Writing sample

Chapter 1

The demon swung his sword at Juliet’s head. She ducked. The blade soared over her, close enough to slice off a hair or two. 

From the sheath strapped to her back, she pulled out her own sword and slashed at his midsection. Where the steel should have connected with flesh and muscle, it thudded against a plate of bone. The impact jarred her arm up to her shoulder.

The demon grinned, teeth visible behind a ragged beard. “That the best you’ve got?” 

He spoke with a English accent, Londoner unless she missed her guess. From his tattered clothing, he looked as if he’d slept rough for a few decades. In close quarters like these, he smelled like it too. There was something else, something off. 

Something she couldn’t stop to think about right now. 

“I haven’t even started.” She took a few steps back, taking stock. The presence of bone in his midsection suggested some kind of exoskeleton. Tough, but not invulnerable. He was unlikely to have magic, that was good news. 

“What are you?” she asked easily, her head cocked. “Scorpion? Turtle?” She was taunting him, but many demons had short tempers. Anger him and he’d be more likely to make a mistake. 

He laughed instead. “I think you mean tortoise. Turtles are the water ones. Also they have a shell on their back, not their front.”

“Thank you, David Attenborough,” she muttered. 

“Sir David to you.” His smile widened. “For your information—before I kill you—I’m more like an ant.”

“Ah.” She nodded slowly. “So I should look for a queen then?”

His smile faltered. So she’d found a raw nerve had she? 

“What’s wrong,” she pressed, “did someone fumigate?”

He growled and leapt toward her, but she was ready. She jumped aside and turned her upper body. Using her sword like a poker, she jabbed it into his neck, hoping for a gap in the bone. The blade ground against another plate and slid free. 

He let out a gurgle of annoyance and shook his head. Greasy hair flew back and forth. He bared his teeth at her. They shimmered, then turned into mandibles, jagged, razor-like blades to either side of pincers. 

He snapped at her. 

“Can’t talk like that huh?” she teased. “What a shame, I was enjoying our repartee.” 

The rest of the demon started to change as well. His already torn clothing ripped further and fell away. 

Although his appearance wasn’t exactly that of a giant ant, there was a similarity, including the stinger in his tail. Rather than six legs, he had only two and a pair of muscular arms. In place of hair, he bore a pair of antennae. His eyes were rounded pools of black. If she recalled her high school biology right, he’d have dozens of lenses in his eyes, all working together. 

“You’re uglier like that,” she remarked. “Shame I forgot to bring bug spray.” Regular pesticides wouldn’t work on a demon anyway, even one like this.

He swung his tail at her. The smooth, sudden motion came within half a fingertip of slashing across her leg. She brought her sword down in an arc and across the base of the stinger. This time, it slid through like cracking ice and severed the stinger from his body.

He let out a howl of rage and slashed his sword at her. Back and forth, he swept without thought for technique or restraint. 

She parried several potential blows and danced aside to avoid the rest. He was starting to tire, or he was playing with her. Assuming the latter, but hoping for the former, she took her time, waited for just the right moment. 

Slash. Jump. Slash. Parry. 

Time stood still. 

Her movements and responses became slower, as she too started to tire. 

Pain seared her arm as the point of his sword connected. 

It was her turn to falter. The wound was nothing more than a nick, but it rattled her certainty that she’d walk away from this fight alive. 

Some day, she wouldn’t. 

Juliet shoved the thought aside and went on the attack. She kept her sword low. He responded in kind. 

His breath rasped. 

Hers was ragged. 

Their eyes locked. 

She feinted with a low parry, which he blocked. He let out a hiss of laughter. It died as she brought her blade up to her shoulder and swung it toward his neck. With a grunt, she removed his head from his shoulders. 

Again, time slowed. 

His head went one way, his body another. His face shifted back to that of a human, a look of horrified shock on his features. His body remained that of an ant-demon for a matter of several seconds after it landed on the damp street. 

Juliet could have pulled out her phone and taken pictures for social media, if she bothered with things like that. 

She didn’t. 

Most people would believe it anyway. That was for the best.

Finally, the body shifted back into human form, filthy and naked, exoskeleton barely visible under a layer of body hair and fat. 

“Yuck.” She poked at it with her foot and put her sword back in it sheath. “If this was a TV show, you’d turn into dust.” 

Juliet Mackenzie had been hunting demons long enough to know that wasn’t what happened. Rather, she’d have to sort out a clean up crew before the sun rose. In this part of Sydney, a headless corpse wouldn’t go unnoticed for long. 

Up and down the street, the tarmac shone, wet from rainfall an hour or so ago. Several streetlights were out, or more likely smashed, but enough light remained to show she was alone. 

Unease settled on her. She tried to shake it off, but it lingered, then grew. Demons often operated in clans. Nothing suggested this one was any different. 

Except, of course, that ants lived in nests of hundreds. 

She shuddered. 

A whisper of sound, barely audible over the hum of cars on adjacent roads, might be a cat or a stray dog. Instinct told her otherwise. That instinct had kept her alive for a quarter of a century, she wasn’t going to ignore it now. She couldn’t pull a sword without drawing attention to herself, but she surreptitiously slid out a knife she kept at her hip.

Fuck, I should have kept my sword out until I was sure I was alone. She should be past making rookie mistakes like that. 

She kept her posture loose and relaxed, as she’d been trained to do. Appearing tense would warn whoever—or whatever it was, that she was aware of them. 

Another sound, just to her right. Casual and slow, she scanned the street. Her eyes searched, head only turned slightly as she moved away from the corpse. 

There, the sound came again. It was following her. She took a few more steps, then twirled around. 

A shape drew back into the shadows, leaving only two red pinpricks of light, both focused on her. They went black and flared again. 

The demon had blinked.

“Crap.” Glowing eyes often meant bad news. Judging by the height, this was no child either. Rather, it stood half a metre taller than her. 

“I know what you are.” The voice was a soft hiss, a feminine contralto, deep, almost hypnotic.

“Well whoopie-doo.” Juliet’s voice sounded loud in comparison. “Are you going to enlighten me? It would save us both some time.”

The demon moved out of the shadows, but the darkness followed. Even the glow from the streetlights didn’t penetrate. 

Fuck, a shade. These guys were notoriously hard to kill. They were nothing like the ant-demon, who was little more than a street thug. Shades were more like pieces of night, and smart to boot. The fact she’d heard it at all suggested one thing; it had wanted her to know it was there.

“Demon Hunter,” the shade hissed. 

“Give the shade a gold star,” Juliet replied. “What do you want?” She put her knife away. That would be no use here.

“What do any of us want?” the shade asked. “Survival, procreation, power.”

“No offence, but you’ve come to the wrong person,” Juliet said. “I have no desire to help you with any of those things.”

“What you want does not matter.”

“On the contrary. It matters very much to me.”

“Fascinating,” the shade continued, “I could end your life before your heart beat again, but you show no sign of fear.”

“You said it yourself, I’m a Demon Hunter. I’ve killed enough of your kind not to be scared of them any longer. For me it’s like… Stepping on ants.” She gestured back toward the corpse. 

“He is of no consequence,” the shade said dismissively, “but his kind too will rise up and feast on the bodies of humankind. If you’re lucky, you’ll already be dead.”

Juliet feigned a yawn. “If I had fifty cents for every time I’d heard that crap spouted off, I could retire.”

The shade went on as if it hadn’t heard. “The order of things, it speaks, and it says the time for human extinction is upon us.”

“Spare me.” Juliet crossed her arms over her chest. “I know, humans aren’t perfect, but at least we don’t feast on each other. Mostly.”

“The greater species rises above the lesser to conquer the Earth,” the shade said, as if reciting some sort of prophesy.

It drew a snort from Juliet. “That’s why humans outnumber demons, and we’ll—”

“Are you certain of that?” the shade asked. 

Juliet hesitated, then shrugged. “Either way, I’m not buying your crap.”

“I came to you with a warning.” The shade moved back toward the shadows. “For yourself and all the other Demon Hunters.”

“I’m touched. Maybe text me next time.” Juliet’s curiosity was piqued, however, so she added, “Well, what is it? Come on, I haven’t got all night.”

“The warning is this.” The shade paused. “Do not stand in our way. We will conquer the night, then the light of day.”

“Oh yeah? How will you do that?” Did shades smoke weed? This one sounded as though she had. 

“By taking away the one thing which keeps humans safe. Fear.”

The words hung in the air while Juliet frowned. “Shouldn’t you be doing the opposite? Isn’t the point of demons that you instil fear in people? Wait, is this some weird reverse psychology shit? If so, I think you need to rethink it. As plans go, it kinda sucks. Actually never mind, it’ll make it easier to beat.”

“You cannot beat us,” the shade said. “Humans will destroy themselves faster than you can possibly imagine.” Then, as if feeling magnanimous , the shade added, “I will not kill you.”

“Am I supposed to say thank you for that?”

“No. It is your kind who will suffer the most. You will watch the downfall of humankind and be powerless to stop it. The world will tear apart, and we will bind it back together and feast on your bones.”

“Mmm, well that’s something to look forward to.” Juliet lowered her arms in surprise. The glowing red eyes were gone. The streetlight now penetrated the corner which had previously been shrouded in darkness. The shade was probably full of crap, but the uneasy sensation remained. Whatever they were up to, this was going to get ugly.

She took a deep breath, laced with city pollution and hurried down the road toward her motorbike. She wanted to be away from here before the sun rose. 

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Writing sample for mentoring opportunity

Hi Rebecca, if you got so far as to be reading this, thanks for the chance to apply. My piece below is from my WiP Consort of Whispers.

***

Yolena M’attih sucked in a breath of hot, stale air. Inside the cabin was stuffy, stifling, pressing in on her. She gritted her teeth and forced the stiff window to open one, two centimetres, where it stopped, stubbornly jammed in the warped sill. She pressed her face to the opening. The breeze caressed her skin, drying her sweat and allowing her to breathe.

The sky was striking blue, and the water a moody grey. The ship rose and fell with an even rhythm, cresting the water before plunging downward. She watched for a while, mesmerised inhaling the scent of salt water and sea air. The fresh smell soothed her senses, gave her mind the balance it needed for the rest of the voyage.

She turned from the window, lay on her narrow bed and looked up at the ceiling. Made of wooden slats, she already knew all of the knots and flaws well. She had counted and memorised them all. She did so again, the activity further relaxing her mind.

A shout from somewhere else on the ship startled her, making her tense and drew her eyes back to the window. A bird wheeled past, little more than a dark shape, wings outstretched. It let out a squawk.

Yolena’s heart leapt and she jumped with it.

Birds mean land.

There on the horizon, like a purpling bruise, land rose from the ocean. Yolena shivered, trepidation replacing any semblance of relaxation she’d achieved. She closed her eyes and sucked in the scent of the sea again. Calm washed over her, only spoiled by her racing pulse.

She opened her eyes again, accepting that for the moment this was the best she could do to still her thoughts. Already, she made out the shapes of buildings; some square and flat, others domed. Several spires rose into the air. The city displayed a hodgepodge of designs. Her mother would have found irritating. Yolena found it fascinating, and terrifying.

Vardina. Even the name was exotic. Capital of Vardin, the western region of Vardindaar. Daar, she knew from books and maps, lay to the east, over deserts. She wanted to stare, to see the city draw closer.

I have to be ready.

She hurried over to a chest which took up a good portion of the cabin and pulled out a dress. The light, creamy cotton threatened to stick to her skin, but she tugged it down into place and ran her hands down the front. The creases in the fabric made her frown. She needed to make a better impression than to appear in a crumpled dress.

She glanced at the door. Even knowing it was locked, she moved carefully. From her chest she drew out a bag. She reached inside and drew out a small pouch, one of several the bag contained. She lifted the pouch to her nose and breathed in the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg. A delightful scent, and one with a small amount of potency. It should be just enough.

She touched the front of her dress and focused. A trickle of power passed through her and into the cotton. It pressed the fibres, drawing them out, strand by strand until they lay flat. She did the same with the rest of the dress, until every centimetre was just how she wanted. Not a crease remained.

She sighed at the need to use magic for something so mundane, but her future may depend on it. She returned the pouch to the bag and tucked that back into the chest. A moment later, she heard a heard a polite tap on the door. She used the drop of magic she had left to calm herself, then moved the three or four steps over to the door, unlocked it and opened it.

“Lyli, there . . .Oh.” She had been expecting her maid, but this was certainly not her. Standing at least a head taller than Yolena, Rahin was also twice as wide. Every inch of him looked like muscle carved out of rock. Even his face looked made of stone, all hard angled and chiseled lines. His dark hair was cut close to his scalp, revealing a scar on the side of his head.

His lips were set in their usual line, neither a scowl nor a smile. Yolena wondered if he ever did either. She licked her lips. “I thought you were my maid,” she said, lifting her chin. A soft breath in brought the smell of sandalwood and spices, the combination which was unique to him. She let her breath out, but a tingle of magic tickled at her skin.

“My apologies princess.” His deep voice contained as little emotion as his face. “Where is she?”

“She was feeling unwell,” Yolena replied, “she said she was going to lie down up on deck. Sea travel evidently doesn’t agree with her.”

He gave a sceptical look, which she met evenly. It was his job to protect her, not question her, but his loyalty was to Vardin, not her.

He turned to the guard behind him. “Go and find her,” he ordered. He turned back to Yolena. “We’re arriving in Vardin. I though it best to inform you, so you can be ready.” His eyes took in her neat dress and he frowned slightly.

“Yes,” she replied. “I mean, that’s thoughtful of you.” Apparently he’d expected to catch her off guard. He might have had he come a few minutes earlier. “Thank you.”

He inclined his head and backed out the doorway. “I will return to escort you ashore, my lady.”

