May 23rd, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents (Drones)

Money in the Air? The High Flying Sport of Drone Racing

written by Drone Reporter Rachel Borene

Ladies and gentlemen, start your motors!

Welcome to the world of drone racing! Did you know that the first U.S. National Drone Racing Championship was held in 2015? This sport has quickly become a favorite past time for both drone pilots and fans watching from the sidelines- or from their computer screens.

In this revolutionary new sport, drones twist and turn through obstacle courses using a method called First Person View. In First Person View, a pilot attaches a
camera to their drone and must use only the live video feed to guide their machine through the race track. This creates an exciting challenge, giving the pilot a view as if they’re sitting inside the drone itself, zooming through the race course… and in drone racing, anywhere is a potential race track!

Whether it’s through a forest or an abandoned building, on an amateur obstacle course or a professional one, drones can go where other machines can not. Of course, this creates some unique challenges when trying to involve fans. When watching a NASCAR race, viewers can sit in a stadium to watch the cars go around the track. With drones being but a blur through the air, it can be difficult or even impossible for viewers to see them, especially if the drones are heading through buildings.

The sport has gained enough attention, however, that financial backers are becoming willing to finance better technology for racing teams so that fans can watch competitions. In fact, in New York, The Drone Racing League was backed for $1 million by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.

So, just how enthusiastic are the fans of this new sport? Enough that winners of big races can earn some seriously sweet cash. The inaugural World Drone Prix was held on March 11th and 12th, 2016, in Dubai. The first place winner, fifteen-year-old Luke Bannister, from England, won a prize totalling $250,000 U.S.
dollars. The total prize pool available to split across all categories was a cool $1 million.

If you’re a fan of video games, technology, and racing, try picking up a racing drone today! You never know where your skills will take you!

May 16th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents (Book Reviews)

Book Review: Masterminds by Gordan Korman

Masterminds, by Gordan Korman, is a new middle-grade novel full of adrenaline-fueled action scenes and jaw-dropping plot twists.

In the town of Serenity, New Mexico, kids have everything they need. The town sits like an oasis in the dessert, full of modern homes and swimming pools, tree houses and swing sets. In this blissful community, poverty and crime are unheard of, and the only thing the kids have to worry about is passing their classes at school and what they’ll do in their free time.

If only they could leave.

Masterminds by Gordon Korman (cover image)Eli Frienden is bored out of his mind. Living in the middle of nowhere, he and his best friend Randy have learned to create their own amusement—but after yet another risky stunt leaves their boomerang caught in the filter of Randy’s swimming pool, Eli thinks the excitment of the afternoon is over.

Then Randy confesses that he snuck out of town and found a rusty old car in an abandoned shed. Eli worries that breaking the rules and leaving Serenity will enrage his strict father, who is the mayor of the town, but the promise of adventure lures him into hopping onto his bike and following Randy down the road.

That’s when Eli’s life is changed forever.

As soon as they pass the town limits, Eli is struck down by a shockwave of pain that sends him crashing to the ground. A black security helicopter appears in the sky above him, and while Eli is taken to the hospital, Randy is punished by being kicked out of Serenity forever.

Scrambling for answers, Eli is further shocked when a lightning storm causes a brief glitch that allows him to see a website full of uncensored American history, and he realizes that his entire life has been a lie.

With his own father as his greatest enemy, Eli rallies the other kids in his school to break into the Serenity Plastic Works, the factory in town that claims to make orange traffic cones.

Once inside, the truth comes crashing down, delivering a unique plot twist that will leave readers stunned. Having learned the gut-wrenching truth of who they are and where they come from, the kids are faced with big questions about the purpose of family and what it means to take control of your own destiny. The kids concoct a plan that sends the action speeding forward, leading to a break-neck finish that will leave readers gasping for a sequel.

Author Gordan Korman once again earns his place among top middle-grade writers, weaving a thrilling tale full of expert foreshadowing, relatable characters, and creative plot twists. The work of a practiced and imaginative author, Masterminds is a darkly whimsical tale that will play in the imaginations of readers long after the last page is turned.

Learn more about Gordon Korman and his books!

May 9th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents

Women in the Wind: The Enthusiastic Community of Women Drone Pilots

by Drone News reporter, Rachel Borene

Whether you’re a brand new drone hobbyist or an experienced pilot, you may wonder where you can learn more about the growing number of women who are a part of the drone community.

To start, look no further than the Amelia Dronehart group, a club comprised entirely of women who fly both commercial and handmade drones. With over six hundred members on Facebook at the time of the publication of this article, the club is a growing and vibrant community. Members range from young girls who are flying their first drone to trailblazing scientists such as Roberta Villavecchia.

Villavecchia, an advocate for girls in science, is a former aerobatics pilot and NASA Engineer, who helped develop fuel for rockets during the Apollo missions. Along with spending her time introducing girls to the excitement of science, she can frequently be found flying her Phantom series of drones through the open skies of Northern California.

Then there’s the Helicopter Girls, a video production team comprised of pilots Emma Boswell and Katya Nelhams-Wright. Based in London, England, they specialize in using drones to capture high-quality video footage and have worked on movies such as Mission Impossible 5.

Pake Salmon, a native of Hawaii, is another photographer who is known for her exquisite aerial wedding photography and breathtaking surfing videos. By using her drones to capture wedding photographs, she’s able to highlight the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands where the events take place. For her surfing videos, her precision as a pilot allows her to fly her drones above the surface of the ocean, achieving perspectives which would otherwise be impossible to capture.

If you’re interested in keeping up on news in the drone community, have a look at the website of pilot Sally French, also known as The Drone Girl. Not only is French a widely published author on the topic of drones, she’s also worked as an undercover agent, using her drones to expose and crack down on crime! She appeared in Forbes Magazine’s article “Four Top Women Shaping the Drone Industry.”

No matter where you look in the drone community, there’s intelligent and innovative women there to inspire you!

April 25th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents (2)

Interview with Author DelSheree Gladden

Your latest project is the Crazy Girls Handbook Series … what can you tell us about it?

The Crazy Girl’s Handbook was so much fun to work on once I got over the initial case of writer’s block. I had been invited to participate in a Valentine’s themed novella box set and said yes even though I had zero ideas. Okay, I had one, and that was that I should have gum play a part. Totally random. I know. Gum kept sticking in my mind (pun kinda intended, lol) but I couldn’t think of any good way to use it. Eventually, my friend Serene suggested I use it as an icebreaker between the two MCs, by having Greenly‘s 4-year-old nephew accidentally spit it in her hair, which Roman valiantly tries to get out. It’s the first mishap in a series of crazy encounters. Eventually meant to be only a novella, my beta readers wanted more, so it’s now available in the Valentine, Pets & Kisses box set as a novella, and as a full-length novel on its own.

Tell us a bit about your writing process: do you work with an outline? Do you know how a book is going to end when you start?

I despise outlines and only resort to making one when I get stuck or can’t keep track of details. I am more of a just go with it kind of writer. I usually get an idea, or have a scene in mind and have no clue where it will take me. Even when I have an end goal in mind, the path to that goal is something I figure out as I write. Sometimes that means rewrites later on, but I don’t write well when I feel boxed in by what has to happen to make a story work. Most of my books take large detours at some point, and I find a way to put it all together in the end.

You’re in touch with your readers quite a lot, aren’t you? How does their feedback and support influence your writing?

My readers are so much fun to be involved with. I started out writing YA, so I have a lot of enthusiastic young readers who love to find me on social media and tell me about their thoughts on a book or character and ask lots of questions! Many of them have become beta readers for me. It’s awesome to get feedback directly from my target audience, but it’s been really neat to see what they’re doing and how their lives change over time. Readers who first got in contact with me while reading on Wattpad in between high school classes are now in college, still reading and some even writing their own stories. I love getting updates and knowing that reading stays a big part of their lives.

Crazy Girls Handbook FINALWhat a beautiful testament to the fact that books aren’t dead! Now, you’re a mother, you go to a real job every day, and you write books…a lot of books. When do you sleep? No, seriously, how do you manage to fit everything in?

Well, right now I only work twelve hours a week, so I have more time at this point in my life than I did when I was in the dental hygiene program or working more, and my kids are now 9 and 12, so they’re pretty independent. This is a time period where I can spend more time writing, and I try to make the best of it without it taking over my life. Sometimes that’s really hard for me. I tend to get obsessive when writing, but I’ve been trying to focus more on putting it away in the evening so I can spend time with my husband and kids. Writing is stress relief for me, so it helps keeps me centered when things are a little crazy, but I still have to work on balancing that with everything else. My husband is extremely supportive of my writing, as well, and his encouragement is what originally pushed me to take my writing seriously and do something with it.

Can you tell a funny story about the publishing process or about writing?

Any funny stories I have are usually from mistakes I’ve made. I am terrible with directions and geography. I get lost easily. When I wrote my first book, I was 16 and Google Maps wasn’t really a big thing, and I guess I just never thought to check later. I remember going back and reading the book much later after I had published it and was getting ready to write book two, and realizing I had written the setting as being in Upstate New York…with a beach. Uh, yeah. I had to fix that.

Your book covers are quite distinctive. Is there a story behind your covers?

Aside from my Date Shark series, I do all my own cover design. I have a strong background in art and design and love being able to put that to use. Sometimes, it’s the only visually creative thing I do, even though I have a stockpile of art supplies in my basement.

The cover art for the Twin Souls books was made to look like traditional pottery designs from some of the Native American tribes in the Southwest where the books are based. Part of the design of the Aerling series came from fan art one of my readers sent to me and gave me permission to use part of the concept in the full cover. The Escaping Fate books are my own artwork (painting and chalk pastels) I created for the series because finding pictures of Aztec gods and Celtic curse stones isn’t easy! Basically, I love art and design and enjoy bringing my written words into a visual field to share another aspect of my vision for the story.

