Monday 11 April 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post & Giveaway - The Vilcabamba Prophecy by Robert Rapoza

The Vilcabamba Prophecy
Release Date:
April 10, 2016
Author: Robert Rapoza
Keywords: Thriller, Adventure Action, Mystery Suspense, Alien, Jungle Ruins, Secret Code, Mercenary
Categories: Science Fiction/Fantasy Thriller
Page Count: 409
ISBN: 978-0692646335
IMPRINT: Devil’s Tower

ONE LINER: A beautiful archeologist must find her estranged father, prove his controversial theories and prevent a madman from unleashing a deadly weapon on the world.

Book Description:
NICK RANDALL is an archeologist who believes mankind isn’t alone on Earth. When a mysterious benefactor funds his research, he departs to find the lost city of Vilcabamba. Hidden deep in the Amazon, Randall believes the city holds proof that his contentious theory is true.  Upon arriving at the ruins, he mysteriously disappears.

Randall’s beautiful daughter SAMANTHA learns of her father’s disappearance from his mentor FRANCISCO ANDRADE who pleads for her help. An accomplished archeologist herself, Sam must decide if she will set aside her career and search for the man she blames for her mother’s death.

But someone else is looking for her father as well. FRANCIS DUMOND, a shadowy man with unlimited resources, will stop at nothing to find Vilcabamba and use its technology to control the world.  It’s a race against time to see if Sam can find her father, prove his theories and stop Dumond.

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I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of lost civilizations and the daring men and women who search for them. When I was younger, I remember being glued to the TV when Leonard Nimoy narrated the show ‘In Search Of’. His deep, baritone voice, describing mysterious events, taking place in far off, exotic locales was almost hypnotic. I was hooked. Before his show, I didn’t know these types of amazing mysteries existed. Lost planes, ghost ships, civilizations unseen by humans for thousands of years were too good to be true. And the locations? The Bermuda Triangle, Easter Island, Ancient Egypt. I had to see these places.

Then came the moment that changed everything. A ruggedly handsome, swashbuckling character, searching for lost treasure, made his way onto the big screen. Raiders of the Lost Ark blended history and action perfectly. Its lead character boldly battling evil, risking life and limb to save important religious relics. His leather jacket, whip and hat became synonymous with adventure. It didn’t hurt that the ladies found him irresistible too. Indy was an archeologist who put his training to the test in the real world, traveling to exotic locations, searching for the Ark of the Covenant while fending off the Nazis.

I didn’t know a boy who didn’t want to be Indiana Jones. He was tough, funny, and wasn’t afraid to take on the bad guys…even when the odds were overwhelmingly against him. But what if Indy had a daughter? Would she want to follow in his footsteps? When my daughter Heather was born, my life changed forever. So did my story arc. BAM! Nick Randall and Sam Randall were born! But what about my son Ryan? No problem. I just added John Randall to the mix and rounded it out with Anne Randall, Nick’s wife. The First Family of Adventure was born!

But what about those mysteries from Mr. Nimoy’s show? What was he implying about the mysterious disappearance of those ships and planes? They were never found. Not even wreckage. How could skilled military aviators just get lost and disappear without a trace?

I was born in 1967, just before the first American walked on the moon. I grew up watching the Apollo moon landings, probes being sent to Mercury and Venus, and eventually, the Space Shuttle. In other words, space travel was just beginning. When I attended El Segundo High School, our science teacher introduced us to a show called ‘Cosmos.’ Some of you will remember that show and how its narrator, Carl Sagan enthusiastically explained how vast and wonderous the universe is. He also opened our eyes to the possibility that we’re not alone. The universe is a big place so what’s the chance we’re the only intelligent creatures roaming around out there? Is that what Mr. Nimoy was implying in his show?

From there, all it took was a little creativity to come up with some mysteries for the Randalls to solve. The first one is my book THE VISITORS which follows the adventures of Nick and Sam Randall as they battle the bad guys while searching for the truth. Of course, I liked the idea so much, I had to come up with more tales of adventure as John joins in the fun. It has been a lot of fun coming up the story of Nick Randall and his family and I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed creating them up.

The first thing I realized when I decided to write my first book was how little I knew about the process. I knew people who wanted to write a book, but finding someone to teach me wasn’t easy. My first break came when I discovered the book ‘Writing Popular Fiction’ by Dean Koontz after searching online. Unfortunately, it wasn’t cheap. The book was out of print and copies were hard to come by. I had to make a decision. Was I willing to invest in becoming a writer? I clicked the order button, spent $92 and my writing career began.

The book was a revelation. Mr. Koontz was careful not to call his book a template for writing fiction; it was simply a collection of observations made over a long and successful career. I loved his direct writing style and no nonsense approach to the subject. When he spoke of selling books as being the goal of a writer, I had to smile. His point was simple. Your goal is to entertain as many people as possible. 

He wisely pointed out that the best way to learn to write is by writing and reading. Sage advice that was repeated by another successful writer, Stephen King. His book On Writing became my second resource on the subject and his conversational style didn’t disappoint. As I look back, I would be hard pressed to identify two better teachers than these two giants of fiction.

Armed with my newfound knowledge, I got started cranking out the pages, but soon realized I wasn’t sure where the story was going. It was time to talk to the teachers again. I reread sections of my books and realized an outline was needed. Starting with a fresh sheet of paper I started sketching idea notes. These bulleted concepts morphed into the central themes of each chapter. I put them in the order I thought worked best went back to writing.

After typing 500-1,000 words a day for a few weeks, I reached the 10,000 word mark. That was a turning point in my young career. It was the most I had ever written and I still had more story to tell. It’s also when I realized I could actually write a book. It might not be a great work of fiction and would probably never be published, but I was going to finish this little project.

As my story grew, I needed to get some feedback. I emailed an old friend of mine and he agreed to read it. A former musician, he was the creative type who could encourage me while also providing feedback on the story. Jim was my first editor and story coach. With his help and the encouragement of my wife Holly and my children Heather and Ryan, I was able to push through the rough spots and keep working. And there were plenty of them. I quickly discovered that writing a novel was a marathon. A marathon through plague infested swamps with sharp fanged monsters trying to rip my ankles off.

There were times I stopped working on my book for days and even weeks at a time, but the pull to finish wouldn’t let me quit. It also helped that Holly and the kids asked how the book was going when my enthusiasm flagged. They were eager for me to finish because they knew it was important to me. After eight months, I finally finished my first draft. It was April 2013 and I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. I didn’t realize at the time that the real work was about to begin.

I knew it was time to get feedback from a larger audience and my first targets were my sister Mary and her husband Ken. They were both very supportive, saying they liked the story and found it entertaining. Ken pointed out that the story slowed in the middle and encouraged me to reread that part of the manuscript. I did and he was right. It was time to start editing my novel. Yes, I had spell checked and even fixed a few punctuation errors, but it was time for a thorough review.

I turned to an online critique group for input, joining ‘You Write On’ and submitted the first 7,000 words of my story. In return for reviewing other writers’ work, I received critique credits. It was an eye opening experience. My story had its supporters, but I soon learned I had a lot to learn about writing. While it was tough to hear the critical feedback, it was a necessary part of the education process.

By now, nearly two years had passed since I started my first book and I had learned a great deal about the writing process. I sought resources on editing and gave my story a complete overhaul. Next, I sought a professional editor who provided incredible insight into my writing. He also provided more rewrites. I printed my manuscript with his notes in the margin, and edited my entire story with pen and paper again. Feeling my work was polished, I queried agents, drawing the interest of Mark Gottlieb of the Trident Media Group. He was interested in reading my work, but only if I could get the word count to 80,000.

I had edited my story down to 63,000 words, removing excessive backstory. After reviewing my manuscript again, I realized my characters needed greater depth and I needed to create a better sense of imagery to draw the reader in. I reworked my story and reached my goal. After another round of self-editing, my manuscript was finally done.

Nearly a month after starting my last round of rewrites, I sent the finished story to Mark who agreed to represent my work. After several months of shopping it to publishers, I am thrilled to have landed a deal with Ravenswood Publishing.

About the Author
Born and raised in Southern California, Robert Rapoza began writing his first novel in 2012. The result of these early efforts is his first story THE VISITORS, a novel about Nick Randall, an archeologist on the fringes of the scientific community. Since that time, he has written a second thriller ARCTIC INCURSION, which continues to follow Nick Randall’s exploits. When not writing full length fiction novels, he also enjoys writing short fiction following the characters from his novels along with other original concepts. He is a member of the Southern California Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers Association and enjoys interacting with other local writers. Bob is also actively involved with the online writing critique group ‘YouWriteOn’ where he receives and provides feedback with other authors.

The ideas for his stories are drawn from his interest in archeology and science and his love of adventure stories. Bob has always been drawn to these topics and is fascinated by the technology utilized by ancient civilizations. This interest has provided fertile ground for entertaining stories. History is rich with mysteries waiting to be solved and Bob enjoys asking questions about these mysteries and offering ideas about what they might mean.

Bob is represented by Mark Gottlieb of the Trident Media Group and is actively seeking to have his first works of fiction published.

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