Sunny Grimm found her son with a strap around his head.
An infamous symbol is embossed between his eyes, one that people only whisper about—the mark of awareness leaping. Where players launch into virtual realities. Where anything goes and investors make millions.
Critics, however, refuse to call it a game.
They argue that reality confusion will be the end of humanity. Still, there are many who play because the rewards are great. But the risks are steep and few ever win.
Losers never wake.
Sunny goes on a mad search for her son and the people responsible for allowing him to play. She knows the Maze is more than a game but she doesn’t care. She only wants her son back.
Will she lose herself in the search?
REVIEWS FOR GREY GRIMM
“I’m a huge fan of Philip K. Dick… this feels like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” –Jonica, Amazon Reviewer
“Absolutely loved it.” –Fredrox, Reviewer
“Spectacular.” –W. Nickels, Reviewer
“Twists and twists and twists.” -- Reviewer
“Fantastic book – amazing world building…” Informed reader, Reviewer
“well-written, intelligent and makes you think.”-- Reviewer
“Highly recommended for any sci-fi fan.” -- Reviewer
“Excellent psychological thriller that plays with your mind.” –J Phillips, Reviewer
“Keeps the action and the twists coming!” -- Reviewer
“Thrill ride.” –Riann F., Reviewer
Perfection has arrived.
Synthetic stem cells mean no more organ failure, no more pharmaceuticals. No cancer. The human race is stronger, smarter and prettier. Is it better?
Cali Richards is a nanobiometric engineer who has been her younger brother’s guardian since their parents died. She’s lost too many people in her life to lose another. When the government declares the Halfskin Laws will shut down anyone with too many synthetics, she decides to hide him. But even brilliance can succumb to the pressure of suffering. And synthetics can’t cure insanity.
Follow their twisting, slippery grip on reality as they strive to find happiness in a world that has everything it could possibly want.
REVIEWS FOR HALFSKIN
“This, quite frankly, is one of the best books I’ve read.” –John Gregory Hancock, Reviewer
“WOW.” –Amanda Taylor, Reviewer
“I was not expecting the twists…” – Reviewer
“Hated finishing this book… many hours of enjoyment.” –Eleanor Wendlberger, Reviewer
“Halfskin is one of the best science fiction stories I’ve read this year.” –ACFlory, Reviewer
“Twisty turny, unexpectedness!!!!!! LOVED THE BOOK!” –Aisha-Kimberly Hashmi, Reviewer
“One of the best stories i[sic] have read in a long time!” Brian, Reviewer
“I was absolutely hooked from page 1!” – Reviewer
Underground Reviews 2015 Top Pick Award
Can we resist the temptation of perfection? Are we still human when our bodies are replaced by synthetic replications?
If biomites exist, laws will be imposed to prevent excess and abuse. Those with 50% biomites will no longer be considered human.
They will be halfskin.
Halfksin: The Vignettes is a compendium of short stories found throughout the Halfskin trilogy, a harbinger of what humanity’s pursuit of perfection may look like.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?
Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?
WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?
Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.
DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?
Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?
Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.
IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?
Ketchup, the miracle condiment.
ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE
OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?
I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle.
Freddy Bills is retired. Back in the day, he was fishing people out unreality tanks and pulling needles out of their heads. That was when it was against the law. Now everyone is doing it, including him. In fact, he’s become quite proficient at dreamstitching unrealities for droppers to ride. He’s one of the best. His plans were to fade into retirement, just him and his dog.
That was before someone from his past appeared.
A string of clues leads him to dig up a past long buried and forgotten. As evidence mounts, he learns the truth about the Maze and its true purpose. There’s no escaping his past or future. He was destined to solve the Maze.
He just has to figure out why.
John Lively was a mouth-breather that no one cared about. He was an over-sized sixth grader destined to be incarcerated. God wasted a body on him.
Harold was a curious loner that sat in the back. Unlike John's family, Harold's parents loved him. They just didn't have time for him. They spent days in the basement working on something that would change the world. Sometimes it was weeks. Harold was tired of being forgotten and pushed around. He pushed back.
That day would change the world.
That day would change him into the man he was destined to become. His curiosity would lead him to Foreverland.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
HOW IMPORTANT ARE NAMES TO YOU IN THIS BOOK. DID YOU CHOOSE THEM BASED ON SOUND OR MEANING?
Almost all of my books have names with special meaning, some foreshadowing a big twist. In The Annihilation of Foreverland, Reed’s name was symbolic of his ability to tolerate suffering, bending in the face of gale forces but never breaking.
WHERE DOES YOUR TOMORROW SPRING FROM? IN OTHER WORDS, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CRAZY WORLD?
Sometimes, I can’t remember how the story started by the time I get to the end. The Annihilation of Foreverland started with the premise of identity. I wanted to write it as a YA book in the science fiction dystopia genre in a way that slowly unfolded as well as questioned who we are and explore our fear of death, and what we’re willing to do to avoid it. Like all of my stories, it does have a romantic angle mixed into the action. Because it should.
GIVE YOUR BOOK THE BECHDEL TEST. IT HAS TO HAVE AT LEAST TWO (NAMED) WOMEN IN IT WHO TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT SOMETHING BESIDES A MAN.
I failed because there’s only one female in The Annihilation of Foreverland. However, the young adult sequel (Foreverland is Dead) passes with flying colors since its mostly female characters that rarely talk about men.
WHAT SORT OF BODY COUNT ARE WE TALKING HERE?
The bodies die, but not necessarily the characters. Chew on that a second.
DO YOU WANT YOUR TOMORROW TO MAKE IT BIG, AS IN JK ROWLINGS-BIG? WHY OR WHY NOT?
Believe it or not, no. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to make enough cash to pay off this house and send my kids to college, but I’ll pass on fame and fortune. Anonymity is a blessing.
YOU CAST YOUR CHARACTERS FOR A MOVIE. WHO MAKES IT?
In The Annihilation of Foreverland, I only casted two characters in my head while I was writing it. The Director is Jeff Bridges and Mr. Jones is Anthony Hopkins. It was like watching a movie as I wrote.
HAVE YOU WRITTEN IN ANY OTHER GENRES BESIDES YA DYSTOPIAN? WHAT DREW YOU TO YOU THIS GENRE?
I’ve been fascinated by consciousness, identity and what this all means since I was young. I would read my grandfather’s science fiction books with elements of artificial intelligence and alternate realities and wonder what happened when they died? I suppose that’s why all of my writing deals with the big mysteries of life in one way or another. In a way, I write for my own exploration, in a sort of thought experiment approach, pulling apart our identities, exploring what makes us who we are. If I lost my memories, would I still be me? If I had my body parts replaced with synthetic replications, at what point would I not be me? Do I even need a body?
What am I?
A few years ago, I figured I’d write a romance novel. Since all of my books have a romantic element, I thought it would be fun. Halfway through the novel, I found myself thinking more and more about the next project—a dystopian idea. So 40,000 words in, I scrapped the romance novel and got back to what I love. Science fiction.
His funny name and snow-white hair are the least of his problems. When a devious prank goes bad, Socket and his friends realize they are about to lose everything they’ve worked for in the alternate reality universe of virtualmode.
But when the data drain encroaches on Socket’s subconscious memories, some mysterious force erases the event entirely. Subtle clues suggest there's more to him than he knows and will lead him to discover why his mom is always at work. And just how far from normal he is.
The beginning of Socket Greeny’s epic journey to save himself begins with the making. The universe is depending on him.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
When did you start writing?
My first effort started with Socket Greeny. It was a story I started for my son because he hated to read. It didn’t work, but this character – Socket – took root. It was the first time I felt possessed by a character with a story to tell. It took me 5 years and countless rewrites to get it right. I waited by the mailbox after that, but the giant paycheck never arrived.
If you can’t make money, why write fiction?
I didn’t say you can’t make money. There are a lot of people out there with a good book, whether it’s romance, dystopia, science fiction or young adult. I’m just a minnow in a crowded pond. It took a good deal of networking and research to realize just how hard it is.
Thanks to epublishing, I can get the book out. That frees me up to write what inspires me. Writing is the true love. There’s something deeply satisfying to have characters come to life in your mind and watch their stories unfold. It’s a deeper experience than reading someone else’s story.
What do you want readers to get from your stories?
I’ve always been inspired by fearless writing that asked poignant questions; questions like who am I and what is the universe? Things that made me look at life slightly different; books that exposed a layer of reality. Writing in the young adult genre appealed to me most because that’s the age I really craved those questions and answers.
I want readers to see the world slightly different.
What is your favorite character?
I love a bad, bad antagonist that you can’t entirely hate; there’s some smidgeon of redemption you feel inside this demented, sorry character. Heath Ledger’s Joker. A despicable character that didn’t deserve an ounce of pity, but, for some reason, I didn’t hate him as much as I should have. It’s that character I find most intriguing. In The Socket Greeny Saga, the character Pike was my Joker.