Tag Archives: science fiction

The Story behind ‘A Hidden Element,’ by Donna Galanti

?????????????????????????????????????????????My experience and my fascination with mental powers fueled the writing of my characters in my paranormal suspense novel, A Hidden Element. Several characters have mind powers: telekinesis, mind control, healing. All have different perspectives on using them: one to feel all-powerful, one to sacrifice and help others, one to find belonging, one to save her family.

Charlie, a teenager, has difficulty controlling his power to move objects until Adrian brings him into his fold and shapes his power to be used to control others. Laura has given up her powers to provide her son with a normal life, until she is faced with rescuing him from the evil that brainwashes him and she must use her powers once again for good and evil. And Caleb uses his healing powers to save others, but can never free himself from his own prison of pain.

So what exactly is telekinesis? It’s the action of mind over matter, in which objects are caused to move as a result of mental concentration upon them. Is it science or fraud? Akin to seeing spirits or not? And if one believes in ghosts are they inclined to believe in other paranormal phenomenon too, like telekinesis?

Another term grew from telekinesis: psychokinesis. PK, as it’s known, encompasses a wider group of mental force phenomena that telekinesis now falls under. Did you know that PK Parties were a cultural fad in the 1980s? Groups of people were guided through rituals and chants to awaken metal-bending powers, or perhaps it was just another excuse for a party! Either way, you can read about it from PK party founder, Jack Houck. Real or fake? You decide.

Ouija boards were also a PK fad. When I was eleven years old a friend and I channeled an “evil spirit” through the board who levitated the ouija’s movable indicator. The spirit told us to find a boulder in the woods with an “X” on it where we would find hidden green treasure. We found the boulder but the only green treasure we found was the angry, green icy flow of the raging creek that nearly swept us away that February day. That was my last attempt to play with a ouija board! Read about more of my paranormal experiences as a child here.

Most scientists believe that the existence of telekinesis has not been convincingly demonstrated. I’m not sure what I believe, but I do think there are amazing discoveries about how the brain works to still be found. I do know I will never touch a ouija board again.

I believe we can do so much more with our brain powers. What do you believe?

********************

ABOUT A HIDDEN ELEMENT… NOW AN AMAZON BESTSELLER!:

Evil lurks within…

When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so?

PRAISE FOR A HIDDEN ELEMENT:

“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall

“Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

“Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author of Final Vector

Galanti,DonnaABOUT DONNA:

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is the author of books 1 and 2 in the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.

Website: www.ElementTrilogy.com
Blog: http://www.elementtrilogy.com/blog/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767306.Donna_Galanti

BUY THE ELEMENT TRILOGY BOOKS:
Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element: http://amzn.to/1p1YD1o

Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element: http://amzn.to/1mNcyCO
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Profile: Donna Galanti, Author of ‘A Human Element’

Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and the forthcoming Joshua and The Lightning Road.

Galanti, Donna 2An avid reader as a child, Galanti grew up in a nurturing environment, immersed in books such as The Hobbit,Little House in the Big Woods,The Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of The Mountain, Call of the Wild andWhite Fang. “My favorite author was Roald Dahl and my favorite book of his was Danny the Champion of the World,” says Galanti, whose dark imagination ran wild from the start.

From her early years in England to her later work in Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer, Galanti always dreamed of becoming an author. She wrote her first murder mystery screenplay at the tender age of seven. She had a career in writing for marketing and communications and ran her own resume writing service, but it wasn’t until her mother died five years ago that she began writing novels out of her grief. Eventually, that grief turned to peace, when she fully realized what it was she truly loved to do: becoming a storyteller. In addition to being a full-time author, Galanti also works part time as a freelance copywriter for an advertising agency.

“I write from the dark side with a glimpse of hope. I am drawn to writing the hero’s journey – more so the tormented hero, and tormented villain. I enjoy creating empathy for both by blurring the lines between good and evil,” states the author, whose first two books in The Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element (Imajin Books, August 2014) are both full of murder and mystery with a dash of steam, and both have their own tormented hero and villain. “I slay my own demons through my writing – and I highly recommend it!” she says.

A Human Element, just released by Imajin Books, is the thrilling, unrelenting page-turner story of Laura Armstrong. Her friends and family members are being murdered and, despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown, where she eventually unravels a terrifying secret that binds her to the killer.

The book has already garnered excellent praise from New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and international bestselling author M.J. Rose.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]Galanti lives in an old farmhouse – sadly, with no ghosts – with many fireplaces where she often curls up to create her page-turners. Other times she works in her office overlooking the woods. Throughout the year she meets weekly with a women’s writing group at a café where they write together and share advice and their success stories.

“When I am creating a new book I love to sit outdoors overlooking the woods with a pen and notebook and handwrite my ideas. My thoughts are slowed down this way as my brain connects to pen in hand, and it opens my mind up to brainstorm,” says the author, describing her creative process. “There is nothing more freeing creatively to journal story ideas and throw all sorts of ‘what if?’ questions out there to find the kernel of a good story you want to pursue. Then I create character worksheets and type up a ten page synopsis of the book. I do all this before I write that first word of the story. And I always create a title first! It’s what drives my inspiration for the story.”

Galanti began writing A Human Element seventeen years ago from a vision she had while driving to work one day. She wrote two chapters and shelved them for over a decade. When she finally decided to continue the story, she wrote Monday through Friday from 4:30am to 6:30am. After seven months she typed THE END.

All writers have their stronger and weaker points, and for this author, revision is her favorite process. That’s where she can make her story shine. “Knowing how important this process is has been one of my strong points,” she says. “There are many layers to a story to be found after you write that first draft, and that’s what I love to do: peel back the layers.” One area she struggled in for a long time was to slow down her writing. She can be a very fast writer, creating pages and pages of words that often would need to be trimmed down. She has since then learned to slow down her writing and craft her words with care as she writes them, so she doesn’t have to spend so much time on revision.

In an era when small presses, the good, the bad and the ugly, abound, Galanti’s experience has been nothing but positive. “My experience with Imajin Books has been amazing!” she says of her Canadian-based publisher. “Imajin Books is dedicated to working with me to help my books succeed. The owner, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, is a bestselling author in her own right.” Imajin Books was very responsive and provided in-depth editorial guidance as well as marketing plans, not to mention fantastic book cover designs. The publishing industry is notorious for being slow-moving, but in the case of The Element Trilogy, Imajin Books made the process quick and efficient.

As with many authors, Galanti finds starting a new book most challenging. The first blank page can be a scary thing, until the story takes over, propelling your main character into his new unbalanced world toward the ultimate end. However, being an author can be extremely rewarding. “When it comes to readers, there is nothing more thrilling than reading wonderful reviews about your book that you spent months, or years, creating and shaping,” she says. “It’s from that private place in your heart, where you love the most – and hurt the most – that you pour out pages to show the world. And it’s all worthwhile when you discover that others have been touched by your story, just as you were touched while you were writing it. Second, it’s rewarding to pay it forward to up-and-coming authors. There is a wonderful feeling that comes from speaking to writers about your publishing journey and sharing advice and techniques on how to find success as an author, and hope that they do.”

Galanti is currently working on the idea for the third and final book in The Element Trilogy called, A Healing Element, and gearing up to release book 2, A Hidden Element, on August 28th. A native of upstate New York, the author now lives in Southeastern Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle—preferably with ghosts.

Connect with the author on Facebook Twitter and her Blog.

This profile was originally published in Blogcritics

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grydscaen by Natsuya Uesugi Book Blast – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT GRYDSCAEN

Title: grydscaen

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Natsuya Uesugi

Publisher: Xlibris

EBook: 288 pages

Release Date: July 21, 2011

Follow the lives of the main characters as they come together in the backstory to grydscaen:retribution, the fi rst volume of the grydscaen saga. Faid is tired of life on the run in the Echelons, trying to keep his psychic power in check, he founds the Packrats establishing a safe haven for psychics. As a hacker he uses his jack to support his neurocyne habit. Lino is recruited by the Psi Faction and is sent on a mission to kidnap Faid. Riuho, Lino’s half brother becomes a prisoner of the Elite military and they experiment on him, train him and subject him to mind control, then send him out on a mission. On his return, Riuho is set on escaping and recruits Faid who hacks into the Psi Faction systems. They escape and return to the Packrats leading up to the start of grydscaen:retribution.

Xlibris

Pump Up Your Book and Natsuya are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 28 and ends on May 9.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 10, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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grydscaen by Natsuya Uesugi Book Blast – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

ABOUT GRYDSCAEN

Title: grydscaen

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Natsuya Uesugi

Publisher: Xlibris

EBook: 288 pages

Release Date: July 21, 2011

Follow the lives of the main characters as they come together in the backstory to grydscaen:retribution, the fi rst volume of the grydscaen saga. Faid is tired of life on the run in the Echelons, trying to keep his psychic power in check, he founds the Packrats establishing a safe haven for psychics. As a hacker he uses his jack to support his neurocyne habit. Lino is recruited by the Psi Faction and is sent on a mission to kidnap Faid. Riuho, Lino’s half brother becomes a prisoner of the Elite military and they experiment on him, train him and subject him to mind control, then send him out on a mission. On his return, Riuho is set on escaping and recruits Faid who hacks into the Psi Faction systems. They escape and return to the Packrats leading up to the start of grydscaen:retribution.

Xlibris

Pump Up Your Book and Natsuya are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • 1 winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive each of the prizes
  • This giveaway begins April 28 and ends on May 9.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 10, 2014.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A Conversation with Crystal Connor, author of “The Darkness”

About Crystal Connor

Crystal ConnorI grew up telling spooky little campfire style stories at slumber parties. We’d make a tent in the bedroom, and the only source of light would be from a flashlight that was about to die. I’d tell my tale of doom and then while everyone was jumping at the tree branch scraping against the window and I’d be sound asleep!

I served my country in the United States Navy working as a boiler technician on board the USS McKee AS-41 assigned to the 7th fleet.

While deployed at various ports-of-call throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East I began to learn about other cultures’ monsters and nightmares and I use my world travels and experiences take you to some of the exotic places that I’ve been but have altered and embellished with my twisted view of how a story should end…while at the same time taking you on a journey you might not otherwise be able to afford or brave enough to undertake.

The Darkness, is my first full-length novel, is published by Bennett and Hastings. My current projects, “…And They All Lived Happily Ever After” and “Artificial Light,” the sequel to The Darkness will be released in 2011. My short story “The Ruins” was the runner-up selection of Crypticon Seattle’s 2010 writing contest, and accepted for publication for The Static Movement Anthology “Sowing the Seeds of Horror.” My short story “The Monster” will be featured in the anthology “Strange Tales of Horror” published by NorGus Press.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Crystal. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Darkness, is all about?

A: Thank you so much for your time today. The Darkness is a sci-fi thriller told in an urban setting about a rogue scientific experiment that goes horribly wrong. The experiment that the scientist loss control of is a little boy named Adam.

Q: Is this your first novel? If not, how has writing this novel different from writing your first?

A: Yes, this is my 1st novel. I have been writing, or at least telling stories, for as long as I can remember but they were always short stories.

Q: How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

A: It took me five years to write The Darkness, not because it was difficult but because for one it started out as a short story so I thought The Darkness was complete at around the 2,700 word count mark.

Another reason it took so long to write The Darkness was because I wasn’t working on it everyday. I was working in a small Seattle shipyard when I met a man named Mike Jones, who by the way is an award winning author and editor. When the guys in the shop learned that I was a writer they introduced me to Mike.

When he read the 1st few chapters of The Darkness he said that there was no way that The Darkness was going to be a short story and he recommended that I start taking my writing seriously.

As far as writers block is concerned I suffered quite the opposite. I’d be so excited about a scene or chapter that I was working on or have so many ideas about what to write next that I would get frustrated because I couldn’t translate what was going on in my head on to paper exactly the same way I envisioned it.

There were times that I wrote and then rewrote the same scene over and over again until I got it just right.

Q: How have your fans embraced your latest novel? Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

A: Right now my biggest fans are my family and friends and they have been far more than just supportive.

There was a time when I wrote for 2 or 3 days straight, I didn’t eat and couldn’t sleep, my eyes felt like sandpaper and in a sleep-deprived state of delirium I called my sister at 3am mumbling frantically & incoherently about a character from The Darkness. Because I startled her awake and I was near hysterics I scared her pretty bad and when she realized I was talking about the book she was more than mad.

Q: What is your daily writing routine?

A: I write like a raving lunatic! I was once told that the way that I write is raw and undisciplined and I think he said that because I’ve never taken any type of writing classes.

He was reviewing a chapter of The Darkness and three pages consisted of one giant run on sentence. My written grammar is atrocious and my spelling is even worse but I don’t care because I know what I’m trying to say; and besides that why God created editors.

I just write and I write on everything. I have several note pads full of what appears to be the ramblings of a madman, reams of scratch paper full cultural proverbs, references to the Bible & Koran and random quotes; and my research consist of sticky notes that are plastered everywhere…and once I wrote on my forearm while I was driving on the freeway because I didn’t want to lose an idea.

Q: When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

A: I catch up on my sleep. When I’m writing I tend to stay up all night and half the next day writing. When I’m in a zone I can write for days at a time with maybe a just a few hours a sleep a night.

I love watching scary movies reading scary books. I go to the spa whenever I can and just enjoy hanging out with my family and friends.

Q: What book changed your life?

A: I wouldn’t say it changed my life. However it did change my prospective as a writer. I don’t think change is the right word. I will say it strengthened my conventions as a writer. The book was Octavia E. Butler’s The Fledgling.

I read the Fledgling in a day and a half. I started reading it on a Friday afternoon and was done by like 10am Sunday morning. I read it straight through I didn’t sleep, I was starving, and my eyes felt like sand paper because I couldn’t put that book down.

Never before had I seen a black woman as a main character in a book, never before had I seen real world issues woven into the fabrics of fantasy and for the 1st time that I could remember I was reading a story where the lead female character was not weak and timid.

When The Darkness was about at the midway point I was really nervous and doubtful that I as a black female writer would be able to capture an audience in a male dominated industry.

I was scared because when I compared my story to the industry standard mine didn’t look like theirs; my story looked a lot like hers and she reigned supreme. Octavia E. Butler was a mentor to me even if she didn’t mean to be.

Reading her work I realized that your differences are your strengths. Once The Darkness entered the editing and reworking stage I fought fiercely to keep The Darkness the way that I had written it. With powerhouse authors like Octavia E. Butler, Tananarive Due, Nnedi Wahala, and L.A. Banks as role models I feel that I can tell a fantastic, compelling, and frightening story without compromising myself as a writer or changing the characters or the tone of stories that I write.

Q: If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

A: The Girl With The Blue Ink Pen.

I write everything in longhand 1st and I only write with a blue ink pen or a pencil.

I’m not sure what my issue is with black ink, I just know if a psycho maniac killer told you that all you had to do to live was to break into my home and find a black ink pen is that you would perish.

Q: Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

A: I would like for you to know not only about my writing but also who I am as a person. I want you to know that I’m not some stuck up or pretentious author who thinks I’m the greatest thing to pick up a pen since Octavia Butler or Stephen King.

I’m still that goofy, nerdy, sometimes self-conscious chick who screams warnings at the people in horror movies and reads books about dragons.

Thank you for this interview Crystal. I wish you much success on your latest release, The Darkness!

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Four Guidelines for Writing Characters with Character: Guest Post by Joseph Garraty

Four Guidelines for Writing Characters with Character

By Joseph Garraty

There are a million writers out there, each with his or her own particular skill. Some authors are plot authors. They can weave dozens of threads seamlessly together into a tight, slick story, propelled by events to a perfectly-executed climax. Most thriller authors fall into this category. Other authors are great at theme and symbolism, weaving hidden layers of meaning into every sentence. Still others excel at description, action, dialogue, or symbolism—everybody’s got their strong points, and readers gravitate to different authors for different reasons.

Me, I’m a character guy. If the characters are believable and interesting, I don’t even care whether they’re sympathetic or not—I want to know about them. I want to know what happens to them, how they react, what choices they make, and why.

The trick for me as a writer, then, has been figuring out how to make my characters believable and interesting, and while there’s always more to learn, I like to think I’ve got a few pieces in place.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. Characters have to want something.

There is no escaping this. Reading about a character who wants nothing is like reading about a lump of mashed potatoes. It’s kind of bland, sits there and does nothing, and tends to get pushed around by whomever wants to push it around. A character has to have goals. Those goals can be as simple as “I would very much like to survive until tomorrow,” or as bizarre as “I really need a plasmicophic ferangulator for my time machine so I can go back and prevent my great-grandfather from flirting with Ms. Enderlein back in 1927 and thereby save civilization,” but they absolutely must have them.

Why? Because. . .

2. Characters have to do something.

This is associated with #1, but it doesn’t follow by necessity. Big Pete might want Skeezy Al to stop hitting on his sister, but he could just sit back and watch, waiting for the problem to resolve itself. However, if that’s all he ever does, he’s not going to be very believable or interesting. Eventually he’s gotta do something about it. Maybe he blows up Skeezy Al’s car, hires a few thugs to beat him up, or even goes over and nicely asks him to please knock it off—but his motivation has to translate into action. In other words, things don’t just happen to him—he makes some things happen.

3. Characters have to have personalities.

This does not mean you have to draw up a seven-page dossier on your character’s likes and dislikes, make up a dating site profile for them, or make them extreme caricatures. It just means you should have some idea of what they like, how their moral framework is structured, and what aggravates them. These things will color their actions, maybe even drive them. (And look—we’re back at actions again, not sitting around rummaging through somebody’s internal monologue.) I don’t have a clue what Stacy’s favorite color is, but I know she can’t abide the smell of sauerkraut, which will cause her to flee the sinister German grandmother in Chapter Twelve. That’s overly simplistic, but you get the idea.

4. Characters have to be true to their personalities.

I don’t care if you need Loretta to push Cletus off the building to his death in Chapter Six in order for the plot to work—if you’ve painted Loretta as a real sweetheart, harmless as a teddy bear, for the first five chapters, nobody’s going to buy her sudden change of character. The same is true of the half-sloshed dockworker hanging with his buddies late one night—he’s going to drop a few f-bombs, or a few dozen, regardless of whether you think your mom will disapprove when she reads your book. You and your mom are going to have to get over it, unless you’re content to populate your book with washed-out characters that have been robbed of all verisimilitude.

Your characters must act like themselves, not automatons in service to the plot, nor censored versions of themselves in service to the local bluenoses. That’s not their job.

And that’s about it. There’s a lot of room to play within those guidelines, but if you give your characters goals and personalities and have them act consistently with those goals and personalities, you’re already well on your way.

Good luck!

Joseph Garraty is an author of dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He has worked as a construction worker, rocket test engineer, environmental consultant, technical writer, and deadbeat musician. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

His latest book is the horror novel, Voice.

You can visit his website at www.josephgarraty.com.

Connect with Joseph at Twitter at www.twitter.com/JosephGarraty.

 

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Interview with “Hoodoo Sea” author Rolf Hitzer

Rolf Hitzer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1959 and raised by his parents, Erna and Julius Hitzer.

Rolf attended Princess Margaret Elementary School, John Pritchard Junior High and Graduated from Kildonan East Regional Secondary School where he had majored in Culinary Arts.

Rolf is married to his wife Irma since 1997. Together they have a wonderful blended family with Rita and Clark Bodoano and Grand children, Alexandria, Patrick and Braeden. Jason and Leah Tutlies, and Grandson Easton. Mandel Hitzer, and the youngest Jessica Hitzer. Clearly the growth of his family is still a work in progress.

Rolf Hitzer has several passions besides writing, they include being at the log cabin on weekends. Spending time on the water with a fishing pole in hand. Wildlife viewing and especially Moose calling during the fall rut. Playing a range of Poker card games and a variety of board games.

Rolf is a Member of the Winnipeg Real Estate Board, The Manitoba Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association. He is currently working on his second novel.

For more information on his book visit: http://www.hoodoosea.com/

Hoodoo Sea is his first novel.

  

Q: Thank you for this interview, Rolf. Can you tell us what your latest book, Hoodoo Sea, is all about?

A: Nasa’s team of scientist’s develop speed-of-light capability for space travel.  On the maiden test flight the crew goes missing as they enter the Bermuda Triangle.  The crew is unaware that they have gone missing as they lose control of their technologies as they safely land in an open field.  Convinced search and rescue will soon locate them the day is spent in waiting.  What happens at night, though, is about to change everything they know and believe about life and death.     

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

A: My main character, Wing Commander Scott Reed, is the quiet leader that cares about his crew.  Before he acts, he thinks things through and then garners a plan of action.  Well respected and liked, with the exception of Captain James Harrow who felt he deserved to be selected as the leader of the crew, and as the mission progresses, so does the anger welling up in this character.  Captain John Heintz is the wholesome and religious doctor that was born and raised in the Midwest. Deedee Polson is the only female member of the crew.  In the book she starts off appearing to be emotionally fragile and little help to the crew members, but she prevails to be one of the stronger characters as the story moves forward.        

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

A:  The characters are mostly from my imagination.  That being said, the main character does mirror my personality.  At least this is what I’ve been told.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

A:  When I first started writing Hoodoo Sea I thought I had the entire plot figured out.  A funny thing happened as I continued writing the novel.  It was as if my pen took on it’s own life as the plot kept changing as fast as the chapters did.  It was a really strange feeling as to how the book ended up versus what my original vision of the story was.  I can genuinely say it was a combination of a planned plot and a ongoing changing plot.

Q: Your book is set in the Bermuda Triangle.  Can you tell us why you chose this location in particular?

A:  My novel is about life after death.  I thought by having my characters go missing in the Bermuda Triangle it would add another element of mystery and paranormal.  The beginning of the book is so misleading as the story and plot take on a hundred and eighty degree twist once they travel through the devil’s ocean.  By the way, that is how the title of the novel came about.  Hoodoo Sea is another name for the Bermuda Triangle.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

A:  Ooops, I gave some of this answer away by answering your previous question.  Yes, the setting had everything to do with the book.  The reason for selecting the Bermuda Triangle as a geographical location is the fact that I was having four different people going through what happens after death and this was a great location to have four people depart from Earth.  

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

A:  Captain James Harrow is having a nightmare. This is the first time he meets the antagonist, Therkor, who is communicating to James through his dreams.  Captain Harrow awakens from the hellish dream and because it was so vivid compared to a normal dream, he doesn’t know what to make of what had just happened. 

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

A:  Here goes, hope you like it…as follows:

Scott took a few slow and careful steps towards the wolves, hoping not to spook them into running off.  The eyes didn’t move or blink.  He stared them down, as if sizing them up, as he continued inching towards them.  Now the pair of eyes on his left began to move towards him!  He didn’t expect a wolf to show such aggression.  Scott stopped, his heart racing.  Why weren’t they running away, like they always had in the past?  The first set of eyes continued to creep forward.  Now the wolf on the right joined its mate.  Scott remained perfectly still, trying to show these wild animals he was no threat to them, but his strategy did not stop their advance.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Rolf.  We wish you much success!

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Interview with ‘Forbidden the Stars’ Valmore Daniels

We have a special guest today!  Valmore Daniels is here with us to talk about his new science fiction novel, Forbidden the Stars .  Enjoy!

Valmore Daniels 2In true nomadic spirit, Valmore Daniels has lived on the coasts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, and dozens of points in between.

An insatiable thirst for new experiences has led him to work in several fields, including legal research, elderly care, oil & gas administration, web design, government service, human resources, and retail business management.

His enthusiasm for travel is only surpassed by his passion for telling tall tales.

Valmore’s latest book is Forbidden the Stars, a sci-fi novel set at the end of the 21st century.

Visit his website at www.ValmoreDaniels.com.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Valmore. Can you tell us what your latest book, Forbidden The Stars, is all about?

Forbidden The Stars takes place at the end of the century and concerns the decade leading up to the point where humankind enters the Interstellar Age. There are three main plotlines that intertwine. A catastrophic accident in the asteroid belt leads to the development of an element which can fuel faster-than-light travel. The first manned mission to Pluto discovers signs of alien life. And from the depths of a criminal empire on Luna, an expatriate watches all of this and makes his move to seize control of interstellar travel.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Captain Justine Turner, NASA’s youngest female astronaut, journeys to Pluto, where she and her crew discover signs of an alien civilization.

Alex Manez, who accompanies his parents on a survey mission in the asteroid belt, is hurtled through space at near light speeds when a new element is discovered and reacts with the asteroid.

On Luna Station, a criminal mastermind, Chow Yin, intercepts communications between Pluto and Earth, and quickly makes plans to seize control of the new technology.

