As promised, the first volume of my science fiction fantasy, The Vulpecula Cycle, is now available at Amazon on Kindle. It’s like a cross between a fairy tale and “Flash Gordon,” and it certainly isn’t meant to be serious. Here is my cover blurb:
Upon hearing rumors in the forest that humans are preparing a mission to a lunar colony, foxes Hua (花) and De (德) decide to use their magical power to masquerade as human to get on the shuttle, the Heavenly Tranquility. But the mission, headed by China and manned with an international crew, quickly goes awry when the magical imposters disrupt their flight, throwing them onto an inhabited planet in the Vulpecula constellation. The crew must then cope with the strange new cultures they come in contact with while Hua and De must deal with romance and temptation.
Volume two will be available later this month, and I’m rewriting parts of volume 3, which should be out by the end of the year. I’m going to try to get a print edition of the whole series on demand. Here is a sample from volume one:
In a special chamber of the Palace of the Fire Dragon, Hua lounged among satiny pillows. She had chosen a beautiful silk pajama-type shirt and pants in scarlet, her long black hair twisted up on her head carelessly. Comfortable in the clothes but not so comfortable with the prospect of being surprised by the owner of both the clothes and the room returning to catch her as pretender at any moment, she wished Dorran and Alex would hurry back so they could find somewhere safe to hide.
At least she had had enough time for a decent bath, some of Lady Shalice’s royal perfume, and closets full of clothes for her ladies-in-waiting. Some of those women had passed them in the hall when they first entered the chambers, but they had hidden from the women in time. Luckily, the entourage had stayed away most of the day, though Hua feared it would only be a matter of time before they returned. She wondered if their escape had been discovered yet, and if so, would Shalice think to look for them right in her own bedroom? Not likely, Hua concluded.
She had tried to bathe and dress Mariko, but the poor woman never came back to life, nor did the soap or perfume reduce the smell of snake that she seemed to be doused in. It was probably not so plain to the men, and Hua reminded herself to ask them about it when they returned. Then she realized that such a question might cause some comment from Alex. He had seen her shift into her fox form and back. Such questions could be sticky, especially without De around to come up with some clever answer like he always did. Cursing his headache indeed! It would be unbearable for him if the others ever found out they had gone off course because of his silly magic. Anyway, Mariko was neat and clean in a long, royal blue dress that would have looked smashing on her if she ever snapped out of it. There was only so much Hua could do for her.
Someone knocked on the door. Hua nearly jumped out of her skin, and she knocked lightly in response.
“It’s me, Hua,” she heard Dorran whisper on the other side. “We’re back.”
Hua unbolted the door and let them in. Dorran kissed her quickly, and he and Alex dropped the stolen yellow uniforms on a chair nearby, shutting the door behind them. Only glancing at Mariko and Hua, the men went into the bathing room to quickly wash off the grime from the dungeons. Hua tried not to follow them, but she was too nervous to stay in the main lounge of the concubine’s quarters.
“Hurry, please,” she said to them. Alex looked a little annoyed at her presence in the room. Dorran smiled. She gestured toward the door in exasperation. “Shalice will surely be coming back soon.”
“Will you go out with Mariko and wait?” Dorran asked good-naturedly.
Hua went back out to sit with Mariko, but Mariko had walked over to a keyhole-shaped window overlooking the city. Hua had already looked out at the city from every window in the apartment, and she had a pretty good idea of the street just outside the palace, though she had no idea how they were going to get down to the lower levels just yet. Hopefully, Dorran and Alex had that figured out.
My old fantasy novella, The Weary City, has also been available on Kindle. In this story, my unemployed trailer park queen with an unwanted pregnancy finds a way into a decaying, post-apocalyptic world where she must do battle with the magician who rules over it in order to get home again. You can consider it my freaked out interpretation of The Wizard of Oz, inspired by David Bowie’s “Diamond Dogs” album.
Here is an excerpt:
Walking down a street strewn with garbage, Terry looked at the rows of buildings reaching up to the sky on either side of her. They reminded her of home and her occasional trips to the city, though these buildings hardly resembled the majestic skyscrapers of polished steel and tinted glass that she remembered. These had the same shape, but their blasted walls were stained and cracked, crumbling almost before her eyes. Not one of their windows remained unbroken. Thin strips of paint peeled here and there on the doors and window panes, the fragments of flat, drab colors scattered by the wind and falling into shallow piles on the ground.
The city looked deserted. Terry met no one. But somewhere in the distance, she heard crying, like a wailing wind echoing softly through the city, and the metallic rumbling of an engine. She stood still to listen, but the sounds died away before she could place them and move in their direction. As she listened, she felt the baby move inside her, and she realized that was the first time she had truly been aware of it since she invoked the spell. The reminder of the life she carried with her only made her more uneasy in the strange surroundings.
The whine of scraping steel on steel echoed through the city, and when it stopped, the sound of barking dogs replaced it. The barking grew louder as the dogs seemed to come toward Terry. Panicking, she ran down the street, stumbling over the garbage, looking for anything, a person or a hiding place, to protect her from them. As she ran to the corner of the street and turned, she bumped into someone standing there. Arms wrapped around her shoulders, and in the confusion, pushed her ahead through the nearest doorway into a hollowed out building. Finding a place to hide in the shadows, far from the windows facing the street, they waited for the dogs to pass.
When the dogs arrived, their barks were almost deafening, and their claws clattered against the crushed papers and broken glass lining the street. Terry thought she heard heavy footfalls moving just behind them, but an overwhelming sense of fear came over her, and her blood pulsed faster, beating against her skin and roaring in her ears so she could no longer hear anything without this distorted, extra beat. Then the feeling passed. All was silent except for the sound of her own breathing.
She felt her rescuer’s eyes upon her, even in the darkness, and turned to meet them. The figure’s hands clasped hers, pulling her closer to a boarded up window where thin rays of light broke through the cracks. A ray crossed the figure’s face, and Terry fell back, gasping, as a woman’s features were revealed by the strip of bright light. The face was too like her own for Terry to be sure of what she was really seeing. She studied the face carefully, still backing away, even though she realized it wasn’t as familiar as she first thought. The face was similar to her own but, from what she could see in the half shadow, not enough for them to be confused. Terry couldn’t understand the feeling of familiarity or her own reaction.
The woman didn’t appear to notice. Taking Terry’s hand again, she led Terry through the darkened rooms, stepping through more strips of light as they passed another window. Then they started up a long flight of stairs. Unable to see where the woman led, Terry counted the landings as they reached them, and when they got to the twelfth, the stairs stopped. Terry was surprised that, even in her condition, the climb hadn’t tired her at all. The woman brought her down a short hallway to a room with a small cot in the corner and an open window overlooking the city.
Now, at last, Terry could see the woman clearly. Her pale, worn dress reached the floor and whirled around her when she moved. Her light brown hair fell to her shoulders in thick, shining waves, each strand reflecting the warm light of the daytime sky. Terry refused to see the face again and turned away before the picture of the woman could be completed in her mind. Instead, she walked to the window, now no more than a frame of shattered glass, and looked upon the city.
Thanks to whoever purchased the Weary City. I wasn’t even trying that hard. All of these are manuscripts I’ve had lying around for a decade or more, and I’m putting them out there since there seems to be some interest.
Purchase details for all of my e-books are under the “E-Book” heading above under their respective pages.