A good friend of mine, and a lovely writer, Catrina Taylor has just published her first novel, a sci-fi, Star-Wars epic, Xarrok Birth of an Empire, Book 1. To celebrate, she’s put together a kind of scavenger hunt. I am thrilled to be able to help her launch her new work. (Don’t you love the cover?) I hope you’ll join in. Here’s more about it.
This new scifi novel is based in the middle of a centuries old war of the species. The universe in turmoil watches as the dominant races fight, kill and steal their way to survival. The less dominant species hope to live off what’s left behind. In this war, many are tiring from the morose monotony. Some take a stand for peace. The stand for peace is as dangerous, if not more so, than the war itself, but that doesn’t deter many.
Author Catrina Taylor has created an action packed book with many distinct characters. Each strives to do their job and not be swept away by the war. Below is a multi-site interview and excerpt. Both are part of a scavenger hunt to win a free copy of the book.
Read the questions and the samples at the bottom of the posts, then go to TheWritingNetwork .com and/or Xarrok.com and answer the 5 questions OR the 2 bonus questions accurately. The top 3 responses will win a free copy of Xarrok.
At the end of the sample on each site will be a link to another post — eventually you’ll get to the home of the Scavenger Hunt.
What kind of research went into the universe, book, species etc?
A lot. I read up on basic life requirements of certain animals, and the ecosystems around them. I researched some of the early weapons technology development, like Tesla’s original plan and how far it ended up, as well as some of the speculative potential. Watch the Dentonian weapons tech to see his influence. I also made sure I read up on warp theories. In the end, I ran with a technology that’s been used in other science fiction series, but it was the most sound and efficient warp theory for this use.
Can you describe the species we meet in the book?
This is going to be a lengthy conversation but here goes…
The Dentonian and Xenonian species have similar origins, centuries old. The humanoid species that originally inhabited Dentonia found themselves at odds. There was a split. The societies that grew on separate planets have very different values. Xenonians are female dominated while Dentonians are male dominated. Both exhibit extreme bias against gender and psionic ability.
Ven are small creatures that believe in total domination of any species, known or not.
Cybernetics and Xentu both just want to survive. Each for different reasons, they have been forced into the war by the Ven. The Cybernetics are a people trying to help their race survive when they can no longer reproduce. They do this through amalgamation. The Xentu are lizard people, and former Ven slaves. The Xentu fought their way to freedom by stealing, altering and commanding Ven vessels, and as needed ships from other species.
Who influenced this book?
You’ll notice the obvious ones like Gene Rodenberry, George Lucas, and the like but some of the more subtle influences to this book are Jason Dodge, George Orwell, Jules Vern and H.G. Wells.
What other science fiction authors do you believe found their way into your book?
Beyond the ones listed? Hmm.. I don’t know. I think that’s a full list. If you notice someone else, feel free to let me know who.
An Excerpt from Chapter 2
Yatrell woke up to a sharp searing pain in his mind. Alarms were sounding loudly around him. “Ven,” he muttered. He reached under his pillow and pulled out his weapon. Without taking time to dress, he entered the minds of those under his command to ascertain where they were. Most were also just waking. He projected to them, ~I am being telepathically attacked. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to communicate this way. Assemble in the common area, now. Pietro not uniform, just the weapon.~ Quickly he moved to the common area, wearing only shorts, t-shirt, a holster and he carried his weapon in hand. He was surprised that he had no resistance, aside from the clear telepathic attack. As he waited for his team he took note of the rattling of the ship and then the sudden but brief quiet before the relocator transportation lights started appearing all over. He yelled loudly, “We’re being boarded. Get here now!”
Anara was next into the common area. She wore her uniform pants and a tank top. She had two small projectile weapons in hand, one directed energy weapon in a holster on her hip and an assortment of small bladed weapons strapped to her. Standing nearly at Yatrell’s height, she was intimidating to anyone standing against her.
“You slept with those on didn’t you?” He grinned and gestured to her arm where one of the bladed weapons was strapped.
“Yep. Well, some of them can’t be too prepared.” She turned and saw three more of their team coming into the common area. “So we’re waiting on Pietro?”
A tall man with sandy color hair and hazel eyes nodded, “Yea, the kid isn’t getting how fast he has to move.” A relocator light appeared right in front of the man, who quickly drew his projectile and fired as soon as the Ven appeared solid. The head of the smaller alien splattered across a table behind him. “One.”
Anara shook her head, “Canith, you’ve got a long way to go to catch up.” The men in the room chuckled, knowing they hadn’t kept pace with her in several of the last number of battles. She turned to Yatrell in a serious tone, “We can’t wait for the kid. We need to move out.”
Yatrell nodded, “You’re right. You take these guys and head toward the armory. I’ll get the kid and we’ll meet you there. Make sure you collect as many of our people as you can on the way. Get them armed and ready to return the gesture.” One of the men started to speak up regarding the order but Yatrell just glared at him and he thought the better of it.
Anara nodded and gestured for the team to follow her out of the room. As she moved with the other three out of the common area another relocator light appeared. This time it was a wider than the previous, relocating multiple Ven into their path. She stood with an energy weapon in one hand and a projectile in the other. She smiled as seconds later she took out two of the Ven men. “Two.” She looked over her shoulder as her team took out the rest. “Good. Time to clean house. Let’s move.”
Yatrell heard the noise but turned away from where his team exited and toward the quarter’s section. He knew if he didn’t retrieve the kid, Pietro might not handle his first battle on their ship. As he moved through the halls the power cut out. Everything remained dark for several seconds before a relocator light appeared in front of him. As the Ven man appeared inches in front of Yatrell, he was prepared. Yatrell reached out and clutched the throat of the Ven then shoved him up against the bulkhead behind him. The Ven struggled and Yatrell gripped harder, taking the much shorter man off his feet. Yatrell tried to focus in an effort to read him but he couldn’t get through the psionic block. The searing pain in his head forced him to relent. In response to this growing and intensely painful headache he took pleasure in watching the Ven invader gasp for his last breath.
He dropped the body and stepped over it, continuing toward Pietro’s quarters. As he walked the halls became illuminated by a dull red light from the emergency systems. When he was only steps from Pietro’s door, the ship shuddered again and then everything nearby him went silent. More focused than before, he quickly found himself outside the young man’s quarters. Through the silence around him, he heard the fight inside Pietro’s room. Yatrell reacted quickly to input his override codes and enter the room. Upon doing so, he looked at the young man who was pinned beneath a Ven woman. She had a dagger to his throat. Yatrell growled, “Get away from him.” The woman sneered, looked Yatrell right in the eye and slit the boy’s throat.
Pietro made one last kick, pushing the Ven woman off him. He then stumbled for two or three paces before collapsing, blood pouring out of his neck and coating the floor.
Yatrell looked at Pietro, unable to help him as he took his last gurgled attempt for air. The Ven woman then jumped on Yatrell, pushing him back into the hall, hard against the wall. With a dagger stuck in his abdomen he glared at her, “Ven bitch.”
The female soldier leaned against him and with furious intensity she nearly growled, “The weak will serve us or they will die. You, I like dead.” She twisted the dagger as she spoke.
You can find the book through major retailers, including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Learn more about the universe around Xarrok at http://Xarrok.com (check the intelligence page for the questions)
Your next stop for the scavenger hunt is right here: http://bettysbloggingplace.blogspot.com/
I hope you’ll join in the hunt for Xarrok. And, btw, get to know Catrina as @TheLadyWrites on Twitter. You can also visit the Facebook home for Xarrok.