Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SpecFicPick is Now Spaceship Urff!

I've been running SpecFicPick for a while, but beginning in 2014, it will officially transform into SpaceShip Urff! New name, new format, new home, new everything!

Spaceship Urff will be a bi-monthly webzine featuring articles, reviews, author interviews and anything else related to speculative fiction. If you'd like to contribute or are an author interested in being interviewed, see the guidelines on this site here. Over the next month or so, all that information will be migrated to the new site.

The first issue of Spaceship Urff goes live January 15, 2014! Visit Spaceship Urff here and be sure to update your bookmarks! You can also follow the new site via email so you'll be sure not to miss the first issue.

Best,
Michael K. Rose

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Author Spotlight: Benjamin X. Wretlind, Author of A DIFFICULT MIRROR

Benjamin X. Wretlind ran with scissors when he was five. Consequently, he likes llamas, although it's widely known that llamas don't care one way or another. He is the author of Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with ScissorsSketches from the Spanish Mustang and Regarding Dead Things on the Side of the Road: Collected Stories.

He lives in Colorado with his wife and kids...but no llamas (yet).

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society? 

Reality sucks, and we all know it. Finding escape in speculative fiction is one of those therapy methods we're all offered, but how many actually take part it in? Few. Why? Because therapy sucks. In the end, the reader and the writer need to embrace this method of escape, and in all honesty, it is only speculative fiction (specifically science fiction) which improves the world over time.

Why do you write in this genre?

I embraced speculative fiction as my escape, as my own personal therapy. You can write what's real for only so long before you want to escape it yourself. When I "sketched" my last novel Sketches from the Spanish Mustang, I didn't really want to do anything speculative or paranormal. I wanted it to be "real." In the end, I had to escape my own horrors by getting out of the real world, even if only for a paragraph.

How did you come up with the idea for A Difficult Mirror?

This idea has been with me since I was 17 in a creative writing class. My teacher gave us an assignment about writing something in a setting that was real. When I asked if I could write about Milton's "gulf" between Heaven and Hell, Troy Hutchings (my teacher and mentor) asked: "Do you believe it exists?" I said yes, and 24 years later I finished the novel.

What was your biggest challenge in writing it? 

Experience. When I was younger, I hadn't really lived life that much, so how could my characters? It was necessary for me to live through pain and indignation so my characters could live through--and grow out of--those same experiences.

What are you working on now? 

I'm starting to plot out the second novel in this series. I want to make sure I cover the background of the Jim Jones-like cult in A Difficult Mirror and also set up the following novel. It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm excited to see it through. I've lived with these characters for decades, and now they have a story to tell.

***

About A Difficult Mirror

Four-year-old Justine has been lost to the world and with her an ability feared by many. But the balance of power has been shifting for years, and Justine may be able to tip those scales for good...if someone can find her in a pitiless place of sorrow and pain.

When Marie Evans meets a strange man on a deserted road and a body is found mutilated in the desert, a deep resentment teetering on the edge of release is about to explode. Someone, somewhere has drawn a line in the sand, and when Harlan Reese, Marie's ex-lover, enters a forest in central Arizona looking for his daughter, that line will be crossed.

In a world between Heaven and Hell, the past becomes the present as Harlan and Marie find each other once again. Their journey across an unforgiving land to find a way home with Justine by their side will be wrought with both pain and triumph.

Life is, after all, A Difficult Mirror.

"Combining horror, fantasy and mystery with elements of the traditional hero's journey, A Difficult Mirror is a doorway into a world where demons and painful memories from the past hold sway. With a unique and detailed plot, rich characterization and a very real sense of danger, it is sure to appeal to readers of all genres." - Amazon Review

Available at:

You can connect with Benjamin X. Wretlind at his websiteFacebook or Twitter.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Author Spotlight: Ira Nayman, Author of Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience)

Today's featured author is Ira Nayman, author of Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience). When asked for a bio written in the third person, he responded with: "Ira Nayman is a third person."

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

Speculative fiction, at its best, can illuminate the present, giving readers enough distance from current events to be able to appreciate them more than straight fiction can. The proliferation of military space fiction, for instance, gives readers a view of war (usually against aliens) that might be harder for them to accept if the same story was set on Earth (with human beings fighting other human beings). It can also help us think through issues of the “other;” after all, if we can understand and even empathize with the aliens in a science fiction story, why can’t we do the same for human beings, whose differences from us are not as stark?

Finally, science fiction stories can serve as cautionary tales: by projecting current trends into the future, it can warn us not to keep acting the way we do in the present. You see this most often in dystopian science fiction, but it can appear in any kind of sci fi story.

Why do you write in this genre?

As a satirist by day, I am drawn to the cautionary tale aspects of the genre. But there is an even more compelling reason: one of the fundamental elements of humour is surprise. With most jokes, you don’t see the punchline coming. And, invariably, the more surprising (but, ultimately, appropriate once you’ve had an opportunity to think about it) the punchline, the funnier the joke.

Science fiction, because you can create whole races and worlds, is a playground of the unexpected, with potential surprises everywhere you turn. I find it meshes well with my comic sensibility.

How did you come up with the idea for Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience)?

I found that it grew organically out of other things I had been writing. The chain goes something like this:

1) in 2002, I began a Web site of political and social satire called Les Pages aux Folles.

2) I had written a couple of fake news articles for the Web site when it occurred to me that I could feature fake news from alternate realities. Thus, the Alternate Reality News Service was born; it sends reporters into other dimensions, and has them write news articles about what they find there. (I have self-published five collections of those stories as of this writing.)

3) When I decided, three years ago, that I wanted to write a novel, I knew I wanted to go in a different direction than I had been before, but I wasn’t sure exactly what. I recalled that, in two or three of the Alternate Reality News Service stories, I had mentioned something called The Transdimensional Authority, which monitors and polices travel between dimensions. This seemed like a good starting point: it suggested that the story would involve travel between multiple dimensions (which it eventually did), as well as some sort of crime and investigation. Once I had determined the characters and the nature of the crime, everything else kind of flowed out of that.

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

Keeping track of plot details to make sure that they hung together. This was my first novel, and there is nothing quite as complex to create; not only that, but I do have a tendency to digress. Ah, well. I’m sure if there are problems with the plot, keen-eyed science fiction readers will find them!

What are you working on now?

I have finished a follow-up novel, You Can’t Kill the Multiverse (But You Can Mess With its Head), and am currently half-way through a third novel that stands apart from anything I have previously written. I continue to update Les Pages aux Folles weekly with new writing and cartoons; this will soon include new Alternate Reality News Service articles that will eventually be collected into the sixth book in the series. And, when I have the time, I write short stories.

Nothing too ambitious.

***

About Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience)

This hilarious science-fiction comedy novel follows the first case for Noomi Rapier, rookie investigator with The Transdimensional Authority – the organisation that regulates travel between dimensions. When a dead body is found slumped over a modified transdimensional machine, Noomi and her more experienced partner, Crash Chumley, must find the dead man’s accomplices and discover what they were doing with the technology. Their investigation leads them to a variety of realities where Noomi comes face-to-face with four very different incarnations of herself, forcing her to consider how the choices she makes and the circumstances into which she is born determine who she is.

Ira Nayman’s new novel is both an hilarious romp through multiple dimensions in a variety of alternate realities, and a gentle satire on fate, ambition and expectation. Ira’s style is at times surreal, even off-the-wall, with the humour flying at you from unexpected angles; he describes it as fractal humour. Anyone who has read his Alternate Reality News Service stories will know how funny Ira is. The characters we meet from around the multiverse deserve to become firm favourites with all fans of science fiction comedy.

“Welcome to the Multiverse is a cracking read that almost had me in stitches, fresh and original humour from a comedy genius.” - Antony Jones, SF Book Reviews

Available at:

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author Spotlight: Paul Green, Author of Beneath the Pleasure Zones - The Rupture


Paul Green grew up in London and studied at Oxford and the University of British Columbia. He has worked in education - notably as lecturer in media at the Royal National College for the Blind - and as a radio presenter and second-hand book operative. As well as  Beneath the Pleasure Zones, his work includes the novel The Qliphoth (Libros Libertad), and his poetry collection The Gestaltbunker (Shearsman Books). His radio/stage plays have explored dream-control, Nazi necromancy, a haunted saxophone, electronic voice phenomena and the mysterious death of occult rocketeer Jack Parsons. He was lyricist/vocalist/sax player for the Riff Power Band and contributes articles and audio fiction to www.culturecourt.com.

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

At a time of accelerating change and uncertainty, speculative fiction allows us to explore "he myths of the near future," in the words of J.G. Ballard. It also permits us to use the logic of the dream to question our received paradigms about consensus reality. Speculative fiction is a probe, sometimes a painful one, as in Ballard's Atrocity Exhibition. As for its social impact, ­hard to quantify. But it's interesting that the adjective Ballardian is now part of every journalist's vocabulary.

Why do you write in this genre?

Sometimes I think I'm trying to write out of it. Genres need to mutate and cross-breed to hold the reader's (and the writer's) interest. BPZ incorporates poetry, rap, collage and elements of urban cyber-punk eliding with the paranormal and occult. It seems to me to be the best way - maybe the only way - to deal with the crazy multiplicity of the modern world and the enigma of consciousness itself, where for all our rationalism, we still feel there could be forces and presences lurking at the edge of our awareness...

Writers I admire include William S. Burroughs, Philip K. Dick, Nigel Kneale, Michael Moorcock, and M. John Harrison, our best living speculative fiction writer. His Light sequence is outstanding. See my review at: http://www.culturecourt.com/Br.Paul/lit/LightMJH.html.

Others, perhaps more in the mainstream canon, are Thomas Pynchon, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, James Joyce, Lawrence Durrell, Franz Kafka, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Wyndham Lewis, Angela Carter, Don De Lillo, and Iain Sinclair.

The American Beat poets and the French Surrealist poets have always meant a lot to me, too.

How did you come up with the idea for Beneath the Pleasure Zones?

It evolved out of my earlier one, The Qliphoth, in which young alienated Lucas goes through an occultural rite of passage that takes him into a curious alternative world, a sea-side resort thronged with scheming magicians and sexy priestesses. This world is destroyed by malign forces but there's a blow-back on the 'real' world, releasing random psychic energies and subverting everyday causality. BPZ takes the story a few years on, with Lucas struggling to survive on the margins of society.

The metaphysics behind both books owe a lot to good old Aleister Crowley and the Chaos Magick writings of Peter Carroll. I also did some research into artificial intelligence and nuclear weapons. But the trigger for the title was an obscure quote from W.B.Yeats: "the doctors have told us that the dreams of the night are but phantoms of sexual desire - but of what is sex a phantom?"

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

Apart from finding the time, the main challenges were working in the back-story from The Qliphoth without getting bogged down in explication - and then developing a way of conveying a complex story line and the experience of a fractured world without totally bamboozling the reader. I hit upon a technique of using short sections with sub-heads (like Ballard's Atrocity Exhibition but following a more linear narrative). As in The Qliphoth, I also used a number of esoteric techniques to break story-blocks and open up new lines of narrative, like the Tarot, Qabalistic correspondences, cut-ups and automatic writing.

What are you working on now?

I've recently finished a play about eccentric witchcraft historian Father Monty Summers and I've started a new novel, more conventional in form. It includes old sci-fi movies, mad scientists and quite a lot of sex. I'm also working on a long poetry sequence, Shadow Times, parts of which are starting to appear. I enjoy readings, and like collaborating with musicians and media artists. Some of these can be found on YouTube, Soundcloud and Reverbnation.

***

About Beneath the Pleasure Zones - The Rupture

Anomalies erupting from the Polyverse have undermined the UK's reality-consensus and the economy. Urban citizens escape into the virtual reality of the Pleasure Centres while Borderland communities like Leynebridge embrace neo-paganism and magick. Fundamentalist militias - the Heavy Shepherds and the Mo-Boys - battle for supremacy.

In Leynebridge poet/magus Lucas broods over his ex-lover, Carla, while in London Dr. Crowe, a traumatised ex-MOD scientist , seeks work with Pleasure Centres, which also employs Carla, now an erotic virtual-reality producer.

The Pleasure Centres operation is driven by manic mogul Lombard, who conspires to fuse immersive virtual reality with a post-web technology, the Lobe, combining Crowe's top-secret knowledge with energies evoked in the rites of Leynebridge. But Crowe blunders, while Carla loses her secret Mo-Boy lover and her job, only to be hi-jacked by the Heavy Shepherds. Rogue cyber-entities are evolving in the Lobe - the menacing Quantum Brothers. The world-lines of Lucas, Carla, Vivienne and Crowe converge in Leynebridge¹s convulsive Feast of Smoke...

Beneath the Pleasure Zones - The Rupture develops the central character and core concepts of the author's first novel, The Qliphoth, but can be read independently. It also sets the scene for a sequel, Beneath the Pleasure Zones - The Polyverse, now completed.

Available at:

You can connect with Paul Green at his website or Facebook.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Author Spotlight: Michael Jeffery Blair, Author of Exit Point

Michael Jeffery Blair is a writer, designer and media artist who is creative director for an award-winning design firm. His novels include Exit Point, The Architect Of Law and Sudden Rivers, and his editorial work has appeared in the New York Times and other publications. He has authored several stageplays and a collection of poetry. Educated at UCLA and the prestigious Art Center College, he has created communications for many of the world’s great companies. They say the strongest urge in the universe is to change someone else's copy–years of writing under extreme pressure contributed to his unique voice.


***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

A culture is as great as its dreams. It was a long time before people had the leisure moments to speculate at all–they were too busy just trying to survive. History testifies to that. Great examples of speculative fiction fueled their forward progress from early sacred storytelling that survives to this day to the Norse sagas to Greek and Middle Eastern myth to Thomas Moore’s Utopia. It gave men ideas, something to strive for beyond hand to mouth and ideals to remember. The tellers of these tales were revered, their stories passed down verbally from father to son, written down by hand and preserved through the centuries as a testament to how much we humans value speculative fiction.

Today, perhaps the most important issue is our relationship with technology. This has been a classic theme throughout science fiction, but now that we live in that future world people are being swept away by technology as if the Asimovs and Bradburys had not warned us. Asking someone to read your book is asking for a big commitment–especially so in this hyperwired age. Consequently, I believe the best speculative fiction has a role far beyond just entertainment. A good story to me is a palette that embodies enough wisdom to encourage enlightenment. That is the value of reading–good writing has always been the tool of great ideas and the driver of great movements.

Perhaps the mission of the writer in this modern age carries a deeper and more profound responsibility to society. After all, if anyone can write and there are millions of stories being produced annually is it really valuable if it is so common? To me a writer must strive to do the impossible, to do what others cannot–that’s what makes him a writer. This is the tradition of the storyteller whose tales have been treasured throughout the centuries as priceless keepsakes of our cultural heritage.

Where do writers gain such wisdom? It’s a mystery, but somehow they do.

Why do you write in this genre?

I like to believe I’m carrying on that tradition. To me, real life is composed of what one envisions it to be. It’s imagination that is the breathing fire of living and not coming to terms and coping with “reality” as many would like us to believe. Dreams die long before a person actually does, so the revitalization of imagination is vital to life, and I suppose that’s why I write the genre. I am fascinated by the future, it’s possibilities and it’s terrors because we are all caught up in the inexorable flow toward what will happen next. We can have a great say in what that will be.

How did you come up with the idea for Exit Point?

I spent many years doing creative work for the television networks in Hollywood. It is a vast landscape of almost unbelievable avarice and ambition. The true creative forces are so outnumbered and bullied that it is a wonder anything of quality happens at all and is why, with so many talented artists and writers, almost nothing of value comes from television. It gave me insights into the social and economic forces that spawned this gargantuan evolution of broadcast media that envelops most people’s lives overshadowing their own. Exit Point is a story of consequences and character told as an urban fable of the near future.

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

Creating a story that was literary while at the same time being exciting and interesting. The story evolves from each character’s agenda and choices based on their inner workings. What I love about the written word and what I believe makes it superior to the dramatic arts is the ability to fully illuminate each individual spirit in its unique and fabulous complexity. Purpose and desire are always in conflict and survival depends on the outcome.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a novel about a burned-out, lower level diplomat stationed at the US Embassy in Cairo. It takes place again in the near future, but in a time when Islamic fundamentalists have gained full political power in the Middle East and the religious right have presidential power in the US. Against his will, the diplomat suddenly begins to gain mysterious powers by which he can heal people, among other things. The local people are convinced he is a prophet destined to bring peace to the world. This of course raises political and religious havoc between the East and the West. I hope to have it completed by the first of the year.

***

About Exit Point

An enigmatic genius discovers it. A woman obsessed with power exploits it. One man will risk everything to find the answer behind it, but he could never have been prepared for where the truth would take him

It is Los Angeles of the near future. People are dazzled by technology driven by an insatiable demand for virtual excitement. Secretly, network executives employ a fantastic new technology that causes people to lose touch with reality. This hidden influence suddenly affects everyone in sinister and unexpected ways. Soon the social services are overwhelmed with these mysterious cases not knowing what is happening or why. Exit Point is the odyssey of Nash DeCoucy into the dark landscape of the near future as he desperately tries to unravel the mystery while struggling with his own crisis in belief.

Together with a brilliant woman who has prescient powers, an illustrious emergency care physician and a cynical investigator from a cyber crime unit known as VOX, he begins to unravel the mystery. Even his friends become victim to bizarre, unexplained behavior.

But the forceful specter of Mostafa Al-Razio overshadows them all. The supreme network provider has a secret agenda–fueled by revelations. Roxanne, a ruthlessly ambitious network programmer feeds on his power and is key to his mission. The fateful crossing of their lives brings the city to crisis.

At the source of it all lies a rumored archive of unimaginable wealth hoarded by the last remaining church and a legendary golden disk with mysterious powers.

Available at:

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

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Author Spotlight: Tara Maya, Author of The Unfinished Song Series

Tara Maya is the author of The Unfinished Song series. She has lived in Africa, Europe and Asia. She's pounded sorghum with mortar and pestle in a little clay village where the jungle meets the desert, meditated in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas and sailed the Volga river to a secret city that was once the heart of the Soviet space program. This first-hand experience, as well as research into the strange and piquant histories of lost civilizations, inspires her writing. Her terrible housekeeping, however, is entirely the fault of pixies.

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

We’re constantly being told to think “outside the box” but the truth is there are few situations in life where we are actually allowed to stretch our imagination past possible to amazing. Many people think of spec fic as a genre for children, but to me it’s even more important to read it as we are entering (or trying to survive) the “adult” world, because that’s when everything else is conspiring to crush our creativity—and also when we most need to free our imagination. Imagination is the leaven of risk.

Why do you write in this genre?

Think of genre like a camera. Some genres keep specialize in close-up shots of the actors—quiet, character-based stories. Some genres take a broad shot of world-changing action—thrilling, political adventure. The advantage of speculative genres is that the author can zoom deeply into one soul, and—in the same book!—zoom out to show the world-shattering consequences of one person’s journey.

How did you come up with the idea for The Unfinished Song?

No story comes together until several ideas collide and coalesce. So there are a couple of different, disparate seeds I could point to. There was a Polynesian myth I read that I wanted to explore in a longer form. But that alone wouldn’t have gotten me anywhere, since it was just an intellectual idea. The heart of the story came from an experience I had in high school. I was a cheerleader, but then I found out I had to wear a back brace for scoliosis. Although I didn’t have to wear it when I danced, so it had no affect on my dancing ability, suddenly, I was treated like a pariah, and never allowed to perform. The only job I was allowed was to look after the props of the other girls. Some scenes of things that happened to me are described in the series, thinly disguised by the alternate culture. The emotions she feels are what I felt. Like Dindi, I belonged to the squad without belonging.

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

The Unfinished Song is an epic, and epic means a vast, complex story. That’s a challenge. I originally wrote the story as a single book. I decided eventually to break it up into a number of smaller books. I thought that would be a snap, and boldly promised my readers that I would have the twelve books out very quickly. That was a foolish thing to boast. The story grew as I worked with it. The biggest challenge, besides writing it quickly, is that it is still, at heart, one continuous story, which has a pre-ordained ending. Although I am often tempted to go off on tangents, I have to discipline myself to write faithfully to that ending. I trail a lot of story-lines through the epic, and I must never allow myself to forget how they are all going to tie together.

What are you working on now?

One of the crucial keys to doing any sort of creative work is to avoid burn-out. So although my main energy is still finishing The Unfinished Song, I sometimes take breaks to work on other projects. I have a military SF series I’m also working on, the first book of which is already published, called STRAT. I sometimes write books for my young children (for instance, “Don’t Eat Poop,” “Tiny Tim,” and “Little Black Cat”). I design book covers. Then I go back to The Unfinished Song.

***

About The Unfinished Song - Book 1: Initiate

DEADLY INITIATION

A DETERMINED GIRL...

Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

AN EXILED WARRIOR...

Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile.

“…a fascinating, original world full of fairies, magic and dancing.” - One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Available at:

You can connect with Tara Maya at her blog, Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Author Spotlight: Alexia Purdy, Author of Ever Shade

Today the spotlight is on Alexia Purdy and her novel Ever Shade, the first book in the Dark Faerie Tale series. Alexia currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada - Sin City! She loves to spend every free moment writing or playing with her four rambunctious kids. Writing has always been her dream, and she has been writing as long as she can remember. She loves creating paranormal fantasy and poetry and loves to read and devour books daily. Alexia also enjoys watching movies, dancing, singing loudly in the car and Italian food. More info can be found at her blog.

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

I think it's a great escape and a way to express a lot that can happen in our world.

Why do you write in this genre?

I write it because it's fun. I love to imagine things that could happen and let it run wild. There are so many possibilities and worlds to create.

How did you come up with the idea for Ever Shade?

I actually had a dream one night about a man lit up by blue fire, but it was part of his skin and it had some electrical currents running through it. A girl was following him through a scary warehouse. I took it from there, because it stuck with me.

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

It's all made up, but keeping everyone's hair color, eye color, attributes, powers and background straight can get challenging with a huge cast of characters.

What are you working on now?

I am working on Book 5 of the Dark Faerie Tale series. It's called Ever Wrath, and a lot of the loose ends in the stories are tied up in this one. Shade really has come into her own as Queen of one of the Faerie Realms and is using her powers almost to potential. There are lots of new characters, old friends, twists and schemes in it, so I think fans of the series will be really excited to read this installment.

***

About Ever Shade

A dark twist on faeries. For Shade, a chance meeting with a powerful Teleen Faery warrior who wields electrical currents and blue fires along his skin, has her joining him on a treacherous mission for the good Seelie Faerie Court across the land of Faerie. Magic and malice abound and nothing is what it really seems to be.

The evil Unseelie Queen and her treacherous allies are around every corner as Shade makes her way across the breathtaking landscapes of the world of Faerie, which exists alongside the mundane human world. Shade discovers her own uncharted magic and meets some of the most powerful warriors in Faerie while battling evil dryads, conniving Teleen guards and challenges on her life with every step in a world where nothing can be taken for granted.

"This book is fabulously written and very fast paced and my attention was glued to this story from beginning to end!!" - Amazon Review

Available at:

Note: eBook editions of Ever Shade are always free at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To see the other books in the Dark Faerie Tale series as well as Alexia's other work, visit her Amazon author page here.

You can connect with Alexia at her website, Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Author Spotlight: Jessica McHugh

Today the spotlight is on Jessica McHugh and her novel The Sky: The World. Jessica is an author of speculative fiction that spans the genre from horror and alternate history to epic fantasy. A prolific writer and member of the Horror Writers Association, she has devoted herself to novels, short stories, poetry, and playwriting. Jessica has had twelve books published in four years, including the bestselling Rabbits in the Garden, The Sky: The World and the gritty coming-of-age thriller, PINS. More info on her speculations and publications can be found at JessicaMcHughBooks.com.

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

People crave answers to the unexplainable, and speculative fiction grants us the power to not only answer those questions, but to provide many different answers. Anything is possible. With stories that can range from bizarre and horrific to boundless romance, I find that speculative fiction liberates in ways literary fiction can't.

Why do you write in this genre?

Alternate history is delightful madness. Traveling back in time and throwing a wrench in the works is empowering and addictive, but it's a lot of hard work. Luckily, I'm in love with hard work when it comes to writing. Hard cleaning work is another story, however.

How did you come up with the idea for The Sky: The World?

There were several inspirations for The Sky: The World. I didn't have more the basic idea of pilots and a neo-Victorian setting at the start, and because I wrote much of the book out of order, the story tumbled out in wonderful and surprising ways. The Egyptian elements in the novel came late in the writing process, inspired by my favorite poem, "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley. I haven't written a book using this process since TSTW, but it seemed very natural at the time.

There is a complex backstory to The Sky: The World, so much of this book was written by drinking a few beers and brainstorming. "Stretching my imagination" might be a good way to describe it. I let my mind run wild on the idea of a complex science called "picoepistemology" and all of the ways it had altered Victorian England. Like I said before, it was delightful madness. :)

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

Since I wanted to include explanations for Doctor Azaz's origin, picoepistemology, and as much character development as possible, I encountered difficulty in keeping my exposition from turning into an info dump. Other than that, this book was very enjoyable to write. I wouldn't say it was easy, but it didn't have as many ARG!! moments as some other books I've written.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on several projects. I'm revising my bizarro sci-fi novel The Green Kangaroos, revising my historical fiction novel Verses of Villainy, and writing the 2nd book in my Darla Decker YA series. I'm also working on extending an alternate history story about the Titanic's maiden voyage into a novella, while continuing to write short stories for various anthologies.

I will also be venturing into self-publishing for the first time. Followers of my official Facebook and Twitter know that I post silly witticisms called #DeepThoughtsys and #McTruths. After a bunch of people mentioned that they'd love a book of compiled posts, I decided to put something together. It will be a book of quips, illustrations, and fun writing prompts. I hope to release it within the next few months, and I'm really excited.

***

Who is Doctor Azaz?

It is the 19th Century, and Azazian England is at it's pinnacle. Aeroplanes rule the sky, and crystalline technology has transformed life itself. But for stunt pilot Jack Racine, life is little more than an endless tailspin into liquor, laudanum, and loose women. But all that is about to change. Jack Racine is about to have an audience with the architect of the age: the mysterious Doctor Azaz....

"This book is the very reason that it’s a good thing for readers that indie publishers exist, otherwise we might not get the chance to read great stories by great authors like 'The Sky: The World' by Jessica McHugh." - Book Reviews Weekly

Available at:

You can connect with Jessica McHugh at her website, Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Author Spotlight: Amber Polo

Today we feature Amber Polo and her fantasy/paranormal novel Released. Amber has had a lifelong love affair with books, libraries and dogs. A fascination with lost ancient libraries and curiosity about why werewolves outnumbered dog-shifters in literature inspired her new cozy urban fantasy series The Shapeshifters' Library, filled with librarian dog-shifters. Released is the first volume, Retrieved is the second and Recovered will be coming soon.

To help writers and stressed readers reduce stress, her book Relaxing the Writer: Guidebook to the Writers' High offers suggestions and simple exercises.

She is also proud to be included in speculative fiction publisher Dagan Books’ anthology Bibliotheca Fantastica. “Egyptian Holiday” is a prequel to The Shapeshifters’ Library series and proves Cleopatra was a dog-shifter.

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

Fantasy allows us all to dream. Speculative fiction gives writers the opportunity to say anything they choose in a genre that entertains while it makes readers think.

Why do you write in this genre?

Speculative fiction is the most freeing of all genres. It you don’t fit you make up your own sub-genre. It’s an area that is able to change faster than any other.

How did you come up with the idea for Released?

Noticing how popular werewolf stories had become, I wondered why dogs, who are so admirable, seem to be ignored. At the same time I was looking for a way to write about libraries in a way that would make them as much fun as they are. And Tah Dah!

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

Now that I’ve said this genre is freeing, I’ll talk about the problems my genre-bending caused. When I first finished the book, I called it urban fantasy. Sure it had enough romance and a HEA to be called a paranormal romance, but it was urban fantasy set in a small town in Ohio. But the more I tried to interest publishers in the book, the more I realized many defined urban fantasy as having a kick-ass heroine. My book was not dark, violent, and lacked kinky sex. Not that my characters don’t have their big problems, or sexual tension, but the tone is light with comic relief to lighten it even more.

Next I started calling it “light urban fantasy” but that didn’t seem right either. So then a reader tired of page after page of violence and leather, called it a “cozy fantasy”.

According to Wikipedia, “cozy mysteries,” also called simply "cozies," are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously. Strangely, there are many cat lover cozies.

My book has a lot of dogs and (WARNING TO CAT LOVERS) some humorous comments at the expense of cat lovers. As for profanity, my characters use oaths such as “What in Dewey’s name is going on?” and "Thank Melville!” The word “bitch” is used because there are a lot of dogs and werewolves in in the story.

What are you working on now?

Book 3 of The Shapeshifters’ Library series, Recovered. My librarian dog-shifters race across the country to the Southwest in search of the lost books of ancient libraries. I’m having so much fun finding the fantasy along the way.

***

About Released

Love dogs? Love books? Love libraries? Hate book-burning werewolves?

Welcome to the Shipsfeather, Ohio, where an ancient race of dog-shifters struggle, under an ordinary public library, to save the knowledge of the world from book-burning werewolves.

For years a curse has imprisoned the dog-shifters in the basement of the Shipsfeather Library—where they have made the best of things with a gym, a spa, a Starbarks, and, of course, their wildly successful internet company, Zoogle—but now, thanks to librarian Liberty Cutter and her zany staff, they may actually have a chance to break free. If only they can convince Liberty to believe in magic…

“…an enthralling story full of mysteries, magic, and shifters. No stone is left unturned, as all will be revealed on the journey through this mind tingling, heartfelt, and soul warming story! Easy flowing, and well written “Released” has the reader anxiously turning every page in anticipation of the next. This is such a wonderful read, it will be a great series to follow!” Melody Prat, InD’Tale Magazine.

Available at:

You can connect with Amber Polo at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Author Spotlight: Mark Roman

Mark Roman is the author of sci-fi comedy The Ultimate Inferior Beings. He is a research scientist by profession and has used his expertise to ensure the science in the book is completely bogus. Under his real name he has published over 80 papers and book chapters in structural bioinformatics, none of them particularly amusing, so hopes to atone for that with this book. He lives in London with his wife, also a scientist, and two children, neither of whom wants to be a scientist.

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

Speculative fiction provides certain members of society, such as myself, with something to read, thus preventing us getting frightfully bored and doing things we know we shouldn’t. Much speculative fiction can be mind-expanding, awe-inspiring and thought-provoking. Some of it, of course, is total rubbish – and it is this latter class that inspired my own foray into the genre.

Why do you write in this genre?

My characters tend to be a bit bonkers, so they sit more believably in a sci-fi context. Funnily enough, I know people who are a lot more bonkers, but no one would believe them in a piece of fiction. Plus, in sci-fi, you can get away with things that wouldn’t be acceptable in, say, a historical romance – such as phonon-drive spaceships, slimy green blobs, and computers with a sense of humour.

How did you come up with the idea for The Ultimate Inferior Beings?

The original plan was to spoof all the corny sci-fi clich├ęs that used to annoy the hell out of me when I was young. Instead, I kind of exploited them. The opening scene came first, with the mysterious crash of the starship on Tenalp, and the incompetent spaceport controller attending the scene and bungling a crucial clue. The ship sent to solve the mystery is crewed by a totally inept bunch, possibly selected as a result of computer error. As for the aliens, I thought it important to have aliens who, rather than being technologically advanced, were just as incompetent as we are. More so; and with lunatic religious beliefs. I am convinced the Universe if filled with such species.

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

The ending. About three quarters of the way through I became stuck on how to give it a happy ending. In the story, the aliens have an ancient prophecy about the destruction of the Universe. For the story to make sense, the prophecy had to come true and the Universe actually be destroyed. Yet this seemed such a downer. One day, the solution came to me in a flash, and suddenly everything fitted together – albeit a bit wonkily.

What are you working on now?

Something completely different. I’m collaborating with another writer on a story about the first human colonists of Mars and the robots who have been sent ahead to build their base. Unfortunately, the robots have made a real pig’s ear of the building work and the base is virtually uninhabitable. And then the colonists find life on Mars – but it’s not the sort anyone would ever have imagined.

***

About The Ultimate Inferior Beings

When jixX is appointed spaceship captain for a dangerous space mission he doesn’t regard it as a promotion. More like a computer error, given he’s a landscape architect. The error theory gains in strength when he meets the crew: a carpenter, a gynaecologist and a scientist trying to prove the existence of God. To add to jixX’s woes, there’s a stowaway on board, one of his crew is a saboteur and the ship’s computer thinks it’s a comedian. And then they meet aliens. Not technologically advanced aliens - their civilization is based on the invention of the brick - but jixX has a bad feeling about them anyway. Among them are a religious bunch who believe in The Ultimate Inferior Beings - a species that are really, really bad at everything. According to an ancient prophecy this species will, perhaps inadvertently or absent-mindedly or through some tragic mishap, bring about the end of the Universe. One alien becomes convinced that the humans are these incompetent beings. He realizes he must be the Chosen One, and that it is his Duty to wipe them out before they can trigger total annihilation. So it comes down to jixX to save Humankind ...

"I highly recommend this odd little book to readers who like humorous science fiction, aren’t intimidated by a bit of mind-bending absurdity, and who are looking for something completely different."  - D L Morrese in his review on the Just Wondering blog

Available at:

Readers can connect with Mark Roman at his website, Facebook or Twitter.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Author Spotlight: Eric Dontigney

In the spotlight today is Eric Dontigney, author of the fantasy novel Falls. Raised in Western New York, Eric Dontigney has lived in New Mexico, Florida, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He currently resides in Memphis, TN. An early introduction to Tolkien sparked a lifelong fascination with fantasy literature. Tolkien eventually gave way to other fantasy writers, such as Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, and Jim Butcher. His love of reading extends well beyond the fantasy genre and embraces writers as diverse as Maya Angelou, Tim O'Brien, James Baldwin, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Annie Proulx.

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

Of course, there is a simple escapist element to speculative fiction. Who doesn’t like losing themselves in fantastical or futuristic world? At a deeper level, though, I think that speculative fiction provides a safe framework for society to explore particularly painful, divisive, or complicated problems. The X-Men comics, for example, are a very self-conscious examination of bigotry and xenophobia. The television series Babylon 5 explored questions about abuses of governmental power that are still relevant today. Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods and his Sandman series look at the relationship between human beings and their mythologies.

I also believe that speculative fiction, though perhaps not by design, is one of the main entry points in society for philosophical material. David Brin’s novel Kiln People is a fantastic primer for philosophical questions about the nature of personal identity. Borges was deeply preoccupied with existential concerns. Robert Heinlein also took a crack at some philosophical content, such as his not-so-thinly veiled attack on puritan sexual ethics in Stranger in a Strange Land.

Why do you write in this genre?

I blame Harlan Ellison and Neil Gaiman. I was reading them both during my late teens and early twenties, which seems to have been a formative time in my life as a writer. I was amazed at the skill they both employed in layering fantastical elements, substantive themes and character development. I couldn’t articulate the thought at the time, but my nascent impression eventually evolved into this question: “Why would anyone choose to limit their imaginary worlds to the borders we all know already, when they could do this?” I wanted to write fiction that could expand the horizon and speculative fiction is, in my opinion, the genre that best accommodates that goal.

How did you come up with the idea for Falls?

I didn’t come up with the idea for the book, as much as I came up with the idea for the ending. I had a very particular visual scene in my head, and I knew that it would be either the last or one of the very last scenes of the story. Since my approach to fiction writing is an organic one, I started with the most bare bones conception of the central character I could, pointed that conception toward the ending I had in my head and started writing. The rest of the book grew out of the necessity of getting that character to that scene.

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

I think the biggest challenge I faced in writing this book was learning to trust my intuition. It’s very easy to get off track by trying to push characters to do what you think they ought to be doing instead of trusting them to lead you where they need to go. I stalled for a long time in the middle of the book because I was pushing the characters to do things that violated their basic natures. Once I stopped doing that, the story started moving again.

What are you working on now?

At the moment, I’m working on the first draft for the third book in the Samuel Branch series and recently released a short story set in the same universe. I’m working on a kind of novelty book with a friend of mine that I don’t want to disclose too many details about before it’s closer to going live. I’m toying with an idea for a limited run comic book series that I’ve done some basic plotting on, but I still need to pin down a lot of details to see if it’s even feasible. I’ve also completed a script for a short, YouTube-style film that I’m hoping will get filmed sometime this year.

***

About Falls

Samuel Branch is a man capable of wielding the energy around him to devastating effect. In another time, he would have been revered and feared as a wizard. In an age of technological miracles, the world has no need of his services. When a dangerous messenger arrives with orders from the ancient and unimaginably powerful Lords and the Ladies, though, Samuel Branch has no choice but follow the trail of a rising darkness. To complicate matters, when the sister of a friend-turned-enemy goes missing, an old lover resurfaces demanding that he intervene. When it all comes down, Samuel Branch may find that a rising darkness is the least of his problems.

Available at:

Connect with Eric Dontigney at his website, Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Author Spotlight: Mark McClelland

Today we welcome Mark McClelland, author of the science fiction novel Upload. Mark studied Creative Writing and Computer Science at the University of Michigan's Residential College, where he won a Hopwood Award for poetry. For twenty years, he has focused on software development but is now finding the call to write hard to resist. He writes in search of truths that defy simple, direct expression and publishes to share his discoveries with others. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Nancy, and two cats and is currently working on a children's story featuring a fox named Cyril Frolix. He also writes poetry for his wife, sole member of the Poem-of-the-Month Club.

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

As science and technology race closer and closer to the core of what it means to be human, I believe science fiction plays an increasingly important role, inspiring visions of human potential and raising alarms around human shortcomings. In Upload, I explore the philosophical pitfalls of virtual society—a world increasingly populated with computer personalities, whom we cannot view as peers so long as we control them.

As computer simulations of life become more accurate and complete, it will be difficult to draw the line between “valuable” life and life which can be reproduced verbatim on-demand. This in turn could lead to abuse and to a devaluation of life in general—something you see taken to an extreme in Morgan’s Altered Carbon. We’ll need laws around the humane treatment of artificial life, the punishment of criminals who can spawn multiple copies of themselves, social programs for people who are essentially immortal—all sorts of ethical questions lay before us and may be much closer than we think. Books like Upload can spark discussion and debate now about decisions we will soon face, as our species becomes increasingly god-like in its power to create, alter, and destroy life.

I also believe speculative fiction serves to inspire. I recently sent gift copies of Upload to several scientists involved in the Human Brain Project and invited them to share the book with their colleagues. It’s my hope that they will make connections between the “science” of Upload and their own real science, cutting-edge research that could uncover and potentially change what it is to be human. If my own vision of the future contributes to such research in even a small way, I’ll be overjoyed. It’s not hard to find examples of scientific pioneers who were inspired by speculative fiction, and I publish my writing in part because I hope to do some inspiring of my own.

Why do you write in this genre?

It wasn’t really a conscious decision. I was drawn to the mind-blowing possibilities that come with virtualization of the human brain, and Upload is the story that gradually formed around my fascination with this future technology. I can see someone like Raymond Quan becoming obsessed with the potential to live in a world completely of his own creation—what introverted dreamer hasn’t felt like an estranged outsider, craving the realization of their escapist fantasies? (Not to suggest extroverts don’t experience the same thing. I just happen to have a lot more experience on the introvert side of things.)

Looking back over what I’ve written, I would say at least half of it falls into the realm of speculative fiction: fantasy, science fiction, and surrealistic stories that feel lifted from dreams of an alternate reality. I’ve always had an active imagination, and speculative fiction allows me to run wild with it and then share it with other people. It’s the sharing part that’s really exciting—turning my mental visions into an artistic expression that others can absorb into their own minds. It’s like magic!

How did you come up with the idea for Upload?

Reading Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines was what planted the seed. Then I read Mapping the Mind, a wonderfully information-packed book by Rita Carter, about the state of brain research back in 1999, when it was written. My imagination went nuts with all the possibilities of artificial life and virtualized humans—brain and body, since they’re so intertwined—and I thought it would be fun to cast an antihero with a criminal past into a situation where he finally learns to value human connection just as he’s about to go into hiding, via what he sees as the most spectacular getaway in criminal history.

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

Video games, an active social life, and a magnetic attraction to hobbies. But I suspect that’s not what you’re looking for here.

Here’s one big challenge… I chose early on to strictly adhere to a third-person narrative told exclusively from Raymond’s point of view, and to limit the language and nuance to match his personality. I deliberately avoided rich prose and subtle insights that I thought Raymond incapable of. While I’m proud of the unity of character and language that I believe I achieved, I also felt at times that I’d clipped my own wings. It made the writing harder work, and I’m loving my current writing all the more for the freedom to pepper it with all the color and lyricism I crave.

What are you working on now?

I’m starting to take notes on a sequel of sorts to Upload, but my primary focus is a children’s story. I’m very early in the process, with lots of bits and pieces that don’t look like they could possibly fit together, but I think the main thrust of it will be sort of an inversion of Walden. Thoreau cast worldly possessions aside, to focus on nature and introspection. He sought to learn from the animals. In my story, you have just the opposite: animals get their hands on a shrink-ray and start going gaga over all the gadgets and creature-comforts they can bring into their lives. It’s up to the hero, a contemplative fox named Cyril Frolix, to put an end to greed, envy, gluttony, and distraction.

As a side thing, I’m working on something I’m calling functional poetry, or utilipoems: little rhymes that serve as mnemonics and mantras, to help with willpower, life focus, and my lousy memory. It’s a very outdated notion, I think—a throwback to nursery rhymes and folksy aphorisms. But I’m finding they have a place in my own life, and they’re just fun to play with.

I’m also working on a couple of short stories which have been knocking about in the back of my head. Upload dominated my writing for the better part of thirteen years, and it’s so exciting to be able to focus on shorter pieces and jump from project to project.

***

About Upload

His criminal past catching up with him, a troubled young man seeks escape into digital utopia by uploading his consciousness into a computer—just as first love casts his life in a new light. In this thrilling near-future science-fiction novel, Mark McClelland explores the immense potential of computer-based consciousness and the philosophical perils of simulated society.

To escape the hacker crimes of his youth, Raymond Quan has worked out a brilliant but extremely risky scheme. Taking advantage of his position on the University of Michigan’s Human Mind Upload Project, he plans to upload his consciousness into a computer but make it look like it failed. It will appear to others that he died, while he secretly whisks his uploaded mind off to a remote computer, to live out his life in a virtual world of his own creation, free from society and the far-reaching eye of the law.

In the midst of all this, he works up the courage to reach out to Anya, an attractive and outgoing scientist on the upload research team, and much to his surprise he discovers the attraction is mutual. He finds himself entering the first meaningful relationship of his life, just as pressures force him to accelerate his already-dangerous upload plan. To make matters worse, the technology he intends to use has not yet been tested on humans—he would be the first person to make the jump to a pure-digital mind.

“Like Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, Upload is fast paced and full of action, a story-noire set in a not too distant dystopian society… a well written story that not only tackles the scientific possibility of digitizing consciousness along with the ethical questions that arise with it, but also asks the question: Can you really run from your past?” – Hazen Wardle, author of The Triumph Detective series

Available at:

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

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Author Spotlight: Keith Pyeatt

Today we feature Keith Pyeatt and his novel Dark Knowledge. Keith lived in an isolated log cabin in Vermont for ten years. He entered that decade an engineer and came out of it a novelist. He won't say what happened in those rural woods that turned him, but it's easy to suspect it had something to do with things that go bump in the night. He writes paranormal thrillers.

Keith's published novels include Struck, Dark Knowledge, and Above Haldis Notch. A fourth novel, Daeva, is scheduled to be released in June 2014. All novels contain a strong paranormal element, well-developed characters, and a psychological bent.

***

What role do you believe speculative fiction plays in society?

Good speculative fiction--like a good night's sleep--provides an excellent getaway from reality. Just as things tend to look clearer in the morning, escaping into speculative fiction for a few hours gives your mind a rest and can add focus once you return to your life. Think about some of the wild scenarios and images our minds produce when they're set free to dream. I figure our minds must need that kind of release. Speculative fiction provides the same type of escape for the waking hours.

Why do you write in this genre?

I enjoy the extra leeway a paranormal element gives my imagination. I like the unusual threats I can force my characters to face. When I brainstorm ideas for a new novel, I always start with the paranormal element. Will this novel have an alternate world, a demon locked in a character's mind, the afterlife bleeding into character's normal lives, supernatural powers stolen from the spirits...? That's what gets me going until my character's motivations take over.

I read many genres, but I've always particularly enjoyed speculative fiction. I write what I enjoy reading the most.

How did you come up with the idea for Dark Knowledge?

I wanted to unleash my imagination by creating a strange, dangerous, and ever-changing world with no conventional limitations. I also intended to use temptation as a key element. I set the world inside the mind of a mentally challenged man who longed to be able to interact and reason like his friend. The mind-world could then tempt him with what he longed for the most: the means to improve his intelligence.

Almost immediately into writing the first draft, this crafty mind-world that I'd barely created took good and evil and wrapped them tightly together. I loved it. I revamped my plans to focus on this slightly warped version of the old "good vs. evil" theme. I refused to let the two extremes separate. If you took one, you got the other too, a restriction that led to many stressful dilemmas. So even though my original intent was to thread a temptation theme through this novel, it's the "good and bad together" theme that actually runs rampant throughout the story, manifesting itself in various ways. There's even a character, Lydia, who is the personification of that theme.

I had such fun!

What was your biggest challenge in writing it?

Much of the novel takes place in a group home for mentally challenged men and women, and my main character, Wesley, is mentally challenged. I wanted to portray him with compassion but not sugarcoat the guy. He's got a dark heritage, a darker destiny, a traumatic past, an uncertain future, and a mind that doesn't function as well as most. He's a fascinating, tormented man with an amazing inner compass, but it was difficult to write from his point of view and to nail the setting of the group home where he lives.

Among the people I turned to for help were my sister and her friend. They each had over ten years experience working with mentally challenged men and woman as well as with private group homes. Their experience, added to the little bit of direct experience I have, helped me be sensitive and real enough for my needs. I'm very happy with the result.

Oh, and this was the second novel where a character challenged me by refusing to go away. Stuart, a doctor who was meant to deliver bad news and then disappear, became a major character. Turns out I needed him, but adding a major character I hadn't planned on complicated my writing process.

What are you working on now?

I'm writing first draft on a novel with a working title Sirens of Sayhurn. The paranormal element in this one is also an alternate world, but it's quite different from the mind-world in Dark Knowledge. The only way to reach Sayhurn is to follow the call of its sirens, and they only lure people over to fill specific needs. It's a fun novel to write, full of passion, seduction, addiction, lust, greed, and even some romance. It has a very dark side, which, as always, is a nice contrast to the light.

***

About Dark Knowledge

With knowledge comes a dark destiny...

A whole new world beckons inside the mind of mentally challenged Wesley Henson, a world that offers him a gift he can’t resist: knowledge. He carries bits of knowledge back to the physical world and returns for more, unaware of the dark instincts that come with them. The knowledge builds Wesley’s intellect and gives him abilities he’s never had before--to reason, to understand, even to heal a sick friend--but the instincts thrust him into an evil contest he can’t yet understand, against opponents who have been trained to compete. And kill.

To survive, Wesley must keep moving forward. He fights for his life in two worlds while piecing together his mind, coming to terms with his heritage, and facing a terrifying destiny he almost escaped. The more he understands, the harder it becomes to tell good from evil. The greater his intellect, the more difficult his choices. What must he sacrifice to save the world from his dark knowledge...his life, or his soul?

"Pyeatt has created an intense tale of horror that is one of the most gripping reads I’ve read this year. From the very first page, you are thrust into a story that has you begging for more...I highly recommend diving into Dark Knowledge if you’re looking for an entertaining read that is as dark as it is brilliant." - Fictitious Musings

Available at:

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