Guest Blog: Scott Levine

Standard

Hey Space Cadets, how’s everyone doing today?  I’m doing well, my computer is fixed and I’m back happily slamming away on the keyboard!  Between life, illness and a wedding I will be re-addressing my personal deadline for Maternal Vengeance in the next few days.  I have an account with myWriteClub where I track my progress and list my desired completion dates.  If you’re an author and don’t have one, I highly recommend this free service.  Seriously, when it leaves the beta stage I’ll gladly pay for it.

Until then, I wanted to bring you a guest post from my favorite star gazer.  He runs a blog where he shares his passion for astronomy and all things space related.  I was in one of my low stages, where I was convinced my work was garbage, when I found him.  He helped me find my passion again, and remember why I write science fiction.  Seriously, his passion is contagious and you should check him out.  Give his post a go, and if you like him hop on over to his site!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hey, everyone!  I’m Scott Levine. JR invited me to do some guest blogging here.  How could I say no?  I’m not a science fiction writer, no.  I’m a writer, a dad, and an astronomy fan living in the wild and untamed suburbs of New York City.  I write about the skies as much as I can at Scott’s Sky Watch, where I talk mostly about naked eye astronomy; the kind of thing you can enjoy just by going out and looking up; no tools needed other than a love of the sky.  I try to keep it fun, and light; space, taken easy.  I’m not an astronomer, either.  I’m just a writer who, still, after all these years, can’t stop looking up.

Speaking about loving the sky, this morning, after the kids fled for the bus, I walked back up the hill.  Inside, I poured a cup of coffee and headed back outside to the boulder that’s half-buried in my yard, trying, and failing, not to spill anything.  Even though it’s made of granite, or basalt, or something much less cozy-sounding than softstone or pillowite would be, it’s a surprisingly comfortable place to sit and watch the world go by.  In the mornings, it’s people rushing to work.  By afternoon, the delivery trucks race through.  When dark has settled over the neighborhood, I have a front-row seat for the bright lights of night.

High above the houses across the street, was the Moon.  I’m not sure a lot of us spend enough time looking at our nearest neighbor.  It’s easy for us to take it for granted.  It seems like there’s always something more exotic to see.  The Moon, though, is where most of us who enjoy watching the skies got

This morning, it was just past the meridian, the point where rising becomes setting.  In the northern hemisphere, that’s just past due south, just a little more west, and just a little past third quarter; a slightly waning crescent.  I love to see our Moon in the daytime.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it in the night, too, but the day is equally great, but in a different way.

If you’ve never thought about it, the Moon’s out just as much in the day as at night. It has to make its way all the way around the Earth, which is half in daylight all the time.  So, half of its orbit is in day, too.  At night, the Moon’s so obvious, so much brighter than the surrounding sky, that it’s impossible to miss.  The late-rising daytime phases, though, the waning phases, are wonderful for their subtlety.  It’s not like seeing a bulb in the sky, your eye pulled toward it.  Instead, it’s etched into the blue, part of the underlying secret language of astronomy fans.  It’s hidden in plain sight.  You have to look for it.

The solar system’s moons have been in the news a lot lately.  Even just yesterday, astronomers announced the discovery of a moon orbiting the alluringly named 2007 OR10, a dwarf planet almost twice as far from the Sun as Pluto; so far that it takes over 500 years to make it around the Sun once.  Most of what we’ve been hearing lately is about the moons around Jupiter and Saturn.  Some of them have water, liquid water, under a thick, blanketing layer of ice and rock.  On Earth, where there’s water, there’s life, so these places are exiting.  Years ago, all eyes were on the planets, particularly the big, gas giants in the outer solar system.  Now, it’s the moons that get all the press.

It feels good to think about even the idea of life on these moons, doesn’t it?  I love to think about what it must be like to live in the seas on Jupiter’s Ganymede, a moon so big that it’s even bigger than the planet Mercury.  If you could see through the ice and rock above you, you’d spend your days with three other planet-sized moons and a giant, striped planet in your sky.  We’ve heard similar things about Saturn’s moon Enceladus, which might be the most likely place for life in the solar system.

Water or not, I also like to think of what it’s like sitting on Mars, and watching Phobos, the bigger of its two tiny moons.  It’s so close to Mars that, one day, it’ll wander too close and either crash into the planet or be ripped apart by Mars’s gravity and turn into a ring, like a tiny version of Saturn.  For now, though, its orbit gets it all the way around in just eight Earth hours.  That’s faster than Mars rotates; fast enough that as you sat on your backyard boulder with your diner mug full of coffee, you’d actually be able to see it cruise across the sky from west to east.  A few hours later, it’d rise in the west again.  For comparison, it takes our Moon more than 29 days to make it all the way around.

