Author: Mirror World Publishing

The Majestic by J.A. Dowsett – Part 4/9

If you haven’t started reading this story yet, you can find part 1 here. Though, if you are all caught up, please continue! 

Nell got her fake ID as promised and the crew of The Majestic spent the next two weeks hauling scrap metal and construction equipment from Mars to Luna, and occasionally to Old Earth, the humans’ former homeworld. Supposedly once a thriving planet, since the war with the Greyns over two-hundred years ago, much of Earth was now underwater and only a few patches of land remained where mountains once stood. Still, the humans had plans to slowly rejuvenate their planet and one day inhabit it again, and part of the machinery they were delivering was a means to that end.

Earth was pretty, what was left of it, but Nell had no interest in the planet one way or another. She would much rather be travelling through the jump gates and visiting more interesting worlds, but the pay was good and the crew had collectively decided they didn’t want to chance taking the Majestic through any gates until they had a competent engineer on board. Unfortunately, they’d had no luck finding one so far in the Terran system.  

They were coming in to land at a scrapyard on Luna, Earth’s moon, when their need for an engineer suddenly became more than just theoretical.

“What was that?” Xendri asked as the ship sputtered and lurched to one side.

No warnings or alarms or anything gave Nell any indication of a malfunction. She gripped the steering column harder and tried to compensate for the sudden change of course. The ship responded to her commands, but barely. “According to these useless panels, nothing,” Nell exclaimed, her temper flaring, “but clearly that’s not the case!”

“What do we do?” Xendri questioned.

“Go down to engineering,” Nell responded through gritted teeth, trying to keep the ship from listing to the side, “and take a comm unit with you, I need to know what’s going on back there.”

Nell heard the pitter-patter of Xendri’s feet against the rusted metal floor as she hurried to Engineering, but she kept all of her attention focused on the task at hand. If I can just get us to the landing site…

Uh, Nell,” Xendri’s voice came through the cockpit’s speakers. They didn’t have a ship-wide communication system installed yet, but they’d rigged a few handheld units through the cockpit for the time being. “It’s bad. As in it’s on fire, bad.”

“Shit.”

Nell was a good pilot. She’d had plenty of experience on all kinds of ships, most especially Pentaurii ones. She knew what it felt like to be flying on one engine when there should be two. That’s what was happening right now. Except the engine didn’t just die, it’s on fire, which means the other one is in danger of catching fire, too. And so’s the drive core…and the fuel tank!

Nell tried to slow her ragged breathing, but the pounding in her chest beat a frantic rhythm and it was hard to concentrate over the sound. She squeezed her eyes shut for just a moment, trying to recall her days in flight school and all the lessons they’d given on what to do when things went wrong. Lean against the non-working engine. Course correct. Slow down and don’t tax your remaining engine. Cut the power and drift if you have to. Avoid entering oxygen-based atmosphere… Nell opened her eyes again and stared down at Luna, trying to pinpoint where she needed to land. Well that last part won’t be a problem, there’s no air on Luna.

“Nell, we’re working on trying to put the fire out,” Xendri informed her through the comm.

The ships’ fire-suppression system is supposed to do that. Nell picked up on what Xendri wasn’t telling her. Which means it’s not working and they’re having to do the job manually.

Nell tapped the comms button with the metal-coated tip of her tail. “Brace yourselves!” she announced as loudly as she could, hoping Xendri’s handheld comm would reach not only her, but also Vox and Quattro wherever they were on the ship. “This might be a rough landing!”

Angling herself on the right course, Nell cut the power to the main engines. That wouldn’t stop the fire, but it would prevent the second engine from going the way of the first. She relied on her maneuvering thrusters to course-correct as they headed toward the surface and found it was much easier to do so now that she didn’t have one engine struggling to do the work of two.

It was as inelegant as it was bumpy, but Nell managed to put The Majestic on the ground in one piece. Workers from the scrapyard thankfully caught sight of their distress and were on scene immediately with hoses spraying a fire-suppressing foam. Able to turn off the ship at last, Nell let herself breath in and out at a measured pace for a moment before she wiggled into her spacesuit and clamped the helmet shut.

558319_10151455425100120_920886056_nJustine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing with her friends.

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Book Review: Chris Pavesic’s Traveler’s Zone

Escape from a world of darkness into a magical realm of limitless adventure…

 

You may remember the first book in Chris Pavesic’s LITRPG series, Starter Zone, which I wrote a review for here. Well, Chris Pavesic continues the amazing story of Cami Malifux with Book 2 of the Revelation Chronicles, Traveler’s Zone.

When the review request came through for this one, I wasn’t sure I was going to have the time to read and review it, but I remember liking the first book, so I gave this one a shot. And I’m glad I did! Traveler’s Zone continues the story begun in Starter Zone, sort of like a second episode in a TV show. It’s short and sweet, while still managing to be really engaging and have a full story of its own. I was able to finish reading it in just two sessions, so it is a quick read. My only complaint is that I wish there was more of it, but then again, that’s more of a compliment than a complaint. One thing I will note, however is that I found L.G. Hodag’s character to lack purpose in this book. I’m hoping he will have more of a role in future installments, but it seemed like he was only in this book to keep Cami’s little sister company and as another example of how the game’s players and creators fail to treat NPCs or non-player characters as ‘lesser than.’

I wasn’t sure if LITRPG was a genre I would enjoy when I started this series, but Chris Pavesic has caught my interest and there’s so much more than just a ‘game’ going on in her series, that it makes for really engaging escapism. Bravo!

Traveler's Zone Announcement-2 copy

In Starter Zone, Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure. Indeed, magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world. 

 

Time to play the game.Saphs Book Promotions

 

Genre: LitRPG YA Fantasy

Page Count: 170 pages

Follow the Book Tour: https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/2018/09/tour-schedule-travelers-zone-revelation.html

Read an Excerpt:

I was born into a world where silicone still ruled. Where the products of the earth outshone those of the sea. Integrated circuits ran all electronic equipment and scientists strove to make the conducting lines smaller and smaller. Silicon Valley tried, and failed, to make chips fast enough to upload human consciousness.

The Revelation came a few years later from the hydrologists. They designed a system that did not use silicone, but instead worked with water molecules. The hydrologists managed to imprint the consciousness of a human mind on a single drop of water.

The water was to be kept in self-contained, sealed aquariums—pure, undiluted, eternal—where virtual realities were constructed to meet every need and desire. All of human knowledge encoded and stored in literal pools of data and integrated with the drops of human consciousness. It was, the hydrologists claimed, utopia achieved.

The obscenely rich were the hydrologist’s first clients, many taken near the end of their lives. The procedure did not always work, but there were enough successes to spur people’s interest. People suffering from terminal illnesses volunteered to be inscribed, and the hydrologists worked and refined their process. Private companies formed and competition forced price wars. Hundreds of customers grew to thousands, and then to millions. There were landmark court cases arguing whether or not health insurance should cover the cost of the inscription–whether or not this was a medical procedure designed to save lives or a form of physician assisted suicide. The law struggled to decide if life ended when the body was drained to a dry, leathery husk, or if life continued inside those glowing, sealed aquariums.

I was thirteen when the governments seized control of the laboratories, first in the Eastern European countries. Then the labs of Europe and the Middle East were swallowed up. Terrorist attacks soon followed and destroyed most of the civilized world over the next three years. The United States, Canada, and Greece, those bastions of democracy, did not fall until the very end. Of course, by then no one cared whether or not the government or the private companies ran the uploading programs. Many of the aquariums ruptured in the strife and the droplets, imbued with human consciousness, re-entered the water cycle of the planet.

The destruction of the aquariums led to a moment of serendipity. Once the hydrologists learned that the human minds survived outside of the aquariums, they designed a world-wide system of interlocking realms to host the inscribed human minds. Right now the realms exist in Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the Earth’s seabed hydrosphere, but the hydrologists have plans to expand their reach into the rest of the world. Soon, the only life left on the planet will exist in the virtual world.

Time to play the game.

Purchase Links: Amazon  Smashwords

Watch the Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/m_i_T_ZGprs

chrispChris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2NlNJXB

Blog: https://chrispavesic.com/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChrisPavesic/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisPavesic

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The Majestic by J.A. Dowsett – part 3/9

If you’re new to this story, best to start at part 1. Otherwise, please continue… 

The hulking beast shuddered to life. Nell waited a beat or two, listening closely for any signs of malfunction. Not hearing anything other than the groan of vibrating metal, she nodded. So far, so good. No screams, no explosions in engineering. That’s a good sign.

Reaching to her right, she tapped the button that would close the airlock and bring up the outer ramp. Silence. Nell frowned, tapping the button a few more times for good measure. Nope. Not going to work.

“I need someone to check the front airlock and raise the ramp!” she called out.

“On it.” Xendri, whom Nell hadn’t even realized was in the cockpit with her, suddenly darted away, swinging down the ladder to the airlock.

Bending slightly, Nell watched Xendri’s small, lithe frame exit out the front airlock and check the manual ramp mechanism. She grabbed onto the lever with both hands and jumped on it, using all of her weight to try and force it to move, but it wasn’t going anywhere.

Seeing her distress, Claw came running out of what must be Hank McGrath’s office and applied his strength to hers. After a moment the clamp came loose with a shuddering sound and the ramp started to rise. Xendri darted back inside and Claw backed up to safe distance.

Nell waited until Xendri was back in the cockpit. “Please tell me that airlock is sealed shut.”

“All green!” Xendri grinned.

Either she doesn’t see the danger in what we’re doing, or she’s genuinely enjoying the fact that we’re all risking our lives in this hunk of junk. Nell frowned at Xendri, who elected not to notice. She sighed. Either way, we won’t learn anything sitting in this scrapyard.

Nell turned her attention back to the controls and set about pre-flight checks. Then she checked it again. No errors showed on her end, but if the wiring was faulty, then that really didn’t mean anything and that front ramp control not working didn’t really give her high hopes for the integrity of the wiring. Here goes nothing.

She powered the ship for lift-off, gripped the steering column tightly, and tilted upwards. ‘The Majestic’ shuddered and groaned, creaked and whined, but it rose and there were no explosions or blinking alarm-lights. Nell let out the breath she was holding. Okay. Next hurdle…breaking atmosphere.

She gave the ship a bit more power, urging it up and out of McGrath’s Scrapyard. They quickly left the rust-coloured dirt of Mars behind, whooshing through the air faster and smoother than an upside-down turtle should really be capable of moving. Nell allowed herself to grin. It wasn’t like flying a fighter, or even the well-used Silent Serpent. It was bulky and awkward, but it flew. It flew straight and steady with no fluctuations in the engines’ power, and she knew that once she got it into space, the shape wouldn’t matter. That’s if I can get it into space, Nell reminded herself.

She angled The Majestic higher, taking the smoothest course she could give the ship into the outer atmosphere of the planet. I’ll get this thing into orbit and make sure there are no leaks before I take it any farther than that.

To her surprise, there were no leaks or warnings of impending disaster in orbit of the planet, or even beyond that, in empty space. She took the ship through its paces and was pleased to discover that it was maneuverable enough. Must be those Pentaurii engines, Nell decided. I guess McGrath wasn’t lying when he said this ship’s better on the inside than the out.

“Isn’t it great?” Xendri was beside herself with joy. “A ship of our very own!”

Nell had to admit that her new Captain’s joy was infectious. A matching grin spread across her own face and she was still wearing it when they touched back down at the Scrapyard once more.

McGrath’s sleazy grin was back on his face when he saw them return and it was quickly arranged that they would finalize everything in the morning and go their separate ways from there. Despite being back where she was faced with the Majestic’s rusty exterior, Nell couldn’t wait.

A ship of our very own…

558319_10151455425100120_920886056_nJustine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing with her friends.

It’s launch day! Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast by Regan W. H. Macaulay is HERE!!!

Aaaahhhh!!!!

I’m so excited about the release of this book! First, it’s beautiful. The art by Wei Lu is out of this world and the colours she chose are so vibrant and full of life. Next, it’s clever. Regan W. H. Macaulay has written a children’s picture book unlike any other I’ve ever seen. The story is witty and adorable and the language unique and engaging.

But don’t just take my word for it, check it out!

coverfileMTB

Mixter Twizzle is an odd, red, round-shaped, mischievous creature. He lives in a hovel, beneath a rustic barn, underneath the chicken coop at Riverdale Farm. He’s a snoozing sneezer and a snoring barker—a peculiar sort that both annoys and pleases. At first, Mixter Twizzle is thrilled by his egg-gorging fests, delighting in his own wickedness, but he soon realizes he is lonely. He longs for companionship, but the hens will have nothing to do with him. Can this fiendish creature learn to make friends at the farm?

Genre: Children’s Picture Book; Fantasy; Friendship

Publish Date: September 3, 2018

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Publisher Website: https://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Mirror World Publishing

Bonus Pic

rhcmacaulay-headshot

Regan W. H. Macaulay writes novels, short stories, children’s literature, and scripts. Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film, and television. She is an animal-enthusiast as well, which led her to become a Certified Canine (and Feline) Massage Therapist. Other award-winning picture storybooks by Regan W. H. Macaulay include Beverlee Beaz the Brown Burmese, Sloth the Lazy Dragon, and Tamara Turtle’s Life So Far. She is also the author of The Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham which includes Space Zombies! (based on her film, Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem!—available on iTunes and on DVD), They Suck, and Horror at Terror Creek.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReganWHMacaulay

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReganWHMacaulay

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/regan-%20%20macaulay-18989a34

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LxzSNt

Wei Lu

 

Wei Lu is an illustrator and graphic designer residing in Toronto. She grew up in China before studying at Nova Scotia’s College of Art and Design. She loves animals and make-believe characters of any kind and can bring them to life with a pencil and paper.

Follow the tour: https://saphsbooks.blogspot.com/2018/09/virtual-book-tour-schedule-mixter.html

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The Modern Book Tour, a guest post by Nate Friedman, part 2

Last week, we shared part 1 of Nate Friedman’s article The Modern Book Tour, and this week we have the rest of his advice. Read on!


The Preparation

This is where you use your writing and creativity skills to think of unique ways to advertise your events. I’m a bit old school when it comes to this: we put up these posters around where my events were taking place. There’s a multitude of ways to spread the word: internet advertising boards, local newspapers, your own website *hint-hint, nudge-nudge*, word of mouth, social media blitz including ‘what’s going on in {insert city}’ facebook group, book tour trailer. Anything and everything you think of, it will get people’s attention. We did t-shirts and colouring pages because it felt fun. Again, you have a style and a way you like to do things. That’s what makes you who you are, and the reason your book will sell a bazillion copies on your tour! Don’t forget to use your contacts: do you know anyone who is a news reporter? A school teacher or principal? Someone who advertises for their job/company? Ask for all the help you can!

There is also the question of whether to do paid advertising. You have to believe that anything you put in, you will get out. Sometimes these dividends take time to materialize. Decide on a budget. Be true to where you are at in your career and what you can realistically afford. My challenge here for you is to take what I call a “50-year approach”. Look at your career long-term and see how everything you do will help your career. Without a doubt, you know you will get where you need to go. It also allows the small mistakes and mishaps to be learning experiences, instead of career altering events. At the end, you only get one shot at each tour stop. Imagine yourself, sitting in that author chair on the day of the event, with less people than you wanted walking around. Think to yourself, “What more could have I done to advertise this event better?” Give, give, give, it all comes back in time.

The Event and Beyond

This is where the fun begins! Notice the excitement, the fear, the worry, the butterflies! These are all positive feelings. They mean growth in your career and increasing book sales. Don’t feel anything? I challenge you to build bigger- build something that scares you! Do the craziest thing you can think of!  Here you are, in a new bookstore and/or city. You’ve already won! You’re a working, traveling author, you are a professional. Your only job now is to be present, be yourself. People want to see your book succeed. They’ll even give you feedback directly, listen and weigh it. Try talking to as many people as you can. When you go home at the end of the tour, I guarantee you it won’t be the number of books you sold you think about. It will be the small moments and smiles along the way. It will be conversation that gave you your next great idea, the motivation you got from someone else, these are the things that will remind you why you write in the first place. And the book recommendations 😊! Ultimately, we’re all readers. It’s only being in the arena where you can learn and make adjustments. It does take a lot to put yourself out there, I don’t discount that, but it’s real. Take note of people’s names, make as many contacts as you can. Look at who publishes your favourite books in that genre and send them an email. Motivate people on their journey, tell people why you think your book is the coolest and why they should buy it! (Prepare a quick elevator pitch if you haven’t already and begin with your mission)

Also, take personal notes: what could we have done to improve in this location? What could we have brought? What worked? What didn’t work? Failing is not a tragedy, but failing to learn from it is. Take note on a deeper level, is this your thing? What part of the tour were you most excited by? Do you want to do more of these? How many should you do? Do you prefer reading and school visits? Be TRUE to yourself. This is all information you have now because you took the initiative and made that phone call. When the book tour is over, be sure to Thank everyone who was involved. They let you into their store and worked hard to make it possible, you have nothing to be but grateful. These heroes allow you to be an author.

At the end of the tour, and most importantly, DON’T STOP. Ride the wave. Sit down and plan the next one. You are one step closer to the Bestseller List (and if you’re already there, that’s one more person you shared your work with).

In closing, you are 100% responsible for how your book performs. 100%. Other people can help you along your journey but you alone are responsible. A book tour is a great way to spread your book to a larger audience and share your gift with the world. I once read that Tom Cruise, at one time the biggest movie star in the world, has a hand in every single movie he has ever been a part of. And you’re no Tom Cruise….yet (but those sunglasses you have look cool). The best way to approach your book tour, and your career in general, is that you are making it happen. Anything done by others is simply gravy. It is a lot of work. Seek the advice of professionals when it seems natural to do so, they want to help. The whole endeavour is rewarding. However, at the end of the day, you will be surprised by what you are capable of.

Let me be the first to congratulate you on YOUR book tour. Have any questions? E-mail me. I mean it, let me know about anything I can do to help you on your journey. Let me leave you with the best moment of my recent book tour. I’m teary eyed writing about it! So here goes: A young boy, of about five years, comes to the table to do some colouring pages I’ve left out. I’m thinking he’ll just draw some scribbles and be on his way. But instead, he focuses in and really gets into colouring. I joke with the parents that he’s really enjoying it. The mom says “Oh, he’ll do the whole thing” and she goes to sit down. As he is colouring we start talking about why he thinks he’s so good at colouring and what he wants to do when he grows up (he wanted to be an author, guys!). After doing a great job colouring, I decide I’m going to give this kid a book. I got to inscribe it saying “keep following your dreams – hope to work with you one day.” And then we took a picture together as he smiled. My heart melted. The fact I get to have moments like this that affect people’s lives is everything. I have been afforded the chance to follow my mission, which you’ll see in all my books: “I want to change the world one smile at a time.” What’s your mission? I guarantee a book tour will help.

THANK YOU FOR READING ☺

Author Bio Pic
Nate Friedman is the Author of “The Coffee Monster” and “The Last Hockey Fight.” He loves to travel and craves adventure in his free time. Along with making people smile and laugh, he is constantly pursuing his dream of being a writer on Saturday Night Live. You can find out more about his work at www.natetfriedman.com or www.facebook.com/natefriedmanauthor. Thanks again.

The Majestic by J.A. Dowsett – Part 2/9

For Part 1 of this sci-fi story, click here. Then, read on!

With mixed emotions, they followed McGrath toward the hulking vessel. It took a few slams of the human’s grimy hand on the release mechanism to get the ramp to lower, but eventually it did, with only a slight grinding sound. The ramp was sturdy enough, and it led to a thankfully less rusted airlock, which led into a cargo hold.

Nell frowned; the inside of the cargo hold was about as rusty as the exterior of the ship. McGrath must have caught the look on her face because before she was able to open her mouth he said, “What you’re seeing is the exterior wall. We’ve still got to put in the environmental plating you ordered. It will look good as new, I promise!”

Nell narrowed her eyes at the man, but said nothing as they all traipsed through the empty cargo hold to yet another ramp. This one led up into the rest of the ship. It was less rusted in here, if only slightly. They toured through engineering; storage; and medical, which at this point, being empty, looked exactly the same as ‘storage’ had; a couple of crew bunks with cots that folded out from the walls; and a ‘communications’ room that contained nothing more than a metal desk and a couple of chairs; and finally the galley.

The galley was the first furnished room they came across and that was no thanks to McGrath. The furniture and appliances all looked familiar and it immediately became clear why. “I had the Silent Serpent gutted before I sent her to be scrapped. Anything that could be used here got moved over,” Claw explained. “So you’ve got all the chairs, cupboards, and bedding I could find. Oh, and the sonic shower is from the old ship, too.”

Well, at least I know one part of this ship will work. Nell grimaced.

The last stop of the tour was the cockpit. As Quattro and Xendri were listening to Vox and Claw negotiate with McGrath, Nell slid into the pilot’s seat. It’s the same one, she noted, as her butt slid into a familiar groove. She ran her black-furred hands over the controls, swooping her tail up to see if she could reach the overhead buttons. After a moment, she started to purr. Yes, this might do, after all. This cockpit is Pentaurii design…

“Like I said, the cockpit is Pentaurii-built, just like the engines. They’re used, but top of the line, just like you asked. You see those glass panels there,” McGrath said, gesturing to the glass beneath Nell’s feet and all around her. She could see up and down just as easily as she could straight ahead. “Pentaurii like windows in their ships. Don’t know why, but they make some solid glass. That stuff can take a hit, lemme tell you.”

Of course we like windows. Nell was proud of her Pentaurii heritage, even if she had been in a hurry to leave home and see the galaxy as soon as she’d completed flight school. Scanners are great and all, but to really fly you need to be able to see where you’re going.

“Pentaurii engines are about as reliable as they come,” Claw noted, “and it can’t hurt that you’ve got a Pentaurii pilot who knows how to make good use of them.”

“Now we just need an engineer,” Xendri said.

“Yeah, it’s too bad Sue didn’t want to stay on after we left the Serpent,” Quattro added with a pointed look at Claw.

Claw’s face reddened under Quattro’s gaze. “Yes, well. Sue’s decided to stay with me for a while. Here, on Mars.”

Quattro grinned and slapped his former Captain on the back. “Hey, congratulations man! Now I get why you’re so eager to retire, a woman like that!”

Claw’s blush deepened as he looked the other way.

“Well, shall we complete the paperwork in my office?” McGrath asked and Nell stiffened.

“Is the vessel spaceworthy?” Vox asked.

There was an uncomfortable pause. “Haven’t you taken it for a test flight?” Claw asked McGrath.

“Well, I was waiting for you!” McGrath said a little too quickly. “Wanted you and your crew to have the honour, you see.”

“Xendri’s crew,” Claw corrected him.

“Yes, yes, of course. Now, if you’ll just allow me to complete the paperwork, we can get this thing up and running. Do you know what you’re going to name it? For the records, I mean?”

“What, this majestic thing?” Nell quipped.

“Majestic, yes!” Xendri perked up, having been largely quiet until now, inspecting the ship carefully. “That’s a perfect name. It has so much potential.” She beamed, her brown eyes wide. “Thanks, Nell!”

Nell shook her head. Koowans are strange.

“The Majestic…” McGrath typed out on a datapad he’d pulled out from seemingly nowhere. “Very well, and the owners are…?”

The others gave their names and planets of origin, starting with Xendri, but when they came to Nell, she froze. “Uh, Nell,” she said, knowing that wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy him. McGrath looked at her expectantly and she struggled to come up with a believable sounding family name. “Kiri…of Raal, in the Pentaurii system.”

She felt Claw’s eyes on her, but she kept her head down.

“Okay,” McGrath said, “Now, I’ll just need to scan your IDs to complete the registration.”

Most people started reaching for their ID chips, but Claw put his hand up. “We can handle the official transfer later. Let’s make sure this thing can fly first, why don’t we?”

McGrath hardly looked pleased with this arrangement, but he nodded gruffly. “Very well,” he said, making for the ladder that would take him down to the airlock. “I’ll get some of my people to watch the engines for signs of trouble. Why don’t you come down with me, Claw, since you’re not part of the crew.”

“In a minute,” Claw told him, catching Nell’s gaze as the others dispersed. “This whole ID thing going to be a problem for you?”

Nell stiffened again, but after a moment, she nodded.

“Nell Kiri, huh? Of Raal? I know some people. I should be able to get you a passable ID by tomorrow.”

Nell’s eyes lit up, hope surging through her. Claw just smiled. “Least I can do for the pilot who saved my life just in time for retirement. Consider it done.”

558319_10151455425100120_920886056_n

Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing with her friends.

The Modern Book Tour, a guest post by Nate Friedman, Part 1

Mirror World Author, Nate Friedman, just finished his great Canadian book tour and he has some advice for any of us looking to follow in his footsteps. Here’s part 1 of his two-part article. Part 2 will be posted this time next week, so subscribe for notification.

Do you have a book? Then you can have a book tour! It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. Some will tell you it’s a waste of time. While it is true that most things are done online nowadays, I believe it’s more important than ever to be out there in person, sharing your book with the world. How else will people know you and your mission personally? The amazing conversations you have with readers, fellow writers and the smiles are all icing on the cake. Writing can be a lonely endeavor at times and being out there allows you put all of your hard work into perspective. And the cherry on top: free market research! Ask someone working at a bookstore what the hottest new books are, or watch your target reader and see how they navigate the shelves. That is all information you did not have before. It’s not about becoming an overnight success, it’s each successful day along the way. The challenge: selling as many books as you can at each stop. You might never feel like you are selling enough,  however, what you get is information and learning, more than you ever could sitting at home or online. The most important part is progress – momentum. Remember this in all your creative endeavours: people want to get onto a moving train. Let me now outline some of the steps that will help you in getting your train started. I hope it helps you take that next step!

The Vision

The first thing you need to do is imagine your book tour and what you want it to be. Listen to your gut instinct and don’t rule anything out. Factor in time for yourself and make it just long enough to leave you wanting more. For some, this could mean taking a full year to peddle their book across the country. For others, this could be one event a week over a period of 6 months. For others still, maybe 10 bookstores in 10 days. Once your vision is created, that is what will help you sell the idea. People will feel you getting excited and will want to be on board. You’ll be the biggest party in town! Go to places that excite you, to places you’ve never been before, and even places you don’t want to go. Sometimes this resistance is exactly what you need to push through, to reach to the next level.

The Call

I am not talking about the call of the wild, but an actual phone call. Don’t think about it, just do it. We live in a time where we readily have access to copious amounts of information. Look up the phone number of bookstores near and far and call them (it’s free!). Don’t take any of these things for granted. The store managers you are calling want to say yes. They love you. They are probably as excited as you are, about having a new author at their store. Get a few no’s!? Good! That means you are heading in the right direction. You’ll feel even better when the next store you call is interested. If you’re the script sort here it is:

(smile: it comes through over the phone) “Hi I’m {name} author of {book name}. I was wondering who I would speak to about doing a book signing event. *gets person* “Hello there {say their name}. I’m {name} and I’m excited to be organizing a book tour! We’re looking to book {# of events} in {location} for the {insert tour name- makes it sound official}. We’ve already booked {insert stores booked already- remember moving train} and we’d love to have you on board. *wait, listen, really focus on the person you are talking to*

Final note: give them a date and time. If your vision is clear, you’ll know where they fit into your schedule. You’re not doing anyone favours by giving them an open calendar (it screams unprepared!) Also, have a backup date and time available, and if it doesn’t work out you still have a contact person for future tours. I always ask myself “How can I make this call fun?” before it’s made. Maybe you want to get an iced tea and sit on the patio with your legs up, GREAT! Life is about enjoying. Don’t just exist, THRIVE…. Oh, and at the end of the calls you’ll have a book tour.

Author Bio Pic

Nate Friedman is the Author of “The Coffee Monster” and “The Last Hockey Fight.” He loves to travel and craves adventure in his free time. Along with making people smile and laugh, he is constantly pursuing his dream of being a writer on Saturday Night Live. You can find out more about his work at www.natetfriedman.com or www.facebook.com/natefriedmanauthor. Thanks again.

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The Majestic by J.A. Dowsett – Part 1 of 9

You may have read my last sci-fi serial, The Silent Serpent, (and if you haven’t, you can find it here.) This nine-part serial meets up with that same crew as they pour every last credit they have into a new ship of their very own… The Majestic. 

***

“McGrath’s Scrapyard,” the sign overhead boldly proclaimed.

Nell eyed the rusty crooked letters cynically, This doesn’t bode well…

Once past the garbage heap-style entrance, the moderately-sized yard was entirely hidden from view by a monstrosity of a ship, rust-coloured from top to bottom as if it had lain in that exact spot for a hundred years or more. It wasn’t large as far as ships go, but ships always seemed comically oversized when parked on a planet, and this one looked like nothing more than a rusted metal turtle flipped on its back.

“Ah, there you are!” An unfamiliar voice proclaimed, causing Nell’s fur to prickle and her tail to whip about, ready to strike if needed. “I was hopin’ to show you the beauty myself, but it seems you’ve found her already.”

The man came to a stop before her. He was full human, not Terian, since his dull brown eyes had no glow. He stood maybe six feet in height, with broad shoulders, but it was clear from his paunch that if he worked here, he didn’t do any of the heavy lifting. His gruff tanned face was mostly covered by a white-laced ruddy mustache that hung from the sides of each cheek like a piece of rope glued there for comedic effect.

“Oh, where’s my manners?” He stuck out his hand. “Hank McGrath.”

Nell eyed the calloused fingers encrusted with dirt, rust, and who-knows-what-else and decided quickly she wasn’t about to touch this man, let alone shake his hand. I’ll need a sonic shower just from standing in this place, she wrinkled her nose at the sour smell of rust and garbage, no need to make it worse.

If McGrath noticed her discomfort, he made no show of it. “Ah, and you must be Captain Xendri.” Not missing a beat, the middle-aged human shifted his hand as if he had been intending to hold it out for the Koowan Captain all along as she scurried over to join them.

“Oh, is this how humans do it?” Xendri questioned, trying to position her arm to mirror McGrath’s gesture. At half his height and with limbs more suited to running and climbing, it looked a little silly when she tried to do it.

The next several minutes were lost to Hank McGrath trying to teach Xendri how humans shake hands. The part furred, part carapaced Koowan seemed fascinated by the man’s lesson and eagerly practiced the gesture half a dozen times, despite the dirt on McGrath’s hands.

This gave Quattro and Vox enough time to arrive, followed by their former Captain, James Claw. Quattro and Claw were both Terian, their purple and blue eyes respectively giving off a faint glow, noticeable even in the orange-ish light of a sunny day on Mars. Otherwise they looked to be the same species as McGrath, though supposedly there were some other subtle differences between the two variations of human. Vox, however, was a different being altogether. At nearly eight feet, he was the tallest of them all, and though he was humanoid in shape, the resemblance ended there. He stood stiffly, barely moving, and he never bothered to turn to look at you since he could see in all directions, being made entirely of a white opaque crystal.

“Good to see you, Nell.” Words came from somewhere around Vox. He didn’t have a mouth, so Nell had no idea how he managed to make vibrations, or where the sound came from exactly. “I wasn’t sure you were going to be joining us, but I’m pleased to know we will have a pilot.”

Nell shifted uncomfortably. She had considered going her own way when the last ship they were on together needed to be scrapped after unexpectedly finding itself in the middle of a firefight. But this is what I want, right? The chance to pilot my own ship?

Captain Claw managed to draw her attention back to the present. “So this is it, huh? What do you guys think?”

Nell turned to look at Claw and then followed his gaze to the rusted metal turtle. “Wait. This is our ship?”

“Ain’t she a beaut!” McGrath proclaimed.

“She’s somethin’ alright,” Quattro twisted his mouth dubiously, fighting off the urge to laugh.

“It’s… it’s…” Nell struggled to put her thoughts into words. Garbage? A Scrapheap? Junk?

“It appears to have the shape of a space-faring vessel, without the substance of one,” Vox stated. “A picture of a ship, if you will. It also appears to be far below the value in credits we provided you to build it.”

McGrath just laughed, his belly shaking up and down in a disconcerting manner. “Ah, that’s just the outside! A good coat of paint’ll fix that right up. It’s the inside that counts, my crystalline friend. Come on, lemme give you the tour.”

***

To be continued in Part 2, next week. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

It’s Launch Day! Unreachable Skies, Vol. 1, by Karen McCreedy is here!

We’ve been waiting for this day ever since the day we opened Karen McCreedy’s submission email. Sabrina, one of our slushies, was blown away by the sample of Unreachable Skies even though, and she’d be the first to tell you this, she is generally hard-pressed to like anything written with a first person point of view. She was so impressed that we decided to request the full manuscript immediately, which unfortunately left Sabrina waiting rather impatiently over a weekend for the rest of the story to be sent in.

Needless to say, the rest of the story holds up just as well as the sample did. Sabrina loved it, I loved it, and Robert also gave the thumbs up, so here we are most of a year later and the book is complete and ready for you to fall in love with it like we did.

So I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Unreachable Skies is a trilogy and Karen McCreedy’s first published novel. It’s a unique story. Not really sci-fi and not fully fantasy, it sits somewhere in between as a story set completely on its own planet with a species of people that are not human with their own traditions, history, and problems.

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In a world where it is normal to fly, what happens when you can’t?

When a plague kills half the Drax population, and leaves the hatchlings of the survivors with a terrible deformity – no wings – suspicion and prejudice follow. Continuously harassed by raids from their traditional enemies, the Koth, the Drax are looking for someone, or something, to blame.

Zarda, an apprentice Fate-seer, is new to her role and unsure of her own abilities; but the death of her teacher sees her summoned by the Drax Prime, Kalis, when his heir, Dru, emerges from his shell without wings.

A vision that Dru will one day defeat the Koth is enough to keep him and the other wingless hatchlings alive – for a time. Half-trained, clumsy, and full of self-doubt, Zarda must train Dru to one day fulfil the destiny she has foreseen for him, even if it is quickly becoming clear that the Prime’s favourite adviser, Fazak, is not only plotting against the wingless, but is gaining more of Kalis’ trust by the day.

Efforts to fight prejudice and superstition are certain to lead to death for some and exile for others; while Zarda’s own journey to understanding her role in events may lead her to abandon all tradition in order to protect her peoples’ future.

Saphs Book PromotionsFollow the Book Tour: https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2018/08/virtual-book-tour-schedule-unreachable.html

Book Information:
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Adventure – This book is targeted toward a general audience.
Page Count: 242 pages
Publish Date: August 17, 2018
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/

Purchase Links:Amazon
Mirror World Books

Review Quotes:
“In the tradition of Ursula K. LeGuin and Anne McCaffery, with Unreachable Skies Karen McCreedy has created a nuanced alien culture populated by compelling characters.” ~ James Swallow, bestselling author

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Brought up in Staffordshire, England, Karen McCreedy now lives in West Sussex where she recently retired from the University of Chichester. She has written articles on films and British history for a number of British magazines including ‘Yours’, ‘Classic Television’, and ‘Best of British’. 

 

Karen has had a number of short stories published in various anthologies. She also won second prize in Writers’ News magazine’s ‘Comeuppance’ competition in 2014 with her short story ‘Hero’. 

 

‘Unreachable Skies’ is her first novel.

Flash Fiction from Regan W. H. Macaulay: The Kiss.

This week is another piece of short fiction from Regan W. H. Macaulay whose children’s picture book, Mixter Twizzle’s Breakfast, launches September 1st. You can learn more and pre-order this book here

The Kiss

His heart raced when her full, parted, lips touched his. His mouth welcomed her warm breath, her soft tongue.  From deep inside his stomach, he felt the familiar feeling of falling.  Every muscle in his body contracted as, eyes closed, he pictured her face that was so close to his right now.  His body collapsed in on itself while his heart thumped maniacally, exploding, like birth.  He saw her wintry skin in his mind’s eye.  He watched her hair flow before him like blood from a wound. It was burnt amber, like falling leaves in autumn.

He was sinking.  He felt small and insignificant next to her.  She could cradle him in her hands.  She could crush him.  He opened his eyes hesitantly and watched her hazel eyes deepen before him into a green as deep as a dark, fabled forest.  She was watching him, too.  He could not break free from her enduring kiss.

He shut his eyes again and remembered.  It seemed like he had watched her over the course of a lifetime.  She had ignored him as if unaware of his obsessive observations.  She sat in the lecture hall, her gentle form bent over her notes as she stared at them with the intensity of a marble statue.  Her willowy form strode through the halls with an air of absolute entitlement.  He could see she had the world by the short hairs – the world and all the people in it.

But Marianne saw nothing impressive in her.  His friend warned him that type of woman would never need him.  Would she even want him?  He had said he didn’t know.  And what difference did it make to Marianne, anyway?  He must know her.  He bent all his will towards that end and let everything else slip away into a vortex spinning in the back of his mind.  He built his confidence a little every day just to gather the strength to say hello.

Now she shone down on him like orange twilight or burnt sunshine, so far away.  And he was still sinking.  No, shrinking before her.  Was he falling?  Why did she tower over him?  He was hard all over, tense with panic.

He experienced a waking reverie of the time he spent trying to woo her, all the while staring at her far above him.  He recalled their first words for a fleeting moment, but that was soon gone.  His mind was falling in on itself.  Imploding.  He remembered the name of her cat – Sookie.  She was the darkest cat he’d ever seen.  Like a deep forest with bright eyes, like her mistress.  He remembered the first time he ever stepped into her apartment, which was where he stood now.  No, he was sitting.  His limbs felt springy.  They flopped around, spaghetti-like.  They slapped on the floor.  His fingers felt nubby.  He gazed down at them.  They were alien to him.

His frantic mind turned over images around the room.  He both saw and recalled his first time noticing all the terrariums in her apartment.  They glowed at him with a green-tinted fluorescence.  They were decorated like small jungles.  He wondered then, as he did now, why she would have so many pet frogs.

His lips had left hers now.  His eyes felt plump as he gazed up at her.  Surely they would bulge out of his skull if these strange sensations continued.  She gazed back at him with an expression he could not discern, but it made him feel helpless.  Like loving her had made him feel hopeless.

She smiled and her expression changed.  Her eyes sparkled and in those last moments of rational thought, he knew he had obtained her love at last.  She doted on him, bending over him, gently picking him up off the floor in her enormous, pale hands.  Her fingers cupped his bloated stomach.  She pulled him out of his crumpled clothing.  Now he had her!  He could see she would obsess over him, now.

She carried his orb-like form to one of the terrariums and opened the door on the front of the tank.  Gently, she slipped his gelatinous body onto the soil.  His mind grew dark.  He stared about and noticed the other gargantuan frogs sharing his new habitat.  He gazed at his golden, bulbous eyes, tomato-like form and twilight orange skin reflected in his water dish.  He matched her hair.  Perhaps that made him special.  Then it dawned on him that she had had a lot of first and only kisses, and his awareness slipped away with the click of the terrarium lock.

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Regan writes novels, short stories, children’s literature and scripts. Writing is her passion, but she’s also a producer and director of theatre, film and television. She is an animal enthusiast as well, which led her to become a certified canine (and feline) massage therapist.