Happy Book Birthday, Distant Horizon!

Today’s the day! Distant Horizon is now available!😀

Isaac and I started writing Distant Horizon in 2010 after playing a tabletop rpg that Isaac was the gamemaster for. He created the world, most of the characters (except Jenna–she was my character), and the plot. Eventually, I decided I wanted to write everything down. Thus, the concept for Distant Horizon was born. A lot has changed since the role-play, but a lot has remained surprisingly the same. Now, six years later, we’re ready to share Jenna’s story with the world.🙂

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Distant Horizon

A Young Adult Dystopia with Superhero Elements

Distant Horizon - Book Cover

The Community is safe.
Unless you have superpowers.

Sixty years ago, a hallucinogenic plague annihilated half the world’s population, leading to the formation of the Community—an international government that promises its citizens safety, security, and efficiency. Every day, Community citizens swallow a mandatory pill to ensure their immunity to the plague. A year after graduating high school, they take the Health Scan.

Most pass, and continue with their lives. Others disappear.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson hasn’t taken the pill since her senior year in high school. She feels more alive without it, and she hasn’t shown any signs of infection—at least, not until two days after a surprise Health Scan is announced and Special Forces arrive at her university campus.

Spurred by the recent string of hallucinations, Jenna searches for any inkling of what happens to those who fail the scan. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment and, once cured, receive a menial job. But when she uncovers the cruel truth behind the plague, her ideal world is shattered.

Underneath the illusion of safety, Special Forces agents harbor a dark secret.

The plague is a lie.

Now available!

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ BN.com ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords

Print Version Available on Amazon

Add "Stone and String" to Goodreads

Read the first seven chapters, free! Click here to download the PDF.

Distant Horizon - Teaser Picture "The Community is safe... Unless you have superpowers."

Distant Horizon - "Beast Excerpt"

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Please consider sharing this post to spread the word about the new release. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the book!😀


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Distant Horizon – Read the First 7 Chapters!

Distant Horizon is set to be published October 27th, and as a teaser, I’ve got the first seven chapters (20% of the book) available to read for free! Any more than that, and you’ll have to buy the book.😉

But please, if you like dystopias or stories with superhero elements, take a look! There’s extensive world building, a complex magic system, and a conspiracy underlying it all. I hope you enjoy the sample chapters.🙂

Distant Horizon - Sample Chapters

Click here to download a PDF (based on the print edition) of the first seven chapters!

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And if you want to participate in the upcoming book blitz with YA Bound Book Tours, click here !

I hope you enjoyed this post.🙂

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Distant Horizon Book Trailer

Not only have Isaac and I finished approving Distant Horizon for publication, but the book trailer for Distant Horizon is completed, as well! Have a look, and let us know what you think.🙂


Music: “Losing Control” by Aviators: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-85r5ywg0w
(Used with Permission)

Available for Pre-Order
Releases October 27th, 2016

Buy the Book:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LPMKKZQ
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LPMKKZQ
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/distant-horizon-stephanie-flint/1124573662
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/distant-horizon
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/distant-horizon/id1153036594
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/663886


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Sneak Peek of Distant Horizon – Chapter Two (Sections Two and Three)!

As we get closer to the release day of Distant Horizon (October 27th!), I’ve been working on the final touches! I’ve been reading the printed proof copy for errors…

dh-proof-copy-1 dh-proof-copy-2

See? There’s the book!

And I’ve been setting up promotional items for the upcoming book blitz that will take place once Distant Horizon is published.

(Want to participate in the book blitz? Click here!)

And, of course, I like to provide teasers of the upcoming book. So here’s the second part of Distant Horizon, Chapter Two, for your enjoyment.🙂

(You can read the first chapter by clicking here.)

(Or you can read the first section of chapter two by clicking here.)

Chapter Two

(Section Two and Three)

“Come on, Jenna—this is perfect. You need the points; I get a good name in, and if the commander remembers me when I graduate, he might recommend me to international Special Forces!” With a smooth swipe of his hand, Lance pushed the straggling strands of his brown hair from his eyes and then brushed his shirt free of wrinkles. I took a step back, eyeing him cautiously. Lance stood straighter, more proper than before.

“Well, what do you think?” he asked. “Think I’ll make a good impression?”

“You look… nice,” I said halfheartedly. “I’m sure he’ll consider you.”

Lance beamed. “Awesome!”

“Yeah, awesome,” I mumbled. I shouldered my backpack uneasily as Lance headed for his security class. He could probably get into a regional team and be charged with the wonderful task of protecting gossipy leaders, but regional agents were stationed all over the world. If he got recruited, I might never see him again.

I hunched my shoulders and hurried to calculus. I could almost swear the agents wandering around campus were watching me. Throughout class, when I should have been focusing on logarithms, all I could think about was the agents’ dark visors, their stern postures, and how they were tasked with protecting the Community against all kinds of threats, including theophrenia.

I pictured the agents escorting Galina into the back of the van. What if I never saw her again? What if she couldn’t be cured?

Needless to say, I bombed the calc test.

I returned to my dorm room, dejected, and switched my materials to the Basics of Agronomy and Horticulture. At least this was a class I enjoyed. When I lived at my parents’ house, I spent what free time I had in the backyard or the community garden cultivating herbs and vegetables. Whenever I was worried about how I’d do on my core graduation tests, gardening was the most efficient way for me to relax.

I trailed my fingers through the leaves of the potted spider plant on my desk. If only plants could understand people. Plants wouldn’t tell anyone about not taking the pills, or failing a computer class, or—

The stem of a spiderette wrapped around my finger and wriggled beneath my palm. I yelped and yanked my hand away.

The plant just moved.

Not only that, but spiderette stems were stiff, not malleable like a vine. They shouldn’t be able to wrap around my finger even if plants could move of their own accord.

I stared at the plant, but it seemed the same as before. Just a normal stem in a normal pot.

I swallowed hard. I could not be hallucinating. Not this close to the Health Scan. I grabbed my bag and stuffed the books inside, then rushed out the door. I was stressed and needed lunch; that was all.

Downstairs, the spicy aroma of sloppy joes mingled with the antiseptic stench of cleaning supplies used in the cafeteria. My stomach churned. Bad idea coming to the cafeteria. Really bad idea. I should’ve just taken the pill and been done with it. Maybe I would’ve gotten accustomed to the lack of focus. I could still go back and take the pill. Maybe—

I stopped short at the lunch table.

“You okay?” Lance stabbed his fork into a half-eaten sandwich. “You’re pale. Maybe you should see the nurse.”

“No!” I gripped the loose ends of my backpack tight. Lance gave me a puzzled look. I shut my mouth, then set my backpack in its proper place under the chair. “It’s just… I failed the calc test.”

He cocked his head with a knowing grin. “Sure you did—you won’t have the results until after the Health Scan. You know, you’re starting to sound like Tim.” His smirk turned into an amused smile. “Want me to get you a plate?”

“Go ahead,” I said, and he left me alone at the table. I traced the spot where the stem had wrapped around my finger. My blood pounded in my ears, mingling with the messy roar of the cafeteria. The stress of the upcoming scan was getting to me—bad. Hallucinations were the first sign of theophrenia. If someone had theophrenia, they’d have hallucinations and delusions of grandeur, and eventually, they’d die. But theophrenia was supposed to be a thing of the past. Contained.

“Jenna?” An elbow brushed my shoulder and I jumped. Tim stood beside me, holding a plate of steamed broccoli. “Are you okay?”

Not really, no. But I couldn’t tell him the real reason I was worried. “I bombed the calc test,” I said.

Tim cringed and took his seat. “Ouch.” He stirred his fork through the broccoli, wrinkling his nose and making a face. But I’d never seen him put something back if it was good for him, and he took a bite. “Lance said you can make up yesterday’s points.”

“Maybe, if I get an audience.”

Tim pulled his tablet from his pocket and sat it beside the plate, then flipped through the screens with a swipe of his finger. He showed me a photograph of the commander next to his transport ship. “Do you think he’ll autograph this for me?”

I nodded weakly. I never did understand autographs, though most E-Leadership members were happy to give them. Lady Winters never signed them, though, and when Master Matoska made a rare appearance, he only did so if the signing was on his schedule.

A plate of food slid in front of me. “I got you extra broccoli,” Lance said.

Warmth flooded my chest. Unlike Tim, I actually liked broccoli—and Lance knew me well.

I smiled. “Thanks.”

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After lunch, I excused myself early to slip outside. I had a few minutes before the next meeting, plenty of time for a walk to clear my head. The sun stole through the clouds in the courtyard and lent warmth to the chilly afternoon. Students swarmed the flagpole at the center of campus, waving tablets and books in the fresh air.

A tell-tale safari hat rode across the crowd and my breath caught in my throat. Unlike Lady Black, who often used her revealing outfits to stand out from the rest of us, Commander Rick did not flaunt his “attractiveness.” He always went for regal attire—except for that safari hat he always wore—and his word was absolutely, positively good. If he said he would do something, we could bet our efficiency points he’d do it—not that betting was in any way efficient.

I took a step back, my chest tight. I wasn’t ready to ask the commander questions. What if I got the interview, but they had to do the scan first?

I turned to take the long way around campus, but nearly collided with a confident woman as she passed me on the sidewalk. She nimbly stepped aside, then glanced at me, surprised. Wisps of dark hair tickled her face, and her green eyes were complimented by the antique, diamond and brass pendant she wore on her chest, the same kind of pendant members of international E-Leadership wore.

“Lady Black?” I stared at her, dumbfounded. She had to have been cold. Her dress was impractical—it twisted and shimmered in a harsh gust of wind, and her skin was pale where the silky black dress revealed far more of her chest than normal citizens would ever show. She opened her mouth to speak, but I skittered away before any words could be exchanged.

I didn’t check to see if anyone had seen us before I ducked into the closest building. Once inside, I pressed my hands against the stone wall and caught my breath. Too close. What if I’d said something about the pills in a moment of panic? I half expected an agent to come waltzing through the glass doors and ask why I hadn’t reported my earlier hallucination.

I took a deep breath, ignoring the puzzled stares of passing students. Though I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching, no agent came to question me. I waited for my nerves to calm, and then headed back to the dorms for the afternoon meeting.


Like what you read? Want to find out what happens next?

Pre-Order Distant Horizon today!
Amazon – Amazon UK – B&N – Kobo – iTunes – Smashwords

You can also find Distant Horizon on Goodreads.

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I hope you enjoyed this post.🙂


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Thoughts on Publishing- DH Proof Copy Ordered, New Author Photo, and Next Sneak Peek from Distant Horizon!

I got the proof copy of Distant Horizon ordered! Woot!

I should get the printed proof sometime next week, which should give me enough time to do a final proofread before uploading the final files, sitting back… and working on promo materials. Well… it’s a start.🙂

I would have had the proof copy ordered a couple days ago except that Createspace apparently doesn’t do well with transparent PNG images in PDFs (I’m testing out transparent images in the ebook files, and had simply let them transfer over. That didn’t work out well, as they turned into gray blocks). So I went back and redid the divider images, which ended up being easier than I thought because I found an article explaining how to find and replace images in Word. But be warned: those conversion problems don’t show up on the digital proofer until after you submit your files for review. So it’s a good idea to check the digital version again before ordering a print copy.

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In other news, Isaac and I now have an author photo!

Isaac and Stephanie Flint - Author Photo

I already had one for myself, which I used in Magic’s Stealing, and that’s the same one that I use for social media. But I wanted one that showed both Isaac and myself for our joint projects.

So we went to the same area where we shot my first author photo, waited for the golden light of the day (and mostly missed it, due to my temporarily breaking the tripod while trying to extend one of the legs), and set up the camera on a (fixed) tripod with the timer. I wore the same outfit I wore for the previous photo, which I’ve also started to wear when I go to various events.

So… look for our new author photo on our website, Infinitas Publishing, as well as in the author section of Distant Horizon.🙂

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Since we’re rapidly approaching the release date of our upcoming book, I thought I’d share another sneak peek from Distant Horizon. I’m planning on releasing the first six chapters over the course of the pre-release period.😉

(You can read the first chapter by clicking here.)

Chapter Two

(Section One)

Brisk October air snapped against my cheeks. Gray clouds obscured an even grayer sky, casting a dull shadow across the courtyard and the stone buildings, which loomed overhead with their tall domes and steep, towering columns.

I always admired the imposing structures because they had survived the plague. So many things hadn’t. But these bits of history I could touch with my fingertips: statues worn smooth with time, their copper turned green from rain, and best of all, the ivy that snuck through the cracks of a time-ravaged campus.

Lance and I were headed for our first morning class when a low, steady drone rumbled overhead. Lance yanked my sleeve. “Look!”

A well-decorated airship peeked through the heavy clouds. Brass, gold, and bronze ornamental railing adorned its gondola and complimented the high, arched windows. Elegant frames decorated the rotors with artistic flourishes. The symbol on its side was the Lady of the Cog: a crimson half-cog rising like a sun, embellished with the silhouette of a lady perched across the spoke-like rays.

My breath caught in my throat. The only people who used the Lady of the Cog belonged to International E-Leadership—the highest-ranking officials of the Community. Maybe Lady Winters was paying us a visit. She was one of the few leaders actually worth the speeches she gave. As Head of Efficiency, she made sure the Health Scans were thorough and that our international laboratories advanced. Maybe she was coming to tell us that she had made an advance against the plague, and I wouldn’t have to worry about the Health Scan anymore.

