Books To Read For Fans of Fantasy and Sci-Fi | January 2021

Books To Read For Fans of Fantasy and Sci-Fi | January 2021

The month of January has brought us some fantastic fantasy and sci-fi books and we couldn’t help but share some of our favorite new releases. Check out the latest from bestselling authors Mark Wells, E.A. Chance, Rory Surtain, Jule Owen, Victoria Saccenti, and Dianne Duvall. Enjoy your new books!


Gate of Shadows

by Mark Wells

Release Date: January 15, 2021

The second book in the Cambridge Gothic Series by Mark Wells… A mystic portal lies open. A chilling predator stalks the night. Can an undaunted student stop the darkness from spreading? Giles Chamberlain is determined to prove himself to his girlfriend’s family, so sets out to discover what became of her missing brother. But when he encounters a sinister figure prowling the college’s rooftops, he suspects last semester’s creature was not the only entity to cross into our world.

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Hunting Daybreak

by E.A. Chance

Release Date: January 14, 2021

The second book in the Shattered Sunlight Series by bestselling author E.A. Chance… In the aftermath of a deadly global solar flare, Dr. Riley Poole embarks on a treacherous journey to learn the fate of her two youngest children. After making the heart-wrenching choice to leave her injured teenage daughter, Julia, in the hands of her aunt and uncle, Riley and her new husband, Coop, strike out into the wilderness toward Colorado.

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Sorrow’s Twin

by Rory Surtain

Release Date: January 18, 2021

The third book in the Demon in Exile Series by Rory Surtain…Sometimes, everything goes according to plan. I dread those moments. Colivar is a Kingdom plagued by seemingly random incursions from the Infernal Domain. For centuries, the Order of the Vigil has fought to stem the tide and preserve the Realm, but politics and uncivil wars have depleted their ranks. For reasons unknown, the High Prince of Hell has decided to lend them a hand in the form of a demon in exile.

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Elidir

by Jule Owen

Release Date: November 15, 2020

The second book in The Recoverist Quartet by Jule Owen… At the end of the twenty-fifth century, two young women in search of their history, uncover dangerous secrets and create some of their own. Elidir can not be found on any official map. A dome protects its citizens from raging storms and deadly heat, while high walls protect them from the desert people known as Non-Grata. In this secret city, deep beneath a mountain, lie the remains of Western civilization.

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Titanian’s Phoenix

by Victoria Saccenti

Release Date: January 15, 2021

The first book in the Titanian Chronicles by Victoria Saccenti… Maya Brown doesn’t believe in magic—until she was kidnapped along with her eccentric godmother, Anna. By elves. After she is freed by a strange power, Maya follows Anna’s plea to seek out a man named Soren at a magical bar. Maya doesn’t believe in love at first sight, either, but when she encounters seven-plus feet of muscle and mood-changing eyes, her body does a full-on reset.

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The Segonian

by Dianne Duvall

Release Date: January 19, 2021

The second book in the Aldebarian Alliance by New York Times Bestselling Author Dianne Duvall… Eliana has never had an ordinary life. Well, it hasn’t been ordinary for a long time. As a powerful Immortal Guardian, she spends her nights hunting and slaying psychotic vampires that most of humanity doesn’t even realize exist. Then she is presented with an opportunity to instantly make her existence seem downright boring. The leader of the Immortal Guardians asks her to guard a group of mortals who are embarking upon a voyage across the galaxy to the planet Lasara. How could she possibly say no?

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The Story Behind Hunting Daybreak by E.A. Chance

By E.A Chance

I’ve always been fascinated with cosmology, so a few years ago, I got the spark of an idea about what it would be like to live in the aftermath of a global solar flare that has destroyed the power grid and decimated the human population. The Shattered Sunlight series is the result. When I began researching for the series, I never dreamed I’d be writing this story amid a global pandemic. There were days when I was creating Hunting Daybreak that what I wrote hit a little close to home. Fortunately, our situation is nowhere near as dire as what Dr. Riley Poole and company faced, and gratefully, we have an end in sight.

That’s not the case for Riley. Hunting Daybreak begins days after Riley has made the gut-wrenching choice to leave her thirteen-year-old daughter, Julia, behind at her uncle’s ranch in western Virginia and head out with her new husband, Coop, to learn the fate of her two younger children Colorado. Traveling on horseback, Riley and Coop run into trouble right away when they’re hit with drenching downpours that go on for days. Their journey only goes downhill from there.

Riley and Coop cross paths with old acquaintances early on and combined resources to travel together but soon learn that one member of their group has put them in grave danger. This forces them to stay one step ahead of a hostile, newly formed government. In the middle of all this chaos, Riley and Coop get life-altering news that further jeopardizes their trek’s success.
Will Riley have the wit and courage to cross a continent and reunite her family?

Riley has been one of my favorite characters to write because she’s tougher than she knows but only sees her flaws and weaknesses. She’s an orthopedic surgeon, which is a hugely male-dominated profession. She’s five-feet tall with fiery red curls and suffered from PTSD due to the tragic death of her first husband. She’s left alone to care for their three children and continue her medical practice. Believing she’s been dealt the worst life has to offer, she’s thrust into a devastating post-apocalyptic world.

Riley comes from a place where I believe most of us are capable of far more than we give ourselves credit for. I’ve wondered many times in the past year how many of us have discovered an inner reserve we didn’t know we possessed? I’ve heard many say they’ve been pushed to the edge but have found the strength to continue, and sometimes thrive. To me, this is what life is about, growing, learning, overcoming, conquering! We all have that inner superhero. It’s only a matter of tapping into it.

E.A. Chance is the author of the new book Hunting Daybreak

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Interview with Jule Owen, Author of Elidir

What can you tell us about your new release, Elidir?

Isobel Twelvetrees and Mo Llewelyn are drawn together across societal divides. They search for clues to the truth in their history, but their relationship threatens those in power.

Elidir is the second book in The Recoverist Quartet, a science fiction story for young adults of any age. It is set in the same world I created in The House Next Door trilogy, but 350 years further into the future. It tells the story of Isobel Twelvetrees and why she was rejected by her people and left outside her city walls to die.

My stories imagine a future transformed by climate change and technology. The British Isles near the end of the twenty-fifth century is unrecognizable to twenty-first-century eyes. Rising sea levels and extreme weather have transformed England’s green pastures to dust and moved the population north. The privileged retreat to climate-controlled cities. The rest survive the best they can, exposed to superstorms and lack of water as the seas rise steadily and transform the coasts.

Elidir is an anomaly. It is a small place built around a hollow Welsh mountain. It contains the remnants of the British Isles’ cultural heritage and has been erased from maps to protect it from destruction. The documents the archive contains are dangerous in the wrong hands, and Isobel’s and Mo’s curiosity leads them into danger.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I have written stories since I was a very young child. I never really stopped, I just learned how to write longer stories, to finish a book and a while after that I worked out how to finish a book other people wanted to read.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Gosh this is a very hard question. I will interpret ‘best’ as ‘books I enjoyed most’ because beyond a certain point the judgement of the quality books is highly subjective.

At a push, my top all-time top 5 would be:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

They are all beautifully written, entirely absorbing worlds with unforgettable characters. In case you are wondering, two of them are ghost stories, one of them a fantasy novel (verging on speculative fiction) and the other two science fiction, with Frankenstein being the original text that spawned a whole genre.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I’d probably bring Terry Pratchett back from the dead (generally a good idea IMHO) and ask him who in his life inspired his characters.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Making up worlds and naming things.

What is a typical day like for you?

Meditation, exercise, sitting at a desk and typing.

What scene from Elidir was your favorite to write?

The one where Isobel and Mark meet.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Strong intention, low attachment.

Jule Owen is the author of the new book Elidir

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New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books | January 20

Set off on an adventure to new worlds this week! This selection of new science fiction and fantasy books will surely please! Science Fiction fans should be excited about the latest from bestselling authors Julie Owen, E.A. Chance, N.D. Roberts, and more. If Fantasy is what your library needs, you’ll be able to pick up the latest from Rory Surtain, Joshua Phillip Johnson, Kevin J. Anderson, and more. Enjoy your new science fiction and fantasy books. Happy reading!


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Interview with G J Ogden, Author of The Star Scavenger Series

What can you tell us about your new release, Star Scavenger: The Complete Series Books 1-5?

The Star Scavenger series follows Hudson Powell, an ace pilot and lost soul with a strong code of honor who unwittingly rekindles a deadly conflict with an ancient alien threat. Disillusioned with his job working for the corrupt Relic Guardian Force – a police force that protects alien wreck sites found across the galaxy – Hudson quits and enters the seductive world of relic hunting. Think Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider combined with the planet-hopping action of Firefly.

During his adventures, Hudson stumbles upon an ancient relic that awakens an alien killing machine that has been dormant for millennia. And now this entity aims to finish what it started and wipe out all corporeal life in the galaxy…

The five books in the series cover Hudson’s journey from reluctant RGF cop to hopeful savior of the human race, taking in numerous alien worlds in the process. It’s an action-packed series full of twists and turns and some obnoxious bad guys. One reader even quit the series because he was so angry that one particular character didn’t die in book one! All I’ll say is that the reader should have persisted to find out what happened to him…

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I don’t think it was one thing in particular. I’ve always loved science fiction and the idea of creating my own stories appealed to me from an early age. I used to do a lot of fantasy role-playing as a gamemaster, so I think that was my first experience of crafting stories and adventures for others to enjoy.

I’ve also always loved writing. I worked as a technology journalist and actually started writing my first novel almost twenty years ago, but gave up because – well, it’s hard, and life gets in the way. However, getting older gives you some perspective and I finally realized that writing books is what I’ve always wanted to do.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

It’s a lot of classic science fiction, often with an apocalyptic angle. That might sound quite bleak, but I’ve always been drawn to the post-apocalyptic setting. There are hardships and dangers, but it’s a fresh start and a chance to do things differently. There’s hope and hope is a major theme in most of my books.

For example, I love On the Beach by Nevil Shute. It might have aged in the fifty years since it was first published, but its impact is undiminished. I am Legend is another of my favorites in the apocalyptic mould, though perhaps this is more along the line of Zombie Apocalypse, rather than sci-fi.

On the military sci-fi / space opera front (which is a lot of what I write), I think the Forever War by Joe Halderman is a must-read. My two favorite sci-fi books, however, are both by Alfred Bester. I flit between whether The Stars My Destination (Tiger Tiger) or The Demolished Man is my top, but at the time of writing it’s probably the latter. Both are amazing books that get better on re-reads.

Hudson Powell – the protagonist in The Star Scavenger Series – is named after Lincoln Powell, the Prefect of Police in The Demolished Man, though the characters share few similarities!

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I’d love to talk to sci-fi authors new and old about where their ideas come from. So maybe Alfred Bester, since I’ve already mentioned him, but I’d love to ask the same question of a host of authors and see how their answers differ.

For me, a lot of the time, my ideas come while I’m out walking or quite often in the middle of the night. Sometimes I’ll wake up with the nugget of an idea, and I’ll have to grab my phone and email it to myself, otherwise I’ll forget and it will be lost.

For example, for one of my other series – The Contingency – it all came from an article I read about how lava tubes on other worlds could be large enough to house entire cities. I thought nothing of it at the time then woke up in the middle of the night with the story idea in my head! For Star Scavenger, it was a mash-up of all sorts of things that were floating around my head at the time, but the email I sent to myself (so I didn’t forget) had the subject line “space relic hunters”. In three words, that sums it up pretty well!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

It sounds corny, but for me it is escapism. It’s like watching your favorite TV show, but you’re the writer and director, the star of the show and the villain. You can be evil and ruthless one moment, heroic and inspiring the next. It’s certainly harder than probably most people expect or realize, as it requires a lot of commitment, but it’s incredibly rewording and enjoyable too.

What is a typical day like for you?

I aim to write a chapter a day (roughly 2,000 words) every day. The only day in 2020 where I didn’t write was Christmas Day! The rest of my time is spent editing other works-in-progress and managing the admin and marketing side of publishing. I’m hybrid-published, so some books I publish and manage myself and some are published by a specialist Sci-Fi small press (Aethon Books).

If I get time in the evening, I’ll spend a little bit of time on Rimworld (amazing game!) and then watch an episode of whatever TV show / boxed set is flavor of the month. I wish I could forget what happened in season two of The Mandalorian so I can watch it and be surprised all over again!

What scene from Star Scavenger: The Complete Series Books 1-5 was your favorite to write?

That’s hard – it’s like asking which is your favorite child! I think there are moments in each book where I sat back after finishing a scene and just blew out a heavy sigh. Sometimes it’s because it’s a sad moment and sometimes because it’s a cathartic moment, where someone or something gets what’s coming to them.

I spend a lot of time building storylines through the books. They all spider off in different directions, but come together at the end. I love endings, even though they’re hard and bittersweet as a writer. In Star Scavenger the ending (as is often the case with my books) has elements of sadness, but also hope. Always hope. There can be sorrow, tragedy – planets literally exploding – but always there is hope. Hope is so powerful, especially in science fiction where the odds can seem insurmountable. The characters have to believe they can win the day, and the reader has to be along for the ride.

So the final scene in book five – The Last Revocater – where the heroes are all together on the cliffs above Alamere Falls outside San Francisco was very satisfying. I think in general the Star Scavenger series builds to a really satisfying end. Though I also love the cheeky little Epilogue. I think readers who make the five-book journey will enjoy that too!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

I don’t, though my characters often do. Hudson Powell from the Star Scavenger series is a ‘by the book’ guy. He won’t break his code, even if that means leaving an enemy alive. Some people find that concept maddening, but it makes for a more interesting character. And, ultimately, as the series shows, you can be a ‘good guy’ and win the day, so long as you never give up hope.

So I’ll just steal John Cena’s motto and say my motto (or at least the motto of my stories) is, ‘Never Give Up’.

G J Ogden is the author of the new book Star Scavenger: The Complete Series Books 1-5

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New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books | January 12

Set off on an adventure to new worlds this week! This selection of new science fiction and fantasy books will surely please! Science Fiction fans should be excited about the latest from bestselling authors G J Ogden, David Weber, Jon Justice, and more. If Fantasy is what your library needs, you’ll be able to pick up the latest from Claire Contreras, Marcus Abshire, Michael Anderle, and more. Enjoy your new science fiction and fantasy books. Happy reading!


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Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels | January 2021

Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels | January 2021

Have you been searching high and low to find your next favorite science fiction and fantasy novel? Don’t miss our latest must-read book recommendations from Marti Ward, Marcus Abshire, Philip Nolen, Claire Contreras, Arwen Paris, and G J Ogden. Enjoy your new books and happy reading!


Moraturi Ring: Paradisi Chronicles

by Marti Ward

Release Date: January 4, 2021

The third book in the Lost Mission Series by Marti Ward… SS Moraturi is a Lunar Earth Transfer Orbiter that is taking two cryoholds full of colonists to New Eden, an earth-like planet in the Paradisi system, 2.5 million light-years from Earth in the Andromeda galaxy. Eva’s problem is that the trip that was to take one year is now going to take decades – their emergency supplies were based on 200% of expected needs for just 16 crew members with the 500 passengers in cryo, and the cryotechnology can’t keep them alive for even a decade at a stretch.

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Dark Burn

by Marcus Abshire

Release Date: December 25, 2020

The first book in the Ways of the Warlock Series by Marcus Ashire… My name is Jakobus Shaw and all I want is to be left the hell alone. Once upon a time, I was a warlock. I killed, I tortured, I did all kinds of horrible things for more power, for more control, but I have tried hard to put that all behind me. Now, someone just framed me for murder. A coven of white witches thinks I killed one of their own and they want their pound of flesh. My past is coming back to haunt me and there isn’t a damn thing I can do to stop it.

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Quantum Surge

by Philip Nolen

Release Date: December 5, 2020

“New military science fiction with both the physics and the history meticulously worked out in interesting ways.” The first book in The Jankin Decatur Series by Philip Nolen… It was the time of the fabled First Colonies. It was humanity’s first steps beyond the star of our origin. It was the beginning of a period of great galactic expansion brought on by the discovery of the most minuscule particle in the universe. It was an age that so tried the soul of humankind as to have nearly brought Homo sapiens to an end.

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Fables & Other Lies

by Claire Contreras

Release Date: December 20, 2020

“It is hands down one the most refreshing, magical, intense, twisty reads of 2020!” The new novel from New York Times Bestselling Author Claire Contreras… Do you believe in curses? I never did. Not until that fated night, six years ago, when I sat in The Devil’s Chair and made a wish. Not until it came true. Not until I met River Caliban himself, heir to a fortune of curses. My fated sworn enemy.

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Relic Bounty

by Arwen Paris

Release Date: December 30, 2020

Bounty hunter Janis Torzen finally has a chance to free himself from his indentured servitude to the mob. The brutal weather on planet Urrak is as unforgiving as the mob boss Janis works for, so of course a sudden sandstorm upsets his best laid plans. To make things worse, the courier, Everell, turns out to be a beautiful, smart-mouthed archeologist who has her own plans for the money. Unfortunately, powerful people will kill to possess the relic Everell carries—everyone from government officials to the social elite, and they will stop at nothing to get it.

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Star Scavenger: The Complete Series Books 1-5

by G J Ogden

Release Date: January 8, 2021

“I have never sat down and read 5 books so quickly. As a matter of fact, I very seldom finish a series of books.” The complete Star Scavenger series from bestselling author G J Ogden. The set includes: Guardian Outcast, Orion Rises, Goliath Emerges, Union’s End, and The Last Revocater.

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Interview with Marti Ward, Author of Moraturi Ring: Paradisi Chronicles

What can you tell us about your new release, Moraturi Ring: Paradisi Chronicles?

You’re sixteen about to turn seventeen. You and your twin brother are picked up early from school for a surprise birthday treat… and that’s the last thing you remember before you wake up on a spacecraft in a wormhole with no memory of how you got there.

The ship’s doctors don’t really understand your amnesia and aren’t helping, and whenever you wake you are at sea. Then one morning they are all gone – the crew are dead or incapacitated, except for a 20-year-old vet. The Quantum AI is also out of commission. You’ve been dropped out of the wormhole early, somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy.

You and your brother are interested in engineering, space and robotics – and now you’re as close to engineers and navigators as we’ve got. It is your job to figure out how to get the ship and its 500 cryopassengers across the lightyears to our destination. And your improbable plan has just been given the go…

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve been reading since I was three, and writing SFF since I was six, published at seven. But it was not so much that I wanted to be an author, as that there were stories to tell, authors to emulate. In fact, my early Ghostie story was strongly influenced by Casper the Friendly Ghost and somewhat derivative; my Magic Sixpence story was influenced by fairy tales, Greek legends and Enid Blyton; Astroboy and 2001’s HAL were inspiration for my PhD research and Machine Learning of Natural Language book (and HAL gets a not-so-positive mention in Casindra Lost).

My father had a huge library including the Britannica Great Books and Encyclopaedia, the accumulating works of C.S. Lewis, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Capt. W.E. Johns, Earl Stanley Gardner, Agatha Christie and many others. He also wrote, but never published, science fiction stories that I really enjoyed. Once I’d finished his library, I read my school library and the public library – starting with the children’s section but then moving on to general fiction. Though it was really the science fiction that caught my attention and directed me towards science. But a good SF story still needs deep characters, some mystery and suspense, and a good dose of adventure.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Asimov’s Caves of Steel and other robot stories would top the list – and the three laws of robotics are never far from my mind today as a roboticist and psychologist in the line of Susan Calvin.

Andre Norton also made an impression – and I just reread Time Traders which holds up perfectly today 60 years on.  I fell in love with Anne McCaffrey and her dragons and their riders – Dragonriders of Pern – I’ve reread all of her dragon books recently as well as the more recent ones with and by her children.  Marion Bradley Zimmer’s Darkover and Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series also showed me other people from the inside out.

These four women showed understanding of people, character, that their male counterparts lacked.

But that’s ancient history – I should mention some modern authors who, while not scientists, did the research to present serious science as the basis for serious fiction. I was really impressed with the Wake, Watch, Wonder trilogy of Robert J Sawyer.

Douglas Phillips and Douglas E Richards are also upcoming authors in this hard science fiction genre that I aspire to – although the science is not quite as true as it could be and should be and I try to make it.

And who says I can count? I have computers to do that for me…

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Robert J Sawyer – I’d start with the WWW series. How did he come up with the idea of connecting a story about a blind girl and a story about emerging artificial intelligence – what came first? What was the seed idea? How did he research this? How did he put himself in the minds of these two diverse characters?

I am an expert in the areas of neuroscience, biomedical engineering and artificial intelligence that form the background and drive for these stories – and Sawyer got the science exactly right… He also got the characters exactly right…

I recommend this trilogy to my students!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Once I understand the world I’ve built and the characters I’ve created and the general direction I’m headed, what I like is the way the characters and the plot take over – I’m living their lives, their situation, and I just write it the way they see it, feel it, experience it.  The planning takes months…  But once I get to the writing proper, the book writes itself in a matter of days…

What is a typical day like for you?

Typical? I don’t have enough days so boring as to be typical.

Most of my days involve teaching and mentoring students – and when dealing with people, nobody’s the same as anyone else, so it’s always interesting. My research and my writing also involve people, real and imagined, so they are also always different.  I’m always working on multiple projects at once, my own personal projects as well as those involving students or teams of researchers. The science you see in my fiction books relates strongly to the science I’m working on: neuroscience, psycholinguistics, robotics, neural networks, forensics, health/medical interventions…

The hard thing is to find a day when I can concentrate on one thing. Casindra Lost and Moraturi Lost were written during holidays – mostly between Christmas and New Year; Moraturi Ring was drafted during three weeks training it around Europe on a Eurail pass. Much of my writing has been on trains and planes, and much of it in the quiet of the night once everyone else has gone to bed. Or sometimes an intense weekend, making sure I hit a deadline.

What scene from Moraturi Ring: Paradisi Chronicles was your favorite to write?

It’s a secret…

The problem is favorite scenes are the most thorough spoilers, the ones that turn your world upside-down, where everything goes wrong, where the unlikeliest of characters comes up with the unlikeliest of solutions, …

But there’s also the scenes full of emotion, the funeral, the standoff, … Although often it’s emotion that has to be suppressed, internalized…

If I had to pick one it’d be the one that shows you the problem with keeping secrets!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Don’t believe everything you’re told!”

Or in Karl Popper’s philosophy of science, “It is a scientist’s job to try to disprove their own theories.”

This is the basis for much of my science – doing what others say is impossible, proving that they’re wrong.  And just because a character says something doesn’t make it true either.

It is also behind much of my fiction: poking at those areas where our scientific theories are at their weakest, at misguided academics battling to save their crumbling ivory towers; targeting penny-pushing bureaucrats who know nothing about anything – least of all “the bottom line”.

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Marti Ward is the author of the new book Moraturi Ring: Paradisi Chronicles

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Interview with Arwen Paris, Author of Relic Bounty

What can you tell us about your new release, Relic Bounty?

Relic Bounty is the first book in my new Sci-fi space adventure Relic Legacy. I think fans of Firefly and Star Wars would really enjoy this series. It follows a bounty hunter, Janis Torzen, a man that’s run his life into a dead end. He’s given a delicate assassination job on the desert planet Urrak that turns into an escalating disaster that drags our hero through all sorts of danger. It hones his self centered awareness in a way that makes the smart-mouthed archeologist, Everell, into the new focus of his decisions.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

My coworker, Tina, was an aspiring author and she belonged to a local writers group. That chapter was part of Romance Writers of America, and even though at the time I had no interest in writing romance they accepted me with open arms. I wrote, revised, studied, and went to national events where I learned from many amazing authors. I refused to give up and let my investment in myself go to waste. So here I am, with my third book Relic Bounty released and two more books planned this year. I love writing!

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

I’m not going to lie, I’m a huge YA fan (yes, even Twilight) but my tastes vary with age. My Top 5 as of today would be:

1. Outlander (I just finished the audiobook and season 5 of the show). Diana Gabaldon is an amazing author and I can only hope to learn to weave descriptions, sensations, and conversations with such finesse.
2. Hunger Games – I loved the series, and even though the ending was bittersweet it made me smile.
3. Dragonsinger – This was one of my favorite books when I was young and fed my early love of dragons. I read many of the Dragon Riders books.
4. Dune – I read this book multiple times in Jr. High and High School (I can finish it in about 8 hours). The thoughts and ideas were so compelling, and their view of fear changed my life.
5. Chronicles of the Cheysuli – This series, with their short books and intense characters, cultures and prophecy intertwined through generations.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Keanu Reeves out of a purely selfish desire to meet him in real life. I would want to know who his favorite character was from any movie he’s been in, even if he didn’t play that character, and why.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

When I realized that I really do have talent, and I’m amazed by something I wrote. I think all writers, and artists in general, go through this kind of self-loathing belief that whatever you’ve created will never compare to someone else or be good enough for others to enjoy.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work a day job. I do speech to text on the 30 min drive each way, and then type up the disaster when I get home while the kids do homework. I feel like I should just to a voice recording, but I think trying to fix the words helps me write better.

What scene from Relic Bounty was your favorite to write?

There are several, but there’s a part at the end where Janis realizes Everell is planning something that will ruin everything and he’s trying to save her from herself. It makes me laugh every time!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.

Arwen Paris is the author of the new book Relic Bounty

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Interview with Philip Nolen, Author of Quantum Surge

What can you tell us about your new release, Quantum Surge?

Quantum Surge is the first book of the ‘Jankin Decatur’ series, there is a short prequel to it ‘Quantum Zero’ that introduces the reader to the universe of Decatur. Inspiration came from reading some research papers on quantum entanglement, gravity, and thinking about the ‘barrier’ of lightspeed travel. What struck me was the similarity between today’s science and that of the fourteenth century where travel across vast, empty stretches of ocean seemed as impossible as does our vision for travel across the abyss of space to distant stars. My desire was to present a unique and plausible solution to interstellar travel in our universe.

The story form emulates the classics of the ‘Aubrey–Maturin’ series of Patrick O’Brian set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars but the focus of ‘Quantum Surge’ not on science but rather the adventure of living on a colonial world where the people are outgrowing the need for a motherland and develop the thirst for freedom.

The story-line of present and upcoming novels draw inspiration from the lives and adventures of the inhabitants of America during the revolution and war of 1812.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I am the author of many technical papers as well as business, and grant proposals over past decades. I enjoy speculation on science and the writing of it. I met Isaac Asimov twice and even shared dinner with him once at a conference and after entering semi-retirement a few years ago, my wife suggested that I redirect my love of reading Sci-Fi to writing my own fictional novels.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

  • “Six Frigates” – Ian Toll
  • “Ringworld” – Larry Niven
  • “Ranks of Bronze” – David Drake
  • “Starship Troopers” – Robert A. Heinlein
  • “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” – Jules Verne (Original full version)

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Isaac Asimov – “In what ways has your work and writings as a scientist influenced your writing of Science Fiction?”

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

First editing of the first completed draft is a fascinating time. At this point I’ve set the novel aside for a week or two and taken time just think about it as I start other projects. It is then, when I begin reading, the story and characters come alive. There are parts I’d forgotten in the grind of churning out a first draft. I may wonder why a character says something or perhaps why they didn’t take another path in the story. It’s like taking the rough carving of a statue and finishing the details, maybe even restructuring its appearance and final form and then fine-polishing the tale to bring it to life. My objective in writing is to make sure the final story is exciting and draws the reader into a new and wonderful world of danger and beauty. To make that happen, the author must make the tale believable.

What is a typical day like for you?

I like to work early, starting every morning before sunrise and work without interruption for a minimum of three hours. My afternoons turn to novel marketing, technical work, or outside activities unless the story refuses to release my spirit. The great author Jerry Pournelle once said he worked in this manner and I have my own ‘Chaos Manor’ in which I pursue my own dreams.

What scene from Quantum Surge was your favorite to write?

“Humphrey’s Folly”, the final chapter of the novel. This chapter was added after my second revision of the work and came from a desire to give the reader a grander view of the universe and beautiful homeworld of Jankin Decatur as I saw it evolving in my mind. This chapter is an insight into the true beliefs of the characters as their lives are changed by their exposure to the challenge, carrying them with it to fates unknown. In it they take action to meet the coming challenges beneath the curse of individuals bound to lead very interesting lives.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Follow your dreams, you never know where they will take you and will never regret the action as long as your soul remains agile and open to reality.

Philip Nolen is the author of the new book Quantum Surge.

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