New: The Kitchen Brigade

Hi, everyone,

I’m so excited to tell you that The Kitchen Brigade, my latest novel and first dystopian story, is now live on Amazon!

Here’s the gist of it:

In the not-so-distant future, a culinary student—and daughter of the assassinated secretary of state—is forced to work in the kitchen of a Russian general whose army occupies an America torn apart by civil war. To rebel could prove deadly, but how long can she serve the men destroying her country?

If an army marches on its stomach, a cook might find a way to win the war.

Here’s what an early reader said about it:

“In The Kitchen Brigade, a powerful dystopian imagining of a post-Trump world in which Russia has overtaken America, author Laurie Boris pulls us into unexpected territory with her rich, detailed narrative of the despair, courage, and persistent creativity found amongst a band of female chefs forced to serve their captors.” — Lorraine Devon Wilke, author of The Alchemy of Noise and Hysterical Love

Here’s the universal Amazon link.

For now, The Kitchen Brigade will only be available as an e-book on Amazon. You can read it free if you have Kindle Unlimited. I’ll have more updates to come about sales, events, recipes, when the paperback will be ready, how to skin and cook a woodchuck (just kidding), and all that jazz. But for now, I’m popping open an adult beverage and celebrating.

Have a great day!

Unraveling, with Gratitude

Hi, everyone,

Recently my father shared an analogy about time with respect to your years on this planet. That it’s like a ball of string. It rolls out so slowly—almost too slowly—when you’re very young and the ball is full, but faster and faster as it gets smaller. Although the events of the world this year often made time feel interminable, I looked up from the computer one day and could barely believe 2018 was almost done.

My ball of string is unraveling faster than it used to. But I’m trying to be grateful for every inch. I’m grateful that I have a roof over my head and food on my table and that I get to work with words and stories, a childhood dream that for a while I never thought possible.

I’m grateful for readers and writers and my entire community of book-loving people.

I hope you have a lovely holiday season and good health, happiness, and abundance in the coming year—wherever you are on your own ball of string.

Laurie

PS: I haven’t forgotten the book deals! See this page for more info…

INTERVIEW: DAVID ANTROBUS

A fascinating interview with my friend and editor, David Antrobus.

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Meet the author and much-in-demand editor, David Antrobus!

Tell us about the books you’ve written. What are the titles?

I’ve self-published two works. The first is a short account of a continent-spanning road trip I took to New York City against the backdrop of the 9/11 attacks, a kind of memoir/travelogue mash-up. It has the slightly unwieldy title of Dissolute Kinship: A 9/11 Road Trip. The second book is an irreverent look at the publishing industry and the world of writing in general, largely from an independent perspective, titled Endless Joke.

You write a lot of short stories, and they are brilliant. What are some of the messages in these stories that you would want readers to grasp?

Oh, thank you for the kind words. I love writing short fiction. If there’s any kind of message (and I’m not sure there is), it’s that beauty can be found…

View original post 2,985 more words

The Council: Goodbye, Forty-one

This week’s flash fiction was inspired by current events. I just couldn’t help myself.

—————–

The loss of Forty-one had brought the council together again. First, at the cathedral, where they’d exchanged appropriate pleasantries, then later, with most of their spouses otherwise engaged, at Earl’s. It seemed befitting that Forty-three make the toast, and when they were all assembled and served, they raised their glasses toward the empty chair, followed by a few moments of silence.

Forty-four felt the weight of his absence. The loss of what he brought to the table—the wisdom, the connections. He also felt the unspoken tensions of earlier in the day. But broaching the subject so soon after the funeral…

“Every day I pray for his soul,” Thirty-nine said, with a heavy sigh.

“You’re a better man that I am,” Forty-three and a half added, then downed the rest of her scotch and ordered another.

Her husband passed her a sly look. “Now, honey, you may want to slow down on those…”

“Don’t honey me. Are you driving?”

