Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Black Gate Review

This past week, the IX was reviewed by Fletcher Vredenburg of the awesome Black Gate Fantasy Magazine.
If you would like to find out what everyone is raving about,
take a look for yourselves:
Soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds, including the IX Legion of Rome, are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing, and transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a stark ultimatum: Fight or die.
Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure...
Find out for yourselves why...

Barnes & Noble:

Writing Tips

I don't know about you, but when I write my novels, I often put something of myself into various characters. It makes it easier to react 'realistically' to certain scenarios.
I came across this interesting little article in Writing.com the other day regarding this subject, and thought I'd share it here.
Have you ever based a character on yourself? Writers are often advised to write what they know. What better way to write what you know than to make yourself part of the story?

Several best selling authors have based their main characters on themselves. Kathy Reichs, a forensic scientist, created the character Temperance Brennan, based on her life and career. Donald Harstad spent more than 20 years as a deputy sheriff in a rural Iowa county like his character Carl Houseman. Anne George based the mystery solving duo of Patricia Anne and Mary Alice in her "Southern Sisters" mysteries on herself and her cousin.

While Isaac Asimov is best known for writing science fiction, he wrote a series of short mystery stories, "The Tales of the Black Widowers" based on himself and several of his friends. The Black Widowers are a group of friends who meet once a month for dinner. Each month a different member brings a guest, and in exchange for his dinner, the guest must answer all questions posed by the members. Usually the Black Widowers help the guest solve a mystery or problem. The club is based on a real life group of authors known as the Trap Door Spiders, which included Asimov and several other well known authors.

If you think you and your life are not interesting enough to be part of a story, think again. You are the only person with the exact set of skills and knowledge that you have. Your experience may make you the only person in the world who can solve the mystery. In one of Mary Higgins Clark's novels, a fashion designer was instrumental in solving a mystery because of her knowledge of the victim's fashion sense. Because the victim was wearing a combination of clothing that the designer knew she would never (pun intended) *Smile* be caught dead in, the designer was able to determine that the killer had surprised her in her pyjamas at home, killed her, redressed her, and dumped the body somewhere else.

If you aren't comfortable creating a character who is your twin, try giving him or her one characteristic that is important to you. If you are a talented artist, cook, or seamstress, for example, try giving your character that ability. If possible, maybe the talent you share with your character could help them solve the mystery.

If you do base a character on yourself, don't make that character too perfect or protect them from negative consequences. The opinion of a good editor or reviewing partner will be extremely important if you identify closely with a character.
This is good advice, and I speak from experience. I employed certain facets of what's revealed here for my latest novel, the IX, and it paid off with bells on.
Why not try a little exercise?
In your current work, why not base a hero, villain,  minor character on yourself? You'll be surprised the depth it will add to your story. As I say, I tried that with the IX, and readers love many of the characters I created, simply because I put certain facets of my nature into goodies and baddies alike :)
Take a look at the IX yourself...you'll see what I mean.

Barnes & Noble:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monster Black Hole

Anyone who knows me well will remember I have a 'thing' for Black Holes. So, when I saw this interesting article in the science section of the Washington Post a few days ago, and just had to share it.
Step aside regular black holes, astronomers have detected an ancient black hole that's so incredibly massive and luminous, it defies our understanding of the early Universe. 
In fact its quasar, the shining object produced by a supermassive black hole, is 420 trillion times more luminous than our Sun - despite forming only around 900 million years after the birth of the Universe. This makes it the brightest object ever spotted in the ancient Universe. It's so impossibly bright that it's almost, well impossible.
"How could we have this massive black hole when the universe was so young? We don't currently have a satisfactory theory to explain it," the lead researcher, Xue-Bing Wu, from Peking University in China and the Kavli Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in the US, told Rachel Feltman from The Washington Post.The quasar, known as SDSS JO100+2802, is located around 12.8 billion light years away from Earth, and was spotted by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, before being verified by three Earth-bound telescopes.Reporting in Nature, the team explains that for the black hole to reach such a massive size in less than a billion years, it would have been constantly sucking in interstellar mass at its maximum rate. But this doesn't fit with our current understanding of black hole growth, which states that the process is limited by energy that blasts out of the quasar as the black hole heats up.Following that hypothesis, and also factoring in the limited amount of matter available in the early Universe, it makes it extremely difficult for scientists to explain how the supermassive black hole exists - and how it came to be 12 billion times more massive than our Sun."With this supermassive black hole, very early in the Universe, that theory cannot work," Fuyan Bian from the Australian National University, who was involved in the research, told Genelle Weule and Stuart Gary for ABC Science. "It's time for a new hypothesis and for some new physics."But even though we're still not sure how the mega quasar is possible, it's going to be a useful tool for finding other objects in the Universe. "This quasar is very unique. Just like the brightest lighthouse in the distant universe, its glowing light will help us probe more about the early Universe," said Wu in a press release.Sources: ABC ScienceThe Washington Post
As a writer, I love things that stretch the imagination. As an astronomer, I regularly look to the stars for inspiration. No wonder I've never suffered from writers block!
The truth behind everything is out there...You've just got to look.

Perseid Press

Home of The IX
Soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds, including the IX Legion of Rome, are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing, and transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a stark ultimatum: Fight or die.
Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure...
Find out for yourselves why...

Barnes & Noble:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Phenomenal Success of the IX Continues

#1 Bestseller

Now topping 10 Goodreads Lists, including:
New & Upcoming Books - Best Military Science Fiction - Best Science Fantasy Books - New Fantasy Novels - Intriguing New Sci-Fi/Fantasy - Military & Space Opera - Beyond Amazing Fantasy Books.
Roman legionnaires, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.
A  US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.
A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.
From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.
How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?
The IX. Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.
Find out for yourselves why so many are talking about the IX...

Barnes & Noble:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

2015 is a Time for Global Action


2015 is the Time for Global Action

2015 presents a historic and unprecedented opportunity to bring the countries and citizens of the world together to decide and embark on new pathways forward and improve the lives of people everywhere. These decisions will determine the global course of action to end poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, protect the environment and address climate change.

In 2015, countries have the opportunity to adopt a new sustainable development agenda and reach a global agreement on climate change. The actions taken in 2015 are expected to result in new sustainable development goals that build on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The UN is working with governments, civil society and other partners to build on the momentum generated by the MDGs and carry on with an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.
To find out more, follow the link:

Ancient super-bright quasar with massive black hole found.

Quasars — supermassive black holes found at the center of distant massive galaxies — are the most luminous beacons in the sky. These central supermassive black holes actively accrete the surrounding materials and release a huge amount of their gravitational energy. An international team of astronomers, including Carnegie’s Yuri Beletsky, has discovered the brightest quasar ever found in the early universe, which is powered by the most massive black hole observed for an object from that time.

The quasar was found at a redshift of z = 6.30. This is a measurement of how much the wavelength of light emitted from it that reaches us on Earth is stretched by the expansion of the universe. As such, it can be used to calculate the quasar’s age and distance from our planet. A higher redshift means larger distance and hence looking further back in time.

At a distance of 12.8 billion light-years from Earth, this quasar was formed only 900 million years after the Big Bang. Studying this quasar, named SDSS J0100+2802, will help scientists understand how quasars evolved in the earliest days of the universe. There are only 40 known quasars that have a redshift of higher than 6, a point that marks the beginning of the early universe.

“This quasar is very unique. Just like the brightest lighthouse in the distant universe, its glowing light will help us to probe more about the early universe,” said Xue-Bing Wu of Peking University and the Kavli Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

With a luminosity of 420 trillion that of our Sun, this new quasar is seven times brighter than the most distant quasar known, which is 13 billion light-years away. It harbors a black hole with mass of 12 billion solar masses, proving it to be the most luminous quasar with the most massive black hole among all the known high-redshift quasars.

The team developed a method of detecting quasars at redshifts of 5 and higher. These detections were verified by the 6.5-meter Multiple Mirror Telescope and 8.4-meter Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona; the 6.5-meter Magellan Telescope at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile; and the 8.2-meter Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii.

“This quasar is a unique laboratory to study the way that a quasar’s black hole and host galaxy co-evolve,” Beletsky said. “Our findings indicate that in the early universe quasar black holes probably grew faster than their host galaxies, although more research is needed to confirm this idea.”
Courtesy of Astronomy Magazine