Book Spotlight – The Valor: Military Science Fiction Bundle #Scifi

For more info – check out this link – and the bundle is only available for a limited time.

Military SF Bundle ad 1920x600.png

Nine novels and an amazing short story collection make this a fantastic military science fiction bundle.

Plus, another bonus: Our charity, AbleGamers, helps people with disabilities enjoy the imaginary worlds of video games all year, as well as in the holidays. The organization provides one-on-one assistance to help people with a variety of disabilities join the lively interactive world of gaming, easing the social isolation that being disabled can bring.

Can’t think of a better cause to help out.

So here’s what you can do: buy the bundle for yourself or your friends who love military science fiction stories, then toss in a few bucks for AbleGamers. Helping others while getting some top science fiction reading. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Also, the holidays are coming up and you can give this as a gift.

And remember, this bundle won’t last very long. Grab this bundle today and toss in a little extra for AbleGamers. You’ll make someone’s life a little brighter, and have hours of wonderful science fiction reading going into the holidays. – Dean Wesley Smith

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

  • Perihelion by Tami Veldura
  • Battlenaut Crucible by Robert Jeschonek
  • Valor by Fiction River
  • Can’t Shoot Straight Gang Returns by Blaze Ward

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SIX more!

  • Stealing From Pirates by Stefon Mears
  • Trial Under Fire – A BattleTech Novel by Loren L. Coleman
  • Skirmishes: A Diving Novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • Guilt in Innocence by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • Life of a Dream by Dean Wesley Smith
  • Invincible by David Bruns

This bundle is available only for a limited time via It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!


A Day in the Life of Gustavo Bondoni – Sci-Fi Author/Meet an Author

Welcome to a day in the life of Gustavo Bondoni

Please give us a brief outline of who you are. I’m a novelist and short story writer from Argentina… or at least that is what I am by inclination.  By training, I’m an engineer with an MBA who has always worked on the commercial side (sales and marketing) of companies varying from tiny startups to massive Fortune 100 enterprises.

My passion for writing came about because I love to read.  And my selection of genre came about because Asimov and Robert Asprin and Douglas Adams were the men on the racks of my local bookstore when I was twelve and began to read adult fiction.  With names like that, how can one not be hooked?

As an interesting aside this was the eighties, and I still have the battered copy of Heroes in Hell I bought at Waldenbooks way back then.  I assume it’s the only copy in Argentina.

You’re a writer – how is this reflected in your typical day? I’m a writer, and it basically consumes my day, even when I’m not writing.  On the practical side, I’ll be obsessively checking my email for acceptances (or rejections, sadly), contracts, edits, or just about any other communication with the publishing world.

On a more interesting note, I’ll always be plotting the story or book in progress, or cooking up ideas for new ones.  That doesn’t change just because I might be working on something else.

Do you have a family? What do they think of your job? Do they assist you? I have a family.  My wife and I live with four children: two that are hers from another marriage and two baby daughters of our own (2 years old and one month old as I type, respectively).  The older kids seem more interested in their tablets than in books, but my wife is amazingly supportive… although she does sometimes get annoyed at my habit of not even realizing that people are talking to me when I’m writing.

How do you fit in ‘real life’? What in the world is real life?  Actually, I try to live a normal existence.  Unless I tell them, most people can’t even tell I’m a writer.  The truth is that I can fit my target wordcount (around 1500 words a day) into the slots between other tasks.

Do you have a particular process? The only process I really swear to is to write every weekday, and to try to get 1500 words in.  Anything else is a bonus.  Some people like to outline… I prefer to find out what my characters are going to do as they do it.

Are you very organised? I try to be.  Life has a way of biting you… and also, my wife is the Mistress of Chaos…

What is your ideal working environment? My ideal working environment would be an office with a closed door.  But this is sadly not possible at home… and right now, my corporate job is also home-based.  But one can dream!

What do you eat for breakfast? Tea with lemon and a type of cracker that you can only buy in Argentina called cerealitas.  Unlike most crackers, these actually taste good and are therefore probably bad for me.

Would you recommend your chosen craft to those interested in doing it? Wow. Loaded question.  It’s very difficult to make a living from writing fiction.  Anyone looking to write for that reason would likely be better served by becoming a journalist.  However, I have found no satisfaction greater than receiving an email confirming that something you invented was judged good enough by an editor you’ve never met to be shared with others and paid for. That rush is indescribable.  So yeah, on balance, I’d say everyone should give it a try.



Twitter: @gbondoni

Most popular novel: Siege

Book Spotlight – Addict (The Cassie Tam Files) #Sci-fi #Crime #Lesfic

Title: Addict (The Cassie Tam Files #1)

Author: Matt Doyle

Genre: Lesfic, Sci-fi, Crime Noir

Main character description (short):

Born in Vancouver, Cassie Tam is the daughter of a cop and an out lesbian. Now situated in the technological haven of New Hopeland City, she plies her trade as a Private Investigator, taking on odd job cases that the police either don’t care about or won’t touch. She’s built up a good reputation over the years and tends to solve cases with a healthy mix of the three S’s: smarts, snark, and sheer stubbornness. Oh, and the odd assist from her robo-gargoyle pet, Bert. Despite her tough exterior though, Cassie is prone to keeping stuff in, and is more than capable of finding social awkwardness when faced with the unfamiliar. That combined with her compulsion to keep digging, even when she knows she shouldn’t, can often leave her biting off more than she can chew.


