Caeli Crys isn’t living—she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.
Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.
As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers—full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.
She sat on the floor in a corner of the cell. The only contents of the frigid room were a cot with a threadbare blanket and a bucket, which she assumed was to be used if she needed to relieve herself. The blood spatter had dried to a crusty mess on her clothing and face, and was matted into her hair.
They’d left her alone and she had lost all sense of time, but she knew they would be coming for her. Marcus wanted the information in her head. She was a liability to the whole group now, not only for what she knew, but also for how she could be used. She understood that she would have a limit. She would protect the resistance with her life, but Marcus was creative. If he put his gun to the head of a child, what would she do? Her mind raced with unspeakable possibilities. She had to get away.
When she heard the door begin to open sometime later, she already had a plan. A single soldier entered the cell carrying water and food. She lay unmoving on the concrete floor and didn’t respond when he called to her. She heard him swear under his breath and put the tray down to approach her. When he knelt beside her and put his hand out, presumably to check her pulse, she grabbed his wrist. Startled, he tried to pull back, but she had already pushed her consciousness into his.
His eyes widened with surprise and then fear as she used her mind to constrict the blood vessels traveling to his brain until he was unconscious. She dragged him into one corner of the cell, took his weapon, and after checking the hallway, closed the cell door behind her. The corridor was dimly lit. It was quiet and empty as she quickly made her way to the lift. Her heart pounded in her chest as the machine rose steadily and finally came to a stop aboveground.
5 out of 5 (Exceptional)
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I wasn’t sure if it would be more sci-fi or contemporary-ish. Much to my surprise, it felt to me to have more of a contemporary style with romance with some sci-fi mixed in. The characters are written well and well detailed.
As I read the story, there were plenty of moments where I was in shock as to what happened, was happening, or happened during a flash back. Some things I couldn’t fathom and some things just fell in line with the rest of the story. There was some serious heartache and heartbreak in this story. It was almost dripping off the page.
The connection between the two lead characters was amazing. The author did an absolutely amazing job describing how she was able to read into people’s minds or show them her memories. The moments that this happened really brought the two characters together and made them even more special.
All in all, this was a very well round, well written, enjoyable story. I am glad to have read the story, it was an intriguing read.
* I received this book from Goddess Fish Promotions in return for a fair and honest review. *
Tabitha Lord will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you so much for hosting me today! I’m married with four kids, a dog and a cat. Before writing became my full-time career, I worked in admissions at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School, and I taught Latin in the middle school for over a decade. At one time, I wanted to be a doctor, and I even began medical school. But med school with small children was, for me, an impossible task, and the timing was never right for me to finish.
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Black Stallion! I loved horses as a child and was a competent rider, so the beautiful, untamed stallion in the story captivated me from the start. I was also attracted to the idea of surviving against the odds, alone and out in the wild. I grew up in a rural neighborhood and spent hours playing outdoors, pretending to build my own shelter, collecting piles of nuts and berries to eat, and attempting to befriend the animals. All these years later, we meet the protagonist of my first novel surviving alone in the wilderness, against the odds. I guess those early passions are still with me. No horses in my series, though!
What do you do when you’re not writing?
With a big family, a good bit of my world still involves baseball games, piano recitals, concerts, school plays, and feeding the masses! To keep balance in my life, I take 3 or 4 power yoga classes per week, and I hike with a group of gals on Thursday mornings. When I want to relax, it’s usually with a book and a cup of tea!
When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I loved to write stories as a child. In fact, when I was sorting through some of my grandma’s things after she passed, I came across a whole collection of poetry and stories I’d written. It was very sweet. In my professional life I’ve written some ad copy, blog posts, and done some editing for school publications, but I had very little time or energy for creative writing.
As my children got older and the dynamics of my family shifted, I began to consider changing careers. While I pondered what was next for me professionally I took on a yearlong writing project at work thinking it would give me the change of pace I needed. Turns out it was one of the most satisfying things I’d ever done in my career. Since I was in the habit of writing every day for work, I challenged myself to write creatively every day as well. Lo and behold, when the report was finished a year later, so was my first manuscript. This was about four years ago. Two years ago I left the job I loved for one I loved more and embraced the writer’s life full-time!
Are you a planner or a pantser?
Planner! Actually, I would say I’m a loose outliner. I definitely have the bones of a story plotted out, but there’s plenty of wiggle room, and the story evolves both during the first draft, and in the subsequent edits.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I learned so much on the path to publishing that I can’t really say I would go back and change anything, but there are a few things I wish I’d realized earlier. The most important being that a completed manuscript is a draft. It isn’t even close to the finished product! I look at that version of my manuscript now and cringe! Clunky writing, character issues, and loads of info dumping littered my pages.
But I didn’t know any better, and soon after I finished that draft, I attended a writer’s conference and pitch slam. Essentially, a pitch slam is like speed dating with agents. You get three minutes to pitch your manuscript, live and in-person! All the agents requested material, which told me I had a good concept. But, later, when the excitement died down, I realized my manuscript wasn’t ready and I hired a professional editor. Once we finished the re-write, I had a much-improved version. Although I certainly don’t regret pitching those agents, I know now that I definitely wasn’t ready to send them anything!
What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author?
The best and toughest criticism I receive (and pay attention to) comes from my beta readers. I have an excellent group who understand me as a writer, but also really challenge me when I need it. With Horizon, a few of those early readers didn’t like my male main character, Derek, at all! That was really tough to hear since I had, and still have, a not-so-secret crush on him! But I had to figure out what they were seeing that I wasn’t. I realized, when I started the story, in my mind Derek was about ten years younger. Once the plot got moving, he needed to make decisions and have a certain authority in his own world that required him to be older and have more experience. The character I had written was still too arrogant and immature to be the hero I needed him to be, and I think this is what my readers recognized. So I did a major edit of his scenes, attempting to keep the essence of his character, but giving him more depth and maturity.
And, of course, now that Horizon is published, I’ve received some negative reviews. People like different things. Not everyone is going to like my story. Logically, I understand this, but it still hurts to have my book baby slammed in writing! Early on I received very solid advice: Don’t read the negative reviews. Once the book is out in the world, the time for helpful critiquing is over. I find that a lot of really negative reviews are snarky or just plain insulting, and I don’t think they’re actually meant to be helpful.
Having said that, I do read the mediocre ones, and I look for trends in the comments. If readers find something about the plot or a particular character unsatisfying, I try to consider that and ask myself if I can do better.
What has been the best compliment?
One five star review compared my novel to the early Star Trek books! I was giddy over that comment!
What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
I have a MacBook Air and I generally write at my kitchen table. In the winter, sometimes, I’ll grab the beanbag chair from my son’s room and sit in front of the fire to write. And in the spring and summer, I love to drag my computer and notes onto the porch to write outside. Music is good, but it has to be low and in the background or I’ll get distracted.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
The most important thing for me, as a writer, is to tell a good story. I write because I have to get these stories out of my head and onto the paper, but I also write for my readers and fans. I hope people fall in love with my characters and lose themselves in the plot. I hope they’re transported to different worlds. I hope they open my book and time flies away. This is what I want when I read, and I hope I can provide that experience for my fans!
Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where she grew up. She is married, has four great kids, a spoiled Ragdoll cat, and lovable black lab. The house is noisy and the dinner table full! She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at a small, independent Waldorf school. She also worked in the admissions office there before turning her attention to full-time writing.
You can visit her blog at www.tabithalordauthor.com where she posts author interviews, hosts guest bloggers, and discusses some favorite topics including parenting and her writing journey. Horizon is her first novel.