MARK ILES ROARS WITH BOOK 3 IN SCIFI SERIES ‘DARKENING STARS’

Blog favorite Mark Iles is back with a new release ROAR OF LIONS that’s currently ranking in the top 10 on Amazon in several categories. As you would expect, he has a lot to say about that!

Hello, Mark.

Congrats on the new release. Is it true that you’re already at work on something new?

A bit. I’m a firm believer in not giving away your story, as when you do so the train of thought tends to drain away with the words. I will say that the new book is a mixture of science fiction, fantasy and horror – done in a new way for me. I like to think about what really scares people, why, and how to put that into a tale.

 

Let’s talk DARKENING STARS

To what extent do you think your own military experiences influenced the series?

To be honest, a surprising amount. For instance, the bit where my character shoves her rifle towards a non-commissioned officer’s mouth and pulls the trigger. I was attached to the commandos for a while back in the early 80’s, and was training with them on Dartmoor one dark and snowy night. I was asleep, totally exhausted when, simulating an attack, this guy who’d been picking on me threw a thunder flash in my direction, quite deliberately I’m sure. Damned thing went off right next to my head. I leapt up, cocked my rifle, thrust it towards his face and before I realised what I’d done pulled the trigger. All I’ll say it went off exceptionally close. It pure reflex believe me and luckily my magazine was full of blanks.

That was a long time ago and luckily the guy concerned took it remarkedly well. He even bought me a pint the next time we were ashore but he never picked on me again. You don’t forget stuff like that and it makes kinda interesting reading. Guess you’d get in all sorts of trouble for that sort of thing now.

 

Armchair enthusiasts spend a lot of time musing over first contact with aliens. Personally, I think they’re already here and have been for eons. What do you think would happen if contact was made?

I think first contact with an alien species is open to misinterpretation on so many levels. I was told once that one of the first English people to talk to Bedouins was shown a sheep’s eyeball to show it was freshly killed. Thinking it was some kind of ritual or honour the chap ate it. Consequently, for many years we believed it was tradition while they thought it was something we did. Whether it’s true or not, it still gives an indication of how things can so easily be misconstrued.

In J. Michael Straczynski’s marvellous Babylon 5, the Minbari approach humans for the first time with their gun ports open as a sign of respect. The humans took it as a sign they were preparing to fire and engaged them, and so the first war began.

In answer to your question the answer is yes, first contact has the potential for disaster.

ROAR OF LIONS is the third book in the series. Is a fourth coming up next? 

I would like to return to Selena’s journey, and have left openings for such. But in ‘Roar of Lions’ her story comes full circle. Due to illness it took me a long time to write, and I now have another project demanding to be written – one I’m truly excited about. The new book has already been started and there are so many avenues to explore. As Bilbo Baggins might say, I’m going on an adventure…

ROAR OF LIONS IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AS A FREE DOWNLOAD THROUGH NOVEMBER 3

GET IT HERE

SELENA DILLON IS BACK AND HER CRACK TEAM OF COMMANDOS ARE BEHIND HER

ROAR OF LIONS_eBook_optThe ForeRunners have destroyed one of Capulet’s cities, and the joint Lenar-Human search teams are needed to root out the enemy. But when the empathic Lenars refuse to work without Selena Dillon and her team of commandos, they soon find themselves back on Capulet in an uneasy alliance with the planetary administration and in a race against time to stop the enemy from destroying other cities.

Throughout the galaxy billions are dying as the war spreads. Despite her fear that the alien Manta and their allies will turn against them, Selena needs to truly unite the Alliance of Worlds and find a way to destroy the ForeRunners before it’s too late.

Selena knows there’s no more running, and that sooner or later there will be a final reckoning between herself and the queen. But even if they survive that long she needs to discover who will stand with her, and who against her, in this final confrontation with the tyrannical monarch.

 

Excerpt

Collecting Singh and Shadow, Selena found Baron waiting for them when they arrived. To her surprise, he was wearing the uniform of the Royal Bodyguard.

