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[personal profile] sreesaherberth
I know at least half of you just added "in my pants" to that subject line, and that is why I love you.

Our first novel, The Balance of Silence, came out today! If you are friends with me anywhere else, I'm sure you already know that. I've been going on a bit, I think.

To celebrate, we had a private release party last night. Yes, it was in our kitchen. Yes, that's my Kindle. (It's also my wine.) And yes, then we sat down and finished the rest of the Sherlock episode we'd been watching.

Balance of silence release party

Riv pushed, and the ship sheared off below him, their parting as easy as breathing. Just letting go, as simple as that, and it was almost a disappointment when the lead attached to his harness caught him and he stopped abruptly a few feet away. The O2 monitor flashed across the visor, orange drifting towards red, and he cleared it away with unusually clumsy fingers, tapping at the controls set into the arm of his drift suit.

The indicator that he was nearing the end of his air scrubber capacity stayed visible in the corner of his mask, pushed aside for the schematic he called up again to double check his work. Satisfied that he’d cleaned up the mess caused by an errant bit of space junk puncturing the hull, he set to welding the panel back on. The shiny new metal looked like a fresh wound amidst the rest of the scarred and burned ship.

“Riv, you’re back in three minutes, max. The read says your scrubbers are giving out.” Marc’s voice was a crisp annoyance in his ear as he gathered up his tools, pressing the demagnetizing button to pry them up from the side of the ship and shove them back into his kit.

Just let go—

“Riv, answer me now, or I’m coming out to haul your ass in.”

“I’m here,” he groused back, breath fogging the visor for a second. “Gods, you are such an old woman, Marc.”

“Tell me I don’t have anything to worry about, and I’ll call you a liar to your face,” Marc hissed back, no doubt surrounded by the crew of the Hoku, the ship they’d been contracted to repair.

“I’m fine,” Riv said firmly, passing the strap of the toolkit around his chest and securing it before he headed back to the airlock. The Hoku didn’t have many handholds, so he was forced to use the magnets in his boots and gloves, crawling crablike along the hull until he could pull himself into the lock and hit the compression controls. Buffeted by the rush of air as it filled the chamber, he swayed before dropping the tools and leaning his back against the wall while he fumbled his helmet off. The first breath left him dizzy, as always.

Thankful for his few minutes of compression acclimation, and thus privacy, he dropped onto the metal bench that jutted out from the wall and put his head in his hands. He was only a week back, and he already felt the same frayed edges showing through, and all the meditation in the ’verse couldn’t seem to hold him together. The tumbling forms of two dead men, jettisoned like trash and spinning away into the black, replayed in his mind like a bad vid. He could still see them every time he closed his eyes. The dark alley where they’d died had become a permanent location in his mental geography, and the phantom weight of the metal pipe as it connected with flesh sometimes seemed every bit as real as the wrench he’d stowed into his tool kit.

It didn’t help that the first face he saw when the inner door slid open was Marc’s, mouth tight with anger and fear. It was the same expression he’d worn as they’d slammed the airlock closed on the casualties of that gods-forsaken night four months ago. It could just as easily have been Marc himself set to spin in the dark forever, or Denny, or Riv, but it hadn’t been, and he seemed to be the only one who couldn’t be thankful for that fact and let things go.

“You need to fucking. Let. It. Go.” The words were bitten off with barely controlled fury, but Riv could only stare blankly for several seconds, too startled at having his own thoughts shot back at him to react.

Marc crowded into his space, looming over him. “I’m serious, Riv, you’re not going to off yourself on my watch. In fact, I value my own ass enough that I’m going to make sure it doesn’t happen at all. Captain’s holding me personally responsible for your well-being, and I really prefer to not let Bin down.”

Riv snickered, he couldn’t help himself. Not the wisest reaction, but the thought of Bin assigning Marc to babysitting duties was humorous, to say the least. Not that Marc wouldn’t do it, his mother-hen tendencies were legendary, but that Bin would ask.

“I’m glad you find this amusing,” Marc said sourly.

“Just a little.” Riv hunched in on himself, staring stubbornly at the grated metal floor. If he met Marc’s eyes, it was going to quickly become evident just how not-funny he found the whole situation. “Look, I’m okay, all right? You don’t need to worry.”

The disparaging snort spoke volumes, but to Riv’s relief, he didn’t press the matter. “Come on then, I think we’re done here. Ditch the suit and let’s get back to the Mel. These Hoku folk are just weird. They give me the heebie-jeebies.”

“You mean they’re normal.”

“That’s what I said, wasn’t it?”

We're running contests- you can win a free copy of the book in the format of your choice, or, if you're one of the awesome people who has already purchased a copy, you could win a prize pack that has all KINDS of goodies in it.

The first is pretty simple- email us with the subject line "Balance", and you'll be entered to win a free copy in the format of your choice. Two winners will be chosen by random selection, and the winner will be notified by email.

We don't want to leave out the people who have already read the book, though! If you've purchased The Balance of Silence, send us some proof of it- a picture of yourself reading it, a screenshot of your receipt (all payment and personal information removed, obviously), even a favourite quote, or request for the phone numbers of the cover models. Just email us with the subject line "Goodie Bag", and you'll be entered to win a canvas tote bag full of prizes! The goodie bag includes all kinds of cool stuff with our fabulous cover featured prominently, topped off with delicious nomables, and a treat from LUSH! One random winner will be chosen.

Enter here to win a free copy of "The Balance of Silence"

Enter here to win a goodie bag full of "The Balance of Silence" prizes

I swear I've done nothing all day but look at my computer (Okay, and watch more Sherlock. Watch Sherlock again? Both of those.), but I'm exhausted. It's done, it's out there in the world, now all I can do is hope people don't hate it. (If you do, that's totally your right. All I ask is that you please not post about hating it HERE. Anywhere else is fair game.)

Back to work tomorrow. I'm so glad I took the day off.
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S. Reesa Herberth
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