On a human development on Mars in the future, Jim Meade, Runabout and Zero-G fighter, gets involved in the shady dealings of the warlords who exercise plenty of power within the Martian settlements. The Coalition provides a sense of government and civil order that most residents respect. However, one officer of the Coalition requests the Jim Meade help find and rescue her father out of a virtual reality prison, Enzeli, claiming he was innocent of the crime that led to his sentencing. This eventually leads Meade to uncover a sinister plan by the Ambassador Corcoran to use a super computer to control the destinies of everyone on Mars. Learning that one of the warlords had planned to assassinate the Ambassador, Meade is torn over thwarting the Ambassador's plan and protecting her life at the same time. Meanwhile, he takes on outlaw status as the trouble he walks into leads to some unfortunate events that turns public opinion against him. Filled with all the butt-kicking action amongst a world of science fiction, this story is Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, and Chuck Norris rolled into one.
Well, I love this kind of science fiction and action and R.J. Johnson keeps this story a non-stop roller-coaster. If you couldn't get enough of Total Recall and Demolition Man with a touch of Indiana Jones, than this story is all for you. The Zero-G fight scenes kept me on the edge of my seat and the reader is left with the satisfaction that the antagonists get the butt-whipping they deserve. Reading the Kindle version, I found it to be free from glitches that can sometimes affect poorly formatted e-books. There were a few typographical errors, word omissions, and misplaced words in the text, but not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the story.
So, there you have it. Action and thrill-seeking readers--add this to your reading list ASAP. Be good to yourselves.
Now for part 1 of a short story that I will add to my collection for kids. It's called The Cupid Effect. If you'd like to read it entirely, I have a link to the Word document through Google Drives. Just click this.
The Cupid Effect (part 1):
Today I thought Ethan smiled and waved at me at lunch time. But, he was only smiling and waving to Ben who was coming up behind me. Ethan is so cute and I love him. Why doesn’t he love me? Sometimes he’s nice, but other times he acts like I’m not even there. I have to find a way to get him to fall in love with me.
Alyssa closed up her diary and zipped up the case it came in. This was the one place she kept her thoughts regarding the world as she experienced it. She made notes about the other girls at school, including a list of who she believed were good friends, who were so-so acquaintances, and who were just never her friend in any way. For the boys, she recorded them according to their cuteness, braininess, and level of meanness and obnoxiousness. However, one boy had stolen her heart, although he wasn’t even aware of it. This one boy had an entire section devoted just to him. Ethan Rodgers, with his blonde hair, blue eyes and his tendency to allow girls to play along with him, was someone she daydreamed about regularly.
She once asked her mom, “I’m nice to Ethan, usually, but he always says that he hates me. I try to be silly around him because he likes to be silly. Should I just ask him to be my boyfriend?”
“Alyssa, you’re only in third grade. Boys are funny when it comes to girls. You just have to be patient. You don’t need a boyfriend, anyway. You’re way too young.” Alyssa knew she was too young, but her feelings for Ethan were hanging there day after day.
My mom says I’m too young for a boyfriend. But, I still love Ethan. Why can’t I be old enough? She says to be patient with Ethan because he’s a boy and boys are funny when it comes to girls. How can I be patient? And, I’m a nice girl and funny, too. I wouldn’t even make him play with my dolls or anything. I just wish he would say, “Alyssa, I love you. Can I always sit next to you at lunch?” Then, I’d say, “Yes, yes, yes! You can always sit next to me!” And, we would laugh together and I wouldn’t talk about marriage until the third day. Give him a chance to get use to me.
Sitting on her bed brushing the ends to her dark brown hair that dipped passed her shoulders, she hummed a tune she heard on the car radio while in her mind she was thinking of all the fun things her and Ethan could do together. Alyssa would treat him like a friend and they’d go get ice cream, splash around in a pool, race each other on sleds and maybe her mom would let him sleep over. No, no, no, she thought. He’s a boy. My mom wouldn’t let him sleep over. Or maybe…she’d let him if she saw how wonderful he was.
Her eyes brightened as she thought of an idea. Alyssa planned to use some of her craft string to create a necklace for Ethan with hand drawn images from his favorite computer game. He really liked the game of Craftkin and she paid attention to how he described it to his buddies at lunch time. Whenever she could, she always tried to sit close enough to him so she could overhear his conversations for any clues or ideas to use to attract his attention to her. Finding a sheet of white paper she borrowed from the stack meant for her family’s inkjet printer, she drew characters from the game. Not only that she sketched items that could be gathered within the course of play and after she had about ten pictures, she cut them all out in a circle except at the top she left flattened. They were roughly the size of an American half-dollar coin. Using the one straight-edge side of the pictures and a glue stick, she attached them around the necklace string so that the circle part dangled below. When she finished, she tied the ends together in a slip knot so Ethan could adjust it to fit his neck. Giddy with excitement she dashed out of her room and down the stairs to find her mother, but she wasn’t in her house.
Finding her older sister, Beth, lounging on the couch, texting her friends on her smartphone, Alyssa probed her. “Beth. Where’s Mom?”
“What? I don’t know. What’s that in your hands?”
“It’s just a necklace. It’s for Ethan.”
Beth rolled her eyes and laughed at her. “I don’t understand how you can like a boy so much. When I was in third grade, I never really thought about them, except when they were being gross and disgusting.” Being twelve, Beth was much wiser about the world than Alyssa. “The way you talk about him…it’s almost creepy. Like you’re stalking him.”
“What’s stalking? You have boyfriends. How is this different?”
“Well, for starters, I’m older than you and I’m in middle school. I also don’t talk about my boyfriends over and over as if I’m obsessed with them. If you give that to Ethan, you might as well make a wish for it to magically change him because boys in third grade care nothing about girls.” Beth was about to go back to messaging her friends. “Oh…I know where Mom is. She’s out in the yard watching some meteor shower. Talking about wishes made me remember. Anyway, she called you ‘cause she knows you love science stuff. You must’ve been writing about Ethan in your diary.”
“How do you know I write about Ethan or anything?” Alyssa smirked in embarrassment from her sister knowing her private thoughts.
“You leave your diary open sometimes and I put folded laundry in your room for you to put away, and I’ve read through it.” Beth typed another phrase into her smartphone and sent it to yet another friend. “I read how you hoped Adrianna would choke on a grape because she called you a nerdette. You really mean that? You want her to choke to death?”
“Not to death. Just enough to keep her from talking for the rest of her life. I’m not a nerdette.”
“Uh…sorry, Sis, but you kind of are. You love math and science, which is bad enough, but you’re good at it and you’re a girl. Girls usually don’t love math. And, you daydream a lot and are exceptionally quiet. Then, there’s your unhealthy obsession for Ethan. It’s not a bad thing to be a nerdette. But, expect people to poke fun sometimes. Anyway, you better go out and catch those meteors. Who knows, maybe your wish will come true.”
Alyssa stood there contemplating what her sister said. She hated that Beth looked through her diary and saw how she felt about Adrianna on that day. Adrianna was definitely on her “no friends” list. Hopefully, her mom wouldn’t find out because she might get in trouble. From now on, she would lock up her diary. Something was on the tip of her tongue to say to Beth, but the words refused to leave. Turning towards the front door, Alyssa vacated the house, and tried to find her mother.
“Mom? Where are you?” Alyssa cried out.
“In the backyard. Hurry…it’s starting to cloud up.” The backyard was the darkest part to the house at night, but with the lights of the city, there was nowhere a person could go to get a total view of the stars. Alyssa did see the front of clouds advancing from the northwest. Rounding the corner to the backyard, she passed through the open gate to greet her mom at the farthest point away from the house.
Little streaks of light crossed the sky at random moments. Her mom said to her, “What you do is that you see one, close your eyes and make a wish and don’t tell anyone about it? Just keep staring at the sky.”
That was what Alyssa did and one of the brightest meteors of the shower glowed brighter than the moon. In her mind, Alyssa made her wish. I wish Ethan will fall in love with me if he puts on this necklace I made for him. Alyssa wanted to believe in this celestial magic, as she had for most of her childhood. However, she had an ever-so-emerging rational side where a more mature Alyssa began to dismiss ridiculous notions such as magic. The little girl piece of her so much pleaded with the cosmos to let her wish come true. She would be one happy brunette if Ethan were to fall in love with her—or at least become friends with her.