Tag Archives: sci-fi

#Sci Fi Series New Release! Counter Strike is here! #eBook #RPBP

New Release!
Book Two in The New Glasgow War Series!
Counter Strike!

With her world in dire straits, Captain Duncan has a desperate plan to even the odds.

Freshly promoted to a new incarnation of the New Glasgow Marines, Rachel Duncan must lead her men in a desperate mission to end the FUP siege on her home world. Her world is in dire straits and she must devise a plan to even the odds before all is lost.

Outnumbered and out gunned, they try to lure in the enemy with thoughts of an easy prize.
Can they force the Union to the bargaining table or will they face the wrath of the largest navy in the known galaxy?

Counter Strike is the second book in the New Glasgow War series.

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Duncan scanned the room. Her team was in position. All were in their light armor and behind cover. To her right was Jenkin’s group. Three men, two with rifles and Gordo the heavy gunner. They stacked up in the corridor.

The lights flashed over the docking door as the enemy ship sealed the bridge between the two ships and flooded the connection tube with atmosphere. Lights changed from a blinking red, to a stable yellow and finally green.

The doors parted on the Q-Ship. Duncan could make out that the legs that were emerging from behind the rising door were unarmored. So far, the intel was correct. They should be able to pull this off.

She sighted down her rifle and as soon as the chests of the FUP navy sailors were visible; she opened fire. Ten shots fired and all four men were on the ground. Jenkin’s had his team sprinting into the airlock across to the enemy ship.

Duncan waved her men forward to join in the assault. As far as she could tell, the enemy didn’t get out a warning before they fell. In a few seconds they had passed the tube and were in the FUP patrol ship. Jenkin’s team headed for the bridge. She was to lead her group to the engine room.

One thing they practiced with was using chalk to mark out their progress. Jenkin’s marked the corridor with an arrow for the direction his team had taken. It conveyed exactly what he did without an electronic transmission the enemy could pick up.

Duncan went the opposite direction from the arrow mark. The ship was a small escort vessel that was being used for inspections. As such, the design was rather straight forward. There was only one deck. The bridge was in the front of the patrol craft with the engine room in the rear. In between were the various crew quarters and functions needed to run the warship.

As they sprinted down the hall, a door opened to the left and an officer stepped out into the corridor. Duncan swung the butt of her rifle up into the forehead of the man and slammed him back into the room he exited. She kept running past towards her objective.

There was a distant booming sound from behind them. That was probably Jenkin’s team breaching the bridge. Ahead was a secure door for the engine room and engineering section. The closed hatch presented a problem. They only had a few seconds to get in before she estimated that the enemy would realize that they were under attack.


Win a copy of Counter Strike by CN Stoesen.


In a war torn world, one soldier rises above the ashes to take the fight to the enemy. 

New Glasgow lays in ruins. Sergeant Rachel Duncan leads her under armed platoon against the mechanized iron fist of the Federation union of Planets. Short on men and even less supplies, all they have to do is hold their ground until reinforcements arrive. Will Duncan rise to the occasion or will she crack under the intense pressure of a world under siege?

Out Of The Ashes is the First Book In The New Glasgow War Series.

The rifle lay beside her as her back pushed tight against the shattered wall. She was breathing slowly to control her heart rate. The walker’s metal joints squealed and its feet pounded the broken pavement of the street below.

Counting in her head, she reached zero. With a flick of a finger, moved the rifle’s selector switch to auto. Taking the pistol grip, she raised the weapon to her shoulder and braced it on top of the shattered wall.

The building was an apartment complex in the past. Now, it stood ruined and derelict like most buildings in her city. As she got ready to fire, she noticed the remains of wallpaper still clung to the wall she hid behind. Pastel ducks, bunnies and bears told her that the room she occupied was once a nursery. Now it was a ruin.

