Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Dark Luminance" by E. M. McDowell

Dark Luminance
by E. M. McDowell

Dark Luminance is currently on tour with GMTA Publishing. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Quantum energy. Unlimited power. Humanity’s salvation.
The Frameway Project promises all of this and more, and Mackland Luther is guiding the project to its final culmination. On the eve of what promises to be their biggest breakthrough, Mackland and his friends, Billy and Sean, prepare the test that will provide the almost limitless power needed to take the human race into the future.
Initial success and excitement quickly turn to horror as the Frame goes out of control, ripping Mackland and his friends from their world and depositing them in a world that is completely different yet strangely familiar. Along with Lily, a hard-charging security guard that was caught by the Frame along with them; and Grizzly, a rough yet gentle survivalist they meet in this new world, Mack and his friends must figure out some way to understand and undo whatever brought them here if they ever want to return to their own world.
But first they must survive an increasingly dangerous world full of undead drug addicts, giant mutants, and a relentless telepathic madman who will do anything to get his hands on the Frame for his own purposes.

Dark Luminance is the story of Dr. Mackland Luther and his companions battling undead mutants and a telepathic madman in an attempt to get back to their own universe after an experiment gone horribly wrong. Here we have a few pages from the journal of Mackland Luther, found at the site of his latest experiment.
Post-Experiment- Day 1
Where do I start? Nothing has gone the way I expected since we started the Frameway test last night. Or was it this morning?
I’m not sure of time or date, as everything seems to have changed when we ran the test and ended up—wherever…here is. Nothing seems to make sense yet, but maybe if I write down my observations, it will help me put the pieces together.
Everything appeared to be going fine with the test until the power surge. By the time Billy saw it and warned us, there wasn’t time to do anything about it. I haven’t had time to really discuss it with the others, but based on what happened to me, I can only guess that the Frameway pierced through nullspace and somehow pulled us through to some place else.
But where are we? Many of the buildings and landmarks are the same as the Pueblo we left, but…dead. Sounds melodramatic, but it’s the most accurate description I can come up with; silent and dark with an oppressive weight soaking into the night air. Moreover, since I don’t know of any dogs the size of bulls on Earth; I have to assume that we ended up in some kind of quantum copy of our own world. I’ll have to gather more information in the morning; right now, I just want to make sure we survive the night.
The bank seems like a safe enough location, although if another of those hellhounds decided to attack, I’m not sure if the plate glass is going to stop them. I’ve never seen anything like that before. It had to be at least eight-hundred pounds, with some type of mutated musculature that made it even stronger than its size would have indicated.
What kind of world creates a monster like that, anyway? And what else has it created?
Lily seems confident that we will be okay, and for some reason I trust her, even though I hardly know her. Something about her just puts me at ease, even in this crazy situation. If I’m honest, it might have something to do with the fact that she is pretty damn hot, but I think there is more to it. Anyway, we have more important issues, so my feelings don’t matter right now.
Tomorrow we’ll find out more about where we are and see if we can find anyone that can help us. Then we need to figure out how to get back home, if we can. I know if I can just get enough data, I can come up with a way to fix this. I have to.
I’ll try to keep this updated, for myself more than anything, but I guess if something happens and we don’t make it, this might give whoever finds it some idea of what we are going through. If you are that person, I am Dr. Mackland Luther, and it’s my fault we are in this mess.

This book was very exciting, a roller coaster ride. Very nice twists with this one. The characters were wonderful and easy to relate to. This book made me want to keep reading because I wanted to see what happens next all the way through the story.
Can't wait for the sequel.

Interview With the Author
Hi Erin, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Dark Luminance.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I try not to put my books into age groups, because it depends completely on the maturity of the child and what you as a parent are okay with your child reading. Having said that, there is some coarse language and violence in the book, so consider it rated “PG”.
What sparked the idea for this book?
It first originated back around 1996, when I saw a TV show called Sliders which dealt with a group of people that wound up traveling between multiple universes as they searched for a way back home. I instantly found myself wondering what I would do if I had the ability to travel to an infinite number of universes. That ability to go anywhere, anytime, but with the restriction that you can’t really guide your travel was the original foundation for Dark Luminance.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel? 
For me, it’s different depending on the book. In Dark Luminance, the overreaching plot for the story came to me first, and I developed the characters that would take the journey second. In the sequel, Dark Nexxus, that I am working on now, the characters are now like people I know, so I am just letting them do their own thing and the story is developing as they go along.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Settings and descriptions are the most difficult part for me to actually put onto paper. I’m proud of the scenery and places that I ended up with, but it’s always easier for me to do dialogue and action scenes.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I’m not trying to have a deep impact on the reader, and I don’t have any underlying messages in my books. I just want readers to lose themselves for a little while and enjoy the book. That’s what I try to do when I read, and that is what I have in mind when I write.
How long did it take you to write this book?
About a year, start to finish.
What is your writing routine?
It depends on where I am in the process. During rough draft stages, I try to stick to 1,000 words a day, which I achieve, for the most part. Editing is the painful part of the process for most authors, and I’m no exception. During editing, I slog through as many pages as I can before I feel compelled to put my head through the monitor. Then I take a break. One important thing I do is to build mini writing sessions throughout my day, where I will just take ten minutes to brainstorm an upcoming scene, or develop a new idea. They are less structured and more free-flowing than my normal writing, but they give me inspirational little nudges for when I sit down at the keyboard all serious-like.
How did you get your book published?  
I originally self-published last July, with limited success. The book did well with reviews and critics, but sales were lacking. I slogged through the marketing and advertising treadmill until I quickly burned out. Sometime a month or so later, I heard about GMTA Publishing, and submitted Dark Luminance for their review. I corresponded with Kitty Bullard, the owner, and after a week or so, she offered me a contract. I signed with her Mythos Press imprint to re-release Dark Luminance last October, and haven’t looked back since!
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Prepare for the marketing aspect as far in advance as possible, and don’t rush it. I make no bones about the fact that the marketing and promotional work required is far beyond what I expected, and I have had to scramble to increase my social media presence and participation since the release of Dark Luminance. If I had laid some groundwork prior to publishing, I think things would have gone more smoothly.
Don’t rush it simply means make sure you engage a good editor and even when you think you are done, go over your novel one more time. I guarantee that you will find a few things you missed, and your readers will ultimately thank you for it.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m pretty eclectic in my pursuits. I love doing anything where I can spend time with my wife and kids, so we often go to antique stores, or hiking, you name it. I’m an avid marksman and I love going to the range, especially since both my daughters are into it, and join me often. I’m also a pipe smoker, and I participate in a couple of pipe clubs in my area, which is fantastic for relaxing and getting into the right frame of mind for writing!
What does your family think of your writing?
They fully support me, although my wife and daughters don’t read science fiction, so I didn’t ask them to read Dark Luminance. My YA novel, Urban Phoenix, is ready for editing, and I think my youngest one will enjoy that, so I’m crossing my fingers that she will be a beta reader.
Fantastic! Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in the Midwest, and had a pretty typical childhood for that area. Lots of playing outside, building forts, getting in trouble, and having fun. My love of reading was spurred by the long winter months when you couldn’t do much else, and that was the beginning of my interest in writing, as well.
I was an avid reader from an early age, especially Science Fiction and Fantasy. Later I branched out to Horror and even some Mystery and Action, but Sci Fi and Fantasy is still my main passion.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t know that there was a definable “Ahh Ha!” moment, but I began writing poems and little snippets when I was probably about 12. I did a lot of writing in junior high and high school, and then it petered out when I joined the Marines.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I played Dungeons & Dragons a lot between the ages of 10 and 13 or so, and that really got the creative juices flowing in my skull. Creating characters and entire worlds with my friends using nothing more than our imaginations really made me think that I might be able to write something that others would like to read.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
For just pure writing inspiration, I would say Stephen King, without a doubt. His stories always amaze me with the depth to which they can pull you in and hold you there. But I have so many authors that I admire and that influenced my writing; Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance series was one of the big ones, as well as Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth and R. A. Salvatore’s Drizzt series. Anne McCaffery, Orson Scott Card … the list goes on and on.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I’ve heard from several, mostly on social media, and so far, they mostly say, “When is the sequel coming out?” Beyond that, the feedback has been very positive, and I have met some really great folks as a result of publishing this book.
That's great. What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I have a short story called “Bad Seed” in an upcoming ASMSG Anthology called World of Worlds, which should be out in the next month or so. All of the authors in the anthology are great, and it’s free, so keep an eye out and pick it up for a great read! As I mentioned previously, I also have a YA Urban Fantasy novel, Urban Phoenix, which will hopefully be published late summer 2014. And of course, the sequel to Dark Luminance, Dark Nexxus, is currently in progress, and tentatively scheduled to be published in fall 2014.
Sounds like you're keeping busy! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thanks for having me!

About the Author
Born and raised in Northwest Indiana, E. M. McDowell first started writing in high school, consisting primarily of sappy poems aimed at impressing girls. A four year stint in the Marine Corps pushed literary endeavors to the background, where they remained for the next twenty-odd years, until they were uncovered by a mild mid-life crisis.
In the intervening years, he has worked in various technology jobs, and is currently the technology manager for a small county government.
Married for twenty-two years to his best friend, and blessed with two wonderful daughters, he works to balance his writing while living in a house full of women.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Dark Luminance. Up to 20 copies are up for grabs, so be sure to enter. Please note your email address is collected solely for the purpose of sending you your ebook prize.