“Thank you Rahin.” He looked surprised she knew his name. She had taken the time to learn it on the way from her father’s palace in Rudin to the ship. That and the names of all the guards. That was a lesson she had learnt from her mother. Always know the people around you, especially the ones whose presence you didn’t choose. Showing an interest in them might ensure their loyalty, and that could be the difference between living and dying.

She watched him for a moment as he walked away down the short corridor toward the stairs which led to the deck. His scent left with him, leaving behind the stale cabin smell she’d grown to dislike. It suppressed her senses and made her stomach heavy.

She gave herself a shake and closed the door. Before Lyli returned, she pulled a leather bound book out from under the mattress and tucked it into the bottom of her chest. The notes and observations she wrote in there were for only her eyes. She put no secrets in there which might be a danger to her home country of Ta’rud, but she made frequent mention of her dreams, which had often featured Rahin, amongst others.

From beside her pillow, she pulled a slim wooden box, carved with the emblem of the Crown of Ta’rud surrounded by tiny leaves and vines. The reason for her journey lay inside. She didn’t need to open it, the image of the tightly wound scroll and green wax seal was seared into her memory, along with her father’s hand placing it inside.

“Guard this with your life,” he’d said, his voice rough. He barely spared her a glance, but he gave the scroll a reverent pat. “This treaty is everything.”

The door rattled, returning Yolena to the present. Lyli stepped inside, her face looking flushed, hair pulled free from her neat plait.

She gave a curtsey. “I’m sorry my lady.”

“Who were you with?” Yolena asked bluntly.

Lyli’s flushed face turned a brighter read. “Arad, my lady,” she whispered. Her voice shook.

Yolena nodded. “I see.” She wasn’t angry at her. Envious perhaps, but she had more on her mind than physical pursuits. “I trust you’re feeling better then?”

She swallowed. “Yes my lady. I am sorry, I—” She looked as though she was convinced Yolena would have her thrown overboard.

Yolena held up a hand. “It doesn’t matter now. Brush your hair and let’s finish packing.”

“Yes my lady.” Lyli went in search of her own small bag and the hairbrush within it.

Yolena moved back to the window,. The city was closer now, as were other ships moored in the wide bay. “What do you think of going to Vardina?” she asked absently, glancing over her shoulder at the other woman.

Lyli looked startled. “I do as I’m told, my lady.”

Yolena gave a soft laugh, an edge of bitterness to the sound. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to have you tossed overboard to feed the sea serpents if you say you’re not happy about it. No one asks what servants want.”

“No one asks what princesses want either,” she replied.

“No, they don’t,” Yolena agreed, “but someone had to accompany the treaty.” And I’m disposable. As the youngest of five daughters, no one was lining up for her hand. Her father remarked that she would have been more useful if she were a boy, and cursed Battih that she wasn’t. Since her brothers seemed only good for drinking and fighting amongst themselves, she had never quite understood his point.

“I was asking about you,” she said. “You had no family to leave behind. What about friends? Lovers?”

“Not really.” Lyli tugged the brush though her own hair. “Not anyone I miss.”

“Has Arad made you any promises?”

“No, my lady.”

“I’ll be sure he does if his seed takes inside you,” Yolena assured her. She would not let any man mess around with her maid and not take responsibility.

“Thank you, my lady.” Done with her hair, Lyli pulled out a series of small pots and brushes and began to apply coloured powers to Yolena’s cheeks and eyelids. She didn’t much care for makeup, but today of all days, she might need it. She closed her eyes and let Lyli work on her face. The woman had knack for it which Yolena was unlikely to ever possess. She worked in silence, dabbing here, brushing there, jasmine-scented hands deft and quick.

“There.”

Yolena opened her eyes as Lyli held up a small hand mirror. Soft powders accentuated blue eyes, high cheekbones and pale skin, which contrasted with red hair. She had spent a lifetime being asked if she had a temper to match.

The deck under her feet jolted and Lyli grabbed her arm to keep her from falling.

“We’ve arrived.”

Like an Equal is open for submissions

 

Like an Equal: An anthology of speculative fiction would like to invite authors to submit stories for publication.

All submissions need to be in the speculative fiction genre and reflect the theme- like an equal. This includes fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, PNR, UF, spec-fic RH, steampunk, dystopian, etc. If you’re unsure, please feel free to ask.

The theme: We’re looking for stories about diversity, with an emphasis on minorities or disadvantaged groups. We’d like superhero seniors, wheelchair warriors, LGTB legends, women kicking butt, people of colour as protagonists, etc.

Submissions need to be between 3,000 and 10,000 words in length.

Stories must not have been published before.

 
We would love submissions to be aimed at a largely adult audience, but if your story has broad appeal, that’s great too.
We’re not looking for stories with erotica, but mild sex scenes are fine. We would also prefer stories not be overly gory.

We will not accept stories featuring incest, child porn, rape, beastiality, etc.
The anthology editors, proofreaders, cover artists, etc, are volunteers. All stories included in the anthology will also be donations, and thus authors will not be paid. Proceeds will go to a suicide prevention charity.

Like an Equal anthology will be published by Mirren Hogan, and requests the rights for all stories for 3 months from the date of publication. The anthology will remain in publication after that time, but authors may reprint their stories or submit them elsewhere.

Rebekah Dodson and Stephanie Barr will be editing.

Please submit in .docx form, as an attachment, not in the body of the email, and include a short bio with your submission.

Submissions should be in 12 point Times New Roman, with double quote marks (“), indented without tabs or breaks between lines.

Submissions can be sent to – mirren.hogan@gmail.com.
Submissions close August 18 2018.

 

Last Rites cover reveal

Coming June 14th, the fifth installment of Lily Luchesi’s award-winning Paranormal Detectives Series, Last Rites. Cover art by Rue Volley.
Power is the deadliest desire.
With Leander put to rest and the Paranormal Investigative Division taken care of by the Coven Mistress, Danny and Angelica are finally ready to take some time for themselves while Angelica gets used to her new role as the Empress and they make their relationship official.
When people close to Angelica are murdered by what seems to be a rogue vampire, their sabbatical is cut short in order for her to find the perp and execute him or her.
But this is no ordinary vampire. When the truth is revealed and secrets come to light, it will prove to be Danny’s biggest test of faith yet, and Angelica’s reckoning of her past, present, and future. Most of all it will raise a single question: just what makes a monster?
Support the Thunderclap.
Check out the trailer, featuring the song “I Don’t Drink, I Don’t Smoke, But I Lie” by Peter Blast.

Join the event on Facebook, featuring multiple authors, games, and giveaways.
Find Lily via the following links:

http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi
http://amazon.com/author/lilyluchesi
http://facebook.com/lilyluchesi

http://instagram.com/lilyluchesi
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369101.Lily_Luchesi

HTML:

 
 
Coming June 14th, the fifth installment of Lily Luchesi’s award-winning Paranormal Detectives Series, Last Rites. Cover art by Rue Volley.
Power is the deadliest desire.

 

With Leander put to rest and the Paranormal Investigative Division taken care of by the Coven Mistress, Danny and Angelica are finally ready to take some time for themselves while Angelica gets used to her new role as the Empress and they make their relationship official.


When people close to Angelica are murdered by what seems to be a rogue vampire, their sabbatical is cut short in order for her to find the perp and execute him or her.


But this is no ordinary vampire. When the truth is revealed and secrets come to light, it will prove to be Danny’s biggest test of faith yet, and Angelica’s reckoning of her past, present, and future. Most of all it will raise a single question: just what makes a monster?


Support the Thunderclap.
Check out the trailer, featuring the song “I Don’t Drink, I Don’t Smoke, But I Lie” by Peter Blast.


Join the event on Facebook, featuring multiple authors, games, and giveaways.

Find Lily via the following links:


http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi

http://amazon.com/author/lilyluchesi
http://facebook.com/lilyluchesi
http://twitter.com/LilyLuchesi
http://instagram.com/lilyluchesi
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369101.Lily_Luchesi

TWITTER POST:
#CoverReveal #horror #paranormal
Last Rites (PDS #5) by @LilyLuchesi
https://www.facebook.com/events/1783735091940752/
http://smarturl.it/ParanormalDetectives
#bookboost #PNR #read

FACEBOOK POST:
Coming June 14th, the fifth installment of Lily Luchesi’s award-winning Paranormal Detectives Series, Last Rites. Cover art by Rue Volley.
Power is the deadliest desire.
With Leander put to rest and the Paranormal Investigative Division taken care of by the Coven Mistress, Danny and Angelica are finally ready to take some time for themselves while Angelica gets used to her new role as the Empress and they make their relationship official.
When people close to Angelica are murdered by what seems to be a rogue vampire, their sabbatical is cut short in order for her to find the perp and execute him or her.
But this is no ordinary vampire. When the truth is revealed and secrets come to light, it will prove to be Danny’s biggest test of faith yet, and Angelica’s reckoning of her past, present, and future. Most of all it will raise a single question: just what makes a monster?
Support the Thunderclap: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/54637-new-release-last-rites-pds-5
Check out the trailer, featuring the song “I Don’t Drink, I Don’t Smoke, But I Lie” by Peter Blast Fan Page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb3ZTQDr3mM&t=12s

Join the event on Facebook, featuring multiple authors, games, and giveaways: https://www.facebook.com/events/1783735091940752/

Find Lily via the following links:
​http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi
http://amazon.com/author/lilyluchesi
http://facebook.com/lilyluchesi

http://instagram.com/lilyluchesi
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369101.Lily_Luchesi

Welcome to the Apocalypse book 2: CyberNexis first chapter!

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

 

 

 

The internet always crashed at home. Without fail, a quick search for a recipe turned into an epic battle, lasting longer than the Napoleonic War. However long that was; Kelly Lawrence didn’t actually know because the computer had crashed the day she’d tried to find out.

The cause of her aggravation was not the plastic box and silicone chips that housed the data. The culprit was a non-sentient thing, capable of wreaking more havoc than a sugared-up toddler in a china shop. The culprit was cyber space. Littered with viruses, worms, malwares, and Trojans.

Why had she placed her life in the hands of a something prone to collapse?

Because it was meant to be a game.

It was also meant to be fail proof.

Someone was whispering in her ear. “It’s over. You’re safe.”

No such thing as safe, she told herself, tuning out the voice floating to her from a corridor that could only lead to her darkest nightmares. She’d had enough of nightmares that charged towards her with blind fury, sending fiery sparks that stung like ant bites and always heralded another battle with monsters that wanted her dead.

“She’s slipping away,” the faraway voice said. “Come on, Kelly. Fight it.”

Some people were born fighters. Others learned the skill. But always, even when you won you lost something.

“Stay with me,” the voice beckoned. “I’m not gonna lose you.”

What was the point of fighting? Pandora was never going to let her go. Yes, they’d given their cybernetic nemesis a name. Over one hundred people had entered simulation pods to escape reality. When it’d gone horribly wrong, it’d made sense to name their enemy after a goddess who’d unleashed hell upon mankind. All they’d had left was hope.

Even that was gone now.

Kelly let the darkness drag her away.

 

 

***

 

 

Kelly opened her eyes and was taken aback for a second. Seated opposite her was her late husband, Matt. Her heart lifted a little. He’d found her. Or had she found him? It seemed she recalled, hazily as if under the influence of a drug, that she’d gone in search of him inside the game, and here he was. He looked exactly as she remembered, with his dirty-blond hair that refused to stay out of his eyes, wearing a green shirt that melded to his body with adoration. He’d be almost thirty-one if he was alive. She was on the downhill side of twenty-six. These details should have mattered.

Instead, something akin to fear grew inside her, building the way a tornado does until she knew that whatever was heading her way could only be dangerous. Like a shipwreck survivor adrift in the ocean, Kelly slapped at the surging darkness to grab hold of the faraway voice. It was gone. She was alone with the ghost of her dead husband.

“The pursuit of happiness is a sink,” Matt said, stabbing a slice of toast into the runny yoke of a boiled egg. “You fill the bowl with things that make you happy; shopping, drinking, smoking, eating. Whatever. Then you wake up the next morning to discover that the sink has a hole in it and the bowl is empty. What do you do?”

Too tired to take the bait to an argument so old it could only be interpreted with a hieroglyphics manual, she let her shoulders slump. She cast her gaze around the cafe where she and Matt had spent most Sunday mornings. The rustic decor of copper pipes converted into bookshelves, wine barrels made into tables, old jam jars used as drink glasses…these decorative items had once fascinated her. Now they terrified her. Only Matt could have replicated this virtual world. A world that both touched and saddened her heart at the same time, for this world was a glimpse through a window. Memories were all that were on offer in this cafe.

And yet, the past could only haunt a person if they let it, so why was she?

“Kelly?” Matt was scowling at her with a furious look in his eyes. The real Matt only ever scowled in fierce concentration, never in anger. “What do you do?”

“My addled brain sports neither concern nor clue,” she said, quoting her dead husband who’d once spent a month talking like a Shakespearean actor while working on a Mediaeval cosplay website. This version stared at her blankly. Proof that he wasn’t real.

“I just want to go home,” she said.

The moment the words left her mouth she felt the air shift. The cafe faded and in its place was a war zone. Buildings were on fire, guns were being fired, smoke filled her nostrils.

The window beside her smashed, glass flew into the plate of eggs, and someone – no something – jumped through the opening.

There wasn’t anything human about this creature. It had matted hair that was encrusted with dirt and blood. It carried knives in both hands and the hide of a deer was wrapped around its back. Bones hung around its neck and when it caught Kelly’s gaze, it growled. The spell was broken. Her reflexes sprang into action. She ran out of the cafe.

Whatever happens next, she told herself, just keep running.

The beast matched her pace, running beside her with its wild hair trailing like a horse’s mane. It turned its head and smiled, revealing yellow teeth. In her head she heard a voice yelling at her to go left, and so she did. But she ran straight into another creature.

It held a knife above its head. Staring at it, she noticed it was too small to be knife. A syringe! The beast swung the syringe down into her neck.

Except it wasn’t a syringe, it was a computer cable.

Releasing June 8 Preorder now!

Welcome to the Apocalypse book 2: CyberNexis

Cover reveal! 

“WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE – CYBERNEXIS”

BOOK TWO

 

by D L Richardson

 

For fans of Robopocalypse, The Hunger Games, Ready Player One, World War Z

 
 

Book details

Format:​​Ebook and print

ASIN:​​B06XQRGG82

Release date: ​June 8, 2017  

Genre:​​apocalyptic sci-fi

 

Similar titles

The Hunger Games, Ready Player One, Robopocalypse

Reviews for “Welcome to the Apocalypse – Pandora” (BK1)
“From the very first to the last page, the story is emotionally charged, the action intense, and the conflict driving the plot forward.” – Readers Favorite

 

“The suspense is biting and the reader can feel the pulse of the characters. From the very first to the last page, the story is emotionally charged, the action intense, and the conflict driving the plot forward.” – Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite

 

“The concept and plot was so different to any dystopian novel I’ve ever come across. It wasn’t exactly Terminator, with robots rising up to kill humans, but more like Star Trek-type technology becoming sentient and killing humans.” Rachel Sawyer Diaries

 

 

Synopsis

Getting out of the game used to be all that mattered. Now all that matters is getting back in.

In book one players were trapped in a virtual game. Finally rescued, they’re taken to an offsite facility where they’ll spend a few weeks recovering from muscle dystrophy and cyber sickness. But not everyone survived.

Not only do Kelly, Jack, and Reis have to cope with the deaths of players they’ve come to respect and love, they’ll have to cope with the reason behind the computer malfunction. All the fingers are pointing at the game’s creator, CyberNexis.

 

If you like exciting twists and complex characters, and if fun and entertaining reads are what you’re after, then you’ll enjoy this second instalment in the Welcome to the Apocalypse series.

Buy the book

 

books2read.com/u/4N1kVz

Author bio

D L Richardson likes many things, reality isn’t one of them. She writes Science-Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy. She lives in Australia with her husband and dog.

 
 

Author contact links

Website ​​

http://www.dlrichardson.com

 

Facebook ​ ​

https://www.facebook.com/pages/D-L-Richardson/223019004391960?pnref=lhc

 

Twitter​ ​​

 

Google +

https://plus.google.com/112189215156085425271?hl=en

 

Blog ​​

http://dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com.au

 

Amazon author page

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00717D7KU

 

Sign up to the VIP newsletter

http://www.dlrichardson.com/newsletter
Preorder now!

 

Crimson Fire- out now!

Crimson Fire

She had power at her fingertips, but the world had other ideas. 
Magic was the last thing on Tabia’s mind — until she discovered she could use it. When her father hands her over to the princess of a neighbouring country to pay his debts, she may have the chance to learn how to control her new abilities.

But her new mistress’ enemies have plans of their own. Caught up in a web of divided loyalties, coercion and betrayal, Tabia can trust no one.
Can she find a way to regain her freedom and return home — or will the struggle cost her the ultimate price?
Crimson Fire is the first book in a fantasy series by Mirren Hogan.
Feel the fire. 

“a brilliant page-turner of an opening volume to her series”
“keeps you engaged throughout the story and leaves you wanting more”
“I love tales of magic, and this did not disappoint.”

Available now from Amazon

 

Give in to the darkness within.
Rebecca Renfield and her best friend Johanna Seward are reopening an old sanatorium to start their psychology practice when Bec discovers old recordings from a John Seward pertaining to someone with her surname. What she finds in the recordings are unnerving, but their new night-shift doctor promises to provide the distraction Bec needs.
Victoria Draconis is a mysterious, beautiful woman who opens doors into levels of pain, pleasure, and submission that Bec had never imagined existed.



Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-love who will always associate vampires with love, blood, and rock and roll.
Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and was first published at twenty-one.
Her debut novel, Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Series Book One), was published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19th, 2015. Book two, Miranda’s Rights, was released on January 8th, 2016. Book three, Life Sentence, was released on August 2nd, 2016 by Vamptasy Publishing, and book four, Right To Silence, was also just accepted by the publisher and will be released on January 17th, 2017.
She had a short story, “Undead Ever After” in the CHBB Publishing anthology Love Sucks (released on June 13th, 2015). Her first erotic short story, “Have No Fears”, was published in the Hot Ink Press anthology Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words on October 10th, 2015. She will also have a short erotic horror story, “The Devil’s Dozen”, in the Hot Ink Press anthology Death, Love, Lust, which was released on February 4th, 2016. Her horror short “Too Young To Kill” was released in the CHBB Publishing anthology Lurking In The Shadows on June 28th, 2016.
 
 
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My interview with Lawrence Nason Jnr 

 1. How do you dream up your characters and situations?

I believe that most of my characters are based, in part, on people I have met in life and through my travels. I find if I do this it makes the characters feel to be more alive for my readers.
The situations you find in my stories are at time situations I am confronted with or have been confronted with during my lifetime. In my first book Jason the main character relives situations he experienced when his step father beat his mother. I lived through these situations as a child and know the terror that is there for a young and impressionable mind.

2. What are your quirks, so readers can understand you as a writer more than your advertising spiel.

I tend to be more of a smart-alecky person when I interact with people I know. I try to think of and deliver a quirky remark if the situation calls for a little light comic relief. 
I always drink my coffee black and abhor hot tea however I will drink iced tea if the weather is hot enough. 
One thing I do if I do write is I take out my hearing aides (I have lost 50% of my hearing from my days in the army) and tune everything out except for my writing. I try to literally live what I am writing as I write it.

3. How do you develop your characters?
I mentioned before that most of my characters are based on people who I have met. I try to place the characters in the story and give as many of them as possible a unique personality.
They sort of grow as the story goes on and tend to take on a life of their own. 
I will go back hundreds of times and reread what I have written to make sure that each character is doing what they should be doing and if they do something that is out of character for them and the personality that have developed for them. I will write the passage until their reaction is right.

4. What are you reading now?

Believe it or not I am currently rereading the Harry Potter series. The series has turned out to be an exceptionally profitable franchise for its author and every author has the dream to emulate such success.
I just finished Crimson Fire and loved what Mirren did with the story. I am sure I will go back and reread that story again and again.
5. Why do you write and what drives you?

I write because I must. Every author will tell you the same thing. There are stories in each of us just wanting to burst out and be told. The action of writing these stories is like a relief valve for the truly creative and this makes room for other stories to bubble up inside us and rise to the conscious surface.

6. Who inspires you?

One of the persons who inspires me would be Robert A. Heinlein. Heinlein was a superb story teller and wrote many stories that he shared with us.
Another man who inspires me as a writer would be Issac Asimov. The man was a genius and he chose to put this geniality into the worlds he created.
The person who really inspires me is someone who gets knocked down repeatedly in life and gets back up and continues to slug it out until they reach the goal that they have set for themselves. This person is a true inspiration to me and the reason why I still write today.

7. What inspires you?

What inspires me. This is a question that has no simple answer. What inspires me can change from day to day. It can be something as simple as a child saying, ‘Thank You’ for some kind act that has been performed for them or a blue sky on a scorching summer day. 
Inspiration is ever morphing into something else for me and as fluid as molten lava. Sometimes listening to music inspires me or the silence in the middle of the night when I cannot sleep. 

8. Is there a single thread/ idea/ belief which appears everything you write?

I think the single thought that finds its way into every story I write is that anyone, Man, woman, or Child is ever adapting to the situations they face in life. This adaptability is the reason we as mankind can live in some many different climates on the planet. Also, the more terrible things that happen to us the stronger we become. Darwin stated that the strongest of a species will survive and I see this every day in real life.
Another idea that creeps into my writing is that the idea of compassion for each other is a desirable trait to have. Without compassion for your fellow human being you are no better than the most saves lifeform on the planet.
I stated above that experiences in life make us stronger. My belief in this statement is strong. The point is that our adaptability is the strongest trait that we as humans have.

 

9. What book/ story/ movie do you wish you’d written?

I wish I has written the screenplay for “Battlefield Earth”. L Ron Hubbard did an amazing job telling an Epic saga that was butchered in the screen play. There could have been 4 movies made for that book and I believe it could have been a major blockbuster franchise.

10. How often do you think of an idea, but see it’s been done? What do you do?

Like every author out there this happens daily because just about everything has been done before. How many reiterations of “Romeo and Juliet” are out there or “Cinderella”? 
The true genius of every great author is taking a story and giving it a fresh prospective. Sometimes you change the outcome to make thing fresh. What if Romeo had survived and Juliet had died. What if both had survived. 
What if? This is the strongest tool in the tool box of every Author out there. Every story development begins with the question What If… This is what we work with and we try to answer it in a fresh and exiting way to entertain our readers.

 

Review- Welcome to the Apocalypse: Book 1 Pandora 

If you think this book is about gaming, think again. Yes, it’s set in a big computer game gone wrong, but it’s a comment about human nature, and how the worst of circumstances brings out the best and worst of people. DL Richardson is astute in pinning down those emotions and responses. I’ve read previous works from this author and while they’re all good, this is the best so far.
If you love a good sci-fi read, and a mind fuck, then give this a go. Currently 99c.