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Gabriel’s Redemption on sale to close out the month/quarter/summer/whatever…

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Just a quickie post to blather on about a price reduction for Gabriel’s Redemption, book 1 of my top-rated military science fiction trilogy. Normally $3.99, it’s on sale through the end of September for $2.99, a 25% off sale (don’t spend that saved buck all in one place). It’s available for the four major e-reader platforms (sorry, Sony/Diesel/Blackberry/stone tablet) plus Kindle UK:

Kindle US • Kindle UK • B&N Nook • iBooks • Kobo

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Blurbage:

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North American Federation Navy Commander Evan Gabriel was dishonorably discharged after a disastrous mission on a far off world called Eden. He’s spent the last five years hiding from his past, from those responsible for the failed mission, from those responsible for running him out of the Navy, and from those originally responsible for making him into who he was – a highly-trained, physically and mentally augmented Special Forces soldier.

Two mysterious visitors appear unannounced at the door of a Gabriel’s seedy hotel room in the slums of Jamaica. His past has finally caught up with him.

From the decaying Caribbean to politically-charged South America, from the back alleys of Mars to a tiny colony on a planet six hundred light years from Earth, Gabriel’s Redemption is a near-future military science fiction story of a personal journey seen from the perspective of a soldier who has lost everything — one who desperately needs to redeem himself not only in his government’s eyes, but also his own.

Interstellar action and political intrigue mix with one-on-one battles on the surface of a frozen planet in Book One of the science fiction-adventure trilogy.

“A cast of interesting and believable characters and a plot that kept me turning the pages…I enjoyed the author’s take on technology and the political landscape of the future. Definitely recommended!” – Michael R. Hicks, bestselling author of the In Her Name science fiction-adventure series and the bestselling thriller Season of the Harvest.

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And hey, if you felt inclined to spread the good word, use the “Spread the Good Word” links below the post. Gracias!

 

P.S. Couple of freebies for you… Gabriel: Zero Point (prequel novella) is free for iBooks and Kobo, and Incursion (scifi short) is free for Kindle, iBooks, and Kobo.

 

Excerpt from Gabriel’s Redemption, Book 1: Back Office Troubles

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

When Santander arrived, Gurnett and two other security men had two plant workers seated in chairs in a back office. One of the security men was training an odd-looking handgun at them. As Santander approached, one of the plant workers stood up and pointed. “That’s him, that’s the guy who set me up for this!” he yelled.

The handgun butt smashed into the worker’s stomach, and he sat back down hard, gasping for breath.

Gurnett shook his head and looked back at Santander. “Never learn, do they?”

“No, I suppose not,” he replied, avoiding Gurnett’s face. “So what’s the situation?” he asked the non-gasping individual.

The second worker gulped nervously, looking alternately at the other worker, who was just now catching his breath, and his questioner. “You’re the security chief? You runs things here, right?” he asked.

“Correct,” said Santander, crossing his arms.

“Dural has been pocketing vials, skimming from the top of our production. I walked in on him today. I gave him a chance to explain, but he just threw your name back at me, saying you know all about it, and then accused me of stealing production equipment!”

“So you’re Rechichi?” he asked. “How long have you been here? What’s your position?”

“Four months, sir. I handle post-processing for most of the final compounds, prior to packaging. Same as Dural.” Apparently unsure of where this conversation was going, beads of sweat began to appear on his upper lip.

“And Dural?” Santander asked Gurnett.

“Two years. One of our best men,” he answered.

Rechichi was now sweating profusely, wiping his brow with the sleeve of his shirt. “I’m not lying!”

“No, I don’t think you are,” Santander replied evenly. “Wrong place at the wrong time, I suppose.”

He held his hand out to the security officer, who passed over the handgun. “Codes,” he said. The security officer flashed arming codes for the weapon to Santander’s neuretics, and the handgun powered up.

“Wait!” screamed Rechichi, holding his hands up, palms out, in protest. “You can’t do this!”

Santander raised the weapon, the tingle in the grip indicating it was armed and fully charged. “Of course I can. I run things here, remember?” And he fired.

The handgun wasn’t silenced, so a loud piercing clangggg filled the small office. The depleted uranium pellet shot from the barrel, accelerated by magnetic fields to over six thousand miles per hour, and smashed through the plant worker’s skull. The entry wound was tiny, matching the pellet’s 3 millimeter diameter, but the resulting exit wound wasn’t nearly as neat. The back of Rechichi’s head exploded onto the wall behind him, and his body flew backwards out of the chair, onto a large plastic sheet. A small hole was visible in the back wall, now dripping with brain matter and blood.

Damn, Thao, what the hell is this thing?” Santander asked the security man, looking in wonderment at the weapon.

The security man who had given Santander the gun smiled. “Miniature railgun, sir. Made by Strittmaier out of New Berlin. Newest tech on the market. Undetectable to electronic or neuretic scans too. Cost me a month’s pay to afford it.”

Santander nodded. “I like it. No recoil, that’s fantastic.” He turned it over in his hands a few times. “A little loud though. Gurnett, look into getting some of these. And reimburse Thao for having to buy his own.”

Thao beamed. “Thank you sir.”

Santander looked over at Dural, whose wheezing had completely stopped. Even his breathing had stopped as he stared behind him at the carnage that was his coworker.

“Dural,” Santander said.

Dural’s head snapped back. “Yes, uh, sorry. Thanks Mr. Santander. He just walked in on me, he shouldn’t even have been on shift. Won’t happen again, I know you need those vials, and I’ll keep them coming.”

“I do need those vials. What I don’t need are morons working for me.” He raised the pistol again, and fired twice into Dural’s chest. The body toppled over to rest near Rechichi, two holes blown clean through his chest, the chair back, and the wall. The dual clangs reverberated off the ceiling and walls.

“Hot damn, I love this thing!” he exclaimed, handing it back to Thao. “Gurnett, you gotta get me one. First on the list, hear me?”

Gurnett nodded. “Absolutely. Sorry again to bother you.”

“Not a problem, I needed a little release,” Santander answered. “Nice touch with the plastic sheeting, makes cleanup a lot easier.”

He strode from the room, whistling.

***

GABRIEL’S REDEMPTION is Book 1 of the top-rated science fiction/adventure Gabriel trilogy. Enjoy the scene, like the genre? All three are available for all major ebook platforms, and now paperback: http://steveumstead.com/my-books/

Excerpt from Gabriel’s Redemption, Book 1 of Scifi Trilogy – Hand to Hand Combat

February 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Meanwhile the titanic struggle between Brevik and Rheaves had reached a crescendo. The two bodies were crashing into workstations, chairs splintering under their combined weight. Rheaves was slightly larger, but in the clumsy Chinese battlesuit lost out to Brevik in dexterity. Realizing this, Rheaves attempted to keep the fight close to overwhelm Brevik, but each time he thought he had the upper hand, Brevik slid from his grasp.

The two men separated briefly, panting hard. Brevik’s pulse rifle arm had already been damaged by Rheaves’s first grapple, and Rheaves’s assault rifle was well out of reach. Both men were unarmed, but neither cared.

“Well, old friend,” Rheaves said, gasping for breath. “Is that all you have?”

Brevik gave a dead smile. “It’s all I need. You should have never left the academy. You had potential.”

Rheaves laughed. “Potential. Yeah, potential to get stuck in a dead end job like you?”

Brevik eased closer, preparing for another assault. “I’ve got friends here. You’ve got nothing. One last chance for you. Give it up,” he said.

Rheaves spat on the floor. “Screw you, Harris.” He rushed Brevik.

Brevik caught the big man’s left arm and spun, using Rheaves’s weight and momentum against him. Rheaves twisted awkwardly, crashing into a workstation, and shards of screen glass sprayed in all directions. Brevik gave a hard yank and Rheaves’s armor cracked, the shoulder popping from its socket with a tearing of cartilage. Rheaves bellowed in pain and rage, and pushed up from the workstation’s wreckage with his good arm.

