Behind the Scenes of the Reclamation Series

Behind the Scenes of the Reclamation Series of Three Novels – the Back Story

The Reclamation Series examines our future world, beginning in the year 2270. Via many medical advances of the past century, world health care has taken an enormous step forward, thanks to the psychs with their fancy implant machines, the drug manufacturers, and the corporation executives, who now control the world. The psych drug Pytalon coupled with their PDH (pain, drug, hypnotism) implant technology has turned civilization around—no more wars, no more criminality, and jobs for everyone! Utopia. The Total Care program provides jobs, homes, food, and clothing for everyone, using the motto “From the Cradle to the Grave.”

Except, the drug turns people into mindless, glassy-eyed zombies who can no longer think and who obey their implanted commands. Worse, corp executives turn some women into their “ideal woman,” called Exotic Escorts (EE women), sex doll or toys for the wealthy.

The first novel, For the Want of a Pill, examines just what the world is like. Apparently, a worker on the Pytalon production line fails to inject the drug into the pill base. Those who then get these faulty pills begin to come off of the psych drug, whose withdrawal symptoms are particularly nasty, causing many to hallucinate and become “insane,” sometimes murdering others. This happens to two exotic escorts, whose sponsors are vice-presidents of Pytalon Corporation, Chicago. The pair manage to survive the withdrawal symptoms and are finally able to think for themselves, the first time in eight years. They plan to flee their sponsors and start a new life.

A number of disorganized underground groups exist, working to undo the terrible mess, but each has totally different motives and methods. Two young men known as Weasel and Wart are world-famous as a computer hacker and “trouble maker,” respectively. Other disgruntled members of their group hijack the airliner, the two EE women, and their sponsors as they are leaving to go on their trip; they fly it into the Pytalon Corporation skyscraper, severely damaging the main production lines. In the process, they force the two EE women to flee for their lives, and Jessica and Amanda end up at the hideout of Ben and Tim, the Weasel and Wart.

Fallout from the ill-conceived attack forces the four to leave their safe house and travel under the guise of corporation executives of a refrigerator manufacturing company. They meet a young woman, Lisa, who believes she has a way to get a person safely off drugs and to get the residual aftereffects of the drugs out of a person’s body. However, as she graduates high school, she is implanted and drugged before the four can get to her. Still, they rescue her.

The ill-conceived attack brought the Feds, the Federal Elimination Division and Security, onto the case to apprehend the terrorists. The Chicago leader is Peter Delius, one of the few people in the country who isn’t on Pytalon or implanted. While he captures those who executed the attack, he has suspicions about Ben and Tim, but Jessica and Amanda play “dumb,” convincing him they had nothing to do with the terrorists. Peter has other plans though. Power corrupts him. People not on Pytalon and implanted are the ones causing the problems in today’s society, he reasoned, so why not get everyone on Pytalon? By this, he means the corporation executives, who had been exempt from the beginning, along with many of the members of the Feds. Thus, he devises a clever scheme to do just that.

What about the evolution of the world? Back in 2015, global warming became widely recognized as a serious problem. Scientists and engineers tackled the problem, solving it by the creation of a new green technology, the electromagnetic engines. Two families, Waberly and Michaelson, turned this technology into flying transports, the inexpensive EMAC (electromagnetic air car) and the giant Air Liners. Unfortunately, the men were implanted and dosed on Pytalon, becoming mindless zombies. Thus, it was up to their wives to complete the task, which they competently did, halting global warming. Coupled with this new technology was the MTE, mass transit escalators. By 2270, every town and city had these systems installed, usually over the top of what once had been highways.

However, Jessica and Lisa invented ways to undo what was done to a person. Lisa’s methods safely got a person off of Pytalon and other drugs by sweating them out of his or her body. Those who simply stopped taking the highly addictive drug usually went insane and killed themselves or others. Hence, Lisa’s methods became the only safe way to undo the addiction to the psych drug. Necessity drove Jessica to discover and invent a science of the mind, by which she could undo the mental implanted behavior patterns, erasing the trauma the person suffered. Both processes took time and only handled one person at a time while the world had billions.

The second novel in the series, Organ Donors, gives clues about how the world got this way. It was the design of key men, who worked for years to bring the world into the current state. These few men had a deep seeded and hidden terror of men and women, a terror that controlled their lives, thoughts, and actions. Worse, these men accumulated vast wealth, the ultra-wealthy. Their terror drove them to form a secret Cabal back in the 1990’s. Initially, their objectives included controlling the Congress and President, by funneling vast sums into their elections. These men also controlled vast corporations. By 2020, they controlled the government of most countries.
As expected, the nationalized health care program of the US bankrupted the government and many other countries as well. At the same time, their people invented the PDH implant technology as a way to totally control a person, forcing them to carry out specific behavior patterns. They also invented the Pytalon drug. With the collapse of the world’s economic system, the time was right. The Cabal then brought Total Care online, which promised jobs, housing, clothing, food, and an income to its participants, From the Cradle to the Grave. No one could avoid joining up, except for the Cabal members and corporate leaders, at least initially.

Thus, by 2270, these few men of the Cabal, who were driven by their hidden terror of other people, finally began to feel comfortable. All people were now totally controlled zombies. They could relax at long last.

During these early years, giant strides were made in two arenas. First, the Cabal men financed secret cloning operations, creating perfectly matched clone bodies, which were used as organ donors extending the lives of these Cabal men. Later on, the Transference Machine was invented, which somehow transferred the person’s mind into another human body. Between the organ donors and the transference machine, these original Cabal men continued to live and work towards their goal, which they nearly reached in 2270.

The flaw in their grand plans came from some of these clones, these organ donors. Six of them were incredibly intelligent and discovered the truth and escaped, setting in motion the downfall of the Cabal.

Thus, the fate of the world rested on the backs of a few brilliant men and women, who simply refused to give up. Their desire to reclaim the world wins.

Share Button

Behind the Scenes of my new Dragons Novel

Behind the Scenes of Dragons, Magic, and Me

I want to take you behind the scenes of my new fantasy novel Dragons, Magic, and Me Volume 1 The Box to give you an insider’s view of the novel’s direction.

A dragon’s lifetime spans over 500 years. Unlike humans, they breed once every ten years at most. (If they bred as humans do, dragons would be the most populous species in the universe.)

Dragons as a species have subspecies based upon colors, such as red, black, green, white, gold. Just like humans, the various types don’t necessarily get along with the others. Further, the red and black dragons tend to have an evil bent and certainly detest humans, while the gold dragons respect humans and sometimes befriend them, if only for a short while (as far as a dragon is concerned). Currently, the numbers of each dragon type are fairly well in balance.

Dragons can Shadow Walk from one world to another world, as long as they are familiar with the destination world. Hence, dragons historically are spread out among a number of original planets, often in which the human population is seldom more advanced than an Iron Age.

A particularly brilliant Black dragon, Adler, discovered other worlds in which the human population is in a Modern or Space faring age! That is, humans of some worlds fly among other worlds via silver flying machines (ie. spaceships). Thus, Adler has set himself a new goal: to find many new worlds, but only share them with Black dragon close allies, the Red, Green, and White dragons. Purposely, he isn’t telling the Golds and other types about these new worlds. This way, his kind will have a powerful advantage over the other types.

However, his first problem is getting a Black or Red dragon to one of these new space faring worlds. He observed that the crew of these ships are frantic for good looking escorts and such when they land on a world. Every space port has a red light district close to it. Adler devises a very clever scheme. He confiscates one of these escort services and via some help from an unethical psychiatrist who is pursuing his own lines of illegal research involving implanting behavior patterns, he sets up the Unarmed Escorts. He kidnaps “ugly” young women, uses magic spells to alter their physical forms but disguises it as a bio-genetic DNA alteration that’s permanent in nature, and lets his psychiatrist implant the desired behavior in them, turning them into armless, but highly attractive beauty queens. Thus, he sells these women to wealthy men on these new space faring worlds, but insists that a caretaker accompanies each woman. The caretaker is a dragon, of course. Once that dragon becomes familiar with that new world, it Shadow Walks back and brings many other dragons back to this new world.

At the start of this story, Adler has “opened up” over a dozen new worlds that the Gold and other dragons know nothing about. However, in doing all this, he learns that some of these advanced worlds have developed “test tube babies” and DNA alterations and cloning processes. Now his plans change. He must find one of these worlds on which he can have Black and Red dragons cloned as well as baby dragons grown in quantity. Within say fifty years, the sheer number of Black and Red dragons could outnumber the others ten to one. At last, they could exterminate the Golds and other lesser dragons!

The Box was build by an Archmage. Its goal is to bring help to those in critical need, and on whatever world they live. The Box is highly enchanted indeed. The weenie to convince others to travel in the Box and help those in need is the gift of learning magical spells at an extremely rapid pace. Only certain types of would-be mages will succumb to this challenge, particularly those who lack patience or are in a hurry to learn all. It would be these type people that would be motivated to provide the help the various situations require.

Part of this story is to see how the close relationship between the Gold dragons and the select humans develops. Second, I wanted to show how other worlds and civilizations can well have very different traditions than our own. This is particularly illustrated by the noblewomen of the Rainbow’s End world. It also illustrates the alternate forms slavery and cruelty can take in these other societies.

Above all, it is to be an exciting, fun read for the reader, who I hope can’t put it down until the end. So yes, it is showing highly imaginative worlds and people, while emphasizing a long running plot that the characters unravel as they go from world to world situation, using what magic they do know to handle all manner of situations, unlike the usual fighter hack and slash approach, and also develops the tenuous dynamics between humans and dragons.

Also, I’ve added some intriguing twists and romance too. I hope you enjoy this new dragon series.

Vic

Share Button

Book Review of Revenge is Sweet by Maria Miller

Review of Revenge is Sweet by Maria Miller

With the death of Emma, Luke’s world collapsed. After three years without Emma, Luke had become a drunk, lost his job, and had no will to live. Even his home reflects his mental state. Then, while eating, he remembered his promise to Emma, that he’d get revenge on those who had sided with the doctors, refusing to let him take her to an alternative medicine doctor. Finally, revenge pulled him out of his three years of depression. “He could not go on with his future until he had resolved the past.”

Devising a master plan for revenge, Luke starts up a cover business of lawn care, hiring ex-cons for workers. His plan is simple; remove the one thing that everyone in the country is hooked on, that they “can’t” live without. Slowly, his plan begins working, drastically eliminating the quantity available. Like many things during World War II, rationing began, leading to thefts of ration books and black markets. The government officials begin massive investigations, searching for the cause, the why.

Then, a new woman enter’s Luke’s life and he falls in love with her. Luke can’t bring himself to tell her about Emma, keeping it bottled up tightly. Jessica, who works for a law firm, starts digging to uncover Luke’s secret, at first wondering if he is a murderer. Before long, the world is after him and his plot spins wildly out of his control.

As I read the later chapters, I kept saying, “Well, I didn’t see that one coming!” Maria kept me guessing and surprised all the way through the novel. Revenge is Sweet is well written and exciting. My educational background is in science; thus, I found the “plan for revenge” and how Luke carries it out to be unrealistic. But hey, we suspend “belief” in novels, so I give it 5-stars anyway. It will keep you guessing until the last page!

Share Button

Book Review of The Foolproof Guide to Monetizing Your Blog

Book Review of The Foolproof Guide to Monetizing Your Blog by Cailin Koy

Blogs can make money by hosting ads from various companies on the blog site. The different models,  Cost per click (CPC), cost per action (CPA), and cost per thousand impressions (CPM), are explained in detail, which is particularly instructive if you don’t know how the commercial advertising schemes work, for example those ads that appear at the top of a Google search results listing. In addition, Koy explains just where on your blog pages these ads should be placed and, briefly, how to get them to appear there.

I found one passage particularly relevant. Koy states: “How much advertisers are willing to pay you per one thousand impressions is strongly based on your existing traffic and what marketing gurus refer to as your reach. Reach is defined as the number of unique visitors your site receives per month.” I believe this is a key concept to know well. You must know your blog’s monthly number of views, visits, and unique visitors before you contact companies whose ads you want to obtain.

Some of the many forms ads can take are discussed, along with a listing of them. Particularly valuable, Koy provides a list of the major ad companies and roughly their requirements a blog needs to qualify for their business. In most cases, the monthly traffic is rather large, and thus, Koy presents some entry-level possibilities for the beginning bloggers as well.

The distinction between sponsored posts and guest posts is clear; plus Koy provides a valuable listing of networks to use to hunt for sponsored posts for beginners. Koy has a section on the relatively new method of Related Content as well. Contextual Links, Info Links, and Banner Ads are covered. Commission and Affiliate Links are explained; these are important for new and emerging blogs with “low to no entry requirements,” which work well until your blog site develops a large monthly traffic, allowing you to enter the bigger ad leagues. Then, there are the Paid Social Interactions, where you are paid to promote something on your social media sites.

Koy’s “Name your price” and Media Kits contain how much a blog proposes to charge to run these ads. I would love to have seen some actual numbers here, both for lower traffic and higher traffic blogs, or where one could discover that data.

Being an “ad-hater” myself, I found Koy’s admonition quite relevant: “You need to be careful in choosing what kind of ads to run and how many you’d like to run.”
Why? “You want to build a site your readers can trust in and enjoy for years to come.” And I believe that Koy is dead on: “Your traffic has a considerable impact on your earning potential. Building traffic is all about creating a great site with unique content that attracts visitors.” This is backed up when Koy suggests you always click yourself through the link your advertiser is giving you to ensure the content is related and what your readers might desire, to avoid misleading your readers.

So, if you have a blog and are interested in running ads that make you money or in selling your own products, this is a gem of a book to have and study. It’s loaded with key tips and relevant data to enable you to do just that, make money with your blog. I give it 5 stars and am glad to have it on my ebook-shelf.

Vic

Share Button

Book Review of Go From Blog to Brand in 30 Days by Cailin Koy

Book Review of Go From Blog to Brand in 30 Days by Cailin Koy

This is a must read for anyone who either wants to start a blog or who has one and who wants to make a real go of it. Here is your step-by-step guide to getting your blog branded, well-known, and possibly even making you money. Koy defines all of the relevant key terms and explains each step fully. As a beginning blogger, I followed each logical step with ease. Koy presents both a methodical and a simple series of steps taken over a 30-day period, covering the initial setup of the blog (or modification to existing ones), all the way through to the final success phase. Koy provides a simple worksheet for you to use to get your own blog branding going properly.

My first reaction was just what does blog branding mean? Koy defines this: “A brand is the essence of a company, website, person or anything someone could ever want to market.” “It is a promise to … your readership. It sets the expectation for what readers will get from both your blog and from you in every interaction.” Koy makes the keen distinction between “brand identity,” which is the concept that a brand owner wants their public to embrace, versus the “brand image,” which is how the public actually perceives the brand. The goal is to make these to points of view the same, which you can do if you follow the steps Koy provides.

The book also presents in easy to follow steps how to use social marketing, and to use analytics to obtain actual statistical results. It covers many of the varieties of web traffic “conversion” (Google Analytics) and how to use them to help turn your website traffic into actual income. Koy discusses how to use opportunities to blog on other sites, basics of merchandising, and the promoting of your products or services. No step is overlooked, as far as I can tell.

This is a very readable book that can help you go from an idea into a working, successful blog, one that can also make you money. I give this book 5 stars.

 

Share Button

Review of Fire’s Love by Alex E. Carey

Review of Fire’s Love by Alex E. Carey

This is a tale of the bright, sixteen year old Kira, whose mother and brother died recently and her father leaves her, declaring that she reminds him of her mother and finds it too painful to be around her. Kira finds consolation in a mysterious book in her parents’ belongings and moves in with her dear friend, who recently had a traumatic event that forced her to dive into witchcraft and who now hates Kira. She wisely departs for college, leaving her awful past behind her. What she didn’t know is that there are demons, good and evil, lurking within human disguises and that they are all around her.

Arriving at her new college, she meets and befriends Lowell Hew, a demon known as Ulric, the Wolf, who also has a tormented past. She also meets and falls in love with Pyre, a fire demon with a fiery temperament and one of Lowell’s close friends. At this point, darkness begins falling over Kira. Someone wants her dead. Someone continues to secretly spy on her and her activities at college. Both Lowell and Pyre strive to protect her and to help her discover the mystery behind her parents, her lineage, and this eerie presence threatening her. Slowly, pieces fall into place in this young love romance with Kira providing the ice to cool off the fiery Pyre.

Fire’s Love is an enjoyable read and I give it three stars. It is really refreshing to read a novel that can target all ages from young adults on up, especially in these times where too many novels make use of immorality and abusive language for shock value. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

Share Button

Review of The Melding of Aeris by D. Wallace Peach

Review of The Melding of Aeris by D. Wallace Peach

Long ago, this world endured the Burn, a fire that destroyed the lush world so genetically manipulated by man that it threatened to poison all life, hence the Burn. Now recovering, again the unscrupulous have invented a new way to alter human bodies: transfiguration. That is, via special chemicals including the Pathway, one can meld anything onto the human body’s surface, replacing skin and hair for example. But it goes far beyond any sentient reason. The wealthy Worthy graft skin of animals onto themselves, such as snake skins, wolf pelts, and much more. While some animals are raised to supply these needs, others called Skinners kidnap, flay, and kill other humans to obtain the next set of hair or eyes or face that some Worthy just has to “have” on their body.

Worse, children born to these people inherit a merging of the grafts from their parents bodies. The son of one of the most powerful rulers, Aeris, is born a man but whose exterior is that of a monster, and he longs to have human skin. When he turns eighteen, his father gives him his wish, but to Aeris’ horror, his new skin is that of a murdered man. Horrified and appalled at the price he must forever pay, Aeris flees his plush life and joins the rebellion, whose members are mostly other transfigured renegades. Their goal: put an end to this diabolical process.

The tale is replete with tales of evil, of greed that knows no bounds, and of impossible loves. In places, I found it a bit dark for my tastes. Still, it is an exciting read, one that you will find hard to put down until you reach the surprise ending, as I have come to expect from this author. Peach’s endings just never seem to be quite what I anticipate them to be! Yes, another “I didn’t see that one coming!” Here is another 5-star novel from D. Wallace Peach.

Vic

Share Button

Review of Myths of the Mirror

Review of Myths of the Mirror by D. Wallace Peach

As I began reading, it reminded me of The Dragon Riders of Pern that I read and enjoyed so very many years ago. Here in the Myths of the Mirror, in the Old Way, dragons invite humans to ride them bareback in a blending of nature, a harmony of man and dragon. However, in the village of Taran Leigh, greedy governors only interested in “coin,” have undone all this, and as the author says, “They imprisoned the winged dragons of in the black cells of a stone lair. Tormented by spine and spur the once peaceful creatures howl.” Yes, brutality and savagery now reigns, all for the sake of the greedy and not for the villagers.

The story revolves around two young people, Terasa and Conall, who struggle to find their own myths, their own paths through life, though there are additional memorable characters who are critical to the myth story. Part of Terasa’s task is to uncover the secret mysteries of her past, her father, while Conall initially becomes part of the dragon riders of the lair, replete in all its brutality and savage mistreatment of the noble dragons. More of the plot, I won’t reveal, but I do love happy endings. (Hint.)

The tale is very well told. I enjoyed how slowly all of the many pieces of the puzzle were revealed, forming a whole. Note, this is not one of those highly action-filled novels, rather the author is carefully crafting an entire world for our pleasure.

The author has an amazing command of the written word. Every paragraph is filled with highly descriptive words, painting a fascinating world for your imagination to grasp; lush and rich descriptions abound. Reading this novel is like staring at one of those incredibly detailed and realistic Renaissance paintings or, if you prefer, listening to a fabulous Romantic era symphony of sound. Rich and lush hardly begin to describe the author’s writing style. It is like sipping fine wine with every paragraph. This is not a novel to race through, but to savor the marvelously and carefully crafted scenes as they appear. Yes, the story is captivating; the characters, realistic, but I found the poetic imagery breathtaking. I give it my 5-star rating, for this is one novel that you will want to read and imagine…

Vic

Share Button

Debugging C++ Video Lectures 6 and 7 Are Done

Debugging C++ Video Lectures 6 and 7 Are Done

After a long vacation working on my WWII game design, I’ve finally got the next two video lectures on debugging C++ done. They are up on YouTube.

The free source code and videos are also available on the free links page here.

Enjoy, but do let me know what other kinds of debugging situations you would like to see covered.

Vic

 

Share Button

The State of eBook Sales – Independent Publishers Versus the Big 5

The State of eBook Sales – Independent Publishers Versus the Big 5

I just came across a very fascinating article by Hugh Howey that illustrates in detail the current state of ebook sales among publishers. Here’s the direct link. The data was collected from public websites (including Amazon) and is available for download so you can see the raw facts.

Two results struck me the most. First, the Big 5 are making a killing off of ebook sales, while their authors are not! Independent authors are making much more than their Big 5 counterparts. Second, I was amazed at the dominance ebooks are having on the overall publishing world.

If you are an author, you ought to take a look at this article. If you are a reader of ebooks, you too should examine this article. I found it fascinating and educational.

I’m quite pleased that I switched from publishing with the Big 5 when the ebook technology began years ago. I’ve never gone back and certainly won’t now.

Vic

Share Button