Science Fiction

Aurelia Maria Casey

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Aurelia Maria Casey
  • Genre: fantasy and science fiction, with occasional hints of romance and thriller
  • Books: Sorcerous & Beastly Season 1 from the Sorcerous & Beastly Series
  • Official Site

Bio

When I’m not hanging out in my fairy court conversing with you, my readers, and occasionally my characters, I am a fashion designer and a biomedical engineer because I love transforming ideas from my imagination to reality. It’s the same thought process as storytelling, really. Just a different medium.

 I write the stories that my imagination won’t let me forget about. These stories fall into many different genres and for many different age groups. (Don’t worry, I keep the forums and podcasts PG-13 and I rate my books the same way Hollywood rates movies, so you’ll always know what to expect). I love exploring story from many perspectives, so I started a book club where we can discover new authors in a breadth of genres.


Accomplishments

Editor of an annual Domestic Violence Awareness short story and poetry anthology, the proceeds of which get donated to support victims and survivors.


 Blurb

A villain Death is afraid of. One girl left to die in the Enchanted Forest, the other ran away and got stuck there. A lord playing prince and a prince who breaks the law. Can they overcome impossible odds and find each other in time to do what Death won’t?

 Hi.

I’m Death, and this is a story about a time I failed.

But honestly, I had almost nothing to do with anything that happened. So it isn’t really my fault.

You see, there’s someone who terrifies me. He’s done some truly horrific things. Basically, he’s the cruelest man alive.

I’m going to start at the prophecy, because until then I was avoiding my job. The prophecy made me hope that someone else would save me from having to be a hero.

Heroism really isn’t my thing. I traverse the world of the living and collect souls who are ready to move on to the afterlife. Nothing heroic about that.

Anyway, after the prophecy I started paying attention to life again, just to keep track of things. It’s taken me a long time to gather all the pieces of this story. It’s about some real strong girls and boys, men and women, who managed to accomplish something I thought was impossible.

I’ll let you judge for yourself whether or not I’m a coward for staying mostly on the sidelines.


 Excerpt

I suppose you might think that I’m only making excuses. You could be right. This story certainly wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been scared. Cowardly, perhaps. But I’m not telling you this story for my benefit. I’m telling you this story because someone needs to remember. Someone needs to hold me accountable for all the lives I’ve ruined.

So. To begin:

Once upon a time, far, far away, there was an enchanted forest. To the east and west of this forest were impassable mountains. To the north and south were two kingdoms which had almost nothing to do with each other. Many generations ago there had been a large road through the enchanted forest which connected these two kingdoms, but when the Wolf Queen usurped control over the enchanted kingdom it became impassable. After years of traders entering the forest on that road and never returning, these two countries grew apart. There remained a small amount of diplomatic contact but the sea-voyage was treacherous and ships were nearly as unreliable as the trade road had become.

The kingdom in the north was called Manassa and it was the most dreary of rainy, foggy, damp countries. The Manassans were primarily interested in fighting the nomadic reindeer-herding barbarians in the far north. Having no good grazing land, the Manassans fought fiercely to survive in their stone fortresses, scraping by with what little wheat could be grown in the stony soil. 

The kingdom in the south, known as Sacor, was vibrant and lush with the perfect balance of seasons. In fact, it was so lovely that the fairies caught in the Enchanted forest were jealous that mere humans could live in such a fairyland. As a collective of dukedoms, ruled over by one duke elected to the Governorship every twenty years, the Sacorans were a peace-loving and cultured society. They had little interest in warring with other countries, and luckily had nothing of value to other countries. The worst spat of violence Sacor had experienced in its history was a great duel between two young noblemen over who would marry the Governor’s daughter, fabled to be the most beautiful woman in all the world. Or so the fairies claimed.
But one day, all the magical creatures everywhere in the world disappeared. They vanished, and no-one could discover where they went or why they left. Fairies and elves became legend and hobgoblins and pixies became stories to frighten children. Sorcerers practiced their arts in secret, and witches were laughed at.

Still, nobody was brave enough to enter the Enchanted Forest.

Until one day a Sacoran father-to-be, desperate for a remedy for his pregnant wife, wandered over the edge of his garden and into the forest. He was chasing after snowdonia hawkweed, which is a real plant although it is extremely rare and difficult to find, because the midwife told him its healing properties would ease the birthing.

Fortunately for him, before he could go far enough to be noticed by the Wolf Queen’s spies, the last mamitu stopped him. She was bony-thin from hunger, her black hair hanging thin and stringy down her back. Despite this, her black ridged horns twisted delicately from her temples crowning her with dignity.

She sent him home, saying his wife would come through her labor safely and his firstborn would become the greatest queen in all the world. Before he could thank her, she loped away, drawing the wolf spies after her. The mamitu had stopped him before he could cross the inner ward and he returned unscathed from the forest’s edge to find all as the mamitu had decreed

-<>-

Almost exactly ten years later, Viola was almost to the stone wall at the very back of the gardens. She could see the ward crystals glittering when the breeze moved the foliage to let the sunlight through. The ward crystals were superstitious nonsense: everyone knew that, but everyone used them anyway, which was a good thing, because they did work only nobody remembered that because the magical creatures had disappeared centuries before. Viola and Robbie, the stable boy, had been sneaking out to play just past the wall, where none of the servants would think to look for her.

A bumble bee buzzed around the blooming roses, and she smiled. Soon she would have the freedom to stop and smell the roses too.

Viola was running away. She thought the stories her nurse told her of the monsters in the forest were scary, but she felt that her upcoming tenth birthday celebration was more terrifying than pixies and wolves and enchantresses. Dresses were inconvenient, hot, and itchy. She hated cakes and icing and fruit punch. But most of all, she hated how everyone would be expecting her to look the part of a future queen and would see her awkward, clumsy, shy, self. Somehow whenever she had to speak to anyone important she started stuttering and couldn’t remember anything she was supposed to know. Of course, this included her parents who consequently thought her to be stupid and lazy. But they couldn’t entirely ignore her because of the Mamitu’s prediction when she was born: that she would grow up to become a queen. Viola had no desire to be a queen. All she wanted was to be left alone. So far as she could tell, queens had to do everything she hated: studying boring books, planning parties, talking to strangers. Math and genealogies. Ugh! She shuddered at the thought and ran the rest of the way to the wall.

She was about to clamber up and over it when she heard a crash-clatter-thump behind her. 


Interview with Aurelia

Angela B. Chrysler: I want to take a moment to welcome Aurelia Maria Casey author of [add however many titles you would like] available on [add link]. Thank you so much for speaking with me, Ms. Casey. Please take a moment to tell us about your book.

 ABC: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

AMC: Well, unlike most of my stories, the story spark for Sorcerous & Beastly was actually a variation of Cinderella and Ella Enchanted that I came up with when I was about twelve. It wasn't the first story spark I had that was worth pursuing, but it's the first one that's finished.

 ABC: Stories always require some form of research. What kind of research did you do for your book?

AMC: I've read a lot. I think most of my research was understanding fairy tale and fantasy novel tropes, so I could pick which elements would work and which were too cliche and boring. There are a few cliche things that I kept on purpose because I wanted readers aware that there may be some fairy tale elements to watch out for. Sorcerous & Beastly definitely isn't pure fantasy. There are hints of mythological influences, most notably the fact that Death is a character: the narrator, in fact.

