By Alex Steinberg
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Length: 342 pages
Release Date: August 30, 2015
IMPRINT: Devil’s Tower
After fighting off a rebellion that tried to take hold of humanity, Lieutenant Commander Keane Blaze is on the last ship evacuation the planet Ordem. Nobody seems to have any idea why they are leaving, until the USS Cloudshifter is shot down in mid-orbit. The only survivor: Keane. After being stuck in cryo-sleep for 1,000 years, he finally awakens to find that the galaxy has progressed without him; and into total war.
Getting back with humanity, Keane joins the battle with a handful of new allies, new tech, and one mysterious assassin from his past. In their way stands an alien race seeking the annihilation of Humanity and its allies. The stakes are high, and the risks even higher. For Keane, its a dream come true.
[After-action report, Eskrate Military command. WARNING: May contain Spoilers]
[Interviewing Commander Keane Blaze]
Q: Commander Keane, what was it like waking up after being in cryo-sleep for 1000 years?
A: Well, I definitely felt well rested. I'll admit, it was a huge shock at first when my AI told me I had been in cryo-sleep for 1000 years. Everyone I knew and loved had passed away. But I had to keep moving on... I knew I couldn't stay there and cry myself into oblivion. That, and I was hungry.
Q: Your crew of soldiers is definitely a strange mix. What is it like working with them?
A: It's amazing having all of these different personalities come together in a way that can blow things up. Lynxie... well, for one, I thought she was dead. She's the most loyal person I know, and I can count on her for anything. Rippa is amazing, as long as you have some cover when he finds a rocket launcher. Trust me, you do NOT want to be close to him at that time. Imagine a tank on a sugar high, and that’s pretty much him. Prometheus, my big robot buddy, has a personality of his own. Usually, that personality involves his giant gun. My crew has assassins, soldiers, leaders, and followers. Yeah, we're a diverse group, but you'd better believe that we'll get the job done.
Q: Last question: How do you feel now after crashing your ship into the enemies and falling from great heights?
A: Honestly, kinda hungry. I could go for a burger. Also, my back is sore and I have a little limp when I walk. But, like I said, mostly hungry. Can I go now? Lynxie, Rippa and I are heading to 'The Bar.” Hey, why don't you join us?
[End of Interview.]
AUTHOR INFORMATION & LINKS
Guest PostMillennium was an idea I came up with while mowing my front lawn on a hot summer day. I was around 12 years old at the time and had been writing a story featuring Jason Blaze and Suki Mokine as the main characters, who were some of the first people to leave Earth. This story was short, simple, and, quite honestly, bland. I loathed it. While riding on the mower I thought to myself, how can I make this story better? The answer was obvious: Start a new story. Thus, Keane Blaze, son of Jason and Suki Blaze, became the main character, and everything I had written before gave me the groundwork and a history for the galaxy of Millennium.
I expected it to be easy to write this story. I took the time and laid out the characters I wanted in it, as well as the plot points. I worked on it for hours at a time, but something didn't feel right. The plot just seemed to be lacking something. After a week of having writer's block, an idea formed. I feverishly started to write, adding in my newest character, Lynxie Puma. With her came a multitude of possibilities that I had never even imagined before. The Eskrate was born, as well as the details of the Actuell Race. Before Lynxie, there were no Cajin or Specter races. I attribute most of the book's plot to her addition.
With the plot formed, my only problem was actually writing the story. I wrote at home, at school, on the bus, and once even when my family took a vacation to Florida. I have fond memories of many teachers confiscating my writing journals because I was writing during class. I would stay up until midnight for days on end, writing, erasing, and tearing pages out of the journals in disgust. Every time I added a new page number to the top of the journal, I felt exhilaration.
Finally, in the month of February two years later, I wrote the final word, added a period, and closed the book. At that moment, my younger brother had a friend over and my mother was on the phone. Nevertheless, I bugged them both, my excitement on finishing Millennium uncontainable. I had never thought I would actually finish it! I was proud and I wanted to publish it.
I sent Millennium to Prometheus Publishing first, and after around six months of nervously waiting received an email that told me they were not interested in my novel. I was heartbroken, but I would not give up. I contacted Ace Books, Disney Books, and any other publisher accepting unsolicited materials. Some of their responses were swift. Some never responded. Either way, every answer was the same: Nobody wanted my book. I felt defeated and gave up.
Early in my junior year of high school, in 2014, was when I started to dream again of having the book published. I started anew the search for a publishing company. After a long journey, I contacted Ravenswood Publishing, sent them my novel, and waited. After a week or two, I received an email... they wanted my novel! I was overjoyed and wasted no time telling my family. Millennium underwent the editing process, ultimately provided by my own mother, and after many attempts at cover art, I hired WillowRaven studios to design the cover for the book. Everything was looking amazing, and I was, and still am, eternally grateful for Ravenswood's acceptance of my novel.
***While I was writing Millennium, I knew one thing for certain: I wanted my characters to be different. I was tired of antiheroes, or just regular heroes who all acted the same. I wanted Keane to be honorable, and I wanted Lynxie to be conflicted. Neither one of them have any powers or abilities that make them special. Both of them have undergone intense training and use this to fight their enemies.
My main character, Keane Blaze, was not a challenge to develop at all. His parents are famous war heroes, and he is constantly judged by this, but he doesn't let it bring him down. He can be serious and tactful, but also humorous, and is often trying to make bad jokes to lighten the atmosphere, whether it be in battle or with friends. Keane understands how one little thing like a joke can affect the mood of the soldiers below him and boost their morale. Off the battlefield, I tried to give him a kind personality, seeing the good in people and being quick to trust and give second chances. He doesn't judge people by their occupation or past, which is a key when he is looking for allies. Trust, however, is his flaw, and can be used against him.
Keane is a fairly simple character who knows what he has to do and has no problem doing it. He doesn't have much to hide and has no problem talking to others. Lynxie, however, is much different. Having been kidnapped and tested on from a young age, she is very slow to trust and harbors a lot of anger towards others. She views herself as a monster for what others have done to her and for what she has done to others. Innocent blood stains her past, and these thoughts often haunt her at night. Lynxie is also conflicted, having fought on the wrong side in her past. She still views herself as evil, hated pretty much everything until Keane came along. With his help, Lynxie is able to see past her mistakes and start to see what she can become, realizing that she does not have to be a slave to her past. Vicious, yet loyal, she now defends those she cares for with her life, regardless of all her doubts.
Another one of my favorite characters, Rippa, is based on my younger brother Christopher-Ryan. Rippa is a Specter alien, which means he's, big, strong, and looks pretty scary. Regardless of his appearance, Rippa is never serious. Always making jokes and laughing, he is usually the life of the party, or battle for that matter. He has an intense love of heavy explosives and tacos, in that particular order. Rippa is the leader of his race, which leads me to consider having the rest of the Specter race carry some of his particular character traits in the sequels. An army of aliens telling bad jokes...what could be more terrible, or amusing, than that?
These characters will continue to evolve in the sequels to Millennium, but their core personalities will stay the same. And Rippa will ALWAYS love tacos.