Middle Grade Science Fiction
Date to be Published: December 6, 2017

For Explorers of All Ages!
Tumble forward in time with the fourth collection in the series Kirkus Review called “a must-have in science fiction collections.” These twenty-four imaginative, entertaining tales take readers of all ages to exciting places — from star ships to Mars to alien adventure!
“There are not very many action, adventure, superhero, or sci-fi stories that feature girls, but there needs to be. I have read this whole book and now I have become even more interested in space and robots and things like that.” ~ Lily F. (10 years old)
Excerpt from one of the Short Stories
THE GREAT BROCCOLI WI-FI THEFT
 by Nancy Kress
Nancy Kress is the author of thirty-three books, including twenty-six novels, four collections of short stories, and three books on writing.  Her work has won six Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.  Most recent works are the Nebula-winning novella “Yesterday’s Kin” (Tachyon, 2014) and THE BEST OF NANCY KRESS (Subterranean, 2015).  Forthcoming in 2017 is TOMORROW’S KIN (Tor), the first novel of a trilogy based on “Yesterday’s Kin” and extending its universe for several generations.  Kress’s work has been translated into Swedish, Danish, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish, Croatian, Chinese, Lithuanian, Romanian, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Russian, and Klingon, none of which she can read.  In addition to writing, Kress often teaches at various venues around the country and abroad; in 2008 she was the Picador visiting lecturer at the University of Leipzig.  Kress lives in Seattle with her husband, writer Jack Skillingstead, and Cosette, the world’s most spoiled toy poodle.
Do you know what a pas de chat is?  I didn’t either, two months ago.  But I know now, and it’s going to make me a hero.  Really!  Everybody will applaud for me so hard their hands will sting—especially Mom!  They’ll give me a medal!  It’s going to be great!
I’m going to solve a mystery that nobody else can solve.
Just as soon as I figure out how.
#
My name is Nia.  I’m ten.  I live sometimes on the moon, at Alpha Base, and sometimes on Earth, in Illinois.  I like both places, but Illinois has a big problem: GRAVITY.  There’s too much of it here.  I wish they could just ship some of this gravity to the moon and even things out a little bit, but it doesn’t work that way.  On the moon there isn’t enough gravity to keep human muscles strong unless you exercise a lot, and I got lazy.  So now I’m back on Earth because my mom’s job moved us here—again!—and my muscles aren’t strong enough.  Which is why I was in ballet class doing a pas de chat.  It was not my idea.
“No, no,” said Mademoiselle Janine, who was in charge of the class.  “Nia, you must land lightly.  Lightly!  Ellen, show her the pas de chat.”
Ellen smirked at me and raised her arms.  Pas de chat means “step of the cat,” which is a really stupid name because it doesn’t look anything like a cat.  I know—we have a cat.  In the pas de chat you bend one leg, jump off the other leg, bend that one in the air, then land lightly.  If you can find a cat that can do that, I’ll give you a million dollars.
Ellen did the step.  She landed lightly.
“Now you try, Nia,” Mademoiselle said.
I landed like a baby elephant.
“Well…” said Mademoiselle.  “These things take practice.”
Did I mention that ballet class was definitely not my idea?
#
“I want to quit ballet,” I said at dinner.  “I’m no good at ballet.”
Dad said, “You’re probably better than you think.”  Dad is always on my side.
Mom said, “You might not be good at it, but you can’t go on quitting things when they get hard.”  Mom is always on the side of doing hard things.
“But I stink at ballet,” I said.  I pushed my mashed potatoes around with my fork.  “I’m not good at anything.”
“That’s not true,” Dad said.  “You’re good at a lot of things.”
I said, “Name three!”
“Well…you’re good at spelling.”
“Nobody needs to spell good.  Autocorrect fixes it.”
Mom said, “Nobody needs to spell well.  ‘Well,’ not ‘good.’”
“See?” I said.  “I’m not good at sentences, either! I’m not good at anything!”
“Yes, you are,” Dad said.  “You’re good at training our pets.”
That was true.  We have a dog named Bandit, a robot-dog named Luna, and a cat named Pickles.  I trained Bandit to fetch.  I programmed Luna, which is the closest you can get to training a robot.  I couldn’t train Pickles to do anything, but…cats.  They do what they want.
I said, “That’s only two things.”
Mom smiled.  “You’re good at getting into trouble.”
Dad said warningly, “Angela…”
“I’m teasing!  Nia, I just wanted to make you laugh!”
I wasn’t laughing.  Mom never understands!
But then she said, “Look, Nia, everybody has to practice and work hard in order to get good at something.  Do you know how many times my broccoli has failed?”
Mom is a plant geneticist.  That means she changes plants’ genes to make them better.  Right now she’s changing broccoli, which in my opinion can’t ever be made better no matter what you do to it.  I hate broccoli.  She was just making me feel worse.
She knew it, too, because she put her hand on mine and said, “Nia, honey, after dinner let me show you something.”
I said, “As long as it’s not broccoli.”
To be continued in the 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide!
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About the Books

Titles: Dark Beam Part 1 -3

Author: Adrienne Woods

Genre: Fantasy, Dark, Adult

Everyone in Paegeia knows that only one Rubicon dragon lives at a time.

If more than one, they will destroy Paegeia and eventually the rest of the world as they crave that constant power for dominance.

Blake Leaf is this era’s Rubicon, and is destined for grate things if his darkness can be won.
Darkbeam Part 1 follows the story of the Rubicon and how he tries to keep his beast, the darkness, at bay.

 


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Historical Fiction

Date Published: 12th May 2017

Publisher: Harper Impulse

A sensual, heartbreaking, romance

The sounds and scents of the Crimean War are strangling Harry Marlow, shutting him off and silently smothering his soul. But he is a soldier and that is his life, and he can see nothing else besides that. So why should he care when a woman watches him? His life is not one to share with a woman, other than for a few moments in his bed.

When a woman is already drowning so deeply in sin she is without any fear of judgement – what can it matter if she chooses to begin a new affair? It is like escape to choose her own man and Captain Marlow is the perfect candidate for a dalliance. All she has to do is obtain an introduction…


 


Jane began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write. 

Now Jane has been shortlisted for three reader awards, and become a bestselling author in the UK and the USA.

 


Excerpt

The Tainted Love of a Captain Excerpt One

She was there, with her maid. They were on the path at the head of the beach, a few yards away. He crossed the street. She walked towards him and intercepted his path. ‘Captain Marlow!’ she called. ‘Well met!’ She spoke as though she had not written and he therefore presumed the maid did not know that this interchange had been orchestrated.

He bowed, slightly. ‘Miss Cotton.’ What was the etiquette for a man’s mistress? He knew how to behave with whores and with respectable women, but a mistress was somewhere in between. ‘Would you care to walk with me?’ He lifted his arm, in the way he might have offered his arm to one of his sisters or cousins.

The maid held back to walk a few paces behind them as Ash looked up at him with eyes that asked why he had not walked on to the pebbles. Harry clicked the fingers of his free hand and tapped his leg to tell Ash to stay at his side.

‘I like your dog. What is her name?’ Miss Cotton said loudly. He presumed for the benefit of the maid as much as for an answer.

‘Ash. She was named by my niece.’

She looked at him as though the fact that he might have a niece was a bizarre thought. ‘Oh.’

He smiled. Her colour had been high since the moment they had faced each other, but now it became even redder.

‘Your dog has a very pleasant nature.’

‘Yes, she does.’

‘I am glad you came,’ she said in a quieter voice, leaning closer to him as he’d seen her do when she spoke to her maid. ‘It took me so much courage to write. But you have never looked at me here. Then you looked at me last night and I wrote in a rash moment because I have had a great desire to know the man with the lovely dog. I hope you do not think me too forward.’ Her back straightened when she had finished her conspiratorial whisper and her chin lifted high. There was a sense of dignity in her posture, no matter her status.

‘I was not sure that I would come.’

Her head turned and she looked at him about the rim of her bonnet, her fingers pulling on his arm a little. ‘I admire you as much as your dog. I have wanted to meet you as well as Ash.’

‘I am aware. I have seen you watching me.’ He breathed in. ‘It was flattering.’ He had not thought so a day ago and yet having seen the woman up close. Yes, the interest and attention of such a beautiful woman was flattering. Her large, expressive eyes, within the shadow of her bonnet’s brim, were particularly fascinating and the curls of her vibrantly coloured hair peeked from beneath the edges of the bonnet, providing a temptation to touch it.

She smiled. ‘I think it is lovely how you play with the dog. There seems such regard between you as you play. So, yes, I have been watching your games and admiring you and your affection for Ash, from a distance. It is very charming to watch. Your friend has looked back at me, but you have no more than glanced. You have given me no opportunity to compliment you before.’

‘I thought you were…’ He had been about to insult her and say that he’d thought her respectable, which would tell her that now he thought she was not. ‘I thought you someone different.’

‘Who?’

‘No one in particular, simply a young woman looking for a husband and I would make a poor candidate for that.’

The Tainted Love of a Captain Excerpt Two

‘Hello!’ he called from a few feet away.

The pace of her heart beat lifted in a fluttering sensation.

Since they had been talking each day, her heart felt as though it had grown the wings of a butterfly. ‘Hello.’

‘How are you?’ he asked as he joined her.

Charlie glanced back along the path at the maid who’d walked with her. She had left Tilly a few feet away to mind her own business and Tilly had not come nearer to listen, which was what Charlie feared. But if anything had been said to Mark about her liaisons with Harry, which it probably had, he had not complained to her about it.

She looked at Harry, again, turning her back on Tilly. ‘I am well. How was your game last evening?’

‘Must you ask?’ He threw the stick out into the sea. ‘Do you not know?’

‘No.’

‘Then do not ask.’

She laughed as Ash returned with the stick.

Harry looked at her after he’d thrown the stick again. ‘I have a question to ask you, though.’

‘Then you must ask it.’ She was very forward with Harry. She kept surprising herself. But it was the atmosphere he exuded. He always spoke so liberally it made her more confident to reply. But she had been forward with him from the beginning because she had been desperate to know this man with his dog. So desperate she had dared to write. But she had told herself that a woman of her status need not worry over what was right or wrong or fear the judgement of others. She had transcended those things. It was the one benefit of her status—she might do as she wished and she had wished to meet Ash and speak to Harry. That was not a crime.

Her chin lifted and her back straightened in denial of the accusation of forwardness that continued charging at her in her head.

Harry turned and faced her fully as Ash ran into the shallow, frothing ripples, chasing the stick as the tide pulled it out on a retreating wave. ‘If I hired a room in an inn, would you come there with me?’

‘Now?’ To… Oh… She had not thought about where this might lead. She had thought of nothing other than that she admired him and she had wanted to know him. But. ‘My maid is with me.’ Her heart had jolted suddenly into a sharp pace.

‘Tomorrow. Would you meet me there?’

Her heart was pounding as hard as her father had used to pound a hammer on a straight bar of iron to twist and curve it to make a horse’s shoe. She had not imagined, and yet she had in daydreams sometimes thought about what it would be like to kiss Harry.

But to make this a sin…

Ash shook the sea water off her coat, spraying them both. Then Harry took the stick from Ash’s mouth, lifted it and held it out of Ash’s reach. The dog barked and leapt around, waiting for it to be thrown again, then it was and Ash went racing after it.

Harry looked at her. ‘Will you?’


If you enjoy historical romance stories full of sensory details transporting you back in time, then you should give Jane Lark’s series a try. I signed up to review this book accidently but am glad I gave it my attention. This is a smooth read with the traditional milestones and payoffs you would expect. I haven’t had a chance to read the other stories in the series, but there are several and will keep you with summer reading material for quite a while!

This story unravels around Harry Marlow and his struggles between a stalwart but loving family who sees him as a bit of an outsider, and his chosen profession as a Captain, recently returned from the Crimean war. Harry meets a young woman, or rather, he is watched by a young woman and their introduction is quite unconventional. However, this woman is not all she appears to be, and regardless of recent revelations about the woman, Captain Marlow’s interest is not so easily squashed. The woman is full of secrets but has an obvious attraction and sense of security around the Captain, and his beloved dog, Ash. As the story unfolds truths are revealed, lives are broken apart, and those seeking redemption or a truer way of life struggle across the page. I detest when someone ruins plot points in a review, so I will leave it there and let you discover more for yourself.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, give this series a chance. If you do, please consider leaving the author a review, they value your opinions!