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Designed to Frighten

Anita Dickason Author Interview

Anita Dickason Author Interview

Not Dead starts with the abduction of a little girl but slowly builds into something more ominous. How did this idea for the novel start and change while writing?

The doll on the cover exists. It’s sold as a prop for Halloween houses. Several years ago, the picture of the doll standing in a decrepit, ramshackle room was the subject for a short story contest. Intrigued by the image, I entered the contest. While the doll was designed to frighten, I wanted a different twist. That’s how NOT DEAD got started. The original story was 500 words, and the title was Not Dead, Not Dead. I won third place. And, that’s all it took to get me hooked on writing.

I have always wanted to go back to that first story and turn it into a full-length novel. With the foundation of the plot in place, it was perfect for the expansion of the characters, location, and the dolls.

I felt that the mystery and intrigue was built exceptionally well in this novel. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer for this book?

I enjoy creating a plot with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing, right up to the last page.

This novel highlights how difficult it can be to lose someone. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this novel?

I’m not certain there were any themes. It’s more my law enforcement experience and knowledge that add realism to my plots and characters. As a cop, children were the best and worst of my experiences.

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

NOT DEAD is a deviation from my FBI Tracker novels. For the next book, I am back with the Tracker team in high gear as they deal with espionage and murder. I don’t have a title yet as my titles are inspired by a phrase or idea in the plot. So far, inspiration hasn’t struck, and the file is still titled—no name. My goal is to have it ready to publish by late spring/2020.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Not Dead by [Dickason, Anita]

A small-town Texas cop who is haunted by his past.
A reporter who risks it all, even her life.
A kidnapping that crosses into an unearthly realm.

Focused on the abduction of four-year-old Mandy Norton, Chad Bishop, Meridian’s Police Chief, ignores the twinges of foreboding triggered by an eerie fog that shrouds his town. What he can’t ignore is the editor of the Tribune.

When Ashley Logan becomes embroiled in the search, nothing stops the hard-hitting, investigative reporter, including Chad’s threats to throw her in jail. She’s Mandy’s aunt.

As the mystery of Mandy’s disappearance deepens, unnerving details emerge. Chad refuses to believe they’re connected to his past until the case turns deadly. He’s forced to face the terror that haunts him. It’s waiting in the shadowy depths of the unearthly fog.

This time, it could cost Chad more than his sanity.

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The Adventures of Jules Khan – A Teenage Muslim Superhero

Karim K Devji Author Interview

Karim K Devji Author Interview

The Adventures of Jules Khan – A Teenage Muslim Superhero introduces a new superhero that changes how teens & adults consume faith, fiction & entertainment. What was your inspiration for this idea?

Almighty God and teenagers are the inspiration…

‘Bring the lost souls to me…through youth entertainment’ seemed to be the inspiring message I was imagining…

As I began writing I was sipping on Starbucks Christmas Blonde Coffee ( that’s where the idea of a Blonde blue eyed Muslim Superhero was conceived – can you imagine? ) located on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, I would happily visualize teenagers across USA and the world gathered together reading ‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ as they busily chewed pink bubble gum, smiling, laughing and thoroughly enjoying reading the comic book or paperback or watching the movie or playing the Electronic Arts game of Angelina, Boris and Jules getting chased relentlessly while searching world Museum’s for clues…

Jules Khan is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that drove the character development?

A modern day blonde blue eyed teenage muslim superhero – who would accept that? Changing the judgement narrative was one idea…Is Jules Khan the next new Avenger in the Marvel series or a Superhero in the mega entertainment world? Could he bring a ‘cool’ factor to young Muslims, Jewish, Christians and all faiths? I am hoping so…Could the characters in the book be as slick as the characters in a Hugo Boss commercial? So many ideas….

This book did a great job of blending faith with modern action comics. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your book?

Theme number uno: Marvel Studios crashes into the 3 monotheistic faiths was a main theme that would appeal to teenagers and adults; maybe a theme creation of a new acceptable way to learn more about other cultures and faiths in a safe, fun, entertaining and modern non-judgemental environment…

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

The Comic Books, The graphic novel, the adult novel, the movie, the electronic games, the merchandise…so much to do and so little time….

Somehow after receiving a winner recognition through the Canada Book Awards 2019; New York City Big Book Awards’ for young adult fiction – Distinguished Favorite 2019 recognition, Literary Titan Gold Medal Book Award plus between 4 and 5 star reviews it has given me the confidence to develop

‘The Adventures of Jules Khan’ from a simple commitment of a book into keeping this amazing project under development into the future…

The Comic book should be out in 2020…

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

New York City Big Book Awards’

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

The Adventures of Jules Khan: A Teenage Muslim Superhero by [Devji, Karim Kassamali, Devji, Karim]What would you do if you held the power to help the entire world? It sounds intimidating, but one teenager, Jules Khan, embraces his destiny for the good of all mankind and all faiths. Jules takes you on a narrative adventure that spans the globe, which is already raging from WWII, racing against the evil National Weapons Association and their followers. With Mother Nature given superpowers and some surprising and formidable friends, can Jules find out the truth about his family and his future in time to save the world?

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Dark Times

Dark Times (EuroSec Corporation) by [Gerhartz, Michael]

In Dark Times Michael Gerhartz explores the delicate yet sadly relevant organ trade problem. In this fascinating novel readers get a glance into the complicated and cruel organ trade business. The narrative is constantly changing its perspective, from the lucky recipient to the doomed donor while following the incredible adventures of the engrossing main character, Natascha.

Michael Gerhartz creates a globe-trotting and energetic crime drama that is full of unexpected twists and deadlt turns. I felt that there was a focus on painting the bigger picture while discounting the details. The overall plot was engaging and stimulating, but at times I felt like the characters were acting against their own principles because a certain act was required to propel the plot. While Natascha was a stand out character to me, she was so well constructed that other characters felt underdeveloped in comparison. The personality that is exhibited by the characters is exceptional and authentic but I wanted to see more of it. This story reminds me of Pulp Fiction, where many smaller plots and character stories all interweave to make one complex story. Although this keeps the tension high and kept me flipping pages, it could be hard to follow at times. I enjoyed the way in which the author portrays security companies and the human face he gives to people working in Masad.

I can confidently say that I had a great time reading Dark Times by Michael gerhartz. The story is perfect for readers who like to follow clues to solve intriguing mysteries. Dark Times reminds me of Tom Clany’s Jack Ryan where agents embark on clandestine and deadly missions to overcome a terror menacing the world. Perfect for readers who embrace a bit of romance in their action adventure stories.

Pages: 738 | ASIN: B07MTQ9YWC

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The Wrath of Leviathan

The Wrath of Leviathan (The BetterWorld Trilogy Book 2) by [Weber, T.C.]

The Wrath of Leviathan is the second book in the BetterWorld Trilogy. In this book, the T.C. Weber artistically creates characters that are both enchanting and entertaining. The reader follows through the trials and tribulations of characters who, despite the evil of the world, fight to make things right. One is taken through insane and sometimes creepy locations that require the characters to be intelligent, keen on their surroundings and witty to survive. The Wrath of Leviathan covers various themes that are relevant in the real world. Political wars, state prisoners, cyber-crime, government relations, family and freedom are some of the major themes in the book. The pros and cons of technology unfold in the story as we follow characters who use their power to manipulate situations.

The reader experiences the turmoil and chaos created by individuals whose greed only gets crushed by people who have a conscience. Waylee Freid is in custody for acts the U.S government considers crimes. The good lady is charged with conspiracy, fraud, theft, assault, trespassing, and cyber crimes among many other offenses. I like how the author developed Waylee. Even with the alleged crimes, Waylee came out as a character whose aggression was necessary for her survival. Waylee was imprisoned in Sao Paolo, Brazil by the U.S government, something that bothered her sister Kiyoko. I liked Kiyoko as a character because of how passionate she was about the causes she cared about. Miranda Rossi’s character was too real, I could not picture her in any other role other than the Sao Paulo Bureau Chief, Department for Human Rights and Social Affairs. She understood her job and tried to be courteous every time.

The Wrath of Leviathan is packed with blustering adventure. Kiyoko and her squad were my favorite. Their dedication to fighting evil, and exposing and destroying MediaCorp’s plan to take over the world made the group easy to empathize with and root for. MediaCorp is almost the cliched villainous corporation with dangerous intentions and malign motivations. The yin and yang between MediaCorp and Kiyoko’s team is starkly drawn and I appreciated how easily it was to align with these characters.

I was thoroughly entertained following this inviting tale that engagingly handles trade agreements among countries, political affiliations, government operations, the lives of activists and hackers, and rebellion. T.C. Weber makes every piece of the story exhilarating as he pits well developed characters against well developed gambits. One constant thing throughout the book was the continuous action that was smartly placed to keep the story moving. Every new chapter unveils something new about the characters and a new twist to the story. I recommend The Wrath of Leviathan to readers who enjoy thrillers, cyberpunk science fiction and adventure books.

Pages: 288 | ASIN:  B07GJVHMQS

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What Happened To Joe French?

