Today on my blog I have the Brink of Distinction Trilogy tour. On my stop there is a spotlight, excerpt, guest post, and giveaway.
Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the
University of Southern
California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his
passion, a passion that has continued through two deployments to Iraq and a humanitarian relief mission to . Haiti
Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in
The trilogy was accepted for publication through Crimson Tree Publishing, an
adult imprint of Clean Teen Publishing. Jon Messenger's young adult novel: Wind
Warrior was published in June 2013 through Clean Teen Publishing and has hit
bestseller status and has been nominated for a Readers Choice Award. Baghdad, Iraq
Between the alien
and the Terran Empire, a neutral
zone stretches between the galaxies, a demilitarized zone that was established
150 years previous, following the Great War. The peace accord granted a
semblance of peace to the universe. The peace, however, is a facade, and it is
the responsibility of Michael Vance and his covert operations team to maintain
that illusion. Alliance
lost contact with one of their outposts near the neutral zone. Surveillance scans
show an abandoned city and no signs of life. The Alliance does what it always does: send in
the best. But an unexpected betrayal leaves Vance and his team stranded. Worse,
the city that was supposed to be dead is quite alive. And the monsters that now
roam its streets are slaughtering his team, one at a time. Alliance
Private Hicks’ body screamed in protest as he tried to stand. His muscles ached and his lungs burned in the planet’s thin, dust-filled air. Under his dark armor sweat soaked through his uniform. Raising his head, he saw the looming plateau. Nuzzled within the wedge of the plateau’s façade there was the Terran’s dark, stone, defensive wall. Relief flooded through him. Being able to see the bristling antiaircraft weapon platforms mounted atop the wall meant his destination was finally within reach.
Scrambling to his feet, despite resistant muscles, he ran the rest of the way to the wall. He didn’t dare hope to make it that far without being spotted by his enemies but the reprieve gave him time to close the final twenty meters to the outpost. Legs cramping, he limped the rest of the way to the wall. Ignoring the large, arched vehicle entrance, whose heavy doors led straight to the courtyard between the wall and the building set into the plateau, he staggered to the reinforced personnel entrance to one side. Shuffling past a set of thick windows he watched Terran soldiers within the wall move toward the door.
Sliding in the red sand he stopped in front of the door and pounded it with his open hand. “Open the door!” he yelled, his voice raspy and dry.
When nothing happened he banged again, glancing over his shoulder in fear and frustration.
“Open the damn door!” he screamed, as much as his raw throat allowed, hitting the door repeatedly.
Finally, hesitantly, it opened.
A blast of cool air struck him as he was pulled into the comforting darkness. The room was cast in deep shadows and he was momentarily blinded in the dim lighting. He shivered as someone helped him to the far side of the narrow room, the cool air a stark contrast to the scorching heat outside. Sliding down against the wall, he exhaled a loud, raspy breath.
“Hicks,” the closest soldier said.
His head swam with exhaustion.
“What happened out there?”
He peered through the gloom, barely able to make out the man’s rank and name. “Alliance mercenaries. They hit us while we were on patrol.”
A third soldier pushed past the others and bent over Hicks, who saw the officer epaulettes on his shoulder. “Where’s the rest of your team, Private?”
He shook his head. “They’re all dead, Sir.”
“All of them?” the lieutenant asked in disbelief. “How did one group of Alliance mercenaries take out an entire patrol?”
A soft sound echoed through the room before Hicks could reply. The thumping reverberated softly as he clambered to his feet. Slowly, the others heard it and the room fell to hushed silence. It was a series of soft thumps as if something struck the compound’s outer wall repeatedly.
“What the hell is that noise?” Lieutenant Hill asked, looking toward the thick, outer walls.
The sound continued unabated.
“Sir, I’ve got a visual,” a private said, watching from the window.
The lieutenant rushed to the window, pulling free the binoculars on his hip. In the distance, a single massive form stood at the crest of the hill. Thick, dark fur covered its body which ended in an elongated snout. Sharp horns jutted from its temples, curving wickedly forward.
Lowering his binoculars, the lieutenant turned toward the rest of the soldiers. “It looks like the Alliance found our outpost! Let’s move, people!” As he walked back to the middle of the room the soldiers exploded into action.
“On your feet, soldiers!” Lieutenant Hill yelled over the din of muttered conversation. “Grab some ammo and find a wall to stand behind.” Turning back toward the sturdy window he glared across the red field. “If they want to bring their fight here, they won’t even know what hit them.”
“How true,” Hicks rasped, as a barbed tail erupted from under the back of his shirt. Lashing out, the tail struck the base of Lieutenant Hill’s neck and erupted from his throat, nearly decapitating the officer.
Hicks extended his left hand, the fingers elongated into razor-sharp points, which he drove into a nearby soldier’s abdomen. The soldier stared in disbelief, as the skin on Hicks’ face melted like wax, first running down toward his chin before being absorbed into his oily-black skin. The face disappeared, leaving behind a featureless black oval. Slowly, the rest of his skin melted away until all that remained was thick, black hide.
The creature that impersonated Hicks swished its spiked tail back and forth and turned toward the three remaining soldiers in the room. Eyes wide with fright, one swung his rifle toward the creature and squeezed the trigger.
The window exploded inward as the first round tore through the thick glass and struck the soldier’s temple. His scalp peeled away on the far side of his head as the high-velocity round passed through and struck the far wall, spraying the back of the room with blood.
The Terran Empire has broken the Taisa Accord and invaded
space in this exciting second novel in the Brink of Distinction series.
Survivors of the Empire's first assault, Yen Xiao and Adam Decker swore
vengeance against the Terrans. Joining forces with the enigmatic Keryn Riddell,
the three warriors must find a way to destroy the Terran fleet. But the Terrans
have a secret weapon: a biological agent sold to them by an renegade smuggler.
Now it's a race against the clock to capture the smuggler before the Terrans
decimate the Alliance
When everything they do proves to be not enough to stop the Empire's violent invasion, the
takes the fight directly to the Empire by invading Earth! But Earth may not be
the biggest threat to the safety of the Alliance .
The biggest danger may be one of their own. Alliance
The final confrontation between the Alien Alliance and the Terran Empire begins in this exciting conclusion to the Brink of Distinction trilogy.
One-by-one, the brilliant suns of
space are disappearing, left cold and lifeless after exposure to the Terran
biological epidemic. Trapped on one of the sunless worlds, Keryn Riddell, the
ruthless Wyndgaart warrior, fights against both a frozen landscape and her
Terran captors. Alliance
As Keryn fights for her life, the psychic Yen Xiao leads the
fleet in pursuit of the Terran Destroyers threatening the homeworlds. Yearning for leadership
of the fleet, Yen begins to wonder just how far he’ll go for the power he
Was there anything that surprised you while writing your book? If so, what was it?
The Brink of Distinction trilogy was my first serious foray into the writing world. I had written parts of books previous to that, but they were half-hearted attempts and when I went back and re-read them I realized how truly horrible they were! Those stories will NEVER see the light of day without complete rewrites.
Because the science fiction trilogy was my first attempt, I had no idea how other people wrote. I didn’t have any real techniques in mind on how to outline my story or how to write out key points for chapters. I did know that I wanted to have a story that evolved over the three books, though. There were things that I wanted to happen in book 1 that seemed insignificant or even confusing but would make extreme sense in either book 2 or 3. I mapped that idea after Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Most people who read that book never finish, because it’s so horribly confusing and muddled for the first half of the story. Then, about halfway through the book, someone dies and suddenly all of Heart of Darkness makes sense. I wanted to do that with Brink of Distinction (though not to quite an extreme).
Unfortunately, as I started mapping out my story, I realized that if I wrote chronologically, book 3 would just be a wrap up of a previous plot thread, followed by a loose transition to another wrap up of a different plot thread. It was going to be really difficult to tell the complete story I wanted to tell in book 3 if I was doing nothing but concluding innuendoes from the previous two books.
So I did something wild: I wrote PURGE OF PROMETHEUS (book 3) first. I wanted to tell a strong ending to the full story. So instead of starting plot threads that I’d then have to conclude in book 3, I wrote the conclusions and then just had to map out where the beginnings of the threads fit into books 1 and 2.
When I redeployed from
(where I wrote the entire trilogy) and met other authors, everyone informed me
that I was crazy; that they had never heard of anyone doing something like
that. What had seemed like the most
common sense approach to my storytelling was actually a bizarre technique that
sane writers just don’t do. Iraq
So to answer your question of “was there anything that surprised you while writing your book?” Yes. I was surprised at how far from normal I am as a writer. And I wouldn’t change it, or the Brink of Distinction series, for anything.
Thank you for stopping by my blog today for the Brink of Distinction tour. I would also like to say Thank You to Jon for your guest post and Thank You to Jaidis for letting me participate in this tour. Don't forget to enter the giveaway below.