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BOOK OF THE WEEK: HYBRID by Greg Ballan #amreading #sciencefiction

HYBRID POSTCARD


THE BOOK OF THE WEEK is the science fiction/suspense thriller Hybrid by Lachesis Publishing author, Greg Ballan (Book 1 in the Hybrid series). 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE at LACHESIS PUBLISHING.

You can also get Hybrid  at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

What it’s about:

Erik Knight, a small time private investigator, always knew he was different from everybody else. Keener senses, heightened awareness and an enhanced physical strength that could be called upon by his sheer will.

Erik becomes involved with a team of high profile investigators and local police trying to locate a girl who was kidnapped in the middle of a playground amongst dozens of adults and children. None of the adults saw anything and what the children claim to have seen is too far fetched to be believed. The search evolves into a full-scale manhunt into the dark and desolate woodlands of the Hopedale Mountain.

After a lethal encounter and a fatality, Erik, the investigators and police realize that what they’re dealing with isn’t a man and possibly isn’t of this world. What they’re dealing with is a sentient evil that has an appetite for young children.

EXCERPT:

“Erik!” Shanda whispered in alarm. “Something’s here, stalking the girls. I can’t see it, but I can sense it.”

Erik looked throughout the park grounds, focusing his vision, but he couldn’t see anything. Fifty yards away, the children played unaware of anything but their innocent fun. Erik walked quickly over to where the party was, Shanda following close behind him. As he closed the distance he noticed that his daughter was staring at something and pointing. Erik looked in the direction she was pointing and saw a patch of darkness. His mind shrieked with panic and he ran toward his daughter, screaming for the other girls to leave the park area. The girls looked at the direction Brianna was pointing at and froze. They were terrified, frozen into inaction.

After a quick sprint, Erik was beside his daughter. Several of the other mothers had gone to their children as they all pointed out the closing patch of darkness.

“Get your children back!” Erik commanded. “It wants your children.”

Mothers and children were panicking. Children were crying with fright as the afternoon sun seemed to dim and the temperature in the park suddenly dropped twenty degrees. Brianna hadn’t moved since Erik came by her side.

“What do you see, honey?” he whispered.

Brianna’s eyes were transfixed on the corner of the park. Her finger still pointed in that direction. “It’s a tall man, I think. I can tell that it wants me. It’s calling to me, Daddy. I’m scared. Please don’t let it take me. I can tell it wants to take me.” She screamed in mindless terror.

Erik reached behind his back and pulled his Ruger from its place of concealment. He wrapped both arms protectively around his daughter, his gun pointing in the direction of her finger.

“Bri, point me in the right direction. I won’t let it hurt you. No one is taking you anywhere.”

She gently guided his hands so that the pistol was aiming at the heart of the dark anomaly.

“Daddy,” she whispered, “it’s coming right for us.”

“Go back with Shanda and the others, now!” he told her.

“Daddy, I don’t want to leave you.”

“Go, honey! Please,” he whispered. “Shanda!” Erik shouted, breaking the eerie silence. “Take Brianna.”

Shanda came up quickly and took Brianna. “I can just barely see it, Erik; it’s just like you described. It stopped when you pulled the gun. All the children can see it, but the parents can’t. All they can see is the darkness, and they can feel the cold.”

From behind them, the ponies were shrieking in panic.

“All right, you two, get back!” Erik stood up. He holstered his weapon and began walking toward the darkness.

“I know you’re there!” Erik called out to the inky darkness. “Maybe you can hide from them, but you can’t hide from me!” Erik focused his eyes; concentrating his extra senses on the darkness as he continued forward. Slowly he saw the man-like figure materialize. The figure had stopped its approach and assumed an aggressive stance. Erik paused a scant twenty feet from it and assumed a basic combat stance he used in Kung Fu.

“You can’t have the children!” he shouted, his voice booming above the silence, challenging the being of darkness. “You can’t have my daughter or any other child here.”

The thing responded with silence. Erik finally saw the blood-red eyes looking right through him. He could feel the hatred, the sheer malevolence; yet, now he also felt desperation, a hunger that was beyond his ability to define. The hostility threatened to overwhelm him. Erik fought his own emotions, fought down his own fear and doubt. He knew he couldn’t defeat this thing physically, but he would not let it have his daughter or any other child there, not while he drew breath.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Hybrid right here at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

To read some of Greg’s musings visit his writing page on facebook, for several short stories and pithy takes on yard work and homelife.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

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DEAL OF THE WEEK: HYBRID FORCED VENGEANCE by Greg Ballan

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.42.54 AMTURN UP THE SUMMER HEAT WITH 2 science fiction/suspense thriller Hybrid FORCED VEGEANCE ON SALE FOR .99 CENTS EVERYWHERE! BUT WAIT YOU CAN ALSO GET HYBRID (BOOK 1) FOR .99 CENTS TOO! GET BOTH! FOR .99 CENTS EACH. by Lachesis Publishing author, Greg Ballan 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE at LACHESIS PUBLISHING.

You can also get HYBRID  and HYBRID FORCED VENGEANCE  at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

HYBRID AND HYBRID FORCED VENGEANCE:

Erik Knight is a small time private investigator with big time supernatural powers. In HYBRID he searches for a kidnapped girl. In HYBRID FORCED VENGEANCE he’s assigned to protect the daughter of a the French President.

To read some of Greg’s musings visit his writing page on facebook, for several short stories and pithy takes on yard work and homelife.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

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Why my children inspire my writing by Greg Ballan #amwriting #scifi #author

God gave me three gifts of inspiration in life and literature.

Image: www.newsweek.com
Image: www.newsweek.com

I was 24 years old Nov 6th 1988, standing in an operating room as doctors performed an emergency c-section on my wife. My son was dying in her womb. My son was dying. I stood there in shock and dismay, how could this be happening? I watched the surgeon cut into my bride, move organs and then reach into her abdomen and delicately pull out a small struggling life strangled by an umbilical cord. My son’s body was blue, he wasn’t crying. They freed him and his body soon took on a healthy pink color. My son, Thomas Michael, my boy had arrived, earlier than expected and seemingly no worse for the dramatic entrance. Things seemed normal for at first but Tom soon had developed breathing issues, his lungs weren’t developed properly and he was sick.

