Ultimate Book Tag Blog Tour

Thank you, Elle Klass from http://thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com for tagging me.

I tag Rhoda D’Ettore who can be found at www.rhodadettore.com

1.  Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Nope. I’ve always loved to read in the car since I was a kid. As an adult on long trips with the family I’d often read aloud to keep everyone entertained.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

I love Martha Fawcett’s books. She has a unique blend of science fiction, fantasy and New Age and a beautifully descriptive writing style which blends them all together in a symphony of prose.

3. Harry Potter or Twilight Series? Give 3 points to support your answer.

I have to say Harry Potter.

  1. Rowling created a world within a world which was rich with detail and made it credible.
  2. Imagery was outstanding.
  3. Characters were well developed from the git-go.

4.  Do you carry a book bag? If so what’s in it besides books…

Not usually unless I’m at an astrology conference where I always spend way too much in the bookstore.

5. Do you smell your books?

Yes, new and old alike. I love Richard Feynman’s story in “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” of playing a parlor game where guests would go into his library and remove a book from the shelf, handle it a few moments, then put it back after which he would go in and determine which one it was by the smell.

6. Books with or without illustrations?

As a visual person I love illustrations.  I’m one who thinks the cover is important to clue in potential readers what they can expect inside.

7. What book did you love reading and later realized it wasn’t quality writing?

“Feelings Buried Alive Never Die” by Karol Kuhn Truman. The information it contained was life-changing but it definitely could have used a good editor.

8.  Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share.

Only that my mother read to me a lot and I learned to read before I went to kindergarten. When I was in 1st grade I couldn’t understand why the other kids were having so much trouble.

9.  What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

“Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindburgh

10.  What is the thickest book on your shelf?

CRC’s “Handbook of Chemistry and Physics” of course.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

Definitely. Been writing stories since I could hold a pencil. I have always wanted to be an author and nothing pleases me more than holding a book I wrote in my hands except maybe a good review from a fan.

12. When did you get into reading?

Preschool. As an only child books were an important part of my life. The broadened my world and gave me vicarious experiences I’d never have otherwise.

13.  What is your favorite classic book?

The Narnia series by C. S. Lewis

14.  In school was your favorite subject language arts/ English?

No, not at all. I never liked such things as diagraming sentences. However, I remember my Senior Lit class in high school as being very enlightening when I was introduced to reading at a deeper more symbolic level as opposed to simply following the story and characters on a superficial level.

15.  If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated… what would you do?

Thank the person and then quietly give it to the local thrift shop.

16.  What is a lesser known series that you know is similar to Harry Potter and Hunger Games?

 “Apocalypsis” by Elle Casey.  This is a fascinating dystopia series with vivid, savvy characters surviving in a hostile post-apocalyptic world.

17. What is a bad habit you always do besides rambling while blogging?

Thinking everyone is interested in science or as much of a grammar Nazi as I am.

18.  What is your favorite word?

Ephemerides, plural of ephemeris. I love words that break the rules.

19.  Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb or all of the above?

Being a physics major, undoubtedly a nerd. I’m also so much of a nerd I’m not even sure what those other two are by definition.

20.  Vampire or Fairies, why?

Fairies because I get sick of all the bloodsuckers out in the world which is probably why vampires are so popular.

21.  Shapeshifters or angels, why?

Angels, at least the good ones, because they’re benevolent and can be trusted.

22.  Spirits or werewolves, why?

Spirits because they’re more intelligent (usually) and can travel wherever they want in space and probably time as well.

23.  Zombies or vampires, why?

Neither.

24.  Love triangle or forbidden love?

Forbidden love.

25.  And finally: Romance books or action packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Definitely action packed with a few love scenes mixed in. Either one alone can be boring but the two together result in synergy by combining two of the best parts of life.

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Sneek Peek at “Refractions of Frozen Time” (Star Trails Tetralogy Volume IV) and Cover Reveal (sorta)

I recently achieved a major milestone only authors or their families can relate to, i.e., uploading the interior of “Refractions of Frozen Time” to CreateSpace; now I await arrival of a proof copy. Like an expectant mother, I will finally get to hold my “baby” in my hands. I do my final edit with a print copy because it’s so much easier to catch typos and such when you’re reading an actual book. I suppose I could do the same with my Kindle but being old-fashioned there’s something about holding a physical book that delivers that final rush of accomplishment.

When “Refractions. . .” passes muster and is properly birthed it’s more significant this time than finishing another book. This is the fourth and final volume to a story I’ve been working on far longer than I care to admit. Wrapping it up was complicated, mainly tying up loose ends of all those “sub-plots galore” referenced in one of my reviews as well as maintaining consistency with regard to details such as Erebusite eyes.

But now it’s almost over, the end in sight. I never dreamed when I started that it would grow to four full-length novels. I suppose I should have known since I’m incapable of writing a short story; they always turn into a novel. So it should be no surprise that a novel turned into a series, right? In its entirety the tetralogy comes in at approximately 1520 pages. Holy cow, that’s a lot of writing, if I do say so myself.

I don’t think that I’m unique as an author in approaching this upcoming release with mixed feelings. It feels wonderful, yet lonely; exhilarating, yet sad. These characters are like virtual family and I’m going to miss them. Of course there’s a chance there may be sequels or possibly prequels. My muse, Kalliope, has planted a few ideas, but I’m seldom at a loss for something to write about. I may even write my NASA memoirs before diving into something else. Or maybe that book about astrology, religion and science. Then again, maybe not. Time will tell.

That said, let’s get down to business.

Those of you who have visited me just about anywhere on the web know why this is a “Cover Reveal—sorta.” My awesome artist, Steven James Catizone, finished up my covers earlier this year and provided the 3-D shot of all four books which I have posted somewhat generously in cyberspace. At the time I was naïve and didn’t realize that a “Cover Reveal” was a big part of the book promotion process. Oh, well, my bad. So here it is officially. You’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the weeks to come.

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If you’ve already read the first three volumes which include “Beyond the Hidden Sky;” “A Dark of Endless Days;” and “A Psilent Place Below” you are probably wondering how this saga is going to end. To be quite honest, I often wondered myself. And of course I’m not going to tell you. Muuhahahahaha! But I will include an excerpt as a teaser.

If you’ve at least read “Psilent” you have the context for this scene which picks up with Laren Brightstar on his way to Bezarna, a blackhole which serves as a prison planet to which he’s been exiled. He and a handful of others are on a space vehicle headed in that direction. (If you haven’t gotten to that point yet in the series, then what are you waiting for? You have plenty of time to read the other three books and come up to speed by the time this one is ready to go. Book links follow the excerpt.)

Excerpt from “Refractions of Frozen Time”

The Bezarna Express

Laren slumped back in his seat, staring blankly at the seamless curvature of the passenger compartment which was fully isolated from the rest of the ship. An unpadded bench followed the perimeter except for the alcove that led to the sanicube and where they picked up their daily rations. Sleeping cylls were stowed in the domed ceiling above, destowing at sleepzone onset. The ship was much larger than it appeared from inside. For all he knew there was a full crew somewhere above. He was reasonably familiar with RA-681s, like Igni’s, which were originally designed by the HIO for exploration, not warfare, and lacked weapon systems.

This one’s interior had been drastically refitted to suit its macabre mission, the area they occupied originally the cargo hold, supplies and replacement parts kept in a similar space on the starboard side. Whoever had designed it had been an obvious master at psychology as well as engineering. Six of his fellow passengers remained, three already resorting to their captor’s supposedly humane alternative to commit suicide via the airlock. If all prisoners opted for a fate that was known versus one that wasn’t then a perfectly good space vehicle would go to waste.

He straightened as a new thought chain developed. No doubt they were being watched, even with escape seemingly impossible. A successful escape you survived, he thought grimly, or it was pointless. Knowing the likes of Spoigan, Troy and Argo they probably tuned in on their situation using tachyonic video on a regular basis for entertainment purposes. They could even use such transmissions to scare others into submission, seeing those who’d been convicted hopelessly confined then witness how they dealt with their imminent demise. Undoubtedly witnessing someone choose the airlock rather than never-ending yet meaningless life on a blackhole made for good INTEGRATOR motivational material.

So what if everyone resorted to that? What if they had an empty spacecraft worth nearly as much as a small battleship on a heading toward Bezarna? Would they kiss it goodbye or bring it back?

He’d been around long enough to know that finances were seldom a driver for a dictatorship. Nonetheless, the quality of the vehicle made more sense if it was retrievable. And if that was the case, if he could fool them into thinking everyone had checked out, preferring to explode their earthly remains in deep space rather than face an unknown and possibly worse fate, maybe there was roundtrip possibility after all.

His eyes met those of fellow Clique member, Jirhod Rhodus, seated on the opposite side. Rhodus was quite a bit older than he was, perhaps even old enough to be his father, his once-blond hair interrupted with streaks of grey surrounding rounded features set with penetrating ice-blue eyes. A massive man, built more like an Erebusite than a typical human, he’d lasted as long as he had because no one wanted to mess with him. His demise had come when he’d insisted on an audit and recount from the election that brought INTEGRATION to Pi, one of only two remaining Neutral regions. As Deputy Territorial General he’d been vocal and effective, too much so, because he’d suddenly disappeared, a former Clique mystery now solved by his presence.

“You’re thinking, Brightstar,” the man said, his voice deep and resonant. “That’s dangerous, you know.”

Laren held his gaze and smiled, trying to figure out how to communicate based on the premise they were being monitored. A moment later he extracted his c-com from his breast pocket and psied his thoughts to it, then did the necessary coding to grant Rhodus access.

“Just playing a little mind game,” he said innocently, handing over the device. “Want to play?”

