If The Light Escapes

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Brenda Marie Smith and her sci-fi post-apocalyptic novel, If The Light Escapes.

Author’s description

A standalone sequel to If Darkness Takes Us

 

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid fourteen months ago. Everything’s gone: power, cars, running water, communications, all governing control and help—gone. Now northern lights have started in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.

 

All that’s left for Keno, his family and neighbors is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat. Keno’s still reeling from the the death of his pregnant sister. His beloved Nana is ill, Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and water is far too scarce. Desperate thieves are hemming them in, yet he can’t convince his uncle and other adults to take action against the threat.

 

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him at every turn, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.

 

If The Light Escapes is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.

 The Author’s Story

2018-10-18_Brenda Marie Smith

Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

Her first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller; If Darkness Takes Us and its sequel, If the Light Escapes, are post-apocalyptic science fiction.

Find the Author

Website: https://brendamariesmith.com/
Twitter: @bsmithnovelist
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaMarieSmithAuthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brenda_marie_smith/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJlLSnORIyoaygvZ1j49ZKw
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52206957-if-darkness-takes-us

Buy the Book

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 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

FROM CHAPTER 5:

“These northern lights bug the crap out of me,” I tell Alma. “What are they doing here? They’re supposed to be tied to magnetic poles. I saw this show a couple years ago that said the north pole was drifting north, not south. So how did they end up here? The poles can’t drift around randomly. That’s impossible.”

“I don’t know, baby. They worry me, too, but we need to be quiet.”

“They make me feel like something bad is gonna happen. What do you call that? Fore-something.”

“Foreboding?”

“That’s it. I’ll be quiet, now, and just stew in my foreboding.”

“Silly.” Alma reaches up and ruffles my hair.

When we patrol and we can’t cuddle on account of guns, Alma and I could talk all night. It’s not a good idea for us to talk much when we’re patrolling, though. We get all involved and forget to listen for anyone who might be sneaking around, hunting for food or water, or worse: getting ready to kill us for it.

We walk along with our rifles in the night. It’s cool out here, but not cold…

Alma stops and raises her gun.

“Hear that?” she whispers.

“No, what?” I’ve got my gun up, too, and I’m pivoting around, searching. I want to hide Alma, but she would never let me.

“Over there.” She points at the corner by the park. And I hear a jangly noise, like car keys. No one drives cars now, though…

Thank you!

Brenda Marie Smith — we appreciate your sharing your book If The Light Escapes with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Antithesis

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Svet Rouskov and his book  Antithesis: A Collection of Science Fiction and Other Short Stories.

 

 Author’s description

Antithesis is a collection of vivid and exhilarating science fiction stories, tied together by characters whose moral challenges offer windows into humanity and the human condition. These stories are cautionary tales, flights of fancy, terrifying psychological journeys, humorous romps, and even a space opera.

 

A speculative tale about humankind becoming obsolete from the perspective of the machines we created. The story of an airline pilot who loses his faith in the physics of flying as his rational and irrational mind fight for dominance. An ancient being born of human evolution that strips us of our memories, feeding on one precious reminiscence at a time. An audacious fable that explores a new galaxy, one where humans are irrelevant, but the conflicts of a class-based society are not. A novella-length saga about a mission to Mars, the origins of humanity, and an atrocity that stretches across time and space. And finally, a story that asks the question whether an unstoppable artificial intelligence would indeed be happier traveling the vast reaches of space, or back amongst the flawed beings who created it.

 

Escape into worlds unlike anything you have seen before, but some eerily similar to our own. Antithesis – where the opposite is to be expected.

My Review

There is no doubt that author Svet Rouskoy has a deft command of the language and flair for telling a story. Start any of the tales in his book Antithesis and you will know you are in good hands, going places that will surprise you and get you to think.

My favorite story was MCDU, a slightly eerie but fascinating look at a pilot taking his first flight after surviving a crash. The reader isn’t sure what exactly is off in this tale, but something is not right …

My least favorite happened to be Antonella, Galactic Space Pirate. I don’t enjoy unlikable protagonists and have limited tolerance for gore and mistreatment, although I did appreciate the occasional wry humor. (When a mother tells her daughter her hairstyle is unflattering while they are in the middle of a space battle, even I have to laugh.)

My biggest quarrel with the entire book is that the cover and title led me to believe I was about to enjoy several short stories. I love short stories.

But this book offers only two and then serves up several multi-part novelette/novella length works broken into various chapters and interspersed. The format is confusing and, worse yet, several of the stories are continued in another book!

However, a reader going into this work understanding this situation, or one willing to just enjoy whatever show up on the page, is in for a treat because there is a lot of good stuff in here.

About the Author

Svet Rouskov started his career as a graduate from the University of Toronto Mechanical Engineering program and became a successful automotive industry executive. After fifteen years he discovered that his real passion was writing. Once he took an introductory screenwriting class, Svet realized he was hooked and continued his filmmaking education at Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre. Since that time, Svet has written, developed, and produced feature films, television shows, video games, and web-based series. His passion for writing has now extended to literature, which offers him another exciting avenue to tell stories. This is Svet’s first work of fiction.

Please check out his IMDb page for details of his work and representative contact information.

Find the Author

WEBSITE: https://svetrouskov.com/
IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3118508/

Buy the Book

AMAZON.COM https://amazon.com/dp/0228840317
AMAZON.CA https://amazon.ca/dp/0228840317
BOOKSHOP https://bookshop.org/books/antithesis-a-collection-of-science-fiction-and-other-short-stories-9780228840329/9780228840312
INDIGO CHAPTERS https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/antithesis-a-collection-of-science/9780228840336-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/antithesis-svet-rouskov/1138748979
BOOK DEPOSITORY https://www.bookdepository.com/Antithesis-Svet-Rouskov/9780228840312
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1067295
APPLE BOOKS https://books.apple.com/us/book/antithesis-collection-science-fiction-other-short-stories/id1552933427

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author 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

Samantha also knew Kenji was sweet on Ellie, but Ellie wasn’t interested, as she found him dreadfully boring. Sam didn’t know why, but people trusted her. Maybe it was the fact that she was middle-aged and had done enough to know something, but still felt young at heart. Either way, Samantha loved being in the middle of the drama.

“Listen, Kenji, I don’t think she likes you that way,” Samantha replied.

“Has she said so?” “No. But it’s just … you guys are so different,” she said.

“How?”

“She’s an adrenaline junkie, rides a motorcycle, climbs mountains, hang-glides …”

“I’m not exciting enough for her?” Kenji asked, the hurt plainly visible on his face.

“No, that’s not it at all. It’s just—” But she was cut off as Ellie stormed into the room, face flushed, eyes wide, looking like she was going to hyperventilate.

“It’s building!” Ellie blurted out.

“Calm down, Ellie,” said Samantha.

Ellie took a deep breath, then continued, “The line is building something.”

“What did you program it to make?” asked Kenji.

“I didn’t. No one did,” she replied.

Kenji and Samantha exchanged a shocked look, and then both jumped to their feet.

Samantha and Ellie stared out the control room’s observation window. Below them, the assembly line hummed with activity. Kenji was behind them at the stations, madly entering commands on the panels. Sam turned to look at him and could see the look of shock in his eyes.

“No plans were entered into the system,” he said.

“Then what’s being made?” asked Samantha.

The door burst open, and Ross stormed in. He first went to the window—eyes wide, practically frothing at the mouth—but then whipped around and glared at Kenji. “What the fuck is going on?” he barked. “I don’t know,” said Kenji.

“What do you mean you don’t know? What are we building?”

Kenji didn’t answer, just curled his shoulders and lowered his head. Ross whipped around to look at Ellie. “Don’t look at me,” she said.

“You integrated his code, didn’t you? Take some responsibility for once!”

“Take it easy, Ross. Yelling’s not going to help,” said Samantha.

Ross slowly softened; Samantha knew the calming effect she had on him and wasn’t afraid to interrupt one of his outbursts.

Ross turned back to Kenji. “What happened?”

“As far as I can tell, the system chose to make something on its own,” said Kenji.

“I thought we followed the anti-artificial-intelligence laws, you know, so something like this couldn’t happen,” Ross said accusingly.

“We did. I can’t explain it—” Kenji began, but he was cut off by Ellie, who was at the viewing window.

“It’s done!” she cried.

Thank you!

Svet Rouskov  — we appreciate your sharing your book Antithesis: A Collection of Science Fiction and Other Short Stories with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

A Country Of Eternal Light

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Darby Harn and his speculative fiction novel, A Country Of Eternal Light.

Author’s description

“One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read” – Sunyi Dean, author of The Book Eaters

 

A rogue black hole tears apart the solar system. Mairead’s life is already in pieces.

 

The Earth has less than a year to survive.

 

Asteroids rain hell; earthquakes rattle cities; manic tides swamp coasts. Mairead intends to give herself to the erratic waves that erode her remote Irish island, the same that claimed her child. When Gavin, an American, arrives to scatter his father’s ashes, she becomes torn between wanting for life and death.

 

Despite the tides, fuel shortages, and closing borders that threaten to trap him on the island, Gavin can’t seem to scatter the ashes. He doesn’t know how to let go any more than Mairead does and they find a strange comfort in their confusion.

 

Their affair draws Mairead back to the world of the living, but the longer Gavin stays, the more it seems there might be a future for them. There is no future.

 

Life closes down around them. The world they know shreds. Life drains into an inescapable abyss. And yet Mairead fights, both the gravity of her grief and the restless, dissonant desire to find some kind of peace no matter how brief.

Guest Post

In my books I’ve always have one minor character who insists on playing a larger role in the story. So I love to ask authors if there was such a character in their novel.

Darby Harn appears to be as plagued by them as I am, and just as grateful. I loved the details in his answer!

There certainly was.

Aoife (pronounced ‘ee-fah’) came out of nowhere in A Country Of Eternal Light. She is Mairead’s best friend and a fellow nurse, conscripted at least, at the nursing home on their remote Irish island of Inishèan.

She showed up in a brief scene at the home and then kept pushing her way into the rest of the novel. In many ways she’s the comic relief. It’s a dark book. It’s a sober book that deals with very difficult emotions. I think the book wanted for someone like Aoife. Her approach to the end of the world is to simply live her life to the fullest.

She’s more than just the comic relief, though. Aoife became an integral part of the story. She has an arc, which in many ways is as tragic as anyone else’s. Aoife may be the life of the party in many respects, but she also has her share of demons. My absolute favorite scene in the book involves Aoife and Mairead getting through a bad night with some recreational aids and Aoife’s spirit really comes out there. Her inhibitions fall away, or what few she has.

I love the character who is completely unexpected. I have a similar character in my Eververse series of superhero novels, beginning with Ever The Hero. I needed someone to open the door and check in on the heroine, Kit. That turned out to be Abi, and Abi wouldn’t leave the stage. Much like Aoife she became integral and in Abi’s case, she became a pillar of this series as it’s evolved.

I’m a pantser, so most of what I write is intuitive. That has its downsides sometimes, but one of the benefits of discovering your story as you go are characters like Aoife and Abi. I simply can’t imagine the books without them.

 

Darby Harn’s Story

Darby Harn studied at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, as part of the Irish Writing Program. He is the author of the sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, The Coffin Bell and other venues.

Find the Author

Website: darbyharn.com
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/darbyharn
Goodreads: goodreads.com/darby_harn
Twitter: twitter.com/DarbyHarn
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Darby-Harn-255976537767428

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Country-Eternal-Light-Darby-Harn-ebook/dp/B0921W3QNF

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 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

Ma shuffles into the kitchen, coat on like she’s going somewhere. She sees the radio and remembers.

“Not today,” I say, but she switches it on anyway.

Six past and now time for today’s obituaries. Katie Burke, Kilmurvey, Co. Galway, 14th October, suddenly, sadly missed. Iranian quake toll rises. Russian oil fields under water. The Pope condemns American abortion initiative for all remaining pregnancies. Scientists hold vigil over Saturn, her rings scattered like a snowdrift across a country road. All her moons buckshot. Jupiter suffers the most, swollen and bruised like an aging prizefighter, determined to die in the ring.

The government handed out these little LED tickers. Alarm clocks, like, to put on the refrigerator. Counts down the seconds until the rogue black hole intersects the orbit of earth. A year from now. That’s all we have left.

If that.

The tides will drown us first. One of the comets will hit us. A planet or a moon will, or comes close enough to yank the earth from its orbit. What difference does it make? What difference is cancer? Parkinson’s. A heart attack. A bullet. A car. A black hole. All our deaths are projectiles, hurtling through blood streams or interstellar space or dark coastal roads at targets with no proper sense of the size of the barrel they’re swimming in.

I switch the radio off. “I don’t want to hear this.”

Thank you!

Darby Harn — we appreciate your sharing your book A Country Of Eternal Light with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.