Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest follows Rathen and his crew as they fight against an ancient and terrible deity. What was your inspiration for the setup to this novel?
Bramblewood Forest is the second book in the Rathen Series and continues from the first, but also reads well as a stand-alone story. The inspiration for the series came from when Steve and I played role playing games in the early 80’s. Steve, as my step-father would bring home a variety of board and card games where you had to create background stories. I am not sure many people these days can imagine a life without the internet or well-made computer games, but we had to be creative and use our own imaginations for entertainment.
We also played a lot of Dungeon & Dragons back then where we created entire worlds with a complete cast of characters. I was just a teenager but I learned what went into creating a story. My particular passion homed in on how the characters were influenced by their environments and worlds and how an ordinary inhabitant could strive to be a superhero even without supernatural powers.
The legend of Ghrakus Castle was roughly based on a story Steve created a long time ago. I took the idea, drew more into it, and added that as a background for the characters to interact. Steve and I have endeared a long lasting collaboration on stories and role playing game ideas and hope to keep it going for a while longer.
This is a thrilling book that combines elements of science fiction and fantasy. What was the collaboration like between the two of you while writing this book?
This was the fun part. Steve and I would sit and talk for hours brainstorming new ideas and concepts that we could integrate into the story. We created the magic system in Rathen’s world and explains in detail the strengths and weaknesses. We described things from completely other worlds and even went as far as explaining how the deities came into being. My favorite creation was the ancient being known as “Arg’grimorem” Rathen and his group had to face. Believe me, it isn’t easy coming up with new ideas in the fantasy genre, but I think this creature was unique.
There were so many intriguing characters in this novel. Who was your favorite character to write for?
That is a difficult question. I really got into the heads of all the characters giving me such a strong connection to them. Rathen is always fun to write, but we had such a variety in this book. Magom, who is the character that really stands out in the group, was a challenge since he is an undead being. I had to really think what it would be like to be dead but yet still walking around and interacting with others. But I have to say my favorite character to write for in this book was Caswen, the young cleric from the temple. She had such a fun `coming of age` story and her character arc really made her feel complete. I wanted to continue writing her even after her story had ended.
This is book two in The Rathen Series. Where will book three take readers and when will it be available?
Book three, “The Battle for Korganis”, is still being written. Rathen will enter Bandark’s strange new world and help fight against the forces of the evil deity. It is shaping up to be quite an epic battle. It may be overly optimistic, but I am hoping for a release near the end of 2019.
A man driven by revenge. Another world in peril. A long-forgotten deity determined to destroy all in its path to ultimate power.
Rathen, ex-captain of the late king’s army, pulls together a team to defeat the evil that threatens them all. The Book of Ziz, with its instructions for protective spells against an evil deity has fallen into the nefarious hands of High Priest Litagus, meaning soon untold evil will reign unchecked if Rathen fails.
Consumed by his personal vengeance for the betrayer in the earlier death of his friends, Rathen travels to the ruins of Ghrakus Castle to enlist the aid of the very being who tried to kill Rathen once before. Only the black powers of this ancient evil can ensure their mission to steal the book back, but can those powers be trusted?
To safeguard his group, Rathen also recruits Caswen, an inexperienced young healer determined to make her mark on the world. Together with Bulo, an ex-gladiator and fellow warrior, Thack, a one-armed half-orc, and Bandark, a mysterious mage from another world, the group heads through the menacing Bramblewood Forest to confront Litagus and his followers.
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The Infinite Wisdom follows Braxton into a genetics lab, while looking for his fiancée as he stumbles across the origin of the hairless apes. The mythology of the world is that mankind has vanished. Are you looking to further that mystery or will we see the hairless apes reappear?
Book 3 of “The Snow Adventures”, will reveal more information concerning the hairless apes. In addition, new developments in the reason for the space station will come to light, but not without its costs. For this information will cause a tragedy amongst the animals which will change the characters’ lives. Shaking up the norm for the path of Book 4.
I enjoyed the underlying technological theme throughout the book. Did you conduct any genetics research for this book?
Although science can fascinate and inspire my writing as we continue to stubble into the future, I conducted no research into the making of this book. All genetic hypotheses and advance sciences presented within this book comes from the countless movies and science fiction books I’ve read or watched over the years. I merely laid out the ideals and incorporated what aspects of each I felt would best open imaginative minds to concepts our current technology are already adventuring within.
The cover art for this book is awesome. What was the development like for this cover?
For a writer the cover is the most important beginning for any book. Never mind all the hours, days, months or even years of hard work that goes into a book’s development. If the cover arts not appealing, all the investment an author has made will be for not. For a reader must have their interest peeked to invest their time in simply picking up the book for a curiosity look see. This is why I spend a lot of time considering the cover. It must convey an imagery of events to be found within the pages of the book while not promising any falsehoods. With these concepts I had to considered what would best convey the plight of the characters. Who besides Braxton should or shouldn’t be portrayed. The fact that Joann, his sweetheart is a driving factor in the book told me she had to be included. But how then do I present them? Escaping? Boarding the space shuttle? Talking with the unicorns, Mr. Thelin and his sister Ms. Thelin? All good avenues of presentation. Yet everyone’s desire to be free felt to be the most important aspect for the cover. For a reader will see our heroes’ plight and wonder as to how they got there and what must be done to escape. This then seemed the most obvious choice as it invited the reader to at least explore as to how they were imprisoned within the pages and I hope, would invest the reader to continue reading in order to see our heroes gain their freedom.
Where will we find Braxton in the next book in the Snow Adventures and when will that be available?
Braxton will find himself back into his old job of investigations. Though in truth he’s rather be with his wife, Joann and their growing family. Current circumstances however will lead him on a chase for an escaped murderer who somehow has vanished from a secured holding cell. How and why will leave the animals shaken to the core. This Book 3, of The Snow Adventures, I’ve slated for an appearance on amazon sometime in 2020.
Braxton Snow, P.I., big city arctic wolf, is back!
While escaping the glacial clan of his birth, Braxton lands in a sinister genetic laboratory established by the hairless apes long ago. With the help of his new allies, Braxton navigates this alien technology to find his jackrabbit fiancée. But the curious archaeologist red fox has nailed all their coffins by pushing buttons he shouldn’t. They know where the hairless apes went now—somewhere the animals should not have followed! Will they ever return home?
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Seven Beyond follows Dr. Meenins as he goes on an adventure spurred by wild dreams and helped along by unlikely friends. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I was first attracted to the idea of writing about people with long life and how a century can be devoted to a specific study of music or warfare without loss. Also a woman can enter business without feeling the pressure to give birth to all her children within a single decade. As my father aged, I wondered how very old people cope with loss of friends, loss of a homeland, or a faulty memory without companions to reinforce the old heroic tales. The storyline grew from there.
Dr. Meenins is a well developed character that I enjoyed reading about. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to his character’s development?
Dr. Meenins is troubled by dreams that are his memory turning. The character has lived for 800 years and traveled to other worlds. He started a blood feud by killing another Longist, his great friend Frum from the Soldier caste. The relatives of Frum cannot with honor allow Chris Meenins, who they know as Clem from the House of Past Promise, to live. He must side-step assassins in each situation on each planet that he visits.
When our story opens, Dr. Meenins is channeled and believes that he’s an aging temporal earthling. He enters resurgence where he accepts that his knowledge is greater than he could attain over a temporal’s lifetime – human anatomy, advanced weapons, the relative positions of the stars. As a Longist, he must face his past guilty acts that perpetuated the blood feud. Only in full memory can he lead the colony to the new homeland.
This is an intriguing setup to a novel that is high in social commentary. What was your moral goal when writing this novel and do you feel you’ve achieved it?
The Longists maintain group identity with social castes and old stories and ancient books of wisdom. To match those, I used Christian beliefs and stories from the Bible as the source of strength for Lady Drasher and other traveling companions.
The traveling group starts in old Russia, travels through the Caucuses, and across the Mediterranean to the northern coast of Africa, before they visit England and fly to NYC. They are piercing time from the 18th into the 20th century. They also test many philosophical theories that groups used to justify political movements.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The Backside of Beyond is a companion book to Seven Beyond that opens a generation later with a few characters the reader will recognize. Dr. Meenins’ daughter lives as Yolanda Santiago in fragmented America and volunteers for a brain implant experiment that is a corporate and military partnership. She gains core programming, making her independent and lethal, and goes rogue with a traveling group who are on the provinces’ most-wanted list. Her Longist friends who integrate with society in the USA have spiritual questions and join a tent revival movement to heal America and bring down the bisecting fence.
The Backside of Beyond is in beta now and may be released in 2019.
Dr. Meenins has recurring dreams that are his memory turning. He resists facing his guilty acts from eight centuries ago. Linda Deemer of his race of Longists is sent to help him step through painful memories of lost companions.
Travel companions help Dr. Meenins confront his dreams while haunted by wispy memories of faraway places and alien races. The reader is treated to his past adventures on other worlds where Christopher Meenins escapes assassins of a blood feud and gathers followers to find the new homeworld.
A quest novel that, in broader terms, is a cautionary tale with many tongue-in-cheek references to true human nature and injustices of contemporary society. Similar to Cloud Atlas or Sense 8.
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A Memory of Solstice follows Lincoln, an attorney with incredible powers that wants to live a normal life, but is unexpectedly thrown into a raging conflict involving two worlds. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I’ve always loved the idea of superpowers and unnatural gifts. Control over water was my favorite ability which I grew fond of after watching The Last Airbender. Sadly, I saw the movie before the show. I started to come up with my own adventure revolving around the idea of humans with these gifts and it kept changing as I matured. Somewhere between the years, a new planet was added when I wanted to feature a larger universe.
Lincoln is an interesting character that continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture with his character?
I really wanted Lincoln to come off strong as a natural leader. He was the one who the others saw as someone relatable and trustworthy. However, he also needed to come with his own conflicts. Though he has powers, to him, they are almost a burden that keeps him from understanding the way the world works. Through the story, I wanted to portray his story of curiosity as he begins to learn that there is more than what is seen in black and white.
Lincoln collects a team of people that have extraordinary powers based on the elements. How did you balance their power to make it believable?
The powers the six have are pretty ridiculous, in a sense of what they can do. This book only previewed their strength. However, because they have been isolated and scared to really show them on Earth, none have had a lot of experience so they are still in a young stage of their gifts. And like all great heroes, they need villains equal or greater in power to preserve the balance.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book is the second title in the series which is called, Theory of an Origin. I would like it to be available around the time of the new year, but then again, I am not so good with personal deadlines.
Before Earth, there was Solstice, a world where humans were not the only intelligent life. None on Earth remember their old home, but there are those on Solstice who have not forgotten the new planet to which humanity had fled.
For Lincoln, an attorney in Washington, he wishes for nothing more than an ordinary life, but fate can rarely be chosen. Lincoln has possessed incredible powers that he has kept a secret ever since he was a child. When a stranger comes to town, Lincoln learns that he is not the only one with extraordinary gifts. Five others also possess the abilities of the six elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Life, and Mind. With the help of the corporation Xelix, the six began to learn to control their powers so that they can stop hiding in the shadows. At Xelix, however, there is more transpiring than what it seems…
Over the course of their training, Lincoln and the others find themselves asking what is Solstice? And what does it have to do with their powers? As they are thrown into the middle of a raging conflict, the fate of two worlds falls to them, with Earth serving as the final battlefield. However, before any of them can protect the universe, they must fight the greatest battle of all, learning who they are and what it means to be human.
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Letters to Mary Susan chronicles the life and adventures of a Missouri outlaw that is in prison for manslaughter and is trying to reconnect with his daughter through letters. What was your inspiration behind this story?
The book’s main character, Jim Howard, was one of my father’s boyhood heroes and he’d retained “Jim Howard stories” for over 70 years. I’d promised him, in 2002 to make these stories central to a book with Jim Howard as its main character.
This is a great historical fiction novel that got a lot of the details right. What kind of research did you do for this novel to keep things accurate?
I did a lot of online and library research re: pre-Civil War, Civil War, post-Civil War “outlawry (“guerilla warfare”), Cattle drives, the rise of Montana outlawry and the “Wild Bunch,” Big Muddy outlawry, leading to personal interviews and old newspaper/library reviews regarding homesteading and personal interviews with prison personnel regarding prison characteristics as well as older individuals with recollections of the Prison Chaplain’s, Howard’s lawyer’s and Howard’s daughter’s roles in his release from jail.
What I liked about James’s character was that he held nothing back and didn’t try to cast himself in a good light, just told it like it is. What themes did you want to capture while you were writing his character?
That redemption and a new start is possible for us all.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
A book of poetry that I hope to have ready before the end of this year.
In his historical novel, LETTERS TO MARY SUSAN, Jerry Hammersmith chronicles the life and adventures of a Missouri outlaw, James Marion Howard. The novel is narrated by an aging Jim Howard as he begins to serve a sentence of fifteen years for Manslaughter. His lonely prison cell in the newly built Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert is the impetus to repent and reconnect with his past.
Through Jim’s reflections and letters to his long-estranged daughter, Mary Susan, the novel becomes a chronicle of the life of a Missouri outlaw who fled post Civil War America, leaving behind his wife and family and seeking escape from the law by racing across the western states, robbing stage coaches, trains and banks, until a posse chases him across the 49th parallel and into the newly formed Saskatchewan, Canada. He finds a new life and becomes a citizen of Canada after fulfilling the homestead requirements and establishing a new identity there.
As Howard recalls his outlaw past, Hammersmith leads the reader into the saga of the American Civil War, the tragedy of post war devastation and the flight of an insurgent guerrilla on the run to homestead in the ‘promised land’ of Canada. The surprising identity of that outlaw and his place in the small community of Teddington, Saskatchewan provides a tale of adventure, mystery and passion.
The twists and turns of this amazing story offer a glimpse into the ravages of the Civil War and the aftermath of the brutal and senseless vengeance that stole the lives of many young men. It leads the reader to an understanding of the path of a man’s choices and the hope that redemption is possible for us all.
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LoveQuest by Pamela Jean Horter-Moore is the story of Psyche, a mortal girl blessed by the goddess Aphrodite with great beauty. She is so lovely, that she receives admirers wherever she goes. When Psyche offends Aphrodite, by seeking the approval of her envious sisters and taking her beauty for granted, Aphrodite decides to take revenge. Using her son, Eros, she attempts to punish Psyche to a loveless life. But things backfire because Eros falls in love with Psyche. Both are torn between their families and their love for one another. They must decide what is most important in life.
I am fascinated by Greek mythology with its heroes, monsters and gods, so I knew I was going to love this book before I had even started! This is an epic love story based on an original Greek myth that we know and love, but it is fleshed out with a unique narrative and a fresh take on the characters. Although it is primarily a story of romance, there are obviously fantasy aspects in there–the author excels at writing both genres and combines them expertly. Through a great feat of imagination, Horter-Moore has put a really creative and refreshing twist on what could have been a stale story.
Horter-Moore’s prose is a joy to read, it is straightforward whilst being eloquent and descriptive. It flows beautifully throughout with quite a dream-like tone which captures the milieu perfectly. The narrative is based more on internal thoughts and feelings rather than dialogue, which gives us great insight and understanding of the characters motives and desires. When there is dialogue, it is actually quite modern, for instance, “Why do we have to spend every vacation here?” whined Tanna.“That oracle never has anything interesting to say…”Although this could have felt inauthentic, I actually thought that it was a great way of making the tale more accessible and up to date. The author particularly excels at writing place, and the setting of ancient Greece is magically conjured; it is a world full of gods, superstition, soothsayers, seers and magic. The prose is extremely evocative of scenery and I felt transported to the slopes of Mount Olympus.
The characters really come alive on the page, and they are portrayed with such sensitivity- -the author isn’t afraid of illustrating their flaws and complexities. The relationship between the sisters Medea, Tanna and Psyche are particularly well portrayed, illustrating all of the complicated feelings of jealousy and yearning for approval. The love between Eros, who is the perfect mate, and Psyche, who is deeply imperfect, feels very genuine, and I felt completely invested in their relationship.
Although this is a story of Gods and mortals living in a time unlike our own, the narrative reminds us that ultimately any human heart can suffer and love in universal ways. This is a great read for any lover of myth, fantasy or romance, and I look forward to more from this author!
Pages: 186 | ASIN: B06XTX3TFH
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Into the Night, by Jerry J.C. Veit, is a play featuring an unlikely pairing of main characters who have set out on a journey together to battle the barbarians making their own way across the countryside. While on their mission, Samuel and Valencia are simultaneously fighting to save themselves from two ruthless vampires hellbent on destroying them both. Valencia’s past with Isabella, one of the vampires pursuing them, her knowledge of vampires and their habits, and her well-honed fighting skills drive her desire to set out on this dangerous trek across the English countryside. Samuel, unknowingly, has agreed to a trip that will change the course of his life.
This piece by Jerry Veit reads smoothly and much more like a narrative than a play. In fact, I found myself often forgetting that I was indeed reading a drama rather than a fantasy in narrative form. Veit has included a good bit of narrative which helps to set extremely vivid scenes and helps the reader visualize the intensity of the protagonists’ multiple encounters with the vampires and the barbarians.
As for the two different plot lines within the play, I found the vampires’ appearances throughout the story to be somewhat less than I had expected. The bulk of their interactions seem to be at the beginning of the play. I was much more interested in the plot involving our heroes and the vile vampires, Isabella and Cerbera. Though the barbarians involvement in the plot was important, well-drawn out, and wrapped up neatly, I would have preferred to have read less of the main characters’ plight with them.
Regarding the author’s style and chosen genre for this story, I felt it would have read wonderfully as a novel. Veit is adept at writing narrative description of time and place. He also gives his characters memorable lines, both dramatic and comedic. This work could translate easily to stage or to a full-length novel. I would love to see more of the pairing of Samuel and Valencia.
Valencia herself is an enigma, and Veit has written her character amazingly well. His introduction of her in Act I leads the reader down a path of assumptions about both her nature and her abilities. Veit works her expertise with weaponry into the plot in a satisfying fashion leaving no room for doubt about her from that point on in the plot. As the reader, I was as surprised as Samuel to find her so skilled and, later, to discover the reasons behind her competence in battle.
Without giving away too much of the play, I must comment on the conclusion. Being one of the readers wrapped up in the parallel story line involving Samuel and Valencia, I would like to have read more about the search for Samuel in the last act. I won’t say more. (Readers will know what I mean.) It has the makings of a strong act of its own leading to the conclusion.
I give Into the Night, by Jerry J.C. Veit, 5 out of 5 stars. I am not one to enjoy plays, but as I said, this one reads more like a narrative and has all the hallmarks of a vivid, well-thought through, detailed fantasy. Veit has managed to set his story in England in the 1300’s, giving readers who prefer that historical feel to their vampire tales something in which to revel. His characters, both heroes and villains, are memorable and leave the reader wishing for more–always the true sign of great work.
Pages: 166 | ASIN: B00Q1P3U2I
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The Bug Boys vs. Professor Blake Blackhart follows Alex and Ian who still have nanobots inside them and retain the ability to take on the different aspects of bugs they swallow. What direction did you want to take this book that was different from the first story?
Well the first book was the origin story. How the kids got their powers, and a lot of get-to-know-you stuff, where they live, etc. In the second book, I didn’t have to go over all that again, at least not as much, so I focused on upping the ante with bigger bugs, robots, action, and a proper super villain character. I also wanted to explore what being a hero was all about.
The writing in your novel is very artful and creative. Was it a conscious effort to create a story in this fashion or is this style of writing reflective of your writing style in general?
This is my writing style. I like to keep things moving along at a brisk pace, and I always jump on an opportunity to see the funny side.
I felt this story was very well written. What’s your experience as a writer?
Thank you! As a kid I was always a story teller. More recently I set up my own movie review blog, and after a couple of years doing that I decided I was ready to construct a full novel. Since I’ve watched and analysed so many films (and books, I read a lot too) I think I’ve got a good handle on what’s needed in a story. It also doesn’t hurt to review one’s work with critique groups either!
Will there be a book three in The Bug Boys series? If so, where will it take readers?
There will, eventually! Tentatively titled, The Bug Boys and The Bullet Ant Queen. This one will spend a lot more time exploring the alien’s planet (The Bug Boys are going to visit!), while I explore the subjects of change, and the environment. This one will likely take a bit longer to put together as I also have another novel I’m working on. Something for adult readers, a little afterlife dramedy!
The fantastic superhero adventure that began with The Bug Boys continues! Alex Adams and Ian Harris take on Blake Blackhart, a disgraced Oxford professor. He discovers the boys’ source of power and plots to use the Secti’s alien technology to wreak havoc across the galaxy.
With a proper real-life supervillain in the village, the boys must step up their superhero game if they are to put a stop to the professor’s nefarious schemes. Along the way, they make new friends, and they encounter new bugs and superpowers. With the fate of the galaxy in the balance, the boys dig deep within themselves to truly understand what it means to be a hero!
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