Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Adverse Effects by Alicia Nordwell - Giveaway!

I'm so pleased today to play host to Cia Nordwell, celebrating her new release, ADVERSE EFFECTS. This is the second book in the Saving Caeorleia series. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the bottom of the post. Thanks for reading, and I'll turn it over to Alicia!

Growing up, I was really into historical biographies or fiction. I also loved the classics. After that I was a huge fan of Anne McCaffrey and her Dragonriders of Pern stories. Once I fell in love with sci-fi, I branched out in a lot of her other works that followed more traditional mores, too. But I became hooked on science fiction by the book, Dune. It’s a cultural icon in the genre, imo, and a great example of incredible world-building that spans a vast amount of space, time, and cultures.

Dune follows a central character’s journey as Paul Atriedes comes of age in a place that is alien to him. His life and choices are dictated by his station in life and upon the customs and accepted practices of the universe he lives within—but he’s not all that he appears to be. There is more to him under the surface, and far more to the plot than what those characters who play the parts of the villain wish for others to see. That element in the story and characters really draws me in as a reader and inspires me as an author.

While Adverse Effects is no Dune, I really tried to employ those elements into my story. Neither of my main characters wear their hearts on their sleeves; they both have a lot of secrets and hidden depths that are gradually shared with each other and the reader as the plot progresses. The conflict that arises against them is also far more complex than it seems—much to their dismay—and the fate of more than just a single world lies in the balance.

I hope you’ll enjoy all the layers in Adverse Effects.

Dade, human-Caeorleian hybrid and ex-military grunt, doesn’t fit in—not with humans, not with aliens, not anywhere. He’s always on the outskirts, angry, and people aren’t sure they can trust him. When he encounters a compatible tziu named Yaseke, secrets, misunderstandings, and attacks nearly prevent the two from making a connection Dade sorely needs. Even after they unite, Dade and Yaseke face challenges that two newly joined males should never have to endure.

From traitorous council members, to sadistic aliens who plan to sell them as slaves, to meeting a mysterious race of revered aliens called Collectors, Dade and Yaseke manage to stay together—and even rescue two youths related to Yaseke, who’ve lost their parents to the same betrayer.

Someone from Dade’s past is at the root of everything he’s suffered. No way can he let them get away with what they’re planning, but Dade isn’t sure he can stop them on his own. If he doesn’t let go of his isolation and risk the pain letting others in will bring, he’ll never save Caeorleia in time.

Sunlight glared off the silver surface of the lake, blinding me where I crouched away from everyone. The guard currently assigned to me stood at my back, making my skin crawl. I shivered, even though it was hot enough I was sweating. I never knew when one of them might try to touch me.

The water cooled my fingers when I dipped them in, making small swirling circles ripple around my hand. My hovering shadow, a guard assigned to follow me around, shouted over to the guards who were with the main group lounging together beside the lake. The sound startled me, and I jerked, splashing water over my robe. I glared at him from the corner of my eye, but my guard was talking to Fieo and not paying that much attention to me. Nicklaus was sitting in the shade of the weird brown trees by the water. He was busy talking to Ryker, the other human who’d set us free from the military scientists.

Over the last few days, things had settled down. Those Caeorleian Council guys were no longer trying to force us into matches with their own people. Ryker’s guy had really told them off, calling it the rape it would have been. The other two men might want one of these pale aliens touching them, but I didn’t. I wasn’t sure what would happen to us on their planet, but I didn’t need anyone pawing at me. I’d known I would need more information, so I pumped the only person I could. Ryker had spent a few afternoons telling us everything he’d learned living on Caeorleia, which was the name of their planet.

I’d tried to absorb everything about the Caeorleians, treating what he told me like a debriefing. Before Ryker and his isit had rescued us, the only term I’d heard the planet called was MC-214-XXV. It had been the subject of a lot of speculation among the rank and file since it’d been discovered. The rest of the time I stayed in my room, avoiding the guards. Especially the one always hovering over Nicklaus. It creeped me out to see the way he watched him every second—so possessive. Fieo never touched Nicklaus but focused on him with a single-minded intensity.

Ryker and his alien guy, Seral, were never far apart, either. Being part of that kind of constricting relationship would’ve driven me insane. A slave to a need not my own? No. Not on the agenda.

I sighed, dipping my other arm in the water up to my wrist. It was really too hot out in the sun, but the shade of those weird sampanga trees was filled with naked aliens. And as tempting as the water was, I didn’t want to go swimming. That would involve taking off my robe.

I was not comfortable with that, even if it seemed like almost everyone on this planet shunned clothing. I’d never seen so many cocks and balls, and I’d been in military school and then actually joined the Space Forces as a teenager. Close quarters with a lot of guys was nothing new, but I couldn’t believe the Caeorleians’ blasé attitude toward nudity. Ryker had told us about the confusion over the different concept of clothing he’d encountered when he first showed up. Ryker ran around in a pair of shorts and had given Nicklaus a few pairs. I was too big for his shorts, so I had to wear the aliens’ version of a skirt and robe.

It was awkward. I’d tried to wear my pants I’d been wearing when we fled the ship, but it was too hot. I was not going to go naked, though, not like these aliens.

A shadow fell over me. I dipped my shoulder and spun as I surged to my feet. The guard who had come up behind me seemed startled and looked at me uncertainly as I glared at him.

“Don’t touch me!” I snapped, clenching my hands into fists, barely resisting the urge to show him my fangs. “What do you want?”

He held up his hands and took a step back. “Sorry. Everyone is going inside; it’s too hot out here. Seral has invited you to eat with him, and the midday meal will be served soon.”

I grimaced. Being stuck in a crowd of people around a table was the last place I wanted to be, but I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice. I waited for the guard to move after he gestured at the path. The guard took another few steps away from me, but he didn’t start walking toward the building until I walked past him. Then he followed me. I ground my teeth, my shoulders hunching up.

I could have been safe the past five years, in a hovel back on my home planet, working in a factory as a drone assembler or something. I might have more freedom to move around on Caeorleia than I’d had on the ship Ryker and Seral rescued me from, but at this point I wasn’t sure how much better it was here.

Damn scientists.

Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started... Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out.

Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing. Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she's a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course!

She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.


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