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A Childhood Paracosm

Author Interview
Roske Author Interview

Strung follows a woman in a forced engagement as she discovers the world of the Faye, and becomes enraptured with the world she finds. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The world and story of Strung began as a childhood paracosm and continued to evolve over the following decades. After so long, it’s difficult for me to pinpoint each original source of inspiration, but I do specifically recall an early fascination with the romantic power imbalance in Disney’s Aladdin. These days, Jasmine’s trope might be classified as a very light “Alpha Female”, but it was a totally new concept for me at the time. I believe that idea seeded the initial daydream, but many, many other influences found their way into the narrative over time, too.

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters personalities grow organically as you were writing?

In a sense, yes to both. The characters grew as I did, so there was indeed an outline before I sat down to write—just not a typical one! I ended up cutting several plot points and character interactions in order to keep the book below 140k words, but the ultimate path of each character’s development remained the same.

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

The story’s themes include each definition and colloquial use of the word “strung”. For instance: interpersonal tethering, adherence to tradition, tightly wound anxiety, emotional resonance, threads of fate, and for better or worse, how each of these forms has the power to control our actions by stringing us as puppets or instruments.

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

To be honest, Strung is the only story I absolutely needed to tell. If there was demand for a sequel, I’d consider one. Otherwise, who knows? Maybe I’ll have a new world to jot down in another 25 years.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Based on a decades-long paracosm, Strung weaves complex patterns from themes of control, adherence, and fate. The result delivers social commentary through a musical lens, reimagined folklore, and two richly-detailed fantasy cultures. A must-read for fans of dreamy, literary fiction!

Strung

Strung is a beautiful literary work by Roske. This book includes enthralling accounts of its characters in a fantasy folklore setting that is full of romance and magic. How Lady Lysbeth’s world changes with the arrival of Faye and how she maneuvers through different events in the gender discriminative Avon society is quite striking. Roske presents the storyline in stark contrasts. The book begins as some kind of musical composition in the making and flows flawlessly with vivid imagery and illustrations, taking readers on a fantastic visual journey. A patient reader would find everything they need to know within the pages of Strung. The words are selected masterfully, the characters evolve deeply as the novel progresses, and the scenes feel authentic and lively. There is never a dull moment in this novel if you get into the rhythm and tune of this book.

Roske manages to keep the dialogues crisp and flowing and does justice to the era the novel revolves around. I am delighted with Roske’s approach to showing the relationship dynamics of each character. Strung is filled with rich dialogue between characters, with some narration inserted to add additional information or set the scene. In addition, the author includes words and language of a different era that give the characters a more dynamic personality. It is easy to get lost in the plot and the setting with such well-written passages.

This captivating book is a slow-burn romance while managing to not be a typical romance novel. Roske has created an enchanting story that is unique. Lysbeth’s life in a male-dominated society, her fascination with Faye, the cultural clashes, and how society plays a role in shaping one’s identity are meticulously portrayed.

Strung is a spellbinding fantasy and romance novel. Beautiful writing, a well-developed cast of characters, and a mystical romance that defies the social norms of that era will appeal to readers across multiple genres.

Pages: 390 | ASIN: B09T3NLGT6

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Utopia? 

Utopia is a city in which everything is based on a system-created hierarchy, where the higher your level, the more luxury and opportunity you would have. George Mason is hell-bent on rising through the ranks while being disgusted by those below him and intensely envious of those above him. Utopia is now ripe for the taking, with the city’s leader on the verge of retiring. Whoever has the most power gains control.

Using their hidden and enormous network of control, the smoking man and the pixelated man are contending for the rule over the city. But unfortunately, George Mason becomes caught in the crossfire and is forced to go undercover to infiltrate the Commune, a settlement outside of Utopia’s boundaries. As he is exposed to ludicrous and foreign ideals, he is drawn deeper into the chasm caused by people seeking control of Utopia.

R.A. Rowlingson’s book Utopia? transports readers to a gloomy universe that is all too familiar. In this terrifying piece of fantasy fiction, horrible forces are developing within the city of Utopia. Many themes of this story resonate with our current reality, particularly the recent global political issues. The author subtly injects bits and pieces of truth into his craft that readers will surely indulge in.

The plot moves along at a steady pace, never dragging and never going too fast. My favorite aspect of Rowlingson’s writing has to be his meticulous attention to detail in character development and world-building. Readers will get to know the characters’ minds, learning their motives and inner struggles. The descriptions of the city and the Commune will have readers feeling like they are in the middle of everything and experiencing the conditions of the dwellers as they follow George.

