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Like most Moms, A.R. Shaw worries about her kids. She never dreamed the worrying would lead her to write a post-apocalyptic series.
SHAW
“I began thinking along the lines of survival,” says Shaw. “If he needed to get home, how would he do that? What route would he take?”

This line of thought sparked her imagination. From that she createdGraham’s Resolution series featuring Graham Morgan.

Many post-apocalyptic books contain protagonists aware of forthcoming disaster. Shaw wanted something a little different.

“I wanted someone who was much more realistic,” she says of character Graham. “A clueless guy who wasn’t prepared and scoffed at the mere mention of preparedness.” She created Graham and then threw him to the wolves.

Shaw creates her characters from scratch, deciding on features as she goes. Not one to write bios or sketch out her characters, she “thinks about them until I can stand next to them and breathe the same air they’re pulling into their own lungs. Then I know I’ve got them.”

As a former Radio Operator in the United States Air Force Reserves, then a wife and mother of four children, Shaw doesn’t hesitate to throw herself into a task. She wrote The China Pandemic, Book 1 of Graham’s Resolution series in three months. As the kids had all left home, she had only her dog Oakley and the tick-tocking of the clock for companionship.

Solitude is a necessity for writing, but in Shaw’s opinion, the storytelling is equally important. “A story that’s unique and intriguing, [that’s] the most important aspect of writing a story.”

Shaw’s father was in the oil business. This afforded her opportunities to experience life in different countries. She remembers monkeys swinging from tree to tree while living in Venezuela. “It makes for an interesting upbringing and coping mechanisms.” As a result, Shaw read a lot as a child and draws from her personal experiences in her writing. “Growing up that way also makes for a heightened sense of humor.”

One of her childhood experiences helped set the tone for Graham’s Resolution series. During hurricane season in Texas, people were expected to prepare for the worst. “We prepared so that we didn’t starve waiting for someone to help us. We kept drinking water available and extra canned food before we needed it.”

During a panel discussion at the Long Beach Comic Expo, part of the discussion revolved around post-apocalyptic scenarios. Shaw’s comment, “I think if society falls you will see the worst of humanity and the best of humanity,” was well-received as well as poignant.

Like many writers, Shaw has a long list of writers she admires: Hemingway, Steinbeck, Stephen King and Ann Quindlen just to name a few.  Two authors she would most like to have a conversation with are Ray Bradbury and Ayn Rand. Bradbury had a “wicked way of foretelling the future. [Rand] was a master at description and I’d love to ask her many questions.”

Shaw has written and published two books thus far in Graham’s Resolution series: The China Pandemic and The CascadePreppers. The Last Infidels, the third installment, is due out soon. She is currently working on the fourth installment, as yet untitled. She also recently completed a novella for Stephen Konkoly’s Kindle World – Perseid Collapse series, Deception on Durham Road. Its release is slated for February 3rd.

To learn more about A.R. Shaw and her books visit

A.R. Shaw’s Amazon Page

Website

Follow her on Social Media:

Twitter: @arshawauthor

Facebook

Review of The China Pandemic 

Review of The Cascade Preppers

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website, follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at www.penspen.info 

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A.W. Daniels may not have set out to be one of the 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading, but it’s a goal he may just accomplish. awdanielsbooks

“Apparently, I’ve been able to strike a nerve with a certain type of reader,” says Daniels. “I can only hope it’s for the good.”

Apparently, it was for the good as Daniels is a finalist in The Authors Show (www.theauthorsshow.com) annual competition.

The author of The Bethlehem Project series – Genetically Privileged, Genetically Conflicted and the forthcoming Genetically Rejected – has always been interested in the natural sciences. An article about designer babies he read while on a business trip to Canada sparked his imagination.

“I began speculating about the possibilities, ethics and the product of such an endeavor,” Daniels says.

What would those individuals created from such technology think of the world that spawned them? Would they see their creators as inferiors? were only a few of the questions he contemplated regarding the subject of genetic engineering.

The idea for the series developed for almost a year before Daniels began putting words to paper. Once started, it took only a month to complete the first draft.

“It literally spewed onto the pages after I began writing,” Daniels says. “This means there was quite a bit of editing involved.”

Growing up in conventional middle-class America, Daniels feels technology has changed almost every facet of daily life, for better and otherwise. On that, Daniels states, “I’ve always felt that change must occur and it is up to the individual to use the new tools available to improve our personal and societal environment.”

The author’s reading tastes run the gamut from medical and science journals to Cervantes, Machiavelli and Stephen Colbert to a dash of science fiction from Kurt Vonnegut.

His eclectic reading choices reflect his desire to encourage non-conventional thought. “I strive for my children to explore any topic, be it religion, politics or any facet of society and question the status quo,” Daniels explains. “I want them to ask themselves ‘what can I do to make it better?’ I’ve seen conventional thought quell the inquiring mind in school and everyday life.”

In an interview on The Authors Show, Daniels was asked about the Biblical references of his book Genetically Privileged.

While not attempting to create a religious book, Daniels says, “Religion and science have always struggled.” By using names and situations, “I wanted that thread running through the series. It’s indicative of the struggle between science and religion, how they grow apart then come back together in certain situations. I believe in the end we’re going to find that religion and science are more closely related than we think currently.”

The science of the book goes beyond cloning. Most of the science in the book may sound realistic but Daniels assures he was making up a good deal of it. “There is legislation against some of the aspects of this book in most of the industrialized nations,” he states in the same interview.

Given the opportunity, Daniels would love to speak with Dostoyevsky on nihilism, Dante on theology, Twain on politics and life (which would make a very interesting conversation) and Steinbeck on society. “Each would have such insight into the segment of life for which they are known.”

It would also make fascinating dinner conversation.

For more information, including purchasing Genetically Privileged and Genetically Conflicted, visit www.awdaniels.net

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at www.penspen.info 

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Author: A.W. Daniels

Paperback: 246 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing (July 30, 2013)

ISBN-10: 1491231084

Kindle: ASIN: B00EGDWB86

If you could choose your child’s eye color, hair color, physical, mental and intellectual disposition, would you?

What if someone else chose all that for you?

This is exactly what happens in A.W. Daniels’ Genetically Privileged.

Joe and Mary Christiansen tried to have their own child. Due to complications during the pregnancy that would endanger the lives of both mother and child, that child had to be aborted. The remains of that abortion are confiscated by Dr. Gabriel.

A little later down the road, Joe and Mary visit the fertility clinic where Dr. Gabriel works. It turns out that Dr. Gabriel is a good friend of Joe Christiansen. With invitro fertilization Dr. Gabriel succeeds in helping his friends have a healthy baby boy.

The questions begin when their son, Justice Christiansen begins showing remarkable aptitude at a very young age. Like saying his first word at five months old.

Genetic engineering is a much-debated topic, as it should be. DNA is a frightening and heavily responsible technology that should not be taken lightly.

But Dr. Gabriel is not a madman. He seems to be sincere in his desire and effort to end suffering in the human race through genetic engineering. It’s the other people involved who wish to take it to another level the reader needs to worry about. privileged

That’s where I will leave the synopsis, not wanting to give away too much of the fascinating story line.

Daniels deftly explains the scientific aspect of genetic engineering without getting the reader too bogged down in technical terminology. The author weaves a tapestry among the characters whose lives are entwined long before Joe and Mary move to the little town of Bethlehem.

It is a fresh approach to the subject of genetic engineering where the engineering is already occurring with plans for expansion. The changes are noticeable and, at times, a little dangerous.

It’s one of those books that leaves you thinking about the ramifications of the process. And what might happen should someone take it upon themselves to implement the engineering without it being public knowledge.

Genetically Privileged is a good read, especially for those with particular interest in the process of genetic engineering.

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at www.penspen.info Contact her at mytuppenceblog at yahoo.com to inquire about proofreading, editing and formatting services.

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Having a father who worked as an engineer on the Apollo space program could certainly have been a catalyst for author Doug J. Cooper.                                     dougcoopersbooks

Cooper’s Crystal Deception and Crystal Conquest reflect his wonder and enthusiasm for rockets and space exploration.

“I guess I am living my childhood fantasies in my books,” he quips.

Reading science fiction authors such as Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and Bradbury no doubt helped spark his imagination as well.

In real life, Cooper is a professor and department head of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He is also founder and on the board of directors of Control Station, Inc. a technology company. In these roles he has authored or co-authored more than 80 scholarly publications.

“It has given me lots of practice presenting science and technology in a manner accessible to a broad audience,” he says.

When he first began writing, Cooper was seeking a new creative outlet. He began several projects that looked interesting. Six months later he found writing to be the most appealing endeavor.

His goal in writing the Crystal series was to write books that he himself would enjoy reading. “My preference is fast-paced, action-adventure with great characters, a science tech theme and a plot with surprises.” He leaves it up to readers to determine if he succeeded that goal.

In developing his characters, Cooper describes it as being akin to a jigsaw puzzle. He says, “I enjoy being at a particular point in an adventure, with characters deployed here and there, all with histories and in certain situations, and now I must move forward in a plausible and entertaining fashion. And then each character must behave in a manner consistent with their personality.”

His characters are a collection of traits and habits observed in people, through reading or from movies. “I write in a rotating point of view style,” Cooper explains, “where the reader spends time with each of the central characters. It’s great fun to be a character for a few days.”

Cooper first began his Crystal series in July 2012. Currently he is working on the third book in his Crystal series, Crystal Rebellion. He will also be releasing a short story prequel to the Crystal series in March 2015.

“I have two goals with this short piece,” Cooper says. “One is to offer readers a free, low effort way to sample the story before making a purchase. The second reason is to give fans a backstory on Sid and Cheryl.”

Practice is the best advice writers can get, according to Cooper. In order to hone writing skills, he suggests writers try their hand at writing pieces that help society. “Neighborhood library, museum, senior center or shelter all have access to grant opportunities and would benefit from a talented individual helping them to write one.”

This type of writing may  not be very creative but, as Cooper says, “like practicing your scales on an instrument, this sort of activity strengthens writing skills.”

Cooper believes the most important aspect of writing is to have fun doing it. “Write what brings you joy and satisfaction and you will produce the best work you are able and have fun doing it.”

For more information visit www.crystalseries.com

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at www.penspen.info 

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theendcover

Book Review: The End

G. Michael Hopf

Print Length: 408 pages

ISBN: 1478195487

Publisher: Plume (October 30, 2013)

Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

The title is The End but, in truth, it is the beginning.

On December 15, 2014, civilization as we know it comes to an end. Surviving the ordeal is the beginning.

Mr. Hopf paints an incredibly realistic picture of what could happen if this nation were struck with an Electromagnetic Pulse as well as nuclear strikes. He skillfully tackles every aspect of daily life: community, military and political.

On the community level, we are focused on the neighborhood of Rancho Valentino, close to the city of San Diego. As civilization breaks down in the weeks after the initial attacks, the reader is witness to neighbor turning against neighbor in the quest for survival. Gordon Van Zandt’s first priority is to ensure the survival of his family, no matter the cost.

On the military front, we witness General Barone as he and his Marines go rogue. Contradicting orders to help with clean up on the East coast, Barone heads his men and an amphibian ship to California so they might find their families. Going against orders pits Americans against one another and Gordon’s brother Sebastian Van Zandt gets caught in the middle.

In the political arena, with Washington, DC wiped out by an outright nuclear attack, Speaker of the House Brad Connor is now the new President. Connor isn’t accustomed to giving orders but he toughens up fairly quickly.

The government has its own hard-wired Internet system in an attempt to preserve a functioning government and to keep abreast of events. Of course, the government has hidden bunkers across the United States to also ensure a functioning government.

Mr. Hopf’s depiction is realistic: grim but realistic. In all fairness, the situation would be much more grim were attacks such as these actually perpetrated upon the United States. People killing each other over a scrap of food or a drink of water; vigilantes taking what they want; drug cartels and other enemies of the United States attacking and taking over: Losing our humanity in an effort to survive reduces people to hardly anything more than barbarians.

The illustration of the breakdown of society represented here should be a wake-up call for everyone in this country. Not only those in power, but for all citizens.

Which is why I recommend this series as a must-read for every citizen in this country. Preparation for events such as these should be mandatory for every citizen because when the poop hits the fan, it’s going to be every man, woman and child for him/herself.

Arm yourself with knowledge so you won’t be caught unaware. Invest in The New World series by G. Michael Hopf.

Find The End here: http://amzn.to/1wf4EKf

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and e-book formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle, is a fictitious account of an EMP attack on the United States with women heroes. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 follow her on Twitter @penspen or visit her website at http://www.penspen.info Contact her at mytuppenceblog at yahoo.com to inquire about proofreading, editing and formatting services.

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 longroad

Start Prepping Now

Book Review

The Long Road

Michael Hopf

344 pages

Publisher: Plume

Sold by: Penguin Group

Post-apocalyptic scenarios fascinate me. I find the indomitability of human survival against overwhelming odds oddly hopeful.

Michael Hopf gets into the action in The Long Road pretty quick.

Even without the advantage of having read the first entry in the series – The End – I had no difficulty catching up and understanding what had happened and what was going on. Mr. Hopf deftly wove the backstory of the first book into the second, thus enabling the reader to follow the story without lengthy explanations or the absolute necessity to read the first book.

The characters are rich and vivid. I had no trouble empathizing with the good guys and despising the bad guys. And the bad guys are truly detestable.

It is a race against time for survival as what was once America continues to break down into a primitive, apathetic, lawless and frightening world in which to live. And with three sanctions vying for power in this post-apocalyptic land, it’s anyone’s guess what the country will look like once the dust has settled.

The intensity of the action and drama had me glued to my seat: I actually read the entire book in one sitting, reluctant to take a break to even refresh my cup of tea. It is rare that I am so compelled to read a book that I don’t want to break away from it to refresh my tea!

Yes, the book could use some editing, but that can be said about the books of Dean Koontz, James Rollins and countless other tomes coming out of traditional publishing houses these days. I have developed a degree of tolerance for errors because that isn’t going to change anytime soon. The errors in the book are few so it doesn’t interfere so much with the reading experience.

The only drawback, of course, is that now I need to acquire the third book to find out what happens next. Several cliffhangers were included (no spoilers!) and inquiring minds must know. The fourth installment isn’t due out until 2015, so I have a little time to catch up.

The scenarios painted in The Long Road are grim but very realistic. It’s easy to visualize those events actually occurring should our nation be attacked on the level depicted in the book. With the current state of the world and people being people, I am surprised something like this has not already occurred.

Although when I view the 6:00 news, I wonder just how far off those events truly are.

With those words, I’m going to start prepping now.

If you’re interested, check out G. Michael Hopf’s Amazon Author Page where each novel in the series is listed. http://amzn.to/1vWDEiA

Pen has self-published 20 titles in print and ebook formats. Her latest endeavor, Nero’s Fiddle is a fictitious account of an EMP attack. Visit Nero’s Fiddle website at http://bit.ly/1yYsNH2 Follow her on Twitter @penspen, visit her website at http://www.penspen.info or follow her blog www.mytuppence.weebly.com Contact her at mytuppenceblog at yahoo.com to inquire about proofreading, editing and formatting services.

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