Category Archives: Books

A Big Welcome to Mary Adler, #RRBC Spotlight Author for January!

I am truly honored to host the first #RRBC Spotlight Author of 2019. Please welcome writer Mary Adler to The Indie Spot. Take it away, Mary. . .

 

WORKING SMART: PART ONE

 

CHARACTER BIBLE

There are so many things for a writer to worry about when writing a novel. Plot, dialogue, characterization, conflict, style. Do all the characters names start with the same initial? Were Jimmy’s eyes blue or brown?

To make the most of the time spent toiling at the computer, many authors create time-saving aids to make the book building process go more smoothly. I do several things as I write my first draft.

Character Descriptions: I don’t write long backstories for my characters, but I do note their physical characteristics, speech peculiarities, and other specific details about them including their birth dates and affiliations in a character bible. I also pin up photos from magazines when I find someone who looks the way I think my character should look. For example, this is a photo of a model who represents Paola Buonarotti.

And this is a photo of Oliver’s German shepherd, Harley.

I always know what color my characters’ eyes are, who is related to whom, and who hates fish.

It is also useful to keep a record – perhaps in a spreadsheet – of the first time a character appears or is mentioned. It may seem unnecessary, but when you begin revisions and start moving events around in the manuscript, it is helpful to have a record of what happens when and who was where.

Names: For some reason, I am drawn to names that begin with “L”. So, my first book has Luca and Lucy and Louis. To me, they are completely dissimilar names. (I am not so sure that the reader makes that distinction.) As I wrote the second book, I was more careful and kept a tally under the letters of the alphabet. (For their fans, Luca, Lucy, and Louis are still there.)

If you are looking for names that were popular in a given time period, you can find them easily on-line. Mary was the most popular girl’s name from 1800 until 1961. In 2011 it was 112th.  (When I hear the name Mary, I assume the person is of a certain age – like me! According to The Atlantic, modern parents want their children to have names that underline their individuality. Hmmm.)

Follow Mary online:

Twitter – @MAAdlerwrites

Facebook – https://maryadlerwrites.com/

Author Bio:

Mary Adler was an attorney and dean at CWRU School of Medicine. She escaped the ivory tower for the much gentler world of World War II and the adventures of homicide detective Oliver Wright and his German shepherd, Harley. She lives with her family in Sebastopol, California, where she creates garden habitats for birds and bees and butterflies. She is active in dog rescue and does canine scent work with her brilliant dogs — the brains of the team — and loves all things Italian.

Shadowed by Death

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Author Larry F. Hunter Releases New Novel

Reprinted from the Stanly News and Press, Dec 6, 2018

SNAP fishing contributor publishes crime novel

By Charles Curcio

Charles.Curcio@StanlyNewsPress.com

The laid-back atmosphere of retirement and RV life becomes overturned with one cellphone call in a book new-to-print by Larry F. Hunter.

Hunter, who writes a fishing column for The Stanly News & Press, brings his knowledge and experience on camping and RVs into a new forum, the mystery crime novel. New-in-print is his novel, The National Park Case: A Tucker Crime Novel.

The book was written a number of years ago and was available in electronic formats like Amazon after publishing with a California-based e-book distribution company.

However, that changed four months ago after Hunter had entered and won a regional short story contest with Fresh Ink Group (FreshInkGroup.com), who approached him to publish the novel.

“I had been wanting to write a book for years. I studied literature in school and read three to four books a week,” Hunter said.

The book took about seven months to finish, then he published it, saying, “It got me online, make a little money if possible, but it’s mostly to get experience.”

Having retired, Hunter had gone back to work, then retired again four months ago and got time to focus on the book. Among other things, Hunter was a technical writer and taught at the community college level on the Jamestown campus of Guilford Technical Community College in Greensboro. Hunter was also stationed at Cape Kennedy during the Apollo missions to the Moon. He worked as a maintenance tech for the ground control systems on Apollo 8 through 17.

The National Park Case is the first of three books written in the Tucker series, though not a true trilogy, Hunter said.

“I won’t go further (in the series); I’ve gotten to know the characters too well,” Hunter said.