Utopia? is a sinister and dark reflection of our reality as a whole. This dystopian novel will give readers a look into what could be their own post-apocalyptic world. Science fiction and fantasy readers will find this novel to be engaging, with plenty of unique characters and situations to explore.

Pages: 263 | ASIN : B09HQ43QV9

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Hill House Divided

Hill House Divided by S. Lee Fisher is the third in her series, The Women of Campbell County. This one is set in the early 1950s and focuses on Olive Westchester’s youngest daughter, Harriet, and her husband, Eddy, who is stationed in Italy during the Korean war. Like her mother before her, Harriet is clever and ambitious, but she has advantages that her mother never had. For one thing, with Eddy far away in Italy, she is free to concentrate on her own life, making it what she desires without having to be the dotting wife.

As frustrating as it was to see Olive lose all her chances in the first book of this series, it’s gratifying to see Harriet grab hers with both hands. Readers will be happy to see her succeed, especially as her feckless husband is following his own path without giving a thought to his wife missing him back home. When he returns, you just want her to slam the door in his face and turn to his more loyal brother.

As with the second book, Fisher recounts each scene while giving readers a high-level overview of what is going on. I feel there is not a lot of insight into the characters’ motivation or their inner world. While there isn’t a lot of action in the book, I think this is because this is more of a story about Harriett’s efforts to be her own woman and build a life she can be happy in. This dramatic historical fiction story gives readers a look at the challenges a woman faces when her husband is away at war in the 1950s.

I found Eddy’s story in Italy to be particularly interesting. Unfortunately, I suspect that this part of the story will come back to haunt Harriet in the next installment. As for Olive, she is as objectionable as ever until near the end, when readers will wonder what is causing her change of heart, leaving them anxious for the next installment in this series.

Hill House Divided: The Women of Campbell County is a cozy family saga about life as a woman in the 1950s. The historical fiction element will give readers an intriguing view of life at the time and the struggles people faced in society.

Pages: 329 | ASIN : B09Q1KC29Y

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Traveler

There’s another world out there and it’s full of gods, past lives, and destiny; the only problem is that Shelby Starling is right in the middle of it. A traveler by trade, Shelby wanders the world writing for Pioneer Tours, except this time she’s the one at the center of the story. Accompanied by a motley crew of Gods and Goddesses, with the addition of one gorgeous Roman, Shelby must work through the memories of her past lives. More of a watcher than anything else, our heroine must learn to overcome her fears of failing and get in the middle of a history that she’s only read about in textbooks.

Traveler by author Nola Nash brings fans of romance, adventure, and the paranormal on a time-traveling romance novel. The author does an excellent job at bringing to life some historic events and places. Readers will travel the world with Shelby experiencing exotic cultures and historical events through her eyes. The characters of Traveler are interesting and engaging. Readers will be able to get to know them and develop a connection from the beginning chapters. What I liked most was when Egyptian and Greek gods and goddesses enter the storyline because I felt like that is when things really started to get interesting.

Shelby is sarcastic, down-to-earth, and very relatable in her desire to just move forward and not dwell on the past, but as with most people, this will come back to haunt her. Traveling through time, Shelby discovers her past lives and sees that she is destined for greater things than just sitting on the sidelines writing about other people’s history. She may even learn to love someone in this experience.

Traveler excellently blends bravery, adventure, romance, fantasy, and some history into a story that readers will easily devour. This combination makes the novel a riveting read that fans of suspenseful time travel stories will find easy to enjoy. With this being the first novel in the series, readers can look forward to the future endeavors of Shelby Starling.

Pages: 274 | ASIN : B09HV7JVBK

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Dagger’s Destiny – Book Trailer

A Celtic warrior princess accused of treason for aiding her enemy lover must win back her father’s love and trust

In the rich and vibrant tale, Author Linnea Tanner continues the story of Catrin and Marcellus that began with the awarding-winning novel APOLLO’S RAVEN in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series. Book 2: DAGGER’S DESTINY sweeps you into an epic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.

War looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself. She must prove loyalty to her father by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom—even to the death. Forged into a warrior, she must overcome tribulations and make the right decisions on her quest to break the curse that foretells her banished half-brother and the Roman Empire will destroy their kingdom.

Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to King Amren. She must ultimately face her greatest challenger who could destroy her life, freedom, and humanity.

Will Catrin finally break the ancient prophecy that looms over her kingdom? Will she abandon her forbidden love for Marcellus to win back her father’s trust and love? Can King Amren balance his brutality to maintain power with the love he feels for Catrin?

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A Complicated Character

Christy Cooper-Burnett
Christy Cooper-Burnett Author Interview

Escaping Home follows Christine into the past where a rogue agent follows her and threatens to disrupt the timeline. What inspired the setup to this riveting story?

Christine has dealt with a few nefarious characters in the two previous books in the series. In this installment, I wanted to explore what might happen if someone were careless enough to travel back in time with no regard for history. With the world on the brink of war, people would do things they might not ordinarily consider. The possibility of a nuclear war could encourage someone to take risks, thinking there would be no consequences. Of course, Christine and her friends can’t let that happen, especially when they are the reason the rogue agent is in the 1700s to begin with.

What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer with this book?

First and foremost, I wanted to get the characters emotions right. Going back to the eighteenth century and surviving would take everything they were made of. It was important to relay their emotional struggle to the reader, so they could place themselves there. Second, I challenged myself to make it as historically accurate as I could. In order to really feel like the reader was a part of this story, they had to know what it was like to live in 1790. The language, the clothing, the city, all had to be authentic.

What were some obstacles you felt were important to developing Christine’s character in this novel?

Christine is a complicated character. She has a tendency to be a loner. She has grown in last two books, but she still clings to the notion that she has to be strong for everyone else all the time. In this book we got to see her personality soften even more. She eventually gets her happy ending, and after all she has been through, it was well deserved!

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

My next book is part of a time travel trilogy with a different twist. It is due out in September of 2022. Without giving too much away, here is a little teaser.

What was supposed to be a few days in the nineteenth century with two of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities goes horribly awry. Now America’s hottest starlet is dead, and Jack the Ripper in on the loose in modern day America. And it’s all my fault.

I was foolish enough to let history’s most ruthless serial killer slip out of the past. But am I smart enough to send him packing?

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

United States, 2072
With the country under the threat of war, a group of time-traveling government agents devise a risky plan to keep their families safe. But transporting hundreds of years to the past and blending in may prove much more dangerous than they expected.
Cyber Criminal Enforcement Agent Christine Stewart has been to the past before and thinks she knows what to expect. She couldn’t be more wrong.
Life in the eighteenth century is anything but ideal, especially when they learn a rogue agent with plans to strike it rich follows them back in time. Armed with a modern-day weapon, the agent may disrupt the timeline in the most disastrous way and alter history as they know it.
Now they’re refugees in their own homeland, and how they proceed will determine their fate. Will they crash and burn in their race to stop the defector before it’s too late?

Under the Grapevine

Under the Grapevine: The Women of Campbell County by [S. Lee Fisher]

Under the Grapevine is the second in The Women of Campbell County series by author S Lee Fisher. Olive Westchester is a married woman with children of her own and a loving husband, all of whom she treats badly.  Having lost all her youthful chances, she is locked in her own misery which has festered over the years to create a bitter, angry woman.  She treats everyone around her with rude contempt, keeps secrets from her family for her own benefit and only really engages with them when she needs a skivvy.

The book opens after the First World War and covers the years of the Great Depression and the Second World War with vivid detail. Although the characters are affected by these tumultuous events I wanted to dive deeper into their emotional turmoil. The author seems to have a clear vision of the personalities of each member of the family, which I found intriguing and left me wanting to know much more about them. This is a plot driven literary saga that focuses on a series of dramatic events that happen to the characters, but leaves me wanting more insight into the inner worlds of many of the characters.

Harriet bounces along from one experience to the next without sharing with us what is going on in her head apart from the little that is revealed through her conversations with others, this sets her up to be an enigmatic character to me. As for Olive, if you have not read the first book in the series, which I recommend, you would have no idea why she is so hateful, and these reasons can be compelling, but here the characterization is intense and I wanted a window into her soul to understand why. Harriet is surprisingly unscathed by having such a horrid mother, and it is awe inspiring that Tabs remains the loyal, long-suffering husband that he is.

Under the Grapevine is filled with intriguing characters that I wanted to explore further and deeper. This is a great family saga for readers who enjoy rousing drama against a vivid historical backdrop.

Pages: 296 | ASIN: B0981M5QYN

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