It is our great please to introduce you to….
“Earth – Someone Else’s Final Frontier?” By Syd Blue
What if there was an extraterrestrial in your house watching you?
Since Earth has gotten brighter in the sky due to the fact that more of the land has been paved over (pavement reflects more light than dirt), we could have just appeared in someone’s telescope. Someone on another world. I was working as an editor for a tech magazine when I found this out and it excited my imagination. I began to wonder what it would be like to have a penpal on another world. That’s how my 2nd novel Circle was born.
In Circle, 14-year-old Spencer discovers an extra-terrestrial girl, Mandy, hiding out, living in his house. She’s lost and alone after her jet crashed and the pilot was captured. Mandy asks Spencer to rescue the pilot from Edwards Air Force Base and help them get home with the one thing their civilization needs to survive.
On the run from drones, attack helicopters and fighter jets, Spencer and his family fall into crisis when they find out what that one thing is. They don’t know if they can help her get home with it.
Drones, attack helicopters and fighter jets – oh my! Flying around these buggers is part of my job. They reluctantly share the sky with me. Drones range in size from huge Predators to bird-size, hand-launched Ravens. The technology is amazing and scarier than anything you’ve seen on Terminator. In Circle, they have an experimental drone chasing them: the X-99. In real life, the current X plane (X meaning experimental) that we are up to is in X-56. Experimental planes are often test flown at Edwards AFB, one of the places I fly through every week, as well as several other military bases.
As a pilot, every time I go to work, the story comes alive for me. I see it. I see the quarry at Edwards, the one that helps Spencer and Mandy escape the Hueys bearing down on them with rifle-hugging soldiers. I’ve been to all the locations in the books even inside the caves where Mandy finds out who she really is.
But even with my life in the skies flying as Chief Pilot for an aerial surveillance company, I can still feel like life is too ordinary. Do you ever feel like you want more than 8 to 5? Spencer thinks his small town life is boring and the only interesting thing he can find is whatever’s on TV. (Personally, I would add books to that list.) It takes meeting Mandy, an open-hearted ET girl, to discover his own prowess for adventure. And it’s borne from necessity. If Mandy doesn’t get home with the one thing her civilization needs, her dad will die. Worse, she left without saying goodbye. She has to get home quickly and when Spencer realizes this, he has to step up. Finally he finds a cause bigger than escaping boredom.
I like the motto Spencer adopts from General Ranks: “Live Large or Die Small!” I understand Spencer’s brother, Nick, and his desire to do something unusual and big. Until the unthinkable happens, Spencer doesn’t share his brother’s attitude. He’s seen him get into trouble with dire consequences. Meeting Mandy not only changes his outlook but shows him there is so much in this world – and beyond – worth exploring. Mandy comes to this planet with fresh eyes eager to experience the wonders, such as kids and all the things that exist just to amuse them. On her planet, Circle, she is the only child – you’ll find out why in the book – so she’s never met another kid. She’s never been to school and never known danger from strangers because all the adults in her world know and love her as their own. That’s why she doesn’t have a last name. She doesn’t need one.
No one wanted her to go on the mission to Earth. It’s too dangerous. (Have you seen what Earthlings do to ETs?) Regardless, she wanted to help and stowed away on the jet. That’s where the book picks up. As she barrels through Earth’s troposphere hidden in a compartment, she realizes she may have gotten herself into more than she bargained for, especially when the jet gets shot out of the sky.
I was lucky enough to get footage of that in the trailer for Circle. The same artist who did the special effects in Titanic created Circle’s visual effects! Hammerhead Productions provided the VFX for X-Men, Prometheus, The Green Hornet, etc., and I’m so grateful for what they added to Circle’s trailer, which you can see at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqRftSt0tJ8.
You can also find my 1st book, FlyGirl, about a 16-year-old girl who learns to fly an airplane – the hard way, at SydBlue.com.
Though both novels include some wild flying, Circle goes beyond this sphere. Perhaps the final frontier is sharing experiences of how planets and her people develop differently, sometimes even after conducting similar “experiments.”
What would you want to know from an ET? More importantly, what would you want to tell ETs about your life on Earth? Who knows, maybe they’re watching you now.
Thank you so much, Syd, for spending time with us and our readers today! Thanks for letting us fly to the Final Frontier!!
As Chief Pilot running an aviation business specializing in aerial surveillance, Syd Blue lives a life in the skies from California to Texas. On the ground, Syd has also written, edited and produced for everything from TV stations to production companies, from book publishers to national magazines. Along with two books, Syd has had over 40 articles published, and supervised writing staffs around the world at magazines and a news service. She also produced an award-winning documentary, TV shows, commercials and short films. With two cats and one husband, she manages two corporations from her cabin in the woods.
By Syd Blue
Paperback: 220 pages
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Discovering a girl under his bed isn’t the strangest thing happening to Spencer. The real shock comes when he finds out who she is and why she’s on Earth. Mandy, an extraterrestrial girl, has been hiding out ever since the jet she stowed away on crashed in the desert behind his home. When the pilot is captured by the Air Force, Mandy is left lost and alone. She asks Spencer to risk everything to rescue the pilot from Edwards Air Force Base and help them get back home with the one thing their civilization needs to survive. On the run from soldiers, fighter jets and attack helicopters, Spencer and his family fall into crisis when they find out what it is that Mandy and the pilot have really come to Earth for.
Circle e-book on sale:
By Syd Blue
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
November 29, 2012
199 pages, $7.95/$2.99
What does it take to fly a plane? Guts. FlyGirl Jill has plenty of courage but she forgets about one thing. And when she finds herself in absolute terror at ten thousand feet, she knows there’s only one way out…
As soon as sophomore Jill Townsend hears the hottest senior in school, Robbie Magnor, say he thinks a woman who can fly is sexy, she knows what she must do to catch his eye. As she sets out to become a pilot, she unearths a love for flying and finds she belongs up in the breath-taking sky. She wants to fly more than anything. Up there, she not only has an amazing view of the world and its endless possibilities, but there’s nothing holding her back.
But with her mom forbidding anything more dangerous than homework, Jill fights to free herself. In a clever scheme, she drums up the money for lessons and she’s off soaring into the wild blue — until a surprise in the sky foils her plans and threatens her life. Shock and panic pales in comparison to the horror waiting on the ground. Now what will Robbie think?
FlyGirl e-book on sale:
The Circle trailer:
(Sponsored by the publicist and/or author)
Thanks to BreakThrough Promotions, we are offering, 1 lucky commenter a digital copy of CIRCLE by Syd Blue.
*For an extra entry, answer one of all of the author’s questions*
Giveaway will run from June 2 until June 6, 2014
Good luck everyone!
Have a awesome week!!
GMTA Publishing presents:
SYNOPSIS: What are Nora and Tomik to do? They’ve been transported 400 years back in history, and have no clue how to get back home. The members of the Royal Court refuse to let them leave – everyone believes that the children are wizards, come to save their struggling empire.
Well, not quite everyone. The wicked chamberlain wants to toss the children into the castle’s deepest dungeon. The crazed, witch-hunting duke is starting to look at them funny. But worst of all is the emperor’s prized alchemist. He just wants them dead – and has a bag full of sinister tricks to make it happen.
It looks like the only way out of this predicament is to save the empire, after all. But how? Nora will have to come up with some magic of her own, and fast – for his next trick, the scheming alchemist is planning to make the children disappear… forever!
AUTHOR INFORMATION & LINKS
It was at an early age that J.L. Burger discovered the secret to traveling in time. Since then, he has scoured the universe, searching for the deepest mystical knowledge, sowing discord and trouble along the way. He was most recently sighted in ancient Troy, making tasteless jokes about the hole through which the Greeks exited the rear of the Trojan Horse. His most horrific stunt of all, however, was grossly overcooking s’mores in his microwave last summer. Unfortunately, there are some mysteries that are not meant to be solved…
When not traveling in time and space, he resides in New Jersey with his lovely wife, two mostly-charming daughters, and two mostly-smelly dogs. He spends his summers in Europe, inspecting the most recent advances in medieval torture devices.
FIND SECRETS OF THE ALCHEMIST AT:
WRITING THE VILLIAN by J.L. Berger
Nothing’s More Fun Than Writing Villains!
*According to Wikipedia, this is what a villain looks like! (see the pic below)*
Let’s face it; few things are better than a good villain. Readers need someone to hate, to fear, but at the same time to admire – someone to create conflict. For the writer, the villain is an even better prize: first, you craft a character with deliciously wicked qualities; then, you build him or her up until he seems invincible, teetering on the brink of victory; and finally, BOOM! You get to decide what kind of an ending the rascal deserves, and slap him in the face with it (or reward him with it, as the case may be).
One of the main reasons why Secrets of the Alchemist was fun to write was that it has not just one, but two delectably devious villains. Each is unique in his own way, yet each equally villainous. Creating them and chronicling their evil schemes was a lot of fun.
The Alchemist: Edward Kelley is a master of deception – he’ll mix a potion or summon a spirit that will have you gaping in awe first, and then eating out of his hand. Eager to be the center of attention, he knows how to find easy targets and exploit their gullibility and superstition. This, mixed with his mastery of chemistry and sleight-of-hand, make him a force to be reckoned with.
The Chamberlain: Philip Lang prefers to work behind the scenes. What he suggests to the emperor before breakfast usually becomes the law of the land. Although Lang seldom takes the lead, his invisible hand is unavoidable as he manipulates the members of the Royal Court to get him what he wants – most of all, money!
Of course, every villain has his or her own personality. Here are a few of the common themes that I’ve noticed make good villains fun:
1. We all need someone to hate: The villain must spark some negative emotion in the reader. He doesn’t have to strangle a kitten on the first page (although it can’t hurt!), but the villain must generally strive for goals that we find objectionable.
He is also generally unscrupulous. There’s no time to waste on morality in pursuing his goals. Not to harp on the kitten analogy, but if there’s one in the villain’s way, it’s probably going to get it! These two attributes alone may be what distinguishes the villain from the hero, because…
1 I should note here that I am referring to novels where the villain is known. The commentary here does not apply to mystery or suspense stories, where the villain may not be known until the end. In such cases, the build-up of villainous characteristics is quite different, remaining veiled in mystery.
2. The villain must be in some way admirable, possibly even likeable: Just because the villain sparks negative emotion doesn’t mean that she cannot also spark positive feelings. In order to be an effective counterpart to the hero, the villain must at the very least be capable, cunning and determined. As both a reader and a writer, I often find myself rooting for the villain at times. It’s not until the villain has really shown her powers that one can see how daunting it will be to defeat her.
3. The villain must show humanity: Maybe not in a comic book, but in general we need to see some of the villain’s weaknesses, some humanity to make him a realistic character. There may be a sad underlying reason why he has chosen his repulsive goals and methods. We might even find ourselves sympathizing with him a bit… just not too much!
4. The villain’s triumphs build suspense: During the course of the novel, the villain must employ his powers to successfully achieve several objectives on the way to reaching his ultimate goal. This builds up conflict and suspense. At some point in the book, things need to be looking very dire for our hero. That, perhaps, is the point at which we stop rooting for the villain.
5. The villain’s end – handle with care: Deciding how our villain gets his comeuppance is a matter not to be taken lightly. First of all, things shouldn’t be too easy. They don’t even need to wrap up perfectly. It all depends on what kind of a feeling you want your reader to end *This is what a REAL villain looks like!*
With all of the above having been said, it’s hard to believe just how many different types of villains there are out there. I guess it’s a testament to the ingenuity of all of us writers that we keep coming up with new stuff!
My favorite villain of all time? Hands down – Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She’s got the complete package, in an incredibly understated but horrifying way! Who’s your favorite villain?
(Sponsored by the publisher and/or publicist)
Thanks to GMTA Publishing we are offering not one, not two but, YES, 20 digital copies of Secrets of the Alchemist by J.L. Burger.
Once again, all you need do is make a comment and tell us which format you prefer, PDF, mobi or e-pub.
Giveaway will run from May 23 until May 30, 2014.
Please alert your friends of this fantastic Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure giveaway!! The more the merrier!!