Reblog: Author Wednesday – Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks:

Many, many thanks to Patricia Zick for the wonderful interview as part of her on-going Author Wednesday series!

Originally posted on P.C. Zick:

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Welcome to another installment of Author Wednesday. Michael Patrick Hicks joins me today to talk about his first novel Convergence. This science fiction technothriller features Jonah Everitt as your everyday drug addict, memory thief, and killer. There’s bound to be an edge-of-your-seat story in the telling of his journey! convergence-800-cover-reveal-and-promotional

Hello Michael! Your book sounds exciting and chilling at the same time. Tell us a little bit about yourself as a writer before we delve into the plot of Convergence.When did you first discover your voice as a writer?

Probably in high school. I always dabbled with writing as a hobby, but in my senior year of high school–way back when now–I decided to get a little bit serious about it and took a creative writing course. I wasn’t quite prepared for the worlds it opened up for me, and I completely fell in love with the art. I’ve…

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Consumption Cover Reveal

Coming Fall 2014…

CONSUMPTION COMPLETE

Many thanks to Debbie at The Cover Collection for her fine work on this one!

CONSUMPTION is about as far from CONVERGENCE as the speculative fiction genre could allow, I think, and the cover does a nice job of capturing that. I’m trying something really different with this short story as I take a very brief break from science fiction to dip my toes into the deep, dark waters of macabre horror fiction.

Read on for the description and request your free eReader ARC below, and stay tuned for more details soon!


You Are

Reclusive chef Heinrich Schauer has invited six guests to a blind twelve-course tasting menu.

What You Eat

While snow blankets the isolated Swiss valley surrounding his estate, the guests feast eagerly, challenging one another to guess at the secret tastes plated before them.

Meat Is Murder

As they eat, each guest is overtaken by carnal appetites, unaware of their host’s savage plans…or of the creature lurking below.

One thing is clear: There is more on the menu than any of them have bargained for.

Consumption is a 12,000 word (approx.) short story. It contains graphic depictions of sex and violence, and is intended for mature audiences.


Consumption will release on all electronic formats Fall 2014, but you can sign up for a chance to read it before anyone else – for FREE!

Just note that Consumption is a short story and will only be available as an eBook. I’ll be mailing out the major formats to you – .mobi (kindle), epub (Nook/Kobo), and PDF – when they’re formatted and finalized.

Fill out the form below, drop a comment in the required text box asking for an electronic Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC), and it’s all yours. If you sign up for an ARC, you’ll get a copy of my short horror story at least two weeks before anyone else.

There’s no strings attached – again, this would be completely free for you – however, I would really appreciate you taking the time to provide an honest review when the title launches. I’ll let you know when and where, and you can revel in the glory of having read Consumption and passed judgement on it well before anyone else in the world.

Reblog: Justine Allen’s Book Review: Convergence, by Michael Patrick Hicks

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Michael Patrick Hicks:

Great review of CONVERGENCE by fellow sci-fi author Justine Allen. She writes “… As I have an interest in anything sci-fi, especially books making it through the ABNA rounds, I couldn’t resist. I was not disappointed with my choice, and Michael is another Indie Author who deserves to do well.”

Many thanks for the kind words, Justine. Glad you enjoyed the read!

Originally posted on Justine Allen Writing:

I picked up Convergence through an Indie Author Land author interview. By the way, I frequently use Indie Author Land to pick up new books, as it gives me a sense of what makes the author tick, as well as extra insights into the book.

The book genre is described by the author as follows:

“I think sci-fi readers will find plenty to appreciate here –CONVERGENCEhas the grungy high-tech cyberpunk feel to it, set in a near-future America that’s been shattered by war and political in-fighting. But it’s also a neo-noir-thriller, and rests just as comfortably in the mystery/thriller mould as it does sci-fi. It’s definitely a hybrid-genre read and should appeal to a pretty broad audience.”

Convergence was also an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist in the Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror category. As I have an interest in anything sci-fi, especially books making it through the…

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Guest Post: S. Elliot Brandis, “It’s Not The End Of The World”

S. Elliot Brandis is a writer I came into contact with thanks to KBoards. I was immediately taken by his description for his debut novel, Irradiated (part one of The Tunnel Trilogy), and have been patiently waiting for the release of its follow-up, Degenerated. The good news is that the latter is now available, and both can be had for the uber-cheap introductory price of only 99c for a limited time. Two books for less than two bucks. Go buy them immediately!

If you’re wondering whether Irradiated may be up your alley or not, check out my review. If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I think it’s a pretty safe purchase. The story is solid, and Elliot has a damn strong writing voice and a style I really dig. To top it off, those Jason Gurley covers are beauties. All in all, it’s a top-notch package.

01_Brandis_IRRADIATED_EbookEdition02_Brandis_DEGENERATED_EbookEdition

buy irradiated at amazon
buy degenerated at amazon

I’m really happy to have Elliot posting here today, so let’s get on with it. Here’s his article, “It’s Not The End Of The World.” Enjoy!


 

It’s Not The End Of The World

Think of post-apocalyptic fiction, and what do you see? Zombies, bombs, disease, disaster, war? Maybe you see barren landscapes, or bones jutting from emaciated bodies. Whatever it is, I bet it’s unpleasant.

It would be easy to think, then, that post-apocalyptic fiction is about one thing: fear. Indeed, fear is deeply ingrained in the genre. Our stories tap into our fear of the future, of human nature, of what happens when it all goes wrong. However, fear is only half of the equation.

If you distil the genre down into core elements, what you’ll find are two competing emotions: fear and hope. They are the heart of the genre, it’s defining feature. The balance between the two changes, but the conflict between them is always there.

Consider The Walking Dead, in all of its guises. It taps into many of our fears. Our fear of dying, and of losing loved ones. Our fear of fellow man, and the darkness that may lay hidden deep in their hearts, waiting for a chance to surface. It also raises questions about ourselves. If you were pushed to the edge, would you still act in a way that’s moral? Or would you compromise your morals to save yourself and your family? What is more is more important? But, on the other hand, it’s also a show about hope. The hope that if we tough it out and try to work together—maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe we can make a new start, forge new relationships, and persevere. The hope pushes us forward, through all the darkness.

Even the darkest works have this glimmer of hope. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is often described as bleak, perhaps even ‘hopeless’. But I disagree—there is hope. The man and his son are “carrying the fire”. He instils this idea in his son—they are amongst the last flickers of humanity, it’s final chance. Without this sliver of hope, as slim as it is, I doubt that the book would work. It is a trickle of oxygen in an otherwise suffocating world. And, as bad as that novel may make us feel, it also makes us think that perhaps, just perhaps, there is merit in our sheer doggedness.

So, we arrive to the title. Despite the name, post-apocalyptic fiction is not about the end of the world. It’s about our fight to prevent the end of the world. The conflict between hope and fear—the fundamentals of human existence—lay at its core. It’s about our will to survive.

And that’s what makes it so damn good.

Writing Shot

 

S. Elliot Brandis is the author of Irradiated, the first novel in a trilogy. He lives in Brisbane, Australia, and often sets his stories there, too. He loves hearing from readers, and can be found at many locations across the internet.

Website: http://selliotbrandis.com/

Reblog: The Big Idea: Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson

Michael Patrick Hicks:

I’ve been thinking a bit about the genre sometimes known as “weird western” of late. The concept is one that really strikes a chord with me and I love the idea of a low-tech frontier dealing with supernatural forces. I’d hoped for more from the movie Cowboys & Aliens; after all, six-shooters and horses vs. aliens and UFOs seemed ripe for a truly awesome story. Joe R. Lansdale’s Deadman’s Road is in my TBR pile, and Hunter Shea’s Hell Hole has certainly caught my eye.

Thanks to John Scalzi’s blog, I can now add One Night in Sixes to my list. It sounds dynamite!
Author Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson writes, “But as nervous as I am about this Big Idea and how it will be received, the even-bigger one behind it – that is, the push for a more inclusive bookshelf, and the importance of being able to re-imagine our own history without sweeping the uncomfortable bits under the rug – is one that I am really excited about. I hope you will be too.”

I certainly am. And the quote drawing a quick comparison to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower doesn’t hurt any, either! Be sure to check out the original post at Whatever.

Originally posted on Whatever:

When you introduce magic into a real-world setting, you don’t only have to deal with the problems that magic introduces — you have to deal with the problems that already existed in that real world setting. When Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson wanted to introduce magic to an American milieu in One Night in Sixes, she took all of those problems into consideration. Here’s how she made it work.

TEX THOMPSON:

All I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time.

“I’m tired of Euromedieval fantasy!” I thought. “I’m tired of swords and castles and straight white monocultures. I’m going to write a fantasy about MY country, and MY history, with eleventeen kinds of people rubbing shoulders – like in real life! – and it’s going to be AMAZING.”

And by “amazing”, I must have meant “an absolute landmine of racism, imperialism, slavery and genocide.” Because…

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Advanced News On My Next Release And How To Get It For FREE

Over the rest of this summer, I’ll be putting the finishing touches on a short horror story called Consumption. I’m excited for you all to read this, and I have a feeling it may be pretty divisive so I’m really looking forward to your feedback, both good and bad! It’s a far cry from Convergence, both tonally and genre-wise, but still firmly rooted in the speculative-fiction category.

Coming in at nearly 12,000 words, this is a dark, adult piece that revolves around six guests who have been invited to a blind twelve-course tasting meal. Of course, they have no idea what they’re in store for, nor do they realize the true nature of that peculiar tasting meat plated before them. Not until it’s far too late, at least. I think it’s a pretty fun food-gore monster mash-up, although you might not want to read this one on a full belly…

You can find more about it on this page, and while you’re there feel free to sign up for a FREE Advanced eReader Copy of Consumption. I only ask that if you do sign up, please leave an honest review when the story launches in the fall. I’m planning for an October release and hope to send out the ARCs in late September/early October time-frame, at least two weeks prior to the eBook’s official release.

Stay tuned for more news soon! I’ll be revealing the cover art later this summer, a few looks behind the scenes, and getting the official release date locked down. In the meantime, you can read the official description, check out an excerpt, and, of course, sign up for your free early release edition here!

And, if you want to try out my work for cheap right now, Convergence is still on sale for only 99 cents for a few more days. Time is running out, though, so be sure to get your copy ASAP!

In Case You Missed It – Monday Rehash

Monday was a pretty active day all around, so it seemed like a good time to recap. For those of you who missed yesterday’s updates, here’s what’s happened:

  • J.S. Collyer, whose fantastic debut lands Aug. 16, guest-posted. If you missed it yesterday, you really should check it out! And, when I say her debut is fantastic, I’m not just blowing smoke. I completely fell for the world she crafted in Zero and think she’s a terrific talent. If you haven’t already, go preorder her book through IndieGoGo and help ensure that Dagda Publishing keeps releasing more authors like her.
  • Lucas Bale, author of The Heretic, out now, interviewed me for his site. He also wrote a great intro that quickly went to my head, saying “Michael’s writing style reminds me of James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard – crisp, neat and slick and more often associated with US crime fiction written by Robert Crais.” HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS! Never in a million years would I have thought to have my name pop up alongside Ellroy, Leonard, and Crais (or, at least, not in a positive way!). All three were definitely influential in shaping the more noir-ish aspects of Convergence, and I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of each of those authors. Wow. Just wow.
  • Although this interview by Jim Cogan actually went live two weeks ago, I think it bears highlighting again. Didn’t happen yesterday, but whatever. It’s my blog, and I liked Jim’s interview, too. Go check it out!
  • And last, but in no way least, is my 99-cent sale on Convergence. It’s still running, but time is evaporating quickly. After July 19, I’ll be resetting the price back up to its regular $3.99, so I’d encourage you all to go grab a copy ASAP! It’s a nifty sci-fi thriller that readers seem to be digging quite a bit. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry – it’s only $0.99 on Nook and Kobo, too!

[UPDATE - the awesome folks at Indie Author Land picked up news of the sale and has Convergence currently featured at the top of their site. I'm pretty stoked by this and am happy that my book has garnered some positive attention from this sale. Go check out Indie Author Land ASAP!]

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Lucas Bale Interviews Me: “Convergence, by Michael Patrick Hicks – Analysing a Writer’s Process”

Lucas Bale, author of The Heretic, interviewed me for his site. You can go read the discussion in full at the link below.

I met Lucas through KBoards and enjoyed the heck out of The Heretic. You should go get a copy at Amazon (only $2.99) and give it a shot. Be sure to join his mailing list too! He’s got some big plans for his Beyond The Wall series, which kicks off with his debut and it sounds like there’s going to be a lot more to come.

The Interview: Convergence, by Michael Patrick Hicks – Analysing a Writer’s Process — Lucas Bale.

And, just to put the reminder out there, Convergence is on sale for 0.99 for the rest of this week on all platforms. If you do buy a copy, please consider leaving a review at Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever else you feel is appropriate.

Right now, Convergence is sitting pretty nicely at #27 in Cyberpunk (in the US; it’s currently #68 in the UK Kindle store), and I’m hoping it’ll start ranking in other categories soon. So, please be sure to tell all your friends and family about this sale, too, and help spread the good word!

Convergence is keeping good company in the Top 30 Cyberpunk titles. (July 14, 2014)

Convergence is keeping good company in the Top 30 Cyberpunk titles. (July 14, 2014)

Guest Post: Author J.S. Collyer “For The Love”

Zero, the debut novel from J.S. Collyer, is due out in August 2014 from Dagda Publishing.

Zero, the debut novel from J.S. Collyer, is due out in August 2014 from Dagda Publishing.

I’m fairly certain I stumbled upon J.S. Collyer thanks to some smart postings over at Chuck Wendig’s blog, smart enough to get me awfully curious about what was happening in her corner of the blogosphere. Good stuff, it turned out. She blogs, hosts her short fiction, some of which has been published in various collections, and generates some great Flash Fiction Fridays work. I liked what she had to say, and when I learned she had her first novel coming out soon, I knew ZERO would not only be making its way onto my to-read list, but that it would be jumping over a lot of other titles to become a next-read. Naturally, when she asked for some advanced readers at her site, I leaped at the chance. You may be asking yourself why, and my answer is simple: SPACE PIRATES.

I mean, seriously, what the hell else do you need to know? Well, OK, if you want a little bit more info, you can check out my review.

Over the last few weeks of coordinating for this post and figuring out my reading schedule so I could get to ZERO ASAP, her publishers, Dagda Publishing, ran an IndieGoGo campaign to off-set the marketing costs, and to help pay for the marketing of other future, fresh authors like J.S. That campaign took off like a bat out of hell and broke their $1500 funding goal in roughly 24 hours. When her publisher says, “Her vision for “Zero” is one of the best we have seen in the world of new SF authors in a long time,” and given what I know of her, her voice, and her work, I have to say, it is not just a bunch of PR fluff. She is a great new voice in realm of science fiction, and ZERO is most definitely a title to watch out for.

Below is the synopsis for ZERO, and then I’m turning the rest of this post over to J.S. Collyer with her article, “For The Love.”


About ZERO

Kaleb Hugo is every­thing an offi­cer of the Ser­vice should be: loyal, expertly trained, unques­tion­ing. He has done every­thing ever ordered of him and has done so with a pride that comes from know­ing you are fight­ing for the good of humankind… until the day that he made a deci­sion, as he has had to many times before, in order to ensure the best out­come for the Ser­vice, even though it was in direct vio­la­tion of regulations.

A bat­tle was won, but Hugo was con­demned and dis­hon­ourably dis­charged by Ser­vice com­man­ders for going against orders and risk­ing him­self and his unit to save an inhab­ited satel­lite that had been deter­mined as an accept­able loss.

Offi­cially, anyway.

Unof­fi­cially, Hugo was re-​​assigned to cap­tain the crew of the Zero, an eight-​​man craft that is clas­si­fied in all Ser­vice records as, at best, a pri­va­teer ship and at worse a smug­gling and bor­der­line crim­i­nal enter­prise ves­sel. What very few peo­ple in the Ser­vice know is that the Zero, and its crew, are con­tracted by the Ser­vice. Their role is to inves­ti­gate and infil­trate the less savoury and unac­knowl­edged lev­els of human soci­ety. They sell on, buy in, bar­gain, threaten and report back on every­thing the polit­i­cal lev­els the Ser­vice don’t offi­cially want to know.

The Zero’s rag-​​tag crew look to their com­man­der, Ezekiel Webb, as their leader and mid­dle­man between the reg­i­mented expec­ta­tions of the Ser­vice and the harsh and unpre­dictable demands of the under­world of colo­nial space. He knows he is not cap­tain mate­r­ial but has not man­aged to serve well under any that have been placed over him. Both Cap­tain and Com­man­der clash, but they will have to adapt and find a com­pro­mise if the Zero is to carry out her mis­sions suc­cess­fully and for the har­mony of the crew.

As the Zero is assigned mis­sions by Colonel Lus­combe, her crew is pulled deeper into an orbit-​​wide game of pol­i­tics, deceit and cor­rup­tion which will threaten to tear them apart and throw Human­ity back into a cycle of war and destruc­tion. To stop this and pre­serve the frag­ile peace, Hugo, Webb and the crew will have to over­come per­sonal tragedy, insur­mount­able odds and every cruel depraved twist of fate that the Orbit can throw at them.

As events esca­late out of con­trol, Hugo will have to go against every­thing he has ever believed in to save his crew and bil­lions of inno­cent peo­ple. The out­come is always uncer­tain, but for the crew of the Zero, it was always this way. What will tran­spire will decide not just their fate, but the des­tiny of the entire Human Race.


For The Love

If writing ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil has taught me anything is that you need to be in this game for the love of it. Writing is hard work. It takes commitment, time, sometimes money (courses, computers that crash, computers that don’t crash, retreats, workshops, books), blood, sweat and tears. It can really take a lot out of you, especially at those low moments when you look back at all you’ve done and wonder if you’ve done anything.

Fortunately, such moments are few and far between and always pass if you’re in it for the love. It’s the love of your craft that makes it all worth it.

So be true to it. Be good to it as you want it to be good to you. Give it time and attention and care. Be prepared that you’ll hit some rough patches but that it will always pan out. Don’t compare it to others’. Studying others’ techniques, processes and ideas is a great way to inform your own, but don’t use them as a yard stick by which to measure your own work short. Every relationship is different and only defined by those in it.

Be patient with your work. It may take you an afternoon to write a short story, or a week, or a year. You may write one haiku every Christmas or an epic novel every six months. Whatever it is you and your writing create together, it was what was meant to be.

Embrace it.

Though it may sound like common sense, one of the hardest things I had to get my head round was writing what you enjoy, rather than what you think you should enjoy.

I struggled for many years trying to be the sort of writer I wasn’t. I did an under and post-graduate degree in Creative Writing. I worked with some really amazing writers whose work ranged from semi-autobiographical histories of their communities to literary drama and beyond. I was awed and humbled by them and felt I should try to be like them.

I failed. Of course I did. I haven’t got a literary bone in my body. I like swords, spaceships, ghosts and lasers. Other worlds and other possibilities are what spark my imagination and always have. They are what I seek out in the fiction I read and are always, always, the backdrop to the narratives in my head.

It may seem like a no-brainer to ditch the reflective prose and blast off in a rocket, but when you are wanting to make the best out of your opportunities, it is very easy to take the wrong path, perceiving it to be the best, the most promising, the most lucrative or the one recommended to you by others. I begrudge no one who does this and wins out. If I had been more determined I might have managed it. But the fact is, I wasn’t enjoying the fiction I was writing. And you can bet the last penny in the bank that if you’re not enjoying writing something, your audience are not going to enjoy reading it.

Shrug off your preconceptions and write what you enjoy. If you want to write space opera, epic poetry, noir crime with a paranormal twist, historical romance, do it. You will be far better at writing that than you would be at something you were not meant to. And, besides, even if there are a million other writers in that genre or none at all, no one, no one, will write it like you will.

Let other writers handle their own corners of the fictional world and you concentrate on your own. You and your writing….all you have is each other. And your audience.

And don’t say ‘what audience?’. There will be an audience for your fiction out there somewhere. If there’s an audience for Bigfoot erotica (it’s for real, Google it…though you might want to turn off the image search) there’s an audience for your story.

True, it’s the getting it from your head to audience that’s the tricky part.

Tricky, time consuming…but fun. Even when you want to cry or scream or throw you hard drive against the wall…part of you should still be having fun. Part of you should still be in love with what you’re doing.

Love is what makes the world go round and the relationship between you and your writing is precious and private and answerable only to the two of you. Do right by each other and just see what you can achieve.

JS CollyerJ. S. Collyer is a science fiction writer from Lancaster, England. Her first novel, ‘Zero’is due for release by Dagda Pubishing August 2014.

She shares fiction and musings on writing on her WordPress http://jcollyer.wordpress.com

‘Like’ her on Facebook: facebook.com/jscollyer

Follow her on Twitter: @JexShinigami

The Convergence Is Near

woman inserting card into her head

Implantable memory devices are getting closer to reality thanks to a $40 million initiative from the Department of Defense. [Image from Mod Vive.]

If you’ve read my book, Convergence, (which happens to be on sale right now for only 99 cents!) then you know all about the DARPA-made memory storage, retrieval, and playback unit I write about. The DRMR device I made-up is actually based on some pretty sound science and actual ground-breaking DARPA research.

Last week, news broke that DARPA has contracted with UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania to develop neuroprosthetics to aid wounded warriors.

Shelley Nash at Mod Vive writes:

The program is known as Restoring Active Memory and is intended to aid declarative memory, which is what enables human beings to record and recall facts specific to daily living, such as remembering times and places.

In a conference call with reporters, Geoffrey Ling, director of DARPA’s biological technologies office said “This is just not cocktail party talk. We have so much hope that this new program is going to do wonderful things to restore our injured service members.”

Wounded warriors are slated to be the first group to benefit from this new technology as they often suffer traumatic brain injuries as a result of roadside bombs while serving overseas. However, the first test subjects for the new device are those suffering from impaired memory due to epilepsy. Devices are already implanted in some epilepsy patients that assist in monitoring seizure activity and that help to stop the malfunctioning of the brain that causes seizures. Data from these devices will be collected by the UCLA research team with the hope of developing a memory formation model. This model can then be used to test the memory device.

This will not be easy because, although we have a greater understanding of the human body than we ever have before, there is still much to be discovered.

The New York Times notes that this $40 million investment in direct brain recording has become the fastest growing area in neuroscience. You can read more at NYT, and at IFLScience.

And if you’re of a mind, check out my science-fiction thriller, Convergence, on sale for $0.99 for a limited time.