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.

All the World’s Colors: The Queen of the Blue

Review: All the World’s Colors: The Queen of the Blue

James W. George has created a fascinating and complex world sure to delight those who love his style of fantasy. I appreciated his deftness with words and his ability to evoke an emotional response with his characters. Descriptions are succinct yet effective, and the plot scampers along at a good pace.

I enjoy novels with multiple points of view and commend this author for effectively interweaving at least five distinct stories while introducing two would-be heroes to the reader. There is no question James W. George is good at his craft.

Alas, he doesn’t happen to write the sort of fantasy I prefer. For all that I love reading about make-believe worlds and alternate histories, I tire of violence and I lose interest when too many characters treat too many people too horribly too often.

Most of this first book alternates between the toxic masculinity of a perpetually warring race (think Klingons with sex slaves) and the alternative of a matriarchy of disdainful women who abuse their men physically and emotionally. My interest was finally piqued when he introduced the green religious zealots and the orange greedy merchants, as neither of them appeared to regularly beat up their own people. Sadly, it was too far into the novel for either to play much of a role.

I did enjoy the interesting twist he has put into the story of the blue matriarchs, but this is clearly only the first book of the series and nothing is resolved. One would have to read on to find out where his interesting idea leads.

I recommend this book to all those who like their fantasy darker and more violent than I do. I’m sure that’s a sizable group, and if you fall into this camp, I encourage you to check out this well-written series.

For more about this book, and the review tour this review was part of, see All the World’s Colors: The Queen of the Blue.

 

The Man in the Black Fedora

Today it is my pleasure to feature author Tom Johnson’s pulp crime thriller, The Man in the Black Fedora.

About the book

In a city of mob rule and crime, death is cheap, and police have their hands tied. In this dark metropolis, a new paladin arises to fight against injustice. A man of education, dedicated to fighting evil with fire against fire, the man in the black fedora.

About Tom Johnson

Tom was a voracious reader from an early age, beginning with comic books at age seven and reading novels by age 10 or 11. He has never stopped reading for pleasure, though his interest in genres have often switched from SF to western, to hardboiled detectives, the classics, and back to science fiction again over the years. In his own writing, readers will often find something about his love of zoology, whether insects, reptiles, or saber-tooth cats. Tom had a stroke in March 2002. Now retired, he and his wife devote their time to keeping Tom’s books in print, as well as helping promote other writers.

They settled in Tom’s hometown of Seymour, Texas, home of the Whiteside Museum of Natural History, and the red-bed digs near the town where Permian fossils have been discovered for over a hundred years. A 250-million-year-old amphibian, the Seymouria was discovered in the red-beds and is named after Seymour. One of the main predators of the Permian was a large finback reptile called a Dimetrodon, and a statue is displayed outside the museum. Several of Tom’s books are on hand in the museum. With over 80 books in print that he has contributed to, Tom has slowed down now. He is still writing children’s stories while promoting his books still on the market. Plus, he still has hopes of one day seeing his short novel, Pangaea: Eden’s Planet, made into a film.

(Note: The Man in the Black Fedora was released September 26, 2019. Tom passed away on November 5, 2019. The book will remain in print posthumously for the length of the contract.)

Find out more about Tom Johnson at:

https://bloodredshadow.com/tom-johnson/
http://pulplair.blogspot.com/
Facebook pages:
Tom: https://www.facebook.com/tomginger.johnson
Ginger (his widow): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010939323356
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/64939.Tom_Johnson

Buy The Man in the Black Fedora at

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Man-Black-Fedora-Tom-Johnson/dp/1937769593
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-man-in-the-black-fedora-tom-johnson/1133839667
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/960209

Yes, there is a giveaway

Night to Dawn Magazine & Books, LLC 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.

This tour features a new excerpt at every stop. Here’s mine!

Jae slipped smoothly inside, and then helped her over the windowsill. They stood silently for a few minutes, trying to determine if they were alone or not.

“What’s that smell?” Kay asked.

“Gasoline. I wonder if someone’s planning on torching the place?”

“I wonder what’s in all these crates?” Kay asked.

Jae pulled out the thin flashlight and threw the narrow beam on the first crate, and then those around it.

“It looks like merchandise, probably stored here for a while.” When he lifted on the nearest box, it was too light to contain any kind of merchandise. “Weird,” Jae said.

“I think I see a small office over there. We might as well see if there’s anything of interest kept in there. I’m willing to bet all these crates are empty.”

“Yeah, it’s getting creepy out here,” Kay said. “I’ve got chills running up and down my neck.”

Jae laughed softly. “I saw a movie once where a giant spider dropped down on some burglars.”

“I hate spiders,” Kay groaned.

“Well, so far, so good,” Jae laughed. “Hey, they were kind enough to leave the office open for us.”

“There’s another box on the desk,” Kay said. “Smaller than the ones out here. Maybe it’s not empty.”

“One way to find out,” Jae said, aiming the light beam at the box. “There appears to be something in it. Let’s have a look.”

“Uh oh,” Kay said. “Do you know what those tubes are, Jae?”

“Yep, I’m way ahead of you, Missy. Art tubes. You roll up the print and slide it inside for protection during shipment.”

“What’s in that square box with them?” Kay asked. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Hold the flashlight while I open it,” Jae said, handing her the instrument.

Both let out a gasp as the lid was opened, and the flashlight beam sent a rainbow of colors shimmering around the room.

“Magnificent!” Kay whistled.

“Fit for a queen, or I miss my guess,” Jae said. “I think we’ve found what we came for.”

“That you have, my nosy friend,” a voice growled from the doorway. “That you have!”

Whirling towards the voice, they saw two men, big and brawny, both pointing revolvers at their chests. Jae could not act for fear one of the gunmen would shoot Kay, so he raised his arms in surrender.