Publisher: SJ Parkinson (July 14, 2014)
Category: Science Fiction, Thriller
Available in: Print & ebook, 600 Pages
In the newest book from award winning author, SJ Parkinson, the richest man in the world wants to celebrate the July 4th holiday as never before. In a bid to get into the record books, a global fireworks show is staged from orbit. Satellites drop pyrotechnics into the atmosphere, thrilling everyone from the Arctic to the Antarctic with their rich colors and massive explosions in every time zone.
The next day, people around the globe begin to lose their sight. Governments crumble, society degenerates, and infrastructure falls into chaos. Humanity finds itself stumbling in the dark and losing all hope.
A few fortunate individuals retain their vision. Attempting to deal with the growing despair around them, they come together to discover the true purpose and origin of the affliction. They race to find a cure before the world is subjugated under an invading power.
This book is rated PG. This is what SJ said about the rating, “I don’t incorporate overt sex, profanity, or extreme violence in any of my writing. I prefer the story to be the main focus and want my novels to be accessible by all mature readers.”
Linda Krause awoke in her hotel suite, relaxed and happy. She stretched, moaning contentedly as she sat up and the luxuriously soft sheets fell away from her. The mattress of the king-sized bed felt like a cloud, and she had slept blissfully. It felt as though she was on vacation.
She got up to look out the window, straightening the long pink T-shirt she’d used as a nightshirt for years. The sun was just rising over the horizon, and the abandoned streets of Boise stretched out before her.
She turned to look at the room, which she had only briefly seen by flashlight the previous evening. It looked much better in the daylight. The king bed had a teak headboard with matching nightstands, and brass lamps were secured to the wall above. An unpowered alarm clock sat on the right-hand nightstand, beside her watch and the glass of water she had poured herself the night before. The building power was out, but the water pressure seemed unaffected for some reason. The flush toilet was appreciated, but she was not looking forward to a cold shower.
Beside the bathroom, the door to the adjoining room was wide open. The matching door leading into the other room was closed but unlocked.
Knowing Blake was in the other room made her feel safe and that, at least in part, had contributed to her sound sleep. He had been a perfect gentleman. Remembering his broad shoulders, his strong arms, the way his green eyes would focus on only her… she started to feel warm inside. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and sighed lightly.
The heavy knock at her hotel room door sounded like someone kicking the door, which struck her as strange. Blake would use the adjoining door between the rooms, wouldn’t he?
The Berber carpet had a thick underlay, and her bare feet sunk into it. “Yes?”
“Linda, it’s Oscar. Open up, please.”
She undid the lock and chain on her door then opened it to reveal Oscar, holding a huge steaming pot with oven mitts.
“Back up. This is scalding hot.”
She retreated to let him enter.
He carried the pot into the bathroom and placed it on the sink. He took a bath towel, folded it, laid it on the counter, and moved the pot onto it. “Don’t want to burn the surface. There you go. I can’t provide a hot shower, but that should help.”
“How did you get hot water with no power?” Krause moved to close the door.
He took off the oven mitts. “There’s a barbecue outside. Didn’t take long at all. Oh, wait! I forgot.” Blake went out into the hall and retrieved a paper bag and Styrofoam cup. He handed them to her. “It’s just instant coffee, yogurt, and a couple of ripe bananas, but breakfast is served.”
Krause was floored. She had expected nothing, and he delivered both breakfast and hot water to wash. “Thank you. That was sweet.” She gave him a hug, which he returned. Her thoughts began to wander to things she hadn’t thought of in months. She began to blush and became self-conscious about holding him while wearing only a T-shirt. She released him. “Now, you’d better go. I need to get dressed.”
“Sure. I’ll see you down at the bike in thirty minutes. We’re making good progress so far. If we push, we can be in Colorado tonight.” He smiled and went out into the hallway. She glimpsed at his backside and muscular legs as he left.
The door closed, and she placed her back against it before blowing out slowly. Whew, maybe that cold shower is a good idea after all.
It is my pleasure to welcome S.J. Parkinson, author of Twinkle, to Room With Books.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I have many outside interests. I scuba dive, have dinner out with friends, and love to travel. My wife and I just got back from a long romantic weekend in Puerto Rico a week ago. When at home, I watch documentaries, read books, maintain my website and social media presence. Plus, my wife always has a ‘Honey-do’ list handy if she feels I am otherwise unoccupied.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Frederick Forsyth, Michael Crichton, Bernard Cornwell, and Tom Clancy all inspired me deeply. Forsyth’s plots are so realistic you can imagine them coming from a newspaper headline. Crichton takes existing science and brings it one step further. Bernard Cornwell sets his fictional books against actual historical events and Clancy’s ability to create tension is unparalleled. I try to use elements of each in my writing.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
The first novel I published, The Legionnaire: Mask of the Pharaoh, took four years to get into print. Once that book was written I realized I knew nothing about the industry, publishing, standards, or what was involved. Most of the four years was spent doing two things: Educating myself on self-publishing and making the manuscript as good as I could through editing and proof-reading. I also didn’t tell anyone I was writing a book. My fiancée at the time, now my wife, had no idea I’d written a book until I gave her a paperback copy as a gift.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
My power would be the ability to look back on historical events as they actually happened. I suspect quite a bit of human history has been skewed and manipulated over time. The phrase that the victors write history is quite accurate. However, a lot of our records have been lost and destroyed over time. Being able to see history as it actually evolved would probably be quite eye-opening.
What was your first job?
My first paying job was cutting grass on a property with a thirty-five degree slope in the backyard. I was ten and it was a tall hill that took me two hours to do. All I remember is the hot sun, drone of the mower engine, a continuous thirst, and aching muscles. I made $3 an hour and my first pay envelope had $6 in it. I recall considering it as a lot of money at the time.
What types of books do you write?
I believe I can sum up my novels by saying they describe ordinary people being cast into extraordinary situations. My Legionnaire mystery-adventure series describes a soldier from the French Foreign Legion being forced to fake his own death and run from despicable men. Predation is a science fiction tale of a battle on a distant planet highlighting how different people react to combat. Twinkle is a tale of characters who retain their sight after a global blindness pandemic. It shows how they fight against growing chaos to try to find a cure. To me, the genre is secondary to the story and how I can tell it most effectively.
Who’s your main audience?
My readers are typically in the 18-65 age range. I don’t use overt sex, profanity, or extreme violence, but I do write for a mature reader. I thought the Legionnaire series would primarily appeal to men, but the majority of fans for the trilogy are female by a wide margin.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
I have a young Japanese lady named Masumi in the Legionnaire series who has to be my favorite. As a middle-aged man, writing about a twenty-five year old female student is certainly challenging. Reaction to her character has been overwhelmingly positive and at book signings she is the most discussed character. They speak of her as if she is a real person and that is rewarding as a writer to see that level of affinity with the readers.
What does your writing schedule look like?
Roughly half my time is spent writing. The rest of the time is spent marketing existing titles’, editing, talking to graphic artists about book covers or banner ads, coordinating advertising campaigns, corresponding with readers and doing research. I discovered a long time ago that the skills needed to market a book are completely different from writing one.
Do you use your OWN experiences in your novels?
To a point, yes. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited most of the places where my books are based and that lets me describe a location quite effectively. I had a career in the military, a civilian career in IT, and am a divemaster with over 500 dives. During my time in the military, I served in war zones and peacekeeping missions in several countries. All of those experiences help when writing or fleshing out a character / scenario. Then there are the thousands of people I have encountered through the years. That helps inspire me when I need a character.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
Finding a decent title is one of my hardest challenges. With something like 2.2 million ebooks on Amazon alone, finding a title that has not been used is difficult at best. I usually name a book during my research phase before writing of the novel begins. However, several times now I’ve finished the book only to find some other author has taken the title I chose in the meantime. That forces me to re-examine my choice. However, often I end up with a better title, so it does work out in the end.
Pick one profession you would choose if you were not an author. Why?
Secret agent – astronaut – billionaire comes to mind. J Seriously, if writing was not a part of my life I’d probably have a career in Information Technology (IT). I have an affinity with computers and over the last thirty years I’ve encountered the vast majority of operating systems and hardware from personal systems all the way up to corporate server farms. IT is an area I feel very comfortable with.
What are you currently working on?
My sixth novel is a return to the mystery-adventure genre. It’s the story of a thief in modern day New York City who is set-up for a murder he was not responsible for. The story revolves around him and his partner finding the real killer before the police arrest him. I’m also developing book four in The Legionnaire series and another pair of science fiction novels. Beyond the writing, I’m looking into getting my novels translated into other languages and working on screenplays to get them turned into movies.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Rocky road with hot fudge and sprinkles.
Night owl, or early bird? I am definitely not a morning person. I sleep in whenever possible and can be up until four AM if necessary.
Red, or white wine? Neither, I don’t drink. In my life, I’ve had a sip of beer and a glass of champagne at my wedding. I never felt the need to drink and saw many people in the military overdoing it. I am in no way anti-alcohol. My wife works for an international liquor company and we have bottles of wine and spirits all over the house. I simply choose not to imbibe as a personal choice.
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? Water ride. I enjoy being in and on the water so that’s an easy choice.
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Yes! No bad choices there. I’d be in a pool or on the beach every day if I could.
Walking or fitness club? Walking is my way to relax and stay fit. At one point I lost sixty pounds walking. It is a low stress exercise and gets you out into the world. I used to go out in almost any weather, but must admit I’m not as active as I would like to be today. Too much Rocky Road with hot fudge and sprinkles and not enough walking. I’m addressing that issue now.
Any last words?
On my website is my promise to always put out the best quality novels I can. I employ professional editors, graphic artists, and formatters to ensure my readers get the same or better quality as traditional publishing houses. If anyone has an issue with one of my books, they can contact me directly through my web site and I’ll correct the problem.
I feel validated in my approach as my novels have sold in fourteen countries, won international awards, and are highly rated. I also have a dedicated group of readers who are incredibly supportive of my work.
Thank you for the opportunity to connect with your members. I hope you have a productive day.
Thank you for chatting with our readers and for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour.
Mr. Parkinson was an Air Force avionics technician, a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, and several United Nations peacekeeping missions. He has lived overseas in numerous countries and travels extensively. His novels have been praised for their realism and sold in fourteen countries, winning multiple international awards.
Three “Outstanding in Genre” Gold Seal awards from Red Adept Publishing and Kindle Book of the Month award Oct 2013 by the People’s Choice Book Awards.
Praise for SJ Parkinson’s Predation:
“A mesmerizing streak through a galactic war that had me with the action at every step of the way. Proud soldiers and excellent aliens. Haven’t enjoyed tech sf so much in a long time and Predation is definitely on my recommended reading list.” – LK Ststimelimg, Lynn and Library
“As a lover of science fiction adventure, I give Predation 6 stars. A very well written book of war between two species with the conflict taking place both on planet and in space. The characters (both alien and human) are well developed so I found myself cheering for the humans and hoping the evil aliens would quickly “get theirs.” The combat is so vividly written that I was there in my mind and almost breathless on numerous occasions.
Those who like science fiction adventure are sure to like Predation. It is the best book of its type that I have read in many years. I have not had such pleasure in sf reading since Clark, Campbell, Bradbury and other masters of decades gone by.” – Thomas E. Bennett, Amazon Reviewer
“If you love Tom Clancy and Sci-Fi, you’ll love this. Well written with excellent world building. The author clearly put a lot of research and thought into this story. Just the right mix of science, action, strategy and character development.” – Mark Heber, Amazon Reviewer
“Attention holding, plausible, futuristic conflict between humans and reptilian aliens. Well worth reading.
SJ Parkinson (one of the authors) was an Air Force avionics technician, was in the Gulf War and has other experiences which clearly add authentic perspectives. The book is well researched and written, on how the special ops as well as regular marine infantry go to battle against the “crocs” on land as well as in space above the atmosphere.
Characters on both sides, as well as the Drakk’Har politics and jockeying for position are well developed and keep the story interesting, even personal.
No typos, grammar or formatting problems that I noticed, the presentation of the Kindle version is good, and the story is excellent.” – Allan M., Amazon Reviewer
“Stargate SG-1 Meets The Shooter. I’m a huge fan of good Sci-Fi, and I believe it’s a difficult genre to write well. Parkinson does a great job of it. I was hooked from the beginning. The story is focused to one main event, as opposed to some other novels where the story goes all over the place and the author gets lost trying to over explain their created world.
Here there are enough mentions of how life is, but not so much that it gets boring. I loved the tactical military details. They forced me to slow down and get into the groove of snipers and special ops, etc. I also loved how you get to read from the bad guys’ side as well. The raptor-like creatures were well developed and not so out-there that they were unbelievable. The battle strategies were well laid out, and it felt nice to kind of guess where the story was going without it being completely given away. There’s drama and action, and just an all-around great story. It would make a cool movie, or sci-fi series.” – Maria Rasmussen “kittybaby13”, Amazon Reviewer