The story finds Tucker, who was named after Hunter’s mother who was a Tucker, sitting in a chair outside his own RV. A retired Salisbury Police detective, his cellphone rings. He is recruited by the FBI to investigate missing persons cases from four national parks. The introduction of a beautiful female suspect and an investigation which starts in the Carolinas and spans across the Southeast drives the narrative of the story.

Aficionados of the recreational vehicle scene, or RVers, will be able to pick up on some subtleties others may not in the story, Hunter said. He added readers do not have to know about RV life to get the drift of the story.

As a retired RVer, Hunter said: “I’ve always believed you write about things you know.” He added though he was not a policeman, his character, a retired Salisbury Police Department detective, “figures out during the novel he really wasn’t retired; he was just not working for a while.”

Crime novels, mysteries and thrillers are a favorite of Hunter, he said. “You try to emulate what they do,” he explained.

Some of the things Hunter said he does not include in the crime novel are ideals which have dictated his reading choices in life. He said he does not like an illogical pattern to a story, like bringing in an unknown character at the end as the culprit.

Hunter also said he has a lead character with some flaws to a degree but not to the level of some others. To him, Tucker is “not really flawed, just a man in a bad situation.” His books also do not have “tons of characters.”

He describes The National Park Mystery as a procedural novel. “You may not know who did, but you can follow his thought process,” Hunter added.

Written in third person, Hunter said he initially started the novel in first person, but decided to change it. “How can he know what’s going on in a place when he wasn’t there?”

Copies of The National Park Case: A Tucker Crime Novel are available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other places, in both paperback and hardcover copy.

Continuing to write is something Hunter said he wants to do, including having finished a post apocalyptic novel. “I’m a science-fiction guy, so why not?” Hunter said.

He added his goal the morning after he retired was simple in his writing career.

“If one person buys it and gives it a good review, I’m happy. I just want to know I wrote a book and people enjoyed it.”

Contact Charles Curcio at charles.curcio@stanlynewspress. com, 704-983-1361 or via Twitter (@charles_curcio).

Copyright (c)2018 Albemarle Stanly News and Press, Edition 12/6/2018

VIEW THE NATIONAL PARK CASE BOOK TRAILER

NEW RELEASE! Strange Hwy: Short Stories by Beem Weeks is Now Available!

Fresh Ink Group is pleased to announce the release of Strange Hwy: Short Stories by Beem Weeks. This collection of short stories makes a perfect Christmas gift for the reader in your life.

Strange Hwy: Short Stories is available in full-sized trade paperback, dust-jacketed hardcover, and all ebook formats. You can purchase Strange Hwy: Short Stories at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google Books, and many other online retailers.

Whether you’re into horror, historical fiction, coming of age, or slice of life stories, this collection has something for you.

Blurb:

If you ever find yourself on the Strange Hwy—don’t turn around. Don’t panic. Just. Keep. Going. You never know what you’ll find.
You’ll see magic at the fingertips of an autistic young man,
•A teen girl’s afternoon, lifetime of loss.
•A winged man, an angel? Demon—?
•Mother’s recognition, peace to daughter.
•Danny’s death, stifled secrets.
•Black man’s music, guitar transforms boy.
•Dead brother, open confession.
•First love, supernatural?—family becomes whole!
You can exit the Strange Hwy, and come back any time you want.
See, now you know the way in, don’t be a stranger.

Where to Purchase:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Google Books

The Starchild Trilogy by Robert G. Williscroft is complete!

Now, The Starchild Trilogy by Robert G. Williscroft is complete! In book one, Slingshot, three scientist/engineers reach for the stars as they blend their skills with a host of skilled colleagues to create the world’s first Space Launch-Loop. A team of young eco-terrorists will go to any length to halt the project. One woman is determined to scoop the story, reporting events to a watching world.

Slingshot ranges from Seattle’s financial district, to the ocean bottom off Baker Island, to the edge of space, and across the vast panorama of an Equatorial Pacific.

