Tag Archives: Sci Fi

Travis McBee interview

Hydra publications author Travis McBee is on today for an interview. His book Bridgeworld is a great YA sci fi read, one to check out.

William Haynes was the type of guy that everyone either wanted, or wanted to be. He was an honor roll student and captain of his middle school football team. He was dating the most popular girl in the school and had dozens of friends. Yes, life was perfect for Will…that is until a strange man shows up and forces his parents to reveal a secret they have kept hidden since he was born. He is told that he has been given a scholarship to a prestigious private school that his parents attended, a private school that happens to be in space. Will must choose between a life many would die for and a life none could imagine. A life where he is no longer perfect, where he must make new friends, and where he must survive a school rivalry like no other.

 

Please tell me about yourself –
Well I’m twenty-two, live in the mountains, and I write books. Wait a second…does that sound cliché? Crap…
How long have you been writing? –
I’ve been writing seriously for about two and a half years now. Before that, it was nothing more than a hobby.
You have a YA book out, a children’s book out and soon an adult novel. Do you have a preference ? –
I can’t really chose which one I like more. They all have their appeal. Writing a children’s book is a lot of fun because it’s short, and innocently fun, but it’s very limiting in some respects. You have to be careful which words you use—both because of inappropriate words and words that are well above the audience. Young adult is fast paced and I can pretty much let loose my vocabulary, only worrying about cuss words. I still have to be careful what I show in young adult though: I have to limit the gore and sex. Writing for adults give me completely free range. I can show as much gore as I want, have my characters speaking like that actually would (i.e cussing up a storm on occasion), and show people doing the things that people do. Adult books can be tedious to write however, they aren’t nearly as fast paced and adult audiences demand much more attention to detail than younger ones. So a short story long, they are all fun in their own way.
What are you reading now? –
At the moment I’m reading “The Dead Zone” By Stephen King
Favorite books and authors –
My favorite authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Garth Nix, JK Rowling, and Neal Shusterman.
Tell me about your writing influences –
My writer-idol would have to be Stephen King. His love for his job is evident in everything he does and I loved his book “On Writing” Other than him, I’m really influenced by everyone I read. I always take something away from a book—even if it’s something I don’t want to use because it was awful.
Tell me about Bridgeworld it sounds fascinating –
Bridgeworld is a book about a boy whose parents are from outerspace. What sets them apart from aliens in most fiction is that they’re human, just like me and you. The boy, Will, grows up on earth without a clue that his parents aren’t from Boston like they always told him. One day he notices a man following him around and is eventually confronted by the man. The man forces his parents to reveal the truth about their past and he is offered a scholarship to Bridgeworld, their old school which orbits the distant planet of Broglio. He accepts the offer and is taken to a school in space that is so different it’s amazing, and so familiar it’s terrifying.
And future works –
I finished the sequel to Bridgeworld a few weeks ago and it’s currently with my publisher. It’s supposed to come out in July. I’ve also secured a new contract on my Chronicles of a Second Grade Genius series and they will be republished and added onto this summer as well. Also coming out in June is the sequel to my novel for adults, “Triton: Rise of the Fallen” which was just released a few weeks ago. It is called “Triton: The Call of War”. I’ve been very busy and have a lot of books coming out. It’s very exciting.
Thank you for having me!
You can find Travis on his web site and facebook.

Happy Release day Suffocate

It is May 21st and guess what that means?

S.R. Johannes’ Suffocate is out today!

Suffocate is the first novelette in THE BREATHLESS series. It is a 15,000 word young adult thriller that combines the dystopic and science fiction genres.

Here’s a little about the novelette…

“For centuries, the world outside the Biome has been unlivable. Today, marks the first time anyone will attempt to leave the suffocating ecosphere. Eria is not worried because her scientist father has successfully tested the new Bio-Suit many times. It’s a celebratory day until something goes horribly wrong. In the midst of tragedy, Eria uncovers a deep conspiracy that affects the very air she breathes.

If those responsible find out what she knows, they won’t stop hunting her until she takes her last breath.”

The 2nd novella in the series, CHOKE, is scheduled for Fall 2012. The 3rd, EXHALE, is scheduled for Winter 2013.

You can purchase Suffocate for only 99 cents at
Amazon  – http://www.amazon.com/Suffocate-The-Breathless-Novelette-ebook/dp/B008450Q70/ref=la_B006CBEBAQ_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1337350161&sr=1-4

Also you can add it on Goodreads! – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13648347-suffocate

And in case you were wondering here is a bit about the author –

S.R. Johannes is author of the Amazon Bestseller Untraceable and a current nominee of the Georgia Author of the Year in the Young Adult category. After earning an MBA and working in corporate america, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She lives in Atlanta Georgia with her goldendoodle Charley (notice he is listed first :), her British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.  You can find her hanging out online and visit her at srjohannes.com

Twitter- https://twitter.com/#!/srjohannes
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/srjohannes
Pinterest- http://pinterest.com/srjohannes/
Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5235537.S_R_Johannes

Child of Destiny book tour : Interview

 

 

On the 26th I shared a guest post and today is an interview.

 

 

 

 

 

Please tell us about yourself –

I lived a licentious and hedonistic past, but am now old and feeble–battered by my reckless ways into being a hobbled wreck. Of course, I deserved it. I abused my strength and size when young, was an inveterate drug addict, and ate far too much–as I still do. Yeah, I well-earned Karmic retribution, and it had been a drag. I suspect many would-be tough guys eventually pay for their perfidy, and now a ten-year old girl scout could kick my ass. Humility is good for the soul!

I earned advanced degrees along the way, a Ph.D. at Penn State in Communication and a Masters in Nonfiction Writing at UNH. I managed some good grades in my graduate work and even wrote a text book examining the neuropsychology of human communication. However, this doesn’t mean I’m particularly bright. Indeed, my scores on most intelligence measures vary greatly, from below average in some indices to in the top few percentile in others. I chose to think I’m forgetful and sometimes can’t see the forest except for the trees.

My only real strength is imagination, although some might argue that my many life experiences are useful. The reason I can describe conflict is such detail is because I know what it is like, which is nothing to be proud of. Yeah, I’m honest, but it was a long time in coming. The truth about my past is unavoidable, and for better or worse, it helped shape what I am. Times shapes all of us, and drives us toward change–if we allow it. I’m a cripple now, but more content and at peace than ever before.

What are you reading now? –

I’m rereading Kirk, Raven & Schofield’s The Presocratic Philosophers. But I can’t read Greek to save my life, so it’s kind of pointless. However, I like those ancient ideas on how the universe was ordered–the cosmologies of the positivist thinkers. Folks like Thales, Amaximander, Hericlitus, and Pythagoras had some neat and insightful views–and I often employ them in my work!

Who are your favorite authors and your favorite books? –

I have used a very similar answer to this question before, but it’s the truth of things. I like most of the ancients, and especially Plato. Aristotle’s metaphysics is far more evolved, but all we have is his working notes–and sometimes he misquotes those who went before him. The ancients’ depth and insights are impressive, even after 2,400 years.
My favorite reads from modern popular Sci-Fi authors are Dune by Frank Herbert, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglass Adams, and I, Robot by Isaac Asimov–which is probably my all-time favorite. Of the more obscure, Escape from Hell by Niven & Pournelle is outstanding. It’s about a writer sentenced to hell, which is sure to be my fate! But the guy finds a way out of hell, and one day I may have to use his means!

How has your reading preferences influenced your writing? –

The philosophical ideas I glean leak into my works, albeit subtly. Stylistically, however, my reading is usually of limited use, nor is my formal education. Academic writing is tortured, and often miserable to read. Sure, I got a Masters in writing, but that was nonfiction. I was very successful in that arena and had numerous articles and even a text book published. But nonfiction was like misery at times. I was in a box, bound on all sides by weighty research books. They say a writer should stick with what he or she is good at, but screw that! You have to listen to the calling of your heart above all else. And that calling is driving me toward Sci-Fi and spirituality.

How do you find a balance in your writing like with Child of Destiny when incorporating a
topic like religion without it being too religious? –

The characters have strong moral/religious beliefs, but they often conflict. Their beliefs became points of angry contention at times, as we see so often in our every day lives. Furthermore, events demonstrate that Kara’s faith is the product of willful manipulation, with her kind being a created species that was implanted with a false past. She is systematically reduced to the state wherein she despises her faith and even herself. Watching her fall and subsequent rise is the most interesting part of the series. I have included an essay that spells this out in greater detail.

Why Sci-fi, what about it appeals to you? –

Freedom! Yes, there are writing standards and the like that one should adhere to, but Sci-Fi is where one’s mind can soar. The limits are as big as our imaginations, although I prefer being at least a bit plausible–but just a bit. Sci-Fi also allows me to touch bases with an eclectic history, one wherein I can import many scenes from bygone times.

What future works do you have planned? –

There are now four book in the Genesis series, all of which are in the publisher’s hands. The fourth, Deep Thought, is one of the best according to the editors. I am currently working on a book about spirituality, Reflections, and it reads like Sci-Fi. It’s about dreams, some of which have also found their way into my work. Then comes Essays of a Madman, and a Genesis offshoot, The Price of Hegemony.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dr. George H. Elder has a Ph.D. from Penn State in Speech Communication and a Masters Degree in nonfiction Writing from UNH. He also has a very eclectic work and personal history. He has been a college teacher, custodian, upper-level scholar, drug addict, weight lifting coach, bouncer, and much more. He has authored numerous articles in the popular press and even a scientific text book that examines the neuropsychological basis of human communication. He has also addressed subjects such as philosophy, free speech, weight training, drug use, nutrient effects, street life, and a wide range of other issues.

His varied life experiences and education give him a unique and interesting perspective, and he often weaves philosophical insights and pathos into his texts. His books are action-oriented, but they do not have simplistic plots wherein good vs. evil or some other hackneyed approach is used. Instead, Elder employs plot shifts that allow the characters and readers to question the relationships we often take for granted. For example, a hero may do great wrongs while a species once perceived as malicious can be revealed to be honorable and wise. This offers refreshing and exciting perspectives for readers as they delve into Elder’s texts, for one never knows what to expect.

Child of Destiny book tour guest post

Today’s book tour is for Child of Destiny by Dr. George Elder.I’m pleased to present a guest post by the author on the great subject of sci-fi art work and on the 30th an interview.

Child of Destiny by Dr. George H. Elder:

 

The universe expansion is nearing the inevitable end where everything is devoured by entropy. The key to having a future is a legendary metaphysical being known only through ancient tales. The last hope is to awaken this dormant Seeker, the missing energy source, who possesses the capacity to link the entire universe in thought and deed. The Seeker alone may be able to rekindle the sparks of a new universal cycle.

The remaining advanced species desperately want existence to continue, and send for missions to search for the Seeker. One mission unexpectedly and inexplicably materializes on a primitive world inhabited by the Labateen, a Stone Age warrior culture. Here they encounter Kara, an outcast Labateen noble woman and fierce warrior. Kara knows details about the Seeker€™ litany that go well beyond coincidence, although to Kara they are simply the ways of God.

Is Kara the key to locating the long lost Seeker? And what of the races who believe existence should end in an entropic whimper and who will not sit by while others attempt to alter the end of the universe. Lofty ideals give way to brutal pragmatism as a confederation of races struggles to survive and save existence.

Child of Destiny is Book 1 of The Genesis Continuum trilogy. Book 2, Pursing a Legend is available now on Kindle. Book 3, Forging a Future, will be available in early 2012.

 

On Sci-Fi Art Work

By Dr. George H. Elder


Usually, Sci-Fi books are not illustrated, although one can easily claim that many graphic novels are indeed Sci-Fi in nature. Alas, I can’t help but be attracted by drawn images, and I decided early on that Genesis would be illustrated. I believe drawings work with prose to better share what an author envisions than either mode of communication can do alone. My doctoral work at Penn State examined this area, with numerous studies indicating that simultaneously enlisting semantic and visuospatial resources greatly enhances attention acquisition and memory formation.
However, it should be understood that there are marked differences between the writing requirements of a graphic novel and novels of more conventional natures. The plot and character development of both require explication, but a graphic novel does not need quite as much by way of written descriptions. Yes, a picture can say thousands of words, so I decided to give illustrations a try in Genesis.
The issue shifted to cost versus available talent, a practical dilemma. Moreover, all costs were out of pocket, and few of us are rich. I was blessed in having access to the Center for Cartoon Studies, which is located in White River Junction, Vermont. I saw CCS’s student artwork online and was impressed. Good artists can also be found online at Deviant Art, which is an excellent venue for anyone considering hiring an artist.

I opted to employ a competition with CCS’s students and described the Genesis project along with contract terms on the school’s posting board. Five artists submitted artwork. My friends in the art world, after much debate, decided that Randal Drew should be awarded the contract. A price of $25 per ink was offered, with an award for up to125 drawings being made. The price was acceptable, although be advised, very experienced graphic artists can be much more expensive.

Since the number of drawings would be limited, I had to select key points wherein the drawings would dovetail with the descriptions, plotlines and action sequences in such a way as to maximize impact. This was far more difficult than I imagined. I must leave it up to the reader to decide if the purpose was achieved. Clearly, the artwork had to address the characters, time/space capsule, pivotal action scenes, and important plotline shifts.

Some of this was achieved, and seeing a character like Anita in a drawing allows the reader to better grasp her size and power, for she most assuredly does not have a typical female form. Seeing the capsule was also illuminating, as were some of the action scenes. My main regret soon became not having more drawings done for each Chapter, but my resources were limited and the artist was hard-pressed due to time-constraints. Book 1 alone consumed 58 drawings spread over fifteen chapters and many more could have been used.

In many ways, this was an experiment, and if readers of the hard-copy text like them we will extend the drawings to Books 2, 3 and 4. There are still a number of technical problems to overcome. At 300-370 pages, each text is already the size of an average Sci-Fi novel, and adding sixty more pages for the drawings presents a financial barrier to publishers. However, my publisher felt the project was technically and financially feasible for hard copies. Kindle is still grappling with incorporating drawings and other graphics. I imagine time will resolve these issues.

Ultimately, sales will dictate content, which is a harsh reality that any author must confront. Genesis was designed to be visual in nature, and parts of the story would benefit greatly from drawings and artwork—such as the gigantic battles in Book 2 and the surrealistic events that transpire in Book 3 (e.g., the crew’s experiences with the Seekers).

On the other hand, some might find the art superfluous, and this is a point I must consider. We write for audiences and not just for ourselves. We are judged accordingly, but I do not believe it wise to allow our need to follow a given genre form to stifle creativity. Sci-Fi is all about reaching out in new directions, and thus we ought to consider the role of graphics in our novels

There is always the bogyman of cost waiting around every corner, but I’ve no regrets about laying out what I could on a hope and a prayer. Experimentation is the very heart of Sci-Fi! Our shared passion is a conjunction of imagination, knowledge, and dreams that pushes the envelope of what could be to its limits. We are only here for a second or two, so we must do all we can while we can to try something new!