The magic wand of book titles…

Too bad there isn’t a magic wand for creating book titles. I could use one of those. I do like Harper’s Odyssey, but I’m creating a series of interconnected books. What that means is HO kicks off the universe and every other book after is just placed inside that universe. None are sequels to the book that came before. Can you guess what people will call the universe, since it is common place to just take the title of the first book and place universe at the end?

Harper’s Odyssey Universe. Acronym: HOU.

At first glance this science fiction universe sounds like it’s about Houston’s airport or a department in the US government. Not really what moves someone to make a purchase of a kick ass sci-fi story.

What will the title end up being? I’m starting to get ideas. Being a set of interconnected books/stories set in the same universe there are things that connect each book. For instance, I have two reoccurring characters that make appearances in every book. Depending on the story determines the size of their role. I’m leaning towards using those two characters to craft the title of Harper’s Odyssey. Since it is the story that kicks everything off and all.

Possible titles…stay tuned. And stay tuned for more about Harper’s Odyssey (tentative title) in the next post.

 

Harper’s Odyssey

Captain Alex Harper and his team, Harper’s Argos, committed heinous acts during the Walker War, but every action was done to survive. Simply following that innate sense of survival makes the military investigation into the Argos repugnant. That their military brethren can take those actions out of context to the horrors survived and somehow think themselves above Alex and his Argos—odious. And a sentient super weapon more cognizant of the reality behind the Walker War than those who fought on the ground…Well, that’s just scary.

2017. What! What!

Last year was hell when it came to writing. I struggled mightily on one book, starting it over three times. I think I got it this time. I did complete two books I feel super strong about though. One is called Harper’s Odyssey (tentative of course). I completed that around January, so it was a carry over from 2015 I suppose. I also completed The Nissin Project (yep, another tentative title), but I’m sitting on that for another month or so. I need some time away from it. Why? Because of Harper’s Odyssey actually.

You see, I finished Harper’s Odyssey a solid year ago. I thought it was awesome when I finished. Then I did a read through. Somehow it turned into something I wasn’t expecting, and because of that I shoved it to the back of the proverbial closet. A couple months ago I took it out, and I’ve never been more impressed by something I’ve written.

No joke, I’ve literally gotten misty-eyed at the end of Harper’s Odyssey. I’ve read it through countless times, know exactly where the emotional punches will be thrown, and still every single time I get to the end I get emotional.

So, yeah, I need to take some time away from The Nissin Project. I really enjoy reading it, but for some reason it’s not exactly what I was expecting I would produce. I figure if I wait a few months and then go back to it, I’ll either love it like I do Harper’s Odyssey or I’ll still find it wanting. If I’m not overly enthused by it…Well, it’ll be viewed as storytelling practice.

Back to Harper’s Odyssey though. It is first in a series of interconnected books. With each book positioned to be read as a standalone. However, if consumed as a series, the reader will get a view of the horrors and strangeness of war, and the workings of the military and politics in war and covert paramilitary operations. With certain key figures giving, at the very least, cameos in each book. (each book has a new cast of characters it follows)

That gives me a good segue to talk a little about my current work in progress. It’s the second book in the Harper’s Odyssey Universe (tentative name of course), titled Welcome to Hell. The action parts are an allegory for the strangeness of war. War is not as simple as sending people to shot and kill the enemy. The mind of the soldier has to cope with the unnatural act of killing other people so it changes the situation or the person snaps. Which, unfortunately, is seen happen with sufferers of PTSD. The rest of the story deals with the personal relationships First Sergeant Jay “Inferno” Dante has with his fiance and his Echo Force squad while back home in between missions.

This year should be a good year for writing. Next time I’ll speak a little more on Harper’s Odyssey.

Happy 2017 everyone!

5 absolutely wonderful books from 2016

Happy 2017 and goodbye 2016. I have no complaints about the year. It was the year I got my ass back in gear with working out. The year I watched a lot of good sci-fi movies. The year I received a PlayStation 4. The year I played the best videogame every made (Uncharted 4). 2016 was a great year for reading too. I averaged 2 books a month. I wanted 24 books read by the end of the year. I got 24 books read.Yay me!

There were definitely some duds in that jumble of books and genres. There is a sci-fi one that still has me scratching my head as to why people heap praise on it. Sometimes I can figure out why certain books are so widely praised. But this one makes no sense, to me at least, as to why and how people enjoyed it all the way through the end.

