Tag Archives: science fiction

Hobson’s Void by Simon Jones Review

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

The consequences surrounding one’s choices become the central theme of a story about a young woman and her friend who find themselves questioning their place in a brutal society and the fate that will put their world in their hands in author Simon Jones’s “Hobson’s Void”.

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The Synopsis

Picking fruit on a farm one day, deciding the fate of humanity a few days later. A harrowing journey of discovery in between.

Leena is a young, small-town woman, known for her questioning nature yet destined to live out her life like the others: in servitude to the Bright One, under the guidance of the Vicar.

Suffused with holy purpose, the Vicar demands the neighboring towns be ‘cleansed’, for through him the Bright One speaks. His townspeople are faithful and will follow.

Mord, a hard, hard woman, head of the Vicar’s Blackcoats, leads the way without hesitation or mercy.

Floss, Leena’s best friend, has doubts. These doubts will run them afoul of Mord and the Vicar.

Over the next few days, Leena will be tested to the limits of her body and spirit, discover secrets unknown to humanity, and come to understand the nature of her world.

Because the world wants her to make a choice.

The Review

This was such a powerful and incredible sci-fi and YA read. The author perfectly captures the almost feverish mob mentality that small, rural religious townspeople can pitch themselves into when their everyday life and wellbeing are dependent on the words of their local religious leaders. The commentary on blind faith versus awareness and the consequences of our actions and choices that this novel makes was truly phenomenal. The balance found between the religious fervor and the scientific discovery and sci-fi tropes the author blended beautifully into the narrative was divine, pun intended. 

The character development was exceptional in this novel, especially concerning the protagonist Leena and the character Mord. Each of these women seemed to be reflections of the same coin, with Leena showing the struggles of a lifetime of faith clashing with her own moral compass and the discovery of the truth behind the blind faith she’d been told to exhibit, and then Mord, who revealed the consequences of blind faith and the dark path it can lead towards when one’s conviction in their faith ironically brings them closer to the darkness they are so sure they are combating. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, thought-provoking, and powerful, author Simon Jones’s “Hobson’s Void” is a must-read novel of 2022 for all fans of sci-fi and YA action reads! The depth of the character development elevates the sci-fi action and tropes. The incredible world-building and mythos that the author constructed perfectly captured the powerful and soulful themes of blind faith, choices, and consequences. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Simon is a writer, conversationalist, and author (not always in that order) of the new novel Hobson’s Void. 

With three decades of dreaming while on the job, Simon has amassed a multitude of science fiction and fantasy stories. Working in a hospital laundry (for example), mindful to avoid flinging around the blood of dead people while sorting through their used bedsheets, offered ample opportunity for inspiration. Some of those mental wanderings even turned into completed stories. 

Sitting at a computer, writing his next novel or, sometimes, actually working for a living, is usually where you will find him. Sometimes, bravely, Simon will venture outside with his wife, two kids, and a dog, for a play on their lifestyle property. Resolutely ignoring the lengthening grass. 

https://gibbonstales.com/

The Little Girl in the Moon: Moxie & Tycho Town by Diann Floyd Boehm and Katherine Louise Floyd Boehm Review

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

A young girl’s pet dog takes readers on a tour of the city center of the moon’s largest crater in author Diann Floyd Boehm and Katherine Louise Floyd Boehm’s “The Little Girl in the Moon: Moxie & Tycho Town”. 

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The Synopsis

The Little Girl in the Moon author, Diann Floyd Boehm, has teamed up with her daughter, Katherine Louise, in the third book in the series, The Little Girl in the Moon – Moxie & Tycho Town. Together, they have created the imaginary town nestled in Tycho Crater, which is located on the Earth’s moon. Katherine and Diann’s collaborative artistic talents have brought the town to life. The colorful illustrations are sure to spark young readers’ imaginations. Moxie, the little girl in the moon’s pet dog, takes us on a tour of Tycho Town’s City Center, which the Moonlings have built to resemble towns on Earth. Moonlings love the Earth as much as Earthlings love the moon! This story, the first of many adventures in Tycho Town, introduces children to the Moonling vocabulary. Diann and Katherine hope the readers’ curiosity will grow and they’ll want to learn more about the Earth’s moon and Tycho Crater. Watch for the next adventure of The Little Girl in the Moon, when the rest of Tycho Town will be unveiled! 

The Review

This was a brilliant and fun children’s read. The authors found a great balance between thought-provoking teaching moments in the narrative and fun and exciting illustrations to keep children invested in the story. 

What stuck out to me about this story was both the educational moments the author took in developing otherworldly storylines to help teach children about different aspects of our own world’s society and the playful and fun way the authors introduce sci-fi story elements and themes into the narrative for younger readers to get engaged with. As a sci-fi fan, it was fun to see a new approach to the children’s book narrative that included some other genres like this. 

The Verdict

Happy, creative, and entertaining, authors Diann Floyd Boehm and Katherine Louise Floyd Boehm’’s “The Little Girl in the Moon: Moxie & Tycho Town” is a must-read children’s book. The heart and warmth for which the authors wrote this story, as well as the great world-building the authors employed here in this narrative made for a great introduction to the sci-fi genre for young readers, as well as the perfect read for parents to enjoy with their kids. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Diann Floyd Boehm is an award-winning international author of children books and has published a young adult historical fiction. addition, Diann writes books to inspire readers to be kind, like themselves, and to “Embrace Imagination”. You can find all her books on Amazon.

Diann’s Story Garden YouTube Channel gives children the opportunity to hear different children authors read their stories.

Diann a co-host for several shows with Dr. Jacalyn’s USA Global TV.

Diann continues to be involved in various humanitarian projects with multiple organizations.

Diann was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but grew up in Texas with five brothers. She has traveled extensively to many parts of the world and has lived in the Philippines and Dubai.

Keep in touch with Diann by joining her newsletter: www.Diannfloydboehm.com

Learn more about Diann and her books at:

Diann Floyd Boehm

Amazon

Story Garden

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDLN5DfdCVzOu9pIphQ2-4Q

Civil War (Chronicles of Rondure Book 1) by TC Marti Review

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

A young woman trained for years to be the best warrior and Smoke Master of her people must fight her way to expose her world’s corruption within it’s political system and go rogue against the very people who trained her in author TC Marti’s “Civil War”, the first book in the Chronicles of Rondure series. 

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The Synopsis

I was Culled at age five into the Bastille Military, the World of Rondure’s superpower…

…Having lived on-base for thirteen years, military life taught me two things: Mastery of the Smoke Element and to never apologize about using it on enemies.

Now that I’m awaiting a sure life sentence for the crime of exposing Bastille’s true crimes, they’ve left me with no choice. When they try to extradite me, I will call upon my Sword of Smoke and escape this predicament, using every combat technique they taught me against them.

Then, I’ll take it upon myself to finish a mission I started years ago; to unplug the People of Bastille and let them know who the real enemy is: their home nation and its Capital City of Paramount.

As I go rogue, every authority figure with money, power, and influence in the Bastille Empire will want me dead. Thanks to them, I’m one of the most powerful Smoke Masters in the World of Rondure. And I’m ready to break the spell the people of my nation have lived under for over a century.

Calling all fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and George Orwell, Civil War features a strong heroine, with epic fantasy tropes bending into science fiction with dystopian and thriller elements, non-stop action, and stakes so high that Mina Hirai’s success or failure will set forth the fate of Rondure forever.

The Review

This was yet another fantastic entry into this beautifully written world of the author’s creation. The first book to connect the author’s original trilogy with the next trilogy in the Elementals of Nordica Saga, Civil War takes readers on a much more intimate journey than previous iterations of this series had done. Focusing instead on a first-person narrative, the story shows one young woman’s fight to escape a deadly prison sentence after learning of her government’s betrayal, and the fight to lead an insurrection to liberate the people of the government’s negative influence. The same balance of sci-fi and dystopian settings with the fantasy elements of the characters and the mythos overall made this such an impactful story to dive headfirst into.

The protagonist was definitely the driving force behind this narrative. The author’s ability to craft a more intimate and emotional narrative from the view of Mina Harai was a brilliant call, as it allowed a more personal view of the chaos and corruption Rondure was experiencing and the painful fight those who saw the corruption had to endure to reveal these dark truths. The connections she made, the horrors she was both witnessed and experienced, and the heroism she showed made her arc so engaging and the world-building and mythos as a result much more captivating.

The Verdict

Mind-blowing imagery, entertaining, and brilliantly written, author TC Marti’s “Civil War” is a must-read novel of 2022 for fans of sci-fi, dystopian, and fantasy-driven action-adventure narratives. The rich mythos that was expanded upon and explored in this narrative was amazing to read, and the personal development of one of the world’s heroes made this a stunning story to get lost in. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

TC Marti has been an avid reader/writer for over three decades. He is the author of the Elementals Universe, a shared speculative fiction universe spanning multiple series. He is also a workout fanatic and a fan of Arizona sports teams.

Book Cover Reveal: Save the World Sci-Fi Anthology from OWI Blog Tours

I am so excited to share this new book cover reveal for OWI Blog Tours for the upcoming anthology, Save the World. Enjoy today’s post!

Save the World cover

Other Worlds Ink has a new book coming out in the Writers Save the World anthology series, and we have the cover reveal: Save the World! And there’s a big giveaway.

Climate change is no longer a vague future threat. Forests are burning, currents are shifting, and massive storms dump staggering amounts of water in less than 24 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to save the world from climate change. From the myriad of stories we received, we chose the twenty most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change via solar mirrors, carbon capture, genetic manipulation, and acts of change both large and small.

The future’s not going to fix itself.

About the Series:

“Writers Save the World” is an annual hopepunk anthology form Other Worlds Ink, featuring hopeful stories by sci-fi writers about ways to solve the world’s problems.

Universal Buy Link | Liminal Fiction | Goodreads


Giveaway

Scott is giving away 10 eBook copies and 1 paperback copy of book one in this anthology series, “Fix the World.” Enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47232/


Excerpt

Save the World Meme

Joy stuffed the last bite of chocolate into her mouth, snapped her thermos shut and swung her work kit open again. In it were the last of the hundred and thirty 18- inch ice pitons, a battery-driven screw gun and two extra power packs. A clean handkerchief, her last two chocolate bars, and a thermos of coffee rounded out her gear. In her pocket was a water-proof case containing a notebook, a pen, a thickly rolled spliff of cannabis spiked with a few fudgy streaks of hashish, two lighters, and a box of water-proof matches. Just in case.

Bracing a boot, she set another ice stake in place and pulled the trigger, using both hands to hold the weight of the electric gun. That most satisfying sound, a high-speed whir, followed by the solid CHUNK-CLUNK made her smile as the bolt sank into the ice. The work of pinning another bit of the triple-layer cover into place energized her, and she paused for a sip of coffee. It was imperative that she keep her strength up until the end, she reminded herself, ironic though that was. She had a lot of ground to cover but she was not working alone.

Blanketing the Greenland Ice sheet in knitted cozies was no job for shrinking violets and there were none in Joy’s crew. Only wrinkled old ladies with gray hair and bad attitudes. Now the staunchest were working in suicide squads, diving to pin the final covers in place, shielding the precious ice from the merciless rays of the sun.

Even if you flew over Greenland today it would look frozen. The brown, semi-slushy mud and dirty ice squeaking under her boots told the truth: the permafrost was melting fast, and no one knew how the hell to refreeze it. Joy’s project was the next best thing.

All those Senior Strength and Fitness classes at the Y paid off, Joy reflected. All those miles on the spin cycle had been worth the sweat. She felt hale and hearty and full of life; it seemed a shame that hers would end so soon.

Her tandem mate, Esmeralda, was working in the opposite direction. Es was a retired fighter pilot, US Air Force. With six tours of duty under her belt, and over a thousand sky-dives. Joy had been training with her since January, first tandem then solo. Now it was June. Now it was for real.

At 10,000 feet on this glittering blue morning, Joy and Esmeralda had waited in the cabin of the four-seater Cessna for Marty to give the signal and then, with a grin and a grunt, sprang through the open door.

Free fall.

First stage flare.

Second stage flare.

Controlled thump-down, the muscle memory of the safe landings she had practiced a hundred times kicking in for Joy, the stretch into position for minimal impact, the tucked-shoulder roll. And then the dance of untangling from harness and canopy; an embrace ending in a bear hug. A final gaze into the sparkling eyes of her beloved friend before each had set off in opposite directions, unspooling quilt as they went, kneeling every ten feet to sink a spike. At the cliff edge, they would take a final moment to tie up ends of personal business, say goodbye to the crew via radio, and jump.

Joy and Es both had Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube waltz cued up for the moment. Instead of a spliff, Es had brought half a liter of Clase Azul Reposada tequila. Joy was going to crawl under the gigantic cover just long enough to smoke her doobie and write out a final note to her great-granddaughter Alice. Then, in a blissful haze, each would throw off her parka and dive over the sea cliff, blanket unfurling behind, the weight of their own bodies pinning it into place.

If the fall didn’t kill them the cold would.

FZZT-TZZT. It was Hoshi and Grace, calling from the other side of the berg and the sound of their voices further served to exhilarate. It was really happening now, and there was no turning back.

“Joy! Can you hear me? We’ve reached the halfway point; what’s your progress?” In the background Hoshi called out, “Forty-two stakes! Can you beat that old woman?”

Joy heard Grace cackling into the radio, and snorted at the friendly insult.

“Forty-nine, young Chickadee! My boots walked this planet long before you arrived, so call me old at your peril. I’ve won the numbers game already and now you will never make it to your eighth decade! See you in the Great Beyond, girlfriend. Over and out!”

Dropping the little VHF radio back into the side pocket of her quilted pants and smoothing the Velcro closed, Joy trudged on.

—From “Operation Cover-Up (Kamikaze),” by Rachel Hope Crossman


Author Bio

Gustavo Bondoni is novelist and short story writer with over three hundred stories published in fifteen countries, in seven languages. He is a member of Codex and an Active Member of SFWA. His latest novel is Lost Island Rampage (2021). He has also published three other monster books: Ice Station: Death (2019), Jungle Lab Terror (2020) and Test Site Horror (2020), three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Outside (2017) and Siege (2016) and an ebook novella entitled Branch. His short fiction is collected in Pale Reflection (2020), Off the Beaten Path (2019) Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).

J. Scott Coatsworth lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were. He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends. A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the head of its self-publishers committee.

Rachel Hope Crossman is an ex-fry cook, ex-substitute teacher and retired Montessori teacher. Her childhood year in Athens, Greece left indelible imprints of olive groves, pomegranates and the sparkling, turquoise blue of the Mediterranean upon her mind. She is the author of SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES & CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY, (2014) The Apocryhile Press, which examines the world-wide Cinderella story as an archetype and explains the symbolism of rings, knives, birds, pumpkins and more. Her personal heroes are Harold (and his purple crayon), Peggy Hill and Nancy Pelosi.

Jana Denardo is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.

Derek Des Anges is an emerging cross-genre author working in London, who consistently fails to stick to a single format or genre but does at least really consistently write about the queer experience (or some of them, anyway). He’s into fungi, industrial and experimental music, and trying to avoid the climate apocalypse actually flooding his flat too many times, because he has far too many books to consider moving out.

CJ Erick’s stories have appeared in anthologies from WMG Publishing, WordFire Press, and others. He won the FenCon short story competition in 2015. He writes in multiple genres, publishes novels in a space fantasy series, and dabbles in poetry. He’s an MFA student in creative writing at Lindenwood University, and an editorial assistant for the Lindenwood Review. He lives in Dallas area with his wife and their rescue superhero dog Saber-Girl, calls his sourdough bread starter “Ursula” (K. Le Guin), and cooks crazy-good Cajun food for a Midwest Yankee.

J.G. Follansbee’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Others Worlds Ink’s Fix the World. Other publications include Bards and Sages Quarterly, Children, Churches and Daddies, the collection Still Life 2018, and the speculative fiction anthologies Satirica, After the Orange, Spring Into SciFi 2019, Rabbit Hole II, and Sunshine Superhighway. He is the author of the series Tales From A Warming Planet and the trilogy The Future History of the Grail. He has won several awards in the Writers of the Future contest, and he was a finalist in the inaugural Aftermath short story contest. He also has numerous non-fiction book credits. He lives in Seattle.

Geoffrey Hart: Startled by an aggressive dictionary late in her pregnancy, Geoff’s mother was delivered of a child with a precocious antipathy towards users of words. Over time, he transformed this antipathy into a more functional, if equally passive-aggressive, editorial career. After nearly 35 years, the flame burns brightly as ever, leading to an errant, semi-evangelical career ranting against the evils of words from pulpits at any editing or technical writing conference that will have him, seeking new recruits for his cause. In his spare time, he roams the globe, entertaining locals with creative and unrestrained interpretations of their linguistic conventions. He also commits occasional fictions, and has sold 46 stories.

M. J. Holt lives with her husband on their 60-acre family farm with many animals on a peninsula in Puget Sound. She is horrified that the entire world isn’t working to decrease pollution of all kinds. When she was a teenager, she and her mother sat under an ancient crabapple tree and read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Her mother told her that future generations would pay the price for the sins of past generations. That price has increased and now several generations later, some not yet born, will pay the price. Lightning struck that crab tree decades ago. It grew on land her great grandfather bought in 1892. Her great grandmother farmed the land and had the current house, started in 1900, built. The farm passed to her grandfather, and then to her mother. She lives in that house amid the surviving bits of her ancestors’ lives. This generational continuity informs her fiction. Her crime thriller novels, The Devil’s Safe (2021) and its sequel Making Angels (2022) can be found on Amazon. Recent short stories have appeared in the anthologies Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day: An Anthology of Hope, Low Down Dirty Vote Volume II, Alternate Theologies, and her poetry may be found in the poetry anthologies 300K, Timeless Love, and other periodicals. She earned separate undergraduate degrees in History and English Literature, and a Masters in English Literature. She is a member of SFWA, MWA, and other writing organizations.

Jennifer Irani lives and works in southern California. Her story, “Graft,” was inspired by the recent fires in California, Greta Thunberg, and generation Z. A version of this story first appeared in Writing in Place: Stories from a Pandemic. Her work has been published in the anthology Dove Tales Empathy in Art: Embracing the Other. She has published essays in Orange Coast magazine. Her essay, Regeneration, received honorable mention in the Writers Challenge 2021 on Medium.com. Her poem, “Cool Colors Warm the Soul,” was selected for the Connecting Through Color, Art and Poetry exhibit. She is a member of Barbara Demarco’s Literary Posse.

Andrew Rucker Jones was born and raised in Falls Church, Virginia. No muse heralded his birth, and he has not been writing novels since he was in diapers. He received his Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in mathematics with minors in computer programming and German. He has always loved reading, so when the time came to choose a new career after twenty years in IT (programmer, system administrator, manager), he decided writing looked like fun. If only it paid. He now lives in Mannheim, Germany, with his Georgian wife, who actually earns money, and their three children, the eldest of whom also earns more than he.

Micháel McCormick likes to write stories in his Batman pajamas. He and his wife also enjoy travel, hiking, Tai Chi, and perplexing cats. They split their time between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Lake Superior. Mike’s work has appeared in Arcanist, Daily SF, DreamForge, Frozen Wavelets, Grievous Angel, Metastellar, Talking Stick, and elsewhere.

Christopher R. Muscato is an adjunct history instructor and writer from Colorado, as well as the former writer-in-residence for the High Plains Library District. He has published over a dozen short stories and is thrilled to be a part of this project.

Masimba Musodza was born in Zimbabwe, and has lived most of his adult life in the United Kingdom. His short stories, mostly in the speculative fiction genre, have appeared in periodicals and anthologies around the world. He has written two novels and a novella in his first language, ChiShona. His collection of science-fiction stories, The Junkyard Rastaman & Other Stories, was published in 2020. Masimba also writes for stage and screen.

M.D. Neu: Growing up in an accepting family. internationally award-winning author M.D. Neu always wondered why there were never stories reflecting our diverse queer society. Surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, he decided to change that and began writing, wanting to tell epic stories that reflect our varied world. When not writing, M.D. Neu works for a non-profit in Silicon Valley, and travels with his husband of twenty plus years.

Jennifer R. Povey: Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple sub genres. Additionally, she is a writer, editor, and designer of tabletop RPG supplements for a number of companies. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

NRM Roshak is an award-winning Canadian author and translator. Their stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines, including Galaxies SF, Daily Science Fiction, and Future Science Fiction Digest, and has been translated into several languages. They live in Ontario, Canada, with a small family and a loud cat.

Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes.

Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She has an honorable discharge from the United States Army, a degree in chemical engineering, and twenty years’ experience as a professional engineer. Lisa currently lives in Maryland with her husband, two youngest children, father-in-law and cats. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a Futurescapes 2021 alumnus.

Heather Marie Spitzberg is an environmental author, scientist, and lawyer who lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with her family. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Other Worlds Ink logo

La Estrada: Season One-Episode 1 by Andrew D. Daily (Illustrated by Alex Vede) Review

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

A mysterious portal leads to a missing child, and a mother who must work against powerful politicians and untold dangers to find her child before it is too late in author Andrew D. Daily’s “La Estrada: Season One-Episode 1”. 

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The Synopsis

La Entrada – Season One, Episode One is the first graphic novel of this epic series.

A child disappears when an other-worldly portal forms outside of Mexico City. To find him, his mother must partner with a renegade professor and face the politicians that stand in their way. The mysteries of La Entrada will shake their existence and alter the comforts of civilization.

This experimental graphic novel emulates television through black and white storyboard artwork. From the intense mind of Andrew D. Daily and brilliant digital illustrator Alex Vede, we are introduced to the beginning of a power clash not seen since the conquistador invasion of 1519.

The Review

This was such a fantastic and entertaining graphic novel. The author did a marvelous job of finding a way of translating an episode of television into graphic novel form. The rich culture and settings of this story felt vibrant and alive on the page, and the story flowed just as smoothly as an hour-long drama. The striking contrast of the sci-fi/paranormal elements of the overarching plot with the more twisted and nefarious plots of political corruption made the narrative come to life on the page. 

The heart of this story came down to character development. The interwoven stories of the people caught in this maelstrom of mystery and intrigue made the larger plot of suspenseful drama that much more emotionally investing. From a mother desperate to find her missing son to a professor shunned by his community for outlandish ideas and two political rivals sparring over who is to become the next Presidente of Mexico amidst this powerful and unexplainable event, each subplot revealed characters that could immediately carry this “show”. 

The Verdict

Memorable, heartfelt, and engaging as a story, author Andrew D. Daily’s “La Entrada: Season One-Episode One” is a must-read graphic novel. The television landscape of this story and the artwork’s amazing capture of this style of storytelling from artist Alex Vede is a brilliant combination, and the heart and passion for which these characters bring this narrative to life were fantastic to read. A story deserving of a television narrative, the shocking twists and turns in the story, as well as the shocking final pages of this growing mystery, made this one graphic novel readers are not going to want to miss. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Andrew is a television writer, producer, and production manager living in Los Angeles, CA.

Shark Tank on ABC was his first big break in TV as an art department production assistant. He was quickly spotted for his administrative skills and found mentors in production management, where he climbed the ranks. The unscripted shows he has worked on include Miss Universe, Paradise Hotel, The Voice, and The Grammy’s. He has also worked on several scripted shows, including Blunt Talk, Dr. Ken, and Insecure, as well as digital content when he co-launched The Rock’s YouTube channel as a line producer and writer.

For its three-night live presentation, Andrew co-wrote O Little Town of Bloomington, a Christmas musical that sold out the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, CA.

Before transitioning to full-time writing, he developed his craft by breaking down scripts minute-by-minute and writing over twenty pilots of his own. He created several Graphic Novels, including La Entrada, available through Amazon.

Follow him on Instagram: @dailyman

https://www.hawthorneent.com/

Red Dot by Mike Karpa Review

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

In a world where people automatically make the right decision, one young man finds himself compelled to follow his artistic pursuits and his love interests, in author Mike Karpa’s “Red Dot”. 

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The Synopsis

After the disaster of global warming, the world has gotten its act together. People are positive, sensible and creating a better future and a just present. So, in a world where everyone makes good decisions, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, other people. Twenty-something gay man Mardy dreams of becoming a full-time machine-tool artist. He brims with ideas, puts in the hours, has a solid circle of artist buddies—and forbidden friendships with artificial intelligences, the virtual slaves he works alongside of in his day job. But he’s always coming in second to an irritatingly successful rival. When he meets the rival’s twin, unexpected consequences drive Mardy to pursue not only his artistic passions but also love. And just possibly make the world a better place in the process.

The Review

This was such a beautifully constructed sci-fi world the author has crafted. The way they were able to bring about this post-dystopian world was so refreshing and unique, exploring a somewhat more hopeful future that sees environmental disasters conquered and technological wonders an everyday part of life. The emotional depth of a novel of this caliber that delves into the morality and heart of what an AI is or can be in life, and whether they can develop the same level of consciousness that humanity has, was absolutely outstanding and kept the reader both hopeful and teary throughout the read.

The character development of this narrative was stupendous. The LGBTQ representation that could be found throughout the entirety of this cast of characters was phenomenal to see and more relevant to the world we live in. This backstory for many of the characters, including protagonist Mardy himself, was perfect to mirror the themes and atmosphere that the AI conversation crafted naturally, making this such an exciting read. 

The Verdict

Mind-blowing, thought-provoking, and emotionally investing, author Mike Karpa’s “Red Dot” is a must-read post-dystopian and sci-fi read! The fantastic character growth and rich and futuristic setting made this a captivating story, while the mix of romance and sci-fi morality themes made this one of those novels that readers won’t be able to put down. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Red Dot - Mike Karpa

Mike Karpa has a new MM sci-fi romance out, The Dot Trilogy book 1: Red Dot. And there’s a giveaway!

After the disaster of global warming, the world has gotten its act together. People are positive, sensible, and intent on creating a better future and a just present. And it’s working! So, in a world where everyone makes good decisions, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, other people. Mardy is a 26-year old gay man who dreams of being a full-time machine-tool artist. He brims with ideas, puts in the hours, and has a solid circle of friends—both fellow artists and the artificial intelligences he works with. But he’s always coming in second to another machine-tool artist at his makerspace. He’s dealing with that, thanks to the highly effective psychotherapy of the future, but then he meets his irritatingly successful rival’s twin—and falls for him hard. Consequences ensue, and fast, driving Mardy not just to pursue his artistic dreams, but to try to liberate his AI friends from servitude, and find love in the process.

About the Trilogy:

Powered by art, the search for true love leads to freedom for enslaved AIs.

Publisher | Amazon


Giveaway

Mike is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47230/?


Excerpt

Red Dot meme

Chapter 1

Mardy’s ExMail delivery jet was vectoring in fast on San Francisco.

“Coming in a little hot, don’t you think?” he said to the plane.

“It’s fine, Mardy,” the plane replied.

Mardy gripped the open side-portal of the plane. Hoverdown would normally have engaged by that point, but there was little at the moment to distinguish their trajectory from a kamikaze run at his apartment building rooftop.

“Plane?” Mardy asked, panicking a wee bit. They were plummeting. Mardy clamped his lips against the wind. He wanted to make the designstation time he’d booked for the evening, but as much as he wanted to be a full-time machine tool artist, he’d prefer not to die in the attempt.

One hundred feet, fifty feet. Twenty.

The plane hit its thrusters hard, sending Mardy sprawling out of the portal. He managed a shoulder roll onto the hot concrete roof, ending in a crouch. His heart pounded as the impact of his landing reverberated through his bones.

His plane floated above the roof. “See you tomorrow, Mardy.”

Mardy stood. Did he detect a smirk in the plane’s voice? It maintained its hover, wheels retracted. Was it waiting for Mardy’s reaction?

“See you tomorrow,” Mardy mumbled, shaken, sweating, and not just from the sun beating down on them.

The plane waggled its wings ever so slightly. It was laughing, Mardy was sure of it. Mardy waved slowly as the plane left for who knew where. The official story was that all the delivery jets were operated by a central AI, a single intelligence. But Mardy had sensed differences between planes almost from day one and found it harder and harder to pretend he didn’t. And this plane, a jokester, was his favorite. It knew Mardy was light on his feet, able to handle the abrupt braking. It was playing with him. Mardy wanted to give it a name.

Phil.

The name popped into Mardy’s mind, unbidden. Which felt more alarming than the idea of plunging to earth through an open portal, because naming AIs was illegal—not just technically illegal, but illegal enough to land you in jail.

Mardy caught the beautifully air-conditioned elevator down the thirty-three flights to ground level, legs tired from a full day on the job, and hoofed it one block down Mission Street to WorkShop Downtown SF, sweat now dribbling from him despite the near-dusk hour. The batteries of the personal cooler strapped to his chest must have filled up from harvesting his body heat as he’d raced through his workday.

Mardy pushed through the WorkShop front door. He planned to spend an all-nighter polishing his latest machine-tooled design. It was nearly ready to submit for the salon, the competitive exhibition WorkShop held every month. Salons had only one slot per discipline and he had never been selected, but this was the month he would finally beat out their resident star, Smith Hunt. Mardy could feel it: this month, he would be the salon’s chosen machine tool artist.

He dropped his satchel next to his designstation, already feeling the hours of slogging to come.

His design was a whirligig, one of the middle genres of machine tool art. He’d been working so far in gizmos, the very bottom rung of the genres, but having failed every single month he’d competed, he’d decided more ambition was called for. His whirligig was essentially a mobile cooling fan intended to track the person it was paired with, walking after its target on tiny legs to provide continuous cooling. The best part? When the person settled, their whirligig would dance a cha-cha. It naturally wouldn’t be as convenient or effective as the personal cooling units everyone wore to survive their globally warmed world, but it would be adorable.

His best friend, Cat, a plastic surgery artist, hurried over to Mardy’s designstation, their bushy black hair bouncing. “We’re heading over to Uncle Mix for drinks.” They were dressed in work clothes—sweatshirt and jeans—except that their jeans had a starscape of Milky Way and crescent moon splashed in yellow against the dark blue denim, likely the work of one of the resident fabrics artists.

Mardy shook his head. “I haven’t finished my entry.” Plus, he really wanted to do more than design it. He wanted to build this sucker, an expensive, full realization. And on his pilot’s salary, he couldn’t afford another night out. A minimum-wage job like ExMail pilot was enough for a tidy supplement to universal basic income, but it left little room for art.

Cat bent over to look at his screen. “Show me,” they said.

“I want it to be a surprise.”

“I already know it’s a whirligig. You’ve been dropping hints for a solid month.”

“Are you submitting?” Mardy asked.

Cat cocked their head at him. “Think a question will distract me?”

Mardy chuckled. “Okay, not subtle. But your plastic surgery is so great. I really want you to submit a routine. Use me as your blank.”

Cat gave him a skeptical look.

Ever since Cat’s controversial near-triumph at Vegas Regionals last year, their plastic surgery performance recordings had gotten astonishing view metrics. Now everybody wanted to be in a Cat performance. But Mardy had shied away, despite Cat’s repeated requests and flattering remarks about his bone structure. Mardy trusted Cat’s ability to restore his face and/or other body parts afterwards, but he was afraid of knives. He’d only volunteered now to avoid showing Cat his design. But he’d said it, and if he’d said it, he’d do it.

“Done. And just to warn you, I submitted an hour ago,” Cat said.

“I’m not scared.” Mardy tried to hide a gulp of terror. “In bocca al lupo.” Over the last decade, the Italian phrase—in the mouth of the wolf—had thoroughly supplanted the nonsensical break a leg, part of a global migration of slang, as verbal fashions swarmed over the face of the planet like birds on the move.

Cat ran a finger down Mardy’s jawline, the plans for imagined cuts bubbling behind their eyes.


Author Bio

Mike Karpa

Mike was once a woodworker in a makerspace and knows how semiconductors are made. His novels hop around between genres, dabbling in scifi (Red Dot), romance (Red Dot again), suspense (Criminals), and forthcoming in 2022, a snarky comedy of manners set in New York and Arkansas and a YA novel about five puppies in search of a dog rumored to be their dad. Eventually, a behemoth about love, war and espionage in India in the 1960s (Between Countries) will see the light of day as well.

His goal these days is to write novels for queer audiences that are entertaining rather than esoteric, upbeat rather than angsty. His more recent shorter fiction, memoir and nonfiction (some in the more angsty vein) can be found in Tin House, Foglifter, Tahoma Literary Review, Oyster River Pages and other magazines.

Mike has roots in Texas and Estonia, and has lived in California, Michigan and Ohio, not to mention eight years in Asia in the early part of his life. Now he lives in San Francisco with his husband and dog in a house soon to be celebrating its 130th birthday. Red Dot is Mike’s second book, after Criminals (2021), and is the first in a planned trilogy.

Author Website: https://mikekarpa.com

Author Facebook (Publishing): https://www.facebook.com/mumblerspress

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/mike.karpa/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/mumblerspress

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mumblerspress/

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/mike-karpa/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/mike-karpa/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Karpa/e/B09GTNWKVY

 

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Spark by Pat Daily Review

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

A young man searching for answers finds himself searching a virtual world for gamers that harbor a dark secret beneath the surface in author Pat Daily’s “Spark”.

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The Synopsis

In his mother’s last letter, she wrote, “Find me. Save me.” And Will Kwan had heard those words before. He’d heard them in a video game.

Solar Prime Augmented Reality Park, or SPARK, is a theme park for gamers: a sprawling virtual reality complex with quests and games that appeal to all ages. But beneath the surface, SPARK harbors many a secret.

When sixteen-year-old Will has to escape the foster system, SPARK, is his destination. “Find me. Save me.” What had his mother meant? At SPARK, he runs headlong into the force of nature known as Feral Daughter, another runaway who has chosen to make SPARK her home and her life. As their friendship grows, Will beigins to walk a path that will unveil not only the secrets of SPARK, but also a whole new perception of his world.

So, when terrorists threaten his new home and new friend, Will cannot stand idly by. Can Will finally get his closure? Or will SPARK be destroyed, along with the new life he has built?

The Review

If you were to combine West World, Ready Player One and Peter Pan’s Never Land into one story, it would be author Pat Daily’s “Spark”. The expertly woven narrative does an incredible job of balancing out the themes of finding family and the hero’s journey to find one’s place in the world with the action and suspense of the narrative. The imagery and detailed deep dive into this futuristic technology and the near-future really did a great job of giving readers a clear picture of the story unfolding.

The thing that stood out to me was the depth of character development that the author was able to flesh out throughout this narrative. In such a grand and tech-heavy narrative, the balance that was struck between the action and the personal histories and emotions these characters evoke made this a wonderful story. In particular, Will’s story is so heartbreaking and engaging, and even the history of the second Korean War that the author introduces and how it impacts everyone involved felt like a much-needed call-back to the aftermath of the first Korean War around the world. 

The Verdict

Brilliant, captivating, and engaging, author Pat Daily’s “Spark” is a must-read sci-fi narrative. The heart-pounding action and shocking twists and turns in the story will keep readers on the edge of their seats, while the emotional character growth each character faces will have readers emotionally invested throughout. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Pat Daily is an engineer and former Air Force test pilot who worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on both the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs. 

When not writing or trying to bring new airplane designs to life, Pat can be found gaming online. He is a fan of role-playing games—particularly, open worlds with engaging storylines where actions have consequences. 

Pat and his wife spent twenty years in Houston before moving to Central Washington. 

https://feraldaughters.wordpress.com/

Mixed Realities: 7 Stories That Will Make You Question the Universe by Naomi Augustine Review

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

In a reality in which reality itself is proven to be a simulation and parallel worlds coexist with one another in the “system”, author Naomi Augustine explores the most puzzling, challenging, and captivating sci-fi and true scientific theories of our time in the book “Mixed Realities: 7 Stories That Will Make You Question the Universe.” 

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The Synopsis

Get ready for a mind-bending thriller that will make you question reality as you know it. “Mixed Realities” is a collection of stories that poke at the squishy parts of our universe, human understanding, and our relationship with technology. Illustrated QR codes are embedded throughout the book to let you listen to the soundtrack on the fly.

Don’t trust your senses. Don’t even trust your measuring equipment. Reality is not what it seems.

Physicists were right. It turns out we live in a giant computer simulation and our world isn’t the only one. There are many others. In one world, climate change threatens humanity. A 10-year old refugee befriends an artificial intelligence in a city full of holograms and works together to solve the crisis. In another, an anti-social college student becomes suspicious of the existence of parallel worlds and figures out how to cross over. With the help of his new online friends, they set out to unravel the mystery behind the simulation and its mischievous architect. The perfect book for readers of science-fiction, “Mixed Realities” will challenge and entertain readers with each page.

The Review

What a powerful and moving collection of sci-fi short stories. The blend of technological marvels and themes of what it means to be human, the importance of real connections, and the definition of reality, all come together in a beautifully woven collection that spans over the course of a mind-bending narrative landscape. The characters are the perfect way of infusing humanity, hope, and emotion into the story as well, as each short story finds the right harmonious chord between the theme and the emotional connection the reader has to the people within these stories. 

The ideas and concepts that this narrative explores are not only unique but scientific theories and concepts that have fascinated me in particular for years. From the real-world impact, AR and AI technologies are already having on our modern world, to the idea behind the Multiverse and how it relates to our understanding of the universe as a whole, these themes are not only interesting but thought-provoking in their approach to the genre.

The Verdict

A beautiful and captivating road filled with hope, tragedy, and endless possibilities, author Naomi Augustine’s “Mixed Realities” is a must-read collection of short stories. The perfect balance of character development and theoretical exploration, this twisty navigation of the possibilities that exist within the confines of the sci-fi genre makes this collection just so entertaining to read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Naomi Augustine grew up in Japan and has a bachelor’s in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. She has spent the last 15 years as a physicist, game producer, and Augmented Reality R&D Lead at companies such as Raytheon, Riot Games, and Magic Leap. There she led the research, envisioning, and design of city-scaled use cases of AR. Her work has been deployed in areas of urban planning and climate change in partnership with the United Nations Development Program. She is currently the co-founder of QXR Studios, specializing in augmented and extended reality (AR/XR) storytelling in Los Angeles.

https://www.naomiaugustine.com/mixedrealities

United Vidden by Fern Brady Review

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

A young woman seeking her destiny as a ruler runs off when her rights as heir to the throne are forfeited, and upon returning to her planet she discovers a land ravaged by war and hostility in author Fern Brady’s “United Vidden”. 

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The Synopsis 

Shattered by her father’s decision to deny her the throne as the first female heir of Dravidia, Princess Verena makes the worst mistake of her life: She runs away. Her departure, days before her wedding to the heir of the Principality of Aulden, throws her nation into war. In a desperate bid to reverse the consequences of her choice, the princess returns to planet Jorn, anxious to prove herself worthy to rule. But it is too late. The princess finds her kingdom conquered by Prince Amiel ra Aulden. Now, Verena must earn back her birthright as well as the trust of her people.

The Review

This was an incredibly wonderful blend of science fiction and fantasy storytelling. The old world politics and fiery intensity between the ruling figures spoke to classic fantasy storytelling, while they travel between planets, and the exploration of how “Earth” has influenced other worlds in the universe was pure sci-fi through and through. The richness of the mythos the author has crafted here and the natural fusion of these two genres are an immediate plus for newcomers to this author’s work. 

The character development was complex and rich to take in. The raw emotions of Verena and her journey as she fights for what she believes is her birthright, then quickly grow as a fighter and a ruler who will do anything to set things right, makes this story shine so brightly. The complex relationship she has with the Prince is both heated and passionate in an intricate way, and the exploration of politics in such a grand arena as this story is amazing to read. 

The Verdict

Exhilarating, entertaining, and thoughtful in its approach, author Fern Brady’s “United Vidden” is a must-read epic sci-fi fantasy read that is impossible to put down. The gripping narrative and haunting nature of Verena’s path in this book highlight the action and romance that lace the intricate layers of this wonderfully woven narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Fern Brady is the founder and CEO of Inklings Publishing. She holds multiple Masters degrees and several certifications. She began her professional life as a foreign correspondent, taught for 15 years in Alief ISD, and is a full-time Realtor in Houston. She has published numerous short stories, two children’s picture books, and a couple of poems. Her debut novel, United Vidden, which is book one in her Thyrein’s Galactic Wall Series, released in 2020 along with her graphic novel/novella hybrid New Beginning. She is the current president of the Houston Writers Guild, with whom she served in that capacity previously, and is on the board of Authorology. Besides being Municipal Liaison for Nanowrimo Houston, she is also a member of American Book Publishers Association as well as of Blood Over Texas and Romance Writers of America. She lives in Houston, TX, with her parents and her talkative husky, Arya. Follow Fern’s writing at: www.fernbrady.com