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When the Hero Comes Home 2 e-book is now available for purchase! Want a preview? Below you’ll find an excerpt from my own contribution, Waiting for You. But that’s only one of the stories in this great anthology.
They say you can never go home again…
Join us for all new stories of heroes whose journeys have ended, and whose quests have been won–or lost–as they discover the fate of the people and places they’d left behind.
Featuring bestsellers, luminaries, and bold new voices. The print book contains 21 science fiction, fantasy, and urban fantasy short stories. Buy the ebook (epub or Kindle) for 8 bonus stories!
Now, for the promised preview:
It had been one thousand one hundred thirty-nine years, eight months and fifty-four days, Earth standard, since Tess had last seen the planet of her origin.
The jewel tones of Earth came into view and Tess noted an odd fullness in her torso, recording the possibility that the pull of gravity was affecting her more strongly than it should. Another sign her body was deteriorating beyond repair. She filed the information in her error logs and flushed it from active RAM. Time enough to analyze the data when she was upgrading.
She wondered if any of her current body was salvageable or if she’d end up downloaded into a new one. It was a daunting thought. She chided herself for the sentiment. She’d spent far too much time alone with biological life forms. They were attached to their form for good reason, but Tess had no such excuse. She had been too long in this body, she decided, and had grown inappropriately attached to it.
That too could be merely a malfunction. It had been six hundred years, eighty-six days since she’d last patched her kernel. She’d checked the relay satellites on her way back and determined with 75.62% certainty that she and the satellites were obsolete technology, incapable of receiving or processing the data packets sent from Earth.
Contemplation of that, and the changes that would be necessary because of it, occupied more of her available memory that it should have.
Tess’s long range scanning capabilities were limited—her ship was little more than a shell for her body that held the long-range travel drive and fuel source—but even from 2.37-5 light years away, she could detect marked changes on Earth from her last recorded scan. Data transmission across her internal network quickened.
Slowing as she approached the planetary flight space, Tess transmitted her ID and requested permission to land on-planet. The silence preceding the response lasted a full 3.7 seconds longer than she expected. When it came, the reply was:
“What are you?”
For the rest, you’ll have to buy the book. Go get one!
The short story Gabrielle Harbowy and I have been writing together, “Skin Deep” has been accepted to the anthology called Carbide Tipped Pens, edited by Eric Choi and Ben Bova, to be published by Tor next year.
Check out the anthology’s Facebook Page to see who else will be in it and keep up with all the news.
The collaboration was my first time co-writing and I was a bit nervous about how it would work out. But it was the perfect team effort, she was strong where I wasn’t, and vice versa. She’s been my editor for two books now and two short stories and it made for a smooth blend of our voices, so that the story has its own unique voice, rather than sounding like two authors’ work cobbled together.
We’re both excited to be a part of Eric and Ben’s anthology. I’ll keep you updated!
And I’m in it! I’ve been really excited about announcing the sale of my short story to the upcoming anthology When the Hero Comes Home 2.
It’s the first hard scifi I’ve sold. And being in When the Villain Comes Home with authors I’ve admired since before I knew I was ever going to share my writing was an amazing experience. So the chance to do it again, to work with Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood and see the incredible stories that are going to come from these other authors just tickles me to my toes.
Now I get to be a part of When the Hero Comes Home 2, expected release August 2013.
We have 29 excellent stories lined up for you, 8 of which will be available exclusively in the ebook version of the anthology.
The following listing is in alphabetical order by author.
* denotes ebook-only bonus stories
*Bagabones by Jacquelyn Bartel
Beginning by Jillian Boehme
Bringing Back Raby by Chaz Brenchley
After the Winds by K.T. Bryski
Living Bargains by Suzanne Church
Vasilissa’s Doll by Elaine Cunningham
The Last Perfect Heart by Fanny Valentine Darling
Remnants by Erin M. Evans
*Prince Goldgriffin Rides In by Ed Greenwood
*Closure by Gabrielle Harbowy
Jack Crochety by Larry Kay
Juan Carceres in the Zapatero’s Workshop by Derek Künsken
Safe Within You by Mercedes Lackey
Broken by K.D. McEntire
Narcolepsy by Bob Neilson
The Last of the Unicorn Hunters by Diana Peterfreund
Waiting For You by Leah Petersen
*Blood Runs Thicker by Mary Pletsch
*Come is the Wolf in her Wounding by Dan Rabarts
*The Return of Hobard the Vanquisher by Mike Rimar
The Hero of Abarxia by Deborah J. Ross
*The Stiletto by Maggie Sokoll
A Spray of Bittersweet by Andrea Stewart
Faces of the Revolution by James L. Sutter
A Sword that Heals by Clint Talbert
*Smoke and Feathers by Juliette Wade
Call of the Sky by Cliff Winnig
Faith by Chris Wong Sick Hong
The Clever One by Jamie Wyman
It should be available for pre-order soon. I’ll keep you updated!
The Boston Marathon was bombed yesterday. That will be news to no one. I’m also quite sure that during and after all of this, I’m not the only one who has been thinking about what I’d do if this happened to me.
Some people rushed into the smoky aftermath of an explosion to help, not even hesitating. One uninjured bystander took off his belt and handed it to a man who then used it as a tourniquet on someone lying on the ground. Some men were cursing in thick Boston accents even as they were heading toward all the carnage without stopping to consider whether or not they were putting themselves in danger.
This warms and humbles me.
But the story that affected me the most was from a bystander who said they were only feet from the explosion. The woman recounts that her husband immediately pushed their two children to the ground and lay over them. Then another man, a man they didn’t know, lay over them as well.
Was he trying to protect the two children better than one body could manage? Was he trying to protect the father who was trying to protect his children? Maybe he wasn’t trying to do anything at all, it was simply his first instinct to shelter someone in danger, no matter what.
The thing that amazes me about this story is that the act of shielding another with your body is an acknowledgement that they are still in danger, that you know there’s a very real chance that any person in that space could be badly injured or killed and you are choosing to make your body the target, for that to be you. That, on some level, the father and the other man were thinking, “Take me, not the kids. I’ve had 30 or 40 or 50 years, they still have their lives ahead of them. I might die or suffer, but I choose that to protect them.”
When you remember the senseless violence and tragic loss of lives that happened yesterday, remember this too. That there are those who will plant bombs to hurt and kill innocent people. But there are more who will stand up in the face of that and say, “No. My act of compassion is bigger than any bomb you can ever make.”
And no one can blow up, crash, kill, or take that away from us. Ever.