“Nice to meet you at last, Commander,” Baron said, saluting as he led the way. “A shame it’s under such circumstances. Like many here, I’ve followed your exploits. Tell me, is it true you once fed an enemy their own pets and didn’t tell them until they’d finished their meal?”

Selena gave him the once over. “No, but it’s an idea. Why, do you have any pets?”

He gave a half smile. “Ah, we’re far from enemies Commander, despite my uniform. I want this killer caught as much as you do. And no, I don’t have any pets, thankfully.”

Baron was a tall but slim man, his gray hair crewcut with a large balding area on his crown. He looked wrinkled and haggard, tired beyond belief. Yet his green eyes were kind and his voice soft.

She eyed his uniform. “You’re a member of the Royal Bodyguard. How come the colonel put you forward for this?”

“I believe that Her Majesty thought it a good idea and had a word. I can advise on protocol and other such matters.”

Putting her distrust to one side, they followed him, and passed through the military cordon and under the high white-stone arch into an alleyway that was so narrow daylight struggled against the gloom. The rough concrete buildings around them were obviously some of the first made by the colonists when they arrived, their ancient machines churning out concrete from native material to quickly provide the housing and protective walls needed for the settlers.

Shadowy doorways beckoned, boxes were piled against the walls, amidst occasional pools of water. Cats and rodents slipped through the gloom while rubbish scampered over the flagstones, driven by the soft breeze tainted with the stench of refuse.

“You look familiar somehow,” Selena said to Baron, after a while. “Do we know each other?”

His bottle-green eyes remained on hers. “No, but I was born on this world so we could easily have bumped into one another. We may even have mutual friends. You never know. I pop up in all kinds of places and work all hours, but when working exclusively for the queen I mostly do nights. I like the way the moons dance.”

Selena froze as he uttered the last phrase, recognising it as a rebel recognition code. Knowing the others will have noticed the phrase was slightly out of place, she just gave a slight nod of acknowledgement. At that moment, they stopped at a doorway and her eyes slid over the blood splattered wall and passageway. “Can you tell me what happened?”

“A citizen came through here late last night and found them. They’ve been eviscerated—gutted if you will. There’s not a single organ remaining, not even their brains or eyes.”

“There was just their bodies?”

“Aye Ma’am. They’ve been taken to the morgue. We’ve never had anything like this before, I think we’re a bit out of our depth.”

 

FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS CLICK HERE 

Cull Cover

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Portrait optMark’s short stories have been published in Back Brain Recluse, Dream, New Moon, Haunts, Kalkion, Screaming Dreams, and the anthologies Write to Fight, Escape Velocity, Auguries and Monk Punk. With over forty years’ experience in the martial arts and a 9th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, he’s written features for the magazines Combat, Taekwondo & Korean Martial Arts, Fighters, Junk, Martial Arts Illustrated, profwritingacademy.com and calmzone.net. He also runs a writer’s group for the British Science Fiction Association, along with The Scribe for Veterans with the help of The Royal British Legion.

His first full length work ‘Kwak’s Competition Taekwondo’, was published in Hong Kong, while he was based there with the Royal Navy for three years in 1985. His debut novel ‘A Pride of Lions’, Book I in The Darkening Stars, was published byA Pride of Lions Solstice in September 2013. Book II, ‘The Cull of Lions’, was published a year later. ‘Roar of Lions’ is the third book in the series.

Solstice have also published four novellas: ‘A Connoisseur of the Bizarre’, ‘Sally Jane’, ‘Nightshade’ and ‘Santa Claws is Coming’ – along with the short story compilation ‘Falling From Grace & Others’.

 

Buy Links

A Pride of Lions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pride-Lions-Darkening-Stars/dp/149425445X/

The Cull of Lions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cull-Lions-Darkening-Stars/dp/162526089X/

Roar of Lions:

Falling from Grace & Others: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Falling-Grace-Others-Mark-Iles-ebook/dp/B00OYV3CHE/

 

Media Links

Amazon authors page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Iles/e/B004YZBP3I/

 

 

 

 

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UNSTOPPABLE MARIE LAVENDER

 

TOMORROW: John L. DeBoer talks terror, counter-terror, expansion and containment as the focal of his new release WHEN THE REAPER COMES.

GEOFF NELDER: CHECKING THE BAGGAGE

Yesterday, UK author Geoff Nelder challenged me with some fun questions and a proviso: “I don’t know” is not an option. Today on Blog Funkhauser, I return the favor. GN is more than up to the task. Welcome!

 

What is your writer’s name?

Geoff Nelder

 

What book you want to publicize? Genre? Target audience?

ARIA1-jupARIA: LEFT LUGGAGE is the only book like it! Infectious amnesia doesn’t exist, thank goodness but that’s the unique premise of this, the first book of a trilogy in a science fiction and medical mystery aimed at adults. Even though Martin Amis says in scifi the plot is the main character, in ARIA everything orbits around people. Imagine the ramifications when the virus spreads with no one immune and everyone losing memory backwards at the rate of a year’s worth per week. People forget their jobs, their address, how to read, write and talk. You wake up next to a stranger each morning! Did you… last night?

 

What book inspired you most, as an adult, to take up fiction writing?

I was born writing jokes culminating in the honour of being an editor for the rag mag at Sheffield University. Teaching meant I had little time to write novels but writing student reports gave me ample opportunities to be creative. In 1995 I won the staffroom prize for writing this report (which I’d probably plagiarised) ‘The dawn of legibility in Stuart’s handwriting revealed his utter incapacity to spell.’ That prize was Tibor Fischer’s THE THOUGHT GANG. It’s premise is thus: consider two C20th century truths: 1) bank thieves were successful; 2) most bank thieves were unintelligent. Now picture an out-of-work philosopher gathering others like him and going on a bank-robbing spree through France. Brilliant, and best of all, Fischer loves playing with words. Maybe so much that the reader is too often whipped out of their fictive dream but it inspired me to write in a humorous mode and so wrote ESCAPING REALITY, a humorous thriller.

 

What funny moment have you experienced at a book signing – other author or yourself?

I was signing ESCAPING REALITY in Carlisle when two gorgeous young women advanced on my table. Pen poised, I asked what they’d like me to write. “Just move out of the way, dear, you’re blocking our way to the Spot the Dog books.”

 

Give us a picture of your usual writing desk / place and one of your favourite place to write? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Most of my writing is done in the library and the picture shows me in the spy-mirror they have there.

librarymirror

My favourite place to write is out in the open though under shade, where I can hear and see the sea on the Greek island of Methana.

office

 

What makes your book a must-read to aficionadas of the genre?

It’s the only one with infectious amnesia; astronaut Leroy Chiao helped with techie details while he WAS IN ORBIT; the idea for writing it came to me while riding up a hill in Wales; endorsed by SF greats such as Mike Resnick, Jonathan Grimwood and Brad Lineweaver; all the locations are real.

 

What makes you mad?

Publishers who take a year to respond with only a ‘don’t love it enough’ and no helpful critiques. I was an acquisition editor and have accepted and rejected thousands of stories and wrote a brief review of each one and within a month.

 

What makes you laugh?

Life makes me laugh – it’s too short not to. At a party I mentioned that sex was the funniest thing people can do. Someone mentioned that to my wife and she retorted: “It IS, with him.”

 

What gets in the way of your writing and how do you overcome such blocks and obstacles?

I’m so easily distracted, especially by grandchildren and their nana. To finish a project I often take myself off to a writers’ retreat or similar for a week. Also I’m addicted to cycling. My legs itch to rotate after being still for two hours. I don’t get writers’ block as such because I’m always working on several projects and just switch one to another.

