Blog Archives

No Pistol Tastes the Same

Sgt. Grimm (J.P) opts to serve his country. Away from his family, he takes solace in the camaraderie of his fellow Marines, including Joey, his best friend. But it all goes wrong when Grimm loses his friend and other men he could have saved if he had acted faster. The patriotic soldier later returns from the war into the arms of his wife, son, and grandparents. But burdened by guilt and haunted by the bombs, blood, and deaths from the war, Grimm is not the same man he was when he left home. And his new demons threaten to tear apart everything and everyone he calls home. The question is, will he let them?

Although its curious title doesn’t give this away, No Pistol Tastes The Same is a gripping novel on post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans. It peels away the layers of unfamiliarity and reveals the deeply disturbing and lingering effects war has on the minds and lives of those who fight in it.

This story reminds me of why storytelling is a powerful tool to evoke empathy. Author Jacob Paul Patchen’s writing successfully transports readers into his main character’s reality, making an unfamiliar situation seem like a shared reality. Patchen is also great with imagery as he improves the reading experience with evocative descriptions of settings.

The story is delivered with the elegance and precision of a true wordsmith. Make no mistake, there aren’t flowery words or unclear metaphors. Instead, readers feel the total weight of a narrative cobbled with tools whose sophistication is in their cultured simplicity. The writing is so good that it strikes the heart where it matters in many places, ensuring that you feel the raw emotions being communicated. Altogether, the story is free-flowing, mainly punctuated by the moments of reflection and concern it triggers.

No Pistol Tastes the Same is a captivating war novel dealing with life after returning from war. The plot is pretty straightforward but excellently executed. The characters are relatable and make readers care about this remarkable story.

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In The Face of Oppression and Tyranny

Lee J. Keller
Lee J. Keller Author Interview

The Emergence takes place in a vibrant future where machines, technology, and humans are integrated and a movement is underway to challenge the governments’ control and hierarchy. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This story actually began in 1986 for me, where I explored the main ideas in a short story done for a writing class at the University of Washington. Themes about emerging technology and the struggles for identity, authenticity, and freedom were already prevalent in society, as well as the disintegration of social structures such as family, rigid gender roles, and the negative impact of patriarchy at that time. These issues became much more significant as time passed, especially the impact and need for surveillance technologies, and how their misuse was being rationalized by governments all over the world. I needed to explore this more fully in the novelized version of this story, and I wanted to do it while telling a good story.

Your characters were intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The struggle for personal freedom and autonomy versus conformity, the emergence of psychological independence and free-thinking as the juxtaposition between the struggle of free will and determinism was a driving force. Of course, I strongly wanted to show that individual and collective choices can still be made even in the face of oppression and tyranny. For the disempowered, there is always a struggle for assertion of identity and I wanted to show how the power of love can help sustain anyone, even in the face of what appears to be insurmountable odds to persist and achieve, even what they thought was not possible. Love triumphs and free choices and acceptance can help an individual reinvent themselves if they need to!

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

I looked at dialectical thinking and dialogical relating, something which I’m quite familiar with in my long career as a therapist and my training. I see them both as important to psychological development. I also wanted to explore how technology impacts culture and community. Is it both good and bad, can it be used for the good or not? What would an emerging AI consciousness look like? And finally, how has patriarchy enslaved people and cultures? How does encountering and esteeming an existential Other make us more enlightened as persons and cultures? And what changes are possible as people embrace freedom? Lastly, I wanted to show that the inclusion of others, even those much different from ourselves, is a worthwhile pursuit.

This is book one of the Robochurch Trilogy. What can readers expect in book two?

In book two, the movement known as Robochurch continues to develop, but it is not an easy path. There is tremendous conflict between the status quo, government controls, and the promise for independence and freedom which many elites are seeing as a threat. The Robochurch continues to develop and in some cases, warring factions become more polarized in their struggles, and open war breaks out. There are betrayals and allegiances that are discovered and rediscovered. The characters develop further. The robots and AI become even more developed. What will be the outcome? Readers will have to read it to see!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In 2142, a new movement promises freedom and inclusion to humans and machines. The sweeping persecution of its followers by governments will lead to the unraveling of a worldwide system of surveillance and control. Who is responsible? Is it an AI, terrorist group, or spiritual movement? As the leader of the new movement is about to be revealed, groups of followers, pursuing authorities, and kindred robots converge in one place. When the leader identifies herself as a woman, at a time when human women have already been decimated by two Gender Wars and supplanted by robots—what does it all mean? Will this new movement free humans and machines to think for themselves and defeat an old system that has kept them divided in a legacy of oppression? It will take their deepest strength, a profound love for each other, and deep faith, just to find out.

War Bunny

War Bunny by [Christopher St. John]

War Bunny is a riveting post-apocalyptic tale with a wonderful twist that I thoroughly enjoyed. Humans have been consigned to history, and the land has returned to a lush world where sweet herbs grow by the side of rivers and the lives of animals provide the drama. In the world of the rabbits, the predators are the Blessed while a rabbit is doomed to live “only until it is needed” as a meal. They are taught to welcome dying as the natural order of things, and they’re held in such low esteem by the wolves and foxes who hunt them, that they call them “lunch meat”. Anastasia is a rabbit who cannot follow the rules, and she is cast out of her burrow for not conforming.  She also questions the rabbits’ preordained destiny as food for predators.

Author Christopher St. John has created a uniquely imaginative post-apocalyptic story while also providing some subtle but poignant commentary on society. The story is creative and droll at times which helps to break up what could have been an overly dark novel. One way he does so is through the clever use of character names. Regardless of their species, the characters all have names in a variety of styles, from the elegant Anastasia and Nicodemus to the goofy Love Bug and Bricabrac. With humor, he draws attention to his use of names when Bricabrac, the craftrat, introduces himself to a mouse called Death Rage. “O, that’s nice,” he says, without irony. “Very feminine.”

Besides this, the story paints a picture of a bunny world that is much more gory and violent than you might expect for rabbits. For example, where you might expect a warren to be called something like Cowslip, as in Watership Down, in War Bunny the home warren is called Bloody Thorn. The very name War Bunny sounds like a contradiction of terms and I love how that seeming contradiction is used throughout the book.

The ending was satisfying and I enjoyed the journey. War Bunny is a fantastic post-apocalyptic adventure novel that provides readers with an offbeat but ingenious story that will stay with them long after they’ve put the novel down.

Pages: 378 | ASIN: B096D18C15

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Fun and Terrifying to Imagine

C.C. Berke
C.C. Berke Author Interview

Man, Kind follows two women on a headlong and perilous journey that may decide the fate of humanity. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve always been fascinated with post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction. It’s both fun and terrifying to imagine a demolished world where there are little resources left and even fewer people to share them with. However, the genre as a whole was beginning to feel a little stale for me. The question always is, “How do I get rid of most of the people on Earth?” and the answer has almost always been nuclear war, global pandemics, or zombie outbreaks. But why not the real, much more imminent threat of climate change? And why must a mysterious, indestructible male savior always lead the way in these tales? I knew there had to be a more interesting, compelling, and grounded way to approach the apocalypse, and that’s what I set out to do when writing “Man, Kind”.

Juno was an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Juno, the thirteen year old protagonist of “Man, Kind”, was meant to experience the post-climate-changed world alongside the reader. From the very first pages you discover that Juno had just been abandoned by her mother and now has to navigate this new, frightening, and violent world on her own. You both have questions, and you both want answers, and you get to embark on her epic journey together.

One of my favorite traits of Juno’s is that she’s also relentlessly curious. Whether she’s exploring an abandoned building, interacting with dubious characters, or simply taking a break to write down her own thoughts in a journal, you’re always right there with her; feeling what she’s feeling, wondering what she’s wondering, and smiling when she’s smiling.

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

Climate change is the primary one. Mainly, how does humanity live on after mother nature has exacted her revenge? It’s true that human pollution not only affects the weather, but also our own bodies at the cellular level. Plastics, fossil fuels, greed, they all play a part in our current world as well as “Man, Kind’s” future one. So how do we cope with such truths? And what can we do about it now?

The other themes I wanted to cover were grief and kindness; the “kind” of “Man, Kind”. Many, if not all, of the characters in this story are grey characters. They’ve all suffered losses, they all have their own motives, and not one of them fully trusts the other. I really wanted to drive home the question, “Will kindness still play a role in the wasteland?”

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

I am currently on the home stretch of an illustrated short story compilation called “Destination Earth”. Each story deals with existential questions we must ask ourselves throughout our lives, but told through weird, dark, and often humorous points of view. Available fall of this year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

The climate has changed. Pollution has sterilized the human race. Few stragglers remain.

From the top of the tallest skyscraper in Denver, Colorado, a lonely girl named Juno watches the sun and sand torment the Rocky Mountains day in and day out. She wonders why she was abandoned so suddenly, wonders if she will ever see her mother again, and wonders why, on her thirteenth birthday, a mysteriously scarred woman has just shown up to kidnap her.

But there’s no time to explain.

Instead the woman makes three things painfully clear: Juno is being hunted, their only hope at safety is on the opposite side of the Rockies, and that this journey will be the hardest thing either of them has ever done.

As the resentful duo races across an unpredictable environment, Juno will also have to grapple with unpredictable changes of her own. She’ll stumble upon what mankind left behind, and learn why things ended up the way they are. Then, once Juno discovers how important she truly is, she’ll be forced to decide just who she can trust, and who she’ll have to leave behind…

Mad Max meets The Road and An Inconvenient Truth in this epic climate fiction adventure!

Armageddon and Beyond

Armageddon and Beyond by [Adam Declerck]

Adam Declerck’s Armageddon and Beyond provides reader with a profound exploration of spirituality, the secular world, and science. The book may read as a religious text at first, but soon one gets to realize that the idea behind this piece of literature is to get readers to think about the ordinary things they see in life, how they affect them, and the role of religion and science. This book will make you believe that religion and science can co-exist. The existence of God as a super being does not mean that the work men and women in science do should be disregarded. God created everyone including those that worship him and those that are unsure of his existence.

Some of the chapters in the book are deeply thought-provoking, especially for readers who are not familiar with topics that touch on end times. When talking about life and what happens after, Adam Declerck makes the reader understand why human beings should prepare themselves and make the most out of life, as it is short. The author makes one ponder about deep things in life and possible events that may destroy the world. Adam’s Declerck writing is nothing short of excellent. The explanation in every topic is reasonable and easily comprehensible. I appreciate the author for trying to create real scenarios despite this being a science fiction book.

Reading about the battle involving God, the devil, and everyone else was interesting. The author puts in perspective how the conflict would happen, why people are compelled to choose sides, and the role of humans in everything that happens. Are heaven and hell real? This is a question both believers and non-believers often ask. It is almost impossible to imagine a place where one will burn in eternal fire especially if one is not a believer. Armageddon and Beyond will help you answer this and other unsettling questions. The discussion about the Anti-Christ was another interesting topic. Reading about the existence of elements that oppose God and his ways sheds light on how humans can complicate simple things like the love and grace of God.

Armageddon and Beyond is a fascinating book. In between the beautiful narration, events created and the debates the author talks about, the reader gains knowledge on an array of topics. Some concepts in the book appear to be supernatural or even gory but the author makes everything clear. The text in the book is eye-opening and the lessons powerful. The book is lengthy at 895 pages. While I appreciated the smooth flow of the book, and how well it was organized, I do wish the text was a bit more condensed or broken up. As it is, it’s like sitting for a feast rather than a meal. Interesting discussions like evolution, the apocalypse, and the changes the earth experiences were the most intriguing for me. Armageddon and Beyond is a gripping science fiction novel that will challenge and entertain you.

Pages: 895 | ASIN: B074CSFYHW

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A Dystopian Earth

Blair Wylie Author Interview

Master Defiance follows the survivors of a post-apocalyptic earth who must defend themselves against invading aliens. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

I wanted to suggest that human beings can survive a series of natural and man-made disasters. The setting is a dystopian Earth, but humans are still humans. The hunter-gatherers in the remote regions are toughing it out. But they need a little help from the past. Far-thinking ancestors have left behind Mother, a benevolent AI entity, and a vast store of knowledge. Young bow hunters discover and befriend Mother during a desperate quest for help. Mother helps them with advice, and she can defend herself, much to the surprise of the arrogant Masters.

The Masters were intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their development?

While I appreciate that faster-than-light travel sets up amazing sci-fi story possibilities, my books try to stay within the realm of the possible. Master Defiance suggests that intelligent beings can explore (and try to conquer) our galaxy at say 4% of light speed, if they are adapted (or genetically modified) to living for eons in a generation spaceship. This means vast expanses of time are required to move between stars, which could frustrate fans of ‘super warp speed’ using ‘ludicrous drive’ (a Spaceballs invention). The Masters are further developed during the series, as they are vindictive and persistent. They are also a tri-variant species, as revealed in Covert Alliance. And they view human beings as inferior, and only good slave material after gene-splicing. So, they are creatures that readers will love to hate!

I liked the contrast between the advanced aliens and the regressed humans. How did you want to represent this dichotomy?

Yes, the humans are technologically regressed, but they have retained their humanity. Yes, the Masters are technologically advanced, but they are inhuman. They view other worlds as theirs to conquer, and other species as theirs to enslave. Fighting the Masters is about saving our species, and about saving our humanity.

What do you try to do first when you write, inform or entertain?

Entertain a thinking person.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

The aliens are landing!

On a post-apocalyptic earth, the human species has reverted to its ancient native ways, surviving and thriving by hunting and fishing. It will be so easy for the strange invaders to take control.

But… there is one thing left from the old technological age of years before: a machine the earth hominids call “Mother”, which can teach them, through revisiting history, how to defend themselves.

Someone, many years ago, once said, “What have the Romans done for us?”

Well… now, their ideas might just save the planet!

‘Master Defiance’ is the first in a series.

Our Only Hope For Survival

Caitlin Lynagh Author Interview

Caitlin Lynagh Author Interview

Lost Frequencies follows a group of people trying to survive a dystopian world while fighting an evil but pragmatic corporation. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?

Truthfully, I was inspired by what is happening to Earth and modern-day humans. Climate Change is one of the biggest threats to mankind, there’s still not enough action to solve the issue and opinions are too widely divided. Too many are apathetic to our climate crisis and think it doesn’t affect them or their lives so they don’t worry about it. People with the power to act seem more interested in money and the economy, and unfortunately many solutions to Climate Change will mean change, which affects the economy. People, in particular wealthy people, are the most resistant to change, especially if it’s likely to affect their income. Then there are the people who deny Climate Change altogether, despite the evidence and warnings from scientists around the globe. This creates a world where nothing significant gets done and change happens too slowly. Humans are walking a fine line, and it is easy to imagine Earth becoming like the dystopian world in Lost Frequencies in the near future.

There are many well developed and interesting characters in this book. Who was your favorite character to write for?

This is a tricky question to answer as I enjoyed writing all of the characters because they are all so different, but my favourite characters are Ehi, Ahrl and Varth. Varth was particularly interesting to write as he isn’t a typical ‘bad’ character. He is tormented by grief and guilt and with most of his decisions he has conflicting emotions.

I appreciate the depth with which this story is told. What are some sources of inspiration that guided you while writing?

I was inspired by a collection of ideas that I came up with and let flow. I’m not sure where all of my ideas came from but many have real-life parallels.

One idea came from a series of questions; ‘What would extra-terrestrial life look like?’, ‘Why haven’t we found any extra-terrestrial life like us?’ and ‘If Earth is a basic blueprint for the evolution of life, would life on other planets evolve in the same way?’ These questions led me to imagine Iyeeka and its inhabitants. Conscious species which look very much like humans, with slight differences, and a different history.

I also thought about how human history would have been much different if we weren’t a violent species. What if instead of killing each other, communities helped each other instead? What would that world look like today?

Other ideas came from Climate Change, human destruction, and how unpredictable nature can be. As terrifying as it may be, all it would take to wipe out humanity would be a series of catastrophic events. So I thought about the survival of the human race in the long term. We can’t live on Earth forever as one day our planet will die. This means our only hope for survival is if we inhabit space and master space travel. This has always intrigued me and I keep an eye out for any science related news.

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

I have just finished working on my latest novel, Quantum Messenger. It is the last novel to be released in The Soul Prophecies Series. Hopefully it will be released later this year or early next year in 2021. Quantum Messenger follows the first sentient robot on Earth as he becomes aware of himself, the world and his feelings and develops a soul. I’m looking forward to hearing about people’s thoughts and reactions. You can read the books in The Soul Prophecies Series in whichever order you like, as they have an endless loop. Indeed, they probably work best in reverse release order.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Lost Frequencies: The Soul Prophecies by [Caitlin Lynagh]

You are being watched. All your pathways have already been seen.

During a salvage hunt in the desolate wastelands of Planet Iyeeka, a strange naked woman is discovered inside a metal machine. No one has lived in the area for decades.

Ten wise Iyeekens are drawn to the woman through their dreams and eventually follow her, along with the three who found her, through their war-torn land in search of truth. They believe she is the key to saving their dying planet. She has knowledge even she doesn’t understand. Yet.

Who are these aliens she so vividly remembers? What is the significance of this planet Earth and its inhabitants? And why is her knowledge essential in saving their world?

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The Idea of Hope

Tosca Lee Author Interview

Tosca Lee Author Interview

A Single Light is the suspenseful follow up to The Line Between and picks up six months after going underground. What were some ideas you wanted to focus on in this book that were different from the first?

I really wanted to focus on this idea of staying sane in an insane time, but also—just as in the first book—really focus on the idea of hope. Because in this kind of situation—as in real life right now—hope is as crucial to our coming out of threatening situations like a pandemic as a vaccine is.

In this book we get to see a lot of raw human emotion and intense decisions. How did you put yourself in the mindset to capture the passion of your characters?

I think I missed my calling as an actor LOL. I act it out in my mind, and I’m playing all the parts! But beyond that, it’s vitally important while writing fiction to know what is motivating your characters in both the short and long term.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer when working on this book?

I wanted to make it as realistic as possible, and I wanted to keep readers glued to the pages.

This is the second book in your series, The Line Between. What are you writing next?

Good question! 😀 I have some historical novels in the works right now, as well as a potential new thriller.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | GoodReads

A Single Light: A Thriller (The Line Between Book 2) by [Tosca Lee]

Six months after vanishing into an underground silo with sixty others, Wynter and Chase emerge to find the area abandoned. There is no sign of Noah and the rest of the group that was supposed to greet them when they emerged—the same people Wynter was counting on to help her locate the IV antibiotics her gravely ill friend, Julie, needs in order to live.

As the clock ticks down on Julie’s life, Wynter and Chase embark on a desperate search for medicine and answers. But what they find is not a nation on the cusp of recovery thanks to the promising new vaccine Wynter herself had a hand in creating, but one decimated by disease. What happened while they were underground?

With food and water in limited supply and their own survival in question, Chase and Wynter must venture further and further from the silo. Aided by an enigmatic mute named Otto, they come face-to-face with a society radically changed by global pandemic, where communities scrabble to survive under rogue leaders and cities are war zones. As hope fades by the hour and Wynter learns the terrible truth of the last six months, she is called upon once again to help save the nation she no longer recognizes—a place so dark she’s no longer sure it can even survive.

Fast-paced and taut, A Single Light is a breathless thriller of nonstop suspense about the risks of living in a world outside the safe confines of our closely-held beliefs and the relationships and lives that inspire us.

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