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Vatican Protocol

The Vatican Protocol

A mystery novel that tackles uncomfortable issues with a splash of adventure is what readers will find within the pages of The Vatican Protocol by Brian Gallagher. This book contains all the basics of a mystery: intrigue, conspiracies, subterfuge and best of all, aliens. Whether or not the aliens are real and what relationship they have to the story that is told is up to the readers to discover. It’s a grand journey that crosses over the Atlantic Ocean to Europe in search of answers. Almost Indiana-Jones-esque, this adventure will surely have readers turning those pages to discover just what the relationship is between these aliens and the ever esteemed Vatican church. The answer might just surprise all who pick this up.

We follow our protagonist, Sean O’Sea, as he begins his journey from his comfortable home to Europe where his life is placed in jeopardy several times. It’s not a good action story without some sort of armed confrontation. Sean seems like a regular man with very irregular friends as he pursues his latest obsession with alien theories and whether or not there is any truth to the stories that have been told. He’s a likeable character and his ‘everyman’ flavouring will allow all readers to feel a bit of them in him. This allows readers to connect with the story on a more personal level and demonstrates the clever wordsmithing at play. The cast of characters is easy to keep track of even if it may seem like there are a few more than necessary.

The small downfalls of this book is the dialogue and how convenient everything seems. There are points in the novel when characters are conversing between themselves and their words seem stilted and forced. As if they are speaking just for the sake of speaking. This detracts slightly from the overall tone of the novel, but it is easy to move past.

As for the convenience of everything, this could just be a story element to help solidify the conspiracy flavour of the book as a whole, but it seems contrived in some areas. Our protagonist just happens to have a summer home that is looked after by a man who just happens to have worked with the CIA on top secret missions. Our protagonist also just happens to make friends with some very influential people during his travels and just happens to uncover a massive plot while being an ordinary man. Perhaps this is what makes a great conspiracy tale, however it felt a little too easy. But these are minor and don’t take away from the joy of reading.

For readers who enjoy reading conspiracy theories that involve the church and global cover-ups, you will definitely find an enjoyable read in The Vatican Protocol by Brian Gallagher. This action story knee-deep in such a controversial subject is entertaining to read and the twist at the end will have all readers questioning exactly what transpired in the pages of the book.

Pages: 286 | ASIN: B01G0Y8ZFG

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Desire Does not Equal Righteousness

Joshua Landeros Author Interview

Joshua Landeros Author Interview

In Ballad of Demise resistance fighters have suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Chancellor Venloran who has one more trick up his sleeve. What themes did you want to capture in this book?

I tried to encapsulate many, but probably the most important for me was that desire does not equal righteousness. No matter how much Will and Venloran believe they are doing the right thing, I wanted there to always be a call back to reality. Both of them struggle to come to terms with this, as men of great power often do. This also ties into the importance of the past, namely the mistakes of history. Even though they are each other’s respective nemesis, Venloran and Will have tried to outrun their sins by doing what they see as good. The weight of their actions, however, always comes calling home.

Super soldier Will Marconi continues to develop and surprise me with his depth. How have you seen this character change throughout the series?

Will is so interesting for me to writer because he is caught in-between his past and new life. He’s still trying to grapple with the value of life, something he’s forsaken for a very long time. What I really enjoyed in this one was that we see that Will has some desire for normality, but he’s given up on it. In Reverence he was a cold-blooded killer and that part of him still clings to him like a leech. Fighting that urge is the new connection he’s made with Gabby, Jacob, Alex, and especially Halsey. He’s no longer isolating himself and has begun to see humans as equals.

I felt that this book transcended many genres including science fiction, military and even western. Was this a conscious effort or something that happened organically?

A little bit of both. In my case, it’s just me following the age-old advice of “write what you love”. From the addition of swords to a future warzone to the classic Western-style stare down, I’m just writing what I know would make me sit back as a reader and say “This is just awesome!” Initially I was worried my series wouldn’t have enough flying cars and aliens, and maybe someday I’ll write stories about those, but I firmly believe the Reverence series is a blend of my childhood fantasies and adult realizations, and I think it connects with readers because of it.

With this being the last book in the End of Knighthood trilogy what story are you working on next? Will we get to see Will Marconi in any other stories?

My curse is a plethora of ideas. As hinted at the end of Ballad of Demise, the next arc will be a prequel. Like the End of Knighthood books, it will be a three part series. It’s going to focus on Will’s wife and daughter and how they got entangled in this whole ordeal. Since it takes place before Reverence, readers will get to see plenty of familiar characters like Dr. Robert Neeson, Chancellor Venloran, Halsey, and Will as well. The Marconi family will be the focus, along with plenty of new characters. Beyond the prequel arc, let’s just say I have a ton in mind. There will definitely be an arc that answers a lot of the questions raised by the finale of Ballad of Demise.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | GoodReads

End of Knighthood Part III: Ballad of Demise (Reverence Book 4) by [Landeros, Joshua]

The resistance fighters have suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of Chancellor Venloran. With many of his enemies dead or imprisoned, the Chancellor is ready to move to the final phase of his scheme: The International Summit. The historic event is just hours away, drawing leaders from all over the world to the United Nation Headquarters in New York City. Venloran believes peace through dominance is at last at hand.

At the same time, Will is hell bent on launching an assault on that very night, though the remaining troops are weary and few in number. The renegade cyborg has the help of tech experts Alex and Bri, along with pilot Gabriella, but the opposition may be more than they can handle. Awaiting any threat are the Chancellor’s deadliest soldiers, among them the cyborg hunter Aliss Howard and Will’s very own former superior officer, General Kane. Looming in the back of Will’s mind is the reality that innocent people will have to die to see his vengeance finally realized.

As both sides prepare to collide, none are aware that an unscrupulous politician, Secretary General Vanzetti, is eager for the bloodshed to begin.

Check out the finale of the End of Knighthood Arc and prepare for a thrill ride. The Reverence Series transcends the science fiction genre and will entertain readers of horror, war, fantasy, and even the western.

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Beyond Yesterday

Beyond Yesterday (Beyond Saga, #3)

Beyond Yesterday, written by Greg Spry, is an intergalactic space adventure that sees Commander Maya Davis rise through the ranks to earn herself a spot driving her own space-time vessel. But the excitement is short lived as she discovers she is to be sent on a deadly mission due to a 200,000-year-old piece of tech that has unexplainable connections to her past. With her superiors informing her that she may never be able to return to the present, Maya must make decisions that could have terrible consequences for herself and the entirety of mankind. Will her choices erase the human race forever?

From the first page of Beyond Yesterday, I was instantly transported to space, to a world where vibrant colors glow atop of the islands, bots and AI’s make the majority of decisions and exotic algae and mold thrive. In the midst of space travel, there are humanistic problems such as allergies and drug issues which provide an almost humorous side to the in-the-future styled plot line.

At times the language was a little confusing as the entire world created in the novel was completely unique. However, once you got your bearings, it was easy to be lost in the new world and I quickly began to understand the locations, and labels for objects, plants, and people. One of my favorite futuristic parts of the storyline was how your health/body was instantly analyzed if you were injured and then you would automatically be injected with numbing agents or medications. With these advances, it’s no wonder their average lifespan is now 200 years. Imagine if we had this in the real world!

The battles against the Grey’s are fast and furious and they hit hard and heavy. There were aspects that reminded me a little of Star Wars and Stargate as they battled with androids and AI’s, commanders and advanced technology. Greg Spry’s ability to describe the mechanics and functions of technology in the future was impressive and I felt as though I was in the cockpit beside the characters as they battled in space.

It was refreshing to have two females leading the plot line in bravery and ambition, compared to the usual male domination presented in these styles of stories. Brooke is a sixty-year-old woman, a determined, head-strong admiral and accomplished fighter pilot. Her strength and focus is admirable as well as her ability to keep calm in situations of crisis, making her one of my favorite characters. Commander Maya Davis (Brooke’s niece) is clever, crafty and capable of strong leadership and guidance. She’s made incredible sacrifices to be in her position of power and continues to put the safety of others before her own- even if it comes at an irreversible cost.

I would recommend this for all lovers of space adventures and futuristic styled novels. It’s hard not to get lost in the book as you leave Earth to explore the world beyond.

Pages: 336 | ASIN: B073DY3QSZ

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No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

Yuri Hamaganov Author Interview

Yuri Hamaganov Author Interview

GROND – The Raven High is a sci-fi book set in the future where pollution has caused giant storms across the planet. What was your inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

I have a lot of inspiration sources, mostly the Golden Age Sci-Fi and the movie of the eighties, from the “Masking” of Henry Kuttner to Thing and Aliens. But most of all I was influenced by the old and almost forgotten Young Adult Sci-Fi – Earth Star Voyager. I saw it when I was at school, and loved much more than Star Wars. This should be a good sci-fi for teenagers – exciting, realistic, without superheroes, but with smart and courageous heroes. And it was Earth Star Voyager that I first saw the idea of a catastrophic climate change and the search for salvation in space. I was so pleased that I decided to create the same story. The same, but completely my own. No sooner said than done.
I recently reviewed Earth Star Voyager for the first time in twenty years. And he’s still good.

So, if you are looking for inspiration for a great space adventure – you are welcome.

Olga’s nanny is an android that I genuinely started to care for towards the end of the novel. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?

Creating Olga, I wanted to get rid of two obsessive stereotypes of teenage literature.

Firstly, the main character isn’t the despised loser or ordinary schoolgirl, who suddenly finds herself in the center of the universal conspiracy.

Secondly, Olga’s superhuman abilities don’t fall on her in one fine morning, free and without consequences. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch in her world.

The image of Arina combines the features of an ideal mother and ideal teacher. She really loves Olga, so, when necessary, she can be very strict and demanding of her ward, otherwise, Olga won’t stand the load of enormous responsibility.

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the Earth is ravaged by pollution. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

Morality is very simple – dreams and good intentions won’t change the world for the better. But the world can be changed for the better by persistent daily work. There are thousands of brave book heroes who save the world by simply believing in themselves and accomplishing a great feat in the battle against the system. Olga also saves the world, but in a completely different way – just goes on the next shift at her space plant. Day by day.

This story was written in Russian and translated to English. What were the challenges you faced when translating?

Most of the difficulties were caused by two things – compliance with the size of phrases and slang expressions, to which it is hard to make a direct translation.

The Raven High is book 1 in the GROND series. Where does book two take the story?

In fact, the GROND story begins with the second book, GROND: The Blitzkrieg. And at the beginning of this story, Olga will be forced to leave her orbital home, join the gang of space mercenaries and take part in the brutal war of the Martian colonists for independence. It’ll be cool!

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Product Details

In the year 2086, Earth is exhausted. The seas have been emptied, the bedrock and soil stripped of their resources, and the superheated atmosphere churns with terrible storms. Those who can afford to do so live in the limbo of virtual reality, and the billions who suffer in poverty have no work, no clean water, and no security from the chaos.

The only hope for those trapped on a dying Earth are the Changed—the seven bioengineered post-humans who work in their separate manufacturing facilities orbiting high above the planet. Raised from birth for their work and fully matured at ten years old, their genius provides the nanomaterials that have begun to cleanse Earth of the pollutants that have wiped out almost the entire ecosphere.

But for Olga Voronov, youngest of the Changed, the isolation and endless toil are not the greatest of her challenges. Down on Earth there are those who resent and fear her talents—and would prefer that humanity not be given the second chance that only she could make possible …

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H.A.L.F.

The Deep Beneath (H.A.L.F., #1)

H.A.L.F by Natalie Wright tells the story of H.A.L.F 9, a Human-Alien Life Form that escapes from the military facility where he was created. During the course of his escape, H.A.L.F 9 meets teenagers, Erika, Jack and Ian, with whom he strikes up a friendship. Among other abilities, H.A.L.F 9 has extreme telekinetic and telepathic powers which make him a valuable asset to the government and one that they are not willing to lose. The government, claiming ownership of H.A.L.F 9’s life, sets out to retrieve him. Having no human technology that can match H.A.L.F 9’s power, they have to enlist a force stronger and more cunning than even H.A.L.F 9 is prepared to face.

Right from the start of the book the characters are likable and relatable. Even though the first couple of chapters were a bit confusing, each one was intriguing enough to make me want to keep reading. It isn’t immediately obvious how the characters in the first chapters are related to one another, but once you do discover the connection the direction of the story makes perfect sense. The writing is actually done very well for a Young Adult novel; which the book appears to be, as all the main characters are teenagers. I was very surprised at how each chapter really kept me on the edge of my seat; my interest in finishing the book never waned. Most books have at least a few chapters that are somewhat slow but I didn’t find this to be the case with H.A.L.F., it kept a great pace and remained interesting throughout. I think the struggle within H.A.L.F 9 between his alien and human personalities were done incredibly well. Having spent hardly any time at all actually interacting with humans on a personal level, he isn’t quite sure what to make of the new feelings that he experiences outside of the facility. For instance, there is a moment at which he finds himself wanting Jack to feel pain, even though he can acknowledge that Jack has never done anything to deserve his ill will. H.A.L.F 9 isn’t able to recognize that he feels this way toward Jack because of Jack’s romantic involvement with Erika, whom H.A.L.F 9 is also developing romantic feelings towards. I also appreciated how this aspect of the characters relationships is subtle and not the focus of any particular chapter in the story. Sometimes Young Adult fiction does not have a good balance of romance to substance but this book does not have that problem.

Natalie Wright does an excellent job with the element of surprise. I don’t want to give any spoilers so I will just say that in several places throughout the book the outcome that I was imagining is not at all what came to pass. I eagerly await the next installment of this series.

Pages: 293 | ASIN: B00R6U32CA

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She Killed Her Father

Greg Spry Author Interview

Greg Spry Author Interview

In Beyond Cloud Nine Ace fighter pilot Brooke Davis stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

The plot of BC9 was born of two initial premises.

First, as a kid, I loved anything with fighter planes, especially fighter planes in space. Many shows and movies featured the brash young male fighter pilot of which we’re all familiar, but few works of fiction starred a female lead pilot. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced a female lead would give a story a different feel, and it hadn’t been done nearly as often, so I rolled with it.

Second, we’re all familiar with the standard alien invasion story. Powerful aliens hover their gigantic motherships over our big cities. The human military is powerless against them, can’t punch through their shields, etc. Just when all hope seems lost, we humans find the one glaring weakness that will defeat these intelligent yet negligent invaders and hallelujah! The world is saved and everyone bands together in harmony. Can I get an eye-roll, please? With that in mind, I thought to myself, “How can I turn that premise upside down and leverage it to my advantage?” I thus had the antagonists in BC9 use a seemingly cliché alien invasion in a very non-cliché way to push their agenda.

I felt that the technology and science in Beyond Cloud Nine were delivered in such a way that anyone could understand it. Was this by design?

Absolutely. I seek to make my writing accessible to as wide of an audience as possible. I try to take after Arthur C. Clarke, who was a master of taking complex scientific concepts and simplifying them into an easy, breezy read.

The editor of BC9 deserves a lot of credit for teaching me the difference between telling, showing, and experiencing. We’ve all heard that an author should show rather than tell–most of the time; there are instances where telling makes sense. Don’t just write that something happened (telling). Write descriptive language that demonstrates it happening (showing). However, there’s another level beyond showing that better speaks to readers. Don’t just show something happening. Show how it affects the character, physically, mentally, and emotionally (experiencing). Rather than bogging readers down with the technical details of how something works (a pitfall some hard science fiction authors fall into), I try to place my focus on how technology and events affect people.

Brooke Davis is an interesting and well developed female character. What were the driving ideals that drove the characters development throughout the story?

With Brooke, I definitely indulged my inner pessimist. I took everything that annoys me and magnified it tenfold. Also, as discussed earlier, I tried to create a lead that contrasted with the typical suave fighter jock. Brooke is anti-social. You won’t find her in bars tossing back shots.

The guilt of believing she killed her father taints her perception of everything.

A main story arc that’s every bit as important as whether the antagonists are defeated is her journey to work through that guilt and grow.

I find a problem in well written stories, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Where does Brooke Davis’s character go in the second novel?

The sequel, Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2), was published in May 2016. It stars Brooke’s niece, Maya, as the girl embarks upon humankind’s first interstellar mission. Brooke plays a critical supporting role even though she remains in the Sol system. “Demoted” to a civilian flight instructor because of her actions at the end of BC9, Brooke seeks to earn her way back into a cockpit. When she learns of the tragedy awaiting the interstellar mission, she takes a series of bold actions to try to get out to Gliese 581 to save her niece and the mission.

While we’re on the subject of sequels, I just sent Beyond Yesterday (Beyond Saga Book 3) off to the editor. The third installment in the tetralogy should be available in the summer of 2017.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Beyond Cloud Nine (Beyond Saga, #1)Ace star fighter pilot Brooke Davis lives for pushing hundreds of gees in orbital combat, but she’d give it all up in a moment to become the first human to fly faster than light. When Brooke stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government, she finds their goals seductive but their methods abhorrent. With the moral core of human civilization hanging in the balance, she must risk her shot at history, her family, and her life to prevent the schemers from forcing their nefarious brand of salvation upon the solar system.

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You Are Not Broken!

Brady Stefani Author Interview

Brady Stefani Author Interview

Eight years since her grandfather tried to kill her, Courtney has suffered strange dreams and delusions of aliens standing over her bed. What was the motivation to write a young adult book that deals with emotional and mental trauma?

My motivation to write a young adult book that deals with emotional and mental trauma came from my own childhood experience, and the desire to present teen readers with a fantastical story that doubles as a road map out of suffering alone. Alienation is a story that demonstrates what happens when you burry childhood trauma: it comes back, creeps up from your unconscious, and continues to traumatize you until you deal with it. It is also a story about how powerful and resilient the human mind can be. No matter how different or damaged you feel, you are not broken!

I suffered debilitating anxiety as a child and throughout my early adult life. My anxiety was caused by previous traumatic experiences, or more specifically, by my inability as a child to deal with the frightening emotions that resulted from my experiences. Unfortunately for me, as opposed to seeking out help and discussing my growing fears and feelings of hopelessness, I did my best to bury those emotions and any memories that had to do with them.  This only resulted in more anxiety, fear, and loneliness. I became afraid of my own mind—the horrible thoughts and feelings it created.

Nobody likes feeling frightened or hopeless or lonely. It’s extremely uncomfortable, and can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, we all have these types of feelings from time to time, and they are nothing to be ashamed. Nor is the trauma behind them.  The way to make these horrible feelings go away is not to bury them like I did. It is to talk about them and any traumatic experience the feelings are rooted in.

Now, that said, I did not want to simply write a book about girl who is suffering emotionally as a result of past trauma, and show her dig into her past and resolve her issues. While it was important for me to present that story line, complete with a road map out of suffering, I also wanted to challenge the idea of mental illness and the stigma of being different. I wanted to challenge the idea of what is ‘real?’ What is ‘normal?” And what in the world is wrong with being ‘special’ or ‘unique?’  So with this in mind, I wrote a book about a teenage girl who is traumatized by past events and must dig into her past to resolve them. But when she does so, she discovers two things: 1) she is not so crazy after all, but very different in a gifted way; and 2) not only does she have to wrap her head around the discovery that she is different, but she has do it quickly, because the survival of the world depends on her embracing her unusualness.

Courtney, as well as the other characters, are well developed. Did you use anything from your own life to help develop these characters?

Courtney’s mom could be seen as a horrible selfish person who is more concerned with her daughter appearing to be a normal popular high-schooler, than she is with her daughter’s actual mental health.  This was a huge exaggeration of my parents. But let’s face it, there are parents who are so concerned with the image their child presents, and with their child’s accomplishments and accolades, and how their child‘s image reflects on them as parents, that they ignore their child’s emotional needs.  The same could hold true for teachers, peers, siblings, or the criminal justice system.  I’m not playing the blame game here. But kids and people of all ages are hurting.  The way to help one another is to talk about how we feel, help one another understand our feelings.  So Courtney’s mom, the character who is most criticized by book reviewers as being too mean or too horrible of a parent, is to me, one of the most important characters in the book.  By far she has more impact on Courtney’s life and her mental well-being that all of the bad guys Courtney is forced to face off against, and if you’ve read the book, there are some pretty unsavory characters who put Courtney through the ringer.

As for Agatha, I never had a friend like her, but I certainly wish I had.  She is a badass, alien and Norwegian black metal obsessed chick with mad sleuthing skills and enough life experience to know that the first step in healing is to tear off the bandage start repairing yourself from the inside out.

As to Courtney’s character, I have to admit that I chose to tell the story through a female protagonist, as opposed to a male, because it was too painful for me to write the panic attack and nightmare scenes in first person point of view using a male teen character. It was too close to home. And Courtney being female bought me just enough separation from my own past experience to allow me to dig into the dark areas.

I understand that you have a graduate degree in law. How did you think that has helped you in your writing?

A law degree, or let’s say the experience of law school—where you spend three years learning to be analytical and precise—had a great impact on my story developing skills. My fiction doesn’t involve law, or courts, or crime investigation. Yet, what I took away from law school was that there are not merely two or three sides to every story, but more like one hundred and three sides. So, in my writing and story development, the analytical part of my brain developed in law school helps me keep asking ‘what if’ over and over and over, until I find exactly what I feel a scene or character’s decision should be.

That said, I may have been better off spending those three years in a doctoral or masters of fine arts creative writing program.  Who knows?

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

Currently, I am working on a couple projects. But my main focus is a sequel to The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman.  I left a few balls up in the air at the end of that book, and I am really excited to pick up the story where Alienation ended. Alienation was written as a standalone book. By that I mean there is certainly resolution of the conflict by the book’s end. But at the same time, I spent quite a bit of time (or words) setting up a situation for my characters that is not going to go away overnight.  So, I have a really great adventure I am writing where the bad guys strike back, and some of the same protagonists, now more mature but also damaged, use what they learned in Alienation to conquer great obstacles. I think it is going to be a really exciting read. Given that the stage was set (the world-building laid out) in Alienation, in the second book I am able to focus more on the meaning of things, and the psychology of the characters.  As I mentioned earlier, the universal difficulty and often confusion that is involved in developing psychologically from a child to an adult is of great interest to me.  While Alienation is the fast-paced story of Courtney’s journey of self-discovery and her physical battle to save herself and the world, I tried to allow the reader to discover along with Courtney the emotional impact that past events were having on her.  That is what rings true to me in a good story:  Not defeating the bad guy, but letting readers in on what it feels like for a teenager to be forced to push themselves to explore and overcome their fears to achieve a higher level of self-awareness.   So, to put it bluntly, after having written Alienation, I cannot just sit around and wonder what psychological impact the events of Alienation had on Courtney and the other characters. They went through a traumatic ordeal of epic proportion. They are no doubt affected. But rather than hide from their new understanding of the world, and burry their painful emotions and memories, these characters have learned there is a better way through.  Courtney is a unique person, with unique gifts, and she has a calling. But like every other human being, in order to tackle new dilemmas, be they epic and otherworldly or not, she needs to digest what has happened to her, and take care of her emotion needs.  Unfortunately for Courtney, I throw her right back in the fire, forcing her to heal and grow while on the fly. But heal and grow she will, because the world is falling apart around her!

I don’t know when the sequel will be published. But I am working at a furious pace.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

The Alienation of Courtney HoffmanFifteen year old Courtney wants to be normal like her friends. But there’s something frighteningly different about her—and it’s not just the mysterious tattoo her conspiracy-obsessed grandfather marked her with before he disappeared. She’s being visited in her bedroom at night by aliens claiming to have shared an alliance with her grandfather. And imaginary or not, they’re starting to to take over her mind. “Mental illness is a slippery slope,” her mother warns her.

The last thing Courtney wants to do is end up crazy and dead like her grandfather did. But what about the tattoo? And the aliens trying to recruit her? With her new alien-savvy friend Agatha and her apocalyptic visions, Courtney begins connecting the dots between the past, present and future—of her bloodline, and the ancient history that surrounds it. Is she going insane, like her family claims her grandfather did, or is she actually a “chosen one” with ancestral connections to another world? Either way, Courtney has a mission: untangle her past, discover the truth, and stop the apocalypse before it’s too late for everyone.

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Hungry Monster Book Awards: August 2016

The Hungry Monster Book Awards are given to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Gold Book AwardGold Award Winners

Death Leaders by Kendra Hadnott

Jabberwocky: A Novella by Theodore Singer

Silver Book AwardSilver Award Winners

Milijun by Clayton Graham

Derailed by Alyssa Rosy Ivy

Bar Nights by Dave Matthes

Death of a Gypsy by Janet Hannah

Mervyn vs. Dennis by Niels Saunders

Stage Door Comedies by Sally Roger

Asana of Malevolence by Kate Abbott

In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang

Welcome to Deep Cove by Grant T. Reed

The Six and the Crystals if Ialana by Katlynn Brooke

Thing Bailiwick: A Collection of Horror by Fawn Bonning

Tarbabies: The Shadow Man of Ichabod Lane by Allen Brady

 

Books have the ability to entertain and inform us. They can make the impossible possible. They are vehicles of time travel and windows into perspectives. In books, authors are gods and imagination is their power. Transforming letters into words; words into characters and places; and these into emotions and worlds. Even if we never meet, we are connected by the stories we tell.

 

Visit the Hungry Monster Book Awards page to see more information on the awards. See all award winners.

Suddenly Dropped Into My Mind

Ken Hart Author Interview

Ken Hart Author Interview

Behind the Gem follows Raymond and his coworkers as they are taken from Earth and transported across the galaxy where Raymond becomes a surrogate for the aliens eggs. How did you come up with this intriguing and idea and develop it into a story?

The idea just suddenly dropped into my mind. It took off with a mind of it’s own, with me towed behind. It quickly became an obsession, and I was frequently awakened at night with ideas that had to be written down before I’d forget them. Many ideas were lost until I purchased a voice recorder that I keep with me constantly. I keep it on my bed table, and the next morning, I’m amused by the sleepy voices emanating from it while I write down ideas recorded from the night before. Like any novel in progress, the story line changes; it has to. The first completed write of Behind the Gem is 235,000 words long, The finished version of Behind the Gem is 81,00 words long.  Some of the first write will appear in a second story in progress, Behind the Gem: A New Direction.  Don’t groan, it won’t be as a flashback.

Raymond has to overcome many obstacles in his new life with the Drassens. What was the inspiration for the culture of the Drassens? Are they modeled after any particular society?

In contrast to the alien movies on the silver screen, I have always envisioned a gentle, benevolent society of aliens, showing us how to live in peace and harmony with them, and each other. I had to shuck the commonality of current thinking about aliens, and dig into my imagination for a story that I would enjoy.  Key words, ‘I would enjoy’.  I wrote Behind the Gem for my own entertainment, but encouragement from others suggested I should get it published, get a movie deal, make lots of money (what?). Reality supersedes such lofty goals, but we must have a dream to keep life interesting. This dream is mine.

I understand that you grew up in a military family. How do you think that affects your writing?

Not so much for Behind the Gem.  It does have a limited effect on my second novel, The Eyes Behold Tomorrow.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be published?

To be released in 2017, my third novel, It Was A Small Affair, chronicles an Army infantry squad delivering ammunition to a training exercise, gets caught in a time warp that lands them outside the Alamo, thirteen days before it fell. My own military experience is shown here with glaring efficacy.

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Behind The GemRipped from heart and home by galactic farmers, Ray and his co-workers are taken hundreds of light years across the galaxy and left to fend for themselves. When he begins hearing a voice in his head and is unjustly blamed for the deaths of his friends, he is separated from them and is led to a gentle race of aliens called the Draasen. He experiences a new way of life with responsibilities and challenges he never could have imagined. He is accepted into their society, but at a high cost to his dignity when he is led into protecting and birthing their eggs. When the galactic farmers arrive to take the Draasen population as fodder, the Draasen’s fate becomes entwined with that of the nearly extinct human race and their mutual struggle to survive.

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The Scalian Legacy

4 StarsThe Scalian Legacy is science fiction tale that follows a man named Jack Felder who thinks he is going on a leisurely trip in the Amazon, when he finds out his brother, Robbie, has been taken and Jack needs to save him. At the same time, a hundred light years away, another planet is brutally attacked. Jack’s rescue mission turns into an adventure outside this galaxy and into a battle to save not only Jack’s brother, but the fate of several other worlds. This alien invasion based story will take readers on a wild ride where they never know what to expect. It takes them beyond the world they know and introduces them to something new and unique.

Norman Monfort provides a tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats waiting for more. And it seems this novel is ripe for a series of novels. The prologue treats readers to a vivid description of a planet named Helos 4 being attacked. I was immediately drawn in and the rest of the story just takes off from there. There is never a dull moment, nor does it ever feel like it is going too slow. Don’t try to predict what will happen in this novel because you won’t be able too, there are so many twists and turns, you’d think you’re riding a roller coaster. You never know what to expect with this novel and that makes for a fantastically thrilling story. The writing is not highly complex with words most people don’t use every day; it is written plainly and right to the point without a lot of filler material.

There are points in the story where the characters talk about how belief systems effect how you handle tragedy, this is a part that is highly interesting and you don’t find in many books. What Jack has to say about what he believes is interesting and causes the readers to almost stop reading and think about how their own belief system affects the way they handle tragic times. Monfort writes in a way that makes the reader feel as if they are sitting and listening to the story being told rather than reading the story, which heightens the enjoyment of this story. Readers will find themselves engrossed in the story, unable to tear themselves away from the pages.

This book will thrill science fiction fans and military fiction fans. It has a little something for everyone in this novel. I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a new author to fall in love with. The Scalian Legacy is a book that would make a great addition to any bookshelf and will find itself being lent out to others to read.  It is easy to see why fans will be eagerly waiting more books from Norman Monfort.

Pages: 318 | ISBN: 1534645209

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