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Mastermind Criminals

Michael Gerhartz Author Interview

Michael Gerhartz Author Interview

Dark Times follows Natascha as she’s caught up in a deadly plot orchestrated by dangerous mastermind criminals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

I wanted to create a plot that has its roots in many corners of the world. A plot created by mastermind criminals, who all have their own different agendas work together towards their greater common goal. I also wanted to show that normal people like you and I can stand up against injustice, even on a global scale, and that anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself.

Natascha is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas that you wanted to explore with her character?

Natascha is just an “average” person. It is easy to identify with her character: a loving wife, mother of a child, working two jobs to make enough money, for example, at one point she is even worrying about the cost for new tires for her car. She is not a trained killing machine without feelings and unlimited access to weapons and money. She is very emotional and draws her strength from the love for her family, but she also knows that she has to rely on herself in order to survive. She is struggling emotionally from all the horrible things she had experienced before and is not immune to PTSD. All those attributes make her a more “likeable” character, and people find it easy to identify with her.

What draws you to the action adventure genre and makes it easy for you to write in this space?

I am a fan of the action adventure genre, but I find many stories belong more in the world of Fiction. I can not identify with a “one man army” with unlimited access to different resources, such as weapons, intelligence and money who does not suffer emotionally after a mission. My personal background and experience allows me to create realistic characters.

Dark Times is a novel in your EuroSec Corporation series. What can readers expect in the other book in your series, Thin Ice?

THIN ICE was actually the first book in the series, published in 2012. In THIN ICE, we meet Natascha for the first time and learn how she and Nick came together on board a research vessel in the North West Passage, where they are being framed as terrorists in a plot orchestrated by greedy politicians and mercenaries.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Dark Times (EuroSec Corporation) by [Gerhartz, Michael]

Relieved for no longer being framed as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, Natascha has only one wish – to live a normal life with her former bodyguard Nick and their daughter, but her daily routine as part time Marine Biologist for the London aquarium and secretary for an elite security company takes a lethal turn when she takes part in another scientific expedition.

This time, her discoveries do not only lead her into a flooded mine underneath a century old abbey, but also to a decades old secret the clerics don’t want unravelled.

Just when Natascha thinks she is a step ahead of her enemies, she realises that the abbey’s secret is only a small piece in a puzzle orchestrated by criminal masterminds – and that her past has caught up with her.

Determined, Nick and his friends from EuroSec follow her trail from London to the Aegean Sea back to Monaco and the Mediterranean Sea. To rescue Natascha, they have to solve the puzzle fast, or dark times will be ahead of them.

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A Modern Age Odysseus

Mike DeLucia Author Interview

Mike DeLucia Author Interview

Madness is based on the real life of Hank Luisetti, a man that changed basketball forever. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?

When I was a teen, my life’s goal was to become a film actor, but getting married young and starting a business put that on hold in my early twenties, so I decided to “Stallone” it and write a movie and only sell it if I was to play the lead. That sounds pretty funny now but to a 22 year old, it was a solid plan. I told my father about it and he said he knew the perfect guy to write about. He told me about Luisetti and what he did. I went to the library in Manhattan, these were the days before the Net was born, and researched him for two weeks. When I finished the research, I was hooked. Luisetti has been one of my idols ever since. I have a load of memorabilia.

This book is a balance between Hank’s real life achievements and some fictional elements. How did you find balance between these and what was important for you to get right?

It just happened over years of cultivating it. It began as a screenplay and went through several versions before I wrote the historical fiction novel. I went back to college when I was forty and got my BA in English, so I read all the classics and love storytelling. Some of the Odyssey rubbed off in Madness; Hank is like a modern age Odysseus. I also based a lot on my childhood, friends, and Italian roots. I am a second generation Italian American and Hank’s a first—our upbringings had definite similarities.

The one thing I enjoyed was how palpable the determination and passion was in Hank’s life and in this book. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in this story?

All the classic themes are embedded in there: Coming of Age, Overcoming Obstacles, Family Values, Life’s Journey, Man VS Himself and Society, The Power of Love; I can go on. I really don’t know how to answer it—I wrote from my heart. I became Hank Luisetti as I wrote and weaved in my knowledge of books. As an actor I was acting out scenes as I wrote. I put myself in there and the themes grew. If I didn’t feel the emotion, it didn’t get written. I really enjoyed writing it.

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

I have no idea when that will be because I’m still promoting Madness, which takes all of my spare time. I do have six outlines though. One is potentially a trilogy about a baseball player. I’ve had this story in my head for thirty years. After that, I leave the sports genre for good. All my others are very different; a few have female protagonists, which should be interesting. When Madness slows down, I’ll begin again. If people like my style, I have a really nice story which is a free eBook on Amazon called Settling A Score. Like Madness, it’s not really about baseball as it is about Coming of Age, Family, and Overcoming Obstacles. It’s fiction but based on my childhood in the Bronx during the 1960s.

Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Who’s the greatest basketball player ever? Madness is the intriguing story of Hank Luisetti, the predawn of March Madness, and how modern basketball was born.FINALIST, 2019 TopShelf Book AwardsSOLO MEDALIST WINNER: Autobiography / Biography / Memoir – 2019 New Apple Summer eBook AwardsBRONZE MEDAL: Young Adult Category – 2019 Readers’ Favorite Book AwardsFINALIST, Sports – 2019 International Book AwardsFINALIST – 2019 Topshelf Book Awards”I would say author Mike DeLucia is to the sports novel, what Sylvester Stallone is to the sports film. Mr. DeLucia’s characters are rich and relatable, in a story where sports is an analogy for life.”Mike DeLucia keeps the characters engaging, and the action moving. He manages to capture the energy and excitement of a championship face-off, and put it on the page. This is a well-done “sports” novel.”The majority of searches say Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all time, but many others oppose this. While Jordan’s rank is debatable, a respectable dream team would include Kevin Durant, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dr. J, Tim Duncan, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Stephen Curry, Michael Jordan, and Hank Luisetti.Chances are, you’ve never heard of Hank Luisetti. But this wouldn’t be a legitimate discussion without the Hall of Fame legend whose celebrity caused a basketball revolution.James Naismith invented basketball in 1891; Hank Luisetti reinvented it in 1936. Hank changed basketball’s genetic footprint when he popularized the one-handed shot. He could jump so high and stay up so long he seemed to defy gravity.Was Luisetti better than Jordan? That’s impossible to say because they played in different eras. But Hank Luisetti was basketball’s first superstar and what he did for the game is unprecedented.This historical fiction novel is based on the basketball achievements of Hank Luisetti. Some actual events, aspects, and characters have been fictionalized.

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Ghost Hunts

S. J. Lomas Author Interview

S. J. Lomas Author Interview

Winter Chills is a collection of seasonal ghost stories that entertain and spark the imagination. How did the stories in this collection come together?

This collection was a collaboration between 4 writers who met through the #WritingCommunity on Twitter. I (S.J.) was in the process of starting up 8N Publishing, and a conversation with D.B. Carter led to the idea for this book. Derek R. King and Natalie Reeves-Billings were invited to contribute because I’d seen some of their work and was very impressed with it. I thought our individual styles would mesh well to create a cohesive overall book.

Winter Chills was born.

The Holiday Party was my favorite story from the collection. What was your favorite story from the book?

Thank you so much! It took me a lot of false starts before I was able to write The Holiday Party, so it really makes me happy to know you enjoyed it so much.

It’s hard to pick a favorite. Each story is special to me for different reasons. I think they all work well together, as a whole, even though we wrote them separately without knowing what everyone else was writing.

I’m very proud of how it all turned out.

What was the inspiration for your story, ‘The Holiday Party’?

I have a friend who’s a paranormal investigator. I’ve gone on a couple of public ghost hunts with him and it was a fascinating and peaceful experience. It really made me wonder ‘what if?’

I took that feeling and tried to apply it to the progression of the story.

Do you enjoy writing short stories, or do you prefer to work on longer novels?

It had been years since I’d written a short story, so trying that out again was a bit of a challenge for me. Every word and action has to count in a short story. You don’t have the luxury of tens of thousands of words to build up to the climax. You only have a few thousand. If you don’t start in the right place, or relay the right events, it won’t work. It was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it.

I’m working on a new series of novels now, but also starting a short story for a future collection. It’s good to keep the writing skills sharp by trying different things from time to time.

Author Links: GoodReads | TwitterFacebook | Website

In the spirit of seasonal ghost stories, this wintry collection will send a tingle down your spine, but may also warm your heart.Six short stories range from waiting for a mysterious midnight train, attending a party with an unexpected guest, a life-changing reunion for a miserable family, receiving a holiday greeting unlike any other, a visit from an unusual group of carolers, and a journey through a blizzard with a twist. Grab a blanket, your favorite hot drink, and settle in for some Winter Chills.

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In The Techno-thriller World

 Roxanne Burkey Author Interview

Roxanne Burkey Author Interview

The Enigma Beyond explores how AI and supercomputers are manufacturing choices in our lives. Do you see this happening today with our current AI?

The move to put Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our daily lives has already started. If you have an iPhone you probably already talk to Siri. Alexa is already handling your calendar and telling you about the weather, or changing music on demand. In the high-tech world, we already use to interpret security alarms received in our data centers. The established streaming media companies have been using it to tell you about your next binge-watching exercise. These are the somewhat tame AI applications homing their skills to understand human thought processes. We wanted to explore what would happen if our lax attitude towards letting AI govern itself rather than the creator. Once we had that premise, we wanted to see Who Won the AI WARS.

This book is the eleventh volume of The Enigma series and remains riveting and exciting. What were some challenges you set for yourself as writers with this book?

The challenge is always about building a credible scenario for a great story to be told. The small details, the overlooked poor decisions, and the hopelessly heroic assumptions are needed to craft a plausible situation that we can interject our characters into. While we like “Once upon a time” type stories they simply don’t work in the techno-thriller world. We have to use known technology that can then be stretched so the reader goes “yeesh, that’s so possible! How do they get out of this scenario?” It is a real challenge in our stories to create that desired line of doubt about fiction or reality.

The science inserted in the fiction was well balanced. How did you manage to keep the story grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?

The technology we use in our books has either already been deployed in the data center (Cloud or on premise), or is close to becoming commercialized. We do a great deal of research and spend a lot of time trying to understand how to use the new goodies coming on line for our consumption. For that, we must understand how it will be attacked by bad actors from the Dark Net. When you spend a lot of time thinking like the bad guys, you’d be surprised about all the crazy scenarios we can create that are not that farfetched. A word of advice: don’t spend too much time or mental cycles in the Dark Net, just take some precautions.

What is the next project your working on and when will it be available?

We are currently working on two big projects for 2020. One is a non-fiction collection of Internet security from Gloabl fellow professionals/leaders. We target this to be available in the 1st quarter of 2020 as an eBook initially. We are also working on The Enigma Combat (Working title for Book 12 in The Enigma Series). Additionally, we continue to build our portfolio of short stories. And those are only the ones we are active on right now.

Author Links: Goodreads | Facebook | Enigma Facebook | TwitterWebsite

The Enigma Beyond (The Enigma Series Book 11) by [Breakfield, Charles, Burkey, Roxanne]

What happens when technology outruns our humanity?

Humans continue to give their decision making over to Artificial Intelligence. Or, was it simply confiscated? Computers are delivering manufactured choices to each person via their ever-pervasive personal devices. The seduction of mankind is eminent unless our champions can stop them.

The R-Group, with their own next generation youth, are poised to take on one of their most complex adversaries, supercomputers run by greedy powerful technological geniuses. The training for the new members of the R-Group is live, in the form of a real world cyber assault crisis. ICABOD, R-Group’s supercomputer, is their best weapon for this battle.

With corporate self-discipline gone and the power of U.S. Congressional oversight crippled, the dominance of the technical oligopolies has risen to dictate their terms.

MAG, the consortium of global technology predators, have come together to bring their insidious plans to fruition using humans’ desire for the easy and effortless lifestyles, even as it steals their freedoms. For groups caught in the cyber crosshairs, time has already run out. The social media noise blinds humanity to what is happening. MAG uses it to seize control of politics, healthcare, finances, and defense systems.

Award winning authors Breakfield and Burkey take readers, in their 11th book in The Enigma Series, on a one way trip to keeping or giving up their most precious human quality, the freedom to choose. No one saw it coming when they built computers to ease their work. Where are the guardrails to protect humans from giving up too much? Can humanity take back control?

You determine who wins in the AI Wars.

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The Chaos Chronicles

Jeffrey A. Carver Author Interview

Jeffrey A. Carver Author Interview

The Reefs of Time has the feel of a classic science fiction novel with the depth of modern novels like James SA Corey’s novels. What served as your inspiration for the idea behind this novel?

I think your characterization is spot on. I love the classic SF novel, but with depth of character and exploration of ideas. The initial impetus for the Chaos Chronicles series was chaos theory itself. I had recently read James Gleick’s Chaos, and about the same time was reading about chaotic movements of bodies in our solar system, and the risk to Earth of unexpected collision. That was half of it. The other half was the personal, the psychological: What are the implications of chaotic forces acting in the psyche of a man? Where might that lead? The Reefs of Time and its second half, Crucible of Time, had the momentum of the previous novels behind them and sent me headlong into a world far vaster in time and space than the world we know.

Shipworld is a gloriously imaginative place. What were some themes you wanted to capture with this world?

Truthfully, I just wanted to play. I loved the idea of a vast world floating at the edge of intergalactic darkness just beyond the rim of the Milky Way. And who would people such a world? Why, perhaps the refugees of thousands of worlds that died or were at risk.

The possibilities inherent in all the alien beings we might encounter were nearly endless, and so was the potential tapestry of history and other worlds and other ways of thinking and being that we would glimpse only a small piece of. I especially enjoyed the fractally dimensional characters such as the shadow-people, the Tintangles Ruall and Rings-at-Need, and the pandimensional gokat. In no case did I have a clue at the outset as to the ultimate importance of these beings. I met them along with Bandicut and learned as he learned. The accretion of his “family,” his companions whom he met on Shipworld, was as much a surprise to me as to him.

Bandicut is a compelling and exceptionally developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with his character?

He was, and is, a reluctant hero. He never asked for the adventures he was thrown into, and he didn’t really want to get into it all. He was called upon to make considerable sacrifice, and he kicked quite a bit about it. At the outset, he was pretty disaffected, in part because a botched operation on his neural implants left him susceptible to a condition called “silence fugue,” which sometimes put him quite out of his mind. But he learned, he grew, he developed into the hero role.

The Reefs of Time is part one in your “Out of Time” Sequence. What can readers expect in part two?

The rest of the story! The Reefs of Time and Crucible of Time were written as a single novel, which grew in the telling. It’s two volumes, but it’s one novel!

Author Links: GoodReads | FacebookWebsite

The Reefs of Time: Part One of the "Out of Time" Sequence (The Chaos Chronicles Book 5) by [Carver, Jeffrey A.]

The starstream is beautiful. But beauty turns deadly when an ancient AI bent on destruction uses it to travel uptime, to our near-future.

The Mindaru are dead. Or so exiled-Earthman John Bandicut and his alien companions believe, when they return to Shipworld after saving the Orion Nebula and countless inhabited worlds. But now another horde from this ancient and malicious AI colony is swarming toward the present from its birthplace deep in the past. Their opening: a temporal disturbance in the starstream, a hyperspatial thoroughfare used by myriad civilizations. The disturbance emanates from the planetary defenses of nearby Karellia, whose people know nothing of the starstream or the galaxy-threatening Mindaru.

Only Bandicut and his friends have the knowledge and experience to act. But several of Bandicut’s company have gone missing. Bandicut and Li-Jared must team with the pandimensional Ruall and her gokat—the oddest aliens Bandicut has met since the shadow-people—and journey to Karellia to find a way to cut off the timestream.

Separated from the others, Ik meets another human of Earth—a former lover of Bandicut’s!—and embarks with her on a perilous mission far back into deep time, seeking a way to stop the Mindaru at their source. They must thread a maze of impossible decisions. Can they tap the wisdom of the alien yaantel, known to the humans as the translator, to help them through?

The Chaos Chronicles returns at last in The Reefs of Time, part one of a heartstopping, two-part adventure. Concluded in Crucible of Time—coming in September from Nebula-nominated Jeffrey A. Carver!

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A Lot of Burning Questions

Misty Hayes Author Interview

Misty Hayes Author Interview

Tree of Souls is the thrilling conclusion to your Blood Dagger series. What were some things you wanted to make sure you wrapped up before the end?

Without giving too many spoilers away (I hope not), I had to make sure I wrapped up Corinth’s (my eighteen-year-old reluctant hero and The Chosen One) journey, first and foremost. He had a lot going on in this last book—Tree of Souls—and he also had a lot of burning questions. Questions about his lineage, the blade he carries, and The Watchers, a group of elite warrior angels. I also had to make sure I gave Larna (my eighteen-year-old protagonist) her day too. It was important to show the extent of her growth at the very end. There were a lot of characters to finish fleshing out, especially Gabriel Stanton (the vampiric bad guy).

I always enjoy the next book more than the last. What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

Thank you very much! I loved writing all of the books, but the last one is my favorite. The one and only challenge was to just finish it. Tree of Souls is a whopping 640 pages! It was a lot of work.

The emotional turmoil is palpable in this novel. What were some themes you drew on while writing?

Man, there was a lot of emotion running through the entire novel. I felt every bit of it. I guess you could say I drew a lot on life experiences, and how I would really react in certain situations. A good old-fashioned meltdown is never out of the question. It was important to make each scene as believable and fleshed out as possible. Smells and sounds and body language all help pull those together for the reader.

What is the next book or series do you plan to start next?

I just started a spin-off series to The Blood Dagger. It is not titled yet, but I am super excited to see where this new series takes me.

I am also plotting out a seven book series, a mix of Ready Player One meets Warcross. You might have a lot more reading to do in the future.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite | Instagram

Tree of Souls (The Blood Dagger Book 3) by [Hayes, Misty]

The first vampire.
The last Nephilim.
The end of a saga.

The epic battle between angel and vampire begins in this third installment in the Blood Dagger series. Ever since his meeting with a group of all-powerful angels calling themselves the Grigori went awry, things aren’t looking up for Corinth Taylor or for his best friend, Larna Collins. After Corinth was almost stabbed to death, Alastair Iszler, Corinth’s brother-in-arms, heroically stepped in to save Corinth’s life—thereby sacrificing his own in the process.

Larna, still reeling after losing the love of her life, has only one mission in mind: kill the vampire who tortured Corinth. Sarah. But things aren’t so cut and dry anymore when friends turn into enemies and enemies turn into friends. Trusting Gabriel Stanton, the leader of one of the most powerful vampire clans in the world, might just be enough to cause his downfall by her hands. Especially since she has the worst kind of history with him—the killing-your-father kind.

Will Corinth make it through his transition to become a vampire? Will the Grigori’s plan at world domination come into fruition? Can they pull together in time to stop the threat?

Find out in the last and most action-packed novel in the Blood Dagger series. It will not disappoint. A must-read from start to finish.

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With Lucifer On My Side

With Lucifer On My Side by [Panic, Henry]

With Lucifer On My Side is a philosophical, biographical work that examines the religious practice of Luciferianism through the context of Henry Panic’s life. Luciferianism is a religion that is molded to fit each individual, and as such, Henry Panic outlines his personal version of Luciferian beliefs. Readers follow Panic through key moments that shaped his life, both good and bad, and are introduced to the ways in which Luciferianism guides his actions, decisions, and mindset.

This book is a raw look at a man who has gone through a lot in life, but through his beliefs has continued on, trying to be a light bringer.

I adore how raw and blunt Henry Panic’s voice is in this book. Even though I don’t personally know him, Panic’s personality shines through. Despite being gritty and dark at times in his writing, Panic clearly expresses his beliefs and principles to the point where readers will recognize his good heart matched with his open mind.

The format of this book was really interesting as well. Split into chapters, this book is sometimes informational, plenty anecdotal, and is occasionally formatted as a dialogue between Panic and the Gods he believes in. By using these different formats, Panic successfully creates depth. Readers will understand the philosophy of Luciferianism, they will empathize with the author, and will witness how philosophy meets practice.

I found myself really enjoying this as a philosophical text in which Panic’s religious beliefs can easily be adapted to suit an atheist perspective. In addition, there were rarely any dull moments. Panic has lived a very full and thrilling life (in both good and bad ways) and we get to see some of the more emotional parts of it. Relationships, deaths, changing career trajectories, radical beliefs, fatal accidents, coping mechanisms. Panic’s life seems to have it all.

While this book could benefit from another copyedit, my only other critique would be with the organization of the story and chapters. I liked how Panic began by introducing the fundamentals of Luciferianism. This really helped my later understanding. However, Panic would sometimes make references to parts of his life that he wouldn’t fully explain until later. Some people may like this slightly disorienting feeling of having a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit anywhere yet, but it’s not something I personally enjoy.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in philosophical questions of morality, ethics, and life’s purpose. This is not just for people who are “religious”, and I strongly believe that anyone can benefit from considering other moral and ethical perspectives through this book.

Pages: 290 | ASIN: B083WHX284

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Plague of Witches

Plague of Witches by [Kennedy, John Patrick]

John Patrick Kennedy’s Plague of Witches is a coming of age tale about 21-year-old protagonist, Kana. Kana has been raised by her wealthy father in a life of ease. She seems to have everything, except her mother. She has no memory of her at all. Kana is bright and on the path to success when she is met with some information that rocks her. Kana finds out that she is a witch. Not only is she a witch, she’s a legacy. She will be attending her mother’s alma mater, Shipton University, to continue her mother’s research. First, she will have to jump through a myriad of hoops to deem herself worthy and learn 21 years worth of magic in a very short period of time.

I love how Kennedy takes such an obscure element and makes it relatable. I’d dare to say that the everyday reader hasn’t done much more dabbling in magic than the occasional card trick. Yet, I found myself sympathizing and relating with many things that Shipton’s students are facing. Kana is playing catch up, trying to master skills that her classmates have long been proficient in. She’s sort of the “low man on the totem pole,” and even though she is catching up quickly, she feels a bit out of place. The same can be said for Vanessa. She’s a master of magic, but due to stifling rules, her magic has been suspended. She’s older than most of the classmates, and also feels like she sticks out like a sore thumb. Even though these two have boundless power at their fingertips, they can still feel small and inept. It seems to be a common theme across not only this story, that no matter how powerful or perfect someone is, self doubt and the feeling of not belonging almost always sets in. These young adults are skilled witches, but Kennedy doesn’t lose their humanity.

Kennedy also piques interest when speaking of the “entity” who continually seeks its “promised” host. We are to assume that the entity is seeking Kana. A dark, elusive, inhuman being is always on her heels. I feel like this can be metaphoric in a way. Kana has a perfect life from the outside, but there is a big mysterious hole in the shape of her mother left in her soul. No one has a perfect life. There’s always an obstacle or hindrance or something in a dark closet in the way of complete contentment and reminds me that no one really has it all together.

Plague of Witches is written masterfully. It’s like the elusive black entity of Stranger Things meets  a crazy cast of characters from Harry Potter. Being a fan of both, I can’t get enough of this book. Kennedy should have no problem gaining loyal readers in this genre. The plot is interesting with its twists and turns and easy but not boring readability. I’d love to read more by Kennedy.

Pages: 370 | ASIN:  B07X51CV6N

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Cloud Cover

Cloud Cover: A Novel by [Sotto, Jeffrey]

Cloud Cover by Jeffrey Sotto starts off with a warning so intense that it grabs your attention and you just have to continue reading. Like on the news when they say “these images may be disturbing… viewer discretion is advised.” Indeed, the books’ graphic exploration of eating disorders (from an in-depth exploration of a violent binging and purging episode to hair loss and bleeding gums) is slightly terrifying for anyone who isn’t aware of the very real consequences of anorexia and bulimia. But in addition to being horrifying, it is fascinating like seeing a horrific car accident.

The thing I really loved (and I am not sure if “loved” is the right word, but I definitely couldn’t put it down) about this book was its reality and Sotto’s ability to accurately portray the struggles that people who see themselves as “different” go through hundreds of times a day. Though Tony (the main character) isn’t actually all that different from those around him, being a gay man with severe mental health issues is enough for anyone to feel like an outsider among the masses. Anyone who struggles with any mental illness will immediately empathize with Tony as he runs the exhausting race of attempting to navigate a life fraught with the invisible pain of mental illness. And really, who can’t relate to that on some level? We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of mental health issues, whether it is simply never being happy about how we look in the mirror or feeling dissatisfied with our current status in life and feeling like we are missing something.

The book delves into so much of the human experience in one fiction novel. So much so that I could not believe this was Sotto’s first book. Throughout the book we explore how those with mental health issues interact with the people around them. Tony’s blossoming romantic relationship with Antonio provides insight into how someone with the dark secrets of mental health navigates between the pain of their lives alone with the hope of happiness that new love provides. The constant juxtaposition of how Tony is living with how Tony could live is regularly portrayed through scenes like an episode of what should be a happy couple indulging in a delicious meal ruined by Tony’s ongoing inner monologue about how he plans to purge himself of the calories the very second he is able.

This book will be an excellent read for anyone, though those who can relate more closely to Tony’s issues will probably get even more from the book. In all, I would recommend this book for anyone interested in taking an unfiltered view of the things that some people hide inside them which they may otherwise go their whole lives without otherwise being introduced to. It is a book for those who long to understand humans and their experiences.

Pages: 339 | ASIN: B07ZRTJ255

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Borne Out of Fighting

Toby Oliver Author Interview

Toby Oliver Author Interview

Duty and Betrayal is a political thriller following the intertwining stories of international spies and war criminals. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?

I suppose the inspiration initially came from my childhood, listening to my mother and grandma describing their experiences of living in London during WWII, and in particular, the fear engendered toward the end of the war by Hitler’s so-called VI and V2 “vengeance weapons.” They were in effect jet propelled rocket torpedoes, capable of killing thousands of people at the press of a button, and technically, way in advance of anything the Allies could counter.

Jack Stein and Spencer Hall are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some ideals you wanted to explore with their characters?

Since the war Stein and Spencer’s lives had moved on inexorably, just as their world had moved on around them. But whilst they had their own agendas, their own remits and loyalties to their respective organisations (the CIA and British Intelligence), at heart there existed between them a kind of unwavering, undying bond and trust that can only ever be truly borne out of fighting for your lift in the midst of battle side by side.

I enjoyed the history and backstory used in this book. What research did you undertake to get things right?

I spent a year, or more, researching the background, not only the technical stuff, but some of personalities involved, including former Third Reich experts like Wernher von Braun, who eventually worked on the Apollo mission. I guess it’s an often forgotten aspect of WWII, that post-war, both the US and Soviet rocket programs coveted the expertise of their respective former Third Reich scientists and engineers. Many of whom found themselves at the heart of what would ultimately become known as the “Space Race.”

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Duty and Betrayal: The SS Brotherhood and the NASA Connection by [Oliver, Toby]

Everyone has a different agenda when a former Nazi scientist and a current NASA rocket expert arrive in 1960s London for a conference. International spies and war criminals alike are still looking to settle old scores from World War II.

Monitoring the conference are Spencer Hall of MI5 and Jack Stein of the CIA, top agents who became fast friends while fighting side by side for their lives. They’ve been called to protect their nations’ vital secrets, but one of them harbors his own plans for revenge. Meanwhile, Bernard Zimmerman, the NASA scientist, wants everyone to forget his past work with the Third Reich so he can create a new life in America. Unfortunately, both the Soviets , Mossad, and the Germans remember him all too clearly While Stein will stop at nothing to protect him, his loyal friend and intelligence source, Spencer Hall is consumed with a personal vendetta.

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