I Followed the Magic

Tyffany Hackett Author Interview

Tyffany Hackett Author Interview

Imber follows a young queen on a deadly journey to save her kingdom from an ancient enemy. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?

Honestly I’ve always been a huge fan of epic fantasy; huge, sweeping books that pulled you into another world, or games that let you have powers and forge bonds. Larger than life enemies, heroes that don’t always win. I grew up on JRR Tolkien, Garth Nix, Julian May, and JK Rowling. I’ve poured hours and hours into the Dragon Age and Elder Scrolls games, and more still into Dungeons and Dragons sessions. So when I started writing I leaned into that. I followed the magic. And while I still have a lot to learn from those greats, I knew going in that I really wanted Imber to encompass what I love about fantasy–the trials, the adventures, the magic, the friendship.

Natylia is an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. What were some driving ideals behind her character?

With all of my characters I stick very firmly to the ideal “write what you know.” Who was I at 19? I was young, and impulsive, and made mistakes. So what would I have done thrust into a spotlight I wasn’t quite ready for? I would have been young, and impulsive, and made mistakes–mistakes I would later learn great lessons from. I’ve always loved flawed heroes, because they felt more real to me, and I wanted Natylia to feel as close to a living person as one could living inside pages.

The novel has a rich backstory that I hope to see more of. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?

I think there’s a lot of conversations that aren’t being had in our real, living world, and I tried to weave some of those into my world building. I’m all for a story with a message, and I tried to throw in a few that were important to me.

Natylia has panic attacks because of crowds, and because that’s what felt natural to me; but mental health isn’t often addressed in fiction and when it is, often it’s in a harmful or inconsistent way.

I also wanted younger readers, since Imber is YA, to be reminded that they will be underestimated, and they will make mistakes, but that they can move forward from them.

I wanted to reinforce the idea that sometimes family isn’t blood, but the people in your life who love and support you. Specifically, Natylia’s relationship with Jyn. They’re really important to me because I think strictly platonic male-female relationships are almost nonexistent in literature, and they shouldn’t hold the strange taboo that society puts on them, but also because when Jyn had no one else he still had Natylia. Those kind of friendships are rare and should be cherished.

This is book one in your Thanatos Trilogy, where will book two pickup and when will it be available?

Book two will pick up two to three weeks after the end of Imber, and it will be available Fall 2019. Right now I’m aiming for a late September/early October release.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite | Instagram

Imber: Book One of The Thanatos Trilogy by [Hackett, Tyffany]The locks are failing

The keys are calling.

The Titans are waking.

Crowned before her time, nineteen-year-old Natylia is thrust into an unpleasant reality–her people don’t want her, her family doesn’t need her and,despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to shake an incorrigible suitor. But when rumors begin to swirl throughout her kingdom the young queen shifts her focus and realizes that the world she loves could be destroyed in an instant.

An ancient enemy, long thought gone, is trying to return.

Forgotten legends have resurfaced, stories that tell of three scepters: the keys to unleashing these foul beings. Across Araenna the hunt rages for this trio of formidable power–to command the keys is to hold the power of mortal gods.

Aided by her snarky elven bodyguard, an unassuming blacksmith, and a clever nature witch, Natylia races to correct the mistakes of the past… before they can destroy her people’s future.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Books are Pure Magic

AJ Wootton Author Interview

AJ Wootton Author Interview

Gardening with Guns: A Memoir details the road you traveled from childhood to adulthood. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I have wanted to be a writer since reading my first novel as a child. To me books are pure magic. As my life unfolded it became more and more clear to me that my path was quite different from the norm. I felt that others would find my story interesting and that some who had experienced similar obstacles would draw inspiration from knowing they are not alone.

I appreciated how you didn’t shy away from the dark times in your life and shared them along with the good. What were some important memories you wanted to capture?

My childhood home. I have only fond memories of that house, our yard, and our garden – in spite of the negative things that happened there. I also wanted to capture my beloved grandparents. I often attribute my perseverance to them and their unguarded love for my brothers and me. It was also very important for me to capture the trauma I experienced surrounding my father’s death. In a way it is a tribute to him.

Looking back on you life after you’ve written a memoir, is there anything that you see differently?

If I could sum it up, I would say that all of the fearful and awful memories that loomed large in the back of my mind were greatly diminished and their effect on me neutralized.

I found this book to be ultimately uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Just that! I wanted very much to tell the good and bad and to show that you can overcome. The keys are self-reflection, honesty, forgiveness and love. Oh, and one more important one – courage! It takes courage to face your fears, but the rewards are immense!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Gardening with Guns: A Memoir by [Wootton, AJ]

In the prime of her life, AJ seemingly has it all – a successful career, three thriving children and a marriage that spans two decades. Her hard-fought, adult life beams bright and in sharp contrast to the dark, gun-wielding, serial-parent changing, and starkly silent world she grew up in.

On the heels of her father’s sudden and tragic death, AJ finds herself questioning the life she has so carefully architected. Estranged from her mother, she seeks comfort in the revival of her relationship with her two brothers, all that remain of her childhood nucleus. The three siblings find themselves in a sad, yet familiar place as they bond in the midst of their loss, and relive together similar times from the turbulent and siloed childhood they shared.

In the months following her father’s funeral, AJ’s reminiscences compel her to see her current circumstances through a fresh lens. Concerns that her husband is leading a secret life turn from suspicion to fact as the void in their relationship widens, creating a troubling likeness between her marriage and the dysfunctional relationships she witnessed as a child. She struggles with the decision to honor her intuition and end her failing marriage, but the consequences of divorce still loom ominously in her memory. She realizes that she can no longer deny her buried past, nor its implications on her current situation.

This is a fascinating true story of one woman’s journey to overcome childhood trauma, and to listen to the inner voice that she has been ignoring for years. Written as a novel, her memoir traverses past and present, all the while painting vivid pictures of both her childhood and adult worlds, the similarities of which have become too numerous to ignore.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Degsy Hay The Hay Patrollers: EVERY COMMUNITY SHOULD ‘AVE’EM

Degsy Hay The Hay Patrollers: EVERY COMMUNITY SHOULD 'AVE'EM (Book Book 2) by [Montgomery, Brian S]

It is often said that those who are best able to prevent youth from being lost in a life of crime are those who have walked that dark path and made it into the light. In Brian Montgomery’s The Hay Patrollers we see the results of characters who have gone through just that. In this second installment we reunite with Degsy Hay and jump straight into the fire, in a manner of speaking. Degsy’s whole world gets tipped upside down, yet he tries to carry on with his passion of giving purpose to those youth who feel like they have none. Degsy’s fight for survival in this book is rooted in passion and desperation. How far will he go?

The book is written in the first person in very relaxed language. As the writer is British, some of the slang might be difficult to make out for those who are unfamiliar with it. It doesn’t detract from the amazing tale that lies within, however. It just means that readers need to allot themselves a proper amount of time as they won’t be able to just blast through this book. It’s not too long but long enough to wrap up any potential loose ends. The series could continue, or it could end right here with this book. Only time will tell.

The human emotion that is displayed in this book is strong enough to evoke the emotions of the reader. The pain, trials and tribulations that Degsy and his crew must face before being able to move forward with their lives are palpable. Children do not choose a life of crime because they want to: they choose it because that is the only avenue left to them. Degsy knows this; he has lived this. He uses his experiences and passion in order to reach out that hand these children so desperately need.

Brian Montgomery hopefully won’t let The Hay Patrollers be the last in his series of juvenile crime-prevention. There is so much more these characters have to give to readers and there are likely more youth who need to read this book and see that there is more to the world than darkness. This book will tug at your heart-strings and leave you wanting more.

Pages: 165 | ASIN: B07MTNX4VB

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Friends of TheTsar

Friends of the Tsar: Miracles from Petrograd to the Outback by [de Graaff, Jon]

Friends of the Tsar, by Jon De Graaff, is a story about the author’s “Aristocratic Grandparent’s harrowing escape from the Russian Revolution of February 1917.”  The story starts near Petrograd, Russia in 1916 with Vera and George, with George and his mother, Adelaide, saving Vera from a wolf attack. They are at the country estate of George’s father, Baron Alexander Zuckschwerdt. Adelaide and Alexander are very much aristocrats. Vera and George are not on board with the aristocratic ways of their parents. Vera, who also came from an aristocratic family, started rejecting her parents’ ways after Bloody Sunday when even children were killed during a protest.

Vera has ten sisters. Three of them come to stay with her. Monica is 16. Mary is 15. Natty is 10. Vera often gets strong premonitions when something bad is about to happen. Blue is Alexander’s friend. He is an Australian cattle breeder. He comes to stay as well. Blue saves Natty from choking. He learned how to do it on a chance visit with friends. Vera sees it as meant to be. Blue tells story after story of things that happened that seem to have a lot of coincidences. Vera does not see them as coincidences at all. He dismissed them as being luck in the past. He now thinks differently.

The family finds itself in trouble. The country is in trouble. Their money is not worth as much. The people in the country are starving. The family decides that they need to leave. Blue offers to let them stay with him in Australia. Alexander books passage for himself, George, Blue, Vera and the girls for February 27, 1917. The story goes on from there to cover how they escaped and the challenges they faced as they did.

I felt that the story could not decide on what the book was going to be. As I went from chapter to chapter, I felt like many of the chapters could have been stand-alone chapters and were not connected very well. It lacked continuity. There are different stories being told that don’t seem to reach any conclusions. At first, I thought the book was going to be a love story about Vera and George. After the first chapter or so, they seemed forgotten and the book focused on Blue’s stories. Then it would jump to near misses while trying to escape and spy stories. I found myself confused a few time. The language seemed a bit stilted and formal and did not flow like normal dialogue in places.

There is a good story in the book though it would benefit from a bit more organization. The author writes well. Some of the stories were definitely interesting. Some of the story lines had definite possibility and begged for further development as the characters were intriguing and were usually placed in exotic locations.

Pages: 126 | ASIN: B071ZQ6CG8

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Stories of the Mother Bear – Trailer

In Jackson, Wyoming, a cache of documents discovered in a deceased resident’s attic confirms a childhood vision journalist Bill Larkin experienced while on a camping trip in Grand Teton National Park. Learning his memories of a mother grizzly, who transforms the lives of those who cross her path, were not imaginary, Bill embarks on a life journey, intertwining his autobiographical Stories of the Mother Bear with current events; foremost, the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

The deceased, Rufus Headrick, and his family were black cowboys. His grandfather, a freed slave, kept a journal from his days as a Texas cattle hand through the family’s ever-westward travels to Teton. Portrayed is a large, engraved brass key, yet to be found, which a Kiowa youth gave Rufus’ father along the Chisholm Trail. Who is the estate’s rightful heir? And what connection does the Headrick Family have with the Mother Bear?

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Jai the Albino Cow: Jai Ng’Ombe Zeruzeru – Trailer

Can an albino cow possess abilities to be admired by other cows?

Anjait (Jai) is Ankole cow who lived with her family in Kole Hills. Jai suffers from albinism. Other cows thought she was cursed. One day, Jai shocked other cows for doing something that no other cow did before. She also surprised them with a magical skill.

What is it that Jai did as the first ever cow? Will her actions and skill help bring love and respect to albino cows?

Get your copy now to find out the answers and reveal to your children the importance of showing kindness and respect to everyone, even if they look different.

Je, ngombe zeruzeru anaweza kuwa na uwezo wa kustaajabiwa na ngombe wengine?

Anjait (Jai) alikuwa ni ngombe wa kitutsi anayeishi na familia yake kwenye vilima vya Kole. Jai alikuwa ni zeruzeru. Ngombe wengine walifikiri ana laana. Siku moja aliwashangaza ngombe wenzie kwa kufanya kitu kwa mara ya kwanza. Aliwapa mshangao zaidi kwa uwezo wake wa kimiujiza.

Ni kitu gani alifanya Jai kama ngombe wa kwanza? Je matendo na uwezo wake yanaweza leta upendo na heshima kwa ngombe zeruzeru?

Jipatie nakala yako ili kupata majibu na uwafundishe watoto wako umuhimu wa kuonyesha upendo na heshima kwa kila mtu, hata kama mwonekano wao ni tofauti.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Very Gifted

Regine Dubono Author Interview

Regine Dubono Author Interview

The Mom and Her Autistic Daughter details the life and hardships you encountered when caring for an autistic adult daughter. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wanted so much to help her because the child I remembered she was was very smart, very gifted in the arts (dance, music, painting), so sensitive to your feelings, so compassionate. The drugs had turned her into a disabled monster.

There is ample discussion given to the drugs that autistic people are often prescribed. What are some common misconceptions people have about this topic?

The drugs only serve to mask symptoms and give the false impression that they are solving the problem.

Do you plan to write more books on this topic?

Yes. I will continue this fight as long as I live. My next book may be titled: “After the Respite”.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Mom and her Autistic Daughter-2 by [dubono, regine]Desiree has been given a status of emergency placement and Terry is her designated ICM. Attempts to place Desiree in a DDD licensed supervised apartment are tedious and difficult for she has e-bursts and night incontinence. Her issues are personal anger, and high anxiety. And perhaps because she was prescribed anti-depressant drugs, she can become violent. Unlike parents of mentally ill young people, Dubono pulled Desiree out of the shelter in an attempt to heal her, while awaiting the DDD placement.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

An Approximation of the Objective Truth

John Richard Spencer Author Interview

John Richard Spencer Author Interview

Brownout – 666 follows Rick in the midst of a struggle to find a way to live a normal life in a dark and unforgiving world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

My inspiration for the setup behind this novel primarily came from my sojourn in the Philippines spread over several years. I always told people that one day I would write a book about the country, its people and its culture and that I would call it “Brownout.” I added the “666” moniker to the title as any search under “Brownout” brought up thousands of books about electricity. As large portions of my novel were based on real events and people I could have written a nonfiction work instead. However, I didn’t want the potential for libel suits hanging over me so I chose fiction. The American and Australian settings of the novel came about as I wished to explore the socio-political ethos of those nations and their relationships to the bases of world power. I introduced the American setting as a subplot that tied up with the central one at the end.

Rick Daly is an interesting character that faces many challenges in life. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Some of the driving ideals behind the central character, Rick Daly, were related to sexuality and its abusive and non-abusive forms. As he matures Rick learns to become less selfish and earns some degree of redemption. Rick has been confused about Right and Wrong and gradually arrives at what he calls “the fair thing principle.” Rick grew up in the seventies and eighties in an Australia with a fairly aggressive sexual culture. An example of looking back at this culture from the standpoint of the present day is the internationally well-known podcast, “The Teacher’s Pet,” by Hedley Thomas of the newspaper, The Australian. Apart from examining a cold case disappearance and probable murder, the podcast looks into alleged teacher/schoolgirl sex rings at several high schools on Sydney’s northern beaches, one of which I taught at (Cromer High School). Rick loathes hypocrisy, the stupidity and gross unfairness of many authorities. Governments and courts often seem overly influenced by cultural and political fashion.

This novel expertly uses history to tell an engrossing story. Was history an important aspect for you in this novel or did this develop organically while writing?

As a former English and History teacher I have always been fascinated by History and its links to the present day. The changing attitudes to sexuality throughout historical and contemporary periods necessarily came to the fore as Rick becomes caught up in them.

I have long been a student of the Holocaust and the Third Reich and, as history is always written by the winners, I appreciate how difficult it is to arrive at even an approximation of the objective truth. While in no way do I condone the many crimes of the Third Reich I find myself bemused at how any attempt to examine this era can so easily be shouted down if it differs ever so little from the official version. The Holocaust was a terrible event but it is no more sacred than are the other mass killings or genocides that occurred before it or since.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

In addition to this novel, I also have a published work of non-fiction about child loss and grief. It is called, “Waiting for a Miracle – Life in the Dead Zone.” As for my next book, I haven’t decided whether to work on another novel or non-fiction piece. In either case it won’t be available until next year at the earliest.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Brownout - 666: Are we Slaves To Our Symbols? by [Spencer, Mr John Richard]

In the land of flaunted sex, money, and flexible rules, an ambitious but lonely Rick Daly faces his demons.

Rick Daly has established a business in the exotic surroundings of the Philippines, while simultaneously discovering Marilyn Delgado, the woman of his dreams.

However, a clash of cultures and his own naiveté lead to disaster. Falsely accused of a sexual crime, Rick loses both his freedom and his business. To add insult to injury, a prison escape merely amounts to switching jails.

In a world where the rich prosper, honest individuals are forced to the wall, and a cynical disregard for all but the dollar is destroying society from within, crime soon follows punishment for Rick. Close to losing his soul, will Rick’s ultimate success in drug and arms dealing finally lead him to face up to reality?

