05 Apr 2014

“Shimmer In the Dark: Rogue Genesis” by Ceri London, Review & Interview

3 Comments Book Reviews, News

Rogue One man. Two worlds separated by a universe. Space-time warped by black holes. In the passing of seconds on Earth, Major Niall Kearey has witnessed the birth and death of generations on Astereal. His mind shortcuts light years to visit a fantastical world of floating sky cities populated by telepaths.

Astereal is in decline, the dueling forces of black holes threaten extinction. Ancient prophecy predicts their interstellar visitor brings salvation. As Niall faces the staggering truth – that his alien dream world is real – he and his family are targeted by secret societies, scheming politicians, and the US military.

Time is running out as Astereal races towards annihilation and temporal alignment with Earth. Power brokers vie for control of his capabilities. Niall must act, balancing the needs of Earth, his family, and the alien civilization he has come to know and love. The fate of two worlds rests on Niall Kearey’s shoulders.

My review: Shimmer

“Rogue Genesis” by Ceri London is a complex, highly intelligent and competently written Science Fiction / fantasy thriller. I don’t often read Science Fiction and only let my curiosity get the better of me because several of my friends raved about this book. They were right to do so.

The story is based on a excellent idea: A man from Earth who kind of lives in two worlds at the same time.
The other world, Astereal, is in danger because the fragile balance of black holes holding it in place is coming loose. The concept of time folds, time warps, astral travel or whatever phrase you would like to use for this double excistence is highly original, fascinating and certainly unique. It made the story stand out from others in the genre just for that. With this creative set up, the subplots and the competent military/ technological writing it is impossible to find fault with this book.

Our protagonist, US Air Force Major Niall Kearey, is a splendid character with his own family life, deep thought and with – literally – A LOT on his overloaded mind. The way the author blends the telepathic fantasy side with more technological science fiction and fantasy is brilliant and made me think that maybe I should read scifi books more often. This is a far cry from repetitive and formulaic writing; this novel is innovative and therefore hugely rewarding. 
It is also a gripping thriller, a family story and simply a must read.

Scroll down for an excerpt from the book at the end of this feature and watch the stunning Book Trailer here:  

Interview with Ceri:  7055294
Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?  

My first stab at writing a novel was about twenty years ago. I wrote a Star Trek story for fun and, in a moment of delusion, submitted it with high hopes to the authorised publisher of ST novels. Naturally, it was returned in due course. What was I thinking?  Undeterred, I took a writing evening class and wrote several stories that I shared on the internet under a pseudonym. They’ve been long removed and will probably never see the light of day again unless I rewrite them from scratch. Thankfully, writing is a labour of love that can’t help but improve over the course of time. I enjoy crafting an imaginary world and developing the discipline for writing a story that holds people’s attention, although there’s always room for improvement. Then real life got busy and the writing muse went into hibernation up until a few years ago when I enrolled on a Writer’s Bureau course. That got my creative juices flowing again.

Tell us about your Rogue Genesis. When did you have the first idea for it?

Much of the premise behind Rogue Genesis originates from stories I wrote ten years ago. I researched various ideas at the time, so I looked up old bookmarks, and started to research Earth history, related mysteries of the world, electromagnetism, psychic gifts, and anything else that interested me.  That’s when the Shimmer in the Dark concept properly came into being with Rogue Genesis being the first book in the series.

Rogue Genesis is a story about a military man, Major Niall Kearey, who has the unique ability to project his mind through tiny holes in space. I created a doomed world across the universe that exists in a faster timeflow, so he could live on and off with the telepathic civilization that live there, without ever leaving Earth. These aliens have a prophecy that a man from across the stars can save them from extinction, and their time is running out. Niall thinks Astereal is a dream, but he has an uncanny sixth sense for danger that’s been noticed by sinister forces on Earth. They secretly arrange his transfer to an environment that encourages psychic ability, and that’s when Niall begins to wake up to his destiny. The impact on him, his life, and his family, is dramatic, a thrilling rollercoaster ride set on Earth and spanning the universe.

And how did you decide on the characters, plots and title?

I wanted a military man, at home in Special Ops, ruthless when he needs to be, but someone whose prime motivation is saving life. So after a lot of research, I wrote a character with a career based in the US Air Force Special Tactics, whose mission includes retrieving allies and US military in trouble behind enemy lines. I made him a family man who loves his wife and kids, giving him a lot to lose. Although he’s generally a well-adjusted guy, Niall keeps his psychic gifts secret, an issue stemming from his childhood. That secrecy will come to haunt him.

I wrote the outline of the plot as part of my Writer’s Bureau course, but it was frontloaded and centred on the alien’s plight, Niall’s growing abilities, and the different timeflows between the alien planet and Earth. The back end was in my head, but it was too complicated to write down, so I captured it in one line, maybe two. As it turned out, the end changed one night when I hit upon a solution to a problem and that radically altered the scope of the series. It did make the whole project infinitely more complex, but much more interesting to write.

I chose the title Shimmer in the Dark a long time back, and eventually settled on The Boat People as the title for the first book in the series. The aliens were facing extinction, they needed refuge and I thought The Boat People was a really apt title that resonated atmosphere. However, feedback suggested readers would connect it to a Vietnam refugee story, and it wasn’t sci-fi enough. So I looked for an alternative. It took a while to hit upon Rogue Genesis, but now I’m very happy I changed it. Rogue Genesis has more than one meaning that encompasses the story, but that doesn’t become obvious until the end.

What do your family or friends say about your books. Do they mind you taking so much time to write?

My family is very supportive, although they do think I spend way too much time on my laptop. Right now my daughter is having a fascinating, in-depth conversation with her boyfriend, but because I’m typing away, chatting to you, they’re oblivious to my presence. They think I and my laptop are one with the furniture, cocooned in our own little world. Little do they know I can type and listen at the same time!

I must admit I cringe when I discover friends or family are reading Rogue Genesis, I’m so convinced they will decide I’ve left this planet and wonder what possessed me to think I could write let alone publish a science fiction novel. They don’t know I’ve been secretly writing for years. It’s wonderful discovering several of them genuinely got caught up in the story. Their eyes light up as they tell me what they enjoyed most. Some love the science aspects. Others got caught up by the emotional drama. One friend doesn’t usually read science fiction, but it felt so real to her, she ended up feeling that some of it could be based in truth. Another friend’s daughter told me their dad was raving about my book to his family (good raving I hasten to add). That reaction makes all the work worthwhile.

When did you decide to write science fiction? Would you consider writing outside of the genre?

I’ve always written science fiction, but I have dabbled with romance along the way and recently published a racy sci-fi short story for a romance anthology. Any story I write has a thriller edge to it with dark overtones, so I won’t be churning out any chick-lit romance soon.

There is a military side to the story, a futuristic side and a family / personal side. Which one are you most comfortable with?

I carried out a lot of research to get the military side right. One of my earliest beta readers is US military. Generally, I’d got the military aspects right, but his main feedback was that the military characters were too generic—I needed to differentiate my hero as US Air Force.  More research followed, and I found more military beta readers who helped me craft realistic scenes. I also had two excellent beta readers (critique partners/editors) who constantly berated me to stop being so motherly and to let my hero toughen up. Of course, when I did let go, it was great fun. I’ll keep working at it, because I love writing military characters and they are an important ingredient for this series.

I’m definitely more comfortable with the futuristic scenes. Anything feels possible. Of course, the science needs research! Oh, to have a geologist, an anthropologist, and a theoretical physicist on my team. I tend to include too much research in the story and I’m often told to dumb it down. Every now and again I rebel, and some people have commented that they glossed over the science bits, but that it didn’t slow them down, or affect their enjoyment of the story.

So, to answer your question, I’m most at home with the family stuff. In my mind, the story is all about the emotional drama driving a character’s motives and hang ups, and I invest a lot of time on this aspect. My editors then invest a lot of their time cutting it out. I admit, I fret over the most ridiculous stuff, like making sure the kids have had their shots, because I can’t possibly risk them getting malaria—the lectures I got over that one!

Would you say there is a message in your books beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the readers and reviewers?

I didn’t set out to sell a message or theme. Various themes evolved. If I was to try and pinpoint one theme in this story, Rogue Genesis explores what happens when the corrupt and powerful try to direct one man’s instinct to protect and serve in order to secure their selfish interests. In one wonderful review I received, the reader instinctively encapsulated several themes in the book, all without giving the plot away! In many ways she opened my eyes to my own story.

“Yes, a lot of the book made me sick. I want to howl in despair at the horror of the reality of what humans truly are, what they are truly capable of. Of human avarice, hatred, brutality and vicious self-aggrandizement, the truly black and horrific souls within. Sick, in that everything that London writes is so very gut-wrenchingly believable in so many ways. So real within the fictitious world that she creates. Amidst the black holes, space-time jumps, dark matter universes and other fascinating and well-researched portions of the book, London delves into the human psyche, and lays bare its soul. Leiah “So, I Read This Book Today . . .” Amazon

Which part are you most proud of?

There’s a section midway when all Niall’s secrets are leaking out and his family get caught in the crossfire. All hell breaks loose, Niall’s life is upturned in a way he’d never anticipated, and he can’t escape his responsibility for the train wreck that follows. From that moment, he’s in a fight for his life, for his family’s survival, at a time when he’s in turmoil and struggling to work out who he can trust. It’s a pivotal moment for Niall and the story.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

I get a kick out of writing Senator Charles Biron. He’s a complicated antagonist—ruthless, cynical, and manipulative, but his love for his niece is as genuine as it is selfish and controlling. His interest in Niall Kearey is scientific at first, but as the story evolves, and Niall frustrates Charles ambitions, the senator has no qualms messing Niall’s life up even more. And yet, he does have a heart. In the end, his feelings for a woman will prove pivotal to the story, although that will emerge more in the sequel, and it will be very subtle. Blink and readers might miss it. If one of my beta readers had his way, Charles Biron’s atoms would be spread across the cosmos by now, but I continue to defend him to the last. Shimmer

Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it? Tell us about the artist.

My brother is the cover artist. He has experience in special visual effects and would disclaim he is a cover artist, but he did me this huge favour, and I love the cover he conjured up. It has a dynamic quality that is quite stunning. I had a lot of say in the cover, but we fought over the colours. I wanted warmer tones, more vibrant. He put his foot down, and I must concede he was right. There is a beautiful purity to the star background that is magical, and it blends in amazingly with the magnetic forces of the planet. His cover art draws many compliments.

Who are your favourite authors?

I had to name fifteen authors recently for a friend. All these authors wrote books that captured my attention and their stories stayed with me for a long time: Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, David Eddings, Clive Cussler, Anne McCaffrey, James Clavall, Jean M Auel, Patricia Cornwell, Catherine Cookson, Jack London, Richard Adams, John Grisham, James Patterson, Julian May, Stephen R Donaldson. Not in any particular order!

What is your life like outside of writing? 17826638

I tutor piano, so on Saturday mornings and weekdays after school, my home is open to children and their parents. Sometimes, I’m awestruck by the young talent coaxing my rebellious piano to life and it’s fascinating to see them develop. My family is my main focus, and my parents live nearby. My daughters often have friends around. The house veers from quiet during the day to noisy and busy from three to evening. Usually, it’s quiet again by nine p.m. when I get back to writing or editing. I used to watch a lot more TV, but recently it’s become a treat to sit down with my daughters or husband to watch a favourite show. We got behind on one show by a year! Thirty-three episodes stacked up on the viewer.

What makes you laugh?

My daughters. We can have the most insane conversations. My youngest especially can give me a raised eyebrow with an “I can’t believe you just said that,” look and I instantly crack up. Proper tears of laughter.  Once I start, she joins in. We get so hysterical I once had to stop the car.

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

I don’t read as much as I should. I save reading up for holidays when I devour book after book. So I would take a stack of books, paper or e-books, I don’t mind.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Winnie the Pooh lives not too far from us. The High Weald is to the north, the South Downs to the south, so it isn’t far to reach beautiful countryside. It’s a bad idea to cross town during the London to Brighton Cycle Ride.

What are you working on now? 

I am working on the sequel to Rogue Genesis. I have completed the first draft, and have nearly completed all the revisions following a developmental edit, and will soon start a first full edit. I’m thrilled because my editor did not predict where the story was going to go, despite a glimpse of the world ahead in the rest of the series, and there were enough twists to keep him happy. And <drum roll> I’ve just had a short story published in World of Worlds, an ASMSG anthology of science-fiction and fantasy. Bridge Builder follows the fate of a character from Rogue Genesis and offers a teasing glimpse of the story to come in the Shimmer in the Dark series. It’s free and full of great stories by indie authors.

Christoph, thank you so much for having me on your blog today.  I’ve had a great time and I’ve loved answering your questions!






Places to buy Shimmer in the Dark: Rogue Genesis

SPECIAL OFFER: Shimmer in the Dark: Rogue Genesis will be on special offer on Saturday, APRIL 5th at $1.50 via Amazon and Smashwords.

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/ShimmerRogueGenesis

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/335025

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rogue-genesis-ceri-london/1116227104

Kobo US: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/rogue-genesis-shimmer-in-the-dark-1


Excerpt from Shimmer in the Dark: Rogue Genesis


Niall pressed back against a stone feed barn for cattle and primed a device best described as a shock grenade. He caught the tiniest of movements in a drainage ditch several yards south east of his position.

Earlier, when an enemy scout failed to detect his presence, Niall had let the young Morrígan pass. Their job was to ambush the main force, and he was certain Paladin’s huge powerhouse of an engine had to be their next target. Now, his every instinct screamed that the bulk of the Morrígan forces was seconds away from overrunning their position.

He bit his lip in an effort to keep his mental shields strong as his body sweltered in the torrid humidity of the northern hemisphere. No wonder the Astereans preferred the upper atmosphere with its comfortable temperature and clean air. Action would be a relief after the long hours of waiting. Failure wasn’t an option. Paladin must not fall.

The stakes wouldn’t be so high if the city was already grounded.

He understood why the High Council vetoed his suggestion. He wouldn’t want to face the ire of its residents either. But something was driving the Morrígan, and it was noteworthy that refugees from the downed cities were allowed to pass into Asterean territory unchallenged. Understanding the enemy was key to defeating it, and if turning off the magnetic fields supporting Paladin diverted the Morrígan to another target, it would have been valuable strategic information.

In ten.

Niall tensed as his young lookout on the barn roof began a mental countdown.

Nine. The number passed through his mental shields like osmosis, a neat trick that Niall had not mastered. Pwyll was a seriously talented telepath.


On five, Niall released the pin.

On three, he drew back his arm.


Niall stepped out and hurled the grenade high into the air. He dived to the ground and rolled behind the building. For a split second, he thought he had escaped unseen and unscathed. A quick body check revealed a circular blade embedded in his thigh. A searing agony from the severed muscle in Miach’s leg threatened to cut out his mental shields.


The shock wave from the exploding grenade drowned out his curse. Sweat beaded on his brow. Pwyll dropped down beside him and they both ducked beneath the meager cover the stone building afforded them. Niall choked back a cry of pain.

The pulse mines detonated by the shock frequency obliterated every unprotected ear in range, and would, in theory, knock their enemy unconscious en masse. The agony torturing Miach’s central nervous system was a good indicator their ear protection worked.

“Your leg,” Pwyll mouthed, pointing at the semicircle of blade sticking out of Niall’s thigh.

For a moment Niall forgot why he couldn’t hear him. Then he took out his ear-plugs as sweat broke out on his forehead. His leg burned like fire.

“Don’t take it out,” he said when Pwyll moved to grasp it. The razor-sharp blade was cutting deep into muscle tissue, possibly a major artery. “Don’t want to bleed out. Rip your shirt up. Then we wait for the falc’hun. Let a healer deal with it.”

Pwyll gave him a strip of his shirt.  Niall tied a tourniquet above the angry wound then banged the back of his head on the shed to help him think.

He nodded to the corner of the building. “Take a quick look and tell me what you see.”

The kid moved so fast Niall wondered that he saw anything at all.

“Everything is quiet. Do you think they are waiting for us to check they are dead?”

“Maybe, which is why we’re gonna sit tight and wait for the falc’hun.” They sat quietly for several moments. “At least we have falc’huns,” Niall added.

The young Asterean guard snorted; even rookies knew about the enforced ground surveillance at Zorachi Plains when the magnetic grid shifted. Niall’Kearey had instigated new protocols for navigation updates. Astereal would not be without air support for so long again.

Although . . .  Niall thought about it, the grid would become increasingly unstable as Alignment approached.

Pwyll remained nervously watchful. “They were close enough to get you,” he explained, his voice little more than a whisper.

The boy would go far. Good instincts. Fire shot up Niall’s leg. Fuck. Mustn’t. Scream. Think of something else. “Are those mines as good as I’m told?”

Pwyll grinned. “Better.”

Niall nodded. Miach would be fine. Asterean weaponry might suck—with the possible exception of these pulse mines—but their healers were second to none. At least he could report his host’s nervous system fully intact and functional. They both heard the approaching whine at the same time.

Niall released a chunk of lower lip from between his teeth. “Exfil’s here.”

The familiar words churned the permanent knot in Miach’s gut. The falc’hun wouldn’t take Niall home. Nor find his family.
















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