The Eternity Plague tagged posts

Lilith’s Fall Review

4 star rating

It’s fair to say that I don’t read erotic science fiction romances very often—like almost never—but hey, it’s good to broaden your horizons, right?

Lilith's Fall coverLilith’s Fall is the first book in Susan Trombley’s Shadows in Sanctuary series. Lilith Galeron is a mild-mannered (her best friend Stacia calls her “boring”) but highly skilled computer programmer living in Dome City, a collection of large, connected domes on an unnamed planet. The society is tightly controlled by a religious leadership called the Diakonos, whose rule is enforced by police known by the Orwellian name of the Peace Keepers.

But there’s trouble in paradise and Lilith is suddenly arrested by the Peace Keepers, who wrongly allege that she’s involved with a shadowy revolutionary group called the Commemoro...

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Open Mic Night!

On Friday, August 17th, I had the privilege of being the “spotlight author” at the monthly Open Mic Night at Broxton’s Coffee in Sierra Vista, AZ, sponsored by the Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebration. During my time in the spotlight, I talked about how my books, The Eternity Plague and Chrysalis, came to be, read the full opening scene from The Eternity Plague and a condensed version of the opening scene from Chrysalis, and then answered questions from the audience. The first half-hour or so of the event (all of my portion) was broadcast on Facebook Live too.

If you’d like to watch the video, you have three choices. The shortest version contains only my part of the event. It runs just over 21 minutes.

The medium length version includes organizer Beth Orozco’s opening comments...

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Spirit Walk Review

Best novel I’ve read in quite a while. And a debut novel at that.

Jay Treiber is a rare individual: a college English literature professor who can also write it, and write it well.

College English professor Kevin McNally has been struggling for decades with his guilt over an incident that happened when he was a teenager. This is the kind of subject that could lead the author and reader down a rat hole of angst, self-loathing, and neurotic navel-gazing but  Treiber avoids this trap. Instead, he chooses to have McNally seek resolution of that guilt, and forgiveness for what happened, through a skillfully interwoven series of story lines that mix McNally’s present and past.

By itself, that’s not unusual, but the story’s location and characters are...

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Science Education: Medicine and the Citizen

In the past few weeks, I’ve been hit with a number of medical issues. None were life-threatening but they were enough to really catch my attention. In addition, a friend did have a life-threatening condition—her kidneys failed—for which she’s now in treatment (dialysis). In my calmer moments, that got me thinking about how ordinary citizens interact with medicine beyond their own doctor’s office, including how the press covers medical research news.

ConfusionEggs are bad for you, right? No, wait, they’re good!

Need to lose weight? Which diet should you use: Atkins, paleo, Mediterranean, plant-based? They’re all based in science, aren’t they?

If you consume too much of such-and-such chemical, your chance of getting Cancer X will go up by 250%...

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Critique Technique, Part 3: How Do You Feel?

New members of a critique or writers’ group will often say, “I don’t know how to critique.” The tendency, I suspect, is to think they have to do what they did in high school or college English classes: identify and explain the symbolism in a passage, say, or compare and contrast the use of metaphor with onomatopoeia.

Nope! Nope, nope, nope. That’s not what critique or writers’ group feedback is about. It’s about helping the author get better by identifying what worked, what didn’t, and why.

How Do You Feel?

Let’s start with the easiest thing: how did the piece make you feel? Did it:

  • excite you
  • anger you
  • make you happy
  • make you sad
  • confuse...
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Children of the Thunder Review

Dark, dystopian, and deeply flawed. And yet….

Author John Brunner’s late 20th century England is a mess: the economy is collapsing, environmental degradation is rampant, the government is corrupt, religious fundamentalists are taking over, and a renegade general is advocating xenophobia and racism at home and nuclear war abroad. Things in the U.S. are similar, minus the general. Meanwhile, Japan and continental Europe are doing fine, or better.

Peter Levin is a freelance reporter. Few newspapers will buy his work and they are in danger of closing. Claudia Morris is an American sociologist. She made her name with a provocative book, but she now thinks she might have gotten her thesis wrong, and has come to England on sabbatical to do research and write a new book...

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My Grandfather’s Notebook… Review

3-star rating

According to the biographical notes JoeSue Ruterman provides, her grandfather, Charles Gus David Faught had an interesting early life. Born in 1873 in Lincoln, Missouri, his parents, Henry and Martha, took him and his baby sister Bell to Texas by wagon train in 1876. Charles’s mother died in an accident and her heart-broken father took Charlie and his sister Bell back to his in-laws because he didn’t feel he could raise them. Five years later, at the ripe old age of eight, Charlie joined a wagon train back to Texas to try to find his father. Henry found Charlie and they spent some time together, but Henry was rumored to be involved with a gang of bank robbers and he wanted better for his son.

Years later, Charlie had moved to Arizona and was working for the Aztec Land and Cattle C...

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Invasion! Review

The premise of Invasion! The Forgotten Adventures of Dolley Madison, Book One is clever enough. Dolley Madison, wife of America’s fourth President, James Madison, had another life during the War of 1812: a turbaned crusader, along with her trusty sidekick and servant girl Sukey, harrying and perplexing the invading British Army at every turn, rallying and leading American troops, turning the tide of battle after battle. Unbeknownst to historians everywhere, or forgotten by them, she was America’s secret weapon.

A clever premise, yes. In execution, not quite so much.

In his end notes, author Neil Garra reports that at one time he built war games for a certain government agency located in Maryland (likely the National Security Agency), and that around that same time he’d become fasc...

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Runaway Dancer, Getaway Tales Review

Jeri McAndrews is a classically trained ballet dancer who ran away from the School of American Ballet in New York and the demands and discipline of ballet. She landed eventually in southwestern Colorado, where among other things, she taught dance and choreographed and performed in modern dances in wild outdoor settings including the Great Sand Dunes National Monument. The title of the book is apt: while dance is certainly a core of McAndrews’ life, so it seems is running away, getting away from… many things: teaching middle school English (to be fair, a challenge only a few people are cut out for), marriage, parenthood, big cities (can’t argue with that one).

Why did she run? We’ll never truly know...

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2017 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

This past weekend I volunteered for the 17th consecutive year with the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. It all started with a spur-of-the-moment decision on race day for the inaugural marathon in 2001 to head downtown and see what I could do. Three years later I was in charge of hundreds of “course marshals” and since I moved to Arizona, I’ve gone back every year to help out with the Relay Information Booth (which I created) and by driving the lead vehicle, and then a “sag wagon,” on race day.

This year we had a new sponsor for the lead vehicle, so it wasn’t “skinned” with a graphic wrap like it has been in years past.

OKCMM 2017 Lead vehicle

Besides HAM radio operator Tom Webb, a friend from my Air Force days, to keep us in touch with Race Control while we were out on the course, and Jon Hulsey, the Course Co...

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