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Cuffed by You

Cuffed by You (SAPD SWAT) by [Mays, Nikki]

Kayla is almost at her wits’ end. Her ex-husband is a loser of massive proportions, and it just so happens that she attempted to drown him. Ridding herself of his insanity has left her alone to work the business his family built together and raise her four small children alone. With a more than just supportive family of in-laws who actually favor her over their own son, Kayla is making her way in the world one day at a time. A chance meeting with the officer who cuffed her during that lapse of better judgment turned drowning incident leads Kayla down the path to a life she thought was no longer in the cards for her.

Nikki Mays has done it again. Cuffed by You is the third installment in her romance series, SAPD SWAT, and it actually may be my favorite of the three. Kayla and Marc, the book’s main focus, are lively and easily visualized characters. Kayla is every single mom striving to make a better life for her children and resigned to the fact that she won’t allow her heart to be broken again. She walks the straight and narrow, for the most part, and is a truly likable character.

Marc, like the other male figures in Mays’s series, is a wonder of nature. As Mays churns out one stunning adjective after another to describe his physique, readers are left wondering how this could still be considered a realistic fiction piece–he is almost too good to be true. Mays is a pro at making her male main characters into loving and caring men who still manage to exude a rough exterior–they are dreams come true. This is only one of the many aspects of Mays’s writing that make her books so exceptionally readable and easily favorited.

As with each of the other books in the series, Mays has included a hateful and spite-filled antagonist. Enter the ex-husband. Mays succeeds in making Kayla’s ex a virtual monster, and the loathing is almost palpable page after page. While the entire cast of characters, including his own mother and brothers gang up against him, the reader is swept into the same vortex of hatred and animosity. Mays makes it easy to despise him while simultaneously building a case for Marc to take his place.

Mays is queen of the banter. Her dialogue between characters dominates the pages and makes the book what it is–a masterpiece of romantic comedy. While she includes a good bit of the traditional romance elements in her writing, she is able to make her characters jump off the page as they bicker back and forth, hurl jovial insults, and generally function as one loving unit of friends-turned-family.

Mays’s writes for her books to be enjoyed and for her characters to be remembered well beyond the last page–she achieves that, no doubt.

Pages: 221 | ASIN: B07L6WLS6Y

Buy Now From Amazon.com

Project Purple

Project Purple by [Greco, Michael]

Project Purple by Michael Greco is a fictional story about thirteen Americans who agree to take part in a social experience (called Project Purple), with their every action filmed and viewed live for the entertainment of the world. The thirteen people will relive an authentic colonial life of American pilgrims (in the year 1613) for four months, with the viewers as the ‘fourteenth colonist.’ The thirteen colonists must build a colony with twelve other strangers, figuring out how to work together. One of the colonists is Henrietta Dobie, known in the colony as Goatwench. But the colonists were lied to and none of them know the truth about the real purpose of the Project. When Rigor, a detective in Las Vegas, is sent a video of the horrific circumstances Goatwench is forced to endure, he’s determined to put a stop to the Project. But the organizers of the Project will stop at nothing to reach their own ends.

The premise of the book was intriguing, and the story kept my interest. I wanted to know what would happen next for the colonists–would any of them survive? It was interesting to see how human nature played out as the different characters reacted to the difficult–and then deadly–situation they found themselves in. I liked that the author told the story from the point of view of several different colonists, which gave much more insight into the individual characters.

I liked the historical aspect of the story. I enjoyed reading details about the clothing, daily tasks, and customs of American colonial life.

The sadistic actions of the people who created Project Purple were detestable; putting thirteen wholly unprepared people into that situation without their full knowledge and consent for the sole purpose of so-called entertainment for the viewing audience and to further the organization’s own agenda.

The story started out slow, with a lot of set up about the detective’s life in Las Vegas and leading into the beginning of Project Purple. The book felt a bit disjointed, jumping back and forth in time, and jumping between the detective and the colonists. It might have improved the flow of the story if the author had started out with the colonists embarking on Project Purple, and once things started to go wrong, then the detective could have been introduced when he received the first video. In the end this is an intriguing exploration of human motivations that plumbs the depths of humanity.

Pages: 351 | ASIN: B07K7N5M2D

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: