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How do you Define the Greater Good

John Joseph Teressi Author Interview

John Joseph Teressi Author Interview

Portals in Time follows ten time travelers on their quest to find a cure for an epidemic of people who are aging prematurely. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this novel?

There is no doubt that those of us living in our modern world feel and sense the compression of time upon our lives. Not only are we in competition with our unknown and fast developing high tech future; but we are also aware, perhaps more than ever, of our personal limitations as human beings. Our sense of identity and belonging no longer comes from the village and its elders nor the wisdom that they might bestow upon us as we question our role in society.

We are rapidly becoming separated from who we are as social and soulful beings and are now being asked to interface with computer systems which are constantly evolving. As a result, we are feeling alienated and disempowered. There is no heart or soul within a machine; and yet, we are witnessing the acceleration of High Tech into all aspects of our lives.

The beings called Gripps in the novel, “Portals in Time: The Quest for Un-Old-Age” have become victims of an advanced society in which all forms of personal expression have been labeled as possessing only extraneous and superficial values. All values of the heart and soul are considered ephemeral concepts that no longer serve the ongoing process of the Greater Good. They chant slogans created to impose internal law and order in each and every Gripp citizen: “We grab on! We grip on! We grind on! Because that is our way!”

Quite simply, their overwhelming desire to conform has left them devoid of all their natural impulses and sensitivity. Stripped of positive thoughts and self-reinforcing feelings, they have begun to age much faster than normal.

It is time for us to reflect upon how we as human beings define our future! At the moment we are being asked to interface with machines as if those machines represent our Greater Good! The only question that remains is how do you define the Greater Good?

The ten characters we follow are prisoners with specific skills and various backgrounds. What was your favorite character to write for?

The main protagonists in the book are ten prisoners from Grippland who volunteer to become time travelers with a mission to locate and return with the Secret to Un-Old-age! Their rewards for a successful mission will be freedom and a new identity. Their names are Grist the Commander, Twist the Politician and Scheme the Businessman, Babble the Publicist, Stare the Engineer, Dr. Grouse, Grubb the Biologist, Gritt the Geologist, Grimm the Psychologist, and Grind the Archeologist. They are numbered one through ten according to their perceived value on the mission.

The Team members were chosen for their specific skills and abilities to work together and explore any new worlds they might encounter. Most are mature and hardened individuals who are definitely capable of adding to the success of the mission. A few of them only volunteered for the Eye of Time Exploration Team for personal gain and/or to escape Grippland!

Grist, the military leader and former General, has earned the rank of being number One on the Mission. Twist as the name might imply is a politician who is well experienced in twisting the truth. He has earned the rank of number Two and has been deemed valuable as one capable of conjuring up plans which might deceive any unsuspecting and naïve society. Number Three, Scheme Businessman was chosen for his ability to exploit anything of potential value.

As you can imagine with ten principal characters it is difficult to develop them all completely, however, they are each highlighted in various scenes throughout the book when they encounter their own misadventures and inspirations.

Stare the Engineer is number Five; and as his name implies, he appears to always be in another world even though you may be talking directly to him. He is considered extraordinarily valuable to the team since he is the only team member who possesses advanced engineering skills. His character is highlighted several times in the book when he encounters a trans-dimensional entity by the name of Delphos who can enter dreams and so much more.

It is very difficult to determine any particular favorite character. Perhaps it would be number Seven, Gripp Grubb the Biologist. I favor him because he endures so much and helps to bring the storyline forward in many different ways.

I enjoyed creating all the Gripp personalities and using their unique characteristics to develop and move the action forward in a believable fashion.

In the beginning the Gripps are perceived as ruthless and senseless beings without feelings or introspection. As they progress throughout their adventures, they all encounter different aspects of themselves, which allows them to gain greater insight into their being. The last chapter of the book demonstrates that no matter how stubborn and shut down they have been, the Gripps did learn and begin to understand a new way of thinking and being. They left with hope and inspiration in their hearts.

This is a fascinating novel that is high in social commentary. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing this book?

“Portals in Time:  The Quest for Un-Old-Age”, is an allegorical adventure based upon an advanced culture in which the human element of society has been deemed irrelevant by the edict that each must bow to the Greater Good. This concept ensured that High Command could dominate all aspects of Gripp life.

Part of the autocratic ideology was that all individuals were considered guilty of something until proven un-guilty. It was impossible to proclaim innocence since High Command was certain that it would only be a matter of time before your crimes were uncovered. Laws and regulations were being devised, implemented, and changed daily and all statements and even thoughts were suspect. Thought Stalkers were immediately rewarded for reporting on their fellow Gripps.

Eventually, Grippland citizens lost all sense of who and what they were, but more importantly, they were also unaware of what they were becoming. Without joy and wonder, humor and laughter, they began to age rapidly as more and more restrictions penetrated and encircled their lives.

The Quest for Un-Old-Age compelled scientists to find a cure for the rampant, premature aging of the population. They send ten members of the expendable community of prisoners through time, hoping to find a solution. These members arrive in a beautiful land on another dimension called Acronos. It is a magical place where nature is intelligent and aware of All That Is.

This book was designed to show that we must be far more aware of who we really are as a humans, possessing our precious sensitivities, feelings and soulful expressions.

On their journey of exploration of Level Seven, the Grips are exposed to the Seven Harmonies of Live which represent the rediscovery of what they had lost as a society. The Harmonies are (1) Inner Tone, (2) Rhythm and Rhyme, (3) Trust and Intuition, (4) Knowing Your Heart, (5) Joy and Wonder, (6) Humor and Laughter, (7) Forgiveness and Letting Go.

The principle theme that runs through Portals in Time is that we are indeed all travelers through time. We want to make the most of our lives and be empowered by what we know and experience. If we lose our sensitivity and awareness of our core values as human beings, we may be transforming ourselves into something more compatible with a Machine Culture than with each other.

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

The sequel to “Portals in Time”, sub-titled, “The Prophecy” finds the Eye of Time Explorers back in Grippland, but they are experiencing a time warp, which advanced them more than three hundred years into their society’s future. Everything they knew about life in their former world is gone. As they struggle to comprehend why their society vanished, they eventually realize that information and the processing of that information became far more valuable than any member of Grippland.

Gripps were eventually replaced by working machines and those machines were replaced by even more advanced machines.

The ten surviving members of the Eye of Time Exploration Team managed to successfully return to their point of origin, but in reality their point of origin no longer exists. They try to comprehend what occurred and ultimately discover that groups of robots went to war against more advanced robots.

The Gripps arrived in an the future after the great Robot Wars, when the remnants of Gripp society existed only in small, scattered groups in tunnels, caves, and in the forbidden zone deemed to be radioactive and dangerous to all synthetic beings, i.e. the Robots.

The principal themes in the sequel will test the Gripp’s resolve and creativity as well as the values of humanity that may still lie dormant within them. Will they remember those adventures on Level Seven and will their exposure to the Seven Harmonies of Life empower them with renewed strength and resolve which they might potentially share with the remnants of Gripp society?

Will these ten former prisoners become the heroes of a defeated society in an advanced future and will they be capable of reclaiming that future from the tight grip of powerful and advanced machines?

At present there is no specific timetable for the release of the second book. It is still in the design phase.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Portals in Time: The Quest for Un-Old-Age by [Teressi, John Joseph]

If you enjoyed, The Alchemist, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Celestine Prophecy, you will love this book. If you thrive in nature and appreciate a spiritual journey leading to wondrous discoveries that can change your life, you will be amazed by this exciting adventure that engages and entertains readers of all ages.

The story begins with ten volunteers, the Grippland Eye of Time Exploration Team who are former prisoners sent via time-travel to discover the Secret of Un-Old-Age. Grippland High Command rules with an iron fist, using thousands of laws, censorship, and intense surveillance. They reward Thought Stalkers and have eliminated the use of positive words that are now hidden away in the Word Museum. The Gripps Exploration Team’s mission is to save their civilization and find a cure for the citizens who are aging prematurely.

