Review: Immortality Chronicles Anthology!

Synopsis (via Amazon):

immortalityWhat if you could live forever? Defy death itself? Even now, scientific advances in regenerative medicine, life extension, cryonics, cybernetics, and in other areas have brought humans to the brink of solving life’s final conundrum.

In this volume of the acclaimed ‘Future Chronicles’ anthology series, twelve authors imagine that uninterrupted journey, confronting not just how, but what it means when human life can continue indefinitely, invulnerable, immortal.

“The Immortality Chronicles” features stories by award-winning scientist and author E.E. Giorgi (Chimeras), Amazon bestselling author Will Swardstrom (Contact Window) and ten more of today’s most visionary authors in science and speculative fiction.

Buy The Immortality Chronicles today on Amazon!

Fine out more about Samuel Peralta on his website!

Review

(Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this anthology in exchange for Beta reading/giving an honest review)

I’ve never dreamed of living forever. I always imagined that living a life on Earth by myself as those I loved passed by me as quickly as a thought to be a lonely and horrible existence. Good thing I have the Immortality Chronicles to imagine what life could be like so I don’t have to! They truly captured many possibilities of life with immortality. Most of the stories do have a sad vein to them, because as I’ve said, who really wants to live forever? We choose to try and stay alive as long as we can, trying to make a legacy that others will recognize after we’re gone. But we truly don’t want to live forever.

Samuel Peralta has done it again! He gathered some great authors to teach us why being immortal isn’t something to be wished upon anyone. I loved these stories. Each one was more unique then the last! I don’t think I could truly choose a favorite, but my top five would have to be:

  1. The Antares Cigar Shoppe by John Gregory Hancock: John create a beautiful beginning to the anthology with his story. It makes me wonder who would be there for me if I was able to live forever, even though they couldn’t stay with me for all time.
  2. Rememorations by Paul B. Kohler: In a few of the stories in this anthology, the issue of not having enough space for all of the memories an immortal person would collect over their many years. I never thought of that before reading this anthology! This story follows a man going in for his check-up because he is forgetting things. Great story!
  3. The Control by Will Swardstrom: The Control follows a man in ancient Egypt following a god’s whims. Very unique take on the immortal life.
  4. Legacy by David Bruns: At what point does a person stop being human? What makes someone human to begin with? Is it human tissue and organs? Is it the soul? If you take away human attributes, is the person still there? Thought provoking and sad in it’s own way, Legacy let me wonder about such things.
  5. Room 42 by D.K. Cassidy: This one stuck with me. I have kids and could imagine them not ever getting older in body, but becoming wise beyond their appearances as the years flowed by unhindered. It sounds horrifying. Can you imagine not ever becoming an adult? I thought about this one for days after reading it and still think of it when I look at my kids. Even though I am sad that they are growing up SO fast, I am happy too that they can continue to enjoy growing.
  6. Eternity Today by Thomas Robins: Thomas tells us a story much like Groundhogs Day, except everyone is affected in the entire world as the day resets day after day for countless days. I love how everyone tried to work together in such a weird and horrifying event such as this.
  7. A Long Horizon by Harlow C. Fallon: Harlow finishes up the chronicles with a story about a woman trapped in time. I felt trapped with her and felt her pain and hope for the end of life as if I was in the cell with her. A truly sad and another interesting take on immortality.

Oops. That’s more then 5. Oh well! You can see that I enjoyed these chronicles. I can’t wait to read more of these anthologies put together by Samuel Peralta. I’ve now read this one and the Z Chronicles, which was also amazing! Snatch it up!

Bite Sized Interview with Author John Hancock

johnhancockauthorThis week on THE KATY, I am helping celebrate the release of the anthology “Bite Sized Offerings,” which many authors wrote to help pay for a little girl’s medical bills. This coming Saturday (9/5) from 12PM- 10PM CST, is the “Bite Sized Offerings” release party on Facebook! Join the event here! In preparation for this awesome party for such a wonderful cause, I am interviewing several authors from the anthology.

You can buy “Bite Sized Offerings” here on Amazon!

Today’s author for my Bite Sized Interviews is author ( and designer, artist, illustrator, etc…) John Hancock!

You can find John on Facebook, Goodreads, his website, and twitter.

Thank you for joining me here on THE KATY today, John!

What is it about writing that intrigues you?

I’ve been a visual artist for many years, girland when I create a visual piece, it pretty much is what I say, there can be interpretation, but it is immutably set into its form forever. Writing is a work of art that appears not on canvas or screen but in the imagination connection between the reader and the writer. This is why each reader may envision a character or setting differently, depending on the reader’s own life experiences. If I say a large cavern, they may imagine a roughly walled cave, or one that is clean and swept, or one that is blue, or purple or green or whatever.
Writing is creating art inside the reader.

What inspires you to write?

I grew up reading all the science fiction I could get my hands on. Even reread quick a few, due to the small selection in my library. I grew up in the sixties, so the speculative, mind-expanding nature of things like the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits made me realize we are not alone, that all we know is not all there is to know. That fiction can help us better understand ourselves, as well as others. That spinning a yarn in a certain way can inspire as well as frighten.
I am writing as a legacy. I want my son and eventual grandchildren to be able to hold a book I wrote in the future. That is what inspires me.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I don’t think that’s an either/or question. Plotters can pants and vice versa. However, for me, I don’t often do literal physical outlines on paper before writing. Instead, I figure out in my head what I want to write as I’m trying to fall asleep. I might push the plot around dozens of times before I ever start to right. And THEN, when I am writing, a character can completely surprise me and give me hints as to what they would or wouldn’t do, throwing the plan I had completely away, but in a beautiful coup that ends up a much more believable product. In Prep for Doom, for example, I originally conceived my chapter with no backstory for Old Earl. He was just off balance from being homeless. But the more I typed, the more I thought, wait… Something happened to Old Earl, didn’t it? Once I figured out what must have happened, the whole story became much more dimensional. That decisions wasn’t made until my fingers were on the keyboard.
So, I guess I’m mostly a ‘pantser’, though I hate that term. I consider myself a surfer, reading the waves as they come to me and deciding how to react to them.

How did you start writing dystopian?robbie

I just write stories. I classify them after I write them. Since I like so many genres, Anything can occur to me. Probably I’d sell more books if I concentrated on one genre, but I would definitely be bored. Also, every story I write is somewhat independent of genre.
Roof is considered dystopian, and it is, but I meant it as an examination of what it means to be human. In other words, I had a thought, or idea, that drove the story. The fact that it appears on a dystopian landscape is true only because the story required it.

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

This is one of the few groups online I have felt so incredibly comfortable enough to hang out in. The people that run it are the best, and everyone is so supportive of each other.
I could try to define it further, but to distill it down, It’s because what is really its charm, is that it’s charming.

Are you self published?

Thus far. Why? What have you heard? 🙂

Why did you choose to go this route?

tunnelI’m old. I don’t have the patience, or the actual time to spend cultivating agents and publishers for years and years to finally publish one book. Right now, I’ve published 5 of my own and am in 7 anthologies of others, all since Nov. 2013. If I were in the traditional system, I would be lucky to have even one book out by now.
Plus, I write, illustrate, edit, format, upload and sell my own books, I’m in charge and that’s good. Doesn’t mean I’d object to going traditional at some point, but this is what is working for me right now.

Can you tell me about any of your recent projects?

I’m retooling a gothic horror novella right now, which will have several illustrations in it. I have an outline for a science fiction epic novel.
I most recently have the first story in the Immortality Chronicles, a Samuel Peralta project, edited by Carol Davis. It’s title “The Antares Cigar Shoppe” and it is getting good reviews (as is the whole book) from advanced readers. It will launch Sept. 4, but is available for presale.
I also have a somewhat humorous story in Bite-sized Offerings, but you knew that.
I am in the planning stages of a humorous adventure thriller with another great author, who is a BOD member but I’ll let him out himself on this one since we’ve barely started.
I will have a sequel to Crawlspace in the near future and a sequel to ROOF. I honestly have more projects going than I can shake a stick at.

How did you get involved with “Bite Sized Offerings?”

I answered the call, and was answered back. That simple.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role in the anthology?

I just wrote a story, which was a lot of fun, though a bit challenging. I knew it had to have zombies, but also be appealing to kids. So I went with a bit of humor. I mean, how many humorous zombies tales are there?

What do you see as a future? Are zombies a possibility?

I don’t personally think the classic idea offaces a zombie is possible, for the plain reason that a decaying body quickly devolves into a broken machine. Decay involves microbes and insects, for example, and I can’t see a reason they wouldn’t be all over the zombie in no time.
On the other hand, a different form of zombie might happen, where a contagion or poison in a living person makes them behave as a zombie, similar to Ted Nulty’s “Gone Feral” books.
But hey, I enjoy a good zombie book or flick, its all fiction.
I also don’t believe there are sparkly vampires.

Do you have a favorite zombie book, movie, or show?

I mentioned Gone Feral, I like the Walking Dead, I enjoyed World War Z, as examples. The very first Romero zombie flick “He’s coming to get you, Barbara!”. heh.

Bite Sized Interview with Lori Fontanez and ES Oakes!

Lori Fontanez

Lori Fontanez

ES Oakes (Sara Jones)

ES Oakes (Sara Jones)

This week on THE KATY, I am helping celebrate the release of the anthology “Bite Sized Offerings,” which many authors wrote to help pay for a little girl’s medical bills. This coming Saturday (9/5) from 12PM- 10PM CST, is the “Bite Sized Offerings” release party on Facebook! Join the event here! In preparation for this awesome party for such a wonderful cause, I am interviewing several authors from the anthology. (Check out day one’s interview here)

You can buy “Bite Sized Offerings” here on Amazon!

Today’s author for my Bite Sized Interview are authors Lori Fontanez and Sara Jones (also known by pen name ES Oakes)!

You can find ES Oakes on her author website, Facebook, and her editing services website.

Thank you for joining me here on THE KATY today, Lori and Sara!

HOW DID YOU DECIDE THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?

Lori: I decided I wanted to be a writer a very long time ago. I  just never knew how to bring it to life.
Sara: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I remember wanting to be one since fourth grade. As I grew up, people and teachers would encourage me to write, but I was afraid to put anything “out there” for fear of rejection.

 

ANY PEOPLE, BOOKS, OR MOVIES THAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE YOUR DREAM?

Lori: This great group of people I met on Facebook opened it up for me. ATZ Jeff Clare had me submit a short zombie story for an anthology, “A Very Zombie Christmas.” It was accepted and then I started writing more short stories for a few anthologies.

Sara: All books I’ve read inspired me. The one person I give credit to for me finally coming out of my writer’s shell is John O’Brien, author of the New World Series. He asked for some fan fiction, so I gave it a shot (I was super scared, though). My story had a lot of good feedback, which gave me the courage to keep writing.

ARE YOU SELF PUBLISHED?

Lori: I haven’t been self published yet, I am still getting my name out there. The groups are very supportive and that makes it easy.

Sara: Yes, I’m self published. Why? I’m so new at this and have no idea how to go through a publisher. I’m not really sure I’d want to. I like self-publishing.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT ANY OF YOUR RECENT PROJECTS?

Lori: My recent projects  are coming along. The Closet is a ghost story, I’m working on the rewrites right now. I also have a  story  called Mirrors. and a zombie story called Zombie hells.

Sara: I spend a LOT of time editing books for others. I love it! With that said, I need to manage my time better so I can finish a WIP that is only at about 50K words. I have a short story coming out soon in an anthology. It’s not dystopian… just sort of creepy.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH “BITE SIZED OFFERINGS?”

Lori: I spoke with Sara about a way to help Mysti. I would do anything to help her! Sara and I chatted and we decided to do it. Sara was amazing through the whole process. She did all the hard work.

Sara: How I got involved and my role: I’m the co-developer; Lori had the idea and we ran with it. I’m also the editor.
I also co-wrote two of the stories…one under my pen name and one under my real name. The one with my real name was co-written with my brother, so that was fun!

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS A FUTURE? ARE ZOMBIES A POSSIBILITY?

Lori: Zombies are a possibility, I  feel as though what could be next . We had cavemen, dinosaurs etc…why not zombies?

Sara: Hmm… I suppose anything is possible. I’m more worried about financial collapse and what would happen if the power grid went down than I am about zombies.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ZOMBIE BOOK, MOVIE, OR SHOW?

Lori: I am a die hard TWD fan. I was hooked when I read Mark Tufo Zombie fallout series. His book was the first zombie  I had ever read. I Love all of his books.

Sara: Too many great zombie books to mention. Since I edit and/or proof for a lot of the authors, it’s sort of like asking me to pick my favorite son. The Walking Dead, of course, is my favorite TV show and what got me into reading zombie fiction.

WHAT DOES THE BAND OF DYSTOPIAN AUTHORS AND FANS GROUP ON FACEBOOK MEAN TO YOU?

Lori: The band of dystopian authors are very talented. I love shelbi Westcott books. Love the way we group together and have contests.  The authors are very supportive and get their books out there.  Shelbi Westcott was my first dystopian book I’ve read. I won the second book in a contest. I bought the first book from her. Now I’m hooked.

