Fantastic Books I’ve Edited: Week VII: Warriors of The Four Worlds

WarriorsOfTheFourWorldsBN

Happy Black Speculative Fiction Month everyone! On this glorious Monday, I continue my blog series with one of my favorite “hard science fiction” gems: Warriors of The Four Worlds by Ronald T. Jones. What can I say about Warriors of the Four Worlds? I love this book–absolutely love it. Warriors… has action and futuristic weaponry galore, with nail-biting suspense and a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. To top it off, the novel is funny too–a must (in my humble opinion) for any five star yarn. So, without further adieu I bring you Ronald T, Jones, author of Warriors of the Four Worlds.

Ronald T Jones

Contact Ronald at Amazon

(This interview was first published by Malcolm “Rage” Petteway,Rage Books Publishing LLC ).

Can you tell us something about your book?
Warriors of the Four Worlds is an action-adventure tale set in a far off future in a distant part of the universe. Humans are struggling for survival in the face of certain extinction at the hands of a brutally aggressive species. Warriors is narrated from the perspective of a hardened military veteran, Lev Gorlin, who is forced to take up arms once again to confront a new threat. Lev’s methods in defense of humanity are as merciless and aggressive as the enemy he battles.

How did you come up with the idea?
Honestly, I don’t remember. I do know that I approached this story as I’ve approached previous and subsequent stories. I wanted to present the best action and adventure that I could muster. I wanted twists and turns and peril aplenty in my story. I wanted to convey noble and perhaps not so noble heroics and the most dastardly, despicable villainy. Basically, I wanted to write a story that I would enjoy reading.

When did you start writing and what inspired you to write?
After gorging on a steady diet of Star Wars, Star Trek and all of the TV, film and literary science fiction that I could consume, an idea took form in my head and began flittering around inside my skull like a crazed moth attracted to light. It occurred to me that I don’t just have to watch this stuff, I can write it as well. So one day, back in the late 80s, I grabbed a pen, some paper and started writing.

Why did you pick science fiction?
It never occurred to me to write in any other genre. Science fiction was, is and will always be my passion. This isn’t to say that I’ve only read and written science fiction. But as far as fiction is concerned, science fiction has given me the greatest latitude to expand my imagination, to truly envision wondrous, strange and fantastic things.

What do you want readers to come away with after reading your book?
I want readers to come away with that pleasant endorphin-generated feeling you get after enjoying a wonderful movie, or a fine piece of chocolate or a great workout. I want my readers to feel good!

Who is your intended audience?
Science fiction fans, people who enjoy rip roaring action and adventure in any genre, anyone enamored of compelling story telling. Hopefully my work will attract any and all of the above.

What writers influenced you the most?
I’ve enjoyed the works of David Weber. His space operas are very engaging and his world building is truly epic. The same is true of fantasy writer, Imaro-creator, and godfather of Sword and Soul, Charles Saunders. There’s Steven Barnes and a host of other authors whose works I’ve enjoyed over the years.

What are your favorite aspects of writing?
I love creating characters and settings and situations. I love taking the raw material of my imagination and refining it into gripping prose.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write, write, write. Constantly hone your craft. Write regularly, even if you’re not writing something related to your latest novel or short story. If you’re jotting down a to-do list, you’re writing. The more you write the better you get. Read regularly. Reading proficiency is connected to competent writing. And read aplenty in the genre you’re writing in. You’ll pick up a variety of styles from a variety of authors and eventually your individual style will emerge. Lastly, enjoy yourself. The moment writing becomes a chore instead of something you love so much you’d do it for free (which many aspiring writers are doing anyway) then it’s time to reevaluate your craft.

Review by Rage Books

Powerful, intense and unpredictable
Lev Gorlin is a highly decorated military soldier. He is a superb strategist and a war hero in a galaxy where Humans and Zirans protect the genetically docile Vingin through a tripartite alliance. . After a twenty year war with the Tacherins the humans begin a military drawdown, dismantling their lethal weapons that won the war. But in the eye of a promised peace, discord in the alliance breeds treacherous intentions. Lev Gorlin is pulled out of military retirement to lead the human resistance in face of a more aggressive and violent enemy.