“That’s Commander Rick’s airship!” Lance grinned, his cheeks rosy from the wind.

I raised an eyebrow. “The commander?”

“Maybe he’s coming to visit. Let’s get to class—we might find out more there!” He dragged me down the sidewalk through the early crowd. Once inside, we took our seats in the second row. The first row was already filled—apparently in similar anticipation.

Professor Dragomirov smiled at everyone’s enthusiasm and put an image of the seventy-year-old commander on the giant touch screen at the front of the classroom. The chatter quieted as she spread her hands along the wrinkles in her uniform and puffed out her chest with pride.

“Tomorrow, Commander Rick is delivering a speech to our university regarding the upcoming Health Scan. Be advised, I will assign extra efficiency points to those who can secure an interview with the commander and produce a two-page report regarding his efforts in the security and efficiency of our modern society.”

More chatter erupted at the news. Lance grinned and nudged my shoulder. “It’s your lucky day.”

Lucky? If I accidentally let slip that I didn’t take the pills around the commander, I would not only be booted out of college, but out of the Community.

“Miss Nickleson?”

I jerked to attention at my name. Professor Dragomirov tapped the screen beside her. On it was an image of a tower with a gleaming set of windows. The whole thing was shaped like an absurdly unsafe letter “F.”

I blinked. “Yes?”

“Where was the final rebel base in Australia located when Commander Rick ended the resistance against the Community?”

Two locations popped into my head at the mention of Australia, and I knew Sydney wasn’t it.

“The Northern Territory?” I suggested. Hopefully she didn’t want the name of the actual town.

The professor smiled, switching the image on the touch screen to reveal a map. “Correct. Located near what used to be Birdum, Australia, the tower and its surrounding city thrived from those who threatened the Community’s security.”

She went on to repeat the same history lesson we’d heard since primary school: how our founding father, Lord Black, died infiltrating that tower, and how Commander Rick took his place, stomped out the Oriental Alliance and the remaining rebellions, declared world peace, and became the living embodiment of the Community and its virtues.

Nice resume, if I hadn’t heard it a dozen times before. I would’ve preferred that we spent our class learning something new, like who developed the treatment for theophrenia. I glanced at my book, then at the professor. She was paying more attention to her lecture than to the rest of the class, so I flipped to the back of the book, searching the index for “t” until I found theophrenia listed with a dozen page numbers.

I already knew that the first known treatment for theophrenia came shortly after EYEnet’s formation and that once the Community was established in 2027, the treatment was made routine. Occasional outbreaks of the disease—like the one that killed my grandparents—were common. While most of the book had information I’d read before, it added that Lady Bridget Winters had a hand in creating the most recent treatment—the one which effectively contained the threat in 2065.

A few pages later, I found the answer to my question. Apparently, Lady Winters’ predecessor, Doctor Sanders, had developed adominogen with funding from international E-Leadership—the original founders of EYEnet. The book went on to discuss the Community’s rise across the globe, but offered little else regarding the treatment.

I frowned and rested my cheek against my knuckles. Theophrenia was supposed to be dormant, but the book said the plague was only contained. That explained how Galina failed the scan. But most diseases only needed a single vaccination to offer a lifetime of immunity, so why did we take the pills on a daily basis? Did the pills have to be adjusted for various strains of the disease?

I flipped to the next passage, only half-listening as Professor Dragomirov went on about Commander Rick’s military prowess. It was thanks to his leadership that theophrenia was contained five years after he took power. He understood how people with theophrenia thought, and he personally assembled the best teams to seek out the last rebel hideouts. Despite my grandparents’ preference not to talk about their past, I’d managed to weasel a few pre-Community stories from them. Their tales about those who were infected mostly ended in chaos and destruction. The infected were paranoid and hard to catch. Crazy. They thought they could command the elements, and often took extreme measures to try manifesting their beliefs. They’d light themselves on fire, leap from tall buildings to prove they could fly…

I closed the book as the professor wrapped up her lecture. There was nothing about why we took the pill daily. The book was only a history book, and all it told me was the same lesson I’d heard since my year four teacher explained that E-Leadership created peace in the world, and that we should all be thankful the days of the plague were over.


Like what you read? Want to find out what happens next?

Pre-Order Distant Horizon today!
Amazon – Amazon UK – B&N – Kobo – iTunes – Smashwords

You can also find Distant Horizon on Goodreads.

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I hope you enjoyed this post.🙂

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Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report and Sneak Peek of Distant Horizon!

