Haunting Blue Audible Preview

As announced earlier, I’m excited to expand beyond the amazing first splash that is Danielle Muething narrating Haunting Obsession. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Click Here).

Now Seventh Star Press and my imprint DarkWhimsy Books have partnered to secure Danielle’s narration talents to bring the rest of the trilogy to audio! Danielle is already in the sound booth laying down tracks and voices for Haunting Blue, my first novel and the start of the paranormal adventures of punk girl Blue Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Haunting Blue will likely be out on Audible and other popular audiobook options well before summer! Continue reading “Haunting Blue Audible Preview”

Get your spooky on

interior-2‘Tis the season for ghosts and goblins and all things scary, and if you’re a reader, you’re looking for a seasonal read to get your spooky on!

I’d like to humbly suggest my paranormal series.

My first novel, Haunting Blue, is a dark homage to the Hardy Boys style of mystery, with Frank and Joe replaced by punk girl Blue and her small town computer nerd boyfriend Chip. Together they try to solve the mystery of a robbery gone awry and discover once and for all what happened to the infamous criminal Gunther Stalt and find his bag of bank money. Chip and Blue find the treasure…and the vengeful ghost still guarding it after all these years.

Haunting Obsession is my bestselling sexy ghost story about Maxine Marie, a dead Hollywood starlet, and Daryl, the fixated fan who accidentally conjures her. But just because he brought her back doesn’t mean he can control her. Before too long, Maxine’s powers grow to alarming levels as she feeds on the energy of her fans, including Daryl. It’s up to Daryl’s girlfriend Loretta–who’s feeling a bit put out by these events–to find help in the form of the mysterious paranormal investigator Rebecca Burton.

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Virtual Blue, the exciting sequel to Haunting Blue, finds our heroes fighting demons and their servants in a video game reality where death is temporary but the pain is all-too-real. Even with the help of Rebecca Burton, it’s going to take all of Blue’s wits and strength to survive this.

And don’t forget my short story collection of fantasy, sci-fi and horror, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy, featuring a “bag full” of thrills and chills.

You can order all titles in ebook or paperback from major internet outlets–click the link on each title in this article to go to each dedicated order page.

If you want something extra special for Halloween, you can order titles directly from me for about the same price, signed and personalized with a Halloween message and mailed to your door. Payppal and credit card orders accepted. Here’s how you do that.

Thanks in advance for choosing my paranormal tales as part of your Halloween reading escape!

Wish I Could Be Part of Your World

The larger world shared by E. Chris Garrison and R.J. Sullivan (they even co-wrote this blog post)

E. Chris Garrison and R.J. Sullivan: two great tastes that taste great…

*screeeech*

Let’s start over.

chris-rj-for-blog
E. Chris Garrison takes a selfie and RJ crashes it.

Chris and R.J. met at an author’s retreat in 2011. At the time, Chris had released her first editions of the Road Ghosts Trilogy and Blue Spirit, and RJ had released the first edition of Haunting Blue. Through discussion and the group readings that happen during author retreats, they found that they tend to think in similar ways on such topics as character archetypes and styles, which made them fast friends.

Chris’ skills as a brewmaster may have also had something to do with this.

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Blue and Skye holding RARE FIRST EDITION COLLECTOR’S ITEMS!! (Not really)

Their first venture into “crossing their universes” was a character to character fictional interview blog that proved a lot of fun. Eventually, they decided that using each other’s characters and settings in a shared universe made sense dramatically in certain instances. Over time, they found that telling tales that affected a larger world  also made for a fun marketing ploy to coax sales. They drafted a simple agreement between themselves to work it out, and they have been trading characters and building upon a shared universe ever since.

Having set the stage, let’s look at how Restless Spirit, Chris’ latest release and the reason you’re here,  is part of that world.

sinkingdown_web-smallerSinking Down by Eric Garrison

This second book in Garrison’s Road Ghosts Trilogy (written under a previous byline) marks the debut of Skye MacLeod, a cheerfully drunken gamer girl involved in a vampire live-action roleplaying game. The main cast encounters her as they attempt to save a poor little lost tween ghoul from a greedy opportunist who’s in league with a demon. Skye literally stumbles into trouble as she is possessed by the demon and forced to do its bidding. While this possession is temporary, Skye’s life and destiny are changed forever.

When the Trilogy ended, Garrison wanted to do something different. Skye was the first character she thought of to star in a spin-off series.

Haunting Blue by R.J. SullivanHaunting Blue

Set in 2010, the first novel by R.J. introduces flamboyant punk girl “Blue” Shaefer, her computer savvy boyfriend “Chip” Farren, and Chip’s best friend Phil Jenson. Against the backdrop of a creepy Indiana small town with a legendary secret, Blue and Chip meet, fall in love, and try to solve that legendary secret. Their efforts end up releasing a ghost and dark hi-jinx ensue.

bluespirit_cover1200x800Blue Spirit by E. Chris Garrison

The aforementioned spin-off of Garrison’s Road Ghosts Trilogy, this first book in the Tipsy Fairy Tales features Skye telling the story from her own point of view. She tells us a tale of her misadventures as a transplanted gamer girl whose life is permeated with the supernatural fairy world only she can see. Having grown up in Chicago, Skye never needed to learn to drive, so she takes the IndyGo buses or bums rides to get everywhere she needs to go. On one such bus, on an especially bad day, Skye meets a short, scruffy, gnome-like person who calls himself the Transit King. Skye sees past his sketchy appearance and recognizes him as a fairy lord. He proceeds to offer his assistance (in return for a promised favor) that further tangles Skye in high stakes supernatural politics.

In many ways, this first encounter not only drives the rest of the Tipsy Fairy Tales and provides Skye with a mentor, but introduces the Transit King as an unlikely favorite character from this book among readers and author peers. Chris was surprised and honored when later asked by R.J. if he could “borrow” the mysterious character for his own books.

376743_10151060948417591_639062236_nHaunting Obsession by R.J. Sullivan

In this sexy ghost story, frustrated geek girl Loretta Stevens boards a bus while fuming over how rudely she’s been treated by her boyfriend. She and Daryl had come to the local mall to shop for a birthday present and possible engagement ring for her, only to watch as Daryl instead buys a piece of overpriced Hollywood memorabilia connected to the long-dead gorgeous 50’s icon Maxine Marie. Disgusted, Loretta leaves him standing in the store, and she must now rely on public transportation to get back to her car.

On the bus, as she reflects on their relationship, a strange, creepy fellow with a thick accent advises her to wait for Daryl at his apartment. “Normally, I just…get travelers to their destinations…I’m just the Transit King, after all. …Follow yer instincts, not yer pride.” Yes, this is the same Transit King who plays such an important role in Garrison’s Tipsy Fairy Tales, making his “debut” in the R.J. verse.

Loretta ignores this good advice, to her regret. She learns that her boyfriend has been ensnared by the ghost of Maxine Marie herself. Maxine, now a sort of super-specter, is strengthened by the energy generated by her millions of fans, especially Daryl. The ghost is feeding off him, and he’s fading fast. Desperate, Loretta seeks aid from Rebecca Burton, an investigator of paranormal phenomenon who wields mysterious powers. Loretta learns that Rebecca’s role as a government agent is a cover that allows her to move about freely as she prepares to play a major role in an upcoming battle with the forces of evil.

Virtual Blue by R.J. SullivanVirtual Blue Final low rez

The year is 2013, and Chip Farren and Phil Jenson are now students at I.U., roommates living off campus and ambitious game programmers. They’ve released a beta of Fantasy Free-Form, their multi-player heroic fantasy computer game. Blue travels to Bloomington over Thanksgiving weekend to sort out her complicated feelings with Chip about their relationship.

The three of them are unaware that the game has been targeted by a cult of demon worshipers who think they can use the game’s virtual environment as a focal-point to summon a demon, creating a portal from their dimensional prison in hell to the video realm and then from there into the real world. Fortunately, Rebecca Burton is already aware of the situation, and she’s employed a talented young woman to assist her–Skye McLeod. Before the night is over, Blue will nearly lose her life and her sanity, and Skye will have to find the inner strength to confront Rebecca and force her to do the right thing. Phil and Skye will also begin an unusual friendship that continues in…

restless_spirit_coverjpg1200x800Restless Spirit by E. Chris Garrison

In the following summer of 2014, Skye finds herself still underemployed and dependent on her girlfriend, Annabelle. Phil Jenson has taken the step of promoting Fantasy Free-Form at Big Con, an enormous gamer convention in Indianapolis, and has hired Skye on to use her charm to draw con-goers to try out the game. She’s delighted at her apparent good luck when Rebecca Burton calls her. Rebecca has heard rumors of supernatural activity at the convention, and she wants to hire Skye to watch out and report on anything suspicious. Trouble soon finds her, in the form of one of her gamer friends somehow amassing a zombie army, some meddling trolls, and an ancient horror lurking underneath the center of Indianapolis. She goes to visit her old mentor, The Transit King, who has become far more powerful after the events of Blue Spirit, and he gives her some cryptic direction and magical aid–with his usual price tag. Unfortunately, Skye gets pulled into the supernatural events more than any of her employers care for, and when one problem crashes into another, she feels forced to set them against each other, unleashing a type of hell into downtown Indianapolis in the process. She loses the support of Rebecca and the Transit King, and puts other relationships at risk, but Phil sticks with her to the very end, helping her make slightly more sober choices to undo what she’s done.

The story doesn’t end there. Garrison reports that Phil, Blue, and Rebecca return for the climactic third book in the Tipsy Fairy Tales series, Mean Spirit!  So stay tuned for future Garrison/Sullivan character crossover fun!
___

chrissygarrisonAbout the author: E. Chris Garrison writes fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories. She used to publish as Eric Garrison, but has since upgraded.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. Chris’s supernatural fantasy stories include the Road Ghosts trilogy and the Tipsy Fairy Tales published by Seventh Star Press. These novels are humorous supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk.

Her novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013.

Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

chrissygarrisontourbadge

 

Author Links:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EChrisGarrison
Twitter:  @ECGarrison
Website:  https://sillyhatbooks.com/

And because my computer is being stupid and refuses to copy and paste the links, click here to see the full Tipsy Fairy Tales 2016 blog tour schedule.

Inconjunction 2016 This Weekend

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This year marks my fifth  consecutive year at one of my favorite science fiction conventions, InConJunction, on the east side of Indianapolis, and I’m super-excited! For one thing, this will be the first time I’m bringing a science fiction book to a science fiction convention!!

Cover Commanding Red LotusYes, that’s right, I’ve been doing just fine all these years selling ghost story and scary stories to a crowd that’s much more in tune with spaceships and laser guns, so now for the first time I’m bringing those, too. I’ll have plenty of copies of Commanding the Red Lotus on hand along with my back titles of ghost stories and my short story collection. I’ll be there with my Speculative Fiction Guild buddies as well, mingling, talking SF, dancing badly, and taking pictures of great costumes. Joining me in our space will be John F. Allen, Matthew Barron, E. Chris Garrison, and convention newcomer Maurice McKeirnan.

My titles and price list follows:

Haunting Blue $15
Haunting Obsession $12
Virtual Blue $15
Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy (Short stories) $12
Commanding the Red Lotus $12

Plus special pricing on multi-title purchases.

Autographs, as always, are FREE and worth every penny you pay.

Come on out to the Marriott on the east side of Indianapolis, 21st and Shaedeland Avenue. While you need a badge to attend much of the programming, the vending room is open to the public.  Hope to see some of you there. Click here to go to the official InConJunction Website!

RJ’s interview at Writer Groupie

Kim Smith authorI sat down in the midst of the holiday insanity of last December to Skype with Kim Smith, the charming hostess of the Writer Groupie Podcast, and talked about my favorite topic for 40 minutes: me. Specifically, she asked about my ghost stories, my love of science fiction, and asked about my upcoming release, Commanding the Red Lotus. She also asked what advice I’d give to an aspiring writer.

So when you have a half hour and change to spare, check out the full interview by clicking here (scroll toward the bottom of the page) and then let Kim knows you loved it as much as I did.

kim coverAlso, Click this link to check out Kim’s Kindle ebook download FREE this week only. Enjoy! (What, not all my posts run 1k words)

Haunting Obsession New Low Everyday Price 99 Cents!

Haunting Obsession Lo RezWith Halloween approaching, Seventh Star Press is offering a scary low price on my sexy ghostly bestseller Haunting Obsession! From now until…?,  new readers can download my most popular work and gateway story into my paranormal thriller series for just 99 cents!

Haunting Obsession, a top 100 ghost fiction bestseller during a previous 99 cents promotion, has been called “a page turner to the very last word.”  by Renee Graham, Dead Speak Paranormal Radio show host. Bitten By Books praised its world building and character development in their 4/5 star rating. Eva’s Sanctuary proclaimed “The story line is well written and may actually make you believe in ghosts.” One Amazon reader posted “With Halloween coming, this is a book you will not want to miss. ”

If you’ve never yet met Loretta, Daryl, the elegantly seductive ghost and Hollywood icon Maxine Marie, or the mysterious Rebecca Burton, now’s your chance. The Haunting Obsession ebook is downloadable for 99 cents on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobobooks sites. Or, if  you’d prefer to get a signed paperback copy directly from the author (for more than 99 cents,but autographs are always free and worth every penny you pay) click here to go to the dedicated page with all the links.

Imaginarium 2015 Recap

I make this look good!
I make this look good!

Imaginarium 2015 at Crown Plaza Hotel in Louisville, KY called a wrap on its second year this past weekend, and in a nutshell, the event is going in the right direction. It strives to be a full experience reader-writer weekend seminar and offer guests an array of lessons and memories (not to mention reading material), and in that goal, the organizers pushed forward in several ways.

More attendance (check). More book sales (check). More panels on more topics with higher participation (check-check-check). More publisher and author interactions (check-check). I personally had a panel Friday night that kept me from attending two other events that looked very cool, but that’s what ya’ call a good problem.

What didn’t change was the interactions between authors and the conversations and opportunities to network. People I had met briefly the first year I got to know better in year two. The seeds of future collaborations and business followups were planted and will continue throughout the year. And I met some new readers. What more can one ask for?

I met author peeps John F. Allen and Chris Garrison for breakfast, carpooled with John Friday morning, and we met back up a bit after noon which gave us plenty of time to eat and set up before the vendor room opened at 4. (The hotel burger rocks–I had it again on Saturday). I sold a copy of Haunting Blue to a new reader (more on this later). My evening panel on comic books and the silver screen had a small but enthusiastic group, and we discussed the topic from many angles in that hour.

Your devil bartender Elizabeth Donald will serve you now.
Your devil bartender Elizabeth Donald will serve you now.

Then there was hard rock bands in the ballroom Friday night and an active room party hosted by Elizabeth Donald where many of the writers hobnobbed.

Saturday was a very busy day. The vendor hall was pretty hustle-bustle for awhile, and in my area we all moved a few books, met some readers, and had some great times. The noon panel on Space Opera was pretty packed. If there is any question if people are excited about the genre making a comeback, the excitement in the room put it to rest for me. Kat French did a great job moderating and keeping the panel on track. (sidebar, read her Belle Starr Books, they rock, yes this is a link to order them, now back to our regularly scheduled programming…)

Saturday evening in the ballroom down the hall was, I think, a 40 year high school reunion, so since the vendor hall was open to the public, several of them came over to find out what was going on, and more books were sold. (Much later, author peep Jessica McHugh and I happened to be walking by the ballroom at the same moment while an “in memory of” slideshow was playing to the music of Sarah McLachlan’s Angel. We were at the same time torn between tears and an inappropriate giggle fit while ours heads were conflicted over the loss of people we never met, not to mention dogs and cats because of unofortunate connections)

Don't Panic! Arthur Dent and co. at the masquerade.
Don’t Panic! Arthur Dent and co. at the masquerade.

My 9 pm panel on writing as series, although scheduled during the awards banquet, was very well attended by another enthusiastic crowd. I was slotted to moderate, not the easiest thing two days into a convention but it all turned out just fine. The masquerade started at 10:30 pm and I spent the evening going back and forth between that and the room party, night two. Some great costumes were out on display.

The workshop taught by Michael Knost was slotted for 1:30 in which he discussed the various ways and reasons that a writer can and should stay “invisible” to the reader, including, yes, using a chicken hat to demonstrate deep third point of view.

Oh, and about the woman who bought Haunting Blue Friday night? She returned to my booth Sunday morning to say how much she enjoyed it and purchased Haunting Obsession. What author doesn’t love that?

Overall, Imaginarium is growing in all the right ways and is the place where we should all plan to be next year. Everyone involved in the planning and execution can take a big bow (and a couple day nap) for their accomplishments. Already looking forward to next year!

Click here to see my complete photo album of the weekend.

InconJunction 2015 Ahead!

