Tag Archives: Without a Trace

Without a Trace

Just a quick announcement to let you know that Dave Freer’s  novella, Without a Trace ($2.99) is now available for purchase.  It will also be available later this week from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.  As with all our titles, there is NO DRM added.

In Without a Trace, Dave brings us the exciting new middle grade/early YA fantasy-adventure story of young Mike O’Hara and his quest to find out what happened to his grandfather.

*     *     *

Mike O’Hara has spent his life defending the family honor. His grandfather, Cap’n Al O’Hara, has been called everything from smuggler to coward and it is said he abandoned his family rather than pay his debts. Mike knows better, but what’s a boy to do?

When his father is injured in an automobile accident and the authorities threaten to take Mike from the family farm, Mike knows he has to do something. Spurred on by a radio transmission that just might be from Cap’n Al, Mike and his best friend, Amos, start out on a mission to find his grandfather. His journey takes him to an alternate South Africa inhabited by pirates and worse. Mike quickly finds himself in a race against time to rescue his grandfather and return home – before it’s too late.

 *     *     *

You’ve heard of the Bermuda triangle? You know, where compasses suddenly start to spin wildly, with a sudden darkness at noon, where ships and planes sometimes just disappear. When they’re gone, they’re just… gone, and nothing ever comes back. There are other places where this is supposed to happen too. There’s a spot deep in the Gobi, and another above the Java Trench. And then… there’s the Wild Coast…. some very strange things have happened there. Over the years Portuguese Carracks, British East Indiamen, and, in 1908, the Wahratah have disappeared off that coast.

On the 27th of July in 1981 my granddad flew his Piper Cherokee out from the little bumpy airstrip on our farm, in the direction of Port St. Johns. He flew off to go and take a swarm of bees out of a friend’s holiday cottage. He flew out of our lives, and for all anyone knew out of this world. He and his plane were “missing”. They’d just disappeared, disappeared without a trace. No wreckage was ever found.

Then the problems started.

For starters he was in trouble with the security police. Politics, guns. They reckoned Granddad was a gun-runner. My old man says it was quite possible. He says his dad was up to anything, provided it was totally lunatic. Everyone had thought he was a rich man, but it seemed he owed a lot of money. There was very little money in his bank account.

Then the story came out. He’d drawn out twenty thousand Rand the day before he flew, and bought Krugerrands with it. He’d been buying gold for years, it seemed. Suddenly, nobody believed he’d crashed anymore. Everyone said he’d cut and run. Everyone but my dad.

“My father never ran away from anything in his life!” That’s what he said to the papers then. That’s what he said to me maybe a thousand times since. My dad was twenty three then, not even married a year, and still having a grand old time at University. Me, I was three months old.

Suddenly he wasn’t a rich man’s son anymore. Suddenly he didn’t have any friends. Three days later he didn’t have a wife either. She left him with a baby boy, a stack of debts and no future.

He’d lost everything but the farm. Fortunately, my grandmother had left that to Dad. Granddad couldn’t be proved to be dead, so my father never got to see Granddad’s will. Granddad was well insured, but Dad couldn’t claim anything because Granddad wasn’t legally dead. The plane was insured too, but it was just “missing”.

*   *   *   *

Click here to see what Shiny Book Reviews had to say about Without a Trace.

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Hear ye! Hear ye!

As promised, I’m back with a couple of announcements and other news.

I want to start by assuring those of you who have been waiting impatiently for Impaler to come out in print, that your wait will soon be over.  Barring unforeseen problems, it will be available for purchase the beginning of next month.  We’ll post updates as the time gets closer.

This next bit of news is more personal to me.  I found out the end of last week that the bosses have given the green light, provisionally, for the sequel to Nocturnal Origins.  What that means is they want to bring it out and the numbers are looking good.  However, for me to write the book and have it done in time for it to come out when they want, I’m going to have to take time off from NRP.  So, it would really be nice for my numbers to increase — while the image of the starving artist or writer is one we’re all familiar with, I like my Blue Bell ice cream and starving really isn’t something I want to do 😉  That means, I need your help.  Tell your family and friends about Origins, if you liked it.  As I’ve said before, you guys are our greatest promotional tool and we do appreciate all you do to spread the word.

