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.

Amazon/Other Books

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

April 11th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents

Flights of Fancy: Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful Drone Inventions

For many years, drone usage was restricted to practical applications, in large part due to the expensive price of drones and the inability for the general public to purchase them.

Now, with drones becoming far easier to purchase or build at home, adventurous pilots have begun inventing new and unusual ways to use unmanned aerial vehicles.

Restaurants are currently testing out delivering sushi to tables by drone, clubs are flying bottles of champagne to the poolside, and companies from dry cleaners to florists are exploring ways to locally deliver products to consumers. While many private establishments have enjoyed success with their ideas, so long as the drone doesn’t leave their property, other business owners have had their drone operations stopped due to local regulations.

Pilots with an enthusiasm for science fiction are building drones that resemble vehicles from their favorite movies and shows. Photographs have emerged online of drones constructed to look like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars and the Tardis from Dr. Who. With independent builders redecorating their drones, it may not be long before commercial drone companies follow suite, merchandising their products to attract the geek-savvy consumer.

Other inventors have taken science fiction inspiration to an even higher level. If you’ve seen the movie Back to the Future, you may recall a scene where protagonist Marty McFly sees a dog being taken for a walk by a flying drone. Jeff Myers, a videographer from New York City, create a viral video called Walking Dogs With Drones. He pre-programmed his drone with a map route, then attached the drone to his dog’s leash. The drone guided the dog along a short loop in his neighborhood. The video caused much controversy, with viewers listing the many possible dangers that could come to the dog when walked by a drone without the supervision of a person. Though such technology may not be a viable tool in dog walking anytime soon, the experiment served as yet another example of how the imagined technologies in science fiction can become a reality.

An even more controversial inventor, Austin Haughwout, from Connecticut, used a flying drone with a flame thrower attachment to cook a turkey. Using a commercially purchased drone that he modified with 3D printed parts, Haughwout put the turkey on a spit and conducted his experiment outside. Though Haughwout didn’t get into trouble with the law over his flame thrower cook out, this young inventor has come under scrutiny before for his potentially dangerous experiments, and inventions such as his raise important questions about drone regulations.

With such unusual drone inventions occurring so early in the history of drones being made commercially available, the future is bound to be full of unique and exciting developments.

March 13th, 2016
Frederick lee brooke presents(2)

Book Review: WOLF BY WOLF, by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf, a new young adult novel by Ryan Graudin, is an adventure packed tale that blends gritty historical fiction with fascinating elements of science fiction and fantasy.

Seventeen year old Yael, a Jewish prisoner in a concentration camp, was chosen at six-years-old to undergo a series of painful and life altering experiments at the hands of Nazi doctors. Told that her life has been spared, Yael watches as the experiments change her appearance, taking away all vestiges of her Jewish heritage. With this painful transition, however, comes a great power—Yael can skin-shift, changing her appearance to match that of other women.

After the victory of the Axis Powers, Yael enters a life of fear and solitude, skin-shifting as a means of survival. She covers the Jewish numbers on her arm with new tattoos, five wolves, one for each of the five deceased people whose memory drives her to enact vengeance upon Hitler.

Yael has practiced one particular persona the most—that of Adele Wolfe, the previous year’s winner of the Axis Tour, a hugely popular motorcycle race which commemorates the victory of the Third Reich. The winner of the Axis Tour receives riches and fame, but more importantly, and invitation to the Victor’s ball, where Hitler himself will be present.

If Yael wins the race, she’ll have the perfect opportunity to kill Hitler, getting her revenge and showing the world that the victims of the war will not be forgotten.

Grisly details of war and beautiful descriptions of hope create a world that readers will become immersed in, and Yael is a complex girl who struggles with her self identity while having to unearth the true intentions of the people closest to her. Though this book has been compared to The Hunger Games, it also has a distinct V For Vendetta vibe, showing us a weakened prisoner becoming strong both mentally and physically, with plenty of opportunity for the reader to decide if what Yael does to seek vengeance is moral, immoral, or somewhere in between.

With heart pumping action scenes and the ever present danger of Yael’s true identity being discovered, readers will find themselves turning pages long into the night. Perhaps the only disappointing aspect of the book was the way in which Yael reaches her opportunity to attend the Victor’s ball, which some readers may find undermines the intelligence, strength, and capability she shows throughout the book. Her feelings towards her romantic interest seem forced at times, and readers seeking out a competent protagonist may find themselves scratching their heads at a particular mistake she makes towards the end of the story.

Even so, the book delivers a satisfactory ending, and can be seen as either a stand alone novel or a hint at a second installment. Wolf by Wolf was a unique book with unexpected depth, carefully crafted alternate history, and a dynamic cast of characters.

A great read for fans of historical fiction, science fiction, and all things in between.