Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Feature: Born of Blood by SB Knight

The Blood Chronicles is a series of three books chronicling the life of one family as they struggle to survive while an unimaginable evil pursues them relentlessly. 

In Born of Blood, the first book of the series, Jesse Banks unknowingly steps in the middle of a battle between good and evil that has raged on for generations. As the danger escalates she begins to put the pieces of her clouded past together.

Jesse discovers the truth about her ancestors and the horror that relentlessly pursued them; a horror that now pursues her. For her to survive she must join the fight. But the immortal monster that stalks her has other, more sinister plans and will stop at nothing to see those plans accomplished. Can Jesse escape a fate worse than death and defeat an age old evil?

"Our author, S.B. Knight has given us one of the most wicked and evil vampires to grace the pages of a novel." - 5-Star Review

Available at:

Since the release of his debut novel, Born of Blood, SB Knight has worked diligently to establish his name in the writing world. Having completed two more novels, it is clear there is no end to the stories in SB Knight’s mind. With even more novels planned there is little doubt SB Knight feels right at home in the Dark Fantasy genre.

You can connect with the author at his website, Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Book Feature: Piggy Moto, All-Star Boar Band
by Nicholas McRae

Piggy Moto, All-Star Boar Band is a grown-up fable that takes a look at life, prejudice, and equality. It tells the story of Eberhard Berringer, a Pig of uncommonly diminished stature. He must rise above the indignity of the unfair reputation that Pigs have in the world and must also overcome the natural challenges imposed by dwarfism. Eberhard and four friends have entered an international music competition with the hopes of changing the world's unflattering views of their people. If their quintet can take the prize, then they will prove to the world that Pigs are not all slovenly beasts, and that little people can accomplish great things. Someone involved with the contest is not interested in fairness, however. An anonymous saboteur stalks and harasses the contestants, and as pranks turn bloody, Eberhard and his friends fear that the fight for social equality might cost them their lives.

Available at:

For more information please visit

Nicholas McRae's life revolves around fantasy and imagination. He studies music, takes clarinet lessons, builds stained-glass, and covers the walls of his home with his own carved fretwork designs. All of these skills and hobbies work to transform mundane life into something magical. Nicholas reaches out to share his sense of daily wonder through storytelling, and hopes to inspire others to look for inspiration in the world around them. His favorite place to write is in the upper balcony at symphony concerts, where the music most stirs his emotions and inspires him.

You can connect with Nicholas at his websiteFacebook or Twitter. Also be sure to read the SpecFicPick interview with Nicholas here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Interview: Nicholas McRae

Today we have an interview with Nicholas McRae, author of Piggy Moto, All-Star Boar Band. Nicholas McRae's life revolves around fantasy and imagination. He studies music, takes clarinet lessons, builds stained-glass, and covers the walls of his home with his own carved fretwork designs. All of these skills and hobbies work to transform mundane life into something magical. Nicholas reaches out to share his sense of daily wonder through storytelling, and hopes to inspire others to look for inspiration in the world around them. His favorite place to write is in the upper balcony at symphony concerts, where the music most stirs his emotions and inspires him.


Michael K. Rose: What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

Nicholas McRae: I think that it legitimizes our human instinct to ask, “what if?” It's so easy to get caught up in the belief that reality is something to be accepted without question—that speculation and wonder lead to discontentment and unrest. Works of speculative fiction remind us to daydream and indulge our intellectual curiosity. While each novel, podcast, or television show shares the writer's own ideas, these don't tell us what to think; they tell us that it's good to think.

MKR: Why do you write in this genre?

NM: I write fantasy. I especially like to project the world in which we live into worlds of fantasy—wondering how things would take this familiar shape in a magical universe. How do people travel? How do they cook? What sorts of cocktails do they make? What about medicine and health care in a world where magic is real? Most importantly, though, how familiar would this world be to us? Would it be too alien to survive in, or would we find it so similar to our own that we'd quickly acclimate?

MKR: How did you come up with the idea for this book?

NM: Piggy Moto, All-Star Boar Band began as a role-playing adventure that satirized “reality television” shows such as Project Runway and American Idol. During the story, players hunted for clues to find and stop the man responsible for a series of bloody attacks on contestants. They also listened to musical selections that represented each act, and voted for which ones to advance, and which to “boot off” the stage. I had so much fun telling the story, that I decided to novelize it for my first year participating in the National Novel Writing Month. For a twist, though, I wrote it from the perspective of one of the bands rather than that of the detectives.

MKR: What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

NM: The biggest challenge was definitely revising the story to make it more meaningful. When I finished the novel, I wanted it to be more than just a novelized role-playing game. I wanted to say something about the real world and give readers something to think about. I consulted a man who told me about his own life as a Little Person and shared great insight into the challenges that little people face in this world. I realized that I had a lot of work ahead of me, and ended up almost completely re-writing the whole novel after that.

MKR: What are you working on now?

NM: Right now I'm working with a couple of editors to get my next manuscript polished up and ready to send out to agents and publishers. This one is set in modern times and deals with alienation, isolation, and faith amid the breakdown of reality as we know it.


You can connect with Nicholas at his website, Facebook or Twitter. Read more about Piggy Moto, All-Star Boar Band here. Also be sure to visit tomorrow as Piggy Moto... will be our SpecFicPick Book Feature (update: read it here).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Art Feature: The Fantastic Art of Maurizio Manzieri

Today I have an interview with Maurizio Manzieri, a fantastic artist of all things fantastic. Maurizio is an award-winning freelance illustrator renowned in the field of the fantastic literature. The Art Studio where he dreams up his Universes is a small oasis in the heart of the town of Turin, Italy, near the Alps.

Maurizio's artwork has appeared on the covers of the most prestigious magazines and books of leading Italian and international publishers: Mondadori, La Repubblica, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Putnam/Berkley, Prime Books, Subterranean Press, and many others.

If you want to know more about the artist, visit his official website at He has also opened a Facebook page, where he posts new images for the fans his digital creations.


Michael K. Rose: Was there any defining moment when you realized you wanted to be a fantasy/science fiction artist?

Maurizio Manzieri: I was born in Naples, one of the most enchanting cities on Earth, under the shadow of the volcano Vesuvius, exploring the ruins of Pompeii and visiting the islands of Ischia and Capri. My career as a fantastic artist is strictly intertwined to my land and to an avid passion for speculative ideas, enjoyed through any kind of medium, from books to TV series, from movies to comics. It's a distinctive deviation in my chromosomes, imbued with that special air of my places. It says aloud in the back of my head: "You are a fantastic artist!” I couldn't think to be anyone else, without betraying my true self.

MKR: When you are commissioned to create a piece of art, do you prefer to get a lot of details from the client or do you prefer to let your imagination fill in those details?

MM: It depends on the type of assignment. In the case of editorial commissions, I prefer always to read the full story before daring to materialize any sketch on paper. As a rule, it's already the publisher forwarding a copy of the manuscript, or fat synopses, together with the assignment. Take note that the more the story is important to or inspired by a renowned saga, the more fundamental it is to take into account the respect for the fans (you see, I've always been a fan myself). Characters and environments have to be deeply coherent to the text and emotionally linked to the readers.

Pictures from an Expedition by Alex Irvine – Digital – 
(The Magazine of Fantasyand Science Fiction, USA, 
2003 / Spectrum, The Best in Contemporary Fantastic
Art, USA, 2004)
MKR: Do you have a favorite piece?

MM: We artists try always to improve ourselves, so I keep working day after day toward the favorite one. Anyway if I should choose a particular painting, I'd say I'm really fond of a cover I realized for Fantasy & Science Fiction about ten years ago, titled "Pictures from an Expedition" (a novelette by Alex Irvine). My astronaut conquered a full page in Spectrum, The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, and in the same year I won both the Europe and the Chesley Award with other illustrations.

MKR: Are there any artists who you look to for inspiration? Was there anyone who you sought to imitate when you were first developing as an artist?

MM: It isn't a secret that my idol has always been Michael Whelan. I consider his paintings pure sense-of-wonder! Over the years, I've been enriching my studio library with art books by Michael Parkes, Gil Bruvel, Jim Burns, Bob Eggleton, James Gurney... all of them offering in their body work not only the fruition of a beautiful painting, but also some impalpable essence of beauty, something able to touch the soul of the viewer like a sort of subliminal message, something I've been trying to do, too.

MKR: What has been your proudest achievement as an artist so far?

MM: I'm a self-made artist with a very optimistic vision of life. Talking again about my wish of becoming an artist, one thing is wishing something to happen; another is seeing that wish happening for real. I see myself in the seventies as a young student fond of Ray Bradbury, and today that student has changed in a grown-up fully immersed in the local and national community of artists. My proudest achievement, more than an award or a huge fee, is having the skill to be able to freeze feelings in an image created from the scratch, then unleashing that image out in the world and letting the Art speak for Herself to the heart of a vast audience.

MKR: Thank you so much for the interview, Maurizio! Readers, check out more of his work below and at his website and Facebook page.


Five Thrillers by Robert Reed – Digital – 2009 Chesley Award Nominee
(The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, USA, 2008)

L├ízaro Y Antonio by Marta Randall – Digital – 2008 Chesley Award Nominee
(The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, USA, 2007)

Briony, Princess of Shadowmarch – Digital - 2003 Chesley Award Nominee
(Asimov’s Science Fiction, USA, 2011)

Dune by Frank Herbert – Digital – (Interior illustration for La Repubblica XL, Italy, 2012) 

Steambridge – Digital – ('The Year's Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction #4”,Infinivox, USA, 2012) 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Feature: A Human Element by Donna Galanti

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ deaths the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

“Galanti’s debut is a thrilling ride full of believable characters, a terrifying villain, an epic battle for survival, and a love worth killing for. A page-turner filled with fascinating twists and turns!” - Marie Lamba, author of What I Meant and Drawn

Available at:

For more information, please visit the author's website.

Donna Galanti the author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She is a member of International Thriller Writers, SCBWI, and Horror Writers Association. She’s lived from England as a child to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. If she couldn’t write she would bike, hike, and kayak every day. Donna lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly no ghosts. You can connect with her at her website, Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Book Feature: Kransen House by Sara Brooke

The Kransens live in an expensive, elegant home in the small town of Flening, Florida. Majestic and private, the grounds are surrounded by lush trees and colorful flowers. But there is an ugliness underneath the manicured and perfect facade... Secrets hide within the walls and curses whisper through the air.

Newlyweds Ben and Ana Kransen are moving into the house with their in-laws. They’ve got high hopes and expectations for a better life. But soon after they move in, strange things start to happen. Noises fill the air, dark rooms unlock nightmares of the past, and it becomes clear that some people are not welcome in the Kransen House. Their lives are infiltrated by death, evil, and an unspoken religion. Ana knows something is wrong and her family is in danger. Left with few choices, she must find a way to save the ones she loves or face the consequences of an evil legacy.

Available at:

For more information, please visit the author's website

Sara Brooke is a horror and suspense novelist living in South Florida. A lifelong avid reader of all things scary, Sara's childhood dream was to write horror books that force readers to sleep with their lights on. Sara's influences and favorite authors include Bentley Little, John Saul, William Blackstone, and Joe McKinney. You can connect with Sara at her website or on Facebook. Also be sure to read our interview with her here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Interview: Sara Brooke

Today's interview is with Sara Brooke. Sara is a horror and suspense novelist living in South Florida. A lifelong avid reader of all things scary, Sara's childhood dream was to write horror books that force readers to sleep with their lights on. Sara's influences and favorite authors include Bentley Little, John Saul, William Blackstone, and Joe McKinney.

Her first novel, Still Lake, was released in the Spring of 2012. She is presently working on her third novel.


Michael K. Rose: What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

Sara Brooke: It plays a large role, serving as an escape from non-fiction and to be honest, from the mundane doldrums of life. Speculative fiction gives the reader an opportunity to be immersed in another world. It has always been a respite for me personally, so when I am creating different worlds with different characters, it is a unique pleasure to know that others will soon be entertained. Nothing pleases me more than when readers share their own personal thoughts in reference to one of my novels.

MKR: Why do you write in this genre?

SB: I love horror! It is what interests me. Hence, I write about what I enjoy. That's not to say that I don't enjoy dramas, romance or comedy, but I prefer to read about the horrific. Bentley Little is one of my favorite authors. His tales of terror are fantastical experiences that take the norms and systematically change them to the macabre. Some of my novels emulate that theme. It is quite amazing how quickly "normal" life can shift with just a few tiny changes in the world.

MKR: How did you come up with the idea for Kransen House?

SB: I've always loved a good haunted house story, but the best ones are where the people inside are more horrific than any of the "ghosts in the halls." Being a fan of Gothic suspense, I applied those principles to Kransen House. It really turned out the way I'd hoped despite taking different twists and turns that weren't anticipated when I began writing it. Many readers shared with me that it was a fascinating, horrific journey for them and that they couldn't stop reading until the end, anxious to know how it would all turn out.

MKR: What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

SB: There are scenes in the book that are truly uncomfortable, particularly from a woman's standpoint. Let's just say there are some really bad people in it. But in order to ensure that the story was believable, I had to touch upon topics that are difficult to swallow. Still, that is reality, isn't it? There are people in this world who don't follow the same rules as you or I. And, combining that with a touch of the "haunted" makes the story a tad more delicious.

MKR: What are you working on now?

SB: My third novel. I've posted some teasers about it on I'm also part of a new anthology entitled New Flesh, Old Bones, which contains short stories from newer authors like me and other more well-known writers like Joe Lansdale. My short is an interesting creepfest about a Goldfish named "Doug." I hope readers will check it out.


Kransen House is available for Kindle (Amazon US, Amazon UK) and Nook. You can connect with Sara at her website or on Facebook. Also be sure to visit tomorrow as Kransen House will be the SpecFicPick Book Feature. Update: read it here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Interview: Craig McGray

Craig McGray is a new author who has just published The Somnibus: Book I, the beginning of a paranormal horror trilogy. Craig lives on the east coast of Florida with his wife, Andrea, and two beautiful daughters, Emma and Chloe. He works as an administrator for an oral and maxillofacial surgical practice in Daytona Beach, Florida. If that wasn't enough, he's also a triathlon athlete and many of his thoughts and ideas come to him during those quiet times while running, biking, or swimming.

Today, I am very pleased to present this interview with Craig, conducted in August via email.


Michael K. Rose: Your newest release, The Somnibus: Book I, is a horror/paranormal thriller. What drew you to that genre?

Craig McGray: Well, I've always enjoyed reading the genre. It was only natural that when I started writing, I wrote those kinds of stories. Even as a kid, my stories were along those lines. I often wrote stories and kept them to myself. Part of it was the lack of belief in myself as a writer, and another part was the content. Even when I was young. I would creep myself out sometimes when I wrote certain stories. I find myself fighting the urge to put a twist of horror in everything I write, so I guess my answer is, it feels natural to me. It's usually appropriate for the type of stories I write, but when I'm writing with my daughter (Emma is 8) it's better if I keep the premise of the fairy in our story boring into the little girl's brain through her ear and making her do bad things, to myself.

I enjoy reading things that scare me. When I have someone tell me that my story was scary, as in they had to leave the lights on to go to bed, I am thrilled. To me that is the biggest compliment I can receive. Well, there are others, but that's for a different interview. ;-) I am experimenting with stepping out of my comfort zone and writing in other genres. I was surprised to find that I am beginning to enjoy that aspect of my writing. Maybe it's my ripe old age of 40, but I think I just like doing something new; learning new things.

MKR: Do you believe in anything paranormal, or is it all fiction to you? And if you do believe, have you ever had a paranormal experience?

CM: I work in the medical field, so I believe in science. I also know there are things that science can't explain. Personally, I have never had anything happen to me that I thought was paranormal in nature. I do enjoy hearing the accounts of others that say they have experienced it, but I think it's the result of an overactive imagination more than anything. Now, do I think those people are lying? Absolutely not. I think they truly believe they had a paranormal experience. Well, some of them may be lying just to get attention. I'm also not saying I want to go stay the night in some abandoned asylum or anything, though I would if the opportunity came up, but I have yet to see any real proof that haunting, or ghosts, exist. I think loved ones do somehow visit those they've left behind. My daughters have both told me things that I believe about that, but that may be a different discussion.

In other words, I guess I believe in some things paranormal, but since I haven't seen it myself, I would put an asterisk next to the believe part. As far as haunted houses and the like, I don't buy it. I think our mind is very strong and plays tricks on us sometimes. I get creeped out by watching the movies, but not because I think it's real or could happen to me. With that being said, if I actually did experience an attack from a ghost, or I saw something in a haunted house that I thought was a ghost, I would probably need a new pair of shorts after I ran out like a teenage schoolgirl.

MKR: As a marathon runner, I'm sure that your training would serve you well as you ran out screaming like a schoolgirl. Now, The Somnibus series is about a young man named Michael who learns that he possesses, via a mysterious stone that belonged to his mother, the ability to access a shadowy other world where creatures called the Somnibus exist and from which he can actually enter into the bodies of other people. You mention there are things science can't explain, and as Clarke famously said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Are you approaching your story from a purely fantastical point of view, or could there be something of science (parallel worlds, for example) behind it? You've mentioned in another interview that you are a fan of Lovecraft and for me, the most remarkable thing about his writing is that in many of his stories he is able to take seemingly supernatural events and ascribe scientific explanations to them. Without giving too much away, is this a possibility you're going to explore with the rest of the series?

CM: Yeah, my triathlon training would definitely have me out of there before anyone else. What do they say about avoiding Zombies, "You don't have to be faster than everyone, just faster than someone." or something like that. Anyway, as far as The Somnibus series goes, it is based on fantasy. The world I want to create with the series could be nothing but fantasy. As my answer may have pointed to earlier, I don't think there are any in between worlds, or other dimensions that we are going to find, at least none that science has shown yet. Now, other worlds as in other planets, I do think that will happen, eventually. That's probably more your area of expertise, but I do believe the science fiction of today may be the reality of tomorrow, or maybe a couple hundred tomorrows from now.

MKR: The Somnibus is your first major project as a writer. I know how exciting it is to get that first major work out to the public. I also know the doubts and fears that accompany that. So what do you hope will come of it? What is your goal as a writer, where do you want it to take you? You've mentioned being worried about how others will receive your work. What other fears do you have?

CM: Great question. I guess I just hope I can create stories and worlds that people enjoy reading about. I know that seems like a cookie cutter answer, but it's true. I haven't come into this with some great expectations of being the next Stephen King, James Patterson, or Michael K. Rose (though I wouldn't run away from the label). I just want to put out stories that people can read and be satisfied with when they are done. Reading is time consuming, so if I'm fortunate enough to have someone spend their valuable time reading my book, then I don't want them to feel like it was a waste of time. Time is a limited commodity, and I understand that.

As far as where I hope to go as a writer, honestly I'm not sure. I plan to write stories that I like to read, and see where it takes me. Of course I want to sell a few books, but that's not the main reason for my writing. I have a full time job to pay the bills and that's my first priority behind my family. Much like my stories, I have a loose outline for myself when it comes to writing. I'll let life and readers help to put me on the right path. That, and I'd love to walk into a bookstore and see one of my covers staring at me and my family from the shelves.

Fears. Let's see. I don't like to say I'm scared of anything. However, I'm not a big fan of roller coasters, or spiders. It's not that I'm worried about being attacked by spiders or anything, they just give me the creeps for some reason. I don't mind snakes, or any other animals or insects, just not a fan of spiders. I'm getting better with roller coasters to some degree. My 8-year-old Emma is getting into roller coasters, which I have never really enjoyed. I get through it by acting like it's no big deal, like any tough guy dad would do, but I secretly hope she changes her mind sometimes. A more serious fear is the fear of something happening to my kids. I don't know how parents deal with a true tragedy or illness when it comes to children. Sorry to bring down the tone of the piece, but it's a legit fear for me.

MKR: The Somnibus will be a trilogy, correct? Do you have your next project planned? Do you think you might continue The Somnibus beyond those first three books?

CM: My plans when starting The Somnibus series was to have a trilogy when it was all said and done. As I'm working through Book II, there may be more story to tell. I'll just have to see where the characters lead the story, and what the readers want.

I am also working on a collection of short stories. I love writing the short stuff, so I always have a few of those going at the same time. Sometimes, if I'm stuck on one project, I'll go back over some unfinished work. That may get me through my block, or I might put more work into the shorter story. It just depends on the mood.

I have this premise for a sci-fi type project that I can't stop coming back to. I haven't put much down yet, but I think I'll have to start it. It keeps tapping on my forehead, wanting the story to be told. That project will be a large project and take a considerable amount of time, I think. We'll just have to see with that one. I may need a little science-fiction creative direction. I've heard of this kick ass writer, Michael K. something, I think. You ever heard of him?

MKR: Haha! I may have. Care to give us a teaser on what that science fiction story will be about?

CM: Well, when aliens try to take over the earth, there's always this big battle with violent aliens. I think there are smarter aliens out there, aliens that could rid the earth of humans without destroying everything in their path. They are more patient in waiting for us to be gone. The characters have to figure out a way to undo what the aliens have done before it's too late to recover and the human race is no more. Here's a hint, it's not a disease that threatens to rid the earth of humans.

MKR: It sounds intriguing! Thank you for your time Craig. Anything else you'd like to mention?

CM: I'd just like to thank you for the great interview. I'd, also like to thank you for all of your help and support. It's nice to know that there are authors out there willing to help each other out. I hope to release The Somnibus: Book II by late fall, and my collection of short stories before year end. Maybe I'll make it a creepy Christmas time release. Thanks again for the fun interview.


You can connect with Craig at his website, Facebook or Twitter. The Somnibus is available at Amazon's Kindle stores (US, UK).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Book Feature: Outsystem by M. D. Cooper

Someone is out to stop the GSS Intrepid, an interstellar colony ship, from being completed on schedule and beginning its journey to 82 Eridani. When anti-colonial activist groups are suspected, Major Tanis Richards, an officer in the field of military intelligence and counterinsurgency, is brought onboard to hunt them down.

A public disgrace Tanis suffered at the hands of the military has motivated her to leave Sol and start a new life elsewhere. She soon discerns that more than simple activist groups are arrayed against the ship and its crew. There are corporations and governments that have a vested interest in ensuring that the Intrepid never leaves the Sol system.

Tanis tightens security and fights political red tape while running up against assassins and mercenaries sent to the stop her and the Intrepid at every turn. The new friends and relationships she forges strengthen her resolve to protect the ship and keep its crew and colonists safe as they endeavor to head outsystem.

“Michael Cooper's Outsystem is exactly what one would expect of a science-fiction novel, and more! The militaristic theme and subtle romance gives Outsystem enough to appeal to a wide variety of readers.” - Amazon Review

Available at:

For more information, please visit the author's website.

Michael Cooper has been writing since the day he closed The Return of the King and wanted more. After writing a lot of fantasy he decided to try his hand at science fiction and has published one book, Outsystem, and is working on the sequel, A Path in the Darkness.

When not writing stories or code, Michael is spending time with his wife and daughter, or doing carpentry--a hobby which he has been growing over the years.

His other interests include astronomy, cars and racing, blacksmithing, movies, and just about any creative work one can do. You can connect with him via his website, Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Book Feature: Perchance to Dream by Peter Lukes

Manuel Corr is the best of the best in the Sub-Net unit of the Boston Police, where he invades the dreams of criminals to unearth potential crimes. He's fearless where his work is concerned, until one night when the dream world collapses around him. Now trapped in a dreamscape he can no longer direct, Manuel must try to fight his way back to reality.

But the road back is more dangerous than he realized. The tables have been turned; criminals are running the Sub-Net, and the world of dreams he'd once patrolled is a nightmare he cannot escape from.

Unless he can unlock the conspiracy behind who's manipulating the Sub-Net, Manuel may be trapped forever. The criminal world is trying to recruit him for their side, and refusal means death. Can Manuel claw his way back to the reality he remembers? Or will the dream world become his new reality?

Available at:

Peter Lukes grew up in Massachusetts, where he also went to college, law school and graduate school. Peter is an attorney who frequently teaches classes in history, political science and government as an adjunct faculty professor at local colleges. His true passion lies in writing the kinds of science fiction and fantasy stories that he loved reading throughout his life. Peter still lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son, who have both been indoctrinated into the worlds of spaceships, vampires, super heroes and dragons.

You can connect with Peter at his website, Facebook or Twitter. Also be sure to read our interview here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Interview: Peter Lukes

Today's interview is with Peter Lukes, author of the science fiction novel Perchance to Dream. He grew up in Massachusetts, where he also went to college, law school and graduate school. Peter is an attorney who frequently teaches classes in history, political science and government as an adjunct faculty professor at local colleges. His true passion lies in writing the kinds of science fiction and fantasy stories that he loved reading throughout his life. Peter still lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son, who have both been indoctrinated into the worlds of spaceships, vampires, super heroes and dragons.

Michael K. Rose: What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

Peter Lukes: Speculative fiction offers the reader a believable escape from reality. In addition to the obvious entertainment value, the specfic landscape can also potentially provide the reader with a meaningful reflection on themselves, society, or life in general, without being "preachy." The complex and imaginative settings of speculative fiction camouflage any resemblance to our actual surroundings, thereby providing some cover for a greater philosophical message. Exceptional science fiction has achieved this end for a long time, and now speculative fiction seems to be taking readers on an even greater journey of possibilities, while simultaneously making important statements about a world view, (from Dune to The Road to The Hunger Games). I think that because so much of science "fiction" has turned into reality over the past thirty years, people are more inclined to suspend their limits of belief, and this allows writers more leeway for stories of travel to parallel worlds, magic realism, and other fantastic incorporations that might have been scoffed at by mainstream readers (and publishers) years ago as being too far "out there."

MKR: Why do you write in this genre?

PL: It's the genre that I enjoy reading the most, so it was a natural fit. Since I first read The Chronicles of Narnia when I was a wee-lad, I've been hooked on speculative fiction. I'm an avid science fiction and fantasy reader as well, but if I can mix it up and make it work with a little paranormal here, and a little sci-fi there, with a touch of alternate reality, it's the best of all worlds!

MKR: How did you come up with the idea for Perchance to Dream?

PL: I've kicked around the concept of dream invasion and alternate reality travel for years. It went through so many changes and re-formations that it's hardly where I started, but the story definitely improved at each step along the way. It's a complicated world and we barely peel away the first layer in Perchance to Dream. The sequel is on its way, but there will still be much more revealed as we go.

MKR: What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

PL: Keeping track of everything. When you design a complicated environment, it has to work, even if it's technically or scientifically "impossible." There have to be explanations, limits, and rules, even if it's based in magic. The writer is required to provide a basic set of guidelines for how this world operates, and things just can't happen willy-nilly in favor or against your protagonist. Therefore, everything has to add up and be consistent from chapter one through the final sentence. At the same time, you don't want to bore the reader with exposition regarding how or why things are happening the way they are. Consistency is the key and a slow trickle of information adds to the suspense.

MKR: What are you working on now?

PL: I'm in the final editing stages for a new title being released in January 2013 called The Dominus Runes. It takes place on an alternate Earth that's been conquered and divided up by a demonic family from another dimension. The demons are on the verge of war with each other, and the only guy who can save humanity happens to be an underworld crime boss anti-hero.

I'm also currently writing the sequel to Perchance to Dream. It's almost finished and I'm hoping for a July 2013 release date.

MKR: Thank you for your time, Peter! Readers, you can get Perchance to Dream at Amazon US, Amazon UK and Barnes & Noble. You can also visit the author's website for more information. Please see our Book Feature of Perchance to Dream.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Book Feature: Iara by Caroline Sloan

Iara is a fantasy adventure that blends traditional mythology and folklore. The central theme is that Iara, a legendary supernatural being, is embodied in the form of a seemingly ordinary human, who happens to have no idea of her special status. Mara is a modern young woman who lives in New Zealand with her boyfriend, Sebastian. After a sequence of disturbing dreams and visions connected with underwater beings and prowling jaguars, she travels to Canada to visit old friends and seek solace from her nightmares. Whilst in Canada Mara falls in love with an Algonquin native called Jesse and is drawn into the life of his tribe. As the story progresses Mara learns that she is actually the reincarnation of Iara, the legendary half serpent and half human figure from Brazilian folk lore. Iara is intent on seeking revenge for the loss of her love Boiuna, who (it turns out) is Jesse. This discovery reawakens Iara's passion, strength and protectiveness through Mara.

Available at:

More information can be found here.

During her childhood, Caroline travelled extensively with her family and lived in the UK, Germany, USA and Canada. Caroline joined the Royal Navy prior to receiving an honours degree in Archaeology. In 2006, she made the decision to move to New Zealand where she bought a farm.

Caroline's books are based on her own experiences - places she has visited, countries that hold special memories, friends she has made on her journeys. Writing enables Caroline to use the knowledge and understanding gained through her degree studies to create stories based on ancient cultures and civilisations.

Caroline now lives in Berkshire, UK. You can connect with her via her website, Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Book Feature: Resounding Echo by Michelle Louring

The battlefield of angels and demons is no place for a human....

For nearly 6 years, Selissa has lived a almost peaceful life at the temple, but she has no memories from the time before the priests took mercy on her. All she has from her past life are a strange symbol on her back and fearful dreams. It's only when the mysterious traveler Alassane arrives at the temple that her lost memories come back to haunt her. Soon, Selissa finds herself fighting for her life and comes to know that no one is what they pretend to be.

Resounding Echo is the first book in Angel's Voice series, which takes place in the world of Sinaria, a country devout to the worship of the Archangels. It's a story filled with demons, angels, sorcerers and magic, but also warriors and common thugs just fighting to survive.

Available at:

Michelle Louring was born and raised in Denmark, but soon after learning the English language as a child, it quickly proved superior to her native language. English books started to replace Danish ones, and soon it also became her preferred language for writing. This love, combined with a fascination with creating stories, evolved into a desire to write novels.

You can read more about her and her work on her website and also connect with her via Facebook and Twitter.