AUGUST 2018 New Releases

August New Release (1)

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A short list of newly released, indie published, clean read books.

Unless otherwise noted, I have not read them, and they may or may not be romance.

Ashwood, Sarah AERISIAN REFRAIN

AERISIAN REFRAIN, by Sarah Ashwood

Purchase here: https://amzn.to/2vXTOzv

Following the prophesied Artan’s victory over the Dark Powers, the land of Aerisia is finally at rest, until ancient beings, long imprisoned, begin to stir…

Eight years after Annie Richards’ stellar voice and musical talents skyrocketed her from rural Oklahoma to international fame, haunting visions have begun threatening her sanity. While she’s returning to her childhood home to convalesce, creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. Annie wakens in a parallel world, Aerisia. Here, she discovers her musical gifts translate into magical powers—the legacy of a banished race who have been invading her dreams.

Mistrusted by Aerisia’s most powerful factions because of her heritage, Annie finds allies are hard to come by. Supporting her are one immortal warrior who refuses to label her as evil, and one woman willing to stand against anything and anyone to help a friend: the Artan herself. Seizing control of her destiny will mean defying both her ancestors and the Aerisian leaders. Mastering her magic may mean making the greatest sacrifice of all…or risk becoming the reason Aerisia itself is torn apart.

SafeCages-ebook

(Obviously, I’ve read this one. =) Full disclosure – I wrote it.)

SAFE CAGES, by Michelle Bolanger

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2PpFCaw

Best Friends. Dads. Husbands.

Christian.

From the moment they met at the batting cages, Michael Casio and Sam Jones have been best friends.

When his feelings for Sam developed into something that conflicted with his strict Christian upbringing, Michael fled the state hoping the forbidden attraction would go away.

Sam was sure he’d lost his friend for good and did his best to move on. But when Michael came home willing to risk it all, they discovered a love neither of them would have imagined possible.

Their life seems perfect until a series of events leads them to Cornerstone Community Church, where they have an encounter with God and His love changes everything.

**Safe Cages is about two gay men who come to faith in Christ. The story follows their journey to that faith and how their decision ultimately affects them, their relationship, their family, and the church they join.**

Holt, Jessica Marie JOE

JOE- by Jessica Marie Holt

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2OQpEoH

A poignant story of heartache, friendship, and second chances, this novella brings the Homecoming short story series to its compelling and emotional end.

Outwardly, Joe Piper has a charmed existence. He lives in a small, picturesque coastal town, and spends his days tending his garden, hanging out on his boat, and running his restaurant.

Inwardly, he is falling apart. A long-ago tragedy still casts a shadow over his life, and recent turn of events has brought him from despondency to the brink of despair.

That is, until two wayward strangers show up unexpectedly, bringing chaos, hope, and meaning into his static, lonely existence. Will he finally put the pieces of his life back together? Or will things fall apart on him yet again?

Lind, Isaac THE LIBRARY OF ENGRIOLE

THE LIBRARY OF ENGRIOLE, by Isaac Lind

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2PpEELy

General Sarim and his forces has taken control over Engriole. But he needs the Book of Rulers and Queen Amrya to break the old magic that prevents him from taking the throne for himself.
Queen Amrya and Oakentere escaped from prison, and Intilia and Kerim removed the old books from the library. Still, they are caught within the walls of the city. Their only way out is a daring escape that General Sarim will try to stop at any means.

Lingerfelt, Mary THE SINS OF JABAL COOPER

THE SINS OF JABAL COOPER, by Mary Lingerfelt

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2vYPuQm

This Depression-era story is told through the eyes of Will Henry, an eight-year-old boy living with his sharecropper family in a small town in rural Georgia. Will gets caught committing a petty crime, and his “sentence” is to work off his debt to society at the home of the notorious Judge Jubal Cooper.

Will is wary of the judge, whose dishonesty is the stuff of local legend; and Will soon learns that not only are all the stories true — they don’t begin to do the wily Jubal justice.

Will soon finds himself an unwilling accomplice in the judge’s skulduggery, as well as the target of a vengeful hobo. Will has to walk a tightrope to keep himself in one piece, while also keeping the law, his family, and his conscience happy.

But Will is soon forced to decide which is more important: his own sense of what’s right, or his ever-deepening involvement in Jubal’s crimes.

Join Will as he embarks on a funny, suspenseful, poignant and at times dangerous coming of age adventure in Depression-era Georgia.

NOTE TO PARENTS: The Sins of Jubal Cooper is free of profanity and sexual content, though there are some mild descriptions of violence and occasional mention of mature topics.

Monson, Kameo WHEN LOVE IS LOST

WHEN LOVE IS LOST, by Kameo Monson

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2BtLBYW

Cleaning, cooking, volunteering, attending church . . . Deb lives a monotonous life. Stuck in a loveless marriage, she doesn’t know where to turn or what to do. One day, out of the blue, a mysterious man enters her life, and her once boring existence is born anew. As he fills her heart with love, joy, and hope, she must decide whether her marriage is worth saving.

Betty’s life is nothing but fun, glamour, and shopping, especially where Deb is concerned. But can she continue hiding her torturous past from her best friend? When her past comes back to haunt her, Betty struggles to survive in a world where no-one knows the truth of her reality.

A young, pregnant mother of two, Mariah, makes new friendships with Deb as she continues her blissful journey through motherhood. But while her husband is recovering from an accident, new terrors threaten to destroy the happiness she’s worked so hard to build.

Can all three women come together to fight the battles of life? Find out in WHEN LOVE IS LOST. A novel that shines a new light on love and friendship, and keeps readers yearning for more as they cheer for three incredible women journeying through the ups and downs of life.

A clean read.

This book contains some ‘PG-13’ domestic abuse with other related themes. It has no graphic sex scenes (implied between married couples), nudity, or swearing. Though appropriate for most teenagers, When Love Is Lost has been written with adults in mind.

Peltier, Heidi LOVES EMBRACE

LOVE’S EMBRACE, by Heidi Peltier

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2OMyQue

Trouble comes to Love’s Embrace, Texas in 1883, in the form of barbed wire…and a feisty girl named Hattie.

Hattie Sommerville’s father sent her off to Boston nine years ago to learn how to be a lady. Now, she wants to go back home where she belongs, and maybe, after all this time, her old childhood playmate, Simon, might finally see her as more than a friend. She only hopes nobody discovers the secret that sent her running home.

Simon Caldwell lost both parents at a young age and has poured every ounce of his heart and energy into making his Texas ranch a success. Now, an unexpected nemesis in the shape of barbed wire threatens his home and his livelihood. He can’t afford to be distracted if he wants any hope of hanging on to everything he’s worked so hard for, but his old friend Hattie is back in town, turning his head and addling his mind. If he thinks the barbed wire is bad, he has no idea just how much trouble she brought along with her from Boston.

Perreault, Anne WHAT IF

WHAT IF – by Anne Perreault

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2Bt1zT9

A rash decision. A trip with consequences.

Emily Martins has a comfortable life back in the States. The one thing she doesn’t have is someone to share it with. A trip to help Pakistani orphans seems just what she needs. Thrust into a different world, nothing goes as planned. Emily finds herself surrounded by unusual sights, and people with different customs. She begins to realize that her trip may have been a mistake, when together with her unexpected traveling companion – an American computer engineer – they find themselves in a life and death situation. She must allow herself to trust someone she has only just met, someone who is more than meets the eye.

Will she give up her dreams and embrace God’s plan for her life?

What if… two unlikely companions had their walls broken to bring them together – despite their many differences?

Provo, Dana Louise BLEEDING HEARTS

BLEEDING HEARTS, by Dana Louise Provo

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2wfyipd

Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.

Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.

Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?

Richey, Sheri WILLOW WOOD

WILLOW WOOD, by Sheri Richey

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2wdyKV2

Nolan Ramsey thinks he wants to be alone. He leaves his life in the city, leaves his job as a news reporter, and buys a house in the middle of nowhere. He plans a life of complete isolation with just his dog, Scuba, for company.

Calinda Willow returns home to help her aging father at the end of his life. She copes with the loss by throwing herself into her work, rejects social invitations from her friend, Jackie, and thinks she is content with her solitary life.

They are both wrong.

Walker, Sterling R VESTA EXILED

VESTA EXILED, by Sterling R. Walker

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2N2YP03

Sixteen years since the last supply ship.

Fifteen years since the last communication from Earth.

The deadly Plague that condemned Vesta colony to exile claimed the lives of half the adults. It also changed the DNA of the exposed children, gifting each with a unique mental ability called a Talent. Now grown to adulthood, those with Talents are feared by the rest of the colony.

Corban Abrams and his brother Thane are orphans of the Plague, Strays raised by their abusive Uncle Leighton who has risen to power. With the aid of their Talents, the brothers discover Leighton’s cruel plan to take control of the Strays.

When Corban sees a mysterious young woman in one of his premonitions, ready to strike him down with a sword, he is forced to make an impossible decision: find a way to change events to save his own life or join forces with his future killer to save the Strays.

Wiseman, MK THE KITHSEEKER

THE KITHSEEKER, by M. K. Wiseman

Purchase Here: https://amzn.to/2BswUoR

France, 1680 A.D.

Liara’s defense of the Wizard Nagarath has rendered Anisthe incantate—bereft of all
magick—but even this has failed to guarantee Liara’s safety. The death of the war mage would seal Liara’s own fate, and so the wizard and his bookminder must keep him in their sites and yet as far away from themselves as possible.

With nothing but a storybook and a hunch, Anisthe has set off on a journey across Europe, aided by his half-fey manservant, in search of a legendary mirror that contains the most powerful magick ever known. Although the stuff of fairytales, the merest possibility of its truth embarks Nagarath and Liara on a race to discover the mirror before it falls into the hands of Nagarath’s lifelong foe. Both know should he lay claim to that power, Liara would be at the mercy of her father-in-magick and his lust for power, and not even Nagarath could save her.

Thus, the pair find themselves at the court of the Sun King, a world hostile to magick users, hopelessly surrounded by agents whose sole purpose is destroy them. Uncertain whom is friend or foe, with Anisthe nipping at their heels, they must unearth the mirror before its evil is released, or worse, lays claim to Liara’s magick as well and brings doom upon them all.

PRE-ORDER Safe Cages, by Michelle Bolanger

**Safe Cages is about two gay men who come to faith in Christ. The story follows their journey to that faith and how their decision ultimately affects them, their relationship, their family, and the church they join.**

SafeCages-ebook

Best Friends. Dads. Husbands.

Christian.

From the moment they met at the batting cages, Michael Casio and Sam Jones have been best friends.

When his feelings for Sam developed into something that conflicted with his strict Christian upbringing, Michael fled the state hoping the forbidden attraction would go away.

Sam was sure he’d lost his friend for good and did his best to move on. But when Michael came home willing to risk it all, they discovered a love neither of them would have imagined possible.

Their life seems perfect until a series of events leads them to Cornerstone Community Church, where they have an encounter with God and His love changes everything.

Yep, that’s my newest book, and it is available for pre-order now at the following online retailers:

AMAZON
BARNES and NOBLE
iBOOKS

You can also request a signed paperback by emailing me directly at:

michelle.bolanger@gmail.com

NEW RELEASE! Heartsong, by Annie Douglas Lima

Heartsong Instagram and Facebook

Two alien worlds.

One teen emissary.

No reality she can trust.

Thirteen-year-old Liz Smith has been ripped away from one foster family after another for years, so the idea of a permanent home is tantalizing. Who cares if that home is a colony sixty-five thousand light-years from Earth? The friends in her trusty e-reader will keep her company just fine on her interstellar relocation.

But when the adventure of a lifetime turns into the disaster of the cosmos, Liz can only retreat so far into the books that have always sheltered her from loneliness and loss. Trapped in half-truths and secrets that leave her questioning reality, can one orphaned bookworm find a way to stop two races from destroying each other … and somehow write a happy ending to her own story?

If you like books about space travel, aliens, or cross-cultural transitions, you’ll love this poignant science fiction adventure. Click here to get your copy of Heartsong now and start the journey today! (Shh! For July 1st and 2nd only, the ebook is available for free!)

Buy Heartsong from Amazon in Kindle or paperback format here:

http://smarturl.it/HeartsongSciFi

Or, read on for a sample of the story…

Heartsong

Chapter One

My love of reading started the whole thing.

The best place to read on the Laika was in the lifeboats. I’d discovered that on the first leg of the trip, during the flight from Earth to the jump point off of Phoebe. I mean, what else was there to do when we couldn’t see much through the viewports? The view was exciting when there was one, but when you’re far away from anything, space all looks the same.

The hyperspace jump that shot us across the galaxy had been quick, of course, so no time to get bored there. And after we came out of it at the jump point off of Somav, the blue giant that would light my skies for the rest of my life, the flight toward the little moon Soma was pretty exciting, too. I couldn’t stop staring as we passed Somavia, the blue and white planet I knew none of us would ever see close up again. I wondered about the aliens whose home it was. What were they like? The pictures and video Forerunner had sent back, from the few passes it had taken in high orbit, left everyone with more questions than they answered.

Of course, we knew the planet had a breathable atmosphere. If it hadn’t been for the alien race who already lived there — and the tirtellium that we were going to mine on Soma, of course — New Horizons Industries might have decided to set up its colony on the planet Somavia instead of on its moon.

We passed Somavia three days ago, and we’d been orbiting Soma ever since. Which was also exciting, at first. I couldn’t wait to actually get down there and start life on my new home. A home I would get to help create, along with the adult scientists and miners and the rest of the Young Explorers. A home I would never be taken away from just when I was starting to settle in. My forever home. Normally I hated new beginnings, but this one was different. This would be the last new beginning of my life.

Even the colony’s name, chosen by the Samoan astronomer who discovered this solar system, was perfect. Avanoa, which apparently meant opportunity in the Samoan language, sounded to me like a kingdom from some fantasy novel.

Not that life in Avanoa was going to be a fantasy. I knew that starting a colony would be hard work, but that didn’t matter. A real home, with friends I would never have to say goodbye to, would be worth any amount of work.

Soma was interesting to look at, though not as pretty as the planet it orbited. The moon was mostly brown, with splotches of gray-green surrounding the dark blue dots that marked the location of its scattered lakes. With no actual oceans, the moon had just enough water to support a little plant and animal life. Nothing too dangerous, at least as far as we could tell from Forerunner’s pictures. Insects. Some fish and crustaceans that might or might not be edible. Small reptilian or maybe amphibian creatures that lived in and around the lakes. A handful of different mammals, all tiny, that made their homes in the hills. Nothing that seemed likely to bother two hundred human colonists setting up a new home on their world.

Of course, the aliens could be another story. We knew the Somavians had developed a limited form of space travel; we knew they had mines on Soma, too. But whatever they were mining for, it wasn’t tirtellium, and they only had a few tunnel mines in a few locations. We planned to set up our colony hundreds of kilometers away, where if all went according to plan, they wouldn’t even know we were around. Forerunner’s sensors had not detected any other artificial satellites in orbit around either Somavia or Soma, and as far as we could tell, the locals had no instruments capable of detecting Forerunner, no way to suspect we were coming. Its orbit was carefully programmed to keep it out of sight of any of their mines after dark, when it might be visible from the ground as a moving point of light.

The adults all said that hopefully we would never have to encounter any Somavians, but all of us kids hoped we would. I mean, why would anyone in their right mind not want to meet the first real live aliens actually confirmed to exist?

Jessie, who loved science fiction movies almost as much as I loved reading, had often kept Maria and Shaliqua and me awake late into the night back in our dorm room discussing all the possible alien-related adventures that awaited us if we ever made contact. Most of those possibilities were a lot more fun — though some were scarier — than the idea of living in isolation and never letting the locals know we were on their moon.

Anyway, judging by Forerunner’s footage, Somavian culture seemed peaceful, with no evidence of any wars going on down on their home world. If they did find out about the humans in their solar system, hopefully they wouldn’t mind us being there. We wouldn’t bother them, and with any luck, they wouldn’t bother us. And if they did get mad, well, the Laika had some weapons. Not enough to wage war with, but hopefully enough to convince them to leave us alone.

So much to wonder about. So much to look forward to. I could hardly wait to get down to the surface and start my new life. But here we all were, stuck in orbit for three whole days so far. Three painfully long and boring days. Earth days, that is. It had been nearly five Soman days, though we wouldn’t officially switch to using Soman time until we landed.

Atmospheric storms. Who would have thought that storms would be this big of an issue on a world with virtually no precipitation? Our science team had come up with a theory about minerals in the soil reflecting particles and wavelengths from the solar flares that Somav had been throwing out since our arrival. Whatever the case, the result was some pretty impressive windstorms in parts of the atmosphere. Since the spot picked out for Avanoa was directly underneath one of the worst storms, Captain Tyler insisted it wouldn’t be safe to try to land yet.

But no one had anticipated that the flares and storms would go on this long. At first, I was glad of the opportunity to orbit my new home and see what it looked like from space. But after a while the excitement faded, and everyone turned grouchy as we all grew more and more bored and impatient. The movies and games preloaded on our Horizon-brand tablets weren’t good enough to keep everyone happy, not while we had to put the adventure we’d all waited over a year to start on hold indefinitely. And I’d never been a big fan of video games or movies anyway.

So I did what I always do when real people get too annoying. I pulled out my old-school Novareader and turned to my true friends, the ones who never got annoying, who would always be there for me no matter what, who I never had to say goodbye to. And I escaped to the one place I had found on board where nobody would bother me or interrupt my adventures to ask what I was reading or exclaim over their new high score in who-cares-what-virtual-adventure on their RizeTab.

The Laika was designed to be taken apart when we arrived. Its decking and bulkheads would be used to help create Avanoa’s buildings until we could construct permanent residences from local rock, and that was one of the reasons the ship was so large. But big though it was, it had no extra empty space. Every compartment was full of freeze-dried food items, mining equipment, packages of seeds for genetically modified crops designed to grow well in the moon’s dry soil, and educational resources for us youth, because even on an interstellar adventure, there was no escaping school in some form.

So I had discovered in between Earth and Phoebe that the lifeboats were the best place to read. I wasn’t sure if I was really supposed to hang out in them, but they were unlocked, because after all, what would be the point in locking something that people would need to get into in a hurry in an emergency?

I sat curled up on a seat in Lifeboat 1, alternating between reading and looking out to see if anything interesting had come into sight down below. But from this angle, the one window — a wide viewport at the very front — was mostly full of stars, only a tiny sliver of Soma visible from one edge. I could have turned on the screen at the lifeboat’s navigational console and adjusted it to show me any view I liked, but that might trigger some sort of alert, and I didn’t want anyone showing up to tell me I wasn’t supposed to be in here.

So I joined Caz and her friends on their travels across the Granbo system, caught up in their space adventure on my Novareader screen, since my own space adventure had turned pretty dull. Lunch was another two hours away, so I might as well enjoy myself in the meantime.

And I did — until the ship vibrated more vigorously than usual and the fasten seatbelts sign flicked on.

I often felt as though several of me were debating inside my head. For a moment, Cautious Liz wondered if I should return to my seat. But what was the point? Practical Liz reminded me that I would be just as safe here in the lifeboat, and if the turbulence got bad, walking around with the Laika lurching under me would not be the smartest idea.

I already had my seatbelt on, since that was the best way to keep from floating around. Not that floating around wasn’t fun, but there was too little room in the lifeboat to do mid-air flips and spins without banging into things, and drifting around while I read made it hard to focus on the book. Of course my magnetic-soled shoes could have kept me anchored to the deck, but not when I wanted to sit cross-legged.

So I just tightened my seatbelt a little and turned back to The Gypsy Pearl. We had encountered turbulence lots of times in the last few days, thanks to the solar flares. It was no big deal.

But the vibrations grew stronger, and then the ship started lurching under me. I lowered my Novareader and looked around, but there was nothing to see here in the little lifeboat. The stars jumped and jerked outside the window, and if it hadn’t been for my seatbelt, I knew I would have been thrown about and probably injured already.

I waited for the crackle of the intercom and Captain Tyler’s voice to explain what was happening or issue instructions. But I heard nothing, and I wondered if the flares had damaged the lifeboat’s intercom system. They had interfered with the Laika’s electrical systems before, after all. Now I wished I’d returned to my seat while I could. If something dangerous was happening, I would rather face it with the others in the main cabin, where at least I would know what was going on.

Without warning, the lights flickered and then went out. Now that was a first. An instant later, an alarm screeched, making me jump. I gasped, really worried for the first time since we left Earth. The screeching continued as the stars swirled and zigzagged, sending faint but frightening shadows thrashing around me like alien spirits trying to take over the ship. For a second I wondered if that could actually be happening. Maybe the Somavians had powers we didn’t know about. Maybe they were trying to drive us out of their system … or worse.

Then the emergency lights embedded in the deck glowed to life, and I let out my breath in relief. The navigational computer two rows ahead of me powered on automatically, its screen lighting up green.

My relief was short-lived, though. The alarm kept blaring its intermittent warning. Screech! Silence. Screech! Silence. Screech! The turbulence was worse than ever, as though the Laika was a wild horse, bucking and leaping and trying to throw its rider off. And that rider gripped the edge of her seat all alone there in the lifeboat, wondering what in the universe was happening.

Suddenly the whirling stars vanished and Soma swung into view, filling the viewport ahead of me, a blur of brown-blue-gray-green-brown. I barely had time to notice before it was gone and the streaking stars reappeared. Then the moon appeared again.

My stomach was spinning as fast as the ship. Thank goodness I had inherited the Smith Stomach of Steel, or my breakfast would probably have ended up all around me. I could only imagine what a nasty experience that would be in zero gravity with the ship thrashing around like this.

A new noise caught my attention. A mechanical noise, a series of clicks and clinks and the sliding of metal against metal. I had only ever heard it before in simulations, but I recognized it right away, and my heart lurched in terror. “No!”

Words flashed across the computer screen, large enough to read from where I sat. LIFEBOAT LAUNCHING.

“No! I yelled again. I fumbled for the seatbelt clasp and flung myself across the tiny cabin, lunging for the manual override button beside the door. Not a smart move, I have to admit, considering how wildly everything was jerking around me. But I panicked. Can you blame me? None of our training, none of the simulations, had dealt with what to do if the lifeboat you were sitting in alone accidentally detached from the ship.

I knew what to do if a lifeboat didn’t detach when it was supposed to. I knew which lifeboat I was supposed to board in an emergency. Not this one, though they were all the same. I knew who my lifeboat buddies would be — a fairly even cross-section of the ship’s crew in terms of age and abilities, so we would have the best possible chance of survival in case not every lifeboat made it. I knew how to steer the lifeboat and bring it down for a controlled landing, even though I wasn’t the assigned helmsperson in my group. We had all learned all those skills, just in case.

But I didn’t know how to survive in deep space or on Soma’s surface on my own. The cupboards contained emergency rations and survival gear, of course, but not enough to live off of indefinitely. Of course the lifeboat would emit a signal that the ship’s sensors would pick up — I knew they were picking it up already, as of the moment my craft started to detach — but what if no one could come and get me right away? What if I landed on Soma, but the Laika couldn’t land for days or even weeks? They would have no way to rescue a stranded teenager who shouldn’t have been reading in a lifeboat in the first place.

And what if the aliens found me before my people did?

All that went swirling through my brain within a couple of seconds as I slammed my fist into the manual override button again and again. But nothing happened. That is, the hatch didn’t open to let me out into the ship’s corridor. But the incessant alarm finally went silent, and the frantic jerking and thrashing stopped, replaced by a slow, gentle twirl.

For a second, Optimistic Liz dared to hope that the trouble was over. But I knew that wasn’t it.

The lifeboat was no longer connected to the ship.

Too horrified even to yell again, I watched the Laika drift past the window, Somav’s light tinting her silver-white hull a metallic frostbite-blue against the blackness of space. She was still spinning and dancing like some huge bird as the solar flares played havoc with her electrical systems. And then I saw only stars, and then the mottled brown of the moon, then more stars. And then there went the Laika once more, further away this time.

Grabbing the back of a seat for leverage, I shoved off from the deck, thankful for the zero-gravity training. Floating was faster than clomping along in magnetic shoes, and I had to get to the controls now. I had to steer myself back to the ship.

But as I seized the arm of the helmsperson’s chair and maneuvered my body into it, I realized I had no idea how to reattach a lifeboat to its socket on the ship’s side. They had never taught us that. Were lifeboats even designed to reattach once they were separated?

Well, somebody must know the proper procedure for this kind of emergency. Captain Tyler or one of the other adults could talk me through the process. Right?

I fumbled for the seatbelt, twisting my ankles around the legs of the chair so I wouldn’t float off in the meantime. Jabbing the intercom button, I called, “Help! I’m in a lifeboat that just detached! What do I do?”

Realizing how panicked and little-girly I sounded, I took a deep breath and tried again. “I mean, this is Liz Smith on Lifeboat 1, calling anybody on the Laika who can hear me. Come in, please.”

There was no response, and I realized that the communication light wasn’t even on. The intercom was offline.

Great. Dang solar flares.

I took another deep breath. I had never felt so alone.

But the controls in front of me looked exactly like the ones in the simulator. I could do this. It would be just the same as I had practiced.

Except this was no game, where the only real struggle was to beat my classmates, to be the first to land my virtual lifeboat safely.

This was a real emergency.

This was my life at stake.

Buy Heartsong from Amazon in Kindle or paperback format here: 

http://smarturl.it/HeartsongSciFi

About the Author:

Annie Douglass Lima

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published eighteen books in a wide variety of genres (science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.
Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com
Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com
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