Red Ascent — REVIEW

I recently read the science fiction novel Red Ascent by Dillon Foley, and found myself pretty captivated…

I was commissioned to read and review the following book. All opinions are honest and my own.

A book review of Red Ascent a science fiction novel by Dillon Foley

Excellent story. Fantastic intensity. Relevant to our times and an interesting examination of our current society and the ongoing, often internal, war on religion and the acceptance of all people.

It’s clear the author is attuned to the mindset of present day America and what often feels like the core of humanity’s motivations. While the focus of this story often shifts to God and Christianity, it was refreshing to see it discussed from a perspective of love and equality. A science-fiction work would be expected to rehash the God vs. Science argument, but Foley takes a surprising approach and instead argues love vs. class division. It was an inspiring stance that had this reviewer often agreeing with the protagonist.

Chelsea Shaw is an under appreciated aide for a prominent, and disgustingly corrupt senator. When she learns the leaders of America are covering up a doomsday event, and planning an escape to Mars taking with them only the wealthiest, and most elite, her only choice is to leak the story and find a way to save everyone else they intend to leave behind.

After many dangers and tragedies, Chelsea finds herself the leader of an operation that will lead the human race to Mars. Racing against both the clock and the corrupt leaders of America, her coalition is one built on everyone’s right to life.

With a vast array of characters (some loveable, some despicable, all flawed in their own way) Chelsea builds a community and a family. But everything is against them. World leaders. Science. Technology. Faith. They have an impossible amount of work to do to get everyone on Mars. And time is running out.

While this book does approach amateurish in its use of cliches and semi-predictable dialogue, the bones of this story keep you going.

There are some impossible instances, and a few “that would never actually happen” plot moments, but this reviewer forgave them because of the emotion drawn out of the reader. Identifying with the characters isn’t difficult, so it was easy to become engrossed with their story. I rooted for Chelsea the entire book.

Foley has a wonderful way with action sequences. More than once I found myself holding my breath, sighing with relief, cheering out loud, or gasping in suspense. The way tense scenes were told was exhilarating and sometimes emotionally exhausting.

There were times, in between those high intensity moments, of big, chunky dialogue, and it often felt like a sermon. Thankfully, love, equality, and the importance of accepting people were the messages being delivered. There was also an organic quality to it, that made the borderline preaching easier to swallow.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. Many times Red Ascent led me to contemplating the decisions I’d make if in Chelsea, or any of the other character’s, situation. Where would I go? Who would I follow? What would I base those decisions on? It left me shaking my head at the greed and dishonorable choices governments make in the real world, but also hopeful that not all is lost if one finds themselves in that scenario.

Relevant. Hopeful. Exciting. Thought-provoking. While there are whiffs of “new writer” throughout, I didn’t care. The story was captivating. Socially provocative, in an incredibly positive way.

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Midnight-A Short Story

Here is the promised short story for January. This month we were asked to write a story that takes place within an hour. Well, being the unconventional kid that I am, I literally wrote ABOUT an hour. Enjoy!

Midnight, a short story about the spirit of Midnight

I watch 23:00 trot through the trees toward me. As usual, there’s a skip in her step and she’s humming something light-hearted. Vivaldi? Last night it was Sinatra. A swaying love song. Tonight it’s a chipper tune. Bouncy. Just like 23:00.

“Good evening,” she says to me.

“How was it?”

23:00 sighs. “Lovely. As usual.” She’s back to humming. Bobbing her head along with the melody. The silver specks in her black hair sparkle when they catch the moonlight. She wears it long, and lets the curls cascade over her face and down her back. Never bothering to tie it back. The perfect teeth of her smile match the scattered swirls of silver in her black skin. “It’s a perfect night.”

“Alright then,” I say. “I’ll be off.” I don’t like to delay The New Day. It’s dangerous to keep time waiting.

“Don’t you ever enjoy the fact that you can stop time?” 23:00 asks. “I can hold off an hour, but you… You can keep an entire day in suspense.” She sighs again.

23:00 has always been a dreamer. A child of “what if”. But, being in her position, that makes sense. She ends the day. People of the world are often left feeling hopeful of what The New Day may bring. 23:00 conveniently ignores those who wished the day had never happened.

“It’s irresponsible,” I tell her.

She giggles. “So? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want your job. Too many people are afraid of you. I prefer to be adored. By those happy to see the day end, or those reveling in its glory. But, you seem uninterested in your eminence. Don’t you ever find yourself amused by the power?”

“Amused?”

“You can keep them waiting.” She gazes into the black starry sky. “All of them. Those who wish for tomorrow. Those who dread it. The New Day is in your hands.” Another sigh. “Midnight. The most powerful of us all, but she doesn’t care.”

She’s wrong, of course. I care very much. The weight of The New Day rests on me. I fully understand my position. My power. “I respect the power. It’s not my place to abuse it. The world depends on you to end the day, and me to begin the next. Who are we to deny them?”

“Fine,” she tosses her hands up in surrender.

“Now, if there’s nothing to report, I’ll be off.” Turning away, I step out from under the trees.

“Oh,” 23:00 calls after me, “There is one thing… I guess.”

I stop. Waiting. Refusing to turn back unless it’s important. For with her it rarely is.

“I’d watch your back,” 23:00 says. “I may not want your job, but someone does.”

Looking over my shoulder, I see her shining smile. The subtle swirls of silver playing on her face. “That’s not news,” I say. “But, thanks anyway. Good night, 23:00.”

“Good morning, Midnight.”

After a few steps, I take to the air. Swooping into the night. Twelve customary chimes echo on the wind. Bellowing of Midnight and the approach of The New Day. The rush from flight tousles some of my hair from its wound up braids. The purple buried deep within the black twinkles, if one were to look closely. My glossy black skin tingles with the shifting time. That’s always been my favorite part. The feel of the change. With the birth of The New Day comes hope, fear, wonder. So many different things from the world, and I get to feel it all.

As I glide over the dreamers, partiers, love-makers, and non-sleepers, I guide The New Day into being. Seeing it wash over the world. Almost every New Day is the same. But, a few stand out. Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, a Coronation Day, or momentous history making days. Their shifts are bigger. Like a tidal wave instead of a steady river.

As usual, Between Beings scatter as I fly by. Springing into action as their hour finally arrives. As long as they don’t linger, I leave them to their mischief. They’re more of a gleeful annoyance to the world than a real problem. Faeries, Sprites, Ghosts… They have their jobs too, and it’s not my place to interfere. Only if they exceed our hour do I involve myself. The wrath of Midnight isn’t pretty. And they know it. So, approaching Between Beings is a rarity.

In my presence there is mystery or opportunity. In my wake I leave hope or uncertainty. Depends on the person. Depends on the circumstances. Depends on the day. I don’t command The New Day. I only introduce it. Holding its hand as it meets the world for the first time. I like that about my job. The day will do what it will do. Same as the people of the world. I get to usher it all in, and see it begin. Whether it’s exciting, scary, or completely routine, I get to see it all.

But, reflecting on the beauty that is seeing a New Day often shines a light on its lack of permanence. Not only is The New Day fleeting, but my station may be as well. I’ve always been The Hour of Midnight. I was born with Time. Just like the others. Some of them have moved around, however. Who was once 4:00 overtook 7:00 so they could have The Dawn. To the former 4:00 it seemed more prestigious. And some time ago Noon became lazy, thus bargaining with 3:00 to trade positions. The new 3:00 enjoys the idea of nothing but sleepers and insomniacs. And the new Noon finds lunchtime activities refreshing. I’ve never been one to crave something different. I love my hour. I love The New Day. But, as 23:00 said, others do too. I’ve been challenged a few times. None have come close to claiming Midnight for themselves. I’ve proudly held my post. But still… there could be a time when I’m defeated. Jealousy among The Hours has always been and always will be.

I try my best to push away the idea of losing The New Day. I’m here now. Bringing a new beginning as I always have. As I hopefully always will. Seeing the forest approaching, the tingling of my skin starts to fade. I dive for the trees, and find 1:00 ahead.

He’s leaning against a tree, waiting. Staring at his feet with a look of irritation and boredom. His matte black hair flops lazily. Lifeless eyes peek through. The dull, dark skin of his face has no delicate purple sparkle like my own, nor a playful silver swirl like 23:00. Sometimes, he really seems a shadow.

More than once I’ve heard him grumble about his neglected hour. It’s not romantic enough, he thinks. There’s never anything fresh or hopeful about it. He sees the hour after Midnight as an after thought. Of all The Hours, he feels the most ignored.

With careful precision, my feet gently touch down. From the trees, Fae, Sprites, Ghosts, and other Between Beings emerge. They creep toward me. I open my mouth to condemn them. Their time has expired! They know that! But, I stop. Why so many perpetrators of our ancient law? Looking to 1:00 I see a gray-toothed smile.

“You know…” 1:00 says without lifting his eyes, “When children count, they start with the number one.”

The Between Beings swarm. A deafness hangs in the air where the ring of a single chime is missing.

Heads Up! Short Stories Coming Soon to a Blog Near You!

That’s right! I’m going to post short stories right here on the blog! I’ve recently joined a writing group (more info below) and once a month we’re given a prompt for a short story. I’ve decided to post them here. I may publish them in a book down the road, I may develop one or two into a novel, I may hate them and print them, just so I can burn them. Who knows?! My point… Be on the look out for at least one short story a month.

Short Stories written by Author K.D. Reed

Some amazing things are happening! I’ve got two new full length novels in the works. I’ve found an amazing community on YouTube. And, I’ve gained a lot of new friends lately from Twitter. THINGS ARE ON THE MOVE.

I’m working on a science fiction novel. It’s post-apocalyptic and really cool. I started it for NaNoWriMo. And, while I learned NaNoWriMo is a NaNo-NoNo for me personally, I absolutely LOVE the story I started. So I’m going to keep going with it. It’s too good not to. Also! I’m currently in the process of creating a new author platform. I’ve felt the pull to write something Middle Grade. Call it fate. Call it destiny. Call it me trying to get my little niece and cousins to love reading as much as I do. I have to do this. I can feel it. But, to do so under the name K.D. Reed is going to be… problematic. My stuff is for grown-ups. Like… the grown-uppiest of grown-ups. If you’ve read my books, you understand. Therefore, when the time comes, I’ll be creating a whole new name and platform for my kid stuff.

Because I can.

I’ll also keep working under the name K.D. Reed at the same time, though. So don’t worry, adult people. I’m not going anywhere.

Next! Thanks to the beautiful people on YouTube, I’ve joined a writing group. As I mentioned above, we’ll be prompted for some short story work. It’s mostly for fun, but I wanted to share it with all of you lovely people.

Lucky you.

I want to quickly give a special thank you to Ben Sanders. We met on BookTube/AuthorTube (the people on YouTube talking about reading and writing, respectively) and he’s the super neat dude that organized our cool kids writing club. Yeah… it’s not actually called that. It just makes me feel like a cool kid, okay? Any who! Ben is really great, and a talented writer. Check out his YouTube channel. You’ll thank me later.

Lastly, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve moved most of my social media activity to Twitter. Facebook, especially right now, has A LOT of problems. Every time I log on I feel like Wesley in The Princess Bride when he’s hooked up to the machine.

Funny meme from the movie The Princess Bride

So! Most of the time, I only go to Facebook for the groups I’m in and to keep up with family. There’s a lot of people I’m connected to there that I love both personally and professionally. (Not like in a hooker way. Like in a writing way. But, you knew that, right?) Moving to Twitter has gained me some amazing friends, and I like it A LOT better. Here’s my Twitter, if you want to follow me there.

That’s all the news! I’m hoping to post January’s short story tomorrow. Or soonish. Sooner rather than later. Definitely. Probably. Maybe.

As always, you guys are so great. I have the best readers. I really do. Thank you so much for sticking with me. Please know that you are appreciated.

Also…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Until tomorrow! (Or whenever…)

Hell’s Princess Release

Paranormal romance horror book Hell's Princess

September 22nd you can get your hands on Hell’s Princess!

The print version should be available shortly after (only a week or so, I promise it won’t be too far away!)

Other dates you may find interesting:

  • September 1st voting begins for the Summer Indie Book Awards. Kevin has been nominated! I’ll post the link that morning. You can vote once per day. So buy Kevin. Read Kevin. Vote for Kevin. Yay!
  • September 2nd there will be the cover release for Hell’s Princess. That’s THIS FRIDAY
  • September 9th the paperback cover will be released.
  • September 12th(ish) will kick off the release of Delilah’s playlist. A collection of songs the inspired/remind me of Delilah. It’s cool and eclectic with some classics and some stuff that’s a little more… obscure. What fun!

Don’t forget you can start the first book in the Demonic Illusions series here. If you are a Nook reader you can get your copy here.

Thanks everyone! See you September 1st (THURSDAY) for #SIBA voting!

Demonic Illusions in Print!

Demonic Illusions paranormal book series by K.D. Reed

Man! This fall is full of excitement!

You read right! The entire Demonic Illusions series will be available in paperback this fall. Here are the details:

The entire series will be sold as a collection in paperback. To justify the production cost and to save a few trees (because trees are friends!!) I decided not to print the individual books separately. It just didn’t make sense to me. However, when you put the three together, it makes a perfect novel-length book. Bam! Just like that. I know a lot of my readers prefer a book in hand, so I opted to do it this way. Sadly, they have to be a little more patient than my eReader friends. But that’s okay! They’re nice people. And they deserve love and books to put on their shelves. The wait is almost over you beautiful people. Demonic Illusions will be in print this fall.

There will also be an eBook of all three in a “box set” type of situation. I know I like to have an entire series in one place. Convenience, aesthetics, whatever. It’s nice to have them all there.

Individual eBooks will be available too. So, if you’ve already got Books 1 and 2, you can snag Book 3 as normal. You won’t have to buy the other two again in the “box set” just to read the third book. That’d be a jerk move on my part. And, that’s not what I’m about. I want to write stories that people like. Then get them to the people in as many ways possible. I JUST WANT EVERYBODY HAPPY OKAY?

That’s it for today’s announcements. Be watching, though. I’ve got release dates to announce, covers to reveal, and books releasing soon. So, stay tuned. There’s a lot happening in the next month.

Also, don’t forget about Kevin (my science fiction, and first, book). It’s been nominated for a Summer Indie Book Award! Voting opens up September 1st and I’ll be posting more about that when the time comes.

See you soon! Author out.

 

2016 Summer Indie Book Awards!

Summer Indie Book Awards

Kevin has been nominated (by more than one person, might I add) for a Summer Indie Book Award!

This award is determined by votes, so expect a bit of spam come September 1st. You can vote for Kevin once a day September 1st through 10th. I’ll post the links when they’re available.

I’m quite honored by this nomination. Probably not going to write an acceptance speech or anything. But, I’m pretty excited.

Kevin a science fiction book by author K.D. Reed

Thank you everyone, again, for your undying support. You are all special angels and I love each and every one of you.