Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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Harvest by Olga Werby - Book Tour + Giveaway


Harvest
by Olga Werby



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GENRE:   Science Fiction

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BLURB:

Almost a century after Keres Triplets asteroid impact and subsequent nuclear exchange almost
ended all human life on Earth, a strange artifact is discovered on one of the moons of Saturn.
Who should be sent to the outer reaches of the solar system to initiate the first contact with an alien
culture? Dr. Varsaad Volhard, an evolutionary-socio-historian, is chosen to help the world understand
the alien civilization that left an artifact some thirty thousand years ago, before humans even learned
to farm, at the time when other human species still walked the earth.
While Vars prepares for the mission, her father, Dr. Matteo Volhard, discovers nanobots among
the microplastics he studies. The bots are everywhere and seem to have been created to bond with
human cyber implants. Why? Matteo is made to keep his discovery a secret...as well as his and his
daughter's true origins. Both were donated to a Human DNA Vault as babies.
Matteo was raised as a Seed before leaving with his young daughter to study ecology around the
world. Who knows what? Who is in control? How does one communicate with non-human intelligence?
People seem to die in gruesome ways as their cyberhumatics go haywire on Earth and on Luna
and Mars colonies. Is Earth under attack or is it all just a cosmic misunderstanding?
Vars needs to use all she knows to solve the mystery of the ancient civilization on Mimas,
as her dad battles the alien nanobots at home.

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EXCERPT

Vars slept on the plane…or tried to. She was too confused, too keyed up to really sleep.
That coffee might have been a mistake. Ian said that he couldn’t tell her anything until they arrived
at his EPSA office in Seattle, which was conveniently her own hometown where she lived with her dad.
The man just smiled a lot and talked about how much he had enjoyed reading Vars’s new book.

There was a strange edge to their interaction. If Vars hadn’t believed Ian’s credentials,
she would have bailed on him a long time ago. Even so, she felt like she was being kidnapped.
And, in a way, she was. She’d had to cancel the last two lectures of her book tour and apologize
to her agent over and over again. Ian had promised that EPSA would send an official excuse letter,
but Vars still felt like she let her agent and publisher down.

They landed at a general aviation airport, and another black car whisked them to EPSA’s
headquarters, just outside of Seattle’s city limits. She was taken to a conference room on the top
floor of the EPSA science building, which Ian called the “tree house.”
She immediately understood why–it was surrounded on all sides by a balcony planted with a row
of trees and some shrubbery. It was quite nice, but Vars couldn’t enjoy it; she was simultaneously
exhausted and adrenalized. It was just a matter of time before she crashed.

She must have looked it, too, because someone handed her a very big, very steamy cup of coffee.
She sipped it gratefully, completely oblivious to how she came to be holding it.
It was still very early in the morning, way before Vars even liked to get up, much less attend a meeting.

About a dozen EPSA people joined her and Ian around the conference table.
Vars noticed that several paper copies of her book were laid out; some even looked read,
with cracked spines and dog-eared pages.

“So,” she said to Ian. “Is now a good time and place for you to tell me what this is all about?”

“Now is perfect,” Ian said with a big smile. “We are very grateful to have you with us today,
Dr. Volhard. This is my exobiology team.” He pointed one by one to the people on one side of the table.
“Dr. Alice Bear. Dr. Greg Tungsten. Dr. Bob Shapiro. Dr. Saydi Obara. Dr. Evelyn Shar.
And Dr. Izzy Rubka.”

Vars had heard of some of these people by reputation, of course, but never met any of them
personally. EPSA people were a reclusive bunch, tending to mix with their own to the exclusion of
others, even with the same research interests. It was one of the reasons Vars always wanted to join
the organization–to get access to the best and the brightest minds and a chance to discuss the
origins of life over coffee… But the introductions were happening so fast, there was no chance that
she would remember how any of these names linked up with faces. Vars doubted she would even
recognize these people walking down the street.

But Ian just continued. “And this group,” he gestured to two men and a woman, “is on loan from JPL–
Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. Trish Cars, Dr. Ron Silverman, and Dr. Benjamin Kouta.”
Vars gave up on remembering who was who. “And these two,” Ian said, nodding to a pair of identical
twins sitting next to him, “are Ibe and Ebi Zimov, our computer science wunderkinds from EISS,
European Institute of Space Science.”




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Guest Post
Guest post topic: What inspired the story? 


I’m a scientist. I’m very interested in the development of life, consciousness, and civilization.
Over the past several decades, we’ve learned a lot about human biology not only on the molecular level
(DNA) but also the chemistry and physics of biology. We can see the range of possibilities for behavior and
emotion programmed into us by our evolutionary development. We’ve also learned about other human species
that didn’t survive to the present day but whose echoes we carry in our very genes—Heanderthals,
Homo floresiensis, Homo denisovans, and the newly discovered Homo luzonesis. There are many more,
of course, but it takes time and luck to find evidence. 


Only the Homo sapiens are alive on our world today. And only a small percentage of those developed the
capacity or desire to take over the world and impose their culture on the rest of the peoples. Why?
Why did some Hominids made it and some didn’t? Why did some civilizations flourished and others fell?
We can answer some of these questions with psychology, sociology, paleontology, anthropology, biology,
and simple luck. 


Luck seems to have played a huge role in human evolution and survival on our planet.
Those who were lucky enough to live in fertile environments with species of plants and animals that were
easy to domesticate won the life lottery, so to speak. The unlucky ones didn’t make it to the present day
or ended up colonized… 


We have some ideas about what it takes to survive and thrive on Earth. But what does it take to survive in
the galaxy? Can we use the same principles and apply them on a larger scale? “Harvest” is a book that focuses
on galaxy-wide civilizations and what it takes to become one. I wanted to use all of the science I knew to
extrapolate the implications of being the first intelligence and the first civilization and then the first space-fairing
culture to arise in the Milky Way. There had to be the THE first. What if it is NOT us? How would we, humans,
handle first contact with such people? Would it go well for us? Would it be like “Star Trek?”
I had a feeling that it might not really play out that way…


“Harvest” is a story of first contact. 30,000-year-old alien artifact is found on one of the moon of Saturn,
buried in the ancient ice. This means that back when humans didn’t even begin agriculture or domestication
of animals or started using symbols to keep track of ideas or to send messages to each other; before the days
of making clay pots and weaving baskets; back when we haven’t even discovered the Americas; in the deep
time before the dawn of our civilization (night time, really), some aliens were already advanced enough to
send a craft across the trillions and trillions of miles of space to our home star system. Why did they come?
What do they want?


I have posted the first three chapters of “Harvest” on my blog: https://interfaces.com/blog/my-books/harvest/


I’ve made a little video introduction to “Harvest”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfJnQhQkDCo


“Harvest” was published in May, 2019, after almost two years of writing and editing and illustration.
It got three 5-star reviews from ReadersFavorite and has been entered into a few completions.


5-stars: "[T]he story is very believable and that made it a tad bit scary. This could be where we are headed
and what our future could hold. The dialogues were amazing, the plot was fast paced and the characters were
given enough page space to evolve and develop on their own. Nothing was rushed, everything unfolded as it
should... Interesting and very entertaining." -- Readers' Favorite

5-stars: "This novel is a deep and meaningful exploration of the complexities regarding the origins of the
human race as well as the intentions of an alien species." -- Readers' Favorite

5-stars: "Author Olga Werby writes with excellent pacing to deliver a detailed and engagingly deep science
fiction plot as well as a fast and action-fuelled novel that keeps the reader wanting to turn pages.
Never too bogged down by the details, gradual exposition and well-crafted character development lead us to
the secret origins of both Vars and Matteo as they uncover conspiracies and secrets that humanity would never
be able to dream of in their society. I really enjoyed the realism of this far future, where the new tech and alien
culture are drawn from our own influences, making them more relatable and often frighteningly realistic and
threatening on the page. Overall, Harvest makes compelling reading for its conceptual prowess, strong plot
and commitment to character development." -- Readers' Favorite

“Harvest” is fully-illustrated—why do only kids get to have pictures in their books? Below is a sample image
from my book.
Condor:Olga Books:Harvest:Output:2019-04-16-Illustration-Taking Over in the Lab 01.jpg

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning
experiences. She has a Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley in Education of Math, Science,
and Technology. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such
as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley,
and the Princeton Review. Olga has a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from
Columbia University. She became an accidental science fiction indie writer about a decade ago,
with her first book, "Suddenly Paris," which was based on then fairly novel idea of virtual universes.
Her next story, "The FATOFF Conspiracy," was a horror story about fat, government bureaucracy,
and body image. She writes about characters that rarely get represented in science fiction stories --
homeless kids, refugees, handicapped, autistic individuals -- the social underdogs of our world.
Her stories are based in real science, which is admittedly stretched to the very limit of possible.
She has published almost a dozen fiction books to date and has won many awards for her writings.
Her short fiction has been featured in several issues of "Alien Dimensions Magazine,"
"600 second saga," "Graveyard Girls," "Kyanite Press' Fables and Fairy Tales,"
"The Carmen Online Theater Group's Chronicles of Terror," with many more stories freely available
on her blog, Interfaces.com.

Links: 

Author’s Website: https://interfaces.com/blog/
Amazon: amazon.com/author/olgawerby
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OlgaWerby/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OlgaWerby
Company/Publisher: https://Pipsqueak.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDE3BNceupMYgvoaoAps2mg
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/olgawerby/


Selected Book Links on Amazon:

“The FATOFF Conspiracy”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014S0W4WO/
“Lizard Girl & Ghost: The Chronicles of DaDA Immortals”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FBR7Q1T/


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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION
Olga Werby will be awarding 2 books to a randomly drawn commenter (LIZARD GIRL AND GHOST and SUDDENLY, PARIS) via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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