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Beautiful Poetry And Evil Intent

H.M Roberts
H.M Roberts Author Interview

Breaking Birds is a riveting crime thriller told completely in poetic verse. What inspired you to write a story in this style?

As a mum of three I sometimes find it hard to find the time to sit down and lose myself in a good book. I’ve read a few different ‘novels in verse’ and found them really easy to read as you can dip in and read a poem in a few minutes whenever you get chance. I’ve been wanting to write my own poetic novel for a while, I just didn’t know which genre until I started to write! I loved the idea of the juxtaposition between beautiful poetry and evil intent.

What were some sources that informed this stories development?

The whole process was completely organic. I had the idea to write the book from the viewpoint of a killer. The gender in my mind was originally a male lead but I realised about a third of the way through that it didn’t need to be. I then rewrite parts so that the character was deliberately ambiguous-I’ll let the reader make their own decision.

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

I wanted to explore the contradictions between having this poetic soul and yet the overriding madness that leads to murder. To look at how what could start as well intended affection could lead to obsession and cruelty.

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

I will be writing a prequel to Breaking Birds although there is no release date yet. At the moment I’m working on a historic retelling of Greek mythology, something in a much more comical style and a light relief from Breaking Birds.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A chilling psychological thriller written entirely in poetic verse.
Just because you have the soul of a poet, doesn’t mean you can’t have the heart of a killer.

If The Secret Is Ever Discovered

Steve Zimcosky
Steve Zimcosky Author Interview

The Good Book follows the Polish Dragon on a hunt for a missing bible that holds a devastating secret for the Russian Orthodox Church. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

There have been many books and news stories about the Roman Catholic Church and all of its mysteries and accusations of wrongdoing but I had never really seen anything about the Eastern or Russian Orthodox Church. Perhaps the reason is because there is a much smaller following than the Roman Catholic Church. So I thought, why not do a mystery which includes them and a mysterious bible that could bring embarrassment to the church if the secret is ever discovered. I tried to include the similarities and the difference of both churches so the reader could get an idea of how similar they are yet very different.

Do you follow a formula for your mystery novels or do you try to make them all different?

I try to follow the plan that something happens that the police or law enforcement can’t really deal with or the statute of limitations has run out and the only recourse is to hire the Polish Dragon P. I. to help solve the case. Although on occasion it is necessary for law enforcement to be involved and the Polish Dragon must learn to sidestep those investigations so as not to interfere and at the same time use some former contacts to aid his investigation. And as I am sure that my books are read by many age groups I try to limit the profanity and the sexual overtones.

What are is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and how have you overcome it?

One of the biggest challenges I face is how to make my stories longer and get them to a full novel. I have taken several courses and spoken with several well-known authors on how I can do that. Hopefully my books will begin to get longer and I can finally get to the point of publishing a full novel rather than novellas. The other challenge is marketing, as I am a self-published author, all of that falls on my shoulders. So I am taking classes and workshops on how to maneuver that aspect of publishing my books.

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

I’m working on another Polish Dragon mystery that deals with the Native American so called Voluntary Relocation Program by the Bureau of Indian Affair back in the 1950s. It will involve a missing person and conspiracy to defraud the government and Native Americans.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

A bible mysteriously disappears from a Russian businessman’s home and it is said to have a secret hidden inside that would cause embarrassment to the Russian Orthodox Church. The Polish Dragon P. I. is called in, along with his new partner, to help find the bible. The problem is the bible is not supposed to exist and there is a secret organization, sworn to protect the church, also looking for the bible. They will stop at nothing to locate it and destroy it.

From A Different Perspective

Calvin James
Calvin James Author Interview

The Colored Water Fountain follows two kids on a quest to find the meaning behind a sign, but the shocking truth changes their worldview. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Unfortunately, racism may always be a part of our society. I wanted to create a story looking at race from a different perspective to demonstrate to children that we should not judge people in this way.

I loved the bright and beautiful art throughout the book. What was the art collaboration process like to bring this story to life?

I was fortunate to find an illustrator, Jordan Pizzuti, who is excellent at her craft. From years of writing music and collaborating with musicians, I learned to give other’s their creative space because they may come up with something better than I would have. So allowed Jordan the freedom to create the world with as little input as possible. I feel she did a wonderful job.

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

Truth, kindness, friendship, love, and hope. These themes run throughout all my stories. I feel they are important because I want my stories to show children the world as it could be and strive for that vision.

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

The next book, LONG, LONG TIME, will be released in May of 2023. In the interim, there will be several music projects that will be released.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

In a world that has been remade by a great flood, humans wake to find they are immortal children with no memory of the past. Animals are caretakers of the world; growing old and wise with no knowledge of times before. And yet, some things from the world that was… remain. When Asher and Adeline discover a sign that reads, ‘Colored’ Water Fountain, they set out on a quest to uncover the meaning.

Stuck That Way and Other Quandaries

Stuck That Way and Other Quandaries by [Julie Kusma]

Stuck That Way and Other Quandaries by Julie Kusma is a collection of short stories that are delightfully unnerving. Ranging topics like beastly transformations, death curses, and demon hunters are all masterfully crafted to create raw emotion. Quick warming: These stories do have violent and disturbing scenes that I don’t think are appropriate for children.

My favorite story of the bunch is probably “By Induction”, a story about a woman who fully believes that she can curse people to their deaths by putting their name in a jar and putting that jar in her freezer. When her curse strikes again, she has a change of heart and decides to curse another. No spoilers, but it is a great short story.

Another great one is the titular story, “Stuck That Way.” A father is showing his young boy how to create a corporeal form in parts, but the mother warns against it, because she does not want him to become trapped inside a body and disappear from their plane of existence. It’s quick, unsettling, and a commentary on human life. Fantastic work.

The writing is very strong overall, and Kusma does well to develop setting and motivation for her characters before twisting the reader’s expectations and toying with the seemingly inevitable ends. She also does well by making the characters think and act very logically. It’s pretty easy to understand why the characters make their choices, even if the results are not positive. If there was a weakness in the writing, I would say that the rare moments of action are sometimes not clearly described, but these clear up quickly and efficiently.

I’ll be looking forward to more work from Kusma, and I hope that the next set of stories are just as chilling and unsettling.

Pages: 83 | ASIN: B088JT34CT

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Ain’t Nothin’ Personal

Ain't Nothin' Personal (An Emmett Hardy Mystery Book 3) by [Chris Kelsey]

Ain’t Nothin’ Personal by Chris Kelsey is the third book of a trilogy. It takes place in Oklahoma in the 1960’s with a, sometimes hard to love, police chief name Emmet Hardy. While Hardy was taking some mandatory time off of work when he was assigned to an inmate who wanted to provide the details of an unsolved murder from several decades earlier. Hardy struggles throughout the book, whether it is with the locals of the town or his own internal conflicts. Throughout this murky crime thriller author Chris Kelsey is able to make the character relatable and fun to follow.

Ain’t Nothin’ Personal is a riveting page turner that made it hard for me to find a good spot to put the book down. One thing I really enjoyed about this mystery novel is the quick but thorough character development. We are easily able to picture the characters with a quick setup before moving along into the heart of the story. This help keeps the story moving while ensuring the characters are intriguing nonetheless.

This is book three in the enthralling Emmett Hardy Mystery series and I would recommend reading the firs two books in the trilogy before reading this one. I enjoyed this immersive story, but I felt that the end of the book was slightly rushed, or maybe I was just left with an unquenchable thirst for the story to keep going. In either case I hope this story continues with more books.

Ain’t Nothin’ Personal has a persistent air of intrigue throughout the entire story, bordering on the noir genre I think, but never losing focus on the mystery driving this story. Hardy always has alternative agendas making it so a reader is not bored by just reading about one or two events that are happening. This is an engrossing whodunit novel that will certainly satisfy crime fiction fans looking for a well developed mystery.

Pages: 277 | ASIN: B08YLNJQM6

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Birds, Who Are They?

Birds, Who Are They?: A First Look (Callender Nature)

Birds, Who Are They – A First Look by David Campbell Callender is a beautifully crafted audiobook that offers delightful insights into birds and their behavior. Before getting in touch with this book I had not imagined birds could be so fascinating.

First, we need to talk about the narration by Grace Winpenny. Her beautiful voice and interpretation take us into the journey of the book with much amazement and a curious attitude. Then there is the opening sequence, on which we learn to look at birds through new eyes. As the narrator explains their early childhood fascination with winged creatures, I felt as if I was seeing birds for the first time. The first passage is beautiful. And though what comes after is quite different, it is still amazing nonetheless. The book proceeds with interesting facts about birds, frequently comparing them to humans in their behavior. It is a curious association that makes us wonder how different could we really be from other species.

This is a short book so it is over when you least expect it. However, at its end, the sensation is that you have learned a lot in a short period of time and developed a whole new perspective and appreciation for something found in our daily lives. This book is a must for anyone who likes nature or is just curious about things in general.

Pages: 34 | ASIN: B09D8PLCCD

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Babouc’s Vision

Somewhere, Dado is regaling his grandchildren with stories of “the good ol’ days” while they hunt for dinner. Izzy is hoping to make it in the big city. Roving gangs fight for supremacy in public spectacles. And April and Tom just hope their genetics are clean enough to gain approval to have a baby. Amid all of this chaos, is Harl Babouc, an introverted tinkerer who has been reluctantly tasked with the decision of whether they, and all other inhabitants of the city, live or die. As he travels around a city he rarely sees, he learns plenty about the true depths of humanity.

In “Babouc’s Vision”, author Glenn Searfoss paints a vivid picture of a city that seems completely devoid of any redeeming qualities, but just below the surface lies the occasional glimpse of hope and compassion. After his introduction, Babouc becomes an invisible presence, nothing more than a specter there to observe, learning about the city’s citizens in real time with us. Through their stories we come to understand how society reached the point of being over regulated to the extreme and the ways they have learned to cope and adapt to the increasing pressures. Searfoss’s prose is amazingly descriptive, laying bare the good, the bad, and the overwhelmingly ugly that comes with both the environment and its people. Even the most insignificant characters come to life in spectacular ways under the spell cast by his words and it keeps the book from ever seeming stale or slow. Even as the chapters rotate from one story to the next in occasionally unconnected ways, the pull of needing to know what comes next remains constant. 

While “Babouc’s Vision” doesn’t immediately seem like a book that would be deeply thought provoking, the ending gives plenty to think about in regards to humanity, diversity, and redemption. It makes the book worthy of a second reading in order to catch all the nuance that’s easily overlooked the first time through. The characters are all human beings, even when it seems like every ounce of it has been drained away. Babouc realizes that those qualities still exist within them, which means those qualities could still be expressed. The book also explores the question of intentions versus outcomes and the moral implications of both. It definitely provides more than meets the eye.

“Babouc’s Vision” was thoroughly enjoyable and difficult to put down, which is always a winning combination. Even the more despicable characters were engaging enough that you cared what happened to them and the ones who were more sympathetic had you actively cheering for their success. “Babouc’s Vision” is an intellectually stimulating science fiction story.

Pages: 248 | ISBN: 1587210118

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The Song of Kamaria Trilogy

T. A. Bruno
T.A. Bruno Author Interview

On the Winds of Quasars is the thrilling sequel to In the Orbit of Sirens. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that was different from book one?

For Quasars, I wanted to explore the world of Kamaria on a more personal level. In the Orbit of Sirens was mostly about humans and why they came to Kamaria. Although the auk’nai were involved in that story, they had plenty of room for deeper observation. In Quasars, we see more of auk’nai society, and we discover that there is more than one mindset to the native Kamarians through the lens of the auk’gnell.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

Any scene involving L’Arn and Auden became my favorite to write. Auden is such a great character to explore, and I hope readers find him equally interesting to read about. The first scene L’Arn and Auden meet still gives me chills when I read over it.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

I wanted to represent a family dynamic much like my own growing up. My brothers and parents had to adjust to a lifestyle that accommodated my brother Danny, who was born non-verbal autistic. I wanted to have this shown through the Castus family, so I included Nella Castus, who was born Deaf. To do her justice, I reached out to people in the Deaf Community, and even brought on a Deaf Consultant to help ensure she was portrayed right. Nella instantly became another one of my favorite characters to write. She’s a ball of energy who doesn’t let anything hold her back, and she will fiercely defend those she loves. She’s an excellent addition to the cast, and I hope readers fall in love with her like I have.

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

I haven’t announced the final book’s name yet, but I expect to release it sometime in early 2022. It is far along in production, and it’s really shaping up to be an explosive conclusion to the Song of Kamaria trilogy.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

The thrilling sequel to In the Orbit of Sirens
THE WORLD OF KAMARIA WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
In the aftermath of the brutal slaying of a sacred auk’nai deity, Cade and Nella Castus are taken from their home and brought deep into the wilderness. They must make their way back to civilization, traversing dangerous landscapes as they are pursued relentlessly by their captor-a winged abomination.
As Denton and Eliana search for their missing children, they uncover something that will change life on Kamaria forever.
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