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Thursday, December 8, 2011

If You are a Science Fiction Fan, You May Want to Check Out Stuart Lynn Sexton and His Frontier Zone

Stuart is a man of many accomplishments. He is a visual artist (specializing in sketching and oil painting), science fiction author, playwright, poet, cook, storyteller, and actor.  

His writings include a science fiction role-playing game (Frontier Zone; The Role-playing Game Of The Future.), four short novellas (Frontier Zone; Beginnings, Frontier Zone. Ticonderoga, Frontier Zone; Free Will, and Frontier Zone; Midshipman Miki.), and a comedy play (To Be, Or… Oh, To Heck With It), several love poems, and a Rosary booklet. He is also currently working on a fifth Frontier Zone story (Frontier Zone; Darkwar Chronicles Book One; Darkness Among the Stars, which he hopes to have finished by winter 2011, as well as a Second Edition of Frontier Zone; The Role-playing Game Of The Future.). (Most of his writings can be found at, or  His first four Frontier Zone novellas can also be found in Amazon Kindle form, as well as a compilation version of all four books in one, under the title Frontier Zone; Darkwar Prelude.)
As an actor, Stuart has appeared in several Fortney Enterprises productions, including So, You’re In the Hospital?, Who’s In the Hospital Now?, Is This the Right Restaurant?, Is This Your Neighborhood?, and Hey, Coach. Can I Play?. I played the role of JoJo in the world premier of the stage production of The Cross and the Switchblade, a rich Texan named Rastus Raskell in the hit comedy play, and Welcome to Dinky Dot Hotel and Resort. He reprised his role as JoJo in the fall of 2009, in a revival of The Cross and the Switchblade. His most recent role was as Dr. Zee Knockout, in the Spring 2010 production of the world premier of Fortney Enterprises play, The New Feelbetter Hospital. He has also appeared as Judge Willie Snooze in a Waynedale United Methodist Church production of the Christmas pantomime play, The Not-So-Silent Night. 

He wishes to thank his mom, Susie, and his girlfriend Helen Schall, for all of their love and support. He also wants to thank Monte and Rae Ann for continuing to give him these opportunities to act in their plays. He gives all of the Glory to God, and asks the prayers of Mary, Joseph, and the Communion of Saints, as well as you, his Brothers and Sisters, in all that he does.

Tell us about the genre of your work.
Why did you choose this genre?
I mostly write science fiction. My stories are set in the 22nd Century, and have a military setting, similar to Star Trek, but with a less than rosy look at the future of humanity. It’s my belief that we are all sinners, and will always be, no matter how far advanced we become, and our problems aren’t going to go away simply because our technology improves. Even as we go to the stars, we will still have to contend with our human condition, warts and all... 
Honestly, I have several reasons. First of all, I like the idea of writing a morality tale, and couching it in the form of an adventure story. I can address the Human condition from the point of view of characters that are not human. Moreover, I have always had a big imagination, so I like the idea of going places where we have never been, and seeing things we would never encounter here on Earth.
When I was five, I watched Apollo 11 travel to the Moon, and I made up my mind that I was going to be an Astronaut. Well, that never happened, but with science fiction, I get to travel space, and take my readers along for the ride. In addition, if I get to tell a politically incorrect morality tale, with some action and adventure in the process, so much the better.
What are some of your books, stories that have been published?

Frontier Zone; The Role-playing Game Of The Future ISBN 978-1-4357-1406-9. This was the first thing that I wrote for the Frontier Zone Universe. Not a story, but a way for anyone to play their own characters, and tell their own Frontier Zone stories. I am currently writing a Second Edition, which will have better artwork and updated information, while keeping the flavor of the original game intact. It is really backward, writing the game first, then writing the books.

My first Frontier Zone book is the short novella (almost a short story, really) Frontier Zone; Beginnings. ISBN 978-1-4357-0540-1 Join humanity in their quest for knowledge and understanding. In this first Frontier Zone short story, learn how mankind came to explore the stars, and how humanity struggled through the 21st Century, in an attempt to expand their horizons. What wonders await in the Frontier Zone? Available in print, as a PDF download, or on Kindle.  Also available at

Next came Frontier Zone. Ticonderoga ISBN 978-1-4357-1439-7 Join Captain Jacob Amstutz and the crew of the USS Ticonderoga as they struggle against a group of interstellar terrorists. Known as the Righteous Cause, this 22nd Century breed of Neo-Nazi hate mongers will stop at nothing to see their demands met, even if it costs the lives of billions.

Will two of the galaxy's least likely of beings become the saviors of Earth and her colonies? Find out, in Frontier Zone; Ticonderoga. Also available in print, PDF, or Kindle. Also available at

Next is Frontier Zone; Free Will ISBN 978-0-557-04074-2 Join Captain Amstutz as he faces the demons of his past, and confronts new ones, as he helps a newly discovered civilization rediscover the things in life that are the most important. Will Jacob be able to convince them to accept a new way of thinking? Moreover, will his newfound romance with the Shardon Commander, To'ying'li, prove to be a hindrance? To find out, read Frontier Zone; Free Will. Also available in print, PDF, or on Kindle.

Next came the short story Frontier Zone; Midshipman Miki ISBN 978-0-557-10996-8 Miki Akira-jade (who first appeared in Frontier Zone; Ticonderoga) is back! Join her on a training cruise gone wrong, as she and her friends track down a would be saboteur. Will N.C.I.S be a help, or a hindrance? Find out, in the Frontier Zone. Midshipman Miki! Again, this book is available in print, PDF, or on Kindle.

Finally, there is Frontier Zone; Darkwar Prelude, available on Kindle. I will soon be making it available for print and PDF. This book combines Beginnings, Ticonderoga, Free Will, and Midshipman Miki into one, making it possible to read all four books as a story arc, leading up to my next book.

All of my books are available here; or on or

How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

Many of the place names are the names of actual stars, though some are purely made up. Many of the (Human) character names are tributes to my friends. I took some of my friends’ given names, and combined them with other friends’ surnames.

Three of my characters' names (MarDet Commander Captain Tiffany Brittan, Chief Medical Officer Doctor Shalvera, and Miki Akira-jade) came from three of my friends' Frontier Zone role-playing characters. I got their permission to use their characters in my books. (However, I made one minor change. I spelled Miki differently than my friend. She called her character Mickey.)

Coming up with names of characters is one thing. I've also had to come up with both names and archetypes for the various aliens in my Frontier Zone Universe. There are the Yajeebians; green skinned triple-breasted humanoids, with greenish blond hair, who can touch learn new languages. They were the first alien race to join the United Systems Alliance. There are the Shardon, and their  kin, the Chuns, who are very honorable, cat-like aliens. The Shardon were once enemies of the US, but there's been some growing cooperation between their Empire and our Republic. The Chuns are friendly allies of the US, and there's hope that they will join in the near future. (Many Chuns have become US Citizens) The Meea'zians have a rodent-like appearance, but they will often point out that they are not rodents.
     There are the other Humans in the galaxy, known as the Nova Romans. How Romans got into space is a mystery. Finally, there are the thoroughly evil Mordum, who never show their faces to their enemies, for fear of corrupting their souls. These hideous beings look like emaciated walking corpses, with grey skin, and glowing red eyes. During the Great War, these monsters had entire planets which were nothing more than death camps. Their food came from their ground up prisoners.  
     Established alien characters are To'ying'li (Shardon), Miki Akira-jade (Meea'zian), Doctor Shalvera (Chun), Ensign Alli of Barada, aka Ensign Galfor (Yajeebian), and General Malkantz (Mordum).  

Of course, I also had to include ranks and ratings (enlisted ranks) for my characters. The United Systems ranks and ratings are based on the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Shardon Navy ranks are “translated” from Shardonish to English, and are equivalent to their US counterparts. Mordum ranks are based on army ranks, but they have fewer ranks and ratings than we do. 

How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

This is a tough question. Some of Captain Jacob Amstutz is me, especially his devout Catholic beliefs. However, much of the character is simply an amalgam of characters from history, literature, mythology, and good old-fashioned storytelling. He is the everyman, who, when faced with adversity, rises to the occasion in heroic fashion, but who carries with him all of his own personal flaws. We would call him a hero, but he would just protest; “I’m doing my job is all.”

What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?

General Malkantz, who will soon be Field Marshal Malkantz, is one recurring villain in my stories. He first appeared in Free Will, where he was thought to have been killed. He will continue to plague our heroes in future books. He is about as nasty as they come. His fanatical loyalty to the Mordum Hegemony, and to the Hegemony’s Chancellor, is his motivation.

There is also a recurring organization, which keeps showing up. They first appeared in Ticonderoga. It is a group of racists known originally as The Righteous Cause. They changed their name briefly to The True Human League, in an attempt to evade scrutiny after their leader died, but the original name will be reinstated by a new leader, and will stick.

What is your favorite thing about your book?
 I am a natural born storyteller. From Kindergarten onward, I have been a weaver of tales. I love it!
How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre?
I honestly think that the main difference between science fiction (or, for that matter, fantasy) and other genres is the speculative nature of it. In science fiction, one must imagine a future whose history has not been written yet. Moreover, of course, there is the fantastic technology. I do not focus too much on the gadgetry, but its there, nonetheless.
Why and when did you begin writing?
I actually began writing to bring people together. My first written work, besides some articles for a newsletter, was my Rosary booklet. It was meant to bridge the gap between Catholics and Protestants, by clearing up some of the misconceptions about the Rosary as a prayer. I gravitated toward science fiction, however, because I wanted to get a moral and religious message out there, without preaching.
My main influence is J.R.R, Tolkien. His fantasy includes religious themes and ideas, but he does not hit you over the head with them. That is what I hope to do, but in a different genre. There is a lot of “Christian” fiction on the market. The problem is, too many writers seem to think that a heavy handed, overtly religious work, will somehow reach a secular audience, and get them to change. Their books tend to only appeal to those who share their faith.
I want my books to be enjoyed by people of all faiths, or no faith, and, God willing, plant a seed of thought in peoples’ minds. But seeds are not huge things. They are small. And one does not use a sledgehammer to plant a mustard seed.      
What is your writing schedule?
Somewhat sporadic. I try to sit down and write as much as possible, but I often run into writer’s block. In addition, I take care of my mom, and I am searching for work, as well as trying to promote my books. I have gone mostly through Lulu to self publish, and, with my financial situation, advertising must be handled through word of mouth and social media.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

Frontier Zone; Darkwar Chronicles Book One; Darkness Among the Stars and a Second Edition of Frontier Zone; The Role-playing Game Of The Future.

What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write and get published?
One:  Never ever, ever, ever, ever give up on yourself.  
Two:  Edit, edit, edit, edit, and, oh yeah, edit.
And three: Never ever, ever, ever, ever give up on yourself

Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
 Never ever, ever, ever, ever give up on yourself. Oh, did I say that in the above answer? Okay. Well, how about this? Don’t take everything you write so seriously that you cannot take constructive critiques. Be willing to listen to others’ advice, especially if they have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. Always be willing to learn from others. Oh, and never ever, ever, ever, ever give up on yourself
What do you do when you are not writing?
I take care of my mom (she is 84). I also role-play, watch DVDs and my old VHS tapes (especially Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Babylon 5, and Star Trek ) cook, act, and I’m trying to get back into the practice of sketching. I also have done several free PDF supplements for my RPG, as well as a free PDF book of artwork for the Frontier Zone Universe. Oh, and I have written some love poetry for my girlfriend, Helen.
What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?
 When I uploaded my first book to was one. My first part in one of Monte and Rae Ann Fortney’s plays was another. And uploading to Kindle was a good thing, too.

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