Interview with Rob Shackleford 

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1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. What inspired you to become an author?
I live in Australia and, for the majority of the time in writing Traveller Inceptio, lived where most of the book’s Transporter invention process took place, which is the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. It is a beach location and is quite laid back. I also worked at the University for a time and knew the described locations well. I have, of course, applied liberal creative licence to some locations.
I enjoy reading, especially books with a great story and have, for quite some time, tinkered with the idea of writing. Like most, I started with a few short stories and children’s books, which are still awaiting the illustrations from my daughter, who is quite the artist and procrastinator. It was during a very down time in my life that the opening scene for Traveller Inceptio began running through my mind, how a person from the 21st Century could react in the forests of Saxon England, when I realised that a story was beginning to devfelop. I started writing that scene and it soon went on from there. The actual writing process took over five years and there were ideas I had to drop because I saw something similar on Game of Thrones and in other stories that would look too similar. I have a very strong aversion to cliche, so I hope I stuck to that.
Surprisingly, some of the language and story was based on the antics of my son and his surfer / skater mates. The things you overhear sometimes.
My vocational background is actually far removed from History, which has become a love because of my father’s interest in family history and genealogy. I worked in Customs in my younger years and then did time in the Media, Tourism, IT and Marketing.
In keeping with my coastal lifestyle preference, I am fortunate to live in a very chilled part of Australia’s Gold Coast with my lady love. I have two kids, both in their early 20’s so, yeah, I am advancing in life’s journey, but I am still young and silly enough to take the risks.
2) What was the inspiration behind your story?
I was sitting on the beach one day and thought, “What would this have looked like 100 years ago? 200 years ago? and then 1000 years ago? The next question was, “How would someone from this time survive if taken back 1000 years?” Like many books, I started with a couple of assumptions; that one could travel back 1000 years, and the book grew from there. The ‘visit to the beach’ chapters in Traveller Inceptio were based on that thought process.
I like Science Fiction, but aimed to keep any story as real as possible, so I and any reader could honestly relate. I tried to keep reactions and events as plausible as possible. This sometimes took the story away from where I had planned and added some interesting moments.
Fortunately I have travelled to many of the world locations mentioned in Traveller Inceptio and future books. The sights, smells and feelings are most inspiring. The forests of England, the great walls of Istanbul, and the deserts of Israel can never be fully imagined simply from research on the Internet.
 
