In Yellowstone National Park, at the beginning of the twentieth century, a girl of mysterious origins is adopted from infancy by Old Faithful geyser, and by a mother buffalo named Bearer of Song. Beloved to all the park, Flower of the Steam Basin grows up with their stories, proverbial sayings and teachings.
In time, having met a child her own age and her parents, trust ripens between families, and Flower of the Steam Basin gains a closely protective circle of human friends. At nine years old, she is brought face-to-face with Retired Lieutenant Ned Halpen of the Yellowstone Cavalry, whose exemplary career embodied the role of protector of Yellowstone’s spiritual and physical heritage.
In the wake of Lt. Halpen’s passing one year later, her sacred vow to continue his legacy brings both reward and mortal danger. And when the circle is breached, Flower of the Steam Basin and her father are forced to choose between her own safety and well-being and the performance of her sworn duties.
This is her story, as seen through the eyes of Yellowstone.
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Beyond the Code follows Aurora who is a skilled knight in an action packed story where the hunter quickly becomes the hunted as she struggles to avenge her masters death. What was your inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
The first seed of inspiration for the character of Luna actually came from a crescent moon necklace I bought a long time ago. I started getting the idea for her character and the world she would live in then I went to my friends and had then pick a super power and fighting style. From that, I made some of the characters and stories that are in the book now.
The relationship between Aurora and Ranger is complex and has a compelling build up. What were the themes you wanted to capture while writing their relationship?
I was trying to present a theme of future hope in their relationship. Ranger sees Luna as the one who can bring about a better future and Aurora sees Ranger as a strong mentor that pulled her through the darkest time in her life. Their relationship is built on mutual faith and respect for each other and that makes it a touching and strong aspect to the book.
This book is full of action that is told in vivid detail. What was the process for you like in writing the action scenes?
There are two very important rules I use when writing action scenes. First, plan out every move. How the character attacks, the reaction to that attack, everything. You have to carefully plot out every step like in a movie. And secondly, you have to keep it interesting. Change up the moves, keep it off the wall and really use the terrain and items around them. Repetitive moves will kill the attention of your reader.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on Beyond the Code’s sequel. My working title for it is Beyond the Masquerade. If all goes well, I plan on having it, at the very least, in the publishing process within 18 months of Beyond the Codes release.
To the common world, Aurora Falon is merely the pampered daughter of a rich and influential family. But to the secret world of The Order, she is Luna, the powerful and formidable warrior knight, under the rule of her master, Cole Iver. Together, they strive to bring down Damon Lexus, a wicked master who uses her knights in cowardly and dishonourable ways for her own selfish desires. But when they obtain evidence that may bring Damon Lexus under the judgement of The Order’s ruling power, The Hand Council, Damon makes a rash decision and orders the assassination of Cole Iver.
By pure coincidence, Luna catches Damon’s knight in the act but is too late to save her master and kills the assassin in a moment of grief stricken rage. Luna knows the one with her master’s blood on her hands is not the one she killed, she seeks the assassin’s master. But after a failed attempt at revenge, Luna is pulled from the depths of her dark anger and put on a better path by the Hunter who was ordered to kill her. Together, they will work to break away from being mere tools for the powerful and become heroes.
Posted in Interviews
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Sour Lake follows Sheriff Reeves as he tries to solve a brutal murder while navigating the towns racial tensions and economic despair. What was the the inspiration behind the setup to this interesting novel?
It started as a more or less straight horror story, based on legends and tall tales I heard growing up about Texas at the turn of the 20th Century. My wife’s family is from the Big Thicket area, and the more I started talking and writing, the more interested I became in the social history and mores of the people in the area.
The story takes place in 1911 in a small Texas town. Why did you choose this setting for your story?
1911 was something that came to me in a dream, about halfway through the story. In the dream, I was searching through old newspapers for clues about the central mystery in the book. I looked down to turn the page, and I saw the date: October 17, 1911. Weird, right? So I just went with it.
Sheriff Reeves Duncan lost his wife, is a recovering alcoholic, but manages to keep a level head in intense situations. What obstacles did you feel were important to push his character development in the story?
Reeves Duncan is a fun character. I think what I like most about him is that he’s comfortable in his own skin. He knows his own limitations, but at the same time he has a pretty fierce streak of stubbornness that compels him to do the right thing, even if he knows he’s going to be disliked for it. Apart from having to wrestle with the bizarre nature of the crimes he is investigating, the biggest obstacle he faces is having to stand up to his own friends and neighbors in order to protect an innocent man and, ultimately, bring the true killer to justice.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I’m actually working on a prequel to Sour Lake, but I can’t say much about it because it’s still in its very early stages. If anyone’s interested in reading something that, like Sour Lake, combines horror and history, please check out my novel The Black Book of Cyrenaica. Or, if you’re not interested in horror, please try my coming-of-age story Color War, which is also set in East Texas, this time though in 1974.
It’s 1911. Someone, or something, is leaving the good citizens of East Texas’s Ochiltree County savagely mutilated and drained of blood. Slow-talking Sheriff Reeves Duncan needs to put an end to the murders, and soon. But it won’t be easy. This is the Big Thicket, dark and brooding, haunted by racial tensions and economic despair. Fortunately, Sheriff Duncan can count on the assistance of an undersized but tough-as-rawhide Texas Ranger, two physicians, a mechanical wunderkind, and a soft-spoken idiot savant who knows the sloughs and baygalls of the Thicket like his own backyard. This league of unimpressive gentlemen is about to be tested by the cunning and ferocity of an enemy that walks by night–and the tentacles of a desperate sectarian plot that threatens the very survival of the human race.
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When entire buildings begin disappearing around earth, former Army Ranger Raymond knows that the end cannot be too far away for him and his fellow humans. A normal day at the office takes an unexpected turn, causing Raymond to make use of his training as everything around him begins to suddenly change. However, no amount of training could’ve prepared him for the Drassens—a species of aliens with a matriarchal society. After being saved from certain destruction, Raymond forms a bond with the High One, unleashing a series of events that will challenge everything he knows about the universe and himself.
Ken Hart’s Behind the Gem delves deep into a future where earth’s existence begins to unravel as entire buildings begin to disappear on by one. At the center of this story is Raymond, a former Army Ranger who lives with his wife, rides a motorcycle, and works a regular office job. Normalcy for him, as well as the reader, is forever changed with the introduction of the species of aliens called the Drassens.
Hart’s creation of an alien, matriarchal society comes naturally throughout the book. Where some writers rely on heavy descriptions to convey that the new world is vastly different from earth, Hart allows his characters, mannerisms, and short descriptive phrases to usher the reader into a world that is vastly different from earth. Though some parts of the book could use more exposition as to why certain things are happening or to help separate the travel from one location from a different one (such as the Most High One’s palace and the landing), there remains little to complain about when it comes to world building.
The electronic devices and healing mechanisms are very unique to this story and to this world that Hart created. It has a familiarity, but comes with variances that make it new and exciting without being overwhelming. Additionally, the alien species seems to round out the total uniqueness of the story. Hart’s description of the new aliens leaves nothing to be questioned, allowing the familiarity of the mammal-like species to ease Raymond’s trust in the creature while also showing the difference of the alien from humans.
Behind the Gem is well conceived but I felt that there were elements that could of been handled with greater care. The relationship between Raymond and Amber—though well-written and thought out—could be viewed as Stockholm Syndrome. Every element of their unconventional relationship, I felt, should have been handled with greater detail to give readers a better understanding of their connection.
As Raymond’s trust with the aliens develops, so does the writing style of the book. What begins as a journal written almost completely in stream of consciousness with strange introduction of characters develops into a more matured and skilled version of his story as he begins to become more and more educated like the Drassens who surround him. It is a nice touch that assists in capturing Raymond’s transformation. If you enjoy a good alien invasion story, then this book should be next on your list.
Pages: 286 | ISBN: 1629894206
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