 ABC: Which scene or chapter was the hardest for you to write?

AMC: The scenes without dialog are always the hardest for me, because I worry that the narrative isn't engaging enough without conversation. However, there are a couple characters who have more of an internal journey than an external one, so that was definitely a challenge.

 ABC: Please describe your favorite scene or chapter in your book and tell us why it’s your favorite?

AMC: I love the part(s) where Death forgets he's a narrator and takes action within the story itself. Also, I like when he interjects into his own narrative with asides and commentary. That's always fun.

 ABC: Which of your characters, do you relate to the most (or) who is your favorite character and why?

AMC: In Sorcerous & Beastly I definitely relate to Viola most because she is based on my seven-year-old self even though she's ten. But my favorite character ever is Elethiere. She's an elf and I've been working hard on her story since before I had the idea for Sorcerous & Beastly. Elethiere's story is the one that propelled me to become a writer rather than merely someone with an active imagination.

 ABC: I once read that every author is simply a compilation of his/her favorite authors. Which authors have done the most to influence your writing and why?

AMC: I think every author I read has an influence on my writing. Sherwood Smith is my favorite author of all time. However, there are many other authors I love: Ilona Andrews, Patrick Rothfuss, Mercedes Lackey, Anne Bishop, Tolkein, CS Lewis, JK Rowling, Devon Monk, Lisa Shearin, Ashley Capes, Rachael Ritchey, to name a few. I'm working on building a database in my Fairy Court where you can find the books I would recommend from all my favorite authors.

 ABC: “Story” has always been the center of all human cultures. We need it. We seek it out. We invent it. What does “story” mean to you?

AMC: A story is something that entertains and teaches. Everything important about how people work and interact with each other and how to overcome seemingly impossible challenges I learned from reading fantasy and romance and science fiction and literature. It's way more fun than a psychology class, in my opinion. It's a way to dream collectively, and then we can collectively decide which dreams to transform into reality through innovation in tech, fashion, food, etc.

 ABC: Tells us about your next project.

AMC: Well, I have several projects in the works. The Necromancer of Many Faces is the first novel in the Intrigue series. If you want a peek at that world, you can read my short story Assassin, which takes place in between books 3 and 4. I'm also working on another serial called The Exclusives which is science fiction and I'll be reading that on my podcast Storytime starting in December. You can listen to all of Sorcerous & Beastly one episode at a time starting in September. And of course I'm working on Elethiere's story. Chains of Destruction is a short story that I originaly intended as the proglogue to Elethiere's Story.

ABC: Where can we find you and your book?

AMC: Join my Purple Court! You get access to all sorts of cool stuff including a forum where my characters sometimes drop by to say hi, and notifications and updates whenever I publish something new. I'm also entering everyone who joins in August into a drawing to get an e-book version of the complete first season of Sorcerous & Beastly. Go to http://amcasey.com/join and start reading the stories in your starter library!

ABC: Thank you again, so much for speaking with me.


A word with Death...

Q: Go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell the audience about yourself.

Death: I'm Death. I'm immortal and stuff, and I help souls transition from living to dead.

Q: Tell us where and when were you born.

Death: I guess I was born before the beginning of time. I don't really know. Time isn't the same for me as it is for you mortals.

Q: How would you describe yourself?

Death: I like to think I'm dedicated and hard working. But I know most people think I'm selfish and cruel. It's hard to be popular when your job is to help people pass from Life to the Afterlife. The Living almost never understand.

Q: Tell us about where you grew up.

Death: It was wonderful. The world wasn't overcrowded then, so I could take my time and explore the world of the living and the world of the dead. Now I'm overwhelmed with the vast number of souls I have to collect.

Q: Tell everyone what it is you do when you’re not [verb from previous question].

Death: It's been a really long time since I've been able to take a long enough break from reaping to do this, but I love collecting the stories of the dead. I find it so fascinating how their motivations change between life and death, and it's comforting for some of them when they first cross over to know that someone remembers what they were and cares.

Q: Are you serious with anyone?

Death: No. Unlike your Hades, I don't have a Persephone yet. Maybe I'll find someone, but for now I am alone.

 Q: Tell us about your worst fear.

Death: He's the cruelest man alive. I refuse to allow him into the afterlife because he'll continue to cause problems for the dead if I do. That's all I want to say.


http://amcasey.com/join Go to my site and join the purple court for a chance to win the complete Sorcerous & Beastly Season 1, open during August only. Winners will be congratulated on Storytime at the end of Sorceorus & Beastly Episode 1 and emailed.



Buy the Books!

 For the month of august, anyone who joins the Purple Court (http://amcasey.com/join) will be entered to win an ebook copy of Sorcerous & Beastly the Complete First Season. Whether or not you win you'll get access to the starter library, world building documents, forum, and more as soon as you join.

See the Brain to Books Blog Tour Giveaways with Lu!

A Brain to Books Production

 

Alan Black

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts

  • Author: Alan Black
  • Genre: A little bit of everything
  • Books:
    • Chasing Harpo (action/humor)
    • Metal Boxes (science fiction - military, space opera)
    • The Friendship Stones (Christian, historical, young adult - book one in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)
    • Steel Walls and Dirt Drops - (science fiction - military)
    • The Granite Heart (Christian, historical, young adult - book two in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)
    • Chewing Rocks (science fiction - space opera)
    • The Heaviest Rock (Christian, historical, young adult - book three in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)
    • A Cold Winter (western novelette)
    • Titanium Texicans (science fiction - young adult space opera)
    • Empty Space (science fiction - military)
    • How To Start, Write, and Finish Your First Novel (non-fiction)
    • The Inconvenient Pebble (Christian, historical, young adult - book four in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1925)
    • Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside (science fiction - military, space opera)
  • Official Site

Bio

I started writing sometime in the second grade, well over fifty years ago….I think. Gaak! Who remembers that far back? I started my first novel in 1996. His writing tastes are as eclectic as his reading preferences.

I was born in central Kansas, grew up in Gladstone, Missouri and graduated from Oak Park Senior High School, eventually earning a liberal arts degree from Longview Community college. I did spent most of my adult life in the Kansas City area. The U.S. Air Force stationed me Texas, California, Maryland, and Japan. I got married in the late 70s and I’m still married to the same woman. We now live in sunny Arizona.

I am an indie multi-genre writer who has never met a good story he didn't want to tell. My vision statement: "I want my readers amazed they missed sleep because they could not put down one of my books. I want my readers amazed I made them laugh on one page and cry on the next. I want to give my readers a pleasurable respite from the cares of the world for a few hours. I want to offer stories I would want to read."


Accomplishments

Black's scifi book Metal Boxes hit #1 on Amazon.


Blurb

Without warning, Stone found himself flying across the room, smacking face first into the opposite wall. The top side of the heavy conference table slammed into his back, sandwiching him so hard he imagined he looked like mayonnaise oozing out between two pieces of bread, but it didn’t hurt. There was no noise or bright flash of an explosion. He didn’t even hear the table as gravity dragged it back to the floor, nor did he feel the slightest pain as the sandwich fell apart and he crashed down beside the table.

