“Perfection Challenged” Cover Reveal – Guest Post by Jade Kerrion

Perfection Challenged, the thrilling conclusion to Jade Kerrion’s multiple award-winning, bestselling DOUBLE HELIX series, will be released on September 17th and will be available in paperback and all electronic formats. Beta readers have declared Perfection Challenged “the best of the four books…the perfect ending to an amazing series.”

If you’ve never picked up the DOUBLE HELIX series, keep on reading for a special offer on Perfection Unleashed, the book that launched the DOUBLE HELIX series.

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perfection-challenged-600x800PERFECTION CHALLENGED

An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre has survived abominations and super soldiers, terrorists and assassins, but he cannot survive his failing body. He wants only to live out his final days in peace, but life and the woman he loves, the assassin Zara Itani, have other plans for him.

Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, is branded an international threat, and Danyael is appointed his jury, judge, and executioner. Danyael alone believes that Galahad can be the salvation that the world needs, but is the empath blinded by the fact that Galahad shares his genes, and the hope that there is something of him in Galahad?

In a desperate race against time and his own dying body, Danyael struggles to find fragments of good in the perfect human being, and comes to the wrenching realization that his greatest battle will be a battle for the heart of the man who hates him.

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Perfection UnleashedPERFECTION UNLEASHED

Recipient of six literary awards, including first place in Science Fiction, Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and Gold medal winner in Science Fiction, Readers Favorites 2013.

“Higher octane than Heroes. More heart than X-Men.”

Danyael Sabre spent sixteen years clawing out of the ruins of his childhood and finally has everything he wanted – a career, a home, and a trusted friend. To hold on to them, he keeps his head down and plays by the rules. An alpha empath, he is powerful in a world transformed by the Genetic Revolution, yet his experience has taught him to avoid attention.

When the perfect human being, Galahad, escapes from Pioneer Laboratories, the illusory peace between humans and their derivatives – the in vitros, clones, and mutants – collapses into social upheaval. The abominations, deformed and distorted mirrors of humanity, created unintentionally in Pioneer Lab’s search for perfection, descend upon Washington D.C. The first era of the Genetic Revolution was peaceful. The second is headed for open war.

Although the genetic future of the human race pivots on Galahad, Danyael does not feel compelled to get involved and risk his cover of anonymity, until he finds out that the perfect human being looks just like him.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, THE E-BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE FOR JUST $0.99 (Discounted from $2.99):
E-books available at Amazon.com / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords
Paperbacks available at Amazon.com / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

To be the first to receive news of Jade Kerrion’s latest book releases, sign up for her New Release Mailing List. If Perfection Challenged makes it to the bookstores before September 17th, you’ll be among the first to know.

Connect with Jade Kerrion:

Website / Facebook / Twitter

Book Promo Day: 8th August, 2013

Louey the Lazy Elephant by Janice Spina

Louey was a lazy elephant who liked to sleep late.  One day Louey oversleeps and much to his surprise the herd is nowhere in sight.  Find out how Louey finds his way back to his family and friends.

This is a children’s book for preschool through grade three.

More information:

Author’s website


Mom’s Little Black Book: Godly Advice for the High School Graduate by Marilynn Dawson

This “little”, 4×6, 322pg book is meant to be a Mother’s attempt at guiding her graduating teenager through some of the more common aspects of daily life. Each page has one tidbit of advice, or a verse, or a calendar, note sheet or budget sheet.  Among it’s pages are quotes from a much more comprehensive guide, otherwise known as the Bible!

God says to raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. God also urges parents to ensure that their children, like arrows from a quiver and placed in the bow-string, fly straight and true.

May these tidbits of advice help your child to fly straight and true as they go out to become all that God created and designed them to be.

More information:

Author’s website


FortheSakeofMercy-AuthorDen For the Sake of Mercy by Steve K Smy

The famed merchant skipper, Captain Henri Duschelle, must lead his loyal crew on a seemingly impossible mission: to deliver a vital organ to one of the crew’s son, across the longest part of the colonised worlds – to an insane deadline. He is convinced that only his ship, the stunningly beautiful Persephone can make such a journey. While the voyage alone will test the crew to breaking point, other, bigger, problems lie in wait…

A science fiction novelette.  Number 1 in The Captain Henri Duschelle Stories.

More information:

About the Captain Henri Duschelle Stories
Author’s Pinterest
Author’s Facebook “Fan Page”
Author’s Smashwords Page
Author’s Goodreads Page
Author’s Amazon.com Page


Do you have a book you’d like to Promo?  Send your submission without delay to get listed next week!  Submissions should be in by 18:00 GMT on the Thursday prior to any given Book Promo Day.

Remember! This is a free service!

A Modern Science Fiction Epic

The Genesis Project by Barry E Woodham

Science fiction in the classic style by a new master of the genre!

The Genesis Project leads us out into Space, seeding Humanity far and wide, working against the time of the final demise of Earth’s Sun.  Of course, nothing is ever simple or straightforward.  Whatever options may be pursued to save our species, there is always an element of danger.  But who amongst those that sent Humanity out into the unknown could have predicted the future as it was to become.  Discover, then, the truth of Humanity’s future history – and the second chance of a species!  Rest assured, there will be perils to overcome if Humanity is to survive – and prosper…

The Genesis Project in eBook and paperback

Book 1 – Genesis 2
Book 2 – Genesis Debt
Book 3 – Genesis Weapon..
Book 4 – Genesis Search
Book 5 – Genesis 3 : A New Beginning


Other tales from Barry E Woodham

The Elf-war & Molock’s Wand (self-published)
Star-Seed – (Work in progress)
Tales of the Ferryman — 1 – 15
Ghost stories


Bio

Barry Woodham spent his working life as a design engineer/draughtsman on the nuclear fusion project and has been an avid reader of science fiction for over fifty years. He found himself with nothing to read one lunchtime and began to write Genesis 2, the saga of the Gnathe, the first book in The Genesis Project. Many of his colleagues on the project began reading his efforts as quickly as he could finish the new chapters. He was persuaded to carry on and was halfway through the final section when the project drew to a close and he was able to take early retirement before redundancy, through a legacy. He promised his friends he would continue the story and let them know when he had finished. The joys of early retirement followed – fishing and walking the dogs, and the separation from his old reading colleagues meant the story remained unfinished. He lost the text through changing computers and it took some effort to retrieve the full story.

Barry Woodham

Barry proudly holding up his paperback books!

He knew how Genesis 2 would end, but could never seem to be able to get round to finishing it.  This has now changed and Barry has written the Genesis Project series, which started with Genesis 2, the saga of the Gnathe and now includes Genesis Debt, Genesis Weapon, Genesis Search and the final book Genesis 3.

More information:

The Author on The Independent Author Network
The Author’s blog
The Author on Facebook
The Author on Twitter
The Author on Amazon UK

Read about Barry, including a ‘broad brush’ review of his works, in his local newspaper, the Swindon Advertiser!

Exploring with Jonathan Clark: An Author Interview

Jonathan Clark

I’d like you all to please welcome author Jonathan Clark to Imagineer-ing!  Having been teaching and tutoring for over 20 years, he has a considerable interest in education as well as writing, and his books bring the two together.

 *****

When did you first discover the desire to write was so strong in you?

John Clark - A Question of BiologyI first started to write about science, because I knew I had something as a teacher but I wanted to reach a wider audience, a world audience.  That is why I chose to publish A Question of Biology on Kindle.

John Clark - Karim Then when I went on to write Karim and the Secret of the Stones it was in the belief that science (in this case the science of the Solar System) is fascinating if presented in the form of sci-fi.

Do you usually write in the same genre you tend to prefer to read?

Not really, I don’t think I can write as well as the geniuses I admire so much at the moment. I think I should just concentrate on developing my own style and whatever genre it is in is fine. I do like sci-fi for teenagers though, as it may help to get them to see that science can be really cool!

When reading, do you prefer traditional printed books or ebooks?

To tell the truth I don’t own a Kindle! I don’t mind reading online, but it is just the physical beauty of books as living furniture that makes me opt for print. Ebooks are great for self-publishers like me though and democratise books – which can only be good.

Have you been influenced and/or inspired by another writer, or writers?

Of course! That is one of the great joys of being a writer. There are so many talented writers out there that apply our craft with such skill and intelligence. Standouts, for me, are Stephen King and Michael Connelly for sheer talent and brilliance. I can only sit at their feet and wonder at their genius.

Do past or current events in your life have an influence on your writing?

Jon Clark -1994Yes, of course. I wrote 1994 The Very Last Lennon Interview after seeing a man on Polish TV who looked very much like I think John Lennon would have looked in his mid-fifties. I think you have to write about what you are interested in and passionate about, and that has to come from your life.

Have you got a favourite author, who stands well ahead of all others?

I can’t really single anyone out. There are so many talents out there. I think Tolkien, if you were twisting my arm. He combined superb storytelling and great use of English; he is really the master. For children it has to be Roald Dahl, who just weaved magic in such a simple and enjoyable way.

Have you got both printed and digital books published?

There is a print copy of A Question of Biology available. The others I haven’t got around to doing in print yet as I have been mainly stuck on Kindle as a way of reaching out to the world.

Do you try to write to satisfy what is fashionable, or do you write pieces that you would want to read?

I have no interest in fashion when I write – it has to come from the heart or it is not worth spending your time on. The reader can sense this right away. I think you have to write to satisfy some inner need – in my case at the moment I would love to get to the bottom of what made John Lennon and the Beatles tick – as there was a kind of magic in the air and around them.

How do you fit writing into your life? Do you have set times for writing?

No set times, just when I have the time; which is far too rarely at the moment, usually a few hours a week.

Do you keep every jotting of ideas, just in case they might be developed at some later date?

No but I wish I did. What I do is to write a little summary of each storyline that I think of, and then keep it in a Word file for later development.

Do you write freeform or do you faithfully plan every piece meticulously before you start on a piece?

It is a bit of both. I think you need some structure or idea of the general story. But one of the great things about writing is how characters and stories take on a life of their own as you write. It is quite exciting when that happens, as if you were giving a voice to another person.

When writing, most authors now use a computer of some description. Which do you find more satisfying: writing using any means available, using a computer, using a typewriter or using a pen/pencil?

I prefer the computer, although it can be frustrating if your typing is not good that day. I hate writing with a pen, it is just too slow.

Have you ever been somewhere and discovered a copy of a book that’s extremely difficult to find, and drooled over the discovery?

Yeah, sure, as almost all the books I read are from second-hand shops and you never know what you’ll find. Joking aside, when I found a copy of Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson I was really pleased, as it is such an exquisite piece of writing.

What is your greatest ambition in writing?

To have my books read by many people all round the world and to teach people important things and educate the young particularly about important scientific and world problems that we all need to understand as we stare into the near future. To communicate on a world stage, as I feel I have something valuable to say to most people on the planet. To take this unique chance we have in the digital age, to reach the hearts and minds of as many human beings as I can, whether it be about what made the Beatles produce so much joy, or what we have to do to save our planet.

Where can readers find out more about your works?

They can have a look on Kindle or Amazon.co.uk. I will be doing a Facebook page soon. Also they can look at my website www.freeducate.co.uk

Excerpt of a New Tale Plus News

Twitter Frustrations

It’s very frustrating.  It drives me to distraction.  For a while now, I’ve been unable to Follow anybody new on Twitter!  I have, it seems, hit the maximum for the number of Followers that I have.  I’ve pruned out some who I was following but weren’t following me, but there are many I wouldn’t expect to follow me!  So I’m stuck.  Some kind folk have opted to follow me in this troubled time, but I can’t reciprocate.  It’s very disheartening, too, when I read that it can take months to reach the next level!  So, while there was a time I wouldn’t have believed I would say it: “Twitter, a first cap of 2000 Followers isn’t high enough, by far!”

Online Business Cards and LinkedIn

Following on from my post in which I spoke (briefly) about Spam, I am ashamed to admit that I got caught recently!  Years of being so careful and never taking anything at face value, and BAM!!  I am a member of LinkedIn, which has brought me into contact with some very good people, as well as adding new levels of links to some I connect with elsewhere.  When, therefore, I get a message asking me to rate somebody on their online business card, I have no problem.  Well, there’s the mistake!  I should have been more cautious.  No reflection on the person who made that initial request, but the whole thing stinks.  I rated them and clicked on a button, all very authentic looking, saying Log in with LinkedIn.  Now, I had no idea if the rating had been recorded.  It went to a screen with my own business card displayed – and that should have rung big bells!  I hadn’t set up a business card!  Oh no, I must have been really switched off that day.  I accepted the offer and did what it asked.  Yes, it was a mass message but it was just a one-off…  Want to bet?  Oh no, the website, mybizcard.co, has since sent two more such mass mailings (that I know of).  Apparently, it had used stealth mode to attach itself as an app on my LinkedIn settings!  I launched complaints to LinkedIn Support. After having to put up with replies from them, which made it all too obvious that they weren’t reading my comments/replies, or were trying to dodge the issue, I’ve finally put the saga of the online business card scam behind me – I hope!  Well, that’s after 72 hours have elapsed, I’ll be free of it, I’m told…  Trust me folks!  Don’t join mybizcard.co!  Don’t even go on their website!

*****

Writing

Yes, I do still write!  Following a couple of bad days, in health terms, and battling the internet demons, I haven’t actually made a huge dent in the things I’ve got on the boil at the moment.  That’s another frustration to add to those of recent times.  I can feel the ‘you have to write’ worm gnawing away at me and yet somehow the days still sneak past with nothing of significance achieved.  I think my novel is under a pile of dust in the darkest corner of my hard drive.  The rest pops to the surface now and then, only to sink under that dread word: Later.  I have sufficient reasons to get on with it.  There’s that beautiful paperback copy of Shade of Evil, and I’ve actually had one or two more sales of ebooks.  That should be plenty of inspiration!  Shouldn’t it?

If you’re wondering, I’m working on a third story in the G1: The Guardians series.  What length it will be remains to be seen, but it won’t be smaller than a novelette.  It follows on from the second, after a few months have elapsed.  Meanwhile, in the field of science fiction, Captain Duschelle is currently resting, awaiting his next adventure.  At the same time, I occasionally dip into a longer tale that I’m working on, using the authoring/publishing website, Pressbooks.  This is actually a WordPress based site, fitted out with some nice, useful templates for authors.  The tale I’m writing there, off and on, is an Alternate History, though I fear it may also incur the label ‘Steampunk’.  Apart from the Alternate History aspect, it’s a detective/mystery tale – another first for me.  To distinguish its alternate facet, the language is very different, and requires care – which is why I have to be in the right frame of mind to add to it.  Just as a teaser, here’s a teaser (the opening of Chapter 1):

Ronald Lowden had anything but the look of either the powerful intelligence he possessed or his profession as a detective.  He was, in fact, acutely ordinary.  Somewhat round of face, with thin brown hair, hazel eyes, and a pale complexion, he was of average height and slightly above his ideal weight.  When he walked into a crowded room, nobody stopped to stare.  In fact, most people didn’t even notice his arrival.  But that very ordinariness worked in his favour, much of the time.  A good detective should be invisible, when he’s on assignment.  Unfortunately, everything else tended to make him less than imposing when a confrontation with unsavoury types was unavoidable.  In essence, however, he was not entirely unhappy with his lot, other than for the fact that he was less than impressive in the eyes of women.  His liaisons on that score had been few and far between, and his employment had ensured that all ha ended unhappily.

Lowden was not a classic private investigator, in that he only ever took cases that intrigued him at a personal level.  He was, most definitely, not ‘in it for the money’.  When his penchant for mysteries of crime had first surfaced, his clergyman father had hoped that he would jin the police.  That was never going to happen, however.  The police held to certain requirements of physical fitness and obedience to orders.  Both were anathema to Lowden.  His only powerful ‘muscle’ was his mind, and that was extremely well developed.

The truly unfortunate thing for Lowden was the fact that so few people knew of him and his choice of profession.  Consequently, he struggled financially.  He couldn’t afford an office and the tiny flat he lived in was not suitable for receiving visits from mice, let alone potential clients.  If it wasn’t for his mother’s generosity, which was always a bone of contention with his father, he couldn’t have afforded even that pathetic accommodation.  Contrary to his father’s oft stated opinion, however, Lowden was mortified that he had to accept the financial support of his mother.

Much was to change.  And soon.  He had no clue to what was going to occur, however, on the morning that he made his way from his flat to the tacky little café where he customarily breakfasted.  It was a very normal Thursday in early Spring.  Cool and bright at the moment, but probably destined to turn cold and wet.  He entered the café, an old bell clattering at the door, and took his usual seat in the window.  Why he sat there, he didn’t know.  The window was so grubby on the outside that it barely counted as a window.  He waited a few moments, until the woman on the counter deigned to approach, a tatty pad in one hand, pencil in the other.  It was the normal routine.  He made a show of reading the unchanging menu, sighed, and ordered the same thing as he had every Thursday.

Lowden was half way into a plate of scrambled eggs on (overdone) toast when a small, round blob of a man suddenly sat at his table, facing him.  Startled, and at a loss for words, all Lowden could do was stare blankly at the man.  The stranger was shorter than himself, by a considerable measure, and dressed in a black suit, white shirt, neatly knotted black tie.  His head was disturbingly close to being an almost perfect sphere.  His nose was a round lump, with scarlet pinpricks which suggested a drinker.  His eyes were small, black objects that glittered like polished jet but gave no hint of anything within their depths.  Tidy but thin eyebrows arched over his eyes.  Beneath his nose was a pencil line of a black moustache, then a small mouth with thin, pale  lips, and finally a perfect little goatee.

“You are Mister Ronald Percival Lowden?” the stranger almost demanded, in a surprisingly deep, but reedy, voice.

Lowden finished his mouthful of food and then slowly reached for the tall,thick, slightly chipped mug of strong tea.  He raised the mug, not looking at the intruder, and took a sip.  Only then did he return his gaze to the man.

“Who I am,” he said calmly, “is my own business, I believe.  What I am willing to divulge is that I am not kindly disposed to rude people.  How is it that you believe you may intrude upon a gentleman at his breakfast, without his consent?”

The stranger blinked rapidly.  “Your pardon, sir,”  he said, with no trace of sincerity.  “I am come upon a most urgent matter, and it has already cost me time to find you, having discovered that you were not in your… er… apartment.”

“Really?  Most extraordinary.  How did you come to know my address?  I do not advertise it.”

“By the kindness of your mother.”

“Remarkable.  But, sir, you have the advantage.  You have not yet introduced yourself.”  He again raised the mug of teato his lips, waiting.  ‘I must have words with dear Mother.’

“I am Humphrey Kingsley, of the Waterbridge Kingsleys.”

“Very pleasant for you, I am sure.  It is always advantageous to have a Name.”  Waterbridge was a quaint hamlet some three miles from where Lowden’s parents lived, and probably enjoyed his father’s rambling sermons on certain Sundays.  The area was renowned, unfortunately, for a certain snobbishness, where pecking order in ‘polite society’ was all-important.  “Now then, Humphrey Kingsley, what is this ‘most urgent matter’?  And how does it involve myself?”

“It is a most delicate affair,” Kingsley replied, glancing round.

The café was empty apart from themselves, and the woman at the counter, who was far more interested in reading a newspaper that rested over the pile of rolls that never seemed to change.

“I do believe we are safe from eavesdroppers,” Lowden said drily.

Kingsley took a deep breath.  “Very well.  The matter is just this:  Yesterday, at approximately ten fifteen in the morning, my superior vanished.  He was known to be in his office, from which there is but one exit, passing through his secretary’s office, which is, in effect, the anteroom to the large room occupied by my superior.  He was seen to enter his office at ten minutes past ten.  At twenty past ten, I sought to speak with him on an internal matter of no consequence to this affair.  The secretary, a most dependable woman in her forties, a Miss Alice Roach, went to the door and opened it to gain acceptance of my request.  She returned to me in a state of some considerable confusion.  When she stated that my superior was missing, I immediately grew concerned and entered the office myself.  There was definitely no sign of my superior.  Fearing some dreadful event, I checked the windows, but found them all securely closed and fastened.”

“Which Department do you work for?” Lowden asked suddenly.

“I am with the Foreign Office,  as….  How do you know that I am in government?”

“Your evasion of using any name or title for your superior suggests one who may be well knwn to the public at large.  Also, you have never once mentioned where you are employed.”

“Remarkable,” Kingsley said.  “Well, you have heard my tale.  Do you believe that you can help solve the riddle?”

“I do think that I may be able to solve the puzzle.  Come, we shall go to your offices and investigate the scene.”

Lowden stood up, Kingsley hurriedly following suit,  and paid his bill at the counter.  The pair of them left the café, stepping out into a hot day that threatened the dreaded Smog.  A short distance away, Lowden hailed a steam-cab and they were soon trundling through the narrow streets of the old city, a trail of steam left behind.  The driver sat up front, in a high seat, watching his gauges and occasionally feeding small lumps of coal into the little firebox.  Similar vehicles were everywhere, all in bright colours and most sporting the liveries of cab companies.

~ Steve

First Paperback Released!

Yes, that’s right!  My first paperback has been released!  You may recall that I mentioned in previous posts that I was trying two different ‘Print On Demand’ (POD) services.  Well, the clear winner in terms of timescale and level of communications is skoobebooks.  Skoobebooks had everything but the final )printer’s) proof sorted by last weekend, and that last proof was sorted yesterday.  I would like to express my thanks to Keith at skoobebooks for all his hard work.  Needless to say, more paperbacks will be entrusted to them!

FeedARead are still processing the novelette I sent them.  They have finished the interior but the cover hasn’t yet been finished.  Considering the fact that I sent the manuscript to FeedARead first, I’m not overly impressed with their performance so far.

Now, as to the actual, real live paperback:

For the Sake of Mercy (A Captain Henri Duschelle Story) is available for ordering.  It costs £3.99 GBP, plus post & packaging, and is normally despatched in 5-10 days from skoobebooks.

To repeat the book’s blurb:

Merchant Captain Henri Duschelle, a man Union Fleet wish they had, must lead his loyal, hard fighting crew on a seemingly impossible mission: to deliver a vital organ to the dying son of one of his crew, across the longest span of the colonised worlds – to an insane deadline. He is convinced that only his ship, the stunningly beautiful Persephone, can make such a journey in the time allowed. But dangers lie in wait on this, perhaps the greatest voyage ever made by humans…

A novelette in the series: The Captain Henri Duschelle Stories.

The paperback has 68 pages.

About the Series:

For those ‘not in the know’, the series of The Captain Henri Duschelle Stories made an early start with the short story To Sail The Dark Sea.  I decided that that tale would, for now, constitute Number 0.5 of the series, with For the Sake of Mercy being Number 1 and the next novelette, The Ossilan Affair, being Number 2.  At this point in time, there isn’t a set chronology, other than the fact that Number 2 most definitely follows immediately on from Number 1!  That may sound obvious, but those numbers may change in time, if new tales actually precede them chronologically.  The numbers, therefore, are rather arbitrary.  It’s not even certain, at this point, that the short story occurs earlier than the tales in the two novelettes.  The numbers are there purely for convenience.  Also, there is no certainty that future tales will all be either short stories or novelettes.  It is an entirely flexible arrangement.  All I can say, with any certainty, is that the existing short story will continue to be available for free download, though it may be added to another, longer, tale in the future, as ‘bonus material’ for anybody who hasn’t availed themselves of the offer.

~ Steve

“The Ossilan Affair”: New Release

The Ossilan Affair Yes, folks!  Captain Henri Duschelle has sailed again.  In fact, he sailed right into the Amazon bookstores worldwide.  The latest adventure was released yesterday, 28th March.  It’s another novelette, of around 43 pages, or a little over 13,500 words.  To quote the blurb:

A terrible disaster on the Earth type planet of Ossilan leads to Captain Henri Duschelle and his crew being enlisted to risk destruction to investigate. The mystery isn’t what it appears to be, with powerful forces working in the background. Can Duschelle solve the mystery, and live to tell the tale?

This tale follows on, chronologically from the last, For the Sake of Mercy.

You can buy the ebook in Kindle format from:

Amazon.com (worldwide)

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon France

Amazon Germany

Amazon Spain

Amazon Italy

Amazon Japan

Amazon Brazil

If you’d like to buy a copy in a different format, you can either wait until it’s released through Smashwords or you can contact me directly.  I can email other formats, as soon as payment is received.

“The Forever Saga: Flash” by Sean C Sousa – A Review

Flash Cover Foxtrot - eBook cover The Forever Saga: Flash, by Sean C Sousa, has an opening chapter that leaves you wanting more.  The first scene is a classic science fiction location, filled with remarkable constructions and characters, that is far beyond our understanding.  Beyond this, however, you discover some clever juxtapositions: age against youth, the extraordinary against the mundane.  The story’s pace ranges from the amble of the aged, through the quickness of youth, to the soaring of the overarching peril.  There are also subtle links between each, such as the troubled love lives of Brian and Jason Renney.  Some readers may find the shifts in pace and content difficult, but it really is worth the small effort required to read the story without skipping over parts.  You are, after all, being presented with genuine characters, with lives beyond the story itself.  I found the strong characters most impressive, as was how quickly they become “real”.  In fact, the characters, and their relationships, are refreshingly realistic.

From the very beginning, the science fiction aspects of the novel are very well presented, creating a believable science.  It’s good, hard core stuff, which I believe actually enhances the contrast between it and the “mundane” nature of the other, more “real life” portions.  I will admit that the moment the mundane collides with the fantastic might have benefited from a greater sense of unreality and confusion on the part of the ‘normal’ characters, with a healthy dose of disbelief and denial.  There are one or two places where characters possess knowledge which seems rather inexplicable at this same point in the story, which is a shame when continuity has been so well maintained up until then.  The hardest part to swallow is in the flashbacks to Vietnam experienced by Brian Renney, who is presented almost as some kind of super soldier, capable of feats of daring and physical prowess far beyond what I would regard as credible.  Those moments could do with toning down somewhat.  The other action sequences are well written, making you want more.  The pace of the novel picks up so gently that you barely notice that it’s become far more urgent, demanding that you continue to read as quickly as possible.  The growing sense of an impending collision between good and evil is inescapable.  I have no desire to spoil things for readers and, as a consequence, I’ve really struggled to know how to say this: there is a part of the novel that I find immensely moving.  It is very well written indeed.  I will say no more on it.

If I have a gripe, it’s one that’s all too common these days.  Whether it’s a fault in proofreading or in production, I can’t know, but there are many problems with typographical errors, spelling mistakes and missing or misplaced words.  This isn’t a criticism aimed at Mr Sousa!  In fact, as already intimated, it’s not even aimed at this novel.  These problems appear in every book I’ve read in recent times.  I tend to read more than one book at a time, which now usually means a traditional book and an ebook.  There’s very little difference in the number of errors in either.  It is a pet peeve of mine,I freely admit.  It is a shame that authors are, effectively, being embarrassed by such problems.  The problem that tends to plague ebooks, specifically, is one of formatting – which often seems “broken”, but this might be a result of formatting for one type of ebook but publishing in multiple forms, by just converting the original ebook format rather than publishing from the original document file(s).

Now, to close.  If anything I’ve said above is putting you off reading this book, then please reconsider!  Any review is subjective.  Things I may love, you may hate, and vice versa.  This is definitely a novel that deserves more exposure.  Apart from the charming nod to the Flash Gordon comics, and the fact that this is an adventure worthy of the early days of heroic science fiction, it’s also bang up to date too.  That’s quite an achievement.  I would recommend The Forever Saga: Flash to all science fiction fans, and especially those with fond memories of the early ‘pulp fiction’ (no, not the movie!) days of the genre.

Five stars all the way.

~ Steve


Sean C SousaAuthor Bio for Sean C Sousa

Sean C. Sousa never planned on writing a novel – that is, until the idea for The Forever Saga came along.  He first conceived it as a video game design concept, then a screenplay, and finally a written work of fiction.  His debut novel, The Forever Saga: Flash, marks the end of one six-year journey toward publication, and also the beginning of another: to bring his stories to a worldwide audience.

His dream is to see fiction inspire positive social change in the world, calling attention to issues of social justice and mobilizing his readership to meet the needs of those afflicted.

Mr. Sousa resides in Southern California with his wife, Shelley, and when he is not writing further adventures about the Renney family, he is usually up to socially acceptable mischief with his friends and family.

The Forever Saga: Flash may be purchased from Amazon.com.

The Captain Returns!

For the Sake of MercyCaptain Henri Duschelle, hero of To Sail The Dark Sea, has returned in a new tale.  This one, For the Sake of Mercy, is a novelette.  To quote the blurb:

Captain Henri Duschelle must lead his loyal crew on a seemingly impossible mission: to deliver a vital organ to one of the crew’s son, across the longest part of the colonised worlds – to an insane deadline. He is convinced that only his ship, the stunningly beautiful “Persephone” can make such a journey. But problems lie in wait…

Now for the significant part of this news!  I have been known to be less than admiring of Amazon and their business tactics, as far as self-publishing is concerned.  Well, I like to think that I am fair, so I have opted to publish this novelette through Amazon!  It is available for the Kindle machines in various countries, at the bargain price I’ve detailed against the links (price quoted is approximate).  This is very much an experiment!  I’ll be interested to see how things go.  Note that I did not opt to participate in the Kindle Select program as I dislike the restrictions that it imposes.  If you purchase and read the ebook, I would very much appreciate your feedback on Amazon!

Purchase links:

Amazon.com : $0.99 (USA and India?)

Amazon UK: £0.77

Amazon Canada: $1.01

Amazon Germany: €0.89

Amazon France: €0.89

Amazon Spain: €0.89

Amazon Italy: €0.89

Amazon Japan: ¥99

Amazon Brazil: R$1.99

Other countries: Please contact me.  I will email you the Kindle version on receipt of payment via PayPal.

Coming tomorrow!

“The Forever Saga: Flash” by Sean C Sousa – A Review

Prejudice – A Writer’s Responsibilities

Let me start by making it very clear that this post conveys my personal opinions!

There’s a long tradition in fiction, especially genres like fantasy and science fiction, for racial and species-centric prejudice to show themselves boldly, and usually as something acceptable.  The question in my mind is: is this something which needs to be reconsidered by authors?  Any right-minded person rejects racial prejudice.  In fact, they should reject any such blind prejudice.  I believe that many authors are as opposed to racism as the majority of the population is.  How, then, do they justify the prejudice in their own writing?

We’re all familiar with tales of alien encounters where the first reaction of Humanity is to either enter into warfare or to at least assume a “militarily ready” posture.  Equally, we know of fantasy tales in which other species are cast as wholly evil, creatures to be destroyed at any cost.  There are fewer tales of genuine harmony in relations with non-humans, even when some species are cast as allies.  There is always an undertone, a dark history, of conflict between the species.

If the writer intends to use such bad relationships to attack racism or speciesism, fair enough.  To attempt to bring light into the darkness is laudable.  Sadly, it is also very rare.  I’m no less guilty than others.  I’ve written my share of pieces where these unhappy prejudices are used, even if they aren’t a part of my own personality.  It’s just so easy to do, to follow the tradition.

Surely, it is our responsibility to change this?  Our villains can be cast as unusual specimens of whatever race or species they are of.  We need not write of our many rational species as being intrinsically good or evil.  If such thinking does appear in our work, then shouldn’t it be balanced by our heroes giving voice to, at the very least, doubts about the assertion of intrinsic evil?  Can’t our best characters declare their understanding that the evil-doers are either unwitting pawns of extraordinary individuals or not representative of their entire species?

It would be most unfortunate if an alien species judged all Humanity by the likes of Hitler and the millions who followed him, through their own badness, fear of the cost of not following, or blind obedience to authority.  The threat of genocide in such circumstances would be all too real.  If we dislike that thought, shouldn’t we, as writers, attempt to suggest that Humanity, as a species, should be ready to welcome others in peace?

~ Steve