Cut Me A Slice of That Sweet Pie Story

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On November 3, 2017, I released the latest Arca short story, Pie. It’s approximately 11,750 words long and takes a little more serious tone than most of the rest of the series. While it occurs following the events of Power (currently scheduled to release May 2018), Pie does not include any spoilers for the novel, though it does reference eventsKaren Diem - Pie- Story Cover occurring in both Super and Human.

As usual, Zita is a fan of immoderate language, so some cursing is included, free of charge.

Description

Zita Garcia is a superhero with a plan. While on a multi-day road trip to their mother’s home, she’d bring up her brother Quentin’s recent bad behavior, he’d see reason, and everyone would be happy in time for Thanksgiving. Since neither one of them wants to incur their mother’s wrath, he can’t kick her out of the car and she can’t do any spinning drop kicks when he annoys her.

Of course, Zita isn’t known for her diplomacy, so her plan began unraveling even before the teary teenager and the rampaging pink monster showed up.

Good thing she’s got all her wits, and some pie. Or at least the pie.

Availability

This free short story is only available to newsletter subscribers, both new and existing. Anyone who joins the newsletter will also receive links to Tourists and Washout, as well as any future freebies, sneak peeks, etc.

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Cutting Room Floor – Power

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The following was cut from the first draft of Power, Book 3 in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series. Since it’s a first draft, be gentle. It’s Zita in all her unedited, unrestrained glory. Bits and pieces may get reused in the final book, but not the scene as a whole.


Power Cut Scene 1

When Andy emerged from his bathroom a full half-hour later, he almost seemed like himself in clean jeans, a t-shirt with an equation on it, and sneakers. His raven hair hung down his back in a tidy braid. The surly expression on his face was new, though.

Random Camels - Image by Kawtar Cherkaoui
Random camel pic by Kawtar Cherkaoui

“Ready?” Zita chirped, rocking on her heels.

“I guess.” He gave a half-hearted shrug.

Zita grabbed his arm and teleported.

They reappeared in a basement, one with boxes piled high on most sides, save for where a furnace and an old workbench commandeered space. The musty scents of cardboard and burnt oil were eclipsed by fragrant incense and fresh-cut herbs.

Andy blinked. He stared at the workbench, taking in the red fabric draping it. His eyes moved to the prominently displayed knife (athame, Zita reminded herself), a leather-bound book, and the creamy marble statue of a serene woman next to a half-melted candle. The last seemed to hold his gaze the longest, the stone face smiling back at him as his expression grew more sour. “Zita,” he growled.

She didn’t let him finish. Praying Wyn would be awake and ready to go hiking, she bounded up the stairs.”You better be ready this time,” she bellowed as she opened the door to the main house, “because we’re here and I don’t want to waste any more of the day waiting for you late sleepers!”

He trudged up after her.

If looks truly could inflict damage and if Zita were more sensitive, Andy’s glare might have dented her feelings. ​As it was, she was fine. She said, “We’re taking Wyn’s car. Your beater might not make it to the mountains, and you didn’t want to fly. My bike’s not meant to carry two on long trips comfortably.”

Skepticism ran rampant in his voice. “Wyn is letting you, of all people, borrow her brand new car?”

“What do you mean me–” Zita began.

“Wyn is not,” the woman in question said, rising from her reclining pose on her scarlet sofa. She set aside her ereader. “One ride with Zita is more than enough for one lifetime. I’m driving, and before you say anything, Zita has convinced me that the hike is to be a… now what was the elegant phrase you used?”

“A badger-free zone? A hike, not an inquisition or a mushy feelings talk, and the definition is left up to me,” Zita said. “I totally bargained with her on your behalf. I think you’ll like the deal I got you. Only a little bit of interrogating on the drive there, and then a nice, stress-free hike with no questions asked. I’m totally playing referee and everything so if she starts to hint around things, I get to stop her from bugging you. Sweet deal, right?”

“Says you,” Wyn mumbled, futzing with boots that looked too new to be comfortable.

Zita frowned at the pristine shoes. “Didn’t you break those in like I suggested?”

Andy said, “I’m out. Take me home.”

“No,” Wyn said. “This is an intervention.”

He turned to Zita, betrayal in his eyes.

She shook her head. “Nope, that was my end of the deal in exchange for the no nagging rules. If you want to go home, you have to fly yourself.”

Andy swore. “If I had known…”

“You wouldn’t have come,” Wyn said, “just as you’ve declined every invitation for the past month and a half. I’m still surprised Zita managed to get you here as it is. What’d she do, hide your video games? Threaten you with some dire annoyance like having to hear that techno-cumbia stuff for five hours straight that she likes?”

Zita coughed, eager to abandon that line of questioning before it came out that she had threatened him with Wyn coming over for a heart-to-heart talk. “Dude, you ditched us after the Water Balloon Death Run 3000 when we had all agreed to go to that all-you-can-eat buffet near the obstacle course. Who does that? It was all-you-can-eat and they had the giant snow crab legs and a sundae bar! It’s inconceivable you would skip it! Just inconceivable!”

“I don’t think that word means what you think… never mind.” Andy shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets. “Wasn’t hungry, and not all of us are slaves to our stomachs. Look, I’m not good company right now anyway–”

“We don’t give a shit about you amusing us. After all, we know you and like you anyway.” Zita shrugged and dismissed his argument with a wave of her hand.

Pinching the bridge of her nose, Wyn shook her head. “What Zita’s saying in her inimitable way is that you don’t have to be anyone but you with us. Yes, I’ll ask you some questions. You don’t have to answer, in part thanks to Zita who made it a condition of her participation in this exercise. We’re your friends, we love you, and we’re going to spend some time together even if you’re miserable.”

“I thought you were supposed to make hanging out with us sound good instead of like a quasi-threat,” Zita said, narrowing her eyes at the other woman.

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Dead Tree Doorstops

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The other day, I noticed that my readers were missing something important… Doorstops!

So of course I leapt into action to help solve this terrible problem! (In actuality, it may have been more of a frantic typing and mousing action, but I digress.)

As a result, both Super and Human are now available in paperback format.
Super and Human paperbacksThese are good-sized 6X9″ paperbacks, light enough to read through comfortably, yet hefty enough to hold open a small, but feisty, door. They’re made with the finest standard paper and are just as huggable and readable as you would expect. Both should be available for order at most major bookstores. Sadly, those bookstores aren’t stocking their physical shelves with my books yet, but one can hope that someday, J.K. Rowling will cede some shelf space in the Fantasy/Science Fiction section to me. For now, the books are $12.99 USD.

You can find them at most major book retailers, including:

Power and other full-length novels in the Arca series will also be available in paperback format around their respective release dates.

NOTE: The Amazon links are affiliate links. I might get a few cents eventually if you purchase something.

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Human Release! ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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What’s the best way to celebrate the famous win of Mexican underdogs against overwhelming forces? For me, it’s to run around like a crazy woman announcing the Human release! In your case, have some awesome Mexican food, relax, and pick up a copy of Human to enjoy while you munch.

For those contemplating following me on Twitter, I generally don’t tweet links to buy my books other than on a release or sale date. On May 6, I should return to my usual tweet habits.

About HumanHuman by Karen Diem

Death? Acceptable risk. Taxes? No problem. Ancient magical cutlery of mass destruction? Bad, very bad.

Following a brief foray into the world of superpowered vigilantism, extreme sports enthusiast and halfhearted tax preparer, Zita Garcia, wants her old life, her shiny new abilities, and none of the consequences. She’s even willing to hide her powers since the alternative means endangering her family and living life as a literal lab rat.

Unfortunately, villains are searching for the pieces of a decrepit magic dagger, hurting innocents and fueling nasty anti-super protests. Her close friends, who helped before, are barely speaking to her, and one of them stands in the path of the violent hunt for the knife.

Zita better dig out her mask—fast.

Human is the second in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series, and as a movie would be rated “R” for immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence. While Human can be read as a standalone, it contains minor spoilers for the first book in the series.

Human Release Availability

Human is currently available on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords and most major book retailers in both ebook and paperback format. To avoid boring people to tears, I’ve only listed the most popular places. If you’d prefer, you can read the first chapter before purchasing.

NOTE: I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase from an Amazon link on my site, someday I may earn a few cents from it.

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Human Beta: Progress for People Who Don’t Stare at Newsletters

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For those of you who don’t subscribe to my monthly newsletter (because you hate sneak peeks, chatty status updates, and the occasional freebie), Human beta readers have the second Arca book in their hands now.

What’s that mean?Human Beta Copy Cover

The first draft of Human is done. Beta readers are the stalwart souls who brave the chaos of an early draft and let the writer know what needs mending. While Human’s away, the author will play… Or work writing more short stories and Arca Book 3, tentatively titled Power.

Then what?

Once it comes back from the beta readers, I’ll edit it and update it based on their comments and anything I catch in the interim. After that, it goes to the professional editors, depending on their schedules. Once they’re done battling my comma clone army, it will be final formatting and release time!

So…

Barring any major delays, Human is on schedule for an early May release. Said date might be one that I’ve used before, which also commemorates Mexican underdogs and excessive margarita consumption.

Seriously, people reading my newsletter knew all this and got a copy of the first chapter already.

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Help Needy Writers

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Life is expensive. Most authors don’t make a living wage at writing and struggle to pay their bills just like everyone else. Writing is also one of the few professions open to people with serious health issues. If someone is an independent (“indie”) author, he or she is paying for special software, book covers, editing, and advertising, plus everyday expenses. The goal of this event is to offer small scholarship packages to needy writers that would cover the cost of a book cover or an important software license. Total donated amount at the end of the month will determine the number of packages funded by this event.

Please consider donating a little bit. It’s not a charity organization, so it’s not tax deductible. The lady running it is an established author with an excellent reputation who is known for her (sometimes brutal) honesty. Plus, she picked out that awesome crazed Christmas koala graphic. Don’t you wonder what was in his eucalyptus eggnog? Pretty sweet!

If you’re looking for an ebook, consider one of the books listed on the page. All of the authors listed donated and will not be beneficiaries other than their usual profits from a book purchase. All books are $2.99 and up.

Thank you.

Help Needy Writers

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What Happens in Vegas… Tourists

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On December 2, 2016, I released the new Arca short story, Tourists. It’s approximately 10,500 words long, and, as usual, includes immoderate language and comic book violence. The events within occur after Human (scheduled for release May 2017), but do not provide major spoilers.

Description

Tourists - An Arca Short Story - Karen DiemLas Vegas welcomes and flamboyantly entertains millions of tourists annually. It’s famous for it. However, the latest visitors may be more than even Sin City can handle.

To avoid endangering others or revealing their real identities, Zita Garcia and her friends, Andy and Wyn, planned to practice their respective superpowers in an abandoned section of the desert. Visit Las Vegas, a crowded city filled with people with cameras? No way, no matter what Zita’s heard about the buffets.

But when possible aliens invade the infamous Las Vegas Strip, what can Zita and her friends do but rescue the city (and all that food)?

No Elvis impersonators were harmed in the writing of this story.

Availability

This free short story is only available to newsletter subscribers, both new and existing. December 2016 subscribers also receive the other newsletter-exclusive short story, Washout.

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Halloween’s Over, But This eBook Sale is Monster!

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As a treat before the holiday madness begins in earnest, how about a massive ebook sale?

All books — over 180 of them — are 99 cents at all of the major retailers, not just Amazon, for the weekend. Genres include science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopian, science fiction/fantasy romance, and post-apocalyptic books, separated by retailer and genre. As an added bonus, the same 99 cent price applies to multiple anthologies and box sets.

Super is one of the books on sale, so if you haven’t picked up your copy, go for it! If you have, books also make excellent holiday gifts. 😉

Science Fiction and Fantasy 99 cent eBook Sale - November 5-6, 2016
Monster eBook Sale. Rawr. Click image to view books.
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Surprise Octopus (No Hentai)

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Octopus - An Arca Short Story - By Karen DiemDo you need a little octopus in your life?

Zita did. All she wanted was dinner, but what she got was trouble.

Bite-Sized Stories: Flash Flood 1Octopus is a “flash fiction” (extremely short) story, set after the events of Super. It is not hentai. If you don’t know what hentai is, don’t look it up. Seriously.

What’s more, Octopus is free as part of a flash fiction anthology, Bite-Sized Stories: A Multi-Genre Flash Fiction Anthology (Flash Flood #1)! Since the story collection is multi-genre, it hangs out with everything but erotica in eeny, weeny, polka-dot stories. While weighted heavily toward sci fi, fantasy, and horror, the collection has a couple other genres as well. You can find Bite-Sized Stories at major ebook retailers:

Amazon      iBooks       Kobo      Barnes & Noble     Google Play      Smashwords

NOTE: I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you buy anything from them using the link above, I may someday receive a tiny commission.

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Super Version 2.Oh

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Super version 2.0 is now available. It’s now stronger than a locomotive–or Super version 1.0, anyway.

What changed?

Super Version 2.0 - Arca Book 1 by Karen Diem
The cover image is unchanged, too.

Superficial things, if you’ll pardon the pun. In response to review comments, Super went to a new editor to tighten grammar, exterminate typos (hopefully), and clarify a couple points to make it easier to follow the action and transitions. Plot, characters, fandom references, pacing, and general irreverence remain the same. To accomplish this, length has increased by a thousand words.

Do I need an update?

If you do not yet own the book or purchased it after the update, you will automatically receive the new version after you buy it. Most sites had the new file as of August 13, 2016. Smashwords and 24 Symbols had it as of August 14, 2016.

If you purchased Super version 1.0, I encourage you to update to the new version of the book. It is optional, but the edits were done to improve the reader experience…

How do I update my book?

That depends. Who did you buy it from and what’s your ereader? Here’s brief instructions on how to update:

  • For most retailers, remove (Kobo, Smashwords, etc.) or archive (Nook) the old copy on your ereader, then download a new one from your retailer.
  • Amazon – If you have the auto update option turned on, it will update for you. Otherwise, log on Amazon. Go to Manage your Content and Devices, scroll down to Super, and click Update Available. Click Update. If you don’t see this option, you can try the deletion and re-download method.
  • iBooks (Apple) – Asks you when you open the book or app if you want to update. Go, Apple!

If I missed a retailer, let me know in the comments or via email and I’ll add them to the list.

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