Fortune’s Pawn: a book review

image from http://www.goodreads.com
Devi Morris isn’t your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It’s a combination that’s going to get her killed one day – but not just yet.
That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn’t misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she’s found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn’t give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.
If Sigouney Weaver in Alien met Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, you’d get Deviana Morris — a hot new mercenary earning her stripes to join an elite fighting force. Until one alien bite throws her whole future into jeopardy.

Overview

Devi Morris wants nothing more in life than to become a Devastator – the elite personal guard of the King of Paradox himself. So when an opportunity comes knocking to drop ten years from the wait, Devi follows it, and becomes security detail on the Glorious Fool. The only problem is, the Fool is notorious for being cursed. Crewmen don’t live long on her jobs, despite her being a trading ship. Still, nothing is more stubborn than a mercenary’s ambition (or at least this mercenary) and Devi’s dream is on its course – until she starts hearing screams that short out her powered armour, screams cried by invisible tentacled monsters and killed only by vacant little girls and faceless black aliens. But Deviana Morris is nothing if not adaptable, and these things she can overlook.

That is, until she starts seeing glowing, translucent, many-legged bugs immune to time, space, and atmosphere.

Bugs that no one else can see.

This is one job that’s going to stretch her to the limit, unlike any other. Continue reading

Updates on the projects

Abomination Changeling comparison

And now, an update on the many projects I’m working on!

Changeling

Now, Changeling has been finished for a long time now, and I’ve already gone through and edited it once. But I’ve just sent out copies to beta readers, so the second round of edits will be starting shortly. I’m also in the process of organizing a photo shoot with an old friend and photographer, and my friend and beta reader Lexi, to start creating a cover for it, so she can be sold online!

Abomination

Abomination, as can be seen from the above picture, has surpassed Changeling, its predecessor, in word count. I always had a hunch this would happen, and now it finally has! I’m actually very excited about this, because it means that ‘Bominatino is getting close to the climax. Plots are being brought together now, and others are being opened for the next in the series, thus far titled Usurper. Though I have had Lexi beta reading ‘Bominatino since I started, I will be going through a round of edits fairly soon, and will need more readers once I begin.

“After the tremors began to shake buildings from their foundations, the sky split and the mountain burst.

“Black snow belched from the crater atop the mountain and covered the city in dust. Molten fire and rock came next, and melted everything in its path. We could do nothing but watch the city burn, watch as the river of fire came closer and closer and finally consumed all.

“For countless aeons after I swam in empty blackness, unable to move or speak or do anything but listen to the final cries of my people as they drowned in ash and flame. Until the day you came along, magus,” Mirek Ko’shul, the King of Ghosts, murmured, and his dark eyes fell on Leto, “and the power you carry in your soul, so like my own, woke the curse in all of us.”

The quote above is a story told to the main characters by a ghost of a long dead king, explaining the final days of his people. This is a vital point for them, to solving the mysteries that have plagued them for so long. Continue reading

The Skirmish on Sarkoth: When Gods Descend teaser

“Anything that denotes the colour of blood we consider unsacred. Nobody wears or paints anything red.”

Macready laughed and ran a hand through his hair. “Should’ve left me on the ship, Commander. Apparently I’m bad luck.”

Alison grinned and opened her mouth to retort, but before she could make a sound a low rumble jarred the floor. The blue glow of the holographs flickered and jumped, and a yellow light switched on overhead.

“What was that?” Alison asked.

M’Jin’s brows furrowed even deeper and she studied the yellow glow for a long moment.

“What does the light mean?” Macready said. He was losing patience; Alison could hear it in his voice.

“Yellow is for a storm that has breached the integrity of the city’s barriers,” she said, shaking her head. “But there was no warning of a storm that bad today and we were not warned of any sort of test.”

“What could—” But before she could finish her thought, static issued through the speaker in her ear, followed by a male voice she recognized.

“Commander, do you read me?”

“Lieutenant?”

“We’ve got a problem.”

Alison touched a hand to her ear, hating the flimsy comm system there. The setup in their helmets was infinitely more sophisticated. “What is it?”

“—yellow lights everywhere,” Hawthorne said, voice crackling in and out of the static. “M’Kra—ey say it’s a shield breach, but the storm isn’t—” Continue reading

The Council of the Concord: untitled sci-fi teaser

When the group filed into the conference room, the holoprojectors were already alight with the flickering figures of ten Concord council members. Lang stepped up to the main dais; the others stood on platforms just below his, and once everyone was in place Lang tapped in a code into the pad in front of him. Dim light switched on beneath their feet, and a green light came to life on the pad.

“You’re online, Representative,” the centre hologram said. It was of a male crajril, dressed in the neatly pressed navy uniform of the council. “Thank you for reporting in so quickly. What was the result of the trip to Sarkoth?”

“It was less than ideal, Councillor. While we were speaking with M’Kra Riyl, a group of terrorists attacked H’Krin. Casualties were few, and the only losses of life were the three terrorists.”

The human woman next to the crajril folded her arms across her chest. “Three terrorists managed to breach H’Krin’s defensive shields without inside help? I find that hard to believe, Representative.”

“Start believing it, Councillor,” Alison snapped, glaring up at the holograms. “Because those three stuck Concord Military arms in my face and threatened my life with them.”

“Commander Vaughn, please let your representative speak.”

“Then why am I even here? Can’t you see that, hey, of those few casualties mentioned, I’m one of them and so is my corporal?” Continue reading

The Crew of the Ophira: untitled sci-fi teaser

Alison brushed back her short, sandy blonde hair with one hand and pulled a tight hood overtop, before fitting the helmet snugly over her head. “All set, boys?” she asked.

“Yes, ma’am.” Hawthorne’s voice was tinny in her ear, coming through the speaker on their communication channel. Through the visor of her helmet, she could see him doing a strange little dance as he finished strapping together the exoskeleton.

Tom Warren and Kieran Macready sat on the bench opposite her, already prepared and strapping themselves in. It was impossible to tell who was who when they wore their helmets; only the names etched on the breastplates of their matching armour made it possible for her to tell them apart.

“I’ve set the course for Sarkoth’s main city and port, ma’am,” Oakes said from the cockpit. “H’Krin, looks like. Strap in. It won’t be an easy ride once we’ve entered the atmosphere.”

Hawthorne grabbed her elbow to steady her as the shuttle lifted off the ground with a whirr. “Better have a seat, Commander,” he said, his voice in her ear and his grin visible behind their helmets. Alison laughed and settled on the bench between him and Macready.

“At least he can’t pinch your bum in these suits, eh, ma’am?” Macready teased. Hawthorne growled and lunged over to smack him, but Alison sat between them and shoved his shoulder before he could strike.

“Hormones, boys,” she scolded, mocking. “Keep yourselves in check. I doubt the beren like naughty humans.” Continue reading

New short story: Pathos

Everyone! Go check out Pathos, a short story by my friend Elisa Nuckle. It’s a story that questions the meaning of existence through virtual reality; it’s a path society is heading toward already through technology addiction. It’s a dystopian future that makes you think, and it’s only $0.99, so it’s affordable for such an interesting read. Do it!

Blue Milk Special: a webcomic review

My favourite strip

Blue Milk Special is one of the webcomics I religiously follow. Made by married artistic team Rod and Leanne, it is a parody strip that chronicles the Star Wars original trilogy. They started with A New Hope in 2009, and are now partway through the Empire Strikes Back, after completing two lesser known stories in between that tie things together.

This is more than just another parody of Star Wars – which, even the artists will agree, is done to death. While they do make fun of the common things that were done by the likes of Robot Chicken and Family Guy, they up the ante with a laid-back Vader who is rarely seen without coffee, a Carrie Fisher-ized Leia, an Admiral Ackbar with Spider-Man-like qualities, and a hero in everybody’s favourite unknown character: Biggs Darklighter. Loving Star Wars fans that they are, they poke fun at George Lucas from the ’70s and current day, and how much change has been made to the original trilogy since its conception: an example of this is when they decide to change Chewie’s look, and incorporate it into the story rather than just go back and pretend the original look never happened.

Even if you aren’t a huge Star Wars fan (like me; look what I did in the name of fandom) you’ll get a kick out of BMS. The jokes and characters are enough to keep even someone who doesn’t like Star Wars in stitches.

So kick back, relax with a glass of blue milk (but avoid the special), and enjoy the ridiculous antics of Luke, Leia, Han, Vader – and not least of all Biggs.

Sorry, Han

Dominant Race: a book review

Lilia is a genetically altered human – a modified – with special animal instincts and abilities. She is half wolf and half human under the microscope, and it shows in her territorial pack mentality.

When Lilia learns about a growing threat against all modified, she leaves home for the first time to join a militia that, like her and her family, survive in the fragmented remnants of the United States, the Old People country.

Their enemies?  The Eighth General of the Greater Cities and the ever-expanding devolved, degenerate modified that are mindless killers, blind instinct and rage in human form.  When a coup occurs in the First City, Lilia and the other defenders must choose: help reinstate a government in the business of killing their kind, or defend a radical modified in the business of killing everyone else?

Dominant Race is a novella by Elisa Nuckle, available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords, with Apple to come. It’s only $2.99, and it’s a steal for something so enjoyable.

In a not-so-distant future, scientists and experiments have created a race of modified humans, those who have animal DNA mixed in with human. The main character, Lilia, is a wolf modified, living a sheltered life with her family in the ruins of North America. Although the strength of the animal DNA varies with each individual, Lilia’s wolflike characteristics are strong, and it shows in the way she behaves with others.

Throughout the course of the story, she has to learn the hardships of leaving home, discover a whole new world she never expected – and all the joys and difficulties that come with it – and doing what is right in the face of oppression and prejudice. It isn’t an easy path – when is it ever? – but the style of writing and the emotion evoked will leave you laughing, in tears, and desperately wanting more.

Dominant Race is dystopian science-fiction like nothing else; completely unique, with a cast of characters readers will fall in love with – and love to hate. I’m not just saying this because I’m friends with the author: Dominant Race is well worth the read, and since it’s only $2.99, how can you possibly go wrong?