Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Business: Book Giving and suggestions

It's that time of the year to give books as gifts. Why not? After all, a book is a present you can open again and again. If you need suggestions, I have several for you here, different genres for different tastes. And I'm also selling signed copies of my novel, Massive Black Hole, paperback for $10.00 + $3.00 (shipping and handling in the US) -  for a limited time, including also a signed bookmark. If you prefer to shop on Amazon, the online bookstore is offering 25% off, so take advantage and buy your copy of Massive Black Hole - book for Christmas!

For the poetry lovers, Holes in Space - A Poetry Collection can also be purchased online and the ebook is currently on sale for 99 cents. The book has recently been nominated for the 50 Best Indie Books of 2014 and I'd love your vote! Here's the link - I'd be honored if you could vote for Holes in Space in the "other/poetry, short stories, etc" category! Thank you!

http://www.readfree.ly/vote-50-self-published-books-worth-reading-201314-2/

And here are some wonderful suggestions from other talented Indie writers! Enjoy!






http://www.amazon.com/Rivulets-Blood-CS-Forster-ebook/dp/B00IF1VTHY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418862693&sr=8-1&keywords=rivulets+of+blood

http://www.amazon.com/Angel-Omega-Imprisonment-Brandon-Godbee-ebook/dp/B00D99MEG2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418862739&sr=8-1&keywords=angel+omega+imprisonment

http://www.amazon.com/Waking-Dreams-Torment-Colin-Pierce-ebook/dp/B00FPO638O/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1418862782&sr=8-4&keywords=waking+dreams

http://www.amazon.com/Jewel-Box-C-Michelle-McCarty-ebook/dp/B00BTRDWTO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418862848&sr=1-1&keywords=the+jewel+box+-+c+michelle+mccarty

http://www.amazon.com/MEATLESS-PROTEIN-COOKBOOK-Recipes-Weight-ebook/dp/B00HUAFLS4/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418862884&sr=1-3&keywords=shireen+hakim

http://www.amazon.com/Mad-Days-Me-Escaping-Barcelona-ebook/dp/B00A7Z243O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418862921&sr=1-1&keywords=mad+days+of+me

http://www.amazon.com/Leaf-Long-Ice-Twig-Stories-ebook/dp/B00B4I88BU/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418862962&sr=1-6&keywords=jo+marshall

http://www.amazon.com/Going-Kona-Pamela-Fagan-Hutchins-ebook/dp/B00MQ99A04/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418863000&sr=1-1&keywords=going+for+kona

Monday, December 8, 2014

Books: Gift suggestions for every taste!

If you're looking for  books to give as unique gifts, here are a few great suggestions of Indie writers from different genres. After all, a book is a present that you can open again and again. Enjoy the selection!




















Thursday, December 4, 2014

Books: Don't Die with Your Music Still in You by Wayne W. Dyer, Serena Dyer - review

Books: Don't Die with Your Music Still in You by  Wayne W. Dyer, Serena Dyer - review

Having been a reader of Dr. Wayne Dyer books' for a long time, I took an immediate interest in reading his daughter Serena's book. After all, her testimony should add a different perspective in the teachings of Dr. Dyer. How does the daughter of one of the most influential men in the world take his words to heart and to life?

Don't Die with Your Music Still in You in an inspirational book, a reading that I would recommend especially for young adults who need motivation and the courage to take a leap and find their purpose in life. Of course, that serves for every person regardless of age, as it's never too late to change course and channel into your inner core and realize what is your music.

Serena's chapters mirror one of her father's previous bestsellers, Ten Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, by giving her approach of how each of this steps helped her and her siblings while they were growing up with their spiritual parents. By telling stories, the chapters are illustrative and easy to follow, so anyone can relate and understand. The basic message is one that we all need to hear over and over again: find your passion, focus on the positive, and believe you can. Just don't die with your music still in you. The book is a refreshing take on how to achieve inner peace and success, with a positive point of view from someone that was living the message as she was growing up. Well done!




I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review purposes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Books: Indie Book Reviews - New Authors

Here are some reviews from Indie writers' books, which I enjoyed discovering. Different genres for different tastes, so pick one you like and give it a try, you might find your new favorite author here! And when you do, please don't forget to write a review too. All of them are available on Amazon. Thank you for supporting Indie writers! "No two persons ever read the same book." (Edmund Wilson).


The Last Dragon Slayer (Deathsworn Arc Book 1) - fantasy
By Martyn Stanley

Cool story that draws the reader into a quest to slaughter a dragon, while delving into the characters and their motives. The interesting thing about this book is, not only are the characters going on a quest to destroy an apparent evil force, but during their voyage, they face conflicting moral issues that plague humanity for centuries: can we condemn a creature to death? Should there be forgiveness for one's sins? Is a person evil because of their circumstances? Is there a choice? It gives the reader some food for thought. The extras at the end of the book with pictures were a plus with nice drawings, and I also loved the cover art. Would recommend it for teens and young adults who love adventures. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series!
 
The first book in the series is available free on amazon:


In The End: A Pre-Apocalypse Novel - pre/post apocalyptic
By Edward M Wolfe

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it's not the genre I usually read. I confess I read it in 2 days, couldn't put it down, it was a fast yet addictive reading that kept me going to find out more about all the characters stranded in this pre-apocalyptic story.

Descriptions are vivid and flow well between chapters. Wolfe did a great job with the characters. I hated Carl and wanted him dead as soon as possible, while I had lots of sympathy towards Monica and Tori. They felt real, and I found myself immediately taking sides, liking some, hating others, and rooting for a happy ending. I was drawn to find out how they would all connect and come together after all, and Wolfe didn't disappoint. It makes for a great first book and I'm sure the upcoming sequels will bring more excitement and close some of the "open wounds" from this book, like Jim's background. His sarcastic, pessimistic outlook is very noticeable and at times annoying, and although he definitely has issues, he has a soft side that prompts you to empathize with him. Great job.

http://www.amazon.com/End-pre-apocalypse-novel-Edward-Wolfe-ebook/dp/B00HJIIRZG/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=


Bentley Square (Time after Time Book 4) - romance
By Carol Ann Kauffman

Bentley Square is a fast paced love story that draws the writer into the lives of two interesting characters, a very rich heiress and a man who is almost homeless and jobless. Their platonic encounter after spotting each other on a train for years, and never approaching each other, finally happens coincidentally, and they feel like they know each other eternally. Their love story is timeless and they have to surpass many challenges in order to stay together, including murder, kidnapping, blackmailing, etc. It's full of surprises in every chapter and not a dull moment in their quest for love. If you like a love story that is timeless, and where the hero, Mark, is every woman's dream: totally romantic, a knight in shiny armor, ready to protect and save his damsel in distress at every corner, read this cozy yet action-filled romance! A "cameo" appearance by the author in one of the chapters was quite a smart surprise! Well done!

http://www.amazon.com/BENTLEY-SQUARE-Time-After-ebook/dp/B009Y9DPIC/ref=cm_aya_orig_subj


Eclectically Carnal (Eclectic Writings Book 1)- erotic short stories anthology
By Fern Brady, Chantell Renee and others

This is a fun and erotic anthology! The short stories in this volume are witty, have an element of the supernatural or fantastic, and are topped with sexy or steamy scenes. From a time machine that transports a museum curator to a caveman's land, to a fairy who transforms her sexual harassers into her sex slaves, the stories are amusing and definitely for a mature audience. Once you start, you will probably finish in one sitting. The stories are well written, the plots are funny, and I'm looking forward to the next anthology in this series!

http://www.amazon.com/Eclectically-Carnal-Eclectic-Writings-Book-ebook/dp/B00GQIEZRO/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Monday, October 13, 2014

Music: Interview with musician DJ Lion-O

Today we bring to the page DJ Lion-O, a talented artist who just released a new album, Visceral. After his 2 instrumental albums, DJ Lion-O departed from music for a bit to explore painting, design and more writing. After 5 years, DJ Lion-O is finally releasing his fourth album. It changed a lot during those years, first titled Anti-Hero 4.0 to finally be changed to something more primal, Visceral. The album was produced by Mad Ducks Records and was released  on September 22 2014.  Let's get to know more about him and his music!


Tell us where you are from and what is your background? 

I am from Houston and my background is Heinz 57 with mostly Italian sauce.

Great sense of humor! What
do you play and what instrument is your favorite? 

I play beatboxes, synths, and kaossilators. My favorite is a kaossilator hooked to the body of a bass, going through a bunch of guitar pedals.  

That sounds interesting, and exotic! What genre do you consider yourself and what is your greatest influence? 

It is hard to define myself with one genre. I would consider myself a mixture of ambient and techno. My biggest influence would have to be Pink Floyd, especially their song "Shine on you Crazy Diamond" from Pulse.

Pink Floyd is indeed a great influence. What is your source of inspiration to compose?  


This may sound corny but my source of inspiration is similar to many artists.  I think I am inspired by the emotions I feel from daily life experiences, the highs and the lows.

Yes, life and emotions can be major sources of inspiration. You have worked with bands and also worked solo,  which do you prefer? Why? 


A band is hands down the best and worst way to go. You have to deal with many personalities but when they meld together, in the pocket, that's a magical high.

I can imagine the contribution that each talent can bring to make music together. And what do you enjoy most between the interaction with your fans? 


I would say an honest opinion of my work. I want to hear the good and the bad.

You just released a new album, but are you working on anything else currently? 


I am currently collaborating with an experimental folk band in the Denver area.

That sounds exciting! Now tell us where can we find more about you and buy your music? 


released 22 September 2014

- DJ Lion-O: Beats & Programming
- Cedric Theys: Guitar, Bass & Programming
- Terrance Ballard: Congas & Bongos


http://www.madducksrecords.com/djliono.html for my bio 

http://store.madducksrecords.com/album/visceral to get my latest release.

Thank you! Is there anything else you'd like to share with the readers?
   
Don't be afraid to express your inner creativity in whatever media you prefer.


That's a great advice! Thank you so much for your time interviewing with us here today and we wish you good luck and success with your new release and your upcoming projects!
Latest release: Visceral

Visceral is an emotional journey through music. It needed to be raw, untamed and unadulterated, aiming for the heart. The tunes are melodic but also include somewhat primal rhythms. After getting deep electro beats going, DJ Lion-O wanted to incorporate warm percussion to stir up the emotions. 

Visceral is the yearning that reaches deep into our souls coaxing us to close our eyes, raise our hands to the skies and beat the rhythms in a shaman-like trance. Visceral cannot be described by words alone. Visceral must be heard. Visceral is pure. Commune with it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Books: October is for fun and games! Win a signed copy of Massive Black Hole and a $10 Amazon gift card

Time for a giveaway!

October is my favorite month of the year. Why? First, it's my birthday month. Then, it's autumn in the northern hemisphere - what a delightful season! - and spring in the southern hemisphere - another blessed season. The weather is all around nicer, temperatures are pleasant, and suddenly everything feels calmer and peaceful. So, why not celebrate by giving something away?

Enter the Rafflecopter (link below - you can also visit Massive Black Hole's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/massiveblackholebook )for a chance to win a signed copy of Massive Black Hole, and a $10 Amazon gift card to shop for more books!

There are several ways to win entries, so check them all for more chances - even a daily entry if you tweet it.

Thanks for playing, and have a wonderful October! Good luck!


Click here to enter:

http://tinyurl.com/lv67lx4



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Books: Indie book reviews - New authors

Here are some reviews of books and short stories from new authors discovered on GoodReads or Facebook. Give them a try if you're up to finding new authors and supporting Indie books!

Voyager - The Art of Pure Awareness by Robin Craig Clark (spiritual growth)

This books falls into the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, suggesting the "now" as a self awareness and giving interesting information on how to get to a state of awareness. It reads almost as a poetry book, there are several beautiful quotes from famous motivators/writers/poets etc, and the pictures illustrating the pages are just breathtaking. I read the ebook version, and believe the print version would mostly look like a coffee table book! For those who like self help books, this is a beautiful read.

http://www.amazon.com/Voyager-Awareness-Robin-Craig-Clark-ebook/dp/B00CMQOCWC/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=


The Silence Before Dawn by Henry Martin (poetry)

Martin's poetry book is a refreshing take on free verse. Although the book is divided into different sections, some of the poems could fit into more than one section. Those familiar with Martin's Mad Days of Me trilogy will indeed find some of the poems reminiscent of the main character. The selection brings enigmatic poetry, which should read aloud, to absorb and feel the eloquence of the emotions the author is trying to convey. The "Relationships" section expresses love and desire but in a subtle and not forceful way, like a shy young man not yet sure of his emotions, but full of passion and desire. For example, one of my favorites, Still Needing You, reads:
“I don’t need you anymore!”
though I still want to be
forever
with you

"Shame" was also one of my favorites. In fact, there are several favorites in each of the sections. In the Noise After Sunrise, several of the poems talk about places where he has lived, and are artfully described, evoking images full of wonder, longing, certain nostalgia even. At times, the free style and broken thoughts reminded me of Plath's poems. Excellent poetry book, for poetry lovers. Highly recommend.

http://www.amazon.com/Silence-Before-Dawn-Henry-Martin-ebook/dp/B00K0KYJN4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

The Jewel Box by C. Michelle McCarty (romance)

The Jewel Box is a great debut novel. For lovers of romance books, this is a delight. Full of intrigue and lively characters that get tangled up in life's web of surprises, this fast paced and well written book keeps you moving through time. The characters are well developed, well described, and their interaction convincing and real. Vivid descriptions of Houston transports you to the city and its outskirts, and paints a great picture of the city's development throughout 3-4 decades. The author also throws in some real events that happened during the time line of the story to illustrate its sense of reality. Cherie's (the main character) actions and behavior will frustrate you and keep you wonder if she is really deserving of a happy ending or second or third chance, but this is a love story that will melt your heart. Thumbs up!

http://www.amazon.com/Jewel-Box-C-Michelle-McCarty-ebook/dp/B00BTRDWTO/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Music: Interview with Matt Newport, talented UK Musician, Artist and Poet

We're starting a new month with a new talented artist, British musician and poet Matt Newport. His talent is versatile, and goes from writing poems to music to performing in theater! Sounds great, right? So let's read on about this great guy!

Matt, please introduce yourself, where are you from and what is your background?

Firstly, thanks for this opportunity. I really appreciate it! My name's Matthew Newport, I'm from the United Kingdom, I write a variety of genres but focus on the pop and musical theatre industry. At the age of 14, I joined a local Amateur Dramatics group, this sparked a huge passion for music and theatre, I continued until 19 and left the group after 5 years. 

Great start for you. When did you start writing poetry and when did you decide to merge poetry and music?

I started writing poetry after I left the group, my poems were deep and meaningful and I surprised myself with my work. I understood poetry itself was a hard career to pursue, therefore I decided to buy a guitar and began teaching myself through books. It felt like the perfect marriage and with a little tweaking the poetry became lyrics and songs were born. 

Matt also paints landscapes
Fascinating, so you have taught yourself how to play the guitar! That's awesome, and very creating. So, having experimented with theater, writing and music, what is your favorite art form and why?

As well as music, another art form I like and frequently use is painting, I paint landscapes and scenic settings. I do have a soft spot for musical theatre. I feel that's where my lyrical writing is most effective. 

You're really all about the arts! What genre do you consider yourself and who is your greatest influence?

I feel it's hard to genre my music, I'd say it's a mix between Ed Sheeran and James Morrison. My greatest influences are Snow Patrol and Coldplay. I write about love and experiences, I feel a lot of people can relate to my songs and lyrics and that's the key: always be sure someone can relate to your music; if not, write the lyrics well enough so that after hearing your song, they feel they can relate to it; words are powerful tools.
 
I love Coldplay and Snow Patrol too! As a writer, I can relate to what you say about words. And what is your source of inspiration to compose?
 
I compose anywhere, my source is normally what comes into my head, I'm endlessly writing notes on my iphone and recording melodies I've come up with on the fly. Relationships are a good source of fresh ideas, some of my greatest songs came from a break up, others come from expressing your love towards someone, music is my expression. Haha, I write my girlfriend a song every few weeks because I like to show her and tell her how much she means to me. 
 
Lucky girlfriend! So we say you're an optimistic/hopeful/romantic guy, right?
 
I'm optimistic, hopeful and romantic, I love showing affection, I send my girlfriend flowers every couple of months, I love to spoil people, I'd say I'm too generous but I can't help it! Haha, I like to make people happy.
 
Sounds like you find inspiration everywhere! What do you enjoy the most between the interaction with your fans?
 
Interaction with my fans? I like to interact, I think that's the main thing, I'm just a guy who loves music just like them, I like to speak to everyone I can, and spend time with them, not just disappearing after a song, you could say building a relationship. 
 
Matt performed in musical theater
What are you working on right now?
 
Right now I'm working on two tracks with two different people from the US. I love collaborating, it's the only way you can improve your craft as a musician, learn from others and share your creativity. I'm also writing a musical, but I'll talk about that another time. 
 
Sounds great! Where can we find you and buy your music, then?
 
Currently my music is unavailable, I'm working on my album and will release a single very shortly, I'm also busy collaborating, as I mentioned before; best thing someone can do is just follow me on twitter and you'll be the first to know what's happening and when. I am a active twitterer, so if you message me I'll respond.  
 

Can't wait for your single release. In the meantime, let's follow Matt on twitter! Is there anything else you'd like to share with the readers?
 
I'd like to say if any of you are reading this, (if you've got this far Thank You!) and are thinking about performing or writing music, don't sit and think about it, get out there and go for it, meet local musicians, get active on twitter and practice your craft, if you play, keep playing any chance you get, if you write, write loads of stuff, it might look silly at first but keep it in a book, you'd be surprised what you can use when you return to it a few months later, don't be afraid to work outside your comfort zone, stay positive and stay creative. 
Thanks for having me, much love!
 
Great advice, Matt, and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy creative schedule to be our guest! Good luck to you and your music, and when you release your single, please let us know!





    


  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lifestyle: Tarot reading - the art of divination: Interview with a tarot reader

Games used for divination and esoteric purposes have always been an object of curiosity for many, and even today, serious professionals who study the divinatory arts of cards are searched by those who want to have guidance to act and improve their chances in love, money and career. Today, we interview Suely Zadorosny, a Brazilian professional specialized in the arts of tarot reading. Let's get to know her!

Can you tell us something about you and your background?

I have a B.A. in Languages (Portuguese and Literature) specialized in Interpersonal Psychology. I was an elementary school teacher at public schools for 2 years. Then, I became a health care government employee, where I have worked for the past 30 years and soon to retire. I'm divorced and I have two adult children. I'm also a professional tarot reader and an artist specialized in mandala painting.

So, you have an artistic and literary background! And how did you decide to become a tarot reader?

I decided to learn the art of tarot when I was very young, during a time in my life where I was going through a difficult divorce. I was in search of spiritual help, and looked into many different sources, to no avail, until I had a tarot reading consultation. At first, I was somewhat skeptical with the results, because I couldn't imagine a deck of cards would mean something that could help me. But with time, I realized it was, indeed, the spiritual help I so needed, and basically, all that was revealed to me during that reading actually happened one way or the other. I went back for more readings, and each time I became more and more impressed with this type of oracle and its many possibilities. From this moment on, I decided I would learn all about it, and dedicate myself to study and work with the tarot in the best way possible, so I could help people the same way it helped me.

This really sounds like an amazing story. Basically, what is the tarot?

The tarot is an oracle deck of 78 cards with drawings whose meaning comes from a very long time ago. There are several types of tarot decks, because each artist or magician can create their own tarot cards, focusing on one or more of the symbols, however, the meaning of the cards will always remain the same. 

What is your recommendation for those who want to have their first tarot reading?

I recommend they come to their first visit with an open mind and heart, and without prejudice,  because they will hear several pieces of advice which will speak louder to their heart than the mind, and they will need good will to understand them.

Sounds intriguing, so tell us what usually happens during a tarot reading!

Each professional has a different way of working the tarot. I start by making a prayer over the deck, and asking the Universe to help me guide the client in the best way possible, and hoping he/she will leave the reading in a lighter mood than when he/she came in. After we chat for a few minutes, I open a mandala (Mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe) to see the real moment he/she is going through, and what kind of energies he/she is bringing in to the reading. Then, I ask them what they are really seeking, what are their objectives in regards to the tarot reading, and we start the reading by me asking questions concerning the issues they need an answer for. Usually, when a client talks, I can figure out exactly what he/she is looking for, but I leave them at ease so they can express themselves freely.

Mandala painting created by Suely
How long does a reading last, and how often should it be done? For example, is half an hour sufficient for a reading? How often is it recommended, once a week, once in a lifetime?

A reading usually lasts an hour, but it can go a little longer. Long readings are not recommended, because too many different subjects will be dealt with, which can stir too many emotions and energy, so the information received must be well assimilated by the client. This requires a certain amount of time. When everything is going well and the client only wants to have a general look into their lives, a reading every 6 to 12 months is enough. However, with the majority of clients, that's not the case. There are always new issues or problems to be solved or brought to the table. It's up to the client  to decide when to come back for a new reading. This can happen once a month, or every 3 months. But I have clients that come every week or every other week. It's important to note that this interval is not enough for things to change or find a solution, however, when clients are going through a crisis, no matter in what area of their lives, new information can be found and new paths can be opened in search of new solutions with every tarot reading.

How exciting! If we want to get in touch with you for a reading, what can we do?

Mandala painting created by Suely
I give personal readings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For clients who are not from here, I also give readings via Skype, Facebook chat or by phone. Anyone can contact me via email at suely.tarologa@gmail.com, and through my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/szadorosnytaro, where you can schedule a reading and check out my work. You can also Skype me at suelyzadorosny.

That's easy! Distance is not a problem when we have your Facebook page and your email then! Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

I'd like to say that tarot is not a religion, and I give readings to people from all spiritual backgrounds. The real objective of a tarot reading is to guide and advise, but never to decide or determine, because the client has and must use their free will. The information received during a reading can and should be used by the client, however the choices made should never be the responsibility of the tarot reading or the tarot professional.


Sounds reasonable! Good luck and thank you so much for your time for this interview!

***Note: Suely Zadorosny offers tarot readings in Portuguese language only. Unfortunately, she can't offer them in English at this time.






Thursday, August 14, 2014

Books: Interview with Author and NASA Engineer Terry R. Hill - Science Fiction

During one of this year's book signing events I participated, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow Texan writer Terry R. Hill in person. His science fiction book was amongst the 50 Most Worth Reading Self Published Books of this year's Indie Author Land list. I'm excited to introduce Terry R. Hill!

Terry, tell us a little bit about you, where are you from, and what is your background?

I am an East Texas native, was trained with two degrees in aerospace engineering. I have worked for NASA since 1997 with a very satisfying career as an engineer and project manager spanning programs from the international space station’s navigation software, to next generation space suit design, to exploration mission planning, to mitigating the health effects of space on astronauts. While supporting the manned space program has been a lifetime passion, writing of different worlds, alternate futures and the human condition has filled my spare time.

Always looking to maximize what life has to offer, I have found myself singing on stage, helping to house the less fortunate, skydiving, hammering away at the Berlin Wall, wearing space suits, ice swimming in Finland in the dead of winter, bathing in the hot springs of Japan, and forging into the unknown as a parent and author. Life is too short to let opportunities pass us by, as we only get one chance to ride. But mostly, it's all about the people in our everyday as we experience this thing we call Life.

Seems like you've been - and are- very busy! With your demanding career, and family life, when did you decide to write and why?

Well like many major decisions in life, all the right things had to fall into place at the right time. I won’t go into those in detail, but let’s say that one day in 2011 I accepted the fact that I probably had fewer days ahead of me than behind – as we all do at one point or another, and that I had best get to writing if I was to get serious about it. I had always enjoyed writing and had received encouragement from friends and co-workers over the years, but never took the time to indulge myself with writing. So one day I realized I needed to add more Awesome to my daily life, and writing was my preferred way.

What a fantastic way to put it! Adding more awesome to your daily life! So, what genre (or genres) do you write and what is your target audience?

So far I have been writing in the genre/style of Science Fiction – Dystopian / Space Exploration because they say “write what you know” and I know the business of space travel and exploration.

My target audience is from the later teens through mature adult for people who like a little intellectual stimulation served up with their science fiction. While personally a huge fan of Heinlein and Clark – to name two of the greats – I strive to serve up similar stories with deeper meat to sink your teeth into. And therefore I am hoping that my work appeals to individuals who also like the style of writing of these authors.

I try to serve a modern approach to science fiction with respect to the sexes so that there are enough elements such that both can enjoy the stories. Everybody likes adventure. Everybody likes a little sex. Some like a little romance. Some like a little graphic violence. Some like appropriate rough language. Some like character building and development of relationships. If done right, I think it can be quite effective and enjoyable to all.

Great approach to writing, there's a little bit of everything! Do you incorporate your expertise and background working at NASA in your books?

One of my original goals was to provide science fiction to the masses that was firmly grounded in real physics, real space flight operations, real experiences of being in space and using the hardware, etc. Another current NASA scientist and celebrated author, Geoffrey Landis, has also written a few books that maintain as much of realism in the stories as possible from someone within the spaceflight community.

It sounds odd to say that one would want to maintain realism in their fiction, but that is exactly what I desire. We have learned a lot about living and working in space since the greats – even Asimov – started writing. Some things they got right, some they didn’t. So now I want to offer up stories and themes that are re-anchored and extrapolated from today’s reality of space travel and science.

It makes sense, a lot of space reality does seem like fiction and can be hard to grasp, anyways. Do you have a favorite quote - who is it from and why you love it?

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” – Anonymous but also has been attributed to Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens quotes (Archbishop of Malines-Brussels 1904-1996)

I received it from an aunt in my early teen years and for many years it sat on my dresser looking back at me as something that seemed to make sense, but nothing profound. And I guess at the time it felt a little sad knowing that getting what you wanted came at a price.

Then as I got older it took on more meaning as I understood that following your dreams would take some commitment and sacrifice and what that really meant in terms of educational time commitment, relationships, job possibilities, etc.

Now in the second half of my life, it still takes on new meaning for me. Now having friends and peers also in the later parts of their lives and careers, I can see that those who have truly followed their dreams – and were willing to pay the price and the sacrifice – are truly happier over all. Unlike as a youth, I now appreciate the wording in that if you willingly make the choices to follow your dream, the price you willing bear and is in no way regrettable. But more importantly, you can make your dreams happen!

Very motivational and inspirational, thanks for sharing it! Since you mentioned Landis, Asimov, Heinlein and Clark, who is your favorite writer/author? Has she/he influenced your writing in any way?

Oh wow, I don’t think it’s possible to name just one. But I think each one endeared themselves to me uniquely and each taught me different things.

For example, Heinlein taught me that science fiction can be the vehicle by which you can explore new “big ideas” and that it’s not just about aliens and laser guns.

A. C. Clark taught me to think like a futurist. S. Hawking gave me eyes on the galactic scale. V. Vinge exposed me to the world of post-dystopian futures. O. Butler placed me in the minds of alien species and their motivations. P. Anthony taught me about the humors side of the world of fantasy and J. Rosenberg let me experience that realm first hand with the grit and gore that made it real. Certainly not last is A. Rand that introduced me to objectivism that has dramatically shaped my ideas in many areas of my life.

So as you can see, with so many great teachers out there, it is very hard to name just one.

That's very true. And how many books have you written? What are your plans for the future of your writing career?

To date, I have published “Third Exodus” which is the first volume of the series “In the Days of Humans”. At the time of this article I have the second volume in the hands of the beta readers and have begun writing the third volume. And in my moments of distraction, I am fleshing out the outlines for a few other books that I am quite excited about – one is even ventures into the world of religious text, which is very unusual for me not being a religious person. I guess I find this story concept interesting because I consider myself more spiritual being having a human experience, rather than the corollary.

But my goals for my writing career are to continue writing quality stories that leave the reader changed and hopefully with something extra – however long that takes.

Great to know your second book is coming soon! Good luck with all the projects. Are you optimistic/hopeful/romantic?

Yes! To all of those. While it might not seem so on the surface on the books that I have written / am writing, but underneath you will see that I always give the reader the ray of hope and resolution. I guess this is where my writer influencers come in to play. Most of them write about the contagiously exciting future and possibilities. And at NASA we ask the question “How do we make it happen?” not “It can’t be done because …”.

While I do not manage my teams using hope as a motivator as I feel that’s unfair and to some extent deceptive. However, I do feel that in the course of a story, that is what you need to get you through hard times. And that I think is fair so long as it manifests itself in something positive once you are through the trial’s gauntlet.

Life is hard. You have your good times and your bad. I think the world is, and is shaped, by your perceptions and your viewpoints. So being an optimists, and a romantic, I present my stories in a similar light.

That's really interesting. So, now that we're so excited about your book, where can we find it?

Network links:
Website: http://terryrhill.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/t.r.hill.author
Twitter: @terry_r_hill
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7348871.Terry_R_Hill


Sale links:
•    CreatSpace.com: https://www.createspace.com/4446863
•    Amazon (Kindle):  http://www.amazon.com/In-Days-Humans-Third-Exodus-ebook/dp/B00FLW1T0W 
•    Barnes & Nobles (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-the-days-of-humans-terry-r-hill/1117116233
•    Kobo Books: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/in-the-days-of-humans-third-exodus
•    Also available on Apple iBooks – just search for In the Days of Humans


Perfect. Thanks, now we know where to go to find out more about you and your work. Is there anything else you'd like to share today?

For those who might be interested in my writing or style thereof, I offer up the following two snippets from “In the Days of Humans: Third Exodus”

One tick of the clock passed. The President exhaled. How had their well-meaning efforts led them here? The hope and fate of the world likely was held on the point of his decision. It wasn’t supposed to work out this way. “Unless there are any better ideas...?” He paused but was not met by any reply, “Alright, go make it happen!”

The crowd quickly began to disperse. The phone rang. Everyone stopped in place as if rehearsed and slowly turned to face the President as he answered.
“Hello?” The muffled sounds of an excited voice came from the other end of the line. Sinking into his chair, the President’s face paled and turned graven as he ended the call. Oh God…

“Sir?”

The President spoke quietly and with great effort. “We no longer have control of our nuclear arsenal. There are reports of at least fifteen domestic launch signatures. The preliminary trajectories will take them to D.C. and fourteen of the largest cities in the US. The same is being reported by all of the other countries with nuclear strike capability.”

The lights flickered and went out. The room erupted with action as all bodies mobilized in an effort to come up with evacuation plans for all the major cities, including their own.

A rather frantic staffer approached the President. “Sir, we need to get you onto Air Force One, now! We have sent for the First Lady to meet you at the plane.”
He sat motionless, stunned. What had they done? “Sir, we have to leave NOW!!”

….

The last person was on board and the doors to Air Force One were still closing as the aircraft picked up speed down the runway. The atmosphere in the plane was organized chaos, but with movements of purpose. Silence dominated the cabin when the President turned to the General of Special Ops and asked, “What is the latest?”

“Sir, we have taken down about forty five percent of the Internet hardware and have units en route to directly take down as much of the rest as they can. Sir, I have to remind you that the original Internet was designed by the military to survive and negotiate hardware taken out by a nuclear attack. It has evolved over the last sixty or so years. I honestly don’t think we can take it completely down. We have reports of a thirty percent success rate at taking out the satellites. Our anti-missile system was not designed to fire away from the Earth and take out communication satellites in geostationary orbit. We lost control of that system five minutes ago. We just can’t keep ahead of Blue’s decryption capabilities.”

The President leaned forward in his seat and cradled his head in his trembling hands and then slowly looked back up at the general. “That leaves us with only one option. Contact any country still in control of their conventional or nuclear weapons and ask them to strike all places on Earth where Blue has assets. This is our only hope to have a future, any future. Send the list of worldwide targets, and may God forgive me.”

From the quiet of space where sound has no reign, the blue planet slowly rotated. Silently the continents crept into view, the resplendent cerulean oceans and forested landmasses were replaced by the glow of inflamed crimson and oranges and the shadows of darkness. The cloud cover was occasionally punctuated with flashes that parted the sky like the hands of God himself making room for the growing, glowing, rolling columns that served as ferryman to transport the souls of billions from the Earth to their respective, assumed destinations. As the Earth’s surface rotated into the blackness of perpetual night, the places where cities once illuminated the darkness now only briefly glowed with the transient life of fire that quickly extinguished itself, leaving a world as it had been before humankind walked upright across its face.

Or …

Evah was early and stood alone in the desert on this unusually cloudy morning for this wasteland, at the agreed upon coordinates. A clear path was worn in the hard earth as she paced while waiting. She hoped that they would arrive soon. Evah checked her watch for the thousandth time, and then heard what sounded like three mighty drum beats off in the distance. That must be the sonic booms of the Yamakarā, she thought to herself. They would be here any minute!

Scanning the sky in the direction of the last signal of its approach she finally saw what she was searching for. As large as a mountain and with the magnificent wings of a mighty, ancient black dragon, the Yamakarā punched through the cloud bank and glided silently to a stop on top of a choking blanket of rushing air, dust, and sand. She caught herself jumping with joy and clapping her hands like a schoolgirl as the vehicle rolled to a stop. Heat radiating from the ship made it seem alive, overheated, and weary from its long journey. This was not the spacecraft that left Earth four years ago; it was something completely different. Something beautiful, but not of her world.

She quickly moved to place the portable stairs where the external hatch should be and secured everything in preparation for the egress of the crew. Almost convinced it was taking too long and there must be something wrong, she sighed with relief as the hatch opened inwardly and one of the young engineers stuck his head out, waved, and shouted a greeting. To her surprise, as the crew departed the ship her eyes welled with tears of joy. Her long departed crew had finally returned home, if only for a short while.


Wow, these are great! Thank you so much for sharing your book's excerpts here and thank you for your time in granting us this very educative interview! Much success with your books!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Music: Interview with Musician and Composer Chris Weatherwax AKA Ultrabeast (Classical electronica)

We're really excited to welcome another very talented musician and composer to our blog today: Chris Weatherwax (Ultrabeast), who I first met through Twitter, and listened to his amazing work on SoundCloud. Make sure you visit his pages (listed below) and sample his music! Here's a little bit of what he has to say about his work.

Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from and what is your background?


I am a 35 year old guy from the US. I've been playing piano/guitar/bass my whole life and composing. Have a Bachelor's in Classical Composition and Piano Performance. My graduation piece 10 years ago was a variation of Beethoven's Egmont overture I played on my piano. http://www.macjams.com/song/79115

What an incredible musical education! So, you play piano, guitar and bass! What is your favorite instrument, and how to you incorporate them into your music? 
Definitely piano because I've played it for so long I can sit down and my hands do their own thing while my brain figures out chord progressions and melodies while I'm playing. I incorporate them to counterpoint other things but only if the song needs it. Sometimes a song with just piano is great by itself if it's something I've never heard before and not boring.



That's some talent! What genre do you consider yourself and who is your greatest influence?  

Definitely classical chord progressions and improvisations. I combine classical chord progressions and melodies with modern sounds and instruments like electric guitars and synths, kind of like Wendy Carlos from the 70's.  My biggest influences are Beethoven, Mozart, Bach (Especially his Brandenburg Concertos I love their energy), Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Hans Zimmer, Samuel Barber (platoon),  Barry De Vorzon (Composer for The Warriors theme), Klaus Doldinger (Das Boot theme), Brian Eno (Dune theme). Hopefully I'm not boring you to death here :)

Not at all! I also love classic music and you mentioned several of my own favorites! With such great influence, what is your source of inspiration to compose? 

Source of inspiration is I practice very hard on my instruments and work on chord progressions in the back of my head while I do other things, then when the feeling strikes I sit down and improvise it out in my head while I'm playing. Sometimes I am up  for 3 days at a time until the song is finished. I'm kind of a freak, I also write poems for the songs and lyrics and love learning and doing everything myself. I get really excited about my music and love to share it with people!

You should be, after all this is a lot of work and the result is beautiful! What do you enjoy the most between the interaction with your fans? 

I get really excited about songs I'm working on and love sharing them with my Twitter/Facebook followers instantly when the song is done. It's great! Also I get some really amazing feedback from people on Soundcloud and Macjams and other places. They give me some really awesome ideas for things to add to my songs I never would have thought of!

It's exciting to know your fans are enjoying your music and can also give you feedback and ideas. When I heard some of your music, there are some vocals as well. Do you also sing? Who does the vocals for your music? 

I do sing yes. My mother was an opera singer so I guess I have some of her genes in me. I do my own vocals for my songs and just got a new blue yeti mic which I love. You can hear me singing in "Enter my dreams" https://soundcloud.com/chris-weatherwax-1/enter-my-dreams and "I am Unyielding". http://www.macjams.com/song/79804  

How fascinating, you are a product of a music family! So what are your plans for the coming year? 

I am working on a couple composer competitions for AAA games like Bioshock Infinite and Star Citizen. Just working on always getting better. Working on getting my vocals and guitar better and finishing learning the new version of Ableton Live 9 Suite, also exploring some new vst's. I also perform my songs live in concerts/recitals and improvise new songs from scratch as I play my main ones like Beethoven's Pathetique/Moonlight Sonata and Mozart's K. 545. 

Great plans! Now tell us, where can we find your music? 

All over the place. Soundcloud, Macjams, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter. Following me on Twitter is the best because I always tweet new songs I'm working on every week and when they're finished as well. They are all free for download but if you want to support me I suppose you can buy some stuff on Bandcamp!   
 





Twitter: (The best way to follow what I'm working on) : https://twitter.com/WeatherwaxChris (@WeatherwaxChris)


Macjams: A great old site where I do works in progress a lot of great knowledgeable people there: http://www.macjams.com/artist/Ultrabeast

Bandcamp: where you can buy high quality finished stuff to support me if you wish: http://ultrabeastharkonnen.bandcamp.com/releases


My website where you can find all of these links and updateshttp://www.chrisweatherwax.com/


Great suggestions. Would you like to share anything else with the readers? 

Yes, I spend most of my time working on songs and practicing them, so I don't have much time or energy to promote myself, so if you would share my songs with people that would be great! All of my songs on Soundcloud are from the past year some are works in progress but there are many really good finished ones as well. Also I enjoy doing slow builds where the song starts out slow and the best part is in the last 2 minutes so if you don't listen to the whole thing you might be missing out on the best part. I am an audiophile and love listening to my Sennheisers. I do record with them occasionally so if you are an audiophile you will appreciate the subtle details in the pans. Anyway thanks for this interview it's nice to see people having an interest in composers! :) 

Thank you, Ultrabeast, for sharing a little of your musical talent with us! We wish you good luck and success in your career!