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In The Wild

Daniel V. Meier Jr.
Daniel V. Meier Jr. Author Interview

Bloodroot follows one man’s story of survival in America’s earliest settlement. What inspired you to write a book about Jamestown in 1609?

I’ve always been a history buff, and I majored in History in college. Jamestown is not far from where I ended up living, so I could imagine what life was like for both the Algonquins and the settlers. I began to imagine what it would be like for a young man raised in a civilized country like England to suddenly have to survive in a wilderness with no amenities.

What were some ideas that guided Matthew’s character development?

I wanted Matthew to be of the working class with working class values. He is practical, and as such chose carpentry as a profession where work would be easily available. This is accentuated by the contrast with his friend Richard’s scholarly pursuits and who ultimately could not survive in the wild environment.

I enjoyed the well defined historical aspects of this book. What kind of research did you undertake to ensure the story was accurate?

I took many trips to Jamestown and studied the architectural reconstructed site, and I was able to make use of much of the historical data they have to offer. I also took advantage of several written accounts in libraries and online to acquire the names of the ships and their captains for the first, second and third supply missions. Everywhere I read, there was a fascinating account of Captain John Smith and the various presidents and governors of the fledgling colony. It was a joy to research.

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

I have just finished the final edit with my publisher of Blood Before Dawn, the sequel to The Dung Beetles of Liberia. This book focuses on the bloody coup d’état and murder of President Tolbert and will be available December 1, 2021.

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A gripping account of survival in America’s earliest settlement, Jamestown, Virginia.

Virginia, 1622. Powhatan warriors prepare war plant from the sacred juice of the bloodroot plant, but Nehiegh, The English son-in-law of Chief Ochawintan has sworn never to kill again. He must leave before the massacre.

England 1609. Matthew did not trust his friend, Richard’s stories of Paradise in the Jamestown settlement, but nothing could have equipped him for the violence and privation that awaited him in this savage land.

Once ashore in the fledging settlement, Matthew experiences the unimaginable beauty of this pristine land and learns the meaning of hope, but it all turns into a nightmare as gold mania infests the community and Indians become an increasing threat. The nightmare only gets worse as the harsh winter brings on “the starving time” and all the grizzly horrors of a desperate and dying community that come with it.

Driven to the depths of despair by the guilt of his sins against Richard and his lust for that man’s wife, Matthew seeks death.

In that moment of crisis, when he chooses death over a life of depravity, he unexpectedly finds new life among his sworn enemy, the Powhatan Indians.

What will this new life mean for Matthew, and will he survive?

For the Good of Humanity

Jacqueline Anders
Jacqueline Anders Author Interview

Phoenix: Field Of Mars follows a young woman seeking to advance her P.R. career when she gets caught up in a special ops’ mission that takes her back to Ancient Rome. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration for my Phoenix trilogy happened while I taught high school. I noticed that my students were reading lots of fantasy books with no educational value, in my opinion. It seemed they were completely unaware of the world around them. I wanted them and adults to know about the Middle East, all the different human faiths that began across the ocean and from the beginning of civilization, and teach them history in an entertaining way. The time travel element was always a given because I always loved books about time travel. Therefore, I combined the genre I loved with romance, action, suspense, and tidbits of learning opportunities along the way.

I thought your characters were intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I really enjoy when authors use the whole ‘fish out of water’ scenario for their protagonists. It gives the reader a chance to not only question how they would handle the tough situation the characters are in, but it also helps the reader connect more closely to the characters. We cheer on the characters that push through the hardest situations and come out victorious in the end because they persevered. However, I knew that I needed my readers to know the characters in a way that wasn’t artificial.

Kyla was a typical business woman who was used to accolades and having her opinions appreciated but then she’s thrown into a time when women were not treated fairly and were better seen than heard.

The special ops guys were seasoned in missions with advanced technology and sometimes, not always, they were used to going on missions that had a lot of intel guiding them. However, when they landed in Ancient Rome, they were flying blind and just going off of small bits of information about their target. It made it really hard because their target ended up not traveling where they were told he would be. Without GPS, informants, etc., the special ops guys really had to rely on their instincts and their training of interrogating natives to get an idea of where the threat was traveling to. In reality, that is some tough stuff and without some kind of otherworldly help, it would be almost impossible.

Also, I knew when I set out to write the contracted special ops team, I wanted them to be from all different countries. Not only because of their expertise and language acquisitions, but also to help show my readers different cultures and faiths and how they will work together for the good of humanity.

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

Ever since the beginning of time, humans were notorious for wanting more and more, especially when it came to resources. My story is not just a story of action, history, suspense, wars, but also a story of HOPE. In my opinion, if we were all left to our own devices, the world would have ended by now. There is a reason we haven’t destroyed ourselves yet. So for.

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

My next book is Phoenix 4: The Cerberus Chronicles, but I won’t give too much away. Let’s just say that once time travel is invented, it’s like Pandora’s Box. In truth, it’s pretty scary if we don’t have HOPE.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A time travel thriller from best selling author, Jackie Anders, that takes the reader to Ancient Rome revealing modern and ancient conspiracies that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Twenty-eight-year-old, Kyla Marshall, has desires of advancing her career in public relations at all costs… Until she ends up stumbling in on a special ops’ mission that takes her from her client’s lab in the year 2017 to 8 A.D. Ancient Rome. After learning her new reality, she discovers that the team’s mission is to stop a biochemical scientist from unleashing a deadly virus on the unsuspecting 1st Century people in order to change history.
As Kyla encounters hostility and strife on her journey, she is surprisingly protected by the team’s leader, Capt. Christopher Eriksen. Even though Eriksen has many internal struggles from what he’s seen and done, he inspires her to trust in something bigger than herself. But as Kyla and the team race to stop the impending genocide, Kyla’s biggest fear is no longer the known threat. It is the not knowing if she will ever be able to get back home.

The Cause of Darkness: A Story of the Civil War

The Cause of Darkness: A Story of the Civil War (The Life and Redemption of Teddy Miller) by [John W. Bebout]

The Cause of Darkness by John Bebout follows a 16-year-old boy, Teddy Miller, when his father gets arrested and sentenced to hang for being a guerrilla soldier. Set in the last year of the American Civil War, Teddy sets out to save his father and is offered help by a number of people. Most of whom, however, have their own self-interests at heart.

This historical fiction novel was a major page-turner for me. Teddy starts as an innocent adolescent but as his family and life is turned upside down, we see him grow and hold many conflicting yet realistic traits as he is forced into this situation, such as being a chivalrous person needing to face some of the horrors of war. This was a fascinating coming-of-age story that felt authentic and was completely engrossing. Teddy, his brother, and a detective helping them, Kate, get involved with many people who seem fixated on furthering their own interests with little regard for the young boys which causes them to develop a distrust to strangers, but conversely, a solid reliance on each other. However, their relationship with each other is also tested harshly, all of this adds to the intensity of the story and gives the story a high level of intrigue the rarely wavers.

It is obvious that the author has put in a lot of effort and research into the time period of the American Civil War as the setting felt incredibly realistic and vibrant. He shows a true understanding of nuanced human behaviors and beliefs, especially during a war and in the 1860s, and the strong research involved grants a lot of credibility to the story being told. An enjoyable cherry on top were the quotes from real-life figures at the start of a handful of chapters detailing aspects of the nature of war and what it takes to participate in one.

While I enjoyed the novel overall, I felt that certain actions by Teddy were frustrating, although this could be attributed to him just being a child. And I felt like the ending left some loose ends to things I wanted answered, but these are things that can easily be left to the imagination.

The Cause of Darkness is an engaging novel with a substantive view of war and human nature that was captivating and stirring. The author has a unique and refined writing style that made reading this thrilling historical fiction novel utterly enjoyable.

Pages: 212 | ASIN: B087NW9MKV

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Bloodroot

Bloodroot by [Daniel V. Jr. Meier]

Bloodroot, by Daniel V. Meier Jr., tells the story of Matthew as he arrives in newly established Jamestown, in the spring of 1609. As he attempts to resist the lust for gold sweeping through the fort, Matthew discovers the harsh life of the American colonies. He prevails over many trials, but this is Jamestown, 1609. More perils await him as he remains in Virginia.

Meier gives readers a story depicting the cruelty of men and the ruthlessness to which men are driven under duress. It hides none of the ugliness of the colonial era, instead presenting the bare bones of Jamestown. While at times crude, there was a stark feeling of realism giving to the reader, for the better or the worse, an immersive tale. The prose was appropriate and well chosen. Dialogues often left me breathless, presenting thoughts in a natural, yet elegant manner. I have to note that descriptions did not stick with me half as much as the dialogues. Being fully immersed within Matthew’s mind, I found this disappointing. The first person narration was masterfully done, and Matthew was a living, breathing companion as I read his story.

While I enjoyed this story, I felt that the reveal of this tale being an autobiographic story came too late and too suddenly. I had been content to wander alongside Matthew in his life, but the moment it was revealed to be an introspective work, I began looking for hints. Unfortunately, I could find none. I admit that it is a testament to the strength of the narration. There is no flaw to be found in Matthew’s voice. The storyline was interesting, with side characters that left me wanting more. By midpoint, the story began to unfold, and it became a gripping tale that captured all my attention. Matthew’s struggles with his own morality, with his desire for Anne and his wish to find peace, were suddenly made starker under the pressure applied by the later half of the story.

