No Way Home Is Out Now!

No Way Home Kindle Purchase at:

Amazon

ISBN-13: 978-1508613299

ISBN-10: 150861329X

No Way Home is now available, and the advance reviews have been coming in at a steady clip. This is a collection that we are all quite proud of, and I’m very pleased to say that our readers have been enjoying what we’ve done here. Check out the praise!

Stephanie Lehenbauer says:

This anthology has a great premise. The unifying theme of being stranded grabbed my attention immediately, and the myriad ways that the authors explored the theme kept me interested all the way through. Every story was interesting, well-written, and utilized the theme in a different way. I really appreciated that diversity…

While all of these stories fit firmly into the realm of science fiction, there is enough urban fantasy to interest fans of that genre as well. Also a bit of romance, some horror, and some exploration of literary fiction. If you aren’t a huge sci-fi person, I would still recommend you give this antho a try. It’s got something for everyone.

AK Hinchey writes:

The high calibre of the writing is maintained throughout the book with each author presenting a unique view on an almost dystopian sci fi future….this is a book worth getting. … It’s an ooey gooey slice of literary creative goodness which you need to get as soon as it’s out.

Kath Middleton:

Although any reader is bound to have favourites there wasn’t a duff story in this collection and I found the length of the stories particularly successful. It allowed the reader to engage with the plot and characters in greater depth than is usual in short stories.

On a bit of a more self-centered note, here’s what Dustin Bilyk wrote about my contribution, Revolver:

Revolver had me fired up from start to finish. It was an emotional rollercoaster. I read the bloody thing in the blink of an eye then slumped into my chair, dazed and bug-eyed. It was the most un-sci-fi work in the entire anthology, but Hicks made it work. Moreover, it was a gratifying read, a feel-good story despite the aggressive, powerful writing. You’ll understand what I mean when you give it a go yourself…because you damn well should. Easily my favorite story in the antho.

Damn, Dustin…thank you!

Speaking on the central issue of depression at the root of the story, Time Heist author Anthony Vicino writes:

It’s beautifully painful and horribly consistent with real life. … it’s so refreshing to see Depression dealt with in a factually consistent manner in fiction. It’s an insidious malady precisely because other people can’t see it, can’t understand the reasons behind it, can’t empathize with it. This only compounds the problem for those suffering from the disorder because the question “What do you have to be so sad about?” is unanswerable, and all the more painful because of that fact.

The time we spend inside the main characters mind is beautiful and sad and well worth the price of admission.

Meanwhile, author David Wailing writes:

Revolver by Michael Patrick Hicks, however, takes the ‘shocking’ gold medal. A classic example of social science fiction, this portrays a nightmarish future America with clear roots in the present day. Ironically this story is the furthest away from the ‘stranded’ theme and yet I found it the most gripping.

Many, many thanks to our advance readers and reviewers for their contributions. I expect lots more voices will soon be joining them in the review threads.

No Way Home is now available for purchase at Amazon. For a limited time, to celebrate this new release, the Kindle edition is on sale for only 99 cents!

Please enjoy, and if you have time, please leave a review and be sure to check out the works of my co-authors as well. Cheers!

No Way Home Is Out Now!

Reblog: A review and discussion of ‘Convergence’ by Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks:

This has to be one of the most thoughtful reviews and critiques that my debut novel, Convergence, has enjoyed thus far.

Tommy – thank you for taking the time to write this, and I’m glad the overall reading experience was positive for you. This means a lot!

Originally posted on Tommy Muncie, Writer:

http://www.amazon.com/Convergence-Michael-Patrick-Hicks/dp/149489436X

http://michaelpatrickhicks.com/

To fully discuss why I’ve spent the last two days pouring over this book would mean spoilers for both the novel itself and my own. Although I can’t do this, I can offer up an appreciation of why I felt so engaged by Convergence that my Nook is now stuffed with notes and I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about the implications of being able to record and play back the human memory.

To cut a long story short for my regular readers and my fanbase: if you like what I’ve written about mind powers, their abuse, the addicts, the social rejection/acceptance of them and how they create both amazing advantages and deep-seated fears, please get a copy of Convergence. I’m pretty damn sure you will love this book. Not only are the themes similar, but you get treated like a grown-up: R-rated content, politics…

View original 1,607 more words

Reblog: A review and discussion of ‘Convergence’ by Michael Patrick Hicks

No Way Home Paperback Cover and Launch Party!

We’re only a few days out from launching the science fiction anthology, No Way Home. You should see it go live on Amazon this Monday! In the meantime, here’s a look at the cover art for the paperback edition, designed by Jason Gurley. Give it a click for the full-size version to best soak it all in.

No Way Home CS IMGTo celebrate the release, we’ll be hosting a Facebook Launch Party throughout the day on Monday where we’ll be giving away signed copies of our novels and talking about the No Way Home anthology and all-things sci-fi.

And, be sure to keep an eye on the No Way Home Goodreads page for our giveaway contest. The contest should go live tomorrow and will run until March 12. Five lucky winners will get a free paperback copy! Feel free to click Want to Read in the meantime, though.

No Way Home Paperback Cover and Launch Party!

Review: Apocalypse Weird: The Serenity Strain (Serenity Book 1) by Chris Pourteau

serenitystrainAbout The Serenity Strain

The End of the World starts on the Gulf Coast

Multiple hurricanes wreak unprecedented devastation on Houston, Texas. The Serenity Six—genetically altered test subjects for a viral strain known as Serenity—escape the state prison in Huntsville to gorge their appetite for murder on society’s survivors. They soon become the acolytes of Id, a being of immense power and wanton appetites, who steps into our reality to prosecute mankind and destroy morality. And one family steps up to the fight—a family experiencing its own turmoil caused by a contentious divorce. The Stand meets 28 Days Later in this epic tale of genetic manipulation gone awry. There’s no such thing as an ordinary hero.

About the Author

Currently residing in College Station, Texas, Chris Pourteau has made a living at one time or another as a teacher, a lab technician helping to recover one of Christopher Columbus’s ships, and a technical writer and editor.

If you’d like to say howdy, feel free to email him at c.pourteau.author@gmail.com or visit him at chrispourteau.thirdscribe.com.


My Thoughts

[Note: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the author for review.]

Although we’ve been to Texas before, in Michael Bunker and Nick Cole’s Texocalypse Now, that story was focused on five-year hence in the Apocalypse Weird bookverse. This gives Chris Pourteau a chance to establish how, exactly, the Lone Star State got so wonderfully f’ed up and what some of the survivors went through.

Pourteau’s entry is a wonderful hodge-podge of maniacs, genetic manipulation, and a struggle to survive. Our main protagonists are a separated couple and their daughter, this family forced to reunite under the looming threat of a series of hurricanes. All of this combines to create a cli-fi thriller with some dashes of horror that works tremendously well, and at the time of this writing, might even be my personal favorite in the Apocalypse Weird series thus far.

To top it off, Pourteau introduces the demon Id, a specter birthed in the eye of a hurricane and who has a penchant for frying hapless victims with bolts of lightning. I’m looking forward to her taking on an expanded role in future volumes, but she’s established nicely here and I really dug the formation of a Charles Manson-esque cult devoted to her.

At its core, The Serenity Strain is all about family drama. Whether it’s the anxiety generated from a feuding couple forced into confined spaces and relearning how to cope as a family unit in the wake of separation and distrust, or the burgeoning creation of a twisted hierarchy between the escaped prisoners as they seek Id. It’s really compelling stuff and the twin tales work as counterpoint to the other, helping to elevate what could have simply been a tried-and-true good-versus-evil story into something that’s far more emotionally resonant. Getting to know both of these “families” makes the powerful finale especially meaningful.

I also have to give props to Ben Adams, who created a couple of illustrations for the book, one of Id and one of the book’s primary antagonist’s, Maestro. They’re really beautiful work! (I’m not sure if his art appeared any of the other AW titles, but finding them in this particular ARC was a wonderful surprise). Adams is also responsible for the stunning cover to Michael Bunker’s forthcoming Brother, Frankenstein, so be sure to check out his work. He’s got lots of talent!

Buy The Serenity Strain At Amazon
Review: Apocalypse Weird: The Serenity Strain (Serenity Book 1) by Chris Pourteau

Review: Apocalypse Weird: Reversal (Polar Wyrd Book 1) by Jennifer Ellis

apocalypse weird-reversalAbout Apocalypse Weird: Reversal

Publication date: Feb. 23, 2015

Snow, Volcanoes, and the End of the World

Contrary to Sasha Wood’s expectations, the isolated International Polar Research Station on Ellesmere Island turns out to be an incredibly dangerous assignment. After researchers and sled dogs go missing in a freak storm, distress calls go mysteriously unanswered from the outside world. Cut off and stalked by strange killer polar bears, Sasha and station caretaker, Soren Anderson, must search for their missing colleagues in the frozen tundra as their instruments begin to reveal an incredible truth: The feared magnetic pole reversal has occurred and the north has become the south. Psychotic scientists and giant methane-venting craters are just the beginning of a terrible and weird new reality as the leader of a polar research station down in Antarctica walks out of an otherworldly mist from the other side of the earth. Everything is being turned upside down, literally and figuratively. The Thing meets The Core on the plains of Ellesmere Island somewhere lost inside the Apocalypse Weird.


About the Author

Jennifer lives in the mountains of BC where she can be found writing, spending too much time on skis, and working as an environmental researcher. She also has a PhD and has been known to read tarot cards.

Her Derivatives of Displacement series is science fiction fantasy for middle-graders and adults. Books one and two are available, and book three is coming in 2015. Her second novel is a romance with a dystopic edge entitled In the Shadows of the Mosquito Constellation. She has also contributed to several anthologies, most notably Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel, which hit #16 in the Kindle Store.

You can subscribe to her blog for the latest book news and industry insights at http://www.jenniferellis.ca. She tweets at @jenniferlellis.


My Thoughts

[Note: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the author for review.]

I’m a sucker for arctic survival stories, and have a particular soft-spot for thrillers and horror stories that are set against a snowy, frigid backdrop. So, when I learned that Apocalypse Weird would be venturing to the far north with Jennifer Ellis’s Reversal, I was eager to read it, particularly once I saw The Thing get name-dropped in the description.

I’ve mentioned in my other reviews of Apocalypse Weird titles that I was enjoying how this open-sandbox world was shaping up, and this entry is no different. As with the other titles kicking off the AW launch, there are certain touchstones to help unify it to the larger universe being constructed here but with enough room to maneuver to allow Ellis to tell her own unique story set in a very unique part of the world.

We have mentions of Dr. Midnight, several mysterious URLs, demonic members of the 88, and a deeper look at the day of blindness. All of this is fairly naturally crafted into Ellis’s own narrative about the End Times, which sees a sudden and complete reversal of Earth’s polarity and a central mystery about what, exactly, is happening. And this mystery is where a good amount of fun questioning comes into play – how did a scientist from the antarctic end up in the arctic, why is the polar research station suddenly different, and what’s with all these weird craters that have mysteriously appeared?

This culminates in a heated finale that gives us, perhaps for the first time, a glimpse at the true inner-workings of the Apocalypse Weird universe and an indication of just how expansive the overarching mythology could prove to be as the story builds. As with the other entries, there is a shared expectation of what comes next and further musings over how and when these various series will intersect, but whatever culmination is on the horizon promises to be big. In the meantime, the journey, which is really only just getting started, mind you, is shaping up to be epic and well worth reader’s investment. Keep on rockin’ it, Weirdos!

Buy Reversal On Amazon
Review: Apocalypse Weird: Reversal (Polar Wyrd Book 1) by Jennifer Ellis

Review: Apocalypse Weird: Immunity (Immunity Book 1) by E.E. Giorgi

Immunity_FT_FINALAbout Immunity

Publication date: Feb. 23, 2015

Scorched by fire and the longest drought in recorded history, survivors flee the Land of Enchantment in order to escape a mutated flu virus that turns ordinary people into mass-murderers. Only a few resilient scientists have remained, gathered in one of the last national laboratories still working on a vaccine against the deadly virus.

When the disease starts spreading among the military corps guarding the premises, the laboratory turns into a bloody carnage at the hands of the infected soldiers. Determined to succeed where her mother has failed, immunologist Anu Sharma pairs up with computer geek David Ashberg to find a cure and escape the massacre. Outbreak meets World War Z in the deserts of the Apocalypse Weird.


About the Author

E.E. Giorgi grew up in Tuscany, in a house on a hill that she shared with two dogs, two cats, 5 chickens, and the occasional batches of stick insects, newts and toads her dad would bring home from the lab. Today, E.E. Giorgi is a scientist and an award winning author and photographer. She spends her days analyzing genetic data, her evenings chasing sunsets, and her nights pretending she’s somebody else. On her blog, E.E. discusses science for the inquiring mind, especially the kind that sparks fantastic premises and engaging stories. Her debut novel CHIMERAS, a medical mystery, is a 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award winner.

NEWSLETTER: http://eepurl.com/SPCvT
BLOG: http://chimerasthebooks.blogspot.com/
PORTFOLIO: http://elenaedi.smugmug.com/
G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+EEGiorgi/posts


My Thoughts

[Note: I received an advanced reader’s copy from the author for review.]

Author E.E. Giorgi delves into the Apocalypse Weird world with Immunity. Set in New Mexico, the story focuses on two scientists, Anu and David, who are working to find a cure to the H7N7 flu virus that has devastated Los Angeles (see Nick Cole’s The Red King for the scoop on that) and kicked off a zombie plague.

The writing is crisp and straight-forward, and Giorgi kept me hooked all the way through. After reading Cole and Bunker’s efforts, it was a bit refreshing to discover how tonally different Immunity was, despite being part of a shared universe. The first half of the book is a quieter effort than the other Apocalypse Weird books I’ve read, but certainly no less engaging. Giorgi is focused on the characters first and foremost, along with the science behind the bio-engineered autoimmune flu, and it makes for nifty reading, giving a bit more depth to the interrelated works without making the shared events feel repetitive.

Giorgi draws in several of what are quickly shaping up to be Apocalypse Weird staples: there’s the radio rantings of Dr. Midnight, and although the central villain, General Wick (perhaps short for Wicked?) Naga is not explicitly defined as one of the 88, the text makes it apparent that he is,  and he brings his Black Hand subordinates in tow.

The inciting incident here is the day of darkness, when the whole world went blind for a day, as mentioned in Texocalypse Now, and it drives the back half of the book into all-out action as the plot’s various elements are drawn together in a fiery, adrenaline-fueled climax.

There’s a dash of science, a good bit of conspiracy, and plenty of apocalyptic dread casting a large shadow over the work. Giorgi brings a subtle bit of welcome flavoring to the Apocalypse Weird smorgasbord by taking a techno-thriller approach to the End Times, while fleshing out the AW world in sensible fashion. Immunity is a solid addition to the apocalyptic tapestry taking shape so far.

Buy Immunity At Amazon
Review: Apocalypse Weird: Immunity (Immunity Book 1) by E.E. Giorgi

Review: Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz

Flex-144dpiAbout Flex

March 3, 2015

A desperate father will do anything to heal his daughter in a novel where Breaking Bad meets Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files.

FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form.

But when all of his formulaic magic can’t save his burned daughter, Paul must enter the dangerous world of Flex dealers to heal her. Except he’s never done this before – and the punishment for brewing Flex is army conscription and a total brain-wipe.

File Under: Urban Fantasy


About the Author

FERRETT STEINMETZ is a graduate of both the Clarion Writers’ Workshop and Viable Paradise, and has been nominated for the Nebula Award, for which he remains stoked. Ferrett has a moderately popular blog, The Watchtower of Destruction, wherein he talks about bad puns, relationships, politics, videogames, and more bad puns. Noted online personality, whose letter to his daughter ‘I Hope You Have Awesome Sex’ went viral. He’s written four computer books, including the still-popular-after-two-years Wicked Cool PHP. He lives in Cleveland with his wife, who he couldn’t imagine living without.

Find Ferrett online at theferrett.livejournal.com or follow him @ferretthimself on Twitter.


My Thoughts

[Note: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this title from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.]

Flex is a novel that grabbed me right off the bat, from its evocative cover art to the intense magic-as-a-drug fueled prologue, and sucked me in with Paul’s struggles to cope with and help his tragically burned daughter.

Ferrett Steinmetz is able to quickly construct a familiar world, one where not only is magic real and rightfully dangerous, but which can also be synthesized into a drug called Flex. Needless to say, magic is illegal, with its wielders forced into military service. In the book’s opening pages, Paul learns that he is gifted with ‘mancy, but that it’s use has very real, very serious repercussions. Magic flexes the universe, but that’s not something to simply toy around with because the universe flexes back. And while magic may break the physics that shape our world, it remains true that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And karma, well, she’s a bitch.

After learning that a terrorist named Anathema, who uses the Flex blowback to target her victims, is responsible for nearly killing his daughter, and that the insurance company, who Paul works for, is refusing to cover her treatments, Paul goes into the Flex making business. This is where Steinmetz earns his Breaking Bad comparison, and it’s well-earned. If you’re going to put a magical spin on recent pop culture phenomena, you could do a lot worse than look to that drug dealing drama for inspiration.

One thing that I really appreciated in this title, though, is just how mundane it can be, and that really helps to ground the story. For instance, although magic is dangerous, it’s not exactly sexy. Paul’s powers stem from his love of bureaucracy and filing paperwork, and he’s able to tap into top-secret CIA documents and police reports by magically filing requisition forms. His partner-in-crime, Valentine, is a gamemancer – she’s a video game addict, and her love of Wii and 3DS fuels her magical abilities, along with some healthy inspiration from the Metal Gear Solid series.

It helps, too, that Steinmetz casts his characters are real people, first and foremost. These aren’t part-time models who strut around on the catwalk and then fight crime at night. Paul’s a paper-pusher for an insurance company. An ex-cop, he lost a foot in the line of duty and has a robotic prosthetic that can be a bit ungainly. Valentine is a wonderfully natural heroine, a bit chubby, a bit geeky, a bit sarcastic, and she adopts Paul’s mission as her own out of sincere compassion. They make for a dynamic team, and their relationship shows wonderful growth.

I have to give Steinmetz a lot of credit for inserting as much realism and humanity into the story as he does, and this is a large part of the reason for why the book works as well as it does. It’s clear that a lot of effort went into making the fantastic as relatable as possible, and there’s a terrific amount of world building constructed around the disruption that magic, and its rules, brings to the table. Flex was an absolute delight to read, and my only real lament is that I can’t cast some bureaucromancy of my own to conjure up the sequel right friggin’ now.

Buy Flex At Amazon
Review: Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz