Thursday, 9 July 2020

Book Spotlight: Atom & Go: Genesis

Today I have some sci-fi for you with a spotlight (plus an excerpt) on the new release, Atom & Go: Genesis by Zach Winderl. Enjoy.


 Atom & Go: Genesis by Zach Winderl






Fleeing the destruction of his clan, Atom Ulvan must protect his two-year-old daughter on a space-western romp across the galaxy. Aboard his ship the One Way Ticket, the pair must find a way to survive their pursuers while carving out their new place on the frontiers of the Empire.



 Atom & Go: Genesis is available from the publisher's website

And Amazon







Excerpt


Atom stepped from the cargo ramp into a gust of oven dusty air. Squinting against the blown grit, he raised a shielding hand and took stock of his surroundings. The polarized atmosphere shaded everything a reddish-grey, haunting the eyes with ghostly images of absent colors. In the back of his mind, Atom tried to adjust to the lack of blues and greens.
“Why don’t you inform the others of your side business?” Kozue asked as Atom retreated up to the hatch door at the top of the ramp.
“I don’t want them involved,” Atom replied as he punched through the hatch.
“But they could help.”
Atom glanced at Margo. Looking up from the pram, she beamed a smile.
“Dada dirty.” She clapped her hands and shook with a gleeful giggle.
With care, he wrapped a mesh hood around her head and fixed a filter over her mouth. She reached up to pull the hood off, but Atom took her hands and set them in her lap.
“Leave it,” he commanded, and Margo complied. “We’re going outside, Go. It’s dusty so let the hood be.”
Margo nodded. She turned her attention to looking through the polarized lenses covering her eyes. With a furtive glance to Atom, she reached up and adjusted the hood. Atom raised an eyebrow, but he saw the smile lift her cheeks beneath the light material.
Satisfied with Margo’s elemental protection, Atom punched the hatch open again and pushed the pram out into the gusting wind. As he tromped down the ramp, he wrapped a light scarf around his mouth and nose.
“They could help, but they could also prove a liability.” He continued the conversation as he slipped into the crowded street at an easy stroll. “Plus, I work better alone.”
“You take Margo.”
“Truth, but she’s blood. She’s a part of me.”
“She’s a child, Atom.”
“And I trust her more than either of the other two in a fight. I know what she’s capable of.”
“There’s something frightening in that statement.” Concern laced Kozue’s words. “Especially since one of your crew is a known gunfighter with a rap as long as my hair.”
“You don’t have hair.”
“I did, and you remember.”
Atom fell silent. His feet pressed forward through the dust laden throngs. He had lined up a buyer on the slow orbital descent, but he preferred meeting face to face, a habit from his days as an admiral.
Following Kozue’s directions, he wound his way through the thriving spaceport to a well built residence, nestled between the slums and the affluent.
At his first knock, a young servant woman opened the door with a genuine smile
“Make yourself welcome,” she said as she slammed the door against the wind. “I will let Staroste Moncrief know you have arrived. He was pleased and surprised by your request to meet in person.”
“I aim to surprise.” Atom smiled as he pulled his scarf down. “In a good way of course.”
The servant bobbed her head and disappeared through a door at the rear of the tall entryway. As the door closed on the servant’s heels, Atom unwrapped Margo and surveyed their surroundings. From the outside, the building appeared squat and plain, but the interior told a different story. The entrance hall showed modest opulence. Built of solid sandstone bricks, artisans had carved delicate floral scenes of off-world Edens into every surface. Soaring twenty feet overhead, a broad, tinted skylight allowed a comforting warm glow to enter and offset the cool, misted interior of the building. Underfoot, a thick carpet of intricate weave covered the broad sandstone blocks of the floor in an inviting manner.
“Welcome, Mr. Ulvan.” The servant opened the doors to the interior and motioned for him to follow. Atom picked up Margo and strolled after the serving girl.



About the Author



Author photo
Zach is a stay at home dad who has graduated from writing during naptime to using school hours as creation central. He lives in Western NY with his wife, a mermaid, a cheetah, and a stormtrooper.

When not playing board games with his children or game group, Zach Winderl can most often be found expanding the tales of Atom & Go or people watching for literary inspiration. He draws inspiration for his character Margo from a mash-up of his three children and while he can’t claim to be a gun-slinger, many of Margo’s experiences have actually happened.



Monday, 6 July 2020

Book Spotlight: The Seven Experiments

Today I have a book spotlight for you, on the psychic thriller/horror novel, The Seven Experiments by Stephen Kanicki. Enjoy.


The Seven Experiments by Stephen Kanicki



Doctor Gary Miller learns to manifest his heart’s desires through seven, easy experiments; his world will soon come crashing down. 

Doctor Gary Miller is introduced to the world of self-help in the form of seven experiments. Each experiment is designed to focus Dr. Miller's mind, so he can realize his dreams through the power of thought alone: conceive it, believe it, and achieve it. He's dubious at first, but frustrations at work and a loveless marriage lead him down the rabbit hole. Much to his surprise, the experiments work. In fact, they work unbelievably well, and he soon discovers they can lead beyond the acquisition of material wealth. They can make him immortal, and God-like. However, Dr. Miller will learn getting what you want isn't always a good thing. In fact, it can be quite maddening. Just be careful what you ask for.



The Seven Experiments is available on Amazon



About the Author






Stephen Kanicki enjoys thought-provoking, reality-based science fiction. His novel, The Seven Experiments, explores religious, spiritual and metaphysical themes woven into an imaginative and frightening narrative. Kanicki is a father, a teacher, and an award-winning photographer. When he's not writing, he likes to run and if his aging body can stand it, he would love to complete his third marathon. 


Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Interview with Author F. P. Spirit

Today I have another interview, this time with fantasy author F. P. Spirit. He stops by to talk about writing fantasy and about his books. Enjoy.


Interview with F. P. Spirit




Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

 I’m a sci-fi/fantasy fan from back before it was cool to be a geek. I grew up on Star Trek, Tolkien, Asimov, and Piers Anthony. These days I’m a software developer by day and a writer whenever I can fit in the time (which is not as much as I’d like.) I have a very understanding wife and two sons of whom I’m extremely proud. We also have a dog who is the center of attention in our household. On top of that, I try to game with friends as often as possible and keep in shape as best I can (which is not an easy task at all these days.)

  


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book is titled “City of Tears.” It is the first novel in my next series, “Rise of the Thrall Lord.” The book follows the further exploits of the characters from the “Heroes of Ravenford,” though things take a far more serious turn.

In this installment, demons have once again crawled up from the Abyss, undead are roaming the earth, and someone has appeared who can exert control over dragons. All these signs point to the possible return of the dread Thrall Masters, a group of mega-powerful mages who nearly decimated the world over a century ago.

City deals with the first of these major encounters: a tower harboring enormous power, shrouded in mist, surrounded by an ancient city that has fallen under a terrible curse. All who once lived there walk the earth as undead, ruled by the former empress of the once great Naradon empire.

 

Of all the books you've written, do you have a favorite? 

My favorite would probably be City. Writing is a craft that can always be improved upon. I’ve learned a lot over the last ten years, and thankfully my writing has improved along with it. My first few novels were full of action, adventure, and humor. I did put quite a bit of effort into character backgrounds and development. However, I could have used more character introspection. This new book delves not just into the character’s minds, but truly captures their emotions and underlying motivations.

  

Do you have a favorite character? If so, why? 

It's a toss-up between Lloyd and Seth. Lloyd is the most genuine character you will ever meet. In some ways, he is the archetypical hero - athletic, good looking, always doing what's right. However, he is also quite modest and shy. Seth, on the contrary, is an extremely sarcastic character. His shady past makes him distrustful of everyone. He is also inclined to say whatever he is thinking without holding back. He's that voice in everyone's head that never gets expressed in real life.

 

 Why did you decide to write in the fantasy genre? 

I’ve always loved fantasy and a few years back we started role playing with family and friends. A number of amazing and amusing characters resulted from those sessions and I wanted to share their adventures with as many folks as I could. Little did I realize the long road I had ahead of me. After many iterations of world building, character development, and weaving together of plot lines, the Ruins on Stone Hill was finally born.

  

What is the hardest part of writing fantasy fiction? 

There are a couple of things, but the foremost is making up an entire world. Fantasy fiction often takes place in a completely different world from ours. Building that world requires a lot of work if it is going to be believable for the reader. There has to be rules, especially where magic is concerned, places, travel, races, creatures, and the like that need clear cut definitions. That world also should have a history. Defining that history can take months of painstaking work to map out. 

 

Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book? 

The way that characters “talk” to you. Well-developed characters tend to have a mind of their own and tend to disrupt your plans as your writing. I've often hit a road block where a character will tell me "no way am I doing that!" It's just not in their nature. I have to then learn to write around it or change the plot point to fit the character.

 

 Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

David Eddings is probably my favorite author. I love the way he combines a large cast of characters and how they interact with each other. Tolkien is of course the father of fantasy and one of my favorites. I also love Piers Anthony. His Apprentice Adept series is one of my all-time favorites. On the Sci-Fi side, I've always loved Asimov. I cut my teeth, so to speak, on the original Foundation series. Heinlein and Niven are also two favorites. 

 

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Write, write, and write again. Never stop. Never give up. There's always room to grow as a writer. The key, though, is to write about things you love. The passion you feel as you write will translate into your stories and to your readers.

  

Ruins on Stone Hill (Book One: Heroes of Ravenford)

 

What do you get when you mix an elf, a gnome, a halfling, and a warrior? Magic, mayhem, and loads of sarcasm. 

Glolindir thought he knew all about magic until he came face to face with his very first monster. He only survived thanks to: 

Lloyd, the gallant spiritblade as talented as he is reckless.
Seth, the mysterious halfling whose knives are nearly as sharp as his tongue.
Aksel, the quiet gnome whose very touch can heal.

Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of their troubles. The little town of Ravenford is in desperate need of heroes. Before Glo and his friends know it, they are up to their necks in monsters and worse.

It all comes to a disastrous head when they confront a dark force in the ruins outside of town. Outclassed and overpowered, the only thing that can save them now is their wits and a bit of luck.

 

Ruins on Stone Hill is available at Amazon

 

F.P. Spirit writes high fantasy fiction inspired by the likes of Tolkien, Eddings, Brooks, and Piers Anthony. An avid science fiction fan, he became hooked on fantasy the moment he cracked open his first copy of Lord of the Rings in high school. When he is not writing, F.P. is either spending time with his family, gaming, doing yoga, or walking the dog.

A long-time lover of fantasy and the surreal, he hopes you enjoy his fun contributions to the world of fantasy and magic.

For more on F. P. Spirit and his books check out these sites:

 

Author’s Website

Goodreads

Facebook Page

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

Bookbub

 

 

 

 


Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Interview with Author Chad Lehrmann

Today I have an interview with urban fantasy author, Chad Lehrmann, who is here to chat about his writing and books. Enjoy.


Interview with Chad Lehrmann

 


Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself. 

My name is Chad Lehrmann, and I am an independent author from Texas.  I began writing at an early age, but found it difficult to, well, finish writing. In my adult life, I wrote mostly for my career- I was a minister for eleven years, so I wrote curriculum and sermons.  Currently, I am a high school psychology, sociology, and social studies teacher, so I write lessons and curriculum.  I began to blog on education issues in my first year of teaching and started by creating educational parables.  While I enjoyed the discussion of real-life education issues, it was the development of creative stories that most excited me.  After completing my first education book- mostly out of a sense of obligation to finish what I started (see- I matured some!)- I wanted to exclusively devote my writing to fiction.  It was here that I found a release I had long searched for.  The beauty of crafting a character and a world for them to live in was captivating and empowering.  Not to mention a bit therapeutic!  For the first time in a long time, I found an intellectual pursuit that brought me as much happiness as it did challenge.


Could you tell us a bit about your latest book? 

Sawyer Shepherd Chronicles: Rites of Passage introduces us to a world like our own, but when you peel back the edge of the curtain just a bit and you are able to find a supernatural (and demonic) threat just out of sight.  Sawyer Shepherd -just coming into adulthood after a tragic loss- stumbles into a small Colorado town looking for an identity, and quickly gets caught up in an epic battle against an ancient demon.  He has support from local “drunk” Eli Romer (who may know more than he lets on) and Mandy Jane, a college intern with the National Parks that quickly catches Sawyer’s eye.  The story deals with themes and ideas that I had struggled with in my late teens and early twenties, but also digs into the power greed has on us- as seen in supporting characters Lucius Furr, Lennox Dupree, and Elena Cordova.  They are big city developers looking for a big payout.  I went with the tagline of “Face Your Demons” in the promotion of the book, and it was a double-edged truth:  Sawyer faces literal demons, but also the demons of his past, and his own internal doubts and fears; demons in their own right.

 

Who is your intended readership? 

I think the book works for anyone over the age of 13, but I see comparisons with other works of fiction, too.  Fans of Rick Riordan’s Olympus books will find similar characters and humor, but there is also a definite connection to the Supernatural television series.  Fans of these, or of “light horror” will find much to enjoy.  The pace is fast in Rites of Passage, so fans of action and quick reads might also take a look.

  

Why did you write this book? What was your inspiration? 

My family vacations in a small town in Colorado, Lake City.  Outside of town is a memorial to some miners who died in the 1800’s.  What makes this unique is the lone survivor, Alferd Packer (yep, that is spelled right) was accused and convicted of cannibalism.  That story always stuck with me as a story seed- what if a miner or pioneer was accused of killing people, but the real killer was a demon?  From that grew the story of a demon released on a small town trapped in a snowstorm.  Pretty quickly, I knew this would be the story to launce the series surrounding Sawyer Shepherd as he faces even more evils of the supernatural world.

 

Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book? 

I have seen writers talk about a character taking on a life of their own.  I always thought that was a load of crap until I saw it happen.  Characters that were just one-offs became key-players, and characters I had long-term plans for faded because they made dumb choices.  I find the organic nature of character growth sometimes makes me put characters into situations I do not like- that even makes me uncomfortable.  It is in the growth of the story and character, though. 

 

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? 

 I have been writing all my life, but it hit me one day when my students asked me the usual question:  “If you were not a teacher, what would you do?”  I got tired of saying I would write but never doing anything to see it through.  So, I sat down and started writing this story that had existed in my head in some form for over twenty years.  And it just kept flowing.

  

Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine? 

I write when I can.  As a teacher, that means stolen moments early in the day or late at night.  When an inspired idea strikes, I make a note in my phone’s Notepad app, and go put it down when I can.  As far as where ideas come from, it is random.  Seeing a unique historical marker set off Rites of Passage.  Book two of the series had some key stuff come from a visit to the City Museum in St. Louis.  I mean, how can you see a school bus on top of a multi-story building and not write an action scene in it?  There were nightmares and dreams from my childhood that inspire some things.  I wrote a short story set in the Sawyer universe that was inspired by my desire to write a chase scene set to Carol of the Bells.

 

 What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies? 

Teaching is my career, but I also love to read.  I collect comic books and action figures.  But I also love to do woodworking.  I do some wood art, but since March, I have built five Adirondack chairs, a raised bed garden, four 8 foot flower towers, and two more flower planters.  The stay at home orders gave me lots of time. 

 

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal? 

Book two of the series-Red Hand Rising- is out August 4th on Amazon.  It takes Sawyer & Co. to St. Louis on the trail of a demonic serial killer- who might just have ties to the big bad of the series.  I am currently writing book three, and its title is all I want to share right now:  Origins of Man and Myth.


Author Website

 You can find Sawyer Shepherd Chronicles: Rites of Passage on Amazon


Sunday, 24 May 2020

Book Spotlight: Dark Divinations

Today I have for you a real treat with a spotlight for the new supernatural anthology, Dark Divinations recently released by HorrorAddicts.net Press. Enjoy.





Dark Divinations (edited by Naching T. Kassa)






It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown.

Choose your fate.
Choose your Dark Divination.






**********

An excerpt from Dark Divinations

The Moat House Cob

Alan Fisher
Tower of London, 1887


I had earned the position of Her Majesty’s Keeper of Wise Animals after a priest witnessed my unfortunate encounter with a foul-mouthed and heretical black goose along the Thames. He reported me to the Lawless Assizes which gave me a simple choice: burn at the stake for witchcraft or turn my talents to the service of the Queen. I, not unwisely, chose the latter. My crimes against the proper way of things would be held in abeyance until I died a natural death or the Assizes decided to end me in flames. The goose—not given such a chance—was burned, squawking out dire curses on all and sundry.
The wise animals were kept in a smallish room at the top of a corner battlement at the Tower of London, except for the Prophetory Raven, who had the run of the entire Tower, like the rest of his wing-clipped fellows. It was escorted to the room each morning by the Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster, where it would spend the day uselessly pecking grubs off a map of the Empire so I could note which grub it went after first. For the past five years, it had favored the flavor of the grubs inhabiting the vastness of the open Pacific, where little of note had happened, or would happen.
Useless, the Prophetory Raven. Useless, the Revelation Mice of Cambridge. Useless, the mad parrot that had once been owned by John Dee and only squawked Enochian riddles, a language I had sadly not been taught at Balliol. Useless, Her Majesty’s Keeper of Wise Animals, but still I walked up the dank stairs every day. Every day I recorded anything the wise animals might reveal and every day I fed them and slopped their shite out into the courtyard and every evening I fled back to my room at the base of the tower.
All in all, still better than being burned alive.
The wise animals were so considered because they had foretold the future, at least once. In most cases, only once. But they were collected, some of them having lived long beyond their years. Dee’s Parrot was in its third century, if indeed it was the same bird that had warned Queen Elizabeth of the coming Armada. The Prophetory Raven was at least two decades beyond the ordinary life of its fellows and was famed in a very small circle for screaming ceaselessly on two seperate days that madmen tried to shoot our Queen Victoria. It was otherwise silent. The six Revelation Mice, who got into ink whilst scurrying about the University Library of Cambridge and left in their tiny footprints an obituary for Prince Albert two weeks before his death, had never written anything again. I should know. I had to apply ink to the feet of the little bastards every evening before setting them loose on a large sheet of white paper. Every morning, I threw out the ink-smeared paper that had no more wisdom on it than the droppings they left.
But then there was the spider. The Moat House Cob was big as my splayed out hand and dark as pitch, except for orange lines crossing its back. Or abdomen, as a spider-fancier once told me it was called. Seemed as if every day the lines were different. It had been found with a witch around 1750. According to the tale, it crawled from her clothes as the flames took her and nearly escaped. An alert executioner trapped it in a goblet. Left in a box for examination, it wove the name of its captor’s son into its web overnight. That day, the boy died of a spider’s bite. The story got to the Lawless Assizes quickly enough and the Moat House Cob was one of the first wise animals brought to the Tower, preceded only by Dee’s Parrot and a stoat that could predict storms at sea but passed away in 1709.
The Moat House Cob was not useless. It was placed in a wide flat glass box, with a map of the world pasted against the back of it. It was my charge—as much as humoring the parrot and inking the feet of the mice—to record where it wove a web. It always wove one, every night, somewhere on the map. I took note of the location in the Ledger of Wise Animals, a series of tomes which went back to Dee’s Parrot first asking for a biscuit in Enochian. The majority of the time, the web’s location meant nothing. After making my notes, I would open the top of the cage—after I made sure the Cob was near the bottom and far from me, which it always was—and wipe away the web.


To read more of this story, and the other great tales, go to Amazon.com or order the special edition, signed copy with hand-painted tarot cards at HorrorAddicts.net



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