Interview with Kirsten Campbell

(*This interview was conducted via a blog tour coordinator*)

While in the midst of reading Blood Master by Kirsten Campbell, a few themes and issues piqued my interest. I decided to ask the author directly about them. Here is the interview:

Interview Questions/

Kirsten Campbell-Author of Blood Master – Book 1 of The G.O.D.s Series

 

  1. When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

 

I was nine years old when I wrote my first story/poem and my teacher put it up in the hall for all to see. Ms. Laport started me on my quest to become a writer.

 

  1. What drew you to the dystopian genre?

 

I love thinking about the future and all the possibilities therein, especially after some type of great disaster has enveloped our world and almost destroyed mankind. I love to believe that mankind will carry on and go forward with new abilities and go further with a positive agenda.

 

  1. Can you describe your writing process?

 

Yes, I believe I can.

I write for hours, write until I am finished and then I go back and look at the whole story. I make sure that the ending matches the beginning in some way and that there is growth with each of the characters. I then go through the manuscript and add color, smells, shapes, tastes, and all types of sensory stimuli that I can think of. After that, I give it a once over for grammar and then give it to my beta readers. I have 3 men and 3 women. Every one of them give me feedback and then I answer any and all questions that they ask and deal with suggestions. I then go through it with a fine tooth comb and give to my editor, who then kills me. LOL… 

No, she doesn’t kill me. She deals with things in my manuscript and cleans things up for me.

 

  1. Do you do a lot of research in preparation for writing?

My god, I do a lot of research. I research and when I think I’ve got things just right, I do even more research. I write first, and then research everything medical, physical, mental, and even research certain scientific theories and thermal dynamics because even though I write Urban Paranormal fantasy there must be plausibility in the mix. Only then can things remain sustainable in a fantastic world. Also, I travel for my research. I went to Atlanta, GA and measured out certain areas of Underground Atlanta and measured the areas around the GA. Freight Depot. I reimagined how the area would look if earthquakes hit and even checked out the underground for large pillars that would hold things together if an earthquake hit. I drove around and around Highway 285 to find the perfect area for the fortress and I went into the city, off Peachtree Street, and found the Guild Main Office. I had to actually see where I was putting my characters and how they would move through certain situations in buildings and the underground.

 

 

  1. Where do you get your inspiration?

I draw inspiration from just about anything. Sometimes it’s a song that makes me think of something Griffin might do or say. Sometimes it’s a smell that affects me and I figure it would affect Griffin or Tassta a certain way. I also draw on things that I have gone through and/ or things that are going on in the news or even real life situations.

  1. Blood Master explores the topic of selecting people with certain genetic characteristics (in this case, albinism) for scientific experimentation, yet seems to offer no stance on the ethics surrounding this. What are your thoughts, and were you inspired by any specific historical event in which involuntary experimentation occurred?

 

Well, I was very particular when I chose albinos. I considered all races, all ethnic people and I looked for a common genetic trait that popped up sporadically, yet one that was also what I considered interesting and unusual. After that, I thought about the past, and remembered all the times in school that I was shown different labs that would in fact use albino mice for experimentation. I also thought long and hard about the mystique surrounding albinos and how some people, even now, look at them with significant relevance and consider them either too outside the norm or very exotic. I myself believe that albinos are beautiful and unusual and I do know that in fact, in some cultures they have been revered and even sought out as magical beings. In Africa, the albino population is hunted and many have been mutilated as people seek to acquire an arm or leg for magical remedies with hope for a cure from AIDS or a host of other maladies. Of course, Blood Master takes this premise a step further, but it is fantasy, and there are things going on behind the scenes that cannot be explained until the next few books in the series.

 

  1. It seems that in the far future, especially in times of a crisis, gender would be irrelevant if a person was qualified to do a specific job. Although Penn’s intentions are good, he doesn’t want Tassta as a Guardian just because she’s a female, even at one point saying her task was to have babies. Some readers may read this as gender discrimination. Do you have anything to say in Penn’s defense on this matter?

 

There isn’t gender discrimination, at least not to me. It’s more like-there’s a lack of people, especially viable, healthy females. Remember, the first line in the blurb on the back of the book is, “The Great War, the Clover Virus and the Death Plague have killed off two-thirds of the human population.” Hey, that’s a lot of people. It affects people to go through that much death. It affects people in ways most will never understand and even though things have gotten a bit better with time, there are still preconceived notions of how things are supposed to be. And yes, there are chauvinists in the future. LOL.

Also, let’s not forget the fact that Tassta is pretty young in the first book. She is seventeen and yes, she turns eighteen, but she has been coddled and spoiled most of her life and has had it easy at the fortress. Also, since there are much less people, that means much less women of childbearing age. Turns out most need the females for lots of different jobs that are available at the fortress and they are also needed for conception. (BTW, it is mentioned by Waylene in the Underground that the Brotherhood is dying out, Penn and Tassta are the youngest.)

 

And yes, Penn is a caveman, but he’s a lovable caveman. Tassta is Penn’s twin sister and she is the youngest. He knows she has a lot of duties at the fortress and he doesn’t want to see her overextend herself. She’s already a library assistant, a Medical Assistant and she helps with the children in the fortress and also practices Martial Arts and her Blade Maneuvers. Now she wants to become a Guardian and he just wants his sister to have an easy life, or at least what he considers an easy life. LOL. He comes across as harsh, but he does have her best interest at heart. He just doesn’t know how to verbalize what he feels and it comes across as being behind the times.

 

  1. Your protagonist, Griffin, is the sole survivor of a particularly nasty epidemic. In our lifetime, we’ve seen Ebola, AIDS, deadly strains of influenza, and other lethal viruses that seems to have spread unchecked and had a mortality rate of nearly 100%. What, in your opinion, should the world do to prepare for the possibility of a new, as-of-now undiscovered pandemic?

 

I believe we need to take the possibility of a deadly pandemic more seriously and be more resourceful with what we have already discovered. There is proof of all kinds of medicinal herbs and spices that can actually cure certain types of cancer and push our lifespans way past the 70 – 80’s mark, which are now considered the norm. People in general could be a whole lot healthier if the preconceived thread of life wasn’t to drink and drug away our teen years and our twenties, with hope that once we hit thirty, we could somehow turn the clock back, suck all the poison out of the millions of cells that have been so rudely taken advantage of.

 

Now, as far as the possibility of a pandemic hitting with global ramifications that could possibly kill millions? You must remember that there is a preconceived notion that there is

a 1 to 5 percent chance that there will be someone who is immune to the pandemic, or at least a belief that said disease won’t kill that 1 to 5 percent. The government needs to step in and take the blood from those people in particular, the survivors, and create an antivirus from their blood. It can be done, quite effectively, if we get the resources and step in quickly.

