All Roads Destined is a collection of stories from fantasy to science fiction with links back to your first collection. What was the inspiration for this collection of stories?
As for the Outposts, I wanted to continue on since I’d left it as a cliffhanger in All Roads Home. I then felt I wanted to bring more loneliness and some addiction awareness into the equation as these subjects, real or imagined, can be sad and frightful.
I felt that this book was a bit darker than the last collection. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing this book?
I did want to go darker, bring more science fiction in but based off subjects that make people uncomfortable. Again the addiction issue, some odd poetry. As you said in your review, the short story The Crone was your favorite. It was also mine, too. And I love when something like that can just come upon me, the imagery and the way I want it to be read.
You also included a selection of poems in the section titled The Fragments. What was your favorite poem from the collection and how did you pick which poems made it into this collection?
The poems or fragments I write in between or even during a WIP. My favorites in this book were Clocks and The Water Globe, both having to do with the passage of time.
What is your process like for writing short stories? Does it differ from longer novels?
There’s a certain pace with short stories that I prefer. I may be inspired to write a longer novel one day, just not yet.
Destiny is what we bring to the world where the roads are stained with tears and blood, and paved in eternal stone. In Part One, the continuation of The Outpost Trilogy shifts from post apocalyptic to science fiction. Part Two, The Enduring contains five dark fiction short stories. Part Three, The Fragments include fifteen poems of urgent struggle and destination. New York author, Lisa Diaz Meyer relates to the odd, macabre & funereal. ALL ROADS DESTINED is the second of her ALL ROADS trilogy.
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“Ya know, it’s my understanding that the success rate of funerals is impeccably high.”
The Sounds from the Hills Go Away When the Sun Goes Down is the latest book by author Dave Matthes. I very much enjoyed the style and tone of Dave Matthes’s writing. The story is about what Matthes describes as “an examination of the present moment during a fragment of time in the lives of several of what society considers downtrodden, gutter-decrepit, low-living, and expendable, taking place in a corner of the world most only have fleeting nightmares about.” In the story, we follow several characters. Wendel Trope battles his anxiety attacks with alcohol, Jerry, the owner of the run-down hotel where the story takes place, Bush Betty, a prostitute, and Lotus, a young girl struggling with her past. This collection of characters creates a strange community that holds each other up. The relationships between the characters were one of my favorite parts of this story. The peculiar and subtle interaction of people who haven’t known each other long but are connected by struggles and traumas.
The morbid humor of the book fits perfectly with the setting and the characters. That being said the subjects of this book are pretty dark, including a suicide early on, so if you find yourself triggered by these kinds of subjects this might not be the book for you. The way Matthes deals with these emotional subjects throughout the book is done with a gritty artistic class. He is not afraid to talk death, addiction, and mental illness, subjects that are often considered taboo to speak about. Matthes deals with them in a relatable and real way. They are apart of peoples lives, even if society would prefer to ignore it. The matter of fact tone of the book allows life to stand on its own two feet, not shied away from or glorified. This story was a whirlwind to read as it took me on an emotional roller-coaster. The story itself really captures the moment in time aspect where there doesn’t need to be a grand arc because it is simply a fragment in the lives of people. I very much enjoyed reading this intense book and look forward to delving into more of Matthes’s extensive collection of works. I would definitely give this book five stars and would highly recommend it.
Pages: 350 | ISBN: 1975607597
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The Ice Factory is an entertaining book by author Jason Phillips. It tells the story of hurricane Edna which hit the Caribbean Islands in 1954. The book is written with multiple perspectives focusing on Joy, who lived in Grenada which was decimated by the hurricane, and Audrey, who lives in Trinidad, which was less affected. Joy, the owner of an ice factory, was killed during the storm. Audrey is her niece and closest living relative.
“And when my soul got to the front gates I took my place in the queue. I think I recognized some faces, it’s true. Just in front of me, I saw some people looking very excited, very happy to be here and I even overheard someone talking about someone named Joy … talking about what happened, how it happened, and what then came to pass. This is what I heard them say…”
The entire first chapter, particularly this paragraph, captured my interest in the book. The first chapter did an exceptional job of peeking my interest in the story to come with its beautiful language and its unique character perspective. Having one of your characters speaking from beyond the grave, giving their perspective on the living world is an interesting and fun way to approach a story.
I loved reading the differences and similarities between the way Joy and Audrey viewed the world. They were both strong characters in their own way and met the balance between uniquely interesting and relatable. Both deal with struggles on different levels and approach the way they deal with those difficulties differently but maintain their strength throughout. I found switching back and forth between them to work really well with the story being told. I also liked the focus the book puts on family and the close connections families can have, along with their struggles.
The book kept a good pace as the reader is taken through the characters lives. It balances the dramatic events of the book, like the hurricane, and its effect on the characters’ lives, as well as the smaller struggles of daily life. The book did a great job of making you care about the characters, as the driving force of the plot. Phillips did a masterful job with the entire book of creating distinctive voices in his characters, setting a scene, and grasping a tone for the whole book that placed you in a place, time, and culture.
From beginning to end The Ice Factory is a fun, engaging, interesting, and uplifting story that kept me invested in the story throughout. The characters were well written and fleshed out, keeping me rooting for them the whole time. I enjoyed this book very much and am excited to see what else this author puts forth. I would definitely recommend this book.
Pages: 270 | ASIN: B01MEBVXVY
I really enjoyed the bond that Ace and Zeke had in your book A Dangerous Discovery. What was the inspiration for their relationship?
Actually, it is the banter and relationship I have with my father. That is what really inspired me to make these two characters more than just friends.
There are some thrilling twists in this novel. Did these happen organically while writing or were they mapped out?
I outline each chapter with how I want it to proceed and set up a story board with notes, but so many times the story takes on a life of its own and that is what happened here. I had the concept and the secret, but as I investigated and researched a lot of the incidents that occurred in South America, the story grew darker and darker. I actually let some things out because I thought it may be too dark.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on Book 2 of this series, as well as another fiction novel. Book 2 is tentatively set to be on the shelves in August of 2018. Book 2 is another Vatican conspiracy that I discovered when I was researching Book 1 and I think people will enjoy it.
Can Ace and Zeke survive the discovery of a lifetime: a secret the Vatican will stop at nothing to protect?
Marion (Ace) Acevedo grew up on the streets as a Latin American. The things he had to do to survive as a child, no one should have to do, but a chance encounter changed his life.
Now he is the face of an international corporation. Wealth, social standing and travel is what his life is all about. He loves what he does, and with the guiding hand of Ezekiel (Zeke) Smith, his mentor and friend, his life cannot get much better.
Unbeknownst to Ace and Zeke, the acquisition of a new company in Peru holds a secret the Vatican does not want discovered. Special agents from the Holy See will do anything to stop this secret from being released.
As Ace gets closer to uncovering this dangerous secret, he must use every skill he was taught from the streets and from his mentor. But, even with an unknown stranger looking out for him, Ace may lose it all, including his life.
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Descendent Darkness: Book One: Stirrings, begins in 1982 in Clarkes Summit, Virginia, where an evil curse causes unimaginable horrors to the town’s favourite families. Fast forward 21 years later and three men are once again facing the terrors they thought they had diminished forever. Richard Gaston, Father Ryan Bennett and deputy sheriff Tom Campbell find themselves facing nightmares and tortured souls of evil that will pull them into the depths of their darkest days. This skin prickling adventure will bring your nightmares to reality as they face an evil, cold presence; guaranteed to chill you to your bones.
Descendent Darkness, Stirrings, written by A. J. Macready is a supernatural novel set with a dash of crime and drama. There are tortured souls, family bonds and mysterious servants of darkness in this edge of your seat vampire styled thriller. The story line follows several families as they face horrors and challenges that will threaten the relationships of everyone involved. Hold tight as you are thrown into an adventure where the characters fight evil even when they are in the shadows of exhaustion- in order to save the ones they love. The story will leave you hungry for more, as bullets race across the page and violent killers storm through the darkest of nights.
Unlike a typical demon styled novel, Stirrings storyline is complex and filled with clues and details that far surpass any other supernatural story I’ve read for some time. Forget the Twilight era, this novel is filled with the traditional scares and fight scenes fit for a warrior. I found myself unable to turn away as I dove deeper into the novel, growing attached to the characters and their unknown fate.
The characters in Stirrings are surprisingly relatable and the fear for what may be lurking in the dark is a feeling we have all experienced. The relationship between the siblings Holly and Mike Gaston is one to be marvelled as they battle odds together, sacrificing their bodies and souls to pursue a mission with the belief that nothing is more important than family. As well as being siblings, they have a beautiful friendship and you can feel how much they genuinely care for one another as they battle against the odds. However it seems their family are bound for tragedy and the reader will feel emotionally connected to each family member as they fight for what they believe to be right.
Macready’s marvellous way of using descriptive language will have you huddled up and feeling the chills on the back of your neck. I found myself peering around the corner wondering if the cool breeze was the wind or was actually evil materialising its face in the darkness. The narration flows easily and feels like a picture is painted on the page with how beautifully the story is presented.
This is a heart-stopping novel and would recommend this to anybody who loves supernatural stories mixed with crime, drama and friendship. I look forward to reading the other stories in the series!
Pages: 199 | ASIN: B016WLQTS2
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The Battle of Barkow tells the tale of dark vs light, good vs evil, from a world where magic is not all bad, and religion is not all good. He takes readers into the mind of his characters and through them shows the good and bad of society. In the words of Paul Simmonds, “Two men will embark on a journey that will change their lives forever, if there is a forever at all. For in the world that they live it is not named nor is it entirely different from that of our own early world” (Simmonds: prologue). The characters are intricate and plagued by the same assemblage of emotions as any other person; kindness, compassion, greed, hate, bigotry and evil. This superb confluence leaves you wondering who is going to come out on top in this novel, the simple man of God, the magician, the girl that doesn’t speak, or the dark forces that are mounting?
The story starts out with a man, hidden in a cloak speaking with an elderly woman. No names are used, but it is clear the women is a sorceress and he is there for her assistance. He is angry, he feels he has been wronged by others and denied his rightful riches and power, this woman offers him the vengeance he so greatly desires, but warns the price he will pay will be high. While she does not disclose the price, it is implying that it will not be all together pleasant for the man, but he hesitantly agrees desiring his vengeance over all else. From here the story jumps 125 years later. We meet Bolan, a simple man of God. He takes no excessive pride in his status and simply ponders life as it comes, he does not dwell too much on the past or the future. He agrees to take on an assignment for the church delivering holy books to the neighboring towns. With him goes his longtime friend and magician in training Hogarth. Hogarth can do simple magic but longs to learn more, to become something great in world that will make a difference. It is on this journey that they meet Sterre, the young women that does not speak but communicates in a form of sign language and drawings. Sterre has the gift of visions and has predicted a great danger to the city of Barkow. Barkow is the capital of sorts for this world, it is where the Pope lives and where all their laws begin. Towns outside of Barkow are not as strict as in the holy city. Bolan, Hogarth and Sterre travel to the city of Barkow to warm them of the impending trouble that Sterre has foreseen. While they are traveling to the city, the dark forces are also headed there as well. They have no names to start, as readers we only see their evil and destruction, wiping towns out, stripping them of all life leaving no one alive to bear witness to what has happened.
The journey that these three take brings them in contact with many others, some are willing to help fully, others offer veiled advice. Some are strong war heroes that have their own battles to fight but ultimately must decide between their own personal gains or the greater good. We are left looking at a vast cross section of people whose characteristics could be anyone in modern society. In The Battle of Barkow Simmonds is able to show us that their may be darkness in us, but being good is a choice, and often times we fall somewhere in between.
Pages: 240 | ASIN: B06XK7YDBX
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It all starts with a dead cat. Thomas Beckon is a father of two daughters, a husband to a kind, happy woman named Pat, an IT Manager, and a seemingly nice man who many fondly refer to as “Tommy.” His life changes when his daughter’s cat dies, and he realizes that the dead cat’s soul temporarily inhabits the body of another cat in the house. It’s always been his belief that even the smallest creatures have souls, so this discovery intrigues him more than it surprises him. His curiosity leads him to attempt a soul transfer of his own, taking over the body of the remaining cat. After much struggle, he’s successful.
This early success gives him the confidence to move on to humans. He comes to believe that he’s trained his entire life, through his interactions with his co-workers and his ability to understand them, to take on the role of Inlooker. An Inlooker is an immortal supernatural being which has the power to take over the souls of others. Beckon works to enhance these powers, not just reading souls and manipulating his own, but taking control of other people, body and soul.
He starts out using this power for what he believes is “good,” but even his idea of good is twisted around his own self-interests. He moves from doing “good” to purposely doing evil. As Beckon explores his abilities and learns the extent of his power, he will face many enemies, the strongest one of all, himself and his baser instincts. When the future of the world and humanity hangs in the balance, the question for him becomes: can he overcome his greed and hunger for power and chose to utilize his superpowers for the greater good?
Set mostly in England and written by a British author, The Inlooker has a distinctly English voice with a dry sense of humor readers often find in British mystery novels. I enjoyed the voice most of all. It’s humorous, dark, clear, and ironic. At first, I didn’t like the narrator’s intrusions into the story, but I soon grew used to them and enjoyed the quirky voice very much.
The author, Terry Tumbler, is able to move around in time without confusing the reader and without making unnatural or abrupt scene changes. I like the way he reveals Thomas’ true nature slowly, first showing us how he became the Inlooker, and then backtracking to illustrate how he was kind of always an Inlooker, or at least an Inlooker-in-training. His skills didn’t just appear in an act of God type of moment; rather, they were always evolving, always building until the moment when he took over the cat.
This idea of latent powers is further explored when Thomas uses his powers selfishly and heartlessly. Early in the book, I was reminded of the quote by Sir John Dalberg-Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” I at first believed that ultimate power corrupted Thomas, but as the story went on, I realized that self-centeredness and the lack of conscience he displayed always existed within him. Societal norms, familial pressures, and office etiquette had served to control his baser instincts, but once Thomas achieved absolute power, he no longer needed to work within those parameters, so he didn’t. In an ever-evolving world that grows more complicated with an alien invasion, Thomas must decide if dominating the world or saving the world is his ultimate destiny.
I like the format of the book, specifically the short chapters and the descriptive chapter titles. Both kept the story moving at a steady pace. My own personal preference would be for the book to end with Chapter 25 and to not include the Addendum and the five Reference chapters. Beckon does a splendid job in Chapter 25 of wrapping up all the major themes and storylines of the book in a satisfying, yet unexpected way. Readers who like to dive in deeper and learn all the ins and outs will likely enjoy the evolution of the story in the remaining sections.
Pages: 350 | ASIN: B00VVCVEZ6
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Legends of Perilisc is a collection of short stories created by Jesse Teller. This collection has eight different stories that all tie together along a timeline. While each story can stand alone there is a sense that it’s building up to something that we don’t get to in this book. Each title is subtitled with a phrase like “120,000 Years Before The Escape” (Teller p.7) and “Three Years Before The Escape” (Teller p. 197). While the preface lists the date as being after the Escape it offers no clue to who is escaping what. This leaves the author open to create many more books in this series. There is one character that reoccurs in most of the stories, Simon the Bard.
At first the beginning story sounds like a twist on the Greek Mythology stories from when the Gods battled for control of the world. While some of the names mentioned do link back to mythology, most of the characters are original to Jesse Teller. Their personalities and names differ from one story to the next. I think this lack of continuity is intentional and well done showing the different times and places in Perilisc. These stories are dark; they are not happy endings with moral lessons. It is a work of fantasy unlike anything I have come across. Each individual story tells of a quest, usually the quest is to find someone and kill them. Through these short stories you get so much detail though. The author does not waste words. Every line is important to character development, the action or setting.
Piecing together information from the different stories we learn more about Simon the Bard. He is the constant so far in the world created by Teller. He travels the word claiming to be a simple story teller, but is always in the right place at the right time to offer important information. He is immortal, and has magical powers but the reader does not discover just how deep those powers go.
As with any collection of short stories it can be frustrating to get small pieces of a story line and not see where they end up. Knowing that all these story lines interact building up to “the escape” is even more frustrating given the huge jumps in time. Chances are we may never know more about the characters we read about. One example is Konnon. His story is brief, we find out about his devastating childhood, his enslavement to an enchanted beast, and his revenge. His story takes place in one night, but we don’t know how this fits into the overall story line. It is just a good snap shot into the world and how it is developing through time.
Legends of Perilisc is a great collection for the reader looking for a fresh take on fantasy novels. It is not for the reader looking for a happy ending and a magical quest with elves and good wizards. This collection is dark, full of death and evil. Topics of patricide, cannibalism, adultery, rape and many more dark topics fill these stories. A good read with an open ending leaving the author free to continue this world and create many more stories to entertain and shock his readers.
Pages: 141 | ASIN: B01I7KD9O8
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