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Inheritance: The Martiniere Legacy Book One is a Fall Into These Great Reads pick #scifi #western

Title:Inheritance: The Martiniere Legacy Book One

Author: Joyce Reynolds-Ward

Genre: Science Fiction Western

Book Blurb:

YOU CAN’T ESCAPE THE INHERITANCE OF THE PAST…OR CAN YOU? Rancher Ruby Barkley and her ex-husband Gabe Ramirez are competing head-to-head for the AgInnovator game show’s new one-shot award, the Ag Superhero. The winner walks away with $3.75 million per year for five years, with no accountability or need to re-earn the Superhero, unlike the Innovator’s other awards. But issues beyond those raised by their long-ago acrimonious divorce face Ruby and Gabe. Fence cutting. Rogue biobots destructively ranging beyond programmed parameters. Physical attacks. And the realization that they may need to reunite to save their son Brandon from indentured servitude. Then the secret shadow of Gabe’s hidden inheritance reveals itself. Will he step up to the Martiniere Legacy—and what role will Ruby accept in any future they may share?


Ruby Barkley hadn’t worn this much makeup for a long time. She felt like scrunching her facial muscles to see if they could still move as she walked down the hallway from Makeup to the Green Room, but resisted the temptation. Not that the cosmetic job would as much as crack. She knew better, from wearing makeup like this during her years in the rodeo queen world, though not this heavy. The right formulation would hold up to anything, including blizzards and driving rain. But it had been a long time since she’d done the rodeo queen thing.

Too many years wearing just moisturizer and mineral powder.

Ranch work didn’t require much else, if even that. But getting reaccustomed to wearing heavy makeup was just another unpleasant necessity for recording the presentation of the 2059 AgInnovator Superhero Contest finalists.

Three point seven five million dollars at stake, she reminded herself.

Ruby touched the silver locket at her neck. She’d polished it this morning until it shone, a pre-competition task that went back over forty years to her earliest junior rodeo days. When she hadn’t worn it, things had gone wrong.

A door opened and an androgynous dark-haired, almost fishbelly-pale figure wearing the dark green and blue uniform of an AgI indentured worker careened through it, crashing into Ruby. The chain holding the locket snapped and it fell to the floor before Ruby could grab it, popping open. The small picture inside fell out.

“Oh! I’m sorry!” The indentured person’s voice was flat, almost mechanically so. They knelt and picked up the locket and chain, handing it to Ruby. As their dark brown eyes met hers, they cringed away, turning their gaze to the floor. “Oh no. Ms. Barkley, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to do it.”

“It’s all right,” Ruby said. “But can you get the picture for me, please?”

“Oh. Yes. I’m sorry, so very sorry,” the indentured whimpered as they gathered the picture between index finger and thumb and held it out to Ruby with a shaking hand. Ruby gently took it, half-smiling at the old, faded picture of Gramps and Granma Ryder.

Need to reglue it when I get back to the ranch.

She fit the picture back inside the locket, and it stayed in place as she checked it, then examined the chain. Ruby sighed with relief as she saw that the jump ring holding the clasp had loosened. She could repair it when she got back to her room tonight.

“It will be all right,” she said to the indentured as she slipped locket and chain into the pocket of the fringed white buckskin jacket that had been part of her Pendleton Round-Up Princess wear.

“Please don’t complain. Please,” the indentured begged.

“Why would I? It was an accident, and it’s fixable.”

The indentured bowed low, almost touching their head to their knees before straightening up. “I thank you, Ms. Barkley. Thank you, thank you, thank you!” They backed away from Ruby until they reached the next door, and ducked inside.

Ruby frowned.

Now what was that all about?

Some companies were harsh with their indentured workers, but she hadn’t thought that the AgInnovator, AgI, would be one of them. Then, on the other hand, she was seeing a lot more indentured here than there had been three years ago, when she’d won a one-year Innovator award.

Maybe it’s about the pressure from it being the twenty-fifth anniversary of the AgI. Or because I’m a Superhero finalist.

