When a young boy follows a dark-winged creature through his summer suburbia, the world opens before him. But as reality peels away, and as the entities from beyond pour through, nothing can be done.

The mind bending has just begun. And what follows will change the boy and his family forever. For the Multiverse has found a friend; the beings of the black beyond are calling.
-Blurb for "The Followers" on Amazon.com
Today, I'm interviewing Evan Bollinger, author of the "The Followers," a novella that released back in March of 2012.  Evan, why don't you tell us a little about your novella "The Followers."

Evan - "The Followers" is a metaphysical/visionary novella that explores alternate selves, the Multiverse , and fantastical creatures that pervade our world everyday, unbeknownst to the majority of us.

Cool.  I love books where the events could be happening right underneath our noses without even being aware.  What would you say is the key element that makes your book different?

Evan - Nothing is spoon-fed in this book. Suggestions about the nature of our world and reality is painted--you are immersed in a setting not that unfamiliar from your own, and it is up to you to choose what you believe. 

Speaking of reality - as authors, the way we perceive the real world has a very real impact on the worlds we create.  Do you actually believe in differing levels of reality or is it just a work of fantasy?  How did this influence the writing of "The Followers"?  Did it make it easier or harder?

Evan - I believe in the possibility of differing levels of reality. Theoretical astrophysics and other sciences purport the growing possibility of such things, and I would be hard-pressed to deny such an awesome and eye-opening concept. "The Followers" suggests that reality is equally external and internal. Our minds inform our external world as much as factors outside our physical bodies.

As a scientist myself, I couldn't agree more.  Tell us how reality works in the novella.

Evan - Well, the Multiverse implies the existence of infinite planes of existence that stem from every conceivable possibility. That is to say, there could be a universe where I'm a scientist, a universe where Hitler lived, where a comet struck Earth, where fluctuations in the space-time continuum dramatically altered the physical properties of our planet (gravity, atmosphere, the nature of its inhabitants). Point is, we all have alternative selves in infinite parallel worlds. Depending upon the worlds, these alternate selves could be virtually the same (except for maybe a mole on the nose), or they could be drastically different (perhaps, no longer "human"). I like to think that the Multiverse makes anything possible. 

In one of your emails to me, you mentioned mysterious beings that could travel between the worlds.  Tell us more about these "mysterious beings."  

Evan - One is more or less a dark-winged creature, akin to a dragon. The others are black, seemingly formless beings of vapor with long, black human-like fingers. The creatures may very well exist on their own, or they may be more a projection of the inner mind...  The young boy protagonist also sees an alternate form of himself. This form, or 'impostor' as he calls it, looks everything like him. The same face, body, look and feel--but something is very, very different...

I'd ask what's so different, but I'd like to leave a little mystery for the readers (Yes, I'm evil.  Mwahaha).  Instead, let's get back to those creatures.  How do they travel between 'verses?

Evan - Only certain people who are in contact with the ebb and flow of the Multiverse can detect its openings. These individuals may live in solitude their whole lives, they may walk among us, calmly coping with both gift and curse of their condition. Or, they may be people who have been thrown to the wayside, cast aside as "schizophrenic," or "loony" or somehow unfit for society. As of yet, the exact nature of inter-verse travel is unexplained, but I hope to explore this concept in subsequent books.

Fair enough.  What's it like to travel like that and how does it feel to leave the world they know behind and adjust to a new one that's potentially so alien to their own?

Evan - It's like splitting yourself in two. Like depersonalization. Very painful--but more of a mental anguish. You become completely disoriented, losing sense of who you are, where you are, and if you even are...  

Wow, don't sign me up for that!  Okay, time for one final question.  What books or topics readers might recognize would you say resonate with you book?

Evan - Any readers that like magical realism, or the exploration of human psychology, the union of evil and good--anybody who has ever fallen slave to the mundane and dreamed of something beyond the veil.

Wow, thanks, Evan!  It was a pleasure talking with you.

About the Author:

Evan is...

A seasoned writer and practitioner of telepathy. A student of human psychology. A supporter of all causes humanitarian. A people-watcher. Extremely motivated... in extremely narrow areas of interest.
And speaking of interest...

He likes a mild Autumn day.

And a good Lager.

But he hates routine. And boring people. And morning people. And fast-talkers, stalkers, big-talkers, and juiced meatheads who hide needles in lockers.
Well... actually, he doesn't really hate anybody. He's quite accepting, really. It doesn't matter if you've got two heads or no feet, if you're you, you're you. As the rap artists say, just do you.

But he does despise being told what to think.

And when to think. And where to think.

He was the most disorganized student in high school. His messy binder made the yearbook. True story. Take that, "Most Likely to Succeed."

He has degrees in English and Psychology from Dickinson College. He has tutored peers, worked at grocery stores and cafeterias, volunteered at retirement homes, gotten psychedelic, and is currently employed as a substitute teacher. His worse job experience is cleaning poop from a bathroom ceiling. That's right... the ceiling.

In his spare time, this aspiring author watches the occasional NBA game and tries to catch the show Californication whenever possible. He enjoys the master of dark thrillers, suspense, and horror: Stephen King. And he may be one of the biggest detractors of the Twilight series. (Sorry, 2/3 of Planet Earth).

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"Don't scare her again Chris.  She doesn't understand.  Listen to me - in the other world go and see Dr Priestley.  He's a physicist.  He's doing a lecture series in St Mary's church.  If you won't talk to me go to him, he will explain everything."

"Who are you talking about?" said Christine, "What do you mean?"

But before he could answer another person appeared at the top of the stairs.

"Mum, you're back!"

It was the little girl she had met days ago.  Teresa.  She knew for certain that was her name.  And at that the pain was back.  She put her hands to her head and closed her eyes.  White lights danced before her.  She felt someone move to grab her before she fell but they were too late.  She hit the floor  with a thump and then darkness.
This book starts out with a bang.  It's fast, easy to read, and I can honestly say I didn't see the ending.  Slee is a British author so expect some (but not too many) words or phrases you don't recognize or seem out of context here in the US.

Life Shift is a science fiction novel about alternate worlds.  It goes into just enough technobabble to seem real without overburdening the reader with things they have no hope of understanding.  The concept is interesting and, to my experience, new.  I like the incorporation of real world science to it, trying to explain the unexplainable.  This always helps with suspending disbelief.

The main character is fairly complex and it was interesting glimpsing how things in the alternate world might have changed her life choices making it so she lived two very different lives.  It was easy to become invested in the main character's problems and I spent a good deal of the book trying to figure out how it was going to resolve itself in the end.  Not that it mattered since, in the end, I would have never guessed at what did happen.  At first, the ending upset me and, personally, I think the writer could have spent a little more time easing us into the ending.  The last scene seemed almost a bit forced but, all in all, it was a good read that I finished very quickly.

Source: Gifted by Author
eReader: Kindle for iPad
File type: MOBI

About the Author:

 Live in Swansea, Wales. Recently published Life Shift - a sci fi/romance book about a woman who one day discovers another life in an alternate universe. Fearing for her sanity she seeks the help of a university professor who introduces her to the world of quantum physics and infinite universes. She becomes increasingly drawn to her life in the alternate world - and to another man in this life - much to her husband's horror. It soon becomes clear there are decisions and sacrifices to be made. This is story about choices, regrets and marriage, alternate lives and wishes unfulfilled.

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The navigation display wavered briefly, and then blinked out.  I fought down a rising wave of panic and was about to try again, when the door behind me opened and I fell backwards into the room.  A hand covered my mouth, trapping the scream before it escaped my lips.  Another hand with a white, folded cloth moved toward my face.

It clicked then.  The horrors inside this hotel were not the work of just one insane man.  Dr. Henry Holmes must have had an accomplice.  And thanks to CHRONOS and this stupid medallion, I had landed right in their path.
By pure chance, I started this book about the same time I decided to get caught up on Doctor Who. I had finished the Series 7 episodes that were out and was exceedingly dismayed that the next episode wouldn't be until the end of March.  Ordinarily, I'm stuck when I'm in a Doctor Who mood because, really, what even comes close?  But I must say, I've finally found something that fits when I'm in a mood for The Doctor...

Walker knows how to write a riveting story, starting with a scene that immediately pulls you in and compels you to continue reading until you know what will become of poor Kate.

Rysa Walker takes what could be a difficult and confusing progression of crossing timelines and creates scenes that are simultaneously charming, sometimes romantic, and with just the right amount of humor, keeping the reader wanting to sort out the web until it all makes sense.