I listened in shock as the doctor explained Highland Membrane Disease, fluid buildup and under-developed lungs and a series of other issues afflicting my son. My wife had given birth with pneumonia and was having her own health issues. I remember her tears as other moms were able to hold their babies, and  she couldn’t. We waited for several hours while the doctors were tending to Tom. My father stayed by our side offering his support and encouragement, he was the rock we both leaned on. A doctor finally came and told us they couldn’t help and Tom had to be sent to Children’s Hospital and placed on a respirator. Twenty minutes later I watched my son, attached to machines, being loaded into an ambulance and transferred into Boston from the small suburban hospital. The doctors would call me tomorrow. I stood there in shock, as the ambulance drove away carrying my son, my father literally holding me up as my whole world just imploded.

I looked at my dad, lost and hopeless, “Dad, what do I do? I can’t fight this battle. Why? Why my boy?”

My father hugged me, his face wet with his own tears, “God is watching over him now, Greg. You need to take all your strength and stand tall, for that woman up there and your boy. You need to grow up fast, son. You need to keep it together for your family. You told me once how strong you are, call upon it now and be strong for all of them.”

I awoke the next morning to the ringing phone at 5:30AM, I felt ill as I picked it up. It was Children’s Hospital, Tom had had a rough night but was holding his own for now but they couldn’t make any promises and I should prepare my wife for the worst. I hung up the phone, took a breath and looked at the cross hanging on our bedroom wall, “Don’t you take my boy, you can’t have him!” I’ d never sworn or threatened God before, but I let loose a string of blasphemies I’d only used on people facing me in a street brawl. He wasn’t going to die and I wasn’t going to tell my wife about the phone call from the hospital.

I got in my truck and I drove to Boston. I was escorted to a small incubator-like unit, inside was my son, hooked up to machines to do his breathing and to help cleanse his blood. His face was swollen and yellow, nothing like the child I saw the night before. THE nurses left me alone; I couldn’t touch my son I could only stare through the glass.

“Thomas, it’s your dad. I know you can hear me, son. Fight, do you hear me! You fight and you live. Don’t go with the Angels, you stay here, with me. I don’t want to lose you, do you understand? Mom and Dad love you so please don’t leave, you just got here. You just got here.” I felt my tears, “Don’t leave me son.” I sat in silence for three hours, my hand touching the glass, watching my boy, willing him to live. Imagining my strength flowing from me, through the glass barrier and into his frail, tiny body. I repeated the mental image every time I saw him, it didn’t matter who I was with or who was around and I didn’t care what anyone thought, each day he lived was a gift and a victory. And if he needed my life to survive he could have it.

Thomas made a miraculous recovery and is part of a Children’s Hospital medical journal, he shouldn’t have lived, but he did, he beat the odds and fought the ultimate fight, the first month of his existence; the battle for his life. Tom is 27 years old now, a remarkable young man with tenacity and a will to do things his way. That tenacity has caused some friction but no matter what his trial, he always finds a way to make things work out in the end, he never seems to give up on anything or anyone. In the end he finds a way to fight through.

When I find myself going through a rough patch, I remember a frightened young father staring through a glass barrier at a new life and urging that life to fight on and beat the odds. Within those memories I find the strength to rise up and keep pushing forward. My battles and issues have never been as severe as the one he fought and won over 27 years ago. Whether I’m struggling with a chapter in a novel, writing a blog or facing a financial or life hardship I look over at my son and see that twinkle in his eye or that crooked smile he inherited from his dad and I know I can get through. Tom was the one who pushed me to submit my first book and write the follow up. He inspired and motivated me to keep working on my novels when nobody seemed interested in a half-alien private detective. He gave me the confidence and the gift of his insight on the second and third book in the Hybrid series serving as critic and creative collaborator. Tom just didn’t influence my writing he is the spark that fanned the creative flame. A flame that would never have existed if he’d lost his fight so many years ago. He is the best son a father could ever hope to have.

Image: chsaanow.com
Image: chsaanow.com

Three years ago my youngest daughter, Christie, at the age of eleven, decided she wanted to try out for an out of town swim team. I’d coached her in basketball and softball in open town leagues but this was something different.  I watched her first competitive meet from the upper balcony at Milford High School, as my baby girl stood waiting for her event with sport swim wear, a racing cap and tinted goggles.  The feeling of dread weighed in my gut like I’d just eaten a cinder block as she stepped upon the diving block against other swimmers. For the first time, I wasn’t there coaching her, I couldn’t walk up to her and give her advice or encouragement, she was on her own.

The starting horn sounded and the race was on . . . everyone around me screamed and cheered, I watched in muted silence willing her on in my mind, hands balled into tight fists. It was the longest 25 yards in my life. But she finished and won her heat. It was a long year of ups and downs for her and a great deal of frustration but she grew into the sport and more importantly developed new friendships. At the awards banquet she was awarded the most improved swimmer, a trophy she has in her bedroom to this day. She’s still a competitive swimmer and will be on the High School league this fall. I’ve watched her develop into a strong competitor and have seen her conquer her insecurity and lack of self-confidence. She now believes in herself and the difference in her personality is a wonderful thing to behold. Gone is the need to be just like her big sister rather she yearns to be “Christie.”

My youngest has reminded me that the road isn’t always easy in life but those who stay true to themselves and don’t go with the crowd will prosper in the long run. She found a place for herself; it was different from herr friend’s passions in dancing and boys, it was in the pool training and competing, working to shave off that fraction of a second and master a smooth flip turn. I’ve taken that lesson and applied it in my own writing. I’m not going to write like everyone else, I’m going to write about what I want and express how I feel. My political blogs have earned me a great deal of hate mail because I call a spade a spade. I won’t ever apologize for my morals or ethics or my freedom to express them and I won’t bow to political correctness. I did for a while and took the easier choice, it gave me less headaches but I let myself  be silenced. Life isn’t about taking the easy road it’s about making the hard choices, following your passions and not following the herd blindly. As I watch my daughter in the pool working and training through each practice, I’m reminded of that lesson.

Image: summerization.wordpress.com
Image: summerization.wordpress.com

 

January 24th 2015. It’s three in the morning, the snowfall is near white out condition and I’m looking at the weather in Connecticut and New York. My destination is the Javitz Convention Center in Manhattan. Only an experienced driver or a madman would head out in this weather. But my older daughter was auditioning for “The Voice” and needed me to drive her. “It’ll be an adventure,” she said flashing me that patented angelic smile reserved for when she really wanted something. So a week later here we are, headed off in the storm, Rachel looking out into the darkness and me gripping the steering wheel as we sloshed through the snow. We saw several spinouts and accidents but we had to keep going. Half the time my car was barely holding the road and any turn of the wheel would make us an accident statistic. A four hour ride took seven terrifying hours. But we made it.