The Gripps arrive in another dimension, a mysterious land called Acronos filled with natural beauty and harmony. They encounter many intelligent and unusual life-forms and are shocked by nature’s amazing awareness. They are greeted by the Guardians of Acronos, two highly-evolved time-travelers who attempt to share the wisdom of The Seven Harmonies. The Gripps experience one surprising event after another in which time changes, twists and turns until they begin to realize that their thoughts are creating their reality and reality is mirroring who they are and revealing their true nature.

There are few times in our lives when we can become lost in a fantasy that can affect our lives in such a meaningful and positive way. You will not forget the characters and the wonder of nature in this story of love, patience, understanding, and redemption that will enhance your life and live in your heart.

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Who the Heroes and Villains Truly Are….

J.I. Rogers Author Interview

J.I. Rogers Author Interview

The Korpes File follows a technician born into the underclass of his world when he is marked by the ruling class as a threat due to his genetic make-up and is forced to fight back. What was the inspiration for the idea at the core of this exciting novel?

This is a complicated question to answer because the inspiration came in stages over the course of thirty years.

I was an artist long before I became an author. Concepts for the world of Tamyrh started showing up in illustrations while I was still in high school in the early-80s.

In 2012, a friend approached me to brainstorm on a game he was designing. I suggested that he let me do some world-building for him, and I wrote two pieces of flash fiction to go with the maps I’d designed. The game was shelved (unfortunately), and my work was returned to me, but that burst of writing led me to dig Tamyrh out of my portfolio case and look at it again. That was it; my objective became “write something that I would want to read,” and books one through five were plotted by the following summer.

Dystopian themes in science fiction are popular, and I wanted to create something that depicted both the protagonists and antagonists as living in the shadows and light between good and evil. To have a worthy, three-dimensional hero, you must have an equally worthy, three-dimensional adversary. Each one has to have reasons behind what they do, and regardless of how they start out they each have to have the potential to redeem or to condemn themselves. Thus, my series is about life, people, flawed, challenged, and hopefully tangible enough to touch. Ultimately, the reader’s sympathies will decide who the heroes and villains truly are….

Nash Korpes is an interesting character that, I felt, continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing his character?

First, thank you for the compliment. If I’m going to be honest, I didn’t start off with a theme for Nash apart from the fact that he was taken from his family in the Diaspora at an early age, and that he was isolated because of his ‘gifts’ and heritage. I wrote a few short scenes of interaction and dialogue and then let his personality emerge organically as the plot points presented themselves. I’m still learning things about him. At heart, he’s a good man, he tries his best, but like everyone, he falls down, gets dirty, and can make terrible decisions that have lasting ramifications. By the end of book one, I felt he was a non-angsty, relatable protagonist for everyone who’s ever felt like they were on the outside looking in due to their ethnicity, a disability, or their socio-economic background.

This book is a gritty thriller and action-packed adventure to the very end. What were some sources of inspiration for the detailed world in this book?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled widely and lived abroad in my early years, and those experiences can’t help but factor into my world’s design unconsciously.

As I mentioned earlier, I consciously began world-building Tamyrh back in high school; I’m an artist, so creating maps, designing the aliens, and doing concept art was fun. The toxic jungle, “The Seep”, as well as the ancient history of Tamyrh were invented then, but, I didn’t officially begin adding in the hard-science behind my world until 2012. Since then, I’ve been compiling research to give my world a sense of dimension and reality.

Now, I have an entire Pinterest account dedicated to ‘novel inspirations’ – it includes flora, fauna, visuals for the racial groups, cluster city concepts, diaspora inspiration, articles on real-world developments in science and physics, and cutting-edge technological advancements. They do say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
On an associated note, I’m planning to release a limited edition character sketchbook in 2020 – Patreon funded. A bestiary and world atlas are also in the works.

This is book one in the 942 Series, when will book two be available and where will the story pick up in that book?

I’m finishing up book two right now, and I plan to release it in December. The story picks up with Nash and Davis, roughly two months after the end of book one. A collection of short stories from the series will be published in October.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsitePinterest

For those that love classic “Star Trek” and modern “Battlestar Galactica”, “The Korpes File” taps a fresh vein of science fiction gold.

“As if being born Diasporan wasn’t enough, Technician Nash Korpeshas the bad luck to match his Tyran ancestors in form and manner. Thesetraits, though highly prized by the special projects division at Korlune Military Research and Development, mark him as a specter from theirwarlike past. With only his intellect to save his sanity, he wages aprivate war against the entire socioeconomic status quo and uncovers anemesis that threatens them all.”

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Undercurrents in Time

Undercurrents in Time: Book 2 of the Detours in Time series by [Schloesser Canepa, Pamela]

With Undercurrents in Time, Pamela Schloesser-Canepa offers readers a second novel in the saga of Professor Milton Braddock and Tabitha, his assistant turned wife. While the characters and time-traveling adventures in Undercurrents may feel familiar to readers, the novel is completely different from its predecessor when it comes to themes and plot action. Undercurrents is a well-written, thoughtful, and emotional work, lacking only in that it must be compared to Detours, which created such a fantastic series of adventures between a vibrant pair of protagonists that it is hard to match.

Set two years after Detours, Undercurrents’ present-day is set in 1999 as citizens prepare for Y2K, which will certainly elicit a laugh from readers of a certain age. The novel once again focuses on the dynamic duo of Milt, a quintessential frazzled scientist, and Tabitha, now his wife and mother of their son, Peter. The novel focuses this time, though, on Tabitha much more than Milt, which will likely disappoint some readers yet delight others. A new mother, Tabitha is understandably feeling overwhelmed as she tries to balance being a good mother and wife with her desire for independence – oh, and don’t forget that there’s a time-traveling car tempting her in the garage. Schloesser-Canepa follows Tabitha as she sets off on some of her own adventures to try to understand what will happen to her family in the future and to attempt to thwart the sinister Dr. George Mahoney, a rival to Milt who was introduced in Undercurrents. As in Detours of Time, Schloesser-Canepa dedicates a balanced amount of time on both action and emotion, as she skillfully lets readers into Milt and Tabitha’s psyches, yet never bore, and always has a surprise waiting around the next page.

Undercurrents in Time is full of interesting futuristic characters and quick witted dialogue, but fans of Schloesser-Canepa’s earlier novel may miss the charming yet somewhat awkward Milt, as Tabitha ventures alone in much of the story. However, Schloesser-Canepa introduces several characters who are begging for a novel of their own, including the mysterious Ellie, who I will not describe at the risk of revealing too much, and the hired actor Malachi, whose coolness is undeniably intriguing.

Readers who have not read the first installment, Detours in Time, may feel a little lost upon occasion, as Schloesser-Canepa does not spend much time rehashing the past (or future, depending on how you look at it! This is a science fiction novel, after all…), so I recommend reading Detours before beginning Undercurrents.

Schloesser-Canepa closes this novel saying she does not anticipate a third installment in the series. While Undercurrents in Time came to a natural close, it felt almost as if it ended with a fizzle, and readers of both Milt and Tabitha novels are certainly craving a bang. As a standalone novel, Undercurrents in Time is a very thoughtful, enjoyable, and unique combination of science fiction and motherhood. But, when read as a sequel to the fast-paced Detours in Time, it may leave some readers craving more high-speed journeys into the future. But, who knows – maybe Tabitha and Milt will delight readers with a surprise reappearance down the line in other stories by Schloesser-Canepa. You never know what the future will hold!

Pages: 299 | ASIN: B07DCCQS3N

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Penchant Revealed

Penchant Revealed by [Elizaga, J.]

Presented with a science-based and fantastical plot line, fascinating characters, and a world of artificial intelligence, J Elizaga does a wonderful job in writing about science entities in this riveting book Penchant Revealed.

As a spellbinding sci-fi, Elizaga stuns readers with creative writing and an imaginative story line in the recent eBook Penchant Revealed. A book full of secrecy, discovery, and supernatural ability, this book is ideal for anyone who loves a good sci-fi! As a reader, we see how the author intertwines artificial intelligence with humans and other worldly beings that captivates readers and keeps them hooked right to the end.

Right from the very beginning, we say hello to Miles Penchant, the protagonist of the book. From then, we are constantly questioning Miles’ character. “What is Miles Penchant’s secret, and why is the devil pursuing his wife?” The reader is left hooked by these secrets and will read on to find out the truth before Miles, his wife, and what is going on in the world around them. Secrecy and discovery are two key themes that are paramount throughout the book. Without giving too much away, worlds far from ours are constantly in battle to unravel the truths. Hell’s mastermind, Lucifer, also referred to as the devil plays a vital role in obtaining the reader’s attention, as well as keeping the plot line strong until the end of the book.

Elizaga’s attempt at intertwining a world of humans and AI is ideal for any sci-fi fans that enjoys a book that is unlike any other. J Elizaga demonstrates a clear focus and powerful imagination in this creation of fictional fantasy.

I can appreciate the author’s creativity, and I believe that the author has created a strong narrative, and provides the reader with intriguing characters and a good plot line.

“We advise you to take extra care of her [your wife]. She will be haunted by what she experienced. But she will be less fearful knowing she is not alone.” This eerie excerpt from the book clearly highlights key themes such as isolation, marriage, experiences, discovery, and fear. What more could you possibly want in a good book?

A triumphant, intelligent and artistic piece of writing brought to you by the author, J Elizaga. A noble attempt at intertwining the real world with multiple dimensions including hell, ancient aliens, and archangels. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who takes an interest in artificial intelligence, secrecy, and a longing for discovery and resolution.

Pages: 73 | ASIN: B07452QYJZ

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The Korpes File

Few debut books attempt to achieve what J. I. Rogers set out to achieve, and even fewer are able to create a story that is so unlike everything else out there. The Korpes File is one such work and a stellar debut novel for Rogers. Nash Korpes, a technician, born a Diasporan, the underclass of his world. When he is marked by the ruling class as a threat due to his genetic make-up, it is up to his own intelligence to fight back against not only the ones who hunt him, but the entire ruling class that looks down on everything from their comfortable high-rises.

The goal of Nash and fighting what is essentially the 1% in Korpes’ world is both thrilling and interesting. And danger is never far from the characters in the form of corporate assassins, mass killings, and political intrigue. It is truly a dangerous, but wondrous world to inhabit all at the same time. The city states hide underground from the caustic rains on the surface, while the elites work on new ways to maintain control by subverting the masses under them.

Both a gritty thriller and action-packed adventure, The Korpes File is a fast-paced race to the end, as Nash attempts to survive in this dystopian world. Yet, all of our investment isn’t solely spent on Nash, but on the plethora of other characters who fill these pages. The multiple points-of-view is surprising, especially in a first novel, but Rogers is able to pull this off by making sure all of his characters are dynamic, and at their core real “people.” This was probably one of the best parts of this book, and feeling all of their motivations and emotions was a particular pleasure, especially in a genre when the focus can rely too much on background technology or plot. Some of the pacing at times became a little strange with Rogers’ choice to skip over years in places, but it seemed to be a wash by the end.

It isn’t often that a dystopian thriller can rise on a new set of legs, but Rogers sure does that here and makes sure that the start of his new series starts off running. This book will be a pleasure to readers of all genres, as long as they can tolerate a gritty undertone and sometimes brutal violence. If they can trust Nash, then they will be in good hands.

Pages: 342 | ASIN: B06XCZNTK7

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River’s Child

When Mavin Cedarstrom heads to the Svalbard Seed Vault for another day on the job, he can’t possibly imagine the turn his life is about to take. His former life gathering seeds as an assistant to his favorite professor pales in comparison to the life he leads working in the exclusive and formidable vault housing samples of every seed variety in the world. Mavin’s job helping to protect and preserve the future of the planet’s primary food source leads him on a journey like no other when he awakens to find himself in what he soon learns is the future–the distant future.

Right out of the gate, Mark Daniel Seiler introduces readers to an intriguing set of circumstances. He wastes no time in keeping his audience guessing as to both time and place. The opening pages of River’s Child reveal a scene with an amalgamation of characters with varied backgrounds. It isn’t until Mavin reaches the vault itself that the reader is treated to the splendors of technological advancements. Seiler springs this futuristic setting on his readers in a wonderful contrast with the opening bar scene.

Reading River’s Child is akin to reading three different books, but it works well. Mavin’s time working in the vault and the tragedy that befalls him when he reports to work that fateful fall day are a far cry from the way he is found and worlds apart from the scene that greets him when he is pulled from beneath Earth’s surface. Once he and his rescuer/guide, Simone Kita, make the year-long trek to civilization, the story takes on a completely different feel which somehow also makes sense. To say that Mavin has taken a step into the past would not be wrong, nor would it be wrong to say he is almost light years in the future upon being pulled from the remains of the vault. Seiler presents for readers a picture of an Earth recreated after its destruction and, somehow, simultaneously archaic and advanced.

Seiler’s choice to make males subservient and females revered in the new world is both refreshing and entertaining. Simone, a strong woman in many ways, teaches Mavin the proper way to show respect and how to remain demure in his foreign surroundings. The author has pulled from multiple cultures to create the portrait of a lesser sex in this futuristic world which blends ancient customs with the discovery and mastery of unique and highly developed talents. Simone’s amazing ability to control space and time is superhero-like and takes the reader as much by surprise as it does Mavin the first time she tries to discreetly display it.

Seiler offers readers a picture of  what is essentially a post-apocalyptic world that is different from any I have read. He takes readers on a journey that begins and ends with the soul survivor of a catastrophic event and allows them to watch as he struggles to find his place among those who now inhabit Earth. Seiler peppers his writing with the perfect amount of suspense and humor as he weaves this unforgettable tale.

Pages: 312 | ISBN: 1947003399

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Voice of a Crimson Angel Part II: Poison (Reverence Book 6)

Voice of a Crimson Angel Part II: Poison (Reverence Book 6) by [Landeros, Joshua]

Joshua Landeros is at it again with a sequel to his prequel series with Voice of the Crimson Angel Part II: Poison. Julissa Marconi is ready to take on the ultimate villain, Chancellor Venloran. All that stands between the United Nation Republic and Mexico is the rebels, who seek to resist the tyrannical influence of the more powerful country. This struggle will not end cleanly as Venloran deploys his cyborg soldiers, which leaves Julissa questioning if she can really stop this assault. She may have to become what she fights.

And once again Landeros hits it out of the park with this novel and there is a maturing of his prose in a way that should greatly satisfy his readers. Poison centers around the conflict, or rather, Expansion, that the United Nation Republic is forcing upon Mexico. There is a resonance here with the current events of immigration and Mexico with the US, which does not make this seem like an accident on Landeros’ part. The engagement not only of the struggle of soldiers, but of entire populaces, bumps up the stakes of what has been up until now, a waltz down memory lane to contextualize his main Reverence series.

This installment breathes new air into the series and gives the prequel series more weight going forward. In some ways the look at the national conflict tends to make the conflict become too political and the characters are lost in the back and forth, but it eventually re-centers and the story becomes an intimate tale about identity and duty.

The style of Landeros is largely unchanged aside from his deeper engagement with thematic elements helping his subtle prose along. Robert Heinlein would be proud as would Atwood with his struggle to both dignify the society he has created, and draw parallels from our world to the world of Reverence. For the science fiction reader, there may be more thriller, political drama than one is used to, but we can always count on Landeros to bring the fight to us.

In the grander scheme of his series and world building, Posion begins to show the end game that will follow, since the Expansion is only a piece to Venloran’s ongoing long game. We all know the players who are involved at this point and it’s really just seeing it all unravel. Truly, a pulse-pounding thrilling read.

Pages: 226 | ASIN: B07BNTQRTJ

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Real or Imagined

Lisa Diaz Meyer Author Interview

Lisa Diaz Meyer Author Interview

All Roads Destined is a collection of stories from fantasy to science fiction with links back to your first collection. What was the inspiration for this collection of stories?

As for the Outposts, I wanted to continue on since I’d left it as a cliffhanger in All Roads Home. I then felt I wanted to bring more loneliness and some addiction awareness into the equation as these subjects, real or imagined, can be sad and frightful.

I felt that this book was a bit darker than the last collection. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing this book?

I did want to go darker, bring more science fiction in but based off subjects that make people uncomfortable. Again the addiction issue, some odd poetry. As you said in your review, the short story The Crone was your favorite. It was also mine, too. And I love when something like that can just come upon me, the imagery and the way I want it to be read.

You also included a selection of poems in the section titled The Fragments. What was your favorite poem from the collection and how did you pick which poems made it into this collection?

The poems or fragments I write in between or even during a WIP. My favorites in this book were Clocks and The Water Globe, both having to do with the passage of time.

What is your process like for writing short stories? Does it differ from longer novels?

There’s a certain pace with short stories that I prefer. I may be inspired to write a longer novel one day, just not yet.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

All Roads Destined: A Collection of Dark Fiction and Poems by [Meyer, Lisa Diaz]Destiny is what we bring to the world where the roads are stained with tears and blood, and paved in eternal stone. In Part One, the continuation of The Outpost Trilogy shifts from post apocalyptic to science fiction. Part Two, The Enduring contains five dark fiction short stories. Part Three, The Fragments include fifteen poems of urgent struggle and destination. New York author, Lisa Diaz Meyer relates to the odd, macabre & funereal. ALL ROADS DESTINED is the second of her ALL ROADS trilogy.

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The Forsaken Book Trailer

In the distant future, religion is against the law, and the Earth is a war-torn world ruled by an insane United Nations. All military forces are put on high alert when an ex-bishop of the outlawed “Catholic Church” decides to steal an artifact called “The Shroud of Turin” to help save the Earth from herself. He claims to have the power to use the cloth to help bring about “The Second Coming” – but what’s even more terrifying: he might just do it!

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Return of the Sagan

Return of the Sagan by [O'Donnell, Neil Patrick]

Francis, a twenty-three year old man dealing with his own overwhelming fears brought on by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, happens to be humanity’s next best chance at establishing life on Earth once more. Traveling aboard the Sagan, Francis faces all the struggles of a man coping with life in space and the anxiety of having one of his own forgetful moments bring about the destruction of the entire vessel and all who inhabit it. As a professor and trusted expert, it is Francis to whom the rest of the crew turn to as they make plans to return to Earth. Forced to break out of his comfort zone and abandon the safety of his classic literature, Francis obliges and proceeds to help save life as it was once known.

Professor Francis Burns, the main character in Neil O’Donnell’s Return of the Sagan, is one of the richest and most well-drawn characters I have encountered in a book in the science fiction genre. He is endearing from his first appearance and continues throughout the book to be relatable on a level most characters never reach. Francis’s battle with OCD is just one of the many aspects that keeps him down-to-earth. His constant references to Tolkien and the effortless way with which he quotes lines from Tolkien’s novels make him a less intimidating personality among the other characters.

O’Donnell’s desire to pepper his text with pop culture references adds to the book’s overall appeal. I am not a science fiction fan, but familiar names, books, movies, and song titles pull me in and give me more of a reason to continue reading when the more technical lingo tends to have the opposite effect. The author places these pop culture hooks in the perfect spots throughout the reading.

The unique blend of science fiction and fantasy emphasized by Francis’s extensive knowledge of literature and history is quite amazing to behold. The repopulation of some of the world’s most endangered animals was beautiful to visualize. However, the reappearance of extinct species–and aggressive predators, at that–was simply breathtaking. I hesitate to compare it in any way to Jurassic Park, but in some small ways, O’Donnell’s story bears a resemblance to the original movie’s plot.

I have to admit, I saw the plot going in a much different direction once the crew reached Earth. I won’t say I am disappointed, but I will say, without giving away the ending, that I looked for a resolution that never arrived. O’Donnell has left me to reach some of my own conclusions–and that, I appreciate. Whereas, some readers prefer to have the story wrapped up in a nice little package by the concluding lines, I prefer an author leave me with the desire to reread for clues and leave the book open for a sequel. O’Donnell definitely inspires as many questions about the fate of Earth’s human population as he does answers about the resurgence of plant and animal life.

I give Return of the Sagan 5 out of 5 stars. With a relatable main character and a plot filled with action from the opening chapter, O’Donnell has provided readers with a hit. Science fiction fans who seek memorable characters will not be disappointed with Professor Francis Burns, his extensive knowledge base, and his undying love for J.R.R. Tolkien.

Pages: 304 | ASIN: B00SP4BOZS

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