I read another that rivals Dark Intelligence as the best sci-fi book I’ve ever read.

But, if I were forced to whittle the list down to 5 great reads of 2016, here would be that list:

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This story had it all for me. The scope of it, puts Neal Asher at the top of the list in respect to science fiction authors. For my money, no one writes better sci-fi, and The Line of Polity is some of his best work.



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To say this is a good book would be an insult to Brian Staveley. The Emperor’s Blades is ridiculous in how great of a story it is. If you enjoy great storytelling, you owe it to yourself to start this amazing trilogy.



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Simply put: This is the best fantasy novel ever written



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This was fun from beginning to end. I normally HATE time traveler novels. I’m talking, so much so, that I want to rip apart the book some 50 pages in. Not so with Time Salvager. I had a grand ol’ time reading this. Wesley Chu is one talented sonofabitch.



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This series has turned into my guilty pleasure series. I finished Hounded last year after having it languishing unread for well over a full year. It took me all of 6 hours to finish it. Riot of a good time. This is now my go-to series when I want something light and easy to read, but will entertain me from page 1 to END.







Now these are just five picked from a great year of reading. I’m hoping 2017 turns into another bumper year of great books read. If it’s as wonderful as 2016 then I may have to add a few more books to the list I post next January.

 

Hell Divers

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I do love finding fast-paced books that get more chaotic as the story progresses then at the end…BAM! Everything is brought together to a nice conclusion. I find it a rare treat, a delicacy if you will. Sure, books like Hell Divers aren’t astounding works of literature that make you question life and what have you. Instead, they are so fun, books like these make me want to run out and buy every other book the author has written.

As for the story, it’s actually pretty good and throws some decent curveballs at you. It plays out like a movie, which made me think for sure I knew exactly what would happen near the end. Those parts I thought I knew would happen actually turned out differently. I’m being vague here to not give away spoilers, but am trying to get across that while the premise of the story is straightforward; the presentation is cleverly done.

Characterizations are good. Pacing is brilliant. The multiple sub-plots just plain work. All in all, Hell Divers is a really great read. One that is going to have me try out all the other series Nicholas Sansbury Smith has written.

If you like easy reads that move at a blistering pace then you’ll definitely want to give Hell Divers a read.

How the sun came to be in the sky*

 

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Once upon a time the sun ran along the ground on two legs. It could run very fast, but not as fast as the birds above it flew. Every day the sun would look up at the sky and wish to fly and be fast. After many years of running on the ground, the sun got an idea. It knew how it could fly! Near where it lived lay a great, big canyon as wide as it was deep. The chasm filled with birds that dove down out of the sky to soar in the sky in the ground.

So, one day, the sun put on a bright yellow shirt with long orange streamers on the arms, and a pair of red pants. Dressed in an outfit sure to compete with the beauty of the birds when it finally did fly; the sun ran fast – faster than it ever had – and at the edge of the canyon, it jumped. The sun flew into the air and kept going…and going…and going, never stopping.

That is why the sun is in the sky. It still has not landed.


*written for a make-believe school assignment when playing school with my 7 year old

Well this is quite the conundrum…

GS, with myself at the helm, have hauled more cargo through the years than most alive have ever seen with their one, two, sometimes three, eyes. Foam containers pushed into the cargo hold like a suppository into a titan. A Möbius cube one time, I got a picture of it in my room. Live animals, dead ones, plants that looked like animals; even had one client lie on the contract and try to embroil us in a slavery ring.
GS has facilitated rescues, captures, manhunts, political security, espionage, intelligence gathering, and a maze run once that had us breathing ammonia and riding slym-tams. Our facilitating has put us in so much danger, I’ve forgotten what the definition of the word is supposed to be. Christ on a cross; Down Clowns, Rack Stompers, Divinities, even Ice have been murder mad at us a time or two before.
We’ve had to wrestle with politicians, dine with psychopaths, rub shoulders with megalomaniac despot dictators, and swindle clergy.
GS, my crew and I, have rumbled down some hard fought miles over the years. As mentioned, we’ve seen and done enough to fill a dozen bookshelves. So much so, one wouldn’t be amiss thinking if something presents itself, I or someone on my team immediately has somewhat of a handle on it. But this…Well, this is what’s called a conundrum.