“I’ve lost my patience with you, Harris,” he said, grimacing in pain as his left arm dangled uselessly at his side. He lunged forward, right arm outstretched.

Brevik stepped inside Rheaves’s move, blocking his arm, and punched with all his strength into the center of mass. His combat armor’s servos whined in protest as his own muscles pushed the suit beyond its limits. His armored fist crashed into Rheaves’s chest, and the Chinese-made battlesuit collapsed in on itself. Metal splintered and flakes of paint erupted in a tiny dust cloud.

Rheaves staggered back under the blow and looked down at the ruined chest plate with wide eyes, feeling his cracked sternum and rib cage tearing into his lungs and heart. He fell back into a seated position, coughing and gasping, and clutched at his chest with his functioning arm.

Brevik took a step forward and stood over him, looking down with pity. “Shame you didn’t see it my way,” he said, and gave a kick to Rheaves’s shoulder, toppling him over onto his side. The mercenary gave one last gasp and died.

***

All three Gabriel science fiction-adventure books available for all major ebook platforms, and now paperback: http://steveumstead.com/my-books/

It’s been a humbling, exciting, wonderful Year One of writing

February 3, 2012 7 comments

Today is Friday, February 3rd, and tomorrow morning I’m getting on a plane to Mexico with my family on a week’s vacation, one we have done for the past seven years this same week (a Super Bowl party on the beach is better than hanging in some dude’s basement watching it). Today is also the one-year anniversary of something that turned out to be fairly significant for me: my first book sale.

One year ago yesterday (2/2/11), I uploaded Gabriel’s Redemption to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. One year ago today, I was driving to the airport at seven in the morning when I saw an email on my phone from Smashwords with the subject line “Purchase Notification.” Ho. Lee. Crap. Someone, out of the blue, bought the book I wrote.

Here it is, one year later, and it’s been a helluva year – one that saw two more books released, and some fantastic feedback and reviews received. I’m still flabbergasted (love when I get to use that word) at how the year went, and I’m incredibly humbled.

I just want to give huge shouts of thanks to my fellow writers for their unending support, and all those readers out there who supported in a different way – by buying, reading, reviewing, and spreading the word about my books.

I’ve had success beyond my wildest dreams. Gabriel’s Redemption was written as a personal challenge to myself, and as something I thought my kids would get a kick out of; never did I think it would have gotten to this point. A point where just yesterday, on that one year anniversary of publishing my first book, the first shipment of the paperback versions of books two and three arrived in the mail. Wow…just…wow.

I’m both thankful, and inspired. 2012 will be even more exciting.

Pssst…those two new paperbacks are now available to be ordered, and I’ve got a secret blog-reader-only discount code for all three…

Gabriel’s Redemption (1) ~ Gabriel’s Return (2)Gabriel’s Revenge (3)

Super Secret Createspace Discount Code: HBV5NXDP ($3.00 off – don’t spend it all in one place)

Great experience with my wife this morning (a non-salacious blog post, seriously)

January 10, 2012 9 comments

I had a very cool experience with my wife this morning. NO, you dirty minds. Get that out of your head. I’m married…

Here’s the history: A year ago at this time, I was researching self-publishing after wrapping up final edits on a little story called Gabriel’s Redemption. Just testing the waters to see if it was worth doing. I said what the hey, can’t hurt, so on February 2nd, it went live on Amazon. It garnered some nice reviews, but after an initial burst of sales, kind of languished in mediocrity – making just enough to cover the wine bill every now and then.

Six months later, the sequel Gabriel’s Return was published. I did a blog tour with some great friends, tried to spread the word as best I could, and saw some success. But in October, sales really took off (don’t ask me why; I wish there was a simple answer, because I’d keep doing it) and I had my best month to date. As a matter of fact, my sales in October were more than the previous 8 months combined. By this time I was well into writing the trilogy finale, Gabriel’s Revenge, which would end up hitting the virtual shelves just a few days before Christmas.

