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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LEGEND OF THE TIMEKEEPERS – MG sci-fi/fantasy from Sharon Ledwith

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

 

EXCERPT:
“Why are you here?” Lilith asked. “You’ve already got your life seal.”

“I have more questions for Istulo.” She continued to stare at the disk.

Lilith sighed. “My name is Lilith. What’s your name?”

Her shoulders relaxed slightly. A hint of a smile broke out on her face. Her upturned nose wiggled. “She-Aba. I was born here in the Black Land. Both my parents arrived from Atlantis fourteen years ago yesterday. My mother gave birth to me the next day.”

Lilith perked up. “That would make today your birthday!”

She-Aba beamed. “Yes. That’s why I’m here. For my birthday last year, I had my life reading done by Istulo. But recently, there’s been a hiccup in my plans. It’s like my life seal rearranged itself, and now I’m confused. I’m here for a reaffirmation.”

“What’s the problem?”

She-Aba traced her life seal with the tip of her perfectly shaped fingernail. “My lifetime occupation was supposed to be to design clothing for the people of the various positions in the court and temples.”

Lilith smirked. “That makes perfect sense.”

“I know, right? So why, all of a sudden, would my life seal change from designing clothing to something completely different?”

Lilith arched a fair brow. “How different?”

“Well, instead of clothing people in lavish robes and gowns for others to appreciate, the seal suggests that I’ll be doing the opposite by covering up and hiding the truth. I don’t understand it at all. I thought my life was all planned out for me.”

“I thought mine was too, until my country blew up and slid into the ocean,” Lilith muttered.

“Hey, look at the bright side, at least your hair isn’t red like mine.”

Lilith eyed She-Aba carefully. “What’s wrong with red hair? My uncle has red hair and it suits him fine.”

She-Aba moved in closer. “If you haven’t noticed already, there aren’t many redheads around here. The natives think red is magical, and anyone with red hair is considered a freak of nature.”

“That’s ridiculous!” Lilith said loud enough to cause an echo down the marble hallway. “Is that the reason why those artists were rude to you? Because you have red hair?”

“Red is a very powerful color,” a raspy voice said from behind both girls.

Lilith and She-Aba jumped. They slowly turned to find Istulo hovering over them.

Wearing the same white gown and orichalcum headband Lilith saw her dressed in before, Istulo nodded slightly before she said, “Red represents the essence of life—if we are drained of blood, we are drained of energy. The people of the Black Land understand this, and therefore red is reserved only for their gods and goddesses.”

Lilith giggled. “Don’t tell She-Aba that, she’ll think she’s a goddess.”

BUY LINKS
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Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Mirror World Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads. Look up her Amazon Author page and her Amazon Author U.K. Page for a list of current books.

Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

“Escape from the Past,” YA Historical by Annette Oppenlander

About the Book:

Escape-from-the-Past-194x300
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.

About the Author:Oppenlander-214x300

 
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.”

AEGIS INCURSION by S. S. Segran

 

AEGIS INCURSIONMediaKit_BookCover_AegisIncursion

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“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 ~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

“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
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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.

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