Book of Death by S. Evan Townsend Visits the Noracast!

Today at the Noracast, I have a special treat for you! S. Evan Townsend’s Book of Death sounds amazing, and I can hardly wait to read it. Plus, you’ll get to know Mr. Townsend a bit, because he’s also written a guest post called The Allure of Horror…Why We Love to be Frightened?

I do, indeed, love to be frightened, and Mr. Townsend makes a lot of sense in his guest post. Now, back to his book! It caught my interest mainly because the speculative world fascinates me, and in Book of Death—witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers are real. Wouldn’t it be thrilling to live in a world where fantasy creatures and myths from long ago were actually part of our history? I mean, they are part of our history, but imagine a world where the world governments utilized magic as a weapon and/or to help others.

Check out the Book of Death!

Title:  Book of Death

Author: S. Evan Townsend

Publisher:   World Castle Publishing

Length:  266 pages

Sub-Genres: Vampires, Paranormal Entities

 

 

BLURB:

They live among us. We know they are there. No government can control them; no authority can stop them. Some are evil. Some are good. All are powerful. They inhabit our myths and fairy tales. But what if they were real, the witches, wizards, and fairy godmothers? What if they were called “adepts” and were organized into guilds for mutual protection and benefit? And what if some of them discovered a power that other adepts could not match.

During the turbulent 1960s, when American adept Peter Branton agrees to go to Transylvania for the CIA, he suspects it’s not about ball bearings as he was told. What he finds is a plot that could kill millions of people and plunge the world into eternal tyranny and bloodshed. Branton doesn’t know it, but he’s about to face the adept guilds’ worst nightmare: practicing necromancers with a taste for human blood.

EXCERPT :

I’d never seen this type of meta before. At least I assumed that’s what it was, as the wooden man inexorably walked toward me with a creak of moving wood, like tree branches in a heavy wind. It was raising its arms for another blow so I stepped back and shot an airbolt at it. I heard wood crack, but that didn’t stop it. It swung again and its wooden fist pounded into my face, knocking me down and back on the sidewalk. Somewhere I heard screams and yells. A guy sitting on the sidewalk, his back to a storefront, muttered, “Wow, bad trip, man.”

The Indian was bending over, its face expressionless except for the painted-on peace sign as it seemed to prepare for another attack. I shot fire at it, assuming old dry wood would ignite easily, and it did: the hippie dress went up in flames, and now the monster was a burning mass, still attacking me. It smacked me again with a flaming arm and I suffered from both the impact and the burns. Nearly screaming, I scrambled away on hands and knees. I don’t think I’d ever been that scared. Still it came, oblivious to the fact it was on fire.

A motorcycle cop I hadn’t noticed jumped off his bike, pulled his service revolver, and shot it into the Indian with six cracks of bullets being fired. It had no effect other than sending burning splinters of wood flying. The cop suddenly looked frightened, and was gripping his billy club but taking no further action.

People were screaming loudly now. I looked around, looking for an escape. If I could teleport away I might escape, but I could see no clear place to teleport to. Briefly I wondered what happened to Ernestine and if she were safe. I didn’t sense the presence of another adept, but I didn’t really have the ability to be quiet enough to do so. I just hoped she was okay.

The burning Indian smacked me again, hard, in the chest and I felt as if my feet left the ground as I was knocked into a car’s side. I heard and felt sheet metal crumple and knew I’d hit the car hard. My vision was going gray. But I realized my shirt was on fire and that kept me from passing out; if I passed out I was probably dead. I pulled water from the air to douse the fire, but this took time and the Indian was on me again, even though it was moving very slowly.

I wondered if I’d survive until the wooden Indian had been consumed by the flames. It hit me again, knocking me to the sidewalk. There was an unpleasant smell and I realized my hair was burning. I used my bare hand to pat out the flames. This gave the Indian time to hit me again, hard. It almost felt as if I flew through the air and was slapped painfully to the sidewalk, the Indian still lumbering toward me.

In desperation I shot another airbolt at it. It must have been on the verge of falling apart because that hit blew it into flaming pieces that scattered over the street and also hit me, burning my skin or singeing my clothes. But it was no longer attacking.

The Allure of Horror…Why We Love to be Frightened?

I have a confession.  I’m a 52-year-old man who refuses to watch/read anything that has to do with horror.   And I blame that on Lassie.

Yes, Lassie, the cute collie who was always rescuing Timmy after he fell down the well.  The problem was, if you started watching an episode of Lassie, you knew something bad was going to happen: Timmy is going to fall down the well.  And when I was a kid, anticipating the bad just drove me nuts.  And I hated it.  And I still do to this day.

Now as an adult I can watch bloody, violent movies if they are action-based but not horror based.  I think the last time I had a visceral reaction to something violent I saw in a movie was in Eastern Promises when a man gets stabbed (bloodily) in an eye.  But that was okay because I didn’t have to spend ten minutes worrying about when he was going to get stabbed in the eye.

So it’s the foreshadowing that does it, and that’s what horror does.  It builds up anticipation of something bad happening and then . . . it happens (usually) and I hate that anticipation.  In the Johnny Cash bio-pic Walk the Line, his older brother is sawing wood on a machine with a huge circular saw blade.  And you just knew something awful was going to happen (and it did).  I was very uncomfortable until the awful thing happened.  I hate the anticipation of the awful thing: the bad.

But a lot of people love horror.  And I think it’s the same reason a lot of people (including me) love rollercoasters.  You get scared, your heart gets pumping, the adrenaline courses through your veins, but you know in reality you are safe.  Getting scared safely makes us feel more alive.    As Winston Churchill is reputed to have said, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”  That’s probably true and horror, or rollercoasters, are as close as many of us are going to get.  Or want to get.

The allure of horror is the ability to get the heart pumping without the added fear of being in actual danger.  Maybe there’s something in our DNA that wants to be running from the saber-toothed tiger that we can’t get in modern life with its health and safety emphasis.  Me, I drive fast (sometimes on a racetrack) which isn’t as safe as rollercoasters and scary movies.  Others do rollercoasters.  And a lot of people watch or read horror.  I’m just not one of that last group.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

S. Evan Townsend has been called ‘America’s Unique Speculative Fiction Voice.’ Evan is a writer living in central Washington State. After spending four years in the U.S. Army in the Military Intelligence branch, he returned to civilian life and college to earn a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. In his spare time he enjoys reading, driving (sometimes on a racetrack), meeting people, and talking with friends. He is in a 12-step program for Starbucks addiction. Evan lives with his wife and has three grown sons. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, history, politics, cars, and travel.

Author Links:

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/Gnike_j2KSI

Websitehttp://sevantownsend.blogspot.com/

Blog:  http://www.radioactivecommunistzombies.com/writers_thoughts/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/S-Evan-Townsend/120699138076862https://www.facebook.com/adeptseriesbook3

Doesn’t this look like a great read? I’ve already added it to my TBR list!

Have a question or comment for Mr. Townsend? Feel free to post away.

Thanks for visiting the Noracast!

Beauty by Kimber: Charade by Cambria Hebert

Today is “Charade” day! Yes, Cambria Hebert, author of “Charade” has sent Kimber, a beauty-loving character from her latest release, “Charade” to the Noracast to offer up her opinion on some beauty products, plus my review of “Charade” is yours to view as well.

“Charade” by Cambria Hebert

Dying at the hands of a psycho was a shock. Having my life returned to me by an angel was incredible. Being named a Supernatural Treasure and being given Sam as my guard was pretty darn awesome. Acquiring a debt for it all—well, I should have seen it coming.

Now here we are, fighting demons from Hell, caring for a boy that I just don’t trust, and traveling to faraway places to return a treasure to its rightful place. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone wears a mask; everyone puts on a charade. It’s up to us to separate the truth from the lies and reality from fiction. A hard task when my new reality involves fallen angels, witches and dragons… and did I mention Hell?

Anchoring me down through it all is Sam. Sam, who must face tragedies of his own and is put to the test again and again.

If we fail in our task, life as we know it—life as you know it—will end. Forever.

Take it away, Cambria and Kimber…

Hello Everyone!

In celebration of the Heven and Hell Tour: Charade we have a very special post today. I think that all the ladies out there will be especially excited. As many of you know Kimber is a big character in the novel of the series. Kimber is Heven, the main characters, BFF. Kimber is very outspoken, loves a good time and she loves fashion and beauty. So we thought that we would invite Kimber to the blog today to tell us all about her beauty must haves, must toss and products to lust after.

Maybe there will be something in her line-up that you use too!

Here ya go Kimber…the blog is all yours!

Okay, ladies, have no fear Kimber is here! I like to shop til I drop, and I like to look good. To me, I think there is nothing wrong with a girl taking pride in her appearance. So here is a list of all the products that I love, hate and lust after!

Must Haves:

#1 Luster Now Instant Whitening Toothpaste

A girl always looks best when she is smiling. And a white smile is like icing on a cupcake (white icing of course!). This toothpaste whitens teeth immediately and gets rid of stains over time (which is good because I drink a lot of lattes!) Oh! And it’s peppermint flavored! Bonus!

#2 Nail strips by Sally Hansen

Love these little gems! Talk about a no-brainer manicure! When a girl can’t get to the nail salon then this is the next best thing. They come in a ton of colors and patterns so you can change up your look with ease! They are basically like stickers for your nails but they are made out of real lacquer so they stay on and look great and there’s no dry time like with regular nail polish! Some people think the patterns are for 13 year olds. I say, live a little and rock that pattern! I’m wearing zebra print right now.

#3 Avon Anew Sunscreen

Sun damage? Ewww, gross! I am a red head. You know what that means: fair skin and major burnage if I even think about going outside without sunscreen on. Besides, sun damage causes wrinkles and who wants those? This sunscreen gets bonus points because it can actually help reduce lines and wrinkles (yeah, I’m seventeen but it’s never too early to think about prevention!) Even better? It smells like green apples and pears which is wayyy better than the regular stinky sunscreen smell!

#4 Bare Minerals Foundation and make-up

This stuff is good for everyone. It’s like magic powder in a jar. It’s lightweight, covers well and makes me look ready for a close up. It’s got sunscreen in it too! Who doesn’t want make-up that can improve your skin?

#5 Simply Smooth Xtend Keratin replenishing magic potion

This stuff is new and amazing! It can actually help smooth split ends, repair them (it won’t get rid of them, because once your ends are split they are split) and make your hair majorly healthy. It also controls frizz  (I’m a red head with curly hair so frizz is a major factor in my life). It also smooth’s your hair and hydrates it. Just put a little on wet hair and style as usual. It smells yummy too! This is a MUST have.

# 6 KMS California Hair Play Makeover Spray

Dry shampoo is awesome. I don’t always have time for a wash and blow out. Or if my style goes limp at cheer practice and there’s a party right after this stuff is a lifesaver! It instantly refreshes any style, it adds volume and body, absorbs oil and makes me look hot. I can go an extra day or two between shampoos because of this stuff. It’s that good.

To Use: Shake well. Spray onto roots and let dry for a few seconds. Then comb through to absorb oil. Layer through mid-lengths and ends to add bulk for a finished style ( I always add a little around my ears and at my crown to bump up the volume).

Beauty Products to Toss

#1 Lush Jungle Conditione

This bar is conditioner. You have to soak the bar in water, rub between palms, and then spread it into your hair and rinse out after a minute. Detangler? No. Gross? Yes.

#2 Lash Lure

Okay so this was popular before I was born wayyy back in 1938. But its so heinous I had to list it here. I mean really, who would do this? People dies from this. People went blind from this. Although there is one benefit of this  “permanent lash tint” is that it helped rally support for the passage of 1938’s Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Beauty Products to Lust After

#1 No 7’s Limited edition Sun Drenched Lip glosses

*Swoons* This lip gloss has 22 carat gold in it! Those gold flecks are real!! This takes glittering like a fairy tale to a whole new level. fairy tale to fact.