“Well, yeah…”

“Then I’m drinking. Did you see Twitter? He wants to put us in jail and I’m the bitch because I didn’t smile at him. Lock thisup, you orange buffoon.”

“Hill, what’d I tell you about staying off those social media things? They never did no one no good…”

Forty-four cleared his throat. “Come on, folks. Time’s a wasting and we need a new plan of attack.”

“He’s right,” Forty-three said. “Got us a serious problem here and I don’t feel right as it is leaving Laura and the girls too long tonight.”

“Then we’ll make it quick,” Forty-four said. “So here’s where we stand. Winning back the House might give us some checks on this guy, but I won’t trust that until I see it. Contacting Putin again is off the table. He’s achieved his objectives and won’t help us. Unless we can deliver Lindsey Graham in a dog harness, but I doubt he’s gonna fall for that trick twice…”

“I’ll do it.” Everyone turned to the breathy voice with the Georgia accent.

“Jimmy…” Forty-three and a half laid a hand on his forearm.

“No, please. I sat in that cathedral today hearing about doing good for the world. Yes, we certainly had our disagreements when it came to governing, but I believe we’re here to help each other and to do God’s work. I know my time is next and I want to make what little I have left count for something.”

Forty-three sat taller. “Can’t let you do that, Thirty-nine. Wouldn’t be prudent to let that be your legacy.”

Forty-four narrowed his eyes. Was it his imagination, or was the Texan across the table starting to sound like his father?

“I got an idea,” Forty-three said. “Lemme give Dick Cheney a call. See if he’s up for a little quail hunting.”

The Children: Flash Fiction

Lila glared at the guard. A wall of a man, chest puffed in his sense of duty, thumbs hooked into his belt like a sheriff in an old Western. But she was armed too—with a court order and the adrenaline thrill of the arguments she’d laid down in order to obtain it. Now they could no longer keep her out. God knows they’d tried. At three different security checkpoints, she had to mention her name, her credentials, show the paperwork, endure a pat-down and a search of her briefcase.

“No pictures,” he said finally, by way of granting her permission to enter the facility.

She’d been told what to expect. Of course, no pictures. The identities of the children would be protected. She hated when the media splashed up images of suffering children; yes, it might squeeze out some tears and celebrity outrage, but it was cruel and intrusive and she would not participate in that heartbreaking manipulation.

She would not do that to these children. Many years ago, she’d been one of them. She and her brother.

Her heels echoed on the concrete floor as she walked down the corridor, escorted by a different guard. She snatched glances at him. Wondering how he could be a party to separating children from their deported parents. Wondering how it could have been done to her own family. Most likely, he would say he was only following the law or that he was just doing his job. How many horrors has the world endured over people just following orders? Again she saw those stark, heart-wrenching images from the concentration camps that they were shown in school. Men little more than skeletons in striped uniforms. The piles of bodies. Again she saw her brother in the detention camp. Saw him broken and bruised and so, so small. Dios mio, if any of these children have been harmed…

They turned a corner and she was close enough to hear the crying. Her throat tightened and she bit the inside of her lip. She could do this. She’d done this many times, taken children out of bad environments. Only never on so grand a scale.

What the guards hadn’t seen on her phone were all the contacts. All the families who wanted to foster children; some able to take three, four, five, six. What they hadn’t seen in her briefcase was another court order. This one had been more difficult to obtain. It would cost her dearly to pull that trigger; the man she’d dealt with said that for every favor his boss granted, he wanted triple in return. But for the children, it was worth it.

The guard stopped at the chain link gate. She stared at it, then at him. “Like dogs. You cage them like dogs.”

His unkempt eyebrows pushed together; the expression one beat from saying he was just doing his job. She didn’t want to hear it. Instead she focused on a small girl staring at her with huge, red-rimmed eyes. Lila crouched down and smiled at her, hooking an index finger through the gate.

“Hola, pequeño. ¿Cuál es su nombre?”

For a long moment, the girl stared. Her lower lip trembled. She couldn’t have been more than five. An older boy, maybe eight or nine, stepped close to the girl, a protective hand on her shoulder.

“It’s okay,” Lila said, continuing in Spanish. “I’m just here to make sure you’re all right.”

He didn’t answer. But nothing was all right about this. They were crowded in like animals. Their beds were paper-thin space blankets on the concrete floor. God knows where their parents were. But if Lila’s plan worked, she would know where these children were, would know that they were safe. She and her colleagues would know it. And, eventually, their parents. She reached into her purse and pushed a button on the phone, alerting her team to get into position.

Then she stood and faced the guard. “I am authorized to take these children into protective custody.” Then, heart in her throat, she shoved the second court order at him. As he read, one of those unkempt eyebrows rose, along with a corner of his mouth.

“Are you for real, lady? The president of the United States. How do I know you didn’t forge this signature?”

She yanked out her phone. “How do you know that calling his office right now and asking that question won’t get you fired?”

He looked at the paperwork again. “I gotta check this out,” he said, and disappeared down the hall.

She’d already made friends with two of the children by the time he returned. His expression a blend of irritation and disbelief. A half hour later, a convoy of minivans filled with children was heading toward their rendezvous, where the foster parents had been told to meet them.

She drove the first one. Smiling to herself in her triumph. Yes, it would cost her. She’d have to join the president’s legal team for a few months, but it would be worth it. In fact, she chose to look at the assignment as a challenge. If she could survive that, she could do anything.

The Scent of Silence

“Why do you have to go?” Her question registers as the first raindrops begin to fall. You stop in the middle of the sidewalk, tip your face to the sky and let the damp, metallic smell trigger the pleasant memories. Springtime. Green leaves. Hikes along a springy bed of pine needles in the forest.

She turns. The scent of hairspray fights the perfume radiating from her skin. The smell of anger. You add that to your mental catalog of unpleasant memories. “Are you even listening to me?”

“Uh. Sure. Of course.”

“No.” She starts walking again. You follow. Umbrellas pop open all around you. Hers with a tooth-grinding snap. She doesn’t offer to share. “You’re not listening. You’re lost in that damn Mars mission again. Maybe you should go. Maybe you should go now.”

“This ‘damn Mars mission’ could save humanity! Not to be hyperbolic about it, but when the oceans rise and the air is unfit to breathe, when crazy world leaders launch the missiles…what if there was a habitable place we could go? With far more potential than the Moon?”

Silence. You should have weighed your words more carefully. Conversations like this were why she took pills every night to sleep. You try again, softer. “They’ll only need me for a few months.”

“That’s what you said last time.” She spins toward you, flinging a spray of rain from her umbrella across your shirt. “It was more like a year!”

“Then move to Houston with me.”

“Houston. As if.”

The smell of spite. You try to think of happier aromas. Bread baking. A wet dog and a small boy jumping into a pond on a summer afternoon. You smile to yourself. This could really work. In previous extended space missions, humans have suffered from sensory deprivation. It’s made them hallucinate. It’s been detrimental to their health, their productivity.

The team loves your idea—a virtual reality system that can impart not just visuals and sound, but can activate memories tied to certain smells. Now you’re getting the chance to create it. First, catalog the appropriate sensory input, then build the system and test it. You know it can work. You know it will help. You’d feel better if your wife believed in you, believed in your ideas. Believed you weren’t taking these assignments to get away from her.

But you can’t change that.

You spend the trip home in silence. You imagine the smells awaiting you. The stale coffee in the kitchen. The damp wool aroma of the couch where you’ll be sleeping.

You pull into the driveway, snap off the keys. Let out a long breath. She reaches for her door handle, hesitates. “I’ll go with you.” Her voice is so quiet it blends with the rain. Then, a little louder, and with a bit of humor you haven’t heard in some time, she adds, “After all, if you’re going to be so absorbed in this project, someone better make sure you eat once in a while.”

Wicked Cool Mid-January Giveaway

Not Just Another Rafflecopter Giveaway

eNovAaW giveaway | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Yes, we’re doing it again. In what’s starting to look like a tradition, eNovel Authors At Work is offering yet another wicked cool giveaway. Along with enjoying great deals on these books (and some are free), you can win:

  • eNovAaW giveaway | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksKindle Paperwhite
  • Vera Bradley Pocket Note Set with Pen
  • Fisher-Price Nickelodeon Shimmer & Shine, Bedtime Wishes Shimmer
  • Panasonic ES2207P Ladies Electric Shaver
  • Message Charm (46 words to choose from) Expandable Wire Bangle Bracelet
  • Inktastic – Life’s Better With Books Tote Bag Natural
  • Star Wars Black Series 6 Rey (Starkiller Base)
  • $15 Amazon Gift Card
  • Bass Pro Shops Active Watch for Ladies – Blue
  • Walking Tyrannosaurus Rex Dinosaur 21″ Toy
  • Panda Planner
  • Aurora Tears Purple Created Amethyst Butterfly Birthstone Water Drop Pendant Necklace, 18″

With so many gifts, you’re more than likely to win something. However, the giveaway will only run between the 17th and the 30th. Take part by going to the Rafflecopter.

Let’s get to the books! A whole bunch of them will be FREE or 99c until the 21st:

  • The Reluctant Hero by Jackie Weger: FREE. “This was a wonderful story. It was funny, full of surprises and I couldn’t put it down.”
  • Rain Clouds and Waterfalls by Piper Templeton: FREE Inspired by the artistry of the Beatles, each tale is framed by a Beatles song or event.
  • Don’t Tell Anyone (Trager Family Secrets) by Laurie Boris: 99c. “Poignant, moving and realistic.”
  • Hurricane Hole by RP Dahlke: FREE. “Romance and danger and a sweet and funny ending… a sailing adventure that will keep you riveted.”
  • Wolf’s Pursuit by Alexa Dare: FREE. Shifter Romance with an engaging coven of supernaturally talented women.
  • Storm Crazy, Bonus Edition by Livia Queen: 99c. “My new favorite series!”
  • Imperfect Love: A Sweet Romance by Rebecca Talley: 99c. A devastating diagnosis changes everything.
  • Musiville by Nicholas C. Rossis: FREE. “A funny, upbeat, music-filled story that can be enjoyed by both children and adults.”
  • DEFCON Darcy (Darcy Walker Mystery Book 4) by A.J. Lape: 99c. “That girl is in mysterious trouble again!”
  • Past of Shadows by Colleen Connally: “A well-written, exciting page turner.”
  • Murder in San Francisco by Dianne Harman: 99c. “Winston is such a smart dog! You gotta love him.”
  • The Reckless Year (Book 4 in the Misfit Series) by A.B. Plum: 99c. A psychopath in love?
  • Finding Home by Jackie WegerFREE with Kindle Unlimited. “Lol! I loved this book. Hilarious.”
  • Lies I Never Told by Martin Crosbie: FREE on http://martincrosbie.com

November Giveaway

Hi, everyone! I promised you a giveaway after the World Series and here it is. And I’ve brought friends!

Free Kindle Books and Tips (FKBT) is working with eNovel Authors at Work to put on a great giveaway of signed print editions (USA & Canada only, sorry) of the following books:

In addition to the books, two lucky winners will win a Fire HD10 tablet and a Kindle Paperwhite. Excellent e-thingies to read your books on.

The giveaway will run until November 27.

Go here to enter: http://fkbt.com/2017/11/13/time-big-november-giveaway/

 

What do you want to read?

heart-772637_640Hi. Some of you know that I took a break from marketing and promotion over the winter. (Well, I guess you all know now.) I was burned out and needed some time to think about where I wanted to take not only this blog but my entire self-publishing adventure. After my break, I started dipping a toe back in here and there. I wrote. I caught up with news about the industry. I read a lot of blogs. I read a lot of books. I also had an opportunity to check out a ton of author newsletters.

That was good. And not so good. Some were done well. They gave me interesting information and were entertaining. Some just made me want to hit the “unsubscribe” button as fast as I could.

It made me realize what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to fill your in-boxes with a bunch of stuff that you don’t want to read.

So I’d like to know what you think. What would you like to see more of from me? Less of? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments, or if you’d prefer, put them in the contact form below. Thank you so much.

 

A Sneak Peek from The Call: Wes

PrintWes is one of my favorite characters in The Call. I love the way his mind works, and often his voice would circle around in my head, talking about numbers and odds and the universe and his many, many sisters. When I read an article about the physics of baseball, I thought of him immediately and knew he had to be in the story. Here’s an excerpt from the book, from when he and Margie met at the umpire academy:

—–

As Margie rounded the right-field corner, Wes Osterhaus fell in beside her. His wiry limbs matched her stride, his pale, freckled cheeks pinking from the exertion and the Florida sun. In their morning classes, Wes sat Catholic-school-straight in the chair in front of hers, bobbing his head at the instructor. He always had the right answers, and a hundred other questions. The instructors had been patient with him, but more and more they said, “Let’s talk during lunch,” or told him to go look it up in the academy’s library. The “library” was a dingy, cinderblock-walled equipment room that smelled of sweat and old coffee and contained two metal folding chairs, an old TV, and an erector-set bookshelf of manuals and videotapes. Sometimes Margie passed the room on her way to Big Al’s office and Wes would be sitting there alone, staring at the screen, scribbling notes on his pad. She felt bad for the guy. He was smart, that much was clear, and he was one of the few people in camp who would talk to her. She overheard a couple of trainees calling him “Oster-cize,” and she wanted to kick them.

“Nice day for a run, huh?” Margie said.

“Technically, no.” Wes said some stuff about dew point and relative humidity that left Margie’s head spinning. Then he trailed off, and on the left-center warning track he said, “Forty-eight.”

“Excuse me?” Margie wiped the sweat off her brow with the back of her hand.

“Sixteen percent of three hundred.” He nodded toward the group of guys practicing on the field. “That’s how many candidates will get recommended for evaluation after we’re done. Fewer still will get minor-league assignments.”

She smirked. “I think you’re gonna do fine.”

He nodded toward Rocky Anderson, who was berating some guy until he hung his head. “But that instructor is lowering our chances. He’s doing it all wrong.”

Her eyebrows hopped up. “Whaddya mean, wrong?”

“Positive reinforcement has been shown to help long-term learning better than negative reinforcement.”

“You got English for that?”

“Okay, right,” he muttered, as if giving himself a reminder to dumb-down his vocabulary for the masses. “Your strike fist. If he said, ‘nice job’ when you tucked your thumb in, instead of making you do laps when you get it wrong, research says you’d learn better.”

“What, you saying I’m never gonna learn?”

“No, Margie, I believe you will.” He paused a moment and added, “Because you remind me of Doug Harvey. He’s the best umpire in the game.”

She grinned. “Really? Doug Harvey?”

“Yes. The way you make your calls. The way you know the rules.”

Damn. “You wanna race?”

“Not especially.”

She knocked an elbow into his arm. “Aw, come on. Race me to the on-deck circle. Loser picks up the beer tonight.”

“That’s negative reinforcement. And besides, I don’t drink.”

“Okay. Winner gets to pick the game tape in the library later.”

“See? Now I’ll do it,” he said. “Because you’re offering me a learning opportunity.”

He took off. She took off after him. For the first time in Margie’s life, a boy beat her in a footrace. Probably because she let him.

——

The Call will be live on Amazon on September 1, but you can preorder now. The print book should be out around then, too. Or possibly sooner.