Thursday, September 22, 2016

Free Science Fiction: Adventuresses

This weekend's free book is Adventuresses

It's SF in the loosest sense, encompassing steampunk, alternate history and space opera.

Ten tales of lesbian adventure take you from the far reaches of the galaxy to the science fiction convention down the road, from a steampunk west to a world where the Confederacy got nukes. Come along and fall in love with a waitress or a pirate or Medusa herself.

The rice and carnitas gone, she pushed away the plate and picked up the tintype. She tried to rise, but a hand landed on her shoulder and held her in her seat. 

“Leaving us already, stranger?” the man asked. “Don't you know it ain't polite to leave without offering to buy a drink for the whole place, at least when you're new in town?”

She tipped her head and gave him a look that made most men back right off. He was either dumber than most or less cautious. He never moved his hand. “Come on, grandma, buy us one.”

Sí, cervaza,” one of the other farmers said.

“Don't make him get ugly, old lady,” added one of the night-doves hanging on her meal-ticket of the evening.

“He already ugly. Muy feo!” tossed out someone on the other side of the room. The men laughed. She had heard that tenor in crowds before. It never boded well. The intruder clamped his hand down harder, trying to hurt her. That would not do.  She returned her attention to her teacup, pretending to ignore the others. 

“Look, you old hag,” he started.

She drew. Not the forward-facing guns on her thighs, but the ones tucked in the back of her belt. Her upper set of arms unfolded itself, flipped her coat back to the elbows and drew on her harasser.

A gasp went up. There were a few oddities around, but most kept their deformities out of sight if they could. Most of the first generation were long dead, with only a few living to adulthood and fewer still having children. The rebels had brought something out of Texas during the War, and her ma had been less than fifty miles from the place where they exploded it. It got into the air, the water and the ground, and spread from the original site.

“Care to let me get my rest now? I flew a long way today.”

“I'm sorry,” the man said, letting go of her shoulder and backing away.

She stood up, her lower arms in position to pull the guns on her thighs. The crowd looked and realized those were in quick-draw holsters, like a gunfighter's.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Free Audio Science Fiction

This weekend's free SF is Somewhere Out There, the audiobook.
Close your eyes and let the theater of the mind transport you on eight erotic journeys between worlds.

Unlike other giveaways, there are only 15 of these.
Leave a message here, and I will email you the download code.

At its best, science fiction presents us not just with a vision of the future, but with more understanding of ourselves and how to get to that future. It presents us with ways to think about relationships and people. And this time, it’s about the shapes of relationships.

In these eight stories, we run the gamut. Whether a shipboard fantasy about a captain that turns into more or the new fiancé meeting the former spouse, people remain people, with loves and confusion.

Sometimes the love lies very close to jealousy and hatred, as in “Bodies!” Sometimes, it grows out of an unpleasant necessity, such as “Similar Species” and “Expectations.” Occasionally, it is the mother of creativity and invention, in “Tether”or just food for a species that feeds on emotions, from “A Very Emotional Scene.” And sometimes, it can leave people wondering if it was real or not, as it does in “Wide Awake.”

Love and sex are two very powerful drives and in these futures, they propel us far beyond our own world.

Excerpt, from Wide Awake:

Planet K478, Year 2345, July 13

“I never loved anybody like I love you. Never knew I could.” K’Aran ducked his head and let the curtain of black shiny hair hide his flushed face, a feat a bit difficult for a seven-foot-tall giant. He never could hide his emotions from me.

“You’re cute.”

He bared his pointy incisors at me in an attempt to look tough, making me laugh. “You’re an idiot, Than.”

“Takes one to know one.”

He stopped trying to impress me with his viciousness and cuddled me to his chest. It was a strange sensation, one I never wanted to get used to or take for granted. I was a tall man, well over six feet myself, but nowhere near his size. Not only was he freakishly huge by human standards, he had the muscles and the strength to go along with his size. My man was massive. In all ways. I smirked and bit on the nearest nipple to my lips, just because I knew how it made him squirm. We were too depleted of energy for anything else. Going at it for three rounds did that to any male, human, drakar or otherwise.

“I don’t want you to leave. We’re better prepared now. Why do you...?”

My poor kadush.

“You know I have to. Arkana is on the right track but it will be years, decades until you are ready for it. And I’ll come back. I promised, didn’t I?”

“I don’t like this, Than. Why does it have to be you? There are others who could...”

I shushed him and kissed his pouty, quivering lips. How he could look cute at his size and with his terrifying appearance, I did not know. But my kadush, my husband and my heart always managed to pull it off when he wanted something. I caressed the soft, leathery bluish-white skin of his cheek and saw my smile reflected back at me in his violet eyes. His black bat wings moved restlessly behind his shoulder blades as they always did when we were together. He had once explained that it was involuntary, similar to the way I shivered when he touched me.

“I’m the best qualified. The best adapted here. It’s just for a short while, and then I’ll be right back here by your side.”

“I know, Than. I just worry, kadush.” He smiled at me and winked roguishly, even now trying to set my mind at ease. “I’m expecting you to take my mind off such nonsense.”

“That’s what I thought I was doing during the last two hours,” I quipped.

“I’m really really worried. You should do it some more.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

September Science Fiction: Somewhere Out There

Buy Link

Blurb: At its best, science fiction presents us not just with a vision of the future, but with more understanding of ourselves and how to get to that future. It presents us with ways to think about relationships and people. And this time, it's about the shapes of relationships.
In these eight stories, we run the gamut. Whether a shipboard fantasy about a captain that turns into more or the new fiancé meeting the former spouse, people remain people, with loves and confusion.
Sometimes the love lies very close to jealousy and hatred, as in "Bodies!" Sometimes, it grows out of an unpleasant necessity, such as "Similar Species" and "Expectations." Occasionally, it is the mother of creativity and invention, as in "Tether," or just food for a species that feeds on emotions, from "A Very Emotional Scene." And sometimes, it can leave people wondering if it was real or not, as it does in "Wide Awake."
Love and sex are two very powerful drives and in these futures, they propel us far beyond our own world.

Excerpt, from "Expectations" by Sian Hart:
The Engineer took off at a run, headed for the stairs. “Come on, come on, no labyrinths, no labyrinths,” he prayed to the digital gods as he ran, laying down traps and slides. 
The digital gods must have had a good day, because he found the staircase fairly easily. Up in the Great Hall of the castle, it looked like nothing so much as a medieval marketplace. Numerous ordinary avatars ordered things from booths that represented TelgaCorp’s varied interests. 
Cori slowed his run to a stroll. He wouldn’t find what he needed here, but he could blend in with the other shoppers until he found a way to access it. He rewrote himself, adding a shiny facade that would make him look like the other shoppers. He lifted several nice things for himself, low risk and high reward. Corp data was always choice, and he could use more in his personal accounts. He’d pay Durak half and again his purchase price. 
With a smirk, he slipped behind the curtains and into an alcove, cutting through the wall to head into the rooms that the customers didn’t see, the rooms with the digital servers. 
“Checkmate,” he whispered. The Engineer wasted no time. Plugging into the servers, he set a packet of worms activated through a Goldberg code, and quickly wrote the payroll directive in with a rush.
 He added back pay for a thousand other employees, making sure that even if it were traced to a hack, it wouldn’t be Durak who took the fall. With that, he disconnected and sauntered out, planning to leave by the path he’d laid in on his entrance. 
A rank of armored knights had encircled the alcove in the few seconds he had worked, silent as they could only be in cyberspace. Several of them blocked him, and others held halberds on him. A small man with thinning red hair and a goatee, wearing an appropriate tunic and a large chain of office, stood behind the first-rank knights. 
The Engineer hated sell-outs who went over to the corps instead of running for their own gain. The fussy little man cleared his throat as Cori pulled bits of code nestled in his wild hair and pockets. 
“By order of TelgaCorp, I hereby place you under arrest for trespassing, data piracy and icebreaking. You will be required to work off the damage you have done. Should you resist, you will be flatlined, your location traced and your body sold for its component elements.” 
A smile spread over the Engineer’s face, hidden behind the gadgets and goggles he wore. He set off his deadman’s switch and finished the code he’d been putting together in a hurry. “You pissant little yellow bastard. I haven’t even begun to do damage.” He held up a finger. “Watch this.” 
With that, he aimed the newly-assembled gun program at his feet and fired, falling down a level into their security. He hit the floor with a groan and a scrabble, and started to run for his life, setting off the traps in the servers. 
“That is not a period weapon!” the pompous little man yelled after him. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Free SF for the Month of September!

We're giving away free books for September

The first is Nikolai Revenant. This dark future will be free from Sept 8 to Sept 12

James Ligatos is a man with an unusual hobby. He turns promising young criminals into world leaders. His latest project is Nicholas Boyd, formerly Nikolai of the Revenant street gang.

But the little killer-turned-file-clerk is much more than Ligatos and his staff bargained for. As Kentucky attempts to secede from the Confederated States of America and rejoin the United States, Nick's skills and the group's training are put to the ultimate test, and the price of failure is death.

The next morning, Nick showered and changed into his regular work clothes of pants, a thin dress shirt and a nondescript tie. With the candelabra safely in his cardboard briefcase, the one covered in peeling vinyl, he waited. Around eleven, he headed out to Highland and Ligatos Pawnshop, where Vlad had first heard of the whole notion.

He bundled up the black raid clothing, still stained with Vlad's blood, and took it with him. On his way to the bus stop, he dropped it, and the well-polished knife, in another dingy motels dumpster. This time, he really was leaving Nikolai behind him for the last time, as he thought he had two years before. With great luck, no one would notice it. The maids would dump their endless wastebaskets on top, and it would go to the landfill. Worst case, they would search this motel and not the one where he'd actually stayed.

He caught the bus to Highland, flashing his GenroTech pass, the bio-diesel fumes choking him as it pulled up to the curb. He watched the Memphis autumn morning turn blue and hot. He glanced at the screen in the front of the bus. Temperatures in the seventies, close to eighty, the television announcer said. He'd heard old people talk about when November was the first sign of actual cold weather with long days of gray rain and sometimes ice storms in the last week. Now, it almost never got below freezing before January. The trees were just starting to turn colors.

He got off and walked the last few blocks to Highland. A couple of juvie gangs jostled for position on the walk ahead of him. He pressed against the building like any other working stiff, not wanting them to know who he was, not wanting them to find the loot in his briefcase.

There were more gangs every year since the last of the public schools had closed eight years ago. The Confederation had no clause for public schooling in its constitution and the group currently in power was very strict about such things. Under the previous and rather more lenient regime, there had been a looser interpretation of general welfare of the populace, and public schooling had been allowed, although only grudgingly. The churches were no help and most didn't bother running private schools, since their usual stance was that man should not lean on his own understanding.

As a result, jobs were hard to get and the few private schools were expensive. Most parents just sent their sons until they could read and do some math. School was illegal for girls and minorities. The church said it made them discontent. Nick wondered at the wisdom of cutting more than half the population out of the ability to earn a living. It seemed like a waste.

Nick had picked up enough in three grades and a series of reformatories to get a real job. Most boys weren't so lucky and ended up throwing boxes at Big Purple or doing service work like his father who still drove the Mount Moriah and Winchester bus route.

There was less and less service work to be done as well, as the economy shrank. He scuffed the leaves. Fifty years ago, he'd have been in college. He heard the United States still had mandatory free public schooling, as high as one could go. Even Heartland provided it through high school. Lone Star had taken the same stand as the Confederation.

He ignored the news screens on the buildings, letting the talking heads chatter at each other in their calm baritones as he looked for the pawn shop. He took in the news strictly by osmosis these days. It was always the same: saber-rattling with the United States, disagreements with Heartland, drought, crop failure, rises in the number of indentures being signed as people abandoned the city and their farms to serve the few wealthy folk. Tobacco raids, bootleg alcohol raids, sex party raids and the breaking-up of a secret synagogue all rounded out the news.

The street-preacher on the corner of Highland was harder to ignore. He towered over the passers-by, black and frightful-looking, his hair a wild mass of dreadlocks, his filthy robe tattered with wear. He proclaimed the end of the world in his great deep voice that carried for blocks.

“Even now,” he intoned, “events rush to their conclusion. The demon that squats atop the world has called his Nikolai to him.” Nick startled a moment at the sound of his taken name and then saw an ancient, battered copy of Nicolae: The Rise of the Anti-Christ in the preacher's hand. It was nothing, just weird coincidence. He had taken the name from the book, though, and something made him uneasy. Nothing had gone quite right on this heist. He continued to the shop.

