Monday, October 16, 2017

Love, War, and Ever After - A Guest Blog by Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick


This month, Fabulous Florida Writer is pleased to welcome guest blogger, Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick. Catherine is the author of two novels, and her articles, stories, and essays have appeared in numerous newspapers, literary reviews, magazines, and anthologies. Her new family memoir, Voyage: A Memoir of Love, War, and Ever After, is a family saga that spans five generations. Catherine was our featured writer on July 2, 2016.

What to do when you're cleaning out closets in your childhood home and discover a hidden cache of love letters and fading photographs of relatives you never knew existed? If you're a former newspaper feature writer and the author of two novels, you write a memoir. For some time, I'd been thinking of researching my family story. When I lifted the lid of an old wood trunk and found more than 100 World War II letters and a velvet-covered photo album, I knew I'd hit the jackpot.

After my dad died, Mom went downhill. In the end, two of my brothers kept vigil with me at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. It was early December. I sang Christmas carols at her bedside, book-ending the lullabies, she sang to me decades earlier. Beneath the sheet, she tapped her foot to “Silent Night.” When I got to the part about heavenly hosts, she drew her last breath. Eventually, it fell to me and my siblings to do what so many adult children are called upon to do: sort through a lifetime of treasures and trivia accumulated by parents who thought no one would ever see some of them, or who hoped that someday, someone would.
 
My new book, Voyage: A Memoir of Love, War, and Ever After (eLectio Publishing, 2017), unfolds with a trampoline timeline that melds wartime letters my father wrote to my mother with vignettes in which I describe their mid-century family life in St. Louis, and with essays in which I reflect on my forbears with post-millennial insight.

During World War II, my dad, Bob Underhill, was an affable junior officer serving aboard a Navy minesweeper, a fellow from working-class New York. Merrilee Ann Meier was a stunning St. Louis County socialite entering the halcyon period pretty girls from established families swam into after they finished a degree in anything and before they marry a newly minted lieutenant. In the letters, Bob pours out his affections to Merrilee on wafer-thin military stationary, but glosses over the delicate maneuver required to snip the trip-wire of an underwater bomb, and live. Interspersed with stories-within-the-story, we follow Bob and Merrilee through a 58-year marriage in which they confronted holiday fiascoes and funeral foul-ups, windless regattas and catastrophic tornadoes.

I eliminated some of my father’s letters, those that didn’t reveal character, describe a riveting scene, or advance the plot. At the publisher’s request, I whittled the number of vintage family photos to a dozen or so. A number of happy memories could not be included, for there were so many that a reader would conclude my parents were Ward and June Cleaver. In other cases, I alluded to difficult experiences, but chose to not deal with them expansively. I think the reader had enough to get the drift. For example, the hardest part of the book to write was discovering why my paternal grandparents were never seen, never heard from, never visited, never mentioned. And coming to grips with that.

A good story worth the telling should take matters to their proper end, as well. This one does so early and often, in essays I wrote about how Bob and Merrilee went on to forge a life together, to weather adversity, achieve a measure of prosperity, and rear children during changing, challenging times Theirs is a story that spans years of war, decades of peace, and the breadth of human emotion, and it all began more than seventy years ago, with a letter signed “Just, Bob.”



For more information, visit the author's website at https://cufitzpatrick.com/
   
 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ian O'Connor - The 95% Solution



If you’re on a quest for novels that read like non-fiction, a book by Palm Beach Garden author Ian A. O’Connor might be the perfect solution.  O’Connor has penned five novels he describes as “95% fact interspersed with 5% fiction to confuse the reader,” and his stories will have you puzzling over what is true and what is the product of the writer’s fertile imagination. 
 
Born in England, O’Connor came to the U.S. by way of Canada. He wanted to pursue a career in law but joined the Air Force because of the draft and became a career military man.  Before retiring as a full colonel, he held several leadership positions in the field of national security management and was called back to active duty during the first Gulf War. He lives in South Florida with his wife, Candice.

Although he graduated with a degree in Political Science, O’Connor always enjoyed writing.  “About 20 years ago, I found myself drawn to writing like a moth to a flame,” he recalls. He began taking college graduate-level writing courses, attended seminars and writing workshops, and in 2000, completed his first novel, The Twilight of the Day, a thriller set in 1973. It is a powerful story of human triumph in the face of impossible odds, a story of one man's resolute faith in God and country when lesser men would have succumbed. Navy Captain James Vincent Trader endured years of relentless torment as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese but his true descent into hell began when he and nine others were sold in 1973 to a rogue country for 70 million dollars. Who was the buyer, and what was expected of these men? The answer is found in a closely guarded secret held by this extraordinary fraternity of pilots.  “I knew too many pilots who had been shot down but never returned home, and that was my motivation for writing the book,” O’Connor explains. “I still believe people were deliberately abandoned and left to die, especially in Laos, and I didn’t want that to ever happen again.” On September 9, 2017, O’Connor was honored by the Military Writers Society of America in San Antonio, Texas, with the Bronze Medal Award for The Twilight of the Day.

O’Connor’s next book, The Seventh Seal, introduces retired FBI agent Justin Scott who is hired by the Vatican when its ambassador to the U.S.is accused of murdering his mistress.  The Seventh Seal was voted a 2017 Semi-Finalist in the Sixth Annual Kindle Book Awards for best Thriller of the Year. (The winner will be announced on November 1, 2017.) The second book in the Justin Scott series, The Barbarossa Covenant, is based on a fictitious letter penned by Winston Churchill and author Ian Fleming to thwart Hitler’s planned invasion of England. When the letter turns up in the Vatican decades later, Scott is called to verify its authenticity before Doomsday arrives. Kirkus Reviews praised the book as “…a nifty thriller that...holds reader interest with his breakneck plot...”

 O’Connor‘s latest novel turns from Justin Scott to a doctor based on a 20-year-old exposé in the Miami Herald. The Wrong Road Home tells the compelling story of Desmond Donahue, an Irish immigrant who spent his life masquerading as a surgeon.  Armed with nothing more than a GED and some bogus medical diplomas, Donahue manages to evade discovery despite many close calls, but at tremendous cost to his personal life. O’Connor was a close friend of the real-life “Desmond Donahue” who requested that O’Connor tell his story. “I knew him for years,” O’Connor explains. “Even as a friend, he was always reserved and distant. He seemed very lonely. He called me one Saturday night in tears and told me his life was ruined. The next morning, I opened the paper and saw a story on the front page about a prominent Miami physician who had been unmasked as a fraud.” Florida Weekly describes the book as “…a highly realistic psychological portrait of a man addicted to a dream and determined to attain it.”

O’Connor has completed the third novel in his Justin Scott series, The Masada Option, which is scheduled for release in 2018. The story unfolds at lighting speed over a five day period in May when a rogue element inside Israel's Intelligence Service takes matters into its own hands and prepares to launch a devastating nuclear first-strike against the Muslim World from about a hijacked British Trident submarine with its arsenal of nuclear missiles capable of destroying most of the earth's major cities. Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Malaysia, and the entire Arabian Peninsula will be obliterated in one fell swoop, rendering Islam powerless for the next thousand years. This fanatical band of outlaws are willing to sacrifice the State of Israel to nuclear retaliation only because they believe Judaism will survive in flourishing communities in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.  The Prime Minister of Israel does not know who he can trust inside his own government to stop the madness and turns to the one man he believes can find the solution to avert an imminent worldwide calamity. That man is his friend, retired FBI agent Justin Scott. 
 
While promising an edge-of-the-seat reading experience and plots that read like today’s headlines, O’Connor hopes his books will leave readers satisfied that their time and money was well spent.

For more information, visit the author’s website at www.ianaoconnor.com.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wonder Where the Money Went? - A Guest Blog by Diane Capri

This month, Fabulous Florida Writers is pleased to welcome guest blogger Diane Capri. Diane is the  New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the Hunt for Jack Reacher series based on Lee Child's enigmatic character. Her latest novel, Jack the Reaper, (Book 8 in the series) will be released on September 26. Diane was our featured author on January 18, 2015.

Jack the Reaper is the newest novel in my Hunt for Jack Reacher series. When I began writing this spin off series back in 2009, I had no idea whether readers would embrace the concept or not. Eight years later, the series about two FBI agents, Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar, on the hunt for Jack Reacher has now sold well over a million copies, hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists several times, been nominated for a few awards and even won a couple of them. The series has found readers around the world. Let me tell you, I couldn’t possibly be more thrilled about all of that!


Perhaps the question I’m asked most frequently is where I get the ideas for my books. I usually joke and say I buy them at ideas.com. But the truth is that I don’t always know. Sometimes, ideas simply pop into my head. Other times, like this book, real life events inspire the story.
 In the case of Jack the Reaper, what sparked my interest were the secrets being revealed by whistleblowers and watchdog groups. As a lawyer, I’m required to keep confidences and secrets. If lawyers reveal private matters, we can lose our license to practice, which means losing our ability to feed our families. All of which meant I was intrigued by the big scandal the media dubbed The Panama Papers.

Do you remember that one? A Panama law firm’s files were hacked. Private information about thousands of offshore tax havens was exposed. Prominent people found themselves in embarrassing situations. Some of those situations, it turned out, were also illegal.

How might Jack Reacher be involved in all of this, I wondered. After all, Reacher is one of the least likely men on the planet to be hiding hordes of cash from tax collectors. Reacher seems to care very little about money at all. He cares even less for paperwork. It’s not likely he’d have an offshore shell corporation holding boat loads of pre-tax cash. Not likely at all.

Where would he get the money, for starters?
It turns out that Reacher did have access to nine million dollars of untraceable cash at the end of in the Lee Child novel, The Hard Way. Nine million is a lot of money, for sure.

What if Reacher went back to The Dakota where the money was hidden after he dispatched the bad guys?

What would Reacher do with all of that cash?

What if more bad guys wanted that money back?

Jack the Reaper developed from questions like these. Like all of my Hunt for Jack Reacher series novels, this one uses a Lee Child novel as its source book and springs from the characters, settings, and events in The Hard Way. Coming up with a compelling story that isn’t a sequel to the original but retains the flavor of a Reacher novel is a challenge every single time.

But when the magic happens and an exciting story results, it’s well worth the effort. Don’t you agree?

 In Jack the Reaper, the exposure of sensitive banking records leads to a thrilling chase from Iraq to London to New York and Palm Beach. Agents Otto and Gaspar are caught up in deadly situations they don’t understand. Everyone knows more about Reacher than they do. They’re forced to learn fast to stay alive.

And what exactly happened to all that cash?



For more information, visit my website: https://dianecapri.com/books/hunt-jack-reacher-series/

Monday, September 4, 2017

Gino Bardi - Remembering the Sixties

There’s an old joke, “If you remember the sixties, you probably weren’t there.” For those of you who were  - or weren’t, and wish you were - a new novel by Hudson writer Gino Bardi will take you on a magical mystery tour back to those turbulent times. “Those years were a highlight of my life,” he says.  “Get it? High light? Okay, never mind.”


Bardi began writing for local newspapers and magazines while still a high school student in West Islip (Long Island), New York. He attended Cornell University in the late sixties, a time of campus unrest, where he met and later married his college sweetheart. After graduating with a degree in English/Creative Writing in 1972, Bardi wrote copy for an advertising agency and film scripts for a training and development company in Washington, DC.  He and his wife eventually owned and operated a commercial printing business in upstate New York. They sold the business in 2008 and retired to Florida after deciding “winter was an unnecessary evil.” The move turned out to be a pleasant change in more ways than the weather.

“The best thing about Florida is that it’s filled with writers,” Bardi says. “I was amazed by how many writers there are, how good they are, and how nice they are to one another. In New York, they were much more competitive.”  After trying to fill his time with typical retiree activities like fishing, golf, and tennis (which he admits he “did badly,”) he joined a writers group.  “I’m a guy who likes to take the path of least resistance,” he admits. “Writing was the only thing I could do, so I decided to write something.” He began working on a short story about a young man finding love- and fun- in a demanding, stressful university, “Much of the story really happened to me,” he explains. “But when I got to the point where I needed an actual plot – that’s where the road parted.” He soon discovered that writing a novel was very different from completing an assignment for an ad or a magazine.

Fortunately, Bardi found “a very generous mentor” - author David Edmonds, the moderator of the Tarpon Springs Writer’s Group.  “When I got to the point where the character’s life grinds to a stop, and what had really happened wasn’t too interesting, I wasn’t sure where to go with it,” he says. “I moped around for a while, like the book’s main character, Tony.  David Edmonds encouraged me to keep going. I let the characters tell me how to finish the book. It turns out they couldn’t be pushed around. The story took on a life of its own. It was amazing!”  The result was Bardi’s first novel The Cow in the Doorway: Love and Loss in a Time of Pot and Protest. He describes the often humorous, sometimes poignant book as “a coming-of-age, new adult, historical romantic comedy - it’ll be the only book on that particular shelf!” The protagonist of the story is Tony Vitelli, a reluctant freshman focused more on babes than books. His search for romance in the midst of tremendous political and societal upheaval teaches him some hard lessons about life and love. “Tony learns that, at some point in life, you have to figure out what you want and what you have to do to get it,” Bardi notes. “The title is a metaphor for whatever stands in your way, whatever keeps you from getting what you want and need.” The Cow in the Doorway is a rare example of something that will make you laugh and break your heart on the same page. It received the Florida Writers Association’s prestigious Royal Palm Literary Award for both Best Unpublished (2015) and Best Published New Adult Novel (2016).

 Bardi has recently completed Three on a Match, a collection of eleven humorous and quirky short stories examining aspects of relationships from many angles. On schedule for early 2018 is a full-length novel, WKDZ, about a younger Tony Vitelli (from The Cow in the Doorway) who, along with a team of miscreant high school kids, builds a powerful radio station and gets into an incredible amount of trouble. Also in the works is a futuristic crime spoof, titled Freezer Burn, whose protagonist has been dead for forty years and emerges from a deep freeze to cause all kinds of problems for the world.

 In all Bardi’s books, the protagonist eventually gets the girl. “And that’s how you know it’s fiction,” he is quick to point out. Creating offbeat stories and characters that can make readers smile is part of the joy Bardi gets from his craft. “When it comes to writing, there’s very little I don’t like,” he says. “And I can always make myself laugh, which is a real treat.”  

For more information, visit Gino Bardi’s author page,  tinyurl.com/ginobardi-books. Both The Cow in the Doorway and Three on a Match are available on Amazon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Wayne MacDowell - A Literary Tribute to the Greatest Generation

Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, less than million remain. According to the National WWII Museum, “Approximately every three minutes a memory of World War II – its sights and sounds, its terrors and triumphs – disappears…the men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now mostly in their 90s. They are dying quickly – at the rate of approximately 555 a day, according to US Veterans Administration figures.” So it is imperative to honor them before they disappear into the annals of history. This was the inspiration for Not Just Another War Story, St. Pete Beach writer Wayne MacDowell’s tribute to the young airmen who risked their lives in the skies over occupied Europe.


Having spent his career in Sales and Marketing for national tea and coffee companies, MacDowell traveled widely throughout the United States. It was during one such trip that he got the idea for a story about a college football player who finds romance during a summer job. “I started the story on hotel stationery, writing ‘A Short Story’ at the top,” he recalls. About 370 pages later, the story became a novel he titled Not Just Another Love Story. While MacDowell had no formal training as a writer, he had on-the-job experience writing marketing and sales plans, and he published Not Just Another Love Story in 2000.

MacDowell’s next book, Not Just Another War Story, would be nine years in the making. Because of a football injury sustained while he was a college student, MacDowell was unable to pass the physical to become an Air Force pilot. Instead, he channeled his energies into a 40-year involvement with the 305th Bomb Group Memorial Association as a tribute to his uncle and godfather, 1st Lt. Wright E. Gerke, a B-17 “Flying Fortress” pilot. “The idea of what could become a story came through my attendance at the 305th annual reunions where I spoke with those heroes of long ago and listened to their stories,” MacDowell says. “In the book, I wanted the story to be absolutely genuine – right down to the weather and each plane’s serial number.”

MacDowell describes Not Just Another War Story as “the story of the hopes, dreams and loves of a B-17 crew.” It is the tale of young Steve Carmichael, a University of Florida graduate who loves to fly.  Having learned to pilot a plane at the age of 12, Steve decides to join the Army Air Corps. He eventually realizes his dream of piloting a four-engine B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber into battle. While stationed in Britain, Steve meets an attractive British nurse at a USO dance, and sparks fly. “The book doesn’t center on just the fighting war,” MacDowell points out. “It also shows the human interaction and feelings, plus a beautiful romance in a war-torn world.”  For MacDowell, the best part of writing the novel was “watching my characters come to life and become people.”

 While promoting Not Just Another War Story, MacDowell travelled to England's Isle of Wight where some of the book takes place. Sandown, a family resort town on the Isle of Wight is the St Pete Beach International Sister-City.  He then went on to London where he hosted a book-signing at Harrrod's Department Store. He also visited Margroten, Holland where the Netherlands-American Military Cemetery is located. “I did a book signing there, giving the proceeds to a local charity,” he says.  Not Just Another War Story is dedicated to 1st LT Wright E. Gerke, a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot who was killed on a mission to Gelsenkirchen, Germany. This visit was my 23rd to place flowers and visit with my Uncle-Godfather. I know the number only because there is a sign-in family book. Like all of the overseas military cemeteries it is well worth the visit to these hallowed grounds which are beautifully maintained. They are American soil. While there, take a stroll out past the reflecting pond, past the memorial tower/chapel and into the cemetery where 8301 American ‘kids’ are buried. Walk out toward the American flag pole and over on your right in Plot 0 Row 6 Grave 6, stop by for a moment to visit Lt Wright E. Gerke.” MacDowell plans on returning to England and The Netherlands in the fall of 2018.

 Another memorable experience for MacDowell was an invitation to do a book signing with the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA).  “They flew their B-17 Flying Fortress into the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport in June for a couple of days as a flying exhibit,” he recalls. “We worked out that some of the proceeds would go the EA. We sold out, and they asked if I would come the following week to the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport for an additional signing. Again, we sold out and, at the end of the day, they invited me to fly as copilot on their 1928 Ford Tri-Motor former TWA plane. It certainly was fun! The old girl flew at just under 100 MPH and with the huge wings, was as steady as can be.”

MacDowell hopes readers will enjoy Not Just Another War Story and come away with a renewed appreciation for the sacrifices made by WWII veterans. “I hope the book will give the younger generation – those who had a father or grandfather who served – an understanding of what they went through during that time,” he says. “I try to bring out the toughness of that group of people who certainly had to grow up way too soon, and the joy of lifelong friendships made with individuals from all walks of life. To have the reader come along on the story-adventure and give them a front row seat was most important to me.”

For more information, visit the author’s website at www.waynemacdowell.com.





 


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Russell James - Tales from the Dark Side

Move over, Stephen King and Clive Barker - there’s a new thriller writer on the scene. Longwood author Russell James is spinning tales that are sure to keep readers up at night. This former Army helicopter pilot has penned paranormal novels, novellas and short story collections that will delight horror fans.

James, a native of Long Island, never planned to become a writer. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Business Management, earned his MBA from the University of Central Florida, and realized his lifelong dream of flying helicopters with the Army 101st Airborne.  But he discovered his more creative side during long road trips with his wife.  “While we were driving, I’d tell my wife stories, and she said I should write them down,” he recalls.  “I told her there was no way anyone would pay for something I wrote. I’ve been apologizing to her ever since.”  James’s wife took matters into her own hands when she gifted her husband with an online writing course for Christmas. This led to the publication of one of his short stories.  Then James enrolled in an advance writing class and began work on a book about a haunted house. At the suggestion of his instructor, James submitted the novel, Dark Inspiration, to Samhain Publishing, and the rest is history.

Dark Inspiration was followed by four more novels (Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker,) two novellas (Blood Red Roses and The Antikythera Answer,) and several short story collections. James describes his work as “character-driven paranormal thrillers based more on suspense than graphic violence.” His next novel, Q Island, is the nail-biting tale of a prehistoric virus that turns its victims into psychopathic killers. Publishers Weekly praised the book as “…a seriously creepy page turner that will keep readers up at night.”

 His latest novel is Cavern of the Damned, an homage to the kind of monster movies kids loved to watch in the 1970s. Out-of-work paleontologist Grant Coleman signs up to be part of a documentary film about exploring a long-sealed cave, but he finds out it is really just a reality show to be filled with some fake scares. Park Service Ranger McKinley Stinson catches the crew trespassing, but before she arrests them, the cave entrance collapses. All are trapped inside, and the only way out is at the cavern system’s far end. Along the way they are attacked by giant cave dwelling creatures, including giant scorpions. Greed, double crosses, and mayhem ensure. The Haunted Reading Room said “Author Russell James delivers heart-in-mouth unstoppable action and terror. If you love creature horror, paleontology, megafauna, and scares-a-minute, love this!” In keeping with the spirit of the story, it is family-friendly with no sex or profanity. “It’s just the broadcast network-safe scary of a good monster flick, “James says. “I can finally direct kids at book signings to a book without adding a warning for their parents.”

Scheduled for release later this year will be Return to Q Island, a second story set in the world of Q Island. While millions want to escape a viral quarantine on Long Island, where they are terrorized by the infected, one man wants to get back in to save his family. His only way in is posing as a guide for an illegal safari hunting the infected. But he ends up being a slave to the hunters, and the infected are worse than ever.

While the primary reason James spins his scary tales is “to give readers an escape from the real world for a while,” he also hopes his writing will leave them with something to ponder. “All my novels have a theme embedded in them,” he explains. “Maybe readers will pull out that theme and apply the values to their own lives.” 

For more information, visit the author’s website at www.russellrjames.com.
For more about Cavern of the Damned go to  www.amazon.com/Cavern-Damned-Russell-James-ebook/dp/B071LMZFHJ)

For readers who want to meet James in person, he will be making appearances at Megacon in Tampa (September 29-October 1st) and Spooky Empire in Orlando (October 27-29) He invites readers to stop by for signed copies of his books or to just chat about reading and writing.





Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ken Pelham - Pushing the Literary Envelope

Ken Pelham likes to push the envelope. This Maitland writer's stories test the limits of his readers' imaginations while taking them on unforgettable adventures that will keep them hooked to the last page. This is no small feat for a guy who spends his days as a landscape architect.

Born in Fort Myers, Pelham grew up in the small town of Immokalee. He was always an avid reader and started writing in middle school where he created comics for his friends. In high school, he moved on to short stories and a play. As much as he enjoyed writing, economic considerations led him to channel his creative talents in a different direction, so he pursued a degree in landscape architecture at the University of Florida. 

He started writing short stories and nonfiction articles after he graduated from college. Several of his stories were published in magazines, so he decided to try his hand at a novel. After two failed attempts, he set to work on a suspense/thriller titled Place of Fear. It introduced his signature character, Dr. Carson Grant, a protagonist Pelham describes as “prickly and mysterious, a little Indiana Jones, a little serious archaeologist.” Even though he was unable to place the book with a publisher, Pelham went on to write a sequel, Brigands Key, set on a quirky little island on Florida’s west coast. Writing Brigands Key was a multi-year process. Pelham wrote seven drafts before he finally submitted it to publishers.

The effort paid off. In 2012 Brigands Key was picked up by Five Star Publishing and won first place in the prestigious Royal Palm Literary Awards. Praised as “A perfect storm of menace…” by Florida Weekly, the story begins when Carson Grant discovers a body while diving near a subterranean freshwater stream in the Gulf. He is soon facing off against the local police, a mysterious plague, a Category 5 hurricane, and a crazed murderer. The success of Brigands Key led to the publication of Place of Fear, which earned Pelham his second Royal Palm award. Pelham’s affection for his fictional Brigands Key led him to use it as the setting for several short stories included in two collections: Treacherous Bastards: Stories of Suspense, Deceit, and Skullduggery and Tales of Old Brigands Key. Pelham has also penned a non-fiction book, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: A Writer’s Guide to Mastering Viewpoint, which won a Royal Palm Award for “Published Book of the Year.”

Pelham’s latest project, The Prometheus Saga, is a unique science fiction anthology reminiscent of the classic short story collections by Ray Bradbury, Rod Serling and Richard Matheson. “I was investigating how to use the new technology in publishing in an anthology,” he says. He conferred with friend and fellow writer Charles A. Cornell, and they came up with the idea of having a select group of writers create stories that shared a common premise. This was the birth of the Alvarium Experiment, a consortium of writers working “independently together” toward a single goal.  “Alvarium” (Latin for “beehive”) reflects the philosophy of writers working as a colony. “We decided to create a theme and a character that had no bounds but made sense,” he says. The stories are tied together by the enigmatic Prometheus, a humanoid alien probe sent to observe the human race throughout its history. Created by an alien intelligence, Prometheus sometimes interacts with mankind, but it is left up to the reader to decide if it is malevolent or benevolent.

The Alvarium Experiment followed up with a second anthology, Return to Earth, which explores scenarios in which the first visitors to our planet just happen to be us. Pelham's contribution to that project, "Under the Whelming Tide," is a semifinalist in the 2017 Royal Palm Literary Awards. And in July of this year a third anthology, The Masters Reimagined, will be released, in which classic works of literature will be visited with a slant towards speculative fiction.
Pelham's short story, "The Queen Beneath the Earth," appeared in Darkwater Syndicate's gripping horror anthology, Shadows and Teeth, Volume 2, in April, 2017.

Staying busy, Pelham's column appears monthly on the FWA website. He's also hard at work on a nonfiction book about the evolution of genre fiction, and on the third book in his Carson Grant series, Grand Ruin, which involves the mysterious death of a high school football star and the secret of an abandoned castle. He feels that what makes his novels unique is that they push the limits of believability. “I like keeping a lot of balls in the air at once and multiple characters with competing agendas,” he says. “I hope my books give readers an enjoyable few hours of reading and leave them with something to think about.”

For more about Ken Pelham, visit his website at www.kenpelham.com

Learn more about The Prometheus Saga on Facebook at