Sunday, May 31, 2020

Speculative Fiction of the Month for May 2020

Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month

It’s that time of the month again, time for “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”.

So what is “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month”? It’s a round-up of speculative fiction by indie authors newly published this month, though some April books I missed the last time around snuck in as well. The books are arranged in alphabetical order by author. So far, most links only go to, though I may add other retailers for future editions.

Once again, we have new releases covering the whole broad spectrum of speculative fiction. This month, we have epic fantasy, urban fantasy, historical fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, horror, paranormal mysteries, time travel romance, science fiction romance, space opera, military science fiction, weird westerns, dragons, ghosts, monsters, demons, knights, necromancers, immortals, superheroes, space marines, intergalactic relic hunters, tentacled terrors, crime-busting witches, swashbuckling cats and much more.

As always, I know the authors at least vaguely, but I haven’t read all of the books, so Caveat emptor.

And now on to the books without further ado:

Oblivion by Andrew BlinstonOblivion by Andy Blinston:

Once a god, now a target.

Darius wakes surrounded by blood. Most of his mind has been stolen, and the dark figure that took it wants the rest.

Caught in a centuries-old war between the human empire and fiery rakkan invaders, he soon learns his fearsome powers have made him an enemy to many.

Unable to tell friend from foe, he must fight to escape the one hunting him, the one who seeks to turn him into a mindless puppet.

His only allies are his panther and the captivating but callous Alexandra, who promises to restore him to former glory. But can she be trusted?

Is he ready to discover the truth of who he was, and why he's wanted?

The Thing from the Dread Swamp by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Thing from the Dread Swamp by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

While travelling through the Dread Swamp, Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends, Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha and the sorceress Sharenna come across an overturned wagon and the terrified merchant Polyxo who babbles that a monster has taken his daughter Cerissa. Because they are heroes – and because Polyxo has offered them a sizeable reward – the quartet of adventurers offers to rescue Cerissa from the thing that lives in the Dread Swamp.

This is a short story of 5300 words or 19 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

The Tentacled Terror by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertThe Tentacled Terror by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert:

Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friends Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, the sorceress Sharenna and Meldom’s sweetheart Lysha set sail for the sunken city of Nhom’zonac, looking for the lost treasure of the Sea Kings. But they have to get past the Lovecraftian horror guarding the city first.

This is a short story of 5300 words or 19 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

Elven Doom by Lindsay BurokerElven Doom by Lindsay Buroker:

Dragons make life complicated. Extremely complicated.

After returning from Idaho, I was hoping to have time to figure things out with Zav—also known as Lord Zavryd, the dragon who claimed me as his mate without asking—but the dark elves are up to their old tricks again.

Actually, they’re up to far more deadly tricks, using more powerful magic than I knew existed. I have no idea how I’m going to stop them, but if I can’t, my entire city and everybody I care about could be obliterated.

To make matters worse, Zav’s sister has shown up and is rooting around in my life. His family doesn’t approve of me, and she plans to put an end to our relationship... one way or another.

Dragon Physician by Joyce ChngDragon Physician by Joyce Chng:

Can Jixin succeed in a world of dragon racing run by powerful women? Can he fight the system and fulfil his dream of becoming a dragon rider? Or does he choose instead to be a dragon physician like his mother? Jixin finds his world suddenly changed when Lu Si, the scion of a Rookery owner, takes a shine on him. He is plunged straight into the lucrative world of dragon racing... Will his life change?

Toga by Karen DiemToga by Karen Diem:

Go home, myths , you’re drunk.

After a magical accident, part-time superhero Zita Garcia and her two closest friends wake up stranded in an ancient Greece that could only have existed if all the myths were real and somewhat inebriated.

Unfortunately, they can only leave with help from the locals, not all of whom are friendly. The dryads are downright deadly, and even the normally chatty centaurs aren't talking. To convince them to assist, Zita and her friends will have to go questing, just like in all the classic fantasy novels. The ones Zita never bothered to read.

If they win, they’ll get the help they need.
If they don’t, they better get used to togas.

Toga is the fifth in the Arca superhero urban fantasy series and includes deliberate historical inaccuracies, immoderate language, lame sexual innuendo, and comic book violence.

How to Science Fictionally by Camestros FelaptonHow to Science Fictionally: A User Guide to Made Up Stuff by Camestros Felapton:

How can you make your space ship travel faster than light? How can you make your teleporter work? How are you going to send a message home and how are you going to style your beard? These and many other questions are often badly answered in this compendium of essays from Camestros Felapton. Ranging from flippant to occasionally researched, this book answers all of the least important questions in modern sci-fi.

Essential reading for aspiring science fiction authors.

The necromancer by Rachel FordThe Necromancer by Rachel Ford:

A rash of grave robberies. A cursed barrow. A case that will test the balance between magic and law.
When bodies turn up missing, the mage's academy assigns the case to Apprentice Idun Wintermoon. With the jarl's liaison for all things magical, Lissette Forlatt, and her best friend, the giant Njal, they try to track the thief.

But the closer they get to answers, the further away from truth they find themselves. When a series of strange visions brings Lissette to the ruins of the long abandoned goblin kingdom, they descend into a dark and terrible world of magic and secrets.

They're in a race against time as they try to stop the Necromancer. But to get to her, they have to tread where the dead sleep - or worse, don't.

And if they're not careful, they'll end up forgotten denizens of the undead themselves.

Viper's Nest by Rachel FordViper's Nest by Rachel Ford:

Banished, shipwrecked and sent to the arenas.

Trygve Bjarneson lost everything. And he deserved it. He knows that. So when he’s given the opportunity to regain some of his honor, and reclaim his life in the process, he takes it.

Little does the once future-king realize that the seemingly straightforward job of bodyguard to Empress Cassia is anything but. Machiavellian politics are just the beginning. He’s about to be plunged into a dark world of bloody murder, grim assassinations, and deadly rivalries. It will take every bit of cunning and ingenuity to protect the empress from her enemies.

But if his foes have their way, he will wish he never made it out of the arenas alive.

Ghostly Business by Lily Harper HartGhostly Business by Lily Harper Hart:

Every “quiet” town has secrets. The one nobody expected is about to rock Whisper Cove.

During what should’ve been a romantic double date, a fire breaks out at a historic home. Harper Harlow and Jared Monroe race to the scene to make sure nobody is trapped or in danger … and discover one heck of a secret.

It seems the house, which was owned by a solitary older woman who kept to herself, was being run as a brothel. Now she’s dead and there’s a bevy of married men on the hot seat for her murder.

Harper has a cantankerous ghost to deal with … and a bevy of odd emotions running roughshod over her mental health. She feels like an invader in her own skin, and she can’t figure out why.

Jared’s problems are even more pronounced. Whenever he questions an individual present at the house that night, they threaten him with a legal suit before clamming up. On top of that, he’s worried about Harper, who seems fixated on the case.

Since the moment they met, they were joined at the hip … and lips. Now, that unshakeable bond they’ve always reveled in is going to be put to the test.

Nothing can break them apart … but that doesn’t mean outside forces won’t try, and they might be willing to kill to do it.

To Love a Witch by Amanda M. LeeTo Love a Witch by Amanda M. Lee:

Bay Winchester is at a crossroads in her life. Her powers are growing, her personal life is settled, and there’s a young witch in crisis under her care.

Things are … difficult.

A good witch at heart, Bay knows that the teenager she’s trying to tame is dangerous. To keep Hemlock Cove safe, she’s isolated her at the campground property she owns with her boyfriend Landon. While visiting one day, a ghost catches her attention across the lake … and when Bay crosses to investigate, she finds a fresh body and a whole lot of trouble.

It seems the new property owner is currently dating the victim’s ex-boyfriend and there’s a convoluted mess to untangle. That’s on top of the other people in town – including Aunt Tillie’s nemesis Mrs. Little – who keep showing up at the lake with an agenda.

