From the Mind of Master Imaginationist Crystal Connor ~"A Trusted Name in Terror."

The Darkness, Artificial Light, In The Valley of Shadows

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two! For the price of one….Butler/Banks Blog Tour

You’re not going to believe what I have in store for you today author's D.K. Gaston AND Carole McDonnell! 
I know right! So let's get right into it.

Who is D K Gaston?
Darin is the author of more than a dozen books ranging from Speculative Fiction to Crime novels. His first book was published in 2007. After serving five years in the military, he began college, earning a degree in Computer Science. Since earning his degree he’s gone on to earn two Masters degree in Technology Management and Business Administration. His experience in the military and computer sciences has shaped many of his stories and characters over the years. He also writes under the name Keith Gaston.
Taurus Moon
Gaston's most recent speculative fiction novel is Taurus Moon: Magic & Mayhem, which is the follow-up to Taurus Moon: Relic Hunter. Taurus makes his living by searching for supernatural artifacts for anyone willing to pay his price. These two novels are among my favorite because it allows me to express my humor as much as the fast-paced actions throughout the books.

Book Description
Taurus Moon: Magic & Mayhem is a fast-paced action and fantasy novel, sprinkled with humor. After saving the lives of a family about to be slaughtered by Lycans, Taurus and Gully are pulled into a realm where magic is supreme and technology is nonexistent. They must travel through harsh lands to find their way home.

The uneasy alliance between an evil sorceress queen, Morgana le Fay, and Grimes, a Lycan king, is threatened because of the relic hunter’s and mage’s presence. Taurus and Gully will have to use every trick they’ve every learned to survive the looming battle, but will it be enough?

Author Cerece Rennie Murphy, author of Order of The Seers read Taurus Moon and loved it! Check out her review of Taurus Moon she did for Black Speculative Fiction month…

Taurus Moon Relic Hunter is available in the following formats:  Ebook, paperback, & audio
Taurus Moon Magic Mayhem is available in the following formats: Ebooks, paperback

Visit his blog at

Today's headliner in the Butler Banks Tour is  Carole McDonnell!

Carole McDonnell is  a novelist, a writer of fiction, devotionals, poetry, reviews, and essays and my works have appeared in many publishing venues, in print and online. I live in New York with my husband, two sons, cat Freddie and my dog, Hemotep.

“I've written for as long as I can remember. My Jamaican family was always telling stories and mother had memorized the opening chapters from several books, such as Ivanhoe, A Tale of Two Cities, etc. I was especially good at adapting. Somehow I felt the stories I had inherited from the European tradition (stuff we learned in school or watched on TV) always needed to be tweaked to include (subtly) matters that were important to a little Jamaican girl growing up in a Jewish-neighborhood in Brooklyn. I remember the day I decided I was a writer. It was the day a classmate grasped a poem I had written from my desk and brought it to the teacher who proclaimed the poem "great." I was hooked.” 

She studied Literature in college, not creative writing. Because she wanted to write great literature that would be ageless. McDonnell  still hopes her stories will be timeless. Her reviews appear in print and at various online sites. My first novel, Wind Follower was published by Juno Books in September 2007.

The book we're highlighting today is Wind Follower

A fourth tribe has come to the land of the three tribes — and the light-skinned newcomers are fated to change the tribes' way of life and religion. Satha, a dark-skinned woman from a poor Theseni clan, and Loic, her wealthy young Doreni husband, are too busy forging their new life together to pay much heed. But when Satha is dishonored and Loic must avenge her, they find themselves drawn into a cultural battle.

Kidnapped and enslaved, Satha strives to retain her autonomy. Loic struggles against Arkhai, spirits who fear his quest will lead him to the true god whose place they have usurped. With the Creator's aid, there remains hope the two will be reunited and find their mutual destiny — even if it means losing the love and respect of their comrades, families, clans, and tribes...

The Wordsmith: You call WIND FOLLOWER a Christian fantasy, was it difficult to find a home for WIND FOLLOWER?

McDonnell: The Christian publishing world is pretty rigid and I knew Wind Follower wouldn't fall easily into their world. I wanted to deal with sexuality, racial issues, interracial-intercultural romances, imperialism, and "pagan" cultures. And I knew they wouldn't want to touch any of those things because the CBA publishers didn't consider those issues "safe" for their audience. I got rejected by CBA gatekeepers with interesting lines like: "I like this book but I would be fired if I published it." Or "It was going along well but then you delved into certain areas..." Or "this is the best speculative christian book I have ever read but our readers would not like it."

On the other hand, I wanted the book to be Biblical in some places and I figured that would be a problem with secular publishers. It turned out not to be. Juno really doesn't publish Christian fantasy but my friend, Nick Woods, a white South African writer, says I "walk the borderlands." And that is true. I'm black and I can easily talk to white folks about race. I'm Christian and I have close friends who are non-religious or who belong to many different religions. I'm staunchly myself, yet I seem to have a kind of ambassadorial quality and ease with talking to folks who would not like any of my "labels." Black, Christian, whatever. In a conversation with a white gay writer friend the topic came up in which we wondered who our audiences would be. She figured her readers would probably be straight. Well, I tend to think my primary audience will be non-Christians. I'll have black readers and Christian fans, of course. So it wasn't hard for Juno to accept me. I'm not preachy, and the story's world is like any other fantasy world...except it comes from a Black American pentecostal worldview. But my readers will probably be pretty much anyone who likes speculative fiction.

Carole McDonnell reading the prologue for Wind Follower

But wait…there's more! 

This is How You Make a World
by Carole McDonnell

To the left was a small planet, gray, apparently lifeless, about one eighth the size of the destroyed, forsaken earth. To the right, about three million kilometers from Searcher 871, was a large planet, green, blue and gold, reminiscent of the old earth — but eight time its size— populated by humans with various stages of civilization development.  The Searcher had stopped in between both planets, equidistant from both. Inside, its aging inhabitant debated the pros and cons of the terraforming the smaller planet or sending their children into the populated world.

Terraforming would take six months. Not long, considering the ship’s inhabitants had been in space for eight years, since the blighted earth had died.

But the artificially created air, food, light, was already taking its toll on the children. The damaged children, children born with limited mental and emotional and physical abilities because of the tainted foods, pharmas, and air of the old earth. Their parents too were fading, on their last legs — as the old earth maxim went.

But the other planet, the one that shone like a big aqua marble in the dark sky presented other problems. True, its inhabitants had their share of petty wars. But, as far as the aged navigators could tell, chances of atomic bombs and other damages wrought by science were not little. The planet was large, resources varied and many, and tribes — who were as varied as those in the craft— were scattered across the planet. The travelers of Searcher 871 could place their damaged children in a small wood — a natural Eden, if possible— and the children and their future descendants would not be found for hundreds of years to come.  But there were fears and questions, especially among the darker-skinned inhabitants of the craft, about conquest and racial discrimination. The humanoid inhabitants of the planet had features the earthers did not have, and vice versa.

Both planets were the first they had encountered that could take on human life, their shared sun life-giving and rare for human life.

“I choose to terraform the asteroid,” Lily, the African-American woman navigator said.

“Why put our children in a world that will challenge them? We have the skill to make the asteroid suitable for them and their needs.”

“A whole year?” Denny, the Irish Captain replied. “Can they survive? Can any of us survive that long? And if we terra-form, won’t we be using up our resources even more? Our ability to recycle the air, the food, will be taxed.”

There were eighteen adults of all races, of pleasant enough dispositions. They knew how to accommodate themselves to others and to the world. Before the earth died, most parents — those who were actually fertile— had children who were “damaged” and labeled as mentally “limited” or “developmentally slow.” Yet, these children were viewed as a blessing because children themselves were so rare. The year the earth died, ten thousand ships had departed the earth, each with about five hundred crew members. Over the years, most of the crew of 871 had died, or gone stir crazy and suicidal (another American earth phrase.)  It had been difficult to explain the deaths to the children — who were both young and “limited.” But the crew had managed, telling the children that the dead crew members had really gone to worlds along the way. The children — if they missed the dead at all— believed the crew’s protective lies. But now, as the remaining elders looked at each other’s wrinkled faces and at the faces of their children, they knew their limits. Death would come soon. Puberty would appear.

Lily often wondered if puberty would be natural. Would the children “know” what to do? Would “nature” take its course? Some of the children were astute enough to understand many things. They would share their knowledge no doubt. Others could barely feed themselves. But these are the last of Earth humanoids, Lily thought. Unless some others have survived,  we are all that’s left. And even if others have survived, aren’t their children as wounded and “limited” as ours?

As the old travelers looked on their children, they could only come to the decision that terraforming might take a year, but their children would not survive in a world that was not specifically meant for them. Terraforming it had to be. The year went by. No longer did they see the stars passing past them (or vice versa.) No longer did they use the great craft’s power to move forward. All its energies were used to create a perfect land for their children. During that year, five of the eighteen parents died. But their children lived and were taken care of by the others. And each day, the planet took on its form.

A great dome was built around the planet — the laser technology creating a new atmosphere. The ice at the poles farthest from the sun were melted and pushed toward the equator where lakes —not deeper than a man’s foot, not wider than a mile—were built. The seeds of non-genetically-modified non-poisonous plants, the frozen larvae of insects and embryos of animals that would bow to humans were planted in green forests, cold artic poles, and deserts.

At last, the day came when the parents landed their craft on the new world. Some eighty children exited the craft. Lame, halt, mute, mentally limited — a joyous kind new breed of humans, incapable of hatred or pettiness. It was not known if the damage to their bodies and minds was mutagenic. Nor was Lily sure how long she and the old ones would live in that world. The children sat on the grass in front of her — their minds not really focused on the sex video she was showing them. But how could they focus? They had never seen a lake before, or little bunny rabbits, or sheep or bees before.

But Lily stood there and pointed to the dolls, then at the sex video. “This,” she said, hoping some would understand and would teach the others, “This is how you make a world.”

From there you can find her novels:

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