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That Bushytail Is Fated For Greatness

Ruby Knight Author Interview

High Clowder Cats follows a feral tom cat who sets off to find his own territory and start a colony of his own. However, fate has different plans for him. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I guess everyone is really motivated by a sense of wanting to belong and is somewhere on the journey of figuring out how they fit in. Bushytail is no different. The question is, how much of the opportunities one is presented with on our journey through life are due to fate and how much are because of our actions and the consequences of those actions? Bristle does determine that Bushytail is fated for greatness and leads him toward that but on the way Bushytail also has choices to make – the path Bristle laid out for Bushytail isn’t easy and he could have given up – but thank goodness for the readers, he doesn’t.

Bushytail starts out wanting a simple and quite life; what he gets is something much different and harder to adapt to. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

There is a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings that has always stuck with me: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Bushytail’s choice is much like that. He did not choose to be the hero of the story, but when he had the choice to try and help others or walk away, he decided to stand up for what was right.

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

The most important theme is that everyone is a leader and everyone needs to lead by example and be a good citizen. It is easy to feel that you can’t make a difference in the world when faced with enormous issues like global warming but it is up to each of us as individuals to make a difference. In the end, there is no other way to solve the world’s problems except by working together to make the world a better place. The hard problems are a bit easier to discuss through the eyes of cats – it seems to make them a bit more accessible.

What is the next book in the Clowder Cats series about, and when will it be available?

I don’t want to give away any spoilers from book one, but if you have read book one there is a “coming soon” section at the back with some insight into what happens in Book Two: Dark Clowder. The title is a bit of a giveaway! Book 2 is nearly ready for editing at the minute. I will let you know when it will be released on my website http://www.clowdercats.net

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Life is not easy for a feral cat at the best of times, but the difficulties Bushytail faces on his journey to search for a home are far from ordinary.
Bushytail wants to find his own territory, but the journey is dangerous. He has to avoid the humans and their noisy machines as well as being on alert for other toms that may want to challenge him. He is used to relying on his wits to survive: he is a cat and a cat walks alone…
…but this time Bushytail realises he is going to need help.
Bushytail joins up with a band of clowderless young toms, where he meets the enigmatic Bristle whom Bushytail reluctantly allows to guide him. Will Bushytail ever master the three rules and the mysterious powers Bristle is trying to teach him?
He needs to—the future of catkind depends on him.

The Few Cowgirls Around

T. P. Graf Author Interview

A Cowgirl’s Stories is a companion book to the trilogy featuring Jaime Cruz, but here we get to focus on Sallie’s character. Why did you feel like Sallie needed a book of her own to tell her story?

Sallie was introduced very slowly in the trilogy and while as the story progressed, we learned how influential she was to her family, we never had the chance to really hear her story and the stories of her parents. My editor friends all agreed that when the spirit moved Sallie to tell her story, this author needed to take her promptings seriously. I first told them I didn’t think Sallie was in any rush. Then one morning at breakfast, my spouse asked what I was thinking about. (I guess I looked like I was off in some distant place—which I was.) I replied, “I’m not sure you want to know. Sallie is writing the first chapter of her story.” As with all my novels, once I start to write I write everyday as though some tap has been turned on and won’t turn off until the story is told.

What sources of inspiration did you pull from to create Sallie’s character?

Visualizing Sallie was easy. Living in West Texas as I did for many years, there were the few cowgirls around that made my descriptions of her authentic—if a bit of an amalgamation.

As to her essence, I’ve known some strong women in my life including my own mother. I’ll tip my hat to them for all they have taught me by their example. None ever smoked Swisher Sweets or had Sallie’s course tongue. Still, it wasn’t hard for me to imagine that growing up as the eldest daughter on a remote ranch would imbue Sallie with the love of nature, humor, grit and tough old cowgirl demeanor that defines her character.

What scene in the book was the most emotional for you to write?

I have to mention a couple scenes: the day’s events when Bill shares with his in-laws and Sallie, Billy’s leaving home; and when Billy mourns in solitude on the Sierra Diablo, the passing of his beloved grandparents. They share in common the hardship of grief and mourning in the midst of estrangement—making any sadness all the harder to bear.

Did you feel like you were able to complete Sallie’s story with this novel?

Yes. While she would, no doubt, continue her influential role in the family, she clearly states in the final pages, it is for others to pass along her gifts of love, understanding and wisdom to those who follow along with their own stories. Any future telling would fall to Noah or Billy, though I’m not sure the author will get the job done. It would only make sense to me if such an addition followed several years from now when Billy or Noah can really weave a new generational tale.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

No one member of the Geermann-Schlatter family defines the life and essence of the ranch quite like Sallie.
When her great-nephew, Noah, says to her, “Grandpa writes the poems; you need to write the stories,” Sallie reflects upon the lives of those before her, those in her life now and the extraordinary healing that comes to all when hearts are open.
Sallie’s own life has been molded by her father’s reverence for “nature’s symbiosis” and her mother’s contemplative spirit. She blends her characteristic wit and gravitas with her unending love for the people, land and creatures that surround her. She takes us along on the journey as only she can.

If The Goonies Were Time Travelers

Adam Crozier Author Interview

Escaping the Future follows a group of friends on an adventure that leads to a time machine in a wrecked spaceship that sends them to the future. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I grew up on stories like The Goonies and Back to the Future. When I was thinking about ideas to pursue in my own writing, it wasn’t a big leap for me to ask myself, “What if the Goonies were time travelers?” Instead of hunting for a treasure, they could be searching through time for a way home. Instead of the Goonies, the friends from the story were loosely based on the friends from my own childhood. I imagined how my friends would have reacted if they were thrown into the future, and the shenanigans that would result from our choices in trying to get home.

Your characters were interesting and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted to portray characters with the challenges that everyone feels as they are growing up. Whether struggling to make their own voice heard like Sophia, not living up to expectations of others or yourself like Tate, not fitting in like Zoe, or just how to gain the confidence you need to succeed like Nic. Everyone deals with these challenges in some degree at some point in their lives, and how they overcome these challenges is the heart of the person they become.

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

I wanted the reader to understand the idea of seeing things from others perspectives as well as your own, whether it is from strangers or someone as close as your family.  While Nic has to move away, he doesn’t see things from his parent’s point of view. Despite his disagreements with his family, he has to learn to not take for granted the time he has with them. We never know what changes might come in the future, family drama, moving away, or even your own alien situation. Understanding others point of view can help you work together and live in the moment.

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

I am working on a middle grade story where the main character will travel from Earth into another world filled with magic. It is a fairytale about exploration and discovering your own true potential. I don’t have a working date for its release yet.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

The seconds are ticking away. If he can’t turn back the clock, the human race is doomed.

Nic Walker is devastated. Forced to leave behind his best friends because his parents are moving, the bright twelve-year-old is determined that they all have one final adventure. So when they come across a time machine in a wrecked spaceship, a trip to the future seems like the perfect plan… until they discover they can’t get back.

Alarmed to learn they can only move forward, Nic finds them all trapped centuries ahead in a world of jetpacks and flying cars. And with each failed attempt to locate a wormhole and return them to when they belong, the twenty-first-century tween hurtles towards a war that will end humanity.

Can Nic overcome aliens and bring everyone home?

Escaping the Future is a thrilling middle-grade time travel adventure. If you like puzzling mysteries, strong friendships, and eye-popping science fiction settings, then you’ll love Adam Crozier’s captivating quest.

To Create My Own Earthsea

Ian E.S. Adler Author Interview

The Last War follows five heroes as they embark on dangerous quest to rediscover the secret of the Elder Song. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Strange as it may seem, I found out about the Elder Song a bare moment before Loremaster Aneirin did. I knew from the start that the five were going to summon the power of the Dragonkin using the Shrines, but how they were going to achieve that – i.e. the setup – was a mystery to me until a heartbeat before Aneirin heard of the Elder Song. However, while the setup came organically in that sense, the Cynnahu Saga itself is directly inspired by the late Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle; in short, her Archipelago inspired me to create my own.

I remember first reading The Earthsea Cycle in elementary school, hearing the mage Ogion of Re Albi say “To hear, one must be silent.” And I still remembered those words when I took the series up for a second and third time, years later. While the rest of my generation went to Hogwarts with Harry, I traveled by ship to the School of Roke with Ged.

Isn’t that interesting? I openly and sincerely adored Middle-earth and idolized the wizard Gandalf, but it was Ogion the Silent who I related to: “He spoke seldom, ate little, slept less. His eyes and ears were very keen, and often there was a listening look on his face.” I also remember being struck with the fact that Earthsea was an Archipelago, the first I had ever encountered in a Fantasy, with no true main continent to journey across; rather the journeying was done by ship, in the soul, and on different Isles each of which had a special distinction – its own personality, if you will. I was so struck that even at so young an age I decided that if I were ever to write a Fantasy book then it would take place upon an Archipelago. I knew I wanted a mages’ school, a ruling Archmage, and ships. Interesting is it not? I idolize The Lord of the Rings, yet never felt the need to create my own Middle-earth.

Your characters are all unique and detailed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Most simply came to me, cliche as that sounds. However, I tried to have them represent something I felt needed a voice. Archmage Hoth is my idea of an ideal leader. Myrriden is a single father who is not afraid to show how much he loves his son and surrogate daughter. He represents rank, power and skill coupled with humility. Emrys is not unlike myself at his age, nervous and following the rules fervently, yet possessing an inner flame and smarts. He is not the stereotypical brash “boys will be boys” hothead and is instead deeply thoughtful. Sakura is a girl who had everything she loved taken from her in an instant, and now seethes with a need for vengeance. She represents trauma that takes time to heal but is smart and would fight to the death to defend her still living friends. Volcan is the mysterious and unwillingly funny figure you can utterly trust and who keeps surprising you, because every good Fantasy needs such a character.

Stormlady Mica leads the blue warriors because I have noticed that, in Fantasy, women tend to use their wits and magic while the men lead the actual glorious cavalry charge; women have the special powers while the men use swords. This is hardly an ironclad rule and, even if it were, there is nothing wrong with it – indeed I love countless books that employ this storyline tactic. But I wanted to flip the coin. I wanted a woman wearing armor and leading the land’s most elite warriors into white-hot battle while the men wrestled with matters of magery.

Loremaster Aneirin in the scholar in me, for I love historical research and adore archeology. Yet just as much he – and the grey nobles in general – portray my firm belief that the best societies are deeply aware of their own history and learn from their past. Instead of trying to gloss over or justify the genocide of the Dragonkin, most modern Cynnahu folk – thanks to the Loremasters – are appalled by their ancestors’ deeds. Furthermore, I prefer wars won in ways beyond mere military tactics and/or magic as otherwise it is boring. Which is why Aneirin uses his scholar’s training to unravel ancient mysteries, his work being crucial to the war effort and the quest for the Elder Song despite never fighting.

Did you plan the story before writing or did it develop organically while writing?

A bit of both. I had what I like to call beacons – major events I wanted to happen because they were turning points in the story – but getting there was up to me. I was like a ship captain sailing unknown waters towards the distant lighthouse then, upon reaching it, setting out for the next. So I planned the story insofar as the beacons went, but everything in between developed organically while writing.

This is book one of The Cynnahu Saga. What can readers expect in book two?

Book two, Dragon Guardians, will hopefully be out by this time next year. Hopefully. I am making no promises as life has a horrid habit of getting in the way, but the book is fully written – meaning all that remains to be done is editing. Indeed, even the rough draft of book three, Mages’ Legacy is complete.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The people of the Archipelago of Cynnahu are used to war. Aeons ago their ancestors conquered the old continent, wresting it from the native Dragonkin whom they wiped out in a land-shattered conflict. Then, five hundred years later, new invaders arrived from the unknown south, the mireborn Naga, the snake-folk of Nag Isle who the Cynnahu folk have been ceaselessly fighting in the millennia since. But nothing prepared then for what was about to happen. A time foretold by an ancient Seer and Archmage speaks of a time when the Archipelago must fight its Last War against the Naga, a time when five heroes – Traveler, Orphan, Survivor, Student, and Lord – will set sail to rediscover the secret of the Elder Song.

Only they are not heroes. They are Myrriden, the footsore mage and single father; Sakura, an orphaned and homeless girl seeking vengeance; Volcan Darkrod, the enigmatic Fire Mage; Emrys, Myrriden’s nervous son; and Archmage Hoth, the unflappable Leader of the Cynnahu folk.

Guided by an ancient riddle recently uncovered by the famed Loremaster Aneirin, these chosen five must a run a race of swords, spells, and dusty scrolls – for while the Elder Song was crafted to summon the primeval power of the Dragonkin to save the Isles, it has, down to its very name, been forgotten. Will the courage and wits of two eleven-year-olds and three vastly different mages be enough to free purposefully hidden secrets from forces older than the Isles themselves and reunite the scattered Song while fighting a desperate war on land and sea? Only two things are certain: where swords fail scrolls may prevail, and that humanity stands at doom’s edge and time is against them.

What if I could have her back?

Daniel Santos Author Interview

Life is Inevitable follows two teens who commit suicide and accidentally switch bodies on their way back and are forced to fix their mistake. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration of this story spawned from the Death of a good friend of mine. She died by her own hand before my high school graduation and I always asked myself, “What if I could have her back?” That first question is what gave this story its idea of being given a second chance, and the body switch aspect came to mind when I kept wondering what life was like from her perspective.

Brennan and Olivia are interesting and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

For most of my characters I want to make sure that they represent a certain idea or philosophy. In fact, even the names Brennan and Olivia have their own meaning in different cultures. For example the name “Brennan” is a name of Gaelic decent meaning “sorrow”. I wanted him to be the embodiment of the quote “A child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” He shows the idea that hurt children will grow to hurt others. On the other Olivia is a very different person and her name means “Peace”. This name is a perfect representation of her personality because even though she is hurt by the world, she shows compassion to everyone. I got the idea by giving her traits I wish I had, as well as traits I see many religious figures show.

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

The theme of nature versus nurture was one of the important things I wanted to explore in this book. While it’s not the only theme, it’s definitely one that fuels the other topics of suicide, death, and despair.

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

The next book I’m working on will complete the series Life is Inevitable and will be available at the beginning of 2023 at the earliest, or during the middle of 2023 at the latest.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Brennan has spent most of his life angry at the world and everyone in it. Day by day his
rage escalates until he can see only one escape route. – Independent Book Review

Olivia has spent her life tormented by those around her. She’s constantly trying to shrink
herself in the hopes that people will stop noticing her. When making herself smaller
doesn’t work, she realizes the only other option is to stop existing. – Independent Book Review

A story about trauma, abuse, and mental health, Life is Inevitable is about Eighteen-year-old boy Brennan, and seventeen-year-old girl Olivia, who have their entire lives and worldview changed when they commit suicide on the same day. In this world, the dead are brought to a train station where they receive tickets that send them to heaven or hell. However, Olivia and Brennan are given a second chance. An angel gives them train tickets that will send them back to their bodies, but a new problem emerges when they accidentally switch their tickets. In the world of the living, they wake up in each other’s bodies and are now forced to undo the mistake they just made while living the other person’s life.

Threatened By Narco Thugs

Ana Manwaring Author Interview

Nothing Comes After Z follows an investigator who rescues a trafficked girl only to realize that the cartel that paid for her wants her back at all costs. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I drove to Mexico in July of 1991 in my /v/w bus with my German Shepherd mix. At dusk on a lonely stretch of the PanAmerican Highway, I was threatened by narco thugs brandishing weapons (pointed at me) as the cabin of the bus filled with the odor of ripening marijuana. During my stay in Mexico, I read Desperados and learned about the cartels and their many activities.

JadeAnne Stone is a strong and intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

JadeAnne, a rescued orphan brought to the US during the Vietnam Babylift, was adopted into a white, upper-middle class family and raised in a wealthy suburb of San Francisco. She didn’t fit in to her society and needed to get away to look at her life. When she arrives in Mexico she’s pretty ignorant and has to toughen up fast. As she learns how things work in Mexico, she finds her true values and her place in the world.It isn’t unusual for adopted kids to feel out of step with their families and environments. I wanted to explore that.

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

First, I was interested in the process of self-actualization—how people (outside of therapy) come to know themselves and change. Second, in my opinion, slavery of all kinds are the greatest and most insidious evil in our world. I wanted to develop a story that exposes this evil in a way that took trafficking out of news articles and commentary and put it into an emotional context, which might grab readers in the gut and make them think.

Will there be another book in the JadeAnne Stone Mexico Adventure series?

Absolutely yes. Book 4, Coyote, Pursuit and Terror Across the Border publishes on November 16th. This book completes the story of the trafficked teen, but doesn’t end the cartel threat to JadeAnne. That’s all I’m going to say!

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On the mend from a gunshot wound in Mexico City, investigator JadeAnne Stone needs to get Lily, the trafficked fifteen-year-old she rescued, back to her family in the U.S. But within hours of her release from the hospital she recognizes her nemesis Anibal Aguirre, trolling her neighborhood in a black SUV. Is he looking for her? He’s the one who sold her to the traffickers. Her U.S. operative father puts together a team for round-the-clock security, and Anibal is arrested during an attack on the house, but at the airport the U.S. Marshal transporting him is killed and he disappears. Who knew Anibal was being extradited at 12:30? And why does it appear the Aguirre clan is right in the middle of a deadly human trafficking network? JadeAnne realizes that between the cartel traffickers, the government officials in their pockets, and possibly the handsome doctor she danced with in the park, nowhere and no one is safe, not even her dog Pepper. Whichever cartel paid for JadeAnne and Lily wants them back, and time is running out.

Price of Life

Price of Life by David Crane is a page-turning and suspenseful science fiction story that follows the journey of a prehistoric boy who discovers an unusual meteorite while hunting, which gives him the power of immortality. He becomes the first known human to possess this power, and all the benefits and challenges that it carries. It’s a great supernatural story that touches on many historical eras, including references to World Wars I and II and the Russian Civil War.

Crane writes in such as realistic way, as if the story is a documentary, following the character through many years, societies, and relationships. The gift of immortality is a power for which many people would do anything, but what are the consequences when an immortal falls in love with a mortal? Many people, such as Laura, keep the nature of their existence secretive, though eventually, it must be revealed to those closest people to her. The story explores many aspects of immortality and how living without the fear of aging and dying, while an amazing experience, can present a new world of challenges.

How do the characters handle life after thousands of years of existence? Would you abandon your gift of immortality to become a frail mortal and live like everyone else? Crane does an exceptional job of bringing up the question of humanity’s fragile existence and how people would handle a life that never ends. Is it a gift that later becomes a curse when everyone you love eventually leaves you in death?

I recommend Price of Life for its original and creative style and unique twist on the human side of a popular science fiction theme. It’s a great story for fans of this genre who want to explore the implications of immortality.

Pages: 318 | ASIN: B00Y424WD6

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The Way of Courage

Mia the small raccoon loves exploring and hunting alongside her mother and brothers. But when the unexpected occurs, Mia finds herself far from home and everything she knew. Thrust into a brand-new environment, and struggling to use her limited knowledge to survive, Mia finds herself in danger as she fights to adapt. Discovering new allies as well as new enemies, Mia and her friends, Coe the handsome raccoon, Henry the badger, and Gallant the crow work together to defend their forest home. Encountering both good and bad from their human neighbors, Mia and her forest community must find a way to protect their futures against a deadly foe.

Raccoons are one of nature’s most endearing creatures. When I was young, my family and I would safely observe these highly intelligent creatures from our own home. The Way of Courage showcases the raccoons propensity for mischief and their ingenuity in navigating situations. The message of protecting the forest environment as shown through the eyes of Mia feels authentic and grounded, while the characterization of the animals weaves a story that is both suspenseful and engaging. I loved the legend of how the raccoon got her mask, and I look forward to the day when leg-hold traps are effectively illegal nationwide. This is an adventure story that has intense moments, but that ends satisfactorily with no loose ends. This educational children’s chapter book also includes notes on safe observation tactics and how to chronicle your own nature findings.

I recommend The Way of Courage by Janet Hallagin for its ability to weave an important message of ecological protection into an interesting and informative narrative. A story of bravery, teamwork, and going the extra mile to protect the world from harm, The Way of Courage is a highly engaging children’s book about heroism, and how even one small raccoon can make a big difference.

Pages: 156 | ASIN: B0056J6WES

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