* * *

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BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume I
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/bV4PyiPVoDU
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Hidden-Star-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B005JQNN2M/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beyond-the-hidden-sky-marcha-a-fox/1112260474
Create Space (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3911767
Book Bubble Excerpt: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2861/
Book Bubble Excerpt 2: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3131/

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A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume II
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/P_2sbLHvBj8
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Endless-Days-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B007X5V1TE/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-dark-of-endless-days-marcha-fox/1112742769
Create Space (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3937890
Book Bubble Excerpt: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2735
Book Bubble Excerpt 2: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3228
Book Bubble Excerpt 3: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3754

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A PSILENT PLACE BELOW – Star Trails Tetralogy Volume 3

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/-MTp9vUFLy0
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Psilent-Place-Below-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B0082CW8QC/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-psilent-place-below-marcha-fox/1120000574
Create Space (print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3991023
Book Bubble: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2752
Book Bubble 2: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3589/

MY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6481953.Marcha_A_Fox
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor
Author Homepage: http://www.kallioperisingpress.com/abouttheauthor.htm
Star Trails Homepage: http://www.kallioperisingpress.com/startrails/star_trails_tetralogy.html
Twitter: https://twitter.com/startrailsIV
My Blog Page: https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/
Tumblr: http://startrailsiv.tumblr.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/marcha-fox/86/440/326
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/103729202050732941342/

Review of “Newborn Nazi” by Rhoda D’Ettore: A suspense-filled view of Nazi Germany

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Sometimes I found this book as difficult to pick up as it was to put down. I do most of my reading at night after I go to bed and the opening chapters were so intense that I could barely get through them. The suspense and tension were incredible as the author transports you to Germany during the Third Reich. I remember being told many years ago that ethical dilemmas make excellent stories and that is certainly the case here. As Hitler’s regime assumed power, the brutality employed to demand compliance placed many good, law-abiding citizens in a very precarious position. This story chronicles how one particular family dealt with these challenges, how some had no choice but to obey while others stuck to their beliefs and morals regardless of consequences.

This incredible book took me through the entire spectrum of emotions.  I felt their fear, determination, frustration, heartbreak and strength. It’s loaded with surprises that sometimes left me gasping, yet they rang true and were not contrived. The main character, Hedwig, is a strong, determined woman who refuses to compromise her standards. All of the characters are compelling, their motivation convincing. The relationships between them are often complex yet entirely believable, especially given the precarious wartime setting. The fact the author drew the premise for this story from her own family history makes it all the more intense and unforgettable. Those of us who have lived a relatively peaceful life have no idea what much of the world faces on a day to day basis. This book had additional meaning to me because I have a dear friend who was born in Berlin in 1943 and grew up playing on post-war rubble, wondering where the next meal was coming from.

If you enjoy suspense, mystery and intrigue in an historical setting that takes you back to another place and time this book is for you. The fact I found some parts emotionally difficult is testimony to the author’s ability to draw the reader into the story. This is indeed a novel that will stay with you, leaving you a slightly different person by the time you finish, as if you, too, were part of the horror of Nazi Germany. As they say, those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it. Witnessing the hard choices ordinary citizens were faced with provides a much needed reminder that freedom is not something to be taken for granted.

(Be sure to see my Interview with author, Rhoda D’Ettore in the “Interviews” section.)

BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Newborn-Nazi-Rhoda-DEttore-ebook/dp/B00NGC8GXM/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/newborn-nazi-rhoda-dettore/1120331304

Interview with Author Rhoda D’Ettore

rhodaI have rarely encountered a book that was so intense that it was literally stressful to read but that was the case with Rhoda’s “Newborn Nazi” (posting of review to follow). Her ability to build suspense and create vivid characters is incredible. It’s even more interesting that much of her inspiration comes from real-life stories.

MF: Your family history has served as considerable inspiration for your novels. Did you do your own genealogical research or was it handed down to you?

RD: I did use ancestry.com for a considerable amount of research. On that site, I was able to find distant cousins from around the world who were able to provide me with research that had already been compiled. It was an amazing journey. With regards to Newborn Nazi, that story was based on a story that was verbally passed down. However, I do have certain memorabilia which provides proof that it is true.

MF: If you did your own research, did you have any interesting or perhaps even paranormal experiences while doing so?

RD: I was not expecting some of the things I did find. In the 1890s, one of my ancestors was in the newspaper for drunk driving of a horse and buggy. During World War I, my German ancestor (naturalized as an American citizen) had a bar fight in which he said this country was going to “hell in a hand basket”. I was able to find an FBI file on him for “Violation of the Espionage Act” because he spoke against American interests. I think one of the funniest things was to find that in the 1820s, members of my family worked for the postal industry. I currently have about six family members who either work for, or retired from the USPS. My brother’s response was, “Great. In 150 years, our family didn’t advance at all!”

As far as paranormal, I have experienced such occurrences, but none that involved my genealogical research. I have incorporated my family’s paranormal experience into a book entitled “The Creek: Where Stories of the Past Come Alive”. I am also working on a book currently entitled Zodiac Lives which is a paranormal thriller.

MF: Did you grow up with these stories being told by grandparents or at family gatherings?

RD: My German grandmother did indeed raise me with stories of interesting tales. Specifically the story that inspired Newborn Nazi.

MF: If you did your own research, was it to find story ideas or did it work the other way, that what you found inspired you to capture and develop it?

RD: I had always loved history, and because of it, I have always had an interest in my own past. Once I started writing seriously, I realized that some of those stories of the past did indeed make for good plots. Of course, I have embellished upon them. Although my family did house Jews and others to help them escape from Nazi Germany, they were not involved in any sort of spy network. But the truth is an awesome basis for a story.

