THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Jimmy Stu Lives!, Kent McDaniel {$0.99}

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Kent McDaniels Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Jimmy Stu Lives!:

Jimmy Stu Lives! is science-fiction. It involves an elderly leader of a mega church in present-day Nashville, who loses his faith and convinces his followers that God wants him preserved by cryogenics when he dies–for a mission to the future. He gets his wish and 140 years after dying is reanimated. One has to be careful, of course, what one wishes for: His church has become a major faith, and millions of faithful view him as a prophet. Further, the US has fragmented into spheres of influence controlled by various faiths. And, oh yes, the leaders of his church view him as a threat, had no desire to reanimate him–it was done illicitly–and wish to return him to “suspended animation”. Into the ensuing adventure story, the novel weaves reflections on faith and its corruption, along with satire on efforts to erode church/state separation.

 

Accolades:

“A quick read and a thought provoking book.” review from Amazon.

“…artfully combines both Sci-Fi and Thriller to make it impossible to put the book down once started.” The Kindle Book Review.

“…fascinating depiction of a possible future.” Review from Amazon.

“a slam-bang adventure story, very well paced, with engaging characters…” Review from Amazon.

“…a pointed, albeit tongue in cheek, look at what can happen when a country allows a church to insert itself into the governmental seat of power.” Windy City Reviews

Reviews:

Jimmy Stu Lives! currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars from 17 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from Jimmy Stu Lives!:

A voice croaked, “He’s alive. Isn’t he?”
A softer voice responded, “His signs are stabilizing. We can’t predict his mental condition.”
Alive. Through the dim consciousness, the word swam up. But – no.
Again, the fierce whisper: “He’s alive.”
Alive, then, but who? Jimmy Stu? Jimmy Stu Sloan?
He seemed to be lying down, his back pressing into a firm mattress. He could feel his body! He opened his eyes enough to peek through his eyelashes. He opened his eyes! Rows of circular lights floated just below the ceiling ten feet above him. A torso in a white lab coat stood beside him, lustrous black hair falling to its waist. Another torso, clad in a coat of orange brocaded cloth, pressed close behind the first.
A third, deeper voice, rumbled, “His eyelashes just fluttered.”
“Really?” The hoarse voice asked. A lean handsome face lowered itself to the level of Jimmy Stu’s head, and dark eyes peered at him.
Jimmy Stu closed his eyes.
“You’re right,” the voice cried beside him. “He’s waking!”
Hands shook Jimmy Stu’s shoulders. “Uncle, wake up!” It was the hoarse voice, choked with emotion, Jimmy Stu realized then. The hands shook him again. “Wake up!”
The soft voice, a woman’s certainly, cried, “Careful, Peter.” The hands fell from Jimmy Stu’s shoulders, and he could hear feet shuffling.
Jimmy Stu opened his eyes and turned his head. A tall lean man, who appeared to be in his late thirties, stood three feet away. A beautiful woman with long black hair, full lips, and dark, glittering eyes held the man’s left arm with both hands, knuckles taut. Behind her towered a golden behemoth of a man, brown hair curling down to his massive shoulders.
“You’re awake!” the lean man – Peter? – cried, his face aglow. He wore loose white trousers, brown sandals, and a Nehru shirt of orange brocade. Something in his bone structure – the high cheekbones and noble brow – reminded Jimmy Stu of someone. Jimmy Stu cleared his throat. “So … it would seem.”
He moved away the sheet covering him. He moved! Naked, he pushed himself to a seated position. Vertigo rocked him, and he swayed. Patches on his arms and chest the size and shape of fifty-cent pieces pulled at his bare skin.
The woman rushed up and steadied him. “Are you all right?” They all had a strange accent – not American, not English, nor Australian … maybe a combination, with a hint of a lilting drawl.
He took a breath. “I think so.” He glanced right and left. What seemed to be a monitor with undulating lines flowing across it, floated at the end of the gurney. A machine as wide as the gurney floated between it and the wall. The woman pulled the patches from his chest and arms, and the lines on the monitor disappeared.
He stared at her. “Are you with Thorne Cryogenics, then?”
She looked over her shoulder at the lean man who hurried over, hand to his jaw, eyes averted. “Well, uh, not exactly, uncle,” he said. “Actually, this is lab is owned by SynthaLife, Incorporated.” He tipped a hand toward the woman. “Shama is a senior researcher here.”
“SynthaLife?” Jimmy Stu stared at him.
Shama touched Jimmy Stu’s arm and looked into his eyes. “We develop and manufacture synthetic life – biological androids. I’m a biochemist and an officer of the company.”
“Androids?” Jimmy Stu blinked. “Robots?”
“Synthetic life.” Her tone was patient. “Our product is organic.”
He shook his head to clear the cobwebs. “What’s all that got to do with cryonics? Or Thorne Cryogenics Labs?”
“Actually,” Peter said, stepping closer to him, “Thorne Labs was bought by the Church of the Living Lord over eighty years ago.”
Jimmy Stu drew back like he’d been tazed. “My church? Bought Thorne Labs?”
Peter nodded.
Jimmy Stu pointed at Peter. “You’re with the Church of The Living Lord?”
Peter grimaced. “Not … exactly.”
Jimmy Stu sputtered, “Well, what-what the hell’s going on? Who the hell … who the hell are you?” He stared around the chamber almost as large as a basketball court, its walls and floors spotless, gleaming white. Opposite them, five doors stood along the far wall, a window beside each door. In the room’s middle were a couple tables with drawers underneath, and beakers, flasks, and test tubes on top. On his side of the room, another table stood at the far end, longer than the others, with a sink. In between it and him floated a metallic device the size of a large suitcase, lights oscillating across it. High on the walls, large windows revealed the black of night above.
The bronze giant lumbered up to Jimmy Stu with a set of clothes much like hospital scrubs, only royal blue. “Why don’t you try these on?” he rumbled. “Looks like they might fit. I’m Joachim,” he added. “It’s an honor to be here tonight, Your Holiness.” He held out the clothing like a communion bowl.
After a few seconds, Jimmy Stu took the garments. Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, he slipped them on, marveling at how smooth and muscular his limbs were. Dizzy again, he sat back down on the gurney and whispered, “I was dead.” He stared at the dark, lean man. “Who are you? Where am I?” He put his hands to his temples.
“I’m Peter Alvarez,” the man said gently. “Your great-great-great-great-nephew.”
Jimmy Stu stared.
Peter nodded at the dark-haired beauty in the lab coat. “This is Shama Besic.” He pointed at the giant. “And this is Joachim Davis.”
“Great-great-great-great?” Jimmy Stu’s voice came out as a croak. “It … it worked? It actually worked?”
As he’d been dying, apprehension had nagged him about Thorne Labs’ use of the ‘neuro’ preservation option. It’d seemed too fantastic. They’d assured him all they needed was his head, that they’d someday be able to scan and record his DNA, and use organic material to produce an exact replica of him – head, torso, limbs, organs, nervous system … everything. They promised technology would someday exist that could map his brain, record its state, run a simulation indistinguishable from his original mind, and imprint it on his newly generated brain. Even to him, the hope had seemed desperate and pathetic. “It worked, then?” he repeated.
“Yes.” Peter beamed. “You’re alive and, it would seem, well.” He put his hands on his hips and leaned toward Jimmy Stu. “Do you feel well enough to travel? We’d like to take you Joachim’s place outside the city.”
Jimmy Stu looked around the lab, at the night sky in the windows, then at the three people. “Why am I here? Not at Thorne Labs?”
Peter clasped Jimmy Stu’s shoulders. “Please, uncle, we need to go – now. We can use an aero-chair or auto-stretcher if you need. I’ll explain on the way.”
Jimmy Stu drew back, but his shoulders remained in the Peter’s grip. “Yeah, I’m sure you can.” Jimmy Stu looked inward. “But can I believe you?” His voice fell. “What do I know, really? I’m here. Alive. With you. How do I know who you are, what you want?”
Peter looked horrified. “Uncle, we’ve risked everything to bring you back. We would never harm you! The will of God made flesh! But we need to leave now. Your life could depend on it.”
There was a beep. Peter and Shama blanched. The beep sounded again and repeated every three seconds.
“Who?” Peter glared at a large oblong rectangle of opaque beige light that appeared on the wall. Beside the rectangle, a red light blinked in sync with the beeps.
Shama jabbed a finger at a door across the lab. “In my office! Quickly!”
Jimmy Stu stared back and forth between her and the screen. Joachim jumped over and wrapped an arm around his torso, hefting Jimmy Stu like a sack of potatoes. He trotted toward the doors across the lab, with Peter at his side. They scrambled through a door, and it slammed behind them. They were in an office with a large window facing the lab. Shama stared wide-eyed at them through the window, moving her arms up and down in short jerks. Peter tapped the window, and it became opaque. Joachim set Jimmy Stu on his feet and tapped a black plastic strip on the wall. A screen of light like the one on the lab’s wall appeared.
Peter’s voice was shrill. “We’re not transmitting?”
Joachim folded his arms across his chest, then glanced at Peter. “Just receiving. Relax.”
Lightheaded, Jimmy Stu stared at the screen. Abruptly a red-haired woman with high cheekbones and slightly tilted cobalt eyes appeared in the hologram. She wore a jumpsuit of black leather.
Shama’s voice said, “Hello?”
Peter growled, “Fuck!”
The woman appeared to be standing beside a large semi-circular desk in a spacious lobby, two brutes in black jump suits like hers lounging ten feet behind, at the edge of the screen.
“She’s here!” Peter spat. “Downstairs!”
On screen, the redhead smiled icily. “Dr. Shama Besic?”
“Yes?”
The redhead inclined her head and shoulders in a sort of mini-bow. “Phuong Blake, with the security department of the Church of the Living Lord. We have reason to believe that you possess an item stolen from the Church of the Living Lord.”
Jimmy Stu glanced at Joachim, then spun around to Peter and whispered, “You stole something from them?”
“Yes!” Peter hissed “You!”
A sharp inhalation from Shama came over the holo-phone. “What are you talking about? Stolen item?”
Phuong Blake’s cobalt eyes took on a sardonic sheen, and her full lips twisted slightly to one side. “Oh, I think you know what I’m talking about.” She craned her neck as if trying to better see into the holo-screen. “And where, by the way, are Peter Alvarez and his good friend Joachim Davis? They’re up there with you, aren’t they?”
“Oh,” Shama said, going for nonchalant and missing, “they’re around.”
Blake nodded. “We’d like to come up and speak with them, and you, if we might.”
Shama sounded incredulous, furious. “You think I’ll let you bring your goons up here?”
Blake’s cobalt eyes seemed to burn into the screen. “We’d like to keep the police out of this, if we can.”
Beside Jimmy Stu, Peter snorted. “Of course.” He jumped to Joachim’s side and pointed at Jimmy Stu. “Stay with him.” Peter cracked the office door just wide enough to step through, and strode into the lab.
On screen, Blake’s eyes widened for a fraction of a second.
Peter’s voice came over the holo-phone, an angry bark. “What’s the meaning of this, Phuong?”
Jimmy Stu edged closer to Joachim. “What’d he mean, of course, they’d want to keep the police out of it?”
Joachim closed his eyes for a second. “We stole your head back in April, and it’s June third. They still haven’t reported it to the police. They don’t want anyone to know.” He put his finger to his lips, then pointed at the screen.
Blake sighed through her nose. “Congressman Alvarez.” Irony dripped from her voice. “As I said, we’d prefer to keep the police uninvolved. But I can have them here in no time, rest assured. If necessary.”
Seconds ticked by as Blake’s hologram stared into the screen, her impassive face somehow more menacing than if she’d glared.
Peter’s voice, sounding strangled, came over the holo-phone. “We have nothing to hide, Phuong. You can come up. Your strong-arm guys stay put, though.”
Blake glanced over her shoulder at the two thugs, looked back at the screen, and shrugged. “No problem. I have your permission to come up, then?”
Maybe Peter had nodded, because the picture changed. A middle-aged man in a security guard’s uniform, complete with brimmed hat, stared slightly down into the holo-screen. A vee formed between his eyebrows. “Officer Blake has permission to enter your facility then, Dr. Besic?”

 

Jimmy Stu Lives! is available for purchase at:

 Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

Connect with Kent McDaniel:

Website: www.kentmcdanielwrites.wordpress.com

Facebook: Kent McDaniel

Twitter: @dickmoby

Hour of the Wolf (Steam and Stone Saga), Andrius B. Tapinas {$0.99}

Biggest SF bestseller in Lithuania – $.99 only this week

It is the year 1905 and Europe is not as we know it. Alchemists pilot steampunk airships over great cities, hardworking mechanics create automatons and deep in the dungeons secret societies of macabre wizards strive to create artificial intellect.

Powerful bankers created The Alliance of Free Cities – beacons of progress, art, science and freedom.

But…

Blood has been spilled

Former US Marine Antanas Sidabras is exceptional at his job – enforcing public order in the ancient Free City of Vilnius. But a gruesome murder mystery at an abandoned cemetery leaves him at a loss. No clues, no motive, no suspect.

And…

A shadow has been awoken

With the biggest social event of the year – The Summit – looming just a few days ahead frantic investigation turns out to be a complex mystery of political intrigue and Sidabras has everybody against him – mad doctors, corrupt officials, Russian agents and monsters from his personal nightmares. And then, the bells will toll the Hour of the Wolf.

Will you live to see another day?

If you like alternate history fiction stories, science fiction adventure, unrelenting storytelling and steampunk setting – Hour of the Wolf will not disappoint.

This powerful steampunk and alternative history adventure is the biggest science fiction bestseller in Lithuania for the last decade. Animation series is already in the works and Hour of the Wolf became a major inspiration for a groundbreaking computer game – The Howler.

Check it now – Look Inside feature is just above on the top left side of the page.

What readers are saying:

“To read this book is like to watch a super intensive Hollywood thriller”

“Hour of the Wolf will delight fans of mystery, international intrigue, and fantasy alike”

The average Amazon Review is currently 4.3 stars {58 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase Hour of the Wolf (Steam and Stone Saga) for  $0.99 from Amazon!

Trust: The Hero Chronicles (Volume 2) , Tim Mettey {$0.99}

Nicholas Keller has come to terms with his Thusian heritage and has finally achieved some normalcy in his life. But when new neighbors move in next door at the beginning of his junior year, everything changes. He is launched into an impossible search, uncertain of who to trust, and this time it’s not just his own life that hangs in the balance—it’s the lives of countless others and everyone he loves.

What readers are saying:

True to its title, book two of The Hero Chronicles delivers a powerful reminder that TRUST is a key factor to the success of any and all relationships – dating, friendships, parents/children, teachers/students, neighbors etc. Mettey does a good job of keeping readers in suspense — wondering who we should TRUST — with twists and turns throughout the story hinting that people and situations aren’t always as they seem.

I have enjoyed both books in this series. They are easy to read and the characters are quite likeable. I find myself thinking about Nicholas and Elle sometimes even though I finished reading the book weeks ago. I look forward to reading more about the Thusians and the Seekers in the next book.

The average Amazon Review is currently 4.4 stars {8 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Trust: The Hero Chronicles (Volume 2)  for $0.99  from Amazon!

Secrets: The Hero Chronicles (Volume 1), Tim Mettey {FREE!}

The Midwest lies in complete ruins after a catastrophic disaster kills tens of thousands and leaves hundreds of thousands injured. Nicholas Keller emerges out of the devastation as a shining light of hope for all. But his newfound fame comes with a price that his aunt will not let him pay. They flee into the shadows in order to protect his secret. However, as Nicholas begins his sophomore year at his fifth school in five years, strange and unexpected things begin to happen. He soon tumbles into a web of doomed love, extraordinary talents and a secret past, which threatens the lives of everyone he cares about. It’s up to Nicholas to confront the truth, even if it means his own death.

Stay tuned for the release of book 2 in the
series, TRUST, coming October 10, 2013!

What readers are saying:

After reading Secrets, I am highly anticipating the continuation of The Hero Chronicles, and more of Mettey’s dynamic writing. I would recommend this book to many.

The average Amazon Review is currently 4.2 stars {107 reviews}.

Secrets: The Hero Chronicles (Volume 1), Tim Mettey {FREE!}

The Midwest lies in complete ruins after a catastrophic disaster kills tens of thousands and leaves hundreds of thousands injured. Nicholas Keller emerges out of the devastation as a shining light of hope for all. But his newfound fame comes with a price that his aunt will not let him pay. They flee into the shadows in order to protect his secret. However, as Nicholas begins his sophomore year at his fifth school in five years, strange and unexpected things begin to happen. He soon tumbles into a web of doomed love, extraordinary talents and a secret past, which threatens the lives of everyone he cares about. It’s up to Nicholas to confront the truth, even if it means his own death.

Stay tuned for the release of book 2 in the
series, TRUST, coming October 10, 2013!

What readers are saying:

Tim Mettey’s Secrets starts off with a resounding bang. 
Nicholas’ life is an exciting one, and witnessing his interactions, actions, and knowing his thoughts is an enjoyable experience.
After reading Secrets, I am highly anticipating the continuation of The Hero Chronicles, and more of Mettey’s dynamic writing. I would recommend this book to many.
I would describe Tim Mettey’s SECRETS as a paranormal teen romance with a hint of apocalyptic spiritualism. That sounds like a complicated mix, but it’s actually a fairly straight-forward story.

This is ultimately a supernatural story, and there are suggestions that Nicholas’s ultimate purpose in life may have spiritual connections. SECRETS is the first in a proposed series called THE HERO CHRONICLES, and Nicholas’s heroism has many levels. Is he just a kid who has a knack for being in the right place at the right time? And why is he suddenly so good at football, so strong, so fast, and so able to do things no ordinary fifteen-year-old can do? Stick with the novel and you’ll find out.

I do recommend SECRETS to teen readers looking for a mix of romance and paranormal adventure. Bottom line, it’s a good story. And I do think future installments of THE HERO CHRONICLES could be very interesting. It wouldn’t make a bad TV series, either!

Secrets is the perfect title for this book as it is mostly about the secret that Nicholas Taylor finds out about himself. I like books with a twist ending and this book did not disappoint. I was held captive by the foreshadowing which didn’t actually unfold as I thought! I think a good movie could be made from this book as I envisioned a cross between the Matrix and Friday Night Lights. A good juvenile fiction series for sure.
The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 4.2 stars {100 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase Secrets: The Hero Chronicles (Volume 1) for FREE at Amazon

The Sky Between Two Worlds, Glen Books {FREE!}

The Sky Between Two Worlds, a Kindle Store Bestseller (No.2 in Technothrillers (free) on Jan.27 and No.3 in Military Science Fiction) is a fast-paced thriller of future conflict. Kantak Johnson, an Alaskan student at MIT, about to graduate and begin service in the air force, discovers a way to improve stealth aircraft. A professor learns of the invention and discloses it to hostile nations, tossing Kantak and friends into a morass of assassins, intrigue, and military conflict. And the world faces the danger of two opposing nuclear powers with stealth weapons that no one detect. Then an American drone strike goes tragically awry….

What readers are saying:

“A GREAT TECHNOTHRILLER/SCI-FI DEBUT-Joesph in Portland, ME
“a tantalizing plot…”-John White
“The setting is intriguing, and the characters expertly crafted.” Rev 357
“a GREAT READ…well written and hard to put down.”-Molly P.

The average Amazon reader review rating is currently 4.5 stars, with 15 reviews.

Click here to read more about and purchase The Sky Between Two Worlds forFREE at Amazon

 

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Fridgularity, Mark A. Rayner {$0.99}

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Mark A. Rayners Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description:

Chill out. It’s only the technological singularity.

Blake Given’s web-enabled fridge has pulled the plug on the Internet, turning its owner’s life – and the whole world – upside down.

Blake has modest ambitions for his life. He wants to have his job reclassified, so he can join the Creative Department of the advertising firm where he works. And he wants to go out with Daphne, one of the account execs at the same company. His fridge has other plans. All Blake knows is he’s at the center of the Internet’s disappearance, worldwide economic and religious chaos, and the possibility of a nuclear apocalypse — none of which is helping him with his career plans or love life.

The Fridgularity is the story of a reluctant prophet, Internet addicts in withdrawal and a kitchen appliance with delusions of grandeur.

 

Accolade:

“With plenty of humor and much more, The Fridgularity is an exciting, sci-fi view askew, highly recommended.” ~Midwest Book Review

If you’re looking for a combination of humor, romance and a power hungry refrigerator, look no further than The Fridgularity, a very enjoyable read. 5 stars!” ~IndieReader.com

“The Fridgularity is a fun, quirky story that makes you ponder our dependence on the Internet, and intertwines it with a sci-fi feel in the spirit of War Games. I especially like Mr. Rayner’s sense of humor.” ~Literary R&R

“Comparisons to Douglas Adams are legit. Read and enjoy.” ~Mark Young


Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Fridgularity currently has an Amazon Reader Review rating of 4.2 stars, with 44 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from The Fridgularity:

The Fridgularity begins with the Big Crash — the Internet goes down, as an entity takes over all the horsepower available through all the devices connected to it. This has certain deleterious effects on the folks who NEED the Internet to live. One of the main characters, Will Valens, is one of them:

Will Valens couldn’t believe the length of the downtime. It had been two hours already, and still, nothing had changed. He’d been to the server room and bugged the IT guys, but they didn’t have any idea what was going on. But, damn it! He’d uploaded his first major art projects just the night before, and he wanted to know what people thought. Of course, if it was true what they were saying on the main floor, that everything was down, not just in the building but all over the world, then nobody could see his stuff on aberrant-art.com anyway.

Will was a junior graphic designer at McClinchey, Hill & Grandfig, but if asked that most Anglo-Saxon of questions “What do you do?” Will would say he was an artist. And it was true, he was an artist. Most of his work tended towards the abstract, but he had taken a Fine Art degree before learning how to push pixels around at graphic design school, which was a way to pay the bills until he got established as an artist.

Will had two major barriers in his way. The first was just the difficulty of getting “established” as an artist — even in Canada, where an experimental visual artist could create “a post-modern abstract paradigm based on neo-nihilist methodology and high-velocity dog shit” and still get some kind of grant. Secondly, Will had a little bit of an Internet addiction. He was constantly checking Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook, Abberant-Art (of course) and his new favorite, the inventive and “paradigm-maiming” next wave social media aggregator, Sturbr. He even checked his ancient MySpace account obsessively, as he said, “Just in case.”

Will’s addiction made the creation of high art (with or without the use of accelerated canine fecal matter) extremely difficult.

That said, he’d still managed to produce a few works, if only so he could photograph them lovingly, Photoshop them to correct their flaws, and then post them to the large number of websites where he spent the majority of his non-working hours. But currently, the web seemed to be down. Not just his connection to the web — a temporary setback that could be remedied a number of ways — but the web itself.

The Internet outage was worrying. So worrying that Will had turned off his computer and his two screens. He was a graphic designer, so naturally he worked on a Mac with screens only slightly smaller than the ones on the bridge of the starship Enterprise. He waited for another five minutes, and thought he’d try again.

He rebooted his system, turned the monitors back on, and was greeted with more pixelated madness.

Will laid his head on his immaculate, paper-free desk, and began to cry.

 

The Fridgularity is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Connect with Mark A. Rayner:

Author Website: http://markarayner.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/markarayner

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RaynerWriting

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series), William Hertling {$1.99}

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William Hertling‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Get it now, here

Description of A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series):

Leon Tsarev is a high school student set on getting into a great college program, until his uncle, a member of the Russian mob, coerces him into developing a new computer virus for the mob’s botnet – the slave army of computers they used to commit digital crimes.

The evolutionary virus Leon creates, based on biological principles, is successful — too successful. All the world’s computers are infected. Everything from cars to payment systems and, of course, computers and smart phones stop functioning, and with them go essential functions including emergency services, transportation, and the food supply. Billions may die.

But evolution never stops. The virus continues to evolve, developing intelligence, communication, and finally an entire civilization.

Some may be friendly to humans, but others are not.

Leon and his companions must race against time and the bungling military to find a way to either befriend or eliminate the virus race and restore the world’s computer infrastructure.


Accolades:

William Hertling has the gift. He can create a world that’s plausible, but exciting in its differences from our current reality. A.I. Apocalypse tells the tale of what we should worry about as our computers become more powerful and have greater connection to our information… And what we may be able to do about it. — Terri Griffith

In A.I. Apocalypse, we see the evolution of individual AIs and their development into a civilized society. The action of the man vs. machine conflict is page-turning and un-put-down-able. It’s almost enough to make one want to live off-grid. — Jeff Weiss

The first hundred pages of this book were fascinating and suspenseful, but the last forty pages were the coolest thing I’ve read in fifteen years. — Tynan Szvetecz

 

Reviews:

A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series)  currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.6 stars from 72 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $1.99


An excerpt from A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series):

Leon headed into his own class and started to settle into his chair when his phone started a high frequency shrill for an incoming message. Leon pulled it out to read the message.

Leon, this is your uncle Alex. I hope you remember me – when I was last in New York, I think you were ten. I hear from your parents that you are great computer programmer.

Leon rolled his eyes, but kept reading.

I am working on programming project here in Russia, and I could use your help. I have unusual job that your parents don’t know about. I write viruses for group here in Russia. They pay very good money.

Leon leaned forward, paying very close attention to the email now. Writing viruses for a group in Russia could only be the Russian mob and their infamous botnet.

I run into some problems. Anti-virus software manufacturers put out very good updates to their software. Virus writers and anti-virus writers have been engaged in arms race for years. But suddenly anti-virus writers have gotten very, very good. No viruses I write in last few months can defeat anti-virus software.

You realize now I talking about running botnet. Because of anti-virus software, botnet shrinking in size, and will soon be too small to be effective.
Unfortunately, although pay is very good, you must realize, men I work for are very dangerous. They are unhappy that

“Leon. Are. You. Paying. Attention?”

Leon looked up abruptly. The whole class was staring at him.

“Can you tell us why the colonies declared independence from Great Britain?”

Leon just stared at the teacher. She was talking, but the words seemed to be coming from far away. What was she babbling about?

The teacher went over to her desk. “Mr. Tsarev, will you please pay attention?” It was not a question.

Leon just nodded dumbly, waited until she turned his back, then went back to the email.

They are unhappy that botnet is shrinking and give me two weeks to release new virus to expand botnet. Nothing I try has worked. I have one week left, and I am afraid they will

“Mr. Tsarev.” Leon looked up, to find her now looming over him. “Do I need to take your phone away?”

“But how would I take notes?” Leon asked in his best innocent voice.

“That might be an issue if you were actually listening, but since you are not, I think taking notes is the least of your worries.” She walked back up to the front of the room, keeping an eye on Leon the whole time. In fact, she didn’t glance away from Leon for the entire remainder of the class.

As soon as Leon could get out of the classroom, he headed over to the corner of the hallway to finish reading the message.

I have one week left, and I afraid they will kill me if I don’t deliver new virus. Nephew, your parents go on and on about your computer skills, and I must know if there is truth to their words. If you can assist me, please contact me as soon as possible. I give you much of the necessary background information on how to develop viruses: source code, examples, details on mechanisms that antivirus software uses. There is not much time left.
Whatever you do, please do not speak of this to your parents.

Leon lifted his head from the tiny screen of his phone and looked off into the distance. He remembered a Christmas when he was young and his uncle had come to visit from Russia. Leon’s father had cried when his brother came into their tiny apartment. During the days that followed, all through that holiday time, Leon’s parents were as happy as he could remember seeing them. His parents were so serious most of the time, but he vividly remembered them laughing merrily, even as Leon lay in bed at night trying to go to sleep.

The idea of writing a virus seemed absurd, and the idea that someone would be killed if he didn’t seemed no less absurd. What could he do?

He worried about it all through his next class, English. James sat next to him and threw tiny balls of paper at him. Leon just covered his ear, James’s likely target, and pretended to listen to the teacher, but he couldn’t stop thinking about the email. He just couldn’t reconcile the kindly man who had bought him a bicycle for Christmas with the idea of a man who worked for the mob writing viruses. And if there was one thing that Leon’s parents had hammered into his head, it was that he had to stay out of trouble. His family didn’t have the money to send him to college, which meant that he needed scholarships, and scholarships didn’t go to kids who got into trouble.
He hated to let his parents’ logic dictate his own thinking, but there it was. He wanted to become a biologist. That meant going to a great school – he hoped for Caltech or MIT. No, helping his uncle would be a quick path to nowhere good.

Uncle Alex,
Of course I remember you! I appreciate your confidence in me, but I really know nothing about writing viruses. Yes, I know something about computers, but it’s mostly about gaming and biology. I don’t think I can help you.
Leon

Speaking of biology, it was up next. The thought of his favorite subject brought a smile to his face. He couldn’t say what it was he liked so much about biology, but it was undeniable that it was the one class he looked forward to every day.

Of everything in school, biology had the most thought provoking ideas: Life could emerge from anywhere. With no direction, it could evolve. Everything people were, was happenstance and survival. Life could be tampered with, at the most basic building block level, to create new life forms. The possibilities were limitless and spontaneous.

A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $1.99

 

Connect with William Hertling:

Website: http://www.williamhertling.com

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Brightside, Mark Tullius {$4.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime}

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Mark Tullius‘ Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Brightside:

They call us Thought Thieves, but it’s not like we have a choice. All the sick twisted things rolling around in people’s heads, we can’t help but hear.

That’s why they rounded us up, stuck us in this little town. It’s to make you feel safe. But they can’t keep us here forever.

It’s Day 100 and it’s all gonna end. One way or another, I’m getting out of Brightside.

“My faith has been restored, great story tellers are still alive!” Dragonfly

“I’d recommend this book to anyone! Amazing thriller that will keep you engaged to the very end!” Shari Lindsay

“The tension builds with every risky encounter with another thought thief until you’re frantically churning through pages to reach the ending – which comes not with a whimper but a wailing scream.” ElementalX

“From the first few pages you find your self wondering what will happen next and trying to guess how it will end.” LVguy702

“An amazing story, told at breakneck pace…who says science fiction writers cannot develop characters? I don’t need to describe the book but only guarantee you won’t put it down unfinished.” Wardog

If you enjoy dark, fast-paced fiction, Brightside is for you.

Accolades:

“I read this book in one sitting. With well developed characters, a quirky plot, powerful descriptive language and images and a classic theme, I thoroughly enjoyed it.” Cynthia R.

“This story of loss, family, and childhood trauma is a great read- I read it one night- and you’ll start evaluating your life the way Brightsiders are forced to do. It’s a really fresh premise, very unlike anything you’ve ever read.” Ariana R.

“I couldn’t put this book down. It is suspenseful, with a great premise and some truly great writing. If you like intelligent, psychological thrillers, you will like this book.” jjt

 

Reviews:

Brightside currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.1 stars from 43 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

Brightside is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $4.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime


An excerpt from Brightside:

CHAPTER ONE 

They call us Thought Thieves, but it’s not like we have a choice. All the sick, twisted things rolling around in people’s heads, we can’t help but hear. God knows I’ve tried to turn it off. The sexual perversions, the violent fantasies about your boss, that annoying neighbor you want dead, even those unfortunate thoughts about your kids. I’ve had to stand there and listen.

I’d never wish this upon anyone, not even my mom, the woman who’s been over-sharing since I slid from her womb.

You wouldn’t believe the awful shit I’ve heard.

Imagine if you knew every dark thought people had about you.

Trust me, it’s not pleasant. In any given moment, the person you love is thinking about someone else she’d like to screw, how fat you’ve gotten, how unbearable it is to hear you chew. Later, she’ll hold you and kiss you and regret most of it, and you’ll fall asleep hating yourself for having all the same thoughts.

Secrets keep the world from burning. I know this now more than ever. The secret I have left could get everyone killed. One person’s already dead, more are sure to follow. All because I couldn’t keep my stupid thoughts shut.

So I understand why they rounded us up, Thought Thieves like me, and took us to this little town on top of a mountain with drops so steep there’s no need for a fence. It keeps the country functioning, lets everyone feel safe, knowing we’re up here in the sky, far away from everyone’s thoughts, except our own.

They call our town Brightside because, as they like to remind us, things could be worse. Some Thought Thieves weren’t so lucky. They were beaten and hanged, shot in the streets. Others were wrapped in straightjackets and locked away in squishy-walled rooms.

Brightside was our chance to start over. We could hold jobs and have apartments; we could even go on dates and shop in the little stores. It wouldn’t be so bad, they told us. As long as we never tried to leave.

But now it’s Day 100, the day it’s all going to end. Guess we’ll find out how bad it can get.

My bedroom window’s right in front of me, but I’ve got my eyes closed. The warm glow of the sunrise is trying to make me peek, but I can’t look at the jagged crack running down the center of the glass. I can’t look at the pool of blood on the chair, the tiny drops on the ceiling.

Eight pounds of power rest across my thighs. My Mossberg 12-gauge. American metal. Dad’s special gift.

Odds are this is my last sunrise. I open my eyes, take in the absolute beauty. I wonder if Danny and Sara are awake and seeing it, too. If I can somehow help them escape, it might make up for some of the things I’ve done.

Not Rachel, though. What happened with her is beyond redemption; I can’t go back and change it. If I’d just given her what she needed, told her what she wanted to hear, she’d be coming with us. I know what happened to Rachel goes beyond Day 39, but that’s when it all started.

* * *

It was seven hours before Day 39 officially began. Rachel and I were in our office, the only one with two desks. They put us there because of our shitty sales record. Jobs in Brightside were based on the ones we held in our former lives. I used to sell BMWs. Here, I sold timeshares. At BMW I never missed a quota, never blew a sale, but I was always within six feet of the customer, the range I needed to hear someone’s thoughts. On the phone, I was next to worthless.

The clock on the wall showed the same time as my computer. All the clocks in Brightside were perfectly in sync. No reason to be late. No reason to think this wasn’t all perfectly normal.

They even hid the security cameras to help us relax. They put them inside light fixtures, behind bushes in the Square, where we have a bakery, a bar, and even an electronics store. All built for us. To make us believe this is just a regular town, a place like any other. No reason to ever escape.

Rachel got hung up on before she could finish telling the guy how close the condo was to the beach. We had five minutes left of work, enough time for her to make another call, but she just opened the bottom desk drawer and pulled out a bottle of lotion. She squirted it onto her palm and rubbed her legs that were spilling out from under the desk.

Rachel and I had been dating for close to three weeks. Long enough for Rachel to decide I was the one. Long enough for me to give her a key to my place, to convince myself I loved her back.

Everything gets accelerated in Brightside, because you can’t lie. Everything’s exposed. Normal couples take six months to admit how they feel. Brightsiders do it on the first date.

Rachel rolled back in her chair and looked at me like I’d just said something. It made me feel sorry for all the people I’d done this to over the years. Taking whatever I pleased.

She got up with a smile and walked over to my desk. Her red skirt stopped mid-thigh and was tight enough to be painted on. She didn’t need to listen to my thoughts to know I liked it.

The last couple days, Rachel only saw me at work, and she knew I was ready to break up with her. It’s not that things were bad. They were just too intense. Rachel was the first Thought Thief I’d ever been with. I had no idea how exhausting it could be. You can’t just say you’re tired or that nothing’s wrong.

Rachel knew everything, even though I never said a word.

That’s why she sat on the corner of my desk, crossed her legs so I couldn’t focus on my computer screen. She’d put her dark hair in a ponytail so it looked less Jewish. I’d only thought that once, but she never let it go.

Rachel smiled and took off the glasses she didn’t need. The ones that looked exactly like Mom’s.

She took the part of the frame that rested behind her ear and put it in her mouth. She sucked on it a bit then spoke around it. “You got plans tonight?”

I noticed Rachel had gotten contacts, her eyes so fucking blue. Just like Michelle’s, my last girlfriend before Brightside.

Rachel turned her legs toward me. They were shiny and smooth and smelled like piña colada. “I just shaved,” she said.

We both knew I wanted to feel the inside of her thigh, run my hand up to see if she was telling the truth, but I just mumbled that they looked nice and powered off my computer.

Rachel rubbed her calf against my knee until I looked up at her. “I need to see you tonight,” she said.

I adjusted my khakis, pointlessly trying to conceal the fact her plan was working.

“We can go out,” she said. “Something nice. I’m thinking Oscar’s.”

Oscar’s meant a lot of money, something I wasn’t making in Brightside.

Always staying one step ahead of me, Rachel said dinner was on her. She wanted me to know things could be different. She was willing to change. It didn’t have to be so intense.

“Come on, it’ll be fun,” she said. “And I don’t even need to stay over tonight. Unless you want me to?” Rachel took hold of my collar and pulled me in, her red lips so close.

I could feel the security camera zooming in from its hiding spot. I pushed her back and said, “Fine, we’ll go to Oscar’s.”

Rachel smiled and spun off my desk. She let me watch her ass as she picked up her purse and walked out the door.

 

Oscar’s was only a few blocks from my apartment and, even though I was dressed and ready, I waited until the last possible minute to leave. I didn’t want to get there before Rachel.

I passed under the bronze archway and entered the park with its enormous pine trees. Someone had decorated them with little white lights to make it look like a winter wonderland. There were no rules about sticking to the path, so I cut across the grass, staying far away from the edge where the mountain dropped off. A full mile, straight down. Heights threw my stomach around in my chest and made me shake like a little girl.  I passed the pond and took deep breaths to clear my head. The air was cool, everything silent.

The Cabin was high up on the hill, with its big red logs and long bay window. The curtains were always pulled back, so we’d see the residents who’d broken the rules. Some had refused to go to work or started fights. A few had slit their wrists too shallow.

In the common room, a small blonde in a nurse’s uniform sat behind the desk reading a magazine. The rule-breakers sat in chairs, their faces pale, eyes ringed in black. They weren’t allowed to talk during rehabilitation. They were given pills to keep them calm.

The Cabin was the big reminder in Brightside that our town was still a prison.

I focused my eyes straight, kept walking, went through the South archway and stepped onto Main Street. The six small stores were dark and closed, but everything else was lit. Every ten feet, a lamp post to wipe out any shadow. No place to hide.

I strolled down the deserted street as the American flag flapped high above the Square. The flapping like a goddamn slap in the face.

I knew I had to clear my head. I needed to blow out all the bad thoughts before I turned the corner.

Rachel was waiting for me on the bench outside Oscar’s. She was wearing her fancy green dress. The one she’d worn under her robe at graduation. Back then it fit perfectly. Now, she had to suck in.Her hair was up in a French twist, and her makeup was thick. Especially her lips. Dark red. Her glasses were gone. She wanted me to know she’d been paying attention.

I didn’t realize it was supposed to be that kind of dinner, but at least I had on my nice pair of jeans and my shirt had a collar. Rachel didn’t care what I was wearing. She was just happy I showed.

I took her hand and said, “Let’s go eat.”

Oscar’s windows were tinted just enough so you had to press your face against the glass to see the idiots paying thirty bucks for the same steak they could buy for ten across the street. Brightside liked to remind us we could still be special.

The hostess was going to seat us in the back, tucked away in the corner. Rachel asked if we could sit at a table. She knew I wouldn’t break up with her in the open. We sat in between two couples silently engaged in conversation.

Rachel wanted to talk though, wanted me to feel this was a normal date. She knew I was thinking about The Cabin and that fucking flag. She told me to order anything I wanted. She asked about my day, even though she’d been sitting next to me the entire eight hours.

Our steaks arrived, and Rachel kept asking questions, like the first concert I went to and the last book I’d read. She was trying, and I felt like an asshole. I answered her questions and even asked a few of my own.

 

Brightside is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $4.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime

 

Connect with Mark Tullius:

Author Website: http://marktullius.com

The Bounty Hunter, MF Burbaugh {$3.99}

The gods do not always smile on the innocent.

Sir Wendel, once the youngest Knight in the land, has fallen from the good graces of the new king. His wife and child are brutally murdered as he is forced to watch and he is stripped of all his possessions save his sword which carries a name, a special name, called Ferocity’s Revenge.

Roaming the lands of England he hires out as a bounty hunter, soon he is known by that this new name. When people want the best they seek The Bounty Hunter. With little more than a death wish he is thought to be fearless.

This England is not our England, it is a forgotten one. One stuck in time. At night the people sometimes see the gods battling for control in the skies, or do they?

Join him in this saucy, revengeful, swashbuckling, epic story, as Sir Wendel finds himself in intrigue and mystery when he takes on an apprentice as part of a large fee deal, a young princess of a foreign kingdom bent on revenge and willing to do anything to get it.

What readers are saying:

Biola Olatunde rated it 5 of 5 stars

No this book is deceptively simple as the title goes. You are tempted to expect a rake, ladies of easy virtues and greed. You expect to read about ruffians, roughnecks and a character that will be soulless, amoral and mean. Sir Wendel the main character is not a rake, a roughneck and does not fit in to the general definition of a bounty hunter. You find that Merle has written a beautiful deep story about the human mind, its preoccupation with myth, gods and wars. You read the Bounty Hunter, and came away from it scratching my head. I had at first read just enjoyed myself until the sneaking feeling came that it was not just any story about thieves, but questions about the necessity for war, empire, and man’s real place in creation and what he really wants. I did not have answers but like Walter Kaperon whom I think is the real Merlin of the book.. everything is not really as it seems and Man has existed continuously but has learned very liitle despite the efforts of the g ods, science and creation. I wish to congratulate Merle on this book and also IFWG publishing. They seem to have a good nose. 

gezza

Posted August 12, 2012
saucy, swashbuckling, revengeful

I had the pleasure of reading this book prior to publication.

It is a story that works on two dimensions – at the superficial level, it is a story about revenge and fixing what is right – a classic tale that fits right in any genre, but Westerns come to mind. But if you scratch the surface, there’s a lot more. It is also a critical dig at the abuse of power, and particularly by people who have sacred responsibilities to their nations and people. It is also a human story, about how trials and tribulations can change people, and yet, with courage, retain what is essential to be human.

The story is saucy without being over the top. It is swashbuckling, like any good heroic fantasy should be, and it has its moments of humor.

A very good read indeed. Worthy of 5 stars.

The average Amazon reader review rating is currently 5 stars, with 1 review.

Click here to read more about and purchase The Bounty Hunter for $3.99 at Amazon 

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