Friday, September 19, 2014

Maxx Fragg, V.P.I. SFFSat Snippet - between the shadows and the night...

Hey! I missed the memo! It’s the last weekend of summer and Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday is back and running strong and NO LIMIT SNIPPETS! This week only! What is SciFiFanSat you ask? Well it’s a group of writers and authors who share their ongoing and published works one snippet of ten to fifteen sentences at a time over at the main site – Make sure you stop on over and check out all the great writing posted there! I haven’t posted in a quite some time and I’m looking forward to sharing from my work – Maxx Fragg, V.P.I.  Plagued by the guilt of his brother’s death, Maxx escapes into the ground breaking virtual world known as Other Syde only to find real ghosts haunting that digital plane. Here’s the opening page…or so – enjoy!      

          Tucked between the shadows and the night, in a darkened corner of the room, Maxx Fragg watched the young couple huddled on the couch. They had no idea what he had in store for them.  He almost felt sorry. Almost. He watched as Travis stroked Debbie’s hand, whispering something in her ear. Maxx locked eyes with Debbie as he moved across the apartment. He saw the desperation mixed with fear in her eyes and grinned. He liked it that way. Pulling a pair of black gloves from his belt, Maxx cinched them tight around his wrists. The rush of adrenaline rose up from his chest. This was far from his first job but he still got a thrill. He clicked the lamp off and the room went black.

          Debbie gasped. “Can’t we leave a few lights on?”

          “I prefer to work in the dark. It helps me concentrate,” Maxx said. It really didn’t matter but he felt it intensified the experience.

          “I think I’d rather see what’s coming.” Travis pulled a cushion on his lap, clutching the fabric.

          “Why? You expecting a pillow fight?” Maxx dropped the equipment bag slung over his shoulder. It crashed to the floor next to the couch. 

          Debbie jumped. “What are you going to do with that?”

          “What I’m being paid to do. My job.” Maxx looked across the room at his partner, who shook his head in disapproval. Bending down next to the couch, Maxx slowly unzipped the duffel bag. He was close enough to Debbie to see the goose bumps on her arm rise with each click.

          “I don’t care what it takes. Just get that thing out of my house,” Travis said.

          “Don’t worry. You’ll be ghost free in no time.” Maxx knew his clients needed to believe he could make it better, take away their fears. If only it was that simple. Everyone wanted to name the night, put a label on their fears. He wished someone could shut the door to the monsters in his own closet. 

And there you have it! I hoped you enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback since this is the first time I’ve posted from this work. As always comments are welcome and appreciated.  Enjoy the weekend and see you in seven! (Man, I kinda missed saying that.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Feedback for Welcome to GreenGrass

One of the greatest rewards that an author receives from writing truly is feedback, both from fans and from the community at large.  The feedback that I've received from Welcome to GreenGrass has been tremendously positive and extremely appreciated.  So, thank you to everyone who has commented on the book, stopped by to see me at conventions and signings, sent me an email, or in any other way supported the book.  The writing community really is a tremendous place to hang your hat and I'm glad to be a part of it.

With that, I thought I'd share another review for my book from the folks over at SFReader, one of the Internet's most popular websites for speculative fiction fans.  What a great feeling to see Welcome to GreenGrass on the home page with the likes of Terry Pratchett. It's truly a rush.

Here's the link to the review - check it out! And thanks for reading!!

Welcome to GreenGrass / SFReader Review

Friday, July 11, 2014

STEIN #21 - 07/12/14

Hi, All!  Glad to be back here on Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday after a few weeks’ hiatus.  Summer is in full swing.  The days are running long and yet time seems to run even shorter.  This week I’m sharing the last snippet in my WIP – STEIN.  It’s been fun while it lasted but I think it’s time to move on.  I hope you’ve enjoyed all the snippets I’ve shared from this ongoing project.  To read all of the posts from STEIN, I have links attached to the last snippet I posted a few weeks back.  Be sure to check out all the fantastic writing over at the main site – and enjoy the rest of your weekend! 

          “Now, why did you go and break my favorite rifle?”

          The man pushed through the small crowd that had formed around Stein, who still held the carcass of the broken firearm in his hands.  In his early sixties with a long gray beard and glasses, the man stood in front of Stein grinning and waiting for an answer.

          By the attention this man drew, Stein figured him for their leader.  Experience had taught him to deal with these situations delicately or he’d find himself on the wrong end of a mob’s pitchfork.  He knew he should choose his words carefully.

          “Maybe next time I’ll break your lackey’s ne-”

           “Never mind about the gun,” Annie cut in and grabbed the rifle out of Stein’s hand while simultaneously shooting him a dirty look.  “Maybe we can fix it, Cliff.”

          “I take it this is the friend you were talking about.”  Mr. Cliff accepted the broken gun from Annie.

          “This is him, in all his grumpy glory,” Annie said.

          “Well, Mr. Stein, if Annie vouches for you then I guess you’ve found yourself a new home,” Mr. Cliff said as he extended his arm towards the garage.

          Home.  That was a word Stein hadn’t heard in a long time and he wasn’t sure if he was ready to hear again.

And there you have it!  I’d love some comments on how you felt about the story as it’s progressed so far.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I’ll be sharing some new material soon.  Seeya in Seven!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Welcome to GreenGrass - Sil

Welcome back to another edition of Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday!  Thanks for stopping by.  What is Sci-Fi-Fan-Sat?  Well, it’s a group of authors and writers who love sharing their writing snippets for general consumption.  You can find all the talented contributions this week over at the main site – .  Stop over and check them out.  This week, I decided to take a break from the WIP I’ve been sharing from – Stein, and share another character snippet from my novel Welcome to GreenGrass.  This week we take a closer look at Sil – the near-telepath stuck in a house with a grumpy human, a demon pacifist, and a misplaced demi-god with attitude to spare.  Enjoy!

          “I have no idea how you’re fitting all that in your mouth,” Sil said as she removed a steaming pot from the grill and poured a ladle full of thick stew into a bowl in front of Thyme.  The boy shoveled his spoon from the bowl to his mouth as quickly as his wrist allowed, splashing it all over his face and the blue jersey shirt Sil found in Traveller’s bedroom.

          “I have never eaten this large of a portion and may I have some more of the seconds that you mentioned before?”  The boy’s words came between spoonfuls of broth.

          “Ha, you’ve already had seconds and thirds.  This is what I guess you would call fourths.  I think this should be your last of it for now though.  You can actually get sick eating too much too fast.”  Sil picked up an empty plate from the table and placed it in a large wash bowl by the window.  “I hope John won’t mind, but I think we may need to borrow another shirt until we can pick some up for you.”

          Sil stared at the wide-eyed boy hovering over the bowl, wiping the edges with his fingers.  On her world, children were taken from their mothers directly after birth to be raised and educated in a communal group atmosphere until they were old enough to become productive members in society.  The males and females were separated so the females could learn the fine arts, political sciences, and mathematics and the males were taught the manual skills, mechanical and agricultural.  She never had the chance to contribute to her own society by endowing herself with a child before being brought to GreenGrass and never spent any time around children.  She was raised to believe the male species was subservient in all ways to females but her time in GreenGrass, specifically with Traveller, Talyn, and Bonz, had made her aware of some of the merits they possessed, ones that she was unaware of before. 

Hopefully you got your fifteen sentences worth!  If you want to check out more of Sil and the gang, you can pick up a copy of Welcome to GreenGrass over at my publisher’s – Necro Publications / Bedlam Press, Amazon, and all other major e-book retailers.  Thanks again – comments are welcome – and see you in seven!

Friday, May 30, 2014


What’s makes a weekend great?  Sun, Saturdays, and Sci-Fi/Fan, of course!  Hopefully we’ll have plenty of all of that over the next few days.  To get your Science Fiction and Fantasy fix, just stop on over to and check out the contributions from the bevy of great authors hanging out over there.  For me this week, it’s another installment from my WIP – STEIN.  We’ve been following Annie and Stein’s twists and turns for a while now and I think it’s almost time to turn a new page for my contributions but until then, enjoy!  In case you need to catch up or want to read all of my snippets from STEIN – I’ve included a list of them at the bottom.
          This was the second time in as many hours someone pointed a gun at his head and Stein’s patience was wearing thin.  After all the years, you’d think he’d know better than to get involved with people again.  Solitude always proved to be his best friend.

          In a blur of motion, Stein grabbed the rifle by the barrel, snatching it away from the man.  Turning the weapon on him, Stein growled.

          “Idiot men and their idiot inventions.”

          “Stein!  Don’t hurt him.”  Annie crossed the vacant lot in purposed but cautious strides.

          “Please, mister, I thought you was one of them and didn’t want nobody to hurt Trudy is all.”

          The young man’s hands trembled and the fear in his eyes read like a billboard.

          Stein leaned into the rifle’s sights, bringing them to rest square on the boy’s forehead.  He glanced down at Trudy beside him, who watched the whole scene playing out in wide-eyed amazement.  Slowly he lowered the gun, gripping both ends of the barrel and bending it in half.

          Pulling back his hood, he said, “Maybe I’m a bit of both.”

And there you go.  The mystery that is Stein deepens.  In case you haven’t notice, his people skills are somewhat lacking.  Let’s see how he does in a group setting.  Thanks for reading and please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.  See you in seven! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Stein 05/24/14

Hi!  Another Saturday - another Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday and all is right in the world.  Make sure you stop over and check out all the great writing happening over at  This week's snippet comes from my WIP - Stein.  We've been following Annie trying to survive in a hard new world and the new friends she's made along the way.

          Trembling, Trudy partially crawled into the hole left from the broken sun flower. She looked at the rainbow tennis shoe, laying on its side between her and her the hooded man.

          The stranger followed her stare down to the lost footwear.  Slowly bending down, he picked it up and approached the child.

          "Are you fast?" he asked.

          "What?"  She pulled back her hand.

          "Can you run fast?"  He knelt down and dangled the shoe in front of her by the laces.

          Grabbing it, she worked the shoe back on her foot.  "I'm the fastest girl in fourth grade...I mean I used to be."

          They sat in mutual silence as Trudy traced two stick figures in the dirt.

          "Do you wanna play?" she asked without looking up.

          "Get away from her!"  A man screamed, sprinting across the lot towards them.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this week's installment.  Leave a comment on the way out. They're always appreciated.  See you in seven!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

SFFSAT - Bonz - part demi-god, all attitude

You have two choices.  You can either go outside and cut the grass, weed the garden, or whatever other yard work that's beckoning OR you can stay inside and read some great sci-fi and fantasy writing snippets over at  I'll wait here while you decide.

I knew you'd make the right choice!  Shoot on over and read all the great writing snippets posted over on the main site after you've checked out my contribution for the week.  I have been posting from a WIP titled STEIN but I'm giving it a slight break to post another snippet from my novel Welcome to GreenGrass.  It's a sci-fi fantasy adventure centered around the adventures of terran detective John Traveller trapped in the alien city of GreenGrass under an impenetrable glass dome.  Traveller's made some friends since he's been there and here's a glimpse of one of them, Bonz - part demi-god, all attitude.
“I have room for one more lass on the end!”

Bonz brought the wooden bench back down to the tavern floor. The smell of spilled ale and smoke filled the darkened drinkery as Bonz laid flat on his back, lifting the wooden bench filled with young women back up into the air to the delight of the other bar patrons. These were his kind of people. Impressed by a simple display of strength and not concerned about expressing their feelings and all of the blasted talking that seemed a constant back with Traveller and Talyn. Not to mention the female, Sil, the woman would one day drive him mad. He could not understand why it was so difficult to remove her from his thoughts.

“I’ll jump on.” A young girl cried out from a nearby stall and skipped across the room to take the remaining space on the edge of the makeshift weights. Her plume of black hair bounced lightly off her shoulders as she crossed the floor. Bonz found her form very much to his liking.

He brought the wooden bench back down and grabbed his mug of ale, spilling as much on the floor as he got into his mouth. “Hop on the board and I shall show you all why my followers carved statues of me back on Candonia.” Bonz braced one hand against the center of the bench and held his mug in the other as he hoisted the giggling girls high into the air.
A bar filled with lasses, ale flowing, and feats of strength?  I think we all see where this is heading.
I may have to post another snippet from this chapter next week.  Check out some of the other snippets from Welcome to GreenGrass here on my blog.  It's available thru my publisher and over at Amazon.
Thanks for reading and comments are appreciated.  Have a good week and see you in seven.

Friday, May 2, 2014


Well, it’s officially the first Saturday in May!  With April showers come May….Science Fiction and Fantasy Snippets!  Don’t believe me?  Just go over to and check out all the great writing happening there from a score of great authors!  This week, my contribution to the literary bouquet is another short from my WIP – STEIN.  We’ve been following Annie and Stein from their impromptu introduction back in the alley to the garage where Annie and her friends are holed up.  She was hoping to ease into the meet and greet between Stein and her fellow survivors but sometimes fate has a way of fouling things up.  If you haven’t been reading, you can check out all of the STEIN snippets posted here on my page.  I listed them on the bottom.  Hope you enjoy!______________________________________________________________
          Trudy’s hands were covered in dirt as she wiped her face, smearing mud across her cheek and chin.
         “Mr. Cliff?”
          It only took a second for her to realize that whatever was looming over her wasn’t who she hoped.
          The figure lumbered towards her and said, “Pretty.”
          A gnarled hand reached for her as she held the sunflower between them like a shield.
          “Mr. Cliff!”
          Grabbing the flower, it snapped the stalk in half and threw it aside, clanging hard against the nearby fence.  Trudy smelled the blood and rotten flesh as it knocked her to the ground and growled.  She kicked at its face as it bit into the rubber on her shoe, ripping it free from her foot.
          Screaming, Trudy closed her eyes as it grabbed her shoulders, pinning her down. 
          “No, no, no, no.”
          And then, she felt…nothing.  The pressure holding her arms down disappeared and the awful smell vanished.  Opening one eye, she peaked up at a man in the hood who gripped the zombie by the back of its neck.  Turning, he heaved the monster forty feet into the air, well over the fence line, and it crashed down through the windshield of an abandoned truck out in the street.

Whaaaaaaatttttt?!  I bet you didn’t see that one coming.  I tried to turn it a bit with the setup from last week.  Let me know what you thought.  Comments are always welcome!  Thanks for reading and see you in seven!


Monday, April 28, 2014

The Cult of Me - Author Interview

One of the great things that come along with getting a book out for the enjoyment of the reading masses is being able to meet so many wonderful folks along the way.  Whether that's meeting them at a show, a book signing, or some where here in the vast and wild pages of social media.

The writing community has always been a supportive one and finding so many people along the same literary journeys really opens your eyes as to the resources out there that are available if you chose.

Recently, I was able to talk a little writing and promote my novel - Welcome to GreenGrass over at the website  - The Cult of Me.  I had a great time and hope you find the time to check it out. 

Here's the link:

The Cult of Me - author interview S.A. Check

Friday, April 25, 2014


Hi all!  Another Saturday is here, which brings us a brand new installment of Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday.  Welcome back and I hope you found a seat up front.  What is SciFiFanSat you ask?  Well, it’s a group of authors who come together every weekend and share writing snippets from some of their published works and works in progress.  Sounds like fun, right?  We’re always looking for fresh voices, so climb aboard and give it a shot with ten to fifteen sentences of one of your own literary treasures.  This week, we’re still following the adventures of Annie from my WIP, STEIN.  Last week her mysterious hero was accidentally shot by a member of her group.  Undeterred, she was determined to bring him back to their home in hopes you will join them.  If you need to catch up, all the previous snippets are posted on my site.  Read on and enjoy!______________________________________________
          Ever since the first day she met him, Mr. Cliff told her never to stray too far away and always know what was going on around her. 
          Still, the giant sunflowers across the street practically pulled Trudy under the fence and into the vacant lot across from the garage.  Her hand brushed over the petals and the sun warmed her cheeks as she dug around the base of one of the flowers.  She would plant it in the exposed dirt in the corner of the garage and already rehearsed her speech to Mr. Cliff on how she would water and take care of “Daffy” every single day. 
          Suddenly, her face grew cold, like someone had turned off the sun.  Looking over her shoulder, the silhouette of a man stood between Trudy and her yellow friend.
          “We just don’t have the room to take in anyone else, Annie.”  Mr. Cliff stood inside the bay door of the ram shackled building with his arms folded across his chest.
          “But we can’t just leave him out here.  Brody, tell him how saved my life.”
          “All I saw was the two of them coming out of the alley after a pack of shoppers just went through,” Brody said.
          Mr. Cliff asked, “So where is this mysterious hero of yours?”
          “Umm…we left him across the street so I could prep you a little before we introduced him.”
          A panic stricken young girl, maybe fifteen, ran up to the group and pulled at Mr. Cliff’s jacket.
          “Has anyone seen Trudy?”

Uh, oh.  This could turn bad.  Thoughts?  I hope you enjoyed the read and, please, leave a comment on your way out.  Feel free to use the 15 items or less lane and thank you for shopping Check-Mart.  See you in seven!           

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

T.K. Toppin and life on The Edge of the Blade

Today's literary sampler brings us the awesome and talented T.K. Toppin, here to share with us some of her prosed prowess! T.K.'s impressive book catalogue includes the popular Jax Marlin series, The Lancaster Rule, The Master Key, and The Eternal Knot, not to mention what's she's got in store for readers coming in 2014. She's an author who crafts her words with a veteran's touch, allowing us access into her fantastic worlds of adventure and fantasy.

T.K., welcome to my blog and I want to hear all about it:
Who are you and what brings you by today?
I’m T.K. Toppin and you extended a gracious invitation to stop by your blog and answer some questions. I write tall tales because I’m a compulsive liar. Don’t worry, I only fib in fiction. I was born in Barbados where I still live with my husband, my odd cat and two dogs.
What drives you to write the kinds of books that you do?
I’m not quite sure. At first, it was because I wanted to write a story that I’d enjoy reading. After reading so many amazing books by writers I admire, it got to a point where I said to myself: I want to do that too. Writing (creating) has always been there, inside me. I just didn’t know how to ‘let it out.’
But now that it’s out, I can’t stop. It’s not completely about writing exciting stories; it’s more about wanting to create them. I love the whole process of when a story comes together, takes shape, get’s fin-tuned, get’s little sprinkles on top. Creating things from scratch and watching it grow organically — that appeals to me.
How would you describe your writing style?
I started out being a staunch plotter. Now, I seem to be incorporating a bit of pantsing as well. It’s like sticking to a script, an itinerary, but at the last minute having unexpected changes, like a flat tyre, a sudden rainstorm that adds a nice spin to the story. I still need my notes; it’s like the light at the end of the tunnel but it’s nice that I’m growing a little more confident about my writing that I can fly by the seat of my pants sometimes.
What are your influences?  Favorite books?
Frank Herbert’s Dune series has always held my attention and always will. There’s something about the incredible world he created. It’s a richly detailed universe, populated by amazing characters, each with their own unique story that compels them to do what they did. Of course, there’s J.R.R. Tolkein — who doesn’t love his series?
C.S. Lewis (my induction into reading fantasy) with the Narnia series when I was seven-ish or so, and I also loved the real-life tales of Laura Ingalls-Wilder and her Little House of the Prairie books. I especially loved and still remember her knack of writing with vivid imagery. How her description of food and scents literally seemed to jump out at you. It’s like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, rich with detail and characters.
And then there’s Jonathan Stroud and his Bartimaeus trilogy (a particularly impish jinn) who’s books are considered young adult but simple addictive. Other young adults writers are Eoin Colfer and the Artemis Fowl series, J.K. Rowlings Potter books. Yeh…I could go on and on.
Hmm, looking back on what I just wrote, I seem to like a lot of serials.
What songs would be included in the soundtrack of your life?
That’s a hard question. I love music, mostly classic rock from bands like the Rolling Stones, Credence Clearwater Revival, Dr. Hook, Three Dog Night, Queen, ACDC, the Eagles, Grand Funk Railroad, etc. And there’s a whole heap of songs that have influenced me throughout my life. Each song set the time and date in my chronological life. And then there’s all those alternative, instrumental, popular music…okay…all music. I love them all.
If I were to break it down, it all started during my under-10 years and when I kicked the nursery rhyme songs habit — it was “Only Sixteen” by Dr. Hook. It played all the time, any time, everywhere. After that, “Hotel California” by the Eagles. Then there was “Jesse’s Girl” by Rick Springfield, John Mellancamp’s “Jack and Diane” (when he was still known as Cougar), Dire Strait’s “Money for Nothing,” Bruce Springsteen with “Born in the USA”, U2’s “With or Without You” that blared out in 1987 and marked it as my all time fave band. 1988 saw me screeching with Guns and Roses “Sweet Child O Mine” and I discovered metal that morphed into alternative/grunge like Nirvana’s “Never Mind” album that blew my mind with the new sound and style. The 1990s saw me listening to The Flaming Lips, Green Day, Hootie and the Blowfish, Countin’ Crows, The Black Crowes, rock operas like Meatloaf’s “Bat Out Hell” album, and so many more. The new millennia saw New bands emerge and with new edgier sounds, and I have to mention Jet and their “Get Born” album because they are simply awesome. My current favourites, Train, Neon Trees, Pink, Matchbox 20… Well, I can go on and on and on.
Lately, when I write, I stick to instrumentals since they aren’t as distracting and sort of set the mood. My go-to selection for that is Two Steps From Hell. Their music, found in a number of blockbuster movie soundtracks, just has the right sort of tone to write to. Just like there’s questing-music for adventuring, there’s can be called writing-music.
Could you share the best advice you’ve received as an author?  What advice would you share?
Listen, learn, read, re-read, re-read some more, listen, listen, learn. And develop thick skin. Be polite. Be courteous. Be respectful.
Tell us about your latest release!
Released April 18th, #6 in the To Catch A Marlin short story series. Titled The Edge of the Blade, this short continues to follow the lives of my super-sexy vigilante, Jax Marlin and the dogged Inspector Pedroni who pursues her. This short was actually supposed to be #7, but it just didn’t feel quite right to be put so far in the line up. So I bumped it up and made it #6, so that the current #7 which I’m working on fits it better.
Talk about one specific theme in your latest book.
Good versus Evil. Right versus Wrong. All those vibrant gray areas in between.
Can you share a passage?  Of course…here goes:
A year and a half, Jax Marlin was missing. Seventeen months, twenty-three days, to be exact. Christmas 2400 was a mere month away. It was the new century, where many made resolutions or scratched their slate clean to start anew. But like rollover credits on his relay, he’d been chasing Jax for nearly three years and was still no closer to capturing her than he was when the case first landed on his lap. Seven more days and it would be an even eighteen months…

He wasn’t counting, but he wasn’t forgetting either. 

Was that too short? Oops. Sorry. :P
What else can you do besides write?
I’m an artist. My day job is as a graphic designer. But I’m also a fine artist. I draw, paint, do calligraphy. I suppose writing was the ‘next step’ or ‘next phase’ in my creative outlet.  
FAST FIVE QUIZ (in no particular order, meaning, or sense!)
1)      What side of a tree does moss grow on?  North.

2)      If you could, what holiday would you invent? International Procrastination Day. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

3)      Do you know another word for thesaurus? Yeah, idiot. Kidding…a synonym. Try saying that when you’re drunk. Sounds like cinnamon. I’m not drunk right now. J

4)      What would you do if you were allergic to Kleenex? Use my sleeve. Or someone else’s. Yerk, I know. But you asked. (Okay, but you and Pippa Jay both gave almost the same answer. Remind not to stand next to you when you sneeze!)

5)      Have you ever wondered what happened to the #1 pencil? It got promoted to the ballpoint pen? You know what, I’ve no idea.

And there you have it! The questions, the answers, and the intrigue! Thanks for playing, T.K. and
the only question from the Fast Five you got right was International Procrastination Day - I've
seen the greeting cards. I'll send you one...tomorrow.

Find out more about T.K. Toppin with the links below and don't forget to check out her latest
release -                  .

Her Blog:
Facebook:  Written by T.K. Toppin      The Lancaster Trilogy
Twitter:  TKToppin
Amazon:  Author Page


Friday, April 18, 2014

Stein #16 - Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday

Wow, I blinked and like three weeks went by.  I’ve missed out on the last few Saturdays but here I am just in time to offer up my own Sci-fi Fantasy Easter Eggs in time for the pending holiday.  Make sure you take a moment and check out all the goodies in the reading basket.  Always brimming with excellent writing snippets!  This week, I’m back with STEIN, one of my current WIP’s.  Chased by hungry zombies, Annie is saved by a mysterious stranger, who seems to have more than a few secrets of his own.  On their way back to Annie’s friends, holed up in a garage nearby, STEIN is mistakenly gunned down by one of Annie’s fellow survivors.  And…we pick up from there.  Enjoy!
          Annie leaned in closer to the large hole in her new friend’s chest.
          “There’s hardly any blood and he shot you right below your heart.”
          Stein pulled the rags wrapped around his chest tighter to cover his wound and pulled himself up to his knees.
          “I’ve shed my share of blood.”  He looked up at Annie’s friend and asked, “Care to point that somewhere else?”
          Brody jerked the barrel of his rifle away and reached down to help his accidental victim up from the pavement.
          “Man, I am so sorry but I thought you were part of the meat patrol the way you’re dressed and…well, look.”
          “I get that a lot.”  Stein looked at Annie and asked, “Are we still going to your base?”
          “You’re bringing him back to the garage?”  Brody grabbed Annie by the shoulder.
          Annie reached down and took Stein by the hand, leading him across the street.
          “He saved my life, okay, so I told him he could come back with us.”
          Brody slung his rifle over his shoulder.  “Oh yeah, he should fit right in.”
Wondering how Stein fits into a group atmosphere?  Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking too.  Thanks for reading and please drop a comment or two in the hat before you go.  They’re always appreciated.  Have a great Easter and see you in seven!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

To Reboot or not to Reboot - it's really no question!

Today, I have the honor and pleasure of having author Pippa Jay sharing some insight, wisdom, and general literary mischief on my site. Sit back, relax, and be entertained. 
Pippa, welcome to my blog and I want to hear all about it:

Who are you and what brings you by today? Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, a girl who writes SciFi and the supernatural. Whovian, Scaper, and Sith-in-training. Come to share my new release with you, I have, hmmm. :P
What drives you to write the kinds of books that you do? Insanity? Lol. I generally blame my muse. She won't shut up once she has an idea, not until I've written it all down.
How would you describe your writing style? Lyrical. I have a tendency to lean toward the poetic, though my editor ensures I don't stray too far into purple prose.
What are your influences?  Favorite books? Mostly a diet of SciFi and fantasy books, films and TV shows since the age of three. These days I generally read and watch SF, usually read SciFi and SciFi romance by my peers, or straight SciFi from authors like Neal Asher and Jaine Fenn.
What songs would be included in the soundtrack of your life? What I've Done (Linkin Park), Sail Away (The Rasmus), Wither (Dream Theater), Don't Stay (Linkin Park), Walking In Circles (Dead By Sunrise), It's Your Night (The Rasmus)
Could you share the best advice you’ve received as an author?  What advice would you share? Actually, the best advice came from one of my favourite films - Commander Quincy Taggart in Galaxy Quest. "Never give up - never surrender!" And that's always the one thing I would tell another author. Also read, write, and research.
Can you talk a little about your writing process? Chaotic is the best description. I don't plot and I don't write linearly. Usually I start with one or more scenes in my head (not even necessarily the opening scene) and get them down. Then I go back and start filling the gaps. Not something that would work for most people but it does for me.
Tell us about your latest release! Reboot is a dystopian cyberpunk short story, although it appears utopian at the start. It's a little like Logan's Run (for those old enough to remember that) crossed with The Matrix. Here's the blurb:

Welcome to immortality in utopia! 
From the moment Damien signed up for a perfect life with ReGen Inc., he didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t want or need to know. But after he's rebooted this time, there are gaps in his memory he can’t ignore, and people he no longer recognizes are accusing him of betrayal. When someone dies, he’s determined to go looking for answers…but sometimes it really is better to forget.
You can find out more at my website here:!reboot/c20an
Talk about one specific theme in your latest book. The idea that something too good to be true will come at a price, and a higher one than most. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Can you share a passage?
 “Blinds.” The automatics obeyed, drawing gray bar blinds across the windows, but leaving the slots open. He lay on the bed, closed his eyes and went into cybermode. The Wi-Fi connection in his head instantly linked him to the internet, and he accessed Help. Options flickered past him. He selected Tools and went into Diagnostics.

“Can I help you?” The question overlaid the Tools screen, an unexpected popup.

“Er, yes. I rebooted yesterday and everything seems fine, but I’m worried one of my memory files got missed in the process.”

“That’s not possible. Instantaneous memory backup is active 24/7 and saved in three isolated locations to ensure a full copy. All are merged before reload.”

“Well, maybe it got corrupted? Maybe after upload?”

“No. But you can run a full body and memory diagnostic to check. It’ll take half an hour downtime. Is that acceptable?”


“All right. Do you want entertainment while the diagnostics run?”

“Yes, please. Music.”

“Any particular artist or playlist?”

“Cruize, on audio only.”

“Diagnostics running. Enjoy your music.”

Tell us about your book’s cover! The cover was created by Misa Buckley at Scorched Flower from a rough draft I came up with. I had a very strong idea of what I wanted right from the start and went looking for some images. I really liked the intensity of the guy's expression, and I went for the double image because he's a clone. The background Misa chose is spot on - I sent her a few examples of what I had in mind but was open to alternatives.
What else can you do besides write? I can sew, dance, play guitar very badly (that's a real talent, I promise you), sing (also badly according to my family), and look after chickens.
After the last page, what do you want the reader to leave with? A sense of utter futility for our future, bwahahaaa! I have a rather bleak outlook on humanity's future myself. I guess I'd like readers to think about the way our society might be heading and what they could do about it so the future in Reboot isn't one of the possibilities.
What’s next? Well, I signed a contract for two novellas just last month - a scifi romance with cloned succubi-like assassins and a YA paranormal set in Louisiana with teen zombies. I also have a paranormal romance short story coming out in October. For some reason muse went all supernatural toward the end of last year! I also have a decopunk superhero story out on submission, and a super secret project I'm working on to self publish. This year's going to be very busy!
Where do you see the publishing industry heading in the next five years? I see a lot of changes coming fast. I think sales on eBooks have peaked now. I don't think print will die out completely. I could see the Big Five shrinking to Two or Three. The bigger publishers may buy out some of the smaller digital first presses in the hope of continuing their existence. Literary agents will dwindle, but many may adapt by changing what they do.
FAST FIVE QUIZ (in no particular order, meaning, or sense!)

1)      What movie could you watch no matter how many times it’s on? Warm Bodies

2)      What side of a tree does moss grow on? The other side.

3)      What would you do if you were allergic to Kleenex? Use my sleeve, since that's what my kids often do. O.o

4)      Have you ever wondered what happened to the #1 pencil? No.

5)     Can you really read a picture book? You can picture words...

And there you have it! By the way, you got all five of the last questions completely wrong, Pippa! All kidding aside, make sure you check out this fantastic author and ALL of her literary catalogue, to include her newest addition - Reboot! Follow the link at the bottom to find out more:

Pippa Jay - Adventures in Scifi
SciFi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Double SFR Galaxy Award Winner. Readers Favorite Contest and GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards finalist.The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards semi-finalist.