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your story?
Wow, I have to be self-analytical here.
There are two main messages I think.
The first is the desire to travel, to see new places and take new risks. I particularly love the short film Wanderers with a narration by Carl Sagan, (Check it out on You Tube) which acknowledges humanity’s need to explore. If we could explore the Past, then we, of course, would.
The other theme is that people in our past were like us. Our parents and many-great-grandparents lived lives with similar aspirations. They laughed, joked, worried about their kids, farted, and got horny, but also had trying times when they were sad and shed tears. Sometimes they even experienced violence. The message is; They were people too, only without an iPhone.
When we realise our history and give credence to those who have gone before us, we can then better understand ourselves and the rich tapestry of interwoven lives and genetic material that has created each of us.
4) If you could sit down and ask any character in your story a question, who would it be and what would you ask them?
It think it would be Tatae, the healer and wise woman of the Saxon village of Giolgrave. She was one such as those who would be persecuted and killed in the ages following the Norman invasion of England in 1066. Tatae is enigmatic. Not only does she hold deep knowledge, but she has learned that many would debase and profit from it if she let them.
I think I would ask, “How did you gain your knowledge?” Assuming she would tell me, it would be quite a story.
5) What’s more important to you when writing: developing plot or creating characters?
I think the plot, because that dictates the reactions of the characters. Place the character into a situation and I try to see how they would realistically react. Sometimes it isn’t how I thought, which is always a pleasant surprise. Sometimes a minor character became a major one. One example was Tatae, as I had no intention of travelling down the romance cliche. How wrong was I?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful or beneficial in creating your readership?
Initially FaceBook, as friends refer friends etc, but it is beginning to be overtaken by Blogs. Naturally this will grow further, but this world of self-promotion through on-line media can be very challenging. Amazon and others can be a minefield. It becomes a question of persistence, losing money on bad marketing ploys, and not taking it too seriously.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or new authors out there?
Keep on going, even if it does mean that you end up rewriting your little gem fifty times. The other is that professional critics have their place, but can often get caught up in the detail. Be humble enough to recognise that your skills might need improvement, ie. writing skills, but also believe in yourself. It can be a tricky thing to balance. Don’t be surprised to be elated at a great review, then go down in a screaming heap when someone criticises your writing style. It’s all part of the gig.
8) What’s next for you? Any new projects on the horizon?
Traveller Inceptio lends itself to a sequel. I found this especially important when readers asked me “What Now??”
So, I have completed a draft of Traveller Probo – Traveller Book 2 – and I am in the never-ending process of fine-tuning the grammar etc. I hope this will be ready by the end of this year (2017) or the beginning of 2018. Traveller Probo (meaning: to prove or question) assumes the Saxon mission is successful. Governments vie to prepare the next Traveller mission, but safety is paramount. Missions to New Zealand, the USA, Ukraine, and the old Byzantine Empire of Turkey are planned, but the political rivalry is intense.
I have already begun Traveller Manifesto – which will be Traveller Book 3.
Why the funny names? I started Book 1 as Traveller, but when you google ‘Traveller’ you are inundated with book titles. Some friends thought it was a book about my travels. Traveller is spelled in the British / Australian way with 2 L’s, and the Latin word is to give an idea as to what the story is about. Latin, because 1000 years ago, Latin was the language of religion and education in Europe.
Inceptio = Beginning
Probo = Prove of question and investigate
Manifesto = Declaration to the World
Why Europe? Think about this. 1000 years ago, if you travelled anywhere in Africa or the Pacific, you would be eaten. If you travelled anywhere in the Americas, you might be sacrificed or skinned alive. In Asia, killed as a stranger, or limited because of the barriers of lost languages. England was selected because of the racial and national identity of the inventors and sponsors. Plus, it made my writing easier.
There is a criticism that the books are long – the irony being that Traveller Inceptio and Traveller Probo are precisely the same length – 190,000 words. To be honest, I created each story and then tore about 50,000 words away in the editing process. I hope the story makes the time taken in reading worthwhile.
I have written drafts for two other books that have nothing to do with Time or Transporters, but I believe I have to do the best I can with one project at a time. These others can wait.
Ultimately, I hope my books bring enjoyment to readers. It is, after all, about having a fun, entertaining read.
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Traveller – Inceptio by Rob Shackleford Review

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A historical science fiction tale like no other, author Rob Shackleford brings to life a tale of ancient Viking invaders, Saxon villagers and a time travel experiment that puts real lives in serious danger. What would the affect of time travel have not only on the past, but the future as well? Here is a synopsis:

If you were sent 1000 years into the past, would you survive?

Traveller – Inceptio describes how the Transporter is accidentally invented and becomes public knowledge when it sends a subject 1000 years into the past.

A Special Forces team of Travellers is then selected and trained with the intent to send them to Saxon England to explore what could be a very dangerous period of history.

From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers discover they need a lot more than technology to survive the trials of early Eleventh Century life.

A realistic look into the lives of our ancient ancestors from around the world, this incredible story takes an in-depth look into the scientific study of time-travel and the ramifications our interference in the past can have. It also does a fantastic job of showing the hardships, struggles and way ancient Saxons viewed the world and life, and the twist of ancient beliefs and the introduction of religion into the region.

The attention to detail and use of great historical context made this such an engaging read. Taking a twist on time-travel science fiction stories and incorporating a detailed look into this time of conflict and bloodshed was thrilling to read, and put into context the struggles of the 21st century. The characters felt personal and did an excellent job of highlighting the way we would view that time period, as well as how they would view us.

Overall this was a phenomenal read, full of twists and turns and a fresh approach to the time travel genre. Filled with great historical references and characters you’ll love instantly, this story reads like an HBO drama, and would translate perfectly onto the screen. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of Traveller – Inceptio by Rob Shackleford today!

Rating: 10/10

Book Blitz: Marked by Fate (A Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction Collection)

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Marked by Fate: A Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction Collection
Publication date: October 24th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Marked by Fate is now enhanced with Augmented Reality! Read, Watch, Listen. The new ultimate reading experience!

Step into adventure with Marked By Fate; the ultimate reading experience. Be immersed in twenty-six fantasy & science fiction worlds with state of the art Augmented Reality technology. Read, listen, and watch bonus content inside to bring the characters and story to life around you.

Enjoy the added features of this special edition, which allow you to enjoy bonus content right from your reading device. See character artwork. Listen to your story’s soundtrack. Watch book trailers and bonus videos. Experience behind the scenes like never before, thanks to Augmented Reality technology. Immersive Fantasy™; bringing fantasy worlds to life.

 

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25 COMPLETE SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY NOVELS BY 26 BESTSELLING AUTHORS. PLUS, A SPECIAL BONUS NOVELLA.

Embark on fantastic journeys through magical realms, dystopian lands, and faraway galaxies in this exciting collection of fantasy & science fiction novels brought to you by some of today’s hottest authors. Encounter werewolves, robots, angels, time travelers, shifters, and more in this action-packed box set that will leave you breathless.

Authors:

Kristin D. Van Risseghem
Rhonda Sermon
Kelly St. Clare
Raye Wagner
Ednah Walters
Erin Hayes
Siobhan Davis
Jamie Thornton
Debra Kristi
Sarah K. L. Wilson
Hilary Thompson
Ingrid Seymour
Jeanne Bannon
Melle Amade
Lena Mae Hill
C.J. Anaya
Jackson Dean Chase
D. L. Armillei
Emily Martha Sorensen
Amalie Jahn
Dionne Lister
J.L. Weil
Alisha Klapheke
Angela Fristoe
Meg Cowley
Brandon Barr

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GIVEAWAY
Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses Boxed Set by Sarah J Maas
Now available 1 - Copy

Tales of Wonder Anthology from Inklings Press Review

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(I was sent a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own.)

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a book blogger is working with people you know and trust, and getting the opportunity to witness writers
and authors working together on collective works. An example of this is the wonderfully written anthology Tales of Wonder from Inklings Press.
A collection of the fantastic genre Science Fantasy, these stories explore worlds that fuse science with magic in the most wonderful way possible.
Here is the synopsis:

Science Fantasy is the collision of science fiction and fantasy – where the impossible and the improbable come together. This is a universe of spaceships and sorcery, of mechanics and magic, where zeppelins soar through the ether and conjurers stalk dark tunnels with a ball of light in their fist. So cut loose, let slip the mooring ropes on your imagination, and join these nine authors as they set course for the horizon – and beyond.

Nine tales of science. Nine tales of fantasy. Nine tales to make you wonder.

These tales are perfect examples of taking the fantastic and larger than life aspects of both the fantasy and science fiction genres with the
real life human struggles we face on a daily basis. Stories of discovered love, surviving poverty, exploration of the unknown and the bonds
formed between a parent and their child is fused with tales of time travel, magic wielding assassins and space exploration gone wrong. The
stories are short yet sweet, as they bring to life deep and emotionally driven characters that connect to you on a personal level in the midst
of these amazing mythologies that the authors have created. The writing was excellent and each story flowed smoothly, keeping a fast yet even
pace that quickly set the tone and backstory in order to deliver the best possible story and shocking twist endings that people won’t necessarily
see coming.

Overall this was a wonderful read. Full of adventures, terror and heart, these tales will dazzle and amaze readers with their galaxy spanning
stories and passionate characters that speak to us all. The imagery used is incredibly vivid and paints a picture that one wants to see
translated to a television screen, leaving the reader breathless and hanging on the edge of their seat wanting more. If you haven’t yet please be
sure to pick up your copies of Tales of Wonder from Inklings Press today!

Rating: 10/10

Milijun by Clayton Graham Book Review

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Milijun by Clayton Graham Book Review

Reviewers Note: “I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.”

An alien threat will test one mother and her quest to protect her teenage son in Milijun by Clayton Graham. Showing an alien incursion and
analyzing philosophical questions involving spirituality and the lengths a parent will go to for their children. Here is the official synopsis:

It is Australia in 2179. On a moonlit Nullarbor night, Laura Sinclair and son, Jason, witness aliens descend to Earth. The extraterrestrials
endeavour to form a symbiotic relationship with humankind, and Jason is chosen as a genetic link in a bizarre trial involving the impregnation
of human females with hybrid embryos and exploration of spiritual compatibility. Laura crosses swords with Major General Sebastian Ord from the
Australian Defence Force, Eucla and Uriel, the enigmatic head of Milijun, a reclusive research facility in the outback. Following a disastrous
armed attempt to capture aliens at Cocklebiddy Cave and a fierce confrontation at Eucla, Jason is abducted by an alien swarm. What follows tests
the resolve of Laura to the core. Caught in a relentless web of frightening new technologies and alien mystery, spurred by the undying love of
her son, she gains a strength of character she never thought possible. All she has to do is save herself, Jason and several women and unborn
children from the scheming plans of man and alien alike …

This book does an excellent job of fusing futuristic sci-fi storytelling with themes of spirituality and questioning mankind’s place in the
universe. The struggle for Laura to hold onto some sense of normalcy while the world around her begins to get more complicated and more chaotic
is a great way to humanize such an epic science fiction adventure. Exploring a future version of Australia, this book features creepy,
mysterious aliens and government operatives with hidden agendas all their own. As the story progresses, the audience will be on the edge of their
seat as they must ask themselves: are the aliens invaders, or friends?

This was a well written sci-fi thriller with complex, developed characters, profound themes that need to be explored, and an exciting plot that
continuously keeps the reader on edge as they read through this layered story. By the end of the story, readers will be confronted with a shocking
end, one that can either be seen as the beginning of a journey, or the end of one. You must decide for yourselves. Be sure to check out Clayton
Graham’s Milijun, available for purchase now!

Rating: 9/10

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Interview with Author Louis K. Lowy

1)     
Congratulations on the release of your book, To
Dream. Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind this incredible novel.

Thank you, Anthony! It’s a long and unusual
story. The genesis for the novel came from a long forgotten short story that I
had written two decades ago. I was going through my virtual folders and
rediscovered it about the time I had finished up my second novel. Ripe to start
a new one, I became fascinated with key aspects of the three page story and
decided to build upon them. Once that train of thought was set in motion, I was
left with nine questions that needed to be answered in order for my proposed storyline
to work. I printed and mounted the nine questions on a storyboard and worked on
each one until I had plausible answers (though they were flexible, depending on
how things developed as I got more and more into the story). That process took
two to three months. Another interesting thing, Niyati Bopari, one of the main
characters in To Dream, first made a
brief appearance as a child in my previous book, Pedal—a contemporary women’s novel. Of course, at the time I never
realized she was going to play a pivotal role in my next book.

2) What was it about the science fiction genre that drew you in?

I loved science fiction from the day I was
born. First on TV, then in comic books and finally in books. Like To Dream, what draws me in is the human
element behind the technology. How do we, as people, keep our humanity in the
rapidly changing universe? I love Ray Bradbury because he seems to always be
dealing with this, no matter what or where his stories take place.

3) This is the third book you have written. Tell us a little bit about the
writing process you went through when writing this and how it differed from
your previous experiences.

This one was one of the toughest because of
the structure. As you mentioned in your review, it bounces back and forth from
the present to the future and from one planet to another. It also dealt with
four interlocking stories that had to connect in the end. Keeping up with all
of that was a Herculean task for me. In the beginning it was brutal, but
because I had taken a lot of time up front to solidify my plot, I knew where I
was heading and used those time shifts to my advantage. I could construct them
in a way that would create the proper impact at the right time.

4) Which character did you enjoy writing the most? Which was the most complex?

Those are great questions. Honestly, I enjoy
all of my characters, even the morally corrupt ones. Honestly, there is no one
that I enjoyed the most—though I can say that my favorites were Niyati Bopari,
J-1, Norma Mardeen, and Rebeka Takáts, because of their complexities—which
leads in to your next question.

           There
are two who I think were the most complex—Niyati Bopari and J-1. Niyati because
of the extraordinary measures she takes to deal with the death of her son. J-1
because he’s forced to face something he hasn’t been equipped to do—his
humanity.

5) When writing, what is the most compelling part to you: character development
or developing the plot?

Both. The type of stories I write depend on
both. Each one supports and enhances the other. A lot of this has to do with my
influences—people like James Joyce, Stan Lee, the aforementioned Ray Bradbury,
Charles Dickens, Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien
to name a few.

6) What has the marketing process of this book been like for you?

Like all of them, challenging. I’m
fortunate to be with IFWG Publishing. They’re a small, but supportive press.
Still, as most authors know, the business of writing can sometimes be a lot
more difficult than the actual writing. On the other hand, it’s a joy when that
process leads to someone like you, who is so generous with your time and
support of people like me.

7) What social media site has been the most helpful when promoting your books?

I tend to center my attention on Facebook,
twitter, and my website, but I also love Goodreads Instagram, and Pinterest.

8) What are your future plans? Any books in the works?

You bet! I’ve finished a fantasy novel about
a gambler on the brink of death who gets the chance to save his soul, a horror
book that takes place in the late Victorian era, and I’m currently working on a
crime novel.

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To Dream by Louis K Lowy

Questions of morality and family drive this incredible new science-fiction thriller set in a future where the world is ruled by corporations
behind the scenes and humanity has evolved to a whole new level. The book, titled “To Dream” by author Louis K Lowy, explores these themes with
precision and perfect clarity as readers begin to ask themselves: what is the price we pay to advance, and is technology evil, or is it made
evil when used for ill intentions? Here is the synopsis:

Guilt ridden over the death of her 17-year-old son, Jay, scientist Niyati Bopari heads a team that creates a Humachine (human machine) for
mega-corporation Ameri-Inc. Niyati dubs the Humachine J-1 and creates it in Jay’s image. She secretly infuses it with Jay’s DNA. J-1 is the
most sophisticated robot ever created and its purpose is to replace human labor. Before J-1 and his blueprints can be transported to Ameri-Inc.
headquarters a rogue Ameri-Inc. agent attempts to steal them.

Anatomy of a Humachine is a science fiction tour de force spanning two centuries and crossing two planets. Book I: To Dream centers on J-1, an
artificial intelligence struggling to find his humanity; the grieving scientist who created him; the ruthless head of the corporation who owns
him; and the iron-willed leader of a rebel force seeking revenge for the death of her family and the destruction of her planet.

I was really taken aback by the amount of humanity this story of technology had. As a science fiction fan I was immediately drawn to this story,
and the way the story goes back and forth from the past to the future makes the twists and turns in the narrative so much more engaging. There
were so many fascinating characters in this novel, but the characters with the most development were Dr. Niyati Bopari and her struggle with her
son’s loss and the journey she goes on with her incredible creation, as well as J-1 himself, who goes on a journey of his own that will leave
the reader questioning how they view AI and technology in general. This is a must read book that was a fantastic start to the year, and readers
should definitely read To Dream by Louis K Lowy! Be sure to pick up your copies today!