The lines and crowds were spectacular. I waited in line with her for another ninety minutes and the group she was with was called in. Because of her age, she didn’t require a parent escort, I got to sit around and fret and hope and pray that she’d come out with a pink ticket. I had my Visa card and would gladly charge the $500.00 it would cost to stay in a hotel if she made the cut to tomorrow. Another hour later she texted me, “I didn’t get picked.” My heart sank. There must have been something wrong, my daughter sings like the most beautiful songbird. I dreaded the long ride home. Another snowstorm would be welcome over the black cloud that would be hanging over my car all the way back to Massachusetts.

I saw Rachel and she smiled, she wasn’t upset and simply said, “They loved my voice, but I didn’t have the right look, whatever that means, oh and I saw Blake Shelton, he was here for Saturday Night Live.’ I was blown away, she handled the disappointment like a trooper, we laughed on the way back to the car and I enjoyed the time with her. The ride back was light and fun despite the snow falling again. That ride home was one of those memories I will treasure forever, I gained a new insight and admiration for Rachel. She took what most would have taken as a debilitating setback and saw it as a positive experience. She wasn’t daunted or discouraged.

Life doesn’t always deal a natural strait flush or four of a kind, sometimes you’re dealt a crappy hand and just have to wait for that hand play out and start with a fresh set of cards. I was never more proud of my daughter than at that moment, she’d had solos before and large parts in plays etc, but this was an indication of her inner strength character. She understood and accepted disappointment without anger or frustration. It was a lesson in how to handle rejection and disappointment.

I’ve been on the receiving end of some letters of rejection from Penguin, DAW and a few hunting magazines and I’ve learned that handling and coping with rejection is more important than celebrating success. Failure builds character and determination. It makes me a better writer and will no doubt make Rachel a better singer. It also defines how we handle life’s larger setbacks; we can accept them and move forward, learning from the experience or be debilitated by failure and never try again. My daughter learned the lesson and discovered the right attitude. When I get down on myself or when things seem to be falling apart I like to flash back to that drive home and the precious hours we spent bonding over an unsuccessful Voice audition. I brush off the setback and try again, pushing myself harder.

 

As parents we spend our lives teaching our children, hoping the lessons sink in, I look at my children and realize how much I’ve relearned from them, my lessons being re-taught through their lives. There’s no bigger reward for me as a father than to spend individual time with my children, to reignite the bond and simply catch up with their hectic lives and let them know even though I’m not always around, I’ll always be there and they’ll always be with me, no matter how far away life’s journey takes them.

hybrid-2-500x724hybrid-500x724Greg Ballan is the author of the science fiction thrillers Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vegeance. You can purchase them both at Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

Connect with Greg Ballan on facebook and YouTube

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow us Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

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DEAL OF THE WEEK: Hybrid by Greg Ballan (book 1 Hybrid series) sci-fi/thriller #amreading

hybridTHIS WEEK’S DEAL OF THE WEEK is the science fiction/suspense thriller Hybrid by Lachesis Publishing author, Greg Ballan (Book 1 in the Hybrid series). 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE at LACHESIS PUBLISHING.

You can also get Hybrid  at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

What it’s about:

Erik Knight, a small time private investigator, always knew he was different from everybody else. Keener senses, heightened awareness and an enhanced physical strength that could be called upon by his sheer will.

Erik becomes involved with a team of high profile investigators and local police trying to locate a girl who was kidnapped in the middle of a playground amongst dozens of adults and children. None of the adults saw anything and what the children claim to have seen is too far fetched to be believed. The search evolves into a full-scale manhunt into the dark and desolate woodlands of the Hopedale Mountain.

After a lethal encounter and a fatality, Erik, the investigators and police realize that what they’re dealing with isn’t a man and possibly isn’t of this world. What they’re dealing with is a sentient evil that has an appetite for young children.

EXCERPT:

“Erik!” Shanda whispered in alarm. “Something’s here, stalking the girls. I can’t see it, but I can sense it.”

Erik looked throughout the park grounds, focusing his vision, but he couldn’t see anything. Fifty yards away, the children played unaware of anything but their innocent fun. Erik walked quickly over to where the party was, Shanda following close behind him. As he closed the distance he noticed that his daughter was staring at something and pointing. Erik looked in the direction she was pointing and saw a patch of darkness. His mind shrieked with panic and he ran toward his daughter, screaming for the other girls to leave the park area. The girls looked at the direction Brianna was pointing at and froze. They were terrified, frozen into inaction.

After a quick sprint, Erik was beside his daughter. Several of the other mothers had gone to their children as they all pointed out the closing patch of darkness.

“Get your children back!” Erik commanded. “It wants your children.”

Mothers and children were panicking. Children were crying with fright as the afternoon sun seemed to dim and the temperature in the park suddenly dropped twenty degrees. Brianna hadn’t moved since Erik came by her side.

“What do you see, honey?” he whispered.

Brianna’s eyes were transfixed on the corner of the park. Her finger still pointed in that direction. “It’s a tall man, I think. I can tell that it wants me. It’s calling to me, Daddy. I’m scared. Please don’t let it take me. I can tell it wants to take me.” She screamed in mindless terror.

Erik reached behind his back and pulled his Ruger from its place of concealment. He wrapped both arms protectively around his daughter, his gun pointing in the direction of her finger.

“Bri, point me in the right direction. I won’t let it hurt you. No one is taking you anywhere.”

She gently guided his hands so that the pistol was aiming at the heart of the dark anomaly.

“Daddy,” she whispered, “it’s coming right for us.”

“Go back with Shanda and the others, now!” he told her.

“Daddy, I don’t want to leave you.”

“Go, honey! Please,” he whispered. “Shanda!” Erik shouted, breaking the eerie silence. “Take Brianna.”

Shanda came up quickly and took Brianna. “I can just barely see it, Erik; it’s just like you described. It stopped when you pulled the gun. All the children can see it, but the parents can’t. All they can see is the darkness, and they can feel the cold.”

From behind them, the ponies were shrieking in panic.

“All right, you two, get back!” Erik stood up. He holstered his weapon and began walking toward the darkness.

“I know you’re there!” Erik called out to the inky darkness. “Maybe you can hide from them, but you can’t hide from me!” Erik focused his eyes; concentrating his extra senses on the darkness as he continued forward. Slowly he saw the man-like figure materialize. The figure had stopped its approach and assumed an aggressive stance. Erik paused a scant twenty feet from it and assumed a basic combat stance he used in Kung Fu.

“You can’t have the children!” he shouted, his voice booming above the silence, challenging the being of darkness. “You can’t have my daughter or any other child here.”

The thing responded with silence. Erik finally saw the blood-red eyes looking right through him. He could feel the hatred, the sheer malevolence; yet, now he also felt desperation, a hunger that was beyond his ability to define. The hostility threatened to overwhelm him. Erik fought his own emotions, fought down his own fear and doubt. He knew he couldn’t defeat this thing physically, but he would not let it have his daughter or any other child there, not while he drew breath.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Hybrid right here at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

To read some of Greg’s musings visit his writing page on facebook, for several short stories and pithy takes on yard work and homelife.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

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Romance . . . through the warped lens of a middle aged Science Fiction writer by Greg Ballan #ValentinesDay #romancenovels #amreading

Image: www.newlovetimes.com
Image: www.newlovetimes.com

Let me apologize in advance to any Romance Novelist who may be upset over my obvious lack of perception and understanding of your genre and the topic, overall.  When this topic was suggested to me, my initial reaction was to laugh out loud and roll my eyes.  Clearly my publisher had made THE WORST choice to tackle this subject.  I am far from a ‘Love Guru’, how could I pontificate and comment on this topic with any shred of credibility? Like any quest for knowledge when one finds oneself lacking, approach those around you and gather a data set from a diverse population; which is what I spent three days doing.

Image: surfingbird.ru
Image: surfingbird.ru

I asked several colleagues of varying ages and gender their definition and opinion of romance and if he/she was familiar with romance novels.  The results from the male gender were pretty much what I expected. They all vehemently denied any knowledge or familiarity with the genre beyond the occasional “My wife has one or two on her nightstand and no I’ve never picked one up.”  When I pushed for a definition of ‘Romance’ I was taken aback by how guarded the men became.  I got suspicious looks and raised eyebrows and arms almost always folded indicating I’d crossed into uncomfortable body language territory. I swore anonymity yet still wasn’t able to crack that guarded man wall of secrecy. One guy went so far as to question my manhood for even broaching such a topic. It seems that Romance, in the data set available to me, is something not discussed among my gender. Upon reflection I admit that the topic has NEVER come up in conversation when I’ve been socializing with other men at any type of gathering.  The topics have been work, sports, some fantasy football league, and often trashing some politician or even talking about house projects. Conversations at my rod and gun club are limited to fishing, deer hunting, crossbows, rifles etc., but never in my 52 years have I been exposed to guys discussing romance. Okay, message received. Bros don’t discuss ‘Romance’ with other bros lest they lose their male membership card. If there are men discussing romance and the like, I’ve been missing out on those discussions. Could it be me, the type of hobbies and the people I spend time with?  Quite possibly . . . but I deliberately spoke with as diverse a group as possible. My conclusion is that men don’t want to talk about it, at least with other men, especially a writer trying to gain some insight.

Image: http://cordeliahsuphotography.tumblr.com/
Image: http://cordeliahsuphotography.tumblr.com/

The women I spoke to varied in age and, once I explained I was writing a blog, they were more than willing to indulge me in their opinions of romance and why they read romance novels.  The one single comment I heard from each women was that the book they were reading was incredibly well written and compelling. The second most common answer was the novels were a wonderful escape from the mundane of the daily drag of work, kids and reality. I got that, it was pretty much the same reason I read science fiction and graphic novels; for a diversion and an escape from the stress and anxiety of the daily grind. As far as explaining and defining romance, I could sense a bit of hesitation.  I was given great anecdotes from several people but the detective in me wanted a real time answer. What about today, what defined romance for them today?  I got a great deal of rolled eyes and laughter. One funny answer was simply her boyfriend not farting under the sheets at night. One woman my age was much more concise and how shall I say. . . critical with her answers.  I’ll call her ‘Kim.’

Image: www.chicagogluttons.com
It’s Fabio! Image: www.chicagogluttons.com

Kim has been married for several years and has four kids, we talk a lot at the gym while waiting to get on various equipment.  We were using the elliptical trainers and chatting to pass the time when I decided, why not broach the topic and ask her a few questions?  At least she couldn’t run away. I worked up the nerve to segue our light banter from griping about being winded to romance. To my surprise and delight Kim was very direct and honest with her replies. After fifteen years of marriage, changing diapers through four children and having a husband more excited by his new Callaway driver than by her, she began looking for something to fill the void.  She added that her husband was a good man who worked hard and was a great father, but he’d rather spend time his free time at the driving range than having a romantic dinner or a date night.  A friend in a local church group loaned her a copy of a particular steamy romance novel with a real hunk on the cover. She laughed as she recalled the book cover hunk was Fabio.  I remember that name, some big, long-haired blonde guy with huge pecs and biceps. If I remember he also did margarine commercials.  She enjoyed the novel immensely and admitted to getting all hot and bothered by the intimate scenes and the passion found within the pages of that book. From then on Kim decided to spend her evenings and down time with a romance novel tucked in her purse and has become ‘best friends’ with the works of Victoria Dahl and Vivian Arend. 4-OneSexyRide300-e1394672416659“When the 51XCOSvwWLL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_kids are in school and he’s at work, I like to curl up under a blanket with a hot cup of cinnamon tea and escape into another world of intrigue and passion. I know it’s never going to happen to me, but it’s nice to pretend and be swept up.” I asked Kim to define ‘Romance’.  She laughed for a moment looked over at me as we were both dripping with sweat.  “Well it’s certainly not this.”  I laughed at her wit and repeated the question.  Kim slowed her pace and took a deep breath, “Greg, if you have to ask me that question and really don’t know the answer I feel sorry for you.  You have the same affliction infecting my husband and a lot of other men.” I winced a bit at the sting of her retort but she then rewarded me with an answer, “Romance is the non-physical acts of love two people show for each other, it’s the little things that make certain somebody feels special, desired and cherished by their partner.”

Kim cranked up her pace and told me to chew on that for awhile, she put on her earphones and got back to her quick pace.  After another twenty minutes pondering, Kim finished her workout, she looked over at me and could tell I was still smarting from her remark.  “I didn’t mean to insult you; if I did I’m sorry.  You’re a nice guy, Greg and I figured you could handle the reality check.”

Image: www.pinterest.com
Image: www.pinterest.com

I left the gym with Kim’s point blank response echoing in my head.  I stopped at my favorite coffee haunt and thought more about Romance.  Were we men, as a gender, all negligent husbands forcing our spouses to seek attention or gratification within the pages of some writer’s imagination?  I reflected back on the first time I fell in love, the way my heart skipped a beat, how my mind was solely focused on her, I knew her scent, every curve of her face and longed just to hear her voice and be with her.  I remember the dates, the long walks and picnics and the hand holding. I recall carrying her across a large puddle because she didn’t want to get her new boots wet and how she giggled as I waded through the ankle deep water carrying her.  I remember showering her with flowers not because I just wanted intimacy, but I loved to see her smile and the delightful squeal she made when she was happy.  I remember spending hours under the hood of her mom’s beat up station wagon and shelling out my own money on car parts not because I had to, but because I knew it was important to her and I knew it would make her happy.  That was romance, that was how I showed her I loved her. It wasn’t the words, it wasn’t the physical joining, it was the gestures and deeds I made when we were together that let her know I cared.  I made her feel special and important and I got love, affection and companionship in return.  Romance is the non-physical acts of love we show our partners.

Image: slism.com
Image: slism.com

I knew it all along but lost the meaning over the years. I remembered the feeling of falling freshly in love and the natural high that came along with it, the heart skipping a beat, the electric jolt caused by a single touch of a fingertip.  I remembered romance, what I did because of love, the small and large selfless deeds I never thought twice about when I was younger but confess, balk at doing now, or do with a grumble under my breath. Working on my mother in law’s car isn’t always done happily, and often I catch myself rolling my eyes at the thought of stepping out of my comfort zone and expressing myself or my feelings. I often hear the words but fail to listen. I looked back over a litany of self-failings over my iced coffee and wondered what that drop of moisture was rolling down my cheek. How does it all change? Does life and time really have such an impact? What changes in relationships that kill or cool the romance?  What goes wrong?

Memories of You 453x680I’ve never read a romance novel. But I know from those I’ve spoken with that it’s more than just sex; it’s the excitement of discovering a new love, a new connection. I’m sure the male character does all the right things, slays the dragon, conquers the evil or is just there for the support needed or just to listen. I assume that’s the appeal more than the steamy scenes that cause one’s heart to flutter and forms beads of perspiration on the brow. Again that’s my conclusion based on dipping my toe into a pool I’ve never swum before. I believe it’s the crafted tale, the developed characters and story telling complimented by romantic gestures, the non-physical acts of love, that make the eventual physical bonding so powerful and intense (Also a gifted writer behind it). It’s not just the buff, shirtless guy on the cover; it’s the deeds done in the relationship not just inside the bed sheets that have the appeal. I think.

Image: warosu.org
Image: warosu.org

So how does romance work after years of marriage, several kids, two careers, soccer practices, yard work and a “Dad Bod” versus “Six pack abs”?  I honestly just don’t know. Maybe after years together it’s no longer about the grand gestures, maybe the small things have just as much meaning. Maybe making sure the toilet seat is down, emptying the dishwasher and putting away the laundry are just as important as carrying someone across a large puddle or doing a brake job on a car. Perhaps the simple daily acts of consideration can communicate wordlessly what men, myself included, may have forgotten or neglected to do over time. I’m not saying bringing home flowers and candy more than once a year on Valentine’s Day isn’t appreciated but perhaps the simple, yet helpful, gestures go further to prove love is still alive and the fire hasn’t tuned to ashes.  A simple action is worth more than a thousand words . . . even if those words are ‘I love you.’ Showing you care is always better than saying you care. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what romance is all about.

hybrid-2-500x724hybrid-500x724I’m just a Science Fiction writer out of his swim lane, but I think I get the point.

Greg Ballan is the author of the science fiction thrillers Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vegeance. You can purchase them both at Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

Connect with Greg Ballan on facebook and YouTube

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A Thrilling Science Fiction Superhero by David Lee Summers

hybrid-2Hybrid: Forced Vengeance by Greg Ballan

Reviewed by David Lee Summers

I grew up watching superhero TV shows and reading comic books, so you might expect me to be a fan of superhero fiction. Unfortunately, superheroes have rarely translated well into short stories or novels for me. I either find the stories shallow translations of comic books or I find that the author tips the scales too much in the other direction and spends so much time on probing the superhero’s psyche that they forget to give us the action and fun that makes the genre special. That said, Greg Ballan’s Hybrid: Forced Vengeance  has shown me that a superhero novel can be just as thrilling as the best comics and movies while adding the depth and complexity we’ve come to expect from great fiction.

An alien called Jakor has combined the DNA of a detective named Erik Knight with that of his own race, the Espers. Knight can essentially transform into a metallic being with super strength and telepathy. Bullets can hurt him, but they’re not fatal. What’s more, he possesses an Esper staff with the ability to transform into swords, shields, and other useful items. As Hybrid: Forced Vengeance opens, Knight is on a mission for the U.S. Government in Saudi Arabia. While there, his pregnant wife Shanda is apparently killed in a car crash. While still grieving for his wife, Knight is sent on a new mission. This time, he must protect the daughter of the French president from an assassination plot.

Once Knight goes overseas, we learn that Shanda did not die after all. She’s been taken to Area 51 in the Nevada Desert so the military can take her newborn, study the child, and try to make more malleable super soldiers than the willful Erik Knight. Shanda turns out not to be the only captive of the story’s villain, Colonel Ross. It turns out the government also holds an alien called Gray from a race called the Observers. Ross hopes that Gray will give him the secrets to a flying saucer the government shot down years before.

Through the course of the novel, Knight gets caught up in a web of intrigue, suspense, and government conspiracy. Ballan introduces us to many characters, each with their own agendas. Most important of all, Hybrid: Forced Vengeance never forgets to be a fun-filled, action-packed ride. At times, Ballan threatens to go over the top with some of the situations he presents, but superhero stories are supposed to be morality plays that pit the best heroes against the worst villains in the most extreme circumstances. Hybrid: Forced Vengeance  delivers just that.

hybridErik Knight takes an honored place alongside my favorite superheroes from the comics. I can’t wait to join him for another adventure.

Greg Ballan is the author of the science fiction thrillers Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vegeance (and the upcoming Hybrid 3) You can purchase them both at Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

Connect with Greg Ballan on facebook and YouTube

David Lee Summers is a multi-published science fiction and horror author. You can purchase David Lee Summers’ books at Lachesis Publishing, on amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Connect with David Lee Summers. online via facebook and twitter, and check out his web site.

 

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
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Greg Ballan reviews David Lee Summers’ Heirs of the New Earth (science fiction)

HEIRS-OF-THE-NEW-EARTH-COVERIt’s not very often that I find myself finishing a book with my jaw literally dropped open. That’s what happened with David Lee Summers’ new novel, Heirs of the new Earth. I flat out admit I was disappointed. Not with the ending of the tale but the very fact that I had come to the adventure’s conclusion. Summers carefully breaks up his tale into sections and like a master weaver threads separate story arcs and characters across the galaxy, spinning the fabric of an amazing tale of science fiction adventure that kept me on the edge of my chair eagerly scrolling page after page.  A warning to every reader . . . block off a good chunk of time, pour your favorite beverage and sit down in your favorite comfort chair. Once you start reading, the story jumps out and grabs hold, drawing you into a world one thousand years in the future where mankind has spread across the universe, contacted other intelligent life, and colonized new worlds.

Not all life in the galaxy is warm, fuzzy and humanoid. This, in my opinion, is where Summers shines like a fiery day star. The author creates a palpable sense of awe and dread painting an intricate portrait of a mysterious alien race known only as the Cluster. Summers’ prologue gives the reader a sense of the mysterious alien(s), their history in the galaxy and the beings’ desire to merge with another species to use as “Appendages”. Unfortunately for humanity WE have been chosen. Summers intricately dissects the cost/benefit analysis of human interaction with an “All powerful entity” motivated to “Help” us cure disease and cleanse the Earth for our benefit. Sometimes the price for paradise can be too steep and the motivation of a benefactor not always as pure as one is led to believe. Summers creates a viable web of intrigue and puts a morality study into play as humanity is unwittingly aiding in its own destruction.

Summers takes the battle for humanity into deep space at the Galactic Core with incredible ships such as the Mapping Cruiser ‘Nicholas Sanson’ led by Captain John Mark Ellis and the refit pirate schooner ‘Legacy’ headed by the elder Captain Ellision Firebrandt. But he also utilizes cerebral pathways and gateways of the human mind manipulated by the advanced alien intellect. Summers’ brilliant depiction of an ancient sailing vessel navigating interstellar space populated by copies of human brain patterns literally made me stop mid-read and ponder the possibility of such an incredible concept. Summers goes even further as he creates the final epic space battle to save humanity from its “Benefactors.” It is here that all the story arcs come together, each fabric of Summers’ tapestry woven to perfection culminating in the final battle to save humanity not only from the Cluster but from itself. Again, David Lee Summers shows his story-telling genius by throwing a major twist into the salvation of humanity and giving the reader another moment for dramatic pause to consider such a wondrous possibility that man may not be the best intellect on Earth. In the end it isn’t human genius or firepower that saves mankind but something more subtle, awe inspiring, yet somewhat terrifying at the same time. As the danger for humanity isn’t over but may only be delayed as the powerful alien Cluster learns and develops from its new host appendage.

It took longer than normal to get involved with the main characters of this tale because it’s the third book in a trilogy, and though it’s apparent there are relationships established in the first two books that continue in the third, this doesn’t detract from the story as the relationships become self-evident and the plots cleverly merge together. Summers’ ability to create a unique future for humanity is quite believable as the problems that impact modern day society in the 21st century are still there in the 30th century only exasperated in scale.His description of 30th century Earth is as fantastic as it is credible which makes this epic tale about the struggle to preserve humanity that much more intriguing and viable to any reader.

Children-of-the-old-stars-500x724pirate-of-sufrio-500x724Grab your favorite chips and beverage, curl up in a nice cozy spot and give your mind and imagination the treat of this incredible tale told by a unique, gifted author. The only problem I have now is waiting to get book one and book two.

The Old Star Saga by David Lee Summers includes:

The Pirates of Sufiro (Book 1)

Children of the Old Stars (Book 2)

Heirs of the New Earth (Book 3)

David Lee Summers is a multi-published science fiction and horror author. You can purchase David Lee Summers’ books at Lachesis Publishing, on amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Connect with David Lee Summers. online via facebook and twitter, and check out his web site.

Greg Ballan is the author of the science fiction thrillers Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vegeance. You can purchase them both at Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

Connect with Greg Ballan on facebook and YouTube

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow us Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

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The Five Happiest Moments Of My Writing Career by Greg Ballan (science fiction thriller author)

Greg Ballan
Greg Ballan

Every writer has those special moments that mark his or her career. Whether big or small, they mean something special and will stay with them forever. Here are Greg Ballan’s Top 5 Happiest Moments of his Writing Career.

1. I glanced over at the clock on my monitor, it was three in the morning. I’d been wrestling with a database for work nearly five hours and getting nowhere. Saturday night (Actually early Sunday morning) was the only real quiet time I could find in our noisy household of two teenagers, a live in Mother-In-Law and a toddler that was on a reverse sleeping schedule. The stress of managing work/ home and adjusting to another child plus trying to find some motivation to finish a manuscript I’d begun was starting to weigh me down. After my horrible experience with a previous publishing enterprise, and the endless waiting to hear back from a publisher on my submitted manuscript continually had me on edge. I was at the point of throwing in the towel and giving up on writing completely.

41fXU5f2QSL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_I was mentally exhausted and my eyelids felt like 400 grit sandpaper. I’d tackle this project after I grabbed a few hours of sleep. Out of habit I checked my E-mail one last time and there it was, sitting in my in box; that e-mail from LBF Publishing that I’d been waiting for yet dreading since I’d put all my hopes into this one basket. My mouse arrow hovered over that e-mail for a good thirty seconds as I worked up the courage and finally made that all important double click. My heart was beating like a trip hammer as the email opened, there were the words I’d only dreamt about. YES! LBF loved my story, they loved the setup and the concept. This final sentence was “Great job!” I felt fifty pounds of gloom melt off my shoulders and a sense of real pride, a publisher found merit in my work. I forwarded the e-mail to a few close associates who’d supported and encouraged me, telling them my dream had come true. A minute later I got an e mail back from my dear friend and author, Ed Williams. Congratulations you’re going to be a published author. I am so proud and happy for you.” I still have both e-mails and will never delete them. I value my friend’s wisdom. His guidance and encouragement was vital in making my book a success and the kind words of praise from Jackie, the publisher at LBF was the shot in the arm my sagging confidence needed. This was truly the happiest moment in my writing career – the night my manuscript was accepted by a real publisher. All the headaches and prior battles evaporated, I had taken the first step on what was to become a fantastic journey I’m still travelling.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 1.15.00 PM2. The slight May breeze cooled the nervous sweat pouring from my scalp like a fountain. What in the hell was I doing at a Romance Writers convention? I had no business being here. I was about to meet my publisher face to face and some well known authors. I was a writer, yes, but not in league with the ladies I’d be meeting let alone meeting the people who actually brought my work to life.   I walked into the hotel and slowly walked up and down the corridor, “Greg?” I heard someone call out. My stomach lurched a bit, and I turned, it was Leeann Burke, my publisher.   I took a gulp of air, walked over whispering prayers, “God! PLEASE don’t let me make a jackass of myself or say something totally stupid,” which I have been known to do on occasion. I made it through the introduction without sounding like a moron . . . score one for me! I met Joanna D’Angelo, who was just as nice in person as in her e-mails. My mind puts voices to people as I read their e-mails, I had created a light, lilting tone for Joanna based on our back and forth e-mails and I was pleased to see I had come very close to her actual voice. We all boarded a shuttle and headed off to have dinner. Me, in the company of the Editor in Chief and CEO of Lachesis Publishing plus two very successful well published authors.

Despite my nerves the evening was amazing! Leanne and Joanna were simply spectacular; and talking with Hannah Howell was amazing. I was finally able to relax and enjoy the great company as we all laughed and conversed over several topics and Joanna served as the referee never letting the topics get too controversial or serious . . . I’ll never forget her catch phrase when things got potentially political; “Cats . . . let’s talk about cats!”   I had a wonderful evening and actually felt like I belonged. I felt like a real writer for the first time and that moment of realization was something I’ll always treasure. I also managed to grab a ‘selfie’ with Leanne on the way to dinner.

Viking warrior by michaeldaviniart
Viking warrior
by michaeldaviniart

3. I’d spent three years working on the “Lost Sons” (Viking warrior) project, my boldest undertaking so far, and an attempt to move beyond the characters of “Hybrid.” Lost Sons is a complex tale of intertwining characters and motivations, a character study of human nature embedded within a Science Fiction tale rather than the flat out action of Hybrid and Hybrid: Forced Vengeance. I wasn’t sure how my test readers would react to such a different type of story. I sent out the five hundred pages to my fifteen person test group and waited. After two days I got my first e-mail; “OMG! I Love this so far.” A few days later four other people weighed in on the story, all positive.  After a month of back and forth with my test group I had received favorable responses to my attempt at creating a ‘George R. R. Martinesque’ tale of depth and complexity. I took a risk and stretched my creative muscles and was rewarded by positive feedback from a very diverse and discerning group of readers.   I needed the validation and the reassurance that I could spin a complicated yarn that would make a reader pause and contemplate alternate possibilities in the evolution and development of humanity. I took a step out of my comfort zone and was rewarded with a well received story that will eventually make its way to the reading public.

hybrid-24. I was invited to be the guest of honor at a book club.   A family friend had recommended my second novel as the chosen read for his group. Since I lived in the next town over he decided it would be a huge bonus to have the author of their book in attendance. I graciously accepted the invitation; anyone who’d purchased twenty copies of my book at one time deserved an in-person thank you.

I arrived a bit late due to a case of nerves and found a crowd of people crammed around a long table, all with copies of Hybrid: Forced Vengeance. The books looked like they’d been through a war . . . littered with yellow sticky notes, curled covers and well worn bindings. This was a serious crowd! My friend had gone all out even serving my main character’s favorite foods which happened to be my favorites. I was seated at the head of the table and these people treated me like I was a celebrity. I spent a few minutes autographing books, shaking hands and even getting a hug or two. The book discussion began and I was amazed at how different people interpreted the saga of Erik Knight and what motivated him to act.   I listened intently as I scarfed down all of my favorite foods. I happily provided insight to the story as well as  my motivations for different scenes in the book and engaged each question that came my way. The group was thrilled to actually get the answers and insight from the author, something that usually didn’t occur during a book club meeting. Three hours passed quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people who considered themselves ‘Fans’ of my work. I once again shook hands and exchanged some more hugs. I looked over at my friend and his wife – who were smiling from ear-to-ear. They said this was the best book club in years. I was glad for them but even happier for me; I saw firsthand how my words and tales had an impact on readers and how much deep insight the written word could invoke in people. I drove home feeling really good about the story and would always remember that night where I was a pseudo celebrity.

hybrid-500x7245. This is probably the most important moment for me personally as a writer, the completion of Hybrid: Armageddon’s Son. I take great pride in finishing another tale of Erik Knight but this story had a more personal significance. This story was a tribute to my father. I’ve made no secret that the character of Erik Knight is based on me in my early twenties and the character of Martin Denton is based on my father, James Ballan. I lost my father when I was twenty-four years old, he died suddenly and I never got the chance to tell him how important he was in my life or how honored I was to be his son. There’s a scene in Armageddon’s Son between Erik and Martin where they admit that they have a father and son type of relationship. Erik says the things to Martin that I wish I would have been able to say to my dad before he passed. In a way the scene is a tribute to my father and allows me the chance to say the things to my dad I never got to say when he was alive. There’s never perfect closure when a family member passes but in the dialogue between these two men who’ve shared so much, have such contrasting personalities yet complement each other, is my way of honoring my father. Seeing this scene in the pages of a book will be me paying a long lasting tribute to the man who taught me so much and will, without a doubt, be the happiest moment I’ll ever have as a writer.

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Question of the Week: What is Your Favorite Science Fiction Movie? Win a Free Book!

4de58d1c5d92228e7d941fc482eaaee3OUR QUESTION OF THE WEEK IS: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE?

This week we’ve been spotlighting Greg Ballan, the author of the science fiction thrillers Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vengeance.

You can purchase them both at Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

OUR QUESTION OF THE WEEK IS: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE? Leave a comment here or on our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook and you could win a free e-book of HYBRID.
large_gynBNzwyaHKtXqlEKKLioNkjKgNLike our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.

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hybrid-500x724

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Sometimes You Have To Get Lost To Get Found by Greg Ballan (science fiction thriller author)

This is the true story that inspired my writing career and my first book, HYBRID.

image: http://www.hope1842.com/parklands5saltbox.html
image: http://www.hope1842.com/parklands5saltbox.html

We had just purchased the home of our dreams (well my wife’s dreams anyway). I had acquired a mortgage that would give me nightmares for over a decade and a Mother in Law living with us for the foreseeable future. After the stress of moving, packing, unpacking, and trying to decide what went where in our new home I decided that I’d give myself a much needed break by exploring the Hopedale/Mendon Parklands the following afternoon. Since I was now an official Hopedale, MA, resident I wanted to familiarize myself with the trails and the upper ridge timberlines that seemed to go on for miles.

image: http://www.hope1842.com/parklands5saltbox.html
image: http://www.hope1842.com/parklands5saltbox.html

The following afternoon I told my wife I was going for a short hike in the parklands and I’d be home around five o’clock. The sun sets early in the fall here in New England and a nice brisk hike would help work the kinks out of my overstrained back and arms from moving furniture, boxes, and every other sort of packing contraption known to man. Normally on any type of hike I’d carry a pack with my lighter, a space blanket, my compass, a flashlight, a water bottle, some granola bars, and my trail knife. I paused looking at the basement stairs leading to the array of boxes not really knowing which one had my gear.  I decided to forego the gear since I’d just be sticking to the trails and would only venture off the paths a short distance. I walked out of the house with just sweatpants, sneakers, a tee shirt, and a light jacket tied around my waist.

image: http://www.hope1842.com/parklands5saltbox.html
image: http://www.hope1842.com/parklands5saltbox.html

The trails were a welcome change from being cooped up in the house, and the scenery was breathtaking. This park was close to my old house but I never took the time to explore it. I was happy to have found a little piece of woodland tranquility that I could escape to when I felt crowded in. As I admired my surroundings, I heard a noise off the trail. I turned and spotted a nice buck tearing up the ground.

image: http://www.arkive.org/
image: http://www.arkive.org/

This deer was so focused on making his mating scrape he didn’t even notice me. I crept behind a nearby tree and watched as the deer finished marking his territory before he moved deeper into the woods. I was so excited that I crept after him using the heavy oaks for cover. I followed this deer for about an hour cursing myself for not having a camera with me. The wind shifted and blew my scent toward the deer. He looked back, snorted like a train whistle, and bounded off deeper into the woods. I followed his tracks, oblivious to everything else until I realized the sun was about to set.

image: macinivnw.deviantart.com
image: macinivnw.deviantart.com

As I looked over my shoulder, it finally dawned on me how careless I’d been. I saw nothing but a sea of trees and brush rapidly vanishing, swallowed by the encroaching darkness. I felt the panic rise up and swallowed hard as I struggled to get my bearings. The setting sun was gone and there was barely any visibility under the dense canopy of red and white oak trees. “Smooth move Jackass!” I whispered. “Now what ‘Einstein’? No way to get a bearing and ya can’t wander around like a drunken sailor in the dark.” I turned in a circle as the woods became totally enveloped by darkness. I sat down by the nearest tree and prepared to fort up for the night.

I occupied my mind with a plethora of light thoughts until I heard the unmistakable sound of movement and snapping twigs. I stood up and crouched, my hands up in a martial arts defensive position . . . Like MMA was going to work out here. I heard more noise from behind me and then some more sounds directly to my left.   I held my breath, my hands ready to unload on anything that came within striking distance. The footfalls weren’t human. These were the sounds of four legged creatures.

image: www.jrcompton.com
image: www.jrcompton.com

Coyotes. But I was lucky. They moved on, and I allowed myself to sit back down and lean against my tree, I pulled the thin hood on my jacket over my head and continued to listen to all the alien sounds of the forest. It was like a unique soundtrack. Some, I could identify, but most of the noises were unknown to me. My imagination began to wander and I wondered what would happen if there really was some alien creature running loose in the upper woodlands of the town forest?  How would people deal with such a threat? Where would the creature have come from? I wondered if there may not, in fact, be a creature stalking me right now as I huddled against the tree.

Image: www.idlewords.com
Image: www.idlewords.com

I spent several hours in the dark passing the time by pondering the possibilities and terrors that an unknown woodland monster would beseech upon a peaceful suburban town. I finally nodded off to sleep and awoke to the light gray color of predawn. I stood and stretched my cramped legs. After another few minutes the gray gave way to dawn. I was able to walk to a small opening and get my bearings. I needed to travel due east since I had been walking toward the setting sun when I was distracted. I passed the time walking through brush and briars piecing together this crazy idea of a story to occupy my mind as I kept moving eastward. After what seemed like hours I heard the sounds of traffic and came out to a road. I instantly knew where I was . . . about four miles from the house. I walked for about an hour just relieved to be on my way home. I’d grab a quick shower and then get an iced coffee and ponder my idea some more in the comfort of my new family room.

As I made my way down our road I saw a police car in our driveway. An officer was speaking to my wife and mother in law. My wife looked frantic. Then she spotted me walking down the driveway. I was amazed at how quickly her worried expression turned to downright pissed off and angry. The police officer looked at me and gave me that, “Oh man you are in such deep excrement” look. My wife was about to unload a verbal beating on me but the officer interrupted her,

“Mr. Ballan?”

“Yeah, though right now I kinda wish I wasn’t.”

The cop chuckled, “Before I leave you to your fate, are you okay? Do you need any medical assistance?”

“No sir,” I looked over at my wife, “Not yet anyway.”

I told my tale quickly and gave the cop a good chuckle. He glanced back at my wife, “I think your husband suffered enough.”

My wife nodded, clearly not happy that I’d made an ally out of the police officer.

hybridI made my way into the house, took a quick shower, and changed. I grabbed my keys and a notebook heading back out of the house. My wife, still visibly angry, inquired as to my destination. I told her I had some inspiration over night and I wanted to write them down over a cup of iced coffee before I got involved with unpacking again. As I left the house she yelled for me not to get lost. Her exact quote was “Don’t get lost coming home, oh mighty Woodsman!” Eighteen months later the first Hybrid novel was born. There were some bumps along the path to publication and some painful lessons learned but that always seems to be my fate; learning through trials and tribulation. Hybrid is set in very woodlands where the story was inspired.  If not for my own stupidity I never would have written the book. After Hybrid, I wrote my second book, Hybrid: Forced Vengeance and then tackled several short stories for publication. I then immersed myself into writing the Lost Sons series and book 3 in the Hybrid series – Hybrid: Armageddon’s Son.

hybrid-2Fate works in peculiar ways, that one night spent out in the woods led to the beginning of a fantastic journey, a path I’m still travelling upon, and an adventure that will keep me busy for many years to come.

Greg Ballan is the author of the science fiction thrillers Hybrid and Hybrid Forced Vegeance. You can purchase them both at Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

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