MeiLin Miranda – Lovers and Beloveds

Title: “Lovers and Beloveds: An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom Book One”

Author: MeiLin Miranda

ISBN: Paperback: 978-0981307176; Smashwords: 978-0981307190; Amazon Kindle: 978-0981307183

Page count: 420

Genre: Fantasy

Price: $14.95 paperback; $2.99 – 3.50 ebook

Author Bio:

MeiLin Miranda writes the fantasy novel series “An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom” and the online serial “Scryer’s Gulch: Magic in the Wild, Wild West.” She has written nonfiction professionally for 30-plus years. She has fatal addictions to BPAL perfume, wool roving, and fountain pens. MeiLin lives in Portland, OR with her husband, two daughters, two cats and a floppy dog.

Tell us about your book:

Here’s the blurb:

The Tremont family has conquered kingdom after kingdom, and rules its continent. Now, Tremont stands on the cusp of an industrial revolution; trains and steam engines are new, and the Scholar Priests of Eddin’s Temple make exciting discoveries daily. Magic is long forgotten, but the Gods are not.

Prince Temmin must now leave his childhood home to live with his father–Harsin the Fourth, by the Grace of Pagg, King of the Greater Kingdom of Tremont and Litta, Emperor of Inchar. Harsin expects his son to become the kind of ruthless, pragmatic man he is. But his immortal advisor Teacher has other plans, involving the seductive human avatars of the Gods called the Lovers. Teacher intends to bind Temmin to the Lovers’ Temple, bring him closer to his people, and set him on a path that will lead to ultimate glory for Tremont–or its end.

How long did it take to write the book?

It’s a little hard to say! I wrote 300,000 words over 18 months, all of them posted online in draft form. The finished first book took another 13 months to finish; it’s drastically different than the original, but then, most finished drafts are!

What inspired you to write the book?

The kernel of the book—a story-in-story–is a long-running daydream of mine. I never thought to write it down until I read a Neil Gaiman quote. To paraphrase: Everyone has daydreams; writers pay attention to them. I’ve written nonfiction professionally just about my whole life, and that had never occurred to me. I started writing, and I haven’t stopped.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

Wikipedia is my friend. 🙂 I tend to follow every little trail that attracts me through that thing and come away with all kinds of little bits of business. My writing routine has yet to settle down; I still have children at home, and I homeschool, so it’s like writing in a bowling alley around here.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

First and foremost, I hope they come away feeling as if they’ve visited another world, a world they’d like to revisit.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Directly from me (instant for ebook, slow but autographed for paperback); paperback from CreateSpace; ebook from Smashwords; and both from Amazon.

Direct: http://www.meilinmiranda.com/products

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/3486617

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/23652

Amazon:

– Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Beloveds-Intimate-History-Greater-ebook/dp/B0043EX1S2

– Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Lovers-Beloveds-Intimate-History-Greater/dp/0981307175

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

My website:  http://www.meilinmiranda.com/

Excerpt from book:

Temmin, meanwhile, had rejoined the party just in time for the break he’d hoped to avoid. His thirst slaked, he took up a glass of sparkling wine. He had nothing against it, but a thirsty man wanted something more substantial. He’d worried about making small talk with strangers, but found he had to say little as a steady stream of well-wishers were presented to him one by one, just long enough for a “So pleased to meet you” before being pushed out of the way by the next one in line.

When the music began again, he’d had three glasses of sparkling wine without even noticing, and sparkled himself as he took up a plump, lively girl–the Earl of Something’s daughter, he hadn’t caught it–and started the second set of dances. Near its end, he found himself with a familiar blonde: his sister. He gave Ellika an extra twirl, and she giggled. “Doesn’t Seddy ever dance?” he asked her.

“Not if she can sit in a corner with her nose in the air,” said Ellika. “But tell me, are you having fun? You look as if you are!”

“The girls here are much prettier than they are at home, Elly!” he said, thinking still of blushing Arta more than the sly daughters of the nobility.

“That’s because the prettiest girls are sent to the City, silly, in hopes of snaring someone like you. Especially you.”

“I can only marry one of ’em!”

“Oh, Temmy,” said Ellika, shaking her curls. They twirled apart, and he found himself face to face with his last partner for this dance.

He met eyes green as leaves, in the face of a woman so stunning Temmin lost his place in the dance and stumbled. When he recovered his feet, all he could manage to get out of his disobedient throat was, “Hullo.”

“Hello, Your Highness,” she answered in a low, honeyed voice like nothing he’d ever heard. Nor was she like any woman he’d ever seen, so much a classical Tremontine beauty that she might have stepped out of a painting of Neya the Beloved.

Temmin said nothing more and danced automatically, paying no attention to anything but the woman on his arm. When the dance ended, he demanded the next one, the last in the set. “Happily,” she said, and he took her up in his arms again, oblivious to the presence at the floor’s edge of an outraged man in a blue honor sash who’d sworn he’d already asked the lady for that dance.

Among the onlookers, another young lady peered through her magnifying glass. “Oh dear me,” she said. “It seems Neya’s Embodiment has made another conquest.”

Sedra took a sip of lemonade and laughed. “That’s not even worth remarking on, Despie.”

“This time it is,” said the lady, nodding over Sedra’s shoulder. Sedra followed the nod, and choked; Temmin was dancing with Allis Obby, looking for all the world like a gasping fish on the beach, hook still in mouth.

Oh, Weeping Amma! thought Sedra. “The last I knew, he never showed an interest in any female who didn’t have four hooves and a tail, but that was three years ago. He would have to start at the top, wouldn’t he.”

“Don’t worry over him so, Seddy, you’re not his mother,” said her friend.

“I’m not worried,” Sedra lied. “He’s a grown man. Temmy just doesn’t have much experience with girls, if I know Mama. I’ve learned Elly can manage herself–mostly. I’m not so sure about him yet. Where is Ellika?”

As it happened, Ellika twirled in the arms of Percet, Lord Fennows. “I shall be spending a great deal of time with your brother soon,” he said as they looped round and round. “I am hoping that means I might have the pleasure of your company more often.”

“How charming your sister looks this evening, Fennows!” said Ellika, looking over his shoulder. “Rose is such a flattering color on one of her complexion. I must ask after her dressmaker!”

“To be sure, Despilla looks very well tonight,” said Fennows. “What I mean to say is, I should very much like to spend more time with you–”

“And how lovely Allis Obby is tonight, but then, there isn’t anything unusual about that! Have you danced with her yet tonight, sir?”

“Yes, but–” The music ended and the assembly applauded, cutting Fennows off.

“Thank you for a lovely dance!” said Ellika. “Oh, yes, of course you may walk me in to dinner, I would never break with tradition! I’m so terribly sorry to be up on the dais when all of you are on the floor, but these silly state occasions!”

“Of course, but–”

“Here, take me over to Miss Obby and my brother please, Fennows, dear, I need to make introductions.” The unhappy Fennows offered his arm and did as he was told, Ellika chattering all the while to friends they passed along the way.

Meanwhile, Allis curtsied to the floor, and as Temmin lifted her up by the hand, he couldn’t help staring into her bodice. The familiar low twitch began; he swore to himself, and tried to think of everything other than her breasts–Jenks in his underwear, that usually did it. He started at the sound of Ellika’s voice. “Prince Temmin, Heir of Tremont, may I make known to you the Embodiment of Neya, Miss Allis Obby of the Lovers’ Temple.”

The Embodiment of Neya? How was he supposed to make small talk with the personification of a Goddess? He took Allis’s hand and bowed low over it to hide his astonishment. His shock must have made it past his moustache, for Miss Obby came to his rescue and so deftly steered the conversation that by the time they’d made it in to dinner he’d invited her to go riding with him. “I should love to, Your Highness!” she exclaimed, as if Temmin had given her a longed-for gift. “I will await your invitation.”

“May we dance after dinner?”

“Oh,” she said, dropping her eyes. “I’m afraid my card is filled.”

“Oh,” said Temmin, drooping. “I would imagine so.”

“But I promise I shall save a dance for you at the next ball. Will you be attending the Duke of Litta’s ball on Nerrday next?”

“Yes, of course!” said Temmin, with no idea if he’d even received an invitation. “Please, Miss Obby, I would be very grateful if you’d save me an entire set!” She laughed; he pulled out her chair, seated her, and walked down the rows of tables in a haze of green eyes, black hair and sweet, pink breasts. Blessed Mother, help me, he thought. Miss Allis Obby.

He took his place next to Harsin, Ellika on his right. “Oh dear,” she said. “You do realize who Allis is.”

“You told me!” snapped Temmin. “Ah, I’m sorry, Elly, but it was completely unexpected. I didn’t even show proper respect–I should have called her Holy One! I had no idea an Embodiment would look like her.”

“Don’t be a goose. The Lovers’ Embodiments are always beautiful, Temmy, and as much like twins as possible,” said Ellika. “The two before the Obbys–they’re here somewhere, just in from Kellen for a week–stunning. Blondes, unrelated but very well matched, could easily pass for twins. Of course, Allis really is a twin. Her brother, Issak, embodies Nerr. There he is, just down the right-hand side at the table with that annoying Lord Fennows. Gods, what a bore, I couldn’t shut him up the whole time we were dancing!”

Ellika kept chattering, her voice a soft chirp as she pointed out various luminaries. Temmin paid little attention. He sorted through the bobbing heads, people nodding and making small talk around the tables, until he saw a man with the same silken black hair as Allis. He had to be Issak Obby.

As Allis represented the unattainable Tremontine ideal for women, so did Issak for men: tall, broad but not barrel-shaped, slim of waist and hip, all his gestures great and small as perfect as his form. The smooth incline of his back as he kissed his dinner partner’s hand; the light touch of his long fingers as he held his wine glass; the summoning of a footman, called over without so much as a word or a nod–

He looked up at Temmin. Issak’s eyes were the same deep green as his sister’s, but while her gaze invited, his gaze commanded. The Embodiment smiled up at him, unblinking, until Temmin colored and averted his gaze. He realized the air beside his right ear had stilled. Ellika no longer prattled but studied his face, amused and sympathetic. “Gently, Tem, gently,” she murmured, putting her hand over his. “Go gently, little brother.”

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Marion Stein – Loisaida: A New York Story

Title: Loisaida: A New York Story

Author: Marion Stein

ISBN: 9780615336817 (paperback)

Page count: 304

Genre: literary fiction (literary thriller, neo-noir)

Price: $12.99 suggested retail price  (e-book $2.99)

Author Bio:

Marion Stein is a native New Yorker who has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence as well as an MSW from Hunter College. Marion’s careers have included crisis clinician, teacher, tarot card reader, grant writer and temp. Her story Pogo was published in Gordon Lish’s literary magazine, The Quarterly. More recently she has been involved with The Storytelling Circle at Narativ and was a featured storyteller on a WBAI radio broadcast. Her novel, Hungry Ghosts was shortlisted for the 32nd Annual International 3-Day Novel Contest.

Tell us about your book:

One sweltering night, in a neighborhood on the cusp of change, boy meets girl. If they’d only gone home together, they might still be alive.

The core of this gritty, only in New York-story was inspired by real events – a beautiful, aspiring dancer slain, her corpse dismembered, possibly fed to the homeless in Tompkins Square Park. The psychotic roommate has confessed, but a dilettante actor turned journalist thinks there’s more to it and investigates. Soon one of his sources mentions he might have better luck gaining trust if he’d shoot dope.

Welcome to New York’s East Village, aka Loisaida, circa 1988. Meet your neighbors — artists, dreamers, hustlers, devil worshipers, anarchists, junkies and yuppies — all competing for breathing space in a city without air. It’s the era of greed, when the poor are objects of scorn not sympathy, and the gentrifiers view themselves as urban pioneers. This is a story about sex and drugs and real estate. This is a story about a murder.

How long did it take to write the book?

The initial draft of Loisaida was written in the mid-90’s.  There was something I knew I hadn’t gotten right, and so I put it away for many years. In 2007, I woke up one morning knowing that I had to rewrite one of the characters, even changing her nationality.  Then 2008, I submitted the novel to the online writers’ site, Authonomy where I allowed others to pick it apart and made more changes. The answer is the novel took much longer than it should have!

What inspired you to write the book?

Sex, drugs and real estate are three areas that each sometimes create a nexus where people from different backgrounds may interact.  Loisaida is more than anything about life within that nexcus.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I quit my job and ran away to write the bulk of the draft.  I was living in cabana on a beach somewhere in Mexico.  I wrote every day on a laptop that had to be stored in hotel’s office safe when not in use.  I connected it using a “socket-theif) to the one light fixture in my room.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

The book is written using multiple points of view to tell the story.  I hope the reader will come away with a sense of connection to people who aren’t always sympathetic and may be very different from the reader.

Where can we go to buy your book?

The e-book version is available in all formats at all the e-book stores including the Kindle Store, the I-Bookstore, Barnes &Noble etc.  The print version is available at Amazon and other online sellers. It can be special ordered by any bookstores.  It is always available at a discount through Caradeloca Press (http://www.caradelocapress.com/?page_id=18)

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

My blog http://www.marionstein.net

Excerpt from book:

Outside of 5C, Patrol officer Teri Conner is talking in what her partner Thomas Garcia calls her “loud-soft” voice, trying to coax whoever is inside to answer. Garcia meanwhile pushes the door, which has a little give. Then he takes it – bashing it open with his shoulder once it’s clear that whatever is holding it shut isn’t very strong. Teri, the junior officer, knows he shouldn’t have done that without permission from a sergeant.

They step inside and there’s the dead junkie a few feet in front of them. Garcia pulls out his piece, holds it in both hands, points it at the corpse and shouts, “Freeze motherfucker.”

He laughs and repeats the phrase, this time clearly for her benefit, “Freeze motherfucker.”

Teri snorts, not worth wasting words. The junkie is wearing jeans, no shirt. The belt still around his arm. Syringe on the desk, next to the computer. He must have been sitting on the chair when he shot, then fell over. Teri takes a quick look at the screen, the green letters still glowing. Her days as a secretary are useful. Document names. One is highlighted, titled: Prologue. The cursor blinks below the “P” like a beating heart.

The apartment is orderly, more so than the chaos they usually see. He was someone, Teri thinks. He belonged to someone.

And then despite herself, she’s remembering visiting her kid brother, Shawn, in the hospital after he OD’d.

The EMTs cracked a couple of ribs doing CPR. He pointed out the bruises and talked about suing the city. She gave him the look, and he gave her the “just kidding” grin.

“A joke! Really, I’m going into treatment. Swear to God.”

And he had. Then dead within a year. He was dealing small amounts of coke in their Queens neighborhood. Pissed off some Colombians, the new kids in Elmhurst, and they blew him away.

Teri was working in an office, thinking about nursing school. But after that, she decided to apply to the academy. Just wanted the chance to get some bad guys.

Her mother between drags of portable oxygen and nicotine rasped, “Honey, I loved your brother to death. But shit, to most people, he was the bad guys.”

Now here she is, a year and a half later in a strange apartment, standing over another young corpse. Bloated and stinking.

The deceased is around six feet tall, blond and blue. His eyes are open, starting to swell, and Teri wishes she could shut them or at least cover the body.

They radio the station, and wait for their sergeant and EMS.

Garcia pushes up an already open window.

“We’re not supposed to touch anything,” Teri shouts.

“What? You think you at a fuckin murder scene? This could take time.”

“It’s procedure.”

“Shit.” He goes downstairs. She stays with the body. The apartment door is open and the smell is bearable.

Alone with the dead man, she wonders if she could be at a fuckin murder scene. He looks familiar, but she can’t place him. The couch is leather and not too shabby, the computer – name brand, state of the art. She notices the books – Stanislavsky, On Acting, Kerouac, On The Road.

Who was this beautiful white boy with the armful of tracks, the books on the shelf, barely worn Armani jacket draped over a chair?

It doesn’t surprise her when the sergeant walks in accompanied by Detective Ouspenski, homicide.

“Did you touch anything?” Ouspenski asks.

“No sir.”

“Good girl.”

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Joseph Robert Lewis – Heirs of Mars

Title: Heirs of Mars

Author: Joseph Robert Lewis

ASIN: B0049H94G6

Page count: 300

Genre: Science fiction

Price: $2.99

Author Bio:

Joseph Robert Lewis (1979 – Right Now) began writing novels after a decade of writing and publishing about military theory and history, science and technology, politics and economics, and the real-life stories of soldiers, adventurers, and entrepreneurs.

Tell us about your book:

The dream that was Mars has become a nightmare for the children born there.

To save New Troy from falling birth rates, Asher Radescu secretly clones people in the back of his old truck. To save New Troy from despair, Claudia Cruz hosts the most popular racing show on two worlds. And to save the city from destruction, they’ll rally persecuted cloners, resurrected colonists, and racing celebrities to fight homicidal AIs.

HEIRS OF MARS follows the lives of six men and women through the final days of the first war on Mars, a war between humans, machines, and the resurrected souls who aren’t truly one or the other.

But even if they survive the war, there is no escape from the red planet.

How long did it take to write the book?

Three months, which I know is rather fast, but I promise I took my time!

What inspired you to write the book?

Heirs of Mars is a combination of ideas that I’ve been thinking about for several years: colonizing the solar system, artificial intelligence, cloning, identity crises, life in a predominantly digital culture. I’ve always wanted to do something similar to Dune, combining epic tragedy with thoughtful political commentary. Sadly, Heirs is not like Dune. It’s far more personal than epic. But I think it has the same spirit.

Also, I’ve always been intrigued by the notion of a robot civil war because it implies competing robot ideologies and other human characteristics, but distorted by centuries-long lifespans and very different survival needs. Naturally, this idea came to me from the 1980s cartoon, The Transformers.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I do have a writing process, which developed over the years writing my trunk novels. First I do tons of research about anything and everything I might possibly use. Science, technology, history, politics, biographies, etc. Then I sit around mushing ideas together until a sort of logical patterns pops up. Aha! This technology could solve that social problem, but cause that personal problem, and so on. Then I obsess about who my characters are and why anyone should care about them, or enjoy reading about them. When I have enough ideas and a really strong sense of who my characters are, I just jump in and hope for the best.

And I force myself to write at least 1,000 words a day. Good or bad, I need to be productive.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I’d like to expose readers to some new ideas about science and technology, or the relationship between technology and society. But I’d also like to show readers a wider variety of heroes in the SF genre. What sort of variety? Well, you’ll just have to read the book.

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0049H94G6/

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
The book release announcement: http://josephrobertlewis.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/release-day-heirs-of-mars/

The book’s webpage (featuring free tie-in short stories): http://josephrobertlewis.wordpress.com/books/heirs-of-mars/

Excerpt from book:

Asher glanced both ways down the hall. “Can we talk inside? It’s a bit sensitive.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know you.” Her smile returned, lip twitching with uncertainty, eyes wavering and darting.

“Oh. Right. Sorry.” Idiot! You’re a complete stranger smeared in blood. He lowered his voice and leaned forward. “Last name is Radescu. I’m a surveyor, based out of New Troy. You can look me up—”

“I am.” Her eyes darted to one side and he waited for her to consult the display on the inside wall of her room. “Asher Radescu, age 34, geologist and metallurgist. I’m sorry, that’s Doctor Radescu, I suppose. PhD from U of NT. Divorced. No address?”

“I pretty much live in my truck with my team. We spend most of our time on the road. We’re here delivering parts for one of your turbines, actually.” Well, Priya’s delivering the parts. Martin’s either with a patient or still in the truck, writing yet another angry letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. And I’m here.

“You live in a truck? That sounds…nice.” She wrinkled her nose and frowned. Her arm blocking the doorway shivered and her shoulders sagged a bit. “But I don’t need any parts or surveying right now. Thanks.”

“No, I know. That’s not why I’m here.” He glanced around the empty hall again, and whispered, “I’ve come to talk to you about making a donation.”

“I’m a poet, Doctor Radescu. And in the noble and timeless tradition of all true poets, I don’t have any money.”

He shook his head. “I’m not here about your money. I’m here about your ghost.”

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