Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tuesday Tease - Justice 4.1 by Jim Webster

We have a sci-fi thriller for this week's Tuesday Tease with an excerpt from Jim Webster's novel 'Justice 4.1'. I read this a few week's back and enjoyed it a lot!

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Haldar turned back to Janson. “Do you have the DNA and associated data for those sample genotypes?”

“Yes, they are all on file here except for Genotype 1a/ Croton for which we have no data.” 

“If my friend here gives you a Grorin-tech sample key could you read it and say whether there are similarities between it and the samples?”

Again the pause, then Janson came to a decision. “If you have secondary authorisation to go with the sample key the answer is yes.”

Toulis reached into his jacket and produced both the sample key and a second plastic strip, of similar size which he handed to Janson. Janson slid both into a reader built into the desk. He withdrew them and handed them back to Toulis. “Yes, I am authorised to tell you. The match between samples and key is excellent. I am forced to assume that the person whose key you have given me is the person who supplied the initial genetic material.”

Toulis laid a hand on Haldar’s shoulder to forestall his next question and asked, “Does it show on your files how and when the initial genetic material entered your system.”

“It appears that the key-holder gave permission just over six standard years ago, perhaps a year before the genotypes were created.”

Toulis said quickly, “Appears?”

“The nature of the permission is not documented.” Janson’s voice sounded distracted. “Ah here it is, a note that authorisation was via courier, who carried on them appropriate consent.”

Haldar asked, casually. “Are you allowed to tell us what genotypes were made, just so we know what the samples are?”

Janson replied without pause. “You have the samples, you can work it out for yourself within a few months, and hence confidentiality isn’t breached by telling you. There was a range of genotypes created. Some were standard; for some reason field workers are popular. We assume that people buy many genotypes with the intention that the out-crossing will produce hybrid vigour whilst keeping the docility. Also there were maintenance techs...”

Here Haldar interrupted, “Are they the three foot tall idiot savants?”

“The preferred term is ‘appropriately sized, with appropriate intelligence’” Janson answered smoothly, “But yes, they’re the ones. We also have here a short run of thin atmosphere types. They’re unusual; we probably had an order in when we were working on the sample, and produced a few because patrons obviously want a wide variety of genotypes in their new population.”

Haldar asked, “So all these would be available in both male and female then?”

“Yes. Obviously you’d need a population which bred true, but there are only certain traits that you would lock in, other traits would be allowed to drift to try and counter the effect of having too small a gene pool.”

“You said they were the standard ones, were there any non-standard ones?” 

Janson’s voice remained emotionless. “Yes, several different types. There was a female escort variant; these are widely popular on a huge variety of worlds. There was also a male variant.”
“A male escort?” Haldar asked.

“Yes, more specialist, tailored to suit the more specialist and discerning male and female clientele. We tend to enhance the musculature as well as make them naturally depilated.” Janson seemed to be contemplating something. “There is one here I must confess that I never noticed. A naturally coprophagous modification, created with the idea being that they would be maintenance techs for a sewage system.” Janson seemed to be musing aloud. “An interesting concept, bold even; but I cannot understand why there was an insistence on a strong hereditability of facial features.”

“Oh I can,” said Toulis quietly.

Janson seemed to be lost in thought so Haldar asked, “Is that it?” 

“I think that is all I can tell you; given the samples you have fetched me.” 

“Can you give me an idea of how many may have been born?”

Janson was briefly silent. “No, that isn’t data we collect. But I can tell you that over seven thousand units were delivered, and the facility was live for some years. So assuming standard work rates, perhaps four thousand are now implanted or have experienced parturition.” 

“And all these produce self replicating populations?” 

“No, both male and female escorts are naturally infertile. Clients seem to prefer it.”

Toulis said in a small voice, “I think I need a drink. Does coprophagous mean what I think it means?”
“Dung eating,” Bartan answered, “We’ve a fine selection of coprophagous insects on New Charity.” As Toulis stared at him he added, defensively, “We’re an agricultural world, everyone knows this kind of stuff.”

Haldar turned away from his two colleagues and looked back to Janson. “My superiors will probably be in touch with Grorin-tech. Until then I am sure you can understand that we would be grateful if you didn’t discuss this discussion with anyone outside your organisation.” 

“And especially with our client?” Janson asked.

“I would not like it to prejudice our investigation.”

Janson’s voice remained impassive. “I doubt the topic will arise in discussion, and if not raised, we will not raise it.” Janson pressed a button. “Our doorman will escort you out.”

* * *

Toulis slumped in a chair at the nearest bar. “Wayland Strang is going to go berserk,” he intoned, to on one in particular. Bartan thrust a drink into his hand. Toulis looked at the drink without it appearing to register. “He’ll kill us all, and probably everyone else as well.”

Bartan guided Toulis’ hand to his mouth. “Come on, drink up. It might not be that bad.”
“Not that bad? I’ve got to waltz into his office and say ‘excuse me Sir, but six years ago someone very senior in your organisation handed your DNA over to Grorin-tech and now you’re the proud father of a race of shit eating, barely sentient, sewer maintenance techs.” He drank off his drink in one. “Oh yes, and every tart and catamite in fifty systems is going to look like you as well.” Toulis drained his glass. “And there is nothing he can do about it. His children are out there on scores of worlds.”
Click here to buy Justice 4.1 from Amazon US / Amazon UK

About the Author:

Jim Webster’s first book burst onto an uncaring world in 2011, but in truth he’d been a professional writer for thirty or more years before that as a freelance journalist. 

His books, whether Fantasy or Science Fiction tend to be adventure stories. One reviewer commented that “He writes some excellent fight scenes, action packed but believable. He also writes with a whimsical humour which I very much enjoy.”

In spite of all this he has been married to the same long suffering lady for almost thirty years, has three daughters, farms a bit and drinks too much good coffee.

Some, but not all of the above, can be explained away by pointing out he lives near, but not in, the fine Metropolis of Barrow-in-Furness.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Book Shout Out - The Witch, The Wolf and The Vampire by A K Michaels

As we countdown to the Sun Dragon release I take a closer look at the books generously provided by various authors as part of the launch event. We start with A K Michaels's paranormal romance 'The Witch, The Wolf and The Vampire'. Find out more below.

If you haven't joined the Sun Dragon launch event yet then you can join the fun here:


Click on image to buy from Amazon

Urban Fantasy: Peri has been running since she was fifteen - using her magic to stay safe. 'They' can track her magic tho, so she has to use it sparingly. In Vegas, for a cash in hand job, and things turn nasty! She knows the amount of magic she would have to use to escape unscathed would bring 'them' right to her. Before she can use the vast magic required two males appear and aid her. One a wolf, one an ancient vampire. Josef, the vampire, and Gabe, the wolf, are more than a little interested in this skinny girl. What ensues shocks both of the strong males - this girl is more than a stray, more than a witch - it looks like she is a mate - for both of them!? Will Peri stay? Will they keep her safe? Who, if any, of the two will she choose? Just how much power does this stripling of a girl have locked inside her? Adult content in this book!

Click here to buy The Witch, The Wolf and The Vampire from Amazon US / Amazon UK

Guest Author Interview - Jim Vuksic

In this week's Guest Author Interview I meet Jim Vuksic to discuss his novel 'Levels' Find out more below:

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Please introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Jim Vuksic, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; but attended St. Mark Seminary in Erie, Pennsylvania from 1961 through 1965.

After leaving the seminary, I enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and am a Vietnam veteran. Upon being released from active duty, I was hired by the H.J. Heinz Company and stuck around for 33 years, until retiring as the manager of the company's Pittsburgh facility in 2001.

My late wife and I had five children together and were loving partners for 35 1/2 years. I am now the proud father of four adult children and grandfather of four wonderful grandchildren.

What first inspired you to start writing?
Writing a novel was actually just one of several goals, included in a bucket list, that my late wife insisted that I create when I retired.

Where did the idea for "Levels" come from?
I often speculated upon what it would take to create and sustain a social structure in which everone, without exception, has access to the exact same quantity and quality of food, clothing, housing, formal education, medical care, and social advancement opportunities. "Levels" is my attempt to create such a world. Readers must determine if I have succeeded or failed.

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
Robert E. Lee. Although eventually proven not to be infallible or invincible, as many on both sides of the American Civil War initially believed, General Lee was truly an honorable, humble, and honest man. Such virtues have been, are now, and probably always will be in short supply.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Being a writer is the closest any human can come to being a god. A writer can create worlds, people, and situations, with no restrictions to limit the possibilities.

And the most challenging?
For me, the most challenging aspect was the conceptual editing phase of the publishing process. Every writer believes that producing a completed, polished manuscript is a great accomplishment. To be made aware by a professional conceptual editor that their completed, polished work is not yet complete nor polished is a humbling experience.

What are you reading at the moment?
I am half-way through "A Game of Thrones"; the first book of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series.

What are you working on at the moment?
As explained in a previous response, writing a novel was just one of several goals that made up the bucket list created when I retired. I am presently in the process of completing the last of those goals -visiting all 50 states by car (43 down - 7 to go!). Between that, staying in touch with my children and grandchildren, and a fairly active social life, I may never find time to write another book.

Tell us aout your latest release and how we can find out more.
"Levels" tells a story about the end result of a social experiment conducted by a dedicated group of men and women to eliminate all of the institutions, philosophies, and bad behavior in general which they believed contributed to the downfall of previous societies.

The reader accompanies Jonathan and his companions, who have just completed their formal primary education and indoctrination, as they set out to prove worthy of advancement within their social structure, so that they may discover more about their world and those who control it.

More information is available on the novel's website, created and maintained by the publisher: http://jimvuksic.tateauthor.com/

Click here to buy Levels from Amazon US / Amazon UK

Sunday, 19 October 2014

November Short Fiction Contest

Image Credit - The Tower of Babel by the Belgian artist Paul Gosselin
Welcome to November's Short Fiction Contest here on The Cult of Me blog. With SUn Dragon about to be released I was tempted to go for a science fiction them. Until I discovered this very interesting image of the Tower of Babel. I'm sure there are many fascinating stories that can be inspired by this picture.

As always the stories can be of any genre. They just have to be inspired by this month's image and no more than 500 words.

Entry to the contest remains free and there are prizes for the three winners. I will also feature any of the stories that don't win but I believe are worth showcasing on this blog.
  • First prize is a £50 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
  • Second prize is a £20 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
  • Thirds prize is a £10 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
The money for the prizes come out of my own pocket, although I do make a little from advertising on this blog. So if you see something of interest then feel free to click on the links and purchase away! If you haven't tried my books yet then check them out at the top of the page, as well as buying a good read you'll be helping this contest.

Please make sure to check your story for typos before submitting. I don't mind a few errors, but my enjoyment of a story is diminished if I have to wade through too many.

I'll post the winning entries by December 1st 2014.

As with everything in life there are a few rules:

  • Only one entry per person.
  • The story must not be longer than 500 words.
  • Closing date for submissions is November 23rd 2014.
  • By submitting the story you grant me a non-exclusive license to post the story on this blog. I do ask that I post it here first.
  • You also grant me a one time non-exclusive license to include the story in an e-book release.
  • The judges decision is final.

Use the form below to enter your submission. After you've submitted please leave a comment on this page stating that you have submitted. And please help spread the word. Great stories deserve great readers!

As well as comments section below you can chat about this competition in any of the threads I've listed below. If you don't know the sites then entering the competition is a good way to introduce yourself. Note that these sites are not affiliated with the competition in any way!

KUF: http://www.kuforum.co.uk/kindleusersforum/thread-13760.html

Goodreads (UK Amazon kindle Forum group): http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/977021-michael-brookes-horror-science-fiction

Kboards: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,152168.0.html

If you've started you're own thread or discussion somewhere about this month's competition then let me know and I'll add the link to this page.

More Authors Join the Sun Dragon Launch Party

Yesterday I announced that several authors had generously donated their books as prizes for giveaways and fun contests throughout the twelve hour long virtual launch party on November 1st for Sun Dragon. Well, four more authors have provided copies of the books so there'll be a fantastic range of books and prizes to be won. But you can only win if you're at the party! Join the fun at the link below:


And here are the new books on offer:

Norm Hamilton has provided two e-book copies and a signed paperback for his novel 'From Thine Own Well'.

From Mark Matthews we have an e-book copy of 'MILK BLOOD'.

Keen drabblist Nav Logan has donated Kindle copies of the complete collection of his Storm Bringer Saga that have been released so far.

And Tim Arnot is giving a signed paperback copy for his novel 'Wanted'.

There's some great prizes for readers in this launch event and there's only 13 days left before it all begins!

My Books on Goodreads