July and August Releases

New short story releases for July and August!

August’s is “Beacon” (first published in Beacon and Other Stories, so if you have that collection, you already have this story!).

Paicia and her family live in a future of green rooftops, shared makerspaces, and community gardens. With the help of beacon technology, they’ve even managed to save bees from colony collapse and protect human food sources. But when a rogue drone kidnaps one of their family’s bee swarms, Paicia learns that not everyone has moved into a greener future. And the more she finds out about the “ashers,” the more determined she is to stop the abductions and bring her bees home.

Just .99 on your favourite digital platform!


And July’s story was “Unquiet Skies” (first published in Flights from the Rock from Engen Books, and also included in Beacon and Other Stories).

In 1919, racers are gathering on the rocky island of Newfoundland to attempt the first transatlantic flight. And while young Collie is excited to see the pilots arriving with their crates of airplane parts, he has larger concerns–like Awdwith and the other dragons who have taken refuge in Newfoundland’s wind-swept interior to escape the now too-busy skies over the British Isles. A successful race might mean the dragons will have to move again, and Collie can’t bear the thought of losing Awdwith’s friendship. But when the aviators Collie has befriended encounter danger, will he be forced to choose sides?

“Unquiet Skies” is also just .99 across platforms.

The “Starting Hurricanes” StoryBundle

This month, I’m excited to be part of the Starting Hurricanes StoryBundle, curated by Athena Andreadis of Candlemark & Gleam. This bundle offers eleven wonderful speculative works exploring the concept of great changes brought about by ordinary people. No Chosen Ones  or demi-gods here–in this bundle it is the small things (and ordinary people), that, like the flutter of butterfly wings, might roil the winds of change into a hurricane.

In this bundle you will find, among other things, devastated Earths, humanity in complex interplanetary conflicts, disquieting alien biologies, and exiles in search of a home. The subgenres include space opera, near-future dystopia, far futures with magic-like technology, first contacts, and planetfalls. Some names you might recognize; others you might not…but there are worlds and wonder to discover behind each one.

If you’re not familiar with StoryBundle, you pay what you want for the first few books, and unlock the entire bundle for $15 or more. The basic bundle includes (in any ebook format):
Dreams of Earth by Bud Sparhawk
The Janus Legacy by Lisa von Biela
Jumpship Hope by Adria Laycraft
One’s Aspect to the Sun by Sherry D. Ramsey

For the bonus price of just $15 (or more), you get all four initial books, plus seven more for a total of eleven!
Fault Lines by Kelly Jennings
The Wan by Bo Balder
River of Dust by Alexander Jablokov
Finders by Melissa Scott
Collaborators by Deborah J. Ross
White Wing by Shariann Lewitt and Susan Shwartz
Edge of Heaven by RB Kelly

Read more about all the books right here!

This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub, .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides:
• Get quality reads: works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
• Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
• Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
• Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now!
• Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com. For more information, visit their website at storybundle.com, tweet them @storybundle and like them on Facebook.

New Release Catch-Up

My plan to release a new title every month continues, although I’ve fallen behind in posting them here. So let’s have a little catch-up post so you can see if you’ve missed any!

February: “Machine Language”

On the damaged colony ship Strelka, limping toward the sanctuary of a nearby planet, Yuka and the other surviving colonists–even the children–struggle to keep the ship moving. They pilot remote rovers on the planet’s inhospitable surface, searching for a region where they might have a chance at survival. But tensions on the ship are high, and the few left uninjured in the disaster–the Fulls–hold themselves separate from the many who survived, but not intact. When Yuka’s remote rover encounters a robotic explorer that didn’t come from the Strelka, she’s not sure what it means…or who to trust with the information. If she can communicate with it, she might gain valuable planetary data. But what if it poses a threat to the colony even more dangerous than the ones they already face?

Get it for just .99 on your favourite retail platform


March: “ePrayer”

Larry is a call center employee at ePrayer, a service that offers computer-generated prayers recited on the customer’s behalf. He harbours a secret affection for his supervisor and simmering doubts about the efficacy of digital devotions. Then one day he takes a call that changes his life…and his understanding of death. He’ll have to risk everything to set things right for one of ePrayer’s clients…or rather, former clients.

