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My Tattered Flag

A poem by Jeffrey Cooper.

Be Happy To Be You

The title of the book itself is encouraging enough for one to start reading. Be Happy To Be You takes a simple idea and drives it home with a lovable character, cute art, and an entertaining story.

The art in this book is beautiful. The images are appealing and match the tone of the story. The very first sentence in the book reads “Baby bird wanted to swim. He looked at the fish in the river.” “I wish I could swim in the river like the fish,” says the bird. “You can fly high in the sky,” replies the bird’s mother. This is a good example of the message this story carries throughout the book. Even with everything the bird wishes for, he is always reminded of the things that he does have.

Reading on, one can conclude that the bird feels inadequate with the things he has. Just like humans, the bird wishes for more. The bird’s mother plays a big role in making the bird understand that he can’t have everything he wants. I think kids will be able to make the connection with the animals on the page and easily see the parallels in their own life.

The bird keeps wishing for more throughout the book. He sees the horses and wants to run around the field like they do. He sees the frogs on the lily pad and wants to jump like the reptiles. In every situation though, mother bird shows how caring she is and reminds the bird of the things he can do, that other animals can’t.

Like most guardians, mother bird was always concerned with the bird and tried to make him feel better any time he felt low. A loving and caring mother is what every offspring wishes to have. I appreciate the author’s use of animal characters to bring out habits that are often seen in people. I think this is an important lesson that children of any age should learn.

Be Happy To Be You is not only entertaining, but also informative. The coloring and stunning drawings make the book both entertaining and fun to read. The images of the frogs were my absolute favorite. I wish I could put them in a frame. Every young person who struggles with not being satisfied with what they have will find this book educational.

Pages: 32 | ASIN: 1387596985

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The Day That A Ran Away

The Day That A Ran Away by [Fegan, B.C.R.]The Day that A Ran Away is an adorably witty story about the letters of the alphabet just deciding not to report for duty one day. Master Jet is trying to write the alphabet and he just can’t do it with all the letters on holiday. Each letter has either decided not to show up or has had something that prevented it from showing up. Understandably, it’s hard to write the alphabet without even one of the letters. Master Jet may think he is fooling his teacher, but Mrs. May is way too smart to fall for his creative tricks.

My kids are much older now, but they would have loved this book when they were little. The writing is catchy and flows well for reading aloud. The rhymes are cute. The colors are bright and eye-catching. This was especially always a hit with my own children. The illustrations are beautiful. It is very visually pleasing. It is also funny. It made me laugh a couple of times. I actually think it would be fun to read aloud. Any parent who has had to read the same book one hundred times can tell you how important it is to have a story that flows well verbally.

My favorite part of the book is the beautiful illustrations. They are by Lenny Wen. As with most children’s books, the illustrations are a huge part of whether the book is a hit or not. Since most kids are being read to at this stage, the illustrations have to really appeal to them. A nice touch was adding a few “hidden” images within each letter’s page—having the kids match the letter with the object. My kids would have loved trying to find these little gems. Overall, the artwork is beautifully done.

Together B.C.R. Fegan and Lenny Wen have created a catchy, appealing story for little kids and their parents. I really enjoyed it. I believe kids and parents everywhere would enjoy it as well.

Pages: 33 | ASIN: B07DMN4VVP

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Who the Heroes and Villains Truly Are….

J.I. Rogers Author Interview

J.I. Rogers Author Interview

The Korpes File follows a technician born into the underclass of his world when he is marked by the ruling class as a threat due to his genetic make-up and is forced to fight back. What was the inspiration for the idea at the core of this exciting novel?

This is a complicated question to answer because the inspiration came in stages over the course of thirty years.

I was an artist long before I became an author. Concepts for the world of Tamyrh started showing up in illustrations while I was still in high school in the early-80s.

In 2012, a friend approached me to brainstorm on a game he was designing. I suggested that he let me do some world-building for him, and I wrote two pieces of flash fiction to go with the maps I’d designed. The game was shelved (unfortunately), and my work was returned to me, but that burst of writing led me to dig Tamyrh out of my portfolio case and look at it again. That was it; my objective became “write something that I would want to read,” and books one through five were plotted by the following summer.

Dystopian themes in science fiction are popular, and I wanted to create something that depicted both the protagonists and antagonists as living in the shadows and light between good and evil. To have a worthy, three-dimensional hero, you must have an equally worthy, three-dimensional adversary. Each one has to have reasons behind what they do, and regardless of how they start out they each have to have the potential to redeem or to condemn themselves. Thus, my series is about life, people, flawed, challenged, and hopefully tangible enough to touch. Ultimately, the reader’s sympathies will decide who the heroes and villains truly are….

Nash Korpes is an interesting character that, I felt, continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing his character?

First, thank you for the compliment. If I’m going to be honest, I didn’t start off with a theme for Nash apart from the fact that he was taken from his family in the Diaspora at an early age, and that he was isolated because of his ‘gifts’ and heritage. I wrote a few short scenes of interaction and dialogue and then let his personality emerge organically as the plot points presented themselves. I’m still learning things about him. At heart, he’s a good man, he tries his best, but like everyone, he falls down, gets dirty, and can make terrible decisions that have lasting ramifications. By the end of book one, I felt he was a non-angsty, relatable protagonist for everyone who’s ever felt like they were on the outside looking in due to their ethnicity, a disability, or their socio-economic background.

This book is a gritty thriller and action-packed adventure to the very end. What were some sources of inspiration for the detailed world in this book?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled widely and lived abroad in my early years, and those experiences can’t help but factor into my world’s design unconsciously.

As I mentioned earlier, I consciously began world-building Tamyrh back in high school; I’m an artist, so creating maps, designing the aliens, and doing concept art was fun. The toxic jungle, “The Seep”, as well as the ancient history of Tamyrh were invented then, but, I didn’t officially begin adding in the hard-science behind my world until 2012. Since then, I’ve been compiling research to give my world a sense of dimension and reality.

Now, I have an entire Pinterest account dedicated to ‘novel inspirations’ – it includes flora, fauna, visuals for the racial groups, cluster city concepts, diaspora inspiration, articles on real-world developments in science and physics, and cutting-edge technological advancements. They do say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
On an associated note, I’m planning to release a limited edition character sketchbook in 2020 – Patreon funded. A bestiary and world atlas are also in the works.

This is book one in the 942 Series, when will book two be available and where will the story pick up in that book?

I’m finishing up book two right now, and I plan to release it in December. The story picks up with Nash and Davis, roughly two months after the end of book one. A collection of short stories from the series will be published in October.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsitePinterest

For those that love classic “Star Trek” and modern “Battlestar Galactica”, “The Korpes File” taps a fresh vein of science fiction gold.

“As if being born Diasporan wasn’t enough, Technician Nash Korpeshas the bad luck to match his Tyran ancestors in form and manner. Thesetraits, though highly prized by the special projects division at Korlune Military Research and Development, mark him as a specter from theirwarlike past. With only his intellect to save his sanity, he wages aprivate war against the entire socioeconomic status quo and uncovers anemesis that threatens them all.”

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Laburnum Lanes

Laburnum Lanes by [Shantha]

Laburnum Lanes is a small collection of beautiful poems by Shantha. The poems mainly contain nature themes, such as birds and marigolds, with birds as illustrations. Some of the poems have continuances. For instance, a poem may continue into another poem, telling a short little story within those small series of poems, while all of them tie together pleasantly. The book is serene with its descriptions of nature and the beauty of it. The poem book is also incredibly cultural. It makes references to Indian culture and the author provides footnotes to define the specific aspects.

I enjoyed this collection of poems. While it is a short read, it is a beautiful one. Many of the lines of many of the poems resonated with me or touched me in a profoundly deep way. A lot of the lines paint detailed exquisite visuals. For example, “Strawberry Filled Path” elicits visions of strawberries on the ground as well as gives the visual of someone holding strawberries. You can even get the smell and the feel of sunshine from it. Shantha’s words jump from the page and really make you feel like you are in the scene they paint. Similarly, “A Large Palm” does the same as “Strawberry Filled Path.” The reader sees the flashes of imagery. Many of Shantha’s words are paintings that have come to life, with being able to see, smell, and even feel the some of the descriptions. It takes talent to be able to construct strong sensory responses. Even the title of the poem book evokes imagery of the trees.

Poems like “Togetherness” also have great lines in them, like “marigolds come from heavens/They are not born of the womb.” It has such powerful phrasing. Then there is something like “Meditation” that resonates with me because it illustrates parts of life so well. Many of these poems are like this poem in that way, where it is relatable because it reflects life.

I have so many poems bookmarked because they either resonated with me in some deep, profound way, they were relatable, I enjoyed the imagery, or I loved the phrasing. I am a huge fan of poetry because it can be done so well and conjure up different feelings and can even be an outlet for feelings. I think Shantha was able to do this magnificently with their poems, tap into universal feelings while also giving readers a taste of Indian culture. It definitely made me want to look into Indian culture more and be more educated about it.

I think good poetry makes you feel something, but great poetry leaves this feeling of change within you. It gives you new knowledge, new perspectives, and the hunger for more of it all. That is what Shantha’s poetry did with me. It was interesting and beautiful. I highly recommend this book of poems to anyone who is a fan of poetry or even just pretty words and phrases.

Pages: 130 | ASIN: B07DLZPCXL

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Jagdlied: A Chamber Novel for Narrator, Musicians, Pantomimists, Dancers & Culinary Artists

The very fabric of her being is coming undone. She has always lived such a sheltered life, she is not ready for the massive shift that is about to take place in her life. The socialite is heiress to a fortune earned through investments and work at a multinational. She is faced with all sorts of questions about life and even touches on the possibility of a world without art. This princess will learn a few things the hard way. She will be bruised and knocked around a few times, but such is life.

The author has skillfully crafted a tale of sour love, questionable characters, jealousy and revenge. The story is told vividly and imaginatively. It is a thrilling literary ride through the protagonist’s experiences as a princess whose castle is falling apart by the brick. On one hand, you feel bad for her but on the other you would rather not bother. This quality leaves the reader so gloriously torn between the characters of the book. Not to mention glued to the pages as the story unfolds.

This story is told in an unusual tone. A tone that is quite indescribable but is quite fitting for the story and characters therein. The grammar is impeccable. The sentences are artfully crafted with relatively simple language. The reader will find themselves quite easily drawn into the story. The unusual tone and a touch of simplicity for the complex plot are welcoming and appealing. They beg the reader to read just one more page. To find out what happens next and then next. The term- page turner- was coined for this book.

The characters are well developed. Each has a quality that the reader will identify with. There is a certain intrinsic quality that just makes the characters quite lovely to dabble with. A certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ so to speak. This quality in the character development is consistent throughout the book, but makes it so hard when the book comes to an end. The trio really did a good job with this.

To the intrigued reader, beware, this book is quite a dirty sex crazed romp. Conservatives better brace themselves, keep a bible handy, and an open mind because you will hate how much you enjoy the erotic quality of this book. Rarely does a book possess so many winning qualities. Humor, drama, erotica, tragedy and much more. All delivered with expert craftsmanship and a generous dose of thrill. The erotica may be a little strong for some but if read with an open and relaxed mind, this is a very enjoyable and entertaining ride.

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I Believe It To Be True

Richard Carroll Author Interview

Richard Carroll Author Interview

The Lost Photographs is an exciting adventure story that follows three adventurers as they set out to uncover the truth of Noah’s Ark. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this riveting novel?

I have always been intrigued by the story of Noah’s Ark. Fuel was fed to that fire in the 1980’s when I watched a TV special about a team of Russian soldiers finding and photographing Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in 1916. I have thoroughly researched that story, and I believe it to be true.

I think you did a a wonderful job of building interest with the backstory of the lost photographs of the ark. What kind of research did you undertake to get things right in this novel?

1. The above mentioned story.
2. 1916 Russia, present day Russia, and the present day attitude of the Turkish
government regarding Mount Ararat.
3. Mount Ararat and the Ahora Gorge.
4. Russian aircraft 1916
5. Prefab portable buildings, diesel generators, ice melting machines, and heavy lift
helicopters to build a large complex over the site on a glacier above the Ahora Gorge.

Your characters were exceptionally developed which made them endearing and fascinating. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your characters?

First, I wanted to draw my readers quickly into the story when I wrote about Yuri and Jelena. Young love and tragedy set the stage for the rest of the novel. When Jelena peeks through the window and sees Yuri the fourteen year old boy she loves laying dead right before her eyes, it is heart breaking. I tied that story back a hundred years later when Matt, Ann, and Jim are in a Russian cemetery late in the night hoping they will not be caught digging up the dead. They shine their flashlight beams down into the coffin onto the face of Yuri. They then lay the five photos of Noah’s Ark on Yuri’s body as they turn each one over and gasp at the discovery. Those two scenes are essential.

I wanted all of my present day characters to be totally dedicated to finding Noah’s Ark. That is their passion. I also wanted them to have fun. I created Jim’s character to be Matt’s best friend. I wanted them to be able to laugh and be able to tease each other and also to protect each other when needed as best friends do.
The theme of the beautiful, talented, and dedicated Ann Tyler needs no explanation.

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

My second novel, Burned in Stone, is a sequel to The Lost Photographs and is already published. Both novels have been awarded 4 stars by Literary Titan. I am extremely honored to have received those awards as a first time author.

Author Links: Website | FacebookAmazon

the LOST PHOTOGRAPHS by [Carroll, Richard Ira]This is it! This is how all three of us will die because there’s no way I’ll ever cut the rope to save myself and send Jim and Ann to sure death. Terrified, he felt his fingers begin to slip down the ax handle.

Dr. Matthew Lane has been in a lot of scrapes with his fellow archaeologist Jim Morgan. But neither is prepared for the trouble that lies in store as they search for what could be the biggest discovery in centuries. Matt is convinced that the testimony from the Russian soldiers who swore they photographed Noah’s ark protruding from the glacier in the summer of 1916 is true. They claimed all the documentation, measurements, description of the interior cages and photographs were turned over to the czar just before the revolution.

A Russian immigrant, Ann Tyler, has carried her grandmother’s secret with her for more than a decade. She knows the hiding place of The Lost Photographs that could prove the existence of Noah’s ark. Has she finally found a trustworthy confidant?

When Ann joins Matt and Jim to search for The Lost Photographs, they begin a journey none could have predicted. Richard Carroll deftly weaves together this fast-paced adventure based on the old stories of Russian soldiers discovering the ark on Mount Ararat. Uncover the enduring enigma of the ancient ark and the crusade to conceal the truth. This novel is based on a well-documented story that many people believe to be true.

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Faithful to Egyptian Style

George Neeb Author Interview

George Neeb Author Interview

Pharaoh’s Arrow is a picture book that tells a fascinating story using authentic hieroglyphics and historic papyrus paintings. What was the inspiration that made you want to put this book together?

I have taught elementary school for over 25 years. I have always found that using picture books is a great way to teach subjects like history and art to students. Picture books bring history alive. I found in teaching about Early Societies that there was an abundance of information books but not picture book narratives. I wanted to create a resource that teachers or any Egyptology fan could use and enjoy that included factual information but was also entertaining. I have always been fascinated by Ancient Egypt, so I thought this would be a great way to break into writing and illustrating picture books.

Each piece of artwork in the book was done by you on papayri. What was that process like?

The illustrations are actually done on paper to replicate the look of papyrus. I included directions in the back of the book, so readers can create similar drawings. The secret is to colour with pencil crayon, as this medium will resist paint. Then I painted over the coloured illustration using brown and yellow tempera paint. I used a large paint brush and painted both directions leaving the brush strokes showing. Last, I covered the wet paint with a disposable cloth and rubbed the cloth then removed the cloth. That is how the look of papyrus is achieved. It is simple yet works. I hope readers will try it out. I made a Youtube video to demonstrate the technique and colouring pages are found on my website https”//georgeneeb.ca

I felt that you did a great job of getting the facts of ancient Egypt correct. What kind of research did you undertake for this book?

I spent months researching how the Egyptian drew everything. I looked through lots of information books about Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians had a distinct way of drawing. Their style is simple yet graceful. I’ve heard the Egyptians described as the first graphic artists. People were drawn in profile but with forward facing eyes and shoulders. It is almost a contorted look. I also researched how trees, homes, palaces and animals were drawn. Egyptians didn’t uses perspective and size differences were usually due to importance, so sometimes the Pharaoh was drawn larger than everyone else. This made illustrating the book challenging because I couldn’t draw a lot of varied perspectives, such as a bird’s eye or an ant’s eye point of view. I really could only do some close ups in order to keep faithful to Egyptian style.

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

My next book is totally different. It is a story about an overweight girl that longs to be a super hero, but her mother and aunt really pressure her to act like the other girls and try to be pretty and popular. When some bullies befriend her, she has to decide if this is the person she wants to be. I did the illustrations using cut paper and also dyed paper backgrounds. The book is in the editing stage, so I hope it will be ready by late summer. I am also writing a book about an Emperor and a dragon in Ancient China. It will be illustrated to look like Chinese silk paintings have come to life to tell the story.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebook | Website

Pharaoh's Arrow by [Neeb, George]Akia loves living in an oasis far from the Nile River with her father. But when she is faced with another family tragedy, Akia embarks on a plan of revenge that takes her to the ancient capital of Memphis and to meet Almighty Pharaoh. She quickly learns that vengeance isn’t as easy as it may seem! Come visit Ancient Egypt through a tale told in rhyming couplets, authentic hieroglyphics and historic papyrus paintings come to life. Ages 8 – 11 or any Egyptology fan!

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Pharaoh’s Arrow

Pharaoh's Arrow by [Neeb, George]

If you’re shopping for a picture book, George Neeb’s Pharaoh’s Arrow should be high on your list of choices. This unique book is an experience like you haven’t seen before – a whole book written and illustrated in the style of ancient Egypt! Neeb took the time to paint all the pages by hand and tell us a story of revenge set in the times of a bygone era. He studied Egyptian art and it shows on every page.. Every page is an individual work of art, bringing the artistic style of the Land of the pyramids into the modern format.

While set in ancient times of the pharaohs, Neeb came up with the story himself. As he explained, he tried to get the facts correct. The style of clothing and the makeup match the era the story is set in and he spent a considerable amount of time giving his book the feel of an old papayri. He didn’t just stop at the characters, whom he painted in the drawing style of the ancient Egypt, but went as far to match the authentic hieroglyphics that appear throughout the story with the text!

Pharaoh’s Arrow excels in the themes it takes us through. While picture books usually don’t trouble themselves with big moral questions, George Neeb had other ideas for his characters. What starts like a story of revenge ends up differently than you would expect. Without giving the details, you will be surprised with the decision the main character decided to go with. And while odd, the decision is very practical. Considering the times the story is happening the decision is quite fitting. I felt that Neeb’s poetry was not his strong suit and were not lyrically challenging, but he is still able to tell an interesting story.

Many odds and ends of the life of ancient Egypt show throughout the book. The story starts in quite an unusual way – the mother of Akia, our heroine, is killed by a crocodile which makes her father decide to live in the desert. Crocodiles where a predator on the Nile back in the day and the situation gives us a glimpse of life thousands of years ago. Burial rites of the ancient Egypt are also referenced and Neeb also talks about the spirituality that the people of those times were observing. His reference of “ba”, roughly translated as the modern concept of the soul, is something you will not find in many books that deal with this long gone civilization!

The illustrations are unique and make it an unforgettable work of art. At the end of the book Neeb even explains how to accomplish the style yourself, making the Pharaoh’s Arrow a perfect choice for anyone interested in painting and history.

Pages: 18 | ASIN: B07DV1XL2M

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A Curious Journey

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 takes young readers on a journey through the magical Hotel of Hoo where they’re introduced to many strange guests. What served as your inspiration for this imaginative hotel and its occupants? 

The concept was really born from the title. I had wanted to write a counting book for a while but one that carried a stronger narrative than many others in this particular category. After I had the title, everything else just came together. I think that there is something about doors that sparks a natural curiosity, particularly in young children. I wanted to extend that curiosity by placing the story in a setting that would really compound the mystery. A magical castle, to me, holds a lot of intrigue and seemed like an excellent place to begin a curious journey.

There are a lot of interesting creatures behind each door. My favorite was the miniature giants. What was your favorite to write and animate?

I have so many! For most of the characters there is a fascinating juxtaposition between the general perception of their stereotype and a characteristic they embody in the story. Some of the other creatures are simply a play on popular culture. However a few of them are just plain cute. If I had to choose only one favourite, I think it would be from this last category – the big-headed monkeys.

While I was writing this character, I had in my mind something so adorable that it would make a great stuffed toy. What’s exciting about working with Lenny is that we both think similarly. She was able to take my thoughts for this idea and really bring it to life with brilliant expression. They may not be a typical mythical creature, but I think they nevertheless compliment the overall enjoyment of exploring this hotel by diffusing the expectation that each character needs to have some kind of creepy characteristic.

The story is told in rhyme and each door has a theme which, I think, makes this book great for the classroom. Was it challenging to write the story in this way or was it natural?

After I had the idea, the story itself flowed quite naturally. The fantastical nature of the castle meant that each door wasn’t restricted to a single concept or any established rules. I think this is (in part) what both pulls you along in the story and tempts you to linger – every door is a portal to its own unique and perhaps unexpected theme.

I don’t want it to send like I’m begging, but please tell me this story is going to be expanded on in future books? 

Ooh, now that’s an interesting question. It was definitely a fun story to write so I wouldn’t rule out a sequel. I’ll let you know…

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Don't Ever Look Behind Door 32 by [Fegan, B.C.R.]

The magical Hotel of Hoo is a mysterious place with some very unusual occupants. As our guests explore the strange hotel, they are invited to experience everything it has to offer with just one warning… don’t ever look behind door 32.

This imaginative picture book aims to take children beyond the first ten cardinal numbers, and introduces them to the patterns of counting in a fun and accessible way. With rooms to explore and unique objects to count, children will enjoy lingering on each page as they make their way closer to the forbidden door.

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