Today we’re so please to welcome author Hayden Thorne back for a special release day feature of book three in The Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles series, The Romeo and Julian Effect. Enjoy the excerpt Hayden’s selected to share with you, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win an e-copy of Books One thru Three of the series: Sheridan Diggins and the Dead Horde, The Golem Upstairs, and The Romeo and Julian Effect.
Blurb: Intimidation from the underworld is escalating, this time involving a person from Sheridan’s past who really shouldn’t be hanging around Sheridan if he knew what’s best for him. Shapeshifting demons come out to harass Sheridan in the most hilariously bizarre ways imaginable, and with the help of defensive-wish-granting knight, Clonia, and some space-age technology, Sheridan proves himself a worthy opponent.
In the meantime, Yuli Soulweaver’s beginning to display alarming symptoms of fatigue, possibly from the prince’s constant crossing over between two worlds in order to court Sheridan — unless a more ominous reason lies behind Yuli’s spiraling weakness.
Nobody messes with a Diggins, however, and the more Sheridan meets resistance from antagonistic entities from the underworld, the harder he fights back. Disgruntled immortals might very well be in for a huge surprise in their campaign of terror against a young colonist with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Author’s Note: I wrote The Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles as a spoof of sci-fi conventions. I’m a big fan of science fiction, and I’ve always been tickled by not only the way aliens tended to be humanoid in form but varying greatly in skin, hair, and eye color/markings, but also by the fact that when different species come together, they can speak one language (mostly due to a translator they either carry around or are wearing). I’ve loved those conventions in addition to dietary stuff and especially the names of individual characters including aliens, alien species, and planets.
This sci-fi four-novella series is meant to be a loving comic tribute to science fiction clichés we’ve grown familiar with, and I wanted to add the element of fantasy (magic and immortality) into the mix to liven things up. Sheridan Diggins isn’t a kickass space-age hero a la Star-Lord or Han Solo or Mr. Spock. He’s just an everyman who, like us, works hard to pay the bills and look after a kid brother after they’ve been orphaned at a very young age. There are no mind-boggling adventures somewhere in a distant galaxy. There’s no epic space opera unfolding in a massive ship carrying exiles or scientists or criminals. There’s only an overworked astro-cab driver-captain who’s gotten the attention of the youngest prince of the dead.
And someone from the underworld doesn’t like that very much.
From Chapter 10
At first Sheridan thought it was cute how Adley’s simmering-just-below-the-whiny-surface bloodlust enjoyed a sudden intravenous jolt of caffeine, when the boy started to bug Sheridan about his use – or non-use – of his Quantum Pistol Mini. Unfortunately the charm wore off pretty damned quickly.
“I never got a chance to use this,” Sheridan replied, and turned the weapon off. “That damned thing attacked me inside the ship. I almost had my throat ripped out.”
Of course, he took care not to admit his complete failure in being sharp on his feet, of charging right into the waiting arms of death and destruction without a moment’s critical thought because he desperately needed to protect his brother.
They’d just reached Old Myrna and were hanging around, waiting for Clonia to return with the necessary rundown of her epic fight with Ian-wannabe. With any luck, she’d show up carrying the severed head of the monster, and Sheridan would use that gruesome sight as a means of projecting himself into Clonia’s shoes. He decided then there were unexpected benefits to having a knight hanging around for protection.
Adley’s face scrunched up tightly in a very adolescent show of confusion. “Huh? You didn’t kill it? Why not?”
Sheridan stared at him. “Let me repeat: I almost had my throat ripped out.”
“So Clonia got it instead? Like from the get-go? You never even fired a single shot?”
“Apparently I have to stand in front of you with my body torn to pieces in order for you to horf a single word of – oh, I don’t know – sympathy or horror or concern for my well-being,” Sheridan replied in a dull monotone. “Like a hairball.”
“Oh, please. If you showed yourself to me all torn up and stuff, it’d be a little too late for me to be concerned for your wellbeing since you’d already be dead. Right?”
Adley beamed, apparently quite impressed with his deductive powers. Sheridan continued to regard his brother dully, wondering if it was already too late for him to sit the boy down and go over the basics of simple empathy. Something told him, however, the teenage brain was still too busy skittering about its bony container, drawn to the magnetic forces of all things shiny and beneficial only to its owner. It was going to be an absolute nightmarish romp through the cesspit of Hell, digging around for a non-self-absorbed kernel floating forlornly through all those narcissistic gray cells.
Surrender and resignation were inevitable.
“Good evening, mortals,” a voice piped up from the direction of the trees, making both brothers jump. “The creature has been dispatched and sent back to the world of the dead. Nothing more to see here.”
Clonia emerged from the shadows and stopped next to Sheridan, giving him a sharp nod in greeting. While she hadn’t changed uniforms or loosened her hair for the night, she did carry two wildly diverging weapons. One hand held what Sheridan now recognized as a crossbow – a rather large one at that. Then again, he’d never seen one in person before and had no context for comparison. He was, however, amazed and impressed at the weapon’s non-technologically advanced badassery. Clonia’s other hand held a Nova Blaster.
“I didn’t know immortals were allowed to use space-age weapons,” Sheridan said.
Clonia regarded him in her usual blank way. “You’re welcome,” she said.
“Sorry – thanks for rescuing me. I wouldn’t have bothered you if I weren’t so stupidly underprepared.” Sheridan paused when he realized he still held his Quantum Pistol Mini. He sheepishly held it up. “I, uh, suppose this wouldn’t have made a lick of difference.”
“No, it wouldn’t have. It looks like a plastic toy.”
“Okay. So – where’d you get your Nova Blaster?”
“It’s a long story.”
“I found it on sale in the downtown area while out looking for shops for His Royal Highness. I was under the impression you’d need this and so purchased it. Unfortunately I couldn’t hang around too long up here to give you this as the transaction happened in a dark alley, and the man who sold it was pretty adamant that I lie low for twenty-four hours. Why? I don’t know. He did mention something about disappearing and new identities and filed off serial numbers. He was an odd, odd sort, and he smelled bad.”
Sheridan had to admit, he was pretty impressed. “This would have to be the longest response you’ve made.”
“It is, and I’m winded. Try to avoid subjecting me to it again, please. One thing you must know, when dealing with creatures from my world, your technological weapons can’t kill them.”
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