 

LINKS

Kindle ARIA smarturl.it/1fexhs

Paperback ARIA http://hyperurl.co/52cmtv

Geoff’s Author page UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

Facebook for ARIA

http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy

twitter @geoffnelder

http://nelderaria.wikia.com/wiki/NelderAria_Wiki

website http://geoffnelder.com

TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY SIX: JIM CRONIN

author photoScience fiction writer Jim Cronin takes up the the reins as we enter week two of the blogothon. Citing a preference for 50’s and 60’s era Sci Fi movies, classical music and my favorite martian as creative influences, I can’t help but applaud this wildly inventive author. Word to the wise, though: keep an eye on your DNA!  Hi, Jim!

­­­­­­

The Story:

Book CoverHis home world is dead; the victim of a supernova, but this does not stop Karm from attempting to save the Brin, his extinct species. Rescued by an alien race from a derelict spacecraft as a vial of DNA, then cloned, Karm must travel back in time, convince a small team of co-conspirators to join him in his quest, and outmaneuver a power hungry monarch and his fanatic brother, leader of The Faith, both absolutely committed to opposing him.

All of Karm’s plans rest on the untested and controversial cloning theories of the young geneticist Dr. Jontar Rocker, and the abilities of his bodyguard, personal assistant, and surrogate niece, Maripa. Will their combined efforts be enough to overcome the power of the monarchy and the planet’s most influential religion? Will Karm’s secrets destroy the trust of his companions and ruin his campaign to save the Brin?

Reviews:

Great book! Twists in plot were well thought out & timed perfectly – just when you thought you knew where you were going, a twist comes into play…

by Clare Bruno

Mr. Cronin writes on several levels successfully: from the detailed lives of a myriad of characters to the larger economic & political powers at play in a full world, complex and dangerous. And that’s not even counting the star that’s about to go supernova!…

by Debauched Sloth

The author’s characters are varied, both in personality and trait, which makes them all interesting…. Hegira augurs well for Jim Cronin’s future books. I look forward to reading more from him…

by Tracy Black

Excerpt“Come in, Latonia Base…come in Latonia Base. This is Starship Hegira, repeat, this is Hegira. Come in, Latonia.”

Static crackled from the speaker. The lieutenant, bleeding and dying from the injuries he received during the mutiny trembled feebly as he gripped the microphone. Blood soaked his crest feathers; his talons broken and jagged from the hand-to-hand combat in the spaceship’s passageways. He knew his wounds were fatal, but his duty was clear: to report back to base about the failure of the mission. His body tensed as the next wave of pain shot through him.

“Latonia Base, this is Hegira. Come in. Priority clearance Falcon, Delta. Come in Base. Damn you to hell!” the soldier shouted in desperation. “Somebody answer! Come in, Latonia!” The microphone dropped from his talons, clattering on the control panel before falling to the metal plated floor. The lieutenant slumped back into the chair, pressing a blood soaked rag to his shoulder. Staring out the view port he watched the star-filled blackness and wondered at the cruel turn fate had taken over the past few days.

Link to Amazon .com Page to Order: http://www.amazon.com/Hegira-Jim-Cronin-ebook/dp/B010E3EKC6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435425640&sr=1-1&keywords=Hegira+jim+Cronin

Q & A

  1. HEGIRA features a character cloned from a vial of DNA. To what degree did your knowledge of Zoology play a part in the science behind the story?

While I do have some familiarity with cloning, my main goal was to pick some aspect of science which has the potential to be controversial. I wanted to deal with the schism between science and religion and bringing cloning to its full potential struck me as an interesting subject. Evolution is too familiar, but I wanted something with a similar potential.

  1. Your self-confessed struggle with the English language (tongue in cheek) is refreshing and all too familiar. Tell us about    the writing courses you took and which ones helped you most on your quest to write The Novel.

To be honest, I only had one writing course in college. That one consisted almost entirely of us writing each night whatever struck our fancy. The topic did not matter. We could write nothing but “I have nothing to say tonight” if we wanted, so long as we wrote something.  The professor then would respond. His response may or may not have been anything related to what we wrote. I guess it was sort of a late ’60’s or early ’70’s sort of thing. What I have learned about writing came more from working as a teacher and paying attention to what my Language Arts partners taught and my trying to copy them whenever I required my students to write something.

  1. Your worst rejection letter ever: what did it say?

These actually were pretty much the standard “Sorry, but this is just not the sort of story we are looking for right now.”  Rejections. None of then were rude or anything, but always disappointing.

  1. The day you got your contract: anecdote, please!

ShhhhhPlease don’t tell my wife this, but I actually did a bit of a victory dance in the living room. I NEVER dance. It is absolutely not something I do. But for some reason I did then. If she ever hears I did a dance she may force me to take her out dancing.  That would be bad. 🙂

Ed. Don’t worry friend. Your secret is safe with me!

  1. There are a lot of science fiction films out there that have suffered darts. DUNE comes to mind (and I liked it for all its campy 80’s fashion). What’s your favorite and how did it inform your work as a science fiction writer?

I much prefer the books to their films, but Ender’s Game was pretty good. I also am a Ex Machinacompulsive viewer of almost any 1950’s or 1960’s era sci fi movies. Of course I also thought Guardians of the Galaxy was a hoot. Ex Machina made me think and was very interesting. The new Star Trek movies are very good as well.

  1. What’s next?

Currently I am almost finished with the sequel to Hegira. This will be a trilogy, I hope. The third book is only in rough outline form so far though. I also have an idea for a YA science fiction story floating around.

  1. What’s your second favorite genre and why?
Author Jeff Shaara
Author Jeff Shaara

This is kind of a toss up between fantasy and historical fiction. I love Tolkein, Eddings, and Martin, but Jeff Shaara and David McCoullough are also incredible. Of course books on Physics, Evolution, and science in general are always good too.

  1. Who and what do you read when you aren’t writing, editing and publishing?

Science Fiction, History, Historical Fiction, Science, and the occasional Stephen King or James Patterson, among others. I almost always have two or three novels going on at the same time. Does that qualify as an addiction?

  1.  Do you have a muse?

MarvinNot really. Guess I am too grounded in science for that.  Unless you count all of my Marvin the Martian characters I have hanging around. But I do listen to classical music when I write.

  1. Last words? Tell us something you want us to know.

Whether it’s writing, or some other passion you may have, never give up until you have exhausted every ounce of effort and drive you can muster to achieve it. And then go out and give it some more before you move on and try to find another dream. If you give up before you have given it your everything, you’ll always have regrets. That, and just a simple, Be Nice To Others.

Ed. I can live with that!

biographyI worked for thirty five years as a middle school science teacher, but am now semi-retired, working part-time as an educator/performer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I have been married for thirty seven years to the love of my life, Diane. Together, we raised two incredible sons, and now have a beautiful granddaughter to spoil rotten.

I was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in Arlington, Virginia before moving to Denver where I attended High School and eventually college at Colorado State University, graduating with a degree in Zoology and a teacher certification. I currently live near Denver in the small town of Parker.

Links Image

Website:  http://www.authorjimcroninhegira.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Jim-Cronin/704524026327838?ref=hl

Twitter: @authorjimcronin

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/hp/?dnr=kjTxJ-RsTaDhq19ukZhtJ3GJTaCRW19d27h8

Link to Amazon .com Page to Order: http://www.amazon.com/Hegira-Jim-Cronin-ebook/dp/B010E3EKC6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435425640&sr=1-1&keywords=Hegira+jim+Cronin

Thank you Jim Cronin. Best of luck with HEGIRA and the sequel! Let that imagination roll. Cheers,

ABF

Whether a character in your novel is full of choler, bile, phlegm, blood or plain old buffalo chips, the fire of life is in there, too, as long as that character lives.”
—James Alexander Thom

TOMORROW:

Author Simone Salmon talks time relativity, the importance of relaxation and her new novel CAMILLE AND THE BEARS OF BEISA-DRAFNEL.

NEW HEAD SHOT