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Available for Preorder: Nurse Blood by Rebecca Besser

Published August 19, 2016 by admin

I’ve got a nice, bloody title for horror fans today written by the lovely Rebecca Besser, so check it out! Nurse Blood is on preorder at Limitless Publishing  and Amazon with a release date of August 23rd.

Nurse Blood Front Cover.jpg

 

Sonya Garret roams the bar scene hoping to steal the heart of an unsuspecting victim—literally…

Sonya, better known as Nurse Blood, is part of a team of lethal organ harvesters who seek out the weak to seduce, kill, and part out for profit on the black market. When Sonya meets Daniel McCoy, a young man recovering from a broken engagement, he’s just another kill to line her pockets with quick cash.

Agent David McCoy vows to find out how and why his twin brother Daniel disappeared…

Daniel’s body hasn’t been found, and the leads are slim to none, but it won’t stop David from dedicating his life to solving his brother’s case. When the evidence finally uncovers the shocking truth that Daniel’s disappearance is linked to organ harvesters, David knows his brother is most likely dead. But he’s determined to stop the villains’ killing spree before they strike again.

One last harvest is all Sonya and her team need to put their murderous past behind them…

A family with the rarest blood type in the world is the only thing standing between Sonya and retirement. David McCoy and the FBI are hot on their trail, though, and multiple targets make this the most complicated harvest yet. Will David unravel Sonya’s wicked plans in time to avenge his brother and save an innocent family? Or will Sonya cash in her final kill and escape for good?

Murder for profit stops for no man when you’re Nurse Blood.

***

Prologue

The air inside the nightclub was hazy from smoke machines. Flashes of colored light cut through the swirls in beat with the pulsing music that shook the walls and the floor. The atmosphere was alive with movement―a mass of hot, swaying bodies bent on enjoying the moment. A monster waited in the depths of the darkness to bat her pretty eyes at someone and make them her prey.

The door of the establishment swung open to give way to three eager young men looking to have a good time and celebrate. The trio was instantly surrounded by dancing women. They made their way through the press of bodies to reach the bar.

Daniel forced himself not to scan the crowd for his ex-fiancée, April. But she was the least of his worries, as the real danger was a face he wouldn’t recognize.

Roy got their drinks while Hank and Daniel stood at a balcony that overlooked an even larger dance floor below. The smoke was thicker down there, and there were more lights. The dancers looked like they were paying sensual homage to their deity. The air was tainted with the aroma of perfume and alcohol; it burned the men’s nostrils and fueled their excitement for the revelry to come.

Daniel took a moment to text his twin brother, David, to let him know where they would be celebrating their shared birthday. He received a text back from David saying he was still an hour away.

Roy joined them with three shots and three cold bottles of beer, passing one of each to his friends. They downed the shots in one swallow before turning their attention to their beers.

“Dave will be here in an hour or so,” Daniel announced after downing his shot.

“Awesome—we’re gonna have a great time!” Hank yelled over the music.

As Roy took a drink of his beer, a petite, slim blonde grabbed his waist from behind. He jumped in surprise and turned, recognizing the young woman.

She tucked a finger into the front of his jeans, smiled at him, and tugged him away from his friends toward a table with another girl.

Roy looked back over his shoulder at his friends and shrugged.

“That’s Lynn,” Hank yelled to Daniel. “They’ve been seeing each other for a while. And that’s her cousin Trisha—you don’t want to go there.”

Daniel nodded and looked around. The warming effect of the shot was spreading through his body, relaxing him. He felt less paranoid about running into April.

While he was looking over the crowd, a woman caught his eye. She was a tall, slim brunette, and she was beautiful. She was standing alone at the end of the bar. He watched her for a few moments, and when she looked around, their eyes met.

He smiled and looked away.

Hank noticed Daniel’s mild interest. He knew what his friend had been through recently and why he was gun-shy with women.

“Go for it!” he yelled, nudging Daniel. “Have some fun!”

Daniel looked at his friend, took another swallow of beer, glanced at the woman—noticing she was still alone—and shrugged.

Hank laughed and gave Daniel a shove toward the bar, causing him to slam into two people who happened to be walking past. When he turned to them to apologize, he came face to face

with the very woman he was hoping not to run into: April. The man she was with was leaning on her with all his weight while she struggled to hold him up.

Daniel’s heart clenched in his chest and his lungs seized up for a moment. He felt his hand tighten around the neck of his beer bottle. He wanted to slam it over the other man’s head, but he managed to restrain himself. He didn’t want her to know how much the sight of her with another man hurt him, so he put on a brave front.

“Excuse the fuck out of me,” he said with a sadistic smile, raised the bottle in the air like he was toasting them, and then took a big swig of the brew. He was pleased with the shocked expression that spread across April’s face at his harsh greeting.

They didn’t say anything to Daniel, but focused back on each other and moved around him and deeper into the establishment.

Daniel glanced over to Hank, who was grinning from ear to ear.

He smiled at his friend, nodded, and forced himself to put one foot in front of the other until he made it over to the woman at the bar. While he walked he pretended not to notice that April had glanced back at him several times as she guided her drunken man to a table where he could sit down. He was determined to show April she wasn’t the only woman in the world. He was going to prove to himself and her that he was over the breakup.

“Hi, I’m Daniel!” he yelled when he reached the woman, leaning toward her a little so she could hear him as a new song started to play.

“Grace!” she yelled back.

They smiled at each other.

The couple chatted for a while about nothing important, since it was too loud to carry on a serious conversation, and ordered drink after drink as they stood at the bar. Daniel’s emotional tension eased little by little with every drink. He became more and more relaxed, and friendlier and friendlier with Grace. Before he knew what was happening, they were pressed up against each other while they conversed so they could hear each other better.

“Let’s get out of here,” Grace said. She kissed him and reached down between them to rub his crotch.

Normally Daniel would be shocked and uneasy by such a gesture so soon after meeting a woman, but he’d had enough drinks not to care about how respectable she was or wasn’t being.

He nodded in agreement and looked around for his friends, frowning.

“I have to tell my friends I’m leaving,” he said, taking a step away from Grace.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Grace said, rubbing his crotch again. “They’ll figure it out. Besides, you can call them later and they can pick you up from my place.”

That sounded reasonable so he followed her out to the parking lot. The night was clear and felt cool after the heat from the population of patrons inside the nightclub.

They stumbled together through the parking lot and paused to make out, pressed against the side of her car for a couple minutes before they finally separated their bodies to get in.

Daniel had the passenger’s side door open and was about to climb inside when his cell phone beeped, notifying him of a text. He stopped, stood up straight beside the car, and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket by mistake. He reached into his other back pocket and extracted his cell phone. He frowned and squinted to focus on the tiny, bright screen that said David was only a block away.

“What are you doing?” Grace asked.

“I can’t go with you,” he said with a sigh. “Sorry. I—”

He felt a sharp pain in the side of his neck. He reached up to figure out what had hurt him and spun around at the same time, dropping his cell phone and wallet to the asphalt parking lot.

Grace was standing behind him holding an empty syringe.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but you have to come with me.”

He tried to shove her away, but his limbs wouldn’t do what he wanted them to. His legs gave out from beneath him as the world blurred into a black blob of nothing.

***

Grace shoved Daniel’s tall frame into the passenger seat when he started to fall, smacking his head on the door frame. She quickly picked his feet up from the ground and spun him so she could get him all the way into the car.

She heard laughing as a couple made their way through the parking lot a few rows over, so she didn’t take the time to pick up what Daniel had dropped.

Grace shut the passenger door and ran around to the driver’s side of her car. She scanned the parking lot as she pulled out, not seeing anyone close-by. She’d been careful, watching for people as they’d headed outside, but the distant couple had snuck up on them. Luckily they hadn’t come close enough to see what she was up to. She tensed slightly when she had to pass another vehicle as she pulled from the lot out onto the street, but the man was looking in the opposite direction and didn’t even glance their way.

Once she was out of the parking lot and a couple blocks away, she pulled out her cell phone and called Roger.

“Hey,” she said into the phone. “I have fresh meat…”

©Rebecca Besser & Limitless Publishing, 2016. All rights reserved.

Rebecca Besser 2016

Rebecca Besser resides in Ohio with her wonderful husband and amazing son. They’ve come to accept her quirks as normal while she writes anything and everything that makes her inner demons squeal with delight. She’s best known for her work in adult horror, but has been published in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for a variety of age groups and genres. She’s entirely too cute to be scary in person, so she turns to the page to instill fear into the hearts of the masses.

To learn more about Rebecca visit her Website, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and/or follow her Blog!

 

Juniper Grove presents Shadowed by Ken Hughs

Published July 7, 2016 by admin

Shadowed-Blitz-Banner

It’s book blitz time again, so let’s check out a new title!

Shadowed

Title:  Shadowed

Author:   Ken Hughes

Published:   February 6, 2012

Publisher:   Windward Road Press

Genre:  Paranormal Thriller

He can hear a whisper a block away… and can’t remember why.

Open your mind, to a city where mystery chases up and down office back stairways, turns brother against brother, and plays out on frozen sidewalks where lives may be shattered if the enemy even looks at the ragged man passing by in the crowd—and even that man cannot guess what memory will be next to batter his mind.

Paul was no detective, no thief, only a student trying to get some distance from his father and brother. When he found himself marked by the power to enhance his senses, he had only that treacherous gift and what few tricks he dared to teach himself, to search for some explanation—or at least the chance to give it meaning by exposing a few petty corruptions.

Paul thought if he lived in poverty to keep his existence secret from the world, at least nobody could force him to use that gift as a weapon against others. But just when he thought he was untouchable, the last thing he expected shakes his world and drags him into the perils of his family, his power, and two women who each have a different claim on his life.

As Paul begins to play cat and mouse with enemies he can’t even name, he must break every rule that’s kept him alive, in every frantic chase and every gamble he makes to break his family free. And all the while, he knows his greatest enemy may still be what lies behind his own secrets.

If you think you know everything a paranormal thriller can do, take a closer look.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

***

Paul gritted his teeth. Gripping the metal piece as firmly as he could through the glove, he Opened to the shape in the shadows along the window, fighting to ignore the two memories so he could just see the wires, know the distance…

In one move, he reached down through the broken pane to stab the metal’s edge into the wood below, pressing its length between the sensors at just the proper angle. Nothing snapped, no alarm blared… and he yanked his hand back up as the dog snapped at him.

The metal stayed in place. He tried to Open his hearing to follow if the electrical path had changed, but all he heard were Quinn’s words and the dog’s thwarted growls.

Time to find out.

The dog watched his every motion now, so he took the last pigeon from his box and slid it through the hole. The dog barked as the bird fluttered by, but this time, it turned right back to the window as Paul reached in again to flip the latch.

He pulled his hand back in time, but the dog kept barking, and Paul could only hope the guard was still sick of false alarms. And that the other alarm here…

The window slid up, just three inches for now. No bells rang, but the dog snarled and snapped just beyond that gap.

And Paul raised the pet store’s spray bottle and squirted cleaning fluid into its face.

The dog yelped and pulled back, giving Paul a moment to fling the window up. As the dog started toward him again, he gave it another spray, then caught up the bird net and flung it over the beast.

Paul grabbed the bottle again and leaped through, into the room.

A few desks and cabinets stretched around him in the dim light. He turned back to see the dog already shaking off the thin net, as expected. He stepped back and pumped the spray as the dog charged—but it squirted once and then the trigger clicked in without pumping any liquid. He back-pedaled and pumped more slowly, but now the spray only made the dog flinch back a moment.

The inner door’s this way—Paul took a step, and his hip bashed the edge of a desk. The dog lunged.

He spun around the desk and threw himself at the door. For one frozen moment, he wondered if he’d ever heard the guard open it. What if it’s locked? Then he seized the handle and wrenched it open, which sent a spasm through his injured arm.

As he stepped through, the dog came up behind him. Paul ducked sideways and gave the spray bottle trigger one hard squeeze. The spray drove the dog back only a step, and Paul pumped wildly, felt the trigger catch on nothing—He smashed the bottle into the animal’s head, knocked the dog away, then leapt back out through the door and slammed it shut.

Gasping for breath, he listened to the dog’s muted barking for a moment. The spray bottle had split open in his hand, and he set the its remains quietly on the floor.

Paul looked past the desks to the office’s little file cabinet and then marched back to slide the window shut and gather up the net. That left him in the space between the alarms, with the dog trapped, and the guard tired of checking out all these noises.

“Alright, what now?” the guard growled, as the outer door’s lock clicked open. Paul dropped flat, behind a desk just as the light came on.

Ken-Hughes-Author

Ken Hughes is an urban fantasy writer living in Los Angeles, author of Shadowed and the upcoming The High Road. He’s also done technical writing for missions to Mars, and blogs about writing and genres at www.KenHughesAuthor.com.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Newsletter

 

 

Juniper Grove Presents: Mirror Image by Michele Pariza Wacek

Published May 27, 2016 by admin

Mirror-Image-Blast-Banner

It’s book blast time! Let’s see what new title we’ve got in store for us today.

Mirror-Image

Author:   Michele Pariza Wacek

Published:  May 27th, 2016

Publisher:   Love-Based Publishing

Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Synopsis:

Which would be worse: knowing that your dead sister has come back to life and is now a serial killer, or that someone else is the killer… and that person is you?

Six months after Linda’s sister Elizabeth killed herself, Linda has finally gotten her life back to some semblance of normalcy. Until a killer appears who is stalking men … a killer who resembles Elizabeth … a killer who seems somehow familiar to Linda.

And to make matters worse, Detective Steve Anderson, her old high school crush, is assigned to the case. He’s asking Linda all sorts of questions – questions she couldn’t possibly have an answer to.

There’s no reason for him to be investigating Linda. She couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this.

Could she?

AmazonGoodReads

When Elizabeth was born, her mother knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the hospital had made a mistake.

It had been a difficult pregnancy. Marie spent most of it in bed, nauseated, uncomfortable, exhausted. She barely kept anything down, subsisting mostly on tea and saltine crackers. When the time came to deliver, the doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section, so she wasn’t able to actually watch the birth.

She couldn’t explain it, but the first time the nurses presented her with Elizabeth, she refused to even hold the baby. “There must be some mistake,” she insisted.

“There’s no mistake,” the nurses said, their approach firm and no-nonsense.

Blond and pale, Elizabeth looked nothing like the other dark haired members of the family. But it was more than that. Elizabeth felt wrong. Marie sensed it every single time she looked at Elizabeth, touched Elizabeth, smelled Elizabeth. The baby was alien to her. Elizabeth was not her baby.

But she could do nothing about it. Her husband hadn’t seen the birth. He had refused to attend any of his children’s births. The nurses kept assuring her that no one had made, could possibly have made, a mistake. So Marie had little choice but to bring her home.

Elizabeth was different, always — strange. Marie hated to use that word about any of her children, especially her youngest, but she could find no other word to describe her. Elizabeth was strange. Period.

From birth, the baby kept quiet. Rarely fussed. Hardly cried. She started talking at six months, much earlier than the rest of her children, and started forming full sentences at just over a year old.

She spent most of her time alone or, once she learned how, reading. In fact, Elizabeth remained such a quiet child, Marie could easily forget about her. It made her nervous. Elizabeth was too quiet.

Even her scent was all wrong. Babies smelled warm and sweet, of milk and talcum powder. Elizabeth’s scent reminded her of meat just beginning to spoil: thick and rotten.

But there was something else wrong with Elizabeth, something more serious than her near silence, her behavior, her scent. Even more serious than that alien feeling, which Marie had tried to dismiss as simple post-partum depression, although it never did go away entirely.

When Marie was really being honest with herself, which didn’t happen often, she could admit what really disturbed her most about her daughter.

Her eyes. Elizabeth had silver eyes.

Not always. Most of the time they looked gray. But sometimes, they changed to silver. Occasionally, Marie even thought she could see them glowing, like a cat’s. Especially at night. There Elizabeth would be, lying on her back, perfectly quiet in her crib, her eyes strangely open, shining faintly in the darkness. Marie would tell herself that Elizabeth’s eyes merely reflected the nightlight in a bizarre fashion. After all, none of her other children’s eyes ever glowed. But it still didn’t make her any easier to face, late at night, as silver eyes stared at her from the darkness. They seemed so old, so ancient. Eyes that had seen thousands of years and hundreds of lifetimes. Those eyes peered out from her newborn’s face, watching her every move, strangely calculating, full of adult understanding and knowledge. She felt afraid, if she were being honest … all alone in the room with those peculiar silver eyes watching, watching, always watching.

Nonsense, she reassured herself. Surely, she could not be afraid of her own infant daughter! What would her husband say? Plenty probably, and most of it with his fists.

Still, she found herself checking on Elizabeth less and less. She argued with herself: Elizabeth didn’t fuss much anyway. Marie didn’t need to check on her so often — not like she did with her other, noisy, “normal” babies.

Her other children. Such a joy they were, her four boys and other girl — Peter, Mark, Mike, Chad and Linda. All healthy, regular children, with coarse dark hair, brown eyes and a little bit of baby fat on their bones. They looked the way children should look, the way her children should look, like their parents. But more importantly, they acted the way children should act — loud, boisterous, rough, needy. Marie loved them for it, loved how she couldn’t get a moment’s peace when they played together. Even when their play turned to fighting, she still preferred it to Elizabeth’s silent, eerie presence.

But Marie loved Elizabeth, too. Loved her fiercely, with the same passion she felt for her other children. Marie knew she did. She told herself she did, time and time again. The fact that she felt relief when Elizabeth wasn’t around meant nothing. She just needed time away from her children, after all. Almost all mothers welcomed the time they had away from their constant, children-related responsibilities. It didn’t mean she loved them any less. It didn’t mean anything at all.

Michele-Pariza-Wacek

When Michele was 3 years old, she taught herself to read because she wanted to write stories so badly.

As you can imagine, writing has been a driving passion throughout her life. She became a professional copywriter (which is writing promotional materials for businesses), which led to her founding a copywriting and marketing company that serves clients all over the world.

Along with being a copywriter, she also writes novels (she’s published two psychological thrillers/mystery/suspense novels “The Stolen Twin” and “Mirror Image” so far) plus, she is also the author of the “Love-Based Copy” books, which are a part of the “Love-Based Business” series and cover both business and personal development.

She holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and her border collie Nick and southern squirrel hunter Cassie and is hard at work on her next novel.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads

 

 

 

 

 

Elementals Season One by S.G. Basu

Published November 17, 2015 by admin

Elementals-Banner

I’m excited to be able to bring you a whole season’s worth of exciting titles today! We all know how I love sharing books and talking process, so it’s extra fun that it’s an interview day, as well. You know the rules, though…first, we check out the books!

Elementals-Season-1

 

Title:  Elementals: Season 1

Author:  Author: S.G. Basu

Published:  September 29th, 2015

Publisher:   Vinayaka Publishing

Genre:  Science Fiction Thriller

Content Warning:  Mild violence and language

Recommended Age:  15+

Synopsis:  Mayhem is about to visit Löthia.

Löthia is at peace–after a millennium of genetic tinkering, Löthians’ power over the elements has been obliterated. The Elemental Wars that have plagued their civilization from the beginning of time is now distant history.

But have the Elementals been tamed for good?

Or is this just the quiet before the storm rips Löthia apart once again?

Amazon | Goodreads

Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

***

SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?

*Bonus question – Do you put on a cape and do a chant before hunkering down to work? Sacrifice anything? Along with your process, what’s your quirkiest writing habit?

SGB: Thank you for having me on your blog. A lifetime ago, the first step of my writing process would have been a painstaking and meticulous outline. In the last two years the process has changed significantly. I like to experiment, challenge myself, and push my boundaries. Often I’m surprised by the results and the changes they bring about. Just like they changed my process—I have stopped outlining as thoroughly as I used to. I still do a broad outline, but now I go easy on the in-between stuff.

I don’t put on a cape or chant, although I might try those out now that I’ve heard about them. There’s one odd thing I do–I design a book cover right after I have the basic frame of a story. That gets my creative juices flowing real good. These covers often don’t make it to publication, but they serve well as part muse, part artistic anchor for the project.

SJ: Are you a meticulous planner or do you believe in the muse? Where do your ideas come from? Do they filter in through your dreams? Do they show up at inopportune times and whap you upside the head? Do they result in a shady deal with a dark power?

* bonus question – If your muse had a physical manifestation, what would he or she look like and how would she or he act? Is it a sexy superhero version of Callisto? A sharp-tongued rogue? A reptilian alien? Do they have a catch phrase?

SGB: The muse is everything. I plan and plot, of course, but if the muse doesn’t cooperate, said plans go nowhere. The ideas stream in from everywhere, while I’m watching TV, or reading a book or simply taking a casual stroll. And yes, they even show up in dreams. A project I have just started actually crystallized around a dream I couldn’t forget. The story involves time travel and I’m super excited about it, especially since I’ve never written anything like it before.

My muse? That would be the sharp-tongued rogue. Think Han Solo.

SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?

SGB: “The Lightbound Saga,” my YA science fiction fantasy, is closest to my heart. It is a work-in-progress pentalogy, with the first two books—“Maia and the Xifarian Conspiracy” and “Maia and the Secrets of Zagran”—already published. The third book will be released in February of 2016.

“The Lightbound Saga” is my first venture as an author and every character, especially Maia, the thirteen-year-old protagonist, is very dear to me.

I try not to play favorites, although I always wish I could. That is the problem with being a career writer. If writing was just a hobby, I would indulge in one story or one character for as long as I could. But, to make writing a career, that too as an indie author, I can’t be stuck to one story for longer than is necessary. That in turn means, I can’t be partial to one story. 

SJ: If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?

SGB: Hands down it’s Science Fiction. I’m a dreamer—fantastical places and weird characters always crowd my head. I need to set these ideas free on the pages of a book or they would badger me nonstop. What better genre than Science Fiction for my band of misfits?

SJ: What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?

SGB: Writing is a very lonely profession. A writer has to be alone, that’s a necessity to be able to bring their characters to life. Then again, too much time alone can exhaust and cause burnout. I have found that writer’s block sets in faster when I’m at my desk for very long stretches. Tempering my schedule with a good amount of social activities, exercise etc helps tremendously.  

Cliché? None, actually. I’m very accepting as a reader. I think even the most-used clichés when used correctly in an awesome story, can do good.

SJ: If you had to be stuck in one of your own books/stories for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? If you had to stick a loved one in one of your own books, what would it be and why? An enemy?

SGB: “The Lightbound Saga” for sure. I would like to be a part of Team Maia, if they were recruiting. There is danger in that world, the whole star system is under threat of extinction, but still, there’s so much fun to be had. Tansi, broken as it is, it the most intriguing place in the galaxy, with the coolest powers to possess, the funnest gadgets to tinker with, and wildest adventures to have, strangest people to meet—what’s not to love?

A loved one should be sent to “The Lightbound Saga” as well. They would also do fine in “Elementals” until all hell breaks loose. As for an enemy, they have to be in my “Seeder Chapters,” where Earth is almost dead and the human population is teetering at the brink of a mass extinction event. It is a tough, tough place and I’m sure my enemy could be taught a lesson or two there.

SJ: Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer?

Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it?

SGB: In my opinion, there cannot be a sure-fire recipe/formula for success in any field. Writers and a writing career is no exception. Hard work, dedication, perseverance, attention to quality and details—all of those go a long way to push one toward success though. Also, writers should be willing to take risks; be it trying out new POVs, changing up narrative styles, trying out a new genre or story structure. All those help improve a writer, her craft and her chance of standing out among the many other excellent writers out there.

Sure, why wouldn’t I want a sure-fire recipe for success? I totally would. However, I also like figuring things out for myself. In the two years since my first publication, I have learned so much and grown so much—I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything else. The journey so far has been amazing, and I think it’ll feel even more amazing once I reach my destination.

SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that.

With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?

SGB: There’s no wisdom I can give them. I can tell them how difficult a writer’s journey is, but that’s not the same as them walking in my shoes. And until they walk my walk, it is only human to think of the grass as greener on my side.

The media, which likes to make fairy tales out of the successes, often omitting the amount of time and hardship that went into making those success stories happen, shapes people’s opinions a lot. Even the outliers, who are a handful among millions of writers, have had to put in countless hours to get where they are now. The odds are immense, yet we never hear about it. So, it is only natural for people to think that anyone writing a book today will be the tomorrow’s J. K. Rowling. 

SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.

SGB: Been there, heard that. I write science fiction, and I’ve been told that I should write real stories that make a statement about the human condition.