Stone rolled to his hands and knees. Rough hands grabbed him. Someone grabbed a fistful of hair and yanked his face upward. Numos pulled, brutally twisting his arms and legs. Stone wanted to object. He didn’t feel a thing and, although he could see Numos screaming at him, he couldn’t hear a thing.


Interview with Alan Black

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing? What is one thing that would surprise us?) I started writing early, but I didn’t finish my first full length novel (100,000 words) until the late 1990s. Generally, when I’m not writing, I’m editing, publishing and marketing my books. This is my full time job and I put in about 60 to 80 hours a week at it.

Is this your first book? Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside is not my first book published. I’m writing my twentieth book, but I’ve only published thirteen of them so far. How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable.

Chasing Harpo (action/humor)

Metal Boxes (science fiction - military, space opera)

The Friendship Stones (Christian, historical, young adult - book one in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)

Steel Walls and Dirt Drops - (science fiction - military)

The Granite Heart (Christian, historical, young adult - book two in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)

Chewing Rocks (science fiction - space opera)

The Heaviest Rock (Christian, historical, young adult - book three in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1920)

A Cold Winter (western novelette)

Titanium Texicans (science fiction - young adult space opera)

Empty Space (science fiction - military)

How To Start, Write, and Finish Your First Novel (non-fiction)

The Inconvenient Pebble (Christian, historical, young adult - book four in An Ozark Mountain Series - 1925)

Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside (science fiction - military, space opera)

What genre is it and what is it about? Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside is a military/space opera science fiction novel. It’s the sequel to Metal Boxes and is about the continuing adventures of Blackmon Perry Stone, a young man in service to the empire. Against his personal preferences (he is agoraphobic - that means he is afraid of being outside, not being afraid of sweaters made from goat hair), his new assignment is to lead a team doing planet pacification of a newly discovered world. Not only is it all outside, but they find a warring alien race.

What inspired you to write this book?

The feedback from the first book drove me to write the sequel.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

The original book Metal Boxes was titled that because the protagonist grew up in Metal Boxes (space stations and spaceships). He never ventured outside under open skies until he was in his teens. Hence, he is agoraphobic. The second title plays against the first. He is still agoraphobic, but now he is trapped outside.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The artwork for this new book was done by Bill Wright. You can see his artwork at https://www.flickr.com/photos/billwrigt1/

The cover layout was done by the excellent people at The Cover Collection at http://www.thecovercollection.com/

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

I haven’t actually cast the actors in this book. Some I have, but in this story, I prefer the reader build their own mental image.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write? Robert Heinlein and Louis L’Amour were my two favorite authors growing up. Some people are surprised that they wrote in such disparate genres. I disagree. The only difference between scifi and westerns is location. They are still morality stories with good vs evil.

What does your writing process look like?

I actually go into my process in depth in my book How To Start, Write, and Finish Your First Novel. I pick a character that I like and throw all the nasty crap at them I can think of. By the time they get all of their problems resolved, the book is done. I don’t edit, I don’t proofread, check spelling, format or even worry about the color of the hero’s girlfriend’s hair. My rough draft is all about story and action. Then I go back and rewrite all the other stuff and start fixing my mistakes. Rule #2 in writing is that you can’t fix what ain’t been writ.

Are you a plotter or a pantster (writing by the seat of your pants)?

I am a pantser. I have a rough idea where the story might end up, but when I am in the middle of writing, I couldn’t tell you what is going to happen in the next paragraph until I’ve written it.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why? How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

My favorite character to write is Harpo Marks from Chasing Harpo. He is an orangutan. Part of the book is written from his point of view. I had a lot of fun with it because I struggled not to anthropomorphize him into a semi-human. He has a sense of realism to his ape-ness, but he has grown used to humans and adopted some small characteristics. My least favorite characters are easy to spot because I kill them off. Not everyone who dies in my books is someone real, but some are. Not everyone who dies in my books is someone who I don’t like, but some are. For example I kill off a character in Metal Boxes - Trapped Outside who was modeled after a good friend of mine. She complained, but that is the way the story goes.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years, I will still be writing and publishing. I don’t know where the publishing business will be, but I will be here. My list of published books will be longer as I have a goal to write four books a year.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I do read my reviews, but I never ever ever respond to them. I will answer direct questions on my website or Amazon Author Page, or Goodreads, or Facebook, or Twitter, but not a review. My best advice to bad reviews is to read them carefully. Search them diligently for clues to improve your writing. Develop a thick skin and learn that reproof will only make you better. If there isn’t anything to learn from a review, good or bad, then give a little shrug, have another glass of wine, and mentally put it aside.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

The best marketing is word of mouth. Tell someone about the book. Oh, don’t lend them the book, but write a review, tell a friend, mention it to a co-worker at lunch.

What is your best marketing tip?

I put marketing tips on my website. So far I have collected 49 different things for author to try. There is a tab for Marketing Tips on the home page.

What are you working on now?

Strangely, I am not writing scifi. I alternate scifi with something else. I am writing a Christmas Romance novel.

What do you wear while writing?

I write in gym shorts and a t-shirt. Not that I go to the gym, their just comfy.

What literary character is most like you?

There aren’t any literary characters like me. Oh, you read about guys like me in books, but we don’t get names. We’re just the tertiary character whose body is found in a dumpster by the protagonist or the guy who’s too fat to run away from the Zombies and dies in chapter two.

If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?

The ability to convince people I’m right…whether I am or not.

What is your favorite movie?

I like the movie “Silverado”. It is a fast paced western with a superb cast. It is fun without taking itself too seriously.

What makes you cry?

One of the rules of writing these days is that you can’t kill a dog or a horse. It is deadly to readers. That always makes me cry. I’ve done it, but I hated it much worse than killing people.



Timothy Bateson

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Fact

  • Author: Timothy Bateson
  • Genre: Science Fiction & Urban Fantasy short stories
  • Books: Across the Karman Line
  • Official Site

Bio

Timothy is a displaced Englishman, currently living in Alaska. Since moving to Alaska in 2005 he has participated in a succession of NaNoWriMo events, honing his writing skills. He has also been working on a number of writing projects with his wife, Sandi, a fellow creative soul. 
From there projects has sprung an alternative Seattle, populated by mortals, with a vibrant supernatural community. Between them, the creative couple write short stories and novels, based in this wonderful setting, sharing locations, characters, and a common overarching plot. More recently he has started branching out into science-fiction, and has found this just as much fun to write in between plotting his novel, and filling out the background of his Seattle. 


Accomplishments

Timothy has participated in several NaNoWriMo events over the last few years, and only failed to complete the 50,000 word goal twice in that time. 

As an avid amateur  falconer, Timothy has had the honor of handling and flying almost every class of raptor, from the little owl, all the way up to the Martial Eagle. 
Sold out his first book signing event, at Fireside Books, when "Moon Shadows" released in October 2014. 

Is active in  a number of online writing and reading communities on Goodreads and Google+, and recently guest hosted a number of book reviews and author bios as part of the Author Cyber Convention 2015 (arranged through Goodreads).

Has had the pleasure of working very closely with Fireside Books, his local independent bookstore, on two book signings, and a handful of other author/reader events.


Blurb

In space, fate rests in the hands who created the craft. Wits and creative risk separate life from death while navigating the three-dimensional sea or marooned on an alien planet. The trust between captain and crew unifies a mission. And sometimes, the final take-off is the hardest.


M.T. McGuire

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Fact

  • Author: M.T. McGuire
  • Genre: Humorous science fiction fantasy action adventure with a dash of clean romance
  • Books:
    • Short story prequel of the K'Barthan Series, Unlucky Dip
    • Few Are Chosen, K'Barthan Series: Part 1
    • The Wrong Stuff, K'Barthan Series: Part 2
    • One Man: No Plan, K'Barthan Series: Part 3
    • Looking For Trouble, K'Barthan Series: Part 4
  • Official Site

Bio

M T McGuire is a 46 year old stay-at-home mum. She used to do stand up but sat down to write books when she got married. Sixteen years later, she has finished the K'Barthan Trilogy. She still checks all unfamiliar wardrobes for a gateway to Narnia, which probably tells you everything you need to know about her. She lives in Bury St Edmunds with a McOther a McSon and a McCat.

If you've read any of her stuff, she'd like to say, 'thank you' and hopes you enjoyed it.

 Read the blurbs here!


Interview with McGuire

 Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?

My name is M T McGuire and I’m an authorholic. Seriously though, I think the reason I started writing was because I couldn’t not ... although it was a while before I realised that was the root cause. Also, my mind spent so much time away with the fairies that it seemed logical to try and show people where it went. I am a stay at home mum so when I’m not writing, which is a lot of the time, I’m looking after my boy, or checking up on my folks, who are a bit doddery and live a long way away, or doing social other things so that I have more stuff to write about. I also like wine tasting, gardening, reading, painting and I go metal detecting quite often. Some of the stuff I’ve found is hundreds of years old but I’ve yet to find anything worth more than about ten quid.

Is this your first book?

It’s my first series – The K’Barthan Series – and it stands complete at four full length novels and a short. Writing them did feel like writing one huge novel at times and I was mightily relieved when I finally got the whole story out there. The beginning of the series, Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Series: Part 1 was the first decent book I managed to write. It took me 13 years during which time I wrote 3 other books I heartily wish someone else had written.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is the book about?

My genre; when people ask, I say I write humorous science fiction fantasy for teenagers. Unfortunately, it’s a lie as I actually write what pleases me. So take the K’Barthan Series, which is the extent of my novels in the public domain. There’s quite a lot going on. It’s basically about a bumbling cowardly getaway driver in a parallel reality (K’Barth). He’s blacklisted, which means his existence is treason and he’s an outlaw. All he wants is a quiet life but the more he tries to blend in and disappear the more trouble he gets himself into. Eventually he has to take on the nation’s despot leader to save the life of the woman he loves.

There’s a lot of humour, there is science – the cars fly and the mobile phones run on static (rub them in your hair to charge) –the parallel world, K’Barth, is full of weird and wonderful creatures in varying sizes, degrees of hairiness, shapes, colours etc. The Pan’s ex boss is a 6ft swamp thing with orange skin and antennae, the head of the Resistance movement is a Blurpon: a small monopedal cat like creature with red fur, a propensity to extreme violence and unsurpassed laundering skills – shirts, not money.

It’s quite non standard.

What inspired you to write this book?

To be honest, I just wrote the kind of book I wanted to read. To me it’s just an updated version of the Narnia books, which I loved, with funny bits and some ritzy modern gadgets thrown in. A kind of Douglas Adams meets James Bond, except I wouldn’t pretend to be able to write like Douglas Adams and if we’re going to start comparing it to the greats it’s probably more like Pratchett. Except I can’t write like him yet, either but I like to aim high (just a bit) so I’m working on it.

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

The idea of a pimped parallel version of reality has been with me since I can remember. It went through several incarnations before K’Barth indeed it almost went to press as Yarth and the Yarthan Series, but by the time I got to publishing the first book, I discovered that Yarth was some really obscure realm of Dungeons and Dragons invented by a chap who had died and therefore wasn’t alive to ask. So I thought of G’Barth, my husband suggested K’Barth and it stuck. The book titles were easier because I wanted to project that kind of British comedy feel. Also, K’Barthan Series is the weird bit, so the titles need to be a bit less odd. Hence generic choices like Few Are Chosen, The Wrong Stuff, One Man: No Plan and Looking For Trouble. I hope these say ‘comedy’ first and foremost because that’s what it is.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The covers were designed by a bunch called A Trouble Halved, who are based in Stratford Upon Avon. They are contacts from my previous life when I worked in marketing. I wanted someone who I could guarantee would be able to interpret my warped ideas and since they have form in that respect they were the obvious choice.

The plot of the K’Barthan Series hangs on getting hold of three artefacts. Their significance is revealed one book at a time until the last book which is just a good old battle between the forces of good and evil. From the point of view of the covers, I wanted to have whatever artefact was relevant to the story on the front of each book with the characters tumbling over one another to try and grab it. I had drawings of what my characters looked like and asked them if they could do it. They told me it would be very expensive and came up with the idea of the hands (less drawing so it was cheaper). After a bit of discussion, we added the flying cars on the back as I thought they’d be brilliant for merchandise, and they are. It cost a lot but to me it was well worth it.

If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaption of your book, who would play them?

That’s a tricky one I am really useless on actors and actresses. I have no clue who anyone is and I’d need a time machine. Many of the people I’m suggesting are a lot older than the stage of their lives at which I’m offering them the part or, coughs politely, dead. Time machine procured, off we go.

The male lead, The Pan of Hamgee, is a lot like David Tennant as Dr Who, only with a slightly less rubber face and a dash of Joel Fry thrown in (Stylax from Plebs), for Lord Vernon, the evil baddie, I’d have to find Timothy Dalton, as playing Mr Rochester in a 1980s BBC TV adaption of Jane Eyre, and teleport him to now but actually this fellow is close – in that picture, at any rate. There’s definitely bit of Daniel Craig about General Moteurs. I think Ada would be Maggie Smith and I suspect Judy Dench or Catherine Tate would both make an equally good Gladys. Big Merv is Samuel L Jackson with antennae and a cockney accent but Ruth and Lucy are tricky... I think I’d cast Anna Friel as Ruth maybe, although she’s not quite as comfortably upholstered as I imagine Ruth. Lucy is easier, I imagine her as Claire Danes (Carrie out of Homeland.

 When and why did you begin writing?

I think there were two reasons: first, because nobody else seemed to be writing the kinds of stories I wanted, I loved books like Children of the New Forest and the Three Musketeers – yeh, I’m a historical novel sap. Give me a frilly shirt, a big hat with feathers in (or a tricorn) and a sword fight and I’m a happy bunny. However, I also love Day of the Triffids, StarTrek and all those 1960s TV Science Fiction shows like the Avengers and the Prisoner. I love fantasy but I was shy of writing books about dwarves and elves and dragons because knowing my luck all I would get out of it would be a deluge of e-mails from experts in dwarves, elves and dragons telling me I’d done it wrong. Anyway, who wants to write about things someone else has already made up? I wanted creatures. Really, really weird creatures but who were actually quite like us under the green skin, purple fur etc. I wanted James Bond gadgets with sword fights and Terry Pratchett humour. And I wanted romance in it too.

So, what happened, eventually, was the K’Barthan Series, where only some of the characters are human; where the cars fly but the baddie and one of the heroes have a sword fight in the last scene. The book I’m currently plotting – Space Dustmen – is supposed to be straight science fiction, but our heroine, Driff, will probably have horns or something and a laser sword.

What does your writing process look like?

Like a very disorganised thing. I don’t write much down, except as part of the book. I keep it all in my head, which works well but it does take up rather a lot of short term memory. That means it tends to impact on other areas of my life like ... I dunno ... being able remember my own name, my ability to finding my own arse with both hands, that kind of thing. I probably drive the people in my life nuts. Actually, there’s no ‘probably’ to that statement, I know I do.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m putting the finishing touches to a fifth book, with a working title of Scary Space Creatures which I hope to release next year. It’s been a gas to write but it is a bit mad and it’s single stand-alone story, when the accepted advice is to write a series – always one to buck the trend, me, and keeping the same stuff in my head for eight years while I wrote about K’Barth near fried my brain. I am plotting a sixth full length novel, Space Dustmen, and I have an idea for a spin off about K’Barth for my seventh. I’m also fiddling about with a couple of children’s books, I’ve no idea what they’re called yet or what to do with them but the tinkering process is fun.

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Yes there are two and the first is the racy stuff. At one point I thought I should look at trends and write what was selling well, rather than what comes out. So I thought erotica. Now, I am OK at gentle romance, you know, a poignant snog, I can do those, so I thought I should read some erotica books and then try a hawt one. The resultant sex scene could well be the funniest thing I’ve ever written in my life, but so not in a good way. I learned that there’ll be no earning millions as an erotica author for me and resigned myself to closing the bedroom door on my characters and leaving readers to imagine the squelchy bits.

The second thing I have failed to write successfully is anything that doesn’t turn into weird science fiction fantasy. No matter how hard I try, unless the book is set in space, there WILL be Creatures by the end of the first chapter. To be honest, it tends to happen when the book is set in space as well, but they’re aliens so that doesn’t count.

What, when you’re not writing, do you do to support yourself?

I lean very heavily on McOther like a giant, book-writing money sponge.

 What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

It’s a cheeky ask but if you can manage it there are three things you can do:

  1. If you enjoyed it, say that you’ve just finished it on social media and share a link.
  2. Sign up for my mailing list so you will actually know when the next one comes out. Like many authors I sell my pre and new releases for a short term promotional price so this is worth doing from your point of view as well.
  3. Write a review on whatever site you bought it from and any others if you can. It doesn’t have to be long, just a couple of lines: what was good, what could be better, why it moved you – if it did. Reviews help in too many ways to count, so yeh, if you can, please leave one.

Thank you so much for inviting me here today, it’s been a gas.



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Chris Kennedy

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Fact

  • Author: Chris Kennedy
  • Genre: Science Fiction/Space Opera
  • Books: The Search for Gram (Book #1 from the Codex Regius series)
  • Official Site

Bio

81% of Americans have a story they want to write. Chris Kennedy wasn’t one of these. He never wanted to be an author; in fact, none of the people that knew him would ever have thought that he could be an author. He had no training...no hi-powered English degree...no friends in the business; he had nothing that would have indicated he could be a successful writer.

It all started one day while he was driving home from work. Several news articles he had seen gelled into the beginnings of a story. When he got home, he decided to write his idea down. Using the knowledge of warfare gained in twenty years of service as a Naval Aviator, he crafted his ideas into a compelling story of a Chinese attack on the United States’ mainland. The more he wrote, the faster the story came, and he hasn’t been able to stop writing ever since. Unintentionally, the Accidental Author was born.

After writing the first draft of his novel, “Red Tide: The Chinese Invasion of Seattle,” he looked for representation, but was unable to convince an agent that his story and plan would be successful. After being turned down by over 80 agents, Chris decided to do it himself. He researched the self-publishing industry and everything required to be successful as an independent author.

On his daughters’ birthday, he launched his first novel, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Chris Kennedy has released seven full length novels, including the “Occupied Seattle” military fiction duology, “The Theogony” and “Codex Regius” science fiction trilogies and the “War for Dominance” fantasy trilogy. He is also the author of the self-help book, “Self-Publishing for Profit” and the leadership book “Leadership from the Darkside.” Called “fantastic” and “a great speaker,” he has coached hundreds of beginning authors and budding novelists on how to self-publish their stories at a variety of conferences, conventions and writing guild presentations.

See what’s up with Chris and join his mailing list at http://chriskennedypublishing.com. You can also find him on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/chriskennedypublishing.biz and on Twitter at @ChrisKennedy110.


Author Accomplishments:

Working with schools to help increase writing literacy!


Blurb

Lieutenant Commander Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs has saved Seattle, traveled to the stars and forged new alliances with alien races. With the latest war concluded, he turned his attention to deciphering the strange rod an ancient alien civilization gave him as a test. Was a little “down time" to work on the project too much to hope for?

Yes.

Something or someone is destroying the starships of the alien Aesir race. The elven Aesir are in need of help, and all of the signs point to Calvin as the hero they need. He has already defeated the merciless Drakuls and saved Earth from alien invasion, but is he prepared to face this unknown challenge?

As the Theogony trilogy comes to a close, a new chapter for Calvin is set to begin. "The Search for Gram" initiates the "Codex Regius," a trilogy that will once again take Lieutenant Commander Hobbs and his Special Forces platoon to the stars. Not even the universe can hold him this time!


Reviews

"AWESOME!  Great read! Couldn't put it down once I started reading!"  -- Dirk Flint


Excerpt

Bridge, Aesir Ship Blue Forest, Unknown System, March 15, 2021

“Continue firing all weapons,” said the Blue Forest’s commanding officer, Captain Elorhim Silvermoon.

“Lasers firing,” replied the laser officer.

“Missiles launching,” replied the missile officer. “For all the good it’s doing,” he added under his breath.

Engineering, Captain,” Silvermoon transmitted over his implant. “We need more power. How’s it coming back there?

I’m sorry Captain, but this is the best you’re going to get,” said the assistant engineer. “Engine Room One is open to space. Everyone who was in it, including the chief engineer, is gone. We’re already 10 percent over redline, and I don’t know how much longer the Number Two engine can take it! With the loss of the Number One engine, it’s already pushing a bigger load than it was built for.

Do what you can,” replied Silvermoon. “They’re gaining on us, and we’re not going to make the stargate without more power.

I’ll do what I can sir, but it won’t be much. Maybe a percent or two. We’re going to blow the motor if I try to do much beyond that.

Do what you can,” the commanding officer repeated. “Silvermoon out.” He looked around the bridge. His crew was maintaining its composure, but he could tell the stress was getting to them. “How long until we reach the stargate?” he asked.

The navigator’s pointed ears twitched. “It’s going to be a little more than an hour at this speed,” he replied. “Engineering just gave us another 10 Gs of acceleration, but it won’t be enough to leave our pursuers behind.”

Captain Silvermoon sighed internally, not letting his frustration show. He wished he had another courier drone, but they had launched both their drones earlier. Launched them and then watched as a second enemy ship destroyed them. They had no idea the second ship existed before then; it had just appeared between his ship and the stargate after the drones were launched. Unarmed and unarmored, the drones were easy prey for the enemy frigate. Whatever cloaking technology the enemy used was outstanding. All of a sudden, it was just there.

“The enemy’s shields are down,” said the laser officer. He didn’t have to say he meant the smaller vessel’s shields; none of the Aesir weapons had made a dent in the shields of the larger vessel that was slowly catching up with them.

“Destroy it,” ordered Captain Silvermoon. Another volley of laser fire lashed the enemy frigate. The alien ship flashed on the screens as the missiles arrived, and something vital was hit.

“Target destroyed,” the missile officer reported.

“One hour to the stargate,” the navigator noted as the Aesir ship hurtled past the expanding ball of plasma.

The missile officer shook his head as he looked at his display. “I don’t get it sir,” he said finally. “The smaller vessel didn’t defend itself after it destroyed the courier drones. It just sat there and let us destroy it. It’s almost as if that’s what the enemy wanted us to do.”

“Yes,” agreed Captain Silvermoon, already thinking along the same lines. “They were probably gathering information on our weapons systems...information we let them have. Too late to worry about it now; there’s nothing we can do.” He paused and then asked the question he’d been dreading, “Range to the other vessel?”

“One million miles,” replied the laser officer. Last time, it had fired at 800,000 miles. They were getting too close, but there was nothing he could do.

“I’ve got the damage report from Engine Room One,” said the damage control officer (DCO), “but I don’t know if you’re going to believe it. I don’t.”

“Go ahead,” said Captain Silvermoon.

“The repair crew says the engine room is gone,” said the DCO, “and they mean gone as in vanished. There is nothing left. No pieces, no bodies, and no equipment. Everything is just…gone. Where the structure of the ship ends, it ends with a clean cut. The repair crew says what’s left is like nothing they have ever seen. They have no idea what could have caused it.”

“Well, I don’t know where it all went,” said the sensor operator. “They asked me to mark the debris field so we could look for survivors later, but the missile didn’t leave a debris field when it hit us. Everything just disappeared.” In their three previous deployments, Silvermoon had never seen the sensor operator look shaken. He was an extremely competent naval officer, and he always had an answer in the past. The captain found he didn’t like the new expression.

“Where did everything go then?” asked Captain Silvermoon. “Anyone have any guesses?”

The bridge was silent.

“Range to enemy vessel 800,000 miles,” announced the laser officer. “Enemy vessel is firing. Six torpedoes inbound.”

Damn it, thought the captain. The enemy ship had only shot one torpedo last time, and they hadn’t been able to stop it. “Activate all defenses,” ordered the captain. “Retarget main batteries on the torpedoes as well.”

The Aesir ship’s lasers and counter-missile lasers began firing at the incoming torpedoes, while missiles and counter-missile missiles leapt from their ports to join the energy weapons. Just like before, the torpedoes disappeared when the Aesir missiles would have hit them, only to reappear once the missiles were past. The lasers seemed to hit the torpedoes, but had no effect on them.

“No effect,” said the ship’s defensive officer. “Shields are as high as they can be with only one engine.” He didn’t say the shields hadn’t stopped the earlier weapon, even with both motors running at 100 percent. He didn’t have to.

“Any idea where the torpedoes are going?” asked Captain Silvermoon.

“I don’t know,” replied the sensor operator, the shaken look now a permanent part of his countenance. “They just vanish. It’s not a shield because our missiles go through the space where the torpedoes were. It’s like they’re not there anymore. I don’t know where they’re going. It doesn’t make any sense.” The sensor operator shook his head, barely able to contain the tears of frustration that Captain Silvermoon could see were perilously close to brimming over.

“That’s okay,” Captain Silvermoon replied. “Keep working; you’ll figure it out.”

“Five seconds to impact,” said the laser officer a few seconds later. “Four... three... two... one...” Six torpedoes impacted along the length of theBlue Forest.


Interview

Angela B. Chrysler: I want to take a moment to welcome bestselling science fiction and fantasy author Chris Kennedy. Chris is the author of “The Search for Gram,” which is the first book in his new “Codex Regius” trilogy, which is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

ABC: Thank you so much for speaking with me, Chris. Please take a moment to tell us about your book.

CK: Hi, Angela. Thanks for having me; it’s good to be here. I’m really excited about “The Search for Gram,” as it is without a doubt my best book to date. The new series follows the bestselling “Theogony” trilogy of “Janissaries,” “When the Gods Aren’t Gods” and “Terra Stands Alone.” I had originally intended to just write those three books, but when I finished “Terra Stands Alone,” the readers said they wanted more and that the series should be a trilogy of trilogies. I’m working on it!

ABC: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

CK: It seemed to me that there are a lot of unexplained events in our past, and I got to wondering one day, what if everything we thought we knew about history was a lie? What if all of the “major” events in our history were due to alien interventions? What if they were here right now, watching us…and what if they needed our help? The first trilogy explored where Greek mythology came from; the new “Codex Regius” series looks at Norse mythology.
ABC: Stories always require some form of research. What kind of research did you do for your book?

CK: Some of the physics was beyond me, but I wanted it to be right for the book, so I enlisted the help of a nuclear physicist and a member of the physics department at Duke University. Some of it was pretty challenging, but we made it work.
ABC: Which scene or chapter was the hardest for you to write?

CK: In the book there is a scene with an orbital bombardment. I really wanted the reader to experience the terror and majesty of a bombardment coming in from space, but it is hard to describe as it’s almost bigger than words. The fact that there has never actually been an orbital bombardment, so what it looks like is all a matter of guesswork, doesn’t make it any easier. It was hard…but an awful lot of fun, too.
ABC: Please describe your favorite scene or chapter in your book and tell us why it’s your favorite?
CK: My favorite scene is the Battle on the Dendaran Plain. Ever since “The Last Starfighter,” I’ve always wanted to fight a desperate battle against incredible odds…this is it. Not only is this the desperate battle, there are special forces and tactics…I’d love to see this made into a movie, just for the special effects. It would be awesome!

ABC: Which of your characters do you relate to the most (or) who is your favorite character and why?
CK: My favorite character is Calvin, the main character. When I first started writing him, I knew him best as I had a lot in common with him. He has since grown way beyond anything I am ever likely to do…but he’s still my favorite.

ABC: I once read that every author is simply a compilation of his/her favorite authors. Which authors have done the most to influence your writing and why?

CK: My favorite author is John Ringo, and I hear sometimes that I write like him (which I take as a huge compliment). He understands military and always nails that part. If you’re writing military fiction or military scifi, I think that is extremely important.

ABC: “Story” has always been the center of all human cultures. We need it. We seek it out. We invent it. What does “story” mean to you?
CK: The story is the most important thing, and the sole reason for the book. It is an escape from reality and a chance to experience a different reality…to forget the cares of the day and lose yourself in a book.

ABC: Tells us about your next project.
CK: My next project is “Beyond the Shroud of the Universe,” which is the second book in the “Codex Regius” trilogy. After that, I will write “Chasing the Past,” the second book in my fantasy series.

ABC: Where can we find you and your book?

CK: “The Search for Gram is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and most other e-retailers.
ABC: Thank you so much for speaking with me.

CK: Thanks for having me!


Marie J. Phillips

Brain to Book Blog Tour

Fast Facts:

  • Author: Marie J. Phillips
  • Genre: Science fiction and fantasy
  • Books:
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Book I- On Matissia Wings
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Book II- Earth-bred, Matissia-born
    • The Furlites of Aroriel: Furlitian Short tales.
    • Khan: A Maine Coon
    • Old Gent
    • The White Dragons of Suvwilur & Other Stories
  • Official Site

Bio

Born in 1957, in Huntington, on Long Island, I've been driven by an insatiable love of writing, art, and the sciences since very early childhood. My love of animal tales fueled my desire to write, always manifesting in stories from the non-human point of view. I invented my very first character at six years old, creating picture books with a tree as the main protagonist. I included, on the inside covers, my very own publishing logo, complete with rainbow and shining sun!

Back in my senior year of High School, one of my teachers lent me a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring, which changed my reading and writing life forever, driving me into the unique and futuristic world of Fantasy/Science Fiction.

In college, I majored in Art and Earth Sciences, where inspiration fired my vivid and eccentric imagination, planting the seeds for my Furlites of Aroriel novels, Over the years, I honed the complex world of this alien family saga. My husband's love and support over the decades proved invaluable, since his scientific knowledge and expertise quickly surpassed my own, once we graduated high school, went off to college, and entered the working world. With his help, and that of my mentor, David Ayscue, who passed away in 2010, I completed the first two of these books, On Matissia Wings, and, Earth-bred Matissia-born, which are now available. A tale loosely connected to the first two,  CURSE OF KORIS,is the book featured here. Other tales are in the works, including the third book in the main series, called EYES IN THE DARK, and FURLITIAN SHORT TALES, a book of shorter tales featuring other characters in the books.

I dabbled with another tale many years ago, using my Khan as a character, when my big Maine Coon became seriously ill. While battling Khan's insidious disease, I completed the story, which took on deeper impact far beyond my intended feline fantasy yarn. KHAN: A Maine Coon is the result, a biography of his life, with fictional elements, written from his point of view. My special furbaby's bit of immortality has collected mostly five star reviews over the last few years.
THE WHITE DRAGONS OF SUVWILUR and OTHER STORIES, is a collection of fantasy /science fiction tales from the point of view of many characters, from an Appaloosa Pegasus, a white furry Dragon, and others, including a Collie /Human hybrid created by genetic manipulation by aggressive aliens.

In OLD GENT, I return to those very roots of my writing career, penning the true tale of our beloved ancient Norway Spruce tree and his sapling son, done from the trees' point of view, reminiscent in style to my KHAN: A MAINE COON, and, an older tale I read as a child called BIG TREE.

Owned by two cats, one of which is a Maine Coon cat, I live with my husband in the rolling hills of northwestern Connecticut.


Book Blurb for The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris

This is Kutius' story, a tale of infamy and rags, to riches, Furlitian Style. In this complimentary novel to THE FURLITES OF ARORIEL series, after his mother and grandmother have a nasty argument, young Kutius and his parents move to the small town of Gabbruss in the State of Burstal, a place very different from the open farmlands he grew up on. Upset and angry, the youngster hates his new hometown, longing for the happy home of his grandmother, filled with loving clan and domestic animals. Upon meeting new classmate in Fundamental school, Murkuria of Clan Darius, a feud explodes between them. It escalates over the years, until a fight between them causes Kutius’ expulsion from school. His mother blurts out the family secret, and Kutius blames Murkuria for his predicament. She becomes the bane of his existence, until she stows aboard her Clan’s starship, disappearing from his life.  He feels relieved, and life settles down until Kutius and his mother suffer the dire consequences of admitting the Clan secret. All descended from Koris the Tyrant must be sterilized, and Officers come to enforce that law at the worst time. His family loses their cozy home and end up living in a dirty old bunker converted to a house. Kutius puts full blame on Murkuria and hopes her clan’s ship wrecks out there and never comes home.
After graduating Preparatory school, Kutius, despite the bias against who he is, improves his life, leaving the musty home he abhorred. He finds peace in the city of Astrolis, until the Starship, thought lost, returns, carrying back into his life the girl he despises. His hatred rules him, and he connives to hurt her, her Clan, and the Felakoon abominations she created out between the stars and brought home.
At a large Hearing, where he accompanies the Governor of Burstal for whom he works, he tries to stop a Felakoon kit from bonding to the Governor, and Hellara reacts with fury, reminding the world who Kutius is, in front of the entire populace on worldwide video. Tossed of the grounds, he leaves the city, angry and hurt, but as he travels to escape his old life, a new one opens to him, and, despite the trials, proves to be full of extraordinary surprises. His only thought, when will that Darius girl drop in and ruin his life again?


Excerpt from The Furlites of Aroriel: Curse of Koris

He arrived home from school one stormy winter afternoon, happy with his day. Classes went well and nobody bothered him with taunts or laughter. Kutius entered the foyer, and wiped the snow off of his feet. He placed his school sack in the sack bin, then trotted into the Common Room. He found his mother sobbing. His father sat silent, a rare hard copy letter in his hand.
“What is going on?” Kuitus asked. His mother said nothing, but wept harder. His father slowly lifted his head.
“We cannot afford to pay what we owe on the house. The Clan we purchased it from is asking we sell to pay off the debt.” Winferis heaved a huge sigh.
“We did not buy it outright?” Kutius asked.
“No, we had enough for half, and the Clan agreed to payments every cinth to pay off the rest as fast as we could. I cannot pay them what I promised. They do not trust us to come up with payments.”
“Surely they can understand?”
“They do, but are very distrustful after what has occurred. I cannot even meet a quarter of what is left,. They have every right to their credits.”
“But they let us pay over the last two years! What changed?”
“I paid them on time. Now I cannot, and because of what happened they want to cut all ties to us. If we owned outright, there would, be no issue, but we do not.” Winferis heaved a huge sigh.      “ It will not leave us much, but we have no choice.”
“What choice?”
“To sell.” Wnferis answered. “And as quickly as possible.”
Kutius stood, in horror, as his father listed the house with the landbroker in Astrolis. To his utter dismay, the home sold for half its worth in less than a quat of the listing. Kutius’ stomach knotted.  He wished to eat nothing, and, by the lack of any evening meal preparations, neither did his parents. He sat in the Common Room, watching his father sift through listings. He glanced around at the familiar walls, and heaved a sigh.
“Father, why look? Why do we not ask Grandmother if we can return home?”
“Never!” Kutora suddenly snarled through her tears. “My mother hates me. I will never go back! Never.”
Kutius heard his father sigh again.
“Mother, you are not thinking clearly. Why can you and Grandmother not make amends so we can go home?”
“She is unreasonable! She does not understand me.” Kutora snapped back, then broke down into weeping.
Winferis slowly typed our short messages to Clan, asking for help. Nobody responded with a vidcall, but a few short clipped replies came back. Credits for the house sale entered the family vault.
“Well, the credits are in, for the house and from Clan who decided to help us.” Winferis said softly. “We have to find somewhere to go. My family will not help us get a place, but they did send us some credits. Yours did as well, Kutora. We have to be out by next cinthend.”
Kutius looked over his father’s shoulder at the screen, staring at the message history over the last few years as his father sifted through them. His father’s family, living in northern Cyal on the coast, shifted credits to his parents’ bankrupt account, but did not make any further contact. Clan from Port Gol, including Zalius, Zoptius and his other relatives sent very little.  Kutius knew they abhorred what his mother had done. Unlike most clan relationships, the bond between his parents did not bring the two clans as close as most. Once the truth filtered back to them, the Port Gol Clan Wylarius virtually disowned his parents, helping occasionally only out of Clan duty. His mother's Clan, despite their outrage, sent food and paid miscellaneous debts, but did no more than that. Nobody called on vid, nor sent messages, and nobody offered to take the in.
Kutius thought back to the wonderful holidays at Zoptius’ home, and back at his grandmother’s farm, and felt tears sting his eyes. How his fastidious, level-headed Grandmother birthed his lazy scatter-brained mother baffled him. Though of Koris’ line, Karetura never displayed his mother's pomposity and obnoxious conceit. It pained him to think this hurt his grandmother in any way, and he vowed, somehow, to make it all up to her someday.
“I found something,” Winferis announced, and Kutius scowled.
“Father, what is that? “ Kutius squinted at the photo of a small ramshackle building. The stonework looked terrible, with crumbling grout, mold and moss growing on the stone surface. Brush crowded the walls, and trees covered the roof with extensive boughs.
“Clan Karklinos is selling this place. It has been in their family for octuaries.”
“It is nothing but an ancient storage shed!” Kutius exclaimed.
“Yes, it dates back to the Great War. Karklinos’ Clan used it to store their weaponry that won that war there.” Winferis twitched his tail. “It has historic value. Maybe we can fix it up and sell it.”
“Maybe,” Kutius muttered, hatred knotting his stomach. Clan Darius ancestors also participated in the construction and use of that building. He shuddered. “I really wish we did not have to live there.”
“It is all we can afford now,” his father whispered. “I am sorry, Son.”
Moving day arrived all to swiftly. Kutius packed his travel sack with all his belongings, and silently left the little house. He glanced back once, gazing at the home through the gentle snowfall, then faced forward, recalling the storm-tossed day he left his grandmother’s farm. His throat constricted and tears filmed his eyes as he climbed into the old bronze shuttle. Silently his father drove to the center of town, and up the broad street past the Town Hall. He turned the shuttle into the long narrow shuttlepath to a overgrown parking area in front of their new residence. The grass stood an octafet tall, poking through the deep snow.
The cottage sat an octyle behind the Town Hall, merely a remodeled storage bunker. Kutius grumbled, climbing out of the shuttle, and shivered when he entered the building.  Stuffy and damp, the place screamed impoverishment. The Common Room and Dining area merged, creating one room. The kitchen, with its tiny window, looked and smelled like a swamp. Kutius walked up the hallway, his talons clicking on bare plain stone floor. He halted at the end of the hall and peered into the two sleeping rooms. He stepped inside the end room with its two windows, gaping at the old bed and lumpy worn out cushions, then faced backwards to gaze into the tiny room that served as a lavatory.
“Ughh!” he howled. “There is no bathing pool!”
“The lake is nearby,” his father mumbled. “We can make do.”
Winferis shuffled into the other sleeping room. Kutius stared aghast. Since the day he bathed to impress that female, Kutius abhorred getting dirty.  He stared, unable to believe this bad turn of life. The musty cottage revolted him, but he had not choice but to stay. The computer terminal in his room looked ancient, and he hoped it worked.  He counted quickly in his head, and decided to put every bit of energy into his studies for the next five years. He slowly put his sack down.
“Five years,” he muttered. “How will I stand it?”


Reviews

By Robynne Wildman (on Lulu.com)  8-Aug-2014
This was a wonderful story! I enjoyed this read and loved 'rereading' parts of the story from Kutius' point of view, while learning more about Aroriel and its inhabitants. My only complaint is that the book ended too soon. I still want more! Thanks.


Interview with Marie J. Phillips

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I started writing when I learned to hold and pencil. Drew out little picture stories. Then when I learned my alphabet and how to write, I wrote picture comic type tales about a tree. Then I graduated to writing dog stories and finally to science fiction and fantasy. When I’m not writing I play in the Model Horse hobby, horseback ride, garden, and indulge in photography.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable.

his is actually my sixth book, which is tied to my science fiction trilogy which is The Furlites of Aroriel: Book-OnMatissai Wings, Book-II-Earthbred, Matissia Born and unfinished Book III-Eyes In The Dark.  Other books; KHAN: A MAINE COON,  OLD GENT, and The White Dragons of Suvwilur and other stories. Furlitian Short Tales is unfinished but almost ready.

What genre do you enjoy writing the most and what is this book about?
Science fiction/fantasy and cat stories. This is a scifi novel involving a character from the trilogy, following his life from early childhood where a family spat forced him into poverty, and it follows his journey to find a way out. I describe it as a it rags to riches story Furlitian Style.

What inspired you to write this book?
Wrote this as a short story to include in the Furlitian Short Tales book, and it morphed into its own novel. 

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

That is a long weird tale that began in collage with Magritte’s painting of candle snakes on a beach. I drew a Candle Monster, which morphed over time into the current Furlite, (candle head on a furry body = Furlite-) which solidified in a Historical Geology class where I studied one of my early interests in life; dinosaurs. Now my new alien beings had a body type and then the world building began and progressed over several decades. They no longer have, ahem, candle heads.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I designed the entire thing. Took an old illustration from the short story and embellished it.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
That is a tough one since they’d have use a lot of CGI. But for voice for my main character, I suppose anyone with a strong deep male voice will do.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Most likely serial killers and criminals like that. I have no interest in figuring out how their mind works.

What book do you wish you could have written?
The Warriors series by Erin Hunter. I was writing books similar to that in my youth. They are right up my alley. (I admit writing fan fiction for these books!)

What other books/authors are similar to your own? What makes them similar?
There isn’t any that are like them. The closest is perhaps the Quintaglo Ascension trilogy by Robert Sawyer.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Absolutely-since as far back as my long memory stretches.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Never give up. Don’t let the rejections get you down. Go Independent if you can.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, I do read them, but I don’t respond to them. I can’t please every reader, and since I do write to a specific niche, I don’t expect all reviews to be five star, though with Khan: A Maine Coon it is close; 33 five star and 2 four star. I hope this book can do as well, and perhaps help entice people to read the other books in this series. As far as advice, you have to develop a thick skin and not let the bad reviews bother you.

What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

Promotion! I am terrible at it.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Not really since I was under two when I learned to hold a pencil and scribble out stories in picture form. I never remember a time when I did not write. For me, it comes from deep within.

Do you have a pet or pets?

Yes. Two cats. One is a blue smoke Maine Coon kitten named Darwin, and he is the 6th Maine Coon in my life. He follows in the pawprints of big red tabby Kai who was a huge 25 pound individual. I just LOVE Maine Coon cats!

8. What is your biggest fear?

Going blind.

If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?

To Fly like a dragon!

Do you recall your dreams? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

Yes. They are in vivid color and my favs are the ones in which I have wings and can fly! I often have reoccurring dreams about having to move or losing a loved one or trying to find someone or something. True nightmares are rare. Oddly enough I never get ideas from dreams. They all come from my waking mind.