Tag Archive | Dystopian

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Flight of the Spark by Evelyn Puerto

Book 1 of The Outlawed Myth series


Duty. Desire. Destiny.

How far would you go to be safe… to be free…to be loved?

Flight of the SparkIskra doesn’t question the rules. The rules are there to keep her safe from those who are deemed unsafe or unfair. Anyone who breaks the rules is taken, never to be heard from again. But that’s the price everyone gladly pays for peace and safety. And no one wants to live like the Riskers–barbarians who reject order and justice, and could kill or be killed at any moment.

When a friend is taken because of Iskra, the guilt forces her to do the unthinkable: seek out the Riskers. Iskra’s quest to save her friend quickly entangles her fate with a cryptic prophecy and a young Risker named Xico, who ensnares her heart and is willing to put it all on the line to win her.

With every risk Iskra takes, the closer she gets to true freedom. But every choice carries a consequence. The choices she makes set events she never imagined into motion, and the price of her freedom could very well be her life and the life of the man she loves.

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My Review:

Flight of the Spark is a captivating and fascinating read.

The main populace of the land are ruled by fear and ignorance, and at the start of the book we meet Iskra, a 15 year old, who lives in Gishin. She was an obedient villager until her first trip out of the village goes horribly wrong when she misses the caravan home. Attacked by bandits, then rescued by a trader, Iskra is taken to a Risker camp.

The discovery that Riskers are not the barbarian savages the villagers are taught, sets her on a collision course with the leader of Gishen and changes the direction of her future.

The world building in Flight of the Spark was great and I could see the scenery in my mind. The main characters were multi-demensional and credible. I enjoyed watching Iskra grow from a ‘brainwashed’ teen into someone who questioned her life and started thinking for herself.

An enjoyable read, with plenty of action, intrigue and suspense.

 

Evelyn PuertoThe Author:

Evelyn Puerto reads just about anything and writes in multiple genres. When she married, she inherited three stepdaughters, a pair of step-grandsons, and a psychotic cat. Currently she writes from northeastern Wisconsin, but soon will be heading south for shorter winters.

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The Black Ditch by Simon J Lancaster

The Black Ditch

 

The Black DitchLAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.

This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.

In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?

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My Review:

A bleak perspective on the future of mankind.

Global warming has devastated the world, and London is now a prison filled with criminals, refugees and dissidents, kept in line by criminal hierarchy and the police who seem to be allowed to kill without repercussions.

Laurie Stern has grown up in this world, but now his life, and the lives of his family and ‘friends’, are threatened at every turn. Tortured and shot at, Laurie doesn’t know who he can trust, if anyone.

Moving at a brisk pace, the book is filled with action and intrigue.

I found this complex story hard to follow – with so many factions and betrayals; it was difficult to figure out who was on whose side

( I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

  

Meet The Author:

Simon J LancasterSimon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers. Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot. He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.

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Saturday Spotlight

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Battle Ground Series by Rachel Churcher

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

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(I received complimentary copies of the books for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

Battle Ground

Book 1

battle-groundSixteen-year-old Bex Ellman has been drafted into an army she doesn’t support and a cause she doesn’t believe in. Her plan is to keep her head down, and keep herself and her friends safe – until she witnesses an atrocity she can’t ignore, and a government conspiracy that threatens lives all over the UK. With her loyalties challenged, Bex must decide who to fight for – and who to leave behind.

My Review:

I enjoyed this first book of this new series. A dystopian story set in the not too distant future of the UK. It’s aimed at Young Adults, but perfectly suitable for older readers too.

Bex Ellman and her friend, Dan are conscripted into the army, while their other friend Margie has disappeared along with a teacher to join the ‘terrorists’. As recruits Bex, Dan and other teens are put through a harrowing training regime, merely to be shown off to the public to prove that they are safe from attack.

With propaganda, misinformation and rumour it’s difficult for the teens to decide what the truth is and whos side they should be on.

The characters are well-rounded and most have a back story which helps you get to know them. They’re not perfect, they’re flawed and make mistakes like all teenagers.

The story moved along at a good pace and in today’s climate the plotline was plausible and believable! I look forward to reading the second book of the series.

 

False Flag

Book 2

False Flag Rachel Churcher coverKetty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.

My Review:

In Battle Ground, the first book of the series, Ketty Smith was Bex Ellman’s nemesis and not a particularly nice person. However, there are two sides to this story.

Instead of following on from book 1, as I expected, this book revisits the same events only this time from Ketty’s point of view.

Although we already know what happened during this timeframe, the shift in viewpoint added depth and showed new aspects of the events.

I now understand Ketty as a person, although because of the ambiguous political backdrop to the story, I’m still unsure which side I should be rooting for!

I am enjoying this fascinating and plausible series and I’m looking forward to reading book 3.

 

Darkest Hour

Book 3

Darkest HourBex Ellman and Ketty Smith are fighting on opposite sides in a British civil war. Bex and her friends are in hiding, but when Ketty threatens her family, Bex learns that her safety is more fragile than she thought.

My Review:

In book one of the series, Battle Ground, we witnessed a sequence of events as experienced by Bex Ellman. Book two, False Flag, saw the same events but from Ketty Smith’s point of view. This book follows on from those events and this time we get alternating chapters from Bex and Ketty.

I like the strong and loyal female characters that take the lead in the books. Whether rebel or army neither side has much control over their own life. Both girls are simply trying to do their best to protect their friends and/or accomplices and fight for their beliefs.

Darkest Hour is my favourite book so far, of this fascinating series, and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment.

 

Fighting Back

Book 4

Fighting BackBex Ellman and her friends are in hiding, sheltered by the resistance. With her family threatened and her friendships challenged, she’s looking for a way to fight back. Ketty Smith is in London, supporting a government she no longer trusts. With her support network crumbling, Ketty must decide who she is fighting for – and what she is willing risk to uncover the truth.

My Review:

Fighting Back is the penultimate book of the five book Battle Ground Series. The story continues on from book three and once again we get alternating chapters from Bex and Ketty.

Both girls are still struggling to come to terms with their losses, and trying to do the right thing, while realising that they have no control of the events or their part in them.

This series goes from strength to strength as the story reaches its climax. While, once again being well-written and steadily paced, this book had a feel of being the lull before the storm and I’m looking forward to reading the final instalment.

 

Victory Day

Book 5

Victory DayBex Ellman and Ketty Smith meet in London. As the war heats up around them, Bex and Ketty must learn to trust each other. With her friends and family in danger, Bex needs Ketty to help rescue them. For Ketty, working with Bex is a matter of survival. When Victory is declared, both will be held accountable for their decisions.

My Review:

Victory Day is the final book of the five-book Battle Ground Series, and what a great way to finish.

The final battle is coming, but not quick enough for Bex and her friends. They need to fight now, to save the government prisoners from execution.

Ketty and Bex meet face to face during the final battle, and while Ketty prevents Bex from being killed, she still has an agenda. She needs to survive the outcome, no matter who wins.

Victory Day is action-packed and thrilling, keeping me in suspense from start to finish.

I have enjoyed the series and will keep my eye out for future books by Rachel Churcher.

 

The Author:

Rachel ChurcherRachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker.

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the weekly Meme that wants you to add books to your TBR! You can also just share what you are currently reading. It’s very easy to play along, as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Grab your current read
  2. Open to a random page
  3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • -BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

Victory DayOur crates of armour sit just inside the door, and we’ve pushed our guns under our beds. I didn’t think the Scottish government would let us take them when we left, but they’ve told Fiona that they’re backing the invasion, and they’ve sent guns and armour for all of us

~Victory Day (ARC) by Rachel Churcher

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

False Flag by Rachel Churcher ​​

False Flag Rachel Churcher coverKetty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

Amazon

 

My Review:

In Battle Ground, the first book of the series, Ketty Smith was Bex Ellman’s nemesis and not a particularly nice person. However, there are two sides to this story.

Instead of following on from book 1, as I expected, this book revisits the same events only this time from Ketty’s point of view.

Although we already know what happened during this timeframe, the shift in viewpoint added depth and showed new aspects of the events.

I now understand Ketty as a person, although because of the ambiguous political backdrop to the story, I’m still unsure which side I should be rooting for!

I am enjoying this fascinating and plausible series and I’m looking forward to reading book 3.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.)

 

 

The Author:
Rachel Churcher Author photoRachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

Light the Way by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 2)

 
Light the WayIn the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside.

MaryAnn Hunter has crossed over to become a fugitive on the Outside. Hiding out in the Union headquarters MaryAnn is slowly coming to terms with the lies she has been brought up with.

But when a friend asks for help MaryAnne finds herself on a dangerous rescue mission that takes her on a terrifying journey back into the desperate clutches of the Director and the Light.

MaryAnn faces a fight for survival. It’s a fight she must win against insurmountable odds – but is it one she is willing to win at any cost?

Light the Way is the second book in The Union Trilogy.

Set in a dystopian future The Union Trilogy is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown.

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My Review:

A brilliant follow up to Blinded by the Light. This time, in addition to MaryAnn’s point of view, there’s Charlotte’s point of view, which doesn’t detract from the main character and definitely adds to the story, as MaryAnn can’t be in two places at the same time.

In this book, we once again join MaryAnn, who is growing from her experiences and is no longer the spoilt rich kid we met at the beginning of book one. Although still uncertain as to whether or not she wants to join The Union, she doesn’t hesitate to help when one of the Unionists family members needs rescuing from The Light.

MaryAnne and her friends undertake a dangerous journey and rescue attempt, even though it puts their lives at risk, and MaryAnn within reach of the Director of the Foundation again.

I hoped for a lot from book two and was not disappointed. I can’t help wondering whether MaryAnn and Peter will ever stop arguing for long enough to realise that they have feelings for each other.

I am more than ready for book three. Fingers crossed, I won’t have to wait for too long.

  

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. The weekly Meme wants you to add books to your TBR, or just share what you are currently reading.

  • Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    -BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

Light the WayPeople rarely spoke about life before the virus, even those who were adults when the disease broke out. We’d been shown broadcasts at school about how people used to live, but it was definitely not considered acceptable dinner conversation.

~Light the Way by Joe Kipling

 

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling

(The Union Trilogy Book 1)

Blinded by the light

In the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside. MaryAnn is one of the privileged. It doesn’t matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or that the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes, it’s all about being noticed at the right parties.

But it takes a single event to rip her life apart.

Struggling with physical and psychological scars, MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?

Blinded by the Light is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown. It is the first book in The Union Trilogy.

This dystopian young adult fiction book set in the near future critiques aspects of society such as a preoccupation with celebrity, materialism and privilege. It Shows that in real life good and evil are never clear cut and we all have to decide what it means to ‘do the right thing’.

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My Review:

Set in a future where the population has been decimated by the Sandman Virus and the elite live in Neighbourhoods run by The Light Foundation. This was an enjoyable read, told from MaryAnn’s point of view.

MaryAnn’s father is an important man in The Light Foundation and at the start of the book MaryAnn has a perfect life, she’s a spoilt rich kid who has everything she wants.

After meeting her estranged brother, Daryl, at a party, disaster strikes and MaryAnn has to live with the Director of the Foundation. Although still rich and spoilt, she becomes isolated with only the Director’s daughter, Maud, for company.

When her brother contacts her again, she discovers he is a Unionist. The Unionists live outside of Neighbourhoods and know the truth behind The Light Foundation. As MaryAnn is introduced to other Unionist members, including her Uncle Patrick and Daryl’s friend, Peter, her beliefs are challenged, and her world changes from the ‘them and us’ attitude that she was brought up with.

The characters were well written and multi-dimensional, my favourites being MaryAnn and Peter. I loved seeing MaryAnn adapt and mature as the story went on, and the developing friendship between her and Peter, though it was heartbreaking watching the life she knew collapse around her.

The Author has done an amazing job of world building and how her society is structured, and it’s easy to imagine living there, either as one the elite or one of ‘outsiders’

Overall, a topnotch and imaginative start to a trilogy for young adults, and older adults also. I’ve already started Book 2, Light the Way.

About The Author:

Joe KiplingJoe Kipling is a West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a lifelong passion for Sci-Fi, particularly the post-apocalyptic variety.

She currently lives in Holmfirth with her dog Kenny and is a full-time consultant and part-time writer.

A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for The Union Trilogy.

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Toxic by Karen J Mossman and Karina Kantas

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Two authors, two versions of the same book in two exciting genres of fiction.

Karen J Mossman and Karina Kantas present, Toxic.

 

ToxicLexi isn’t your normal Malok. She craves adventure and freedom from the mundane life forced upon her. 100 years ago, the first drop of acid rain fell. Maloks fled to the mountains, building a new way of life—a desolate life—a life Lexi knows all too well.

Lexi has a plan, her ticket out of this miserable existence, becoming a ranger. Aron, her partner, believes she’s not strong enough to fight alongside him. Lexi will stop at nothing, no matter what the danger, to achieve her independence, even if that means defying him.

Amidst everything, Marcus, Lexi’s childhood best friend makes a sudden return. Before she can rejoice in a reunion, her happiness is crushed when she sees Mae, the bully that had terrorized her in her teens. Marcus was aware of the mental abuse Lexi had suffered and yet the person she loved and the person she hated the most, stand before her, together.

“A powerful dystopian thriller that captures the heart and imagination”.

“A romantic, thrilling read…..Karen dares to challenge relationships bringing them together in troubled times….thougthful and though- provoking.”

Toxic by Karen J Mossman

 

Toxic -Erotic“A sensual, erotic read…Karina dares to figure out the nature of passion…thoughtful and thought-provoking.”

“It was a pleasure to read an erotic story that had an actual plot. The genre itself is probably the most misunderstood. The plot drives an erotic story and the sex just adds to the enticing nature of it. You’ve done a great job building a world for your reader.“

Toxic by Karina Kantas

 
“Toxic is based in a future world where acid rain forces the people, the Maloks to build their cities inside mountains for protection. What is also amazing is this book has two versions, the romantic and the erotic. In both books the story focuses on a female Malok called Lexi, who is determined to become a Ranger and help society guard against the Outcasts. Only Lexi has little support, even from her own boyfriend, Aron. Mix in a childhood sweetheart, in the shape of Marcus, and the unexpected arrival of Mae, Lexi’s childhood bully and things begin to get interesting. Toxic is the story of Lexi’s determination to satisfy her ambitions, both professionally and personally. The Erotic Toxic tells the same story but delves deeper into Lexi’s sexuality and passions. Whichever Toxic you chose, you find yourself living the fantasy.”

 

Excerpt:

“Lexi,” greeted the young medic.

“Hey, Sha.” Lexi smiled.

She walked past Sha and sat down on a stool, took a sterile cloth, and wiped away the dead skin, causing her to take an intake of breath. No matter how many times she had been burnt there was no way to get used to that kind of pain.

As she reached for a jar of Dozax paste, Sha spoke. “You’ve been outside again, haven’t you?”

Lexi didn’t answer at first, as she felt the wonderful relief as the paste went to work, taking away the pain and healing the burn. The skin immediately started to regenerate and within moments all that was left on her hand was a green coloured dye, which would eventually fade. Still, Lexi needed to wear a patch that had a tiny spot of Dozax cream to complete the treatment. It was dangerous for any Malok to use Dozax in its pure form. Everything had to be diluted.

“You are such a strange Malok,” Sha said, shaking her head.

Lexi smiled. “I can’t help it. I’d go crazy if I was cooped up here forever.”

“Has your ranger training started?” Sha asked.

Lexi’s grin was wide. “Not yet. At the end of the week,” she answered, still not believing she had been accepted into the academy. “Okay, I’m done,” she said and then jumped off the stool. “See you tomorrow.”

“Oh wait. You have four inoculations to do tomorrow.”

“Four?” Lexi questioned.

“Yes, some Maloks arrived last night with the new commander.”

“Oh, yes I forgot about Jow. So sad. He was nice as a commander, and so approachable and happy all the time, you know?”

“Yeah,” Sha agreed and then giggled. “Remember when he came and said he wanted to learn basic aid? Oh my, he was so funny.”

Lexi laughed as she remembered that day and how he always made her smile. “See even now, just thinking of the late commander makes us happy. He left a great legacy behind.”

“He sure did. Let’s just hope the new one can live up to that.”

“Okay, I’m off. See you tomorrow, Sha.”

“I will have the Dozax jabs ready for you in the incubator,” Sha called.

“Super! Thanks,” Lexi mumbled.

Lexi still couldn’t get that sad day out of her mind. She even had to visit the Charmer to talk and get closure. The loss of Commander Jow was hard for everyone. A party of fifteen went out that day and only two returned. Lexi wished for peace every day, but the only way that would happen was if the Outcasts and the Maloks agreed to share.

She shook her head. Of course, that would never happen, she was kidding herself. Outcasts needed the Terra leaves to feed their addiction. Never mind that this amazing plant could cure pain, protect the body from germs, Illness and normal medical problems that come from age and a weary body. She couldn’t imagine how life used to be when young people would die, because they didn’t know the secret of the plant and the properties it possessed. So, sad, she thought, as she quickly made her way back to the residence she shared with Aron.

Everyone assumed that Lexi and Aron would marry and settle down. Her friends certainly thought so, and at the start, so did Lexi. Only now she had woken up, and the adventurous Lexi wanted so much more from life and becoming a ranger was a step in the right direction.

 

Authors
About the Authors:

Karen J Mossman.

Karen J Mossman comes from a family of journalists with her grandfather and uncle having been newspaper editors. Further back a 2x grandfather wrote for his local paper and also published a book based on those articles. Karen is the only one to go into fiction.

All Karen’s books are in collections – The Decade Series, Electric Eclectic and Just Stories.’ She is also a founder member of Electric Eclectic books and has four tales in that collection.

Karen is also an avid blogger and book reviewer, “It’s especially important to me to have feedback from my readers, so please leave a review when you have read one of my books.”

Karen lives on the beautiful Isle of Anglesey off the North Wales coast with her husband and two dogs. She has two grown up children, who were both born on the same day, two years apart.

“I was fascinated by Stephanie Meyer’s book The Host, where people lived in mountains. This was a world I wanted to explore as a setting for Toxic. Living in a close environment as this, there has to be rules. Those rules don’t always have to be fair. This gave me scope to add intrigue and animosity between my characters.”
-Karen J Mossman

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Karina Kantas

Karina Kantas is the author of the popular MC thriller series, OUTLAW and the loved romantic fantasy duology, Illusional Reality.

She also writes short stories and when her imagination is working overtime, she writes thought-provoking dark flash fiction.
There are many layers to Karina’s writing style and voice, as you will see in her flash fiction collection, Heads & Tales and in UNDRESSED she opens up more to her fans, giving them another glimpse into her warped mind.

When Karina isn’t busy working on her next bestseller, she’s a publicist, author manager and VA. She’s also the host of the popular radio show, Author Assist on the Artist First Radio Network.

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Toxic Teaser

Karina and Karen and proud to associate Toxic with Electric, Eclectic books.
Electric Eclectic is a global marketing brand.

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Author Assist

Interview with M.L.S. Weech

My guest today is author, M.L.S. Weech, otherwise known as Matt!

Hi Matt, welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings.
Would you like to begin by telling us a little about yourself and your background?
Me

I’ve been published for about three years. I do that when I’m not enjoying my job teaching Sailors at the Defense Information School. I was raised in the desert southwest, and in my youth, there wasn’t exactly a lot to do because I essentially lived in a desert. My imagination was my most accessible toy. I grew up to join the Navy, and after ten years of service, I returned to where my career started as a civilian instructor.

 
When and why did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about 8. I’d just watched what is still my favorite movie ever, and my favorite character died. Naturally, I cried, but my biodad sort of chuckled at me and told me to write a better movie if I didn’t like this one. So started work on the sequel, and I’ve been writing ever since. I finished my first book when I was about 17. I got genuinely serious in 2009, when I joined a writer’s group and committed to writing 1,000 words a day. I love stories. I love thinking about the plot. I love the crafting of words. It has simply been a part of my life for so long I’m not sure what my life would look like if I didn’t do it.

 
What inspires your books?

My posts are usually inspired by something random. My first book, The Journals of Bob Drifter, was inspired by my family dod and my dad. My mom had a nightmare she told me about, and that inspired my second book, Caught. My newest published novel is an anthology in which my contributing story was inspired by the riots in Virginia. So usually I see or hear something, and my brain, which is prone to flights of fancy, takes it to an extreme degree.

 
Are there any particular places that help you get the creative cogs turning?

I’m a believer in work habit and ethics. I can pretty much write anywhere, but I’m most productive on my couch with my laptop and cool elevating table. (I can pull the top up so it’s even with my arms). That’s where and how I’ve written for about five years, so that’s where my body is most conditioned to want to write.

 
What is the setting and genre of The Power of Words?

The Power of Words has four stories. The first is a science fiction novella set in a world where people can virtually swim in a social media world. That world is dominated by a group of speakers called Voices. This is a world in which social media and digital lives (in this case lived through visors known as omnies) rule, and bare faces are considered odd.

The second is a traditional fantasy set in Richard T. Drakes’ Hollow World series. The story takes place at a seedy bar, and it’s essentially a hostile negotiation between an entrenched criminal and a newly risen hero of the people.

The third is the first in a post-apocalyptic series. It’s a zombie survival story taking place in San Antonio. Some might roll an eye at the idea of “another” zombie apocalypse, but this story is unique in that the main character isn’t one who’s in any way suited to survive in such a place.

The last story is my own, of which I’m very proud. It’s a dystopian science fiction heist story. A mom, who’s essentially a former policeman, hatches a scheme to take out the servers for the planetary silence protocol currently enforced. She believes in the right to speak, and, more importantly, she wants her daughter to be saved from the ruthless enforcement policies currently in place.

 
Why do you think this book will or should appeal to new readers; what makes it stand out?

The first reason would be that it’s great speculative science fiction in the vein of Hugo novels of old. There’s a clear message and meaning, which is nice in a world of popcorn scifi.

The other reason is that it’s all dedicated to the importance of communication. We live in a world where maybe sometimes people want to be heard, but they don’t want to listen so much. I think people need a reminder on the importance of hearing and speaking. Communication is what matters. These themes are wrapped stories that are engaging and fun.

 
Many authors state that their characters are portions of themselves. Is this true with you?

I don’t even hide from this. Part of my process when I create characters is that I give them one trait from myself. Sometimes it’s a good trait. Sometimes it’s a not so good trait. Every now and then, I take a positive trait to an obsessive degree to see what happens. I’ve has people ask me which character is most like me, and I do have a thought on that, but the fact is every character has a part of me. Those who know me and read my books often comment how much of myself they see in each character.

 
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Umm….(counts in his head)…five unpublished books and one half-finished.

 
What is your favourite part or scene in The Power of Words? Can you give us a peek?

I can’t give you the peek because my favorite part is the reveal in my contribution to the story. I’ve had many people complement me on the plot twist in Caught, and I think this twist is just so much better. That’s honestly my favorite part, but another part I enjoy is a scene in which the crew’s lifter, Laree, is trying to get a security badge. It’s just a cute little scene that makes me chuckle. Here it is:

A pair of glass doors whooshed open as she stepped into the lab. She kept her eyes down, but noticed a few technicians look at her. She pointed at the empty lab chair before snatching up a data pad, pretending she’d forgotten it.
Bad mark! she thought looking at the first person she saw. He didn’t have a red badge either. Bad mark! Bad mark! Two more employees displayed their green badges like wards against her plan, mocking her increasingly impossible timeline.
She walked around the monitors and holo-tables as if simply taking a leisurely route back out of the room.
Bad mark! For spark’s sake does anyone on this floor have a … there’s a good mark.
A spindly young technician in need of two meals and a gallon of anti-acne cream sat at a monitor. His red badge dangled from his white coat pocket like a pretty bow. She made a show of nearly dropping the data pad, and the helpful tech, who’d probably never seen a woman naked before, had his moment in the limelight. He heroically stood there while she plowed into him. He just managed to snag the data pad as she snatched the man’s badge.
He looked at her, and she could practically see the wedding play out in his eyes.
Oh, Sweetie, no! She hid her face with the data pad and winked at him before heading out of the lab.
That’s when her wrist communicator started flashing.
Come on, Laree! Did you really think it was going to go that smoothly?

 
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.

Power of Words Cover_FRONT_EBOOKAgain, I’m super proud of this one. I actually designed it myself. I knew I wanted a text-based cover because it was an anthology. So I took the title and played with some concepts. One of my favorite design techniques is the Gestalt principle of figure and ground. Silhouettes use this same principle. The idea is the contrast of one set of shapes on a simple background create the impression of an object or, in my cover’s case, words. I took this one step further because I used a very specific set of words as my figure (the text creating element). I keep it secret as to what those words are because I’d like to think people wonder what the words are and end up staring at them to figure out what publication they’re from. It’s a simple concept executed well. I’m not trying to boast. I’m not saying it’s the greatest cover or concept ever. I just assert it’s a solid idea done well. The real judgement of that would be the viewers though.

 
Have you done any personal appearances?

Ever? Yes. I’ve been in a few bookstores, and I usually do a book launches at a local comic book store. The owner (Bumper) is a great guy, and I like to hang out there. I don’t anymore because if I go in there, I’m going to buy rare comics, and they’re expensive. Most of my appearances (and the one I’m about to do) are at conventions. My next one (and last for the year) will be the Baltimore ComicCon Sept. 28-30.

 
What do you think makes a good story?

I honestly have a simple formula for that. Sympathetic, proactive characters + interesting plot + interesting world = good story. The key element there is the character. They can be reading a book or talking about the weather if they’re sympathetic and proactive enough. I do have to explain that sympathetic to me doesn’t necessarily connote “likable.” A character someone hates can be just as captivating as a character someone loves. The point is, the character evokes strong emotions.