It’s a love story, a gender-bender, and a mystery about a missing aviatrix, a conspiracy, and a true-believer. It’s about high finance, intrigue, heroism, fanaticism, betrayal…and humanity’s surge into outer space.

In book two, The Starchild Compact, an international team ventures to Saturn’s moon Iapetus to verify it really is a derelict starship. They discover the Founders, descendants of the starship’s builders who arrived in our Solar System 150,000 years ago. Together with the Founders, the explorers advance Founder science with momentous implications for the entire Solar System, paving the way for a joint push to the distant reaches of the Galaxy. But, a Persian Caliphate stowaway sabotages the mission, hoping to destroy science that he believes violates Islam.

The Starchild Compact blends tomorrow’s science with human foibles, fears, beliefs, and political intrigue, speculating on how civilization might develop while traveling on a generational starship, and how modern humans might interact with remnants of that civilization.

In book three, The Iapetus Federation, besieged Israelis on Earth make their way to Mars as the Federation expands throughout the Solar System. While global Jihad rages on Earth, putting millions to the sword, the Starchild Institute develops wormhole transportation. But will this new technology be ready in time to rescue all that is left of the United States, the beleaguered Lone Star Conservancy, and remnants of other cultures around the globe?

From hand-to-hand combat in the oceans, to battles on Earth’s surface, to struggles in interplanetary space, our heroes fight to survive and expand to the far reaches of the universe.

Robert G. Williscroft is an adventurer, polar explorer, deep-sea diver, nuclear submariner, scientist, and bestselling, award-winning author. His stories portray the accurate science and precise engineering that appeals to hard science-fiction buffs, but The Starchild Trilogy is for everyone who loves an epic tale, a grand journey by men and women who loom larger than life as they work, play, and love.

Make The Starchild Trilogy your own, with individual hardcover, softcover, audiobook, and all major ebook editions worldwide – or collect the entire set for one epic journey.

By Robert G. Williscroft, The Starchild Trilogy!

The “SON OF THE SERPENT” BOOK RELEASE TOUR

Today I am honored to share The Indie Spot with author Vashti Quiroz-Vega as she releases volume 2 of her Fantasy Angels Series. Take it away, Vashti. . .

 

 

 

Hello, everyone! Thank you for stopping by and supporting me during the blog tour for my new book, “Son of the Serpent”.

Son of the Serpent is the 2nd volume and 3rd book in the Fantasy Angels Series, but all the books in the series are standalone novels. This book is a High Fantasy sprinkled with Romance and Horror aimed at an adult audience. Although there are scenes in the book loosely based on stories from the bible and Jewish scriptures this is not a religious book. This book is a combination of legends, folklore, and mythology intertwined into an original plot, with distinctive characters and extraordinary fantasy world-building.

son of the serpent-novel-vashti quiroz vega-author-angels and demons-supernatural-Dracúl-lilith-fantasy angels series

 

BLURB:

In Son of the Serpent, award-winning author Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts another fascinating glimpse into the dark, compelling world of fallen angels and demons, revealing more about their untold stories.

The war in heaven might be over, but the ambitions of the fallen angel Lilith reach far across the roots of history. Will there be a being powerful enough to stop her evil influence before the destruction of mankind?

Dracúl knows he is the son of Satan, but the rest of his memory has been taken from him. Alone and frightened, he awakens in a forest, beginning a quest to piece together who he is. The world he encounters is cruel, but he yearns to belong and find companionship. With each step he takes, another missing piece of his memory falls into place, revealing a truth that is ever more troubling . . .

A truth that will turn his quest for meaning into one fueled by the hot-blooded thirst for revenge. A truth that leads him to Lilith, the most wicked and ruthless of fallen angels and one he soon will have every reason to hate. His quest will consume him, perhaps ruin his life, but somehow Dracúl is determined to find both belonging and vengeance—to be good, in spite of his evil nature and the dark secrets that haunt him every step of the way.

 

*Today I am sharing an Etheree poem. The poetry form, Etheree, consists of 10 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables. Etheree can also be reversed and doubled.

 

If You Would Only Love Me

 

Who

carries

my laments

other than me?

Who will purge this hate

that still devours my heart

and threatens to crush my soul

transforming all to bleak shadows?

One kind word, a warm embrace from you

would have been rays of sunshine on my heart

What was it in me that you hated so?

An innocent of pure heart was I

A sad and lonely child longing

only for his mother’s love

But what does a serpent

Know of love? Mother.

I would have done

anything

for your

love

Son of the Serpent-art-book_cover-Vashti Quiroz Vega-author-fantasy-occult-supernatural-witch-demon-lilith-bible_stories

Illustration for Son of the Serpent by Scarlett Fawn

Vashti Quiroz Vega-author-novelist-son of the serpent-fantasy angels series-supernatural-horror-romance

Author, Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Bio:

Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a writer of Fantasy, Horror, and Thriller. Since she was a child she’s always had a passion for writing and telling stories. It has always been easier for her to express her thoughts on paper.

She enjoys reading almost as much as she loves to write. Some of her favorite authors are Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin.

She enjoys making people feel an array of emotions with her writing. She likes her audience to laugh one moment, cry the next and clench their jaws after that.

When she isn’t building extraordinary worlds and fleshing out fascinating characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband JC and her Pomeranian Scribbles who is also her writing buddy.

 

Purchase Link & Social Media:

Twitter (VashtiQV):  http://twitter.com/VashtiQV

 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/vashti-quiroz-vega

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vashti-Q-Author-Page-396515670465852/

 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1540242966&sr=8-1

Son of the Serpent: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HS4C3B7/

 

Thanks for supporting Author, Vashti Q. Vega on the release of her latest read, “SON OF THE SERPENT.”  To follow along with her tour, please visit the CURRENT EVENTS page of the 4WillsPub site.   To book your own virtual 4WillsPub blog tour, please visit us HERE!

A Character Interview From the Novel Vanished by Mark Bierman

Greetings! Today I am sharing The Indie Spot with author Mark Bierman and a couple of characters from his novel Vanished. Take it away, Mark. . .

Character interviews from my novel, Vanished.

 

In this blog, I’m going to allow a peek inside the heads of two main characters from my novel, Vanished. Some of it may be disturbing, but these people speak from the heart. Step into their worlds for a brief time and discover a little about what makes them tick.

First, we have Tyler, our headstrong, yet compassionate, protagonist.

Me: “What led you to leave the comfort of home and journey to earthquake-ravaged Haiti?”

Tyler: “Pain. That and trying to appease my mother-in-law. She was in pain too. We all were. We all suffered a loss. It was her idea for her husband, John, and I, to go on this mission trip. Oh, she meant well enough . . . said it would be therapeutic. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined what was in store.”

Me: “I understand, and I won’t make you spell out the details.”

Tyler: (obviously relieved) “Thank you.”

Me: “Speaking of dreams, have you been sleeping better, since your return home?”

Tyler: “Are you referring to the nightmares? No, those have not diminished. No, I’m not sleeping at all!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. I know this may be an intrusive and uncomfortable question, but I feel like I must ask. Given everything that’s happened, if you could have predicted what you were about to endure, would you still have made that trip?”

Tyler: (sighs deeply) “I, I don’t know. Sometimes the answer is a definite ‘yes,’ other times, I shudder to think what could have happened. I’m a ruined man. I’m under investigation by the police . . .  I haven’t been formally charged yet, they are talking deportation to Haiti . . . I’m innocent! I’ve done nothing wrong, but I’m being treated like a criminal. But when I think about her, that young life that we saved, she has a chance because of what we did. And then there’s . . . I’m sorry, I can’t speak anymore, I need you to leave, please, just go.”

Me: “I understand. And just for the record, I think what you did down there is incredible. You are a hero in my eye, and in the eyes of many.”

Our next character is Eliana, perhaps the bravest one of all.

Me: “How old were you when you were taken?”

Eliana: “Seven. I was just seven years old when that man asked to see the flowers I’d picked for Momma. (sobs) I miss her! I’m sorry I never came home!”

Me: “It’s okay, Eliana, just take your time.”

Eliana: (wipes her eyes and stares defiantly): “I’m ready. I was put there for a reason. I won’t let them win. I’ve turned my tragedy into something good. I’m part of the underground, working in the front lines in this fight. I have information that no one else does, and I have used it to set others free. I will never stop fighting! Even with my last breath!”

Me: (speechless with awe by this woman’s courage) “Eliana, you are one of the strongest people I have ever met. I just have one more question. How can we help?”

Eliana: “Spread the word about human trafficking. Educate people and tell our story. This is not just a third-world problem, this is a global epidemic. We need your support!”

Me: “Thank you, Eliana. I will certainly try to do just that. It was a privilege to meet you and I hope that someday this despicable crime can be eliminated.”

 

*  *  *

VANISHED

Blurb:

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

 

*  *  *

Author Bio:

Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark’s childhood consisted of chores, horseback riding, snowmobile races, fishing trips to local lakes, and many other outdoor adventures. He was, and remains, an avid reader of many genres.

Transitioning into adulthood also meant moving from the farm into large urban areas that introduced this ‘country boy’ to ‘big city’ life.

Drawing on his many experiences as a private investigator, and later, a correctional officer, Mark combines his unique experiences and imagination to create stories and characters.

 

Follow Mark online!

Twitter:   @mbiermanauthor

Facebook: Facebook

Website:  markbierman.com

 

Meet #RRBC Spotlight Author Marcha Fox!

Meet Thyron, a Flora Peda Telepathis

 

 Creating engaging characters is not only important to a story’s success, but fun and challenging. Sometimes it takes deliberate thought and hard work to figure out everything about him or her: hair and eye color, quirks, talents, weaknesses, favorite comfort food. However, knowing your characters intimately brings them to life, at which point they help write the story. I love it when that happens!

Thyron, a flora peda telepathis (telepathic walking plant) who appears throughout the Star Trails Tetralogy, was different. I didn’t have to go through a long, drawn-out, creative process to bring him to life. Rather, it was more like Pallas Athene, who burst forth from her father, Zeus’s, head as an adult (clothed in battle armor, no less–no wonder he had a headache).

In other words, Thyron showed up fully developed. Getting to know him was more a matter of discovery than creativity. I knew immediately that he could shuffle about, had eyes, and communicated telepathically, usually in rhyme. In spite of being nearly omniscient, he was naive due to his lack of experience. He hailed from a planet named Sapphira, which was populated by pygmies who didn’t have a spoken, much less written, language. As the most intelligent species on that planet, the flora peda telepathes were worshipped as gods. No ego trip there!

As reviewers began to mention Thyron as their favorite, considering he’s a minor character in the series, I realized he deserved more attention. Thus, I wrote a short story that explained how his path came to cross with Creena’s, protagonist in Beyond the Hidden Sky. In A Dark of Endless Days, he and another minor character, the robot, Aggie, wind up at Area 51. Clearly, that story needed to be told as well. And thus the seed was planted for The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51.

Getting into Thyron’s head was a trip and a half, trying to figure out how he would perceive Earth and us earthlings. Here’s an excerpt when personnel at Hill Air Force Base placed the chamber in which he’d been secured in a shipping box:

Two others arrived, measured the chamber, then quickly constructed a box similar to the others… As he was lowered within its depths, Thyron hyper-photosynthesized with horror–he was surrounded by material that had once been the living tissue of a very unfortunate tree. His villous leaves tingled with revulsion as he sensed screams emanating from the wood’s coarse grain, his mind assaulted by the vision of it being murdered in its prime–cut down, stripped of its bark, then mutilated to suit the demented purposes of humans.

A few scenes later, he was horrified again:

Everyone left except two helmeted MPs. The pair took up stations just outside the open door, weapons slung over their shoulders while they engaged in muffled conversation. One removed a small human-finger-sized cylindrical roll of vegetal materials from a package in one of his pockets, then offered one to the other, after which he lit the bundle with a tiny flame and began to inhale the smoldering vapors, emanating considerable pleasure as he did so.