Find it for just .99 across platforms


April: “Station Run”

Vonni’s life on Unity Station seems normal enough–school, gaming, watching the traders and starships come and go. No-one suspects she’s hacked into the Virtual Reality learning program, Station Run, outpacing the game’s slow, measured advancement to unlock and explore higher levels of virtual immersion on the space station. Then, in the virtual Unity Station, Vonni meets Dart, a scruffy boy who claims to live in a sector of the station that doesn’t exist. As she struggles to stay in the “game,” Vonni comes to realize that her programming skills have unearthed a closely-guarded secret–one that will rock the world of Unity Station and those who live there. As long as Vonni can get the word out before the administration tracks her down.

Just .99 at your preferred e-retailer


May: “Captain Sable and the Canid Complication: A tale of pirate cats and sundry other scoundrels”

Captain Sable and the crew of the pirate ship Able Mouser might be the scourge of the seas, but Sable has a soft spot when it comes to underdogs–of any species. When a birdfolk stowaway is discovered on her ship, Sable contemplates making him walk the plank; that is, until she hears his tale of the Canid Empire’s plan to take over his people’s island home and enslave them. But with the Empire dogs ensconced on the island and in the waters around it, how can one pirate ship hope to drive them off? Captain Sable will have to be at her canniest–and cattiest–to pull it off…and hope she has at least one of her nine lives left.

Join the pirate fun for just .99


June: “B.R.A.N.E. Inc.”

When Nicole called for a photocopier repairman, she wasn’t prepared for him to tell her there was something living inside the machine. She also hadn’t gotten up that morning expecting to be recruited to help save the world. But a flashpoint portal on the roof of her office building isn’t something she can ignore–not when she sees what’s waiting on the other side.

At least it’s not another boring Monday morning at the office.

Catch it now for just .99


Whew! It’s been fun keeping up these monthly releases. Stay tuned for what the coming months have in store!

Come-From-Aways

My January release is live! It’s a standalone short story about small towns, strangers, and friends, and you can find it at your favourite retailer by following this link.

Mac Laidlaw returned to his small hometown after a decade away, with big plans to build a theme park and put the place “on the map.”

​​​​​​​For Louise Coldbrook, the town’s mayor (and Mac’s one-that-got-away), Mac’s plans are nothing but bad news. The town has a good thing going–a very, very secret good thing–and the last thing they want is attention from the rest of the world. But Mac’s not a man to take no for an answer…not this time, anyway. And certainly not without a really good explanation, which is the last thing Louise can offer him.

​​​​​​​Not if she wants to keep the town’s secret safe.

It’s just .99 across all platforms, so what are you waiting for? :)

Subordinate Clauses

Earlier this month, I released “Subordinate Clauses,” an Olympia Investigations holiday short story, across all platforms.

When a clutch of elves hire Acacia to investigate a plot against Santa Claus and an elf kidnapping, she has only her supernatural detection abilities to guide her in the right direction. As the days count down and the presents pile up, will Acacia and Oliver be able to find the perpetrator, rescue the elves, and save Christmas?

If you’re in the mood for some fun holiday urban fantasy, you should check it out! Just .99 at your favourite retailer.

 

The Swamp Cat and the Reckless Scout

New short story out today in ebook format (across all platforms!).

Captain Stel Aurora of the Reckless Scout is on a routine ScoutGuard mission when the emergency call comes in – the men of a remote research station are disappearing, possibly kidnapped. The “swamp planet” Inderani B boasts a humid climate, voracious insects…but no other inhabitants, and not many clues to the vanished researchers. It’s a race against time for Aurora and her crew as they delve into the secrets of the jungle, and the mysterious swamp cats who might hold the answers to it all.

This story first appeared in Engen Books’ Pulp Science Fiction from the Rock earlier this year.

Get the ebook for just .99 from your favourite retailer here!

New Book Bundle/Box Set

This week I launched a box set (although ebook only for now!) of the first four Olympia Investigations cases. I’m excited because I’ve been picking away at this idea for a while, and also because I’ve started writing a new novella in this series.

Acacia Sheridan is a private detective with a special gift for communicating with the supernatural. Her clientele includes ghosts, demons, fae, and many more denizens of the otherworld…which makes for some interesting cases. In these first four cases (a short story, two novelettes, and a full-length novella), Acacia and her long-suffering assistant Oliver take on a ghost, a goddess, a vampire, and a coven of witches as clients…and manage to come out alive and still speaking to each other (although sometimes that’s a near thing). Join the urban fantasy fun as Acacia and Oliver bring their deductive talents and sense of humour to bear in dealing with Olympia Investigations’ most unusual clients.

If you love bundle deals, check this one out at your favourite retailer–it’s half the price of buying all the stories individually!

Flights From The Rock takes Flight!

The upcoming anthology from Engen Books, Flights From The Rock, goes on pre-order today and you want to get yours!  This short fiction celebration of all types of flight (but particularly those with a speculative flavour) releases July 14th, 2019, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first non-stop Trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland (AKA the Rock) to Ireland. (And just look at that sweet cover art by Kit Sora!)

When the call for submissions for this anthology went out, it caught my imagination and I really wanted to write a story for it. I’d done some peer review work last year with ArtsNL, the Newfoundland and Labrador arts organization, and had spent a good bit of time looking at maps of NL. There’s still much of the province that seems gloriously empty, and it would have been even more so a hundred years ago. Enough empty land, I wondered, to shelter something big…like really, really big…like…dragons? (cue dramatic music). I mean, once man began taking to the skies, they would have become rather crowded for creatures trying to fly under the radar (pun thoroughly intended). Newfoundland might have seemed a great place to escape to…until the Trans-Atlantic air race brought the annoying flying machines even there.

Thus was born my story, “Unquiet Skies,” a tale of a boy, a dragon, and the Trans-Atlantic air race, which you’ll find along with twenty-six others in this anthology of alternate histories, adventures of lost planes, steampunk tales, modern epics, and more. The book opens for pre-orders today at just $2.99, and could reach the Amazon bestsellers list, as others in the From The Rock series have done. So if you’re interested in stories that showcase “the invention, imagination, and prestige that brought us to the skies,” this book is for you! Order today and help us reach bestseller status!

OWS CyCon 2019 World-Building Showcase – Alice de Sampaio Kalkuhl

As part of OWS CyCon 2019, I’m hosting a stop in the World-Building Showcase Blog Hop. For this intriguing stop, we’ll be highlighting an Unbound to Earth tale (that is, the action is not necessarily set on Earth), but a full list of authors and topics is available on the CyCon website. I’m pleased to be hosting author Alice de Sampaio Kalkuhl for this installment of the hop, where we’ll find out more about the world of Alice’s series, Misguided Minds.

Q: Before we dive in to the specific questions about your world, what is Misguided Minds about?

Alice: The series is about how a group of researchers and the people who pick up on their work later use physics to alter the very concept of reality. Their research ultimately leads to space travel which opens the world up to a whole new  reality.

Q: That sounds fascinating! Does language play any role in your world? Does everyone speak the same language, or is there variety? Did you invent any new slang or terminology during your world-building process?

Alice: Equations play a role and following the principle of Mathematics as a sort of language. They all speak equations. Obviously, the aliens that turn up in the later books have their own languages, but I don’t plan on writing any of the languages.

Q: So, what about the world (or worlds) in the series…what kinds of climates do your characters experience? Do they see a lot of change or is it always the same? Has your world always had this kind of climate, or has it changed over time?

Alice: The climate on earth is the climate on earth, though as the years progress climate change affects the planet. In space, all planets have different climates, and, on each planet, the climate varies between places.

Q: Is there any kind of faith system in your world? Did you draw inspiration from any real cultures, living or dead?

Alice: No, most of the researchers are atheist. A few of them have their own beliefs, but they don’t placate them around.

Q: What do people in your world do for fun? Are there sports, games, music, or other activities they do in their free time?

Alice: There are a couple of amusement planets and the researchers always made sure to bring some sort of music they do, no matter what they do.

Q: What kinds of transportation and other interesting technology do your characters have access to? Are they ahead, behind, or a mix of different kinds of tech compared to where we are now?

Alice: Throughout the series, the development of technology is one of the key results of the research.

Q: Do you have different races or enhanced humans with their own unique abilities inhabiting your world?

Alice: Yes, there are aliens, both in the books taking place on earth and elsewhere. A few of the characters also develop cyborg technology that is later implemented.

Q: Let’s talk a little about your process. When you build a world, do you do a lot of research upfront, wing it completely, or something in between?

Alice: I am a research student. My favourite inspiration is research papers. Whenever I see something that would make for a good aspect to a story, I write it into the notes to my writing project. Another thing I use is pages from the vogue.

Q: How central is the setting of your story to the story itself? Is it more of an interesting backdrop, or is it integral to the events of the story?

Alice: I use setting as something that I set the characters into, not something else.

Q: When helping the reader get to know the world you built, what techniques do you use? Do you tend to be upfront about things, or keep the reader in the dark and feed them only bits at a time?

Alice: I feed readers information one aspect at a time. Long expositions only bore everything.

Q: How much of a role does realism and hard scientific fact play in your world-building? Do you strive for 100% accuracy, or do you leave room for the fantastical and unexplainable in your world?

Alice: A lot. I don’t strive for 100% accuracy. What I strive for instead, is inspiration by research. Extra-information will turn up on my website though and that’s why I occasionally write short stories for.

Q: Do you have any specialized training or background from your “real life” that has informed your world-building?

Alice: I’m about to finish a BSc Genetics which helps with developing new species and I studied a little Physics in the past.

Q: How do you keep all of the details of your world and characters straight? Do you have a system for deciding on different factors and keeping it all organized, or does it live more in your head?

Alice: I write all my books in LaTeX projects which allows me to have note documents. It’s like free Scrivener with programming.

Q: Did you experience any difficulties while building your world? Any facts that refused to cooperate or inconsistencies you needed to address while editing

Alice: It’s difficult to make sure that any new planet ends up being diverse in climate, species distribution, and culture. One thing I did was to design two species per new planet at least and to try having them not be too humanoid.

Alice, thanks so much for dropping by to chat! Where can people find you on the web?

Alice: If you want to find more about my science fiction stories, check out my booth for OWS CyCon. All my stories are available on Inkitt. The Hyperspace Hypothesis which is the first in the series can be found here. For more details on my science fiction check out my website and my blog posts on my science fiction books.

For more stops in the OWS CyCon World-building Showcase, visit the tour page on the OWS CyCon website.

Author Interview – Kari Kilgore (Cat Tales #2 Bundle)

Hey everyone, we’re back today with another author interview from the Cat Tales #2 bundle, this time with author Kari Kilgore.

Sherry: Welcome, Kari! Thanks for stopping by. Could you tell us a little about the story you have in the Cat Tales #2 bundle?

Kari: “Wicked Bone” is an Appalachian folktale or tall tale, but it’s one I made up. We start with a rather self-possessed black cat (aren’t they all?), her new-to-cats owner, and the things cats leave as “gifts” for the ones they love.

And things get strange from there.

Sherry: It sounds like fun! Do you remember what sparked the idea for this story? What was it?

Kari: My story “Wicked Bone” got its start when I heard my Mom talk about a person we knew having a wicked bone, in that they couldn’t help doing things that were hurtful. That stayed with me, but as usual it shifted a bit once my writer-mind got hold of it. I combined it with a sort of tall tale I’d heard when I was seven or eight, cast my own cat Loretta as the feline lead, and that was where it started and ended up. I was still quite surprised at how the story turned out!

Sherry: I should mention that’s a picture of Loretta herself with the paperback version. :) Why do you write short fiction? Love, necessity, marketability, or something else?

Kari: So many reasons! Love, yes, and the pure fun of writing them. They’re wonderful for answering questions during a longer story. I often need to know more about a side or offstage event, but I know it won’t belong in the novel. Rather than writing notes or some kind of outline, I tend to just go write the story. Sometimes that turns out to be a piece I can submit to magazines or anthologies. Sometimes it’s more just for me, but that also means I can use it for reader rewards for people who enjoyed the longer work. I took a Series Workshop with Kristine Kathryn Rusch earlier this year that was tremendously helpful for thinking of ways to expand a series with short stories.

Besides the fun and great practice, short stories are wonderful for marketing. When a story is in a magazine (or anthology, or a bundle like Cat Tales #2), your work is in front of many readers who get to discover you for the first time. If they dig your story and go looking for more, you may have a fan, and they may have a new favourite writer. Great combination!

Sherry: What’s the most perfect short story you’ve ever read?

Kari: I don’t believe anything in storytelling is ever perfect, but my favourite since I first read it back in the Eighties is “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut” by Stephen King. It’s about women, driving, freedom, love, and magic, and it has never truly left my mind. Especially on long road trips or when I get behind the wheel of a fast, responsive car! He gets all kinds of well-deserved attention for his novels, but I love his short work as much if not a bit more.

Sherry: Have you written any series characters? What’s their appeal for you?

Kari: I have several series characters in all lengths of fiction, from short stories to novellas to novels. A few star in all three lengths, and I’ll be doing more of that. I enjoy seeing how the characters change and grow with each new situation, and with the different people they interact with. Even in different genres sometimes, like when characters from a mystery short story series recently encountered a pair from a contemporary fantasy short story series.

It’s fun for me because I already know the characters a bit, so I get to hit the ground running with the story. But at the same time, I’m going to learn more about them every time. I hope readers find characters they already know and relate to, and that they’re excited to follow along on new adventures.

Sherry: Would you say you’re more of a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

Kari: I’m definitely the pantser/gardener type. I was recently on a panel with three other writers who called themselves pantsers, and over the hour I realized I was the purest pantser, in that I truly have no clue what’s going to happen next while I’m writing. Most of them wanted to know the end, or the middle, or the theme, or some other aspect. Not me. I want to enjoy telling myself the story and being surprised the whole way through. I pretty much know what’s going to happen when it happens.

Sherry: I’m with you there! I’ve learned to outline a little when necessity demands it, but I’m pure pantser at heart.:)

Do you think the place where you live (or somewhere you have lived) influences what you write? In what way?

Kari: Absolutely. My husband Jason A. Adams (another writer) and I live in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. We both grew up in other places, but we always came back here to visit and thought of this as home. Now we have an interesting insider/outsider perspective that allows us to really dive in and explore the culture, dialect, and fascinating and sometimes mysterious world that surrounds us. We have a mix of Scots-Irish, Welsh, Germanic, European, Middle Eastern, and African cultures in our mountain region because so many different people came here to work in mining or timber. That mix is reflected in food, oral storytelling traditions, superstition, place names, so many things.

We also both know and love the proud, independent people in our region, and we want to write about that. Appalachia and hillbillies have always been a bit of a punch line, largely because of myths and misconceptions. If a story I write can help people from other areas better understand us, that’s great. But more important to me is showing other native folks an image of ourselves that isn’t negative or derogatory. We have challenges here, yes, just like every other region. We have an awful lot to be proud of, too.

Sherry:  Tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview. :)

Kari: Thank you! I write all over the place as far as genre and story length. Various kinds of fantasy, science fiction, a bit of horror, and even contemporary fiction and romance lately. My twentieth indie title will come out on April 20th of this year. And my first professional short story should be out in Fiction River anthology magazine in September.

As far as cat tales, I’ll have a holiday-themed sweet romance short story that features a cat in a collection from Kristine Kathryn Rusch out over the holidays in 2019. That story will have at least one sequel, since two of my cats haven’t been in a story yet, and they’re starting to wonder why. Another in that collection will be a fantasy short centered on a veteran of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.

Returning to Appalachia, I have a post-apocalyptic series that’s partly set here that will wrap up this year called Storms of Future Past.

Sherry: Thanks again, Kari, this was fun!

Kari Kilgore lives and works in her native mountains of Virginia. From that solid home base, she and her husband Jason Adams find adventures all over the world to bring to life in fiction. Exploring local legends and mythologies in particular delights and inspires them.

Kari writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and she’s happiest when she surprises herself. She lives at the end of a long dirt road in the middle of the woods with Jason, two dogs, two cats, and wildlife they’re better off not knowing more about. You can find her website at karikilgore.com.

And don’t forget to check out Cat Tales #2 while you can! :) I still have a few more interviews scheduled, so check back soon!