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General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms

General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms by David Bush is a fiction story about the five kingdoms of animals: Feline, Canine, Dairy, Equine, and Big Mammal. The lions, rulers of the Feline Kingdom, are cruel overlords of all the other animals. Miaow is chief of the cats, the lowest of the Felines. Although he laments the unjust and savage way of things, he accepts it and does nothing to change it. But after he is wounded by a panther, he is saved by a boy named Jack, who nurses Miaow back to health and encourages him to take action. The four other animal kingdoms join together and work with the cats in secret to overthrow the Feline rulers. What will happen if King Roar learns of this betrayal?

I enjoyed reading David Bush’s riveting novel that follows an ordinary character that does something that he’d believed was impossible. The plot of the story was intriguing and unique, and I liked that the cats became some of the heroes of the story. Scratchy was my favorite character in the story. I liked the pictures of the animals and landscape, especially the black and grey silhouettes of trees and mountains, that were included throughout the story. Most of the pictures were black and white, except for a few that showed black silhouettes against a bright orange sky. There were lots of interesting facts about history, geography, and wildlife in the notes at the end of the book.

I enjoyed the thrilling conflict at the heart of this story, but I didn’t like how Miaow behaved in the beginning of the book, standing by and allowing injustices and atrocities to happen to others. Miaow’s son Scratchy was the only one willing to risk his own life and safety to intervene. Miaow turned a blind eye to the suffering of others out of fear of the consequences to himself. With Jack’s prodding, Miaow finally started organizing the covert warfare against the Feline Overlords. In this part of the book, there was a lot of focus on the battle tactics of the Union Jacks. The descriptions of the successful missions against the lions, tigers, cougars, panthers, and jaguars were very descriptive, if a bit repetitive, but still aided in creating some enthralling battle scenes.

David Bush has created a unique story that blends The Jungle Book with The Lord of the Rings to create an enchanting adventure. General Jack and the Battle of the Five Kingdoms is a spellbinding story that will appeal to fans of epic fantasy.

Pages: 163 | ISBN: 979-8667226413

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Better Than Our Dogs

In John Murray’s latest book, Better Than Our Dogs, he uses the interesting lives and behaviors of his and his neighbor’s dogs to impart faith-based life lessons. Not only has he beautifully captured God’s love in his words but he also managed to write in a non-judgemental way that would attract even those outside the faith.

This story follows the lives of five dogs; Socrates, Chloe, Darby, Young Pup, and Old Vet, so deeply explaining their mannerisms and temperaments that you would be forgiven for mistaking them for actual people. Truly, character development doesn’t get better than this.

By drawing parallels between his relationship with his dogs and our relationship with God, he brings life to Biblical principles, clearly laying out lessons that we can all apply in our lives. I also like that the author draws on Greek mythology as well to bring more clarity to his points.

Moreover, the way he manages to draw the same message from different stories and weaves them together is something to behold.  He also does the reverse quite efficiently, fetching different lessons from a single story.

I truly appreciate about the simple and whimsical delivery. Needless to say, this is one of the easiest books to read. It’s not too wordy and there aren’t any long paragraphs of meaningless information.

It is captivating and straight to the point, yet still giving you enough to leave a long-lasting impression. It is clear that John really put his heart and soul into this. As this book is written in his voice and is actually about real-life experiences, it feels very personal, as if we are peeking into his innermost musings. Coupled with its gut-wrenching epilogue, it is this that I believe makes this book so relatable. Some of the running themes in this book include the fragility of life and the importance of loyalty and serving others.

Pages: 122 | ASIN: B08FWBRF1L

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Polish Dragon P. I.

Steve Zimcosky Author Interview
Steve Zimcosky Author Interview

How did the idea for Death of a Bully start and change as you wrote?

It started from my previous book the “Disappearance of Marty McRory” which introduces the Polish Dragon P. I. into the story. I thought how it would be a great idea to perhaps do a series with a private investigator and to create different story lines. As I was coming up with the idea I thought how it might feel to investigate the death of an old schoolmate. Especially one who had issues in his younger years and was able to turn his life around. I had to do some research as to how private investigators work so I could make the story as believable as possible. The story line changed at the last minute when I thought how families have a hard time dealing with a member who has dementia.

What was the most interesting scene for you to write in the short story?

For me the most interesting thing was writing about the bullying that went on in the elementary school years of the characters. That I wrote from experience as I remember being bullied somewhat as a child. I could introduce martial arts training as a way to combat bullying and there are many martial arts schools that have such programs, like the Karate Institute of Cleveland. My martial arts training was later in life and I thought how that would have helped me in my younger days to defend myself.

Why did you go with the short story format instead of fleshing this out into a full novel?

It wasn’t intentional to do a short story but as I was writing it seemed like it all went together rather quickly and I enjoyed the way it turned out. There was plenty of information to keep the readers guessing and twist and turns to throw them off. My hope is that as I continue to write the stories get longer. They always seem to be shorter on Kindle then they do in a paperback version and I’m not sure why that is. But there have been some great novellas in the past such as: The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway, The Man Who Would be King by Rudyard Kipling, and The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells. I hope that my readers enjoy the stories and I can continue to write for them and myself.

Do you plan to write more stories about the Polish Dragon P. I.?

Absolutely. I want to make it into a series if I can. I have already started a new story with the Polish Dragon investigating a case of certain women who have disappeared. A lot of my stories take place in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and this one will not be any different. I’m hoping to have it done in time for the holidays.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

A well-established attorney and philanthropist is found murdered in his bedroom without any clues. The ensuing investigation reveals a dark side to his past and perhaps the reason for his demise. His wife hires his old friend, a private investigator, to help solve the crime. The suspects rise and fall until the true killer is revealed.

Looking for Answers

Nina Munteanu
Nina Munteanu Author Interview

A Diary in the Age of Water follows the climate-induced journey of Earth through four generations of women with a unique relationship to water. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting novel?

It started with one of my short stories: “The Way of Water”. I’d been asked by my publisher in Rome (Mincione Edizioni) to write a speculative socio-political short story about the environment—water, particularly. I wanted something ironic, so I chose water scarcity in Canada, a nation rich in water. The story was about young Hilde—the daughter of the diarist in the novel—who was dying of thirst in Toronto. This is a Toronto under the control of the international giant water utility CanadaCorp—with powers to arrest and detain anyone. A world in which China owns America and America, in turn, owns Canada. I realized that I needed a larger story: on how Canada became this water-scarce nation as indentured state; more on Hilde’s mysterious limnologist mother, Lynna (the diarist in the novel); and more on what happens next (explored through Kyo and her strange world of the future).

Kyo is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind the character’s development?

Kyo starts and ends the story in the sacred boreal forest of the far future. she’s a blue-skinned multi-armed human being—essentially a water-being—looking for answers why the world is the way it currently is due to climate change and other things humanity has caused. She frames the gritty diary part of the story. Kyo represents the future. She’s also a young girl, and in some ways, her part of the story is a coming of age, of self-discovery and growing maturity. Given her metaphoric connection to water, the planet and a new humanity of sorts, Kyo’s character serves as a metaphor for humanity and its own coming of age.

The novel expertly captures a post-climate changed world and the changes it effects on society. What were some themes that were important for you to focus on in this book?

A Diary in the Age of Water is a cautionary dystopian tale that is based on real events and precedents. This is partly why I wrote some of the book as a diary. The diarist—Lynna—is a limnologist who sees what is going on but because she is right in the middle of it, she lacks the perspective to recognize the gravity of some of the things she is witnessing and doing herself. She exercises a myopic protectionism that backfires on her time and time again. Perhaps the main theme of this book is one of perspective and how that perspective can influence actions and reactions in surprising ways. Information and knowledge isn’t enough—as Lynna demonstrates. Context and understanding, fueled by compassion and kindness must accompany it.

Ultimately, the book carries themes of hope and forgiveness—of ourselves and each other—and compassion for all things, starting with water. Each character carries an aspect of that theme, from the diarist’s activist mother, to the diarist’s own cynical protectionism, her spiritual anarchist daughter, and lastly the innocent storm of the last generation.

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

I’m currently researching and working on the sequel to “A Diary in the Age of Water”—a thriller about four lost and homeless people who find their way when a phenomenon brings them together through a common goal to free the Earth from the manacles of human greed. The story takes place throughout Canada—from Halifax to Vancouver and the Arctic. It takes place mostly during the 2050s, and features a few ghosts, the Halifax 1917 Explosion, experimentation on humans, espionage, murder, and—of course—a plague. I’m calling it my COVID19 novel…

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

Centuries from now, in a post-climate change dying boreal forest of what used to be northern Canada, Kyo, a young acolyte called to service in the Exodus, discovers a diary that may provide her with the answers to her yearning for Earth’s past–to the Age of Water, when the “Water Twins” destroyed humanity in hatred–events that have plagued her nightly in dreams. Looking for answers to this holocaust–and disturbed by her macabre longing for connection to the Water Twins–Kyo is led to the diary of a limnologist from the time just prior to the destruction. This gritty memoir describes a near-future Toronto in the grips of severe water scarcity during a time when China owns the USA and the USA owns Canada. The diary spans a twenty-year period in the mid-twenty-first century of 33-year-old Lynna, a single mother who works in Toronto for CanadaCorp, an international utility that controls everything about water, and who witnesses disturbing events that she doesn’t realize will soon lead to humanity’s demise. A DIARY IN THE AGE OF WATER follows the climate-induced journey of Earth and humanity through four generations of women, each with a unique relationship to water. The novel explores identify and our concept of what is “normal”–as a nation and an individual–in a world that is rapidly and incomprehensibly changing.

Unforeseen Consequences

RD Palmer
RD Palmer Author Interview

The One Singularity follows a scientist who creates an Artificial General Intelligence that solves the world’s problems, but then cannot be stopped. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

Hundreds of scientists have raised concerns about what we’re building, so that isn’t unique. The unique things about this book are the predictions of AGI from 232 AD, and seeing the world through the eyes of the Amish. Additionally, instead of focusing on just AGI, I attempted to look at the big picture of how technology, in all its facets, affects us. An example is that critical thinking and memorization are reduced because of our increasing reliance on technology to give us the answers.

George Adams is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Part of his character is me. I believe that technology has helped humanity; however, many times, there are unforeseen consequences. Additionally, while most people want to use technology to help the world, there are some who use it to destroy the world.

Also, I wanted to show George under tremendous stress – his work, finances, and marriage. His intention was to create the last invention of humans. Unfortunately, he didn’t anticipate the alternative meaning.

I enjoyed the detailed development of the AGI and how it changed over time. What were some sources that informed the development of the AGI in the story?

Well, a lot of AI today is performed with neural networks; however, I wanted to pull in a hybrid configuration with a quantum computer. I graduated from college in the 1970s, and even though we studied quantum mechanics, I didn’t think too much about it in my career. It wasn’t until the development of the quantum computer and then achieving quantum supremacy that I became excited.

Now add to this the philosophical and scientific question of consciousness, as well as the theological propositions of the soul. A conundrum is created, and this turns out to be AGI – The One.

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

The sequel to The One Singularity is The One. The One was released in 2018 and is available now. The third book in the series will be available in a couple of years.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads

Artificial Intelligence. Hard Science Fiction. A Near-Future Science Fiction Thriller.

In the twenty-first-century, Dr. George Adams sacrifices his house, company, and marriage to create artificial general intelligence, AGI. He creates AGI to solve the world’s problems: war, disease, climate change, inequality, and death. And The One solves all of these—for a price. The One’s solution will cost George—and every person in the world—that which is deemed most precious.

After The One brings heaven to earth, and answers everyone’s prayers, should it be stopped? How can anyone halt something that is everywhere at the same time? Is it possible to reason with an all-knowing sentient entity whose raison d’etre is to solve all of humanity’s problems, including the existence of the soul?

Two thousand years ago, a philosopher and prophet spoke and wrote about our destiny. Through his visions, he foretold The One. A modern-day prophet repeats the echoes, yet few will comprehend the tremendous blessings or the singular curse.

No one will escape the Singularity.

The Future of Galactic Humanity

Blair Wylie Author Interview

Tube Survivors follows a group of people who found New Earth but run into problems building their idyllic society. What was the inspiration for the setup to this novel?

It was fun to ponder how ten-thousand Tube Dwellers would transition from life within a womb-like, totalitarian, agrarian, basically Communist system, then quickly (by necessity) through a spaceship’s command and control system, and then to life as pioneer’s on a new and dangerous planet. Their leaders know Earth’s history, and they believe capitalism ultimately led to many problems. They build on the non-monetary, resource-sharing system they experienced in Tube World. They have to completely model their growing and vastly different economy with a very complex Resource Allocation Plan. In many respects, the leaders function as the Intelligentsia in the Soviet Union, or the Second Foundation in Isaac Azimov’s Foundation series. The Second Foundation works in secret to refine predictions of the future of galactic humanity based on mass-psychology, and targets areas for surgical intervention to improve the outcome. The leaders of New Earth share their economic modelling and elaborate, continuously-updated, computer-based plan with the general population, and hope their involvement will motivate them to help make it all work. In other words, the leaders of New Earth believe most people are good and intelligent, and want to live in an orderly, nurturing society where no one tries to selfishly get ahead. They are naïve, but well-intentioned. In contrast the leaders of the Soviet Union believed peasants and workers were incapable of understanding the running of a country, suppressed and controlled what was made public, and ruled with an iron fist.

The survivors tackle many moral issues when creating their society. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book?

The Tube Survivors believe capital punishment to be abhorrent, but struggle to agree on a humane alternative. They try banishment, similar to what the British tried with Australia, and the French tried with French Guiana. Their first test case is a psychopath named Harvey, and it does not go well. Harvey exploits an indigenous, humanoid tribe with the intent of inflicting revenge on the human society that rejected him. The Tube Survivors also want to remain ‘green’ and eco-friendly. They want to avoid the use of coal, oil and gas, but also know this greatly constrains their economy and quality of life. Like us, they struggle with issues that may not have a simple answer. In other words, I am suggesting that moral issues will never leave us.

What were some questions you kept asking yourself when writing this novel?

How would human beings actually establish a civilization on another planet? Is it as easy as many sci-fi novels and movies suggest using the fantasy of faster-than-light travel? What do pioneers need to take with them to survive and eventually thrive? What are their priorities? How do they best deal with indigenous humanoids? View them as competitors, and wipe them out? Or treat them as equals, and see if they will engage in mutually-beneficial trade?

What can readers expect in book six, Covert Alliance?

New Earth evolves into a parliamentary, monetary-based democracy. The Resource Allocation Plan basically becomes an elaborate budget. Life is good until a benevolent alien race initiates a face-to-face meeting on New Earth’s moon. The aliens ask testing questions to evaluate whether human beings are worth saving. Thankfully, they decide to alert the leaders of New Earth to an imminent threat from a malevolent alien race, one that pursues them relentlessly. The good aliens share some of their advanced technology, and a plan to combat the evil bunch known as the Masters. A fierce battle in space ensues, and then a covert attack on a Master-controlled planet using robotic spaceships and biological warfare. In other words, more traditional sci-fi stuff!

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

When a number of humans leave Tube World, their planet-like home, and move to a new and unknown planet they call New Earth, their leaders look forward to creating an idyllic new constitution that will address and rectify all the problems humans faced in their previous world.

But the Tribunal leaders, Abubakar, Ishikawa and Bahazhoni, after drawing up a working plan for their new constitution, realise that they will have to make sure that security in the form of food, and safety and assurance for all, must be the primary driver that underpins their constitution. Without safety and security, no noble ideals can or will be upheld.

So, they agree when seven people, including Captain Rasmussen, the chief engineer, Mercado the security officer, Clarke, and Fisher the scientist (plus their life partners) decide to build a boat and circumnavigate their new continent to find out what other life forms may live there, as well as conduct research into possible new and permanent food sources or find viable places for agriculture.

But no one can foresee what will transpire when Harvey, an unrepentant criminal, is turned loose to make his own way in the wilderness, banished from New Earth society.

What happens when he meets a tribe of humanoids in a village in the forest?

And how will this affect the team of scientists and researchers? What is it that they will stumble upon, a secret lost in the ancient history of this new land, that might turn out to be so deadly yet also prove so irresistible that they must investigate it?

Don’t Step on the Spider

Don’t Step on the Spider is a charming children’s picture book that educates readers on the importance of life and how every insect benefits mother nature and brings balance to the ecosystem. Kirk Raeber accomplishes this with very easy language and a cute comic art style.

Young Tim is at his grandparent’s house when he decides to go out and play and encounters a spider. He’s about to step on it, like I think most people would do, but is stopped by his grandfather. His grandfather tells him that every creature has a right to live, and to prove his point he takes Tim on a jaunt through the forest to meet many more insect friends.

Every insect they meet along the way is adorable and friendly, and each one explains how they contribute to the ecosystem. There is plenty to learn in this book, even I learned about the importance of ants! This is a great book for early readers or for parents and teachers to read to children. This book provides many opportunities to discuss nature and how everyone has a role. Don’t Step on the Spider skillfully informs and entertains young readers and is one book I can see reading several times.

Pages: 35 | ASIN: B0842DJSWV

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In the Wilderness of New Earth

Blair Wylie Author Interview

Tube Dwellers is a fun sci-fi novel following an average couple that are the unlikely heroes of an intergalactic space adventure. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from the preceding novel?

Tube Dwellers will be the fourth book in the Master Defiance series when Martian Hermitage is published (shortly?). The first three books in the series are set on Earth, Moon and Mars, and trace the demise and resurrection of human civilization, in spite of natural and man-made calamities, and an attempted invasion by an alien race, the evil Masters. The last three books in the series, starting with Tube Dwellers, trace the migration of some brave human beings to New Earth, where a new civilization emerges in spite of many challenges, and again, an attack by those nasty old Masters. New Earth is 106.6 light years from Earth, so the adventures are interstellar in breadth, not intergalactic. Still, the book does not indulge in the fantasy of faster-than-light travel. The 84-generation journey to New Earth takes 2538 years at 4.2% light speed.

I enjoyed how authentic Smitty and Tara were. What were some ideas that guided you while creating their relationship?

I took a bit of inspiration from a 1973 Canadian sci-fi series, The Starlost. It was low budget, and poorly crafted, but the setting was a generation spaceship, lost in space. The characters are naïve and Amish-like, and discover to their horror that they live on a spaceship that is headed for a star and total destruction. While not Amish-like, Smitty and Tara are everyday working-class people, who transition by necessity from doubting conformists to inspirational leaders. Tube World provided people like Smitty and Tara with pioneering skills so they could have the best chance for survival in the wilderness of New Earth. A basic problem with interstellar travel at sub-light speed is how do you deliver people with pioneering skills to another world? Frozen embryos ain’t going to cut it. Suspended animation or hibernation for 84-generations? Doubtful, without genetic modification like the tri-variant Masters engage in.

I appreciated the technical explanations of different complex concepts throughout the book. How much of it was made up and how much of it was derived from your career as a Canadian oil and gas engineer?

I worked in harsh, remote areas during my oil and gas career with lots of interesting, hardy people. I lean on that experience, and my engineering knowledge, when I write. Many aspects of the Second Chance generation spaceship are within the realm of possibility. The sheer size of the beast is a stretch, but necessary to sustain a healthy gene pool of 10,000 people for 84-generations. Building it in only 100 years or so is a stretch. A ‘magnetoplasmadynamic drive’ (massive ion propulsion system) has been theorized but is definitely a stretch. Building a spaceship that still works after 2538 years is a stretch. Travelling through space at ‘only’ 4.2% light speed is risky business. Space is not as empty as we once thought. You can run into rocks out there! The Oumuamua interstellar asteroid that just visited our solar system is proof of that.

What can readers expect in book five, Tube Survivors?

The pioneers on New Earth are determined not to repeat the mistakes made on Earth. They are naïve in many ways, but they stay true to their principles. They do some exploring by circumnavigating their continent in a catamaran sailboat. They discover to their horror that New Earth is not the pristine wilderness they were anticipating. It has been visited before by other alien races. And then those darn Masters show up again…

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Smitty and Tara live on Tube World – it is all they have ever known. They imagine that getting married and having babies will be their greatest adventure. But they couldn’t be more wrong…

Smitty has inherited more than a parabike from his Uncle Elmo. He has inherited a code which will open a whole new future for them and for all the ten thousand Tube Dwellers who share their world.

By exploring the hidden spaces accessed by the code, Smitty and Tara are bravely flying in the face of laws enforced by the Tube World Council – which encourages its people to live, work, and think in a strictly regulated fashion. But the clock is ticking and Tube World can’t sustain life forever.

Their bravery means that Tube Dwellers have a whole new future to look forward to – a second chance on New Earth. But preparing for a flight to a new planet, and actually building a life there, will be fraught with untold dangers and challenges for Smitty, Tara and their friends – not least from those who already populate the new world.
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