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What's left but us? (Friday Fictioners)

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

The greenhouses dotted the landscape. The last bastions of “local fauna.”

“I mean, it’s not really local local is it? Them earth plants didn’t original here. Shouldn’t we be growing the local stuff?” Chik-cek shook their hairy head.

His life partner Nek-la sighed through their second nose. “It’s the memories I think, dear.”

“It’s just not natural though.”

“Some of them are pretty.”

“Green, green and more green. What’s interesting about that?”

“They lost a lot of it. Fires and droughts and such.”

“Killed their planet and moved here. Mark my words. It’ll be us next.”

“Yes, dear,” they sighed.

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more FF prompt pieces here

Word Count: 100

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Review: Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole

About the book:

The Coast Guard must prevent the first lunar war in history.
A lifelong Search-and-Rescuewoman, Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver is ready for a peaceful retirement. But when tragedy strikes, Oliver loses her husband and her plans for the future, and finds herself thrust into a role she’s not prepared for. Suddenly at the helm of the Coast Guard’s elite SAR-1 lunar unit, Oliver is the only woman who can prevent the first lunar war in history, a conflict that will surely consume not only the moon, but earth as well.

My thoughts:

WHOA. This is a terrific book. I was lucky enough to have been granted an advanced copy of this by Angry Robot and it does not disappoint. If you like a brilliant military science fiction then you MUST get this one to read.

Coast Guard in space – why hasn’t it been done before? It is a brilliant concept. And the military technical language adds to the realism of the story.

I could absolutely image it being real (set not too far in the future) and the procedures, guides and mannerisms all invoke a long history of space travel, exploration, moon mining and opposing forces wanting control of a joint asset. What I really loved about it, was the link to modern times with the forced boarding competition between the defence forces, and the added twist of social media influence into the military mindset.

The action is gripping. The added element of instant death should a spacesuit be ruptured heightens this life and death struggle. If and when travel to the moon becomes more viable, I absolutely see this as a fallout. A little like Antarctica and the Arctic, the moon is a giant resource and governments are going to want to control it. Which means military involvement. Jane Oliver is a fantastic protagonist. Her motivations are completely understandable, and her devotion to duty and family cause natural opposing emotional stakes to propel the story forward. I loved Oliver’s XO and her team. I didn’t want the story to end.

Definitely get your hands on this one when it is out (Mar 2020).

Review: Esme's Gift by Elizabeth Foster

About the book:

Terror was within. Terror was without.
Like her mother, she was at the water’s mercy.

In the enchanted world of Aeolia, fifteen-year-old Esme Silver faces her hardest task yet. She must master her unruly Gift–the power to observe the past–and uncover the secrets she needs to save her mother, Ariane.

In between attending school in the beguiling canal city of Esperance, Esme and her friends–old and new–travel far and wide across Aeolia, gathering the ingredients for a potent magical elixir.

Their journey takes them to volcanic isles, sunken ruins and snowy eyries, spectacular places fraught with danger, where they must face their deepest fears and find hope in the darkest of places.

Esme’s Gift, the second instalment in the Esme trilogy, is a gripping fantasy adventure for readers 12 years and over.

My thoughts:

Aha! Another fabulous story. Esme’s Gift is Book Two in the Esme Trilogy and just as fabulous as the first. I’ve recently found this series and it is so much fun. A joy to read.

Esme is a young girl torn between two worlds. Her mother and the magical world of Aeolia, and her father back in “our world” and Esme’s home. Esme is also learning about her Gift… the ability to “see” the memory of water (which is a unique and clever use of magic in a series). This is a terrific book two that continues the drama and excitement of book one with high stakes and gripping emotional choices.

I love the worldbuilding of this series. The magic, dragons, gifts and mysteries of Aeolia are spectacular, so detailed and imaginative. Esme’s relationships with her friends are realistic and genuine. Oh and the baby dragon? Awwwwwwwww! I keep wondering, what gift would I want?

It is a heartfelt series and I love it. Perfectly pitched at MG 12 yrs and over.

Day became night (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

They’d been enjoying the early evening sunshine when phones went off as one. Vic Emergency App alerts. Bushfire. Panic took hold as the sky turned black. How could 3pm be as dark as the middle of the night in Summer? The smell of smoke, acrid and faintly eucalyptus, like standing too close to the Christmas BBQ drifted past. First in light wisps, then thicker – choking – suffocating. And the impossible heat.

The screams finally made them run. Not from people, but koalas. Christ… How can this be real? Holding their children close they made for the ocean and held their breath.

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read other FF responses here

Word Count: 100

Australia is currently burning and it is devastating in the loss of life, homes, wildlife and bushland. The image above reminds me that many people were on holiday in many of the tourist towns in Victoria, South Australia, Canberra and New South Wales over the new year break. I am currently taking part in the #authorsforfireys auction that is taking place on twitter (closes Sunday). If you would like to donate, jump onto the hashtag and see what’s up for offer. Some amazing manuscript assessments by big publishers, agents and editors, and signed book packs by many authors! The writing community is simply astounding in its generosity!

Details at this link https://authorsforfireys.wixsite.com/website

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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Salvage (Friday Fictioneers)

Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Random items I’d collected on this voyage lay over instrument panel. I’d investigate what they were when I got home.

Upon reaching Skyworld One those plans went out the portal. If portals opened, if they were real and not digital displays. I brought my ship into dock and saw it. Blast damage. I kind you took from shipboard weaponry… Big ship style guns. Something had happened while I’d been away.

I ran, my boots thudding through corridors, my heartbeat pounding “too late” in my veins. My quarters door ripped open. No wife, no kids, no dog.

Taken.

They’d found me.

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more FF responses here

Word Count: 100

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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Who you choose… (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

It was a place I visited every Christmas.

I’m often asked, isn’t it depressing or sad to do that on the holidays? Well, holidays are about family, aren’t they? We end up furious, sitting through drunken Uncle Bob’s reminiscences, or racist’s rants from great-grandfather, or just avoiding any conversation with Auntie Mary who doesn’t believe in bisexuality. Why not visit the family who are no longer here… The ones we miss. Or perhaps the ones we don’t. I don’t know why others are here. I know why I’m here.

Spend your holidays with the ones you love. Family or not.

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read some more FF responses here

Word Count: 100

Happy holidays!

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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Out of towners (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

“The white stuff is called ‘snow’ its just water that’s frozen but don’t eat it.”

“Yes, Eslise.”

“Don’t look at me like that. Earth is a dangerous place. You can’t just put things in your mouth like at home.”

“Yes, Eslise.”

“Now, remember your manners. We are here as guests of the Lordship.”

“Prime Minister, Eslise.”

“What?”

“That’s what they call the Lordship here, Prime Minister I think.”

“Yes, well. Heed my words. Best behaviour.”

“No eating snow.”

“Exactly.”

“What about those?”

“The flora? Uh, I’m not sure. Perhaps ask first.”

“Looks tasty. Though so do the people.”

“No people!”

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more FF responses here

Word Count: 100

© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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If you don't speak up… (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Mikhael Sublett

As the rumbles die down the damage is assessed. Bloody Interplantary squabbles. Every day another disagreement between leaders and we cope the brunt of the fall out. I can’t see a building, road or airbridge that has not been affected by spaceship bound weaponry. You didn’t want to get caught out in the open during an airstrike. Well, I mean, if you did, I guess you wouldn’t know about it. Instant evaporation.

I crumple the underground town meeting pamphlet in my hand. Something must be done. Tonight, plans would be made.

I refuse to accept this anymore.

The fight begins.

This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more FF responses here

Word Count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Author Interview: Elizabeth Foster

Manly book launch

It’s the sound of water that reminds me where I am. There are bridges and skinny little pathways of cobbled stones over them everywhere I look. Water everywhere. Rushing here, trickling there. The smell of it too. And happiness. People gathered chatting animatedly. Tourists and locals mingling together. Laughing… eyes fixed on the water and the gondola’s sweeping past.

I head over the the little table and order a cafe latte. I can hear singing. What a magical place this is. High up, in the air above my head, I see a dark shape twist and turn, dive and… Holy heck… Is that a dragon? I hear my name and spin around… and see Elizabeth walking toward me.

Today I have the pleasure of chatting with the amazing Elizabeth Foster author of the Esme’s Wish and newly released Esme’s Gift. Hi Elisabeth… it’s so lovely to finally sit down and have a chat with you. I really enjoyed reading Esme’s Wish. So first up, tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi Laurie,
I wish I could say I was born somewhere exotic but I remember my childhood as rather dull. I grew up in Brisbane and now live in Sydney. I have three children of my own now.  In my free time I read as much as possible, and also get out and about in Sydney – I love being near the water.

Now, tell me about your writing… What age were you when you started?

Latish – in my forties. After reading Harry Potter with my children I realised how much I missed being lost in other worlds and decided to create my own. I had no idea how much work it would be!

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I always knew I wanted to do something creative but didn’t know what. There were no writers in my family and most of the books I read as a child were by male authors. So writing a novel was something I never ever considered. Because of this, I have really encouraged my own children to explore their own creativity. One of my sons, Chris, is now writing an epic fantasy series of his own. We edit each other’s work and it is fantastic to have a fellow creative so close by.

What was your favorite book as a child and why?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I adored stepping through the enchanted doors into an icy snowscape so unlike Australia. I still remember the thrill of it.

Oh I loved that one as a kid too! So, favorite book as an adult and why?

Too hard to choose. I recently entranced by The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and The Changeover by Margaret Mahy. I have a soft spot for Jane Austen’s works too.

Oh, The Graveyard Book is on my giant pile of books to read. I just finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Okay, so tell me a bit about Esme’s Wish. Where did you get the idea?

Artist Kahlil Gibran said that ‘in one drop of water are found all the secrets of the ocean.’ I took it from there!

Tell me about Esme? Is she modeled off anyone?

No one in particular, although I think there is a lot of me in her. There is a little bit of me in all my characters, even the antagonists.

What about Daniel? and Lillian? or Ariane?

Again, not really. Daniel embodies all the features of a traditional hero – masculine, daring, adventurous – except he is the sidekick rather than the protagonist. Lillian is the sister Esme never had. When it came to Ariane, there are a few artists in my family – I’ve dabbled in painting myself – so it felt natural to have an artist in the story.

I love the worldbuilding in this story. Tell me about Aeolia… where did you get your inspiration?

I visited Venice both before and during the writing of the first book. It is such a dreamy, inspiring, magical place. It’s also on a precarious perch, constantly on the verge of sinking into the lagoon, rather like Esperance in book one. When I imagine Esperance, I think of Venice with Ancient Greek touches – and dragons!

Oh Venice is a lovely city. I’ve been there too and I know what you mean. What are you hoping your readers take away from this story?

Hope, determination, and the will to never give up on things that are important to them.

What is your writing process?

The first book took countless drafts. I focused on a different aspect of the writing craft – character, dialogue, pace, etc. – in each draft, learning as I went along. I was full of insecurities and doubts all the way through. It was only when I was actually writing that the doubts went away – so I kept going!  Now, as I write, everything – character, setting, plot – happens at once, which makes the process quicker, but does my head in. 🙂 I do much more plotting now, but when I write it still feels like someone else takes over and moves all the levers – it is both mysterious and wondrous. I feel the weight of the book all the way through, though, a psychic load that doesn’t lift until I send the story off to the publishers.

How long did it take you to write Esme’s Wish? 

Around seven years. It took me a long time to find a publisher and I kept polishing and polishing even after I found one.

How are you going with book two? What can you tell us about it? 🙂

Book two is finished! Esme’s Gift is the middle book in the series. I’m often disappointed with the second in a series, so I tried to make this sequel equally as satisfying as the first instalment. Esme, Daniel and Lillian spend time at school together in Esperance, but also head off on adventures around different parts of Aeolia. It was fun to write but also exhausting, as I was on a bit of a deadline (which I went way past!)

Finally, what advice would you give to someone wanting to write a book?

Commit to your project with your whole heart. Write lots but also read plenty of good quality literature – what you read will echo in your own prose. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but at the same time recognise that if you want to get published the bar is high. Writing can be lonely – surround yourself with people who support you, even if it is only online. If you do manage to finish, be proud. Writing a novel is really hard work and I admire anyone who puts in the time and effort to get to ‘the end.’

Thanks for listening to my ramblings!

Thank YOU Elizabeth! Thanks for your time today. It has been fun to chat.

I watch her walk away with a wave and then wander to the bridge to stare down into the clear water. The tip of a gondola comes into view and I wave at the gondolier. His giant smile lights up his entire tanned face. I shoot a glance upward… where did the dragon go?

You can read my review of Esme’s Wish here and you can find Elizabeth at any of the following links

Website: http://elizabethfoster.com.au/

Facebook: @elizabethfosterauthor

Twitter: @e_foster3

Instagram: @elizabethfoster_

And you can find buy Esme’s Wish at the following

Amazon US   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0826KL5MG

Amazon AU  https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0826KL5MG/

Book Two – Esme’s Gift is OUT NOW!

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0826JWZP4/

Amazon.com.au  https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0826JWZP4/

All aboard (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

Tourists were the same universe over. Loud, rude, obnoxious… One and the same really. Inappropriate behaviour, too much alcohol and parties long into the night.

On this one planet, the locals had had enough.

The automatic hoverbus took the diversion as signposted and was not seen again.

As did the next.

And the next.

Not many travelled to New Shangri-la anymore.

Hardly surprising.

Lot of divorced singles. Well… they didn’t know they would shortly be divorced… or missing…

That was the thing about New Shangri-la. You didn’t know you were going there… until you were not there anymore.

Holiday anyone?

This is Friday Fictioneers Prompt

You can read more of the FF prompt responses here

Word Count: 100

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© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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