Saturday, April 13, 2024

New Release! The Best of Lexie Bay – Volume Two #anthology



Hi, I’m Lexie and I’m so excited to share with you that I am back in the erotic writing world. I’ve been writing part time on and off since 2010 but, in 2023, after several years of focusing on my day job, I decided to quit and throw myself back into writing full time. I’m working on lots of exciting projects right now but before I release anything new, I wanted to pull together all the stories I’ve had published in different anthologies over the years. I released The Best of Lexie Bay - Volume One at the end of last year and now I’m back with Volume Two which covers the second half of my writing career, before my day job took over.

I hope you enjoy it!



Relive more of Lexie’s short stories in this second anthology, where you’ll discover new delights at an award ceremony after party, enjoy the heat with a hot summer fling and bring out your voyeuristic side at a masquerade ball that takes a turn to the dark side. You’ll find millionaires, Doms and bad boys, get a taste for the wild side and discover some very interesting kinks!

Lose yourself in Lexie’s fantasy world and get hot under the collar with “The Best of Lexie Bay – Volume Two”. Nine stories, originally published between 2013 and 2017, now all in one place for a whole night of pleasure.


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Excerpt from Masquerade:

Valtteri took her chin between his thumb and forefinger, lifting her face to his. His lips were so close and Scarlett tried to kiss him. He pulled away a little, teasing her and then gave in to their mutual desire and pressed his lips gently against hers. Scarlett relaxed as his tongue explored her mouth, his familiarity making her feel safe. Valtteri would never let anyone hurt her. He might like to frighten her a little but she was his and he guarded her fiercely.

“I think you’ll enjoy tonight, little one,” he whispered. “As I said, I know exactly what you like and I am going to give it to you. Call it an early Christmas present. Of course you know that I will enjoy every minute of it too.”

“Valtteri,” she whispered, her eyes dark with longing. “Will you keep me safe?”

“My sweet baby, I will always keep you safe, you have nothing to fear from me. You are mine and somehow, I appear to be yours. No-one has ever filled my thoughts like you do.”

His admission made her smile.

“Who are these people?”

Valtteri looked around at the beautiful people gathered around them. “These Scarlett are my loyal subjects. They have been with me for a very long time and they have seen many girls come and go. I have not cared before but tonight I need you to pass the initiation. It is not enough for me to love you; I need them to accept you too.”

“I’m scared,” Scarlett said, trying to swallow the desire to run even though she knew she could not.

“Let the fear push you on to experience everything you’ve ever wanted. We will help you fulfil your desires…. and ours.”

The light flickered on the walls of the vast room and Scarlett felt a curl of fear as Valtteri walked away from her and the group started to move closer. Shadows fell across the floor and Scarlett realised that many of them were holding what at first glance looked like implements of torture. She trawled her mind to think what Valtteri could have pulled from the depths of her imagination while they had been fucking. She was sure that this was when he had been in her head. She had always felt so close to him when he was inside her, more than with anyone else. She wondered what he was. What they all were. Because as this evening unfolded it was becoming more apparent that they were definitely not human.

The mask obscured a lot of her vision as she tried to see more of her surroundings. Valtteri pulled a lever and the cross rose a couple of inches into the air and spun a slow 360 degrees. There weren’t as many… she hesitated to say people… as she’d first thought but lining the walls, where there had been huge pictures, there were now mirrors. Scarlett watched herself rotate, her tattered dress floating around her. She admired her reflection, the black of her dress and hair highlighting her ivory skin which shimmered in the firelight. But even her skin looked warm against the iridescence of the figures around her.

She caught the eye of a tall blonde standing next to a mirror. She was holding a small flogger with only a few tails and distinctive pointy ends and Scarlett held her gaze as she moved past her. A flash of fantasy made her juices flow and she hoped beyond hope that Valtteri had incorporated her desire for pain. He knew how much she enjoyed it. She could almost feel the sting of the whip on her skin and before she could even look for Valtteri to see his face, the girl was in front of her and the cross stopped spinning and tipped backwards a little, exposing Scarlett’s pussy further. The girl leaned over until she was so close Scarlett should be able to feel her breath on her face, but there was nothing but the glow of her eyes and the smooth plumpness of her pouting lips.


Author Bio:

Lexie lives in Brighton with her family. Her favourite thing is to write stories with a HEA, infused with that dizzy feeling of falling in love, but she also has a naughty side so her stories stay true to her original romantic dream while exploring the erotic, the kinky and sometimes the darker side of love and lust.


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Friday, April 12, 2024

CHANNELING by Andrew Teague McCollister #mystery #thriller

Mystery / Thriller

Date Published: March 12, 2024



Defying gravity, manipulating the naked eye, and moving faster than time itself? These abilities, or Channels, were once considered impossible yet are now commonplace, and the small town of Lockwood, New Hampshire is no exception. In 2055, society has progressed to include and incorporate Channeling as a natural part of life. This is made possible by the establishment of the Department of Channel Control and the limited abilities most Channelers have. However, this all changes when four students at Lockwood University discover they can take their Channels further than ever thought possible. Now, the more Rachel, Miles, Angelo, and Clayton discover about their abilities and their pasts, the more dangerous their lives become.


About the Author

Andrew has always been passionate about writing and storytelling. They describe themselves as a curious Writer who loves exploring diverse themes, motifs, and genres. As part of their writing process, they love immersing themselves in their projects—diving headfirst into the research, production, and fine-tuning of the stories they feel are the most worthy of telling.


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Wednesday, April 10, 2024

BULLET by Marteeka Karland #mc #romance


(Grim Road MC)

Motorcycle Club Romance, Suspense, Age Gap

Date Published: April 12, 2024



Cecilia: The enigmatic biker is the one bright spot in my life. I see him three or four times a week at the cafe down the block. Talking to him about books we’re reading or our hopes and dreams helps me escape my reality, if only for a short time. Most of the time we don’t even sit at the same table. He’s everything I ever wanted but know I can never have. We simply cross paths. Him going… wherever he goes. Me… I know I’m going straight to hell. Nothing but a miracle can save me. The Devil owns my soul.

Bullet: There’s something about the small, dark-haired woman I see at the corner cafe. She’s everything I’m attracted to in a woman, but she’s so young it’s laughable. I didn’t set out to seduce her, but the next thing I know she’s in my bed and I spend the most incredible night with her. I wake up the next morning to a cool pillow. No note. No way to contact her. I chalk it up to a young woman not wanting drama in her life until I see her again a few days later. This time, she’s in my ICU, beaten to within an inch of her life. Someone’s going to pay. God have mercy on their soul. Because I won’t.


WARNING: Bullet includes scenes of graphic violence and adult situations that may be triggers for some readers. There’s also a protective hero, a determined heroine, and an eventual happy ending. No cheating, as always.



“Just another glorious day in the ICU, Attie.” The fresh-faced resident was trying way too hard to socialize. I’d noticed the pup did the same with all the attendings. I accepted he was trying to fit in and carve his place with people who would be his peers once he’d finished his residency, but no one -- fucking no one -- called me “Attie.”

“My name,” I said, not looking up from the laptop where I was finishing up a physical assessment for the patient I’d just seen, “is Atticus. Or Dr. Benedict. Call me Attie again, I’ll personally see to it you fail this rotation.” If the kid had been a prospect, I’d have beat the shit outta him. But I couldn’t do that. Not in this world. Which was a Goddamned shame because if an adult hadn’t learned how to treat people with respect by this guy’s age, he needed an ass whoopin’.

I was beginning to think it was past time I left practice in the civilian world and stayed at the Grim Road compound full time. Traveling back and forth was risky anyway. The last thing I wanted was someone following me to the compound. They wouldn’t be able to get in, but it would draw attention to us, which I did not want. Still. Here I was. Trying not to punch an intern.

Fuck. Me.

I didn’t give the kid time to respond. Instead, I shut the laptop, picked it up, and headed back down the hall to the lounge. I wanted to finish my day so I could get a bite to eat -- and maybe some stimulating conversation that didn’t involve body fluids or death. I’d had enough of that in the Air Force, yet here I was. I’d thought I’d fulfill some sense of purpose by continuing to work with critically ill patients in a different setting, but death was death.

“He’s just trying to fit in, Atticus.” One of my colleagues, Phil Davis, clapped me on the shoulder as he pulled up a chair. “Don’t be so hard on the kid.”

“I’ve told him repeatedly not to shorten my name. I’m tired of fuckin’ with him.”

“He’ll make a decent doctor if you help train him right.”

“I’m not a mentor, Phil. I told you that when you hired me. I’m supposed to be an intensivist. Not a teacher.” It was a sore spot. The hospital had promised me I wouldn’t have to supervise interns or residents. Yet here I was.

“You know how it is, man. There’s a shortage of healthcare staff. That includes doctors. Why keep these kinds of hours when you can do family medicine?” He shrugged. “The hospital owns the offices, so they all get paid a salary just like we do. Only difference is the hours. They get nights, weekends, and holidays off. We don’t.”

“Coulda had better pay and better benefits if I’d stayed in the fuckin’ Air Force,” I grumbled. “Kid’s got this last chance. He calls me Attie again, I’ll do more than fail his rotation. I’ll kick his fuckin’ ass.”

Phil chuckled, likely thinking I was joking. I wasn’t. “Just give me the report so you can get your cranky ass outta here. Someone needs a beer. And possibly to get laid.”

I scowled at him, but he was right. On both counts.

Report took an hour. We walked around to each of my ten patients’ rooms, and I gave him a rundown of what was happening as well as introduced him to each of those patients. Not every doctor in the hospital wanted to do hand-off rounds like this, but I thought it helped all of us to see the patients as people instead of simply numbers on a screen. As such, I insisted on it.

We only got caught up in one room and honestly, Mrs. Singleton loved to talk.

“I thought I was taking the right dose, Dr. Benedict. I mean, I might have missed my shot from time to time, but I usually manage better than this.” She smiled up at me from her bed. She was always pleasant. And always called me Dr. Benedict. “Maybe if you explain it to me again?” She looked like she was hoping we’d sit down and go over her medication with her again, but didn’t want to actually say so.

“Maybe we should get you an insulin pump,” Phil said, not looking up from his tablet as he pretended to review her chart. I knew he was just giving himself an excuse not to engage. Mrs. Singleton had been offered the same thing every single time she was admitted. She always refused. Something Phil knew all too well.

“Oh, I couldn’t. It might give me too much. What would I do then?”

“It won’t give you too much, Nanny.” Phil’s irritation showed on his face and in his voice, but he never looked up from his fucking tablet. “It’s programmed to give the exact amount we order. You need to agree to this so you don’t have to be admitted so much. You’re going to ruin your kidneys and your eyesight, among other things.”

“I’m ninety-two, Dr. Davis. If my kidneys and my eyesight were going to go, they’d have done so already. Besides, I know I’m not long for this world.” She sounded like she was going to cry. It made me want to beat the shit outta my colleague.

“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to,” I said, sitting beside the bed and taking Mrs. Singleton’s hand. One thing I tried to always do was be respectful to my patients. Just because she was old didn’t mean she was stupid. “We’ve discussed this before. If you want to keep taking shots instead of using an insulin pump, you can. But, he’s right that you’re hurting your body. I’d like to have long conversations with you for years to come.” I gave her a gentle smile.

She patted my hand with her free one. “You’re a good man, Dr. Benedict.” Then she sighed, looking resigned. “If you think it’s best, I’ll agree to your pump. Do you promise it will be OK?”

“I do, ma’am. I’ll even come check on you after you’re released until you get used to it.”

Her eyes grew wide. “You’d do that? For me?”

I smiled. “You’re one of my favorite patients, Mrs. Singleton. Of course, I will.”

Mrs. Singleton was a diabetic who went into ketoacidosis once every couple of months because she didn’t take her insulin correctly and refused to modify her diet. At ninety-two years young, I figured if she wanted to eat cupcakes and moon pies, that was her prerogative. My job wasn’t to judge but to help her when she got sick. I’d often wondered if she didn’t do this to herself on purpose to get some attention because her daughter and grandson refused to put her in a nursing home but were never around to take care of her. She’d been a social butterfly in her younger years, by all accounts, and needed personal interaction. But, she abided by her family’s wishes and stayed at home even if her daughter and grandson were never there to help her.

After we left and started down the hall, Phil chuckled, as if he hadn’t insulted and treated the elderly woman horribly. “I swear, that woman gets chattier every time we have her.” He shook his head. “I don’t have time to spend thirty minutes in her room chatting about the weather or the good old days. Not to mention arguing with her about her treatment.” Yeah. It was past time I either opened my own practice or simply moved back to the clubhouse and disappeared from polite society.

I gave Phil a hard look. “You know, if you had half as much sympathy for Mrs. Singleton as you do that disrespectful punk of an intern, you might be a decent doctor.”

I left Phil alone with Intern Iggy and the rest of the zoo and headed out. I needed the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. Fuck this shit. I’d keep my promise to Mrs. Singleton no matter what, but my days here were numbered.

Coming back in to the doctor’s lounge, I went to the locker room and changed out of my scrubs and lab coat. I left very little at the hospital other than a couple changes of clothes for emergencies, so packing my stuff wouldn’t be an issue. Tomorrow I’d bring my truck and clean out my shit. Tonight, however, I was on my bike. I wasn’t prepared.

I strode out of the hospital, my boots thudding on the pavement as I made my way toward my sleek black Harley V-Rod. The bike that would carry me away from the sterile walls and white coats. I needed the freedom of the road and the comfort of my club. Grim Road MC had been good to me. After my last mission it had become my only real haven. Initially, working at the hospital had fulfilled my need to help people, but it had become more cumbersome than helpful now.

Flashes of the carnage I’d lived through shot through my brain and I gritted my teeth through the pain, needing to keep myself under control. It was those memories that haunted me at night and kept me coming back to the hospital to work. I hadn’t been able to help the people from that day so long ago, but I could help people in the here and now.

I started up my bike, put it in gear, and took off. I needed food and rest. Tomorrow everything would be better. I’d get Mrs. Singleton to stick to her promise to try the insulin pump. God knew Phil would just fuck things up. Besides, I wanted to help her get home so I’d know where to come to check on her and make sure she was using her pump correctly. I also needed to put the fear of God into her daughter and grandson. I was pretty sure they were trying to keep her out of a nursing home so they could keep her Social Security check and that simply wasn’t going to happen.

With a sigh, I pulled into the parking area of a little outside café I often frequented after work. Helped me to wind down and catch my breath. Occasionally I’d run into someone who knew me, but the hospital was in Palm Beach so it wasn’t often. It was also the place where I’d met the most interesting woman I’d ever encountered.

Her name was Cecilia, but she went by CeCe. I thought she was an escort, but the jury was still out. She was here nearly every evening. I found I simply liked talking to her. She was intelligent, with a quirky personality. She could carry on a conversation about almost anything with some degree of knowledge. But it was her eyes that intrigued me. She had the look of someone who’d seen far more than a person of her years should have. I doubt she was much out of her teens, but she seemed to take in everything around her. Several times I’d tested her. Dropping observations about things around us or small details about someone walking down the sidewalk. She always knew the answers. Like me, she always chose a table that let her have the best view of the area with her back against the building.

Walking to my usual table, I glanced around, looking for CeCe. Because of the long conversation with Mrs. Singleton, I was a little late so I could have missed her. I hoped not because I could really use her refreshing personality. The girl really was a rare treasure. I thought about prying into her life, finding out exactly what she did and who she worked for, seeing if my suspicions were correct, but we had a comfortable relationship. Basically, we spoke when we were at this café, and that was it. I didn’t see her anywhere else. We didn’t talk about anything personal. Sometimes we never even looked at each other. Just… talked. About everything and nothing. Nonsense. Whatever was on our minds. I was about to leave when I saw her.

CeCe was dressed in a tight, short red skirt with a white billowy top that cinched around her middle above her waist. A black bustier pushed her breasts up and together, giving her mouth-watering cleavage. Her hair was a straight, gleaming mass dark as a raven’s wing reaching below her waist. This was her usual attire and I’d learned a couple of months ago to live with the hard-on I got seeing her in these outfits.

She sat along the brick wall of the building beside the café, as usual, one table between us. We didn’t acknowledge each other or speak. She simply caught the attention of Teddy. He owned the place and was always there, even if he had someone else working.

“The usual, Teddy.”

“Chocolate pie and a coffee coming up, darlin’.”

“Thanks.” Everything inside me settled. I hid my smile and said nothing. Instead, I picked up a book I’d been reading the last several days while I drank a cup of coffee and ate a sandwich. This evening it was chicken salad.

“You still reading about the guy who kills that old lady and then spends the whole book freaking out about it? Raskolnikov, right?”

I grinned. “Crime and Punishment. Yeah, kid.” I didn’t look up from my book, but I never did. It was a game we played, where we pretended indifference. It was one we were both comfortable with. “I always found him to be an interesting character -- tormented by his own guilt. Unable to escape the consequences of his actions.”

She snorted. “It’s always something, I guess. Life torments us all in one way or another.”

I thought about that. “Can’t say you’re wrong there.”

“‘Course, I’m not wrong.” She sounded bitter. Not for the first time, I wondered if I was right and she was an escort. She was always very well put together. Even the revealing clothing she wore was done with taste. Her hair was always perfect, her makeup just so. Her body was well toned, fine muscle playing beneath her skin when she moved. I’d never seen such perfectly formed arms on a woman before. They were muscled but sleek. Feminine.

With one last bite of pie, she slapped a couple bills down on the table and stood. She started to leave, then stopped and turned her head to face me. “You think Raskolnikov would’ve done any better if he’d had someone? You know, someone who had his back?”

“Who knows?” I shrugged. A darkness crept into her gaze even though her face was carefully blank. This, I didn’t like. “But I do believe there are times when the ends do justify the means. Maybe not in Raskolnikov’s case, but…”

“Yeah.” She looked away, putting her shoulders back. “Sure.”

“See you tomorrow?” I’d never pushed her before. Never asked when I’d see her or if she’d be back. But my instinct was screaming at me that something was wrong.

She shrugged. “Don’t know. Maybe.”

“Take it easy, CeCe.” I forced myself to let it go even though I wanted to push even harder, to make her tell me what was going on and how I could help. Because if ever there was a woman who needed help, it was CeCe.

About the Author

Marteeka Karland is an international bestselling author who leads a double life as an erotic romance author by evening and a semi-domesticated housewife by day. Known for her down and dirty MC romances, Marteeka takes pleasure in spinning tales of tenacious, protective heroes and spirited, vulnerable heroines. She staunchly advocates that every character deserves a blissful ending, even, sometimes, the villains in her narratives. Her writings are speckled with intense, raw elements resulting in page-turning delight entwined with seductive escapades leading up to gratifying conclusions that elicit a sigh from her readers.

Away from the pen, Marteeka finds joy in baking and supporting her husband with their gardening activities. The late summer season is set aside for preserving the delightful harvest that springs from their combined efforts (which is mostly his efforts, but you can count it). To stay updated with Marteeka's latest adventures and forthcoming books, make sure to visit her website. Don't forget to register for her newsletter which will pepper you with a potpourri of Teeka's beloved recipes, book suggestions, autograph events, and a plethora of interesting tidbits.


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Author on Instagram & TikTok: @marteekakarland

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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Teaser Tuesday: In the Mind of a Spy by Bruce M. Perrin #mystery #giveaway


The Mind Sleuth Series #7


Mystery; Spy Thriller

Date Published: 04-25-2024

Publisher: Mind Sleuth Publications



When Jesse Bolger ran into an old acquaintance from his high school days, Robert Gleason, he wondered if the man still had an imagination that was unencumbered by reality. His question was answered in the affirmative that evening. After insisting they talk inside his homemade, electronically shielded room so no one could listen to their thoughts—no tinfoil hat was good enough for Robert—he confided that he’d stumbled onto two KGB-era Russian spies intent on destroying the United States. And he wanted Jesse’s help to stop them.

Jesse was certain, of course, that it was just a hoax, but he played along. It didn’t prove to be one of his better decisions, however, as the next thing he knew, he was being detained by the FBI under suspicion that he was a double agent. And where was Robert Gleason, the man who had started this whole fiasco, the unemployed eccentric who lived in his grandmother’s basement in a retirement community while he was learning to talk to self-aware computers? He was nowhere to be found.

Knowing he was out of his league to investigate a missing persons case, Jesse hired private investigator Rebecca Marte, hoping she could unravel a case that one minute looked like a spy spoof and the next, a terrorist plot that would plunge the United States into financial pandemonium.


Excerpt from the first night Jesse Bolger went to Robert Gleason’s home

“… a cone of silence, of a sort, is why I wanted you to come over here tonight. We need to talk and I’ve got the perfect place.” Gleason raised a hand toward a cube of about six feet on a side. It was covered with a shiny fabric. “That’ll keep our brain waves safe from prying sensors.”

Jesse could feel himself scowling as he tried to make sense of the words. “Is that supposed to be something like a tinfoil hat?”

Now, it was Gleason’s turn to look perplexed, but his confusion only lasted a moment. “Oh, yeah. Like people wear so the aliens won’t listen in on their thoughts. That’s pretty funny, but don’t be ridiculous.”

“Yeah, I didn’t—” started Jesse.

“A tinfoil hat would only protect you from aliens who were directly overhead. I’m not too worried about them if they’re still in the air. But on the ground ….” He slowly shook his head. “Now, that would be bad news. Really bad.”

Jesse was struggling for a reply when Gleason continued. “Anyway, that’s a SCIF, giving us protection on all sides.”


Gleason nodded.

SCIF stood for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a fact that Jesse knew from his job. They were acoustically and electronically shielded rooms in which classified discussions could be held, and Ruger-Phillips West had several for their government projects. But Jesse had never heard of a private citizen owning one. “Where on earth did you find the stuff to build a SCIF?”

Gleason got one of those you’ve-got-to-be-kidding smirks on his face. “If you’re not running cables in and out—and I’m not—then acoustic and EMF radiation shielding are all you need. For the latter, just type ‘EMF radiation shielding fabric’ into any search engine and you’ll find lots of it. I split my orders among a half-dozen stores so I wouldn’t call attention to myself.”

“Someone would care if you bought it in bulk?”

“Are you kidding? They care about everything you look at, everything you buy, and even what you don’t buy. Sure, eventually they may piece it all together, but why make it easy on them? With a small purchase, they probably think I lined my billfold to keep someone from reading the data on my credit cards.”

Jesse wasn’t sure who “they” referred to, but that question only came in second. “So, you think whatever it is you have to tell me is so sensitive that you built a SCIF to discuss it?”

“Hardly,” Gleason said with a laugh. Jesse started to return the chuckle when Gleason added, “I already had it before any of this came up.”

Jesse figured his puzzled expression asked the question for him as Gleason explained, “I came to Denver because of that state representative who wanted to start the center for extraterrestrial communications. And, as he pointed out, the brain emits electromagnetic radiation in the form of brain waves. They are faint, and we have to put electrodes on the scalp to pick them up. But with more advanced civilizations …?” Gleason held out an empty hand in a shrug. “Who knows?”

Jesse recognized the story about the state representative. It had been all over the news a few years ago with his potential re-election opponents’ comments ranging from “it’s a waste of the taxpayer’s money” to “you can bet Uranus he’s after the little green man vote.” The representative had lost his seat in a landslide in the next election—extraterrestrial communication wasn’t a platform that sat well with Colorado voters. “Well, I’m not sure—” Jesse started.

“Oh, I know he was a kook,” said Gleason. He paused, his nose wrinkling a bit. It took a moment before the odor reached Jesse.

“Jeez, Charlie. I’m going to stop giving you those stuffed mushrooms,” said Gleason. “It’s either that or break out the gas masks.”

Surprisingly, Charlie looked like he had been chastised as he whined once, then laid his head down on his paws and looked up at us with eyes that looked even sadder than before. If the stench hadn’t been so bad, Jesse thought he might have laughed at the dog’s expression.

“Anyway,” continued Gleason, “you don’t need to tiptoe around that guy. His ideas sounded good at first, but they never panned out. So, after a bit of this and that, I got started on my current gig, talking to the other sentient beings in our world.”

“Animals? You’re working on some type of job that involves communicating with animals?” Jesse glanced at Charlie, who, though he had seemed to understand before, now seemed as confused as Jesse felt.

Gleason paused a beat, then said, “Yeah, I suppose animals are sentient … in a way. But I meant computers. Computers with artificial intelligence.”

Jesse could feel himself sit back in the chair as if another half-inch of distance between them would change his perspective. It didn’t, and he wasn’t sure what to say other than, “Oh, look at the time!” But Gleason spoke first.

“Yeah, not everyone thinks that machines are aware of the world around them. I think they are and that other people just haven’t spent the time necessary to get to know these beings. But if AIs aren’t aware yet, I’m fine with being ready to meet them when they are. And that’s why I’m studying prompt engineering.”

It was the last two words, “prompt engineering” that pulled this conversation back from the brink of irrationality for Jesse. Prompt engineering had been a growing technical discipline since the introduction of AI Large Language Models in late 2022. At its heart, the discipline involved designing and testing inputs that would get these systems to produce useful outputs for a given purpose.

“So, getting these LLMs to give you what you want is tricky?” Jesse asked. He was pretty sure he knew the answer but wanted to keep the conversation moving away from the question of machine sentience.

“It can be,” replied Gleason. “They always produce answers that sound factual, but sometimes, they are just making stuff up. Those are called hallucinations. But more often, they just don’t understand what you want.”

Gleason paused a moment rubbing his chin. “You work on a lot of training projects, right? Enough that you know a lot of the principles?”

“I work the procurement end of them, but you can’t do that without picking up a bit about the technology.”

Gleason nodded. “So, suppose you wanted to know the best way to teach pilots the steps of an emergency procedure so they don’t forget them in a pinch? If you ask an AI system that, I’d expect …. Better yet, let’s ask and find out.” He grabbed a laptop from the workbench and started to power it up.

“Do we need to go into the SCIF for this?” Jesse asked.

Gleason gave him a quizzical look, followed by, “No, why would we? And besides, I need the Wi-Fi, and it won’t work in there.”

After a moment, he opened an application on the laptop that Jesse recognized as part of a publicly accessible large language model. Gleason typed in a prompt about training pilots on emergency procedures, and in a second or two, the system responded.

Jesse skimmed the answer, somewhat surprised by what he saw. “You’re right. The question you asked seemed right on the mark, but the AI took it to be something about getting information into human long-term memory. It covers things like breaking the procedure into small steps or using visual aids. I thought the real issue was more about how to make sure people can perform under stress and time pressure. That would get into making the pilot’s reaction nearly automatic, something that he or she doesn’t need to think about to do.”

“I can’t say that I understood everything you just said, but it seems I made my point,” replied Gleason. “You gotta know how to talk to these beings.”

As for his beliefs that machines were or would soon be sentient, Jesse couldn’t decide if that made Gleason the perfect prompt engineer or perfectly wrong for the job. Would the belief that he was talking to a sentient being make his prompts better or taint them with a touch of delusion … assuming his belief was delusional? But getting to the bottom of that issue wouldn’t answer what the heck Gleason was so anxious to tell him, and it was time to move on to that question.

“So, your grandmother thinks we’re down here saving the world. Or was that just a figure of speech?”

About the Author

Bruce Perrin has been writing for more than twenty-five years, although you will find much of that work only in professional technical journals or conference proceedings. After receiving a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and completing a career in psychological research and development at a major aerospace company, he’s now applying his background to writing fiction. Not surprisingly, most of his work falls in the techno-thriller, mystery, and hard science fiction genres, examining the intersection of technology and the human mind now and in the future. Besides writing, Bruce likes to tinker with home automation and is an avid hiker. When he is not on the trails, he lives with his wife in Aurora, CO.


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The Other Side of the Mirror by Dana Evyn #fantasy #romance

The Mirrored Trilogy, #1


Fantasy Romance / Romantasy

Date Published: 04-09-2024

Publisher: City Owl Press


All her life, Eala Duir, a young college professor, has skirted the edges of a fantasy world.

Visions of folk stories coming alive in hearth flames and vivid daydreams where carousel horses ride off to battle, drove Eala to pursue an academic life specializing in tales of the Fae.

When a cryptic message in her grandmother’s will sends her to Ireland, Eala clashes with Sionnach Loho, an attractive, enigmatic local expert on folklore. After witnessing Eala’s encounter with a ghost girl at an allegedly haunted castle, Sionnach reveals his own ties to the Fae realm. He insists Eala’s ability to connect with the supernatural proves she’s been sent to partner with him and fulfill a centuries-old otherworldly quest ordained by the mighty Finnbheara, King of the Connacht Fae.

As the folk and faerie fiction that Eala adores collides with reality, she must decide whether to embrace it or flee back to the safe and predictable life she thought she always wanted.

About the Author

Dana Evyn has been lost in her daydreams for as long as she can remember, though only recently started writing them down. She’s usually lost in a book—especially one with an indominable female lead, a unique magical world, and a dark twist you don’t see coming. She’s a mother of two tiny humans and a large golden retriever, and lives near Seattle, WA.


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