My Top 5 #SciFi Movie Influences #OWSCyCon2019 #YA

I’m pretty sure I was born a sci-fi geek.  From a young age, I can remember being captivated by sci-fi movies and books.  Normal generally bored me – I lived in the world of normal.  It was the unusual, otherworldly, and improbable that held me spellbound.  Today, I thought I’d share with you the five science fiction movies that made the biggest impressions on me.  Rather than listing least to most favorite, these are listed chronologically.

5.  Planet of the Apes  I’m totally dating myself, but I was in grade school when these movies came out, and I was instantly hooked.  Seeing Charleton Heston awaken to another world where apes were in charge – and they spoke?  I never knew movies like this existed.  But when he saw what was left of the Statue of Liberty at the end, my young mind was blown.

4.  Star Wars  You had to see this one coming.  Light sabers, talking droids, powerful Jedis, space travel, and such detailed world-building – instant obsession.  I’m a fan of the whole series (except any scenes including Jar Jar Binks – such a travesty), and after watching A New Hope, my next obsession was the video game adaptation at the local arcade.  I personally destroyed the Death Star many times over.  You’re welcome.

3.  The Terminator  This movie is at the root of my love of just about anything involving time travel.  It didn’t hurt that Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) looked the way he did.  As Sarah Connor, I would have accepted his offer in a heartbeat.  But seriously, the whole premise that John Conner sent a soldier back in time to protect Conner’s mother – and that man was Conner’s father?  I turned that one over in my mind for days.  I’ll still watch that movie when it’s on.

2.  The Matrix  I was a Keanu Reeves fan long before I saw this movie.  Besides the effects being off the charts cool, once I understood what the Matrix was?  And Neo was The One?  I fell hard for this one, and the sequels that followed.  The idea that what you perceive is reality isn’t, but some people choose to live that way had my head spinning for days.  It might have been my first experience with alternate realities.

1.  Inception  Speaking of cool effects – even if you didn’t get Inception, there’s no denying they were visually stunning.  The whole entering someone else’s consciousness impacted me deeply.  If you ask me, that token fell, and Dom was reunited with his children.

Parts of my young adult sci-fi/fantasy novel, The Gemini Connection, were heavily influenced by The Matrix and Inception.  One of my main characters, Evan, is a Mindbender who enters the minds of others and connects thoughts and concepts, and occasionally battles nightmares.  Evan also shares an unusual connection with his twin, Simon, that is instrumental in saving their dying planet.  To find out more about my books, you can look around here, on my website, or check out my virtual booth here.  I’ve also written a young adult horror novel, Sarah.  Info on that book is included in my sci-fi booth, or you can visit my booth under the horror section here.

OWS CyCon officially runs May 17-19 with the CyCon website and Facebook events acting as the hub for all of our events. Sign up for our newsletter or RSVP to the event to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the bookish goodness we have to offer. Plus, you can read more about our participating Sci Fi authors and their Top 5 favorites in Sci-Fi before CyCon starts. Visit the blog hop page any time leading up to CyCon for the latest posts and your chance to enter our MEGA giveaway (open May 10).

#OWSCyCon2019 Cover Wars – Please Vote! #YA #scifi #horror

Happy Friday!  I’m participating in OWS CyCon over the next few days, and both of my book covers are battling it out in Cover Wars – Sarah under horror/thriller, and The Gemini Connection under sci-fi.

I could use your help, and this is me begging for votes – if you have a couple of minutes, please vote at the following links:

Vote for Sarah HERE.

Vote for The Gemini Connection HERE.

Fair warning – the bracket for sci-fi has been kind of wonky in the mornings, but seems to work in the afternoon.

Don’t forget to register for the 22 book and Amazon gift card giveaway HERE!

Thanks so much – have a great weekend, and don’t forget to vote tomorrow, also!

#OWSCycon2019 World-Building Showcase: Arid Alarm by L.B. Carter #scifi #YA

Welcome to another fantastic stop in our World-building Showcase blog hop! On this stop, we’re highlighting a story where the world changes or ends as we know it, but you can find a full list of authors and topics on the OWS Cycon website. Let’s dive in!

Welcome, L.B. Carter!

Before we dive in to the nitty gritty, what is the Climatic Climacteric series about?

The Earth’s climate is changing, and natural disasters are becoming more frequent, more intense, and more deadly: coastal storms, forest fires, drought. Voted the 14th Best Indie Book of 2018 by readers at Read Freely, the Internationally Bestselling upper YA/NA near-future sci-fi Climatic Climacteric series is now (as of April 26) complete with tense adventures of hope, suspense, thrills and a touch of romance! All books are FREE on KU or anyone can start the series for only $0.99 at www.books2Read.com/SilentSiren.

Does language play any role in your world? Does everyone speak the same language, or is there variety? Did you invent any new slang or terminology during your world-building process?

This book takes place in the near-future with as realistic science and technology as I know, so it’s not too different but has some scientific terms… though one of my main characters in book one has some creative word choices for avoiding swears!

What kinds of climates do your characters experience? Do they see a lot of change or is it always the same? Has your world always had this kind of climate, or has it changed over time?

Now this is a perfect question for this series! The premise is what the world will look like as climate change starts to really mess with how people live on the planet! There are some seriously terrifying natural disasters and crazy weather effects that torment my characters: book one focuses on rising sea level and hurricanes/coastal storms; book two focuses on forest fires and technological advances; book three revolves around drought and governmental attention to such a climate.

Is there any kind of faith system in your world? Did you draw inspiration from any real cultures, living or dead?

Since this world is similar to today’s, it’s similarly diverse.

What do people in your world do for fun? Are there sports, games, music, or other activities they do in their free time?

In book one, we follow two characters in high school. There are normal forms of entertainment–Sirena (Rena) uses boxing as a way to destress, they do pottery at school, and some friends are involved in ice hockey. However, with all the chaos Mother Nature is tossing at them, they quickly have to shun games and fun–free time at all–in favor of survival.

What kinds of transportation and other interesting technology do your characters have access to? Are they ahead, behind, or a mix of different kinds of tech compared to where we are now?

This future world has some technological advances to the current one: cars are mostly electric in a too-late attempt to avoid polluting the Earth, though deisel is still prominent in the poorer, disaster-ravaged areas (mostly the Midwest), there are few universities left after an education overhaul but they’re fixated on automatons, robots, drones and helicopters. Importantly to book two, they’re also improving prosthetics for amputees. Genetics is also advancing even if regulations and fears are still averse, but I’m not saying more than that.

Without giving away too much, what can you tell us about your world-ending event and how it led to the world of your story? Was it a distant event or does it happen as part of your tale?

Humans. Anthropogenic ignorance and arrogance caused this climatic climacteric (a term that means period of time) that’s forcing everyone to focus on not becoming part of the Earth’s next mass extinction.

Your Process

When you build a world, what is your process like? Do you do a lot of research upfront, wing it completely, or something in between?

This world is built on years of knowledge gleaned through my extensive education. I’ve studied Earth Science for almost ten years, getting a bachelors, masters and then doctorate, so I’ve cultivated all the research I needed on the potential impacts climate change will have on Earth.

How central is the setting of your story to the story itself? Is it more of an interesting backdrop, or is it integral to the events of the story?

This series takes my characters–and the reader–all over the US in this adventure series! The travels show the various aspects of climate change impacting different areas in various ways: from coast to interior to mountains.

When helping the reader get to know the world you built, what techniques do you use? Do you tend to be upfront about things, or keep the reader in the dark and feed them only bits at a time?

A pet peeve of mine is when authors don’t use “show, don’t tell,” so I try my hardest to pepper things into the story itself, so readers get a feel of the world in how the characters interact with it, rather than listing its state outright. I’m told they’re quite mysterious and suspenseful, so perhaps it’s a bit of “in the dark” unintentionally.

How much of a role does realism and hard scientific fact play in your world-building? Do you strive for 100% accuracy, or do you leave room for the fantastical and unexplainable in your world?

A lot! As a scientist, I find it hard not to base my fiction in fact. I’d say the plot is fiction (I hope), the characters are plausible fiction, and the world and its disasters are scientifically predicted (which is shame). My intention with this series was in part to help non-scientists better understand climate change predictions and exactly how they will pan out into actual effects on humans’ lives.

Do you have any specialized training or background from your “real life” that has informed your world-building?

I’m a scientist! More than that, I’m a science communicator at a university in my day-job, which means it’s my duty to explain the latest and most important results coming out of scientific research to the public. This is a soft version of that.

How do you keep all of the details of your world and characters straight? Do you have a system for deciding on different factors and keeping it all organized, or does it live more in your head?

It’s mostly in my head. I do have character cards to keep track of everyone’s names, background, details. The world is all in my mind.

Did you experience any difficulties while building your world? Any facts that refused to cooperate or inconsistencies you needed to address while editing?

Not with this world because it’s so ingrained in my brain after years delving deep into Earth Science. We’ll see about the next one…

Where can people find you on the web?

I love meeting other bookish friends! Please check out this series, which is now complete as of about a month ago (wahoo!)–find out more info about me and the series at my CyCon booth here.You can also find more information and links to my social media and email at www.LBCarter.com. Subscribe to my newsletter there to get free books, previews of the books I described above and more… like meeting my snuggly garfield-wannabe, Mr. Cat!

Many thanks to my host for letting me pop onto their blog here to chat about my series! I hope it was enlightening and fun. This blog-hop is a great way for me to find new books myself! 🙂

 

For more stops on our End of the World World-building Showcase, visit the tour page on the OWS CyCon website. You can also find more great Sci Fi authors and books on our main Sci Fi event page.

 

 

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff #bookreview #YA #scifi

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Occasionally, I’ll pick up a book and know within the first several pages that I’m in for a five star read.  Aurora Rising is one of those books.

These characters.  I fell for them hard, and the banter between them is hilarious.  All are so fully-developed and relatable, and with seven different POVs, that’s a tremendous feat to accomplish.  So many POVs may throw off some readers, but each voice is distinctive, and I knew exactly who was speaking.  And such fantastic character diversity (and I don’t mean humans and aliens).

Talk about no-win situations – these authors throw their characters into several, and you’re just sure there’s no way they’ll survive – and then things happen that I won’t give away, but trust me, you’ll be surprised at the originality and creativity.  The last 15% of this book really put me through the wringer – hidden secrets, big emotions, high-stakes danger.  Make sure to carve out a good hour or so when you won’t be disturbed.

Even with all the action, death-defying moments, and a tension-filled heist, Aurora Rising leans heavily on themes of family, friendship, faith, and finding your crew.  It’s an unusual, but charismatic mix of Guardians of the Galaxy, The Breakfast Club, and Six of Crows, and a novel you won’t want to miss.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Name My Book Character Winner! #giveaway

A couple of weeks ago, I asked for help in naming a supporting character in my newest book, scheduled for publication February 13, 2020.  The book is currently going by the name ‘Book 3’, and the supporting character by the name of ‘X’.  You see my dilemma – which is why I requested assistance.

I had such a terrific response – bushels of thanks to everyone who entered!  With so many awesome suggestions, it was a difficult decision, but my youngest son (who is privy to what will happen with this character) and I considered all of the entries, and made a selection.

Congratulations to Misty from Misty’s Book Space with the name Declan!  She’ll receive an acknowledgement in the book, and a signed copy upon release in February.  Misty, please contact me at tpolen6@gmail.com so I can get your information.

 

Voyage of the Lanternfish by C.S. Boyack #bookreview #pirates #TuesdayBookblog

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride. 

I’ve read several books by C.S. Boyack, and by now, I’ve come to expect wildly inventive world-building, charming characters, and a thrilling adventure.  This book definitely didn’t alter those expectations.

Where can I find me some root monsters?  I’d love to have a bushel of my own.  These guys made me laugh out loud so many times, I lost count.  They’re quite the little scoundrels, and a valuable addition to the crew.  Speaking of the crew, they’re a diverse, boisterous crowd with varied backgrounds, and kind of a family of their own making.  Everyone brings a special skill to the table.  And they’re pirates!  Who doesn’t love a good pirate tale?

If you’re looking for adventure on the high seas, quirky characters, a hint of magic, and a touch of romance, Voyage of the Lanternfish fits the bill quite nicely.

 

Laundry, #AuthorInterview, and #OWSCyCon2019 #giveaway

Last week, I mentioned I’d be out of town for a few days helping the oldest son get settled in his new apartment.  Over the last week, I’ve washed more loads of clothes than the previous two months combined.  With everything the oldest son needed washed, then the youngest son moving out of the dorm and having a couple weeks worth of clothes, combined with hubby’s laundry from the few days I was gone, I feel like I’ve been changed to the W/D over the past several days.  If you read about a sudden water shortage in KY – you’ve found the culprit.

One of my publishing sibs, Hannah R. Goodman, interviewed me for her 9 Questions series on her blog – hop over and read about authors that have influenced my writing, and the three books I’d want with me if stranded on a desert island (I might have cheated just a bit on that one).  Stay around and check out Hannah’s new YA contemporary release, Till It Stops Beating.

This coming weekend, May 17th through 19th, I’m taking part in OWS CyCon in the horror and sci-fi/fantasy genres (many more are listed on the home page).  You can visit participating authors’ virtual booths, vote in cover and character wars, and read posts on a plethora of topics.  There’s also a huge giveaway of 22 ebooks and an Amazon card here – make sure to register!  Go to the home page for a schedule and get in on the fun this weekend.