 

Also, here’s my rant on aging:

People as a whole should be more aware of all the changes that their bodies go through with every decade they live. Certain chemical changes occur in a person’s body with each decade of life that they live, and these things need to be taught to teens and then to adults, and to society as a whole, so people are not caught off guard when things start changing inside and outside of their bodies. Aging is not a mistake, it’s a natural biological occurrence. Our bodies suck in pollution and dirt, exhaust fumes and toxic gases, chemicals additives and colorants and yet we think our bodies are not going to change? That’s ridiculous, and this silly preoccupation with looking young even though your insides are falling apart is preposterous and it’s making people desperately go under the knife. Why not eat properly from the beginning and deal with aging from the inside out, and grow old gracefully. Each generation could eventually grow stronger and when a new deadly pandemic emerges, our bodies will be able to deal with it, hopefully.

9. love for the city of Atlanta is evident in Blood Master. What is your connection to Atlanta?

I moved to Atlanta when I turned 16 and lived there for twenty-one years. I met my husband there and had my children there. I love Atlanta and hope to retire there. I now have lots of family that live there. I go to family reunions every year in Atlanta, GA.

  1. Your character development in Blood Master is superb. What advice do you have for other writers on how to properly develop characters?

Thank you so much! I worked on and with my characters for many years. I believe that when writing a character, you must first see your characters and then hear their voices. I also make a chart that tells me their height, weight, hair color, eye color, birthdate and zodiac sign, favorite color, food and different abilities. I then write what’s interesting about the character, pet peeves, goals and I write down all their positive and negative attributes. Yes, even innocent people with goodness in their hearts have bad thoughts once in a while and they have melt downs and failings. We are all human and yes, we must make our characters as human as possible.

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Presenting a Special Guest-Kirsten Campbell

kirsten

Recently, I met, via Author Promo Co-op, a wonderful lady, Mrs. Kirsten Campbell. Kirsten is a resident of New York but there is a special place in her heart for Georgia. She is a wife, mother of four, and a grandmother, and also volunteers for various causes. A full biography can be found on her Amazon Author Page.  A genuinely kindhearted and caring person, it was my sincerest pleasure to make her acquaintance.

blood master

Kirsten is the author of a thrilling young-adult dystopian novel called Blood Master. Blood Master is Book 1 of The G.O.D series. Siblings Tassta and Penn, raised in the confines of the protective Brotherhood Fortress,  are on a raid in downtown Atlanta, now in ruins after a devastating earthquake. They meet Griffin Storm, an albino man, which is surprising to them because they have been told that all albinos died during the Death Plague. Tassta, the seventeen-year-old niece of the Brotherhood Fortress’s leader, is anxious to become the Brotherhood’s first female guardian, but she cannot deny her intense attraction to Griffin. As for Griffin, although he is equally attracted to Tassta, he feels it is his obligation to protect and provide for the children who are sheltered in Underground Atlanta, and is torn between staying at the Brotherhood Fortress with Tassta and Penn, or returning to Underground Atlanta to fulfill his duties. Blood Master will make you laugh, make you cry, keep you on the edge of your seat with lots of twists and turns, and, most importantly, keep you rooting for Tassta and Griffin.

To learn more about this wonderful, talented lady, please visit her website. Please stay tuned, because soon I am going to post an interview with Mrs. Campbell and with Griffin Storm.

Presenting a Special Guest-Lynne Murray

Lynne Murray

Tomorrow we celebrate The Lovely Lynne Murray, an event dedicated to the writing of a lady who is not only a fantastic author, but a wonderful person as well. I thoroughly enjoyed her book Gravitas: Valkyrie in the Forbidden Zone, but when I looked at her author page, I realized that she is quite prolific. And before I forget to mention it, Gravitas is on sale this weekend for $0.99.

gravitas

Blurb:

Sybil from Planet Valkyrie carries a risky amount of Gravitas, a top secret aphrodisiac embedded in the Ritual Jewelry around her neck. Before she can trade it, she is attacked by an angry warrior from slave-holding Planet Roggr. Sybil lands on Earth—in the Forbidden Zone. Rescue is impossible, all portals are sealed. Can she protect herself, shield her hazardous cargo and find a way home before the Gravitas destroys her?

Some Reviewer Comments:

One of my favorite parts of this novel is the witty dialogue. Although Sybil’s clueless culture shock is endearing, she turns out to be confident and resourceful as she attempts to figure out a way to return to Valkyries”

This book is too much fun to miss.”

“…the story is imaginative and empowering. I enjoyed this quick read.”

The author has a good sense of humour and an eye for unexpected detail about humans, which comes from the outsider perspective of Sybilla. The novel itself is a pacy, entertaining read with snappy and often funny dialogue.”

There is a companion short story that goes with this novel: Valkyrie in the Demon Realm

Valkyrie

Blurb:

Sybil, from the Planet Valkyrie carries a risky amount of Gravitas, a potent aphrodisiac. The cargo must be harvested before the damaging side effects send her into another realm. Or has it already happened? Where did that demon, the color of molten lava, come from? And what can she do to defeat it?

#LovelyLynne has written other novels and books as well, including some non-fiction tips for writers. Check out her Amazon page to check out her full selection.

I do encourage you to drop by tomorrow and meet #LovelyLynne. You’ll be glad you did!

To get in touch with her:

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lynne.murray.7771?fref=ts

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/268380.Lynne_Murray?from_search=true&search_version=service

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/lynnemurray

Presenting a Special Guest-Miranda Shanklin

Meet Miranda Shanklin, author of the Soul Journey series (who’s also celebrating a birthday today). The series revolves around four teens who discover they have power beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations–and some powerful enemies.

And let me just add that these are some of these most beautiful covers I have ever seen.

Miranda Shanklin

Book 1 is Soul Journey. 

soul journey

Blurb:

It has been many lifetimes since the cycle began.

The cycle that still haunts Annisa Lawson.

A spell cast in desperation to help, which only caused heartache.

Now, Annisa has found her way out of the varying repeats of her past; only to bring more danger to herself, and those around her. Now she must learn to survive with the help of her friends: Chase, Penelope, and Landon have all gone through each life cycle with Annisa. Sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Now that Annisa has broken the cycle of their collective punishment, she finds that she needs her friends more than ever to keep their enemies, known, and unknown, at bay. As the group of friends learn of their souls’ journeys through their many life cycles, they must also learn to control the magick they have discovered within themselves and each other, in order to defeat the most feared assassin in their world.

What reviews have said about Soul Journey:

Such an amazing book!!!I don’t even know where to begin… the feels, the conflict & uncertantity of life is almost too much for Annisa, but she recovers beautifully and accecpts her new found lot in life with grace & dignity.” -Amanda Wise

“Fantastic coming of age story with a fun Sci-fi/Fantasy twist! The description of magic and how it’s wielded was absolutely beautiful, it actually gave me chills. Book 2, Soul Redemption is definitely on my TBR!”-K.D

“What a suspenseful book to read. I loved all the characters. They were very well liked. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to read a book that is a YA book with great characters that you will love to read about.k has it all… mystery, love, conflict, regret, action… I have throughly enjoyed it!”-Tamra Cordery

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Journey-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00N7T7CX4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 2 is Soul Redemption. 

Soul Redemption

Blurb:

Just when Annisa and her friends were starting to think maybe the Counsel would leave them alone, two new students arrive at school. In any other town, new students wouldn’t be a sign that something big was about to happen to Annisa, Chase, Landon, and Penelope; but this wasn’t a normal town and they weren’t normal teenagers. They had come into their powers and defeated the most feared assassin in their world, so the appearance of new witches in their small town could only mean one thing…..the Counsel was ready to make another attempt to destroy them.

After watching the new students alienate them from everyone they know, including their parents, Annisa and her friends break through the spell and things start to calm down for them. It’s not until an old enemy returns with news that will shock them that they realize everything is not as it seems. Now they have to decide whether or not to trust an old enemy claiming to help them, or try and fight against the Counsel’s most trusted Advisors on their own.

The choice the group makes will change their lives forever.

What reviewers are saying:

“This second book in the Soul Series, captures your attention and imagination, even better than the first book. You live through the characters. You feel what they feel, become angry at what happens to them..you know them inside and out. If you like fantasy/romance/suspense/action/and young adult drama, this is the book series for you. 10/10!”-Crystal

Lots of twists here with the witches coming into their powers. Great story!” Pamijo

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Redemption-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00O3N22GA/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book 3 of the Series is Soul Knowledge:

Soul Knowledge

Blurb:

Annisa Lawson and her friends were getting pretty good at surviving. So far, they have defeated every force sent to destroy them. So when they are faced with new forces they had never thought possible, they were not entirely prepared. They were scrambling to catch up their magickal knowledge of the forces that were being sent after them. With their newly strengthened bond, they would have to work together to triumph. Just when they think they have it all figured out, something new pops up.
They are offered help, but will it be enough to once again overcome the forces working against them? The highly misunderstood forces in play will either help or hinder them; the question is, who do they trust?
The collective uncertainty and lack of knowledge could be the downfall of the entire group, testing their ability to trust in their own power, and that of each other. Can they overcome these forces and once again defend their special bond from destruction?

What reviewers are saying:

“A real rollercoaster of a ride. With spells gone wrong, kidnappings, destruction and love put to the ultimate test”-Samaris

“This series is amazing. The way the author portrays witches is very unique. This book was full of action and suspense. It was hard to put down. All the characters are interesting and believable”-Angie Campbell

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Knowledge-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00PA4JC9Q/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book 4 of the series is Soul Freedom

soul freedom

Blurb:

With the stress of graduation and planning weddings, Annisa and her group of friends want to end things with the Counsel once and for all. They strengthen their bond to the strongest it can be and go on the offensive. After they achieve their goal, they find that was not their only problem. Now they have to figure out who will be the next Counsel, and how to deal with other realms that have found their way in. While the group guards over the Origin, Annisa goes with members of the other realms to track down the wayward travelers, before they cause too much damage in our realm. To prevent this from happeningagain or any damage that may result, the group, along with their newly appointed Counsel, must come up with a system to allow other realms access to our realm, so they don’t have to constantly be on the lookout for trespassers from other realms. Can it be done in time for Annisa and her friends to enjoy graduation, and Annisa’s upcoming nuptials? With the help of friends and family, it just may be possible!

What reviewers are saying:

“This book is probably my favourite of the series so far…This one kept up at a steady pace and had me interested the entire time. I can’t wait to see where Miranda takes them next.”-Caitlin

“I was so engrossed in reading this book that I didn’t even realize I was close to the end until I turned the page to the ‘about the author’ blurb”-Amanda Wise

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Freedom-Series-Book-Volume/dp/1505267560/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Book 5 of the series is Soul Discovery

Soul Discovery

Blurb:

Annisa and her group have finally made it to the point where they don’t have to watch over their shoulders for someone trying to destroy them. They have put together a system that allows the other realms access to our realm and they are still able to keep an eye on them. Will the faeries and the trolls outsmart them and accomplish their goal? Will Annisa and the others be able to obtain enough support to keep their realm intact? Or will the faeries and trolls destroy all that this realm stands for? Chase and Annisa have taken on a task that they are not sure if they can accomplish without the help of the others who have to stay behind and keep things running smoothly at the passageways. They will have to be creative and convincing to pull this one off and create a truce between all the realms.

What reviewers are saying:

“I really loved the fresh approach to a paranormal story. It was a little slow at start, but, it did not take long for me to become hooked. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.”-V. Hudson

“Miranda did a great job rounding out the ending leaving me satisfied with the complete story. If you haven’t picked up book 1 in the soul saver series and are into paranormal YA I would recommend this series to you.”-Caitlin

To check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Discovery-Series-Book-Volume/dp/1505892309/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

To connect with Miranda Shanklin:

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8526541.Miranda_Shanklin?from_search=true&search_version=service

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mirandashanklinauthor?fref=ts

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/mlshanklin

Her Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Miranda-Shanklin/e/B00N7X1LMI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Presenting a Special Guest-P.A. Williams

Meet the saucy, energetic, gregarious Paul Anthony Williams. He is also known as his #PlayBoyPaul for his (completely harmless) flirtatious ways that make him a hit with the ladies.

Paul Williams

Also a prolific horror writer, PlayBoyPaul is the author of the Dark Clown Series, which consists of The Snake of Snowspire, The fires of Al Yon, and The Tides of Time. The first two are free this weekend.

Book 1 of the Dark Clown series is The Snake of Snowspire

the snake of snowspire

Blurb:

A storm rages in the north region of Neduin. Snowspire sits amongst the snowfields and cold dark forests. It’s two distinct towering spires like great booming gravestones rise high above the city walls, casting its grey dark shadow upon the ground below. A greedy king waits for the arrival of the King from the East with hoards of gold to pay for his services and men. The King of the East seeks men to increase his own army as they venture south toward the High King’s castle to take the throne for his own. But to gain these men he must put a plan into motion with various pieces in place. Unknown to him the High King aware of the army in the north, formulates his own plan which begins with the arrival of a stranger who has traveled from the south toward the kingdom of Snowspire, with murder on his mind . . .
Away from Snowspire a soothsayer watches the events unfold, yet when the time comes will her involvement cause the downfall of Neduin? Or will a more sinister person cast the first stone to bring the Realm down upon its knees . . .

Sounds super-exciting to me. I can’t wait to get on this one. But don’t take it from me. This is what one reviewer had to say about The Snake of Snowspire:

“This is not usually the type of genre that I go for but I was sucked into the story straight away. This is a fabulous book. Shades of George Martin, Narnia and a very, very dark Tolkien. All written in a crisp, economical style which is hard to believe comes from a first time author. Can’t wait for the next in the series.”-Truth42.

Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Snake-Snowspire-Dark-Clown-Book-ebook/dp/B00M8JFPAQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 2 is The Fires of Al Yon.

The fires of Al Yon

Blurb:

Ten years have passed since the Battle of Southwell, peace flitters across the whole of Neduin. But a new deadlier enemy will rise from the shadows, hungry for blood and hungry for revenge, spreading his fires of terror from Snowspire all the way towards the Kingdom of the High King.

Jonas Yale has to make a decision…a decision that could affect the whole of Neduin. Meanwhile, two thieves start an adventure that will lead them to treasures and terror, resulting in the discovery of an ancient evil from Neduin’s past that could destroy them all.

This is what reviewer Rainne had to say about The Fires of Al Yon:

“An interesting and adventurous journey in an imaginative world, with plenty of action, intrigue, and unique characters.”

Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Fires-Yon-Dark-Clown-Book-ebook/dp/B00QIR2TZS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Book 3 is The Tides if Time

The Tides of Time

The Very Poetic Blurb:

From the shadows I will come,
to rip the minds and souls of everyone,
to feast upon the flesh of fools and wench,
to bathe within the blood of the fallen taking in every aroma and stench,
to face the one who holds the key,
to his or my destiny…

From the darkness he will breathe,
from the tomb he will leave,
to begin a journey to watch the flames burn,
everything and all,
as the tides of time start to call,
the tides start to call….

Rumor has it that #PlayBoyPaul has additional books in the works, including a fourth book in the Dark Clown Series.

Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/TIDES-TIME-Dark-Clown-Book-ebook/dp/B00WRADYU4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

To connect with #PlayboyPaul: 

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2030116.P_A_Williams?from_search=true&search_version=serviceoyPaul:

On Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/P.A.-Williams/e/B00MEQSYCY/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/PAWILLIAMSUK36

Happy reading!

Presenting Special Guests-Jen Winters and Yuruch

Jen irwin

Hello, everyone. This is my friend, Jen Winters. She is the author of the Guardians series. In addition to being an accomplished author, she is also a married mother of two and co-admin for Author Promo Co-Op. She works very hard to keep a balanced life, which includes reading, writing, parenting, and promoting other authors! Let me tell you a bit about her books:

kissing demons

Kissing Demons is Book 1 of the series. Narrated by the kick-ass Guardian Geneva Archer, who, upon her natural death, was appointed by God the task of cleansing people’s auras when they are affected by evil and protecting the world from demonic attacks. One evening, she decided to have a drink at a hideaway bar for supernaturals, where she meets her soulmate, Alex Wolfe. The two begin a hot, steamy relationship. Unfortunately, Alex is the son of the demon Yuruch, who has been a thorn in Geneva’s side since she first became a Guardian. When Yuruch calls together Alex and his other children to assist him in a mission of mass destruction, Alex is powerless to disobey his father’s command. Geneva, of course, is pissed to no end! She, along with her trustworthy team, must come up with a plan to outsmart Yuruch so she can have Alex back and hopefully save as many lives as possible.

kissing the rain

Kissing the Rain is a novelette that tells the story from Alex’s point of view. He lives a peaceful existence as a math teacher in a secluded school for halflings in France. When his father, the demon Yuruch, calls him to Texas for a mission of destruction, Alex resentfully obeys. Trying to avoid facing his father for as long as possible, Alex hides out in the Hunter’s Moon, a hideway lounge for supernaturals. It is there he meets a beautiful, redheaded Guardian that he knows immediately is his intended soulmate.

Fallen Angels

Fallen Angels is Book 2 of the Guardians series. Narrated by the brooding, workaholic fallen angel Ambrose, he tells the story of his fall from Heaven, his despair at having no mission or purpose, and his serendipitous encounter with the demon Yuruch, with whom he enters into a covenant for mutual protection. Over the millennia, Ambrose and Yuruch form an eternal, unbreakable bond, and although Ambrose finds him insufferable at times, he would give his very life for his best friend and constant companion. Ambrose, through his friendships with Yuruch and his romance with Guardian Lavinia, learns a lesson about fate and destiny that frees him from a long lifetime nihilistic melancholy.

Here is the link to Jen’s Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Jen-Winters/e/B00RSOYPCA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Now, what is the common link between the three stories? Here he is:

Close-up portrait of a young masculine good looking man

This is Yuruch, the delightfully evil demon that you just can’t help but love! I wanted to get his side of the story and to learn more about what makes him tick, so he agreed to an interview:

Interview with Yuruch

J: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me today. And congratulations on the upcoming birth of your grandson. I think Geneva and Alex are going to make wonderful parents. I have some questions for you, but please feel free to skip any that you feel are inappropriate or would give away too much of your top-secret plans (not trying to incur the wrath of Hell here…)

Y: Thank you for thinking of me! I rarely get the opportunity to get my voice heard. People are so involved with my son and my brother that I never get a word in edgewise!

J: Sounds frustrating! What was your job as a “machine” under the Divine Will?

Y: Oh, I did a little of this and a little of that, but mainly I was in charge of delivering souls to creatures in need of them. I can tell you it was an ok job, but it seems to me that I could do better with fewer directives and more imagination.

J: Of course. Something all of us with monotonous jobs can relate to. So why did you choose to fight on Lucifer’s side?

Y: I wanted more freedom to be who I thought I should be. Lucifer offered me that chance. Unfortunately, he then changed his mind and tried to enslave me as much as the Other one did.

J: But you seem to despise Lucifer. Do you wish you had chosen differently? Or, were there any choices that were acceptable to you?

Y: If you knew what went on in Hell you wouldn’t like Lucifer either. He’s quite self-involved and the power he has is what had been given to him by others. I am disinterested in giving him what he hasn’t earned. The moment we all got souls, his deceptions became evident to me. I lost my power and my connection to the Creator because he lied to me. I may despise the Creator, but at least He has never lied to me. Lucifer deceived us all and apparently I am the only  demon that noticed. I will fight Lucifer until the end of time for breaking me with lies.

J: Sounds like a daunting task! Can you tell us what Lucifer and Hell are like? I’d rather hear it from you than experience it firsthand.

Y: The only power Lucifer has over Hell is what has been afforded him by the demons there. I hate to break it to you, but Hell isn’t for your kind, so you don’t have to even consider the possibility of ending up there yourself. There are places for your kind, but Hell is not one of them. Hell itself isn’t so bad, really. It’s the company that gives the place its reputation. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Fires of Hell, right? Myth. Sort of. The fires of hell refer to the fiery pain inflicted by the fiery swords of the angels. There are certainly many demons who are on fire for eternity in hell, but it’s not because Hell itself is on fire. They are the demons stupid enough to follow Lucifer into battle and lose.

J: I wish someone would say that to all those so-called “Christians” who are constantly screaming “You’ll burn in Hell!” Not very Christian-like at all in my opinion. But I digress. Do you have any theories on why the Creator gave you and Ambrose (and presumably, other demons and fallens) the ability to procreate, knowing that the offspring would be abominations and predestined to eternal damnation?

Y: Well, Ambrose thinks that way about our offspring, but I happen to think that if I wasn’t supposed to have kids, I wouldn’t be able to.  I don’t believe in predestination. I was given a soul and I am a free agent; my ability to choose is vital to the point of this universe. Alex maybe half demon and all werewolf, but as we all know, he is good to the core. I don’t know where I went wrong with that one.

J: Yeah, I do get the distinct impression that fatherhood isn’t Ambrose’s cup of tea. I know you’re not exactly thrilled that your arch-nemesis, Geneva Archer, is about to be your daughter-in-law. However, there are times when you seem to genuinely respect and admire her. I would like to hear more about Geneva from your perspective.

Y: Ah Geneva–she is a beauty, isn’t she? I am actually quite proud of Alex for that one! Who knew my genes would become the son of a Guardian? I wouldn’t say she is my arch-nemesis. I think I have proven to be my own worst enemy, haha; but she has been quite meddlesome, hasn’t she? I’d like to think that given time to get to know me, she would actually enjoy my company. Though, now that I am thinking about it, she reminds me of Eve. Now that woman scares me! I think given a few thousand years under her belt, Geneva could very well become the next Eve. She’s already set up for it being the mother of my grandson.

J: Learn to cook enchiladas. I think that will win her over ;). I’m curious: Why, of all places, did you choose Fort Worth, Texas?

Y:  *evil laughter* I chose Fort Worth because it was an easy target. All those humans milling about, complacent toward terrorism because they had never experienced anything so traumatizing as Chicago had. Ten years and they had forgotten what it was like to lose a limb. I reminded them. It was also helpful that the most powerful werewolf pack and the most powerful vampire coven were there. I had been sprinkling my genes into both of those lines since their inception and I was able to use the pack and the vampires to set off the bombs. Suicide bombers who couldn’t tell me no. It was a perfect plan.

J: That makes sense. And although I can’t say I agree with the taking of innocent lives, you do have a point about people becoming overly complacent. Now, let me ask you about Ambrose. You two are like night and day. Whereas you are excitable and impulsive, he is mainly an over-serious workaholic (unless you give him an Xbox, and then nothing gets accomplished). The flip side to that coin is that you two complement each other in a lot of ways, and he has expressed deep feelings for you. However, he never tires of telling anyone who will listen what a royal pain-in-the-behind you are to him at time, and I’m sure you think the same of him. The Covenant aside, how would you describe your longstanding, mutually beneficial partnership with Ambrose?

Y: I trust Ambrose with my life. I have to–he sustains it. But beyond that, he is a good guy. Sulky sure, and he holds on to his misery like no one I have ever met, but he’s good. He treats me as well as I can expect and he respects me as his brother. I don’t know anyone who sees me for who I am not just what I am. Yes, I am a demon and yes I do eveil things, but that’s all everyone except Ambrose sees. Ambrose sees me differently–maybe through some rose tinted glasses at times, but always as his brother first. And while it may seem odd coming from a demon, I love that guy too. Hes my only friend in the universe and I would do anything for him. Anything. I would save the immortal representation of Divine love for Ambrose. The only thing I have ever regretted in my life was disappointing Amrbose. I’d do anything to make it up to him.

J: It’s so rare to find a loyal friend. You have been blessed to have found Ambrose. What was it about Ambrose that made you decide he would be a good partner and companion?

Y: I spent quite a lot of time listening to the screams of the demons that Ambrose sent back to Hell, gift-wrapped for Lucifer. When Lucifer sent me after him, I knew that my time as second in command was at an end. Lucifer never wanted Ambrose dead, he wanted Ambrose to do his dirty work. When I became that dirty work–well, let’s just say I was a bit angry about that. Ambrose was an accident, but a good one nonetheless for me. Making that deal was the best thing I have ever done–even if Ambrose regrets it.

J: It’s pretty clear that Lucifer underestimated you both. What do think of Ambrose’s budding romance with Lavinia? What advice would you give him as a friend? Please note that it’s a little too late to tell him to go buy a pack of Trojans…

Y: HAHAHAHAHA!! When condoms came out, Ambrose tried them and found out too quickly that they didn’t work for him at all! Fortunately for him, the woman he got pregnant died shortly after in a freak accident. I had nothing to do with it no matter what he tells you. I have always enjoyed his offspring and would have really loved to see what became of that one. Personally, I don’t go for the whole soul mate thing, but I can see that he loves her in his own way. I personally don’t know her well. I encountered  her once about five thousand years ago, but she didn’t know me from any other demon at the time and I haven’t been inclined to remind her that I was the one who got away. As for advice? I’ve never loved anyone like that. I have kept a cool distance from the mothers of my offspring. So, I guess I should tell him not to screw it up! He’s pretty committed though. He’s an all or nothing kind of person.

J: Um…well, my sources are telling me that there will be a great love in your future. We shall see. What, besides tormenting Guardians and devastating major metropolitan areas, are your favorite hobbies?

Y: I do so love seeing what my offspring can do. Unlike Ambrose, I wait around for them to be born and I keep tabs on them. I also love to read and I have taken up the habit of journalling. I have journalled since the invention of papyrus. I have a whole shed of my life experiences hidden away (no I won’t tell you where). I also enjoy sports, especially the ones where balls are required. Tennis is fascinating. I find the human mind’s ability to invent games astonishing.

J: Can you tell me who’ll win the World Series this year? No? well, it was worth a shot…Anyhow, do you have a preference for any particular being’s “chi” or does it matter?

Y: By far, Ambrose is the best I’ve ever had. But throwing him out of the equation, I would say that the best I’ve ever had was this little thing in Ancient China. She was just a tiny thing, dying from starvation because she was  abandoned by her parents. I thought I would end the baby’s suffering and I took her chi away. It was perfect in every way. Not nearly as powerful as Ambrose’s, and it couldn’t sustain me for long, but it definitely tasted just as good as Ambrose’s.

J: So it’s true: you do have a soft side :D. About your son Alex: he seems especially willful and defiant, more so than your other children. What kind of antics did he get into as a kid? Any humorous stories to share? Did you ever have to give him a fatherly butt-whipping (or at least thought he needed one?)

Y: This is the one time I wish I had kept better track of my offspring. After he was twelve, I didn’t see him. Before he was twelve, I didn’t worry about him. It turns out that I should have taken a more active interest in him. In order for him to be my avatar I had to place a special bond on him. Unlike his siblings, he couldn’t be called until I was absolutely sure he had overcome the halfling side of himself. I had to do a whole deadly and disgusting ritual just so that Alex would be able to eventually control his wild side. Then Stephan got a hold of him and, sure he learned control, but then he also learned to be utterly good. Do you even know how inconvenient it was having him fight me the entire time I had him? I honestly believe that if he had just given up and let me be, I wouldn’t be in the situation I am in now. I would be comfortably ruling world already.

J: Yeah, probably. I don’t think DFACS comes after the supernatural, so maybe a little more discipline (your way) was in order. But despite being classified as a demon, you seem to have a lot of good qualities (as mentioned previously), such as loyalty, helpfulness, and a tiny bit of compassion (don’t worry; we won’t tell Lucifer). Are we to understand that no one, be they demons, fallens, angels, Guardians, humans, vampires, or otherwise, is 100% evil or 100% good?

Y:  We weren’t made to be good or evil. We were given the choice. So yes, I suppose that we all have the potential for good and evil in us–some of us lean more toward one than the other. But we are all free agents and we do what we want. I don’t feel particularly evil. Sure I’ve done some pretty horrible things, but those were just a means to an end. My ends aren’t particularly nasty. Ambrose once pointed out that everything I do is either sticking it to the Creator or sticking it to Lucifer, and that’s true, but that’s not the ultimate end for me. What I want is to be free and safe from the ones who have been hunting me my whole life.

J: That’s understandable. Ambrose seems to have an incredible knack for bungling up his assignments. I can almost see you do that Patrick Stewart-style face-palm. The first one changed the course of human history in a profound way. Do you have any idea what became of the twins? We have met their well-known mother. And since we’re on the subject, any idea of what became of her gullible, costally-deficient husband?

Y: Well that one he almost couldn’t help making a mess of, haha. Well of course the older brother killed the younger, but he survived long enough to pass on his soullessness to his offspring. Actually, there are many like him. Plenty of my unfinished assignments became soulless creatures. If you look hard enough at some people you can see it. There are people alive today that don’t have souls. I spent some time recently searching out those soulless individuals; they make great employees. they don’t have any moral obligations keeping them from accomplishing their tasks and they can be quite easily manipulated. I have used the soulless to accomplish many things including getting them into seats of power around the world.
J: Heck, yeah! Just watch the news and you see soulless people every day. Soulless people. One of the most recent examples occurred in a church, where people go to worship the Creator. If that isn’t soullessness, I don’t now what is.Now, in a suspiciously short time, two of the supposedly infertile Guardians conceived. Do you consider this to be a bad sign for demons? I mean, the last time such a miraculous conception occurred, the resulting child (the Son of the Creator and an ordinary human woman), wielded tremendous power over demons, including the ability to send them directly back to Hell. I bet your demon brothers are still complaining about the humiliating experience of having to occupy swine bodies.
Y: evil laughter* oh that was HILARIOUS!! I couldn’t have done it better myself! As for the Guardians, this has happened once before that I can remember. However, that one chose to remain human and died at the end of her human life. Now that we have two Guardians pregnant with the children of my kind, I am very curious to discover what and who they are. I would never remind Ambrose that his child with Lavinia is up for grabs for me. I think he may never forgive me, but if she’s useful, I might take advantage of her powers.
J: Oh, I think you’d have an easier time fighting Lucifer himself than Ambrose over Lavinia and their child. He’s really attached to her, you know. Do you believe that you (and other demons, fallens, and angels), have any control over your own destiny? I believe you alluded to this a time or two in a conversation with Ambrose (Ambrose: I’m going to Hell anyways. It’s just a question of ‘when?’ You: “Oh, stop being such a Negative Ned and go get that witch pregnant!”)
Y: Ambrose is quite fatalistic, isn’t he? It’s part of his charm. Personally I do think that we control our own destinies. Yes, I know there is the whole Divine Plan and that can’t be thwarted, but outside of the overall plan, we make our own destinies and lives. No I am not convinced about the whole soul mate thing that Ambrose is on right now. Soul mates isn’t something I ever experienced before the fall and I certainly haven’t seen proof of it since. Guardians claim certain men are their soul mates, but I think that they are exaggerating the circumstances. I’ve managed to take many Guardians’ powers away from them and none of them lived long enough to think me their soul mate.
J: I’m not so sure about that. It seems to me that Geneva is quite determined, and whatever she sets her mind to is pretty much gonna happen!. Can you give us a hint for any of your future plans? The ones that Ambrose seems to think are all hare-brained, idiotic bids for attention? Perhaps a tsunami? A nuclear power plant explosion? Oooh, how about another Ice Age?(Note: this third idea is of particular interest to the interviewer. She lives in Georgia and it is currently summertime. She’s not sure if Hell itself is very much hotter).
Y: I like how you think! Ice Age! That’s a BRILLIANT idea! Unfortunately for me, I’ve been cursed. I don’t even know what is going to happen. Hopefully this whole judgement thing will be over quickly and I can get back to sticking it to the Creator and Lucifer. Hopefully…

J: I think with the folks you have on your side, you’ll be back in the swing of things before you know it. Now finally, any words for your REAL Creator and Master, Mrs. Jen Winters? Keep in mind that you are subject to Her whims and desires, and She can do as She wishes to you without any prior warning, and that includes unspeakable eternal torment. I’d speak kindly to Her if I were you.

Y: What I would like to know is, what in the hell were you thinking cursing me like that?! I could have gone on forever without losing all the best bits of me! How are you going to put me back together? And where am I going?

Jen: Oh, Yuruch, if I told you that you would never learn. Good luck in Norway! See you soon!
J: (whispers) She’s pretty merciful and kind hearted. I think she’s on your side. And just between you and me, I think she considers you her best work. (normal voice). Well, I do thank you for your time. And I hear you have some rough days ahead. Good luck with that and I wish you the best.
Well, folks, you’ve heard straight from the demon’s mouth. To read more about the adventures of Yuruch and his family and companions, click on Jen’s author page above, which will include links to all three books. Youcan also find Jen on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WintersJen?fref=ts), Twitter (@JenWintersNE), and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10904196.Jen_Winters?from_search=true&search_version=service_impr). (But as for Yuruch, well, I don’t think he’s going to have very much Internet access in the days ahead….)
I hope you enjoyed this character interview. PLease reblog if you can. Thanks JW

Author Spotlight-Phillip T. Stephens.

While studying Latin-American and Spanish literature, I became interested in the picaresque genre. Reading works such as Lazarillo de Tormes and Perriquillo Sarniento gave me a taste for the pícaro, a usually wisecracking antihero who recounts his misadventures. While reviewing indie works, I had the pleasure of coming across two authors who have successfully created a modern-day American pícaro. One is Phillip T. Stephens in his novel Cigrets, Guns, and Beer.

Using dry wit and sardonic humor throughout, the novel recounts the story of Dodd Dodd Dodd (no joke-that’s his full legal name), a recent parolee who, having earned his law degree in prison, is headed to Santa Fe for a prospective job. Unfortunately, he finds himself broke down in, of all places, the same town where his ex-cellmate’s brother lives. Sweet Water Falls, Texas is no one-horse town; that would be implying there was a horse and thus, SOMETHING to do besides, as one character bluntly put it, “mattress surf.”  You can literally visualize the tumbleweeds rolling down the road amidst the tiny dust swirls. While waiting for his car to get fixed, Dodd pops into a local store and interrupts an attempted armed robbery by a punk kid. Giving in to a moment of compassion, Dodd takes the kid (who he knows would be fresh meat in the penitentiary) under his wing and tries to help him turn his life around. This is the first of many things that put him at odds with Mal Rafferty and Joe Bob and Ralph Meeker, who hold the titles of mayor, sheriff, justice of the peace, and just about every other official title. Thus begins the adventures of Dodd, whom Sweet Water Fall’s grand oligarchy has reason to believe was involved in a botched robbery many years before (and evidently, some scandal involving a flying saucer) and uses several (sometimes laughable) stall tactics to keep him in town long enough to get to the bottom of the issue.

Rafferty and the Meekers are almost cartoonish in their buffoonery. If you imagine Texas hillbilly versions of the Three Stooges with greedy streaks and incompetent criminal minds, you have these three jokers. They can’t cooperate or get a plan together, even when their life literally depends on it. It’s so easy to confuse them and pit them against each other. Dodd quickly figures this out and uses it to his advantage every chance he gets, and in no time at all, a comedy of errors ensues.

I found Dodd to be an extremely likeable character. He’s calm, cool, and collected, and seems determined to remain on the straight and narrow. Depending on your viewpoint, Cigrets is either misogynist or pro-feminist. In the two weeks we get with Dodd, almost every woman in town comes onto him, and he never turns down the chance for a piece of action. The sex scenes, while highly erotic, are not pornographic.

I would classify Cigrets as a “comedy thriller” (proof that contrasting genres can successfully be blended). Overall, I highly recommend it.

To read: http://www.amazon.com/Cigerets-Guns-Beer-Phillip-Stephens-ebook/dp/B00QLI1Q3K/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1430790783&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=cigrets+beer+and+guns

Author Spotlight-Jeff Mariotte

“Empty Rooms by Jeff Mariotte gripped me from the beginning and wouldn’t let me go. I am a huge fan of crime fiction, and this dark tale of kidnapping, pedophilia, despair, and poverty has made me an offical fan of Mariotte. Richie Krebbs, a recently fired police officer working in an unsatisfying job as a security guard, becomes increasingly fascinated with the abandoned Morton house. Thirteen years ago, a young girl named Angela Morton disappeared without a trace, and Richie finds it suspicious that her parents seemed detached and even unconcerned about their daughter’s disappearance. Richie becomes obsessed with solving the case, and enlists the help of Detective Frank Robey. Together, they embark on a cross-country search of Angela Morton and her parents.
His “good guys” are not perfect, and his “bad guys” are not totally evil. In this way, Mariotte humanizes his characters and the reader feels empathy towards all of them. Richie has a questionable work ethic and comes across as extremely self-absorbed. Likewise, Mariotte delves deep in the mind of a sick pedophile and gives a very objective account of his life-long struggle, and eventual acceptance, of his tendencies. I give Mariotte an A+ for character development.
There were a few plot points that I feel were slightly underdeveloped and even somewhat questionable. The author implies that the pedophile had an incestous relationship with his mother, but there is a part at the end that, if this is true, would disturb readers. (I don’t want to spoil the ending, so I won’t go further than that). And some important characters (such as Sheriff Kate) were cut off at the end. Mariotte had to take a few fictional liberties to make the plot work (an extremely understanding wife who allows him to quit his job although the budget is stretched to the limit to pursue this case, a trusting detective who essentially gives Richie a blank check to finance the pursuit, and a few others) but I think all writers have to do that (myself included). Although I understand that Mariotte was trying to portray the darker side of human nature,  I feel that Mariotte was a little heavy-handed in the theme of domestic violence (basically portraying every man he encounters on the case as a wife-beater and every married woman as afraid to talk to him). The subplot of Wil Fowler and his family is not completely satisfied, so I would love it if Mariotte wrote a follow-up novel that centers around him and his situation.
Mariotte’s use of language is impeccable. He uses a combination of serious narration, manly sarcasm, and local/cultural dialect to tell a vivid tale. His use of wording is anything but cliched. He also expertly uses several symbols and motifs to drive his plot (Superman, angels, the Morton House, and especially the literal and figurative use of “empty rooms”). Mariotte is clearly not afraid to take on some extremely controversial issues, something I highly respect in a writer. I am a new fan and will definitely be reading more of Mariotte’s work.”
To read: http://www.amazon.com/Empty-Rooms-Krebbs-Robey-Casefiles-ebook/dp/B00SLPQLGS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1425832173&sr=1-1&keywords=Empty+Rooms

Presenting a Special Guest-Ian Williams

Ian Williams’ Transitory was book of the month for January. This was the first month of this club, and the response and enthusiasm was tremendous.

Ian Williams is a science fiction writer from the United Kingdom. Transitory, which is about a businessman who travels to a distant planet and finds out that he is the target of a hitman, is Williams’ first novel. He recently released a second novel called The Sentient Collector, which is first in a dystopian trilogy.

To check out Transitory: http://www.amazon.com/Transitory-Ian-Williams-ebook/dp/B00LACOVU2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423431456&sr=8-1&keywords=transitory

Here are what some reviewers have said about Transitory:

1. “The author, Ian Williams, took me to a fantastically different location without the normal dreary travel time evident in some science fiction books. His characterisations were brilliant. They made me care about Nate, the main character, and also the others who were helping him get to the truth.”

2. “This book is unlike anything I have read before. I found it refreshing and new. I read it pretty quickly because I had a really hard time putting it down. There were no slow dragging spots and it kept a nice steady pace.”

3. “…this book made it quite easy for me to picture the new world in my mind. There wasn’t an overabundance either which usually makes my eyes glaze over.”

4. “…I do believe that it will be a great read for those who like descriptive sci-fi.”

5. “I fell in love with Nate’s sassy mouth and cunning humor. His reactions to unusual and bizarre situations were often what mine would be, along with his coping mechanism of snarky remarks. It was nearly as much of a treat to be inside his head as inside this alien sci-fi environment.”

I was wondering what the story behind Transitory and what made Williams decide to write it. Here is an interview:

1: Was the writing based on something personal such as a war or love experience or was it all fiction?

Answer 
Transitory was all fiction unfortunately. I’d love to say that parts of it were based on personal experiences, but they weren’t. Of course how characters interact and how people talk will have been influenced by people I see everyday.

2: Is there going to be a follow up book to explore the budding romance, the punishments and how Nate deals with all of it?

Answer 
I haven’t ruled out a sequel. In time I may decide to return and take the story further. But for that to happen it would have to move beyond Nate and the others. To me it seems that L’Armin is the character who has the most interesting past and the potential to go much further than Transitory could. I would love to explore this story, with Nate and the others involved too of course.

3. How long did it take to write Transitory?

Answer
It took me around a year to write. This being my first book meant I spent longer than I would today. My aim these days is to have the first draft of a new book finished in roughly four months, followed by another two months of rewrites and editing.

4. What drew you to the science fiction genre?

Answer
I’ve always loved science fiction, mainly for the way it can tell multiple stories in one. I grew up watching TV shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation (I also loved Quantum Leap and Stargate) and they always managed to do this in an enjoyable way.

Transitory was written as if it were a single episode of a TV show. This meant it was always supposed to be quite compact and yet explore large subjects at the same time. Science fiction is a genre that I natural lean towards because of this. I don’t feel that I could write the stories I want to in any other genre.

5. In Transitory, you explore the theme of corporate dominance and exploitation. What are your thoughts on this?

Answer
I don’t believe all corporations are inherently evil, but I do believe that they can sometimes act in such a way, particularly when it comes to natural resources. The corporate mentality is to put a price on anything and everything, even human life. They will find profit in any way they can and that sometimes means bending rules – or breaking them entirely. What is right is often less defined when there is money to be made.

This was the reason behind the theme of exploitation in Transitory. Nate’s company travel the galaxy in search of raw materials locked up inside asteroids. To them it is a routine job. But they have no idea what an alien species would make of such an act, more importantly I suspect they simply wouldn’t care. Like Fracking beneath people’s homes, it is done with only one concern: profit.

Nate, on the other hand, just hasn’t really thought about it before. L’Armin’s views on space mining would have been the first time anyone had ever really questioned him on the morality of such an industry. I’d like to think he would have changed his ways because of this.

6. Do you believe that in the future, space travel will be routine?

Answer
I do think this will happen, and sometime within the next thirty years. Only recently a private firm was given the go ahead to transport equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. When this is being done on a regular basis it will open up space to others too. I think this will then slowly filter down to the rest of the population.

As for travelling the galaxy, like in Transitory, I think that will take much longer. For that to happen we will need many advancements in space technology first. But with ambitious plans to land humans on Mars and even an asteroid only decades away, things are still certainly looking good for space travel.

7. Do you believe there is life on other planets? If so, do you think they are friendly, peaceful beings?

Answer
I do believe there is life on other planets. The general scientific consensus is that the chances of life existing elsewhere in the universe is overwhelmingly possible, if not likely. Take the findings from the Kepler Space Telescope for example. It has detected and confirmed the presence of over a thousand Exoplanets and is investigating many more; all this since 2009. Scientists are finding more and more each year.

If you then take into consideration that estimates put the number of stars in The Milky Way alone as somewhere in the region of 300 billion, then it becomes clear that there is indeed a high probability of some of those being orbited by planets containing life. Whether that life is intelligent is a different matter. 

I hope that somewhere there are other intelligent beings searching for signs of another form of life, and that they are friendly – although if we were ever to meet them I wouldn’t be so sure that they would consider us friendly and peaceful as a race.

8. What is your personal favorite part of Transitory?

Answer
My favourite part of Transitory is Nate’s memory of the mining convention he attended (Chapter 9).This was fun to write as I was doing everything I could to show that Nate isn’t particularly good at his job. He fluffs his lines when reading out his speech, he fails to answer questions and generally deals with it in a very unprofessional way. It was one of the points in the story that showed how Nate copes under pressure – or doesn’t in this case.

Nate’s character was intended to be arrogant, some have even said unlikeable, at the beginning. He comes across as selfish and often quite rude too. I did this to show how Nate’s character changes over time throughout the story. By the end of the book I wanted the reader to have warmed to him and even to start to like him. When he is forced into a corner and left with a moral choice, he will always do the right thing, despite what his corporate brain tells him to do.

Chapter 9 is also where an important plot twist is revealed to the reader. I enjoyed writing this part a lot.

9. You currently have a dystopian trilogy in the works (the first of the series has recently been released. do you care to tell us a little about that?

Answer
With The Sentient Collector I wanted to try and tell the story that comes after the world’s first Artificial Intelligence is created. In book 1 the AI has already existed for 7 years and things have started to unravel.

The story follows 3 characters as they each become embroiled in an ever deepening plot. Graham Denehey works for the company which created the AI, Phoenix is an outsider working for the wrong man, whereas Kristof is the man brought in to prevent a crisis. What brings the story together is one man known only as The Sentient Collector. Finding this unknown figure is the key to preventing a terrible event.

Transitory was always intended to be a short story or novella. The Sentient Collector, on the other hand, was planned as a full book followed by another 2 books. The Trilogy is already written in my head, I just need to put finger to keyboard and finish it.

10. Are there any other thoughts you wish to share?

Answer
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jessica Wren for making Transitory Book of the Month for January. To have my first ever book featured in a book club is a true honour and one I will always be grateful for.

I would also like to take this moment to thank everyone who bought, read and reviewed Transitory. Hearing what you all thought of it has been a real joy.

If you are a fan of Ian Williams, of science fiction, or just want to show you support to a promising new author, I strongly encourage you to join the Ian Williams Fan Club. There are three ways to join:

1. On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/154950-ian-williams-fan-club
2. On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1568863896693454/
3. On Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/communities/107572608043988627238

If you would like to join Jessica and Jen's Book of the Month Club, it is loads of fun and a great way to meet new friends and help promote rising indie authors:

1. On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/153603-jessica-s-book-of-the-month
2. On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Jessicasbotm/
3. On Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/communities/114857677243125019375

Regards, 
Jessica Wren

Author Spotlight-A.S Aramiru

As writing goes more indie, I am getting the pleasure of reading many more blended genre books. Authors are no longer pigeonholed into a single genre. The novel I just finished, A.S. Aramiru’s Black Halo: The Witch and The Guardian is an expertly blended book that is equal parts young-adult, dystopian, and fantasy. And like a perfectly mixed drink, Black Halo gives you a satisfying buzz without leaving you with a hangover. 
Out of nowhere, a mysterious light appears out of the sky. The world descends into chaos, violence, and confusion,and world leaders blame the mayhem on the “gifteds,” a group of mostly adolescents with supernatural abilities, such as telepathy, teleportation, clairvoyance, and element-bending. It is rumored that the gifteds got their powers from the Light, which created The Witch.
The theme of friendship and loyalty is prevalent throughout.  The Witch and Kalin (her guardian) are completely devoted to protecting and supporting each other, which gives the story a heartwarming feel. As for the other characters, the reader is left wondering whom to trust, as it is difficult to tell friend from foe amidst the chaos and everyone seems to have his or her own personal agenda. Other very important themes are acceptance vs. stereotyping and intolerance.  Aramiru also contemplates the role that free will has on our destinies, and to what extent our destinies are pre-determined. 
Is The Witch really as evil as the media claims she is? What power does she have to change the world? What will she have to sacrifice in order to fulfill her destiny? This page-turner will keep you reading just to find out the answers to these questions.”
To read:  http://www.amazon.com/Black-Halo-Guardian-S-Aramiru-ebook/dp/B00PGFI8HQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1421713813&sr=1-3&keywords=Black+Halo