It’s finally here:
The Deep Link is now available on Amazon!
I’ve been looking forward to this day for so long, I’m almost at a loss what to say. Except, of course, YAAAY!!! Look, look: I made a book! 😀
Without sounding like an infatuated asshat, I’d love to thank a big bunch of extraordinary people, whose support and knowledge has guided me over the past years, inspiring me to pull through self-doubt and resistance, and CREATE.
A huge thanks to Renee Miller, Michael Keyton, J.W. Alden, Jelena Mostovaja, Peter Cawdron, Simon Haynes, Les Edgerton, James Scott Bell, Randy Ingermanson, Larry Brooks, Sheron McCartha, Marc Ball & David Ball (from SciFiIdeas), Evelyn Puerto, Courtney Caveness, Fatma Alici, Chuck Wendig, Andrew Smith, Erec Stebbins, Simon Denman, Paul Anthony Shortt, Anne R. Allen, Catherine Ryan Howard, Janice Hardy, Kristen Lamb, James Pailly, Joanna Penn, Orna Ross, …
and many more I can’t gather the neurons to name right now.
I would probably still scribble notes in a worn-out Moleskin if it weren’t for you guys.
*glowing with happiness*
*and maybe a tiiiiny bit of radioactivity*
Now let’s do a —
A random commenter on this blog post will receive
A signed copy of The Deep Link
wherever they may live!
(With the caveat that it might take a while until the book actually arrives at your place)
This giveaway will run all week, and I’ll put all your names in a randomizer to draw the winner. I’ll announce their name here in the comments, and email them for the details.
Cool? Cool! 🙂
Now please excuse me while I run into a forest screaming: Hooray for books! HOORAY FOR MY BOOK!!!
If you’d like to have me over for a guest post on your blog — on whichever topic you choose, or for an interview — I’d love to do a giveaway too, so one of your readers / commenters can get a free copy of The Deep Link. Email me, and we’ll discuss the details together.
Until then, here’s an excerpt from The Deep Link (the first one I’ve ever posted, which makes me a bit jittery for no logical reason):
[expand title=”Read the excerpt here”]
A violent shock wakes me. I lash out wildly, coming up fighting.
Someone touches me, wraps me in gauze and presses something cold over my face.
My eyes fly open but my vision is hazy and I can’t breathe—can’t breathe—can’t breathe!
Rustling and swishing, steps pounding on a metal floor, muffled voices. Then something wet dislodges from my face with a painful suction.
“Miss Harber,” a man calls, panting right next to me. “Can you hear me, miss?”
“Her pupils are responding.”
“You’re alright, we got you. You’ll be fine.”
“Hold tight, this’ll sting a bit.”
Something hisses under my left ear. It doesn’t sting—it burns. I want to tell him where he can stick that needle, but all I manage is a hoarse grunt. Then I choke and gag.
“Your lungs are damaged, but you’ll recover,” he says. “I just gave you a dose of suppressants and tranquilizers. Try and stay calm, we’re almost at the medbay.”
I push my head up and look around. I’m pinned to an anti-grav stretcher by a medical stasis field, being pushed down a station corridor. Bulkheads blur past overhead. A scanner arm runs back and forth along the side of the stretcher, taking readings.
I don’t know the curly-haired man galloping alongside the stretcher, or the bearded guy—the one talking to me—pushing it.
“How in hell did you just pop up inside the cargo hold? Station sensors didn’t catch a single speck passing the radiation shield.” Then, to the other man: “Run ahead and prep the alcove—now. She’s going into shock.”
“Got it,” the curly guy shouts, already sprinting off.
“Wait…” I lisp. “No shock.”
“Yes, shock. Try to breathe slowly. We’re almost there.”
He presses another injector to my neck. I snap my head around to bite him, but I’m not fast enough. Goddamn substance burns through my veins like liquid fire, and I wish I could cough it up and spit it in his eye.
I cringe as I’m pushed into a painfully bright room. I hate that I can’t defend myself, even from this. I’m so fed up with being pushed around and touched and probed, I swear I’ll break his hand if I get the chance.
The MD disables the restraining field, heaves me off the stretcher and plops me into a medical alcove. Its immobilization field comes on and turns me limp again from the neck down.
“Get the medroid working,” he tells Curly, and shoves the stretcher aside. Then frowns at the alcove console.
People have gathered at the door to rubberneck, all dressed in colonial-khaki jumpsuits and overalls. They’re workers and mechanics, faces I don’t know and have no interest in knowing.
Curly pushes a booting medical android next to my alcove. Leaves me to stare at the waking mechanical beast while he shoos the gawkers away. Then he scurries to the medbay’s central bulkhead to use the intercom.
The medroid is a mute metal gorilla with dozens of spindly limbs. Some of them are nothing but elongated flexi-drills, others are injectors and saws, scanners and pliers, skin-cell sprays and nervewire weavers—weapons welded to an unfeeling machine with x-ray eyes. It hums to life, and its cooling system crackles underneath the alloy hide like tired bones snapping to life. It gives off a faint smell of ozone and motor oil. My lip curls.
“Miss Harber.” Preston. “What the hell happened?”
I wish the tranquilizers had worked.
“How did you get back here?” He pushes the medroid aside to sit on the edge of my alcove. “Did they drop you off? How? Where’s their ship? What did you learn?”
“Miss Harber is stable, no severe injuries.” The MD pushes the medroid back into place. “But she needs rest. Why don’t you come back later, doc?”
“Right.” Preston remains seated. He even leans a bit closer, staring me in the eyes, as if he’s trying to determine I’m really me. Then he lays his wrinkled hand on mine.
He hasn’t cut his fingernails in weeks, and the creases around his knuckles look like dehydrated suction cups. I want to pull my hand away so bad it burns, but I can’t move. I want to yell at the MD to drop the field, but if I speak, Preston will know I’m coherent, and I don’t want to talk to him.
He leans back. “At least you’re alive. We’ll talk about the rest later.”
“Perfect,” the MD says, and steps aside, making way for Preston to leave.
Preston takes the cue and stands up, taking his hand off mine. My skin starts prickling like a bag of ants.
“Fix her. Fast,” Preston orders, heading for the door.
Bray stands there, leaning against the frame with his arms crossed, face darkened by a frown. He throws me a spiteful look, then follows Preston out into the corridor.
“Well, let’s get you ‘fixed’ then, shall we?” The MD smiles at me. He pulls a plug out of the medroid’s shoulder and sticks it into my nacom. “You having hallucinations? Glitches in your visual cortex?”
“No glitches.” There’s no synet left to cause them anymore, but I’m not going to tell him that. He’ll figure it out on his own soon enough.
Shit. No synet means I can’t pilot anything, which means I’m stuck here. Unless Preston has me re-implanted, I’m useless. And I don’t want his hackware. He’ll likely want to reconstruct my memories like the Ticks did. He’ll trace back what happened on the alien ship, and find out about—
No. No way in hell.
I have to get off the station before he gets his hands on me. Need a new synet, one I can tweak myself.
“I don’t understand this,” the MD says. “There’s no feedback from your nacom. Must be damaged, or maybe the nervewire’s interrupted somewhere. I’ll have the medroid do a deep scan.”
“No.” I shake my head vigorously.
“It’s standard procedure. Nothing to worry about.” He smiles like I’m a kid throwing a tantrum.
“What’s your name?” I divert him, trying desperately to move inside the field.
“I’m Dr. Galatas.” His smile softens. “Call me Aaron.”
A trickle of sweat runs down the side of my forehead. “Aaron, could you please leave the deep scan for later? I’d rather talk. Eat something. I’ve been out there so long. The aliens don’t cook, you know. I’m starving.”
His eyes widen with late realization. He looks at the medroid standing by, ready to drill into my skin, and nods. “Alright. We’ll see about that deep scan later. Hey, Chuck, get the lady some food from the mess hall.”
Curly mumbles something on his way out.
I turn my head away, wishing I was somewhere else. But I can only go back down inside my mind, and I’m afraid of what I’ll find there.
“So.” Aaron sits carefully next to me. “What were they like? Bray said they were primitive brutes. But I doubt brutes are intelligent enough for the kind of technology it took to get you back here. I mean, by the Mother, did they beam you in here? That would be—” He whistles. His smile broadens with excitement, waiting for me to explain. But all I want to do is claw myself out of this alcove and make a run for it.
“Ooo-kay,” he says after I don’t answer. “Wrong tack. I’ll give you another dose, let you get some rest, and you can eat after. I’ll run the scans while you sleep, alright?”
He thumbs a small pad above the medroid’s injector arm, and the monstrous thing stabs forth toward my neck.
“No! If that touches me—”
He raises an eyebrow as the needle goes in. Too late. The injector hisses under my ear and my veins are burning again. As the MD waits for me to pass out I grind my teeth and lurch with all my might. My fingers twitch and my knees buckle. I free a hand, push through the field and grab Aaron by his throat.
Update: June 21, 2015
ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED.
The winner of a signed copy of The Deep Link is COURTNEY! Congrats! 🙂