Promo: DAY OF WRATH Release Day!

Promo

I woke up this morning reminding myself to do some very important blog posts, and then realized it’s release day! My pre-ordered copy has gone live! Guess what I read over breakfast today? *huge grin*

COVER

The award-winning Taking Shield series comes to its shattering conclusion in Day of Wrath.

About The Book

In less than a week, Bennet will finally return to the Shield Regiment, leaving behind the Gyrfalcon, his father, his friends… and Flynn. Promotion to Shield Major and being given command of a battle group despite the political fallout from Makepeace the year before is everything he thought he wanted. Everything he’s worked towards for the last three years. Except for leaving Flynn. He really doesn’t want to leave Flynn.

There’s time for one last flight together. A routine mission. Nothing too taxing, just savouring every moment with the best wingman, the best friend, he’s ever had. That’s the plan.

Bennet should know better than to trust to routine because what waits for them out there will change their lives forever.

Title: Day of Wrath

Author: Anna Butler

Series: Taking Shield

Necessary to read previous 4 books? Yes

Wordcount: c106,300

Category: Sci Fi, Gay mainstream.

eBook Publication Date: 28 June 2018

Paperback: Available now from Amazon or direct from Anna’s website

Publisher: Glass Hat Press © 2018

Editor: Val Selby-Wolfe at Scarlet Tie

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

Goodreads Link

More information and background on the Shield Universe here

Buy Links

Day of Wrath is available at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and iBooks.

Link to a digital bookstore near you

Giveaway

Rafflecoptor giveaway to win one of three prizes:

– 25$ (or equivalent) Amazon gift card

– signed copy of Gyrfalcon, the first Taking Shield book

– your pick of an eBook from Anna’s back catalogue

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Excerpt

(choose one of the following three excerpts)

Excerpt One

A laser bolt sizzled past him. Shit! They were after him. The scanner was still suffering from Maess jamming, but Flynn could make out four Maess fighters behind him. Another laser bolt flashed past, his scanners showing it blood scarlet against the blackness of space.

Flynn’s scanner picked up Bennet rolling his Hornet to one side. A laser bolt missed him by only a few feet. Close. Too close. There had been all too many of them in the last hour. They’d done nothing but dogfight Maess fighters since they found Jilly and Bennet took back command for their share of the battle.

“Wingover loop,” Bennet ordered. “Best chance we’ve got.”

Good call. They had to get the bastards off their afterburners.

Flynn flung his Hornet up into a vertical curving quarter loop, still at top sub-light speed. He flat-turned at the top and dived down into another quarter loop to flatten out. They were facing the Maess full on, now. The abrupt change caught the Maess by surprise. The four Maess fighters scattered as Bennet and Flynn zoomed at them.

Flynn pressed his thumb onto the firing button and kept it there. Clipped one of the Maess and sent it spinning off to one side, but Bennet got another one head on as they flew through, the lucky bastard.

“Wingover to give chase,” Bennet said.

Flynn repeated the wingover, flat turning to change direction through 180 degrees again, only a few hundred yards from Bennet’s left wing. They were bloody smooth, moving as if they were connected by wires, coming up on the Maess from behind. Best pilots in Fleet, they were. Had to be. Along with Cruz who, as Flynn had expected, was out there with her pilots on Bennet’s starboard flank. He hadn’t had time to do more than greet her on their arrival and try to keep as much of an eye on her as he could spare from watching Bennet’s back.

Flynn centred a Maess fighter on the targeting screen and fired. Hit it. Damaged it enough to bleed its shields, not enough to kill it. Another second to be sure of his aim, and then again, the weapons array had the target centred. Another shot, and Flynn was suddenly flying through a miniature asteroid belt of Maess fighter parts, all bouncing off his shields and making the Hornet rattle.

Best bloody noise in the world, that.

(c 400 words)

Excerpt Two

The sharp ringing of the bell on the bar cut through all the conversations and laughter. The bartender could yell too. “Quiet! Lieutenant Flynn has an announcement to make!”

Bennet turned his head and jack-knifed to sit upright. Oh, the bastard wasn’t—

“All right, boys and girls!” Flynn was almost bouncing on his toes, grinning. He always did like being the focus of everyone in sight. “We’re here tonight because of mindless military tradition—in our case, getting traditionally mindless on good liquor as we welcome our newest ensigns—but I don’t think they’d mind if I crash their party for a few minutes. Everyone got a drink?”

A host of glasses were waved at him. Bennet tried to choke down a sigh. The bastard was, damn him.

“Excellent! I like to see our old customs embraced with such fervour. We have another custom, if you remember. If someone gets promoted they buy drinks for the entire OC, am I right?”

Flynn was completely at his ease, the damned treacherous sod.

“You all know that we’re kicking the captain off the ship at the end of the month and sending him back to Shield. But what you don’t know is that Fleet’s put such a polish on the man, such a lustre, that when Shield gets him back they’re punting him up a rank. I reckon that’s worth at least two drinks each. What do you say?”

Bennet put his head in his hands. Someone’s hand connected painfully with the area between his shoulder blades as surprised silence fractured into cheers, yells and foot stamping. Pilots jumped up and down, waving their glasses at him. Another thump to the back and Carson was pulling him to his feet and into the most astonishing hug, yelling in his ear.

Bennet had to laugh. It was that or commit murder.

Flynn let it go on for a moment or two, before getting the bartender to ding that bloody bell again.

Bennet was half-enveloped in hugs, half-deafened by shouted good wishes. Yelling her delight, Cruz flung her arms around his neck, and the smacking kiss to the cheek had his ears ringing. His face felt as if it were on fire.

“Flynn, I am going to hurt you for this.” He smiled in a way that he hoped suggested pleasant anticipation. It was hard to stop grinning and laughing, but he tried. “I’m going to dangle you out of an airlock by your favourite appendage.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Flynn waved a dismissive hand to a chorus of laughter and catcalls. “You always promise me that and so far, you’ve never delivered. There’s only so long a man can hang around waiting. Point is, while we’re sad to see you go, Bennet, we’re delighted that you’re getting promoted. We’ll miss you, and Shield are damn lucky to get you back. Right, people?”

More cheers and yells that died only at the insistent ringing of the bell. Flynn raised his glass. “Charge your glasses, and let’s hear it for the captain—no! For the Shield Major elect. Shield Major Bennet!”

The roar should have split open bulkheads. Bennet yelped and fell back in a scrum of a couple of dozen pilots and more were heading his way. The breath was knocked out of him with a whoosh that could probably be heard parsecs away.

Gods. He’d kill Flynn when he got hold of him. Kill him.

At least, that’s what he promised himself until Flynn fought his way through the scrum to deliver his own bone-crushing hug, and Bennet saw Flynn’s eyes were bleak and that his mouth was drawing down, just as his own wanted to do, and he said nothing. There really wasn’t anything he could say.

(c620 words)

Excerpt three

The storeroom was empty and Flynn had long ago learned how to over-ride the door mechanism and lock it from the inside. He did so now, not wanting to be interrupted.

And, of course, now that Bennet was back and he had the privacy he wanted, Flynn’s rehearsed speeches vanished from his mind and tongue. Which was annoying. “I don’t suppose you can tell me what you were doing back home?”

“What do you think?”

Flynn managed a creditable laugh. “That I’m playing for time.” He gestured to the back wall, where piles of new uniforms made a comfortable seat. They sat side by side, leaning back against the wall. “I took a leaf out of your book and I’ve been practising what I want to say. Trouble is, I’ve forgotten my lines.”

“Keep it simple then.” Bennet’s grin was lopsided. “I’m running on fumes right now, anyway. I can’t handle complex.”

Flynn nodded. “Well, ‘simple’ is that no matter what I might have said when I was mad with you—and the gods help me, I was so mad with you I couldn’t see straight—you are the most important person in my life. I kinda think you always will be. But we are where we are. You’re going, I’m staying here. You’re Shield, I’m Fleet.” He forced another laugh, but it didn’t sound quite as credible. “Doomed. We were doomed from the start.”

Bennet’s laugh wasn’t any better than Flynn’s. He slipped his hand into Flynn’s. “We were.”

“Star-crossed, I said when you left to go back to Albion.”

“Yeah, and that sucks. Because, you too. No one more important.”

“It sucks balls the size of planets. Galaxies.” Flynn tightened his grip on the warm hand in his. “We only have a few weeks, and I know better than to think things can be different just because of that. We’re still star-crossed. Except, maybe, at the end…?”

He hated that he sounded so unsure, but then Bennet’s mouth curved up a fraction.

“Maybe.”

It wasn’t much of a promise, but he’d take what he could get. Flynn leaned his head back against the metal wall. An instant later and Bennet copied him, rolling his head to one side until he was almost touching Flynn’s. A better outlook than Flynn could have hoped for, even a couple of weeks earlier.

Flynn let the deep, mostly subliminal hum of the Gyrfalcon’s engines soothe him. “I don’t suppose we could stay in here and never come out?”

“They’ll come looking for us.”

“Yeah.” Flynn had to concede that. “So, did you get the Hyperion back?”

“No.” Bennet pulled a face at him. “They bumped me up to major. I’ve got a Shield battle-group to look after. Three Shield ships to command.”

“A promotion? Seriously?”

“Yeah. Not formally until I step off this ship, but yeah. Shield Major.”

“We don’t have majors in Fleet,” Flynn said.

“Well, I’m not Fleet. And the Shield Regiment doesn’t have that ‘regiment’ tacked onto the name just because someone thought the two words sounded well together. Shield started out in Infantry centuries ago, and Infantry does have majors.”

Flynn made a tchtching noise. “Some people have no shame, confessing to low origins like that. But seriously, that is brilliant news!”

“It would be brilliant if I didn’t have work going on with the Strategy Unit again. You know, I’m seriously thinking that I’ll give it a year, then I’ll get out.”

Flynn blinked. “That’s a bit drastic.”

“It’s a family tradition that we all serve, Flynn. But some days I reckon I’ve done enough. More than enough.”

Flynn couldn’t hold back the derisive snort. “Only if you have that sense of duty surgically removed.”

Bennet stared at him, mouth turned down at the corners, his lips pressed tight together. After a moment he blew out a noisy sigh and lifted one shoulder in a slight shrug. “I know. It’s a fantasy that I have choices.”

“You said it yourself to the kids, Bennet. Stand and fight.” Flynn found his grip on Bennet’s hand had slackened. He glanced down at them, his brown hand curved around Bennet’s long white fingers. He used his thumb to make little smoothing motions over the back of Bennet’s hand, relishing the almost imperceptible shiver Bennet gave. “If you did leave the military, what would you do? The history thing back at the museum?”

“Maybe. But what I’d like to do some front-line archaeology. Trace our route back to Earth and do some star-mapping and exploration, run a few digs when we find something worth investigating. Never stay anywhere long, just keep moving. I’d like that.”

Flynn saw that for the first time in a long while Bennet’s expression was relaxed, open; that the fine, tight lines of tension around his mouth and eyes had eased. “A ship of your own? You’ll need a crew.”

“Do you want to sign up?”

“Well, there won’t be any fraternisation rules, will there?”

Bright eyes glanced at him sidelong. “No. There won’t.”

“Pay?”

“A pittance. You do it for academic glory.”

“I prefer cash.” Flynn smiled at Bennet’s amused snort. He was silent for a few minutes. Beside him Bennet relaxed. “Well, I like the idea of wandering around and exploring stuff and having adventures. That sounds exciting. The digging part of it sounds more like hard work than I’m strictly comfortable with.”

“It never killed anyone yet.”

“I’m gonna have to see the medical studies before I take your word for it. It’s beside the point, anyway. I have delicate hands and shouldn’t ruin them with a shovel. But all in all, it sounds like a reasonable job.” Flynn smiled at Bennet’s profile. “I’m on—if I can sign up as First Mate.”

Bennet tilted his head until it was resting against Flynn’s. “The job’s yours. Until I get a better applicant, of course.”

“In your dreams.” Flynn let it all smooth away, slip into a comfortable silence. He had less than four weeks of this before Bennet was gone again, and he wasn’t going to waste any of it. Not one second.

He brought his other hand across to enclose Bennet’s in both of his, and let his eyes close.

(c1000 words)

About Anna

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. She’s supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

Website and Blog | Facebook | The Butler’s Pantry (Facebook Group) | Twitter | Sign up for Anna’s occasional newsletter

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Promo: The Chains of Their Sins, by Anna Butler

Writing

I have an announcement today, here on my barely-started, mostly empty blog. Anna Butler, an amazing writer whom I’ve known and admired forever, has a new release out today! Check it out, Anna’s writing never, ever disappoints.

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Taking Shield 04 : The Chains Of Their Sins

PUBLICATION DATE : 13 February 2017

About the Taking Shield series

Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war that’s dragged on for generations.

Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family. When the series opens, Bennet is at odds with his long term partner, Joss, who wants him out of the military and back in an academic, archaeological career. He’s estranged from his father, Caeden, who is the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla. Events of the first book, in which he is sent to his father’s ship to carry out an infiltration mission behind Maess lines, improve his relationship with Caeden, but bring with them the catalyst that will destroy the one with Joss: one Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest.

Over the Taking Shield story arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.

Taking Shield 01: Gyrfalcon

Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab

Taking Shield 03: Makepeace

(2nd place winner, Rainbow Awards 2016)

About The Chains of Their Sins

Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year’s posting before returning to the Shield Regiment after his rotation out.

On the Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeace—ethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan…

Book Title: Chains of Their Sins

Series: Taking Shield

Publisher: Glass Hat Press

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

Wordcount: c 98,000

Category: Sci Fi, Gay mainstream

(ARCs available)

Excerpt

More Hornets were out of the tubes, racing to catch up; almost everyone, now. Bennet had the Patroklus squadron on visual, little points of light on his left, speeding towards him. He held the Starboard and Port wings in position, waiting for Patroklus to join him, listening to the continuous stream of inter-ship Comms that gave him the intel he needed on everyone’s position. Captain Sergei reported he was in position.

Heads up, boys and girls,” Bennet said over the command line. “Bandits will be here in two minutes. Battlecode comm transmissions only.”

All chatter stopped. Everything around him fell silent. It took him a second to realise that the dull muffled thumping that he felt as much as heard, was his own quickening heartbeat. His eyes never stopped moving—to port, ahead, the scanner, to port, ahead, to starboard, ahead, the scanner, ahead, to port…

His gaze flickered to port-side most. His pilots were out there, tackling the outriders to the first wave of fighters. Nothing much to see. The fighters were drones, with no internal atmospheres to give even the briefest flash of light and heat when they were destroyed. If he saw a flash, it would be one of their own.

Port, ahead, the scanner, port, ahead, starboard…

All advance bandits accounted for,” Kyle said. “No survivors.”

Casualties?”

None. Clean strike.”

Good. Stand by.” Look to port, ahead, the scanner, ahead, to starboard, ahead, the scanner, ahead… “Kyle, you have their left flank. Sergei, their right. Starboard Wing, we’re punching right through these guys to take on the second wave.”

Yes!” The excitement in Kyle’s voice was unmistakable.

Ready.” Sergei was more subdued.

We’re ready,” Cruz said, steady as ever. “We’re all ready.”

Bennet took a split-second to watch them get into position, the usual cold clenching around his guts, knowing they wouldn’t all come back. He had the fighters on visual now, a close-packed phalanx of ships, blotting out stars. There had to be more than a hundred of them, with a second wave of at least another hundred, maybe more, behind. A full complement of a battleship’s fighters all stacked up against the little Hornets.

Bennet opened his private comline to the Gyrfalcon. “Ten seconds, bridge. We’re going in.” He only half-heard Quist’s acknowledgement. He’d already keyed into the battle code comline. A deep breath. “All Attack Wings, intercept attackers and engage the enemy. Go!”

Five seconds later the front ranks of Hornets and fighters smacked right into each other.

Buy Links

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZ9QQYQ/

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MZ9QQYQ/

Available for pre-order at Kobo.

Giveaway

$25 (or equivalent) Amazon voucher.
Signed copy “Gyrfalcon”, Taking Shield Book 01.

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About the author

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.

Website and Blog

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