My Inspiration


It is easy to say you are inspired by someone. I say I am inspired by H. P. Lovecraft, L. Ron Hubbard, Tolkien, Asimov and a number of other writers, and that would be the truth. But those sources of inspiration are of the sort that I look at and say, “I want to write like them. I want to be known like them.” They are passive inspirations, long gone and safe to emulate from afar.

It is a rare thing for me to find someone that inspires me to do something solid. They make me want to change something about myself and be more like them. Well I can say with all honesty that I have been inspired, and I think it only right to share who inspired me. Continue reading “My Inspiration”

Vacation On a Field of War


This past weekend I drove up to Pennsylvania to pick up my boys. I hadn’t seen them in almost two month and my parents thought that meeting my wife, daughter, and I in Gettysburg would be more fun that meeting in Columbus, Ohio (no offense to Columbus intended).  As the day approached we learned that my wife would have to stay behind for her Triathlon training. It was very upsetting for her and the boys, and I wish she could have made it, but she is working on hard on her training and it was the right choice.

My daughter and I were on the road ten minutes before five o’clock AM with our camping gear in the trunk and our snacks in the front.

Six hours later we arrived at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. We met my boys and my parents in he Visitor Center just in time to watch a film and see the Cyclorama. With that done, we went into the museum.  All of the artifacts and presentations were interesting, but I’ll be honest, I was far more into being with my kids and seeing Kaitlyn glomming onto her brothers.

 

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After a quick break for lunch, we started on the driving tour through the park. We borrowed the CD’s and booklet from the Gettysburg KOA where we were staying. Not to get too sidetracked, but I would definitely recommend the campground as an affordable overnight option if you don’t want to pay for a tourist town’s hotel rates. It’s a great place for the kids to play and includes a playground, swimming pool, over-sized chess set, and breakfast on the cheap.  There is a little store with snacks, toys and touristy stuff.  I bought the  auto tour book and CD’s after the fact and I plan on coming back.

I enjoyed the auto tour immensely. Of course I had to get out at a number of stops to read some of the numerous markers that litter the park with information. Much of it would mean little to anyone not well read on the Civil War, but even for the uninformed it would be interesting. When we got to Seminary Ridge I was completely in awe. Staring up at Cemetery Ridge and knowing that on the third day of the battle, 12,000 Confederate soldiers lined up a mile across and marched up that field to face the Union troops tucked behind a short wall and makeshift fortifications. The insanity of it is mind boggling. Those men were incredibly brave and I cannot imagine marching into the face of so much firepower.

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The auto tour was cool, but we got kind of a late start, so by the time we got to the Army of Northern Virginia Memorial, we had to make a decision and opted to skip some sites in order to hit the two places I really wanted to check out: Little Round Top and Cemetery Ridge.

Little Round Top  was amazing. What a commanding view of the battlefield. I can completely understand why the Union dug in and the confederates fought so hard to take it. We walked around, took a bunch of pictures, and I got to spout off to my children about the battle that was fought where we stood. The one thing I missed out on was Chamberlain’s memorial. It was a little way down the hill from where we parked and I could tell the kids were getting tired.  I’m looking forward to checking that out when we come back.

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Cemetery Ridge. Wow. Walking onto the field and seeing the path traveled by Pickett’s Charge was incredible. Standing on the spot where the Confederate troops briefly broke through the Union line and standing beside the spot where Lewis Armistead reached the Union cannon before being shot was breathtaking. Zachary went with my mom to check out the cemetery, while Katie, Connor, my dad, and I walked the length of the ridge. It was incredible. some of the monuments brought up more questions than answers, but all of them were beautiful in their own right.

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We ended the day with a visit to the Pennsylvania Memorial. It stands out in a field of exceptional monuments. It is the largest structure in the park outside of the Visitor Center and amazing to behold. It was the ultimate stopping point for our little trip.  As a reference, the statue at the top stands twenty-one feet tall, so you can imagine just how immense the structure is.

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Book Review: The Children of Darkness


Book Review

We are a slave to those who teach us, unless we teach ourselves. Great mysteries remain that way when knowledge is hidden away. Controlling information is an easy way to keep people in line and under your thumb. When the teenagers of Little Pond learn the truth about the world they live in and the lies being told them by the Vicars, they know that they have to do something about it, but will the people who have kept in the dark for so long ignore what they have been taught when their world is turned upside down? Nathaniel, Orah and Thomas must decide whether to follow the safer path or risk everything to set the people free.

THE GOOD

This is a clever take on the post-apocalyptic genre with a healthy does of social commentary subtly blended into the story. If you’re not in the mood to think of the story of the Vicars as a parable for the control of information, that is fine. The story is excellent in its own right and is a fast paced read that keeps the reader flipping through the pages to find out what happens next. Its is a fun read with a serious message, and for that reason alone it is worth picking up a copy.

