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Sam L. Marshall Author Interview

Sam L. Marshall Author Interview

The Immortal Queen is an epic fantasy novel that finds Earth on the brink of being plunged into chaos by dark forces. What was the inspiration for the setup to this story?

The main starting point for the story came from my childhood. In fact, a portion of the story was written then (before being rewritten by adult me). I spent a fair portion of my childhood holidays on Waiheke Island, in the Hauraki Gulf (North Island of New Zealand). There was a reserve that my grandparents holiday home was nestled against, which largely inspired Arcon. I would sit, with a wonderful view of Mackenzie Reserve all the way down to the bay and get lost in the forest as I built it up in my mind. That little track our family dubbed $2 corner (because my nana found $2 there) became part of the path that lead to the heart of Arcon. From there, I pictured, drew and wrote out what the village – which became a city – looked like. Then ‘She’ appeared. Endya. So, I followed her story, her life and I wrote the good the bad and the ugly. When it came to the pivotal point in the story, there were a lot of other novels and movies floating about of heroic deeds done – heroes saving the day and having a happily ever. But I knew real-life didn’t work like that. Fairy-tales are seldom true, and I also wanted to frame the story in a way that was true to the characters.

The characters in this book were interesting and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character development?

I wanted them to be as real as possible – hard when you are dealing with Faeries, Elves, Demons and Gods – but Gods are people too!

For both the major and the not-so-major characters – i.e. some of the Gods. I fleshed them out individually (some more than others). Their power base – for example, how their god-powers have shaped their personalities? What are their wants and needs? How do they feel about this situation? Right down to looks. For some I even wrote up quick dossiers or character sheets. (Being a Role-Player pays off sometimes).

I knew, regardless of how much ‘scene time’ they’d get, if I were writing them, they were being made ‘flesh’. That and I feel you should never leave a character, no matter how small, undeveloped – because you never know when that development is needed. A small character now might be a big character later.

What were some sources of inspiration for you while writing this book?

My first inspiration, other than Waiheke itself, was my uncle’s mother. She was an author here in New Zealand. I knew writing a book would never be easy, but the worlds and characters she created intrigued me. It was absolute pleasure and delight in having her read the first three or so chapters when I was twelve (well before the rewrite!) I remember hovering in her house, admiring the view (a little cove and ocean to the horizon) from her personal little library while she finished up reading the pages – all handwritten! She smiled and told me to keep writing because there was a story there that needed telling. It took many years, but I got it done. Sadly, she passed before she could read the final manuscript.

Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders trilogy! The Liveship Traders: Ship of Magic (book one) was the first Fantasy novel I ever read. I was an advanced reader as a kid, and I remember wanting to get into the young adult section and every time my attempts were thwarted by the librarian who would kindly guide me back to the children’s section. Then one day I saw this book. It was hardcover, it was massive (in my eyes) and it had a picture of a fearless young lady on it standing in front of a ship. I wanted – no, needed to read that book….and it just so happened that it was on the sale table. I had much delight in standing with mum as she handed the librarian my pocket money and I got to walk out of the library with my prize. I read and reread that book (still own it) as it was years before I could find and finish reading the trilogy. There was something about the main character, her actions, the way she held herself and faced the perils. How she evolved. I guess in a way she inspired the creation of Endya.

Other inspirations ranged from some of my favourite books such Tolkien’s works (if you have Elves in your word, you need to have same knowledge of Tolkien’s work). Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series. And more modern series like Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games series and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series…and because of the whole shadowy/hidden organisation, Dan Brown’s, Robert Langdon series – which I haven’t even fully read yet!

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

My next book is a complete change from The Immortal Queen. It’s called Astraque. It’s Science Fiction and it takes place in a very cyberpunk/biopunk/technologically advanced but very distorted future. But, as we all know, not all advancements are for the better. It’s about to go into the editing phase and we hope that it will be available sometime next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

The Immortal Queen by [Marshall, S. L.]At the end of her world, a noblewoman steals a precious prize from fate. A goddess rises in the city of Sundregham as invaders from another world sweep in to burn the world to the ground. A young girl from Earth discovers she’s the final piece in a game the gods have been playing for a long time…and failure may mean the end of it all. This is the story of Endya & Elizabeth and their fight against the Darkness. This is the story of the Immortal Queen.

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The Immortal Queen

The Immortal Queen by [Marshall, S. L.]

The Immortal Queen follows first, the life of Endya, an elven warrior with demon magic. Although plagued with prejudices, Endya finds her soulmate and becomes a leader that the kingdom of Sundregham never wanted. Elizabeth, on the other hand, grew up on Earth with a normal life. Her own nightmares reveal to her that life on earth is about to be thrust into chaos. Both women are needed as dark forces seek to end all of existence. Worlds collide and every kind of magic imaginable is released on Earth as war begins. Even the gods themselves are on the edge of their seats as the final encounter arises.

The Immortal Queen has the potential to be a best selling fantasy novel. Complete with magic and guns, queens and intrigue, even gods and demons. This book combines lore from several fantasy sub-genres and mashes them into one, making this a highly ambitious epic fantasy novel. However, at times I felt that there was too much going on in this story and felt like some things were not explained completely. While the magic in itself isn’t always meant to be understood, I would have liked to have a better understanding of how things worked because what is presented is intriguing.

As the story jumps from scene to scene with little background information, I spent my time trying to figure out where and when a scene took place. This is exacerbated by the fact that halfway through the story all the main characters names were changed.

The Immortal Queen has huge potential to be on par with other high fantasy novels, which is a genre I enjoy. I love it when worlds collide and there are seemingly infinite types of magic. Near the end of the book, dragon riders were even introduced and I almost squealed in delight. There is a constant stream of action throughout the story that kept me interested and was one of the main factors in getting me flipping pages.

Pages: 426 | ASIN: B07N1PW8KL

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Coming Darkness

Coming Darkness

In Susan-Alia Terry’s novel Coming Darkness myths and legends become real. Known as the Other-kin, angels, demons, werewolves, vampires, and other fabled creatures live among one another. When Archangel Michael appears to seek Lucifer’s help, Lucifer’s comfortable life starts to unravel. The Father and the rest of Heaven are missing, there’s a mysterious black ooze that burns the skin of angels, and an unknown race reveals itself seeking to destroy. As Lucifer struggles with this conflict, his lover Kai sets out to prove himself worthy of respect. But with Lucifer gone, Kai realizes how dependent on the fallen archangel he has become.

I love the world Terry has built in Coming Darkness. She wove together characters from myths and folklore, as well as creatures from different religious sects, to create a seamless and fascinating story. Her characters have distinct personalities, which make the reader want to know more about them and who they are. Terry provides glimpses into interesting backstories – glimpses that explain why Lucifer was exiled from heaven and the relationship he holds with Michael.

There was a lot going on in this novel. Terry uses various sub plots to help us get to know the characters and to move the story along. This is a great technique to use – it adds interest and excitement. It also keeps the reader from becoming complacent since so many things are happening at once.

However, there are so many things going on that I sometimes felt lost, every time I felt I had a direction, the story would change or add a different sub plot. Ultimately, I felt there was too much happening.

The world and characters the author has created are fantastic. Angles on Earth have been written about so many times, but Terry is able to imbue her characters with original personalities that sets this apart from most books in this same genre. The ideas presented were interesting, and I couldn’t wait to read more. There are some steamy sex scenes in Coming Darkness as well. Although I felt that they could have been handled more subtly, they do add another emotional layer to this already thrilling story. Terry’s skills as a storyteller are superb which is why I wish that one or two ideas were really fleshed out so that I could immerse myself in this fascinating story.

If you enjoy reading about werewolves or vampires, or find Lucifer and his fallen angels intriguing, this book would be a good fit for you. Honestly, everything about this book pulls me in and makes me want to like it. As I do with any author with great writing talent, I beg for more focus, detail and character development. Coming Darkness showcases Susan-Alia Terry’s talent and I cant’t wait to read more of her work.

Pages: 258 | ASIN: B01D7MM5IM

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Dive Into A World That Is Magical

Michael Pang

Michael Pang Author Interview

In the Eyes of Madness is a paranormal fantasy novel that tells the story of a boy who struggles with accepting the extraordinarily horrific things happening in his life or accepting that he’s going insane. What intrigues you about the horror and paranormal genres that led you to write this book?

Let me start off saying that I’m a huge fan of the paranormal and urban fantasy genre.  I feel that I already spend most of my day in the real world (going to work, playing and taking care of my kids, and spending time with my wife).  When I open a book, I want to dive into a world that is magical, where anything can happen.  So, one might ask, well, why not just pure fantasy novels?  Fantasy novels tend to build amazing magical worlds that can allow the reader’s imagination to completely run free.  I would agree with that. And I do enjoy a fantasy novel every so often for that reason.  However, urban fantasy has the ability to cause a paradigm shift from how we would view our everyday life.  They like to twist the things that would seem mundane into things that really make you wonder.  And when you then add the paranormal theme to these urban fantasies what you end up with is a masterpiece that drills down the dark forbidden paths that you would avoid in real life. These stories tantalize your curiosity, fear, excitement, and bewilderment all at the same time.

In the Eyes of Madness follows the life of a man named Declan Peters whose mother tried to drown him when he was a child. What was your inspiration for this profound event in this characters development?

The premise of the novel came to me in a dream.  And in my dream, I saw this teenager with haunted eyes that spoke to me of a tragic past.  And I asked myself, what would be the most horrible thing that can happen to me as a child that would continue to haunt me as a teenager? For me, that would be if the person that I had loved the most as a child had tried to hurt me.  That level of betrayal would damage any person beyond repair.

The story switches between Declan, Tristan and Zoe. What character did you enjoy writing for? Was there one that was more challenging to write for?

I love writing for each of my characters, but I did have the most fun with Tristan. I guess, in real life, I would relate more with Declan. I tend to be more of a “want to do good-er,” or what one would call the “nice guy.” It was fun to write for a character that had compromised morals for a change.

In the Eyes of Madness is book 1 in the Declan Peters Chronicles. When will book 2 be available? Can you give us an idea of where that book will take readers?

Actually before I release book 2 of the Declan Peters Chronicles, I will release book 1 of a new series that focuses on the Hunters.  Declan will definitely make a significant appearance in this book as his story will tie into this new series in the future.  Which would push book 2 out until next year.  Book 2 of the Declan Peters Chronicles will reveal Declan’s mother’s relationship to the Hunters and what really happened to his father.  The truth about Declan’s lineage will be most shocking! After I release book 2 of the Declan Peters Chronicles next year, I will focus on releasing a third book series that tells the story of the origin of demons. The origin stories of the demons in the other two book series will be told in this new series, and it will reveal a secret that will further the story of the other two series.  Yes, that’s right three series. One that is set thousands of years in the past, one in the present about exorcists, another in the present about hunters, and all crisscrossing throughout. It’s going to be chaotic, fantastic, and MADNESS.

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In the Eyes of Madness (Declan Peters Chronicles Book 1) by [Pang, Michael]A near tragic incident at the hands of his psychotic mother left Declan Peters alone and with so many questions. Years later, Declan is determined to find a way to be closer to his mother and takes a job at the institution where she’s being held. That fateful decision will be the impetus for a chain of events so terrifying that Declan will question his own grasp on reality. What he finds will be more horrifying than anything he’s ever experienced and more dangerous than anything he’s yet known. In a place, rife with demonic possession and sadistic beings, will Declan finally be able to find the answers he’s longed for before its too late or will he succumb to the evil forces that inhabit the institution and all who live there?

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Sex Hell

Sex Hell4 Stars Sex Hell is a madcap, bizarro romp through the sex lives of four people caught up in a witch’s spell. Debbie has a boyfriend, a hunk of a man named Mike. Debbie’s problem is that she’s more turned on by the idea of popcorn and a book than she is by her muscle-bound boyfriend. When a witch shows up in the diner where Debbie works as a waitress, the old woman makes her an offer. Debbie can trade in the last three years of her life and get great sex in return. Anxious that Mike will see through her excuses for not having sex, she agonizes over the offer. Her friend and co-worker Cynthia is all for it, and after Mike leaves town for work, much agonizing and a bit of shady bargaining, the deal is done.

Before the night is over, Debbie finds herself in a car crash—and then in bed—with Juan, a handsome guitar player. She feels terrible, Mike seems to know that she cheated on him, and she wants to find a way to get out of the deal. This setup topples the dominoes in a hilarious chain of events involving demons, bizarre sex, a Love Goddess, magical bongos, bad German accents, true love, and a road trip from hell.

If you’re looking for something wildly out of the ordinary, Sex Hell is right up your alley. The book reads like a 1930’s screwball comedy gone horribly awry in a so-wrong-it’s-right way, and if you’ve read anything described as “bizarro”, you’ll find plenty to like here. It’s definitely not for readers who are put off by graphic sex and language and you have to completely suspend your disbelief in order to enjoy the delightful absurdity of the whole thing.

Debbie de La Fontaine is a geeky, overly-anxious woman who takes “overthinking” to a whole new level. She’s the kind of hot mess who wonders if she should rush to change her clothes as soon as her boyfriend knocks on the door. Mike adores her, but Debbie goes to extreme lengths to keep from having sex with him. Cynthia is a good friend, but as a wing man, she’s terrible, and prone to leaving Debbie hanging.

Her boyfriend Mike is a caricature, superhero-like in his quest to save Debbie from the “evil witch” but equally tone deaf to the realities of the situation. Juan is handsome and cocky and desperate to avoid any kind of commitment, but since the demon sentenced him and Debbie to Sex Hell, he can’t get away from her, no matter how hard he tries. Their quest to get out of Sex Hell is the best part of the book. The situations they get into, and out of, and back into, are utterly cartoonish, but what else would you expect of a woman who keeps a portrait of Wile E. Coyote on her wall?

I’d recommend this as a great vacation read. It’s a fun, totally illogical but ultimately satisfying romantic adventure. Take it to the beach where you won’t be afraid to laugh out loud.

Pages: 320 pages | ISBN: 9780990636557

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Review: Night of the Chupacabra by Michael Hebler

Night of the Chupacabra (Chupacabra Series #1) 4star

Night of the Chupacabra is a western tale of a demon lurking through the rural southwestern U.S.; killing, feeding, and never being seen. Drake is a family man, moving west after the Civil War. His hopes for a prosperous life on the west coast are completely obliterated when his camp is attacked by the Chupacabra. He’s left horribly scarred, physically and emotionally. In the aftermath he finds his wife and daughter missing, his brother dead and everything he owned is burning around him. He’s left with no choice, he must find his family. His search takes him to a small town called Dillmore Valley where the busiest place is the saloon and the townsfolk want nothing more than to keep their quiet town quiet. Drake sets the town on edge when he arrives. His horribly scarred face makes him look like he’s a monster, but the real monster is hiding in the hills and shadows of Dillmore Valley.

Night of the Chupacabra is a well written western fantasy where the characters are easily cut out’s from any western, but they still feel fresh and believable. There’s a subtle bit of humor through the novel that relieves the darker moments. Drake is either; fighting for his life against the townspeople that are convinced he’s a demon, fighting against the Chupacabra or fighting against his own inner demons. It all leaves the novel with rarely a dull moment. The Chupacabra is mix of several animals and is possessed by… well I won’t give it all away, but the description of the Chupacabra is as good as any other explanation that I’ve heard. But I hope in future novels we go farther into the description and origins of the creature. The ending to the novel wasn’t really a surprise, but more of a welcomed twist that keeps the hunt for the Chupacabra alive.

Pages: 300
Published October 17th 2012
ISBN: 0983388407

Find out more about Michael Hebler

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