USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author S.M. Schmitz

Sci-fi Romances and Mythic Fantasies with a little bit of heart and a whole lot of snark

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Who is most likely to throw up on Flight Test Examiners?

The Corp is 45% macho-men and 55% working hard to be macho-men, 4% not so macho, but skilled males (mostly videographers and strategists), and 1% female.  (West Coast stats.)

When it comes to taking the Captain’s flight test, it turns out that really big, must be on steroids, macho-guys are the most likely to spew their breakfast before they even begin their test.

Why? You ponder. 

Well, they are nervous, really nervous that they’ll fail. While they may have grown to a massive size, that doesn’t actually improve their ability to fly a wind-catcher. In fact, generally, they are less limber and slower in the air. They also aren’t always the brightest bulbs, so they struggle on passing the regulations portion of the test. And then there is the ethics test. The big guys tend to be bullies and that comes out in the test as they end up re-living every cheat, steal, and beating they’ve given. And after they fail the tests a few times, they’ll throw up just at the sight of the flight test instructor, because they know this is going to be another failed attempt. But they also know if they can just hold it together and pass the captain’s test, then it’s sweet sailing from there on.

So how does Alisha do before her exam? Check the excerpt below.


Scavenger’s Mission

By Liza O’Connor



Meet Alisha: A young woman who refuses to live the life her parents want.

In a single month, Alisha Kane has gone from a wealthy debutante to street girl to scavenger.  While testing her new flying skills in the Cully Canyon, Alisha incurs a near-death crash landing. She’s “rescued” by a colonel of the SkyRyders and her life changes forever.

Meet Logan: A SkyRyder colonel in charge of a sleepy fort with little to do other than arrest the occasional scavenger.

For the first time in his life, Logan’s attracted to a young woman, only she’s probably a scavenger and he’ll have to arrest her.  But first he offers her a shower and food while he checks on his crew. His videographer has captured her extraordinary flight through the Cully and her flying is astounding!

He forgoes arresting her and puts his career at risk by asking MAC to assess her skills and integrity as a potential SkyRyder. If he can get Alisha into the SkyRyders, it will be his greatest contribution to the Corps.

Meet MAC: The Artificial Intelligence that runs the SkyRyders Corps.

Upon seeing her arrival, MAC upgrades Alisha’s test. Her flying skills are not just excellent; they exceed what was previously thought possible. MAC classifies her as its top asset and soon she proves her value. 

But…the SkyRyders remain a male dominated Corps where Alisha’s sense of right and wrong often clashes with her superiors. How long can a rebellious young woman survive in a regimented Corps?



Riley approached and shook Alisha’s hand. “The last person who landed on the doorstep did so because they’d completely lost control of their catcher.”

“I was afraid you might think that. That’s why I hung over the circle first.”

“Hovering one foot above it and then tracking in a perfect line to the door. Yes, you convinced me you had control of your catcher.” He glanced at her equipment. “You’re aware that you cannot use modified gear for the basic flying test?”

“Yes, sir.” Alisha tucked her catcher into its pack and smiled at Anna for her help.

“I’ve got your gear out back. I’ll drive you over in the Jeep. I had planned to pick you up at the landing circle.” He turned to his wife and frowned. “You sticking around?”

Anna laughed. “No. I can take a hint.” She shook Alisha’s hand. “Best of luck on your test.”

Riley’s eyes rounded in surprise, then he shrugged and led Alisha to the Jeep.

“This will be basic stuff. You’ll wear an ear bud. Just follow my directions, and we’ll be done in less than twenty minutes. And if you don’t understand my orders, just say so. If you need me to repeat anything, speak up.”

Alisha smiled. Riley was making her feel so at ease, she wondered why anyone ever chucked their meal.

“Any questions?” Riley asked as they came up to the gear waiting on the tarmac.

“Just one. The colonel told me it was usually the brawny, handsome flyers who chucked their breakfast. Is that true?”

“I won’t stand within six feet of any candidate fitting that description.” Riley studied her for a moment. “You don’t look nervous.”

“How could I be when you and Anna have made me feel so at ease?”

“It’s not my job to terrify the candidates.” Riley chuckled. “Although sometimes it’s a perk I can’t resist.”


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About the Author

Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.




The Multiverse Series

Sci-Fi Soap Opera with humor, romance, and science

The Gods of Probabilities

Surviving Outbound

Surviving Terranue

Surviving Sojourn



Artificial Intelligence Series


Public Secrets

Birth of Adam


The SkyRyders Series

Sci-Fi Romance

Scavenger’s Mission

Scavenger Falters-coming 2017

Scavenger Vanishes-coming 2017



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