Ronald T. Jones delivers a knockout punch with this exciting tale of military might versus strategic cunning. Warriors of the Four Worlds reads like a Tom Clancy novel. Ronald has embodied the action, intrigue and excitement of Clancy’s Red Storm Rising and masterfully wrapped it in a believable science fiction setting. The combat scenes and the military tactics he describes are told like a combat veteran relaying a personal war story. The feelings are raw and the action is fast.

I highly recommend putting this on your “next book to read” list. Definitely five star material here.

This is available for Kindle, which is great, because you will definitely want to take this book with you and steal time to read it at every opportunity until you are done. Then you will want more.

author-valjeanne-jeffers-ala

Contact Valjeanne Jeffers for editing: sister24moon@gmail.com

Valjeanne Jeffers is the author of eight science fiction/fantasy novels, and she has been published in numerous anthologies. Purchase her novels at http://www.vjeffersandqveal.com and Amazon

She is co-owner of http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com with poet and artist Quinton Veal. Contact Valjeanne for editing, and Quinton Veal for cover art at: sister24moon@gmail.com Their reasonable prices will shock and amaze you 🙂

Fantastic Books I’ve Edited Week II: Once Upon a Time in Afrika

92969-onceuponatimeinafrika

Purchase Once Upon a Time in Afrika here. Balogun Ojetade on Amazon.

This week I continue my blog series “Fantastic Books I’ve Edited” with a spotlight on Author and Editor Balogun Ojetade and his fantastic novel: Once Upon a Time in Afrika.

What I can I say about Once Upon a Time in Afrika? Read. This. Book. You’ll thank me later. Once Upon a Time in Afrika is a wildly imaginative ride full of rich, vibrant characters, sorcery, African mythology, and mad cool battle scenes. This is one of those novels that I wished (while editing) that I was curled upon a sofa with, instead of sitting in front of my pc. Of course that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. But then, Brother Balogun Ojetade is one of my favorite authors and he never fails to deliver.

So, without further fanfare I present an interview with Balogun Ojetade.

Q&A with Author Balogun Ojetade

balogun-1

Who is Balogun Ojetade?
He is an author; a father of eight children; a husband; a Steamfunkateer; a filmmaker; a screenwriter; an actor (sometimes); a master instructor of indigenous Afrikan martial arts; a creator of role-playing games and a traditional Afrikan priest. Oh…and he always spells “Afrikan” and “Afrika” with a “k”.

When did you first get into science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction?
When I was two years old – my sisters decided to conduct an experiment and see if they could teach their two year old brother to read by getting him hooked on comic books, starting with Thor, Superman, Beetle Bailey, Archie and the Fantastic Four. Their experiment worked and I have been in love with speculative and imaginative fiction ever since.

Tell us about Once Upon A Time In Afrika
Once Upon A Time in Afrika is my Sword and Soul novel. For a definition of Sword and Soul, I will quote the subgenre’s founder, the incomparable author, friend and Jegna (“mentor”), Charles R. Saunders: “Sword-and-soul is the name I’ve given to the type of fiction I’ve been writing for nearly 40 years. The best definition I can think of for the term is ‘African-inspired heroic fantasy’. Its roots are in sword-and-sorcery, but its scope is likely to expand as time passes.”

Here’s what Once Upon A Time In Afrika is about: Desperate to marry off his beautiful but “tomboyish” daughter, Esuseeke, the Emperor of the powerful empire of Oyo consults the Oracle, which tells him that Esuseeke must marry the greatest warrior in all Onile (Afrika). To determine who the greatest warrior is, the Emperor hosts a grand martial arts tournament, inviting warriors from all over the continent. Just a few of the warriors chosen are her lover, Akin, who enters the tournament in disguise, a wizard seeking to avenge the death of a loved one and a vicious dwarf with shark-like, iron teeth. Unknown to the warriors and spectators of the tournament, a powerful evil is headed their way and they will be forced to decide if they will band together against the evil, flee, or confront the evil as individuals.

Why are Science Fiction and Fantasy important to you?
I learned just how important Science Fiction and Fantasy is after spending several years as an English and Creative Writing teacher in the public and private sectors. In conversing with other English teachers, I often asked them if they taught creative writing in their classes. Most did not. One teacher told me that she tried “that creative writing stuff” with her students, but quickly gave up on it and returned to a more“practical syllabus.” Upon further investigation, I discovered that she believed creative writing – particularly Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy – to be something outside – and, indeed, beneath – the instruction of English.

Most educators of English / Language Arts focus on the mechanics of the subject – how to read and write, rules of grammar, use of verbs, adverbs, adjectives, pronouns and nouns and sentence comprehension – without the context of why and how those mechanics are used by students to express themselves.

Yes, we need to teach the mechanics – how to hold a pen; how to read; how words work – but we should not confuse use of a thing with understanding of it. Training in the mechanics of writing produces writing technicians; however, it does not make you a writer. So, you know how to spell; you can answer questions on grammar; you can repeat someone else’s literary criticism of a text – you are a technician. You can fix my text as a garage mechanic can fix my car. The garage mechanic can’t design a car. They can’t improve a car. They can’t build one from scratch. They can only ever work on someone else’s car. This is why we – and our children – need to read and to write Science Fiction and Fantasy – so that our children do not only work on other people’s texts; they create and build their own. So they are not limited to just reading a story written by someone else and providing a report on it – they are out there in the field, experimenting with new stories and questioning old ones…if only for the reason that they can.

We need to teach our children to go out into the world to add to the pantheon of human creation and endeavor, not to dissect the words of long dead men. Science Fiction and Fantasy are best suited for that.

What type of research goes into bringing one of your stories to life?
Tons of research…on the history; on the setting; on the culture and belief system of the people I write about. If we are going to write Steampunk and our story is set during the Victorian Era (between 1837 and 1901) and we want to avoid the cultural appropriation so prevalent in Steampunk, then it is necessary that we know history; that we understand how the Age of Steam was, so that we can determine how it should have been.

If we cosplay a “Steampunk Squaw,” we should research how First Nation women lived during the Age of Steam; we should study First Nation cultures and choose in which nation we are going to gain historical and sociological expertise; we should research the word “squaw”, understand it is an offensive term to First Nation women and change the name…if you give a damn.

And that is what research is: giving a damn. So I do it…a lot.

Contact Valjeanne Jeffers for editing and cover art at sister24moon@gmail.com

Valjeanne Jeffers is the author of eight science fiction/fantasy novels, and she has been published in numerous anthologies. Purchase her novels at www.vjeffersandqveal.com and Amazon

She is co-owner of http://qandvaffordableediting.blogspot.com with poet and artist Quinton Veal. Contact Valjeanne for editing, and/or cover art at: sister24moon@gmail.com her reasonable prices will shock and amaze you 🙂

Valjeanne Jeffers

The Hall of Justice

sybrina-fulton-trayvon-martin_240x340_54
For Trayvon

We enter their sanctuary
this space unsullied
by our cries and groans
of subjugation
This place pristine
and pure
of us
kneeling we kiss the hood
we tenderly embrace the blindfold
lift it from her eyes. . .
and draw back in horror
disillusionment
and finally
knowing
the truth that was
always there
that her hollow orbs
are filled with maggots
her breath
the sepulchral fog
of a rotting corpse
blood-stained tears
stream down our cheeks
as we beseech God
asking Him
What path?
What road?
What journey
Now?
For justice

Grandmere’s Secret: Part IV

grandmeressecret

To create a buzz about my new novel I’m dropping this year, Mona Livelong, I’m going to posting this story in intsallments on wordpress 🙂

Simone and Paul jumped out of the car and ran toward her
apartment–-not stopping to marvel at the Mapou tree that hadn’t
been there just yesterday.

They heard Michelle cry out, and spied the great down on
her balcony. “Get away from my sister!” Simone yelled. “You –!
Where is it? I know it’s here!” She saw the pile of skin lying beside
the Mapou, and pulled the packet of salt from her jacket.

The loup-garou howled and blurred to where she stood
below… pouring salt on to its skin. With a hideous shriek, the
creature was gone.

“Michelle–!” Simone pounded on the door.

Michelle dropped to her knees, hands splayed out as specter
fled her body as quickly as it had come. Simone pounded on the
door again. “Michelle! Open the door!”

Michelle snatched it open and they rushed in. Simone
grabbed her in a crushing embrace; then held her at arm’s length.

“You alright?”

Michelle grinned at her older sister. “You remembered!”

“Yeah, I did… Now let’s get out of here before something
else shows up!”

***

The three shared their weird encounters over a late supper
of gumbo and dirty rice. Paul laughed shakily. “I don’t
why they dragged me into it–I ain’t even related to ya’ll.” The two
women stared at him. “What? What’d I say? I was only kidding.”

“It’s because of the house.” Michelle said slowly. “All this
started after we put the house on the market.”

“You mean these things don’t want us to sell it?” Simone
asked.

“No, they do want us to sell. These attacks are warnings for
us to stay away.”

“That doesn’t make sense!” Simone protested. “I’m all for
the sale–-been that way from the get-go!”

“Maybe on some level you’re not,” Paul mused
thoughtfully. “You just don’t realize it yet.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in this kind of stuff,” Simone
countered.

“This is New Orleans. I believe my eyes. One of them loup-garou
attacked me, remember?”

His lover smirked. “Yeah and I saved your butt. You should
have seen him girl! He was all into it!”

Michelle stood up abruptly. “I’m going to get Grandmere’s
gift. I promised her I would. You coming?”

The couple exchanged glances. “I don’t think that such a
good idea,” Simone said. “Besides, whatever she left is probably
gone by now.”

Michelle shook her head. “No, it’s not. They wouldn’t know
where to look.”

Paul glanced at Simone as if to say: “Do something with her
will you?”

“Sweetie, can’t we at least wait until morning?” Simone
pleaded. “It’s almost midnight!”

Michelle was now rummaging though her tote bag and
didn’t look up. “It has to be tonight.”

“You are crazy!” Simone blurted. “And so stubborn–you
always were…! What are you looking for?”

Michelle straightened up and held out her hand. In her palm
were three necklaces each with a tiny miniature machete attached to
it: symbols of the warrior Loa Ogun, and protection against the
supernatural.

“Grandmere Angelique gave me these to give to you before
the storm hit. Afterward, things were so frantic…” she dropped her
head, “I just forgot.”

“Sweetie, maybe these are her gifts.”

“No, they aren’t. Trust me.”

Simone sighed and looked resigned. “Okay, into the night of
creepy demons we go.” She filled a plastic bag with salt. “Just in
case.”

Paul grabbed his walking stick and smiled sheepishly. “Hey,
she left me necklace too. I gotta come with you.”

Copyright 2010, 2013 Valjeanne Jeffers, Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson,
Cover art and design Quinton Veal 2010 all rights reserved.

Contact Authors Valjeanne Jeffersand Quinton Veal at http://www.vjeffersandqveal.com
This story has been published in Specular Mythseed and Genesis Science Fiction Magazine
An excerpt was also featured on Black Tribbles Radio Show: Octavia City

Grandmere’s Secret: Part III *Adult Content*

grandmeressecret

Her grandmother kneeled beside her and gathered up the
article in a neat stack. She stood extended her hand, and helped the
dazed young woman to her feet then pressed the papers against
Simone’s chest.

Grandmere Angelique gently touched her check. “Be vigilant,
ma petite, they are coming.”

She vanished. Simone was now staring at another intern,
Cynthia, gazing at her with look of concern.

“You okay?”

Wordlessly, Simone nodded and watched her walk away.

***

Michelle finished typing her education assignment, saved it
and shut her laptop down. She and her sister both attended Xavier.
But Michelle was only a sophomore and it would be two more years
before she could begin student teaching.

She could barely wait. She had a special way of breaking
through the learning barriers of even the worst so called “bad
children.” They were after all, only children. And in today’s school
system “bad” or learning disabled usually meant Black-–especially
Black and male.

“You’ll learn,” her adviser had told her dryly. “Optimism is
great, just as long as you understand you can’t save everybody.”

Michelle pushed back from her desk, and took her sweater
off the chair. She pulled it on and walked through her living room.
The apartment was too expensive. But she’d had gotten it just for
the French doors and balcony. She stepped outside and leaned
against the railing.

She thought about her visit from Papa Legba and wondered
if she should have mentioned it to Simone. It’s probably better that I
didn’t. I don’t want her thinking I’ve gone crazy.

There was already too big of a rift between them. The sisters
had grown apart over the years; so much that was precious to
Michelle had been discarded by her sister.

The young woman closed her eyes, letting the cool breezes
wash over her. In the distance someone was playing a guitar, and
she could hear snatches of a Creole melody being sung in
accompaniment.

She smiled. You gotta love New Orleans.

The singing changed… slowly at first and then with a growing
intensity it became a screeching inhuman wail… punctuated by a
drumbeat. She opened her eyes, and drew her breath in sharply.
Beneath her, a diaphanous sheet of cloth floated past a tree.

Only it didn’t look like cloth.

It looked like skin.

***

Someone was in the apartment. Paul had spied blue cloth
drifting past the door to his living room. He cursed himself for not
buying a gun like he’d first wanted to.

Simone had talked him out of it, quoting the statistics on
handgun accidents. He hated guns too, and had let her talk him out
of it. But now…

Paul slid out of bed as quietly as he could, and scanned the
room frantically for something-–anything-–he could used as a
weapon. He spied his monkey palm stick leaning against the closet,
and breathed a sign of relief. He’d found at a second hand store.
The hand carved walking stick went so well with the rest of his
African art collection he’d had to buy it.

He hefted it in his hand, liking the heavy feel of it, then
picked up his cell phone dialed 911, and crept through the living
room into the kitchen.

At the sight of her, the stick and phone fell with a clatter to
the floor. She was as tall as he with mahogany skin, and black hair
piled into a ball atop her hand, and braided in a loop around her
neck to her back. Her eyes were luminous pools, glowing in
the dark kitchen, and she had a long face with high cheekbones, a
wide nose and thick lips.

The blue scarf he’d glimpsed earlier was her only clothing;
and now it flowed back from her body in breeze. It was so
transparent he could see her breasts with thick purple nipples and
her wide hips that curved outward from her waist.

The kitchen vanished. A lush jungle of flowing plants and
fruit sprang up to replace the counters and stove, and to his right a
waterfall.

“Come Paul,” her voice resonated both around him and
inside his head. “Come…”

He stepped into her arms. She stroked his erection and it
bulged still bigger. The creature smiled revealing razor sharp fangs,
and brushed her lips gently against his.

Simone appeared at his left. With a howl she swung the
walking stick–-beating the loup-garou about her head and shoulders.

The creature screamed a cry unlike anything human-–her
face now twisted and ugly–-and disappeared.

Paul’s eyes focused, and he shook his head like a man
emerging from a dream. “Simone! Baby I’m sorry, I-–!”

She put her fingers to his lips. “It’s OK.”

“How did-–? What was that?!”

“That was a loup-garou-–a vampire,” she held up the stick,
“and this is a monkey palm stick used to ward off evil!”

***

Are those drums?

Yes, Michelle could hear the unmistakable sound of a
staccato drumbeat in the distance. And now the temperature shifted
from 50 degrees to 90 degrees, the grass below growing long and
wild covering the sidewalk.

Below her a Mapou tree appeared: tall with a twisted thick
trunk and roots clutching the soil like fingers. She cried out softly,
as a memory thrust its way into her mind.

“It is bad, ma petite,” Angelique had whispered, “a tree
where all manner of evil gathers. Never ever fall asleep under it.”

In the next instant, a huge white dog appeared beside the
tree gazing up at Michelle. She realized that her hands were shaking,
and she’d broken out in a sweat.

She backed away from the railing, and the dog vanished in a
push of smoke. In the next instant the smoke blurred onto the
balcony and the dog reappeared.

Michelle screamed a long cry of terror, as the loup-garou
blocked her path. She could see now his red eyes that glowed like a
cats. She tried to dodge past him and with ghastly speed he shot in
front of her and advanced growling.

Suddenly, a heavy presence filled Michelle, and a gossamer
specter squeezed from her body to stand between her and the loup-garou.

The creature spoke in a sibilant, hoarse voice: “Stop your
meddling Angelique, and stay out of matters that don’t concern you
–-if you value their lives!”

Copyright 2010, 2013 Valjeanne Jeffers, Valjeanne Jeffers-Thompson,
Cover art and design Quinton Veal 2010 all rights reserved.

Contact Authors Valjeanne Jeffersand Quinton Veal at http://www.vjeffersandqveal.com
This story has been published in Specular Mythseed and Genesis Science Fiction Magazine
An excerpt was also featured on Black Tribbles Radio Show: Octavia City

Author Valjeanne Jeffers at the Alabama Phoenix Festival

Alabama Phoenix Festival me and Mikeauthor Valjeanne Jeffers AlaMike ThompsonWow! Awesome cosplay!really cool scientiststeampunk wild wild west sisterSheroe!Valjeanne Jeffers the superhero!Annabelle02Nick FuryI ain't afaid no ghostme and Afugreen latern and Mike ThompsonDr Who to the rescuecropped-APF-Blog

‘I’ve been writing stories since I was around nine or ten years old. As a little girl I loved stories of the paranormal too. During the 1990s I rediscovered my love of SF reading folks like Octavia Butler and Tananarive Due. When I caught the “fire” and started writing fiction again it had to be speculative fiction. I’m in love with this genre — in love with stories of the fantastic and strange.

In the 21th century there are very still few characters like us, and out of this small pool many are post-modern “Step-and Fetchits” (stereotypes). This is why speculative fiction is so important. This genre helps us to see outside reality, to say: what if? It helps us to imagine and create spectacular, wondrous realms, step back and find the beauty and wisdom there, and then transform our own space.

We need to dream, and we need our writers to help us to dream. Even if – especially if – these dreams are of fantastic, imaginary creatures and happenings. We need this because dreaming can be an escape. One should never underestimate the power of escape. Imagine a child living in squalor, and escaping into pages of a novel. Or a slave reading by lamplight and envisioning her freedom. Or a man working as a sharecropper, and at sunset telling his story with harmonica. We all need to escape, at least sometimes, into the worlds of those who dream like us, who understand us; who look like us. To paraphrase B.B. King, we need authors who get us where we live. Second of all dreaming helps us to change. If you can dream it, you can do it. You can move yourself and your corner of life forward.’
Author Valjeanne Jeffers, orginally submitted on BlackFaery (UbatiMweze mythwhispering)

Valjeanne Jeffers is a poet, artist and the author of five SF/Fantasy novels Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend, Immortal III: Stealer of Souls, The Switch II: Clockwork (which includes Book 1 and 2) and Immortal IV: Collison of Worlds and several short works of fiction.

Valjeanne is well-known for mixing the quest for liberation with science fiction, erotic fantasy and horror. Her novels can be previewed or purchased at her site: Authors Valjeanne Jeffers and Quinton Veal.

Book I of The Switch II has been published in the groundbreaking anthology Steamfunk! (edited by Milton Davis and Balogun Ojatade). Valjeanne has also been published in numerous other anthologies including: Lunewing, Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, Pembroke, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, and Say It Loud: Poems about James Brown.

She works as a freelance editor and is co-owner of Q & V Affordable Editing with her fiancee writer and cover artist, Quinton Veal.

Valjeanne is working on two more novels: Colony: A Space Opera and Mona Livelong. The prequel Colony is available at smashwords.

Readers taken on ‘Immortal’ Journey by Genea Webb

aapageturners2.jpg

Readers taken on ‘Immortal’ Journey by Genea Webb/ New Pittsburgh Courier

Beautiful and transforming are the words that first come to her mind when author Valjeanne Jefferies describes what excites her about the craft of writing.
“It allows you to change the circumstances around you. If you can envision a world that’s better than you live in, you can create an imaginative environment and fill it with extraordinary people,” explained Jefferies who currently resides in Alabama and is a graduate of Spelman College and North Carolina Central University.
That’s the exact formula Jefferies implemented when she wrote the science fiction/fantasy Immortal series of books. The series includes “Immortal”, “Immortal II: The Time of Legend” and “Immortal III: Stealer of the Souls.”
Other novels include “The Steamfunk novels: “Immortal IV: Collision of Worlds 2nd and The Switch II: Clockwork” and “Space Colony.” Her work has appeared in The Ringing Ear; Black Poets Lean South, Revelry, and A Sword and Soul Anthology.
Jefferies chose to self-publish her novels usually through create space under the names Valjeanne Jefferies or Valjeanne Jefferies Thompson. Jefferies has had her poetry published traditionally, but found that getting science fiction published was a different beast…

Read the rest of the article here.

Preview or purchase my novels here.