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An Unavoidable Cataclysmic Event

Author Interview
Mike Ross Author Interview

Time’s Up follows the political leaders of Earth as they determine if an alien warning about the apocalypse is real, and if so, who will be saved to carry on mankind? What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted an alien presence that was benevolent not bent on destroying us. Using CME’s (which actually exist on the sun) as the humanity killer, allowed the aliens to play a positive role. I wanted to speculate as to how the world leaders might deal with an unavoidable cataclysmic event along with an offer of help from an completely unverified source. I wanted to examine how normal human and especially conventional political forces might affect our behaviors.

What was your approach to writing the interactions between characters?

The primary interactions are between the protagonist (Yaz) and two old friends. Yaz had very close, though never sexual, relations with both men. With one friend she needed his help. With the other he needed her help. And eventually both friends, who were complete strangers, helped each other. I placed all the conflict between Yaz and world leaders who generally could not change their ingrained behaviors even knowing they would be futile. Friends, on the other hand, only helped each other without expectation of reward or benefit.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

That humans may be their own worst enemy. Politics makes people into monsters who cannot recapture their humanity even in the most dire of situations. That friendships/love last forever and are our only hope of salvation.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Working on a sequel to TIME’S UP. It will pick up where TU ends. If it takes as long as TU did (I hope not), maybe 2025 (if I live that long)?

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

TIME’s UP: A Cynical, Misanthropic Look at the End of Life on Earth

An unidentified being makes a prediction to the world. Over a period of several months the sun will experience a series of eruptions that will allow intense solar radiation to reach the earth. This radiation will eventually destroy all life and make the planet uninhabitable. The unidentified entity also offers to save a small group of young people by transporting them to a place that can support human life. However, successful colonization of the new location is not assured. Most people do not believe the prediction or the offer of help. One woman does believe and takes on the task of accepting the rescue offer and preparing the colonists. She must do battle with hostile politicians (‘carpols’), inept bureaucrats and skeptical populations (“genpop’) to save the human race from extinction.

Time’s Up

Time’s Up by Mike Ross is a science fiction novel based on the end of human civilization and the politics behind it all. When a strange flying object appears outside the United Nations Headquarters building, the whole world goes into a panic. Then, voices are suddenly heard, issuing a warning about the approaching danger that will end human life on Earth. From this first contact with aliens, the United Nations leadership finds out that the sun is about to experience a series of very large Coronal Mass Ejections, an event that humans can do nothing about. There’s only one choice: to trust these alien voices and prepare a selected group of human beings that will evacuate the earth and start civilization on a new planet. But, will the political structures of the different countries allow for this evacuation to proceed fairly and peacefully?

There is tension from the beginning of this riveting story, the main point being that politicians’ humanity has been destroyed by their lust for power. The plot is presented so that we are always following the political figures dealing with this apocalyptic event across many countries, which allows the author to showcase the good and the bad that is present in most bureaucratic political organizations. The story’s pacing can feel somewhat slow at times, but this is balanced out by the intrigue and the need to find out how the story resolves. With time, the reader starts to engage with the plot, and the interest in the characters begins to spark.

The way the story is told leaves the reader wondering if what’s happening could be real or if it is just a hoax. Rumors start to spread, and even the most prominent political figures in the world are not sure if the appearance of this alien ship is the result of an elaborate prank or a terrorist act. This sets the plot in motion and keeps the reader guessing until the very end. Alongside the story, important aspects of the modern political world are displayed, opening a discussion about the many problems that some abusive, overbearing political powers pose to the world.

This well-crafted story is detailed and illustrates excellently how our current society would react to an apocalyptic event with its varied and complex political structures. The author makes sure to expose everything, from the interactions between different people to the preparations needed to ensure the continuation of human civilization. The result is a holistic book that deals with current human and political affairs as a commentary on how some of these structures have to be fought to avoid the sabotage that they impose on humankind.

Time’s Up is a gripping science fiction and a socio-political novel about how world leaders might handle an apocalypse situation. For those that enjoy a good conspiracy theory story and political maneuvering, this novel will keep them entertained and, perhaps, questioning how real could this be.

Pages: 386 | ISBN : 0578257890

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Honorable Profession

Dan Cahill is a former secret service agent that moves to Nevada to try and repair the relationship with his daughter that was long neglected due to his career. His daughter Meghan wants to help her political science professor Walter Becker win the Nevada presidential primary. Despite wanting nothing to do with politics ever again, Cahill agrees to help his daughter in her goals in order to rebuild a relationship with her. Albeit being retired, Cahill has a lot of experience with the ins and outs of the government and would be a great help to Walter’s quest for the presidency. But, will they achieve their goals?

