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Loss of Fatherhood

Gregory Mayo
Gregory Mayo Author Interview

Almost Daddy follows one man’s emotional journey through life as he deals with the pain of almost being a daddy and living with the choices he made. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting novel?

The book is indeed a novel. But the beginning is informed by my own loss of fatherhood to abortion when I was in high school. Years later I went through a recovery process much like someone might seek grief counseling after the death of a child or miscarriage.

Through that healing process and sharing my testimony at dozens of places I realized that there are many people hurting in silence. So I came up with the idea for “Almost Daddy”. I wanted to use story to show some of the fallout that may come after an abortion. But I also wanted to show that healing was possible.

Ben is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with his character?

Great question. Ben had to be likeable. He had to be someone we root for…someone we want to succeed. But he also had to be flawed. After the abortion, confusion and pain set in. His path changed. So there had to be this struggle. At the same time he was making bad decisions and bad choices his heart and who he was at his core needed to show too.

I guess the main thing was to illustrate we all have good and bad in us and that events in our lives can impact our behavior…especially when in response to pain or shame.

What were some of the themes that were important for you to include in your book?

The absolute most important theme is redemption. I wanted people to close the last page and know that healing and redemption are possible…no matter what. I know abortion is a touchy subject so it was incredibly important to stay out of the political end of it. So it had to be about healing and hope and redemption. And I truly hope that is something we can all agree on.

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

I’m working on two at the moment. One is a Recovery Guide that will act as a companion to “Almost Daddy.” That should be out by the end of Spring this year (2021). While working through that, which is way different than writing a novel, I am outlining Abby’s story. “Almost Daddy” explored Ben’s journey after the abortion but that’s only half the story. Abby went through some very different things and I feel like her story is important to tell as well.

Where it leads I don’t know yet. Just as with Ben, I outlined an entire book and about six chapters in Ben started telling me what was next. By the time I crossed the midway point in the first draft I was just writing what he was telling me. I’m sure Abby will do the same.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Why? The question persisted but was unanswered. Many times it went unasked, yet it was always there. Ben had plans. He had dreams. Yet in a moment, and a moment beyond his control, fatherhood was lost…and Ben was adrift. A ship without a rudder being pushed by an unknown wind….he was almost daddy.
This is an invitation to walk this path with Ben. The journey from original pain to healing is a winding, twisting road that no one should walk alone. Perhaps healing can be found and relationship restored with God.
Because alone, healing rarely comes.

The Pearl Territory: A Surreal Drama

The Pearl Territory: A Surreal Drama by [Victoria Ray]

The Pearl Territory is a suspense filled; sci-fi, surreal drama written by Victoria Ray. The Pearl Territory is the story of 1,296 people that survived the near annihilation of earth after a gamma ray hit the earth. Living inside a colony called Netericus, on Titus, people are becoming frustrated with the huge number of rules and restrictions. A group of six Titanians are sent to explore the Pearl. They hope to find a new home that humans can live in.

The novel has a variety of settings, ranging from newly discovered Pearl to Netericus, to flashbacks of earth- in city’s such as San Francisco. The story is predominantly set in Pearl. Author Victoria Ray provides the reader with vivid descriptions of its water covered land, and unique formations that can only be seen if they can be imagined. Flashbacks provide melancholy descriptions of earth, and the towns they miss and love. The time also ranges from the present day (2718) to the 1980’s on earth. These setting changes (both geographical and time) are easy to distinguish by the in-depth descriptions Ray writes.

The majority of the novel is structured as a series of private journals, written by various characters. The journals are easy to follow, entitled with the character’s name, and detailing whereabouts the character is living. This structure makes the novel easy to follow, despite its many characters and settings.

There is a large cast of characters in The Pearl Territory. Thankfully, Ray provides a list of characters at the start of the book. There are some more prominent characters in the novel, such as Pain, Rai, Mr Time, Pastor Hoff and Bou. The character cast is made even more complex by the different types of characters, for example the Titans (primitive and advanced), the heroes, mutants, Hreens, those from the past, those from earth, from Nirvana, and beyond matter. These characters are defined and distinguished by their dialogue – both inner thoughts and dialogue with others, and their actions. An interesting array of diverse characters, sprawling the spectrum of good and evil.

The Pearl Territory had an interesting premise and a compelling story and with intriguing twists and turns. This is a thought-provoking dark fantasy novel with deep commentary on society that’s sometimes satirical but always entertaining.

Pages: 191 | ASIN: B08KY44TBJ

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Horatio’s Promise

Horatio’s Promise by [D. Clark Gill]
Horatio’s Promise by D. Clark Gill is a historical fiction story set in the Arkansas Ouachita Mountains in 1950. Alfred Spellman, a high school janitor, travels to the town of Horatio’s Promise, where he has spent summers as a children’s music teacher for the past two decades. He again stays at the boarding house owned by Leonora White. But things are different this year. The landlady’s son, Icky, asks Alfred to find out what happened to his father in 1935 when he disappeared, and a polio epidemic threatens the town. Will Alfred discover that Horatio’s Promise is not the idyllic home he had always believed?

This book provides an interesting perspective on the similarities between the polio epidemic and our current health crisis situation, like the lockdowns and not gathering in big groups, and people thinking the outbreak is a hoax faked by the government or a plot by a foreign power to kill Americans. Author D. Clark Gill made me want to learn more about that time in our history because he capture that time period in an authentic and immersive way. I liked the historical setting of this story, and the specific time period of 1950, which reminded me of my grandparents’ small-town experiences. I could picture my grandparents living a similar everyday life to that portrayed by the author at the beginning of the book. I liked the setting of Horatio’s Promise with its small town atmosphere and the author’s descriptions of shops along Main Street and historic homes. Having such a distinct town may the mystery element of this story all the more enjoyable. Like the small town of Derry in Stephen King’s IT, it helped set the tone of the novel. With Alfred searching for clues about Linwood White’s disappearance in 1935. With an intriguing plot and unique twists that surprised me several times near the end of the book.

While I enjoyed this story I felt that it started out a bit slow with lots of internal dialogue and thoughts of past events and details about various secondary characters. While this did help the reader feel empathy for the characters later on, as they battled sickness and death in their families. I wanted to get right into the mystery of the disappearance of Linwood White, but it was a ways into the book before this was mentioned. And the outbreak of polio did not start until about halfway through.

With that said, Horatio’s Promise by D. Clark Gill is still an intriguing mystery novel that easily pulls you into a quaint town and slowly unravels an absorbing enigma that will delight crime fiction fans.

Pages: 307 | ASIN: B08R5JTRYF

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The Cardiff Giant

The Cardiff Giant is a hilarious novel first novel, in a series of four, that is set in Cooperstown, New York in 2003. Written by Larry Lockridge, the short novel is narrated by Jack, an investigative journalist dispatched to Cooperstown to investigate the disappearance of the Cardiff Giant.

Lockridge gives an informative and entertaining description of the Cooperstown setting. In some detail he describes the physical appearance of the town and the many tourist attractions such as the Baseball Hall of Fame. There is also a breakdown of the town’s cultural diversity and a brief history on how it came to exist. This sets the scene well for the rest of the story and hints at some of the action to follow.

Intense and complicated characters are an integral part of the novel. Jack is open minded investigative journalist and is prepared to find paranormal experiences in his mission to discover the secret of the missing Cardiff Giant. He soon finds himself in a town with an interesting community that includes such diverse characters as Tarbox the town sheriff (and pig farmer) sisters Sheila, a set designer, and Esther, a psychotherapist, Thor Ohnstad, head of the local Chamber of Commerce (and inn keeper).  Each character has their own motivations and unique voice, including beliefs in alien abduction, rebirthing, astrology, psychokinesis and kabbalistic numerology. Jack, the main character, even becomes entangled with the characters and their beliefs. Their belief systems often compete with other’s beliefs, which Lockridge brings alive with intense and occasionally absurd dialogue between the characters.

The story is organized into three parts, with numerous chapters in each. Despite the numerous characters, themes and romantic twists and turns, the story is well structured. It is very easy to follow and flows well.

Despite the outlandish characters and sometimes wild situations, author Larry Lockridge manages to cleverly couple this with some serious themes of love, jealousy, envy and pursuit of self-identity. These themes are obvious at the start of the novel and are cleverly carried through right until the end of the novel.

I highly recommend The Cardiff Giant. Author Larry Lockridge’s writing appealed to my sense of humor, but I also enjoyed the deeper underlying themes of the novel. The Cardiff Giant also gives the reader an opportunity to examine their own belief system, and self-identity – if one feels the need to read the book for more than just entertainment value. This is a satirical psychological thriller unlike any other book I’ve read recently.

Pages: 164 | ISBN: 1771804246

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Throne of Darkness: Rise of War – Book Trailer

When millionaire Tobin Masters tried to kill himself he never imagined that not only would he survive, but he would find himself in the dimension of Hell. Enslaved by the living artifact The Throne of Darkness, Tobin becomes the Observer and is forced to record the events of the War of Ascension. Satan is a title given to whichever demon sits upon the throne. Whenever a Ruling Satan dies seven Stones representing the seven deadly sins are filled with the power of Hell and these stones/gems are given to seven Demon Lords/Ladies and they are told that whoever can bring all 7 stones back to the the Throne will be the next Ruling Satan. These Stone Bearers will build thier armies and wage war across the world destroying all that stand against them to rise in power. There are humans trapped in this dark world. Most are slaves, the lowest of the low. However, there are free humans that fight against the demons and the Throne of Darkness. Amongst them is a flawed hero named Forgotten Child. A Blade Master with extraordinary abilities. In a dark twist of fate the free humans accidently come into possession of a Stone of Power. It falls to Forgotten Child to take on the terrible burden of Stone Bearer and fight in the War of Ascension, a chance to put a human on the Throne of Darkness and perhaps open the gates back to earth and send the humans home once again, but at what price?

COMING SOON

 

A Bridge Too Far

Mark M. Bello
Mark M. Bello Author Interview

Supreme Betrayal follows a woman who was assaulted and years later finds out that her attacker is nominated for the Supreme Court, and is determined to stop him. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

The novel was, obviously, inspired by the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and other similar high-powered sexual assault cases. Literary Titan has reviewed my past work and reviewers know that I like to begin my novels with action sequences. Supreme Betrayal is no different. I researched dozens of actual sexual assault cases and testimony in those cases, especially those involving men or power and influence. The “party scene” at the beginning of the book is a compilation of those real cases, including the events testified to in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.

Hayley is a strong woman and represents young woman who often get caught in a bad situation. What were some obstacles you felt defined her character in your story?

Hayley’s “obstacles” are the same as any ordinary young woman who faces off against well-financed, politically placed, entitled, white men. She feels powerless against the rich and powerful and a criminal justice system that looks the other way for those in power. She, like the real women her character is based on, feels guilt and shame—”How could I be so stupid? How could I put myself in this situation?” Victims of sexual assault often blame themselves rather than their predators. For Hayley, “looking the other way” became a way to cope and move on, even though the events of her youth effected her relationships, even her marriage. The possible elevation of her assaulter, this sexual predator, is a bridge too far, and she decides to tackle the issue head on.

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

I like to think I am a fair-minded, politically neutral writer. I am a staunch advocate of social justice causes. The challenge is to present important social justice issues, depict how the criminal and civil justice systems might handle these issues, try to present multiple perspectives, including political ramifications, and try not to display bias. What happened to Hayley could have happened to anyone.

When and where will this book be available?

Supreme Betrayal will be available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all online booksellers, as well as on my website at http://www.markmbello.com

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

SB eBook Cover.jpg

Teenagers in various state of inebriation and consciousness packed the Walnut Lakefront home in West Bloomfield.

Hayley Larson wasn’t a bad girl; she wasn’t even a party girl. However, she was tired of always doing everything her parents ordered. They certainly would not approve of her being at this party.

Exiting an upstairs bathroom, Hayley was startled to see Oliver Wilkinson and Shane Marbury standing on the other side of the door. Barely coherent, seriously drunk, high, or stoned, the young men blocked her.

Over the next twenty years, Hayley told no one what happened behind closed doors that night. That is until now.

Oliver Wilkinson is the President’s nominee for a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Hayley Larson can’t let that happen.

But Wilkinson will stop at nothing for a seat on the court . . . NOTHING!

Almost Daddy: The Forgotten Story

The prospect of Ben turning out highly successful in life looks like one any gambler would be foolish to bet against. Smart and resourceful, the high school senior in his final year also has high hopes for his future until he hits a major snag. He gets his girlfriend, who is two years his high school junior, pregnant. On her mother’s advice, they opt for an abortion. Both lovers’ young hearts cave under the pressure of their action, and they ultimately part ways. Ben is now a man secretly running from the intimidating shadows of guilt and shame. His frantic attempts to fill the gaping hole in his heart lead him down a dreary path of darkness, loneliness, and recklessness. No one understands why this once-promising young man is on a downward spiral, not even he does. But it all began after he almost became a daddy.

Almost Daddy by Gregory Mayo is a fictitious story centered on the trauma of losing a child to abortion. It’s a sensitive topic that has caused divisions in many quarters. Interestingly, Mayo doesn’t approach the issue from either standpoint we often see, the two extremes of right and wrong. He’s more concerned with pointing out the effect of the act on the people involved. To do this, he weaves a deeply touching tale.

The book takes us on a journey through the complexities of emotions and how unresolved issues can shape our lives. The prospect of dealing with the pain that comes from major negative experiences tends to chase us into the arms of escapism. We try to numb the pain or distract ourselves, but it’s buried deep somewhere, choking us ever so gently, till we begin to gasp for breath.

Mayo writes in simple, clear language but tells an intriguing story still. His work is yet another proof that great writing is not just about the words you use but how you use them. I was so caught up in the story that I felt I was reading a true story, maybe because the story felt authentic.

By making his characters come alive, Mayo ensures that you are emotionally invested in the story. I was steeply immersed in Ben’s life and followed his journey keenly. At a point, I wished I could have barged into his world and forced him to make the decision that would have changed his life. That’s was how badly I wanted to see him turn a positive corner!

I really liked the thought-provoking quotes at the start of every chapter. They are concise statements packed with profound insights relevant to the story. My favorite has to be the one from John Lennon, “one thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside.”

If there was an award for “an impressively tactful novel on a controversial issue,” I would nominate this book. Almost Daddy is an heart-felt and emotional novel. If you enjoy fresh, fact-based opinions conveyed through immersive stories, you’ll love this book.

Pages: 251 | ASIN: B08LDFDGXY

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Simply Spiffin!

Simply Spiffin! by [Terry Tumbler]

Spiff Tracey is one in a million. Case by case, he takes on the world. Fortunately for the world, Spiff outlives everyone and everything around him. His ability to continue to thrive well into the future is matched by none. Spiff also remains unmatched in his ability to investigate and bring the guilty to justice. When he is tasked with something quite different from all of his other cases to date, Spiff feels he is just the man for the job. Nothing is too difficult and nothing too challenging for a man of his means and vast experience.

Simply Spiffin!, by Terry Tumbler, is the third installment of the Carousels of Life series. Spiff Tracey, the book’s main character is virtually ageless and manages to bring his brand of investigative genius into every decade and every major world event. This futuristic tale smacks of science fiction while at the same time offering humor and bits of intrigue and drama. There is nothing Tumbler hasn’t thought of in book three of this series, and for a third in the series, I feel it can stand alone well.

It is always a breath of fresh air to come across humor in a book otherwise steeped in drama. Tumbler’s books have all of that and more. The bigger-than-life characters are well-developed and stand out against a backdrop of what can sometimes be overwhelmingly technical elements. Each new character is a treasure in Tumbler’s writing. It is not often that readers find themselves just as enamored with the supporting characters, but Tumbler manages to achieve just that effect.

One of the most unique aspects of Tumbler’s writing is the inclusion of song lyrics. There is nothing quite like Tumbler’s work. Nowhere else will readers be able to find the words to their favorite classic tunes woven throughout a work of engaging science fiction. It’s a special blend of music and mayhem and, as odd as it may sound, a nice fit. It’s a technique that is present in each of the works I have read by Tumbler and always makes me look forward to the next one.

Tumbler has again handed readers a fantastic main character, a stand-out cast of supporting players, and a wonderful science fiction plot. Spiff Tracey, the private eye and world traveler, will invite readers in, but Tumbler’s unique brand of writing will keep them coming back for more.

Pages: 336 | ASIN:  B08Q9YKT6L

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