The Land of Ick and Eck follows Harlot’s strange encounters as she travels through a strange land. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
I’m fascinated by children’s stories that are strange and make you think, “Wait, What? Haha, did that just happen?!” Victorian literature for children, as well as older versions of fairy tales, are where I found inspiration for the setup up of this book; they so often make you take a step back, laugh, think, and then continue on with curiosity. These stories can sometimes be whimsically mature, exploring violence, sexuality, and/or morality in creative, imaginative ways. Not treating children like delicate sugar-flakes and allowing for such content adds so much depth to the meanings and understanding of the stories, something I have found difficult to come across in modern children’s literature.
So when I started writing, I wanted it to be something that that gave me similar feelings to when I read older, bizarre fairy tales. I wanted it to take place in a strange world, where things were non-sense, but also made sense if you had the knowledge to understand what was happening, especially when the reader becomes aware of the innuendos. Like many episodic folkloric tales, there is much more than what lies on the service, multiple understandings; that is what I really enjoy about such types of stories. This is one of them.
The world that you’ve built is enthralling and curious to say the least. What were some sources of inspiration for when creating this world?
Reading literature about/from the faerie, medieval, Georgian, and Victorian world was where some of my inspirations came from. I would often find myself reading, for example, faerie lore and tales, medieval fabliaux and chivalric romances, and strange episodic stories that involve children, such as Jerzy Kosiński’s The Painted Bird (a modern tale). I wanted to create something like Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Lewis Carol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but darker and with more macabre and questionable situations.
The realm of Ick and Eck needed to somewhere that made sense not necessarily for the human world but in the faerie world. It was to be a place that the mind of an imaginative child could easily follow and bring to life, but for adults, things might seem a little off (unless they still have the child within them). It needed to be absurd, but penetrable if you put yourself in a different sort of mind-set. To get this inspiration, I often found myself delving into the artworks of Brian Froud and other artists who have continued to add to the world of faeries and fantasy, also mixing them with some of my other interests.
One of those curiosities was religion. There are many religious characters in the book, ranging from the fat-Friar, empty moon creatures, Crowned-Alter-Fops, gluttonous monks, to name a few; I enjoy studying Abrahamic religious texts, traditions, as well as medieval stories of how clergy use power to control others. Several scenes in the book comment on these injustices, but they are mixed in with the faerie world to create a more folkloric feeling. Truth be told, no hesitation of satire was taken.
Another source of inspiration was the study of medieval and Victorian prostitution. As a reader would observe, the protagonist’s name is Harlot; yes, the story does indeed explore the ideas of a dark side of history, as well as a subject very much alive today. From the exploration of courtly love and the desperate knights in need of a doctor’s (i.e. a beautiful woman) cure to save them from love sickness, to the poetic grocery-list like booklets of women found in Harris’s List of the Covent Garden Ladies, these studies were an essential backbone and driving force of inspiration. The story is a critique of this behaviour. It is meant to bring light to a subject so many people want to hide.
The introduction of the book lays this out:
- Into a land of fantasy
- With haste we cast them all aside
- No tearing if you cannot see
- That is what we all make-believe
My list of inspiration could keep going on, so I will stop before I get carried away even more.
Harlot is a curious and innocent character that I found endearing. What were some driving ideals behind the character?
I wanted to create a character that constantly found interest in novel things, while at the same time never really learns much from their experiences. Even after Harlot is assaulted at the beginning of the book (i.e. her blue flower), deceived, used, and treated as inferior, she continues on. Some say this might be a weakness, others a strength, that is for the reader to decide.
I have found it quite funny though, how some people really like Harlot, while others really do not. Some like her curious and innocent perspective, while others think she is rude and inconsiderate, and do not want their children to read about her because she is a negative role model.
In any event, what drives Harlot is her curiosity, her unwavering innocence, and her ability to navigate such a strange place, the land of Ick and Eck. She is such a strong character, a feature I have seen in people who have been abused. I can never understand their strength. They are stronger than I could ever be.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on a couple projects, but I am a very slow writer. It took me eight years to be contempt enough to pursue publishing The Land of Ick and Eck: Harlot’s Encounters. But in any event, I am working on a continuation to The Land of Ick and Eck, per say, following a girl named Perfume, as well in another section about Harlot. Each are separate and different stories, written in different styles, but in a way they meet together through common characters, situations, and absurdities.
I am quite excited about it, though I do not know how long it will take to complete.
A much too trusting Harlot finds herself in the preyful Land of Ick and Eck, a place where she encounters peculiar creatures that have the most awful intensions of the carnal sort. By happenstance, she finds the company of a Ground Faerie, a Wood and Water Nymph, and a Butter-Maiden to assist her (sort of) along the way.
But Alas! How the outlandish figures are quite the handful, ranging from the likes of Spriggans, the-man-with-a-can-for-a-head, Jaw Skins, to Alter-Fops, a knight of courtly love, and a Nigwig (to name a few). Thankfully, there are moments of repose, such as those with the band of eunuchs with sacs on their heads, the beautiful Milk-Maidens, and the adventures within the Faerie Ring.
Though the bombardments continue to pursue her, Harlot’s innocent temperament, irrational faith, and devotion to feeding her curiosity provokes her forward, and thus her true strengths are revealed within the Land of Ick and Eck.
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Rachel is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character?
I decided to set her character around my own experience as a nurse in my earlier years and incorporate places I have visited.
This was a mystery novel that was filled with unexpected twists. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this book?
I wanted to capture Myanmar particularly as it really is a beautiful country with lovely, friendly people. I have visited Myanmar 5 times so I guess that speaks for itself. The book just evolved on one of my visits to Burma, when sitting at the beach after visiting their main jewelry market (Scot’s Market) where there was a plethora of ruby’s on sale.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have since written 2 other books of different genre. The Power of Childhood Dreams ( a pre-teen book) and Turn Pain Off – both of which are under my marital name. Linda Hehir.
Kidnapping Mystery: A thrilling adventure with a touch of romance and an unexpected turn of events.
Derek young man arrives at the hospital unconscious. Rachel, a nurse, finds strange objects in Derek’s shoes. Facing an ethical dilemma, Rachel investigates the objects further. The theft of Derek’s clothes from the ward and Rachel’s bedroom being ransacked indicates that Derek’s attacker is still looking for something he desperately wants. Alerted of these events Rachel began to feel anxious that her life could be in danger through inadvertently becoming the temporary custodian of the strange objects she found amongst Derek’s property. Upon Derek awakening, she felt compelled to help him. In asking for Rachel’s help to save his child, Derek sets in motion a course of events that leads himself, Rachel and Max, the grandson of an Australian exporter based in Thailand, into dangerous territory. Travelling halfway across the world transporting the ransom to save Derek’s child, Rachel is kidnapped in Thailand and transported to Myanmar (Burma) and in the process of risking her life falls in love – a love destined to ….
Ruby Ransom is a unique combination of mystery, suspense thriller, romance and includes a medical theme. It brings together three strangers, where trust, fortitude, courage and intuition are required to help save a child from captivity, with an unexpected outcome.
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Tags: adventure, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, Burma, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, linda dunion, Linda Hehir, literature, love, love story, Myanmar, mystery, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, romance, ruby ransom, shelfari, smashwords, story, suspense, travel, womans fantasy, womens fiction, writer, writer community, writing
Raised on the deadly streets of New Orleans, James Johnson is displeased and disheartened by the drug game and the sickness it’s inflicting on his race. Unexpectedly, James met and has befriended, America’s most wanted and deadliest fugitive, Osama Bin Laden. Now he and Osama have joined forces in an effort to eliminate the nations drug trade.
Recently inspired by the rapid growth of ISIS; James, a legendary figure and underworld boss, has amassed enormous wealth, acquired a Harvard education, and is now poised to revolutionize the entire nation.
However, the stakes are high and many powerful people will lose fortunes if James prevails. Foreign assassins are pouring into the United States to wage war in what will become the bloodiest international war ever fought in an effort to strengthen a race.
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The story Oink and Gobble and the ‘No One Can Ever Know Secret’ is a children’s book about a group of farm animals trying to keep a secret from the humans living with them. The two main characters, Oink and Gobble, spend all of their time together, and are best friends. When Oink goes to talk to Gobble, she thinks he is joking about the little girl that’s been watching him. He lets Gobble know that the girl may suspect that they can talk. They both get worried that their secret may be revealed.
Oink and Gobble and the ‘No One Can Ever Know Secret’ is a interesting story! It really grabs the audience’s attention. The book has a great plot that utilizes suspense and humor in exciting ways throughout the story. The characters are lovable and have their own unique personalities! The change in font size definitely made the story more suspenseful, and allows the reader to understand the importance of those words. This story is definitely good for kids that are still beginners at reading. There aren’t any huge words that would be too hard to understand. The art is cute, using bright colors to showcase characters that are really emotive. The pictures make the story even more enjoyable and makes it easy for kids to imagine each scene; as it’s a still image of an animated cartoon. This is a book that is easy for kids to enjoy, and is one that kids would want to read over and over!
Pages: 30 | ASIN: B07L5W3SS6
Tags: alibris, animal, animals, art, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, children, childrens book, ebook, fantasy, farm, fiction, fun, goodreads, humorous, illustration, ilovebooks, imagination, indiebooks, kids, kids book, kindle, kobo, literature, no one can ever know secret, nook, novel, oink and gobble, parent, picture book, pig, publishing, read, reader, reading, shelfari, smashwords, story, teacher, turkey, writer, writer community, writing
Brenna and Adara are twins living in England that spend their days with tutors and fancy automated machines. When not working on their schooling they’re reading from the Grimoire. From the Grimoire they learn of the Elemental Gods and pretend they were them. It wasn’t until they moved to Massachusetts that they began to realize they were different. On their first day of school they meet twin boys, Dimitri and Wyndham that share their same last name, Devins, as well as strange white streaks of hair. From there they realize they all have over-sized pets, a toad, lizard, owl and rat that just found the children and attached themselves to them. Slowly as they get to know each other they develop strange powers, telepathy, the ability to control elements, and the mysterious Grimoire that each has a part of starts morphing before their eyes. What does it all mean? How are they connected? Why are strange things happening to them? What happens when the stories they read as children suddenly start coming to life?
Children of the Elements by Ora Wanders, is set in a steampunk reality of the semi modern world. There are parts that remind me of early frontier times, the one room school house, the simple country life, but then she adds in the steampunk elements of automated machinery and clothing choices. It is a mix of modern and old and blends together in a fascinating way that makes sense to the story line. Each set of twins have similar backgrounds, only one parent, both moving from homes with lots of machinery to a simpler life and only bringing a few things with them, the Grimoire that seems incomplete to each set. When they meet, it is literally like puzzle pieces fitting together. The story is exceptionally well written and everything flows naturally and story elements occur organically. I could picture the characters clearly, the bickering and playing around that you expect from young adults comes out. I found it all relatable, even in the magical setting.
This was a book that I didn’t want to put down. The plot moves quickly, the character development is integrated with the plot, so you’re not weighed down with back stories and character development early on. All that information comes out as you meet the characters and see them interacting with their pets, teacher, and each other. They are typical teenagers with attitudes and short tempers, but you see them grow from the early pages to the end. Without giving away key elements, I can say that all four children are able to grow and see their potential while still retaining a child like wonder of the world. It has all the elements a reader of fantasy could want; magic, conflict, family drama, growth, and an open ending to continue the saga.
One of the most amazing things about this novel is the author. Ora Wanders is only ten years old! I could not believe this when I finished the novel and wanted to learn more about the author because I loved the book that much. I am looking forward to the second book in the series and much more from this amazing young lady.
Pages: 310 | ISBN: 1797718002
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A superhero mashup from the talented minds of Cosby, Dodds, and Champion containing all your favorite characters from the authors own respected series. These three well-accomplished authors team up to produce an ambitious novel. At times this story works well and seamlessly provides a world where these superheroes can come together and fight yet falls short to bridge the gap between each story line and harness a collective voice among the numerous characters.
Infinity 7 begins with the rise of a dark power. As the growing threat draws closer to earth the Capes, Majesties and Solar Warriors band together to solve the mystery of their fearsome foe and hold their own against the escalating violence around them.
Those who have read Dodds, Champion, or Cosby’s previous novels will appreciate the crossover character interactions, powerups, fight scenes and the familiar personalities of main characters. I don’t discourage those who have not read all prior books about the Majesties, Capes and Solar Warriors. In fact, I’ve only read Cosby’s novels featuring the Capes but became increasingly curious about the origin story of Solar Warrior and the Majesties. Menzou, in particular, was a standout character in the latter half of the story.
It is safe to say when three separately established narratives come together an overload of characters is bound to happen. Trying to fit every character from every book into one story gave way after only a brief introduction for the main players. And then to add new characters made for an even muddier predicament. The portal jumper Tenan was one of my favorite superheroes, not so much for his abilities (that spot is held by Blurr), but for his evolution as a character. The concept of his being and power capabilities were truly fascinating and a new twist on the typical portal hopping powers. Tenan’s narrative stood out among the others for the creativity and consistency and I applaud the authors for integrating such an engaging plot within an already chaotic universe.
I love a good superhero, sci-fi, adventure series and this book has all the makings to be a good one. My wavering stance is for the lack of world building and character development which had me scratching my head in confusion more than once. Still, I imagine readers who read all former books from the authors’ will greatly enjoy the journey. And semi-new readers such as myself will soon be putting the adventures of the Majesties, Capes and Solar Warriors on their future reading list.
Pages: 421 | ASIN: B07MJ928B8
Tags: action, adventure, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, braxton cosby, Capes, chayil champion, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, Infinity 7, Infinity 7: Gods Among Men, keshawn dodds, kindle, kobo, literature, Majesties, mystery, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, shelfari, smashwords, Solar Warriors, story, super hero, super powers, suspenes, thriller, violence, writer, writer community, writing
The Aristocrat by Regine Dubono is a short story about a girl named Marianne Maywee, who lives with her family (including her younger sister, Paula) in Nice, France. One day an older man appeared in their lives and introduced himself as their godfather, Mr. Giles. Marianne and Paula go on many outings with Mr. Giles, until the day he does not come to their house as expected. Marianne learns that he’s in the hospital and she goes to visit him. Will this be the end of their enjoyable outings together?
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A small-city newspaper publisher lies on his deathbed, unable to speak, looking at his eldest son in hate and heartbreak before he dies. A phone call commences a cross-country journey to a bloody destiny for a man who has existed in the shadows most of his life. Years in the past, a man’s desire to save his family’s legacy leads to an unthinkable deal with a devil, one that will one way or another destroy lives. And private investigator Randall Arthur must race against time to discover a long-held secret and to protect a family from utter catastrophe.
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The Love of Gods, written by Tarrant Smith is the first book in the paranormal romance series, The Legends of the Pale.
The story is an intriguing combination of a murder mystery and love story. As with any good romance, the story has a masculine hero – Lugos. Despite being a god, Lugos prefers the company of humans. Whilst Lugo is investigating the death of a high-ranking witch his relationship with Keely Ann Lee, a Southern bar tender develops from a simple friendship into romance. Unbeknownst to Keely, Lugos has loved her over several different lifetimes. This time, he will do all he can to protect this mere mortal.
The story is set in Pale, which are a group of supernatural communities, but the characters are spread over different physical locations including Ireland and America.
There is a large and daunting cast of characters, which appear and disappear throughout the book. The author provides a comprehensive character list at the beginning, which is appreciated, but flipping back and forth gets a bit disruptive. The number of characters is further complicated by the fact that these are paranormal characters such as demons, witches, gods, shifters, demigoddesses and familiars. Each character has their own special powers as well as personality and location. That said, it did not take long to get my head around the number of characters and any fan of epic expansive fantasy novels will appreciate the intricate backstory that Tarrant Smith ha created.
Interwoven into the story are both paranormal and human experiences. Characters constantly move from using human technology such as cell phones, luxury cars, classic cars, security systems and Google maps to teleportation and shape shifting. They move from the mundane such as using passports to shifting from human form to animal form. This adds interest and intrigue and ensures the story is fast moving.
The dialogue between characters is rich and realistic and enhances the relationship between characters. The tale is also enhanced with some interesting metaphors, for example, Keely is described at one point as “a puddle of need”; which is my new favorite phrase.
The Love of Gods is a well written story. The dialogue is engrossing and most of the characters and their loyalties are intricate but explained in depth. Both the love story and the mystery will keep you guessing until the end.
Pages: 268 | ASIN: B07PWB8V36
Tags: A Gina Myoko Mystery, alibris, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, god, goodreads, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, love, love story, magic, mystery, nook, novel, occult, paranormal, publishing, read, reader, reading, romance, shelfari, smashwords, story, supernatural, Tarrant Smith, The Love of Gods, witch, wizard, writer, writer community, writing
Rogue Genes follows Tommy who is dealing with the trauma of the military while seeking revenge for the death of his mother. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I woke one morning from a disturbing dream, and told my wife I was going to write a novel. The fact that the dream had no bearing on the eventual story line didn’t matter, at least it got the ball rolling. For the next two years I literally lived two lives, completely involved with every emotion of the characters I had created. A real labor of love.
I always knew that one day I would write a book or two, and for that reason I was never an avid reader. I simply didn’t want to have someone else’s story buried in my subconscious, to one day be revealed unintentionally, as my own. Originality was the key. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of the enormity of the task (100000 words with two fingers) until I had committed myself, but by then it was tool late. I was hooked. The truth is I had absolutely no idea where the story was going from one day to the next, and this continued pretty well for 2 years. I think it would be accurate to say the book wrote me. I put a lot of thought into the characters, hoping to bring them to life,and from the feedback I have received I seem to have achieved that. Hopefully, one day the book might be a movie.
I guess the story does seem a little unbelievable at times, and I tried to counter that by making it obvious in the characters conversations that “you are never going to believe this, are you kidding me” or “unbelievable, you are going to have to write a book about this.” The funny thing is, you would probably never believe the number of those bizarre coincidences, or similar events, that I have actually encountered personally or indirectly in my life!
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Well I would love to do a sequel, but self publishing is no easy task, I guess the sales will dictate that.
From the moment nurse Marge McConichee laid eyes on the one-day old baby boy, abandoned at the hospital where she worked, she knew he was meant to be hers. Marge and her husband Joe had been hoping to adopt a child, and, after pulling a few strings, the baby was put in their care. They named him Tommy in honour of Joe’s father. Following Joe’s untimely death, Marge was forced to raise the rebellious Tommy on her own. A couple of stints in a boy’s detention centre are followed by a term in the army, where after graduating to the Special Service, Tommy finally returns home a somewhat damaged and reluctant hero. Eventually meeting the girl of his dreams, Tommy’s life is then shattered by the death of his beloved Marge; an event that sets him on a path to find his biological mother. His journey is littered with bizarre coincidences, and acts of evil, which leave Tommy determined to avenge the sins of the past. Some families have a member with a Rogue Gene, but in this family, it was part of their DNA.
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