Friday, 23 February 2018

Welcome to the Apocalypse - end of the writing process

'Yah', the trilogy is ending on May 9 and I'll have all the answers.
Or 'Oh No', the trilogy is ending May 9 and I'll miss those guys.
It's both with joy and sadness that I finish up the "Welcome to the Apocalypse" series on May 9 2018 when the third and final book is released. It'll be sad to say goodbye to these characters, but they came, they saw, they conquered. Their story is over. For now at least. I'd like to write a second trilogy set 10 or 20 years after this one. I've enjoyed every minute with them. I've enjoyed seeing them have their strengths and values tested.

If you haven't started this series yet, here's some reviews that might help make up your mind:
"I have seen the idea of a game that turns into a struggle in the real world before...I think it’s a good idea, but it hasn't been done that well…up until now." Ray Simmons, Readers Favorite

"A subtle sense of humor, a speedy thriller with tons of unexpected moments, a frisson of anxiety over control by a computer, and really intense characterizations of individuals who can't help eliciting readers' empathy and understanding." The Haunted Reading Room

The Event has plunged the world into icy darkness. Many survivors have settled into evacuation centres, many more have not. yet there's a third kind of people wandering the icy lands: mutated humans called the Nexis.

Reis Anderson learns the secret behind the Nexis, and when he finds their colony he finds a purpose in life he never thought possible.

Kelly Lawrence, seriously injured and transported to CyberNexis for treatment, discover the truth behind her husband's death. This truth can help thousands of people if she's willing to embrace humanity instead of shunning it.

Jack Minnow, who helped his sister through her grief, is now alone in his as he wanders home to find his parents. he doesn't even know if they survive the Event, but they're all he has left. Or so he thinks.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Coffee chat with author of YA "Woodpunk" S.A. Gibson

Please grab your cup of coffee, tea or other, and your favourite cake, biscuit or other and join me as I interview Californian author S.A Gibson.

DL: Firstly, since this is a coffee chat, how do you have your coffee (or not as has been the case in some instances)? And what is your favorite time of the day to partake?

SA GIBSON: I’m new to the coffee ritual. After years of resistance my spouse wore me down, so I now drink a morning cup. I must dilute it with copious amounts of flavored almond milk. I prefer eggnog or chocolate peppermint, but these flavors are only available seasonally.

DL:You're collaborating on a 22 book collection "On The Horizon" featuring indie authors and a unique take on the sci-fi/fantasy genre - low or no tech. What was the inspiration behind this upcoming release, and why low or no tech?

SA GIBSON: I was fascinated with the idea of bringing together a combination of full science fiction and fantasy books in one place. I helped advertise another boxed set and that experience inspired me to work with other authors on doing one ourselves as a collective. We will produce a boxed set of science fiction and fantasy novels sharing a theme of low tech or no tech. This topic is near and dear to me. All my books and stories are set in the future with no advanced technology. I hope this leads to greater attention to building plot and character. We can really work our imaginations. Our flights of wonder can be unleashed to soar free. On the Horizon: Simple worlds of speculative adventure is available for pre-order now.

DL: You live in southern California. And there seems to be a recurring theme of an apocalypse without technology? Does the arid desert landscape feature in your apocalyptic works? Does it provide any inspiration? And how connected to the land are you as a person?

SA GIBSON: Several of my books center in the arid Southwest. I love to force my characters to trek through summer heat over deserts and hilly plateaus. But, the landscape is but one character active in the stories. Each sentient character must confront the harsh challenges of the land and opposing actors. One chapter of my book set in California has a donkey POV character who must help the heroes achieve success in their wilderness trek. One novel, Pratima’s Forbidden Book, is set in a hot humid monsoon season in India. Another, Asante’s Gullah Journey, takes place in the swampy low country of the Carolina coast. But, in each story, the characters must deal with a difficult environment as well as villains with evil intent.

DL: Can you describe what 'woodpunk' is and why you chose to write this genre.

SA GIBSON: I use the label woodpunk to cover fiction set in a time that does not have technology advanced beyond use of wooden tools, equipment and structures. During humans’ time on this planet, we’ve found infinitely varied uses for wooden implements. Clubs, bows and arrows, staffs, wagons, wheels, and thousands of other tools were fashioned from wooden. The idea of an age of woodpunk implies that there’s no internal combustion machinery or electricity. A woodpunk story can be set in the future or the past. My stories, A Dangerous Way and Last Horizon: Collapse are set in an alternate future about 100 years in the future, where people use horses, spinning wheels, bows and arrows.

DL: Facebook is full of advice, most of it conflicting. One promotion service said that authors shouldn't bother with blogging. I personally disagree. I think it's a great space for authors to talk outside of a book. You share lots of great blog posts written by authors. What do find is the importance of authors blogging about their writing and their journey?

SA GIBSON: For me, the author life is a social activity. I constantly interact with other authors. Love organizing group activities, exchanging ideas about our writing and marketing experiences. Blogs are a great tool for conversing with each other and sharing plans and outcomes. While we all hope to reach many readers with our blog posts, authors support their craft by exchanging writing, and marketing skills and  experiences. And, besides it’s fun.

He is the published author of academic articles and book chapters and post-apocalyptic “woodpunk” fiction. S.A. Gibson turns passions for learning, artificial intelligence, and human communication into accessible worlds of wonder and fascination. Author of fiction books and stories set in a future without advanced technology, which all interrelate in time and space. Living with a beautiful spouse and their beloved Dachshund-Chihuahua in Southern California, the writing continues.
Feeling a Way: The battle for the future begins. In this post-apocalyptic world, where new dangers and mysterious happenings lurk around every corner, children are being kidnapped, and swordsman William Way must rescue them. Archer for hire, Kalapati, has begun her own quest. As William and Kalapati race to complete their missions, they soon wonder how their efforts will change the future.

A Dangerous Way: Eleanora is hard at work on her foster parent’s farm training herself in the fighting arts and hoping to avoid the same fate as her parents. William is a swordsman for the library, but when the Librarian steps down, chaos throws all into turmoil. Can Eleanora and William restore the peace to this primitive Southwest landscape after the Collapse?

In the Horde's Way: Henrietta, a soldier with a secret, begins working at the Southwest Library. Meeting Alaya, the Librarian's daughter, launches them both on an epic and dangerous journey that leads them into the councils of invaders and the tribal chieftains who rule the desert land of the Southwest.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Coffee chat with Jason Nugent - author of sci-fi and horror

Welcome to my virtual cafĂ©. I'm having a black coffee with my breakfast of waffles with berries, walnuts, and maple syrup, a breakfast I had in Venice Beach, California a few years ago while on holiday and have loved ever since. It's become my favorite breakfast. Full of sugar, another essential ingredient for writing. 

Joining me today for a coffee chat is Jason Nugent, author of the young adult sci-fi series "The Forgotten Chronicles" and horror short story collections. He lives in rural Southern Illinois with his wife, son, and three cats and two dogs.

Welcome Jason,

DL: Firstly, since this is a coffee chat, how do you have your coffee (or not as has been the case in some instances)? And what is your favourite time of the day to partake?

JASON: I’m a huge coffee fan! I drink at least a pot every morning usually with flavored creamer. I used to drink it black but the creamer helps cut down on the acidity. 

DL: Reading is one of the sacrifices writers often make due to lack of time. My reading pile has certainly dwindled now that I spend a lot of that time writing. Your 2017 books read list is rather impressive, and as you noticed from your blog that your 2017 reading list was dominated by indie authors. Is this a case of reading more indie books due to common ground? Or have you found that indie authors are writing stories you don't find in the mainstream?

JASON: Yeah, it was interesting to note the amount of indies I read over the past year. Honestly I don’t really differentiate indie vs trad published authors in terms of quality. I enjoy great stories and they’re found whether the author has a publisher behind them or not. Many from last year were those I share common ground with and who I’ve grown to know over social media. There are amazing stories in that list!

DL: You seem to be a regular at pop culture conventions. Any tips for other authors who are venturing into this arena? And what has been your favorite con so far?

JASON: Comic Cons are excellent places to find new readers, especially those interested in SciFi and horror. Working in sales the past 17 years has prepared me to engage with the public and talk to complete strangers about my work. If you can get in on one that doesn’t cost too much, or if you can share a table with someone who’s done it before, that helps a ton. Probably my favorite Con is called PennedCon and is a benefit for Action for Autism and features close to 170 authors. Many are Romance authors but there are others like myself who don’t write romance and do well. It’s a blast hanging out with readers and meeting new authors at PennedCon. 

DL: You write horror and science fiction. There is often a fine line between the two genres. "Aliens" the movie is a perfect example. I've read that if you can remove the science from sci-fi then it isn't sci-fi. "Aliens" could be classified as horror because it's monsters attacking humans and there's really no science other than it's set in space. This is also true of many of the "X-Files" episodes. I used to watch them and think, 'that was scary'. Have you found that your readers are fans of both genres? Or do you see there is a definite line drawn between the two genres? Or do you say 'to hell with genres, why do we put ourselves in a box?'

JASON: Great question! Often genres cross over and we’re put into classes because it’s easier to market the books. Most of my readers tend to enjoy some of both genres so it works for them. I do have readers that prefer my short story collections which tend to be darker instead of my SciFi novels and the same for those who like my novels. After this year is done, I’ll have a couple horror novels to add to the stack so we’ll see how that goes. 
DL: And lastly, are you a biscuit or cake kind of person? And what is your favourite biscuit/cake?

JASON: Cake all day long! Chocolate, white, marbled...I’m not picky. 

DL: Thanks Jason.  

More About Jason
Jason Nugent was born in Cleveland, OH in 1974. He moved to rural Southern Illinois in 1992 and lives there today with his wife, son, and mini-zoo of three cats and two dogs.
He has written for Sum'n Unique Magazine and game missions for an independently produced video game titled "Status Quo."


He writes regularly on his blog and can be found at
More About Jason's YA scifi series
Humans colonized the planet Kepler 186f after Earth's near total global collapse. Soon after, supply missions ended leaving the colonists to themselves, renaming the planet Anastasia and building a new society far different than Earth's. As population imbalance threatened stability in the settlements, a horrific and brutal institution known as The Selection was created.
Centuries later, haunted by the screams of his dead older brother, eighteen year-old Eron fears the unknown terror waiting for him and all boys his age in The Selection. He has thirty days to survive to Victory Point and reunite with his crush Mina. He will have to endure brutal circumstances and forge unlikely alliances if he's to survive The Selection.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

Who are the good guys, and is this the end of the reign of the superhero?

I watched "Three Billboards Outside Epping, Missori" last night. Synopsis: A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.

It's not a happy movie, it's dark and depressing, it doesn't resolve anything, yet as I walked out of the cinema the thoughts whirling inside my head were, it's very NOW, it's very REAL, and it's the story of a woman who has said "ENOUGH", which leads me to wonder at the future of the classic American superhero. I think it's days are numbered, at least they're on the demise, and it's not because people don't need saving anymore. They need it more than ever. But it's hard to see the super hero waving the flag of justice when they're potentially working for the bad guys.

"Three Billboards Outside Epping, Missori" reminded me of the America of the 80s and 90s. From the distance of Australia, what I saw in movies and in the news and in books, was a nation angered by bad cops, wars it had no business being in, greedy government and financial institutions, drugs, high crime rates, gangs, hate crimes, racism, corruption, abuse....

Movies reflected those times. We had some of the most dark, original, and thought-provoking movies over these 2 decades.

Dead Poets Society
Full Metal Jacket
A Time to Kill
Good Morning Vietnam
Good Will Hunting
Schindlers List
America History X
Wall Street

Just to name a few.

The thing is, there still is all this shit and it's not just America, it's all over the world. America didn't create chaos, but instead of fixing the problems, the solution it seemed - whether by design or by accident - was born out of Hollywood wearing a cape and brandishing clever super powers.
In an article I wrote 2014, I talked about the rise of the superhero and the salvation of people becoming outsourced by Hollywood.

Extract from the post:
Hollywood mimics the cries of civilisation. In this case it could also be inciting them. And it wouldn’t be the first time America used costumed superheroes to do so. The rise of their popularity coincided with World War II. Captain America was created prior to the United States involvement in the war, and the comic books depicted superheroes fighting Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. When the war ended, the superheroes had no villains to fight and their popularity died. Other genres popped up, quite possibly romance and family oriented sit-coms after ‘those in power’ identified a need to restock the human population.

Is the demise of the superhero coming about, not because the superheroes have no villains to fight, but because they are the villains, or at the very least they're working for them? I never thought I'd live to see the day when the global political stage played out like a bad scene from "South Park".

Nobody does propaganda like Hollywood. They started pumping out super hero movies in the 90s, at a time when it was easier to paint over a damaged wall than to repair the wall itself. Yet each DC and Marvel super hero movie was just another layer of paint. The problems were never fixed. Audiences are still seeking movies that are 'good guy' versus 'bad guy' plots. Star Wars features in the top 5 movies for the past 3 years. For me, it'll be interesting to see how this trend plays out.

We all want the good guys to win. But I think we're now asking ourselves, if the good guys are working for the bad guys, doesn't that make them the bad guys too?

Highest grossing movies of 2018 so far

1Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle12/20/2017Sony PicturesAdventurePG-13$189,034,314
2Star Wars Ep. VIII: The Last Jedi12/15/2017Walt DisneyActionPG-13$98,519,911
3The Greatest Showman12/20/201720th Century FoxMusicalPG$92,699,152
4The Post12/22/201720th Century FoxDramaPG-13$68,436,409
5Insidious: The Last Key1/5/2018UniversalHorrorPG-13$66,172,020

Highest grossing movies of 2017

Highest grossing movies of 2016
1Finding Dory6/17/2016Walt DisneyAdventurePG$486,295,561
2Rogue One: A Star Wars Story12/16/2016Walt DisneyAdventurePG-13$424,987,707
3Captain America: Civil War5/6/2016Walt DisneyActionPG-13$408,084,349
4The Secret Life of Pets7/8/2016UniversalAdventurePG$368,384,330
5The Jungle Book4/15/2016Walt DisneyAdventurePG$364,001,123

Highest growing movies of 2015

1Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens12/18/2015Walt DisneyAdventurePG-13$742,208,942
2Jurassic World6/12/2015UniversalActionPG-13$652,198,010
3The Avengers: Age of Ultron5/1/2015Walt DisneyActionPG-13$459,005,868
4Inside Out6/19/2015Walt DisneyAdventurePG$356,461,711
5Furious 74/3/2015UniversalActionPG-13$351,032,910