 
Which writers inspire you?

Currently, I’m a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I think Peter V. Brett is the best with characters. Dan Wells is the most underrated author out there right now. Then there are the go-tos, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, Timothy Zahn, and Dean Koontz. I do want to give special attention to Michael G. Manning and C.L. Schneider, two indie authors who really are outstanding.

 
Do you have plans to, or have you already, released audio editions of your book(s)?

The Journals of Bob Drifter is already out on Audible, and Caught is nearly finished. In fact, the Audible version of Power of Words is in production, though I’ve hit a snag there, so it might not be out as soon as I want.

 
Writing seems to be a large part of your life. Imagine a future (if you can) where you no longer write. What would you do?

Well, I’m getting married in November, so I’d probably just be an annoying dad and (hopefully) loyal husband. I’d watch WAY more football (and THAT’S saying something) and play a few more video games too. I might take up sleeping as a hobby. I’ve heard good things about it.

 
Your blog is a mixture of books (news and reviews), Book Cover of the Month and your Mum/your faith:
How/why did you come up with the idea for Book Cover of the Month?

I love top ten lists and competition and brackets. I also love book covers. So I started out just picking covers I thought were nice because that’s actually how I discovered C.L. Schneider. After I started doing that, I wondered what to do the covers. The idea for a bracket came pretty quickly after that. I just like to talk about covers. I’d like to see more voters, and I would really like to have more (professional) debates about why this cover works and why that one doesn’t. For now though, it’s really fun, and I’d look at the covers regardless. This just gives me an interesting bit of content to offer my readers.

 
Has writing about your Mum’s illness and your ‘Trial of Faith’ helped you?

The testimony is first and foremost about giving glory to God. This trial truly shaped me. It saddened me. It broke me. It humbled me. But it also helped me improve my relationship with God. I struggle with pride so much in my life. I was raised in it. I was trained in it while in the Navy (Take Charge! Be a Leader! Be Assertive!). This event was humbling because here I am, a man committed to the idea of, “There’s always something I can do!” Then I’m placed in this situation where I was simply helpless. It’s put me in a place where I’ve realized I’m subject to God’s will and God’s grace, and I’m better for it. Life was hard when I felt like it was all on me. Now I realize my life is in God’s hands, and everything he does, even this, is for good. The testimony reminds me of that. I still struggle with pride. MAN do I struggle with it, but I hope I’m improving and growing.

It also helped me to open up more. As I said above, I already fail to see what’s “interesting” about me. Combine that with the fact that I’m honestly super private and generally selfish with my time, opening up like this has helped me grow as a person.

The greatest help would be hearing, thinking or knowing that my testimony has helped introduce more people to Jesus, and through him God. I fear now that what I’m doing might be brining too much attention on myself and not enough to God (which is the main objective). I feel this way because our faith and grace are evidenced (not granted!) by the fruits of our labors. I’m not honestly sure if’ I’ve born any fruit. I’m not sure if I’ve helped anyone find Jesus or even encouraged anyone going through something similar. That portion of the blog is almost over. I have ideas on what the Sunday blogs will be, but I want them (and everything I do) to glorify God. I may fail more often than I succeed (because we all fall short of the Glory of God), but I want to try.

 
It’s time to relax! What do you do?

I write. When I’m not writing or watching football, I’m playing video games. Reading is fun. But honestly if I had more time for writing, I’d be much happier. Marketing, editing, publicity, those things just really burn me out.

 
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Favorites ever are: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BEST EVER), How I Met Your Mother, Stargate SG-1, and Supernatural (the first five seasons only). Current series would be Doctor Who, The 100, The Marvel TV shows, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things.

 
If you had to choose a character from one of your books to have lunch with, who would it be and why?

Bob from The Journals of Bob Drifter. Sure, he might be there to take my soul, but he’s hundreds of years old. He’d have a ton of stories to tell me before I croaked.

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’m bad at sharing. Not because I’m unwilling, but because I’m really just sort of baffled at the sorts of things people want to know about. I think I’m pretty boring, so it’s hard to think about things because I just don’t know. I usually talk about my students or my kids (my fiancee’s kids, but I’ve pretty much already hijacked them).

 
Thank you for joining us today, Matt. Good luck with the release of The Power of Words in October, and best wishes for your wedding and the future.