Jason Dessen is an ordinary college physics professor and happily married family man until one very bad day. He’s kidnapped and then rendered unconscious by a mysterious hooded attacker who seems to know the most intimate details of his life. Then Jason wakes up, surrounded by strangers who claim to know him, but his life has been mysteriously altered and his wife and son are gone.
Crouch has written an imaginative novel encompassing quantum physics and how it affects the choices a person makes in life. At times sweetly romantic for a science fiction story, Dark Matter explores how even minor decisions serve to eventually define the person we become. Jason is literally offered an infinite number of escape paths, but only a finite number of choices. One wrong decision can separate him from his family forever.
The novel is written in Jason’s first person perspective. I don’t have a problem with first person, but the author uses a flat writing technique with short choppy paragraphs that are oddly jarring.
“I watch my blood pressure rise on the monitor.
I don’t want to set off the alarm again.
Closing my eyes, I breathe in.
Let it out.
Take another shot of oxygen.
My levels recede.”
The style permeates the book and doesn’t sound like a real person speaking or any kind of plausible internal dialog. People. Don’t. Think. That. Way.
While Jason is likable, the weakest parts in Dark Matter concern secondary characters. The villain in the alternate world attempts to keep Jason from returning to his ‘real’ life, but his motivation is irrational. Other than the fact that the story needs a protagonist, I didn’t see a logical reason for him to be so determined to separate Jason from his family. He’s rotten, but pointless. So is the woman who plays an important role in Jason’s escape attempt. She disappears halfway through the story. You learn little about her, her character is barely developed. Considering her pivotal role, nothing about her stands out. She’s more like a tool for Jason to use rather than a real person.
All told, Dark Matter is an interesting read that goes quickly, and explores questions about reality and choice not usual in science fiction. I’ve read that Crouch is writing the screenplay and actually think a movie will minimize the flaws and improve on the book.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.
All are invited to celebrate the launch of our new paranormal anthology, Moon, Mist & Magic with a Facebook party. Come meet the five authors and learn about the World Wildlife Fund. (We're donating all royalties.) We have giveaways galore, and every visitor who leaves a comment will be automatically registered to win the Kindle Fire grand prize.
Here's the party schedule. Hope to 'see' you there. (Friday, August 12: ALL TIMES EASTERN) 6:00 ~ Kickoff & Welcome 6:15 ~ Abigail Owen 6:45 ~ J.C. McKenzie 7:15 ~ L.A. Kelley 7:45 ~ Sharon Saracino 8:15 ~ Maureen L. Bonatch 8:45 ~ Thanks & Farewell Get ready to be enchanted by mythical beasts, magical creatures, and moonlit night. Enjoy your favorite author, or discover someone new, in these five fantastic tales of paranormal romance woven with moon, mist, and magic...
Abigail Owen, co-owner of Authors on a Dime, talks about the
benefits of using an author service.
What is an author service?
An author is really the owner of a small business with an
employee of one. A lot drudge work is involved in producing and marketing a
book, but an author service can eliminate some of that so a client has more
time to write. A variety of functions are available such as brainstorming, editing,
self-publishing assistance, development of social media platforms, and
publication graphics. A good service can also be tailored to any level of writing
from novice to published author.
What should a writer look for when deciding on an author
You want to find the best service for you, so it’s important
to set a budget and priorities. Authors
on a Dime is an all-purpose agency, with a broad spectrum of services in
areas such as proofreading, webdesign, graphics, and social media, but other
companies may have a narrow platform. To choose a cover designer, for example,
examine the artist’s portfolio (examples of that designer's work). Choosing an
editing service is more difficult. How can you determine the quality of work? A
good method is to see if they offer a free sample. We edit for free the first
chapter (or 10 pages, whichever is longer) giving an author a good feel for the
level of expertise.
Last but not least, compare prices. Does the agency have an
all-in-one package or can you pick and choose what works for you? Our services
have a tiered level, giving authors a variety of options.
So it’s not just editing?
No, an author service can encompass many different aspects
of publication. For example:
Beta Reading - Instead of editing, this is reading for
content with focus on plot, conflict, character development, etc. Sentence structure
and grammar are addressed in so far as they affect the story’s flow.
Copy Editing / Proofreading - The editor tightens up the
mechanics, with attention paid to wrong words, misused punctuation, and grammar
to eliminate errors and make the manuscript shine.
Blurb - A blurb is the description on the book jacket or Amazon
page used to attract a reader’s attention. Many writers find them difficult,
and a second set of eyes is often helpful.
Synopsis - Torture to many authors, the synopsis is a short
(1-3 pages) description of all the major plot points and characters in the
book. Most editors and agents require them with manuscript submissions. Marketing
departments often use them to determine book cover designs.
Graphics - It’s not just book covers, but banners or social
media posts to incorporate cover elements and build an author platform.
Brainstorming or Consulting - Sometimes you just need to
ping an idea off someone.
Developing a Social Media Presence - A lot of sites are out there.
Which ones will work the best for you? An author service can present options.
Self-Publishing - Agencies like ours can walk a client
through the process, including editing, book cover, blurb, formatting for ebook
and/or print, and even publish the book via Amazon, Smashwords, and/or Create
How should an author select an agency?
Ask around for references. Check out services online. Visit our website at Authors on a Dime and compare our
services to others. Try our10 page free editing sample. Can’t even get started
on that novel? We also offer a free online
workshop for NaNoWriMo participants. We naturally hope authors will choose
us for publication needs, but the most important point is to find a comfortable
fit with an agency who matches your style, needs, and budget.
Abigail Owen is the co-owner of Authors on a Dime, a boutique author
services agency. Employees’ credentials include MBAs, Masters in English, and
20+ years in web design, project management, business analysis, and editing.
Teenager Jane Benedict is awakened by her father and
ordered to memorize a mysterious code. Hours later, Mathias Benedict is dead
and Jane and her brother, Will, are wards of United Earth Corporation. To evade
the company's murderous clutches and uncover the meaning of her father’s last
message, Jane leads Will on a desperate escape across the galaxy aboard the
Freetrader smuggler ship, Solar Vortex. Tangled in the crew’s fight against UEC,
Jane saves the life of young smuggler Maclan Sawyer and learns her father’s
code identifies a secret cargo shipment that can spell destruction for the
entire Freetrader cause and the extinction of an alien race.
Piracy, intrigue, romance, and a daring rebellion
from Earth wait on the planet Rimrock. Will Jane answer the call to adventure
and find new purpose on the galactic rim or will death for high treason be her
friendships are forged. Old enemies emerge and Jane Benedict’s life takes a surprising turn.
barely time to celebrate the victory at Golgotha, the Freetrader Council tasks
Jane to find the leewits and forge an alliance to destroy the company’s hold
over Rimrock. With Gem at her side, Jane journeys to their secret enclave only
to discover hidden dangers and a less-than-warm homecoming for Gem. Forging an
alliance will be trickier than expected.
the leewit alliance temporarily on hold, duty summons Jane and Gem back to the
Solar Vortex. Jaden Solis has stepped up harassment of the colonists, forcing
the Freetrader fleet to stay on the run from UEC cruisers. To combat the
growing threat Mac, now a captain with the rangers, accepts a risky assignment near
Golgotha. Meanwhile, restless Jane searches for a new challenge and is offered an unexpected apprenticeship.
both perils in deep space and a horrific plot to crush the colonial rebellion
on Rimrock, Jane and her friends dive into new adventures on the galactic rim.
A little background about the series.
The RimriderAdventures series are science fiction novels about a girl from Earth who joins a planetary rebellion on the galactic rim. While set in the future, the story’s roots are firmly in the past, influenced by my first relative to come to America. She left home in 1900 at the age of fifteen with no knowledge of American language, customs, or culture. She carried nothing more than a few beat-up suitcases held together with twine and a burning desire for a better life. It struck me that travel across the ocean in 1900 had similarities to interplanetary travel. For most immigrants, the trip was one-way. Return visits to the old country were too expensive and political unrest often made them impossible. If space travel ever becomes feasible, the people who have the courage to face the hardships of colonizing a new planet will be made of tougher stuff than those too settled in their comfortable armchairs to shoot for the stars.
My heroine, Jane Benedict, has that adventurous spirit. She is suddenly orphaned and threatened with separation from her younger brother, but chooses instead to lead him on a desperate escape from Earth. Little does Jane know, the planets on the galactic rim are the hotbed of a budding rebellion. Rimrider is a loose parallel to the American Revolution, but with space colonists as the Yankees and Earth as the redcoats. Expect humor, sweet romance, space battles and conflict, but no gore. If I kill off a character it’s to advance the story and not add cheap melodrama.I prefer to write smart female characters more comfortable with thinking rather than shooting their way out of a tricky situation.