I will say this—science fiction, or any speculative fiction for that matter, isn’t—in most cases—a story about the fictional science. It’s a story about humans affected by said science. So, a good scifi story will tell plenty about the human condition, in addition to the fiction and fantasy aspect. I agree that reading science fiction for the first time can be difficult, but if people open their minds and embrace it, their imagination can take them anywhere.

SJ: What do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?

SGB: I want to be thought of as an “one stop shop for all your science fiction reading needs.”

I hope, within the next two years, anyone who stops by my shop, can find a piece of science fiction they like. I’m slowly building variety in my offerings—fast-paced thrills and slow, intricate world-building, tales for young adults as well as those with mature-themes, short stories to epics and everything in between. 

SJ: Please tell us about your latest/favorite work or a little bit about what you’re working on right now. It’s plug time, so go for it!

SGB: Apart from working with my editor on the third book of “The Lightbound Saga” series, I’m in the middle of two new and extremely interesting projects.

First is “The Eternity Prophecy,” a science fiction thriller with an ambiguous theocracy at its core. Never having created religion or faith in any of my stories until this one, I’m excited as well as terrified working on it. It’s shaping up well though. You can find details of the book here – http://booklaunch.io/sgbasu/eternityprophecy

The other is a fun superhero book, tentatively named “Jumpers.” It is about a group of people who get the power to travel back in time—not back into the age of dinosaurs and not even back a year, but only a day at most. They decide to use this power to save victims of recent crimes. I have wanted to write a time travel story for a very long time and I’m thoroughly enjoying writing this. 

***

I love the insightful answers! We also have an excerpt from Elementals, so let’s check it out!

***

Nothing during the course of the grouchy summer day indicated that, by the time it was over, seventeen-year-old Anavyx Elon would be accused of the grisliest murder in recent Löthian history.

Dual complete moons blazed across the purple skies of Löthia that evening, and there shouldn’t have been any interruptions to Anavyx’s routine, yet there was.

She heard the faint noise of her bedroom door opening when she was halfway through her shower. Her body, warm from the water cascading down from the canopy over her head, stiffened immediately.

“Moma?” Anavyx called, voice trembling a little as her throat dried up with fear. No one replied.

It couldn’t be Moma.

Alana, her mother, was a top geneticist in the Peaks. Her evening consultation hours ended precisely at 2030 hours, not a moment before or after. There was no reason for her to leave her patients and come into the private section of the house looking for Anavyx.

Maybe it was Dadi.

Anavyx banished that idea with a shake of her head. It was impossible. Her father did not set foot in the house before midnight. Nothing except a calamity would bring him home this early. And even if he came home, he would never venture into her room. So who could it be?

There was no other noise after the door opened. That was the oddest thing—the silence. It made her insides curl up in a tight ball.

Anavyx reached for her robe and having wrapped its flowing expanse around herself, tiptoed forward to investigate. She barely took a step into her room, heart pounding uncontrollably fast and unbearably loud, when she saw him.

 

SG-Basu (2)

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books.

Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

She shares her home with a large collection of Legos, a patient husband, and resident inspiration and entertainer, her daughter.

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Juniper Grove Presents: Shattered Memories by Susan Harris

Published July 1, 2015 by admin

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It’s blog tour time! Today I’ve got another fun, unique YA title to share with you guys! The sudden, uncontrollable urge to break into Shattered by The Rolling Stones is also killing me, but that has nothing to do with the book.

Shattered-Memories

Title:  Shattered Memories

Author:   Susan Harris

Published:  June 16th, 2015

Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing

Genre:  YAm Dystopian Thriller

Content Warning:  Adult language, graphic violence, and sexual content

Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis:  A terrible tragedy forced Alana McCarthy to forget a year of her life. Now she is to be executed for a crime she does not remember committing—the murder of her entire family. Lost and alone, Alana is terrified of unlocking secrets buried so deep inside her mind that she’s willing to forget the one person who could set her free.

Daniel Costello hasn’t forgotten about Alana, and he will do anything and everything to protect the girl he loves. But first, Alana needs to unlock her memories and find out the truth about what happened the night her family was killed.

The day of her execution is set. Together, will Alana and Daniel be able to uncover the truth behind her family’s deaths before it’s too late?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

Susan is here with us today in interview form, so let’s hear what she has to say about her book and the writing world!

SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?

SH: When I have an idea for writing I do a lot of planning and prep before I actually start writing. First I do a book outline of what goes into each chapter. I also do character profiles where I jot down everything from eye color to height. Then once I know what kind of characters are scenes are going into the books I spend ALOT of time working on a playlist. Writing and music come hand in hand for me..I couldn’t do one without the other.

SJ: Bonus question – Do you put on a cape and do a chant before hunkering down to work? Sacrifice anything? Along with your process, what’s your quirkiest writing habit?

SH: I think my quirkiest writing habit is I have to set up my laptop, notebook and pens in a certain way. And I have a card with my word count where I have chapters with each individual word count as well as combined word count. I also have like mini figurines of Loki, Legolas and transformers that I have to have near me! Atm I’m doing up my office area so it’s weird to be working without all of them!

SJ: Are you a meticulous planner or do you believe in the muse? Where do your ideas come from? Do they filter in through your dreams? Do they show up at inopportune times and whap you upside the head? Do they result in a shady deal with a dark power?

SH: No matter how much I plan and want a story to go in a certain way, the voices in my head will constantly change the outcome as I write. And yes it does haunt me in my dreams so much so that I will more often than not wake up during the night and have to go write so that I can get a little restful sleep! Maybe I should make a shady deal with a dark power! I wonder if I made a deal with a crossroads demon would Crowley himself appear? It’s worth a shot right?

Note from SJ: Susan gets all the bonus points for the Supernatural reference.

SJ: bonus question – If your muse had a physical manifestation, what would he or she look like and how would she or he act? Is it a sexy superhero version of Callisto? A sharp-tongued rogue? A reptilian alien? Do they have a catch phrase?

SH: If I could picture my muse I think she would be like Charley Davidson from Darynda Jones series. Smart as hell but with the attention span of a goldfish!

SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?

SH: Crave the Darkness by Amanda Bonilla stands out for me with that question. When I was reading the book the main character had panic attacks and anxiety die to something that happened to her. (Aiming for no spoilers!) and I related to it because I was going through the same thing at the time. Despite being a writing I found it hard to put into words what I was feeling and this book did that so beautifully.

SJ: If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?

SH: Paranormal/ fantasy! I love reading the genre and writing it too because you have the freedom to be as creative as possible and even invent some creatures that haven’t ever been done!

SJ: What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?

SH: Writers block and people who think it’s easy to be a writer and anyone could do it. Plus I am not a fan of cliché rom coms! Not bashing anyone’s taste but I just find them predictable and boring….but paranormal romance ..that I don’t have an issue with!

SJ: Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer? Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it? I have a phrase tattooed on my arm that read “Better to write for yourself and have no public then to write for the public and have no self.” I think if you write something just ‘cause the industry finds something ‘in’ and the moment then you’re not doing yourself any favors. I want to write stories that spark something in me and not conform to a certain mainstream idea.

SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that. With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?

SH: It’s not as easy as it looks. Writing is sometimes a very solitary job over extended periods of time. And that book might not make it. We authors spend a lot of our time researching and writing and re-writing before it’s even ready to submit. There is an impression that because of the overnight success’ of some authors whose books, in my opinion aren’t my cup of tea, makes our creative process seem easy.  I wish it was as simple as people think but it’s most definitely not!

SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.

SH: It really makes me angry when other authors or readers bash certain genres. Like people, not everyone is going to like a particular genre. I love paranormal or dystopian books while others love romantic contemporary. It should be more important that people are reading no matter what they read.

Note from SJ: Word

For my genre, dystopian at this time, it allows you to see what the world could be like if we continue on in the way we are going. Most of us won’t get to see the future in 100 years. But with the Dystopian genre we can paint a picture of life unknown and create characters that will forever be changed by the events of that future.

 SJ: What do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?

SH: I would like to be known for the worlds I create. Most of the authors that I read are renowned for their fantastic world building. I would love to have even a sentence of my work stand out for someone, like a memorable quote. Like when we think of The Fault in our Stars, I immediately think of his quote “That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.”  If even one line in my book sticks in someone’s head like that then I know I’ve done a good job!

SJ: Please tell us about your latest/favorite work or a little bit about what you’re working on right now. It’s plug time, so go for it!

SH: I’m currently working on a new series but we are in the early stages atm. It’s called Skin and Bones and I would describe it as a mix of Supernatural vs Criminal minds. It will also introduce a creature that hasn’t really been written about before and a variety of different characters who I hope will get their own books as the series progresses.

Susan-Harris

About the Author:

Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland. An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy genre. When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, anything Disney and psychology. If she wasn’t a writer she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.

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Juniper Grove Presents: Burning Doors by Renee N. Meland

Published May 8, 2015 by admin

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Time for another book blitz, and this one looks like an awesome title!

Burning-Doors

Title:   Burning Doors

Series:  The Extraction List #2

Author:   Renee N. Meland

Published:  April 28th, 2015

Publisher:  Limitless Publishing

Genre:  Dystopian Thriller

Content Warning:  Violence, adult language, and minor sexual content

Recommended Age:  14+

Synopsis:

Cain Foley committed his first murder before he could even drive a car. Not that he would’ve had anywhere to drive to. When he was fifteen, America was one of the poorest countries in the world, and its’ citizens took their hatred of that fact out on each other through gangs and violence. Children barely tall enough for carnival rides peppered the streets selling drugs (or themselves) so they could buy their next meal.

Every night on the news, Cain watched as an angelic blonde woman who lost her own child swore she’d end it. She assaulted America’s televisions with praise for the Parental Morality Law: a set of rules that spells out exactly what it takes to be a parent in the eyes of the government, and the consequences of breaking those rules. He prayed every night that she’d come to rescue him before his father took off his belt again.

Before she could save him, Cain faced a fatal choice: fight back or die on the basement floor.

He chose life.

Now on the run, he finds himself being hunted by a police officer with his own special brand of torture. Before he can save even a handful of the children who have been swept up in the gang life, he must first cover up not one, but two murders: his father’s and one committed by a teenage madam who is either the love of his life, or his final undoing. As he feels himself being pushed further and further to the edge, he realizes that surviving his father was just the beginning.

Amazon | GoodReads

And there’s an excerpt so you can give this title a road test!

***

The first time I killed someone, it was an accident. Though I guess it was the kind of accident that happens when you squeeze your hands around someone’s neck for too long, or when you shove someone who is standing too close to the edge of a building. In my case, I accidentally killed my father when I beat him to death with a pipe.

He had set me up that night, I’m sure of it. I was always careful to leave the TV volume down so I wouldn’t be caught. But when I flipped the power on that night, the news roared. The woman I wanted to see was there, giving a speech like always, but her voice came out with the force of thunder. Sweat drenched my body when I heard the door to my parents’ upstairs bedroom fly open and hit the wall. The foundation shook and so did my limbs. I sat frozen in a seated position as I heard his footsteps. All I could focus on were his shiny patent leather shoes coming toward me. Even in the middle of the night, he took the time to slip them on.

I could smell him before I even saw his feet. He constantly stunk of mouthwash and old cologne; it was some putrid mix of sandalwood and beach vacations that we would never take. He cackled as he stepped toward me, so the minty air from his breath reached me before his hand did. I felt my head hit the floor before I felt the familiar sting in my cheek.

“You’re so stupid. You really think you’ll ever leave here? Where do you think you’re going to go, huh? You need me. She hasn’t come for you and she never will!” He kicked me in the side with his foot.

My stomach clenched from the impact.

I usually kept quiet when he hit me. At most, I would agree with whatever he was saying to stop him before he did real damage.

It never worked.

No matter what I said, or didn’t say, the blows would keep coming. My mother was always        conveniently upstairs, but no one can tell me she couldn’t hear the snap of his belt or the furniture rattle as he shoved me into it.

That night was different. Maybe it was watching the woman from the television, or maybe it was the way his smile stretched across his face as he struck me, I don’t know. But when he was finished and heading back upstairs, I spat towards him.

My cheeks burned as I did it. In fact, my whole body felt like it was on fire. But I’d be lying if I said I wished I could take it back. Even when he turned, eyes wide when he noticed the wad of saliva glistening on the concrete floor, I didn’t regret it one bit.

I may have even cracked a smile.

Renee-Meland

Renee N. Meland lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs. Her favorite obsessions are Rome, learning new recipes, and exploring the world around her. She is an avid reader of speculative fiction, and believes that telling stories is the best job in the world.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Blog

There’s also a tour-wide giveaway going on, so be sure to enter the Rafflecopter to win a print copy of The Extraction List

Excerpt: Linear Shift by Paul B. Kohler

Published April 22, 2015 by admin

If yesterday was tour day, today is excerpt day! I’ve got a nice big excerpt from Linear Shift for you time travel fans!

Linear-Shift

Title: Linear Shift

Author:  Paul B Kohler

Published:  April 7th, 2015

Publisher:  Global Endeavor Publishing

Genre:  Sci-Fi Thriller

Synopsis:  No one said time travel would be easy.

Peter Cooper, a widowed father of two whose life is crumbling around him—until a bizarre encounter with a desperate Army general launches him on a risky mission: to go back to 1942 and change a moment in time. The repercussions will almost certainly alter the conclusion of World War II. But will the ripple effects stop there? And what kind of life will Peter return to?

Unknown Consequences:

A successful mission may not have the success he had intended.

 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

***********

As Peter lay on the sofa bed, he looked around the darkened room, waiting. Slivers of bluish moonlight cascaded through the partially open drapes, saving Peter from utter obscurity. He listened intently toward the bedroom door. Silence. Julie was sure to be fast asleep.

Wondering if it was time to get moving, he glanced at the nightstand, but the moonlight wasn’t cooperating. He moved his wrist in front of his face, but he couldn’t see the hands on his new watch either. It has to be after one, he surmised.

He dropped his legs off the hide-a-bed mattress and into a new pair of trousers he had purchased a few days earlier. He stood, sliding his feet into a pair of Oxfords, which were the closest to casual tennis shoes he could find. Finally, he grabbed the tattered leather jacket acquired from a secondhand store and stepped into the hallway.

The lights were dim because of the late hour, but they were bright enough that he could see his watch. It was 1:46—later than he’d anticipated but still giving him plenty of time.

Peter took the back stairway, which dropped him in the alley behind their hotel. The guest parking lot was just across the street. Peter had purposefully parked the Packard in the back row to avoid waking anyone when the engine rumbled to life.

As he slalomed his way through the parking lot, he considered the leather jacket. The temperature was hovering around sixty degrees, but the humidity was high. He contemplated leaving it, but with only a white cotton T-shirt, it might be useful, if a bit uncomfortable. He slipped it on as he slid into the driver’s seat. He chuckled at the reflection in the rearview mirror. He looked like James Dean from Rebel Without a Cause. It was one of Minnie’s favorite movies. If she could only see me now, he mused. Of course, she wouldn’t be born for another thirty years.

Peter eased out of the lot and turned toward his midnight destination. In all practicality, he could have walked the mile and a half to the bay, but the thought of lugging his supply bag made him rethink his mode of travel.

At nearly two in the morning, the streets were deserted. Without traffic, he could make it the water’s edge and back with time to spare. The only unknown lay beneath the streets. His plan was simple. Tonight’s excursion was Peter’s “dry run” into the U.S. Mint.

Back in 2013, Peter had meticulously analyzed all potential entry points into the mint. Armed with Chet’s fortuitous information, Peter had discovered the only feasible, yet incredibly unsanitary, approach was through the city’s sewer system. According to the historical maps, there were several storm drain overflows that dumped directly into the bay. Because the sewer had recently gone through a major renovation, the outlets still remained uncovered. It wasn’t until 1953 that the vulnerability was discovered and barriers installed. Since that wouldn’t happen for another eleven years, Peter was free to enter the sewer at his leisure.

The ten-block drive was mundane, and within minutes Peter had parked along the pier. Considering whether or not to leave the car so close to his entry point, Peter opted for convenience. According to his schedule, he could make it to the mint and back within fifty minutes.

Peter opened the trunk and pulled out a large duffle bag. From its side pocket he slipped out a neatly folded packet. He slung the bag over his shoulder, stepped over the rope barrier, and climbed down the stone embankment. By the time he reached the water’s edge, he had unfolded his map and was studying it in the moonlight. Once he had his bearings, he walked another twenty paces until he came upon a large concrete tube. Stepping over two rows of heavy riprap, Peter stood up in the mouth of the opening. Flicking on his flashlight, he strode into the darkness.

He had expected the ceiling to descend, but after a dozen steps into the bowels of the city sewer, he was still able to stand fully upright. Adjusting his map, Peter plotted his route and continued onward.

The map—the proverbial key to the castle—had been something of a windfall. Chet, the coin shop owner, had spoken of a flaw in the original security. The original documents had been sealed shortly after the flaw was discovered. Luckily though, the sixty-year confidentiality had serendipitously expired only a few months before Peter’s trip through the time machine. He had examined every detail regarding the breach and had found an unaltered map of the city sewer system. Peter hadn’t been able to take the map out of the records room, so he’d had to memorize it. His map was something he was quite proud of; he had drawn it completely from memory upon arrival in 1942. With his architectural background and razor-sharp memory, he’d been able to sketch the map with superior precision, even without the benefit of the original.

After a few hundred feet, Peter stopped to review his map more closely. He had been navigating smoothly for no more than five minutes before he came upon his first variance.

Peter rotated the map as he made a slight right turn before continuing straight for another fifty feet. As his eyes adjusted to the murkiness of the sewer, Peter pointed the flashlight toward the ground and let the light float down the tunnel. In the distance he could see his first obstacle. He had to jump across the main diversion tank to make it into the main sewer line, which ran straight to the mint. Stepping to the edge of the tank, the crevasse was not as far as it appeared on his map. At the reduced scale of his drawing, he’d anticipated the gap to be in the neighborhood of nine feet across. Thankfully, whether by his error or inaccuracies in the original map, the distance was closer to six feet.

Stowing the map in his inside jacket pocket, Peter tossed his duffle across. It landed with a muffled thump before rolling to the side. He took half a dozen steps back, turned, and ran for the divide. A split second before leaping over the opening, he heard a loud howl echo throughout the concrete network. His nerves clenched instantly, but his focus and training prohibited a catastrophic error and potential injury.

Reaching the edge of the opening, Peter leaned forward as his legs shot his body over and across the gap. He landed with an easy tuck-and-roll, standing at the conclusion of his acrobatics. Without hesitation, Peter reslung the duffle over his shoulder and moved forward. Not even a minute had passed when the screeching echoed through the tunnel again. Peter stopped and flashed his light through the darkness as far as the rays would reach. All he saw was a trickle of water at the bottom of the brick-lined cylinder. With no desire to meet whatever had made the horrendous sound, Peter trudged on. Based on his progress, he still had another twenty-five hundred yards of pitch-black labyrinth to navigate before reaching his destination.

As the minutes passed, Peter focused on his footsteps. His new shoes were completely coated with the gelatinous slime that coated the bottom of the storm drain. He wondered how he’d clean them so Julie wouldn’t find out in the morning but decided to handle one obstacle at a time.

As he explored the dark underbelly of San Francisco, he wondered if he should have bought a gun first. But, he argued with himself, it’s a practice maneuver; why the hell would I need a gun? However, the noise—whatever it was—sounded like it was getting closer.

Turn by turn, Peter noted adjustments on his map. He was able to circumvent the various discrepancies and make it to the mint in a little more than thirty minutes. He would have made it much faster if he hadn’t brought everything and the kitchen sink with him. But he knew that preparation was the pivot point for the success or failure of his mission, so he had brought something for every foreseeable complication: extra batteries for the flashlight; dry clothes, in case the waste of the world decided to find him attractive; and a small arsenal of tools for any eventuality.

Finally he arrived at his destination—a large, open vault directly below the courtyard. From his estimation, it could hold several thousand gallons of water. As he surveyed the room, he quickly realized that there was only one exit—the way in which he had entered. He prayed the weather cooperated.

Peter opened his duffle, removed the tool pouch, and stashed the bag into a small niche in one of the walls five feet from the basin floor.

Two steel ladders were mounted on opposite walls, each leading up to cast iron grates at the top of the sewer vault. Peter recalled that the courtyard was situated so that in the event of fire or other catastrophe, the employees could escape into the center of the facility for safety. Because of the enormity, the courtyard required multiple storm drains.

Peter chose the ladder on his right for its proximity to the egress pipeline. Peter knew the height of the grate was seventy feet above the floor. He had never had an issue with heights before, but now his mind began to play tricks. The ceiling of the vault itself was only fifteen or twenty feet high, but the ladder continued up and split into two separate shafts.  Each shaft led to grates on opposite sides of the courtyard.

“Here goes nothing,” Peter murmured as he grasped the highest wrung within reach. As he pulled himself up to the first crosspiece, his weight was too much for the rusted steel rung, and he dropped to the ground as a dull twang reverberated inside the vault.

Concerned but determined, Peter tried again. He reached up and grunted his way to the second step before gaining purchase with his feet. Step by step, he scaled the ladder to the waiting cover. He concentrated on not looking down.

He moved methodically, not placing too much weight on any one rung. As he reached the top, the shaft tapered in, and Peter was able to lean his back against the wall as he stood with both feet on a single step. It was chancy, exerting so much weight on one rung, but he had no choice. He needed his hands free.

Looking up at the storm cover, he found that the grate was bolted from below, just as the city blueprints had indicated during his research. He untied the tool pouch and fished out a pipe wrench. After making a few minor adjustments, he fit the wrench snugly around the bolt and applied pressure. At first it didn’t budge. Peter repositioned himself to get better leverage and tried again. On his second attempt, the rusty bolt budged slightly and then broke free. The wrench slammed into the concrete wall with a metallic clang.

Peter quickly returned the wrench to the pouch and rubbed his stinging fingers. He stood on the metal step, waiting. He heard nothing for several minutes. With a firm grip, Peter pushed up on the storm cover. The grate didn’t budge. He didn’t see any more bolts.

“Shit.”

Peter stepped higher and leveraged his back against the grate before exerting pressure. After a strenuous moment, he felt movement. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the grate breaking free, but the rusted rung pulling away from the concrete.

As it dislodged from the wall, gravity took over, yanking Peter downward. In a panic, he lashed out with both hands, trying to grasp anything, but the steel rungs were spaced a foot apart and his hands scrabbled at smooth concrete more often than the rungs. Finally, a few feet above the vault floor, he grabbed a rung and held on. His body stopped violently, slapping against the concrete wall. He quickly grabbed another rung with his free hand and placed both feet on the crosspieces below.

Discouraged, he dropped down the ladder and crossed to the opposite wall. With determination, he climbed straight up the concrete shaft, stopping just below the second storm cover. He smiled internally, as his second attempt went much smoother than the first. After the second bolt came free in his hand, he stashed the tools and attempted to dislodge the grate. To his surprise, the grate lifted freely, without any resistance.

Peter briefly popped his head above the ground level of the courtyard, and all was clear. Security lights shone throughout the plaza. As he peered through the slivered opening, he glanced at his watch. It was 2:58 a.m., and he was out of time. He lowered the grate and deftly climbed back down the ladder. Deciding to leave the tools with his duffle, he quickly re-secured his bag and began his trip back to the sewer entrance.

The trip out took half the time as it did coming in. Having kept a hold of the map, he only had to look at it twice the entire journey. The only disturbing issue was the continued howl of whatever wild animal was wandering the tunnels with him. He made a mental note to acquire a pistol before his full run at the mint.

********

Paul-Kohler

Paul began writing in 1998, shortly after the birth of his daughter. His first short story, Amy, was written in November of that year, but went unpublished until November of 2013. That was when Paul found the courage to publish.

Despite the 15 year lag, Paul has written many unpublished works throughout the years. Linear Shift, Part 1 (September/2013) was his first published story, and was the kick off to his four part serial novel. Part 2 followed up in December of 2013, and Part 3 is planned for a May/2014 release.

Aside from his Linear Shift series, a number of Paul’s short stories have been included in anthologies. Amy, was included in “Something To Read On The Ride”. Lookout Mountain and Gold Rush were both included in “Something For The Journey”. His short story Alone has been submitted to another anthology, but has yet to be published.

When not writing, Paul is hard at work in the field of architecture. He has been in the field of design since 1992, and loves what he does. He lives with his wife and daughter in Littleton, Colorado, where he was born and raised.

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