#2  A Swarovski crystal-studded delight (2553 crystals to be exact)

The limited-edition C2 Crystal Styling Iron from Corioliss, £457.98, spoils your hair and itself in expensive shine. With a digital remote control to set the ideal temperature and even heat technology expansion on the plates, it straightens without the tell-tale damage. Apart from being sleek and lightweight, it has the world’s first automatic 30-minute sleep mode. It’s truly a bejewelled luxury beauty product must-buy. Available at buyhair.co.uk. (This product and information was found: http://blog.shesaidbeauty.com/2012/01/22/the-lust-list-10-luxury-beauty-brands-and-their-best-products/)

#3 Alterna 10 luxury shampoo

Alterna Ten contains exotic ingredients including African cacao extract, caviar age-control complex, photozyme complex with “color hold,” white truffle oil, Champagne grape seed oil, Bulgarian Evening Primrose and Arabian Frankincense. The shampoo is inspired by enzyme therapy, a process that uses enzyme supplements to treat conditions from digestive problems to cancer.

Sounds awesome right? Here’s the cost of this awesome: $60 for an 8.5 oz bottle.

(shampoo details and price courtesy of http://most-expensive.net/shampoo )

So that is my list of beauty must haves, products to toss and to lust after! Now go forth and get beautiful. I have to go, I have an appointment to get my hair done. Laters!

Kimber knows her beauty products, right? Did you see any you want to try? How about leaving a comment with your favorite beauty product suggestion?

Nora’s review of “Charade”

Would you risk everything, even your life if need be—to save the one you love?

For Sam and Heven, the main characters in Cambria Hebert’s thrilling Heven and Hell series, life means nothing if they can’t spend it together. In “Masquerade,” the stage is set for these two characters to plunge into danger and despair so they can eventually find happiness together, and then things escalate as good and evil vie for their souls in Hebert’s latest release, “Charade.” Sam’s younger brother, Logan, adds quite a bit of drama to the “Charade” storyline, but Kimber, Cole, and Gemma certainly have their fair share of new developments as well.

Twists and turns, betrayals that have a most wicked bite, plus angels offering heavenly intervention and demons…naturally raising a little hell, all make this novel hard to resist and easy to enjoy. Although, “Charade” is not just about the battle between good and evil since it hits upon other facets of being human that, at times, affect us all. For instance, Heven matures in this follow-up to “Masquerade” as she comes to accept her unique abilities and use them to fight against what’s been unleashed from Hell. I was pleased to see her growth and loved that Heven could take care of herself, but Hebert made sure to keep Heven a compassionate character, one who thinks about others.  This book targets YA readers, so if they can relate to Heven (Sam and Cole) who are all young but trying to make a positive difference in the world, then all the better!

Another huge part of this book follows the heavy emotions Heven and Sam must deal with as they constantly become positioned between right and wrong, between letting truth shine or allowing lies to temporarily cover their tracks. The choices we make, good and bad, affect the people in our lives, and the way Hebert showcases this is fantastic. Her characters pay a price for the choices they make, and some of these consequences come handed to them with a supernatural fist, yet again…lessons are gained by the characters and readers.

You’ll have to read “Charade” to meet my favorite new addition to Hebert’s Heven and Hell series, and that would be the Supernal Beings. Believe me—they are as cool as they sound! I’ve known a few people like them, and they are mysterious and seem as though they’ve been sent from above. If fallen angels, young adults with supernatural abilities, the age-old battle between good and evil, plus a marvelous amount of mystery wrapped up in a fantasy novel, sounds good to you, then do check out this wonderful series. I can hardly wait for the next book! 5/5 stars

Cambria Hebert bio: 

Author. Blogger. Latte Sipper.
Cambria Hebert is an author who wrote her first book at the age of fifteen. It was terrible. But the passion for writing never went away so years later when she opened her laptop and started typing she worked until she wrote a book that she hopes everyone will be as excited about as she is.

Cambria is obsessed with werewolves and is terrified of chickens (they are creepy!)She is an animal lover that would choose coffee over food and her favorite TV show is the Vampire Diaries (Hell-O Damon!)

Please visit her blog and her author website:
http://www.cambriahebert.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/cambriahebert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cambria-Hebert/128278117253138

Accidental Hero/GIVEAWAY!

Danger—pain and suffering, mixed with excitement and enough adrenaline to kill an elephant is calling upon your sense of adventure. Let’s say, Jessie desperately needs your help, and if you fail to answer the calling…death will come her way. Are you ready to embrace this challenge and rush to sacrifice your life for another? Well, my all-time favorite heroes are the ones who’d do just that.

Ah, but things are never so simple. I love accidental heroes. These so-called ordinary men and women exist in their worlds doing what they are supposed to do, until a threat is unleashed that prompts a reaction from these people. Some folks reject the notion they could ever affect the outcome of a situation, others eagerly accept the new, completely risky endeavor dropped upon them.

Take a look at Jake Cottrell, the protagonist (and an accidental hero) in my latest release, The Twelfth Paladin. He’s a prime example of a person living a selfish existence, one who seeks out mischief and absolutely lives for adrenalines rushes, or as he calls them…smackdowns. Yes, Jake is a reckless character with a shady past and a family you would not desire, but he does have something special. Jake has courage and honor, yet they’ve been long ignored. After a death-defying Motocross accident, Jake is physically and mentally tested to see if he can rise above the wickedness around him and become the twelfth paladin in Micah’s (an angel) unit of supernatural warriors. He doesn’t seek out glory. No matter, it finds him anyway.

Another accidental hero I really like is Sam Deed (Vincent D’Onofrio) from the movie Happy Accidents (2000), which also stars Marisa Tomei. Sam is brave, determined, and a guy who never planned on having to endure such an adventure to find love. Although Happy Accidents is a science fiction movie, it’s actually more about the power each of us possess to change things.