The Walker’s thumping feet propelled it closer. There, it was two hundred meters down the street. Standing four stories tall, the Walker’s torso pivoted from side to side looking for danger. Through the holographic site, she could make out the unit markings. This was a command vehicle of the Seventh Union Mechanized Infantry Division. It was probably the battalion commander’s mech based on the antennas protruding from its iron grey head.

The Walker’s sprouted small weapon pods from either side of its head. It was malevolence in motion. Walker’s projected the power of the Union. More so than their navy as these were the sharp end of the Union’s will.

Sweat rolled out from under her dusty balaclava and into her eyes. She tried to blink them clear as movement could attract unwanted attention. Waiting was always the hardest part. Engage too soon and you risked the rounds not being able to penetrate. Too late and they may not arm in time and would bounce off of the mech’s armor.

There. She pulled the trigger and unleashed on the walker. With the mech a bare fifty meters from her position, the inferno rounds ate deeply into the armored skin. The first four shots were right on target. They impacted on the cockpit view screen and armor in the head of the beast. The remaining eight rounds walked to the left across the head and into the right weapons pod. Using the recoil to push her over, she fell on her back beside the wall she used for cover.

The weapons pod pulsed with light that brightened the ruin she hid within. She could only feel the deafening explosion. Her ear buds she wore under the balaclava protected her hearing from loud noises but amplified the quiet ones. Blast waves rolled over the building and knocked loose more bricks, dust and debris into the room. Covering her head with her arms, she kept her face from being torn by falling brick and shrapnel.

With her head turned towards the center of her position, she locked eyes with a blue cloth rabbit. The well-worn toy was dust covered. Another reminder of what the Union has done to her home, her people and her planet. She reached out and picked up the toy. The face and ears were threadbare from the attentions of a child now long gone from this ruin. She thought of her own family, her little sister Janice in particular. Janice was only eight when she joined the militia. It was only a year later when the bombs fell on her city and Sergeant Rachel Duncan’s only remaining family was the militia.

Join CN Stoesen and get the prequel to this series free! Subscribe Today!


Contact Us – Flash Forward meets 24

contact us cover macyImagine everyone in the world sneezing simultaneously, followed by a brief, yet excruciating bout of pain. Then, within 24 hours, most of the world’s population dies in their sleep. And if that weren’t enough, the survivors are contacted by an alien in the guise of Walter Cronkite and given What would you do? Contact Us documents the lives of some of the survivors–top advisor to the president Charli Keller, long since retired and presumed dead former agent Jake Corby, among them–as they strive to discover the cause and meaning of the sneeze, pain, and culling, in order to save the human race.

Contact us was a quick and entertaining read. Part Flash Forward, part 24, the plot–absurd though it was at times–kept propelling me forward. Charli is a strong, female character who takes the lead in the investigation. Jake is far too driven by his emotions, but learns to rein them in when necessary. Cronkite the Alien is a weird character, who, for all of his peculiarities, had me thinking more like Nixon on Futurama than not, but the caricature works; people trusted the real Walter Cronkite–it’s not a stretch to imagine a shape-shifting alien who chooses to look like him in order to gain a similar trust with the people of Earth. Or is it?

Though Al Macy’s story is farcical at times (not usually my cup of tea), I enjoyed the story. The characters–the human ones, at least–are smart and relatable. Even though the population of Earth suffers a culling, the aftermath isn’t necessarily dystopic. Sure they’re at the whim of a psychotic alien, but they’ve been given the blueprints to all of these useless inventions, and now their resources will go further, and the environment will replenish itself, besides.

Contact Us is a contemporary sci-fi that discusses modern themes and offers a horrific solution to our woes. It does what all good fiction must , which is to help us shed light on the shortcomings of our modern world.

