Saturday, December 3, 2011

Another happy day for readers

This week saw the release of the newest edition to the scifi genre, Birth of an Empire book 1. This new journey starts amid a universe at war. As the characters struggle to survive, they find passion and a desire for peace changes their outlook. In time this new outlook gives birth to efforts for peace. These efforts don’t come without challenges and sacrifice.

Book one follows two teams of unique people in opposing species. As two accend to the level of Fleet Commander, they find themselves asking each other hard questions. Through love lost, betrayal, and second chances, these teams find a peace together that their species, as a whole, could not. You’ll have to read the book to find out if they are able to make that spread.

The author, Catrina Taylor has created a multi-site interview and scavenger hunt. The top three people to follow the hunt, win a free copy of the book.

Scavenger Hunt

Here’s how to play:

Read the questions and the samples at the bottom of the posts, then go to TheWritingNetwork .com and/or and answer the 5 questions OR the 2 bonus questions accurately and win a free copy of Xarrok’s first novel, Birth of an Empire part 1. The Top 3 responses will win a copy.

At the end of the sample on each site will be a link to another post and on to the home of the Scavenger Hunt.

Three favorite books? Of all time

… hmmm… Good question. I’d say Imzadi from the Star Trek book series, Around the World in 80 days by Jules Vern and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. That one infected me enough that I had to put it down at times to clear my thoughts, but never longer than absolutely needed.

How do you relax?

Ahmmm what’s that? I’m a mom, not much time for that, but I’d have to say Role playing/story telling on twitter is enjoyable. I love reading.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Play with my kids, read, work… oh, right, work is writing… hmm… I guess whatever comes up that’s appealing.

What secrets can you reveal about your writing?

I can reveal that my stories aren’t written out of inspiration to please others, but because I love what I do.

Tips for someone starting a book?

Keep at it. The first words often come easy, but filling in everything can be a challenge. Don’t let that deter you. Enjoy what you’re doing, and keep at it. Write for yourself. .. Oh, that might be a few things.

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Birth of an Empire

Yatrell looked for his team and walked off to meet with them. When he found Anara and the others locking their weapons into active cycles, he ordered Canith to get Kappa team together. After Canith moved off to assemble Kappa team, Yatrell turned to Anara and explained, “We won’t have much time to move. They are appearing everywhere, as expected. They have no discretion.” He ran through his weapon to be sure it would still be useful and waited for the assigned reinforcements.

Anara looked at him for a moment. She noticed how his blood and sweat drenched shirt clung to his side and hesitated before speaking, “Pietro didn’t make it?”

No.” Yatrell took his assigned weapons and ranking vest from Set, his third and looked back at Anara, “I’m fine Lieutenant. It’s just a flesh wound and the bleeding has stopped.” His attention turned to Canith when he approached with Kappa team. “Good. Let’s go. We need to move fast. There is no telling what will come at us.” He pulled the vest over his chest, covering the dagger wound but not before the Kappa team leader noticed.

Yatrell, you can’t lead with that wound. I’ll get them down there, you go to medical.” The Kappa team leader, Masterson, stepped forward and Lieutenant Cree stopped him by placing her hand on his chest. He stared at her with disdain, but she didn’t move.

Yatrell snapped his eyes to the other Lieutenant Commander and in a terse tone he spoke, “You will remember your orders, Lieutenant Commander.” He fastened the vest, strapped his weapons into place and put his gun into a holster. “Let’s move out.” Both teams fell into rank and position behind him as they left the armory. They moved swiftly through the halls onto a mobile lift, killing every Ven soldier that appeared in their path. Once on the lift they readied their weapons, expecting engineering to be under siege as is typical of a Ven attack. The combined Dentonian team had operated as a strike team before. Often out in front of the main wave. This time they were moving into the heart of the battle, without back up. The intensity was clear on each of their faces.

The corridor the Dentonian teams had to cross was the widest on the ship. It was large enough to allow significant portions of the ship’s engines to come on board already assembled. Now, instead of engine parts, it was Ven soldiers that cluttered the corridor. Instead of large silver and black components being hovered over by engineers, it was short aggressive soldiers seeking technology and subordinates. Lieutenant Commander Jae and his team had no intention of allowing the Ven success.

Before they got off the lift, Yatrell stopped it and spoke to his team, “The themis grenades are the fastest choice. Don’t hesitate with them. We already know what they will do and we need to answer in kind.”

The other Lieutenant Commander scowled at him, “What are you talking about? We can’t use those in close quarters or on this ship! If we have one missed toss, we’re done.”

Canith and Set began to prepare their grenades, when Anara spoke up, “It should clear them fast.” Then she began to count and prepare her own. “Set your counts to milliseconds.”

We don’t have options, Masterson. At best, you’re looking at a hundred of those creatures outside that door. There are eight of us. You tell me what other choice we have and I’ll take it, but I can’t think of one.” Lieutenant Commander Jae spoke with a firm tone and prepared the two grenades he had on him. Lieutenant Commander Masterson remained silent and readied his primary firearm.

The defense team stepped out of the lift and into the vast engineering corridor. The eight man team was staring at the backs of more Ven than any of them wanted to count. Masterson stepped forward and knelt out of the way of those behind him. Anara threw the first grenade well over the Lieutenant Commander’s head. It bounced and rolled through the feet of the Ven crowd. She whispered, “And…” A moment later a flash of light was followed by the sound of bodies being singed and a small handful of Ven evaporate into tiny specks of dust before finally disappearing into the air.

Once the first grenade went off, all of the nearby enemy soldiers turned and opened fire on the small strike team. Materson, already in position, began firing and cutting down the numbers while the rest of the team threw their grenades. Each took position next to him afterward. Quickly the Ven numbers thinned out. By the time the Dentonian force ran out of themis grenades, they could see gaps in the crowd before them.

The command came loudly, “Back on the lift.” Yatrell continued to fire at the Ven as his team fell back. Once everyone was inside the lift he grinned. “I think that went well.” He gestured to Anara, the smallest in the group, “I’ll lift you through the hatch. To the left is one of the maintenance tubes. Climb in there and move along the sides. Every opening, drop or throw another grenade. It doesn’t matter what kind.” He looked at the rest of the team with him, “Set, Canith and Seth go with her.” Yatrell began to lift them up and out of the lift’s hatch.

That side ends before engineering.” Masterson spoke up as he looked at his team. “Everyone’s already thrown at least one theimis and we don’t have an inexhaustible supply.”

No we don’t, but there are other weapons on all of us that can be used, along the openings.” Yatrell chuckled, “Anara alone is a walking arsenal.” He gestured to his second in command and the numerous weapons she carried. “They will drop and make a run for the door. We’re going to clear the way.” Set was the last from the first group out of the lift and into the tube.

How? You can’t put four people out against a hundred, or how ever many are left after the assault.” Masterson asked with frustration evident.

I have no intention to. You and your team are going into the other tunnel. It’s ventilation and, like the maintenance tube, it has a few openings. It’s also a bit larger. Should make moving easier. You can repeat the same process and help to clear the distance between here and engineering. Yes, you’ll have to drop out, but that drops out much closer than the other tunnel.”

Lieutenant Commander Masterson nodded to his team, who were already preparing to climb out of the “What are you going to do?”

What I normally do. Something unexpected.” Yatrell grinned.

You can find the book through major retailers including the ones listed below.

Learn more about the universe around Xarrok at

Your next stop for the scavenger hunt is right here:

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