Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A Wild Book Appears!

Promo update!

We've added our final currently published title to the Smashwords Authors Give Back Promo.


joins our other titles:





Promo code: AG100 (use this at check out for 100% off!)

Our thanks to Terminus Productions for working with us to add It Came From Hyperspace! to our free offerings. 

If you like what you read in It Came From Hyperspace, you should go check out the RPG Tabletop System it's based on and help another indy artist in the process:


Enjoy and stay safe out there.  If you have the option, tuck in and read a book... or five. 


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Promos, Principles & Pandemics

Some words from us to you about...

PROMOS:

Life has kept us busy. We're still working on Book 3 of Fate's Crucible (no working title yet), but while we slowly chip away at that, we would like to offer you the following titles for FREE on Smashwords:





Promo code: AG100

Use the AG100 promo code when checking out and you can take them all with you for the price of $0.00.  We hope you enjoy and it is a welcome distraction to all of our collective worries.

We're looking into how we can mirror this on Amazon, but... you know... Amazon.

PRINCIPLES:

We're getting around to changing the front matter on these older books, but we'd like to make sure it's spelled out for you here. When we first started all this, we were novices and had a very different view of how we wanted to protect our works. They were a bit overprotective at first. If you have one of those first editions, you'll know what we're talking about. 

We've matured a bit and rewrote those title page notes. Here they are, in case you happen to have or get an older version:
This work is licensed for your personal enjoyment. Please do not electronically duplicate or re-sell. However, if you would like to share this book with a friend, we think that's awesome. We are a home-grown, independent publishing partnership and are thrilled to know you think enough of our work to share it with others. Tell us about it through our social media; links to where you can find us online are in the back. We're grateful for all your rates and reviews. Thank you for reading and sharing!
We mean that. Especially right now. If you get a free book through the promo and think a friend might enjoy it, feel free to pass it along with our blessings.

What about "don't duplicate or resell?" Okay, so we're a bit insecure. We like to see numbers. File-sharing on websites and reselling physical copies makes tracking numbers difficult. We're not going to be mad about it, but please think of our fragile egos.

There are other talks on making things more available on a permanent basis, so keep an eye open for more announcements here.

PANDEMICS:

Please be safe out there during this time. Wash your hands, practice social distancing, listen to reputable scientific sources for best practices. 

We're a fledgling Empire, but we wish health and happiness to all of our friends and family. That includes you, dear readers.

~Lions of the Empire








Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Test

#NoNoNovember: Day 12: Test
by TB Schmid
--

Raj groaned, knee tendons popping away as he stood up from the monitor. It was an old Klipsch Heresy that Vince refused to shit-can. Temperamental little bastard, so Raj had to get up close and personal during his sound checks.

“Shit!” He barked his shin on the - whatever the hell it was. Mitch said it was a perfectly-scaled model of the Syrian Pentagram, which he and Vince had convinced Lizzy to use as a stage prop. They’d rigged the center of it with all kinds of pyro shit, and she was supposed to emerge from the smoke and mayhem as the Goddess during the intro to their “Vortex” chart-buster.

“Whatever”, Raj grumbled, massaging his shin. Those three were into some pretty crazy shit, even when they weren’t hitting the pipe. He made sure the power feeding the pyro racks was still disconnected before moving to test the microphones.

He flipped the toggle on mic 1. “Testing...1...2-” Feedback screamed back at him.

“What the fuck, Jimmy?” he called out to the scrawny kid behind the soundboard.

“Sorry! Hang on a sec!” Jimmy unplugged a cable from one side of the board and shoved it into a different port. “Ok, give it a shot. Hey, did you check the pit? Thought I saw lights.”

Raj looked over his shoulder at the Pentagram. He could see the bundle of power cables, clearly unplugged and resting on the floor a foot or so away from the prop. Definitely no lights there.

“You saw shit, Jimmy. It’s DC’d.” He leaned back to the mic. “Testing...3...5...7…” His voice resonated through the small theatre, sounding crisp and clear. Jimmy put a thumb up as Raj moved to the next mic.

“Testing. Testing. 11...13...17…”

“Hey what’s with your count, dude?”
“Prime numbers, dumbass. Lizzy likes’em. Says they help her channel her ‘positive feminine energy’ so I-”

“WHOA!” Jimmy cut him off. “What the fuck?!”

“What now?”

“Lights, dude. I’m telling you, check the pyro plugs before you blow your ass up!”

Raj flipped him off and checked them again, even though he knew they weren’t connected. He didn’t know if Jimmy was fucking with him or seeing things, but doors would be open in about an hour so they had to wrap this shit up. He couldn’t know that one particular Door would be open well before that.

He moved to mic 3, Vince’s vintage Myrtle that he’d had modified to replace Ear Trumpet’s spring assembly with - you guessed it, folks! - a pentagram.

“Testing...19...23...29...come in Goddess. We’re ready for you - do you copy?” He chuckled to himself. Behind the soundboard, Jimmy was standing, eyes wide as subwoofers.

“MESSAGE RECEIVED,” a host of female voices thundered from seemingly everywhere, and Raj fell to his knees...

Monday, November 11, 2019

Delicious & Farmhouse

#NoNoNovember: Days 10 & 11: Delicious & Farmhouse

by TB Schmid

--

The farmhouse leaned precariously into the wind. Overhead, thin clouds slid across the sky, a veil of silver torn from the face of the moon. He could hear the house grumbling from where he stood in the swaying shadows of the orchard, but the complaints sounded more habitual than the result of any true weakness. He sniffed the night air, confirming it: her timbers were dry, but strong. The lean was deceptive, and the wind was no threat to it.

But he was.

He left the shadows and padded silently across the empty field, being careful to avoid the warm squares of light spilling from the window. He wanted to surprise them this time.

He caught a glimpse of them at the dining room table, toasting one another, wine sloshing down their pale arms like blood - like a prophecy. His stomach rumbled.

The wind gusted as he took the steps leading up to the front porch, the night's searching fingers reaching beneath his coat. He shivered in delicious anticipation, fighting to hold back the ancient song rising in his powerful throat. That would come after, when it was done, for he had no wish to share. Instead, he drew himself up, puffed up his great chest, and pounded the door. It rattled and bucked in its frame, but held. He smiled, long teeth glinting in the moonlight.

He forced his throat and tongue to form the strange sounds they called words:

"Little pigs, little pigs..."

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Address | Jump | Season | Blanket

Because I have been negligent, here are four stories in one post.

#6-9: Address | Jump | Season | Blanket
by d.f. Monk

--

6: Address

Hacking time was complex. I mean, in theory it was simple, but the actual mathematics that allowed someone to inject a message backwards in time were incredibly complex. The model was error-checked in real-time and would be confirmed over a thousand times in anything tangible happened.

In those old vids someone would hop through a portal or get into a ship and travel back to stop a bomb, or save a relative... But that was make believe.

He fixed things every day. Not big things, mind you. Not all at once, at least.

“Okay,” he said. “We’re good. I’ve got the absolute relative address of the juncture we want to influence.”

“Code has been cleared for execution,” the man in the dark spectacles confirmed.

The hacker picked up the handset and pushed the green button before holding it to his ear.

It took a moment, then another, before a repeating buzzing ring began, and then abruptly ended.

“Hello?” asked the voice on the other end of the phone.

“Sorry to disturb you,” the hacker said, “but I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your choice in internet service providers.”

“Ugh, no,” the disembodied voice said before hanging up the line.

“Looks like that one did it,” the man in the dark spectacles confirmed.

“What is this even supposed to change?” the hacker asked.

“We’ll probably never know. Get ready for the next insertion.”
The hacker sighed. Time travel was tedious work.

--

7: Jump

She hung up the phone, wondering why it was she even bothered to answer it anymore. It was mostly dumb sales calls… or political polls.

She looked over at the counter, locking eyes with the little boy that was poised on his tiptoes, hoping that his stillness would make him invisible to her.

“I just polished the floor yesterday. If you jump off that counter, you’re going to break your neck,” she said, moving over in front of him, taking the cookie from his fingers before lifting him up into her arms.

“You’re lucky I was even here,” she said. “If I hadn’t heard the phone, I would have been all the way on the other side of the house.”

“My cookie,” the boy said, something between frustration and regret.

“My cookie now,” she said, taking a bite of it before setting him down on the cool kitchen floor.

“But…!”
“Cookie for you if you clean up your room,” she said.

That was the proper motivation. He scrambled off, now single minded in purpose.
Through a window she watched the snow fall. Down the hall, she heard her son starting to jam too many toys under his bed.

“Mmm. I really do make the best cookies,” she commented. Her mother had passed down that recipe to her. They always made her feel nostalgic. She had been a cookie thief, too.

“I should make them more often,” she mused, letting the warm memory nestle into her chest.

--

8: Season

The world outside the window was white. Sunlight muscled through the naked branches of the trees surrounding the cabin and failed to warm the unbroken sheet of snow surrounding it.

He smelled ginger, cinnamon and cloves. It was his mother’s recipe, and her mother’s before that. The molasses cookies had never been seasonal treats. Not until she’d become too sick to make them herself.

So he and his husband, together in the kitchen, made batches of them for the holidays. The biggest lot would go to his mom, even though she couldn’t eat them anymore... even though she couldn’t recognize him anymore.

“You’re not going to melt that snow just by staring at it,” his husband called out from the other room, where the cookies baked slowly in the oven, filling their house with the smell that would be forever associated with his mother’s failing health.

It wasn’t just the world that was frozen outside, time had crawled to a standstill. He hated feeling stuck in place… frozen by snow… mired in molasses.

“Did you think any more about the adoption?” his husband asked.

He hadn’t. Until this summer, it had been all they talked about, but then his mom…

His phone buzzed in his pocket. He answered it without thinking.

“Congratulations, you’ve been selected to…”

He hung up before it could finish.
“Enough interruptions,” he thought. “Life won’t wait forever.”

“I have thought about it,” he called out to his husband. “I think you’d make a great dad.”

--

9: Blanket

Her heart skipped several beats. She stared at the phone, that beast of an old phone, spliced and wired and rigged to several computers, each of those feeding a different screen with updated numbers and figures and reports.

“Who’s this?” he’d asked. It was his voice. Strong and vibrant, just like she’d remembered it. She’d almost forgotten to speak, almost forgotten to act her scripted line.

She didn’t even have to mention the “deluxe time-share opportunity,” before he’d hung up. In retrospect, she’d probably scripted way too much of a dialogue she knew she’d never have to use.

Her head was light, probably some from lack of sleep, a bunch from too much caffeine and just the proper amount for succeeding at something that had, until just a minute ago, been only a theoretical possibility.

Now she could tell him… warn him… stop him… from making that trip into the city. She’d proven that it was possible to reach backwards in time, to send back a message. And if she could send a warning back…

She fell onto her bed, too wired to sleep, but too exhausted to keep working. She wrapped herself in a blanket, tried to tie up all of her boundless enthusiasm. She wanted to get working right away.

But she didn’t have to.
She could make time. She could change time.

She had all the time she would ever need. At least enough to save him. And who knows…

...maybe even the world.


Blanket

#NoNoNovember: Day 9: Blanket
by TB Schmid

--

They fell from the heavens, plummeting towards the planet - a host of millions, mindlessly hurling themselves into the dark void below. They had waited months for the assault, and now that the weather had finally turned in their favor, they were relentless.

The surface dwellers did what they could to prepare for the onslaught, scurrying to and fro across the planet's surface seeking shelter, or making last-minute repairs to shore up what defenses they had. Some simply stood, staring up, mouths agape. They were dragged inside just as the host struck.

The onslaught raged for hours, and nothing was spared their fury. No tree, stone or structure escaped unscathed.

When it was over, the world lay silently beneath the host, her ugly scars and blemishes erased by the thick, pristine blanket of snow.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pickle

#NoNoNovember: Day 5: Pickle
by d.f.Monk
--

Batman and Robin bound and bottled?

Is this the end of our Dynamic Duo?

In a jar filled to the brim with brine, will our heroes be able to prevent the ferment?

Or will the Condiment King’s Perfidious Pickle Predicament perfectly preserve Gotham’s Caped Crusaders?

Tune in tomorrow to find out!

Same Bat-Time!

Same Bat-Channel!

--

I'm really sorry, but this was stuck in my head all day.

Apologies to anyone not familiar with the Batman TV show from the 60s and perhaps the most eccentric member of his Rogues Gallery outside of Calendar Man.

Spoilers for those that were worried: Batman & Robin do indeed escape using a Bat-Baking Soda dispenser and some applied comic book physics to propel themselves out of the giant vinegar jar before it seals shut.