Latest Release - Big Red
We have always been here...
Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth’s Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.

With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.

But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is…

Mars Occupation Force – Press Office

05 October 2019

The Choctaw by Charles Suddeth

To celebrate the launch of his STONE MAN AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS on 8th October, I'm pleased to host a guest article from author Charles Suddeth. I learned about the Choctaw and their donation to Ireland during the Great Famine back when I was in Primary school and it's a story that has always stayed with me. 

The Choctaw

By Charles Suddeth


The Choctaw call themselves Hacha hatak, River People. In 1492, they lived primarily in the state of Mississippi. Contrary to views about most Native Americans, the Choctaw were farmers. The three sisters—corn, beans, and squash/pumpkins were their staple crops. They lived in chukka, houses covered in mud and grass. They were Mound Builders who they lived in towns Their temples were located on earthen mounds similar to pyramids.


In the 1830s, the US federal government sent several tribes west to the state of Oklahoma to make room for white settlers. Many Native Americans died, so it was called the Trail of Tears. The Choctaw Trail of Tears took place over 3 years: falls of 1831, 1832, and 1833. About 16,000 Choctaw went west. In 1831, a blizzard hit, and food supplies were scarce. Many Choctaw starved to death. In 1832, cholera hit. At least 2,500 Choctaw died, so when the Irish famine hit a few years later, the Choctaw knew of the horrors of starvation.


Today, the Choctaw have 3 federal reservations, small ones in Mississippi and Louisiana, and the main reservation in Oklahoma. Smaller, state-recognized bands also exist in Alabama (1 band), Louisianan (4 bands), Mississippi (1 band), and Texas (1 band). The Choctaw language is still spoken. The Choctaw national sport is ishtaboli, stickball, a type of lacrosse. “Okla” means “people” and “homa” means red—the state of Oklahoma is Choctaw for Red People.


Though I am of Cherokee descent, my great-great grandfather never signed a government roll, so I cannot claim Cherokee citizenship. The Cherokee and Choctaw have many similarities. Both were Mound Builders, farmers, suffered on the Trail of Tears, wore turbans (this surprises many people), and today, they meet yearly for stickball games.


As the Choctaw say, Yakoke. Thank you.

Charles Suddeth has published poetry, picture books, middle reader’s books, young adult thrillers, and adult mysteries in English, Cherokee, and Turkish. He is active with Green River Writers and leads a monthly SCBWI Social. He lives in Louisville and teaches for the Jefferson County Schools. 


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Driven to Stone Man’s trail...


After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live. 


His family seeks shelter in an abandoned village, but soldiers hunt them down. Tsatsi and his sister Sali escape, but Sali falls ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man. Tsatsi gives chase and confronts the giant, only to learn this monster isn’t what he seems.


Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family?


Print ISBN 9781939844620

EBook ISBN 9781939844651

Release date – October 8, 2019


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10 September 2019

CassaSeries Book Tour by Alex J. Cavanaugh

This week, I'm pleased to host the CassaSeries book tour by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Alex has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the award-winning site, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars. The author lives in the Carolinas with his wife. Find out more about this series below!

Where Did the Book’s Titles Come From?

CassaStar was the working story of the original version of the first book. I’m not sure where it came from – possibly Star Wars and Star Trek had an influence. My publisher liked the title though as it was original.

The names of the next two books became a play on the first one. I had no idea what to call the second book and sent it to my publisher without a title. They made several suggestions and I felt CassaFire fit that story best. When it came time for the third one, I selected from the previous suggestions. Since it was the final book in the trilogy and involved a galaxy-wide war and threatening situation, CassaStorm became the title.

The boxed eBook set eventually became CassaSeries, and when my short story set before CassaStar begins was published, I called it CassaDawn. There’s also a short story in another anthology called CassaFate and I’m currently working on another book tentatively titled CassaDark.

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CassaStar Series Prequel

By Alex J Cavanaugh

Genre: SciFi Adventure, Space Opera 


The prequel to the Amazon best-selling Cassa series!

A pilot in training...

Fighting the odds, Byron is determined to complete Cosbolt training and join the Cassan space fleet. Poised at the top of his class, only one situation holds him back–his inability to work with anyone in the cockpit. Byron’s excellent piloting skills won’t be enough without a good navigator… 


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CassaStar Series Book 1 


To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…


Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard.


Much to Byron’s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.


As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

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CassaStar Series Book 2


From the Amazon best-selling author - CassaStar was just the beginning…


The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.


The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities.  


To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…


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CassaStar Series Book 3


A storm gathers across the galaxy…


Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.


After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.


Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…


“With a talent for worldbuilding and a compelling cast of characters, Alex J. Cavanaugh combines high powered space battles and the challenges of family dynamics to provide readers a space opera with heart.” - Elizabeth S. Craig, author of the Southern Quilting and Myrtle Clover mysteries

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Trilogy in boxed eBook set:


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23 August 2019

Writing Your First Book? Here’s What You Need to Know by Savannah Cordova

Savannah Cordova is a writer with Reedsy, a platform that connects authors and publishers with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. She's very passionate about indie publishing and helping authors achieve their dreams! her spare time, Savannah enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing as much she can.

You may have heard the stat that up to 81% of Americans think they have a book in them — a book they want to write, that is, not a manuscript lurking in their intestines somewhere. (Sorry for the mental image.) Extrapolating from that figure, we can assume that roughly 4 out of 5 people reading this right now have an idea for a book — and some of you may have already taken steps toward making it a reality!

But before you excitedly tell all your friends about the Great American Novel you’re going to write, or order new business cards that say “[Your Name]: Professional Author,” you should sit down and evaluate your expectations for this process. Writing a book is infinitely easier said than done, and if you don’t know what’s in store for you, you’ll find yourself discouraged before you’ve even begun. That’s why I want to share these five key things to know about writing a book — so you’ll be prepared to meet each challenge that crops up along the way.

1. Dedication is more important than talent

Perhaps the number-one misconception about writing a book is that talent is the most important factor. While I have no doubt that many of you are brilliant writers — and that your potential will blossom into tangible triumph as you write your book — you can’t rely on talent alone to propel you through 300 pages. For that, you’ll need an entirely different ingredient: dedication.

It’s easy enough to say you’re committed to writing a book, and even to plan a rigorous writing routine that carves out blocks of writing time every day. However, when the hour comes to actually write, it’s a lot more difficult to force yourself to do it… over and over again, especially on the days when it doesn’t feel fun or rewarding, but like a total slog.

This is where dedication comes in. If you’re not 100% dedicated to finishing your book, you’re simply not going to make it. Most great writers have talent, yes, but they also have dedication in spades. For example, Stephen King writes 2,000 words every single day, even on holidays. Maya Angelou supposedly aimed for 2,500, famously declaring, “Nothing will work unless you do.” And countless renowned writers through the ages, from Franz Kafka to Ursula K. Le Guin to Danielle Steel, have gotten up early and/or gone to bed late so they could bank some extra writing time.

If you’re just starting out, forget about artistry and perfection; these things will naturally be honed with practice. But unless you’re able to truly dedicate your time and effort to a project, you may as well call it quits right now.

2. You need to outline (at least a little) before you start

Another potentially crippling misconception is that you don’t need to outline your book before you write, because you can always “figure things out along the way.” While I completely understand if you’re more of a pantser than a plotter — I consider myself a pantser, in fact — writing your first book is a huge undertaking and you'll almost certainly need an outline to guide you through it. After all, you wouldn’t try to build a house without blueprints, would you? (If you answered, “Sure, why not!” remind me never to hire you as my contractor.)

In any case, even if it seems unnecessary right now, trust me that your outline will become your lifeline as you delve deeper into your book. It will help you remember important events, character arcs, and themes you want to incorporate throughout the story. And if you get stuck and start to despair, you can always return to your outline for encouragement and inspiration.

At the bare minimum, this outline should include a few lines for each major plot point, perhaps with offshooting notes about other elements or thoughts you may have as you’re brainstorming. I’d definitely recommend the “web” structure or snowflake method for fellow pantsers, as these allow for the most flexibility. But of course, no outline is set in stone — feel free to change it as you come up with new ideas, or leave parts of it blank if you’re not sure what should happen. The important thing is that you have one, so you can refer back to it when need be.

3. Steel yourself for setbacks — especially in the middle

Once you actually begin writing, with a prepared outline and true dedication to your work, you’ll probably feel incredibly excited about your project and the possibilities it holds. You may still have a few kinks to work out, but in all likelihood, this energy will carry you through the first few chapters — possibly to the midpoint of your book.

Unfortunately, the midpoint is often where even the most dedicated writers start to falter. You might suddenly register a gaping plothole, realize you’ve neglected one of your characters, or simply run out of creative steam. Setbacks like these are always discouraging, but especially when you’re right in the thick of it: far enough along that major revisions seem impossible to enact, yet not close enough to the finish line to give you that final burst of motivation.

When you get stuck in the middle of your book, you have two options — you can either work through doggedly, or take a break. Be careful with either of these, as the first can cause burnout, while the second can all-too-easily lead to giving up. However, if you can figure out which works for you (hint: it’s usually the opposite of what you want to do), you’ll surely find your way out of this literary labyrinth you’ve created.

I personally find that taking a break, while at the same time setting concrete limits, works best for me. If I lose my footing in a project, I take a week — no longer — to work on other pieces and enjoy my hobbies. Most of the time, this incubation period is exactly what I need to solve the problem that’s been plaguing me. By the time I get back to writing a week later, I’m fully unblocked, recharged, and more than ready to get back to work.

4. Feedback from other people is your best friend

You know how I just said that what you want to do is usually the opposite of what you should do? Well, that advice also applies to asking for feedback (and exercising, but I digress). 95% of writers I’ve met, including myself, are highly reluctant to show their work to anyone. This is extremely understandable — after all, if you’ve chosen this path, it probably means that writing is near and dear to your heart, and even a single word of criticism can feel like a crushing blow.

But once you’ve finished the first draft of your book, it’s time to toughen up and do it anyway. Friends, family, fellow writers: these are all invaluable sources of feedback as you transition into your next draft. They’ll confirm what you need to fix or change, and point out issues you never would’ve noticed by yourself. This doesn’t mean you have to show your book to everyone you know, but if you can pick a handful of advisors to give you feedback, it will be a huge help in avoiding bigger problems — like scathing reviews from actual critics — down the line.

And after you’ve shown the book to your personal contacts, consider getting a professional beta reader or editor to take a look. Fair warning: their feedback will likely be less considerate than your friends’, but more honest and helpful overall. These pros know what they’re doing, and you can trust their opinions, even if you don’t always feel good about them. Just keep in mind that, no matter how painful the process, listening to feedback will ultimately result in a better book.

5. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of publishing

Congrats! You’ve made it through the first, second, maybe even third or fourth draft of your manuscript, and it’s finally finished. What are you going to do next?

You might just pop some champagne and close your ridiculously long Google Doc forever, satisfied in the knowledge that you achieved your goal. But if you’re like most authors, you’ll probably want people to read your book — which means, of course, publishing it.

Traditional publishing can sometimes seem so lengthy, complex, and filled with rejection that you may feel it’s futile from the start. However, if you break it down into bite-sized pieces, it’s much more manageable (and definitely worthwhile if you can get signed with a major publisher)! You can start by querying agents and submitting your manuscript to slush piles, and if you have success, move into additional edits and negotiations from there.

That said, if you don’t care about trad-pub “prestige” and just want to get your book out in the world, self-publishing is also a very viable option! It’s easy to self-publish a book on Amazon, and with just a bit of research, you can learn how to market your book independently as well. But whichever path you choose, remember my very first tip: if you dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to your ambitions, you’ll find that you can accomplish almost anything.
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