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Killing Time Teaser Tuesday

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Killing Time cover

 

Physics, Lust and Greed Series, Book 3

 

Humorous Science Fiction

Date Published: May 11, 2021

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

At every crossroads he has encountered in life, Sean Brody has made the safe choice. In the year 2046, at the age of ninety-three, Sean is given one final opportunity to deal with his greatest regret. Sean is the only man Marshall Grissom and Marta Hamilton can find who might be able to save Sheila Schuler, their friend and fellow traveler lost in the distant reaches of time. If Sean accepts the task of traveling to his childhood in a parallel universe—with no guarantee that any aspect of the past can be changed—Sean must also accept his death in the only world he knows.

Excerpt

Marshall’s response didn’t register, though, because Sean looked beyond Naomi and saw two huge gleaming globes flanking a white, brightly lit platform tinged by a throbbing green glow beneath its surface. Banks of computers, monitors and cameras edged the platform on three sides.

The globes pulsed with a bluish electronic sort of ooze that seemed to creep along their surfaces in random patterns. Where Sean could have sworn an instant before had been empty space between the globes, he saw a lovely, petite, and very nude black woman standing before him. He wondered if she had been there all along, and he’d somehow missed her among the computers and cameras and other shiny things. But . . . no. Old as he might be, Sean was pretty sure he could still tell the difference between a computer and a naked lady.

He felt frozen. He could not bring himself to speak or move. Like a needle stuck on an old phonograph record, his mind simply could not jump beyond this particular groove.

A comforting arm slipped through his and Sean found Naomi beside him.

I’m sure you’re finding this a bit overwhelming. Do you need to sit? Can I bring you a bottle of water?”

Sean stared silently into the small Chinese woman’s black eyes for a moment before turning back toward the nudist.

Hello, Mr. Brody,” said the woman, who now wore a white robe. “I know my entrance was a little theatrical. And I apologize for that, but we wanted to impress you. I’m Marta Hamilton. I think Marshall has mentioned me? You’ve just witnessed my return from a brief conference with my counterpart from another universe a few days past. And I do have to admit the timing wasn’t coincidental. We needed to get your attention.”

Sean continued to stare. He found this reality too much to process.

I know Marshall hasn’t given you all the details yet. I sincerely hope you will agree to help us, though. We will be asking—‍”

My God,” Sean croaked through a sandpaper dry throat, believing all this for the first time. “You people want me to be fifteen years old again.”

About The Author

Mike Murphey


Mike Murphey is a native of eastern New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. He left journalism in 1998 to form a business related to adult amateur baseball. At the age of 60, he stopped procrastinating and revived his life-long ambition to write a novel. He is author of Sections, an award-winning coming of age novel set in Eastern New Mexico where Mike grew up. He is also author of The Conman … a Baseball Odyssey, another award-winning novel. Killing Time is the third novel in his Physics, Lust and Greed Series. Mike splits his time between Spokane, Washington and Phoenix, Arizona where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.

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Wasting Time Tour

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Wasting Time cover

Book 2 in the Physics, Lust and Greed Series

Science Fiction

Date Published: October 1, 2020

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

When time travelers fail test after test to significantly alter the past,
most financial backers abandon the Global Research Consortium leaving
veteran traveler Marta Hamilton to administer a vastly scaled-down project.
She must protect the past from a greedy future, fend off political meddling,
and foil a murder plot originating in a parallel universe. She presides over
a conspiracy to hide the truth of her best friend’s death while coping
with a confusing and discomforting romantic entanglement involving fellow
traveler Marshall Grissom.

Marta, who has by professional necessity always distanced herself from
emotional commitment, lapsed by allowing herself the luxury of friendship
with Sheila Schuler and a night of wild sex with Marshall. Now, Sheila is
probably dead, and—according to a genius physicists’
theory—Marshall soon will be. As she assumes her role as administrator
of the time travel program, Marta must choose between the risks of loving
someone, or the lonely safety of emotional solitude.

 

(No cats were harmed in the telling of this story.) 

 

Wasting Time tablet

EXCERPT

“So, if someone is killed in the past of another universe,” Marta asked Elvin, “what does that portend for the future counterpart?”

“When left alone,” Elvin said, “quantum theory holds that the histories of parallel universes tend to be, well, parallel. Theoretically, the visit of a time traveler from the future skews that parallelism and the historical paths diverge. How much or how little is anybody’s guess. But I think there would have to be a helluva divergence for a major historical figure to escape his fate. I think once you’re toast in one universe, as soon as it can get around to it, history will catch up to you everywhere else, too.”

Like Marshall, Marta had clung to a skeptical hope that Elvin was wrong, until history caught up with Carla O’Neill. Carla fell off a stool while drinking at the Time Warp and hit her head on the bar.

In one of Marta’s first bureaucratic confrontations as program administrator, she had used Elvin’s theories to successfully argue that Carla’s death was work-related.

Secret or not, federally funded and supervised programs must meet federal guidelines, of which there are, Marta now realized, roughly about a gazillion. And someone must be sure all those guidelines were met. So while the number of people occupying the secret underground chambers of the Global Research Consortium had been drastically reduced as it evolved into the Historical Research Initiative, a healthy contingent of bureaucrats still scurried about in the big office building upstairs, auditing and accounting their little hearts out.

The bureaucrats wanted to write off Carla’s death as a fluke accident, having nothing whatsoever to do with time travel. As the new administrator, Marta knew she couldn’t display weakness. She wanted Carla’s death to be declared work-related so her family would be appropriately compensated.

Citing Elvin’s theories, she won that battle only to find she had waded into a quagmire when she received the auditor’s official findings. His report declared Marshall Grissom’s death to be work-related, as well.

Marta had taken the elevator to the surface, stomped into the chief auditor’s office and said, “You can’t do this. Marshall isn’t dead.”

“According to your Mr. Detwyler,” the auditor parried, “he surely will be, and sooner rather than later.”

“Don’t you think you should at least wait until . . . until it’s official?”

“We are thinking of the political ramifications,” the auditor said.

“The . . . what?”

The auditor leaned back in his chair and shook his head, as if he could not believe the poor naïve creature before him.

“We must file a report every quarter regarding workplace death and injury. The congressional oversight subcommittee tends to become alarmed at death and injury, as does OSHA. We had several mishaps during the construction and testing phase of the project. We expressed these events as the rate of person/days lost, divided by incidents of fatal accidents or maiming injuries on the GRC site. By doing it that way, because the GRC staff at that point was so large, we could present a number that appeared to be very low. And every day that passed without further casualties, the number got lower.”

The auditor stood and adjusted the window blinds to cut the glare of the sun streaming into his office. Since Marta’s office was underground and she didn’t have any sunshine, she thought the twit was just showing off.

“Now, however,” he continued with an elaborate stretch of his back, “there aren’t very many of you. So, the ratio will be much higher. With the death of Ms. Schuler and Ms. O’Neill within the same six-month period, well, that will draw a lot of attention. Thus, Mr. Grissom’s impending death is not a simple matter. The question was, should we just let it occur in its own good time and create the appearance of an ongoing problem, or should we arbitrarily include it with this quarters’ report, and argue that, while we had a bad few months, we’re doing better as the year progresses.”

He sat.

“We decided the latter would be the more politically defensible position.”

Marta’s first instinct was to return to her apartment, get her gun and add another work-related fatality to the report. She was an administrator now, though. She needed to refrain from shooting the auditors.

“Well . . .” she said after a long moment, “what if he doesn’t die?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“What if Marshall doesn’t die?”

“Ms. Hamilton, you can’t have it both ways, now can you? We can’t call Ms. O’Neill’s death a work-related incident and then treat Mr. Grissom differently.”

“That wasn’t my question. My question was, what if he doesn’t die?”

“Everybody dies.” The auditor smiled.

“I mean not any time soon!”

“Well,” he said, in a smug show of victory, “I would certainly advise him to retain an attorney when the time comes to apply for social security benefits. That will be an argument I would dearly love to hear, because as far as the federal government is concerned, Marshall Grissom is dead.”

About the Author

Mike Murphey is a native of New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an
award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest.
Following his retirement, he enjoyed a seventeen-year partnership with the
late Dave Henderson, all-star Major League outfielder. Their company
produced the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners adult baseball Fantasy
Camps. Wasting Time is his fourth novel. Mike loves fiction, cats, baseball
and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix,
Arizona.

 

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Wasting Time Blitz

 Wasting Time banner

 

 Wasting Time cover

Book 2 in the Physics, Lust and Greed Series

Science Fiction

Date Published: October 1, 2020

 

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

When time travelers fail test after test to significantly alter the past,
most financial backers abandon the Global Research Consortium leaving
veteran traveler Marta Hamilton to administer a vastly scaled-down project.
She must protect the past from a greedy future, fend off political meddling,
and foil a murder plot originating in a parallel universe. She presides over
a conspiracy to hide the truth of her best friend’s death while coping
with a confusing and discomforting romantic entanglement involving fellow
traveler Marshall Grissom.

Marta, who has by professional necessity always distanced herself from
emotional commitment, lapsed by allowing herself the luxury of friendship
with Sheila Schuler and a night of wild sex with Marshall. Now, Sheila is
probably dead, and—according to a genius physicists’
theory—Marshall soon will be. As she assumes her role as administrator
of the time travel program, Marta must choose between the risks of loving
someone, or the lonely safety of emotional solitude.

 

(No cats were harmed in the telling of this story.) 

 

About the Author

Mike Murphey is a native of New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an
award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest.
Following his retirement, he enjoyed a seventeen-year partnership with the
late Dave Henderson, all-star Major League outfielder. Their company
produced the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners adult baseball Fantasy
Camps. Wasting Time is his fourth novel. Mike loves fiction, cats, baseball
and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix,
Arizona.

 

Contact Links 

Website

Facebook

Blog

Instagram

Purchase Link

 Amazon

 

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Taking Time Tour

Taking Time cover

Book 1, Physics, Lust and Greed Series
Humorous Science Fiction
Date Published: June 15, 2020
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
The year is 2044. Housed in a secret complex beneath the eastern Arizona desert, a consortium of governments and corporations have undertaken a program on the scale of the Manhattan Project to bludgeon the laws of physics into submission and make time travel a reality.
 
            Fraught with insecurities, Marshall Grissom has spent his whole life trying not to call attention to himself, so he can’t imagine he would be remotely suited for the role of time travel pioneer. He’s even less enthusiastic about this corporate time-travel adventure when he learns that nudity is a job requirement. The task would better match the talents of candidates like the smart and beautiful Sheila Schuler, or the bristle-tough and rattlesnake-mean Marta Hamilton.
 
            As the project evolves into a clash between science and corporate greed, conflicts escalate. Those contributing the funding are mostly interested in manipulating time travel for profit, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to achieve their goals.
Taking Time teaser

EXCERPT

 

A HARD ROW TO HOE

October 2044
Global Research Consortium Projection Laboratory

“So, do you think they’re telling us the truth why some of the lemmings didn’t survive?” Sheila Schuler whispered from the side of her mouth.

“The . . . what?” Marshall had to replay Sheila’s comment one time before he could muster the concentration to make sense of it. As he scanned the computers, lights and lenses while he absorbed stares of scientists, engineers and technicians, though, a single thought consumed him.

We should have practiced naked.

The one time he’d suggested it, several female scientists and computer techs scowled as if Marshall personified the lowest bundle of perverse male hormonal scum on the planet.

The smart guys who represented the conglomeration of competing interests pursuing time travel had considered the question. Would nudity create such a distraction at a critical moment that the mission might be jeopardized?

Marshall recalled a couple of scientists insisting that, just as when the astronauts took man’s initial steps into space, everything should be rehearsed in precise detail. Every conceivable circumstance should be anticipated and practiced.

Within the Wormhole Project, Marshall now realized, this philosophy represented a distinctly minority position. Training is fine, conceded the folks putting up the money. As representatives of the various governments and corporations pointed out, however, unlike the swashbucklers over at the Light Speed Project, travelers here at the Wormhole Project didn’t fly anything, navigate anywhere, or even push any buttons. They only needed to stand there and live long enough to describe the experience.

As for nudity, any male who suggested some of the rehearsals should take place in the buff suffered an unspoken accusation that he just wanted to ogle a naked woman.

“The lemmings?” Marshall asked, shifting his gaze from computers and cameras to look directly at Sheila. He did his best to concentrate on her eyes, making a futile effort to ignore the spectacular and unambiguously nude body below her chin.

“It doesn’t bother you?”

“Um . . . but . . . but why would they lie?”

Sheila gave a quick shrug, which resulted in a corresponding jiggle.

Marshall understood unequivocally. They should have practiced naked.

Until this moment, with the platform beneath him beginning to hum and a plasma sort of ooze crawling across giant mirrored metal globes to each side of them, Marshall counted on the historical gravity of the occasion to block the male animal’s primordial response to the female body. He might have been okay if Marta Hamilton was the only naked lady he had to try and ignore. Attractive in her own way, Marta was relegated to something like optical background noise compared to Sheila. And none of Marshall’s carefully nurtured best intentions would pass this test.

When that awkward moment arrived for the six travelers to remove their robes, the men hesitated. Sheila and Marta exchanged an eye roll, shed their garments and stepped under spotlights illuminating the projection platform. Marshall felt his first warning tingles at the sight of Sheila from behind. When she turned to face the room, though, she eclipsed all the technological wonders surrounding them. Marshall took his place beside her, aware that he was doomed.

That’s when Sheila asked about the lemmings.

The first-time travelers were two lemmings wearing sensors and miniature video cameras and recording and tracking devices built into their tiny collars. The scientist’s first choice as test subjects had been dogs. Dog lovers among the technical staff had objected, though. Which set a precedent, and the scientists were forced to seek popular approval for the choice of test subject. The only two creatures to which staff people had no objections were lemmings, which are suicidal anyway, and African tree frogs. Because an African tree frog has nothing in common with mammalian anatomy, and because the collars kept slipping off over their little heads, the scientists went with lemmings.

When the scientists waved their wands and pushed their buttons, the lemmings went away—somewhere. The scientists waited a while, pushed the buttons again, and the lemmings returned. The fact of their decapitations, though, dampened any sense of triumph. Both lemming bodies and lemming heads were present, albeit neatly disconnected. The collars were conspicuously absent.

The second time around, someone suggested the issue, rather than fine-tuning all the calibrations and power settings, might be the collars. They put the instrumentation into lemming vests. This time a head and four legs were all that reappeared. So, the scientists said screw the popular sentiment and went with their original second choice, pigs. The pigs worked out better only because the researchers could barbecue the leftovers.

Finally, they attempted a projection without vests or collars. Both lemmings and pigs returned in good health. The process of time travel, though, acquired a completely unanticipated complication.

“N-naked?” one female traveler candidate stammered when Naomi Hu, the project’s chief medical officer, made the announcement.

“That is correct,” Naomi said, “Our physicists now believe only living organic matter can be transported through the wormhole. We can’t send devices crashing around through time and space to record things remotely. We can’t write notes to ourselves to warn of some impending doom. We can only project a living, breathing being, showered and scrubbed free of inorganic matter. And is completely naked.”

“In front of . . . people?” another weak query sounded from somewhere behind Marshall.

Half a dozen female candidates decided they could not abide the nudity and transferred to alternate duties. Marshall considered his options. None of the other male candidates appeared particularly concerned, though, so he felt he could not withdraw without seeming prudish or cowardly. And in truth, Marshall felt he could ultimately deal with the danger. He couldn’t, however, abide his fear of making a mistake that might jeopardize someone else.

Not to mention his other problem.

 

About the Author

Mike Murphey is a native of eastern New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement from the newspaper business, he and his wife Nancy entered in a seventeen-year partnership with the late Dave Henderson, all-star centerfielder for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Their company produced the A’s and Mariners adult baseball Fantasy Camps. They also have a partnership with the Roy Hobbs adult baseball organization in Fort Myers, Florida. Mike loves fiction, cats, baseball and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona, where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.
 
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Taking Time Blitz

Taking Time banner

Taking Time cover

Book 1, Physics, Lust and Greed Series
Humorous Science Fiction
Date Published: June 15, 2020
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
The year is 2044. Housed in a secret complex beneath the eastern Arizona desert, a consortium of governments and corporations have undertaken a program on the scale of the Manhattan Project to bludgeon the laws of physics into submission and make time travel a reality.
 
            Fraught with insecurities, Marshall Grissom has spent his whole life trying not to call attention to himself, so he can’t imagine he would be remotely suited for the role of time travel pioneer. He’s even less enthusiastic about this corporate time-travel adventure when he learns that nudity is a job requirement. The task would better match the talents of candidates like the smart and beautiful Sheila Schuler, or the bristle-tough and rattlesnake-mean Marta Hamilton.
 
            As the project evolves into a clash between science and corporate greed, conflicts escalate. Those contributing the funding are mostly interested in manipulating time travel for profit, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to achieve their goals.
Excerpt
W
The candidates moved from the auditorium to a room arrange¬ment that reminded Marta Hamilton of college class registration. Eight tables—each manned by several GRC staff members—stood along the far wall, letters of the alphabet posted above each table.
Marta lined up at the G-H-I sign and felt a towering presence behind her. She glanced to see the goofy man who’d sat next to her on the bus. He acknowledged her glance with an apologetic smile and a timid half wave. She returned her attention to the seated staff member, who explained options to the woman ahead of her.
“You will now be asked to sign one of two contracts. Both will confine you to this campus for the next five years. One contract places you in the candidate pool to become a traveler. The other assigns you to alternate duties at lesser pay. Both contracts include an agreement to disclose nothing of what you have heard or seen here and to authorize ongoing surveillance to ensure your compliance following your tour of duty.”
“I’m sorry,” the woman said with a quivering voice. “I didn’t know—”
“You were told your last chance to withdraw occurred before you boarded the bus.”
“But you didn’t say time travel. You just said—”
“Well, we couldn’t tell you about the time travel because that part is secret.”
“Do I have to decide this minute?”
“No, you have twenty-four hours to make up your mind.”
The woman bit her lip and absently twisted a lock of her hair. “Can I call my mother?”
“Like I said, it’s a secret.”
“But she wouldn’t tell anyone.”
“Uh, huh. If you feel you need counseling, go right over there . . .” He pointed to a table in the corner with a growing line.
“Um . . . what if I don’t sign either contract?”
The man smiled. “You’ll be subjected to five years of intense federal supervision.”
The dazed woman took the information packet and wobbled off toward the counselors. The man watched her go, and then turned his attention to his line.
“Name?”
“Marta Hamilton. Spare me the speech. I’m here to join the candidate pool.”
The man nodded and handed her a sheet from the pile to his left. With a flourish, she scribbled her name, stepped to the side and challenged Marshall with a glare.
“You will now be asked to sign one of two contracts . . .”
* * *
Marshall found himself in line behind the woman he’d sat next to on the bus.
Faced with both her glare and a decision that might be a matter of life and death, Marshall swallowed hard. He willed his eyes away from Marta’s, thought of the money, and said to the man, “Does it matter if I’m allergic to anchovies?”
“What? No. Of course, not.”
“Oh. Well . . . okay then.”
That first day reduced the official travelers’ candidate pool from one hundred and four to eighty-two. Marshall wasn’t overly concerned. The physicist lady had used the term some of you. That implied a competition. That meant some would go, and others would watch. He recalled the sandlot baseball and touch football games of his childhood.
No one ever picked Marshall for anything.

 

About the Author

Mike Murphey is a native of eastern New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement from the newspaper business, he and his wife Nancy entered in a seventeen-year partnership with the late Dave Henderson, all-star centerfielder for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Their company produced the A’s and Mariners adult baseball Fantasy Camps. They also have a partnership with the Roy Hobbs adult baseball organization in Fort Myers, Florida. Mike loves fiction, cats, baseball and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona, where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.
 
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Amazon

 

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