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While Chasing Out Our Destinies

Robert Valdin
Robert Valdin Author Interview

Newton’s Cradle follows Terence who is forced to steal secrets from his boss and finds technology that can change the world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

I’ve always been a bit of a science geek, and these are certainly interesting times to live in, having profound consequences for society. Just think of how the Internet and cell phones, in such a short time span, have changed the way we learn and communicate. Now, what if humanity gained access to free, clean and unlimited energy? No need for expensive and polluting oil, coal, or nuclear fission. How’s that for a game-changer? Or a central premise for a novel?

Terence is an interesting and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

This might sound pretentious. But I wanted the novel to be a discussion of life itself, as much as a plain thriller story. You know, the trials and tribulations we all face in life while chasing out our destinies. Terence is a vehicle for exploring these issues. I wanted him to be likable, but with character flaws, having consequences for himself as well as people close to him. And then follow his journey into self-actualization.

I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story. Did you plan the plot before writing or did it develop organically while writing?

First of all, I’m glad you liked it. As for the question: definitely the latter. I had a vague idea, of course, of corporate struggle, self-interested personalities, and betrayal. But the idea of Cold Fusion as a central theme entered later into the writing. Other plot devices, likewise. Central characters were there at an early stage, sub-plots and minor characters showed up later. It’s a bit like a jig-saw, missing bits and pieces somehow appear and fall into place.

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

I’m currently working on a screenplay. Gangsters and heists at the heart of it. Including a discussion of life itself. We’ll see how it goes.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

He stumbles upon his boss’s secret project. Jeopardizing the American way of life, and his own.
Los Angeles, summer. Terence Whitfield and his boss Duncan Riley feel the heat in more ways than one. They need to close a deal that could improve the energy industry and save their company. Fortunately, the deal is set. Unfortunately, Terence is blackmailed into infiltrating Riley’s safe, where he finds an intriguing file: Newton’s Cradle.
The file describes a revolutionary technology that would replace fossil fuel with clean, free energy. Given the enormous implications, a backstabbing, no-holds-bar battle intensifies. Terence tries to sell the file on the black market, but Riley tracks him down. He explains that Terence has opened Pandora’s Box. In order to stop New Energy from getting into the wrong hands, they will now have to fight for their lives.

Spider’s Web – Trailer

Over three years have passed since Maggie’s near fatal injury. She is restless running the team’s special ops missions from the safety of the Grid. No sooner does she re-enter the real world when her past finds her. In an instant, Maggie’s life is forever changed. Unsure who to trust, Maggie tries to navigate her new reality. Will she be able to choose her future, or will she remain trapped in the web of enemies she created?

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In The Techno-thriller World

 Roxanne Burkey Author Interview

Roxanne Burkey Author Interview

The Enigma Beyond explores how AI and supercomputers are manufacturing choices in our lives. Do you see this happening today with our current AI?

The move to put Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our daily lives has already started. If you have an iPhone you probably already talk to Siri. Alexa is already handling your calendar and telling you about the weather, or changing music on demand. In the high-tech world, we already use to interpret security alarms received in our data centers. The established streaming media companies have been using it to tell you about your next binge-watching exercise. These are the somewhat tame AI applications homing their skills to understand human thought processes. We wanted to explore what would happen if our lax attitude towards letting AI govern itself rather than the creator. Once we had that premise, we wanted to see Who Won the AI WARS.

This book is the eleventh volume of The Enigma series and remains riveting and exciting. What were some challenges you set for yourself as writers with this book?

The challenge is always about building a credible scenario for a great story to be told. The small details, the overlooked poor decisions, and the hopelessly heroic assumptions are needed to craft a plausible situation that we can interject our characters into. While we like “Once upon a time” type stories they simply don’t work in the techno-thriller world. We have to use known technology that can then be stretched so the reader goes “yeesh, that’s so possible! How do they get out of this scenario?” It is a real challenge in our stories to create that desired line of doubt about fiction or reality.

The science inserted in the fiction was well balanced. How did you manage to keep the story grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?

The technology we use in our books has either already been deployed in the data center (Cloud or on premise), or is close to becoming commercialized. We do a great deal of research and spend a lot of time trying to understand how to use the new goodies coming on line for our consumption. For that, we must understand how it will be attacked by bad actors from the Dark Net. When you spend a lot of time thinking like the bad guys, you’d be surprised about all the crazy scenarios we can create that are not that farfetched. A word of advice: don’t spend too much time or mental cycles in the Dark Net, just take some precautions.

What is the next project your working on and when will it be available?

We are currently working on two big projects for 2020. One is a non-fiction collection of Internet security from Gloabl fellow professionals/leaders. We target this to be available in the 1st quarter of 2020 as an eBook initially. We are also working on The Enigma Combat (Working title for Book 12 in The Enigma Series). Additionally, we continue to build our portfolio of short stories. And those are only the ones we are active on right now.

Author Links: Goodreads | Facebook | Enigma Facebook | TwitterWebsite

The Enigma Beyond (The Enigma Series Book 11) by [Breakfield, Charles, Burkey, Roxanne]

What happens when technology outruns our humanity?

Humans continue to give their decision making over to Artificial Intelligence. Or, was it simply confiscated? Computers are delivering manufactured choices to each person via their ever-pervasive personal devices. The seduction of mankind is eminent unless our champions can stop them.

The R-Group, with their own next generation youth, are poised to take on one of their most complex adversaries, supercomputers run by greedy powerful technological geniuses. The training for the new members of the R-Group is live, in the form of a real world cyber assault crisis. ICABOD, R-Group’s supercomputer, is their best weapon for this battle.

With corporate self-discipline gone and the power of U.S. Congressional oversight crippled, the dominance of the technical oligopolies has risen to dictate their terms.

MAG, the consortium of global technology predators, have come together to bring their insidious plans to fruition using humans’ desire for the easy and effortless lifestyles, even as it steals their freedoms. For groups caught in the cyber crosshairs, time has already run out. The social media noise blinds humanity to what is happening. MAG uses it to seize control of politics, healthcare, finances, and defense systems.

Award winning authors Breakfield and Burkey take readers, in their 11th book in The Enigma Series, on a one way trip to keeping or giving up their most precious human quality, the freedom to choose. No one saw it coming when they built computers to ease their work. Where are the guardrails to protect humans from giving up too much? Can humanity take back control?

You determine who wins in the AI Wars.

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The Enigma Beyond

The Enigma Beyond (The Enigma Series Book 11) by [Breakfield, Charles, Burkey, Roxanne]

Human beings mastered technology and designed it to make work easier. However, they are now the servants to that technology. It seems that every day humans surrender more and more to technology. The R-Group yet again is on a mission to save humanity from their own creations. With new blood in the consortium, things are bound to be interesting. Will ICABOD be useful in this fight? Which side will win the war? What is to be done about the rowdy congressional oversight team? Can human beings break free of this self-inflicted dictatorship?

Breakfield and Burkey have written eleven installments in this series. It seems like the plot, prose and even character build get better with every installment. This mysterious thriller is colored with intrigue and adventure. The authors have done a great job of narrating R-group’s mission. They have described the Enigma universe in such vivid detail. The reader will walk around the scene as the chaos unfolds and technology takes over human beings’ lives. This book is an explosion of great characters and brilliant plot twists that left me sufficiently entertained.

Authors Burkey and Breakfield are very good at presenting their characters. The characters are well rounded and presented with just enough transparency to reveal their true natures but enough mystery to create an enigma. The characters are relatable and serve to execute the plot quite well. There is so much talent and determination in the characters. Despite all the hurdles and challenges that face the group, they keep going and that resolution is felt in the writing. You can tell from the tone and smooth prose that the authors have a good relationship with their characters.

The Enigma Beyond being the eleventh volume of this series remains riveting and exciting. It’s a continuation from previous installments but it did not leave me feeling like I joined a conversation in the middle. As a reader, you will find this book so well written and the plot so clever that you will want to go back in time to be introduced to the characters in their infancy. It makes for such a wonderful addition to the series despite being self-sufficient on its own.

The authors continue their mission of waking people up to the possibility of an enslaved humanity. They do it with great stories. The reader will be taken on one literary sojourn filled with mystery and intrigue after another. The Enigma Beyond will keep you gripped and teetering on the edge of your seat right from the beginning. You will certainly enjoy the authors’ uncanny ability to maintain novelty in a series that has run for so long.

Pages: 369 | ASIN: B0818875T3

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720 Heartbeats

720 Heartbeats by [Tomc, Jaka]

Rok was living a great life. He was a detective, something he’d aspired to be since childhood. Even better, he was working each day with one of his oldest friends. His girlfriend was more perfect for him than Rok could have ever imagined. Things were good. Until his stolen laptop is returned in the mail, containing a diary entry dated the following day. Each day brings a new update, eerily predicting events in the next 24 hours. As Rok tries to understand the why, how, and who of the situation, everything in his previously idyllic life is upended and he realizes he no longer knows anything.

720 Heartbeats, by Jaka Tomc is an intriguing mix of noir style detective drama, traditional love story, and mind bending science fiction, in a story that comes full circle before its end. What begins with Rok and his best friend Boris on an assignment soon turns into an unwanted and improbable adventure. When Rok’s laptop mysteriously reappears at home, he finds the journal entry but doesn’t give it too much thought. It isn’t until a couple of days have passed that he realizes it gives an accurate, albeit vague, glimpse into the future and by then, Rok is plagued with questions about how it can happen, and who is writing the diary. Things only get weirder when he decides that the only explanation is that it’s a future version of him, which spurns many discussions with Sara about alternate dimensions, the non-linear nature of time, and whether the decisions of present day Rok can change the outcomes of events for future Rok. To complicate matters further, his professional life becomes muddled when he learns some hard truths about people he thought he could trust. Within a week, and with the return of his laptop,  Rok’s entire life changes.

Tomc does a wonderful job with his character’s development and dialogue, namely between Rok and Sara. Their conversations feel sincere, and cover the necessary points of the story without feeling forced. The other characters, while very much important to the plot, nonetheless remain very much in the background. Their interactions are still good, but slightly more flat. The story itself is frequently interrupted by Rok’s inner monologue about the randomness of life, the beauty of love, and various other philosophical musings. Although thought provoking the first few times, these tangents quickly become repetitive and, with a few exceptions, add little to the story. Despite that, the book is truly captivating and unique in the way it weaves genres together. 

720 Heartbeats isn’t lengthy, but manages to contain plenty of action and mystery, and I had a hard time putting it down. The subtle implications presented at the end truly screws with your head as you wonder… what just happened?

Pages: 145 | ASIN:  B07DS81NZR

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Sleep State Interrupt

Sleep State Interrupt by [Weber, T.C.]

If most contemporary sci-fi is headed in the direction that Sleep State Interrupt is taking, I will be more than pleased. And a lot more concerned for humanity. Sleep State Interrupt tells the tale of protagonist Waylee who wrestles Big Media’s omnipresent influence. In this dystopian world, the government and people are heavily influenced and practically controlled by the media that surrounds them. Waylee and a couple of her technologically proficient friends plan a simple but brilliant plan to end this problem. They decide to capture and bring to light some incriminating dialogue that will shed light on how truly awful the situation has turned. However, she faces hefty roadblocks along the way, that occupy both her inner and outer world.

The premise of this story is like Mission Impossible meets the Avengers, but smarter in its portrayal of a dystopian world. There’s no question about the role media plays these days. Targeted advertising, subliminal influencing, endless privacy violations- all this is already unsettling. Weber takes this concept and pushes it to a terrifyingly believable level. The story is heavy on politics without naming names, I feel like I could probably point out some similarities in their evil politicians and our own.

One of the more interesting aspects of the book was that it forced me to take a stance on some issues that I would generally avoid thinking about it. There are a lot of moral and philosophical questions that are subtly posed throughout- and it’s a refreshing take for a cyber sci-fi novel.

Weber has clearly put in a lot of effort to nonchalantly feature a diverse set of characters. While all of them were interesting and unique, sometimes the characteristics felt a bit forced. Waylee’s character on the other hand was a masterpiece. From the realistic perspective offered on her disease to her upbringing and environment, her protagonism was undeniable. I could tell where all her actions and motivations were coming from.

I have always enjoyed politically-charged thrillers because it brings to light the fact that humanity is capable of creating its own nightmarish vision. Sleep State Interrupt portrays this with clarity and believability, without compromising all the fun that a government takedown story offers.

Pages: 331 | ASIN: B01KKMA1D8

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Revenge and Ruin

J. I. Rogers Author Interview

J. I. Rogers Author Interview

The Korpes Agenda finds Master-Tech Korpes overworked and leery of both friends and enemies as the tension between Korlune’s military factions reach their breaking point. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

The Korpes File gave the Diasporan perspective and offered the reader a glimpse of what it’s like to work for Korlune Military Research & Development. The Korpes Agenda showcases how divided the Korlo are over the issues of equal rights for Diasporan, social Rank, politics, and power. In book one, Clan Destine was on the rise with a part of Korlune’s military, and a Ranking family backing them, but now factions within the organization are jockeying for position and threaten its future. What begins as a quest for justice slides into the mire of revenge and ruin, and everyone touched by it either transforms or shatters.

In The Korpes Agenda, we get to see the vulnerable side of Nash Korpes. Was this a side of him you always imagined he had, or was it a result of his circumstances?

Circumstances with a caveat: I knew the vulnerable side of Nash existed, but it wasn’t until he and the Muse got together and wrote a couple chapters that I got a more dimensional grasp of his psyche. His social anxiety became a problem in his teens (just after he joined KMR&D), add to that a couple of TBIs, loss of his family, and what he went through surviving Junelle… Nash is a poster child for untreated PTSD. By book two, he’s worn thin; work and completing his agenda are all that’s keeping him going… Davis, Royce, Jack, and Bee would be willing to do more, but he’s careful about what information he shares; he keeps them at arm’s length to keep them safe. No one other than him knows all the details. When Tannis gets past his defenses… it costs them both.

The world building in this book is detailed and meticulously developed. Did you have a clear design for this book or did the story develop organically while writing?

Thank you, but if I’m going to be honest, I’d have to claim both. The overarching plot for the series is already scripted and is immutable, as is the technology, the racial divides, the geography, and the elements. I’ve learned to keep everything else flexible as often the characters suggest better ideas than the ones I was running with.

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

I’m currently working on book three of this series, The Korpes <insert one-word summary here>, and it picks up right where book two left off. Nash is MIA, Korlune teeters on the brink of Civil War, and those who were left to pick up the pieces band together in unexpected ways. There’ll be more of Clan Evora, the Seep, the Collective, Nash of course, as well as a tour of Ankoresh, the country to the South. Due to the ‘Butterfly Effect’, subtle changes I made in book one caused ripples in book two, and have now reached tsunami proportions for book three; this means I have to rewrite most of it. I was hoping to make it available in 2020, but it may be as late as 2021.

I’ll be releasing a character sketchbook in 2020 – available through my Patreon. Other art books will follow.

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

The Korpes Agenda (The Korpes File Series Book 2) by [Rogers, J. I.]

Something dark is stirring in Korlune, and there’s only one person who sees it; brilliant, but haunted, Master-Tech Nash Korpes.

Freshly escaped from the clutches of Korlune Military Research and Development he finds safety within the ranks of tech giant Harlo-Fyre. On the surface, the future appears bright, but dangerous forces lurk in the periphery. Nash is plagued by self-doubt, unreliable friends and a punishing work schedule that could tip him over the edge.

As the line between friend and foe blurs and friction between Korlune’s military factions reach boiling point, Nash is forced to act. Will he ever find peace, or will he be distracted just when he needs to focus?

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A Secretive Alternative

Wesley Boydd Thompson Author Interview

W.B. Thompson Author Interview

Global Dawn is a thrilling science fiction story of a battle between two powerful groups over control of an ancient technology. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this novel?

I am a conspiracy theory enthusiast. History tells us that our governments often lie to us. Some of those stories uncovered are quite extreme. And yet, I still believe there is so much more we don’t know as the deepest secrets are protected well. I tried to use real life events to imagine a secretive alternative to purpose or cause (such as the Indonesia Tsunami).

The backstory and world building in this novel is superb. Was this planned or did it develop organically while writing?

The backstory and counterparts were all planned. The story designed to use the Trieste and deepest recorded dive in history to frame the origin of the escalation in secret war between O.T.O and the New World Order as they battle over an ancient technology with unlimited power. However, the some of the main characters developed themselves as did some of the twists within the story. Characters such as Colonel Larry and The Gentleman (my personal favourite) simply created themselves to play a key role in the plot.

Your characters were interesting and well developed. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in your characters?

There were some strong emotional themes that were key to the story. With the Asset, I wanted to illustrate that sometimes, the strongest of us are the most broken and that there is a level of resilience that only comes from suffering. With The Gentleman, I was aiming to create a conflict within the reader where they could actually relate to the necessity of evil in the world and that what we see as evil, can sometimes just be good people coming from with a different perspective with different motivations. I also wanted to capture the struggles in raising a family in the chaotic modern world. But behind it all, there are those around that are loyal to a fault such as Colonel Larry Fisher.

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

I am working on a few different projects at the moment. ‘Fragile Mind’ is a book of poetry related to Mental Health – and will be available at the end of June. ‘Serial Killer Support Group – The Predator Chronicles’ will be a series of books that follows a deviously mysterious character that brings some of the world’s most deadly serial killers together in a support group to help each other become more efficient killers. But he himself has devilish motives. The first book will be released in July. Finally, I have already created an outline to the sequel to Global Dawn and will commence writing in July and expect that to be released in summer 2020.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter

Global Dawn by [Thompson, Wesley Boydd]

Global Dawn is an award winning, high paced, conspiracy thriller that tells the story of a secret war between the New World Order and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O), who battle over control of an ancient technology that has been behind all mankind technological advancements since 1960. The New World Order has sinister plans for application of this technology that would finally provide them with absolute control of the world. But not before unleashing a global tele-tsunami and washing away modern civilisation as we know it.

Global Dawn also includes an emotional journey of O.T.O’s most formidable warrior ever, who battles internal demons of a traumatic past in an attempt to establish an emotional connection with his son. Misunderstood, he continuously struggles to make that connection but devotedly defends his son from the dangers of the world.

The New World Order has the upper hand. And it’s now only a matter of time before the fate of the world is be decided…

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