Stories from Guan-Yu, Day 1: Kickoff!

First things first – Audiomachine, one of your hosts for this week’s Stories from Guan-Yu giveaway, has graciously offered a bonus giveaway of today’s tracks, Solace and Brain Mismatch. Follow the link to download, and read on for the rest of the goodies!

I am thrilled to announce the kickoff of “Stories from Guan-Yu,” a giveaway event pairing the world of Crucible with tracks from trailer music powerhouse Audiomachine. Over the next few days, we will be drawing you further into the world of Crucible, showcasing characters and events from the book in the context of Audiomachine’s gorgeous music, from some of their oldest industry releases to tracks off their most recent public release, Phenomena. You can enter up to once per day for the giveaway: five winners will receive a signed copy of Crucible and a signed Audiomachine CD, and one grand prize winner will win a book and all five featured albums!

I have been a fan of Audiomachine for a few years now, and often listen to their albums while writing—their music spans emotions from grief and loss, through hope, joy, and all the way to heart-pounding, epic moments. I hope that those of you who are blog regulars will get just as hooked on Audiomachine as I am, and I want to extend a hearty welcome to the Audiomachine fans who have come here to learn more about Crucible!

-M

*******

Day 1:

The Attack on Guan-Yu

paired with

“Solace” and “Brain Mismatch”

 

The attack on Guan-Yu is a truly horrifying event: a massacre of unarmed civilians by the most technologically advanced fleet humanity has ever seen. Our narrators live the terror and rage of that night, watching their loved ones die, and in the months that follow, they struggle to make sense of such ruthless slaughter. And yet, Crucible opens with one of the soldiers committing the attack, bombing the colony and going to her death with blood on her hands, believing that humanity’s survival depends on her actions. “Solace” and “Brain Mismatch” were natural choices to showcase the beliefs of Everett and her fellow soldiers, and the desperation and horror of those on the ground. The true tragedy of the massacre on Guan-Yu lies in the fact that no one, not the soldiers and not the colonists, know the whole truth of the colony.

*******

“I didn’t plan on going out like this.”

“You didn’t?” But she could see that it was true. He was sweating, his pulse beating shallow at his throat against the desperate stillness.

“I always thought—you know.” At her unhelpful silence, his face twisted. “That I’d be able to do things that didn’t mean…” Dying. She looked down at her hands, and he let the rest of the words out in a rush: “The planes are fouled up. What if it’s a sign? What if the admiral’s wrong?”

A rush of bad temper. She hadn’t planned to spend the last few minutes of her life talking sense into some panicked kid. She didn’t want to admit that, because it seemed an awful lot like having regrets—and she refused to believe that she had any of those. Refused.

She had just wanted to sit, that was all. Sit and meditate, be calm in the certainty that this was right, until she could be in the cockpit and she could know that it was right. The bird would tell her. But if this stupid jock panicked, it would ruin the mission, and she had already staked her life on the belief that this must happen. She knew what the admiral would say, too: get it done. And this was what she needed to do.

She drew a breath to steady herself.

“A pilot like you, joining up right before this happens? Doesn’t that seem like a sign, too?”

“They said at command that we shouldn’t—“

“The admiral says we don’t let them get away with this.” Flat.

Hell of a thing for a kid to deal with, though. Must be twenty, at most. Transferred to the Minerva three days earlier, a kid they said to watch. Bright one, has a good future ahead of him. Well, not any more, he didn’t. He could choose to die quick, out the airlock, or less quick, in this run, or slow—while they hunted the admiral down. The navy’s flagship, he’d taken, no less. Jesus. And the admiral was seventy, wife dead and kids grown and not military anyway—he’d gamble more than this kid, for sure, who had everything still to do.

And so she tried not to wince when the boy nodded, but it was so damned hard not to feel cruel when he looked down at the floor like she’d slapped him.

“I hadn’t thought of it like that.” He was trying to be fair. She hated him for being so young, for that look in his eyes; she hated doing this to him. She didn’t want it to be the last thing she did. But she didn’t have a choice, did she? Not with what was going on down there. She’d spent her whole life waiting for a moment like this, and now that it came it was a shock.

He was too jittery for talk of glory, she judged. So was she.

“You can’t imagine the horrors you’ll put an end to,” she said, as gently as she could. Which was not all that gently, but at least what she said was true; he probably couldn’t. There were horrors that had already been, the admiral said, and horrors that were coming if these monsters were unleashed on the world.

“Really?” Desperate to believe it.

“Yes.” Her voice was emphatic. She had seen, and this boy could not have the first idea of it: skin stretched over metal, bodies on slabs, men and women with dead eyes and twisted limbs. And others—they looked so normal. Things on the inside, though, the admiral said, viruses and machines. And mind games. Some of them wrong in the head, even if you wouldn’t know it until…

Well, we don’t mean to find out, the admiral had said, with finality. So you do what you have to do to remember they’re not human. And don’t let the kid get sentimental. And how was she supposed to do that?

“We can’t heal them?” Of course he’d ask that.

“No.” She looked over. “You gotta put that out of your head. They’re not alive, not like we’d think of it. They don’t have souls.” He just looked at her, her words too far beyond for him to believe any of it.

“But what if they are? What if they do?”

“They don’t.” God in heaven, she could not deal with this. An alarm sounded: ships ready. “So are you coming?” Harsh; he looked like she’d hit him. These would be some of the last words he would ever hear, and that cut her up inside. Damn it. So she held out her hand, helped him up. “You’re a good man, Rios. Hell of a pilot. It’s an honor to fly with you.”

His hand was warm, his grip firm. One of the last moments she would ever have. All over soon, and right and wrong were turning over in her head, sin floating away into meaninglessness; he was beautiful.

Just a grab at life. She took her hand back, put on her helmet. Her hands were shaking now, and sweaty. She could feel her heart pounding against her chest. She had to concentrate to climb the ladder to the bird; light-headed, the spikes on the rungs biting into her palms.

The reserve pilots were watching them go, waiting by their tubes—some wishing they were her, some hoping she’d do what she had to so they didn’t have to go out. Most people weren’t made for combat, they said at the Academy, even fighter pilots. Crew of five thousand, they were bound to have a few. The admiral liked to mutter that peace was fine, only now he had a crew with no notion of war.

A measure of peace descended upon her in the cockpit. She had always felt most at home here. Tears stung her eyes; she could truly cry with how sure she was now, how relieved she was to know that.

“Everett.” A voice in her earpiece. “Are you ready?”

A moment to press her lips together. “Yes, sir.”

“No time for second thoughts.” Of course he would hear it in her voice. We have come to a moment, he told her in the still of the hallway, when what we know as goodness and mercy are not enough to guide us any longer. Your loved ones may not ever understand what you did here today, but they need you to stand for all that is good in humanity. Courage, Everett. Ours is a path of darkness and doubt. Do not waver or all will be lost. And she believed him.

“No second thoughts, sir.”

He accepted that without comment. “How’s the kid?”

“He’ll hold.”

“Good. And Everett—“

“Yes, sir?”

“See you in hell.”

*******

Comment below (or tweet, or like on facebook!) to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, and come back tomorrow for another track and another chance to win!

You can find Crucible HERE on Amazon, and all of Audiomachine’s music HERE on iTunes!

-M

A Rafflecopter giveaway!

7 Favorites Giveaway!

7-for-7-copy

Hello, Gentle Readers, and happy Friday!

Today I have something wonderful for you all: a giveaway and an indie author feature all wrapped into one! You see, just after I started planning the indie author features, the wonderful and talented Tammy Salyer suggested this blog hop – and it seemed just perfect! So today, I have not one, not two, but SIX other indie authors to show off to you all.

Keep reading for more cool information about each author and their work, and when you get done, leave a comment to be entered for a bundle of all seven giveaway books! (That’s right, all seven of them. This blog hop is just that cool.)

  • Tammy Salyer – not only is Tammy the coordinator of this shindig, she is an award-winning author, staunch supporter of indie authors, and an editor! Tammy will be giving away a copy of Contract of Defiance.
    • Contract of Defiance: In a few hundred years, the Algol system becomes humanity’s new home. The question is: is it a better one? When a crew of arms smugglers botches their latest job, Corps-deserter and crewmember, Aly Erikson, is separated from her brother, the only person she can trust, and left behind to fight for her life. In the aftermath, as she tries to piece together what happened, a crew of roughneck settlers pressgang her into a dangerous mission in the heart of Corps territory. Time is running out to get back everything she’s lost: her crew, her brother, and her options. But no one is taking her gun.
  • Ren Zelen – Edit: Ren is, unfortunately, unable to participate in the giveaway. However, I encourage you to check out The Hathor Diaries, to see if it’s something you might enjoy!
  • Scott Whitmore – a former sports writer and US Navy Officer who now writes speculative fiction with paranormal, steampunk, and hard SciFi elements. What’s that, you say? Awesomesauce? Agreed! Scott will be giving away a copy of The Devil’s Harvest.
    • The Devil’s Harvest – France, 1916: The Great War in Western Europe is at a stalemate with the Allies and Central Powers facing each other from muddy trenches on either side of the deadly No Man’s Land. To end the years of bloody warfare, the Germans plan to unleash the perfect weapon in a villainous attack that will guarantee an unconditional victory over France and Britain.Bullet-proof and impervious to shellfire, a horde of the undead is about to sweep over Europe in a wave of unrestrainable death. Except no one told the Germans two things: anyone killed by the bite of a zombie becomes a zombie … and zombies don’t pick sides.

      To stop the Germans, an elite team of British soldiers led by Major Daniel O’Brien set out on a daring raid behind enemy lines. But in war no plan survives intact, and when the Germans lose control of their perfect weapon O’Brien’s group, including two vampires and a raconteur dame, must fight their way aboard a highly-armed German airship to halt the spread of the zombie plague throughout Europe.

      The Devil’s Harvest, an action-packed Steampunk/paranormal thriller and the second book in The Carpathia Timeline, is set thirty years after the events of Carpathia.

  • Joseph Lallo – you may know Joseph from his bestselling Book of Deacon series, full of magic and adventure! Haven’t started it? The first book is free, yo! Get reading, get hooked, and then follow it up with Joseph’s giveaway book, Rise of the Red Shadow, which follows one of the main characters from Book of Deacon.
    • Rise of the Red Shadow: Every story must begin somewhere. For the warrior who would come to be known as the fearsome Red Shadow, the story began in a forgotten glade deep in the land of Tressor. It was there that a pair of trackers, eager to retrieve a lost slave, instead found an orphaned malthrope. Had it been a human, it might have been treated with compassion, but in the eyes of human society a malthrope was a monster, a mix of fox and man believed to be a murderer and thief by its very nature. The beast was to be sold for a handful of silver, but fate intervened in the form of an old blind slave named Ben. Under the learned hand of the one human who believed in his potential, the young malthrope would instead be given the wisdom to take his first steps on the long journey to his destiny.The Rise of the Red Shadow chronicles the early life of one of the most mysterious figures of the Book of Deacon trilogy, the creature called Lain. It tells of his years working and learning on a Tresson plantation until a dark day of vengeance and bloodshed finally set him free. From there you will follow as he finds his place in the world, learning what it is to be a malthrope, and turning to the purpose that will guide him for the rest of his days. It is a story of love, hate, and lessons hard-learned, revealing the painful choices one must make to become the hero the world needs.
  • Peter Lukes – Peter is a SciFi author who describes his latest protagonist as, “part Han Solo, part James Bond, and part Tony Soprano.” How can you resist that?
    • The Dominus Runes: Thomas Gianmarco likes his liquor strong, his women plentiful, and his friends well-armed. While the rest of the human race is barely surviving in the rubble of destroyed cities and scorched countrysides, he enjoys a life of debauchery through the spoils of his contraband empire.Until he kills a Commander of the Titan Army, capturing the attention of the overlords who have subjugated humanity. The supernatural forces are on the verge of war, and Gianmarco finds himself caught in the middle of powerful competing interests. Some want him dead, but others want him alive, and working for them. Will he be able to transform from rogue to rebel in order to survive?Gianmarco is a master at leveraging the perfect deal. But this time, he’s the item for sale, and the art of this deal could change the course of human civilization forever.
  • Isaac Hooke – Isaac will be giving away the whole of the Forever Gate Compendium, a SciFi series. Check out his blog to read about his experiences writing, reading, traveling, and more!
    • The Forever Gate Compendium: 3740 A.D. The ice age has immobilized the world. Colossal walls seal off the cities from the uninhabitable Outside. Humanlike entities called “gols” run society, and force the humans to wear collars that block the innate powers humankind has evolved.What one man will do to save the woman he loves could destroy his world.

Leave a comment below to be entered for the drawing to win! While you can only enter once here, you are absolutely allowed – nay, encouraged! – to enter at the other blogs as well! Happy reading, and I will announce the winner on October 24th (so make sure to leave your email address)!

-M

 

Update-like Items

moira writes

Dear Readers,

The internet is a pretty cool place to be this week, with all sorts of delightful things going on!

  • Zezhou is hard at work on the cover for Shadow’s Reach, and I am looking forward to doing a cover reveal! Mailing list subscribers will get the first peek, so if you haven’t signed up yet, I encourage you to do so! You can enter your email over on the sidebar!
  • The giveaway books will be winging their way off shortly – congratulations again to everyone who won, and I’d like to say yet another thank you for making Shadowborn #1!
  • The Light & Shadow short stories are in beta, some in the first round, some in the second. Thank you to Gayle, Erin, Claire, Lannie, and Carol for volunteering to be beta readers! (If would like to be considered for beta reading in the future, feel free to contact me!)
  • If you’re looking for book recommendations for your fall reading, I recommend checking out any of the options listed my my Where to Discover Books blog post. If you’re looking for personalized recommendations, and you have a bent towards YA, I heartily recommend Papercuts Blog. Rachel has an interview, a review, or a giveaway going on every day – I don’t know how she does it!
  • There’s an intriguing project going on over at this blog. Audiomachine, a trailer music group, has partnered with the author to provide a serialized story. The first post is here, and that’s not even all of the coolness! There’s also a flash fiction contest going on. Want to try your hand at a 150-word short story? Give it a go!
  • My writing projects right now include the short stories, the Mahalia sequel and prequel, a SciFi novella, an epic SciFi trilogy, and laying the groundwork for a cowriting piece about Joan of Arc! I am deeply, deeply excited about all of them, and am planning to consume large amounts of coffee to get them out to you in a reasonable amount of time.

How is your week going, readers?

-M

 

The Parajunkee Indie Summer Blog Tour!

Hello, and welcome to the Parajunkee Indie Summer Blog Tour! The blog tour is close to the end, but there’s still time to complete the treasure hunt and win a Kindle Fire! (Whee!) You can find the earlier blog tour stops here, and I encourage you to check them out. There are multiple genres being featured, and you may find some new favorites!

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As you will certainly know if you’ve been following along thus far, the theme of the scavenger hunt is travel – where would I like to travel? Where would my characters like to travel?

Iceland-001

I myself have always wanted to see Iceland. I cannot think of a landscape that is more wildly evocative than the glaciers, volcanoes, barren isolation and unexpected beauty of the island. Like the burren in Ireland, Iceland is a place where life triumphs in unexpected ways: tiny, exquisite flowers blooming in crevasses, lichen and moss gaining a foothold on a seemingly desolate expanse of rock. In the winters, the long nights bring the aurora to life, and the crispness of winter is offset by yuletide festivity.

volcanic-landscape-in-iceland

It may seem odd to you if you’ve just begun reading the Light & Shadow books, but I very much think that Miriel and Catwin would enjoy a sojourn to Iceland as well. Catwin, of course, would be only too happy to escape the court, and Miriel, however much she might seem to thrive in her pursuit of the king, is not so simple a character as she might appear…

Ellidaey-Island-Iceland-1024x680

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to check out the other two Shadowborn blog stops, on Papercuts Blog and Erzabet’s Enchantments! There are giveaways for e-copies of the entire Light & Shadow series (because who wants to have to stop reading to download another book? Honestly), and both blogs feature reviews of other delightful indie books!

Katson_kindle_promo

Enjoy!

-M

Vacation!

French King Bridge

Gentle Readers –

This weekend is vacation, but with a few exciting details scattered within…!

  • The Light & Shadow short stories are close to completion! I am setting myself the goal of completing them by the end of September, and releasing them by mid-October!
  • While visiting my hometown, I was able to reconnect with an old friend who is also writing! Her first book was The Power of Poppy Pendle, and I am beyond excited to crack it open on this trip! (Also, it’s worth noting that the recipe for shortbread on her website is GOLD. Gold, ladies and gentlemen. Shortbread to make you weep.)
  • I continue to beat my head against this new SciFi piece. That’s not exactly an exciting detail. Whoops.
  • The Parajunkee Summer Blog Tour is winding onwards, and I am very excited for my tour stop on September 12th! As a reminder, the tour is a scavenger hunt, paired with a giveaway for a Kindle Fire – answer a question about each author, and you’ll be entered to win! You can find the tour here.

I hope your summers are going well, gentle readers!

-M

 

Giveaway!

Alright, everyone. A while ago, I said that if I hit #1, I would be doing a giveaway. And I did! In France! Hooray!

No 1 France

So here’s the deal: the giveaway runs until midnight on August 8th. Leave a comment here and I will use random.org to select a winner for a signed copy of Shadowborn, to be sent anywhere in the U.S., the UK, Canada, or Europe (that’s right!). Feel free to share this post – the giveaway will also be running on Twitter and Facebook!

Thank you all!

-M

Ongoing Giveaway

Who doesn’t love giveaways? Honestly. And so, an ongoing giveaway! Every time my mailing list reaches a nice, round hundred, each of those hundred subscribers will be entered in a drawing to win an ebook of their choice!

The signup form is on the right-hand side of the page. Don’t worry – emails will alert you only to new books and giveaways, your email will NEVER be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time if you wish to do so!

Enjoy!

-M