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Netwalk by Joyce Reynolds-Ward is a Fall Into These Great Reads pick #scifi #cyberpunk #giveaway


Author: Joyce Reynolds-Ward

Genre: Science Fiction Cyberpunk

Book Blurb:


Grandmother against granddaughter. Melanie Landreth has maintained a lonely outpost as the President of Do It Right North America for seven years. Her grandmother, Sarah Stephens, the President of the Confederated States of North America, rules the continent with an iron fist. Melanie’s brother Andrew is one of Sarah’s lackeys. Their mother Diana controls Do It Right outside of North America, and engages in secretive maneuvers aimed at overthrowing Sarah’s reign. Will things ever change? When they do, who will survive? What role does the Disruption Machine—now known as the Gizmo—play in the emergence of the new Netwalk technology? Why does the Gizmo manage to unite Sarah and Melanie’s mother Diana, when they disagree on just about any other subject? The struggle for control within this family can change the world—for better or for worse. And Melanie wants to be the winner.



The overlay blinked steadily in red-edged black text at the lower left corner of Melanie Landreth’s vision, starkly superimposed over the snow and the lift shack. Black and red, the text identifier for a call from her estranged grandmother Sarah, president of the North American Confederation, such as it was in 2075.

Tyrant. Bitch.

Melanie scowled and shook her head, dismissing the text and disconnecting the call.

She didn’t need to think about Sarah now. Not on a day like this, with the early morning sun glittering down on the crystalline, flaky powder snow so rare for December in the Cascades. Not with only a single precious hour to ski. A single precious hour that was almost over. No need for distractions, especially from the Bitch Queen.

Too little of her time was her own; had been that way for the past seven years. This hour belonged to her. Not to her grandmother, not to Do It Right. To her.

“Problem?” asked Angela Garcia, the head of Security for Melanie’s company, Do It Right.

“Sarah starting something,” Melanie said. “I’ll deal with it when we get back to the office.”


This time Melanie’s dismissal headshake rocked the chair slightly.

“Still got your com on?” Nik Morley, Angela’s companion and Melanie’s Security Number Two, frowned. “Turn it off or deal with it, now. Especially since it’s Sarah. Conditions are too good and too fast. You don’t want that distraction.”

“I know.” A third headshake shut the com off completely while leaving Melanie’s other Dialogue implant functions operating. “Turned it off.”

“Good,” Nik said.

Their chair entered the tunnel for the upper end of the High Reaches ski lift. Melanie slid off of the chair as it spun around the bullwheel. She glided through the narrow tunnel to the edge of the run.

Sarah could wait. As far as Melanie knew, there wasn’t anything that urgent. Especially with this sweet, sweet snow on the Reaches today. Fluffy, wonderful snow.

Best December snow in fifteen years. Maybe even in thirty years.

Melanie threw her arms wide and sucked in a deep breath of cold, clean air. Low clouds shrouded the desert lands to the southeast of Hood, threatening to pour waterfall-like over the ridges containing them in the lowlands. Soon enough, the clouds would build up high enough to break over—not that she would be here to watch the phenomenon happen, though it was one of her favorite things to see when on the slopes. It would take at least an hour for the clouds to overpower the ridges—and by then she would be hard at work.

She blinked twice to check her time display. Just enough for this last run and no more. Melanie glanced at Nik on her left, Angela on her right. Nik gave her a thumbs up.

“Yeehaw!” Melanie pushed off. She caught the rhythm of the slope, picking up speed as she pointed her tips more directly down the fall line.

Nik passed her halfway down. Melanie pushed to catch up, glorying in the hypnotic rhythm of turn, straighten, turn, feeling the pull of gravity throughout her body. She didn’t expect Angela to keep pace with them, not after Angela’s bad crash two years ago. Plus, once Ange had become the head of Do It Right corporate security, she’d developed a strong sense of caution.

Got to teach that girl that leadership doesn’t mean you have to give up playing!

Melanie certainly hadn’t stopped playing.

Wonder what Sarah wants?

Melanie dismissed the thought. Still off the clock, still on the snow. It would be time soon enough to worry about what Sarah wanted. For now, it was swoop, straighten, feel the soft powder crystals push away underfoot, balance, rasp of ski edge on snow.

All too soon it ended. Nik waited near the long lift line forming at the Low Reach lift entrance. Melanie sent snow spraying over Nik as she cut a fast, fancy racing stop.

“Hey! Take it easy, Mel! I don’t want to argue with Ski Patrol!”

“C’mon. You have to hustle if you’re going to keep up with me!”

“Yeah? Who beat you down the hill?” Nik threw a handful of snow at her. Melanie threw snow back.

“Can’t I ever take you two out in public?” Angela laughed. She scooped up snow in both hands and nailed both Melanie and Nik. For a couple of minutes, they chucked snow at each other, laughing and yelling as if they were kids again.

Then the alarm pulsed in the right-hand corner of Melanie’s vision. She dropped her handful of snow, as did Nik and Angela, all business again. They glided over to the old day lodge to change.

Melanie cast one longing glance back at the slope as she stepped out of her ski bindings, then continued inside to the private locker room that Do It Right maintained in the day lodge. She quickly changed out of ski gear into work sweater and slacks. Nik locked the gear up.

“Ready?” he asked.

She nodded and gave her jacket collar a final tweak, pulling on a hat and sunglasses before leaving the locker room. Nik and Angela took up their positions, Nik on Melanie’s left, Angela on her right. The three of them walked to the tram. After the noisy crowd swarmed out of the tram, they entered, the only skiers going back to the parking lot this early in the day.

Melanie leaned against the glass and looked back up at the bright shining promise of the Mountain, eyes fixed on the stretch of the High Reach that seemed to go to the top, turning her eyes away at last when the trees blocked her view.

At the bottom, another loud, raucous crowd waited. Nik pushed through the crowd, Angela behind Melanie, tense, waiting for something to happen.

Uneventful. No one recognized Melanie, no one challenged her.

Not my day to get harassed. Good.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

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:

Netwalk was my first published book. I had been poking at a notion about personality uploads, but it really didn’t start to jell until I started teaching up on Mount Hood and…learned downhill skiing in my late forties. It had its foundation in my first published short story, “The Ties That Bind,” which came out in Random Realities back in the ‘90s. Sarah Stephens and her whole backstory had been featured in a trunk novel I wrote back in the ‘80s, an attempt to write a horror novel with a political setting. I took Sarah and her backstory, twisted it a little bit, then ended up writing the story from the perspective of Sarah’s granddaughter Melanie.

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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Sep 29, 2023

My fave thing about fall is the weather.


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Sep 27, 2023

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

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