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Ten +1 Questions with Author S.T. Campitelli

Readers and visitors,

Below you will find the answer to the Ten +1 Questions I do ask many authors to answer after I read their books. S.T. Campitelli is next in the list of Authors to put hands to a keyboard to answer those questions. I do hope you find his answers as interesting as I did.

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

I have wanted to write for the longest time and have always had a strong interest in end-of-the-world stories, so I felt that if I ever got the story I wanted to tell, I would do it. For a long time I couldn’t really bring together a coherent sense of a story line, so although I wanted to write I didn’t really have a story. Once the elements for The Fall fell into place, story-wise, I thought, ‘Hey! Let’s do this!’.

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

That hasn’t been an issue. I try to work a lot in hours where it doesn’t impact my family/friends, so, early mornings, lunchtimes at work, perhaps down times at night when the family is doing other stuff.

Question 3: What inspired you to write The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion?

This may come up in a few answers to these questions, but the whole post-apocalyptic genre has always fascinated me. I grew up in the 70s when the cinema had some brilliant major post-apoc movies on – Planet of The Apes, Soylent Green, Omega Man, Rollerball – those movies were absolutely compelling for me, but the one that blew the doors off, so to speak, was Mad Max 2, The Road Warrior, which just coalesced perfectly all the images of what a post-apocalyptic world looks like for me – the wasteland, the characters, the costumes, the hero and antagonists, and of course the cars. Brilliant. I tried to capture some of that vibe in The Fall, but I didn’t want it to just be another Mad Max type story, it had to be my own, so it is quite different.

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters? 

I have this interest in the idea of the isolated holdout – places in times of war or situations where there is an island of safety or sanity in a lost world, so the idea of the walled compounds, the ‘wallcoms’ was an early idea – a sanctuary in a sea of danger. A completely separate idea I had was that by that time, mid-21st century, our personal comms would be embedded in us, we wouldn’t carry smartphones anymore, they would be a part of us and that became the 360 concept. Somehow they then came together and became the base elements of The Fall. I wanted to have nuanced characters that weren’t usual and I have worked in the university system for 20+ years., so made John Bradley and academic, a hero who isn’t an ‘obvious’ hero, plus the antagonists the Headhunter, as I  have always been compelled by that intelligent-gentleman baddie, and the Alpha Kronenburg, the ex-policeman who we follow as an infected being. The inspirations for these characters didn’t really come from any one in particular but rather have shades of inspirations.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books? 

I read a lot of fantasy growing up and two big influences were Tolkien’s LOTR and Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Along with Game of Thrones a bit later, they perhaps gave me that love of the character-driven, big story arc. Later with more post-apoc stuff, Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy was just brilliant and Blake Crouch’s The Last Town were very both influential for me.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

Great question. Umm, accomplishment, relief, very happy that I’d done it. A little bit of a feeling of ‘loss’, you get close to the book, it’s fun, it’s an adventure and it feels like it’s over in a sense. Until book 2 …

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

Yes, book 2 of The Fall, Reversion, is being written now.  

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?

Some of the material is a bit confronting and vivid, so it’s not a young readers’ book, by any stretch, but I think 16 and up would be good with it. Anyone who likes any elements of action, adventure, post-apocalypse, SF, military – it has those things. But then again, I’ve had people say to me, ‘I don’t generally go for this type of story, but I loved this!’ So, I hope it could have a wide appeal.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

Do it. Give it a go, but you must be open to growth, feedback and change. It’s not easy, it can be frustrating, but incredibly rewarding. I love doing it, writing, and if it is something you are drawn to then give it a go.

Question 10: When not writing how does you like to spend your time?

Reading, movies – addicted to both. Netflix doesn’t help.

 

The + 1 Question 

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why? 

Europe. Haven’t been there yet. Been to Japan multiple times and many other parts of Asia and the States, but yet to get to Europe. So, if someone wants to sponsor me for a book tour, get in touch!

Below are a few Links of Interest:

 

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Posted by on June 21, 2018 in Interview

 

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The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion by Author S.T Campitelli

As one looks around in in the entertainment world for moves, comic books, TV shows, and even much of the literary world there is something unique. You find that many of the stories involving a post-apocalyptic world focus either on North America or Europe. There have been newer tails that bring us to places like Africa and even India. However, there is not much, that I found, that deal with “The Land Down Under” or better known as Australia. This is at least till I was given the opportunity to read the book The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion by Author S.T Campitelli.