Mamabear give this book:


Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Excerpt from Robert Eggleton’s RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW

Today’s feature author is Robert Eggleton. Robert joins us with an excerpt from his novel, Rarity from the Hollow.


rarity from the holloLacy Dawn is a true daughter of Appalachia, and then some. She lives in a hollow with her worn-out mom, her Iraq War disabled dad, and her mutt, Brownie, a dog who’s very skilled at laying fiber optic cable. Lacy Dawn’s android boyfriend has come to the hollow with a mission. His equipment includes infomercial videos of Earth’s earliest proto-humans from millennia ago. He was sent by the Manager of the Mall on planet Shptiludrp (Shop ’till You Drop): he must recruit Lacy Dawn to save the Universe in exchange for the designation of Earth as a planet which is eligible for continued existence within a universal economic structure that exploits underdeveloped planets for their mineral content. Lacy Dawn’s magic helps her to save the universe, Earth, and most importantly, her own family.

At first, this story seems sooooo serious, until…

Then, through the darkness, or perhaps because of it, laugh-out-loud comedy erupts to move the plot toward an outrageous closing scene.

Saving an entire universe is a big job for anybody. It takes more than just magic. Lacy Dawn needs a team, and a very strong sense of humour. First, she motivates the android into helping her fix her family by putting her foot down and flat out telling him that she won’t save the universe unless he helps her first. The android agrees to the terms. After Lacy Dawn’s father is cured of his mental health problems and stops being so mean to Lacy Dawn and her mom, Lacy Dawn next arranges for her to mother get her rotten teeth replaced, pass her GED, and to get a driver’s license. The mother feels so much better about herself that she also joins the team. By this time, the android has fallen so deeply in love with Lacy Dawn that she has him wrapped around her little finger. Add a pot head neighbour who sells marijuana and has a strong sense for business transactions, Brownie, a dog who proves to have tremendous empathy for the most vile occupants of any planet, and Faith, the ghost of Lacy Dawn’s best friend who was murdered by her own father, and the team is ready to embark on a very weird, off-world adventure. Of course, in preparation, Lacy Dawn has studied for hours to learn about sociology, math, economics, psychology, languages, culture and every other school subject that has a title — her brain gets so filled up with knowledge directly downloaded from a universal database that she increasingly needs the perspectives of others on her team to sort it all out. Working together, the team figures out how a few greedy capitalists have made such a mess of the entire universe, and how to prevent its destruction without intentionally killing one single being.

You’ve heard this line before: “Due to the mature nature of…” Seriously though, Rarity from the Hollow is a children’s story. For adults. The content includes serious social commentary and satire. There are graphic scenes in the first chapters before Lacy Dawn’s family is fixed. If you can’t handle watching South Park on TV, or if you are under eighteen and your parents would object if you do, or if you are very straight-laced and conservative about frank presentations, maybe you should pass on this story. Otherwise, as award winning author, Darrell Bain, said, “You will enjoy the ride with Lacy Dawn, her family and friends, but don’t expect the ride to be without a few bumps, and enough food to last you a long time.”

Buy Rarity from the Hollow on Amazon, and from Dog Horn Publishing.

Excerpt from Rarity from the Hollow, chapter 13: “Mom I’d Like to Introduce You to My Fiancé”

Jenny [the mother] walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn’s name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.

I hear her voice. Why won’t she answer me? 

“Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods.

Nobody responded. The trees weren’t supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.

I will always love you guys. 

Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.

Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front. 

Jenny looked to the left of the path.

There ain’t no cave Roundabend, but there it is. 

She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn’t exit and into a blue light that did.

“All right, you mother f**ker!”

“Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you’re supposed to [a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story].”

DotCom [the android] sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.

“Grrrrr,” emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie [Lacy Dawn’s dog] made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.

“Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”

“You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out.” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.

Stay between them.

“Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I’m old enough — like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend — what you call it — my fiancé.”

“You been messin’ with my little girl, you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce.

“MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”

Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.

He ain’t got no private parts, not even a little bump.   

“DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”

Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.

“Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.”

I will need much more training if I’m ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.

“Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”

Jenny’s left eye twitched.

DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother.

[Scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself.]

“Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There’re a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You can see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain’t complained since the shots started — not even with an upset stomach.”

“He’s a doctor?” Jenny asked.

“What’s your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that’s different — even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”

“Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.


Mommy’s right. Maybe I need a different argument.

A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.

“What’s that?” Jenny asked.

She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27/7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.

“But you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.

“Mommy, I’m so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn’t talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain’t had no chance to talk. All I know is that he’s home and I’m sooooo happy.”

“Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more.

It’s unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that’s a good sign. Maybe she’s right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They’ve been together for a while, and I ain’t seen a mark on her. That’s unusual too. He ain’t got no private parts and that’s another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. Id better play it smart. I don’t want to lose my baby.

“What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.

“I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”

“My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition — the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam,” DotCom said.

They both glared at him.

“Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said.

“Okay, Mommy.”

“I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her.

“I love you too,” DotCom said.

Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile — at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.

Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.  My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.”



About Robert:


Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency. Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed the publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

Learn more about Robert Eggleton and his work at: 

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Interview with Kirby Howell

Britbear’s Book Reviews welcomes Kirby Howell to today’s author spotlight with an author interview.

autumninthecityofangelscoverFrom Goodreads:

What would you do if you lived through the apocalypse? The real fight to survive comes after everyone else is gone.

A plague of epic proportion sweeps the globe, leaving less than one percent of the world’s population immune. Among the living is Autumn Winters, the teenage daughter of a famous actress. When Autumn’s parents don’t come home and the city is overtaken by a dangerous faction, she goes into hiding with a small group of underground survivors. They’re led by a mysterious young man who harbors an unearthly secret, and with whom Autumn feels a deep connection.

Autumn in the City of Angels is the first novel in a series, followed by Autumn in the Dark Meadows and Autumn in the City of Lights.

Buy Autumn in the City of Angels and Autumn in the Dark Meadows at Amazon.

You are my first set of co-writers writing under a single pen-name. What’s your writing process like?

Open communication is the key when you have two people.  We like to joke that we have to be “on the same page” figuratively, but definitely not literally!

We usually spend a few weeks breaking the story, and after we’ve got a hold on the characters and the story we want to tell, we write an outline together, and try to make sure any tricky areas are well fleshed out.  Other areas are left thinner to allow for the individual writer’s creative process.  Then we divvy out sections.  Though we’re the best of friends, we have very different personalities, so usually the parts that are calling to one of us to write isn’t calling to the other, so we’ve never had a problem dividing up the scenes to write.  (Dana usually takes the scenes with heavy dialogue or politically driven scenes.  Jessica enjoys writing romantic stuff, or the scenes with lots of internal thinking.)  So we go away and write our sections, and then once we’re feeling good about what we have, we swap!  Then we make notes and trade back.  This allows the first person to take one more stab at their scenes before the other person begins their rewrites… which is the next phase.  After we’ve both taken passes on each other’s work and cleaned up any errors we find, we start a beta process, and get notes from a host of readers.  From there, we divvy up again, and the re-write/swapping process starts all over!

So basically we end up reading and re-writing each other a lot.  But we have constant open communication during this process so that there aren’t any hurt feelings, and so that we’re both comfortable with any changes in the next phase.  It’s a dance that breaks up most partnerships, but we both firmly believe that having each person’s input on every page makes the work stronger…and we’ve been writing this way together for 16 years.

The synergy between you sounds amazing. I read that both of you have degrees in Film and Scriptwriting. Why did you make the transition to writing fiction novels?

Most screenwriters are born of frustrated novelists, so there’s a lot of crossover between these worlds.  The creative process, while not the medium, is also the same.

We’d always had the pipe dream of becoming novelists in the backs of our mind, but for several years, we were focused on the more immediate goal of TV writing.  Then, during the recession, when over half of Hollywood was out of work, we found ourselves with more time than usual to write.  We’d had an idea that felt too big to be a pilot script or a feature script.  Jessica suggested we try our hand at prose, and from that the first Autumn novel was born.

I’ve often thought of marketing my novels as a screenplay to get the story out there, but never given it a try. Which of the two forms of writing do you enjoy most and why?

We enjoy both in their own ways.  With scripts, you get the supreme pleasure of watching other artists interpret your ideas… actors, directors, editors, etc… but with a novel, it’s very different.  It’s a direct conduit to your audience.  So everything has to come from you and “live on the page” as they say.  There won’t be actors coming in to bring words to life or editors to help pacing, etc… That’s intimidating, knowing that it all rests on your shoulders, but it’s also very rewarding when you feel like you’ve done your job.  So for now, we’d probably have to pick the novel world.

Let’s talk a bit about your novels. What is your inspiration behind your Autumn Winters series?

That’s a tricky question.  The seed of the idea came from one of Jessica’s dreams.  But the inspiration for what it became?  We’re not sure there’s a simple answer to that.  Maybe it had to do with all of the media in our lives, be it novels we’ve read, and movies and TV shows that we’d consumed that informed what kind of stories we wanted to tell.  Or maybe it was something within us the entire time, influenced by our close friends and family around us and our experiences as close friends for the past decade and a half.

Twitter describes the Autumn Winters series as YA Sci Fi Romance. What draws you to these genres?

We’ve always liked a bit of the fantastical, be it sci fi or fantasy.  Dana grew up reading as much as she could get her hands on in that genre.  Jessica enjoyed the fantasy genre when she was younger, but got the sci fi bug in college when she met Dana.  And we realized that writing within this genre was just more fun for us!

As far as Young Adult goes… we genuinely love writing for teens.  It was an important time for us as young readers, and we love the fact that there’s even more YA out there now and that it isn’t perceived as “nerdy” the way it was when we were teens.  And if there’s anything we can do to contribute to that, we’re all in!  We also love trying to sneak in some real science, or classic book recommendations in our novels in the hopes that they might spark an interest in our readers in other areas that we feel passionate about.

And finally, why romance?  Why not!  We love mixing genres, and the heightened emotions derived from a romance plot only helps readers connect with what they’re reading.  And, besides, a little romance is fun to read!

Your Amazon bio says you work in television. Describe what you do in the television industry.

Well, between us both, we’ve held a lot of jobs on a number of different projects over the years, some you may have heard of and others you probably wouldn’t have!  They say that long term employment in Hollywood is 6 months (for one project).  As projects wrap, you move on to the next gig.  So you tend to rack up quite a list of projects the longer you stay in the business.  Instead of listing all the shows individually, how about we tell you where we began and where we are now?

Dana started out as a writers’ assistant on Desperate Housewives and Jessica used to work in casting for The Biggest Loser.  Currently, Dana’s a producer on a show for Discovery ID and Jessica is an accountant for various TV shows.

How did you decide which excerpts to share on your web page?

Ah!  Finally an easy question!  We just put the first chapter of each book up.  Easy peasy.

Who are your favourite authors and what attracts you to their work?

And now we’re back to the hard questions!  This list could be endless.  We’re both confessed book nerds and could happily spend months reading.  But if we HAD to pick favorites, we suppose it’d be the following.

Douglas Adams: One of Dana’s all-time favorites.  She’s read every word the man has ever written.  His satire about the world around us is both amazingly insightful and absolutely hysterical.  He was her father’s favorite author, and over the years, it became something they shared.  It doesn’t get better than Douglas Adams.

Laura Ingalls Wilder: Jessica’s first memory of loving books involves Little House in the Big Woods and summer thunderstorms in Virginia.  Her mom would read to her and her sister to distract them from being frightened of the thunder.  She’s reread the entire Little House series probably once a year since then.

Jane Austen: Another of Dana’s all-time favorites.  Her stories endure the test of time.  It’s been proven time and again with modern adaptations of Pride & Prejudice, Emma, etc…  The themes of personal freedom vs. restriction, what a woman’s place is within society, and women being true to themselves have always resonated with her.

Steven King: Jessica’s husband finally got her to read The Stand, which she’d been curious about for years, but hadn’t ever wanted to read because it was in the horror genre and “Jessica hates horror.”  She listened to The Stand as an audiobook over the course of a month on her hour-long commute to work and fell in love.  The characters, the extreme situations, and the fantastical elements lured her in and made her a fan instantly.  She followed it up with 11/22/63, which immediately replaced The Stand as her favorite reading experience ever.

Great choices!

What’s next on your writing agenda?

We’re NEARLY done with the last book in The Autumn Series and are getting ready to throw ourselves into our next YA project: The Wayfarer, which is a story about a teenage girl running away from a bad foster situation.  She stumbles through a hidden and magical passage and finds herself in a new and strange land.  It’s Alice in Wonderland meets The Wizard of Oz.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the world about your writing and your books?

We LOVE working with schools and libraries to promote reading and literacy.  If there are any teachers and/or librarians out there who’d like us to do a virtual Skype visit to talk about writing, our books, etc… don’t hesitate to reach out!  Contact us via email!  us@kirbyhowell.com

Here’s where you can read more about Kirby Howell and their (?) books:

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About Kirby Howell

The Maze Runner is Adventurous and Suspenseful

maze-runnerIn The Maze Runner by James Dashner, people are brought up from an underground cage and put into an enclosed area in the maze with a supply crate. Every month a new person is brought up along with a new supply crate. Thomas is brought up into the maze and when he is, weird things start to happen. Thomas gets curious of what’s beyond the walls but he’s not allowed to go beyond the enclosed area because he’s not a runner. A day after he comes into the maze, someone else comes in, which is odd because it’s usually once a month. When Teresa comes up, she’s the only girl there. In their supply crate they get a note saying that it was the last one. When one of the runners gets hurt, the other runners aren’t going to save him, so Thomas runs into the maze and gets stuck there. No one ever survives the night in the maze because of the grievers who will kill you if they see you. It’s up to Thomas to help everybody find their way out of the maze before it’s too late.

I liked The Maze Runner because it was very suspenseful. Thomas is a strong character because he won’t take no for an answer. He does whatever he needs to in order to get out of the maze instead of just standing there and accepting that this is his life. When Teresa enters the maze it changes how the maze runs and how they had to live their lives. Though Teresa is unconscious for most of the story, she is able to talk to Thomas through her mind which was an interesting twist.

I recommend The Maze Runner to anyone who likes adventurous and suspenseful books.

Britbear gives this book



Write What You Know

Today’s post features a guest post by A.E. Albert, author of The Time Sphere.

From Amazon’s product description:

the time sphere cover

What if you discovered an amazing secret, a secret that led you on an adventure to save the world and perhaps…yourself?

Billy Townsend, a thirteen year old boy who has lived in a group home his entire life. He has no family, no friends, and is bullied everyday by muscled bound morons who have it better than him. Well, that’s what Billy thinks at least. His life is a constant upheaval of new towns, new houses and new people. The only thing that stays the same is the nagging loneliness that follows him everywhere.

Billy’s world is forever changed when he meets a mysterious stranger. He must now journey through time, fighting his way to the future. As he learns to use his wits and together with new found friends, he finds the strength to meet the challenges set before him. However, Billy soon discovers that his greatest challenge to face is himself.

Buy The Time Sphere on Amazon.

Write What You Know

When I sat down and made the decision to write a book, I looked down at a clean white sheet of paper and asked myself, what do I write about?  I grew up watching the Anne of Green Gables movies, until I finally read the series in my twenties.

One of my favorite scenes is when Gilbert looks at the stubborn and uncompromising Anne and dares to criticize her work.  He then challenges her to write what she knew about, be inspired by people and events around her.  This line had always stayed with me, even before I had ever thought about writing myself.

The trouble was I knew I wanted to write within the sci-fi/fantasy genre.  I also have a love of history and traveling and knew that they needed a place somewhere in my book.  So I took a little sci-fi and little history and came up with a time travel story.

But as every reader and writer alike knows, great characters are the heart of every tale.  Character development is my personal favorite aspect to a story.  I knew I needed characters that were gripping, real and who could grow.  At this point, I began to chew my lip and stare far too long at my pad of paper.  Suddenly, the words of Gilbert materialized in my mind.  Write what you know.

I have been a Child and youth Worker for almost 15 years.  I had been employed in numerous group homes and currently help children with special needs.  I have worked with many wonderful children throughout my career who have faced many challenges and adversities.  Yet, through it all, they managed to laugh, learn and add something special to my own life.  I knew in an instant that my protagonist was a child of social services.

Billy journeys through time, fights deadly foes and faces seemingly unbeatable odds.  Yet, his insecurities and are his greatest hurdle.  These personal challenges he must confront are directly intertwined with the plot and its exciting end.

Write what you know.  Following this advice gave me an empathic view of my characters.  I don’t just mean compassion, there’s more to empathy than that.  I mean being able to understand their decisions and know what path they will take.  You know what they will say and how they say it.  It’s as though your characters are writing your story and you are but an instrument of this endeavor.

Thanks Gilbert.

About A. E. Albert:

aeprofile pic-cropThank you for taking the time to read about me. As you probably have already guessed, I’m a first time novelist. I love reading, writing, travelling, history, science and a many more interesting (or not!) subjects. Of course, these interests don’t separate me from the majority of the population and my hobbies are quite generic. I thought I’d just get that part out of the way. But I’d like to tell you why I have embarked on this journey. For most of my adult life, I worked as a Child and Youth Worker in residential group homes and in the school board. I’ve worked and cared for many children like the ones described in my book. I’ve always felt that these children have been misrepresented and misunderstood. I decided to write about what I knew and so I created a character that lived in the social services system. Through humor and the occasional tear, I attempted to inform the reader what it is really like for the children of foster care and perhaps, to send a message to these special children that there is always hope. So, I decided to take my work experience, love of adventure novels and natural creative talent to write my book. The truth is, I began this endeavour simply as a hobby and a means to divert my mind from my very stressful job. I’ve always been an avid reader but didn’t believe that to mean that I was a writer myself. I simply decided to write a novel that I would enjoy reading. However, as I began my journey into the written world, I discovered a passion that I didn’t know existed. Writing this work was the most difficult, yet the most exhilarating experience of my life.

Review: Broken Realms

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00006]Broken Realms by D.W. Moneypenny is a fabulous adventure spanning multiple worlds. Mara Lantern is on a turbulent plane ride when a blue light envelopes the cabin. She believes she’s sleeping or hallucinating, because what she sees–another version of herself, lights flashing, strange creatures replacing the passengers–doesn’t see real. The plane crashes in the lake and passengers are pulled from the lake. Everything seems business as usual until strange things start to happen and Mara learns her life will never be the same again.

I liked Broken Realms, primarily because it reminded me of an episode of  X-files, following the investigation of the crash with Special Agent Ethan Suter of the FBI and Detective Bohannon of the Portland Police Department. Ditto the creatures from other realities. While I realize this is the first of a trilogy and a little leeway should be given to the length of the story to set up the premise of the series, I found the characters a little one-dimensional for my liking.

In Broken Realms, Moneypenny has set up an incredible fantasy universe that will have no problem supporting sequels as Mara, her Miyagi-esque mentor, Ping, and her brother from another dimension mother, Sam, track down the remaining Flight 559 passengers and save them (and the world) by sending them back to their respective realities,

Mamabear gives this book:four-bears

Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest