It's Cyber Monday on November 30, 2020!
While you may be shopping for other deals online, why not check out some great books at amazing discounts too! LMBPN has teamed up with our authors and friends to bring you a dozen or so books at great deals! Check them out!
All of these books are either free or deeply discounted and most are also FREE in Kindle Unlimited (a few are wide and aren't eligible for Kindle Unlimited).
Please remember to double-check the price before you one-click.
NEW RELEASES – Not on sale, but free in KU
Solid line up for this week in review
November 22nd- 28th.
Discover what's new here: Week in Review
Skharr has made powerful enemies, but what’s new about that? A Noble wants revenge, and Skharr DeathEater has upset at least one noble willing to pay a high price to kill him. Painfully. Skharr is living in an inn, having spent a large sum of money on a weapon—one he never intends to use. Now, for reasons that have everything to do with trusting the wisdom of another, Skharr has decided to take a gamble on another dungeon. It appears once a year, and every year, the hundreds who enter die. Can he find this dungeon? And if he finds it, can he make it through? Once the door closes, there is only one way out. No one will need to worry about Skharr DeathEater if the dungeon kills him first. One should know a DeathEater will always need killing…twice.
What if they came to you and said they needed you? In 2345, humanity has finally created a Utopia we could be proud of. Unfortunately, we might have been a little short sighted! We have no more: War. Disease. Crime. Heroes! Unfortunately, the constraints require humanity to reach back into our past to teenagers with potential. A group of teenagers is snatched from their own time into a battle with grotesque humanoids possessing a third eye. Will they make the transfer to the future to help humanity? If they do, will they be able to make it back?
How To Be A Badass Witch:
Virtutis gloria merces Translation: Glory is the reward of valor
Fed up with playing the normal game, recent university graduate, ex-cum laude, ex-soccer star, ex-popular and mostly broke Kera MacDonagh changes her life when she decides to research how to be a witch… And believes it. Kera didn’t want to go back east and deal with her overbearing Mom. So, when university was done, she stayed behind in Los Angeles. Little did she realize how controlling moms can be from the other side of the country. Feeling a little desperate to make her own way, she buys a few books on business. And one on a lark ‘How to be a Badass Witch.’ That’s when the trouble started.
Build up your library here: Week in Review
Time to Start Holiday Shopping…. for books for yourself!! This Fan's Pricing Saturday is a great place to start!
Note: We requested the price changes from Amazon on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, they don’t change all of the prices at one time. Please double-check the price before clicking “Buy”.)
All of these new releases are 99c for one day only!
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How To Be A Bad Ass Witch Book One
Modern times call for modern solutions.
Six weeks earlier
“James? The council is assembled if you would like to begin.” The voice was smooth and cultured, with just the faintest hint of French roundness to the vowels. Footsteps sounded, and another figure came to the window. “What are you watching?”
James P. Lovecraft nodded at the scene outside the windows. Beyond the rolled-aside crimson curtains and blue-tinted glass planes that opened out on the mansion’s property, the rolling hills and fields of upstate New York were blanketed with pure white snow. Icicles hung from the evergreen boughs and gnarled branches of the surrounding trees.
“Festive, don’t you think?” He looked at his companion. “And appropriate for a meeting of the council.”
“Snow,” Mother LeBlanc said with a shudder, “is never appropriate.”
He smiled at her. Her age was a mystery. At first glance, she looked no older than twenty-five or so, a beautiful woman with smooth mahogany skin and a perpetual broad, pleasant smile of relaxed bemusement. Her long box-braided hair added to the effect.
The dress she always wore, however, was … strange. It seemed to have been woven from dozens of square feet of multicolored silk and velvet. It had no particular shape, yet it somehow emphasized the curves of her body as she moved or when it settled around her. Its bright hues appeared to have changed each time one looked. It was almost miraculous but sufficiently bizarre that people who first met her took some time to overcome their slight discomfort at its implied mysteries.
James knew it was likely a holdover from the New Orleans voodoo tradition from whence the woman came. Though she’d moved on to mainstream thaumaturgy, the magic of old Louisiana still held secrets that were obscure to the other members of the council.
For example, in addition to the dress’s sheer ponderous massiveness, it also had the curious ability to disguise the presence of whatever else LeBlanc might be hiding within its folds.
James recalled an incident five years ago when she’d pulled something—he couldn’t recall what—out of her sleeve unexpectedly. He’d quipped that she could likely cook an entire meal with the contents of her dress.
Without missing a beat, she had promptly reached into the garment’s many billows and produced an iron pot, a sharp kitchen knife, an onion, a bag of spices, a ladle, and, finally, a live chicken, which squawked and scattered loose feathers across the floor. She held the unfortunate fowl over the side table and slammed the knife into its neck, allowing the bug-eyed head to roll into a corner before gutting and plucking the rest. Meat, diced onions, water, and spices had all gone into the pot, which she took into the kitchen.
When the soup was done, she’d brought it back for them all to partake of, and that was that. He’d never again questioned or commented on Mother LeBlanc’s wardrobe.
It helped that the soup had been delicious, though he wouldn’t have dared mention it if it weren’t.
“Are you ready?” she asked him.
He nodded and adjusted his glasses, clearing his throat as he did so. He was a trim man who appeared to be somewhere in his mid-thirties, with high cheekbones and a narrow jaw. People were generally unsurprised to discover he was descended from old English aristocracy.
The two of them entered the mansion’s dining room, and James nodded to the other master thaumaturges gathered around the ancient oak table.
They were ready, though they did not yet know it, to hear his plan to save their profession.
He took his seat partway down the table from Mother LeBlanc at the head. She cleared her throat and looked at the assembled council. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome once again to the annual meeting of the High Congress of Thaumaturgy.” She gave a wry smile. “We appreciate you showing up only two weeks before Christmas; it’s a busy time of year, but at the last vote, everyone agreed to maintain the traditional date.” One eyebrow lifted conspiratorially. “So, no complaining.”
A few people chuckled drily. James figured that if anyone were going to protest, it would be Mary Mitchell two seats down from him, but she remained silent.
“This is an important meeting. As you know, recruitment remains at an all-time low, and we have been unable to fill the vacancies left in our congress.” LeBlanc gestured with a slim dark hand at the three chairs that sat empty around the table.
Everyone looked around uncomfortably. Those who currently sat on the congress called themselves the Twelve for obvious reasons, but the round table had been meant to accommodate fifteen. The other three seats had been empty for far too long.
Mary Mitchell raised a hand. “We did decide not to promote anyone else to the triumvirate position,” she said. “And we’re functioning just fine without a leader. Is it truly necessary to replace those seats, or is it only centuries-old force of habit?”
James had to admit that she had a point, but as usual, she was missing the big picture. Lady Mary Carter Mitchell was a slim, thin-faced woman, who combined an old-fashioned primness and sense of propriety with a highly modern impatience. She disliked meetings, procedures, and oversights, preferring to rush through such things as quickly as possible so she could return to her lifelong hobby—the study and manipulation of plants.
They were almost at the point for James to segue to his own plans, but before he could, Damian Diaz spoke.
“High Witch Templeton,” he said, in his booming, theatrical way, “was not only our head bureaucrat. A proper coven requires thirteen members.” He gave a wry smile, “Yes, she had an unfortunate tendency to be busy somewhere else whenever any of us reached out to her for help,” there was a round of chuckles around the table, “but she never shirked her duty when it came to larger-scale spells, which there are now no way for us to perform should we need to. We should fill the thirteenth position, at least, or better yet, all three of the empty seats.”
“Yes,” James said at once, seeing a natural segue, “and that is why it’s imperative that we seek new recruits. Mother LeBlanc and I are in agreement on this.”
“In the past five years, we have found no students,” LeBlanc told them. Though the fact was well-known, it was not often spoken aloud, and many at the table looked away. She continued, “In the past two years, we have found no candidates for training. Within two or three generations, unless we turn things around, our discipline might disappear entirely, and, with it, our ability to guide events for the good of humanity.”
The thaumaturges around the table looked at one another, then most of them ended up gazing at Lauren Jones. Round-faced and ginger-haired, she was the sort of person who perpetually looked younger than she was. On even brief acquaintance, however, it became clear that she could command the attention of any audience. As the best teacher among the Twelve, she had been particularly worried about their lack of recruits.
Now she turned her brown eyes on James, though she thought for a long while before she spoke.
“It has weighed on me,” she admitted. “We say we have stepped back from human affairs due to the increasing interconnectedness of the world, because even a small intervention is more likely to be noticed, because interventions are less likely to be necessary, but I wonder. I wonder if we have stepped back because we feel powerless. And I wonder if our abdication of our duty means that someday we will be needed, and we will not be there.”
There was silence. Even James, who had come prepared to argue for expanding their ranks, had not thought such dire things. Over the millennia, thaumaturges had intervened rarely but impactfully, aiding scientists who attempted to cure diseases, helping isolated groups of soldiers who might turn the tide of a battle, and sometimes turning wildfires or storms away from highly populated areas.
As the interconnectedness of the world grew, the number of isolated groups cut off from human aid shrank, as did chances to intervene without someone noticing.
And now, without thirteen members in the coven, there were many spells that could not be done at all, even if there was a need and they could do so without revealing themselves.
James nodded quietly and swallowed.
Lauren did not let him recover from her bombshell. “We all agree that this is an urgent need,” she said. She did not spare a glance for Mary Mitchell, and her tone suggested she would brook no argument. “Tell us what your plan is.” She gave a small smile. “I assume you have one.”
James hid his own smile as he turned to LeBlanc. “Madam, with your leave? My idea might take several minutes to explain.”
Though not formally their leader, she served as their spokeswoman and held some degree of authority over how the discussion would proceed. Since his idea was unorthodox in the extreme, he needed every iota of respectability he could garner.
The two of them had planned this in advance, and everyone knew she would say yes from the way she hesitated, drawing out the moment. If she were planning to say no, she would have said so instantly. Still, James found himself waiting anxiously for her assessment.
She smiled. “Yes, Mr. Lovecraft,” she pronounced. “Make your pitch.”
“Excellent.” James sat up a little straighter in his chair. “Society is changing around us; each day, it’s a new world out there.” His background in advertising had taught him the value of dramatic, attention-grabbing statements. “If we are not only to thrive but even exist in the decades to come, we must rebuild our ranks. We need a proper coven again, and we need apprentices to carry on our legacies.”
Mary and the other more conservative members narrowed their eyes at this. Old, stuffy, and absorbed in their own affairs, they were less than amicable to the prospect of having to accommodate newcomers.
James, however, was not prepared to stand by and watch thaumaturgy die out. “I propose a solution that is at once new and old: publishing. In this unprecedented age of literacy and with the recent advances in e-reading devices, a grimoire could be easily distributed.”
“Write a new grimoire?” Mary Mitchell objected. “That is your grand plan?” She looked at the others, contempt plain on her face. “We cannot even find new recruits, and you want to rewrite our grimoire?”
“No.” James took a deep breath. This was the place where his idea was the most unorthodox. “My plan is to release the grimoire to potential recruits. To self-publish it in the hope that some of those who find it have the will and talent to practice the spells.”
There was a long silence. Damian looked shellshocked, Lauren was sitting back in her chair with her eyes focused on the middle distance, and Mary was fuming. The others wore expressions of disbelief.
Only Mother LeBlanc seemed calm. Her half-smile adorned her face as usual, and she leaned lightly on one arm, watching the others.
“You mean,” Mary asked finally, “give out our secrets to the entire world?”
Everyone looked at James.
“Yes,” James said simply.
How do I get that book onto my reading list? Is this gamble going to pan out, or is it putting their entire way of life in danger? Find out on November 27th when How To Be A Bad Ass Bitch Book One is available for download on Amazon or your favorite digital book platform.
David Brin's Out of Time Series: Yanked
What qualities do these kids from the past have that the kids from the future are lacking? Get a sneak peak in this second snippet.
Jason Ramsay strolled out the front door of Benjamin Franklin High like he owned the place. Well, why not? He did! He’d made the reverse dunk that had won the game, that and the sweet three-point play where Wayne fed him the ball. Him and Wayne and Clayton and Tyrone, they worked together great. His buds.
On the sidewalk in front of Franklin, dozens of kids waited for buses. Others walked toward subways. Everybody said this was a bad section of New York, but Jason thought it was all right. You just had to be careful. Don’t get tangled with gangs. Keep your nose clean and your grades high enough to play. Watch yourself and this place wasn’t bad at all.
All the hotties waved or smiled at him. Tomorrow night he had a date with Mary Ann Jamison, who not only had a bod to make you faint but was a nice girl too, sweet and fun.
“Hey, Jason, wait,” called Coach Patterson, striding down the sidewalk. Jason grinned.
“Hey, Coach. How you doin’?”
“Got a minute, son?”
“Sure.” He waved at Brandy Nielsen, who was stepping into her bus. She was almost as hot as Mary Ann. Brandy waved back and blushed.
“I think we have a problem, Jason.”
Problem? “Yeah? What’s that?”
“You were slacking off out there today.”
Slacking off? He’d won the game! Didn’t Coach notice? All Jason said aloud was, “We did all right.”
“Yes, we did. Because your teammates made you look good when you were coasting, and then you got lucky on that final throw. You weren’t giving it your all on that court. I know it, and you know it.”
Jason said nothing.
“You want to go pro eventually, don’t you? NBA?”
“You got it,” Jason said. He was going to go pro. He was going to be great.
The coach sighed. “You know how many kids have that dream, Jason? Thousands. Maybe millions. Now, I’m not saying you aren’t talented. You are, and you have something else a lot of hopefuls don’t. You can pull together a group of kids so they work as a team. You’re a natural leader. But for the NBA, that isn’t enough.”
Jason didn’t like this conversation. Another bus pulled away, and he waved at Lateesha Stevens. Another hot babe.
“Jason,” Coach said patiently, “hear me.”
“No, you’re not. You’re listening, but you’re not hearing. You need to focus on what you’re doing, work harder, stop coasting along on your talent. How many practices you miss this month?”
“Well, you know, a good bud had a birthday, and then my brother, Brian, he…”
“No good, Jason. If you’re going to do basketball, you got to do it. If you’re serious.”
“I know, Coach. You’re right. A hundred percent.”
The coach sighed again. Jason wished he’d stop doing that. “That’s why it’s so hard to get through to you, Ramsay. You listen and smile and agree and get everybody on your side, but you don’t hear.”
“I hear you, Coach.” Another bus pulled up, the crosstown bus from across the park. Jason watched the babes get off. Maybe Brian would get off, too. He sometimes took this bus home from work.
“I give up,” Coach Patterson said. “You need something to shock you into focus, but I don’t know what it would take for you to really start caring about something. Meanwhile, just don’t miss any more practices!”
“Absolutely not,” Jason said. “I’ll be at every one!” Coach strode away, shaking his head. He got so worked up about everything, Jason thought. Coach was a great guy, but he didn’t understand about getting along, getting over, enjoying what flowed by.
Brian wasn’t on the bus after all. Well, he’d see his brother at home. Whistling, Jason started north along Amsterdam Avenue.
At 96th Street, he suddenly got thirsty. He turned into a Korean grocer for a Coke. After he paid for it, he lingered by the magazine rack at the back of the store, leafing through the new issue of Sports Illustrated.
Something weird was going down by the magazine rack.
An electric blue light seemed to be growing up out of the floor. Jason stared. The light got bigger and bigger and seemed to be spinning. And it hummed, a low sound that Jason felt―rather than heard―in his bones.
Jason looked around. Nobody else saw; the owner was stacking cans of soup on a shelf, and there were no other customers in the store.
The spinning light moved an inch to the right.
“Hey,” Jason said―and the light answered him.
“Jason Ramsay,” it said. Jason was so surprised he didn’t even jump. His mouth fell open, and he was standing there staring at the eerie blue light when it spun itself into a deep tunnel and sped across the floor under his feet. Jason made a wild grab for the magazine rack, which he caught hard enough to pull it over on himself. A sharp metal edge struck his forehead. Everything went dark, and the spinning tunnel sucked him in.
* * *
The cheerleaders were back.
Sharon Myers shrank into her chair in the far back corner of the Spencerville Public Library. She didn’t want them to see her. Not that they would talk to her; people hardly ever talked to Sharon, and she was used to that. But two of the girls, Lindsey and Sue, would give Sharon those mean little smiles that meant What a dork. Sitting alone in the library every afternoon, reading and reading because nobody likes her.
Usually Sharon had this part of the library to herself. She liked sitting in the big, deep chair in the corner, losing herself in a good book. Certainly it was better than going home. Anything was better than going home.
Today she was researching her project for tech class. The six junior varsity cheerleaders were probably here for the same reason. They weren’t in Sharon’s class, but all ninth graders had to take Technology & Communication.
She found out she was right when a boy wandered in—Sam Cassidy from the junior varsity football team.
“Hey, Sam,” Lindsey said. She tossed her long blonde hair.
“Hey, yourself,” Sam said. “You doing King Kong’s homework?” Mr. Konger was the tech teacher.
“Yes,” Sue said. She fluffed her short green and white cheerleader skirt. “We’re doing a group grope.”
All of them laughed. Sharon didn’t think it was funny, but she wondered what the cheerleaders were doing. The project was to research and demonstrate some form of communication that computers had made obsolete, or at least less important. What could six people demonstrate together?
“So, what’s this group grope look like?” Sam said.
“We’ll show you!” Nicole said.
The girls all giggled and protested. “Here?” “Come on, Nicole!” “The librarian will kill us!” But then they started pushing chairs out of the way to clear the floor. Each girl picked up a “flag” made from cutting and pasting together pieces of colored paper. The girls lined up in a row and started waving their flags, one after another, holding the papers.
“So, what’s that?” Sam said, leaning against a bookcase, smiling lazily at them.
“Semaphore!” Sue shouted. “The way ships used to signal to each other! The papers are signal flags!”
“Yeah?” Sam said. “And what are your flags signaling?”
The girls looked at each other and collapsed into laughter, falling on each other’s necks and looking sideways at Sam. The message must be something sexy, Sharon thought. Sam just went on smiling as if he knew what the message was, which Sharon doubted. The librarian, Mrs. Staines, came rushing over.
“Girls! Girls! You can’t practice cheers in here! Either use the library for its proper purpose or go outside!”
“Okay, okay,” Nicole muttered. When the librarian left, she smirked. “What an old bat. Only likes dorks like Miss Brown Nose Rose-of-Sharon.”
So they had seen her. Sharon looked down at her book. For the next half-hour, she didn’t move, trying to become invisible. The cheerleaders whispered and giggled, passing reference books back and forth.
When they finally left, Sharon went over to their table. They’d left their books open at the pictures of semaphoring. Sharon worked out the six flag positions they’d shown Sam with the pieces of colored paper. The first two flags, taken together, were a message, and the other four flags spelled out a word. The whole semaphore said, “You should pull as close to me as possible, H-U-N-K.”
For a minute, loneliness pierced her. She wished she were the kind of girl who could make jokes with a boy, who had friends, who had the right clothes to wear and the right haircut.
Enough of that. She had things to do. God, it was five-thirty already.
Sharon grabbed her books and hurried out of the library. As she passed the front desk, Mrs. Staines called pleasantly, “Good night, Rose-of-Sharon.”
Sharon nodded back. She’d never had the nerve to tell Mrs. Staines she didn’t like her full name.
Outside it was cold. Sharon pulled her coat tighter around her. It was old and thin, a hand-me-down her older sister Johnna had left behind when she moved out. The air felt like snow, which was reasonable for November, and the street lights were already on in the winter dark.
How beautiful Spencerville was in the early evening! The way those lacy black tree branches looked against the sky…it could take your breath away. It reminded Sharon of that poem they had read in English class about a Grecian vase: Beauty is truth, truth beauty…Keats. Sharon had liked that poem. Most of the kids didn’t care about things like poetry or trees against the sky. They hated Spencerville, they said, and they couldn’t wait until they were old enough to get out of school and out of town.
Sharon was different, and she knew it. It made her feel lonely. Not just the differences about liking poetry, but the differences in her home that everybody knew about because that’s the way small towns were. Everybody knew Sharon’s father had left town with a woman who worked in the Grain & Feed. Everybody knew Sharon’s mother spent every night getting drunk at the Lamplighter. Everybody knew Sharon’s sister Johnna had dropped out of high school to have a baby and didn’t marry her boyfriend, who dumped her, and now Johnna was living with a man everybody said was old enough to be her father.
Well, things would be different for Sharon. She was going to finish school and go to college. Get a better life than her mother’s or Johnna’s. Somehow.
Oh, God. Almost six, and she hadn’t started dinner yet. Her mother would be furious.
But when Sharon burst through the door of the ramshackle little house on Sycamore Street, nobody even mentioned dinner. There was far worse trouble than a missed meal.
I love when they just jump right into the good stuff in a book. Set us up and dive right in! I'm already starting to guess what these seemingly opposite kids will be bringing to the table. Pr-order David Brin's Out of Time Series: Yanked now on Amazon. Then November 27th you and I both will learn who else is going to be on this dream team.
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Wild Wednesday November 25th, 2020
Each week we bring you a list of books from not only LMBPN authors, but also friends of ours, that are on sale! Here’s a fantastic opportunity to discover some new authors or some exciting books you may not have seen yet.
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How To Be A Bad Ass Witch: Book One
A tale as old as time, ” What am I going to do with the rest of my life?” This question is looming over Kera's head the literal wake up call from her mom is not helping either. She might end up getting more than she bargained for in this self help book.
“Blergh.” Kera MacDonagh poked her head out of the tangle of covers, looking for the source of the beeping in her immediate vicinity. The clock near her bed showed the time 11:42 am. That was well before the alarm she had set, which meant the culprit was her phone. Wild flailing in the blankets produced nothing and she flopped over to reach blindly around on the floor for her phone. “Ughhhhh.”
Her fumbling produced the damned thing, currently displaying with her mother’s contact information. Kera dropped her head back onto the pillow with a groan as she answered. “He—” She cleared her throat. “Hello?”
“Hello, Kera, it’s your mother.” Her mother’s voice had the sort of impeccable diction and unidentifiable accent practiced by news anchors.
“Oh, good.” Kera forced herself to sit up and began wiping sleep crusts out of the corners of her eyes. “For a second there, I was afraid someone had stolen your phone and called me from it.”
“Yes, dear.” There was a little sigh. “I had a few spare minutes, so I thought I would call you.”
Kera, who had been slouching as she rubbed her face and smoothed her hair, sat up a bit straighter. A sigh instead of a joke? Her mother, a devoted philanthropist, had a few spare minutes?
“I’m, uh…” She shoved herself out of bed and curled her toes under on the cold concrete, wincing. Her Spidey senses were tingling. “I’m good. Thanks for calling! Great to hear your voice, but I know you’re super busy, so—”
“Wonderful.” Her mother studiously ignored the implicit request to hang up. “So, how are things going?”
Kera rolled her eyes heavenward. Her mother had a specific question for her, but it would be useless to ask her to cut to the chase. The woman would lead with side questions, maneuver Kera into a verbal trap of some sort, and then pounce. There would be no speeding this up.
“Things are good,” she said finally. “You know, work. The usual.”
The second the words came out of her mouth, she cursed herself. There was no going back, however.
“Wonderful,” her mother said again. “You know, it just occurred to me that today is the two-month anniversary of your graduation.”
“Here we go,” Kera muttered.
It was too early for this shit.
“With your grades, companies should be tripping over each other to hire you.” Her mother’s tone was sweet and cheerful. “And, as we all know, Los Angeles is host to twenty-three of the fifty-seven Fortune 500 companies in California, all of whom need computer science graduates.”
“The only people who know that are the ones who read about Los Angeles on Wikipedia.” Kera rubbed her face. “Look, Mom, I really appreciate you trying to help me get a job, but the fact is—”
“You haven’t gotten a job offer and not told me, have you?”
As a matter of fact, she had gotten a few calls from recruiters, but Kera knew that if she admitted it, her chances of getting out of this conversation alive were slim to none.
“I haven’t been looking for jobs like that,” she said honestly.
“Why is that, honey?” The tone was still sweet, but there was a warning there.
“Because as I’ve told you several times, I have no interest in working with AI developed for customer service robots.” Kera, having been raised by this woman, was able to give as good as she got. “I’d rather be a waitress-slash-bartender, and do you know why? Because when there’s idiocy on the other side of the bar, there’s a reason behind it, compared to the idiocy of the AI, which is usually technically logical but stems from a missing comma or some ridiculous parameter that management insisted on even though they don’t understand AI.”
Mrs. MacDonagh sighed, and Kera braced herself.
Sure enough, the lecture that came next could have filled out a bullshit bingo card in record time. “Kera, you can’t just waste your abilities and potential working on your motorcycle and slinging drinks.” Her mother’s tone was crisp, which was a sure sign that she was angry. The angrier she got, the more formal she became. “I understand that it seems like good money when you’re getting tips, but trust me, a stable job with good benefits is worth far more in the long run. Have you considered the raises? Have you considered the health insurance and the retirement investment matching?”
“When things go south—and they will eventually since everyone has bad luck sometimes—you will want stability, and—”
“No, listen to me, Kera.” She could see her mother drumming her fingers on the kitchen counter. “You always wanted to do something that made a difference.”
Kera clenched her free hand and fervently wished she was holding something she could throw at the wall.
“Be honest with yourself, dear.” Her mother’s tone had gotten slightly gentler. “I know that an entry-level job in IT doesn’t seem like a dream come true, but the ten-year trajectory it puts you on is very different from the one you’re on right now. What are you going to do, buy the bar?”
Kera was sighing when an idea struck her. “Maybe,” she said. “Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll buy the bar, start a chain, and let people open franchises. I’ll rake in the profits while other people do the dirty work, and then we can talk about whether I’d be better off in a cubicle, getting harassed about semicolons.”
There was silence.
Kera sighed. “Mom. Please. I know all the people who ended up in those jobs. They’re not happy, and I wouldn’t be, either.”
“So, you’re still in touch with some of the young men you studied with?”
Kera, sensing that the subject was changing into yet another dangerous area, immediately began evasive maneuvers. “I have to go, but you bring up some good points. I’d love to talk to them another time. How does five weeks from Thursday look for you?”
“Whatever happened to that nice running back you were dating?” her mother asked, determinedly ignoring Kera’s rapid-fire goodbye. “Michael.”
Kera sighed. “That was sophomore year.”
“And he is now married, with a baby on the way, living in the suburbs and teaching high school football.”
“Well, strike that option, then.”
“Darling, if you’re attracted to…” Her mother cleared her throat. “Well, please know that if you’re worried about shocking us, we aren’t going to disapprove.”
“Mom. I haven’t had a boyfriend in a while, so you’re asking if I’m a lesbian?”
“I just didn’t want you to be afraid of telling us,” her mother said. “If you were.”
“I’m not. Mom, can we talk about something else?”
“Kera, you’re awfully squeamish. You always were apt to stick your fingers in your ears when it came to talking about sex.”
“Because you tried to give me the talk by telling me where Rob and I came from!” Kera waved her free hand. “Oh, God, and I worked so hard to suppress those memories. When will someone come up with brain bleach? It would make a billion dollars on the open market.”
“There you go,” her mother said smugly. “Now you have a goal—one that isn’t bartending, but also isn’t one of the cubicle jobs you so hate.”
“Sure. I’ll get right on it, thanks.”
“Mmm. I have to go, sweetie. Have a good day. Try not to lose the ability to learn. Grab a business book, learn an extra craft, but do something with your life.”
“Goodbye, overprotective maternal figure with a goddess complex.”
“I can’t help it,” her mother asserted. “Our family—and that means you, too—has had special genes for generations. I’m just making sure you find a productive way of—”
“Wasn’t this the point where you were supposed to hang up?”
“Not without having the last word,” the elder MacDonagh pointed out. “Goodbye, baby.”
Something on the other end clicked and the call ended, the screen returning to Kera’s list of contacts.
It wasn’t even noon, after all. There was no reason for her to be awake at the current hour, but her mother had not only woken her up, but she had also robbed Kera of the ability to go back to sleep.
After all, there was nothing more frustrating than ruminating on the fact that college was a gigantic con and life after it was a glorified hamster wheel.
Not that Kera disliked her job, of course, and she had loved her degree. She had taken to learning the internal logic of how things worked, how to measure them, and how to troubleshoot them like a fish to water.
She just hadn’t figured out what to do next. Working as a bartender wasn’t really changing the world—which, unfortunately, was something she did want to do.
Except that it seemed insufferably juvenile as a goal.
Kera groaned and looked back at the bed, but she knew she wasn’t going to be able to sleep. With a sigh, she headed off to take a shower. Now she had to come up with something to do for the next three hours that wasn’t going to make her feel like an abject failure.
She picked her phone back up and stared at it for a moment before opening the reading app she used. She navigated to the store and hesitated.
What the hell should she search for?
“How to become a slumlord for bars?” she said aloud. She grinned. “How to…how to… Okay, start there.” She began typing. “How to…”
She blinked. Suggested results had already popped up, and one of them didn’t look like the others. She double-tapped it, frowning. It was a joke book; it had to be.
No, there was no way anyone thought that was real. On impulse, Kera clicked the Buy Now button, then rolled her eyes at herself.
“Good job, MacDonagh. You’re trying not to feel like a failure, and what’s the first book you download? Something written by a crazy person. Still, as far as How To Be guides go, I do like the idea of How to Be A Bad Ass Witch.”
I don't think that is what Mother MacDonagh had in mind in urging Kera to do something with her life.
Check in again to find out the story behind this book Kera has picked up.
How to be a Bad Ass Witch: Book 1 is available for download on November 27th.
Nothing Says Holiday Like Free books! This week collect 6 of them!
Everyday we will be offering a book from our library for FREE. Check back everyday to Collect yours!
Every time a shot rings out a Valkyrie earns her wings. Mila is earning hers the hard way hunting down the monsters that have taken her sister. It was supposed to be a simple scouting mission. But the trail is leading her to an unexpected discovery. What if the things that go bump in the night start to slither out into the light? An ancient horror, full of malice and nightmares, is coming to the Idaho Wilderness. She should probably run, but Valkyries don't back down from a fight, no matter the risk. Besides, there are lives at stake, and it’s a Valkyries job to choose the dead. The Dwarf King would be proud.
The Tale of Nefret:
The Story of the Most Mysterious Queen of Ancient Egypt. Explore the Legend of Nefertiti! Twin daughters of an ancient Bedouin king struggle under the weight of an ominous prophecy that threatens to divide them forever. Royal sibling rivalry explodes as the young women realize that they must fight for their future and for the love of Alexio, the man they both love. The Tale of Nefret chronicles their lives as they travel in two different directions. One sister becomes the leader of the Meshwesh while the other travels to Egypt as an unwilling gift to Pharaoh. From the desert to the throne room, The Tale of Nefret is the first book in The Desert Queen trilogy, the fictional story of Nefertiti, Queen of Egypt.
Rogue, Renegade & Rebel:
She is crass, has attitude, drinks too much and is the only living agent working for Queen Victoria, the Paranormal Queen. In 1901, Queen Victoria passed away, and took over the responsibilities of the Paranormal Court. When Victoria ascends to the Paranormal Throne, she acquires the help of a human agent, code-named Rogue. For well over a hundred years, this human has helped settle problems between the normal and the paranormal worlds. Usually with massive displays of attitude and disrespect. And a really, really bodacious set of…guns. Now, Rogue has been sent to the Colonies to help stop a paranormal revolution. Is Rogue over her head, or is someone trying to pull a fast one on her? Either way, America better be ready, because this Paranormal Agent parties like it's still 1899!
Girl meets dragon. Girl works to befriend dragon. A large, red, dangerous dragon. Raven Alby will have to train her new ride and save the dragon’s life or die trying. Mix in starting at Fowler Academy as a first year, becoming a stronger mage and oh… people disappearing. It's all adding up to typical teenager stuff for a young mage. First lesson Raven will learn? Don’t ever let anything come between a girl and her dragon.
Dragons rule the world. Their claws are into every aspect of human life, from government to industry. But Kristen Hall is about to throw a wrench into all of that. Because she’s a dragon, too. She just doesn’t know it…yet! A dragon raised by humans, in the human world. After graduating from the police academy, she’s dropped right into the ranks of Detroit’s elite SWAT team. A rookie, in SWAT? Unheard of. But what the dragons want, they get. The reasons behind their machinations become clear as her dragon powers begin to surface. Will Kristen rise to the challenges her new life delivers? What designs do the dragons have for her future? And perhaps most pressing of all — how did she come to be a dragon with human parents?
Ancient Warrior—Vampire—Queen’s Bitch…Akio accepted his Queen’s charge to stay behind and protect humanity from the Forsaken scourge. She never said it would be easy. An isolated police report about an island overtaken by feral, red-eyed creatures savaging humans spurs Akio to investigate. The local police are good at their job, but they’re not well-equipped to handle things that go bump in the night. Especially not the ones terrorizing this once-peaceful island paradise. While dealing with the incursion, Akio discovers new information. The situation is escalating—and all evidence points to enemies from his past. A dangerous science he’d thought was destroyed. The Forsaken are rising to take their place as the alpha predators. Now, it’s a race against overwhelming odds as Akio unravels long-laid complex plans and takes the fight to those who threaten the last bastion of civilization on post-apocalyptic Earth. Can he stop this evil before it enslaves humanity? Or will the Forsaken succeed in taking over the world?
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They always say ” I just don't understand this generation”, ” The world is going to crap”, ” Kids today”. We look fondly on the kids of the past as if those very things weren't said about them. In this case it is actually true, and the kids of the past hold the keys to saving the future.
Prelude: An unexpected and urgent mission
“I am sorry, Doctor Cee. There is no time to follow normal procedures for this mission. We must send a team through that sally port within twenty hours. That leaves us only two possible ways to proceed.”
The scientist—Director of Interstellar Operations at Edge Station Three—stared at a robot standing before her desk, knowing what the sophisticated machine was about to say…and hating it.
“Go on, da Vinci,” she said. “Lay out our options.”
The robot hummed briefly and gestured by raising one flexible tentacle.
“First, we might send to Planet Jump a team of youths consisting only of boys and girls recruited in our own era. We have many candidates. All of them are brave, technologically skilled, and willing.”
Doctor Cee winced. She and her colleagues had been struggling for five years with the horror of this situation that Earth and humanity found themselves in…having to use teenagers for every interstellar task or mission, from diplomacy to colonizing new worlds. From trade to war. Many of the envoys she sent out were little more than children!
“If we do that, what are our odds of success?”
The robot had many human mannerisms. This time, it emitted a sad sigh.
“Rather low, according to the simulators. Our teens are brilliant and well-meaning, but we all know they are unready and ill-suited for this kind of challenge. At least not without help.”
“So…our second option is to use the time-yank machinery.” Cee nodded. “Grab ‘volunteers' from ancient times, who have skills and grit and instincts that we moderns so desperately lack.”
That was the whole reason for Operation Hourglass, and good results had been achieved a few dozen times.
“But this is no normal mission! With the situation so urgent, we'd have to yank them not only through time but simultaneously from Earth to here, on Edge Station, leaving them with at best a few hours to prepare!”
“In which case, perhaps we should wrap up discussing it?” the robot replied, perhaps with impudence. Da Vinci's model was programmed to be frank. “The decision is yours, Dr. Cee.”
“All right, then.” She nodded. “We'll do a time-yank. Have the simulation machines come up with candidates? Young folks from our past who would be flexible enough to help our kids with some chance of success, even tossed into this kind of makeshift emergency?”
The robot spun one of its tentacles, and a set of holograms appeared above the director's desk.
“It would be as unlikely-looking a ‘team' as we have ever assembled. Yet, I think you will agree there is real potential in these faces.”
Cee stared at five young visages, four of them figures from the near or distant past. She recognized two of them and quickly absorbed information on the others. Then she sighed.
“You are right. And so are the simulators. If any team would have a chance to land on its feet with scant preparation and deal with strangeness on the fly, it should be this bunch of kids.
“That is,” she added in a low voice, “if they can learn very quickly to believe in themselves.”
Isn't it actually everyones dream to time travel and save the world? I guess we will find out! Stay tuned for more sneak peaks, or head over to Kindle Unlimited and Pre-order David Brin's Out of Time: Yanked. This books will be hitting your devices first thing November 27th.
Slow down a little bit and explore the new books released in this, Week in Review for November 15th-21st
Ease into some new books here: Week in Review
Never a Dragon:
Dragons used to rule the world; those days are over. But humans, mages, and dragons have just begun learning to co-exist without conflict. Kylara Diamantine has never met another dragon. Raised by her mother apart from the rest of their society without any idea why, she's always been curious about the rest of their species. She wants to get out there, to meet other dragons, to explore! To stretch her wings. Literally.
Every lesson Leira Berens has learned since she found out she’s a Jasper Elf is about to be put to the test. Magic has come out into the open with a bang and everything is in peril. The monster will have his day or die trying. Wolfstan Humphrey is losing ground but he’s not going down easily. He’s built an army of twisted magicals ready to attack. Will his quest for power succeed?
The Auburn Rebellion:
Centuries ago, humanity crawled inside its bunkers and vowed never to come out. But Jessica13 and her little service mech Mini leaped head-first into a wide-open world that’s every bit as grand and lethal as she imagined. They discover Auburn, a village with apparent freedoms they didn’t know existed, but all is not what it seems. Can she protect the people of Auburn from the iron-fisted rule of Lady Hoot? She’ll need to rely on her wits, Mini’s speed, and a hell of a lot of engineering skills to try and save the people of Auburn.
Justin is acclimating inside the virtual world, but can he find the final element he needs to escape from the world of PIVOT? With Prima’s help—or, perhaps, despite it—he has gotten to Insea, the capital of the Elven lands. Aided by Tina, who is desperate to help Justin recover from the accident she created, Justin decides to fight in the Tournament of Insea. The one problem? His chief rivals are a set of twins who believe they’re reincarnated gods—and they’ll stop at nothing to make sure they take power.
The War to End All Wars just got personal. The World’s First Wizard was dragged into this fight kicking and screaming, but now that the dark conspiracies have dredged up specters of his past, Milo is determined to put them down once and for all. His power growing with the stakes, Milo faces foes, human and otherwise, with aims that threaten to reshape the world, and they’re willing to do it at the cost of millions of souls. Milo, hero or not, can’t stand by, and so with his deathless bodyguard and fey girlfriend, he plunges into the dark, swimming upstream all the way.
Determine the Future:
A new set of dragonriders are in town. And they don’t play by the rules. Actually, for the Rogue Riders, there are no rules. There is just what belongs to them and that which they take from others. The Dragon Elite have never had such a huge problem to deal with. Fighting magitech armies is one thing. Cyborgs another. But battling their own, this makes it personal.
Follow the stories of some of our favorite heroes here: Week in Review