Your Sneak Peek of the Anticipated Sequel

Steal a Look into Baktu’s Story of Struggle and Discovery

Hi fans! Cass here, guest blogger for Baktu’s approaching release date! I’ve been given a pre-published glimpse of the upcoming novel Baktu, and although I can’t give away any details, I can say you won’t be able to put it down once you start reading!

Both existing fans and new readers will love this great continuation and development of an epic space-adventure in the sequel novel, Baktu. Following the success of his first novel Negative Zero, author Jim Grogan knew the characters and story would continue greatly inspire and also reach more readers, so he set out to develop this next installment.

Although set on another world far from earth, Baktu deeply hits home for earthly every person, as each man, woman, and child has their own life story of challenge, connection, discovery, and breakthrough. The main character, an inventive, handsome, and somewhat rebellious engineer and pilot, Tomek, begins the prologue and carries forward in this second novel as the author’s point of view for the opening sections of the book.

Tomek’s nonconformist nature is highlighted several times in the opening scenes, as he must chose to decide, under pressure and in the moment, if he is to abide by the standards and rules of others, or if he will risk the possibly disastrous and deadly consequences to control his own destiny. Is begs the question then to any reader, if you were Tomek, what would you do? Although none of us will be flying a spaceship any time soon, everyone can imagine a situation in their lives where they had to either rely on the roles and information given to us from others, or to make up the rules, information, and decisions to carve our own path through space and time.

As with Tomek, there is an explorer living deep inside many of us. It may be a desire to explore space, like Tomek, or science, electronics or art and music. This sequel, Baktu, brings to each person the chance to model their struggle through the experience of Tomek, and other characters introduced throughout the novel. In this installment, Tomek’s purpose is in conflict. He has a burning personal desire to explore, understand, and connect with the planet’s range of live and resources, but also he must not become distracted from his direct purpose, of finding and saving someone close to him from life threatening danger. He hopes something or someone on the planet has the clues he needs, but being the alien on a foreign planet presents unique tests and problems he must resolve to understand and benefit from the world around him.

Although Tomek feels welcomed by the inhabitants, and relatively safe (if not for the planet’s strange beasts that are allowed to roam free and sometimes even bred for their brute strength), he does feel that they aren’t truly open to him. He has been very plain and open in his quest for clues or direct information, and even with the connections that he might now regard as friends, it is clear there are some things that they keep to themselves. He senses no malice or trouble from them, just a distance that he cannot possibly explain as the secret might be any of the many odd occurrences he has encountered so far.

You should read this book for several reasons. I’ve only got space to list a few of them here, but trust me on this and you’ll enjoy the rewards both during and after completing Baktu. First, the characters are the kinds of people we would all want in our own lives, either at home or while on an epic space adventure. They’re honest, supportive, not limiting and each have an adventurous spirit in their own way. Second, as I’ve said before, each of us has some personal or career struggle that seems impossible or hopeless, and through Tomek’s journey we see how his ingenuity and unwillingness to give up, eventually to resolve his problems or lead to the next step in resolving his problems. We could all use a great example like him in times of trouble or in those moments of helplessness. Third, but perhaps most importantly, the combination of the story and the characters are great role models for readers of any age. Parents can be assured that young adults are being exposed to material that will grow their belief in their own ability to create and succeed, and might only have to worry that they’ll take the book to enjoy and read themselves!

Adult readers will find clearly presented and relevant issues and themes hidden in this fiction novel, which connect with every aspect of the reader’s life. Pursuing your own personal interests, while also fitting into a known (or in Tomek’s case unknown) society is a struggle for anyone. Starting a new job, moving to a new town or country, or in the case of Tomek, having landed on another planet is bound to the start of an eye opening adventure. Although the reader is quickly presented with new species, words, and customs, the themes and challenges in the opening chapters are universal, and quickly pull your attention along into the next scene.

As I was enjoying the unfolding story, wondering how and where it would take me to finally discover the upcoming action-packed climax, as I was becoming attached to Tomek’s journey and discoveries, and also pondering what the outcome of their latest troubles might be, my sneak peek abruptly ended. Had it been a scrolling single sheet of real paper it would have shot out of my hands like paper streamers. I hope to have another update for your reading pleasure very soon and giving you the latest on Tomek’s progress!

4 out of 5 stars review from Forward Clarion

I am ecstatic. My book Negative Zero got rated four out of five stars by Forward Clarion reviews. They also gave several paragraphs of glowing commentary. I like it! I will repeat the review here:

Negative Zero is an action-packed space opera that will appeal to lovers of mysteries, crime novels, and conspiracy theories.

In a distant future when an evolved human race coexists with fantastical creatures, infamous vigilante Negative Zero brings criminals to justice. In classic science-fiction style, Jimm Grogan has created an action-packed world with innovative characters, interplanetary intrigue, and diabolical schemes that threaten the future of the Azten Empire of Federated Worlds. With illustrations by Duncan Long, Negative Zerocaptures the spirit of the righteous avenger.

Tomek Nois Plantona Regalia 1294 2 is a man of many talents. He divides his time between his day job as a spacecraft engineer and his hobby of tracking down dangerous criminals as a vigilante assassin. Using disguises that are unique down to facial features and mannerisms, Tomek feels secure in his anonymity until his involvement in two deadly cases leads to the unmasking of his alter ego, Negative Zero.

The book opens with a suspenseful action sequence involving the takedown of a criminal who feeds human flesh to her exotic, hypnotizing birds. While the book is largely plot-driven, Grogan does include some backstory on Tomek’s transformation into Negative Zero, a change shaped in large part by the tragic, unsolved murders of his mother and father. The dangerous cases that Tomek takes on, including a government conspiracy that has cost thousands of lives on the planet Zimvia, all seem to interconnect with clues that could unlock the secrets of the past. Grogan has neatly set up Negative Zero for a sequel or series.

A smattering of grammar and punctuation errors exists, including an occasional dropped article and extra spacing between words; these minor details are easy to dismiss thanks to the fast pacing and page-turning suspense.

An illustrated appendix of races provides a convenient reference point for the six major species mentioned in Negative Zero, although Grogan does specify that the “Azten empire is home to citizens of about twenty different races. However there are significant populations of only about seven of them.” Duncan Long’s drawings complement the text, outlining complex social customs and appearances of each, whether they be human, orwallin, zimvi, or navino.

Although Negative Zero, with its futuristic technology and civilization, is pure science fiction, it will also appeal to lovers of mysteries, crime novels, conspiracy theories, action-adventures, or any genre wherein good overcomes evil.

Forward Clarion Reviews

My New Novelette Available Now

It is finally done. My new novelette, Hermione’s Day Off, is available. It will be available in paperback on Amazon on the third of August 2014 (Monday), and probably before then. You can get the PDF file version here for free. You can also read more about the book here.

This science fiction book is a stand alone story, or read as a prequel to my Negative Zero novel.

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