New Hopeland was built to be the centre of the technological age, but like everywhere else, it has its dark side. Assassins, drug dealers and crooked businessmen form a vital part of the city’s make-up, and sometimes, the police are in too deep themselves to be effective. But hey, there are always other options …

For P.I. Cassie Tam, business has been slow. So, when she’s hired to investigate the death of a local VR addict named Eddie Redwood, she thinks it’ll be easy money. All she has to do is prove that the local P.D. were right to call it an accidental overdose. The more she digs though, the more things don’t seem to sit right, and soon, Cassie finds herself knee deep in a murder investigation. To make matters worse, Cassie’s client, the deceased’s sister Lori, is a Tech Shifter – someone who uses a metal exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal. Cassie isn’t one to judge, but the Tech Shifting community has always left her a bit nervous. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t fast becoming the first person that she’s been genuinely attracted to since splitting with her ex.

Easy money, huh? Yeah, right.

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

I ALWAYS DID like Venetian blinds. There’s something quaint about them in a retro-tacky kinda way. Plus, they’re pretty useful for sneaking a peek out the front of the building if I feel the need. That’s something that you just can’t do with the solid, immovable metal slats that come as a standard in buildings these days. That said, a thick sheet of steel is gonna offer you a damn sight more security than thin, bendable vinyl, so I keep mine installed. Just in case.

Another round of knocking rattles the front door, louder this time than the one that woke me.

The clock says 23:47, and the unfamiliar low-end car out front screams “Don’t notice me, I’m not worth your time,” which makes for the perfect combo to stir up the paranoia that the evening’s beer and horror-film session left behind. This is my own fault. My adverts are pretty descriptive in terms of telling what I do: lost pets, cheating partners, theft, protection, retrieval of people and items, other odds and sods that the city’s finest won’t touch…I’ve got ways to deal with it all. That’s right, I’m a real odd-job gal. The one thing that I don’t put in there are business hours. The way I see it, even the missing pet cases usually leave me wandering the streets at half-past reasonable, so what’s the point in asking people to call between certain hours?

More knocking, followed this time by the squeak of my letterbox.


Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)? Described as Sam Spade meets Blade Runner, Addict throws an old-style PI into a near future world and blends sci-fi world building with noir corruption. If you want a speculative fiction title with an LGBT lead that isn’t a coming out tale or erotica, this is the book for you!


Addict-f (1).jpg


Links etc.

Purchase Links 

Ninestar Press


Barnes and Noble



Author Links














Book Spotlight – Tortured Worlds – Science Fiction

Title: Tortured Worlds: Stories of Science Fiction

Author: Caleb Peiffer

Genre: Science Fiction

Main character description (short). Leon Caval and Nedda Silvio, stars of the first short story, Across Worlds, have never met in person, but each night they meet in a dream world. Leon has led a sheltered, privileged life, and the appearance of the highly evolved, seemingly heroic Supermen aliens is exciting to him. Meanwhile, Nedda, who’s never had a loving home or relationship, is skeptical of anyone with power.


A post-apocalyptic winter, superpowered aliens, a machine that controls the planets’ movement, immortal love, and voices echoing from nowhere. These are just some of the things that torture the worlds you’ll find in these stories.

The Tortured Worlds collection features five stories of science fiction and fantasy:

Across Worlds – While the Supermen, powerful extraterrestrial visitors, try to save the world, Leon and Nedda, two star-crossed strangers who meet in their dreams, have to save their own world from destruction.

A Pyre for the World on Ice – In a post-apocalyptic world frozen by a nuclear winter, time-traveling Alex Dandes has to track down a bomber in a seemingly lifeless Tokyo.

Receding – Quelorian, Lord of Chaos, sits on the edge of the universe, waiting for it to end, desperate to undo the past mistakes that tore him and the love of his life apart.

Throne of God – In the 26th century, the Neo-Sun gives light and life to the human race, and Samson Arsovi is the newest recruit elected to pilot the machine that controls our solar system.

Voices in the Void – If reality is an illusion, and we’re all the figments of one deranged, schizophrenic imagination, then whose dream are we in?


Brief Excerpt 250 words:

Nedda Silvio dreamed about a boy. Not the way other girls dreamed, about the nebulous idea of the perfect boy, someone handsome and sexy, sweet with a dark side or dark with a sweet side, who’d treat her like a princess and always say she was beautiful and respect her for her mind too. Nedda Silvio had only ever liked one boy. The one in her dream.

They’d never met in the daytime. Only in the dreamscape. It was a beautiful place, not misty and cushioned with clouds everywhere like she’d always imagined a world of dreams, but something a little like that. Not like Earth, either, but something like that too. It had forests, like Earth, with trees that were thicker and more like clouds than Earth’s. It had mountains, but they were round like giant hills, and sometimes shaped liked spheres that looked as if they should roll but didn’t. There were cities if you looked for them, full of crowds of people who never moved and never spoke. The people were hazy and formless and they didn’t have faces.

They talked about the Supermen, sometimes. The boy thought they were heroes. They scared Nedda, but she thought they were on the humans’ side. Whether or not that was a good thing, she wasn’t sure. The boy didn’t understand how those could be different things. He asked her if she’d read the novel the Superman who called itself Artemis had written. She hadn’t. He told her the story.

Why should readers buy this book?

Tortured Worlds features five sci-fi short stories that put – if you will – tortuous twists on sci-fi cliches. I think there’s something for everyone here. But more than that, it’s my hope that these stories will inspire. Show you that, no matter how tortured your world, dragons can be slain.




Links etc.

Buy: Amazon Smile


Author Website:

Character Interview Number 40 – Nalia


Tell Us About Yourself

Name: Nalia

Age: 16

Please tell us a little about yourself. I was born on a planet much like earth, but with two moons, I live in a village called the Lost Winds. This planet is situated in another galaxy far away from the galaxy where the blue planet Earth is. However, this planet is also blue and life has existed here for billions of years. The essential celestial gasses such oxygen, hydrogen, carbon- dioxide and nitrogen have also made us much like the people of the planet earth.
Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. I look like a human, but taller and thinner than an average human girl of my age. I have curly blue long hair all the way to the waist and a leopard skin. I have three fingers on two hands and three toes on two large feet. My eyes are blue and small serrated teeth. I have an upturned nose. I don’t have eye-brows, but a narrow forehead. I wrap myself with a sarong, like piece of cloth.
Do you have a moral code? If so what is it? I am a survivor in a volatile world beset with poverty. Political upheavals have destroyed the social fabric of our village. I try what needs to be done within the parameters of my ability. I am a nondescript person of no consequence. But I’m also fiercely independent. These are the circumstances that have shaped me.

Would you kill for those you love? I have not been in that situation, so I don’t know. I am just trying to be alive. But I know that I’m no killer, but a lover.
Would you die for those you love? Probably not. I’m also selfish. I want to live and try to help others to live.
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? My poverty cripples me somewhat. But I am resilient and hard-working. I am also clever. I know how to survive.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why? My relationship with my friend, Tahu was unique. She and I grew up together; went to the same school in our village until she left for the city. I have a special bond with her. I have strong feelings for her.
Do you like animals? Do you have any pets/animal companions? I like farm animals. Cows and goats, for instance. We sell them as prized breed, drink and sell their milk for sustenance.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them. Yes. I have a mother and a father. My brother was adopted by my parents. He was a foundling, and left to die as a toddler of three, when my father found him on the edge of the village.
Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I have seen pretty horrific stuff in this short life. My experience has hardened me somewhat. I have no illusions about reality. It is a harsh place and this has made me selfish. However, I do believe it could be much worse. I still love my dear family and want to get them the best possible life I could. All this is probably reflected in my dreams but I’ve heard far worse happenings with far-fetched stories.
Do you have any phobias? Not that I know of. I am very brave.
Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. My dreaming is unusual and interesting. I have seen a whole spectrum of life go by in my dreams. I have seen desperation among my friends that has driven them out of the village in search of a safe land. This herd instinct of self-organization has been depicted. Because I also see myself knitting these stories in pink honey comb pattern. It is almost as though I am pulling their strings of fate from a long unending yarn. In Greek, it’s called moirae.

And then I also see a whole new world of happiness, free of fear and pain. This is a particularly interesting episode. It almost feels as though a surreal utopia called Shingdi, of the imagination has come about. A transformation into a transcendental reality of a metaphysical world has occurred; found only in death. However, I never wake to see the reality.

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

Two moons orbit in my planet. There is much turbulence here as the forces of two moons dominate our moods and philosophies. It is a very strange world which is almost Earth-like, yet people speak a language not spoken on Earth. There is intergalactic interactions  between my planet and other planets from various galaxies. Earthlings have traveled through our space. We know about their culture, occupations, habits and customs as they know of ours. There is much exchange of culture.
Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? If so do you follow one of them? Please describe (briefly) how this affects your behaviour. Yes, people have a faith in the Lost Winds called Mohammedan. But I am no follower of any faith. My folks in the village follow several faiths. Faith does not seem to influence much in the way of any moral standing on this planet. People go about their chores in life, killing, cheating, loving as usual. Faith does not seem to take much effect in the moral conduct of my people. On Draviland, there is another faith called the Jesuit faith which is predominant there.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? Yes. I travel to the city from the village in dreams. And I also travel to faraway galaxies and countries separated by great many oceans and space.
Name and describe a food from your world. Salted fish. Wet rice. Grass tea.

Does your world have magic? If so how is it viewed in your world? Music and natural features are magical. A planet of orange soils, purple waves and black streams. Apart from it everything else is cold reality. However, the dream carries other elements from other planets in peculiar, magical blends.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) It is democratic but has a strange combination, verging almost on autocracy and theocracy. The rule of law allows for the party in power to kill the opposition or any dissenting factor in the society. And yet, they come to power through people’s votes and elections. The moment they come to power, they want to remain in power for life like anointed monarchies. People, don’t seem to matter much after that. Because, in the hands of such a ruling party, governance basically becomes self-serving and dictatorial.

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another?Yes. Humans from planet earth can settle here. They are free to choose. The society won’t stop them.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. Earthly banshies are a popular legend and myth which seeped into the culture.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? It is not a particularly tech world. But what they would not be able to live without is the winged space ships called the buraq to transport people from one galaxy to another. However, there is pervasive use of telephones in some more advanced countries on the planet.

Does your world have any supernatural/mystical beings? Please tell us about some. The Buraq is a mythological winged animal fashioned to build our space ship. It is operated by the power of lightning. In the course of one night, Buraq could transport people across space from one galaxy to another at the speed of light.

Within your civilisation what do you think is the most important discovery/invention?The use of telephones and the space-ship.

Name three persons of influence/renown within your society and tell why they are influential (Could be someone like Christ/Mandela/Queen Elizabeth or a renowned figure from a non-human/fantasy world.) Mohammedan and Jesuit have influenced people’s religion. Buraq is a mythological non-human/fantasy which has shaped the spaceship and intergalactic travels.

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

Nalia appears in Moirae only.

Author name: Mehreen Ahmed
Website/Blog/Author pages etc.

Moirae on Amazon:



Amazon author page:


Returning Author Terry W Ervin II

I’d like to welcome back Terry W. Ervin II, author of the First Civilization’s Legacy Series and the Crax War Chronicles.

Please recap briefly about your books: First, thank you for having me back.

Flank Hawk, Blood Sword, and Soul Forge are post-apocalyptic fantasy action adventure novels that make up the First Civilization’s Legacy Series. They follow the adventures of Mercenary Flank Hawk. While his skills with sword and spear are far from legendary, he makes up for it with tenacity, dedication and loyalty.

Relic Tech and Relic Hunted are the first two installments in my science fiction series, The Crax War Chronicles. Security Specialist 4th Class Krakista Keesay is a Relic, meaning he relies on late 20th Century technology. Specialist Keesay does his utmost, both aboard ship and on distant colonies, fending off the invading Crax and their traitorous human allies.

Maybe a quote will give a good feel for the series:

The tech level premise is fascinating, but what really makes the novel special is the spirit of Krakista Keesay. Kra is a hero to root for—often underestimated, adept with brass knuckles, bayonet, shotgun, and all sorts of old style weaponry. He proves that, while technology matters, so do courage, intelligence, and daring.”
—Tony Daniel, Hugo-finalist, author of Metaplanetary and Guardian of Night

 Beyond that, I’ve written a number of short stories that range from SF and horror to mystery and inspirational. When the rights reverted to me from their original publications, Gryphonwood press released them as a collection, Genre Shotgun.


What has changed since you last visited? Tell us your news!

Since my interview in January of 2014 ( ) my publisher, Gryphonwood Press, has released Soul Forge (June

2014) and Relic Hunted (January 2016)


Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be?

While some authors and reviewers view self-published authors differently from traditionally published authors, I think readers are less focused on such divisions. Readers are interested in good books, ones that catch their imagination while providing an engaging read.

I will say that self-published authors that produce quality stories, coupled with good editing, formatting and everything else that goes with a professional product, have a substantial opportunity to find readers, especially ebook readers. Those that don’t will struggle to find and build readership of their works.


Do you read work by self-published authors?

Yes. Currently I am reading (and listening to—I enjoy audiobooks) Stephen Campbell’s Hard Luck Hank Series, as well as Robert Bevan’s Critical Failure Series.

I’ll add that of traditionally published authors, I am very much enjoying Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles.


What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

  1. Finish projects. Get that first draft done. Then go back and revise and edit and repeat until you’ve produced the very best book you can.
  2. While you’re submitting the completed manuscript to agents/publishers or working to self-publish it, write something else. Don’t wait to see what happens (either way).
  3. The best ‘how to’ books for writing are successful novels. Yes, there are many ‘how to write’ books out there, but they can only give a writer the basics. Read, and reread, and study writers you enjoy. See how they do it…tell the stories, create dialogue and interesting characters, pace the storyline, incorporate foreshadowing, irony, characterization and more. If you get stuck on a problem, refer to those novels/authors. See how they did it, then apply what you learned, incorporating it into your own storyline and writing style.


What aspect of writing do you least enjoy? Why might this be?

Completing that first draft. I don’t mind planning/plotting and I actually enjoy editing. I’m an English teacher, so I guess that makes sense. I don’t know why I dislike completing the first draft the most. Maybe because it takes the longest.


Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it?

Masters of the Air: Americas Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany by Donald L. Miller. Yes, I enjoyed it. I read a lot of books related to World War II. Beyond the enjoyment, reading and studying history provides ideas for plots and stories and characters.


Do you have a favourite movie?

I would say Serenity is my favorite movie. It offers a mixture of action and adventure and humor and sort of wraps up what was started in the short-lived SF television series, Firefly.


Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?

 I’ve held a lot of jobs in my life, from library assistant and dishwasher to landscape assistant and quality control at a potato chip factory. Currently I am an English teacher, an e-course instructor, a village councilman, and an author. My wife teases that any Ervin working fewer than two jobs is a slacker—that, and she says if I’m not busy I get grumpy.

