Author Archives: Literary Titan

A Dark Underbelly of Deception

Roger Chiocchi Author Interview

Roger Chiocchi Author Interview

Time Framed follows two family members battling across generations to avoid the consequences of a family curse. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

In 2002 I published the novel Mean Spirits which introduced the Pennfield family curse. The story follows the curse from the Mayflower through several generations and then ends with the downfall of Prof. Christopher Pennfield, once a highly respected professor of Philosophy, but now shamed for causing the suicide of his research assistant, a student with whom he was having an affair (and was the contemporary agent of the curse). The Epilogue of the book, takes place in 2052 when another descendant of the Pennfield family, Jimmy Mashimoto-Pennfield, an industrialist-genius, is contemplating how he, himself, can avoid the curse. He figures that if he can change the past a bit, he can throw off the timing of the curse so that he avoids it in the 2050s. So, in effect, Time Framed begins where Mean Spirits left off (but don’t worry, you don’t have to read Mean Spirits before Time Framed; the back story is thoroughly covered!)

Your characters are compelling and well developed. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating them?

Certainly, one of the main themes is about greed and privilege. On the surface, The Pennfields are a well-respected American family; however, their accomplishments have a dark underbelly of deception, cheating and cruelty. Some of the characters in the book, specifically Christopher, Jimmy Mashimoto-Pennfield and Izan Bonne-Saari, a world renowned financier who uses his control of world financial markets to reshape the world’s governmental order into a caste system heavily favoring the wealthy elite, represent humankind’s proclivity to ego-centrism and narcissism. In fact, Jimmy Mashimoto-Pennfield creates a holographic clone of himself, aptly named Narc, so he can have someone of equal intelligence to converse with. Despite these characters self-centered and greedy natures, Christopher Pennfield realizes he has done wrong is looking to redeem himself which, I think makes him an interesting character. Some of the other characters in the book, Shippy Pennfield, Ed Swann (ghost hunter), Julian Weisman (theoretical physicist) and Dr. Brenda Altieri (nun turned psychiatrist), Derek Fane and Robyn Viega represent the better aspects of humanity.

I thought you handled the use of time travel deftly in this book. Time travel usually comes with its own paradoxes. How did you avoid these in your book?

Yes, indeed, any story about time travel has to deal with what’s called the “grandfather paradox” — suppose you went back in time and killed your grandfather; then you would never exist in the future to be able to go back in time to commit that very act. The only resolution to that paradox is for the universe to split into two parallel universes, one where you exist in the present and the other where you do not. So, in effect, Time Framed becomes the story of two separate universes, one where a certain event happened and one where it didn’t and then how they finally resolve into one universe again. Interestingly, there is no physical time travel in Time Framed. It all centers around the Pennfields using their pre-existing psychic sensitivities to communicate psychically across time and influence the other time period, convincing someone in the past or future to perform an act which appears trivial to them in their time frame but one which causes a major disruption of history.

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

It’s not nearly as daunting as writing a book about two parallel universes across space and time, but currently my daughter and I are working on a screenplay that explores the relationship between fame and true talent.

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Time Framed by [Chiocchi, Roger]

Two periods of time clash with an alternative universe in Time Framed, a story that pits family members against each other across generations as they attempt to evade the dire consequences of a menacing family curse. Dating back to the Mayflower, the curse had its origin as family patriarch, Charles Pennfield, threatened a poor servant girl, causing her to leap to her death off the Cape Cod coast. Now, her unsettled spirit ebbs and flows, surfacing every sixty to eighty years to exact justice as she inhabits a living agent and forces them to crush the greatest ambitions of whatever unlucky Pennfield crosses her path. 

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The Oaths and Vows They Made

Timony McKeever Author Interview

Timony McKeever Author Interview

The Monk follows Detective Laskey and ex- detective Billy as they attempt to solve a murder while trying to overcome their past. What was the driving motivation behind this book?

The relationship between long time Police partners is unique. Only that between soldiers in combat is comparable. Investigation is far more interviewing, looking at crime scenes and bodies than it is portrayed on television. If you got in a shooting every week like on television, I can guarantee you a lot of Departmental therapy.

You never hear about all the men and women who put on the badge and hit the streets every night, often putting themselves in harms way for people they don’t even know and fulfilling the Oaths and Vows they made. These Officers never get any press and the “Bad Cops” get more press than they deserve.

I hope “The Monk Mysteries” will give more press to the “Good Cops” and provide the reader some insight as to the emotional battles that come with the job while trying to live a normal life.

I could really feel the old camaraderie between Laskey and Billy in this book. What served as sources of inspiration for you while creating their relationship?

Personal experience with longtime Partners. In particular, a guy named Jack, who passed away several years ago and far too soon. We were tight at work and off-duty for years. We worked Patrol, Narcotics and K-9 for years. However, there came a time when a similar situation as depicted in the book, as to a job change caused some friction. We went our separate ways but were able to re-connect before Jack passed away.

What has been the most surprising feedback you’ve gotten from your readers about the book?

Most often is how strong and independent the female characters are. This wasn’t a conscious act on my part rather, it is the type of women that are required to deal with the males in the book. They are also like so many of the women I have known and admired in my life.

This is book one in the Monk Series. Where will book two pick up and when will it be available?

“THE MONK Vol 1 Revised ed” is a revised version of The Monk I wrote ten years ago. After writing ‘The Gumdrop House Affair” Vol 2, of the Monk Mysteries, which has been on Kindle Best seller list for two years, I realized that I had become more confident in my writing and needed to revise the first version of the Monk. Same characters and on Capitol Hill but better and hopefully more entertaining for the Reader.

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The Monk (The Monk Series Book 1) by [McKeever, Timony]

A Catholic Priest talking about Evil is not unusual. However, a Catholic Priest looking directly into the eyes of “Evil” who the Monk calls “The Ugly” is unusual even for the Capitol Hill area of Denver and St. Benedict the Moor’s Church. This is just one of the “Spiritual Tests” the Monk faces as he attempts to solve the murder of Julia Lopez with his ex-Partner Det. Sgt. Jack Laskey.

With political pressure applied by the Governor, the Archbishop of Denver and the Franciscan Provincial, The Monk becomes a “Special Consultant” and helps Laskey solve the “Murder of the Decade” and save his position which was in jeopardy due to his inability to adjust to any Partner other than the Monk. During the course of the investigation the Monk faces the “Ugly” in many forms in the present and confrontations from the past. Those confrontations led the Monk to become a Priest and a “Spiritual Warrior” as well as a “Physical Warrior.” Leaving the and security of “Our Lady of the Rockies” Orphanage run by his Order, the Monk must return to the streets of Denver and find the killers with Laskey.

William Yeats Butler known as “The Monk” on Capitol Hill gave up a promising career in the NFL to become a Policeman. He had been an All-American at Notre Dame and was a local Hero and role model in Denver. Through 10 years with Laskey as his Partner, they worked Patrol, Narcotics and Homicide. They were the “Toughest Cops” on the streets of Denver. In their quest they are assisted by Irish/Japanese Officer Mai Li McDuff. Some would say she got the worst of both cultures; “Peaches” the transvestite hooker; “Popcan Charley” a resident of Cheeseman Park; “Mikey” the restaurant owner with Mob connections and “Frank” the only “Irish English Bulldog” in Colorado – all this under the watchful eyes of Father Ian Timony, Father Augustus O’Shea and Aunt Rhoda Williams.

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A Steampunk Adventure

Ora Wanders Author Interview

Ora Wanders Author Interview

Children of the Elements follows four children as they discover magical abilities only revealed when they come together. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this novel?

I really don’t know where the idea came from. I was super into Harry Potter, and I was seriously just laying on the floor one day and thought of it. When I finally started writing, I had been thinking about it for like two years and slowly building up a story line.

I felt that the characters were well developed and changed with the story. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?

Well, Brenna was the most like me, so she was easy. Dimitri was a lot like my “best friend” at the time. Adara is sort of the person I think I am growing into (my mom totally says so!), and Wyndham is kinda me when I am around new people!

What has been a motivating factor for you to become a young writer and how has your family supported you?

My mom published books that were doing really well, and I was like, “I wanna do that!” Then my mom gave me a copy of her friend’s daughter’s book (The Fairies of Waterfall Island by Emma Sumner who was only eight at the time), and I knew I could do it too!

But my mom kept on me because I get distracted easily. She’s a book editor and owns an editing company, so she helped me plot out the milestones and character arches and helped a LOT with vocabulary and avoiding repetition–like everything ending with “said.” Cuz I do that a lot…

This is book one in a series. Where will book two take readers and when will it be available?

Well, it’s gonna show us life in the Realm of the Gods and why it’s WAY more boring when everything is perfect! Dimitri is the main character in Book Two instead of Brenna. There will also be four new elemental characters (hint: rhymes with schragons!). And there will actually be four books total. With each Devins kid as the protagonist. I finished the rough draft already, but now it’s going through my mom before it goes through the rest of her editing team. Editing Book One took almost six months, so I guess I will be lucky to get it out by the end of this summer (2019), but that’s the goal. I hope to have Books Three and Four done by the end of 2019 too.

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Children of the Elements: A Steampunk Adventure by [Wanders, Ora]

When twin girls, Brenna and Adara, move from posh Victorian England to a humble farmhouse in America, they quickly notice that all is no longer as it seems…

While Brenna has always had an affinity for water and Adara has always loved fire, the girls now discover they have some sort of CONTROL over these elements as well!

They learn how true this is when they meet another set of twins—boys named Dimitri and Wyndham who also live in their new town.

When the four children get together magical things start to happen!

But they aren’t the only ones who know about this power now…

Something sinister has been lurking in the town waiting for the moment the four children finally activate their newfound abilities.

You’ll love this magical steampunk fantasy by a child-author because of the lovable characters and non-stop action!

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Lion – Escape from Russia

Lion - Escape from Russia by [Misquita, Douglas]

Thrilling from the first page to the last, I was instantly drawn into Lion’s vivid tale of unwavering action and adventure. Lion follows five individuals, brought together through intricate and overlapping incidents to pull off a prison break like no other.

The first scene unfolds with Aslan Terzi locked away and at death’s door when a timely turn of events has him reunited with the outside world. New and old acquaintances gravitate to combat and once again Aslan is thrown into the thick of the conflict, he so desperately tried to run from.

Misquita’s novel was an absolute thrill to read. His research is top notch and the flawless detailing shows for it. When I started the book, I did a double take just to make sure it was fiction! From the get-go we are thrown into the action; bloody, gut-wrenching, fist beating, action. And the pace does not let up. The character’s point of view switches frequently and subtly. You have to keep your eyes glued to the page to catch those quick changes. This is probably my only complaint, I got lost a few times because the narrative changed from one person to the next with little to no warning. However, I was impressed with Misquita’s smooth transitions and by the second half of the book, I got used to the speedy change of perspective.

The well-defined characters of Lion and descriptive action scenes are undoubtedly my favorite features. Each character begins with a defined personality that aids in the development throughout the book. The romantic, family and friendship relations among the characters appear as authentic and never fall into stereotypical roles. For such a short book all the characters portrayed a well-rounded arc. There were, of course, some individuals with a stronger narrative but I never felt there was a character lacking in explanation.

For a book of carnage and war as a backdrop, Misquita does not censor his readers from the gruesome battle scenes. Lion doesn’t pull its punches, with every fight scene emoting the overwhelming desire from the fighters to survive. As a reader, every do-or-die situation expressed the same sentiment as the real things; I had no idea what the outcome would be. The rich detail and graphic storytelling illustrate a gripping and awesome tale that Misquita beautifully crafted for his readers to enjoy, and enjoy it I did. This is my first book of Misquita’s but not my last.

Pages: 304 | ASIN: B07RTZ9JXX

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Doves & Crows

Doves & Crows by [Heathcote, MJC]

MJC Heathcote delivers a story that combines mystery and family history in a chilling way that has you wondering about the dark forces embedded within a seemingly average object. Although Doves and Crows starts slowly, it quickly ramps up and once it captured my attention it rarely let it go. Heathcote does a fantastic job at slowly building up the mystery and drama, drawing you in and making the resolution all the more satisfying. There are moments when the story slows, but the unique writing style and the clear storytelling keeps this book engaging throughout.

Doves and Crows is an intriguing supernatural horror story that reads more like a crime thriller when people start to meet their untimely death, and more like Paranormal Activity when strange things start happening. The the mystery surrounding the necklace, although intriguing, left me wanting more details. Richard is an easy character to follow and is easy to empathize with, but I would have liked more background on his character.

With any mystery novel that relies on subtlety it’s easy to be too subtle and lose the reader along the way, but Heathcote’s writing is exceptionally fluid and effortlessly delivers some odd twists and dramatic scenes in dark an eerie settings. What I really liked about this book was how it combines many different genres to create a thought provoking story about paranormal forces wreaking havoc on one boys life and his ultimate struggle to rid himself of the dark forces his grandparents unknowingly brought into his life.

Pages: 434 | ASIN: B07L5RS1SD

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The Korpes Agenda

The Korpes Agenda (The Korpes File Series Book 2) by [Rogers, J. I.]

5 Stars

Nash Korpes has seen easier days. He’s overworked, in a constant state of recovery from one incident or another, and those he wants desperately to be able to trust just might be the real enemies. As a Master Tech, Nash poses a certain amount of danger. The true question is: Is he a danger to those he seeks to destroy or a danger to himself. Something is hanging over Nash like a black cloud, and the “friends” he has made can’t seem to pinpoint his problem. Like a loose cannon, Nash goes about his job always leery of his companions.

Rogers’s second in a series, The Korpes Agenda shows the vulnerable side of the main character, Nash Korpes. From the first two chapters, readers are given a clear picture of a man who is broken emotionally and in a constant state of high-alert–always second guessing those around him. A man who is outwardly gruff and speaks his mind, Nash is quite emotionally crippled, sheltering himself by keeping his true feelings hidden deep within. Rogers’s main character is pleasantly complicated and one who is indeed worth following from book to book.

The setting of Rogers’s series is unique, and there is something about the ways in which the author chooses to describe the setting that appeals to me. Set nearly 500 years in the future, one would think the terminology would be difficult to discern and the overall setting unrelatable. Rogers, however, does not disappoint and somehow remedies this and succeeds in providing readers with a surprisingly relatable backdrop for her characters.

Unlike many books of this genre, The Korpes Agenda focuses as much on the characters’ weaknesses and personal struggles as it does the technical aspects of their world. I appreciated this aspect very much as I am a reader who becomes invested in characters no matter the setting.

Nash Korpes is a true study in character development. Without giving too much away, I will say that the self-talk that happens with Nash is highly engaging. I was caught up in his moments of self-doubt from the first chapter of the book. He is a man who is being taken over by his own thoughts, but the way in which Rogers has chosen to show this is truly something to behold. I found myself revisiting sections of text in awe over the method the author chose to use to show Nash’s inner battle.

This being the second in a series, the author does an amazing job summarizing each character and pulling in quick but thorough elements from the first book in order to bring readers up to speed.

Science fiction fans will appreciate the technical aspects of Rogers’s work, and readers who seek a main character who provides the opportunity for psychological study will immediately be drawn to Nash Korpes.

Pages: 468 | ASIN: B07PH4FFWB

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FRANK PAÍS

José Álvarez (Cuba, 1940) nos presenta en FRANK PAÍS una extensa biografía del “revolucionario” cubano del mismo nombre. Hace un repaso de su corta vida (1934-1957) y de la importancia que sus actos tuvieron en la Revolución Cubana. Cómo después de su muerte el pueblo cubano sigue recordándolo.

Los primeros datos los obtenemos de mano del único hermano País que sigue vivo, Agustín País, quien ha residido en los EEUU desde la muerte de sus hermanos. En esta entrevista personal José Álvarez y Agustín País, nos hacen una introducción de los fechas más importantes en la vida de Frank. Relatan como la muerte de su padre les afectó y alaban la figura de su madre. Le sirve al lector para situarse en aquella época y descubrir los incios de Frank en la vida política.

A partir de aquí, José Álvarez se centra en la relevancia que tuvo Frank País en la Revolución Cubana. Nos adentra en su ideología y nos explica cómo se va “creando”, iniciando, ese sentimiento en el pueblo Cubano. Dicha Revolución (1953-1959) provocó la caída del régimen de Batista y la llegada al poder del líder del Ejército Guerrillero, Fidel Castro, con todo lo que eso supuso a nivel nacional e internacional. No quita importancia a todos aquellos que rodearon a Frank en este gran cambio.

Después de exponer todos los datos relevantes sobre la vida de Frank País: infancia, educación, familia, amigos… y la importancia que éste tuvo en este gran cambio histórico, José Álvarez incluye en el Libro II los escritos selectos de Frank País y sus cartas a Fidel Castro, documentos oficiales… Todo este tipo de escritos le sirven al lector para comprobar de primera mano la relación entre ambos, y porque después de su muerte, hace tantos años, la figura de Frank País sigue viva.

En el Libro III, José Álvarez ofrece una visión más intimista de Frank País. Incluye sus escritos más personales, sus poesías. Vemos el lado más personal y a lo mejor menos político del protagonista,  a pesar de sus ideas por liberar al pueblo cubano.

Considero que es un libro recomendable para todos aquellos que estén interesados en conocer más en profundidad la importancia de Frank País en el proceso de cambio cubano. Ofrece esta información desde todos los puntos de vista posibles, de un modo neutral y utilizando todas las fuentes biográficas que están al alcance de su mano, destacando principalmente la información proporcionada por Agustín País.

Pages: 622 | ISBN: 1090437552

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Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania

Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania by [Gonsalves, Gloria D.]

The magical forests of Germania beckon! When five-year-old Stan is invited to a party by a talking Fern, he eagerly enters a lush, verdant world of discovery. When Stan falls ill, his forest friends find a cure. When he gets lost, they guide him home. The forest’s generosity truly knows no bounds.

Danloria: The Secret Forest of Germania reveals the protective and healing powers of the forest and its vegetation. Author Gloria Gonsalves cleverly teaches children the names and characteristics of plants, and their ability to heal or harm. Her enchanting fable reveals the countless ways the Earth protects and provides. The true magic of this book is in the illustrations that were created by children. Each drawing is engaging and gives the story an added layer of meaning through the imaginations of young artists. It is a heart-warming story that speaks to the giving nature of the Earth.

Pages: 61 | ASIN: B07926X9S4

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The Confessional: A Peerless Short Story

The Confessional: A Peerless Short Story by [Kuykendall, A.K.]

Reinhold Commons Webster likes being in church. His family hopes he will follow the priesthood path, and his only desire is to be an altar boy. However, he is thrust into an abyss of sadistic abuse. He watched his friend penetrated with impunity until he could no longer hold on to life. The same end awaited him. Therefore Reinhold makes a deal that provides him with a little reprieve. With no one else willing to help him or the others, this deal is his only hope. The deal does nothing to erase what has already happened but what comes next will have to be enough.

This story, albeit short, is aggressively evocative. Written in such detail, the candor of it is well justified by the desire to shine a light on this abomination. The author also puts a spotlight on the role of parents and other authority figures in all of this. Their adverse reactions to the damaging situations the victims are plunged into. Figures who choose to ridicule these children rather than save them from their plight.

This is a very purposeful book. It might seem a bit crass, but the painful detail in this story is very necessary and intentional. It works to ingrain an image that would potentially start a movement for the rescue of actual victims. The end is quite alarming and should serve as a warning to perpetrators.

The confessional is a place where people go to seek solace and relief from the burden of sin. However, in this instance the title serves as a reminder that these places represent personal hells for some people. As a reader, one cannot help but weep for the poor boys. One cannot help but advocate for the punishment of the perpetrator. This is the extent of the writer’s to appeal to the reader’s soul by use of words and language.

This story should be used as a rallying call against child abuse everywhere and especially of the sexual sort. It should stand as a war cry for abused children everywhere to appeal to their parents for help. It is evocative and stern in no uncertain terms. The author’s passion for this cause is obvious and this story is engaging and thought provoking.

Pages: 49 | ASIN: B07PGTS8LC

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Life Interrupted – Trailer

Life is happening for you, not to you. It comes with many detours and roadmaps that you did not expect, how you respond to this ever-changing phenomenon is critical to your peace of mind, happiness and purpose. Navigating the unexpected brings fear, frustration, anxiety, stagnancy, uncertainity, and procrastination. A complete change of life essentially births our purpose in this world when our existence is interrupted by the universe. This divine intervention holds more excitement and opportunities than one could ever imagine.

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keri-so-very.com

 

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