Blog Archives

Beyond The Goodnight Trail

Roy V. Gaston brings us a Classic Western novel based on true historical events. This compelling story follows Pete, a former Texas Ranger, in an action-filled adventure. Pete rides with his friend, Charlie, with the goal of travelling across the state bringing cargo and other riders. All the while there is a dangerous threat looming over them. That is, they need to traverse through land owned by the Comanche; a Native American tribe who are tired of seeing other Natives being used, abused, and taken from their land.

Beyond the Goodnight Trail is based on historical figures and events, and author Roy V. Gaston effectively delivers an engrossing read that feels authentic. Not only did he choose a very intriguing time to write a novel about, but he was able to capture that time cleverly. The dialogue between characters captures the dialect and slang of that period especially well, this can get tiring depending on the reader, but it shows Gaston’s skill in depicting a certain time and place. The author puts even small facts in this novel, like calling Native Americans ‘Indians’ and describing fine details of riding in the West, which helped immersion immensely. Overall, this created a fully realized atmospheric setting that was easy to fall into, though this became easier after the first quarter.

I enjoyed this novel and felt that the pace was quick overall, but I did feel that the start was a bit slow as it was filled with long descriptions of characters. But characters in a novel are arguably the most important, especially for historical-based ones, so this time is beneficial in creating engrossing characters. Beyond the Goodnight Trail performs smoothly in this section as well with an antagonist you love to hate and charming protagonists and side characters. The small biography-like sections at the end of the book were a cherry-on-top as the reader gets to see what became of these historical figures afterward.

Beyond the Goodnight Trail is an exciting adventure novel filled with interesting characters and striking settings. Readers who enjoy a good western will truly appreciate this story, but anyone looking for an entertaining read will find plenty to enjoy.

Pages: 264 | ASIN: B08KSKYZ2P

Buy Now From B&N.com

Before The Origin

Before the Origin by [F.S Bala]

Before the Origin by F.S Bala is an account of events in several people’s lives all connected by the change in pattern in the world’s occurrences. Amy Taff, an outstanding character in the book, is thrown into a world of magic, science, and mystery. Her life changes drastically after she gets a job at Scythe. Immediately she realizes that a thread holds the balance between life and death. Ash, a talented young man, partakes in scientific government projects but his friend Abel, has several conspiracy theories surrounding this project. The lives of all these people are connected in one way or another by the environment, science and technology.

F.S Bala has outlined every event in a systematic manner that creates a balance between different generations and lifelines. The writer has embraced vivid imagery creating in depth visual representation that brings depth and color to the magical realism genre. The story is not a far-fetched work of fiction but based on normal day to day life occurrences and the prediction of the future. Although the book leans more towards science and technology, Bala uses poetic language that is filled with humor to bring levity to what could have been a drab experience. I am impressed with Bala’s writing style and the author’s ability to incorporate African folklore into this story, which made this book educational as well as entertaining.

Before the Origin is a engaging action adventure novel that excels at creating alluring characters in an intriguing world.

Pages: 124 | ASIN: B08KJ3MTF1

Buy Now From B&N.com

From Mystery into Fantastical

Otto Schafer
Otto Schafer Author Interview

The Secret Journal follows two teenagers that uncover a dangerous secret about their town. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?

I am a huge fan of archaeology thrillers. I love Indian Jones and National Treasure. The Goonies was my favorite movie as a kid. But I also love fantasy and magic like Tolkien of course, and more modern stuff Like Brent Weeks Lightbringer series. I combined these influences and wrote the book I would want to read.

Petersburg, Illinois was my hometown growing up. It is a beautiful little town full of history and old Victorian era homes. Old Abraham Lincoln himself surveyed the town, and if you visit there you will see it’s a magical place. As a kid, I played in all the mysterious drainage tunnels and I’ve been in some of the basements of those old homes high up on the bluffs. The key locations in the book, including the library, the old Victorian basement, and even the mysterious tunnel are all real, and were described to the best of my memory. So you see, it only made sense Petersburg had to be the setting for the magical story I wanted to tell.

Garrett and Breanne are intriguing and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

Garrett is a small-town kid from a blue-collar home who reminded me a lot of myself at his age. The problems I gave him were similar to problems I was going through at his age. Of course, I ramped it up as the story made the transition from mystery into fantastical.

My inspiration for Breanne was inspired by my wife and her father and brothers. I knew I wanted a diverse cast of characters in my book because I value diversity, and I think our culture needs more of it. So writing a young Black girl who wants nothing more than to be a world famous archaeologist like her father was my way of saying to any young girl out there, no matter her culture or background, you can and should be whatever you want to be! I also think it worked well that she couldn’t be any more different than Garrett. He is a poor, small-town kid who has to work side jobs for new shoes and has never really left home. While Breanne is a world traveler, cultured, and incredibly intelligent, yet they are drawn to each other.

I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story. Was it planned before writing or did it develop organically while writing?

I am a panster at heart, so I didn’t plot much. I knew what needed to happen by the end of each chapter. I let the characters show me how to get there. Sometimes, I sat back in my chair completely surprised by the path they chose to take. Now that I am working on the third book of the series I plot a little more, but I still let the characters take me away and I am still surprised on a regular basis with the directions they choose to go.

This is book one in your God Stones series. What can readers expect in book two?

In ‘The Secret Journal’ I took readers on a suspenseful mystery where the intensity built chapter by chapter. By the end of the book it is obvious all hell is about to break loose. From the early pages of Book 2 ‘The Keepers of the Light’ that is exactly what happens, and it doesn’t stop. The action picks up as the teens fight for their lives, come to terms with their new reality, and try to save the world. The magic picks up too as we continue to transition from ‘real world’ ‘to a world suddenly saturated in a magic that wasn’t meant for us. I should mention, Book 2, ‘The Keepers of the Light’ is out now and I am hard at work on the 3rd book!

Author Links: GoodReads | Instagram | Facebook | Website

A history hidden from the world. A truth long sought, but better left unfound. Will two teenagers survive the magical secrets they unearth?
Oak Island, Nova Scotia. Breanne Moore blames herself for her mother’s tragic death. So when her archaeologist father is invited on an exciting new dig, she’s determined to tag along and keep him safe. But as the mystery leads them closer to the island’s secret, Breanne’s dreams are filled with visions of a strange boy she’s never met… and a world of flaming carnage.
Petersburg, Illinois. Sixteen-year-old Garrett Turek is the unofficial leader of his fellow outcasts. Grappling with a volatile relationship with his stepfather, he avoids his home life by helping an eccentric accountant restore a historic Victorian house. But when he and his crew stumble on a crusty journal in the basement, Garrett uncovers a dead president’s key to a secret world-saving society.
As Breanne and her dad seek clues to a treasure hidden deep beneath the surface, they trigger a dangerous magic that should have stayed dormant forever. And when Garrett closes in on the truth, he’ll question everything he thought he knew and find trust in a girl from far away as they prepare to battle a dangerous foe.
Can the two would-be heroes fulfill a powerful prophecy and save the planet from destruction?
The Secret Journal is the first book in the sensational God Stones YA contemporary fantasy series. If you like unusual pairings, well-researched historical backgrounds, and heated suspense, then you’ll love Otto Schafer’s coming-of-age adventure.
Destiny awaits those brave enough to turn the page!

Very Hard to Kill

Ben Meeks Author Interview

Petrified finds the state of Georgia under siege when demons threaten to bring the Keepers to their knees. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?

It started when a friend sent me an article about a werewolf mythology from Scotland called Wulver. I based the Keepers of them. What I loved about them was that they were so much different than other mythologies. As someone with a deep love for shifters, it was exciting to find a story that I could expand on the traditional tropes.

Obie is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind the characters development?

As a rule, a Keeper has to be hard. Keepers don’t age and can heal very quickly. This means they are very hard to kill. It also means they put up with a lot of pain in their lifetimes. This kind of life could make someone bitter and jaded. I wanted Obie to have the resilience about him. one of his defining characteristics is his ability to keep doing the hard thing, the right thing, even when it would be easier for him to be more selfish. That’s not to say he always does the “right” thing but he is a character that is easy to root for.

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

Besides what I spoke about above, the book deals with loss, specifically the loss of a loved one. The inability to let go, anger, doing anything to keep them, and finally acceptance.

I also explore cruelty to a certain degree. There are some characters who are more apathetic than we would think is acceptable. Unfortunately the consequences for this are paid by the people around them.

This is book one in The Keeper Chronicles series. What can readers expect in book two?

There’s a line in the beginning of the book, “Everyone up here crosses the line at some point or other.” If the reader pays attention they can find a place in the story where every character “crosses the line”. In the second book many of the consequences of these misdeeds come due. Alliances and friendships are pushed to their limits.

Author Links: Facebook | Website | GoodReads

Thera, the Earth Mother, is under siege. Demons from other worlds sneak through magical portals and wreak havoc on earth. In response, she created the Keepers, a group of shapeshifters made from the world’s most skilled predators, to protect her, and us. The fate of North Georgia hangs in the balance when an unknown menace with a new magic threatens to bring the Keepers to their knees. It’s up to Obie, the Keeper of North Georgia, and some unlikely allies to put an end to the destruction before it’s too late. What will happen when the hunter becomes the hunted?

Significant and Relevant

Photoshoot%2520-%2520Blue_edited_edited.jpg
Jeff Pollak Author Interview

First Second Coming has a new God replacing the old one and wants to test humanity’s ability to eliminate violence or face extinction. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

Although I didn’t start writing the novel until 2015, the concept that planet earth needs a planetary turnaround specialist came to me while I watched the World Trade Center’s towers collapse on 9/11.

Prior to that horrible event I’d been in the building many times, the last time being in May, a few months before the attack. I had in the WTC and my law firm did annual conferences at the Top of the Tower conference center there and knew some of the staff. As the towers fell I worried about everyone inside, whether I knew them or not.

The idea of writing a story around a planetary turnaround specialist re-emerged when I sat down to try to write my first novel. Ram and Bren’s names and histories, an outline of a basic plot and three possible endings flowed out in one sitting. It was as though I’d developed all that subconsciously in the intervening fourteen years between 9/11 and 2015.

I enjoyed Ram and Brendali’s characters. What were some driving ideas behind their character development and relationship?

My character development was an effort to have Ram and Bren share some common features but respond to them in entirely different ways. For example: Both of them shared a blue collar upbringing and had to deal with traumas. While Ram’s childhood traumas made him reject religion and become self-reliant, Bren’s traumas made her embrace Catholicism and rely on her relationship with (the now retired) god. In this way the two of them could relate to one another while coming from entirely different emotional spaces.

I also wanted Ram and Bren to be able to exemplify the book’s themes (discussed below) in their attitudes and interactions, while understanding that they are opposites in temperament and personalities. The idea was that they’d be able to complete each other, supply strength when needed or bolster weaknesses when required – an example of the opposites attract concept.

The relationship these two developed is entirely different. When I began writing I didn’t know that some authors get so close to their characters that they can actually hear them. That happened to me – I’m neither female nor Latina, so hearing Bren in my head the first time was jarring. But I got used to it and began to enjoy the experience.

Before long Bren was waking me up at around 4 a.m. to tell me what was going on in the next chapter I was writing. I let her shape the romance aspect of the story since she was hot for Ram and he was mutually attracted to her.

I hadn’t expected a romantic relationship, it simply developed. I was fine with that since it contrasted with the suspense elements and provided lighter moments that allows readers to catch their breaths every so often. The relationship also deepened both characters and gave them a personal stake in the outcome of the “Convocation” that serves as the novel’s motor. Taken all together, there was no reason not to let Bren and Ram fall in love.

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

Because this novel was inspired by 9/11, I wanted to stay true to event thematically. I felt that the best way to honor all those who died that day was to use religious violence as the test the new God employs to determine whether or not humanity would be included in the planetary turnaround plan.

That meant the themes had to be related in some way. The obvious connection, at least to me, was to adopt the themes of tolerance, acceptance and cooperation. Bringing members of religions from all over the world to work together or face extinction struck me as the right vehicle for demonstrating the need for these attributes.

I had no idea when I chose these themes that we’d be in the world we’re in right now, when tolerance, acceptance and cooperation are in such small supply. So these themes are more significant and relevant than I expected. But that’s an added bonus.

This is Book one in The New God Series. What can readers expect in Book two?

I’m working on book two now. It has a working title of Earth’s Peril. I’m too early into the book to be able to estimate when the book will be ready for publication, but 2022, if not sooner, seems to me to be a reasonable guess.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

In 2027 the deity known as NTG – short for New Testament God – retires after more than two thousand years of minding the store for his employer, Milky Way Galaxy, Inc. The new god, a planetary turnaround specialist, must decide whether Earth’s dominant species should or should not be included in his plan to bring the planet back into full compliance with Milky Way Galaxy, Inc.’s planetary operation standards.

Earth’s new God introduces himself to humanity by unexpectedly appearing on the Ram Forrester Hour talk show. Ram, an atheist, and co-host Brendali Santamaria, a devout Catholic, are stunned. God’s interview, beamed worldwide, shocks and infuriates viewers. They learn that a sixty-day conference will take place in Los Angeles to determine whether humans are capable of helping him implement his planetary turnaround plan. To earn a coveted spot in this God’s good graces all mankind must do is eliminate religious violence forever, without his heavenly help, within sixty days. Failure means extinction.

God designates Ram and Bren as the conference’s only authorized media reporters. This assignment, fraught with peril, ignites their romance. Not only must the harried couple attend the conference meetings by day and do their show at night, they must also outwit a fanatical religious group bent on killing them. When rising conflicts within the conference intensify, it’s up to Ram and Bren to do whatever it takes to protect their budding romance and mankind’s very survival.

The Witching Vault

The Witching Vault (Accessory to Magic Book 1) by [Kathrin Hutson]

Jessica Northwood is an ex convict looking for a job. With a rough past and in a rough financial state at the moment, she just wants to forget her tainted past, find a legal job and get paid at the end of the day. With little known to her, she takes a job as an apprentice to Tabitha, the owner of Winthrop & Dirledge Security Banking. Although her employer seems crazy at first, Jessica remains open minded and stays focused on keeping her job and getting paid. When tragedy strikes a twist of fate leaves Jessica as the new owner of the bank. This is not your usual bank, and it doesn’t serve the usual customers. Jessica is tasked with the responsibility of protecting this magical facility which has a mind of its own. Jessica has no idea where to begin, but as an apprentice and the new owner she must step up and run this place.

The Witching Vault by Kathrin Hutson is a thrilling fantasy adventure novel set in the dark world of magic and witches. Every chapter is short engaging and deftly crafts a unique and magical world that rises above the chaos that Jessica finds herself in. Each chapter takes you deeper into a magical world that is well thought out and detailed.

Contrary to the belief that magic and witches come with dark undertones, this book has a sharp wit and comic sense to it. Kathrin Hutson colors each chapter with a bit of charm, some effortless humor, and imbues each character with a unique air of coolness. While the characters are many and varied I appreciated how the story stayed linear, never losing focus on the main story arc, making this story much more accessible and easy to consume.

The Witching Vault has created an intricate fantasy world that has set the stage for readers to uncover a much wider world throughout this series. Kathrin Hutson thrusts readers into a magical world filled with dark secrets that Jessica Northwood tackles in entertaining fashion.

Pages: 260 | ASIN: B08HVT4CNR

Buy Now From B&N.com

Can’t Ride Around It

Can't Ride Around It (Deadwood Undertaker Series Book 3) by [Ann Charles, Sam Lucky]

Clementine Johanssen is Deadwood’s slayer and also doubles as the town’s undertaker. She’s responsible for burying the dead and protecting the region from paranormal creatures. When dead bodies start disappearing from graveyards, Clementine understands what she must do next. Her instinctive reaction is to attempt to get to the root of the matter and stop whoever is behind the strange events. However, another problem arises when a massive infestation of flesh-eating beasts looms in other parts of the region. Now she must decide which problem she must tackle first. Which would it be? Dead men walking or murderous mad dogs? Whatever decision she makes, she can enlist the help of the dependable trio of Hank, Jack “Rabbit” and Boone to bring an end to at least one of the evils. Or at least try to.

Can’t Ride Around It is the third part of a series that cuts across several genres, including horror and mystery. Penned by talented couple Ann Charles and Sam Lucky, it’s one of those captivating wild western tales. But this one packs an extra element of intrigue in the form of a splash of the supernatural.

Ann and Sam take us on a fast-paced, nail-biting journey of camaraderie and bravery punctuated by checkpoints of light romance. Throw these themes in alongside the breathtaking battles with scary beasts, and you have a real page-turner on your hands.

Set in the town of Deadwood, Dakota, this book has all the elements of the 19th-century Western fiction it is. From the language to the scenery described by the authors, you get a good feel of the old Wild West. Plus the authors include in tales of the Black Hill gold rush that add figments of authenticity to the book. Historical tidbits never hurt anyone.

The authors deliver the story with a sustained flurry of infectious verve that keeps you engaged all through. There are hardly any dull moments, and that’s not because the characters hack down otherworldly beasts from start to finish. It’s mostly down to the authors’ adeptness at using vivid language and riveting conversations to keep you interested.

And speaking of conversations, there’s no end to the characters’ exchange of humorous banter. You have witty remarks, cheeky comebacks and a lot of hilarious moments too. You can tell both writers would be fun people to have around from the way they write.

I also loved how the characters’ personalities didn’t get lost amidst all the freaky stuff. Rabbit’s childish playfulness jumps out, and Clementine’s tethered tenderness doesn’t go unnoticed either.

With the way 2020 has been, we all need some sort of escapism to keep on keeping on. And if you prefer to get lost in another good book, I’ll recommend this one. It’s so good that I’m giving it 5 solid stars.

Pages: 308 | ASIN: B08K5XJYCT

Buy Now From B&N.com

Hawaiian Kahuna Sorcery

Luigi N. Spring
Luigi N. Spring Author Interview

Sorcerers’ Prayer: Book 2 follows the Judge as he slowly fills his new role and guides his flock to the apocalypse. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?

The two parts of Book 2 were written concurrently with their predecessor – Book 1 Sacred Idol – in an endeavor to emulate the tryptic formula successfully embraced by Dan Brown and James Rollins. However, I didn’t pull it off.

In the second book, I wanted to give the backstory of how the Judge attained the ranks of immortality and Hawaiian kahuna sorcery. In addition, I needed to justify the bloodthirsty revenge enacted by the Judge in Book 1, as ritual mayhem was committed upon his Hawaiian brethren.

Judge Kaona goes through a large transformation in this book. What were some sources that informed his character development in this book?

The loss of his wife and unborn child predetermined Judge Kaona’s alternative career aspirations of pastor and everlasting sorcerer. In his quest to alleviate the intense depression and eventual bipolarism, he sought solace in the realm of narcotics. The Judge’s addiction to opium—which he called “God’s medicine”—instigated his kindred relationships with Priestess Kalehua and the party hearty King of Hawaii.

What do you feel draws you to the dark fantasy/horror genre? Or do you feel it is incidental to the story you want to tell?

The primary motive for writing this thriller series was to chronicle the recorded history of a Honolulu judge who had morphed into a pastor and mass-murderer. So, there weren’t too many options available for a suitable selection of genre.

What can readers expect in book three?

I currently possess extensive notes for Books 3 and 4 of the Sorcerers’ Prayer series. The third book is called Strego Scarpelli – which transports the Professor back to the middle age Venice inquisitions. In Book 4 – named Eutropos – the Professor and Judge tag-team to create a tropical utopia, which later engages its anti-thesis or antithesis. Priestess Kalehua is the name of the last novel of the planned Sorcerers’ Prayer series; those nocturnal ruminations are currently on the proverbial back burner.

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

Book 2 I. Precious Blood An eighteen-hundreds Hawaiian judge is in the throes of manic depression due to the tragic loss of his pregnant wife and supposed unborn child. He tries anything to get over his state of anguish—even opium. The judge then finds out about a fountain of youth located beneath a church on the Big Island of Hawaii. Once he drinks of the precious blood flowing from the spring head, he becomes seemingly immortal. The judge will do anything to protect his font of everlasting existence, even by coercing his new pastoral flock—who call him the Prophet—to commit all kinds of mayhem to assure their chance of redemption during the imminent apocalypse.II. Honor and Majesty After a successful prison break, the fugitive Prophet—aka the Judge—makes fast friends with the King of Hawaii. They smoke opium in the royal palace and tour the catacombs and tunnel systems below the island of Oahu—containing treasures and amazing historical artifacts. Then they sail over to the island of Molokai where the Judge is conferred into the realm of Hawaiian sorcery. He acquires numerous magical powers, which include the ability to slay his adversaries by the power of prayer alone. The Judge later attends a Hawaiian secret society meeting— sanctioned by the Freemasons—at the royal palace. Later that evening, while taking part in an adult parlor game—which incorporates a ball of Hawaiian twine—a vivacious lady in red debilitates the judge for all eternity.
%d bloggers like this: