Friday, May 31, 2013

First Page: Of Hunters and the Color Blue by C.M. Simpson

Of Hunters and the Color Blue is the first short story to be found in The Loft Anthology. It is also available as a stand-alone short story.
A letter reveals the writer’s love for her daughter, and her reasons for leaving the child behind. It is a tale of flight and rescue, the birth of an AI, and reveals a weakness that plagues the deadly enemy on her trail.
Of Hunters and the Color Blue is currently available as a stand-alone story, but will be included in The Loft Anthology, and the 2013 collection of short stories and poetry. It can be found at Smashwords, Kobo, Amazon-Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.

First Page: Of Hunters and the Color Blue


To my daughter,

With regards the Hunters: I discovered one way of unmasking them for others. They were… are, infallibly drawn to blue. As a general rule, they cannot pass it by and leave it be; they have to touch it, caress it, and take it with them. They cannot help, but possess it. Who would have thought that a color so associated with the open sky and freedom would hold them in such thrall?
On the road leading to the Strebelov cottage, well within rifle range, I placed the first of many sculptures. Green hung there, set in brass and bronze, and tin and lead. Blue also, framed by roundels of glistening metal, or triangles, or squares. Reds and yellows, blacks and purples, gems of glass and hardened plastic, made especially for weathering the out of doors.
Reach out and touch the blue, and BLAM, one silenced round would reach out and touch you. Its finger-punch would pick you up and throw you off the path, your body a ruin of caverns following in the wake of its scattered innards. Ribs and heart, sternum, lungs, spine: all mangled together and pushed ahead of the life-shattering explosion of Shardner’s Triple-A minus.
Why the minus? Argue with Shardner about the illegal lethality of his rounds, and you’d be minus your head—or whatever else he fancied at the time. Shardner wasn’t a cannibal—he was a same-species gourmand.
Of course, all the remains were tastefully disposed of. The carnivorous vines growing on the edge of the path opposite the sculpture let nothing go to waste. Their virulent foliage and clash of blossom was a year-round warning to their nature. You, my child, knew better than to play there.
I programmed the Loft to watch over you. It was far better at that task than I could ever hope to be. It saved your life on the night we were forced to leave the Strebelov Cottage—and the Loft, itself
—behind. The weapons I bought and installed in it were supported by the best electronics I could afford. I did not know the Loft would augment them.
With the computer pick-up and sensors activated to accuracy through their partial immolation in the plastec coating the sculpture’s myriad parts, Shardner’s Triple-A Minus didn’t miss a thing. Of course, it helped that I’d made sure the computer had a room with a view.
The Loft in Strebelov cottage remained my gatekeeper, until our hunters learnt to control their lust for blue. I say the Loft, and not just Shardner, since the cottage AI had probably gained intelligence in its own right before we left. Certainly, it was self-aware.
 

END FIRST PAGE

If you would like to read more, Of Hunters and the Color Blue can be found at Smashwords, Kobo, Amazon-Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

First Chapters: The Dog's Way by Carlie Simonsen

The Dog’s Way is a teen paranormal urban about a boy who finds unexpected help with bullies. The Dog’s Way is the first book in the Running with the Pack series.

When Michael jumps a brick wall to escape from Jacko and his group of thugs, he didn’t need to find a pack of dogs waiting for him on the other side. Pinned down by the biggest of them, Michael counts himself lucky that the dogs are more interested in Jacko than him. Unfortunately, with Jacko on the other side of the fence, that’s not going to last forever. And what’s he going to do then?

The Dog’s Way is about discovering who you are, and learning to face your fears with whatever you can find inside.

The Dog's Way can be found at Smashwords, Amazon-Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iTunes

First Chapter: The Dog's Way

Big Dog, Big Teeth 


Bounding. Leaping. Running. Pounding.

The dog was as big as a tank.
Its black fur was shorter than Jacko’s crew cut. Its mouth was open. Its teeth were showing. Bits of slobber flew from its lips.
The dog had seen him. It flew over the ground, its big feet thudding like battering rams. Tyron knew he should never have climbed over the wall.
He knew he should never have taken the short cut home. He knew he shouldn’t have gone to school that day. He just shouldn’t have, not after what he had said about Jacko.
He should have known Jacko would hear. He should have known Jacko would wait for him. He should have known that houses with big walls had big dogs as well.
All Tyron could do was stand there and watch the dog come. It wasn’t barking. Tyron wished it would bark. If it barked someone might hear it. If someone heard it, they might come and rescue him. It didn’t bark.
Great, Tyron thought. Now it gets to eat me and no one will stop it.
The dog was close now. Tyron had a good look at its mouth and its teeth. He got a good look at its eyes.
The dog jumped. Its front feet hit him on the chest and he fell backwards. The dog stood on his chest and licked his face.
It looked like it was laughing at him.
Tyron stopped feeling afraid. He started to feel angry. He wanted to shout at the dog. He wanted to give it a good smack for scaring him.
He looked at the slobbery mouth with its big teeth. Maybe, he didn’t want to smack it. He opened his mouth to shout at instead.
And that was when he heard the voices.
 

END CHAPTER ONE

If you would like to read more, The Dog's Way can be found at Smashwords, Amazon-Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iTunes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First Page: Jalaya by C.M. Simpson

Jalaya is the fourth and final short story to be found in An Anthology of Battle. It is also available as a stand-alone short story.

Michael bound to the village chief and his soldiers by nanotechnology that provides a unique mental link. With it, he commands a military force divided into Marks, and inherited the duty of Protector. Ten years ago, he helped his community fight free of its township and become nomads so they could survive the depredations of fierce raiders. Ten years ago, he was forced to choose between duty to his people, and love for Caroline, his wife-to-be. When he left the city with his daughter, Caroline refused to go with them. Once a year, when their migration takes them close, he takes watch above the town, leaving a white flower at its edge. Every year, Caroline dances through the streets—for him. Every year, he watches from the hills, hoping she will join him. This year, the raiders attack, and everything changes.

Jalaya is a story of battle, family, and sacrifice. It is a story of heroes, fire-fights, wits and courage. And it is the story of a last battle in a ten-year war.

Jalaya is available on Smashwords, Amazon, Kindle, Nook and at the iTunes Store.

First Page: Jalaya




Michael looked down at the town in the sand. Red, flat roofs of clay interspersed by the elegant, wooden gables of buildings from northern climes, still stood in a basin of protective hills. From where he stood, the rotting boards were invisible, as was the sand that swirled along the unkempt streets.
He tried to see the town as it had been ten years before. There had been trees standing inside walled islands of stone dotting the center of the main streets, and the sweetly scented jalaya flowered beneath them. There had been window boxes full of color clinging to the walls and the town had been white, the color of snow and light-hearted purity, not red, the color of old blood and war.
Caroline had danced in the streets with him on the first day of the new year, and the unseen rains had made the river roar with pride as it rushed between the white stone walls of the canal. That had been ten years ago when the Scorpions had first attacked, and the town had emptied shortly thereafter.
Caroline’s family had disappeared in the melee, along with his son, but Caroline had refused to grieve them. They were safe, she insisted. His son was safe, but he had to take their daughter. Michael had had no time to argue or grieve and clung to her promise. His son was safe. His daughter would be safe with him, but of his bride-to-be…
Caroline had refused to go. She said she had duties that must be attended. She had asked him to stay. Michael had possessed other duties, other responsibilities that forced him to leave her behind, so she said she would dance the streets on the first day of every new year in his memory. When he had protested that the day was no longer safe, she had promised to dance at night.
Michael had begged her to come with him, to wed him in the desert. Caroline’s eyes had glistened with tears when she said she had to stay, the reasons secret until they married and united as family. She had said she would not take him from his duties, hugged him fiercely tight, and then fled swiftly away.
Caroline would dance again tonight, without his arms to hold her as she wound her way through the streets. She would raise her voice in bittersweet song, her body clad in the white of a bridal gown that had never seen a wedding day. And Michael would watch her from his place upon the hill.
Once, during all her dancing and serenade, Caroline’s steps would bring her to the edge of the town. She would stretch her arms towards where he sat, folding back towards herself as she waved to him, beckoning him with her body and her hands. She would pause there, the song momentarily silent, as she waited for his response.



