“Fire Island” (Chatterre Trilogy Vol. 3): Sci-Fa at its Best

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This well-written novel is the worthy third book in the Sci-Fa Chatterre Trilogy. The author does an excellent job of melding science fiction and fantasy together in another convincing story of another world. This particular world is similar enough to what ours was a century or two ago to be vaguely familiar then mixed with high technology imported via a spaceship wreck you can learn about in the first book, “Star Bridge.” Having not read the second book, “Thunder Moon,” I was a bit lost on the full context of this one, but the immediate action and suspense were enough to grab my interest without knowing the full story of how Tem Aki got into her precarious situation.

Tem Aki is on a quest to find her brother, Larwin, whom you meet in “Star Bridge.” Her journey is substantially complicated when she finds herself on the other side of the planet via an encounter with a time/space anomaly. Fortunately, there’s a settlement nearby where once again you are treated to Jeanne Foguth’s outstanding ability to depict major culture clashes when Tem Aki meets Cameron, the somewhat reluctant leader of a tribe-like culture. Since she emerged from the ocean, albeit in a spacesuit, he thinks that she’s a goddess who has arrived to help him celebrate an upcoming religious ceremony as well as deal with some troublesome individuals who are losing their religious faith as well as trying to undermine Cameron as their leader.

Cameron’s culture is well-developed as is their traditional belief in the madrox dragons, specifically the great dragon-mother, Shaka-uma. The problem lies in that fact that no one has seen her in a long time so a few troublesome doubters are declaring that they never existed. Meanwhile, Cameron is trying to prepare for their annual pilgrimage to honor Shaka-uma, which his adversaries are trying to sabotage. Tem Aki is thrown into this controversy which is further complicated by the fact that there are no other females around in the immediate environment which can best be compared to a monastery.

The misunderstandings between them are at times hilarious and if nothing else demonstrate how easily such confusion can develop when two cultures collide. Tem Aki’s technology, which includes my favorite android, GEA-4 (whom you can also meet in earlier volumes), of course convinces Cameron of her godhood. His fascination when GEA-4 stares into the sun to recharge is classic. Tem Aki’s revulsion toward the primitive, chauvinistic culture is certainly convincing as is the rationale Cameron maintains that she’s some form of divinity.

Cameron’s challenges alone would make a fascinating read but adding Tem Aki into the mix is the coup de grace for a great story. I don’t want to delve any further into the plot because I don’t want to throw any spoilers out there, but believe me when I say that there are plenty of complications, surprises, believable characters, Kazza is joined by another delightful mystic cat, and a satisfying ending. I recommend reading the books in sequence, though this one can stand on its own if you’ve at least read “Star Bridge.”

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

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Connect with the author, Jeanne Foguth:

Visit Webhome Jeanne Foguth

Follow on Twitter @JeanneFoguth

Get Pet tips, etc. http://foguth.wordpress.com

Hard Sci-Fi in Western Disguise

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I must say that this story started out a bit slow and even got to the point I consider monotonous. However, the fact it was so well written, nicely edited and rich with beautifully rendered descriptions coupled with enough suspense to make me wonder what was going on, I kept reading and was not disappointed.

The author did an excellent job of creating a new world to which Earthlings are immigrating to escape their own as it loses viability. The colonists have agreed to live a simpler lifestyle, similar to that of the pioneers who settled the American West in the 19th century. Settling a new planet is not a simple, matter, however, with a variety of new hazards including byproducts of terraforming including a marginally sentient species known as owylls, which are predatory yet seem to act at the command of a tall, mysterious bearded man. Colonists are being afflicted by an epidemic of a malady known as “The Lullaby” which renders its victims comatose while muttering a mantra that spreads the disease to anyone who hears or perceives it, e.g. in writing.

The characters aren’t particularly endearing and I thought any emotional or romantic development between them fell flat. Nonetheless, they were interesting enough that I’d like to know more about them and why they’re the way they are. The main protagonists comprise two brothers, Walter and Samuel Starboard, who are transporting their Lullaby-afflicted mother, Alma, to Marathon, the site where their transport ship is located. Rumor has it that a cure is available there plus they also hope to find their missing father. Bear in mind that this journey is essentially a trail ride through dangerous unknown and uncharted territory which involves horses for transportation, tethered mules, and a wagon carrying Alma.

Along the way they encounter the Bridge sisters, Virginia and Miriam, who join them. There’s a considerable amount of tension between them, particularly from Miriam who is clearly a bitter, angry woman with a reputation for using men. She does prove useful helping Walt care for his comatose mother, however. Hopefully in the next volume the author will reveal more about her, whom I suspect is a very wounded soul with an interesting past beyond what was revealed in this volume. The part that really bogged down the first half of this book was their tedious journey which provided graphic descriptions of the planet and a strong sense of place yet in my opinion dragged on longer than necessary; some readers may not make it to the best part.

But once things started to move, then move they did. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory so won’t go into it other than to say all the questions that arose during the story to that point were answered and the plot, premise and details of the society of which the characters are a part was exceptionally well-developed, intriguing and enough to make me want to read the next volume of this trilogy. The irony of the title comes through amid numerous clever twists and turns, cool technology, most of which is environmentally friendly, and all sorts of other technological and societal goodies hard sci-fi fans like myself want and expect in a good read. As a former rocket scientist I’m always critical of the feasibility of the science in such novels and there was only one thing in there that seemed a bit of a stretch, so the author did well on that score as well.

World building is not an easy feat and getting all the details in place presents a challenge for any author. Derry has done an outstanding job doing so, established an interesting world with a variety of fascinating possibilities reminiscent of other sci-fi classics in print as well as film I wish I could mention but they would undoubtedly constitute spoilers.

If you like sci-fi adventure stories populated by ordinary people in an evolving off-world environment backed up by great imagery and detail, you will probably enjoy this story. It moves slowly at first (thus I only gave it 4 stars) but I admit that I stayed up way past my usual bedtime to finish it once it started to roll.

You can pick up your copy at Amazon here.

Roy Huff: Mastermind behind the Everville Epic Fantasy Series

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Roy Huff is a prolific writer who has just released the fourth volume in his Everville fantasy series entitled “The Fall of Brackenbone”.  As I write it’s already number one in various categories in six countries & ranked number 60 in all books in the US and Canada. The boxed set is currently #1 in anthologies in the paid Kindle Store. Clearly Roy’s a gutsy, off-the-scale intelligent guy who’s not only well-traveled but has accumulated a plethora of college degrees as fodder for his popular books.

MF: The creative writing bug didn’t bite you until later in life. At what point did you decide to become a serious writer?

RH: I was writing a paper for an English class, then the feedback I received was very positive, so I decided to turn the assignment into an actual book, and then soon after that a series.

MF: Did discovering your creative writing side come as a surprise?

RH: I had other creative talents such as drawing and singing. My father had drawing talent as well, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. What surprised me the most is how fast I’m able to write off the cuff. Last week Saturday I wrote 40 pages alone. I’ve written countless 30+ days, all with no outline.

MF: Does your scientific background inhibit or enhance your creativity?

RH: I certainly think my science background provides added background when I am writing, and it definitely helps with my speed.

MF: Tell us a little about Everville. What was your original premise? Did you expect it to grow into a series?

RH: So Owen Sage is a college freshman who is pulled into the fantasy world of Everville in book #1. He learns of how his world and the others are connected and works with various races and creatures across time and space to stop whatever dark force comes his way. After a few chapters through book #1, I decided to turn it into a series.

MF: Who’s your favorite character other than your protagonist and why?

RH: I still like The Keeper. His wisdom is great. He is a fatherly figure that I think most people will enjoy.

MF: Of the four books in the Everville series which title was your favorite? Which was the most challenging to write?

RH: I liked the last two books the most. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but there are a few sub plots that carry the story into unexpected directions. I was really pleased when I finished writing it.

MF: Do you plan to continue adding to Everville or start another story line? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

RH: There will be 4 more books in the series. In each story, Owen must pass the test of one of the Pillars of Truth. This will continue, but the details remain yet to be written.

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

RH: I like it most when I actually sit down and start writing. The writing flows. The thing I [like] least is actually sitting down and starting. It’s always that first step that’s most difficult, especially when you have a million things going on.

MF: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

RH: Just start writing. Write as consistently as possible. Try writing everyday, even if it’s just a paragraph or a page. Do it first, before you start watching tv or doing something else, but take a nap first. Get a little rest and refresh your brain. Don’t let fear of not being good enough keep you from writing. You can learn along the way. Failure and bad reviews can teach us, but if you never actually sit down and write, you will never get anything written.

MF: What’s your favorite activity when you need inspiration?

RH: I like daydreaming or sleeping. Both are very productive when it comes to creativity. I do enjoy watching tv or movies or using random word generators at times, but sleep and thinking are the most effective.

MF: Is there anything you want your readers to derive from your stories besides enjoyment?

RH: There are some points of wisdom that can be gleaned from the story, but I’ll leave that to the reading.

MF: Among your many travels do you have a favorite place? What about it enchants you the most?

RH: Hard to say. I love London, Vancouver, Kobe, Honolulu, Seattle, San Francisco. All great places. I plan on traveling much more when I have the time.

You can find out more bout him on his Amazon page bio. His book are currently on sale on Amazon so grab one now!

Connect with Roy:

Blog http://www.owensage.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/EvervilleFans

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/evervillefans

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Roy-Huff/e/B00BCX199A/

 Buy links:

Everville - 6

The Fall of Brackenbone Worldwide

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00WWO1CC2

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Everville:  Books #1-3 Boxed Set

US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013HWFNYU/

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013HWFNYU/

Creepy & Too Believable: “Daimones Trilogy” Volume I

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I usually don’t have that much trouble putting a book down. Most of the time I have a pretty good idea what’s going to happen next and even if I don’t, it takes a lot of suspense to keep me reading beyond my usual half-hour morning session on my stationary bike or in the evening before I go to sleep. I’m not impressed by either vampires or zombies. This book, however, was another story, literally and figuratively.

Not only was the suspense palpable, it sucked me into a world that in some ways was too familiar. All quality fiction transports the reader to another place and/or time, but it’s usually relatively easy (at least for me) to separate the story from reality. Not so with this one.

Apocalyptic/dystopian fiction has been extremely popular the last few years, which isn’t surprising given the state of the world. Things have gone crazy and have been heading that way for several decades. There are end-of-world prophecies from various religions and cultures with the signs that they are near clearly upon us. The world has ended before and will again. It’s just a matter of time. Things can change dramatically overnight, as we witnessed with the events of September 11, 2001. As pervasive as that influence was, however, life did manage to go on, at least for those who weren’t directly affected. I think most of us suspect that we’ll have some warning, if no more than a bad feeling, before, as the preppers say, when TSHTF.

But will we?

This story begins in the here and now. A somewhat normal but bad day for the protagonist, Dan, who loses his job. The next day a predawn windstorm comes through, doing what amounts to moderate damage. Except for the fact that as far as Dan can tell, he, his wife and daughter are the only ones left alive. Vehicles of all descriptions are askew on the roadways, their drivers dead. The neighbors are dead in their bed. Animals mysteriously seem to have been spared. Unlike most apocalyptic stories, the world itself is unharmed. The power is still on as well as the internet but there’s nothing to be found in any media source that even hints at anyone else on the entire planet being alive. Unlike other apocalyptic stories where some sort of natural or man-made catastrophe sets things off, in this case there is no known cause.

So now what?

Dan and his family live in Switzerland on what could most easily be described as a comfortable homestead. They have a large home with a guesthouse surrounded by a well cared for yard and a garden. He and his wife are educated people with some idea how to take care of themselves. Since there is no massive destruction other than the pervasive loss of life, they can go to the store and get whatever they need, which they do. Their actions under the circumstances reflect what most of us would do and reflect today’s world. For example, he ran a Facebook ad looking for others.

The story depicts how the world changes with the people gone. The skies are clear and blue, wildlife, packs of dogs, and vegetation start to take over. After a while they get paranoid as they wonder if any other survivors might be hostile. Dan’s young daughter goes into a depression as she realizes she will never share her life with anyone besides her parents. The realism and level of detail in this first person account are chilling and too easy to imagine. But why has everyone died? Or conversely, why has Dan and his family survived?

I don’t want to get into spoiler territory so will leave it at that. There are numerous interesting plot developments and a few more surprises. I will say that the majority of questions are answered by the conclusion and the explanations are not as far-fetched as you might expect, again adding to the rather alarming message underlying this brilliant novel.

The human species remains barbaric in spite of our technological achievements. We are not taking care of our planet as we should. Wars are everywhere and violence in the name of religion has got to be the ultimate travesty. Different animal species care for each other better than too many humans. They have evolved more than we have.

If you had the power to do something about the status quo what would you do? “Daimones” describes one scenario that’s real enough to give considerable pause to the next predawn windstorm. The next volumes in this trilogy are definitely on my list and are bound to be extremely gripping as well.  You can get your copy at Amazon here.

Final Book in Science Fiction Series Due March 4

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

This hard sci-fi series delivers a bonus, a palatable taste of real science. Its physicist author, who has over 20 years NASA experience, demonstrates that science and engineering are not only exciting but essential to maintain a viable lifestyle.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00004]Author, Marcha Fox, credits science fiction with inspiring her to obtain a physics degree and pursue a career at NASA, something she hopes to do for today’s readers. The Star Trails Tetralogy series was written to that end, to encourage youth in the junior and senior high school range to pursue studies in space exploration, math, engineering and science.

The previous three novels in this hard science fiction adventure series have received rave reviews with this one following in their footsteps with pre-release praise from authors such as Ceri London, Elle Klass and John Reinhard Dizon.

The fourth and final volume entitled “Refractions of Frozen Time,” will be officially released March 4, 2015 via Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RWKN6MA) and Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/512160).

A stickler for detail, Fox’s pet peeve remains scientific inaccuracies in media such as movies which depict noisy explosions in outerspace.

“Years ago I saw the movie ‘Armageddon’ with a friend who was in the oil business. Between the two of us we ripped it apart. My daughter told us to lighten up, it was only a movie, but all I could think of was that young viewers would take it as fact and how hard would it be for the producers to be more accurate? One of the reasons I got a bachelor’s degree in physics was so my stories would be based on fact and teach correct scientific principles that wouldn’t have to be unlearned later.”

The series chronicles a family who loses everything on one planet and is forced into survival mode on another amid hostile weather extremes and political forces. The stories incorporate the excitement of space travel and exploration with family dynamics, self-sufficiency and dealing with difficult circumstances, themes not unlike what some families face today in an unstable economy and topsy-turvy environment.

Previous books in the series entitled “Beyond the Hidden Sky,” “A Dark of Endless Days,” and “A Psilent Place Below” as well as new release, “Refractions of Frozen Time,” can be found in electronic and print copy format through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and most online retailers. For wholesale or bulk orders as well as regarding school, library and quantity discounts, contact the publisher at info@kallioperisingpress.com. Visit the series website www.StarTrailsSaga.com for additional information about the books, their setting, a glossary of terms and definitions, and a section for parents and educators who wish to use the books as a means to launch scientific discussions.

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Amazon Link to STAR TRAILS TETRALOGY (All books):

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=star+trails+tetralogy

Barnes & Noble Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/star-trails-tetralogy?store=allproducts&keyword=star+trails+tetralogy

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/

Author Blog Page: https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/

Series Website: http://www.StarTrailsSaga.com

KEYWORDS

Science Fiction, YA Sci-fi, Star Trails Tetralogy, Marcha Fox, educational sci-fi, sci-fi series, Brightstar Saga

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Contact:

Kalliope Rising Press

P.O. Box 23

Burnet, TX 78611

512-755-2175

info@kallioperisingpress.com

Free Electronic Review copy for bloggers and reviewers available from the author:

Marcha Fox

marcha@kallioperisingpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor