Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley by Carol Es Review

One woman’s harrowing journey through a tumultuous childhood and the back and forth struggle between living a “normal life” and being indoctrinated into Scientology comes to life in author Carol Es’s novel “Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley”.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: THEMES AND STORIES INVOLVING ABUSE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, DRUG USE AND SUICIDE ARE FEATURED IN THIS NOVEL. READER DISCRETION ADVISED.

One woman’s harrowing journey through a tumultuous childhood and the back and forth struggle between living a “normal life” and being indoctrinated into Scientology comes to life in author Carol Es’s novel “Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley”. Here is the synopsis. 

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The Synopsis

Six houses, five apartments, three motels, a Hollywood mansion, and a small vegetable farm. Moving 16 times before the age of nine is enough to screw with any kid’s head. Living with an unstable family, a mentally abusive mother, and enduring years of neglect and sexual molestation left Carol Es believing she was inherently bad. At 14, she decided to ditch a rootless, dysfunctional family circus, seeking something that might make her a better person.

She thought she found her answers in Scientology, but she thought wrong.

As a self-taught artist, writer, and drummer, Carol maintained an unbreakable bond with her passions as a means of survival. She exhibited her art and played music tirelessly in bands on Sunset Boulevard and the LA circuit. She toured the US and Canada, signed with Sony Music, but all the while, she’d been conditioned to hide and deny her own mental illness in order to stay true to the doctrine of L. Ron Hubbard—a man who claimed psychiatric treatment was an evil hoax.

In her book, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley, Carol explains how it was even possible to be both brainwashed and live “normally” in the world of contemporary art and rock n’ roll.

After a tumultuous childhood and 20 years in the cult, Carol Es takes a huge stride out of fear and silence by sharing her true vulnerabilities and intense experiences. With gallows humor and a unique perspective, she invites readers into her confidence, laying bare her most raw and intimate revelations on her seemingly endless search for self-worth as a woman. In conversational prose, she manages to embrace the horrifically sad scenes of her past, her biggest embarrassments, and finds absurdities one can only laugh about through tears.

Illustrated with crude sketches throughout, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is a courageous, relatable story that will keep you turning pages to the very end.

The Review

This has got to be one of the most detailed and emotionally powerful books of not only an ex-Scientologist, but of a survivor in general. Having overcome so much hardship and struggles in her life, author Carol Es has delivered an emotionally driven, informative and down to earth retelling of the events that shaped her life, and her journey to overcome those experiences. 

While I will reiterate that his novel has some powerful themes and stories that can be triggering for some (and should not be read by anyone who is triggered by these stories or children), the story is one everyone should get an opportunity to read. The life led by the author has elements many people can find a way to relate to. Whether it’s the abuses she survived, the indoctrination in Scientology, (one of the biggest cults currently running in the world), a troubled childhood and family life and coming to terms with that while dealing with loss, the highs and lows of the music industry, and even those struggling with autoimmune illnesses like MS and Lupus, this novel has something most readers will be able to relate to and identify with. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel of 2019. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say it’s a top contender for best nonfiction and top read of 2019 on my website. It’s has humor infused in a natural way, while also incorporating emotionally charged stories that not only showcase the worst of humanity, but also shows the power of resilience and fighting for a brighter, better tomorrow. An in-depth analysis of Scientology as well, viewers of the show conducted by former Scientologist Leah Remini or former scientologists themselves will be shocked, surprised and relieved to see someone give such an accurate and powerful account of what life in this organization is truly like. If you enjoy powerful memoirs, real life accounts of life inside of a cult and stories of overcoming great odds to find a brighter future, then grab your copy of Carol Es’s novel “Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley” on April 6th, 2019. 

Rating: 10/10

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Author Bio

Carol Es

Carol Es is a self-taught artist, writer, and musician born in Los Angeles. Using a wide variety of media, she is known for creating personal narratives that transform a broken history into a positive resolution. Her paintings, drawings, installations, videos, and books have been exhibited nationwide in venues such as Riverside Art Museum, Torrance Art Museum, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, and Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles. Some of her works can be found in the collections at the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC. Her collaborative film was also featured in the 2015 Jerusalem Biennale. 

Awarded many honors, including several grants from the National Arts and Disability Center and California Arts Council, she is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, and the Wynn Newhouse Award. She has written articles of art critique for the Huffington Post and Coagula Art Journal, as well as having poetry published with small presses. She also received a writing grant from Asylum-Arts—a Global Network for Jewish Culture.

Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley

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Mental Health Awareness is a subject I get very passionate about. One thing that has helped me advocate for this cause has been my partnership with BetterHelp, a fantastic website that allows you to seek the help you need. If you seeking advice on the best online therapy websites, then click the link below and find the help you are looking for today!

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/what-are-the-best-online-therapy-sites

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Elemental Series by Toni Cox Free Book Giveaway & Preorder News

LUKE – Book 4 of the Elemental Short Stories by TONI COX

Brought to Elveron by his Elven mother, Luke must learn how to make a living amongst the Elves as a Human. Thrust into the middle of a war between the Elves and the Vampyres, Luke’s education in medicine secures him a position as a Healer.

He is tested to his limits to save the people he loves, but once the war is over, he realises his adventure has only just begun.

At the mercy of a fierce, red dragon; a wily, old court Healer; and a wilful princess, Luke embarks on a journey that will change his life forever.

Coming April 2019 – Pre-order NOW!

Haven’t read the series yet? Download ON FIRE, book 1 of the Elemental Short Stories, for free for the month of March 2019.

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About Toni Cox

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Born in Germany in 1976, Toni Cox moved to South Africa in 1991. Although she has spent much of her working career in the timber wholesale business, she is also an accomplished horse rider, has a diploma in project management, photography, and nutrition, and has a passion for books and all things fantasy.

From a young age, her dream had always been to put her imagination into words – give the stories life. When she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2013, she decided life is too short not to follow her dream. So, with the support of her husband and three children, she began writing book 1 of the Elemental Trilogy in January 2015.

Toni Cox writes: Epic Fantasy – The Milky Way Chronicles (including The Elemental Trilogy), Young Adult Fantasy – (including The Elemental Short Stories), Sci-Fi Fantasy – The Andromeda Saga, Fantasy – The Dragonlore Series, Dystopian Fantasy – these are set on Earth, the first one (Resilient) will be released in 2019).

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The Beginner’s Guide To Winning An Election by Michael R. French Review & Author Spotlight

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One young woman’s goal of learning as much about politics as possible leads her down a path of betrayals, lies and shocking revelations that leads her to take on the establishment in author Michael R. French’s “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning An Election”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

In 2025, the “youthification” of democracy has inspired younger candidates to challenge the ineffective and hypocritical gray-hairs in Congress. Running for student body president at an Indiana high school, political novice Brit Kitridge takes on incumbent Matthew Boltanski, who, with help from a mystery backer, already has his eyes set on Washington. Brit gains courage and insights from a wise history teacher on how to win, but ultimately finds a maze of deceit and corruption in her school. Is exposing the truth enough to win the election?

The Review

This coming of age YA drama was a fantastic exploration of the political system. Exploring a near future that sees backroom deals, corruption and scandal make its way from the halls of Washington all the way to a small high school in Indiana, the author expertly showcases the struggle to retain your morality and principles when fighting against money and power. In an age in which we now see more and more lies and corruption within our own government coming to light, this novel does a fantastic job of bringing the delicate nature of politics and intricacies of not only running for office, but holding office as well to younger generations, especially those who will be in a position to vote in just a couple year’s time. 

The story itself is powerful, not only blending these themes and moral quandaries to the reader, but creating a narrative that is nearly cinematic in its approach. The characters are realistic, intriguing and hold the readers attention throughout the entirety of the novel. Yet it’s the powerful imagery used by the author to not only showcase the natural setting of the school and city this book takes place in, but to build an image of the emotions and complex state of the students and main characters as they go through this election, that really shines brightly throughout this book.

The Verdict

This is a must read YA, coming of age novel in 2019. An important message followed by a powerful narrative and memorable characters, author Michael R. French has created a stand-alone novel that grabs the reader’s attention and manages to wrap up the character’s stories beautifully, all the while allowing the reader to bond with these characters enough to ponder their fictional futures. If you enjoy a good YA novel with themes of politics, corruption and fighting the good fight, then grab your copy of The Beginner’s Guide to Winning today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author Spotlight

Michael R. French graduated from Stanford University where he was an English major, focusing on creative writing, and studied under Wallace Stegner.  He received a Master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.   He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur,  and starting a family.  

In addition to publishing over twenty titles, including award-winning young adult fiction, adult fiction, biographies ad self-help books, he has written or co-written a half-dozen screenplays, including Intersection, which has won awards in over twenty film festivals.  He has also had a long business career in real estate, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  His passions include travel,  collecting rare books, and hanging with friends and family.   He describes his worst traits as impatience and saying “no” too quickly; his best are curiosity, taking risks, and learning from failure.

French’s work, which includes several best-sellers, has been warmly reviewed in the New York Timesand been honored with a number of literary prizes.

Endorsements

“Michael French has penned a fascinating, fast-paced, futuristic story about a determined high school senior named Brit who runs an against-all-odds campaign for student body president. There are scenarios that bedevil the imagination: dirty tricks, cyber and other tech attacks, love intrigues, and a picture of how the personal  growth of one individual can shape a collective future. As a politician with several elections under my belt, I couldn’t put the novel down.”            
–Governor Bill Richardson
Former member of Congress, US Ambassador to the United Nations, US Secretary of Energy, and Governor of NM
 
 
“Politics and kids. Michael R. French knows them in everyday life and in high school. Politics squeeze the kids, and the kids squeeze back. What happens matters in the hearts and minds of young people as well as in the larger world that shapes us all. This is a smart novel with vision, and a story full of feeling.” 
—Frederick Dillen 
Author of Hero, Fool, and Beauty,Wall Street JournalFavorite Book
 
 
“If you like cheering for an underdog and savor a complex, exciting story that seems to spring from today’s events, you’ll love The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election. We could use more real heroes like Brit, the leading character in Michael R. French’s newest novel. She’s a young woman with tremendous tenacity and a strong moral compass who rises above her innate shyness to make a difference in her world.”
—Anne Hillerman
   Author of the New York Timesbest-selling Leaphorn/Chee/Manuelito mystery series
 
 
 
“Michael R. French weaves a frighteningly plausible tale of political and educational corruption and gives us a heroine worthy of exploring, uncovering, and confronting it.  Like all great heroes, she stumbles into her quest but then grows into knowing the power of honesty, principles, truth, and teamwork in pursuing it. This is a novel for anyone who honors history, idealism, and courage in the face of our country’s current political, economic, educational, and moral challenges.”
—Marc Talbert
Author of Dead Birds Singing, A Sunburned Prayer, and Heart of a Jaguar
 
 
 
 “A wise, provocative novel about an Indiana high school student body election in a 2025 post-Orwellian universe. A political novice, a science whiz named Britain, is surprisingly motivated to take on the establishment favorite, who may not be who he claims to be. Here Michael French, one of today’s greatest writers for young adults, gives us a realistic page turner with complex themes that intrigues adults, too.”  
—Barbara Beasley Murphy
Award-winning author of Ace Hits the Big Time and
Miguel Lost & Found in the Palace
 
 
The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election, a captivating novel, follows the story of Britain, a senior in high school who runs a daring campaign for student body president in the year 2026. The brilliance of this work is that wrapped into its easy-to-follow and easily relatable narrative are deep political and socioeconomic messages that can be foundational in understanding politics and also offer new perspective on the current status of US politics. I recommend this incredibly engaging book for readers thirteen and up, and even schools that wish to teach students more about the high privilege and honor it is to be able to vote and have a political voice in our country.”
—Gerry Orz
Award-winning filmmaker, youth activist, and author of Lucky or Not, Here I Come
 
 
“For high school history, civics, and political science teachers who want to help their students understand the political process on a much larger stage, this highly readable page turner has it all—candidate messaging using social media, hidden agendas, opponent bashing, fake news, and even dark money. I highly recommend this compelling book as an effective teaching tool.”
—Leslie Carpenter
Former teacher, principal, and superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools
 

 “An inspirational novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election examines America’s broken political system through the lens of a student body presidential election at a midwestern high school. From the issue of dark money’s influence on our elections to convincing the habitual nonvoter to vote, author French weaves an emotional tale of an underdog’s efforts to win the election and save her school’s integrity. For those losing hope in America, this book is a must read.”
—Bruce Berlin, JD
Author of Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America and 
president of New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics
 
 
“The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election is a heartfelt and moving story with vivid characters and a realistic, near-future setting. I highly recommend this novel of courage, honesty, duplicity, and the corrupting influence of private interests in public education—a wonderful book that deserves a wide audience.”
—Douglas Preston
#1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God
 
“We have a saying at our high school’s model legislature: ‘Democracy is not a spectator sport.’ Michael R. French’s poignant new novel demonstrates that adage through Brit Kitridge, a high school senior who finds her political voice and clarifies her future by challenging her school’s beloved principal. I hope this book inspires more students to get involved in politics and public service by doing the same—speaking up.”
—Meredith Tilp
High school AP government and politics teacher, and 
co-sponsor of Model Legislature/Youth in Government
 


Find Michael Online:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Michael-French/e/B001ITYVES/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelRFrenchAuthor/?fref=nf

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mfrenchauthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mfrenchrt66/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mrfrenchbooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/287338.Michael_French?from_search=true&search_version=service

 Website: http://www.michaelrfrench.com/

Blog: http://www.michaelrfrench.com/blog

Book Details: 

·         Paperback: 272 pages

·         Publisher: 2018907650 (November 25, 2018)

·         Language: English

·         ISBN-10: 1732511705

·         ISBN-13: 978-1732511705

Amazon Link:   https://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Guide-Winning-Election/dp/1732511705/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

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Blog Tour Dates

Launch Day – February 25th

Michael R. French returns to WOW! Women on Writing for his tour of “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” with an interview and giveaway at the Muffin!

Tuesday, February 26th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro

Linda Appleman Shapiro reads and reviews the latest bestseller by Michael R. French. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”!

http://applemanshapiro.com/category/book-reviews/

Wednesday, February 27th @ Bring on Lemons with Carmen Otto

Middle Schooler Carmen Otto offers her thoughts after reading “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Readers won’t want to miss this chance to hear from Carmen and learn more about this excellent YA novel!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 28th @ Bella Donna’s Books with Dawn Thomas

Dawn Thomas reviews “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” for readers of Bella Donna’s Books. You’ll delight to learn more about Michael R. French and his exciting new work!

http://belladonnasbooks.com/

Friday, March 1st @ Fiona Ingram

Fellow author Fiona Ingram spotlights the latest novel by Michael R. French. Readers will delight to learn more about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”!

http://www.fionaingram.com/

Saturday, March 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina

Author Anthony Avina has fellow author Michael R. French in today’s spotlight with a guest post by French and more information about the bestseller “The Beginner’s Guideto Winning an Election”.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

Tuesday, March 5th @ Breakeven Books

Today’s Author Spotlight at Breakeven Books is a bestseller by Michael R. French. Readers will delight as they learn more about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”!

https://breakevenbooks.com/

Wednesday, March 6th @ Coffee with Lacey

Lacey reviews “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Grab a cup of coffee and join Lacey for an enjoyable review of this delightful novel!

https://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com/

Thursday, March 7th @ Sreevarsha Sreejith

Sreevarsha reviews Michael R. French’s latest novel – a YA work titled “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”. Don’t miss Sreevarsha’s insight and thoughts!

https://sreejithsreevarsha.wordpress.com/

Friday, March 8th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples

Madeline Sharples reviews the enjoyable YANovel “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Readers and Choices won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear what Madeline thinks about this book.

http://madelinesharples.com/

Tuesday, March 12th @ Book Santa Fe with Crystal Otto

Crystal reviews “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Readers at Book Santa Fe love Michael R. French and are sure to love his latest YANovel!

http://booksantafe.com/

Wednesday, March 13th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker

Cathy interviews Michael R. French about his latest novel “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”.

https://www.sellingbooks.com/

Tuesday, March 19th @ Bring on Lemons with the Hansen Girls

Cathy Hansen along with her two teen daughters offer their thoughts about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Thursday, March 21st @ World of My Imagination

Nicole Pyles loves YANovels and is excited to share her review of “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French.

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

Interview with Author Boris Sanders

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing? 

I started writing when I was about 11. I played with toys a lot (specially legos), and would create stories to play around, and at some point I thought “This story is pretty awesome, I should write them!” and so I did, I pestered my history and literature teacher’s at school to read them too. I’ve gone through these old stories again recently, and let me just tell you this: they seemed much more entertaining when I was 11. I decided to write seriously go back to writing about 3 years ago, when I started writing Code: Revelation, I wrote at a slow pace, I think the only reason I picked pace to write again was knowing my wife was pregnant, it gave me a “it’s now or never” feeling.

2) What inspired you to write your book? 

I wanted to write a story that was different from the rest. I like psychological thrillers since watching Death Note, when it launched, so I decided to venture on this road too. First I created the world, I was trying to imagine a Sci-fi city that was different from all the others portrayed on similar books, after that, the rest came bit by bit. My corporate background certainly played a part on it.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book? 

That choices have consequences, and regardless of how dire those consequences may be, you must be strong enough to make the choices you believe to be the best. I also like to play a bit around the logic of morals, ethics and law, inviting the reader to reflect about them as well.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

 I don’t see myself writing anything other than Sci-fi and Fantasy. Almost all the books I’ve read are either Sci-fi or Fantasy, so it’s just natural that I write on these genres. Would I write in another genre? Maybe one day, but surely it would be a challenge.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why? 

Without a doubt I would choose Lucy. I mean, she has been around since the dawn of civilization, I would have so many questions that I have a hard time even thinking of where to begin. Maybe start by asking who killed JFK? 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership? 

Twitter, I still don’t have a big presence there, but it’s growing, and helps me connect with other writers.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there? 

Well, I’m just a starting author myself, should I really be giving advice? haha. I’m not sure if it counts as advice, but I would say to 1- Write a little bit every day. 2- Don’t try to save money, even if it means delaying the book, invest in a good editor. I learned the second one on the hard way.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon? 

I’m glad you asked, Anthony. My next book, Code: Stasis, is a collection of short stories that, although can be read as a stand-alone, works as a prequel to Code: Revelation. It will feature 4 short stories and a preview of the first 3 chapters of the Code: Revelation. It will be launched on Spring 2019, and it will be completely free on all platforms. I also plan on launching the sequel, Code: Ascension, still on 2019, so I have lots of work to do this year!

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About the Author

Boris Sanders started to write at a very early age, in fact, so much so that, for his mother’s surprise, the doctor who delivered him insisted to have seen some marks that resembled words inside her womb. His intellect is quite advantaged, having learned 37 languages by the age of 14, of which 35 were created by him, don’t have a writing form, and only he can speak and understand them. In addition, he has a photographic memory, as long as an actual photo was taken during the occasion. 

In his spare time Boris likes to swim in waterless pools and investigate the mysteries of the universe, while sitting on his comfortable couch, effectively doing nothing. He has a particular taste for olives of any kind.

Book

Book trailer: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AjZg8_7n9Ym4kqcdOFbQE79fw9ZSRA

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L3TPH43

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43521844-code

Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BorisSanders1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/boris.sanders/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BorisSandersAuthor

Website: http://www.borissanders.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18672762.Boris_Sanders

Interview with Author Rebecca Henry

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’m currently living abroad in England with my husband and kids. We absolutely love living in England and have been traveling the world for the past twelve years. I have always been a writer and before I could write words I was pretending to write stories with squiggle markings on paper. I took to poetry at the age of ten, and kept a writing journal in my backpack, which I took everywhere with me. By the time I was nineteen, my poems were published in various school magazines, anthologies, poetry journals, ezines, and websites.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

Louisiana Latte was 100% inspired by my diva sister, Deb, and a business trip we took together to Louisiana. I’ve always been fascinated by Deb’s audacious personality and electric passion for life. It was never a question of if I would write a book inspired by her character, but when.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Firstly, I hope readers get a good laugh from the book. I want to make people laugh and feel good while reading Louisiana Latte – that was my soul intention for writing the book. I purposely made it a quick read, so that it could be light and airy. Something you can pick up while waiting at the doctor’s office, read a chapter, and have a laugh. I feel like the main themes and message in this story is grounded in family (sisters in particular) the bonds we create that last a life time, and the lasting impressions they have on us.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Having a diva for a sister! I wanted to embrace the chick-lit genre by incorporating humor, and lots of fun with being a girl! Chick-lit is a great genre and I’m truly excited to have written a book within it.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

If I could sit down and have a conversation with one character from my book I would choose Agatha Broccoli. I would ask her why on earth would she choose to have eyelash implants made from her own human hair.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I actually repel technology and being tech savvy is not my thing. I’m the happiest in the garden or outside on a walk. I do not have any social media sites; however, I appreciate how valuable social media is and I could not have progressed as an author without it. Goodreads and blogs have all been instrumental and invaluable to me. Bloggers, such as yourself, really are the fiber in the thread.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

My advice to aspiring authors is to stick with it. Just keep writing, keep carrying on and don’t stop until you have your book completed on your computer. I’ve seen aspiring authors begin strong in their book and then drop in the middle. That’s a very dangerous place to stop. You have to keep pushing and keep going. Finish the book!

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Yes, I have another book completed, Conjure Lake, which is a fantasy-thriller and I’m working on another novel in the making. I might even like to do a Louisiana Latte 2! The many adventures of Deb continue. Ha-ha.

About the Author

I am a newly published author with one novel released and another book coming out for publication, in February 2019. I am also a world traveller, living abroad. I have many interests and hobbies in life, besides my greatest passion of all, my family. I am also a vegan, gardener, crafter, and I practice yoga regularly.

Guest Blog Post: Do you have to be a nerd to read science fiction? by Author Clive Fleury

What do Leonard diCaprio, Nicolas Cage, Mila Kunis, Megan Fox, and Ben Stiller have in common? Yes, I know they all movie stars but besides that? They are all devotees, lovers of science fiction books and movies, in fact, everything science fiction. And yet none of them lack social skills, and they don’t seem the type to be boringly studious. I wouldn’t describe any of them as losers either. So what the heck are they doing liking sci-fi!

What do Leonard diCaprio, Nicolas Cage, Mila Kunis, Megan Fox, and Ben Stiller have in common? Yes, I know they all movie stars but besides that? They are all devotees, lovers of science fiction books and movies, in fact, everything science fiction. And yet none of them lack social skills, and they don’t seem the type to be boringly studious. I wouldn’t describe any of them as losers either. So what the heck are they doing liking sci-fi!

Some see science fiction and nerds as being like salt and pepper, bacon and eggs, and tables and chairs – twin words that are inseparable. And yet are they? Sure, some nerds like sci-fi. There’s no denying that. But just because some nerds enjoy drinking milk, that doesn’t mean that everyone who drinks milk is a nerd, does it? Of course not… except if you are French! They argue ‘Milk is for babies’. So, if you are not a baby and drink milk they presumably consider you beyond the pale—a nerd in fact. But then doesn’t that say more about France and the French than anything else? After all it’s a nation whose people seem to spend an inordinate amount of time carrying around baguettes, wearing berets, and eating cheese as a desert. Weird!

But back to nerds. And before anyone raises any PC objections let me say straight out—no I don’t have it in for nerds. I could say that ‘some of my best friends are nerds,’ but that would raise all kinds of warning signals. I’ll leave it at: I like nerds. In fact, should some maniac drop a nuclear bomb to wipe out all of humanity, I know nerds would suddenly become everyone’s best friends. Then the ability to ask a girl to dance, or wear skinny jeans wouldn’t be such a high priority. Instead, we’d look to nerds to supply answers to questions like- If most of the world has just become one giant barbecue what do we do next?

Actually, that’s the type of question that’s asked in a few science fiction books, including my own—Kill Code: A Science Fiction Dystopian Novel. (Sorry, I had to get the plugin.) Seeking answers in an entertaining form to these dilemmas is one of the attractions of science fiction. I mean have you ever thought about what life would be like on a neutron star? Well, author Robert Forward did, in his book ‘Dragon’s Egg’ and though Nerdish—Mark 4 on the Nerd scale—it reminds us that life can take many forms. And have you ever considered what it would be like if a pod of whales came to Earth dressed up as people? No? Well, Captain Kirk did in one more bizarre than usual Star Trek episode.  

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And on the subject of things taking different forms, I’ve read that Dr. Jane Goodall, the UN Messenger of Peace, and primatologist, believes ‘The Story of Doctor Dolittle’ and ‘Tarzan of the Apes’ are science fiction novels. Before you shout: ‘But that’s not science fiction,’ maybe you didn’t know many consider the Harry Potter books science fiction too. See, that’s the beauty of the genre, it traverses everything from life on Mars, to a world run by apes and magicians, and everyone has the freedom to define what exactly they think science fiction is.  

But, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and sci-fi is not for everyone. It produces some aggressive reactions. Someone once spat at me that she ‘detested science fiction books,’ and she is not alone. But what can you do with these haters? Burn them at the stake? I don’t think so! For all those who love the genre, don’t even bother to ask the obvious question—have you read any science fiction? You would be wasting your time. Sci-fi is like prunes, Brussels sprouts, and olives—something you either love or loathe.

So what are we to conclude from all this? Some nerds like science fiction books and movies. There’s no denying that. But so to do movie stars, scientists, fashionistas, politicians and on and on—actually a fairly large slice of the world. True, not as many as like romantic novels. Sci-fi books are country cousins to that tribe. But science fiction lovers still occupy a fair swathe of the population, of which nerds are just a sliver. So you definitely need not be a nerd to enjoy sci-fi!

Now that’s settled, please excuse me. I want to get back to reading Selin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft. I’m just getting to an exciting part.

About the Author

Clive Fleury is an award-winning writer of books and screenplays, and a TV and film director and producer.  He has worked for major broadcasters and studios on a wide variety of successful projects in the US, UK, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. Clive lives in Miami with his wife, his teenage daughter, and a cat called Louis.

© Clive Fleury 2019

Interview with Author Clive Fleury

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

My love for writing began at school. My English teacher often said that I should write a book, but I didn’t know what to write about. So I dismissed her encouragement as a fanciful dream. When I left University, I decided that maybe I should combine my love of music with writing and become a music journalist. Being naïve I didn’t really think about how hard that would be, and after countless attempts to get a job gave up and joined a market research company. Three months in, and hating the work, someone called me from one magazine I had applied for and said they had made a mistake and would like to hire me! I’ve no idea why that happened, but I didn’t hesitate. From there, after a series of lucky coincides I moved from journalism to researching TV documentaries, to directing documentaries, and then onto writing, directing and producing TV drama and feature films.

What inspired you to write your book?

Writing my book Kill Code was down to my pride. I always considered completing a book as being far too hard but had nurtured an idea for a novel for five years ago. I found countless excuses why I couldn’t start it, but finally, someone dared me to stop talking about it and just do it.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

In one sense Kill Code is a pessimistic novel.  The world it describes is one of the extremes of wealth and poverty, and of terrifying climate change.  But it is also about men and women’s resilience, courage and moral certitude. So I hope readers take away the message you should always listen to your heart and your conscience and go with them, whatever the consequences.

What drew you into this particular genre?

One of the interesting facets of the science fiction genre is that it is an ideal platform to explore ‘big themes’ while still allowing the author to tell an entertaining and exciting story.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Actually, I would like to talk with not one but two characters in Kill Code—the main protagonists Hogan Duran and Ruby Mason. They opt to reject a life of luxury for beliefs based on equality, liberty, and fraternity. I’m not convinced most people would make this choice, and I’d like to ask them how they had the strength to walk away from what looked like such an easy life.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Blogs, like this blog, are the lifeblood of authors.  We rely on passionate reviewers and reviews to encourage readers to take a chance on our books. Twitter too is important as it’s a platform used by many who are avid readers.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

There are many, many reasons not to write a book. You fear starting. You believe you don’t have the ability. You think you’ll never find a publisher or an agent. I could go on and on. The first thing to ask yourself though is: “Do I really, really want to do this.” A true writer will not be put off by fear and rejection.  That will simply make you stronger. The fact is writers have no choice but to write. It’s something you crave and have to do. So start typing, ignore the naysayers and just do it!

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Benjamin Franklin once said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. So, the future definitely holds those in store for me! But that aside, I am currently completing the second book in the ‘Code’ trilogy, and I have my fingers crossed that all you readers out there will buy it and enjoy it.

About the Author

Clive Fleury is an award-winning writer of books and screenplays, and a TV and film director and producer.  He has worked for major broadcasters and studios on a wide variety of successful projects in the US, UK, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. Clive lives in Miami with his wife, his teenage daughter, and a cat called Louis.