Friday, November 24, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for November 24, 2017

It's time again for a special Thanksgiving edition of our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Star Trek Discovery, Justice League, The Punisher, Blade Runner 2049, Future Man as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding campaigns, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Comments on Star Trek Discovery:

Comments on Justice League:

Comments on The Punisher

Comments on Blade Runner 2049

Comments on Future Man


Writing, publishing and promotion:




Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Evolution's Child by Dean Rencraft

Release date: October 25, 2017
Subgenre: Dytopian fiction, Genetic engineering

About Evolution's Child:


The government is playing a dangerous game. Using human and animal genomes to force evolutionary changes, they expand their project into the real world, unleashing a pathogen containing an entirely new set of complications for the world.

Seventeen year old Wren Shaffer is disenchanted with the world's decreasing values and the utterly fake nature of high society. Having reaped the consequences of speaking out once before, now she hides behind a pretty mask of lies, counting the days until her eighteenth birthday.

Coming back from vacation with her disinterested and self-involved mother, Wren is one of the 1% severely affected by the pathogen. Now, alone and increasingly afraid of the odd new feelings and abilities she can't ignore, she bonds with two of the lab's original subjects, who are determined to save her not only from her first evolution, but from her life of fake smiles and pretty pictures as well.

But the scientists are still watching and not all of the subjects are fit for society. It’s a race against time and a fight for survival and if Wren or one of her new soul-mates die, the other two won't be far behind.

Content Warning: Some explicit language and graphic violence.



“Can I help you?” she asked calmly, not even trying to free his grasp in her haste.
“You’re one of them aren’t you?” he hissed, his brown eyes sparking with a maniacal light.
“I’m sorry?” Wren lowered her voice and looked at him more closely. “Who are you?” she asked. There was a sharp pinch in her arm, followed by a stinging pain and Wren looked to see that something in his hand had cut a small thin line across her skin. She watched as several tiny bubbles formed and then stilled. Stunned, she pulled her arm from his tight grip and was surprised when she needed to use some of her new found strength to manage it. Alarmed now, she pushed against the boy’s chest and made him stumble before righting himself once more, his intense gaze still locked to her own.
“What’s going on?” Jake asked as he and Jayden finally pushed through the thinning horde.
Wren didn’t move her eyes from the boy, not sure what she was feeling but knowing something was horribly wrong. “He isn’t right,” she whispered for their ears alone, making Jayden smoothly step between them as Jake moved closer to the kid, who was now glaring at all three of them, the fire in his eyes brighter and hotter than it had been.
“Who are you?” Jake asked, making the youth turn his head to focus on the tall young man, easily twice his weight and looking serious and intimidating in all black with a scowl marring his perfect features.
“You’ll all die you know,” he rasped. “Every one of you… you shouldn’t be here.” With those damning words the boy turned to Wren and slashed out at her with something she couldn’t see, nimbly dodging past Jake and Jayden to reach her.
“Especially you,” the sinister voice turned harder and his eyes grew bright with hate and malice as he started laughing, ducking under and around the two sets of arms trying to discreetly catch him.
“You’re worse than they are… you’ll be worse than them all!” with those final malevolent words, the boy twisted so quickly that they all missed his advance, slashing low and inside of her defense, squarely catching her right side just above the hip. She gasped and jumped back at the sharp sting of pain that quickly started to burn as it moved through her. Too distracted to see where the little demon had gone, but knowing he had left by the guy’s low curses and the sense of determined pursuit from Jake, Wren sat down abruptly, feeling waves of nausea and dizziness rushing through her and adding to the pain that continued to escalate in its intensity.


About Dean Rencraft:

Dean Rencraft is an eclectic and enthusiastic reader of all genres and a new Author of Epic fantasy/fantasy, appropriate for both teens and adults. Born in the beautiful Black Hills, Dean has traveled extensively and now, as a parent with grown children, enjoys spending time reading, researching, camping and hiking. Legally blind and a long term victim of APS, writing is now the Author's greatest joy and main pursuit, escaping into the world of Fantasy and using the proceeds for experimental treatments and technology. 


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Taken By The Tigerlord (Space Shifters Chronicles, Book 2) by Kara Lockharte

Release date: November 15, 2017
Subgenre: Science fiction shift romance

About Taken By The Tigerlord:


He loved, lied, then left her.
Now she's supposed to marry him?!

Newly disowned princess Seria is tired of shifters trying to control her destiny. All Seria wants is to return to the orderly librarian life she had before scheming royals got involved in her future. But when she inadvertently becomes a political pawn trapped in marriage to the handsome oversexed tigershifter who betrayed her, it will take all of her resourcefulness to fight her true desires...

Destiny says she's his.
And that he will cause her death.

Tigerlord Kai of the House of Stargazer has always known he was destined to die a hero. But when a power play for his position drops his luscious fated mate into his inner sanctum, Kai realizes Seria's crucial role in his doomed destiny. Saving the universe will require sacrificing not only his life, but also hers. It’s a fate he’ll do anything to change, even if it costs him her love…

You can’t fight fate…unless you’re a Tigerlord…..




When humanity ventured beyond First Earth, they found kin among the stars. Engineered from human DNA as living weapons, the ancient Ealen had scattered werewolves and tigershifters across various star systems thousands of years ago. When the Ealen went extinct, the tigers and wolves forged themselves into rival galactic empires contesting the planets of their makers.
Millennia of near constant warfare between the tigers and wolves ended two hundred years ago, when the humans of the United Coalition of First Earth reached the stars and brokered a cold peace that has prevented massive scale war.
Until now.


Chapter 1

Day 447, Eighth Month, Year 2257
Kalasharv Castle, House Stargazer, Tigrantine Empire, Altai

If I could make it to the next balcony and jump, the cliff would break my fall.
Free-climbing across a weathered stone wall a couple of hundred clicks in the air, while wearing an itchy wedding bodice required intense focus. Specifically, not looking down.
I made the mistake of glancing below. The maw of the canyon gaped, unending in its darkness. The world started to spin while terror grabbed at my stomach.
I squeezed my eyes shut and willed my breathing to slow.
When I finally opened my eyes again, I could see a group of dactyls, each the size of a man’s head, their leathery wings fluttering. Brutal but effective security against exactly what I was doing. With a makeshift blow gun while my captors weren’t watching, I had been slowly depopulating the swarm that nested just below my balcony. I’d never get rid of them all, I had killed enough of the toothy things to give me a chance of escape. There were sensors undoubtedly embedded in the wall and some silent alarm was probably going off somewhere. But if I could get to the next balcony quickly, it wouldn’t matter. The flight suit I had snuck into my rooms, and now wore over the stupid bodice, would complete its charging by then, enough for a short flight out of the castle boundaries.
If it actually worked.
I didn’t have much experience with flight suits, any to be exact, and the wedding bodice I wore underneath it made it itch.
My handhold disintegrated and I fumbled at the marble head of a snarling dragon.
It seemed like forever, but eventually, I got to the balcony railing. In relative safety, I leaned against one of the door-flanking columns while sweat poured from my skin.
I had captured space pirates, escaped from the Alpha of Nightclaw and journeyed my way across the universe to see the Kai. But the prospect of truly coming face to face with the Tigerlord-who-never-told-me-who-he-really-was brought a bitter realization to me — if I stayed, I would be instrumental in his downfall and I couldn’t let that happen. Escape was the only option.
The lights in the room adjoining the balcony flickered on and my pulse jumped to a million beats a second. I melted into the wall.
Calm down. The chances that whoever it was would come out to the balcony were small.
The inner doors opened. Kai’s voice filtered through.
No. It couldn’t be. | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Amazon Australia | Goodreads


About Kara Lockharte:

Kara Lockharte is the author of the Space Shifter Chronicles. She loves writing romances with sexy alpha alien shifters and strong heroines.

She lives on Planet Earth


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Author Central | BookBub


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Shattered Earth (Shamans & Shifters Space Opera, Book 3) by Jenny Schwartz

Release date: November 20, 2017
Subgenre: Science fiction romance, space opera

About Shattered Earth:


The scum of the galaxy are using Earth as a nuclear winter death camp. It outrages pirate captain Kohia Jekyll’s sense of justice. No one deserves to die agonizingly of radiation poisoning, especially not on the planet humanity had to evacuate seven generations ago. So Kohia intends to close the prison camp down.

She didn’t count on an infuriating shaman healer hitching a ride aboard her starship.

Nairo Bloodstone isn’t going to Earth to be a hero. He learned the hard way that when you’re a healer, doing your best for people is never enough. One miracle leads them to demand another and another. Heroes die exhausted and alone, and the galaxy continues with billions of people still clamoring for a miracle-worker to save them.

No, Nairo isn't going to Earth to be a hero. He intends to change what it means to be human.

"Shattered Earth" is a stand-alone novella in the Shamans & Shifters Space Opera series.



Just her name, said in Nairo Bloodstone’s smooth voice, and the low simmer of arousal in Kohia heated to real wanting. Damn him.
Nairo was the second man forced on the Stealth, and the one she’d known she’d have no chance of refusing. He’d invited himself aboard when he’d heard of her mission. “The chance for me to study Earth’s sha energy flows will be invaluable to my research, especially with shifters present.”
The Conclave had immediately agreed to his request. Hell, they’d have agreed if he’d asked for a harem of hundreds and all the gold on Corsairs. And with Corsairs main industry being piracy, that was a lot of gold.
“Is that all your luggage?” Kohia looked at the duffel bag Nairo carried, then frowned at his nod. The duffel bag was no larger than Aaron’s crew satchel. Kohia wasn’t used to civilians being so restrained. Then again, Nairo was the definition of control—which strummed all of Kohia’s instincts in the naughtiest of ways. Down, girl.
She hadn’t realized that she’d moved to block his access to the Stealth until he halted in front of her. She was tall. He was taller. Nairo matched Aaron for height, although he lacked the Freel’s heavily muscled build. Instead, Nairo had a lean, athletic body that suggested speed and endurance.
He waited. Without a word, simply by being there, he challenged her authority. Or perhaps it was more personal. He unnerved her.
She was captain of the Stealth, but she couldn’t deny him the right to board. So she stepped to the side and gestured extravagantly. “Welcome aboard, Shaman Bloodstone.” Her formality mocked him.
“Please introduce me to your crew as Nairo. Titles aren’t important to me, Captain Jekyll.” She’d been “Kohia” to him a minute before. Now he turned her formality back on her.
She leaned into the cargo hold. “Hami!”
“You bellowed?” But it wasn’t Hami who answered her shout. The Stealth’s engineer, Augustus Clarke, emerged wiping his hands on a greasy cloth. “Hami’s getting the new guy settled.” Clarke measured Nairo with a glance, and apparently the shaman passed. “Heard you out here. Nairo, I’m Clarke, engineer, and the only reasonable person aboard the Stealth. I’ll show you to the guest cabin.”
Nairo returned the handshake and followed the engineer.
Both men ignored Kohia.
She snorted. She’d feared her crew wouldn’t share her reservations about the shaman. To the shifters of Corsairs, he was their Big Hope.
A few weeks ago, Kohia’s newly discovered shaman cousin, Jaya, had triggered a shift in a wolf shifter. Vulf Trent hadn’t turned into an ordinary wolf, but into an inorganic robot wolf.
None of the shifters minded that Vulf had turned into a robot wolf. They just envied that he could shift and let his animal run free.
Since humanity had been forced to evacuate Earth seven generations ago, shifters had found themselves unable to shift form. Losing access to their primal selves hurt their souls in a profound way. They couldn’t realize their full potential, couldn’t be all that they were meant to be. That loss had shaped how the shifter clans established themselves in the galaxy.


About Jenny Schwartz:

Jenny Schwartz was born to write. Her high school yearbook even predicted she'd become an author! Whether it's paranormal romance, science fiction or any of the other genres she's written, Jenny's one non-negotiable point is that there's a happy ending to the story. Her own happy-ever-after involves living by the sea. Imagine it: walking from your home, down the beach path to dig your bare toes into the sand, while you watch whales swim past, and all with a mug of hot coffee in your hands. Heaven.



Monday, November 20, 2017

Where Nightmares Come From - The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre, edited by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene Johnson

Release date: November 17, 2017
Subgenre: Non-fiction anthology, Writing advice

About Where Nightmares Come From - The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre



Book one in Crystal Lake Publishing’s The Dream Weaver series, Where Nightmares Come From focuses on the art of storytelling in the Horror genre, taking an idea from conception to reality—whether you prefer short stories, novels, films, or comics.

Featuring in-depth articles and interviews by Joe R. Lansdale (Hap & Leonard series), Clive Barker (Books of Blood), John Connolly (Charlie Parker series), Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King (IT), Christopher Golden (Ararat), Charlaine Harris (Midnight, Texas), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series), Kevin J. Anderson (Tales of Dune), Craig Engler (Z Nation), and many more.

The full non-fiction anthology lineup includes:
  • Introduction by William F. Nolan
  • IT’S THE STORY TELLER by Joe R. Lansdale
  • A-Z OF HORROR of Clive Barker
  • WHY HORROR? by Mark Alan Miller
  • PIXELATED SHADOWS by Michael Paul Gonzalez
  • LIKE CURSES by Ray Garton
  • HORROR IS A STATE OF MIND by Tim Waggoner
  • BRINGING AN IDEA TO LIFE by Mercedes M. Yardley
  • THE PROCESS OF A TALE by Ramsey Campbell
  • THE STORY OF A STORY by Mort Castle
  • WRITING ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW with Christopher Golden, Kevin J. Anderson, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • THE REEL CREEPS by Lisa Morton
  • THE MONSTER SQUAD by Jess Landry
  • WHAT SCARES YOU by Marv Wolfman
  • CREATING MAGIC FROM A BLANK PIECE OF PAPER: Del Howison interviews Tom Holland, Amber Benson, Fred Dekker, and Kevin Tenney
  • WHAT NOW? by John Palisano

This collection is perfect for…
  • writers of all genres
  • authors looking for motivation and/or inspiration
  • authors seeking guidance
  • struggling authors searching for career advice
  • authors interested in improving their craft
  • writers interested in comics
  • authors looking into screenwriting and films
  • horror fans in general
  • those looking to better understand the different story formats
  • authors planning on infiltrating a different field in horror writing
  • artists trying to establish a name brand
  • authors looking to get published

Come listen to the legends…

Cover design by Luke Spooner. Edited by Joe Mynhardt & Eugene Johnson.

Brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.





The Spooky Arts

William F. Nolan

Dip into any section of this book and you will learn something.
High praise, but a true statement. There are many pieces one can delve into along the way, as this is not simply another “how-to” effort; the contents within range from inspiration and molding concepts, to the way revision impacts the final draft, to the reasons stories are changed for other media. While not an instruction manual per se, this volume does instruct; all one must do is be receptive to different ideas and points-of-view. In fact, any one of these essays or interviews will do the job: teach you how to create or adapt works professionally for print or multimedia, taking you inside the scary business of fashioning memorable tales, with an emphasis on stories of shock and terror. Your guides include, to name just a few of the 30-plus stellar talents in this comprehensive volume, the capable insights of Kevin J. Anderson (as part of a roundtable discussion), Elizabeth Massie (“Playing in Someone Else’s Haunted House”), Tim Waggoner (“Horror is a State of Mind”), and Mort Castle (“The Story of a Story”). Here, in these pages, you are made privy to the expert advice that only seasoned veterans can provide.
Open your mind to what they have to tell you as I lay out some of my personal favorites of the treats in store…
None other than the King himself—Stephen King, interviewed along with noted publisher/editor/writer Richard Chizmar—discusses the always tricky tight-rope act of collaboration. Having personally collaborated with George Clayton Johnson, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Jason V Brock, Charles Beaumont, and Ray Russell, I found the King/Chizmar exchange particularly fascinating.
The redoubtable Joe R. Lansdale talks about dreaming your way through a story in “It’s the Storyteller.” As he points out, it is the dreamer, not the dream, who captures the reader. When Joe is telling you a story you know you’re in Lansdale country. That brash Texas voice is always there, always compelling, often funny (Joe has a great sense of humor). Pure folk art.
And Ramsey Campbell’s on board! The always commanding literary lion of Liverpool weighs in with “The Process of a Tale” to offer you a guided tour through one of his moody pieces. From first sentence to last, he takes the reader through several drafts, giving us an inside look at the mechanics of a Campbell story. Here is a man who is at the keys each morning by six a.m., seven days a week. He loves to write, and it shows: A master sharing the secrets of his mastery. Pay attention!


Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook


About Joe Mynhardt:

Joe Mynhardt is a two-time Bram Stoker Award nominated South African publisher, non-fiction (and short story) editor, and online-business mentor.

Joe is the owner and CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing, which he founded in August, 2012. Since then he’s published and edited short stories, novellas, interviews and essays by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, Jonathan Maberry, Graham Masterton, Adam Nevill, Lisa Morton, Elizabeth Massie, Joe McKinney, Joe R. Lansdale, Edward Lee, Paul Tremblay, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Mick Garris, and hundreds more.

Just like Crystal Lake Publishing, which strives to be a platform for launching author careers, Joe believes in reaching out to all authors, new and experienced, and being a beacon of friendship and guidance in the Dark Fiction field.

Joe’s influences stretch from Poe, Doyle, and Lovecraft to King, Connolly, and Gaiman. You can read more about Joe and Crystal Lake Publishing at or find him on Facebook.