Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Launch

Finally, Without A Voice is on the (virtual) shelves. I'm cheering inside, trying very hard to restrain my glee so that I can pretend to be a rational human being for a few hours.

Book launch. This is just weird.

It feels strange to be here, having a book published. I've worked toward this for most of my life, but once again it was a matter of choice--move forward, or stay stagnant. I chose to move forward. So now the world has Without A Voice, a religious contemporary suspense novella about a young woman whose past has caught up with her.

Book Trailer

About the book:

Don’t put yourself on the grid. No credit cards, new name, new city. Few friends, no family. Connections of any kind are a risk.

Five years ago Mae left Justin in Orlando. Never again will she cower, wondering who he'll hurt next. She's done letting him punish her.

Now she has real friends, people she cares about, a life worth living. After years of relative peace she's gotten complacent, relaxed her guard. Somehow, he's found her.

There’s nowhere you can go.

Once she could have run and been certain Justin would leave those she loved alone. But he's changed. Justin is the whisper in the dark, a shadow on the street, the phantom no one sees.

You are mine. I will never stop.

Amazon (for Kindle)
Smashwords (for everything else)

**I'm afraid that as of today the book is not yet up on Barnes & Noble, although it is up on Kobo and has been sent to Sony, Apple, Diesel and Page Foundry. I thought submitting the book a week in advance would be sufficient. Live and learn. Also please note that The Storyteller has two versions up on Amazon--the plagiarized version is still up. If you want a copy of this and you use a Kindle, please let me know in the comments and I'll send a free copy.

***Help me spread the word, and if you like Without A Voice please leave a review.

Goodreads Author Page: Lauren_Ritz
Twitter: laurenritz1
Facebook: LaurenRitztheWriter
Amazon Author Page: Lauren-Ritz
Smashwords Author Page: LaurenRitz

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wyre-rat (Episode 2)

Even as a human I couldn't have unlatched it, so at least for the moment, I was stuck.

Whoever decided rats should have fur was either deranged or had no imagination. Rats squirm and roll through all kinds of things, and whatever gets in that fur ends up on me when I change back to my own shape. No wonder I stink. Although to be fair, I don't think the creator was concerned about shape-shifters when he created rats.

I squirmed through the trash, looking for a spot to sleep that wasn't slimy, crunchy or painful.

No such luck. I ended up sleeping on a pile of old newspapers that I dragged from underneath the pile with my teeth. The half-rotted food underneath soaked through and into my fur. Yuck.

I woke to stealthy noises in the alley. Not the sounds made by those who chase naked and dangerous humans, and even less the noises made by those who set traps for exceptionally large rats.

This was something else, and my instincts dug me further into the rotting garbage. I strained to hear, to understand their words, but there were no words. These worked in silence, which didn't bode well for me.

I heard a faint clang as one of them touched the side of the dumpster. A low word that I didn't recognize. The faint rattle of a latch. With my single visible eye I watched the sky appear. Stars, barely obscured by light. Early morning, probably around three or four.

Hands reached into the dumpster, and this time I heard faint but familiar expressions of disgust. Well I could understand that one, at least.

I curled all my feet under me, waiting for my chance.

A hand touched my fur and I erupted from my hiding place, going for the man's face with claws and teeth. He jerked back as I'd expected, tumbling to the ground, and I was over the edge of the dumpster and running before his companion could react.

It took me that long to realize that these had come prepared. The entrance to the alley was blocked, the only possible exit a space at the bottom that led into a deeper dark.

I spun, saw the same arrangement at the far end.

They thought they had me trapped.

If I'd been in human form I might have grinned.

Episode 3

If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat episode 1

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Were-Rat (Episode 1)

I saw a tail whip around a corner at the far end of the alley and cringed in distaste. I hate rodents. But more than rodents, I hate cats. Furry little vermin can't tell the difference between a were-rat and the real thing. At least the real rats know to avoid me.

I leaped up onto the edge of a dumpster and hissed down at the thing chasing me. The creature tried to jump up and I slapped it back to the street. Only a cat would be stupid enough to go after a rodent as large as he is.

If I had a partner he could have cornered the thing, but the last partner I had took the form of a doberman and got himself locked up in the pound. I laughed for a week over that one, and no one wanted to partner with me after that.

The shape of a rat--even a very large rat--is safe. But man, I hate rodents, and when I come back I stink like one.

Have you ever smelled a rat? They smell even worse than humans. And that's on a good day.

I shifted back to human just long enough to let the cat get a good look. It ran like hell, following the vanished tail of that other rat.

Someone screamed. Great.

My head swiveled, trying to identify the problem. No point in making a fuss if it was just some television show, but a woman stood at the head of the alley staring at me.

I really didn't want to change back to the rat form, not with her screaming like that, but a naked human going through dumpsters in this town would be more than a curiosity. I shifted shape and slipped off the edge, burrowing into a week's worth of garbage. Man that stinks.

Her screams grated, they hurt. Then they stopped and high, excited voices raced down the alley. I didn't know the language--some dialect or other, just enough to obscure the meaning. They talked, raced around like the idiots they were.

I don't have a very high opinion of humans. When they were gone I shifted back to human shape and pushed at the lid.

Latched, from the outside. Fantastic.

Episode 2

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mind Games

When I read a book, I gauge it by how many times I can (i.e., want) to read it before I start skipping or getting bored. Most books I stop at one read, see no reason to continue. I usually don't buy something unless it's at least a two read.

Kiersten White's "Mind Games" is a four-read, which puts it easily up into the high four, low five range on a five point scale. I read it through, straight, four times and still liked it. On read five I found myself skipping and skimming. I still like it, but I know where all the good parts are.

Not surprisingly, Fia was my favorite of the characters. While I could empathize with Annie, she's far too credulous and more concerned about her own interests and feelings than about keeping in touch with her sister. Fia should have been able to confide in her, but instead Annie pushes her away and ignores the signs, unwilling to acknowledge that her beloved school might not be what it seems to be.

I think the way it's done, everyone who reads it will find a character they really like, one who fascinates them and who they want to follow. It might not be Fia or Annie; the other characters are almost as well developed. James, Adam, Eden, the teachers and even Mr. Keine.

The structure of the book was absolutely fascinating. It didn't feel like flashbacks at all, but more of two linked stories. I did get confused initially, but that's my own fault--it took me a while to start paying attention to the time stamps at the beginning of each chapter.

I read the Paranormalcy series a few weeks ago, and this one was better. Paranormalcy was a three read, the others two. Still great, and I gave them a four on Goodreads.

Friday, March 8, 2013


I finished another short, called Parallel. This one is straight Sci-fi (unless you live in the 20th century, in which case the lines blur) and only a little over 8000 words.

I had a little bit written, or at least a hint of it. I've been trying to go through my old stories and get them all categorized correctly. This was a takeoff from a story called Chivd (Pronounced shift, at least a decade old) in which three different worlds had developed because of one decision. In all three a disease hit humanity that had four out of five people dying.

In the first universe (or world) the people moved into space and through gates to other worlds, pretty much evacuating Earth except for those who were already infected.

In the second universe the man responsible for the evacuation effort had died as a child (drunk driver) but another had survived to become a biologist who created the vaccine that saved humanity.

In a third (a break-off from the second) the one that Parallel is based on, the biologist had chosen to do something else with his life and the "father of space" had died in that car crash. So they had no options.

It's all about decisions.