Thursday, December 10, 2020

Blog Tour: Zero-Day Rising by T.C. Weber #blogtour #interview #scifi #thriller #giveaway #rabtbooktours @savethereefs @RABTBookTours


The BetterWorld Trilogy, Book 3

Science fiction (Cyberpunk) / Techno-thriller

Date Published: Oct. 1, 2020

Publisher: See Sharp Press

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In Zero-Day Rising, the third book of the BetterWorld trilogy, Kiyoko is tired of hiding and grieving, and has decided to strike back. In the first volume of the critically acclaimed BetterWorld cyberpunk trilogy, Kiyoko's older sister Waylee and their hacktivist friends exposed a conspiracy between MediaCorp and U.S. President Rand to control the flow of information and run the world on behalf of a cabal of billionaires. In volume two, Waylee faced life imprisonment, while Kiyoko and her friends were hunted by a team of ruthless mercenaries. In Zero-Day Rising, Kiyoko resolves to free her sister and bring down President Rand and MediaCorp. However, MediaCorp unleashes its ultimate plan: direct mind control with cerebral implants. Can Kiyoko and Waylee's team stop them? Can they penetrate MediaCorp's networks and end the company's grip over humanity? All while eluding the biggest manhunt in history, in a country where everyone and everything is under surveillance?



Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I wrote my cyberpunk trilogy mostly to entertain readers, but it also contains themes. For example, the concentration of media and the decline of journalism poses serious threats to independent critical thought and democracy. Other themes in the trilogy include the dangers of monopoly capitalism, political corruption, and government surveillance.


The overturning of net neutrality by the FCC, headed by former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai, opened the door to big Internet service providers intentionally favoring websites and content that they own, or pay them a premium, over others. This would essentially end free speech and competition on the Internet. Then there’s the consolidation of news, books, and other media under fewer and fewer mega-companies, which leads to the layoff of journalists and the closing of newspapers. Even music is falling under monopoly control. Live Nation, iHeartRadio, SIRIUSXM, Ticketmaster, and Pandora are now all under the control of one man, a right-wing billionaire named John Malone.


Where I live, the Tribune Company in Chicago bought the Baltimore Sun, the Capital-Gazette, and several other Maryland papers, and laid off staff to cut costs. In the case of the Capital (founded in 1884), the Tribune is closing it entirely, leaving Annapolis without a local paper.


Sleep State Interrupt, The Wrath of Leviathan, and Zero-Day Rising examine a plausible outcome of these trends—a single company controlling nearly all information, and using that to control society. In the books, semi-ordinary people take to the Net and take to the streets to fight this ultimate peril to democracy. To quote the Washington Post’s slogan, adopted after President Trump began his assault on free press as ‘the enemy’, “democracy dies in darkness.”


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The hardest part is sitting down every morning and getting into the flow of writing. Perhaps it’s the hardest part of any journey: to begin.


How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I’ve written quite a few books and short stories. Zero-Day Rising, the final volume of the BetterWorld near-future cyberpunk trilogy, is my latest and probably favorite book, released in October 2020. In the series, a giant media corporation (MediaCorp) has taken over the Internet, created an addictive virtual reality called BetterWorld, and controls nearly all information. Politicians do their bidding and a brainwashed humanity serves a privileged few.


The first volume, Sleep State Interrupt, was a Compton Crook finalist for best first science fiction novel. Waylee Freid, an unemployed Baltimore journalist with ever-worsening bipolar disorder, and Charles, a teenage hacker from public housing, seek to wake up the world and bring about a brighter future. They must sneak into a closed presidential fundraiser, record incriminating admissions, and broadcast it during the Super Bowl. But to do so, they must avoid a huge manhunt and break into one of the most secure facilities ever built.


In the second volume, The Wrath of Leviathan, Waylee faces life in prison. Exiled in Brazil, her young sister Kiyoko and their hacker friends continue the fight. But MediaCorp and their government allies may quash the rebellion before it takes off. And unknown to Kiyoko and her friends, a team of ruthless mercenaries is after them, and closing in fast.


In the final volume, Zero-Day Rising, the group is reunited and set on bringing down President Rand and MediaCorp. However, MediaCorp unleashes their ultimate plan: direct mind control with cerebral implants. Can Kiyoko and Waylee’s team stop them? Can they penetrate MediaCorp’s networks and end the company’s grip over humanity? All while eluding the biggest manhunt in history, in a country where everyone and everything is under surveillance?