From Moviefone: Is Ruby Weaver’s Mr. Right really an emissary from the year 2,470, or is he just a complete loon ball? This question is at the heart of Brad Anderson’s whimsical romantic comedy. The story opens with Ruby (Marisa Tomei) lamenting over her boyfriend Sam (Vincent D’Onofrio) to her shrink (Holland Taylor). In a series of flashbacks, the film quickly sketches Ruby as a neurotic with an unhappy track record concerning men and Sam as an oddball who is afraid of small dogs and has a barcode tattooed to his arm. But he’s nuts over Ruby, and at least initially, that is enough for her. Slowly, Sam begins to reveal his “past.” He tells her that he is from the Dubuque of the future and that he hails from a rare “anachronistic” family who believe that reproduction should occur the old-fashioned, fun way as opposed to the more popular cloning method. At first, Ruby is amused, until she realizes that he’s not kidding. After a series of arguments, he agrees to visit Ruby’s analyst, which yields unexpected results. This film premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival.

Great news—GIVEAWAY! Ends March 27, 2012

Win a copy (e-book, print, or Kindle) of The Twelfth Paladin AND the movie Happy Accidents. Simply answer this question: Are you the type of person who’d become an accidental hero? Since I spend way too much time in the laundry room and grocery shopping…I’d definitely go for it. A little adventure can entice me anytime!

Still not sure if this giveaway is for you? Here’s the latest review of The Twelfth Paladin from Michelle. Her blog is A Lil of Dis A Lil of Dat Chelle Style.

“In all of my years of reading, I can’t say I’ve ever read a book about Angels and Demons. I tend to stick more towards suspense and horror books. Therefore, I was very excited to review The Twelfth Paladin and give myself the opportunity to break out of my reading comfort zone.

We start with the main character, Jake Cottrell, who is a rebel of sorts, if you will. Abandoned by his mom at a young age, living with an angry alcoholic father, it’s no wonder Jake takes to drinking, wild women, and motorcycle racing. However, during one of his races, he becomes injured and things will never be quite the way they were before his accident.

Have you ever had the sensation that things weren’t right? That there was an unseen force working behind the curtains, responsible for strange things or events? Jake deals with these very things as he is reconnecting with a “friend”, Davis Travers, now a successful heart surgeon. Davis, by any standards isn’t a very likable person. It’s a mystery to Jake how Davis managed to become engaged to the beautiful and mysterious Angie Helms as well as the tremendous success Davis obviously enjoys.

In the meantime, as Jake is skirting dangerously along the depths of evil, Micah, an angel, who is not on God’s good side, is sent to help Jake from losing his soul to the darkness. Micah is a likable character who has lost his faith in mankind after thousands of years. He’s witnessed the decline of human kindness and goodness towards each other. He is less than thrilled to be helping Jake and does little to conceal this fact.

I found myself mentally willing Jake to stop his actions as he stepped further and further into the darkness ruled by evil. At the same time, I found myself as curious as Jake as he begins to realize Davis isn’t playing an imaginary game. I became caught up in the action as Jake finds himself being pulled in by temptations which would appear to be too delightful to resist.

Nora Weston captures her characters with a vivid imagination. As you read, you can visualize the scene exactly how she describes it. You will find yourself rooting for the good guys, holding your breath, your heart beating just bit quicker during some of the more intense scenes, and completely caught up in this book!

I can say after reading The Twelfth Paladin, Nora has a new fan. I will definitely be paying attention to when Nora has a new book in the works. Don’t just take my word. Visit Nora and let me know what you think!”

________________________________________________________________

I appreciate the review Michelle! Okay, ready for a supernatural adventure with Jake Cottrell and a science fiction mission with Sam Deed? Enter the GIVEAWAY!

Thanks for visiting the Noracast.

 

 

Color Them Gray

“It’s an art to live with pain… mix the light into gray.” Eddie Vedder

Edmond Dantès from Alexandre Dumas,’ The Count of Monte Cristo is a successful merchant sailor living in Marseille, France (in 1815) who is wrongly accused of being a Bonapartist traitor. Edmond is imprisoned for fourteen years in the Château d’If. Pain and suffering ruin his colorful outlook on life…he transforms into a protagonist determined to seek revenge upon the men who imprisoned him, and he does this, so beautifully. Once Edmond becomes the Count of Monte Cristo, anything and everything he has is used to manipulate the wickedness in his life for the sake of vengeance.

Edmond feels justified; his motives for becoming a “gray” character…one whose thoughts and actions are not entirely right or wrong, whose morals have blurred into the gray area, adds danger and excitement to Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo.

I love characters smothered in gray—who are torn between right and wrong, who ache to do what’s right, but have lost their way. In my science fiction adventure, Guardian 2632, Zane Grayson fights with his conscience about betraying the time monitoring facility he’s in charge of, called Guardian TMF, because a pastian from 1998 needs his help, or she will perish. He is forbidden to assist pastians without clearance from the Elite Guardians, yet Zane is drawn to this pastian, named Julia Emerson, like never before. His desire for Julia becomes incessant, secrets are revealed. Zane’s sense of belonging in 2632 is stolen by Julia, so he dives into the gray area where chaos rules. A murky, dark shade of gray envelopes Zane, while he plans the most important mission of his life, however, if caught…merciless Time Mercs will execute him. Yeah, Time Mercs are big, bad, and ugly.

Adding gray is good for character building! Why? Do you know anyone who is perfect? I do not, and that’s okay because the imperfections found in us all make us unique. Spicing up your characters with moral dilemmas where they will either rise to the occasion and do the right thing, or fall into an abyss of misery are ways to push a story forward. Perfect characters would always decide to do the safe and logical thing, which doesn’t make for much of a story. Oh, but when a character, like Edmond Dantès goes to the pits and back to finally see the light…ah, now there’s sweet satisfaction found in that!

Going Gray

Think about your characters. Are their personalities, desires, and goals so lovely…and absolutely dreamy that they come across as unbelievable people?

For example, Zane Grayson (protagonist in Guardian 263) is a mastermind in charge of fixing paradoxes throughout time. I even used his last name as a hint to show he’s a character splattered with gray traits. It would’ve been easy to make him a super techie with a personality similar to a robot. His looks, temperament, dialogue, and habits could’ve been the typical, calm genius who wears glasses, always has a white lab coat on, has no desire for anything other than knowledge, and his only hobby would have to be building computers. B-o-r-i-n-g!

Zane left that nonsense behind. Going gray meant this character had to…

  • Be at odds with his conscience-Zane is a good man, but flaws exist. He time surfs (looks for paradoxes throughout time in unauthorized time zones), refuses to follow Guardian TMF’s dress code for executives, is an adrenaline junkie…needs danger and risk too often, he’s stubborn to the point some would say he’s insane, has quite a temper, and Zane is willing to risk everything he has in 2632 to help a pastian (Julia Emerson) in 1998. His ancestry is a mix of Japanese and European, and he is quite sarcastic. Going gray made him more interesting!
  • Understand his definitions of right and wrong are not written on white paper with black ink-Zane comes to realize laws must be written to serve people…all people, and not be written as a means to justify helping only the history makers. The gray area is an uncomfortable one to be in, but it forces characters to do something…Zane decides to fight for change.
  • Finally make decisions about what he believes is right and wrong-Once Zane becomes aware of things that needed altered, his grayness fades a bit as he steps back toward the light. He chooses to set things right.

What characters come to mind who are painted with gray? Riddick, from The Chronicles of Riddick is one of my favorites! He has a whole lot of gray going on… If you’re an author, what have you done to your characters to make them a bit on the gray side?

Feel free to leave a comment, and thank you for visiting the Noracast!

Gabriel: A Quantum Guardian

Guardian 2632/Virtual Book Tour 

February 15: Guest Blog: Whispers                          February 18: Guest Blog: Hot Gossip Hot Reviews
February 21: Author Interview: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
Complete virtual book tour schedule at Noracast II.

Exciting news! My Sci-Fi novel, Guardian 2632, has been released by Melange Books. It is also available at All Romance, and the print version is coming soon. Time travel, Time Mercs, Elite Guardians, and a magnificent time chamber set the stage for Zane Grayson to go on a perilous journey through time to fix something tragically amiss in the past…1998 to be exact. Check out Interview with Zane Grayson/Executive Director of Guardian TMF to read the interview and prologue.

In Guardian 2632, Zane utilizes the high-tech power of a quantum computer that he refers to as Gabriel. According to HowStuffWorks, “If, as Moore’s Law states, the number of transistors on a microprocessor continues to double every 18 months, the year 2020 or 2030 will find the circuits on a microprocessor measured on an atomic scale. And the logical next step will be to create quantum computers, which will harness the power of atoms and molecules to perform memory and processing tasks.” From what I’ve read, quantum computers will have the capability of being millions of times faster than the supercomputers used today. Do take time to read this engaging article about them at HowStuffWorks. Here are a few more links about these amazing computers…Science Daily and TFOT. I was simply blown away by what the future will bring.

Now, let’s get back to Gabriel. It’s a quantum computer so advanced that it possesses artificial intelligence, and its personality is virtuous, sarcastic…and always has the survival of its creator, Zane Grayson, in its molecular mind as the top priority. In Chapter 1, Gabriel does its best to warn Zane about impending pain.

(Scene Setup: At Guardian TMF, in the time screening room, Zane is hacking through time, which is illegal…and if caught, a brutal death at the hands of merciless Time Mercs will be Zane’s fate.)

****

Suspending the time sequence, Zane shoved black bangs out of his eyes to study the holoscape for clues. Feeling a sense of corruption in the air, he said, “Something went tragically wrong at that portal and by God I’ll find out what it is. The Elites should’ve cleared these sequences years ago. It’s 2632 for heaven’s sake, so I need to save this data and find the truth.”

Moving the grid scanner through the enormous holoscape, Zane captured every square foot of the time sequence watching as the hijacked images transferred to Guardian TMF’s super quantum computer, named Gabriel. “Hey…Gabriel, now shoot this data to my Q-Gen, you know, Genny, so I can watch it later on a smaller scale and without using StaticAirVI.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but you want the data saved on Genny to view it later, without the risk of Miss Scott interrupting you. You never worry about StaticAirVI,” said Gabriel.

“Hey, Miss Scott, Marissa, is well…yes, you got me there. She loves to catch me time surfing.”

“And is your data grid ready?” asked Gabriel.

“My data grid upgrade from last week should be a go, I think it’s fine…just a little sore. Anyway, Genny needs the data grid to display the imagery caught by you, so let’s do this. This is too hot to miss, and the Q-Gen’s ability to display holographic data is way better than my Axsis or MIC.” Zane attached his quantum generated device…Genny, to his wrist.

“Dr. Grayson, if the data grid is inciting pain near your second cervical vertebrae, the axis…then I should not proceed with data transfer,” said Gabriel, “unless you are fond of your flesh burning.”

“Thanks for the heads-up, but my damn neck will not burn. And you know I hate drama. Come on, go for it. I have Genny on my wrist and that data grid in my neck is required for Genny to playback. They’re a team…we’re a team, let’s be team players, okay? Continue.”

“As you wish,” replied Gabriel, “but if your flesh catches fire…I told you so.”

“Okay, got it,” said Zane grinning at Gabriel. Yeah, this quantum computer is thinking a bit too much on its own, artificial intelligence for sure…but that’s the price I pay for building this technology. He watched as Gabriel’s lights flashed and the data grid/Genny transfer was activated. Feeling a slight tingling on his neck as the data grid saved the holographic imagery, he refused to let Gabriel know he felt it.

****

It’s true…the future holds astounding possibilities in all aspects of our lives. Vehicles will progress to become sleek transportation units that do not rely on gasoline, homes will no longer use old-fashioned building materials or designs, and once believed science fiction gadgets trapped in the imagination will become handheld realities.

Take a look at the future…Stunning Future Cities, Mbolic, Quno, NASA aircrafts of the future, and Futuristic Homes.

What do you think will be the biggest technological advancement in the next fifty, one hundred, or even five hundred years? Could it include time travel? I can’t say if time travel will ever be possible, but what a kick it is imagining the possibility of it.

Thanks for visiting!

Interview with Zane Grayson/Executive Director of Guardian TMF

It’s been awhile since I posted. Where have I been? Well, let’s just say I’ve had my hands full keeping up with Dr. Zane Grayson. This handsome guy, whose linage is a mix of Japanese and European, not only controlled my waking moments, but also my dreams where he wreaked havoc. For weeks, I’ve tried like crazy to catch my z’s, but alas, they belonged to the ups and downs of Zane.

What’s a girl to do? I mean this guy is unstoppable.  Dark eyes, a body to die for, strong and determined in every way…I had to help him. Who is he? Take a minute, and go on a literary adventure to find out about the protagonist in my latest novel, from Melange Books, called Guardian 2632. It hits the market in February 2011. The interview with Zane follows the excerpt.

Book Blurb:

Dr. Zane Grayson, the most accomplished executive director Guardian TMF has ever seen, is breaking the law…his law against time surfing. Zane has the supreme power, in 2632, to decide which paradoxes in time need altered, or deleted, but he’s frustrated. Something, or someone, is missing from his life.

Time surfing in illegal time zones is the rush Zane can’t live without. As addictive as the Martian dust called kilred, time surfing becomes Zane’s obsession. And knowing full well if caught by the Elite Guardians, he’ll suffer an unwelcome death by Time Mercs, Zane still dives deep into trouble. Soon, he discovers a mission in 2035 left him trapped in a timehole. This timehole places him in Pittsburgh, PA in 1998, instead of home. In Pittsburgh, Zane strolls into a coffee shop to see the bewitching Julia Emerson. From that point on, his life spirals out of control as he fights to protect what he loves most.

It’s possible Zane’s future is no longer in 2632…but actually in 1998. Guardian 2632 reveals what a man will sacrifice to save a life. This is the amazing story of Dr. Zane Grayson.

GUARDIAN 2632

“Man…can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way.” H.G. Wells, The Time Mahine

Prologue

April 18, 1955

“Albert is dead.”

“I’m terribly sorry. This is awful,” said Sophie, “but yesterday, I knew the end was coming when he was admitted to Princeton Hospital. Didn’t you sense it, Dr. Rosenthal?” she asked shoving her teal rimmed glasses back in place.

“Yeah, I suppose so. He’ll be greatly missed here at IAS and—”

“Forgive me, Dr. Rosenthal, it goes without saying he’ll be missed. More importantly, Albert will never be forgotten. Albert Einstein changed the world during his seventy-six years,” said Sophie as a few tears slid down her pale cheek.

“Um, Sophie…Miss Cervantes, head home. I’ve put you in charge of organizing Albert’s office, but that can wait,” said Dr. Rosenthal in a soft-spoken voice eliciting true compassion.

Feeling her stomach flip, Sophie grabbed her raincoat to leave, but then stopped. Picking up a black and white photograph of Einstein, she said, “This one’s my favorite…he looks happy. It was his 70th birthday party at his home in Princeton, New Jersey.” Sophie’s trembling fingers skimmed the photograph’s glass as a half-smile momentarily eased her pain. “He loved the kids, you know?”

“Yeah, Albert sure did,” he said while admiring the photograph. “They are the future.”

“Yes, well…the future will have to wait on me.” Placing the photograph back on Einstein’s cluttered desk, she said, “You’re right. No way can I work now.” Hurrying past Dr. Rosenthal, Sophie mumbled, “This is a dark day, indeed. I’ll miss you, Albert.”

* * * *

May 23, 1955

Slipping away from Sophie, the dusty box hit the floor to break open. Documents, notes, and files spilled out making a huge mess.

“Fantastic. I’ve killed an antique lamp and a picture frame, and now this happens. Jeez, what’s next?” Plopping down beside the paper mountain, Sophie then instinctively alphabetized the labeled files and stacked everything else in small piles. “Hum, where do these belong?” she asked looking at a bunch of papers. “This is not Albert’s handwriting.”

Flipping through the stapled hodgepodge of wrinkled papers, written in various colors of ink, curiosity got the better of her. “Time Travel 1953? Whoa, is this a short story? Yeah, maybe one of Albert’s previous students wanted him to see it.” After reading a few pages, Sophie confirmed Time Travel 1953 as fiction. “Oh, boy…Charlie will get a kick out of this. I mean, seriously, a time machine?”

* * * *

June 30, 1955

“Charlie! Open up…I have something for you,” said Sophie while pounding on the office door, IAS-238.

“No. I’ll pass. Just go away, Sophie,” replied Dr. Charlie Wilkinson.

“Oh, come on, don’t be a baby. I’ll pay to have your car fixed, okay? It’s only a scratch.”

The door opened like a hurricane had just passed by. “Just a scratch? It runs down the entire left side of my Jaguar. Hell, I knew something would happen, but I ignored that voice of reason in my head,” said Charlie still peeved about her irresponsibility.

“Yeah, well, I’m here to make amends.” Shoving Time Travel 1953 into his chest, Sophie’s pale blue eyes lit up. “Since your British skin won’t come to the July 4th party, read this. It’s hilarious. I almost forgot about it.”

“Um, thanks,” he said grasping the papers, “but the last piece of literature you recommended was total crap.” Moving Sophie’s black as midnight hair away from her eyes, Charlie sounded insincere saying, “I don’t want it.”

“Uh-huh, right. You’re dying to know what I found and I can tell,” said Sophie violating Charlie’s space. “I know you all too well.”

“Am I that obvious? Damn.”

“Yep, I’m afraid so. You’re biting your bottom lip while staring at me like I’m offering you a ride to the moon…that’s a dead giveaway. So, lighten up, it’s just some gibberish, maybe compiled from one of Albert’s past students.” A warm smile smothered Sophie’s face as she turned away from Charlie knowing she was forgiven for her unwanted, yet still highly proficient skill-set of destruction. “See you next week.”

* * * *

December 23, 1955

Michael? Are you still here?” Agitated, Charlie hit the door harder. “Michael!”

“What is your problem?” asked Dr. Michael Hodges opening the office door to greet his co-worker and best friend, Charlie. “And, yeah, I’m still here. Well for about two more minutes anyway. Why?”

“Hey, I know Christmas is days away and all, but…um…I—”

“Is something wrong, Charlie?” asked Michael. “You look like shit.”

“Oh, thanks…sleep deprivation for almost six months will do that.”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed you’ve been pushing it too hard. So what’s up?” asked Michael concerned for his friend. “It’s like you left the planet as of late, and the excuses for ignoring me are getting ridiculous.”

Placing a folder in Michael’s hands, Charlie leaned in to whisper, “Okay, I’m sorry. You’re right, but what’s up is that folder. You’ll understand everything soon enough. So read through Time Travel 1953. Do not show it to anyone, and I mean anyone. When you’ve done the math, abandon reality as you know it—and then we’ll talk. I know you’ll be impressed. I have to go.”

* * * *

March 22, 1956

The grease-slicked parking lot at IAS felt the downpour as puddles swelled on this rainy day. Thunder crashed and lightning flashed, maybe warning Charlie he was about to embark on an adventure of once believed impossibilities that held the fate of mankind within its realm.

Come on, Michael…why are you always late? Tapping on the steering wheel of his black Jaguar, Charlie’s heart raced like a runaway train while sweat rolled into his gray eyes. “My God, what are we doing? Michael has filled in most of the holes so it just about works. What if this is a huge mistake?”

The car door opened. Michael entered saying, “Stop it right now.”

“Stop?”

“Yes, I can tell from your unshaved face, your refusal to get a haircut, and by the repulsive smell of that cheap cologne, used to mask the fact showering is no longer part of your routine, that you’ve become a grotty prat…as you Brits say. You’re cranked on regret because we’ve solved so many of the mathematical problems within Time Travel 1953.”

A heavy sigh escaped Charlie as he glared at Michael. “Yeah, uh-huh…well we can’t all be Gregory Peck, so back off.”

“That’s funny and all, but only a few students have said I look like him. And that’s hardly worth mentioning. All joking aside, the data we have is—”

“We should burn this dangerous data and you know it.”

A contorted, arrogant smile overtook Michael’s handsome face. “But we’re not going to burn anything, are we, dear friend?”

Rolling his eyes, Charlie’s British accent was especially thick as he quoted Einstein saying, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.” Staring at Michael, Charlie grinned.

“That’s right. We’re going to transform the world,” said Dr. Michael Hodges.

* * * *

August 22, 1978

“So, it’s a done deal? Time Travel 1953 is mine…to do with whatever I see fit?” asked the highly renowned physicist, Max Kieto, of Outscape Technology located approximately 100 miles south of Kugluktuk, Canada.

“Yes, as long as you follow the guidelines in the contract, you’ll grow old,” warned an elderly, but still intimidating, Dr. Michael Hodges. “Charlie’s dead, but before he died, he hired watchdogs…hounds from hell if you get my drift, who will monitor Outscape Technology’s every move.”

“I understand,” said Max. “I’ll follow the guidelines you and Charlie outlined in the contract. I’m a smart guy, you know?”

“Yep, and I’m counting on that. You’re the only person we considered to protect this volatile data. At this moment in time, you’re above reproach…the most ethical physicist we know, but don’t be seduced by the power of Time Travel 1953. Always do what’s righteous, Max or—”

“I get it, Michael,” said Max. “I won’t disgrace myself by disregarding the incredible trust you both put in me. You and Charlie got very close. I believe with OT’s equipment, we’ll move subatomic particles through time within a decade…possibly sooner, God willing.”

“Well, I won’t live to see that happen. Damn,” said Michael.

“Hey, you never know, maybe you—”

“Uh, lung cancer says no I won’t. And lose the long face…it’s pathetic. I’ve lived an amazing life, so you do the same.” Michael shook Max’s hand placing the fate of mankind with Outscape Technology.

* * * *

February 8, 1991

The world is forever altered on February 8, 1991, although only Max’s crew of physicists, scientists, and technicians witnessed the subatomic particles as they traveled through time. Experiments intensified, people lived and died working at Outscape Technology as the data from Time Travel 1953 annihilated old theories while inspiring new ones to ensure the success of time travel.

* * * *

March 2, 2299

Three-hundred eight years vanished. World War III (2082-2086) altered the map of the world, including Canada, so Kugluktuk became Terents.  Research and experiments performed on the private site of Outscape Technology eventually gave birth to Guardian TMF…a time monitoring facility that had its first, small scale time machine routinely working after March 2, 2299. By 2343, Guardian TMF’s responsibilities toward the past, present, and future expanded with the completion of the time chamber…an enormous, silver sphere capable of escaping the so-called parameters of time.

* * * *

May 19, 2632

The spec of time called 2632 belongs to Dr. Zane Grayson, and he’s in charge of exploring paradoxes in authorized time sequences. He decides which tragedies and mysteries to bring before the Elites so they can be evaluated for missions. The Elites at Guardian TMF trust him unconditionally and why shouldn’t they? A mastermind and a gifted military surgeon, Zane has a perfect employment record.

Guardian TMF couldn’t be more pleased, but they are in the dark as to Zane’s crippled state of mind. He’s a daring man, determined to continue his quest of illegal time surfing, meaning time scans in unauthorized time sequences, because he believes something is out of sync. No matter, Guardian TMF has mastered the art of time travel taking a pledge to protect the world from its worst enemy…mankind.

____________________________________________________________________________

Interview: Dr. Zane Grayson

NW: Okay, so you work in the year 2632 at Guardian TMF. What is Guardian TMF?

Zane: Guardian TMF is a monstrous time monitoring facility located in Terents, Canada. At Guardian TMF, paradoxes in time are explored and, if possible, fixed. Its roots go all the way back to Albert Einstein’s death in 1955.

NW: Really? That’s interesting. How is Albert Einstein’s death involved?

Zane: Well, after Einstein died, curious looking papers, written in different colors of ink, were discovered by his assistant, Sophie Cervantes. Eventually, as you read in the prologue, the Time Travel 1953 papers found their way to Outscape Technologies and to the famous physicist Max Kieto. Guardian TMF was birthed from the findings at Outscape Technology.

NW: Good to know. Now why are you qualified to be the executive director at Guardian TMF?

Zane: I was elected by the Elite Guardians. They are the corporate owners of Guardian TMF. They decide what time zones, and then on a smaller scale…what time sequences, are authorized. From the time sequences, I choose what paradoxes to alter or fix. The Elites are; Victoria Merrick, Nathan Westfault, Marcus Rhoades, Sasha Yurtanu, Urik Rosdale, Max Reinhold, and Harrison Bellows.

NW: So, that’s it, you just get elected?

Zane: Oh, no…it’s not that simple.  I was born and raised at Guardian TMF. My father, Dr. Christian Grayson, met my mother, Asuka Ishikawa, at Guardian TMF. I followed in my father’s footsteps by joining its military, and my specialty is medicine. I became a surgeon. While in the military, I realized no way could I do a standard “nine to five” job. Whether this is good or bad, I don’t know…but I thrive on dangerous situations. After my military stint, I ran against Nathan Westfault, Aaron Cranston, and Kayla Preston for the executive director position at Guardian TMF.

NW: Can anyone run for that coveted position?

Zane: No. A person has to pass a series of tests, both physical and mental, before candidacy is announced.

NW: That makes sense considering you work with quantum computers, time machines, high-tech weapons, and so on and so forth.  I noticed Nathan Westfault became an Elite. Do you guys get along?

Zane: Yeah, I could write a book as an answer to that one. I’ll keep it simple…no.

NW: Now for an easier question. Your favorite color?

Zane: Black.

NW: Is that really a color?

Zane: Well, that depends on who you ask. If you ask a scientist, the answer might be, “no.” If you ask a six-year old, who is coloring with crayons, the answer will be a resounding “yes.”

NW: Okay, I’ll drop it because if I push it…I imagine I’m going to get a lecture about the Additive Color Theory.

Zane: Yes, you will. I like theories.

NW: Are you addicted to anything?

Zane: Hum, mostly time surfing. And caffeine. There are days I would kill for it. Chocolate is also high on my list, but don’t tell anyone. Oh, and of course, feeling a rush from the onset of a perilous situation that may lead to my death.

NW: Your biggest fear?

Zane: You have to read Guardian TMF to find out.

NW: No problem, I can handle that. What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you?

Zane: This almost sane lady brought me to life so I could share my story.

NW: Ah, thanks.

Zane: You’re welcome! See you in your dreams, Nora.

It’s Always about the Marshmallows

It’s Always about the Marshmallows

“Um…”

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.

John Wooden

If Pride and Prejudice is put in the DVD player, then homemade hot chocolate had better be heating on the stove. Oreo’s are expected to show up before show time and so are Twizzlers. However, heaven forbid if marshmallows fail to plop down into the steaming cups of chocolate milk. So what if there are no marshmallows?

Well, life will go on…that is true. But the marshmallows, floating in the chocolate pool until they melt making a creamy foam, adds an extra punch. Details, like a teaspoon of cinnamon in brownie mix, a handwritten note that’s been painstakingly decorated, or that unanticipated hug when needed most, are examples of things capable of enriching any day. I smile, saturated with happiness, when I see a kind note of encouragement left on my computer, especially since a super busy teenager took the time to write it.

Celebration New York Style

Details are important. Look at this photograph of New York City taken on New Year’s Eve, 2009. The shot oozes with a sense of commotion detailing how crazy the atmosphere is in NYC, especially when a celebration is under way. So many windows create interesting patterns above the people, some reflecting light while others are dark…which easily relates to the crowd since some of them possess hearts of light, while others are filled with darkness.

Black Cat in Athens

Although it may seem this photograph of a cat lacks details, it actually provides fantastic inspiration for poetry or a short story. The details are there…look again. Haphazardly white-washed, the steps look in need of repair because large gaps exist and weeds are growing. The black cat is not wearing a collar, and it may possibly be sniffing for food. The dirt in the larger pot is low and a small piece of paper is inside the pot, plus the plant on the step looks dead. So questions arise. How many cats live at this place? Could the piece of paper be important? Is the owner of this place in need of help? The photograph makes me wonder about what the front door looks like and who lives inside. Ah, yes…details. They are juicy tidbits that enhance everything.

As far as details in the craft of writing, let’s consider only characterization for this post. The most memorable characters are the ones whose personalities jump from the pages as a direct result of their characterization being filled with unique details about their past, present, and future goals, their habits…likes and dislikes, and details that reveal their inadequacies. Sometimes, what a character does wrong is more memorable than what most people would consider his/her high points. A flawed, but likeable, character with a deep dark secret…who gets into a precarious situation, compels many readers to find out what happens because they can relate to that on some level. Perfect characters? Does anyone know a perfect person? That would be difficult to relate to.

If by some chance you hit a grocery market today, snag a bag of marshmallows. Make hot chocolate, and add a handful of details to an ordinary day. You’ll smile with glee while snuggling on the couch with that special person…because life should be filled with marshmallows.

Add some fluff to life!

What are the details in your life that make it special? Have you had the pleasure of receiving a unique gift, or gesture, that while not necessary to survive, it caused joy? Feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for visiting the Noracast.