Some of your books are available for free or in boxed sets. How did these special deals come to pass?

Free books have always worked well for me, and I realize readers find it hard to take a risk on a new author, so I want to make it as easy as possible for readers to give one of my books a try. I see my relationship with my readers as give and take. I don’t expect them to take a risk buying a book they aren’t familiar without having a good reason to.

Box sets have been something I’ve been a part of more recently and has been a great experience. Getting your name out there is tough, and when you have 10-20 authors all using their reader lists and influence to push the same product, you get your book or story into the hands of so many more readers than what you can do on your own. Plus, you meet awesome people and learn a lot from their experiences as well.

More about DelSheree:

The Crazy Girl’s Handbook
DelSheree Gladden

Spending the weekend babysitting her two nephews and a puppy was supposed to be fun. Sweating to death at a baseball game while getting gum in her hair, soda down her shirt, and an ice cream pedicure wasn’t part of the deal. Neither was finding out the best guy she’d ever missed a blind date with had witnessed it all. Longest. Weekend. Ever.

DelShereeGladden PortraitDelSheree Gladden is a USA Today bestselling young adult and romance author, whose writing includes everything from dystopian and Native American mythology to sweet and funny romances.

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April 18th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents book excerpt

Book Excerpt: Under the Nazi Heel by Scott Bury

Under the Nazi Heel
Excerpt 7: Switching Trains

Zazulak halted deep in the shadow between two trains. He pointed at one of the cars. Oleskiw jumped onto the ladder built onto its side and Maurice cringed at the soft ring of his boots on the rungs. At the top, Oleskiw pulled a large white card from a frame on the side of the car and clambered back down.

Another man climbed the ladder of the car on the train beside the first one, brought down the card and exchanged for the one in Oleskiw’s hand. Then the two men re-climbed the ladders and replaced the cards.

“What the hell are they doing?” Maurice whispered.

“Switching the destination cards,” Zazulak explained. “Those cards indicate where each car is supposed to go. At each switching station—like this one—the Germans use the cards to tell where to send the car and how to organize the trains. Now, they’ll get the wrong supplies at different destinations along the front.”

“So? What good does that do?” Maurice whispered as he watched Mackiw and Oleskiw repeat their card exchange at the next pair of boxcars. “The supplies still get to the front.”

“You were an officer on the front lines, Maurice,” Zazulak said. “Think about what it would mean if you got extra socks when you needed ammunition.”

“We never got extra socks and we were always short of ammunition.”

When they arrived at their starting point, the boys disappeared into the night, until only Maurice and Zazulak were left. They began walking back to Nastisiv.UTNH - V3

“So that’s what we do? Play with the trains?” Maurice asked. “It may inconvenience Fritz, but surely we can do some more effective things.”

“Those are the orders for now,” Zazulak answered. “Disrupt, confuse, harry. Help Ivan to wear Fritz down until they’re both crippled.

“I have some doubts about that,” said Maurice.

Maurice had no way of knowing that, only a few months later when the Germans reached Stalingrad on the Volga River, missions like this would have a huge impact. With their supply lines stretching along vulnerable railways across thousands of miles of enemy territory, the Germans needed to control the movement of every uniform, every medical kit, every round of ammunition. And toward the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, which still ranks as the bloodiest, deadliest in the history of warfare, the battle that proved Germany’s defeat was inevitable, the desperate invaders would open boxcars labeled “ammunition,” to find crates of prophylactics.

Under the Nazi Heel
Walking Out of War, Book 2

For Ukrainians in 1942, the occupying Germans were not the only enemy.

Maurice Bury was drafted into the Red Army just in time to be thrown against the invading Germans in 1941. Captured and starved in a POW camp, he escaped and made his way home to western Ukraine, where the Nazi occupiers pursued a policy of starving the locals to make more “living space” for Germans.

To protect his family, Maurice joins the secret resistance. He soon finds the Germans are not the only enemy. Maurice and his men are up against Soviet spies, the Polish Home Army and enemies even closer to home.

Experience this seldom seen phase of World War 2 through the eyes of a man who fought and survived Under the Nazi Heel.

Find it on Amazon.

About the author

Scott Bury just cannot stay in one genre.
After a three-decade career in journalism, his first published fiction was a children’s story, followed by an occult spy thriller. The Bones of the Earth, his first novel, crossed the boundaries between historical fiction and magic realism. He has also published spy thrillers and two police procedurals set in Hawaii.
Scott2014Under the Nazi Heel is the sequel to Army of Worn Soles. They describe the real life experiences of Maurice Bury, a Canadian living in Ukraine during World War 2.
You can find all of Scott’s books and other writings at his website, The Written Word.

• Find him on Facebook at Scott Bury Author
• Visit his Amazon Author page
• Or follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter