Did you know that exactly three years ago today, Time Heist was launched out into the Universe?
Since November 15th, 2014, Time Heist has sold over 20,000 copies, hit #1 on Amazon’s Top-100 chart for Science Fiction, and been adapted into a critically accclaimed audiobook performed by none other than Adam Verner.
It’s been a whirlwind ride, but the adventure is just beginning.
In fact, as of today, three years later…The Firstborn Saga continues…
Mind Breach Has Landed!
A Mind Divided Cannot Stand
Tom Mandel is either a villain or a saint, depending on who you ask. He’s already died once in the fight for Unity. He’ll do it again if needed, but he’d rather it didn’t come to that. In the battle to come, however, he might not have much of a choice.
A mysterious imprint, grafted onto the mind of Division Agent Mika Frost, holds the key to stopping Tom Mandel and his terrorist cell, Castle. Survival means uncovering the secret hidden inside her own mind, before it’s too late. If she fails, Unity will fall. She won’t let that happen.
“Enter the world of Anthony Vicino once again as he takes us deeper into his world of science fiction, where man and machine become integrated, while man becomes the pawn of the machine he created and the mind is no longer a unique and private place to go, where deaths can be manipulated to re-birth a more perfect specimen or destroy the greatest threats.
MIND BREACH is a fascinating, if dark journey into a world in crisis, one that threatens to remove all individuality by any means. Good versus evil? Yes, but this time set in an action-packed world unlike anything you have ever known. Razor sharp tension and an atmosphere of conflicted loyalties make this non-stop visit into a bleak future an incredible continuation of the Firstborn Saga.”
A huge thanks to everybody whose taken the time to read and review either Time Heist or Mind Breach. I can’t tell you guys how much it means to me (and all authors, really) when you take time out of your busy, busy schedules to leave a quick review of our stories.
Whether it’s on Amazon, Goodreads, or graffiti’ed on the side of a urinal, reviews help. If you’ve enjoyed The Firstborn Saga up to this point, do me a favor, and consider leaving a quick words on a site of your choosing.
Now it’s time to go back into the word-mine and see what we can dig up for Soul State (the epic conclusion to The Firstborn Saga!)
Psyched to jump back into The Firstborn Saga? Help spread the word and hit that Share button below!
Are you ready to unleash a staggering amount of productivity?
What if I told you there’s a way to boost your productivity by as much as 31% and all it would take you is two minutes a day for twenty one days straight?
2 minutes/day x 21 days straight = 31% increase in productivity.
That formula sounds a little too good to be true, huh?
And to be clear, no, we’re not talking about hooking you up to a steady IV drip of caffeine. Though that might achieve the same end goal, I posit that taking caffeine via a hole poked in your arm is more tedious, and uncomfortable, than what I’ve got in store for you to today.
Then again, maybe not.
So what’s this magical trick capable of unearthing oodles of your untold potential upon the world?
It’s real simple:
Studies consistently show that your brain in a positive state is 31% more productive than your brain in a negative, neutral, or even stressed state.
That’s a staggering amount of potential productivity just waiting to be unleashed, and all it’ll cost you is a positive attitude.
What’s happiness anyways?
Here’s the real issue: Most of us these days are bad at being happy.
I know I am.
I’m always projecting forward, connecting my happiness with the completion of some task or obtainment of some key metric.
In school that was getting good grades. Later that was getting a good job.
But when your happiness is tied up in the future, in the attainment or accomplishment of something, then that means happiness is always lurking on the other side of success.
And when that is the case, our brain never truly arrives at happiness.
Because our brain cheats and constantly moves the goal-post. As soon as we arrive at the completion of a task (at success), our brain is already remodeling its expectations.
You got good grades? Great. Now get even better grades.
You wrote a book? Fantastic. Now write an even better book.
Linking success with happiness pushes both beyond our reach. It’s a carrot forever lingering just beyond our grasp.
But don’t worry (remember, your brain is less effective when operating from a negative mind-state), for this broken cycle is not a function of genetics, but rather, one of society.
Ever since we were children we’ve been trained in an environment where happiness and success and recognition were linked.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
When we unlock the means to express positivity and happiness in the present-moment, then our brains get supercharged. They are suddenly able to work harder, faster, and more intelligently.
There are two reasons for this, and it all traces back to chemistry.
Remember when I said the trick didn’t involve caffeine or performance enhancing substances?
Plot twist. Time to get out that IV.
Just kidding. About the IV, that is. Not the performance enhancing substances.
Our brain is one squishy factory of performance enhancing substances. To understand how to maximize our productivity, intelligence, and energy levels, it’s important to first grasp what’s happening inside our cranium on at least a very basic level.
Dopamine makes everything better
Most of you out there will have heard about this little chemical the brain emits. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with (among other things) reward-motivation behavior.
Rewards typically elicit a squirt of dopamine, which reinforces the behavior and makes you want to do that activity again in the future.
Drugs artificially boost dopamine production, which is why drugs (in a broad general sense) are so damn addictive.
It’s science, yo.
Science we can use to our advantage.
Dopamine has two functions when it comes to positivity and happiness.
First is the obvious function we’ve already discussed:
Dopamine simply makes you happier.
But happiness in and of itself doesn’t account for the staggering boost in cognitive capacities.
No, that comes from the second function of dopamine.
Dopamine activates the learning centers in your brain, allowing you to adapt and grow in new, exciting ways.
That’s right, those little dopamine shots don’t just make you happy, they make you more productive and able to learn.
Earlier we discussed how society has trained us to associate happiness with success, and how both are living beyond the cognitive horizon, forever beyond our grasp but for the fleeting moments immediately following obtainment.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Remember at the beginning of the article when I told you that by investing 2 minutes a day for 21 days in a row, you could boost your overall productivity by as much as 31%?
Well my patiently persistent reader, we’ve arrived at the how portion of today’s proceedings.
Here are the 3 steps to boosting your productivity/positivity
Every day for the next 21 days, I want you to:
Start your morning by writing down 3 things you are grateful for
Journal about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours
Write one positive email praising somebody in your support network, every single day
Substantially less cumbersome than an IV of caffeine trailing you all day.
Seriously, it’s that easy.
These steps boil down to reliving positive experiences and using those meditations to rewire the stimuli your brain chooses to prioritize.
This exercise programs your brain to recognize that behavior matters.
Eventually your brain starts changing the patterns it seeks out in its day-to-day interactions. It no longer searches first for the negative, but the positive.
We all have those people in our lives who are constantly negative. They look at the world through a pessimistic lens infecting everything with a cynicism and close-mindedness that, if you let it, will infect and overwhelm you.
Hell, we don’t even have to look beyond ourselves to find that person. Often we are that person.
But what we’re going to do over the course of the next 21 days is break that cycle. With intentionality we are going to focus on positive patterns in our behavior, thought processes, and interpersonal interactions.
If you stick with this course of action, you will notice a boost in your overall happiness, success, and life satisfaction.
So don’t wait, don’t put it off. Invest two minutes every single day towards your happiness.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed the article, do me a favor and share it with a friend. As an author your support means the world.
That’s right. Mind Breach is coming and there’s little you, me, or those blasted, meddling kids can do to stop it. At this point we might as well curl into little balls and await the inevitable destruction.
Wait…why am I coaching the release of Time Heist’ssequel in such cataclysmic terms? That seems like a questionable marketing decision.
This should be a time of much rejoicing and merrimaking, so what’ya say? Wanna go make some merry <–Pretty sure that’s not actually a thing people say, but I’m going to play it off with confidence and machismo.
Mind Breach (the long, long awaited sequel to Time Heist) is officially available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Itunes, Google, and pretty much anywhere else you get books these days for $3.99.
Go ahead and snag yourself a copy right now and then when the book releases on November 15th, it’ll just magically appear on your e-reader of choice and it’ll feel like you’re at Hogwarts or something.
What’re you waiting for? Go grab a copy. Do it now. No worries, this blog post ain’t goin’ nowhere. We’ll wait for you to get back.
See, now doesn’t that feel better? Wait, did you really just go and secure your copy?
Wow. That’s amazing! Thank you. Seriously. A million high-fives to you, my friend!
Interesting fact about November 15 is that it’s almost exactly (to the day) 3 years after the release of Time Heist.
You’re probably thinking, “Damn, that’s a long time to write a book.” And you’d be right. It is.
I’ve written extensively in recent months about the mental, physical, and spiritual war I waged with this book. In the end, Mind Breach left me with some pretty sexy (and some not so pretty sexy) scars. What’s that? You’re a masochist and want to read more about my suffering.
You’d think publishing the damn thing would bring an end to the pain and suffering, but oh, sweet summer child, you’d be wrong. Oh so very wrong.
Now is the time I get to wait with my stomach kinked in knots, awaiting feedback from readers who were lucky (or unlucky depending on your perspective) enough to get their hands on an Advance Review Copy of Mind Breach.
In Time Heist we followed the story from beginning to end through the eyes of a single character, Tom Mandel. In Mind Breach, things change. The world grows. The story convolutes. And we’re given four characters through which to view unfolding events.
Writing Mind Breach was creatively a challenge for me. It pushed the limits of my craft. In the end, however, I am very happy with the story being told and I can’t wait to share it with you all.
Already I’ve been receiving questions about whether or not Mind Breach will be on audio, to which I say, “Yes! But of course!” The caveat there being the fact that Mind Breach will not be available on audio until the end of December.
I apologize to you audiophiles out there, but rest assured, your ear-venture is coming.
Enough babbling from me for now. A huge thank you, thank you, thank you to everybody who’s helped bring Mind Breach into existence and to all of you who are so kind, and beautiful, and smart, and smelly (good smelly) who’ve preordered a copy of Mind Breach. I can’t tell you how much your support means!
Not because she doesn’t conform to traditional, preconceived notions of what it means to be an athlete.
But because she is unafraid to pursue her passion despite what anybody else might think. We spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think of us. This constant, invisible pressure to be accepted stops many of us from pursuing dreams. The fear that they might scoff at us if they only knew the depth of our ambition.
Mirna don’t give a shit. Mirna does Mirna ’cause Mirna knows the only person at the end of the day she is accountable to is Mirna.
Channel your inner Mirna this week. Push the haters and self-doubt out of your mind and chase your dream.
ATommy Muncie has wanted to be so many things that he’s lost count, but still ended up writing about all of them. He creates future worlds and watches his characters destroy themselves as they follow their hopes and dreams from Earth to space and back. And just sometimes, they’re allowed moments of triumph.
Shadow’s Talent is his début novel and book one of The Talent Show series, four years in the making, and completed while doing volunteer work for the National Trust. Tommy’s ‘real world’ career has taken him from the slopes of Somerset to the south coasts, and he hopes for a long lifetime of outdoor graft and voracious typing combined.
Anthony Vicino: What started you on your writing journey?
Tommy Muncie: I was seven years old and the first story I ever wrote was about me being a space explorer, because we were doing space and planets at school and my teacher built it into our English lessons as well.
It really wasn’t a case of ‘I’m destined to write sci-fi’ but it’s a nice fit when I look back on it now. I was one of those kids who liked fiction before he could even read, and plenty of adults who knew me as a kid remember me saying I wanted to be an author. I wrote garbage all the way through my school years trying to get as good as my heroes, and I carried it on into my early twenties and I thought ‘I still like this, let’s actually try making a go of it.’
AV: Are there any topics/themes in particular that recur in your fiction?
Tommy Muncie: All my books so far center around the idea of people trying to get back what they’ve lost. Even the people who are trying to change the way they live or even who they are find themselves doing it, because what they’re trying to get back is respect for themselves, or sometimes the respect of others.
Then there’s the importance of telling the truth, and the consequences of not telling it. If anyone asked me what the two Carnathia’s Underground books are really about, it’s that. After I wrote them and worked that out, I realised that’s a pretty big theme in the Talent Show books as well. Given all this ‘fake news’ crap that’s around at the moment, I feel like now’s the time to be writing about that sort of message!
AV: What makes for a great story in your eyes?
Tommy Muncie: There has to be a question I’m desperate to have answered, or several, and the sense that the reward for reading it will be some sort of discovery or revelation. It’s why I love crime fiction and mystery at least as much as sci-fi. Maybe that’s what makes a great page-turner rather than a story though, because I think the story comes from the character – it has to belong to them and not just happen to them. They have to have a personal stake in what goes on in the book, and they have to be someone the reader feels is worth the time.
AV: You started your publishing career with Shadow’s Talent. Tell us about that story and what made it special enough to tell?
Tommy Muncie: It’s the story of a young man about to turn 18 who wants to be a spacecraft pilot. He’s already tested well for the aptitude, but society in the 2200’s only tends to recruit people from a particular class. Or unless you’re recommended by people who are. Good news for Shadow then, he’s about to start meeting people like that, after being witness to a high profile murder and creating a big stir with his witness testimony.
What I think made it special enough to tell, for me, was the depth I managed to get out of what sounds pretty simple. I spent three years writing stories with Shadow and the people around him before it all made sense, and before I had the confidence to hit publish with a draft I thought was good enough, but along the way I realised this story had potential to be part of something huge. I don’t mean huge in terms of bookselling success, I mean it in terms of world-building. A lot of my writing heroes do long books with complex worlds, and this was the story that made me think ‘I’ve got my first shot at doing the same right here!’
AV: What’s your favorite thing about the character, Shadow?
