Science Fiction (First Contact)/Science Fiction (Romance)/Science Fiction (Military)
Date Published: November 26, 2019
They’re already here, and no one knows about it...yet.
Two bedrock assumptions seem to find their way into almost all science fiction tales of first contact between Earth and a hypothetical alien race. The first is that we will necessarily know when it happens and the second is that alien motives will likely be malevolent. In Tier Zero, Vol. I of The Knolan Cycle, first contact occurred over thirty years ago and no one on Earth...not even SETI...has a clue it has happened.
Martin Tellus is a graduate student at UCLA. His past is riddled with mystery, including a lifelong recurring dream he cannot explain. And just as a volcano’s first discharges of gas and magma often signal a coming eruption, Marty’s dreams signal a transformative change. The transformation arrives in the form of a “chance” meeting with Lysia in philosophy class. Their connection is instantaneous.
A seductive Asian woman with an untraceable accent, Lysia sticks to Marty’s thoughts. During a casual conversation after their next class, Lysia offers to teach Marty “eastern” philosophy. But to Marty’s surprise, her teachings open a mind-bridge between them, accompanied by an intense physical connection. And Marty’s progress doesn’t end with the connection he and Lysia share. As her teachings progress, he discovers new powers, at once exhilarating and disquieting. Not for the first time, he wonders, who is Lysia really?
Marty’s questions have answers, but Lysia isn’t telling. At least not yet. The truth is she’s a Seeker and Waykeeper of Knola, in a nearby arm of our common galaxy. She’s been waiting for Marty’s awakening, specifically to be on hand to mentor him in the Way. As Marty’s powers grow with Lysia’s teachings, she realizes he’s unique in ways not even the Oracle, to whom Lysia answers foresaw.
Lysia finds Marty’s growth in the Way at once inspiring and unnerving. Sharing her concerns with her superiors back on Knola, she precipitates a fateful decision that will change Marty’s life and alter the history of both Earth and the Knolan Concordant. Tier Zero begins Marty’s perilous journey to a destiny beyond his—or anyone’s—imaginings.
Tier Zero, Volume I of The Knolan Cycle was published in November 2019. Eryinath-5, Volume II in the series is due out from PhoenixPhyre Publishing in 2021.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
For me, it’s what I call the muddy middle. I’m a plantser, which means I map out my story, or “plan” them, before I start. But usually nine or ten chapters into the story, I get this “brilliant” hair fire of an idea I think will make the story better. So I wander off somewhere, often writing myself into a corner. It’s not all bad, in that my instincts are usually pretty good when it comes to composition. But naturally that idea I had needs to be incorporated into the rest of the story so that it’s relevant, rather than just stuck on. It usually enriches the story, but it has to be stitched it together with the rest of the plot so it “fits.” Sometimes, it turns out to be more involved than I originally expected.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
Mostly New Age, jazz. I listen to some classical music and older rock as in 60s thru 80s and Soul. I guess that makes me a bit eclectic?
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I have both. I facilitate an author’s critique group locally here in Orange County (CA) and have several beta readers who read my work after I’m finished refining it. But I’m always looking for more, so any interested readers can visit dirksayers.com, Author Unredacted and get in on the action through my “Contact Me,” page. I find the critical eyes of my critique partners keep me honest and that the candid views of my beta readers give me a clearer picture of how my work is landing. I couldn’t be as effective as I am without critique partners and beta readers, to say nothing of the several editors I work with. They keep honest with their sanity checks. I can’t imagine trying to publish without their invaluable assistance.
What book are you reading now?
Apart from professional, you mean? I usually have several going at once. I recently finished Wish and Mercy, by AJ Gala, a promising fantasy/speculative fiction writer, and This Corner of the Universe, by Britt Ringel. I’m also re-reading an older historical novel entitled Rizpah, by Charles E. Israel for his superb use of internal dialog and characterization. And in non-fiction, The Predator State, by James K. Galbraith.
How did you start your writing career?
I started by writing short stories and poetry in high school. It was literally a case of ideas and visions ricocheting around in my noggin that just kind of spilled out of my head onto the paper. It continued into college where I took a creative writing series as part of my English minor. My first career as a Marine officer turned into a 22-year creative writing interregnum in which literally all the writing I did was technical or professional. My writing career as a novelist started in corporate America as a training manager. My first novel, West of Tomorrow, was written there. It’s a tale of corporate intrigue, betrayal, misplaced love and the phoenix living in all of us. Since then, I’ve written four more books and am working on two more.
Tier Zero, Vol. I of The Knolan Cycle is the pilot novel in a science fiction series of first contact between Earth and the Knolan Concordant. Most tales of first contact between Earth and hypothetical aliens assume that when it happens, we will necessarily know about it. And that alien motives will probably be aggressive and malevolent, because that’s how we are. In Tier Zero, first contact occurred 30 plus years ago and life on Earth goes on as though it never happened. That’s about to change, of course and as we will see, Knolan motives for that contact are nuanced and a bit obscure. Tier Zero is told from multiple points of view, both Knolan and human.
The sequel to Tier Zero, Eryinath-5 has just been completed and is in the hands of my science fiction editor. It continues the story through the eyes of both the Knolans and the humans who have become aware of them, as well as the Knolan’s implacable enemy, the Valdrōsians. Eryinath-5 is currently scheduled for publication sometime in 2021.
About the Author
Dirk’s path to authorship wasn’t quite an accident, but almost. It’s not that he didn’t write. He did. But through two previous careers, first as a Marine officer and subsequently as a corporate trainer, Dirk started way more stories than he finished.” But in the backwash of the 2008 financial meltdown, his employer filed for Chapter 11. Cordially invited to leave and not return, Dirk found himself out of work and excuses.
Since then, Dirk has published West of Tomorrow, Best-Case Scenario and a collection of short fiction entitled, Through the Windshield. Works in progress include A Year of Maybes, sequel to Best Case Scenario and Tier Zero, Volume I of the Knolan Cycle now available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle.