What Is Their Endgame?
The Rhine is an exciting space opera following a dramatic chain of events set off by the Free Mars Now movement. What served as sources of inspiration for you while writing this book?
The Harmony series is based off of a 15 year old TV script that I wrote about Martian independence, the novel form is its third incarnation. That script was inspired by the TV show Babylon 5. I wanted to explore Mars more thoroughly; what is the impetus for the movement for independence, who are the leaders, what is their endgame?
We follow three very well developed characters in this story where their actions intertwine. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?
Mat is the ‘everyman’ or ‘average guy’ that suddenly finds himself in circumstances beyond his control, and in this capacity he is simply ‘reacting’ to what is happening. This was a deliberate design of character. Every one of us can relate to being ‘tossed’ into something that we must deal with- circumstances not of our own choosing. This also works as a forge for our own character, who we really are will come out. I think of all character archetypes, this is my favorite.
While it may be said that the UN (in my story) is the catalyst- their oppression of Mars setting everything in motion- the character of Alexandria is the one that sets the story off. She is my ‘grey’ character; a family woman, yet ambitious. In her case I wanted to explore those traits, how to balance ‘work’ and family. She loves her family, and seeing a world in the grip of government powers that live for greed, she decides to do something about it.
As the Governor of Mars, Shultz is completely dedicated to his people, but as the story progresses we see he’s in over his head. We hear so much about bad politicians, I thought I would shift the paradigm and make a good one.
You’ve built an intricate world in this book, between Earth and Mars and the corporations. What was the funnest part about building this world?
For me it’s the visualization. In a previous review of the book it was stated that I ‘lavish on detail’, and the reason for that is that I just write what I see. If Shultz and Jung are in his office talking, I imagine the office’s sights and sounds and smells. The same holds true for the Sadie’s corridors and cabins, or Apex’s boardroom.
This is book one in the Harmony series. Where will book two pick up and when will it be available?
Harmony Book 2: ‘Year of the Child’ picks up two months after the events in ‘The Rhine’, opening with Misaki. I expect it to be available by November 2019.
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The colony depends on Earth businesses for goods, but Earth is run by an imperialistic United Nations whose regulations and sanctions are overbearing.
Increasing tensions are only exacerbated by suspicious pirate attacks in the Belt. It is rumored the attacks are the work of the Free Mars Now grassroots movement or privateers paid by the Martian government in defiance of the UN. Recent victims of a pirate attack, Mat and his crew aboard the Sadie, discover evidence that could prove the rumors true.
With the UN squeezing the colony for every dime they can get, and Shultz looking to better the Martian situation, there are deals to be made. No one knows that better than Apex Mining’s CEO, Alexandria Reinhardt, whose Board of Directors has ordered her to sell their ore to the Martians despite a UN embargo. Her plans are more ambitious than simply ignoring government decrees, though.
Will the Free Mars Now movement find a way to release the colony from their 100-year lease to Earth? Can Shultz find a way to work with Earth companies without angering their government? Does Mat possess enough evidence to prove Mars’ disloyalty? And … in the past what happens when you push a distant colony too far?
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Strength That Lies Within
“Strong Is…” shows that children can be strong in their own way when they’re up against tough challenges. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I began writing “Strong Is…” when my friend, Kathy, was battling breast cancer and had her in mind the entire time I was planning the path the story would take. It was important to me to convey her strength and at the same time write a book her young daughter and other children could understand and find relatable.
I thought the art was cute and fitting for the story. What was the art collaboration like between you and the illustrator Amy Grantham?
Amy is a phenomenal artist. We work together on a daily basis, so discussing the story and our ideas for the illustrations was simple. Once we decided we wanted the entire book to slowly reveal the character’s point of view, the rest was easy. Over the years, I have seen enough of Amy’s artwork to know what look I wanted for the illustrations, and Amy listened to my descriptions and more than delivered.
I thought you handled this sensitive topic with respect while also making it accessible. What do you hope readers take away from your story?
It’s my hope that readers of all ages realize that no matter the challenges they face, there is a strength that lies within each of us. Overall, I want the book to be a bright spot during difficult times for those struggling with cancer, their families, and their friends.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Our next book is “Bottom Down, Penelope Brown” and should be available in the next 2-3 months. I won’t give anything away about it–my mom wants to be surprised.
Author Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
Author April B. Pulliam explores what “Strong Is” through a child’s eyes. Nothing defines strength like a battle, and there is no battle like the one presented by cancer. This book is for anyone touched by cancer and amazed by the strength found within during the darkest of days.
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A Satisfactory Fitness Level
What is your experience in health and fitness and how has that helped you write this book?
I came across BX plans about 50 years ago, and used it regularly. After 30 years of hard and varied living I got back into using the exercises.
What is one common misconception people have about exercising?
One of the biggest misconceptions about exercise is that most people think it has to hurt when it doesn’t. Slow and regular is the best way.
What are the BX plans and how are they designed to help people stay fit?
It is based on the world famous Canadian Air Force fitness plan. The purpose is to create a satisfactory fitness level and keep you there with light exercises.
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Get fit and stay fit with the XBX 12-Minute Plan for Women Based on the world-famous Royal Canadian Air Force exercise plan, these progressive exercises will take you to peak fitness in your own time and at your own pace. No special equipment needed. No expensive gym fees. No group memberships. Just you, the book and twelve minutes a day. With a minimum of space required the full-colour illustrated plans can be enjoyed by anyone, anytime, anywhere. Get fit and stay fit in the time it takes to drive to the gym!
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Just a Lost Soul?
Voice of a Crimson Angel Part III brings an end to the expansion and Chancellor Venloran has won. What were some stories that were important for you to wrap up in this book?
Most important was the story of the Marconi women and Valerie Iglesias. I wanted readers to see the horrifying reality and choices Julissa and Zaneta dealt with, and I’m hoping there’s a diverse reaction to the end result. Will readers see Julissa a s a hero, a radical, a terrorist, or just a lost soul? As for Valerie, I just wanted to expand on her background. I wanted readers to feel the tragedy behind her character: a simple bookworm who wanted to have a family someday, and yet she was turned into a monster for Venloran’s own ends. These women are products of the society they live in, and I hope that was communicated through their stories.
In this book, did Julissa’s character mostly writer itself, because she’s already well defined, or did you want to take her to new places?
A little bit of both oddly. By the third part of the arc, her character is well-established, very true. Still, I wanted her to have one last adventure, or more specifically one last chance. There are many themes in the book, but one of the central points is Julissa’s final few choices. She is faced with the ultimatum many times in VOCA Part III: escalate the violence of the war or take a step back. That’s why I added several scenes with her and David Armano. Julissa’s anger and pride are both weapons against herself and her enemies. One of my favorite scenes in the book will forever be the horse-riding scene between the Marconi mother and daughter. Though this may be their end, I believe readers will appreciate the journey Marconi experiences.
I found this book to be thrilling and savage. Was this a fun book for you to write?
The VOCA trilogy was fun as all hell to write. Writing books is fun for me in general, but some are more stressful than others to write. EOK Part III: Ballad of Demise was one of the most difficult to write, namely because the enormous changes to the story I added in after the outline phase. VOCA Part III: Remembrance was fun because the vision pretty much stayed true to my original outline. Not only that, but I finally got to explore some of the more obscure moments in the history of the UNR. Basically, fleshing out the lore beyond references and actually showing it. Reverence and EOK had battles within forests and buildings, and now in the VOCA trilogy whole cities are now theaters of combat. This was the vision I had for the book, at times claustrophobic, and other times epic.
What are you currently writing and when will it be available?
I try to stay busy, and I’d like to think I’ve outdone myself. Not to brag, because it took many sleepless nights, pots of coffee, and early morning runs to get it all done. Well, close to being done, because I’m still not quite there yet. First things first, on May 31st Avenge the Silenced will be released. It is currently in the editing phase and will be available for a preorder by April 1st. Beyond that, the next chapter in the saga is being written, codename Scourge of Men. It will explore many new characters while also expanding on many formally obscure characters. Perhaps most important of all, Scourge of Men will explore Secretary General Vanzetti and his own empire, the Allied European Federation.
Author Links: Twitter | Minds.com | Website | Facebook | Goodreads
The Expansion is over. Chancellor Venloran has won. Julissa Marconi, however, is not done fighting just yet. If she cannot claim victory, then she and the Crimson Angels will claim revenge. With Mexico lost, the resistance decides to strike at the homeland itself. Unable to turn back, Julissa and her fellow soldiers are now in for the fight of their life. In the final weeks of 2051, a new war will be fought that will test the limits of both sides. There will be no justice or mercy. This decisive battle will be decided by whoever gives into their full, unrestrained, savagery.
Prepare to read the heart-stopping final entry in the Voice of a Crimson Angel trilogy. Complete the tale that expands on the Reverence saga.
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Mylee in the Mirror explores young romance and school drama with an infusion of Greek Mythology. What were some themes you wanted to continue from your first book and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?
Well, in Daisy, Bold & Beautiful I wanted to create a situation for my main character that would demonstrate the same moral of the story that I find within Persephone’s story – it is important to stand up for yourself. The story in Mylee In The Mirror is very different, but I arrived at it in the same manner – I wanted a story that would demonstrate the moral of the story I find in Aphrodite’s story – you can’t force someone to love someone else. I hope to do that with all the books in this series – decide on a moral of the story for each god/goddess featured in the book and create a story that demonstrates that moral.
I enjoyed Ty and My’s characters and interactions. What was the inspiration for their relationship?
Hmmm… well, I didn’t really have a specific relationship in mind when I was writing it. I developed each character (for instance, Ty is loose combination of my [real life] Trampoline & Tumbling teammate, Ty, my dad, and my brother, Will), then had them interact the way I imagined those characters would interact with each other. I have a friend, Peter, who I joke around with, kinda like Mylee and Ty joked around together, but My & Ty were friends longer than Pete and I have been and they’re closer than Pete and I are.
How has your writing developed and changed from book one in your Greek Mythology Fantasy Series?
I don’t know exactly how my writing developed and changed from Daisy to Mylee, but this book was really different to write because Daisy was all about 6th graders and I was a 6th grader when I was writing it, so I could really relate to what they were doing and how they were acting. Mylee is about ninth graders AND Ty was my first male main character. Obviously, I don’t know anything about being a boy, and certainly not a 9th grade boy, so I had to talk with my brother quite a bit to decide what Ty would do and how he would act. I also talked quite a bit with my mom about the two moms in the story and Grammy Jean. Grammy Jean was based on my real-life great grandmother, who passed away last winter. The character wasn’t exactly like my Grammy Jean, but pretty close. So, I guess I can say I worked more and worked harder this time trying to understand motivations to make the characters feel really real, know what I mean?
What are you currently writing and when will it be published?
I’m just starting work on book 3. This will feature my first god (instead of a goddess), and the main character will be a boy this time. I hope to be done with it sometime this spring, so hopefully it’ll be published sometime in the summer. I’ve been busy, though, because this is competition season for both my gymnastics team and my tramp & tumble team. Last weekend we traveled down to Oregon for a meet and this weekend we fly to Reno, Nevada for another one. Between all that and school there isn’t a ton of time for writing, but I’m really anxious to share this next story, so I’ll find the time! 😊
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Freshman year is just starting, and already Mylee fears her family is falling apart. She’s not interested in dating or any of the high-school drama it brings, but that’s just what she gets when Sam, the most popular guy at school, invites her to the Homecoming dance. Mylee needs advice, so she summons Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty, her secret confidant.
Tyler is worried about Mylee, his best friend and teammate. Already sad about her family woes, he’s livid that Slimeball Sam is trying to ooze his way into her life. And she seems to be falling for Sam’s act! Worse, Ty is worried all this attention from such a popular guy will place Mylee officially out of his league.
What does an ancient Greek goddess know about modern teenage romance? Can My and Ty save their friendship and discover what matters most?
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The Blood Dagger
The Watchers follows Larna and her friend Corinth on a mission to destroy the most vile of vampires, Gabriel. What were some ideas you brought from book 1 in the series and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book?
I wanted Gabriel Stanton to be more than just a one-dimensional villain. In Volume two, it was important that I show his motivations on why he does what he does, but I also wanted to make people hate him, and then by the end of the book make him a little less vile. In Volume three I will definitely play on this more.
With any vampire book today you can’t help but compare it to Twilight, which I think your book far exceeds. What were some sources of inspiration for you while writing?
It’s funny you should mention Twilight. I mean, I get it, Twilight is one of the most popular stories out there. I started writing The Blood Dagger series in 2012 – at the height of Twilight’s popularity. Twilight was in part, one of the reasons I started my own vampire series. But it was really important for me to create a more relatable female protagonist. Someone far from perfect; who had a lot of growing to do in order to find her strength. It was also extremely important to me that my story more about the plot and less about pining over the love interest. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the ‘chosen one love triangle’ scenario, but I didn’t want to make it the main focus. My sources of inspiration are Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments, and Alexandra Bracken’s Darkest Mind series.
If Hollywood came knocking, what actresses/actors would you cast as the main characters?
Oh man! Don’t tease me . . . I would absolutely LOVE for this to happen! And I unashamedly admit that I might have thought about it:
- Larna – She’s always existed solely in my head, but I saw Dumplin’ the other day and I loved Maddie Baillio’s performance in it. She played Willowdean’s friend, Millie, in the Netflix original movie.
- Corinth – He’s a mix between Zach Levi, Andrew Garfield, and Jay Baruchel – I’ve actually never publically told anyone this until now.
- Alastair – I don’t have anyone set to play Alastair – I haven’t found his Hollywood Doppelgänger yet.
- Gabriel Stanton – Justin Baldoni from Jane the Virgin.
Where will book three in The Blood Dagger series pick up and when will it be available?
Volume three will pick up right where I left off from The Watchers. It will be just as action-packed and full of suspense. There will be plenty more surprises and plot twists included. Volume three: Tree of Souls is planned for a release date set in December 2019.
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
Eighteen-year-old Corinth Taylor didn’t sign up to become a Watcher—an elite warrior destined to restore balance to the human race—he was chosen. Corinth can barely control his own hormones … much less the deadly blade. And to make matters worse, his best friend, Larna, just so happens to be the very thing he’s supposed to eliminate.
But when vampires and slayer find a common enemy, Corinth knows it’s his innate calling to hunt evil down. And evil has a name: Gabriel Stanton. The enigmatic vampire who escaped their capture, has plans for Corinth, Larna, and Alastair … and it’s a threat they’ll never see coming.
When the line between good and evil gets crossed, devastating consequences start to happen. As Watcher and vampire worlds collide, Corinth must decide where to place his trust: with his old allies or his killer instincts.
An upstart slayer. A clan of vampires. What could go wrong?
It’s only the end of the world.
The Watchers is the second book in The Blood Dagger series, a high-octane paranormal YA thriller. If you like witty heroines, unconventional relationships, and friendships that can withstand the grave, then you’ll love Misty Hayes’ high-stakes story.
Sink your teeth into a fun, fierce vampire series today.
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Working in Times Square
Stockboy follows Phillip as he struggles to achieve things beyond his mundane life. What were some driving ideals behind this story and how did it change while writing?
The book was essentially written based on my professional and personal experiences. I originally wanted it to be an honest autobiography but I couldn’t resist some key changes in the plot about a quarter through and made it a work of fiction instead. I wanted the story to show some key components of the problematic quest to achieve the American Dream. If you’ve ever seen the 1999 Albert Brooks comedy movie, The Muse, I took a lot of inspiration from that film in finding the comedy in the disappointment found in everyday life.
You’re able to capture the emotions of life as an average person and have them resonate with readers. What is your writing process like?
My writing process consists of starting off with something real and taking it and spinning it in a fictional direction. I’ll start writing about a real life experience and transform it after a few sentences into something fictional. This was originally a serious book but I took my cue from Albert Brooks’ film that people like to laugh too, and mixed some comedy in for good measure. I think there are some great moments of original humor in Stockboy. I like all the film and literary references I put in the book.
This story is ‘for anyone who has ever worked retail’. I feel that working retail gives one a general sense of people and society (good and bad). Have you worked in retail before?
Yes. For many years I worked in retail. Only these past few years have I been out of the industry. Working in the industry with people from all walks of life is a great experience but it comes with its fair share of drawbacks. People don’t want to see you succeed, sometimes, for whatever reason. Especially when you start at the bottom. When I was working in Times Square in retail, there was a supervisor who just wouldn’t let me advance, again for whatever reason. I had the credentials I needed to move up. Again, I don’t like to be negative but in certain jobs, people only like to see others get but so far. I think this book is positive though, overall, and a fun and serious read at the same time. What do I know about everyone else’s experiences in retail? Not much. This story is just drawn from my own personal experiences.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
It’s something completely different! A “truly moving book” but like some famous writers and directors, I like to keep the plot top secret until it’s released or about to be released. It will be out early next year at this point. I want to enjoy the holiday season.
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
Stockboy features the story of Phillip, a single 30-something retail employee, who is trying to rise above the job for which he was hired in a large Times Square theme store. While waiting for a big break, he works hard and, in the interim, falls in love with a woman who comes to believe he actually works as a teacher. While confronting different elements in his job and personal life, he finds himself struggling to stay afloat in his effort to find romance and financial success. This is a story for anyone who has ever worked in retail and yearned to rise up in order to achieve happiness.
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Our Own Imaginations
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.
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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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