The book opens up in a future that Is not too far away from the present day. It starts innocuously with a man driving out to check his property. He comes across a strip of land that has gotten a great tear in it as a meteor landed and plowed a crater into the ground. Unfortunately for this man, and humanity there is some type of cosmic hitchhiker that will bring Australia, and the Earth, to its modern day end. Its effects will not immediately be known but this older man will shadow what is to come. A wild animal bit will not heal as a man give himself shots of antibiotics as he travels home. It is only when a friend stops at his home do we get a sense of what happened, and Humanity is in for just as much as a shock as that friend. A friend who will find out that opening a door can be a big mistake as the other side could have something infected who sees you as “lunch”.

The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion will take a jump in time and lead us to a walled city. A place where survivors from a massive infected outbreak now live by somewhat strict rules, but they are safe. They will take patrols out into neighboring areas searching for the needs to help their community survive. As we learn more and more about those inhabitants we find not just great friends, but family dynamics, and of course greed. The inhabitants will be a mixture of military to civilians with each member having their job to do.

Author S.T. Campitelli does a very good job in not just introducing his characters but giving us great storylines for them. You find yourself starting to sympathize with their situation as well as either hoping for their success, or downfall in some cases. Along with the character development there is futuristic technology utilized in this book that easily could be real today, if not in a few years. This makes the book even that much more enjoyable as you find yourself envisioning the items being used. In all truth some of the items in a home could be things you ask your voice assisted device to do for you within the next few years.

The story will move at a very good pace and you will notice that the chapters are named around the primary character in each.  It is why you will find many are named for the leading character, father, and husband John Bradley. He is an educated man who goes out into the wasteland around to find those things the walled city needs. He is also one who cares for many and gets involved in a major operation that is going to be overtaken within the book.

There are also chapters such as Dustin Callahan, The Headhunter and Alpha Kronenburg that are just hints of the protagonists within the pages of the book. These will be names that readers will come to find have their own agenda’s and those in the city are at times just in their way.

The Fall: Book 1 – Conversion will introduce the reader to what remains of the civilization that was at one time Australia. It will give readers insight into a part of the world that is often left out of the decision during apocolyptial events. It will also give the reader a chance to ponder what would they do to survive such an event. Would they find themselves banned together in the city, trying to survive on their own, or just well that’s a question you must answer yourself. Of course that will all come if you allow your imagination to take you within the events of the book.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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The Last Movie Star (2017) staring Burt Reynolds

How many actors are you fans of that when you hear they are in an upcoming movie do you stop and make note of that title? Are you able to name them using one hand, maybe two hands at the most? I know I struggle to think of my own personal list, but one who comes to mind is Burt Reynolds.

I bring up Mr. Reynolds for the reason that I have seen his name appearing in several movies as of late. I had not realized that he was still keeping busy and doing a lot of acting as he enters the later years of his life. It was then recently while walking the aisles of my local Family Video store that I saw the title, The Last Movie Star.

I didn’t think twice I grabbed the movie and proceeded to rent and of course view this movie. It costars another older actor, Chevy Chase, and the Modern Family star Ariel Winter. The movie will take the viewer into an old actor who seems to have lost much of his past fame. He will get invited to a Movie Festival in Nashville and that will cause some changes in his life.

The movie does open on a sad note as you find Vic Edwards (Reynolds) at a veterinarian hospital with is ailing dog. The vet is giving Vic bad news about his aging dog and it comes down to Vic having to put his old friend down. He is left with the dog’s collar when he leaves the hospital and takes his drive home.

The movie will later show Vic out shopping at a grocery store taking time to admire an attractive young woman walking buy. He will decide on a frozen dinner for his evening meal and we watch as the aging actor goes through his normal routine. It is when he finally see him having a lunch with a fellow older actor, played by Chevy Chase, which he finally talks about the invitation to a movie Festival. Chase’s character tells him he should go and later on we see Vic packing his bags for the Festival.

The movie will follow Vic as he gets to the Festival and finds out his “assistant” for the weekend is Lily McDougal, Ariel Winter. The young woman is not what one would call typical or even assistant material. She picks Vic up in her “beater” of a car, drives while using her cell phone, and has shorts that are short. She is just the start of what Vic will find awaits him at this Festival he had determined was a top of a line affair. Instead he’s put in a lower level Hotel, taken to a bar for the Festival, and worse finds out he is in coach when it came to his plane travel.

I wanted to include that last part about how Vic sees himself as a top talent and still should see A-lister perks. I mentioned that as I wanted to show that the movie shows how hard it is for Vic to truly understand he has gotten old. It takes Vic to realize who he really is, and where he came from when he talks Lily into a side trip to his home town. It is here that the viewer will begin to relate more with Vic, and better yet what it’s like to get old.