But as to my worst job (or least favorite)? A golf caddie when I was in high school. I didn’t mind the hard work, but I found that the more money the golfer had, the more poorly they tipped and less respect they had for the hard work their caddie did. Maybe my high school experience was out of the mainstream, but it left me with utterly no desire to ever play golf.

How is that experience used in my writing? An experience of life learned about human nature and the human condition.


What are your plans for the future? When will we see your next book? Tell us about it.

 My plans for the future are to keep writing. I have several Flank Hawk (First Civilization’s Legacy) novels planned, at two Relic Tech (Crax War Chronicles) novels and possibly one novella in mind, along with a YA based that leans heavily on Norse mythology tentatively titled Icebox to Asgard, a middle school novel, tentatively titled Go Home Gnome, and a novel where gamers get caught up in their RPG world. That last one isn’t a unique plot idea, but I have some interesting twists which I think could lead to a series.

But, beyond my recent release, Relic Hunted, I am now working on an alien invasion novel whose working title is Jack’s Tale, but I am leaning towards Thunder Wells. That last one, I hope to have out before the end of summer 2016. It’s about a loner trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, where aliens have seeded the Earth with nasty critters that feed on humans—after using EMPs to wipe out the world’s electrical grids and high tech devices, bombarding key targets and cities from orbit, and inflicting mass damage and death through creation of tsunamis. Jack gets shanghaied into joining a team transporting one of the few remaining functional nuclear warheads in a desperate bid to destroy the alien colony ship before it deposits its cargo, dooming what remains of humanity.

To contact Terry or find out more about his books and writing endeavors, visit his website at or his blog, Up Around the Corner at


Review – High Couch of Silistra – Janet Morris – Sci-fi

So where to start? As one would expect from Janet Morris there is a lot more to this story than a simple science fiction tale. Firstly the protagonist is a woman, and a strong one at that. Estri is not your screaming maiden waiting to be rescued. She’s a feisty woman, who knows her worth, knows her skills, and her failings and above all she knows herself.

Estri is more than a woman of pleasure – for on her world this is no shameful profession. As Well Keepress she is much sought after, and highly skilled, but she is also teacher, student, lover, friend, fighter, diplomat, businesswoman, a slave, mistress and so much more.

Silistra is a world of contrasts – its people long-lived, its terrain in places inhospitable and its morals unusual. Fertility is everything in a world where the people rarely breed successfully. Duty, or Chaldra is everything – be that duty to oneself, one’s people, or the world in general.. A world misunderstood by the others, but attractive for many reasons, not least its Well Women must stand for its uniqueness and protect its beliefs. In many ways Estri is Silistra – wise, with hidden dangers, intriguing, alluring, complex and misunderstood.

Duty, power, sex, the complexities of relationships between men and women, and how they can change, fate, courage, loyalty, betrayal, personal journeys, fear, and adventure fill every chapter. The sex is not overdone, considering the context and although there is violence that too speaks of the power play which is core.

The world building, as with Morris’s other novels, is rich, complex and totally believable. For the duration of the tale Silistra is real. The characters, too, are a mix of good and bad, but no way clear cut. These are living, breathing characters with all that entails.

This is not a book for those of a faint heart or who cannot see deep within a tale for what lies therein. It’s a book to make the reader think. It’s a book of great stature, and storytelling of the finest sort. Of course it’s also a book for those who seek a heady adventure beyond the stars.

This is a book I couldn’t put down. 5 stars.

Fantasy, Sci-fi and Literary Heroes in Our Society- Guest Post – Andrew Weston

Today I am pleased to welcome back Andrew Weston, science fiction author, for a guest post on my feature for 2015.  Here are his views on fantasy, sci fi and literary heroes in society, and its influences.

Name: Andrew P. Weston

Location (as I am wondering if it is regional)? Kos – Greek Islands.

How pervasive do you think fantasy/sci-fi is in our society today? I think both genres are extremely pervasive, and you can see that from the focus the entertainment industry devotes them. As an experiment, I researched the internet, using a variety of sites, regarding the top 10 films of 2014 – guess what? Science fiction and fantasy dominated every list I looked at. It’s the same story when you peep ahead into 2015. Why is this? Quite simply, because the entertainment industry isn’t stupid. They cater to the obvious demand, and the public would appear to have an increasingly voracious appetite for entertainment that stretches the imagination.

Are these genres seen in a more acceptable light than they used to be?Certainly, because the science fact of today, was very often the science fiction of yester-year. You only have to think of the long running series “Star Trek” to see this aspect in an everyday setting. When it first came out, I can remember everyone talking about the handheld communication devices they used to speak with each other around the planet. Doors that swish open when you walk toward them. Hypo sprays, etc. Such things are now common, and people are much more accepting when new and innovative ideas are presented in a factual way. That’s why well written Science Fiction and Fantasy can contribute so well to keeping things fresh.

If you could pick a couple of characters from literature as ‘heroes’ who would it be and why? My first choice would be the character of Thomas Covenant from Stephen R. Donaldson’s Lord Foul’s Bane series.

He’s an everyday guy who suffers the indignity of contracting leprosy and losing two of the fingers from his right hand. His wife divorces him and takes their son away. Neighbours shun him, and he becomes a lonely hermit of an individual, cut off from society. To compensate, he becomes overly rigid in his approach to life. (Lepers have to exercise extreme caution so that they don’t pick up new infections that can spread their disease further and cause terrible disfigurement). His illness becomes manageable, and he manages to lead a balanced – if somewhat lonely – life. Imagine his horror, then, when he is miraculously snatched away from reality, and transported to ‘The Land’ – a place of magic and wonder where the very air brings healing and relief. Although healed, his disfigurement identifies him as a prophesised hero, come to save the land, from the cruel taint of the Creators arch-enemy, Lord Foul.

Mind blowing!

And yet, despite all the wonders he sees and experiences, Covenant doesn’t want anything to do with it – and determinedly slogs through every hurdle put in his way, whilst stubbornly clinging to the notion that everything around him is false. He doesn’t want rewards, accolades or special treatment. He just wants to go home. An antitypical hero if ever there was one, because at the end, he ends up saving the Land from destruction. A great character.

My second choice would be an ‘old fashioned’ kind of hero, John Carter, (of Edgar Rice Burrows, “A Princess of Mars fame”, in what became known as the Barsoom Series).

He’s an old style ‘man’s man’. An army veteran snatched from home to fight someone else’s war. It had high action in an old-world setting. Sword fights, damsels in distress, daring feats in the face of certain death, and a ‘never give up’ attitude. What I liked about his character, is that when he’s originally snatched away, he falls in with a crowd of ‘typical aliens’. Green skinned, multi-armed Tharks. They are a warlike race, and because of his superior strength and agility (Due to Barsoom’s lower gravity), Carter soon rises to fame among them. However, Barsoom also has a red-skinned humanoid race, and he soon becomes embroiled in their politics and attempts to bring peace to their troubled world. A great story, and trend-setter of its time.

It has been argued fantasy is full of ‘tropes’ – what are your views on this? I’m realistic about it. Cliché’s will often recur because of the very nature of the genres involved. Look at early science fiction. Popular stories were full of tales about robots, space travel, settling on distant planets. Fantasy novels were often set on ‘alternative’ worlds where elves, dwarves, and humans co-existed in an uneasy alliance forged around the use of magic. Sound familiar? Of course it is. Its bread and butter stuff. It’s what you ‘DO’ with it that matters.

Here’s an example. Think about what’s popular in TV/Films lately? Vampires, witches, aliens, artificial intelligence. But look at the difference – say, between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Twilight from the Underworld franchise. The new Battlestar Galactica v something like Edge of Tomorrow. Transcendence v the Anomaly. Like I say, you’re taking similar settings, but it’s what you do with it that matters.

How important are ‘facts’ in fantasy/science fiction – does something need to be plausible to be believable? ‘Facts’ are the foundation of a good story. If it’s believable, people will be able to relate to what they’re reading. If they relate to it, you capture their imagination. You suck them into your imaginary world and get them involving themselves. That’s exactly what you want. Yes, by all means – stretch the imagination – make it outlandishly fantasmagorical if you want to. But ensure to base it in well researched ‘reality’. Remember, even if your characters live in a world of magic and wonder, unless you’ve done your homework, and established that magical system upon well founded ‘laws and precepts’ – ‘strengths and limitations’, it’s going to sound false and turn people off. You have to consider such things nowadays…or suffer the consequences.

What science fiction/fantasy has influenced you most?  Who would you say are the most influential writers/film-makers? Influenced me the most? I grew up with Gerry Anderson. What a mind. Some of his concepts were incredible. Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, UFO, Space 1999. I also loved Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Lost in Space. Land of the Giants. Those influences stuck with me all my life and led to a vivid imagination.

Today, I’d say some of our best film makers are Peter Jackson, JJ Abrams, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas. Of course, the advancing nature of special effects have helped immensely. Nonetheless, films by these guys are guaranteed to draw the crowds and are of high quality. I’d be delighted if any of them decided to take of the IX?
(Perhaps you could give them a call?).


Andrew P. Weston is a Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is a contracted writer of fiction and poetry. Creator of “The IX” – and the “Guardians” and “Cambion Journals” series, has also has the privilege of being a member of the British Science Fiction Association, and British Fantasy Society.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA in one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for and Amazing Stories.

Amazon Author Page:

Author Website:


Andrew’s latest book is a fine military science fiction – which I featured recently.  Check it out, you won’t regret it!

IX coverlarge

Meet some of Andrew’s characters: (not from IX)

And Andrew:

The IX



Author Interview Sixty-Nine Massimo Marino – Sci-fi

Welcome to Massimo Marino

Please tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m Italian, and because even in Italy that means everything and nothing at all, I should say, I am Sicilian. I was born in Palermo, and as it happened with countless Sicilians, I left it, back in 1986. I lived more years abroad than in my home country, and I have changed in many and different ways than my old friends there. It is always a pleasure to go back, but it is now 6 long years since my last visit. Saudade? Maybe, a little.

I lived in Switzerland, France, and the United States. I am a scientist as a background, and have spent over 17 years in fundamental research. Most of my writing are then academic stuff, and I always wonder at how much Google is able to find about everyone. I am sure one has to Google oneself so not to forget too much about oneself… I use Google a lot to do research for my books.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. 

I’m writing a visionary, speculative sci-fi trilogy, “The Daimones Trilogy”. The first volume, “Daimones” is available both as paperback and ebook. The second volume, “Once Humans”, is in the last editing phases and should be hit the virtual and real shelves in a few weeks.

Daimones is part true life experience and uses real facts with an added “what if” to provide an explanation to current and past events. It developed into a post-apocalyptic novel with an ongoing mystery and suspense till the end, where all “dots connect”, especially with Dan’s past—the main character—and which leaves the reader, as one reviewer put it, “with lots to ponder”. It spurred by finding on the net an amazingly long series of inexplicable death of animals, where nothing can be pointed at as cause for the events and still most of those events share common aspects. Intriguing…what if…

Where can readers find your book? 

Almost everywhere because of the extended distribution of Smashwords from their Premium Catalogue. So Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Foyles, Smashwords, and many many others.

Direct links for Amazon and Smashwords are:

How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write?

 I wrote for many years, though it was academic stuff. Since my teen years I have written novelettes and short stories that ended up in a drawer every time and then lost and destroyed. It was a solo pleaure, very few have ever read those. Then, an unexpected turn in my life made for me to join a beta-reader community and the feedback has been phenomenal.

Sci-fi was a big hit at home when I was a kid. Had both father and older brother deep into that genre. I couldn’t avoid it.

Who or what are your inspirations/influences? 

I grew up reading sci-fi, all the big names, from Isaac Asimov to Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein, to name just a few and then other genres too, Tolkien, Stephen King, Tom Clancy and others. Italian authors, too, like Svevo, Calvino, Sciascia, and also Greek mythology authors, the ones I used to hate at school and that are instead fantastic writers and authors. We live with myths daily, even if we do not realize it.

Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one? It is the same experience for both; sometimes you cannot control what your characters do and say. I followed lessons on creative writing from Brandon Sanderson at BYU online, and in one of those he described the two extremes of writing styles. One goes through pre-organizing everything, the entire plot, from the beginning to the end, the various conflicts, each chapter, everything. And then fills up the gaps, more and more till the manuscript is “completed”. At the opposite sit those writer called “gardeners”. These ones plant the seed of the story, and then the story grows, evolves, take unexpected turns, with the writer sometimes unable to tell how it will end, or what will happen if certain events were to occur.

I found myself more into this last tail of the “writers distribution curve”. I’ve watched Daimones in my mind, heard characters discussing, and reacting to what happened to them as in a movie. Sometimes I was unable to write as fast as the images flow I witnessed and I had to ask them to rewind and let me watch again.

The story and the characters had a life of their own, and I became the first reader of the novel.

With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why?

I will always bring novels to print. Longer books need to be in print too. Besides, bookstores are not yet equipped to carry ebooks and it is always nice to see one owns work on the shelves. For example, I’ve recently done a Reading in a bookstore in Geneva. That would have not happened if the book was not in print as well.

Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write? 

At times I listen to music, piano concertos. I love Rachmaninov ones.

Books are important, why is this the case? What can a book provide that say a video game cannot? 

A good story doesn’t show everything to readers. It brings them in, makes them use their own experience and path of live to imagine and recreate the vision the writer had in the first place. That vision is different for every reader. A book is always an active process, readers’ mind and imagination have important roles. A video game is passive compared to a book. Everything is there, and in order to enjoy better the experience the player has to let go his own imagination because it interferes with the gaming experience or slows down actions and reactions. The more hypnotized a player is, and absorbing passively everything the better he can be at the game.

With a book the opposite happens, the more the reader contributes to the reading, the more enjoyable the story becomes and grows into the reader.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? 

I believe I can become a writer.


Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 11.52.03Daimones Postcard Front

“Once Humans” Vol.2 of the “Daimones Trilogy”


The dogs had been slaughtered. Not a quick death either…no pity or mercy for their suffering. They did not waste a bullet for our companions; a large machete-like blade had slashed through their bodies. The guts of the male left a trace as he tried to drag himself away from the killing rage. A barbaric act, and probably a message for us. I looked at Laura with a muted question.

“I wanted you to see the place as we found it,” Laura said. “I left the two guys here, as a precaution, but instructed them not to touch anything.”

Laura gestured to our escort and the group scattered around the perimeter.

The barn was open and many animals were missing. Those still there—and their entrails—covered the floor. The walls were splattered, giving the impression concrete bled, too. A stench of gas and death assailed me.



The “Daimones Trilogy”

2012 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner in Science Fiction

2013 Hall of Fame – Best in Science Fiction, Quality Reads UK Book Club

2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner in Science Fiction Series

2014 Finalist – Science Fiction – Indie Excellence Awards L.A.

2014 Award Winner – Science Fiction Honorable Mention – Readers’ Favorite Annual Awards



Author Interview Number Fifty-One – Caleb Monroe – Sci-Fi

Welcome to Caleb Monroe

Where are you from and where do you live now? I currently live in Lake Charles, Louisiana and I have lived here for the last 13 years.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My book is called New Beginnings.  It is the first book of The Quarantine Series that I started this year.  This is my first attempt at writing anything, and I have always loved sci-fi so I went that direction with my series.  I tried to make this book a story that felt something like an Indiana Jones’ adventure with my characters traveling around the world.  Every stop they make helps to build towards the ending that will then set up the rest of the series.

Where do you find inspiration? I would have to say that most of my inspiration comes from either comic books or watching sci-fi movies.  The other area would be the books I have read in the past few years.  I have been reading a lot of young adult fiction books and I wanted to write something that was not really being written about right now.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? In my book there is a character named Clark Smalls.  He is probably my favourite character because in my book I took a chapter to tell a good amount of the story from his perspective.  It let me take a small chapter to really get into his head and let the readers see what makes him who he is.  Clark is a very important character for the story and I loved writing him into situations that would drive the story.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? Roger Biggs.  He is a real jerk and I hope that everyone hates him.

Are your characters based on real people? The only character that is based on a real person is my main character, Ben Callder.  Since the story is written in first person I got a chance to really put my personality into Ben every time he thought or spoke to another character.  I hope that this makes him more relatable to the readers.   I wanted people to read this and feel like they were reading this story from a real person’s point of view.  There were times when reading through it that I thought maybe the reader doesn’t need to know that they are thinking this, but I want this book to feel like a real person is living this story.  I wanted to give a lot of details into how they think so that what they do makes since.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I spent countless hours researching for my book.  Since my characters go to a lot of famous places I took the time to find out everything I could about these places.  My book is based in our reality and on our Earth so I wanted to make sure that everything was represented correctly so that people knew this was not a fictional version of Earth.  I want the readers to experience the reality of these locations that my characters go to on their journey.  I would find out how long a plane flight would take to get from each site and also what kind of transportations were available from the airport that my characters landed at in each country.  I would even look up examples of names for each region my characters travelled to in the story.  Even though I wrote a sci-fi book I want this to be grounded in our reality.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? The subtitle to my book is: Choose the World or Choose Your World?  As you read through the first book you will see that this is the most important message in the book.  This question is going to shape the whole series.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)

  1. Solid Plot, 2. Great characters, 3. Great world-building. 4. Technically sound

Like you said, all of these are important.  I really believe that if your plot is bad then there is no chance you can build a book or story around it to get people interested in or make them want to read your book.  For my writing process coming up with a plot directly gave me the next two things I listed.  I think that plot dictates what kind of direction your characters go and where they live in your book.  I knew from day one what was going to happen at the end of each book I am going to write for the series.  I let that determine how I designed and crafted my characters personalities and thoughts so that they could grow and eventually fulfil the destiny that I have for them.  The world that they operate in also came from the fact that my plot was based on the Earth and time we live in right now.  The reason I put technically sound last is because this is my first book and to be honest I am very weak when it comes to grammar.  I paid someone to proofread my book for me because I know how bad I am with grammar.  I did make a mistake in not getting it proofread twice though.  That is something I will have to deal with for my book and I am a little embarrassed that I did not put more emphasis on the technically sound aspect of my book.  That being said, I do not think that there are the types of errors that will make reading the book impossible or unenjoyable.  I just know that there will be a few small ones.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? My book is available in E-book format only.  This is only because I self-published the book and did not have the money to put it in print.  I would love to make this book available in all forms and maybe one day I will be able to.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I self-edited this book for two reasons:  The first is I did not have the money on me to get a professional book editor to do it for me.  Like I said earlier I did have someone proofread the book but only once.  This proof-reader also gave me some ideas to help me with editing the book.  The second is that I know what direction the whole series is going in and I want to make sure that it stays on the right path.  Now even though I am saying this, if I had the money I would have gotten it professionally edited.  I know that there will be a few mistakes in my book, but I think that those mistakes will be found in the grammar.  I believe that the plot is good with not holes in it, but I should have gotten it proofread again to make sure all the mistakes were out of the book.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Being a nerd, I love going to see movies and playing video games.  However, I feel like books are the best way to really get to know a character.  A great story will pull you in but if you are not able to really understand the motives behind the characters then the story falls flat in the end.  Some of the best parts in a book to me are when you get a chance to see a character’s thought process.  I love seeing what drives a character and how they think.  I took that and applied it to a few parts of my book so that the reader could get a chance to understand why characters are making these decisions and acting the way they are.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?

Being a new writer myself I think that most important thing to tell writers like myself is to take your time.  Make sure you take your time when putting the book together.

The second piece of advice would be to save your money so you can get a good editor/proof-reader.

The third is don’t let bad reviews get to you.  You are going to get them and you might even get a few.  Just know that you wrote book and that this is no easy task.  You should be proud of yourself.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? Before I started writing I read Meta by Tom Reynolds.  I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who likes superhero stories.

What are your views on authors offering free books? If you want to try to get your book out there then this is a great option.  People are more willing to try an indie book if it is free.

Do you have a favourite movie? It is a tie between the Star Wars series and Nolan Batman Series.

Do you have any pets? I have a basset hound named Bruce Wayne

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? This is probably not silly, but before I go to bed each night I have to check all the locks in my house five times or I will not be able to fall asleep.  It’s a little OCD, but it helps me sleep.

Book links, website/blog and author links: