Tim Hemlin, author of the fantastic sci-fi novel The Wastelands has interviewed me at his blog. It’s a great interview and contains the previously unpublished prologue to my upcoming novel Above the Storm.The interview was a lot of fun!by
War is coming. Sinika, the power-hungry fire elemental has taken control of the Church of the Four Orders through murder, blackmail, and betrayal. He wants vengeance on Niri for almost killing him in the Temple of Dust and to ensure the Church’s rule is absolute throughout the land.
The only chance for our heroes is to return the four Spheres to their proper place in the world. But only the Sphere of Air is in the right place. The Sphere of Earth is in the dungeons of their enemies, the Sphere of Fire was lost to the seas, and the Sphere of Water was sent to the spirit realm. Without this balance, the world is doomed to Sinika’s tyranny.
The odds of success are long as the Church launches its assault against the land of the Kith. The last free groups of elementals make their stand while Niri, Lavinia, Darag, and Ria set out on their quest to reclaim the missing spheres.
Autumn ups the action with this one. What had been skirmishes between elementals in the last book turn into full on war. She uses creative blends of powers and magic, weaving together all the powers she had introduced into a conflagration of exciting, fantasy war. Her characters have to rise to the occasion.
If you loved the last two, I don’t need to twist your arm to read this one. It is fast paced and a great end to a wonderful Fantasy trilogy. Autumn had to juggle quite a few story lines and she brought them all together in the end, answering the last lingering questions of the series. If you love fun Fantasy, then the Rise of the Five Orders trilogy will delight you as you fall in love with the world and the characters.
You can buy Spirit of Life from Amazon!by
The curse has been defeated. Ria, Niri, Ty, Liviana and there new allies Darag and Zhao can finally stop running. But now what do they do? They have escaped the Church’s wrath, defeated its most powerful creation: the curse.
They search for answers.
The curse had once been a man, and thanks to Ria’s powers, he has regained his human form. But he possesses none of his memories. Ria is desperate to understand her strange powers, and the only other man who can help her has no memories.
And in the ruins of the Temple of Dust, Sinnika, a High Priest and Fire Elemental of the church, is rescued from the prison Niri left him in. Sinnika burns to get revenge on his once pupil.
Rule of Fire is a great followup to Born of Water. Autumn nurtures the seeds the last book planted, the secrets buried in the past sprouting and are revealed to the light of day. Questions are answered, mysterious are solved, and a new war brews, sparked by the decisions of our heroes as they search for the answers they need to find peace.
The characters soon begin splitting up. The flight from the Church and its Curse was what kept them together, now other concerns move them. Niri has promised Kalila, the former Curse, that she would help him find his people.
Once again, the magic shines in this book. Autumn is always finding new ways to weave the magic into her action scenes. There are some tense moments in the middle part of the book as characters sneak through places they shouldn’t be, and Sinnika only grows as a more disgusting villain as the book grows.
If you read Born of Water and loved it, then you’ll find Rule of Fire even more satisfying, building on the solid foundation of book one. I’m excited to start Spirit of Law and find out how this story ends!
You can pick up Rule of Fire from Amazon.by
On the eve of the Tyran’s attack on a small, Elven village, a Tyran warrior named Villid is approached by a Seer. Villid respects the Seer and listens to the old man’s prediction that cataclysm will befall the world if the Tyrans kill the Elven seer. But the Tyran warleader is bent on exterminating the elves. Villid’s loyalties are torn and he makes a fateful decision.
Aya is a young, Elven woman, an acolyte of the Elven seer helping her village get ready for a festival. But horror descends as the Tyrans attack, and Aya finds herself saved by a Tyran warrior. Forced to join with Villid, the pair are hunted by the Tyrans as they search for the Elven seer. But enmity burns in Aya’s heart. Her people were just butchered by Villid’s. Can they work together, or will their races bitter history drive them apart?
Blood of the Fallen is a fun read. Villid is torn between his loyalty to his people and his loyalty to the Seer, forced to make a moral decision. Aya starts out as a weaker character, the innocent waif, but she gets her eyes opened by the far more world-wise Villid as the pair are both the hunters and the hunted. The plot takes a number of twists and turns and at the end, I was left wondering what would happen next.
Poppy Reid’s first book might not be the most original fantasy plot, but it is written with heart and with characters that you’ll come to care for. I enjoyed this book immensely. Poppy is just starting out, but I know she’ll have a great writing career ahead of her. So if you love a fun Fantasy with great characters, you’ll love Blood of the Fallen!by
On the night of the summer solstice festival, Niri, an acolyte of the Church pf the Four Orders, hunts through the streets of to find the girls he had witnessed during the ceremony. The girl had shone with potential—she was an Elemental. And Niri had to find her. Niri was a water elemental, like all elementals, she was raised by the Church, taken from her family at a young age. And if she doesn’t find this girl and returns empty handed, she knows her punishment will be sever.
But when she finds Ria, the potential, with her best friend Lavina and Lavina’s brother Ty, Niri can’t bring herself to ruin this girl’s life. But when a group of armed men accost the group, Ria uses magic. Not elemental powers, but the forbidden arts that had caused a war a thousand years ago.
Panic fills Niri. She knows that the Curse, a shape-changing beast bred to hunt down mages, is even now coursing from the Temple of Solaire to hunt them down. Niri can’t stand by and let this young, innocent girl be killed and flees with Lavinia, Ria, and Ty by boat, sailing south to the lost Temple of Dust where, according to a message from Niri’s mentor, answers might be found.
Born of Water is a fun read. Autumn sets the stage right from the beginning, putting you in Niri’s panic mind as she searches the city for Ria while reflecting on the cruelties the Church of the Four Orders is capable of committing. When she decides to betray her order and join the youths in flight, you understand why.
The journey is full of much bickering. Niri is the oldest, but she’s barely an adult, and Ria and Lavinia are teenagers. Their flight is punctuated by teenage squabbling and angst that seems quite real, but can be a little tiresome.
But the book really shines with the magic, from the way Niri’s eyes cry tears of lavender when she works magic, to the battle between elementals. The action scenes are crisp and imaginative, with some creative uses of the powers. The book has a level of adrenaline through much of it that keeps you reading, wanting to find out what new obstacle the band of four will have to contend with as they sail the world. And while the teenage angst can be annoying, it fades as the four work through their problems.
If you’re a fan of fantasy and great world building, then you’ll love Born of Water. I can’t wait to start reading the sequel, Rule of Fire. Born of Water is a great foundation for a fantasy series!by
By J.M.D. Reid
Now I didn’t work directly for Pierce Transit but for a private company that had a contract to drive the SHUTTLE. Pierce Transit contracted the work out because of Federal money. According to the ADA (Americans with Disability Act) a public transit agency had to provide alternates means of transportation for those who cannot walk to the nearest bus stop within a mile. So we drove these small buses around, picking up people. It’s expensive to operate. A person riding the SHUTTLE pays the same disabled fare as the regular bus ($.75 per trip) and we often often ran with only one or two passengers at a time. We even would deadhead (drive empty) across the entire county to pick up a passenger. Because of the expense, the Federal government sends grant money. But this money comes with strings requiring a percentage of the work has be performed by private companies.
So I answered an want ad I found on Worksource’s website and found myself a job driving around senior citizens, people in wheelchairs, those suffering from various mental and physical disabilities, and patients using dialysis. It was a rewarding, stressful, long, tiring job. Some of the riders were pleasant, thankful for the SHUTTLE allowing them to have lives outside of their homes, no longer prisoners of the afflictions of their bodies. Other passengers were bitter, blaming the world for the pain and suffering they had gone through.
And then there were the mentally handicapped. Many were adults, but they often had a zest for life, going to church or to the endless activities that community centers were always offering. But sometimes their handicap could make them…difficult.
I only ever had one major injury on the job. It was my day off, of course. I normally worked an afternoon/evening route starting between 1 and 3 PM and getting off between 9 and 11 PM. The thing with the SHUTTLE is routes had to be filled. If someone was sick, if someone was on vacation, or just due to the attrition of the job (we lost 4 drivers a month) those routes still had to be filled. So you could be mandatoried on your day off. For evening drivers, that often meant working a morning route on your day off. That day, I had to start at 6 AM. I was tired. I pulled up at this apartment complex to pick up a rider suffering from some form of autism. I stepped out of my bus.
Right onto a drain. It was lower down than I expected. Stepping out of the driver door of the SHUTTLE was already a long step. My ankle rolled, pain exploded, and I collapsed in a heap on the ground. I tried to stand, but my ankle wouldn’t support my weight. The day before, we had Nextel radios for communication, but Pierce Transit had just phased them out in favor of the CAD system. I had a radio phone in my SHUTTLE and I had to crawl back into my vehicle to radio for help.
While I was lying in pain on the ground, my passenger had boarded the SHUTTLE. He didn’t seem to understand that I had seriously hurt my foot. I couldn’t drive my SHUTTLE if I wanted to and he’s demanding I take him to work, growing more and more agitated, yelling at me as I’m trying not to erupt and yell at him.
Dispatch followed procedure and, despite my protests, called 911 for an ambulance. I wasn’t that injured. I just needed a supervisor to drive me to an urgent care unit. Well, the fire department arrived while my passenger continued to complain and shout at me. I just wanted to throttle him. It wasn’t his fault, he had a condition and he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t going to work. He had a schedule to keep. When the fire department arrived, they stared at my foot for about thirty seconds, demanded to know why dispatch called 911 for a non-emergency, berated me for wasting their time, and left.
My supervisor arrived with a relief driver a few minutes later. I was then berated for letting 911 leave without checking me out. Apparently, dispatched expected 911 to drive me to the emergency room on a badly sprained ankle.
My boss wasn’t happy that I had been injured. We were allowed three minor accidents accidents in the SHUTTLE per year. Little fender benders, minor damage to the shuttle, backing into a mailbox. My boss decided to count my physical injury as one of these accidents. Only a month early I had minor accident on the SHUTTLE. Now I couldn’t afford another accident for almost a year.
It was such a great day. This is one of the many reasons I don’t do this job anymore.
Oh, and of course this was government work, so I had fill out an incident report so that it was all documented before I was taken to the doctors. I spent a month on time-loss before my ankle had recovered enough for me to go back to work, my boss demanding that I get back to work as fast as possible.
One of my worst days on the job.
If you want to read more stories, check out the other amazing authors that are participating in The Story Hop blog tour, part of the 2015 Author Cyber Conventionby
For the longest time, the Fantasy genre has been dominated by protagonist that do not represent most of the world’s demographics. Often male, and almost always white. The roots of this are easy to see. The modern Fantasy genre was birthed out of the Epics and Romances of Europe. Fantasy settings were often just Medieval Europe with magic. And when you needed your villains, why, you just looked to the east where the swarthy and exotic races of Fantasy Asia lived.
All writing is influenced by the era it is produced. Once It was perfectly acceptable to have your protagonist be white and your antagonist not-white. Luckily, we do not live in one of those close-minded eras. I grew up believing the color of your skin doesn’t matter. The capacity for heroism dwells in the hearts of all of us, and the siren’s call of evil sings in the depth of all our souls.
So why do you still see Fantasy dominated by White protagonist? Is it because the majority of authors in the field are White? Perhaps it’s because the largest market for English literature is (in no order) USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK? Is it a subconscious act. Do these authors look at the Fantasy stories they were raised on and propagate what they read? Or is it a limitation of imagination that locks them into a Eurpoean-centric fantasy world?
Fantasy is an amazing genre. It doesn’t have to be limited to knights, castles, and wizards. You can set your world in a Victorian era, a bronze-age, a tribal landscape. You can conjure worlds that could never exist in reality, the work on principals of physics or theorems of magic that are impossible in our more mundane universe.
And the races you populate your world in can be just as creative. You don’t have to limit yourself to the constrains of the old. Why couldn’t the courtly intrigue of a seventeenth-century France be populated with Black-skinned aristocrats as they scheme and plot for power? The center of culture and learning could be a society inspired by the Indian subcontinent. And the fierce barbarians pressing at the edges of a might civilization could be White.
Or you can get really creative. Why limit yourself to the races that we have on Earth? Create your own. Take elements from different cultures. Let your imagination populate your world with a diverse mix of fleshed out societies. There are a rainbow of skin-tones, eyes, and hair colors to paint the canvas of your Fantasy world with. So create a world that wholly unlike our own, and share the amazing depths of your imagination with us.
And the most important thing to remember is that any human is clever. Regardless of how technological their society is, how learned their scholars are, how civilized their nation appears, even the most primitive of humans had the intelligence to grasp new concepts, to adapt to new circumstances, to innovate. That’s who we are as a species. So let’s celebrate our diversity in our writing.by
Susan Kicklighter invited me to participate in the Favorite Screen Characters blog hop. It’s a simple, fun hop. Name your ten favorite TV or Movie characters, then nominate ten friends to do the same!
So here’s mine. I’ll have to admit, this wasn’t easy. Lots of great movies. Lot’s of great TV shows. I jotted down my favorites, attempted to rank them, and here we go:
Well, that’s my top ten. It was hard to choose them all, but some runners up are: Ben Linus (LOST), Hurley (LOST), Dean Winchester (Supernatural), G’Kar (Babylon 5), Abed (Community), Dwight K. Schrute (The Office), Betelgeuse (Beetlejuice), Hermione Granger (Harry Potter), Snape (Harry Potter), and Claudette Wyms (The Shield).
Check out Susan’s post to read hers and others!
Now, I’m tagging these great people! I can’t wait to hear yours!
In the future, ecological disaster has struck the world.
The US has survived by building domes to protect their city and desalination plants to provide water. The great President Litz kept the country from sliding into chaos by bending the Constitution. The Cartel, the company that owns the desalination plants, is the greatest political power in the country.
Those that disagree with the direction of the US, who yearn for political or religious freedom, or have fled the rules of society dwell in the Wastelands of the central United States. These Wastelanders are a diverse group of cults, opportunist, and criminals.
When Bernie Hawke, a former cop turned security officer, had a bad bout of food poisoning, his life was saved. Desalination Plant #23 in the Houston Bubble was destroyed and Bernie becomes the suspect. He was conveniently sick and, worse, his son Joseph had left the Bubble to join one of the ragged groups existing outside the control of the country.
Now Joseph is wanted for the terrorist bombing.
Bernie has to deal with the suspicious HomeSec while trying to discover if his son really is a terrorist. As he searches, he stumbles onto a vast conspiracy that will change the direction of the country.
Tim Hemlin weaves the lives of multiple characters into his SciFi, political thriller. The plot twists and turns in a fully realized world. Tim has a varied and vivid cast, each with their own motivations and goals colliding together. If you’re a fan of Sci-Fi, thrillers, and a fast-paced plot, then you’ll enjoy this story.
You can pick up The Wastelanders for from Amazonby
Trying to forget
the inky shadow
Swirling with hate.
Unable to move,
Unable to breathe.
I just want to scream,
to cry out for help.
But my body is frozen
and the shadow draws
I just want to move,
to cry out for help.
But I can’t.
at the shadow
Trying to forget
above while I
Written 1/15/15 2:10 AM after waking up from the most terrifying sleep paralysis attacks I have ever had. I wrote a guest blog about the Insidiousness of Sleep Attacks based off this experience.by