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The Gauntlet of Pong Wu

Nicholas Powter’s The Gauntlet of Pong Wu is a tragic story of love, family, and treachery. Set in the mystical land of Pong Wu, this story follows the life of Antatirgo, a local chief’s daughter. While the story begins with two warriors dueling for her hand in marriage, things soon take an apocalyptic turn.

Demons invade her village and she is tragically separated from her sister Wytgo. In a last-ditch attempt to save herself and find her sister, she lets a demon possess her after he promises to help her. Ultimately, this decision takes her down a dangerous path, one of pain and unexpected challenges.

As expected from a story with gods, angels, and demons, a lot of the language used in this book is quite unique – this particular story posses a flair for horrid descriptions and uses a lot of old English terms. While this adds authenticity to the spellbinding narrative that immerses you in the well-crafted world, I think it can be overwhelming at times. While the dialogue is substantive and sincere, delivering much of the emotional impact of the novel, I felt it was ponderous at times and ti was hard to nail down who was talking.

These minor quibbles aside, the plot of The Gauntlet of Pong Wu driving this riveting story forward is absolutely enthralling and sets up some very impactful scenes that will stay with you long after you’ve put the book down. The author has a way of always keeping you on your toes. This epic paranormal fantasy novel expertly depicts how much one is willing to endure for the love of family. I really enjoyed the ending to this dark fantasy novel as well, it is quite tragic and unpredictable, and left me with a lot of mixed feelings, which I think is what a good novel is supposed to do.

The Gauntlet of Pong Wu is an emotionally charged adventure novel with a rich backstory and fascinating characters that make it hard to put this book down.

Pages: 97 | ISBN: 198229065X

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Expect an Epic Conclusion

Robert Blanchard
Robert Blanchard Author Interview

The Treachery Of A Weasel follows Aidan as he must face his nemesis as a new foe and obstacles emerge to challenge him like never before. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

As always, Dragonheart inspires a great deal about the entire series. Ever since I saw the movie Willow, I’ve always wanted to do something with brownies. Norvin’s character change in this book is inspired by Wesker in the Resident Evil video game series (sorry, video game nerd here).

What were some challenges you felt were important to Aidan’s overall character development?

I felt that it was really important in this book for Aidan to hit absolute rock bottom. In The Roar of a Dragon, he dealt with a lot of horrible things, but in this one, it gets even worse, I think. It was going to be a testament to Aidan’s character if he could find a way out of this deeper, darker black hole than he had in Book 1.

What was the funnest scene in the book for you to write?

Funny that you would ask me that about this particular book. (Laughs) I said earlier that the brownies in this book were inspired by the ones in Willow. Years ago, I was telling by girlfriend about the idea, and she wanted me to add pixies as well. We talked through how the whole thing would happen, and we laughed the entire time. Ninety-five percent of that scene in the book is completely unchanged from that initial conversation all those years ago!

This is book two in The Roar of a Dragon series. What can readers expect in book three?

Expect an existing character (not Aidan) to deal with serious, debilitating personal issues that threaten the entire group. Expect new characters, new stories. Expect an epic conclusion. Do NOT expect everyone to survive …

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

After their victory in Delmar, Aidan and his companions look toward their ultimate goal – stopping their nemesis, Sirak, once and for all. Sirak has taken over territories in the west, including the city of Min Lenoras, turning the inhabitants into the dreaded Ther-lor – mindless, yet nearly unstoppable creatures. If left unchecked, Sirak will continue to use the Dyn’osi ritual to convert entire cities to his cause, creating his vision of a perfect world.
But instead of being united against this terrible evil, the world is instead in a state of turmoil. People have formed a mob outside the Mage’s Tower in Lorehaven, demanding that the mages be held responsible for the forbidden magic that created the Ther-lor. Elves and dwarves distrust men, men distrust each other – the world is in no shape to battle the spreading horror of Sirak’s twisted vision. Knowing that he and his companions cannot stop Sirak themselves, Aidan works to get the people of the world on his side.
But along the way, Aidan will face an unforeseen circumstance leading to the disappearance of one of his closest companions. Driven to near-insanity, Aidan tries desperately to uncover the truth and save the companion, but along the way he finds more than he bargained for when a new foe emerges and Aidan realizes that there are more obstacles in their way than he thought.

Into a Dystopian Universe

Gary Szendzielarz
Gary Szendzielarz Author Interview

Fallen Gods follows a young man that suddenly discovers he has powers and sets out on journey that reveals much more about himself and the world then he had imagined. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I began writing this story, albeit it very differently at the time, as a teenager in school. I actually had a tough time in school, was bullied quite badly, but at the same time I didn’t want to just give up. Instead I focused on my fantasies, essentially what if? Over the years, my ideas developed but I didn’t really have the drive I needed to write the book properly. Then I told the story to my wife and she pushed me to get it done.

The idea of the witches was inspired by a group of girls I knew at school. They were essentially “IT” girls, not bullies of other girls, but they were the ones who every girl wanted to be. Completely by chance, my older brother was friends with the brother of one of the girls, and for some reason, that meant that I became a friend to the girls. It felt special to me and really put me in a different place; but then the more I got to know them personally, the more I felt that they were not the nicest people to be around.

Adam is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

That comes from my experiences growing up on the Isle of Man, and then being forced to move to Lincolnshire, which was hell on Earth for me. I was always an emotional person but after my set of misfortunes over the years, I grew a thick-skin, which led into the position I am in today at work, done all through determination and fight. I wanted Adam to go through the same thing, just much faster, obviously. I wanted to character to actually be a beacon for all those who struggle to recognise their own potential, to be able to understand that we are all capable of more, to beat our demons; we just need time and support. But it’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay to cry and get scared.

The psychology of the main characters is extremely important for me, because this is essentially the introductory book to a string of follow-ups. It will lead into a dystopian universe which will twist a little bit. I know one of my concerns were on the character development at the beginning, that I did not develop the connection to the characters until later in the book, and for some that maybe a problem, but it’s important to understand that none of the characters have fully developed into what they will become, and we still do not know if what happened throughout the book was the correct thing for the world.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but for me religion has always played a negative element in my life. It never had good experiences with religion and it has left a bitter taste in my mouth. As an atheist, I wanted to provide an alternative angle to religion, to allow us to question why Abrahamic religions play so heavily on the idea of masculinity, and why women were second class in the bible etc. What if all of this was a cover for something much deeper and darker?

I also wanted to address the idea of gender and sexuality. If we were to look at the world as the witches did, then there is a fluidity to their sexuality, but their own take on religion takes away the idea of multiple genders. In some ways, we could suggest that the fight against the witches could be mistakenly viewed as misogyny, right up until you realise that the witches care less about women and men but really their own selfish gains.

Finally, there are hints in the book of Adam’s sexuality too, but given how confused he is by his own situation, I did not want to address it too deeply. Really, I wanted to leave it to the reader for them to make their own judgment of who or what Adam really is.

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

I’m actually working on the next books for the Fallen Gods series. One will be the direct sequel, taking place a decade and a half after the events in Fallen Gods, and will be a decidedly darker and longer novel than the first. Then the other is a shorter novella that I will be giving away online free, and will be about a different character not in the first book, and will be a join between book 1 and 2, but can also be read as a standalone novella; in other words, the idea is that you can read the novella and then go and read the first or second book and still know what is going on.

I also have a couple of other ideas in the works, but they are in the skeleton phase right now. One is about a part-time government assassin who accidentally kicks off a revolution. Another is a dark thriller about husband who discovers a dark secret about his Czech wife and her childhood at time when she escaped from communist Czechoslovakia.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Adam Slater always felt something was off about his life; that he was not supposed to be a bullied, wimpy little kid.

