Tag Archives: Sechin Tower

#amreading: Mad Science Institute, by Sechin Tower

mad science institute front-coverI have been catching up on my long-put off reading, starting with a book by fellow Northwest indie author Sechin TowerMad Science Institute . I had a great time reading this particular YA novel. But first, The Blurb:

Sophia “Soap” Lazarcheck is a girl genius with a knack for making robots—and for making robots explode. After her talents earn her admission into a secretive university institute, she is swiftly drawn into a conspiracy more than a century in the making. Meanwhile and without her knowledge, her cousin Dean wages a two-fisted war of vengeance against a villainous genius and his unwashed minions. Separately, the cousins must pit themselves against murderous thugs, experimental weaponry, lizard monsters, and a nefarious doomsday device. When their paths finally meet up, they will need to risk everything to prevent a mysterious technology from bringing civilization to a sudden and very messy end.

My Opinion: This book totally lives up to it’s promise. Soap is a great character, and so is Dean.  She is a little too adventurous in the laboratory, and things sometimes go awry. The story opens with her, and immediately shifts to Dean’s story, but shifts back again.

Dean is older, is a firefighter who loves his work, and has relationship issues, which launch him into the thick of things.

Soap is a feisty girl, who is launched into a series of immersive adventures. She’s a bit testy and awkward when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

The author, Sechin Tower, is a teacher in his real life, and I think he must be pretty awesome in the classroom, because the story contains a lot of historical information imparted in regard to Nicola Tesla and his scientific legacy, presented in such an entertaining way the reader doesn’t realize they’re learning.

All in all, I have three grandkids who would really enjoy this book–and Santa will be obliging this year!

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Yay! Its #friday

The Alehouse Door, by Henry Singleton via Wikimedia Commons

The Alehouse Door, by Henry Singleton via Wikimedia Commons

I wrote a lot of short stories last summer, which is good, because in short stories you have to be sparing with words.

This need for economy has really helped with my personal writing bugaboo, giving too much background info. When you are writing to a specific word limit, you have to choose your words carefully.

This means the only background that can remain in the tale is the minimum background that the reader must know for the tale to make any sense.

Some of what I wrote was a serial, for Edgewise Words Inn, a series of tales set in the village of Bleakbourne, on the Heath river. Bleakbourne is an unusual town, being the crossroads for the fae and mortal worlds. Many strange things happen there, and Leryn is the young bard who records it all.

Ralph_Allens_Castle_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1762356Two installments have been posted, and several more are set to post as autumn progresses.

If you are curious, the link to chapter one is here: Bleakbourne on Heath: Tenneriff’s Curse and the link to chapter two, the Demon Knight is here.

That tale was inspired by a photo of a Castle Folly I saw on Pinterest. I love Pinterest, but I get most of my inspiration and ideas from Wikimedia Commons, just randomly searching the classical art there.

Socks and Sandals MemeI also find that lots and lots of time just sort of dissolves as I am doing that–perusing  the great art of the masters is as much of a time-eater as Facebook, but without the memes.

However, the temptation to turn them into memes is sometimes overwhelming. I look at them, and wonder what was going through their minds at the time the painter caught them. Probably it was “Please make him paint faster,” but you know I can just leave it at that.

Sometimes it’s hard to contain myself when these wonderful images give me so much food for thought.


If you happen to be at out and about Saturday the  10th of October, in the Renton area south of Seattle, stop in at the AFK E&E, and visit my friends who will be signing books and having a great time in general. They will be Reading in the Dark, and the event will run from 2:00pm to 9:00pm in the back left of the restaurant.

  • AFK Elixers & Eatery
  • 3750 E Valley Rd.
  • Renton, WA 98057

You will find these great authors: A.J. Downey, Jeffrey Cook, Lee French, Sechin Tower, Tina Shelton, and Shannon L. Reagan and several more. I can’t wait to see what they are offering us!

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Heading to Renton at AFK Elixers and Eatery #Booksigning

Destination StaycationOh, my gosh–I am getting so excited! The next event, Destination Staycation is happening in just 3 days, on Saturday the 27th of June.  Eight local, independent authors will be coming together for one event. We will be selling and signing books all afternoon and evening at AFK Elixirs & Eatery  in Renton, Washington, and I can hardly wait!

HTB Stamp copyWe will be offering reading-passports and stamping them with our book-related stamps.

Along with myself, AJ Downey, Sechin Tower, Lee French, Lindsay Schopfer, Stephen Matlock, David Moore, and Jeffrey Cook are the featured authors this time around.

And wow–what a fabulous venue–a gamer’s paradise!  AFK simply means Away From Keyboard. It’s commonly used in chatrooms and online games and it basically means that you won’t be available (Not at the keyboard = Not in front of your computer). But at AFK Elixers & Eatery you may be away from your computer, but you’re never far from gaming.

My friends and fellow gamers & book addicts in the western Washington/Seattle area are more than welcome to come on up (or down) and join us Saturday, between 2 and 9 pm.

Here are some samples of books being offered by the intrepid indie authors who will be joining me:

Girls Can't Be Knights KINDLEGirls Can’t be Knights, by Lee French

Portland has a ghost problem.

Sixteen-year-old Claire wants her father back. His death left her only memories and an empty locket. After six difficult years in foster care, her vocabulary no longer includes “hope” and “trust”.

Everything changes when Justin rides his magical horse into her path and takes her under his wing. Like the rest of the elite men who serve as Spirit Knights, he hunts restless ghosts that devour the living.

When an evil spirit threatens Claire’s life, she’ll need Justin’s help to survive. And how could she bear the Knights’ mark on her soul? Everybody knows Girls Can’t Be Knights.

Lost Under Two moons, Lindsay SchopferLost Under Two Moons, Lindsay Schopfer

Alone. Stranded. Richard finds himself on Other World, a place of fantasy and horror. With no companion but a makeshift journal, Richard must quickly learn the unfamiliar dangers around him as he struggles daily to survive. From the approach of winter to eerily intelligent packs of nightmarish creatures, each entry details another trial of life or death. But when Richard finds the remnants of an ancient civilization, he begins to wonder if he is truly alone, and whether or not the lost people of Other World still hold the secrets that could return him home to Earth.

Dawn of Steam First Light Jeffrey CookDawn of Steam, Jeffrey Cook

In 1815, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, two of England’s wealthiest lords place a high-stakes wager on whether a popular set of books, which claim that the author has traveled to many unknown corners of the globe, are truth or, more likely, wild fiction. First Light is an epistolary novel, told primarily through the eyes of former aide-de-camp Gregory Conan Watts, describing the journeys of the airship Dame Fortuna and its crew through journals and letters to his beloved fiancee.
The first recruit is, necessarily, the airship’s owner: war hero, famed genius, and literal knight in steam-powered armor Sir James Coltrane. Persuading him to lend his talents and refitted airship to the venture requires bringing along his sister, his cousin, and the crew that flew with him during the Napoleonic Wars. Only with their aid can they track down a Scottish rifleman, a pair of shady carnies, and a guide with a strong personal investment in the stories.
When they set out, the wild places of the world, including the far American West, the Australian interior, darkest Africa, and other destinations are thought to be hostile enough. No one expects the trip to involve a legendary storm – or the Year Without a Summer of 1815-1816. The voyage is further complicated by the human element. Some parties are not at all happy with the post-war political map. Most problematic of all, the crew hired by the other side of the wager seem willing to win by any means necessary.

mad science institute Sechin TowerMad Science Institute, Sechin Tower

Sophia “Soap” Lazarcheck is a girl genius with a knack for making robots—and for making robots explode. After her talents earn her admission into a secretive university institute, she is swiftly drawn into a conspiracy more than a century in the making. Meanwhile and without her knowledge, her cousin Dean wages a two-fisted war of vengeance against a villainous genius and his unwashed minions. Separately, the cousins must pit themselves against murderous thugs, experimental weaponry, lizard monsters, and a nefarious doomsday device. When their paths finally meet up, they will need to risk everything to prevent a mysterious technology from bringing civilization to a sudden and very messy end.

AJ Downey Shattered and ScarredShattered & Scarred: The Sacred Hearts MC, AJ Downey

She’s Shattered…

Ashton Granger is a perfect wife to her husband. She has to be, if she’s not, he will find a way to correct any perceived imperfections. Such is life, and so it has been for a very long time, eroding Ashton’s sense of self, cracking her sense of worth until she lays in a million pieces on the side of a stretch of lonely highway.

He’s Scarred…
Ethan “Trigger man” Howard is the Sergeant of Arms for The Sacred Hearts Motorcycle club. After several tours as a Marine Corps sniper overseas, he’s seen and done enough damage for a man three times his age. He’s out. Done. So over it, and home to nurse his wounds, physical, emotional and psychological with the help of his MC brothers. Now he simply deals with the scars that life handed him.

Was it more than just luck for he and Ashton both that he was the only other soul traveling that isolated stretch of highway that night?

**Mature Audiences Only (18+)**

 

Stars in the Texas Sky Stephen J. MatlockStars in the Texas Sky, Stephen J. Matlock

STARS IN THE TEXAS SKY is a story about 13-year-old Henry Valentine. He’s the school’s star pitcher, intoxicated by first love of a young girl, and all seems right with his world of 1952 racially separated East Texas. Then he is confronted by an unlikely antagonist, a colored boy who challenges him in his town, bests him in a pitching duel, and fights him in the vacant lot outside of town. A wary distance becomes an unexpected friendship when they discover a common love for Texas beauty. He is devastated when a corrupt congressman sacrifices Henry’s friend to win re-election, and receives no sympathy or help from his disapproving family, church, and town. His finds support in the feisty, independent-minded widow with a taste for liquor in her lemonade who helps him fight against the powerful using only the tools of an innocent and powerless boy. In the end he learns the value of standing for what he believes in face of opposition, and discovers that there is nothing more powerful than a boy – or a man – who knows who he is.

This book is a 2012 Amazon Breakout Novel Award (ABNA) quarter-finalist.

 

David Moore Light at end of trailThe Light at the End of the Trail, David G. Moore

This is a memoir of Moore’s early life–a life filled with equal parts light and darkness. Battling the neighborhood bullies, embracing the world of nature, surviving his mother’s depression, he finally descended into his own world of sadness. But the sadness was nothing compared to what awaited him at college. With the help of drugs and alcohol, a mysterious illness overtook him that baffled both him and the best of doctors. Meanwhile, the Moore family exploded. His parents separated, one sister joined a religious cult, the other buried herself in therapy, and his mother finally moved to the West Coast to escape it all. There were moments of bright light. At times, his illness vanished and during those reprieves he tried to live life to the fullest. But the quest for a life full of passion and joy pushed his mysterious psyche to the edge–then over the edge. It was time to enter the gates of hell.

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And these are just the tip of the iceberg–the number of books my fellow authors and I will be offering is somewhat mind-boggling to me!

Check out the Destination Staycation Facebook Page!

I hope to see you at AFK E&E in Renton Wa on Saturday June 27th!

 

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Book signing events, the art of Paul Cornoyer, and inspiration

From left to right, Sechin Tower, Lindsay Schopfer and Connie J. Jasperson at Forever Knight Games 5-16-2015

From left to right, Sechin Tower, Lindsay Schopfer and Connie J. Jasperson at Forever Knight Games 5-16-2015

The signing at Forever Knight Games in Olympia went well. I met several wonderful authors I hadn’t had a chance to meet in person: Sechin Tower, Jolene Loraine, Rachel E. Robinson (Maquel A. Jacob), and Erik Kort. We were joined my my good friends, authors Lee French, Lindsay Schopfer, and Jeffrey Cook. These wonderful people write great books, and I was privileged to be counted among them!

We had a great time, and it was a good first event at that venue. I want to thank all my friends for coming out and meeting my favorite local authors. Tower of Bones was my big seller–which makes me happy.

paul cornoyer rainy day in madison square

Rainy Day in Madison Square, Paul Cornoyer

But then, after the big party was over (and it was a party–believe me) I had to drag myself back to reality. As I said the other day, sometimes my head isn’t in the right place for reading. At the event this last weekend, a friend asked me how that inability to read without the editor in my head making noise affects my ability to write. I had to answer that it does affect it to a certain extent.

The reason being in an editing frame of mind affects my writing is that while I am creative, it is like my creativity has to go through a maze to get to the ends of my fingers and into written form.

It’s a sloooooow process.

Paul Cornoyer Winter twilight along Central Park

Winter Twilight Along Central Park, Paul Cornoyer

I do a lot of things to jumpstart that creativity. I  clean things I don’t really care about under normal circumstances.  Something about a really orderly environment gets my mind relaxed enough to work properly.

Sometimes I write flash-fiction, 100 to 1000 word short stories.

I find great art that really makes my mind click–Wikimedia Commons is awesome for that.  Today I came across a download of a picture that, two years ago, sparked a 250 word flash-fiction. That  image, which I will get to later, was painted around the year 1910 by an American artist, Paul Cornoyer.

Paul Cornoyer -Gloucester

Glouster, Paul Cornoyer

His work is quite intriguing, and much of is done in an impressionistic style.

According to the Fount of all Knowledge, Wikipedia, Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement. Impressionist painting characteristics include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.

The thing about the impressionists that so inspires my writing is that they don’t give you all the details–they give you what they saw including the mood of the piece.

Paul_Cornoyer_-_The_Plaza_After_Rain

The Plaza After Rain, Paul Cornoyer

In so many ways, good literature is like good art–all the important things are there, everything the eye needs to have a perfect vision of the mood, the setting, and characters–everything is there within the piece, but with economy. When you limit yourself to expressing the complete idea of the story in less than 300 words, you discover just how well (or how badly you can write.)

This last picture is the piece that inspired one of my better, short pieces of Flash Fiction, which will be featured later this month on Edgewise Words Inn. I will post links to that here when it goes up

It is called The Plaza After Rain. I love it because, even though it depicts New York City in a different time, it shows the way rain is in the springtime. The sky is dark, but the trees are just beginning to leaf out. The streets are wet with rain, but a hint of blue is showing through the dark sky. When you see this painting, you feel like sunshine could happen any minute.

That is what we try to convey in flash fiction, and that is why it’s so important to practice writing in short, complete bursts. You never know when one will become a longer tale, so you will have a backlog of  fodder to fuel your creativity when you need a good story idea. Being able to create an entire story in 3 paragraphs is an art. Sometimes I can do well at that, and sometimes not so much.

 

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