Friday, January 23, 2015

First Fight Friday: Of Introductions And Abductions: Monkey Queen Book One by Robert Dahlen


Goats solve their differences head-on. They don’t give the silent treatment or yell, they butt heads, and then it’s over.

Cowboy Marvin has learned humans resolve issues differently especially those romantically involved. His curiosity sparked, he has invited authors to stop by on Fridays and share the first fight from one of their books.






Author  

Robert Dahlen


     is here for ...




First Fight Friday 

with a scene from

Of Introductions And Abductions
Monkey Queen Book One

Beth McGill, college student and geek girl, has just discovered that her favorite professor has been hiding a secret behind a magical disguise. Unfortunately, she runs across someone else who's 
doing the same - an ogre, who corners her in an alley. 
But help is on the way...
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That's when Beth noticed someone standing next to the ogre. She was slender and short, not much over five feet tall, in her late teens. She was Asian, Beth guessed Japanese, with brown eyes and ruffled, slightly messy black hair that came to just above her eyebrows in front and down to her collar in back. She was wearing a yellow karate-style jacket with red trim over a black t-shirt and leggings, and a red pillbox hat with a matching scarf that was just long enough to make Beth wonder how she kept from tripping over it. She held in one hand a wooden staff with gold tips; it was taller than she was. She had one fist in the air, mimicking the ogre. She was grinning.



"Now," the ogre said, pointing at himself, "you will come with me." The woman pointed at herself.

"If you do not," and the ogre clenched a fist; again, the woman did the same.

"You will be destroyed!" the ogre said.

"NOT!" the woman shouted.

The ogre finally realized there was someone next to him. He turned to face the woman, looming over her but visibly confused. She grinned back at him. "Monkey Queen!" he finally said, stepping back.

"Right the first time, Sunshine!" she said, her grin widening.

The ogre growled and grabbed a cracked two by four from the ground. "I will destroy you, Monkey Queen!" he bellowed.

"Oh, it's always the same, isn't it?" the woman said as the ogre charged. "I meet a new guy, and all he wants is to destroy me. Whatever happened to romance anyway?"

And with that, the Monkey Queen jumped in the air and kicked the ogre in the face.

He roared wordlessly and staggered back. She landed on her feet and said, "I know. It must be a shock. But can't you just picture it? Our first date?"

The ogre swung his makeshift club at her. She easily bent out of its way. "The two of us out on a moonlit night..." she said.

The ogre swung again. The Monkey Queen raised her staff with both hands and parried the blow. The board splintered, but the staff wasn't even scratched. "...The wind blowing through my hair and your ears..." she said.

The ogre growled and raised a fist the size of a bowling ball. "And you smile and eat the flowers you just bought for me," she said as she hit the ogre over the head with her staff.

As the ogre fell to his knees, holding his head and wincing in pain, the Monkey Queen said, "Well, maybe we should have dinner first. You okay over there?" she shouted to Beth.

"M-m-me?" Beth said, still trying to absorb what she had seen as she sat up.

"Well, I don't mean Sunshine there. Did you smell his breath?" The woman grimaced. "But you still haven't answered my—"

"Monkey Queen!"

She spun around and had just enough time to say "Uh-oh" before the ogre hit her.

She hit the ground hard, dropping her staff, and didn't move. The ogre roared in triumph. "The Monkey Queen was no match for me!" he said as he bent down to pick her up. "My mistress will be pleased."

As Beth watched, a small voice inside her head whispered, He's not paying attention to you. Run while you can. Get away. Another part of her said, Don't move! Stay still! Maybe he'll forget about you and leave you alone. But then she realized that both voices were being drowned out by the one that was shouting Screw this!, and that's when, to her surprise, she grabbed an empty soda bottle and threw it at the ogre. "Back off!" she yelled.

The bottle bounced off the ogre's head, and he turned to face her. Beth gasped, her heart racing, as he said with a sneer, "So you are brave after all. No matter." He took two steps towards Beth; she tried to back away as he said, "I was told to bring you in alive, but if you—"

"That's it!"

The Monkey Queen jumped to her feet and grabbed the surprised ogre by his shirt. "I try to be nice, and this is what I get?" she said as she lifted him over her head. "The date's off!"

She gave the ogre an airplane spin. "Oh well, it wouldn't have worked out anyway. After all, I am the Monkey Queen...and you're a dork." She threw the ogre head-first into the garbage cans. "That should do it," she said, picking up her staff. "Now, are you okay?"

Beth tried to put what she was thinking into words. "I—you—he—"

"I know," the Monkey Queen said with a nod. "Sunshine there was tougher than I thought. But you still haven't answered my—"

"Look out!" Beth shouted.

The Monkey Queen glanced over her shoulder. The ogre, sitting up amid the garbage cans, had pulled a dagger from his boot. "Die, Monkey Queen!" he said as he threw it at her.

"Do you mind?" she yelled as she swung her staff at the dagger. "We're trying to have a conversation here!" The staff struck the dagger and sent it flying back at the ogre, hilt first. Before he could react, the hilt hit him in the forehead. He toppled over, unconscious.

"Say goodnight, Sunshine! Now," the Monkey Queen said to Beth, "let's see if we can get this in a complete, coherent sentence: Are you all right?"

"Yes."

"That's a complete, coherent sentence?" The Monkey Queen grinned.

"Don't play semantics games with me," Beth said. "I'm an English major."


Copyright © Robert Dahlen
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Of Introductions And Abductions: Monkey Queen Book One by Robert Dahlen

"How would you like to help me save the world?"

That was not a phrase that Beth McGill, college student and geek girl, had ever expected to hear, even on a Friday. 

But when Michiko, the teenage hero called the Monkey Queen, rescues Beth from an ogre, her life gets turned upside down. 

And when a mutual friend is kidnapped, Michiko and Beth will have to deal with faeries, hobgoblins, a ravenous troll and a sarcastic guinea pig to find him...and the dark masterminds behind the abduction.

It'll be a weekend they'll never forget...
if they survive to see Monday morning.

Of Introductions And Abductions
Monkey Queen Book One
is available on 
Amazon ~ iBooks Kobo ~ Nook 



Robert's Bio:

Fantasy novelist, all-around wisecracker and penguin aficionado, Robert Dahlen lives in California with lots of penguins (no surprise), a tablet stuffed with e-books and works in progress, and a very nice hat. He is hopefully working on more Monkey Queen stories as you read this. And FYI, his last name is pronounced "duh-LANE", as in "The rain in Spain falls mainly on Dahlen," which explains why Henry Higgins was finally committed.

And also to no one's surprise, he mentions that the great cover art is © 2014 Willow, and used by permission. If you like her art, and I hope you do, see more of it at http://willow-san.deviantart.com 


Follow Robert Dahlen online
BLOG ~ TWITTER ~ FACEBOOK 


Thanks for sharing Robert!

Friday, January 16, 2015

First Fight Friday: Mindguard by Andrei Cherascu


Goats solve their differences head-on. They don’t give the silent treatment or yell, they butt heads, and then it’s over.

Cowboy Marvin has learned humans resolve issues differently especially those romantically involved. His curiosity sparked, he has invited authors to stop by on Fridays and share the first fight from one of their books.





Author  

Andrei Cherascu

     
is here for ...




First Fight Friday 

with a scene from

Mindguard

Telepath and Mindguard Sheldon Ayers is tasked with protecting an information package located inside the mind of a young woman
who claims the knowledge she holds is vital to 
the future of mankind. 

Nobody suspects that Sheldon has a dark secret, and 
it could 
end up changing the fate of the mission.

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When Sheldon turned around, his usually inexpressive face was a mask of disbelief. Like a skilled prizefighter delivering a knockout blow, Miller did not waste a second. “Perhaps I can arrange for the Council to grant you access to your beloved grandfather,” he said, smiling in certain victory.

Ross didn’t know if Sheldon was going to start yelling and cursing or crying, or if he would attack Miller or run away or perhaps curl up into a fetal position and just rock back and forward. At that moment, all those reactions seemed equally possible. His friend did none of those things.

“That’s not possible,” Sheldon said, struggling to remain calm.

“I’m sure you can imagine, Mr. Ayers, that I am a very well connected man.”

“You know what I mean!”

Sheldon silently looked at Miller for a long time. His stare was so cold that Ross was surprised Horatio didn’t ask his brother to fetch him a sweater.

“You have, no doubt, heard the rumors,” Miller said. “Now I’m telling you that they are true.”

Sheldon looked like he wanted to hit the man. Ross could not remember the last time he had seen his partner even remotely angry.

“You’ve found a way to communicate with the uploaded minds,” Sheldon half whispered. His voice was cold and it sounded hollow; he seemed to be trying very hard to control his anger. 

“To a very modest extent. But it is possible. My company developed an algorithm which enables limited two-sided communication in the form of single-line true/false responses from IDIs – Individual Data Identities. 

“People can communicate with the memories in the archives,” Sheldon said slowly, as if he were formulating an accusation before a court of law, “and you kept the information to yourselves?”

“Look, Mr. Ayers, it is a very recent breakthrough, still in the early stages of development. I’m sure you understand that access to the memories cannot realistically be made available to everyone.”

“I’m sure you make it available to yourselves.”

“Now listen here,” Marcus barked. “If it were not for funding from Mylonas Industries, most of the technology that even makes it possible for the vast quantity of data to be stored in the archives would not even exist. The funds are provided by my brother. Now, if you don’t believe this entitles him to certain privileges offered by the technology he helps to develop, then that is merely your own opinion, Mr. Ayers.”

“Also,“ Horatio stepped in with an appeasing voice, “at this stage the main priority is developing a faster and more complex method of communication. Our scientists are collaborating with the archive itself to make that possible, hopefully sometime in the next five to ten years. But this can only be achieved if we benefit from discretion.”

“And people like yourself decide the boundaries of this discretion, Educator Miller?” It was the first time that Sheldon referred to Horatio as ‘Educator’ and it had sounded like an accusation. Ross, who was quietly following the conversation, could no longer remain silent.

“Enough!”

He raised his voice at Sheldon, like a father at a misbehaved son. “Listen, Sheldon, you either take the case and get the opportunity to communicate with what’s left of Kinsey’s mind, or you walk away, but you are done splitting hairs and you are done wasting everybody’s time. You got that? Now, what will it be?”

“All right,” Sheldon said, without even so much as looking at his partner. “Show me to the bathroom,” he ordered Marcus Miller, who unenthusiastically got up and led him out of the cellar, understanding now that the mindguard was a prototech. As if he needed any more reasons to dislike Sheldon, Ross thought. He waited for the two men to exit before confronting his host in private. “You know, I yelled at him but, with all due respect, I should have also yelled at you, Educator.”

“And why is that?” Miller asked, feigning curiosity.

“You were way out of line.”

“Was I?”

“That is not how you conduct business, Educator.”

“That is exactly how you conduct business, Mr. Ross. Especially with a man like Sheldon. He must be intercepted like an adversary, he leaves one no other option.” 

“You knew where this was going from the start. You baited him by offering him things you knew he would refuse so that he’d let his guard down. If you had mentioned his grandfather from the start, his anger and resentment might have caused him to impulsively decline. You knew that a man with Sheldon’s pride would never have accepted later on if he had already declined. You manipulated him from the start.”

“I did. Would he have accepted otherwise?”

“You have lost his respect, Educator,” Ross said. The whole conversation left a bitter taste in his mouth. 

“I don’t care about his respect, Mr. Ross, I want his services. Now, are we free to ‘seal the deal’?” Horatio poured Ross and himself another glass of wine in anticipated celebration. Ross felt like he wanted to empty the whole bottle right over Miller’s head.


Copyright ©Andrei Cherascu
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Mindguard by Andrei Cherascu


Called out of semi-retirement, the telepath and Mindguard Sheldon Ayers is tasked with protecting an information package located inside the mind of a young woman who claims the knowledge she holds is vital to the future of mankind. 


Sheldon and his team must help her cross the most dangerous territory in the man-inhabited universe - the Djago Desert.


Hunted by the Enforcement Unit - the all-powerful Military arm of the Interstellar Federation of Common Origin - Sheldon's team must fight to keep the carrier alive and guard the integrity of her mind. But nobody suspects that Sheldon also has a dark secret, and it could end up changing the fate of the mission.

Mindguard
is available on 
Amazon 

Book of the Year 2014
Careful, intricate plot lines reminiscent of Greg Bear combine with characters whose fates you will care about - no matter their motivation. This is the type of novel that you might find in an independent bookstore with 'Staff Recommendation' and a hand-written review. One for all Science Fiction fans. - SciFi365.net



Andrei's bio: 

Andrei is an English major with an MA in American Studies and a thesis on the music of Tom Waits. He has written articles for various online magazines and websites (most notably Cracked.com) and runs a jazz blog called The Music and Myth, where he reviews records and concerts and interviews musicians. He is a full-time writer and Mindguard is his debut novel.




Follow Andrei Cherascu online
WEBSITE ~ FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER  


Thanks for sharing Andrei!

Friday, January 9, 2015

First Fight Friday: See You by Dawn Lee McKenna


Goats solve their differences head-on. They don’t give the silent treatment or yell, they butt heads, and then it’s over.

Cowboy Marvin has learned humans resolve issues differently especially those romantically involved. His curiosity sparked, he has invited authors to stop by on Fridays and share the first fight from one of their books.






Author  

Dawn Lee McKenna


     is here for ...




First Fight Friday 

with a scene from

See You

Jack has made no secret of the fact he'll probably 
be dead within a year. 

Emma's volunteering for a pain she can't prepare for. 

Can something be so good that it's worth allowing it 
to
break your heart?

Emma and Jack are about to find out.

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“There is one other thing, Emma,” he said.

Emma sighed, but tried to do it quietly.

“Okay,” she said.

He thought about his words before he spoke.

“The survivor benefits. The benefits for you, as my wife,” he said. “If you get married again someday, you’ll lose them.”

Emma stopped peeling the carrots for a second.

“I don’t really see the relevance of that, Jack,” she said without turning around.

“It’s something to think about,” he said. 

The very thought made him feel like he was swallowing a fork, but some things needed to be said.

“Emma, I’m not going to tell you to do anything that’s not in your nature,” he said.

“Good,” she said.

“But if you meet somebody, maybe you might wait until Becca’s on her own before you actually got married again,” he got out. 

Saying it put pictures in his head that made him want to punch himself in the face. He grabbed his glass and sucked up a chunk of ice and started chomping it. Emma turned around and looked at him, one hand on her hip.

“Meet somebody?” she asked. “Meet who?”

“How do I know?” he snapped. “Some thieving bastard I can’t stand already.”

Emma glared at him and he waited for poisoned darts to fly out of her eyeballs and puncture his neck.

“We’re about to have our first fight,” Emma said.

“No, we’re not. We’re not like other people, Emma, we don’t have time to fight,” he said. “So you tell me what’s on your mind, I’ll tell you you’re wrong and we’ll go straight to the make-up sex.”

“No, we’ll go ahead and fight, because you don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.

“I’m a realist, Emma,” he said.

“No, Jack, you’re a moron,” she snapped.

“Why is that, Emma?” he asked her. “I’m just saying that one day you may find someone.”

“I have someone,” she said, slapping a carrot down onto the cutting board. “I have you.”

“You have me now,” he countered. “But you’re a young woman. Eventually you’ll need someone.”

“No, I won’t, Jack,” she said.

“Be realistic, Emma,” he said. “How can you say that?”

Emma turned around again.

“Because I never have. I’ve never needed anyone else,” she said. “You don’t get it, Jack. I’m a loner. I’m fine being alone. I won’t need someone, I’ll need you. Nobody else can fix that.”

She turned back to the counter and started cutting the carrots into chunks.

“What about having someone to love, Emma?” he asked her and the words tasted like old socks.

Emma sighed and turned around again.

“Jack, if I couldn’t love anyone else before you loved me, why on earth would you think I could love someone after?” 

Jack got up and stalked past her to the fridge to get more tea.

“You don’t have to love him as much,” he snapped. “I’m just saying that it’s in your nature to love someone.”

“And I will,” she said. “I’ll love you.”

Jack put the tea back into the fridge and closed the door a little harder than he meant to.

“I’ll be dead, Emma,” he said.

She spun around on him, holding up the last carrot.

“So you won’t be home for dinner. You’ll still be my husband,” she said. “The only difference between now and then is that I won’t have to explain things to you so much.”

Copyright © Dawn Lee McKenna
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See You by Dawn Lee McKenna

You will laugh loudly.
You will cry ugly.
You’ll find it hard to forget
Jack and Emma.

Sometimes the promise of something is so good that it's worth having, even when you know that you can't keep it.


See You is not a romance but it is a love story, one filled with the rawness of risk and redemption and the dry humor that is the backbone of the South.

Emma has loved Jack since she was a little girl. But he was more than 20 years older and was raised by her grandmother, Miss Margret, so he's always been more of an uncle than anything else. He's never seen Emma as anything but a child.

Jack’s been gone for ten years and Emma is now raising her daughter in the same house where she and Jack were raised. But she’s never stopped loving Jack. When he finally comes home for one last visit, everything Emma thinks she knows and believes will be challenged.

Jack has made no secret of the fact that he'll probably be dead within a year. He does have one secret though, a secret he's protected for years; and that secret could change everything.

However, he also has a plan. When Emma agrees to it, she knows she's volunteering for a pain she can't prepare for.

Can something be so good that it's worth allowing it to break your heart? Emma and Jack are about to find that out, because this homecoming won't be anything either of them expected.


See You
is available on 


Follow Dawn Lee McKenna online
WEBSITE ~ FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER  


Thanks for sharing Dawn!

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