Review: Old School SciFi

Title: Transfection

Author: David Gaughran
Genre: SciFi/Thriller (short story)
Format: ebook

B+

I recently finished reading the new short story by David Gaughran. I quite literally read it on the tube home Friday. It was fast. It was good. Read on…Molecular biologist Dr. Carl Peters is under pressure on two fronts: his research grants are disappearing and his marriage is falling apart. But when medical researchers discover that genetically modified animal feed has tainted the food chain, he finally gets the funding he always dreamed of.

Dr. Peters discovers the reason behind the cancer link with GM food, but it’s so crazy, he barely believes it himself.

His story takes on militant vegans, corruption, homelessness, university politics, radiation, the celebrity-obsessed media, and a shadowy conspiracy.

TRANSFECTION is a brand-new story, exclusively available as an e-book.

Honestly, I’m not a short story person, but this one totally reeled me in. I couldn’t wait to see what happened. It was definitely old school style, which was fun, but different than what I’m used to. And the ending? TOTALLY CREEPED ME OUT!

Like seriously. I’m still dwelling on it days later. Dave, you and I need to have some words…Transfection is worth the price at just 70 pence (Or 99 cents for those of you in the US.).
Smashwords
Amazon UK
Amazon

Sample Sunday: Kissed by Darkness Chapter 3a

Welcome once again to Sample Sunday. Free reading for all!  I’m really thrilled to share you you chapters from my upcoming urban fantasy novel Kissed by Darkness (due to be published at the end of June).

If you missed my previous offerings you can find Chapter One here, and Chapter Two here. This week I’m posting the first half of Chapter Three.
Enjoy!
Kissed by Darkness 
Chapter 3 (a)

Inigo joined me outside the club. He had lipstick smeared on his collar and his lips looked a bit swollen. “Lucky bitch,” I said, giving him the once over. He threw his head back and laughed.

“Gee, thanks Morgan. You’d probably get some, too, if you bothered to stop and smell the roses once in awhile.”

“Whatever.” I didn’t like to think about my lack of success in relationships with men. It was pathetically Freudian and I knew it. Didn’t need to go into a whole song and dance about it. “Sense anything, lover boy?”

He shrugged, “Not much. She gave me tinglies.”

I blinked. “Excuse me?” My mind was suddenly going places it really shouldn’t go. At least not with Inigo.

“Good ones. Cordelia gave me a good vibe. I think she’s somebody we should keep around.”

I shook my head, “We’ve already got a friendly neighborhood clairvoyant. We don’t need two of them.”

He chuckled, “She’s not clairvoyant. Well, not exactly. She’s a lot more than that. She’s sort of a… a mystic, I think.”

“Right, ok. Fine. Whatever.” I pulled one of the business cards out of my pocket and handed it to him. “She said this Eddie guy can probably help us find the Sunwalker. It looks like he runs some kind of mystic mumbo jumbo shop.”

“You’re a fine one to talk about mystic mumbo jumbo,” Inigo raised a brow at me. “You’re not exactly an average, ordinary human type yourself.”

“True. But I’m not about to start burning incense and dancing naked in the moonlight.”

He gave me one of those head to toe gazes that men give women they find particularly tasty. “Too bad.”

“Pervert,” I laughed. There was no way I was admitting that the thought of Inigo watching me dance naked in the moonlight was practically giving me a hot flash.

“Tease.”

“Ok, can we be serious for a minute? We need to talk to this guy, find out what he knows, even if he is a loon,” I insisted.

“Ok, but you’ll have to go alone. I know this place. It’s a strictly day time operation. And you know how I feel about getting out of bed before 6pm.”

“Right. I’ll hit the shop tomorrow then while you’re getting your beauty rest.”

He reached out and caressed my cheek. Sent a shiver all the way down my spine. Now I was the one with the tinglies. “You should think about getting some yourself. You’re looking a bit tired.”

“Gee, thanks,” I said dryly. “Just what every girl wants to hear. Some young stud muffin telling her she looks tired.”