She shrugged. Nothing she could do about it now. All the same, she rubbed her fingers over the locket tucked away in her right pocket as she continued down the hallway toward the Green Room. A lot had changed over the past twenty-five years, and not just the weather.

Ruby stopped at the door, taking a deep breath and giving the locket one last squeeze. She patted the crown of her good luck silver belly Stetson hat that was part of this ensemble. Her hat—and hair—stayed firmly in place. At least she’d won the battle of the hair. The stylist had wanted to curl Ruby’s silver-streaked, long red hair and create an up-do that wouldn’t go with her hat. Ruby had insisted, and now her hair swung free with just a hint of hairspray. Except for the silver in her hair and the lines on her face, the image that looked back at her from the mirror once the cosmetician and hair stylist were done was almost exactly like that of Ruby the Round-Up princess.

She slipped into the Green Room and paused before diving into the crowd of competitors, Innovator staff, and AgI indentured around the prepackaged snacks and drinks, her stomach churning with high-key anticipation of showtime like it used to do before every run-in at the beginning of a rodeo performance.

Only then she’d had Sunshine with her, the palomino mare quivering eagerly, just waiting for the gate to swing wide so she could explode into a gallop as the announcer bellowed “And here’s Queen Ruby Barkley, from Thunder County Days!” Or “Princess Ruby Barkley from the Pendleton Round-Up!” Or “Your Miss Rodeo Oregon, Ruby Barkley!”

Buck up, girl, it’s just another Innovator announcement, she told herself. Everyone else here is just as nervous as you are and they’re just as desperate to win the Innovator money, no matter what level they’re at. We’re all broke farmers and ranchers, here to entertain the big-city world.

Buy Links:

What’s your favorite thing about autumn:

I really prefer the cooler weather. The bright colors of the turning leaves, the faint cool damp scent of the earth as we turn toward winter and the chance for growing things to rest and renew themselves. The scurry of high clouds overhead that speak of the season of storms. Time to change pace from the frenzy of summer to a more measured movement to get through the snows of winter. Autumn is the promise of preparing for new beginnings, the foundation for the emergence of new life in the spring. As an October baby, it is my season—and I love it.

What inspired you to write this story:

Well, originally it came from a pitch I made to Frog Jones at Orycon 2019 for his new press. I had been seeing some interesting information coming out of agricultural technology that I thought might make a decent science fiction story. I started noodling around with the notion of a single woman rancher who needed funding to fund her dream of biobots that could map, then track conditions in grain fields. At first I was going to have her ex-husband Gabe betray her—and then he started yelling at me that things didn’t happen the way I thought they did. Add in an advertisement I heard for a game show competition between small towns for promotional funding and…I came up with the concept of game show funding for ranchers and farmers wanting to develop new technology. Things took off from there. I planned to take the book to World Fantasy 2020 as a possible pitch for traditional publication, but…Covid. I then expanded the book to a trilogy, then a four-book series with spinoff series. Now I also have the “what if?” stories…the books with alternative versions about how my characters got together, and how they dealt with problems.

Funny how that works.

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card

Open internationally.

Runs September 1 – 30

Drawing will be held on October 2.

Author Biography:

Joyce Reynolds-Ward has been called "the best writer I've never heard of" by one reviewer. Her work includes themes of high-stakes family and political conflict, digital sentience, personal agency and control, realistic strong women, and (whenever possible) horses, frequently in Pacific Northwest settings. She enjoys mixing up science fiction and fantasy with western themes and stories, as well as romance.

Joyce is a Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off Semifinalist, a Writers of the Future SemiFinalist, and an Anthology Builder Finalist. She is the Secretary of the Northwest Independent Writers Association, a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, and a member of Soroptimists International.

Social Media Links:


Twitter: @JoyceReynoldsW1 on Twitter

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2 comentarios

06 sept 2023

My favorite thing about fall is Halloween and the weather!

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05 sept 2023

Thank you, Joyce, for sharing your book in our Fall Into These Great Reads!

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