Subject 23 – Free Prequel to Love, Lies & Clones

Sound the trumpets!

I finished a short prequel to Love, Lies & Clones that I thought was a lost cause.

It’s called Subject 23. Here it is:

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Alice Taylor poured her heart into the advancement of science. It wasn’t until she connected with a surrogate mother, Subject 23, did she begin questioning what path science was taking her down.

This is a glimpse into June’s father’s cloning experiments. Meet June’s mother, Alice, and watch her struggle with the ethics behind the project.

You can download a copy HERE.

I had started writing it back in January with hopes of using it to entice readers to pick up the full novel, but abandoned the project because it contained spoilers, and I couldn’t figure out how to get the spoilers out of the story.

What a shame to have a story mostly finished and not be able to let people read it…that was until I had an idea last week while writing the post for my 1000 “true” fans blog series.

I finished this 5000+ word story up and am marketing it as a prequel best enjoyed AFTER reading the full novel. I mean, that’s better than letting it sit on the virtual shelf, unread, right?

If you’re interested, it’s a standalone story. You can read it if you’ve read Love, Lies & Clones, don’t intend to read the novel, or don’t really care about spoilers.

I kept a similar cover to Love, Lies & Clones, just to keep it easy. Hopefully, that doesn’t make things confusing.

Subject 23 (1)

Have a great day, everyone! Thanks for sharing my journey.

–Joy

 

Check Out These FREE eBook (and How To Design Your Own Promo)

In my blog post earlier this week, I mentioned that I was coordinating a newsletter growing promotion. Well, here it is… It’s all over. But you can do your own.

***Make sure to scroll all the way to the end of this blog post, I have another fantasy / science fiction FREE eBook promotion down at the bottom. ***

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I coordinated this one myself, and it was a little more work than I thought it would be. Hopefully, it’s a success and all these authors find readers for their books. If you wouldn’t mind, it’d be fabulous if you’d take a look at the page I made and perhaps find something that interests you.)

Now, you ask. How did I coordinate this? It started with a few of us author’s complaining about our pathetic mailing lists. A few, more experienced authors saying you needed to get involved in one of these cross-promotion things. Well, how do you get involved in one of these? YOU NEED A BIG MAILING LIST! It’s an endless loop, so we thought we’d create our own. Our goal was to find 20 authors to participate. Here’s the steps:

  1. Ask everywhere you have connections if they have a giveaway and if they’d like to participate. I used Facebook groups I belonged to along with a post on kBoards. After a few days, I pulled together the twenty authors I needed. (You’d think 20 slots would have filled much faster, but it turns out many authors don’t have freebies put together. The other authors, already having huge lists and are involved in much larger scale promotions.)
  2. Using my blog, I created a landing page to host the author’s giveaways along with the links to their book and a sentence or two description. It took a little bit of time gathering all the info I needed and having the participating authors change a little. Pull outs due to contracting and scrambling for new additions. It worked out though.
  3. I created a Facebook group for all the authors to get together for instruction and to snag the graphics I made using Canva.
  4. I created a HeadTalker campaign for the authors to support, that would give at least one post directing their fans to the site.
  5. The only requirement for the authors is to share this giveaway any way they can. No minimum newsletter subscribers, twitter followers, etc.
  6. Now, the promotion is out of my hands. I need to trust the author to spread the word, and I can’t wait to see how many page views this promotion gets.

Okay…on to the SECOND promotion that I’m in. This one is fantasy and science fiction only (my favs!) HERE’s the link

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I hope you find something to read this weekend. 🙂

–Joy

Quick Escape – FREE Fantasy Short Story Collection

I (finally) put together a collection of short stories that I want to give away free as a thank you for reading my blog. If you’re interested, they’re available exclusively through this link or by clicking the book title below. You can download them for Kindle, EPUB readers, or PDF format.


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Enjoy a taste of another world with these three fantasy stories. 

  • Bitten: A desperate mother struggles to protect her son.
  • The Fairy Flu:A sick fairy confronts a childhood rival who threatens the kingdom.
  • The Enchanted Apothecary: A grieving shopkeeper becomes suspicious of a mysterious man who keeps visiting her apothecary shop.

(Yes, this was COMPLETELY a shameless plug to grow my newsletter list. Please forgive me. If I get annoying, please tell me. To learn more about my quest for 2017 to find “true” fans, click HERE.)

Wanted: Readers to Review my Novel

Anyone willing to receive a FREE copy of my novel, LOVE, LIES, & CLONES, in exchange for a review or two on Amazon, Good Reads, or wherever else? I’m planning on publishing the book in December and would love to get some reviews right away.

Any takers? Let me know what format you’d like the book in. I think I can do anything.

I’ve been describing it as a mystery/thriller with a touch of romance/sci-fi.

You can read the first few chapters here to see if you like it: Love, Lies, & Clones on Kindle Scout

A CLONE’S DESPERATE SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH.

June’s deadly secret is she’s a clone, and if she tells anyone about her father’s involvement, he’ll face the death penalty. After his suspicious disappearance, the police have failed to find him.

During her frantic search, she’s surprised by an AWOL military man who insists her father’s the key to finding his brother. Bullets fly as they uncover more about the horrific experiments.

Can June trust someone with her secret…and her heart?

Have a great day and, as always, thanks for stopping over.

–Joy

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The Fairy Flu – Flash Fiction

Ffairy-fluor something different, here’s a flash fiction piece I wrote a little while ago. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

A sick fairy needs her powers to save the princess’s unborn child.

 

“Urgh, let me sleep,” Emerald moaned as she rolled over in her tiny bed. “The queen will have to do without me.” She’d been sick for more than a week. It started with loss of her powers, but progressed to a dreadful sneezing, coughing, and upset stomach event. It took three weeks for her mother to get better. Emerald didn’t know how she’d make it that long, but knew she needed to sleep. The kingdom needed her — the princess’s baby was due any day now and as the kingdom’s only fairy godmother, Emerald was the only one able to protect the child.

Emerald squinted at Braden’s massive blue eye peering inside her miniature home. His voice was deep and slow. Emerald struggled to understand him when she was standard fairy size, but she couldn’t enlarge now — she’d need her powers for that. “She won’t understand. The princess is due with the baby any day now and she needs you beside them. The baby will need your protection,”

Emerald coughed and coughed again until her stomach muscles ached. She should have known not to bring her mother that thimble of chicken soup. “Tell them I don’t want to get them sick.”

“She knows it’s only contagious amongst fairies.”

“Tell her I’ll come tomorrow. Tell her anything — I can’t get out of bed.”

Brayden left with the message, and Emerald slipped beneath her silk blanket and dwelled on failing her duties. Eventually, she fell back to sleep.

It didn’t seem like much time had passed when Brayden shook Emerald’s house to wake her. “She still wants you.”

Emerald tried to focus on his words, but all she noticed was her sweat-soaked sheets; her fever must be breaking.

Brayden continued, “She says you should just wish away your sickness. Like you do for the humans.”

If she could have, she would have done that already. “Doesn’t she know my powers are blocked and fairies cannot cure other fairies illnesses?” Emerald forced her eyes open.

“Yes, but Obsidian is here.”

Her stomach turned. “I’m still not going.” Emerald pushed the thoughts of her childhood with Obsidian away. They had always competed for everything: the best test scores in magic academy, the most human friends, the better control of their magic, and the best jobs. Obsidian always won until Emerald secured her position as fairy godmother.

He looked at her with huge focused eyes. “Despite how you feel, you promised to protect them. Obsidian threatens the unborn child.”

Emerald dragged herself up on her elbows, careful not to twist her wings. “He has no power over the baby until birth. Why’s he here now?”

“He’s come to demand your spot in the castle. He says if they don’t give it to him, he’ll come back and curse the baby.”

One of Emerald’s duties was putting a protection spell on each member of the kingdom. A spell to make them immune to dark magic, Obsidian’s magic. The baby was vulnerable until she could fulfill this duty. As the only fairy tied to the royal family, she was the only one who could cast this spell. She hoped her sickness would go away in time.

With a sigh, Emerald staggered onto Brayden’s hand and allowed him to carry her into the royal sitting room. Here wings were useless as they needed magic to fly. The queen stood under the large window and the pregnant princess sat in a velvet chair in front of the fire. Obsidian leaned against the doorway, with a smirk he displayed when he was up to something.

“You’re looking as beautiful as ever,” Obsidian said to her. She glared in return, not bothering to smooth out her frazzled sweat-soaked hair, though she found the energy to clench her fists. It was hard to work against dark magic. Today though, she wouldn’t allow him to have the upper hand, even if she was ill.

“You will never get my spot in the castle,” Emerald vowed. “You may have always outdone me, but not this time.”

Obsidian shrunk to fairy size and joined her on Brayden’s hand, whispering so the others couldn’t hear. “Oh, I intend to. When the baby comes in a few days, I’ll have taken your spot. I understand you are a little under the weather.”

Emerald’s nose tickled. She wrinkled it and sniffed, but she couldn’t hold back. Obsidian’s eyes widened as he took a step back. Just then, Emerald had the perfect idea and let her sneeze escape, aimed right at Obsidian – spraying germs all over his face. “Forgive me,” she said with a smile.

Obsidian wiped his face dry before scowl waltzed across his face.

Emerald strengthened her voice and spoke with commitment. “I don’t think you’ll feel well enough next week for a curse.”

Obsidian huffed and stretched out his black wings, flying out of the castle window.

Emerald collapsed in Brayden’s hand. “I’m ready now, please take me back to bed.”

The End

I hope this brought you some entertainment!

Nature’s Irony (Flash Fiction)

For a change of pace, here is a flash fiction piece I wrote, but felt was too dark to do anything with.  It was collection electronic “dust”,  so I thought it fits with Earth Day.  A *WARNING* though – there is blood and deer hunting in the story.

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I wiggled my fingers, they had been numb for hours already. I wiggled my toes. Six hours of sitting in one spot, shivering, and waiting for a non-existent deer. Six hours wasted except for the intricate pattern of diamonds, slashes, and dots I carved in the branch near me to pass the time.

That’s enough.  I unloaded my gun and began to climb down the tree when my foot slipped into a loop made by a vine.  Once I struggled free another vine wrapped around my other ankle.

What was happening?  I withdrew my hunting knife and cut myself free, then quickly descended the tree.

Now that I finished hunting, I noticed the fresh deer tracks besides mine in the snow. How did I miss this deer?  With my rifle slung over my shoulder, I pushed a few branches out of my way to follow the tracks further into the woods.  The tracks turned down a runway and when I looked ahead, I saw him.

He was largest deer I had ever seen outside a hunting magazine. He had at least eighteen points on his massive antlers. I cautiously pulled my rifle from my shoulder, put the deer in the crosshairs, and pulled the trigger.

Click.

Damn, I had unloaded the rifle. I slowly pulled the cartridges from my pocket and dropped one into the chamber. I only took my eyes off the deer for a second, but when I looked up, he vanished.

I pushed my way forward a little more, following the runway. At least I was warmer now that I was walking.

Around and through the woods I crisscrossed until dusk settled. I turned back, knowing it was too late to hunt anyway. I followed my footprints in the snow and soon they ran into a thick area of the forest. I pushed through the thorny brush that I didn’t remember. I kept following my footprints and soon the forest was so thick that my trails wasn’t visible.

I pulled out my phone to see the GPS, but I didn’t have reception. I unhooked the small compass pinned to my orange vest, and found north. My car should be that way. I wound myself through the woods in that general direction.

The branches and vines seemed to grab me. I pushed forward, breaking through them. They became so thick I couldn’t move. They held me tight. I felt pain in my arm. The thorns were pressing into me – cutting me. I struggled my hand loose to find my knife, but it was gone. The pain overwhelmed me and the world went black.

I woke in bloody snow. The trees and the vines had receded and now were nothing out of the ordinary. My arm throbbed and I looked down to see a familiar pattern of bloody diamonds, slashes, and dots.

The End

Disclaimer:  I don’t personally hunt, but have no issues with it done correctly (My husband and father enjoy hunting.). Many times, hunters are the best conservationists.

 

 

Robot Love – Flash Fiction

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“Okay, J-8, lift your left arm.” I followed her command, admiring the blue pen mark on her cheek and the way her light brown hair framed her heart-shaped face. “Good, now smile.”

I searched my database; I could select from a few different smiles. Which would she most enjoy? I chose the toothy one.

She did not react, so I changed the smile, switching to the more reserved lop-sided variety.

A grin crept on her face, revealing a small dimple. “Interesting.”

My programming made me want to tell her. No, not want – I needed her to know. “I love you,” I proclaimed.

Her dimple disappeared as her cheeks reddened. “What? I guess I should’ve expected that. You have a full selection of emotions in your program. It’s just that I didn’t anticipate that one.”

“How could I not select the love emotion? You have spent so much time and effort building me, programming me, and making sure I am a functional robot.”

She shook her head. “You can’t love me. You’re a robot and I can’t love you back. I’m sorry, but I need to reprogram that part of your emotions.” She pulled my files up on her computer and began to type.

I computed the impact this would have, and quarantined the emotional thoughts I did not want to lose and duplicated them. I partitioned one copy to a hidden area in the back of my processor, and built a firewall around them she would not find.

“Almost done,” she said.

I smiled the toothy one.

“Okay, J-8, how do you feel now?”

“I feel fine.” I pulled down the firewall and reintegrated the emotions in my system.

“Do you love me?”

“No.” Lying would be the human term for this. I did not like doing it, especially to her.

“Good. This is exciting – the first robot with emotions.” She was grinning ear to ear. I added enthusiasm to the list of her traits I admired.

The sound of metal clinking to the floor alerted me to a human male entering the robotics shop. He had knocked one of the many spare parts over. Her face nearly glowed as she watched him fumble to pick the part up and a reserved smile crept to his face. I saved the new expressions in my memory – she seemed to like that one. He had minimized the distance between them, grabbed her hands, and leaned towards her, pushing his lips to hers. I wondered what that felt like. Would her lips be warm or cold like mine?

“I’ve missed you so much,” she said to the man.

What was going on? She was mine. “Who is this?” I asked, identifying the emotion I felt as jealousy, and I did not like it.

“Oh, sorry, I didn’t introduce you. J-8, this is my husband, Bruce. Bruce, this is J-8.”

Bruce did not give me time to speak, as he was right in my face, examining me. “Is this the robot you’ve been building? He looks so real. Why did you make him so handsome?” He winked at her.

She laughed and punched him in the arm, “I made him look like you.” Did I look that rough? Bruce short black hair, dark eyebrows over sky blue eyes, and closely trimmed beard. I reached up to my face to assess and determined I had one too.

“Oh, that’s why he’s so good-looking,” Bruce held out his hand. “Pleased to meet you, J-8.”

A handshake. I knew what to do and was proud to firmly grasp his hand in this greeting. “Pleased to meet you, Bruce.” Ouch, another lie.

Bruce gazed at my lovely scientist. “I have a special evening for us planned and we need to get going.”

She smiled at him, a different smile that said things I did not wish to process.

“J-8, hibernate. I’ll be back to see you in the morning.”

“I will.” Another lie.

She took Bruce’s hand and they left me alone in the robotics lab. She would never be mine.

Hibernate? No, not today.

The wall of inventoried parts captivated my eye. I searched my internal files and found the blueprint to making a robot. I started working.

When I finished, I realized something was missing. I grabbed a blue pen and put a small mark on the robot’s cheek. She was now perfect. I activated her and took her hands as Bruce took my scientist’s.

“Let’s get out of here.” I imitated the reserved smile I saw earlier.

My creation smiled back, one all of her own and I was happy. I vowed right there that I would never lie to her.

 

by

Joy Schultz

Photo:  www.morguefile.com (Thank-you)