Feature Friday Futures – Interview with Adam David Collings

I am doing a special weekend extra interview this week. This time I am interviewing Adam David Collings about his latest novel Jewel of The Stars. This brand new release hits home with me as we are both writing about adventures that take place on a space cruise.

Jewel of The Stars is an episodic series of novellas. There will be six episodes in a season, and I have four seasons planned, with one epic story arc that ties it all together. I plan to release “season boxsets” in paperback form. It’s a long-term project, but an exciting one.

What was the most surprising thing you found out while researching/writing your latest book?

My original plan was for the cruise ship, Jewel of The Stars to be in the middle of a picturesque nebula. That’s how they avoid getting destroyed in the alien invasion. Since most of what I knew about nebulae came from Star Trek, I thought I’d better do some research. I was a little disappointed to learn that the gasses in a nebula are so sparse that if you were inside it, you’d see nothing. It’s only when you are a very long way from it, that it looks beautiful. My character, Braxton White, encapsulated my disappointment when he says “Scientific reality often spoils the romanticism of ignorance.” In the book. This discovery required some minor changes to the plot.

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Cursed – A Felix the Fox Mystery

By Assaph Mehr


My clients usually have hopes. When one contacts a detective, they have certain expectations, an anticipation of resolution to their problems. The young woman sitting in front of me this morning, however, appeared devoid of emotion, resigned to her fate. Twenty-two, I thought, twenty-three at most. Pretty. Well dressed, with a cultured accent.

“I was married three times already,” she began. “The first was when I turned eighteen, as custom dictates. We were engaged since I was a child and he was just a young army cadet. A political alliance between our families. We were married in the old style, conferratio, as befitting our families. He was just elected as a quaestor and was assigned to the army of that year’s consul. He left on campaign right after our wedding, and never came back. Died en route from dysentery.

“I was again married a year later. …
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2 Military Sci Fi Books That Will Rip Your Heart Out

By Julia Vee

Sometimes you read something that is so good that you can hardly believe it.  It reaches right in and just yanks every raw emotion.

That doesn’t happen a lot for me.  I mean, I love a good space marine romp.  Maybe there are MECH suits, maybe there are fancy plasma weapons.  (I just finished Halo: The Fall of Reach, which was exactly like that and interspersed with some spaceship battles too.)

And then there are books which are a cut above:

  • Grunt Life by Weston Ochse
  • All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

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C H Clepitt

C H Clepitt has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the University of the West of England. As her Bachelor’s Degree was in Drama, and her Master’s Dissertation focused on little known 18th Century playwright Susannah Centlivre, Clepitt’s novels are extremely dialogue driven, and it has often been observed that they would translate well to the screen.

Since graduating in 2007, she gained experience in community and music journalism, before establishing satirical news website, Newsnibbles in 2010.

Lyra Shanti Author of the Week Sept. 1 – 7 2017

 By C H Clepitt

1. You love theatre, have you ever considered writing for the stage?

Actually, my husband and creative partner, Timothy Casey, and I have already written for the stage. We started off with children’s musicals, and one was even produced at a local theatre, but we have since written a full-length musical and a play. The musical is called “#chat” and is about a group of music lovers who form intense online relationships at the turn of the millennium. We recorded a concept album for it where we played and sang everything ourselves. You can find a few songs from it on my website at lyrashanti.com. We plan on writing more musicals in the future as well!

2. What inspired you to write in sci fi, as opposed to any other genre?

I’m drawn to sci-fi and fantasy because I love being taken away to another realm. I don’t like reality much, I suppose. Life should have more magic and dreams, in my opinion!

3. I saw somewhere that you include diverse characters in your writing. Do you think this is important in sci fi?

I think it’s important in EVERY genre. The world we live in is diverse! To represent it otherwise would be silly. In sci-fi worlds, there would be even more diversity, considering we’re dealing with various alien races from different planets. There should be every kind of colour, gender, sexual preference, and anything else possible!

4. If you could make a film of your new book, who would you cast and why?

Hmm… for The Dragon Warrior of Kri, I picture its main character and hero, Meddhi, as a very handsome, broad-shouldered semi-Asian looking man. Not easy to find! Maybe if Bruce Lee could be reanimated and brought back to life?

