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.

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Book Review – Synchronic

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SynchronicFinalCoverAs much as the title suggests its relationship to time, Synchronic also has a hint of something else. My mind wandered to chronic health conditions that persist over time, or perhaps even a hint at an addiction.

By the time I finished Synchronic, I had developed my own addiction: a persistent desire to read stories about time travel. One after another, the 13 writers involved in the anthology created new and interesting tales of time travel without repetition or fatigue.

I’ve read works by some of these authors already, but one of the great things about an anthology like this is finding new and different authors I hadn’t yet discovered. After reading some of the stories in Synchronic, I wish I could go back in time and discover these authors in their writing infancy – to read their early works as they were first getting published.

There is a certain appeal to time travel stories. What is it that draws the reader to them? I imagine the pull of regret has a lot to do with it. After I first got a DVR at home, I used it so much to skip commercials and to rewind live TV if I happened to miss something. Eventually I started having urges in real life to skip back or replay something. At first, it was just a few moments at a time, but when I realized major mistakes, oh how I wished I could go back and correct those blunders. To make my life better with just a simple revisit to the past.

Ultimately, that regret has a necessary place in our lives and helps us as we encounter new, but similar circumstances. That doesn’t lessen our desire to alter our past, though. I imagine if we were really able to go back, the tragedy of our actions would resonate throughout our lives. Most of the time travel stories I’ve read or seen on the big screen have that tragic element and over and over we see that in this collection as well.

There are so many great stories contained in Synchronic, but I want to highlight a few of my favorites – the stories that stuck with me long after I’d read them.

The Mirror by Irving Belateche

For me, the standout of this collection. I usually like my time travel to be science fiction-based, but wow, I’ll take it with a supernatural twist after reading The Mirror. Peter Cooper is a Manhattan antiques dealer who stumbles upon the titular object that reshapes his life, and has defined who he was before he even knew it. I really loved this story and made me think twice before looking in any antique mirrors.


The First Cut by Edward E. Robertson

When I first started reading Robertson’s contribution, I thought of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Timecop, but this story had a mind of its own, putting these time police officers on the case of time violators who go to alternate histories of Earth. Our protagonist, Blake Din, is at the bottom of his class from the Academy, but we find out that Blake thrives once the simulations end and the real life situations emerge, taking us on a who-dun-it set in a time like the mid-90’s (where the Internet is in its infancy and cell phones aren’t ubiquitous). Wonderful twist at the end pays off for the reader.


Reset by MeiLin Miranda

This story struck me kind of like a Groundhog Day-type of story, except that Catherine lives almost an entire life over and over. This not only reminded me of Groundhog Day, but also the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the Enterprise is stuck in a time loop and Data is the only one aware of the repetition. Again, both those two tales are just a day or a few days – Catherine’s story involves years. What would you do if you lived decades over and over again?


Reentry Window by Eric Tozzi

Tozzi wrote one of my favorite books of 2013 – The Scout, and his knowledge of NASA and the space program pays off fantastically here. With hints of Andy Weir’s The Martian, Tozzi gives us a “chicken or the egg” story set in outer space that leaves you thinking for a long time.


Rock or Shell by Ann Christy

What is the effect of time travel on the space-time continuum. If you’ve watched enough Star Trek, you’ve heard of the continuum and Christy gives us a look behind the curtain so-to-speak with Rock or Shell. When the world as we know it starts to collapse, what do we hold on to? What keeps us centered – keeps us grounded? There was a bit of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie Inception here – you’ll know it when you read it – and Christy’s story pays it off wonderfully.

Like I said – all the stories are winners. It was tough for me to pick my top 5 and I’ll say that Susan Kaye Quinn’s Corrections was right there on the outside. Some other fantastic stories from Nick Cole (who also penned the amazing Foreward), Michael Bunker (what a twist!), Jason Gurley, Samuel Peralta, Jennifer Ellis, Christopher Nuttall, and Isaac Hooke round out the collection. I really could go on and on about this collection. And of course, I couldn’t forget to mention that editor extraordinare, David Gatewood, compiled this outstanding anthology, just a few months after publishing his last indie anthology, From The Indie Side.

This collection gets and deserves five stars and also deserves a paperback on your bookshelf. The short story is not dead and this collection proves it.