QSFer Nita Round has a new lesbian steampunk novella out in the “Towers of the Earth” series: “A Hint of Hope.”
Friends. Pirates. Slavers. Who can they trust? Their lives will depend upon it.
A notorious slaver has acquired the latest in airship design, an Imperial Condor Class transporter. This is a ship designed to change the world and if the slaver transforms it into a warship then no one will be safe. Anywhere.
Magda and Ascara have travelled the world as pirates. An attempt on their lives brings into question who can be trusted. Who is a friend? And who are their foes? With only themselves to rely upon they set out on a daring mission. They join forces with the pirates to stop the largest sale of slaves and gifted ones.
Can they rescue the slaves? Will they stop the creation of a super warship? And will their friendship be enough to survive against the odds?
This is the second prequel in the Towers of the Earth Fantasy series. It brings together many of the characters who are a part of the Towers series and fills in the details of how they come together. The first prequel is “A Pinch of Salt.”
There were six of them in the ‘thopter, the largest ‘thopter in the Essenburgh pirate fleet. This included Magda, Manus Smithson, Jack Whelks, and the two pilots whose names Ascara could not recall.
From their secure base in the Dragon Spine Mountains to Essenburgh township, their route took them through stunning alpine scenery. The mountains, high and rugged, looked as though they held up the sky, and Ascara loved to see them up close. Every peak filled her with wonder for the beauty of Mother’s Earth.
It wasn’t just the mountains, though, because between the peaks, they flew across broad, flat valleys and across lakes that shone and twinkled like jewels in the sun. Now they banked over a crater lake so large she had to strain to see it all.
She leaned her forehead against the window, as though that would help her see better.
“It’s stunning,” she said. “Magda, stop snoring and open your eyes, the view is–”
She didn’t get to finish. The ship lurched from side to side and fell so fast her stomach went into freefall.
Pain exploded over the back of her head, her eyes lost focus and darkness seemed to close in on her. She screamed as the side door opened and a boot in the back pushed her out of the side of the ship. She heard someone yell, “Scum.”
She had no idea who though, and it all happened so fast she could do nothing to resist.
Far below, the blue of the lake raced up to meet her at a speed both too fast and too slow.
“Mother,” she managed as she hit the water with such force it took her breath away. She may as well have hit the mountain itself. Ice-cold water washed over her head. She closed her mouth instinctively, but the cold leached every bit of strength from her body. She couldn’t swim and had never been able to even consider the idea of letting the water hold her. She had to fight the water and she fought for the light with every bit of strength she could muster.
Nonetheless, no matter how hard she kicked and struggled, she sank farther into the darkness. She fought now with every ounce of strength she had, and even though her life depended on it, she did not think this was a battle she could win.
Nita has written all her life, whether short stories, games scenarios or novels. She loves to write about strong female characters, fantasy and speculative fiction.
When not working, she is an avid gamer, she escapes to any world, any format, any console, and any time. She also plays Role Play Games (AD&D, Werewolf, Cthulhu) and is sadistic enough to be the dungeon master whenever she can.
Other interests include: cemeteries, cooking (inherited from family of chefs), making damson gin and of course tasting it make sure it is fit for consumption.
Find out more about her on: https://www.nitaround.com/
Author Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NitaRoundBooks/