Wow, time flies when you’re super busy! Anyway, it’s time for another Infinitas Publishing Status report before October creeps up on us.

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Burg Fest: Yesterday, Isaac and I had our booth at Burg Fest (A Friday/Saturday event). Isaac and I manned the booth with help from a few of our beta testers (thank you!). Overall, the event went really well. We sold out of our wooden Phalanx boards, and sold several of our books. More on the event as a whole in a future post, once we’ve had a chance to reorganize and take inventory of everything.

Distant Horizon: This book is just about complete! Got notes back from my editor, completed those notes, and I’m now doing the last round of proofreading before I reformat the print edition and order a proof copy. We recently did a cover reveal with Lola’s Blog Tours, which  went well. Around twenty blogs participated. I’ve still got a few promo items to complete (book trailer–partially completed, and Twitter/Facebook pictures) before setting up a book blitz, but we’re getting closer. The ebook is available for pre-order now, and the release date is set for October 27th!

The Shadow War: I’ve got the latest draft out to a beta reader. I’m hoping this one may be a bit closer to complete (with fewer plot holes) than the previous draft. May be a little while before I can continue work on this, but that depends on how fast other projects get done and when I get beta reader feedback. I’ve got a personal goal in mind for a release date, so I’m working towards that.

Stone and String: I released this short story through Kindle Select earlier this month. Same universe as The Wishing Blade series, but different region. I’ve been having fun developing the word magic system, and I hope to write a few more short stories in this series once I finish preparing Distant Horizon for publication.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: I have the next episode ready to send to our beta-reader, but I want to make sure Distant Horizon is complete before I turn my attention back to this series. I think Isaac and I may have worked through some of the plot issues slowing our progress on this series, so hopefully you’ll be seeing more episodes of The Multiverse Chronicles soon. Based on feedback I heard at Burg Fest, I’m thinking we’ll definitely want to compile the completed episodes into book format once the whole series is written.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Once I have the proof copy of Distant Horizon ordered, I have two formatting projects to complete. I aim to have them both done before the end of October.DH Divider

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter!

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And now a sneak peek of Distant Horizon!

Chapter One

The first time I flushed an adominogen pill, the oblong capsule tumbled from my hand and bounced off the bathroom sink, once, twice, then fell into the toilet with a finalizing plop.


I waited all day for someone to ask why I didn’t report accidentally losing my pill. But no one did, and I didn’t have any of the hallucinations that­­ the health officials said I would have if I didn’t take it. Instead, the world around me felt so much more… alive. My attention improved, not that it was bad to begin with, and I could think clearly. Be more efficient.

After that, I stopped taking the pill. I graduated high school and started my first year of college—no sign of any hallucinations or crazy delusions that come with being infected by theophrenia. But when our hall advisor announced that the annual Health Scan would take place in two days, I panicked.

I needed three things to graduate: excellent grades, as many efficiency points as possible, and to pass the scan. It wasn’t often someone failed, but it did happen. One of my friends in high school had a sister who failed—Galina. She took the scan at the clinic downtown, and Special Forces escorted her away, all while assuring everything would be fine.

I didn’t want to end up like her, so right after the announcement, I took the pill. It was like throwing a clear, plastic tarp over my world. I felt like an unbalanced gyroscope and I spent half the day in the bathroom, sick to my stomach. But I couldn’t go to the doctor for the symptoms. Not taking the pill was an international offense.

The next day, today, I shuffled around a bathroom stall, fighting to extract an orange pill bottle from my backpack. For the love of efficiency—the stupid thing had dropped between my textbooks. I shoved the books aside, snagged the bottle, and tucked a pill into my palm. I didn’t need it skittering across the floor where someone might notice.

My phone beeped and I dropped the pill.

The plop echoed and the toilet flushed automatically. The pill swirled to its watery demise. The toilet gurgled, and the water rippled in the bowl.

Well, I had considered taking the pill, but that wasn’t happening now. I stared at the toilet a moment longer, then hoisted my backpack onto my shoulder and froze halfway out the stall door. A woman wearing all black stood between me and the sinks. The red, rising sun half-cog of E-Leadership was stitched across her left shoulder sleeve, and though she wasn’t wearing her visor, the sight sent a jolt of terror through me.

Special Forces. If she’d heard the plop…

She glanced at the orange pill bottle in my hand and raised an eyebrow. “Everything all right?”

I nodded too quickly. “Yeah—I forgot to go to the bathroom before I left my room.”

She scowled. “Aren’t you late to your morning meeting?”

I stared at her, my whole body shaking. Of course I was late, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. I fumbled for something to say, but she shook her head and sighed before I could speak.

“Freshmen,” she muttered. “You need to get your act together if you plan to get anywhere in life. You can start by washing your hands.”

I rushed to the sink and dropped the pill bottle on the counter.

“The Community is safe,” she said.

“The Community is secure,” I replied. What was Special Forces doing here?

She crossed her arms in the mirror, her eyes firmly on the pill bottle. “The Community is efficient.”

I wasn’t sure if I remembered to say, “It is our duty,” before I snatched the bottle from the sink and dashed out. The hall blurred around me and my sneakers thumped the tile as I sprinted from the bathroom. I stuffed the bottle into my backpack. Maybe Ivan would be late to the morning meeting. Just for once, he could be late. Not just me.

Not just—

I flung the glass doors open to the lounge, skidding as the roomful of students stopped listening to the morning announcements to give me a curious stare. Lance gave me an accusatory “where were you?” glare while Sam—college gossip—cocked her head, interested in my evident demise. Because, of course, Ivan wasn’t late.

No one said a word. The heater rattled softly as it blew air through the vents along the windows. The words “Safety, Security, and Efficiency” framed the smooth stone wall behind Ivan, while a lone screen hanging near the windows flashed silent reminders. “Take the pill! Theophrenia kills!” andAre you seeing something strange? Save a life—get your Health Scan today!”

Ivan cleared his throat. He was tall and slender, dressed in the crisp gray uniform of a hall advisor. At twenty, he was only a couple years older than me, but he was prepping for E-Leadership. Not the guy I wanted to mess with, especially after being late to all but one of my classes yesterday. He waited as I slid into the only empty chair and pulled my backpack into my lap. The books settled unevenly, but their closeness offered some comfort.

Ivan made a notation on his tablet. “You’re late. I’ll have to deduct efficiency points from your record.” He looked up at me and his forehead wrinkled with concern. “Everything all right?”

“I’m fine!” I clutched my backpack, speaking too fast to sound innocent. “I was just worried about the Health Scan and didn’t get any sleep. I had a nightmare that I failed and security was chasing me.”

The monitor near the windows flashed to a mug shot of a man with dark circles under his eyes. Underneath, the subtitles ran a story I’d read a hundred times. The man had killed his family because he didn’t take the Health Scan and theophrenia made him think he could control fire. We’d all been forced to watch a documentary of the old news coverage as kids, and some images just didn’t go away. I shuddered. The man had burned his family alive. That’s what the plague—theophrenia—could do. Make a person go crazy. See things that weren’t there. Hear voices or act on terrible impulses. My father’s parents had died during the plague years. What had they seen? Anything?

What if I started seeing things, too?

I clamped my hands around my backpack straps, but Sam giggled, oblivious to my thoughts. She twirled her fingers through her curls. “Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll do fine. Besides, you aren’t supposed to run away from security. They’re the ones who help you.” She started to lay a sympathetic hand on my shoulder, but withdrew when I glared at her. She’d probably borrowed that gesture from some video of Lady Black, or maybe from reading How to Behave like a Proper Leader, a textbook for the one class I’d permanently dropped.

“Sam’s right,” Ivan agreed. “Security is here to help.” He turned his attention to the rest of the students. “As a reminder, tomorrow afternoon is this year’s Health Scan. Be on time so that everything runs efficiently.” He shot me a warning glare before addressing the rest of the room. “That’s all the news I have for today. The Community is safe.”

“The Community is secure,” we replied automatically. “The Community is efficient. It is our duty.”

Dismissed, the other students filed from the lounge and into the hall. I must have been later than I thought. Normally I got to the meetings on time, but after being sick yesterday, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. I hadn’t lied. I really did have nightmares of security guards chasing me around campus, pelting me with white adominogen pills and Health Scan fliers. The whole dream sounded ridiculous now, but it had been terrifying while I slept.

I waited for the crowd to pass until my best friend, Lance Mechnikov, came up beside me. He waited until we were behind everyone else, then lowered his voice so that I was the only one who could hear him. “You know, Jen, I heard of a guy who got stuck working road crew because he was absent too often.”

“I’m feeling better, okay?” I forced a smile, though I was still jittery from my encounter with the Special Forces agent. “Let’s get food.”

Lance patted my shoulder. “Sure. We can talk after breakfast.”

The bright blue LEDs in the downstairs cafeteria glinted off the polished stone walls, making them shine. Though most pre-Community buildings had been burned to prevent further spread of the plague, I understood why E-Leadership made the effort to keep this one. The craftsmanship was amazing; the seams where the stones had been placed were hardly visible. I’d only noticed because I’d found a tiny bit of ivy creeping from a crack in the corner of the building where I liked to study.

We dropped our backpacks at a nearby table and took our place in line. The smell of egg burritos, complete with tangy salsa, wafted through the cafeteria. Apple juice drizzled into the glasses of students who were already ahead of us. If it wasn’t for the Health Scan tomorrow and already being late to the first meeting, this day would almost be normal.

“Jenna! Lance!”

Tim, a sandy-haired guy, pushed his way through the breakfast crowd, a backpack hanging loosely over one shoulder. He fished a tablet from his pocket, breathless. “Did you hear? They’re doing the Health Scan—”

“Yeah, we’ve heard.” I accepted my plate from the server. It was warm from sitting beside the heating elements. “Ivan told us yesterday.”

Tim paused, then followed us to our usual table. “You already knew?”

“She worried herself sick.” Lance twisted his lips and glanced at me, but it wasn’t my fault I’d gotten sick. Not exactly.

“What are you worried about?” Tim protested. “I’m the one whose pills have been missing for a week!”

Lance held up his fingers. “Four days. You lost your pills four days ago.”

Almost a week! What happens if the scan doesn’t register that I’ve been taking them? What if I fail? What if—”

“They would’ve given you replacement pills if it was that big a deal,” Lance said. “Think about it.”

“But how do I know? My grandmother died in the plague. What if I’m a carrier?” He scooted into a chair at our table.

Lance and I exchanged glances. Neither of our parents wanted to talk about our grandparents. Few did. Theophrenia had wiped out half the world’s population. Who wanted to remember that?

I shifted uncomfortably. If the disease was still out there, even in the slightest, I might carry it and accidentally infect others.

“Your parents were fine.” Lance nudged Tim with his plate. “You’ve only been off the pills for a week. Like Miss Worry-wart over here—” He glared at me. “—you’ll pass.”

Tim scowled, then scuttled toward the breakfast line with his tablet. I poked my fork at my burrito, but I’d lost my appetite. The other students around the room chatted as if the Health Scan wasn’t a big deal. But why would they worry? They took the pills.

“Lance—” I looked up hesitantly. “Have you heard anything from Galina?”

He sighed. “You’re really worried about this, aren’t you?”

“Well duh. We need the scan to graduate.”

“You take the pills, right? You’ll be fine.” He smiled. “Galina was an odd case.”

“Did she come back?”

His smile faltered. “I’m not sure. You were closer to her than I was.”

My chest constricted. How long was the treatment supposed to take? If theophrenia was supposed to be dead—or dormant, at least—how did Galina fail? Had her failure been a precautionary measure?

I glanced around the room. A Special Forces agent sat at a table near the wall. Security guards I was used to. But Special Forces? I’d never seen any agents on campus before. It felt like a sign of impending doom.

The agent paused from his breakfast and looked up, as if he realized he was being watched, and I quickly returned my attention to my burrito.

A moment later, Tim returned to the chair beside me and sat his plate on the table. He twisted his fingers in the chain of the light bulb efficiency charm around his neck, opened his mouth to speak, then paused. “So, Jenna… Do you think you might be able to talk to Sam for me and see if she’s going to community service tomorrow evening?” He talked so fast that his words muddled and I almost didn’t catch what he said. “If I could get a date, it would take my mind off the pills.” He smiled, his blue eyes wide and hopeful.

“I’m not really that good at talking to her,” I said hesitantly.

“Please? I’d owe you a huge favor.”

I glanced to where Sam sat with her group. They giggled and pointed to her phone. She was probably showing them a picture of her mangy cat, Little Beastie, the photograph I’d seen enough times in biology class to recognize the blur of pixels from a distance.

She flipped a blond curl over her shoulder, laughing a little too loudly, then whispered something to one of the girls, who nodded vigorously. She pocketed her phone and headed our direction.

Tim’s eyes went wide. “Well?”

“Sure,” I mumbled. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Sam joined us beside the table, her hands clasped behind her back as she cozied up to Lance. She had tucked her yellow shirt into her pale blue slacks to reveal more of her form than usual, as if she were trying to look like a member of E-Leadership. “I’m going to community service at the gardens tomorrow,” she said. “Do you have a partner yet?”

Lance’s cheeks flushed red. “Jenna, we’re still good for tomorrow, right?”

I gave Sam as big a smile as I could muster. Beside me, Tim’s eyes widened. “Of course,” I replied, then looked toward Sam. “But Tim doesn’t have a partner.”

Sam gave Lance a baleful pout. “Uh, sure.” She flashed a halfhearted smile at Tim. “I’ll see you then.” She waved and returned to her friends, who all patted her back and said their disappointed apologies.

Thank you,” Lance mouthed. Tim punched the air, gleeful in our unplanned success, and I suspected he would be posting this to his EYEnet account later. At least it would give him something to distract his mind.

If only I had a good distraction, too.

Tim might not have taken the pills for a week, but I hadn’t taken them for six months.


Like what you read? Want to find out what happens next?

Pre-Order Distant Horizon today!
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You can also find Distant Horizon on Goodreads.

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I hope you enjoyed this post.🙂

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Distant Horizon Cover Reveal!

The day has finally arrived–the day of the Distant Horizon cover reveal! That’s right. This cover, which has been waiting two years to be revealed (Seriously, I created the near-final version in early 2014) now gets to be seen by the light of day–or the computer screen.


Now, for the reveal, which has been organized by the wonderful Lola’s Blog Tours!😀

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Distant HorizonDistant Horizon (Distant Horizon #1)
By Stephanie and Isaac Flint
Genre: Dystopia with superhero elements
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: October 27, 2016

The Community is safe.
Unless you have superpowers.

Sixty years ago, a hallucinogenic plague annihilated half the world’s population, leading to the formation of the Community—an international government that promises its citizens safety, security, and efficiency. Every day, Community citizens swallow a mandatory pill to ensure their immunity to the plague. A year after graduating high school, they take the Health Scan.

Most pass, and continue with their lives. Others disappear.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson hasn’t taken the pill since her senior year in high school. She feels more alive without it, and she hasn’t shown any signs of infection—at least, not until two days after a surprise Health Scan is announced and Special Forces arrive at her university campus.

Spurred by the recent string of hallucinations, Jenna searches for any inkling of what happens to those who fail the scan. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment and, once cured, receive a menial job. But when she uncovers the cruel truth behind the plague, her ideal world is shattered.

Underneath the illusion of safety, Special Forces agents harbor a dark secret.

The plague is a lie.

You can find Distant Horizon on Goodreads

You can pre-order Distant Horizon here:
Amazon UK

There was a fifteen minute break between classes. Since the two buildings were right next to each other, that was plenty of time for me to browse EYEnet. My primary question regarded the old man’s warning that I’d fail the scan. I focused on the blog from my friend in high school—the one whose sister failed.
According to Galina’s posts, she’d been afraid of failure early on, and on the day of the Health Scan, she’d made another post reiterating the same fear. She’d been having hallucinations that liquids would shape themselves from images in her thoughts, and she was sure she had theophrenia.
It’d been almost a year since Galina left, but I wasn’t sure how long the recovery effort lasted. I checked the last active day she was on her account. There was nothing since the day of her scan.
I checked other blogs, searching for any references to fear of failure. One girl thought she could fly. Another guy swore he could read his professor’s mind. All signs of advanced delusions, and in each case, they didn’t return.
Three years passed. Five. Nothing.
A chill ran through me. The old man said to try controlling vines and grass. That was crazy. Impossible. And yet… I’d felt that stem move. I’d seen it move.
My phone chimed a one-minute warning before class. Students stirred and finished their conversations, and I stared at the small screen of my phone. Only one person, out of the entirety of blogs I’d found, had ever come back.

Stephanie and Isaac FlintAbout the Author:
Stephanie and Isaac Flint met at the University of Central Missouri, where they discovered a common interest in world-building and tabletop role-play games. Distant Horizon is their first joint world, the result of a role-play game Isaac ran in the summer of 2010. After graduating with Bachelors of Science (Photography for Stephanie, Psychology for Isaac), they were married in 2012. Together, they plot stories, torment each other’s characters, and enjoy the occasional cosplay.

You can find and contact Stephanie and Isaac here:
Author Blog
Publisher Website
Twitter Stephanie
Twitter Publisher
Author Goodreads
Stephanie Goodreads


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Want to check out the other blogs who are participating in this tour?

SCHS Best Books Blog
Bookworm for Kids
Redd’s Reads
Lilly’s Book World
Outlandish Reads
The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
We All Make Mistakes in Books
Pippa Jay
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Their Vodka
The Phantom Paragrapher
Books and Kats
Scott Umphrey
A Leisure Moment
Kindle and Me
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
TMBA Corbett Tries to Write
Amanda’s Book Nook
The Writer’s Inkwell
Mel’s Shelves
Diana’s Book Reviews
Leila Tualla: Bookshelf
Cheyanne Young
YA Book Divas

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