FALL NEW RELEASES


FB-McP-Cover-Dancer

“I Am the Lightning Flashing and Streaking!”

Beneath the stars or flying up among them, the Ga’an dance a deadly dance. Apache Devil Dancers take to the skies to defeat the ruthless Gulo, an alien race bent on the destruction of humanity. Led by Captain Victorio “Tomorrow’s Wind” Nantan, the 3rd Sol fighter Wing follows a long tradition, adapting the dance to make them an ace squadron, but will it be enough?

It is hard to hold faith in the face of a never-ending foe, when life and limb are sacrificed with no end anyone wants to see in sight. But Captain Victory comes from a long line of fierce warriors and he is more than ready to take the fight to the enemy.

Join us for seven action-packed tales of Robert E. Waters’ Devil Dancers.

On NetGalley until 11/5.

Enjoy an exclusive interview with Robert here.


Dead Bear Witness-6x9

A chronicle of survival in a world of the living dead.
There is no Heaven or Hell; there is only blood and the dust of flesh.

Sentenced to life after a bank robbery gone bad, Cornell thought his worst nightmare had come true—and that he deserved it. After a stint in solitary, though, he learned his nightmare had only started: While Cornell rotted in isolation, all around the world the dead had returned to life.

Inside the prison walls, Cornell should’ve been well protected.

He didn’t reckon on the stone-cold killer who demanded his help breaking out, nor the fanatic warden who forced him to help “save the souls” of other prisoners. He didn’t count on being snared in a web of lies, violence, and betrayal. He didn’t expect his survival to depend on fighting his way back to freedom before the eyes of the watchful dead. Now as nooses sway over the prison yard, Cornell can almost feel one tightening around his neck, and freedom seems so far away….

On NetGalley until 11/5.

Enjoy an exclusive interview with James here. 


Final-Crone

What woman doesn’t dream of a young, handsome stranger sweeping her off her feet?

Margaret.

She gave up on such nonsense long ago.

Old, homeless, and unwanted by society, such faerie tales seemed beyond impossible for her. So when a young, handsome stranger, more child than man, asks her to come home with him, she knew he could only mean her harm, but who cared? She was tired of living anyway.

But instead of finding her death, Margaret learns that nothing in her savior’s world is what it seems, including herself.

Why would someone young enough to be her grandson be interested in her? And when would he drop his pleasant façade to reveal the darkness she expected beneath?

New hope struggles with old suspicion as demons from Margaret’s past come to call.

After all, was it really possible to get a second chance at life?

Now on NetGalley through November.

Enjoy an exclusive interview with Megan here.

 

eSPEC EXCERPTS – ROBERT E. WATERS’ DEVIL DANCERS


Tangent Online has given Devil Dancers a nice, in-depth review, which you can read here.

As the book release is coming up November 1, we figured this was a good time to post an excerpt.

Here are links if you would like to pre-order a copy of the book: eBook. Print.


DEVIL DANCERS

Victorio Nantan, Captain Victory, Squadron Leader of the Devil Dancers, looked over the smoke-filled room. Somewhere within its cavernous swill of booze, laughter, music, and celebration, were his men. They were the Devil Dancers. Aces every one; the finest fighter squadron in the fleet. They deserved their seventy-two hours of R&R. Their record kills at the Battle of Pallid Musings had earned them their playtime. But the war continued, and Captain “Victory” had just received secret intelligence about enemy fleet movements near Castor V. It was out of his squadron’s designated deployment zone, but an opportunity that could not be ignored. The finest pilots in the Federated Union had to keep pushing themselves, and at such a critical moment in the war, time was imperative. The enemy was on the verge of collapse.

That enemy was the Gulo, a wolverine-like race that had nearly cut the Union in two. Feral, savage fighters, their technology was on par with that of the humans. They were a formidable foe. Deep in his heart, Victorio could not help but admire their prowess in battle. But the war had waged for over thirty standard years, and even personal admiration grows pale over time. He and his men were working hard to defeat the Gulo. A turning point was at hand. Victorio could feel it. He had seen it in his dreams. One more push, one more decisive rout, and the scales could be tipped.

The Devil Dancers were not going to be left out.

He crossed the room, pushing through the partiers, responding in kind to the salutes of junior officers from the 3rd Sol Fighter Wing. He even recognized some crew members of the Star Chariot, an old carrier that had been refitted to accommodate a full battalion of troopers and their drop pods. Among these men, he and the Devil Dancers were legend, and whenever they were present, they received much respect. Victorio passed through them politely but kept his eyes set on one of his pilots who sat on a plush red sofa near the bar, surrounded by adoring women and sycophants.

Naiche looked up from his drink and recognized his brother. “Ah, Captain Victory!” He stumbled to his feet, the beautiful ladies surrounding him shifting their bare legs to let him pass. “You’ve decided to crawl out of your wickiup and join us.”

Victorio grabbed his brother before the younger man embarrassed himself by hitting the floor. Naiche’s face was flushed red, his breath rancid with drink, his eyes dilated and distant. “You’re drunk.”

“You’re goddamned right I’m drunk!” Naiche said, receiving cheers and laughter from his friends. “And I intend on staying that way for another forty-eight hours.”

“We need to talk, brother,” Victorio said, pushing Naiche away. “Now.”

“Nonsense,” Naiche said. “We need to drink. Pull up a chair and join us.” Before Victorio had a chance to respond, Naiche said, “Ladies, let me introduce you to our na-tio-tish, our war leader, Captain Victorio “Tomorrow’s Wind” Nantan, the second finest pilot in the galaxy.” He tapped his brother’s chest with a blunt, lazy finger. “This man single-handedly wiped out an entire Gulo squadron at the Battle of Two Dwarves. He’s received six commendations for bravery, and a score of Silver Wings. And ladies,” he put his hand to his mouth and lowered his voice, “he’s got the cutest little tattoo on his—”

“Enough!” Victorio grabbed Naiche’s shoulders and shook. The drink in his brother’s hand toppled to the floor, spreading red liquid across the plush white carpet. The internal lattice-mesh of the floor began sucking the fibers dry. “We will talk, now.” He turned and looked at the women, whose expressions had become quite still. “Will you excuse us, please?”

Naiche wrestled himself free and stumbled to the sofa, apologizing profusely to his fans. He gave each lady a small kiss and promised to call on them. They shuffled past Victorio without a word and disappeared into the throng of dancers.

“You waste yourself away with all this,” Victorio said, finding a seat near his brother. “Father would not be pleased.”

Naiche rubbed his forehead and chuckled. “Father is just as boring as you, big brother. You are the worst kill-joy I’ve ever met. If you had played your cards right, one of those ladies would have given you a—”

“Everything comes so easy for you, Naiche. Not so for me. I’ve had to bust my ass for everything. While you were off carousing with your friends at Boot, I had to double down, pull second shifts, commit overtime. And you’d waltz right in the next morning and ace your—”

“And yet here you are,” Naiche interrupted, “Captain of the Devil Dancers.”

Victorio had gotten the promotion in the field during an engagement in the Kuiper Belt eight standard years ago. His calm, serious demeanor had impressed Star Marshall Kinski Shu, who said, ‘You’re not like others of your kind, are you, boy?’ Images of his father’s hostilities toward the White Eyes came to mind, but Victorio kept his mouth shut like a good soldier. He always kept his mouth shut. ‘No, I guess not, sir.” And so it was that he took command, and the rest was in the common record.

“There are reports of heavy Gulo activity near Castor V.”

Naiche perked an ear. “And?”

“And I’ve asked Star Marshall Shu to give us a temporary transfer to Peregrine Task Force.”

Naiche sat straight in his seat, the effects of the alcohol washed from his face. “Are you nuts? That racist is going to get us killed!”

Victorio shot glances around the room. Luckily, the music was too loud and the patrons too drunk to notice his brother’s insubordination. “Keep your opinions to yourself, pilot.”

Naiche lowered his voice and leaned in. “The men need rest, sir. We won at Pallid Musings, but it was a near-run thing, and you know it. Blue Bird just had her foot reattached. Shines Like the Sun has a new heart, and—”

“They can rest and recover en route. The Exodus does not depart until eighteen hundred hours.”

Naiche’s expression grew still, his eyes silent. “We’re leaving that soon?”

“Yes.”

“Shouldn’t I have been consulted on this, sir? I am second-in-command.”

“Second being the operative word.”

Naiche shot out of his seat. They stood there, faces close. Victorio was taller and so he towered over his brother like a bitter tree. Naiche was shorter, indeed, but very fit and muscular, and if he wanted to, he could bring Victorio down and make short order of him. Around them, patrons began to take notice, pretending to party, but with a curious eye turned toward the disruption. Word of two Devil Dancers fighting would spread throughout the fleet; questions would be asked, demands would be made. It was an untenable situation. Hitting a superior officer, even if he was your brother, would be tantamount to suicide. Naiche blinked and stepped back. “And so that’s how it’s going to be, huh? Captain Victory has made his decision, and all shall bow to him.”

“Don’t be dramatic, brother. You have a taste for Gulo blood as strong as any pilot.”

“Yes, but why now? And why this particular action? Enemy fleet movements have been reported all over the Caustic Drift. What interests you so much about this particular report? You hate Captain Shriver of PTF. Why would you—”

“Gingu-sha has been spotted with that fleet.”

Naiche’s mouth dropped open.

The greatest Gulo fighter pilot was Gingu-sha. His kills alone matched those of the entire Devil Dancer squadron. His name drew fear even from the crews of capital ships. One story told of how Gingu-sha single-handedly dispatched a Union destroyer, crashing into its hull with a burrowing torpedo and then fighting his way to the bridge, where he massacred the crew and drove the ship into Starbase Calvin, only to escape unscathed on a shuttle. A destroyer did indeed strike the starbase, but whether or not Gingu-sha was responsible was unclear. Since everyone on the ship died on impact, there were no eye-witnesses to confirm the event, only hearsay from nearby ships. But that hardly mattered. The stories were out there, and his reputation and skills were undeniable.

Over the years, the Devil Dancers had had opportunities to take the Gulo ace down. The Battle of Two Dwarves, Cassini Station, the Emerald Rim, Ambush at Three Moons. Battle after battle, and yet the na-de-gah-ah had always slipped the net. On one particular occasion, Gingu-sha had turned his fighter upside down and aligned his cockpit with Victorio’s, after he had shot a hole through Victorio’s engine and left him for dead. They drifted there for a long while, and the beast could have, at any time, looped around and fired his guns. But he didn’t. They just drifted, both of them looking at each other through the cockpit glass, an arrogant smile spread across the creature’s black lips. Perfect black teeth with a darting pale tongue. His pure-white fur was as beautiful as the first snow of winter, his eyes blazing red hot like fire. And then he gunned his engines and was gone in a flash of blue energy.

From that moment on, Victorio vowed to find and kill Gingu-sha and put his pelt on the wall of the Devil Dancers’ headquarters on the light carrier Justice.

“Gingu-sha is your albatross, brother,” Naiche said, “not mine.”

Victorio ignored his brother’s insult. “And I’ve decided that you will be the Clown.”

Naiche’s expression turned from anger to surprise. “Me? But what about Music-Maker?”

“He’s down with fever. He’ll not be ready when we depart.”

“But you have never allowed me to play the Clown. Why now?”

“The opportunity is here, Naiche. Do you accept this honor or no?”

Naiche stood there rubbing his face. Victorio could see the passion behind his brother’s dark eyes.

Naiche nodded. “Yes, I will accept the honor. I will be the Clown.”

Victorio breathed a sigh of relief. “Good. Now gather the men. We leave immediately.”

Naiche stiffened and saluted. He was back to his old self. “Don’t worry your fat, arrogant head, brother. I’m the best goddamned pilot you have. I won’t let the Devil Dancers down.”

Yes, you are the best, brother, Victorio said to himself as he watched Naiche leave the room. But let’s see just how good you really are.

***


Robert E Waters is a technical writer by trade but has been a science fiction/fantasy fan all his life. He’s worked in the gaming industry since 1994 as designer, producer, and writer. In the late ’90s, he tried his hand at writing fiction and since 2003, has sold over 65 stories to various online and print magazines and anthologies, including the Grantville Gazette, Eric Flint’s online magazine dedicated to publishing stories set in the 1632/Ring of Fire series. His latest novels, The Cross of Saint Boniface and The Masks of Mirada, are currently available on Amazon.

He has also written in several tabletop gaming universes, including Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy series and in the Wild West Exodus weird tech/steampunk universe. He has also dabbled a bit in Warlord Games’ Beyond the Gates of Antares milieu, writing about assassins and rescue missions.

Robert currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Beth, their son Jason, and their precocious little cat Buzz.

For more information about his work, visit his website at www.roberternestwaters.com.

COVER ART REVEAL – IN HARM’S WAY


Normally, I would wait for the final cover image with text and such, but I am so impressed with the base art that I just can’t wait. Here is what will eventually be the cover for In Harm’s Way (Defending the Future volume 8).

McP-Kick-IHW
In Harm’s Way – Mike McPhail, McP Digital Graphics

It is funding right now…just three days left. Here’s the link, if you’d like to check it out: In Harm’s Way.

Would you want to see this as an art print option?

eSPEC EXCERPTS – DAVID SHERMAN’S CONTAINED VACUUM


Here’s another excerpt from the upcoming anthology In Harm’s Way (Defending The Future 8), which is currently funding on Kickstarter. We have met our initial goal and are now working toward our stretch goals.

The following excerpt takes place in the author’s bestselling Starfist universe.


Contained Vacuum

DAVID SHERMAN

According to  Janes Commercial Starfleets of the Confederation of Human Worlds, the unidentified starship off the  Dayzee Mae’s port bow was the SS Runstable, which had vanished two years previous, along with her crew and cargo.

Sergeant Tim Kerr, of the Confederation Marine Corps, stood on the bridge of the Dayzee Mae, watching the derelict ship on the display. The ship’s acting captain, Lieutenant Junior Grade McPherson, had just finished briefing him. The Runstable’s cargo had been destined for twenty different worlds, none of which were near enough to this jump point to explain why the ship might be where it was. And all of the containers she was carrying when last heard from were missing; the superstructure made a narrow tower over the empty container deck. It was emitting a distress signal but carried no friend or foe identification.

“She must have been taken by pirates,” McPherson said, “then abandoned here. This location is far enough from normal trade routes that she wouldn’t be found quickly. We don’t have a surveillance tech aboard,” he added apologetically, “and we lack the necessary equipment to detect life forms on her. So you’ll be going in blind.”

Kerr nodded silently, his gaze intent on the latest display, which showed the starship in fuzzy detail. Her near-space running lights were on, but her passenger hatch and a bridge hatch were open. No lights showed through the open hatches.

The Dayzee Mae was a civilian starship, confiscated by the Confederation navy when they caught her supporting an illegal alien slavery operation on the twin worlds Opal and Ishtar. McPherson and his crew were ferrying her to the navy base on Thorsfinni’s World where another crew would transport her to wherever the Court of Inquiry determined she should go. So, naturally, she didn’t have military-grade sensors. She did, however, have one piece of military equipment never before found on a civilian freighter. The THB, Tweed Hull Breacher, was used by Confederation Marines to cut their way into hostile or potentially hostile starships. The THB carried by the Dayzee Mae had been used by the Marines when they boarded and took her.

Finally, Kerr said, “It could be an ambush. I want to use the THB and force an entryway. We’ll enter through the rear of the bridge.”

“You’ve got it, Sergeant.” McPherson gave a wry grin. “You are our expert on hostile boardings.”

Kerr grunted. He hoped the boarding wouldn’t be against a hostile force; he and his men had seen enough action on this latest deployment, and were on their way home. Second squad, third platoon, Company L of 34th Fleet Initial Strike Team’s infantry battalion had been given the assignment of providing security on the Dayzee Mae during her transit to Thorsfinni’s World because the squad had suffered badly in the action on Ishtar. Two of the fire team leaders and one other Marine were still nominally on light duty, and two new men weren’t completely integrated into the squad yet. Chain of command thought this duty would give them a chance to rest and recuperate.

“We’re Marines,” Sergeant Kerr said a short time later, when some of his men groaned at being told about the boarding mission. “Everyone in Human Space expects us to do anything necessary, at any time, in any place, regardless how difficult.”

“We’re Marines,” Corporal Rachman Claypoole—one of the injured fire team leaders—muttered. “We do the difficult immediately. The impossible might take a little longer.”

“That’s right, Rock,” Kerr said. “Now go to the arms locker to check out your weapons and armored vacuum suits.”

“With chameleon overalls?” Corporal Chan asked.

“Yes,” he said. There was no telling who or what they might find aboard the derelict. The invisibility provided by chameleons could prove to be vital.

Armored suits, sir? Are we expecting trouble, Corporal Claypoole?” asked PFC Berry, one of the two new men in the squad.

There were vacuum suits, and there were armored vacuum suits. One protected the wearer from the vacuum of space, and the micrometeorites that swarmed through it.  Armored vacuum suits protected the wearer from the flechettes that could shred an unarmored suit, and almost every other known projectile, including plasma weapons, such as the Marines’ own blasters.

Claypoole snorted. “We’re Marines boarding an unknown starship in interstellar space. We don’t have an invitation. No shit, we’re expecting trouble.”

FROM THE PUBLISHER – WE’RE AT IT AGAIN…


Where has the year gone? Already a quarter of the way in and it hardly seems we’ve gotten anything done at all! Time to fix that. We have launched our next campaign.

KSC-IHW-FrontPage

This go-around we have three books we want to do: In Harm’s Way (Defending the Future Book 8) edited by Mike McPhail, Footprints in the Stars (Beyond the Cradle Book 2) edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and Devil Dancers, a single-author collection by Robert E. Waters. If we hit our goal the first one will be funded. From there we work to unlock the other books via the stretch goals.

To learn more, please visit our page on Kickstarter.

Not your thing? Or not the right time? Don’t have the extra in your budget?

We understand. We’ve been there! But you can still help us by spreading the word.

Thank you,

Danielle

NETGALLEY – SHATTERED DREAMS

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War

Shattered Dreams: The Shardies War

For those of you who are book sellers, librarians, educators, reviewers or book bloggers, we wanted to let you know that Bud Sparhawk’s Shattered Dreams is currently available for request on NetGalley. In fact, it will be available through the end of December.

If you enjoy hardcore science fiction, please consider checking it out. And if you don’t, maybe tell your friends about the book instead!

 


Will Humanity’s First Contact Prove to Be Its Last?

The opening salvos of a deadly war take mankind’s planetary colonies unaware. Jeaux is lost and the Naval courier Provance barely escapes on a course to the planet Morrow, only to discover the alien forces have given chase.

The fledgling colony of Morrow receives a garbled warning it can scarce believe. Before they can decide what course to take, the crystalline aliens strike with brutal force, nearly wiping all evidence of humanity from the planet. Out of thousands of colonists, a mere scattering survive, unaware of the greater war.

On the planet and among the stars, humanity fights to survive with resources sadly lacking against the aliens’ nearly unfathomable technology and tactics.

In an effort to combat the Shards, military command makes the hard call to adapt captured tech, instancing mortally wounded Marines into cyber weapons, leaving many to wonder…

To Defeat the Enemy, Have We Become Them?