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INVITED: Initium – Book Trailer

In 1631 Sebastian Barbaneagra and Bianca Lupei were in love and planning their wedding day. That is until an Emperor Vampire named Lord Lucian Dascălu appeared one night and informed Bianca that she was his heir. To ensure that his bloodline would continue, Lucian bites Bianca, thus transferring the curse to her. But Sebastian refuses to go through life without Bianca and voluntarily chooses to be damned with her. The lovers find a witch’s book that holds the key to ending the curse, but they must run from an army of Jesuit Priests who are bent on sending them to hell.

Restitution

Sean Coleman is back in action in this fifth installment of the series, Restitution. The story opens up with a young boy exploring his local Mexico streets in 1972 until he sees a man walk up to his family’s apartment building and gunfire ensues. That leads readers to the future – as we fast forward to the early 2000’s, we catch back up with Sean Coleman. He is gearing up for his next big adventure. Are you wondering how these stories intertwine? You’ll have to read Restitution by renowned author John A. Daly to find out!

Daly’s great attention to detail sets this book apart from any other thriller on the market. We see this from page one of the story as the author tells us everything we need to know to set the scene. He talks about the mariachi music playing from an upper apartment window as the character plays with a deflated basketball. We feel a sense of mundanity but with the slightest hint of suspense. You instantly know that you are in the slums of 70’s Mexico. You know that something big is about to happen, but you’re just not sure what. I also enjoyed how the story goes into detail about what each character has on and their mannerisms. The mom’s lacey white lingerie, the cop’s cowboy boots, and toothpick are what stick out the most.

If I could use one word to explain Daly’s writing style, it would be gritty. He had me on the edge of my seat throughout the book wondering what happens next. But there were times I had to look away because it was as if I was watching Scarface for the first time. Some may argue that it could be too much at certain points. It simply depends on your tastes, and for me, I enjoyed every word.

The story is raw and dirty, with well-fitting rough edges that place readers in a well-worn world that is deeply compelling.

Restitution by John A. Daly is a must-read for any thriller lover out there. Despite its hefty page length readers will fly through it in no time. This book makes for the perfect summer beach read because of how it grips you from the start. Better yet, read it on your way to Vegas, it will cast the desert in a different color.

Pages: 389 | ASIN: B0981JGZ95

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Open To The Anguish Of Mortals

S. Faxon Author Interview

Origins: The Blue Dragon Society follows a shape-shifting boy who has to decide if he will fulfill his destiny or let his hate exile him. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I studied international human rights throughout my collegiate career and had several opportunities to see children and teens from countries and ethnic groups that did not get along. And from a very young age they were taught to hate each other, but there was one moment I saw, which will stay with me for the rest of my days. I was working and living in the single building Manhattan Campus of St. John’s University; it was late night and I was working on reports and I kept hearing children laughing and screaming on the floors below me. There were summer programs happening where students from various countries, countries that did not get along, were learning English. Initially, I thought the students were bullying each other, so I looked over the railing of the terrace where I was working and I was just about to get after at them, when I realized what they were doing – they were playing hide and seek. Hardly any of them could openly communicate with each other because they didn’t share languages, but they were laughing and playing together. They ranged in ages from eight to fourteen and they were just having the time of their lives. It’s been ten years since that happened and I’m getting emotional typing about it now because of how powerful that was to see. With Owen, I wanted to write something that showed if you just take a moment to get to know someone from another culture or ethnic group, you’ll see that we have far more in common than not. Those children bonded over playtime and as Owen grows, he will see that there are far more reasons for us to work together than against one another. This theme will continue into the sequel as well.

Owen faces many moral challenges and experiences of growth in this novel. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

When I initially wrote this story, I knew I wanted a troubled teen as the main character as I wanted to introduce my readers to this world, which will very much continue to grow, through the lenses of someone narrow minded. That way, as his perspective grew through his experiences, my readers would be able to grow into the world with him. I knew I wanted him to be in mourning, but when I initially wrote the first draft, it was his father who had passed, not his mother. Then I had a conversation with fantasy author David Green who mentioned how in fantasy stories, so many characters have a daddy complex in our genre. So I flipped the table; I wanted a young man who was closer with his mother and who lost her. I lost my grandmother who raised me when I was sixteen, and while I genuinely don’t remember much of the year that followed, what I do remember was anguish – feeling lost and feeling angry. The feeling of having my world ripped away from me, so I wanted to put those emotions in Owen and then put him in situations where he’d have to create his own conclusions and make his own choices based on his loss at an early age. While the Blue Dragons are noble in their missions, they are blinded by their intent to pursue the greater good which Owen realizes may lead to more trouble than good. Even though he initially hated humans, through his recent loss Owen’s eyes are far more open to the anguish of mortals than his fellow dragons.

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

I didn’t want a “simple” good vs evil story. I’ve studied enough international conflicts to know it’s not usually that simple, which is why the story starts with the antagonist. There is no doubt that Anton is the “bad guy,” and while his parents are neglectful and abusive, he is given a choice and his choice has many affects, some of which we haven’t even seen yet.

At its simplest, Origins is a coming of age story where young individuals are finding their place in a world that is bigger than them and deciding if they want to serve others or themselves. This theme of choice will continue into the next installments of the Blue Dragon Society as well.

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

I have a couple of books in the pipeline right now; my business partner and I have a guide for authors entitled, How to Become A Successful Author and Not Loose Your Mind, which is launching mid to late July of 2022. The sequel to Origins, The Road to Dova, will be launching in October of 2022. And I’m currently publishing two episodes a week of an urban fantasy entitled Blood Lords via Kindle’s Vella, which is about a young woman who is being hunted by a corrupted vampire lord.

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In the Lands of Baradesh, some people make deals with the damned, others choose to fight back. What will Owen choose?

The shape-shifting members of the Blue Dragon Kingdom have long intervened when chaos befalls mortals. While he knows this tradition is an integral part of his community, Owen hates humans for killing his mother. But the only way to take his place in his dragon society is to help mortals against a new threat; vampires. If Owen refuses the mission, he will be exiled.

In this dark fantasy tale, will Owen overcome his hatred to help the humans fight vampires, or will he choose exile and the destruction of all humankind?

All in the Family

All in the Family is the second book in a series about the Field’s family by André Gress. Having read the first book and being left with a lot of untied ends and questions about the plot and characters, I was rather eager to get into the second book to get some answers.

The plot of this book is a lot more action packed than the first one: it follows the Field’s family, a family of prolific art thieves, who are being hunted by their arch nemesis Gavriil. Like Gress’ first book, I enjoyed this book mainly for the description of the plots. What was also interesting in this book was the dynamics built between the Field’s family characters- their interactions were riveting and offered a unique layer to the story.

Throughout the novel the author includes the narrative voice of another character, a raven who tells the story of what happened. Having an external character retell narratives was a powerful plot device. Since the raven didn’t seem to have any relation or connection to the story the reader is able to get an unbiased perspective.

Many themes in the book were dark and tense and I wanted to know more. As I mentioned before, the book is incredibly detailed so there are a lot of interesting choices when it comes to how things are described. There is a lot of really grotesque descriptions, especially regarding injuries or the appearance of the villain and sometimes I had to stop reading and then pick up where I left off. The grotesque language is used effectively, so if you’re a read who enjoys darkly creative scenes then you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. While I enjoyed the book overall, I felt that there was one particular part of the book that alluded heavily to sexual assault and I felt it was unnecessary. Otherwise, I enjoyed this book for the same reasons I enjoyed book one, for the themes and narrative choice in this book. A lot of the literary choices made by the author were well thought out and played an integral part in the plot.

All in the Family is a creative and dark thriller with an inventive plot that will keep you entertained with its meticulously developed world.

Pages: 281 | ASIN: B07F2TPWFD

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Snapshot Into a Killer’s Mind

Eli Pope is back with Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind: The true story of Billy Jay Cader, giving readers a new perspective into our main character’s life through the eyes of Amy Jo. The investigative reporter shows how Billy Jay became who he is today through her various interviews/snapshots. She humanizes our villain and demonstrates how a loving childhood could have changed the course of his life. We also get to know about Amy Jo’s childhood and her present-day life following her interviews with Billy Jay. If you love The Mason Jar Series, you have to pick up Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind!

As always, Pope delivers a stunning take on tragic events. The author dives right into the gritty details of Billy Jay’s story with a unique twist. We are essentially reading Amy Jo’s now published book as if we are living in the universe where The Mason Jar Series takes place.

I enjoyed the duality approach Pope took to demonstrate how love can make all the difference after living through a traumatic childhood. He always does a fantastic job discussing the plights of this world in a way anyone can understand, but so few people talk about.

The scene where Amy Jo goes to visit Billy Jay’s father felt so realistic and made my skin crawl. He captured his essence perfectly through his impeccable word choices. It was easy to visualize the aging abuser and the pathetic state he was in. I could feel Amy Jo’s disgust and fear the entire time.

While I enjoyed this novel just as much as the entire Mason Jar Series, I felt that some of the information we were given was repeated. We hear Amy Jo speak about many of the same sentiments and phrases throughout the story. Despite that, I still feel that this is a compelling psychological drama that explores humanity in the unique way that only Eli Pope can.

If you loved the previous books in The Mason Jar Series then you are sure to enjoy this one as well! It works as a short companion novel to the rest of the books. I look forward to the sixth installment and can’t wait to see what twist and turns Pope gives readers next. Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind: The true story of Billy Jay Cader is a must-read for lovers of dark psychological thrillers.

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A Perfect Night 

A Perfect Night by Joseph Stone is a fantastically thrilling story that will keep every reader glued to the page until the end. Frances Tarantino is just a girl, and at a young age, she had to endure and witness her mother’s death. It isn’t long until she notices that her mom never truly left her. She’s still with her in spirit, making sure that no harm comes her way. When she’s upset or sad, her mom brings her ladybugs, her favorite, to make her feel better. Even though Fran never gets to see her directly, she feels her and understands her intentions. Sometimes, her mom leaves her gifts under her pillow, so she never feels completely alone. But Fran soon notices that it’s not all good, her mom is also willing to punish her every time she misbehaves, and as she is always with her, she sees it all.

Joseph Stone knows how to build the tension of a story so well that the reader is always on edge looking for the next clue. Readers will wonder what’s going on from the first chapter and be immediately interested. The plot structure is expertly formed, with every chapter leaving readers wanting to know more. Throughout the novel, readers will find twits and turns, leaving them thrilled and excited.

After her mother’s death, Fran has to move in with her aunt and cousins, and there she starts to wonder if she is the only person in the family with this strange gift that sometimes feels more like a curse. This introduces many supporting characters that enhance the storyline. With the help of her family, Fran navigates the paranormal world she has been thrust into and discovers herself and the dark history behind her family’s past.

There is so much intrigue surrounding the story. It’s hard to guess or know what to expect. Fran’s story presents itself as an enigma that slowly turns dangerous and makes readers worry about the characters’ safety. There are paranormal elements in the story, but it still feels real. The other characters that interact with Fran are also interesting, each possessing an intriguing storyline that differs from everyone else’s, which consistently offers new and refreshing points of view.

A Perfect Night is an immersive and compelling novel. This is the first book in The Haunted Women paranormal mystery book series that promises not to disappoint fans of thriller and suspense stories.

ASIN: B09TZ98R7J

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Origins

Dragons are creatures of magic and might, and they have long been charged with protecting mortals. As part of their birthright that goes back thousands of years, dragons intervene when mortals are in danger and often use their powers to keep the peace.

In Origins: The Blue Dragon Society, Owen is on his first mission (a rite of passage) with his brother, Lann, as his mentor. They are dragons who are sent to investigate strange occurrences in the mortal world and determine if the mortals involved are being attacked by the plague or something more nefarious.

With the help of their new friends, Helen and Riva, Origins offers an enchanting and action-packed story that will leave readers racing to find out what happens next. The world is in a state of chaos with the outbreak of the plague. Demons and vampires have taken advantage of the situation, breaking into homes and abducting humans for their dark rituals. This has left humankind vulnerable and fearful for their lives. Owen and Lann are determined to restore order to the world and protect those who cannot defend themselves. Though they face many challenges, the dragons are determined to succeed in their mission.

Author S. Faxon’s writing hooks you from the first page, where you meet Anton. Someone I thought might be the protagonist in this story but turns out to be quite the opposite. The characters were highly engaging, and I enjoyed the characters’ growth, notably Owen, who I was not so much a fan of at first. He’s strong and determined but also grieving and vulnerable. I thought the author did a great job exploring his character, and I was surprised at how much I connected with his character. With the vivid imagery, the reader feels like they are on an epic journey alongside Owen, seeing what he sees. Just under 200 pages, this is a fast-paced and action-packed story that will have your imagination running wild.

Origins: The Blue Dragon Society is a riveting coming-of-age fantasy novel filled with personal growth and struggles, both internal and external. Those who enjoy reading about fantasy creatures such as dragons, vampires, demons, and lovable (and sometimes not-so-lovable) characters will find this exciting dark fantasy novel hard to put down.

Pages: 158 | ASIN : B09T8YBFRD

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Stop Running And Accept Ourselves

Michele L. Sayre Author Interview

Darke Realms – The In-between follows a woman with magical powers as she spends years on the run, only to find a place she belongs just when she may lose everything. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

To be honest, I never gave it conscious thought, but in some ways Rue is running away from who she can become. I believe all of us are inherently intuitive and we have the potential to be remarkable, but we also fear that part of ourselves that can create an amazing world for everyone. We can either spend a lifetime turning away from whom we can become or we can finally stop running and accept ourselves as we truly were meant to be, which is what the character eventually does in the end.

Rue starts off alone and unsure if she will ever find where she belongs, eventually finding the people that accept who she is and take her in. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

My mother, who had been my anchor my whole life, died four years ago this month. Since her death, I’ve felt anchorless – adrift. I’ve had to redefine my ideals of family and come up with new traditions that hold meaning for me without my mother here to help define them anymore. Family isn’t always about blood. Sometimes it’s the connections we establish with others to make our lives whole – it is willing to open yourself to happiness and accept it any form that it comes to you. Life is too short to wait. If you wait too long, then you might miss out on the most amazing opportunities out there to love and be loved in return.

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

  • Fear. You can let it rule you and make you unhappy or you can face it down and take way the power you thought it had over you.
  • Courage. Bad things are going to happen. Are you going to let them break you or are you going to take action that will get you out of that dark place?
  • Acceptance. To many people suffer because they cannot accept how the universe intended us to be. I’ve had my struggles with it myself, but not accepting your true nature only makes you miserable. Truth of whom we are is the light we gravitate towards to embrace true happiness.
  • Self Sacrifice. My mother always put her family first. If she had doubts, I never saw it. We have to be willing to give our all towards anything we do. Half measures only give half rewards. Being all in, often gives us the ability to change ourselves and our circumstances for the better.
  • Family. Family truly is the soul connections we make with each other. Whether by blood or by choice, the love is still there and uplifts us and gives us a sense of belonging and peace.
  • Love. It’s the one thing no one can do without. No matter how good or bad a person’s actions are – at the deepest level, every action is a cry out for love.

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

For the Darke Realm series, the follow up to this book should be done by August this year. I am currently working on a short horror story collection for teenagers that should be published at the end of May. If you haven’t guessed, I am often working on several projects at once. The variety keeps me from growing stagnate in my writing.

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My name is Rue Mohanahan. I’ve always known I was different, but I didn’t know to what degree of different I was until the day that monster attacked me all those years ago.

I escaped with my life . . . barely. For fifteen years the Dark one has pursued me. I’ve evaded him all this time by never settling down . . . until now.

All those years on the run, I was always alone. Now I’m surrounded by the paranormal – wolves, witches, and monsters that dwell deep in the dark.

I’ve met my alpha wolf mate, Michael, and it’s hard to get close. I still live with the things the Dark one did to me.

How can I open myself up to the possibility of a never-ending love and a happily ever after when I can see the Dark coming? It’s hard to imagine finally living my life when I was born to fight a war I might not survive. The universe has a cruel sense of humor that I’ve never appreciated, especially now that I stand to lose everything I’ve ever wanted or will ever love.
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