Debunking myths on genetics and DNA

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to Climb the Eiffel Tower: a novel about life ... and cancer

I've often talked about cancer here on the blog, from a purely scientific point of view. Today, though, I'll switch perspective, as I talk with women's fiction author Elizabeth Hein, who is about to release her book How to Climb the Eiffel Tower.

Book Blurb:
Lara Blaine believes that she can hide from her past by clinging to a rigid routine of work and exercise. She endures her self-imposed isolation until a cancer diagnosis cracks her hard exterior. Lara’s journey through cancer treatment should be the worst year of her life. Instead, it is the year that she learns how to live. She befriends Jane, another cancer patient who teaches her how to be powerful even in the face of death. Accepting help from the people around her allows Lara to confront the past and discover that she is not alone in the world. With the support of her new friends, Lara gains the courage to love and embrace life. Like climbing the Eiffel Tower, the year Lara meets Jane is tough, painful, and totally worth it.

Elizabeth writes women's fiction with a bit of a sharp edge. She is fascinated by how friendship and human connection can help a person through the most difficult moments in their lives. I actually won Elizabeth's book through a Goodreads giveaway (on a side note, Goodreads giveaways are awesome, if you guys haven't tried them yet, you should: you get to find out about so many new releases and you do win free books from time to time!), so I had to privilege to start the book early, and I'm already hooked by the main character's strong voice.

EEG: Welcome to CHIMERAS, Elizabeth!

I love the premise of your book: it offers a fresh take on disease, a hopeful and energetic one instead of a teary/sad one. I know from your bio that you are a cancer survivor yourself. How much of your personal experience is in the book and in particular in your main character, Lara?

EH: Lara's experiences in How To Climb The Eiffel Tower are only tangentially based on my own. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a blood-related cancer, in 2002 and was far more ill than Lara is in the book. Then again, I had far more support. I was a 34-year-old mother of two young girls when I was sick, so family surrounded me the entire time. My parents and my in-laws took excellent care of my girls and me. Lara, on the other hand, was completely alone.

When writing How To Climb The Eiffel Tower, I wanted Lara’s cancer to be more than a disease. I wanted her illness to be a metaphor for Lara’s history of sexual abuse destroying her from the inside out. Cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that is known to be caused by a sexually transmitted virus and also can be successfully cured when detected in an early stage. Lara’s cancer was a direct result of her sexual abuse and its treatment was a literal eradication of her past. The beauty of fiction is that we can manipulate the facts to turn out the way we want them to be. Getting cancer really was the best thing that ever happened to her.

EEG: Rather than survival, your book is about rediscovering life, am I correct? Do you think that sometimes we "forget" to live our lives fully and it's not until we face such important "turns" in life that we finally stand up and live to our full potential?

EH: By all means I believe we forget to live our lives fully. Most of us concentrate on simply getting through the day and lose sight of the big picture. Experiences like a cancer diagnosis, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job can stop us in our tracks and force us to reassess where we are going in life. Impermanence is hard to ignore when it smacks you on the back of the skull with a board. This can lead to large changes like changing careers or divorcing your spouse, or small things like becoming a vegetarian.

In the case of Lara Blaine, the cancer diagnosis forces her out of self-imposed isolation and opens her up to human connection. Allowing people to care for her teaches Lara how to love again.

EEG: From your bio: "Elizabeth Hein writes about the people that go unnoticed in everyday life." What inspires you to tell their stories?

EH: I am inspired by the stories of ordinary people quietly facing extraordinary challenges. You truly see what a person is made of when they are under pressure. I could write about people in exalted positions performing heroic acts, but I want readers to see themselves in my characters. If Lara and Jane can get through cancer treatment, other people can too. The everyday provides plenty of drama if you look closely.

EEG: Tell us about your current writing projects. When's the expected publication date of your next novel?

EH: I am working on several projects right now. The project I am trying to concentrate on is called "The House," largely because an abandoned mansion is one of the main characters. The frame story of this novel regards Kai Hast, a woman in her late forties, who has recently discovered that she is an heiress and has inherited a mansion in Massachusetts. As Kai slowly renovates the house, she discovers things about the lives of her mother, her aunt, her grandmother, and the first Mrs. Hast. This novel is a bit of a departure for me. It is my first foray into historical fiction. It is also the first time I am playing with multiple points of view, as well as parallel story lines taking place in different time periods. I hope to get this novel published sometime in 2016.

The other project I am working on is the sequel to my first novel, Overlook. The working title is Escape Plan and picks up where Overlook leaves off with the same two main characters and a few new characters. Where Overlook dealt with infidelity and gossip, Escape Plan will deal with domestic violence, guilt, and the limits of friendship. I am also sketching out a novel set on Cape Cod and a travel mystery series.

EEG: That's all very exciting. Best of luck to you, Elizabeth and congratulations!

Find out more about Elizabeth's new book How To Climb The Eiffel Tower and her future book releases by following her on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

International Photography Awards

The Music Within © EEG

The Honorable Mentions of the 2014 IPA Annual Photo Competition have just been announced, and I was stoked to see the series I submitted, titled "Il Mal di Vivere" (the pain of living), among the awardees (edited to add: I was actually awarded third place in the self-portrait category). Il Mal di Vivere is a poem by Italian poet and Nobel Laureate Eugenio Montale, and with my series I wanted to portray the "pain of living" as a state of the mind -- a constant turmoil of the heart, the longing for change and the struggle to accept change.

The IPA competition is very prestigious, and the level of images submitted is outstanding. Check them all out here.

Two Doors © EEG

Restricted © EEG

Displacement © EEG

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Snippet - GENE CARDS

From GENE CARDS, Chapter 2:
The pain--the hardest thing is the pain.
He doesn’t mind the darkness, or the stench of latrine. He doesn’t mind the rats gnawing his cot, or the screams haunting the hallways like drunken ghosts.
The hardest thing is the pain.
It slices through his chest like a chilled blade. His lungs freeze, his throat gags for air. There’s no escape. Pain is his harshest prison.

This is from Julian's POV. He's not a happy lad. ;-)

The above is my Sunday snippet submission for the Weekend writer Warriors (you can find the Snippet Sunday group on Facebook, too). Make sure you check out all Weekend writer Warriors participants, it's a fun way to find forthcoming books -- all genres welcome, there's something for everyone's tastes.

Download the first chapter of GENE CARDS here. You can also enter the Goodreads giveaway to win one of two signed copies!

On other news, my short story Lady Lilith is now Amazon! But wait, just read it for free, free is better! ;-) --> sign up!

Friday, September 19, 2014

My tribute to Scotland

My City © EEG
Edinburgh Castle © EEG
As always, prints available here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Author Chrys Fey talks about her new book release, 30 Seconds

Today my guest is a music lover, a blogger, and the author of Hurricane Crimes and her new book release, 30 Seconds, whose title was inspired by her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars. Chrys Fey wrote her first novel at the age of twelve, she started writing her first novel, which flourished into a series she later rewrote at seventeen. Chrys created her blog, Write with Fey, in 2012 to help and inspire other writers.

Welcome to CHIMERAS, Chrys !

EEG: Tell us a bit about your background.

CF: I started writing when I was twelve and the four books I wrote at that young age have greatly influenced my writing today. As you can imagine, I wrote more freely when I was twelve. My writing was full of spelling errors and head-hopping, but throughout the years I’ve mastered my style and learned how to make my writing better. I still have all the notebooks containing my childhood series, too, and it’s so much fun to see how my writing improved. I later rewrote that series and hope to publish it someday in the future. *fingers crossed.*

Last year I realized my dreams of being an author when I published my first e-book, a short story titled Hurricane Crimes with The Wild Rose Press. Now I am publishing my second e-book, a romantic-suspense novella named 30 Seconds.

EEG: Where do you find inspiration?

CF: Music is my biggest inspiration. Whenever I’m writing, I’m listening to music and have songs that help me with certain scenes. My dreams are also a huge source for inspiration. A scene in 30 Seconds actually came from one of my dreams.

EEG: If you were to find a common thread between all your stories, what would that be?

CF: Romance. No matter what kind of story I write—if it’s a supernatural-thriller or suspense—there is always a romantic storyline, so you can bet there’s romance in 30 Seconds, and some steamy love scenes, too.

EEG: Tell us about your recent release, 30 Seconds. What is it about and where did you get the idea to write it?

CF: 30 Seconds is about a woman who finds herself in the middle of a war between a police-force and a deadly Mob. Dani Hart goes from being a doctor in the ER to a victim of a Mob. As she fights to stay alive, she falls in love with Blake Herro, the officer protecting her and the man who made her the Mob’s target.

I got the idea for 30 Seconds from the dream that inspired the scene I mentioned before. In this dream, I was spinning on a swivel chair with my eyes closed when hands halted the fast rotation and lips touched mine. I opened my eyes to see a hot officer in full uniform. Before I woke up he said, “I shouldn’t have done that.” In the morning, I started to think about writing a story where a woman falls in love with a cop even though she knows she shouldn’t.

EEG: What's your next project?

CF: Right now I am working on the sequel to Hurricane Crimes, which will serve as book two in the Disaster Crime series. I also have something else planned...a surprise for anyone who enjoys 30 Seconds, but I’m going to keep that little secret for a while longer. ;)

Blurb for 30 Seconds:
When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

EEG: Wow, that's intriguing. Thanks so much for being with us today Chrys!

Visit Chrys's blog for writing tips and recommendations, and connect with her on Goodreads and  Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Snippet Sunday: Gene Cards

From GENE CARDS, Chapter 14:
Guarded by firewalls, connected by underground tunnels, nourished by stocks of bioengineered food and the lake’s twenty cubic miles of water, the city of Liasis was an unbreakable fortress to the outside world. Yet pockets of underworld existed within the city, too. Dark alleys where you could trade a joint for cheap sex, where eyes had no color and faces no mouth. Here, the QNet warped into black holes of solitudes: Internet games, cybersex, virtual worlds where lives melted into a multitude of non-existing possibilities, the rabbit hole where Alice kept falling and falling and falling...

Skyler knew such world well. She was once an Alice too, and climbing out of the rabbit hole was the hardest thing she ever did in her life.

It's actually 5 sentences, but it felt complete like that, without adding the following 3.

The above is my Sunday snippet submission for the Weekend writer Warriors (you can find the Snippet Sunday group on Facebook, too). Make sure you check out all Weekend writer Warriors participants, it's a fun way to find forthcoming books -- all genres welcome, there's something for everyone's tastes.

Now that MOSAICS is out in the world, I thought I'd switch gear and introduce you guys to my next thriller, GENE CARDS, a dystopian mystery set in the future which is due out in October (you can read the blurb at the end of the post). I know, two book releases in less than a month, how crazy is that? The truth is that I've been waiting so long to push these out -- you can read this post if you're curious about the whole story behind my books and why they've been sitting in my drawer for so long.

On other news, I've polished a short story I wrote a while ago and I'm planning to send it out to all my newsletter subscriber before I release it on Amazon. So, if you want to read for free... sign up! :-)

GENE CARDS (A Skyler Donohue Mystery)
When the cure for some means death for others, how far will you go to save your own?

    Yulia Szymanski is a murderer and one of the best hackers of the century. Her mission: break her brother out of a high security jail before he dies of a rare genetic condition. On her trail is Biothreat Agent Skyler Donohue, a decorated Muay Thai fighter with a strange fascination for corpses. The obstacle to overcome: an invisible, deadly disease that strikes at random and has the city of Liasis locked in a bioterrorism siege. 

    When the latest to fall ill is Skyler's best friend's daughter, Skyler wants to drop the Szymanski case to chase the baffling pathogen that nobody is able to isolate. What she doesn't know is that finding Yulia is the only way to stop the epidemic and save the child's life. 
   In a world where identities are based on gene cards, and privacy no longer exists, survival is only granted to the rich, the healthy, and those who've learned to become invisible to the system. 

Download the first chapter here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Alex Cavanaugh on why he founded the Insecure Writer Support Group: "The IWSG means more to me than even my books because it’s had such an impact on others."

I've been part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group since last May and I have to say, it's a wonderful group and I made some really great friends. The group was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Ninja Captain of the group and the best selling author of CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm. Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, Alex's interests range from books and movies to music and games. But most of all, Alex is an awesome guy, very supportive of all writers who come join the group, no matter at what level of their career they are.

I'm really happy to have Alex guest on Chimeras today because I've been meaning to ask him about the IWSG and his books. So, welcome, Alex!

EEG: Tell us a bit about your background. In particular, how do computer graphics and/or your passion for music influence your writing? 

AJC: My work with graphics, web design, and technical instruction gave me structure and the desire for perfection, not to mention it allows for creativity. I’ve been a musician for forty years, not to mention I’ve always loved music, and that’s had an even bigger impact on my writing. Music is such a driving force when it comes to moods. It can set the tone and inspire.

 EEG: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read on your blog that you set aside the first draft of your bestselling book, CassaStar, for many years, before going back and deciding to finish it. What was the impetus that made you go back?

