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.
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Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, crime fiction, Death of a Bully, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, murder mystery, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Steve Zimcosky, story, suspense, thriller, whodunit, writer, writing
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.
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!
D. Grant Fitter created a thrilling political that is story full of intrigue, mystery and drama. Fitter’s writing is lyrical and complex and will leave you astonished with the darkness of some moments and how faith on the other hand can be so wonderful. The humans won’t take chances when it comes to survival and we will be in the front row watching a religion versus political war.
The Vatican has always had a greater power in Mexico’s culture and daily life. The United States of America was deeply concerned with the church’s influence in their democracy so they sent a mercenary force to represent them. Little did these mercenaries know that they would find themselves in the middle of a dark and terrible war.
Rosa is without a doubt my favorite character and I am sure that she will melt all the reader’s hearts. For the people that don’t know Mexico and are quite interested in it, this is an awesome book since Fitter also provides us with some facts about the country, past and its rich culture.
Don’t expect this book to be a simple historical novel, because you will find so many different topics: war, democracy, family and exploitation. You can expect a roller coaster of emotions. It is well paced and masterfully written. The Vatican Must Go is a riveting historical fiction novel that takes some intriguing character to the cusp of war against a nefarious government that attempts to abolish Catholic control over Mexico.
Pages: 363 | ASIN: B08CY1G6XK
Master Defiance follows the survivors of a post-apocalyptic earth who must defend themselves against invading aliens. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
I wanted to suggest that human beings can survive a series of natural and man-made disasters. The setting is a dystopian Earth, but humans are still humans. The hunter-gatherers in the remote regions are toughing it out. But they need a little help from the past. Far-thinking ancestors have left behind Mother, a benevolent AI entity, and a vast store of knowledge. Young bow hunters discover and befriend Mother during a desperate quest for help. Mother helps them with advice, and she can defend herself, much to the surprise of the arrogant Masters.
The Masters were intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their development?
While I appreciate that faster-than-light travel sets up amazing sci-fi story possibilities, my books try to stay within the realm of the possible. Master Defiance suggests that intelligent beings can explore (and try to conquer) our galaxy at say 4% of light speed, if they are adapted (or genetically modified) to living for eons in a generation spaceship. This means vast expanses of time are required to move between stars, which could frustrate fans of ‘super warp speed’ using ‘ludicrous drive’ (a Spaceballs invention). The Masters are further developed during the series, as they are vindictive and persistent. They are also a tri-variant species, as revealed in Covert Alliance. And they view human beings as inferior, and only good slave material after gene-splicing. So, they are creatures that readers will love to hate!
I liked the contrast between the advanced aliens and the regressed humans. How did you want to represent this dichotomy?
Yes, the humans are technologically regressed, but they have retained their humanity. Yes, the Masters are technologically advanced, but they are inhuman. They view other worlds as theirs to conquer, and other species as theirs to enslave. Fighting the Masters is about saving our species, and about saving our humanity.
What do you try to do first when you write, inform or entertain?
Entertain a thinking person.
Posted in Interviews
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The Calla’cara Gambit is a high- fantasy science fiction novel by author Robb Bartlett. It is the sequel to the award-winning novel The Turing Revolt: The War Against Infinity. Starting with the prologue, Lilith Morningstar´s plan goes awry when she is shockingly defeated and sent to an unknown planet by a powerful and mysterious man, identified as the “Chosen of the Adversary”. As she is discovered and forcibly escorted away by two individuals, she silently plots revenge against everyone who ever wronged her. Milo Sapphire finds himself in a difficult position, after being blackmailed into helping the Sentient Ships emancipate from the Empire and killing Lilith Morningstar (or so he thought), he’s aware of being targeted by three groups: the Lotus Eaters Society, the Khan of Calla´cara, and the Emperor himself. When one of his lovers is captured by the Empires ambassador, who threatens her should Milo do anything against the Emperor’s agenda; he must find a way of getting the job done before the deadline without risking the lives of his crewmembers while navigating a harsh political climate.
The Calla’cara Gambit is a space opera that combines the best elements of science fiction with elements of epic fantasy to create a consistently riveting novel. I enjoyed the detailed political and financial climate that the story exists in. I felt like these types of details made the world feel real. The story is mostly narrated in first-person through Milo Morningstar, a witty and sarcastic yet charming man who feels elevated because of his past actions, which have proven him to be the one chosen by the creator of the universe. The way the story is narrated through his point of view helps the reader form a deeper understanding of his character, his decisions, and his way of seeing the universe. Milo is cunning and therefore overconfident, which at times can be annoying but ultimately makes for a complex character and an interesting read.
The universe the story takes place in feels vast and is formed by many different worlds and planets, particularly Calla´cara, an exotic planet ruled by intelligent reptiles who seem to have their own agenda. The writing is unique, alternating between Milos first-person narration with third-person POV´S from different characters, this makes for a refreshing break from the main character’s monologue. Sometimes the mixture of genres can make the tone feel inconsistent, but that’s just a very minor concern.
The Calla’cara Gambit has a unique plot that is helped along by an engaging protagonist. Fans of Star Wars or space opera’s will have plenty to enjoy in Rob Bartlett’s dramatic novel.
Pages: 454 | ASIN: B08FWV5TBQ
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Subterfuge, by Shannon Condon, the fourth book in her action thriller series, is a story about deceit and betrayal. It is the story about Magdalena, a member of a black ops unit, who together with her team, is on an assignment to assassinate a Russian crime lord. However, soon they realize they are working for the enemy, and it is not a government contract as they were led to believe.
The narration is straightforward yet sufficiently descriptive to create vivid imagery. The author takes you on a visual journey with the characters and whatever they are doing. Also, I felt that there was a good balance between narration and dialogue between the characters. So, you get to see what they are saying and the emotions they are expressing while saying it.
The story is engaging and fast paced, with each chapter ending in some kind of suspense that will nudge you to read the next. A good author knows when, and how, to end a chapter.
What I liked most about the book is just when you think everything is going well, the author surprises you with an unexpected twist to the plot. At first, everything goes according to plan, almost too perfect. But this is a story about deception, so nothing is really as it seems.
Another thing I liked about this book is that you need not have read the other three that precede it in the series to understand it. The author provides flashbacks to help you understand the series arc in summary and gives a bit of background to each character. The interpersonal relationships between the characters also make the book much more enjoyable.
Subterfuge is a fast-paced story with twists that are rarely, if ever, expected. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.
Pages: 164 | ASIN: B08D3VB9HS
The pleasing warmth of fresh-baked maple cookies . . . the sweet, buttery flakiness of a raspberry jam pastry. In 1913 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery is beloved by locals and visiting Englischer alike. And its understanding community always provides help, healing—and new chances for love.
Secrets devastated Maryanne Harding’s marriage to an Englischer—and took away her untrustworthy husband. Now the young Amish widow has found contentment cooking up treats at the bakery, raising her little girl, and comforting her ailing mother. And when Andrew Wittmer asks her to marry him, Maryanne is over the moon with happiness that she and the kind furniture maker will put down roots in her hometown . . .
Until Andrew’s uncle becomes ill, and Andrew must permanently take over his store in a town hours away. Though she would go anywhere to be Andrew’s fraa, Maryanne can’t abandon her mother—or the family that depends on her so much. And when she discovers Andrew harbors secrets of his own, Maryanne’s hard-won trust is shaken. Now, can she risk difficult choices and take a leap of faith into the loving, joyful future she longs for most?
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Tags: amish, author, book, book review, book trailer, bookblogger, christian fiction, christian romance, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, Maryann's Hope, molly jebber, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, suspense, trailer, womens fiction, writer, writing