The Last Movie Star could have been written around Burt Reynolds himself as much of it resembles his own life. In truth there have been articles written from interviews with the writer of the movie that it was written with Reynolds in mind. As the movie progresses we are introduced to this old man, grumpy, and headstrong man that still has his site on his glory days. There are even parts of the movie where old Vic is interlaced with young Vic in movie scenes. Old Vic is doing his best to pass on wisdom to his younger self about the dangers of getting old.

What the Last Movie Star does is quite brilliant in the way it was written and performed by its cast. It takes the viewer into this old man’s life and we see how he starts to realize he has gotten older. We get a sense of how he wants to reconnect with his past, and at same time teaching this young woman about life.

The thing the movie shows the viewer the most is a different way to accept what will happen to us all. We are all getting older every day and the movie will show the viewer the good and bad of growing old. It may help the viewer rethink their own ideals on getting old. However, most of all it is a heartwarming tale of a man who will reconnect with his life, and accept where it has brought him thru his life choices.

I should add that The Last Movie Star was written and directed by Adam Rifkin.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Who: A Novel of the Near Future by author Karen A. Wyle.

If one was to take some time and do an internet search for uploading your mind to a computer you’ll be surprised by the multitude of results. There are tech industry stories going back several years that talk about just that fact. There was even an article in which now departed Stephen Hawking stated it would be something that could happen. He did have the “brains” to know at this time we do not have the technology.

You have to wonder had we had the technology would Hawking have taken the chance to have his brain transferred to a computer to continue living. The possibilities of what could happen to a consciousness moved into a digital realm is somewhat endless, but someone has taken that potential and put it into a great read. The book is titled, “Who: A Novel of the Near Future“, by author Karen A. Wyle.

Author Wyle has already written some very thought provoking books in her Twin-Bred novels. She certainly continues that trend in this book. She goes deep into a subject that is currently starting to gain headlines and has implications of all types. The thing is, this book will give the reader a sense of what some of those potential problems could be.

The book will introduce the reader to a couple who are young and naturally in love. They are both musicians that have done some work for the company LiveAfter. LiveAfter is a firm that will take a person’s mind and digitize it so a person can continue to interact with those they care for. As both Thea and Max have done some contract work for the company they are offered a deal to make use of the digitization if something should ever happen.

As the reader continues the story they will find out the worse does happen and Thea dies. Max makes the choice to have Thea’s mind digitized and this is where the story really starts to take off. Max will find that he has his Thea back as she can still play her music and seems to be her normal self. However, as legislation is passed allowing those who have been digitized to do more, like voting Thea seems to change.  Her mindset changes and her personality seems different and Max has to wonder is this really his Thea?

The book will take the reader into the realm of what could happen when someone’s mind is digitized. Is there a chance the company doing that work could change or manipulate the mind, or some may say soul. I do realize it is a stretch to go with the soul, but if someone’s mind is change I say it’s part of their soul. The mind is the thing that drives reason and feelings, we can say it’s our heart but really it’s the mind that makes that final call.

The book will not just focus on the interactions of Max and Thea but you get to read how others are impacted. The extended family, their friends and others involved in their lives. We get questions come to mind on what this technology could potentially do if this technology eventually came to reality. The book really will get readers using their minds as they consider all the options put forward within the pages of the book.

Author Karen A Wyle is an author who will cause the reader to really think. She does a great job in character development as well as explaining many of the potential challenges this type of technology may bring. I will warn readers that at times this book may seem to get mired in topics around law and great explanations on possibilities, and technology. I realize some of us in fast speed world may find some of this boring, but the book is well worth a read. You can surely scan some of the pages but you’ll miss out on a very well developed story.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Please Not Now! Then When? (Opinion)

I will say that this is an opinion piece and really if any of my posts get really shared, I’d hope this would be the one. I say that as I do not take anything away from the many Reviews, short stories, or personal MS posts I have written. I say that about this post as I hope it creates some dialogue with in a family.

I’m going to start but stating that we as a society must stop and look around. Things such as information pass between people at lightning fast speeds. Individuals are always in a hurry to get from place to place faster than they need. Parents do all they can for their children even if they themselves have busy work days. It’s like people feel they got to do so much in a single day and at the same speed that information passes between people electronically.

To me this is causing a major issue with society. We are to easily forgetting what it’s like to really just sit down and talk to each other. This actually seems to making the world a somewhat colder place regardless if it’s intentional or not. If we stop and think on it, it may explain the rise of some mental disease and depression. Now why do I come to that conclusion you ask?

