“…the more conceptual discussion of algorithms is well done, and the story is satisfying and emotionally resonant.” — Kirkus Reviews
My name is Merlin Raj and I live in Sleepy Hollow. Legend has it that a Headless Horseman haunts the town. Usually, I only have to worry about helping my boy, Matthew, to walk at school. But during the spookiest time of year, we’ll tackle the scariest creature of all—big brother.
Will learning conditional logic save this family’s Halloween from certain doom?
Appealing to readers of all ages, Merlin Raj and the Drones of Sleepy Hollow is an ILLUSTRATED chapter-book. From artists to astronauts, the jobs of the future will deal with computers. But do kids want to read a coding book? Not as much as dog stories.
With a Computer Science degree and a passion for preparing kids for the future, author D. G. Priya blends technology with animal stories to stimulate a desire to read.Each book in the series introduces a new programming skill. If you or your child like delightful dog tales that explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, dedication, and the importance of being true to one’s self, then you’ll love D. G. Priya’s tail-wagging adventure.
After a rousing “Trick or Treat,” Matthew got some sticky taffy. He plunked it into the pumpkin-shaped plastic bag. He’d also put a second sack on my back, in case he ran out of room. We expected to knock on a lot of homes.
Peter marched up to the front door. He flew the pumpkin-head drone ahead of him. It had a small net hanging from it. Peter reached the lady giving out the candy. He drove the drone in front of the candy bowl in her hands and declared, “Trick or treat!”
“What?” Matthew muttered at my side. “He got two pieces.”
As he walked back toward us, Peter smirked. “Guess who’s going to win?”
“You cheater,” Matthew said.
I nodded in agreement.
“It’s not cheating if I’m just smarter,” Peter said.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
D. G. Priya is the bestselling author Priya Ardis. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin, #6 in the world (Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2014) and #8 (US News, 2020) in Computer Science. Her advocacy of early education in computing and the challenges of childhood disabilities come from her experience as a parent and volunteer. Her love of dog stories comes from the antics of her own golden retriever.
Shelley Hampe is an author-illustrator. She is known for her work with Harvard University, illustrating a ground-breaking social-emotional learning program for children. She has a master’s in studio art and has taken part in world-recognized artist residencies in the United States. When she isn’t busy solving problems, Shelley can be found teaching STEAM principles to elementary aged kids. Shelley’s dog Beau, helped solve her problem of cold-feet while illustrating this book.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachael Reilly will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Middle school librarian and aspiring writer Julia Morgan’s last relationship ended months ago. Once labeled as “boring in the bedroom,” she visits Behind Closed Doors, an adult toy store, hoping to spice up her sex life. The aisles of erotic products aren’t nearly as hot as the store’s sexy owner, but is she brave enough to let a virtual stranger coax her out of her sexual shell?
Read an Excerpt
Clay lowered his body down to her right side. “Smells girly in here too. Like you. Like roses and lemons?”
“Didn’t you know? All women have to burn candles periodically. It’s part of our handbook.”
“Really? Can’t say I did know. Do you have a copy of this handbook? You know. For science.”
Julia shrugged. “Maybe I ruined our secret. No written copies available for men.”
“Maybe you did.” He stared at her, his gaze roving across her body. “So you want to watch a movie or something?”
His blood was humming, his pulse racing. He hoped hers was too.
“A movie? Sure. Perfect.” She flipped the TV on, settling on the first movie she saw, some random comedy. “This one okay?”
His gaze locked on her. “Perfect.”
“Yep. Perfect.” She glanced down at her hands in her lap.
It was time to make a move. “So can I?” He scooted even closer as he ran the pad of his thumb over her bottom lip, her skin hot beneath his fingers.
She blinked. “Can you what?”
“Kiss you?” He hovered, almost touching her lips with his. But he waited.
“Please.” She took a ragged breath before he slid his hand to the back of her neck, pulling her even closer to him, his gaze locked with hers. He took his time, kissing her like she was a fine wine, something to savor. Like he was a drowning man and the only oxygen was through her.
About the Author:
Rachael Reilly is a steamy romance writer living right outside Nashville, Tennessee. She also previously worked as a freelance writer for smaller magazine publications.
When not writing things that make her blush, Rachael can be found people watching, reading most anything she can get her hands on, or searching for her own Prince Charming through online dating. These activities are almost always accompanied by a glass of lemonade or cheap wine.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mark Spivak will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
A pair of billionaire brothers with unlimited resources, a secret agenda, and no accountability.
Mysterious “peace-keeping forces” that materialize out of nowhere.
Detention camps on the U.S.-Mexican border.
Bungled assassination attempts with untraceable origins.
A reactive Congress, lobbyists bought and paid for, and upheavals at the highest levels of government.
