HEARTIFACT IS OUT 11/24/16!
Ash advocates for abused youth and the net proceeds of this book benefit those youth in three countries. Thank you for supporting this novella! And don’t forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!
Net proceeds benefit the The Trevor Project in the US,
Heartifact is available from
Harper Kidd is a highly respected marine archaeologist. Yet, with the economy in a slump, he’s trapped working in an oil company’s exploration division. Now, at the ripe age of thirty, Harp is disgusted with his employer’s damage to the undersea world he loves, tired of his ATM-card-filching ex, and tormented by beautiful dreams of an undersea lover. It’s time for a change and when his best friend, Stick, pleads with him to assist on a deep-sea dig in the Mediterranean, he jumps at the chance.
Harper’s spirits are high when they discover the ruins of an ancient civilization, and soar to the heavens when they discover a statue of an ancient pelora, a mysterious hybrid creature said to mediate between the worlds of reality and fantasy—and the very lover who holds the starring role in his dreams.
When the crew discovers the site is teeming with unexploded ordnance from the conflicts in the Middle East, and the excavation turns deadly, Harper must choose between saving his best friend and saving the pelora he’s fallen in love with.
The Portrayal of Women in Fiction and Literature
Most of us are familiar with the history of the portrayal of women in fiction and literature. On the off chance that you are not, what follows a (one of many) Cliffs Notes versions of it. If you’re disinterested, skip down to: //end Cliffs Notes
Until comparatively recently, the majority of published writers were men and the portrayal of women in literature was inevitably skewed—to say the least. In the ancient world, literacy was limited to men. However, the contribution of women to oral culture should never be underestimated.
Western literature has been affected by a distortion of Judaeo-Christian teaching about women. By the Middle Ages, it was commonly accepted that Eve was principally to blame for the disobedience that led to the fall of humanity. Women were seen either as saints or as the very embodiments of temptation. The courtly love tradition could be seen as giving women an elevated status. However, few women held the status of ‘lady' and some of those who did were rather ambiguous morally. Great romances of the era were based on adulterous relationships that resulted in personal or social tragedy.
By the 16th century, there were other stereotypes fostered by the courtly love tradition and by the emergence of the sonnet and Arcadian idylls. The idealized renaissance women of most sonnets or the shepherdesses of the pastoral verses bear little resemblance to real women. By the time of Shakespeare, one can detect a note of cynicism and he turns the conventional image of the mistress on its head. My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun...This woman’s breath reeks.
There is a wide range of female representation in the literature of the 17th century. Mistresses still appear to be coy but much has been written about Milton's Paradise Lost. In his time, Milton was accused of being too progressive (thanks to pamphlets he wrote on divorce) and it is important to separate Milton, the child of his time, from the thinker who pushed boundaries philosophically and imaginatively. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is also part of the established literary canon, and had immense influence; and the established canon of literature largely overlooked female writers but two from this period are now taken seriously: Emilia Lanier (1569-1645) and Aphra Behn (1640-89).
Women on stage: After 1660, female actors were allowed on stage in England and sexual intrigue became the staple of the theatre. Amongst the stereotypes of Restoration comedy were sexually voracious young widows and older women—all witty, intelligent heroines of the 18th century comedies of manners. This tradition also drew on the Italian Commedia dell'arte, such as the witty servant girl, the bawdy wench, the dutiful daughter, the disobedient daughter, and the unattainable angel—stereotypes that still reign supreme in Hollywood presentations.
The rise of the novel: Prose narrative emerged in the 18th century novel as a dominant literary form, and with it a much more nuanced portrayal of women. Initially, the novel depicted women as viewed by men, and the typical heroines were paragons of virtue or of vice. Women novelists such as Jane Austen depicted life and society from a woman’s perspective. Women in Dickens have been viewed as stereotypes: the harridans, the silly little wives, the femme fatales, save Lizzie Hexham who is a reasonably rounded, psychologically believable character. Thackeray's Vanity Fair is noted for the strength of its female roles. Women come into their own in the novels of the Brontë sisters who depicted women who take control of their own destinies. Some of Elizabeth Gaskell's novels focus on the economic realities of women within society. George Eliot believed that duty supplied purpose and meaning with female characters who are psychologically complex.
The modern perception: Over the past 150 years, novelists—whether male or female—explored the psychology and social roles of women with increasing depth and made significant contributions to the perception of women in the literary canon, particularly in challenging traditional perceptions. The influence of other European writers during the 19th century has been significant. Women writers, such as Virginia Woolf, Iris Murdoch and Doris Lessing stand with male writers of the 20th century as significant literary figures. It goes without saying that the feminist movement has produced more aware and thorough depictions of women.
//end Cliffs Notes
I say all of the above be damned, to hell with sexism, and generalizations are inappropriate and dangerous. Male or female, people are people, and how they are portrayed in stories matters. In each of my stories, irrespective of audience, you will find at least one female character that is AWESOME.
In Heartifact, Harper’s best friend is a woman he met on his first internship dig in college. They’ve been besties since then and the reader knows she’d go to the ends of the earth for Harper. Stick, whose real name is Maggie, isn’t only Harper’s best friend, a supreme scientist, and capable robotics engineer, but also an all around great person with a wicked sense of humor. Check out this EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:
“No, a detonation wouldn’t be localized. A blast would have radiated outward.” Michael used his hands on the schematic to demonstrate.
“Are you certain it wasn’t a blast of any kind?” Harper pressed.
“Yes. All the same, I’d like to dive with ultrasonography before we proceed.”
“Got you covered.” Stick hitched a thumb and Michael relinquished the chair to her. She quickly took the controls in hand. “Launching ROV1.”
Dimitris went to the doorway and shouted orders to the crew. A diver who was about to drop backward into the sea halted his movement.
“ROV1 away,” Stick said softly as she guided the drone down to the wreckage and then along the road until it reached the displaced stone. “Deploying sensors.”
They watched the screen intently as the round undersea robot extended shiny stainless steel tentacles into the water.
“Checking for radioactivity.” One of the thin tentacles came alive, expanding a small satellite-dish-type screen at the end of it before searching the water. Stick deftly guided the drone around the stone as the probe searched like a bloodhound in the water.
“Negative for radioactivity. Commencing search for sulfur.”
They continued to watch the screen as a second tentacle began its search. “Negative for sulfur dioxide. No radiation and no volcanic activity. What else do you want me to look for?”
Harper cleared his throat. “Electromagnetic activity.”
She glanced at Michael. “I’m not going to detonate anything, am I?”
“You’re only going to read it.”
Stick proceeded with the test. “Ultralow frequency. Intermittent.”
“Record it. Three minutes,” Michael said evenly.
Stick flipped a switch on her console, they waited the requisite three-minute duration, and she flipped the switch again. “There’s nothing down there.”
Harper wondered what it could be. “Do you have a multichannel sensor on that thing?”
“All-medium. It’ll pick up anything.”
She nodded. “Deploying all-medium sensor.”
They watched as another thin probe extended from the round bot.
Stick’s brow suddenly knitted as she guided the drone deftly around the stone. “The stone seems to have some sort of kinesis of its own.”
“Not possible,” Harper said quickly.
She pointed to one of the gauges on her console. It read 1800 joules. “According to that, the damn thing’s alive.”
It was Harper’s turn to frown. “Retrieve water and soil samples.”
She gaped at him. “You think algae or bacteria are doing that?”
She carefully guided the drone to collect the samples. “Kickass monster algae. Like, from Krypton.”
Harper smirked. “Krypton doesn’t have algae.”
“How would you know? You work in inner space, not outer space.”
A snort escaped Harper. “Some sort of bacteria may have been unearthed.”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh sure. Bacteria with the energy of a speeding bullet. I believe you. Not.”
“I’ll be in the lab.” He looked at Dimitris. “Let me test for bacteria before anyone dives.”
“It probably has fangs too!” Stick called after him as he left the room.
Thirty minutes later, Harper had found nothing. “We’re good to go.”
Stick raised her hands and arms to the heavens. “Hallelujah! My face won’t be eaten off after all!”
I hope you enjoy reading Heartifact as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here’s to Stick and all the wonderful women out there!
Heartifact crams a lot of fabulous writing into less than 100 pages. Mythology meets modern day treasure hunt in the Mediterranean Sea off the Greek coast.
Harper is a highly respected marine archaeologist. Frustrated in his current job, and fed up with his cheating ex, he jumps at the chance to join his best friend Stick aka Maggie (who operates a ROV better than anyone) on an expedition to explore and raise what may be a sunken ship once belonging to Alexander the Great.
Once at the site, they discover what appear to be the ruins of an ancient civilization, and grapple with unexploded ordinances hampering their progress.
And if that's not enough, Harper is visited in his dreams by a mysterious man, who might be a god, who becomes Harper's dream lover, seducing and confusing him. They can talk to each other in these dreams, but Harper senses that his dream lover isn't telling him everything he needs to know.
The lines between reality and dreams begin to blur for Harper, when they discover amid the ancient ruins on the bottom of the sea a chamber containing the statue of a Pelora, which looks just like the mystery man who's been visiting Harper.
The author deftly merges mythology, ancient history, and modern technology in this well-crafted suspense/mystery/not-quite-romance novella, and kept me at the edge of my seat as the story unfolded. Hot sexy dreams are set against high seas explorations, fraught with danger and excitement. Diving to the bottom of the ocean, making fantastic discoveries, finding treasures beyond their wildest dreams - this was a fantastic story.
It's a pretty quick read, considering the length, and it flew by. I'm not going to reveal the ending - you'll just have to read this for yourself. Well worth your time, I think.
** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **
About Aisling Mancy
Ash is an author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Ash writes mystery thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, romance, and fiction for gay young adults as C. Kennedy.
Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Ash doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Ash contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Ash can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary. Ash does respond to emails because, after all, it is all about you, the reader.