The Pearl Territory is a suspense filled; sci-fi, surreal drama written by Victoria Ray. The Pearl Territory is the story of 1,296 people that survived the near annihilation of earth after a gamma ray hit the earth. Living inside a colony called Netericus, on Titus, people are becoming frustrated with the huge number of rules and restrictions. A group of six Titanians are sent to explore the Pearl. They hope to find a new home that humans can live in.
The novel has a variety of settings, ranging from newly discovered Pearl to Netericus, to flashbacks of earth- in city’s such as San Francisco. The story is predominantly set in Pearl. Author Victoria Ray provides the reader with vivid descriptions of its water covered land, and unique formations that can only be seen if they can be imagined. Flashbacks provide melancholy descriptions of earth, and the towns they miss and love. The time also ranges from the present day (2718) to the 1980’s on earth. These setting changes (both geographical and time) are easy to distinguish by the in-depth descriptions Ray writes.
The majority of the novel is structured as a series of private journals, written by various characters. The journals are easy to follow, entitled with the character’s name, and detailing whereabouts the character is living. This structure makes the novel easy to follow, despite its many characters and settings.
There is a large cast of characters in The Pearl Territory. Thankfully, Ray provides a list of characters at the start of the book. There are some more prominent characters in the novel, such as Pain, Rai, Mr Time, Pastor Hoff and Bou. The character cast is made even more complex by the different types of characters, for example the Titans (primitive and advanced), the heroes, mutants, Hreens, those from the past, those from earth, from Nirvana, and beyond matter. These characters are defined and distinguished by their dialogue – both inner thoughts and dialogue with others, and their actions. An interesting array of diverse characters, sprawling the spectrum of good and evil.
The Pearl Territory had an interesting premise and a compelling story and with intriguing twists and turns. This is a thought-provoking dark fantasy novel with deep commentary on society that’s sometimes satirical but always entertaining.
Pages: 191 | ASIN: B08KY44TBJ
Garkain is the first book of the Uluru Legacy by author Anna J. Walner. She introduces us to a world where vampires and werewolves live in secret societies. Set in Perth, Australia, we follow one tribe of Garkain, the vampires, and another of Larougo, the lycanthropes or werewolves. Amelia is unique because she is the first to have both Garkain and Larougo blood. She was abandoned at a hospital when she was born, and at age 25 she’ll try to find out the truth about where she comes from. In the process she’ll reconnect with her Garkain mother and the rest of her lost family, get to know all that there is about the Uluru Colony, the Garkain tribe to which she belongs. Having lived in the United States all her life, Amelia will travel to Australia to have the opportunity to meet her real family for the first time, only to soon have to make a very hard decision, to go through the Unbinding ritual to finally become Garkain, leaving her mortality behind, or to go back to her normal life in the States as a human. She has the chance of becoming the bridge that will unite the Garkain and the Larougo, natural enemies, and gaining new gifts from both to possibly strengthen the genes of the future Garkain and Larougo generations to come.
Garkain is a story about family and love, with some political background between the Garkain and the Larougo that adds a layer of tension to this emotional novel. I enjoyed following Amelia’s journey as she realized who she really was and got to know, for the first time, how it felt to have a real family to support her and stand by her. I liked her character a lot and loved reading about her relationship with Roan, one of the Larougo. They had a lot of chemistry and seemed to be a great support for one another, despite coming from very different families. This is a great introduction to the Uluru Legacy, which promises to be entertaining. We get to learn about how the Garkain and Larougo work and organize, their rules and the gifts that they have, all of it created with imaginative flare. The story deals with themes such as family and romance, and leaves hints of possible political fights among the Garkain and Larougo for future books of the series, which left me intrigued, wanting to find out more about what’s going on and what role Amelia is going to have to play in all of this.
I’m eager to see how Amelia’s and Roan’s relationship will develop in the next books, and what decisions they will make as significant and powerful members of the Garkain and Larougo families. Garkain by Anna J. Walner is a riveting dive into a fantastical world that is rich in supernatural lore. This thrilling fantasy novel is ideal for the fans of the paranormal and supernatural genres, especially those who have developed a love for vampires and werewolves.
Pages: 228 | ASIN: B08R2DDMG1
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Reign: The Assault of Lucifer Morningstar follows a powerful shifter as he defends the citizens of Florence from a satanic mob. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
I have written two vampire mystery thrillers previous to Reign: Snow Blood (a 5-book series about the original vampire) and Moon Blood (a sequel to Snow Blood) along with a Prequel entitled, Kane – The First Blood Son. Reign takes characters from those two books as well as introducing new ones (spawned from characters in the first books). Reign Book 1 was a natural progression and is soon to be followed up with Reign – The Rise of The Lich (Book 2 of the Silver Blood Knight Series.)
Honestly, I was inspired because I wanted to create something quite different from the vampire/paranormal stories I grew up with and loved.
Reign is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
All my books are narrated by either dogs or wolves. They symbolize loyalty, persistence, a fierce protective nature, and unconditional love for all who are family and friends. I strive to have people answer this question for themselves: If they can love us in this way, why can’t we do the same for each other?
What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
Obviously good vs. evil. But more importantly, as stated above, I wanted to show what unconditional love means… loving a person or creature for who he or she is, and not what we want them to be. I wanted to examine what it means to be loyal and how some things aren’t what we think they are.
This is the first book in the Silver Blood Knight series. What can readers expect in book two?
Our heroes will be given another almost invincible antagonist to battle. I’ll dive deeper into the inner workings of the heroic band, and they will have to contend with numerous surprise attacks from unexpected sources in book 2. Through it all, their love for and loyalty to each other will shine.
Posted in Interviews
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The Black Eyed Witch is Rowan Staeffler’s first book through which he introduces a fantasy world where witches and various kinds of monsters live along with humans. We follow Ronan, a royal guard from Terom who seems to be one of the very few humans that’s not afraid of the black eyed witches. In fact, he admits to being intrigued by them since childhood, wondering what more could there be behind those dark, terrifying black eyes. It’s the eyes what truly distinguishes the witches from any other human. People run from them when they see those eyes approaching. Some fear them. Some despise them. And some, like Ronan, are willing to recognize that maybe the witches are not that horrible. After all, these scary witches seem to spend their lives working for humans to get rid of the monsters terrorizing their lands. After a black eyed witch called Lithia saves Ronan from a few terrible monsters, they’ll decide to embark on a journey to find out who’s behind their creation and stop them once and for all.
The book shows us two time frames along its chapters. Through some of them we directly follow Ronan’s and Lithia’s journey fighting monsters and evil humans. Through others we get a glimpse of Lithia’s life as a black eyed witch, following from a front row seat what she had to endure since childhood, understanding through her life the hard reality of black eyed witches, terrifying at first but there seems to be much more to them to figure out. This story was an easy and fast read for me. The writing is simple and it helps to illustrate quite clearly to the reader this alluring fantasy world. Chapter by chapter I felt intrigued and wanted to know more about the witches and about Ronan’s and Lithia’s adventure. It was nice seeing how both Lithia and Ronan slowly got to know each other, gaining trust in one another. The development of their characters was methodical, slow, and left them feeling authentic in the end, but was something that I wanted to see more of in the secondary characters.
In particular, what I enjoyed the most were the chapters in which we would get a glimpse into Lithia’s life as a witch, from the moment she had to learn how to use her magical powers to then fighting against monsters to keep humans safe. I found the way her storyline was narrated to be very interesting and gripping. At first I had felt myself terrified by some of these witches, but little by little I could understand them more which made me eventually like them.
The Black Eyed Witch by Rowan Staeffler is a gripping dark fantasy story with a uniquely riveting narration style that makes the already interesting characters come to life in a baroque fantasy world.
Pages: 341 | ASIN: B07Q25Q5J8
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Reign The Assault of Lucifer Morningstar is the first book of the Silver Blood Knight Series. The city of Florence is pushed to the pinnacle of agony and torment by the recent zombie plague planned by the Evil Satan. But his plans are more sinister. He is in direct rivalry with God, the father, and is prohibited to fight the Vampires; God’s Warriors. But there is always a loophole. He joins forces with the head of the Italian Mafia, Gamino to inflict torture and murder on the people of Florence. Hence, began a war against darkness by the most supernatural hybrid- Reign accompanied by the Z brothers, James, and a child wizard. But there is a price to pay. Will the God-chosen miracle beings risk the lives of those they love to save the city from the lethal forces of the satanic mob?
This book is yet another product of Carol’s profound imagination, adorned with supernatural yet believable characters, powered by a strong and stimulating plot that is propelled forward at a quick pace with an action-packed storyline. The book has all the right ingredients to keep you on your toes; thrill, suspense, and an ounce of mystery sprinkled with drama. It took me just one sitting to complete the book, that’s how much it captivated me with its mystical charm.
Author Carol Mckibben is a master of creating and transporting her audience to a fantasy realm. I really enjoyed the fact that the book was narrated by the spirit wolf and hearing everything from his perspective was both fun and adventurous. The book starts off with great tension. At first, I felt like there is nothing new about these supernatural characters, I mean a vampire and a pack of wolves, rings a lot of bells, right? But as you progress, you see so much more depth and uniqueness to the characters and how truly they are miracle creatures, that you can’t help but admire the creativity that went into creating this world. The development of the characters is amazing and happens at such a natural pace despite the book being a short-read, which by the way is another great thing about this. Usually, fantasy books are too long to read over the weekend, but I was able to get through this book fairly quickly.
Reign: The Assault of Lucifer Morningstar is a thrilling fantasy adventure that utilizes a unique blend of creativity and imagination to deliver a consistently entertaining story.
Pages: 99 | ASIN: B08LQSZ4S7
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Ekleipsis is a collection of short stories that follow ordinary people that pursue dark desires. What were some sources that informed the development of these stories?
I get my inspiration from my every day life. Places where I worked, interesting people I met, shows/movies that intrigued me, books that blew me away, and so on.
My favorite story from the collection is ‘Has Been’. Do you have a favorite, or stand out, story from the collection?
It’d be very hard for me to pick a favorite. They are all my creation that I crafted painstakingly. Each portrays the uniqueness and the complexity of human minds in a different light.
Did you write these stories for this collection or did you write them over time?
I have written numerous short stories ever since I was very young. I feel that these 5 stories that I picked, share similar and familiar nuance and theme.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on Ekleipsis II. Which I hope to complete and publish some time this year.
Posted in Interviews
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Ekleipsis is a collection of five riveting short stories by Tamel Wino in which he explores the dark side of human nature. The first short story, “The other Son” is about a man in his fifties, who has lost his puppy and his mother, his only two connections. He is now struggling to move on in life. His mother has always praised her other son on making her happy and making better life choices. When stuck in precarious situations, his mind conjures up the ‘perfect’ images of his brother, constantly reminding him of how he is a failure. The story is a reminder of how some comparisons paralyze you for life, and some losses are hard to bounce back from.
The second story, “closing costs” is about revenge. Stella knows that her husband Dan is cheating on her with their realtor, Jane. But that’s not what the revenge is about. Dan has some dark secrets and will go to any length to get revenge. Jane, with a traumatizing childhood and a monstrous father, also want to take revenge from her father for all the monstrosity she suffered at his hands. She wants to become rich and would adopt any path for it. But there is an unforeseen price to pay . The story highlights the gravest taste of revenge. It shows how the flame of seeking vengeance blinds a person.
The third story shows how a small doubt in your heart can make you do vile things. Blake has returned home after a two-year-long work-related tour. Her experience of unpleasant things while serving in military intelligence haunts her in real life. On returning, she finds everything changed, including her relationship with her wife, who has kept a lot hidden from her. With a false doubt and assumptions, she takes a dramatic course of action.
The fourth story “Has been” is a tragic story about a guy named Ben who is struggling with anger management. He lost his career, fame, reputation and his new job all to his heated temper, but this doesn’t bring an end to the atrocities he inflicts. The story shows the miserable form a person assumes when he abandons his humanity.
The fifth and the last story, “All in” is about a gambling addict. His financial and family life are suffering because of his gambling addiction, but he keeps going back to the tables. The casino’s owner gives him a generous offer, one that will make him debt-free. But the offer comes with a price he is not ready to pay and a lesson he will learn the hard way.
Ekleipsis is a thought-provoking collection of stories that explore themes such as anger, addiction, jealousy, doubt, loss, and various other emotions that plague humanity. All of this captured in the deep and complex characters coloring the pages.
Pages: 136 | ASIN: B08LR1PCJH
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The Good Witch of the South brings a new evil witch to the land of Oz that is amassing an army to overthrow the Head of Oz. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
TC – The inspiration for the story came from the dust jacket cover art. I had just finished my memoir, Roads Over Brown County, which took me two years to write, and I was playing around with a fairy design and thought it would be a fantastic image for a book cover. I keep thinking how nice a fantasy book cover it would make but didn’t know what kind of story it should be, and I didn’t have a title. For some unknown reason, while I was working on the cover art, I was also reading Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz again.
After I added tattoos on the fairy’s arm and some glowing orbs behind her, it came to me. I knew exactly who this fairy witch was. It made perfect sense; she was a good fairy witch, Glinda’s daughter, the Good Witch of the South. I instantly knew what I wanted to write.
For reasons I can’t explain, the first chapter I wrote in my journal was the epilogue. Everything else about the plot instantly fell into place.
What were some ideas that you wanted to keep from the classic Wizard of Oz and what were some new ideas you wanted to introduce?
TC – That’s a good question. I decided to combine aspects from Baum’s original book and the 1939 MGM movie with Judy Garland. Not many realize that in Baum’s books, Glinda was the Good Witch of the South, or also known as Glinda the Good, and not the Good Witch of the North. For fun, I decided to give Glinda the last name Glinda Goodwitch. I also decided to have the main characters from Baun’s book and the movie, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion play a part in my book. I also thought it would be fun to add subtle echoes from the movie within my book.
One of my favorite moments in the film is at the end when Dorothy is back home in her own bed, and she is telling her family and friends about Oz. I wanted to capture this iconic moment in the book.
So when the main character, Samantha Goodwitch, Glinda’s daughter, is recuperating from a terrible injury from fighting the vicious red alpha dragon. She wakes up in an unfamiliar bed and looks up at her companions, and tells them about a dream she’d been having. She points a trembling finger at each one and says, “You, and you, and you . . . . . and you were there.” I also had the new Wicked Witch taunt her victims as she did in the movie, using some of the barbs the Wicked Witch of the West used. All of these small touches made the story special and fun for me when I was writing. It made me smile.
I added one piece of imagery at the beginning of the book when Sam is crouched on the roof of the castle looking out across the land of Oz that has been with me since I was a child. I am almost sure it started from the very first time I watched the movie. It happens when the Munchkins escort Dorothy to the center of Munchkin City to show her the Yellow Brick Road. Where the Yellow Brick Road spirals out from the center of the city, there is another spiraling brick road, but the bricks are red. That always fascinated me, and I have ever wondered what kind of adventures one would find following the Red Brick Road. To this day, when I watch the movie, I whisper, “Dorothy, take the Red Brick Road.”
Sam is an intriguing character that I enjoyed watching develop. What were some obstacles you felt were important to the characters development?
Mainly believing in herself and proving herself to her mother, to her sister, and to everyone she loved. Every time I start a new book project, I struggle with it, from my children’s picture books to my novels – especially my novels. So, I say to everyone, “Believe!”
Do you plan to write other stories within the land of Oz?
When I first started writing this Ozarian tale, I said to myself, “What am I think writing a book based on a classic like Oz!” Doing another book? Well, I will tell you this: I have already written an outline. But to be honest, the two years it took me to write The Good Witch of the South knocked the breath out of me. I am not sure I have it in me to write another adventure in the Land of Oz. But one never knows.
I have to admit. Now that this Good Witch story is finished, I find myself genuinely missing my daily visits to the Oz.
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