September 27th, 2016

Interview with Author Sophia Whittemore

by Rachel Borene, staff

Today we’re chatting with Sophia Whittemore, author of the young adult fantasy series The Impetus Rising. After publishing the first book in the series at only seventeen years old, Sophia stands out as a young and highly skilled story teller, and her books take fans of action adventure and fantasy on a thrilling ride from cover to cover. We asked her a few questions on her writing process, her books, and her perspective as a young established author. So, let’s get started!

Question 1: When reading young adult books, many of the protagonists are written by authors who are much older than their main character. What unique perspectives do you bring to the genre, writing about a character who is closer to your own age?

Sophia: Being pretty much the same age as my character, I feel that her voice (Diana’s, the name of my character) is really just my voice. Whenever Diana complains or acts sarcastic, that’s exactly how I would act if put into that sort of fantastical situation. Her problems, e.g. prom and any other drama, were also probably my problems, as well. As for unique perspectives, my character is also half-Indian and I come from a half-Indonesian background. So, I guess some could argue that my character actually IS me when it comes to her background and sarcastic personality.

Question 2: What inspired you to seek out a traditional publisher, rather than self publishing your first novel?

Sophia: I felt that traditional publishing would allow me to sort of have a family starting within this business. Self-publishing is great for some people, but I felt that traditional publishing was just a more natural option for me. It’s a family as opposed to going it your own way.

Question 3: Your prose is eloquent, vivid, and full of emotion. How much practice did you have writing before you wrote The Funnyman?

Sophia: Why thank you! I’ve been writing since birth, which most authors would tell you. But, as for the more “literary” style, I’ve developed that over probably four to five years of practice on short stories and other novels. The Funnyman was actually written during my sophomore year of high school.

Question 4: Many young writers aspire, like their main characters, to set off on their own, forge their own path in life, and find success. What advice can you give to a young author who may feel overwhelmed at the thought of publishing while they’re young?

Sophia: Don’t be overwhelmed and, most importantly, don’t engage in self-sabotage early on in the game. When you start out, a writer tends to have a lot of self-doubt. You write the novel, get a rejection or two, and then you give up and decide that nobody will ever like your writing but your parents. That’s not the case. Get feedback on your writing, take what you can from the feedback, but don’t let the feedback consume your every waking thought. Publishing, as many will say, is a subjective business. One person may love your story and the next will hate it with a passion. If it helps, treat writing like just another subject in school. Study up on it by studying what other writers did to get published, then follow what they did. If their method doesn’t work for you, try what another author did. Seek out publishers that seem right for you, do a ton of research on self-publishing if that’s the route you wish to take, and go on writer’s forums and lurk there in order to find out what other hopeful writers may be struggling with, as well. Do your research and find what works for you. No one author will give you every bit of information there is to know about publishing. That’s why you have to branch out all your research. Start out by researching “how to get published”, and then go into specifics with terms like “query letter” and “pitching your book”.

Question 5: You’ve just released book two in The Impetus Rising series, Death’s Fool. Was this book easier to write than the first, or did it present its own unique challenges?

Sophia: The second book felt like a continuation of the first. It just sort of happened naturally. Of course, there were challenges in certain action scenes because more action happens in this book than the first. But that’s where your imagination comes in. And imagination is basically the primary tool of all writers.

Question 6: Though this series is categorized as fantasy, what awesome elements does it have to draw in adventure fans?

Sophia: This series is a thrill ride. There are fight scenes between shadows and humans, kidnapping and rescue missions, sword fights, and even time travel to an extent in the second novel. If rescuing princes in distress and sword fights don’t interest you, I don’t know what will.

Question 7: Finally, after The Impetus Rising series is done, are there any plans to start penning an entirely new adventure?

Sophia: I do have plans for more adventure series, but I also have to balance that with starting my freshman year at Dartmouth College. I’m writing the new books right now that are more in the vein of fantasy and pirate adventures. Three cheers for magic!

Thank you so much, Sophia!

If you’d like to check out Sophia’s books and learn more about her, please visit her website here and visit her on Goodreads!

About the Author

Sophia Whittemore is a Dartmouth student and multiracial author with an Indonesian mother and a Minnesotan father. She has had book signings at Barnes & Noble for her Impetus Rising Series, available on Amazon and other outlets, the first book published when she was only seventeen. She has been featured as a Standout in the Daily Herald and a Rad Reads author in Girls’ Life Magazine. Her love for the English language manifested itself in eighth grade when she went to the Scripps National Spelling Bee and has continued with other languages such as Spanish and Indonesian. Her prior publications include “A Clock’s Work” in a Handersen Publishing magazine, “Blind Man’s Bluff” in Parallel Ink, and winning multiple awards in the Best Midwestern Writing competition for high school writers. She currently resides in Chicago, Illinois with her family and food-loving mini schnauzer called Tiger. Drawing on inspiration from her two cultural backgrounds, Sophia lives a life playing tennis, traveling, and writing about her dual life experiences through other characters in her works or on her blog.

September 4th, 2016

The Devil of Light – Summer Reads from iAI

Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texas author with a real gift for spellbinding sentences and a heartbreaker of a story.2015-08 Gae-Lynn Woods headshot

I read this book in two sittings. Whether you’re headed to the beach, have a long plane flight ahead of you, or are just looking for an entertaining and memorable thriller to while away a few hours, look no further than Devil of Light.

the devil of light-final





Find out more about Gae-Lynn Woods on her website.

August 9th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents (Drones) (4)

Drop Your Work and Pick Up a Drone!

by Drone Reporter Rachel Borene

If you’re thinking that drone technology may one day replace the work that people typically do with their hands…well, you may be right!

The latest brainstorming in the drone community has resulted in a downpour of unique ideas.

For example, pilot Berni de Nina created a game where he “fished” for one drone atop a roof using another drone. By attaching a traditional fishing line and hook to the flying drone, he was successfully able to pluck the second drone into the air to be delivered back to him. The fun process can be seen here:

Using drones to retrieve items from dangerous places could reduce the risk of injury to both people and larger machines, and word has it that the electrical company GE is researching into drones to do similar jobs, such as inspecting damaged power lines.

How about planting trees?

The company DroneSeed, with a location in both Seattle, WA, and Beaver, OR, specializes in using drones to plant, maintain, and survey forestland. Not only does this cut down on the cost of manual labor, but it also is a fast and effective way to maintain land that’s subject to extreme location or weather.

In Japan, even childcare is being meshed with drone usage. With a dire need for childcare workers, a prototype of a childcare drone, called Or-B, is being programmed to do the repetitive tasks that typically wear a human childcare worker down, such as reading the same story to children over and over. With Or-B working to entertain children, human workers can focus on more personal interactions and taking care of tasks not yet capable of being done by drones.

If you don’t have children, don’t worry—your dogs can now be entertained by drones, too! One doggy daycare, The Watering Bowl, has used drones to capture live footage of what the dogs are doing at their facility. The dogs are entertained by the drones and chase them, which also provides mental stimulation and exercise. (4)

So, what do you think you could use a drone for? The possibilities are limitless, and with a little imagination, anything is possible!

July 26th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents (Drones) (1)

Dancing Drones: When Performance and Piloting Merge Forces

by Drone Reporter Rachel Borene

During week two of auditions for the popular reality show America’s Got Talent, audiences were treated to a spectacular performance by modern dance group Eleven Play, who mixed dance with drone piloting.

Based in Japan, this talented team of dancers and pilots is headed by choreographer Mikiko, who has worked professionally with musicians such as Suzuka Nakamoto and the Japanese band Perfume.

America’s Got Talent has seen its fair share of dancing mixed with technology. In 2015, dance teams Animation Crew, Freckled Sky, Freelusion, and Siro-A all hit the stage. Interacting with animations that were projected onto the stage, the dancers were able to create illusions that were both innovative and mesmerizing.

Of course, with so many dance crews utilizing this technology, what was once a fresh idea quickly threatened to become stale.

That’s when Eleven Play threw an entirely new flavor into the techno-dance world with their drones.

Rather than interacting with projections, these drones were physically present, adding an extra level of challenge for the dancers and backstage pilots. Eleven Play successfully utilized pinpoint precision and timing, which earned them a round of applause from the audience and a “yes” from every judge.

With so many new hobbies evolving to include drones—including photography, racing, and builder’s fairs- it was only a matter of time before the world of dance followed suite. Of course, being the first dance group widely known for such an incredible feat is what gives choreographers such as Mikiko a highly competitive edge.

Now that America, and the rest of the world, has seen what drones can do for dance, productions from small local theaters all the way to famous Broadway shows are sure to take note!

July 12th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents (Drones)

Shields in the Sky: Defense Against Rogue Drones 

by Drone Reporter Rachel Borene

As more drones take the sky, concerned citizens, as well as military officials, are
wondering what steps can be taken to protect people from rogue drones. Did you know that it’s currently illegal to destroy an unknown drone that’s flying in the airspace above your private property? Though it may seem like you own the airspace above your land, a properly registered drone is considered to be an official aircraft by the Federal Aviation Committee, and you can be punished for destroying a drone with fines or even up to twenty years in prison.

That’s right: blasting away a peeping drone can get you in trouble, rather than the pilot! Feeling offended or even frightened? As the need for protection against rogue drones increases, so too have the efforts of researchers to create methods that stop drones without destroying them. This is especially important in the case of drones that are spying for opposing military forces, as the government will need to capture and inspect the drone for evidence.

Perhaps the most obvious solution to intercept an uninvited drone is to catch it with
another drone, and that’s exactly what officials in Tokyo have done. Using what appears to be a DJI Spreading Wings 900 equipped with a 3 x 2-meter net, the drone in Tokyo scoops the enemy drone right out of the air.

Catching a drone may still be considered tampering with an aircraft, however, so
another solution is to set up alert systems that warn someone if a drone is on
their property. Using acoustic technology, Washington-based company Droneshield can
detect a drone from up to 150 miles away. The program then sends an alert by SMS,
text, or video to the property owner. It can even detect drones that are invisible to radar, and has been implemented in several prisons to intercept drones that are smuggling contraband to inmates. The Droneshield program was even rumored to have gained the interest of producers during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in an
attempt to keep curious fans from filming in the air space above the studio, though it’s reported that the program was never actually implemented during production. (4)

The next step after being alerted to a rogue drone is lead by the company Skysafe, who is working on a program that can safely take control of drones, overriding the
commands of the pilot. Once its controls are overridden by Skysafe, the drone can then be landed and any of its additional functions- such as filming- can be shut down. (5)

If an emergency situation occurs where a drone must be destroyed, researchers at Boeing, an aircraft manufacturing company, have developed a laser that blasts drones right out of the sky. Though invisible to the human eye, the laser strikes the drone with deadly precision, setting it on fire and rendering it completely useless.

Now, it may become obvious that several of these programs could be used against one
another. In the Netherlands, however, their drone defense system can’t be taken over
by competing technology—because they’re using birds! The Dutch National Police
Corps has partnered with a company called Guard From Above, and together, they’re
training large birds of prey—such as eagles—to snatch drones out of the sky.

No matter what the future holds, the journey of discovering a good defense system against rogue drones is just as exciting as drone technology itself!