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Just as Unforgiving

J.R. Dunbar Author Interview

J.R. Dunbar Author Interview

Saint follows a man who’s given his wish to be a superhero but finds that the super hero life is not what he expected. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

To be honest, part of my inspiration comes from a fleeting, and perhaps juvenile, frustration. Every so often I find myself pondering the fact that superheroes don’t exist, yet super villains kind of do, you know? As soon I have this notion of a hero coming out of the woodworks to save humanity, it is quickly checked by the reality that it just wouldn’t work that way in real life. That is where Saint’s flaws come from; he played hero out of passion and it killed him, then he came back as what he had dreamed of, yet life was just as unforgiving.

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

Thank you! I liked the idea of a truly altruistic protagonist, yet wanted a character who wasn’t afraid to kill when it was necessary. I enjoyed exploring this concept because it initially seems contradictory, and is intended to make the reader question their assessment of ethics. His journey from a rock-solid, “perfect” character into a flawed, heavily emotional character is also derived from contradiction: “How can I make this character get better in some ways, yet worse in others?” was my mindset. I find it can be boring if characters go in one direction or have too much linear development.

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

An important theme in Saint is self growth while staying true to yourself. Jake stumbles upon his new life as Saint, but ultimately has to revert back to his roots when his back is against the wall. Another theme readers will find is vengeance. I really tried to layer the vengeance and feuds to create a classic cat-and-mouse feel.

Do you have plans to continue this comic series or develop it in other types of media?

Yes! I have plans for two more volumes of equal length, as well as two short novels that will fill in the gaps between. I may explore other media in the future, but for now I am just writing away!

Author Links: Instagram | Website

Jake Barker always wanted to be a superhero. Acting as a vigilante for years, one day he finally got his wish…too bad he had to die for it. As the world’s first superhero, he’s finding that his new life is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Now out for vengeance, will his abilities be enough, or will vengeance find him first?

This contains the full compilation of all 5 chapters, plus an epilogue and bonus art!

In This Strange Universe

Konn Lavery
Konn Lavery Author Interview

Into the Macrocosm is a collection of dark and bizarre stories that follows a character that observes 22 unique deaths. Did you write these stories specifically for this collection, or did you write them over time?

I wrote these stories over time. In 2018, after the launch of my thriller novel, YEGman, a friend of mine suggested writing shorter fiction – lower investment and a chance to explore new writing styles. The short stories have lived on the blog as a monthly release for my existing readers and to entice new ones. Over time, enough of them accumulated to make a collection.

A few additional short stories snuck their way into this book, like Inspirer, Crusaders, and Mr. Super. The stories were revised before being brought into the collection, allowing me to clean them up and improve the ideas and styles.

The overarching storyline with Malpherities was added specifically for this collection to support the growing Macrocosm that encompasses all my stories. This storyline was written in the second person with the Nameless One as a tribute to my readers over the years, letting them – in a way – be in this strange universe. Malpherities also plays a crucial role in my dark fantasy series Mental Damnation, so it was fun to bring him back for this book.

This collection fits within the universe you’ve created with your other novels. What are some moments fans can look forward to in this collection that connect directly to your other novels?

Malpherities, the ghoul, has the most prominent appearance within Into the Macrocosm. He has always been inspired by the Cheshire Cat and is quite versatile from a writing perspective.

We also get a new look into The Kingdom of Zingalg, where Mental Damnation takes place. Malpherities comments on the mystical land as humanity shifts into the modern world, leaving the fantastic things lost in history.

A fun cameo is Allen Oil Site Solutions, which makes appearances in my horror novel, Seed Me, and my upcoming horror, Rave. The company has been in the background for a long time, but I’ve got sinister plans for it in the future.

I really enjoyed the different ideas explored throughout this collection. What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Death is a common theme in all of my writing. We’re alive for a tiny blip in the universe’s history and its future, which makes life such a precious gift. I ponder what defines being alive a lot, which unintentionally led to many of the shorts having characters either dying, contemplating death, transcending, or barely surviving it.

The overarching plot with Malpherities and the Nameless One was written about a year ago when the pandemic started. Our world entered a weird state of limbo with the lockdown in Canada. Naturally, I started to dive further into philosophical ideas, spiritual concepts, and where humanity is going in the long run – as we see with the SciFi shorts Harvesters and Scrappers.

