Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TBR welcomes Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Sandra. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Sandra: Hi! I’m Sandra Ulbrich Almazan. I write fantasy and science fiction. My day job is at an enzyme company, but I’ve also been a technical writer and a copy editor. I’m married and have one son.

TBR: Tell us about TWINNED UNIVERSES and where it's available.
Sandra: Twinned Universes is a science fiction novel, the sequel to Lyon’s Legacy and Book Two of the Catalyst Chronicles series.
Paul Harrison always wanted to play Hamlet, but he never expected he’d live the role first.
In the aftermath of a family tragedy on 21st century Earth, Paul discovers he’s the clone of Sean Lyon, his great-great-grandfather and a famous TwenCen musician. Suspecting his mother’s death was no accident, Paul comes up with a plan to trick the answers out of the great-uncle who had him cloned. But in order to make his plan work, Paul needs help from Sean himself—and Sean’s time is running out in the TwenCen universe next door. Although Paul’s family lives on the spaceship that travels between the universes, he’s never been allowed on TwenCen Earth. Now, with the help of his friends, his disguise-creating holoprojectors, and a quantum quirk, Paul must make his way to Sean while evading other time travelers who fear he’ll change the history of the TwenCen universe. If Paul is to achieve justice, he must not only risk his own life, but the wormhole connecting the universes.
You can buy Twinned Universes at the following sites:

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
“You’re old enough to make your own choices. You can do whatever you want—even if Jo wouldn’t approve.” Great-Uncle Jack lowered his voice and drew Paul near, like a conspirator. “I can give you more freedom on Earth than you’ll ever get in that cramped old spaceship.”
Freedom. The word made Paul’s skin burn. Or was it the light in Great-Uncle Jack’s eyes, the way his touch felt more like a cage than a chance to escape?
Paul drew away. “No, I’m going with my family.”
“Are you sure?”
“I thought as much, but I had to ask. It’s OK.” Great-Uncle Jack frowned. “If your family means so much to you, why don’t you write a little tribute for your mother?”
“Me, write something?” Paul swallowed. He couldn’t write anything with such sweeping majesty as a Shakespearian sonnet. “I don’t know where I’d start. I mean, I know the rhyme scheme, but fourteen lines aren’t enough.”
“That’s a short song.”
“Song? I guess you could put a sonnet to music, but I don’t know how to do that.”
“It’s in your genes. You could do it if you wanted to.”
Paul groaned; he’d inherited Mom’s long-standing argument with her uncle. “No one cares about Great-great-whatever Sean anymore!”
“Everything comes back to him.” Great-Uncle Jack narrowed his eyes. “When will you accept that?”
“Why should I? Mom always said I had choices. Some bastard took her from me, but you can’t take that.” Paul’s throat seemed to thicken; he had to use a stage voice to force the words out. “I’m sick of hearing about Sean F[...] Lyon. Leave me alone.”

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Sandra: I’m a big fan of the Beatles and would have loved to see them perform live. I came up with the idea of sending a time traveler back to clone John Lennon and hear the Beatles perform in Liverpool before they became famous. That idea inspired what would become Lyon’s Legacy, although I ended up using a fictitious rock star instead of John Lennon. The clone then demanded his own story and his chance to visit the man he’d been cloned from, so that’s how Twinned Universes came about.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Sandra: I’m a pantser. I’ve tried outlining stories before or during the writing phase, but I end up ignoring the outline.

TBR: Any tips or tricks for world building you’d care to share?
Sandra: Since I write about the future, I spend a lot of time reading science news articles and looking for ways they might affect daily life.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Sandra: My characters wear clothes that can heat up, cool down, and clean themselves. I’d love to have clothes like that right now!

TBR: What's next for you?
Sandra: I’m currently working on Catalyst in the Crucible, Book Three in the Catalyst Chronicles series and sequel to Twinned Universes. I also have several fantasy short stories and a fantasy novel in the works.

TBR: Any other published works?
Sandra: My first published story was “A Reptile at the Reunion” in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. Since then, I’ve self-published Lyon’s Legacy and several fantasy short stories.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Sandra: The most challenging part of writing is getting started every day and writing in short blocks of time. I’m a panster, so sometimes I lose a good chunk of writing time figuring out where my current scene should go, and as a working parent, I might only have half an hour or an hour to get words down. I try to compensate by writing myself notes in the text so I know where to go next. The most rewarding part of writing is connecting with someone else, someone who gets what you’re trying to say.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Sandra: Some of my favorite authors include Patricia McKillip, Connie Willis, and Julie E. Czerneda. I’m currently reading All the Paths of Shadow by Frank Tuttle, but I’ll be done with it by the time this interview airs.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Sandra:  You can find me at these sites:
Twitter: @ulbrichalmazan

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Sandra: If you could clone an historical figure, would you? Why or why not? Whom would you choose?

TBR: Thanks for visiting TBR, Sandra. Best of luck to you.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Book Spotlight: Intrepid by David Weckerly

by David Weckerly

What parent of a ten-year-old daughter can resist her fervent pleas for a dog? Especially when her young life has been marked by the pain of a horrible car accident that took her mother when she was a toddler. Jay McAllister, single parent for the past eight years, heeds the call of a neighbor in need of placing a newborn puppy and welcomes Intrepid - a Lab-mix orphan - into his family. Intrepid gains the nickname "Tepid", but her fit into the McAllister household is anything but lukewarm. She helps the family heal from wounds they thought they had left behind years ago, integrating herself into their lives and burrowing into their hearts. She instills belief in Jay, knowledge that hurts can be healed, family can be strengthened, and joy can return even when it has been absent for quite a while.

She also opens his mind to something otherworldly. Together, Jay and Tepid experience the reality that a promise made - between a wife and a husband, between a public servant and his community - can transcend even death itself.

Buy Links

About the Author

Daniel Weckerly resides in Pennsylvania and shares his life with his wife and kids and his wonderful Labrador Retriever, Parker. He has been writing in a business context for the past 25 years, with "Intrepid" being his first novel. He credits a long-term love of Labradors with his ability to capture in words the humor, honor, and heart of these magnificent dogs, the only breed he has ever owned. You can follow Daniel on Facebook at www.facebook.com/daniel.weckerly or www.facebook.com/intrepid or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Intrepid-By-Daniel-Weckerly/392251177526031


Thursday, April 25, 2013

TBR welcomes Mike Campbell

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Mike Campbell. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Mike: I’m a retired Navy and civilian journalist, and for the last nine years of my 30-year career, a civilian Air Force public affairs officer. I’ve worked in a variety of print and broadcast jobs in the United States, overseas and afloat, including a one-year assignment at the American Forces Radio and Television Service in Hollywood, Calif., where I worked as a full-time sports broadcaster. My longtime obsession with the disappearance of Amelia Earhart began soon after I met Thomas E. Devine, author of the 1987 classic, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident, in 1988. My wife, Nee, and two cats, Pee Wee and Roy, just moved from Knoxville, Tenn., to Jacksonville, Fla., where I spent two years as a Navy journalist assigned to Cecil Field in the early 1980s. Since then I’ve always dreamed about returning to Jacksonville, and I finally made it. It’s nice to be back in this fine town.

TBR: Tell us about Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, and where it's available.
Mike: Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, her navigator, disappeared on July 2, 1937 while en route to Howland Island, the third-last and most difficult leg of their world flight attempt, a 2,556-mile flight from Lae, New Guinea, the entire trip over open water.  Instead of landing at Howland, they crash-landed in the lagoon at Mili Atoll in the Japanese controlled Marshall Islands, were picked up by the Japanese and taken to Jaluit, the Japanese military headquarters in the Marshalls, then to Kwajalein, and finally flown to Saipan, where they suffered wretched, ignoble deaths at the hands of their barbaric captors. The U.S. government and its establishment media proxies have been lying to the world about this fact virtually since the day she was lost. Much like the Kennedy assassination, the Earhart case became a verboten, sacred cow long ago, but unlike the enormous JFK conundrum, the facts in the Earhart disappearance are far easier to find, unravel and piece together for the layman. 

So-called “mainstream historians” insist the native witnesses who told investigators such as KCBS radio newsman Fred Goerner and researchers Joe Gervais, Victor V. Loomis, Oliver Knaggs, Bill Prymak and others of seeing the American fliers on Saipan soon after their disappearance were unreliable and untrustworthy, and claim no “hard evidence” exists to support the contention that Earhart and Noonan were on Saipan. As for the statements of now-deceased American flag officers such as Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Marine Generals Alexander A. Vandegrift and Graves Erskine to Fred Goerner and his associates that Earhart was picked up in the Marshalls and met her end on Saipan, these same historians are mute.

Soon after Thomas E. Devine, at the conclusion of Eyewitness, called for his fellow GIs to come forward with their own accounts that established the presence of Amelia Earhart and her Electra, NR 16010, on Saipan, more than two-dozen former Marines, soldiers and sailors contacted him to share their compelling stories. Many more would have undoubtedly done likewise had they known of Devine’s book, which was suppressed by the establishment, sold poorly and was not well known, much like Truth at Last now. Most of these remarkable accounts have remained in obscurity, having appeared only once, in my first book, With Our Own Eyes: Eyewitnesses to the Final Days of Amelia Earhart, an even less-known work than Eyewitness.  So far, our esteemed establishment historians have simply ignored Truth at Last, as expected, as have the entire mainstream media.

Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last presents the most comprehensive and convincing case ever for the fact – not theory --of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan’s presence and deaths on Saipan. To the few who know the facts, there is no “Earhart mystery,” only deceit, misdirection, disinformation, smoke, mirrors and lies coming from the government-media establishment in the Earhart case. For this researcher and others who have invested large amounts of their lives in discovering the truth, as well as any remaining Saipan veterans and their families, not to mention the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the idea that Amelia Earhart was taken to Saipan by the Japanese and died there is not a fringe theory to be dismissed without serious consideration by smug academics, but is a stone-cold fact. We believe Amelia and Fred deserve better than to be relegated to the dustbin of history, often ridiculed as reckless “stunt fliers,” while greedy opportunists and shameless propagandists continue to profit by spinning fanciful yarns and fleecing the unwary.

Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last is available from Amazon.com  or from the publisher, Sunbury Press, Inc.

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Mike: The below paragraphs are from the chapter titled, “Griswold, Henson and Burks,” which deals with the best evidence we have that Earhart and Noonan’s remains were excavated on Saipan in the summer of 1944 by two Marine privates acting under orders from a Marine Intelligence Officer, Captain Tracy Griswold. It’s spellbinding reading. Here’s the chapter’s opening:

Thomas E. Devine went to his own grave certain he knew the final resting place of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan, and equally convinced that the cruel winds of fate had conspired to rob him of his ultimate destiny. During the final years of his life, Devine battled in vain against an immovable Saipan bureaucracy, yet Buddy Brennan arrived on the island without fanfare in the mid-1980s, dug in a parking lot, and produced a rag he insisted was Earhart's blindfold. Brennan's claim attracted media attention that soon faded, as the idea of a cotton cloth outlasting bone fragments in the highly acidic soil of Saipan wore thin. The gravesite that bedeviled Devine will forever remain unexamined, while Brennan's is all but forgotten.

More compelling is the corroborative testimony that points to the site first described to newspaperman Ross Game in early January 1964 by former Marine Private Everett Henson, Jr.—an astonishing account to which Game immediately alerted Fred Goerner. Soon after Game interviewed Henson at his Sacramento home and found him credible, Goerner also visited Henson to see if his story would "live up to Ross's billing" as a legitimate piece of the Earhart puzzle. Henson had told Game that one evening in late July or early August 1944, he and fellow Marine Billy Burks volunteered for a detail with a Captain Griswold that would involve "some digging" and "probably take most of the day."

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Mike:  In 1988, while working as a civilian writer-editor for the Navy Internal Relations Activity in Arlington, Va., I was assigned to do an overview-type story about the so-called Earhart mystery. I researched the story by reading several books, and was hooked from the start.  In 1990 I flew to West Haven, Conn., to interview Thomas E. Devine, whose book, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident, had been among the first I read. I was deeply impressed by Devine’s decades-long devotion to establishing what he knew to be true about Earhart on Saipan, and he began to take me into his confidence. Before long, he was sending me each updated page of his ongoing manuscript, “The Concealed Grave of Amelia Earhart,” and Devine’s obsession became my own.

TBR: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
Mike: You can find it in the New Testament; it’s Matthew 22:14.

At the conclusion of His parable of the Wedding Feast, Jesus tells his listeners,  “Many are called but few are chosen.” These words are profound, and I would urge readers to consider them seriously at some point in their lives. Not to preach, but since you asked.

TBR: Which of your characters would you most/least like to invite to dinner, and why?
Mike: I write nonfiction, so I create no “characters” per se. Of the real people in my book, I always wanted to meet Fred Goerner, history’s greatest Earhart researcher, but sadly, he passed away in 1994, before I had fully understood his huge significance in the Earhart saga, or had even learned enough to understand the truth about it myself.  But even more than Goerner, I would love to know Amelia Earhart up close and personal. She was an incredible woman, an American original, a fearless flier and a tragic victim of the prewar Japanese, sacrificed on the altar of political expediency by the odious Franklin D. Roosevelt, the most overrated president in American history. That might offend some of your more-politically inclined readers, but it’s the truth, and so is this book.

TBR: While creating your books, what was one of the most surprising things you learned?
Mike: The most surprising thing I learned was also a depressing and disturbing one, and that is the inescapable fact that so few really care about the truth in the Earhart disappearance.  Longtime Earhart researcher Bill Prymak once told me, “The American public wants to be entertained, not educated,” and Bill’s comment is sadly true. Most people under 50 have never even heard of Amelia Earhart, and those that have know only what the establishment media tells them – that Earhart’s loss remains an unsolvable mystery, which of course is a complete lie.

Less surprising than the almost overwhelming public indifference to the truth about Amelia Earhart’s demise is the mainstream media’s extreme resistance to publishing anything that runs counter to their current false narrative – the long-debunked, shopworn Nikumaroro theory, now in its 25th year of popularity with the despicable purveyors of propaganda.  I knew what I was signing up for when I joined Tom Devine in the early 1990s, trying to help him in any way I could. But this media aversion to the very mention of Saipan is even worse now than I ever imagined.

Since the publication of Truth at Last, the mainstream media, especially the print media, has totally blacked it out, refusing to recognize its existence (for reasons I explain at length in the book), and the indifference to this subject in the general public is appalling as well.  Both these insidious factors have militated against Truth at Last achieving the sales figures it rightly deserves.

TBR: Any other published works?

Mike: My first book on the Earhart disappearance, With Our Own Eyes: Eyewitnesses to the Final Days of Amelia Earhart, was published in 2002 by a small Ohio publisher. Because it sold poorly but presented the Saipan veterans’ testimonies for the first time, it has become a valuable collector’s item. At one point a seller on Amazon.com was asking for $1,600 for a single new copy.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Mike: Nonfiction writing is all I know; I doubt that I could craft a decent novel if my life depended on it. But in writing good nonfiction, finding an authoritative voice and maintaining it throughout is not easy.  In working on Truth at Last for the best part of four years, I learned more than ever to appreciate and understand the importance of writing with precision, and I did my best to apply this knowledge to the manuscript. Words matter immensely, and the best writing employs them to maximum potential, leaving no room for confusion or misinterpretation. I became a much better writer in the thousands of hours I spend laboring over this book, and found that when I wrote  to the best of my ability, the internal, psychic reward was real and undeniable. When I was finished, I could finally look at myself in the mirror and call myself a writer. This was immensely important.

More than anything I learned patience, in a way only constant failure and rejection can teach. I was at the end of my rope many times, but refused to give up. Perhaps there was a good reason for all the hard times, when the whole project seemed hopeless and impossible, at least I like to think so.  Larry Knorr of Sunbury Press was the first legitimate publisher willing to step up and take a chance with this book, and I’ll never forget that.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Mike: My Web site is www.EarhartTruth.com, and my blog can be found at http://earharttruth.wordpress.com. The status of both these sites is extremely questionable, due to the fact that they are so infrequently visited. The law of diminishing returns is alive and well at my site and blog.

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Mike:  Please go to my Web site and read the information presented there, then go to Amazon.com read the excellent reviews that informed fans of the Earhart saga have given Truth at Last. Finally, I ask them to buy this book and support this most worthwhile cause. Make no mistake, Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last is more than just a book, it is indeed a just cause and the loudest plea for justice in the Earhart case since Fred Goerner’s 1966 bestseller, The Search for Amelia Earhart. The time is getting shorter for all of us.  If not now, when?

TBR: Readers, Mike Campbell will give away a signed copy of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last to one lucky commenter. He'll pick a winner on May 1, 2013 and announce the winner here. Be sure to leave your email address so he can contact you.

Thanks for visiting TBR, Mike. Best of luck to you.