What Happened to Joe French? is a novella written by Hector Rodriguez that follows the winding story of Joe French, a man who lives his life by impersonating, lying, stealing, and creating cons at every turn. The text opens with the mention of a puzzle hidden in the pages of the story, with a prize of 33 gold ingots. After that attention grabber, the story begins with a young man named Daniel describing his limited experiences with Joe, an older man that Daniel would often see at the family bar. When Daniel receives a package years later with 33 gold ingots and a letter from Joe, Daniel does his best to narrate how Joe came to receive the package and where Joe is hiding now. After this information is set, the story follows Joe from a third person view and plays through his story, most of which occurred in the US military. You’ll have to read to the end if you want to know how Joe scrapes his way through situations and problems of his own creation.

What Happened to Joe French? is entertaining in it’s unique ability to create curious, compelling and sometimes amusing situations. Joe has many close encounters with famous people of the early 1960’s, which gives this novel some star power and Hollywood intrigue. He even spends a good amount of time convincing people that he is Otis Redding, which he uses to his advantage enough to make it into the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago.

While I thought the story was entertaining and I enjoyed following Joe through his misadventures and his near escapes, I felt that Joe had no good motivation for what he was doing in the story. I didn’t feel like there was a potent reason for the lies and the thievery. There is a couple mentions of a lost chance at love, but it does not feel connected enough to the plot.

As for the puzzle that is hidden in the pages, I have to admit that, while I definitely located a few of them, I was not able to find all of them, and some I wasn’t even sure were clues. For example, there is a mention of “Coca-a-cola”, which has an added “a” in the middle. Is this a clue, or just a spelling error? There’s no way to know! It all just adds to the fun of the novel, which if I had to sum up this novel in one word it would be just that, fun.

Pages: 142 | ISBN: 1684701856

 

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Cries of the Forsaken

Cries of the Forsaken (The Broken Pact Book 2) by [Jerome, Kristopher]

The pieces are on the move. As one moves against the other, readers may wonder who is pulling whom and to what end? Does divinity mean the essence of purity or simply the chalice overflowing with power? Cries Of The Foresaken by Kristopher Jerome is a story full of twists and turns that will keep you hooked from beginning to end!

Normally I am very particular about fantasy worlds as many books start well but fail to keep it coherent throughout the story. That is not the case with Cries Of The Foresaken. Even though I realized a bit later that this is book one in a series, I didn’t mind it for two reasons. One, the story started strong and it kept me glued. Two, the author did not try to place undue focus on the background but kept the story well bound to a few characters. As I progressed through the book, I was not disappointed with the turns and twists that I never saw coming. The book is consistently engaging and sometimes there were twists where I didn’t even expect there to be one.

The other thing that I liked about this book was that the author did not try to make it a colossal work like the Tolkien series or the ones by George RR Martin. I prefer a book which does not conform to the stereotypes and is different from the rest. While Cries Of The Foresaken has room to expand, it’s not forced.

I felt that some of the characters were too rushed and I had to turn back to see previous pages. Some things get explained in the course of the series and characters are fully developed, but in this book alone, I felt, the characters were a bit hollow. One thing that I thought slowed the pace was a pause in the middle as the characters were pursuing side missions. Lastly, I felt that the ending was a bit too rushed, leaving too many open threads to tie up. This being part of a series I expect these will be tied up before the series finale, but I still felt the this novel on it’s own did provide me with a satisfying ending.

Cries Of The Foresaken is an exciting and riveting book that is an entertaining read and definitely in the top 10 books that I have read in 2019.

Pages: 299 | ASIN: B07YLC6JNY

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My Daddy Might Be A Wizard

My Daddy Might Be A Wizard by [Hebert, J. J.]

One of the best things about being a parent is when your kids think you are the best! Magical and wise and you are their favorite person. One of the best things about being a kid is that you believed in magic and were filled with wonder! Those were the days. Author J.J. Herbert pens a whimsical and endearing children’s book My Daddy Might Be A Wizard that is able to capture all of these feelings. Filled with fun and sweetness, the story is told through a child’s perspective and accompanied by charming illustrations that embody the same sentiments.

This a perfect book for parents and children to read together to see how kids perceive their parents through the magical things they see you do. This would be a great way to share with them the things your parents did that you found wonderful and a little magical.

I still believe that my Dad’s hugs were filled with magic because they always made me feel better too! So, pick up a copy of My Daddy Might Be A Wizard and enjoy a light-hearted, breezy and quick story with your youngsters.

Pages: 24 | ASIN: B081TT1WPV

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The Reefs of Time

The Reefs of Time: Part One of the "Out of Time" Sequence (The Chaos Chronicles Book 5) by [Carver, Jeffrey A.]

The Reefs of Time is a classic science fiction story about the adventures taking place in a distant cosmos. The novel starts out with our protagonists, John Bandicut and Co., feeling restless and ready for action after the end of a successful mission. Ik, Bandicut’s friend, manages to get ahold of Julie Stone, Bandicut’s ex-girlfriend. In his quest to bring her back to their world, he messes up and suddenly, the gang finds themselves in a strange new place. The portal has messed up and communication is becoming tougher. When the threat of the Mindaru looms over them, the group is split up to take care of this danger. Interesting new characters and a lot of gripping adventures follow and lead to a tremendously exciting ending.

The Reefs of Time is rich in character development, which I found refreshing for a science fiction novel. The characters were not always what they seem, but they were drawn with enough depth and sensitivity. I could empathize with nearly every single one of them. Although I felt that some elements of John and Julie’s relationship were left unexplored, their dynamic was super fun and interesting.

Shipworld was a glorious and imaginative place. The history and elements of this universe were very well-detailed. I felt immediately absorbed and captivated by this new, futuristic world. The story was also about Shipworld as a whole, not only focused on the lives of protagonists. It often hinted at a deeper picture at play, a sinister and nefarious plot that was puppeteering all of their actions. Even some of the well-intentioned were misguided in their behaviour. At times, I was confused about who I should root for, but I believe that’s a mark of a well-told story. Some of the scientific and futuristic jargon alienated me at times, but it was never too much. After all, who knows what the future really holds. The starstream is almost poetically depicted, lending a surreal nature to the whole deal.

The story is chock-full of action and adventure, pretty much guaranteeing an edge of the seat experience from start to finish. It’s definitely an innovative and thrilling universe and I would love to return to it.

Pages: 474 | ASIN: B07R3D5WZL

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Darker, Sassier, and Overall Bitchier

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

Zachary Ryan Author Interview

The Revenged Queen takes place after Danielle exposes every dark secret her classmates have. What were some new ideas you wanted to pursue in this book that were different from the first book?

I wanted to up the game when it comes to this novel. I wanted to go darker, sassier, and overall bitchier. It was my favorite in the series because I wanted people to feel like the gloves truly came off.

The characters in this book are well developed and diverse. Who was your favorite character to write for?

Honestly, Bethany was my favorite to write in this book. I wanted people to understand her more since she was so just the villain. I wanted people to go she’s a bitch, but a lovable one. Also, Emily’s story arc was incredible too. I loved writing some fake and heavy stuff with her.

Much like high school, your characters are going through a lot of different things. Where do you find inspiration and how does it become ideas for your book?

I let the characters take me there. I know that sounds so arrogant, but I just write what they’re doing. I’m surprised with how much they shock me or take me a place I didn’t expect them to take me. I wish I could say it’s from my persona life or ones around me because that would make me feel better writing future books and not having my characters inspire me.

One Queen of an Ending is book three in the High School Queens trilogy. Where will the story take readers in the final chapter?

Spoiler Alert, Jordan won’t be the only death in this trilogy. It’s going to get even more intense. I think the bitch wars ends with a bang. i loved that i highlight all that I felt emotionally connected in the series in this. It’s dark and dramatic. It opens at a funeral, so I’m ready for everyone to read the final in the trilogy.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

The Revenged Queen (The High School Queens Trilogy Book 2) by [Ryan, Zachary]

No one knows the real Marked Queen, but now everyone wants to know her. In this sequel to the insatiable first novel, High School Queens, you will die to know more about your favorite dirty little Queens.

As we say goodbye to the Johnson Prep Seniors, the scandals and lies that exposed them in the beginning are back with a vengeance.

The Marked Queen thought she had the last laugh at prom. Now, it seems a new girl is coming for her crown. With a new title, The Revenged Queen, she was out for blood and her prime targets—the ones exposing everyone’s dark and dirty little secrets. As we dive deeper into this scandalous and humorous world of prep school teens, we learn that everyone is a hustler with a secret and a Hollywood sob story.

Can Danielle keep her new illegal activities to make money under wraps? Was Calvin going to have a warm welcome as he outs himself as gay? Was Delilah going to take the knife from Danielle out of her back and stab her with it? Was Bethany going to enjoy her rule as queen bee or fail spectacularly? And was there more to Jordan than being just a slutty, party girl?

As the scandals pile up in front of them, their secrets will be exposed… And each secret is even more delicious than the last.

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A Journey Through the Darkness

Jenn Lees Author Interview

Jenn Lees Author Interview

Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is set in a war torn medieval world where the convictions of two unlikely allies are tested. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

In this particular story in the Dál Cruinne Series, I wanted to write a character with this world’s version of a superpower, asking the questions of what would someone give to obtain the advantage, what has it really cost them, and how do they reconcile within themselves the life they lead because of that power? And of course, I threw in the unpredictability of the human heart when the chemistry called attraction is involved.

My goal as a writer was to finally commence a story that has been in my head since the mid-1990s. Long before I even contemplated being a writer. I love fantasy and wanted to try my hand at it—as so far, I have written dystopian/romance/time travel. And yes, I do tend to mix my genres. I’ll do the same with this series as the next books are an inter-world fantasy.

I enjoyed the relationship between Vygeas and Leyna and thought it was well developed. What character did you enjoy writing for?

I enjoyed writing Vygeas. I always seem to identify the most with my male protagonists. Maybe because I was a tomboy.

I loved writing the fight scenes. I used to do martial art but not much with weapons and never a sword, but I always love watching a good sword fight. Also, I’d love to ride a warhorse. And who doesn’t want a special gift that gives you the advantage over almost everyone?

Writing Vygeas’ tortured, convicted soul on the verge of great change was a journey through the darkness, looking for the light. Something I feel we all experience, and so I could identify with him, and I hope the readers do too.

And I enjoyed the way Vygeas’ taciturn personality bounced off Aiden’s talkative, open, oops-I’ve-said-too-much, honesty.

The depth of the backstory and world-building is something that was well executed. How did the idea for the world start and change as you wrote?

The fantasy world of Dál Cruinne is more like an ancient Gaelic/Celtic world than a medieval European one. Hence the Gaelic words in the title and the place names, and landscape very much like Scotland. As the series progresses the reader will find many more differences, such as how kings, their righ, and high kings, ard righ, are chosen in this world.

I didn’t purposely set out to make a non-European fantasy world, but I do feel it’s been done enough in this genre. I have a love for Scotland, its history and geography. I’m fascinated by the Celts in Britain and the history of the Gaels in Ireland. My ancestry is from both. And I love the sound of the Gaelic when it’s spoken. So, to me, an ideal fantasy world has shades of all of these—and castles of course! I took my inspiration from these cultures but haven’t based it exactly upon them.

I’m not too sure if anything changed as I wrote, as I had worked on the type of world I wanted before I began. The main thing that surprised me in the writing was the amount of magic that came out in this particular story. It probably isn’t anything like Druidic magic, but as I said, this world has shades of those cultures and isn’t a carbon copy.

Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is a novel in the Dal Cruinne series. Do you plan on writing more books in this series?

Murtairean. An Assassin’s Tale is sub-titled as A novel in the Dál Cruinne Series and isn’t book one as such. It is an introduction to this world and there will be other stories, which run serially (to themselves and not necessarily to Murtairean), but Murtairean is a first glimpse and, hopefully, an enticement for the reader to stick around for more. I’m sure Vygeas, Leyna and Aiden will turn up in the other stories. Lord Ciaran certainly does.

I have a duology/trilogy in the planning with the first draft of book one almost completed. The series will be Arlan’s Pledge (Arlan means pledge in the Gaelic) and the first book is Trastaidh. The Crossing. The main character, Arlan, is the son of current Ard Righ of Dál Gaedhle (the large western kingdom of Dál Cruinne), who finds himself transported to our world, to Scotland, and meets the attractive Rhiannon. Will he find his way back to Dál Cruinne, or, after spending time in Rhiannon’s comfortable western culture, does he really want to?

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Murtairean. An Assassin's Tale: A Novel in the Dal Cruinne Series by [Lees, Jenn]

Leyna, a warrior woman and high-end thief, turned her back on her title of Lady Leynarve of Monsae after her parents’ murder. Bent on revenge, Leyna travels to a hit where assassins gather, intending to find and kill the one who ruined her life.

Vygeas, a mercenary and assassin, has the gift of heightened perception, enabling him to sense his opponents’ emotions and anticipate their every move. Sickened by the warmongering, Vygeas awaits execution for desertion. But he’s given one final task to win his freedom…kill a mark and avoid the gallows.

Unaware of Vygeas’ trade, Leyna hitches a ride with this handsome sell-sword with exceptional abilities. Vygeas realises he has encountered the beautiful and capable Leyna’s family before…on a previous hit.

While pursued by a powerful sorcerer-mage, they combine their skills to thwart his attempts to capture Leyna and destroy Vygeas.

Fighting their joint foes without, and battling their torments within, Vygeas and Leyna discover the truth that could destroy their newly forged relationship.

Will their past define them, or will they discover all they could be?

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