Tommy Muncie: The way he constantly pushes his luck. It’s what I find admirable and tragic about him all at the same time – enough is never enough for him, and he’s always hearing that voice that says ‘maybe you should stop here’ but he just can’t help himself. He sometimes tries, and at one point in Ghost of the Navigator I even convinced myself he had chance of becoming different, but it couldn’t last.
It’s my favourite part of him because a character like that is impossible to run out of ideas with. And it’s part of what makes him a daredevil, which is pretty fun to write about.
AV: You shifted your attention for awhile to focus on Carnathia’s Underground series which follows a shapeshifting assassin. Tell us a bit more about that story and what it’s all about.
Tommy Muncie: Carnathia is a planet I created in the Talent Show series, which to most of the Earth population is unreachable. I decided not to wait until Talent Show Book 3 (when interplanetary travel really comes into play) to start exploring it. I tried some shorter stories set on it and some Wikipedia-style writing, and the best thing that came out of it was the story of Screft, the shapeshifter, It’s partly a story about how people often see what they want to.
The two CU books are the story of how and why Screft is trying to change himself into a human permanently, how he tricks Oscar into helping him, and the people in both their lives who would love any excuse to ruin everything for both of them.
AV: How does Fighter’s Mark compare to Shadow’s Talent?
Tommy Muncie: I feel like I took Fighter’s Mark less seriously. Shadow’s Talent had a deeper, more reflective feel about it that drew on some of the more literary authors I’ve read as well as SF. Fighter’s Mark is…well, I still like the description I came up with one night on my blog: ‘If Quentin Tarantino and Clive Barker got drunk one night and said “Let’s do a sci-fi project together” it might have turned out something like this.’ Not that I think I’m worthy of my heroes or anything, but that’s the kind of vibe I had.
Fighter’s Mark is also easier to read. Its style makes it more of a page turner. Shadow’s Talent is the slow-burn sort of crime mystery.
AV: Have you changed your approach/process of writing since you first sat down to write Shadow’s Talent?
Tommy Muncie: Honestly, I don’t think so. When I look at what I was doing, the kind of writing habits I had and how I re-worked and refined a novel into the finished product, I can’t see much difference.
I hate regimental writing routines and never have a set slot in the day where I force myself to write. I’m a hardcore discovery writer, or ‘pantser’ as it’s better known to other writers.
As long as I’m putting pen to paper and getting a book down, it doesn’t really matter when, or how many words I get on a particular session. Sometimes I get 500, sometimes I get 5K. When I got to the end of GotN, I was working at a trickle, then one day just decided ‘Door locked, music on, let’s finish this’ and got 11k in one afternoon in the time it usually took me to get 4 or 5.
AV: I know you’re working on the third book in The Talent Show series at the moment. What can we expect from that story, and when can we look forward to seeing it on the shelves?
Tommy Muncie: The biggest thing about this book is that the surviving cast of the Carnathia’s Underground books are going to meet some of the Talent Show cast and interlock the two in the continuing story of both worlds. You can read the TS books without having read CU.
Deception Crossing is the book that takes the TS series out into the big wide universe. I’m drawing on the influence of writers like George RR Martin and James Clavell and Peter F Hamilton this time around: big worlds, big cast of characters, high stakes to play for and loads of gambit pile-ups.
It won’t get released until next year, that much I can pretty well guarantee. By the time I’m ready to book my editor, it’ll probably mean March 2018 before I can look at a release date.
AV: Where can readers find/connect with you online? Feel free to pimp your wares here! Thanks, Tommy!
“There are losers, and there are people who have not yet learned how to win.”
Well, well, well…look what the cat dragged in. If it isn’t another sad, pathetic, good for nothing, mangy Monday.
Nah, I’m just kidding. There’s nothing fundamentally different about a Monday. Just another day labeled as arbitrarily as the day that preceded it. Mondays are a figment of the mind. A construct tricking us into thinking we’ve arrived at some sort of meaningful starting point.
Of course, we’ve arrived nowhere because to arrive we must first leave, and look at us, we are exactly where we’ve always been. We’ve left nothing because there is nothing to leave. There is just simply now. A singular moment gone as soon as it arrives.
And now we’re onto the next. Look at us go!
But it’s all a trick of the mind, this concept of time. Of progression. Of starting and stopping. Of weekdays and weekends. They’re all the same, really. Just singular moments parading as something more.
And yet, all that matters is what we choose to do with this singular moment.
So forget Monday–it’s just a name anyhow–and ask yourself, “What am I going to do with singular moment.” I hope you have a good answer. Now get down to the comments and share!