Honorable Profession: A Novel of American Politics by Andy Kutler is a novel about how a retired Dan Cahill tries to mend his broken relationship with his daughter. To do so, he is aiding her in her desire to help her favorite professor become the president of the United States despite the odds weighing heavily against him. After being forced into retirement for leaking stories about diplomatic misconduct in the government, Cahill had developed a deep hatred for politics and promised himself not to get involved. He, however, ends up developing a liking for the college professor, which motivates him to help him win. More than a story about politics and drama surrounding elections, this is about a father and daughter. The political backdrop is used to bring them together in a way they otherwise would not have. Her ideas and his experience combined to make them a steller team that they never knew they could be.

The award-winning author, Andy Kutler, uses his vast political knowledge, gained while working under two senators, to accurately depict government operations. He is able to use the characters, each with their unique strengths and weaknesses, to paint a vivid picture of what goes on in the electoral system. It is a clear and intriguing look into what happens in the government and how elections are handled.

Honorable Profession: A Novel of American Politics is a riveting book that is perfect for readers who love political dramas that are grounded in reality. This is also a novel about building relationships and family, and readers looking for a modern and contemporary background for this thriller will be captivated from beginning to end.

Pages: 370 | ASIN : B09F3CG9MW

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Taking Very Unethical Actions

Bob Zeidman
Bob Zeidman Author Interview

Animal Lab follows a group of rats that can suddenly think and act for themselves as they try to build a society in a world that no longer includes humans. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve loved George Orwell’s Animal Farm since I read it as a teenager. It was such an easy read yet conveyed important concepts about society both intellectually and emotionally. I’m concerned about the directions our society is going and always thought back to the warnings of Animal Farm, but these days the issues are somewhat different. I’d been thinking about writing an updated version for a few years, but wasn’t sure I could pull it off. During the COVID pandemic, I had more time to think, so I started outlining a book, then filling in the details, and found myself falling in love with it. I don’t know if I can make a difference in the way that Orwell did, but I figured I needed to try.

As the rats grow in intelligence and start building their society, there are some major shifts in their personalities. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I believe that with a few exceptions, most leaders and influential people believe that what they do is for the common good. Or at least they rationalize it that way. It’s too easy in a novel to have an obvious good guy and obvious bad guy. It’s more interesting to see how people evolve and how good people can come to believe that they must achieve their goals by any means necessary, which can include taking very unethical actions.

I wanted all the animals to start out sympathetic. When a baby is born, without any preconceived notions, it is innocent and lovable. In the same way, the animals in the lab were born on a single day and started out innocent. I wanted the reader to see their growth and the decisions they made. This also acts as a warning that good people can do bad things, so we must judge people by their actions, not by their talk and certainly not by their charm.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

As in my previous novel Good Intentions, I want to show that bad results can come from good people who think they are doing good things. I want to provoke the majority of Americans—moderates of all political, social, and religious beliefs—to not blindly follow extremist leaders and extremist ideologies simply because they appear “fair” and “just.” I want people to recognize that “wokeness” suppresses free speech, that “social justice” attempts to right wrongs by forcing other wrongs, “equity” tries to counter prejudices with different prejudices, and that “even-handedness” is often a way to elevate bad ideologies while demoting good ones. These simplistic concepts are easy to endorse because they don’t require discriminating thought. Doing the right thing actually is hard work, but is absolutely necessary for society to survive and be righteous.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on a nonfiction book about creating and running a successful business. I’ve started about a dozen businesses, several of which have been very successful. I’ve learned some important lessons and want to share them with others.

​Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

One day, the animals at a research lab wake up with the abilities of rational thought and communication. And the humans are gone. They realize they must organize into a society with rules, rights, and responsibilities. They heard about a farm in England where the animals created a socialist society that eventually failed. They are determined to succeed, so they create a democratic republic. But can they keep it?
Animal Lab is an allegorical novel by Bob Zeidman. It is a warning about the possible coming collapse of American society and along with it, American principles, values, and freedoms—torches that have lit the path for the advancement of the human condition for over two centuries and that must not be allowed to be extinguished.

Savage City

In the aftermath of the global economic crisis of 1932, the Savage City of Detroit has become a microcosm of the subsequent ferocities of the century. Amid the murky politics between the capitalists in control and the Communist-backed Unemployed Council for the worker’s rights, there are Black Legions, Purples, and Sicilians, the criminal organizations with their ridiculous radical views and drugs trade. With the backdrop of the 1932 Ford Hunger March, the four protagonists of this crime thriller encounter, and are stuck in, the political and criminal deluge that irrevocably change their fate forever.

Within the span of eight days before a six-week leap in the story, the narratives of the four main characters in the psychological thriller expose the frustration and helplessness of common people just getting by with their lives in the racially divided, xenophobic, and brutal city of Detroit, where a person’s life is as fragile as an acorn. Detective Clarence Brown’s agitation and utmost efforts while tracking down the killer of a teenage colored boy reveals the general disbelief in the preposterous prejudice against black citizens. On the other hand, Ben, the Jewish victim of racial persecution, and Elizabeth, the member of a communist league, demonstrate the victims of tragic circumstances, emblematic of the society in general.

The author Donald Levin fuses aspects of the historical Ford Hunger March in 1932 with fictional characters and plots that make for an engaging and powerful read. As the story unfolds, the scenes with more than one protagonist offer an extra perspective through the character’s self-narratives. This allows for a clear and precise description of the event and thus enhancing the sense of inclusivity and anticipation. 

This crime thriller features a large number of minor characters to add depth to the plot, which both adds excitement and complexity. It’s ideal for readers who prefer reading novels with numerous and distinctive characters.

Savage City reveals the stark reality of the Great Depression in its most vivid colors, showing the desperation of a city crippled by the consequences of the masses of frustrated men and women, crushed between dirty politics and corrupt authorities. It is answered explicitly by the many characters in the novel as to who transforms a city into a savage beast. This intense book is ideal for readers who want a glimpse into the human psyche of a city affected by a bull-headed and corrupt system, perfectly encapsulated in a brilliant work of fiction.

Pages: 426 | ASIN : B09N6RJCVF

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Animal Lab

On day one, the humans are gone.

A testing lab full of animals is left to fend for themselves when their humans suddenly vanish. The animals develop a new self-awareness; they start to think and act for themselves, and together they form a society in the absence of human oppression.

Rizzo, Cagney and Billie, three rats, bring together the animals of the lab to form a new nation, a constitutional democratic republic. Representatives are elected, and the government starts to form laws upon which to build their nation. Progress is forming and animals take on a new, wholesome way of life. Though peace cannot last forever, politics clash, murders run rampant, and crime is a new concept our characters are forced to face.

In Animal Lab author Bob Zeidman creates a world dominated by animals that represent the struggles we see in society today. This novel will engage readers in a philosophical discussion about American politics and how society can be viewed as a whole. Readers will find this book to be riveting and educational. The gradual development of the characters’ personalities as they form their nation and become more independent and free-thinking is captivating.

Billie and Cagney, two of the main characters in the story, are great examples. The two rats have been in an on-and-off-again relationship, but as they develop their rational thinking, through reading philosophical books, they quickly become inseparable. One of Zeidman’s characters remarks that they have practically become one person/animal. Though, as we get to the end of the book, we see Billie is no longer the shy little rat she once was; she turns into a domineering leader who controls and manipulates not only her partner but also the nation of animals in the lab. Cagney’s personality is mellow compared to Billie’s. But we can see how committed he is to Billie and would do anything for her, which leads him down an uncomfortable, immoral road.

Animal Lab is a quick read that packs an amazing amount of action and drama into the pages. Fans of political fiction and satirical fiction will enjoy this poignant novel. There are a few sensitive topics like the animals’ murders that could be upsetting to sensitive readers, but the overall theme of societal downfall and rebuilding will keep readers engaged. It has an uncanny resemblance to George Orwell’s Animal Farm so readers that enjoyed that novel will find this one a worthy read as well.

Pages: 149 | ASIN : B09HHMW3BB

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A President in Waiting

Author Interview
Julian Mann Author Interview

I enjoyed how Victoria Pierce’s character evolved throughout the story. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

Vera/Victoria’s character development were important in many respects primarily to make her believable so as to deliver to the reader the theme below (described below) so the reader would ask, “So this could actually happen?”

The USA is primed for the election of a woman president who will no doubt be a strong woman.  What I envisioned years ago with Victoria has now actually happened with Kamala Harris who does not have a clandestine past but could very well succeed to either the president or acting president under the 25th amendment.  I had many strong women in my family that informed Victoria’s character.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The themes that were important to me (besides the 25th Amendment) are the role the press plays in politics under the 2nd amendment. Under the constitutional provision regarding the Electoral College, originally the Vice President was the one who finished second on the balloting. Now the vice president is selected by the party’s candidate. There is considerably more vetting that goes on today than before so the likelihood of selecting a VP that has a clandestine past is now more remote. But, nevertheless, remains a concern as we know that the vice president is really a president in waiting.

My concern about the 25th amendment is the ambiguity surrounding how to proceed against an acting president that needs to be removed from office for wrongdoing or becomes incompetent. There is not a high probability this may occur but the book explores that possibility. There are other themes that will be explored in the sequel such as utilizing the president’s war powers, utilizing prior restraint of the press when subject to impeachment, the role of the press and potential military intervention.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Besides the sequel to MVP (at this point only in outline), I am working on a manuscript concerning the Gospel of John….to be entitled, Reading Between the Lines of the Gospel of Saint John. I am not a theologian so the concentration is dealing with what Christ faced in the real world as fully human, and his human response to those events. But the work is anchored in the actual verbatim scriptural passages that describe the events according to John’s Gospel. I am over half way through the first draft.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Victoria Pierce is not the person she claims to be. As a beautiful farm girl, living in desolation on the Oklahoma range, she escapes her draconian “parents,” hitchhikes to San Francisco, and enlists in the United States Marine Corps. After surviving the rigors of basic training, Victoria is promoted through the ranks from Private to Brigadier General. Throughout her evolution, General Pierce and United States Senator Sam Eagan carry on a torrid love affair. Victoria joins Sam’s campaign for president, first as his military consultant and later as his vice presidential candidate. No one, not even Sam Eagan, is aware of Victoria’s clandestine past, except for one anonymous and demented caller. During the presidential campaign, Victoria befriends reporter Grace Brandon, but Grace becomes increasingly suspicious of Victoria’s urban sophistication which belies an agrarian past. This leads Grace into investigative reporting that eventually unravels the truth about Victoria’s past. However, before Grace can get to the bottom of the story, Sam and Victoria win the presidential election. Not long afterwards, Victoria ascends to the office of acting president under the 25th amendment. Grace finally completes her investigation and convinces her editor to release a bombshell of a story. America is shocked. Victoria reacts. Will the story require Victoria to resign or can she survive the revelation?

The Boy Who Saw In Colours

The Boy Who Saw In Colours by [Lauren Robinson]

The Boy Who Saw In Colours by Lauren Robinson is a story about a young boy who is coming of age during the time of WWII. There are many stories out there about WWII, but the perspective from a child who turns 13 on the day of the London Blitz introduces a new viewpoint to the devastating war. Josef and his younger brother, Tomas, are the sons of a mother, who is from a well-to-do German family, and a father who is Jewish. Their love story is doomed from the beginning and leads both boys down a heartbreaking path. After being stolen from their parents Josef tells the story of how he and his brother are sent to an elite German Youth school to be groomed into the next brainwashed generation of the Aryan Super Race.

Even though this is a book of fiction, it is based on real historical events. After Josef and Tomas are taken from their parents, they are thrown into the military-like German school where they are literally beaten into following Hitler. But as Josef is of part Jewish descent, he is always picked on and called ‘mischling’, a foul name for someone who comes from mixed blood.

Josef has a gift that gets him through this unthinkable experience though, he is a painter. Not just someone who makes a pretty picture on a canvas, but a creative who sees his entire world in different colors.

I love how Robinson writes; it’s like I am sitting in a room with Josef at an old age and he is telling me about his life as a child while the fire burns and we drink tea. Her style is lyrical in nature and you can tell that each word she writes is put there with great thought and on purpose.

This book was at times very difficult to read because of the way the children were treated to ensure their submissiveness to the Fuhrer, it was nauseating. At the same time, their story needs to be told, we need to learn from our horrible mistakes of the past and this book tells it like a sad love song, heart-breaking, but beautiful.

There are relationships however that do emerge that give glimmers of hope and love and let you have a softer heart for some Germans who knew they had to follow along or be killed. I highly recommend reading this book. I look forward to more books by Robinson and her unique style in the future.

Pages: 371 |ASIN: B088BBXLL7

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