In 1984, eight year old Adam and his friends discover an abandoned car near a large creepy work shed. Kids being kids, they decide to search, only to find the car belongs to a missing MI5 agent named Hendley. In the car, Adam finds an old leather-bound book written in a language, the likes of which he had never seen before; whilst Adam’s friend Ian enters the shed, only to suddenly vanish, never to be seen again.

All of this kicks off events which will change Adam’s life forever. On his eighteenth birthday, everything changes in an instant. Suddenly, he is strong, powerful, and can do things which should have been impossible.

Determined to understand who, or what he is, Adam begins to investigate, discovering an alien race of women, trapped on Earth for millennia, known as Witches, who shaped modern-day religion. He also discovers that the MI5 agent’s wife, Carol, is not who she appears.

Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, surrounded by his best friends, Adam travels across Europe, visiting historical sites and investigating Greek mythology, to find out why he has powers. Joining them are four beautiful girls; girls the boys never dreamed of talking to before. But these are no ordinary girls; rather they are witches who may not have Adam’s best interests at heart. Adam soon discovers that not all is as it seems, and their journey will not be a fun-filled relaxing adventure, but rather a trail of death and destruction, leading to the revelation that the world is in grave danger and Adam may be the only person capable of saving humanity.

Standing in the way will be the witches and the threat of a bounty hunter goddess named Venus. What begins as an epic adventure amongst friends, descends into a battle of epic proportions, and a race against time to stop an evil goddess from restoring her powers and destroying the Earth once and for all.

Adam has to grow from weak wimpy kid, to confident, strong adult; and fast. In order to do that, he needs to discover who he is and why, and he may not like the answer. The truth could ruin him. Getting the answer may kill him, and everyone he holds close. One thing is for certain, the world will never be the same again.

Fallen Gods

Fallen Gods by [Gary Szendzielarz]

The story of Fallen Gods revolves around Adam Slater, who on his eighteenth birthday suddenly comes into the possession of superpowers, without having any knowledge of where they came from. He decides to travel along with his friends to explore the cause behind this unexpected power, and the abrupt change in his demeanor, from a bullied child to a confident and strong adult. As he travels through Europe, he takes a deep interest in Greek mythology and folklore and attempts to find out why he has been bestowed with special powers. 

During this adventurous journey of self-exploration, he encounters four aliens called witches, who might be after him. These women are unimaginably beautiful, but they might have malicious intent. Soon enough, Adam learns about the deep danger that the planet is facing, and also comes to terms with the fact that perhaps he is the only one who can save earth from destruction. 

Seeking the truth might lead to more danger, and nobody knows what the future has in store. Will Adam discover the true source of his powers? What does it have to do with the abandoned MI5 agent’s car he found as a kid? These inevitable questions are answered, but with ample suspense and a dexterous grip over the storyline.

This thrilling story follows the classic fantasy superhero plot where the hero suddenly realizes his supernatural powers, an origin story of sorts, but in this unique setup our hero also faces an army of extraterrestrial beings conspiring behind his back. While the tension is high the novel still makes a bold attempt at focusing more on character development. The novel is filled with intriguing characters, and the author has given each one of them a fair share of attention. The story is more character-centric in nature, making it all the more engaging for the reader. 

The story is fast-paced and filled with action. The novel at certain points contains explicit language, violent imagery, and excessive action, which may not be suitable for young readers, but will be enthralling for mature readers looking for an intense read. The story demands your full attention if the reader wishes to remember the nifty details that have been incorporated in every section of the novel.

Fallen Gods has an intriguing plot, well-explored characters, and a high level of intrigue that ensures this novel is consistently entertaining. Author Gary Szendzielarz gives readers a thrilling fantasy story that knows how to build up compelling characters and test them in some riveting ways.

Pages: 303 | ASIN: B08ZL67J2Q

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Would They Be Considered Human?

Jon Gray Lang
Jon Gray Lang Author Interview

The Matilda follows a ragtag space crew that must fight off a government and an alien invasion in a dangerous galaxy set against them. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

For as long as I can remember, I have been enthralled by the worlds created for science fiction. From the beginnings with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, into the dark corners of H.P. Lovecraft’s mind, twisting through the philosophical questions of Phillip K. Dick, and into the cultural phenomena of Star Wars and Star Trek. Peppered throughout is my love of the crazy genre films from the 1980s, the cyberpunk cities of the 1990s, humans struggling to survive space travel in the aughts through to the colorful Marvel movies of the new millennium.

The Matilda is more like a love letter from me to science fiction in general. In fact, so is the whole Matilda Series and it is sprinkled with concepts that kept me attracted to the genre. I had the initial idea for the story locked in my head for close to a decade and it was going to be a television show. But it kept getting shoved to the side by other projects. Jacquie and the crew kept riding me to tell their story. Now, here we are and there is still more story to tell!

I enjoyed the creativity and depth with which you created your characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

One of the aspects of storytelling that has always appealed to me is the group dynamic of the ensemble. I am fascinated with how individuals work separately from their group but rely on it at the same time. I wanted my characters to be very human with all the merits and flaws that we carry around. I mean, the crew of the Matilda doesn’t always get along. But seeing the great lengths Jacquie goes to keep her people together and getting to connect with them as they worked together was amazing.

I wanted to show that they can learn from their mistakes and that colors how they handle future situations. But I also wanted to understand how those coping mechanisms can cause problems when they decide to not take those lessons to heart.

To be honest, behind the setting of an unjust universe, alien invasion, and all that, the heart of the story is more about the family we stumble into and the pasts that follow us in. Is that connection enough to keep people together when everything wants to tear them apart?

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I have always been fascinated by the people who exist on the fringes of society, the ones who do the work that isn’t entirely legal. I wanted to touch on the power of the individual or group of individuals versus the society that governs them. How does that color their perception of the world they live in?

I wanted to explore the power of love through friendship and how those bonds can form, bend, and break. Along with that is the capacity for perseverance and having the courage to carry on against all odds. Also, how vulnerability plays in that field but doesn’t necessarily make a person weak. I believe that it can prepare a person to be stronger in the face of adversity.

Lastly, I wanted to touch on the idea of what makes a person human. Is it the environment that raises us? Is it because we’re just born that way? What if an entity is made not born? What if a being has been technologically altered so much that they ‘resemble’ a human? Would they be considered human?

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

It’s been a crazy ride and I’ve been going full tilt for a while now. Twistin’ Matilda and Black Matilda, the second and third books in the series, are currently out and about on Amazon.

I recently finished my latest draft of the fourth one. It is currently in the hands of my editors. I’m sitting on the sidelines with bated breath as I await their corrections so I can get it done. Secret Matilda is set to be released in late 2021.

On top of that, the fifth and final book in the series is halfway through its first draft. The plan is for it to be released in 2022. Once that is completed, I have a compilation of short stories that take place in The Matilda Series universe set to be written. The future looks busy and bright!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Smuggler. Fugitive. Cyborg. Bounty Hunter.

Far off into the future in a distant part of the galaxy, the Consortium controls the human colonies held together by the jump gates. Where the Consortium doesn’t hold sway, crime flourishes. Through the use of a hellish engine that goes where no one should, the crew of the Matilda slips its way between the two. But nothing has gone smoothly after they broke out one of their own off of a prison ship.

Fighting their way past shadowy government agencies and a dangerous crime lord; monstrosities from an unknown layer of the universe seem dead set to break through into ours.

When their pasts come back to haunt them, can Jacquotte Delahaye and her crew of misfits come together as they are attacked from all sides? Will the galaxy work hand in hand with them to survive the alien onslaught?

Strap yourself in for a bumpy ride in the first book of the series, the Matilda.

What Power Does to Them

Steven Seril
Steven Seril Author Interview

The Destroyer of Worlds is a thrilling fantasy novel that pits gods, aliens, and dragons against each other in an epic war. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve had the core of this story in my heart since I was little, and I even have very old and embarrassing storyboards of the characters and plot. I really wanted to write a story that seemed huge, grand, and important. I was an English major in college (about a decade ago now) and was forced to read a lot of books that were considered “good” or even “great.” However, what I found was that I kept asking, “Why should I care?” or “Why are we even reading this?” It’s an experience common to many students. I wanted to write something different–something significant. I wanted to write something with tremendously high stakes and incredibly powerful, over-the-top characters. I was a voracious reader of mythology growing up. I also loved sci-fi and fantasy media (books, movies, TV shows, and video games). I noticed that no one could get mythology right. They had to “wussify” or soften the mythology to make it accessible to kids and people with weak stomachs. Well, mythology just isn’t like that, sorry. A lot of very messed up stuff happens in mythology and it’s not fully authentic to present it the way that most do. I wanted to do it right and be authentic to the source material. I wanted to do that with a believable and fitting twist. Around 2011 or 12, I came across a TV series called “Once Upon a Time” which featured characters from fairy-tales that most of us are at least somewhat familiar with (like Snow White & Cinderella), however it gave each character a twist. It was fun to see them all interact together. I think that really made me feel that it’d be interesting to go the route that I did by mixing and mending a variety of mythologies into one cohesive story.

I enjoyed how your characters were all varied but equally intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

MOTIVATION. Every single character is driven and motivated by something, and each one has their own goals and desires. That’s key. Some are simpler, like just surviving or finding someone to love. Others are more complex, like the desire to restore one’s civilization, have absolute power, or save as many lives as possible. As your review stated, even minor characters seem to have a want, and even they seem to have a personality of their own.

I have storyboards and diagrams in composition books with all the characters listed with their individual wants, needs, loves, hates, perks, powers, and inclinations. We even know the kinds of foods that some of them like to eat! It takes thought and care. I care about my characters. They’re like real people to me. It’s that conviction that helps to make these characters seem real and interesting to others.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Compassion (or cruelty .vs. compassion) is a theme that I really wanted to explore in my novel. People in our world can be so cruel to each other and other living things. I once received a two-star review (which the user later retracted) which stated that my story was fascinating, the pacing was great, and the characters were interesting, but the violence made them so sick that they had to stop reading. There’s a point to that. When people are impaled, mutilated, flayed, or put on hooks, it’s not a glorious thing. It’s disgusting and sad. It should be. This is how animals, for example, are treated every day in slaughterhouses and labs around the world. It’s also how people throughout history have hurt each other. It teaches some of the characters what pain & suffering really are, and they’re able to use that to grow and learn to be more compassionate, conscientious, and kind.

Another major theme in the book is power–especially the quest for absolute power and the corruptible nature of power. From the very beginning, the characters are after it, leading to rebellions and wars. Satan & the Demons launch a rebellion. Hades & the Titans launch a rebellion. Loki & his forces launch a rebellion. They do this all for power and the belief that the characters have that they can wield absolute power more effectively and “better” than the powers-that-be. We see some of the most powerful characters ever put to paper in this novel. We see what power does to them.

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

This novel took 20 years to write. I poured my heart, mind, and soul into making this the best that it can be, and even now I still find ways to improve it. I want to focus on this novel for now, and eventually expand this story to focus on some of the fan-favorite characters who didn’t get as much screen time (like Athena, Loki, or Diamond).

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

A 12x award-nominated novel including multiple “Book of the Year” & “Science Fiction Book of the Year” nominations!

Mythological gods, goddesses, angels, and demons take sides in a war between ALIEN DINOSAURS and COSMIC DRAGONS!

You’ll love this book because of its powerful and complex characters, multi-layered drama, action-packed battles, and high-stakes story!

* 10% of profits go toward the World Literacy Foundation, cancer research, and supporting victims of abuse

Chrysalis (A Perfect Order)

Chrysalis (A Perfect Order Series Book 1) by [Drew Kientz]

Chrysalis, from the A Perfect Order book series by Drew Kientz, presents an incredible, immersive and exciting storyline. Juniper Minerva Appleblossom is far from being what you would call a normal girl. Working as a drug seller and with a serious addiction on the line, she discovers that she’s special as she goes through her Awakening. The Enlightened have been living in secret around the world, grouping themselves in different tribes and using their special powers to fight against evil forces. Through Juniper’s experience, we get to meet many of these Enlightened people, as they teach her and help her get her powers in control, finding out alongside her the different types of powers that are out there, and how this new hidden world works.

The entire story is a thrilling ride comprised of adventurous scenes, compelling characters and a powerful world. The world building was great, the idea of it is intriguing and exciting. However, the best part of the story is probably the characters and their abilities. Juniper is not your usual main character, she deals with lots of problems, one of them being her addiction to drugs, and is probably a person that has been around the wrong type of people for a long time. With a distinctive and intense personality, she meets a group of Enlightened girls that throughout the progression of the story get closer to Juniper, help her out and accompany her as a friend. All of the characters feel different and unique, they have their own styles and are definitely intriguing in their own way. It was great meeting them and learning about the different abilities that each of them displayed. There is fire control, healing abilities, telekinesis, contacting the dead, teleportation and even some darker, sinister powers.

It was hard getting gripped by the story and the characters during the first couple of chapters, since the pacing was considerably slower here. However, with time everything started to move faster, the action started to build up and the characters felt more natural and familiar, so it’s definitely worth sticking around to find out what the plot and the intrigue is. The writing style is excellent, very descriptive and with a decent pace. The world is rich and leaves the reader wanting to learn and find out more about it, which is ideal because by the end there is a little sneak peek of the first chapter of the second book of the series, so I’m definitely eager to know what’s going to happen next to the characters we get to meet and to discover where Juniper’s journey is going to lead to.

The fascinating world of the Enlightened has a lot to offer and I can’t wait to find out more about it. Chrysalis by Drew Kientz is a fun book with a complex world, a gripping storyline and unique, all around fierce characters. The A Perfect Order book series has lots of potential, Juniper has still got many things to learn and overcome, so readers will have to keep an eye open for the next one.

Pages: 374 | ASIN: B0916GGM8R

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A River To The Ocean


A River to the Ocean by Rayo Scala explores the expansive boundaries of the mind and how we manifest our dreams. Following the story of Jager as he searches for his missing brother 30 years after he first disappeared, we see the bond between family, both found and blood. The reader traverses across America with Jager and glimpses heartwarming views of the people his brother impacted as he traveled around the world. The characters we meet hold Anti-establishment views and aim to reach a higher plane of spirituality, emphasizing love, tenderness, and ascension.

A River to the Ocean carries an overarching message of higher self throughout the story while critiquing humanity’s detrimental effect on the Earth. While sci-fi elements are a huge part of the story and create scenes that couldn’t actually occur, each fantastical piece somehow feels attainable. These metaphysical theories are backed by the efforts of genuine people who aim to bring peace to the world and nourish their lives.

I loved seeing the bonds created throughout this book. Each character is well fleshed out and made to feel dynamic and lively. I believed in their motivations and their connections to Jager as they helped him along his journey to find his brother. As he travels from California to Hawaii to Montana, the people his brother loved and care for extend that same hospitality and support to Jager, showing the importance of found family.

However, as family felt like such a huge and important piece of the story, I found myself curious about the blood family members beyond Jager and his brother. Jager has children that he doesn’t often mention, and throughout the book I wondered about the extent of their contact and involvement in his life. I was also curious about the parents of the two men—did they miss Jager’s brother, and search for him later in life? Despite these questions, the extended connections made with those outside of blood family provided a great support system.

A River to the Ocean is an eye-opening story that reminds us to be conscious of the effect we have on the Earth, and how unstable our future can be. This book warns against filling your life with fear and suggests that we use our love, care, and attention to manifest a greater world to come. With a mindset like this, we can keep our Earth healthy and thriving and build lasting connections with the people around us.

Pages: 281 | ASIN: B07DZN3MTJ

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