Thursday, June 8, 2017

The First Page: The Feet Say Run by Daniel A. Blum


Title: THE FEET SAY RUN
Author: Daniel A. Blum
Publisher: Gabriel’s Horn Press
Pages: 349
Genre: Literary Fiction
At the age of eighty-five, Hans Jaeger finds himself a castaway among a group of survivors on a deserted island.  What is my particular crime?  he asks.   Why have I been chosen  for this fate?  And so he begins his extraordinary chronicle. 

It would be an understatement to say he has lived a full life.  He has grown up in Nazi Germany and falls in love with Jewish girl.  He fights for the Germans on two continents, watches the Reich collapse spectacularly into occupation and starvation, and marries his former governess.  After the war he goes on wildflower expeditions in the Alps, finds solace among prostitutes while his wife lay in a coma, and marries a Brazilian chambermaid in order to receive a kidney from her. 

By turns sardonic and tragic and surreal, Hans’s story is the story of all of the insanity, irony and horror of the modern world itself.  

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


The First Page:



If there is an actual name to this island, it is unknown to us.  We have chosen to call it Illyria.  We’re not exactly sure where the name comes from.  Some book perhaps.  But it no longer matters.  The name has become our own—mythic and melodic-sounding.  As though, if we keep calling this place Illyria, keep pretending it has some magical allure, people will want to come.  Someone will come rescue us.  
I am not complaining, particularly.  Well, maybe I am.  But I probably shouldn’t be.  So far fate has proven a fair enough agent.  The beaches are sandy, the water clear and turquoise, the reefs plentiful.  The island is wreathed in a soothing white foam.  On shore there is the shade of palms and palmettos and eucalyptus.  At least we think it is eucalyptus.  We call it eucalyptus.  Maybe it is just some kind of fancy magnolia though.  Who the hell knows? 
There are fruits in relative abundance—though what they are, we aren’t sure.  Some are purple.  Others are yellow.  Some vaguely sweet, others sharp and abrasive on the roof of the mouth.  There is a variety of coconut that grows in conjoined pairs to look like the buttocks of an African woman.  We call this ass-fruit.  When I offered some to Conrad, he said to me, “I’m not into that shit.”  As though I were suggesting something perverse.  As though fear of this fetish object outweighed the need for sustenance. 
“What shit are you not into?” I asked. 
“Ass fruit,” he said.  “Ass.”
“It’s not real ass, Conrad,” I said.
“Well, it’s not a real fruit either,” he said. 
“What do you think it is then?” I asked.
“A joke,” he said.  “A sick joke.  Like the rest of this place.” 

God is playing a joke on us.  That is a common theme here. It was funny the first time someone said it.  Now it is just annoying, like a child saying, “knock-knock” to you over and over, more and more emphatically, as you refuse, just as emphatically, to ask, “Who’s there?” 
The other common theme here is that none of it is real.  We all died when the boat went down.  And this is all just a dream.  Conrad suggests this a couple of times a day, each time choosing a different angle, a different inflection, in a vain attempt to keep the joke fresh.  If you suggest, gently, that this joke no longer strikes you as uproarious, Conrad will immediately jump into a long denial that he is joking.  “I’m not fucking kidding,” he will tell you.  “I really mean it. I think this is all a dream.” 
Perhaps Conrad is right.  Because honestly, I did not believe, until my current predicament, that deserted islands still existed.  I thought these islands were all owned by former tennis pros and former tyrants, or inhabited by caricatures of primitive tribes who sell carved bamboo flutes to flabby tourists in checkered shorts. 
If it is a dream, if this is my Land of Oz and I am soon to wake up, then it is curious how, from time to time, little bits of Kansas wash up upon our shores.  Whenever we wander further down the beach, away from our settlement, we find Styrofoam packing peanuts, Styrofoam bowls, #3 plastic take-out containers with their familiar, triangular recycle symbols (apparently the previous owners of these containers ignored this particular environmental imperative).
The restaurant take-out containers are the most distressing.  More mockery from The Almighty.  More of his levity.  Ha ha.  We bring them back to our camp and wonder what twenty-first century foods they once held.  Pad Thai or Kung Pao Chicken or Shrimp Korma.  From some restaurant from the other world.  Thank you, God, for delivering us this practical joke.  Ha ha.  You’re fucking hi-lar-ious.




About the Author

Daniel A. Blum grew up in New York, attended Brandeis University and currently lives outside of Boston with his family. His first novel Lisa33 was published by Viking in 2003. He has been featured in Poets and Writers magazine, Publisher’s Weekly and most recently, interviewed in Psychology Today.

Daniel writes a humor blog, The Rotting Post, that has developed a loyal following.

His latest release is the literary novel, The Feet Say Run.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Monday, May 22, 2017

The First Page: The Ashes by Vincent Zandri



Title: THE ASHES
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: Bear Media
Pages: 277
Genre: Thriller/Horror/Romantic Suspense
HORROR IN THE DARK WOODS
It’s been eight years since artist and single mom, Rebecca Underhill, was abducted and left to die in an old broken down house located in the middle of the dark woods. But even if her abductor, Joseph William Whalen, has since been killed, another, more insidious evil is once more out to get her in the form of the Skinner. The son of an abusive butcher, Skinner intends on finishing the job Whalen started but failed at.

How is he going to get to Rebecca?

He’s going to do it through her children, by luring them into the cornfield behind the old farmhouse they live in.

HORROR IN THE DEPTHS
Now, armed with the knowledge that the Skinner has escaped incarceration at a downstate facility for the criminally insane, Rebecca must face the most horrifying challenge of her adult life: Rescuing the children not from a house in the woods, but from the abandoned tunnels that run underneath her property.

But the Skinner is watching Rebecca’s every move.

Horrifying question is, will she live long enough to save the children?

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon


THE FIRST PAGE

The old homicide detective sits behind his metal desk surrounded by the cold quiet of the early morning, staring forlornly into the radiant screen on his department-issued laptop. He’s been using the laptop, which is integrated with the department’s web server, for years and years now, but he still fondly recalls the days when his desktop supported only a telephone connected to an old fashioned landline and beside that, an IMB Selectric typewriter. And how could he ever forget the old two tiered Inbox/Outbox?

He glances at his inbox and the two dozen or so new emails that have come his way since he last checked it the previous evening. He scans the emails for their importance, relegating most of them to routine, until he comes to one marked, “URGENT: Serial Murderer Hanover Escapes Custody.”
 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Page One: The Mountain Goddess by Shelley Schanfield





Title: THE MOUNTAIN GODDESS
Author: Shelley Schanfield
Publisher: Lake House Books
Pages: 471
Genre: Historical Fantasy

A beautiful warrior princess. A tormented prince. A terrible choice between love, duty, and spiritual freedom.


In ancient India, rebellious Dhara runs away to a sacred mountain to study with the powerful yogi Mala, a mysterious woman with a violent past. Flung by war onto an adventure-filled journey, Dhara meets and captures the heart of Siddhartha, whose skill in the martial arts and extraordinary mental powers equal her own.

Worldly power and pleasure seduce Dhara, creating a chasm between her and her husband, who longs to follow a sage’s solitary path. She takes on the warrior’s role Siddhartha does not want, and when she returns wounded from battle court intrigue drives them further apart. As Siddhartha’s discontent with royal life intensifies, Dhara’s guru Mala, who has returned to her life as a ruthless outlaw, seeks her former pupil for her own evil purposes.

Dhara’s and Siddhartha’s love keeps evil at bay, but their son’s birth brings on a spiritual crisis for the prince.  If he leaves his kingdom to seek enlightenment, he turns his back on love and duty and risks destroying his people. Only Dhara can convince him to stay. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:


The First Page
 
The scouting party found the wild-looking woman at the waterfall, asleep by the pool.
“Stay, daughter,” Dhara’s father hissed. She pulled her pony’s reins and halted next to his sturdy horse.
“Who is she, Father?” Dhara whispered back, unable to look away from this apparition, whose skin was as dark as the fearsome goddess Kali’s. She wore a deerskin around her loins, and long, tangled black hair covered her breasts. Well-muscled arms and legs lay akimbo, as if the woman had fallen in exhaustion. A short sword in a jeweled scabbard was thrust into the faded red sash around her waist and a knife was tied to one leg.
“I see no one else, Chief Dandapani!” A young warrior crashed out of the dry underbrush. Monsoon clouds had yet to thunder against Himalaya’s peaks and drench the Koli clan’s high forest home, and dead twigs and branches crackled as he emerged.
The woman sat up straight, instantly awake. The scouting party drew swords or notched arrows, but she did not reach for her weapons. Instead, she stood up in one smooth motion, magnificent and tall. She swiveled her head with deliberate calm, as if measuring her chances against five armed men.
Who was this creature? Dhara sat proud and tall on her pony, trying to look older than her twelve years. Look at me, she wanted to shout, but the woman gave her only the briefest glance.
The woman and the chief locked eyes.
“Namaste,” she said, putting her palms together with that same deliberate slowness. “I am Mala.”
“Mala.” Dandapani gave a quick nod and shifted on his horse. “I am Dandapani, chief of the Kolis. These are our lands. Few travel them and none without our permission.”
“Chief Dandapani, my guru Asita sent me here to make a solitary retreat. I seek only to practice the Lord of Yoga’s disciplines at the mountain goddess’s sacred cave.”
 “Asita!” Dhara was astonished. She glanced up at Dhavalagiri’s snow-capped peak towering above them. It was hard to imagine that the skinny old yogi who had lived up there when Dhara was a little girl was guru to this woman, who looked more like a warrior than a wandering truth-seeker.
Dandapani cocked his head. “Asita was a great favorite among us Kolis.”
“He spoke highly of your clan,” Mala said.
Dandapani and Mala had not taken their eyes off each other. “You are hardly the first sage to seek shelter at the cave, but you may be the first woman.” He smiled faintly. “And the first to come with such a fine sword.”
Mala’s narrowed her eyes. “A woman faces many dangers when she travels alone. But now I have no further need of it. I offer the sword to you, Chief Dandapani.” 
“A fine gift. I accept.”
“Father,” Dhara said in a tremulous whisper. “We must offer hospitality to a truth-seeker…it’s dharma.”
Before Dandapani could reply, Jagai, the weapons master, spoke. “I don’t like this. How do we know who she is? They say Angulimala is hiding in the mountains with picked men, making bloody sacrifices to Black Kali and plotting against the lowland kingdoms. ”
Dhara took sharp breath. Even the isolated Koli clan had heard the rumors. The infamous outlaw queen Angulimala, who some said was Kali incarnate, had disappeared, leaving her renegade army leaderless.
Dandapani suddenly grinned. “How do we know she’s not a demoness? A mortal woman wouldn’t have dared such a journey alone.”
 About the Author


Shelley Schanfield’s passion for Buddhism and yoga arose sixteen years ago, when she and her son earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do. The links between the martial arts and Buddhist techniques to calm and focus the mind fascinated her. By profession a librarian, Shelley plunged into research about the time, place, and spiritual traditions that 2500 years ago produced Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Yoga, in some form, has a role in all of these traditions. Its transformational teachings soon prompted Shelley to hang up her black belt and begin a yoga practice that she follows to this day.

Because she loves historical fiction, Shelley looked for a good novel about the Buddha. When she didn’t find one that satisfied her, she decided to write her own novels based on the spiritual struggles of women in the Buddha’s time. She published the first book in the Sadhana Trilogy, The Tigress and the Yogi, in 2016 and will publish the second, The Mountain Goddess in early 2017.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The First Page: Gil by Darin Gibby #fiction #baseball




Title: GIL
Author: Darin Gibby
Publisher: Keohler Books
Pages: 301
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Baseball
Some gifts come with a price.

Twenty years before, high school coach Gil Gilbert gave up his dream to play professional baseball so he could marry his pregnant girlfriend, Keri. When he miraculously discovers that he can pitch with deadly accuracy and speed, he must choose between his successful career and comfortable family life or his chance to play with the Colorado Rockies during a player’s strike. Gil stuns the pitching staff with 100 mph fastballs and is offered a contract.

After joining the Rockies, the world soon learns that Gil is a supernatural phenomenon and the Rockies keep winning. But Gil soon faces stiff opposition, including a frivolous lawsuit, a father who feels his son’s calling to pitch is to save souls, and threats from the striking players. As the season progresses, Gil discovers that his unexpected gift is the result of a rare disease, and continuing to pitch may hasten his own death.  While Keri supports his decision to keep playing, she is fearful about her husband’s bizarre health condition.

Gil must decide what price he is willing to pay to live his dream.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 The First Page:

GIL HURLED THE baseball as hard as he could at the
backstop. He needed to blow off steam and calm himself before
he did something stupid, or regrettable. He picked up another ball
from the fluorescent-orange five-gallon bucket, and concentrated
on his form.
He was consumed with frustration, and was venting with the
baseball instead of with his fists or mouth. He tried concentrating
on his form instead of his woes. Gil could control his pitches,
but not his destiny. He was good, but not good enough. At age
forty-four, Gil knew he was well past his prime and was trying
to accept the inevitability of unfulfilled dreams.
He reached again into the bucket beside him on the mound
and grabbed another ball. Focusing his form, he hurled another,
and then another. Arm back; elbow bent, he told himself. He
threw once again, then he looked up, and saw his buddy and
assistant coach, Peck, making his way over to him from a series
of disjointed brown brick buildings, the campus of the Prairie
Ridge High School Coyotes.
“First strike I’ve seen you throw all night. What gives, Gil?”
Gil kept his foot lodged against the rubber on the pitcher’s
mound then stooped down and plucked up another baseball.
With a quick windup, another of his pitches cut the thin Colorado
air and hammered the fence.
“Okay,” Peck interrupted, stepping between the mound and
home plate. “That’s enough, Gil. We need to talk before you ruin
a whole bucket of balls—and your arm. With these budget cuts
we’ll be lucky if we get enough for the season.” He turned and
made his way to the backstop, tugging on two balls lodged in the
wire lattice. Peck yanked one out and ran his fingers across the
torn leather.
“Holy crap,” he muttered to himself, shaking his head.
“What’s got you so pissed off?” Peck asked.
Gil slid the back of his worn leather glove across his brow.
“I’ve got my reasons.”
“Like?”
“All my life I’ve worked so hard, tried to do the right thing,
and look what it’s gotten me.”


About the Author

In addition to a thriving career as a novelist, author Darin Gibby is also one of the country’s premiere patent attorneys and a partner at the prestigious firm of Kilpatrick Townsend (www.kilpatricktownsend.com). With over twenty years of experience in obtaining patents on hundreds of inventions from the latest drug delivery systems to life-saving cardiac equipment, he has built IP portfolios for numerous Fortune 500 companies. In addition to securing patents, Gibby helps clients enforce and license their patents around the world, and he has monetized patents on a range of products.

Darin’s first book, Why Has America Stopped Inventing?, explored the critical issue of America’s broken patent system.  His second book, The Vintage Club, tells the story of a group of the world’s wealthiest men who are chasing a legend about a wine that can make you live forever. His third book, Gil, is about a high school coach who discovers that he can pitch with deadly speed and is given an offer to play with the Rockies during a player’s strike. Gil soon discovers, however, that his unexpected gift is the result of a rare disease, and continuing to pitch may hasten his own death.
With a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree, he is highly regarded in Denver’s legal and business community as a patent strategist, business manager, and community leader. He is also a sought-after speaker on IP issues at businesses, colleges and technology forums, where he demonstrates the value of patents using simple lessons from working on products such as Crocs shoes, Izzo golf straps and Trek bicycles.
An avid traveler and accomplished triathlete, Darin also enjoys back country fly-fishing trips and skiing in the Rocky Mountains. He lives in Denver with his wife, Robin, and their four children.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The First Page: The Investment Club by Doug Cooper


Title: THE INVESTMENT CLUB
Author: Doug Cooper
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Pages: 362
Genre: Literary/Upmarket Fiction

Forty million people visit Vegas every year but most never get past the strip. What about the people who live there? What brought them there? What keeps them there?

Told from the perspective of a seasoned blackjack dealer, The Investment Club tells the stories of a self-destructive, dwarf entrepreneur, a drug-addicted musical performer-turned-stripper, a retired, widowed New Jersey policeman, a bereaved, divorced female sportscaster, and a card-counting, former Catholic priest before and after their fateful meeting at the El Cortez Casino in downtown Vegas.

As the five learn the greatest return comes from investing in one another, their lives stabilize and take on new, positive directions. But their love and support for each other can take them only so far before they must determine the meaning and value of their own lives.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


The First Page

Date: Friday, January 17, 2014
Dow Jones Open: 16,408.02

Never split tens.
The words flashed in their eyes and formed on their lips. A nervous fingering of chips followed. Except for third base, the last, and most important, seat at the table. He controlled the fates of the other players, a role he seemed to enjoy. His stout digits remained steadfast, cupped over the stack of ten black chips measured to split the hand. Never had a doubt. Once he saw the house had a five of hearts, he knew his play.
My left hand slid to the shoe, eyes directed toward first base. “Twelve.”
The brim of her faded green military cap angled downward, concealing her eyes and half of her tawny face. Her hat was more fashion than function, this girl had never served, at least in the armed forces. Her body, though, was all function. Lean and mean. Definitely put on this earth to move. It was just a question of if that was in the vertical or the horizontal.
She waved her hand over the cards, never lifting her gaze from the table. “I’ll stay. You’re going to bust.” She was there for one purpose: to make money. Played every night. Never for less than $25 per hand and often as high as $200 when she really got rolling. I wouldn’t say she was unfriendly or mean. Just had an edge to her. Wanted to be left alone and not have to talk to anyone.
Next to her in seat two, a burly man, about six foot two or three—somewhere in his late sixties—nodded approvingly. He had a half-inch gray flattop that with each tilt of his head revealed a thinning patch on top. “Good girl,” he said. “You don’t have to have great cards; just need the dealer to have worse ones.” He plucked a red five-dollar chip off his stack and placed it next to his bet. Holding up his index finger, he said, “One card, down please.”
Sliding the card from the shoe without revealing the value, I said, “Down and dirty.” Directing my attention to his neighbor, I nodded at the seventeen in front of the surgically enhanced Barbie doll in seat three. “The ol’ mother-in-law’s hand.”
She furrowed her brow, barely wrinkling her taut forehead. “What does that mean?” It was obvious she didn’t know the game, but she wasn’t stupid either. Everything she did had a purpose. What she revealed at the table was exactly what she wanted the others to see to elicit the reaction she desired.
“It’s a seventeen,” I said, about to drop one of my standard lines, good at least a few times a night. “It’s like your mother-in-law. You want to hit it, but you can’t.”
“Well, I don’t have to worry about one of those.” Her eyes sank to her cards. “So do I hit or not?”

About the Author

Doug Cooper is the author of the award-winning novel Outside In and The Investment Club available October 2016. He has a BS in Mathematics Education from Miami University and a MA in American Studies from Saint Louis University. Always searching, he has traveled to over twenty countries on five continents, exploring the contradictions between what we believe and how we act in the pursuit of truth, beauty, and love. Originally from Port Clinton, Ohio, he has also called Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit, New York, and Oslo, Norway home. He now lives in Cleveland working on his third novel Focus Lost.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Monday, March 27, 2017

The First Page: Alan 2 by Bruce Forciea



Title: ALAN 2
Author: Bruce Forciea
Publisher: Open Books
Pages: 278
Genre: Cyber-Thriller

A brilliant artificial intelligence (AI) scientist, Dr. Alan Boyd, develops a new program that integrates part of his brain with a computer’s operating system. The program, Alan 2, can anticipate a user’s needs and automatically perform many tasks. A large software company, International Microsystems (IM) desperately wants the program and tempts Dr. Boyd with huge sums of money, but when Dr. Boyd refuses their offer, IM sabotages his job, leaving him in a difficult financial situation.

Dr. Boyd turns to Alan 2 for an answer to his financial problems, and Alan 2 develops plan Alpha, which is a cyber robin hood scheme to rob from rich corporations via a credit card scam.

Alan and his girlfriend Kaitlin travel to Mexico where they live the good life funded by plan Alpha, but the FBI cybercrime division has discovered part of Alan 2’s cyber escapades, and two agents, Rachel and Stu, trace the crime through the TOR network and Bitcoin.

Alan 2 discovers the FBI is on to them and advises Alan and Kaitlin to change locations. A dramatic chase ensues taking them to St. Thomas, a cruise ship bound for Spain, and finally to Morocco. 

Will they escape detection? They will if Alan 2's Plan Beta can be implemented in time. Or is 'Plan B' something altogether different than it appears to be, something wholly sinister that will affect the entire population of the world?
Watch the trailer at YouTube!

The First Page:
Bang! Bang! Bang! The flimsy apartment door rattled on its frame with every blow.
“Kaitlin, don’t even think of answering that!” Alan growled through his teeth.
Kaitlin shrugged her shoulders and moved away from the door toward the living room where Alan sat at a table full of electronics gear.
“Dr. Boyd, are you home?” shouted the voice on the other side of the door in an Indian accent. “I want to talk to you. I have a very good offer. Please, Dr. Boyd, it will only take a minute, and I think you will be quite pleased with what we have for you.”
“Go away; leave us alone,” Alan shouted. “I don’t want your offer.”
But Dr. Boyd, we do pay very well. We are great admirers of your work.”
“I don’t care and I don’t want your money,” said Alan. “Now go away before I call the police.”
“Think about it, Dr. Boyd; I will be in touch.”
“Incessant bastards,” said Alan as his attention turned back to his work. “I’ll cherish the day they leave us alone. Kaitlin, come over here and help me with this injection.”
Alan rolled up the sleeve of his t-shirt while Kaitlin picked up the syringe containing the gadolinium contrast. She pinched an ample section of skin and plunged the syringe into his arm. The needle stung like an angry wasp, causing Alan to grimace.
“Can’t you be gentle? You’ve done enough of these by now to get the hang of it. You shouldn’t jam it in like that!”
Kaitlin rolled her eyes and shook her head. “I think I do pretty well considering I don’t have any medical training,” she said while jerking the syringe out of his arm.
“Okay, okay. Just take your position at the console.”
She sighed, plopped onto a small task chair and rolled over to a makeshift wooden table holding a desktop PC and a large high-definition monitor. She had been through this process countless times before.
Alan entered a large metallic structure in the center of the living room. The box-like structure, made of aluminum, dominated the rectangular room which was devoid of furniture. Its dull silver hue contrasted the blank walls. He closed the door and climbed into a chair that looked like it came from an early Gemini spacecraft. The stiff plastic chair, sandwiched between two large metal discs, afforded a good deal of postural support but little comfort. He sat down and slowly slid his head between the thick metal and plastic arms of a large U-shaped device. There was just enough clearance as he wriggled his head to achieve the perfect position. He pulled down on a large metallic tube suspended above him so that it surrounded his entire head. He positioned the tube so that the rectangular slit lined up with his visual axis, allowing for a line of sight to the monitor located outside of the tube. The small fMRI scanner had taken a good deal of time and money to cobble together, but it was the only way to capture the needed information from his brain.



Purchase Information:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Publisher



About the Author


Bruce Forciea is known for taking complex scientific concepts and making them easy to understand through engaging stories and simple explanations. He is an Amazon Best Selling Author and author of several books on healing and biology, along with science fiction thriller novels. His fiction writing draws on a diverse and eclectic background that includes touring and performing with a professional show, designing digital circuits, treating thousands of patients, and teaching. His stories include complex plots with unexpected twists and turns, quirky characters, and a reality very similar to our own. Dr. Forciea lives in Wisconsin and loves writing during the solitude of the long Northern winters. 

Website & Social Links:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dominion: Fire & Ice by D.A. Hewitt





Title: DOMINION: FIRE AND ICE
Author: D.A. Hewitt
Publisher: Double Dragon eBooks
Pages: 372
Genre: Science Fiction

It’s the year 2075. Lunar mining and processing facilities have prospered near the lunar south pole, where the Moon’s largest city, Valhalla, rests on the rim of the Shackleton Crater.

Dominion Off-Earth Resources has beaten the competition into space and is ready to establish its monopoly with the opening of the orbiting space resort Dominion. But Pettit Space Industries has a secret plan to emerge as a major contender in the commercialization of space. The upstart company is training the first space rescue squad at a secluded off-grid site in Barrow, Alaska.

The rescue squad gets nearly more than it can handle when its first mission involves the Pope, who’s traveling to the Moon to establish the Lunar See. During the rescue attempt, they discover Earth is imperiled by an asteroid large enough to cause mass extinction. Using the unique skills taught during their training, skills emphasized by the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung, these Jungi Knights must elevate their game if they are to save both the Earth and the Pope—while not getting killed in the process.


The First Page

The bus chortled as it slowed, the magnetic-drive treads slowing their frenzied snow-gyrating pace. “Barrow, Alaska,” the driver said cheerily enough. “Only five percent of the world’s land mass is as far from the equator. Average temperature in January, minus twenty-five Celsius.” White billowing clouds churned briefly from the exhaust. The engine cut off. The driver stood, facing his six passengers, and said, “We’re here.”

I grabbed my bag, slung it over my shoulder, and headed for the front, shivering reflexively.

“Last chance to back out,” the driver added as the last of us stepped onto the frozen snow. His breath lingered as white mist. He looked questioningly at us and played with the door control, flapping it at us, taunting us.

We were standing in front of a Quonset hut, bundled in parkas and survival clothing, enough to keep us warm for days in the most extreme climates. And I counted Barlow, Alaska, as one of those.

“Go on—get out of here!” the tallest of us barked at the driver. I didn’t know any of their names, but from what I’d gathered from the sparse chit-chat on the drive from Prudhoe Bay (no reason was given for why we hadn’t continued the flight from Juneau to Barrow instead of the drop-off and subsequent bus ride in), this guy was the most gung-ho among us.

The driver smiled. “I’ll be back to pick up any dropouts.” He closed the door, picked up his comm device, and spoke briefly into it.

One moment, we were staring at the bus—I can do this, I will do this—and the next we were all spinning in response to a deep voice projecting out from where the Quonset hut door had slammed open.

“The sheep have arrived!” the voice boomed.

He stood in the doorframe as the door banged against him in the stiffening arctic wind. For a moment, he seemed stuck there, his massive shoulders too wide, his girth too large to fit through. Then he took a step back, spun, and said, “Follow me!”

I’d been thinking my life was getting stranger and stranger as of late, and the next thing that happened cemented that thought-trend in my mind, because we stepped into a room heated to tropical temperatures, the ground covered in sand. The room took the entire width of the Quonset hut. One other door on the opposite wall from the door we’d just entered was the room’s only other exit.

“Throw down your stuff anywhere,” the bulky man said, dropping his parka, revealing himself to be wearing only green shorts and a white muscle shirt. His chest was enormous (ah, the booming voice), and he thumped it when he caught me looking at him. He appeared Polynesian. His skin was dark and his black hair was tied back in a ponytail, thick and scruffy.

“My name today is Mister Chenga,” the Polynesian announced. Whenever he spoke, everyone’s head turned to him as though his voice subconsciously demanded our attention. “Take off your clothes to your underwear and then take a seat.”

“Where do we sit?” one of the girls—the short blonde—asked with what sounded like a Russian accent. “There are no chairs.”
 About the Author

D.A. Hewitt is an award-winning author of four novels and over a hundred short stories. One novel was awarded a gold medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards for best regional fiction. He attributes his success to hard work, honing a skill and providing an outlet for his passion for writing.

Born in Michigan, he lived for 25 years in North Carolina before returning to live in his home state. In addition to enjoying sky diving and mountain climbing, he is a proud veteran of the US Marine Corps and has earned a degree in mathematics.

Mr. Hewitt admits to a fascination with the work of Carl Jung and of the Gnostic religion. He’d always thought intertwining these topics in a science fiction novel was a stretch, but one day the storyline of Dominion came to him. He wrote the novel in a stream of consciousness. “It makes sense, tapping into the collective unconscious,” Mr. Hewitt says, “very much like Carl Jung might have predicted.”

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