE REAL AVENGER’S BLOG
Shooting Truth-Bullets Since Birth
Subscribers: 3,233

It’s the end of time, peeps.
Mark this date, put a black X on your calendar because it’s all over, starting today. It used to be that if you didn’t like the laws where you lived, you just moved to another state or another country. Freedom existed somewhere in the world. We had a choice. I mean, hell, if you were desperate enough you could live on the South Pole with penguins and shit.
Not anymore.
Today, it’s all over.
Today, M0ther was born.
Who’s M0ther? Our M0ther. Already got a mother? Now you got two, only this one will know everything about you. You can’t hide from her, she’ll know when you’re full of crap, know where you stash your porn, know when you pick your nose and when you eat it.
You’ll hate her, and she’ll know that, too.
Case you’ve been asleep for the last 10 years, the Mitochondria Terraforming Hierarchy of Record is what I’m talking about.
Let’s just call her M0ther.
A mother that doesn’t bake cookies or wash your underwear. She’s not getting up to make you French toast or wipe your nose. Nope. This bitch is going to spy on you until you’re dead. Which may be sooner than you think.
M0ther is somewhere in the frozen plains of Wyoming. No pictures of her exist because no one’s allowed to even flyover. But rumors say she’s this massive dome, a computer the size of a football stadium, like some artificial brain heaved out of the frozen soil that’s wirelessly connected with every biomite in existence.
Did you catch that? EVERY BIOMITE IN EXISTENCE!
Hear that buzzing on your phone? She’s listening.
Feel that tickle on your laptop? She knows you’re tapping.
All that Do Not Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife crap? Yeah, that’s the real deal, now. M0ther might tell your wife what you’re thinking about doing to Joe-Bob’s wife mowing the lawn in a tube top.
George Orwell wasn’t even close, man. I mean, Big Brother was just a pea shooter compared to M0ther. Big Brother was pissing on a forest fire; M0ther’s bringing the goddamn ocean.
Here’s the official statement from Marcus Anderson, Chief of the Biomite Oversight Committee.
(BTW, he looks like a gargoyle. Right?)

It is with great pleasure that, after ten years of global effort, I present to you the greatest feat of humankind. I present to you a regulatory system that will keep all people safer and healthier for centuries to come. Bionanotechnolgy has put us on the brink of greatness, but with that comes uncertainty and danger. The human species has the potential to live forever. Or end tomorrow.
I prefer the former.
Mitochondria Terraforming Hierarchy of Record is linked to every booted cellular-sized biomite living inside our bodies. Its primary function will be to monitor individual levels of biomites and take appropriate action if, or when, they cross a previously determined threshold. This will keep us human.
This will keep us safe.
Forever.

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ATA

During the day, I’m a horticulturist. While I’ve spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I’ve always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I’ve always fancied fiction.

My grandpa never graduated high school. He retired from a steel mill in the mid-70s. He was uneducated, but he was a voracious reader. I remember going through his bookshelves of paperback sci-fi novels, smelling musty old paper, pulling Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov off shelf and promising to bring them back. I was fascinated by robots that could think and act like people. What happened when they died?

I’m a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I’d rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That’s the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.

Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it’s only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.

In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer’s Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult’s struggle with his place in the world.

After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.

And I’m a big fan of plot twists.

You can find out more on the authors website and blog.

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A peek at my WIP ‘Finding Immortal’ and my battle with ‘the pit’

For the last few days I’ve been in a funk. You know that point where you can no longer form a coherent sentence? Where any words you string together are a bit crap, or even a lot crap. And even those times where you seem to be able to kill it when writing dialogue but as soon as you need to add the action, reaction, emotion, you fall on your ass and pick yourself up only to rather unceremoniously face plant the floor? That stage of writing – that’s where I’m at. In that dark little pit trying to claw my way out. Of course, the faster I claw, the further I slip so maybe some quiet contemplation is needed. Hmm.

I keep reading and rereading my earlier chapters and thinking – hey, I wrote that, I like it – so why can’t I do it anymore? I dunno. We all get to this stage though, that’s for sure. Then, at some point, something strikes and we can do it again. I’m waiting for that moment, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a little bit of my WIP because one of my cp’s tagged me to do so. So here’s the opening of Finding Immortal – it’s still a little rough around the edges and there’s stuff I need to add per my amazing cp’s advice.

Finding Immortal

The text notification from my cellphone cut into my thoughts with the sharpness of a razors edge. Another message from Alex. I knew without casting so much as a glance at the screen. It was always him. Lana preferred email and sent me pictures of whatever country she’d chosen to gallivant through that week. I tipped my head back, staring into the sky above the Mallory estate. Clouds, heavy with the weight of unfallen snow, hung low, threatening to explode at any moment.

Lucas shifted next to me on the cold porch steps. “Aren’t you going to read it?” His breath billowed into the air, mixing with the muted light of the frosty morning.

Shaking my head, I pulled my phone from my jeans pocket and tossed it to Lucas. “No point.” Alex’s messages only ever consisted of one letter, a simple ‘x’, and though I’d replied on several occasions, asking how and where he was, he never responded.

Lucas slipped my cell into the front pocket of his green hoodie.

I tried to take a deep breath, but the familiar stabbing at my chest prevented anything more than a small inhale. For the past three months, the simplest of things hurt, opening my eyes each morning ranking amongst the most painful. My mind began to fog, pulling me back to the night of the ferocious battle with Sol and Selena. The night the colors in my world had paled to barely recognizable blurs of insignificance. Nathaniel’s face flashed and I clawed at the memory, desperate to hold it strong and unwavering, but as always, it faded to obscurity.

I raised my head as the crunch of hurried footsteps sounded across the yard of the Mallory estate. Kyle’s black hair lay flat and damp against his forehead, his maroon t-shirt and gray sweatpants bearing the sweat patches of his run. As he drew closer, he pulled his earphones from his ears and whipped off his top, then used it to scrub the moisture from his face.

Lucas rose from the steps to greet him. “Just in time, breakfast’s ready.”

Kyle slung his t-shirt across one shoulder and used his other hand to rub his taught stomach. “Good, I’m starving.”

Lucas pushed the front door open and stepped inside.

Kyle held his hand out to me. “You coming?”

I dropped my gaze to the ground. “No, I’m not hungry.”

One, two, three. I counted the maroon stripes on Kyle’s sneakers, at the same time, wondering when he’d begun to color co-ordinate his wardrobe.

“Tough shit, babe. You’re eating.” Kyle grasped my wrist and pulled me from my perch. I landed with a thud against his solid chest.


So I’ve kinda killed two birds with one stone(<<< ooo – a cliché, I should know better). I’ve talked about my feelings without talking about my feelings and I’ve shared some words. Now I’m off to stare out of the window. Hope the rest of you are coming along well in your writing endeavors!

Book Blitz: The King’s Sword by C.J. Brightley

Cover - The King's SwordA disillusioned soldier. A spoiled, untried prince. A coup that threatens the country they both love. When retired soldier Kemen finds the young prince Hakan fleeing an attempted assassination, he reluctantly takes the role of mentor and guardian. Keeping the prince alive is challenging enough. Making him a man is harder.

As usurper Vidar tightens his grip on power, Kemen wrestles with questions of duty and honor. What if the prince isn’t the best ruler after all?

Invasion looms, and Kemen’s decisions will shape the fate of a nation. What will he sacrifice for friendship and honor?

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You can also purchase The King’s Sword direct from the author, Barnes and Nobel, Smashwords and Kobo.

ATA

I live in Northern Virginia just outside Washington, DC, with my husband, young children, and our sheltie mix. They keep me pretty busy, but in my free time I write, read, teach karate, make jewelry, and bake. I love the smell of snow but I hate being cold. I once hugged a tiger. I love hearing from readers, so please get in touch!

You can find C.J. Brightley on her website, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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New Release: Guardians Awakened by Kimiko Alexandre

GA4Raegan Fischer is eye candy for the rich socialites of the world…she also uses that pretty façade to protect them. When she gets dragged into a murder with “supernatural” like trappings, she never believes it’s going to not only test faith she doesn’t realize she has nor ever wanted, but make her enter a world of Angels, spirits and the unknown. Blackmailed into helping, she must find a missing angel and her sister while protecting a gargoyle that holds the soul of mass murder. It’s believe or risk a whole host of costs that are too high to bare.

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I am also pleased to be able to show you the print cover too!

Awakenedpic-page-001

 

photoKimiko Alexandre runs the Parsec Nominated Podcast, Talechasing, for writers and readers of urban fantasy. Angels and demons are her first love when it comes to urban fantasy and paranormal romance so it’s no surprise that her debut novel, Guardians: Awakening, features a host of both and puts a twist to the whole mythos of where bad souls go when they die.

Also a voice actress, she has been in many commercial projects as well as audiobook and podiobook titles. She even ran a stint at being a female voice artist for European Hardstyle Dance music for a few years.  Just search for ‘ft. Kimiko’ on Youtube and you’ll find her.She loves her books, her music, and her cats. She sports a pair of brown and blue wings on her back and it doesn’t come as a shock that her favorite show is Supernatural. Team Dean, all the way.

You can find Kimiko on Twitter, Facebook and on her Podcast.

New Release: From Here to Nashville by Julie Stock

New Release!! It’s finally here – From Here to Nashville by Julie Stock. And look!! An excerpt too! Can you tell I’m excited? I’ve been watching Julie’s journey from the sidelines and it’s always such an amazing thing to see an author’s book become available to buy.

fh2n_From Here to Nashville

Two worlds, 4,000 miles apart. Can music unite them?

Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset.

When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.

But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own?

Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again and to see whether music really can bring them together.

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Excerpt
I turned slowly to find myself staring up into the most beautiful pair of brown eyes I’d ever seen. The gorgeous man who’d been watching me earlier now stood before me, and my breath caught as I studied him close up. He towered over my petite frame, his soft, wavy, dark brown hair falling over his forehead, hands slung low in his pockets and cowboy boots peeking out from beneath his jeans.
‘Er, hi,’ I managed to stutter out, reminding myself to breathe.
‘Hey there,’ he drawled in the most luscious American accent. ‘I heard you singing and I wanted to find out more about who that fabulous voice belonged to.’ He smiled and as he did, I noticed the way his lips turned up invitingly at the corners.
‘Thank you. I’m glad you liked it,’ I replied, trying to appear calm and to bring my focus back to his eyes.
And then he chuckled. God, he knew how to make a chuckle sound sexy. He oozed confidence too, with his broad shoulders pulled back and his head held high.
‘You British, you’re so damn polite,’ he said, raising his eyebrows. ‘You sounded great up there.’
‘Yeah, the crowd had a great vibe tonight. I can’t quite believe it.’
‘Well, you have no reason not to; the proof’s all here. I loved your own song by the way. You have a real talent there.’
I blushed then, an honest-to-goodness shade of pink that made him chuckle once more, locking eyes with me as he did, so I knew the compliment was sincere.

ATA
julieJulie Stock is an author of contemporary romance novels, novellas and short stories. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and is a Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors.

She blogs about her path to publication on her website, ‘My Writing Life‘.  You can also connect with her on Twitter, on Goodreads and via her Facebook Author Page.

If you would like to be the first to hear about her new releases and other news, you can also sign up to receive her occasional newsletters. Your address will never be shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

When she is not writing, she works part-time as a teacher. She is married with two teenage daughters and lives with her family in Bedfordshire.

The Life Stages of a Pantsers Manuscript

A friend of mine is faced with having to write her first full-length novel for a few years. It’s not going to be a problem for her – well, she thinks it will be, but her words are so epic that I know it’ll be fantastic once it’s done, even if she hits some rocks along the road. But it got me to thinking about the life stages of our books. I know we are all different, but for your amusement, here’s mine.

0 Words – Stark Beginnings

In the beginning – there was… actually, I don’t know what there was. The beginning of a book is not when you or I put pen to paper, it’s when that first little seed enters the brain. Who knows how it begins? I couldn’t tell you. I do know, that for me, it began with an image while listening to a song, but something must’ve triggered it before that? Maybe…

noidea

 

500 Words…of notes

So now I have the main characters name and a little background. But not much more. But I do know her hair color. Hell yeah!

2000 Words…still notes

Whoop whoop! – I now have names of LIs, Protagonist, and friends and a tiny bit of their background.

whoop-whoop-o
—— Words…I’ve lost count

My notepad doesn’t have a word counter, but it’s full up and I have everyone. Still…I have no plot.

200 Words…of my manuscript

So it begins. Kind of. Or is this complete crap. Should I delete it and start again? What’s going on. Anyone know?

hmm

 

1000 Words in.

I have main character, I have setting, I have action. I have…crap – which character should I introduce next. I should really know this by now.

0 Words in.

That was rubbish. Start again.

2500 words in.

I did it!!! I wrote a chapter. OMG – It’s fabulous. I can totally do this.

ican

10000 words in.

Still rocking it!

rockingit

12000 Words in.

That’s just….that’s just awful. I don’t even know what that is.

what

15000 words in.

I Wonder what everyone’s up to on Twitter.

think

25000 Words in.

And….I’m baaaack. I am the QUEEN of this place. Ooo, yeah. Look what I just wrote. How freakin awesome is that. Honestly…my own genius scares me.

queen

 

 

30000 Words in.

I am a total failure.

paper

 

40000 Words in.

Beginning – check. Middle – check. Ugh – what’s that chapter all about. CUT.

50000 Words in.

There’s a pigeon in that tree. And a squirrel in that one. Ooo – a dragonfly. *Runs off to have a look.

dfly

50005 Words in.

That dragonfly sure was pretty. I wonder what other colors they come in. Google has the answers….

60000 Words in.

I actually just don’t care anymore.

65000 Words in.

Oh yes, now I’m rocking it like the God that I am.

freddie

65002 Words in.

Wait…what? That’s crap!!! *Jams finger on delete key.

what1

30000 Words in.

I can’t believe I just deleted 35k words. *Sobs while jamming cake into mouth.

cry

30000 Words in and several weeks later.

*Peeks out from under pillow fort. Area seems safe. Snatches notepad from beneath junk food rubbish while swigging cola.

30000 Words in.

I guess I turned into a plotter somewhere along the way….

40000 Words in.

Yes. This is much better.

50000 Words in.

Is it really better? Is this too much? Are there too many twists? Consults critique partner.

scratch

60000 Words in.

OMG – I did NOT see that coming. Thank you character who shall not be named for guiding me toward the light.

70000 Words in.

*Stares at screen. Sniffles. Is it really over?

75000 Words in.

Of course not. Layer – you idiot.

80000 Words in. Several months later.

Draft one million and sixty finished.

77000 Words in and several weeks later.

CP’s have ripped it to pieces and I’ve put it back together again. Off to the editor it goes.

OMG – I’m finished. Now I can do all those things I wanted to when I was writing.

happy

A half hour later.

*Fires up laptop… Chapter One….

typing

And there you have it. My writing process. I would love to know yours!

New Release: Faith by Kristie Cook

This is IT! The one I’ve been waiting for. Faith, the FINAL installment in the Soul Savers series is now LIVE!!! I’m excited. Can you tell I’m excited!

 

 When her eyes see only darkness, her soul must uncover
faith’s light.

Evil reigns the world. Earth’s been ravaged. Only
supernaturals roam the surface, while anyone else who escaped the fallout
remains hidden deeply underground. The only signs humans survived at all come
from those who serve the Daemoni. To finalize his conquest of humanity, Lucas
prepares to rip down the veil between Earth and the Otherworld, opening the
gates of Hell into the physical realm.
So why do the Angels insist on Alexis fighting a war that’s
already been lost? Defending a world that no longer exists?
With a soul that’s been battered and beaten by both Heaven
and Hell, Alexis holds onto a single conviction—her love for her family. Her
only mission now is to save her husband’s and her son’s souls. Once she does,
She’ll plead with the Angels to allow them off this world God has obviously
forsaken.
But has He? And can she give up on her people so easily? On
the souls of all humanity? Or will she find the faith she needs to defeat the
Daemoni and win back the world? Just how far will she go to save the souls she
loves . . .  and those she does not?
This epic finale of the bestselling Soul Savers Series will
break readers’ hearts, put them back together, and leave them demanding more.

 

Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various
genres, primarily New Adult paranormal romance and contemporary fantasy. Her
internationally bestselling Soul Savers Series will be complete and all seven
books available by early 2015. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis:
A Soul Savers Novella, currently available. Over 350,000 Soul Savers books have
been sold, with Promise peaking at #54 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid list and at
#1 in the Amazon Fantasy category, and Wrath peaking in the Top 10 on 5
international iBooks stores.
She has also written The Book of Phoenix trilogy, a New Adult
paranormal romance series that includes The Space Between, The Space Beyond,
and The Space Within. The full trilogy is available now.
Besides writing, Kristie enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and
riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently
calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, a beagle, and a puggle, but
spends many weekends with her three sons at UCF, cheering on the Knights.

 

Kristie Cook Interview with Red Coat PR

Are you a fan of angels and demons? Discovering new worlds and how they interact with our own? Do you like to ask the “what-if” questions?  Check out the amazing, Kristie Cook and her Soul Savers series, now a completed series with the release of Faith.
RCPR: I have to say I am extremely excited about the release of Faith, your final book in the Soul Savers Series. Are you sad to see it ending? Do you have any plans for a spin off?
KRISTIEOh, gosh, it is so bittersweet to see it ending. With seven books plus a novella and a collection of short stories, it’s been a huge part of my life. Saying goodbye to the characters is like saying goodbye to family. But it’s also been rewarding and quite an accomplishment, especially when I started, I wasn’t entirely confident I’d finish one book, let alone a whole series. As far as plans for what’s next…my lips are sealed. For now.
RCPR: You have so many great characters in this series. If you could either be a character in your book or have a power that one of your characters have who or what would you choose?
KRISTIE: Alexis can read minds, and I think a lot of people would love that power, but I don’t think I would. I already have too many characters in my head. I wouldn’t want the rest of the world in there, too! Not to mention how disturbing most people’s thoughts would be. *shudders* But I do think her power of levitation/telekinesis would be awesome.
 RCPR: I know some authors know their story from beginning to end before they write it. Did the Soul Savers Series end how you thought it would or did it throw you for a loop and go completely off the track?
KRISTIE: I had a general image of the final battle scene in my mind and the big turning point for Alexis since I finished the first book, but not everything play by play. So much of the storyline evolved over time – I was thrown for a loop many times, but every surprise led me beautifully back to where I intended to go. That’s what I love about writing
RCPR: Do you listen to music while you write; and if so what kind or do you need to write in complete silence?
KRISTIE: I have to actually write in silence, with white noise, like a fan. Lyrics distract me. But I do listen to music that is right for the story when I’m doing other work, exercising, cooking, etc.
RCPR: You’ve taken a different approach to writing characters like Vampires and Shifters along with Angels and Demons. What inspired you to write this series so creatively and pushed you to create a world like you did?
KRISTIE: I’d had the idea of writing angels and demons tumbling in my mind for years before I decided to start writing fiction again. When I finally decided to play, I sketched out some angel and demon-type characters. Around the same time, I was scanning through reader and book forums one day and came across a thread of young girls crying because they wanted the Twilight characters to be real. And I thought, “Well, then the bad guys would kill the author for exposing their secrets.” Immediately, the “what if” question popped into my head—“What if the supernatural creatures a big-name author wrote about showed up in her home, threatening to kill her if she didn’t stop exposing their secrets?” Then I realized this author and my character for the angels and demons idea were one and the same. The mythology snowballed from there.
RCPR: What book or series do you have in the works for us next?
KRISTIE: Top-secret…for a little bit longer. I have a lot of stories I want to discover about secondary characters in the Soul Savers world, but I also have other things in the works. Announcements will be coming after Faith releases.
RCPR: What has been your craziest fan interaction so far?
KRISTIE: Tattoos! Several fans have tattoos from my books! I do, too, but you know, I’m the author. I just never thought… The craziest is a tattoo of my skull-and-wings logo, including my initials – breaking her own rule of never tattooing someone else’s initials on her body. Haha! My fans are unbelievably awesome. I’m always blown away and humbled by how many people love my characters as much as I do.
RCPR: Is there a snack or drink or drink that you must have for while you are writing?
KRISTIE: Chocolate. And when under deadline, coffee.
RCPR: Are there any authors that you go Fan Girl over?
KRISTIE: So many I fan girl over even though they are friends now! But the ones I’d completely freak out and probably lose all brainpower with would be J.K. Rowling and Stephen King. I know, not very original, but there’s a reason people love them.
RCPR: What are some events that you have coming up for 2015?
KRISTIE: I’m doing a UK Tour in April, utopYA (Nashville) in June, PennedCon (St. Louis) in July, and InD’Scribe (Palm Springs) in September. That’s what I have planned so far for this year.