Nothing to See Here is about Maxi, a middle-aged man who has returned home to Ireland after living in America for 25 years. He is currently going through some financial troubles as his business failed, and now he has to re-group and take care of his elderly mother. When he returns home, he reconnects with friends Jasper and Ella and finds a map to treasure in their home, leading Maxi, Ella, and her friends Ida and Debbie to go on a treasure hunt. They hope to change their lives with the riches they go in search of.
Author Brendan Walsh provides readers with a story plot that is both refreshing and entertaining. Keeping the reader on their toes with plot twists makes this an unpredictable read that is sure to take the reader on a wild ride. Unfortunately, as the story progressed, the characters began to get tunnel vision due to being so focused on the treasure creating one messy adventure.
I found the characters to be funny and relatable, and I wanted to read more about them. The author paints a vivid picture with his richly detailed descriptions, making it easy for the reader to imagine the scenes. The use of dramatic irony built the tension in the story because there were times when the characters in the story did something that would be futile to them reaching their goal, and I, as a reader, wouldn’t be able to warn them. This shows Walsh has excellent writing skills to build up so much tension in the reader for fictional characters. I did feel that the ending was a bit rushed and ended too quickly.
Nothing to See Here is a page-turning comedy novel filled with action. This treasure hunt story will appeal to those who are looking for a fun-filled adventure with lots of hijinks.
Pages: 322 | ASIN : B0B2FD2XCS
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Thomas Edison and the Purgatory Equation tells the story of Edison’s greatest invention and the struggle for the soul of mankind in the dead zone. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
One day, I accidentally learned that Edison had tried to create a machine that would communicate with the dead. A lightbulb literally flashed over my head. This forgotten bit of history had the makings of an incredible, untold story. Intrigued, I contacted the Edison estate in Fort Myers, Florida and the docent confirmed that, yes, Edison had attempted to invent just such a machine. I began my research and learned that his ‘attempt’ lasted more than several decades. As I began plotting out a timeline, two items caught my attention. In February of 1918 the United States was preparing to officially enter World War I – and Edison disappeared for the entire month. Once I locked those elements in, all the other details fell into place.
Your characters are interesting and fun to follow. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
In 1918 Edison was 71 and too old to serve as a traditional action hero, so I relied on the formula of the Four B’s for my primary characters: Brains (Edison), Brawn (John Dawkins, his heroic young assistant), Beauty (Emily Auburn, a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl), and Best Friend (the teenaged George Gershwin who is Emily’s musical accompanist.) The mix makes for a lively quartet as each of them brings their perspective and often surprising resources to the quest. Because they’re willing to confront their challenges with valor, each of them finds what they need most: Edison: insight; Gershwin: confidence; Emily: true love; and John: faith.
This seems like a fun book to write. What scene did you have the most fun writing?
The great thing about writing historical fiction is that the history itself often confirms your speculative choices. Writing the novel was a pleasure; the action sequences spoke to the ten-year old boy in me and the contemplative scenes spoke to an emotional truth any writer aspires to. But my favorite scene is the one in which Edison relates an actual event from his youth which I believe was his defining, psychological moment. He had been hired to deliver a telegram to a remote, countryside location in the middle of the stormy night and became lost. He was terrified but forced himself to complete the task, and later comes to realize his entire life has been dedicated to ‘lifting the darkness.’ The night, deafness, ignorance, death–all forms of darkness.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
This is a trilogy, so my next book will be the second edition in the series: Thomas Edison and the Lazarus Vessel. It takes place in 1933 and is more fantastic, although still grounded in the backstory of history, with new characters including Groucho Marx, Eleanor Roosevelt and Deputy Fuhrer Rudolph Hess. As for Edison, he died in 1931 but finds a way to come back, via an accidental discovery he makes during his real-life experiments with the untapped potential of rubber. The launch is currently scheduled for November, 2022, and you can visit http://www.edisontrilogy.com for updates.
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Mystical Force Volume 3: The Kolri and the Koldar tells the story of a detective and how he stumbles onto otherworldly connections much bigger than his current unsolved case. Detective Shinjo is transported to a world he didn’t know existed after a Taman Knight from the planet Thalia crosses his path.
The story begins with a detective trying to catch a local gang called ‘The Poison Starfish’. While investigating, a female battles the men at the harbor. She is unlike anyone the detective has ever come across. While searching for answers the detective is mugged and she appears just in time to help. Her name is Shi-ria, and she has a moral obligation to protect those in need. A sorceress sets Shi-ria and the detective on a path to discover a secret spell and transports them to the planet Thalia.
I have been following this series since book one and I can say that the writing gets sharper with every new entry. This story is relentlessly moving forward through a rollercoaster of emotion and action. Readers are provided with some background on Thalia and the Taman soldiers, but I would have enjoyed the story more if the other characters were just as detailed, because what is given is intriguing and the characters in this story are what really pull you in.
This is book three in a rollicking metaphysical action story and there is not much time spent covering things from previous books, so I recommend reading those two books before diving into this one. For two reasons really, because they build a fascinating story line, and you’ll understand the world better and have a greater appreciation for things that happen. In either case, there is still good fun to be had in this novel as the book does have a plot that can stand on its own as it provides just enough context for readers to follow this individual story.
I am consistently impressed with the visionary fantasy world that is meticulously developed in the Mystical Force series. There is a backstory that feels deep and readers can really immerse themselves in the lore if they wanted to.
Mystical Force Volume 3: The Kolri and the Koldar, by Craig Weidhuner is a character driven metaphysical fantasy story. With a storyline fit for comics, an innovative backdrop, and a stimulating mystery at its core, this is a gripping novel that will surely entertain readers.
Pages: 80 | ASIN: B09HRLQVTF
What would you do if you were born into a world where you had no control over your future? Aetna Vespiri, a young Sicilian woman living in French-controlled Sicily in the 1200’s, defies her own fate in answering this question.
Carlo Treviso’s Siciliana weaves a legendary tale, recounting Aetna’s journey as she struggles to bring Sicilians together in rebellion against their French conquerors, the Angevins. Aside from the overarching national struggle, Aetna, along with dynamic side characters like Fra’Diavulu, a formidable man in a devil mask who wields a flaming sword, and Don Rapaci, a great knight who fights with the help of an eagle, also face familial and identity struggles to form a very thrilling conclusion.
Treviso creates a captivating and realistic depiction of rebellion, as he describes both the awe-inspiring nationalistic moments, such as the creation of a new flag, as well as the less rosy-colored moments that happen in the shadows, such as a mob’s bloodthirstiness against the abusive Angevins. The author, the son of a Sicilian immigrant, uses this book to capture the heart of a Sicilian identity, describing the culture, food (he includes little recipes at the back of the book!), architecture, and strong connection to family (cosca). These descriptions help justify why Sicilians wanted to create a national identity for themselves, as well as how they all managed to band together despite a high risk of death.
I heartily enjoyed this rousing historical thriller, but I felt that some of the side characters were not as developed as other characters. While Treviso creates some interesting and unique characters to read about, others felt dull in comparison to the main characters.
I recommend Siciliana to readers who are interested in Sicilian culture or engrossing historical fiction. While the book feels lengthy at times, watching Aetna overcome one impossible situation after another is engaging, and all the elements of Sicilian culture sprinkled in speak to Treviso’s immense heart and personal connection with this story.
Pages: 483 | ASIN: B09TQ5R61R
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Sweetland. The mystery on everyone’s lips. When a group of teenagers are found dead in a warehouse, a mystery unfolds in the real world and the virtual world of New Life. But what is Sweetland? That’s what Joe Larivee is going to find out. Is Sweetland real or another part of New Life that Joe accesses through his citspecs? When Joe’s daughter, Jesse, goes missing, Joe must venture into New Life for the first time, create an avatar, and navigate his way through new dangers and relationships to find his daughter.
Skyrmion, by Duane Poncy, is the thrilling first book of a cyberpunk series about Earth’s future, embroiled in war and poverty. Poncy masterfully weaves the real and virtual worlds, switching between the cast of characters and their real selves and virtual avatars.
During his adventure, Joe finds himself falling for an avatar named Claire, and he wonders if his feelings are for the avatar or the actual human behind the citspecs. Hounded in the real world and in New Life by his villainous ex-wife and the FBI, Joe finds himself trying to solve the mystery of Sweetland, find his daughter, and stop a revolution that threatens to destroy Planet Earth once and for all.
Readers will enjoy the exciting mystery of Sweetland, the corporation New America, and the dying Planet Earth. Poncy’s novel is long but the author uses that length to create a story with intriguing depth and a vast array of characters, which can be confusing since some characters have two names—one real name and one avatar name. Science fiction fans will enjoy this immersive novel and be able to relate to the characters’ real-world struggles and aspirations.
Skyrmion is a riveting technothriller with a unique voice and something to say. Readers who enjoy well constructed worlds and thought provoking sci-fi ideas will have plenty to enjoy in this novel. I enjoyed how this story created a space where the virtual world and the real world become indistinguishable.
Pages: 412 | ASIN: B09YN7MS6Q
Saving Mathis is the second installment in the Cyborg Reborn series, which follows the story of Mathis, the head medic on a cyborg ship called Freedom. His past is riddled with the trauma inflicted upon him by humans over many centuries. However, despite this horrendous mistreatment from the Human Alliance, Mathis vows never to harm a human or any species considered weaker than cyborgs. Instead, he practices healing and strives for a life of peace after having escaped his ruthless captors.
Mathis adapts to life on the Freedom ship. He enjoys an existence without human contact until an unexpected event involves the rescue of a dozen human survivors from another ship, where they were held captive and impregnated by an alien species. This development poses a risk to the lives of twelve vulnerable humans saved from the Vesperian ship, and there is also a shift in priorities. Mathis’ focus quickly shifts to these women, who hold no power or future in this cold, robotic world of cyborgs and patriarchal rule. Without any memory of the traumatic events before the rescue, Tara, one of the twelve women, must rely on Mathis and his assurance of her safety, despite an uncertain life where women have few rights.
Throughout the book, the author reels readers in with vivid imagery, electric action, and a palpable feeling of dread, all while delving into the developing relationship between Mathis and Tara. Tara adjusts to a new world after waking from a coma and finds herself helpless and unlikely to survive. She must navigate her feelings and strategize how to live in this new world. I found her journey to be so compelling. Readers will find her endearing but capable and this dichotomy is explored in interesting ways in the story. As a survivor of human cruelty, Mathis, too, must find peace in this new life and decide if he can trust again. He is a character that has surprising depth and I found myself paying very close attention when he was on the page because I was deeply intrigued by his personality.
Saving Mathis offers a riveting sci-fi tale of survival and perseverance in a futuristic world where darkness and inequality reign, but a glimmer of hope shines through from the unlikeliest of species. Denna Holm’s writing is sharp and engaging, ensuring readers quickly lose themselves in this epic science fiction drama. Saving Mathis is a fantastic cyberpunk space opera that delivers some thought-provoking ideas in an entertaining story.
Pages: 353 | ASIN: B09VK943KN
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Posted by Literary_Titan
Lucia’s Fantasy World follows a young girl as she experiences coming-of-age moments and learns her full potential while trying to help a sick friend. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
In human life, struggle, anxiety, loneliness, and depression are too often inevitable, even more so for youth. This leads to and begs a question. What should be valued? Of the many moments in my life, a phrase and a first grade experience stand out.
The phrase comes from the Orient. It says: “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
The first grade experience involved crayons. I’d spent six months with my mother and brother in Ireland visiting her relatives, well, mine, too. In doing so I’d missed kindergarten where each student received a new box of sixteen crayons to be used and carried into first grade. My first grade teacher removed a crayon discard box from a windowsill and gave it to me. Fellow students teased me for scribbling with broken and stubby crayons.
However, I was happy. My classmates had only one of each color. I had six reds, eight greens, etc. Lucia learns she has a special skill – drawing or sketching. I can’t draw or paint, but did win a national photography award. Upon learning of the honor, I had to give a speech. I used the Oriental quote above and the words of Mark Twain. To paraphrase, he was reported to have said, “When I was fourteen, I couldn’t stand to have the Old Man around. When I was eighteen, I was amazed at how much he had learned.”
As the question of “theme” appears below, I’ll skip a long answer to say that there’s a ripple throughout Lucia’s Fantasy World that what matters most in life are relationships, not material things, not a physical Christmas tree, but learning and living the spirit it embraces.
Lucia grows in this novel from a carefree child to one that realizes the world is bigger and has more challenges than she imagined. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
I recall this quote from John Ciardi: “You don’t have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone.”
Lucia, although her family is split, has basic needs fulfilled. There’s shelter, food, and clothing. Although she might not be a school “glamor” girl, she has fun snow sledding with Johnny. He shares his sled and doesn’t complain his leg is in a metal brace. Yet, in her own mind, Lucia longs for material things her Mother can’t afford, especially a Christmas tree. Friend Omar has access to multiple Christmas trees as a Boy Scout worker at a tree stand, yet, he can’t give a tree to Lucia.
Twelve novels ago in A Body To Bones, my first writing adventure, I coupled a whodunit mystery with the main character’s growth to be a person of strength after years of emotional suffering. Now after a debut fantasy, Find the Girl, A Fantasy Novel, that offered greater fantasy adventure than self-realization, I desired to explore an adolescent coming of age. This effort began a story, unrelated in style and concept, but nevertheless subconsciously tied in with my novel, Aria’s Bayou Child, where a mother is falsely imprisoned for killing her husband and desperately seeks to find her stolen child.
Although totally different in tone and circumstances, Lucia, like the adult Aria, learns determination, trust in her own ability, and the value of human relationships. Lucia doesn’t just feel good; she harnesses her ability to do better than good.
What were some themes that were important to explore in this book?
While I touched on theme in answer to the first question, I often take exception to the adage that a theme is so important to a novel that it can’t exist without one. All too often, theme is dumbed down to be “Love conquers all” or “Principle trumps greed.” Theme is thus treated as parallel to teaching a lesson. If the reader discovers it, the author receives an A.
The goal should be to create, and have empathy with, characters who make choices, take risks, and subject themselves to the consequences. My viewpoint strives to delve into virtue. It’s to understand morality or societal goodness and the individual’s journey of faith, hope, charity, justice, and, along the way, come to a realization of what’s important.
Did Lucia lack virtue because she yearned for a Christmas tree, a material object? No. Her obsession was natural in her teen world. Did it hinder her growth? No. But who’s to say it wasn’t required?
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Excuse me if I chuckle. Questions after book readings often include “How long did it take to write your first novel?” I answer: “thirty years.” When the puzzled expressions fade, I explain that as a journalism student it was taken as gospel that you would write the “Great American Novel.” I started, then everyday life intervened. Two children grew into adulthood before my wife died of cancer. I retrieved 54 typewritten pages from a file cabinet that represented my debut novel. I fully understood that putting onto paper the novel that had matured in my mind was a distraction to grief. When I finished, my publisher asked, “What’s your next book? We need an excerpt.”
Today, I ponder if I’m destined to write my 13th novel as a Halloween trip along Elm Street?
Absolutely not. Lucia’s Fantasy World offers an excerpt for a mystery/suspense, “Albert’s Deadly Fate.” It’s said to be available in 2024. The long lead time is because I’m working on a minor league hockey team romance, a third fantasy, another romantic mystery, and tinkering with expanding a short story highlighted by the Giant’s Causeway on Ireland’s Antrim Coast. Of course, completing a trip to the Scottish Highlands, delayed by COVID for two years, may upset all plans, although I’ve promised myself one story about Jamie and Clare and the Jacobin Rebellion is enough.
Thank you to Literary Titan and all my readers. It’s a joy to be able to express myself. How troubled we’d all be if one error caused us to begin again with a new rock.
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Serenity follows an embattled prisoner of war who is haunted by a hidden magical past. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
The story has been with me since I was a young teenager. Many characters have a base from some beloved kids show characters that I developed backstories to back in the 90’s. Slowly, over the last 20 or so years, they blossomed into their own unique characters. What started as a simple story soon evolved into something more complex. Mental illness came into play, and the project took on a whole new meaning to me personally. I no longer wanted to just share my world and story but my message. That we can all rise above our mental illness. That we can all be happy no matter what. That we call all Stand tall, Stand Strong, and LIVE!
Kain Raingel is an intriguing character that I loved following. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
At its core, I wanted to show that no matter what you live through, you can always find a way to be happy and to find peace. Kain has lived through some horrific times at such a young age. All he wants is to be left alone but in the end, he finds something more to hold on to. I also wanted to share that you don’t have to be alone in your internal struggles. Having a support team can be beneficial to the healing process. Seeking help isn’t weakness but strength and we shouldn’t shame ourselves or accepting help and support.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
When mental illness became a major role I pulled from my own personal experiences to truly show what it is like to live with a mental illness. I also heavily researched what I didn’t know so I could portray it correctly. Living and battling mental illness can be a silent battle that no one would know about unless they know and understand the signs or live with it themselves. Many of those with mental illness battle in silence in fear of not being understood or looked down upon. One important theme in this book is that mental illness is real and it can be debilitating. Kain is a seasoned warrior but feels helpless at times because of his PTSD and anxiety.
What can readers expect in the next book in The Blood Moon Prince series?
The story will continue from where Serenity left off. The relationship between the main character and their love interest goes through some growing pains as everyone adjusts to what happens at the end of Serenity. Readers will begin to dive a bit deeper into the hidden magical past of Kain and of course a new foe arises. Readers can expect more magic, more suspense, and of course more action.
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