Future World Rolls follows two FBI agents with psychic abilities as they start recruiting for a mission that will change human history. What was the inspiration behind the setup to this fascinating story?
Research into the 19-year-long career of one individual, a remote seer for the US government. He reported on the existence of ‘buck naked’ green men on the moon and its irregular placement as a protective screen against the solar flares of the sun. By whom? One may well ask.
As always, your characters are unique and fun to read. What is your process like to create such lively characters?
I always loosely base them on real, memorable people like Stan Laurel and the Big Bopper. Disparate? Maybe.
You masterfully imbue your work with music throughout the story. What were some key themes in your choice of music for this book?
Pure relevance to the storyline, plus hefty research into the ways in which these series of songs originated. I used this method to carry on the themes they might have used if they’d stayed on course, like Buddy Holly staying with The Crickets. In some instances, I began writing original tunes as imaginary offshoots. A classic example is the 2190 Overture, which could be sung by the likes of Queen in the same vein as Bohemian Rhapsody.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am well into the first few chapters of book 3 of the Carousels of Life, Simply Spiffin’, Future Criminologist. It is all in my mind, to keep on track.
It starts in the mid-20th century with two talented FBI Special Agents being tasked with recruiting people to undertake a really unusual mission. In the process, they are themselves abducted to take a leading role in that mission, which is intended to save the human race from alien conquest.
It involves time travel into the future, as they lead their hostile hunters on a merry chase across the centuries. They have the full support of other sympathetic races in their imaginative survival techniques, allowing them to go on the offensive.
The characters within embark on a series of adventures that are truly moving in their significance. Based initially on our own Planet Earth, the story employs reported alien sightings and events.
Future World ROLLS to its very core!
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A disaster happens, can you and your family survive? Where will you go? What will you eat? How will you continue to eat when your supplies are exhausted? How will you meet the medical needs of your family? How will you and your family survive when help is on the way? Being prepared is like having a life-saving insurance policy. If the worst case scenario hits, it is too late to prepare. The time to prepare is now. Even the government is now telling the public to store extra food, water, and medical supplies. If the worst happens, are you prepared to deal with a new reality with no help coming your way?
Tough Mama is a guide for the Mama of every family. You will learn:
– How to begin being prepared
– Finding a safe spot for your family
– Where to buy your Safe Spot for pennies on the dollar
– A comprehensive list of where you can continue to learn for free, including topics on building a garden, learn how to limit radiation to your family, how to be safe during a nuclear blast, and many other topics
– The best ways to build your food store
– Emergency first aid
– Building a survival garden
– Be prepared for nuclear war, fallout, and radiation
Tough Mama shows you many more things not found in other survival books or sites. Every tip has been tried and tested.
Tough Mama saw a need in the prepping community – Women! As guardians of the family, the woman needs to be at the forefront of knowledge and not have to rely on anyone. 46% of households are led by women. This is a time that more women are the heads of households, and it is time women are empowered to protect themselves. Tough Mama wants to see a prepared and educated person in every home.
The maze of survival planning and education can seem overwhelming for the beginner – not so with Tough Mama! Tough Mama starts at the very basics and walks the reader through more complex subjects. All topics are broken down into steps that will ensure safety and success to your planning. Survive and thrive!
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Finding AJ follows FBI Agent Jules as she searches for a serial killer through a zombie apocalypse. What were some themes you wanted to carry over from book 1 and what was a new direction you wanted to take in book 2?
The themes were quite different in Jacob’s Odyssey and Finding AJ. While the main theme in Jacob’s Odyssey was centered around Jake’s internal journey, the main theme in Finding AJ was Jules’ obsessive quest to find the serial killer known as the Calligrapher. However there is a common theme that runs through both novels, and that has to do with the incredible beauty of nature that surrounds us, yet the human race seems bent on self-destruction. At one point in Jacob’s Odyssey, Jake comments on how he’s always thought of the mountains surrounding the Salt Lake Valley as being as “eden-like” as any place on earth. There are beautiful descriptions of nature in both novels.
The town of Gideon is one of the last remaining towns in the apocalypse. How did you imagine a town would come together and survive in a time like this?
The only way the people of Gideon, or any other post-apocalyptic setting, could survive is by working together to solve any problems that came up. “Working together” is the key. Gideon had good leaders and the people there were willing to do their part in order to survive.
Jules is a determined FBI agent, but faces some tough decisions. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to her characters development?
The personal obstacles Jules needed to overcome had to do with her tendency toward being a self-reliant lone wolf. She generally doesn’t connect with or open herself up to others. She has difficulty giving her trust. She doesn’t let anyone in. It isn’t easy for her, but eventually she opens herself up and begins to connect with others. And she has to “trust” someone if she’s going to find the serial killer, and toward the end she finally does.
Will there be a book 3 in the Apocalypse Journeys series and where will that take readers?
There may be a 3rd novel. I’m not sure yet. It depends on how well Finding AJ does. Simple as that. If there is a third novel, it will combine characters from the first two novels. They will be at the underground government complex that is mentioned in Jacob’s Odyssey. This is the same complex where the virus was developed, and there are still experiments going on there. The conspiracy will be revealed, and virtually everyone (Jake, Sarah, Becky, Jules, Caleb, and others) will be in danger. Lukas Melzer will, of course, be there, as well as the new president of the United States. And deep in the complex are a host of grays (zombies), including the alpha called Eve. And don’t be terribly surprised if the Swimmer from Jacob’s Odyssey makes a return. He’s the baddest alpha around. Can’t leave him out.
Her search leads her to Gideon, Utah, a small town in the southern part of the state. There, amongst the 116 survivors, a serial killer hides in plain sight. There’s only one clue to his identity. Using a scalpel, he inscribes the letters AJ into the abdominal area of his victims–postmortem–in an ancient Chinese text called Tsao, the lettering precise and artistic.
Jules knows the key to finding the Calligrapher lies in discovering the identity of AJ. If she can find AJ, she can find the Calligrapher. But the Calligrapher knows who Jules is. Jules must survive the infected and find the Calligrapher before she becomes his latest victim.
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We meet the protagonist of Russ Melrose’s Finding A.J.: Apocalypse Journeys 2 as she sits on the side of a gravel road in the Mojave Desert, head in her hands. Jules is not the crying kind, but that’s exactly what she’s doing. The tough FBI agent pulls it together despite the crumbling world around her to work on a case that she can’t let go. A tough case for this tough agent is made tougher by the apocalyptic state the world is now in. The dead, also known as “grays” or the “infected”, walk the streets hunting for their next meal while Jules goes from town to town hunting for a serial killer whose case she hasn’t been able to solve.
Finding A.J. stands alone as a book even though it is part of a series. You do not need to know anything more than this book provides to understand the plot of this book. (But, I’d like to go back and read part 1 now!)
Jules is an independent, no-nonsense kind of girl. She is more than self-sufficient. She seems like she could be a loner and wouldn’t mind keeping it that way. However, she doesn’t stay alone for long. She finds a teenage girl in desperate need of her help and rescues her from her captor. Addy, the girl she rescues, then becomes sort of a foster daughter to Jules despite Jules’s objections. Addy would likely have been a loner too, but with the world falling apart and her recent captivity and abuse she needs to cling to someone. She needs someone to trust. That someone will be Jules.
Jules and Addy make an eventful trek to the town of Gideon. That is where most of the story plays out. Gideon is a town that is still hanging on, even if by a thread. There is still a mayor and policemen, which is more than can be said for many post-apocalyptic towns. A large chunk of the population has been infected and died, but anarchy hasn’t quite reached Gideon yet. The townspeople cling to any semblance of normalcy they can even while they are uprooted. Readers will get to know many of the people in the town. They will also be suspicious of everyone they meet. The townspeople all have jobs and duties to perform for the sake of self-preservation. The dead are walking, there is a killer among them, and all they have is each other.
Parts of the book reminded me of scenes from The Walking Dead. Tasks as simple as grocery shopping become major undertakings with the “grays” wandering around. Supply runs put many characters in danger. Every seemingly menial task becomes exceedingly difficult. You will breathe sighs of relief as plans come together, and hold your breath when they don’t.
The book is very well written. It is not hard to follow, and the plot flows well. Characters are well developed and enough backstory is given to assist with that development. As the events of the story play out, you will question each character. No one can be trusted. You will hang onto the edge of your seat waiting to find out who the serial killer is and if Jules can catch them.
Pages: 336 | ASIN: B07CZ4VS2R
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Twelve-year-old Tanner Phillips fishes the Oneida Lake Ice Fishing Derby every year with his dad. Last year, he ruined everything — losing the competition and losing some of his grandfather’s gear. This year, Tanner is determined to not only prove his skills on the ice, but also show his dad, once and for all, that he’s no longer a little kid.
But as soon as they get out on the ice, the competition turns disastrous.
When one of the competitors goes missing and another gets injured, Tanner’s father must leave Tanner and his new friend, Richie, alone on the ice. After their ice hut comes unhitched, Tanner and Richie find themselves blown across the frozen lake in a blinding snowstorm.
Alone. Without their cell phones. Trapped, on thin ice. Suddenly, it isn’t just about the winning the derby — it’s about life and death. In one perilous night, Tanner will have to prove not to his father, but to himself, that he has the courage and determination to survive.
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Beyond the Horizon follows Ensign Maya Davis during humanity’s first interstellar exploration. When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?
Both / all of the above. Before I start writing a book, I always have a premise in mind. I usually have a good idea about how the novel will start and end. I pretty much know where I want to go because I have a high-level plan for the themes I want to explore in a given book series. However, even though I’m pretty clear on the beginning, end, and a handful of scenes in between, I don’t often know how I’m going to connect the dots until I’m in the act of writing.
For example, in Beyond the Horizon, I knew I wanted to use some clever aspects of time travel to drive and resolve some of the conflicts in the book. However, it actually wasn’t until the second or third draft that I came up with Maya’s clever realizations that help save the day. The rough draft of the story had a number of unresolved plot issues.
Maya gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore interstellar space while her aunt Brooke suffers with inner turmoil regarding her past. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?
One of the fundamental tenants of my writing is to craft conflicts that pit morally-ambiguous agenda vs. morally-ambiguous agenda. I don’t write about good vs. evil because, in my opinion, that’s not representative of real life. Plus, good vs. evil is too black-and-white–too straightforward. Writing about the gray areas of life yield much more dynamic conflict.
One of the specific questions that underlies the theme of the books in the Beyond Saga is do the ends justify the means? It’s not a new dilemma, but it’s one that shall never have an easy answer.
The one thing that matters to Brooke as much as her career or flying is her niece, Maya. Thus, Brooke will stop at nothing to rescue her niece even though she has to take some morally questionable actions to accomplish that goal.
As for the Vril, the surreptitious terrorist organization manipulating things behind the scenes, they seek to ultimately save the human race. It’s not only a noble goal but a critical one. However, if the Vril intend to sacrifice another intelligent race to save mankind, is that taking things too far? Do humans deserve to survive any more than any other race? The catch phrase for the novel, “Extinction or genocide . . . us or them?” encapsulates this question.
In the face of all the moral ambiguity, Maya embodies the not-so ambiguous side of right. Shielded from the darker sides of society all her life by her Aunt Brooke, she believes in the good in people. She’s optimistic and excited about the future. The rest of the Beyond Saga is about her illusions being shattered. She has to find a balance between her optimism and doing what’s necessary when morally questionable acts are required for survival.
One thing I really enjoyed about this novel was the effort you put into describing the technological advancements. They were all interesting, ingenious, and well described. What was your favorite tech to write for and what was the inspiration?
There are quite a few pieces of fun yet plausible tech in the Beyond Saga. One of the reasons I write science fiction is because real possibilities for the real future are what get me excited.
For now, I’ll pick the wave gun. The handheld tool/weapon is definitely a next gen type of device. Powered by an antimatter battery, it’s capable of destabilizing/shattering matter at the molecular level, using sonic levitation to make things float, causing objects to spontaneously combust, and much more. The gun gets its namesake from how it uses different wave effects (sound waves, gravity waves, electromagnetic waves, etc.) to achieve its results.
The wave gun helps Maya out of some sticky situations in book 2, Beyond the Horizon. In book 3, Beyond Yesterday, the gun gains even greater significance because of what its capabilities could’ve been used for by aliens in Earth’s past.
Where does book three, Beyond Yesterday, in the Beyond Saga take readers?
Beyond Yesterday picks up ten years after the events of Beyond the Horizon. After Maya earns a promotion to captain, she takes command of the space-time vessel Yesterday and travels 200,000 years into the past to learn the origins of the piece of ancient human technology she found on an alien world (in book 2). Meanwhile, the consequences of Brooke’s spark (drug) use finally catch up to her. And the level of conflict between the two women reaches new heights as they take opposing approaches to the dilemma in the book.
Humanity’s First Interstellar Exploration
Ensign Maya Davis has had her sights set on the captaincy of a starship since she launched her first toy rocket into Earth orbit as a child. After four years of study at the new Interstellar Expeditionary Force Academy, Maya achieves her lifelong dream of exploring the stars. She earns a commission aboard humanity’s first deep space exploration vessel, New Horizons.
˃˃˃ A Desperate Situation
Not long after New Horizons departs the solar system, sabotage cripples the ship killing a third of the crew and stranding the expedition light years from home under the siege of hostile forces. Only junior officers are left to command the ship. Without knowing who she can trust, Maya must risk her life to get the crew home and prevent the genocide of the very exospecies New Horizons set out to contact.
˃˃˃ The Conspiracy Back Home
Forty-two-year-old civilian flight instructor Brooke Davis, Maya’s aunt and former UN Aerospace Defense pilot, receives a disturbing visit from a covert operative. The visit prompts Brooke to head to the Martian south polar ocean, where she learns how a secret society known as The Vril manipulated the current political and social climate into being. She also uncovers the society’s nefarious agenda regarding New Horizons’ voyage. With time running out, Brooke races to save her niece light years away.
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Defiance on Indian Creek is an enthralling story that follows a smart and courageous young girl on the eve of the Revolutionary war. What was the inspiration for the setup to this young adult novel?
I discovered the real Mary Shirley in a box of family genealogy documents I received from my uncle. As I researched an incident that took place when she was an eighteen-year-old mother of a two-year-old son, I knew her story had to be told. I realized Mary had to acquire tenacity and survival skills well before this event and, therefore,Defiance on Indian Creek, begins the series right before her thirteenth birthday on Indian Creek in now, Monroe County, West Virginia.
Defiance on Indian Creek takes a quiet frontier family and brings them to the forefront against an increasingly dangerous time in history. What research did you do to maintain the accuracy of that moment in history?
My online research of New River history revealed names, places, and leads to additional information. I printed articles, slid them into plastic coversheets, and placed them into large three-ring binders with dividers. I even used calendars. These calendars were marked with historic events of the time and place, along with the fictional plot line. Yes, I’m OCD, and the day I discovered Scrivener was a happy day.
I felt that the relationship between Mary and her father was deep and intriguing. What was the inspiration for their relationship and how did it develop as you wrote?
The close bond between Mary and her papa came naturally for me. I was blessed to have a “Daddy’s girl” bond with my own father. I plotted the story to include the mistaken judgments and rash conclusions all teen girls experience. Mary’s disbelief in her papa’s actions fueled her defiance. I raised three close-in-age daughters to adulthood and experienced these clashes. Most teens really do love their parents but don’t let on.
Defiance on Indian Creek is book one in the Dangerous Loyalties series. Where does book two take readers and when will it be available?
Mary’s recent emotional trauma worsens when the family flees Indian Creek ahead of angry men who are seeking Papa’s life. But they’re not taking Daniel Boone’s trail to Kentucky territory. They’re traversing the old hunter’s path to the rough-manned, frontier forts along the Clinch River—until they cross the Cumberland Gap—then they’re at the mercy of God to Fort Boonesborough. I’m hoping for a summer 2017 release date for book two.
“Emotionally riveting adventure, survival, and precarious family relationships are weaved into this teen historical about Mary Shirley–a brave, tenacious thirteen-year-old girl who lives on the remote frontier of West Virginia in 1775 at the onset of the American Revolutionary War.
Cooped up in a dimly lighted cabin with her seven siblings and Momma, Mary dreams of a peaceful future with friends and suitors. But she’s worried about her family’s survival.
When Papa returns home with news that the Indians have agreed to stay away from the Western settlements, Mary breathes a sigh of relief. But when he speaks of pending revolutionary war against Britain, declares his loyalty to King George III, and plans to move to Kentucky territory, Mary is confused and afraid.
She discovers mysterious surveys with riddles and a hidden box in the barn that contains secret documents. When she witnesses Papa betray a patriot neighbor at a nearby fort and later reads a disturbing letter that implicates him as a traitorous spy, Mary is ashamed of him. He is endangering the family, and she must find a way to change his mind. Her emotional struggles lead to lost trust and acts of defiance.
When Papa returns deathly ill from a survey job and asks Mary to deliver a lifesaving dispatch, she balks. Is loyalty to Papa more important than loyalty to the revolutionary cause? Lives are in danger no matter what choice she makes.”
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