Guest Post: Rhani D’Chae

My name is Rhani D’Chae, and I am a visually disabled writer from Tacoma, WA. I’ve published two novels and a short story, and I’m currently finishing up Winter of the Drill.

I enjoy writing about Decker, the lead character in the Drill series. With 260 pounds of muscle packed onto a 6′-5″ frame, he truly is larger-than-life. After failing to save someone close to him when he was 25, he built his body into a weapon and learned how to use it. Now, 15 years later, he tries to keep his streets as clean as possible while working as muscle for hire.

The following is an excerpt from Shadow of the Drill, after Decker had come face-to-face with the man who put him on the path to becoming the Drill. The outcome was not in Decker’s favor, resulting in our hero being tied to a chair in a burning building. I hope you enjoy this moment with Decker.

***

The fire was gaining ground, and he knew that time was very short. He tried to stay calm, to ignore both the heat and the ache of his burned wrists, but the horror of his predicament momentarily overwhelmed him. Panic raged and he thrashed against the ropes, losing his balance and falling face first to the ground.
But the ropes held.
The fire was close enough for Decker to feel the heat on his face no matter which way he tilted his head. His struggle had winded him, and he panted cautiously, each ragged breath searing his lungs regardless of how carefully he inhaled. He could sense death hovering, just out of sight, but he was not done yet.
He inched his way across the floor, coughing and choking from the smoke that billowed around him in suffocating clouds. Breathing was torture, but he managed to keep going, his watery eye fixed on the dirty pane of glass.
I can do this. I can make it!
However, it soon became apparent that he could not. He did not have enough freedom of movement to propel himself along the floor with the necessary speed. He was going to die, alone and most likely screaming, but even though he acknowledged that fact, he continued to fight for his life.
His fingers dug into the floor as he tried to scoot along on his back. When that failed to accomplish much, he rolled onto his side, still trying to crawl. The window was barely visible, but he was not sure if it was the smoke or his own failing eyesight that obscured it.
His pants began to smolder, and he felt panic rise again. He was not sure how easily the denim would ignite, but if it did, he would be unable to put out the flames.

Cyborg Nation by Dylan Callens

You may have heard the name Ray Kurzweil before.  If you haven’t, that’s okay – but you have probably used some kind of technology that he has created.  Kurzweil has played a critical role in developing the CCD flatbed scanner, the first text to speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer that can recreate the sounds of a grand piano, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition system.  To name only a few of his inventions.

Kurzweil has also made a number of Nostradamus-like predictions about the future of technology.  The only difference is that his are quite specific in terms of when and what will happen.  He made many of these predictions in 1999 – well before technology was entirely pervasive.  Some of these predictions include high-speed wireless band-width that will keep us constantly connected, portable computers being used more often than desktops, cars will begin driving themselves, cloud computing, and augmented reality glasses.  Again, to name only a few of his predictions.

But according to Kurzweil, what happens over the next three decades is wild.  He believes that in the 2020s, medical use of nanotechnology will take giant steps forward.  Nanobots will extend our lives, feed us directly via our bloodstream, and assist in some organ functions while making other organs entirely obsolete.  Because of the exponential growth of intelligence in nanobots, we will quickly accelerate towards the technological singularity.  It is here where we will begin to merge with machines.

During the 2030s, he predicts that we will be able to upload our minds to computers, creating the “transbiological era”.  He says that virtual reality and real reality will become indistinguishable and we can make the world look like anything we want, inside of our brains – that is to say, nanobots will be in our heads and can transform our reality, if we wish.  We will be able to interface with machines and other humans.  These machines will increase our intelligence, memory, and sensory abilities.

By the 2040s non-biological intelligence will be billions of times smarter than humans.  We will live most of our lives in virtual reality.  And by 2045, the technological singularity will be complete.  That is when humans and machines will be indistinguishable from each other.

Kurzweil believes that we don’t have to worry about being destroyed by the machines.  We will be too closely integrated with technology to even distinguish ourselves from a machine.  While that does sound very frightening, the alternative is even scarier.  There is no doubt that we would lose a war against some kind of entity that is billions of times smarter than us.

 

But that’s what I imagined in my novel, Interpretation.  What would our society look like if we were ruled by a superior intelligence?  In the novel, the AI that seizes control does it in such a quiet, unsuspecting way that people aren’t even aware of their presence.  If machines become that smart, then what use do they have for flesh?

No matter how you personally see the future, one thing is certain:  machines are evolving fast.  There is no way to stop this evolution.  What the future holds is quite uncertain and while Kurzweil can predict what happens up until a truly intelligent AI is developed, what happens after that cannot be well predicted.  My guess is that you should embrace the impending singularity and do everything you can to become a cyborg when the opportunity presents itself.  If you don’t, at the very least, you will not be able to keep up with the amped-up people who will be smarter and faster as a result of merging with technology.  At the very worst, you will be destroyed by the cyborg nation.  Either way, you lose.

 

Interpretation Blurb:

Carl Winston awakens to find his son, Liam, screaming with fear. Trying to understand why, Carl tries to soothe him. Neighbors gather in front of Carl’s apartment to help – until they see him. The crowd cowers back, afraid of this monster.

Carl runs. His life of luxury is ripped away. Forced beyond the city limits, Carl sees a land bereft of life. Traveling in search of answers, his quest comes to a sudden halt when he collapses. As darkness shrouds him, a figure hovers from above.

Traveling along the same route, Eva Thomspon finds Carl and nurtures him back to life. Together, they continue the journey, finding out that their lives have too much in common to be a coincidence. As their affection for each other deepens, an unknown nemesis attempts to remove their only source of happiness – their love for each other.

Interpretation is a dystopian fiction that explores hope and happiness in the bleakest of conditions and what happens when it’s torn away.

Excerpt:

Carl closed his eyes and tried to laugh at himself.  Barely a squeak left his mouth.  What was he thinking, trying to enter this godforsaken wasteland by himself with no supplies?  Still on his back, he dreamed about opening a bottle of Ocean Surge.  Wet bubbles danced against his tongue, bathing his taste buds with refreshing fruit-infusion – small bursts of happiness made his lips sing an ode to joy.

But forget that fantasy; sulfur-ridden tap water would be just as good.  Carl knew the taste would not equate, but its effect would invigorate.  Carl smiled, his eyes wide open, staring into the dimming sky, into the nothingness that surrounded him.  Gulp after glorious gulp of imaginary liquid until he couldn’t keep up, showering his face with it until a puddle formed around him.  That puddle turned into an ocean and Carl sank to the bottom, his faint breath weakening further.  The light grew dimmer.  He tried to reach up, to reach out of the depths of his hallucination, but his arms felt too heavy, as if the pressure at this depth couldn’t be overcome.

A shadow hovered over him.  Carl tried to speak to it, but words didn’t make sense.  The shadow spoke back with a meaningless, muffled slur.  Water entered Carl’s mouth, nearly choking him.  Nonetheless, the delicious wet felt so good, like ocean refreshment in every bottle.  That was the slogan, right?  Carl laughed or cried, he couldn’t tell.  For all he knew, he was dead.  The shadow grew, saying something that he couldn’t work his mind around.  Darker. Darker.  Clock, what the hell was that clock song?  Darker. The shadow drew nearer.  Or maybe it was the darkness.  It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born, And was always his treasure and pride… Ah yes, there it is.  But it stopped short – never to go again – When the old man died.  That’s the one.  Darkness.

Dylan Callens’ Bio:

Dylan Callens lands cleanly. That would be the headline of a newspaper built with an anagram generator. And although Dylan is a Welsh name meaning god or hero of the sea, he is not particularly fond of large bodies of water. His last name, Callens, might be Gaelic. If it is, his last name means rock. Rocks sink in the sea. Interestingly, he is neither Welsh nor Gaelic, but rather, French and German. The inherent contradictions and internal conflict in his life are obvious.

Purchase Links:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073V7LSRV

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/interpretation-dylan-callens/1126732112?ean=2940154727843

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/interpretation-7

iBooks:  https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/interpretation/id1258997726?mt=11

Author Links:

Website:  www.cosmicteapot.net

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/heaveninctheseries/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TheNitzsch

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14739202.Dylan_Callens

Amazon Author:  https://www.amazon.com/Dylan-Callens/e/B01C6KR8P6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Sean Seebach – A Looking in View Review

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

I’ve been following Sean Seebach for over two years, reading his work, and enjoying the flavor of his writing.  I’ve read his novels, Our Monsters are Real: The Pig Man and Autumn Dark. Having the chance to read his collection of shorter works was a great treat. I enjoyed most of the stories and a few really struck me as fantastic story telling.

The opening story The Favor was interesting. I liked the gist of where the story was going but couldn’t get behind the supernatural aspect. The story Billy and Hank was good minus the ending. I did however like the character development in the back story about Hank and his love of baseball. Brothers Grimm show us a mobster is more of a monster than he seems leaving a man wanting revenge for his brother’s death. This was a really good story and I was all in. It had a great flow, plot, tension, plus a good twist ending. One of the best stories is One Hell of a Party. The story had a great flow and feel. I really enjoyed where the author went here. It was very short and a quick read but excellent at the time. I could tell this one was as fun to write as it was to share with the reader. The next story Followed was another one I really enjoyed. It had a Tales from the Crypt feel and reminded me of those episodes I loved as a kid. The joy of reading this story and knowing something was just around the corner had me engrossed. A lonely boy was a fun tale that took me back to being a kid. Not only the good but the bad parts. Being a kid who only has a few friends and spent a lot of time alone on adventures, some of them in his head.

At this point in the book One Hell of a Party was my favorite story, then A View Through a Barbershop Window came along and blew me away. I was so engrossed with the story and the way it was told that it was over before I knew it. This story exists on a different level from the others. A new level of writing, which is damn fine, is going on with this writer. Willy’s Halloween is a nice twist on a classic Halloween story mixed with the personal hell of ground hogs day. Being a huge fan of Halloween and all things scary, I found this short fun from start to finish. I would have liked to see an iteration or two more but the story was still good as told. Author Unknown isn’t only a great story, it’s a great piece of writing. Sean really has done the reader a solid with this story. It has a character who you can’t help but care about. It transported me to another place and I was all in about the plot. Blue Collar Diesel, the final short in the collection, was a really great ending to the collection. It shows the level of growth and the polished skill Sean Seebach has accomplished since I first read his work. It’s just one hell of a story and this is an author to keep an eye on because his work is well worth your time.

Book Info

Length: 270 Pages

Release date: May 16, 2017

To Purchase A Looking in View Click Here

Take a look inside a world of the fantastic, strange, and macabre:

Lillian witnesses the death of her undead mother…

A hitman has one last favor to pay…

Frustrated with his mother’s boyfriend, ten-year-old Nathan runs away from home in an attempt for a better life…

A nursing home has a strange visitor with more to offer than battered paperbacks for the residents…

Comprised of thirteen eerie, mysterious tales, A Looking in View is the first anthology by author Sean Seebach and features a bonus novella, Blue Collar Diesel, where a man goes searching for manual labor in an attempt to win his fiancé back, but finds something much darker within himself.

Sean Seebach, biography

Sean Seebach is a horror/thriller author whose work appears regularly on Creepy Catalog. His first book, Our Monsters are Real, was published in March of 2016. He currently lives in Ohio with his wife and son.

Andy Graham – An Angel Fallen Review

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review as part of the Confessions Publicity book tour

In An Angel Fallen we meet two teenage boys. They are looking for trouble and find it, unfortunately it’s not the kind either were expecting. Our protagonist, Mike, follows Ralp around and considers him his friend. Ralp on the other hand doesn’t give a crap about Mike by bulling him into questionable activities. Ralp likes to hurt and kill animals while Mike watches and thinks he is an innocent bystander. Mike and Ralp see what they assume is a comet that crashed near a friend’s farm. Of course they have to check it out, what kids wouldn’t?

This is where the story gets strange. Animals start acting erratic and food begins to spoil. The farm fields are being destroyed by hoards of locust.  The power goes out and the world isn’t right anymore. I thought the Apocalypse was on it’s way, which would have been cool, but sadly this wasn’t the case.

I’m not sure what to make of An Angel Fallen. The story had forgettable tertiary characters that didn’t lend much to the plot. The story really needed some help with character interaction and flow. I never connected with Mike or Ralp and lost interest in them, that’s not a place I like to be in any story. By the last 10 pages I could see where the author was going, but for me it took too long to get there. The ending tied the story together but by this point I wasn’t into it anymore. I wish the story had the same beginning and a similar ending without most of what filled the middle.

Book Info

Length: 79 Pages

Release date: June 13, 2017

To Purchase An Angel Fallen Click Here

Blurb: 

You’re eighteen. Bored. Dad’s away a lot. Says its business, but you’ve seen the lipstick stains. Mum’s home. Too much. Keeping the world gin market afloat on her own. There’s Ariel, the family maid. She’s cool. The one piece of this messed up world that makes sense. And then there’s Raph.

Raph’s the leader of your gang of two. He gets off on doing those things to the animals you both catch: the slicing, crushing, and maiming. Buried a few alive, too. His relationship with that hammer of his is sick.

You run with Raph because, well, nothing else to do out here, right? Except if your folks found out what you’ve been up to, there’d be hell.

Then you find it. Whatever it is.

It can’t be what you think it is. Those things don’t exist. But it’s staring at you. Asking for help. Is it dying? Can these things die? You need to do something for it. Raph wants to do something to it.

Time to choose. Do you run with the human devil you know, or take a chance on this thing that fell from the heavens?

An Angel Fallen is a tale of divine retribution from British author Andy Graham. On a day when the world is struggling to stay sane, and is being ravaged by biblical plagues, what price will two teenagers pay for their past?

Andy Graham, Biography-

Andy Graham is a British author currently living in the Czech Republic who will now stop talking about himself in the third person because it’s odd. I have two main collections of books: The Lords of Misrule is a series of dystopian political thrillers set in an alternate world based on life in 21st century EU/ US. I also have an expanding collection of creepy reads that explore the darker side of life, death, and the undead. There are a few unfinished stories rattling around in my hard-drive and some unstarted ones knocking around in my head. They range from disposable airport fiction and YA sci fi to grimdark epics, but they will have to wait their turn. (Unfortunately for my wife, who is waiting for me to write something ‘nice’, preferably with sparkly vampires.) Outside of reading and writing, I’m a musician, qualified osteopath, seasoned insomniac, and father to two young kids who have too much energy to let me grow old gracefully.

You can find me online at http://www.andygrahamauthor.com (where you can claim a free book), twitter – @andygraham2001 and FB – andy graham author.