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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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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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quietpeople

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neverleaveyoubehind

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KELLER

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neverwater

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The characters in Nero’s Fiddle are issued the challenge to get to Washington, DC within 25-30 days to stop a disastrous incident. They must walk almost the entire 600 miles. 

Thus far, the novel stands at 60,000 words. The characters in Nero’s Fiddle are close to halfway to their destination. One of the characters has disappeared. His disappearance is on purpose: to allow the story to focus on Captain Beverly Mossberg (former military), her two kids and the tagalong stranger, Sedona and the relationship between the four, particularly the relationship between Bev and her kids. 

I recently encountered a dilemma in the writing. I wanted a particular reaction from the lead character, Bev. However, the reaction I wanted would leave her children thinking her a coward.

The scenario: Bev encounters no fewer than a dozen men molesting a young woman. All men are carrying guns. Bev has her own gun and is an expert markswoman but the odds are not in her favor. As with most women (including myself), her initial gut reaction is to charge into the fray, gun blazing. Doing that however would risk the lives of her children as well as risk making them orphans. There’s no help in sight: Sedona is akin to Don Knotts in The Shakiest Gun in the West and there’s no way to call for help. 

Initially, I wanted Bev to reluctantly walk away, feeling it was the only way to protect her children. The more I considered that option the more I realized how unsatisfying it was. It would create a great deal of conflict between Bev and her kids, especially her twelve year old daughter, which would make for great drama, but it didn’t present Bev as the kick-ass solider I knew her to be. 

I asked a few women their opinion of the situation and what they would do. Most of them found it as problematic as I did. Their initial gut reaction was to start a gunfight but, with kids in tow, they’d be afraid to. All of them were opposed to the idea of walking away but none of them would put their children’s lives at risk by attacking the men first. All of them felt, as I did, there had to be a viable solution. 

I did what I always do when faced with such an enigmatic dilemma: I sat on it for a few days and asked my muse to work on it for me. 

My muse came through. Yes, Bev initially is going to walk away. But one of the men stumbles upon her and the others when he walks into the woods to relieve himself. When the man threatens her daughter, Cap’n Mossy is forced to react. Her actions not only enable the girl to get away, she also takes care of the threatening men. In addition, the solution presented to me by my muse allowed me to satisfy my desire to have Bev blow something up. (Make no mistake, Bev wanted to blow something up, too). 

And that’s all I’m going to reveal about that. 

It pays to ask the muse for help: to stand down from the writing even if for only a short period of time. It’s that subconscious thing at work again: that part of the brain that works non-stop on whatever dilemmas we’re facing and sometimes offers us solutions to difficult situations. 

I just need to train it to work that way in real life.

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