Archive | January 2014

FREE 1/26 and 1/27 A YA Sci-Fi Short Story about Young Love – THE SUN AND THE STAR

The sun coverI love short stories. Sometimes I just don’t have time to read an entire novel by an author, but I do have time to read a smaller tale. On 1/26 and 1/27 I’m offering my YA Sci-Fi love story THE SUN AND THE STAR, for free. It will offer readers a flavor of how I write and hopefully a nice little escape for a while. It is FREE Here: http://amzn.to/1fljMvU

Here’s a sample chapter to “wet your whistle:”

THE SUN AND THE STAR

By Elyse Salpeter

1913, in a Kansas field

An October dusk settled over the hundreds of rows of withered corn stalks standing like sentries in the Kansas field. The full moon was rising and a brisk wind whistled through the dry shoots, creating a noise like paper crinkling, and drowning out the sounds of the young girl crying.

No one was working in the field that day. It was Sunday, the one day I gave my farmhands off. My own homestead was but a few trots down the road on the only hill this side of Kansas, but everyone in any direction could see we were home that evening from the smoke swirling from the chimney. I always wondered what the girl did that long cold night while my family and I slept. Wondered why she didn’t come and seek our help.

We wouldn’t find her until late the next afternoon when the workers had returned to pull the stalks and ready the field for winter. I remember exactly where I was when they found her.

“Boss, help!” The farmhand ran out from one of the rows frantically, carelessly stomping through the dead plants. If it were summer, I would have docked his pay for doing something so flagrant, but I knew this man. He was a good worker and was a family man. It must be bad.

I rode up on my horse. “Langston, what’s the problem?”

He leaned over, his hands on his knees, wheezing and trying to catch his breath.

I stood up on the stirrups, able to peer over the stalks and saw a group of my men converging in an area about a quarter mile down the rows. Great, it was probably a cow from the McKensey farm next door that had wandered over and died in my field. It had happened before.

Langston stood up, huffing. “Boss, we found a little girl.”

Dread ran through me. “Is she dead?”

He shook his head. “No, she isn’t, but she’s sick. We gotta get help.”

I yelled at my foreman to run to my house and call for my wife and then jumped off the horse and raced with Langston through the rows toward the child. Thoughts competed in my head. Why would a little girl be here? Did someone hurt her? Did an animal drag her here? Images of my own three children coursed through my brain and made me run faster, but when I pulled into the clearing the men had created, everything I expected was shattered.

This wasn’t a toddler. It was a young girl of about fifteen, curled into a ball and lying in the dirt in the middle of my cornfield. Strangely twisted and charred hunks of metal smoked in the field around her, creating a clearing. The air reeked of scorched corn and burnt oil, and as I stared at the boulder sized lumps glowing red-hot in places, they reminded me of the color of the branding irons we used on the bulls in stock.

The men squirmed nervously. “Extraterrestre,” they mumbled. You could practically smell their fear.

“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s just a child, nothing more,” I admonished, trying to convince myself as well.

I leaned down next to the girl, her long white-blonde hair covering her face. Pushing the locks away from her forehead, she turned her ice blue eyes to mine and something in her stare shook me to my very core. To this day, I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was about her, but it was something. Her face was heart-shaped, her features petite and mystically beautiful, but she was hurt. Bruises covered her forehead, cheeks and arms. Her plain white dress was filthy from ash and dirt and there were blisters forming from burns on her bare legs. The child craned her head to the sky and I could see little tattoos of stars and musical notes scattered on her neck, directly under her right ear. Her eyes bubbled with tears as she stared at the rising moon. She seemed so lost, so terribly alone. I tried to take her hand, but she clutched a strange instrument to her chest and refused to let it go. They told me later it was a musical instrument, resembling an ancient Greek lyre. To me it just looked like a small harp.

Instead, I patted her hand, surprised at how warm it was and thought she might have a fever.

“It’s okay, miss. We’ll get you out of here. Langston, have one of your men hook up the wagon.” I picked up the girl, contraption and all, and cradled her in my arms. She was but a doll, so slight. As we moved to the main road, she made the slightest of noises in her throat, but I couldn’t tell what she was saying. In fact, no one could.

We brought the girl to the local hospital but no one could identify her. She talked gibberish, crying and sobbing incessantly, humming haunting melodies and playing her instrument. But every few minutes she tried to get to the window to look out, always trying to look outside and stare at the sky. The staff was so concerned she was going to jump, they moved her to the psychiatric ward and that’s the last I ever heard of her.

As for the charred chunks of metal? By the time we got back to the field to remove them for plowing, the strange stuff had burned itself away. Except for some blackened ash, I wondered if it had been there at all.

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If you enjoyed this excerpt, please feel free to download the entire story. It is FREE on 1/26 and 1/27 on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1fljMvU. If you’re able to do a review when you’re done, it would be so very much appreciated!

If you’d like to check out another story of mine – albeit a bit darker, check out my YA Fantasy series THE WORLD OF KAROV – book #1 is just $0.99. Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1fe4Amj

And, if you’d like something a little more adult, my fantasy thriller THE HUNT FOR XANADU might be right up your alley. You can check it out here: http://amzn.to/1boS1zz

Lastly, I’m participating in my very first Fantasy Blog Hop Event with eight other great authors. Please come on over and join our event February 1st-8th to Fill that Kindle for Valentines Day. We’d love to see you there! Great Fantasy reads all 3.99 and under- (I’m going to be dropping the price of THE HUNT FOR XANADU to $2.99 for the event) Fantastical Reads Event. https://www.facebook.com/events/205889079615386/

Poetry Continued…Part #2

sunphotoI had such a nice response to last week’s poetry post that I thought I would share some more. With this lovely exercise, I’ve tried to write some poems myself, but I always veer into Alice and Wonderland silliness. Best I leave it to the poets who do it best. Please enjoy these three great gems!

MY SUN
by Amanda Bohus

You are my sun,
embodied in radiance.
Filled with a warm inner glow,
your light from within-shines on.
Emanating from your being,
touched by your heart,
encircling me with your rays of light.
Loving,nurturing,
enraptured.
Awakened by your touch,
adorned with your brilliance,I flush,
resplendent in your aura.
All is illuminated,
I am loved.

SIXTEEN
by Lars D.H. Hedbor

She commented on my daughter’s red hair
Said that she’d had red hair once, too
And mentioned that she was ninety-two
But said, “I’m still sixteen here”
And tapped the side of her head
She looked no more than in her seventies
I told her that and she laughed
Her son was nearly that, I think
We talked for a while as she waited for him
And when she left, I was sad to see her go
She was lovely, in spirit, word and face
And to me, she was still sixteen, too

Lars is the author of the Tales From a Revolution Series of novels of the American Revolution. http://larsdhhedbor.com

CHOCOLATE CAKE
by Julie Elizabeth Powell

It oozed from the sides
And the middle
And the top,
As the knife tipped
In the middle
Then bore down,
Smoothing its way to the edge.
800 hundred calories at least
A slice
Depending on the filling, the frosting
The size.
It can be adorned with strawberries if it likes
That’s at least one portion of fruit!
But what is the measure
Of pleasure
As it melts and mingles
Away all the worries of the day?
Piles on more
Some might say
But have they ever
Tasted its sensuous enchantment
Its crumbling, slumbering
Sumptuousness?
I have
And it’s mine while I’m
Alive
And after that…
Well, there must be chocolate cake in
Heaven,
Otherwise what would be the point?

Julie’s poem comes from her book FIGMENTS. Please check it out here: http://amzn.to/19T9Zdi

Please let the authors know what you think – I’m sure they’d love to hear your comments.

And while I can’t write poetry, I can write fantasy novels. My new fantasy thriller, THE HUNT FOR XANADU, just hit #1 in the Goodreads Buddhist Fiction Listopia list. It is available on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1ixAnkP

Things I can’t do… Write Poetry – But others can… and brilliantly!

poetryI love to write fantasy/thriller fiction, mixing real life scenarios with the fantastic. What I can’t seem to write is poetry. This beautiful form of expression simply eludes me. But, there are some excellent poets out there and this week I wanted to showcase two lovely poems for your reading enjoyment.

Wapiti Meadows
by Richard L. Weatherly © 2012

A keening wind howls
through lodgepole pines,
rays of golden sunlight shines
glistening on quaking aspen leaves
and dance in the frosty morn.

The powerful bull elk crashes
from tree line,
tossing antlers like tree branches,
sharp tines, ready for a fight.

With dark-brown head and mane,
he prances forth – tawny back and shoulder muscles ripple.
Bull elk trumpets his mating call,
warning rivals, and an invitation to the herd.

Hot vapors hover over a verdant meadow
Brisk morning air, valley sprawls
beneath a hovering mist.

Home to the herd of elk cows with calves,
gathered while grazing,
drawn to gurgling
in the rippling brook.

A cow answers the bull elk’s call.
Life’s cycle is serene
in the valley of the meandering stream
where Nature’s beauty reigns supreme.

For more about Rich Weatherly and his writing, see: http://richweatherly.com/my-writing/
Richard L. Weatherly © 2012

“Lindi”
by Rachel Weisserman

We would bind feathers to our feet and run
across the waves to where sea met sky,
clouds washed white by wind.

We’d dare each other to stroke the scales
of the snake that curled around us,
big and warm and sleeping.

I would race to touch its nose
and dash laughing over the sea

but you would stay to brush
your fingertips along its scales,
shining in the sun like waves.

I tore you away when it moved,
the tail shaking, the tongue flicking
from between its blunted lips,
my legs shaking as I thought of its teeth.

But your hand stayed outstretched,
wet and shining like scales,
wet and shining like waves.

You can reach Rachel on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thespiritspit

Wow, right? These two poems were so good I thought I’d start with them. I’m sure the authors would love to hear your comments – please let us know what you think of them.

First Chapter of THE HUNT FOR XANADU

THE HUNT FOR XANADU Final CoverI’ve decided that it might be fun to post first chapters of fantasy books, flash fiction, or even poetry on this blog for the next two months. It will give everyone a taste of my writing, along with some other fine authors, and offer some fun “reading escape” time. So, without further ado, if you’re interested in a brand new contemporary fantasy thriller series, with a super new heroine, I give you Chapter #1 of THE HUNT FOR XANADU. This is not the chapter where you will find the fantasy, but the thrill, and will give you the flavor of the novel. Enjoy!

THE HUNT FOR XANADU
Chapter 1

Present Day

Hidden in the security camera’s blind spot, she sucked in her gut, closed her eyes and listened intently. “Come on, already,” she thought, drumming her fingertips rapidly against the brick wall. She heard the dogs panting now. This sound had replaced the earlier frenzy of them tearing into the drugged raw hamburger she had thrown over the fence just twenty minutes before. She’d crushed thirty-six Acepromozin tablets into the ground meat, reckoning it would enough to knock out the four guard dogs, if not kill them outright.

She glanced at her watch and waited. This is taking so long. Five more minutes passed, with nothing sounding except the soft, rotating click of the camera. Abruptly, she yanked down the protective goggles resting on her head and placed them over her eyes. The clicking now echoed loudly, indicating the camera was once more faced in her direction. Brazenly she stood, aimed her laser gun and pointed it directly into the lens. The high tech, silicon-based CCD camera had an impressive wavelength sensitivity. The laser’s high-powered emitter instantly saturated the pixels of the camera’s CCD sensor and burned the chip out instantly.

Ricardo Perez thought he protected himself with the best of everything. He’d under-estimated meeting an assassin so invested in seeing him dead.

Hooking the laser into her belt loop, she flung her knapsack over her shoulders and scaled the wall in a practiced leap. She balanced delicately on the edge to prevent being punctured by the barbed wire and slipped on a pair of leather gloves, grabbed the wire cutters hanging from her backpack and snipped her way through. In less than twenty seconds, she was inside the backyard of the compound. Three of the dogs lay unconscious in the grass nearby, but their twitching feet told her they were still alive. Where is the other one?

A deep, menacing growl came from behind her and she whirled to face the remaining Doberman. She had just enough time to register the bits of bloody hamburger still clinging to its snout before it lunged. Her instincts kicked in and she did the only thing she could remember. She punched the animal savagely in its throat like she’d been taught, and it fell to the ground, dead.

Breathing hard, she turned back to the house where Ricardo had hoped to escape from her. Her body shook and she took a deep breath, trying to keep her anger in check. This man couldn’t expect to destroy her family and get away with it. He was going to pay.

She moved past the koi pond, stopping only to disable the second security camera with her laser.
She passed the kidney-shaped pool and skirted around the cabana, her eyes never leaving the house. Shadows moved behind the curtained windows on the second floor. At the sound of a sliding door opening, she dove behind a hedge. A well-muscled guard moved onto the balcony and lit a cigarillo. Its smell traveled to her in the gentle breeze. She held back a cough and brushed a wayward blond strand out of her face.

The guard scanned the perimeters, then took out his cell phone and sat back on a lounge chair to make a call. Sweet nothings floated down to her and she took that moment to leap across the hedge and race to the side of the house, hiding herself in the back door portico. She edged around the building until she located the final camera attached to the roof above a spare bedroom. Too far for her laser’s range.

She waited until the camera scanned another part of the property and then got to work. She pulled out a long rope from her backpack which she attached to a grappling hook. With a precision borne from hours upon hours of practice, she tossed up the hook and snagged the end over the bedroom’s balcony railing. With a jerk, the rope pulled taut and the hook locked in place. Fifteen seconds later she was standing on the terrace.

The clicking camera indicated it was again in range. She leaned around the corner of the wall, aimed her laser and disabled it.

She left her bag and goggles on the terrace and moved to the sliding door leading into the bedroom. It was locked, which wasn’t a surprise. The girl leaned her head against the glass, her breath fogging the window, and noticed there was no security bar holding it shut. That was a mistake, Ricardo. She removed a set of lock picks from her pack and sixty seconds later broke in.

The house was quiet. With infinite care, she made her way across the room to the bedroom door. She cracked it open, pulling her pistol and stun gun from their holsters. She already knew the layout of the house from her research. There were four bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor with a wide hallway opening over the front foyer downstairs. The plush, cream-colored wall-to-wall carpeting, that stretched through every room, was an added benefit. Now she wouldn’t have to worry about her footsteps making any noise. The lighting was good, too. An enormous, glittering chandelier hung from the foyer ceiling and lit the entire area with a yellow glow. She peered into Ricardo’s bedroom and heard him speak to one of his guards. The sound of his voice made goosebumps on her arms.

“Pablo, go get us a couple of beers.”

The guard came out of the bedroom and as he passed her room, she jumped on him and released the stun gun. He barely had time to cry out before she hit him violently in the side of his head with the butt of her gun, silencing him. He fell unconscious to the floor. With great effort, she dragged him by his feet into the bedroom. Thankfully, he wasn’t as large as the first guard she had seen or it would have been much harder. In less than a minute, he was trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

She moved quickly down the hall towards Ricardo’s room, her pistol in one hand, the stun gun in the other.
She peeked inside. Ricardo had moved to the balcony.

What happened next came down fast.

“The dogs are too quiet,” the remaining bodyguard said. A whistle sounded and when none of the Dobermans responded, she could distinctly hear him click his gun’s safety. “The cameras are dark, too. Ricardo, stay here.”

The guard moved across the room and out into the hallway, shocked to see her simply standing there. With a startled shout, he fired at her, but she feinted to the right and fired back. Her heel slipped slightly on the carpet and messed up her aim. She hit him in his hip, rather than his chest. Dammit to hell.

The guard fell to the floor with a yell, but fired again, the bullet ricocheting off the wall behind her. She took that moment to pounce upon him, kneeing him fiercely in his groin. He tried to hit her with the butt of his gun and she delivered a brutal elbow strike to his cheek, shattering it. He shrieked, bringing his gun up again. She shoved the stun gun in his side and fired the full voltage.

A bullet whisked by her head, shattering the picture frame on the wall next to her. She flinched and glimpsed Ricardo shooting wildly from behind the door. Their gazes met and fear filled his eyes. With a squeal, he ran back into his bedroom and disappeared from view.

Her adrenaline pumped through her veins and his fear spurred her on. Run and hide, you coward. With a savage smile, she raced after him.

The hunt was on.

If you’re interested in purchasing the entire novel, it is available on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1ixAnkP