Nick opened the door of the pawnshop into must and dust and the smell of desperation. Old contraband computers, old televisions, prohibited fiction books, cheap jewelry all piled together with someone’s wheelchair and old forbidden movies in formats no one made players for any more.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Autumn again

Hello Ducks
We're flying through the Fall Obstacle course

We just finished our penultimate convention: Mephit FurMeet
There will be ConTraception in Kansas City and that concludes the airship's travels.

September is Science Fiction Month.
We will be promoting our SF titles on the twitter and here.

October brings horror movies for Halloween, and horror novels and anthologies.

November is Anthology month, and we may run some Black Friday sales!

And December is the Last Hurrah.  Everything will be discounted for quick sale.

At the end of December, final royalties will go out, rights reversion letters will go out.
And authors will be notified of paperback stock that they can buy for cost and shipping.

It's been a long strange trip, my lovelies, but the airship is putting into port at the end of the year.
Thank you for taking the ride with us.

Monday, September 5, 2016

September Science Fiction: Diplomacy and Universal Constants

 Available in ebook or audio

Blurb: Legatus Tetradec Sarutahiko is a diplomat valued by the Solarian command for his uncanny ability to see through any pretense and most manipulation. When discovering that the alien Asimi have peculiar methods of doing business, Sarutahiko and his cadet must either find a way to work around this or fail both himself and his people.


"What are you, weird aliens?” came the growl again.

"We are human,” I replied.

"Hu-man,” the driver said, testing the unfamiliar word. "Never heard of. You from new annexed province?”

"Of course, not,” replied Radek hotly. "We are from the Solarian Hegemony. We could crush-”

"What my young colleague here is trying to say,” I interrupted by gripping his arm and giving him a sharp look, “is that we are not part of the Confederation. We are independent. ”

"Good for you, lousy alien.”

Radek raised an eyebrow at me, as if asking if this guy was for real. We left the circumference traffic ring and got on one of the radial hoverways which led straight to the center of the station. The station’s looks didn’t get any better the deeper we travelled. The skyline consisted mostly of gray and brown blocks, with little space between them. The alien’s grunts broke the silence again. I rolled my eyes. Who would have thought cab drivers like to chat?

"We was independent once, you know.”

“Oh?” I replied, deciding to humor him. “When was this?”

“More than three hundred cycles in past. Our kind was spread to three planets in two stars. We was strong and rich.”

“How were you incorporated in the Confederation?” asked Radek. “Did they conquer you?”

“Asimi?” he replied and issued a whining sound that must have been a laugh. “Frail fools never makes wars with nobody. If they can’t buy what they wants, they leaves.”

He made a lengthy pause. The exchange had piqued my interest. I was just thinking of asking for details when he spoke again in a grim tone.

“It was them hairy bastards. Scorchers of planets with the emperor.”

It took me a moment to realize who he was talking about, but there was no mistaking it. He was referring to the Velkodlac Empire. For over a hundred years, our Hegemony had been in almost constant warfare with them, so we knew a lot about their methods. Led by a mutant who fancied himself a god in physical form, the countless Velkodlac hordes destroyed races and grabbed any planet they could get their claws on. Always looking for resources and more living space, they were
fanatical and cruel beyond reason. In fact, they were the very reason I had quit the Navy and joined the Diplomatic Corps. Memories of a place called Gemma still haunted me.

“Let me guess,” I croaked, “they rained atomic fire on your worlds. Then they came in and finished off the survivors close and personal.”

“Aye,” he growled grimly. “You know ‘em?”

“Let’s say I’ve run into their kind a couple of times.”

“We was crammed on what ships we hads left and made way to the Confed. Millions survived, billions left behind to die. Asimi took us in, but wasn’t easy.”

“It never is, for a refugee,” I muttered.

Nobody said anything else for the rest of the trip. After a while, we landed on a slightly better-looking landing pad protruding from a mammoth cylinder, all glass and metal, connecting the two faces of the disk. The Hub, as the alien named it. We got off, relieved to be out of the enclosed space and its stench.

“Hey, hu-man,” said the driver, sticking its head through the window.

“What now?” I asked, frowning.

“Watch yer step ‘round them Asimi. Things is never as they seem with them.” He gave us a knowing wink, which was really weird coming from an oversized lizard. I stared after him as the shuttle took off and couldn’t suppress a smile.

“Well I’ll be damned,” said Radek. “Sir, I believe we’ve found proof of one more constant in the Universe. Aside from Planck’s, there’s also the cab drivers’ delusion of being wise.”