Where am I going with this? No, not a self-congratulatory verbal hemorrhage. I am loathe to give out sales numbers. Something more personal, more satisfying.

Back to the beginning, my very cool experience this morning. Those of you who publish through Amazon KDP know that the royalty check arrives two months after the close of the calendar month. So a few days ago, a check arrived for my October book sales. And I did something I never thought I’d be able to do, in my wildest dreams.

I paid off all of our Christmas gifts.

Like many others, we buy on credit cards, pay off the following month (I’m also loathe to carry a balance). And like many others, we’re last-minute shoppers, so most of the purchases were in the billing cycle that is due this month. This morning, I handed my wife an envelope of cash that pays off all of our gift purchases.

Sounds strange, I know, but I can’t even describe how satisfying and rewarding that felt. Knowing that I’ve made a few bucks over and above the day job, doing something I really love, and was able to give the kids and family presents that were paid for by my writing.

And maybe the best part? I still love what I’m doing. Second best part? November and December were even better than October…

And then there were three…proofs of the Gabriel series are in

January 9, 2012 5 comments

Just a quick post…well, more of a gush…about the paperbacks of the Gabriel trilogy. Last week I received the proofs from CreateSpace for Gabriel’s Return (2) and Gabriel’s Revenge (3). Interior was perfect, covers on both just need a tiny shift tweak so that the text on the back cover is centered, and they’re ready to go.

Just this afternoon, the updated paperback proof for Gabriel’s Redemption (1) arrived. This book has been available in paperback for several months, but with the release of books two and three, I decided to redo the cover and some of the minor interior formatting to match the two new books. So here, without further ado, are the soon-to-be-released series in paperback, along with the oldie but goodie original cover for Redemption:

 

Another huge shout out of thanks to AJ Powers for the cover art design, all done from scratch by that talented young (well, younger than me) man.

I’ve given CreateSpace the official OK for Redemption to process through, so they should have the new version within a few days, and Amazon should as well. Barnes & Noble will probably take a bit longer as it propagates through the Expanded Distribution Channels. Return & Revenge will be a few days longer – I have to reupload the shifted cover art and approve.

Guess I’d better start writing something else…

 

 

Excerpt from Gabriel’s Redemption for #SampleSunday

July 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Lamber and St. Laurent crept up on their first two targets, red outlines in their IR sensors showing the warm bodies huddled behind a ten foot snowdrift about forty feet away from the doors, where the other two figures stood. St. Laurent reached her target first, a man wearing a civilian environment suit. His visor was so iced over that she would have been invisible even without the active camo. With the camo and silent approach, she was able to get within just a few feet of him before he even turned his head. She punched with her battlesuit’s armored fist.

The hardened carbotanium caught the man squarely in the chest, knocking the wind out of him as he collapsed around her arm like a rag doll. She caught the falling body, hoping she didn’t break too many ribs, and lowered the gasping figure to the ground. Taking one of the personnel autorestraints from her belt with the other metal hand, she slapped it over his head and activated it. The net-like device expanded and covered his entire body in less than a second, cinching itself at his feet and sealing. The mesh surface tightened and immobilized him, cocooning the man in a sound- and electronics-deadening Faraday cage, preventing any outbound transmissions from comms, neuretics, or anything else short of two tin cans and a string. The body struggled in the net, but made no sound. She moved on to her secondary target.

Meanwhile Lamber had taken out his primary a little differently, St. Laurent noticed out of the corner of her heads-up. His immobilized target, while showing life signs, also showed no signs of movement, and appeared to be bent at a very unnatural angle.

On the other side of the compound, Jimenez and Sowers were in position. They crouched on the opposite side of a mining vehicle from Beta, two figures that appeared to be smoking and talking in low tones. Sowers sent a quick burst to Jimenez, signaling him to go around the back end of the vehicle as he rounded the front.

They both slowly made their way around the truck, stepping carefully around waste containers. Just as they approached arm’s reach, Jimenez tripped over a half-buried container and fell forward into the snow, not being able to compensate quickly enough for the mass of his battlesuit.

The two sentries looked up in alarm, seeing the indentations in the snow as Jimenez struggled to right himself. One of the men shouted and raised a weapon as a cigarette fell from his lips. Sowers cursed as he caught a burst of a comm. He snapped an active jamming signal out, blocking any further communications from the sentries, but most likely alerting others to their presence.

Stepping forward quickly, Sowers was able to disarm his sentry with a quick chop of a steel arm. He heard the bones snap in the man’s forearm as he screamed in pain. A careful smack to the side of his head knocked him out cold, and his body dropped into the snow.

Jimenez wasn’t so quick as he staggered upwards from his fallen position in the snow, and the second sentry’s weapon spat rounds rapid fire. Jimenez stumbled back under the onslaught of the rounds, but his suit’s carbotanium shell withstood the kinetic impacts. Sowers took a few steps forward and grabbed the assault rifle, yanking it from the sentry’s hands and crushing it, the loud firing immediately ceasing. With his other hand he grabbed the sentry by the front of his environment suit, picked him up, and threw him into the side of the mining vehicle with a loud thump. His unconscious body slid down into a sitting position in the snow.

Sowers went over to where Jimenez was standing to assess the damage. He sent a quick burst to Gabriel to let him know the targets were down, but that it wasn’t exactly quietly. Jimenez sent a neuretics apology to Sowers, who snorted in his helmet. You owe me, buddy, he thought.

Meanwhile St. Laurent and Lamber were both approaching the doors where the other two sentries stood. St. Laurent watched the passive scans in her heads-up, puzzling at one’s unusually small size. Before they were within twenty feet, they heard rifle fire from the other side of the building. Double time, she sent to Lamber, and the two of them sprinted the last few feet to the two figures at the door.

The sentries were alerted, and their figures went into crouches in St. Laurent’s heads-up. As she got within arm’s reach, she skidded to a halt in shock. In front of her, in a combat stance, was one of the Poliahu aliens she had seen in the briefings, wearing partial body armor and holding a laser pistol. Before she had time to react, the alien fired, and the light blast splashed across her armored chest plate.

Her electronics squealed in protest as several systems were overloaded. The battlesuit was able to take laser blasts in stride, but not entirely unscathed from such point blank range. Servos froze up, immobilizing her, as the energy pulsed its way throughout her suit. Her training kicking in, she frantically sent commands to her backup systems, rerouting alternate power and e-links in a split second. Freed up from the pulse, she dropped to one knee and reached out, grabbing the alien’s weapon before it had a chance to fire a second time. Fighting the urge to fire her suit’s arm-mounted pulse rifle, she pulled the alien’s arm downwards and pulled the gun from its grip as her other hand grabbed the alien’s armor to restrain it. A detached part of her brain noted the lack of claws on the alien’s hands, unlike what Gabriel had showed the team in the initial briefing.

Lamber had already immobilized the other sentry and turned to help St. Laurent. As he stepped towards the struggling duo, the alien’s small chest suddenly erupted in red gore, splattering on the doors behind it. The lifeless body fell backwards and St. Laurent let go of it. It landed in the snow with a wet thud, and blood pooled around it, quickly freezing in the super-chilled atmosphere.

“Cease fire!” St. Laurent screamed, breaking comm silence. She quickly got to her feet, checking her scans for nearby activity. Finding it clear, she sent a burst to Gabriel.

Gabriel was monitoring from the back and caught not only St. Laurent’s yell, but the angry tone of her burst. He quickly contacted Sabra, knowing it was her Burton round that just took the first life of the mission. He received an emotionless neuretics click in return. He shook his head. Loose cannon, he thought. He sent another burst to Sabra to recall her.

He called for a rally at the main colony entrance, and the team moved out.

 

Like what you read? Pick up Gabriel’s Redemption for Kindle, Nook, and at Smashwords for various e-reader formats. Print version will be coming within days! Oh, and the e-book version now has a sneak preview of Book 2 in the trilogy, Gabriel’s Return. Just a little appetite-whetting for you…