The Descendant

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Melissa Riddell and her science fiction/romance novel, The Descendant.

Author’s description

She wants her world back; he wants her heart.

Tilly Morgan and her four-legged companion, Kodiak, are just trying to survive the alien arrival. Two years ago, the visitors unleashed devastation—a world-wide EMP followed by a deadly virus that wiped out more than half of humanity.

Traversing the lonely landscape, she runs into an alien on patrol with one order: eradicate all human life. A mysterious, dark-haired stranger named Jareth comes to her aid, and she reluctantly allows him to join her quest to find her sister. He even persuades her to let the damaged alien tag along against her better judgment.

As her group travels the desolate world and inches closer to her goal, she’s forced to examine her unwanted feelings for Jareth and come to terms with her heart, even if the truth threatens to destroy her and everything she’s come to believe.

Guest Post: Predicting Pandemics

It’s hard for a science fiction writer not to be taken aback by the unexpected events of 2020. Given that, I asked author Melissa Riddell to share her thoughts on the difficulties of writing science fiction that occurs in the near future.

Here is her fascinating response!

When I wrote The Descendant last year, I had no idea we were going to have our own viral outbreak in the real world. Even though my book’s apocalypse starts with an electromagnetic pulse wiping out all electronics and electricity, it also throws in a deadly virus killing most of humanity. With The Descendant, though, Tilly and Jareth’s romance and character development is at the heart of the story, so the virus takes a backseat to the true narrative.

There have been many apocalyptic books written where a virus is the driver to end times, such as Stephen King’s The Stand, and most readers (me included) gobble them up because we feel safe. We enjoy imagining what it would be like to survive the chaos—from the comfort of our favorite reading chair with our favorite beverage at our side.

The only true danger after reading these apocalyptic novels was developing a sniffle during the reading. We might’ve rushed to the clinic and explained what Mr. King called this type of sickness. “Oh, sweet Jesus, I think I’ve got Captain Trips.”

Calmly, the doctor informed me—uh, I mean those readers—they were suffering from allergic rhinitis, nothing more. He might’ve shaken his head and walked away, probably adding the patient to his psychosomatic list. And he was right—a little loratadine or cetirizine cleared Captain Trips right up. I digress, though.

Enter 2020 and COVID-19. Now that the world has had a tiny taste of living through a real pandemic, some readers want no reminders of what’s going on. Their whole purpose of reading a book is to escape reality. This poses problems for this type of near-future sci-fi and kills the “joy” factor.

On the flip side of that coin, the other crowd loves it, because they can relate to the book’s characters in a much more intimate way. Heck, they might even read it again to ensure they didn’t miss any tips on how to survive the virus.

Any writer trying to “cash in” on the current pandemic is probably going to find their book in one of these two crowds—those who love it  because of what we’re living through, and those who detest it due to the current situation. My advice? Write your story. Even if it’s not popular right now, every genre experiences fluctuations in popularity, so who knows? Maybe a few years down the road, when we hopefully have COVID-19 under control in our past, those who passed over the book might be willing to give it a try.

In general, without the viral threat we’re facing, I think the difficulty in writing near-future sci-fi technology is in the technicality of the world or gadgets. If the story’s setting or tech is based on proposed developments, say in 10-30 years, then it’s imperative the writer does his or her research. Why? Because the technology isn’t that far away, and the author must prove to the reader they know what they’re writing about. Imagine getting it all wrong, and in a few years, the book is outdated and unbelievable. That’s not a good thing for the writer—or the reader.

In my opinion, it’s much easier to write science fiction for the far-off future or an advanced race, because I can make up stuff that can’t be disproven so easily. As long as I stick to fundamental laws of physics and biology (as we know it), then I can create the “fiction” part of science fiction and hopefully, the reader will happily come along for the ride.

About the Author

Melissa Riddell is from a small, West Texas town in which she still lives with her husband. Her writing career started as a hobby when she was a teenager, writing poems and short stories. Eventually, she branched out and began constructing novels. When not contemplating new story ideas, she can be found traipsing around Texas State Parks, herding her cats, or reading a book.

You can follow her on several different social media platforms below.
Facebook: facebook.com/melcriddell
Twitter: twitter.com/MelCRiddell
Instagram: instagram.com/averela
Goodreads: goodreads.com/melcriddell

Or visit her on her website.

Buy The Descendent on Amazon

The book will be $0.99 during the tour.

Yes, there is a giveaway

Melissa Riddell will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card, a signed copy of The Descendant (book 1), or an ARC of the second book in the series to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Walking down a long, metallic corridor, the hall opens, and I see people sitting at terminals or standing on discs.

Visual readouts project holographic images at the stations. Some of the crew wear visors over their eyes and move gloved hands to swipe at virtual images of the triangular ship and the solar system. When Eva passes their stations, several follow the procession with guarded faces.

The back of a chair rests in the middle of the spacious room. Before the seat is an enormous window that looks out into space.

One soft, polished boot dangles over the side of the chair. Long, deft fingers drum a beat on the black coat that covers the knee.

Freaking, evil granny. I should’ve known she wouldn’t keep her nose out of my business.

In slow motion, the chair swivels in my direction.

I want to crawl and hide. Instead, I stand and stare like the idiot I am.

Sketches of Life

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author A. Gavazzoni and her action-mystery-historical novel, Sketches of Life

Author’s description:

In the middle of WWII, France has surrendered to Germany, and young Lily, half French and half American, has her life turned upside down. A careless girl full of dreams, Lily must leave France and go to her father’s homeland, taking her mother with her. Lily’s mother becomes completely dependent upon her teenage daughter, and Lily is forced to grow up quickly.

Trying her best to support them both, balancing work and dreams of continuing her studies, Lily meets her first love and discovers passion and betrayal on her way. Ninon is a survivor. Alone in the world, she works as an exotic dancer in a French cabaret called Le Passioné, where she moves her hips to put food on her plate until a new and dangerous opportunity is presented to her. Although Ninon has lost faith in love and God, life will show her surprises can be found around every corner.

France, the United States, Spain, Austria, and Argentina present the backdrops for an epic tale of people trying to adapt to a world in turmoil—one that’s filled with secrets and surprises.

How much time should an author spend researching history?

I asked the author how much of her time was spent on historical research and how important she thought historical accuracy is (or isn’t) when telling a story. Here is her interesting response.

The novel is set in an historical era, but it’s not really an historical novel. Still, I wanted to show my readers only the real facts, places, and events, so I had to spend a long time researching various facts, from simple things such as when the first blender was created, to more complicated topics such as the presence and actions of the Mob in New York City.

I hate when I read a book and the facts are completely phony. I feel betrayed by the author, so I wanted to write fiction but in a way that a person could read my novel and know for certain the events and settings were accurately described. Every scene is calculated to have a true-to-life background; I did extensive research on each place and the people who inhabited those areas during those times. I try to make certain every character acts, dresses, and thinks in accordance with the novel’s timeframe and setting.

It takes a long time to conduct research like that. I write at least one hour per day, and usually, the research consumes at least a third of that time, but in the end, I’m usually very happy with the results.

About the Author:

A. Gavazzoni is a Brazilian writer, a former professor of law, and has been a practicing lawyer for 28 years.  Her first series of self-published novels,  Hidden Motives: Behind the Door, Lara´s Journal and The Brilliant Game, won several writing contests, gathered five gold medals, one bronze medal, five honorable mentions and was a finalist of many great contests (B.R.A.G medallion (Gold Medal); Book Excellence Awards (Two Gold medals);  e-lite awards (Gold medal), Golden Book Award (Gold Medal);  IPPY AWARDS (Bronze Medal), Readers Favorite (three honorable mentions); Paris Book Festival (Three honorable mentions); Eric Hoffer Book Award (Finalist); American Fiction Awards (Finalist); Indie Excellence Awards (Finalist); Independent Author Network (Finalist); Indie Excellence (Finalist); The IAN book of the year awards (Finalist); The Kindle-book award (semi-finalist).

Adriana speaks Portuguese (her native language), English, French and Spanish and she loves to travel.  Adriana loves to cook for her friends, to dance the tango, to work out, she is a voracious reader and a proud dog’s mom of two girls, Juno and Charlotte.

Find the author at:
http://www.agavazzoni.com/
https://www.instagram.com/adri_gavazzoni/
https://twitter.com/a_gavazzoni
https://www.facebook.com/A-Gavazzoni-513404948849469/

See the book video at https://youtu.be/nG4e1ARxqR8

Buy Sketches of Life on Amazon. 

During this tour, the book is $0.99!

Yes, there is a giveaway.

A. Gavazzoni will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt:

Having nobody else in the world and nothing to lose is terrifying, but it’s also liberating. No matter what I had to do, I would have the courage. I couldn´t disappoint anybody, nobody would cry over my actions, and I had nobody to please.

Things are as big as your proximity to them, and if you keep your distance, nothing can scare you or threaten you. Everything is just a matter of perspective, and the secret to surviving was to keep my heart safe and never expect anything from anyone. In the end, all feelings, good or bad, are only as powerful as you allow them to be.

I learned to live day by day, planning but not living for my plans, trying to solve just the problems I had in front of me and not worrying about things that hadn´t introduced themselves yet. As life had shown me, and Malena once told me, we had no control over the future, and it was as unpredictable as the ocean—it could drown a person if they thought they could tame it.

Goddess of the Wild Thing

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Paul DeBlassie III and his novel, Goddess of the Wild Thing.

Author’s description:

Winner of the Independent Press Award and the NYC Big Book Award for Visionary Fiction!

 

Eve Sanchez, a scholar of esoteric studies, is driven into unreal dimensions of horror and hope as she encounters a seductive and frightening man, criminal lawyer Sam Shear.

 

Sam introduces Eve to a supernatural world in which the wicked powers of a surrogate mother’s twisted affection threaten love and life. Struggling to sort through right from wrong, frightened yet determined, Eve nears despair.

 

Goddess of the Wild Thing reveals the dramatic tale of one woman’s spiritual journey where metaphysical happenings, unexpected turns of fate, and unseen forces impact her ability to love and be loved.

 

In the magical realm of Aztlan del Sur, a mythopoeic land of hidden horrors and guiding spirits, Eve, with three friends and a wise old woman, is caught in an age-old struggle about love—whether bad love is better than no love— and discovers that love is a wild thing.

My Review

In Goddess of the Wild Thing, Paul DeBlassie III has written a mesmerizing and unusual book.

What I liked best:

His descriptions are captivating, and his language is poetic. There is a repetition to his style that turns his prose into an incantation all its own. Goddess of the Wild Thing may be a book about spells, but a reader feels the author casting his own spell, too. It’s eerie yet effective.

I enjoyed getting to know Eve, the strong female protagonist. (You’ve got to love a woman who is being sucked into quicksand by an evil witch and gives her the finger.)  But the most amazing accomplishment in this story is DeBlassie’s thorough and horrifying creation of Sweet Mary. This woman (this creature?) has got to be one of the most frightening villains I’ve encountered. He describes her life, motivations and methods with realism and relentless detail

What I liked least:

There was a little thing and a big thing.

The little thing: The author keeps referring to females as felines, almost as if the words are interchangeable. They aren’t. It’s a minor point, but associating half the human race with a type of animal got more annoying with repetition.

The big thing: Well, sometimes it’s hard to tell the true nature of a book from it’s blurb, and I misjudged this one, guessing it was a sort of metaphysical fantasy (which I love) tinged with romance (which I tolerate.)

It isn’t. This book is a modern, compelling and well-written horror novel. The problem is I don’t like gore and most of the book reminded me why horror simply isn’t my genre. So … there was a fair amount of skimming required for me to get through this. But, just because I don’t enjoy something, doesn’t mean I can’t recognize when it’s well done.

So …  do I recommend Goddess of the Wild Thing? I definitely do, to anyone who is not particularly squeamish and to everyone who would enjoy a modern, compelling and well-written horror novel.

About the Author

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D. is a depth psychologist and award-winning writer living in his native New Mexico. He specializes in treating individuals in emotional and spiritual crisis. His novels, visionary thrillers, delve deep into archetypal realities as they play out dramatically in the lives of everyday people. Memberships include the Author’s Guild, Visionary Fiction Alliance, Depth Psychology Alliance, International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the International Association for Jungian Studies.

Visit the author at his website.

Buy Goddess of the Wild Thing on Amazon.

Yes, there is a giveaway

Paul DeBlassie III will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt:

“Shirley spoke up, “Maybe we just gotta give it up and say there’s no good out there and no damn good men.” Shirley spat on the sidewalk, as she was prone to do when attitudes turned south and a pissed-off mood overrode a physician’s reserve. A petite woman, hovering around five-foot-three, she was a spitfire to friends and foes. Her red hair was a fine match for her spicy temperament. She never hesitated to snap her tongue, making an envious woman or cocky man shrivel and long to crawl into a nearby hole and cry. Shirley lived as a healer and a warrior, a woman who cared tenderly for the hurting and raged viciously at pretense and abuse.

Eve, Shirley, and two other friends, Tanya and Samantha, were plagued by man troubles the way pollution settles in during dusty days and humid nights in the Middle Rio Grande Valley of Aztlan del Sur. They were four esteemed professional women who could have any man they chose. Yet time and again, they went for the lower, the bad, the  worst. They sabotaged the good, the permanent. Commitment was a frightening consideration for four women who’d suffered childhoods of parental dysfunctional neglect and split-ups. They often quipped, “We found each other because like finds like.” Tonight, Eve’s troubles were front and center. She’d done it again or at least worried she had. The glitch in the man was in the type she attracted: charmers—striking and untrue. Suffering had begun. Time was critical. To stick it out or get out was her dilemma.  Things with a new man had taken a terrifying turn.”