Tuesday, 10 March 2015

New Beginnings by Jeff W. Horton + Interview

New Beginnings
Cybersp@ce Series, #3
by Jeff W. Horton 

The Universe. For the first time in human history humanity now has the technology to leave Earth and traverse the galaxy. The Earth Space Alliance has decided to select a world suitable to human colonization, and attempt to settle the first planet outside of the Sol system, which has been the cradle of human civilization since the dawn of creation.

When Nicole Reynolds is selected to lead the search for a new world, and to establish Earth's first interstellar colony there, she soon discovers the challenge to be far greater than she'd ever imagined. After an extremely rare resource is discovered on the new world, she must risk everything, including her life, to establish a foothold for humanity on a strange, alien planet.
Paperback, First, 323 pages
Published December 19th 2014 by World Castle Publishing

Find it on Goodreads
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Read It & Reap Date:  August 30, 2015

Jeff Horton was born in North Dakota, the youngest son of a career Air Force master sergeant, where he spent the first four years of his life before moving to North Carolina. A voracious reader growing up, he enjoyed reading everything from comic books to The Bible, including stories by many popular authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Jeff Horton's novel, The Great Collapse-Survivors of the Pulse, a story about the coming of the pulse and the end of civilization, was published in 2010. The Dark Age-Survivors of the Pulse, the sequel to The Great Collapse, was released in July of 2011, his third novel, The Last Prophet, was released in August of 2011.

Jeff is a member of the North Carolina Writers Network.

When he's not penning his next novel, he enjoys reading, going to church, and spending time with his family.

For more information visit:  www.hortonlibrary.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Author.Jeff.Horton

Q & A with Jeff Horton

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
First, I’d like to say thank you so very much for featuring me today. I truly appreciate the opportunity to share a little about me and my novel, New Beginnings, with you and other members of Shut Up & Read!

Before I discuss the main characters in New Beginnings, please allow me to provide a backdrop…

The story is set in the future. The United States has developed the world’s first interstellar spacecraft and a revolutionary new power source, both based on alien technology that was reverse engineered at Area 51. Realizing that it’s just a matter of time before the highly advanced technology is somehow stolen or replicated by other nations, a new organization is created to develop and manage the new, fantastic and dangerous technology, the Earth Space Alliance.

Having finally achieved interstellar travel, the fledgling Earth Space Alliance has now also joined the League of Sentient Species, an organization comprised of other sentient races from throughout the galaxy. Soon after a rogue planet nearly destroys the Earth, the Alliance decides it is finally time for humanity to establish its first colony in another star system.

Nicole Reynolds is selected to establish and lead the first real home for the human race on a world other than Earth. When an extremely rare resource is discovered on the new world, Nicole finds she must fend off hostile attacks by alien races and distinguish friends from enemies if she is to determine who she can trust in order to save the colony. All while learning to cope with horrors from her own past.

Main Characters:
Nicole Reynolds-Expedition Leader, assigned the task of finding a new home for humanity and establishing a human colony there. A woman possessing extraordinary intelligence equaled only by her headstrong attitude, she’s tough and determined.

Jack Lincoln-Earth Space Alliance captain, planetary scout, and pilot for the colonial expedition. He’s serious but more easygoing than Nicole. He and Nicole get off to a rocky start but eventually the undeniable chemistry between them blossoms into romance.

Jokar Motay- The leader of a mysterious, beautiful race of aliens known as the Shatarans, who have pale lavender skin, white hair, and golden eyes. Nicole and the others are mesmerized when they encounter the Shatarans preserved in stasis inside a ship that crash-landed on their new home thousands of years earlier. Motay soon begins to exert a mysterious influence over Nicole, a sort of magnetism that draws her toward him, an inexplicable attraction that both troubles and complicates things for Jack.

Hank Reynolds-Nicole’s father, he’s the former president of the Alliance, and Earth’s first diplomat to the League of Sentient Species. Like his daughter, Hank’s I.Q. is so high it’s off the charts. He is also the former test pilot of Frontier, the first interstellar ship built by humanity.

Nick Reynolds-Nicole’s grandfather and the founding president of the Alliance. As a young man, Nick was responsible for saving the world from a thermonuclear war following a series of cyberattacks against the United States that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, and brought the world the closest to the brink of nuclear war it had been since the Cuban missile crisis. An old man now and dying, Nick travels with his son to the planet Val, the current home to the League of Sentient Species, and where Hank lives and works as ambassador to the League.

Zing-A member of another alien species, the Valhari, Zing was the Valhari’s first Ambassador to Earth when they made First Contact, and is now the president of the League of Sentient Species.

If you enjoy space operas, visiting exotic, alien planets (some dangerous and some incredibly beautiful), if you'd like to meet a plethora of sentient alien species (some bizarre and hideous while others are dazzling), and if you'd like to find yourself in the midst of a five-thousand year old vendetta between two advanced alien races, take a look at New Beginnings, the third novel in the Cybersp@ce Series.

Q:  When you first began writing the Cybersp@ce series, did you have an idea of where the storyline was heading or did the story come out as you wrote? How will you know when the story is finished?
What a great question! I suppose I’d have to say that when I began writing the Cybersp@ce Series, I had an idea of where I wanted to go for that particular novel, but it wasn’t until I was well into the writing of the first novel that the thought suddenly occurred to me, wouldn’t it be great if there was a sequel to Cybersp@ce? Frontiers came next, which while not as exotic as New Beginnings, does tackle the very tough question of what humanity might do when confronted by new and incredibly advanced technology, how we might develop it to better ourselves as a species, and how we might escape destroying ourselves during the process.

While I do a better job of outlining my stories these days, much of it is still organic, growing and taking new and unanticipated twists and turns as the story unfolds.

As to how I’ll know when the story is finished, I believe I’ve already brought the series to a nice stopping point where it is now, while still leaving room for new and even more exciting future storylines. Who knows what the future holds for the Reynolds family, and for the rest of humanity?

Q:  What is it that draws you to the sci-fi/fantasy genre?
I’m not sure that I really know the answer to that question! I suppose maybe it’s the endless possibilities, the exploration of the universe with all of the brilliant diversity scattered throughout creation. I remember reading H.G. Wells and Ray Bradbury growing up and how much I enjoyed them, and so many others. I guess growing up reading comic books and watching an endless array of science-fiction movies like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Planet of the Apes had a profound impact on me as well.

While I have written several apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels, which reflect fears and concerns I have about our dependence on technology, in general I strive to be mostly optimistic about the future and the exciting prospects of one day casually traveling among the stars. Perhaps it’s the same feeling children have when they see the ocean for the first time; looking across the seemingly endless ocean, they can only wonder what’s on the other side. I believe that’s what draws me the most to the whole sci-fi and fantasy genres, pondering who and what’s out there.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
When it comes to writing, I believe some of the best advice I’ve had comes from literary agent Donald Maas, in his book, Writing the Breakout Novel. The book was chocked full of great advice, not the least of which was the importance of conflict on every page. I’ve done my best to adopt much of what he recommends; I highly recommend it to aspiring authors.

Q:  Describe your ideal writing spot.
I do most of my writing in my easy chair, although I’ve also done some prolific writing at the beach listening to the waves crash on the shore. Surprisingly I’ve also been able to get a considerable amount of writing done at airports, and even on some of my longer flights when traveling. I must confess, however, that my favorite place to write is sitting on a balcony at the beach.

Q:  Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or eBooks?
I’m probably a bit old-fashioned, as I still almost exclusively read paperbacks. To be fair, however, I’ve never owned a Nook or a Kindle, so I cannot say for sure which I prefer. I definitely need to buy one someday, so I’ll have to get back to you on this one! 

Q:  If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why?
When I was a kid, I always dreamed of flying, so I’d definitely have to say the power of flight. Invulnerability also certainly offers some appeal, however, especially given everything we read in the headlines these days. I guess that means I’d pretty much like to be Superman, minus the vulnerability to Kryptonite, of course. Note: I just found it a bit numerous that the word “Kryptonite” was in Microsoft Word’s spell-checker.

Q: What book are you reading now?
  I don’t always come across books in the right order, so I’m currently getting ready to start reading the prequel to a novel I just finished reading a few months ago. The novel I’m getting ready to start reading is A Skeleton in God’s Closet, while the one I read a few months ago is More Than a Skeleton, both written by Dr. Paul Maier. More than A Skeleton is about a mysterious man who suddenly appears in Israel seemingly from out of nowhere, claiming to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. I highly recommend it, as well as another book I’ve read by Dr. Maier, a novel entitled Flames of Rome, set in ancient Rome during the time of Nero.

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