Overall, Bloodroot was a compelling book, with dynamic characters who made you doubt your own morality. Author Daniel Meier Jr. gives readers an evocative historical fiction novel that is consistently entertaining.

Pages: 376 | ASIN: B08HFGPGCY

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The Claviger

THE CLAVIGER by [RAYO SCALA]

The Claviger, by Rayo Scala, is a science fiction thriller based on the clavigers, an elite group of combatants who have been reincarnating over the last hundred centuries keeping intact all knowledge from past lives. They are on an important mission to protect mother earth from centuries of destruction posed by humanity. Considered aware reincarnates, the clavigers die and get reborn at around roughly the same time and by the time they are teenagers meet and greet each other reminiscing all previous knowledge. They are expert tacticians, master craftsmen, and linguists who have been interfering with events around the world over centuries to maintain natural balance and harmony on earth.

In present times, FBI agents Egan and Kun along with homeland security Talib and Alma are on a mission to crack down claviger operations. The clavigers possess powers to hack into systems, conduct sting operations, and kill their enemies to disrupt world trade and economies. These traits make them a formidable challenge for the mafias across many developed nations who send in teams to encounter them. However, our protagonists must find a way to discover the real motives behind claviger operations.

The Claviger is a thrilling story with a fantastically detailed backstory. The character developments in this story are methodical and well defined and every character has a unique arc that comes to fruition at the end. The author has bridged the gap between the past and the future using detailed narratives. Vivid imagery has been used to describe memories in flashbacks and there are many historical as well as mythological references. Advanced weaponry, conspiracy theories, and fast-paced action give readers a mix of James Bond and Stars Wars-like vibes.

The interaction among the characters is another unique feature of this plot. The clavigers tend to talk among themselves with a mix of old Shakespearean English while our protagonists speak modern English with cuss words. This helps readers easily understand the mood in the chapters. I enjoyed how secrets and mysteries were slowly revealed throughout the story, and this slow delivery keeps the suspense consistently high. The mix of science fiction and historical events create a conducive environment for a big revelation at the end.

The Claviger tells an imaginative and riveting story with a one-of-a-narrative. Readers who enjoy stories that combine history, action and subtle science fiction elements will find plenty to enjoy in Rayo Scala’s suspenseful-action adventure novel.

Pages: 259 | ASIN: B081F69PHR

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One Woman, Two Lives

One Woman, Two Lives by [Ajay Nair]

One Woman, Two lives, written by Ajay Nair, is a saga set in South India, describing the challenges women face as they fight the suppression forced upon them by the caste system. There are numerous characters in the novel, but it centers on one family: Kelu and Lakshami and their daughters Narayani and Bhavani. Although Kelu, father and husband is integral in the story, the novel focuses on the three women and their lives and their reactions to the challenges thrust upon them by the caste system. These three women are strikingly different in their approach and reactions to their situations. Lakshami, the mother, finds herself marrying a man of higher caste. Her character grows into this role, and her dialogue and actions change as her status does. Narayani, the eldest daughter accepts her position in life. Bhavani, the younger sister, is not as accepting of the situation. As she grows older, her attitude to the reality of the position of women is reflected in her conversations with her sister. Although tradition would suggest Bhavani show respect and subservience to her father, mother and elder sister respectively, she is often caught ‘speaking out of turn’.  When tragedy strikes, Bhavani engages in her biggest fight yet, breaking quietly from the chains of suppression to seek justice.

One Women, Two Lives is set in Southern India. The setting is well described, and immediately draws the reader into the novel. Outfits for weddings are described in exquisite detail, as are the venues and decorations. The description of the setting, both in terms of the greater setting of Southern India and the individual households are vivid and realistic. Not only does the setting quickly draw the reader in, the descriptions give an authentic feel to this thought-provoking story that reinforces the struggles of the caste system and the women within.

One Woman, Two Lives, is an emotionally-charged saga with insightful commentary on family life. The novel questions the concepts of fate and destiny and highlights the caste system constraints many women were subjected to. The simple structure, authentic characters and vivid setting combine to make Ajay Nair’s novel an enthralling read.

Pages: 121 | ASIN: B08XTSYYN8

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Willingness to Sacrifice

Patricia Catacalos
Patricia Catacalos Author Interview

Dual Duplicity follows a woman who dreams of becoming a physician but holds a secret that could ruin her reputation. What were some sources that informed this novels development?

While researching the Regency Era, I stumbled upon the biography of Dr. James Barry who is my inspiration for this story. His life choices were perfectly aligned with my protagonist’s desire and willingness to sacrifice to achieve her goals. And, I inserted Dr. Barry as an historical personality into my fictional tale.

Julia was a character that I loved following. What was the funnest scene for you to write for her character?

The scene I especially enjoyed writing was when Dr. Bennet Caldwell exposes Julia’s secret and offers her a proposition in return for his silence.

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

Highlighting how women’s capabilities and talents were dismissed and suppressed by society. Also, the lengths to which a woman will go, regardless of risks to her reputation, to fulfill her dream.

This is book two in your 1832 Regency Series. What can readers expect in book three?

Gentle and Easy Death is Book 3 in this series. In this novel, someone is killing patients on a hospital ward and the question is…are these ‘mercy killings’ or are these deaths the handiwork of a serial killer? In either case, the perpetrator must be stopped.

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London, 1832…Miss Julia Maxwell has a secret and she fears that her twin Julian will unintentionally betray her while working as an intern with Dr. Bennet Caldwell, Viscount Holmes. If anyone should discover Julia’s secret, it would destroy Julia’s reputation and Julian’s chance to fulfill his dream of being a physician and surgeon. Already others, who wish Julian to fail, plot against him. Much to Julia’s surprise, it will be Bennet who will protect her and Julian.

Australian War Fiction

Matt Strempel
Matt Strempel Author Interview

War of the Sparrows follows a WWII veteran struggling with PTSD as he sets out on a mission of redemption to stop a killer. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The story came from an idea I had about a girl who lives in a loveless home and discovers an attic full of her parent’s things from when they were young and happy. I asked myself, why are the parents miserable? My great grandfather was a Rat of Tobruk, a veteran from World War 2, so that seemed a logical place to start. I wanted there to be an additional layer to the story of a war-veteran father struggling with civilian life, and thought his desire and actions to redeem himself could provide that. Hence, the story begins with the historical abduction of a little boy; a crime that haunts the town and provides Frank the opportunity to earn his salvation. If he can find the man responsible, of course.

Frank is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Frank is a fixer who likes things to be orderly and well-maintained. He is meticulous in everything he does, from his house, to his job as a builder, to the injured birds he cares for in his aviary. But his psychological trauma prevents him from mending the relationship with his daughter. We know Frank is an inherently good man who wants to do the right thing but, after his experiences in the war, he believes he has a terrible price to pay to balance his moral ledger. He’s also in a unique position in terms of his military experience to be able to bring that about.

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

1930s-1950s Australia is the setting for this book, a period of time that was in a coming-of-age for the nation. We lost our innocence in a way. People didn’t lock their doors, they were bouyant after the end of WW2, there was a sense of relief, and of pride in our valiant contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany. But I also thought it unrealistic that many of the returned men and women would just be happy to be home and get on with their lives unaffected. There’s plenty of recent work that explores PTSD in more modern conflicts, especially out of the US, but I haven’t come across much in the way of Australian fiction. The other thing I have often felt was that our Australian troops have always been lauded as soldiers beyond reproach but I thought it naive to think that our boys would have all served honourably at all times. While I was typesetting the book, it was announced there was to be an investigation into Australian soldiers and potential war crimes committed against civilias in Afghanistan. That really resonated with me and confirmed what I felt was a story that hadn’t really been explored, as I said, in Australian war fiction. Ultimately, in WOTS, we witness the loss of innocence of our protagonists and how each approaches the aftermath.

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

My next novel is another Australian story called Things are Always Blowing Up in Bangle. It’s a lighter-themed novel that I hope could be available in 2021, but with work and family, that will be a miracle. The hero of the tale is Douglas Jones, the town’s station master. A mild-mannered gentleman who loves his trains and his detective novels, Douglas becomes entangled in Australia’s most famous art heist when the getaway driver is revealed to be living nearby. Bangle is a (fictional) remote mining town in country New South Wales that is famous for two things: the red dust that coats everything, and the abandoned artilery range just out of town. Every night at dusk, kangaroos migrate across the range and detonate unexploded ordinace. So, as the old boys at the pub love to tell the visitors, ‘Between the mine and the exploding kangaroos, things are always blowing up in Bangle.’

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The guns of World War II have been silent for years, but for veteran Frank Miller, there is no peace.

It’s been almost a decade since Frank returned from the horrors of Tobruk a celebrated war hero. But, like so many veterans, he is a broken man. Witness to unspeakable atrocities, he is emotionally paralysed, tortured by guilt, and preparing a final mission to earn his salvation: bringing justice to a killer lurking in the neighbourhood.

Now, on the night of the Rats of Tobruk ten-year reunion, his darkest secrets are going to be uncovered. With a daughter as curious as Francesca, he was never going to keep them concealed forever; it was only a matter of time before she found the key to his hidden attic.
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