How was it all engineered, and could it happen tomorrow?
Is it fiction or uncomfortable reality?
Read an Excerpt
“What the hell were you thinking?”
“You told me you wanted the guy removed from office,” said Gardiner.
“And I explicitly told you not to try and take him out. Did we have a misfire in communication?”
“Not at all. It’s very simple: you give me the mission, and I figure out how to execute it. So to speak. I don’t tell you how to run your business, do I?”
“Have you lost your mind? You can’t kill a sitting Vice President.”
“Why the hell not? They killed Kennedy, and he was President at the time. And they got away with it, too.”
“Those were different times.”
“If everything had gone according to plan, it would have looked like he died from natural causes. The stuff we were using couldn’t be traced, unless you knew to look for it.”
“But everything didn’t go according to plan, did it? You hired some brainless illegal who screwed up the job and brought half the Secret Service down on him. You’d better hope he doesn’t talk.”
“Don’t you worry about that.”
“Here’s the point: we want the guy removed from the picture, but you’ll have to take a different approach.”
“I’m way ahead of you. Even as we speak, Plan B is being developed.”
About the Author
Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He’s the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle. His first novel, Friend of the Devil, tells the story of America’s most celebrated chef who has cut a deal with Satan for fame and fortune.
Mark is also a political junkie who loves turning his fascination with the seamy underbelly of the American political system into taut, page-turning thrillers. The American Crusade, the story of a devastating terrorist attack and the government’s response, was published in April 2019; Impeachment, a tale of two billionaire brothers who manipulate that system for their own ends, is a sequel that also stands alone as an unusual and compelling story.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tamela Miles will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Nahla Gregory is a witch on the run from a bad domestic situation. Tomas Castillo, a warlock, has a prepared safe haven for her, while dealing with his own problem, his neutered magickal powers. He’s sworn to protect her and to keep his hands off her, but Nahla is downright tempting. Danger is coming for them and combining their powers may be the only way to survive the storm.
Can Tomas keep Nahla safe, as promised, while she helps him rediscover his long forgotten magick?
Read an Excerpt
Nahla raised their joined hands and planted a kiss on his knuckle. Her smile was sweet as she heard him draw in a breath. “You’re all alone in this world. I can only imagine the pain that must bring.”
He stopped walking and turned to her. “Not all alone. I have other members of my coven. I have the Spellbound wards, who I frequently shelter.”
The moon cast a sliver of light on his face but she couldn’t see the emotion in those expressive eyes. “But…don’t you ever get lonely?”
He chuffed softly. “I’m perfectly lonely, Nahla. That’s just my lot in life, I guess.”
She moved in closer and released his hand. Gentle fingers rubbed his bristly chin. “You don’t have to be, Tomas. At least, while I’m here.”
His tone was gruff. “Are you inviting me into your bed, sweet Nahla?”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and let her tentative kiss do the talking. He devoured her mouth, just as he had done before, and his hands stroked her lush bottom. They remained lost in each other for long, passionate moments before he broke away, breathing heavily.
“I’m not strong enough to resist you. Is this a spell you cast? Because I feel like, even though we haven’t known each other long, I’m drawn to you.”
About the Author:
Tamela Miles is a school psychologist with Ed.S and PPS credential and a graduate of California State University San Bernardino and California State University Dominguez Hills. She is also a former flight attendant. She grew up in Altadena, California in that tumultuous time known as the 1980s. She now resides with her family in the Inland Empire, CA. She’s a horror/paranormal romance writer mainly because it feels so good having her characters do bad things and, later, pondering what makes them so bad and why they can never seem to change their wicked ways. She enjoys emails from people who like her work. In fact, she loves emails. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or her Facebook page, Tamela Miles Books. She also welcomes reader reviews and enjoys the feedback from people who love to read as much as she does.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J. A. Jackson will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC and 10 Kindle copy of Lovers, Players, Seducers Book III: The Betrayal of Nicholas LaCour to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Last time, in J. A. Jackson’s steamy, romantic thriller Lovers, Players and The Seducer, the storm came…and went. Back then, Nicholas La Cour played a very dangerous game of cat and mouse; one in which he involved his childhood friends, Kienan Egan and Quinn Rolandis. Even worse, he put his own sister, Lacey La Cour, right in the middle of that storm. Everyone got swept away in the torrent of greed, lust and ruthless ambition. All except two ratchet lovers… Discover as one ratchet lover determined to put the past behind her, believes she’s found true love only to be catapulted into an intriguing world that threatens her life and may shatter her heart. Another storm is coming, but will the two ratchet lovers survive it?
Read an Excerpt
Wriggling and squirming, Quinn lowered his body deeper into the warm waters. He felt the muscles in his body relax as the healing waters worked their magic on him. He had long ago gotten used to the rotten egg smell that dominated the air.
Quinn Darnell Rosolado Rolandis was brought home to the land of his grandmother’s birth after he almost died at a hospital just outside of San Francisco.
His grandmother Ina Rosolado believed that the waters of the Agua Hedionda could heal. In Spanish Agua Hedionda meant foul smelling water.
Suddenly the plump young woman who brought around the towels walked over.
“Towel senor?” she asked, in a heavy Spanish accent.
“Sweet Jesus,” he murmured, feeling his penis becoming aroused. He was glad the water hid him from the young woman’s view. Normally that type of girl wasn’t his type. He realized then that his body must be healed.
A twinkle shimmered in his eyes as he gave her a mischievous grin. “Look, just drop the towel. I’ll get it.”
She did as she was told. “Yes senor,” the young woman said, walking away.
He watched her and waited a few minutes longer before getting out of the warm, soothing water and quickly wrapped the towel around himself. He started walking, taking the path up the majestic mountain trail that led to the house at the top.
About the Author:
J.A. Jackson is the pseudonym for an author, who loves to write deliciously sultry adult romantic, suspenseful, entertaining novels with a unique twist. She lives in an enchanted little house she calls home in the Northern California foothills. Her love for cooking and writing come from her Southern roots of Louisiana and Arkansas. She isa member of South Bay Writers Association, Yosemite Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America (RWA).
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Connie di Marco will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
The Zodiac Mysteries feature San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti, who never thought murder would be part of her practice. Julia sought answers and found solace in astrology after the death of her fiancé in a hit and run accident. Since then, she’s successfully built a clientele of the city’s movers and shakers.
In The Madness of Mercury, Julia’s outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, makes her the target of a recently-arrived cult preacher who advocates love and compassion to those less fortunate. But the power-hungry preacher is waging war on sin and his Army of the Prophet will stop at nothing to silence those who would stand in his way. Julia is at the top of his list.
About the Excerpt
As I stood in line at the checkout counter of the bookstore an uncomfortable feeling stole over me. Was I being watched? I turned slowly and surveyed the customers in line behind me. No one looked suspicious. No one turned away suddenly. Just holiday shoppers focused on their own business. As I turned back, my eye caught someone standing at a table close by, separated by a metal bar from the line of shoppers. A man, dark hair, black jacket, seemingly immersed in a book he was holding in his hands. No shopping bags in sight. Something about him . . . I mentally shook myself, pushing the thought out of my mind. I was being paranoid. Nerves were getting the better of me.
When I reached the street, the wind had picked up. Shoppers were doing their best to hang onto their packages and hats and scarves. I pulled up the hood on my coat and, protecting my few finds, headed back to the square. I climbed the steps to the top of Union Square and took cover inside the small coffee shop. The aroma of freshly ground beans filled the space. I ordered a cappuccino and carried it gingerly to a stool near the window where I could watch the skaters on the ice rink under the tree. Maybe this was picking at old wounds. Maybe I just wanted to remember a happier time.
The windows were completely fogged. I rubbed the condensation away with the sleeve of my coat and peeked out. The top of the seventy foot tree and its huge bulbs swayed back and forth in the chilly gusts. Michael and I used to skate here. He was hopeless on his rented skates and wouldn’t believe me when I told him it wasn’t his ankles, his skates were too large. We’d manage a few passes around the rink, before we’d collapse, laughing on the ice. For a split second I saw his smile and felt the warmth of his hands, remembering how safe I felt when he put his arms around me. An aching so acute swept over me I didn’t trust myself not to burst into tears. What is it about the holiday season that brings our missing pieces into such sharp focus? Loss and pain may be there at other times, but somehow it doesn’t hurt quite so acutely. Maybe stopping here wasn’t such a good idea. I needed to quit feeling sorry for myself. Michael would have been disgusted with me. I was pathetic. I snuffled and rummaged in my purse for a tissue, blowing my nose and wiping my eyes, hoping anyone watching would think I was down with the flu. Suck it up, Julia.
Bundling up against the cold, I retraced my steps and approached the garage entrance. Two people, a man and a woman, doing their best to stay warm under the overhang of the garage were handing out flyers. One stepped in front of me, blocking my path and shoved a flyer at me. Annoyed, I grabbed it and walked briskly into the garage. I glanced down at an announcement of services at the Prophet’s Tabernacle. I sighed, and crumpling the paper up, tossed it in a nearby trash can.
I took the elevator down to the lowest level where I had parked. I stepped out and glanced around. In contrast to the crowds of people above on the streets, not a soul was in sight. I felt a frisson of fear. Why was it so deserted? My nerves were just on edge, I decided. I was imagining threats where there were none. I took a deep breath and hurried to my car. I unlocked the door and threw my bags onto the passenger seat. Before I could turn the key in the ignition I glanced in the rearview mirror. A face in a ski mask stared back at me, the eyes bright in the ambient lighting. A gasp caught in my throat. My heart raced as a gloved hand pulled my head back and covered my mouth. I felt the sharp prick of a knife point at my neck. I froze. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak.
“Forget about the Prophet. Make sure you keep your big mouth shut or my next visit won’t be so nice,” he growled. He pulled the knife away, let go of my jaw and jumped out of the car.
About the Author:
Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. The Madness of Mercury, the first book in the series will be re-released in October 2020.
Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.
January, 2022: A dark monstrous twin-headed apparition – Apophis – feverishly races past the expanse of the Milky Way galaxy and bolts to the edge of the solar system. Recklessly accelerating, the sinister rock-dyad enters the gravitational keyhole of the blue planet and continues its resolute inebriated journey – to soon arrive with an apocalyptic impact on Earth.
December, 2012: Five sentient beings born in different cities – New York, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Azores Islands and Istanbul, discover amongst haunting memories of their phantasmal past lives, that it is their destiny to save humanity from the evil forces unleashed by the alien fiends – the Skyllats.
And now, the reincarnated 9-year-olds must rely on their shared, ancient wisdom to prepare humanity for the war across the galaxy that is imminent.
Isso Town, Yakushima Island, Japan
January 19, 2022 (0700 hours)
“Peter, what is their present position?” the 1.7-meter-tall Claire with a sharp nose and radiant blue eyes inquired, “Quelque chose d’autre a signaler – do you have anything else to report?” She adjusted her glasses, pushing back her long brown hair.
“Herodotus has crossed into the belt, and is travelling at a speed of 346,000 kilometers per hour,” Peter replied, seated next to the astrophysicist, “I am amazed, Claire, how well the mission has progressed so far.”
Their Command and Control Centre located in a narrow peninsula, beyond Mount Yahazudake on Yakushima Island was housed several floors below an old island home that camouflaged its true purpose.
“You really doubted them? Incroyable!” smiled Claire, when she was interrupted by her secretary with an urgent message.
“It is my job to question and doubt,” grinned Peter and turned around. But Claire had already stepped into a high-speed elevator, climbing seven levels up.
A stoic Colonel Yoshimoto dressed in a dark gray suit and a black tie, stood inside a glass partitioned conference room, studying a large photograph of a Mongolian shaman staring ardently at the moon. The rustic house with rice paper screen walls or shoji, that separated the inner office from the outer living area, was capped with a gray shingled sloping roof supported by polished wooden trusses.
Colonel Yoshimoto bowed when Claire entered and addressed him, “How are you, Koki San? I don’t believe we had a meeting scheduled. In fact, I was about to leave for a connecting flight to New York from Kagoshima.”
“We are aware of your flight to New York, Claire San.” Colonel Yoshimoto spoke apprehensively. “So, I shall be brief. About two days ago we received an unexpected signal from the Sentinel Observatory. We have modelled it several times and have arrived at conclusions…that we frankly find deeply disturbing.”
“Koki San, as you are aware, besides Neerja and I there is no one else at Isso, who knows about our Sentinel project in collaboration with JAXA. I am disappointed that our agreed protocol to…”
“The Sentinel Space Telescope detected a new asteroid two days ago, specifically a binary Atira S-type asteroid which appeared suddenly…”
“Sentinel has identified more than three hundred new asteroids in the past two years. Most of them beyond 0.5 AU orbital distance from earth,” frowned Claire. “Which we have quietly added to the list of Interior Earth Objects or IEO’s, collated by the Minor Planet Center in Massachusetts in the United States. I have a lot on my plate today, so if you will excuse me…” she made a motion to leave.
“Given the Potentially Hazardous Asteroid’s or PHA’s shape, size, mass, rotation dynamics, and an absolute magnitude H of 21.4, we have modeled its ‘Intersection Course’ and ‘Risk Corridor’ across the surface of the earth, as well as simulated the asteroid’s Potential Impact Zone!”
“A Risk Corridor? Potential Impact Zone?” A startled Claire muttered and sat down. “What is the timeline before it hits the earth’s potential keyhole pass… and the asteroid impact?”
“I am afraid it has already entered the earth’s gravitational keyhole. We believe the impact is about ten days from today, give or take a few hours. That is not enough time for…any successful counter measures to be deployed, or even to undertake a comprehensive mitigation damage assessment. But we are certain that the impact will be a cataclysmic event.”
“What is the size and weight of the binary Atira S-type asteroid?” a stunned Claire inquired.
“Since the Sentinel telescope is facing away from the sun, we have been able to map the PHA quite accurately. The primary asteroid has a diameter of 1.45 kilometers, orbited by a minor planet-moon that measures about 0.36 kilometers across. Its combined weight, we estimate, is more than 360,000 metric tons,” explained a troubled Colonel Yoshimoto.
“Are you sure? Have you run the Monte Carlo simulations?”
“Yes, several times! And we have analyzed it on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale as well, I am afraid it currently reads at 2.”
“That is absurd, no asteroid has ever been measured at 2 on the Palermo scale,” blurted a fearful Claire and mumbled, “And the Potential Impact Zone?”
“We believe that the binary asteroid is headed for impact around Washington DC on January 28, 2022 – that is nine days from today. Given its size, mass, and other parameters, we fear that the Eastern Seaboard of the United States may be completely wiped out!”
“The Americans? Do they know? Have you informed the Planetary Defense Coordination office or PDCO and NASA?”
“Yes, we thought about that, but…given the technical and research facilities the Americans have at their disposal, including the PAN-STARR Telescope at Maui, the NEOWISE Space Telescope, the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona, the ATLAS program in Hawaii, as well as several others…we are honestly puzzled? Why have the Americans remained obliviously silent?”
“We need to inform them as soon as possible. The only reason that I can think of…” a dazed Claire broke off mid-sentence.
“…is that they already know!” Koki San, finished her thought.
“The Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART, that the Americans have been planning for several years? Could it be launched in such a short time?” Claire inquired, almost afraid to ask.
“DART has been delayed for more than a year due to technical and funding issues. Our sources confirmed that it was finally finished three months ago. Yesterday it was transferred with an undisclosed additional payload to their launch facilities at the Vandenberg Air Force base, where a SpaceX – Falcon 9 rocket is being prepared for launch.”
“But if they are planning to send DART to intercept the asteroid, then as per the Outer Space Treaty or OST, they have to inform the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group or SMPAG in Germany. The OST rules are very clear; if anything goes wrong the Americans would have ABSOLUTE LIABILITY! If the asteroid landed in some other part of the world, rather than…”
“We have run simulations of the DART program, Claire San. We do not believe that the Delta V applied by the Kinetic Impact Technique will be powerful enough to put 99069 Apophis Interior 21 into a deflected trajectory, away from its life-threatening present course. But if they add a sizable thermonuclear payload, then they may be able to destroy or re-direct it…”
“Re-direct it to where? Wait, you have already given the binary asteroid a formal name?”
“Yes, we named it after the first 99942 Apophis Asteroid, which was discovered in 2004 and caused a brief flutter, given its hazard level of 1.12 on the Palermo scale, before it was downgraded. Apophis, as you are aware, is the Greek name for the Egyptian God of Chaos.”
Claire asked again urgently, “Re-direct Apophis to where?”
“The Americans may be able to nudge it with a thermonuclear blast, towards either south-western China or close to the border of India and Pakistan.”
Claire stood in silence, afraid to calculate the fatalities and the damage, although she had already done the calculations. “A binary asteroid of that size, would make the 20-meter wide Chelyabinsk Meteor of 2013 with an energy of 470 kilotons, look like a minor accident. Apophis could release 2300 to 2700 megatons of energy and create a crater at least 30 to 40 kilometers in diameter. If it strikes China or India, the devastation, the earthquakes, and the resultant fatalities could cross 400 million people, if not more…”
“Compared to the Hiroshima bomb that measured at a mere 15 kilotons, and still cost so many lives, including those of my grandparents…” A mournful Colonel Yoshimoto looked away. “The American President held a meeting late last night in the situation room.
“Present were the heads of Planetary Science Division, Planetary Defense Coordination Office, Office of Science and Technology, Planetary Impact Emergency Response Working Group, as well as the head of their military space division. The President took a decision to go ahead with the DART mission with an added thermonuclear payload, which is probably an advanced version of their W80 warhead, with a five-megaton capacity. Their armed forces have been alerted to expect trouble from China or India, or both together…”
“I…I must talk to Lazarok,” an overwhelmed Claire replied. “I will get back to you, on our agreed communication protocol, the moment I reach New York. Koki San, but hypothetically if it is a ‘near-miss’ scenario, what would the asteroid’s orbital period be around the sun?”
Colonel Yoshimoto shook his head, “99069 Apophis Interior 21 is not on course for a ‘close shave’ event, given its extremely unusual speed and orbital plane.”
“I…What…The speed? Yes, I should have asked about that first? Why didn’t we notice Apophis earlier? Sentinel, since it faces the earth and therefore avoids any light interference from the sun, should have picked up the PHA weeks or perhaps months ago?” A delirious Claire tried to make sense of things before she gave up. “Okay, what is its speed?”
“It is 45 kilometers per second!”
Claire attempted a horror-stricken laugh, “That is impossible! No asteroid in the Interior-Earth Orbit or IEO has been recorded with a speed of more than 17 kilometers per second. The only possible reason that an asteroid would have such a speed…is if…”
“If it arrived from beyond our solar system, similar to the Ouamuamua Asteroid in 2017, which weeks later exited our solar system from below the plane of the ecliptic. And the only possible reason that Apophis could suddenly appear, and then head directly towards earth; is because it is…”
“An alien spaceship…” A suddenly queasy Claire whispered, and lowered her head.
“The Americans may be unaware that they are about to engage with an unknown alien civilization…”
“The Chinese? Do they know?”
“Yes! They have enough resources to locate the asteroid. There are frantic meetings on-going at present in Beijing, but I cannot be certain of the outcome until later. Already, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has been put on TCPLA 2, across all their theatres of operation, which is the American equivalent of DEFCON 2 – just below an absolute nuclear emergency and a full-scale war.”
“And the Europeans?”
“The Europeans are buying the story being put out by their ‘American friends’. Their resources are at present limited, especially when it comes to ‘sun-side asteroids’. Also, their new ‘Fly-Eye’ telescopes are not fully deployed across the world, yet. Nor have the Americans apprised the anglophile-intelligence-gathering group of nations; that includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and England.”
“And the Indians?”
“The Japanese government has a…shall we say an arrangement with India, which was signed several years ago – given the aggressive Chinese expansion in the region. The Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO, picked up Apophis yesterday. From the unusual data they collected from their Aditya-L1 satellite, which is in a halo orbit around Lagrangian point 1.”
“Merde! This is headed towards a very dangerous situation. I imagine several existing alignments across the world are about to come undone,” an edgy Claire sighed.
“…and new alignments formed, Claire San. Since the Americans have not felt it necessary to inform us either, our government feels that we should – given the urgency of the situation – re-align with our geographical neighbors. We may have had our differences in the past, but this is a cataclysmic event. For all we know the Americans may change their mind, and ensure that the Asteroid Impact avoids India and China. And…”
“And re-directs the asteroid towards Japan…lesser number of people killed with an expansive sea all around it. And a smaller military force compared to that of China.” Claire inferred.
Colonel Yoshimoto nodded, “Our fear was confirmed about the Americans’ intentions when they suddenly began to vacate their 7th fleet stationed at Okinawa yesterday. Initial consultative meetings between Japan, India, and China have already begun, although preliminary, and only between the heads of the three Asian nations.”
“And how do you know all of this, Koki San?” a nervous Claire inquired.
“It was my team that discovered 99069 Apophis Interior 21. Unlike the rigid hierarchal structure that Japan is infamous for, we still have some back channels, at least within the government. Yesterday, I personally apprised the Prime Minister of the precarious situation. And the rest…well…I am a very good chess player, Claire San.” Colonel Yoshimoto smiled, sadly. “I could fill in the blanks between what little the Prime Minister shared.”
“And now you have committed treason by telling me, Koki San?”
“No, that is not possible. I come to you as a representative of the Prime Minister of Japan, under his direct orders.” Colonel Yoshimoto spoke solemnly. “Given JAXA’s long relationship with your company, especially the secret Sentinel Space Telescope program, the Prime Minister believes that Lazarok San could be helpful at present. Because diplomacy may be the only way to stop the situation from reaching a dangerous inflection point.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Savinder Raj Anand is an architect and has been teaching Architecture & Design at various Universities in India for more than 12 years. A long-distance runner with a wanderlust to explore the world, and write stories that traverse across diverse cultures. He lives in Goa with his daughter, a dog, and two cats.
Inspired by his then 18-month-old daughter – when she quoted Socrates – while they together sat in a children’s bookstore in Bangalore (LIGHTROOM) in early January of 2015, he has completed this – his first book – as she turns 7 years old.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to 5 randomly drawn winners. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
He never thought he’d have a real family Christmas…
For the past eight years, Bill Smith has been unable to set down roots. But he never forgot the magical night he spent with an auburn-haired beauty in Last Stand, Texas. When she finally tracked him down, he was more than happy to donate a kidney to AJ, the son he never knew he had. But now that AJ is better, Bill wants more time with him and his mother. He wants a family.
Annie Burleson can’t help but be grateful to this almost-stranger for saving AJ’s life. Still, she’s a little wary. AJ has already been through so much—what if Bill leaves again? And with Christmas in full swing, it’s difficult to discern which emotions are festive and which are forever.
As Annie and Bill’s lives collide, their mutual love for AJ makes this more than a marriage of convenience. But is it enough to give them the family Christmas they all deserve?
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That night after the fishing expedition, Bill found himself lying awake, staring at the ceiling and thinking about the boy’s request for a brother. It was a natural thing for a child to ask about, but he himself had managed to push all thoughts of sex with Annie deep to the back of his mind. Now that he allowed the idea to bloom in his head, the memories of their one time together, all those years ago, came flooding through him.
This time he let himself remember everything: the silk of her skin, the scent of her hair, the plaintive sounds she made as he touched her. The way she had moved beneath him, welcomed him inside her. The more he let himself remember, the worse his body ached. Then Lucky began to snore, two beds away, and Bill knew all possibility of sleep was gone.
He stood up and took his jeans from the chair beside the bed, pulled them on, and put on his boots and jacket. Then he quietly made his way to the door. Outside, the Texas sky was black and clear and lit with a million stars. The land rolled, dark and mysterious, for more miles than he could see. Up on the ridge, a coyote began to sing, the eerie notes quivering as they echoed against the barn. He shivered. He knew how that coyote felt. He’d been alone for a good part of his life. But now he had the chance for something different. He had a son. And next Saturday he’d have a wife, too, if in name only.
Is that what he wanted?
About the Author:
I remember as a small girl being fascinated with the idea that people could make up stories and the stories became books. I began writing my own stories before I even started school, and won my first writing contest at the age of nine. It’s always been my dream to be a published author. The road was a long and twisting one, but I finally made it. I’m proud to be a two-time Golden Heart finalist, and several of my stories have been Amazon best sellers.
For a while I penned erotic fiction under a pseudonym. Although it was fun to explore my “darker side”, I am now answering the true call of my heart: to write bigger stories that focus on emotion, loss, spirit, and true love, stories I hope my readers will relate to and want to read more than once. Small town America is my favorite fictional setting. I’m particularly enjoying my recent foray into writing Cowboy romance.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anya Summers will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
The weight of the world on her shoulders…
Sabrina Thomas needs to catch a break. By day she juggles two jobs, only to head home at night to care for her mentally ill brother. With their parents gone, the responsibility for his care, the doctor’s bills, the hospital stays, the at home care, falls to her. Six months ago, the trust fund their parents left them dried up and with the mounting bills, she has until the end of the month to make good on late rent payments before they are evicted. Sabrina knows where she could make a lot of quick cash with her looks: Bayou Sin, the classiest strip joint on Bourbon Street. But her plans go awry when Dante hauls her off the stage and takes her to his penthouse.
His lifestyle called into question…
Billionaire Michael Fitzgerald and his partner in crime, Dante Rousseau, have been topping submissives together for years. As the owner of the fifth largest sugarcane supplier, with a host of multi-conglomerate corporations to run, Michael has always kept his bedroom preferences under wraps. When a rival on the board attempts to engage in a hostile takeover and have Michael expelled from his own company, he knows he needs to find a woman he can trust to pretend to be his fiancée and put the kibosh on the illicit rumors spreading like wildfire through the company’s board members. When Dante shows up with their housekeeper, Sabrina, who is spitting mad at being denied the opportunity to make some fast cash, Michael knows she is just the woman for the job.
An offer neither can refuse…
Michael and Dante make Sabrina a deal: pretend to be Michael’s sole love interest for thirty days to dispel the rumors and stop the takeover. In exchange, they will pay her ten million dollars at month’s end. But the lines soon become blurred as to what is real and what is make believe. And when their time together is up, will they be able to walk away, or will they take the chance to make their relationship the real deal?
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There was no getting out of this. Michael’s life was going to be examined under a microscope for the next thirty days.
He had the distinct urge to head back to his gym and pummel the punching bag until it was nothing but a pile of dust.
“Fine. Now, unless we have other business to discuss, as I mentioned before, I have a packed schedule today,” Michael replied stonily, not allowing the group to witness the disquiet roiling through him—not when there was a vulture among them waiting for the perfect moment to strike and rip him to shreds.
“That should be all for now,” James stated, closing his file.
“Great.” Michael rose, grabbed his briefcase, and nodded. “You may contact my assistant to schedule the review.”
He left the conference room. They had an intruder at Club Underworld. It was the only explanation that made sense. Michael was uber careful; they all were. They had non-disclosure agreements for members for a reason. He didn’t stop at Barbara’s office. Instead, he direct messaged her, telling her that something had come up and he needed her to cancel the rest of his appointments for today. And to give his regards to the Senator.
In his car—today he’d chosen to drive his black Bentley—he called Dante.
“Yo, what’s up?” Dante answered.
“We have a major fucking problem. Email the founders. Emergency meeting as soon as everyone can make it to the penthouse.”
“What the hell? I thought you had a board meeting.”
“I did. Someone knows about us, about our activities at the club, and is leaking that information to members of the board to get me not only removed from the board, but as CEO of my own fucking company.”
“Son of a bitch. I’m on it. When can you get here?” Dante asked him.
Michael switched lanes on the freeway, heading toward the exit for interstate ten from the six-ten. “I’m on my way now. Barbara is cancelling my appointments for the day. Oh, and Dante, we need to find me a fake fiancée on the double—one who will agree to a non-disclosure agreement. Start combing through the single submissives at Underworld looking at whom we might be able to vet.”
“Jesus Fucking Christ. It would be easier for me to resurrect Marie Laveau. No offense to the subs, but none of them will be on the level that you would need to convince the board.”
“I already mentioned it was someone they wouldn’t know, hopefully indicating they aren’t of the same class. Be there shortly. We can talk more about it then.” Michael hung up. Fury had him punching the gas. Dan was behind it, he had to be. Michael knew the son of a bitch was a climber, but he had never expected this type of subterfuge. That Dan would convince a member of Michael’s inner sanctum to collect dirt on his lifestyle.
Michael would discover who was behind the betrayal, and crush the motherfucker.
About the Author:Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.
Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. RW Reels will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
The Trey Parker Story II: Case of the Lost Child, the second novel in this paranormal thriller series, will make readers keenly aware of the unseen world around them. After hiding away in a small farm town in the Philippines, Trey Parker is compelled to return to the States to assist Detective Landis in finding a lost child. Trey’s wife, Iris, fears that the secret government agency that monitored Trey since his Near-Death Experience and took the lives of the tenants of the Sundance Apartments will be waiting for him upon his arrival. Iris believes Trey leaving so close to her due date is reckless and that he is oblivious to the perils.
Back in Tacoma, Washington, Detective Landis is still unable to cope with the loss of his daughter and his ex-wife Jada, even as the Detective struggles with a new relationship. Landis’s past is not so easy to escape, as Thomas Barstow attains parole and looks for the opportunity to settle the score that can only be resolved through bloodshed.
The lives and souls of all hang in the balance and divine intervention may be only the solution.
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“I don’t think you can understand how it feels. Having a miscarriage is not the same as losing an eight-year-old child…”
About the Author:
My infatuation with writing was born before I ever took my first breath, somewhere on the rural plains of Eastern North Carolina, nourished by the adventures of my grandmother’s childhood. From the time I was only four or five years old, her memories gave flight to my imagination and fuel to my curiosities. Her stories widened my eyes to the fascinatingly bizarre in the everyday.
As a young girl, my grandmother would bring her puppy with her to stalk rabbits every morning. The two of them would chase an unlucky long-eared rascal until it escaped into a hollow at the base of a tree, and she would run a stick around the inside of the opening as though churning butter. The spell of the sound and vibration would lure the rabbit out of the tree and into her hands.
Good fiction, inventive and provocative fiction, reverberates in readers and spellbinds them. It can spur surprise, delight, discomfort, and revelation and defy reason. As a storyteller, I strive to help others solve their problems by sharing things that I have read about, heard about, and seen. But I also prize the look on people’s faces when they hear the brilliant punch line of a joke, or when they experience an epiphany that knocks the logical wind out of them. These are the reactions that I live to inspire in my audiences when I write paranormal thrillers.
My obsession with the extraordinary in my writing might also, ironically, stem from my 20-year career in the U.S. Army. I can allow my mind to wander in the extraterrestrial sphere while my love for my country keeps me grounded in domestic affairs. Of all of my accomplishments, serving as a paratrooper in a Special Forces Group and a Field Artillery outfit during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm claims high rank. Few situations force a person to confront his humanity as painfully as going off to war, and this experience taught me both to accept accountability for my actions and to trust others. Eventually, I became a successful Army Recruiter and Station Commander, earning the Top Recruiting Station awards in Dallas and Seattle Recruiting Battalions. North Carolina Central University granted me a Public Service Award for my work in the local community. And currently, I serve fellow veterans as an HR Specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Other passions of mine include playing chess, photography, traveling, and indulging in my contrarian nature by instigating debate. Spending time with my wife tops the list of my life’s privileges, however. Whether I am entertaining her with my emulation of Laurence Olivier as Marcus Crassus or protecting her from an elk during one of our photography excursions in the wild, I treasure her companionship and affection.
When I was twelve years old, I announced to my Aunt Becky and Cousin Tony that I wanted to write a book. They stared at me in astonishment. The world of publishing was an enigma to simple country folks in Beaufort, North Carolina in 1982. These days I am achieving my dream with the ebook, a medium through which I can express my individuality without sacrificing my voice to expectations of marketability, popularity, and deadlines. My goal is to create an opportunity for escapism that is bold and absolute.