Here is the tentative schedule for the rest of the year.  I say tentative because there may be some shuffling of titles.  There will also be some short stories and at least one more novel added to the list.  However, just to give you an idea of what is coming, here you go:

May

  • Here There Be Faeries (fantasy short story) by Stephen Simmons
  • Without a Trace (fantasy middle grade novella) by Dave Freer
  • Revocare (fantasy short story) by Leslie Fish
  • Lawyers of Mars (science fiction novella) by Pam Uphoff
  • The Flight of the Phoenix (fantasy novella) by Chris McMahon

June 6th

  • Blood Price (urban fantasy short story collection) by Sarah A. Hoyt

June 20th

  • A Deeper Silence (sf/f short story collection) by Charles Edgar Quinn
  • The Calvanni (fantasy novel) by Chris McMahon

July 4th

  • Blackie (Pony Express short story) by James Snover
  • Vengeance Mine (mystery novel) by Jenny Schall
  • Short story collection — author to be announced shortly

August 8th

  • Firefight (novel) by Thomas Easton
  • Quicksand (mystery novel) by C. S. Laurel

August 22nd

  • Cat’s Paw (fantasy novel) by Robert A. Hoyt

September 5th

  • The South Shall Rise Again (romantic suspense novel with a touch of supernatural) by Ellie Ferguson

September 19th

  • A Flaw in Her Magic (urban fantasy adaptation of Mansfield Park) by Sarah A. Hoyt
  • Short story, title to be determined, by Taylor M. Lunsford

Otober 3rd

  • Five from the Past (short story collection) by Sarah A. Hoyt
  • Halloween themed short stories

October 31st

  • Halloween short story collection
  • Nocturnal Serenade (urban fantasy novel) by Amanda S. Green

November 21st

  • Holiday Collection by Robert A. Hoyt

December 5th

  • Scytheman (fantasy novel) by Chris McMahon

December 19th

  • ConVent (urban fantasy) by Kate Paulk

As noted above, we will be adding short stories to this schedule as well as at least one or two more novels.  Check back over the next few weeks for blurbs and more information about these titles.

–Amanda

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March Update

The problem with running a small press is that, well, there aren’t a lot of people involved in the operation.  That means when one — or in our case several — of us get sick or have real life intrude, things slow down.  That’s what happened this month.  But have no fear.  We will get the rest of the schedule out.  Impaler by Kate Paulk and Blood Reunion, a short story collection by Sarah A. Hoyt, will be out next week.  Without a Trace by Dave Freer, which is currently available here as an E-ARC, will be out the following week.  In the meantime, check out Death of a Musketeer by Sarah D’Almeida and Nocturnal Origins by Amanda S. Green.

In the meantime, I’m going to cut back blogging to three times a week.  Of course, if something happens that I think we need to talk about, I’ll pop up long enough to post it.  Our next blog will be Friday.

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As Promised . . .

If you sent us anything during our January submission period, you should hear from us Monday or Tuesday of next week.  Thanks again to everyone who sent in something.  We received some really great stories/novels and it’s been difficult to choose what to accept.

We also have a schedule adjustment to announce.  Lawyers of Mars, by Pam Uphoff, and Hunter’s Moon, by Ellie Ferguson, have been reslotted to May.

We have also added several more titles to the list of books we’ll be bringing out in both digital and print formats.  Included in this list are Death of a Musketeer (Sarah D’Almeida), Nocturnal Origins (Amanda S. Green), ConVent (Kate Paulk), The Calvanni (Book 1 of Chris McMahon’s Jakirian series), and Without a Trace (Dave Freer).  Two of these are books where the rights have reverted back to the authors and they (D’Almeida and McMahon) have re-edited them, etc.  The others are new works.  NRP is excited to have all of these joining our first print books.

This is an exciting — and busy — time for NRP and we thank each of you for helping make it so.

 

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Monday News

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Looking outside this morning and seeing the remnants of snow, and watching the reports of all the people not thinking about ice on bridges, I was glad I didn’t have to get out in it.  I hope those of you who had inclement weather this weekend stayed safe and warm.

A new Drooling for Books review is up.  John’s been under the weather and, like so many of it is seems, has had family emergencies to deal with as well.  But he’s back to work and starts the New Year off with a review of Written in Time by Jerry and Sherry Ahern (published by Baen Books).

Here’s a reminder as well that Dave Freer’s Teen/Early YA novella, Without a Trace, is now available as an e-arc.

Also, Wedding Bell Blues by Ellie Ferguson is on sale for $1.99. It is available at the discounted price through our site, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Our spotlighted short story is Fancy Farmer by Pam Uphoff.  It is free on our site and available for 99 cents through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Enjoy!

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New Schedule Announced

Let me start out by once again thanking everyone who submitted either short stories or novels to us in November.  We received quite a few submissions and it was difficult to choose exactly which ones to sign.  However, our editorial board was up to the task and contracts have been sent out and returned.  Now I have the pleasure of announcing the schedule for the first quarter of 2011 as well as some of the titles we will be publishing later this year.

January

The e-arc for Dave Freer’s YA novella, Without A Trace, is already available for purchase.

A Deeper Silence, a collection of short stories by Charles Edgar Quinn.

Legion, a short story by Dave Freer and Kate Paulk.

February

Lawyers of Mars by Pam Uphoff.

Short story collection by Dan Hoyt, title to be announced later.

Death of a Musketeer by Sarah D’Almeida.  This is the first of the Musketeer Mysteries and has never appeared in digital format.  We are very pleased to be able to add this title to our catalog and to announce that we will be offering later this year The Musketeer’s Confessor, a new book in the series.

We will also offer an as yet to be determined short story or two this month.

March

Impaler by Kate Paulk.  A mix of alternate history, historical mystery and a new take on the Dracula myth.  This is the follow-up novel to Kate’s novella, Born in Blood.

Hunter’s Moon by Ellie Ferguson is a mix of urban fantasy and romance.

Blood Ransom, a short story collection by Sarah A. Hoyt.

Last, but certainly not least, we will be offering our own irreverent take on St. Patrick’s Day, much in the vein of Robert Hoyt’s Christmas Campaign.

April

The Great Flying Saucer Conspiracy by Tom Easton.  Tom will be doing a guest blog for us later this month complete with information about the book and a giveaway.

An as yet to be titled short story collection by Dave Freer.

Want, a short story by Jay Caselberg that came to us during our November submission period.

Skipping Stones, a short story by Darwin Garrison that also came to us during the November submission period.

May

Revocare, a short story by Leslie Fish that was submitted to us during November.

Here There Be Faeries, a short story by Stephen Simmons that came to us also during the November submission period.

There will be at least one novel added to the lineup.  We’ll announce which title as soon as possible.

Summer/Fall/Winter

Among the titles we’ll be offering the second half of the year are the following:

The Musketeer’s Confessor by Sarah D’Almeida.  This is a new title in the Musketeers Mysteries and we are very excited to be able to offer it to you.

Firefight by Tom Easton will be published in August.

Tiltamouse is Hunger, a YA novella by Sarah A. Hoyt.

Vengeance Mine, a mystery by Jenny Schall that is also a product of the November submission period.

ConVent by Kate Paulk.

Robert A. Hoyt’s holiday collection which includes Christmas Campaign.

These are just a few of the titles we’ll be bringing you over the next year.  As new titles are added, we’ll let you know.

 

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E-ARC Available

The e-arc for Dave Freer’s new YA fantasy adventure, Without a Trace, is now available.  This is your chance to be the first on your block to have Dave’s newest work.

For those who aren’t familiar with what an e-arc is, it’s an advanced reader copy of the novella.  In other words, this is not the final product.  There may be spelling and punctuation errors present.  It’s possible there will be some text changes made as well before the final product is published Feb. 15th.  While you may find some errors in this product, those who purchase the e-arc will get to read it before anyone else.

In this YA offering, a boy’s search for his grandfather’s downed plane leads to a parallel South Africa with pirates and worse.  His quest to clear his grandfather’s name turns into a desperate race against time to return to his own reality before it’s too late.

CHAPTER 1

HISTORY
“Universes, endless parallel universes, may lie right next to next to ours. They are as unreachable as the stars. Or are they?”

You’ve heard of the Bermuda triangle? You know, where compasses suddenly start to spin wildly, with a sudden darkness at noon, where ships and planes sometimes just disappear. When they’re gone, they’re just… gone, and nothing ever comes back. There are other places where this is supposed to happen too. There’s a spot deep in the Gobi, and another above the Java Trench. And then… there’s the Wild Coast…. some very strange things have happened there. Over the years Portugese Carracks, British East Indiamen, and, in 1908, the Wahratah have disappeared off that coast.

On the 27th of July in 1981 my Grandad flew his Piper Cherokee out from the little bumpy airstrip on our farm, in the direction of Port St. Johns. He flew off to go and take a swarm of bees out of a friend’s holiday cottage. He flew out of our lives, and for all anyone knew out of this world. He, and his plane were “missing”. They’d just disappeared, disappeared without a trace. No wreckage was ever found. Then the problems started.

For starters he was in trouble with the security police. Politics, guns. They reckoned Grandad was a gun-runner. My Old Man says it was quite possible. He says his Dad was up to anything, provided it was totally lunatic. Everyone had thought he was a rich man, but it seemed he owed a lot of money. There was very little money in his bank account.

Then the story came out. He’d drawn out twenty thousand Rand the day before he flew, and bought Krugerrands with it. He’d been buying gold for years, it seemed. Suddenly, nobody believed he’d crashed anymore. Everyone said he’d cut and run. Everyone but my Dad.

“My father never ran away from anything in his life!” That’s what he said to the papers then. That’s what he said to me maybe a thousand times since. My Dad was twenty three then, not even married a year, and still having a grand old time at University. Me, I was three months old.

Suddenly he wasn’t a rich man’s son anymore. Suddenly he didn’t have any friends. Three days later he didn’t have a wife either. She left him with a baby boy, a stack of debts and no future.

He’d lost everything but the farm. Fortunately my grandmother had left that to Dad. Grandad couldn’t be proved to be dead, so my father never got to see Grandad’s will. Grandad was well insured, but Dad couldn’t claim anything because Grandad wasn’t legally dead. The plane was insured too, but it was just “missing”.

Dad had to sell what the creditors hadn’t taken. Most of the livestock, almost all of the farm implements, Grandad’s cars, radios, TV, and antique furniture went. Dad had no money to replace anything that broke down. While there was still money owing there was no chance of credit from anyone.

Grandad had built quite nice staff houses, with electricity and running water, and paid his employees far more than anyone else in the district. This had made all the local farmers mad with him. Apparently one of them had come around to the farm and had a shouting match with him, about how he was “spoiling the Kaffirs”. Grandad had picked him up, and tossed him into a rose bush.

The old man had also never been scared to speak his mind about anything, and it seemed he’d trod on a lot of toes talking about the way the farmers treated their labourers. The result was, now that Dad needed help, he found that even those people whom Grandad didn’t owe money to, treated him as if he was a scorpion on a picnic blanket.

Dad couldn’t possibly afford to pay the all the farm workers. Eventually only one family stayed, but some months Dad couldn’t find the money to pay them either. Still, because of the way Grandad had treated them, they stayed with us. They had a few cows and goats and patch of mielies, so nobody starved. They were more like friends than labourers though.

Often the only customers Dad could find for the farm produce were the local black people, because no one in town would buy from him at a fair price, and he had no transport to take our stuff to anywhere else. Fortunately, virtually everyone who had ever worked for Grandad came to the farm buy from Dad. Dad spoke Zulu and even Xhosa — because we were pretty near the borderland between the two languages — and people liked that. “Respect begets respect,” he always said. I was never too sure what ‘begets’ meant. I think it had something to do with the way people greeted him.

Dad just kept trying. Somehow he made enough money to pay cash for everything. Somehow we made it through the droughts. Nothing was going to stop my Dad from paying off the debts, proving he was an honest man, and making that farm rich again. He loved the place and he was going to keep it. If I’d known it was something special, I’d have been really proud of him. I suppose I didn’t. I just thought that was the way grown-ups (especially my Dad) behaved, when I was a little kid. I guess my Old Man was the centre of my universe. He told wonderful stories. About Granda’Al, about the San, about the Zulu wars. He was interested in that kind of thing.

So I grew up on the farm. We were dirt poor, but nobody told me about it, so I didn’t know. The farm was a bit wild, and run down, but we had electricity from the Pelton wheel, plenty of milk, fruit, mielie meal and eggs. Occasionally we’d eat a chicken. My milk brother, Amos, and I ran after the chickens, rode the pig and generally got chased out of every kind of trouble. He was the best friend you could ever have to grow up with.

Fat Mamma Lena, who’d raised us both, looked after us in a cheerful lazy fashion, usually just telling one of her older daughters to make sure we didn’t kill ourselves. The big old house was bare, as most of the furniture had been sold, but the kitchen with its smokey woodburning stove was always warm.

When I was six I started going across the river to Mevrou Cronje to learn my letters. She was a kind, gruff old lady, a widowed ex schoolmistress, who thought everyone ought to be able to read. On her stoep she taught me and a few of the other farm workers’ kids to read, write and count. She never said a word about me being the odd one out with straight black hair and a sunburned nose, when the other kids were lucky enough not to get sunburned. Dad said I look black Irish, but I wouldn’t have minded just being sunburn-proof dark brown back then.

Then I turned eight and I had to go to town to school. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just go to the local farm school with Amos, but that was the law back in 1988. One law whites and one for black people. Pretty dumb, but that was the way it was.

School was the worst thing that ever happened to me. All the other kids knew each other. Their clothes were new. All of them had shoes. I had horny bare feet, threadbare shorts and a kahki shirt one size too small. Even the teachers sort of steered away from me.

It must have been a week before any of the other kids even spoke to me. It was the class bully, a brute called Butch Visser. He was nearly a head taller than me, and maybe five kilos heavier. He said “Hey thief! Why aren’t you in jail?”

I didn’t answer straight away. I was still translating everything anyone said into Zulu, and I couldn’t believe what he was saying. He must have thought I was scared.

“Why do you stink, thief!” he closed in on me, standing too close.

“I’m not a thief!” I blurted, scared and hurt.

“Well your Grandad was, so you must be. He was a thief and he ran away! He owed my Dad money.” He leaned over me and I had to look up to see his face.

My best goodnight stories ever since I could remember had been about my crazy Granda Al. Stories about places with wonderful names like Casablanca and Tangiers. About small boats and misty nights. I could recite some of them, word for word. Dad always finished every story with these words “He was a real man, son. He never ran away from anything in his life!” I didn’t have to think about what to say. I just yelled “My Grandad never ran away from anything in his life!”

***

One final note, our home page will be undergoing some redesign tomorrow, so I’m not going to risk mucking it up and bringing down the wrath of our tech gurus by trying to add links and images myself.  So just follow this link or click on the “new novelettes” link on the right side of the homepage for Without a Trace.

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