Tuesday, August 20, 2019

"The Gossamer Mage"

What is magic? As imagined by Julie E. Czerneda, it’s wild and free, a force of nature and source of wonder. She first explored this theme in her Night’s Edge series, starting with the award-winning Turn of Light. In The Gossamer Mage, Czerneda goes further, envisioning magic not only as integral to landscape and history, but well aware what we’re doing with it. That tie between us and other, the profound changes we make by connecting, have always informed her work, be it fantasy or science fiction.

Czerneda applied the Page 69 Test to The Gossamer Mage, her twentieth novel published by DAW Books, and reported the following:
What fun this is, to pick one page and see what it says, or doesn’t, about the entire book. In this case, page 69 of Mage is the first sign there are several layers to what magic is in the realm of Tananen, hinting the way magic moves through it and The Deathless Goddess is far more complex than those who live here believe. Cil, who has used magic to kill the other inhabitants of his village out of spite, finally pays Her price for it.

From page 69:
Cil aged no better than he lived, his body shrinking in on itself, growing shriveled and more deformed, cheeks caving in, hands become wizened claws. The men holding him let go in horror, but only when the Designate ended their kiss did he fall.
Yet there’s a hint of something more…
Saeleonarial blinked. Had he seen a faint plume of ash as the sad corpse met the ground? Before he could be sure, a breeze danced through silks, tugged his beard, and whisked away any trace of glittering bronze.
Such ash is left when something made of magic ends its intended lifespan or is killed. There shouldn’t be any left from the corpse of a man. Ah, but that’s a clue.

The creatures, the gossamers, Cil created to destroy the hapless villagers? Without him, without his spite and fury, they are set free, to again be wonders.
The waiting monsters lifted their heads. The long ones closed their eyes and burrowed head first into the ground…The made-flies rose in a swarm...the sun sparkling on their tiny wings so it seemed for an instant that the air itself shimmered…
Which is what, before Cil, gossamers have been. Accidents, wonders, marvels who have nothing to do with us except the occasional sly trick. What was different here?

A turning point, this page, in the characters’ understanding and in readers. I hadn’t noticed how profound a point I’d made on this one page till now.
Visit Julie E. Czerneda's website.

The Page 69 Test: To Guard Against the Dark.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 18, 2019

"Heart of Barkness"

Spencer Quinn is the bestselling author of the Chet and Bernie mystery series, as well as the #1 New York Times bestselling Bowser and Birdie series for middle-grade readers.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Heart of Barkness, and reported the following:
Heart of Barkness is the ninth Chet and Bernie novel. Bernie is the detective. Chet’s the K-9 school reject who narrates the stories. He is not a talking dog, not a human sporting a dog suit, but as purely canine as I can make him. If you know a dog or two, then you know there’s a narrative unreeling in their heads. That’s what’s on the page.

Can you read Heart of Barkness if you haven’t read any of the other novels in the series? That’s a question Chet would never ask.

The subjects covered on page 69 of Heart of Barkness are: the smell of puke; a hot dog eating contest; how to drink from a hose; shrinking aquifers; Bernie’s sweet uppercut; and the whereabouts of a has-been country music singer from long ago named Lotty Pilgrim. The dramatis personae are Chet, Bernie, and Shermie “Shoulders” Shouldice, a former perp once on the receiving end of the aforementioned uppercut, and now working as a bouncer at a crummy desert bar, where Lotty performed the night before. The question: Is Shermie willing – or even intellectually able – to help C&B track down Lotty?

There. Those are the facts. Is page 69 representative of the book as a whole? Yes! Although you’ll have to read it to see why. And if you do read it, you’ll discover that somewhat later, Lotty writes a Song For Chet. It has become a real song, downloadable from the usual sources and also on YouTube. The wonderful fiddle solo is by Gene Elders, the great violinist in George Strait’s band.
Visit Spencer Quinn's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Audrey (September 2011).

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Abrahams and Pearl (August 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 16, 2019

"Chimes of a Lost Cathedral"

Janet Fitch is an American author and teacher of fiction writing.

She is the author of the #1 national bestseller White Oleander, a novel translated into 24 languages, an Oprah Book Club book and the basis of a feature film, Paint It Black, also widely translated and made into a 2017 film, and an epic novel of the Russian Revolution, The Revolution of Marina M.

The journey that began with The Revolution of Marina M. concludes in Fitch's new novel, Chimes of a Lost Cathedral, in which passionate young poet, lover, and idealist Marina Makarova emerges as a woman in full during the transformative years of the Russian Revolution. Having undergone unimaginable hardship, she’s now at the height of her creative power and understanding, living the shared life of poetry--when the revolution finally reveals its true direction for the future.

Fitch applied the Page 69 Test to Chimes of a Lost Cathedral and reported the following:
Page 69 is a classic reversal of fortune in Chimes of a Lost Cathedral. Very representative. My character, Marina Makarova, a young poet, pregnant and adrift in the countryside in Civil War Russia, living in a relationship of convenience in a railroad town—has just reunited with her radical poet husband Genya Kuriakin, the commander of the Bolshevik agit-train Red October:
We had hard-bitten Bolshevik politicals, we had actors and journalists. And everyone was enlivened with determination, even vision. Hope unfurled like a flag—now I remembered it. No longer was I sidelined in Tikhvin or Ionia or East Mudhole, Wretched Hut Oblast, I was back on the train of the revolution, from which I’d somehow fallen, hauled aboard by Genya’s strong hand. So many things had come between us, I thought as I slept tucked under his chin in his compartment, listening to the song of the rails, clickety-clack... my life’s nightmare turn, the months at Ionia, my tenure as the barefoot bride—yet somehow I had risen, again breathing the shocking air of the Future, like Persephone walking into the sunshine after her months in the underworld, blinking to find that color had returned to the earth...

Genya, my Genya, sweet. Pulling me aboard his life just as he had in 1917. And away we rode, hurtling across Russia toward the front, where the civil war raged. Was I afraid? I was more afraid of Styopa, of the Tikhvin Women’s Club, dirt of a stalled mediocrity filling my mouth, packing my nostrils, muddying my eyes, as I disappeared into the ground. Our sailors and soldiers gave me strength... Racing across the green fields on the agit-train, I felt free. Like some crazy giantess, I could stand astride continents. I needn’t cut myself down to fit Styopa’s bedrame any longer.
Page 69 very much represents the passion with which Marina throws herself into the world, her deep craving to live freely, her embrace of the revolution and the idea of the Future. But it also represents her weakness from an ideological point of view—she is an emotional revolutionary, not a programmatic one. The politicals on the train see her very much as a ‘fellow-traveler’—Genya’s pregnant wife, a liability. But for the moment, she is quite characteristically filled with joy and with hope. She is someone for whom ‘settling,’ living a backwater life, makes her feel buried alive—the Persephone theme recurs throughout the book. This is her spring, but it will be winter again.
Visit Janet Fitch's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Revolution of Marina M..

My Book, The Movie: Chimes of a Lost Cathedral.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 15, 2019

"Hollow Kingdom"

Kira Jane Buxton's writing has appeared in The New York Times, NewYorker.com, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Huffington Post, and more. She calls the tropical utopia of Seattle home and spends her time with three cats, a dog, two crows, a charm of hummingbirds, and a husband.

Buxton applied the Page 69 Test to her debut novel, Hollow Kingdom, and reported the following:
This is a fun and foreboding part of Hollow Kingdom. As it’s a disturbing conversation between a crow and an octopus, it is certainly representative of the book as a whole! S.T., our crow narrator has been searching Seattle for answers and a cure to help his owner, Big Jim (who’s eyeball unfortunately fell out of his head and who has taken up impersonating a rabid raccoon in the basement of his Seattle home). S.T. and his bloodhound buddy, Dennis, have made it to the Seattle Aquarium, which they find ramshackle and flooded. An enormous, oracular giant Pacific Octopus emerges from the murky depths and answers some of anxious S.T.’s many questions. Here, S.T. learns that his beloved human, Big Jim, and all of humanity are facing their extinction. He learns that there isn’t a cure for the virus that is eradicating our species. Onida gives him a new purpose, to save the “domestics”—the animals left behind as their human caretakers devolve and die out. The animals that humans loved and we loved back. He must decide whether this is his mission, whether he wants to save the creatures that are trapped inside homes, behind doors when there are no more fingers to unlock them… Page 69 is representative of Hollow Kingdom, featuring S.T. on his journey to combat the fall of humanity while saving as many animals as possible.
Visit Kira Jane Buxton's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Kira Jane Buxton & Ewok.

My Book, The Movie: Hollow Kingdom.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

"The Churchgoer"

Patrick Coleman makes things from words, sounds, and occasional pictures. His debut collection of poems, Fire Season, was written after the birth of his first child by speaking aloud into a digital audio recorder on the long commute between the art museum where he worked and his home in a rural neighborhood that burned in the Witch Creek Fire of 2007. It won the 2015 Berkshire Prize and was released by Tupelo Press on December 1, 2018. His short-form prose has appeared in Hobart, ZYZZYVA, Zócalo Public Square, the Writer's Chronicle, the Black Warrior Review, Juked, and the Utne Reader, among others. The Art of Music, an exhibition catalogue on the relationship between visual arts and music that he edited and contributed to, was co-published by Yale University Press and the San Diego Museum of Art. Coleman earned an MFA from Indiana University and a BA from the University of California Irvine. He lives in Ramona, California, with his wife and two daughters, and is the Assistant Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UC San Diego.

Coleman applied the Page 69 Test to his first novel, The Churchgoer, and reported the following:
On page 69, Mark Haines—the ex-Evangelical pastor now security guard protagonist of The Churchgoer—loses his job. Fired isn’t exactly right, but that’s how it feels to him; we have a tense bit of dialogue between Haines and a wealthy real estate investor, Gustafsson, who has decided to step up his security in the wake a shooting that left Haines’s co-worker dead. That death has already dropped the bottom out on Haines; he wouldn’t have called the guy a friend because he tries not to call anyone a friend, but they’d worked together for years and it picks at the scab of a deeper wound. Cindy, the drifter whom he’d let crash at his house, has already disappeared on him. But it’s here that Haines’ paranoia starts to appear—his willingness to see connections between disparate events—that sets him on his search for Cindy and puts him on a collision course with his past. Page 69 is not necessarily the most representative moment of prose, but it is a crucial moment in the plot as Haines’s apophenia carries him farther and farther afield across San Diego, the drug trade, and the Evangelical world he’d once called home. His reaction to Gustafsson here—his anger getting away from him—sets him on his path.
Visit Patrick Coleman's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Churchgoer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Keeping Lucy"

T. Greenwood is the author of thirteen novels. She has received grants from the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council. She has won three San Diego Book Awards. Five of her novels have been BookSense76/IndieBound picks. Bodies of Water was finalist for a Lambda Foundation award.

Greenwood applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Keeping Lucy, and reported the following:
While Keeping Lucy is a novel about a mother’s fierce and heroic efforts to save her child from the horrific institution to which she was whisked away as a newborn, it is also very much about one woman’s staking claim to her own life.

Keeping Lucy is set in 1971. When we think of the early days of the women’s movement, it is the images of activism that we might conjure: the bra burning, the marches and protests. August 26, 1971 was the first Women’s Equality Day. However, on that day women still could not have a credit card in their name, get a legal abortion, be guaranteed to keep a job if they got pregnant, engage in military combat, or take legal action against sexual harassment. Additionally, in 1971, there was no such thing as spousal rape. These are basic rights denied to women, never mind all the other smaller ways that women were oppressed.

Ginny Richardson is not at the forefront of the movement, by any stretch of the imagination, but through the efforts to protect her daughter, she finds her own voice and autonomy and is able to stand up for not only her daughter for herself against the powerful men who have other plans for her and her daughter.

On page 69 of the novel, Ginny has defied her husband’s wishes and checked her two-year-old daughter out of the “school” where she has lived since birth. The first thought is to take her (along with Ginny’s son) to an amusement park, but she has limited cash in her pocketbook.
Ginny had brought along the cash she kept in the bread box, the weekly allowance Ab doled out, a practice that had initially made her feel strange, but to which she’d gradually grown accustomed if not resigned. When she’d still lived at home with her mother, she’d overseen their finances. She’d done the bills, written checks for all their monthly expenses. She was used to budgeting – if only for the two of them – and accustomed to having her own money. And while Ab was always generous, she could never quite get past the idea that she had to ask him for money simply for the things their family needed. She’d told him once how uncomfortable it made her, and the next day he’d offered to let her determine the amount. “Whatever you need,” he’d said, missing the point entirely.
In writing this novel, it was important to me not to demonize her husband. In many ways, he too falls prey to the patriarchal system. Ginny loves her husband, and I believe that Ab is a good man. They are both struggling against a system which has clear expectations for both men and women.
Visit T. Greenwood's website.

Writers Read: T. Greenwood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 12, 2019

"The Flight Girls"

Noelle Salazar was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where she's been a Navy recruit, a medical assistant, an NFL cheerleader and always a storyteller. As a novelist, she has done extensive research into the Women Airforce Service Pilots, interviewing vets and visiting the training facility—now a museum dedicated to the WASP—in Sweetwater, Texas. When she’s not writing, she can be found dodging raindrops and daydreaming of her next book. Salazar lives in Bothell, Washington, with her husband and two children.

She applied the Page 69 Test to The Flight Girls, her first novel, and reported the following:
How appropriate that page 69 of The Flight Girls so perfectly encapsulates so much about Audrey's arc in this story.

Audrey Coltrane is a woman quite evolved for the era. She doesn't pine for a husband. Kids are not part of the future she imagines. All she wants is to fly - in every sense of the word - but mostly in planes. She craves freedom, self-sufficiency, and to live life on her own terms. But she is also a bit narrow-minded in the beginning of the story, unwilling to bend or see how life could be even sweeter were she to open herself up to love. I love how she stays true to who she is, but eventually gives in to the natural evolution of the human condition. To love and be loved isn't weakness or giving in - it is to see your wings spread fully, your glide becomes smoother, and your world that much bigger and fuller.
Visit Noelle Salazar's website.

Writers Read: Noelle Salazar.

My Book, The Movie: The Flight Girls.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 10, 2019

"Reticence"

Gail Carriger has multiple New York Times bestsellers and over a million books in print in dozens of different languages. She writes comedies of manners mixed with urban fantasy (and sexy stuff as G. L. Carriger). Her best known books include the Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series. She was once an archaeologist and is fond of shoes, octopuses, and tea.

Carriger applied the Page 69 Test to Reticence, the fourth and concluding volume of The Custard Protocol Series, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Quesnel was amiable enough not to care about social standing. He swirled around with one of Lord Akeldama’s more impressively dressed drones.

Percy shrugged. Ah well, they were departing London soon. He suspected Rue of intentionally scandalmongering. If she could not produce the best wedding London ever saw, she could at least produce the most outrageous.

Only one other thing of note occurred, and had Percy not been on guard because of Aunt Softy’s presence he would never have noticed. Lord Akeldama, having finished their set, led Percy over to the punch bowl. As if Percy were an overtaxed young lady in need of refreshment. Percy trailed after him, obligingly.

Primrose met them, wringing her hands. “Well, that was an excessive display.” She said it to Percy, because he was the only one she could criticize to his face.

Percy stuffed a biscuit shaped like a hedgehog into his mouth as an excuse not to answer.

Tasherit, Rue, and Quesnel joined them.

“Progress never did come easily to high society, sweetling.” The vampire’s eyes crinkled in amusement.

“I hardly see how dancing can change the course of civilization,” snapped Prim.

“Give it a chance,” replied Rue, grinning.

“Come now, little one, it’s fun. Dance with me next?” Tasherit nudged up against Prim coquettishly.

Primrose batted at her lover in perturbation. “What if Mother finds out about this?”

Percy rolled his eyes. “Wasn’t that the point? We can’t all of us be accused of deviant behaviour at once.”

“Of course we can! This is Mother we’re talking about.” Prim looked at Lord Akeldama. “You’ll be blamed.”

“Indubitably, my pearl. Mr Lefoux, would you care to dance?”

“Charmed, I’m sure, but I think I want my bride back in my arms.”
What’s just happened prior to this is that a bunch of same sex couples have danced together at a large society wedding in a steampunk Victorian London, 1896. Percy’s friend Rue is responsible. It caused wide scale hysterics and a great deal of social discomfort that I use as a writer both for comedic effect and cultural commentary. Percy, the POV character, opens this page with his suspicions as to Rue’s motivations for all this drama, as well as those of others at the wedding.

The rest of the page has set up dialogue featuring different members of the crew of Percy’s airship. From an author’s perspective it’s there to show interactions between familiar characters (this is the 4th book in the series) as well as affection and familial support networks in operation.

This dialogue also sets up a major character confrontation for Percy to observe that reveals background history on one popular character that readers of my world have been requesting for a really long time. In fact, this scene will tie to the epilogue for this book, and indeed the ending for the entire series. Not to mention a few of my other works. In other words this page is the set up for a pretty significant fan service moment to come.

I swear it wasn’t intentional that this be page 69.
Learn more about the book and author at Gail Carriger's website.

The Page 69 Test: Prudence.

My Book, The Movie: Prudence.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 9, 2019

"A Fire Sparkling"

Julianne MacLean is a USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the bestselling contemporary women’s fiction novel The Color of Heaven. She has sold more than 2 million books in North America alone, and her novels have been translated into many foreign languages. MacLean is a four-time RITA finalist with Romance Writers of America and has won numerous awards, including the Booksellers’ Best Award and the Book Buyers Best Award. She loves to travel and has lived on the west coast of New Zealand, in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, and in London, England. She lives in Nova Scotia with her husband and daughter, and is a dedicated member of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada.

MacLean applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, A Fire Sparkling, and reported the following:
From page 69:
While I stood at the counter chopping leftover chicken, I felt like a fool for trusting Malcolm so completely. I’d leaped into the relationship without the slightest hesitation, believing that I’d hit the jackpot with a man like him. But how could I have missed that cheating side of him? Was there something wrong with me?

What a stupid question. Of course there was.

I froze and set the knife down, bowed my head, and closed my eyes to brace myself for the familiar wave of guilt that was about to hit me. I was well acquainted with it by now and could always feel it approaching. I could expect it to crash over me with a pounding force and make me relive the night of my mother’s death and accept the punishing weight of that memory, because no one should be allowed to get away with something like that and not pay for it somehow. Right?

I had been only nineteen when my mother died, and though everyone said it was the cancer treatments that killed her, I knew it was my fault.
Is this passage representative of the rest of the book? Honestly, no it’s not, and here’s why: The novel has a dual timeline with sections devoted to a female character in contemporary times, and other sections that take place in London and France during World War II. So, no matter what happens on page 69, it’s not going to be representative of the entire book, because the two time periods and situations are vastly different.

In this passage, the contemporary character (Gillian) is dealing with challenges in her life, as she just caught her fiancé cheating and she still harbors guilt over the death of her mother. These are typical issues for women’s fiction novels and most fans of that genre would probably be drawn to this. But Gillian is also trying to reach an understanding about her 96-year-old grandmother, who she just discovered had an affair with a high-ranking German Nazi at the start of the war and kept it secret all their lives. It’s quite possible that this man might even be Gillian’s real grandfather.

That question is the main thrust of the novel: uncovering the truth about what really happened during the war.

So, in this case, if a reader sampled this page alone, he or she would have no idea what the book was really about or where it goes from there. Fans of World War II fiction would probably take a pass on the book, based on this alone. So, I’m glad there’s a back-cover blurb to convey the bigger picture!
Visit Julianne MacLean's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 8, 2019

"The Miraculous"

Jess Redman has wanted to be an author since age six, when her poem “I Read and Read and Read All Day” appeared in a local anthology. It took a little while though. First, she did things like survive middle school, travel around the world, become a therapist, and have two kids.

But then finally, her childhood dream came true! Her middle-grade debut, The Miraculous, was released last month. Her second middle-grade novel, Quintessence, will be out on July 28, 2020.

Redman applied the Page 69 Test to The Miraculous and reported the following:
In this part of the story, Wunder is going to return to the cemetery for the third day in a row. On the first day, he was there for the funeral of his baby sister who passes away after just eight days of life. At the cemetery, he met Faye, a cape-wearing fan of the paranormal who recently lost her grandfather.

The next day, Wunder returned to the cemetery, which he calls “the most unmiraculous place of all.” You see, Wunder was a miracologist. He collected stories of inexplicable and magical events in a journal that he called The Miraculous. He was sure that his sister would be another of those miracles. But she wasn’t. And so Wunder went to the cemetery and left The Miraculous there.

And now, on page 69, Wunder wants to return to the cemetery. He left The Miraculous, but there are other things happening in the woods and in the graveyard—possibly magical things that he wants to know more about. And Faye, who is always up for a cemetery visit, wants to join him.

Wunder says he’s not trying to achieve enlightenment, but in many ways he is. Wunder wants to know why this terrible thing has happened. He wants to know how he can make sense of it. He wants to know what he can believe in now.

That’s what the story is about. It’s about finding the light. It’s about journeying alongside one another through sadness. It’s about how in this world of dark and bright, of grief and miracles, we are healed by connection.
Visit Jess Redman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

"An Unsettled Grave"

Bernard Schaffer is an author, full-time police detective, and father of two. As a twenty-year veteran police officer, he’s a court recognized narcotics expert, a graduate of the prestigious Top Gun Undercover Law Enforcement Training Program, child forensic interviewer, and possesses a Class A certification in the use of wiretaps. A child actor, Schaffer appeared in multiple television commercials, performances at the Walnut Street Theater (where his picture still hangs in one of the upper, darker corners), Saturday Night Live, and the Nickelodeon series Don’t Just Sit There. Schaffer is the author of multiple independently-published books and series, including Superbia, Grendel Unit, Guns of Seneca 6, and more. A die-hard supporter of the Philadelphia Union, he is proud to say that he’s never been ejected from a game. Yet.

Schaffer applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, An Unsettled Grave, and reported the following:
Hell no page 69 is not representative of the entire book. I hate that stupid test. I don't even like writing synopses or product descriptions of books.

My work in the Santero and Rein Thriller Series examines what happens to good people who willingly thrust themselves into the abyss. They absorb interactions with true evil. Child molesters. Serial killers. Predators. The toll it takes on them, psychologically, is something I've seen and felt firsthand. It changes you. Some of us get consumed by it, some of us find a way to carry on.
Visit Bernard Schaffer's website.

My Book, The Movie: An Unsettled Grave.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"The Last Astronaut"

David Wellington, aka D. Nolan Clark, aka David Chandler is the author of over twenty novels of action, suspense, and drama.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Last Astronaut, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Last Astronaut is the exact moment the story kicks into high gear. Up until this point we’ve only been exposed to a cosmic mystery. A giant, alien rock is hurtling toward Earth. It hasn’t responded to any signals, and we can’t even tell if it’s being guided by an intelligent hand.

NASA sends up a spacecraft to meet the thing. So does a commercial spaceflight company, called KSpace. KSpace got there first, embarrassing NASA and maybe compromising the entire mission. Commander Sally Jansen, of the NASA ship, tries to contact the KSpace ship, to suggest they work together to plumb the alien ship’s secrets and mysteries.

Except now the KSpace ship isn’t responding to signals, either. It’s been hanging motionless near the alien ship for nearly a day, and there’s been no word that whole time.

Did something happen to the KSpace crew? Did they encounter the aliens? Are they still alive? Jansen has orders not to intervene or investigate. She’s got her own mission to carry out, and the fate of the KSpace astronauts is none of her business. It could even get NASA in legal trouble if she goes over there. There’s just one problem.

Twenty years ago, Sally Jansen was supposed to go to Mars. Her ship had to turn back after an accident left one of her crew dead. She has blamed herself, ever since, for what happened. She can’t live with more lives lost on her watch.

So on an EVA outside her own spaceship, she unhooks her safety line and starts flying over to the KSpace ship. She figures she’ll just look in the windows. Knock on the hatch, make sure they’re okay over there.

That’s what happens on page 69.

What she finds leads to a saga of fear and wonder. A story that’s equal parts science fiction and blood-curdling horror. It will take her and her own crew inside the alien spacecraft—a place beyond any human experience, a place no human being could comprehend. It’s a trip not everybody will return from, and one that will make Sally Jansen confront her darkest self—and how much of her humanity she’s willing to sacrifice, to find redemption.
Learn more about the book and author at David Wellington's website.

--Marshal Zeringue