The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.
The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES M. R. Cornelius New Book: A Tale of Moral Corruption.
Today our blog showcases Best Selling Author M. R. Cornelius. She writes speculative fiction.
A Tale of Moral Corruption
Author: M. R. Cornelius
Barnes and Noble
How does a successful man plummet into a world of male escorts, kinky sex, and barbaric death matches?
In this female-dominated world, 28-year-old Mason is comfortable with his job as a tax clerk. His real ambition is to be a loving father and supportive husband. He’s especially looking forward to wearing the new artificial womb that so many men have strapped on their bellies. But first, Mason must be chosen as a husband.
He’s listed on the Approved Partner Registry, a website that profiles men and their qualifications. It’s used by successful businesswomen who don’t have the time or inclination to date. Now it’s a waiting game.
In the meantime, he volunteers at the company’s co-op daycare. He keeps his body in good physical condition. He even took a remedial course with a sex surrogate when the registry listed him as a premature ejaculator. His diligence will pay off when he is selected as a mate.
But when he is dropped from the registry because of an indiscretion at work, his life begins to unravel and it doesn’t look like anything can stop his fall from grace.
Background and Excerpt from A Tale of Moral Corruption
Several years ago I read 'A Handmaid’s Tale', a futuristic story of women who were so subjugated they were nothing more than breeding stock. I decided I wanted to turn this story completely around and make women in charge of everything—politics, government, even choosing a husband.
One of the first obstacles I faced was the fact that no matter how powerful women got, they were still the child-bearers. But after researching artificial wombs, I found that ectogenesis—raising a fetus outside the human body—will be a reality soon. I just didn’t want to create a world in which sterile laboratories house rows and rows of pods. So I decided that in my story, these warm, flexible pods could be worn by men on their bellies with straps similar to backpacks.
Once I had childbearing figured out, it was quite a bit of fun to put men in subservient roles as secretaries and assistants. Dating services in the future are for men only. Women are too busy to bother with dating but they want to make sure men are worthy so they make them register on an approved site.
And wait until you find out how I’ve handled all of the violent men who used to terrorize women through rape and abuse.
"It's a boy."
Merriam's mouth sagged at the corners when she made her announcement yesterday, like she was reporting a cockroach sighting in the break room. She reminded us that Navin's paternity leave starts today; we'll all need to pick up the slack while he's out.
Of course, we knew it was a boy months ago when Navin started parading around the office with that artificial womb strapped to his belly.
His wife Lanelle is president of Jarvis Corporation, so naturally, they paid for the deluxe womb with the clear walls where everyone can see the little darling.
Like the pompous show-off he is, Navin didn't drape the womb with a coverlet. Oh, no, he wanted to draw attention to his miniscule contribution to the process. At the beginning of the pregnancy, he kept insisting that the genital tubercle on the fetus was a glans clitoridis. He caught me in the break room one morning, and actually juggled the womb until the little fetus rolled over. Then using a stylus, Navin proudly poked at a tiny nub. "See? It's a girl!"
But once the tubercle continued to extend, Navin could no longer carry his false hope around with the unborn child. The appendage was definitely phallic. After that, Navin adopted the privacy coverlet that most expectant parents wear.
Andrew says there was a time, long ago, when those three words-'It's a boy'-meant more than even the words 'I love you.'
He says the birth of a boy was heralded as a major event, bringing untold pride and joy to parents and the community. Evidently, a boy held the mystical guarantee of the continuation of a family's lineage.
When I was young, I imagined my mother crying tears of disappointment when she heard the news that her first-born was going to be a boy. Back then, the artificial womb was still experimental, and too expensive for my mother's salary as a young orthopedic surgeon. She didn't get the disheartening news until I was nearly 20 weeks along. I visualized my father hanging his head in shame at not being able to carry out the simple task of creating a girl child.
My mother said they tried all the usual tricks to produce a girl, but it just didn't work out that way. Always the martyr, she lamented my father's cursed Y chromosome that screwed everything up, and shamed us both in the process. But my dad has never acted like he was disappointed. In fact, he and I are a lot closer than he is with my sister Jillian.
According to Andrew, all children were given the father's surname, and that is how families were recorded generation after generation.
I don't know how Andrew remembers all this trivia. He and I went to the same schools but I don't recall seeing all this stuff about how revered male children were. All I've ever read was how men screwed up the world so bad that women took away their ability to make any kind of business or political decisions.
My grandmother says that if a woman is responsible enough to nurture a child from birth to adulthood, she can certainly nurture a business. She says all men ever did was cheat and steal from each other.
When I ask my father about this role reversal, he seems reticent to discuss the matter. Notice how I used 'reticent'? Andrew says I need to improve my vocabulary, to raise my score on the Approved Partner Registry.
I've been on the APR for over a year now. The board won't consider men until they're twenty-five years old, and then the open enrollment is only once a year. The first two times I applied, I was rejected. It's that questionnaire! They ask the same thing twice, only they put a little twist in the second time to see if you slip up. Like on one question, I strongly agreed that I preferred work that is routine, which was the right answer. But then on the question where it asked if I considered myself creative, someone who comes up with new ideas, I disagreed and got penalized.
But aren't those kind of the same question?
Andrew says I was just trying to answer the way I thought they wanted me to. But what does he know? He's never taken those stupid tests. He's never had to sweat it out, waiting for the results. I know, I shouldn't be so hard on him. He's not on the APR and his chances of getting on are slim. He has Erb's Palsy.
The brachial plexus muscle in Andrew's shoulder was damaged during childbirth. That kind of accident rarely happens these days, but his mother and father were in some third-world country as part of a humanitarian effort to help people recovering from an earthquake. His mother had assured everyone she'd be back in plenty of time for delivery, but then the country was hit with a second quake and they were stranded.
She went into premature labor at some godforsaken outpost. A midwife was sent for, but Andrew's father panicked. The baby was coming. Some hidden instinct to take charge overwhelmed him. He pulled Andrew's head to the side as he tugged to free him from the birth canal and the muscle in his shoulder tore.
Now his left arm hangs useless at his side, and it's definitely smaller than his right. He always wears long-sleeved shirts, even in the summer, to hide the deformity. Funny how just a moment's panic during those few seconds of childbirth can determine your whole life.
Back in the U.S., his mother's insurance paid to try and correct the damage, but the surgeon did a crappy job. Too bad Andrew wasn't born a girl. His mother would have insisted on a top surgeon, for sure.
So of course, he'll never be a candidate for the APR. Only attractive men with above average Iqs, and strong compatibility traits are accepted. I mean, I'm pretty good looking, but I still had a hard time getting in.
My supervisor, Merriam, once told me I was a knock-out. She said if she weren't already married, she'd take some of that Mason magic. That's sexual harassment, but I'm not going to report her. I appreciate the compliment.
My best friend Ben took the APR test the day he turned 25 and aced it. Within a week, he was getting all kinds of requests from women, and last year he got married. I try not to be jealous but come on, he had three different women interested in him. He's going to call me any day now to say he and his new wife are launching a pregnancy, and I'll have to be all positive and supportive.
Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction
M. R. Cornelius
M. R. Cornelius
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After working for fifteen years as a cafeteria manager in an elementary school, I turned in my non-skid shoes for a bathrobe and slippers. Now I work at home, writing novels, ranting on Facebook and Twitter, and occasionally whisking a Swiffer across dusty surfaces.
Like thousands of others, I thought I could write romance, but soon discovered I was a dismal failure. I did increase my repertoire of adjectives such as throbbing, pulsing, thrumming, vibrating, hammering, pumping . . .
I live in the country north of Atlanta with my husband, and two molly-coddled cats. My two grown sons occasionally visit for clean laundry and a hot cooked meal.
Author's Book List
Habits Kick Back
Prescription drugs are so common in the future they’re called supplements, and dispensed at meals like side dishes. Just like everyone else, Luna takes pills to curb her appetite, increase her memory, focus her concentration, improve her mood, even suppress her sex drive.
By her sophomore year in college, however, she’s beginning to wonder what life is like outside this drug-induced state. The perfect opportunity to break out of the mire comes when she sees a picture of a medallion from the 5th century. She’s not sure where she’s seen it, but she hopes once her mind is clear, she will find the artifact.
When she stops taking supplements, she discovers food tastes delicious, her friend Sal is suddenly sexy, and the search for the lost medallion turns into a real adventure.
Hopefully, all her new habits don’t get her killed.
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Frank Barnes is content living on the streets of Atlanta. A soup kitchen and a makeshift shanty sure beat his days as a POW in Vietnam. But Chloe Roberts can’t handle the eviction that sends her into the hell of homelessness. With no family or friends to turn to, Chloe and her children are sucked into the traumatic world of night shelters, and dangerous predators.
When they bump into each other at a soup kitchen, Frank offers Chloe a glimmer of hope that she can pull her life back together. She rekindles his lost sense of self-worth. But they will not meet again until Frank is riding high in his new life as a working stiff, and Chloe has hit rock bottom.
By helping Chloe rebuild her broken life, Frank banishes the demons from his own past. Unfortunately, the past comes strolling back into their lives, threatening to destroy the happiness they have finally found.
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The Ups and Downs of Being Dead
Fifty-seven year old Robert Malone is the CEO of a successful clothing store chain and married to a former model. When his doctor tells him he is dying of cancer, he refuses to go quietly. Instead of death, Robert chooses cryonics. He knows it's a long shot. His frozen body will be stored in liquid nitrogen for the next seventy-five years, and then he'll wake up in the future. That is, if technology develops a way to bring him back.
He's willing to take that gamble.
What he doesn't realize is that he won't lie in some dreamless state all that time. His soul is very much awake, just like the others who were frozen before him. And like these souls in limbo, Robert begins a new kind of life outside his physical body.
He discovers that he can ride in the cockpit with the pilots, but he can't turn the page of a magazine. He can sit in the oval office with the president, but he can't prevent a child from dashing in front of a car. He doesn't work, or eat, or sleep. He can't smell, or taste, or touch. These obstacles make it difficult to experience love, and virtually impossible to reconcile with the living.
Over the next several decades, Robert Malone will have plenty of time to figure out The Ups and Downs of Being Dead.
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A deadly influenza virus rages out of control. There is no easy-fix vaccine. No eleventh-hour containment. Only death.
With no workforce, power plants are unmanned so there’s no means of communication; police and fire departments have collapsed so no one is safe; looters are scavenging everything from big-screen TVs to canned peas.
When Dr. Taeya Sanchez finds herself unceremoniously dismissed from an emergency medical facility in New York, she decides to steal the hospital’s armored van for a midnight escape.
Unfortunately, Rick DeAngelo, a driver for the hospital, has already stocked the van for his own getaway.
Thrown into an unfriendly alliance, these two must pick their way across the dangerous wasteland of America in search of a safe haven. And as the miles roll by, they discover that the living should be feared much more than the festering corpses out there.
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