Meet Sci-fi and Fantasy Author Dan Rice…

Dan has wanted to write novels since first reading Frank Herbert’s Dune at the age of eleven. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he often goes hiking with his family through mist-shrouded forests and along alpine trails with expansive views.
Dragons Walk Among Us is his debut novel. He plans to keep writing fantasy and science-fiction for many years.

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How do you find the time to write?

Finding time to write can be challenging, especially when you’re a parent. I have two high-energy schoolboys who participate in all the activities of childhood. How do I find time to write? I follow a set routine and am always flexible.

I’m a big believer in the habit of writing every day. To accomplish this, on weekdays, I’m literally up before the crack of dawn, no later than 4:30 a.m. By five a.m., I’m doing something writing-related, often either pounding out a rough draft or editing a scene. My aim is to have about ninety minutes of uninterrupted writing time before my sons drag themselves out of bed to get ready for school. It also corresponds to when it’s time for me to prepare to hit the day job.

On the weekends, I don’t force myself out of bed at 4:30 in the morning, although sometimes I’m wide awake at that hour. Typically, I’ll still get up early and try to write until eight a.m. Then, after fixing breakfast for the family, I’m back at it until ten or eleven, depending on plans for the day and how restless the boys are. 

I’ve learned flexibility is vital if you want to keep your sanity. In On Writing,Stephen King points out that children and life in general often interrupt writing time. His solution is not to treat writing time as sacrosanct. Instead, work the time you write around everything else in your life. This is really great advice for all of us who have families and dreams of being future bestsellers.

What I do to be productive as a writer while having children might not work for everyone. That’s okay. Everyone’s situation is different. But having a set routine whenever possible and being flexible has served me well. I wrote my YA fantasy debut, Dragons Walk Among Us, by dragging myself up before everyone else in the household and not stressing out when the inevitable interruptions intruded on my writing time.

Do you think Writer’s Block exists?

I suppose it’s a subjective thing. If you think you suffer from it, you probably do. 

My critique group, the Puget Sound Writers’ Guild, had a resident writer, may he rest in peace, who staunchly did not believe in writer’s block. If you can’t come up with ideas and bring them to fruition, then you aren’t creative enough to cut it as a writer. He could be hard, but he was a best-selling author under several pen names, so who were we, his pupils, to contradict him.

Now, I won’t go so far as to say writer’s block simply does not exist. But I do think there are practices a writer can implement to overcome it. Personally, I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. For example, the characters and plot for Dragons Walk Among Us came easily to me. It probably helped that I’ve been thinking about some of the central fantasy elements of the story for years. Here’s my remedy, or put another way, how I avoid writer’s block.

I start small with a one-page concept that lays out the story from start to finish in broad strokes. This isn’t easy; it’s hard. It takes me numerous drafts to get the concept down to one page, but I think it’s worth it. From that, I create a scene-by-scene outline that I ultimately treat as a roadmap. It shows me how to get from the start line to the finish line, but I can always take detours and side trips along the way. I find the rough draft flows quite naturally from this roadmap.

If you suffer from writer’s block, start small. That strategy has always served me well.

Dragons Walk Among US is your debut novel. What can your readers expect to come next?

Dragons Walk Among Us is the first novel in The Allison Lee Chronicles. I can confirm that readers should expect more books featuring Allison Lee and her squad. Right now, I am planning four, maybe five, books to comprise the entire series.

Where do these books stand now? Well, I have the broad strokes outlined for the entire series. I’m currently writing the rough draft for the second installment. I’m about fifty percent through the draft. If everything goes to plan, I’ll have a complete manuscript ready to turn in to my publisher by December this year. The novel deals with similar themes of belonging and angst found in Dragons Walk Among Us, along with a few new topics readers will hopefully find engaging. Without giving too much away, portions of the second novel will take place in Southeast Asia. I’ve traveled the area extensively and hope my experiences will help me capture the essence of the region’s beauty and diverse cultures.

