Monday, October 31, 2011

UNDERGROUND RISING CONTRIBUTOR ROUNDTABLE


Underground Rising is Biblical cyberpunk at its best. Stories in this anthology are based on author Frank Creed's UNDERGROUND which include his award-winning novels Flashpoint: Book One of the Underground, and War of Attrition: Book Two in the series.



Contributor Roundtable

Greg Mitchell: As part of our festivities for the new Biblical Cyberpunk release, Underground Rising: Takes from the Underground, I held a roundtable discussion with series creator and editor Frank Creed, and three other (including myself) contributors to this groundbreaking anthology! First off, let’s just go around the room and introduce ourselves. I’m, of course, Greg Mitchell, author of “Ex-Communicator”, the first story up in the anthology.

Frank Creed: I’m Frank Creed. I wrote and co-wrote several contributions to Underground Rising: Tales from the Underground.

Steve Rice: I’m Steve Rice, proudly pseudonym-free for ages. I also wrote “Bear Feat” for the anthology.

Timothy Hicks: I’m Tim Hicks from western Kentucky. I co-wrote “The Sandman Cometh”, a prequel story from the Flashpoint timeline.

Greg: And Grace Bridges! Representing our ladies tonight.

Grace Bridges: Hello from New Zealand where it is currently tomorrow afternoon! “Underground Undersea” is my contribution.

Greg: Frank, how did the idea for the anthology come about? Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this the first Christian Fiction anthology where other authors have come in and added stories to an author’s pre-existing series?

Frank: It’s the first of which I know, but surely it’s been done before. The idea came from the Underground’s origin, back in a cyberpunk series called Shadowrun.

Greg: Yes, Shadowrun! Many a fond memory.

Frank: Many authors wrote that series of books and I wanted to see what it would be like for other Christian artists to share in the Underground setting. The Underground is like Shadowrun but without magic or fantasy races.

Greg: Street samurais and deckers all around! Was it hard assembling so many different authors with their own voices under the Underground umbrella?

Frank: Not really, the contributions really stood on their own merits. Nothing felt forced from the creative standpoint.

Greg: What’s it like to see the finished product? I know, just on my end, I felt an enormous sense of pride from the end results. …Good Godly pride, naturally :p

Frank: It’s the end of years’ worth of effort, so there’s a sense of relief! But from a qualitative perspective, these really are some great stories that I’m sure will entertain readers of Christian cyberpunk.

Greg: Here’s a question for everyone: Do you think it’s possible to jump into this anthology with little to no background knowledge of the Underground novels?

Steve: Not if you use established characters.

Grace: As a reader? Sure. As a writer, nope. Either way, it’s very immersive.

Steve: The major problem is the voice. It’s very distinctive, like noir.

Tim: Not too easy. Knowing the storyline helped work out how the story tied back to the books.

Frank: I think it is possible. There’re plenty of examples of showing the technology with a brief explanation of what it is.

Grace: I return to the Underground when I need my imagination provoked for whatever. Some of you know that Flashpoint caused me to write a novel.

[Frank adds a smile here]

Greg: Wow, I didn’t know that Grace. What’s the story behind that?

Grace: The night I read Flashpoint, it fired up my imagination so bad. I had this dream… Cyberpunky, but that was all it had in common. I had to write it down. It became Legendary Space Pilgrims.

Greg: Frank, you corrupted...er, inspired young minds! That’s got to make you feel good, sir.

Frank: It really does. There have been many events that have come from writing Flashpoint, and inspiring Grace was one of those.

Grace: Actually [my novel] Faith Awakened came out at the same time as Flashpoint, almost to the day.

Greg: Okay, so now we know Grace was familiar with Flashpoint going in--I have to admit, Frank had to give me a crash course before I wrote my story (though now I’ve read both books and am all caught up :)). How familiar were the rest of you with this series before coming on board?

Tim: I enjoyed Flashpoint and wondered about how the world got into that predicament. I asked Frank about a nickname after Flashpoint and why it wasn’t recognized by the One World Order. Frank told me that was answered in his next book. Both books made me think, “What if?” Grace’s Faith Awakened and Flashpoint. That’s where my story idea came from. I wondered about the history before the story. Kind of like Paul Harvey’s, “The Rest of The Story.”

Grace: You’ve read Faith? Oooh :)

Tim: Yes, I read an ebook version. It was a pretty neat idea.

Steve: I had read Flashpoint (and Faith Awakened, for that matter), as well as writing a few virtual reality stories (“The Story Machine” and “Virtual Messiah”). And I had discussed things with Frank. He still hasn’t gone to the cops, so that’s a good sign.

Greg: Steve, your story “Bear Feat” actually stars Calamity Kid and e-girl, the heroes from the main books--was that awkward coming into those characters that were already pretty well-defined in their voices?

Steve: Not really. I’m a mimic anyway. The fact they were well-defined simplified matters. It was integrating them with my type of story and character that was tricky.

Greg: Well I thought you did great. Two continuity questions that are bugging me. Frank, how many sisters does Tinker have?

Frank: For now, Tinker only has two sisters. We'll have to leave that one open to creativity, though!

Greg: And, Grace, when does your story take place on the Underground timeline? You’ve got Calamity Kid and Legacy, right? (For those who don’t know, Legacy is captured somewhere in Book One…)

Grace: Yes. This actually occurs way down the track in what could be Book 4.

Greg: Wow!

Grace: So it’s after a bunch of drastic stuff has gone on. I have another story set then, too.

Greg: Not in the anthology, though.

Grace: No.

Greg: Ah, you tease us then.

Grace: All in good time, eh, Frank? :P

Frank: Indeed! I’m still writing Devil’s Hit List: Book Three of the Underground. Book Four will be co-written by Grace.

Greg: Whoa, big announcement!

Grace: Old news? It’s been settled for 3 years that I know of ;)

Tim: Cool! :D When can we pre-order?

Greg: More importantly, is Big Hoss Dupree [from “Ex-Communicator”] in it... oh wait, that’s not very important at all :)

Frank: You heard it here first! Pre-orders in a couple years. I write slowly. : )

Grace: So do I, and I got some other stuff on the fire at the moment.

Tim: Quality takes longer than quantity :)

Frank: Everyone will like Hoss, by the way, Greg.

Greg: I hope so! Tim, we talked about your story “The Sandman Cometh” being a prequel to the main series--was that tough to talk Frank into?

Tim: I hoped Frank would take a chance on my story. I wondered how the equipment in Flashpoint came about. What about the Sandmen before they had all the spiffy gadgets?

Greg: I’m glad he did. It was a neat peak into the past. Frank, in the “About the Author” in the back of Book Two: War of Attrition, it talks about “The Last Newspaper”. Now that’s the same story in the anthology correct? You wrote that thing back in 1983? How long have you had all of this in your head, man?!

Frank: The original version of “The Last Newspaper” was written back in about 1982, but that story was lost through time--I no longer have a copy of it. The version of “The Last Newspaper” that appears in Underground Rising was rewritten last year to fit into the Underground setting. It was not originally an Underground story. This stuff has only been in my head for about twenty years. : )

Greg: Oh, is that all? Well, I guess it’s a start :) I have to say, I read through the anthology for the first time the other day and was really impressed with it. Even though there are all of these different authors, working in their own little corners of the globe, the stories fit together quite naturally to tell a story of the Church in persecution. It was actually really inspiring, I thought.

Frank: I’m so pleased with the end result. I guess you could say “proud”.

Greg: I’ll hit Grace with this one first, since she’s our resident small press (she’s the woman behind Splashdown Books)--Do you see Christian Fiction making a turn, getting away from the predictable and exploring more fertile imaginative ground?

Grace: I certainly hope so! I have a number of very interesting submissions in my pile right now. Especially of a sort that mashes up the genres. I love that stuff!

Greg: Steve, do you think something like the “Biblical Cyberpunk” genre will be able to spill over into the “mainstream” Christian Fiction market, or do you think it, in a sense, belongs underground? The wild untamed, and all of that?

Steve: Spills are always possible. All these clumsy people, you know. I suspect that the mainstream will only do unusual and genre-bending work to copy the secular media. So the “underground” will likely remain so unless/until there’s a breakout story that becomes a major movie.

Greg: And perhaps that’s a larger problem that many within the “Christian Fiction” market see—a tendency to follow the trends, rather than set them. But I think Underground Rising is trendsetting stuff, no doubt, and I hope people catch on to it. I see a lot of naysayers of mainstream Christian fiction--and I wonder, if the anthology did go “mainstream” in popularity, would that somehow take away from its coolness factor in the eyes of the naysayers? You know there’s always that garage band that gets a Billboard Top 100 hit and everyone accuses them of “selling out” :p

Frank: I do hope the Underground gets the chance to “sell out”! It would mean a great deal to me if our work reached that kind of exposure.

Greg: Grace, what are your thoughts? Do some things belong on the fringe--not for lack of quality, mind you, but just because some people won’t touch “mainstream”, no matter how pure-grade awesome it is?

Grace: I don’t subscribe to that at all. Yes, some things are weird, but weird is becoming ever more mainstream. The weirder the better, even. And those who won’t touch it for whatever reason--they’re missing out.

Greg: I agree. I think that anyone--whether they “get” cyberpunk or not--can be really encouraged by this book. A) It’s refreshing to see the level of talent and B) it’s talking about things people can relate to—the loss of freedom and how we fight to hold on—it just happens to be set in the future.

Tim: The Underground world makes the point that everything matters to The Boss (as God is known in the Underground books), and he is in control. That’s why I liked the series. It made me think.

Greg: Frank, fans get a special treat at the end of the anthology--You’ve got a sneak peak at Book 3! What’s in store for the next installment, Devil’s Hit List?

Frank: In War of Attrition: Book Two of the Underground, the heroes lose their HQ because the Ash Megacorp is turning it into a Rehab Ward, to produce something called “Virtual-e”, which is a virtual plague. In Devil’s Hit List, the saints battle production of virtual-e.

Greg: And how far are you into the writing process on that one, O Slow Writer?

Frank: It’s about halfway done. I hope to have a release date around August 2012.

Greg: So, what’s next for everyone? What projects are you guys working on?

Steve: I’m working on a few projects, but I’ve become increasingly skeptical of “Christian” fiction. It’s usually no such thing. That’s why I largely stopped doing reviews. But I’ll probably publish online now and then. Evolutionists excuse the lack of transitional forms by “punctuated equilibrium,” which posits occasional change at the margins of genetic society. I think that’s how Christian writing will have to work for the foreseeable future.

Grace: I’m barreling towards the end of Godspeed, the sequel to Faith Awakened. It stands at 47,000 words out of a projected 60k, and I’m deep into the tangle of virtual reality once again. All going well, it should be out late next year. I’m also very excited about the Avenir Eclectia project, where Frank and Greg are participants. There will be an anthology for that next year, too.

Frank: Good news.

Greg: Tim, what are you cooking up?

Tim: Thanks, I’m working on a supernatural story about a medieval piece of stained glass that shows a person’s true spirit. Forces don’t want things known. But the killer needs to be found.

Frank: How about you, Greg?

Greg: Lots of different stuff, but most immediately, the second book in my The Coming Evil Trilogy comes out in February. It’s entitled Enemies of the Cross and is chock full of drooling monsters. Frank, what say you? Might there be an Underground Rising 2 in the future?

Frank: Perhaps. It depends on how Underground Rising sells. If there’s a demand, there must be a sequel!

[To this, Tim gives a thumbs-up]

Greg: So, I open this up to you guys, here at the last. Anything you want to ask each other?

Frank: Greg, do you have any other Dupree stories in mind?

Greg: Ha ha, not at present. But give me about fifteen minutes and I bet I could come up with something ;) That was a pretty easy character to write! He wrote himself, practically.

Tim: What about a cross-over story between story worlds? Underground meets Faith Awakened?

Frank: Grace’s time setting is ahead of mine.

Grace: Mine is in 2079.

Frank: We would need a Tardis, no?

Grace: Well, in fact I have a very enhanced character in Godspeed... Frank, we should talk.

Frank: Oh, Grace is already on this!

Greg: Closing thoughts?

Frank: Underground Rising has taken at least three years to compile--I want to thank everyone for their patience as this has come together.

Greg: Thanks for the opportunity!

Tim: Yes, thanks Frank. It was nice meeting everyone here tonight.

Grace: Yup. Awesome!!

Steve: It was good to be around Frank and Grace again, and to meet the rest.

Greg: Thanks for participating everybody.

Frank: Cool--thanks for moderating this thing!

Greg: Well, folks, that’s all we got. We hope you were entertained, enlightened, and inspired to go out and buy this book! Go! Go now! Quick!

Thanks to everyone who hung out in the chat and thank you all for reading :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

5 Steps to Make Money from Junk Faxes



In this economy everyone is looking for a way to make some money. Steve Ostrow, author of How to Sue a Telemarketer offers these 5 steps to make money from junk faxes.

5 STEPS TO MAKE MONEY FROM JUNK FAXES
This is too easy. Can it be true? I mean can someone really collect money from a junk fax telemarketer? Consumer reports say there is a law that makes it illegal to send junk faxes to people where no prior business relationship or permission exists, but does that translate into cash?

The answer is yes and yes! Junk faxes are illegal, and it’s actionable by monetary penalties. Those penalties go to the person who brings the suit. And yes, you can do this with or without a lawyer; and yes, you can do this in small claims court.

Most of the telemarketing laws pertain to privacy of the home. That’s a personal residence as opposed to a commercial market place. Telemarketers can legally bug you all day at work, and even into the night, without repercussion. There is little restriction on free speech in the commercial sector, EXCEPT when it comes to junk faxes. Automatic dialing fax machines that spit out thousands, even hundreds of thousands, junk faxes to phone numbers across the board, both residential and commercial, are banned.

The penalty for sending a junk fax is five hundred dollars ($500). If the court finds that an intentional scheme exists, the court has the discretion to treble the amount. ------------ Multiple junk faxes, received on different or successive days, can be stacked into one suit. Let’s get this clear: if a telemarketer sends out unauthorized junk faxes every day of the week to the same fax machine, each day is a separate violation and can be independently or collectively sued upon. Yep, we are talking about some money here and it’s easy. That is one violation for each fax. I know that the City of San Diego has collected over $75,000 against one junk faxer! Here is the process:

1st Step, go to the fax machine and pull out the fax. Read it, determine you did not authorize this telemarketer to fax you, and then go to the computer.

2nd Step, research the legal name of the faxer. The information is before you. The faxer wants to sell you on his company; of course he will give you the necessary information to find him. Research and determine the correct LEGAL NAME. The LEGAL NAME is real important as opposed to simply the trade name.

3rd Step, send a demand letter. Junk faxers know it’s against the law to junk fax. Why would someone break the law if they know it’s wrong? Simple, if the results yield a profit, then legal penalties are just a cost of doing business. Sometimes a settlement can be reached without going to court. Other times court is necessary and there is a box on the complaint form which asks if you have previously contacted the defendant with your demand attempting to settle. It’s best to check this box and have a demand letter available.

4th Step, if not settled, then file and serve your complaint. Jurisdiction for your complaint is the location of where your fax machine sits or the county where the defendant resides. I strongly suggest you use the location where your fax machine is located.

5th Step, show up at court. Exhibit 1 is the junk fax. Pretty hard to dispute! The good news about a junk fax case is that there is never a “he said, she said” scenario. Quite difficult for the defendant to deny they did not send the junk fax. Tell the truth of what happened. You should have your judgment shortly thereafter.



Steve Ostrow is an attorney, celebrity impersonator and the author of the new book How To Sue A Telemarketer: A Manual for Restoring Peace On Earth One Phone Call At A Time. To date, Steve has successfully sued, or settled, won and collected, over 10 judgments against telemarketers. To find out more and order his book, go to www.howtosueatelemarketer.com

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Join us on the How To Sue A Telemarkter virtual tour. To learn more about the tour, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/05/how-to-sue-a-telemarketer/. You can also learn more about How to Sue a Telemarketer at http://howtosueatelemarketer.com/

Sunday, February 28, 2010



Second Sight by Judith Orloff, MD (2nd Edition)

In this moving personal story Dr. Orloff recounts her "journey to become whole" by first accepting and then embracing her intuitive abilities. She tells of her childhood fear of her intuition, of her physician-parents' efforts to ignore and even deny them, and of her slow awakening to the understanding that her intuition is truly a gift. She tells of her struggle to incorporate her abilities into her practice and of the many successes she's experienced with patients ever since. Second Sight is a soulful and friendly bestseller.

Text from the back cover
As a child, her vivid dreams and intuitions were whispered about behind closed doors. As a medical student, she denied the "shameful secret" by immersing herself in the absolutes of science. Then as a psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Orloff recieved proof of the value of her gift when an intuition foretold a patient's suicide attempt. In this remarkable self-portrait, she takes you on the journey of a lifetime, one that brought her from ignorance to understanding, from loneliness to peace, from despair to hope...

NOW SHE TEACHES YOU HOW TO UNCOVER YOUR INTUITIVE GIFTS

“There is no elite to which the gift belongs--the seeds have been planted in all of us....each one of us is multifaceted, radiant, teeming with possibilities.”

As she tells you her own story, Dr. Judith Orloff will teach you how to recognize intuitive experiences in everyday life, awaken your own intuition with special mind-empowering exercises, and use meditation, prayer, and dream interpretation to broaden your possibilities. And like Dr. Orloff you'll soon be on a quest to reexamine your life, your beliefs, your future...and your own wonderous potential.

GET your copy of Second Sight ON MARCH 1st and receive 80+ GIfts from amazing teachers such as Dr. Joan Borysenko, Rev. Michael Beckwith, and Deepak Chopra, and Shirley MacLaine at http://www.drjudithorloff.com/second-sight-promotion/

Judith Orloff MD is author of the new book SECOND SIGHT: AN INTUITIVE PSYCHIATRIST TELLS HER STORY AND SHOWS YOU HOW TO TAP YOUR OWN INNER WISDOM (Three Rivers Press, 2010 updated edition). Her other bestsellers are Emotional Freedom, Positive Energy, Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. For more inspiration and free articles visit www.drjudithorloff.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Author Tells Why Obama’s Continued Popularity has Plunged Faster than Bush’s



President Obama’s popularity rating in December polls has plummeted faster than former President Bush’s at the same juncture of their presidency. In his new book How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge, author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson predicted that Obama’s popularity ratings would drop fast. “The war, the economy, and health care reform were important in Obama’s popularity plunge, Hutchinson argues, “they aren’t the only reason for the drop.”

Obama is a victim of his own rhetoric of hope and change, says Hutchinson in How Obama Won. Obama revved up people’s expectations of immediate change on everything from the economy to the wars. The performance could never match the rhetoric, says Hutchinson

“The problem is that Obama tapped into the public’s deep seated frustration and disgust with politics and politicians,” says Hutchinson, “Once the tap was made the public expected Obama to be different and act different than other politicians. The reality is that he’s no different and that’s a prescription for personal and political failure.”

Hutchinson further predicts that Obama’s popularity numbers will continue to plunge in 2010 and that the Democrats will be mortally hurt in the year’s mid term elections.

In How Obama Won, Hutchinson gives a no holds barred assessment of the make and break issues that confront Obama in 2010. These are the issues that will determine whether Obama can really deliver on his lofty promise of hope and change.

How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge

(Middle Passage Press, Los Angeles, 2010)

5517 Secrest Dr. Los Angeles, Ca, 90043

323-296-6331

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His latest book, How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press) is NOW available – http://www.amazon.com/How-Obama-Governed-Crisis-Challenge/dp/1439259925

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Muse by Fred Warren

Imagine you’re a writer searching desperately for inspiration.

Imagine that one day, you find it, but in a way that seems impossible, that challenges all your assumptions about reality.

Imagine if inspiration could be fatal.

The Muse

by

Fred Warren

Stan Marino needs a muse. He’s written himself into a corner…again.

A shot of inspiration is all he needs to finish his story…where will he find it?

Stan doesn’t realize that inspiration has found him, and it’s about to take over his life. Ripped from reality, he must lead a band of lost souls into a life-or-death battle with a merciless enemy.

Stan has found his muse, but will he survive it?

Read the First Chapter Here

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Source of Hope, Courage and Inspiration


Overcomers, Inc: True stories of hope, courage, and inspiration will give readers the knowledge and emotional resilience to face the most difficult times of life by sharing inspiring stories of triumph.

You will find this a book of diversity. There are many authors, from many walks of life. However, they all share a common bond. They triumphed over tragedy and gleaned wisdom in this process. While this is not a religious book, there are stories full of faith, of many kinds and flavors. It is funny how in your darkest times, faith often becomes your brightest light.

All of the contributors to this book want to encourage you to hold tight to your belief that a better day will come. It is their sincere desire to pass along what they’ve learned through their own trials, to make your journey easier.

To get your own copy and receive dozens of bonus gifts go tohttp://www.overcomersbook.com/booklaunch

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Enjoy a peek inside the book with this excerpt.

Listen to What Your Heart Already Knows
Lauren P. Salamone

The good news: Finally, I knew the cause of my muscle disorder... and the tumor was benign.

The bad news: While my symptoms wouldn’t get worse, I would not regain full use of my muscles. I just had to hope for some improvement.

From Overcomers, Inc.; True Stories of Hope, Courage and Inspiration. To get your own copy and receive dozens of bonus gifts go to http://www.overcomersbook.com/booklaunch

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Dreams Come True

It has been an amazing journey. Stepping out from this place of belief has resulted in success for me – and for so many college students – with much more to come. The feedback I receive from students, parents, and deans is abundantly gratifying. I am a guest speaker, a mentor and a coach. I belong to mastermind groups that help keep me inspired and in top form. And I am living well with my muscle disorder, which is pretty much undetectable to those around me at this point.

To top it off, I came home one day to a message from an editor who wanted to know whether my book was still available to be published! (It’s coming out in 2010!)

Had I not experienced my challenging medical year, I never would have allowed myself to realize my dream. Misfortune can actually lead us to a place of joy we wouldn’t otherwise know. Whatever challenge you face, I hope you will allow yourself to recognize a meaningful opportunity that may arise as a result. Play soothing music, light a candle, mentally exhale, and listen to your heart. You will be delighted by what you hear.

From Overcomers, Inc.; True Stories of Hope, Courage and Inspiration. To get your own copy and receive dozens of bonus gifts go to http://www.overcomersbook.com/booklaunch

Monday, September 28, 2009

Widow's Walk -- Caught Between Faith and Desire

If you've wondered if Widow's Walk by Kenneth Weene is a book to add to your bookshelf, don't miss Steven Clark Bradley's penetrating review of the book at Stories that Read You http://stevenbradley.blogspot.com/2009/09/widows-walk-by-ken-weene-story-that.html . Bradley says, "In Widow’s Walk, Ken Weene uses a lot of excellent descriptions to paint some very deep-seated feelings […]."

While you're there learn more about the author Ken Weene in the in-depth interview, and take a moment to leave a comment. Those who do will be added to a random drawing for a chance to win a copy of Widow's Walk or Ken's book of poetry.


If you haven't already read Widow's Walk, be sure to pick your copy up at Kenneth Weene’s Author Website - http://widows-walk.webs.com/ or at Amazon http://tiny.cc/M5TjW.


You can also connect with him on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.weene or Twitter - https://twitter.com/Ken_Weene.


For more information about Kenneth Weene and his virtual tour, check the schedule at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/08/widows-walk-blog-tour.html