Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interview with Stoney M. Setzer, author of Zero Hour

Please join me today for an interview of Stoney M. Setzer, author of Zero Hour.

Who do you think would like your book? (Or alternately: Please tell prospective readers why they’d like your book.)

In the foreword, I talk about how the speculative-fiction genre is kept afloat by millions of people and how it stands to reason that at least some of them are probably Christians. I’m a Christian, and I’ve always loved stuff like The Twilight Zone, old sci-fi movies, and so on. So, I’ve written spec-fic that is Christian, without the objectionable content that often finds its way into more mainstream spec-fic.

So basically, if you want to read Twilight Zone-like stories that come from a Christian worldview and that are “clean” in terms of content, Zero Hour is for you.

What is your favorite thing about your story?

One of my favorites themes is the idea of everyday people finding themselves in unusual situations, which was a staple of The Twilight Zone. As you read the 15 stories in this book, you’ll find that theme shows up quite a bit.

Do you remember how long it took you to write? How about to edit and find a publisher?

That’s sort of hard to say, since it’s a collection of short stories. I can tell you that most of the individual stories probably took less than a week or two once I got my idea finalized. My publisher approached me about the book after he had already published several of my stories over a span of 2 or 3 years.

As for finding a publisher, I had already “met” Lyndon Perry through a writers’ group on Yahoo. I had been contributing stories to his ezine, Residential Aliens, for a while when we first started talking about a book. So, that part was actually pretty easy, since he already knew my work. In fact, roughly half of the stories were first published in Residential Aliens. So, a big thank-you to him for believing in my work.

What is your favorite type of book to read? Do you have any favorite books or authors?

I figure that you should write what you like to read, so my favorite would be suspenseful stories. This can be sci-fi related, straight mysteries, whatever, just as long as there’s a strong element of suspense. Of course, I also like other things--Christian living, sports-related books, humor, etc.

As for particular authors, my top four would be (in no particular order): Tim Downs, Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, and CS Lewis.

What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

Do I have to narrow it down to just one? lol Well, the original Twilight Zone series is of course going to be high on the list, since it’s been such a big influence on my work. I could say the same for most of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, especially “The Birds,” “Psycho,” and “Spellbound.”

Beyond that, I’m a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (especially the “Joel” episodes), Fringe, Smallville, Human Target, and the WWE shows (which had an influence on “The Alabama Hammer” story). As for movies, my tastes are all over the place--Star Wars, Young Frankenstein, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Signs…too many to list, really.

Can readers contact you?

Sure, if they want to! My email address is puddleglum5999@yahoo.com.

If you were alive in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc., did you have any hairstyles that now make you cringe?

For a while I did a “buzz cut” just because I wanted something easy to take care of, and once I actually had my barber shave my head until it was almost completely bald. Unfortunately, my head isn’t shaped right to carry off the “cueball” look….

Is there anything else you’d like your prospective readers to know? (If not, I’ll just delete this question.)

I’ve recently finished a novel, Dead Man Running, which is currently in the proofreading/editing stage. It’s more of a straight (not spec-fic) suspense thriller, but I come at it with the same Christian worldview as I did in Zero Hour. Hopefully you will be seeing that soon.

I’d also like to give some credit to my good friend Michael Jarrell, who provided the illustrations for this book. The cover art is actually a photo of a grandfather clock that my Granddaddy actually built himself. Of course, there was a little Photoshop done to the picture, an alteration to fit the title that will be immediately obvious.

Please share a synopsis or blurb, and a brief excerpt from your book.

Author Stoney M. Setzer brings together 15 short stories in this new anthology from ResAliens Press. If you enjoy Twilight Zone-like mysteries served up with a spiritual twist, this debut collection of speculative fiction is just for you. (from the back cover)

Thank you for your time, and best of luck with your book! :)

Thank you for taking the time to interview me!


They stared back at Harold as if they found him amusing. “Do not be alarmed, Earthman,” the older said. “Your eyes do not deceive you.”

Harold was struck by the irony of the directive. Two aliens open his bedroom window and let themselves in, and he wasn‘t supposed to be alarmed? “Who are you? What do you want?”

“Your city has been selected as the first site on Earth for colonization. Unfortunately, code stipulates that we must select one member of your race with whom to share our intentions so that he may tell his fellows. We have chosen you.”

Harold's jaw dropped. “Why me?”

“If we chose a herald that people would believe, they might mount a resistance, and code stipulates that we cannot colonize where there is active, informed resistance.”

“But if none heed your warnings, then we proceed as planned,” the younger chimed in. “That‘s why we chose you. Based on your history, no one will believe you.”

You can buy the book here:

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Interview of R. L. Copple, author of Reality's Dawn

Please join me today for an interview of R. L. Copple, author of Reality's Dawn.

Who do you think would like your book? (Or alternately: Please tell prospective readers why they’d like your book.)

Young Adult and Adult fantasy lovers, with a twist of fairy tale, humor, horror, and romance. And while the characters are Christian as are the themes consistent with that worldview, readers who don't mind values shared by many religions being illustrated without getting preachy about it, would enjoy this as well.

What is your favorite thing about your story?

There are so many that it's hard to pick just one. But if there is one aspect of it I find most interesting, I think it is Sisko's inner journey itself. He starts off as a naïve and trusting fourteen-year-old, but the gift he's been given and how people treat him over time start to change him, allowing pride to creep in. It illustrates the danger of weilding power without being corrupted by it. A constant issue for those who become popular and gather large followings. But even more than that, God's mercy in dealing with him through that journey.

Do you remember how long it took you to write? How about to edit and find a publisher?

Well, this book is actually an expansion of a previous published novella titled Infinite Realities, published by Double-Edged Publishing back in November 2007. That book consisted of five short stories that leap-frogged over several years between stories, spanning Sisko's life from fourteen until he was twenty-five.

The first story was written in the summer of 2006, "Steamy Realities," and ran in the Sword Review that December. By the time it had ran in the magazine, I had written three more of the stories, and they were all accepted to run as a series in the Sword Review. Bill Snodgrass, the publihser of DEP and the magazine, wanted to put those stories into a book, and I wrote one more story later that fall that he added to the book, to make a total of five. That fifth story, the second chapter in the book, was never serialized, and so has only appeared in Infinite Realities.

Among the reviews and comments I received on that book, people wanted more of the story. These five short stories simply weren't enough. So I'd had it in my mind for some time that I wanted to eventually go back and write some more stories for that book and fill it out more.

Last summer I thought I had a publisher lined up to print the third and final book in this trilogy, and I remembered my desire to fill out this book. I figured if it was going to happen, it needed to be now. So in late August of 2010, I decided I would add ten more short stories to the original five. I had written one the previous Christmas as a "Christmas gift" to my readers on my blog, so I had nine more to write.

During the months of September and October of 2010, I wrote nine more short stories, which greatly added to not only Sisko's characterization, but also his friends Josh and Seth. I kept thinking during that time that the idea well would dry up and I would get bogged down, but as I finished each story, a cool idea would arise in my mind for the next one. It kept going that way until I finished.

And while having the restrictions of the two novels that are sequels to this having already been written, not to mention a spin off novel, it gave me the opporuntity to tell stories that explain more why things are as they are in the later novels.

For instance, one of my favorite stories in this book involves how Joel, a key character in the next novel, became involved with Sisko and his future family. He is such a fun character to write. I think that's why I've kept him returning in all these books.

I finished writing those a day before National Novel Writing Month started, and I dove into the second novel of the second series. I think that's why I struggled through last year's NaNoWriMo, I was already heading toward burn out going into it. I barely crossed the 50K line before November ended.

After November's fun was over, I edited the stories in December and sent it to my current publisher, Splashdown Books. The owner of it had written a positive review on the novella, so I had a hunch she would like these new stories, and I was right. We signed a contract toward the end of January and she decided to fast track this book. So on this one it has all happened rather quickly. Started writing in September 2010, book comes out in February 2011: six months.

