Monday, October 28, 2013

These Convergent Stars by Janine A Southard - #Excerpt BLITZ

These Convergent Stars
These Convergent Stars
by Janine A Southard

Published:  October 2013
Word Count:  25,000
Genre: Science Fantasy / Science Fiction


300 years ago, Earth was destroyed, but the Terrans aren’t giving up. Maya Qaitra is a special type of Terran, created to sniff out biologically compatible species. But Maya’s talent comes with a hefty cosmetic price: half the time, she looks like a mountain lion.

On a space station over the planet Elsajh, she’s mistaken for a local shapeshifter and goes with the flow. After all, how better to observe a new species and culture? While impersonating her alien look-alike, Maya stops an invasion and becomes a populist hero. Sure, that seems great, but her mistaken identity stirs trouble for her and her doppelganger. If she’s not careful, she could get her whole species banned from Elsajh forever.

Janine A. Southard writes speculative fiction and videogame dialogue from her home in Seattle, WA. She sings with a Celtic band and is working on the next book in the Hive Queen universe. She's also been known to read aloud to her cat.

The cat appreciates all of these things. Maybe.


I padded along behind Rzis, down dusty streets and through cozy alleys bordered by a perplexing mix of delicate new construction and pitted stone walls that had clearly stood against the tossings of time and weather. I kept far enough behind that he wouldn’t mark me.
How better to research a new world than by following the local law to the scene of some really weird sounding crime? As ship’s Mahdan—and, thus, First Contact Specialist—I heard plenty of strange terms, so the perp’s being “a Shalanite” was no problem. But this crime matched nothing I’d heard of before. How did small-time guys annex anything? And who would bother to annex a bank?
Once I learned the answers, maybe I’d suggest to the commander that we bypass this world entirely.
I kept expecting shouts and complaints. My mind created an echo here—Baastards should all be put down!—and another over there—Goodness! Look at those teeth!. I bared my incisors at this imagined detractor. Why did they always point out the teeth, as if mentioning them stopped me from using them?
But it didn’t go down like that. No one shouted at all. A few people cleared out of our path, yes, but we were heavy things barreling along. Also, my unwitting companion was The Law. If anyone recognized him, they’d scamper away for that reason alone.
When we reached the bank, Rzis was the first enforcer on location, so he had to distinguish the facts and stall till his pack arrived. The guy inside the bank, however, had me fluffin’ flummoxed.
Think about it for a minute. You’re holding up a bank. What are you there for? Money. Otherwise, why bother with the bank? Okay, your other reason could be to keep others from said money, on the assumption that banks are unconnected. In that second case, you could more effectively blow the place up, preferably with something that makes fiat money impossible to repair.
So, there’re a couple of plans and motives. But all they had in common with reality was the location. There was a guy holding up a bank. He had hostages, but made no fuss about killing anyone. No ransom note on hand. His pockets could maybe carry a double handful of precious whatever.
Over a primitive loudspeaker he repeated, “I annex this bank and the property on which it stands for the state of Shalal. All Shalanite citizens are welcome here. I annex this bank....” And so on in perpetual duplication.
Rzis shifted hominid about twenty feet from the bank’s front door. I hadn’t paid him much attention earlier, before he’d gone leonine, but now I could see that he was quite the strapping young lad. He was about 6’4”—a sensible for the size considering his other form—though he looked older than I’d thought he’d be. Maybe he’d waited till he was successful before embroiling himself in the arranged-marriage market.
He had the same dark coloring and shiny hair as his leonine self, and that shiny hair included a gentle dusting across his face and arms. Where a Terran would have nearly invisible vellus hair, he had a dark, downy, not-quite-fur. Aliens. What can you do? I wanted to pet him.


  • One eBook copy of These Convergent Stars
a Rafflecopter giveaway