If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

Zero-Day Rising (and the trilogy as a whole) has two main characters, Waylee and Kiyoko, who are half-sisters. Their pictures and background are on my website ( shows them at the beginning of the trilogy, and toward the end).


Waylee is an intense woman in her late 20’s who works as a journalist until her nemesis, MediaCorp, buys the paper's parent corporation and fires her for investigating them. Waylee is outgoing and charismatic, and has a large circle of friends and acquaintances. She is extremely creative, resourceful, and intelligent, and has a quick wit. She struggles with cyclothymia (a type of manic-depressive disorder), but embraces her hypomanic phase, which increases her creativity and energy. While it has drawbacks like overconfidence, it allows her to think fast and come up with ideas that no one else can. I think I’d pick Zoë Saldana to play Waylee, based on her awesome performances in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Shailene Woodley would also be a good fit, since (1) they are approximately the same height and age; (2) Shailene played an outcast rebel in the Divergent series, which Waylee is; (3) Shailene is a great actress and would play the role perfectly, despite it being a challenging character; (4) Shailene is an activist in real life, like Waylee.


The other main character is Waylee’s much younger and hypersensitive half-sister, Kiyoko. At first, she rejects reality and her traumatic childhood by living in a fantasy world both inside and outside virtual reality. But confronting crises in the real world, she gradually transforms into an ass-kicking revolutionary leader, and will not accept defeat as an option. I had a hard time coming up with an actress and am open to suggestions. Based on appearance, I’d pick Erika Tham, though.


When did you begin writing?

I’ve pursued writing since childhood, then learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college (along with a little bit of physics). I transformed those interests into novel writing while trapped at home during the "Snowmageddon" of 2010, and looking for something productive to do. 


How long did it take to complete your first book?

It typically takes me 6-9 months to write a first draft, plus another year to edit (although over half of this time is waiting on comments). I think they’ve all followed this schedule.


Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

All books I’ve read, whether good or bad, have inspired me to write. For the BetterWorld trilogy, of which Zero-Day Rising is the finale, I wanted to write in the cyberpunk genre. William Gibson and Neal Stephenson were my role models there (plus the myriad of other cyberpunk books, movies, games, and anime series).


What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I like coming up with interesting, quirky characters and giving them internal problems that they have to overcome. Even better is when these characters take on a life of their own and do unexpected things instead of following the initial outline. 


Describe your latest book in 4 words.

Hackers fighting authoritarian conspiracy.


Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

I have completed an alternate history novel called Born in Salt, and hope to have it published next year. The premise is, fifty years after a coup replaced President Roosevelt with a fascist dictatorship, America is a land of hopelessness. Ben Adamson, a 19-year-old farm boy in southern Illinois, wants only to spend his time fishing and hunting, but when his brother is killed in combat—a story more suspicious than factual—he and Rachel, his brother’s fiancée, are drawn into an underground revolutionary movement. After staging a rally against the war, Ben and Rachel are arrested by the ruthless Internal Security Service. Ben is given a choice: betray the rebels, including his best friend from childhood, or Rachel will be lobotomized. Unwilling to doom anyone he cares about, and seeking justice for his brother, Ben decides on a third option: to frame corrupt officials to trade for Rachel, and in the process, turn the dictatorship’s factions against each other. But he must dodge the suspicions of police and rebels alike. And when Internal Security sends agents to verify his stories, all may be lost.


I am almost done with the first draft of The Council, a satire of local government. And I’m working on a post-apocalypse horror novella and several other projects.


About the Author

T. C. (Ted) Weber has pursued writing since childhood, and learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college, along with a little bit of physics. His first published novel was a near-future cyberpunk thriller titled Sleep State Interrupt (See Sharp Press). It was a finalist for the 2017 Compton Crook award for best first science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel. The first sequel, The Wrath of Leviathan, was published in 2018, and the final book, Zero-Day Rising, just came out in October, 2020. He has other books on the way as well. He is a member of Poets & Writers and the Maryland Writers Association. By day, Mr. Weber works as a climate adaptation analyst, and has had a number of scientific papers and book chapters published. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Karen. He enjoys traveling and has visited all seven continents.  For book samples, short stories, and more, visit

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