On Earth, Michael Sanderson has to juggle the politics of the discovery between two powerful nations, deal with the interplanetary war brewing, and at the same time spearhead the search for Alex Manez and the mysterious element that began the chain of events.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Every character I create borrows from some part of me, my life and experiences, or from someone I’ve known. It’s an interesting exercise to imagine average, everyday people in your life suddenly thrust into extreme circumstances, and extrapolate how they would handle that situation.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

My personal approach to writing a book has changed drastically with every new project. When I wrote my first novel, I flew by the seat of my pants, letting my imagination take me in whatever direction the story led me. While I had a lot of fun using this approach (and the novel will always be dear to me) the end product was less focused than it could have been. So I did some research, joined a writer’s group, and eventually adopted the outline method. While some detract from this method, citing that once you’ve completed the outline, your creativity suffers in the first draft, for me the opposite is the reality. Once I’m free from the bounds of figuring out what happens next, I can focus all my attention on characterization, character traits and quirks, conflicts, dialogue and world building.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Absolutely. Most (not all) science fiction on the market today deals primarily with either near-future events, alternate realities, or far-future space opera. Forbidden The Stars is set seventy years from now in our own future as humankind is on the brink between the space age and the interstellar age.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Michael Sanderson, CEO of Quantum Resources, is reconstructing the fatal accident in the asteroid belt which took the lives of two surveyors. They are trying to figure out why the asteroid completely disappeared, and speculating on the whereabout of the remains of the surveyors’ son, Alex Manez, who was also on the asteroid.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

Dark, cold, silent, inhospitable.

Wonderful.

Captain Justine Turner stood on the edge of the solar system. As captain of the Orcus 1, the historic honor fell to her.

It was another in a series of firsts for her; youngest female astronaut in NASA history; youngest person to get a captaincy of a space vessel; first human to set foot on the icy surface of Pluto.

She tried to think of something notable to say for the benefit of those on Earth who tracked their progress. Overcome with the tide of emotion, Justine could not think properly. The stale recycled air in her suit did not help clear her mind.

“Pluto,” she finally declared into her microphone. Swiveling her head to face the sun, a tiny glowing pinprick in the low horizon, she imagined she was speaking for the benefit of posterity.

“It’s been a two-hundred year journey to get here, since the dark planet’s existence was first theorized. Now, that dream is a reality. This occasion is a milestone in human history. From here, all that’s left is to conquer the stars.”

As she came over a rise, she shut her mouth tight with a clack that echoed insider her helmet. Below her, the science team and Helen gathered like acolytes around a divine statue.

Her eyes beheld a sight beyond anything she had ever imagined possible.

In a place where no human had ever before set foot, against the cold darkness of Pluto’s skyline, there was a monument the size of an aircraft hangar. The bulk of the structure resembled the nucleus of a complex atom.

Orbiting that nucleus, a number of spherical objects formed what looked like an electron cloud, hovering in the space around the monument without any visible tethers or supports.

An alien chill walked icy fingers up Justine’s spine.

Humankind was not alone in the universe…

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Valmore.  We wish you much success!

Thank you for having me.

You can visit Valmore Daniels at the following: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Forbidden The Stars is available at the following retailers:

Paperback: Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Barnes & Noble

eBook: Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

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Interview with Science Fiction Author Mark Oetjens: ‘I always know where I’m going…how I get there is anybody’s guess’

We have a special guest today!  Mark Oetjens is here with us to talk about his new science fiction novel, The Staff of Rahgorra (Conquer Publishing).  Enjoy!

Mark Oetjens 2Mark Oetjens was born in 1971. He grew up in suburban Chicago. As a child he was diagnosed with Dystonia, a debilitating neuromuscular disorder. Though there is no cure for Dystonia, surgeries and rehabilitation allowed him to walk with only a slight limp by the time he started high school. He received a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Anthropology, both from Northern Illinois University. As an adult a brain tumor, completely unrelated to his Dystonia, threatened to disable him a second time. Thanks to radiation therapy the tumor has disappeared. Mark currently lives in Phoenix, AZ.

Mark’s latest book is the science fiction novel, The Staff of Rahgorra.

You can visit his website at www.conquerpublishing.com.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Mark. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Staff of Rahgorra, is all about?

The Staff of Rahgorra is a science fiction action-adventure. The crime lord Thrull wants to rule galaxy but he knows he must first find the mythical weapon known as the Staff of Rahgorra. Cam and his apprentice Kayo, agents of the Galactic Security Bureau, are determined to stop Thrull by finding the Staff first and avoiding the war that Thrull threatens. Along the way there’s space battles and firefights and all sorts of questionable aliens and unsavory allies.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Thrull is absolutely driven to build a galactic empire. Thrull’s supporting characters are mostly young disciplined military officers that he trained himself, though there are a few rogues among them. Cam, on the other hand, is about to retire. The last thing he wants to do is stop Thrull, but he knows he must. His apprentice Kayo, his old Galactic Security Bureau friends, and a host of questionable characters support Cam.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Thrull is loosely based on the character Toranaga from Shogun. I think Cam is more me (or what I’d like to be) than I care to admit. A lot of the supporting cast is based on friends, family, and acquaintances. As far as the aliens in the novel, most are loosely based to on real animals or things I’ve seen in movies.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

As an author I think you have to know the general plot and how a work is going to end before you start writing. That being said, you definitely have insights into characters and revelations along the way. I always know where I’m going, but exactly how I get there is anybody’s guess.

Q: Your book is set in another galaxy.  Can you tell us why you chose this galaxy in particular?

I wanted the novel to be completely fresh. By fresh I mean having none of the history or assumptions or hang-ups of humankind. What better way to do that than to start from scratch.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Absolutely. Having a brand new galaxy to play in gave me the freedom to create a history and a mythology that was vital to the development of the story.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Cam and his crew have just escaped from an attack by a bounty hunter. Cam’s Darkmoon has been damaged in the attack. The Darkmoon‘s copilot, Mook, is discussing their options with Kayo.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

Thrull did not react as a side door of the observation lounge hissed open. He continued to watch the shuttle’s approach as the sound of boots striking the cool marble floor echoed through the lounge. His visitor finally came to a halt two meters behind and just to the left of him. After more than a minute, when the shuttle had almost reached the landing bay’s magnetic doors, he glanced up to see Tok’s reflection in the glass.

“You have news for me,” he said gruffly. It was not a question.

Tok seemed to stiffen his posture. “We just received word that the transport has arrived,” Tok said.

Thrull nodded. “Has the rest of the trap been set?” he asked. This he phrased as a question.

“Yes, Sire,” he said. “Linu contacted us an hour ago. She and the Talon should be here within the hour.”

Thrull turned to face Tok. “Good,” he said. “Tell her I want to see her as soon as she gets here.”

“Certainly, Sire.”

Thrull paused, looking the young man up and down. Hard to believe it was almost fifteen years ago that he had first taken them under his wing. Tok had been the youngest, only nine. He taught them everything he knew. They became his family, his thirty children. And now, after just fifteen years, he had gone from a mysterious upstart with a band of teenaged commandos to the verge of taking over the galaxy. “Would you please escort our guest up here. I’ll be in to see him shortly.”

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Mark.  We wish you much success!

Thank you for having me.

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‘Forbidden the Stars’ Valmore Daniels on virtual book tour November ’10

Valmore Daniels 2Join Valmore Daniels, author of the science fiction novel, Forbidden the Stars (Mummer Media) as he virtually tours the blogosphere November 1 – 26 ‘10 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

In true nomadic spirit, Valmore Daniels has lived on the coasts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, and dozens of points in between. An insatiable thirst for new experiences has led him to work in several fields, including legal research, elderly care, oil & gas administration, web design, government service, human resources, and retail business management. His enthusiasm for travel is only surpassed by his passion for telling tall tales.

Valmore’s latest book is Forbidden the Stars, a sci-fi novel set at the end of the 21st century.

Visit his website at www.ValmoreDaniels.com Forbidden the Stars

Forbidden the Stars is hard core science fiction at its best. At the end of the 21st century, a catastrophic accident in the asteroid belt has left two surveyors dead, but the asteroid itself is completely missing, along with their young son, Alex Manez, who was accompanying them.

On the outer edge of the solar system, the first manned mission to Pluto, led by the youngest female astronaut in NASA history, has led to an historic discovery: there is a marker left there by an alien race for humankind to find. We are not alone!

While studying the alien marker, it begins to react and, four hours later, the missing asteroid appears in a Plutonian orbit, along with young Alex Manez, who has developed some alarming side-effects from his exposure to the kinetic element they call Kinemet.

From the depths of a criminal empire based on Luna, an expatriate seizes the opportunity to wrest control of outer space, and takes swift action.

The secret to faster-than-light speed is up for grabs, and the race for interstellar space is on!

If you’d like to follow along with Valmore as he tours the blogosphere in November, visit his official tour page at Pump Up Your Book. Lots of fun in store as you learn more about this gifted author as well as win prizes, too!

Join us for Valmore Daniels’ Forbidden the Stars Virtual Book Tour ‘10! Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours. You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

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