Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Losing Kei by Suzanne Kamata

A young American mother living in Japan fights impossible odds to be reunited with her child

Jill Parker is an American expat artist living in a remote town on the southern coast of Japan and making ends meet as a hostess at a seedy waterfront bar when she meets Yusuke, a sensitive art gallery owner who believes in her talent. As their affair leads to marriage, Jill is convinced that her life has finally opened to real love, to a measure of artistic success, and an insider’s connection to her strange and beautiful adopted culture. Instead she is trapped as she had never imagined. Under the demanding oversight of Okasan, Yusuke’s cold and tradition-bound mother, Jill is expected to apprentice herself to the womanly arts, to sacrifice her life to her husband’s pleasure and the family’s honor. The long anticipated birth of Kei, a beautiful baby boy, only serves to increase her failure in the eyes of the family. Divorce is one way out but according to Japan’s rigid laws, a foreigner has no rights to custody and Jill is essentially told to disappear and leave her child behind. Rendered with tenderness, humor, and an insider’s knowledge of contemporary Japan, Losing Kei melds the off-kilter cultural misunderstandings of Lost in Translation with the wrenching family drama of Kramer versus Kramer and marks the debut novel of an exceptional expatriate voice.

Suzanne Kamata's short work has appeared in over 100 publications. She is editor The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan and a forthcoming anthology from Beacon Press Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs. She is a five-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and two-time winner of the Nippon Airways Fiction Contest.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Fireborn Chronicles by Mary Andrews


The inevitable fusion of man, machine and the paranormal

The Universal Government has found an enticing strategy to bolster cooperation and membership. Each planet remains free to determine for itself what constitutes an unacceptable faction. The Universal Government will remove the members of that faction and employ them on the Hive Planet.

Workers of the Hive are addicted to a wonderful and all-encompassing drug that can only be earned by working, thus converting each planet's formerly unproductive and dangerous elements into a universal workforce that provides the ultimate interplanetary temp service across a truly universal web.

Since its creation, only one person has ever escaped the Hive Planet: A newborn, fully implanted with compu-link interface temple plates, but not yet introduced to the drug. He now leads a Dark Ops unit for The Gov on a mission to uncover a psionic ring of criminals who have inexplicably taken control of an important Government Ambassador.

What they find will change the universe.

Available at Swimming Kangaroo Books.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Darrell Bain talks about his book, Savage Survival

SAVAGE SURVIVAL is not just another testosterone driven science fiction novel. At the basic level, it explores the personalities and attitudes of men, women and children when stripped of the comforting insulation of organized society. Invulnerable aliens have captured millions of humans and are subjecting them to the most brutal and horrible environments ever encountered, in essence a survival test of a magnitude heretofore undreamed of.

Lyda Brightner is an eleven year old girl when she is suddenly and without warning separated from her parents and thrown into the midst of undisciplined humans in a harsh desert environment. Food and water and clothing are fought over. Those who control it can do as they wish—and their wishes are terrible.

Lyda is weaponless and alone, like almost everyone. Raped at eleven. Forced to kill. Grieving for her parents. All that stands between Lyda and death is her own innate bravery, her quick mind, her unwavering integrity and ultimately, her belief that someday she will find someone to love.

Lyda's strength of character and fighting spirit make her a leader, even at a very young age. Over the next six years she must constantly fight the ever changing and ever more dangerous environments the aliens subject them to. But she must fight other humans as well, those who have survived by brute strength and ruthless plundering of the weak.

But even if she lives through all this, Lyda must still face the final question: What do the aliens have in mind for the few hundred remaining humans, those few left of all the millions who died?

SAVAGE SURVIVAL is a coming of age novel like no other and Lyda Brightner is a character you'll never forget.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An Interview With Darrell Bain

1. What inspired you to write this story?
Probably my own childhood history of adversity had something to do with it and seeing young orphans in Vietnam making a life by themselves when still very young was in the back of my mind, too. But really, one day the whole theme and plot came to mind like a vision, something that happens very seldom to a writer.

2. Who is your favorite character and why?
Lyda, of course is my favorite character for the reasons listed above.

3. How have your personal faith and beliefs influenced your story?
I don't have a religion. I believe a person is responsible for whatever they make of their life.

4. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
There was no hard part. It practically wrote itself. Again, something very rare.

5. What was easiest?
It was all easy. I like this story about as well or better than anything I've ever written.

6. What's next for you?
I'm currently collaborating on a novel and possibly a series with Travis S. Taylor, a well known science fiction author and scientist.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Savage Survival by Darrell Bain

Genre: Science fiction

Publisher: Twilight Times Books,

Darrell Bain's finest novel to date. Savage Survival is a coming of age novel like no other and Lyda Brightner is a character you'll remember forever. Raped at eleven. Forced to kill. Subjected to suffering in one brutal and horrible environment after another, with no parents or guardian to protect her as she grows up. Millions of earthmen have been captured by invulnerable aliens and are being put through the strangest and most terrifying survival tests ever imagined. Young Lyda Brightner's first experience after being thrown into the midst of undisciplined humans is horrible enough, but she doesn't know that the trials are just beginning. She doesn't know that only a few hundred of the millions of captives will live through the vicious and cruel winnowing process. Again and again as she grows into a young woman, she has to call on the only resources she has available: her own innate bravery, her quick mind, her unwavering belief in the goodness of the majority of humans and ultimately, an enduring hope that one day she will find someone to love. But even if she lives through all this, she will still have to face the final question. What do the aliens have in mind for the few survivors?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Interview with Grace Bridges

What inspired you to write this story?
It kind of came from daydreams I've had since early childhood. They were vague at first, wondering if heaven might be able to include reliving childhood. Later, they solidified into the ideas that became Faith Awakened. I formulated the first story idea when I was 14.

Who is your favorite character and why?
I suppose it's Mariah. Faith is too similar to me, but Mariah is me as I would hope to be if I ever got in as much trouble as she did.

How have your personal faith and beliefs influenced your story?
Faith's journey of faith is much like my own. Both her life and Mariah's leave a lot of unanswered questions, but certainty in the things that matter. I have a lot of questions I'd like to ask God, and I think that's all right. I'm happy I don't have to know all the answers.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
There were some chapters around the middle where I got quite stuck for a while. The plot was planned out, but between crises there are bits that aren't as exciting as others. That's always difficult.

What was easiest?
The crisis chapters where all the strands are bound together. That was really fun!

What's next for you?
A space-epic Pilgrim's Progress inspired by and vastly different to Frank Creed's Flashpoint.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Review of Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges

There's a saying in literature: There are no new plot lines, just new ways of approaching the same plot lines. Grace Bridges has shown that she is a master at novel approaches with her book Faith Awakened.
Faith Awakened tells the story of two women: Mariah, one of the last survivors of a dystrophic world in which a virulent plague has destroyed 99.9 percent of mankind, and Faith, a woman who has dealt all her life with depression, bizarre memory loss and a struggle to serve the Lord even when she doesn't "feel" His presence.
Familiar plotlines? Sure--until Grace mixes the two so that Faith is Mariah, living out a new life in a virtual reality program while her body is in stasis to wait out the death of the killer virus.
That clever mix caught my interest and kept me reading. Even a month after having read the Faith Awakened, I still find myself pondering the story. Were the memory losses because of the badly connected sensors or faults in the program? Was her depression a natural extension of Mariah's circumstances or difficulties interfacing with the machine? What about her tie to the Lord: did the computer, her misconnected probe or some aspect of her personality prevent her from feeling God's presence in her alternate life? I loved how she persevered despite not having an overwhelming emotional faith experience. It reminded me of the words of a child's father to Jesus: "I believe. Help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24)
I found the Biblical messages a little heavy at times, but that's a personal pet peeve. Besides, it's part of the genre. What I find significant is that Grace wove these so well into her story that I could easily chalk them up to the characters' thoughts rather than an author-induced sermon and go on with my reading--and I wanted to go on. Grace has written a wonderful, unique story and I recommend it to any Christian reader who's looking for something out of the ordinary.

Even a month after having read Faith Awakened, I still find myself pondering the story. Grace has written a wonderful, unique story and I recommend it to any Christian reader who's looking for something out of the ordinary.

Download or buy now:
Faith Awakened at! Free e-book - or the print copy at cost price!
Faith Awakened at Printed copies only

Monday, November 05, 2007

CFRB Presents: Faith Awakened by Grace Bridges

If you could design your own virtual world to live in, what would it look like? If you lived on a dark and empty planet, how far would you go to save your life? Is God a computer programmer? And can he take you to heaven... before you die?

"A fascinating tale of playing God over one's own virtual life, while the real God influences the real one... or both." - Angela Brett, 1995 winner of the Young Writers' Katherine Mansfield Memorial Award