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Underground Street Crime

John Wilkie Author Interview

Underground in Tinseltown follows a young aspiring actor as he risks it all to make his dreams come true, the reality is far different from what he expected. Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters personalities grow organically as you were writing?

These characters are based on a true story. However, the names were changed – and no one would admit to the original situation as being authentic. So, as it is now ‘hearsay’ and forensic recreations, we call the story ‘Basis on a True story’ dramatization.

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

Realities of the entertainment ‘Hollywood’ system – and underground street crime in the 1980’s.

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

‘The Solar Obliteration Experiment’ – now available on Amazon Books.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

A young aspiring actor / musician steps off a bus at Hollywood and Vine. He has $10 in his pocket, and doesn’t know anyone for a thousand miles. What could possibly go wrong? Desperate to find a way to survive, he unwittingly connects with some questionable characters from the local underground. Life in Tinsel town becomes a surreal mix of dazzling celebrity parties, movies sets – and life-threatening encounters with psychopaths. Here is the harrowing story of one who would ultimately make it – an ‘over-night success!’ But first, he would have to spend years, tasting the mud & the drugs, the crime and the blood that is ‘The Hollywood Trap.’ ( Inspired by a true story. ) Hollywood doesn’t care who it kills

A Way Out Of A Living Nightmare

Ken Fry Author Interview

Drunks is a realistic novel following the passionate but tragic relationship of an alcoholic couple that is struggling with their demons. Why was this an important story for you to tell?

It was important for me to tell because of my own experiences and that of others I knew.. Many of the events in DRUNKS did occur. There are a few that didn’t but overall many who have read it have been able to relate to it. That was and is important to tell and does show a way out of a living nightmare.

I appreciated how raw and authentic your characters felt. What were some ideas that were important for you to capture in your characters?

Ideas that passed through my mind were to depict in some way the stealthy degradation that alcoholism inflicts on its victims. In doing so, it reveals the levels to which many descend into, causing them to act violently, cruelly, without compassion, and often criminally. Through Al and Chrissy, i wanted to reveal those traits.

What were some themes that you wanted to explore in this novel?

A major theme was that if you really want something you will get it. If you are in trouble there is always help to be found. Al realised he was in deep deep trouble but found help. He only had to ask. Chrissy surrendered and what she wanted was to drink and she found help in that sad direction mixing with wino’s, drunks, and down and outs. There’s an old adage, ‘birds of a feather flock together.’ Both Al and Chrissy bear witness to that.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

2022 Literary Titan Gold Award Winner

A realistic drama about the deep, consuming, relentless and compulsive passion between an alcoholic couple struggling with their own demons.

It’s multi-award-winning author Ken Fry like you’ve never read him before. Reminiscent of Days of Wine and Roses — a poignant story of a doomed triangle between a man, a woman, and alcohol.

My name is Alan Markham, and this all happened a while ago, but the memories don’t go away. Looking back, I can see that our lives had been carried along like a rudderless ship in a storm. The life we had is gone. It sank beneath the ocean waves and I was powerless to prevent that.

I’m controlling my problem, but I’m under no illusions. I could come apart at the seams any time… should I pick up a drink.

My memories of what it was like for my wife Chrissy and I, have become a blurred recollection. They hurt. But I need that pain to remind me of what I was and how I got to my present state.

I owe her that, at least.

Are you in control of that glass or bottle you’re holding?
That’s what Chrissy and I thought so too…

Read our story.

A Man of His Village – Book Trailer

Winner of the Eric Hoffer Prize in General Fiction & the ForeWord Magazine Gold Award in Literary Fiction

Florentino Cruz takes one last job before he heads home to Mexico. He left his village at the age of fifteen, a migrant farm worker dreaming of love, honor, and riches. He accepts a promising job in Alaska, the magnificent climax to his years of toil in the United States. But the expedition collapses in mutiny and murder, leaving Florentino lost and fleeing for his life through a fire-ravaged wilderness.

A MAN OF HIS VILLAGE occupies the epic terrain of the West, from the borderlands of California to the strawberry fields of Oregon, from urban Seattle to rural Mexico, from the crowded slums of Tijuana to the isolation of the Alaskan bush. This is a novel of pride and redemption, the voyage of a passionate soul out of innocence across a continental landscape of exploitation and betrayal.

“Peppery and sweet, lively and subtle, funny and horrific … a beautiful page-turner of a novel, full of rich and generous insights. You’ll long remember Florentino, whose dreams carry him far from his impoverished homeland, deep into hell. Like Jack London and John Steinbeck, Tanyo Ravicz looks closely at the ties binding the powerful and the powerless in the West … First-rate realism from a fine new voice in American fiction.” —Jean Anderson, author of In Extremis and Other Alaskan Stories

Masked Intent 

Masked Intent by Kimberly Greer, is the first book of the Morality Series and is a powerful novel that focuses on authenticity and relationships. We follow Alexa Winston who has finally found contentment after her divorce and leads a predictable life. All this changes when she not only lands the job of her dreams but also the man of her dreams. There is only one obstacle to fully accepting their love for one another and it is their past, will they come to terms with it, or will it keep them apart?

Author Kimberly Greer has created a very detailed story and I was immediately immersed in Alexa and Mateo’s world. The author seamlessly transitions from Alexa and Mateo’s point of view throughout the story without creating confusion. This was my favorite part of the book because this gives readers an inside look as to what each character is thinking and feeling, which is important because this an impassioned romance novel with emotions underlying much of the plot.

I enjoyed reading about the passion both Mateo and Alexa felt for one another because it felt authtentic and deep, yet they tried so hard to hide it. This passion and intensity builds slowly throughout the story and provides the story with intrigue and melodrama that is intoxicating because you just want the two to let go and just be together.

This riveting romance novel is long side but the playful and tense back and forth banter between Alexa and Mateo makes pages fly by. I enjoyed the author’s character development as each character has a unique personality and evolution throughout the story. I enjoyed that Mateo wasn’t afraid to say how he felt about Alexa. Alexa is also a character I enjoyed as she is confident and, based off past experiences, she knows what she wants for herself.

I highly recommend Masked Intent to those who are looking for an intense and thrilling contemporary love story involving the romantic chase between two captivating people.

Pages: 492 | ASIN : B09FMP4BYP

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The Mommy Clique

The Mommy Clique is an entertaining and unpredictable novel filled with gossip and betrayal that will keep readers on their toes. Beth comes back to her hometown after many years to take care of her mother. She is worried about coming back to town, and to make matters worse she is forced to face the mean girl clique of mothers on her street. She soon realizes that she has become the target of these women, and they are looking for some fun. We find out that their ‘perfect’ life in the suburbs is not as great as it looks on the outside.

This is a riveting character driven story and author Barbara Altamirano does a fantastic job of creating believable characters, even when they do some unbelievable things. Each character is different in their own way but they all have one thing in common, they are mean girls and no one can be better than them.

Each chapter in the story is told from a different perspective. This allows the reader to get an intimate look at their thoughts and feelings and truly understand them. Even if readers can’t relate to certain situations they’ll still find that the characters have surprising depth, even when they sometimes seem shallow.

The reader learns that some of the characters in the story are not as happy and perfect as they seem and are putting up a façade. Elise, who is also referred to as the queen bee, is a surprisingly complex character and she is one that I loved to hate. I think that is a testament to the author’s writing ability, as she is able to evoke such strong emotions from the reader. I was also surprised by Beth’s character because, when she is first introduced to the group, she is looked at as weak and as easy prey, but as the story progresses readers learn that she is not at all who we think she is.

This is an engrossing evolution of the high school mean girl story. But when I thought I knew where this story was going the author adds an unexpected twist and once it is revealed you will not be able to put the book down.

The Mommy Clique is a spunky urban drama that will captivate readers as they are drawn into the melodrama, the cattiness, and the backstabbing. I highly recommend this book to readers looking for a quick but compelling story.

Pages: 203 | ASIN: B088DJS6TT

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Freedom to Explore

J. Penrod Scott Author Interview

HERE WITH THE WINTER follows a mom and her two children that return to her hometown in hopes of starting life over after the death of her husband. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I grew up in a village similar to the story’s town of West Emmette, Ohio. Looking back upon that setting now, having raised our daughters elsewhere in a large city suburb, I understand what my hometown provided. As children we were able to safely roam independently by foot and by bicycle, and experts today are talking about the value of that freedom to explore and to figure out direction on our own. (I enjoyed a 2020 book titled FROM HERE TO THERE by Michael Bond, which discusses that topic.)

The setting of West Emmette also features the importance of friendships with neighbors and the support of community, including school and church, the local physicians and piano teacher. Of course the foundation for this new home also includes a puppy and a kitten.

You might notice subtle, quiet ‘blankets’ through the pages. One is water. Another is the sky. Another, music.

What character in this story do you most relate to and why?

Walter is a minor character in the book, but he is most interesting to me. I think the reader has the freedom to fill in the blanks for this young character. Life around him is changing, and he must cope.

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

In the story, a newspaper editor helps the main character Jessie begin a new career as a local correspondent. This is interesting because the editor extends the thoughtful gesture to give Jessie a chance and teaches her how to begin. Learning how to begin any task or job is exciting, and many people around town and around the world quietly teach another person something new, with little fanfare but with great importance.

Also, this is not a theme, but it was important for me to provide a tale that is relatively short in length but rich in structure. Women of every age can relate to HERE WITH THE WINTER, but it was important for me to attract young people and, in particular, boys. They will find marbles, baseball, sledding, construction, dogs, tools, and a nurturing school. And a plain book cover.

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

I am working on a sequel to HERE WITH THE WINTER, and I am brushing up a novelette I wrote long ago – about a pilot. Of course, I suppose all of us have that box of poems we would love to see illustrated for children.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Instagram

The residents of West Emmette, Ohio welcome back Jessie Conrad, who moves to the newly constructed Meadow Drive. It is 1960, and Jessie and her two young children join old friends and new in the challenging days of building a life without their husband and father. They have left behind important friends but have the counsel of wise townsfolk, including Jessie’s father, Henry, the town patriarch who collects clocks and rifles.
Henry, however, is suddenly under the watch of the confused and jealous son of one of his long-time friends, a young man who is obsessed with acquiring one of Henry’s most prized possessions.
A well-crafted, lyrical novel set in a bustling township, Here with the Winter threads together – through letters, music, seasons and the land itself – a charming story of building in the early Sixties

His Father’s Pervasive Shadow

Joe Pace Author Interview

Moss follows the son of a famous writer as he tries to live up to his father’s reputation, and discovers all is not as it appeared. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The original manuscript began with the character of Isaiah Moss, an aging literary legend trying to create one more masterpiece. As much as I enjoyed writing that character, I felt it needed a more unique lens to tell his story. I thought about my relationship with my own father (a much, much, better father than Isaiah!) and how he was (and is) such a big man. People I met would tell me stories about him and his outsized persona. From there, Oscar’s sense of his father’s pervasive shadow began to develop as a frame for Isaiah’s story.

Oscar goes through a lot of changes in this novel. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Oscar is an arrested adolescent in many ways. It’s not uncommon among my generational cohort. With Boomers refusing to yield up their political or cultural or economic authority, men of my age have been relegated to this extended childhood. In some ways, it’s great – superhero movies, right? But I think many of us feel this sense that we’re not living up to our own potential, that our scribbled notebooks are in the basement. This novel isn’t an allegorical treatment of generational conflict, at least not expressly. But Oscar needs to both embrace and escape his father’s legacy, and the only way for him to do that is to grow up and start accepting responsibility for who he is and what he can bring to the world. Moss is, among other things, a coming-of-age tale for a mid-life man.

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

The tale grew in the telling, as they say. The overt themes include the lasting price of war, the cost of art and celebrity, and the inherent tension of fathers and sons. But it’s also about the courage required to chase our dreams. Another theme that is a little more subtle has to do with Oscar’s treatment of women. From his students, lovers, and mother to all the other women he encounters. One conceit of the novel is that virtually all of Oscar’s encounters in the book are with women. The only men that appear are in the form of written artifacts. Part of what Oscar realizes through his relationship with May is that his father’s approach to intimacy and male-female relationships is just one flaw in the man’s dated world view.

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

I’m currently working on a novel that will explore the mid-life death of a spouse, the impact on the family, and how moving on from the love of your life can even be possible. I’m hoping to have it available before the end of 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Isaiah Moss was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. His illegitimate son Oscar Kendall wasn’t. Living in Isaiah’s inescapable shadow, Oscar has become an inveterate quitter who hides his own literary work from the world rather than suffer the pain of failure or rejection.When Isaiah suddenly dies, Oscar inherits the old man’s lakefront writing cabin in New Hampshire. There he finds his father’s typewriter, a full liquor cabinet, and an unpublished manuscript of such genius that it could launch Oscar’s career if he claims it as his own.
But as Oscar wrestles with his own twisted inspirations, he meets the women in Isaiah’s life and begins to learn the depths of his father’s secrets…and the costs that come with unresolved trauma and romantic delusion.

Changed In An Instant

Susan Speranza
Susan Speranza Author Interview

Ice Out follows a mother who is trapped in the frozen ice after a snowmobile accident, she can’t find her daughter, and her husband seems to have abandoned them. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I have seen many people’s lives turn on a dime. What was a perfect, happy, fulfilling life changed in an instant, and those people found themselves in circumstances they never dreamed of. They then acted in ways they never anticipated. I have been interested in such events, how it changes people, how people react. I was also interested in exploring the processes people go through that brings them from grief to acceptance. And I wanted to explore the idea of forgiveness.

Years ago there was a ferry accident in the English Channel. Many of the men got out, many of the women were left behind. The ferry sank, and it was theorized that it took some physical strength to escape the underwater ferry and make it to the surface. I wondered if some of those men left behind their spouses or partners in their rush to the surface. When I began to craft this story, I thought of this incident and wondered, could you forgive your significant other for leaving you behind in a life or death situation? Should you? What would make someone do this? I used a snowmobiling accident because I live in Vermont, and as a snowmobiler myself I have seen some of these dedicated snowmobilers do crazy things. It’s a wonder there aren’t more accidents! All of this inspired the story.

The form this novel has taken is not quite linear. The action moves from the present to the past and back again over and over as the story advances. The reader is not able to know the full extent of what is going on (until the end). This was inspired by a movie called Jacob’s Ladder. The technique (in this film) is very effective as I believe it adds to the dramatic moment at the end when everything makes sense. Since the concept of time in my novel is very important, I wanted a framework that would accentuate this.

Francesca has a strong personality and learns early on in life that breaking a promise is unforgivable. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

In order to explore the idea of forgiveness, I needed Francesca to have very strong principles about what promises mean to her, and how unforgiveable it is for them to be broken. She admits, early on in the story, that she is quite stubborn and unforgiving of herself and others. And of course, this is the worst possible betrayal to happen, especially to someone like her.

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

Themes in Ice Out

Forgiveness: I wanted to explore what a person can and can’t, should or shouldn’t forgive.

Reality: The nineteenth century romantic writers believed life was nothing more than a dream, that the line between dreams and reality was tenuous at best. I think they were on to something, so I wanted to explore this idea in Ice Out.

Grieving: I also wanted to explore the process of grieving, whether it is for a job someone has been fired from, a home that had to be quickly abandoned, or a loved one who died. Most people find it hard to go with the flow, and they fight immediate change, especially if it is a change they don’t want and didn’t initiate. They refuse to accept it, they get angry and fight it, then they get depressed. But finally, in order to emerge from that dark place into which their grief has thrown them, they realize they need to accept things as they are and go on.

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

I am obsessed with the larger questions of life – why are we here, what is our purpose, if any, what will happen to us when we die – in short, what is this all about. My next book will explore these questions. I’m hoping to make the form more experimental – in the tradition of Italo Calvino, for example. Not sure when it will be available, but in the meantime, readers can avail themselves of my previous novel, The Tale of Lucia Grandi, the Early Years.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Francesca Bodin has a near-perfect life as an accomplished music teacher and professional flutist living in the Vermont countryside with her husband Ben, and their four-year old daughter, Addie. This ends suddenly when a snowmobiling accident traps the three of them in a frozen lake. Ben, after escaping onto the ice, leaves her and Addie to die.

Francesca believes she sees their dog pull Addie from the lake and drag her into the nearby woods. Desperate to help her daughter, she crawls from the icy waters and follows them. Once she enters the forest, however, she finds herself trapped in a sinister, dream-like world where night never ends, where Addie’s whereabouts remain hidden from her, and where she encounters a group of women who, like Francesca, have been left to die and now seek to unleash their revenge on those who have harmed them. When they have Ben in their sights, Francesca realizes that if she is ever to escape this nightmare and save her daughter, she must first save the husband who abandoned them.
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