The most essential theme in the book is living life. I hope readers feel a resurgence to live it and enjoy this short gift. Hence the “observer” concept with witnessing others’ lives. We’re too often passive with technology integrated into our day-to-day activities, and we forget to pause and be here now.

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

My next book is a horror novel titled Rave. It will be out in the spring of this year, most likely in June. Here’s a one-liner summary:

Seth, cursed by his cousin’s crime, love, and desire, has no sweet release at the Rave after he and his friends carelessly get their DNA on an unexplainable murder; the RCMP will believe that these drugged-out kids saw a horned man-beast decapitating people – right?

I am also continuing the monthly short stories. They have migrated from the blog and onto my new Patreon that launched in February 2021. Like on the blog, they are short stories found within the Macrocosm. The shorts include audio versions I narrate and high-rez downloadable covers for smartphone backgrounds.

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

Genetic Freaks. Celestial Beings. A Talking Goat Head.
Enter an obscure universe through the lives of 22 souls as the Nameless One and their ghoulish companion attempt to unlock the mysterious past of how they died. Yet, danger lurks even in the post-death realm, the Midway, and it is not keen on mortal visitors.
Award-winning author Konn Lavery’s short story collection explores his expanding macrocosm, sharing the same universe as his previous works such as the horror novel Seed Me, thriller YEGman, and the dark fantasy series Mental Damnation. These interconnected tales bring everything under one, strange, unsettling, cosmos.

Delightful and Endlessly Funny

Linda Sheehan Author Interview

Decanted follows a vivacious young woman as she learns making wine and the perils of love. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My daughter, the delightful and endlessly funny Samantha Sheehan, who created and produces Poe Wines Pinot Noir, Ultraviolet Cabernet, and a 95 point organic vermouth under the MOMMENPOP label is my total inspiration for Decanted. Like the novel’s heroine Samantha Goodyear, my daughter quit her job at a big five accounting firm to go to France to learn everything she could about making wine. Like the main character in Decanted, she then moved to Napa and took a bookkeeping job at a winery before launching her own wine brand that’s sold across the US and in many countries around the world.

Samantha is a compelling character that was fun to follow. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

I wanted to draw my main character as a young woman who, though she’s a total product of modern times, has a tremendous love and respect for those who came before her. Samantha also has a tremendous work ethic, and never veers from her quest to achieve her dreams.

Wine making and wine culture were intriguing parts of this novel. Why was this an important aspect for you to include in the story?

Many people would like to understand more about wine culture and the winemaking process but don’t know where to begin. My goal in writing the book was to seamlessly give readers a fun wine education and illustrate what separates a great wine that reflects what nature intended from a tricked up brand with ingredients and flavors added by the big corporate wineries to sell the most bottles possible.

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

My next book is my novel Fore Play, a comedy set at a Los Angeles country club that will be available this coming summer.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Decanted eimage.jpg

From author Linda Sheehan, who’s part of a Napa wine dynasty, comes a story of grapes, wine, first crushes, and juicy redemption. Dreading the desk job that awaits her after high school, eighteen- year-old Vivian Goodyear takes off for pre- World War ll Paris, where she supports herself as an artist’s model.

Flash forward to modern day Manhattan where, inspired by Vivian’s courage, her grand-niece Samantha leaves her pressure cooker career to work the grape harvest in France. There, between picking grapes in the vineyard and crushing them in the cellar, she gets lessons in the art of making wine and in the art of making love. But when her world is turned upside down, a link from Aunt Vivian’s past could right it in a tale of being on top, sinking to the bottom, and coming up for glorious air.

The Essential Component in Leadership

George Vasilca, Author
George Vasilca Author Interview

Seven Principles for Super-Effective Leadership provides readers with strategies and tactics that will help them become a better Christian leader. What inspired you to write this book?

It all started from my first book, The Diamond Soul. I realized that I had a powerful concept that could be used as the basis for  building  leadership skills. 

What is the first step someone can take on their journey to becoming a better leader?

First step is to build a strong moral character which I call the Diamond Soul. This will give them the moral compass which is the essential component in leadership. Then, to start acquiring the skills and competencies, all constructed on a solid scientific foundation. The art and science of Leadership is a mysterious endeavor in which morality and psychology must blend harmoniously. In my view, spirituality should provide the moral direction, while the science provides the tools and methods necessary to do the job. Although it addresses a Christian audience, I’m sure the reader will quickly realize that most  principles are valid from any cultural or spiritual perspective. As an author with technical/scientific background yet with strong Cristian beliefs, it has been rather challenging for me to try to balance the two. The readers will judge it I managed to do a persuading job or not.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were younger?

This is a tough one. As I look back, I realized that nobody had warned me about the long self-development road which is life. And, to tell me to have faith and be patient. 

What is the next book that you have planned in your Diamond Soul Character series?

It is titled The Nine Secrets to Super-effective Relationships: Christian strategies and tactics to master the art of human connection, everywhere and every time. As the title says it, the book addresses issues of human connection and relationships from a Christian perspective. It should publish on Amazon in April or May this year.

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

This title is the second in the series “The Diamond Soul Character”, and deals with leadership issues from a Christian perspective. It follows the first title, “The Diamond Soul: 5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character”, which develops the Diamond Soul character’s concept based on Christ’s main character strengths.

This second volume, “Seven Principles for Super Effective Leadership: creative strategies and tactics to become the best Christian boss,” is a leadership book. It provides a proven framework for developing practical leadership abilities by ordinary people. It offers competent advice on self-improvement, personal growth, and how to achieve your purpose in the context of living a Christian life. This text is not an academic textbook for use in MBA business schools or training professional managers and leaders. No, this book is to be used by the millions of common people who do acts of admirable leadership day in and day out and want to improve their leadership aptitudes. This book, therefore, addresses the needs of aspiring leaders of this country.

If you are working as a pastor, teacher, or technician, this book is for you. If you are a healthcare worker, first responder, or National Guard member, this text is for you. Equally so, if you are a stay-home mom, teenager, or grandfather, this volume is for you. In fact, everyone interested in dealing with and leading other people will find a wealth of information that can significantly assist them. I will particularly single out the two most essential skills you need to master: how to communicate better and cooperate creatively to achieve your purpose.

I wrote this book to honor the unsung leaders of this great country. Of course, I am referring to you, the millions of ordinary Americans who do acts of authentic leadership every day, some even without knowing it. You are the silent heroes who work quietly, invisibly, and without applause. But you are as indispensable to this nation as the sun is to the earth. You do your jobs beyond the call of duty; you add that extra touch to your work every day. You carry out your responsibilities with dedication and passion, well above what’s written in the job description. You are the role-models for all to see and replicate.

This volume defines the seven principles encapsulating the essence of leadership: a moral character based on faith, a substantial competency in the science of leadership, a mindset of achieving your purpose by service, and the all-important skillsets of communication and cooperation. It also outlines leadership strategies and practical tactics to be used along the way. Therefore, it is a step-by-step instruction manual that will educate, guide, and inspire you to become the best boss you can be. Its principles apply equally to believers as well as atheists, agnostics, and people of other faiths.

Dear reader, studying this material should be just the beginning of your long journey to become a better leader. I encourage you to take classes, courses, and seminars to reveal the beauty and uncover the mystery of the art of leadership. Continue to study the Word of God, mainly as it describes the leadership traits of Jesus Christ, the most excellent servant leader of all times. He is your perfect role-model to follow. Share your newly found knowledge and competencies with other people in your family, work, church, and neighborhood. Help other people to become servant leaders; mentor, coach, and inspire them.

Our Decisions Define Us

Douglas Misquita
Douglas Misquita Author Interview

Trigger Point follows Luc as he must stop a terrorist plot while navigating a political and religious web of corruption as a deadly team is hunting him. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?

I was intrigued by “The Islamist: Why I joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left” by Ed Hussain, “Radical Islam: Past, Present, and Future: What Moderate Muslims Will Not Tell you” by Anita & Vann Boseman, “God’s Wolf: The Life of the Most Notorious of All Crusaders: Reynald de Chatillon” by Jeffrey Lee, “A Common Word Between Us and You” by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, Kingdom of Jordan. There was also “The Entity: Five Centuries of Secret Vatican Espionage” by Eric Frattini. At the time of writing, the book was prohibitively priced to the extent I asked myself, ‘Who does not want us to read this?’. All-in-all, I wanted to challenge the stereotype of a terrorist and show that everybody has a propensity for violence if not checked.

Luc Fortesque is a consistently entertaining character. What were some character motivations that you felt were important to developing him throughout the novel?

In the first book of the series, The Apocalypse Trigger, Luc is the bad guy. Readers will hate him. By the time I wrote The Immortality Trigger, he seemed like the guy I wanted to return. So I set him on this path of redemption. He’d done some pretty nasty stuff and has always attributed his life-choices to external stimuli. But at the end of the day, our decisions define us, and who we become. That became the theme and we see it resolve in Trigger Point. The bad guy finds his soul, his righteousness. Also melds with my belief that everybody is doing what they can to survive in this world.

Was there anything taken from real life and put into the story?

Plenty. All the locations, vehicles are factual. Raynald de Chattilon and Nur ad Din were sworn enemies during the crusades. The syncretism of Catholic and Maya beliefs is real as is the ritual and the construct of the typical Maya village. Zombie Deer Disease is real, as is the (questionable) research that I caught onto and used to great effect. The Swiss vaults described in the book exist and nobody knows the true extent of the wealth or secrets stored there. The Japanese Unit 731 existed and its research was co-opted by the US after WWII. The Chinese AI entity is based on fact – Western companies are indirectly providing the expertise much to the concern of their home nations. I’ve done my best to be non-offensive yet informative in my exposition of Catholism, Islam and religious trends.

This is the third book in your Luc Fortesque Adventure series. What can readers expect in book four?

Visitors to my website will observe I’m happy doing trilogies before moving on to something fresh. For now, there won’t be another Luc Fortesque book. I’ve got another hero coming up and yet another that I’m concluding in another series. Then I’m contemplating a wild prehistoric adventure. Who doesn’t ?

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

Smuggling himself into Europe despite an Interpol Red Notice? Possible. Avenging a German BKA officer? Easy. Evading special ops teams hunting him for his secrets? Impossible. Things are about to get more… interesting for Luc Fortesque. An escaped terrorist threatens a landmark dialogue between Muslims and Christians. More terrifying is the theft of a bioweapon from a secret vault operated by the Holy See. That the damaging news is not public hints the weapon will be detonated. With cataclysm imminent, the world’s oldest espionage agency – the Vatican’s L’ Entity – must get Fortesque first, hoping he might possess the cure. Treachery and corruption infect the upper echelons of religion and government, and Fortesque must confront his past to be free of it. If he survives the confrontation.

Little Dragon Came To Be

Author Interview
Mr. Andrew Dunne Author Interview

Little Dragon and the Rainbow Poo uses a unique idea to teach children about colors in a fun way. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

When my son was born, he was quite loud and his poo was always different colours. One exhausted night Little Dragon came to be.

The art in the book is very cute. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Ms. Amelia Gleeson?

It was quite fun, I’m not too artistic, so Amelia had quite a lot of freedom with the style. Once she’d come up with a character style we both like, we then started coming up with the scenes for each activity.

My favorite scene from the book was the one where the dragon was scared while watching a movie. Do you have a favorite scene from the book?

I like when little dragon is listening to jazz, but the final scene always gets a great reaction from my kids which puts a smile on my face.

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

I’m currently working on Missy M and the quest for oo. Not sure when this will be available, hopefully it doesn’t take too long for me to finish it (got writer’s block)

Author Links: Website | Amazon

Enjoy the colors of the rainbow as Little Dragon poos.

An Overwhelming Desire To Say Something

Evan Grove
Evan L. Grove Author Interview

To the North follows the adventures of Emily, Lehksi and Marty, as they attempt to uncover the truth behind the darkness plaguing their land. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

To the North is something that’s been swimming in my head for quite some time now, with the first inklings of it popping up in early/mid 2016. I would say my inspiration was based somewhat on world events around that time and since, as well as a desire to create a conflict of my own.

While I don’t think there is any specific spark that pushed me to write this story in particular, I can easily attribute its creation to an overwhelming desire to say something. I wished to draw others into a world of my own creation, a world both familiar and utterly different from our own.

Emily and Lehksi were intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Emily’s character was pretty solid from the start. She was designed to be someone that both drives the plot forward in her own unique way, and yet is consistently hamstrung by the events happening around her. I wanted a headstrong, motivated character that should, for all intents and purposes, not be involved with the dangerous happenings taking place around her. Yet there she is, front and center.

Lehksi on the other hand, was meant to be a more level-headed person. She served as a near polar-opposite of Emily as someone who both has the skills to act with confidence when necessary, as well as the temperament to know when she’s in over her head. However, it was necessary for her to be young and inexperienced. She knows she has a lot to learn, and in some cases that leads her to doubt herself and others.

I enjoyed the well thought out backstory and magic within your book. Were these planned or did they develop organically while writing?

Some of To the North’s backstory was planned, while some was not. I’m not in the habit of creating large lore documents, so many of the details of Odelia/Oul emerged as I wrote them. Of course I had a structural layout to guide my hand and I made sure to take notes on what had been established for consistency, but I wanted to “discover” this world for myself as I wrote it. So I gave it space to let it blossom on its own, and many times it surprised me with the results.

My magic system was created much the same way, though I did have to set some ground rules. Namely, from the start I wanted a system that can be expressed in different ways by different people. The Scriptors, for example, use magic by way of words. Others may use it in different ways, some of which have already been seen in Part 1. You should expect to see a considerable expansion on these concepts in Part 2.

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

I’m working on two books at the moment, the first is the conclusion to The Awakener Duology and I’ve already begun my second draft. I expect it to be released sometime near the end of the year or early 2022 depending on oh-so-many differing factors.

My other novel is still in the outline stages, and as such will likely take a bit longer to release. It will also take place in the “World of Oul” since I’d like to develop my world/lore a bit more before moving on to another unrelated series. I hope for a 2023/2024 release but we’ll see how things go.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Emily Lee wants nothing more than to live her life in peace, safe in the comfort of home with her father. But when he falls prey to dark magic, trapping him and countless others in a foreign land, she is forced to take action. Compelled only by the desire to save him, Emily travels to the northern nation of Odelia in search of a means to free her father from his terrible curse.

Lehksi Olent works as a private investigator, helping those uncover the truth that is often shrouded by a world of magic and mystery. Together with her brother, Marty, she now travels the Odelian countryside in pursuit of the growing unrest taking place within the heart of a country torn asunder by unseen forces.

When their paths converge, Emily and Lehksi’s lives will be forever changed. Two paths, one future. Be it for the good of all, or for a singular desire, the fate of Odelia lies within their choices. And should they prove lacking, the world of Oul might never be the same.

To the North is the first novel in The Awakener Duology, an urban fantasy that explores what it means to discover the dark truths of an unforgiving land. It takes place in an alternate reality set in a pre-digital world, one that is governed by magic and corporate influence. Two young women must navigate numerous challenges in order to protect what is important to them, but in doing so they will make discoveries that may drive a wedge between them.

A Light in the Darkness

Jessica Piro
Jessica Piro Author Interview

Ascension of the Phoenix follows a detective seeking release in street fighting, but success leads her down a dark path toward revenge. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The major inspiration was Leila Wells, herself. I wanted to delve into the notion that everyone has a dark side and what would happen if someone who is an upright figure gives in and falls. Now for the street fighting and fighting tournament, Mortal Kombat and the Tekken video games were heavy influences. Being such a fan of Law and Order: SVU helped me make Leila a detective.

Leila is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

She is who I wish I could be. An authoritative figure who is also fair and generous, and who uses her position for good. She doesn’t abuse her power. Doesn’t bow under pressure. Is physically and mentally strong. Someone who is in control of their emotions… well, sometimes.

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

Quite a few of them. One theme being the struggles against dark sides because Leila isn’t the only one. The different ways people deal with grief is another. Exploring how someone can lose who they think they are—their identity—and how they fight to come back, and how they sometimes change. And no matter how bleak or hopeless a situation, there is always hope/a light in the darkness—you just may have to wade through more darkness to reach it.

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

The Dragon of Russia is the next book in this trilogy and will be available August 2021. Like I did with Ascension of the Phoenix, a companion short story will also be released in the Fall. It will be called The Crane’s Dance, following a new character that Leila meets in Russia, like how The Panther’s Pride is in Jamaal Gordon’s POV.

Author Links:

To rise from ashes, one must be a phoenix.
Detective Leila Wells has apprehended every criminal to cross her path, except for one. And when Bryan Foster returns, he devastates her world. To cope, she finds release in street fighting. Successes with her fighting partner grant them an invitation to participate in the Rulers of the Realms Fighting Tag Tournament. But as she fights, a power begins to rise within her—a dark and angry blaze urging her toward revenge.
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