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Speculative Fiction Techno-thriller Thrillers

Q & A with Thomas Locke

It’s Anything Can Happen Thursday!

 I have a treat for you. Today on Guts on the Page, we have a question and answer session with Thomas Locke, author of Trial Run!

There are several links with additional content, so be sure and check it all out. Enjoy!

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Thomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.

His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.

Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College at The University of Oxford. Visit Thomas at http://tlocke.com.

 

Q&A with Thomas Locke, author of the techno-thriller, TRIAL RUN

Q&A With Thomas Locke, author of Trial Run

Q: What reader did you have in mind when you were writing Trial Run?

Thomas Locke: I suspect there are a lot of readers out there like me, who love mainstream fiction in principle, but are dismayed by how dark it is becoming.

I love to read. I am happiest with a good book in my hands. And most of my purchases are mainstream fiction. Too often, however, I find myself skipping over bits that are just plain not necessary for a good story.

I wrote Trial Run for readers like me. Passionate about story, yearning for the thrill of a great tale, hoping for something that uplifts as well as ignites.

Here’s a video trailer for Trial Run, hot off the press:

https://youtu.be/FS9Vr2Nfc4Q

Q: In Trial Run, you introduce several seemingly unrelated threads at the beginning of the story. By the end of the story, those threads have become woven together in an intricate tapestry. What’s your thought process behind this writing strategy?

Thomas Locke: This concept can best be summed up by the phrase you often hear a Hollywood producer say: “Where is the cut?”

By this, the producer means, what can you leave out of the script so that the audience must figure things out for themselves?

Instead of spoon-feeding the audience every item required to move to the climax, things are left unsaid. This sense of vacuum draws the audience into the action, and hurries them forward to the story’s close.

Q: Several settings in Trial Run (Santa Barbara, CA, the Italian/Swiss border site) depict real places. How do you select these real-life settings for your stories, and do you alter details of these places to suit your stories?

Thomas Locke: The core element of my placing a story is research. And the core element in my research is emotion. For many people, the ‘take’ that I finally use in the story does not jibe with what they like to see as valid for a particular setting, especially when that place is close to their heart and I have used a more negative perspective. But the facts have been carefully studied.

An example from Trial Run is Santa Barbara. For a lot of people who know and love California, this is their absolute favorite place in the SoCal region. And for good reason. It is a lovely town, one my wife and I really enjoy visiting.

For this story, I was granted an insider’s view into the University of California at Santa Barbara, or UCSB. And from the perspective of many students enrolled there, UCSB is filled with hyper-inflated SoCal egos.

The contrast I found between the students with money (and in SoCal, when I say they had money, I really mean they had money) and those who don’t is as sharp as anywhere I have ever been. The student who formed my core source and guide was on a scholarship. He was there to study. He was, to say the least, in a minority.

Everything I described about the school, the bicycle traffic and the events on the beach and the housing, are based on observation. But the perspective was based upon the humorous bafflement with which this student viewed many of his fellow classmates.

I personally love this aspect of building a story. The research at this emotional level grants me the opportunity to see the world through another person’s eyes and heart. Being trusted with this, time and again, is part of the miracle process that happens every time I start a new tale.

Q: I’ve heard there’s a free ebook prequel to Trial Run. How can I get a copy?

Double Edge, an ebook prequel to TRIAL RUN, by Thomas Locke

Thomas Locke: As I was writing the opening scenes of Trial Run, I found myself continually asking questions about what happened before that door opened and before the party started. I began sketching a sort of parallel story, laying out ideas that formed the story-before-the-story.

“Double Edge” is the result.

The publishers liked the short story prequel so much that they have asked me to write a complete novel based upon these concepts. This novel will form either book three or book four in the series.

You’ll find links on my website http://tlocke.com/fault-lines/ for downloading your free copy of “Double Edge” from your favorite online bookseller.

Q: Trial Run is book 1 in the three-volume Fault Lines series. Please give us a preview of what to expect in book 2.

Thomas Locke: This is a timely question, as I completed the first draft of book 2 on June 8. The working title is Flash Point.

In many respects, Flash Point is a true hybrid. By this I mean that the core themes are the same as in Trial Run. But everything is also very different. I had two key questions in mind when I started book two: How far can I take this? How much can I risk?

This whole concept of controlled out-of-body experiences opens up a completely new vista. I had to develop a new story framework for Trial Run, and everywhere I looked I found myself asking the same questions:

  • Where does this take mankind?
  • If this could actually happen, where do we go?
  • Who are we as people?
  • How would this remake us?

These questions are first asked in Flash Point. Where we go from here depends mostly upon you, the reader.

So let’s dance!

Get to know Thomas Locke at these online outlets:

Website: http://tlocke.com/

Subscribe to Thomas’s e-newsletter and blog: http://eepurl.com/5cnH5

Receive Thomas’s latest blog posts via your feed reader: http://tlocke.com/blog/feed/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tlockebooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/thomas_locke

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tlockebooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/tlockebooks/

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Mind over Matter

Welcome to Monday!

Fellow warriors, I hope that your week is starting off well! It’s already getting busy around here. Today, I’m finishing up edits on REBIRTH. Tomorrow, the proposals go out! I’m also in the process of building my website and setting up a newsletter, so keep an eye out for that.

Setting the tone for the week.

Every week, we will have a different theme here on Guts on the Page. The theme will connect to the book I’m reading and reviewing for the week. Also, we’ll have discussion posts and lots of fun stuff as well.

This week, I’m starting a new series of posts, focused on the Armor of God.

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 ~Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13~

First piece, the Helmet of Salvation

Before any warrior goes into battle, one of the first things they put on is their helmet. Through the ages, helmets have been made from a variety of mediums (more on that in our Fight Friday post). Whether some sort of metal, or reinforced leather, the purpose of a helmet, as we know, is to protect the brain. Above all else, the head needs to be shielded. When a warrior loses their helmet, the head is left vulnerable, making it a prime target for the enemy. And that is the first place a smart enemy will attack.

Survey of the Battleground

6ef78a80c66bd42e3f531d39bb789c77The same holds true for battles outside of the physical realm. In Ephesians 6, verse 17, we are told:

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

In my opinion, it is no coincidence that the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit are listed in the same verse. As with each piece of armor, they work in tandem to protect, but these two more than any others. More on that in a moment. First, let’s get a better look at the battlefield, so we know what we’re up against and why this armor is necessary.

 Our thoughts guide our actions, our choices, our words, even our moods. If not brought under control, they can destroy us, maybe even physically. There has been much research done to support the idea that we have at least a modicum of control over our physical health, simply by using the power of our minds. The strength of the mind to affect our bodies and our lives is no secret. I’m sure we’ve all heard at least one of the phrases “Speak it into existence”, “Name it and claim it”, or “Think yourself well”.

A well-known quote that illustrates the power of the mind comes from Descartes. Cogito ergo sum, or, I think, therefore I am.

With the mind being one of the most powerful things in our human arsenal, it makes sense that this is where the majority of attacks would be focused. Our minds are Satan’s favorite target. If he can get our thoughts under his control, the body and spirit will follow. We are cautioned again and again in Scripture to shield our minds and guard our thoughts.

~ I Corinthians 10:5- Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

~Philippians 4:8- Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, mediate on these things.

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Prepared for War

Now the question becomes, how do we guard our minds? The first step: putting on our helmet of salvation. Salvation is the one thing God wants most for us. He has provided us a way back to Him, a rescue from the fall. When we are once again grafted into His family, He is able to arm us fully for whatever lies ahead.

~I Thessalonians 5:9- For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are reading this and you have yet to accept that salvation, I implore you, do it! Simply confess that Jesus is Lord, ask forgiveness for your sins, and ask Him to live in your heart, to guide your thoughts and your steps.

 You will take heavy fire. Satan will focus even more viciously on your weak points. But with the helmet of salvation strapped on, you have protection against whatever the enemy throws at you. The primary target is secured, your backup is guaranteed. You no longer have to struggle alone, under your own mental strength. Someone is now providing cover fire.

Maintaining the Armory

Once you’ve donned the helmet, you have to maintain it. This does not mean it won’t receive hits, get a few dings, or feel like it’s slipping off your head. No one is perfect. Romans tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. You will still have weak moments, and flashy decoys will attempt to sway your focus toward them. So, how do we keep this helmet on, keep it in top condition, and prepare for these attacks?

That’s where the word of God, the sword of the Spirit, comes in. You must have this to maintain every other piece of equipment, especially your helmet. When you take the words in to yourself, meditate on them, and live them, you are fortifying your armor and keeping it in shape for battle. When your mind is full of the word, it becomes more difficult for the enemy to breach the gates. 6278a2dff2d18c6f023f0d960261129a

Pre-mission Briefing

We all have those less than stellar moments. The times when our thoughts wonder into dark territory, places they should never go. With all the chaos and temptation around us, it would be so easy to let our minds go and get caught up in the excitement. Or, when our battle plans are blown to bits, it’s hard not to wallow and let the darkness consume our minds. I’ve been there, much too frequently, as I’m sure many of you have.

But when the blackness creeps in, in whatever form, we now have the power through Christ to push back. To send it packing in retreat. All we have to do is pull on our helmets, and fill our minds with His words of strength. We are no longer hostage to the enemy, or our own thoughts. He has released us. He has saved us.

If you would like someone to pray with you, whether for salvation or for strength for a particular fight you are facing, share your needs below, or contact me at: AmyMMcNew@att.net. You can also find me on Facebook or Twitter. I would be more than happy to pray with you.

If any of you would like to share your battles and victories, feel free to do so below. There is no judgment here. We only seek to build each other up, and celebrate one another’s triumphs.

And, as is a pre-battle tradition here at Guts on the Page, I send you off with a song to ponder.

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Timing is Everything

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It’s Fight Friday!

Here at Guts on the Page, you’ll be seeing a lot of things battle related, whether the warfare discussed is spiritual, physical, or emotional. Friday is the day specially set aside to open a dialogue on these subjects, and to arm you with tools to fight whatever enemy comes your way.

Today, I’m starting with an announcement!

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REBIRTH, my current manuscript and the beginning of the Reluctant Warrior Chronicles (tentative title), has won the OCW Cascade award for unpublished speculative fiction! I must admit, I was taken by surprise. While I believe in my work, I was up against some stiff competition. People who have been in this industry longer than I, with amazing stories to tell. But God saw fit to bless me with this accolade, and I am grateful. In thinking about this award and everything that comes along with it, the topic of timing came to mind.

~Battle Strategy

When faced with the possibility of a fight, on any field, planning and timing are key to a successful campaign. Even in a surprise hand to hand battle, if your timing is off, you provide your opponent with the opportunity they need to land that kick or punch, or take you down. This is true for large battles and the overall war as well. If you strike at the perfect time, with the most solid plan, you have the best chance of clenching the victory.

In my life, my best laid plans have blown up in my face. I thought I was prepared, knew what I had to do, and was confident it was the correct course of action. Unfortunately, I  left myself wide open for the enemy to swoop in and take advantage of my weaknesses. I’d forgotten a key factor.

Timing. Not just my timing, but God’s.

I thought it was time. I thought I had drawn the perfect map, planned the perfect strategy. I thought I knew exactly where I was to engage and thought I had all the equipment to do just that. I thought I knew what my mark was, and how to hit it.

I was dead wrong.

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God had another plan. I had jumped the gun.

~Refocusing the Attack

A hidden goal, one I had mostly given up on, was revealed. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. The dream I thought I wanted most, the battle strategy I’d created, had just been obliterated. I crawled away and wallowed in defeat, too broken by the crushing blow to see that there was something greater for me just over that hill I didn’t want to claim.

But God knew what I was capable of. He knew the strength in me, the strength He would fortify. An old, buried passion burst into my camp. An inferno ignited, searing me from the inside out.

That old passion made its presence know.

So, I embraced it again. I wrote, I fought, I cried, I fought. I nearly let fear consume me.

Then came my first skirmish. My first pitch and proposal. I was rejected. Defeated. Though it was done in a loving manner that left the door open for a fantastic acquaintance, my weapons fell to the ground and I hit my knees.

All I could hear from Heaven was “It’s not time.”

I dove back in to my work; polishing, honing, learning. The flames of passion licked higher. I would not be defeated. I would wait and work, listening for His word to go.

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Suddenly it was time.

I started meeting people, building relationships, perfecting my manuscript, and arming myself with everything available. I gained mentors in the craft that are second to none. Doors began to open that I never imagined. Still, I waited.

Then, the above announcement came.

Immediately, I received messages from others telling me that it was beginning. It was time. Even as I sit here, it hasn’t sunk in. People liked my work. That thing I had toiled over and questioned was accepted.

This doesn’t mean I will get a contract. This doesn’t mean that I will win anything else. What it does mean, is He has started something. He is putting things in motion and getting me into the exact location I need to be for the next strike, the next campaign. I will wait on Him. It won’t be easy. There will be disappointment. Yet, if I listen to His voice, and give each and every battle to Him, victory will be had, in one way or another.

I just have to stop, listen for His command, and then go.

Are you in a holding pattern? Are you surveying the land, staking out the enemy, and waiting for the command to move? Waiting for Him to say “it’s time”?

 Share with us. Let’s support one another, and prepare our army for the good fight.

And of course, I have a fight song for us!

Categories
Christian Fiction Speculative Fiction

Citzens of the Realm

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A fantastical tale of the strange, wondrous, and imaginative people of Realm Makers

Arrival: Day One

When I first happened upon the current village of this nomadic, creative tribe, I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect. Though I had travelled many miles to find them, I grew anxious. My hands were clammy, and my heart beat a spastic rhythm from its new location in my stomach. I feared that territorial disagreements may erupt. Many tribes do not take kindly to interlopers. I steeled my resolve, prepared to hold my ground and fight for my place among them.

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My trepidation was somewhat quieted upon encountering two familiar faces. Much to my delight, they greeted me with open arms. While they may have frightened those who did not understand their culture, these kind and lovely females radiated a kindred spirit to me.

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Upon securing a place to reside for my stay, I met those who would be sharing my dwelling. They too were welcoming, and I recognized them immediately as those I would call friend and sister. As our stay continued our bond grew, creating a sense of family. Albeit a sarcastic, teasing, and loud one.

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As the evening continued, I was ushered into the main gathering area to meet with the rest of the clan. Again, the maniacal lightning bugs in my belly began their dance. This insane ballet only gained fervor when I realized I would be meeting some of the guardians of the group. People I had long admired and held in high regard. But as we chatted, I discovered that they were most gracious and humorous, and saw no rank among their people. Each person present was treated as though they were on equal footing, no matter battle experience or age. This was a delightful surprise.

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Acclimation: Day Two

The following morning, my training commenced. I was regaled with stories of adventure, and instructed on how to create my own. To embrace the calling, talent, and dreams given to me by the Great Author, and use them to spread His message in an engaging, thought-provoking manner. The instruction was unparalleled. It was as if every member of this community wanted to see me succeed in my quest, and were willing to give of themselves to see that I did so.

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In between training sessions, I was able to meet the rest of the clan. I discovered that I had much in common with these people. More so than with any other group I had come into contact with. Each tribal member was kind, warm, and welcoming. They absorbed me into their family as if I had always been one of them. The way they folded me into their ranks was heartwarming. I will feel forever connected to these special people, and always grateful for their kinship.

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To close out this first day of instruction and fellowship, a party was thrown. Everyone came dressed in their native apparel. It was fascinating! The odd nature of the clothing may have been off-putting to some, but I found myself enjoying the variety and joining in with gusto.

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Animation: Day Three

The final day of my visit with this amazing people was bittersweet. We received yet more invaluable instruction, enjoyed our last moments of camaraderie until the gathering reconvened next year, and were treated to a wonderfully motivating call to action. We were told to Go! To be bold, and remember that we could do whatever was required.

We were sent out into the world to use what we had learned to further this precious realm of ours. My heart filled to bursting and my mind reeled with possibilities. I had entered this camp a frightened, solitary warrior. I didn’t know if those I yearned to glean knowledge from and battle alongside would accept me into their elite and wonderfully weird band of soldiers. I left as a member of a mighty army. Fully outfitted with the weapons I would require to conquer for the realm, and the support and kinship of brothers and sisters as dedicated to this cause as I.

Now, I leave you with a few words from masters of our craft.

 May we STOP doubting, GO forth boldly, and be prepared when our Father says “your turn”!

May we always be on guard and never assume, as our enemy will be more likely to show up in a bonnet than with fangs!

May we remember that our genre of the odd and magical, like no other, reflects the creativity of the Great Author!

And may we always remember we can do whatever it takes, because Robert Liparulo said we could!

 Long live the Realm Makers, weavers of fantastical tales and messengers of the Word!