Unquietly Me welcomes author J.A. Rock for the The Silvers book tour!
Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and right now I’m touring the internet talking about my latest release, The Silvers. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card!
By: J.A. Rock
Release Date: July 11, 2016
What humans want from the Silver Planet is water. What they find is a race of humanoids who are sentient, but as emotionless and serene as the plants and placid lakes they tend.
B, captain of the mission, doesn’t believe that the “Silvers” are intelligent, and lets his crew experiment on them. But then he bonds with Imms, who seems different from the others—interested in learning, intrigued by human feelings. And B realizes that capturing, studying, and killing this planet’s natives has done incalculable damage.
When a fire aboard B’s ship kills most of the crew and endangers Imms, B decides to take him back to Earth. But the simplicity of the Silver Planet doesn’t follow them. Imms learns the full spectrum of human emotions, including a love B is frightened to return, and a mistrust of the bureaucracy that wants to treat Imms like a test subject, even if they have to eliminate B to do it.
ABOUT J.A. ROCK
J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including By His Rules, Take the Long Way Home, and, with Lisa Henry, The Good Boy and When All The World Sleeps. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.
To celebrate the release of The Silvers, J.A. Rock is giving away $15 in Riptide Publishing credit. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Back home, B had a shelf covered in awards: plaques, certificates, two medals, and an engraved pen. It didn’t matter what he’d done to get them, only that he could display these shining, empty ideas of who he was. One of NRCSE’s luminaries. A pioneer of the future.
The NRCSE—nurk-see to everyone—is the National Research Center for Space Exploration. B’s employer for the last six years.
He wasn’t Shepard or Aldrin famous when his supervisor, Kelly Hatchell, approached him about captaining the first crewed mission to the Silver Planet. He’d signed the occasional autograph, visited schools, and appeared on a panel on a late-night talk show, where he was happy to let a D-list comedian and the famously hard-nosed judge of some reality show play wishbone with the spotlight. He even gave a commencement speech at a private college, his throat so dry he asked a graduate in the front row if he could swig from her water bottle—the only joke to garner laughs, and it hadn’t been a joke.
Still, NRCSE encouraged him to stay in the public eye. “God knows you’re about as much fun as rush-hour traffic,” Kelly Hatchell said. “But there’s something about you. Your jawline, maybe. People like a handsome hero.”
B wasn’t sure what Hatch meant by hero until three months before B’s team was set to depart. Time magazine put B on its cover with the headline: The Great Wet Hope: How the Silver Planet’s Lakes Could Save the Human Race. The day the issue hit stands, B’s mother called to ask if it would have killed him to smile. “They didn’t want me to,” he told her. Saving the human race was serious business. But then, what wasn’t serious business to B? He felt so hopelessly caged wherever he was on Earth—home, college, the air force, NRCSE—that he’d eventually turned to infinity for help.
At the time, six months away from Earth sounded like paradise. Matty had just left, tired of playing second fiddle to B’s work. B’s mother and sister made it clear their sympathies lay with Matty. Any direction B turned, he met accusation. But he didn’t turn often. Mostly, he looked at whatever was directly in front of him.
Now he misses everything from his mother’s laugh to the crust on his stove burners. He misses humans who act like people, not scientists. More than anything, he misses a sky that changes color. He misses stars. Most of the “comforts” NRCSE sent with them, Grena and Vir have given to the Silvers. The Silvers have a deck of cards and a little sand Zen garden. They have construction paper and markers. Last week B went walking and found a four of spades on the ground.
NRCSE exhausted its funds sending B’s team here, and now its flag is planted in one of the most incredible, and fundable, opportunities in human history. The government has showered NRCSE with money, and NRCSE in turn is assembling expert teams, prepared teams of pedigreed –ologists to study Silvers. B’s team will keep telling bad jokes until they’re yanked offstage with a cane. Their research on Silvers is haphazard, inconclusive. They’ve behaved, by turns, professionally and barbarically. They have fucked up.
“Stay off the lower deck,” B tells the others. “I’m turning on the filters.”
“Don’t need to do that till Sunday,” Gumm says.
“Air smells funky down there.”
“If you’re bored, you can help Vir and me mix anesthetic,” Joele says. She has refused to talk to B about the Silver killing last night. Says he can read her report. “Or you can help us brainstorm about fire.”
“Fire?” B says.
Joele leans back in her chair. “We want to introduce our Silver friends to fire. But we’re not sure how, since we can’t sustain a flame outside, and fire in the lab is—”
“Not happening,” B says.
“So what about a controlled fire in, say, the kitchen?”
“Not on the ship. We can’t risk it.”
Joele looks at Gumm. “Where’s Grena? She could help us do it safely.”
“I’m serious,” B says. “If anything happened to the Byzantine—”
“We’d have to spend our days group-bathing with Silvers until we were rescued,” Joele says. “Believe me, no one hates the idea more than me. But can you imagine? Fire. A chance to vicariously experience the birth of human civilization.”
“It’d be pretty fucking cool,” Gumm agrees. “Seeing what they’d do with it. They might show their true colors then.”
“The answer is no.”
“You’re just buckets of fun, boss.” Joele shares a secret smile with Gumm.
“No one on the lower deck. See you later.”