Back at the boulder, the Moon out of sight, behind a bank of clouds.  I took the last sip from my cup, and headed back inside.  It’ll be another late one night, but if you have a chance, and if you haven’t had a look in a while, tomorrow’s another day.  Maybe try to have look.  It’s always worth taking the time.  These days, the moons are where it’s at.  Why not start with ours?

I’d love it if you stopped by Sky Watch sometime and dropped me a line. Questions, comments, you name it.  I’d love to hear from you.  If you love space, especially taken easy, maybe it’s the place for you.  Thanks for reading, and clear skies, everyone!

Your Friendly Star Gazer,

Scott Levine
Saturn

Saturn from Hubble Telescope

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you did check out Scott’s page.  Tell him JR sent ya, I promise he’ll leave the lights on for ya!

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

JR

> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are videos used by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

Newsletter Banner

Book Review: When the Gods Aren’t Gods (The Theogony Book 2)

Standard

Chris Kennedy Book Reviews

Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m a member of the TRMN. It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time. There is a reading contest going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List. And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points! So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars stories.  I’m also working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!

 

But enough about me, onto this specific review. Now let’s get to it!

Title: When the Gods Aren’t Gods (The Theogony Book 2)

Author: Chris Kennedy

Narrator: Craig Good

Price: $3.99 USD (Kindle Edition) & $1.99 USD (Audible Add On)

Obtained: I bought the story and audiobook combination from Amazon.

Pages: 432

1119129791

Rating: 5/5 Grenades

Summary:

First, let me say that none of what I’ll say in this section couldn’t be found on the back copy of the novel.  I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!  This novel carries on after Janissaries, the first novel in The Theogony Trilogy.  Lieutenant Commander Shawn ‘Calvin’ Hobbs and his special forces platoon just returned from a three-month mission to the stars.  The technology they brought back will help, but it won’t be enough to hold off the alien menace headed their way.  Although they returned alive, they returned without finding any new allies or help in building the fleet necessary to ensure the Earth’s survival.

They’ve got to go back out to the stars.

“When the Gods Aren’t Gods” is the second book in “The Theogony,” a trilogy that takes Lieutenant Commander Hobbs and his special forces platoon to the stars, where they have found out that there is much more to Earth’s history than is written in the history books!

What do you do when myths become reality, and nothing you have ever been taught about history turns out to be true?  How do you find the truth when everything you know is a lie?  What is there left to believe in, when even the gods aren’t gods?

 

Characters:

In this novel, we get more in depth with Shawn Hobbs, with the other characters in the series given secondary status.  This novel didn’t lose any of the characters that were awesome in the previous books in this universe, nor did Chris Kennedy didn’t sacrifice what made Occupied Seattle Duology awesome.  Calvin Hobbs was a flushed out, three-dimensional character that I thought was a lot of fun.  I felt like I could relate to him as a person, and was someone I would want to hang out with.  While we see most of the story through Hobb’s eyes, there was still plenty of red shirts and glorious death!  Like his previous novels, I was helped by my time in the service, because Chris used his military service color this science fiction military thriller.  Here is a brief summary of the main character.

Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs: He is a fighter pilot for the US Navy who becomes an instant war herp/celebrity once he got shot down during the opening salvo of the Sino America War.  He got involved with the resistance and ends up leading a small band of disenfranchised troopers in a war against the occupying force.  These actions caught the attention of the aliens spying on humanity, and end with him being requested to lead humanities efforts to assist their new alien allies.  In this book we follow him as he helps unify the Earth around the

Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes this character throughout this series!

 

Plot:

Like most of the military fiction I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The story is set in the post Sino American War world, after China invaded Seattle as a feint to keep the US from honoring our commitment to Taiwan.  Immediately after the war ends, aliens make contact with Earth.  We find out that most of Earths mythologies are actually aliens who visited humanity in its infancy and those who witnessed it and left told the stories of these “gods” to their people.  As part of the quest to find allies in the pending war against the Drakuls, Shawn Hobbs gets to meet these aliens.

The premise was interesting and the set-up was well executed.  We see a conclusion of the goal of a unified Earth and a one world government, which granted access to more bad assed advanced tech from the Psiclopes’s stranded on Earth.  Chris covered the needed political gamesmanship very well, with the required non-action scenes not bogging down the plot.  I would love to give some examples, but this is a spoiler free review!

With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible.  Well, as much as we could say about futuristic tech!  On a happy note, this book ditched some of the aviation porn in favor of ground combat.  This was excellently handled, with tactics that fit the world Chris created.  I really loved the premise of this plot, and more importantly I enjoyed how he executed it.  I couldn’t ask for anything more; excellent premise, perfect execution and wonderful pacing!  I again give Chris 5 out of 5 Grenades!

 

World Building:

This is the second book in The Theogony Trilogy, and I’m still hooked on this world!  Like in the previous novel in this trilogy, this world was very flushed out.  I was especially pleased with the way Chris Kennedy handled the evolution from our current geopolitical status quo into the unified Terran Government created in this book.  The new Republic of Terra conversion was handled well, I was sold on the way it happened.  Even with a pending alien invasion, there was dissent and political gamesmanship.  The changes were believable, and there was no waving of the hands to address the realities of geopolitics at the international level.  There would be no panacea for the new world government, as each nation jockeyed for power.  Regardless, the novel built on the modern world and made his divergent path extremely plausible.  I give the world building 5 out of 5 Grenades.

 

Description:

Like the previous book, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  There were some scenes which were confusing, and difficult to envision, but like the last novel he balanced the explanation of the various military minutia with the need to move a story along.  There were very few places where I couldn’t picture the scenery and the equipment, which added to world that felt tangible and I enjoyed it.  He was, alas, a little light on the details of what the various characters looked like.  And he went overboard on the mythology and religion, which isn’t something I normally look for in my science fiction.  Overall, I give Chris 4 out of 5 grenades in this category!

 

Narration Quality:

Like the previous novels, this audiobook was excellently executed.  The narrator, Craig Good, did an amazing job narrating this book.  He didn’t bore you, or make you zone out because of his monotone.  His performance didn’t feel robotic, like a machine was reading the novel too me.  Instead, it felt like a friend was sitting with me reading an amazing story that he couldn’t put down.  This time the way Craig did the voices of the various characters had grown on me and kept me engaged throughout the periods I was listening to this book.  He must be growing on me?  You might notice that my review of his performance has been the same for his last three books, and it’s because he provides a steady and consistent performance.  Overall, I give him a 5 out of 5 grenades for his performance.

 

Overall:

I really loved this book, it made my drive very enjoyable and I was able to escape the multitude of bad drivers that littered the highways and die-ways.  With this book, I listened to all but a few chapters, which is a testament to the quality of the audiobook.

Like the previous book in this trilogy, the cover was amazingly invocative.  I love how the trilogy has a similar theme running through it, and picking military unit patches for the space marines definitely fit this book.  I could definitely see this on some swag!  The military culture shown in this book was spot on, even the ground combat.  Such accurate portrayal of the tactics is rare, especially when coming from a sailor like Chris Kennedy.  He wove the action in such a compelling way that you could almost forget that he was just a silly fly boy!  As for the military equipment, well it was a lot smoother than the previous novel.  None of the future tech was perfect, it didn’t always work and sometimes failed at the worst possible moments.  That is a good thing, as it adds realism to his novels!  As an additional plus, we got to play with his believable small unit tactics when the new Republic of Terra Space Marines were formed and used by Calvin Hobbs.  Basically, Chris had me hooked from the beginning, and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  I even stayed up to late, reading in the hotel bathroom once the kids went to bed!!  It’s an amazing adventure, a look into Chris’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wondering which grunt he bribed for the insight into how we think!  This is a book I would happily recommend, and an author I will definitely read again.  Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel!  But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money!

 

 

If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out, you won’t regret it!  Well, unless it motivates you to squeeze your fat body into your old uniform and you die from the shock to your system.  And when you die, you end up in limbo, all alone.  And since you’re alone, you go insane from the solitude.  And in your insanity, you try to fly, but can’t.  Instead, you’re left merged with the asphalt you fell onto at your failed effort to recreate Kitty Hawk.  Stuck in the asphalt, your soul wastes away until there is no you left and you fade out just as Ragnarök begins.  Yeah, it would suck to miss that so maybe you should tread lightly!  Well yeah, I guess this could be bad for you.  But hey, at least you got to see eternity pass you by as you fade into nothing.  On second thought, be warned, fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you.  Be wary, you were warned and if you have to go out like that at least enjoy the view from up there!

 

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

JR

> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are videos used by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

Newsletter Banner

 

WARRIOR WEEKEND: John G. Walker

Standard


Hey Space Cadets! Today, I wanted to introduce you to another author from my WARRIOR WEEKEND INTERVIEW SERIES.  I don’t have a lot to update on my end, I’m currently out of town at my brother-in-law’s wedding.  That poor woman he’s marrying doesn’t know what she’s getting into!  I warned her, so I can sleep at night knowing I did my civic duty!  Since I’ve nothing to really add to the equation, let’s talk about today’s featured veteran!  We talk to author John G. Walker, of The Statford Chronicles.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Without further ado, let’s get this interview cranking!


Tell me a little about your military service?

I spent six years in the Air Force as an analyst. Mostly I just nodded and said “Yes, sir” and “no, sir.” I enjoyed it, and it definitely gave me an appreciation for those who wore the uniform before me.

How do you feel that your military service has influenced your writing?

It definitely made me care more about the characters, to pay attention to all the details, and gave me the discipline to actually finish what I started.

Do you think your military service, and more specifically your training, adds to the realism in your books?  If so, how?

I don’t think it did, as I’m not writing military fiction yet. Most likely, once I do start doing military fiction, it will help bring out realism that I might not have otherwise.

When did you start pursuing your writing more seriously?

Around 2012, when I released my first book.

Of all your work, which was your favorite to write?

Might as well ask which body part of mine is my favorite! I think Best Served Cold was the one, as it was the first time I was able to bring all the separate threads of the story together for a “season closer.”

How many of your characters were inspired by your military service?

Way too many. Names are changed to protect the guilty.

How many of the scenes you wrote were inspired from your service?

Some of the analytical scenes, really.

Do you feel like your writing has served any therapeutic value for you?  Has it helped you process your experiences?

Without writing, I wouldn’t be here today. It is some of the best therapy out there for me, and has allowed me to let things go.

If you could serve with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

Oh god… None of them. I’d probably get killed in the first few minutes when the shots start firing.

If you would want to avoid serving with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

All of them, as they are all quite loony.

What are you currently working on?

Working on book nine of the Statford Chronicles called The Twain Shall Meet. Also, a military sci-fi novel, and a fantasy serial that is going to be a lot of fun to write.

How can people find you?



If this convinced you to find out more, look up John Walker.  I hope you all had a great time getting to know about him, and don’t be afraid to say hello here or on his website.  If he doesn’t respond quickly enough, glitter bomb him!  Mwahahaha!!





Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

->As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

newsletter-banner

Book Review: Janissaries (The Theogony Book 1)

Standard

Chris Kennedy Book Reviews

Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m a member of the TRMN.  It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time.  There is a reading contest going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List.  And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points!  So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars stories.  I’m also working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!

 

But enough about me, onto this specific review.  Now let’s get to it! 

 

Title:  Janissaries (The Theogony Book 1)

Author:  Chris Kennedy

Narrator:  Craig Good

Price:  $3.99 USD (Kindle Edition) & $1.99 USD (Audible Add On)

Obtained:  I bought the story and audiobook combination from Amazon.

Pages:  408

 

Janissary Cover

 

Rating:  5/5 Grenades

5 Grenade

 

 

Summary:

First, let me say that none of what I’ll say in this section couldn’t be found on the back copy of the novel.  I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!  This novel carries on in the world of the Occupied Seattle duology with the same cast of characters.  The war with China, the Sino American War, was over and Lieutenant Shawn ‘Calvin’ Hobbs just wanted his life to get back to normal.  As the hero of the war, he had a small ream of paperwork to fill out, a deployment with his Navy F-18 squadron to prepare for, and a new girlfriend to spend some quality time with.  Life was good, until the aliens showed up.

The aliens had a ship and needed to get to their home planet, but they didn’t have a crew.  They had seen Calvin’s unit in action, though, and knew it was the right one for the job.  There was just one small problem–a second race of aliens was coming, which would end all life on Earth.  Calvin’s platoon might want to do something about that, too. Having won a terrestrial war with 30 troops, winning an interstellar war with nothing but a 3,000-year-old cruiser should be easy, right? “Janissaries” initiates “The Theogony,” a trilogy that will take Lieutenant Hobbs and his Special Forces platoon to the stars.  It will also show them that there’s much more to Earth’s history than is written in the history books!

 

Characters: 

In this novel, we see more focus given to Shawn Hobbs with the other characters in the series given secondary status.  Given the amount of head hopping in his previous series, I would say there was a lot of improvement here.  Even better, Chris Kennedy didn’t sacrifice what made Occupied Seattle Duology awesome.  With this change, Hobbs was flushed out, and I felt like I could relate to him as a person.  While we see most of the story through Hobb’s eyes, there was still plenty of red shirts and glorious death!  Like his previous novels, I was helped by my time in the service, because Chris used his military service color this science fiction military thriller.  Here is a brief summary of the main character.

 

Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs:  He is a fighter pilot for the US Navy who becomes an instant war herp/celebrity once he got shot down during the opening salvo of the Sino America War.  He got involved with the resistance and ends up leading a small band of disenfranchised troopers in a war against the occupying force.  These actions caught the attention of the aliens spying on humanity, and end with him being requested to lead humanities efforts to assist their new alien allies.

 

Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes this character throughout this series!

 

 

Plot: 

Like most of the military fiction I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The story is set in the post Sino American War, after China invaded Seattle as a feint to keep the US from honoring our commitment to Taiwan.  Immediately after the war ends, aliens make contact with Earth.  We find out that most of Earths mythologies are actually aliens who visited humanity in its infancy and those who witnessed it and left told the stories of these “gods” to their people.

The premise was interesting and the set-up was well executed.  With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible.  Well, as much as we could say about futuristic tech!  Also, again I’m no aviation savant, so I just went with how convincing the story was.  I really loved the premise of this plot, and more importantly I enjoyed how Chris Kennedy executed it.  I couldn’t ask for anything more; excellent premise, perfect execution and wonderful pacing!  I again give Chris 5 out of 5 Grenades!

 

 

World Building:

This is the first book in The Theogony Trilogy, and I’m already hooked.  Like in the previous novel in his Occupied Seattle Duology, this world was very flushed out.  Unlike before, this series takes the past the world as we know it and into one that’s simply amazing to think about!  The changes were believable, and there was no waving of the hands to address the realities of geopolitics at the international level.  There would be no panacea for the new world government, as each nation jockeyed for power.  Regardless, the novel built on the modern world and made his divergent path extremely plausible.  I give the world building 5 out of 5 Grenades.

 

 

Description: 

Like the previous book, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  Unlike his previous world, he balanced the explanation of the various military minutia with the need to move a story along.  There was never a place where I couldn’t picture the scenery and the equipment, which I enjoyed.  He was, alas, a little light on the details of what the various characters looked like.  And he went overboard on the nicknames, though it was an improvement over the duology.  Overall, I give Chris 5 out of 5 grenades in this category!

 

 

Narration Quality:

Like the previous novel, this audiobook was excellently executed.  The narrator, Craig Good, did an amazing job narrating this book.  He didn’t bore you, or make you zone out because of his monotone.  His performance didn’t feel robotic, like a machine was reading the novel too me.  Instead, it felt like a friend was sitting with me reading an amazing story that he couldn’t put down.  This time the way Craig did the voices of the various characters had grown on me and kept me engaged throughout the periods I was listening to this book.  He must be growing on me?  I give him a 5 out of 5 grenades for his performance.

 

 

Overall:

I really loved this book, though that bastard Chris Kennedy kept me up all night because when I hit the 80%-mark I couldn’t stop.  But, I mean, who needs sleep right?  Like the previous duology, the cover was amazingly invocative.  It was a unit patch for the space fighter squadron.  I could definitely see this on some swag!  The military culture shown in this book was spot on, especially the nicknames, even though the author laid it on a bit thick.  Again, with such a compelling story you won’t notice!  As for the military equipment, well it was like a Naval Aviators porno, the amount of details given but I was able to skim over these details so I could enjoy the action in this story.  As an additional plus, we got to play with his believable small unit tactics with the Ranger platoon and foreign Special Operations guys and gals that were ported into the unit manning the spaceship.  Basically, Chris had me hooked from the beginning, and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  It’s an amazing adventure, a look into Chris’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wondering at his mental stability!  This is a book I would happily recommend, and an author I will definitely read again.  Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel!  But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money!

 

 

If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out, you won’t regret it!  Well, unless it motivates you to squeeze your fat body into your old uniform and you die from the shock to your system.  And when you die, you end up in limbo, all alone.  And since you’re alone, you go insane from the solitude.  And in your insanity, you try to fly, but can’t.  Instead, you’re left merged with the asphalt you fell onto at your failed effort to recreate Kitty Hawk.  Stuck in the asphalt, your soul wastes away until there is no you left and you fade out just as Ragnarök begins.  Yeah, it would suck to miss that so maybe you should tread lightly!  Well yeah, I guess this could be bad for you.  But hey, at least you got to see eternity pass you by as you fade into nothing.  On second thought, be warned, fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you.  Be wary, you were warned and if you have to go out like that at least enjoy the view from up there!

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

 

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.

newsletter-banner

 

Marine Monday: Spartika

Standard

space-warrior

Hey Space Cadets, how are you this fine Monday?  I’m doing better, slowly getting my word counts back to where they were before I took a month off to take care of my wife after her car accident.  Thank you to every one of you kind souls who asked after her health, I’m pleased to say the physical therapy is working and she is doing better.  She still has some residuals from the concussion, but the doctors are happy with how she is progressing.  Our parents and I joined in to insist that she take the summer off of college, so hopefully we can ensure a full recovery.  Now that things are back on track, I’ll be setting my target goal for when book four and five will be done.  I’ve charted out my path going forward, and I know where the series will end which is huge for me!  I can’t wait to share that with you, bringing you along for the ride.

 

Now, what comes next for me?  Well, I’ve planned a series I’ll be writing after I finish the Sleeping Legion Series, and a contract for it has been signed with a small press.  I can’t tell you any more right now, but there will continue to be more shenanigans escaping my piehole and infesting your brain buckets!

 

Okay, so on to our regularly scheduled Marine Monday! Today I was leaked, by our friendly neighborhood LegionLeak source, the official bio of Marine Spartika.  If that name sounds familiar, it’s because she once strode the pages of the main Human Legion Series.  It’s been hard for her, she’s loved and lost and been enslaved.  Her friends have died in front of her, and she survived torture, but through charisma and the sheer force of her will she endures and overcomes.  If you’re intrigued, then on to the important parts!  Remember, destroy this message after reading it so the anonymous source can live long enough to continue feeding us excellent intelligence!  Without further ado, here is the leaked document!

 

Spartika 1Spartika 2

 

Hopefully you enjoyed this sneak peek into our favorite Marines official record.  If you did, stay tuned for next week as we anxiously wait for the latest documents smuggled our way!

 

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

 

 –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

newsletter-banner

WARRIOR WEEKEND: D.E. Haggarty

Standard

warrior-weekend

Hello Space Cadets! Today, I wanted to introduce you to another author from my WARRIOR WEEKEND INTERVIEW SERIES, D E Haggarty.  She isn’t another science fiction author, but I made myself a promise when I started this series of interviews to include anyone who writes, edits or works in the various roles that compromise the traditional publishing agencies if they had the qualifications.  The only requirement, time in the uniformed service of their country.  If they were Canadian soldiers or German Marines, they would be interviewed here.  This policy lead me to Madam Haggarty, an Army veteran living abroad who writes romantic escapades.  And hey, I like it that she can give my shenanigans a run for their money!

 

So, without further ado – let’s get cranking!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the Army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before deciding to follow the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

 

Tell me a little about your military service?

Two lifetimes ago, I was in the Army for five years as a military police woman. I joined for the GI Bill to pay for law school. I got more than I bargained for! Military police work is more varied than the civilian law forces. I’ve done security work, been seconded with NATO, and worked as a plain clothes detective as well as just the typical police work.

 

How do you feel that your military service has influenced your writing?

The biggest influence the military has had on my writing is not in my stories themselves but in the writing of them. I have no problem being disciplined and getting my butt in front of the computer at least five days a week. My friends think 6 a.m. is early to be working, we military people know better 😉 I’m also very anal about details in my novels that no one probably even notices. For example, I’ll check things like flights to make sure the timing works and that there are direct flights from the locations I’m writing about. I blame that on my military police training. I’m sure I wasn’t this uptight before my military service. Well, pretty sure.

 

Do you think your military service, and more specifically your training, adds to the realism in your books?  If so, how?

One of the genres I like to write is murder mystery. My training and experience as a military police officer adds some realism to these mysteries, but I take some – okay, a lot – of artistic license because I like to make readers laugh.

 

When did you start pursuing your writing more seriously?

I tried – without success – to get serious about my writing a few times in my adult life. It was when I was on my third career that my husband suggested I try to self-publish, and I finally got serious.

 

Of all your work, which was your favorite to write?

That’s like asking a parent which child is their favorite! My most recently published novel is usually my favorite as I’m like a proud mama bear when it releases. Since I just released Fat Girl Begone!, it’s my current favorite.

 

How many of your characters were inspired by your military service?

Besides Unforeseen Consequences, which is completely based upon my time in the military, the other characters based on my military service are the police officers. Because the structure of the police and how they work is similar to the military, I can often use my military experiences when making the police characters in my novels.

 

How many of the scenes you wrote were inspired from your service?

Other than Unforeseen Consequences, I don’t really have scenes that were inspired from my time in the service.

 

Do you feel like your writing has served any therapeutic value for you?  Has it helped you process your experiences?

Definitely. I wrote Unforeseen Consequences as a sort of therapy to process my thoughts and experiences.

 

If you could serve with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

The heroes of my murder mystery series Death by Cupcake. They are two police officers who are willing to do pretty much anything to protect the women they love. That kind of dedication is what a soldier needs.

 

If you would want to avoid serving with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

Um… is it too mean girl to say all of the others? Okay, that is totally mean. It’s impossible to know what people are capable of until they’re in a certain situation. I’m sure – no, I know! – nearly everyone I’ve served with me underestimated me. I’m changing my answer. I’ll willing to give everyone a chance. Well, except for the murderers in my murder mysteries (but I can’t exactly tell you who those are, now can I?).

 

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a historical romance set in Istanbul during the Second World War. Research will be my best friend for the next months.

 

How can people find you?

  1. Amazon
  2. E-Mail: dena@dehaggerty.com
  3. Facebook
  4. Twitter
  5. Website

 

If this convinced you to find out more, look up D.E. Haggarty.  I hope you all had a great time getting to know about her, and don’t be afraid to say hello over on her website.  If she doesn’t respond quick enough, glitter bomb her!  Mwahahaha!!

 

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

 

 –> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are screen grabs taken by JR Handley for use under the Fair Use Doctrine.

newsletter-banner

 

Book Review: Occupied Seattle

Standard

Chris Kennedy Book Reviews

Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my series of book reviews.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m a member of the TRMN.  It’s a fan club for the Honor Harrington Universe by David Weber, and they do contests for their members all the time.  There is a reading contest going on recently, and we get bonus points for reading authors who are on the TRMN Author List.  And, if those authors will be at the 2017 Honor Con, we get even more points!  So, you’ll see my next several reviews on books by Chris Kennedy, Marko Kloos and David Weber before I get back to Richard Fox’s Ember Wars stories.  I’m also working on book four of The Sleeping Legion Series.  Finally, if you haven’t read it, Operation Breakout is live!

 

But enough about me, onto this specific review.  Now let’s get to it! 

 

Title:  Occupied Seattle

Author:  Chris Kennedy

Narrator:  Craig Good

Price:  $3.99 USD (Kindle Edition) & $1.99 USD (Audible Add On)

Obtained:  I bought the story and audiobook combination from Amazon.

Pages:  295

 

1882453055

 

Rating:  5/5 Grenades

5 Grenade

 

 

Summary:

First, let me say that none of what I’ll say in this section couldn’t be found on the back copy of the novel.  I wanted to provide a spoiler free review, so here goes nothing!  This novel is a very Red Dawn-esq story of what it might look like if America was invaded.  In Chris Kennedy’s twisted imagination, China uses an attack on America to hide their campaign to reclaim Taiwan.  It works, and an unprepared America quickly loses the Pacific Northwest.  But despite how bloody things get, they can’t crack the will of the American people.  Will the United States get Seattle back?  It will, if a shot down F-18 pilot, a retired Navy SEAL, and a platoon of Army Rangers have anything to say about it.  In this book, we see the conclusion of the fight with the People’s Republic of China.  We see a wrap up of all of the previous plot threads and it’s a gloriously explosive conclusion!

 

 

Characters: 

In this novel, we see more focus given to the three main characters so I would say there was a lot of improvement here.  There were three main characters; Shawn Hobbs, Ryan O’Leary and the Ranger Platoon they lead.  In the first novel there were too many characters popping in and out of this story, and it was distracting.  Not the case this time, and I could finally get behind them.  Even better, Chris Kennedy didn’t sacrifice what made Red Tide awesome.  The premise was just as compelling, great job Chris!  The characters were flushed out, though there were still plenty of red shirts and death!  Like the last one, I was helped by my time in the service, because Chris used his military service color this military thriller.  Here is a brief summary of the characters, check it out!

 

Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs: He is a fighter pilot for the US Navy who gets shot down during the opening salvo of the war and ends up leading a small band of disenfranchised troopers in a war against the occupying force.

Ryan O’Leary: He is a retired US Navy SEAL who’s taken to the hermit lifestyle when an invasion of his home forces him back into the fight.  When Lieutenant Hobbs is shot down, he rushes to save him and together they take on the world.

Army Ranger Platoon: Just your average group of grunts who join in on the mayhem to resist the occupying forces.  The provide the troops that O’Leary and Hobbs lead into the mouth of the Chinese Dragon.

 

Overall, I will give these characters 5 out of 5 Grenades and can’t wait to see where the author takes these characters with the next series.  The author wrote The Theogony Trilogy and The Codex Trilogy with these characters, and I’m thrilled!

 

 

Plot: 

Like most of the military fiction I love to read, this was an action-packed novel.  The story is set in modern day Seattle and follows a series of events that lead to China invading as a feint to keep the US from honoring our commitment to Taiwan.  If you don’t know, the US has treaties with Taiwan that state America will defend the nation from China in the event of an attack.  It was an interesting set up and premise, which had shades of Red Dawn in it.  I loved Red Dawn, and consequently I loved this story.  With my military background, I thought the way the military was portrayed was credible.  I will say that the Chris Kennedy, a retired Naval Commander and fighter pilot, spent a lot of time addressing the air war.  I’m not qualified to judge those situations, but from the outside looking in it was credible, which is all I needed.  Why is the critique of the military in the “Plot” review section?  Because in a military fiction novel, the tactics are integral to the plot.  Occupied Seattle was the conclusion of the story, and it was even more explosive than the book one in the duology!  Like before, I again give Chris 6 out of 5 Grenades!

 

 

World Building:

This is the third book I’ve read by Chris Kennedy, and they just keep getting better! Like the previous books, I wasn’t disappointed!  Like in the previous novel in this duology, this world was very flushed out.  However, it was set in the modern world so it had the advantage of the readers pre-existing world view.  Regardless, the novel built on the modern world and made his divergent path extremely plausible.  Once I found out that this story transitions into a story of first contact, I was ecstatic!  I can’t wait to read the rest of this series, and see where the war with the occupying forces in Chris’s world goes.  Like the first novel, this novel was placed in the science fiction section on Amazon, but in this book’s duology we see none of it.  Other than that one complaint, it was a great book and I can’t wait to read the next trilogy in this universe, The Theogony Trilogy.  I give the world building 5 out of 5 Grenades.

 

 

Description: 

Like the previous book, this novel was chalk full of visualization, and you could definitely imagine yourself in this world.  Again, in some places Chris went a little over board with the explanation of the various military minutia.  It wasn’t as bad as before, but it was still there.  Maybe this is because I already know about some of this and don’t particularly care about military aviation?  Others might have a different opinion here?  Regardless, these flaws didn’t distract from the book to such a degree that I wouldn’t finish the series.  While parts of it were a flop for me, I still give Chris 4 out of 5 grenades in this category!

 

 

Narration Quality:

Like the previous novel, this audiobook was excellently executed.  The narrator, Craig Good, did an amazing job narrating this book.  He didn’t bore you, or make you zone out because of his monotone.  His performance didn’t feel robotic, like a machine was reading the novel too me.  Instead, it felt like a friend was sitting with me reading an amazing story that he couldn’t put down.  This time the way Craig did the voices of the various characters had grown on me and kept me engaged throughout the periods I was listening to this book.  I would give him a 5 out of 5 grenades for his explosive performance.

 

 

Overall:

I really loved this book, even more than the last book because there wasn’t any of the previous head popping was a bit jarring.  Like the previous book in this duology, the cover was amazingly invocative.  The military culture shown in this book was spot on, especially the nicknames, even though the author laid it on a bit thick.  It wasn’t as bad as the previous book but it was still a bit overdone.  If you want to use a nickname, then we don’t need the full name, but it wasn’t as noticeable as before.  Again, with such a compelling story you won’t notice!  As for the military equipment, well it was like a Naval Aviators porno, the amount of details given but I was able to skim over these details so I could enjoy the action in this story.  Basically, Chris had me hooked from the beginning, and kept it going throughout the whole novel.  It’s an amazing adventure, a look into Chris’s twisted imagination, and leaves you wondering at his mental stability!  This is a book I would happily recommend, and an author I will definitely read again.  Heck, I would even recommend that you buy the novel!  But hey, it’s easy to spend someone else’s money!

 

If this book sounds like it’s right up your alley, check it out, you won’t regret it!  Well, unless it motivates you to squeeze your fat body into your old uniform and you die from the shock to your system.  And when you die, you end up in limbo, all alone.  And since you’re alone, you go insane from the solitude.  And in your insanity, you try to fly, but can’t.  Instead, you’re left merged with the asphalt you fell onto at your failed effort to recreate Kitty Hawk.  Stuck in the asphalt, your soul wastes away until there is no you left and you fade out just as Ragnarök begins.  Yeah, it would suck to miss that so maybe you should tread lightly!  Well yeah, I guess this could be bad for you.  But hey, at least you got to see eternity pass you by as you fade into nothing.  On second thought, be warned, fanboy/fangirl syndrome MIGHT kill you.  Be wary, you were warned and if you have to go out like that at least enjoy the view from up there!

 

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

brown_bess

JR

 

–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.

newsletter-banner