I first stop and think on how boys, and even men, have been for so long they need to hide their emotions. They must keep their sorrows to themselves and really NEVER cry. They, heck we, are made to feel that it is a weakness if we do share those thoughts that trouble us. We then look for other ways to release that emotion.  It can be through creative means, writing, art, music or other items. It could be through playing sports, or games to release some of the pain that may be felt. Some are fortunate and realize they need help and go to a doctor and often are prescribed medication as a way to make them feel better. There is of course the dark-side factors such as using illegal drugs to number the senses, acting out and hurting others.

Now, the title of this comes into this post at this time. I can recall, and have observed, people trying to talk to a parent, friend or family member about their emotions. It’s sad, but often a response received is, “Not Now”. You got to wonder how many times it will take to hear those two simple words that a young man just keeps it all in. Is the parent, loved one, family member just afraid of hearing those emotions put into words? Are they afraid that what may be said points some of the potential blame for what they are holding in back at that person? I mean these feelings can be compounded into adult hood, and even begin to drive a wedge into families. At the same time a family may find they really do not know each other after all, because they just couldn’t find the time in a busy day to stop, and listen.

Instead we find that many are walking around like drones. Their face staring at a small cell phone screen, reading a message from maybe the person next to them.  At home how many family members use a phone to text someone just in the other room?  How often is an emoji utilized over an actual face to face conversation to show emotions? I cannot say if this happens but seeing the state and how often a family is in a restaurant with members staring at a phone over having a conversation is scary.

So my question becomes, then when will people realize it’s time to stop and listen? The age doesn’t matter when the listening begins, as the key it will break a cycle. It will allow those emotions to come out instead of being held back. I’m sure there could be pain, and resentment that comes through but the key is, it’s coming out. The pain that may have been bottle up, deflected by drugs (illegal or not) can be hurtful for potentially all involved, but it needs to be said. I mean who remembers when psychiatrists actually listened to a patient over just prescribing the newest “wonder drug”. The rock group Theory of a Deadman even has a song about the issue which is titled RX(Medicate). The song can be seen by some as a way to say everyone is doing drugs but the lead singer (Tyler Connolly) gave a reason for the song. His reasoning is that it has to do with how a therapist told him he was depressed and wanted to put him on anti-depressants.  The therapist couldn’t take time to talk to him about the issues he was dealing with, but instead was quick to go to the easy answer, drugs.

So, this is why I ask “then when” will people stop and listen to those around them. All we got to do is take a look around the United States and see the massive opioid problem. After all many of the opioids being abused are painkillers and I wonder how many are being used less for physical but mental pains.

I say we have the fix to these problems and every human being has that fix within them. There are those who may have an impairment but they are still able to communicate in ways that show they care. Those tools that people can use are on our heads and can be used for more than holding a hat on our head. They can be used for more than putting music into our brains to enjoy the sound of. They are our ears and they are connected to our brains. The brain allows us to take in what is being said and process it like a computer, and can lead to a great result. The result is simple, it could be a hug, a sense of understand, and even just a smile that shows you care.

I realize I’m in no way a trained psychiatrist but I am an analyst by trade. My job entails looking at trends, observing data and making the appropriate guidance to make a situation better. When it comes to much of the mental issues, even the drug abuse in the United States, I truly believe there is that simple fix. Stop saying Not Now, but instead take time and just listen to a person and put the phone down for a period of time. I will say that I do have some firsthand experience on how important it is to listen as I dealt with Depression in my early years of college. I took time and got help, and talked with a therapist. Yes I was given drugs, but with the discussions I had with a therapist I was able to kick the drugs, and found other ways to deal with any depression that may come. I learned by being able to talk to someone things could, and would get better. It’s why I say stop and take time to LISTEN.

 

 

*Side note, I’m not affiliated with Theory of a Deadman other than a fan of their music and found the song to be perfect to mention in this post.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2018 in Personal

 

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Strangeways by Robert J Brunner

I have to admit that when I received the request to do an honest review of the book Strangeways by Robert J Brunner, I looked the book up. I found out first that Brunner was a police 911 dispatcher. This was intriguing as it could add some realism to the book. As I further checked into the book I found it dealt with a prison, an FBI agent, death and an ancient god. Alright I would say I was hooked at this point, but that would not be truthful as I after I started reading the book I did get hooked.

Strangeways opens with a prologue that in itself is a bit of an enigma. The book introduces to a period in the early 1900s in which we find a man, Charles Hobart, in a small town staying in a boarding house. The Hobart is first seen as another potential traveling salesman of the period, a Bible salesman. It isn’t till an evening dinner with the residents of the boarding house things finally come out. The reason is in the town, well he wants to buy himself some property.  The property will be used not for a home, but for a prison.

The reader now “time jumps” to more of a current period in time. We find a prison guard out for rounds of a darken prison just at lights out. The guard will stop to talk to an inmate and take another one out of his cell and down to the showers, the inmate stinks. The guard will soon become first in some mysterious deaths that will begin to plague the prison. As the klaxon rang members of a response team come rushing into the shower area where the guard is screaming. Officer Peter Coyle’s incident report will be found not long after the death has transpired and will help setup what is to come.

It’s not long after that we find special agent Tom Griffin of the FBI on his way to the prison as he will be sticking his nose into what is happening at Strangeways Prison.  He was called by an old colleague who is now the prison’s warden. Griffin will not even make it inside the prison before a strange event will meet him.  He gets out of his car to see a large wolf eyeing him down like could be dinner. Things move on from this point and Griffin will keep his open mind. He may be expecting many different possibilities that may have been the cause of the prison guard’s death. The problem is, Griffin will not want to believe what is actually going on. He is a logical man, what is happening around him, regardless of the signs is something he is not prepared for.

Strangeways will take the reader in to the world of the prison, named the same as the book. As you read you will find that the prison is on Native American land. The area has been known for strange phenomenon and in truth may be the reasoning for the name of the prison. However, what transpires within the walls of the prison is far more than any would expect. The big change in this book is that it is not related to Native Americans but instead a Norse God.  This God has become popular within the pages of comic books, and super hero movies. His name is Odin, The All Father, and many will be shocked by the portrayal of the character. I for one was at first, but I then did some research on Odin and will just point out he is the God of not just of wisdom and poetry, but that of WAR and DEATH.

Author Robert J. Brunner puts together a book that will leave many readers struggling to put it down after they start reading the book. His characters are well developed from those of the prisoners within the prison to those on the side of Law and Order. There are characters you will find yourself miss reading and others that will be evident by their actions. The scenes within the book are well painted through his word play and are properly descriptive without going to intense during the violence. I found the book to be well worth my time to read and provide this review.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Reviews

 

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Obsidian Tears by Doug Lamoreux & Daniel D. Lamoreux

Yellowstone National Park is United States staple that attracts thousands, if not more, visitors each and every year. People enjoy not just the beauty of the Old Faithful Geyser but also the natural beauty that abounds the park itself. The one thing that many visitors, and maybe even some staff, do not know is the large history behind the land the park is located on.  The history includes that of the Native American’s and obsidian made artifacts have been found in the park. Why do I bring this up? I mention the obsidian as it is part of the title of the book, Obsidian Tears. The book is written by brothers Daniel and Doug Lamoreux and that deep black, glassy rock will play its part in this book.

Obsidian Tears will introduce the reader to Chief Forest Ranger Glenn Merrill who many readers may have met in the first book in this series, Apparition Lake. As in that book the reader will find Ranger Merril dealing with some alarming events around Yellowstone. The problem is these events are not just the threat from environmentalists, or campers’ causing mayhem, but something is brewing under the ground. There are earth tremors that bring signs that maybe the long dormant volcano under their feet is becoming active. There of course are the unexplained deaths that claim not just animals, but that of tourists and a ranger.

I wish to add that the book opening is quite interesting as well as it sets up some great foreshadowing of what may come. The Lamoreux brothers do a great job taking the reader back to a different time as we find the young Arapaho medicine man, Nakos, on a vision quest. The events that take place during this question and what will follow a few hundred years later will become clearer as you follow the story.

The thing is all the mystery around the park will eventually become tied to a mysterious box that is found within the park. I will not go into much detail on how, or where it is found, but just say they did have to look under something to find it. The item in that box will get things moving very fast within the pages of the book. These events will lead Ranger Merrill to search out his Shoshone friend, Johnny Two Ravens.  Along with Johnny, Merrill will also end up realizing he will need the help of a young professor of Seismology, one Dr. Betty Chmielewski or Lew for short.

The book is well written as the brothers certainly know how to work together and develop their characters. Along with the characters it does appear they have done a lot of research on Yellowstone and the history around the National Park. The book does have some violent acts, but for the most part we read more about the aftermath then get to read about the full details. I for one love this type of storytelling when it comes to violence as it engages the brain even more. The best thing about the additional engagement of the brain is it brings you more and more into the story you are reading.

Obsidian Tears is a very well written book and truly fits as book 2 in the Apparition Lake series. The reader gets to catch up on what has happened in the life of those characters they may have enjoyed from the first book. You also get a sense of what is going on within a park of Yellowstone’s size from the daily patrols that take place to dealing with some of the visitors. This is what makes not just the drama of the main story so special but you get a sense of the happenings at the park, which draws you in even more. A truly enjoyable read and I’m sure like many others, I hope for more.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in Reviews

 

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