END FIRST PAGE

If you would like to read more, Jalaya is available on Smashwords, Amazon, Kindle, Nook and at the iTunes Store.
This week we released two more of Carlie Simonsen's chapter books for young adults: One science fiction paranormal, and one paranormal urban. Without further ado, here they are:

Print-on-demand version
E-book version
The Dog’s Way is a teen paranormal urban about a boy who finds unexpected help with bullies. The Dog’s Way is the first book in the Running with the Pack series.

When Michael jumps a brick wall to escape from Jacko and his group of thugs, he didn’t need to find a pack of dogs waiting for him on the other side. Pinned down by the biggest of them, Michael counts himself lucky that the dogs are more interested in Jacko than him. Unfortunately, with Jacko on the other side of the fence, that’s not going to last forever. And what’s he going to do then?

The Dog’s Way is about discovering who you are, and learning to face your fears with whatever you can find inside.
The Dog's Way can be found at Smashwords, Amazon-Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iTunes.





E-book version
Print-on-demand version
Traveler is a teen post-apocalyptic paranormal urban tale about a girl who survives a war and the loss of her family. When she ends up alone, she sets out to find the one family member whose fate she doesn’t know. On the way, she encounters cannibals and a mysterious boy. And from there, things get distinctly weird. Traveler is the first book in the Traveler’s Tales series.


Traveler knows she must cross the Rubble by dusk. At dusk, the cannibals come out, and they will want payment. She doesn’t count on the gang living on the other side of the Rubble to deny her passage until evening arrives. And she doesn’t count on being the prize in a turf war between the two groups. When a boy who seems to be made of mist helps her escape, she refuses to believe she is finally safe. The city is full of danger. Traveler knows she hasn’t found them all.


Traveler is about embarking on a journey, and overcoming anything that might stand in the way—even if that means having the courage to offer friendship, in times when it’s hard to trust. Or helping someone other than yourself.


Traveler is available from Smashwords, Amazon-Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iTunes.

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Covers and Releases: 'Jalaya', 'Of Hunters and the Color Blue', and 'Gulvane and the Dragon' by C.M. Simpson

It has so far been a busy week. We have released three more of C.M. Simpson's short stories. Two new short stories and one short story re-released with a new cover, and made available for print-on-demand.



Gulvane and the Dragon is my newest work. I wrote it this year. And here is what it's about:

Preparing for a new era in his life, the wizard Gulvane walks the corridors of his mind, remembering the eras locked behind three doors. Forester, Fighter, Assassin. Behind each door lie the memories and skills of who and what he used to be, inaccessible, unless he chose to return to the professions he had left. Uncertain of where his life will lead him, or of what he will become, Gulvane wakes to find a dragon standing over his bed. Now, what would a creature such as that want with an elf like himself?


Gulvane and the Dragon is currently available as a stand-alone short story, but will eventually be incorporated in An Anthology of Mythical Creatures, and the collection, Short Stories and Poetry from 2013.

Gulvane and the Dragon is available from Smashwords, Amazon, Nook, iTunes, Kobo and CreateSpace.






Of Hunters and the Color Blue is the first short story to be found in The Loft Anthology. It is also available as a stand-alone short story.

A letter reveals the writer’s love for her daughter, and her reasons for leaving the child behind. It is a tale of flight and rescue, the birth of an AI, and reveals a weakness that plagues the deadly enemy on her trail.
Of Hunters and the Color Blue is currently available as a stand-alone story, but will be included in The Loft Anthology, and the 2013 collection of short stories and poetry. It can be found at Smashwords, Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.


 Jalaya is the fourth and final short story to be found in An Anthology of Battle. It is also available as a stand-alone short story.

Michael bound to the village chief and his soldiers by nanotechnology that provides a unique mental link. With it, he commands a military force divided into Marks, and inherited the duty of Protector. Ten years ago, he helped his community fight free of its township and become nomads so they could survive the depredations of fierce raiders. Ten years ago, he was forced to choose between duty to his people, and love for Caroline, his wife-to-be. When he left the city with his daughter, Caroline refused to go with them. Once a year, when their migration takes them close, he takes watch above the town, leaving a white flower at its edge. Every year, Caroline dances through the streets—for him. Every year, he watches from the hills, hoping she will join him. This year, the raiders attack, and everything changes.

Jalaya is a story of battle, family, and sacrifice. It is a story of heroes, fire-fights, wits and courage. And it is the story of a last battle in a ten-year war.

Jalaya is available on Smashwords, Amazon-Kindle, Nook and at the iTunes Store.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

New Covers for Jalaya by C.M. Simpson

Recently, we decided to give all our older short stories new covers. This will be a gradual process that will take place over the rest of the year. Here is the new cover for C.M. Simpson's novella-length piece of science fiction:

New e-book cover


The cover went through a few iterations. Here's what it looks like for the print-on-demand versions.

Print-on-Demand cover
Print-on-Demand cover for Large Print version



















For those of you who are curious, here are the covers that went before - including a variation on the one above that we chose not to go with. From left to right you can see the oldest to newest versions of this cover.

1st version

3rd version
2nd version

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Blogging Elsewhere: Today Carlie Simonsen at the DSDU Blog




DSDU = Dark Side Down Under: A group of Australian writers of romance and other paranormal genres has kindly hosted CarlieSimonsen, today on their regular Magic Thursday blog spot. In return she's
giving away some tips on writing for a younger audience. Feel free to go over and join her.







Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Pages: Gods in the Lianreida by C.M. Simpson

Gods in the Lianreida is a short story taken from Shadow’s Fall, the third novel in the Shadow series. It is currently available as a chapter in that novel or a stand-alone story, but will be eventually incorporated in An Anthology of Gods and Older Magic, and the collection, Short Stories and Poetry from 2013.

When Larias, god of problem-solving and secrets, flies over the forbidden lands of the elves, he only hopes to discover what force is powerful enough to breach the elven magic protecting the forest. What he finds, instead, is a battle in which he is compelled to intervene, but, regardless of intent, when gods meddle in the realms of other gods, there is always a price to pay.
 Gods in the Lianreida is available from Smashwords, Amazon-Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Kobo and CreateSpace.


First Pages: Gods in the Lianreida




It hadn't been a cataclysmic event in the realm of the gods, unheard of yes, and a matter of urgency, but not yet a cataclysm. The enemy had grown strong enough that a Messenger, one of the gods' untouchable servants, had been injured protecting Aravare, chief of the gods of man.

Now, Larias, problem solver and finder of secrets, flew the heavens in a chariot of his own invention seeking a cure. He did not begrudge the need to fly over the realm known to elves as the Lianreida, and to men as the Forbidden Lands. There was something he needed to see.
He wheeled the chariot over the forest, searching for some sign of the battle that had begun near the time Aravare had been attacked. Senar’s Watch, Larias recalled, had been established a hundred and fifty years ago when the men of Thargood had first intruded into the forest. It had been designated the farthest point the elves would allow men to walk—and still allow them to live.
Larias turned the chariot further to the east. Senar’s Watch would be close now. He could see the vague shimmer of light signifying the protection of elven magic over the portion of the Lianreida that they reserved for themselves. Larias frowned, wondering.
What could have been powerful enough to break through even the edge of that magic? He shook his head, annoyed at himself. It wasn't as if he had to ask. There could be no other explanation but Beauwallin or his minions—that he had divined for himself.
A sudden geyser of smoke and flame gouted out of the forest canopy ahead, and Larias dipped the chariot into the cover of the trees. He had no wish to be seen by mortals—even those as long-lived as the elves. He bent his magic to his need, and knew the chariot was cloaked. A brief feeling of relief washed through him; he had no desire for his latest creation to be destroyed before he had been able to give it life.
Larias landed at what he guessed was a couple of miles from the smoke and flame, dropping below the canopy, before a flight of grey-winged griffins burst from the trees over the elven fort. These griffins carried riders wearing a motley of dull-colored clothes. Occasionally the sun reflected softly from the dirty metal of a helm or corselet long uncleaned.
Had Larias not been ensuring his chariot was hidden, he would have seen a second flight of griffins follow the first. These were gold in color and the helms of their riders gleamed brightly in the afternoon sun. They wheeled after the first flight in a perfectly disciplined formation, before their riders rose in the stirrups of their saddles and flung a hail of long-shafted arrows after their dark-winged prey. The sunlight glistened momentarily off the arrowheads, but the missiles could not reach the fleeing griffins and the arrows fell harmlessly into the trees below.


END FIRST PAGE

If you want to read more, Gods in the Lianreida is available from Smashwords, Amazon-Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Kobo and CreateSpace.

Monday, May 20, 2013

First Chapter: Tag Man One by Carlie Simonsen


Tag Man One is the first chapter book in the Air Ace Adventures series. Set on an imaginary air base, it tells part of the story of two brothers, who share a love of flying and look out for each other.

When Jerry sees something flash on a hill overlooking the air base where his brother works, he thinks it might be a bottle reflecting the sun. His brother takes a different view, and reports it to base security. They have not had time to investigate before the base is attacked, and Jerry must do his best to get his brother out alive.


Tag Man One is available from Smashwords, Amazon-Kindle and CreateSpace and will be distributed from Nook, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and iTunes.

First Chapter: A Flash in the Hills

Jerry wrapped his arms around his knees and looked into the sky. He was in the branches of a small tree on top of a hill. In the tree, Jerry could pretend he was a pilot like his brother, Andrew. He could pretend he was flying test planes just like Andrew did every day.
There were eagles that flew near the top of the hill. Jerry liked to watch them. It was better than doing nothing, and he had nothing to do.
His brother was flying in the simulator today. The new jet wasn’t ready to be tested in the sky.
Jerry watched the eagles. He was hoping Andrew would be able to let him fly the simulator today. It was fun flying the simulator.
Andrew would joke and say that Jerry would take his job away. Jerry would laugh. He knew he was good, but he didn’t think he was that good.
Maybe Andrew would let him test fly the new jet in the simulator. Sometimes, Andrew’s boss said it was okay. Sometimes, Jerry found problems they hadn’t thought of.
Jerry climbed down from the tree. He would go home and wait for Andrew. He could watch a video while he waited.
There was no television out here. The hills got in the way of the television signals. Jerry didn’t miss television too much. He still had his computer and Andrew had given him some really cool games to play.
Maybe he would play games on the computer instead of watching a video. He could pretend he was flying the simulator with some of the games.
Jerry looked down on the base from his perch on the hill. He looked across at the hill on the other side of the base. He saw something flash in the sun.
Jerry looked at the place the flash had come from. It did not come again. He tried to think what could have made that kind of flash. Maybe someone had dropped a bottle and that’s what he could see. He looked at the spot again, but the flash was gone. He moved his head, trying to find the right angle to catch the flash again. It didn’t come. It was as if the bottle had moved out of the sun.
That was funny. Bottles didn’t move.
Jerry decided he would have to tell Andrew when he got home. His brother would know what it was.

END FIRST CHAPTER
 
If you would like to read more, Tag Man One is available from Smashwords, Amazon-Kindle and CreateSpace and will be distributed from Nook, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and iTunes.