Sara: BOD has cool shirts. But more than that, I see BOD as a great way to meet authors and readers of the genre. The group is fun, inclusive, and well run.

THANKS AGAIN FOR THE AWESOME INTERVIEW FOR A GREAT CAUSE! JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR ANOTHER GREAT BITE-SIZED INTERVIEW!

BitesizedOfferings

Cover Reveal: Patronus Series by Sarah M. Ross

Title: Patronus Series

Author: Sarah M. Ross

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Hosted by: Lady

Amber’s Tours

 ladyamber_booktours

Blurb:

Lucy Donovan was supposed to have a weekend of fun in the sun, celebrating her upcoming graduation from college. In a split second, everything changed. A drunk driver ended Lucy’s mortal life.

Lucy opens her eyes to a world she never imagined possible and a new destiny: as a Patronus, a guardian of spirits. Adjusting to her new role and abilities while negotiating this confusing realm will test her limits and push her further than she ever dreamed she would go. From wayward spirits who don’t want her help to soul stealing vampires, and even a stuck-up British royal, Lucy must brave them all to save one spirit she can’t bear to lose.
Further complicating her confusing life is an inexplicable yet growing connection she feels to a member of her team, Max, whose mysterious behavior leaves her both confused and intrigued.
Waking up dead was just the beginning of her problems. Lucy’s death is about to become the greatest adventure of her life.
Awaken

SarahSarah started her obsession with reading at an early age, often sneaking BabySitter Club and Nancy Drew books into math class. She would read any book she could get her hands on. Her love of reading quickly evolved into a love of writing and stories began to pour out of her.

 She grew up in Pittsburgh, graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English, and taught eighth graders to love reading as much as she does for several years. Sarah will always be a proud member of the Steelers’ Nation, but couldn’t take the cold and moved her frozen tush to Florida where she now lives with her husband, daughter, and two cats. You will find her now with her trusty Kindle in hand and toes in the sand!

Sarah’s debut novel, AWAKEN, released in January, 2012. Other novels include AVENGE, ATONE, ECHO OF AN EARTH ANGEL, INHALE EXHALE, and NEVER GONNA TELL (Releasing March, 2015).


Author Links:
Avenge
Atone

Buy

Links:

Awaken: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008GWEQ9U

FREE BOOK ALERT! AWAKEN IS FREE
AUGUST 28TH AND 29TH!!!

***All books can be borrowed for FREE with KU!!***

Awaken Free

Cover reveal: “The Book of Sam” by Ann Christy

Summer school is supposed to be a pain, but it isn’t supposed to be the end of the world. 

Sam has finally finished his first year of teaching and loved every minute of it. Summer school is well underway and he’s starting to feel like he’s getting the hang of this teaching gig, particularly since he’s pretty sure his students are the most awesome kids ever. When a suspiciously high number of students and teachers don’t show up one day, Sam is thrown into a situation he can’t believe. Nanites have saved many lives, but now it’s all gone wrong and people are going crazy.
Trapped inside the school, Sam has to ride out the wave of insanity sweeping across the land. There’s one thing he’s very sure of…no one is going to hurt his kids. He’ll get them to safety, no matter what comes between them and the road home.

Between Life and Death Origins
 
Chapter One – Day One
 
The school bell rings and I look at the students in front of me. Only eight today. Bella is missing, but I half-expected that at some point. She has an older sister more than capable of taking care of her during the day while her mother works, something many of my students don’t have. The hassle of getting Bella to the bus stop, waiting for the bus, and then worrying about picking her up at the end of the day can be alleviated by simply letting her stay home rather than attend summer school.
 
Still, summer school is important for my students, no matter how much of a pain it might be. The challenges of Down syndrome are significant enough without adding a nine-week break from school into the mix. These students often lose more during the course of a summer than children in mainstream classes if nothing is done to reinforce what they’ve learned. And Bella had been doing so well.
 
I sigh, drawing the attention of one of my students. Little Piper—so sweet that it almost seems she might melt in the rain like a cube of sugar—gives me a sidelong glance and smiles her sweetest smile. It’s the one that brings up two dimples next to her lips and lifts her chubby cheeks into two rosy balls. I can’t help but smile back. We’re not supposed to pick favorites, but some kids are just too awesome not to adore. Piper is one of those.
 
“Okay, kids! Let’s settle down,” I call out to the socializing group of kids. Aged between seven and eleven, they’re at that age where any meeting with a friend is cause for loud celebration. “Paulie, that’s enough hugging for now. Okay? Can everyone find their name for me?”
 
They sort of turn their attention to me, but the lure of chatting is a strong one. I walk toward the rough circle formed in X’s of tape stuck to the short carpet, the name of a child in the class carefully written in bold capital letters on each one. Having their attention shift to me, and then to the X spots on the floor, lowers the decibel level a little more.
 
Each child seeks their X, most of them remembering exactly where their mark is, but going through their standard process of sounding out their name and pointing to each letter in turn, before sitting. I have to help Corinne to her X. She’s still working on the spelling of her name and she still doesn’t always recognize it. We point to each letter and sound it out, her giggling and laughing in delight the whole while. I love my job. I really do.
 
The two empty spots that should be for Bella and Thomas are a bit like a silent rebuke. Unfortunately, chance would have it that those bracket my most sensitive student, Michael. He looks to either side of his spot, his face crumpling as he does. Michael is the youngest in his family, with four much older siblings. He feels rejection very keenly, even when there is none intended.
 
Michael is a loud and expressive crier, so I scoot over toward one of the empty spots and sit down on the X marked Thomas. That drawers his attention, so I lean down to grin at Michael and say, “I’m very lucky to sit next to you today, Michael!”
 
The confusion on Michael’s face fades quickly, the happiness returning like the sunshine after the passing of a single obscuring cloud, and he leans over to put his head against my arm. As much as I like the kids, I have to gently adjust the boy back to a seated position in short order. I’m always keenly aware of the caution that all teachers must have with respect to contact with their charges. The cameras in each corner of the room remind me of it every time I see their obtrusive and untrusting eyes.
 
“Does anyone remember what we were doing at the end of the day yesterday?” I ask, looking around the circle and meeting the eyes of each student. I’m careful to give an encouraging smile to each and every one of them.
 
Several hands shoot up, then a few more because raising hands is apparently great fun. I call on one of the first to raise her hand, so that I’ll be sure to get a correct answer. No one likes to start the day by giving a wrong answer.
 
Mary, the oldest in my class at almost twelve, yells the answer just a little too loudly, “Counting and colors!”
 
“Right!” I exclaim—though not as loudly—and flip over the pile of oversized cards lying in the center of the circle. Bright shapes in vibrant colors along with the letters spelling out the color cover the cards, and several of the children clap at the sight of them. This is a favorite activity for many of them. It’s true that a good many of my kids are well past the need for counting and color activities like this one, but it’s an excellent reinforcement for them. It also allows them the chance to lead the younger ones. From my point of view, that’s another important part of growing up.
 
The morning class begins and I feel that same sense of fulfillment I do whenever I enter the classroom. It takes more to prepare these wonderful children for their future lives than many teachers have the patience for, but to me this is a balm to the soul and the fulfillment of a promise to the brother I lost.
 
My older brother, George, was born with severe Down Syndrome. Unfortunately, he was also born with most of the physical problems that can come along for the ride with the syndrome. Though he had corrective heart surgery as a toddler, he passed away one night in his sleep. There was no warning, no hint that it was coming. We shared a room, so it was to my mother’s screams that I woke that morning, seeing her bent over his bed and shaking him, begging him to wake up.
 
I was only ten and George was thirteen. To say that his loss struck me deeply would be an understatement. And I don’t mean just because I was just eight feet from him when it happened and I slept right through it, though that’s certainly bad enough. It was because he was gone and I missed him in a way I’ve never missed anything or anyone else.
 
I still do.
 
While it’s true that George was three years older than me, I learned pretty early that he needed me to stick up for him. He didn’t understand the casual cruelty of children at our primary school. I didn’t always understand it, but I sure knew it when I saw it. Though I never got into another fight after he passed, I learned to scrap pretty well at a young age.
 
So, it’s easy to see why I chose the profession I did. Every single day I work is like me saying thank you to my brother. I promised I would always take care of him. This is how I do that now that he’s not here himself.
 
Before the first recess bell sounds, the door to my classroom bangs open, the metal kickplate banging against the stop like a shot. The kids jump, but I think I jump even more. Bethany, another teacher and probably my best “teacher friend” rushes in. The look on her face sets my heart to racing. Something is very wrong.
 
She stops after two steps inside, probably realizing that she’s just scared the bejesus out of me, and then makes it worse by waving me over with urgent sweeps of her hand. I’m guessing she also notices the effect her facial expression is having on my kids, because she tries to smile at the kids. It looks more like a grimace.
 
In a shaky voice, she says, “It’s okay kids! Everything is fine. I just need Mr. Sam for a minute. Is that okay?”
 
Piper shouts up at her, “We’re on blue!” She waves the big card with a circle of bright blue on it to demonstrate what she means.
 
“Blue is my favorite!” Michael shouts and tries to grab for the card.
 
I get up from my spot in the circle and pass the stack of cards to Michael to distract him from his grabs. He snatches them in delight and I tell him, “Why don’t you take one and then pass them around the circle. Everyone take a card when it gets passed to you and practice on that color. Okay?”
 
That suggestion gets me a round of happy agreements, so I step away, but keep half an eye on the kids, while worrying what that pale, strained look on Bethany’s face might mean. As always, my first thought is that something bad might be happening inside the school. Even in elementary school, it’s something all teachers have in the back of their minds. That’s just the way things are nowadays. That possibility is an unfortunate fact of life.
 
Then again, Bethany wouldn’t likely be standing in full view of the hallway with an open door at her back if there was that kind of problem. She’d have hit the deck, closed and bolted the door, or be herding her kids out of the building. Plus, there’s no noise.
 
As soon as I get within reach, Bethany grabs my forearm, her fingers sharp and tight. I lean close, hoping that will encourage her to keep her voice down. She looks more than worried now that we’re close, she looks frightened.
 
“Sam, can you take my class? I have to go. Now,” she says without delay.
 
I look back at my charges, but they’re busily exchanging cards with each other to get their favorites, then back at Bethany. “I really shouldn’t. You understand, right?”
 
Bethany sneaks a peek around my shoulder at my students and bites at her lip. I can see the warring needs in her as clearly as if they were written in magic marker across her forehead. I’d love to help her, but the rules are very firm in a few regards and this is one of them. Bethany’s class is made up of mainstream summer schoolers. Specifically, her class is made up of math students who might noth otherwise pass up into the next grade. They’re also all fourth and fifth graders. And there are more than twenty of them.
 
It’s not just about breaking class size rules, because there’s always room to wiggle on that when it comes to an emergency like a teacher having to stop a class for whatever reason. The real problem is that mixing mainstream students with his students is just not done. My first priority is the safety of my students, but my second is their happiness. I won’t have them scarred by unthinking slights or rude giggles.
 
“What about one of the other teachers?” I ask. There aren’t many here—this is a small neighborhood school—but there are some. I can’t be the only choice. It may be summer school, but we’ve got five classes going.
 
Bethany shakes her head, lips thin and tight. “Debbie’s got thirty-three kids in her class already and Rob’s already got two classes worth because Sherry didn’t show up. She’s probably in the same boat I’m in,” she says, then trails off, her eyes finding the clock and her jaw muscles tightening.
 
“Wait, what?” I ask, now concerned. A teacher just not showing up is a big deal any day, but particularly during the summer. There’s just one admin person, no aids at all this week because of training, and like every week after a holiday, a whole lot of people scheduling vacation time.
 
When I came in, I saw the office was occupied, and I passed Bethany getting ready in her classroom, but I was running late so I didn’t go to the teacher’s lounge or anywhere else this morning. I lean forward just enough to see down the hallway, and everything looks fine, if somewhat empty. There’s only Henry, the single school maintenance person on duty, rolling his mop bucket down the hall on squeaky wheels.
 
Bethany takes a deep breath, as if centering herself or reaching for calm when being pushed by a particularly challenging child, and says, “Right. Okay. I’m guessing you don’t know what’s going on out there?”
 
She looks up at me with those huge, dark eyes of hers and I’m pretty much done for no matter what she says. I can tell she’s searching for an answer even before I speak. I can also tell she knows I’m clueless. My shrug just confirms it.
 
“You remember about my Dad?” she asks.
 
This is a jarring change in topic. I should have realized what it was about as soon as I realized nothing was on fire and no one was shooting. The concern, the wringing hands, the ways she’s shuffling her feet a little as if she’s poised to run finally come together in my clearly, inferior brain.
 
“Oh, no. Did he…I mean…has he…” I trail off, not sure what the appropriate words are when asking if someone died.
 
She grips at my forearms again, understanding what I mean—which is good, because it was so not clear—and smiles a shaky smile. “No, no! Nothing like that. It’s the opposite. He woke up, but he’s very disoriented and…not himself.”
 
The relief I feel at not have to do any consoling cannot be overstated. Seriously. That sort of thing doesn’t come easy to me yet. I’m never sure if I’m doing it right or saying the right thing. Plus, this is good news. Or, it should be good news. But if it is, why does she look so scared?
 
“Are you okay, Bethany?” I ask her, but this time I focus entirely on her so she’ll know I want to hear the truth.
 
She surprises me by leaning forward and bumping her forehead into my chest. Seriously, she couldn’t have surprised me more if she’d kissed me. Even so, this feels like an overwhelmed lean instead of a flirting one, so I just let her keep doing it. I should just enjoy it while it lasts, though I’d never, ever confess that to anyone.
 
Bethany is older than me—as in almost twice my age—but there’s something about her. She’s divorced, has kids that aren’t too many years younger than me, and probably hasn’t thought twice about me that way. Even so, I have my daydreams. And even without daydreams, we’re friends and I know how hard the last two years have been for her.
 
After a boat accident, her father had been shot full of First Responder nanites by emergency services. It was protocol, but like so many others, it hadn’t worked the way it was supposed to on him. The First Responders boost oxygen in the blood, encourage heart activity, and stimulate the body’s natural responses to trauma, helping many survive the trip to the hospital and giving most those crucial few minutes they need to get truly sophisticated medical care. They are, on the whole, a good and life-saving thing.
 
Only they don’t always work. Her father’s traumatic brain injury meant that the nanites kept his body alive, but without enough brain function to return to normal life. He became one of the many people commonly referred to as vegetables, perfectly healthy yet never again to wake.
 
And now Bethany is saying he’s awake. But she’s not talking to me and she’s leaning against me in front of my class instead of jumping for joy.
 
“Aren’t you happy? You always said he would beat it,” I say, extricating an arm so I can pat her on the back. I look back around at the kids, some of whom are very interested in what we’re up to. That must bring her back to the present, because she pulls away and pushes back her hair. She smiles at the kids, then at me.
 
Something flashes through her smile, some hint of emotion other than joy. I think it really is fear. I don’t think I’m imagining it. Then it hits me what she said before. “Wait, you said Sherry was in the same boat as you. What’s going on?”
 
One of the children calls, so we pause long enough for me to persuade Piper to go back to her spot in the circle. Back at the door, Bethany says, “Yeah. She never talked about it, but her grandmother is in long term care in nearly the same condition as my father. Anyway, I haven’t talked to her or anything, but it’s happening all over, so it’s probably happening with her grandmother too.”
 
“Wait,” I say, because now I’m really confused. “You mean it’s not just your father waking up? Did something happen?”
 
Bethany’s eyes widen and she gives a little shake of her head, “Really? Sam, do you never watch the news? Seriously.” She puffs out a breath and waves a hand as if it doesn’t matter. “It’s all over the news. There was some experiment to try to correct neural deficits or something—basically wake up the people like my Dad—but it wasn’t supposed to be everywhere. The nurse called me here and said that it has something to do with the Monitor nanites Dad has now. They picked up the signal or something. I don’t know. Honestly, I’m just glad he’s waking up! Except…”
 
Sentences that trail off after words like that are never good. Not ever. “Except?” I prod.
 
“Well, he’s strapped down now, but the first thing he did was bite my mom on the arm. Hard. And he’s sort of out of it.” Again she flaps her hands in agitation. “It doesn’t matter. But I need to get to their house. I really do. The nurse is only supposed to be there for an hour and she has a lot of other patients. My mom can’t handle him like this on her own. Who knows what will happen?”
 
I’m no more capable of resisting that sort of plea that I would be able to leave a kitten in the middle of a busy street. It just isn’t in me. I push a hand through my hair and sigh. It must have been enough of an answer for Bethany, because she squeezes my arms and says, “Oh, thank you, Sam! I will totally return the favor someday!”
 
“Fine, yes,” I say, but I’m still very unsure about the whole thing. “Can you go to the office on your way out and ask them to call in a sub?”
 
Bethany nods, her mind clearly already shifting to getting out of the school as quickly as possible. “Sure, sure. I’ll go get my kids. Or do you want to bring yours over?”
 
I consider it, but decide that this room, which is about twice the size of a regular classroom given the variety of activities that go on in here, is the better choice. “No, bring them over for now. But give them some sort of assignment to tide them over until a sub gets here. Will you?”
 
“Of course! And school’s out at lunch anyway. Everything will be fine,” Bethany says, stepping away and clearly ready to dash. I let her go and then face my kids, wondering how I’m going to handle two such disparate groups for another two hours. There’s no way a sub will make it in time and I know it. At least it’s only a half day. It could be worse.
 

 

 
The In-Betweener- AMAZON
Forever Between – AMAZON
Between Life and Death- AMAZON
  

 

 
 
 
 

 

 Ann Christy is a recently retired navy commander and secret science fiction writer. She lives by the sea under the benevolent rule of her canine overlords and assorted unruly family members. She’s the author of the popular Silo 49 series set in the WOOL universe, assorted novels and a slew of stories. Her latest work, the Between Life and Death series, is a new and entirely novel take on the zombie genre that is turning out to be equally popular with teens and adults. It includes The In-Betweener, Forever Between, and Between Life and Death.
You can find out more about Ann Christy and read extended sneak peeks of her books at her website.

 



 

Author Spotlight: Casey L. Bond

11929905_531134963700613_858319828_oPlease welcome Author Casey L Bond to THE KATY today for an author spotlight! Check out a few reviews of Casey’s various (awesome) books here and here.

Thank you for joining me, Casey!

What made you want to pursue writing as a career? Any books or people that inspired you to live your dream?

My mom was a huge influence. I told her I thought I’d love to write a book one day and she told me to do it. So, I did! LOL! In writing my first book, I fell in love with crafting stories and the rest is history. Now, I have more characters and stories in my head than I have time to write!

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I didn’t start out as an indie or self-published author. Winter Shadows was picked up by a small press and for a long time, I thought that was the only route available as far as publishing went. However, after I was published, I started looking for author events and book conferences and found UtopYA (now Utopia Con). The folks in their unofficial group became friends, mentors and told me all about self-publishing, so I decided to give it a try.

I loved it so much more than being with the publisher I was signed with, so I terminated my contract with them and published all of my books myself. That’s not to say that my work or someone else’s work wouldn’t fit well with small presses. The one I was with just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t a good fit.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Yes. I began a pantser and now am sort of a hybrid. I plot to a point but try to remain flexible. I use the eight-point story arc to craft the basic spine of the plot and then let the characters get me from point to point! It works for me.

I’ve read The Harvest Saga, Sin, and Dark Bishop. I’m also looking forward to digging my claws into Catalyst soon. All are very different from each other (and I loved them all)! Do you prefer writing a certain genre over another or serial novels vs. a full novel series?

I really don’t have a preference. I love to read and read stories in all sorts of different genres so I knew starting out that I wouldn’t want to be beholden to one genre. Some stories are built for serials, but not all would work that way. Sin, Temptation and Dark Bishop fit perfectly into small episodes. I don’t think The Harvest Saga or my longer books would work as serials, so it just depends on what’s appropriate for the story itself.

Who would win in a fight? Jake Bishop or Shane Justice?

Okay, this made me laugh out loud. I’m gonna have to say Shane Justice (Sorry, Rach!). I want the good guy to win and Justice is a champion.

Are any of your characters YOU specifically or pieces of yourself?

I think there are tiny snippets of me in all of my female characters specifically. Abby’s stubbornness (The Harvest Saga), Shelby’s crazy (Crazy Love), Seven’s fight (Catalyst), Brooklyn’s sarcasm (Temptation), etc.

Any of the hotties in any of your series the favorite?

Absolutely. I obviously love Gray, Shustice and Mitis. My new fav is Colt from Temptation!

Any hints for future projects? 😀

I think I just gave it away. Temptation is in the hands of my very amazing editor and will be releasing soon! The e-covers for each episode are ready and the full wrap for the cover of the paperback is being designed this week! So, I’ll be able to share them very soon!

Do you have some wisdom to share with aspiring authors out there?

Yes! Don’t be afraid to grow and learn. Ask questions. Don’t stress out about daily word counts, etc. That’ll take the joy out of it. At the same time, don’t forget to get SOME words down each day or week if you can. Keep moving forward. Remember that putting yourself and your work out there is hard. Some people will love it. Some won’t. You can’t please everyone.

What has been your favorite experience as an author so far?

Interacting with readers, via events or social media. It is amazing to me that people take time out of their busy lives to read my books and I’m thrilled to hear what they think about them!

One amazing reader is actually getting a tattoo of a book with elements of her favorite series on them and she’s including an apple for The Harvest Saga! HOLY WOW! That made me one happy lady! EEEP!

Anything else you’d like to share with us today?

I’m all over social media, so feel free to friend me, follow or join my newsletter! I’d love to hang out with you!

Thank you so much for joining me on THE KATY today, Casey! I look forward to reading more of your novels in the future!

Thanks so much, Katy! You are awesome!


Find Casey L Bond on Social Media

Find author Casey L Bond on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, and her website.