J.D. Stone’s Juniper Story of Salvage, Family, and Desperation

When I first had the idea of inviting other authors to write stories in the world of the Juniper Wars, I was going for the biggest names I could find. My goal was to gather nos. And I got some really good nos from from really great authors. And I got a few awesome yeses as well.

But I wanted established people, or up and coming people. This project was about me giving back to writers who are awesome. But again, this was an invite-only situation and I wanted published authors.

Then J.D. Stone sent me his story. It would be his first published piece of fiction and I knew I had to say no. I couldn’t do it. It didn’t match my vision, right? But I was curious to see what he’d come up with.

I read the first paragraph, the first page, and then I felt myself swept away. I didn’t want to stop reading. It was long, but it was beautiful. It has this tragic sense of family and desperation, and the answer to the main story question made me cry. It was like Cormac McCarthy, in his early years, had written a Juniper Wars story.

I wanted to say no, but I couldn’t. I love this story so much. So here it is, the next story in The Juniper Tales Project. Enjoy.

Click here for Magpies by J.D. Stone (a zip file containing the *.mobi, *.epub, and *.PDF)

The Yellowstone Knockout of 2029 forced a flood of refugees to pour out of the western United States. They got out with their lives, but left behind a wealth of copper and other materials. Those willing to risk the lawless bandits and bleak desolation of the Juniper could stand to make a fortune, but for fifteen-year-old Tymonee Cuevas, her greatest adversary might be her own father.

Stone’s high-stakes tale of family and desperation will leave you guessing until the very end.

As a kid, J.D. Stone carefully searched every wardrobe and rabbit hole and kept a weather eye out for fairies he could shake down for dust. Alas, he passed into adulthood without successfully crossing realms, save only in the daydreams that
never stopped. After years of denial, he finally agreed to record his fantasies for posterity. This is his first published story.


MALCon 2016 – AMR Schedule, Yo


Greatest Godzilla Movie
Helms Deep
Fri Aug 12 5:00:pm – 5:50:pm
32 will enter, 1 will win. Since 1954, Godzilla has adorned movie theaters and endured the longest living franchise in cinema history. So which one deserves the accolade of being the greatest Godzilla of all time? Is it impossible to top Gojira, the movie that began it all? Or do the more elaborate entries with classic monsters like King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan deserve the throne?
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Kathryn Renta, Thomas A. Fowler


Future of Kaiju
Lawrence, KS
Sat Aug 13 10:00:am – 10:50:am
Godzilla, Gamera, King Kong are all returning and the consensus is: Let them fight. What has made us curious about Kaiju and giant monsters again? How has Godzilla endured over 60 years onscreen? Audience members are encouraged to provide their hopes for the future of movie monsters, and concerns for the upcoming installments.
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Thomas A. Fowler

Writing in the 21st Century: What can we do now that we couldn’t do before?
The Shire
Sat Aug 13 12:00:pm – 12:50:pm
Are there topics, characters, or situations that we can write about now that were taboo or forbidden in the past?
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Stace Johnson, Tonya L. De Marco

Religion in SF/F Outside the Western World
Lawrence, KS
Sat Aug 13 1:00:pm – 1:50:pm
What if the galaxy was explored by Islamic researchers? What if the next epic fantasy you read is set in Aztec Mexico? Speculative fiction is our chance to explore the cosmos through very different eyes than our own — and not just extraterrestrial or elven ones!
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Stant Litore, Veronica Calisto

Going with the Flow
Kings Landing
Sat Aug 13 2:00:pm – 2:50:pm
Finding inspiration and balancing your job as a writer with your mundane job. Finding time to write when you have a family.
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Amity Green

Sat Aug 13 3:00:pm – 3:50:pm
Come join your fellow Whedonites to talk, share, argue and discuss your love for all of Whedon’s creations! Buffy, Firefly, Avengers, Dr Horrible and more. More thrilling than staying at a cabin in the woods, more insane than living in a dollhouse.
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Kathryn Renta, Keith DeCandido, Lou J Berger

Trope if You Want To
Sat Aug 13 4:00:pm – 4:50:pm
You know that story you want to write about pirates? How about that one about aliens? Superheroes? Wizards? Secret agents? Just because a genre has already been beaten to death doesn’t mean you can’t bring something unique to it.
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Kimberly Kennedy, Mike Cervantes, Veronica Calisto


When They Tell You They’re Too Old or Too Young
The Shire
Sun Aug 14 10:00:am – 10:50:am
There is YA literature that many consider to have topics beyond a YA audience (Hunger Games, Twilight), but does this mean they aren’t for adult readers? What’s the judgment and do we care?
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Amity Green, Courtney Farrell

Marketing for Writers
Sun Aug 14 12:00:pm – 12:50:pm
Don’t publishers handle all that marketing mumbo jumbo? In this booming era of indie authors, hybrids, and small presses, what does it take to get your name out there? How does a writer market him or herself?
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Kimberly Kennedy, Stace Johnson

Humor in the Modern Action Story
The Shire
Sun Aug 14 1:00:pm – 1:50:pm
From Jackie Chan and Axel Foley to the hard-hitting and explosive antics of anime, why do so many writers (and directors) mash up wise-acres and violence?
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Kal Spriggs, Mike Cervantes

Pitching to the Editor
The Shire
Sun Aug 14 3:00:pm – 3:50:pm
Want to pitch your next great novel in a flash? Learn how from pros who have been there.
Aaron Michael Ritchey, Keith DeCandido

Kevin Ikenberry’s Vision of Military Failure!

When Kevin Ikenberry and I talked about the story he wanted to write in the world of THE WORLD JUNIPER series, I loved the idea of putting into scenes the day the Juniper was created. What happened to the U.S. Missile Defense systems? Who better to answer that question than someone with a military background? Kevin’s story is amazing.

A single missile tracks towards the western United States. In an underground bunker in Wyoming, Colonel Mark Devane and his crew are the final line of defense. There are certain moments in history where one person’s actions either save a country or damn it forever. Faced with the ultimate decision, how will history judge Colonel Mark Devane, his crew, and their last command?

Kevin Ikenberry’s vision of high-stakes military drama and subsequent failure reaches a vibrant climax where courage clashes with despair. Click here to download the story.

About The Author
Kevin Ikenberry still wants to be an astronaut.  A retired Army officer, Kevin’s background in space education and operations includes managing the world-renowned U.S. Space Camp program, leading two Challenger Learning Centers, and working for more than ten years in space operations.  He is the author of the science fiction/thriller Sleeper Protocol and the military science fiction novel Runs In The Family.  Kevin’s short fiction has appeared all over the world in various publications and anthologies.  He lives in Colorado with his family.kevin ikenberry author pic small

Other Works by Kevin Ikenberry

sleeper protocol

Sleeper Protocol
How far would you go to remember your past?

Kieran Roark awakens in a wheelchair, unable to remember anything.  As part of a classified experiment, he will have one year to learn his identity and recover his memory, or he will be euthanized by the state.

Scientist Berkeley Bennett has one mission: manipulate Kieran’s emotions in an attempt to bring back his memory.  But when she falls in love with him, she is forced to make a harrowing decision that may cost Kieran his life.

What Kieran knows could save Earth from a coming war.  Whether he believes the future is worth saving is another matter.  Racing across an unfamiliar world in a body he does not recall, Kieran needs to discover who he was and, more importantly, who he is.

Praise for Sleeper Protocol:
“..an emotionally powerful debut.  [Ikenberry’s] insight to the human side of the military mind has strong appeal.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Kevin Ikenberry has achieved a rare feat; a military SF novel that although set in a fascinating future has almost nothing to with the technology or the alien enemy and almost everything to do with the what makes a soldier worthy of that name, their humanity.  I love when an author puts their heart and soul into a book.”
–Eytan Kollin, Co-Author of The Unincorporated series

“Sleeper Protocol is an excellent addition to the new wave of 21st Century military science fiction.  Kevin Ikenberry writes a taut, exciting thriller, focused on the human condition of soldiering in a future Earth that is as foreign as any alien world.”
–David Conyers, editor of Extreme Planets and author of The Shoggoth Conspiracy

“Sleeper Protocol evokes the best of military science fiction. A wonderfully intriguing premise, heart-pounding action, and plot twists that keep you guessing. Highly recommended.”
–D.L. Young. author of Soledad

“A fascinating and provocative exploration of how the forces of memory and love can shape one’s identity and potentially alter the course of the whole world. Sleeper Protocol is an equally entertaining and engaging story that will keep you thinking long after you’ve finished the last page.”
–Josh Vogt, author of The Cleaners series


runs in the family

Runs In The Family
An outcast of the Eden Academy, physically unfit for military duty, and lacking a civil service assignment, Mairin Shields is going nowhere fast.  With little hope of leaving the outer rim of the Milky Way, Mairin agrees to participate in a classified experiment offering her genetic perfection and a chance to see the galaxy.

Now, armed with her great-grandfather’s military knowledge and combat-refined instincts, Mairin is tasked with leading inexperienced troops in a war against a shadowy enemy using hauntingly familiar tactics.  But the first rule of the military is “hurry up and wait,” and Mairin learns this firsthand.

Without transport to the fight, Mairin spends the downtime on a lush paradise world getting to know her new body, her imprint, and her heart.  Mairin meets Tallenaara, a beautiful Styrahi architect whose mission and past will come to challenge them both.  Faced with the most difficult choice of her young life, Mairin Shields can only watch as her world spins out of control.

Praise for Runs In The Family:
“Armored warfare written by an author who knows what it’s about. Kevin was originally a tanker, and his writing is that of one who knows how the beasts are fought. Throw in some romance between an alien and a human, the incompetence of those who rise to command because of who they know, and the courage of a junior officer who refuses to lose, no matter the idiocy coming down from above, and you have a great tale of military science fiction. Thoroughly enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to any who enjoy a good tale of future ground combat.”
–Doug Dandridge, author of the Amazon bestselling Empires At War series