Friday, March 29, 2013


Filmmakers and Financing Business Plans for independents.

Louise Levison is the author to the best seller Film Makers & Financing. This book is a great source for anyone interested in film production. The book covers many important issues on the first steps when funding a major motion picture.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013




Major Characters of NASTRAGULL: Pirates (volume 1)


Nastragull is a sprawling science fiction epic in the classic style of such masters as E.E. "Doc" Smith, Isaac Asimov, and A.E. Van Vogt, spiced with an edgy modern sensibility. Action-packed and thrilling, it combines elements of military SF, traditional space opera, dystopian sci-fi, and the sociological explorations of writers such as Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. LeGuin. At heart, though, it's a love story -- the tale of two literally star-crossed lovers, and their herculean efforts to move heaven and Earth (sometimes literally) to find each other again and again as circumstances rip them apart. 
Hundreds of characters populate the universe of this novel, though by far the most important are the two main characters, Alec and Alexa. In this document, we'll take a closer look at both, as well as a host of other significant characters.

Alexa, the Pirate Princess
Alexa, a dark-haired, golden-skinned beauty, was sold into slavery by her siblings when she was a young child. Considering the trauma she's been through since, she has little recollection of where she came from or who she was before; all she knows is that her siblings hated her. From the moment that she fell into the hands of the pirate Zuzack and his evil shipmates, she's been violently degraded and mistreated -- while simultaneously being groomed as one of Zuzack's adopted daughters.
Given her background, Alexa is unsurprisingly mercenary in nature: she looks after herself first, her friends second, and that's about it. This uncomplicated world view serves her well until she encounters Alec. For the first time in her life she falls head-over-heels in love, and it's clear that the feeling is mutual. Despite being under the constant eye of Zuzack and his minions, she and a friend, Nina, help arrange his escape.
In a sense, Alexa is a rough, uncultured female version of Alec. Though physically and mentally strong -- much more so than most -- she lacks the moral compass that usually guides Alec's behavior, and is capable of some truly appalling behavior. She enjoys life when she can, and however she has to...even if that doesn't fit with the cultural traditions of the rest of the universe. She's also remarkably lusty; though to her, sex is little more than a tool and a way to have a little fun. This often puts her crossways with Alec, who considers sex an expression of his deep love for her. It takes him a long while to realize that her reaction to sex is a survival mechanism that kept her from going insane during the long years of rape and mistreatment after her family sold her into slavery.
Alexa does have some level of morality beyond that which she requires to survive; for example, she refuses to go through with the cannibalistic ritual which would have made her a full member of the pirate crew, and she treats her own slave, Nina, more as a sister (and sometime lover) than as property. But above all else, Alexa is adaptable, at least to the brutal, unpredictable life of the pirate. She does what she has to in order to survive, whether that means killing someone in battle, or acquiescing to the depraved advances of her adoptive "father." She does stand up for herself when she's capable of doing so, and won't take crap off anyone if she can avoid it; but she's still flexible enough not to shatter herself on the will of anyone physically or politically stronger than she is. This doesn't mean that she isn't willing to get her own back whenever she can arrange it, however.

Ironically, Alexa's adaptability is tested by civilized society. While she's grateful for her rescue, she finds it difficult to fit in -- and to understand what it is, precisely, that Alec and others expect of her. She leaps wholeheartedly into the concept of freedom when Nadia explains it to her, making some terrible mistakes when she tries to assert her personal sovereignty...mistakes that nearly destroy what she's found with Alec more than once.

At heart Alexa is still a scared, hurt little girl, so from the outside, her behavior seems erratic at best; but one thing she can never be is tamed, and it's this, among other things, that inexorably draw her and Alec together, over and over again.


Alec, the Heir Apparent

Young Alec af Hornet is the son of one of the leaders of the Nastasturus Federation, a more-or-less democratic, human-dominated polity that spans several galaxies. Alec lives in a universe populated not only by humans but also by hundreds of other species of exotic aliens, hybrids, and human-based transgenics, where history can be coherently traced back tens of thousands of years. His is a vibrant, even violent milieu, with thousands of planets and cultures constantly striving to achieve the upper hand in commerce, warfare, and life in general. Quarter is rarely asked, and less often given. Every possible political system and mix of cultural mores has been tried, and universal war has knocked most of the inhabited planets back down into barbarism at least once.

Alec is very much a product of thousands of generations of evolution within this harsh setting. A clever, resourceful young man, he knows what he wants, and is both intelligent and strong enough to get it...usually. He can be as ruthless and cruel as necessary, but this hard-edged facet of his personality is offset by a deep-seated integrity and a firm sense of right and wrong. He also has a strong sense of justice and a penchant for vengeance, which occasionally overrides his moral imperatives -- as pirate king Zuzack, and others, discover to their pain and sorrow.

Alec's is a dominant personality, and he is rarely able to give way on anything he truly believes in. A passionate individual, Alec is a steadfast friend and tender-hearted lover; but his passion can also transmute into a relentless determination to achieve whatever goals he sets for himself. He's also a natural-born tactician, able to plan and strategize as easily as most people draw breath. As a cadet at military school, he combined these talents to bring a quick end to a local brushfire war, and earned the brevet rank of General as a result. As the story opens, he's on his way back to his home planet, Tallas, to graduate and attend officer training school, so that he can fully earn his brevet rank.

When the transport he's sharing with his cadet squad is taken by pirates, Alec proves that he's a consummate actor as well, pretending to be cowed by his captors (to the disgust of his compatriots) until he can manage to escape; only his strong sense of self and desire for revenge help him survive the brutal treatment at the hands of his captors. When he does manage to escape, with Alexa's help, he rescues and takes with him the former Captain of his transport, Nikko Behl -- along with an emperor's ransom of loot, which he claims as salvage. Later, he proves his leadership skills by recruiting a personal army, leasing a Marengan frigate, and taking off to rescue his captive friends before the pirates kill them -- or worse, eat them.

Alec also has a talent for making enemies, as he proves when he mutilates Zuzack in reprisal for brutally murdering one of his friends and mistreating Alexa, before making off with one of the largest fortunes in the known universe. This sets Zuzack and his brother, Horsa, after Alec and his crew in an obsessive chase that results in a space battle in which millions of people -- most of them innocent civilians -- are killed. Alec also manages to hunt down Alexa, who has been sold to Zoris af Sun, a depraved "artist" who wants to kill Alexa slowly during a cannibalistic ritual -- thus earning Zoris' everlasting enmity as well.

During that battle and rescue, Alec is able to hold his own and save his crew by making use of experimental technologies from both Nastasturus and Florencia, a neighboring federation, in an astounding manner that, perhaps, no one else alive in the universe could match.

As the story progresses, Alec becomes aware of an odd voice inside his head that seems to be trying to communicate with him. While he's convinced that he isn't mentally ill, he has no way of what it's trying to tell him. Physically, Alec is young and fit, a fairly standard young human male, if somewhat handsomer than most. He does, however, display a physical trait that was thought to have been eradicated from the human genome thousands of years previously: he has dark blue eyes, a defining characteristic of the terrifying Silver Guard who helped bring civilization low in the last Universal War. Those who know him well believe that it's just a random mutation, but there are tantalizing secrets that Alec af Hornet is not precisely what he seems. And when he falls into the hands of the vile Zoris af Sun, all bets are off...


Zuzack and Horsa, the Pirate Kings

Zuzack and Horsa are brothers, a pair of hulking, cannibalistic transgenics who lead a pirate clan called the Wulsatures (which means "Armageddon" in a long-dead language). At one time, they had other siblings, also members of the clan; but when those siblings refused to accept the infant Zuzack as their brother, Horsa had them all put to death. He has raised Zuzack almost as a son since then, and Zuzack's palpable evil is living proof that the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

Zuzack is a massive, gray-skinned monster nearly three meters tall, a human-based transgenic with a heavy dose of alien DNA. While he has some native cunning, he rules mostly through his force of personality and brutal willingness to do whatever he has to in order to stay in power. His reign is supported, of course, by his brother, and he surrounds himself with other individuals of like mind and greater intelligence who aid him in his piratical endeavors. Zuzack has a tendency to alienate his female crew, given his tendency to treat them as chattel; this has resulted in a split between men and women on his ship, which ultimately leads to a devastating (but failed) mutiny. He likes to select comely young pirate women as his "adopted daughters" -- he has several hundred on his flagship alone -- and then proceeds to degrade, rape, and brutalize them. He has a pathological hatred for those he considers traitors, even though by his very nature, he turns people against him wherever he goes. In Alexa's case, his "love" quickly curdles into hate; whereas he merely sells the other mutineers into slavery, he sells his adopted daughter to Zoris af Sun, knowing full well that her fate is to become a cannibalistic art piece.

Of the two brothers, the pale, lankier Horsa is the more intelligent; he's also the deadlier, as he must be in order to hold together his clan of brutal cutthroats. He rules with an iron hand, and won't hesitate to cut down anyone who challenges or crosses him. While he hates and resents the leaders of most of the other pirate clans, he's diplomatic enough to negotiate and work with them whenever necessary. He nurses a cold hatred for Alec, primarily because the human stole a substantial fortune when he escaped from Zuzack, but also because he laid Zuzack low in the process. He recognizes in Alec a man who, in the extremity of emotion, can be just as brutal as he; after all, Alec literally flayed the skin off Zuzack's face and scalp. Besides power, Zuzack is the only thing Horsa cares for; and the fact that Zuzack's current mutilated appearance repulses him makes him hate Alec all the more.


Zlo and Behl, the Two Captains

During his escape from Zuzack's flagship, Alec comes across crusty old Nikko Behl, the former captain of the Bright Star. Zuzack has tortured Behl regularly since the transport's capture, but Behl has proven too tough to be easily broken. Alec releases Behl and takes him along when he escapes in Zuzack's shuttle, the Tramp. After he recovers, Behl takes Alec under his wing, teaching him more about piloting a starship than eight years of military academy had managed to do. Although the younger man is trying to pass as "Alec Horn," Behl sees through the deception to recognize the extraordinary cadet who has earned the brevet rank of general during a recent planetary war. He half-jokingly, half-seriously insists that Alec is his commanding officer, and treats him as such thereafter.

Behl is impressed by Alec's abilities, particularly after he witnesses the boy's extraordinary performance during the Battle of New Frontier. Ultimately, he becomes something of a father figure to Alec, much in the same way that Admiral Cook and family friend Captain Copola have in the past. He (like Zlo) is more akin to a top-notch non-com such as a sergeant or master chief than an actual line officer; that is, he's one of those tough unsung heroes who keeps any military organization operating effectively and with a minimum of fuss.

Captain Zlo is the leader of a contingent of crested humanoids, native to the planet Marengo, whom Alec and Captain Behl encounter in the massive space station New Frontier 16 after escaping confinement on Zuzack's ship, the Bitch. Zlo and his patron, the elegant lady Fuzza, have fallen on hard times. They and a consortium of other Marengans own a former Marengan military frigate converted for use as a freighter for an unstable precious metal, crystal silver; however, their expected cargo has disappeared in shipment, taken by the pirates that they were assured do not operate in this sector. Unfortunately, they're to the point of needing to sell the ship in order to make the final payments on it. Alec saves them from that fate by leasing the ship for a year so that he can chase down the pirates and rescue his friends, with Zlo as the co-captain along with Behl.

Zlo is Behl's Exotic (non-human) counterpart; like Behl, he's hard-nosed, tough, and infinitely competent. The two Captains soon develop a close working relationship, as if they've known each other for years. Zlo is devoted to Lady Fuzza, though apparently only in the professional sense. He does, however, have a notable character flaw: he has bad judgment in people. Ultimately, this leads to his downfall.

Mr. Tota, the Funny Little Man

Diminutive Mr. Tota is the owner of the Star Dice, a gambling and pleasure station where Alec and Behl establish their base of operations after escaping the Bitch. A portly elephantoid with a long trunk and floppy ears, he is emotionally demonstrative, and seems pathetically eager to make the guests of his station happy and satisfied. Just about everyone he encounters views him as little more than an amusing little fellow who knows how to show everyone a good time. Considering the fact that he owns an entire space station, Alec suspects that there must be more to Mr. Tota than meets the eye -- and he is correct. Tota may be a fluttering little eager-to-please fop who loses bladder control when he's excited, but the steel emerges when it does when a Florencian admiral tries to take control of the station in the wake of the Battle of New Frontier.

Eventually, Tota reveals to Alec that his public persona is a façade. Funny Mr. Tota the businessman is actually Tota the retired Predator -- a former slave who once served in the Predator corps, a paramilitary organization that hunts down pirates and brings them to justice. In addition to being retired, Tota is under deep cover, investigating the odd lack of reported pirate depredations in the New Frontier sector, despite the fact that ships keep disappearing. Tota is a limited shapeshifter, with the ability to telescope his body. He remains elephantoid, with a trunk and large ears, but in his true form is tall and dignified rather than short and dumpy.


Brothers and Soldiers: Guss von Hornet and Hadrian Cook af Hornet

Marshal Guss von Hornet is not only the head of the House of Hornet, one of the noblest families in the Nastasturus Federation, he's also the leader of their armed forces -- and one Alec af Hornet's father. When Alec disappears while traveling home from a military school in a distant sector, Marshal von Hornet bends the considerable resources of the entire Nastasturan Space Navy toward rescuing him, defying the civilian authorities and legal precedent to do so. He fully expects to have his decisions challenged, and possibly to be removed from his position; but in the meantime he sends a large fleet, commanded by his brother Admiral Cook, to the region where Alec's ship vanished. He soon learns of Alec's fate from Major Nesbit and Andrew Bow, Alec's fellow cadets, who claimed to have escaped from the pirates; though he doesn't really trust either of the two, this firms his resolve to continue with the operation to find and rescue his son, despite advice to the contrary. Ironically, this stratagem ends up forestalling a major incursion by the neighboring Florencian Federation, which is led by power-hungry expansionists of a totalitarian bent.

Admiral Hadrian Cook af Hornet is the Marshal's younger brother and Alec's uncle. In practice he usually drops the "af Hornet" from his name, since in the Nastasturan social structure nearly all familial power devolves to the head of the household. Admiral Cook couldn't care less about taking his brother's place; the old soldier has spent his life in the Navy, having worked his way up to the top through his own merits. It was he, not the Marshal, who inspired young Alec to join the military. While he hardly expects to find Alec safe, Cook knows his duty, and throws himself into the effort to locate his nephew with all his will. His leadership during the Battle of New Frontier and afterward is integral to keeping that disaster from becoming worse than it already is, and he's on hand to help dissuade the Florencians from continuing their incursion into neutral space (though they turn out to be quite capable of screwing up royally all on their own).

Cook is an initiate of the Grisamm, a mysterious multispecies warrior brotherhood dedicated to fighting tyranny and totalitarianism wherever they find it. His brother disapproves of his Grisamm connections, especially considering Cook's influence on his son, but does not interfere. Which is just as well, because Cook shows definite signs of valuing the Grisamm Brotherhood and its ideals more than he values Nastasturus.


The Grisamm, Warrior Monks

After Admiral Cook locates Alec and learns of his nephew's quest to rescue his friends (a quest from which he will not be dissuaded), the Admiral arranges for a contingent of Grisamm monks to join the Predator's crew. They form a cadre of tough, experienced combat professionals who proceed to whip the rest of the motley crew into shape (much to their consternation). As previously mentioned, the Grisamm are tough, battle-hardened individuals who live to fight the forces of lawlessness and oppression. All those serving as monks have suffered a devastating loss at the hands of pirates, dictators, and totalitarian regimes. Of particular importance to the plot are Francis, Bax, and Nadia.

Francis and Bax are large men of mostly human ancestry. Taciturn and thoughtful, Francis is the leader of the Grisamm stationed on the Predator, and supervises the ship-wide training regime. Along with Nikko Behl, he's also one of Alec's top advisors, and can usually be found on the bridge along with Alec, Captains Zlo and Behl, and the rest of the officers. When necessary, he leads away missions, especially those requiring subtlety and experience.

Bax is a bit less taciturn than Francis, but nonetheless projects an air of stolid imperturbability. He serves mostly as Alex's bodyguard, staying with him at all times. Otherwise, he serves a number of security functions, and helps keep the ship functioning smoothly.

Nadia is a female monk; the Grisamm do not discriminate based on gender, only ability. She's a solid soldier, but has a tendency to get crosswise with Alec due to the ideas she teaches Alexa and the female pirates Alec purchased and freed before the Battle of New Frontier. She takes it upon herself to instruct the "vixens" on the meaning of freedom, which Alexa sometimes misinterprets in ways that put stumbling blocks between her and Alec. Nadia's teachings are well-intentioned, but they get her in trouble with Alec more than once.


Zoris af Sun, the Discriminating Artist

A former physician long since disowned by her people, the Lady Zoris af Sun has made a name for herself as a discriminating artist and art collector. Unfortunately, she tends to incorporate her models into the works she bases on them -- after serving up any extraneous parts at a formal dinner, of course. Lady Zoris is also a leading Gormé, a member of a depraved secret organization that practices ritualized cannibalism under the guise of art. For all her artistic pretentions, Zoris is much more the monster than Zuzack or Horsa could ever be; they were born into their milieu, while she deliberately chose hers. Indeed, her moral corruption makes anything the pirate brothers might do seem like the games of dissolute children.

Lady Zoris is an emaciated humanoid Exotic with pale skin and long, thin fingers furnished with wicked claws; she somewhat resembles the Florencian Marquessa de la Hoff (of which more later). She is capable of appearing quite charming and civilized, as Alec learns on his first visit with her, but is capable of the most appalling acts of cruelty. When Alec steals Alexa back from the Lady before she can dismantle her in a well-publicized dinner and art installation, her hatred and lust for revenge knows no bounds. After the smoke from the Battle of New Frontier clears, she eventually has him kidnapped and brought to her ship, where she proceeds to show him just how much he has annoyed her.

Major Nesbit and Lieutenant Beck, the Degenerate Officers

While Major Nesbit and Lieutenant Beck don't meet during the novel, they're very much two of a kind -- and unfortunately systematic of the moral degeneration that seems to have taken hold at the highest levels of human society.

Nesbit, a cousin of Alec's and a member of a subordinate line of the House of Hornet, is the leader of the small group of military cadets taken captive by Zuzack's pirates. He is also a traitor to Nastasturus. He would like nothing more than to obliterate Alec and his family, because after Marshal von Hornet and Alec, he's next in line for the head of the household. Apparently, it was he who arranged with the pirates to take the Bright Star in the first place.

Nakedly ambitious and sexually depraved, Nesbit is not just evil, but insanely so. He thinks nothing of raping and murdering innocents to fulfill the whims of himself and his friends, and has managed to pervert Andrew Bow, Alec's fellow cadet and friend, to his way of thinking. He's obscenely proud of the fact that he had his own parents killed, and then sold his siblings into slavery so that they would be no threat to his assumption of power. He has no true concept of love; what he considers love is more violent control than anything else. He still visits his siblings regularly just to gloat.

Lieutenant Beck is cast from the same mold. A Marengan, he's the son of one of Captain Zlo's closest friends. He soon proves that Zlo's confidence in him is misplaced. He always gets what he wants, and has a long history of mistreating women -- including Alexa. At one point Alec nearly kills him, and would have kicked the scum off his ship if Zlo hadn't begged him not to. Later, after betraying Zlo's confidence in him, Beck leads a mutiny on the Predator that results in Zlo's death. Afterwards, he installs himself as captain of the ship, and takes Alexa as his prize. His idea of love includes beating her senseless and raping her repeatedly...a mistake he's going to live to regret.


De la Hoff, the Marquessa

Marquessa De La Hoff is a female Exotic who, through some unknown technology (or perhaps magic) returns to the world of the living after being presumed dead for at least a thousand years. She brings with her a corps of faceless, robot-like silvery beings that some identify as the fabled Silver Guard...although how they might be connected to Alec, if they are, remains obscure. De La Hoff is one of only two Marquessas in the Florencian Federation, and immediately takes control of the Florencian military in preparation for a war of conquest. Florencia is running out of resources and elbow room, and both De La Hoff and others in the Florencian government believe that she was resurrected specifically to address this issue.

Like Zoris af Sun, De La Hoff is tall, emaciated, and predatory. She has long, clawed fingers, and a mouthful of needle-like teeth that drip acidic saliva. Quiet but forceful in nature, she exudes an air of creepiness that unsettles her allies and fellow Florencians. De La Hoff is in telepathic contact with some entity that she doesn't quite understand; and as it turns out, she's one of only two people in the Universe able to communicate with the Universe, which calls itself Nastra.

The other is Alec af Hornet.



“Hell…hmm…overrated…I prefer a warmer climate.”
“Hack them, pack them, sack them.”



Monday, March 25, 2013


The best reward for me as a writer is when someone likes my work. Thank you all for taking the time to write a review and share your opinions.



(From, amazon.UK and goodreads.)


OMG - space opera at its best!!

Carole-Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars

OMG - space opera at its best!! Pirates: nasty, horrid, depraved SOBs! Aliens of every shape/form/animal/whatever: intriguing, vile, sly SOBs! Federations and Coalitions: slimy, conniving, fanatical SOBs! Hero: young, but strong; determined and righteous; honourable and easily seduced :) Heroine: abusive past, vicious 'adoptive' father (OMG, just thinking about Zuzack turns my stomach!); intelligent and sexy. Just what all H/H's need to be!!

This is one fast-moving story, deliciously filled with
...more Pirates: nasty, horrid, depraved SOBs! Aliens of every shape/form/animal/whatever: intriguing, vile, sly SOBs! Federations and Coalitions: slimy, conniving, fanatical SOBs! Hero: young, but strong; determined and righteous; honourable and easily seduced :) Heroine: abusive past, vicious 'adoptive' father (OMG, just thinking about Zuzack turns my stomach!); intelligent and sexy. Just what all H/H's need to be!!

This is one fast-moving story, deliciously filled with any sort of depravity (if you like 'those' things); some blood-curdling, gut-evisceration fighting; some really evil baddies, as well as some not-so-evil goodies; some people one could really truly HATE (like Hughes, ugh!), and some who you can't help but love (Nina, awwwee). Poor Alec and Alexa go through so many bad things, one almost gives up hope - but incredibly they survive (I guess that's the whole point of the story of course :) since they're there to fulfil a prophesy or something).

So, don't touch this if you dislike bloody, gory violence or gut-destroying torture or detailed sexual depravities - they're all there! And I completely and utterly LOVED it!!

A note of caution: the prologue may seem completely superfluous (as a little bit of injected fantasy), but there are some 'voices' heard by Alec and Alexa which, on occasion, direct their actions. It's all part of an overall plot (I think!) which we'll be introduced to a little at a time (a good ploy for a series).

Oh, and the last chapter or two had so much happening, with many new characters, that I nearly (!) got lost; but there is a twist there at the end - leaving me puzzled, bemused, a WTH sigh, and a DAMMIT I WANT THE NEXT ONE NOW!!!!


Pirates Indeed!

Floyd B. Largent Jr  rated it 5 of 5 stars
Until I read Nastragull: Pirates, I thought they didn't make decent space opera anymore. This rip-roaring new novel delivers action from the very beginning, segueing from a haunting prologue immediately into a pitched space-battle between a multispecies gang of cutthroats and the passengers of the cruise liner they've targeted. You haven't seen action like this since the old Doc Smith days of classic sci-fi, though Willen does Smith and Co. one better. You see, these aren't the roguish heart-of-gold space pirates so beloved of the old pulp masters. These pirates are literally monsters--some half-human and others entirely alien, all eager for blood, loot, rape, and slaves...and a nice meal of human meat on the side, civilization be damned.

Fortunately for the Bright Star and its 20,000 passengers, she's carrying a cadre of recently graduated military cadets who rally the crew and passengers to fight the pirates nearly to a standstill, rather than just giving up without a fight. They inflict serious damage on their attackers, but are finally overwhelmed. Cadet Alec Horn, who led the defense--really Alec af Hornet, son of the top military leader of the Nastasturus Federation, a local superpower--is among the enslaved survivors.

One of the pirates, a young human girl named Alexa, becomes enamored of Alec. Alec is equally smitten with her...and uses their mutual attraction to arrange an escape. He makes off with a shuttle loaded down with an emperor's ransom in precious metals, antiques, and other booty. And then...

Well, I don't want to ruin your enjoyment of the book by including a blow-by-blow description or too many spoilers. Let me put it this way: just like it says in the description, this is a blockbuster of a book. It's pretty sizeable too, but it moves fast, with slap-dash action sure to delight any adventure fan. It would be perfect for adaptation into a movie...a more adult version of Star Wars, maybe, because this universe is by no means as conservative as Lucas's. Fair warning: prepare for some serious sex scenes that are so hot the pages would probably catch fire if you weren't reading this book on your Kindle!

Willen doesn't pull any punches in his writing, whether in the battle scenes or the romantic ones. His settings are vivid and energetic, just like his characters. For pulse-pounding, exotic (and erotic) sci-fi action, you're not going to find better than Nastragull: Pirates.
I can't wait for the next installment!


Exciting and Thrilling Sci-Fi Adventure

Larry B Gray rated it 5 of 5 stars
Nastragull: Part 1 Pirates by Erik Martin Willen is an exciting and thrilling science fiction adventure. From the first page to the last it kept a firm grasp on my attention, making it hard to put down.

The story line was well developed and easy to follow. The fast paced action kept me wondering what was going to happen next. With each new twist you just kept saying wow. I love a good space opera and this is one.

The characters were easy to identify with and were very believable. Each of the main
Nastragull: Part 1 Pirates by Erik Martin Willen is an exciting and thrilling science fiction adventure. From the first page to the last it kept a firm grasp on my attention, making it hard to put down.

The story line was well developed and easy to follow. The fast paced action kept me wondering what was going to happen next. With each new twist you just kept saying wow. I love a good space opera and this is one.

The characters were easy to identify with and were very believable. Each of the main characters was well developed and their background info was relevant.

There is one sour note in the story. There is a section where the author wrote an intense scene which had graphic and extreme sexual content. I felt it added nothing to the content of the entire story and in fact distracted from it. My personal opinion is it needs to be rewritten and toned way down. Other than this, it is an excellent book.

I highly recommend Nastragull: Part 1 Pirates by Erik Martin Willen with the caveat “for mature reader.”


Very Exiting Big Scale Space Adventure

Richard Bunning rated it 4 of 5 stars

This first part of an epic Star Wars type of production is very entertaining, often gripping, and well written. It is also easy reading, which isn’t necessarily the same thing. The characters are strong, and the main ones are easily identifiable and very memorable.

There is only one thing wrong, and that is my reason for only giving the book four stars. In the mix are a couple of chapters of unnecessarily graphic sexual and sadistic activity. This may be considered a rather starchy view, but it is more than that. I am all for mixing genres, but not in this particular case SF adventure and “adult” material. Willén writes very well in both genres, the problem is in the mix. Indeed, I could include horror when considering one or two of the very descriptive violent actions.

The modern use of the term Space Opera, as used to describe this book by another reviewer, Blagent Jr., is, I think, highly appropriate. This book really is on a big production, dramatic, scale. The themes are familiar, but very well mixed, and although I can’t claim to have read any but a tiny fraction of these types of books I feel that there is more than a touch of originality as well. The story would work as big budget film, or possibly more realistically as some form of modern motion capture animation. I see fantastic potential here, if Willén can decide which audience he is really going for.

I never doubted that I would finish the book, and I was left with an interest in reading more. That is evidence enough for me that this writer deserves success. This is a full length, good value and highly entertaining novel. If this story appears with a greater purity of genre I will absolutely give the fifth star. As someone who detests the necessity of genre classification, I never thought I would say that.


A new way to read about becoming Pirates

David rated it 5 of 5 stars
This story is made to just be better and better. The writer really knows what a Sci Fi reader want in reading way and when (Must just be a matter of time) this book will be a film I will follow it for shore.

I'm shore we just have seen the Start of a new becoming hit in the movie world

Read it and Love it/ it's worth it


Pirates in a space opera

Woody rated it 4 of 5 stars

You take the theme of pirates of old and place it in the 26 th century and in the case of this book you get a unique world view. Whilst it isn't the way I like my scifi, the writer draws you into the story with descriptive scenes and strong characters, so much so that some of the book I didn't like as it bordered on the horror genre which I don't like. But I continued and the pace speeds up and the story unfolds into a pirates yarn complete with hidden treasure, a hero out for revenge and a galaxy spanning space opera and a little romance thrown in. The first of a series this book gives a good grounding of all the characters and whilst it can be read on its own there are too many cliff hangers/ unanswered questions/ mystery to stop.

Just waiting for the movie!

The Baron rated it 5 of 5 stars

Wow, this is the best sci-fi I've read since Robert A. Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" (which was made into a great movie but missing the best from the original book).

Erik Martin Willen really delivers action and suspense and some surprices too! The book is very graphic and it feels like watching a movie while reading. Maybe someone like Peter Jackson could develop this great sci-fi story into a big blockbuster movie.

The pace is great and it's page are filled with swashbuckler adventure in outer space and what else could you ask for?

Looking forward to the next book in this series!


An intergalactic, edge of seat, saga.

Chris Graham rated it 5 of 5 stars
Take Star Wars, add the motley crew from Pirates of the Caribbean, liberally sprinkle with intergalactic species of all imaginable kinds, throw in chunks of robust sex scenes, torture, hand to hand fights and daring escapes, then stir in vengeance and cook at gas mark 5 until something is ready to explode.

The Prologue leads you gently into this book with a father telling his son and daughter a bedtime story, but all is not what it seems.

Chapter 1 starts your journey into a tale which builds up t
Take Star Wars, add the motley crew from Pirates of the Caribbean, liberally sprinkle with intergalactic species of all imaginable kinds, throw in chunks of robust sex scenes, torture, hand to hand fights and daring escapes, then stir in vengeance and cook at gas mark 5 until something is ready to explode.

The Prologue leads you gently into this book with a father telling his son and daughter a bedtime story, but all is not what it seems.

Chapter 1 starts your journey into a tale which builds up to a finish that will leave you biting your nails and wishing for the next installment in the saga.




Sunday, March 24, 2013



 Category: Science Fiction Space Opera

NASTRAGULL: Pirates is a BLOCKBUSTER of a novel, a science fiction epic of an extent and scope not seen since Frank Herbert's Dune or David Brin's Uplift Sequence. The first book of a series, it also incorporates the swashbuckling action of classic space opera like E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensmen series and Star Wars, accelerating the reader into a universe where humanity is just one species among many, in a multicultural civilization spanning many galaxies.

As the story begins, a group of cadets is heading home after eight years of training at a prestigious military academy when, unexpectedly, pirates attack their transport. After a pitched battle, they're taken prisoner. One cadet, Alec Horn, manages to escape along with the transport's captain, and together they set out to rescue their friends. There's just one problem: during Alec’s captivity, he met a young pirate woman, Alexa...and the two fell madly in love. Little do they know that their forbidden love may literally mean the end of everything.

For the universe—or Nastra, to give it its proper name—is itself a living entity, one who speaks to us all, though few actually listen. The day you do listen to the universe and its parent, the creator GULL, is the day you truly awaken. Only two living people can hear those words: the alien warlord Marquessa De La Hoff, and young Alec himself. But the universe cannot allow more than one listener at a time. So it must send out its only begotten child, the NastraGull, to set the universal balance right.
Otherwise, there will be no more universe.