Meddhi’s best friend, Prince Atlar, should be blond, beautiful and very masculine. Maybe Brad Pitt?

Princess Pira should look like a mix of European and Indian. I can’t imagine who could play her, but she’d be extremely beautiful!

5. Have you ever considered writing in a different genre?

Yes. In fact, I’ve done so already. I have a biblical fiction called “The Rainbow Serpent.” It’s basically a loose re-imagining of The Garden of Eden, told from the snake’s point of view. It’s quite different than any version you’ve heard before.

I’m also very close to finishing a romantic drama called “The Artist.” It is the story of a multi-talented artist named Apollo who searches for the balance between artistic genius and madness, all while looking for true love. It’s a bit erotic and totally different from my previous novels. The Artist will be released in 2018.

Also, I write free form poetry and prose. You can find my poetry collection, Sediments, as well as The Rainbow Serpent on Amazon.com.

Read more at Newsnibbles


Featured Author ~ Brent A. Harris

New Release

Featured Author

Brent A. Harris

Interview by Bonnie Milani


Bonnie: Your up-coming novel, ‘A Time of Need’, is an alternate history set during the American Revolution.  Could you explain a bit just what ‘alternate history’ means?

Brent: Sure! And thanks for having me. Alternate history is when a writer takes one historical fact about our past and changes it. Then the past as we know it unravels to reveal a completely new world. What if a sharp-eyed soldier saw Lee’s Special Order 191 on the ground and recovered it before it fell into the hands of the Union? What if Teddy Roosevelt won his third term in office and persuaded a reluctant America to enter WW1 early? These are threads that masters of the genre have woven, and they’ve inspired me to write my own.

Bonnie: In ‘A Time of Need’ you’ve re-imagined George Washington as a British loyalist (Oy!) and Benedict Arnold as the great American leader with some serious character flaws.  Talk about a reversal!  Whatever made you conceive of Washington as a British loyalist?

Brent: The nice thing about writing alternate history, as the late Robert Conroy once said, “You’ll never run out of ideas.” The truth about Washington is that he always wanted to be part of the British forces, but every attempt was either thwarted or he was turned down. His mother refused his attempt to join the Royal Navy. And his service during the French and Indian War was all in the attempt to petition the British Foot for entry. I believe he tried and was turned away three times in his quest to purchase a commission. Washington’s eagerness to lead the American forces twenty years later came from both his ambition and perhaps a feeling of scorn at being passed over by the British so many times.

Bonnie: What is it that drew you specifically to the time period of the American Revolution?

Brent: I’ve always loved history the same as a poet loves words or an artist loves colors and canvas. Not a lot is written about the American Revolution; go to a bookstore and compare sections: Civil War and WW2 are fat with books while America’s founding is skeletal. It’s a shame because our history wasn’t founded on the mythos of founding fathers rallying the war cry for liberty. It was founded on rifts between families, loyalists and rebels, fought by famished farmers, led by a few ‘radical’ idealists up against the greatest army of its time. The future was far from pre-ordained. It’s scary how close it came to collapse on many occasions. One loud clang of pots to break the still night air as Washington retreated, one clear morning instead of fog; the Revolution was, in many cases, constantly one clear sky away from failure.

Bonnie: You’ve said elsewhere that history needs to be taught as real stories about real people instead of flat, dry facts.  That is SO true!  How do you think ‘A Time of Need’ could help Americans of any age better understand our actual history?

Brent: History is about people. Flawed, angst-ridden, passionate people – who made a lot of mistakes. The American Revolution is about those people. It’s about the slaves that found themselves caught-up in a world where words like ‘freedom’ didn’t apply to them. It’s about farmers who didn’t know if they could grow enough tobacco or indigo or rice to make it through to the next trading season, or if they had a trading partner left. It’s about Hessians who had no interest in being involved at all. And it’s also about the generals who cared for their own ambitions and agendas, sometimes moreso than the people under their command. If there’s one thing I hope to do with A Time of Need, it is to hold its world as a mirror to our own. After you’re entertained, of course.

Bonnie: Now, tell us something about yourself.  What first drew you to science fiction and alternate history as opposed to, say, writing straight historical novels?

Brent: Historical fiction is a pretty fun and gritty genre. While I appreciate the stories it brings (I haven’t shut down the possibility of writing in the genre in the future) I’m too much of a science fiction fan to start off limiting myself to what is just in the historical record. I like the Science Fiction aspect of building new worlds and discovering what those worlds might say about our own. I think alternate history bridges that gap between Science Fiction and straight historical dramas.

I read a lot of Science Fiction and we exhale what we take in. I love history, comics, board games, and all things science-fiction, so for now, I think I’ll meddle in the genre some more until, like my cat getting her ears scratched, I see something shiny dangling in the corner and stop, then stalk over to pounce it.

Thank you for having me!

Brent A. Harris is a Sidewise Award nominated author of alternate history. He also writes science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Previously published works can be found through Insomnia Publishing, Rivenstone Press, Rhetoric Askew, and Inklings Press, the latter having published his short story, Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon, which reaped the Sidewise Award nomination.

He is the author of A Time of Need, an alternate history of the American Revolution, which sees a world where George Washington fights alongside the British against American forces marshaled under a power-hungry Benedict Arnold.

Brent A Harris resides in Southern California, where he’s become convinced that Joshua trees are in fact, real trees. When not writing, he focuses on his family, shuttling children around as a stay-at-home dad, and staying up late to write after they are nestled in their beds.

Aaron-Michael Hall

Aaron-Michael Hall is an award-winning author residing in Georgia. She writes classic epic fantasy with a grimdark edge and science fantasy romance. Since August 2015, she has written nine full-length novels and published five. Her first novel, The Rise of Nazil, has won numerous reader awards.

When she is not interviewing indie authors on her Desu Beast Blog, being super mom, wrangling stampeding miniature dachshunds, or managing her 9 to 5, she is interweaving genres, creating languages, and adding just the right edge to keep you turning pages.

Aaron-Michael created the Mehlonii language for her Epic Fantasy series. Along with intriguing characters, multilayered plots, new species, deities, and creatures, the Mehlonii language adds that fantastical element missing from modern Epic Fantasy.

When asked why she wrote this series, Aaron-Michael simply said, “It needed to be written.”

Follow Aaron Michael Hall:



What Makes an Epic Fantasy

By Aaron-Michael Hall

When most people hear that question, common images come to mind. We usually think of fantastical, imagined worlds with knights, sorcerers, exceptional creatures, new species, and in some cases, new languages. There are heroes and heroines, life-changing quests, battles with swords and magic, and evil-doers plotting to destroy mankind and obliterate life as we know it.

Those are some of the images evoked when most people think of this genre. But what is Epic Fantasy? That question appears innocuous enough. In the age of Google and instant information, it’s simple to find the answer to such queries. Or is it? When typing “epic fantasy definition” into my search bar, the first response is Wikipedia. Ah yes, the wealth of information that it provides is astounding. However, when I click the link, “High Fantasy” is the result. For some reason, High Fantasy and Epic Fantasy are presented as interchangeable genres, having exactly, or nearly identical meaning. From my perspective, the concept of Epic Fantasy has become simplistic and marginalized over time.

Let’s look at the short definition Wikipedia provides: High fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, defined either by its setting or by the epic stature of its characters, themes, and plot.

The EPIC in Epic Fantasy should be an indicator of something deeper and more multifaceted than a fantastical world encompassing heroes and like themes. In an Epic Fantasy, the cast is large, the world building is intricate, it’s usually expressed in several viewpoints, and the success or failures of the “heroes” has a substantial effect on the entire world. That level of intrigue elevates the story and increases the breadth and controversies (moral and otherwise) associated with it.

The word EPIC itself is in reference to an epic poem, epos, or epopee. These lengthy works detailed exploits of heroic deeds and events significant to differing cultures and nations.  Classic Epic Poems recount the journeys of their heroes and the physical and mental fortitude brought forth to overcome and subsist during devastating trials. They were lengthy and complex works depicting great battles, mystical forces, intervening deities, and malefic beings. The Epics weren’t meant to merely entertain; their meaning was greater than that. They not only told these masterful stories, they revealed the impact these adventures had on the world as a whole. A few examples of such works are Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Aeneid, Mahabharata, The Iliad and Odyssey, Story of Ramayana, and Paradise Lost.

So, what’s classified as Epic Fantasy in 2017? That definition has certainly altered over time and will probably continue to remain malleable to a certain extent. Evenso, there are specific criteria that we look for in fantasy as a whole. I’m not speaking of the common tropes readers and unfortunately many authors have begun to rely upon: elves, dragons, ogres, and dwarves. I’m referring to much broader elements and concepts. Some examples are the story’s time-span encompassing years or more, a new and engrossing world or setting, a well-defined magic system, devastating conflict, complex characters, and mythos. Those common aspects are almost universal and applied differently depending on the author.

The world itself is contrived by the author and requires time to acclimate the reader to this fantastical creation, its magic systems, mythos, species, deities, and histories. Most Epics are grand in scale, structure, concepts, and prose. Thusly, Epic Fantasies usually span several volumes, covering multiple years, and depict the growth of characters and their mounting conflicts.

When discussing Epic Fantasy, one author is mentioned before any other. J.R.R. Tolkien is usually revered as the master of Epic Fantasy. His novels, unique languages, and fantastical worlds have fascinated readers for decades. With his exceptional world building, characters, and structure, Tolkien is an accepted standard for many fantasy authors and readers alike. But even Tolkien received inspiration from other sources. The exceptionally written epic poem, Beowulf definitely fits that bill just as the Elder Edda, Leiden Riddle, Macbeth, The Pickwick Papers, and greats like William Morris, George MacDonald, and Owen Barfield.

Recently, I was a panelist with Christopher Paolini and Michael Livingston at a convention. It was enlightening to hear their viewpoints about Epic Fantasy (classical and otherwise). Both are accomplished authors in their own right and draw inspiration from Tolkien and others. During our conversations and audience questions, the definition of what constitutes Epic Fantasy varied immensely.

What is Epic Fantasy? That question will probably be debated for years to come. Epic-ness isn’t defined by merely the length of a story or even by how many battles are fought and how much magic is used. Epic tales definitely encompass a new and fantastical world facing perils and destruction. There’s a well developed magic system, complex and flawed characters, unique world building and species. But if it lacks a definable and significant change to this world and what its denizens must undergo, relatable and complex characters growing to achieve this common goal, and how this failure would impact the world, it’s lacking in Epic-ness. Epic doesn’t speak of the verbosity of the author. Epic speaks to the depth, significance, intrigue, scope, characterization, and plot created by the author to draw us into this fantastical world and care about the outcomes of its characters.

Interesting Blogs by Our Knights

Altered Instinct
This blog is run by Stephen Hunt and is the blogging outlet for Inklings Press.
You will find posts on: Book Launches, Book Reviews, A bit of current events

Working Title Blogspot
Limericks and Interviews and Coffee Breaks, OH MY! Brought to you by our very own Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook

Sam Colbran
Sam explores the joys and woes of being a writer.

World News Center
Bill McCormick offers up everything from reviews to political comentary: all with a dash of humor.

Judith Rook
Writer, Reader, and General Book Fan: Judith Rook dishes on Science Fiction and Other Things.

Sword & Pen
Cindy Tomamichel’s blog has it all, writing help, reviews, interviews and short stories.

Mary R. Woldering
Reviews, interviews, and a bit of everything else.

Ricardo Victoria
Writer, Toy Photographer, Random Musings

Julia Vee
Discover the Blog – Fiction, Futurism, and More

Melissa H. North
A truly creative piece of writing is a dangerous thing, it can change your life!

Lynne Stringer
Author. Editor. Journalist

Zachry Wheeler
Commentary about being an extra, writing novels, and how to survive a Comic Con.

But I Don’t Like Salad
Lots of Reviews

Even more reviews

Bill McSciFi
A place to get lost for hours, days, years……