Meet The Alt.Historians — Adam Venezia

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ALT-History-102-eBook (1)

Alt.History 102 is up in the Top 10 of the Sci-fi Anthology charts and is getting some fantastic reviews, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t done meeting some Alt.Historians! Here is a few words from Adam Venezia. Who is he? I’ll leave that to him to answer…

Give us a brief introduction to you. Who are you? What else have you written? What brings you to Alt.History 102?

A few years ago, I walked away from a PhD program in Structural Engineering to pursue a career in writing. Seven years of studying engineering taught me that science fiction is more fun than science. Alt.History 102 is my first time publishing. Most everything before it has been practicing the craft.

What’s your story about? What gave you the idea for your story?

“The Black Network” is about what would happen if we didn’t have all this lovely access to the internet and computing. But, it’s not about a time before computers were invented. They exist, and are just as powerful as we think of them now. But access is limited, controlled by the wealthy, prohibitively expensive for just about everyone.

If you could pick a previous Chronicles anthology that you could alter history to go back and be included in, which one would it be and why?

Time Travel Chronicles. I actually got into the Chronicles by writing a story just for Sam – a sort of audition piece. Time Travel Chronicles was on the verge of coming out at that time, and I just barely missed my chance to be in that collection. A shame, because time travel is easily my favorite subject within science fiction.

Anything else you’d like to plug?

I recently started a blog. I’ve spent the past few years teaching myself to write, and put up the blog as a way of organizing and sharing what I know so far. That’s at adamvenezia.wordpress.com

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Book Review — Nomad

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Whew.

After reading Nick Cole’s The End Of The World As We Knew It and Matthew Mather’s Nomad within a day of each other, I was mentally exhausted. The two books wore me out. I described how Cole’s book was an exercise in retracing our steps in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse yesterday, but Mather’s book was a visceral look at a very specific end of world event. Both had the hallmarks of apocalyptic fiction, but they were as different as can be when it comes to the action and plotting.

nomadIn Nomad, Matthew Mather tears things apart. Families, countries, economies, planets, galaxies…all get ripped apart between the covers of his latest novel. I read his earlier book from this year — Darknet — and found it frightening in a way that was almost difficult to describe. In Darknet, the threat is real, but invisible. In fact, the antagonist can strike and be gone again without you even knowing it, the only traces are digital breadcrumbs left in its wake.

In Nomad, Mather does it again, creating an invisible villain — the titular astronomical anomaly — but the effects this go-around are more immediate, more violent, more physical. Instead of bank accounts and identities being torn asunder, it is the literal earth that undergoes an upheaval in Nomad.

The story is fast-paced and energetic from the get-go, placing all of our characters in Rome. Some are there for pleasure, some for work, and others are trying to hide from the authorities. The latter is our young protagonist Jessica. We first meet her while she is on a tour of an Italian castle with her mother, but her story goes much deeper and gives her a rich and detailed backstory. In fact, as the story kept unfolding, we kept seeing new aspects of Jessica’s character that led to numerous “aha” moments. Mather wonderfully wove her story in the fabric of Nomad and gives us a great character we can live through in this book as well as others to come.

What was great about Mather’s previous books was the scientific reality he’d grounded things in from the technological terror of Darknet to the scenarios he plays out in CyberStorm. The same is true for Nomad, with actual astronomical possibilities. In fact, the very anomaly he showcases in the book popped up in the news as a discovery in just the last few months. The terror of space really isn’t what we can see — it is what we can’t see, and Mather proves it with this book.

Mather takes the reader on a wild ride, and all of it feels genuine and authentic. Our characters are real and we want them to be real and to make it in the face of overwhelming adversity. With all that can possibly go wrong, can humanity go on? What will an event like this bring out? The best, or the worst in us?

As for the next books in the planned trilogy, Mather certainly has a plan for the second book with the path for our characters, but planted enough seeds along the way to make sure the reader knows the path will be rocky and difficult. I massively enjoyed this book and am very much looking forward to Sanctuary

David Bruns Reviews The Immortality Chronicles

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We’re getting some AMAZING reviews in for The Immortality Chronicles, but one thing the authors featured in the book cannot do is review it ourselves through Amazon. I’ve been mentioning the past few weeks how I felt about many of the stories, and fellow author David Bruns has taken it upon himself to write up his own review of sorts.

So click on David’s face to be taken to his blog where he shares his thoughts on the book.

David author pic - cropped-minhttp://davidbruns.com/2015/09/the-immortality-chronicles/

Meet The Immortals — Will Swardstrom

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Hey look, it’s my turn! I’ve taken time and used this space to interview each of the other eleven authors featured in The Immortality Chronicles. I thought it only fair that I got to cap the interview series today.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of The Immortality Chronicles for just $2.99 for a limited time. To check out the other author interviews, just click on their names: Patricia Gilliam, John Gregory Hancock, Drew Avera, Gareth Foy, D.K. Cassidy, Thomas Robins, E.E. Giorgi, Harlow C. Fallon, David Bruns, D. Robert Pease & Paul B. Kohler.

And now…me!

11796327_10153423837640170_1900403244562143189_nWho are you?

Okay…okay. I’ve asked this question of enough people at this point, I should have this down pat. I’m…24601. Shoot. That’s not right.

Okay…my name is Will Swardstrom. I’m a husband, father of two, high school history teacher, and author. Since 2013, I’ve written two novels and a couple handfuls of novellas and short stories. I enjoy teaching for my day job, so there isn’t a huge rush to quit and focus entirely on writing, but perhaps one day… Until that day, I’ll continue to find a balance between my two careers.

Why are you writing for The Immortality Chronicles?

I was on board with The Immortality Chronicles from the get go. Chronicles curator Samuel Peralta approached me about a volume that would act as a vehicle to foster charity donations and he chose Immortality for that. I’d done a previous anthology with my LOOW writing group, so he worked with me early on that side of the book. Eventually I was able to write my own story to help benefit First Book and contribute my third Chronicles story (I’ve also appeared in Alien and Z).

Also, now that I’ve read the entire collection, I’m thrilled to be sharing page space with these immensely talented men and women. Each time I get a story in a Future Chronicles anthology, I am just in awe of the words that surround my story on all sides, from the Foreword to the final acknowledgements, each book is a work of art.

11936983_10207733939815640_650787208_nWhat did you write for The Immortality Chronicles? 

My contribution to The Immortality Chronicles is a story called The Control. It spans much of human recorded history going back to ancient Egypt. I guess I started with the idea that aliens were behind the construction of the pyramids and the other monuments scattered around the Old Kingdom upwards of 5,000 years ago. From there my protagonist goes through history, always alive, but not always living. Not when your life is under someone else’s control. 

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

Well, right here is a great place to start! Up above there are links for many of my books and stories (although I have been terrible at updating this site in the past year or so.) Ultimately to check out my current works, visit my Amazon page HERE. I’m fairly active on Facebook and I can guarantee there aren’t any other Will Swardstrom’s out there. Just search and find me. I’m also on Twitter, but I am a terrible tweeter.

What’s next for you?

Oh boy. Here we go.

My brother, Paul, and I are co-authoring a book. I started it on a whim and he asked to help out and now it may be the best longform fiction I’ve been a part of. We’ve got nearly 83,000 words as of the start of September and I have a goal to finish it by the end of the month.

After that, I’ve got a few short stories to write and/or finish. One I can’t really talk about quite yet, but I can mention the story I have planned for the Alt.History 102 volume coming up. My deadline for that is November with a publication date of early 2016. My working title is “Requiem for an Austrian Princess.” (I’ll leave it there for now and reveal more details later.

In terms of anything else, we’ll just have to see what time allows for. I’m always up for something new, but I gotta make sure I take care of the day job, too.

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

I was really drawn to The Immortality Chronicles by the epic tale of Gilgamesh. An ancient Sumerian story — in fact, the oldest story we have on record — that tells about Gilgamesh as a king in the Sumerian city of Uruk. Gilgamesh is a great king, mighty and powerful, but he has flaws. Eventually those flaws attract the gods who send him a friend, Enkidu. The two have a great bromance and go on epic adventures, but Enkidu eventually dies and much of the blame can be laid at the feet of Gilgamesh. In order to avoid Enkidu’s fate, he embarks on a search for immortality. The journey is long and tough, but he eventually learns man cannot become immortal, but immortality happens for those who live full and complete lives, allowing others to remember their deeds long after their mortal death.

How can we become immortal? Ultimately we can search for man-made ways — faster than light travel, gene therapy, freezing your body, etc. — but the true way to achieve eternal life isn’t found there.

Meet The Immortals — Paul B. Kohler

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We’re nearing the end of the author interviews for The Immortality ChroniclesWe’ve gone through ten interviews so far and Paul B. Kohler is the final one before I share my own thoughts tomorrow. I’ve known Paul for a while now, enjoying his Linear Shift stories back during their first weeks being released into the wild. He’s full of some vivid and wonderful story ideas and we certainly get a doozy with his story in this anthology.

If you missed a previous interview, check them out with the following links: Patricia Gilliam, John Gregory Hancock, Drew Avera, Gareth Foy, D.K. Cassidy, Thomas Robins, E.E. Giorgi, Harlow C. Fallon, David Bruns & D. Robert Pease. Don’t forget, The Immortality Chronicles is just $2.99 through Launch Day (Sept. 4!).

Thankfully I was able to get Paul’s interview in and he chipped in a wonderful photo of himself with his exceptional responses. Enjoy the following (along with that photo):

11796327_10153423837640170_1900403244562143189_nWho are you?

Hmm. What can I say that I haven’t already said on the umpteen bio’s scattered around the internets? I am Paul B. Kohler. I hail from Littleton, Colorado, and I enjoy long walks on the beach… oh wait… I think I’ve used that one on another kind of website. Ok, seriously though, my name is Paul, and I am a late comer to the writer party. I’m in my mid 40’s, and only started taking my writing seriously a few years ago. I’ve always had the desire to write fiction, and have been inspired by the likes of Stephen King, but never took the leap until 2013. Maybe someday I could even call myself a full time writer, but until that magical day happens, I’ll keep my day job in architecture.

Why are you writing for The Immortality Chronicles?

I am writing for the Immortality Chronicles, because the entire Future Chronicles authorship is awesome, and I am beyond honored to be included in a volume. Samuel really figured things out correctly when he started putting together these fabulous anthologies. I can only hope that I get tapped on the shoulder again for another future chronicle.

11223824_10207875057263614_6072123625252704075_oWhat did you write for The Immortality Chronicles? 

My contribution to The Immortality Chronicles is titled Rememorations. It is a story about a man who buys into Immortality, but didn’t pay too much attention to the fine print, per se. After a certain amount of time, his mind became full of memories, and he had to have an additional “procedure” to make room for new ones. The hardest part was deciding which memories to eliminate. Once the decision is made, unknown consequences take over.

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

I write a blog… sometimes. OK, Most of the time, but only sometimes. You can find my ramblings at www.paul-kohler.net, where I try and keep an up to date progress section for anything in my writing queue.

What’s next for you?

Right now, I am mid-way through writing a 7 part serialized novel, titled The Borrowed Souls. The first part, self-titled Borrowed Souls originally published in early 2014 as a stand-alone short story. Since I wrote that piece, my mind would not stop thinking of the possibilities of that world. So, after I finished my last novel, Linear Shift, I began working on new episodes. I recently retitled the first part to The Soul Collector: Borrowed Souls: Book 1 and republished it. The second of 7 episodes is currently available on pre-order, and is titled Regretful Absolution: Borrowed Souls: Book 2. It will publish live on Tuesday, September 8th. I have the third installment ready to go as well, and is scheduled to publish on Tuesday, September 29th. Beyond that, a new episode will publish every three weeks – like clockwork.

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

I think I’ve talked enough about myself and my stories for the moment. I would like to first thank Will for opening his blog to all the writers of the Immortality Chronicles. I’ve been following along with each of the interviews, and can only say that I am humbled to be included with such great talent. The act of writing a book is no easy task for any of us. Between the first spark of inspiration to the umpteenth rewrite along the way, hundreds of hours are involved. Some of us can do it more quickly than others, but that doesn’t at all diminish the effort involved. As I am relatively green in this exciting new world, I am most likely spending more time than the others, because I want things to be as “right” as possible. Beyond the authors involved, there is Samuel (Peralta). Even though he doesn’t have a story in this volume, I would almost guarantee he is has put in double the amount of effort than any single author involved. Please keep that in mind when you buy fiction. The small amount of money we ask is a mere pittance to the value you get. To help sweeten the pot for involved, please consider leaving a review where you purchased the book. Reviews help other potential readers decide whether or not to take a chance on an unknown title.

Meet The Immortals — David Bruns

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Most of my reads these days tends to be sci-fi, or perhaps a fantasy book here and there. A few months ago, I had the chance to read a book outside the sci-fi/fantasy genre and it was a great experience. Took me back, in fact to my high school days. I devoured Tom Clancy books (not literally of course) when I was a teen and moved on to Clive Cussler and Vince Flynn as an adult. David Bruns (along with JR Olson) put together a top-notch military thriller called Weapons of Mass Deception that harkens back to the glory days of Clancy with a modern style. I really enjoyed it and hope he continues to pen books in the genre. But it’s also clear David Bruns is an excellent writer and his science fiction also earns him a lot of respect as well.

David Bruns’ story in The Immortality Chronicles is a welcome change of pace and one that I think a lot of people will enjoy. The Immortality Chronicles drops on Friday, Sept. 4 featuring stories by Patricia Gilliam, John Gregory Hancock, Drew Avera, Gareth Foy, D.K. Cassidy, Thomas Robins, E.E. Giorgi, Harlow C. Fallon, David Bruns, Paul B. Kohler, D. Robert Pease, and myself. The anthology is curated by Samuel Peralta and edited by Carol Davis. Until launch day, you can get the collection for just $2.99.

Now…on to Mr. Bruns:

11796327_10153423837640170_1900403244562143189_nWho are you?

I’m David Bruns, recovering corporate executive and full-time author. I think of writing career as my Third Act. In Act One, I was in the US Navy for ten years and served as a commissioned officer on a nuclear-powered submarine. Act Two was two decades was as an executive in high-tech that included seven moves, two years in Asia, and a metric butt-load of airline miles.

Writing is my Act Three. I always knew I’d get to this place in my life–it just took forty-odd years to get here. I write science fiction under my own name and alternate history-military thrillers with a writing partner, JR Olson. JR is a twenty-five year US Navy veteran who spent most of his career in naval intelligence. We write and blog together under the name The Two Navy Guys.

Since my leap into writing, I’ve released a sci-fi series called The Dream Guild Chronicles, and a bunch of short fiction. The Two Navy Guys published Weapons of Mass Deception, a novel about modern-day nuclear terrorism, in May.

Why are you writing for the Immortality Chronicles?

Did you say ImmorTality Chronicles? Oh no, I thought this was the Immorality Chronicles—I need to get my story back from Samuel right now!

Seriously, it’s such an honor to be part of what Samuel is doing with these short fiction anthologies. Ever since I reviewed Telepath Chronicles last year I wanted to be part of it. I even went so far as to write a “reserve” story for AI Chronicles called “I, Caroline,” but all the invited authors came through–which is a good thing.

The fact that the anthology is benefiting a literary cause just makes it sweeter for me. I’ve always been a huge reader and I think every kid needs books in their life.

David author pic - cropped-minWhat did you write for The Immortality Chronicles?

My story, “Legacy,” is about a brilliant inventor named Edward Stemm who loses a leg in the Iraq War. When he gets home, he is dissatisfied with the available prosthetics and forms a company called Stemm Bionics. As time goes on—and Edward gets older—he replaces most of his own body with bionics. When the story opens, Edward is being sued by his great-granddaughter and CEO of Stemm Bionics to force him out of his own company.

In “Legacy,” Edward pursues the goal of life extension to the exclusion of all else—including living. At the end of story he makes a final choice about how he wants to live. The underlying theme of the story is that our entire culture is built on the transience of human life. Much of what we do in our lives—raise children, win awards, build inheritances—is with an eye toward how we will be remembered when we’re gone.

Did I mention I was an English major as well as a naval officer? I could go on about this stuff all day…

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

The best way is to visit my website at www.davidbruns.com. You can browse all my work and even download the David Bruns Starter Library for free.

What’s next for you?

I have a short story in the upcoming Cyborg Chronicles and another in Tails of the Apocalypse, edited by Chris Pourteau. My writing partner and I have started writing the sequel to Weapons of Mass Deception. Last month, my first-ever submarine story, called Voyage of the Orca, was published as the first episode of a serial novel in the anthology, Experiments & Enchantments. Episode Two is calling. I like to work on more than one thing at a time.

Meet The Immortals — Thomas Robins

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Out of all the authors featured in The Immortality Chronicles, I’ve known Thomas Robins the longest. Him and I go back to the first months of each of our publishing careers when we were both firmly entrenched in writing WOOL fanfic. I consider Thomas to be a great friend and I’ve always been a fan of his work. I can wholeheartedly recommend his novel Desperate to Escape and I get a kick whenever I see something new from him in my inbox.

Thomas’ approach to immortality is a bit different than the other writers in this collection as he details below. I hope you read and enjoy his story as much as I did when I first read it.

Before you settle in for a brief interview with Thomas, here are the links to the previous Immortal interviews:

Patricia Gilliam / John Gregory Hancock / Drew Avera / Gareth Foy / D.K. Cassidy

…and here is Thomas Robins:

11796327_10153423837640170_1900403244562143189_nWho are you?

My name is Thomas Robins and I am an author every Wednesday night between the hours of 6 pm and 10 pm. My office is a Starbucks and my drink of choice is hot green tea. The rest of the week, I am a father, husband, coach, and I am gainfully employed at a public school. My best ideas for stories come when I am mowing the lawn and if I can remember them until Wednesday, you get to read them, too. I am desperately dependent on word-of-mouth to get people to read my books because, come Wednesday night, I have to decide between promoting and writing, and I almost always choose writing.

Why are you writing for The Immortality Chronicles?

This will be my third story appearing in a book where proceeds go to charity. It’s a great feeling to know my creative ventures are helping raise funds for worthy causes. Plus, the Future Chronicles series is the premiere place for indie and established authors to find themselves these days. All of them are amazing and I have been itching to be in one for a while. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be in a Future Chronicles book by the end of the year and, come September 4th, that resolution comes true. Might be my first completed resolution…ever.

What did you write for The Immortality Chronicles?

Eternity Today. I’m going to say something your not going to like and I want you to promise you won’t stop reading once I tell you. Promise? Eh? Ok, good. This is a time loop story. It is, I can’t call it anything else. Now, let me tell you why it’s OK. In most time loop stories, a few characters know what’s going on and everyone else is oblivious (like Bill Murray was the only person aware  in Groundhog Day). However, in Eternity Today, everyone on Earth knows what is happening. The theme I’m exploring is how society would evolve, or devolve, given an unlimited amount of time: if everyone were suddenly made immortal.

4405421How can we find out more about you and your writing?

Here’s the pitch, are you ready? I’ll wait…I have a blog, but the updates are hit and miss. I have an amazon page, but it feels cluttered. What I really want you to do is sign up for my newsletter. It’s usually about four months between newsletters, but it’s the best way to know when something new is coming out. I also offer a limited number of signed paperbacks at rock bottom prices when I send out the newsletter. Click here and make my day.

What’s next for you?

I’ve been invited to be in the upcoming Shapeshifter Chronicles. Plus, I have a couple personal projects I’ve been working on. If you want to keep up, then…you guessed it…sign up for the newsletter.

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

You’ve read a lot about me, I want to make it about you for a moment. If you are thinking about writing, go for it. Even if you never publish, get your stories out of your head and on paper (or computer). Share them if you can. A few years ago I would never have believed I’d be writing for something as great as Immortality Chronicles, but here I am. If you have a drive inside you, follow it. All you need is some time every Wednesday night between 6 pm and 10 pm.