He smirked, “So, you think I’m a stud muffin, huh?”

“Oh, shut up. Kabita would kill me if she heard us having this conversation.”

“What Kabita doesn’t know won’t piss her off,” he grinned. “C’mon. I got plenty of room for two.” He waggled his eyebrows at me.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Inigo, you are way too young for me.”

He just smirked some more, “Twenty-four is not that young. I’m certainly old enough for what counts.” His grin turned unbelievably lascivious and my mind went straight to some very naughty places.

Great, just what I needed. Out of control hormones in the middle of a hunt.And it wasn’t Inigo’s out of control hormones I was worried about. “Oh, yes, I’m sure you’re very, ah, good in that department. But I’m very busy and important and don’t have time for your nonsense,” I said loftily and I stomped off down the street. When in doubt, a grand exit is always appropriate. Especially when one is trying desperately not to jump one’s best friend’s cousin’s bones.

Dear gods, I was in some serious trouble.

***

It was just gone 2:30 am when I got home. I stripped down to my underwear, yanked on a tee shirt, and crawled into bed. I was starting to think I was getting way too old for this shit.

Granted, twenty-nine isn’t that old. It’s like the new nineteen, right? But I’d been hunting vampires for three years now and it never got any easier. In fact, it seemed like the more of these things I killed, the more new ones popped up.

And now this whole Sunwalker thing. As if my life wasn’t weird enough, I was suddenly on the hunt for a mythical creature that supposedly hadn’t existed, if it ever existed at all, for hundreds of years. Great. Just great.

To top that off, I had some mystic palm reader telling me that the guy I was supposed to execute might not be a bad guy, after all. Wasn’t quite sure I bought that. I mean, a vamp is a vamp, even if he can walk around in daylight. I know about all of the fairy tales Hollywood likes to produce about the sexy undead, but the truth is, vamps would just as soon eat you as do anything else with you. The bloodlust is all consuming. I’d never met a vamp where it was otherwise. How could a Sunwalker be any different?

I jerked the fluffy duvet up to my chin and stared at the ceiling. If Sunwalkers did exist, then how on earth did one kill them? And why would a centuries old vampire that could walk around in daylight steal a worthless necklace from some rich guy? I was starting to think there was a lot about this case that wasn’t going to make any sense.

So many questions and not a lot of answers. In fact, the further into this thing I got, the more questions I seemed to have.

I let out a sigh. Sometimes I wished I was back living my old life, before the vampire attack that changed everything. Just doing the day to day thing at a regular nine to five job. Going about life doing all the normal ordinary things that normal ordinary people do.

Then again… naw! I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

I fell asleep with a smile on my face and dreamed of a man with golden skin, eyes like the ocean and a mouth made for sin.

Review: Shimmer, Spells and Faerie Tales

Title: Shimmerspell

Author: Kimberly Spencer

Genre: YA Paranormal (Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance)
Format: ebook
B-

Shimmerspell is a lovely paranormal YA story about a girl who discovers that neither she, nor the world around her, is exactly as it seems. There’s a little touch of romance, quite a bit of magic, and a few surprises along the way.
I truly believe Spencer is a talented writer. Her descriptions of places such as the Isle of Mermen are outstanding. She doesn’t just show you what it looks like, she draws you right into it.
Having said that, the book is slightly choppy in places. Some things are left a little unclear (For instance dark elves and light elves are a big part of the book, but they are never really explained.) or feel slightly rushed. But this is her first novel and it’s a pretty solid offering. She can only get better.
I certainly won’t hesitate to recommend Shimmerspell as a light, quick read to anyone who enjoys a paranormal YA. It’s also a nice relief from the usual vampire trope. :-)
Shimmerspell is available on Amazon UK , Amazon , Amazon DE , and Smashwords

Just For Fun: Women of SciFi

As promised, today’s delights are the Women of SciFi.

Why?
Because I’m equal opportunity. And also because strong women in science fiction had a huge impact on me not only as a child, but today, as well.
Strong women in scifi are few and far between, in my opinion.  There have been exceptions to the rule, of course.  Take, for instance, the first real woman of power: Wonder Woman.
I seriously had a love affair with Wonder Woman as a child. I couldn’t get enough. The very thought of a woman that strong, wow. Just… wow. I sooo wanted to be Wonder Woman.
I mean, yeah, she looked good in a bustier, but she also kicked serious bad guy ass. I’d have killed for a pair of her wristbands. Not that I planned on getting shot at, but it pays to be prepared.
It probably didn’t hurt that my babysitter was a wannabe comic book artist and entertained me for hours drawing Wonder Woman. She was his fave, too. He even let me read all about Wonder Woman’s history in his snazzy graphic novel. Sigh.
Uhura might not have kicked a lot of ass, but she wasn’t exactly a shrinking violet. She did her job and she did it damn well. She didn’t flutter about uselessly and she wasn’t just a pretty face. She was also one heck of a classy lady. A lesson a few modern scifi gals could stand to learn.
I really like that she and Spock got together in the new Star Trek. He makes a lot more sense to me than Kirk. After all, Uhura was smart and savvy and I can’t see her falling for a player.
Princess Leia is a classic. No two ways about it.
Lock me in a cell? Fine. I’ll blast your ass with a laser gun.
Blow up my planet? No probs. I’ll blow up your whole damn Death Star and then throw a party.
I’ve also gotta give her props for being the only woman in the universe who can wear a pair of cinnamon rolls on the side of her head and NOT look like a total idiot.
While most aficionados blast Star Trek: Voyager for being a weak shadow of it’s magnificent fore runners, I think it had one thing going for it that totally blasted the others out of the water: Captain Kathryn Janeway.
For the first time ever, a WOMAN was running the show. And it. Was. Awesome.
I swear if there’d have been a Starfleet recruiting office anywhere in the vicinity I’d have signed up then and there.
She made being a captain look GOOD. She was smart. She was tough. But she was also thoughtful, merciful, and a good person. I think I might have had a little bit of a girl crush on her. ;-)
I’m not sure she entirely falls under the realm of “scifi”, but I’m putting her there. Xena: Warrior Princess took kicking ass to a whole new level.
And you’ve got to admire a gal who can wear a ridiculous outfit like that and actually get away with it.
She had her inner demons to fight, too. Sometimes they were even outer demons. But in the end she always did what she believed was right, even if it wasn’t always easy.
And did I mention she kicked ass?
Kinda like this girl:
Buffy, in a strange way, became something of a role model for young women. She was like the Powerpuff Girls on steroids. For the first time teenage girls were seeing someone their own age who was not only physically strong, but showed her mental strength and willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good.
Yeah, she screwed up sometimes and she wasn’t always happy about her path in life, but she walked it anyway, head held high. I may have been technically a little too old for Buffy, but heck if I cared. She was awesome.
Aeryn Sun is, perhaps, an odd choice at first glance. She didn’t choose to join the crew of Moya and become rebels with a cause, it was forced on her.
However, as time progressed she began to grow and change and learn to think beyond the narrow minded view of the world she’d been taught. She evolved from a cold, hard, arrogant warrior into a warm, loving and compassionate woman.
And that right there is, to me, the greatest strength of all.

For The Fun of It: Men of SciFi


I’ll be the first to admit I’m just a little bit of a scifi geek.
No, I can’t speak Klingon or Wookie. No, I don’t go to Star Trek Conventions (Ok, so I did once. But it’s only because Kate Mulgrew was speaking and she is full of awesome.). And no, I’ve dressed up as a Martian or Princess Leia. Not even for Halloween.
However, I luuuurve me some scifi. I even love those cheesy B movies. Not that rubbish the “SyFy” channel cranks out every other week, but the classics from the 50s and 60s. I’ll take giant spider people over a giant octoshark any day. And I really hate spiders.
Science fiction, and the men of scifi, have had a profound effect on me and on my writing.
My love affair with science fiction began at a young age. And I mean young. I was four and a half when I fell in love for the very first time.

That’s right, people. While other girls mooned over Starbuck, I was a goner for the moody, broody Apollo.
Such a dreamboat. Sigh. So beset by demons. The weight of the world on his broad shoulders. That ridiculous helmet….
Yeah, I was pretty much ruined for life. From then on I needed my heroes to be gorgeous and broody.
It also may answer the question: Why am I obsessed with stories of the apocalypse or post-apocalypse? Was there any better apocalyptic survival tale than BSG?
Technically, Star Wars premiered a year before BSG, but I didn’t see it until I was 7. On VHS, no less. Which was soooo cool. (Granted, it could have been a Beta, but I can’t recall. Give me a break, I was 7.) We didn’t have any such thing at home, so being invited to the neighbors to watch on their new VCR was beyond cool.
Even cooler was the movie itself. There were aliens! There were spaceships! There were bad guys and good guys and a princes and a giant space slug! There was so much awesome everywhere that I could hardly stand it. I never wanted it to end! Especially once I saw this guy:
Come on, is there anyone on the planet with the sheer cool factor of Han Solo? I think not.
My love for Apollo was as nothing compared to my love for Han. Though, granted, Apollo had a much cooler name. And there was that whole ancient Egyptian thing going on with the helmets. But Han had a BLASTER and the Millennium Falcon and a WOOKIE!!! Many a night was spent in happy contemplation of my future bliss as Mrs. Solo. Screw Princess Whatserface.
Heroes could no longer be simply gorgeous and brooding, they also had to besnarky and self-deprecating and have really cool weapons.
Despite the fact that it premiered years before either BSG or Star Wars, I wouldn’t meet Captain James Tiberius Kirk until a few years later. Him, I never fell in love with. Honest. I was mad for…
That’s right, baby. I was a Spock girl. Not that he was ravishingly handsome by any stretch (That would be the new Spock.), but he was SMART. And I love smart men. I think the day I met Spock was probably the first time I realized that. Thing was, he was ALSO strong and talented, even if he was ridiculously, maddeningly logical.Tré sexy.
The biggest effect of the Spock discovery was that it was no longer enough that heroes be gorgeous and brooding or gorgeous and devil-may-care, they also had to be intelligent. I wanted my heroes both in reading and writing to be a little be geeky. In the nicest possible way.
Of course another scifi man who used his little grey cells also drank Earl Grey tea. Which is nasty. But I can forgive him because he also loved books.

Jean-Luc Picard wandered into my life at a time when I was too young to realize his sex appeal. But something must have sunk in because I can totally see it now. Power is sexy, but only when tempered with intelligence and kindness.
And then came Daniel Jackson…
Talk about the über geek. You might as well make out with the frickin’ Smithsonian. But hubba hubba!
There was something about this rumpled, baffled, ridiculously smart and ever so slightly dopey guy that set my heart aflutter. And he got to travel to other planets and stuff! Oh, squeee!
Even more, Daniel Jackson was a hero with integrity and the willingness to try pretty much anything despite the fact he was pretty uncomfortable with everything most of the time. He may not have been the Alpha male like the other boys on the show, but he held his own.
Ok, so now my heroes had to be smart, sexy, geeky, brooding, snarky, kind, strong, powerful, and have really cool weapons. And possibly a spaceship.
Possibly even a LIVING spaceship!
Enter John Crichton. You’re all American guy who just HAPPENS to be a rocket scientist. And who also just HAPPENS to fall through a wormhole and wind up on the other side of the galaxy.
Oh, snap!
John Crichton brought snark to a whole new level of awesome. And not just smart, but the boy had serious improvisation skills, a killer wardrobe and REALLY cool guns.
Though perhaps not as cool as THIS guy…
Captain Mal Reynolds. The epitome of snark. And cowboys in space? YES, PLEASE!
And finally, the coolest of them all?
Yeah, no intro needed.
So, now my heroes need to be smart, sexy, snarky, strong, powerful, kind, time travelling rockets scientists with really cool guns, spaceships and SONIC SCREWDRIVERS!!!!
OK, maybe not. Maybe my heroes should just be ordinary guys with ordinary problems who may, or may not, happen to be 900 year old Templar Knights, descendants of Atlantean warriors, or psychic half dragons.
Yeah, I think I’ll go with that.
But I still luuuuuurve me some scifi!
(Stay tuned! Tomorrow: The Women of Scifi!)
Posted by Shéa MacLeod at 21:18

Spotlight: Old-School SciFi, Baby!

Today’s Spotlight is the new short story by David Gaughran. It’s scifi. It’s old-school. There’s an obsessesed scientist. Also the cover is super cool.  Check it out!

Molecular biologist Dr. Carl Peters is under pressure on two fronts: his research grants are disappearing and his marriage is falling apart. But when medical researchers discover that genetically modified animal feed has tainted the food chain, he finally gets the funding he always dreamed of.

Dr. Peters discovers the reason behind the cancer link with GM food, but it’s so crazy, he barely believes it himself.

His story takes on militant vegans, corruption, homelessness, university politics, radiation, the celebrity-obsessed media, and a shadowy conspiracy.

TRANSFECTION is a brand-new story, exclusively available as an e-book.

Oh, Dave, you had me at “molecular biologist”!

Transfection is dirt cheap at just 70 pence (Or 99 cents for those of you in the US.).
Smashwords
Amazon UK
Amazon

Here There Be Dragons and The Fine Art of Pampering Oneself

Yeah, I know. What on earth do dragons have to do with pampering and why do we care about pampering anyway? This is a blog about WRITING. And stuff. Well, let me tell you…

Writing, by it’s very nature, is a solitary pursuit. Oh, sure, we’ve got our beta readers and our crit partners, our writer’s circles and our editors. There are fans and bloggers and reviewers and daily tweets. But at the end of the day, it’s just one girl, or guy, and the keyboard and a blank screen staring back like a one eyed purple people eater.

So, when we hit milestones, achieve goals, or just plain get a run of ridiculously awesome luck, the only way anyone is ever gonna know is if we TELL them. So, people, I’m telling you…

I FRICKIN’ FINISHED MY SECOND NOVEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, it still needs rewrites and edits and yadda, yadda, but the second story of Morgan Bailey (Who used to be Baily Morgan, but that’s another story.), Kissed by Fire, is done. What does that have to do with dragons?

If you read my post Dragons In The Hedgerows, you already know. If you didn’t, Morgan’s second adventure involves Dragons. No hedgerows, but Hadrian’s Wall makes an appearance!

But what does that have to do with pampering? That brings me back to the whole thing about blowing your own horn. So, to speak. Like I said, milestones need to be celebrated. Even if it’s just a small thing, you need to mark every success. To reward yourself for achieving your goals, for not giving up. There ain’t gonna be no gold watch on retirement day. No bonus check mid-year or Christmas party with champagne. You’ve got to make it special for yourself. Why?

Because, fellow writers, what we do is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, we work hard. Sometimes so hard we forget to stop and smell the roses, yet it’s the roses that make life worth living. And worth writing about. So, today I celebrated. I marked my milestone. I pampered myself. I got my first ever professional pedicure. I feel primed and pampered and really special. AND I have cute toes.

What do you do to celebrate?

Spotlight: Haunted Gothic Mansions with Mirrors

 


Today I’m spotlighting a collection of short stories called The Other Room by British authorJames Everington. Sounds creepily delicious, am I right?

The Other Room is a collection of weird horror fiction, containing twelve stories of the uncanny and the surreal.

A naive student finds that his crumbling bedsit can be as haunted as any Gothic mansion.

A man stumbles across another world which is the mirror image of his own.

A young woman who everyone thinks is beautiful wonders why, given what she sees in the mirror each morning.

Influenced by writers such as Ramsey Campbell, Shirley Jackson, and Robert Aickman these tales, like all good horror stories, are as much about the psychology of the protagonist as the fate that awaits them.

The Other Room contains both new and previously published stories that will challenge your conceptions of horror and literary fiction.

If you’re not in the UK, you can find The Other Room here.