My Books!

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Amazing, Unfolding World of Machine Civilization

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Clayton Barnett will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

1.Did you always want to be an author?
When you’re in your mid-50’s, ‘always’ is a long time!  There were a few moments in my life when I thought, “hey!  That’d make a good story!” and did precisely bugger-all about it.  It was only the weird confluence of events back in November of 2014 that finally saw me writing – and publishing – on a semi-regular basis.
Now, just as with exercise or any other positive hobby, I have done it enough that it is such a strong thread in my life that to pull it out would see my world collapse.

2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.
Having written “The Fourth Law” in twenty-threedays in said November 2014, just after Thanksgiving I finally read through it.
It was awful.  Awful. Because, one, I’d never written stories before, and two, wrote down the images I was shown one after the other, it was a matter of “then” this happened, “then” that; “then” she spoke up… of a rough word count of 53k, I think 3,000 of them was the word ‘then.’  Still and all… the characters were rather compelling…
Not wanting to spend money on what I then (there it is again!) viewed as a one-off effort, I and my family acted as proofreaders.  We caught the egregious errors, but a year later, having shoved it under the nose of my copyeditor for the 2ndedition, she found several hundred more.  I’ve mentioned before:  find and pay your copyeditor!  They are worth every penny! 
While that was going on, I reached out to a friend of mine who was – and is – a great illustrator.  Pressed for time and with me paying him a trifle, he was kind enough to make an original front and back cover.
In the meantime,I learned about self-publishing and websites such as Nook and Createspace.  I became older for formatting and pdf conversion. I was on revision “e” when, coming back home from the in-laws on Christmas Eve, I wandered upstairs to the computer room, gave everything one last look, and pressed ‘enter,’ publishing my first book.

3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?
I’m answering the question as to favorite… I am NOT comparing myself to them by any means!  I would say primarily, William Gibson. Secondarily, Yasuhiro Yoshiura.

4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst?
The best is easy:  the utter joy at being shown all of these scenes and people!  It’s my own multi-million dollar studio inside my head! Right behind that is the opportunity to share them with others… to touch other minds with what has been gifted to me.
Worst?  Incipient liver disease.  Following Hemmingway’s maxim of “write drunk; edit sober,” I am slowly killing myself.  I’ve tried and failed to write without alcohol.  I’d rather a dozen books and dead at sixty than to be silent just for an additional ten or so years.

are you working on now?
I’ve mentioned “Worlds Without End” at a few other stops, so let me talk about something else.  If I understood international copyrights a little better, there is someone else’s sandbox I’d like to play in:  “Haibane Renmei” by Yoshitoshi Abe.  His world is a kind of Purgatory and I have many characters in need ofone.  
How about this for a Special?  Right here, right now, on HDLL!  Here areall 11k words of working-title “Nike 1” wherein two characters, one from “Cursed Hearts” and one from “The Saga of Nichole 5” try to come to terms with their predicament; one through passive acceptance and the other through violent disobedience.
by Clayton Barnett

A history beginning in our near future, these stories are set in a world where the US dollar has been displaced as the world’s reserve currency, prompting its economic and political collapse, with a few areas able to hold onto civilization.

At the same time, across the Pacific, under a resurgent economy brought about by the implementation of new technology and deregulation, three Japanese companies produce breakthroughs in both artificial intelligence and robotics.  These newly made people exhibit an odd interest in the goings-on of the former United States.

To-date, my chronicling of this interest of theirs has led to stories that populate five novels, which I would like to share with everyone now!

The Fourth Law - In the near future, 23-year-old apprentice nurse Lily Barrett lives in a shattered time.  Following its economic collapse, the US has devolved into a group of a few barely functional smaller states and vast swathes of barbarian badlands.  His sister has been missing for years, and her father, after earning the opprobrium of most of the world for running a state terror organization, presumed dead.

Two things keep her going: her live-in job at a small, Catholic orphanage in the city of Waxahachie, Republic of Texas, and Ai, her odd but dear friend, whom she met online; a young woman who only shows herself to Lily as a rendered CG image.

Troubled by her past, haunted by her name, and facing an uncertain future, Lily seems only a quiet, simple life.  But, that past and her present conspire against her.

Echoes of Family Lost - Alive!  After four years believing her older sister lost and presumed dead in the horrible Breakup of the United States, Lily Barrett gets word from her dear friend, Ai – and Ai’s family of Machine Civilization – that Callie Barrett is very likely alive… but over 900 miles away in Knoxville.

Using the resources of her and Ai’s family, Lily puts together a search party to go find Callie:  old, broken, and burnt Orloff – an expert in surviving in the Badlands, Ai’s little sister, Fausta – her machine mind controlling a Combat Android to protect her friend, all together in a cart pulled by their sturdy pony, Clyde.

It’s almost a thousand miles to go, with something very odd trying to limit their ability to communicate over distance and even to cross bridges.  A chance meeting along the way in Huntsville, former Alabama, wrecks their plans, and puts all of their lives in danger.

Cursed Hearts - Even with San Diego occupied by the Mexican Army, Katarina Sosabowski pursues her MBA at UCSD, and is happy to welcome and put up her visiting step-cousin from Japan, Christopher Dennou, for a night so he can complete his enrollment the following day.

But a minor earthquake brings a major surprise:  Chris’s younger sister, Maya, murders their mother and escapes Neuroi Institute, the research facility that created them.

While Chris and ‘Cat’ grow closer to one another, Maya inexorably crosses an ocean and half a continent to take back her brother, killing anyone who gets in her way.
Friend and Ally - Model 5 is a prototype designed to fit seemlessly into human society.  A meeting in Tokyo derails Nichole’s planned training as she is dispatched to Portland, former Oregon; the last working deep water port on the West Coast of the imploding US.

There, under her cover as a Graduate Engineering Student, she is to do her utmost to nurture the people and politics of the City-State into a Friend and Ally of the Japanese Empire.  But from the first day in her new home, all of Nichole’s plans go awry.

Beset by those who want this small lamp of Western Civilization snuffed out, Nichole must find within herself the courage and ability to protect her new friends, at whatever consequence to herself.

Foes and Rivals - After residing nearly a year in Portland, Nichole’s life seems to finally settle down: with her classes, friends, and lover.  But troubling rumors about secret deals between the City’s master and the savage horsemen to the east reach her ears.

With her own skills augmented by her friends and allies, she sets plans into motion she hopes will thwart those in opposition to her dream of a peaceful future.

Once again denied a quiet, normal life, Nichole is faced to make hard, dangerous choices that will jeopardize her, her friends, and the survival of the City itself.


The Fourth Law






“LILY! You’re not a wolf! Wake up!”

She groggily sat up from her bed. Huh?

“It’s three in the morning... you need to help your kids!” Ai shouted at her from her phone.

The kids!

She flung the cover aside and pushed her glasses onto her face. Now she could hear the siren. What was it this time? Tornado, airstrike, barbarians... the last was almost a year ago when they lost Texarkana. Wait. She shook her head to try to wake up. This time, she’d an unimpeachable information source.

“Ai. Status.” She said into the darkness.

“A fission weapon was detonated outside San Francisco about ten minutes ago; the weather pattern indicates fallout will travel north of you, into parts of former Kansas and Oklahoma. But, winds do change...”

“Right.” She started pulling her clothes on. “Wake up the Fitzhughs; I’ll be there in a minute.”

She walked from her bedroom through her main room, glancing at the monitors. She suddenly bit hard on her lower lip. On the monitors, Ai stood at attention in a Texas Field Forces uniform. For some unknown reason, she forgot to render her pants. Striped green and white panties? Lily worried about her friend sometimes.


One time engineer, some time pharmacy technician, full time husband and father, Clayton Barnett stumbled into writing a traditional novel November 2014 during National Novel Writing Month. Liking the results, he edited what would become “The Fourth Law” and set about teaching himself self-publishing. In the following four years he has produced four more novels as well as a children’s early reader, all in what is now called Machine Civilization.

Clayton Barnett lives in central Ohio with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.

Find him at his website

Buy all the books in this series on Amazon or Smashwords. Echos of Family Lost and The Fourth Law are only 99c!


Clayton Barnett will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Morning! Thank you for co-hosting the final day of my book tour!

Victoria Alexander said...

Happy Friday! Thanks for the wonderful tour, I've enjoyed following it.

Unknown said...

And thank you for coming along for the show!

Elaine Cantrell said...

I'm glad to have hosted you, Clayton. Good luck with your book.