Death is only the beginning of the adventure — The IX by @WestonAndrew #books #scifi



Title: The IX

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press


Book Blurb:

Roman legionaries, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.

A US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?

The IX.

Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.





The domed Hall of Remembrance was vast. Despite its size, the chamber had been cunningly designed to amplify sound. Doctor Ayria Solram’s steps rang out clearly as she walked toward a huge cenotaph-like structure that had been constructed in the exact center of the room, opposite a set of massive windows. Clicking off into the furthest reaches of the auditorium, her footfalls echoed twice about the room before fading.


Over fifty pairs of eyes followed her closely. That wasn’t surprising. At forty years of age, Ayria cut an imposing figure. Standing well over six feet tall, she matched the stature of most of the men now staring at her in wide-eyed admiration. Ayria wore her waist length, midnight blue hair in a no-nonsense braid which didn’t hide the fact that her mane was glorious. Curling over her shoulder and across her torso like a well-fed python, it captured attention whenever she moved.


Her smooth, softly tanned skin and dark eyes were in stark contrast to the sterile white lab coat she wore. Nevertheless, the overall effect was striking.


Indicating the monument with a sweep of her arms, she said, “Now, this should be of particular interest to you. This is called the Reverence.”


All faces turned to study the twenty-foot high monolith. Fashioned from a richly veined slab of rock, it appeared to be seamless, and resonated gently from all four sides with a softly pulsing, blue phosphorescence. The top of the structure was formed into a trapezoid, upon which rested a glowing sphere.


Aryia pointed to it. “The light you see is not just a power source. It’s also an indicator, intimately linked to the life energies of every living soul currently residing on Arden. Your esoteric signatures were added shortly after you arrived here, and as you can see, the device is glowing with a gentle aquamarine radiance.”


Gesturing around the outer edge of the hall, she drew the crowd’s attention to a number of astonishing bas-reliefs which had been cut directly into the fabric of the wall. Stretching from floor to ceiling, each was of a similar size and gave the impression that the open leaves of a gigantic tome had been superimposed onto the rock.


A small dais had been erected before each frieze, upon which an artifact or plaque had been positioned, highlighted by a softly humming radiance.


“Are those the names of refugees I can see on the pages?” Marcus Brutus asked, astonished by the sheer volume of people who had been taken from their homes.


“I’m afraid not,” Ayria replied. “While it is true that the Architect has relocated literally thousands of us over the years, the lists you see here represent our dear brothers and sisters who have fallen to the Horde.”


A palpable shock ran through the entire group.


“Are you serious?” spluttered James Houston. “But there are . . . thousands. How many names are up there, lady?”


“Just Ayria, please. Or Doctor. In answer to your question, the sacrifice of over twenty-one thousand souls has been recorded here. When someone dies, the Reverence registers the missing life force and turns red for an entire day. It also burns their name into a corresponding page.”


“Holy God!” Houston  turned to stare at a young cavalry officer standing next to him. Addressing him, Houston whispered, “We’ve got to stick together, Wilson. Just you and me. Watch each other’s backs.”


Some of the other men standing close by glared at the pair in disdain.


“If I may ask a question, Ayria?” Marcus interjected. “How is it that I, a humble soldier of Rome, can read and understand this writing? I recognize it as a form I have never witnessed before, yet I find myself comprehending its meaning almost instantly.”


“That’s due to nanotechnology,” Ayria replied. Walking toward him, she tapped the side of her own head. “Remember, the avatars explained something of the process we use here. Because a great many people are being brought together from across time, the Ardenese had to make sure we understood each other clearly. Even a single language can change radically during the course of many centuries, so they thought it best we were educated in theirs. They were a very advanced people, socially as well technologically. And because they had employed the use of artificial intelligence as a means to educate themselves for a number of decades prior to their fall, they realized the best way to help us was to adapt those tiny little machines for our use. They’re inside our brains right now, teaching us and allowing us to learn new things at a greatly accelerated rate.”


Marcus frowned.


“Have I confused you?”


“No, my lady, not at all. I look bewildered because I can grasp the sense of what you’re saying . . .” He turned to look about him in wonder, “. . . and yet, this is all so very strange to me.”


Marcus glanced toward his compatriots and shrugged. Like him, Flavius and their fellow legionnaires were still finding the adjustments difficult to cope with. They were warriors, and unaccustomed to such godlike contrivances.


An awkward silence ensued.


Seizing the moment, Mac stepped forward. “I take it each engraving represents an actual influx of candidates?”


A sea of faces turned to look at him. Until now, Mac and his men had kept themselves apart, content to stand quietly to one side with a group of stoic Native Americans. However, Mac had noticed how each of the lists was arranged. Pointing to the wall, he continued, “There are nine open books along the circumference. One is blank, so that must indicate us, as no one is dead yet. Therefore, the other eight obviously refer to those who have come and gone before us, yes?”


“Very astute. Lieutenant Alan McDonald, isn’t it?”



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Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an ex-military ex-police expat from the UK who now lives with a large amount of cats in a medium sized house on a small Greek Island.


An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.


When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for and Amazing Stories.


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Fight or Die! Bestselling The IX Series by @WestonAndrew #FridayReads #SFF #books



Title: The IX Series

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press


The IX Series – Blurb:

What could unite a Roman Legion and the Caledonian army they are fighting?


Or a US Cavalry Company with the Native American tribes arrayed against them?


How about a highly trained and motivated Special Forces unit and the terrorists they have been sent to wipe out at all costs?




What could such a diverse and mutually aggressive group possibly have in common?


Arden – and the Horde, that’s what!


Arden, home to a culture that has existed for thousands of years and which spans dozens of worlds. Regardless, their sophistication cannot prevent calamity at the hands of an unstoppable nemesis. Known only as the Horde, this enemy has proven relentless. They have not only stripped the outer colonies bare, but now threaten the existence of the entire Ardenese way of life.


Realizing there is nothing they can do to prevent the inevitable march toward extinction, the Ardenese governing body comes to a drastic decision. They gather together at their capital city, Rhomane, and place their remaining genetic heritage in a vast underground ark, in the care of an advanced AI construct called the Architect. Its mission? To use Rhomane’s dwindling reserves and safeguard their race by reaching out across time and space toward those who might be in a position to help reseed a devastated world at some time in the future.


That’s how soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds find themselves together. Snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing they are transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a simple but stark ultimatum:


Put aside your former animosities and preconceptions in order to survive. Yes…


Fight or die!


How does this group of mismatched and antagonistic misfits fare?


Do they survive?


Find out for yourselves, in The IX Series.


Like them, you’ll discover death is only the beginning of an incredible adventure.




For as far as his eye could see, the endless tide of rabid hunger continued to advance. They came pouring into the valley from all sides, and the entire basin was soon filled with seething, shrieking monstrosities of every conceivable shape and form. Not one of them stood under two decans in height.


Nearing their goal, the leading entities of the Horde howled with malice and leaped forward. Dashing their bodies against the augmented might of the battlements seemed pointless to Sariff, for the attackers achieved nothing but to spend their vitality in a blaze of explosive fury. Yet the utter futility resulting from their lack of imagination did nothing to lessen their frenzy. In spite of their comrades’ fate, wave after wave of them continued throwing themselves to their deaths in wanton abandon. So great did the overwhelming press of shadow and flame become that the repeated detonations of each attacker’s self immolation grew into one prolonged cacophony of light and heat. Despite its density, the entire breadth of the wall thrummed under the weight of the assault.


And still they come.


Sariff blanched in the face of the onslaught, witnessed here on Arden for the first time.


As First Magister of Rhomane City, he seized the opportunity to study the enemy closely, for his would be the deciding vote in a decision that would seal the fate of their people.


He shook his head in disbelief, for he could see no respite from the relentless storm threatening to engulf them.


Thirty planets overrun in the space of just fifteen months. More than fifty billion souls lost. A history and a culture spanning more than twelve thousand years brought to this. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. And we risk it all on an idea . . .But what choice do we have?


Everywhere he looked, Sariff saw only the inevitability of death. Unless, by some miracle, Calen’s gamble paid off. That thought reminded him. I’d better get a move on.


So mesmerized was he by the display of savagery below, he almost collided with the duty commander, Sol Beren. Sariff hadn’t heard the soldier’s silent approach, but that was understandable. The veteran warrior was a skilled tracker, renowned for keeping his men on their toes by his sudden, wraithlike appearances at different stations along the wall. Everyone marveled how he could be seen taking the lead at one post only to be spotted minutes later on the other side of the city entirely, without having used the transport pads.


His face a mask of determination, Beren studied the conflict before him. A cold and empty gaze reflected the bitter frustrations of a man who had seen too many men die worthless deaths.

Sariff wished there was something he could say to ease the commander’s burden. Instead, all he could ask was: “Will it hold?”


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Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an international bestselling author from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats. An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.


When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for and Amazing Stories.


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Keeping Things Balanced: A Writing Guest Post by @WestonAndrew + a Birthday Top 10 #amwriting


For those of you who tune in regularly to N. N. Light Author Promotions, you’ll be aware that one of my previous guest posts related to World Building. Entitled – Keeping Things Real, it highlighted my approach to the process of constructing an imaginary framework in which to set an adventure. I likened that process to preparing and cutting a rough diamond. Starting with an overview of the world I’m going to create, I begin to work from the outside in on its various facets: Where it’s situated; who its inhabitants are; what’s their history; what level of technology do they posses, and so forth and so on.

Having already covered that, this time around I thought I’d expand on Keeping Things Real, by introducing you to the next stage of my world building process:
“Keeping things balanced.”

What do I mean? People who have enjoyed The IX have often commented on the rich descriptive prose it contains. I say, “thank you” for that, because I put a lot of work into creating a visual image that the reader can connect to. I think that’s especially important when you come down to the flora and fauna of the world in which your story is set, especially if – as in The IX – your heroes and protagonists are flitting about, here and there, on one adventure or another.

So, how did I manage to keep things balanced for The IX?

That’s easy. I created visual templates to work from. The reason? Something I learned in the military. “Prior preparation and planning prevents poor performance.” Such an approach ensured I never strayed from what I originally set out to portray. For example, say hello to an early idea of what Arden – the home planet where The IX is set – should look like:


In creating a visual reference, I give myself a template to work from. In this case – a once beautiful world that thrived under a red sun. Now recovering from the ravages of a long and bitter war, it is only just reclaiming the majesty it once had. This, and other images and sketches, helped me transpose my initial ideas into the places you read about. My aim? To ensure there was sufficient detail so that you could envision yourself there. Let me highlight what I mean.

If you’ve read The IX, you’ll no doubt remember that various members of the Ninth journeyed through the lavender grasslands of the Sengennon Strait; lost themselves in the purple-green woodlands of the Tar’e-esh forests; basked in the majesty of the Garnet Mountains. Did you ever conjure those places in your mind’s eye? Did they look anything like this?




These are the preliminary references I used as a benchmark from which to create the full reality of Arden. (Now, don’t be fooled into thinking I only had these odd few pictures). As I hinted, I built up an extensive library of such images so that the places, the people and the technology you read about – and the ships – all contain the details you would expect in a factual reality.

Of course, when you incorporate so many elements you have to keep things to a realistic scale.

For example, I have all these pretty pictures of the places mentioned in The IX, but, just how far is it from Rhomane to the Starport, or to the Tar’e-esh Forest? How close is the astrometrics lab to the Starport itself?

As a writer, you need to know such details so that the events you describe within your narrative have that ring of authenticity. Fans will know Lieutenant Mac McDonald led a military expedition to the Starport to recover drones left there in storage. Some of his compatriots provided long-range cover from the astrometrics complex on top of Boleni Heights. Marcus Brutus headed an expeditionary force to the Shilette Abyss, a journey that took his pioneers through the Tare-esh Forest.

What were the distances involved? Over what terrain? Some used futuristic hover craft, others used horses. How long did their respective journeys take? How do you keep a track on timescales?

Have a look at the maps I devised to help me keep things in perspective.



Even though they’re basic, I know some of you might think…“Wow! That’s a lot of detail before you even put pen to paper.” Well, I agree. It is. But remember the analogy of a rough diamond I used earlier? This amount of attention pays divides as you write the story itself. It cuts and polishes your gem of an adventure and – as I’ve said before – adds those touches here and there that can make the narrative sparkle.

And when you get a professional to back that up? (Take a look at the map included within the front section of The IX. Devised from my sketches by cover designer, Roy Mauritsen, it adds that element of shininess that makes you think of my head).


You see, my ethic goes a little bit like this: My job is to give you – the reader – a place that you can escape to and lose yourself in. The easier it is for you to relate to the characters and visualize the world in which the story is set, then the deeper your connection, and the further your journey will take you. The further you go, the more you’ll appreciate what The IX is all about. And we’re both happy.

If you value your readers, you’ll be prepared to put the work in so that their fantasies seem so real, it’s almost as if they come true through the pages of your book. 🙂



My name is Andrew P. Weston – though I’ve been called a lot worse by my wife when I’ve dared to say the forbidden words all women hate to hear…“No, you can’t have that.”

(Light blue touch paper and run…)

As an author, I make things up all the time. So I thought it might be a nice idea to use this “Top Ten” post to find out a little more about the real me – warts and all.

Oh really?

Yes. And we’re going to do this in a rather novel way.

What do I mean? Well, November 12th (today) is my birthday, making me a Scorpio, allegedly, one of the most mysterious signs in the zodiac. A great deal seems to be said about people born under this star sign, as exemplified by an advert my wife, Annette, spotted on a media site earlier this week.


As you can see, the t-shirt is covered by quite a few astrologically based statements associated to Scorpios. But, are these statements true, or are they myth?

Let’s find out, shall we, by taking a little look at ten categories, working from the top down…

(And bearing in mind, I have to keep this rated PG –13) NO – you won’t be forced into listening to me lie about my feats of Olympian sexual athleticism.
Now, if we were talking about Greek comedy, I’m your man 😉

Has incredibly high standards

It’s true. I do have incredibly high standards. And it’s not just because I served in specialist roles within the military and police. It’s just the way I am. The thing is, it’s not one-sided either. While I do my best not to expect the impossible from people around me, I do demand those standards from myself – all the time. Which can be a real pain if things need to be done in a rush…because, you’ve guessed it…they still have to be perfect. (Bummer).

Great Kisser

As long as it’s not a certain part of other people’s anatomy…? Maybe.

(I never suck up to anybody, you see)

But if you want an honest answer, you’ll have to ask my wife. (Though everyone does comment on how happy she always looks.) I haven’t the heart to tell them that’s down to constant medication. Ah, the rigors of living with a Scorpio.

Fun fact: The Greek custom is to kiss people when greeting them and saying goodbye. I simply don’t do that. Kissing is for my wife…and my wife only.
(She’d only hunt them down anyway, and you’d never see them again. Then there’d be police, and questions, and…)

Kills haters with success and breaks them with a smile

My goodness this one is spot on. And as an author, I’ve very glad I’m a Scorpio. I’m in a position now where I’m starting to get noticed. That’s very rewarding, but it does attract the “haters”, those who want to elicit a reaction by writing / leaving inflammatory comments in things like reviews.

My advice? Never, ever respond to them openly. Let your continuing application to your craft and your motivation to improve provide the impetus to silence such scoundrels with the success that will come. Then, one day, somewhere far down the line when you’re terribly rich and famous, you can smile in secret behind the smoked glass windows of your limo and not give a fig about them at all.

Human Lie Detector

Most definitely. And here’s the weird thing, I can taste the mood of a room as soon as I walk in. I think it has something to do with one of the other categories we’ll discuss – being observant – as well as some form heightened perceptions. But it’s always been there, and it’s something I’ve always been able to do.

Imagine the fun I had in the police. As a detective, you attend all sorts of classes on human behavior and psychology. There are myriad “tells” that come in clusters that help you spot when a person is being economical with the truth.
And when you arm a Scorpio with such skills…? (Are they quite mad?)

Another fun fact: I sometimes play a little game when my wife and I go to parties. Spot the Walter – Walter Mitty – those charming characters who couldn’t be honest if their lives depended on it and are always out to impress with exaggerations and complete fabrication.

(Not that I do this all the time, of course, but it certainly helps liven the more tedious evenings up).

Introvert – but can socialize like an extrovert

This is spookily true with a capital spoo.

When many of my friends first got to know me, they never realized I’m an introvert. But that’s down to the way I can flip a switch in my head if I “feel” in the mood, or the circumstances are right.

Remember those police courses I mentioned? Like everyone else, I always thought there were introverts and extroverts. Full stop.

It turns out; there are introverted introverts; extroverted introverts; introverted extroverts; and extroverted extroverts…and all sorts of sub-categories in-between.
I’m an extroverted introvert. When I walk into a room of people I don’t know, you wouldn’t actually realize I was there. I’ll blend into the background and flit from shadow to shadow as if I don’t exist. But, if I meet someone I click with? Lights – camera – action! Cast of Annie, eat your hearts out. (Minus the ridiculously curly ginger hair of course)…


Yup! As with the lie detector category, it’s one of those things I have always had a knack for. And again, my previous occupations helped enhance that skill and turn it into something rather exceptional.

In the military, in particular, you had to notice all sorts of little details that other people tend to overlook. And thank goodness, for it kept me alive on a number of occasions.

You can imagine how this helped as a police officer too. I served in a crime management & intelligence bureau for a number of years where it was essential to spot patterns that others had missed. Interesting work and sooo satisfying, bringing baddies who thought they’d gotten away with it, to justice.

Want a fun fact: Although life gets quieter, you never lose the knack. I have to be very patient, especially at this time of year leading up to Christmas when I pretend I’m not paying attention to Annette’s unsubtle HINTS about certain items of clothing, jewelry, DVDs, or the music she likes. Hee hee.

It really does take a lot of discipline, as her little face sometimes screws up in frustration, thinking her suggestions have gone over my head…

(But the look on her face when she opens her presents and realizes I was paying attention all along? Priceless) All together now, aaaah.

Very good sense of humor

True, true, true, true, true! My humor is so intergalactically broad you could fly starships along it. The trouble is, it’s often gotten me into trouble too. My working environment didn’t help in this regard. Serving in the military and police force hones your humor. You have to be thick-skinned, broad-shouldered, trigger-fast and snappy just to survive. But, oh boy is it worth it. I’d love to expand, but this is PG-13.

Private – occasional loner

It’s like someone has been following me around. True again.

My wife and I have lived in Kos, one of the smaller Greek islands in the Dodecanese, for eight years now. We have a small circle of friends, both Greek and British. While most know all there is to know about Annette, very few are aware of the exact nature of my previous occupations, the places I’ve been, or the things I’ve done. Many people here don’t even realize I write books now, or that they’ve been international #1 bestsellers. (True).

I mix when I want to, and don’t feel the overwhelming need to regularly attend coffee mornings just to be sociable. I’m not being rude or standoffish, I just like to keep myself and my business to myself…which makes it a bit difficult doing things like this, eh?

Still, I can hide behind my screen. It has sandbags and barbed wire and a trench. And laser cannons. Why would I want to come out?

Fun fact: When we meet new people, they often complain that we end up talking about “them” all the time and they haven’t had the chance to find out anything about us.
(Just the way I like it).

Wants to be the best at everything

Myth. Though I can see the misconception.

I think it relates back to the #1 item about the standards expected of me. Ever since I was little, I was pushed to succeed. From the age of 4, I attended swimming training every morning before school. That bled over into other sports. By the time I joined the military, I’d represented my school, college and county (I think the American equivalent is a “state”) at rugby, swimming, athletics and various martial arts. I’d also been selected for international trials at two of those disciplines.
It was the same academically. I have a voracious thirst for knowledge and could read before I attended school. Add to that a sticky mind, and it was little wonder I managed to eat my way through various scientific curriculums, my chief subjects being mathematics, physics, astronomy – and in later life – criminal law.
To be honest, I don’t think its wanting to be the best so much, as wanting to do my best. If I start a project, be it learning a new language or picking up a new skill, I never give anything less than 100 %. As a child, teenager, young adult and now – apprentice doddery old fart – I’ve never been any other way (You can probably see that from the preparation and detail I devote to my stories).
While I appreciate some might think such an outlook adds a lot of needless pressure to life, I look on it as being normal.

Hell, I’m nearly 56, but I still train every day and teach martial arts on top of all the other stuff I do. Life’s for living. I’ll rest when I’m dead.

Question: The pulsating vein I have on the side of my head…Is that normal or down to the excessive amounts of medication I imbibe?

Protective of the ones I love

So true it hurts.

Not to be nasty, you understand, but you do not want to make my wife or children feel threatened. You just don’t…Not ever. Think about what I used to do. I would gladly serve prison time to even a debt if the magnitude was serious enough…That’s all I’ll say. The end. Goodbye.

So, there you go. A little look at the truth behind astrological myth. I can honestly say I’ve never paid much attention to things like astrology. I’m too levelheaded. However, having realized how accurate this picture is, I might just change my mind J

Until the next time you visit my asylum, do take care…


Title: The IX

Author: Andrew P Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Perseid Press

Book Blurb:
The IX:

Roman legionaries, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.

A US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?

The IX.

Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.


Ephraim entered another cipher into the console before him. All three main wall screens skipped channels to present a series of starkly different vistas. A palpable shock ran through the entire gathering. Several people gasped out loud.

The first monitor showed the rim of a burnished orange-red sun emerging from behind the bulk of a majestic disc. The star’s corona burned brightly, casting a warm scarlet glow through the upper reaches of the atmosphere of the world below it. The planet itself appeared etched in liquid flame around its edges, while the majority of its mass was cast in mystery and shadow.

The middle display revealed a similar scene but from a different perspective, this one being positioned above the terminator of sunrise and sunset. To the left of the picture, cotton-candy clouds swirled through a sea of sapphire-blue radiance. The crystal lens of the expanse was infused with vaporous trails of soul-wrenching tranquility. On the right, darkness dominated. Ebbing reluctantly under the relentless advance of dawn, it gradually surrendered its secrets. Noctilucent particles manifested themselves amongst the gloom, followed closely by the tallest mountain summits. Like beacons, they revealed tantalizing glimpses of the glory to come.

The final screen faced out into a Jovian sea of purple-blue grandeur. An ocean of midnight silk upon which the luminescence of a billion astral sprites had been cast in random abandon. Each pinprick blazed coldly with an unadulterated purity that struck the hearts and minds of the gathered assembly with the force of a sledgehammer.

Captivated, Ephraim became lost in the moment. Somewhere out there, a lifetime away, our real home sails serenely through the heavens . . . How ignorant we were of the dangers that exist, just a cosmic stone’s-throw away.

“Are these satellites able to show us Arden in greater detail?” Marcus asked. “What is the term you use? Can they . . . zoom in and remain clear?”

“They can indeed, my friend. For example . . . .”

Ephraim presented them with a vision of remarkable scope. A solitary peak pierced the night. Protruding toward the sunlight like a symbol of hope, its alpine cap strained to free itself from the twilight mists congealing about its slopes in a miasma of serpentine possessiveness.

The image wavered, and a closer view of that same pinnacle resolved itself. Now, the cobalt-blue frown of a granite leviathan stood forth in pristine clarity, peeking out from hoarfrost-covered brows. A snowy crown adorned the apex, and where the rock face greeted the dawn, it glittered cruelly, burning as if the entire edifice were ablaze within a skein of ice and flames.

Above the slopes on one side, a huge bird of prey stretched its wings and soared amid the very epitome of serenity sublime made manifest.

Everyone leaned forward. Ephraim chose that moment to switch satellites.

A contrasting swathe of undulating greens and blues made everyone start. The picture flickered and intensified. The panorama scrolled across verdant forests, swaying grasslands, and undulating plains. The luxuriant fertility of the temperate zones faded as the scanners moved on, toward the equatorial region.

The gaping chasm of the Shilette Abyss hove into view. Once there, Ephraim manipulated the controls to skim east. Less than a minute later, he held position above a point where the two sides of the canyon seemed to bulge toward each other. Changing resolution, he smoothly zoomed in to present a live-time image of the mining site from less than two hundred feet up. People could clearly be seen, walking to and fro about their business.

Marcus suppressed a laugh.

Several others cheered.

Mohammed and Saul stared at each other, the implications of this latest development written clearly across their faces.

“These places you’re showing us appear remarkably bounteous and free of infestation,” Saul commented. “Do you think this confirms our latest suspicions? That something here in the city appears to be the Horde’s target, and they’ve congregated in one location to get it?”

“Hazarding a guess? I’d say that was highly likely. But we can discuss that at tomorrow’s briefing. By then, we’ll have uploaded the specs of the rotational frequencies that Mac and his team use. Combining them to the already existing filters the satellites employ will give us an accurate assessment of exactly where on the planet our enemy is congregating. Be in no doubt — the addition of the Satcom-net will provide us with a huge tactical advantage we never dreamed of.”

“Such as?”

Ephraim scanned through the contents of his personal screen again. Then he glanced back at Brent and Asa. Each of them was privy to the information it contained, and both were grinning like maniacs.

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Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is an ex-military ex-police expat from the UK who now lives with a large amount of cats in a medium sized house on a small Greek Island.

An astronomy and law graduate, he has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for and Amazing Stories.

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Meet Best-Selling Author Andrew P. Weston @WestonAndrew #BookPromo #SFF #Interview

I seriously have the best job in the world. I get to meet authors from around the world and interview them. I never know where the conversation will take us but I know I’m always in for an adventure. Such is the case with my meeting Andrew. Take a look at his picture and he looks like someone you wouldn’t want to meet in an alley: intimidating, serious and a steely gaze. But underneath that lies a funny, sometimes wacky guy. So, please sit down, grab your favorite beverage and get to know Andrew P. Weston. Take it away, Andrew: 


What is your writing process?

Some might think my writing process is quite laborious or complex, as it incorporates a great deal of preparation prior to ever putting fingers to keypad, so I’ll simplify it – hopefully – by briefly explaining what I did for The IX Series.


Having devised a concept, I undertook roughly three months of in-depth research. Once completed, I then reworked that material, but this time, targeted specifics and looked how I could blend all the disparate parts together. (Don’t forget, in the IX Series, there’s a complex evolution of Roman Legionaries, US cavalry troopers, near-future British Special Forces, alien worlds and advanced technology brought together in a crucible of war). Obviously, such a mass of information required a thorough world building phase, by which I ensured to balance science fiction with current – and theoretical – science fact.
I know that sounds a lot, but putting the effort in before you actually start writing, pays dividends later. It gives you a solid foundation on which to build, and a wealth of information that you can dip into when you need to add depth and clarity to all sorts of little facets that will make your overall project shine.


To ensure this happens, I adopt a multi-layered “flow chart” approach, using bubbles or complete sheets of paper.


The launch is quite simple. I have my theme, the beginning, end, and ports of call along the way that the plot-line will need to visit. Each of those gets its own bubble.
Now I start to add detail. As the next wave progresses, each major bubble is divided into its own subsection, containing major and minor modules. Every one of them helps develop the current I want the story to follow, along with the subsidiary threads I need to weave in and out and through the text to help the plot and characters flow together smoothly.


My main chart starts to look like a many-footed spider/water skimmer. (Get the idea?) But it ensures I stay focused on what the story is all about, and helps me develop components that add depth, width, height and texture to the world I’m creating.


I enjoy using this method because stories often take on life all of their own. As the process unfurls, you think of additional ideas, twists and turns. When that happens, I can look to my spider web network of bubbles and see how and when new facets can be added in, or – as sometimes happens where you need to ensure continuity – where it might be better to adjust an earlier scene to graft your fresh thought into the story-line properly. I like my adventures to flow.


This technique works for me, and ensures the plot-line stays free of eddies or logjams.


As I say, it sounds complicated, but it’s a method I always use. Then, by simply devising a schedule, and ensuring to complete a unit every day, I am able to complete lengthy novels in six months or less.


When it comes to formatting, I carry out a light edit at the end of every chapter, and then complete a more thorough edit and style check upon completion of an entire first draft. Then it’s off to our real editor smiles and a celebratory glass of Smirnoff Black before we start picking everything to bits.



Do you have any odd writing habits?

I know some authors love to listen to music, or have other things going on in the background, but me? I need silence. Without it, the magic doesn’t flow.


What book do you wish you could have written?

Good question. The answer? To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.


I don’t know about you, but a tiny part of me imagines what it would be like to ever only have to write one book. This wonder of a novel took the globe by storm: films; Broadway and the West End; part of the school curriculum all over the world. (I actually studied this story for college exams in the UK back in the 70’s).


And what a story it was. I loved the mood and mystery of it and the way it dared to touch on prejudices and perceptions that are just as valid today as they were then: class; race; tolerance; and the loss of innocence. Superb. No wonder Harper Lee left off completing a sequel for so many decades.



Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?

My goodness, another excellent question. Although I’m a science-fiction aficionado, and astronomy and physics graduate, I’m widely read, and over the years have gained inspiration from all sorts of places.
We could be here all day, so I’ve listed just a few of them:


A Fall of Moondust – Arthur C. Clarke: An excellent short story for its time, that presented the dangers of traveling into space – albeit our nearest neighbour – in a very realistic way. It’s not all shiny spacesuits and pristine ships. When things go wrong, will we be prepared?
(A thing to ponder on as we stand at the cusp of true space exploration).


I Robot – Isaac Asimov: My, oh my. Now there’s a topic that’s going to become ever more prevalent in the next few decades as technological sophistication increases beyond what we’ve ever imagined. Many think of The Terminator or The Matrix when perilous AI matrices run amok. But I Robot did it first, and decades before either of them. smiles


Animal Farm & Nineteen Eighty-Four– George Orwell: A superb example of someone who wasn’t afraid to use allegorical text to expose the deeply-embedded shortcomings continuing to plague society in general. We can still learn a lot from such illuminated minds…talking of which…


The Fall of the House of Usher – and many, many other works – Edgar Allen Poe: The workings of a dark and troubled mind revealed in all its genius. I’ve published quite a bit of poetry myself, and so far as I’m concerned, Poe is the source muse of some of the most exquisite torment available today – this side of a padded cell. Come swing with me in insanity…Brilliant.


A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawkin: I could read his work for hours. (And do, actually). Informative, imaginative, innovative, and inspirational.


The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever – Stephen R. Donaldson: A Master wordsmith and demigod of the slow build-up.



What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

To have my work recognized by Nebula Award winners and some of the leading lights of speculative fiction (Black Gate Fantasy, Amazing Stories, Fanboy Comics, This Dark Matter, Epicstream) and then to be compared to such greats as, Robert A. Heinlein, Jerry Pournelle, and Gordon Dickson.
A great honor that also brings a great deal of pressure with it, but it spurs me on to excel nonetheless.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Writing full time and keeping my publisher – Janet Morris at Perseid Press – overwhelmingly busy, but very happy. smiles


What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Don’t be afraid of taking risks and developing your own unique style. Allow others to hear your distinctive voice. Then work closely with your publisher and editor in striving for excellence.


Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I’ve found a combination of both works for me. I research and plan meticulously before I begin to write. (I’m already world building a future work that I won’t even get to for at least 18 months).
But, as I’ve often found, as each story develops a character all of its own, it also generates a distinctive current. I’ve learned to allow that current to take where it will, and have enjoyed all sorts of unexpected plot twists and turns because of it. Great fun.


Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)

Exordium of Tears is my third novel for Perseid Press, (and the second book of The IX Series). I’ve also contributed to two of their anthologies within the Heroes in Hell shared universe. So far, each of my novels managed to reach #1 internationally. I hope to continue that trend as my writing improves.


What are you working on now? What is your next project?

At this very moment, I’m about halfway (75K) through the concluding story of the first IX trilogy. After that, I’ll be onto the final book of another trilogy I devised detailing the exploits of Daemon Grim, Satan’s chief bounty hunter and go-to guy in times of need. As well as being despicably dark and dangerous, it’s full of fast and furious fun.
That one doesn’t have a series name as each novel forms part of Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell shared universe. I look on such an inclusion as a great honour, as you can only contribute by invitation and the Heroes in Hell stable includes Hugo Award winners and Nebula nominees.


An interesting point of note, is when Janet saw my work and extended an invitation to write for her, we devised a concept by which Daemon Grim’s adventures would leapfrog the yearly Heroes in Hell anthologies.
For example, Grim was introduced to the world in 2015 in Doctors in Hell. The exploits contained in Hell Bound – the first Reaper novel – follow on directly after Doctors. This year’s anthology – Pirates in Hell – takes place in the three months following the events described in Hell Bound. So you get the idea. We thought it would be a nice way to introduce a new character into a long-established universe, and so far, it looks to have proven worth the juggling.


Do you write naked?

Only if you call baring your soul in prose, writing naked?


What is the biggest fib you’ve ever told?

That I was Patrick Stewart’s butt stunt double. “Make it so…and make it slappy.”


Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

Actually…yes I have. I served in the UK’s Special & Elite Forces for nine years. After leaving the military, I became a cop. Because of my previous occupation, I was chosen to work undercover quite a few times. It seems I was rather convincing in whatever role I needed to play, because whenever we initiated a sting involving other officers from out of area who didn’t know me, I would be one of the first guy’s they’d jump on and arrest. (And my mother thought I had such an honest face). You ought to see some of the arrest photos smiles
“But officer…It wasn’t me; it was the one-armed man…”


Have you ever gotten into a fight?

As a child, less times than you’d think. I came from a disciplined background/family, you see, and was into a lot of pre and after school sports.

By far the biggest influence on my life was from the family of my best friend growing up, Lei. His father was from Japan, and his mother, China. (People don’t realize how unusual such a marriage was in the 60’s). They introduced me to true martial arts at the tender age of just 5, and I ended up becoming very involved in one disciple in particular. (Just enter a Google search under Andrew Paul Weston – Ju Jitsu – You’ll get a shock smiles) It kept me out of a lot of trouble…until I was an adult, then the government paid me a lot of money to be aggressive on their behalf. (Ah, the life insurance business isn’t what it used to be).


Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?

I’ve never smoked. I enjoy vodka at the end of every book I write, and on special occasions, (Or when England and Wales play the noble sport of rugby). And my biggest vice is…I spend a fortune feeding stray cats, and have adopted quite a few of them, (especially over here in Greece where morons like to use them as target practice). All together now…aaaah!


What do you want your tombstone to say?

The one that got away.


What literary character is most like you?

The Mad Hatter.


What secret talents do you have?

I can hold my breath until it hurts.


What’s on your bucket list (things to do before you die)?

To find the secret of eternal life and unashamed beauty.


Do you have any scars? What are they from?

Sadly, I have many of them and they’re all over my body. As I mentioned, I served in a specialized military role, after which I became a police officer. I have been shot, stabbed, slashed, blown up and spoken to in a harsh and derogatory fashion by some of the nastiest people you could ever wish NOT to meet. You amass a few scars along the way. I lived to tell the tale, and even picked up a few more in hospital recovering. smiles Fortunately, I love hospital food.

Unfortunately, doctors discovered I have a resistance to morphine based pain control…Just as well I still have my teddy bear from when I was a baby boy…(A man needs something to hold onto when he cries) Hee hee.


What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?

Utterly charming. You’d want to take me home.
And my favourite toy was the above teddy. (It caused a few minor scuffles when I got to my teens, but what the heck?)
His name? Ted. Yes, I put a tremendous amount of thought into naming him.


What do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

Actually, you’ve touched on a subject very dear to my heart.
From a very early age I’ve been able to control and manipulate my dreams.
I don’t know if that’s anything to do with growing up in an honest-to-God, haunted house as a child, or the fact that I’m plain and simple weird. In any event, what I’m about to say is fact.


My recurring dreams started not long after we moved into the aforementioned house. I was 3, and by the end of the first week, I knew I’d fallen asleep by the fact that I’d find myself gliding along a darkened, underground passage full of staring glowing eyes. The corridor was damp, overgrown with moss, and whispering voices would call out to me, asking, “Who are you, what’s your name? What do you want?” over and over again. I could feel the slightest brush of fingertips graze along the back of my clothing and hair. At first, it was like a nightmare, because I knew as long as I kept looking forward, I’d be alright.

Eventually, I’d reach the end of the tunnel and I’d fly out into the night from the back of the house into whatever adventure my subconscious had stored up for me.


But here’s the thing. My dreams would start in the exact same way, each and every night. And it went on this way for a couple of years.


As I got older, my later dreams became darker, too, and I’d be chased by what I called the spinning blades.


If you look at the triskelion emblem used by the Isle of Man (A small island off the coast of England) you’ll get an idea what I’m talking about. Except that the three legs of this thing were covered in blades – much like those on a chainsaw.


Anyway, I’d be having a normal dream, and this thing would appear out of nowhere and begin pursing me wherever I went. No matter how far or fast I went, it was always right behind.
That fun addition went on for several more years.


One day – I think I was about 8 at the time – I’d had enough. In the tunnel, I made a conscious effort to stop my forward motion and turned around to face whatever kept calling out to me. For the first week or so, the voices fell silent and the eyes would simply stare back. Then I decided to run at the eyes. When I did that, they fled.


Enjoying my success, I plucked up the courage to do the same with the spinning blades. Sure enough, they shattered the first time I turned to confront them.


After that, the eyes and blades only ever came if I felt the need of a bit of excitement. (You know the way cats like to run after each other?) Sometimes, I’d feel like a bit of a chase, and ended up enjoying thrill after thrill as I overcame whatever obstacles were in my way and the blades just behind. (In the end, I’d will 3 or 4 different sets into being at the same time).


Yes, it sounds a strange thing for a child to enjoy, but I loved going to bed and getting into the dream environment where I could control much of what happened.


Years later, I can still control the subject and content of my dreams. I enjoy recurring adventures, and live through many of the scenes I write about.
Interesting fact: I have actually devised a series of novels from a concept created whilst asleep.


(As for events in the haunted house? That’s another story)




Title: The IX – Exordium of Tears

Author: Andrew P. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction


Book Blurb:

Fight or die.


That simple yet brutal reality is the tenet by which the refugees from Earth – including the fabled lost 9th Legion of Rome; the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Cavalry Unit; and the Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Team – were forced to live by while the Horde menace existed. Believing that the threat is over, the survivors now yearn to settle down, start families, and reclaim the lives stolen from them.


But such aspirations might remain beyond their reach, for a shadow looms on the rose-tinted horizon of new beginnings.


The release of the re-genesis matrix has done much to foster a restoration of exuberance across Arden. Along with a resurgence in floral and faunal diversity comes the results of splicing the Ardenese and human genomes: transmutation. A metamorphosis of stunning magnitude that not only affects the living, but those still is stasis as well.


Recognizing the emergence of a new hybrid species, the Architect – the arcane AI construct tasked with the preservation of the Ardenese race – responds by unlocking previously hidden and inaccessible areas of the city. It also releases an archive of sealed state secrets. Such revelations are eagerly perused, whereupon a shocking discovery is made.


Prior to the fall, it was common knowledge amongst the Senatum (the highest levels of Arden’s government) that not all the rabid Horde had joined in the rampage across the stars toward Arden.


Realizing that the peril still exists, the newly reformed administration elects to respond in earnest. Existing resources are utilized, suitable candidates are chosen, and a flotilla of ships is sent out to secure, quarantine, and reclaim the outer colonies.


A mammoth and hazardous undertaking. And nowhere more so than at the planet from where the outbreak was known to have originated – Exordium – for there, the ancient Horde are not only supremely evolved and highly organized, but are capable of a level of lethal sophistication, the likes of which has never been witnessed before.


It is into this kiln of incendiary potential that the cream of Arden’s fighting forces is deployed.


Worlds are torn asunder, suns destroyed, and star systems obliterated. Yes, tragedy is forged, in a universe spanning conflict which proves once again that…


Death is only the beginning of the adventure.




Parked in geostationary orbit above a lifeless world, the vessel was a testimony to cultural and technological innovation. Sleek, vast, and lethal, she hung like the Titan she was; a leviathan sleeping amid a sea of infinite possibilities. Myriad stars bore witness to her majesty, and although each one glittered fiercely, none could lift the invasive chill leaching like death through the very constitution of her bones.


Within, a petrified forest of metal, fabric, and thermoplastic polymers slumbered.


Here, a coffee cup perched precariously on the edge of a counter, its flash-frozen contents discarded and forgotten long, long ago. There, a simple paper notebook hung suspended in the void above a set of stairs, as if waiting for the moment gravity would send it on its way toward the deck below. Between them, an ornate pen spiraled lazily by, captive to inertia, doomed to bounce endlessly back and forth between the bulkheads until an outside force intervened to stop its lonely, acrobatic sojourn. An all pervading hush dominated, enveloping the interior in a resonance that was absolute, and time dragged inexorably on. . .


A sophisticated-looking device situated close to the main communications array suddenly illuminated, and a series of complex glyphs fluttered silently across the gap in the air above it. Soon the space was filled with blazing icons curling around one another in a never-ending Möbius loop, until its phantom cursor came to rest in the bottom right-hand corner, blinking rapidly, awaiting further instructions.


Adjoining speakers squawked to life. A burst of static followed, signaling the receipt of a compressed data package. Then everything went blank, the process halted as abruptly as it had begun.


Silence reigned once more.


Bip — bip — bip — bip — bip — bip.


A larger console activated, and a cluster of master codes appeared within the display. As each cipher scrolled down the screen, it triggered redundant systems that had lain dormant for an age.


Lights winked on. A background hum lifted above the electronic chatter. A subtle vibration ran the length of the craft. Floating objects crashed to the floor and lay still. Empty halls and corridors thrummed with growing potential. Interior illumination dulled to a soft background radiance.




A hissing sound issued from the vents as pressure seals primed and engaged. Oxygen circulated once more.


A lotus-petal graphic flowered within the main holo-emitter, folding outward to be replaced by an overlapping series of ship’s schematics that quickly expanded off screen. One by one, oscillating star charts cascaded. Soon, the control center was awash in glittering green, scarlet, and royal blue phosphorescence.


“Arden home world located,” a female voice intoned, “security codes authenticated.”


“Caution! Time sensitive parameters breached.”


It sounded as if the entity was arguing with herself.


“Scanning for updates . . .”


“No fresh data available. Security protocol Coralin alpha-one, initiated. Homing beacon, activated. Full systems check. Accessing . . .”


“Internal sensors, online. Life signs, absent. Monitoring . . .”


“Emergency pods, present and intact. Anomalous energy signature detected. Isolation protocol instituted. Self destruct sequence prepped . . . Stand by.”


“Listing primary networks showing as fully functional. Life support, gravity core, weapons grid, deflectors, shields . . .”


“Propulsion diagnostics now complete. Maneuvering thrusters, sub-light engines, and rip-space drive standing by . . .”


“Security protocol Coralin alpha-one confirmed. Cold systems start in . . . Three, two, one. Primary burn commencing . . .”


At the rear of the behemoth nearly two miles away, a series of ruddy glows ignited deep within the bowels of the injector outlets. Power levels intensified. As they did so, the shimmering maelstrom divided to fill four giant nacelles.


With infinite grace, the huge cruiser moved out from the planet’s shadow cone. As she broached the solar penumbra, the sparkling iridescence of her matte black exterior flared as an ancient coating of rime blasted away into space, adding a shower of miniature diamonds to the gauze of eternal midnight.


Her speed increased, and she received a final signal.


Within minutes the vessel was gone, leaving behind only gravitational eddies resonating out into the void forever.




Ten hours and fifty light years in the opposite direction later, the onward transmission reached its mark. A dormant entity sparked to life, and once again a prolonged and complex group of ship’s systems came online.


Although similar in appearance, this craft was even larger than her sister, and had clearly been designed for one thing. Death.


Vector control skirts as wide as a sports stadium flared in response to the cataclysmic energies now thundering toward its main booster nozzles.


The colossus punched forward. As it did so, panels on its exterior surface shimmered, and the destroyer faded from sight.


Now invisible, it adjusted trajectory and set a course for home, four hundred and twenty trillion miles distant.



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Andrew Weston


Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.


An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.


When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for and Amazing Stories.



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