Soul Dark: Chosen thrust readers into the middle of a war between deities and demons that determines the fate of mankind. How did the premise for the story begin and how did it change as you were writing?
As we began, it started out as a simple good vs evil story. But it had to be more. What if you weren’t sure who was good or who was evil? Caught up in a world of hurt, can a person be expected to see through the pretenders? By the end, we realized that at a cosmic level, we are all just pawns of our beliefs, but also that those same beliefs can make us stronger or carry us through our darkest moments in life. We wanted something close to home, in rural Iowa. For our setting, we used memories of our grandparents farm.
What was the collaboration like between you and A.M. Wade on this novel?
I ( E. L. ) wrote the first draft, then we ripped it apart and put it back together. I am a terrible typist and have created a great number of useless words, which made it all the more fun. But We’re also weave-writers. We like to blend our ideas and changes. We also edited one another’s work and caught the plot holes. It was a lot of work but it was fun.
Lukas is an interesting and well developed character. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to his character development?
We kind of formed him after ourselves as teenagers. In HS we were quite often oblivious to the attention of others. With the tremendous powers Lukas had at such a young age, we wanted to make his every obstacle either challenge that power on equal or greater footing, or be a challenge where such gifts did not matter. Otherwise he could easily have grown into quite the psycho–though I doubt Sabine would have allowed that.
Do you plan to continue this story in a second book? If so, where would that book take readers?
We’re knee-deep in book two. The first act is about letting Lukas know exactly how much help he had in book one. (To build his character and to attract the attention of his new teacher, we had to make him feel quite alone, abandoned by all – Sorry bout that, Lukas.) The rest will tell us about his Grandma Helen, when she first came to the farm, fell in love, and first battled an all too familiar demon. Also more background on the mysterious stranger who tried throughout Soul Dark: Chosen to warn Lukas and Helen of what was to come.
War is coming between Lukas’ Goddess and an ancient Demon Lord. But the death of his parents shakes his faith, and with the loss of his remaining family it is shattered. Blinded by rage, Lukas turns away from his friends and trains under a deceptive, yet formidable master to hone his magic and prevent the demon’s final objective–obliteration of all life on earth.
War begins! A forged weapon, Lukas rejoins his friends and sets after the Demon King. From a hidden crypt, where evil lies waiting, to the Iowa countryside, they battle to prevent the end of all they know. Lukas must overcome his doubts and allow the Light to work through him–to defeat both the foe of his Goddess and a new more familiar one.
Soul Dark: Chosen is a coming of age tale in the modern-day world when a war between ancient deities and demons culminates in a winner-takes-all battle that could determine the fate of all mankind.
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A pastor is faced with a dilemma when his twin nephews, sons of his only brother, cry out to him for help. Faced with all kinds of strange happenings and unnatural events in their house due to their parents adherence with the occult; the childrens fears push them to break a pact of silence established by their father regarding the secrets of their household.
How can Ace help his nephews without letting the dark forces that torment their lives affect his own family? The more he struggles to help the twins, the more the Secret Society to which the boys parents belong rage their war of evil upon him. Only a living God could help Ace overcome this war and emerge victorious. But will he; Ace Cadman, have the courage to step into the supernatural realm beyond the curtain of time when his God calls him on the scene?
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Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest follows Rathen and his crew as they fight against an ancient and terrible deity. What was your inspiration for the setup to this novel?
Bramblewood Forest is the second book in the Rathen Series and continues from the first, but also reads well as a stand-alone story. The inspiration for the series came from when Steve and I played role playing games in the early 80’s. Steve, as my step-father would bring home a variety of board and card games where you had to create background stories. I am not sure many people these days can imagine a life without the internet or well-made computer games, but we had to be creative and use our own imaginations for entertainment.
We also played a lot of Dungeon & Dragons back then where we created entire worlds with a complete cast of characters. I was just a teenager but I learned what went into creating a story. My particular passion homed in on how the characters were influenced by their environments and worlds and how an ordinary inhabitant could strive to be a superhero even without supernatural powers.
The legend of Ghrakus Castle was roughly based on a story Steve created a long time ago. I took the idea, drew more into it, and added that as a background for the characters to interact. Steve and I have endeared a long lasting collaboration on stories and role playing game ideas and hope to keep it going for a while longer.
This is a thrilling book that combines elements of science fiction and fantasy. What was the collaboration like between the two of you while writing this book?
This was the fun part. Steve and I would sit and talk for hours brainstorming new ideas and concepts that we could integrate into the story. We created the magic system in Rathen’s world and explains in detail the strengths and weaknesses. We described things from completely other worlds and even went as far as explaining how the deities came into being. My favorite creation was the ancient being known as “Arg’grimorem” Rathen and his group had to face. Believe me, it isn’t easy coming up with new ideas in the fantasy genre, but I think this creature was unique.
There were so many intriguing characters in this novel. Who was your favorite character to write for?
That is a difficult question. I really got into the heads of all the characters giving me such a strong connection to them. Rathen is always fun to write, but we had such a variety in this book. Magom, who is the character that really stands out in the group, was a challenge since he is an undead being. I had to really think what it would be like to be dead but yet still walking around and interacting with others. But I have to say my favorite character to write for in this book was Caswen, the young cleric from the temple. She had such a fun `coming of age` story and her character arc really made her feel complete. I wanted to continue writing her even after her story had ended.
This is book two in The Rathen Series. Where will book three take readers and when will it be available?
Book three, “The Battle for Korganis”, is still being written. Rathen will enter Bandark’s strange new world and help fight against the forces of the evil deity. It is shaping up to be quite an epic battle. It may be overly optimistic, but I am hoping for a release near the end of 2019.
A man driven by revenge. Another world in peril. A long-forgotten deity determined to destroy all in its path to ultimate power.
Rathen, ex-captain of the late king’s army, pulls together a team to defeat the evil that threatens them all. The Book of Ziz, with its instructions for protective spells against an evil deity has fallen into the nefarious hands of High Priest Litagus, meaning soon untold evil will reign unchecked if Rathen fails.
Consumed by his personal vengeance for the betrayer in the earlier death of his friends, Rathen travels to the ruins of Ghrakus Castle to enlist the aid of the very being who tried to kill Rathen once before. Only the black powers of this ancient evil can ensure their mission to steal the book back, but can those powers be trusted?
To safeguard his group, Rathen also recruits Caswen, an inexperienced young healer determined to make her mark on the world. Together with Bulo, an ex-gladiator and fellow warrior, Thack, a one-armed half-orc, and Bandark, a mysterious mage from another world, the group heads through the menacing Bramblewood Forest to confront Litagus and his followers.
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In the science fiction genre, many stories share similar plots. The authors, Grant Elliot Smith and Steven H. Stohler, in their co-venture, Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest, expertly utilize concepts from great sci-fi classics. With this they create a very entertaining story that keeps readers rooting for the protagonist, Rathen, and his crew throughout their quest to vanquish evil from their world and other worlds in the galaxy.
The story begins roughly a year after the first book left off in a dark scene where Rathen and his companions—Bandark and Rulo—nervously approach a terrible foe that is capable of destroying the group with his magical ability that allows him control of many elements and also the dead. The result of this meeting then forms a core group that joins in a quest in search of a powerful book called The Book of Ziz that will allow its wielders to vanquish a terrorizing deity known as Gothoar. The story has much more depth as the characters face personal issues and other forms of conflict as the story unfolds.
One concept that makes this book a great read is the discussion of social dynamics through the interaction of fictional races. The group contains several humans, a lich, a half-orc, and people from other worlds in their fold. Therefore, the authors found a way to talk about and resolve racial conflicts. The details of the story show that some people have to live in certain neighborhoods and have to be defensive regarding their heritage. Thack, a capable warrior who is half human and orc, has apparently had a history of racial persecution because he chose to live in an area away from his home where he has found acceptance, but with the introduction of a love interest, feels defensive about his mixed heritage to seek acceptance.
Other social issues like gender disparity are discussed. Caswen—a healer—and her sister Drynwen—a protector—feel gender bias in their organization and have to fight harder to receive missions than their male counterparts. This book seeks to show that the bias others hold can often overshadow dreams and skills. The sisters get their opportunity to sharpen their skills on the road. They find their niche amongst the team allowing them to shine brighter than many of their order back home.
Rathen is able to shed new light on old tropes. Most everyone is familiar with the hero and company on a quest to save the world from destructive foe. The story adds plenty of depth through the implementation of human nature with nonhuman characters and the exploration of human tendencies like the search for redemption, acceptance, contentment, immortality, and even revenge in some cases. Smith and Stohler did a fantastic job telling a story that goes much deeper than the words on the pages; their work sticks with their readers well after the words are read.
Pages: 282 | ASIN: B07HWNK13Z
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Dark Karma is a fascinating tale of vengeance and dark magic by author, Laura Simmons. Laura Simmons does a beautiful job in creating an epic tale that creates an array of whirlwind emotions. Simmons’ writing is flawless and thought-provoking, great for any avid reader of suspense and mystery novels. This is a book that provides everything you would expect from a novel that surrounds itself in magic, tension, mystery and revenge.
The narrative of Dark Karma is extremely captivating and strong. It has been written in such simplicity, but is highly effective for all readers. Luke Decker is introduced to the readers as the protagonist. He is banished by his evil enemy into a hell-like alternative dimension. Luke has to deal with the fact that his whole world has been turned upside down, and what is more, he is on trial for murdering his beloved Nina. However, the plot twists dramatically throughout the novel, and the reader is constantly left wanting more. I kept trying to guess what was going to happen next, but then just gave up and went along on this eventful and thrilling ride.
The plot throughout this book is strong, creative and imaginative. Laura Simmons structures her book beautifully and your imagination is left running wild. I think that the mystery elements in the book really kept me wanting more. Readers are able to dive into a world that is based on pure imagination. Simmons use of magic is embued with a dark energy throughout that is creepy, enticing, and begs you to keep reading. I think I read this whole book with a raised eyebrow. Dark Karma is a beautifully told story that, I think, is suitable for readers of any genre as it first focuses on telling a great story before delivering the unique qualities of it’s genre.
Dark Kara does an amicable job at creating an evil magical dimension that is just detailed enough to allow your imagination to fill in the blanks. The characters and the plot are strong, and Laura Simmons shows that she is a writer to be reckoned with. Overall, I think the story, twists, and characters are great, and I really enjoyed reading this book.
A fantastic attempt at creating a novel that blends and transcends genres. An enjoyable read which really dives into a different dimension, making the reader want to know more as the story progresses.
Pages: 192 | ISBN: 1977201555
His Father’s Blood follows John and Ada as they navigate their relationship, their family, and their curse. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
Moll Dyer is a real historic personage, but there is scant official record of her life due to a courthouse fire. There is a local road named after her, and a boulder on display at the county courthouse where it is said she died. There’s also one colonial period letter describing her countenance unfavorably. Despite this, there are as many oral traditions about her life (and death) as there are local families. With book one, I tried to give Moll some peace and a new angle to her story.
In Book 2- His Father’s Blood, I expounded on her tale. As many of the legends associated with Moll included a son, and none covered exactly what happened to him, his was also a tale that begged to be told. As the local native tribes began leaving the area at this same time, it was easy to imagine that John’s ancestor would have followed them…especially as his mother was more at home with them than her own people. I based some of their adventures on the style of tales from the mountains they fled to.
John and Ada are both intriguing characters that are even more interesting when they are with each other. What were some obstacles you felt were important to develop their characters?
Their loyalty had to be rock solid to allow the belief and trust in one another under extraordinary circumstances. Their devotion for one another needed to be absolute to overcome all that was thrown against them and all of the naysayers plotting against them. With such nobility of character, introducing human foibles was essential to make them well rounded and believable.
You continue to develop the Dyer family’s curse in this book. What was something new that you wanted to introduce in this book that was different from the first book in the series?
A theme in both is personal sacrifice and the concept that love conquers all. In book 1, Moll is kept ignorant of her powers and was only briefly exposed to the healing aspects of it. John was exposed to the darkness early in life and fought against it. Moll gave her life in sacrifice to save her son, but in my opinion, John’s price was greater. Moll never knew romantic love and I wanted to explore what might happen if a romantic interest was present. Ada certainly provided that. Moll’s love for her son drove the plot of Sister Witch, but John and Ada’s love was the driving force in His Father’s Blood.
This is book 2 in the Legend of Family Dyer series. When will book 3 be available and where will the story take readers?
I’ve completed the rough draft for Book 3 and hope to have it released early next year. It is set in contemporary times and of course follows Moll’s descendants. Although her name is forgotten by them, she hasn’t forgotten them.
Homesteading on Devil’s Peak, skin-walking shaman John Dyer must fight to save his bloodline. Can the Dyers stand against the horrific desires of a centuries old demon? Can their faith in each other overcome the evil pitted against them?
This historically accurate epic follows John- scion of the Dyer family, and the great-great grandson of the venerable Moll Dyer– in his quest for a new life, and a place to settle down and call home.
The fates conspire against the Dyers, and only their sorely tested faith in each other can overcome the evil set in place against them.
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Ada is not a normal woman of her time. She has been on the road with her father Reverend Hartman, after her mother was killed by savages in the west, since she was just a young girl. She has never met a man or found a place that made her want to have a homestead. That is until she meets John a mysterious half breed with the shamanic lineage. John has also spent most of his childhood on the road with his father learning the shamanic path, forever he thought he would live and die alone. When they meet each other their world would be forever changed.
Unfortunately John and Ada`s relationship attracts a lot of attention. Ada`s father is unsupportive, life constantly has other plans, friends make terrible choices and John and Ada`s relationship pay the price, oh and a few demons decide to throw in some obstacles.
When I first started reading His Father`s Blood, I had no idea that I was going to be so thoroughly sucked in. The first few pages read slow but that was exactly what was needed to set up the story and the main characters. The story itself read very smooth, and the story line was consistent. The sections of the book were clearly defined and it was clear in what part of the story you were in. What really pulled the character and the story together was how accurate the history used in the book was. The style in which the fantasy and historical fiction come together was well written.
The sections in the book were easily distinguished but there were mini sections throughout the sections that could have used a clearer division. The fix for me could have been even a little more space in between the end of one section and the beginning of the next.
This book was attention grabbing, and thrilling. My Fathers Blood Book 2 Legends of the Family Dyer has definitely made it to my top 10 best books of this year, and I read a lot! It is a good book if you want something a little shorter, fantasy like, and is written for a young adult crowd. I would recommend this book to any one of my friends.
Pages: 251 | ASIN: B07CS7SSQW
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Presented with a captivating plot line, charming characters, and a world full of fantasies, C. Penticoff blends worlds of reality with a captivating realm of fantastical discoveries in Weathering the Wicked.
Introducing Book One in the series, C. Penticoff demonstrates a clear focus and powerful imagination in her creation of fictional fantasy. With her sister missing and her total existence going up in flames, Jane attempts to find out what is going on, and what has happened to her sister.
Penticoff captives her readers by blending the ideas of magic, wonder and prophecies. Right from the beginning readers are drawn into a fantastical world of discovery in the hopes that June finds her sister, January. Without giving too much away, the story is set in a spiritual land called Folklaria which blends together the good and the evil. The readers then join June on her journey in this magical land in search for her sister. With June’s hopes resting on a complete stranger, can she control her fears and uncertainty to find her sister and restore the peace?
Magic, evil, suspense and mystery… are all words that I would use to describe the themes and narrative of this book. From evil wizards to witch doctors and fairies, C Penticoff really does her best to enter a world full of pure imagination.
What makes this read a truly great one is how the book is presented to the reader. In the table of contents, we see that the book has been broken into lots of small chapters, each with a character’s name. This highlights what the chapter is going to be about, which allows the reader to anticipate what is to come.
Overall, I would rate C. Penticoff’s Weathering the Wicked a 4 out of 5 stars. Whilst I appreciate a strong writing style, creative flair, and original thoughts, I found the concepts a little far-fetched. Of course, this is something you would usually expect from this genre, and would be appealing to a lover of fantasy books.
I applaud Penticoff in her creative writing and articulate use of words; and can honestly say that it offered a compelling read; something that I find often lacks in fantasy books. A triumphant and artistic piece of writing brought to you by C. Penticoff. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who takes an interest in artificial intelligence, compassion, and a longing for discovery and resolution. I look forward to reading Book 2 of this series, Weathering the Wicked.
Pages: 228 | ASIN: B075W2KYWK
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Discovering a young boy living in the wilderness would be an unexpected shock for anyone, just as it was for a local state trooper, but no one could have predicted the chilling truth that finding the boy would unearth. It’s this unexpected fact that evil thrives in, often striking in situations where we least expect it.
Mutch Katsonga’s latest book, Where Wildfires Glow, unexpectedly made me challenge my own personal view of the good and evil in the world. The introduction poses a series of deep, philosophical questions for the reader that I often found myself reflecting upon as I read the novel. I was skeptical at first as to whether the story would furnish me with the answers to these questions, particularly, considering that I deemed the start of the book to be slow. However, what I did not realize is that Katsonga was just setting up what was to come through his in depth descriptions of the landscape and natural world, and I found myself reliving these romantic descriptions during the climatic end. The child’s two contrasting encounters with the harsh wilderness are beautiful metaphors for the detrimental and damaging effects that abuse can have on a person.
The way in which Katsonga has narrated the story and not given the boy a identity means that as a reader, I struggled to form a connection with the character, regardless of the overwhelming compassion I felt. Whilst I thought that this made the story feel a bit empty at the beginning, I realised that this perfectly reflects the sense of detachment that evil inflicts on its’ victims. The writing is a bit unpolished with slight typos and grammatical errors which probably could have been avoided with thorough proofreading. Unfortunately the obvious mistakes often pulled my attention from the story, which was a shame at crucial moments, but this was definitely not to the point where I lost complete focus or the book was no longer enjoyable. Additionally, as the protagonist of the book is a young child, I felt that some of the words the used are too mature which I felt detracted from the authenticity.
However, the poignant moral behind the story is that evil can make us lose sight of who we are and taints our view of right and wrong. When we allow it into our lives, it will inevitably envelop us; our vision becomes tunnelled and focuses only on the negative. The cycle of abuse is unrelenting and will just keep going, manifesting in each generation, until something breaks it. Katsonga teaches us that evil cannot be fought with evil, and it is only the power of light and the power of good that can break the cycle. I believe that this book will challenge that way that every reader views negativity and the power that it can have on an individual and those around them. It made me more conscious about how my actions can affect others, and has encouraged me to make sure that I always give off a positive energy.
Pages: 160 | ASIN: B07CCJTGDB
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The Victory Perspective, by E. J. Kellett, reveals a new angle on the creation story complete with a dark and foreboding side. Five beings materialize, quite literally, in the first chapter and proceed to make their way through the world around them while one of them, Alpha, emerges as leader. Raphael, Michael, Lucifer, and Gabriel seek ways to understand Alpha’s powers as they develop, strengthen, and subdue the other four. Alpha’s abilities overwhelm the others as he levitates, forces the others into virtual servitude, and begins presenting them with stunning creations, including human beings. When Raphael disappears from their camp, Lucifer must begin a battle within himself as he searches for his friend.
I was immediately taken with the beautiful language penned by Kellett. The striking descriptions of the landscape and the amazing emergence of each of the five beings is breathtaking to behold. Kellett is a master with the written word and fashions fascinating depictions as they grow in their cognizance.
Kellett incorporates several episodes of violence in order to emphasize the differences between his characters and demonstrate Alpha’s dominance. Like the other four stunned onlookers, I struggled through the sight but find it a fitting method for establishing Alpha’s place in the world and helping the reader sympathize with Lucifer as the plotline progresses. Their horror at Alpha’s growing strength and their wonderment at the tools, weapons, and shelters he is able to fashion are highly relatable feelings.
I was, at times, taken aback at the rather familiar tone of the characters. To hear characters who I associate with angels speak in mundane terms, sometimes using slang, was a bit off-putting. The intensity of the creation story seems to call for a more formal tone, even though this is a far cry from the traditional story which most readers would readily recognize. I had a hard time resolving my discomfort with hearing Alpha, depicted as the creator, curse.
Some readers may find the description of evolution unsettling. As Alpha discovers his efforts to create humans go somewhat awry, readers will find that he is not in complete control of the process. The resulting beings are not pleasing to him. (This is only one of the ways Alpha is very much humanized throughout the reading.)
The closeness between Lucifer and Raphael is touching, and Lucifer’s insistence at finding Raphael at all costs keeps the reader involved in the plot. As the two discover more about themselves and more about Alpha’s intentions, their relationship mimics human exchanges. Again, this is not something most readers are used to seeing from depictions of divine beings. Making that transfer to a different mindset might be a struggle for some.
Lucifer’s reappearance in the Garden of Eden places a new spin on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In fact, one of the most iconic scenes we know from the Bible story is, here, given all the qualities of a drama. Lucifer, though always a major factor in Eve’s decline, is personified by Kellett and shown to be thoughtful and not without worries of his own. In addition, Adam and Eve’s conversations are basic in language and have a commonplace feel.
While beautifully written with remarkable imagery, I was not completely comfortable with the take on the creation story. However, there is much to be said for this reimagining of the immediately recognizable story of the origins of our world.
Pages: 314 | ASIN: B078Y9QJW1
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