After book two, while I do have an outline, my plan is a bit more nebulous. That’s why I say the series might turn out to be five books as opposed to four. With any luck, these novels will come out steadily over the next several years. After completing The Allison Lee Chronicles, you can expect more action-packed sci-fi and fantasy tales with social commentary woven in that I think young adults will find very appealing.

Tell us about the protagonist in your novel Dragons Walk Among Us!

Allison Lee is the protagonist of my debut YA urban fantasy, Dragons Walk Among Us, and possesses a deep-seated need for belonging. In part, her yearning is no different than anyone else’s. She wants to be part of something greater than herself and be surrounded by people who accept her. These desires burn exceptionally bright in her because she has never known her mother, who she believes abandoned her at birth. Allison’s need for acceptance hits overdrive when she starts seeing or, perhaps, in reality, hallucinating dragons. When her best friends make it clear they believe she is delusional, their bonds of friendship begin to crack.

Allison is a passionate photographer with dreams of becoming a photojournalist. Her pictures of high school sporting events around Seattle are published weekly in her school’s online newspaper. She combines her love of photography with civic-mindedness, often documenting climate marches and social justice issues. When an unprovoked attack leaves her blind, Allison feels like her life has been flushed down the toilet and fears she will never photograph again.

I’m a big believer in the adage to write what you know. It allows me to inject verisimilitude into the story. For example, Allison is an avid photographer, often out and about with her camera in hand. Details on composition and exposure for different situations are sprinkled throughout the narrative. These details are accurate because I’m a shutterbug. I think these details are just enough to characterize Allison Lee, be interesting to readers, and add a sense of realism to a story that is, after all, a fantasy.

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As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about author Dan Rice. If you want to check out his debut novel Dragons Walk Among Us, click HERE!

Utopia Falls by Kody Boye #giveaway

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Utopia Falls by Kody Boye ~ Genre: YA Science Fiction

Society has reached its peak within the walled city of Utopia. While the outside world lies in inhospitable ruins, the city within brims with technological marvels—all thanks to a benevolent god that appeared during humanity’s darkest hour. But with the city on the verge of overpopulation, and the world outside not promised to be safe, time is running out for the Utopian people, and it’ll take one brave young woman to change the course of history.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Hillen has lived in the shadow of the god her entire life. With a promising future in medicine, she believes that her future is set in stone. What she doesn’t expect is for her Aptitude Test scores to come back with exemplary remarks—or to be chosen as her city’s next Holy Conduit.

As the Holy Conduit, Ember can connect with, and receive visions of, her god’s desires for the Utopian city. The only problem? Her god is implying that her people must somehow journey beyond their isolated city to build a new world in the wasteland. But with the mad leader of the premier engineering facility within Utopia attempting to sway Ember through whatever means possible, Ember must make a choice that will change a life forever. The only question is: can she withstand the storm that will follow?

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Though Kody Boye was born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, he moved south at the age of eighteen and has resided in various parts of Texas since 2010, living first in Austin, then in Fort Worth before finally landing in the Rio Grande Valley. His first story, [A] Prom Queen’s Revenge, was published in the Yellow Mama Webzine at the age of fourteen. His debut novel, Sunrise, followed at age eighteen.

Since then, he has written several novels across multiple speculative fiction genres. His most recent works include When They Came, The Beautiful Ones, Kingsman Online, and The Red Wolf Saga.

​Kody is currently enrolled in an online university and pursuing an undergraduate degree in creative writing and English, with plans to further his education with an MFA, which will allow him to teach.

​When not writing, Kody enjoys reading young-adult novels, playing video games such as World of Warcraft and Guild Wars, and browsing social media endlessly. 

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Emmanuel M. Arriaga ~ Author Interview

Emmanuel M. Arriaga grew up in the inner city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From a young age, he was obsessed with fantasy and science fiction. Breaking the shackles of a low-income life, Emmanuel developed an interest in science, technology and engineering. He went on to graduate from Pennsylvania State University with a Master’s in Information Science.

For almost a decade, Emmanuel has sought to share his vivid imagination with the world, learning the art of story crafting and eventually becoming an award-winning author. With a love for travel, gadgets and volunteering, Emmanuel is enjoying life and helping others.

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Author Interview

Do you read yourself and if so, what is your favorite genre?

I’m an avid reader, I think it’s hard to be a good author if you aren’t. I love science fiction and fantasy, although I have historically biased more toward fantasy than science fiction. I grew up reading epic fantasy novels and that influenced much of my early writing. I love the intersection of magic and technology, it’s an area that is hard to write without falling into the trope of technology until we need to do something impossible and then magic to save the day. I love the novels that build strict rules into their magic that fit nicely into a sci-fi world based on science. In these instances, magic moves away from being this deus ex machina and instead complements the story because you know the limitations of what is possible. The old Star Wars expanded universe is a great example of this.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?

This depends on what type of writing I’m doing. If I’m creating a new story or a new chapter, I write best with music. I have tailored pandora radio stations specifically for writing. Certain kinds of music really get my creative energies flowing and I fall into a trance like state that allows me to do my best work.

If I’m editing, I need silence, this is mainly due a habit I have of reading things aloud to make sure it flows wells. I view creating something from scratch as fun, editing as work. Don’t get me wrong, I love editing, but I also view it as work and don’t attempt to tackle it unless I have a higher level of energy than I typically need for writing.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

I focus my attention on a single book until I’ve completed that specific draft (i.e. 1st draft, 3rd draft, etc.) and then I’ll switch to another novel to be able to come back to the prior novel with fresh eyes. This usually means I have multiple novels in different stages (e.g. 1st draft complete of novel a, 3rd draft in progress for novel b, 5th draft ready for final review of novel c, etc.)

I try and do a minimum of 5 or 6 drafts before I’m ready to move something to the publication stage with a professional editor. Usually with each draft, I have different goals in mind, so subsequent drafts are typically handled much quicker, requiring less edits.

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

This is a hard question to answer. I think the only answer I can give is for shared creative universes, things such as Forgotten realms, Blizzard entertainment, Star Wars, etc. It would have been cool to be tasked with creating the war of the ancients in the world of warcraft universe. We all had a rough idea of what happened during that time, but the novels really did a great job defining the details and building up a narrative for the events leading up to destruction of the well of eternity. Having some set event that you’re responsible for building up to and being given the creative freedom to define the events surrounding what happened would be an interesting experience. It would be a bit hard for me because nothing in my writing is sacrosanct, so I could change a major plot point or story idea because I come up with something better. Having this restriction would be a new experience.

I do plan to play around with this concept in prequal novels within my Foundra Universe, major events have already been established in my current novels, so going back and writing about those events will force me to do this.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Computer hands down. I’ve been using a computer for most of my life and was an early internet user back in the 90s so my typing speed surpasses anything I could do with pen or typewriter. I grew up having debates on AOL instant messenger which trains you to type fast and accurately.

Tell us about a favorite character from a book.

One of my favorite characters in the book is a side character named Marcus Henson. He’s this big genetically enhanced super soldier who is a tempest on the battlefield and incredibly powerful. He’s also super friendly and like a big teddy bear off the battlefield which endears him to many of the main characters. I’ve had a lot of different plans for Marcus but his primary story arc ultimately plays out in Pride of Ashna. I’ll be honest and say it wasn’t originally what I had planned for him when I dreamed up his character back during the creation of the first novel, but I think fans will understand why I decided to take his character in this direction. This is an example of where the character spoke to me through the writing process and ultimately made a decision that was different from what I had in mind and I just went with it.

What made you want to become an author, and do you feel it was the right decision?

Funny enough, becoming an author was never a dream of mine growing up. It was never a career path that I considered or something that I intended to work toward. I went to college, got a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in a completely different profession that I still enjoy to this day. What ultimately led to me writing goes back to a conversation I had on a school bus in my senior year in high school.

I had a friend who I rode the bus with who was as much into fantasy and sci-fi as I was. We used to talk all the time about different books we were reading or things that interested us (we were also into yu-gi-oh cards which was the style at the time). One of the final days before the end of the school year, I started sharing with my friend this sci-fi universe that I had been daydreaming about since I was younger. I went into detail, outlining the major characters, this futuristic society, and the history of this galaxy. It was the first time I had ever shared my private imagination with another human being, and it filled me with excitement. He was hooked on every word I was saying, and I started drawing attention from other students on the bus. I didn’t realize it at the time but many years later after the rush of college was over and I was a working professional in the career I had chosen, that moment came back to me with crystal clarity.

I realized that I was a storyteller and that my imagination was meant to be shared with others. I immediately started writing down that universe and years later, it culminated in what became my first book, Foundra. I also started writing down every dream I had, every moment of inspiration and instance where my mind started crafting unique stories or situations. Writing things down enabled me to retain the moments of inspiration so I could come back later and do something with them. Looking back, I also give lots of credit to my creative writing teacher in high school. That was the most enjoyable class I had in high school which should have been a sign to me at the time! It was in that class that I learned the process of taking creative inspiration and putting it into words. I don’t remember her name, but I wish I could chat with her today and share what her teaching enabled in my life.

A day in the life of the author?

My day is complicated, I have two young boys who are bundles of energy that constantly crave attention. I also hold board positions for non-profits and have a full-time job in the technology industry that demands a lot of my time. Being an author usually fills just a couple hours (if I’m lucky) of my day. The only rule I have is write every day, whether that’s 30 minutes or 4 hours is up to the random nature of my days!

Advice they would give new authors?

Two main things, one for authors who have yet to finish their novel. Finish that novel, get it over the hill. Sometimes people get stuck on chapters and let that stop them from finishing their novel. I think in those moments, you need to write something down, even if it doesn’t fully capture what you’re trying to accomplish and make a note to yourself to come back to it. It’s more important to get to the end of the novel and officially notch off your first draft than it is to leave it in an uncompleted state. Editing is always easier for improving something than working with nothing.

For the new published author, welcome to the world of marketing. You’ll need to get good at this to be successful. I’m so sorry. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that what you wrote will immediately draw readers and make you successful. This is rarely ever the case. You must get good at selling, which is hard if you’ve never sold anything in your life. It’s even harder to sell your own work for some reason, I think this has to do with rejection and us personally feeling rejected when people aren’t interested in something we’ve poured our hearts and souls into. You must get over that and move on, they aren’t rejecting you, that specific book just may not be for them and that’s okay.

Describe your writing style.

Editorial reviewers have commented that my writing has deep thematic threads woven into my prose that is commonly lacking in sci-fi. This is probably due to the way my brain works, everything is interconnected for me and I’m a natural systems thinker. It’s how I remember things and I’m not surprised that this comes through in my writing. Those reviewers have also mentioned that my writing is “smart and clean, with expositional elements slowly introduced throughout the prose, rather than the author subjecting readers to lengthy passages of procedural information,” which I interpreted as I don’t have the bad habit of dumping information on people to “catch them up” so I can continue telling a story. I hate it when authors do that in books, and I usually don’t retain all of whatever it was they just tried to dump on me.

Personally, I just try to relay the movie that’s playing in my head as I write, and I focus on improving the prose more and more until it flows as naturally as I envisioned it. I’m constantly looking at ways to improve my writing and love working with experienced editors who are just as passionate about my books as I am.

What makes a good story?

A good story is one that makes you feel something. You can have the most interesting characters, the most impressive plot, or the most technically proficient writing in the world. But if your story doesn’t elicit an emotional response, it’s forgettable. I have teared up at certain scenes that I’ve written in my books and even gotten angry at characters as situations have unfolded. I put emotion into my stories, and I care about what happens. It’s not just a narrative, it’s a view into another world with characters who have their own lives with motivations, desires, and fears. I think the best storytellers are ones who make you forget that it’s not real.

What are they currently reading?

Right now, I’m reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. It’s been on my list for awhile as I was a huge fan of the Mistborn series and his other works Elantris and Warbreaker. I’m also on a quest to read as much classic sci-fi as I can and just recently finished I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.

Emmanuel is the author of the Science Fiction, Space Opera Series: Foundra!

Foundra (Foundra Book 1)

The Huzien Empire has existed for 80 millennia and a powerful invisible force known as the enesmic permeates every aspect of the Twin Galaxy.

Neven is an engineer working for the pinnacle of scientific achievement known as the MinSci on the Huzien homeworld of Thae. His genius draws the attention of one of the immortal Founders and he finds himself drafted into the military as part of an elite group of special forces known as the Founder’s Elites. Not given much time to adjust, his team is called to investigate stories of otherworldly creatures attacking fringe colony worlds.

Soahc is the most powerful wielder of the enesmic in the Twin Galaxy, he’s also incredibly cocky. That is until he senses a powerful shifting in the enesmic that he can’t explain. Terrified that something is horribly wrong, Soahc leaves his comfortable planet and hitches a ride with Neven and the Founder’s Elites as they investigate the carnage on the fringes of the empire.

Neven, Soahc and their allies discover something ancient from another plane of existence. Something that exposes the fragility of their galactic empire as they fight to survive annihilation from enesmic beings.

Pride of Ashna (Foundra Book 2)

In the Outer Rim, a lawless region of space filled with violence, a young girl vows vengeance against the marauding pirate bands who brutally murdered her family.

After enlisting with the zealous matriarchal Ashna Maidens who attempt to police the Outer Rim, Serah’Elax quickly becomes a powerful weapon.

Meanwhile, a ruthless pirate band has taken over a cruise ship deep within Alliance space. They run into unexpected trouble when they encounter a few members of the highly trained force of military specialists known as the Founder’s Elites, who happened to be vacationing on the vessel. Disturbed by the boldness of the pirates, the Alliance tasks the rest of the Founder’s Elites with dealing a powerful blow to the marauders, who normally operate in the Outer Rim, once and for all. However, they quickly discover that things in the Outer Rim are not as expected.

The young warrior and Founder’s Elites must come together to face an extradimensional threat left over from the Rift War that seeks to turn the last bastion of safety in the Outer Rim into something that could threaten the entire Twin Galaxies. Will the new allies have the cunning necessary to defeat this insidious threat or will it tear the Ashna Maidens apart from the inside?

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

I am excited to have been able to interview Emmanuel M. Arriaga, author of the Foundra series.

Braving Stars by Amy Michelle Carpenter #giveaway

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

Braving Stars (A Becoming Human Novella) by Amy Michelle Carpenter ~ Genre: YA Science Fiction

Ahs is the one they call “coward girl”. 

But ever since she was young, she has dreamed of joining the ranks of the guardians, powerful protectors of weaker planets. With the help of a loudmouthed friend and fueled by a haunting memory, Ahs enters the Academy’s selection process; a grueling series of unusually difficult tests and trials meant to see if she has what it takes to become a guardian-in-training. When a new danger arises that threatens Ahs standing at school, she must decide which is more important–acceptance of others or true courage.

From the universe of Becoming Human comes this short story about one girl’s quest for bravery, for fans of Skyward and Enders Game.

**Only .99 cents!!**


Amy Michelle Carpenter is a developmental editor with Eschler Editing and a professional blogger. She’s written hundreds of blogs and news articles for local and national companies. She also has a children’s story in an anthology.

As the daughter of an Army officer, she grew up traveling the country and has lived by sandy beaches, southern woods, towering cities, and the rocky mountains. Now, she resides in the countryside of Tooele, UT with her husband and baby girls. She enjoys seeing what wildlife and farm animals dare venture into her yard only to be chased by her toddlers. Wherever family is is home.

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Myth Agent by L.A. MacFadden #giveaway

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

Myth Agent by L.A. MacFadden ~ Genre: Historical Time Travel, Science Fiction

It’s 1945, soon after VJ Day. Odessa Shatto, an antiques dealer, is pierced in the side by a prehistoric bone. The next morning she awakens, horrified to see a hideous green slime creeping over her, hardening into a cocoon that quickly entombs her in darkness and leaves her fearing for her life. Each time it happens, she remembers feeling a sense of being thrown hard, as though from the hand of a giant. And the last time, she remembers her trajectory crossing with that of her fiancé, a soldier who has been injured in the Pacific in World War Two. They may think of their paths crossing as a gift, but in reality it will produce agonizing results.

Ruttledge Rosenbaugh, a professor of science devoted to his students at Hensley University, has spent years learning from his mentor, whose mantra was that time travelers are constantly around and unnoticed. But nothing Ruttledge has ever heard or read on time travel prepares him for what he witnesses in his secret laboratory in 1910. After recuperating from the ordeal, he spends years trying to prove the existence of time travel, while a jealous rogue from his past lies in wait, hoping to debunk any time travel theory the professor develops–no matter the cost.

Myth Agent is a time travel tale, woven of the fantastic, and interspersed with traces of historical fiction.

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L.A. MacFadden was born in Oregon in 1956 to parents who were fond of the great outdoors and instilled that appreciation in their five children. Her father was employed by the Boy Scouts of America in Oregon, Washington, and Montana, so she spent all of her youthful summers in Boy Scout camps her father directed. But because the programs of course weren’t for girls, she and her three sisters spent a good deal of time reading books borrowed from the libraries of nearby towns. Those wonderful days of reading all those books-whether in the library, under the shady branches of trees, or in a tiny cabin, were responsible for her love of books, and no doubt led to her desire to become an author.

In 1975 she married her high school sweetheart, then a member of the United States Marine Corps. Later, they settled in western Oregon, near the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children, grandchildren, and a host of extended family. L.A. MacFadden can often be found at home, working on her next book!

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Rho Agenda Inception Series by Richard Phillips #giveaway

Road leading to the city with pollution; Shutterstock ID 88309297

Once Dead (Rho Agenda Inception Series Book 1) by Richard Phillips ~ Genre: Science Fiction Thriller

Jack Gregory, the CIA’s top assassin, bleeds out on a Calcutta operating table and is about to die.

But an alien entity has other plans for him.

If Jack is willing to act as a human host for this dark figure, he lives.  Jack takes the deal. One year later, he is internationally known as The Ripper, fixer for hire, and finds himself increasingly drawn to dire, world-shattering events. Suffering strange premonitions and compulsions, Jack has more questions than answers.  What destiny does this alien mind foresee? Why has it chosen him?

From bestselling author Richard Phillips comes a globe-spanning sci-fi thriller series with a twist … culminating in the cataclysmic events that set the stage for The Rho Agenda.

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Dead Wrong (Rho Agenda Inception Series Book 2)

After the riveting events of Once Dead, Jack “Ripper” Gregory remains host to a homicidal alien bound to his soul. Now Jack has been hired for a suicide mission: journey to South America and rescue an imprisoned shaman. One problem…both the National Security Agency and a gang of neo-fascists are hot on his trail.

Neither group plans to let Jack live.

At stake is the immeasurably powerful Sun Staff, an ancient alien artifact that in the wrong hands will alter the course of human history. With the clock ticking, Jack must find and rescue the shaman before sinister forces get to him first. When Jack comes face-to-face with his equal—a stunningly beautiful NSA agent—he wonders if he can still pull the trigger and save his mission…even if the decision costs him his very soul.

From bestselling author Richard Phillips comes a globe-spanning sci-fi thriller series with a twist…culminating in the cataclysmic events that set the stage for the Rho Agenda.

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Dead Shift (Rho Agenda Inception Series Book 3)

With the final chapter of the Rho Agenda Inception, all secrets will be revealed. Who is the alien mind haunting Jack “The Ripper” Gregory? What is the purpose of the immensely powerful Sun Staff? And how will the culmination of these events set the stage for the Rho Agenda?

In this page-turning sci-fi adventure, the NSA’s most brilliant hacker is abducted and the world stands on the brink of cyberwar. The Ripper and his ghost team commandos are called to action, battling a host of enemies ranging from a genius tech-billionaire and the Chinese government to an emerging superintelligence capable of bringing the world to its knees. With every threat in play, Jack must confront his alien passenger and regain some semblance of self-control. As the origins of the Rho Agenda come to light, Jack struggles to embrace his destiny. But how can even one such as he prevail against an existential threat to humanity?

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Richard Phillips is the million copy bestselling author of the Rho Agenda Science fiction series and the epic fantasy series, The Endarian Prophecy. He has published fifteen novels and has just begun work on his next science fiction novel. Richard was born in Roswell, New Mexico and is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. After his graduation in 1979, he qualified as an army ranger and began his career as an officer. Richard also attended the Naval Post Graduate School where he earned a Master of Science degree in physics. He completed his master’s thesis at Los Alamos National Laboratory and served as a military research associate before retiring from the military in 1996.  Richard went on to lead a number of software development projects at Lockheed Martin Space Operations and General Dynamics, before becoming a fulltime author. He lives in Phoenix with, his lovely wife of thirty-nine years. They enjoy travelling the world together, playing golf, and hiking.

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Would you like a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card (1 winner) or a signed copy of Richard Phillips’ SciFi Novel, “The Second Ship” (4 winners)? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

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Becoming Human by Amy Michelle Carpenter #giveaway

Amy Michelle Carpenter is a developmental editor with Eschler Editing and a professional blogger. She’s written hundreds of blogs and news articles for local and national companies. She also has a children’s story in an anthology.

As the daughter of an Army officer, she grew up traveling the country and has lived by sandy beaches, southern woods, towering cities, and the rocky mountains. Now, she resides in the countryside of Tooele, UT with her husband and baby girls. She enjoys seeing what wildlife and farm animals dare venture into her yard only to be chased by her toddlers. Wherever family is is home.

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Becoming Human by Amy Michelle Carpenter ~ Genre: YA Science Fiction

A redneck boy. An Earth-obsessed alien. And a robotic girl… Three wildly different teenagers must work together, and accept one another, to conserve humanity.

A breathtaking debut with Southern charm, whimsical worlds, and meet-cuteness, for fans of Marie Lu and Lois Lowry.

Carter doesn’t believe in aliens. And he certainly doesn’t defend his dad’s claims that they exist, even if they aired on national television. But then, the girl he’s falling for starts doing strange things, magical things, things that seem a bit out of this world.

Kokab hungers to be a Perfect in a world where her emotions are her greatest flaw. But when her planet faces extinction, her sympathy makes her the best ambassador to persuade humans to accept her people. Failure means invasion, but success means she will never become a Perfect. Ags dreams of graduating from the Academy and becoming a guardian of Earth.

Obsessed with all things human, she’s eager to spend time on the unique planet. But when she uncovers an impending invasion, she’s willing to lose everything, including herself, to stop it.

“Human and alien, complex and sweetly personal, Carpenter’s thoughtful world blends sci-fi with coming of age as three unique worlds collide. This book will make you laugh, make you fall in love, and then make you re-evaluate what it means to be human.” McKelle George, HarperCollins author of Speak Easy Speak Love

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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

It all started with an assignment I got in sixth grade to create a book about myself. In it, I announced that in ten years I’d be a published author. Right around my 22nd birthday, I found that book. Had I become an author? Nope. So, I decided that it was totally feasible to accomplish my kid dreams, and I went for it.

I checked out a guidebook on how to be published for dummies (this isn’t a joke). Then, I followed its advice. I joined a writing group, started going to conferences, honed my craft by taking on an internship with an editing company (because I thought there was no better way to learn to write than to learn how to tell others how to write), and built connections. A friend of mine got a publishing contract with a company, and she recommended me. And that’s how I broke into to the wild business of publishing!

What is something unique/quirky about you?

Before having all my little babies, I lived in a school bus with my husband. My husband tore out all the seats, and we got to work remaking the inside of it into a little home.We had a bedroom, a little kitchenette, a bathroom, and a living room. We even had a giant tub in the bathroom that fit the two of us and a full-sized couch.

While living in a school bus may sound like luxury (haha), I wasn’t the biggest fan, so I highly recommend not jumping on that bandwagon. I won’t get into the gritty details, but let’s just say that a lot of basic like electricity and heating struggled to work, and, even though we were renting a piece of land, we looked sketchy sitting there. The cops may have showed up at our house a few times in the middle of the night. But, it ended up well enough because when we moved into a real house it felt like a luxury!

Where were you born/grew up at?

My dad was military, so I basically grew up all around the USA. That was a good time. My dad was stationed in Georgia for a year, so I pulled some of my distant memories of the place to write this book.

How to find time to write as a parent?

 I have three babies under three, so finding time to write is basically impossible these days. It’s a good thing I wrote this novel when I only had one newborn who slept all day.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Redneck Intellect.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

The two female protagonists are me, which is weird to say because they’re foils of each other, but it’s true. I’m a crazy perfectionist like Kokab. There have been times in my life when I’ve been so obsessed with being a good person that I couldn’t really function. There’s a part of me that really feels that rigidity and confusion about customs, and I definitely sometimes feel like social things can take a second to click. But then, there’s this other side of me that is all Ags, super excited and exuberant about things, with high energy and happiness.

The male protagonist Carter, is kind of just a mesh up of my husband and also what I think the ideal guy is.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I think I most enjoyed the process of working on it with others. I have an amazing critique group, and it was so fun to brainstorm with them and then steal their ideas that they had for my book and look like a total genius. Looking like a genius is great fun.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

Becoming Human is the whole theme of the book. Theme is really important to me, and the book is all about what makes us human and what the point of the human experience is.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Of course. I’m one of those people that could keep picking at something forever and ever. But I won’t since it’s now been through all the beta reading stages and three stages with Immortal Works’ editor. I’m pretty sure I’d make a lot of people annoyed if I went in and tried to change things now.

Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Ags is really obsessed with the humanities, so it was really fun to go out and learn about a plethora of different paintings, and stories, and ballet, and such.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Yes, I did theater in high school, so that’d be a blast. My favorite character to play would be Anna though. Anna is really overdramatic and wild and does whatever she wants, and that’d be an exciting character to play.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

One of my favorite parts of the book is Kokab and Carter’s first date (spoiler, sorry..not sorry). It’s just so cute and awkward and real. I feel like it’s how a real first date goes with two teenagers who are crushing on each other.

What did you edit out of this book?

Well, this book was originally a completely different story so half of the ensemble of characters, most of the scenes, and the overall storyline. The theme stayed the same though, so that’s good.

Do you see writing as a career?

Of course.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

I’m a big fan of Indie publishers. I like them because they have more wiggle room for originality and wholesomeness.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

I love YA books. Maybe I’m immature; I don’t know. I most especially love sci-fi with female protagonists.

Advice they would give new writers?

Join a really good writing group. They will teach you how to write. Go to conferences. Use the conferences to learn but also to meet people. Making friends with people who are authors will help you break in yourself.

What makes a good story?

To me, it’s what I come out with. A good story is one that inspires or uplifts me or makes me question things. I only have so many hours in a day, so I want to come out better than I went in before I read it.

I’m happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Becoming Human by Amy Michelle Carpenter!