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Different Than I Imagined

Author Interview
Jonathan Durham Author Interview

Winterset Hollow follows a group of friends who discover the truth behind their favorite story is darker and more dangerous than they imagined. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’m always interested in telling stories that are based in reality but twist on genre conventions…stories that begin in a normal, recognizable world, but end up somewhere completely different. I wish there was some blinding moment of clarity that sparked this particular story, but there really wasn’t…I was just sitting around one day and wondered how I would feel if I went to The Hundred Acre wood and found that the animals from Winnie the Pooh were actually real…and then I wondered what would happen if they were actually completely different that I imagined them to be…and then I basically just began branching that idea off into darker and darker directions until I felt I had something interesting enough to develop. My process is utterly mechanical, so the answer to the inspiration question is always disappointingly unromantic lol.

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

Well, I wanted them to feel familiar but also fresh, but they also needed to be complex and scarred and duplicitous in a way…they needed to present themselves as one thing but be another completely different thing in reality for the story to function correctly. One of the things that helped me shape them though is that initially I wanted each of them to represent a different mental health issue that I sometimes struggle with—depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome, and OCD—and though that turned out ot be more of a seed than a rule to follow as they developed, you can still see the footprint of that idea in their makeup.

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

This book is in large part about the gray of the world—the double edges that most things have. In that respect, I wanted to explore the dangers as well as the wonderful parts of nostalgia, the ups and downs of family history, and accordingly, both the pros and the cons of having a family in the first place lol. Apart from that, I always find the dynamic between power and perversion interesting as well as the lasting impact of those that have passed on…and of course, it’s no secret that this book deals a lot with the scars of our upbringings and how they shape us throughout our lives.

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

Well, I’m still in the development process for a few different stories, so it’s a bit early on in the game to say… but it’s either going to be a dark thriller with the framing of historical fiction, or another contemporary dark fantasy set in the world of moviemaking…either way it should be ready to roll late next year, so keep an eye out!

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Everyone has wanted their favorite book to be real, if only for a moment. Everyone has wished to meet their favorite characters, if only for a day. But be careful in that wish, for even a history laid in ink can be repaid in flesh and blood, and reality is far deadlier than fiction . . . especially on Addington Isle.
Winterset Hollow follows a group of friends to the place that inspired their favorite book—a timeless tale about a tribe of animals preparing for their yearly end-of-summer festival. But after a series of shocking discoveries, they find that much of what the world believes to be fiction is actually fact, and that the truth behind their beloved story is darker and more dangerous than they ever imagined. It’s Barley Day . . . and you’re invited to the hunt.
Winterset Hollow is as thrilling as it is terrifying and as smart as it is surprising. A uniquely original story filled with properly unexpected twists and turns, Winterset Hollow delivers complex, indelible characters and pulse- pounding action as it storms toward an unforgettable climax that will leave you reeling. How do you celebrate Barley Day? You run, friend. You run.

Winterset Hollow

Winterset Hollow keeps readers on edge throughout this riveting story. The author is expressive, entertaining and writes in an intriguing manner which really benefits this alluring story. Winterset Hollow is a great book to read if you enjoy suspense, drama, and plot twists all delivered with a good sense of humor. The construction of the plot, development of characters and the style of narration were all excellent. Jonathan Durham does an amazing job with his writing as he describes events and characters in a way that the reader can visualize.

Winterset Hollow will have you experience all sorts of emotions through the chapters. The book opens with a backstory on each character which sets up the characters nicely before we get into the depths of the mystery at the heart of this dark fantasy novel. I enjoyed how the tone of the novel slowly changes as the story progresses from cheerful to somber, but does so almost effortlessly, to the point where I really didn’t think about it until the story was over and I reflected on what happened.

Winterset Hollow follows the story of a group of friends that enjoy adventure and exploring. These friends have the best of times among themselves. Certain eerie events however have them questioning reality, wondering what is real and what is not. I love how curious they were and appreciate the author for making the characters diverse and relatable.

I recommend Winterset Hollow to readers that enjoy books that easily combine action, melodrama, and engaging dialogue. While I wish the story was a bit longer, I think this novel provides a fantastically refreshing mix of dark fairytale storytelling with a contemporary edge. With a lot going on and unexpected twists around every corner, the solid writing ensures readers always know what is going on in this captivating novel.

Pages: 326 | ASIN: B09F9YKSRT

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There Is A Lot Of Emotion

Shana Congrove
Shana Congrove Author Interview

Unleashed Chaos follows twins Jace and Jem who find their lives changed forever after the Chiang-shih demon is destroyed, freeing their evil half-brother Sebastian. What were some changes you made to this revised edition?

I believe you can always make a story better, no matter how seasoned the author is. And that’s exactly what I did in addition to a new cover, a new editor, and published it myself. Now, as I move into my sixth novel in the series, I have developed more skills as a writer—thanks to helpful tips from talented authors, a real editor, and gracious readers—especially when it comes to the fight scenes and the sizzling romance.

I enjoyed Jace and Jem Chamberlain characters. Who in Hollywood do you see playing them if this were turned into a movie?

Jace and Jem Chamberlain are my dearest characters. They started my story from the very beginning at the tender age of four. Since they are identical twins and all grown up now, their characters are very similar, although somewhat different in personality, like fire and ice. What actor do I see playing their parts in a movie? Well, that’s tough to say. My characters actually came from a “real” person that is not an actor. Sorry, keeping that one a secret. So, I’d have to say, they look a lot like Brad Pitt when he played in the movie “Legends of the Fall.” But since that was years ago, the actor in today’s time would be Charlie Hunnam. His voice would be great for Jace!

Your characters go on a deeply emotional and transformative journey in your novel. Is this intentional or incidental to the story you want to tell?

Yes, there is a lot of emotion in my novels between my characters. Lots of new budding love, new beginnings, revenge, and forgiveness. I definitely wanted to start this story with our everyday human emotions. In my opinion, it makes the characters believable and seem “real” to the readers. Although most of my characters are not human, they still share all the traits of humanity.

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

In 2022, I will release my sixth novel of the Breedline series, The Curse, along with revised editions of Sweet Chaos and Total Chaos. In 2023, I plan to release the seventh novel of the Breedline series, Living Nightmares. In 2024, I’m writing a special edition of the Novels of the Breedline series, The Vampires in Manhattan. This book will take readers into the era of the mid-eighteenth century.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Identical twins Jace and Jem Chamberlain, born of the Breedline species—a secret race of humans with the gift to change into wolf form—find their lives changed forever after the Chiang-shih demon is finally destroyed, freeing their evil half-brother Sebastian Crow of the demon’s possession.

As Sebastian moves on with his new life, evading punishment for his crimes against the Breedline, he uncovers a secret from his past, leading him down a dangerous path he hadn’t bargained for.

Meanwhile, Jace is fiercely determined to protect his beloved Tessa, who is pregnant with his twin sons, from Sebastian Crow and his recurring nightmares. Worried his dreams are visions of her death, Jace battles with the lesser of two evils: to seek revenge against his half-brother, or to surrender his fury before his thirst for vengeance destroys everything he loves.

Now that everyone in the Breedline Covenant looks forward to Jem and Mia’s wedding, a mysterious guest arrives unexpectedly with an extraordinary gift of healing. The question is… are they all prepared to deal with the unforeseen visitor’s dark past of running from a corrupt group of scientists obsessed with his rare abilities, or will they be driven to the brink of madness?

Ékleipsis: the Abyss

Ékleipsis: the Abyss by [Tamel Wino]

Ekleipsis: the Abyss by Tamel Wino is a collection of dark psychological thriller stories that keep you on the edge of your seat. The book has five stories and some situations you might even be able to relate to. The book explores those desires that you have that can take a turn for the worse, and it can happen to anyone, your neighbor, your friend, or your social media follower. Tamel really captured that essence of society and the dark side of people.

Ekleipsis: a word that means abandonment. Abandoning your humanity and taking that plunge into the dark void. Each of Tamel’s story is colored by this idea. A billionaire who has too many skeletons in the past, or a jealous woman who lost everything she had. Each character or villain in the stories are well thought out and relatable in some sense. What I realized was that each story had a different focus and an element that makes it stand out from the others but as a whole gives a vivid and dark reflection of humanity.

While I enjoyed these stories and the gritty exploration of humanity that they provide I sometimes felt like some stories were rushed. These are short stories so I completely understand the need to move things along, and these stories certainly do move quickly, but I would have loved more of a buildup (or maybe I’m just so enthralled with these stories that I want there to be more). As soon as we are introduced to the intriguing characters, the fascinating plot is unfurled and then the story is over. Such is the nature of short stories I suppose. I would honestly read all the stories if they were separate novels! The plot of each story is that strong, and I want to know more about each person and their thoughts, and just sit inside the characters mind for a while.

I look forward to reading more of these dark thrillers from Tamel Wino and readers will appreciate the dark undertones of this horror anthology. Ekleipsis will surprise you more that you can imagine.

Pages: 235 | ASIN: B09CN7H667

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Unleashed Chaos/A Novel of the Breedline Series

Unleased Chaos takes place after the Breedline Covenant destroyed the Chiang-shih demon that had possessed Sebastian Crow, half-brother to Jace and Jem Chamberlain. Jace and Jem plan for their futures with their mates. But they have to contend with the possibility that Sebastian’s mate, Eve, is pregnant by the demon. There’s also the fact that Sebastian is still on the loose and has hooked up with his twin brother who is working with the scientists who have been experimenting on Breedline individuals.

Shana Congrove’s writing style makes this deep fantasy novel easy to read. Her characters are unique and well developed as well and I enjoyed the emotional turmoil around the mates. And through all of this the Breedline Covenant struggle to accept Eve’s and Sebastian’s twins. Will they accept the twins into their lives? This was something I was on the edge of my seat for. There are several events that happen after the twins are born that kept me engaged with the story.

There is a lot of conflict throughout this dark urban fantasy story. There is a lot of moving parts to the story and a lot of events that take place. Luckily the straightforward writing keeps us on track and always sure of what’s going on, which is a good thing because these are people going in all directions in this novel. I felt like this was the climax to a series finale of The Vampire Diaries, where a lot of the tension built up is released to entertaining effect.

While I did enjoy this story, I felt that Steven found himself trusting the Covenant a little too easily. With everything he’d been through with the scientists experimenting on him, I felt that it should have taken him longer to trust people he just met. But this is a gripe born out out of my connection to the character, as author Shana Congrove knows how to get you invested in what is going on.

Unleased Chaos is full of stirring characters inside of a realistic world, or as realistic as a paranormal action drama can get. Readers will be left wanting more of the drama and more of the conflict.

Pages: 329 | ASIN: B08WN4RHP7

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The Dark Age Chronicles Book Two: Eve of the Hunters – Book Trailer

Stranded on an elusive island in the middle of nowhere, Eve and the others try to survive the island’s thick jungle. As they explore their surroundings they find what looks like an Aztec pyramid built in the center of the island. They soon learn that the island’s inhabitants are far from what they think, and it sends them in their darkest fears as they race for their lives against creatures hell bent on consuming them alive, and a family of sadistic hunters out for fun. Together they must pit all their survival skills to outwit their newest prison: a Labyrinth full of deadly traps…….meanwhile, unopposed, Nyx unleashes mankind’s greatest foe….the Ancient Enemy.

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A Curse of Silver and Blood

In A Curse of Silver and Blood, by Kimberly A. Banks, the mystery begins in Charleston South Carolina in the sweltering heat of July. Elijah is attending his best friend and brother, Owen’s funeral. He’s told Owen committed suicide, and this shocks Elijah more than anyone can understand. Elijah is a psychic and has been since his father died when he was a child. He experiences ghostly shadows and visions of the dead that terrify him. He even sees Owen’s ghostly form, but as always, he tells no one. Elijah knows in his heart that Owen was murdered and had not committed suicide. Now he must uncover the killer of his best friend.

Author Kimberly Banks is a truly gifted writer who portrays Elijah as an intriguing character we can sympathize with. The reader experiences the heart-wrenching pain he’s enduring. We also understand his special gift of being a psychic, as it is portrayed in an interesting way that feels authentic. Another thing I really enjoyed about A Curse of Silver and Blood was the chapter length. Each chapter was concise and ends in a way that makes you want to keep reading, making it very difficult to find a good place to put the book down. A real page-turner. Banks also describes the settings of Charleston and Beaufort South Carolina as well as Savannah Georgia in great detail so that we are immersed in the locations. The reader feels the intolerable humidity, dampness, and moldy smells indigenous to the southern states.

I found myself absorbed by the realistic characters Banks created. The authentic, well-developed dialogue among the characters and smooth narration keeps the story flowing. Unlike those who doubt Elijah’s claim that Owen was murdered, I found myself captivated and believing in the urgency of finding Owen’s killer.

A Curse of Silver and Blood is a thrilling dark fantasy novel that will appeal to crime fiction fans looking for a paranormal backdrop to a stimulating murder mystery. 

Pages: 352 | ASIN: B09DK59M57

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In the Beast’s Cage

In the Beast's Cage by [Mac Altgelt]

In the Beast’s Cage is an intriguing paranormal thriller written by Mac Altgelt. The story follows multiple characters as their lives intersect and collide, from the mysterious Ainsley Blake to the gentle Virginia Harrison, as well as others, whose part in the story become clearer throughout the pages. Arriving in a small coastal town in Georgia, Blake sets off a chain of events that none in the town could have predicted, and one that surprises him as well.

The characters were absolutely riveting, with personalities and quirks that made them feel like real people. I had a particular affinity towards Ainsley Blake, whose story was revealed to the reader in small bursts that made his character each time clearer and more definite, akin to a sketch being slowly polished into a painting. But ever side characters are granted their own moment in the sun, bringing the story to life.

While I enjoyed the story and the characters, I felt that the number of characters and locations made the the story a bit hard to follow at times. I think this has more to do with the scale of the story. If you like deep and complex stories then this is definitely the novel for you as I can tell that a lot of care went into crafting the details of this story.

I also liked how mundane things, often overlooked, are given importance throughout the story. Books are a prominent example of this: throughout the story, they move from being mundane and common, to being prized and beloved. This romantic view of the mundane, of love and friendship, was well incorporated.

In the Beast’s Cage is a suspenseful supernatural story with a satisfying ending and was thoroughly enjoyable. The story has some creative supernatural elements and an organically high level of intrigue that will satisfy any fan of dark fantasy.

Pages: 176 | ASIN: B09819FRZP

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