What is your favorite type of book to read? Do you have any favorite books or authors?
My favorite is both space opera and fantasy, which I guess is why I write mostly those two types. I like the pacing to not drag, not get bogged down with a lot of details and introspection. I like a plot that surprises me while being internally coherent, and characters that are well drawn and interesting.

Most of the authors I've read, like Asmov, Heinlein, Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and their like go counter to a quick pace sometimes. However, my favorite has to be "The Runaway Robot" by Lester Del Ray, though that was ghost written so he didn't actually write it. But that book has two of the things I most enjoy about a book: an unusual world and life (in this case, living on a moon and going to Mars) and humor/fun! It was also the book that introduced me to science fiction as a pre-teen, and my reading habbits have never been the same since.

To me, the most important thing a book needs to be, in one way or another, is "fun." Call it being entertaining, keeping you on the edge of your seat, however the author does it. What I want to say when I read the last page and close the book is, "Wow, that was fun. I enjoyed that." The Runaway Robot was just that, extremely fun, even for adults.

Anything interesting in your past you’d care to share? Like have you ever worked as a rodeo clown, for instance? :)

No rodeo clowns. I was an ordained minister. I guess that's close to a rodeo clown. (Just kidding, folks!) As a teen I jumped my bike over trash cans, imitating Evil Kenival. As a college-age young adult trying to impress my future wife, I tried to jump my 1966 Chevy Malibu over a small ditch and ended up hitting a tree. For some reason she still married me. Ah, memories.

What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

I used to watch sitcoms. Home Improvements and the Cosby Show were a couple of my favs. I used to watch Star Trek the Next Generation religiously in the 80s. But few sitcoms really interest me these days, and I don't end up watching a lot of TV. Mostly I'll watch American Idol and America's Got Talent primarily to spend time with my wife and kids. But usually I'm at my computer rather than the TV. I've always got some writing work to do.

My favorite movies will probably tell you all you need to know about me. Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Airplane (spoof), George of the Jungle, and Rat Race. Not that I don't have others that I've liked, but I guess I enjoy a good laugh more than anything. Which is why I keep putting humor in most of my stories.

Can readers contact you?

I have a contact form on my website: http://www.rlcopple.com/contact.php

If you were alive in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc., did you have any hairstyles that now make you cringe?

I certainly had a 70s look as a teen. Don't know that would make me cringe. What probably came closest to that was my perms in the 80s. When I started losing hair with each perm, that made me cringe and I stopped doing that. Now I have very little hair on top to do much with. So it just sits up there, trying to look like it belongs.

Is there anything else you’d like your prospective readers to know?

Please share a synopsis or blurb, and a brief excerpt from your book.

From the chapter "History's Perspective"

I placed my card on the table. "Ah ha! My king trumps your joker."

Jake, my sandy-haired, ten-year-old brother, stared at his cards. A smile grew on his face. "But not this." He slapped a card on the table.

An ace. An ace added to any card above ten created a combo, but alone meant nothing.

He put his remaining cards on the table. "Blow up. I win."

I fingered my cards for a moment. "I don't think I have any cards to counter." I sat the them down. "You win." I shook his hand. "Congratulations, brother. Ready for another?"

He started to speak but a knock echoed from the door.

"Sisko, would you get that?" my mother yelled from the kitchen.

"Yes ma'am." I rose and opened the door.

A clean-shaven man carrying a five-year-old girl stood before me. "Is this the home of Sisko?"

I glanced back at Jake sitting at the table before nodding. "Can I help you?"

He held out the girl. Her short, brown hair swung under his hands. "This is my daughter. She is crippled and can't work. She'll live in poverty her whole life. Can you help her?"

I recalled Jake used to be crippled before I entered the steam house. It granted me the ring by which I could help others. I checked, and I felt God wanted me to help her.

I placed my hand on the girl's legs. "Father, please make these legs whole and strong."

The feet that dangled from his arms straightened. The man slipped her feet first to the porch and gingerly let her put weight on them. A grin grew on the girl's face as she bounced on her toes, and then took a step.

She flung herself upon me and hugged tight. "Thank you, Sisko."

The man couldn't hide his joy. "If I could, I would give you all I possessed."

I smiled at the rejoicing; my favorite part of using this gift. "I couldn't accept any gifts if you did offer them. But can you tell me something?"

The man fixed his eyes upon me. "Anything."

"Where are you from, and how did you hear about me?"

"We're from Siloth, and I heard about you from a circus that passed through town a few months ago. Upon confirming the reports, I decided to seek you out. And am I glad I did." He held his daughter close as she stood by his side.

"Do you have a place to stay? And food?"

"Yes. We've been living on the road for the last month traveling here. We don't want to be a burden to anyone. You've done enough. Thank you so much."

I smiled. "You're most welcome. Have a good trip back."

He and his daughter hugged me again, then they turned and left, his daughter skipping down the road ahead of him.

My mother entered the room, wiping her hands on a towel as I shut the door. "Who was that?"

"Another person who needed healing."

She stared at the door. "They're the third ones this week. As many as came in a whole year before. You're getting known, son. The number will grow, I dare say."

"This one was from Siloth. About a month's journey to get here, he said."

"At this rate, we'll need to rent an office for you."

I laughed. "I've already heard rumors that I'm putting the doctor out of business."

She gave me a half smile. "What I really need from the great Sisko, the healer, is to go to the market and get me some fresh tomatoes. You think you can handle that with your busy schedule?"

I shook my head. "Mother. I'm not that famous."

"But you will be." She held out her hand. "Here's the money to buy them."

I pocketed the coins. "I'll be right back."

She nodded and returned to the kitchen. I told Jake I'd return soon for the next hand and then headed out the door.

I strolled into the center of town and circled the church as I dodged people and the occasional wagon. I entered Reol's small market. Mostly they sold produce, as many took the non-perishable items to Holoroth across the mountains.

I spotted Josh staring at some cucumbers and sneaked up behind him. "Looking for a fat wand you can eat?"

He jumped before turning around. "Sisko. It's never smart to sneak up on a wizard, you know. I could have turned you into something horrible."

"You're more dangerous when you think you know what you're doing."

He bopped me on the head. "Not funny."

I patted him on the back. "Only for you. So did your mother send you here to get something?"

"My mother? No way."

"Let me guess. You grew bored of casting spells and decided to entertain yourself with vegetables."

He grunted. "Not even close. I'm filling Milore's shopping list."

"Oh, I see. My mother sent me for some tomatoes." I spotted them. "And there are some. I'll see you later."

"Very well. But don't bother running to me next time you need some magical help. You obviously don't appreciate it." Josh thrust his nose into the air.

I laughed then headed to the tomatoes. I purchased three ripe ones and returned to the house. As I opened the door, I felt an unsettling knot in my gut grow.

"Mother? Jake?" No one answered. I entered the kitchen and placed the tomatoes on the counter. Then I noticed a note. I picked it up and read.

Sisko, if you wish to see your father, mother, and brother alive again, come one mile down the road leading to Siloest and leave your ring on the stump you find there. Come alone, or they die. You have til sundown.

Thank you for your time, Rick, and best of luck with your book! :)

Buy the book:

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Interview with Kimberli Renee’ Campbell, author of "The Sword of Light: Shayia's Adventures - Book One"

Please join me today for an interview of Kimberli Renee’ Campbell, author of The Sword of Light: Shayia's Adventures - Book One.

Who do you think would like your book?

I believe children that enjoy fantasy will like my book. It is a lot shorter than Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, but the story is just as fun and full of adventure. The target age is 9-12, but it is a story for all ages. I’ve been told that some families have used it for a bedtime story.

What is your favorite thing about your story?

Hmm...tough question. I'd say my favorite thing is how the Word of God appears on the blade of the sword.

Do you remember how long it took you to write? How about to edit and find a publisher?

The book was published in 2008. I believe I began writing it in 2005.

What is your favorite type of book to read? Do you have any favorite books or authors?

I LOVE to read Christian romance stories. Not the gushy kind. I don't have a favorite book, but enjoy reading Terri Blackstock, Donita K. Paul, and Ted Dekker. (I like monster and deadly virus type books as long as they're clean and have romance.)

Anything interesting in your past you’d care to share? Like have you ever worked as a rodeo clown, for instance? :)

I was a rodeo clown for a few years...just kidding. I actually did a lot of acting for my church. As a little girl, I always wanted to take dance, but never did. When I was 41, I finally took lessons - ballet, tap, and hip hop. And yes, I was the oldest student. :) Believe it or not, I still get stopped in the store by people that had seen me in a recital.

What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

I am a fan of the old TV shows - Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Emergency.

Can readers contact you?
I am also on Facebook and Twitter.

If you were alive in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc., did you have any hairstyles that now make you cringe?

I had a tower high Afro. I have gone back to an Afro, but it's only a one story. :)

Have you received any feedback from The Sword of Light?

Yes, I have. A Sunday school class used my book for their Bible study. They wrote me letters of what they learned. It really blessed me to know that the story the Lord asked me to write is drawing people closer to Him. It is also humbling.

What's next for you?

The second book in the series will be released in May/June. It is called - Redemption: Shayia's Adventures - Book Two. I am currently working on the third book. The Lord has not given me a title for it yet.

Please share a synopsis or blurb, and a brief excerpt from your book.

The Sword of Light is not about an ordinary sword. The sword Shayia wields was crafted by his father's hands following the instructions of the Creator. Shayia's unique sword draws its power from the Sacred Book. When the dark force that killed his father once again returns to threaten the peaceful village of Sedona, Shayia must face his sworn enemy - the sorcerer, Izahrik and the evil Draga he commands. Armed with his father's magnificent sword, he sets out on a journey that will change him forever. Will revenge and hatred consume him, or will Shayia learn the secret to true victory?

Excerpt from - The Sword of Light: Shayia's Adventures - Book One

Ennus helped Shayia to his feet and down the stairs, each step a chore. By the time they reached the bottom, Shayia wanted to lie down in the foyer and sleep.

“Are you all right?” His grandfather’s concern comforted him. “Maybe you should return to your room.”

“I’ll be fine.” Shayia closed his eyes, took a small breath and forced a smile. Inside, he felt like throwing up.

The two made their way to the king’s private dining hall where King Tolvin awaited their arrival. The room’s dark wood gave it a cozy touch. A long, mahogany table with at least eighteen long-back chairs sat in the center of the room. Two fire pits built into the walls kept it toasty warm during the winter. King Tolvin and his council stood to welcome their guest.

“Come,” the king said in welcome, extending his powerful hand. King Tolvin was by far the strongest man in Sedona, an enormous man, standing well over six feet tall. As with all Sedona men the king wore his dust-brown hair, with a touch of silver streaks, pulled back into a braid. His light brown eyes and pleasant smile helped his appearance not seem so overwhelming. Shayia recalled how close the king and his father had been. They had been best friends.

Weakly, Shayia made his way to the king and tried to bow. Stabbing pain from his cracked ribs made it impossible.

Steadying Shayia with his powerful hands, King Tolvin examined him.

“You still do not look well,” the king stated. “It would be wise for you to return to you room. Are you hungry?”

“Just thirsty, Your Majesty. Thank you.”

The king called for his servant. “Please escort Shayia, son of Master Tay, to his room. Make sure to leave him fresh water as well.” King Tolvin rested his arm around the servant’s shoulder as if they were good friends. “Thank you, Rowin.”

He gave him a pat on the back. The reflection of the candles danced in his eyes, making them sparkle.

Shayia marveled at the way King Tolvin treated everyone with respect, including his servants.

“You shall remain here for several days. Your grandfather and I have much to discuss. If there is anything you request, Shayia, son of Master Tay, please let me know,” the king said.

Shayia lowered his head in respect and thanks. Then, with Rowin’s assistance, he proceeded toward the door.

“Oh, Shayia!” the king shouted as they reached the door. “You will be pleased to know Princess Leora shall be returning tomorrow!” King Tolvin’s joy beamed. “It will be great to see her again, no?”

No! It will NOT be great to see her. I would rather be beaten by a thousand Jolons than have to see a spoiled, lazy, shallow…

“Shayia!” his grandfather called. “Did you not hear the king?”

The hidden rebuke in his grandfather’s voice rang loud and clear. His grandfather was well aware of his feelings for Princess Leora.

“I apologize, Your Majesty,” said Shayia. “It will...it will definitely be something to see Princess Leora again.”

Avoiding his grandfather’s glare, Shayia bid everyone good night.

Shayia gave up finding a comfortable position. He wished he were back in his own room, sleeping in his own bed. The thought of seeing Princess Leora again made his head and stomach hurt.

They were around five the last time he’d seen her. King Tolvin sent her to her aunt’s after the Great War.

Shayia closed his eyes and cringed when the image of her face popped into his head. How can a handsome king and queen have such a hideous-looking daughter?

He recalled how her teeth protruded from her mouth like a rabbit. On a good day, she resembled a cat being dragged from the river. Being pale and scrawny was not her worst feature; her whiny, bossy attitude topped it off. The high and mighty Princess Leora ordered people around like they were her personal slaves. What would she be like now at fifteen? Would she still have the rabbit teeth? The vision made Shayia shudder.

Eventually sleep came with the dream of tying sheets together and escaping out the window.

Where can people buy your book?

They can purchase it from the book's website (above), Amazon, or request from a local bookstore.

Thank you for your time, and best of luck with your book! :)

Thank you for allowing me to share about my book and my Afro. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Interview of Stephen R. Wilson, author of The Gifted: Book 1: In the Beginning

Please join me today for an interview of Stephen R. Wilson, author of The Gifted: Book 1: In the Beginning.

Who do you think would like your book? (Or alternately: Please tell prospective readers why they’d like your book.)

People who enjoy general science-fiction, and especially superhero stories, will be interested in The Gifted. The series is probably geared mostly toward young adults as the heroes in the story are teenagers for the bulk of the story, but I’ve had middle-aged folk and even seniors who have told me how much they liked it. I will say that it’s not really a children’s story as there are some pretty mature things happening in the book that probably aren’t appropriate for most kids. I address everything from a Christian perspective, but even with that, there are just some things in there that kids don’t need to be reading about yet.

What is your favorite thing about your story?

Haha. I like a lot of things about it. I guess I’m biased that way. But I think my favorite aspect of the story is how it all comes together in the end. Each chapter focuses on one character or one family group and tells their part of the story. At first, the reader isn’t really sure where it’s all going or what these different characters have to do with one another. But as the story goes on, the characters begin making connections with one another, little by little, until, in the final chapter, everything merges together, setting the scene for the rest of the series.

Do you remember how long it took you to write? How about to edit and find a publisher?

Hmm. I’ve had a lot of the key ideas floating around in my head and in my notebooks for fifteen years or more. I’d say once I finally sat down to write it, it probably took me about two years, just working on it here and there. It took a couple of months to edit it and get it to its final form, but then I decided not to seek a publisher for it. I wanted to experiment with self-publishing.

What is your favorite type of book to read? Do you have any favorite books or authors?

I love reading sci-fi and fantasy stories, especially Christian work in those genres. My favorite book of all time, though, is probably The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I really enjoy John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. Of course I have to say C.S. Lewis for his Chronicles of Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth saga. On the secular fantasy side, I was really impressed with Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time series.

Anything interesting in your past you’d care to share? Like have you ever worked as a rodeo clown, for instance? :)

Well, I do have a lot of interesting stories and I’ve actually put most of them in The Gifted: In the Beginning and subsequent books in one form or another. One of the most fun parts of writing the book was adapting stories from my own childhood and adolescence and finding ways to use them in the book. I tell the real stories behind the stories in the book as a feature on my website for anyone who’s interested.

What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

My favorite TV show right now is Fringe. Going back a couple of years, I was really enjoying Heroes and The Sarah Conner Chronicles before they were taken off the air.

Can readers contact you?

Yeah, definitely. My website has my contact info and is a great place for people to start. http://TheGiftedBookSeries.webs.com

If you were alive in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc., did you have any hairstyles that now make you cringe?

I had long hair, down to my shoulders, when I was in high school and college.

Please share a synopsis or blurb, and a brief excerpt from your book.

Back cover blurb -

Aliens. Vigilante Ninjas. Mad scientists. Hard-nosed detectives. Super-heroes. God.

An alien ship has crash-landed on Earth, setting off a new wave of drug addiction and world war in its wake, while the sole survivor of the wreckage vows revenge against the god-like authorities of his home planet. At the same time, the new president of the GenRes Company is obsessed with living up to his father’s medical success and has just discovered how to transform normal children into Genetically Altered super-humans. Who will control these children? The scientist, the alien, and a couple of ambitious criminals are all eager to keep them for their own use. But Someone else has entirely different plans for them. Follow as each development merges together and a new breed of adolescent superheroes rises to the forefront in The Gifted: In the Beginning.


The Planet Anduris.

47th day of the month of Holine

in the Anduran year 4572.

Magus was running for his life down the crowded market street of Hos-H’iyra. His long black hair was matted to his head with sweat and everyone was hurrying to get as far out of his way as possible. They knew what was coming next.

Suddenly, one of Zeus-31’s lightning bolts slashed down and charred the ground behind Magus. The ground buckled under the impact and Magus cursed in frustration and fear, fighting to keep his balance. Keep running, he told himself. Just keep running. You can do this.

The current Lighting-Wielder – Adelphos Palamara was his name, Zeus just his Ayviline title – was still far enough behind to throw off his accuracy a bit, but that wouldn’t last long. In flight, the Zeuses were almost as fast as the Hermes. Fortunately, the Swift-Foot was no longer a threat. Magus’ partner had killed the most recent Hermes only an hour before and the Ayvil had not yet chosen a replacement.

About thirty yards in front of him, Magus saw a Geyr ship with steam billowing out from beneath it, signaling that it was about to take off. The rear cargo door was just beginning its automatic descent. If he kept running, Magus might be able to slide in before the door lowered completely. Like all Andurians, he hated the idea of space travel, but this was his only chance of escape and he was determined to take it.

He ran, dove, and rolled into the ship just in time to hear the door’s pneumatic lock hiss into place. A moment later and he felt the ship’s thrusters rumbling beneath him as the whole craft shot vertically into the sky. Even if Zeus had seen him run in here, he was too late to stop it now.

Terrified and unable to move from the upward force, Magus lay on the floor, struggling to take a breath. The ship soon leveled off somewhere above Anduris’ atmosphere and Magus exhaled in relief. He was still catching his breath when, a moment later, he was suddenly flung backward into the door. The Geyrs in the cockpit had obviously changed which thrusters they were firing and were now steering the ship forward.

His face and body stuck against the door, Magus fought to turn his head back toward the front of the ship. Large metallic refrigeration units covered most of the floor. Thankfully, they were strapped down. Otherwise, Magus would have been crushed by them if they had slid backward against the door like he had.

Now that he had a moment to think, he wondered what he had gotten himself into. We’re going to the Geyr homeworld. There aren’t any Andurians on the Geyr homeworld. I’ll be noticed and caught immediately.

Magus tried to think, to plan his next move, but the cargo hold became cooler and cooler. Soon the coldness of the metal door on his back became unbearable. He didn’t know what was happening, didn’t know that space was so devoid of heat. How can the Geyrs stand this?

The Planet Earth.

25th day of the month of May

in the terrestrial year 2063.

Magus woke up slowly. Every part of his body was stiff, his mind sluggish. How long had he slept – no, not slept – been frozen? There was no way for him to tell. But at least it was warmer now and he was alive. Had they reached the Geyr homeworld? What would he do when they started unloading the ship? They would surely find him. And then what? Take him back to Anduris and hand him over to Athena-13 for sentencing? He wouldn’t go back. He’d fight the Geyrs here, if he had to, no matter how many there were. He’d rather die than be imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Suddenly the ship plummeted, descending, and Magus braced himself against the door. Then it hovered. Magus cautiously pushed off the door, stretched, working each joint in turn, and lumbered forward. He was wobbly, but what could he do? Any moment, the Geyrs were going to land the ship and open the back hatch and find him, so it was now or never.

But they didn’t land. Instead, the ship jumped back up and Magus had to catch himself on one of the refrigeration units. Already, the cold of space was spreading again. If he froze again, he would die. He knew it. He had to do something now.

He reached into his robe, pulled a jagged knife from his belt and, pulling himself along from cargo strap to cargo strap, finally made it to the cockpit door and opened it.

The Geyrs spun around in their chairs, shocked to see him. They were ‘greenies’, young ones, but recognition had crossed their skinny faces. They knew who he was.

The first Geyr was dead before the other two could even stand.

Soon, the bodies of the three greenies lay crumpled at Magus’ feet, their wounds trickling blood as their long, oval, empty, black eyes stared up at him out of their bulbous heads. Ugly suckers! Magus thought, panting. At least they were easy to kill.

The other two Geyrs had tried to fight back, but everyone knew that Geyrs weren’t much for violence, especially not the young ones. It was only when a Geyr’s skin began to fade from the bright green into the light gray of adulthood that they gained any strength at all and that still was not enough to contend against a full-grown Andurian.

Sweating under his dirty robe, Magus walked over and stared down at the alien control panel. He had no idea what all the levers and meters and touchpads in front of him were for. He plopped down into one of the seats, the one with the most buttons in front of it, and stared some more.

After a second, he jumped back up, walked over to one of the round windows and peered out. All he could see was the black of space. He knew that they had been close to the surface a few moments ago, had felt the disc-shaped ship shoot back up and then suddenly level off again. He didn’t think it was moving now, though. Where am I? he thought in frustration.

He went back to the controls, willing for some sort of inspiration to leap up out of them. C’mon! Think! he urged himself. You’ve come this far! You’ve gotta be able to do this!

He even glanced down at the dead body of the alien closest to him, hoping to gain some clue from him, but it was useless. He turned back to the control panel and cursed again. Nothing was labeled. There were no instruction charts hanging on the wall. He was a scientist, but not a Geyr pilot. He had never even been inside one of these things before.

How long? he thought. How long is this ship just gonna float up here? Until the power runs out? Until the fuel runs out? I’ll starve or die of thirst first. Or the Geyrs’ll send another ship looking for this one.

“I can’t stay here!” he roared and slammed his fist down on the panel. He regretted it immediately. He looked around, warily waiting for something to change. What did I just hit?

Thankfully, nothing happened and he began to relax again. He sucked in a deep breath, forced himself to sit down calmly in the chair, and blew out again. Okay. I have no idea what does what, but I can’t just sit here. So let’s experiment a little, shall we? Gingerly, he stretched his hand toward a lever, gripped it, his sweaty, clammy hand closing on the cold metal, and inched it back closer to himself.

Twenty minutes later, after a few more brave ‘experiments’, the space-craft came down. Fast. It hurtled silently through the atmosphere and plunged swiftly through the cozy, warm dark of night, toward Earth’s surface below.

Inside the ship, the man who was ‘flying’ it, frantically pushed buttons and pulled and pushed levers. I can’t stop it! he thought. I can’t stop it! And then, throwing up his hands, he burst into laughter – nervous, giving up, come-what-may laughter – and leaned forward in his chair to meet the land below.

The people of the Chinese countryside could see the smoke from the crash for miles around and Chinese Coalition Air Defense teams were sent out from bases in both Ining and Urumchi cities. But before anyone arrived, a lone survivor crawled out of a side hatch and limped away into the night.


Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

2063. May 25th.

As the Geyr ship crashed in China, Lucy Davis, lying in the plain white bed at Mercy First Hospital in Base City, screamed in pain as she gave birth to her first child, a daughter. The three ‘greenies’ had stayed just long enough to make sure that Lucy’s baby, soon to be named Gretchen, would be born safely before they took off again. The others of their race would have been very glad to hear their good report.

Thank you for your time, and best of luck with your book! :)

The Gifted: Book 1: In the Beginning is available in e-book and paperback formats from http://TheGiftedBookSeries.webs.com, Amazon.com, and other online booksellers.

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