THE BAD

The fast pace sometimes leads to shortcuts in the storytelling. There are times when some detail is missing and the reader is left to wonder or assume, which can be okay on occasion, but in this case it feels like the author was willfully leaving out the details so that the story could be moved along. This is not a major problem, but it occasionally leaves the reader scratching his head.

THE TAKEAWAY

This is a great little read with a fast pace, perfect for a summer time read by the pool or in the hammock. There is a positive message in this book that young adults and adults will enjoy. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of The Children of the Dark, because I’m sure the next book in the series will be even better.

 

 

It’s finally here! Children of Darkness – Book One in The Seekers Series is available NOW. Check it out on Amazon.com. FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. GET YOUR COPY

“A must-read page turner.” Kirkus Review

About the Book:

The Children of Darkness - CoverThe Children of Darkness

The Children of Darkness is about a society devoid of technology, the result of an overreaction to a distant past where progress had overtaken humanity and led to social collapse. The solution—an enforced return to a simpler time. But Children is also a coming of age story, a tale of three friends and their loyalty to each other as they struggle to confront a world gone awry. Each searches for the courage to fight the limits imposed by their leaders, along the way discovering their unique talents and purpose in life.

“If the whole world falls into a Dark Age, which it could plausibly do, who could bring us out of it? According to David Litwack in The Children of Darkness, the only answer is us, now, somehow reaching into the future.” – Kaben Nanlohy for On Starships And Dragonwings

Publication Date: June 22, 2015 from Evolved Publishing
Purchase Link: http://smarturl.it/Seekers1
FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23485495-the-children-of-darkness

Book Description

The Children of Darkness, book one of the dystopian trilogy, The Seekers

“But what are we without dreams?”

A thousand years ago the Darkness came–a time of violence and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic,” eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.

Childhood friends, Orah and Nathaniel, have always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for more from life but unwilling to challenge the rigid status quo. When their friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his “teaching”—the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds the young to the Light—they barely recognize the broken and brooding man the boy has become. Then when Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel follows in a foolhardy attempt to save her.

In the prisons of Temple City, they discover a terrible secret that launches the three on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in jeopardy. For hidden in the keep awaits a truth from the past that threatens the foundation of the Temple. If they reveal that truth, they might release the long-suppressed potential of their people, but they would also incur the Temple’s wrath as it is written:

“If there comes among you a dreamer of dreams saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”

“A fresh perspective on our own society…[an] enjoyable read that will make you wonder just how society will judge us in the future.” Lexie

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About the Author:

David Front PageThe urge to write first struck when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

After publishing two award winning novels, Along the Watchtower and The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky, he’s hard at work on the dystopian trilogy, The Seekers.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

Website: www.davidlitwack.com
Facebook: David Litwack – Author
Twitter: @DavidLitwack

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More Reviews!

“Litwack’s storytelling painted a world of both light and darkness–and the truth that would mix the two.” Fiction Fervor

The Children of Darkness is a dystopian novel that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.” C.P. Bialois

“This is a satisfying exploration of three teens’ journey into the unknown, and the struggles faced by all who seek true emancipation – both for themselves, and for the people they love.” Suzy Wilson

“Litwack’s writing is fresh, and Nathaniel, Orah and Thomas come to life in your imagination as you frantically flip (or click) the pages of this book.” Anna Tan

“…many profound themes, lovely characterizations and relationships” R. Campbell

“I was enthralled and intrigued by the authors creation of this society… David Litwack has an enjoyable and captivating writing style.” Jill Marie

“…a perfect story for young adult readers, but its underlying theme and character development will keep any adult engaged.” Kathleen Sullivan

Beyond the Darkside, 29-12 to 13


rhythm
English: backjet of a drop of water after impact on a water-surface. Français : rejet issu de l’impact d’une goutte sur la surface de l’eau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once he was satisfied, Aldric shut off the water and stood in the stall, watching the droplets of water fall from his hair and skin to the floor below. The chaotic rhythm of their impacts on the ceramic made him smile. “Perfectly imperfect,” he said. The longer he watched the droplets the more he suspected the pattern was anything but random. The voices that hid at the back of his mind whispered impossible formulas and forbidden lore not meant for human understanding, but he was no longer truly human was he? With each passing second an answer began to form in the eldritch rhythm of falling water, but the moment the secret was to be revealed the water stopped and he was left with maddening silence.

He screamed and punched the wall. The steel buckled beneath the blow, but it barely registered in Aldric’s mind. He pulled back and looked at his hand. The skin was red, but unbroken. There were no shattered bones, no blood, and no pain. Aldric uncurled his fingers and flipped his hand over. He was not a religious man, so he stopped well short of calling it a miracle, but there was no other word that properly conveyed his thoughts on what happened.

Alyson Miers: What Is So Special About Vampires?


Alyson Miers

Alyson Miers“A vampire, a fairy and a ghost all climb into an ambulance…”

If life is a funny thing, death has a wicked sense of humor.

President Miranda Hutchinson orchestrated the dissolution of the magical colony of Rezarta following its attempted secession, and three years after her death, no one has any idea that a ghost remains.

Journalist Scanlon Ness exposed the relationship between vampires and organized crime, but he can’t protect himself from joining the ranks of the thirsty dead.

The most perceptive eyes and ears of her generation belong to artist Meliana Lucas, but it is to her surprise when she sees the spirit of a woman who died but did not depart.

Humanity’s answer to the incompletely dead has long been to shun vampires and ignore ghosts. Miranda needs to be heard, and Meliana won’t let the barrier between living and haunting stand in her way. There are some who don’t want Miranda to regain her voice, and for someone like Meliana, the friendship of a ghost is no protection. The paths of artist, ghost and newborn vampire will come crashing together, and they are not prepared for how the dust will clear.

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Guest Blog

Guest post by Alyson Miers

What is so special about vampires?

It used to be that blood-sucking creatures of the night were vicious, predatory (albeit seductive) objects of fear, nothing more. In recent decades, they’ve become more complex. We used to be afraid of vampires, and werewolves, and now everyone wants to date them. Buffy the Vampire Slayer raised us to understand that vampires and demons could be friends to mortals, instead of foes, if they were so determined. While I have not read the Twilight series, I can understand Meyer’s interest in the pathos of vampires and werewolves. These are concepts of dangerous magical creatures who used to be human and now have little choice but to prey on humans.

My new novel includes vampires but not werewolves. There are various reasons for the omission, which may include that vampires’ condition affects them the same way all month long, and that they pass for human as long as they’re not eating. An important difference between werewolves and vampires is that for the latter, attacking humans is not merely about aggression and compulsion, but about survival. Blood is their food, and what happens when a vampire starves? This is one of the questions that arise in Suicide is for Mortals.

What remains of the people they used to be, and how do they feel about killing and eating people? How were they turned? There is space in the concepts for people to ask to become predatory creatures, but most of the ones we read about were turned against their will. Do they have any agency in the transition from victim of magical assault to nocturnal predator? Do they have little choice in preying on mortal humans like they used to be, or no choice at all? If there is a choice in the matter, how do they figure that out, and how do they exercise what little control they have?

Has a vampire ever tried to kill himself, and if so, what was the result? Even if he does everything right after joining the undead, how happy can he ever be? How do the undead get along with each other? How does the pursuit of pleasure change for those who can’t go out in daylight? What does love mean to those who feed on the blood of people who could have been their neighbors, friends and family?

These are the questions we ask when we write stories about vampires who aren’t villains, or even those who are villains but still have their own stories to tell. These are the paths we want to walk when we read these stories.

The struggle over these changes surely leads many of the predatory undead to brood and rage against the loss of their humanity, even as the transition makes them more powerful than they could ever have been as mortals. We love the idea of that brooding, tortured soul lurking in our graveyards and dark alleys, don’t we? We’d love to be there to comfort him, and for the most part we don’t want to join him. We’re confident that the gorgeous undead predator would never hut us, tempting thought it may be to sink his fangs into our necks.

My vamps looked over my list of talking points for their condition and told me to pull up a comfy chair and get out some paper and pen, because I had a lot to learn from them. My bewildered newborn Scanlon, his cynical pack leader Andra, and our hardened predator Patrick love to turn my ideas upside down and shake them to see what falls out of their pockets. Nevertheless, they appreciate my willingness to listen to them, and they will be glad to meet you. Patrick will never say so, but Scanlon will be pleased to make your acquaintance.

Of course, my vamps do not hold this novel’s attention undivided in coping with the trials of immortality. The world of After Rezarta also bears ghosts. In the hierarchy of the living and undead, mocking and taunting ghosts is the only thing that lets vampires forget about their condition. Our ghost, Miranda, has a complicated history with the magical community, which makes it all the sweeter for the vamps to find out she’s a “spook.” I’m not pleased with the way they treat her, but she dealt with much worse in her lifetime. One might think the undead and the spectral would be prepared to band together, but they have in common that they used to be human, and we humans know how gifted we are at exacerbating our divisions and undermining our common interests. Innocent people may well die if those vamps cannot deign to listen to their hated ghost. I will simply have to trust my vamps to do the right thing.

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Eric, Where Are You?


It has been quite some time since I have posted a blog entry, almost four weeks to be exact, and it has been quite some time since I’ve had this long of a break, so I thought I would give you a little update as to why I’ve been so silent as of late.

The week before Christmas I was suffering with a little pain in my left ankle. I figured I had sprained it or pulled something there in the back, so I adopted a limp and didn’t think too much about it.  On January 2nd, my wife and daughter left North Carolina to go to Arizona where they would see my mother-in-law (more on that in a minute). That night I sat and watched some movies with my boys, played some Warhammer 40K: Armageddon, and went to bed.  When I took my shoe off it hurt pretty badly. I expected that because I had gimped my way around the Charlotte airport for an hour and a half and I was a bit sore. When I looked at my foot it was swollen. Now I don’t mean it was a little puffy, I mean it was alien looking.  The next morning I went to urgent care.

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The doctor took some x-rays and asked me a bunch of questions while waiting for them to develop.  Based on the questions she and the nurse were asking, I’m pretty sure they thought I had a bad case of gout. Oh how
I wish that were the case. When the doctor came back after looking at the X-Rays she said I had a huge calcium deposit on my Achilles Tendon, the biggest she had ever seen. They slapped me in an air-cast, gave me a set of crutches, and a prescription for Oxycodone.

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The medication did not help, my foot remained swollen and I was dealing with the most physical pain I have ever suffered through. Thankfully my boys were able to help me out around the house, but I still had to work and I had a huge project to work on, so I could not let the crutches slow me down. After a week and some more medication, the swelling started to go down and now I can walk on my air-cast without the crutches. There is still a little swelling and there is plenty of pain when I overdo it or try to walk without the boot, but I am definitely on the road to recovery.

Now why was my wife in Arizona without me? Well my mother-in-law was diagnosed in November with stage five cancer. The cancer is so pervasive at this point that they are not even sure of its point of origin. My wife went down with my daughter for a visit and to say goodbye. We are not in a position to go to Arizona constantly or for my wife to take off work for the duration. The timing of the visit was excellent and my wife was able to get Phyllis situated in a group home with the help of hospice.

My wife has to bear the brunt of the work in taking care of her dying mother from across the country, so all I can do is hold her tight and try to take care of more here on the home front. My wife is a saint. She has spent countless hours on the phone arranging transportation, radiation appointments, and talking to her mother, who is confused, scared, and in pain. I only hope that if I am ever put to the test that I’ll prove to be as strong as her.

The third piece in this carnival of misery has to do with our pending purchase of a new home. Last month we put some money down on a home because we were told by the lender that we would qualify for USDA financing. Every step along the way has been delays, questions and paperwork to the point where our financing is in question. I’m confident that everything will work out, but this has been a torturous process. I spend more time scanning and emailing documents than I do just about anything else.

As you can see, my life has been a bit full as of late. Honestly, the pain from my Achilles tendon has been the most devastating to my writing. I didn’t think it would be an impediment to my writing, but it is insufferably hard to concentrate with so much discomfort. I’ve had a hard time getting used to it.

Not Going Epic


Epic

Not Going Epic…Yet

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time cruising through Tumblr. I’m not going to get into the weirdness that Tumblr is or how the place leaves me feeling conflicted over political and social issues, but I will say that I’ve been enjoying a number of science fiction and fantasy pictures that have left me feeling a little inspired. At least I’m going to call it inspiration, because to say they left me feeling desirous sounds a little creepy and somewhat inappropriate for this blog.

Epic shots of mammoth space ships have left me wanting to write science fiction in a bad way. But it would not be enough to write science fiction by itself, no, there must be an epic space battle included or my desire to write epic science fiction will be left unresolved. I’m sure my repeated watching of the new Star Wars trailer has influenced this urge in me, but I have always loved the idea of capital ships slugging it out in the void of space.  I can only think of a handful of books that I have read where such battles are described, and there are some movies out there, but all so often the space battle is given short shrift as the action focuses on the characters involved.

As much as I want to write that perfect scene of mammoth starships striking each other with blinding streams of solid light and missiles designed to lay way to planets while hordes of starfighters zip between the ships like clouds of violence made manifest, now is not the time.  Alas, I have some urban fantasy to finish and I know that straying too far from the series I am working on will only drive me crazy.  I know it sounds a little weird for a guy who routinely juggles too many writing projects all at once, but I’ve started to get a little OCD with my writing. I tried to do something else for NaNoWriMo, but I couldn’t make myself focus on another story no matter how much I wanted to.

In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for talking about epic space combat. So tell me, what are your favorite books and movies for scenes of ship to ship combat? What made them special in your mind?