Hi, everyone! I’m really excited because I get to do something a little different today. Author Ricardo Victoria is kindly giving a bit of a recap of what happened in The Withered King, book one in the Tempest Blades series. Book two, The Cursed Titans, will be releasing soon. Now is the time to read The Withered King–it’s a good one! Below is a recap of book one. If you don’t want spoilers for The Withered King, now is the time to stop reading (or scroll past the recap to see the awesome cover of The Cursed Titans)!
Without further ado, here is Ricardo Victoria: “In the previous book, what seemed to be a missing person case, threw Fionn -a retired hero with improved healing abilities and who can’t grow old, abilities granted by a mysterious power known as The Gift- and Harland -his best friend and head of the Foundation- into a race against time to save the Free Alliance and the whole world of Theia from a monstrous, powerful enemy from Fionn’s past. Along the way, they are joined by Gaby and Alex, two new heroes who also have abilities bestowed by the Gift -but manifest in their own personal ways- Sam, a powerful freefolk magick user -and Fionn’s estranged adopted daughter- and Sid, a loud mouth samoharo – a reptilian species- and pilot/owner of the only airship capable of upper atmosphere flight in the whole planet. By coming to terms with his past mistakes, Fionn managed to gather the strength and prepare the allies he needed to defeat the nightmarish foe known as The Withered King. But as the old adage says, no good deed goes unpunished, taking us to the next book where…”
Check out the cover and blurb for The Cursed Titans! Epic!
The triennial Chivalry Games have returned! After helping to destroy the Withered King, Alex and the rest of the group find out that saving the world has consequences. While he is secretly battling with depression and with the Alliance on the verge of collapse, a diplomatic summit and the Chivalry Games–to be held in the far-off Kuni Empire–may give everyone the opportunity to turn things around. Alex builds a team to represent the Foundation in the Games, facing off against the best fighters in the world. When an ancient being tries to raise legendary nightmares known as Titans using the peace talks as a trap, Alex has to find a way to save everyone before it is too late. Alex must learn that he is not truly alone to save the world from the chaos of the Titans. In a world where magic and science intermingle, anything is possible.
Prior to her upcoming release of Scars of Cereba, (the cover is gorgeous!), author Rachel Emma Shaw has generously offered to give three people ebook copies of Last Memoria, the first book in the duology. Without further ado, here are the winners:
Today, I get to exclaim over a book, one that I am very excited for. I have been fortunate to have read Last Memoria (review here) , which is book one in the Memoria duology. I say fortunate, because it was really, really good. Scars of Cereba, the continuation of the story, will be available to purchase on May tenth! It looks absolutely fantastic and the cover is a thing of beauty. If you haven’t yet read Last Memoria, now is the time, so you can continue right on with Scars of Cereba. Keep scrolling to see the cover of Scars of Cereba, and to enter a giveaway for an ebook version of LastMemoria.
And here it is!
Sometimes I loved her. Sometimes I hated her. Sometimes I was her and wanted to die.
Falon’s mind is broken. Sarilla returned his memories to him, but in doing so, she fractured him into the man he was before she took them and the man he became after they were stolen. He’s fighting to rejoin his two halves, but locked up in the prison below the palace with his neck already fitted for the hangman’s noose, time is quickly running out.
But it’s more than just Falon’s memories that are fighting for control of his mind. So are those of the memory thief who caused all his problems in the first place. Sarilla. The woman half of him loves, but the other half hates.
Her memories have stained his eyes black, causing everyone to fear what Falon has become. He needs to find a way out of this mess, but it’s not going to be easy. Especially since all three of the people in his head have very different plans for how to go about it.
Scars of Cereba is the concluding book in the Memoria Duology, sequel to the SPFBO 2020 finalist, Last Memoria, a story about a memory thief on the run and desperate to be forgotten. (Taken from Amazon)
The author has generously provided copies of Last Memoria that will go to three lucky winners. To enter the Last Memoria ebook giveaway, all you need to do is drop a comment. It can be a comment on the gorgeous cover, a funny joke, a “Hey, you”, or even just a “‘Sup”. I’ll announce the winners on Tuesday, February 9th. Good luck!
Sarilla has learnt one thing from stealing memories. Everybody lies.’A dark fantasy thriller about love, lies and memory thieves, perfect for readers searching for a new type of fantasy, one filled with real characters on heart-breaking journeys. Think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but with memory thieves and fantasy monsters!’There’s nothing Sarilla hates more than stealing memories, but the king forces her to do it, needing to keep his subjects in line. Sarilla wants to escape to where nobody knows what she is or what she can do, but her plans go awry when she runs into someone she would much rather forget.Falon has a six-month void in his memories that he’s desperate to restore. He doesn’t know why they were taken or what they contained, nor why the man he loves is acting so cagily about what happened during that time. He hopes to use Sarilla to get back what was stolen from him and isn’t interested in why she’s so desperate to escape. She will help him get back what he’s lost, whether she wants to or not.Join Sarilla and Falon in this twisted tale about how sometimes good intentions aren’t enough to keep the darkness at bay. (taken from Amazon)
Hi, everyone! I have a treat today: you don’t have to read my ramblings. Instead, I’ve got an exerpt from Mirror in Time, D. Ellis Overttun’s upcoming book. Enjoy!
It’s been a while since I’ve done a guest post excerpt. The world has changed, and I guess I have been caught up in it. It’s hard not to be deeply affected by a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, climate change and rising geopolitical tensions.
I’ve also just finished rereading A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright. Its basic premise is that progress itself leads to the fall of societies. For me, the most vivid example was the decimation of Easter Island. It used to be a paradise until the veneration of ancestors led to the felling of trees to move large stone blocks that were used to build the iconic moai that immediately identify this now‑barren location. I am paraphrasing Wright when he wrote that it must have occurred to the people cutting down the last tree that hey, there are no more trees. But they did it any way. Sound familiar?
Combine this with what’s going on in the world right now, and it should be the perfect environment for an author, like myself, to draw upon and ferment ideas, a primordial dystopian soup if you will. And it did. I have another series that I have been mulling over tentatively titled Reality AV that describes the challenges faced by a federation of planets. It will draw extensively on current world events, Wright’s ideas and an argument once presented by Abraham Lincoln that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Oh, right, the guest post…
Book 3 in the Terra Nova series, Prophecy: Eve of Darkness, came out earlier this year. I should have moved on to the final book in the series (working title, Exodus: Flight from Arkos) but another inspiration pushed it aside, and I knew I would have to address it before I could move on. Enter Mirror in Time. From the title, you can see it is about time travel. It is a stand‑alone that moves, not Dan Brown fast but fast enough. I have also curbed my indulgence for detail and have restrained my technical writing tendencies to make the science as accessible as possible.
Until the beginning of June, I was bopping along like I normally do. It takes me about a week to write the first draft for each paperback chapter (5 to 6 ebook chapters). I was about halfway through when a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity presented itself. How many of those come along? (Answer: By definition, only one.) Unfortunately, this detour was an every‑waking hour kind of endeavor that will span the next year or so at least. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to set Mirror aside. Even worse, I have also had to pull my wife, Natasha, away from social media promotion to help me on this project. Currently, I have only been able to squeeze dabs of writing here and there when I can find the time. Sadly, during the past 4 months, I’ve only managed to get to the three-quarter mark even though I have the plotline to the end.
Do you remember the Big Bang episode “The Closure Alternative”? Well, I have some obsessiveness in me just like Sheldon. It really bugs me that I haven’t finished Mirror.I thought, if I put something out there, it would “encourage” me to finish to avoid that haunting question that strikes fear into the hearts of all authors with unfinished works: “So, how is your novel coming along?”
@WS_BOOKCLUB to the rescue! I approached her with my problem, and she has graciously agreed to let me do a guest post of the ARC of the prologue. Many thanks!
“Track AVs. Priority link to Jomo Langma Mountain Observatory. Display time to contact.”
“Tracking. Linked,” the computer replied as a digital countdown displayed to the upper‑left.
“Jomo, this is AV Sundog. Requesting assistance. Six AVs just appeared on sensors. Threat assessment hostile. Estimated time to contact five minutes.”
“Sundog, this is Jomo. We see the same thing. Dispatching interceptors.”
“Understood. Activating distress beacon, frequency gamma. Sundog out,” the pilot replied nervously. She then tapped on the intercom icon on her control panel. “Ma’am, please engage seat restraints. I am expecting some…turbulence.” A yellow light just to her left confirmed that her passenger had complied. “Computer, combat mode,” she said on a separate channel.
“Engaging combat mode, shields at maximum.”
A harness engaged to secure her shoulders and waist, and a holographic sphere appeared around her, giving her a 360‑degree view of the outside of the craft. The AV seemed to have disappeared. From her point of view, she was now a transparent orb in flight.
“Access topography. Indicate any areas suitable for landing,” she said as she made a rapid descent to a valley below.
Sundog made its way to a ledge and set down.
“Activate holographic camouflage.”
While combat‑ready, the pilot was hoping to remain hidden until the arrival of the interceptors. And so, she waited in tense silence.
“Why have we landed?”
“Please maintain communication silence.”
“You dare order me about?!”
“I reiterate. Please maintain communication silence,” the pilot said firmly. “I will not ask again.”
At length, she felt a dull pressure on the top of her head. She swiveled her seat until its back was positioned horizontally. Above her, she could see six red dots. They had inexplicably altered course and were headed straight toward her location.
While it was inconceivable that she could be tracked, she was trained to never take anything for granted. “Magnify.”
The dots transformed into a squadron of combat AVs.
“They are closing fast,” she thought. “Computer, identify markings and transponder signals.”
“There are no markings. Transponder signals have been masked.”
“They are spoiling for a fight. Computer, designate hostiles one through six.”
A number superimposed on each AV.
“Activate targeting. Lock on to hostile three. Weapons hot.”
“Targeting activated. Locked. Weapons hot,” the computer replied as the images faded and were replaced by six red numbers.
“Estimated time to contact?”
Her seat slowly moved as it tracked the lead AV of the approaching squadron. Then, six smaller red dots appeared followed by another six and another six.
“Shit!” She quickly tapped a number of icons on her console, and the AV abruptly jetted skyward. “Launch chaff!”
Six small missiles shot out from the rear of Sundog. All but one of the incoming projectiles spread out then quickly slowed to a stop as the remaining one accelerated toward the defensive swarm. Then, there was an explosion, and the attacking missiles resumed course, quickly closing the distance.
The sensors indicated another six small red dots had emerged from the squadron as a cloud of chaff formed a bowl‑shaped shield protecting Sundog’s six.
“Guess I am not the only one who dislikes Godvina. Well, at least now, I have an excuse,” she said to herself with a smile. She started executing a series of aviation maneuvers.
“Is this…your idea…of turbulence!” Godvina screamed as her words were punctuated with the sounds of retching and vomiting.
“Sorry, Ma’am, please remain calm.”
Behind them, small explosions erupted as individual components of the protective shield disengaged to neutralize an incoming missile. Suddenly, four green dots appeared in close proximity to the attacking squadron. Then, four red dots disappeared from sensors indicating downed AVs.
“Sundog, this is Escort 1. Bogeys are bugging out!”
“Is that you, Avenger?!”
“Who else, Wind Goddess?!”
“And I suppose Golden Boy is with you?!”
“Escort 2 at your service!”
“We are life‑takers…” Avenger exclaimed.
“…and Gendu breakers!” Golden Boy chimed in.
“WAHOO!” they shouted.
“We are closing in on your position,” Avenger said.
On her screen, two green dots broke away from the dogfight.
“We would love to,” Golden Boy replied, “but we have our orders. We are supposed to protect…”
“Affirm!” the escorts replied.
“Take your time. I got this one. I need some target practice.”
“Are you sure? What about your passenger?”
“Not a problem. I already told her to expect ‘turbulence’,” Wind Goddess said as roars of laughter erupted in response.
“Ok, we will sit back and watch,” Golden Boy replied.
Wind Goddess turned to face the rear. “Computer, I count…nine incoming. Confirm.”
“Execute full reverse.”
Over the next several minutes, each small red dot disappeared from sensors. A short time later, the interceptors arrived and escorted AV Sundog to its terminus.
The summit of Jomo Langma Mountain was a series of closely packed mesas that were ideal locations for structures. “Jomo” as it was commonly referred to was perched atop its namesake. There were two observatories located at either end of a long I-shaped building that acted as a connecting corridor between two telescopes. Rooms off the corridors housed administrative offices, an infirmary, main dining hall, pantries and food storage, a digital library, simgrid and maintenance facility. Staff quarters and a small recreation area were located in a second building on a lower mesa. In addition to high altitude, it was located north of the Northern Polar Circle giving it at least 100 days of total darkness and 100 days of total daylight. It was the premier place on the planet to study stellar as well as solar phenomena.
“Jomo, this is AV Sundog. Requesting clearance to land. Transmitting authorization.”
“AV Sundog, this is Jomo. Authorization received and confirmed. You are cleared to land. Details have been transmitted.”
“Jomo, receipt of landing instructions confirmed. AV Sundog out.”
The Observatory had been exempted from the standard security required for all military and civilian aeronautical installations. But recent events required a strict interpretation of the regulation. Each mesa was now surrounded by an energy dome, an ionized field that extended above a perimeter fence. The control tower identified all approaching craft by their transponder signal. However, in addition, an authorization code was required. Once confirmed, an opening was created in the dome and instructions sent from the control tower to the incoming craft’s onboard computer specifying the approach vector and velocity required to land.
AV Sundog approached and hovered above and a short distance from a landing pad before slowly descending to the tarmac.
“Ma’am, we have arrived at the Jomo Langma Mountain Observatory. You may disengage seat restraints and debark. Please make sure you take all your personal belongings. It was a pleasure to have you on board today. I hope your sojourn here is a pleasant one.” She disengaged her own seat restraints then made her way to the rear to exit the AV. Upon opening the door from the flight deck, she was hit with an unmistakable, acidic, pungent odor. It was something that she had not experienced for a long time, not personally but from comrades who had had too much to drink.
Godvina lay unconscious in her seat restraints. Her clothing and various parts of the cabin were daubed with this disgusting concoction.
“What have you done to my ship?!”
* * * * *
There is no better way to give a story pace than a dogfight. Remember Top Gun? But more than that, the descriptions are designed to give you an idea of the technology that is the backdrop to the story. Yes, this is sci‑fi. What happens as night falls hints at some sort of calamity. Dystopian right? Or at the very least an Armageddon‑like event.
Godvina’s journey to the Observatory suggests she is a scientist, one of sufficient import to warrant a military escort. Although, what kind of scientist needs that kind of protection? Is she in weapons development? The attack on her alludes to a time of conflict or impending conflict with the Gendu. (By the way, “gendu” is an ancient Eurasian word that means “male”.) Who are they, and who were the defenders in this opening volley?
Many thanks to Natasha for the gif to help you visualize the opening scene, a place called “Jomo Langma Mountain”. The name is a variant of the Tibetan name for Mount Everest. What better name for a high‑altitude location. However, the mountain she used was not Everest because she needed plateaus in the landscape to accommodate a research facility (not seen in this visual). She used the Checkerboard Mesa in Mount Zion Park, Utah.
As for my description of the Observatory, I based its design on the Lick Observatory on the summit of Mount Hamilton in California.
The ancient city of Kepos sits in an isolated valley, cut off from the outside world by a towering wall. Behind it, the souls of the dead clamour for release. Or so the priesthood says. Kala has never had any reason to doubt their word – until her father dies in suspicious circumstances that implicate the city’s high priest. She’s determined to investigate, but she has a more immediate problem: the laws of the city require her mother to remarry straight away. Kala’s new stepfather is a monster, but his son Leon is something altogether more dangerous: kind. With her family fractured and the investigation putting her life in danger, the last thing Kala needs is romance. She would rather ignore Leon entirely, however difficult he makes it. But when she learns the truth of what really clamours behind the wall at the end of the valley, she faces a choice: share what she knows and jeopardise her escape, or abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city. If she doesn’t move fast, then no one will make it out of the valley alive. (taken from Amazon)
Thank you to the author for providing me with this book, and to The Write Reads for including me in this blog tour! Here’s a creative and unique young adult fantasy, perfect for those who like a generous sprinkling of romance in their books.
Americans today face a toxic mix of COVID-19, a polarized political environment, a sometimes-violent racial upheaval, and climate-change induced natural disasters. And when you add severe constraints to man’s natural urges for exploring new lands and experiences, not to mention flights of fantasy into the future, we are truly in a downward inflection point of US history.
2120 takes on all of America’s enormous challenges with aplomb, and offers a cohesive vision of the future that addresses the underlying causes of mega-issues ranging from human hubris towards our environment, to parochial interests driving US politics. 2120 makes the flights of fantasy into the future seem all too real, as the audience vicariously lives the future through vibrantly developed and thoroughly believable characters who humanize experiences despite owing their origins to other galaxies.
Strap on your intellectual seat belts and plan for a binge read through “2120” as it prepares for the 2020 election season and humanity’s challenges in the upcoming decade.
This has been quite the year. Right now, in the U.S., the presidential election is almost upon us. What happens when 2020 meets the sci-fi genre? I have yet to read this book, but this looks like a fascinating and thought-provoking twist on a year fraught with upheaval. I’ve chatted a bit with author Aithal, and after I spoke with him about doing a book spotlight, he also asked me to pass along an important message: “None of us will be around in 2120…but it’s very crucial for the current generation to know how their decision can impact the future.”