MF: When you extrapolate what you know about a certain family do you ever feel as if you’re channeling as opposed to creating what occurred?

RD: I would not say “channeling” but I have certainly considered that my deceased sister has influenced me. I can hear in my head her saying things like, “You go, lil’ sis! That book is awesome”. I have even used her picture on a couple book covers and written a free short story about her, Thrice Dead. If you want to read about how many times a person can die, read that one!

MF: You certainly have a very lively genetic background which includes ancestors from Germany, Italy and Ireland. Did you notice any culture clashes growing up or did they meld together and create their own unique cultural environment? Was there any particular factor (e.g. religion) which bound them together?

RD: All three ethnicities were Catholic, and growing up that way provides some awesome material as well. I have often joked that the Irish would get drunk, the Italians would then start fights with the drunken Irish, and the Germans would sit back singing polkas and laughing at the other two for not being able to hold their alcohol. I know that sounds really stereotypical, but it made for some fun times. I miss those days. My German grandmother used to love a party… and the family joke was “It’s Tuesday night and someone sneezed. Be at Mom Mom’s house at 7pm.” Be sure to check out the “Short & Silly” posts on my blog for my Strip Club Grannies story. Then you will get an idea of how much fun I had as a kid!

MF: Do you identify with one nationality more than the others? If so, which one and why?

RD: Physically, I am the typical blue eyed blonde, big framed German woman. I didn’t really fit in physically with the rest of the Italians or Irish, that is for sure. My mother is a very strong lady who has the Italian temper. So I am a mix of the Italian temper with the German brawn— that is a dangerous combination! But I never got into any trouble because of it.

MF: What are your thoughts on the statement “Those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it?”

RD: Unfortunately, most people find history boring. Or in their own lives, they refuse to learn from the mistakes of others and insist on making their own mistakes. However, people need to open their eyes.

Some of the societal issues in Newborn Nazi involve giving up our freedoms for safety or economic improvements. It discusses conformity without question. As the American society evolves, we are giving up more of our personal freedoms and even thoughts. We live in a world now where if you are not politically correct, then you are evil. A racist might be a stupid bigot, but it is still his right to believe the way he does. And I have the right to believe he is a moron. But when you limit people’s right to think the way you do, then the horrors of the past are not only possible, but probable. We live in a society where a Lieutenant in the US Army died in Afghanistan after serving to protect the rights of the American people, but his wife had to fight for over a year to be able to place a Wiccan symbol on his headstone. What hypocrisy! He can die to provide freedoms, but not be entitled to those same freedoms? Only by learning from the past can we ensure our freedoms in the future.

MF: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

RD: The best part of writing is talking to people who have read and enjoyed my work. Reading the reviews is one of the most incredible feelings I have ever had. I have a friend who stopped talking to me for a month because I killed her favorite character, but she failed to realize what a huge compliment that was. She felt so connected to that character—someone I invented— that she yelled and got mad. What an incredible feeling that is for an author! To know I can use words on paper to stir people into such strong emotions!

MF: What are you currently working on and when do you hope to release it?

RD: I have three books I am currently working on:

Liam’s Longing: The McClusky Series Book 2 – This is a continuation of my historical fiction, Tower of Tears, which centers on an Irish family who immigrates to Philadelphia in 1820. The first book involved murder, betrayal, blackmail as well as a little romance. I will continue upon those themes while incorporating historical events into the series such as the Potato Famine, the Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution.

Zodiac Lives – This is a paranormal thriller where a child begins having nightmares and tells her mother of incidents and people from her former life. When her mother researches her daughter’s claims, she not only begins to believe in reincarnation, but she soon finds that she and her daughter are now targets for the Zodiac Killer of the 1960s. A serial killer who was never caught, he emerges from hiding to protect his identity.

I hope to have both of these out by January or February. Newborn Nazi’s audiobook is currently in production, and scheduled for release in January.

I also am working on “Mob Kids: Growin’ Up Philly Style” which is a novel that delves into what it was like to grow up in the families of the South Philadelphia Italian mob. No release date is schedule yet.

CONNECT WITH RHODA:

Website:  http://www.rhodadettore.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhodadettore
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RhodaDEttore

TITLES

nazi
Newborn Nazi (ebook, paperback, soon on audiobook)

toweroftears
Tower of Tears: The McClusky Series Book 1 (ebook, paperback, audiobook)

othertitle
Goin’ Postal & The Creek (Where Stories of the Past Come Alive) (ebook, paperback, audiobook)

shadesofblush
10 Shades of Blush: The Softer Side of Kink (ebook & audiobook)

Amazon buy links:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Rhoda%20D%27Ettore&sprefix=Rhoda%2Caps

Barnes & Noble buy links:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Rhoda-d-Ettore?store=allproducts&keyword=Rhoda+d%27Ettore

Smashwords buy links:
http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rainydal74

Review of Elle Klass’ “Eye of the Storm: Eilida’s Tragedy”

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A deranged serial killer, a violent thunderstorm, a neighbor inadvertently witnessing the gruesome scene. Seen by the perpetrator as she peeks through the backdoor, she tumbles down the side of a mountain trying to escape, sustaining a concussion and near-fatal injuries. Who is she? And what is the bizarre connection that links her with Sunshine, an ordinary young woman working as a receptionist at the local paper? This psychological paranormal thriller, reminiscent of the “Twilight Zone,” is a chilling tale with mystery and intrigue saturating every page. Told through the viewpoint of two different individuals, just when you think you have an inkling what the link between them might be another surprise comes out of nowhere, drawing you deeper and deeper into this bizarre tale.

Vivid imagery, strong characters and an intricate plot make this a story mystery fans won’t be able to put down. If you love a good murder mystery with paranormal overtones you’re sure to enjoy wading through the author’s cryptic miasma of clues trying to determine how everything ties together from the first page all the way until the heart-stopping climax.

AMAZON LINK

http://www.amazon.com/Eye-Storm-Eilidas-Tragedy-Ruthless-ebook/dp/B00OC2H712/
CONNECT WITH ELLE:

messup

http://thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com/
http://elleklass.weebly.com/
https://twitter.com/ElleKlass
https://www.facebook.com/ElleKlass

The Cosmic Season for Editing and Revising

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If you’re a writer it would be to your advantage to know a little astrology. Not only can it help you develop your characters as noted in a previous blog but there are actually three times a year when the cosmic climate is particularly conducive to editing and revising.

If you don’t believe in astrology, that’s fine, I didn’t used to either. But you might want to give it a try because most writers, myself included, can use all the help we can get. So what exactly is this spell and why is it helpful? Stay tuned, I’m about to tell you.

It starts with the planet Mercury. In mythology Mercury a.k.a. Hermes was the messenger and the only one who could come and go to the Underworld. In astrology he rules communications of all varieties including your thoughts, ideas, writing and paperwork in general. In this day and age he also rules electronic communication devices such as cell phones, computers, television and the internet to name a few, plus anything mechanical, i.e. with moving parts, such as your lawnmower, small appliances, automobile and so forth.

If you’re already familiar with some astrology you’ve probably heard of Mercury Retrograde. While it’s intuitively obvious (or should be) that the planet Mercury does not reverse the direction of its orbit, as a rule three times a years he appears to move backwards in the sky compared to his usual direction. The reason for this is easily explained as similar to when you pass a car on the highway. You’re going faster so it appears the other is moving backwards, even though it’s not. Thus, when the Earth passes Mercury in its orbit you get the same effect.

So what? Hang on, I’m getting to that.

As I originally wrote this, Mercury was currently in that state which started on 4 October 2014 and lasted until 25 October. As noted earlier, this happens about three times a year so we are into it again between 21 January – 11 February 2015.  So far this current cycle looks like a doozy.  My computer is acting psycho and I’ve had numerous reports of misbehaving appliances and it’s only the first day.  Astrologically when a planet is retrograde (yes, they all do the backstroke from time to time) it internalizes its energy. During this spell you may notice more computer problems than usual, things may break down more often, traffic is often worse and so forth. Anything ruled by Mercury bogs down during this time. If you buy something ruled by Mercury during a retrograde period it’s likely to be a lemon. Furthermore, anything initiated during Mercury retrograde seldom comes to pass. For example if you interview for a job you’re less likely to get it with one possible caveat, that being if it’s a second interview with the same person. It’s also not a favorable time to sign a contract or lease.

Why? Because during Mercury retrograde it’s a time to rethink, redo, reconsider, revise, refine, repair and so forth. This is a time to slow down, stop, and look over past work, thoughts and decisions. For a writer this is an awesome time for editing and revising. This is when you go back and see your work through different eyes, giving you the ability to make positive changes. It’s not uncommon for writers to dislike this phase because you may feel stuck, your brain may not work as efficiently and your computer may be on strike. Any new endeavors started at this time are likely to bomb out and relate to yet another “re” word, i.e. regret. This is because you’re resisting the cosmic flow. Reviewing, revising and editing your work from time to time is essential if you want to produce professional quality work.

If you’re suffering from writer’s block this is the ideal time to look over what you have and see if it’s on the right track. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll be able to improve it, perhaps even make some critical changes you didn’t think of before. Don’t expect to make much progress with new endeavors which are likely to be an exercise in futility. Use this time to rework and refine.

Will you be out of the woods for new projects come 25 October? Possibly not. Until Mercury gets back to the zodiacal position where he stationed retrograde he’s in his “shadow period” when things are still stalled. This lasts until November 11, at which time once again it will be “all systems go.”

Even if you think that astrology is a bunch of myth and superstition give this some thought. Observing the world around you and how people behave is part of your job as a writer. See how many events and situations you can find which reflect this internalized energy, the cosmic climate designed to rethink, reconsider and revise. Few of us get it exactly right the first time and the Universe is well aware of our human frailties. Use these spells as they’re intended and you’ll find they can become some of your favorite times when you can polish your work to perfection. Use this one to advantage, the next one will be January.

If you’d like to learn more about such things as retrograde planets or just about anything else related to astrology you’re invited to visit my website www.valkyrieastrology.com.

