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Author Showcase / Interview – Rexx Deane (Synthesis:Weave)

Welcome, Rexx!

 

  1.  For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Rexx) Nobody is ‘born to write’. I am no exception. I’d never been particularly good with grammar, and had no idea about the more complex rules (I probably still don’t, truth be told). How to write dialogue was beyond me, and I had no idea where to start with plot.

The closest I’d ever come to ‘proper’ writing was when I entered an Interactive Fiction competition in 2004 (IFComp) and wrote a text adventure based on the legend of the origin of Tai Chi. I really enjoyed describing locations and creating puzzles, and I was happy with that, so it never occurred to me to write a novel.

In 2011, I met my partner, Kris. He wasn’t a particular fan of many of the TV programs I enjoyed, but I convinced him to watch a boxset of that 90’s classic, Babylon 5, and he fell in love with it. Around this time, I convinced him to start using a wheelchair because of his disability and, after some strong initial resistance, he took it up and found the wheelchair liberating. In 2012, I started a new job at a software development company that focused on behaviourism, and while working there I realised that I could *learn* to write. It was just a skill other people learn, after all.

By 2013, Prompted by my love of Babylon 5 and games like Mass Effect, I had started making notes. Kris provided the inspiration for several character notes and plot points; I was desperate to write something scifi that involved a wheelchair, but didn’t ‘fix’ disability. Once I’d convinced myself I’d got enough notes to start forming a plot of sorts, I started reading books about the various components of writing and finally put pen to paper / fingers to keyboard. At this point, Kris started training to be a fitness instructor, so I used the time while he did his courses to begin writing.

Come the end of 2013, I’d completed the first draft of Synthesis:Weave. It was another year of editing (and seven more drafts) before I handed it over to my editor and subsequently rushed to publish it. Now, years later, and after having written the sequel, I regretted that decision and went back to tear it down in a rewrite, which has now been published as a second edition in August 2018.

 

 

(Kam) I’ve read many backstories and I find yours to be one of the most intriguing ones I’ve read. As for Babylon 5: I’m more of a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” kind of gal. I love Picard! BTW: Kris, in the photo above, is an inspiration to all who think that something is impossible. There’s no shame in trying. If you fail, that’s ok, at least you tried. 

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(Rexx) For me, writer’s block seems to come about because of two things that actually have the same cause: lack of information.

I’ll get stuck because I’ve not thought of some way for characters to get out of/into a situation, or not enough backstory. I’ll also find myself paralysed when I don’t know where the plot should go next – usually because it could go in far too many directions. Both of these are down to not having a vital piece of information – be that something I need to think of in backstory, or some way of limiting what can happen next.

I’m a plotter, although I don’t go to such depth as planning chapters and scenes. Instead, I plan ‘waypoints’ – information I want to relay to the reader, significant events I want to happen, problems that can occur, and occasionally fully-written scenes I want to insert. I don’t necessarily know the order of these when I write them, so once I’ve got enough I’ll go through and group them into themes which often end up representing the start, early middle, late middle and ending of the book’s plot.

I start writing and then see where each of these points leads, so getting stuck is a consequence of not having the right piece of the puzzle to put in next to continue the flow. It can sometimes be remedied by writing on paper instead of using a keyboard; the medium forces me to go forwards without being able to stop and edit what I’ve put down. Other times, prompting myself about the problem before driving to work or doing some other menial task will mean I suddenly have an idea when I’m not expecting it.

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Rexx) I currently write science fiction, although I like to veer slightly off-genre to mix things up a little. Only recently, I discovered that my work falls into ‘solarpunk’. While I will read dystopian, I wouldn’t want to write it and prefer upbeat/optimistic scifi.

When I’m not writing or doing my day job (as a systems developer), I like to play computer games. I don’t spend as much time reading as I probably should, but I do read to my partner before bed, so I guess that counts.

I’ve been in a group of RPG players for just over 10 years now, and we play 3rd edition D&D – although it took them nine years to convince me to have a go at running the game myself. They enjoyed it, and I recently convinced them to give Traveller (scifi rpg) a go. I think playing D&D has fed back into my writing and given me a way to understand the characters I write and get into their heads. Similarly, writing has furnished me with the tools to make up my own adventures and encounters with greater ease.

(Kam) I’ve played D&D once in my life.  My husband introduced me to it because he spent so much time playing it in his youth. He hoped I would love it too but I didn’t. Guess I’ll stick with Yahtzee, Uno, and Scrabble. 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Rexx) If I think people might be interested in scifi, I’ll mention my novel(s). I’m actually more proud of the fact that I write than of the work I do every day, simply because it’s easier to talk to people about writing than it is to explain the technicalities of my day job.

My relatives and friends are proud of my writing (or so they say), but at times it’s a delicate balance to keep from getting obsessed with writing and have it getting in the way of my relationship with my partner.

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Rexx) I’ve read mostly ‘classic’ scifi and fantasy authors, and very few contemporaries, hence my skewed favourites.

Ursula Le Guin

Isaac Asimov

Arthur C Clarke

Carl Sagan

Gregory Benford

Julian May

Anne McCaffrey

Andre Norton

Michael Cobley

Alan Dean Foster

(Kam) Some of these names are not familiar to me. For that, I say thank you. I love being introduced to new authors/reading material. 

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Rexx) I’m going to be self-indulgent. I want to see Synthesis:Weave on screen. I wrote it to feel like a movie.

Bill Nighy (the British actor, not the science guy) as a particular enigmatic figure.

Rachel Weisz as Monica Stephens

Tom Hiddleston or James McAvoy as Sebastian

Bryce Dallas Howard as Sebastian’s sister, Janyce.

Emily Blunt as Karan

Ben Cross as Agent Gladrin (I had him in mind when writing the character)

A genuine amputee (double or otherwise) to play Aryx. Favouring Kurt Yaeger, although there are several paralympians who would suit, if they could act!

 

The laws of physics are about to change …

A tsunami on a space station.
An explosion with no trace of the bomber.

Cyber-security expert Sebastian knows evidence doesn’t magically disappear, yet when he and his colleague Aryx, a disabled ex-marine, travel the galaxy to find the cause, there seems to be no other explanation.

Can they unravel the mystery before his family, home, and an entire race succumbs to an ancient foe?

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Rexx) I’ve finished the sequel to Synthesis:Weave, and at this time I’m working on the cover for that, along with plotting the final book in the trilogy. I’ve also got ideas for an unrelated mild scifi set on present-day Earth, which I want to centre on a female character – it’s going to have a completely different feel to anything I’ve written so far.

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Rexx) Ebooks are available on Kindle, Kobo, Google play and Nook (all DRM free, so you can read it on any of the devices you own, regardless of which platform you purchase it from). Paperback and hardback formats are also available.

The preferred reading order is the order in which they were written. Synthesis:Weave was written first, followed by the short story prequel, Synthesis:Pioneer, which, when read after S:W, gives the ‘oh, so that’s what they meant!’ factor.

Synthesis:Weave 2, Afterglow is due out in March 2019, and follows immediately on from Synthesis:Weave.

 

When Calendula accepted the post of linguist aboard the Fluorescent Lightingale, she felt as though she’d been accepted as a token crew member. Little did she know what pivotal role she would play in Earth’s future.

Please note, Synthesis:Pioneer is a prequel short story to the Synthesis novel series only, and not a full-length novel.

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  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Rexx) By contact form on rexxdeane.com, or on Twitter @RexxDeane – I don’t tend to use Facebook much now and have been distancing myself from that platform, although I do have a page there.

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Rexx) I would like readers (and perhaps writers) to remember that just because a book has a character with a disability, it’s important not to make the disability the focus of the book. Disabled people just want to get on with their lives, and quite often get sick of being lectured or constantly presented with books that say they should behave a certain way. To be presented realistically, disabled characters should be the same. Just have them “get on with it,” and readers will love your book for it.

 

 

Your final comments (Q10) are absolutely true. People don’t want to be seen for what they can’t do but praised for the things they’ve accomplished. Disabled or not, we are all capable of truly amazing feats.  

I want to thank Rexx for sitting down with me today. I also want to thank everyone who’s reading this and decides to share, comment, or purchase Synthesis: Weave and/or Synthesis: Pioneer. Remember, reviews are helpful to authors. They love them. I’m sure Rexx especially loved the ones posted to Goodreads. (See below)

 

Chris B. (Synthesis:Weave), 5⭐: A Scifi story that keeps you gripped from beginning to end, with many twists & turns, a must read for all Scifi fans, it’s an excellent read, looking forward to a second book in the future 🙂

 

Alastair (Synthesis: Weave), 5⭐: I read this, and I liked it. Full of inventive ideas, spaceships, aliens and mystery. What’s not to like?

 

Rose E. (Synthesis: Pioneer), 5⭐: This is a very short SciFi story about 30 minutes of reading in which we get an introduction to ‘The Synthesis Series’, and a brief insight into the very varied crew on board the ‘Fluorescent Lightingale’. 

This tale centres around the linguist aboard who goes by the name ofCalendula a talented young woman who uses all her senses. I particularly like how the author describes what she smells and hears upon boarding the ship. 

I really do not wish to say more otherwise the story may be spoiled, but I do know that I will be moving the main story up my reading list.

 

(Kam) Yes, I know the last review had a typing error but I didn’t think it was appropriate to change it. It’s their review, not mine. Plus, I don’t think the error undermines the love Rose had for the story.  😛 

 

 

 

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Author Showcase – G.E. Stills (Garin’s Destiny)

For Mature Audiences Only: strong language, descriptive sex scenes and graphic violence

The exploration mission has barely begun and already it is a disaster. The Starseeker has sustained major damage. Garin’s entire crew is dead and he is stranded in a solar system hundreds of light years from Earth with no possibility of ever returning. There is a single unexplored world in the system that he must crash land on. 
Mitol is a world left in ruins by a virus that has killed the technological civilization that once lived there. It is now inhabited by savage creatures who live among the ruins and the surrounding jungle. Will Garin’s life be a short one with a violent ending, or a long lonely one? 

 

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Excerpt

 

Any landing you can walk away from…

Garin watched the information display on his monitor. Mitol was slightly smaller than Earth so he would weigh a little less. The air was slightly different than Earth’s but breathable. His stomach’s ability to digest any food source he found or drink the water was unknown. It’s not like I have any choice in that matter, he thought.

As he had orbited around the planet, he and the computer had searched for the best possible place to attempt a landing. He viewed that place now. A large lake. Garin took a sip of tepid water and scrolled through the data on his monitor one last time. The insertion coordinates approached.

No sense in delaying any longer.

Garin went through the preparations he had made one final time. The main engines of the Starseeker were solar powered and thus had infinite fuel but they were designed for long steady acceleration and not the brief strong bursts he would need during his descent. He had therefore turned the surface explorer ship so that its single working thruster faced forward and welded it in place on the Starseeker’s hull. Much of the fuel for the lander had escaped from ruptured storage tanks during the asteroid event, but he hoped there was enough left. Explosive charges were attached to the mounts that held surface explorer in place against the Starseeker’s hull. Garin hoped the computer link he had set up would allow the lander’s thruster to be activated remotely as planned.

If not I’m screwed, but I won’t be around to worry about it, will I?

When the craft was of no further use, he would detonate the charges and jettison the craft to get it out of the way. That would leave him with the maneuvering jets alone and they had a finite amount of fuel. According to his and the computer’s calculations, there would be just enough to reduce landing speed to a survivable velocity provided he landed the Starseeker in liquid.

Garin slipped on the skin-tight spacesuit only leaving the helmet secured to the handle of his chair. He fired the maneuvering jets and moved the Starseeker into position for its final descent to the ground below. In the beginning, only the readouts on his monitor told him the ship was sinking lower. Soon after, hull temperature shot up and the non-aerodynamic craft buffeted harshly as the atmosphere thickness increased. At timed intervals, the thruster from the attached surface explorer craft surged to life, slowing the Starseeker’s tremendous velocity.

The lander’s thruster winked out when the last of its fuel had been expended. Garin triggered the explosive charges and blew the lander free of the Starseeker. Attitude jets on the Starseeker burst to life correcting the trajectory change expelling the lander had caused. When the ship was on course again the thrust of the jets was shifted to the front and the ground rose to meet the ship quickly.

The jets sputtered and died, the last of their fuel gone. From here on, the Starseeker was an unpowered, unsleek glider. I hope my calculations were correct. I’m just a passenger from here, just cargo. There’s nothing more I can do, but go along for the ride.

Garin glanced through the front viewscreen to see land flashing by on each side in a blur. Starseeker hit the water causing him to surge forward against his restraining belts before the ship bounced into the air again. The second time it struck the water lasted longer, then it bounced into the air again. On the fourth bounce, part of the external structure was ripped away and Starseeker slewed to the left. More structure was ripped away and it veered to the right.

Each time the ship struck the water and before it skipped into the air again, it shed tremendous amounts of velocity and heat. Garin exhaled loudly when the ship settled to the water’s surface the last time and its speed rapidly decreased. The shore was half a kilometer in front of it once it stopped moving completely.

The Starseeker shifted abruptly, and instead of studying the shoreline, he gazed up into the sky. The ship settled ever lower and the viewscreen in front slipped beneath the water’s surface. Starseeker was sinking. Obviously, the hull had been breached during the landing and the interior of the ship was filling with water. Lights, artificial gravity, environmental controls, and the electrical systems continued to function. Garin felt it safe to assume that condition wouldn’t continue as more and more water flooded in.

That thought spurred him into motion. He jumped to his feet, grabbed his helmet which he attached to his suit, and dashed to the rear. In the galley, he stuffed condensed food packets into a bag then raced to the rear door. He noted the crew’s quarters was still dry, and after a brief stop to grab two changes of clothes, he dashed across the room. When he stepped into the equipment room, he saw water pouring in through the partially jammed open rear door. He snatched one of the extra spacesuits and stuffed the food bag along with his clothes into its cavity. Next, he gathered equipment, including a med kit, from the wall and shelves. He packed two water purifier units, two belts, each containing a holstered pistol and survival knife, flashlights, a fire starter, mini welding torch, and other equipment he deemed useful into the suit cavity. Water filled three fourths of the room by the time he finished. Garin grabbed a helmet and locked it in place on the suit carrying his supplies before he sealed his own helmet. The lights flickered and went out and the artificial gravity failed. Gravitational attraction abruptly changed. The floor was no longer down. Down was toward the rear of the sinking ship. The spare suit he had filled with supplies slid down the floor to splash into the water. Garin was right behind and plunged into the water as well. He switched on the suit lights in the now dark room.

While holding the spare suit, he dove under water and entered the decompression chamber. He manually opened the inner door and pushed into the chamber. Water filled the chamber behind him and he left the door open. Swimming across to the outer door, he opened it. More water rushed in and he held onto a handle waiting for the two sources of liquid to equalize.

Garin grabbed the spare suit and shoved it through the outer door ahead of him. When he was clear of the sinking Starseeker, he pressurized the spare suit. It jerked from his hand and shot toward the surface.

The ship struck the bottom of the lake and a billowing brown cloud of mud enveloped him, cutting of his view completely. Garin finished inflating his own suit and jetted toward the surface behind the spare suit. His head bobbed out of the water and he thrashed around in search of the suit containing his supplies. Spotting it, he swam up and reached an arm over the inflated suit. Garin unlatched his helmet, removed it, and inhaled his first breath of the planet’s air.

Having his suit deflated made it easier to swim, but he had to be careful not to let water pour in the neck opening and fill the suits interior. He spun in a circle until he was able to see the shore again. Pushing the inflated suit in front of him, he swam toward the shore that was several hundred meters away. When he finally reached it, Garin shoved the extra suit out of the water, then crawled on hands and knees to join it. He collapsed, panting and exhausted, on the sand.

 

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Normally zany and often naughty talking, G. E. has a serious and compassionate side if you can find it. He cares deeply for his friends and hasn’t met an animal yet he didn’t like. He is terrified of heights so hasn’t braved the tramway ride in his home town. He lives in the southwest while longing to live by the sea. He often says, “We have the sandy beaches but where is the water?”

He heeds the call of the many characters that pop into his mind and demand to have their stories put in print. Their tales are both serious and humorous. A multi-published author his stories cover many genres including contemporary romance, paranormal romance and science fiction. His stories are both erotic and non-erotic in nature. G.E. is the leader of a local writers group and in addition hosts a meeting of his own locally on fiction writing bi-monthly.

G.E. Stills loves to hear from his readers and can be contacted at any of these sites.

Website / Blog
Personal Facebook Page / Facebook Author Page
Twitter / Amazon Author Page  

Goodreads / Google+

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