Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Final Gold Award AND Literary Award for...

The SIGHTSEERS AGENCY, the ultimate book in The Dreadnought Collective series.
 A summary of the book reads:
Welcome to my fantasy world. It is not set in some mythical universe, but here on young Planet Earth.
It relates events happening in the not too distant future, where the unimaginable has happened: society has evolved without suffering near-extinction from a myriad of catastrophic disasters.
     The population is reducing from its overblown previous level, and life as we know it is becoming idyllic.
As you might expect, there are hiccups on the way, with murderous and criminal behavior yet to be fully eradicated.
     Religion only exists in pockets, now that we realize how we evolved, naturally, and did not need a helping hand in the ongoing process.
    How did we develop that realization? With awareness from aliens. After all, they seeded our beloved planet using us as guinea pigs.
    The problem is, those we’ve allied ourselves with don’t care about us very much. However, they do like what we possess, sufficiently to want to share it with us in the meantime, hidden from view except to those in the know.
This book contains a series of whodunit escapades with serious undertones.

Ignore the all too real messages it contains at your peril.

The review:
***** The Hungry Monster Book Review, February 20, 2017
The Sightseers Agency picks up with Richard Pencil leaving the government position he took up at the end of the previous book. With the new world order well underway, the big three-letter agencies are breaking up, and Richard is going back to work with Joe Fraser and the man known as the Inlooker. Richard also has an impressive upgrade to his extra-sensory detective powers. He’s joined by a new remote-viewer, Miss Plum Duff, whose talents were honed by alien intervention. Fraser hires them to launch the the Sightseers Agency, reporting to him and their mysterious benefactor. Their mission is to oversee the behavior of elected officials, and another secret goal is revealed later. Seb Cage, who is now a talented computer security specialist (along with the skills he gained from the Sombrella Syndicate), joins the agency as well.
    The Sightseers soon discover that the greatest threat to earth isn’t just from rogue officials and politicians, but also hostile aliens who have been planning an attack for some time. Complications arise because some of the aliens on Earth are friendly, while some are more like tourists who take on human form just to experience something different. Ms. Plum Duff comes into her own here, since she, like Seb, has a long history with regard to aliens.
    Like the previous agency novel, there is an overarching plot that is played out in several different investigations. While the book is described as a series of whodunits set in the future, each case is a link in a chain that ultimately brings conflict on both a personal and global scale. I was glad to see more about the use of psychic mind-reading to ferret out lies and criminal activity, and the manipulation of auras and even the soul itself. There’s also the fascinating angle of this “new world” society, run on a democracy-on-demand system with a goal toward a true meritocracy. While some of this society’s social practices seem dystopian, others, like the use of Tesla’s wireless transmission of energy, offer a utopia of readily-available power.
    One of the things I’ve enjoyed throughout the Dreadnaught series is the author’s vivid imagination. His notes at the beginning of the books give real-world tales of psychics and UFO phenomenon that act as the launch pad for his stories. His humor and wordplay are also in full force, with inventive non-cuss words, ribald comedy—especially when it comes to Richard and his Lothario tendencies—and the continued jokes about “potties,” which are ubiquitous self-driving transport pods, giving “on the throne” a whole different meaning.
    Overall, this series has been fun to read. The major recurring characters are so unique, each with their own set of skills, flaws, and quirks, that it’s a delight to follow them from one adventure to another. The Sightseers Agency ties up a lot of loose ends, answers questions, and ends on a hopeful note and fans of the series will be satisfied by the ending.

Author Interview - Terry Tumbler:
I think The Sightseers Agency is the best book of the Dreadnought Collective, and you did a great job of balancing the characters, conflict, and plot. Knowing that this was the last book in the Dreadnought Collective what was one thing you wanted to accomplish before the end of the series?
Loose ends to be tied up, conclusively.
The recurring characters are so unique, each with their own set of skills, flaws, and quirks, that it’s a delight to follow them from one adventure to another. What was one character you felt went through the biggest change throughout the series?
The Inlooker, posing as Claude Broadbent.
The Sightseers Agency ties up a lot of loose ends, answers questions, and ends on a hopeful note. Did you always have an idea of how the series would end or did it present itself as you were writing this last book?
It makes me feel uneasy to admit that this is the last book in the Dreadnought collective series, but you’ve put me on the spot! Yes, it makes sense to treat is as such, with infills later, like Bernard Cornwall did with the Sharpe’s series. I always aim to write with previous knowledge of the ending, but cannot claim to stick with it as the story evolves.
What is the next book that you're writing? Are you working on another series?

The next book is the start of another Sci-Fi series. It involves new technology based on true inventions in the past. It also speculates on what alien contact could be like, when we reduce our population level. It will be a ‘vehicle’ for humor, to lighten the underlying message passed to readers.


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

And so it continues...

I am so pleased and privileged to win awards for another two of my books:
The gold goes to
- Seb Cage Begins His Adventures - a Young Adult Sci-Fi book that is also suitable for older generations, like me.
 and the silver goes to
- The Deaduction Agency - a paranormal detection book out of the ordinary.
The silver is a more complex situation, as you can read in the Author Interview below.

Author Interview - Terry Tumbler
 The Deaduction Agency follows a team of psychics, telepaths and remote viewers who investigate several cases of disappearances, murders, and missing persons. This is a thrilling paranormal mystery novel. What was the initial spark for this book and how did that develop as you were writing?
Answer:
I empathize with psychics, whose skills gained credibility as I read about them in series such as Psychic Detectives. The willingness of the police and detectives to appear in the shows, often after retirement from the force, speaks volumes for their appreciation of the skills of the psychics they employed. What also emerged was the need of the program makers to pad out the stories of psychic detectives with endless repeats of the facts. This is because the crimes are resolved in such a straightforward manner that it makes regular policing look tedious – which it is.
     The first case, of a complex divorce, took longer to resolve because it did not require psychic abilities. I used it to contrast the differences in time to describe regular, traditional policing and those cases that require the skills of a psychic.
     To my regret, some reviewers failed to understand why this approach was taken.

The book covers several different cases which range from quick and easy to edge-of-your-seat thriller. My favorite was 'Case of the Prodigal Son'. What was your favorite case and why?
Answer:
 The same ‘Prodigal Son’, plus ‘The Honey Trap’, where Richard’s possessive and devious nature is revealed to the full.

The psychics at this agency have skills and near-future technology that give them powers beyond what psychics can do now. What were the limitations you needed to keep them believable and what was something that you absolutely had to have for them to be interesting?
Answer:
I accept psychic skills as they exist now, and have no patience with skeptics who try to fool around with their sensory perceptions, to prove they are frauds and have no special skills.  However, in the book they had to be fully capable of reading minds, in order to be foolproof in their assessment of criminals. Even so, some reviewers failed to understand this, and judged the psychic teams to be behaving unacceptably in passing sentence on some criminals. Why, if they can read minds and know the vile nature of the people they are categorizing? It is hardly as if they are executing them! The aim is to re-incorporate them into society, with their souls purified.

This story is ripe with paranormal activity, remote viewing and the powers of the mind. Which power and character do you identify with?
Answer:
Telepathy, having experimented with it in front of others, as a young teenager. I identify with Richard and Chuck and Joe, in different ways.

A final, general observation on the review itself. The opening scene is criticized for its excess of descriptive detail, That is almost a verbatim criticism made by another reviewer, Marta Cheng in 2015, who stated: In some places, such as near the beginning of the book, there is an inordinate amount of detailed explanation provided as to the set up of the agency’s offices – details that detract from the momentum of the story. In response, I cut down the detail to a mere 360 words, which is hardly inordinate! It also became apparent that Marta (who got fond of changing her surname to put me off the scent) had not read the book in its entirety and was intent on having a dig at another reviewer from the same stable as herself.
     To emphasize why it was done, I then suffixed the description with the following sentences:
Richard, the most senior partner in the agency, was busying himself constantly re-arranging brochures on a side table in the waiting area in reception. It was a quirky habit of his that Honey found most annoying. It also reflected his fussy preoccupation with orderliness and exact measurements.
Naturally, he was the architect of the office layout, which Honey was often tempted to rearrange, solely to unsettle him.

Love scenes soon followed as well! Some of this preoccupation is revisited later, as part of Honey’s tangled love life. What more can an author do?

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Brexit: UK could quit EU without paying a penny, say Lords

Report says British government has no legal obligation to pay for Brexit or outstanding payments into EU budget.
     The UK could walk away from the European Union in 2019 without paying a penny, the House of Lords has said, in a report bound to raise tensions with Brussels in the run-up to Brexit talks.
     The British government would have no legal obligation to either pay a €60bn (£52bn) Brexit bill mooted by the European commission or honour payments into the EU budget promised by the former prime minister David Cameron, according to analysis by the House of Lords EU financial affairs sub-committee.
     In a report published on Saturday, the committee argues that the British government would be on strong legal ground if it chose to leave the EU without paying anything, adding that Brussels would have no realistic chance of getting any money.
     “The UK appears to have a strong legal position in respect of the EU budget post-Brexit and this provides important context to the article 50 negotiations,” said Lady Falkner of Margravine, the Liberal Democrat peer who chairs the sub-committee.
     “Even though we consider that the UK will not be legally obliged to pay into the EU budget after Brexit, the issue will be a prominent factor in withdrawal negotiations. The government will have to set the financial and political costs of making such payments against potential gains from other elements of the negotiations.”
     Ingeborg Grässle, a German centre-right MEP who chairs the European parliament’s budget control committee, said she was astonished at the “really disappointing” conclusions. “It is not about the money. It is about responsibilities. The question is, do you stick to your engagements?” she told the Guardian.
     Grässle, who gave evidence to the Lords committee, described their conclusion as “putting the knife on the table” and said, if taken, the approach would damage Britain’s Brexit negotiations.
     The peers’ argument will be toxic to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, whose staff drew up the mooted bill ranging from €55bn-€60bn (£47bn-£52bn). This covers the UK’s share of EU civil staff pensions, unpaid bills and decommissioning nuclear power plants.
     Barnier is expecting the UK to pay into the EU budget in 2019 and 2020, putting the UK on the hook for payments worth £12.4bn, agreed by Cameron in 2013.
     The Brexit secretary, David Davis, has hinted that Britain may pay into the EU budget to get single market access, but large payments would be a political problem for the Conservative government. Setting out her Brexit vision last month, Theresa May said: “The days of Britain making vast contributions to the European Union every year will end.”

So much for the bullying tone and bluster coming from Brussels.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Tell me about it

Austin, Orwell, Bronte, Dickens... who are they? After world book day, depressing survey shows one in five can't name a single author 

One quarter of people claimed they have not read a book within six months 

William Shakespeare was cited as the most recognised author in history 

Others suggested the names Charles Darwin, JK Rowling and Stephen King

For world book day, one woman sent her child to school dressed as a shop catalogue   

From Jane Austen to Terry Pratchett, Britain is not short of literary geniuses.
     But it seems the nation isn’t aware of them - as one in five of people in the UK can’t name a single author, a survey has revealed.
     The Royal Society of Literature asked nearly 2,000 people to name a writer of literature but 20 per cent of respondents couldn’t think of a one author.
     Along with this, 25 per cent hadn’t read in the past six months 15 per cent of people said they thought that literature is too difficult to understand.

     But over half of the people who said they don’t currently read literature said they would like to and 88 per cent agreed that literature should be part of everyone’s education.