Picture: Astronomical Clock, Cathedrale de Notre Dame, Strasbourg, France

Interview with Fantasy/Science Fiction/New Age Author Martha Fawcett

MarthaFawcettVincek

Martha Fawcett is an amazing science fiction writer whose work is a unique combination of sci-fi, fantasy and New Age. Her prose is a delight to read, touching your imagination like an evening summer breeze ruffling your hair. It’s easy to tell her upbringing was enriched by generations of storytellers and she has clearly inherited that gift. Her latest book, The Permeable Web of Time, is now out and you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Permeable-Time-Martha-Fawcett/dp/0989063658/

Me: Your enigmatic biographical sketch on your amazon.com author’s page (http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Fawcett/e/B007MNWZQU/) suggests that the UFO culture in Ohio had a strong impact on your writing, particularly in choosing to contribute to the science fiction genre. Was there any particular experience that influenced that decision that you’d like to share?

Martha: In July of 1947, the Roswell Incident occurred. Whether an actual, alien spacecraft crashed in the New Mexico desert or, as some believe, the entire story is a colossal hoax, the possibility of such an event happening captured the imagination of popular culture. I was a small child in ‘47, but one of my favorite pastimes was hanging around the periphery of adult gatherings and listening to their conversations. I remember; the topic of Roswell was on the lips of many people.

It was a lazy Saturday morning and I was nine years old. My dad came into the kitchen and poured himself his usual cup of black coffee. Sipping the steaming brew, he stared out at the misty green lawns still covered with dew. I already had a reputation for asking too many questions and this time was no exception. “What would you do if a spaceship landed in our backyard,” I asked him. He did not try to assure me that no such thing could ever happen. Instead, my question initiated a conversation that would last all weekend, as we became enmeshed in the what-ifs and varying circumstances. I don’t remember if he ever answered my original question, but he lit a fuse in my mind. I was so excited that I barely slept that night. My vision of life changed that weekend as I realized that I lived in a vast universe waiting to be discovered.

Me: Apparently, you hail from a family of storytellers. What memory stands out the most from that heritage?

Martha: Several people in my family were good storytellers, my paternal grandfather, my father, and my brother. After a lifetime of listening to them, I realize they all had a good sense of “timing.” Storytelling, especially verbal storytelling is like music, the rhythm catches and holds the ear of the listener.

In my immediate family, we honor the art of storytelling by creating elaborate fantasies surrounding our dogs and felines. Our furry family members are constantly outsmarting us; Lyssa our sable Burmese has won several Nobel prizes. Shyya, our dog, was a belly dancer (She claimed that she was bred by Sultans for Sultans); and Cerebow, a chocolate Burmese is now a supermodel and actress. My son is married to a German girl and Martina has brought her myths into the family mix. As a result, the family canines and felines are fighting gnomes and protecting us from poison-tipped darts that gnomes throw our way. It’s great fun and a creative outlet for everyone, especially around birthday-card time, when the family pets send out more cards than we do as humans.

Me: The description for “Together” mentions a Tarot reading that has a strong influence on the protagonist while “Dance of the Warrior and Witch” sounds as if it fits the fantasy genre more than science fiction. How do you define the fine lines between these two genres?

Martha: The lines between different genera are somewhat muted for me. My books are a mixture of science fiction, philosophy, romance, and spirituality. I tell unique and intimate stories of individuals and if possible, I like to write in the first person. I categorize The Janaforma Trilogy, consisting of Alone, Together, and One, as science fiction because the settings are the future, space travel is common, and the problems they encounter galactic. Each book of The Trilogy is complete onto itself; yet, together, all three books deal with the ramifications of genetic engineering. My characters encounter phenomena unexplainable through today’s science and technology, but these characters have been especially bred to deal with the complexity of space travel. Biological beings are not static or ever complete. We are evolving, so what we now may consider fantasy, may be easily explainable in the future.

Dance of the Warrior and Witch is a prequel to The Janaforma Trilogy and is a book I longed to write. The plot involves involves two schools of philosophical thought, the Shardasko Warriors (a mind-oriented cult) and the Trinity Witches (a feeling-oriented cult). No matter the genera, what holds a good book together is the authentic interaction of characters. Their journey may be short or long, but they must communicate their empathy to draw the reader into the story. A major theme in my writing is the emphasis of the personal journey each one of us must make to fulfill our potential. This takes me into the minds and intimate interaction of my characters, their personal development and philosophies, the social issues of their times, and their spiritual experiences. I attempt to focus on better possibilities for the future, which is a natural seque into science fiction.

My involvement with The Tarot is an offshoot of meditation. I would mediate with my Mind to my left, my Feelings to my right and my Will directly in front of me. This was not a position I read about in a book, but something I agreed to do, in cooperation with my many chattering inner voices. When I personified my Will, Mind, and Feelings in this way, I created a stage for inner dialogue and cooperation. When I discovered the Tree of Life, I found that my meditational configuration could be superimposed on the Tree of Life. The only thing missing from my glyph was the top part of the Tree. As I began to study The Tree of Life, I discovered Qabalistic Tarot by Robert Wang. I understood very little of his book on the first reading, but soon bits and pieces began to make sense to me. I learned that The Tarot was our ancient Western mystical tradition that’s been reduced to fortunetelling at sideshows. The Tree of Life and The Tarot demonstrate how Archetypes moderate and makes palatable our energy from The Source.

Does it matter if my glyph may be wrong or a figment of my imagination? Hardly! Even those too afraid of breaking away from their rigid religious upbringing, trim and modify their religion to fit their needs. The important factor is I’ve created my own inner religion that suits my evolutionary process. My Aquarian goal always is to uncover better and better truths (to make the unconscious conscious); so, show me a better interior model, a truer truth, and I will humbly put my glyph aside and accept a new paradigm.

Me: Do you share your characters’ interest in divination or is it simply something you explore in your stories? If perchance you practice Tarot, do you have any interesting experiences you’d care to share? [NOTE: I’m a professional astrologer, Martha, so you’re in safe territory here. J)

Martha: I have a couple of dozen decks of tarot cards, but the only deck I use is the Crowley deck based on the Tree of Life. I use it very sparingly with people who ask me to read their tarot. I have a background in dream analysis and a long-standing fascination with myths, symbols, and archetypes. These are invaluable tool in doing a reading. My obvious reticence comes from the knowledge that I am fallible and The Tarot is a powerful tool. In my latest book, The Permeable Web of Time (which will be out in a few weeks.) The Tarot helped me structure the plot and characters. The protagonist, Sante, has been “playing around” with tarot cards. When each new character appears, Sante decides to randomly select a significator card for each person. The cards Sante pulls are the actual cards I pulled and the characters are based on their cards.

Me: What other interests or hobbies do you enjoy other than writing?

Martha: I have too many hobbies and interests. I often say, “If I could clone myself, one clone would be a gardener and another would be a gourmet chief. One would make jewelry, another would be a photographer, and one would wander the globe in search of the authentic. My rational for this particular fantasy, is that I would have more time to write.

I’ve enjoyed a life-long love affair with gardening. It’s one of those passions built into my genetics. My maternal grandmother, Viola Mae, always had cuttings in a jar, a tomato plant out back and I keep up that tradition. I have a large collection of houseplants, a perennial garden, and an herb garden. I’ve been lucky enough to travel extensively in my life and photography always played a major role in my travels. A couple of years ago, I decided to put all my pictures on the computer. My husband brought a large storage box up from the basement, which contained slides, negatives, and pictures, telling me, “After you work through this box, there are eighteen more waiting for you.” For my birthday that year, I received Photoshop. I’m still working on this project. I’m crafty and like to make things with my hands. It’s a relief from the black and white world of words. I had nothing left to gold leaf in my house; so, I started making jewelry about three years ago and it turned into a passion. I would stay up until 3:00 AM creating a necklace or bracelet. My hands and fingernails were a wreck from wire wrapping. People began offering me money for my jewelry and I was tempted. I was on the verge of kissing my writing career goodbye when I received notice from Salvo Press that they wanted to publish my first book, Alone. So long hobbies! I am a writer.

Me: What are you currently working on and do you have a target date for its release?

Martha: As I mentioned above, The Permeable Web of Time, is complete. I’m now waiting for Duncan Long (check out his art at duncanlong.com) to complete his work on my cover. I have another book I plan to release sometime in 2015. It has the working title, The Zaqurlite Manuscript. [NOTE:– “The Permeable Web of Time” is now live on Amazon through the link below.]

BOOK LINKS

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The Permeable Web of Time: http://www.amazon.com/The-Permeable-Time-Martha-Fawcett/dp/0989063658/

Alone (Book I of the Janaforma Trilogy): http://www.amazon.com/Alone-Janaforma-Trilogy-Martha-Fawcett/dp/1609770242/

Together (Book II of Janaforma Trilogy): http://www.amazon.com/Together-Book-II-Janaforma-Trilogy/dp/0989063615/

One (Book III of Janaforma Trilogy): http://www.amazon.com/One-Book-III-Janaforma-Trilogy/dp/0989063623/

Dance of the Warrior and Witch: http://www.amazon.com/DANCE-WARRIOR-WITCH-Martha-Fawcett-ebook/dp/B00GSF6154/

Together (Book II of Janaforma Trilogy) eBook only: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/218451

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Martha-Fawcett/261918323892425

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=146874706

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marthafawcett

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6062083.Martha_Fawcett

Website/Blog: http://marthafawcett.com

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Fawcett/e/B007MNWZQU/

Review of “Phantom Bigfoot and the Haunted House”

PBFHaunted

In this episode of the Phantom Bigfoot trilogy Duane meets his match in the ghost of Old Man Peabody whose eternal slumber is disturbed not only by pranks that threatened the sanctity of his commode but the need to resolve an old-time Big Beaver feud. While Duane continues to fret over whether Lou and “the Verge” will ever get together he finds his Phantom Bigfoot image tarnished by the antics of a true phantom bigfoot who can pass through walls in the tradition of the slime master in Ghostbusters.

I was disappointed in the ending of this volume, mostly because it was indeed an ending. The plot twists were resolved, the Swedish-looking aliens from the planet Abba returned and all was restored to its natural order amidst bigfoot weddings with a famous alien-abducted rockstar (who will remain nameless so as to avoid being a spoiler) for entertainment. I will miss the characters of Big Beaver and their crazy antics which brought me to tearful hysterical laughter numerous times during my virtual visits. If you enjoy off-the-wall humor in the tradition of Mel Brooks and National Lampoon you will enjoy this trilogy which I found tremendously entertaining. No matter how stressful my day had been I knew I’d go to sleep with a smile on my face when I was reading one of Simon’s Phantom Bigfoot stories.

CONNECT WITH SIMON

Twitter: @simonokill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simon.okill

http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Bigfoot-Haunted-House-Book-ebook/dp/B00LQITBOQ/

Interview With Simon Okill Author of the Phantom Bigfoot Series

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MF: What was your original inspiration for the Phantom Bigfoot series?

SO: Me and my big feet always getting in my big mouth and our Burmese cat. Oh boy is she naughty or what which perfectly describes Phantom Bigfoot?

MF: These stories are some of the funniest I’ve read in a long time.   Is it as much fun to write as it is to read?

SO: I was the court jester in school always in trouble for practical jokes and I guess I never really grew out of it so I turned those mad days into Phantom Bigfoot’s adventures. It’s very therapeutic writing stupid stuff that readers enjoy and bringing a smile to them makes my writing that much more satisfying.

MF: Just because a story is preposterous along the lines of National Lampoon or a Mel Brook’s film doesn’t mean it’s poorly written. Your writing style is strong and well-developed which contributes greatly to the story, particularly the vivid descriptions. What else have you written or is this your first foray into fiction?

SO: Thank you Marcha for your kind words. In between my Phantom Bigfoot Series 1-3 I found the time to step into my dark side and write my Luna Series – a two part Gothic vampire romance set in an asylum in France 1925.

MF: Is Big Beaver, the location of your story, based on a real place or entirely a figment of your imagination?

SO: It’s a collection of memories from old westerns, The Waltons and a few horror movies thrown in for good measure. Whether Wyatt Earp actually stayed in Big Beaver is a matter for the historians to decide.

MF: You mentioned to me previously in a chat that much of Phantom Bigfoot’s language is based on your cat, such as the word “smet,” which expresses frustration. Tell us a little about your Burmese cat.

SO: She asked me not to mention her name, she’s a little on the shy side. What’s that, oh yeah, she asked me to tell you all she is a purrfect little princess and never bites the hand that feeds her. Right, as if! I have the scars to prove otherwise. Smet is the noise she makes when she’s really pissed and spits through her nose.

MF: It takes a special talent to write ribald humor. Without skillful descriptions it’s no more than crude and often vulgar but you somehow bring it to an art form. Do you consider yourself funny in real life?

SO: I always try to see the funny side of life which often gets me into trouble. Phantom Bigfoot abides. Once while on holiday, I fell off a 5 bar gate and landed in a dung heap. Unable to wash the muck off I proceeded into a pub and sat down for lunch much to the disgust of other patrons.

MF: Do friends or relatives give you a bad time about the content of your writing or is it what they’d expect from you?

SO: They think I’m all the way bonkers and come to expect that which you have read.

MF: I love Lou and get more laughs out of Walt, the “sewage extraction expert,” than anyone. Who is your favorite character?

SO: Duane is basically me toned down a bit for family viewing. Okay this is gross but true – I was the kid most likely to get beaten up in school due to my lack of height and would have my sarnies eaten by bullies – that’s sandwiches for the uninitiated. Having gotten quite fed up with this daily ritual I played the coolest joke ever and said bullies were rushed to hospital to have their stomachs pumped after eating what they thought were my sausage sandwiches. Need I say more, heehehehhehh!

MF: Are any of your characters based on real people? Or can’t you say?

SO: Well Duane is me, but there is a little of everyone I know from my home town, nuances, character traits, weird habits, even from people I don’t know like whatshisname across the street.

MF: Is there any chance that you may return to Big Beaver in the future or do you intend to let all the werebigfoot characters rest in peace?

SO: Big loaded question – my fans would be most upset if I didn’t continue – so I will next year with 3 more novellas describing Phantom Bigfoot’s adventures in foreign lands.

MF: Do you plan to write anything serious in the future or stick to humor?

SO: My next two books are both comedies, a romantic comedy about alien abduction and a horror comedy set in Cornwall and my own town of Llantwit Major, which is very old and full of ghosty stuff. However, I do have a completed horror novel that retells WWII from two German brothers’ POV, and once edited could be on the shelves early next year.

MF: Do you have any works in progress (WIPs)? Would you like to tell us something about them?

SO: “Hot in Bigelow” is a romantic comedy about stranded aliens who must find the most intelligent man on Earth to get them back home, problem is Bigelow is full of morons. “Murder Most Deadly” is a scary but funny horror following Bianca’s exploits as she murders her way to wealth, but has to contend with the deceased wanting revenge. Set in beautiful Cornwall and Llantwit Major S Wales.

CONNECT WITH SIMON

Twitter: @simonokill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simon.okill

PHANTOM BIGFOOT SERIES

http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Bigfoot-Strikes-Again-Book-ebook/dp/B00H5Y2AWU/

http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Bigfoot-Vampettes-Venus-Book-ebook/dp/B00IYRXIDC/

http://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Bigfoot-Haunted-House-Book-ebook/dp/B00LQITBOQ/