Bay has no idea what to do. She needs to keep her teenage protégé hidden while uncovering a deadly story of an affair gone wrong and greed run amok. All the while she wonders what will happen if she can’t turn things around for her new teenage responsibility. What will she have to do to protect the people that she loves?

If that wasn’t enough, Landon is acting out of sorts. His demeanor is strange and he’s having secret conversations with her mother while trying to keep Bay out of his sock drawer. She can’t figure out why and her imagination is running wild.

It’s going to be a race to the finish. There’s an out-of-control ghost, a teenager who doesn’t want to be helped, and a man who has a plan to give his favorite witch everything she’s ever wanted.

This is the one you’ve been waiting for. The big moment is finally here.

The Whisper Killer by Rob LittleThe Whisper Killer by Rod Little:

Wolf Hollow is not like other towns. It gets what it needs.

Ben is a baby-faced serial killer who can charm his victims with a smile. But when he stumbles into Wolf Hollow to hide from the FBI, it's the town that charms him and convinces him to stay. Because Wolf Hollow gets what it needs, and it needs Ben. It knows his secret.

Ben isn't alone. He shares his body with a century-old demon. He may be the town's worst nightmare, but he's exactly what they need.

Under cover of a blinding snowstorm, a bitter enemy returns to Wolf Hollow, a group of men hell-bent on revenge, resolved to wipe out the entire town and leave no survivors. Only Ben has what it takes to stand in their way . . . if he chooses. He is their only hope.

Because some evils can only be met by a greater evil.

Insurgent by Ken LozitoInsurgent by Ken Lozito:

As Connor secretly searches for the enemy homeworld, he launches clandestine military operations to liberate other worlds in hopes of gaining allies before the enemy can find the last human colony.

The humans cannot hope to compete with the enemy’s vast empire, but with the discovery of a new ally, Connor believes their luck has finally changed.

Instead, when new allies clash with the old, Connor finds himself caught in the middle. Connor will have to choose whether doing what’s necessary to ensure the colony survives is worth compromising his loyalty to allies close to home, but the price could ultimately tear the colony apart.

Surviving a war with the enemy isn’t always a numbers game, but in choosing one ally, will Connor lose it all?

Orion Rises by G.J. OgdenOrion Rises by G.J. Ogden:

Kicked out of the Relic Guardian Force, Hudson Powell has started down the path to becoming a relic hunter. Fortune awaits inside the mysterious, alien hulks found on every planet throughout the vast network of portal worlds. The only problem is, he’s broke and he doesn’t have a starship.

A chance encounter with Liberty Devan – a streetwise, genius ship mechanic – provides him with an unlikely relic-hunting partner. Unfortunately, Hudson’s former RGF boss, Logan Griff, still wants him dead, and Griff has hired two of the galaxy’s deadliest mercenaries to get him.

Fortunately for Hudson, one of them has taken a shine to him.

Fighting to stay one step ahead of Logan Griff, Hudson and Liberty discover the first new portal in a century. But embarking on a relic hunt to a new and unexplored star system, they find an alien intelligence that warns them of a grave threat to humanity.

The secrets of the alien wrecks are about to be uncovered. And it isn’t good news.

Swashbuckling Cats by Rhonda ParrishSwashbuckling Cats, edited by Rhonda Parrish:

If you think cats and water don’t mix, think again.

Plunge into worlds of piratical cats: some selfish, some mischievous, all fond of hitting the catnip stash. From ships on the deep blue sea, to ships flying through the depths of space, and even visiting from beyond the veil, these cats are determined and on a mission.

Featuring thirteen "tails" of adventure-loving cats, puns, and fun by: Megan Fennell; S.G. Wong; Rebecca Brae; Grace Bridges; Lizz Donnelly; Blake Liddell; Frances Pauli; JB Riley; Joseph Halden; Leslie Van Zwol; Krista D. Ball; Chadwick Ginther; Rose Strickman; and Beth Cato.

Zelup by Lisa ProbzZelup by Lisa Probz:


Who would have thought it? A one-night stand should have only been one night.

Then the hot guy shows up on my doorstep with a business proposal that stinks more than a Vanfian female in heat.

He’s hiding something. I just didn’t expect it to be an upcoming apocalypse.

I have no choice but to go all in, but the plan is to keep my heart protected from him.

Yeah right. My hormones are leading the way, and this guy isn’t going to let me slip from his grasp that easily.


Life is just never easy, is it?

My older brother shacks up with the daughter of a goddess, and all of a sudden, our planet is pushed into an apocalypse.

And I’m forced to hunt down a mythical Guardian to aid us in the fight against the demon host that’s squared off to us.

What I don’t expect in my travels is to fall for a feisty scientist.

She sees through my crap and is hotter than Hades.

But I can’t afford to be distracted.

And yet, that’s exactly what I am. This Guardian can suck it. I’m more interested in convincing Dawn I’m her man, her protector.

Until the Crowned Prince of Hell gets her. His threat?

To erase me from her memory forever.

1910: Love Reaches Through Time by Georgina Rowe1910: Love Reaches Through Time by Georgina Rowe:

Rowena Cutler loves her job as a researcher, delving into the history of her beloved city of Sydney. After one marriage and several failed relationships, she has given up on men and romance, and believes she is happily in control of her life…until a paranormal experience turns her life upside down.

While reading an old newspaper article from 1910, Rowena is flung from the present into the distant past where she experiences the very event she was reading about. She latches onto an object from the past just as she is pulled back to her own time period, and is startled to discover the object has made the trip across time with her!

Shaken but determined, Rowena begins using her newfound gift to solve some century-old mysteries of Sydney. Her extraordinary paranormal adventures have barely begun, however, when she falls desperately in love with a man named Lionel who lived in 1910. Even though he is not fully aware of her presence because he cannot see her, Rowena knows she has finally found the man of her dreams.

But if Rowena and Lionel are ever to be together, she realizes she must explore the full extent of her psychic powers, no matter how dangerous the consequences.

Wardtown by Glynn StewartWardtown by Glynn Stewart:

A young man’s anger and gun
An old man’s secrets and magic
A moment that binds them forever

Teer was forced into exile in the Spehari’s Eastern Territories after they betrayed his father’s memory, leaving him and his mother destitute. He has grown up on the ranch of his mother’s new husband, nursing the skills of a cowboy and the anger of a betrayed child.

When one of the demigod-like Spehari walks into his bar, Teer gives in to a pointless moment of anger—opening fire on one of the rulers of the Unity!

Sentenced to hang for his crime, Teer’s life hangs by the slimmest of threads: the mercy and secrets of the very immortal he tried to kill…

Sky of Water by Stacey L. TuckerSky of Water by Stacey L. Tucker:

This final installment of the Equal Night trilogy will put Skylar to her biggest test to date. After Magus takes her through the alchemical door in the Quine library, she quickly remembers her strange surroundings and the reason she’s been brought back to the First Age. Here, she will have to rely on her own magic to navigate the overlapping timelines that will allow her to rewrite history. But if she’s not careful, she could destroy it completely.

Back home, it will take every one of Skylar’s loved ones to execute Ocean’s plan, and Argan has the biggest role among them: the impossible task of retrieving Skylar home from the past. Luckily, it’s something he’s been training for his entire life.

Meanwhile, a woman now sits in the Oval Office, the corrupt scaffolding of the US government collapsing around her. Mica Noxx has a vision for the US, one that returns it to the original intention of the Founding Fathers.

With Skylar held in the First Age and Mica planted in current day, they have one shot to banish the darkness that’s held control for centuries, and return the United States to a trajectory toward its true destiny: becoming the New Atlantis.

Federation at War by James David VictorFederation at War by James David Victor:

An old war is about to undergo an alien transformation.

Alone in the galaxy, humanity has waged war against itself in the name of order and personal freedom. When a new alien threat arrives on their doorstep, they will have to face a reality most don’t believe. They are not alone amongst the stars. And worse, they are far from superior.

Federation At War is the first book in the Blue Star Marines series which follows a young man who will have to push his hatreds aside and come to the aid of all humanity.

Download Federation At War and see if humanity can overcome itself and survive in the vast darkness of space!

Felons in the Eyes of God by Stephen James WrightFelons in the Eyes of God by Stephen James Wright:

The planet Thyrhucis is prosperous and peaceful, governed by a collective of uploaded post-human intelligences called the Necrarchy. Thyrhucis is a nexus for interstellar travel, and governments from all over the galaxy are seeking access to its trade routes.

Christabel Cameron Carrington wants access for the Cultural Revival, a multi-system movement that's bringing back old Earth cultures. She's not above using underhand methods, including hacking the planetary data networks, which brings her into direct contact with the Necrarchy itself.

Rethis Veid wants access for the spartan world of Thur, a grim and expansionist state that's considered suspect by everyone. He's involving himself with dissident groups, whose concerns about the Necrarchy become disturbingly relevant.

Laura Sabon, light years away, knows nothing about this - her only concern is keeping her decrepit space freighter operational. But she's drawn into the situation when her ship is chartered to take a cargo to Thyrhucis - a cargo which just might contain the end of interstellar civilization.

The Ninth Knight by Stephen James WrightThe Ninth Knight by Stephen James Wright:

Prosperous and middle-aged, Sir Gaveran yearns for knightly adventure and chivalrous deeds. He persuades seven other knights to meet with him - rich and powerful Garrien, upcoming knight-errant Perinell, poor but honest Calan, aesthetic Lyas, foreigner Rykon, masked and enigmatic Yvon, and ill-omened Alair. Gaveran persuades them all to join him in an oath, to seek adventure in the coming year....

But, as the eight knights swear on their swords, a ninth blade is laid across theirs - and the shadowy figure of the Ninth Knight follows each knight as they quest, observing them and, perhaps, judging them.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for May 29, 2020

It's time for the latest weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and the various iterations of Star Trek, the various iterations of Star Wars, Snowpiercer, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, What We Do in the Shadows, season 2 of Homecoming, Space Force, the planned release of the so-called "Snyder cut" of Justice League, links to freely available Hugo Voter Packets, the latest convention cancellations due to the corona virus and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Film and TV:

Comments on the various iterations of Star Wars

Comments on the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds announcement and various iterations of Star Trek:

Comments on Snowpiercer:

Comments on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Comments on What We Do in the Shadows

Comments on Space Force:

Comments on season 2 of Homecoming

Comments on the impending release of the so-called "Snyder cut" of Justice League:


Hugo Voter Packets:

Writing, publishing and promotion:



Classics reviews:


Con and event reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Interview with Stanley P. Brown, author of The Third Factor

Today it gives the Speculative Fiction Showcase great pleasure to interview Stanley P. Brown, whose novel The Third Factor: Book II of The Stonehenge Chronicles was published on March 9, 2020.

Your latest novel, The Third Factor: Book II of The Stonehenge Chronicles had its debut in March 2020. This book is the sequel to Veiled Memory, in which we meet the protagonist Dr Madeline Alleyn, a professor of Celtic History who has become embroiled in an ancient mystery that involves her own family. What can your readers expect from this sequel?
Expect the plot to thicken as Madeline finally comes in contact with the stones and translates their message and makes an important finding regarding her mother’s discovery. The full realization of the meaning won’t come, though, until the concluding book (as yet untitled). The Stones of Sumer are the key to the entire trilogy, but maybe I’ve said too much already. The story is really about 5 women – grandmother, mother, and triplet daughters (now 18 years old). I’m writing the concluding story now.

The blurb talks about the Stones of Sumer and the Prophecy of Tarkus. Can you tell us (without too many spoilers!) about the significance of these things and the mystery that leads to Stonehenge? 
As you know, backstory gives any novel depth. The trick is to deliver the backstory in an artful way, dispensing the information in a way that develops the mystery. The backstory to The Stonehenge Chronicles extends to about 5000 years, back to ancient Sumer with the origin of my clandestine community. These people wish to remain “off the grid” so to speak, out of view of normal human society. Admittedly, this is an old trope, but I have a few twists to come in the last book I am currently writing. More of the backstory is alluded to in The Third Factor. Let me just say that the last book will begin with a two-scene prologue – one from ancient Sumer and the other in Greece at the time of Tarkus (about 600 AD). I am leading to the origin of both Stonehenge and my clandestine “community.” A huge revelation occurs at the end of The Third Factor. Warning though, these books end in cliff-hangers.  The last of the trilogy will reveal all!

Why do you think that Stonehenge and similar ancient structures continue to fascinate us after their true meaning has been lost?
Well, it’s precisely because of this mystery, isn’t it? We don’t know. There is lots of speculation but no real answers. My central character is a professor of Celtic history and she is looking for answers as well, principally through the discovery of her mysterious mother who died shortly after (within hours) Madeline was born. There, I’ve said too much. My story is about much more than Stonehenge, but it is the(a) hook. 

Together with The Stonehenge Chronicles, you have published two other novels, The Legacy and Fallen Wizard. In your biography, you say that you have sequels planned for all of your fictional worlds. What is your next project? 
I will complete The Stonehenge Chronicles by the end of this year. Then, I want to move quickly to a sequel of The Legacy. I’ve written a short story in the world of The Legacy that you can find at my website. But warning, it contains spoilers to the story of The Legacy, so if you care to read Blood Moon, please read The Legacy first. Each of my fictional worlds develops a separate mythology. I’ve also started a sequel to Fallen Wizard, my middle grade work (think early Harry Potter). I also have a children’s chapter book which is developing yet another mythology, this time exclusively with animal characters.

You talk about the importance of Marvel comics in helping to form your imagination. Which series do you like best, and do you have a favorite era or artist? 
My reading of Marvel goes back to the silver age (early 1960s) when Stan Lee was still in charge. So I like these writers/artists the best – Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Stan Lee are all legends. It’s an attestation to the strength of their genius that these stories have made Disney somewhere around 50 billion at the box office. As for my favorite characters, I really liked Daredevil growing up and Spiderman of course, and Hawkeye (what kid of the era didn’t like a guy who can shot cool arrows the way he did). Really also liked Dr. Strange and The Mighty Thor and my favorite who has yet to make an appearance in the movies was Namor, The Submariner. Imperious Rex! And can’t leave out Captain America whose trilogy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are my favorite movies. I even wrote an academic paper with Cap in mind, found at the website for the journal, Advances in Physiology Education, a journal of the American Physiological Society (

What writers do you enjoy reading, whether in or outside the genre? 
I read very widely. Michael Connelly (dark police procedurals), John Grisham (courtroom thrillers), Vince Flynn (CIA black ops), Jim Butcher (urban fantasy), C.W. Hawes (PI detective mysteries), J.K. Rowling (children’s fantasy), Philip Pullman (children’s fantasy), J.R.R. Tolkien (sword and sorcery adult fantasy). Currently reading the biography of Winston Churchill. Oh, and then there is Bernard Cornwell (the best historic fiction writer there is working today).

Your primary career has been as an academic, but you say “the call of storytelling remained strong”. Why do you think that is and what early influences moved you to write? 
My earliest “writings” were letters to the editor (Stan Lee). Don’t know if any ever made it to publication in any of the comic books. I just loved “story.” I devoured thousands of comics. When my house burned down when I was a freshman in high school I lost thousands of Marvel Comics in pristine condition. A real tragedy. I stopped reading then, but I was always an avid movie buff. I finally got to the point where I had to try creative writing (becoming quickly bored with academic stuff). In 2005 I finally put pen to paper with story ideas.

You grew up in Louisiana in the 1950s and 60s. How do you think that has influenced your writing? 
Not much actually. As an aside, I am planning a memoir called Bayou Boys. It’ll be about my younger brother and me and our friends growing up on Bayou Plaquemine. What a life. That will be the only influence Louisiana will have had.

How do you envisage the Stonehenge Chronicles unfolding and will there be further sequels? 
I won’t say that later I won’t have another story to tell in that world, but for now the trilogy will be it. On the unfolding, I can’t get into that. The last scene of the last book has been in my head for well over 15 years. I’m writing to it. Can’t wait to get there.

Tell us about The Legacy, whose main character, Harry Black, discovers a paranormal gift that changes his life for ever… 
The Legacy is my debut novel but not the first one written. It’s actually the third. In it I conceive of a world where magic is always evil. It’s a dark paranormal thriller. Also, I write mixed genre, so The Legacy is a mix of political thriller with dark paranormal elements. The Legacy has a pretty involved backstory as well of a family burdened with countering that evil.

Fallen Wizard, your other book, is aimed at younger readers. A young boy has to deal with a wizard who crash lands in his back yard. Are there different challenges (and pleasures) in writing for children? 
You bet there is, but the one thing I learned from the likes of Rowling and Pullman is that you never write down to children. Write for their parents but please do make the stories strong and challenging (intense plots and great character arcs).

How do you go about researching your novels? 
My stories for the most part are set in our world – everyday earth – in real cities and surroundings, so I have to know these settings. If I have not been there, I research it greatly to get a feel for it. For that, nothing beats the internet.

How do you deal with the social media and marketing side of writing? 
Trying to do the best I can on this front. I like Twitter the best and am often on promoting my work. I also have a very active website –

On your web-site, you describe your books as “paranormal thrillers”. Can you tell us what that means for you? 
Paranormal is what I view as an overarching term that includes contemporary fantasy. It, of course, includes elements outside the norm. For example, The Legacy has ghosts in it and other paranormal elements, like sorcery. Thrillers are fast paced stories with high levels of tension. All of my stories are also high concept (big plots). They are also all mixed genre with the exception of Fallen Wizard which is a contemporary fantasy.

You say “Nothing fascinates me like writing, creating stories, or sub-creating as J.R.R. Tolkien referred to it.” What are your thoughts about Tolkien, who almost invented the Fantasy genre out of nothing? And what does sub-creating mean to you? 
Tolkien was a great creative genius of a man. A great genius. A brilliant academic and leader in his field. His stories set the standard for the field of sword and sorcery. It’s because of him that I simply can’t get into other works in this genre. They all copy Tolkien at some point. Game of Thrones, for example, by George RR Martin, is something that is very popular that I can’t get into because Tolkien is always in my head. Tolkien was a Christian as am I and as such he viewed man as created in the Imago Dei, in the image of God. As such, we are endowed with creative powers. Under God, his image bearers also create, but our creativity is always secondary because of our creaturely status below the creator. But it is what sets us apart from the rest of God’s creative order. He creates. We sub-create. Makes sense? You asked, so I had to get theological with you. 

About Stanley P. Brown

Stanley P. Brown always had heroes as a child. Born in Plaquemine, Louisiana to Joseph Harry, a painter, and his wife Vivian, a homemaker, these heroes mostly took form in his big brother, Harry, and those populating the pages of Marvel Comics. Realizing he didn’t have the right stuff to be a superhero himself, he concentrated on academics at Louisiana State University and The University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned his doctorate in Exercise Physiology. He went from there to his first academic post at The University of Mississippi. Others followed, as did many, many scientific publications and several textbooks. But the call of storytelling remained strong in him, and he answered that call with publication in 2017 of his debut novel, The Legacy. Veiled Memory and Fallen Wizard followed in 2018. A fourth fictional world is currently being created and he has sequels planned for all of his novels.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Felons in the Eyes of God by Stephen James Wright

Release date: May 20, 2020
Subgenre: Space Opera

About Felons in the Eyes of God


The planet Thyrhucis is prosperous and peaceful, governed by a collective of uploaded post-human intelligences called the Necrarchy.  Thyrhucis is a nexus for interstellar travel, and governments from all over the galaxy are seeking access to its trade routes.

Christabel Cameron Carrington wants access for the Cultural Revival, a multi-system movement that's bringing back old Earth cultures.  She's not above using underhand methods, including hacking the planetary data networks, which brings her into direct contact with the Necrarchy itself.

Rethis Veid wants access for the spartan world of Thur, a grim and expansionist state that's considered suspect by everyone.  He's involving himself with dissident groups, whose concerns about the Necrarchy become disturbingly relevant.

Laura Sabon, light years away, knows nothing about this - her only concern is keeping her decrepit space freighter operational.  But she's drawn into the situation when her ship is chartered to take a cargo to Thyrhucis - a cargo which just might contain the end of interstellar civilization.




            The details on the screen look pretty comprehensive to me – but Simon's right, we're reconstructing a lot of stuff through our strictly unofficial earwigging on the Necrarchy's comms, and there is no guarantee we will overhear anything germane.  Large physical objects like spaceships, we can track – the arcana of high-energy particle physics, though, is something else entirely.
            Large physical objects, like spaceships, we can track.  We can pull up identification, registration, other details.  The Orion Commonwealth survey ship Srinivasa Ramanujan had a crew of eighty-three.  One of those other details.
            "What about the cube itself?  It was just next to a massive explosion, right?  What happened to it?"
            "The ship was still twenty-eight kilometres away when she blew," says Simon.  "At that range, there'd be no significant blast damage, just the initial radiation flash... which, well, the cube pretty much just... reflects.  No change in the cube's status.  One way or another."   In vacuum, there's no blast wave from an explosion, only the expanding vapours of the destroyed ship itself – which would be little more than a puff of breath, at twenty-eight kilometres range.  For that matter, a fusion blast is probably survivable at that sort of range – depends on the megatonnage, I guess.  I suppose I could get the details of how many megatons the Ramanujan died in... if I wanted to.
            I don't think I want to.
            "Can you pull anything out of that data feed about the scans Ramanujan was running?" I ask.  "If we knew what it did to... set that thing off...."
            "I'll try," says Simon.  "I'm guessing the actual data was stored on-ship, or maybe tight-beamed to another Orion Commonwealth ship... there are three in high orbitals just now.  Besides that –"
            "Active scans will have been reflected off the damned thing," says Fiona.  "We can piece together what the Ramanujan was doing that way... maybe... given time.  But it may have been simple proximity, of course."
            I close my eyes, turn to my onboard systems, start thinking glyphs – transmitting a navigational hazard warning to every Revival ship in orbit, for a start.  How close did Imbrium get, on her initial orbit?  I review the data.  A hundred and ninety kilometres.  If I were Captain Sabon, I'd be worrying about this.  Of course, if I were her, I'd be worrying about so many different things already, I might not have time for any new ones.
            "Cube just changed," Simon annouces.  "It's an octahedron, now.  One hundred sixteen metres along each edge."
            "It's moving up the Platonic solids?" I ask.
            "Your guess is as good as mine.  I can't even fit a decent curve to the growth increases.  Still perfectly reflective, zero mass.  STC just hit it with megawatt lasers." | Amazon UK


About Stephen James Wright:

Stephen James Wright uses his full name on his books, but has been described as one of nature's Steves. He is obstinately opposed to the whole "two cultures" thing, and, having an MA in linguistics and an MSc in software engineering, he is (academically speaking) neither fish, flesh, fowl nor good red herring. He has been a fan of science fiction, fantasy and horror all his life, which is probably why he has never amounted to anything. He lives in the Home Counties of England, and blogs about SF and related matters

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