Thyron gasped, horrified. He’d felt fear vicariously, but never experienced it personally before. Now it gripped him at a visceral limb-chilling level as he considered the many ways people on this dreadful world tortured vegetation. Would they do the same to him? He shuddered with the realization he was probably about to find out.

When Thyron arrives at Area 51, astrobiologist, Gabe Greenley (another character who just showed up) begins to check him out. Gabe’s favorite expression is “Holy guacamole!” which Thyron assumes to be the scientist’s personal diety. Thyron isn’t exactly the usual lab specimen, given he’s sentient and Gabe is psi-sensitive, so the two can communicate. The relationship that developed between them surprised even me. My biggest challenge with this story, given the characters were essentially self-animating, was when Gabe started his scientific investigation.

I pride myself in writing hard science fiction with a generous side-order of science. As a physicist, I knew precious little about botany. To make a long story short, researching and integrating the science side took as long as writing the story! To my delight, however, what I discovered included a generous blast of serendipity.

 The plant I decided to model Thyron after was oxalis. As I learned about its properties, as well as the photosynthesis process in general, I encountered numerous fun facts that dove-tailed with Thyron so beautifully that they fit the category “you can’t make this stuff up.” Even his name, which he’d had long before I’d learned anything about plant physiology, had meaning, given that thylakoids are the part of a plant that receives light, and Thyron’s entire journey in this series was about attaining enlightenment. I discovered that oxalis has medicinal properties after I’d assumed such in the story, as well as the fact that it’s not unheard of for plants to have some level of perception, including defense systems.

A lot of humor arose in the interactions between Thyron and Gabe. I think I had more fun writing this side-story than the entire series. Interestingly enough, I’d started writing the final (I think) book of the series prior to this one, but something told me to stop and write The Terra Debacle. By the time I finished, I realized what a large part it plays in the final wrap-up of what has been a long journey.

This is what happens when you have characters that take over the writing process. I love it when that happens.

AUTHOR BIO:

Marcha Fox is an avid science fiction fan and author with over 20 years’ experience in positions ranging from technical writer to engineer to manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in physics, which was but a prelude to her interest in the unexplained mysteries of the cosmos. Inspired by science fiction to pursue a career in a technical field, she hopes to instill the same fascination in young readers, while providing older ones with classic hard science fiction.

 

Born in Peekskill, New York, she has lived in California, Utah, and Texas in the course of raising her family, which included fifteen years as a stay-at-home mom before returning to college in her 30s to obtain her degree, a feat accomplished while she still had six children at home. All are now grown with children of their own providing her with 17 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren so far. Never at a loss for something to do, besides writing she’ a professional astrologer who enjoys gardening, her two Bengal cats and a sassy tuxedo, and keeping up with family.

 

THE TERRA DEBACLE: PRISONERS AT AREA 51

https://books2read.com/u/b6QelW

 

Blurb:  Thyron is a flora peda telepathis (telepathic walking plant) from the planet Sapphira on an adventure gone terribly wrong. The bad decision of a human girl and her maniacal robot companion has stranded them on Earth, where his botanical cousins face horrible fates such as consumption by herbivores, incineration, and brutal annihilation for use as building material.

 

Following capture, Thyron is transported to Area 51, where NASA exobiologist, Gabe Greenley, studies his every move, ecstatic with the opportunity to examine an entirely new lifeform. In due course, the scientist makes a ground-breaking discovery, distressed by the fact he can never share it due to his security oaths and research agreement. Eventually, he’s confronted by an even worse ethical dilemma that forces him to make a treasonous and potentially deadly decision.

 

Will Thyron’s psychic powers be enough to save him? Is Greenley friend or foe? Or does the exobiologist have a few secrets of his own?

 

Find out in this unique combination of hard science fiction, suspense, and a touch of humor populated with memorable characters in a setting loaded with intrigue. Unexpected plot twists coupled with a unique ending make this an unforgettable tale whether you’re a science fiction fan, botanist, UFO aficionado, or simply enjoy a good story.

 

Twitter: @startrailsiv

Facebook:  @marchafoxauthor

Website: https://www.startrailssaga.com