New YA sci-fi dystopian series, “The Seekers,” from author David Litwack

About The Children of Darkness:

The Children of Darkness - Cover“But what are we without dreams?”
A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a terrible time of violence, fear, and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic,” and by eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.
Childhood friends, Orah and Nathaniel, have always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for more from life but unwilling to challenge the rigid status quo. When their friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his “teaching”—the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds young men and women eternally to the Light—they barely recognize the broken and brooding young man the boy has become. Then when Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel follows in a foolhardy attempt to save her.
In the prisons of Temple City, they discover a terrible secret that launches the three on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in jeopardy, for a truth from the past awaits that threatens the foundation of the Temple. If they reveal that truth, they might once again release the potential of their people.
Yet they would also incur the Temple’s wrath as it is written: “If there comes among you a prophet saying, ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the Light.”
 

About The Stuff of Stars:SOS cover

This second book in The Seekers dystopian series continues the story started in the critically-acclaimed The Children of Darkness.

Against all odds, Orah and Nathaniel have found the keep and revealed the truth about the darkness, initiating what they hoped would be a new age of enlightenment. But the people were more set in their ways than anticipated, and a faction of vicars whispered in their ears, urging a return to traditional ways.

Desperate to keep their movement alive, Orah and Nathaniel cross the ocean to seek the living descendants of the keepmasters’ kin. Those they find on the distant shore are both more and less advanced than expected.

The seekers become caught between the two sides, and face the challenge of bringing them together to make a better world. The prize: a chance to bring home miracles and a more promising future for their people. But if they fail this time, they risk not a stoning but losing themselves in the twilight of a never-ending dream.

 About the Author:

Dave Portrait Hi Res

The urge to write first struck at age sixteen when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the wild night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by the northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process — and without prior plan — becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

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“Escape from the Past,” by Annette Oppenlander

About the Book:

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Escape from the Past by Annette Oppenlander

Genre: YA historical fiction with a twist of sci-fi

Amazon | Goodreads | The Book Depository

When fifteen-year-old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he’s sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn’t realize that 1) He’s been chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He’s playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime. And 3) Survival is optional: to return home he must decipher the game’s rules and complete its missions—if he lives long enough. To fail means to stay in the past—forever. Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe Duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornets’ nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst.

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Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.
“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”

EXCERPT:

It was exactly 9:32 p.m. when I settled into my favorite chair, the one with the ripped Mexican blanket that serves as a cushion. Little did I know I’d be gone within the hour. I mean gone as in disappeared.
Powering up my high-speed Cyber Xtreme and 32-inch monitor, a guilt gift from my dad and the only valuable thing I own, I stared at the blank disc in my hand. According to my friend, Jimmy, it contained some secret new game his father had invented. Jimmy said his dad thought the game was faulty and I wondered why his dad would have given it to him.
Most people consider Jimmy the lucky one. He lives in a mansion because his father runs some ginormous tech company. My mom and me share space with a thousand spiders in a twobedroom cottage with a thatched roof. Who in the twenty-first century lives in a house covered with a bunch of straw?
Anyway, I digress. The tower purred as it swallowed the disc, the best sound in the world. It took a long time to boot which should’ve given me the first clue something was wrong. If there’s one thing that drives me crazy it’s slow processors and I knew it wasn’t my equipment. I’ve been gaming since I was six and consider myself pretty good. Especially when it comes to debugging stuff. I was stoked to figure it out, maybe make a few bucks in the process. I’m still American enough to think of dollars instead of Euros because we’ve only lived in Germany for two years.
I was scrounging for a candy bar in my desk when a flame shot across the screen, burning yellow, red and blue. Not that I smoke, but it looked real enough to light a cigarette. In slow motion the fire edged letters into the screen. EarthRider. Cool name. Of course I didn’t get it then. Stupid me.
Below the fire appeared a globe, the kind librarians have on their desks. The thing rotated slowly, zooming closer and closer like Google Earth. Jimmy was right, this was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, the graphics as realistic as if I’d been standing there. Bornhagen, the place we live, was marked with a front door. Enter here flashed below. I was pretty fed up waiting, my fingers twitching to hit the keys. First it took ages to load, then it showed a map? But I didn’t have much else to do except review a few algebra problems— unlike Jimmy I’ve got no trouble with math—so I clicked.

AEGIS INCURSION by S. S. Segran

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by S.S. Segran

*** #1 AMAZON HOT NEW RELEASE (YA/Teen)*** WORLDS COLLIDE. HEROES ARISE ***

Great as a Standalone or as an Explosive Sequel to #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller, AEGIS RISING.

On a bright July morning in 1948, a B-29 Superfortress flying a top-secret research mission over Nevada crashes into the calm waters of Lake Mead and sinks, remaining lost for half a century.

It has been nearly a year since five friends – Jag, Kody, Mariah, Tegan and Aari – mysteriously reappeared in a small town in Yukon several weeks after their small plane went down in Northern Canada. All were found in good health but with no recollection of what happened to them.

A baffling contagion is spreading across the bread-basket of North America destroying vital crops. As this dark shadow marches across the globe, widespread famine and riots bring desperate nations to the brink of war.

These seemingly unrelated events set the stage for a battle between the forces of darkness and those destined to become the ‘bearers of light’. From ravaged fields in the Great Plains to clandestine installations around the world, the Aegis League must race against time to save humanity.

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“Unique and compelling! With non-stop action, adventure and intrigue, Aegis Incursion will appeal to fans of Maze Runner, Percy Jackson and Hunger Games.” ~Michael Beas ~ Bestselling Author of ‘Strump: A World of Shadows’ ~

“S.S. Segran brings us a worthy sequel to her best-selling debut novel, Aegis Rising. Relentless action and gravity defying twists and turns hold the reader in a tight grip till the last page.” ~ Honore Gbedze ~ The SAGE Foundation ~

“RECOMMENDED! A good sequel stands alone as a strong work without the accomplishments of its predecessors, but a great sequel inspires readers to go back and relive a book they’ve already read, and that is precisely what this book accomplishes.” ~ The US Review of Books ~

“FIVE STARS! A great book to dive into and a fantastic follow up to the first… One of the best things author S.S. Segran has done here is that the book can be read as a stand-alone. Highly recommended!” ~ Readers’ Favorite Reviews ~

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EXCERPT:

…A sound in the distance snapped him out of his daydream. It was a low rumbling, like thunder, but that was impossible—the sky was still bright and cloudless. As the sound gradually became louder, Elwood was able to pinpoint the location and slowly looked toward the east. He squinted against the sun, then gasped when he saw a shimmering silhouette emerge from the glare…

…The aircraft thundered right over Elwood’s head, so near that the vortex of air created by the plane’s passing churned the water violently, capsizing the canoe and pitching him into the lake. He struggled and attempted to cry out, only to choke on water. He floundered back up to the surface and sputtered and spat as he tried to regain his bearings.

Catching sight of the plane as it boomed overhead, he watched, agape, as the aircraft hit the surface of the lake on its belly. The massive propellers struck the water, violently tearing three of the four engines away from the wings…

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AUTHOR BIO and LINKS

S.S. Segran spent a good chunk of her childhood exploring the enchanted forest of a million tales in the mystical land of books. In her early teens, she began crafting intriguing new worlds and conjuring up characters who came alive with the flick of her wand… err… pen. With the publication of her first novel in the Aegis League Series during her senior year of high school, she was surprised by the abundance of time that magically appeared right after graduation. She plans to use this newfound resource to expand the arc of the series. Her future plans include studying Cognitive Science at university and helping youths in developing countries realize their potential through her non-profit organization, Aegis League (www.aegisleague.org)

When not devouring a book or writing one, S.S.Segran can be found standing behind the cauldron of life, stirring a potion made up of chores, parkour, gaming, drawing, horseback riding and—having recently jumped off a perfectly fine airplane at fifteen thousand feet – perhaps skydiving.

TWITTER  | FACEBOOK  | AMAZON PAGE

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“Henry Gallant and the Warrior” by H. Peter Alesso

 

BLURB:

MediaKit_BookCover_HenryGallantAndTheWarriorIn the 22th Century, the people of the Solar System have banded together against an alien invasion. Unfortunately, they’re losing—badly.

As the only Natural remaining in the genetically engineered officer corps of the United Planet’s fleet, Henry Gallant has unique mental abilities that have proven essential to the defense against the Titan invaders. Nevertheless his fellow officers lack faith in him, and worse, he has angered prominent men by speaking truth to power.

Despite this, Admiral Collingsworth has given him command of the Warrior, the most advanced stealth warship in the UP arsenal, and ordered him to the alien’s main base to spy, intrigue, and disrupt their war capacity.

Gallant’s mission leads to risky battles and painful choices, but no choice is more personal, or intimate, than the choice to face one’s own death. And for Henry Gallant—a flawed young man in a hopeless situation against overwhelming odds—a dreadful decision looms before him.

He has only one saving grace—he is unafraid.

EXCERPT

Lieutenant Henry Gallant walked along the cobblestone streets of New Annapolis—head down, mind racing . . .

My orders say take command of the Warrior immediately . . . but no promotion . . . Why not?

He pondered the possibilities, but he already knew the answer. Though he had steely gray eyes, a square jaw, and was taller than nearly everyone around him, what distinguished him most was not visible to the naked eye—he was a Natural—born without genetic engineering.

By the time he reached the space elevator, the welcoming breeze of the clear brisk morning had brightened his mood and he fell into line behind the shipyard personnel without complaint.

Looking up, he marveled; that cable goes into the clouds like an Indian rope trick.

When at last it was his turn, the guard scanned his comm pin against the access manifest.

The portal light blinked red.

“Pardon, sir. Access denied,” said the grim faced sentry.

“Call the officer of the guard,” demanded Gallant.

The officer of the guard appeared, but was no more inclined to pass Gallant through. He touched the interface panel and made several more entries, but the portal continued to blink red.

“There’s a hold on your access, sir.”

Gallant asked, “A hold?”

“Yes, sir. Your clearance and authorization are in order, but SIA has placed a hold on your travel movements. They want you to report to SIA headquarters, ASAP.”

“I need to go to the shipyard and attend to important business before going to the Solar Intelligence Agency,” clarified Gallant, but even as he said it, he knew it wouldn’t help.

“Sorry, sir. Orders.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations, and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co­author of seven books.

You can visit his Web site at: http://www.hpeteralesso.com/Default.aspx

Author Social Media:

Author Web site at: http://www.hpeteralesso.com/Default.aspx

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/413852.H_Peter_Alesso

YouTube trailer for Henry Gallant Saga: SciFi Book Trailer: Midshipman Henry Gallant

Facebook for Henry Gallant Saga: https://www.facebook.com/MidshipmanHenryGallantInSpace

Amazon link for Volume 1 of the Henry Gallant Saga

Amazon link for Volume 3 of the Henry Gallant Saga

“Evanescent” by Carlyle Labuschagne

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Evanescent cover

Her fall has just begun. Only his touch can save her from the shift that could destroy it all.

Within my blood runs a thing our kind calls the Shadowing Disease. It shadows over, and bends everything to its will. When the first blood-shift came, it tore through flesh and blood, threatening to bend me, break bone, shatter my mind and entrap my heart with its honeyed, seductive poison. It came with vicious intent, moving my thoughts and altering me forever. The shift has caused a rift within me. No one was safe when it entrapped me in its claws of foul lust. But I have the only antidote against the evil that becomes me – his touch alone has the power to release the spurs of sweet darkness that clung on for dear life. I knew what I had to do; the desperation pulled my mind with the deep determination of a hungry predator. By the time the revelation raised me from the dark dungeon of my bounds – it might have been too late.

Carlyle LabuschagneAbout the Author: 

Carlyle is an South African award winning author, with a flair for mixing genres and adding loads of drama to every story she creates. For now she is happy to take over the world and convert non Sci-fi believers.

Her goal as an author is to touch people’s lives, and help others love their differences and one another by delivering strong messages of faith, love and hope within every outrageous world she writes about.

“I love to swim, fight for the trees, and am a food lover who is driven by my passion for life. I dream that one day my stories will change the lives of countless teenagers and have them obsess over the world literacy can offer them instead of worrying about fitting in. Never sacrifice who you are, it’s in the dark times that the light comes to life.”

Carlyle used writing as a healing tool and that is why she started her very own writers support event – SAIR bookfestival.

“To be a helping hand for those who strive to become full times writers, editors, bloggers, readers and cover artists – it’s a crazy world out there you don’t have to go it alone!”

Author’s Links:  Blog  Facebook Page  LinkedIn  Twitter  Website  Google +  Fire Quill Publishing

“Riot of Storm and Smoke” Cover Reveal

Welcome to the cover reveal for Riot of Storm and Smoke by Jennifer Ellision!

Beautiful woman in white wedding dress. Professional makeup hairstyle bride

Riot of Storm and Smoke (book #2 in the Threats of Sky and Sea series) releases August 18, 2015
War draws closer, like a tide to the shore.

Bree and her friends have escaped the clutches of the Egrian King, but their troubles are far from over. Still reeling from the secrets that drew new breath when her father took his last, Bree sets off for the safety of Nereidium– the kingdom she’s just learned is hers.

But with the King’s ire at its peak and war a certainty, Nereidium is no longer safe. As Prince Caden rallies the Egrian people against his tyrant father, Bree, Princess Aleta, and Tregle race to the Nereid shore to warn them of the incoming danger—and to put the Nereid Princess on the throne.

The only trouble there: Bree can’t bring herself to reveal that the Princess is her.

It’s not a dilemma she can waste time pondering. With a new weapon in his arsenal, the King’s strikes are sure to be bolder than ever before. And Bree may not be ready to wear a crown… but she won’t let her kingdom down without a fight.

Add on Goodreads
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Jennifer Ellison
About the Author: 
 
Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She resides in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit.
Links to connect with Jennifer:
Twitter: @JenEllision
Instagram: @JenEllision

“Science Fiction – An Evolving Genre” – a guest post from author Tom Olbert

 

Please welcome a guest to Vala Kaye’s “Other World” today, sci-fi author Tom Olbert! ~ Vala

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Speaking as a writer who primarily works in science fiction, I am painfully aware that the genre holds extremely limited appeal for the public. The genre has dropped out of popularity. Most of the general public doesn’t take SF seriously. Kid stuff, they assume.

Maybe it started out that way, but the genre is evolving. The science fiction that has won current popularity in books and their big screen adaptations is the sub-genre we call post-apocalyptic science fiction (PASF). Stories that offer tortured young heroes and heroines struggling to find their purpose in dark, dystopian future worlds run by cold, duplicitous adults. And, if aimed and written properly, science fiction can be an excellent canvass for expressing such social themes and depicting characters who thrive in them, because it has no set limits or boundaries.

The writer creates the world that is needed to illustrate the point and to channel the development of the protagonist. The challenge is in making that world seem relevant to an audience that tends to be skeptical of the genre. To be taken seriously, SF has to escape the stigma of glitz and gadgetry and offer stories that are actually character-centered. The setting must frame and present the character, not just use the character to present itself.

One particularly dark and stinging PASF franchise is the CW’s “100” T.V. series, set in a post-war irradiated wilderness grown over the ruins of Washington D.C. Based on the Alloy books by Kass Morgan. A century after a nuclear war, the last survivors of humanity (or, so they think) live under harsh Draconian rule on an orbiting space colony beset by rapidly dwindling resources. They send a hundred of their incarcerated juvenile delinquents down to the surface to find out if it’s habitable. Turns out it is, but already inhabited, by two other groups of survivors. Warlike, savage tribes who live in the forests, and a technologically advanced but isolated society that’s lived inside a mountain bunker for the past 97 years.

Character development is strong and intense, weaving through dark themes of society-building, tribalism, leadership dynamic, and such timeless moral themes as justice, capital punishment, and war. It’s a raw, gritty look at human nature in its purest form, and it spares us nothing. Its strength is definitely in its lead characters. Most notably Clarke, the teenaged daughter of the space colony’s chief medical officer (a mother who betrayed Clarke’s father to execution at the hands of the regime, justifying it for the greater good.)

Thrust into circumstances beyond her control, Clarke reveals natural leadership ability and swiftly rises to power in her group. She soon has to face wrenching moral decisions that seem to echo the dark days of World War II. When the outwardly civilized, seemingly cordial mountain people start performing horrific Mengele-like experiments on the outsiders, draining their bone marrow in hopes of gaining their immunity to the radiation, Clarke must form an uneasy alliance with the savages to save her people. Clarke learns of an impending missile attack from the mountain through a spy she has on the inside, but decides not to warn her people about it, knowing it would tip off the enemy, robbing her side of the critical advantage. She must live with the guilt of her decision as dozens of her friends die a horrible fiery death while she gets herself to safety. A plot-point obviously alluding to Winston Churchill’s alleged similar decision at Coventry. When Clarke’s ally makes her own deal with the enemy, selling Clarke out to save her own people, Clarke must throw away the rule book to save her friends. She takes hostages and personally executes a prisoner just to make a point. When the enemy leader still won’t release her people, she makes the deliberate decision to commit genocide. Her hand pauses dramatically over the switch only a moment before she presses it, releasing deadly radiation into a bunker full of people, including innocent children and conscientious objectors who tried to help her people. The resulting nightmare scene of pleasant, family oriented cafeteria dining dissolving into excruciating death, bodies blistering from the radiation, women and children dying, conjures shades of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“I tried to be one of the good guys,” Clarke later tells her mother. “Maybe, there are no good guys, Clarke,” mom replies. It’s not that everyone is out for number one, you understand. They’re all just doing their best to save their own people. Which is, of course worse. The story is a dark mirror of the world in which we live, but the characters have more life than that. We care about them, and they bring the dark lessons to life for us because their pain and conflict and love and hate for each other are potent.

In my SF novella “Black Goddess,” I combined theoretical quantum physics with the dark yearnings of a morally conflicted Gulf War vet who has lost his faith and becomes obsessed with finding the core of darkness at the beginning of time. The story deals with the real-life agony of torture and what it does to the soul, and asks the timeless questions of whether primal evil truly exists, if life is anything but blind chance, and if there is a God. At its core is a simple yearning for love.

Quote:
“Beneath her black head scarf, her dark eyes stabbed through him with a flaming hatred. Then…nothing. Like a black abyss where a soul had been a micro-second before. A strange kind of peace. More than that, a oneness.

That look in her eyes. In his dad’s. It was the same as he’d seen in Lark’s memory…in the eyes of that kid in Uganda who’d held a knife to her throat. But, he hadn’t harmed her. Something had stopped him. When their eyes had met…something in her had pulled him back from the abyss.”

To read more on Black Goddess please click a vendor’s name
Mocha Memoirs PressAmazon

Tom Olbert lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts; cradle of the American Revolution, and home of University egg heads and kooky liberals. He loves it there. His work has most recently appeared in Musa Publishing. Previously in Mocha Memoirs Press, Eternal Press, and such anthologies as Ruthless, Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, Something Wicked Vol II, In the Bloodstream, and Torched.

When he’s not working or writing sci-fi or horror, Tom volunteers for causes he cares about. He comes from a most interesting family; his mother, Norma Olbert is currently self-publishing a biography of the life of Tom’s dad Stan Olbert, a retired MIT physicist and veteran of the Polish underground during WWII. Tom’s sister Elizabeth Olbert is an artist, art teacher, and avid lover of horses.

Learn more about Tom Olbert on his blog Other Dimensions.