Sunday, 25 February 2018

A Spider Sat Beside Her by K E Lanning + Excerpt + Giveaway

A Spider Sat Beside Her by K E Lanning
Published in America in July 2017.

Its sequel, The Sting of the Bee, is available for pre-order on Amazon and will launch on the 4th April 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £10.21 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.52 (PB)
Waterstones : from £10.21 (PB)
Amazon : from £3.70 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add A Spider Sat Beside Her to your Goodreads

A “what if” story set in a world drowned after a catastrophic melting of the ice caps.

Lowry Walker escapes to the stars, taking a graduate position on the new International Space Station. Her dissertation includes gathering Landsat data over Antarctica, now exposed after global warming has melted the ice caps, but her mission is to heal herself after divorcing an abusive husband.

However, the danger is just beginning--a terrorist attack on the space station embroils her into a political nightmare. In a world drowned by rising seas, territorial battles erupt across the globe, with strong governments stealing land from the weak. Canada and America have merged into the United States of Amerada, with a corrupt political ring in control, and who utilize the assault for their own political purposes. And Lowry is the inconvenient witness...

“A captivating web of political and personal intrigue...a futuristic tale for our time." - Sonja Yoerg, author of All the Best People

“The novel’s well-drawn characters, nicely paced plot, and satisfying conclusion will please sci-fi fans of every stripe. A tight, engaging sci-fi tale.” – Kirkus Reviews


Humans measure time by their limited lifespans, but the Earth’s clock ticks at a different pace. Mother Nature may sit for eons—then dance to the tune that physics decrees . . .


Lowry’s lungs burned as she scrambled up the steep slope across broken rocks, pulling her tired horse up behind her. Wind screaming, they cleared the ridge. She scanned the horizon. Nothing moved but the wind. Her tongue chased the rough edges of grit on her teeth, and she spat onto the ground. She took a drink, swallowing the silt left in her mouth.
The view was spectacular—a brilliant sapphire sky dotted with white puffs of drifting clouds. Sunlight spilled across golden mountain peaks against the indigo shadows of the valleys, with a mirror image of this intense beauty reflected in the crystal-clear lake below.
Global warming had melted an ice cap that had been in place for more than ten thousand years, leaving the rich earth exposed once again on the continent of Antarctica. The landscape evoked an odd mix of memories of long hikes of discovery of the land and of herself, and her escape from a mercurial, drunkard father.
A gust whipped Lowry’s hair across her face, stinging her skin. She glanced at the horizon one final time, slowly mounted the mare, and turned her back along the trail. The mare quickened her pace now that they were heading home. They turned the last corner, past a row of tiny windblown evergreens, to where a thin man with auburn hair sat on a rock waiting for her.
Lowry waved happily. “Uncle Nick!” When she reached him, she halted the mare.
Petting the horse, Nick said in a soft Scottish brogue, “I thought you might want a ride to the airport Are you packed?”
A lump came to her throat. “Everything is ready. Except my heart.”
Lowry untacked the mare and let her out into the pasture. They went inside the small stone house tucked into the side of a hill. After Lowry showered, she changed clothes and packed her last items.
Nick grabbed one of her bags and glanced at her. “I see you cut your hair.”
“Yeah, I decided short would be easier on the space station.”
“I won’t be able to pull your braids anymore.”
Lowry grinned and stuck her tongue out at him.
Nick wrapped his arm around her. “With your short hair, you look like your mother when she was your age.”
Lowry smiled. “She was a wonderful human being. I miss her.”
They walked toward the hover, where Lowry hesitated, gazing at the rolling fields of her childhood. She bit her lip, trying to hold back her tears. Nick hugged her to him, and then they walked arm in arm to the hover and loaded her bags.
Hovering through town, Lowry stared out the window at the little school she went to as a child. She tilted her head as they turned down the road toward the airport. “What’s Dad doing today?”
“He’s meeting with some folks from New York.” He shot a glance at her. “I’m sorry he couldn’t be here to see you off.”
“I would have been surprised if he had.” She ran her hand across her brow. “I don’t know if I’m strong enough today to deal with him anyway.”
He parked, and with bags in hand, they walked into the small airport. She checked her luggage, and they strolled toward the security gate. They passed groups of miners and a few families just arriving to Antarctica. She glanced at one young mother looking tired and lost as she tried to keep her brood together. Lowry silently wished them well. It was a tough life, especially for the mothers and their children.
When they reached the security checkpoint, Nick held her by the shoulders, gazing down into her eyes. “Lowry, I’ve always loved you like my own daughter and admired you as a person. You’re a beautiful young woman who takes the bull by the horns despite all odds and wrestles it to the floor. I know you’re hurting and probably a little scared right now, but you’ll do great. Just don’t let the bastards get you down.” He ruffled her hair. “Go get ’em, Tiger!”
The steward announced the boarding call for her flight.
Lowry squeezed her uncle’s arm. “Nick, thanks for being a father to me all these years.”
“My pleasure and honor.” He shrugged. “I’m sorry that my brother doesn’t seem to have the aptitude for fatherhood.”

 “Some people rise to the occasion, some don’t.”

K E Lanning talks about the Sting Of The Bee trilogy:

The Sting of the Bee Trilogy is a set of speculative sci-fi/cli-fi novels exploring a ‘What If’ scenario of a complete melting of the ice caps, caused by climate change. The series explores the impacts of humans on the Earth and the toll of overpopulation, particularly in an era of reduced landmass due to rising seas. However, I was primarily interested in the consequences to human civilization of such a catastrophic event: the subsequent human migrations, societal upheaval, and clash of cultures. And how social chaos enables political corruption.

For dramatic effect, I squeezed the timeframe of the Melt into one human’s lifespan by using a scientific theory that global warming might cause a tipping point, in which there is a sudden shift in the warm and cold ocean currents, and alter climates in specific regions. So I ‘pushed’ the Brazilian warm current past Antarctica to accelerate the pace of melting. With this catalyst, I was able to cause massive sea level rise of approximately 300 feet in a hundred-year timeframe.

The series starts with A Spider Sat Beside Her, published in 2017, and in this novel, I threw my main character, a young geoscientist, Lowry Walker, into the fray of this post-apocalyptic world. Within the political upheavals around the globe, the countries of America and Canada have merged, and are now led by a nefarious administration and one of their goals is to steal indigenous lands to the north. It wasn’t hard to find historical precedents—the opening of the West, and more recently, indigenous tribal protests by the A’wa tribe in Colombia.

After her mother passed away, Lowry lived with her father and uncle in the mining camp on Antarctica, surrounded by nature. After a short but disastrous marriage to an abusive husband, she takes a grad position on the new International Space Station to continue her geoscience studies. I chose to have her circling above the Earth using the ISS as a device so the reader sees a flooded Earth through her eyes. Lowry must confront her difficulty of living inside of an artificial world, and the ISS is a metaphor for the conflict between technology versus humanity; another clash of cultures. Lowry survives a terrorist assault on the ISS, but becomes entangled in a political nightmare—the government of Amerada wants to use the attack for political reasons. And Lowry is the inconvenient witness…

The second novel in the trilogy is The Sting of the Bee, (launching on 4-4-2018). The title is derived from the metaphor of the bee as Mother Earth, and that sea level rise is the resulting sting of human activity. However, the spark of the story was the concept of escape from the chains of society—to itch a scratch deep in their soul, people will leave their homes and risk their lives in a new frontier.
In the story, the newly unveiled continent of Antarctica braces for an invasion of humans hungry for new land. After the murder of his wife, John Barrous escapes the corrupt United States of Amerada, filled with haves and have-nots, to stake a claim on the rich, virgin land of Antarctica. Along with Lowry Walker, now returning to her homeland, John and his fifteen-year-old daughter join a United Nations PR event, an Oklahoma-style land rush. But the event turns into a race against ruthless, armed competitors . . . and a corrupt politician determined to control this new land. Within the epic of settling Antarctica, John and Lowry crisscross in this complex tale of love, destiny and betrayal.

The third novel, Listen to the Birds, follows John Barrous and Lowry Walker as they battle religious cults and political intrigue, while struggling down the difficult path to forgiveness and love. John endures a brutal wilderness trek across Antarctica, and along the way, discovers how to be a true child of Mother Earth and that life is a flow of blood—not time. The novel is underway and is planned to be released in 2019.

Meet the author:
K.E. Lanning is a scientist and writer. Born in Texas in 1957, she grew up near Houston in the small town of Friendswood, laced with white oyster shell roads and open fields dotted with huge live oaks—riding horses rather than bikes. But nearby, NASA’s space program shepherded thoughts of astrophysics into her head.

Lanning received a bachelor’s degree in Physics in 1979 from Stephen F. Austin St. University in Nacogdoches, TX and a MBA in 1986 from the University of Houston. In her geophysics career, science met art—imaging landscapes beneath the surface of the earth. Lanning owned and directed an art gallery in Houston, fascinated with curating thought-provoking shows with new and proven artists.

A life-long fan of science fiction, Lanning has always been intrigued by the multi-dimensions of the genre, allowing the author to explore society, humanity, and our future—bringing the reader along for the ride. To reveal the inner workings of some of the best sci-fi authors in the business, she’s published a series of sci-fi author interviews in OMNI magazine, In the Author’s Universe: Sci-Fi Authors from a Writer’s Point of View, including authors Hugh Howey, Margaret Atwood, Andy Weir and Cixin Liu.

Her first novel is A Spider Sat Beside Her, a work of literary/speculative science fiction, with an eco-fiction emphasis. Two additional novels, The Sting of the Bee (4-4-2018) and Listen to the Birds, will complete the trilogy, though each are standalone works.

Lanning currently lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her family.

Author links: 
Website ~ GoodreadsFacebook ~ Twitter

Enter the Giveaway:

K E Lanning has offered a great prize for this giveaway: one winner will win a Signed Paperback of A Spider Sat Beside Her and a Signed Paperback of The Sting Of The Bee. This giveaway is open worldwide until midnight (UK time) on the 19th of April. Entry is by way of the Gleam widget below:

2x K E Lanning Signed SciFi PBs

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by K E Lanning / Science fiction / Books from America


  1. I used to love sci-fi with political conspiracies like Red Rising but I have been on a sci-fi slump for a while now. I'll add this one though! Sounds so good for when I can read sci-fi again!

    1. This looks like a good series! Did you enter the giveaway?

    2. I didn't because I was rushing [as I'm now] but I will come back and enter :)

  2. This is a wonderful sounding book! I will add to my TBR and end the Giveaway.

    Tori @ In Tori Lex

  3. This sounds like such an interesting book! I'm majoring in Biology and Creative Writing in university so this is right up my alley! Definitely going on my TBR. Thanks for the giveaway, Stephanie!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I think this will be much more rewarding! I'm blogging about iys sequel at the beginning of April too

  4. Congrats to Laura for winning this giveaway!