Meet The Immortals — Gareth Foy

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Another day, another interview with one of the writers for The Immortality Chronicles due out Friday, Sept. 4.

Interviews so far:

Sunday: Patricia Gilliam

Monday: John Gregory Hancock

Tuesday: Drew Avera

Today: Gareth Foy

Gareth is a brand new writer. Seriously. I dare you to try to find anything he’s professionally written before now. In spite of the newness, Mr. Foy comes out of the gate swinging with his epic story here in The Immortality Chronicles. I really enjoyed the concepts he dealt with and the mind-bending possibilities from the potential truth he laid out for readers. I hope Gareth keeps up writing; he’s got a bright future after getting a start here in the latest edition of The Future Chronicles.

The Immortality Chronicles is on sale in preorder for just $2.99. On Launch Day, the price goes up to $5.99 so get your copy today!

Enough about my thoughts on Gareth. Here is my interview with the man:

11796327_10153423837640170_1900403244562143189_nWho are you?

I’m Gareth Foy, married to Melanie with two kids and living in Scotland.

I’ve been a massive SF/Fanatsy fan since I read the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in fifth grade. My first memory of writing because I wanted to be a writer was in 10th grade. My friend and I announced it to our English teacher, who was very supportive, and I poured out a few thousand words about a robot war before hitting the wall of doubt for the first time.

Why are you writing for The Immortality Chronicles?

I go over this moment time and again because I still can’t believe it. Writing was on hold after we bought a house in need of a lot of TLC and when the kids were born. After discovering this amazing community of SF Indie authors following Wool, I was more in awe than anything, but time and again I came across detailed tips for how you change from writing a few thousand words and shelving it to being someone that completes stories. So I set myself some targets to learn all of it, in small steps, and complete things.

At that point The Future Chronicles was and still is an amazing set of books full of authors I can’t get enough of. Then I was sitting during a break reading FB when Samuel announced The Immortality Chronicles. It didn’t say a word about previous publication or success. In fact, it seemed to be encouraging new authors. Plus, it was for a great charity I have no idea where the courage came from, but I sent Samuel told Samuel about an idea I had been working on, fully expecting to be turned down. I am forever grateful that the opposite happened and from that moment the support in the Indie community has been completely unbelievable.

garethWhat did you write for The Immortality Chronicles?

My story is called The Essence of Jamie’s Father. I grew up on Asimov and my joint favorite story of his is called The Last Question. It is a grandiose theme of future history and human discovery. I have been watching a lot TV made by a CERN physicist Prof Brian Cox lately and he seems to need to point out that although the universe may have many gazillion years left, eventually due to entropy, the last star will stop shining one day. So, I decided he is wrong, Asimov was right and the story boiled right down to a son and his immortal father.

How can we find out more about you and your writing?

It’s a work in progress but I’m trying to keep my website www.garethfoy.uk up to date and this has links to everywhere else I might put information.

What’s next for you?

I’m completing a follow up story in the “Essence” universe. Hanna Elizabeth has completed great covers for this story and the Jamie story for when I self-publish it. I hope to publish the sequel soon after The Immortality Chronicles is published.

I started a novel last NaNoWriMo. I love it and am also dying to get back to it. I had intended to wait until it was finished to publish, but, I’m seriously thinking of serializing it as well.

Anything else we need to know about you and your story?

As far as my writing and this story goes, I seem to want to be optimistic about the future of humanity and I like societies who take care of their most vulnerable. Human beings are amazing but we are still capable of great evil as well as great good. I like to think of a future, as difficult as it may be, where the balance may shift away from the great evil.

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Meet The Immortals — Drew Avera

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This is the third in a series of interviews with authors of The Immortality Chronicles. 

I first featured Patricia Gilliam on Sunday (Click here) and yesterday I talked to John Gregory Hancock (Click here). Next up is Drew Avera, author of many different short stories and tales. I first read a short story by Drew back in 2013 with his World War II-inspired alternate history story Reich. Drew has a very active imagination and I’m glad to see him debut in the Future Chronicles with his Immortality story.

Once again, to read The Immortality Chronicles on Launch Day, you can get it now for just $2.99.

Now, for the interview:

11796327_10153423837640170_1900403244562143189_nWho are you?

My name is Drew Avera (pronounced Avery) and I live in Virginia, that’s right, I’m right down the street from where Pocahontas saved John Smith and they fell in love in the popular Disney movie from the 1990s. An interesting thing to note is that I’ve never seen the waterfall from the movie which leads me to believe that the portrayal we grew up with is actually based on a familiar story from an alternate universe. But then again, it’s on a cartoon, right?

Why are you writing for The Immortality Chronicles?

I’m writing for The Immortality Chronicles because I’ve been a fan of The Future Chronicles and know a bunch of the past contributors. I raised my hand nervously at roll call and Sam said “yes” to which I yelled “YIPPEE” and threw my back out attempting a back flip. The fact that my body was as broken as it was actually prompted the basis for my story.

Note: I’m a liar, I simply pretended to throw my back out and was never in any real danger 😉

11742948_1461996154122086_2371206396599843693_nWhat did you write for The Immortality Chronicles?

My story is called A Severance of Souls and it is about a man burdened with preserving human life by giving up his own humanity. Nigel was inspired by Dr. Sheldon Cooper and my own demented representation of the antihero. If I’m honest with myself then I would also admit that I’m obsessed with death to a certain degree and balance myself on the cusp of fearing it and being mildly curious about it. Alas, I’m never honest with myself so the last two sentences are nonsense…

How can we find out more about you and your writing?

If you feel inclined then go to my website at www.drewavera.wordpress.com and read The Story Behind The Story about most of my published books and stories. You can also sign up for my mailing list and get some freebies.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on more short stories at the moment and have about six or seven planned to release in the next year or so. I’m going to be away from home quite a bit so my focus will be on wrapping up a few loose ends and putting out more stories.

Anything else we need to know about you and your story?

Each of my stories deals with a fear I have. I don’t start the story knowing exactly which phobia will be presented, but I think two emerged from this story. Death and loneliness; those are two things I think most people can relate to being at least moderately afraid of.

Also, it was a pleasure to take part in my first The Future Chronicles’ anthology. Thank you so much Sam and Carol for your help in molding my story into something better than I thought I could achieve, and for making it fun!

Book Review – Dark Beyond The Stars

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A couple weeks ago, I finished a wonderful new science fiction anthology. Dark Beyond The Stars is a star-studded and potentially ground-breaking collection of stories all set in space in one form or another. The authors and piublishers haven’t made a big deal out of it, but I believe the fact that women make up the entire line-up from cover to cover is significant. When I’m looking for role models for my daughter, I can positively look to these authors as bold, confident women who aren’t afraid to write science fiction in a field where their gender can sometimes be controversial in itself.

I already wrote a fairly comprehensive review of the anthology on Amazon and I’ll share that here. The book is officially out on Kindle today and for a couple more weeks, they are selling the Kindle version for 99 cents, so if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, now is the time.


darkAmazon Review:

For the past year and a half, I’ve fallen back in love with short stories. It was seeing the anthology From The Indie Side, edited by David Gatewood, that brought it all back. It reminded me of the collections of science fiction short stories and novellas I devoured as a teenager. I didn’t always love all the stories, but each one resonated in some way the more I read them, and I slowly learned that huge ideas can be vacuum-packed into a smaller word count.

So I eagerly leapt at a chance to read the latest anthology edited by David Gatewood, Dark Beyond The Stars. Again, I can’t say I fell in love with every story, but the collection featured story after story that reached something deep inside and pulled me along until the page count finally ran out. Dark Beyond The Stars takes readers on an epic journey through space, rewarding them with tales guaranteed to entertain as well as elicit tears.

I also don’t think I can address the quality of the book without mentioning a unique fact about the anthology — each and every writer is a woman. I hope to someday live in a world where this note is unnecessary, but that day is not today. There are some out there who will refuse to read a collection that features only women writers. There are some who may cling to the out-dated belief that science fiction is a men’s game. There are those who wouldn’t even give a each of the writers a chance based on their misogynistic thinking.

Those people would be wrong. These women prove that science fiction is a poorer field without them in it. Dark Beyond The Stars is a rich and full universe of stories that, I believe, benefit from a woman’s perspective and voice.

Now, as I analyze the volume, I’m not going to go into detail on each and every story — other reviews have taken care of this and readers can find those details in those reviews — but I’ll highlight a few of the pinnacles of the book for me.

First off, the choice of Susan Kaye Quinn to start the anthology with her story “Containment” is a sure-fire winner. While Quinn sets the story firmly within the universe she’s established in her latest novel “The Legacy Human,” the story stands securely on its own. As with many of the stories in the collection, the point doesn’t become what happens, but really what does it all mean? In this case, we meet an artificial intelligence who works as the manager of mining on Thebe. As the story slowly develops, we peel back layers of the onion to discover our A.I. is more than what he is allowed to be. The themes of A.I., wealth inequality, and slavery are prevalent throughout the story and make it one to remember.

Another story I loved was Ann Christy’s “Lulu Ad Infinitum” and consequences of a horrific accident on a colony ship headed into space. One of the passengers, Lulu, is left alive, and is confronted with the fact that the only way to continue is with help, and the only way to get help is by cloning. As the mind wanders over decades and generations, what does the ship look like and who is Lulu after all this time?

In the same themes of a colony ship, Theresa Kay’s “Protocol A235,” takes the view of disaster happening in space to the extreme. In contrast to Christy’s Lulu, however, Theresa Kay pulls a slow burn as the first-person protagonist slowly finds out what’s happened, and the life that she has in front of her. The horror of the situation seems a little more apparent to the reader, but watching it play out makes her story one of the gems of this collection.

And the heartbreaker of the bunch had to be Jennifer Foehner Wells “Carindi.” Those familiar with Wells’ “Fluency” know the intricacies of the alien ships, operated by octopi-like beings, but commanded by a different species entirely. Ei’Pio is one of the former, resigned to a fate where she cannot move after a plague wiped out the population of her ship. She discovers a lifeform in the aftermath, one confined to a stasis suit who will be her companion for years. The story plays out until a decision must be made and they must leave their area of space or die. Just as I loved “Fluency,” “Carindi” adds a greater depth and history to Wells’ universe.

Ultimately, David Gatewood succeeds in editing another premier anthology, but he is merely the pilot ship for an armada of warships made up of supremely talented writers. I loved Dark Beyond the Stars and hope that there is more to come from this group.

Meet The Immortals — John Gregory Hancock

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The Immortality Chronicles is officially released on Friday, September 4. In preparation for the launch, I’m conducting interviews with my fellow authors from the anthology.

Yesterday, I interviewed Patricia Gilliam. You can find that HERE.

Today, my subject is John Gregory Hancock. And yes, I’m sure he gets tons of grief about his name and perhaps even his signature. I’ve known John for a few years and I’m thrilled for him to get a chance to showcase his best work in this collection (and yes, I believe his Immortality short story is a great piece of fiction). I previously had a chance to read his novel ROOF and the man has an imagination worthy of inclusion in this edition of The Future Chronicles.

The Immortality Chronicles is on sale for just $2.99 until Launch Day.

Without further ado, John Gregory Hancock:

11796327_10153423837640170_1900403244562143189_nWho are you?

My full (and real) name is John Gregory Hancock. When I was a kid, there was no internet. There was barely television. But there were books. My hometown library allowed you to only check out 10 books or so for two weeks. I think. Whatever the limit was, that’s exactly how many books I put in the basket between the handlebars of my bike. For two weeks, I’d travel the cosmos, fight the dragons, live 20,000 leagues under the sea, solve mysteries with Watson, and ask if androids dream of electric sheep.

I grew up in the sixties, with access to the golden age of science fiction. I was always told to go outside and play, stop reading so much. As if!

I work as a graphic designer and illustrator for the last 30 years and counting, More than that really, but let’s just be done talking about how old I am. Enough with my life story, already.

What I am now is an indie author that has published eclectic anthologies of my own, a couple of novels (novellas perhaps) and have illustrated each of them.

I like to say I’m a storyteller because I want to tell the story and stay out of its way. If the story is good enough, no one notices the storyteller, they’re looking at the tale as it is created behind their eyes. That is the sweet spot. That’s where I want to live.

Why are you writing for The Immortality Chronicles?

I cannot come up with a single reason why I wouldn’t want to. Really, why anyone wouldn’t want to. Have you read any of the other chronicles? If not, stop reading this right now, go out and buy The Dragon Chronicles (as an example) read it, and come back to me and try to convince me why I wouldn’t want to be part of this amazing set of books.

Good luck. You couldn’t do it. And, you wouldn’t want to.

11145234_886128228139578_2995516610234344992_oWhat did you write for The Immortality Chronicles? 

I wrote the story The Antares Cigar Shoppe.

I knew the topic of immortality was well-traveled. So I set about to create a story that spanned millions of years, not just decades or centuries. I wanted to write about what that kind of immortality would actually mean. And, I wanted to compress the impact of a great expanse of time into a single, seemingly mundane day on the planet Curie Prime. That was the challenge I set for myself.

How can we find out more about you and your writing?

Mostly, you can go to my author site: http://www.johngregoryhancock.com which will have links to all sorts of thing about me, or my amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/John-Gregory-Hancock/e/B00B8ECQMW

What’s next for you?

I’m in the weird place of multiple simultaneous projects. Some I can talk about. I’m retooling a short gothic horror piece into an illustrated novella that will be titled The Mortuary Arts. I’m working with another author to produce what we plan to be a comedic thriller. I’ve started a sequel to ROOF, called ROOF WORLD: Nike’s Choice. I have outlined a sideways sequel to Crawlspace that will be titled Banyan’s Law, the origins of Jack and Marisol Banyan. I have outlined a science fiction drama entitled Return to Me, My Beloved.

I have a notebook with over 30 short story ideas, and adding more all the time.

Because I rely on my lucid dreams for plot ideas, every time I go to sleep I could harvest another one.

Anything else we need to know about you and your story?

These are things not included in the story itself, but in my notes and intent before writing it:

In case you’re wondering, the name of the planet Curie Prime refers to Madame Curie. Because she’s a French scientist. The character names and some of the words are French. My device there is that a certain pivotal character grew up in ancient France on Earth.

Antares and Antares B do exist in reality as a supergiant and blue companion star.

There is no Badeaux cigar, harvested at the precise peak of maturity, the leaves delicately aged over steam produced from slowly roasting silkworms. But there ought to be.

Why is it set in a cigar shoppe? Why NOT a cigar shoppe? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Or is it? Until we open the wrapper, do we really know?

Hmmm. Schroedinger’s cigar. excuse me, I have another idea.

Meet The Immortals — Patricia Gilliam

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11796327_10153423837640170_1900403244562143189_nIn less than two weeks, we’ll be launching the next Future Chronicles title: The Immortality Chronicles. I’m thrilled to be a part of this collection with my story “The Control,” but I’m super-excited for people to read all the other fantastic stories within the covers of this book. Over the next two weeks, we’ll meet those authors (and maybe even the editor and publisher as well…) with a series of short interviews.

If you haven’t yet preordered the anthology, it’s on sale for $2.99 from now until Launch Day. On Sept. 4, the price goes up to $5.99, so get your copy now if possible.

First up (mainly because she answered the call first), is Patricia Gilliam. I’ll be honest: I’ve got plenty of books by Patricia on my Kindle, but they are (for now) in my To Be Read pile. After reading her story in TIC, I’ll be bumping her up closer to the top. Patricia can write and I look forward to seeing more out of her in the future. But enough from me…let’s hear from Patricia Gilliam:

Who are you?

I’m Patricia Gilliam—Future Chronicles reader turned contributor. I’ve loved sci-fi books, TV shows, and movies since childhood. I began writing short stories online around 2006, and The Hannaria Series novels came out of that about three years later.

Outside of writing, I work at a new tech branch of a bank—basically I do my best Sheldon impression and help people with transactions while we talk to each other via displays and microphones. (I asked if I could have a Mars background or large aquarium behind me, but it’s not in the budget…yet.)

My husband Cory and I have been married for ten years. We live in Knoxville, TN with our miniature dachshund army (J.D., Turk, and Diggle), adopted greyhound Mal (racing name Lucius Malfoy), and a lovable but keyboard-blocking cat Butterscotch.

983813_10205162354238622_7090703755502509662_nWhy are you writing for The Immortality Chronicles?

When Samuel Peralta first announced the opportunity, I was drawn to it for two reasons. The first was the overall quality of The Future Chronicles series—it’s an honor to be a part of this. The second was the proceeds benefiting First Book. Given the positive influence books had on my own childhood, I think it’s awesome to have the chance to pay-it-forward.

What did you write for The Immortality Chronicles?

My story is called “The Backup.” Without going too deep into spoiler territory, it deals with the unintended consequences of one man’s pursuit for immortality and moral questions surrounding a life when things don’t go as planned.

How can we find out more about you and your writing?

You can visit my Amazon author page at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Gilliam/e/B00358K3WO

I’m also active on Facebook and primarily use it for writing-related posts. You can friend/follow me here: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.gilliam1

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on Book 6 of The Hannaria Series and am plotting a sequel to Thaw (Part of Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga in Kindle Worlds). I try to keep myself open to opportunities and have found I do better working on more than one project at a time.

Anything else we need to know about you and your story?

“The Backup” contains characters from Something Like the Truth (Hannaria Series Book 4). After the main storyline is finished, I plan to revisit the McFerrin family and Clint Rossetti in a spin-off series.

Immortal Ponderings

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about eternity. In a mostly scientific sense at least…well, science fiction sense I suppose. The search for immortality and the quest for eternal life has been at the forefront of human existence for millenia. We want to live longer…we want to push the boundaries of life and death…we want to be a part of the universe for just a moment longer…

11796327_10153423837640170_1900403244562143189_nIn the past few days, I’ve been able to read through the next Future Chronicles anthology, entitled The Immortality Chronicles. Samuel Peralta, the braintrust behind the FC series, has already laid the foundations with Robots, Telepathy, Aliens, A.I., Dragons, Zombies, and Alternate History. I have the privilege of having a story in Immortality and after finishing reading the entire collection, it’s safe to say we’ve done it again with a fantastic group of stories.

As I read through the various stories, I found a few different themes kept popping up. Life. Death. Agony of existence and purity of the grave.

Ultimately though, a few of the stories kept coming back in some small way to one thing. And that one thing kept running through my head long after I put my Kindle down.

Memories.

We all have them. Whether it was the thoughts from this morning when you ate pancakes for breakfast, or the memories of climbing the oak tree in your backyard as an eight-year-old, memories are a constant in our lives. Some are welcome: the rich memories that flood my mind whenever I smell a fresh donut…the times I spent reading books on my bed as a teenager, dying to spend a split second in the worlds I jointly created with the author…the small moments I’ve spent with my wife from our first time holding hands to now.

Some memories are seemingly random. For example, whenever I iron clothes, my mind backtracks to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Its the one where Picard is basically a babysitter for some of the children on board the Enterprise when the power on the ship fails. He has to be their leader and their comfort, even singing with them in a powerless lift shaft. I have no idea why I think of that when I iron clothes, but that’s where my mind goes. Always. Every morning when I comb my hair, I think of a scene from the zombie movie Dawn of the Dead. The one from 2003 or 2004. I don’t even like the scene so much, but whenever I’m applying hair spray in the morning, my mind drifts back to that stupid movie. Memories are silly and capricious. At times they seem to control us more than we control them.

Some memories…maybe are more difficult: the pain and anguish we went through as we struggled to get our son home from Africa over the past few years…the torture of seeing siblings struggle with infertility and adoption setbacks of their own…rejections and losses throughout my life.

Ultimately though, a running theme that seemed to reverberate with me was memories. When a person ends up immortal (or close to it), we as the author tends to assume the human brain would run out of space to hold the memories. That there is a finite space for those and an infinite life is too much for that grey matter to hold on to. How do we solve that problem? Maybe the protagonist simply discards chosen memories here and there, perhaps the memory wipe is more…invasive. Perhaps the brain does its own purging and keeps the memories that it deems more important and relevant to life…

It’s really fascinating how the authors handle these situations. I don’t want to give anything away, but for some, the memory issue is a key factor in the plot of the story and yet in other stories, the memories are a side mention.

If I was facing eternal life, I would think that my memories would soon be my preferred currency. What is life if we cannot remember the times we surprised someone with a birthday party or a puppy, or even a nice pizza? What would be the purpose of elongated life if we couldn’t remember how we got there? If the lessons we learned in hundreds of years of life were suddenly stripped away and gone, I would mourn the loss of those memories. I’m not sure that eternal life is worth it if I can’t take a look back on where I came from along the way. It’s really hard to say what we would actually choose, however, when we’ve never had this option before.

There is so much more to The Immortality Chronicles from David Bruns’ courtroom drama, to Harlow Fallon’s deep space prison ship, and John Gregory Hancock’s cigar shop on an alien port. I loved reading all the stories and I think you will too. If you haven’t preordered The Immortality Chronicles yet, get on it. Just $2.99 during preorder and then it will go up to $5.99 after the launch, so you want to buy it now.

Thoughts On A Birthday

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It’s my birthday. That should mean something, right? I guess in some ways it does. A moment to pause and reflect on this past year, if nothing else. A time we can look back on our lives and examine how we’ve done so far.

So far? I’m happy. Pretty stinking happy with my life. Really.

In the past year I became a dad for the second time and it’s been a wild ride for sure. I get to watch my pre-teen daughter navigate middle school while discovering who she is and what she likes. My son is a neverending source of discovery as well, if not for him, for me and my wife as well.

Speaking of the wife, we celebrated 15 years of marriage this year in a crazy summer that saw us organize and hold an estate sale for her grandmother as well as travel to North Dakota to honor the life of my grandmother who passed away just a month shy of her 100th birthday. We didn’t do anything big for our anniversary, but that’s kind of our style…at least at the moment. She’s okay with a quiet celebration and with our bank account that’s probably a good thing. She’s an amazing woman and I’m thankful every single day I met her in the first place. 

And our family continues to grow. We just adopted a new kitten named Cleo (Key-lo according to our son) and a new school year started for all of us. After being without a full-time pastor for nearly a year, our church has been blessed with a great new pastor and his family. Someone else mowed my lawn today and it looks better than it has all summer.

Yeah…life is good.

What? I didn’t mention writing or my books?

Well, those are great, but that isn’t all that I am. I have to know that if my arms fall off and I can’t type another word for the rest of my life, that what I’ve done and who I am has meant something. For the other three people in my house and the rest of my family across the country, I’m pretty sure that’s the case.

Don’t get me wrong, I love writing as well. Not just the writing, but the fraternity of authors I’ve somehow stumbled into. I can’t possibly list all the people who have made a difference on my life, but my LOOW writing group, the Future Chronicles group (including my fellow authors in Alien, Z, and Immortality), and the other random authors I’ve befriended have all influenced me in one way or another. I realized today when I got a birthday message from my buddy Logan Thomas Snyder that giving gets you a lot in return.

It’s like they say at Christmas: “It’s better to give than to receive.”

Logan wished me happy birthday, but then took the moment to recall his publishing journey and how I was a friend from the get-go. If nothing else, I’d like to think I’ve been someone willing to give along the way. Give a review, give a beta read, give some time to talk, give my efforts. I know time is a limited resource so I can’t do everything I want, but when I’ve had time to give, I hope I’ve done all I can do to help others.

Have I reached the level where I can focus exclusively on my writing? No…but I don’t think I’m at the point in my life where I would have to limit myself in terms of talking to and enjoying other author’s work. I like who I am. I haven’t had to sacrifice my values to reach this point and for that, I’m grateful. I’ve met some great people over the past two years and will treasure knowing them. I may not be on the same level as some of them professionally at this point, but that’s okay. I like me and who I am, and at 36 years old, that’s a pretty good thing to be.