 AJC: I wrote a really rough first draft when I was a teen and then forgot about it for almost thirty years. I happened to find it again several years ago. The story and writing were awful, but the characters were solid. It was one of those ‘why not?’ moments, so I rewrote it and my wife prodded me to pursue publication.

 EEG: What's your writing process? Do you outline? If not, how do you develop your plots?

 AJC: I have to outline! I spend more time working on the outline and character details than I do writing the first draft. It’s always the ending that comes to me first and I work back to the beginning. The story usually plays in my head a few times, like I’m watching a movie, before I begin committing it to paper.

 EEG: What are you currently working on ?

 AJC: I’ve spent this year writing and revising a story outside my Cassa trilogy that was inspired by a song. Fingers crossed my publisher likes it.

 EEG: When was the Insecure Writer's Support Group born and what gave you the idea for it?

 AJC: The idea for the IWSG came to me August 2011 when I told a fellow writer he needed such a support group. I started mulling over the concept and finally announced it on my blog. The first Wednesday of September 2011, we had our first post – almost exactly three years ago! Last year we set up the website and Facebook group. The IWSG means more to me than even my books because it’s had such an impact on others.

EEG: Wow, that's so wonderful to hear, Alex. Thank you so much for bringing authors together like this. 

 AJC: Thanks, EE!

Remember, you can join IWSG by signing up here. Next post will be up on October 1st. Alex loves to hear from new followers, so go say hi on his blog or follow him on Twitter. I don't know how he does it, but he responds to every one!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

And it's a MOSAICS launch party!

It's here: MOSAICS, book 2 in the Track Presius mystery series is finally here, at the special launch price of $2.99 for a limited time only! To celebrate I'm giving away a signed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card -- enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win. The next three winners get a Kindle copy of Mosaics.

To enter the rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of the post you have to like at least one of FB pages and/or follow at least one of the Twitter accounts (1 entry per like/follow), and the more you like/follow the better your chances to win. Besides, these are all the author friends and book bloggers who are helping me spread the word about MOSAICS. They are all super-cool people and you'll love seeing their posts in your stream. 

Wait, there's more: if you subscribe to my newsletter you get 3 entries in the rafflecopter below AND this brand new desktop wallpaper AND you will be notified about the forthcoming CHIMERAS audio book:

So, what are you waiting for? Enter the giveaway, then go grab your copy of MOSAICS, grab one for your mom, sister, dad, spouse, and nephew, and go read. Just leave the lights on. You never know. ;-)

MOSAICS is book 2 in the Track Presius mystery series, a hard-boiled detective thriller with a genetic twist. CHIMERAS, book 1 in the series, is a 2014 Readers' Favorite Book Award Winner in the murder-mystery category. You haven't read the first book yet? No problem. To make the celebrations even bigger, CHIMERAS is only 99 cents right now -- but hurry, the deal expires at the end of the week!

MOSAICS (Track Presius #2) $2.99 for a limited time only!
Dubbed the Byzantine Strangler because of the mysterious mosaic tiles he leaves at the crime scene, a new serial killer is stalking the streets of Los Angeles. Racing to decipher the code encrypted in the tiles before the killer strikes again, Detective Track Presius faces a new challenge: the "awakened" genes that make his vision and olfactory sense so sharp are now taking a toll on his life. When a new set of tiles appears in his own backyard, Track makes a chilling realization: those very same genes that are threatening his life are drawing the Byzantine Strangler closer and closer. The line between hunter and hunted has suddenly blurred. Will Track be the next piece of the mosaic puzzle?

CHIMERAS (Track Presius #1) $.99 until 9/13!
Haunted by the girl he couldn't save in his youth, and the murder he committed to avenge her, Detective Track Presius has a unique gift: the vision and sense of smell of a predator. When a series of apparently unrelated murders reel him into the depths of genetic research, Track feels more than a call to duty. Children are dying -- children who, like himself, could have been healthy, and yet something, at some point, went terribly wrong. For Track, saving the innocent becomes a quest for redemption. The only way he can come to terms with his dark past is to understand his true nature.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book releases, crowdsource editing and the lonely life of a writer

This is a monthly event started by the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh and organized by the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Click here to find out more about the group and sign up for the next event.

I started a new book, the sequel to my forthcoming release GENE CARDS. No matter how many times I do this, whenever I start a new project I look at the blank pages and the miser word count and feel completely daunted. Does this happen to you too? On top of that, I have not one but two book releases coming up in the next four week so, needless to say, I'm a nervous wreck.

So, why am I still doing this?

Because I now have readers. And for a writer, that's the most beautiful thing.

I've often wondered, why is it that us writers need readers? I think it's because writing is a lone endeavor. We care for these characters in our head, we love them and want to get to know them better, so much so that we can't help but isolate ourselves from the rest of the world and write about them. We lock ourselves in a room with our laptop, or notepad, or whatever writing device we use, and write. In the meantime the world outside goes on: people go to the movies, friends meet up for coffee, kids go to school, couples get married, and in the meantime, us, lone writers, miss out on all this. Why?

Because readers make it all worth it. When we have readers, suddenly we're not the only one caring for these characters. There's a whole world out there that wants to know more about them, even if that whole world is just your mom, your spouse, your sister. Suddenly, we're not alone.

You know the best thing that happened to me last week? I got the proofs for my forthcoming release GENE CARDS. My kids came home from school as I was opening the box. My older one is a teenager. Remember those? Grumpy, demanding, constantly dissatisfied teenagers? Yeah. Anyways, my kids peeked inside the box, saw my book and started screaming in excitement. My teenager in particular said: "How cool is it that Mom writes books! Hey, Mom! Come sign my copy!"

And that... that... was true happiness. Because believe me, for a teenager her parents are the un-coolest thing on earth. And to see my daughter so happy to hold my book... really, it doesn't get any better than that.

My readers are also my best editors. Yup. I call it crowdsource editing. You see, I did something stupid when I sent out the ARCs for Mosaics. I was late, I'd promised to send them out in July and, well, July was coming to an end and the book hadn't been proof-read yet. So I gave it another quick read, found a few typos, and then sent it out. Of course, I sent it to my proof-readers too, but that meant that the ARC readers were getting a non-proofed copy. Did I mention that my readers are awesome? Not only did they understand and forgive me, they started sending me notes. And here's the best part: every single reader will catch some and miss some. But when I put all the notes together I knew my book was 99% clean. Yes. crowd-sourcing editing, how do you like that? :-)

So to all my readers out there. THANK YOU.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Every piece of art is a reflection of the everyday world": award winning poet Samuel Peralta talks about physics, art, and science fiction.

I've been doing author interviews for a few years now and I always try to limit my questions to 4-5 because I know writers are busy people and so are blog readers. However, today's guest is such an interesting person that I really couldn't refrain from asking more. Samuel Peralta is a physicist, an award-winning poet, a bestselling author, and just a beautiful person to meet and talk to. His work has been recognized with numerous awards, including from the BBC, the UK Poetry Society, Digital Literature Institute, and the Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. His love story Hereafter, is part of the anthology Synchronic, a collection of time travel stories written with other great authors I've interviewed on the blog like Michael Bunker, Susan Kay Quinn and Jason Gurley. Sam has another short story coming out mid September, Humanity, and is also producing "The Future Chronicles", a series of speculative fiction anthologies edited by David Gatewood. Yhe first title in the series, The Robot Chronicles, was released last July and reached #1 Bestselling SF Anthology.

Welcome to CHIMERAS, Samuel, what an honor to have you here today!

EEG: You have a PhD in physics and science has always been a big source of inspiration for you: tell us about the role of science in your art, whether it's poetry, fiction writing or filming.

SP: Every piece of art is a reflection of the everyday world, whether that part of it you reflect is inside you, or outside you. Science brings me a another perspective on that world, like a periscope lets you see above possibly murky waters into the clear air. It gives me another language, a different vocabulary, to express my art. Many poets reject the world of science and feel that it sullies their appreciation of the world. I see exactly the opposite: a knowledge of science enhances that appreciation. I believe in both science and God, in physics and beauty, in mathematics and art.

EEG: Why physics?

SP: Physics seemed to me one of the purest of sciences that still had to do with the real world. And I had an affinity for experimental physics - experimenting with catapult trajectories, constructing solar arrays, building nitrogen lasers from plastic and aluminum foil. It was fun, despite my mother's frequent concern.

EEG: You are an award-winning poet and you've been writing poems throughout your life. You've said of poetry: "Poetry demands a higher level of precision in language and imagery that needs to be worked at, cultivated, honed." How do you hone your craft? Do you have a particular routine or is every poem different?

SP: Every poem is different, but to me cultivating my craft means challenging myself with form, structure, all the elements of classical poetry, while managing to fool the reader into thinking that the poem is modern, free. natural, "unencumbered" of craft. I believe that to write free verse, you must first learn to write sestinas and sonnets, pantoum and rubaiyats. I once wrote a poem that was an condemnation of a terrorist act, that was celebrated by my readers; the poem only used the vowel "e" - and no one noticed. A private triumph. I write acrostic poems, use sonnet forms disguised as free verse, slant rhymes. My poem "Flying to Nantucket" is a limerick cycle - and a memorial to John F. Kennedy Jr. If you believe my readers, they told me the poem transcended the form. Having the fearlessness to do that - that's honing your craft.

EEG: What are some recurrent topics in your poetry and why?

Everything I find worth writing about is about love. It doesn't matter whether it comes down to the love between a man and woman, a mother and child, a person for himself, or the loss of it. That emotion is what makes us human. It comes down, all of it, to love.

EEG: You are also an independent film-maker. How did you get into film making and why? What are the current projects you're working on?

SP: I'm not so much an independent film-maker as an enabler for film-makers. It started off with one crowd-source contribution to an animated film, blossomed into producing a few select films, and has become a bit of an obsession. I think of it as paying forward my success in poetry to other creatives, in a field of art where I couldn't otherwise contribute.

I've now helped support about 90 independent films - many at the executive producer level. One of my favourites, the award-winning "Dorsal", is opening for the Atlantic Film Festival and is a selection of the Vancouver International Film Festival. Other films - "The Nostalgist", "Le Gouffre", "Man from Reno" - have also won film awards. My current interests are helping produce the English-language versions of some classic Japanese films, including "Patema Inverted" and "The Time of EVE".

EEG: Let's talk about your books: if I understand correctly, fiction is a recent diversion from poetry. Was it a conscious decision to start writing science fiction or did it just happen?

SP: It was a conscious act. A a poet, I had an epiphany in a bookstore - I was browsing through one of Margaret Atwood's wonderful collections of her poetry, when I realized that the entire shelf was filled with her numerous novels, but only one volume of her poetry was represented. I realized that the rest of her writing was still poetic, that books like Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" could be looked at as, at the heart, extended poems in prose. I wondered, could I do that? Write speculative fiction and still be true to my poetic core? And so here I am, trying to do just that.

EEG: Tell us about your upcoming series "Labyrinth Man": what was the inspiration? How many books will it comprise?

SP: The Labyrinth is the world that most of my speculative fiction will be anchored in. It's a world a world where corporations have expanded beyond governments, where pervasive surveillance is a part of life, where non-human self-awareness has begun to make humanity face difficult questions about itself. If that world sounds almost familiar, you’d be right. Change “telepaths” to “intelligence agencies” and “robots” to the name of any one of the many displaced segments in our societies, and we’d be talking about the world we live in today.

"Labyrinth Man" was the story I intended to start the series with, but it didn't happen that way. I was able to place several other stories in that world - "Hereafter", "Liberty", "Trauma Room" and "Faith" - with four anthologies before the release of "Labyrinth Man", which becomes the sixth story in the series. All of these titles are standalone and can be read in any order, but all of them contribute to an understanding of the tapestry that makes up the world of Labyrinth. And yes, I write humanist science fiction, if you will; the point of every story still comes down to love.

EEG: How does fiction writing compare to poetry writing?

SP: For me, it's just as difficult. Most people would say poetry is easier, because they channel poetry, let the muse take over. I don't - poetry consists, for me, of building a concept, doing research, outlining, writing a first draft, going through numerous edits and parallel versions, listening to the cadences of it as it's read aloud, and finally tweaking every word to a final version. Doesn't that sound a lot like the process of writing a short story or novel? I've always written poetry that way, so the process is similar. To me, the short story or novel is another form, like a sonnet or a sestina, with which to hone the craft.

EEG: What are the next titles in the anthology seires you are producing, "The Future Chronicles"?

The next title in the series is "The Telepath Chronicles", which will be released in November. the next ones will be: "The Alien Chronicles" (soon to be announced, author roster complete, for release in Jan); "The A.I. Chronicles" (publicly announced as sequel to "The Robot Chronicles", release date not finalized). There are more planned, but these are the ones that are publicly known.

EEG: Thanks so much for being with us today, Sam!

Check out all other books and poetry collections by Samuel on his Amazon page. You can also connect with him via FB, his blog, and Twitter.