Monday, May 20, 2019

One Sunny Night (The Adventures of Sonny Knight, Book 1) by Charon Dunn

Re-release date: May 12, 2019
Subgenre: YA Science Fiction

About One Sunny Night:

 

It’s 3748. Most of the disasters have already happened, long ago. The climate has changed; the meteors have impacted; the plagues and scarcity have been vanquished. It would be almost utopian except for a handful of people still holding grudges about a war that ended years ago … and one particularly unlucky trouble magnet of a teenager who goes by the name of Sonny Knight.

Sonny starts out with some good luck, winning a trip for his family and friends to see the clashball playoffs in Vanram. When terrorists attack the stadium and take all of the spectators hostage, Sonny escapes with a pack of unlikely acquaintances, aboard an old-fashioned sailing ship made of the only kind of bioengineered wood that can survive the deadly stretches of caustic, anoxic ocean.

Many obstacles lie in Sonny’s homeward path, including volcanoes, tsunamis, arrogant clones, pliosaurs, cattle stampedes, train wrecks, knee surgery, and his first date. 

 

Excerpt:

 

At some point in what was probably the afternoon, he saw a pliosaur. 
He thought it was a wave at first, irregular and out of synch. Then he thought it was a whale. Then he remembered there weren’t any whales in the Caribbean, they lived much farther away. For a moment he hoped it was a Siren, such as Nepenthe, coming to bless them with superfast speed.
It was a shiny bluish-grayish curve, surfacing parallel to them. Pacing them. Sometimes it dipped down beneath the waves but it always came back up. The sailors must have seen it too, as a cannon fired, directly above them, followed by several gunshots. Everyone let out a yell of some kind, and Quicksilver jumped to his feet, only to fall on his butt as the ship recoiled from the blast.
Sonny was glued to his window, hugging Hina to his chest. More of the curve surfaced, rain pouring down on it in sheets. Sonny could see tinges of red in the froth surrounding it. He thought he saw a wound; then a moan involuntarily escaped his lips once he realized it was an eye. The size of a large pizza. Staring directly at him.
Rufe swore and pounded up the stairs. Kayliss made the kind of sound most girls would make upon seeing a kitten. Hina was emitting ear-piercing yowls, just to let everyone know there was a pliosaur outside. The pliosaur’s head slowly rose, mottled blue gray, with a long crocodilian snout, packed with teeth. Something about the set of its eye and the curve of its mouth gave it a sullen expression, as though it personally resented the world and everything in it.
The cannon went off again. Sonny let go of Hina and grabbed the window frame as the ship bucked and lurched. Hina streaked across the room, retreating to the stairs. When the ship recovered, they were much, much closer to the pliosaur. Sonny was close enough to count its teeth. He could see darker-blue tissue inside the monster’s mouth, and a scar along the gumline towards the snout where it looked like a couple of teeth had broken off. He could see several holes in its flesh made by bullets and cannonballs, some of them oozing a dark purplish blood.
The creature suddenly convulsed, as if someone had run a massive amount of electrical current through it. It uttered a loud toneless sound and rolled sideways. A thick, fleshy dorsal flipper surfaced, convulsing madly, slapping against the side of the ship, momentarily blocking the window as Sonny bolted from his close-up view and headed for the stairs, making it up to the next deck before he collapsed, heart pounding, a small whimpering sound leaking from his throat. He didn’t want to be here. He wanted to be safe in a bed that wasn’t moving, in a place where nothing was trying to kill him. He was full of rage at all the grownups who had let everything happen.
At some point in what was probably the afternoon, he saw a pliosaur. 
He thought it was a wave at first, irregular and out of synch. Then he thought it was a whale. Then he remembered there weren’t any whales in the Caribbean, they lived much farther away. For a moment he hoped it was a Siren, such as Nepenthe, coming to bless them with superfast speed.
It was a shiny bluish-grayish curve, surfacing parallel to them. Pacing them. Sometimes it dipped down beneath the waves but it always came back up. The sailors must have seen it too, as a cannon fired, directly above them, followed by several gunshots. Everyone let out a yell of some kind, and Quicksilver jumped to his feet, only to fall on his butt as the ship recoiled from the blast.
Sonny was glued to his window, hugging Hina to his chest. More of the curve surfaced, rain pouring down on it in sheets. Sonny could see tinges of red in the froth surrounding it. He thought he saw a wound; then a moan involuntarily escaped his lips once he realized it was an eye. The size of a large pizza. Staring directly at him.
Rufe swore and pounded up the stairs. Kayliss made the kind of sound most girls would make upon seeing a kitten. Hina was emitting ear-piercing yowls, just to let everyone know there was a pliosaur outside. The pliosaur’s head slowly rose, mottled blue gray, with a long crocodilian snout, packed with teeth. Something about the set of its eye and the curve of its mouth gave it a sullen expression, as though it personally resented the world and everything in it.
The cannon went off again. Sonny let go of Hina and grabbed the window frame as the ship bucked and lurched. Hina streaked across the room, retreating to the stairs. When the ship recovered, they were much, much closer to the pliosaur. Sonny was close enough to count its teeth. He could see darker-blue tissue inside the monster’s mouth, and a scar along the gumline towards the snout where it looked like a couple of teeth had broken off. He could see several holes in its flesh made by bullets and cannonballs, some of them oozing a dark purplish blood.
The creature suddenly convulsed, as if someone had run a massive amount of electrical current through it. It uttered a loud toneless sound and rolled sideways. A thick, fleshy dorsal flipper surfaced, convulsing madly, slapping against the side of the ship, momentarily blocking the window as Sonny bolted from his close-up view and headed for the stairs, making it up to the next deck before he collapsed, heart pounding, a small whimpering sound leaking from his throat. He didn’t want to be here. He wanted to be safe in a bed that wasn’t moving, in a place where nothing was trying to kill him. He was full of rage at all the grownups who had let everything happen.

 

Amazon

 

About Charon Dunn:

Charon Dunn originated in Maui, lives in San Francisco, and is leaping into self-published science fiction authorhood with a series of YA adventure novels set in a far-future, asteroid-reconfigured earth. She does nerd stuff for trial lawyers in the daytime, and she loves tandoori chicken, video games and her thirty pound cat, not necessarily in that order.
 

 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Questions & Answers - Mystery and Science Fiction Promo


Are you looking for some mystery or science fiction or both this weekend? Then check out the Questions & Answers Promo that is currently going on at Double-Cross Lit. 13 e-books in two genres, all 99 cents/pence.

Questions & Answers

May 17 - 19

All books 99 cents/pence

Friday, May 17, 2019

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for May 17, 2019


It's time for the weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with the final season of Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame,  Detective Pikachu, season 4 of Lucifer, season 6 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Dead Don't Die, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, The Wandering Earth, Years and Years, The Society, the Tolkien biopic, the Stoker Awards and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Film and TV:

Comments on Avengers: Endgame and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (warning: spoilers):

Comments on the final season of Game of Thrones (spoilers):

Comments on season 4 of Lucifer

Comments on season 6 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Comments on Detective Pikachu:

Comments on The Dead Don't Die

Comments on The Wandering Earth:

Comments on Godzilla: King of the Monsters:

Comments on Years and Years:

Comments on The Society:

Comments on Tolkien

Awards: 

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Classics reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con and event reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends:

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Cave of the Dragon (Thurvok, Book 6) by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert

Releease date: April 27, 2019
Subgenre: Sword and Sorcery

About The Cave of the Dragon

 

Thurvok, the sellsword, is enjoying a meal with his friends, Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Lysha, Meldom's sweetheart whom the adventurers saved from the gallows, when a peasant woman asks them for help. Her young daughter Tali has been chosen to be sacrificed to the dragon that terrorises the area.

Thurvok and his friends want to help her and save Tali. But slaying a dragon is difficult, not to mention dangerous.

This is a short story of 4500 words or 18 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

 

Excerpt:

 

In the Succulent Grape tavern in the village of Ilderol, there lounged four adventurers, engaged in deep conversation.
Thurvok the sellsword was a veritable mountain of sinews and muscles, bronze-skinned with dark hair and equally dark eyes. Not a man of many words, Thurvok was content to listen, while gnawing on a leg of roast lamb, which he washed down with wine.
Next to him sat his friend and companion Meldom, cutpurse, thief and occasional assassin, though he did not do that sort of thing anymore. Smooth talking and deadly with a dagger, Meldom was not a man to be crossed. He was shorter and slighter than Thurvok, lithe rather than muscular. His hair was black, his eyes grey and he had the pale skin of the people from the Northern lands. He was just recounting one of his many adventures. Quite possibly, there even was a kernel of truth in his story, though not even Meldom himself knew what precisely it was.
Sharenna, the sorceress, listened with a sceptical look on her face. She was a striking woman, with green eyes and hair the colour of flame. She rarely used her magic, unless there was no other way, and not even her companions knew the true extent of her powers. But once Sharenna did unleash her magic, it was advisable to be either on her side or run very far away very fast.
Lysha was the fourth member of the quartet and the only one among them who was not a fighter. A slight young woman with pale skin and long black hair, she was the daughter of a wealthy merchant and Meldom’s childhood sweetheart. Two moons ago, Meldom, Thurvok and Sharenna had rescued her from the gallows, where she was to hang for a crime she hadn’t committed. As Lysha could not possibly go home after that, she now travelled with the adventurers and had quickly gotten used to a life that was far different from her sheltered upbringing. What was more, she had inherited her father’s head for business and proved to be surprisingly good at keeping whatever coins the quartet earned together.
“…and then I ran from the tomb as if the devil himself were after me,” Meldom finished his story. Thurvok and Sharenna laughed, while Lysha regarded him with adoring eyes.
“All right,” Meldom said, “But before I tell you about my next adventure, I need a drink, cause my throat is parched.”
He raised his hand.
“Innkeeper, more wine.”
“But this is the last jug,” Lysha whispered to him, “Otherwise, we won’t have enough left to hire transport to take us to Oms Karod.”
Meldom smiled at her. “Of course, my love.”
Thurvok and Sharenna exchanged a look. The Meldom they’d travelled with these past few moons had always been a hard-drinking, hard-living, hard-loving man. But Lysha had softened him. For her sake, he tried to be the hero she thought he was.
A person approached the table. “About time, innkeeper,” Thurvok grumbled and reached for the wine.
But as he turned to the person, he found himself faced not with the innkeeper, but with a woman. She was clad in peasant garb and had clearly been pretty once, though her beauty had long since faded due to a life of hard work and few luxuries. Her eyes were reddened, as if she’d been crying all day long.
“I beg your pardon, good sirs,” the woman said, “But is it true that you are adventurers?”
Thurvok and Meldom exchanged a glance. “That depends on who’s asking.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot my manners.” The woman curtseyed. “My name is Ilsede and come from the neighbouring village. And I…” The woman cats down her eyes. “…I need your help. For I don’t know what to do.” Ilsede burst out in tears.
“Why don’t you sit down and tell us what the problem is?” Sharenna said and pointed at an empty chair, while Lysha reached into her bag and handed the woman a kerchief.
“My daughter Tali…” Ilsede sobbed, “…she’s only thirteen and she will be sacrificed to the dragon Khadaragh tomorrow.”
“A dragon?” Lysha exclaimed. She turned to Meldom. “But dragons are just a myth, aren’t they?”
Until recently, Thurvok would have thought the same. But during his travels he had seen many things he’d previously thought impossible.
“The world is larger and stranger than you’d think,” he said.

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About Richard Blakemore:

Richard Blakemore (1900 – 1994) was a prolific writer of pulp fiction. Nowadays, he is best remembered for creating the Silencer, a masked vigilante in the vein of the Shadow or the Spider, during the hero pulp boom of the 1930s. But Richard Blakemore also wrote in many other genres, including an early sword and sorcery series about the adventures of a sellsword named Thurvok and his companions.
Richard Blakemore's private life was almost as exciting as his fiction. He was a veteran of World War I and II as well as a skilled sportsman and adventurer who travelled the world during the 1920s. He may also have been the person behind the mask of the real life Silencer who prowled New York City between 1933 and 1942, fighting crime, protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty, though nothing has ever been proven.

Richard Blakemore was married for more than fifty years to Constance Allen Blakemore and the couple had four children.

 

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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey.

 

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