And I loved how, at one point, Kate just sort of gives up on trying to figure out what verb tense to use when talking of something that is part of a person's past but is technically in the future (or vice versa).  The English language really isn't designed for that sort of complications.  It made me wonder if the language of the Time Lords has past future tenses or future past tenses.  Certainly would make it a bit easier...

And I really liked Kiernan.  Don't know why but he was a truly endearing character.  The author does a good job with the characterization, which is something I've come to find as a marker of a well written book, along with proper editing and professional formatting, which Time's Twisted Arrow has as well.

All in all, Time's Twisted Arrow is well worth the read and I look forward to seeing what else Rysa Walker can do.

About the Author
RYSA WALKER grew up on a cattle ranch in the South. Her options for entertainment were talking to cows and reading books. (Occasionally, she would mix things up a bit and read books to cows.) On the rare occasion that she gained control of the television, she watched Star Trek and imagined living in the future, on distant planets, or at least in a town big enough to have a stop light.

When not writing, she teaches history and government in North Carolina, where she shares an office with her husband, who heroically pays the mortgage each month, and a golden retriever named Lucy. She still doesn't get control of the TV very often, thanks to two sports-obsessed kids.

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Chronos Files

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As anyone who has read my blog would probably figure out, my primary goal is helping other deserving authors get their name out there.  Sometimes it is by doing book reviews, sometimes it is by compiling information that they might find useful in their road to success.

Recently, I've been thinking about things like guest posts and promotional posts and blog tours.  I'm always looking for fresh ideas, for ways of taking someone who is just reading a blog post and making them into someone who is intrigued if not enamored with an author.  A common promotional tool is an interview, either with the writer or a character.  As I've thought on this, I've become more and more certain that interviews are mostly useless and a pain in the butt.  Sure, I can come up with intriguing questions that aren't your every day questions about where the author gets her ideas or his writing rituals, but does it really help to promote the author?

Does it give the reader a reason to want to check out the latest book?

Does it catch them and draw them in to where they have to click that link?

So I asked myself and came up with this conclusion.  Simply, no.  If I was reading an interview, I wouldn't be likely to get to the end, let alone be engaged enough to check out what he has written.  

I think, probably, the best types of promotional posts are those that actually advertise the author's skills.  Things like book excerpts, short stories, or creative writing exercises.  That might get me interested.  Actually, the right book excerpt and I would almost guarantee I would click a link, maybe to goodreads.com to add the book to my To-Read category or maybe Amazon.com to add it to my wish list.  Maybe, if it was really good, I'd buy it on an impulse.

But, what do you think?
Started a diet a while back.  I've lost 16 pounds so far.  It was kind of dicey at first.  Beginning a diet has always been the hard part for me.  That and actually working out.  I hate working out for the sake of working out.  Give me a martial arts class, a construction project, biking to the store, anything.  Just so long as it isn't walking on a treadmill for a half an hour.  But, strangely, I love weight training.  Which is good, because building muscle increases metabolism, which is always a good thing when you're trying to lose weight.

Now, it's almost no big deal.  And I've found some absolutely wonderful snacks.  My personal favorite is these mini cakes.  They are quite addicting.  I once ate four in one day, which was probably a bad thing since they have so much dietary fiber in them and you should really only eat about 25g a day for women.  If you put them in the microwave until they're nice and warm, it's like eating a cake right out of the oven.  All warm and melty chocolate chips.  Mmmm.  I think I want one...

Funny how I forgot about that.  I've worked second shift for years and started developing what I suspected was winter depression.  Lethargic, bored, sleeping long hours, never wanting to get up.  Somehow, I thought that would be fixed by moving to a first shift schedule.  After all, I'm actually seeing daylight in the winter now, right?

Not so much.  It didn't even occur to me what was happening.  Just got more and more reclusive.  Procrastinated more and more.  Stopped reading.  The works.  Mainly I've been watching TV.  Bought a new 47" and set up a new speaker system (some new, some old).  I've watched I don't know how many DVDs, BluRays, downloads, you name it.  Finally got caught up on Doctor Who.  Then, I got upset because the next episode doesn't come out until the end of March.  I love that show.  Factually inaccurate in a lot of ways, but very creative, very different.

And one thing I don't get.  In the first episode of the series Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness (an American character), played by a British-American actor who lived his formative years in the US, pronounces estrogen in a way I can only guess as being a British pronunciation.  Weird.

Anyway, I'm going to try to get on track again.  Starting today.