Friday, March 29, 2013

First Pages: Finders-Keepers by C.M. Simpson



Finders Keepers is the second short story to be found in An Anthology of Worlds. It is also available as a stand-alone short story.

A single gold coin shines on the pavement, but no one except me seems to have noticed it. I watch it, hoping someone will take it and claim it as their own. Needing someone to take it. Please take it.

Finders Keepers is available as part of AnAnthology of Worlds, and also as a stand-alone title at Smashwords, Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.

First Page: Finders-Keepers




The two-dollar coin lay on the pavement, shining. Its golden surface gleamed beneath the sun, casting a knife-edged wedge of shadow where it touched the concrete.
I sat on a bench at the bus stop and watched the coin shine. I watched the different shoes walking past it and hoped someone would take it. No one had, yet.
A mother wheeling a pram paused, the front of the pram casting enough shadow to block the sun from the coin. I wondered if anyone else saw how the coin shone despite the shade. The mother hadn't.
A pepper-haired, wiry-coated terrier noticed the coin. It paused, in lifting its leg on a nearby wall, and growled, its wiry coat standing more on end than usual. Growl over, object intimidated, the terrier finished placing its mark and trotted away. Its wiry hair remained spikier than usual, but it didn't look back.
I sighed. Even the terrier would have done.
The mother with the pram didn't notice the still-shining coin. She was too busy reading the timetable pasted beneath the glass of the bus shelter. Satisfied with the whens and the whiches of buses, she walked away. Her baby gurgled at me as she passed, but I ignored it, knowing it would do me no good to tuck the offending currency into its pram. I continued to stare despondently at the coin.
Behind me, from the post office, I heard the clock strike, and counted the chimes. One, two, three. Good, three o'clock. That meant there’d soon be children on the street. Bigger children, I mean, than the one in the pram. Children who were likely to pounce on the sparkling bounty on the pavement. I needed only wait a little longer, and my trials would be over.
A bus arrived, pulling up beside the shelter with a hiss of brakes and a sigh. The bus driver looked at me to see if I was interested in his bus. I wasn't, so I looked deliberately away. He... 

END EXTRACT

If you want to read more, Finders Keepers is available as part of AnAnthology of Worlds, and also as a stand-alone title at Smashwords, Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.

Monday, March 25, 2013

First Pages: Palmyra Ridge by C.M. Simpson



Palmyra Ridge is the second short story to be found in An Anthology of Worlds. It is also available as a stand-alone short story.

Chani dreams of the ritual of Severance, which allows her to leave her people's homeland, but when the company she works for moves to take her people's lands, she is exactly where she needs to be. All she has to do is convince Security Officer Asleyan that her visits to Palmyra Ridge are essential, and maybe gain his assistance in defending those she holds most dear. But the security officer has a heritage and fears of his own. Can two people from two very different cultures work together to save nation, while retaining their own sense of self and sanity?

Palmyra Ridge is a short science fiction story exploring issues of belonging, bloodlines and heritage in a changing world. It is available as part of An Anthology of Worlds, and also as a stand-alone title at Smashwords, Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.

First Page: Palmyra Ridge




Chani woke screaming. The Ridge was gone. The shaman stood over her, the rippled blade of his wooden knife gleaming softly in the starlight.
“Your choice,” he whispered softly, fading into the growing light, and he was right.
It had been her choice and freely taken. Chani felt a sob rising from her chest and let it out into the warm air of her bedroom. Listening to its echoes soften and dim, she knew it wouldn’t be long before Security was knocking down her door. Better that she open it for them, be on her feet when they arrived.
Stifling another sob, she pushed back the cover of her bed and swung her legs over the edge so her feet touched the floor. Once upright, she paused, trying to recapture her usual fa├žade of calm. It did not help that the soft earth-red of the comforter reminded her of the ground on the Ridge, or that its sage-green underside brought to mind the saltbush that clung to its heights.
Closing her eyes to block the comforter from view, Chani drew a deep breath and stood up. The carpet was soft beneath her feet, another contrast with her homeland. There the ground was hard and littered with stones. She opened her eyes and watched her room swim slowly back into focus. Her wardrobe was reattaching itself to the floor and the ceiling when there was a loud knocking from the door.
Security!
“Wait a minute!” she yelled, leaping from the edge of her bed and pulling her dressing-gown from its hook behind her bedroom door.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute!’” she shouted, as the knocking came again.
“Miss Riskassen-Mar, are you okay?”
Chani blushed. Now the whole floor would know she’d brought Security to her door—again. If she wasn’t careful, there’d be a residents’ meeting and she’d be asked to leave. That was always assuming her neighbors hadn’t already called one and the Committee just hadn’t gotten around to typing up her eviction.
“Miss Riskassen-Mar?”
Damn him! By all the stars and the land itself, did he have to yell so loud?
“I’m fine, thank you, fine.” 
Ah, spirit’s teeth, she sounded anything but. Fortunately, she had reached the door before he could ask her anything more. That would mean a little less ammunition for her neighbors at their meeting—if they were planning one. Chani opened the door. 


END EXTRACT

If you would like to read more, Palmyra Ridge is available as part of An Anthology of Worlds, and also as a stand-alone title at Smashwords, Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Pages: On a Ship called Mythicus by C.M. Simpson



On a Ship called Mythicus is the sixth short story to be found in An Anthology of Worlds. It is also available as a stand-alone short story.

The Mythicus is crewed by creatures of myth and legend, fairytale and urban lore. In this short episode, it and its crew pursue a space pirate until a small team must continue the pursuit on planet. With its firestarter captain and a defense system that takes its nomenclature too literally, this ship is one of a kind, a fact the rest of human space should be grateful for.

On a Ship called Mythicus is available as part of An Anthology of Worlds, and also as a stand-alone title at Smashwords, Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.

First Page: On a Ship called Mythicus




“Stop drooling, Cristo!” growled Wolf.
Cristo wiped his chin with the back of his hand and then wiped his hand on the white silk of his sail-sized handkerchief. Another drop of moisture oozed from his lips.
“Cristo!”
Wolf’s growl was deeper now and Cristo was sure he heard a joint pop as the gunner’s frustration increased. Cristo dabbed at his mouth again.
“Settle down, Wolf,” he protested. “I mean, when was the last time you saw a body like that?”
It was a mistake. At the mere mention of the woman whose image filled their viewscreen, he started drooling again.
“In her wanted poster,” Wolf snapped out as another joint popped. “Get with it, Cristo. She’s only a pirate!”
Cristo sighed and sucked down the drool gathering at the back of his teeth.
“Pull yourself together, Cristo!” roared the captain. “She’s about to open fire. Activate the defense nets!”
“Aye, aye, sir,” Cristo replied.
He managed to stop salivating only when he turned his mind solely to the task of defending the ship. As long as he thought of the pirate ship and not its captain, his chin would stay dry.
Aah, but the captain—
“Cristo!”
This time, it was the captain who yelled at Cristo, or rather, yelled inside his head. Cristo shook his head to clear his senses, and sucked frantically at the moisture in his mouth to stop it escaping past his lips. 
His head rang from the captain’s, shout but that wasn’t the worst of it. He could feel the warm itch of his captain’s glare against his back.


END EXTRACT

If you would like to read more, On a Ship called Mythicus is available as part of An Anthology of Worlds, and also as a stand-alone title at Smashwords, Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.