This upcoming weekend marks my fourth year as a local author with InConJunction, a general SF/F con with a long and distinguished history in Indianapolis, and not for nothin’, the first con SF I ever attended waaay back in 199*mumble*.

Chris Garrison and Matthew Barron
Chris Garrison and Matthew Barron
John F. Allen and Chris Garrison
John F. Allen and Chris Garrison

Go here to get all the relevant hotel and location information from the con’s dedicated website.

This will also be the second year I’ll be a vendor as part of the author co-op group Speculative Fiction Guild. My books will be alongside many of my local peers, including author besties John F. Allen and Chris Garrison, plus Matthew Barron, Katina French, Davide Jobe, and Nathan Terhune.

My panel schedule this year is light but mighty:

All of my panels are in Indianapolis Ballroom C
Friday @ 9 PM @ Writing Dialog with Matthew Barron
Saturday @9 AM Small Press Publishing and Writer’s Expectations
Saturday @ 5 PM Building Your Brand: Promoting Your Work on Social Media

Inconjiunction is always a good time. I’m looking forward to seeing many old friends and making many new ones. Inconjunction will also be the first place ever that you can get a signed copy of my brand-new release Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy.

When it comes to endorsements, go big or go home,
When it comes to endorsements, go big or go home,

All of my books will be priced to sell,and the more you buy, the more you save.

Haunting Blue $15
Haunting Obsession $10
Virtual Blue $15
The Paranormal Trilogy (all 3 novels) $35

Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy $10
All four books $40
Signatures: FREE and worth every penny you pay.

“Lost Sole?” Ghosties $5

Looking forward to seeing many of you there!

More photos from Inconjunction 2014,

Whimsy Preview: Robot Vampire

DWACOW low rezClick here to view the previous entry “Starter Kit”
Click here to read the 8-part blog series of previews from the beginning

“Robot Vampire” has gotten a lot of good attention since its release in 2012 as part of Vampires Don’t Sparkle, an anthology edited by Michael West. I suspect that the story being a fundraiser for cancer research helped, not to mention its amazing table of contents, with story contributions from Lucy A. Snyder, Maurice Broaddus, Tim Waggoner, Gary A. Braunbeck, Bob Freeman and Stephen Zimmer, to name a few, all helped to bring attention to the story my way. I’m certainly proud to be in such  company.

I recall the germ for the story came about on a long family drive, one in which you find yourself playing nonsense games with each other. Anyway, for reasons I can no longer remember, we started pairing up monster types and giggling over the results because when you’re slaphappy, you’re also the most hysterical people in the world. And so, someone shouted “zombie robot!” (giggle) “werewolf zombie!” (giggle) “vampire werewolf!” (giggle) “robot vampire!” And while I giggled, a part of my brain already started to wonder “how could I make that work?”

Less than a month later, Michael West and I were talking and he asked if I had any ideas to submit to his anthology. Before I could think it through, my mouth responded, “Robot vampire”. Michael smirked that awesome Michael West smirk and said, “If you can make that work, I will buy it.” “You got it,” I said, even though I had no idea beyond the title.

Must brainstorming later, I turned in a story, one I’m pretty durn proud of, and still am. And so, apparently, was Michael.

The Setup: Jinan is an experimental robot who appears as a dark-haired Japanese girl and who emulates the agility of a human dancer. Moments before her premiere exhibition, Jinan is given a last-second programming tweak. The unintended consequence is that the robot achieves sentience, and the performance that follows wows the audience beyond almost everyone’s wildest expectations. Toshio, the show choreographer, is the one person who is not happy. In fact, he is furious over Jinan’s improvisations. The moment Jinan is alone, Toshio expresses his anger.

FINALVDS_coverWith their absence, something changes in my internal processes, a discordant flow of energy, again beyond my parameters to analyze. A response on the opposite side of the spectrum of the positive response I experienced earlier. I search my vocabulary for an appropriate word.
Dread. Is this dread?

Toshio yells in my face. “I know what you’re doing. Showing off for your masters. They programmed you too well, you little Diva bitch in the making.”
I file a conclusion about Toshio in a heuristic subroutine and speak my conclusion out loud. “I don’t like you, Toshio.”
Toshio’s face changes; his lips curve the opposite of a smile. “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that! You don’t like me? You think I give two shits if you like me?”

Toshio walks to the toolbox in the far corner, opens the lid and examines its contents. “Gentoshu says you can learn now. To me, that’s great news. And very bad news for you, little Diva.” He turns toward me. One hand grips a screwdriver. He waves it in the air, the end pointed toward my face. “That means you can now respond to being punished, doesn’t it? But how?” Toshio looks upon me for several seconds. “I’d backhand you if you were a real girl. But I’ll bet I can come up with a way to make you respect me.”

You don’t need to listen to him, my special friend.
I detect a voice, speaking directly to me, in my head, but outside myself. The experience, so unexpected and without context, causes me to speak out loud. “What?”

Toshio looks at me. “I said it’s time to make you understand your place.”
From his tone, I conclude that Toshio has not heard the voice.
As I consider this, the voice speaks again. I can help you, special one. I can protect you now. He cannot see me, he cannot hear me, but you can. Do not give me away, and in return I will help you.

A new thought forms in a subroutine. The voice could be caused by a splinter in my thought processes that formed a separate thought entity within my own. The idea intrigues me. But the words keep me silent.
The voice in my head laughs. A real laugh, not a simulated one. I am not in your head. I am a spirit from outside you. Do you know what a guardian angel is?
____

Thank you for reading through this series of previews. I’m very proud of this collection and hope that this gives you a better idea of what you will find inside.

Click here to go to the dedicated ordering page of Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy.

Whimsy Preview: Starter Kit

DWACOW low rezClick here to read the previous entry of this series: Backstage Pass

“Starter Kit” was my first pro-rate sale, my only connection to an award-nominated collection (Lucy A. Snyder‘s chilling tale “Magdala Amydala” won the Stoker Award for best short story that year), and the first time I ended up in a table of contents with some writers I’d admired growing up and continue to admire. That the anthology came out through Apex Books also makes me unreasonably happy.

For all of these reasons, and maybe more, “Starter Kit” is one of two short stories I receive frequent comments (overwhelmingly positive) from the public (the other one will be discussed Monday when this series resumes after the weekend) so it’s appropriate that these two stories close the collection.

I share a bit more in the actual introduction to the story in my collection, so no need to repeat myself here. And so, without further delay, here’s the first couple hundred words of “Starter Kit.”
___

The cover of the anthology published by Apex Books.
The cover of the anthology published by Apex Books.

Rodget stepped into his foyer after a long day at work. He hung up his coat and gave his waiting wife a quick kiss. Already, he sensed something wrong, and when he saw Little Belljy looking at him with expectant, wide eyes, a sense of dread fell over him.

“It’s the tank,” his wife said.
Rodget squatted down, meeting his seven-year-old son eye to eye. “What’s up?”
“There’s no movement. I can’t see anything. Mom says it’s ruined, but I don’t think so.”

Rodget sighed. “Let’s take a look.” He followed his boy into the bedroom. The pressurized glass tank took up one entire wall. Unlike the tank he grew up with years ago, Belljy’s offered a backlit night monitor, computerized zoom, and other modern upgrades.

Rodget stepped up to the tank and squinted through the glass at the thick, milky white swirl contained within. From here, everything appeared normal. Glowing. Thriving. Hauntingly beautiful in its own exotic way. But the real damage wouldn’t be visible to the naked eye.
Rodget leaned over the tank’s mini-computer and called up the first set of coordinates. Frowning, he pulled the magnifier screen up to eye level and glanced at the numbers on the readout 357, 285, 13—one of hundreds of coordinates identifying growing civilizations. Two days ago, several had progressed to the space-exploration stage. From there it would only be a few more hours to faster-than-light travel. Just yesterday, Belljy ran into the room, excited to tell him that three of his planets had discovered each other and opened negotiations for trade.

Bracing himself, Rodget slid the magnifier left. The screen showed flashes of gas giants, rocky terrain, black holes, blinding suns. He synched the numbers in the upper-left corner of the magnifier to match… 357, 285, 13.
A smoking black ruin of a sphere centered on his screen, and Rodget couldn’t hide his disappointment. He stabbed the magnifier button several more times, closing in on a major city, hovels still smoking from the radiation, the bodies of tiny specks piled atop each other—broken, blackened, torn apart.

Next: The final entry: Robot Vampire
Click here to go to the dedicated ordering page of Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy.