Friday, February 13, 2015

Interview & Excerpt: Anna Herlihy

          What is there to know about me?
Well, my name is Anna Herlihy, and I’m an author.
I’m currently working on a science fiction series entitled Clarity. The Watch (Clarity: Book One) was published in January 2014. Ice (Clarity: Book Two) is coming in early 2015, as well as a spin-off series of Clarity and a fantasy epic. I’ve got my hands full with all the writing I want to do, but what’s life without goals, right?
          Aside from writing and reading, I am a student. Not in the traditional sense, as I’m just now, at 21, finally gaining some traction in my college savings account, but in the sense that I dearly love to learn. Instead of waiting idly for the time when I can afford a degree, I teach myself, follow new research, and have made amazing friends in the scientific community. Cosmology and particle physics are my main focus; I also follow regular self-study courses in neuroscience (in support of my developing anthropic principle theory), quantum mechanics, philosophy of science, and the psychology of morality.
          What else is there to know about me?
I run two marathons a year as a rule. I put considerable effort into cultivating a reputable wine pallet. I spend an inordinate amount of time on Pinterest looking for new recipes, hairstyles, and tattoos. I miss my Blackberry.

Favorite reads?
          The best way to see into a writer’s soul is to know what they read, so here’s my soul: Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, George RR Martin and JRR Tolkien, Harry Potter and The AwakeningCrime and Punishment and Dune. I’ve marveled at the beauty of L’Inferno, In Search of Lost Time, and Othello. I live in my books, and my books have shaped the person I am today. I am Hermione, Arya, and Elizabeth all in one.

Inspirations for the book?
          My biggest inspiration was not being able to find a book I wanted to read. I was incredibly bored and couldn’t find a single book that enticed me past thirty pages, so I decided to search through my notebook of ideas and write the book I wanted to read. 

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
          In a way, I suppose I did. I knew I liked to write little stories and never considered possibly stopping them, but my real dream profession was a fashion designer. It seems silly now, since I never was really into fashion and still don’t change out of pajamas unless I absolutely have to leave the house, but until the age of 10 I used to fancy myself a future designer, writer on the side. Then, I discovered science, but never strayed from writing. So, since 10 and until now, all I’ve ever wanted to be was a part-time professor and write during all the rest of my time. 

Any Pet Peeves?
          Pet peeves in writing or just general ones? 
I don’t think I have any pet peeves in regards to writing, but I think my biggest pet peeve in the ENTIRE WORLD IS SPOILERS. I hate spoilers of any kind. Little hints of what’s going to happen in a movie, even mere suggestions that the ending of a book is good, throw me into a rage.

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
          Peanut. Butter.

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
          (Sorry, I’m a boring person, I don’t really have an answer for this one :/)

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
          I’m not skilled enough to create a soundtrack to The Watch. Personally, I enjoy listening to a wide range of music. Classical (especially piano sonatas), alternative rock, and acoustic singer/songwriters are my particular favorites. I’m crazy for Iwan Rheon right now.

Do you need anything to write? 
          Nope, nothing at all. Besides the fact that I have to be well-fed, have a full glass of water next to me, be in comfortable clothes, be in a comfortable chair, have my hair pulled back and not in my face, be nice and warm, and have no one around to distract me. 

How long do you write on any average day?
          On the weekends, I make it a rule to write all day long. I may write for four hours and stop to study or run an errand, but I always come back and, in total, put in a good nine hours on a weekend day. During the week, when it’s necessary for me go to a day job, I try to squeeze in two or three hours a day. 

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
          It’s fast, adventurous, and the ending is going to eat you alive!

Author Info:


Earth, 7026: Civilization has been crippled by the Blood Plague. There is no cure, no treatment, and no hope for the infected. Government has long been forgotten. An order of medics known as the Doctors rule over Earth and impose a harsh standard on what remains of human population to prevent further outbreaks. Orphan Ren Grant has been hunted by the Doctors since childhood under the false accusation of being a carrier of the Blood Plague. 

Ren’s hiding place is finally discovered, but not by the Doctors. Rian Sloan and his group of vigilantes discover and kidnap her. Instead of turning her in to the Doctors and receiving their ransom, Sloan and his group take Ren with them on their mysterious journey for one reason: the Watch Ren’s mother entrusted to her before dying, the Watch that is the only missing element in Sloan’s plan of escaping Earth.

What follows is an adventure full of Doctors and plagues, of flaying knives and space travel, of the consequences of heritage and blind trust, of hope restored and love sacrificed.

Ren left the ship on a day when the setting moon was barely a sliver in the sky. The Doctors made their rounds in the village only when the moon was full. Ren should be able to make it there and back without being discovered. Just in case, she slung a gauzy white scarf around her neck and pulled it over her head like a hood. It never did much against the heat of the day, but it hid her face and kept strands of her hair from flying away in the wind. 
A great spear of rock drove through the center of her ship and kept it from tumbling down the cliff and into the sea. Ren thought it was an odd place for a ship to be, all alone and broken, closer to the coast than the sea, and liked to waste a lot of time daydreaming about how her ship could have been beached. The cliff almost completely surrounded her ship, except for a tiny sliver through which a view of the sea peeked. It was quiet place, like her own personal hole to hide in.
Ren wouldn’t have found her ship at all if she hadn’t been climbing down the cliff, desperate to find a cave, and lost her footing on a loose rock. She had fallen off the cliff, eyes slammed shut with the certainty of death, and had landed right on the stern deck. Her back had ached for a full moon cycle after that, but that bit of pain was nothing compared with six years of refuge. 
Climbing the cliff had not gotten easier with time. She was continually dislodging streams of crumbly brown stones to patter against the stern deck and echo through the barren air. The wind beating against the cliff face was determined to blow her away each time she began her clamber to the coast and had been the cause of some particularly bad falls during the first year on her ship. 
Pulling herself onto the coast was the hardest part of the climb. It required more faith in the strength of her arms than Ren possessed. There was this moment, when half her body was folded over the cliff edge and her feet dangled in open air, that Ren doubted whether she could pull herself the rest of the way up. The moment happened with every climb, and no matter how much Ren prepared herself for it, her stomach plummeted straight down below her feet each time without fail. 
The coast was mostly barren, the ground a mix of gray rocks, tired brown dirt, and sad little clumps of white grass. The only break in the flat horizon was a small cluster of low hills to the north. Ren turned her attention to her left wrist where she wore a circlet of clean, black metal. Her mother’s Watch. Tapping it with her right index finger, the Watchface lit up and displayed a series of pulsating, squiggly symbols. Ren couldn’t read them, only knew to press the third one from the left in the top row to access the compass. 
Following the northwest directions displayed on her wrist, Ren jogged towards the village. It was beyond foolish to be risking a trip to the village for something so trivial, but this desire had stewed into an obsession. She couldn’t reason it away any longer. She went to the village for food as often as she dared; this trip shouldn’t be any more dangerous than her regular visits. Six years without indulgence required a reward. 
The village came into view just as the sun yawned over the horizon, its harsh light chasing away the calm night. Ren slowed to a walk as she approached the edge of the village and leveled her racing heart with long inhales of dusty air. The village was a single line of metal buildings bordering a beat up road that sprouted up from the dirt at one end of the village and disappeared at the other end. A few of the villagers were already up and milling about outside, enjoying the sun. Ren kept a wary distance from them all, making directly for the pub at the center of the village. The shopkeep looked at her expectantly as she passed him, and Ren nodded in greeting as if he was her friend. She often pretended that he was, when she was on her ship with nothing to do all day but think, and it somehow made her feel less lonely. 
The pub didn’t have a front wall; the tablets and chairs spilled out onto the roadside and the roof was nothing more than an immense piece of brown fabric tied down to the side and back walls Her footsteps rumbled the metal sheet that acted as a floor and announced her entrance. She hurried to an empty table with her head down, overly aware of the wary faces turning to watch her. Her desire to be among people again had been intense enough to evidently make her forget that she would always be an outsider in this village. What good was being alone in a room full of people? Coming to the pub was so stupid, so unbelievably stupid, that Ren suppressed the urge to slap herself across the face. 
Leaving right away would be too suspicious. She had to order something first, to act casual and unhurried before someone decided to question who she was. A grizzled old barman was limping to her table with cautious eyes. He was frowning and Ren could imagine quite clearly what he saw. Filthy clothes, layers of dust settled into her very skin, and the sleek black Keeper’s Watch that shone out so differently from the rest of her haggard appearance. 
“A glass of water, please,” Ren said calmly. The barman nodded and made his slow way back to the counter. The rest of the pub’s interest in her was starting to wane as everyone returned to their breakfasts and tall, luxurious glasses of water. Only low grumbles of suspicion remained from a table on the far side of the pub. 
Ren twisted her hands together under the table. The barman was taking much too long to get her a simple glass of water. What if he has reported her? She hadn’t touched anything yet, the Doctors wouldn’t be able to trace her fingerprints if she left. She was just rising from her chair to flee without her drink when a group of people entered the pub. 
They were four in number, two men and two women. The rising sun illuminated a cloud of dust surrounding them as they entered. The man in front was haggard and stomped through the pub with a scowl. He wore cargo pants, a white shirt, a scruffy leather jacket, and a thick black belt off of which hung twin pistols and a short, jagged dagger. The woman on his right side had a massive rifle twice as tall as herself slung casually across her back. It was made of wood and brass, shone like diamond, and held an assortment of knobs and scopes poised atop the barrel. Something like that cost more than everything Ren had seen in her life combined, including a book. The barman stood up straighter and stepped behind the bar, knife in hand. 
The group, talking quietly amongst themselves and indifferent to the stares of the villagers, chose to sit at the table next to Ren. Shaking, Ren kept her eyes fixed on her hands. 
“How many more days?”
“Can’t be more than two, no?”
“Don’t get impatient, you were the ones who wanted to go out of our way to get a drink,” said the man in the leather jacket. 
Ren glanced at the table. The two women sat facing Ren, the two men with their backs to her. The barman, appearing at Ren’s other side with his knife still clutched firmly in his free hand, thrust a small glass of water under her nose. She thanked him, slid a triangular bronze coin across the table in payment, and brought the glass to her lips. 
The water was like a breath of clean air. Her teeth sung at its chill and she swished it around her mouth with relish before swallowing. Compared to the silt-filled water she collected from a stream near her ship, the comfort of drinking clean water was enough to make this trip worthwhile. 
One of the women from the next table pointed at Ren and said, “Sloan, look.”
Before Ren could put her glass down, the man in the leather jacket had spun around and seized her wrist. Startled, she let the glass slip from her grasp and shatter on the table, its precious contents wasted. Sloan had both of his rough hands around her left wrist. He nearly pulled her arm out of its socket as he yanked her towards him. 
The entire pub had fallen silent, some of the smarter villagers hurrying outside. Terrified, Ren kicked the man in the chest as hard as she could and toppled backwards off her chair when he let go of her wrist. She scrambled to her feet and barreled through the empty tables of the pub, cradling her left wrist to her chest. She heard the scraping of heavy chairs against metal behind her as she flew onto the street, frantic to keep this last remnant of her mother’s memory from petty thieves.
Instead of sprinting for the coast and the sanctuary of her ship, Ren skidded to a stop just outside the pub, her already tangled nerves screaming at the sight that awaited her. At the entrance of the village stood three disturbingly tall figures clothed in black. Their cloaks hung loosely around them and encircled their heads. Long lacquered masks in the shape of a beak covered their faces. They slunk into the village, shifting their beak masks back and forth, each one holding a bioprobe in their freakishly long, gloved hands. A small blue light blinked on the tip of the bioprobe as the Doctors swept the street for signs of infection. 
Head spinning and stomach churning, Ren ducked into a lean alleyway between the pub and the house next to it. The Doctors had to know she was there, why else would they come to the village so early in the moon cycle? She fumbled to tighten the white scarf around her hair. The only fingerprints she had left behind were those on her glass of water. It had shattered, so the bioprobes shouldn’t be able to pick up her trail. But what if a strand of her hair had fallen out? They would find her…finally catch her…

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Interview & Giveaway: Marc Feinstein

      Born in the Bronx and raised in Ridgefield, New Jersey, Marc Feinstein is a child of the 60's unbound with stories to tell. 
     Feinstein is a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania where he received his Bachelor's in Economics. He went on to law school at the Mc George School of Law at University of the Pacific and then began long career in law as a Litigation Attorney and Mediator.
      He spent over 30 years of his life in Orange County, California with his wife and two children and now retired resides in Maui with his wife.
He is an avid basketball enthusiast --from playing it, to coaching it, to the study of its history and evolution as a game.
      Feinstein is having the time of his life writing and creating stories that connect and resonate with a broad audience and hopes to one day crossover his books to film. 

Favorite reads?
          Anything by Richard Price, Philip Roth, Richard Ford and Pat Conroy—my go-to guys. I recently discovered Ethan Canin’s America America and Mark Slouka’s Brewster –both my first reads of their work and proved once again that there’s no way to keep up with all the great, albeit lesser-known, writers out there.

Inspirations for the book?
          As I say on my homepage, the 1960’s story set in a small North Jersey town is taken from a corner of my heart. The music, the times, and a hometown story that never leaves you all combined and aligned in a way that helped frame what I would first write about.

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were growing up?
          No. I recall appearances of my inner story-teller first rearing his head during my freshman year of college, but I did not then take him too seriously. He didn’t completely go away and had a way of reminding me for years that he was still hiding out.

Any Pet Peeves?
          I moved to Maui as a way to escape them (peeves, not people).

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
          Banana. Not to be cute (I don’t like either chocolate or peanut butter), but my answer reminds me of a scene from Barry Levinson’s great movie, Diner, where the boys are sitting around a diner, circa 1959, talking about which pop crooner they’d rather make out to—Mathis or Sinatra? One of them—Mickey Rourke’s character—smugly answers, “Presley.”

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
          Give up a lucrative legal career to write a freakin’ story.

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
          The book is a soundtrack to the Sixties. The rock and roll music of the 1960’s, starting for me in 1965 (beginning the surge of the most prolific five years of music in rock history) bring you back in touch with a semblance of what it felt like when the memory was born. I am sure it had a lot to do with the period I chose to write about. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the Acknowledgements page—DC5’s “Catch Us If You Can”, Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man”, Beatles’ “All You Need is Love”, and CSNY’s “Woodstock”; or better yet, read the whole book and see.

Do you need anything to write?
          Bananas (this time intending to be cute).

How long do you write on any average day?
          Depends on how you define “write”. To me, writing is a lot more than sitting at the keyboard tapping away. If you add up all that goes into “writing”—the thinking, the dreaming, the plotting, the research and other preparation, the digressions, the revisions to what’s already written before moving on—and you’re being diligent about it, it easily takes up an 8-hour day (though for me, in 2 or 3 shifts throughout the day and night).

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
          If movies like A Bronx Tale and Diner, or books like The Wanderers and Sleepers (also made into movies), or a television show like The Wonder Years resonated with you.

Author Info:
Visit him on his website at
Like him on Facebook at

A small town, a family, a tragedy and the saving power of Rock & Roll…

It is 1967. Gene Gennaro is sailing through his freshman year in Oldbrook, blown along by the steady prevailing innocent winds of the time—sports, girls and Rock & Roll. On the Ides of March, a tragedy thrusts him into a new world forever rocked by that fateful day.

The next three frenetic years of high school are a lifeline for Gene as unbreakable as the fidelity of his friendships with five basketball teammates; most of all Reuben, his best friend since before kindergarten, whose lifeline at times turns into the rope for a tug-of-war between fate and will, testing their classically loyal friendship.
CATCH US IF YOU CAN is a coming-of-age tale of small town but urban youth growing up in the late 1960's trying to untangle the answer to life’s tragedies as well as answer Bruce Springsteen’s haunting question: Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday Snatch & Giveaway: Tethered Worlds--Unwelcome Star by Gregory Faccone


Jordahk and his parents are racing away from the city which has erupted into chaos from the enemy's operatives and assassinations. They too are being targeted, have been wounded, and are attempting to evade small, long-range homing drones..

Kord stared at Jordahk with piercing eyes. He became uncharacteristically solemn. “From where we are in space, son, the egress can only take you backwards.”
Jordahk sensed something in his father's tone and rare use of “son.” At thirty-four standard years, he was still in the tail end of long adolescence. And yet, an element was apparent in how his father spoke to him, something that made him feel like a man.
Jordahk reached across his body and drew a pistol from his sling bag. For a long time he'd been in subtle competition with his father. Now he greatly desired his father to show him up.
Did you bring what you need for that thing?” Kord asked.
Yeah, all the original stuff,” Jordahk answered, patting the bag.
As far as pistols went, theirs could hardly be more different. Jordahk held a long, heavy, metal piece. Its gray luster shone under the growing light of the egress moon. The mystic autobuss didn't just look like an anachronism next to Kord's latest in scientum technology, it was one. The weapon dated back to the Sojourners' Crusade. More than any other, it symbolized the Sojourners, the masters of mystic technology, inasmuch as anyone ever was. Those familiar with mystic knew it a technology as likely to master its user, as be tamed.
The esoteric methods Sojourners used to create their mystic creations were impossible to duplicate. With them gone, scientum was the only conventional alternative. It could not perform unexplainable feats, but it could be mass-produced. Of course, scientum had the added benefit of not potentially destroying the user's brain.
The Sojourners were long gone, and out of their hands the autobuss wasn't the most practical weapon. Modern makers of mystic technology, imprimaturs, saved their brainpower for more profitable endeavors than making the signature pistol. That was assuming they even could, which was unlikely. The province now for the strange weapon resided with collectors, enthusiasts, niche scientists, and those who believed that they were, or would become, Sojourners.
Jordahk liked to categorize himself as a collector, but if that was the case, what was he doing right now?
I'm such a faux,” he mumbled to himself.
Break out your fastest ammo,” Kord said. He reached behind to the stor-all on his belt. “I need the hot stuff, Highearn.”
The stor-all bulged, presenting a magazine by the time Kord's bloody hand arrived. He placed it gingerly into the auxiliary magazine well in front of the trigger studs. It auto-seated with a hum.
A modern grister's magazine capacity was significant, and that was in addition to the magazine in its grip. From what Jordahk saw, his father was going to war.
A pouch within Jordahk's sling bag held all the ammunition available. Through his mystic link, Jordahk could sense much about mystic technology by touch alone. He ran his fingers along the presented cartridges and lifted the one that felt the fastest. With a mental command and a subtle ping, the autobuss hinged open near the center, revealing seven chambers.
Six loaded cartridge chambers surrounded a larger, empty octagonal shell chamber. A cartridge lifted, and Jordahk swapped it out. With a flick of his hand the autobuss clicked shut like a piece of fine jewelry. Two thirds of its metal body extended in front of the grip. The rest protruded back over the hand. Its styling was a unique blend of Combustion Age revolver, formfitting target pistol, and a “retro-future space gun” one might see in an old science fiction cineVAD.
Lead your target; use your ret vectors,” Kord said, “and for God's sake, get it early.” He scrutinized behind them. The road was a blur receding into darkness.
Just get me close, kid, and I'll take care of the rest,” a gruff voice intoned.
Max, nice of you to join us,” Jordahk said sarcastically. “I hope we haven't taken you from some important ancient battle simulation.”
Maximilian v4 wasn't a popular AI. In fact, 4 was the last rev ever made. Kord searched long and hard to find the most modern compy that could even run it. The one he found was 50 years old; a tarnished metal ring Jordahk wore on his right hand.
Modern combat pistols had smart barrels, which performed a fractional adjustment when a shot was fired. The calculations of a fast compy combined with the judgment of a good AI could turn a near miss into a hit. Jordahk's mystic autobuss was one of the first to implement such a feature.
Don't argue with your AI,” Kord said. An urgent triple tone sounded from the retrofitted box. “Split them up. You know the drill. Here they come!”
They extended their pistols, scrutinizing everything in their wake. Flex metal autostocks unfolded from pistol to shoulder to brace their aim.
Watch for an eight o'clock final approach,” Max said privately into Jordahk's link. “If I know this type, it'll be eight o'clock high.”
Jordahk could sense the inner workings of the autobuss. He focused his thoughts into it.
Ready the fast ammo.
The weapon hummed, lining that cartridge up to fire. Two fist-sized objects hovered around the bend 100 meters behind them. The devices visually acquired their targets and abruptly switched from fans to rockets.
The AIs coordinated, circling designated targets in different shades of red on Jordahk and Kord's rets. It was a task well suited to the eyeball lenses, the strength of which was displaying simple lines and text. The circles rocketed upward. Seeker drones were wily little killing machines, not likely to dive straight in and let themselves be intercepted. The pair etched three-dimensional exhaust trails at crazy angles suspended in the darkening air.
Seeker drones often settled for getting close and detonating a directed cone of deadly shrapnel. Closer than that risked being fried by the lightning arc of a bracer. Soldiers and security personnel always wore bracers, the bane of a seeker drone's existence. No one in the fanicle was wearing a bracer though, and the seeker drones' tiny crystal brains knew it. Tonight, going all the way in was their preferred objective.
Jordahk's racing mind stretched the seconds. His chest vibrated from the pulsed throb of his father's grister. He was surprised his father had a shot so quickly. Five ammo nuts, super accelerated out of Kord's pistol, burned the air. The line of pointy pellets passed harmlessly underneath the first seeker drone, leaving a wispy black trail.
Kord rarely missed. “Drak!”
Jordahk followed the wildly dancing red circle in his vision. He kept his aim on the averaged vector line Max drew as well as the possibility cone sprouting off it. He mentally unlocked the old pistol and fired it with slight, intuitive pressure on the trigger studs. The autobuss emitted its unique hollow thunk. A triangle of three perfectly round ammo nuts cut a blurry distortion through the air. The fading effect completely missed. Jordahk fired twice more. The blurs were closer but didn't hit.
His chest vibrated wildly. Jordahk didn't know whether his heart was going to burst or Kord was firing full auto. He heard a staccato tinkling sound followed by a blossom of light. The high-pitched hiss of mini rockets halved.
The other seeker drone closed on the fanicle. It veered to the side, angling in at eight o'clock. Jordahk knew this was it. Final approach. Time for only one more shot. When a strange spike of resonance between his mystic link and autobuss peaked, he fired. One corner of his triangular shot nicked the drone, knocking it sideways. It sprayed propellant wildly, trying to reorient for detonation. It was suddenly a much easier target for his father. A tinny sound accompanied a line of sparks that stitched across the seeker drone before it exploded.
Jordahk shielded his face from the blast with a trembling hand. The fanicle jolted as the explosion illuminated two receding, zigzagged exhaust trails. Debris clinked around them.
Kord's concerned expression was covered with a smile. “Thanks for leaving the coup de grace for me.” Their autostocks folded back into the pistols.
Vittora glanced back, pleased the men she loved were still in one piece. “You made that dramatic.” Her tone made it sound like they shot seeker drones every day, and now it was time to head home for dinner. Just then, the whine of the fanicle turned to a warble. Vittora wrestled with the controls as their speed stuttered and slowed. “Something hit us.”
Vittora's driving the fanicle way past specs was strain enough. Now a new grinding sound joined the mix. On cue a few more parts scattered on the earthpack behind them. Jordahk's heart sank with the same feeling he suspected generations of drivers felt when their vehicles threatened to strand them.
Now that they're onto us,” Kord said, “things are going to get serious.”
Going to get?” Jordahk exclaimed.


You might think part-time mystery man Gregory Faccone has lived ten lifetimes. He's experienced the ocean's cool dawn, and baked in 130° deserts. He's worked amidst the concrete canyons of major cities, and on a dark, rainy night, driven a remote road carpeted with frogs (true story, really).

Classically trained in creative arts, he performed a long tenure developing electronic entertainment with both independent companies and the biggest names like Electronic Arts and Sony. He collaborated with Universal Studios, Warner Bros., and Paramount, adding content to popular franchises from science fiction, with Star Trek, to comics, to even medical dramas like ER.

However, Gregory desired to share his creations beyond fleeting game system technology. The written word has stood for centuries, and although reading mediums evolve, novels continue unimpeded. A reader's bond with a quality literary work is unlike any other. When Gregory starting creating a unique science fiction universe, he knew the medium for which it was destined. The fantastic framework for his science fiction series, "Tethered Worlds," took two years to create before he jumped into writing the first entry.

Gregory is influenced by Arthur C. Clarke's axiom: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." So jump into Tethered Worlds and go on an adventure based in the centuries to come. While the technology is advanced, the nature of mankind is unchanged. It continues to wrestle with flaws, and is preserved through selflessness and nobility.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Interview & Giveaway: Dan Wright

My name is Dan and I live in Canterbury, United Kingdom. From an early age I was heavily inspired by medieval fantasy and greek mythology. In fact, creating fantasy worlds and characters is one of my pastimes.
I write my own Fantasy/Manga series called the Draconica series – which also contains Manga style artwork (drawn by some really talented artists). My series has been praised by online reviewers for its humour and action and has had some pretty positive feedback. Currently I have three books in that series – Trapped on Draconica, Legacy of the Dragonkin and Final Ragnarok: She Returns. I also have a Disney inspired Fantasy series called Amanda Moonstone – which is due to be published through Paper Crane Books in 2014 and I write and voice a fan parody series called Totalitarian Warlords and Termination Squadron on Youtube. I’ve also had a short story published in the comic anthology Lightning Strike Presents...
When not writing, I play guitar in a band called Rage of Silence and I’m also a slave to my cat – who takes up a lot of my time when I’m not writing.

Favorite reads?
Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy is my favourite book of all time. I also love The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire series. I’m also a huge fan of the comic Watchmen and I’m also trying to catch up with the Manga Full Metal Alchemist where I can.

Inspirations for the book?
The Draconica series as a whole is inspired by many fantasy novels and video games – with a few bits of Manga and ancient history thrown in. However my major inspiration for this series, which I call the Final Ragnarok Arc is based on the concept of the myth of Ragnarok. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a great cataclysmic event that would destroy all life as we know it – but also the build up to that event as well. It makes you wonder how the heroes can prevent it – if at all – and it really ups the stakes story wise. It’s also loosely based on themes brought up by The Empire Strikes Back... where the villains seem to have the upper hand most of the book. In all, this is probably my darkest story I’ve written so far.

Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
I would say so. I used to make up my own stories all the time when I was a kid, so it makes sense that I would become an author. Writing seems to be the only thing that I’m any good at so if I couldn’t do that – well there wasn’t much else I could do.

Any Pet Peeves?
Procrastination is my biggest one. There are too many moments where I should be writing and then spend hours on the internet instead. I really need to make a rule that there is no internet whilst writing!

Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
Chocolate for sure.

The weirdest thing you've ever done?
I’m gonna plead the 5th on that question! XD

Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
I often like composing my own soundtracks to my series and putting together my own little playlist. Right now I’d say the main music to my Draconica series would be mostly rock/metal music – but with some ballads in there. If I could get anyone to do the music for my series it would be Celldweller – that guy does some awesome music.

Do you need anything to write?
I sometimes listen to music, depending on the mood I’m in. But sometimes I find myself getting distracted by the music, so I try to limit this where possible. Oh, and Pepsi – LOTS of Pepsi! Many authors state coffee as their drink of choice – I tend to go for something a little stronger. And if I need something really strong, I reach for the Jagermeister!

How long do you write on any average day?
I try to do at least 6 hours where I can – but sometimes, if I’m feeling REALLY energetic I can pretty much write from the moment I wake up till I go to bed. Though six hours I find is pretty productive for me on average.

Give us the number one reason to read your book.
This is part one of my Final Ragnarok story arc – something that has been foreshadowed in previous books. It’s essentially a huge event that the heroes have to stop if they plan to save Draconica. But to do so, some may have to die – and others may lose their sanity. It’s the first of a two parter – and the ending will leave you wanting more.

Author Info:

She is coming... 

When Daniar Dragonkin heard those words, she had no idea of the full horror that would follow. Now, enemies converge to bring to life a monstrous plan that will spell the end of Draconica. 

With her family threatened, old enemies returning to torment her - and a civil war in Baalaria thatprevents any help from her sister, Daniar faces the darkness moment of her entire life. 

Heroes will die, evil will rise - and Daniar’s sanity will be pushed to breaking point.

Ebooks of all three of the Draconica series novels
Trapped on Draconica, Legacy of the Dragonkin, and Final Ragnarok: She Returns.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Interview: Greg Spry

          Greg Spry has immersed himself in science fiction since he was old enough to obliterate Lego star ships with Lincoln Log photon torpedoes. He writes fast-paced yet thought-provoking science fiction with thoughtful, tortured characters caught up in ethical dilemmas where the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. He's a forward-thinking person who always has an eye on the future, although he yearns for the good old days when there were nine planets in the Solar System (props to you, Pluto).
           Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, Greg has worked in the IT and computer programming industry. During that time, he's learned web design, search engine marketing, entrepreneurship, and other skills which help aid him in developing his author platform. He's also participated in multiple writing and critique groups, honing his craft while helping others to do the same. An M.S. Space Systems degree from the Florida Institute of Technology helps him craft sci-fi that's as realistic as possible.

 Favorite reads?
           My favorite authors include Arthur C. Clarke, Peter Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, Orson Scott Card, and Jack McKinney (I read the Robotech book series from start to finish at least three times in middle school and high school). I also think books by Dan Brown and Suzanne Collins's live up to the hype. As you might've guessed from my list of authors, I tend to read books that fall into the genres in which I write: hard sci-fi, space opera, and other science fiction.

 Inspirations for the book?
           My chief inspirations for Beyond Cloud Nine (BC9) came from the Anime I watched growing up: Robotech, SDF Macross, Macross II, and Macross Plus. Thanks to Star Trek: TNG and Captain Picard, my main protagonists will always face a moral conundrum. I've also pulled plot and character elements from the books/authors I've read (see above) and video games. There was a game I used to play as a kid for the Sega Genesis called Target Earth. I started with the plot of that game and twisted the overdone alien invasion angle to my advantage in order to create the story for BC9.
           I've written many more details about the background behind the creation of BC9 at

 Did you know you wanted to be an author when you were little?
           Yes, I wrote my first novel, Crystalia, in late elementary/early middle school. The book filled two five-subject notebooks, if you remember those thick beasts from back in the day. My novel Destalis, which remains a work in progress, is loosely based on Crystalia. I also wrote the first couple chapters of the first draft of BC9 in high school, so I've been going strong since I was fairly young.
           I've written a little more about this at and

 Any Pet Peeves?
           Too many to list. Let's stay positive.

 Chocolate or Peanut Butter?
           Both! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are delicious, although I don't eat candy very often.

 The weirdest thing you've ever done?
           I once shook and thanked someone I didn't know very well when a random thing they said gave me a great plot idea. There's also a scene from the Simpsons where Homer runs/twirls in a circle yelling "woohoo" while on the floor. I reenacted this scene upon publishing my first novel.
Is there a soundtrack to the book/Favorite music?
          Ha, this is an awesome question. BC9 doesn't have an official soundtrack and probably won't until JJ Abrams, James Cameron, or Steven Spielberg produce the movie. While my musical bread and butter has always been alternative (most poetic/abstract lyrics), I often listen to techno/trance, electronic, and sci-fi scores when writing. From those genres, I've compiled a play list of songs that I think would work well in the background of the movie.
           There's a song I randomly stumbled across on SoundCloud titled "Twisted (Mac & Taylor Remix) by Amy Rose." To me, the song feels very dystopian, sets the mood of the main character and story, and would work perfectly when zooming in on the planet Jupiter to open the movie. I also tend to imagine the song "Distant Worlds (Carl B Remix) by Amex and Saint Rush" playing at the end of BC9 as the main protagonist realizes where she is and into the end credits.
           Overall, if I had the opportunity to produce or direct the movie, the score would consist of electronic and modern classical elements blended together. The straightforward classical scores found in Star Wars and Star Trek movies are kind of "been there, done that" (as much as I love them). Personally, I believe the most sci-fi sounding music can be found in 80's flicks like Terminator. Synthesizers sound more futuristic. I'm also a huge fan of the musical composition done by Yoko Kanno in Anime works like Macross Plus and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. She manages to seamlessly blend classical and electronic in cool and unique ways.

 Do you need anything to write?  
          Just my desktop computer and large chunks of time. I'm most comfortable on a desktop PC with a full keyword and monitor. I can't work as fast on a laptop. It also takes me a little while to get into writing mode, and I'm a slow writer, so unless I have an hour or more available at once, it's hard to get much done. Getting "in the zone" is huge for me. If I'm focused and "in the zone," the words flow and hours can pass without my noticing it. When I'm not "in the zone," it might take me hours just to write a page.
           I sometimes listen to music and sometimes need to turn it off to get focused. It depends on my mood at the time.

 How long do you write on any average day?
           I tend to write in spurts. I can't say I've ever been able to stick to the whole "write X words a day" advice we've all heard. Typically, I reserve one day a week as my writing day and try to get in a full afternoon, evening, and night's worth, which allows me to bust out the better part of a chapter. I'll write throughout the rest of the week as time permits.
           It's also worth defining the terms "write" or "writing" in this context. When people think of writing, I think most of us envision typing the prose of the chapters in Word. However, I would also classify brainstorming and outlining as writing, too. On any given day, I may not add to my chapter word count, but I might still come up with a great plot idea in my head or work out what's going to happen in what order in an outline in OneNote.
Give us the number one reason to read your book.
           I'd like to think there are dozens of good reasons to read Beyond Cloud Nine: a real main protagonist with a compelling goal, a plot that's not your typical alien invasion, page-turning action, etc. Choosing one is tough, but the top reason would have to be because of my definition of what separates good from great. Good books entertain, but you don’t just enjoy great books. Great books make you think and reflect on your own life. I'd like to think the main theme of Beyond Cloud Nine--would you rather be miserable knowing the truth or happy living a lie--leaves readers considering that question for themselves.

Author Info:

Author Website:

Ace star fighter pilot Brooke Davis lives for pushing hundreds of gees in orbital combat, but she’d give it all up in a moment to become the first human to fly faster than light. When Brooke stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government, she finds their goals seductive but their methods abhorrent. With the moral core of human civilization hanging in the balance, she must risk her shot at history, her family, and her life to prevent the schemers from forcing their nefarious brand of salvation upon the solar system.